‘Doomsday Machine’ Author Daniel Ellsberg Says Americans Have Escaped Self-Annihilation By Luck

PBS News Hour (12/21/17) The military analyst turned whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers looks at the existential threat of America’s nuclear capacities in his new memoir, “The Doomsday Machine.” Very little has changed, says author Daniel Ellsberg, when it comes to what he calls the immoral and insane policies regarding nuclear weapons. William Brangham sits down with Ellsberg to discuss the looming danger. Link to 7-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )  


Take It From Tech Insiders: Silicon Valley Is Eating Your Soul & Society

  By John Harris The Guardian (1/1/18) One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat. If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and…


CARTOON: The World’s Ugliest American Becomes America In Retreat.

In word and deed, Donald Trump personifies the American ignoramus abroad. By Richard North Patterson The HuffPost (1/23/18) One year into the Trump administration, as our president prepares for his trip to address the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, here is the dynamic abroad: no foreign enemy could have degraded America’s global standing so completely in so short a time. In word and deed, Donald Trump personifies the American ignoramus abroad. He insults foreign leaders in tweets, then melts in their presence. He switches positions based on personal flattery. He parades his ignorance of geopolitics. His erratic behavior and bellicose…


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…


Crushing Inequality, Revolution & Drones That Kill

  By Paul Buchheit Common Dreams (1/22/18) When average Americans were oppressed in the 18th century, they knew where the plutocrats lived, and they didn’t have military-style police forces holding them back. The Stamp Act drove the New York masses to ransack the houses of Governor Cadwallader Colden and the British major who was pointing army artillery toward the local town. Another mob looted the house of pro-English aristocrat Thomas Hutchinson, carrying away his fine furnishings and emptying his wine cellar in part of what the British called a “war of plunder” to take away the “distinction of rich and poor.” That doesn’t happen today….


Cowardly Democrats Caved Too Soon On The Government Shutdown

By Ross Barkan The Guardian (1/23/18) Perhaps Chuck Schumer sees something we don’t. The game of chess he’s playing is indeed three-dimensional and Mitch McConnell’s Republican majority really is on the ropes, ready to cut that deal and fulfill every West Wing fantasy of savvy, sane bipartisan deal-making. If so, we can all someday apologize to Schumer for how we yelled into the phones of his office, deluged him with mail, and filled our Twitter streams with invective. We can go pay our respects to the great Senate minority leader. But “someday” isn’t here, and as of 23 January 2018,…


George Lakoff: The Power Of Positive Persistence

  By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Website (1/24.18) Like some foreign dictator, the Republican in the White House will launch a planned attack on the free press today. But he’s been in an ongoing campaign against the truth since Day One. It’s alarming because presidents don’t act this way. Dictators do. And there’s evidence to suggest that the Republican president’s constant attacks on the news media have encouraged dictators in other countries to continue their repression of journalists. There’s a place for angry response and outrage. That’s only human. But we also need strategic action to make sure every passing day fuels…


Russia Monitor: A Bumper Year For Lawyers As The Noose Around The White House Tightens

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/24/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump-Russia corruption is a very good thing for one group of people – lawyers. This cycle has been a torrent of legal news; first up – Mueller to question Trump in Trump-Russia corruption investigation. The Washington Post reported: Mueller Seeks To Question Trump About Flynn And Comey Departures. While there is much discussion about how Mueller’s questioning of Trump might happen, let’s start with the discussion of the intent. “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national…


Newly Defanged, Top Consumer Protection Agency Drops Investigation Of High-Cost Lender

  By Paul Kiel ProPublica (1/23/18) In 2013, ProPublica published an investigation of the subprime lender World Finance. World was charging annual interest rates that could exceed 200 percent, often trapping customers in cycles of debt by enticing them to renew the loans over and over. In states where laws barred such high rates, the installment lender loaded many loans with nearly useless insurance products that bloated the cost. The company boasted over 800,000 customers, part of an installment loan industry that claimed to loan to millions. The following year, World disclosed that it was under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau….


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…


Daniel Ellsberg: Under Trump, The Threat Of Catastrophic War With North Korea Is Real & Growing

  By Lucy Feldman Time (1/18/18) The country is currently not the closest we’ve ever come to nuclear war, says Daniel Ellsberg, but we are still likely to face annihilation. And recent false alarms in Hawaii and Japan, erroneously alerting residents to incoming missiles, do nothing to quell the anxiety. “This was a little rehearsal,” Ellsberg says, “but not the first one, of being right on the edge of destruction.” The history-making whistleblower softens no blows, sugarcoats nothing. The 86 year-old went to battle with the U.S. government when he released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, walking away a free man after a…


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…


Debasing The White House: Here’s What Trump Said About Presidential Leadership During 2013 Government Shutdown

Trump’s White House (Everybody’s talkin’ about it.) “I mean problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top.” — Donald Trump Common Dreams Staff (1/18/18) As the White House on Friday refused to accept any responsibility for the government shutdown that will result if Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on a spending deal before midnight, remarks made by citizen Donald Trump in 2013 reveals what he thought then about the role of presidential leadership during a similar political crisis under President Barack Obama. “I mean problems start from the top and they have to get…


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…


Biographer David Cay Johnston: Trump Is Determined To Provoke War To Draw Focus From Racist & Erratic Behavior

  Democracy Now! (1/18/18) The New York Times reports that the Pentagon is proposing widening the permissible use of nuclear weapons to include responding to cyberattacks and other non-nuclear attacks to U.S. infrastructure. The Pentagon has already outlined this expanded nuclear strategy in a draft document sent to President Trump for approval. It comes amid a “After all, what helps strengthen your position if you’re a dictator-in-waiting, which is what Donald is, but some kind of incident that will stir the public and focus people away from his crazy, racist, uninformed, ignorant behavior?” series of moves by the Pentagon and…


Listen Up Dems! Patty Schachtner Campaign Message Has Important Lessons For Future Progressive Wins

  By Scott Wittkopf Frame For The Future (1/18/18) The “surprise” win for Patty Schachtner in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District continues to be analyzed, as Democrats in Wisconsin see it as a harbinger of things to come in the fall. While there were so many volunteers and organizations that contributed boots on the ground and campaign outreach, the most important lesson for progressives is the candidate herself – and the values and message she herself embodies. It is true that the campaign had a great organizational effort, and that is not to be diminished. However, it is in Patty herself,…


GOP Sen. Tom Cotton Threatens To Call Cops On Liberal Constituents Who Keep Calling & Writing Him Letters. So, Damn…

… there’s only one thing we can do! By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/22/18) Everyone needs a hobby — especially in the frigid depth of winter — and republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has offered up a great one: Letter writing; emailing and telephone messaging. Late last week the Arkansas Times reported the highly sensitive senator whined that he was getting so many letters from Ozark Indivisible progressives that he was looking into siccing the Capitol Police on citizens exercising their right to express their opinions to an elected public employee whose salary and cushy health insurance plan they…


Report Details The Crushing Cost Of Childbirth In The United States, Unheard Of In Most Industrialized Countries

  By Julia Conley Common Dreams (1/16/18) A report published on Tuesday in the Guardian highlights the exorbitant costs associated with childbirth in the United States—often catching families by surprise and leaving them thousands of dollars in debt to hospitals—and underscores the world of difference between maternal care in the U.S. and other industrialized nations with universal healthcare. A study by the advocacy group Childbirth Connection found that while costs vary by state and hospital, the average price tag for a vaginal delivery with no complications, including care for a newborn directly after birth, is $32,093 in the U.S. A caesarean section costs more than…


Russia Monitor: Rub-A-Dub-Dub … Scrubbing The Dirt From Russian Money Deals

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/22/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump obstruction of justice or corruption in concert with Russia? Looks like it. Trump money laundering? Certainty. Money laundering is about taking money earned illegally and scrubbing the taint and origin so the money can be used within the legitimate business and banking world. Money laundering isn’t just about the complex mechanics, it’s about the criminals that are the source of the money – narcotics, arms dealing, pornography and human trafficking and yes, corruption. Corrupt governments are one source for money laundering as in the revelations in the last…


The Paradise Papers Are Proof That Capitalism, Abuse & Racism Fuel The Global Plutocracy

  By Sam Adler-Bell In These Times (11/17/17) The Paradise Papers, a stash of over 13 million documents from 19 tax-haven nations and two offshore law firms leaked this month to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, present an archive of global avarice. Today, the richest one percent own half of the world’s wealth. The Paradise Papers show how this global elite uses offshore tax arrangements, often perfectly legal, to circumvent both the obligations of citizenship as well as the consequences of ownership. The demands which apply to the rest of us—the obligation to pay our taxes, to pay our debts and our civil…


Jared Kushner: China’s Handy Chump Card

  By Adam Entous & Evan Osnos The New Yorker (1/29/18) In early 2017, shortly after Jared Kushner moved into his new office in the West Wing of the White House, he began receiving guests. One visitor who came more than once was Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, a veteran diplomat with a postgraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University. When, during previous Administrations, Cui had visited the White House, his hosts received him with a retinue of China specialists and note-takers. Kushner, President Trump’s thirty-seven-year-old son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, preferred smaller gatherings. Three months earlier, Cui…


Paul Ryan Collected $500,000 In Koch Contributions Days After House Passed Tax Law

  By Mary Papefuss The HuffPost (1/20/18) Just days after the House passed its version of the federal tax law slashing corporate tax rates, House Speaker Paul Ryan collected nearly $500,000 in campaign contributions from billionaire energy mogul Charles Koch and his wife, according to a recent campaign donor report. Koch and his brother David spent millions of dollars to get the tax law passed and are spending millions more in a public relations campaign in an attempt to boost support for the law, The Wall Street Journal reported. Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the nation, operates refineries and manufactures a variety of products. The new…


Time For Deadbeat Dems To Finally Pay Up Their Dues To Labor

  Time for the Democratic Party to show gratitude & solidarity. By James Thindwa In These Times (2/6/13) The swift passage of Michigan’s so-called right-to-work legislation in December (2012) cemented a stark reality for labor: U.S. workers have been left without a national political party to champion their interests. Many local Democratic leaders—and a few members of Congress—still join the struggle for union rights, but aside from union-friendly rhetoric deployed around election time, the national party is disengaged. The fact is, the success of the American labor movement has always depended upon a welcoming policy environment facilitated by an allied…


Time To Wrench The Power & Our Money Back From The Billionaires

  By Bernie Sanders The Guardian (1/14/18) Here is where we are as a planet in 2018: after all of the wars, revolutions and international summits of the past 100 years, we live in a world where a tiny handful of incredibly wealthy individuals exercise disproportionate levels of control over the economic and political life of the global community. Difficult as it is to comprehend, the fact is that the six richest people on Earth now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – 3.7 billion people. Further, the top 1% now have more money than the bottom 99%. Meanwhile,…


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…


Your Brain On Politics: Trump Uses Twitter To Effectively Manipulate Us All. Here’s How To Stop Falling For His Con

By George Lakoff & Gil Duran Sacrament0 Bee (1/4/18) President Donald Trump’s use of social media has radically transformed presidential communications. His short bursts of text move markets, disrupt diplomacy and inflame political anxiety almost daily. His smartphone has become one of the most powerful weapons in political history. As a result, there’s a growing pressure campaign by many Democrats to force Twitter to ban him. But kicking Trump off of Twitter would fail to address the real problem. For one thing, Trump also uses Facebook. And if Facebook banned him, he’d simply jump to another social media platform like…


Russia Monitor: Bannon Bluster, Mafia Money & Coming Mid-Term Stink Bombs

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/18/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Congratulations to Democrat Patty Schachtner who won a special election to fill the Wisconsin State Senate Seat District 10 on Tuesday. Schachtner won her race 55-44 in a district won by Trump by 17 points. Special election results bode well for Democrats. Recent Trump-Russia corruption news further tips events against Republicans and it is now expected Trump-Russia corruption will be headline news in the lead-up to 2018 mid-term elections. We’ll explain this once we cover the news. Former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Is Subpoenaed … Twice Tuesday, January 16, 2017…


Are Scott Walker & Paul Ryan Next? Dems Score Big Upset In State Special Election

  By Jon Queally Common Dreams (1/17/18) The win by a Democrat for a state senate seat in Wisconsin’s special election on Tuesday is being seen as the latest sign that traditional Republican strongholds, including districts where Donald Trump beat rival Hillary Clinton handily in 2016, could be up for grabs as the nation eyes this year’s mid-term elections. The victory by Patty Schachtner, the chief medical examiner at a local hospital, over Republican Adam Jarchow, who currently serves in the State House, in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District—where Trump triumphed over Clinton by 17 points—was an indication to many Democrats, as…


Missouri Governor: A Right Wing Wet Dream Has Turned Into A Nightmare

  “He’s full of shit.” Vice News (1/16/18) 018 is off to a rough start for the Missouri governor Eric Greitens. The former Navy seal, Rhodes scholar, White House fellow and humanitarian is accused of taping up his mistress and photographing her naked to blackmail her from speaking about their affair. While he admitted the affair, he denies the blackmail allegations. Secrecy & dark money But his White House aspirations appear to be dwindling by the day. Speaking with lawmakers and Missourians over the holiday weekend, VICE News found that allegations aside, there are plenty of other reasons Missourians hate Greitens….


From A Shithole Correspondent In The World

  By Mort Rosenblum Reader Supported News (1/14/18) Donald Trump’s epithet was not just racist and vulgar. Far worse, it revealed the depths of an ignorant man, devoid of character, whose ability to empathize with humanity goes no farther than what he sees in a mirror. “Shithole” is part of any foreign correspondent’s lexicon. It refers to a place, not to the people trapped there who badly need help from a more fortunate outside world that is largely responsible for their fate. America’s development aid, $31 billion, is the stingiest among major donors, per capita one-tenth of Sweden’s. Trump wants…


Norway To Trump: Keep Your Gold-Plated Sh*t Hole

  By Miles Mogulescu Campaign for America’s Future (1/16/18) So the Donald wishes more Norwegians would emigrate to America, instead of people from supposed “sh*thole” countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America. I happen to have spent two weeks visiting beautiful, democratic socialist Norway last summer. And I’ve got news for the Donald. Norwegians are not exactly lining up to escape their democratic socialist country for an increasingly neoliberal America.  Do you want to know how short the line is? Well, out of 763,060 green-card holders who became US citizens in 2016, exactly 93 were Norwegian. And, by the way, Donald,…


A Warning For Democrats, And Indeed For All Americans

  By John Kiriakou Reader Supported News (1/11/18) Many Americans, at least most in my circle, are enjoying watching Donald Trump self-destruct. It’s bad for the country, but to some of us it’s as much fun as watching a train wreck. And maybe if the Democrats can get their act together, they can win back the House in 2018 and the Senate and White House in 2020. Trump is making it look like it might be easy. But I have a warning for Democrats, and indeed for all Americans. For God’s sake, don’t elevate the likes of former CIA directors…


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…


Vernon Dems: January General Membership Meeting

Election 2018 Kickoff! Join us on Sunday (Jan. 21) for the 2018 Election Season Kickoff of the Vernon County Democratic Party. Speakers will include: Michele Doolan, candidate for Governor Mahlon Mitchell, candidate for Governor Karen Mischel, candidate for Mayor of Viroqua Tanja Berke, candidate for Viroqua City Council Panel discussion of progress candidates for County Board Supervisors When: Sunday, January 21, 2 p.m. Where: Tap House 138/American Legion, 120 N. Rusk, Viroqua After our Election Kickoff, we will hold our General Membership business meeting. Topics include delegate selection for upcoming Congressional District and State Conventions, drafting resolutions for submission to those conventions, and…


‘Shithole Countries’? Words Worthy Of A Racist-In-Chief

  By Richard Wolffe The Guardian (1/12/18) Donald Trump knows a thing or two about “shitholes” – the label he apparently bestowed on El Salvador, Haiti and various African nations during an Oval Office meeting about immigration. His own father was reportedly so ashamed of coming from Germany – widely considered to be a “shithole” by Americans fighting in two world wars – that he pretended for most of his life that he was Swedish. These Aryan dreams glowed all blond and bright through Trump’s seminal book, The Art of the Deal, in which he claimed his father arrived as a child from Sweden like some…


In Wake Of Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Comment, Celebration Among American Nazis & White Supremacists

  By Brett Barrouquere Southern Poverty Law Center (1/12/18) After President Donald J. Trump declared Haiti and other black-majority countries a “shithole” during a meeting about immigration on Thursday, some of his white supremacist followers took it as a good sign. On Twitter, Gab, VK.com and the white supremacist message board Stormfront, there were celebratory comments, questions about why he didn’t do it sooner and even a slap at the citizens of Haiti. The Washington Post, NBC and other outlets reported that Trump referred to the countries as “shitholes” and wondered to a bipartisan group of congressmen why the United States was…


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…


Group Of Quisling Democrats Just Handed Trump More Domestic Surveillance Powers. They Should Know Better.

  By Trevor Timm NBC News (1/11/18) Democrats have been all over the airwaves recently accusing Donald Trump of abusing the Justice Department to go after his political enemies —most notably his former opponent Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, which the Department of Justice is reportedly currently investigating based on allegation made during the 2016 presidential campaign. So you’d think they would oppose handing Donald Trump any more power with which he could potentially use against all sorts of Americans who attract negative attention from his administration. Yet, with the help of some Democrats, the House of Representatives voted today — and the…


Fat Cat Tuesday: A Commemoration Of CEO Excess

 Less For You. More For Them! (And The Republicans Just Cut Their Taxes To The Bone!)   By Leo W. Gerard, International President United Steelworkers Union The HuffPost (1/11/18) Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras, a day of revelry, gluttony, intoxication and showers of shiny plastic beads. It is the party to end all parties because it’s followed by Ash Wednesday, when Lenten sacrifices commence. Fat Cat Tuesday is the day – Jan. 2, 2018 – on which the boards of directors of America’s biggest corporations handed their CEOs more money than those same CEOs would deign to pay their workers…


Wish I Voted For Sanders, Says Laid-Off Carrier Worker Duped By ‘Con Man’ Trump

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (1/12/18) In November of 2016, then-President-elect Donald Trump touted a deal he negotiated with an Indianapolis Carrier plant that he claimed would keep jobs from moving to Mexico. On Thursday, that very same Carrier plant, as expected, laid off more than 200 workers—a move critics highlighted as further proof Trump’s deal with the company was a “con” all along. Responding to the layoffs, Carrier workers who voted for Trump expressed regret that they ever believed he would follow through on his promises. “Financially, I thought he’s a genius. I said, ‘Well, America’s in debt; maybe he can…