PodCast: Is The Attorney General The President’s Lawyer Or America’s Lawyer?

  By Katherin Brewer Freak Out & Carry On Podcast (6/15/17) In Freak Out and Carry On, the new politics and history podcast from WBUR, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Ron Suskind and Boston College historian Heather Cox Richardson speak with the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank about Jeff Sessions’ contentious Senate hearing and the historical tension that attorneys general, from Mitchell Palmer to Alberto Gonzalez, have faced. Do they serve the president or the American people? Excerpts: Heather Cox Richardson: It seemed to me that Sessions was performing for an audience of one and that was President Trump. And that says something really interesting about this…


Todd Rundgren’s ‘Tin Foil Hat’ Song A Timely Highlight

From Todd Rundgren’s new album “White Knight”, with back-up from 70’s peers Joe Walsh, Daryl Hall and Donald Fagen. The album includes a smooth Donald Trump parody “Tin Foil Hat”, co-written with Fagen, which Rolling Stone describes as a “a timely highlight”. He’s coming down the escalator With a girl from east of here He wants to make the country greater We’ve got nothing left to fear Because the man in the tin foil hat Is sitting on the throne tonight It kinda feels like coup de tat But it’s gonna be great, tremendous, amazing and all that ‘Cause the…


Iron Worker Randy Bryce Kicks Off Campaign To Unseat Paul ‘Lyin” Ryan With Kick Ass Ad

  By Jay Hayden Daily Kos (6/20/17) Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker in southeast Wisconsin who’s ready to mount a serious challenge to House Speaker Paul Ryan for WI-01. Yesterday Bryce released a video announcing his candidacy and it is a grand slam. The video focuses on health care, featuring his own mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Real life, real families, real struggles. It is one of the best we’ve ever seen, and quite frankly it is a roadmap for Democrats nationwide. The Republican repeal of the Affordable Care Act remains deeply unpopular, with only 24 percent of American approving…


A Resolution Condemning White Supremacy Causes Chaos At The Southern Baptist Convention

  By Emma Green The Atlantc (6/14/17) The Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting turned chaotic in Phoenix this week over a resolution that condemned white supremacy and the alt-right. On Tuesday, leaders initially declined to consider the proposal submitted by a prominent black pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic, and only changed course after a significant backlash. On Wednesday afternoon, the body passed a revised statement against the alt-right. But the drama over the resolution revealed deep tension lines within a denomination that was explicitly founded to support slavery. A few weeks before the meeting was slated to start, McKissic published his draft resolution on…


Mike McCabe – Abortion: The Football Game That Never, Ever Ends

  By Mike McCabe Blue Jean Nation (6/8/17) Here’s a truth about American politics that never seems to get acknowledged much less discussed: No major party in this country actually wants to outlaw abortion. One says it does, but its actions tell a different story. Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, so they could make a law banning abortion across the nation. The law surely would be challenged in court but the ideologically conservative Republican appointees who have made up the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1971 would have the final say. You’d expect…


Crime Against Humanity: Border Patrol Launches Military-Style Raid On Camp Delivering Medical Aid To Refugees Near US/Mexico Border

By Paul Gottinger Reader Supported News (6/16/17) On Thursday evening, 30 armed US Border Patrol agents, 15 trucks, 2 ATVs, and a helicopter were used to raid a humanitarian aid facility delivering medical treatment to refugees a few miles north of the Mexican border. Border Patrol operations ended in the arrest of four people receiving medical attention in temperatures that soared to 105° Fahrenheit. The camp, which is run by the Unitarian Universalist organization No More Deaths, stated that the raid was “an unprecedented show of force” and follows a pattern of increased surveillance of their humanitarian aid work since…


The Russian Montior: Where Will The High Flying’, Flippin’, Flapjack Flynn Land?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/22/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Flynn Flips, Flippin’ Flynn, Flynn The Flipper, Flynn Flips On Trump, Flynn Tries Not to Lock Himself Up, Flynn Belly Flop, Flippin’ Lyin’ Flynn Cuts Deal – Gets To Keep Gonads (purportedly) I believe this to be the biggest story of the last few days. I appreciate Charles Pierce and his column for Esquire. Pierce references this report from CNN saying Senators Warner (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Blumenthal (D-CT) ‘signal’ that Flynn is cooperating with investigations. Pierce says: “Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut—have come…


Local Volunteer Finds Out What Life Is Like Flirting With Poverty

By Kate Crofton The Commoner Call (6/22/17) (The ideas expressed here are mine alone and do not represent City Year or AmeriCorps.) What do you get when you make $4.61 an hour working fifty hours a week? One biweekly AmeriCorps stipend post-taxes An income at the Federal poverty line Enough money to live frugally but comfortably *most* of the time An inside view of the broken systems meant to serve the poor All of the above ***** Case Study Number 1: Food Stamps I pace back and forth along the perimeter of the Rosa Parks K-8 parking lot listening to…


Attempt To Get Walmart To Offset Their Taxpayer Funded Corporate Welfare

By Zaid Jilan The Intercept (6/13/17) When Walmart and other low-wage employers fail to pay their employees enough to live decent lives, taxpayers often end up picking the tab for public assistance. Freshman California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna and nine House co-sponsors are introducing legislation to put an end to the free ride. The Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act would levy a fee equivalent to the public assistance that a company’s employees are eligible to receive, with the intent to incentivize businesses to pay their employees enough so they don’t need public assistance. In 2013, Walmart alone cost taxpayers $6.2…


Audio – Why We Need In-Depth Reporting: Uncovering NYC Cops Making Millions In Suspicious Deals

  By Joaquin Sapien ProPublica (6/16/17) WNYC radio reporter Robert Lewis had been hounding New York Assistant Police Chief Edward Delatorre for weeks. He’d called. He’d emailed. He’d gone through the New York Public Affairs office. But he was getting nowhere and he had an urgent question. Lewis had learned that the assistant chief bought property from a missing loan shark, a man named Vincent “Jimmy” Durso, while the police department was actively investigating Durso’s disappearance. Naturally, Lewis wanted to know why. So, when he got no answer, he went to building a Delatorre owned in the Bronx. When Lewis confronted…


Operation Condor: US, Latin American Slaughter, Torture Program

  By Edward Rhymes teleSur (6/15/17) It is altogether fitting to begin any analysis of Operation Condor with its birthplace: Chile. Thousands of people were imprisoned and killed after Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 military coup against democratically-elected socialist President Salvador Allende. The Nixon administration had helped undermine Allende and then supported Pinochet as he dissolved parliament and began a brutal campaign against Chile’s left that lasted 17 years. His regime conducted raids, executions, abductions, arrests and torture of thousands of Chilean citizens. More people were killed in the four months following the coup (through December 1973) than in any other year…


Sad: Humpty Trumpty’s Rules For His Fake Language

“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master-that’s all.’”  — Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll By Christopher Brauchli Common Dreams (6/17/17) It does not take a serious student of the English language to recognize the similarity between the discussion that Alice and Humpty Dumpty had about the meaning of words used by Humpty Dumpty, to recognize that as…


It’s Up To Us: Victories Against Trump Are Mounting. Here’s How We Deal The Final Blow

  By Rebecca Solnit The Guardian (6/18/17) n this moment, populist intervention is everything, not as hate and attack but as an expression of popular will and power. Or as love, since we defend what we love. It is an extraordinary moment, an all-hands-on-deck emergency in which new groups and coalitions are emerging along with unforeseen capacities in many people who didn’t previously think they were activists. It is saturated with possibility, as well as with danger. Of course there are also people resident in the US who love the dismantling of healthcare, education, environmental protection, and the Bill of…


“For the Many, Not the Few:” Yoo-Hoo, Dems! Labour Party Gains In Britain Highlight Political Viability Of Socialism

TheCommonerCall.org   By Ben Dangl CounterPunch (6/13/17) British Prime Minister Theresa May recently called for snap elections to take place on June 8th an in effort to win a more powerful mandate for her Conservative Party ahead of Brexit negotiations. However, May’s plan backfired as the Conservatives lost their majority of seats in the vote. Now no party holds an outright majority in Parliament. While the Conservative Party lost seats, the Labour Party led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn won an additional 24 percent of seats and its largest share of votes since 2005. These gains by the Labour Party underscore…


Greg Palast Outlines The Jim Crow Voter Suppression That May Skew Georgia Election

  Democracy Now! (6/15/17) The race for the 6th District in Georgia is the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history. On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls to fill the seat left vacant after Tom Price resigned to become secretary of health and human services. Polls show Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel in a virtual tie. But civil rights leaders fear that racist voter suppression tactics could cost Ossoff the election. For more, we speak with investigative reporter Greg Palast and air a report he produced in Georgia. Link to Story and 12-Minute Video


The Russia Monitor: Emperor Nero Had His Violin. Trump Has Twitter … And On He Plays

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/19/17) Dear Fellow Readers, If Donald Trump is guilty of nothing, he will create his own scenario to be found guilty. Trump is fighting Washington and the media and losing. He fights the way he’s always fought and that is now working against him. He is his own enemy. Is Trump guilty of colluding with the Russians? Is the Trump campaign guilty of colluding with the Russians? I don’t know; maybe not. Maybe Kushner’s alleged quid pro quo with Gorkov was simply to save his shaky investment in his 666 5th Avenue property. Maybe Manafort’s…


Abby Martin Brings Back The Unreported Story Of Viscous Right Wing Violence In Venezuela Protests

  The Commoner Call (6/12/17) It’s nothing new that the American mainstream media presents highly edited and selected reporting on domestic violence in countries seen as unfriendly to United State corporate interests. Recently much has been made about the bumbling and often bullying actions of the left wing government led by Nicolás Maduro while opposition forces have been portrayed as plucky and courageous opponents. Empire Files host Abby Martin just returned from Venezuela where she saw first hand how violent opposition protesters actively intimidate reporters – even threatening murder – and thereby give a false impression of what is actually happening….


Worker Notes: The VW Emissions Scandal Is A Powerful Lesson For Management & Labor Reps

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (6/19/17) Further information on the unique design of the German labor movement is provided in the investigative work “Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal” by Jack Ewing. The irony that a management scandal occurred under the highly regarded German combined labor/management system will be discussed at the end of this piece, but the precedent for labor taking more than an adversarial role is worth investigating more deeply. Ewing writes: “When the British gave up administrative control of Volkswagen in 1949, they passed ownership to the German Federal government, which delegated control to the…


America’s Reign Of Terror: A Nation Reaps What It Sows

  By John W. Whitehead Rutherford Institute (5/16/17) “The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” ― James Madison Who designed the malware worm that is now wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers internationally by hackers demanding a king’s ransom? The U.S. government. Who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government. What country has one the deadliest arsenals of weapons of mass destruction? The U.S….


Our Rights On The Edge: A Billionaire-Bankrolled ‘Movement’ Close To Calling A Constitutional Convention

By Simon Davis-Cohen   AlterNet (6/14/17) A billionaire-backed “movement” is dangerously close to calling a constitutional convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. If realized, it would be the first constitutional convention since the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which replaced the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution. After an active start to 2017, proponents are now allegedly seven states away from reaching the needed 34 states (two-thirds) to convene a convention. According to Article V, which lays out all the ways the constitution can be amended, any amendments proposed by the convention would then need to be ratified by 38…


‘Commoner’ Writes: We Are Tragically Unique

  To the Editor: You’re right on about the gun craziness and as you state it won’t end now, maybe never. (Welcome Congressional Republicans To The Insanity You Have Inflicted On Our Daily Life, 6/15/17) Senseless gun violence and deaths make us tragically unique.  If Trump wants to make us safe from ISIS and terrorism, he has the wrong target.  Every day gun violence is the real threat to our safety.  Keep up the good work. Harvey Weinberg Onalaska, WI   (Commoner Call photo, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


Donald Trump’s ‘Eunuch-ique’ Cabinet

  Seth Meyers: Is There ‘Anything Creepier’ Than Donald Trump’s Cabinet Meeting? “Even Kim Jong Un is like, dude, have some self-respect.” Link to 10-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** Never Has There Been A President … So Damn Weird: ‘Didn’t Know You Could Broadcast Full On Circle Jerk!’  By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (6/12/17) Okay, so we really don’t wanna write again about our appalling Trash Monster, but things just keep getting weirder. On Monday, Trump held his first full Cabinet meeting, a surreal,…


Welcome Congressional Republicans To The Insanity You Have Inflicted On Our Daily Life

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/15/17) Much will be learned about the Wednesday morning shooting during a republican congressional softball practice in Alexandria, Virginia that left five wounded, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Keep in mind much of the news that comes out in the first 24-48 hours after these kinds of all-too-common American events eventually prove to be wrong. One hopes for the recovery of both body and mind of the shooting victims and those who witnessed the eruption of all-American gun violence. Working in the mental health field with survivors and witnesses of trauma I…


VIDEO: How Best To Understand – And Resist – Trump’s Shock Doctrine

  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. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” an investigation that spanned four decades from Pinochet’s U.S.-backed coup in 1970s Chile to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I noticed a brutal and recurring tactic by right wing governments. After a shocking event – a war, coup, terrorist attack, market crash or natural disaster – exploit the public’s disorientation. Suspend democracy.  Push through radical “free market” policies that enrich the 1…


Paul Ryan Leads House Republicans In Setting Course For Our Next Financial Collapse

  By Jon Queally Common Dreams (6/8/17) The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act on Thursday afternoon in a move critics—who call it the #WrongChoiceAct—say puts the U.S. economy on a path towards the next large-scale financial meltdown. With a final vote of 233 to 186, only one Republican joined with Democrats in voting “nay.” The final roll call is here. As the Washington Post notes, “Democrats and progressive groups, who argue banks need more oversight, not less, are preparing to use the issue to animate supporters still angry that Wall Street banks have not paid a bigger…


Here Are the Financial Disclosures Of 349 Officials Trump Has Installed Across The Government

  By Derek Kravitz, Al Shaw, Annie Waldman & Ariana Tobin ProPublica (6/7/17) ProPublica has been collecting disclosure forms that lay out Trump administration officials’ financial holdings and employment backgrounds. We now have disclosures from 349 officials and we’re sharing them with you. They are from White House staffers, President Trump’s Cabinet and from the hundreds of members of so-called beachhead teams that the administration has installed with little notice at federal agencies. The disclosures are crucial to understanding potential conflicts. Many lobbyists and political consultants now work at the agencies they sought to influence. We’ve also incorporated ethics waivers that the…


Russia Monitor: As True Patrons Of The Arts, Republicans Gave Russian Hackers An Assist

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/14/17) Dear Fellow Reader, Patrons Of The Arts – Russians Get Republican Assist Over at Esquire, Charlie Pearce reports the news that Illinois is described as ‘Patient Zero’ with investigators able to watch hackers at work. President Barack Obama and the Department of Homeland Security tried to declare state election systems part of national infrastructure but this was shot down by Congressional Republicans and resisted by some states leaving the electoral system more exposed to the whims and wiles of Russian hackers. (This article is well worth reading in full.) Russian top boss-of-bosses…


Pimpville: A (Partial) Guide To Trump’s Web Of Conflicts Of Interest

A semi-comprehensive list of the business concerns that may influence the president during his time in office. By Jeremy Venook The Atlantic (6/12/17) President Donald Trump still has not taken the necessary steps to distance himself from his businesses while in office. In accordance with a plan that he and one of his lawyers, Sheri Dillon, laid out at a press conference on January 11, Trump has filed paperwork to remove himself from the day-to-day operation of his eponymous organization. However, numerous ethics experts have voiced strenuous objections to the plan, which they say does very little to resolve the…


‘Our Wisconsin Revolution’ Gears Up For Convention June 23-24, In Stevens Point

From Our Wisconsin Revolution We’re back from the People’s Summit in Chicago and more excited than ever to kick off our Convention next weekend. If you missed the Summit, check out Bernie’s speech here. But it’s not about Bernie, it’s about all of us. And we have a lot of work to do in the next few months to get ready for Our Revolution in 2018. Join us at the OWR Founding Convention on June 23-24 where we will vote on founding bylaws and platform, and choose the board leadership to launch us into action. We’ll also have time to…


The UK Elections: How The Democrats Should Learn To Stop Worrying & Love Socialism

  By Kate Aronoff In These Times (6/9/17) Here is a brief and wholly incomplete list of things included in the manifesto that Britain’s Labour Party ran on to rip the Tories’ overall Parliamentary majority out from under them: Nationalize the British rail system; Bring electric utilities under public ownership; Make corporations and the rich pay more in taxes; Ban fracking; Abolish tuition fees; Transition to using 60 percent low-carbon fuels by 2030. This list goes on, and includes several more proposals that have long been considered third rail issues for American politicians afraid of offending both their donors and…


Worst Epidemic In U.S. History? Opioid Crisis Now Leading Cause Of Death For Americans Under 50

  Democracy Now! (6/7/17) Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. To put the death toll into perspective, opioid deaths have now surpassed the peak in death by car crash in 1972, AIDS deaths in 1995 and gun deaths in 1993. After 20 years of heavy combat in South Vietnam, U.S. military casualties represented only one-third of the death toll from 10 years of opioid overdoses. Meanwhile, counties and states around the country have filed lawsuits to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the public health crisis. “The United States is in…


Corbyn’s Surprise Showing Offers Blueprint For Our Party, Say Left-Leaning Democrats

  By Adam Gabbatt The Guardian (6/10/17) Progressive politicians in the US have hailed Jeremy Corbyn’s performance in the British general election “an inspiration” that could shift the Democratic party to the left in the run-up to the 2018 midterms. Bernie Sanders was among those to praise Labour’s result, saying it showed “people are rising up against austerity and massive levels of income and wealth inequality,” while left-leaning members of Congress said the victory would have major implications for the future of Democrats. The Labour party, running on a leftwing platform, gained 32 seats in Thursday’s election as the Conservatives…


Bernie Sanders Slams ‘absolute failure’ Of Democratic Party’s Current Strategy

  By Adam Gabatt The Guardian (6/10/17) Bernie Sanders has criticised the Democratic party’s current direction as “an absolute failure” in a speech at the People’s Summit in Chicago. Speaking to a crowd of 4,000 activists, Sanders hailed the “enormous progress in advancing the progressive agenda”, saying the increasing House and Senate support for a $15 minimum wage and the opposition to the Trans-Pacific partnership showed the success of the movement. But the Vermont senator said that establishment Democrats were standing in the way of further progress. “The Democratic party must understand what side it is on. And that cannot…


Mike McCabe Says He Is Looking To Run For Governor & Says No To Big Money

“This campaign would need to be people-powered and crowd funded. It would need to be small donations from a lot of people.” WisEye (6/9/17) On June 9, 2017, Senior Producer Steve Walters talked with Mike McCabe, formerly of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, on his potential challenge to Governor Scott Walker. Link to 20-Minute Video ***** Mike McCabe On Finding Common Ground: One trick is to think vertically instead of horizontally. “There is an opportunity to find common ground where we don’t see it today, and to help unite people who are currently divided and conquered.” – Mike McCabe Link to…


A Must-Read: Naomi Klein Lays Out Why Things Are So Chaotic & What We Must Do To Counter Trump’s Shock Doctrine

  By Naomi Klein Guardian UK (6/10/17) Shock. It’s a word that has come up again and again since Donald Trump was elected in November 2016 – to describe the poll-defying election results, to describe the emotional state of many people watching his ascent to power, and to describe his blitzkrieg approach to policymaking. A “shock to the system” is precisely how his adviser Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly described the new era. For almost two decades now, I’ve been studying large-scale shocks to societies: how they happen, how they are exploited by politicians and corporations, and how they are even…


Russia Monitor: Many, Many More Doors To Be Investigated

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/12/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Thursday, June 8, 2017 former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence committee. Here is an excellent New York Times Page One summary of his remarks. Trump Tried To Sink Inquiry, Comey Says “‘Those were lies, plain and simple.’ ‘I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so I thought it really important to document.’ ‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes.’ ‘I mean, the president of the United States, with me alone, saying ‘I hope this’ – I took it…


Paul Ryan Peddles Lame Old GOP Lies About Effects Of Inheritance Tax On Super Wealthy While Real Data Reveals The Truth

  By Cezary Podkul ProPublica (6/7/17) Does the estate tax really hurt small businesses? House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks so. He revived this longstanding debate in a May 17 column in the Kenosha News, in which he defended the Republican plan to abolish the levy on inherited wealth. Ryan wrote that the “death tax” can “result in double, and potentially even triple, taxation on small businesses and family farms, both of which are prevalent in Wisconsin.” President Trump made a similar claim in his budget proposal a few days later, calling for repeal of the estate tax on the grounds that…


Worker Notes: The Benefits Of European Unions Have A Seat In Corporate Board Rooms Are Many

  A different type of union. A different kind of life. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (6/12/17) Many of the chronic problems we now see with the American union movement can be tracked back to the history of European craft guilds and the relationships of masters to apprentices. The constricting effect of one–to–one instruction, portioned out slowly over time to fit market demand and prevent competition between master and apprentice was one cause for the fractured condition of Labor today. The transition to modern American trade unions followed the idea of organizing around skills instead of by entire industries,…


Your Brain On Politics: A Conservative Republican Candidate Has Her “I Am Not A Crook” Moment

  By George Lakoff GeorgeLakoff.com (6/7/17) During Watergate, Richard Nixon famously said, “I am not a crook.” And, immediately, Americans coast-to-coast thought of him as a crook. This incident inspired my book title Don’t Think of an Elephant!” What does the title make you think of? Why does negating an idea so often have the opposite of the effect negation is assumed to have? My late colleague, Charles Fillmore, the great linguist who discovered frame semantics, observed that every word is cognitively defined (unconsciously) in terms of a conceptual frame. Frames are structures of ideas. Ideas are carried out in…


Patriotic Whistleblowers Like Reality Winner Play Critical Role In Keeping Govt. Accountable

    By Jesselyn Radack ExposeFacts.org (6/9/17) Reality Winner, the 25-year-old Air Force veteran and NSA contractor charged with mailing classified material to a news outlet, is a classic whistleblower. She hasn’t claimed that mantle, which is understandable given America’s love-hate relationship with whistleblowers. They are alternately celebrated and denounced, depending on who has the microphone and who has the power. A whistleblower is a current or former employee who reveals what she reasonably believes evidences fraud, waste, abuse, illegality, or a danger to public health and safety. The individual can disclose their concerns to their superiors, Congress, an interest…