BBC Newsnight Video: Donald Trump’s Business Links To The Mob

“What Trump told me was not true.” Published on Mar 4, 2016 Donald Trump now looks like the front-runner to be the Republican candidate for the US presidency. One of his big appeals is his business success – and his claim that his wealth means he can’t be bought and sold. But there’s evidence which not only casts doubt on Trump’s wealth claims – but also reveals his history of business relationships with figures connected to organised crime. John Sweeney reports. Link to 10-Minute Video


Trump’s Generous Gift To America

“Authoritarians are often ungenerous people, but they do give us one gift: they tell us what they are going to do before they do it, both as an intimidation and as a challenge. Trump always follows this rule. “At his weekend rally, he recited the lyrics of a song by Al Wilson about a woman who rescues an ailing snake, only to find that as soon as the snake feels better he bites her. When she protests, he grins and says, “Oh shut up. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.” – Ruth Ben-Ghiat,…


This Will Impact Your Family: The Scariest Legislation You’ve Never Heard Of Is Moving Forward

TheCommonerCall.org   By Jim Pratt Environmental Defense Fund (5/10/17) Congress is moving forward with sweeping legislation that could undercut major laws that keep our food, water, workers and children’s products safe. Yet, surprisingly little attention has been paid to a bill that could drastically reshape the way we think about government, while threatening to undermine the very idea that any product at all – from pacifiers to peanuts – will remain safe going forward. It’s what Steve Bannon has in mind when he says he wants to deconstruct the administrative state. And it paves the way for a shoddy government…


The Firing Of James Comey: Psychology Helps Explain What Trump Got Wrong And Why You See It The Way You Do

  By Robert Jervis The Converstaion (5/16/17) Why has President Trump failed to convince anyone other than his ardent supporters that he was justified in firing FBI Director James Comey? Even more, why did he fail to realize that the firing would call up strong objections, not only from Democrats, but from many Republicans? The psychology of perception and decision-making helps us here. As I have shown in several books, assuming people are completely rational will mislead us. We need to grasp what people see – and what they miss – if we are to fathom why they behave as…


A Commoner Writes: Enough With The Whiny Russia Baloney

I normally have a modicum of respect for you and your willingness to hammer Democrats as much as Republicans, but this issue with whiny Dan Peak, and all the other Russia this and that baloney has left me disappointed. C’mon, we all know that Washington has used Russia as one of it’s major go to whipping boys to distract from its real crimes, and this is no different. It started with crybaby Hillary supporters and now, thanks to you, is ongoing. Even Noam Chomsky has claimed most of it is shallow, and leading to nowhere. And what Mr. Peak and…


WTH? How Does Trump Get Away With It & Why Can’t His Followers See What’s Going On?

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/15/17) As we have repeatedly seen over the past year and-a-half, facts and logic, history and common sense have no room in Trumpland America. Trump can spout the most obvious lies and repeat them over and over with boisterous self confidence as many numbly nod in agreement repeating his empty “Make America Great Again” mantra. Even when confronted by the facts or the past failure of his lies he doesn’t break pace. How, one asks, is this possible? There is a psychology lesson that can provide part of the answer to this…


The Russia Monitor: Many More Shoes To Drop From This Centipede

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/15/17) Dear Fellow Readers, John McCain said this week, “…the Russian/election story is a centipede and (to) expect another shoe to drop every few days”. As Colin Jost said on Saturday Night Live Weekend Update, “Well, I know most of us think this every week, but this week was crazy.” It’s the clarity of the presentation and it’s well done. Trump fired FBI Director Comey and we know it took him only a matter of hours to undo the rationale cooked up for him by his Justice Department, most notably the memo put…


Two Must-See Videos: Explosive Dutch Documentaries Say Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia’s Mafia Underworld

  By David Ferguson The Raw Story (5/11/17) A Dutch TV documentary alleges that President Donald Trump has extensive connections to Russia’s ruling oligarchs and a history of illegal racketeering. “Donald Trump’s business partners have included Russian oligarchs and convicted mobsters, which could make the president guilty of criminal racketeering charges,” wrote Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet on Friday. He continued, “That’s only one of the eyebrow-raising takeaways from a 45-minute Dutch documentary that first aired last week, ‘The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians.’” The 45-minute documentary was produced by Zembla TV and examines Trump’s alleged relationship with…


Sadism: The First Sign Of Emerging Dictatorship Has Made It’s Debut

TheCommonerCall.org By Juan Cole Informed Consent  (5/11/17) One of the classic techniques of dictatorship is humiliation, a manifestation of the sadism of the regime. Most people want to avoid being made the butt of ridicule, and authoritarian personalities calculate that they will even surrender some rights and liberties to avoid it. Even if you didn’t agree with him on many issues, Comey did not have an easy job and he put a lot of years and effort into it. If you’re his boss and you want to fire him, you owe him a face to face meeting to explain to him…


“We Need Your Help” – A Plea To Intelligence Agencies Of What’s Left Of The Free World…

The Resistance (5/11/17) The government of the United States is no longer in the hands of the people. We are victims of a coup. There is no time left for protocols or estimations of long-term impacts. What you have we need and we need it now. The Trump administration – the Trump junta is playing by no rules. What you, in the FBI and the CIA and the Justice Department, have on Trump we need now because by tomorrow it might disappear and your ability to do anything with may disappear as well. You must be the patriots now. We…


Worker Notes: American Big Bucks Health Care System One Sick Puppy

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (5/15/17) A great irony of the employer–based health insurance system is that employers originally created it to save money on wages. Their complaints now would be funny if the consequences were not so dire. Their unwillingness to use simple Business 101 concepts like “ the best value wins”, “competition brings down costs”, “demand pushes supply”, and “government should not pick winners and losers” is part of the inherent contradictions of an undemocratic, capital–controlled economic system that uses the political system as its straw man. All recent options leading up to a true single-payer…


Crowd Boos & Screams “F@#$ You” At Paul Ryan Over Healthcare Disaster

“Health care for all, not just Paul!” David Packman Show (5/11/17) House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is booed and heckled outside of Success Academy Charter School in Harlem, New York by a crowd gathered to protest the Republican health care plan. Link to 6-Minute Video ***** Editor’s Note: Paul Ryan benefited from Social Security benefits after his father died and on top of that he has been working in government – soaking up taxpayer money – most of his adult life. How did he afford that big plush mansion in Janesville? Like his teat-sucking buddy Sen. Ron Johnson, Ryan married…


Our Bawling Little 6 Year-Old Baby Boy President

By Michael D’Antonio CNN (5/12/17) Like most little boys, Donald Trump can be disarmingly honest, as when he once said, “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.” The trouble is that the first grader is now President of the United States, and his temperament is on display for the world to see. Unpredictable, impulsive and immature, Trump acts in a way that would be expected of a 6-year-old boy, but is terrifying in a man whose moods dictate decisions carried out by adults…


“A Scandal” – After FCC Bent Rules, Right-Wing Sinclair Network Set To Grow Even Bigger Than Fox

TheCommonerCall.org   By Diedre Fulton Common Dreams (5/8/17) Creating the nation’s largest local TV station conglomerate—and raising the frightening prospect of a network that would rival Fox News—conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Monday [5/8] it will buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. Craig Aaron, president of the communications watchdog organization Free Press, called the deal “a scandal,” while former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner and Common Cause adviser Michael Copps said it was both “expected and disappointing.” “Expected because the new FCC majority is foaming at the mouth to rubber stamp more massive media mergers,” Copps explained, “and disappointing because…


The Russia Monitor: Now We Know… This Is What A White House Cover-Up Looks Like

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/11/17) What does a cover-up look like? A Cover-Up Looks Like a Tuesday Night Massacre. A Cover-Up Looks Just Like This… This just in (Tuesday evening), a headline from the Financial Times: US President Donald Trump has fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a White House official. “The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued by the White House press office….


AUDIO: Al Letson – Trump Adviser Sebastian Gorka On America

  By Al Letson Reveal (3/9/17) This week, Reveal host Al Letson speaks to Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump. Usually, Gorka is sent out by the White House to discuss threats outside the U.S. In this special podcast, he and Al discuss domestic issues. Gorka talks a lot about the backbone of America, “real Americans” and the people he calls “the chattering classes.” But who are the “chattering classes”? And what is “the real America”? The outspoken Trump adviser lays bare his views on the country. Link to Story and 13-Minute Audio ***** Trump Adviser Gorka’s PhD…


Muzzle: Spate Of Anti-Protest Bills Would ‘attack right to speak out’ In Time Of Trump

  By Adam Gabbatt The Guardian (5/8/17) More than 20 states have proposed bills that would crack down on protests and demonstrations since Donald Trump was elected, in a moved that UN experts have branded “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law”. The proposed laws would variously increase the penalties for protesting in large groups, ban protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations and, in some states, protect drivers from liability if they strike someone taking part in a protest. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said more than 30 separate anti-protest bills have been introduced since 8 November…


What The Resistance To Trump Can Learn From The History Of Latin American Reform Movements

TheCommonerCall.org  By Jim Abbott Waging NonViolence (5/3/17) It is hard to deny the authoritarian tendencies that Donald Trump has shown in his first 100 days as president of the United States. These tendencies have drawn comparisons to the classic image of a Latin American dictator, and more specifically the caudillo — or strongman leader — by commentators from across Latin American. From his taste in decor and his adversarial relationship with the media, to his fundamental assault on human rights, the similarities are hard to contest. Our neighbors to the south have a long history of resisting authoritarian and fascist…


Obama Illustrates Why Wall Street Has Two Parties And We Have None

  By Les Leopold Common Dreams (5/8/17) Just as Donald Trump mortgages the White House to Goldman Sachs, Barack Obama does a Hillary: He agrees to take $400,000 from Wall Street to give one speech. Obama will make as much money in one hour as the average American makes in about five years. The excuse can’t be lack of money. He and Michelle are about to receive $60 million in book advances on top of the several million already in the bank plus the $200,000 pension as an ex-president. So why take the Wall Street cash? The former president’s spokesperson,…


If You Want To Understand What Motivates The Trump Movement & How To Respond, Read And Let This Sink In…

  (Editor’s Note: This is an important article. If you want to understand the madness that has taken root in Washington and how to counter it, please follow the link below and read the whole article.  What is happening stretches way, WAY beyond party politics. – Mark L. Taylor) By Bill Blum HuffPost (5/8/17) I don’t always agree with Bill Maher (witness his views on Islam and the death penalty), but the comedian was at his best on the April 28 installment of “Real Time,” his Friday night HBO talk show. In both his opening interview with Massachusetts Democratic Sen….



Why Progressives Need A Long-term Strategy Built On Values

  By Steve Atcheson Common Dreams (5/6/17) Ever since Trump got elected, there’s been a lot of talk about resistance. As the country marked Trump’s first 100 days, it reached a crescendo. Then Republicans in the House passed Trump care—one of the cruelest Bills in recent memory. The reason they can screw so many people with relative impunity, is that they’ve invested decades in creating a mega-narrative that insulates them from consequences. Certainly, we must resist Trump’s destructive agenda in every way we can. But if progressives are to recapture the hearts and minds of America it will take far…


A Closer Look: Seth Meyers Takes Paul Ryan Apart Piece By Dishonest Piece

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/11/17) Late Night host Seth Meyers sliced and diced Rep. Paul Ryan’s cynical dishonesty in a “Closer Look” segment. Meyer’s was responding to an emailed objection Ryan sent about anther piece that Meyers had done the week before. “And unlike Republicans and their health care bill, we actually read the whole email,” Meyers said. Masterfully employing a series of clips of Ryan objecting to the Obamacare debates, Meyer’s deftly displays the brazen hypocrisy of Ryan and House Republicans. “Everything that Paul Ryan claimed to hate about the Obamacare process in 2009, he’s…


Failings Of The NY Times: 100 Day Trump Apologism Shows Fraud Of ‘Both Sides’ Reporting

  By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (5/3/17) New York Times White House reporter Peter Baker (4/29/16) appears to have set out in earnest to write a “balanced” review of Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. In doing so, he exposed the futility of such an exercise. Baker spins some of Trump’s worst and most dangerous traits as positives, downplays his constant threats and impulsivity and tortures the English language to find praise where none ought to exist. First the latter: Baker attempts to find symmetry in Trump’s approach to “transparency,” by conflating actual governmental openness with…


The Russia Monitor: Could Sally Yates’ Testimony Today Be A Breakthrough?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/8/17) Dear Fellow Readers, FBI Director James Comey testified last Thursday [5/4] before the House Intelligence Committee and as expected, there were no fireworks. Comey is not going to offer breaking news in such a forum, we’ll only ever know what the FBI has learned should they bring charges. The hearing on Thursday was more for enthusiasts, much of the discussion revolved around whether Comey’s 2016 announcements of Clinton and Trump investigations were handled fairly and without political advantage – deliberate or not. Today’s A Big Day Today former Acting Attorney General Sally…


Of All The Things About Enabling Trumpcare Republicans, Never, Ever Forget This…

“Lawmakers are exempt. Despite all of their rhetoric about the supposed failings of Obamacare, House Republicans inserted a provision on Tuesday that “exempts members of Congress and their staff from their latest healthcare plan,” Vox reported, meaning they will be able to opt out of the new amendment that charges more for people with pre-existing conditions.” – From “‘God Have Mercy on Your Souls’: GOP Passes Cruel, Destructive Trumpcare Bill”, Common Dreams (5/4/17)  


History Will Remember These 217 House Republicans For Their Casual Inhumanity

  Wormy By John Nichols The Nation (5/5/17) North Carolina Congressman Ted Budd cast an indefensible vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with legislation that is so awful that Budd’s fellow Republicans were caught scheming to exempt themselves and their staffs from the measure’s draconian provisions. But Budd got one thing right. “I’ll take around 2,000 votes this Congress. Most of them will be forgotten,” the Republican congressman said as the vote approached. “This is not one of those votes.” Good. The vote by 217 House Republicans to gut the Affordable Care Act (while 20 of their colleagues…


How Paul Ryan’s Muse Ayn Rand Helped Turn The U.S. Into A Juvenile, Mean Spirited Nation

  By Bruce E. Levine AlterNet (12/10/14) “Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society….To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.” — Gore Vidal, 1961   Only rarely in U.S. history do writers transform us to become a more caring or less caring nation. In the 1850s, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was a strong force in making the United States a more humane nation, one that would…


Worker Notes: Standing Together & Organizing For Deserved Wages

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (5/8/17) The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about unions is wages. The non-union, merit-based system says that each deserves wages based on some type of objective metric. This system requires confidentiality (you do not want employees comparing their individual deals) and rewards those who find ways to play the system, though not necessarily fairly. A major flaw in this system is that most jobs do not have a clear metric for comparison. Teachers for example have been singled out for some type of merit pay. How do you rate the work…


Eric Trump Said Russian Funding Fueled Family Golf Ventures, Writer Claims

The CommonerCall.org   By Martin Pengelly The Guardian (5/7/17) Eric Trump said three years ago the Trump Organization had “all the funding we need out of Russia” for its golf course projects, according to an author recounting the story of a 2014 meeting with Donald Trump and his son. The author also said Donald Trump “sort of tossed off that he had access to $100m”. The comments prompted widespread interest in the media and online. Two congressional committees and the FBI are investigating alleged ties between Trump campaign aides and Russian agents during the 2016 presidential election. US intelligence agencies…


Ready To Fight? Koch Brothers Plan For Hostile Takeover Of Our Constitution

  By Rep. Chris Taylor (D-WI) PRWatch (3/24/17) After the 2010 tea party takeover of Wisconsin, it became clear that the real force behind policymaking in Wisconsin is not the voters, but the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the most powerful right-wing policy-making machine in the country. A ménage a trois of powerful corporations, state legislators, and right-wing think tanks, ALEC pushes out model legislation that promotes corporate hegemony. I know because I am a Wisconsin legislator, and a member of ALEC. For the last six years, the ALEC agenda has rolled through Republican state houses – including mine –…


George Lakoff: Don’t Fall Into An Opponent’s Language Trap

  By George Lakoff George Lakoff.com (2/18/17) Journalists are bravely standing up to Trump’s attacks on the free press, as they should. Yet one way in which they’re expressing their solidarity and resistance shows how little most journalists know about political framing and messaging. Case in point: Trump has labeled journalists as “enemies.” So, journalists have responded by labeling themselves “#NotTheEnemy.” This hashtag is currently trending on Twitter, which is unfortunate. Adopting this slogan is a big mistake that helps Trump. Anyone who has read my books or taken my classes at Berkeley will immediately understand why. For those new…


Thomas Frank: The Midwest Is Longing For Populism. Can Democrats Offer Genuine Reform In 2018?

  By Thomas Frank The Guardian (4/27/17) The tragedy of the 2016 election is connected closely, at least for me, to the larger tragedy of the industrial Midwest. It was in the ruined industrial city of Cleveland that the Republican Party came together in convention last July, and it was the deindustrialized, addiction-harrowed precincts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin that switched sides in November and delivered Donald Trump to the Oval Office. I am a Midwesterner too, and I like to think I share the values and outlook of that part of the country. I have spent many of…


Beware, It’s ‘inevitable’ Trump Will Stage His Own ‘Reichstag Fire’ To Salvage his Presidency

The 1933 burning of the German Reichstag was used as the pretext for Hitler suspending civil liberties, cracking down on the Communist Party and other opposition parties and groups which then led to the consolidation of power by the Nazis and the unspooling horrors of WW II. While a mentally troubled Polish communist was convicted and executed for the fire, there is strong evidence that the Nazis were the ones who set the fire. Such emergency situations are part of the blueprint for all authoritarians. (National Archives and records Administration/Wikimedia Commons)   By Sarah K. Burris The Raw Story (5/1/17)…


The Bee All And End All: One-Third Of The Food We Eat Depends Upon Rapidly Declining Bee Populations

    BBC (4/4/17) Bees pollinate and can detect bombs and compose music. What would we do without them? The world owes a debt of gratitude to this hard working but under-appreciated insect. One third of the food we eat would not be available without bees, meaning our lives would be unimaginably different without them. Bee populations are dropping by up to 80% in some countries and the consequences are potentially catastrophic. The use of neonics pesticides in farming has been one of the main causes in the decline in bee numbers and now the farming world is having to…


The Russian Monitor – Things Are About To Get Interesting

  By DanPeak The Commoner Call (5/4/17) Dear Fellow Readers, “I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough!” – Richard Nixon’s 1974 State of the Union Address. And one week later the US House of Representatives authorized the Judiciary Committee to investigate impeachment charges against Nixon. Over at MSNBC Rachel Maddow predicts, “Things Are About to Get Really Interesting.”  By the time you are reading this we may have more to chew on. As I type FBI Director James Comey is speaking…


Man-Child In Gilded Crib Betrays His Supporters While Bumbling America’s Destiny

“How is it Trump seems to care the least for the very folks who voted for him? Not a day passes that he doesn’t betray some of them. “And instead of bombing another country, how about building our own with better bridges, railroads, highways and airports, how about tending to those who need jobs and homes, how about health care that really gets the job done? “Then we might finally achieve the transformative moment when even Donald Trump at last becomes president for real. But don’t hold your breath. It is foolish to expect anything like this from a man-child…


Empire Files: The Hidden Purging of Millions Of Voters

  Empire Files (4/25/17) With all the discussion of the contentious 2016 election, the most shocking fact is often ignored: that millions of people had their votes stolen through malicious, means. The Republican Party is currently working to purge millions more voters leading up to the 2018 election. To explain this major attack on our supposed democratic process, Abby Martin interviews investigative reporter Greg Palast, who has done the most extensive work uncovering this massive disenfranchisement campaign. Link to Story and 27-Minute Video


The Nazi I Knew: Still Spewing His Sewage Of Hate

An old campaign photo of Arthur Jones from his race for Milwaukee mayor. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/1/17) When I was in my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, back in 1970, there was a fiery, oddball upperclassman, named Art Jones. He was a tall, gangly kid with limp dirty blonde hair and a nervous energy that made him fidgety and a fast walker and a faster talker. While looking a bit like Ichabod Crane loping across campus he didn’t particularly stand out from other kids on campus except for one thing: he was…


Worker Notes: Rural America Needs The Support And Organizing Skills Of Labor Unions

Learning and Fighting For Your Rights By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (5/1/17) Collective bargaining is the device that allows workers to join together to improve the return from the investment of their labor. Most anti-union efforts are intentional attempts to splinter worker solidarity to allow a stratification of wages and benefits for the benefit of the employer. By paying off a few lead workers well and treating the rest as replaceable commodities allows employers to set up hierarchies and create systems of secrecy and top-down authority that discourages worker innovation in exchange for short-term paper profits.  As a 40+ year…