Resist!

Young Patriot Alerted America That Russia Hacked Our Voting Rolls So Why Is She In Jail?

  By Will Bunch The Philadelphia Inquirer (7/30/18) Last week’s news that special counsel Robert Mueller had the goods on 12 high-level Russian spieswhose job was to hack computers and muck up America’s 2016 presidential election was a political bombshell — but also a resounding vindication for a 26-year-old Georgia woman with the wonderfully poetic name of Reality Winner. In the spring of 2017, with public concern mounting about the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, federal officials still sought to assure people that there’d been no major success in penetrating electronic voting systems. But Winner, a commended Air…

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‘Democracy Is A Life’ — In Our Time Of American Fascism Are You Up To The Challenge?

Bust of “Fighting Bob” La Follette in Wisconsin State Capitol. ***** “Democracy is a life, and involves continual struggle. It is only as those of every generation who love democracy resist with all their might encroachment of its enemies that the ideals of representative government can even be nearly approximated.” — Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette, “La Follette’s Autobiography: A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences” (1913). “No Excuses. Time To Stand Together! (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )  


Hard Truth: You Can’t Vote Out Fascism. You Have to Drive It From Power!

  By Perry Hoberman Counterpunch (7/20/18) I’ve been noticing a increasing phenomena on MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets: as the Trump/Pence regime resorts to ever more outrageous behavior, the various pundits — when asked to explain this or that monstrous action or statement — just shake their heads and admit that they’re simply baffled as to why anyone would do something so irrational, so clueless, so counterproductive, so cruel. There’s an unspoken implication that the regime can’t possibly understand what they’re actually doing — which in turn suggests that this can’t go on forever, that the whole thing will implode due to their painfully evident incompetence and/or…


Inspiration: The Trump Era Will Not Last Forever. But We Must Do Our Part NOW To End It

  By Rebecca Solnit The Guardian (7/13/18) I keep the newspaper clipping inside a Milan Kundera novel: it shows demonstrators in Prague in 1989, one of them carrying a badly chipped bust of Stalin around whose neck hangs a placard that says nic netrvá věčně: nothing lasts forever. It’s not a war cry, nor a prophesy, but a bald statement of fact at the moment when the Soviet bloc Stalin had been critical in establishing was falling apart and Czechoslovakia was liberating itself. It must have seemed like forever to those who lived under totalitarianism until all of a sudden “forever”…


Want Justice In America? — The Old ‘Be Nice’ Routine Won’t Get Us There

  By George Goehl OurFuture.org (7/9/18) We should be skeptical of the motivation and messengers behind calls for civility. We hear people say that what is happening to migrants in the United States right now is un-American. I wish that were true. Sadly, American history is full of periods where children of color were routinely taken from their parents. Resistance and organizing, on the other hand, are truly American. In fact, many of our nation’s best moments have been when we heeded the call to stand down hatred and racism. The Trump Administration has been off the rails since day one. But Donald…


America’s ‘Justice Democrats’ Show How A Newly Energized Left Can Challenge Corrupt Power & Win

  By George Monboit The Guardian (7/11/18) Even at first sight it is exhilarating. The overthrow of one of the most mainstream and senior Democrats in Congress by a 28-year-old Democratic socialist with a radical programme and one tenth of his funding is, you might think, interesting enough. But since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th district (meaning she will almost certainly enter Congress in November), I’ve been interviewing some of the people who lit the fuse that caused this detonation. What has emerged is just how marginal and improbable their movement was when it began, and…


No Time For Weakness: A Song In Honor Or Civil Rights Hero Rep. John Lewis

  By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (6/27/18) We were pretty well done in even before the Kennedy news; after it, we went seeking solace. A few hours earlier, the indefatigable John Lewis, who has lived his principles through fire and brimstone, sent out a flare. “Do not get lost in a sea of despair,” he wrote. “Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Last month in a commencement speech…


Your Choice: Where Would You Be In This Picture?

  Go along or resist. Stand up or lay down. Speak out or be silent. There will be no neutral. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/31/18) The arrival of government detention — concentration — camps for an oppressed and dehumanized minority group means that politics in America is about to become far more personal and much, much more consequential. The kidnapping of children into for-profit concentration camps has added an especially grotesque dimension. The forcible separation of parents from their infants and children into concentrations camps have made it official: We are living in a fascist state now. With…


This Country Was Born In Incivility. Simply Being ‘Civil’ Won’t Save It Now

Neither will burying the truth under false equivalences between bad words and racism. By Charles P. Pierce Esquire (6/21/18) I was saying to a friend on Wednesday night that what was sustaining me in this time of trouble and woe was reading the works of my favorite uncivil Americans—Tom Paine, Mercy Otis Warren, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, late-period Mark Twain, a touch of Mencken here and there. Thus, I was able to read this incredible pile of piffle in The New York Times with comparative equanimity, which is to say without lighting my laptop on fire. Mr. Trump’s coarse discourse increasingly seems to…


Bruce Springsteen Slams Trump’s Blasphemous Border Child Kidnap Program

  American rock musician and working class bard Bruce Springsteen has been playing to sold-out crowds on Broadway for the past eight months. Given the brutal ICE and Border Patrol child kidnapping program along the southwest border, Springsteen went off script last Tuesday to send out a message to America. The singer suggests ‘senior’ government figures blasphemed by suggesting they had some kind of moral — even Biblical — duty to break up families:   “I never believed that people come to my shows, or rock shows to be told anything. But I do believe that they come to be…


A ‘Commoner’ Writes: Don’t Repeat You-Know-Who

For a long time now, one thought has gnawed at me regarding media coverage of the present administration.  George Lakoff, Professor of Cognitive Science, helped  me a great deal with an article he wrote. “When you repeat Trump, you help Trump”, he writes.  That is why Trump has chosen tweets  to reach the masses.  Every time he tweets something, no matter how outrageous, we obsess over those words.  Through them, he controls the cable news panels, the newspapers, and all of us.  We do exactly what he intends: We spread his message of divide and conquer. What Dr.Lakoff said bears…


‘Nice’ People Always Make The Best Nazis

“You know who weren’t nice people? Resisters.” By Steadfast Slovak The Daily Kos (6/14/18) The best Nazis. I’ve been thinking a lot about Naomi Shulman’s quote, “Nice people made the best Nazis.”  The people who just wanted to get along, who looked the other way and ignored politics, “[t]hey were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away.” And I’ve realized, sadly, reluctantly, that I’ve filled my life with people who would be great Nazis. The people that I love would have been great Nazis. And in this time of Trump, in this ugly period of…


Forget Trump – A return To True Populism Is The Cure, Not The Disease

By Thomas Frank The Guardian (6/23/18) Why are the traditional parties of the left in the western world being defeated in so many places by outrageous blowhards of the right? The answer most often given is that rightwing politicians have discovered and embraced a diabolical form of super-politics known as “populism”. With its combination of magic words and evil deeds, this populism is breaking rules, beguiling voters and winning elections. Populism is a subject I know something about. In the 1980s I studied the angry American agrarians who, a century before, squared off against railroad monopolists. I became fascinated with the populist culture of the Roosevelt era,…


Trumputin Spins Words Into Weapons As The Press Unwittingly Helps Him Win The Linguistic War

From ‘spygate’ to ‘fake news’, Trump spins language to frame – and win – debates. And the press meekly acts as his marketing agency. By George Lakoff & Gil Duran The Guardian (6/13/18) Donald Trump has been a salesman for nearly half a century. He is now selling himself, his worldview and his self-serving views of the law and the truth. His principal tools are language and the media. By faithfully transmitting Trump’s words and ideas, the press helps him to attack, and thereby control, the press itself. Trump knows the press has a strong instinct to repeat his most outrageous…


How A Ragtag Group Of Socialist Filmmakers Produced One Of The Most Viral Campaign Ads Of 2018

  [Editor’s Note: There has long been a need for a cadre of innovative video and internet tech savvy progressives to counter the big money self-serving campaign consultants that turn so many democratic campaigns into desiccated cookie-cutter hack jobs. This story shows the power of Tech + Passion = Powerful Messaging. — Mark L. Taylor] By Zaid Jilani The Intercept (6/5/18) BRONX ACTIVIST AND community organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging longtime New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in his primary on June 26. By all measures, the former Bernie Sanders organizeris an underdog, going up against the powerful chair of the House Democratic…


WATCH YOUR MOUTH! You May Hate Him, But Here Is How You Help Trump Every Day

  By George Lakoff George Lakoff Blog (12/16/18) Without knowing it, many Democrats, progressives and members of the news media help Donald Trump every day. The way they help him is simple: they spread his message. Think about it: every time Trump issues a mean tweet or utters a shocking statement, millions of people begin to obsess over his words. Reporters make it the top headline. Cable TV panels talk about it for hours. Horrified Democrats and progressives share the stories online, making sure to repeat the nastiest statements in order to refute them. While this response is understandable, it…



A Graduation Message Appropriate To The National Challenge Of This Memorial Day

  By John Whitehead Rutherford Institute (5/21/18) “When the rivers and air are polluted, when families and nations are at war, when homeless wanderers fill the highways, these are the traditional signs of a dark age.” — Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people. They will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of…


Trump Attack On Kneeling Football Players Echoes 1934 When A German Soccer Team Was Banned For Not Giving Nazi Salute

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/28/18) The NFL football player kneeling protest has from the get-go been cynically manipulated and leveraged by Donald Trump to stir racist animosity and jingoistic faux patriotism among his core supporters. The “taking a knee” by mostly black football players began as a peaceful protest by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a statement against racial injustice and the never-ending epidemic of police shootings and brutality against blacks across the nation. Those who objected to the peaceful protests tried to reduce it to an issue of people doing their jobs and there…


Chris Hedges: The Coming Collapse Will Shatter Our Hallucinations

  By Chris Hedges TruthDig (5/20/18) The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate…


Be Alert! Trump’s Primary Tactic Of Defining Deviancy Downward Is Designed To Leave You Feeling Exhausted, Numb & Inactive

“In 1993, New York’s Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former social scientist, made an incisive observation: Humans have a limited ability to cope with people behaving in ways that depart from shared standards. When unwritten rules are violated over and over, Moynihan observed, societies have a tendency to “define deviancy down” — to shift the standard. What was once seen as abnormal becomes normal. “Moynihan applies this insight, controversially, to America’s growing social tolerance for single-parent families, high murder rates, and mental illness. Today it can be applied to American democracy. Although political deviance — the violation of unwritten…


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….


We Camped Out With The Antifa Activists Plotting To Disarm The Alt-Right

VICE News (5/12/18) NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The alt right is struggling to hold itself together. It’s dealing with infighting and money problems, and some of its leaders have decided they can’t risk holding events that are open to the public. One reason for that is antifa, the anti-fascist activists best known for punching Nazis but who also engage in digital counterintelligence, infiltrating white nationalist message boards and chat rooms to find out who they are and what they’re doing. Link to 7-Minute Video


A Never Trumper Reveals What It Is Like To Step Outside The Cult & Has A Warning For The Nation

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/10/18) In an interesting in-depth interview on the Young Turks network exiled Republican strategist, commentator and never-Trump republican Cheri Jacobus provides insight on what it is like to be a republican standing in opposition to Donald Trump and the racist, authoritarian rule he represents. Early on in the primary process leading to the 2016 presidential election Jacobus challenged Trump’s candidacy and immediately was black balled not only from Fox News but CNN as well. She had appeared on both networks hundreds of times before and never since. She became the target of…


Folksinging Activist Pete Seeger Was Born 99 Years Ago Today

  “And there’s a wonderful parable in the New Testament: The sower scatters seeds. Some seeds fall in the pathway and get stamped on, and they don’t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don’t grow. But some seeds fall on fallow ground, and they grow and multiply a thousandfold. Who knows where some good little thing that you’ve done may bring results years later that you never dreamed of?” — Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)


Activist Holds Up Sign Saying Police Hate Free Speech, So They Arrest Him To Prove Him Right

  By Matt Agorist Activisst Post (5/2/18) Stamford, CT — Free speech and liberty activist, Michael Picard had harmed no one, had not committed a crime, and was merely expressing his right to free speech by claiming the Stamford PD dislikes free speech. Indeed, within just a few minutes, the chief of police himself came out to prove Picard right. Last Thursday, Picard held a sign that said, “F*ck Free Speech —Stamford PD,” merely attempting to point out the gross violations of the First Amendment committed by the department after they arrested another activist, Michael Friend, for holding up a different sign…


Russian Dissident Garry Kasparov’s Warning About Foreign Dictators Has A Message We Need To Heed Here

“It’s a tragedy that the free world always refuses to learn from past mistakes where dictators and would-be dictators are concerned. “The autocrats, in contrast, are eager students of their predecessors. The make careful study of how to gradually remove rights without allowing rebellion, how to crush dissent and hold sham elections while keeping favorable travel and trade status in the West, and how to talk peace while waging war. The motives of dictators vary, it is true — communism, fascism, conquest, larceny – but the drive for total control never changes and their methods are painfully repetitive. In contrast,…


AUDIO: Parkland Activist Emma Gonzalez & The Future Of #NeverAgain

Illustration by Seth L. Taylor, 2018.   The New Yorker Radio Hour (4/6/18) Emma González is a survivor of the Parkland school shooting and a leader of the #NeverAgain movement. She talks with David Remnick about the ways her life has changed since the attack, and why activism comes naturally to the teen-agers spearheading this new push for gun control. Link to 16-Minute Audio


“What Velveeta Is To Cheese”– Bill Maher Delivers Spot On Critique Of Democrats Lack Of Political Courage

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/19/18) One can quibble with some details of Bill Maher’s critique of democratic candidates and the party, and I wish he would stop with the snarky generalizations about Trump supporters, but his central argument is spot on: “Republicans, they’re all claws and sharp teeth and fangs when they fight,” said Maher. “The Democrats? Their weapon of choice is adaptive coloration.” Maher further claimed Democrats were “to political courage what Velveeta is to cheese.” Link to 6-Minute Video ***** The Mall Of Hypocrisy: Kimmel’s Shopping Spree At Trump’s Store Turns Up Potential Violations…


‘The Crisis’ — Thomas Paine’s Call To Rebellion

  “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.” “Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.” “There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes…


The Student Activists Of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High: They Were Trained For This Critical National Moment

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High activist Emma González. (Portrait by Seth L. Taylor, 2018) They embody the power of a comprehensive education. By Dahlia Lithwick Slate (2/28/18) The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to class Wednesday morning two weeks and moral centuries after a tragic mass shooting ended the lives of 17 classmates and teachers. Sen. Marco Rubio marked their return by scolding them for being “infected” with “arrogance” and “boasting.” The Florida legislature marked their return by enacting a $67 million program to arm school staff, including teachers, over the objections of students and parents. Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill opted to welcome them back by…


Civil Rights Leader Who Desegregated U. Of Georgia On Student-Led Movements Of 1960s And Today

  Democracy Now! (3/3/18) As a student-led movement for gun control sweeps the country, we look back at a key moment in another historic student movement: desegregation. “As I look at these young people I think back on those days and I think their time has come to pick up the baton looking for justice and freedom.” On January 9, 1961, African-American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes walked onto the campus of the University of Georgia to register for classes, as a howling mob of white students screamed racial epithets at them. It was a pivotal moment in the…


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…


Robert Reich: Morality & The Common Good Must Be At Center Of Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

  Democracy Now! (2/20/18) As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a promise to the American people: There would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Well, the promise has not been kept. Under his new budget, President Trump proposes a massive increase in Pentagon spending while cutting funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump’s budget would also slash or completely eliminate core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly and job training. This comes after President Trump and Republican lawmakers pushed through a…


Florida High School Students Acting In The Courageous Tradition Of Their School’s Namesake

    By Peter Dreier The American Prospect (2/20/18) There’s nothing on the Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School website about the woman whose name adorns the school, so its students may not realize that in rising from last week’s tragedy to speak truth to power, they are following in Douglas’s activist footsteps. Douglas would certainly see a bit of herself in Emma Gonzalez, the poised and eloquent young woman whose speech electrified her classmates, teachers, parents, and the whole country at a Fort Lauderdale rally on Saturday, only days after a gunman entered her school and killed 17 people. “If the president wants to come…


A Call For Peace

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (2/12/18) The militarization of our country has reached a boiling point. WE must turn down the flame. The propaganda for war overseas has overwhelmed logic and reason. Both sides of the aisle have increased the world’s largest defense budget by $70 billion more, than the $700 billion we had already planned to spend. This is more than the right wing wanna-be dictator asked for, And more than the rest of the world combined. So who’s the most dangerous? We are modernizing the nuclear forces instead of scrapping them. Even our beloved Bernie voted…


Chris Hedges On The Nobility & Sacredness Of Rebellion Against The Dystopian State

“Resistance to radical evil is the pinnacle to human existence.” – Chris Hedges By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/8/18) There is no better guide to the modern corporate state than writer and former New York Times war correspondent and Middle East bureau chief Chris Hedges. His various books – including “American Fascists”, “Death of the Liberal Class”  and “Wages of Rebellion” – deftly dissect the condition American society is in and how we got there and where – barring some form of popular uprising he doesn’t see happening any time soon – the country will wind up. Hedges is…


Pushback Against Fascism: Antifa Unmasked & Unafraid

  By Will Carless Center of Investigative Journalism (1/8/8) There was a time when it was hard to find anyone in California who readily embraced the term “antifa.” Leftist activists, even in the uber-liberal San Francisco Bay Area, hemmed and hawed about using the moniker. Branding themselves as antifa – shorthand for anti-fascist – seemed a little too hucksterish. It played into the hands of the enemy, the so-called “alt-right,” who had spent the previous few months trying to paint the antifa as a shadowy terrorist movement. But then in August, a man plowed into a crowd of left-wing protesters…


The Duty To Disobey A Nuclear Launch Order & Other Military War Crimes

“Donald Trump can launch nuclear war as easily as his Twitter account.” (Editor’s Note: It would be lovely to believe that the United States War Department was a vigorous defender of the rules of war, but as we are seeing with it’s logistical support of the Saudia genocide in Yemen, that too often is not the case. There are many good and law abiding members of the military but can they stand up to the criminal commander-in-chief they answer to. Let us hope — and pray — so. If you know someone serving in the military, forward this story to…


The Struggle: It’s Our Time To Bend The Arc Of Justice

“Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.” The 2016 elections were the bow wave of change, the harbinger of a revolution to come. This time, voters were given a choice between a faux progressive elitist and a man who at least pretended to represent the people, while simultaneously appealing to hate, fear, greed, and ignorance. If the United States is to avoid the siren song of fascism, we will have to give people a real choice — one that explicitly seeks to overturn the Oligarch’s Coup and restore power to the people. The bottom line…