George Lakoff: If Democrats Want To Win They Need To Understand How To Speak To Americans

  (Editor’s Note: If you are an activist who has heard some of the chatter about messaging and “framing” political messages, this article and the links provided will give you a quick and useful introduction to the work of George Lakoff – the dean of messaging. – Mark L. Taylor) By Daphne White Berkeleyside.com (6/2/17) George Lakoff, retired UC Berkeley professor and author of Don’t Think of an Elephant, is one of a very few people in Berkeley who does not underestimate Donald Trump. “Trump is not stupid,” he tells anyone who will listen. “He is a super salesman, and he knows…


Podcast: From Bush To Obama To Trump’s Tweets: The Delegitimizing Of The Press Poses National Threat

  By Katherine Brewer Freak Out & Carry On / WBUR  (7/6/17) This week on Freak Out And Carry On, Ron Suskind and Heather Cox Richardson speak with Nicco Mele, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. They respond to President Trump’s CNN and Mika Brzezinski tweets, discuss the media’s role in the first 100 days of the Trump administration and look at historical parallels, from the John Peter Zenger trial to Richard Nixon. Excerpts Nicco Mele: So we’ve done five studies — all of 2015, 2016, and the first 100 days of Trump — looking…


A Commoner Writes: In Support Of Co-ops And Worker Unions

  Love the piece about the Viroqua Co-op employees becoming part of UFCW (Viroqua Food Co-op Workers Unionize).  Years back, when the La Crosse co-op employees did the same, I coached one of the organizers.  Can’t tell you how many people questioned why someone working in an environment like a co-op would “need a Union”.  The interesting thing for me about that organizing effort was that the president of the co-op board at the time was a manager at the County that had a history of violating contract all the time.  Don’t remember how many grievances I won on behalf…


Trump Declares War On Voters (With The Help Of A Few @#&!! Democrats)

By Russ Feingold Reader Supported News (7/8/17) President Trump and Vice-President Pence’s “election integrity” commission is unequivocally declaring war on voters — and right now, two prominent Democrats are helping. The commission recently sent a letter to all 50 states requesting the very same data that Republican state governments have used to create hyper-partisan gerrymandering and enact restrictive voter ID laws across the country. This commission is laying the groundwork for nationalized voter suppression. It is completely illegitimate and will harm our elections. But the presence of the secretaries of state for Maine and New Hampshire on this commission —…


Corporate Cash: Why Jerry Brown & California Democratic Leadership Betrayed Citizens On Single-Payer Health Bill

  By Theo Anderson In These Times (6/30/17) Last week, the speaker of the California State Assembly, Anthony Rendon, shelved a bill that would have created a single-payer healthcare system. Progressives have looked to New York and California as the best hope for creating a single-payer, universal healthcare system at the state level, and potentially transforming the national debate. Rendon’s decision dealt a serious blow to that hope. It is a particularly painful setback because Democrats, with a supermajority in the legislature, can pass any bill they choose to. We have to understand that, in a system where money determines…


Terminal Diagnosis: How US Healthcare Wound Up So Costly, Unfair, Inefficient, Ineffective & Deadly

  By Ray Suarez On Point (7/6/17) The most expensive, least efficient health care model in the developed world is ours. How did we get here? During debates over health care it was often said the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. But Americans are sicker, die younger, and pay more for care than their peers in other wealthy nations. There’s still an intense battle over the future of insurance. How did we get here? This hour On Point: The road Americans took to an expensive and inefficient system. Is it too late to change course? Guests…


Russia Monitor: Donnie & Vlad’s Cozy ‘He Said, He Said’ Kumbaya Bromance

Who’s Your Vlady? *****   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/10/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump Played The Fool And Was Played The Fool By Putin Everything about Trump’s G20 side show meeting with Putin was wrong and damaging to the the United States. I watched the lead-up to the meeting, the choices for the conduct of the meeting, the post-meeting announcements, the analysis; it was all disheartening. I am writing this two days after the meeting and find little to feel better about the entirety of the event or even the broader landscape of US participation – or more…



Viroqua Food Co-op Workers Unionize

  United Food & Commercial WorkersInternational Union (6/31/17) We’re excited to announce some new additions to our UFCW family! Earlier this month, over 45 hardworking men and women of the Viroqua Food Co-op in Viroqua, Wis., joined UFCW Local 1473. Looking for ways to build a better workplace for everyone, co-op staff were eager to work together to improve scheduling, job postings, and wages. They approached UFCW Local 1473 a few months ago about these issues and their interest in joining our union family. We’re proud of our new members and the initiative they’ve shown to really make a positive change. “We welcome the opportunity…


ICE Officers Told To Take Action Against All Undocumented Immigrants Encountered While On Duty

  By Marcelo Rochabrun ProPublica (7/6/17) The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against all undocumented immigrants they may cross paths with, regardless of criminal histories. The guidance appears to go beyond the Trump administration’s publicly stated aims, and some advocates say may explain a marked increase in immigration arrests. In a February memo, Matthew Albence, a career official who heads the Enforcement and Removal Operations division of ICE, informed his 5,700 deportation officers that, “effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course…


Murdered Honduran Environmental Activist Berta Cáceres’s Daughter Speaks Out After Surviving Assassination Attempt

  Democracy Now! (7/7/17) Last week, there was an attempted assassination on the life of Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, the daughter of murdered Honduran indigenous and environmental leader Berta Cáceres. Bertita Zúniga Cáceres was driving back with two colleagues from a community visit in central Honduras when a black pickup truck blocked their path. Three assailants jumped out of the truck and attempted an attack, but Zúniga and her colleagues narrowly escaped. The incident comes just weeks after Zúniga was named the new leader of the indigenous rights group Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). She recently…


About Damn Time: Rep. Gwen Moore Wants To Drug Test Rich People Who Get Tax Break Welfare

By Bryce Covert Think Progress (7/16/17) Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) has had enough of the growing movement to drug test poor people who need government assistance. So on Tuesday, she’s introducing a bill that she says will make things fairer. Her “Top 1% Accountability Act” would require anyone claiming itemized tax deductions of over $150,000 in a given year to submit a clean drug test. If a filer doesn’t submit a clean test within three months of filing, he won’t be able to take advantage of tax deductions like the mortgage interest deduction or health insurance tax breaks. Instead he…


Upstart Independent Progressive Publishing House Takes On Trump’s Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price

  By Ryan Grim Action Network (6/27/17) You may remember a few months ago I said that I was co-founding an independent progressive publishing house, called Strong Arm Press. Well today we’re publishing our first book, Out of the Ooze: The Story of Dr. Tom Price, written by the great Alexander Zaitchik, who is the author of a terrific and brutal biography of Glenn Beck that you may have read a few years ago. [Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance.] We’re going to try to drive Out of the Ooze up to number one on the Amazon charts…


Russia Monitor: Oh, The Tangled Webs & Trip Wires Of Trumplandia

  *****   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/6/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Someone following the Trump Russia story closely commented on how it took a few days to fully digest implications of the Wall Street Journal articles on Peter W. Smith’s efforts to build a team to find the missing Clinton emails and his ties to Michael Flynn. Peter W. Smith Linked to Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis If you want a quick review, check out The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians by Matt Tait, CEO and founder of UK-based Capital Alpha Security, for an excellent first-person view…


Karma: Joe And Mika Owe America An Apology

TheCommonerCall.org    By Peter Dreier Common Dreams (7/2/17) Most media reports have portrayed Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski as aggrieved victims of Donald Trump’s Thursday Twitter tantrum. It can’t be pleasant to be attacked so personally by the president, but Scarborough and Brzezinski are fighting back. On their MSNBC show “Morning Joe” on Friday and in an op-ed column in the Washington Post entitled “President Trump Is Not Well,” they chastised Trump for his vicious and vulgar attacks on her appearance, for referring to her as “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and him as “Psycho Joe.” They denied Trump’s claim that she…


As Democratic Voters Shift Left the ‘Liberal Media’ Keep Shifting To The Right

  By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (6/30/17) In the past few years, the Democratic Party’s rank and file have shifted left on major issues. From healthcare to legalization of drugs to taxes, the heart of the party has grown more progressive—and, in many instances, overtly socialist in nature. Forty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal, up from 39 percent in 2008 and 30 percent in 2001. In contrast, nominally liberal media—or major media whose editorial line is reliably pro-Democratic—have drifted rightward. On Wednesday, MSNBC announced it had hired torture-supporting, climate-denying, anti-Arab racist Bret Stephens, a recent hire at the New York Times opinion page….


Food For Thought: A National Corporate Takeover … One Co-op At A Time

  By Dorothy Finnigan & Django Zeaman TakeBackTheCoop.com What’s a Big Corporation to Do? Let’s try a little thought experiment. Imagine 10% of car owners refused to buy from big car manufacturers. Instead, they create car cooperatives. These car co-ops purchase from small, local car-makers. They care deeply about quality, ethics, and the total impact of production (fair wages, pollution, etc.). Members love the quality of co-op cars and love supporting the larger ecosystem of craftspeople. Members are incredibly loyal to car co-ops and join one whenever they move to a new town. Would the big car manufacturers sit back…


Beach Bum Chris Christie: Coasting Along On The Public Dime Just Like The Rest Of The Oily Oligarchy

  By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (7/3/17) Talk about your profanely perfect metaphor: This hot and sunny weekend, big-time New Jersey cretin and governor Chris Christie closed down the state’s parks and beaches due to a budget stalemate. Then he hopped into his State Police helicopter and took his entire family to the 10-mile, now blissfully pristine Island Beach State Park, which thanks to the closing they had to themselves. All day, meanwhile, police posted at the park’s gates turned away the hot and frustrated peasants who pay Christie’s salary as a, lest we forget, so-called public servant. Later, the family and their friends hunkered…


A Wisconsin Republican Looks Back With Regret At Voter ID & Redistricting Fights

  By Topher Sanders ProPublica (7/3/17) Dale Schultz, a Republican, served in the Wisconsin Legislature for more than 30 years, from 1983 to 2015. His Senate district is located in south Wisconsin, much of it rural farmland. Schultz was considered a moderate, and so much of what happened in state politics near the end of his tenure dismayed him: partisan fights over the rights of unions, a gubernatorial recall election, and claims of partisan Republican gerrymandering that will now be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. And then there was the prolonged entanglement over voting rights in the state — who…


As Climate Threats Mount & EPA Chief Dithers, Experts Say No Time Left For Deceitful “Debate”

  By Julia Conley Common Dreams (7/3/17) As new and worrying evidence of global warming’s destructive impacts mount around the globe, climate experts are saying efforts by the Trump administration’s EPA chief to discredit decades of climate science research should be seen as a deceitful—and dangerous—tactic. Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator who sued the agency more than a dozen times before President Donald Trump nominated him to lead it, “has expressed interest in the idea of formally challenging the scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet” according to reports by the Washington Post. “What the American people deserve is a true,…


Grandson Of Former VP Henry A. Wallace On Standing Rock’s Fossil-Free Future & Looming Threat Of American Fascism

“Trump is that merger of government and corporate power.” Democracy Now! (7/4/17) As we continue to look at how the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is embracing renewable energy, we turn now to Scott Wallace and Ellen Dorsey of the Wallace Global Fund. The fund recently awarded the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe the inaugural Henry A. Wallace Award and a $1 million investment in renewable energy projects led by the tribe. The award is named after Scott Wallace’s grandfather Henry A. Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1941 to 1945. In 1944, Wallace published an iconic…


Biographer David Cay Johnson Says “Donald doesn’t know anything!”

 “It is all a fraud – his life.” Politics & Prose Bookstore (9/8/16) In his detailed account of Donald Trump’s astonishing political success, Johnston, an award-winning New York Times investigative journalist and currently a columnist for USA Today, looks closely at Trump’s business practices, his associates, and his family background. Johnston sheds light on many of Trump’s beliefs, delving into his father’s Ku Klux Klan involvement and into Trump’s own ties with organized crime, as well as laying out how Trump has actually managed real estate, run casinos, and experienced numerous bankruptcies even while amassing huge wealth. Link to 1-Hour…


Naomi Klein: The Worst Is Yet To Come With Trump, So We Must Be Ready For More Shock Politics

  Democracy Now! (6/30/17) Watch Part 2 of our conversation with best-selling author and Intercept senior correspondent Naomi Klein about her book, “No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.” Link to 24-Minute Video Watch Part 1: No Is Not Enough: Best-Selling Author Naomi Klein on Challenging Trump’s Shock Doctrine Politics ***** Naomi Klein: How to Resist Trump’s Shock Doctrine “These tactics can be resisted.” By Naomi Klein The Intercept (6/13/17) Shock. It’s a word that has come up a lot since November— for obvious reasons. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about shock….


PETITION: States Need To Say No To Trump’s Voter Suppression Commission

  By Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets (7/3/17) Donald Trump’s voter suppression commission is “laying the groundwork for voter suppression, plain & simple.”1 The commission has not even had its first meeting but its vice chair – one of the worst perpetrators of voter suppression in the country, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach – just made a dangerous, unprecedented demand to state election officials: give me your voter rolls, now.2 Election integrity advocates immediately raised alarms about Kobach’s massive data request. Our friends at the Brennan Center said the request could be used to “justify regressive…


Donald’s Rebranding Of America

Donnie bestows his unique brand to the presidency.   Corroding American Dignity On The Fourth Of July By David Remnick The New Yorker (July 10 & 17 Issue) More than three-quarters of a century after the delegates of the Second Continental Congress voted to quit the Kingdom of Great Britain and declared that “all men are created equal,” Frederick Douglass stepped up to the lectern at Corinthian Hall, in Rochester, New York, and, in an Independence Day address to the Ladies of the Rochester Every day, Trump wakes up and erodes the dignity of the Presidency a little more. He tells…


Neil Young Releases Resistance Anthem For Our Fourth Of July

Stand up for what you believe, Resist the powers that be. Preserve the land and seas For the Children of destiny.   By Mary Papenfuss The HuffPost (7/1/17) Just in time for the Fourth of July Canadian rocker Neil Young has released a surprise patriotic “resistance” anthem and music video, urging listeners to “stand up for what you believe, resist the powers that be.” The video for “Children of Destiny” (“preserve the land and save the seas for the children of destiny”) intersperses scenes of idyllic American summers with picnics, flags, fighter jets and Fourth of July parades with stunning photos…


GOP Fascism Update: Portland Republicans Turn To Thugs

“The Nazis no longer felt any restraint; with their gangs, they regularly broke up the election meetings of other parties. They shot one or two political opponents every day. In a Berlin suburb they even burned down the house of a Social Democrat family. The new Prussian regional minister (a Nazi: a certain Captain Goring) promulgated an incredible decree It ordered the police to intervene in any brawl on the side of the Nazis, without investigating the rights and wrongs of the matter, furthermore to shoot at the other side without prior warning. A little later an “auxiliary police force”…


Richard Clarke: Russia Invaded Our Country, And Won … And They Are Not Done

The Commonercall.org   By Sarah K. Burris The Raw Story (6/30/17) Richard Clarke is the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States, so when he warns of President Donald Trump’s ignorance, he’s not kidding around. In his new book, Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes, he talks about Cassandra of Greek Mythology, who was blessed by the gods to see the future but cursed that no one would believe her. The first thing Maher asked him about was the election of 2018 and 2020. “They’ll be back,” Clarke warned. “The Russians will be back… What…


Russia Monitor: Now He’s Colluding With Fox News?!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call. (7/3/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Why did Fox News start a week ago with their ‘collusion is not a crime’ slant? Maybe Trump’s vicious and unhinged Tweets are meant to keep all eyes on him while hoping for new news to change the narrative. If you can ignore carnival sideshow of Trump’s tantrums there is real news that deserves our attention. COLLUSION: Trump Campaign Colludes With The Russians? Two articles by Shane Harris of The Wall Street Journal this past week on the issue of collusion have grabbed a lot of attention. The Wall Street Journal…


Searching For The Lost Soul Of The Democratic Party

  By Bob Burnett Common Dream (7/1/17) Writing in Politico, Bruce Bartlett complains the Republican Party has lost its way because it has ceased to champion ideas; he says the GOP has become the Party that panders “to the lowest common denominator in American politics.” What Bartlett says is true, but the Democratic Party has also lost its way. Not because its ceased to champion ideas but rather because Democrats have forgotten who they are, they’ve lost touch with their soul. Bruce Bartlett is a historian who served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations. His Politico article savages Trump: “He has instituted policies…


PodCast: Trump’s Travel Ban And The History Of Anti-Immigrant Movements In The U.S.

  By Kathleen Brewer Freak Out & Carry One (6/29/17) This week on Freak Out And Carry On, Ron Suskind and Heather Cox Richardson speak with Morris Vogel, president of the Tenement Museum, about the Supreme Court’s partial reinstatement of President Trump’s travel ban and the history of xenophobia in the United States, from the Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s to Japanese internment during World War II. Excerpts Ron Suskind: My thoughts are many. First, I think of the phrase “a nation of immigrants.” I grew up with that. It was a thing of pride. For Cornelia, my wife, it was an…


Robert Reich: Don’t Let Trump’s Gutter Tweets Distract You From What’s Really Going On

By Robert Reich Robert Reich Facebook (7/2/17) Trump is using his “gutter” tweets this morning to try to distract you from these major stories of the week: 1) The latest version of Trumpcare stalled in the Senate. The details of the bill were even too much for Republicans to stomach. When Mitch McConnell finally released his version of the bill from behind closed doors, many Republicans balked at the deep cuts to Medicaid. Estimates released on Monday by the Congressional Budget Office that 22 million Americans would lose coverage under the proposal only furthered doubts. Rallies on Capitol Hill and…


Why? Trump Election Panel Demands Your Detailed Personal Voting Data

  By Jon Queally Common Dreams (6/29/17) Voting and civil rights advocates are ringing alarm bells on Thursday after it was learned that an election commission established by Donald Trump—one which critics feared from its inception would be used to suppress, not protect, voter access—had sent requests to all fifty states demanding personal and detailed information about voters. According to The Hill, a letter was sent from Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State in Kansas and vice chairman of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, asking the states for “several pieces of information about voters, including their names, birthdays, the last four digits of…


The Ironworker Running To Unseat Paul Ryan Wants Single-Payer Health Care, $15 Minimum Wage

  By John Light Moyers & Company (6/28/17) A campaign ad went viral last week — something that, despite political consultants’ best efforts, doesn’t often happen. It begins with an elderly woman sitting in her living room in Wisconsin. As her middle-aged son listens, she describes her concern that she someday may not be able to pay for the drugs she needs to treat her multiple sclerosis. Her son, it turns out, is Randy Bryce, a first-time candidate for federal office. Bryce’s opponent in 2018 will be one of the Republican health care plans’ most prominent advocates, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. As…


Worker Notes: Bringing Democratic Representation & Independence To Unions

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (7/3/17) For all of the positives in joining with peers to develop solidarity there are areas where unions fail to realize their potential. The bargaining table at times has three sides, where the institution of the union creates a place separate from the workers. This reality has led to the creation of an organization to support union members in making their unions better. The Association for Union Democracy  (AUD) was created to be a pro-labor, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the principles and practices of democratic trade unionism in the North American labor movement. AUD…


Urging Democrats To Go Bold, Warren Says ‘The Next Step Is Single Payer’

The Clock Is Running Out, Dems Time To Go Bold For All American Families By Julia Conley Common Dreams (6/27/17) Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is calling on Democrats to embrace a single-payer healthcare system in order to win back Congress and the White House in upcoming elections. Warren argued that simply blocking the Republican rollback of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, is not enough to distinguish Democrats from their GOP counterparts in the minds of voters. “President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage,” Warren said, “by using a conservative model…


Killing Off Single Payer Effort By Dem Party Pols In California Is A Cautionary Tale For Progressives

  By Jim Kavanagh CounterPunch (6/27/17) Nothing better illustrates the political bankruptcy of the Democratic Party—for all progressive intents and purposes—than California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s announcement on Friday [6/23] afternoon that he was going to put a “hold” on the single-payer health care bill (SB 562) for the state, effectively killing its passage for at least the year. The Democratic Party finds itself in a bind in California. They hold the governorship and a supermajority in both houses of the legislature, so they can pass any bill they want. SB 562 had passed the Senate 23-14. There was…


Budget-Cutting Austerity Is Not Frugality, It Is Brutality. It Is Violence. It Is Domestic Terrorism By The Ruling Class

Detail from a poster for ‘Russell Brand: Messiah Complex,’ a live recording. By Russell Brand Russell Brand’s Facebook Page (6/16/17) Sometimes there is a news story that has a power that reaches beyond the material facts, even if those facts are in themselves potent. Hillsborough was one. The drowned Syrian toddler another. The discernible reality alludes to a deeper truth and invites us to consider the real meaning. Glenfell is such a story. The image of a burning tower is loaded with significance both modern and ancient. The facts, the deaths, the suffering are in themselves appalling yet the meaning…


Russia Monitor: Let The Country Burn Or Put Out The Fire?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/29/17) Dear Fellow Readers, The health care legislative process in the Senate has mostly pushed Trump Russia collusion off the front page – rightfully so and more resistance is required as ‘it will be back’. Important Versus Urgent: Is That A Real Choice? One comment I see in the media is that Russian involvement in our election doesn’t deserve the attention it gets and it pushes other important issues out of the limelight. This is wrong given the potential seriousness of the issue – up to and including had we ‘known’ we might we…


More Than 100 Federal Agencies Fail To Report Hate Crimes To The FBI’s National Database

  By A.C. Thompson & Ken Schwencke ProPublica (6/22/17) In violation of a longstanding legal mandate, scores of federal law enforcement agencies are failing to submit statistics to the FBI’s national hate crimes database, ProPublica has learned. The lack of participation by federal law enforcement represents a significant and largely unknown flaw in the database, which is supposed to be the nation’s most comprehensive source of information on hate crimes. The database is maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which uses it to tabulate the number of alleged hate crimes occurring around the nation each year. The FBI has identified…