History They Don’t Want You To Know

Teller Of Truths Daniel Ellsberg: Civil Disobedience Against Vietnam War Led Me To Leak Pentagon Papers

  “We have chosen to be powerless criminals in a time of criminal power. We have chosen to be branded as peace criminals by war criminals.” Democracy Now! (5/18/18) Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was a high-level defense analyst in 1971 when he leaked a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers and played a key role in ending the Vietnam War. We speak with Ellsberg about the recent 50th anniversary of one of the most famous acts of civil disobedience in the United States….


‘Democracy In Chains’ Author Warns: “Trump is the tumor, not the cancer.”

  “We’ve made more progress in the last five years than I had in the last 50.” — Charles Koch [Editor’s Note: Nancy MacClean’s book “Democracy In Chains” provides the necessary historical background to understand the how and why of the radical right’s capture of the government. It truly is an essential guide to corporate America’s Trumpland. — Mark L. Taylor] Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (5/4/18) Our democracy is at a “historic turning point,” said Nancy MacLean, the author of “Democracy in Chains,” last night [5/3] in Madison, where she was the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s annual celebration….


‘How Democracies Die’ — The Paranoid Style Has Consumed American Politics

“In his 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” historian Richard Hofstader described the phenomenon of “status anxiety,” which, he believed, is most likely to emerge when groups’ social status, identify, and sense of belonging are perceived to be under existential threat. This leads to a style of politics that is “overheated, over suspicious, over aggressive, grandiose, and apocalyptic.” Half a century after its publication, Hofstader’s essay may be more relevant than ever. The struggle against declining majority status is, in good part, what fuels the intense animosity that has come to define the American Right. Survey evidence suggests…


Absurdity & Affront: Writer Documents The 200 Year History Leading Up To Citizens United Case Giving Corporations The Rights Of Peope

    By Kim Phillips-Fein The New Republic (3/29/18) More than 100 years ago, at the height of the last Gilded Age, Congress passed its first law prohibiting corporations from spending money to influence election campaigns. From the start, the wealthy chafed against this limit, and some sought to test it in court. Alcohol manufacturers—terrified of high taxes and Prohibition—might not have seemed the ideal candidates to take on this fight. But they were nonetheless the first to challenge the law, contributing cash to candidates in state and federal races and then arguing that any effort to keep money out…


Yanis Varoufakis: Marx Predicted Our Present Crisis – And Points The Way Out

The manifesto remains a source of hope not to be dismissed. By Yanis Varoufakis The Guardian (4/20/18) No manifesto has better succeeded in doing all this than the one published in February 1848 at 46 Liverpool Street, London. Commissioned by English revolutionaries, The Communist Manifesto (or the Manifesto of the Communist Party, as it was first published) was authored by two young Germans – Karl Marx, a 29-year-old philosopher with a taste for epicurean hedonism and Hegelian rationality, and Friedrich Engels, a 28-year-old heir to a Manchester mill. As a work of political literature, the manifesto remains unsurpassed. Its most infamous lines,…


Why These 5 Books Are Censored From Your History Class | Interview With Mark Crispin Miller

  Abby Martin (9/22/14) Abby Martin speaks with NYU media studies professor, Mark Crispin Miller, discussing the addition of 5 books to the Forbidden Bookshelf, a project aimed at making important literature that has gone out of circulation once again available to the public. The newest additions to the Forbidden Bookshelf include: 1. DuPont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain by Gerard Colby 2. Hidden History of the Korean War by I.F. Stone 3. Assassination on Embassy Row by Saul Landau and John Dinges 4. The Assassination of New York by Robert Fitch 5. The Polk Conspiracy by Kati Marton Access…


Pulitzer-Winning Reporter David Cay Johnston: “The evidence suggests Trump is a traitor”

  [Editor’s Note: Please listen to this interview. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston’s insights on Trump and his long ties with the Mafia and Russian oligarchs and the only way the democrats can unseat Trump are spot on. Unlike many, he calls things as they are. Also, listen to Chauncey DeVargas’ comments afterward. He gives a hard dose of reality that we on the left need to fully grasp about what may well be coming even if — especially if — Trump were driven from office. This is serious business, folks and the democrats and the left really…


Scholar Of Authoritarianism Tells Seth Meyers That When She’s Being Asked On TV ‘you know America is in bad shape’

By Sarah K. Burris The Raw Story (4/25/18) Writer and researcher Sarah Kendzior’s new book is a series of essays that she wrote from 2012 through 2014 that ultimately predicted the rise of today’s politics, government institution bashing, paranoia — and the possibility of a President Donald Trump. In a Tuesday interview with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, Kendzior explained that despite understanding the possibilities of Trump, she finds no solace in being right. “When I’m in demand, when my areas of expertise are in demand, then you know America is in bad shape,” she explained. She went on to…


What’s In A Name — Are You Really A Progressive Or A Liberal?

How a vital term in U.S. political life lost its significance—and could regain it today. By Win McCormick The New Republic (4/20/18) What distinguishes a progressive from a liberal? This is one of the more pervasive ambiguities in contemporary American political discourse. In a recent issue of the journal Democracy, the historian Sean Wilentz addressed it head-on: Liberals, he argues, recognize the flaws of capitalism, are dedicated to remedying them, and have great achievements to their credit in that regard, notably those of the New Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society. Progressives are meanwhile “emphatically anti-liberal”—because they are hostile to capitalism and, “deep…


Inside The Decade-Long Russian Campaign To Infiltrate The NRA & Help Elect Trump

Femme fatales, lavish Moscow parties and dark money – how Russia played the National Rifle Association. By Tim Dickinson The  Rolling Stone (4/1/18) In November 2013, the president of the National Rifle Association, David Keene, was introduced as an honored guest at the conference of the Right to Bear Arms, a gun lobby in Moscow. “There are no peoples that are more alike than Americans and Russians,” Keene said. “We’re hunters. We’re shooters. We value the same kinds of things.” Keene underscored his friendship with Alexander Torshin, a top politician in the ruling party of Vladimir Putin; for the past three…


Knowing The Difference Between ‘A’ Problem & ‘The’ Problem: Our Trumputin ‘Fresh Hell’ Is The Result Of Our Selective National Blindness

    When no one is held accountable the same thing will happen again. On The Media / WNYC (3/30/18) Fifteen years since the start of the Iraq War, we live in what many see as a fresh hell: the erosion of institutions and standards at the highest levels. But political science professor Corey Robin argues that the Trump era is merely an extension of the same reflex that gave us the Iraq War — and much that preceded it. Robin recently wrote a piece for Harper’s Magazineabout the American tendency to re-imagine the past [See below]. He and Brooke discuss our collective failure to draw…


Book Review: ‘Russian Roulette’ Documents Decades-Long Relationship Between Trumputin & Russian Interests

  By Charles Kaiser The Guardian (3/20/18) Whenever I finish a book like Russian Roulette, I ask myself the same question: why is anyone still debating whether there was collusion between the Russians and Donald Trump? Like Collusion, a comprehensive volume by the Guardian’s Luke Harding, this narrative by investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn leaves the reader nearly overwhelmed by evidence that Trump and Vladimir Putin have been striving to collaborate for years. It was 2013 when Trump first tweeted that he wanted to be Putin’s “best friend”. Later he told Fox Putin looked “like a great leader”. Putin’s constant goals…


Telling Tales: The Tohono O’odham Nation And The Threat Of Trump’s Border Wall

  Telling Tales BBC (3/21/18) A retelling of an ancient Native American story from the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose traditional lands straddle the border between the United States and Mexico. The story encapsulates the tribe’s closerelationship with their land, plants and animals. But their ancient way of life is now under threat from President Trump’s plans to build a fortified wall across their sacred lands. The power of ancient tales is that they cross time and space, and resonate with us all as human beings. Penny Boreham explores the power of ancient stories by taking three traditional tales and juxtaposing…


50 Years After My Lai Massacre In Vietnam, Revisiting The Slaughter The U.S. Military Tried To Hide

  (Editor’s Note: With the country gearing up for yet another senseless war it is important to remember what war is really about. Between the dioxin contamination of the land and resulting birth defects and death by unexploded bombs Americans continue to kill innocent Vietnam civilians. Three heroic GI resisters are interviewed. — Mark L. Taylor) Democracy Now! (3/16/18) Fifty years ago, on March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men over the next four hours, in what…


Sacrifice Zone: A Cursed Appalachian Mining Town

  Video by Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan The Atlantic (3/13/18) In the late 1800s, traveling preacher Robert Sheffey cursed the town of Ivanhoe, Virginia, after witnessing what one female resident describes as “houses of ill repute, fighting, drunkenness, and a rejection of his ministry by the townspeople.” Legend has it that Sheffey condemned the sinful town to sink into the earth and be consumed by the pits of hell. “Whether you believe in it or not, after that happened, we lost everything,” says the same Ivanhoe resident in the short documentary The Curse and the Jubilee. “We lost the rock quarry; we…


Overlooked: : How Women Like Ida B. Wells & Diane Arbus Were Omitted From The NYT Obituaries

  “Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.” — Muckraking journalist Ida B. Wells Democracy Now! (3/9/18) As the world marked International Women’s Day on Wednesday, The New York Times began a new project highlighting the lives of remarkable women who never had an obituary in the paper, until now. The list might surprise you. It includes the pioneering anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells; the writer and poet Sylvia Plath; Qiu Jin, who was known as China’s Joan of Arc; the groundbreaking photographer…


“On Tyranny” Author Timothy Snyder Pulls The Trumputin-Russia Story Together & Explains The History Of Our Present National Crisis

With all chaos and change swirling through Washington DC and tugging back and forth with Moscow it is easy to feel lost and confused and uncertain as to just what the hell is going on. In this series of short video talks Yale historian Timothy Snyder brings sense out of chaos and knits together an understanding of the patterns and personalities redefining our world and lives. Snyder is an expert on 20th century totalitarian regimes. His 2017 book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century” is an essential owners manual for anyone living in Trump’s Amerika. You can link…


Up In Smoke: The Myth Of A Normal America

  There are no good old days to return to in U.S. politics. The truth about a post-Trump era. (Editor’s Note: Is the Democratic Party up to the new world we are facing in American politics? Do party leaders really grasp that the old rules of American politics are up in smoke? So far there is scant evidence that the DNC has any grasp how the game board has been redefined. That is bad news for all of us. — Mark L. Taylor) By Kevin Baker The New Republic (2/15/18) The remaining hope for all Americans of good sense, more…


Freedom Had Nothing To Do With Writing The Second Amendment. It Was All About Preserving Slavery

  By Thom Hartman TruthOut (1/15/13) The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the framers knew the difference — see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that… and we all should be too. In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states. In Georgia, for example, a generation before…


Noam Chomsky: What Role Are You Really Expected To Play In Our ‘Democracy’

  “Now there are two “functions” in a democracy: The specialized class, the responsible men, carry out the executive function, which means they do the thinking and planning and understand the common interests. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too. Their function in a democracy, [Lippmann] said, is to be “spectators,” not participants in action. But they have more of a function than that, because it’s a democracy. Occasionally they are allowed to lend their weight to one or another member of the specialized class. In other words, they’re allowed to say, “We…


“The Devil’s Chessboard” — Interview With Author David Talbot On The Evil History Of The CIA

  “Writing is fighting.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/1/18) Author David Talbot’s “The Devil’s Chessboard” (2015) provides an intriguing and necessary “counternarrative” to understanding American history since World War II. Talbot’s in-depth reporting exposes the bloodied cutting edge of the darkest wing of the Wall Street oligarchy. It is the nepotism and incestuous American secret corporate state that has led the nation into a parade of bloody and completely failed wars, coups and international murder and torture. From Central America to Vietnam, to Africa and the Middle East and Afghanistan the trail of bloody American failure and…


Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou: “The Government Turned Me Into A Dissident”

VICE News (4/2/15) In 2007, John Kiriakou became the first Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official to publicly confirm that agency interrogators waterboarded a high-value detainee, terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah — a revelation that had previously been a closely guarded secret. Five years after this unauthorized disclosure to ABC News, the veteran CIA officer pleaded guilty to leaking to journalists the identity of certain individuals who were involved with the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program. He was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison. VICE News caught up with Kiriakou for a wide-ranging interview just a few…


Walt Whitman: ‘To The States’

  Why reclining, interrogating? why myself and all drowsing?  What deepening twilight—scum floating atop of the waters,  Who are they as bats and night-dogs askant in the capitol?  What a filthy Presidentiad! (O South, your torrid suns! O North, your arctic freezings!)  Are those really Congressmen? are those the great Judges? is that the President?  Then I will sleep awhile yet, for I see that these States sleep, for reasons;  (With gathering murk, with muttering thunder and lambent shoots we all duly awake,  South, North, East, West, inland and seaboard, we will surely awake.) — Walt Whitman (1819-1892) From Leaves…


A Despot In Disguise: One Man’s Successful Mission To Rip Up American Democracy By The Roots

Untold Story: This is where the Koch brothers and the plan to destroy American government began. (Editor’s Note: I am reading this book and cannot recommend it highly enough. It is far more readable than the topic might suggest and ESSENTIAL information to understand the true extent of the threat from the Trump republican party. – Mark L. Taylor) By George Monbiot The Guardian (7/19/17) It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is to…


CounterSpin Interview With Jeff Cohen On ‘All Governments Lie’ Documentary

    By Janine Jackson CounterSpin / Fairness & Accuracy In Media (12/20/17) Janine Jackson: There’s a moment early on in the new documentary All Governments Lie where we see a clip from The Wizard of Oz: the revelation that the thunderous and awe-inspiring Great Oz is just a regular man with some powerful technology—the man behind the curtain. Unearthing and exposing the actions of the powerful was the driving impulse of the work of journalist I.F. Stone, whose fearless newsletter, I.F. Stone’s Weekly, was published from the early ’50s to the early ’70s. The film explores how Stone’s work and spirit continue to influence…


A Message For Martin Luther King Day From Cornel West: America Is Spiritually Bankrupt & Morally Emptied. We Must Fight Back Together

National Park Service photo. “In our world of the survival of the slickest and the smartest, we pave the way for raw greed and self-promotion. We make cowardice and avarice fashionable and compassion an option for losers.” By Cornel West The Guardian (1/14/18) e live in one of the darkest moments in American history – a bleak time of spiritual blackout and imperial meltdown. Exactly 25 years ago, in my book Race Matters, I tried to lay bare the realities and challenges to American democracy in light of the doings and sufferings of black people. Back then, I reached heartbreaking…


‘The Biggest Secret’ – James Risen On Life As NY Times Reporter In The Shadow Of The War On Terror

The crackdown on leaks only applied to low-level dissenters; top officials caught up in leak investigations, like former CIA Director David Petraeus, were still treated with kid gloves.   Democracy Now! (1/5/19) We spend the hour with former New York Times reporter James Risen, who left the paper in August to join The Intercept as senior national security correspondent. This week, he published a 15,000-word story headlined “The Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror.” The explosive piece describes his struggles to publish major national security stories in the…



“Worm Wood”: Errol Morris’s Latest Documentary Probes Deadly CIA Duplicity

Frank Olson may have been not just murdered but executed. (Editor’s Note: “Wormwood” is a fascinating Netflix documentary series on the 1953 suicide/murder/execution of government scientist Frank Olson, who grew up in Hurley, Wisconsin. The official story was that Olson’s death was an unfortunate outcome of a what was a whacky CIA LSD experimental program gone awry. Olson’s eldest son, Erik, never felt comfortable with the story; always felt there was more to it. He was right. This short series is a powerful, personal account of the abuse of unchecked government power and secrecy and perfectly timed as a warning…


DUH! South Carolina GOP Lawmakers Shocked To Learn No Black Soldiers Served Under Confederacy

What kind of stupid is that? By Travis Gettys The Raw Story (1/1/18) The justification for building a monument to black Confederate soldiers is crumbling as historians point out there’s no evidence such combatants ever existed. State Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Woodruff) and state Rep. Mike Burns (R-Taylors) pre-filed a bill last month that would establish a commission to design an African-American Confederate veterans monument, reported The State. The bill would also require public schools to teach the contributions of black people toward the Confederate cause, and Chumley said his proposal had already accomplished his goal even as historians undermine its intent. “We are all…


New Documentary Reveals Major Coverup & Corruption In Las Vegas Police Department, Before And After The Mass Shooting

  By Liz Posner AlterNet (12/25/17) Unanswered questions still surround the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1 this year. Days after shooter Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and injured over 500, confusing details emerged. Journalists sparred with police at press conferences, grappling for missing details. The security guard who discovered Paddock in his hotel room with 24 guns and was shot by Paddock later disappeared, only to reemerge as a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. To shed light on this confusion, a new film, “What Happened in Vegas,” explores the role of the Las Vegas Police Department after the mass…


A Bad Deal: Swapping Out Democracy For A State Of Perpetual American Fear

‘Scairdy Cat Nation By Ray Suarez NPR (12/17/17) Historian Elaine Tyler May says that ever since the Cold War, fear has crept into American life and created apathy toward democracy. During that time, the government and media gave Americans constant warning about nuclear war and communism — adults were encouraged to build shelters, children practiced hiding under their desks to prepare for a possible nuclear attack. “Basically, the message was the bomb could drop at any time,” she says. “Each person was responsible for their own safety. There’s really nothing the government or the leaders of the country can do…


‘The Post’ Puts Pentagon Papers Back On The Front Page

  On Point/WBUR (12/21/17) With guest host Tom Gjelten.  The new film “The Post,” with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, puts the Pentagon Papers back on the front page. The massive leak of government documents helped shed light on the Vietnam War, and the lies the government was telling about it. Among others, we’re talking to Leslie Gelb, a former Department of Defense official who will tell us exactly how leaker Daniel Ellsberg got away with the documents. We’re digging in and consider its impact on journalism, now. Clips From This Show: Key Pentagon Papers Figure Dispels ‘Baloney’ Myths — But…


Story Behind The Famous Pentagon Papers: The Story Of A Whistleblower & A Young Reporter

Secrets, Lies and Leaks. The Center For Investigative Reporting & PRX (5/21/17) In this episode of Reveal, we’re using the full hour to take a deep look at the leaking and publication of the Pentagon Papers. At the center of the episode are two guys who have a knack for being in the room when history gets made: Robert J. Rosenthal and Daniel Ellsberg. For Rosenthal, the Pentagon Papers came calling when he was at the beginning of his journalism career. When Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971, he was turning his back on a long career close…


Election Madness: The Ballot Is Never Enough

“Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.” – Howard Zinn, Election Madness (2008)


The Story Of George Wallace & The Radical Fascist Right Shows That Even After Trump The Threat To The Nation Remains

Whether Trump lasts another three weeks, another three years, or another seven years, our troubles won’t be over when he’s gone. They may well get worse. (Editor’s Note: This is an important, excellent analysis of the American fascist right that properly explains how Trump is a product of, not the progenitor of the radical fascist right. Rich draws from the history of George Wallace, showing the parallels and the political DNA of the right wing movement going back to the 1930’s. As the internet is choked off and the Sinclair group takes over more media the threat of the radical…


As Republicans Gear Up To Gut Social Security To Fund Massive Tax Cuts For The Wealthy, Here’s What Life Was Like Before Earned Benefits

Red House Records Boise Song Talk (10/14/12) Rosalie Sorrels reads the chapter “Social Security” from her mother Nancy Stringfellow’s memoir, “Report from Grimes Creek after a Hard Winter”. This is an excerpt from the full interview with Rosalie Sorrels and James Coberly Smith in the Boise Song Talk series. Link to 6-Minute Video Rosalie Sorrels Talks About Health Insurance & Death: 6-Minute Video


Chris Hedges: On Fall Of Empire & The Rise Of Bullying Fascists

  “All great empires and nations decay from within. By the time they hobble off the world stage, overrun by the hordes at the gates or vanishing quietly into the pages of history books, what made them successful and powerful no longer has relevance. This rot takes place over decades, as with the Soviet Union, or, even longer, as with the Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It is often imperceptible. “Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trappings of power. They mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military. They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions….


Neoliberalism – The Ideology At The Root Of All Our Economic & Social Crises

  By George Monbiot The Guardian (11/15/16) Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which…


The 40th Anniversary Of The Death Of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington Is Time To Reflect On What True Political Reform Looks Like

  By Mark Kastel (12/7/17) Just like Bernie Sanders, at least for me, one of the preeminent and compelling attributes of Harold Washington was — his authenticity. His political speeches reflected his true beliefs. He was a reformer. He took on one of the most powerful political machines in the country, built by Chicago’s Richard J Daley, and beat them at their own game. I worked for Harold in his first campaign. My job, as a surrogate speaker, was to address exclusively black audiences on the city south and west sides. My sidekick, one of my best friends at the…