US Health Catastrophe: Drug Overdose Deaths Approach 60,000 A Year

By E.P. Milligan World Socialist Web Site (8/10/17) Drug overdose deaths in the United States are rising sharply, the National Center for Health Statistics reported Tuesday. For the year-long period ending January 2017, total US drug overdose deaths totaled 64,070, up 21 percent from 52,898 for the previous year. This is equivalent to 175 people dying every day from drug overdoses. Based on more comprehensive data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, whose figures lag behind the social reality by about a year, more than 500,000 Americans have died of drug overdoses in the period between 2000 and 2015—roughly…


Nazis Nation – Time For Everyone To Admit The Obvious Damn Truth: Trump Is One Of Them

“Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us… He implied that there was hate on both sides! So he implied the antifa [anti-fascists] are haters. He said he loves us all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.” – Nazi website The Daily Stormer By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/14/17) Donald Trump’s shamefully sketchy response to the Nazi riots in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the killing of a young woman and the injury of at least 19 removes any hint of a doubt that 72 years after the…


1945 Short Film ‘The House I Live In’ Celebrated A Time When The US Aspired To Be Better Than It Was

  By Mark L Taylor The Commoner Call (8/14/17) Unlike now, in the years immediately following WW II the government and Hollywood would speak out forcefully in the popular media against (some) forms of racism and prejudice. Following the war homegrown American fascists were pushing a lot of anti-Semitism. In the 1945 award-winning short film  The House I Live In Frank Sinatra was featured as the main character intervening with a gang of kids bullying a Jewish boy. The film featured the song The House I Live In which was written by black-listed writer Abel Meeropol who wrote the lyrics…


Trump Claims On North Korea: Be Very, Very Skeptical

  By Caitlan Johnstone Medium (8/8/17) Political IQ test: What does it mean when CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and the President’s Twitter account all agree that a foreign state poses a suddenly increased threat to America? A) If they all agree it must be true! B) Well I dislike some of those outlets, but I trust one of them. C) The US intelligence community would never lie to us. D) Hmm… this sounds an awful lot like the leadup to Iraq? If you said anything but D, you are of course a fucking moron. The United States power establishment has an…


The Generals Of Unbridled Capitalism Turn To Crush Free Press

  By Clio Chang The New Republic (6/23/17) Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, a documentary about the death of Gawker premiering Friday on Netflix, opens with A.J. Daulerio, the former editor of the site, reading an email from his bank: “We placed a hold on your account.” Daulerio can’t help but laugh as he reads out the unfathomable sum: “$230 million is the amount of the hold.” The big legal fight in 2016 between Gawker and Peter Thiel (featuring Hulk Hogan!) was seemingly preordained for movie treatment. It featured an irresistible cast of characters: a vampiric Silicon Valley billionaire, an…


Why Journalism Matters: How A Scrappy News Outlet Brought Down A Corrupt State Business Hero

  (Editor’s Note: The podcast below really lays out what investigative reporting is about, how it is done, the way established powers resist and why such reporting is absolutely essential for all of us. It also shows the integrity and courage such reporting takes. There’s a lot of good information for young reporters – and citizens – in the podcast. – Mark L. Taylor) By Jessica Huseman ProPublica (8/11/17) Bill Stenger was a local hero. One of Vermont’s most important businessmen, he had created hundreds of jobs with mega-developments across the state. In 2011, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce named him…


DNC Fraud Suit Exposes Hypocrisy Of Anti-Democratic Views Of Democratic Party Leadership

(Editor’s Note: Watch the linked video below and look at the contrast between DNC chair Tom Perez and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Where Perez slips and sidesteps questions, Sanders gives direct, unvarnished responses. Where Perez avoids issues of class and won’t say a peep against the 1%, Sanders nails the gangsters of the 1%. Can the Dems learn even when sitting next to a master teacher? – Mark L. Taylor) By Norman Soloman Nation of Change (8/2/17) Nine months after losing the presidency, the Democratic Party is in dire need of a course correction. Grass-roots enthusiasm for the party is far…


Why The Democratic Socialists Of America Are Experiencing A Boom

By Douglas Williams The Guardian (8/12/17) For the Democratic Socialists of America, there has been a silver-lining in this dark year dominated by Trump. Thanks to a post-election membership boom, the organization is now 25,000 people strong. The DSA has become the largest socialist organization since the heyday of Eugene Debs and the Socialist Party of America at the turn of the 20th century. Most of the new members of the organization have been young people, whose affinity for socialist ideas – or at the very least a rejection of capitalism – has been growing in recent years as the…


A ‘Commoner’ Writes: Why Are We Being Obedient To The Man In The White Coat?

  In the 1960’s Yale University psychology Professor Stanley Milgram studied obedience. In the aftermath of the Nazi regime in which millions of Germans participated in horrible acts the issue of obedience was of special interest and concern. Milgrim wanted to answer the question: “Could it be that [Adolph] Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?” An experiment was created where a volunteer labeled a ‘teacher’ shocked a ‘student’ if the student answered a question incorrectly. A man in a white coat over saw the experiment and guided the ‘teacher’…


Journalist Allan Nairn On Trump Administration’s Revolutionary Dismantling Of U.S. Government

  Democracy Now! (8/9/17) As tensions escalate between the United States and North Korea, the U.S. government is particularly ill-equipped to carry out effective diplomacy, thanks to the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the State Department. The U.S. currently has no ambassador to South Korea, no secretary of Asian Pacific affairs and no secretary of East Asian affairs. For more on the dismantling of the U.S. government, we speak to longtime journalist and activist Allan Nairn. Link to Story and 6-Minute Video Related Stories: Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Urges Trump to Privatize Afghan War & Install Viceroy to Run Nation…


‘Did the order come from a sane president?’: Question by Nixon-era Nuclear Weapons Officer Reemerges In Trump’s Threat

By Noor Al-Sabai The Raw Story (8/9/17) “How can I know that an order I receive to launch my missiles came from a sane president?” The question was asked in 1973 by Harold Hering, an Air Force major studying to be a missileer, or one of the people who turns the keys that unlock the deadliest of missiles. The question, raised again by the Washington Post on Wednesday, remains as prescient now in light of President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” threat against North Korea as it did then — when Hering rightfully questioned whether or not President Richard Nixon was, at…


As He Rattles The Weapons Of War, Trump’s ‘Art Of The Deal’ Ghostwriter Tony Schwartz Lifts The Veil On Trump’s Lies

Donald Trump’s 1987 bestselling book on business leadership, “The Art of the Deal” was ghostwritten by Tony Schwartz, who shares his insights and experience of the real estate hustler and reality television oddball who has now become the president of the United States. Link to 56-Minute Video ***** Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All   “He’s a living black hole!” By Jane Mayer The New Yorker (7/25/17) Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J….


Evidence Of Google Blacklisting Assault On Left & Progressive Sites Continues To Grow

  By Andre Damon World Socialist Web Site (8/8/17) A growing number of leading left-wing websites have confirmed that their search traffic from Google has plunged in recent months, adding to evidence that Google, under the cover of a fraudulent campaign against fake news, is implementing a program of systematic and widespread censorship. Truthout, a not-for-profit news website that focuses on political, social, and ecological developments from a left progressive standpoint, had its readership plunge by 35 percent since April. The Real News , a nonprofit video news and documentary service, has had its search traffic fall by 37 percent. Another site,…


John Nichols: Walker’s Crony Capitalism And His ‘Over-The-Top’ Bad Deal

  By John Nichols The Cap Times (8/6/17) If Scott Walker were a fiscal conservative, he would be ashamed of himself. But Walker is not a fiscal conservative. And he has no shame, as Wisconsinites who know how their tax dollars are spent are rapidly discovering. Walker, who has claimed over the years that the state is too impoverished to adequately fund public education, public services and roads, has suddenly determined that Wisconsin has an extra $3 billion to hand off to a controversial multinational corporation that is famous for making big promises to nations and states and then failing…


Mike McCabe: Democrats Will Win Again When. . .

  By Mike McCabe Blue Jean nation (8/7/17) Over the course of my 57 years, I’ve never seen a time when our public institutions were more disrespected and distrusted. And with good reason. I’ve also never seen a time when government was less responsive to regular people. Over and over, our government is put to work for a privileged few, the wealthy and well-connected. People notice this. They realize their own voices aren’t being heard and their own interests are not being served. That’s a sure recipe for disrespect and distrust of public institutions. These conditions are especially poisonous to…


Randy Bryce: The Ironworker Challenging Paul Ryan Sees Path To Victory Through Working People

By Daniel Marans The HuffPost (8/6/17) WASHINGTON ― Ironworker Randy Bryce recently got to talking politics with a man he met at his job site. They were working together on building a two-story parking lot for a Veterans Affairs hospital in Milwaukee, and it sounded like the guy had voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Bryce, then-politics coordinator for his union, Iron Workers Local 8, is a committed progressive Democrat. And the man with whom he was conversing surprised him. Rather than express enthusiasm for Trump, the fellow threw up his hands in frustration, wondering why there weren’t more ordinary…


WDRT Interview: ‘Commoner Call’ Editor Mark Taylor & Contributing Columnist Dan Peak Talk Politics & Current Events

WDRT (7/22/17) The Commoner Call editor and web site’s “Russia Monitor” columnist Dan Peak have a wide-ranging conversation about a variety of political and current events topics on the appropriately named “Conversations” WDRT 91.9 weekly broadcast. WDRT is a local community based and supported alternative radio station, and located on Main Street in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Link to 59-Minute Audio  


Last Call From Allepo: She Rang Me As Bombs Fell… Then She Vanished

  By Mike Thomson BBC Magazine  (8/3/17) Late last year, the BBC’s Mike Thomson received a desperate call from a bomb shelter in the Syrian city of Aleppo. It came from head teacher and mother of three Om Mudar, who pleaded for help getting her terrified family out of the rebel-held part of the city. When Thomson was unable to make contact again, he feared the worst – but, as he explains here, months later a text message arrived that revealed Om’s fate. “The worse thing is the night, it’s so long,” Om tells me, speaking after an especially heavy…


Litmus Test: Medicare For All Supporters Demanding Dems To ‘Make Your Stand’

Time’s up, Dems! By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (8/8/17) As popular support for single-payer continues to grow and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) prepares to introduce Medicare for All legislation, the Establishment wing of the Democratic Party is reportedly “alarmed” by the shifting dynamics and fearful “of primary election challenges” if they don’t support Sanders’s proposal. “Democrats who don’t get behind it could find themselves on the wrong side of the most energetic wing of the party,” Politico reported Monday. Political organizers and supporters of Sanders are already speaking out about how lawmakers’ responses could impact upcoming elections. “Any Democrat worth their salt that doesn’t unequivocally…


Trump’s Continued Silence On Minn. Mosque Attack ‘An Outrage,’ Says Rep. Ellison

  By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (8/9/17) President Donald Trump’s continued silence following the recent bombing of a mosque in a Minneapolis suburb “is an outrage,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said Wednesday. The explosion at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., took place Saturday morning. While no one was injured after an explosive was thrown through the window of the imman’s office, Mohamed Omar, the center’s executive director, said Sunday: “We feel like it’s much deeper and scarier than like something random,” adding, “It’s so scary.” Gov. Mark Dayton, for his part, called the attack “an act of terrorism,” and said the damage done to “this sacred site…


‘Look Behind The Curtain’ – Documents Reveal Monsanto Behavior Pushing Risky RoundUp Herbicide

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (8/2/17) A trove of Monsanto’s internal records released on Tuesday raises serious concerns about  company efforts to influence media reports and scientific research related to risks posed by is popular weedkiller, Roundup. As the New York Times reported: Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes‘s website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment. A similar issue appeared in academic research. An academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella,…


Nothing Is Sacred: Trump’s White House Now Targeting The Statue Of Liberty

  By Finton O’Toole The Guardian (8/3/17) The surest mark of regime change is when they start attacking the statues. Americans appreciate this as well as anyone – hence the carefully stage-manged toppling of Saddam Hussein in Firdos square in Baghdad in 2003. Stephen Miller, one of the key ideologues of the Trump regime, surely knew what he was doing when he took a symbolic axe to the Statue of Liberty in a heated argument with CNN’s Jim Acosta over the president’s proposals to drastically limit legal immigration. In fairness, Miller did not attack the statue itself. A horde of boat-trip owners and Liberty…


The Lesson Of The Oak Creek Massacre: Hate Lost

The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. To learn more: sikhtempleofwisconsin.com   By Christopher Mathias The HuffPost (8/5/17) OAK CREEK, Wis. — On a tragic day at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin five years ago, the doors were unlocked, as they often were. Today, visitors and congregants must buzz to get inside. Still, all are welcome and encouraged to set up a visit to the temple, including people who aren’t Sikh. There’s a box of head coverings ― square cloths in a variety of colors and designs, including the Stars and Stripes ― for visitors to wear. Delicious and freshly cooked food…


Whither Our Future: Orwell Or Huxley? It May Well Be That Huxley Was Right

  Social critic Neil Postman contrasted the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:   “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us….


Amid Trump’s Chilling War On Media, Press Freedom Groups Expose Threats To US Journalists And Flow Of Info To Americans

TheCommonerCall.org   By Julia Conley Common Dreams (8/2/17) The Committee to Protect Journalists and the Freedom of the Press Foundation are among more than 20 groups partnering to introduce a new website which tracks threats to press freedom in the United States. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker launched Wednesday to gather data on arrests of journalists, physical attacks on reporters, equipment searches and seizures, prosecutions of the legal spreading of information (recently denounced as “leaks” by the Trump administration), and other threats to the free press. So far in 2017, the site has tracked 19 arrests of journalists; 12 equipment searches and seizures; 11…


State Dept. Weighs Eliminating Democracy Promotion As Goal

  By Max Greenwood The Hill (8/1/17) The State Department is considering eliminating the promotion of democracy from its mission statement as part of an effort to overhaul the agency, according to a Washington Post columnist. According to an email sent to State Department employees on Friday and obtained by the Post’s Josh Rogin, statements on the agency’s mission, purpose and ambition do not contain language regarding the promotion of democracy. The statements are being circulated among agency employees for comment and could be changed, according to Rogin, who writes about foreign policy and national security. The department’s current mission statement clearly lays out its…


$3 Billion Foxconn Corporate Welfare Bill Includes $10M Giveaway For Walker & GOP Pal Fiserv

  Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (8/2/17) A bill that would provide $3 billion in state giveaways for Foxconn to locate a manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin also includes millions in tax breaks for a big campaign contributor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The bill, which is expected to be considered by the legislature this month, includes $10 million in tax breaks intended to keep Fiserv, a Brookfield-based company that makes products for banks and credit unions, from relocating its headquarters to another state. The company is considering sites around Milwaukee, but has not ruled out locating its new headquarters outside Wisconsin. Fiserv is a…


With FCC Now At Full Staffing, Net Neutrality Is Once More Under Threat

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/4/17) The Senate on Thursday confirmed two nominees for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, and Brendan Carr, a Republican—bringing the agency back to full staff and sparking fears among Open Internet activists and lawmakers that net neutrality will soon be under threat once more. As Politico reports, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai now “has the votes he needs to roll back” the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prevents large telecommunications companies from controlling online content and requires that all traffic be treated equally. He also has an ally in Carr, who was a lawyer for large telecom companies. Activists and Democratic lawmakers…


Russia Monitor: The Explosive Magnitsky Testimony You Probably Missed

      By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/7/17) It’s predictable and, to a certain extent, understandable that congressional republicans and diehard Trump fans dismiss the growing Russia investigation as some kind of Clinton-excusing witch hunt. Despite an ever growing, constantly evolving list of witnesses, secret meetings, Trump/Russia business ties and embarrassing ‘coincidences’, the Trumpsters wave it all away as simply democratic party sour grapes. Partisanship is a kind opaque blinkered view of reality that, to a certain extent – even if morally wrong – is understandable. What is not understandable is the number of lefties I have…



This Billionaire Mega-Donor Gets It: The Democrats Need To Push Progressive Agenda

Time’s awasting, Dems!   By  Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/17/17) As Democrats scramble to form a coherent and inspiring message for the 2018 congressional elections in the face of a historically unpopular president, billionaire Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer argued in a recent interview that they should look no further than the platform of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). While he acknowledged it is “much too early to be talking about 2020,” Steyer nonetheless insisted that Sanders’s ambitious ideas for tackling the various crises facing the United States and the world—from climate change to staggering inequality to a dysfunctional healthcare system—offer the Democrats a blueprint for victory. “When people say Bernie is…


What Should Democrats Do Now? Follow Paul Ryan’s Mustachioed Ironworker Challenger’s Message

  By Ross Barkin The Guardian (7/31/17) Randy Bryce naturally seemed a little out of place when I met him in New York last week. He was visiting, like many aspiring politicians do, to raise cash. An ironworker from Wisconsin, he is middle America personified – a man who works with his hands and has a drooping moustache. His collar is quite blue. “The message is just a really simple one,” Bryce told me, sipping coffee in a small, crowded diner a block from Madison Square Garden. “It’s ‘I didn’t invent lighting, I didn’t invent the internet’ but just a simple…


Full Transcript Of Wall Street Journal Interview With Trump Leaked

  By Josh Dawsey & Hadas Gold Politico (8/1/17) President Donald Trump called his son-in-law a “good boy” while thanking Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker for a positive editorial about Jared Kushner and said the leader of the Boy Scouts told him his jamboree speech was “the greatest speech ever made to them.” The comments, made to The Wall Street Journal and obtained in a transcript by POLITICO, show Trump holding forth at length with Baker and engaging in a familiar back and forth. Baker, according to the transcript, asked many of the questions and took the lead byline…


Thousands Died In Opioid Crisis While Trump Commission Needlessly Dawdled

  By David Dayen The Intercept (8/1/17) THE PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis called on President Trump Monday [7/31] to declare a public health emergency over the epidemic of overdose deaths nationwide. This urgency came in an interim report by the commission that was itself more than a month late. Per Trump’s executive order establishing the commission, interim recommendations were due June 27, with a final report October 1. The bipartisan commission, led by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, delayed the report twice before finally issuing it July 31. On a conference call, Christie cited 8,000 public comments as the “driver…


Mark Shields: When The Chickenhawks Flock They Are Clucking About Only Putting Your Kid At Risk

  “It is just a helluva a lot easier to talk tough when it isn’t your son, or your daughter who’s in harms way.”   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/3/17) In doing some other research I stumbled across a few comments by PBS commentator Mark Shields during a conversation with David Brooks of the New York Times and moderator Jeff Greenfield during the midst of the 2016 campaign that are worth noting. Shields is one of the old lions of the media and his comments at the very tail end of the broadcast are well worth considering…


Trump’s New Wall Street-Bred FBI Director: “A good example of state capture by the banking lobby.”

  Democracy Now! (8/2/17) The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Christopher Wray as the next director of the FBI, but in an unprecedented move, five senators voted against his nomination. Before yesterday, only one senator had ever voted against an FBI nominee. In addition, three senators abstained from the vote. Senator Ron Wyden, who voted against Wray’s confirmation, said he did so because of Wray’s position on government surveillance. “In his public and private statements, Chris Wray failed to oppose government backdoors into Americans’ personal devices, or to acknowledge the facts about encryption. That it isn’t about liberty versus security, it’s about more security…


VIDEO: Tennessee Deputies Tortured 19-Year-Old Inmate With Tasers While He Was Strapped Helplessly To A Chair

“I’ll keep on doing it until I run out of batteries!” – Cheatham County Torturer (Editor’s Note: History shows over and over again that the weapons and cruelty of empire are always brought home to subdue and destroy the citizens who protest their impoverishment for empire. What happens to one of us can happen to all, and not just in Cheat-ham County, Tennessee. – Mark L. Taylor) By Bob Brigham The Raw Story (8/1/17) Three Cheatham County Sheriff’s deputies have been placed on administrative leave after multiple videos emerged showing the officers using tasers to torture an 18-year-old inmate. “Jordan…


Internet Freeze Out Begins: New Google Algorithm Restricts Access To Left-Wing, Progressive Web Sites

By Andre Damon and Niles Niemuth World Socialist Web Site (7/27/17) In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing “fake news,” the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly. On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called “low-quality” information such as “conspiracy theories” and “fake news.” The company said in a blog post that the central purpose of the change to its search algorithm…


Freak Out & Carry On: From The Mooch To Orville Babcock: Why Presidential Advisers Matter

  By Katharine Brewer Freak Out & Carry On (7/27/17) This week on Freak Out And Carry On, Ron Suskind and Heather Cox Richardson speak with Olivier Knox, Chief Washington Correspondent for Yahoo! News. They look at presidential advisers, past and present, and how they have influenced politics and policy. From President Ulysses S. Grant’s loyalty to his secretary, Orville Babcock, to the rise of Anthony Scaramucci in the Trump White House, advisers and aides have shaped presidencies, for better and for worse. Excerpts Ron Suskind: Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the first senator to endorse Donald Trump when Trump needed it desperately….


As American Injustice Climbs: States Conspire To Break & Muzzle Dissent

TheCommonerCall.org   By Chip Gibbons Jacobin (7/20/17) On January 20, 2017, as Donald Trump assumed the presidency after his surprise victory months before, many were anxious about what lay ahead. Throughout his campaign the reality TV star turned presidential contender had repeatedly shown his deep-seated authoritarian tendencies. Before, during, and after Trump was sworn in, on the streets of Washington DC, authoritarianism was on full display. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) deployed flash grenades, tear gas, and “stingers” against protesters. Early in the day the MPD engaged in kettling, an intimidation tactic in which police pen in everyone in a…