Russia Monitor: Putin’s Revenge – Tantamount To War

“He’s a man obsessed with TV.” (Sound like someone else we know?) (Editor’s Note: Russia Monitor columnist Dan Peak is taking a few days off. In the meantime, I strongly encourage all readers wondering just how the Trump-Russia mess came to be to watch these two PBS Frontline specials whic help to put things in a meaningful context. _ Mark L. Taylor) FRONTLINE tells the inside story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States as an enemy — and the critical backstory – the motive – of why he decided to target an American election. PBS Frontline:…


Trump’s Big Mac Binges & Brutal Screaming Fits Revealed In Former Aides’ New Book

  By Jon Swaine The Guardian (12/3/17) Donald Trump’s preferred order at McDonald’s has been revealed as a waistband-busting meal containing alarming amounts of fat and salt. During campaign stops at the fast food restaurant the president would ask for two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fishes and a chocolate milkshake, according to a insider’s account of his presidential bid. Trump’s order amounts to 2,420 calories, according to McDonald’s nutritional data. US authorities generally advise men to consume about 2,500 calories per day. His chosen meal also contains 112g of fat, which is 172% of Trump’s recommended daily allowance, as well as 3,470mg…


Psychiatrists Warn About Trump’s Deteriorating Mental State

The New York Times (11/30/17) To the Editor: I am the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” We represent a much larger number of concerned mental health professionals who have come forward to warn against the president’s psychological instability and the dangers it poses. We now number in the thousands. We are currently witnessing more than his usual state of instability — in fact, a pattern of decompensation: increasing loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behavior, and an attraction to violence as a means…


Going From Pump To Plug: How Much Money Can Electric Vehicles Save Drivers?

    By Union of Concerned Scientists EcoWatch (12/1/17) What would you do with an extra $770 a year? Buy a new laptop? Pay off debt? The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed how much money many drivers could save by switching from a gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle. We analyzed the cost of refueling electric and gasoline vehicles in each of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. In every city, there is a rate plan that would save the average EV owner on fuel costs, with a median savings of more than $770 per year. EVs are becoming more affordable to purchase,…


ACTION ALERT: GOP Senator Heller Has Stage 4 Cancer Victim Booted From Town Hall For Having The Temerity To Ask About Health Care

She had been warned to keep quiet by Heller’s “goons” before the town hall began. By Tom Boggioni The Raw Story (12/3/17) Republican Senator Dean Heller (NV) had his security officials remove a stage 4 cancer victim from a town hall after she tried to question him about the future of the Affordable Care Act. In video posted to Twitter by Battle Born Progress, Laura Packard can be seen addressing the GOP senator about the implications of the Senate’s tax plan on healthcare only to have two men accost her and remove her from the room. Writing on Twitter, Packard said…


Support Great Journalism & Get A Copy Of ‘All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception & The Spirit Of I.F. Stone’

  By Janine Jackson, Jim Naureckas & Deborah Thomas Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (12/2/17) FAIR has kept fundraising at bay with only occasional pleas for help this year. Now the bank account is low and showing serious signs of stress. So FAIR is now officially launching its year-end fundraising campaign with a much-needed $50,000 goal. It’s been a tough year of beating back supposed “news” that distracts from the concrete concerns in our lives. With healthcare and Social Security under attack, EPA rules purged, voting rights eliminated, these real news stories, and more, need telling. FAIR breaks it down in our…


Brutal Slave Trade Sweeps Up Migrants In North Africa

  On Point/WBUR (11/29/17) Slaves on the auction block in 2017 in North Africa. We’re joined by CNN reporters who helped expose it in Libya, and a New Yorker writer who’s also chronicled migrant exploitation. Guests: Nima Elbagir, senior international correspondent for CNN. (@NimaCNN) Raja Razek, CNN journalist. (@rajarazek) Ben Taub, staff writer for the New Yorker. (@BenTaub91) Link to 47-Minute Audio and 6+-Minute Video ***** People For Sale: Where Lives Are Auctioned Off For $400 CNN “‘Eight hundred,’ says the auctioneer. ‘900 … 1,000 … 1,100 …’ Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars — the equivalent of $800. Not a used…


If Trump Wants Nuclear War, Virtually No One Can Stop Him

By Dennis Jett The Conversation (11/21/17) The general in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal, John Hyten, recently said he would resist carrying out an illegal order from the president to use those weapons. His comments echoed the ones made a few days earlier by one of his predecessors, retired Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler. At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Nov. 14, Kehler asserted that nuclear operations officers would refuse to implement an unlawful order. While the generals are no doubt military men of integrity, my four decades of experience as a diplomat and scholar of American foreign policy suggest there is…


“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” Is Essential For Understanding Trump & Our Times

    By Andrew Spitznas Patheos (10/1/17) Like a bulging medical file for a chronically hospitalized ICU patient, every week sees new additions to the folders of evidence for Donald Trump’s diseased mind and his mental unfitness for the presidency.  This past week, in the “History of Present Illness” section, it was his lack of empathy and blame shifting for the abominable response to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.  For “Past Medical History,” it was the unearthed recording of a conversation with trashmaster Howard Stern, wherein Trump appallingly described his neglect and disgust towards an elderly man bleeding on Mar-A-Lago’s floor.  (Just as…


Listen Up, Folks: Pussy Riot’s Warning About Donald Trump For The U.S. Resistance

The Last Word/MSNBC (11/7/17) Nadya Tolokonnikova from the Russian punk music and protest group Pussy Riot joins MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the similarities and differences between President Trump and Vladimir Putin and to share her advice for the American resistance. [The courageous Tolokonnikova was one of two band members that was imprisoned for two years for protesting Putin’s totalitarian rule.] Link to 8+-Minute Video


Russia Monitor: The Winds Are Shifting Across Trumpenstan

  “Remember, we have elections coming up next year. The uniform view of US intelligence is unambiguous, and if you don’t view it as an existential threat then you’re willing, I think, to sacrifice democracy.” – Steven Harper, Moyers & Company By Dan Peaks The Commoner Call (12/1/17) Dear Fellow Readers, The good news – virtually every Trump-Russia collusion poll you can find reports two-thirds of Americans believe this is serious and want a full investigation. If we assume a good part of the remaining one-third are Trump voters who still give Trump overwhelming support, who else might see democracy-at-risk…


The Humane & Affordable Luxury Of Socialized Medicine

  By Megan Day Jacobin Magazine The standard case for a single-payer health insurance system is pretty well known. Anyone can get care without courting financial ruin. Monumental personal decisions, like when to have a child or whether to leave or take a job, no longer hinge on the whims of an employer or the dysfunctions of the private insurance market. Surprise hospital bills, endless phone calls with insurance companies, juggling premiums, copays, and deductibles — all will be things of the past. The case against single-payer often boils down to a single word: rationing. When critics peddle scare stories about Canadian or…


Journalist Explains How Panama Papers Opened Up The World’s Illicit Money Networks

  Fresh Air/NPR (11/20/17) Reporter Jake Bernstein helped break the story of the Panama Papers, the leaked documents that detail the offshore tax havens of the super rich. His new book is Secrecy World. TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. Before Donald Trump was elected president, some of his business partners on Trump-branded hotels and condos and the Miss Universe pageant were oligarchs from Russia and former Soviet bloc countries who kept a lot of their money hidden in the secret world of shell companies. Those business partnerships are the subject of the final chapter of my…


Think It Can’t Happen Here? It Already Did On February 20, 1939

American Nazis at Madison Square Garden rally in 1939.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/30/17) Throughout the 1930’s and right up to the outbreak of war in Europe there was a vigorous American Nazi Bund movement that was especially active in upper Midwest states, like Wisconsin. In February of 1939 20,000 American Nazis gathered in New York City’s Madison Square garden for a rally that no doubt warmed the olive pit-sized heart of Adolf Hitler. The event was staged with all the theatrical pomp and dramatic ceremony of  a Munich rally. Take a few minutes to watch…


American Leaders Should Read Their Official Climate Science Report

  By John Abraham The Guardian (11/27/17) The United States Global Change Research Program recently released a report on the science of climate change and its causes. The report is available for anyone to read; it was prepared by top scientists, and it gives an overview of the most up to date science. If you want to understand climate change and a single document that summarizes what we know, this is your chance. This report is complete, readily understandable, and accessible. It discusses what we know, how we know it, how confident we are, and how likely certain events are to happen if…


A ‘Commoner’ Writes: Thursday Billboards For Mike McCabe & Progressive Values

I have been reading George Lakoff [“Don’t Think of an Elephant] recently. His ideas influence mine with regard to how we human social animals share our thoughts through the structures of our language. One prominent takeaway from my reading is that our work for expanding a progressive agenda of caring and concern for our neighbors is immense. We depend upon good governance to structure caring and concern for neighbors.  Good governance depends upon good elected officials to serve in good government. That’s why I work for Mike McCabe to be elected as our next governor in Wisconsin. Please come and…


With Roy Moore, Republicans Fully Embrace & Own The Ugliest Political Poster Boy, Ever

  “He totally denies it. He said it didn’t happen.” – Donald J. Trump Oh, okay, Don… By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/27/17) There is a very real chance that an accused multiple child sex offender is going to be elected to the United States Senate on a Republican ticket. A man, who, in his 30’s was banned from the local mall because of his reported predatory hitting on teenage sales girls. The behavior by the young assistant district attorney – who, obviously, should have known better – was so troubling it freaked out the community. With a…


As Republicans Scramble To Hand Massive Tax Cuts To Their Billionaire Owners, States Notify Parents Of 9 Million Children They Will Lose Their Health Insurance Unless Congress Acts

  Republicans At Work: Forget The Kids, It’s Time To Hand Out Huge Tax Cuts For Billionaires! By Colby Itkowitz & Sandhya Somashekhar The Washington Post (11/24/17) fficials in nearly a dozen states are preparing to notify families that a crucial health insurance program for low-income children is running out of money for the first time since its creation two decades ago, putting coverage for many at risk by the end of the year. Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to extend funding for CHIP, as the Children’s Health Insurance Program is known. Nearly 9 million youngsters and 370,000 pregnant…


Worse Than You Thought: New Report Details ’13 Terrible Things’ About Senate GOP Tax Scam

Americans for Tax Fairness warns that the bill gives most of the tax cuts to the richest 1%, makes 82 million middle-class families pay more in taxes, and endangers funding for public services. Common Dreams Staff (11/21/17) Amid mounting efforts to block the Republican Party’s latest attempts to cut taxes for the nation’s corporations and wealthiest families, a new report out Tuesday details 13 “terrible things” about the most recent GOP tax bill put forth in the U.S. Senate. The analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF)—a campaign of more than 425 national, state, and local groups that advocate for progressive tax…


See The Hidden White House Visitor Records Trump Doesn’t Want Americans To See

  By Derek Kravitz, Leora Smith & Al Shaw ProPublica (11/21/17) The Trump White House tried to block public access to visitor logs of five federal offices working directly for the president even though they were subject to public disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act. Property of the People, a Washington-based transparency group, successfully sued the administration to release the data and provided the documents to ProPublica. You can search them below. Related: Koch Lobbyists and Opus Dei — Who’s Dropping in on Trump Budget Czar Mick Mulvaney? | About the data | Download the data If you have information about these meetings, or who attended them, contact us…


Russia Monitor: Lies Wrapped Within Fibs, Dressed Up As Coincidence & Gift Wrapped As Denials

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (11/27/17) “Everything the Trump campaign told you about the connections between Trump and Russia was a lie.”  – Steven Harper, Moyers & Company Dear Fellow Readers, Lies, all lies. NPR reports Putin says, “those aren’t Russian forces in Crimea”. Trump says, “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.” Trump-Russia. Maybe a good analogy is a complex paint-by-numbers that is presented one cell at a time. For the longest time the exercise is filling in seemingly random blotches of color. With persistence there is a good idea…


Loose & Stupid Lips: What Trump Really Told Russian Ambassador Kislyak After Comey Was Canned & How He Harmed Nation

By Howard Blum Vanity Fair (11/22/17) On a dark night at the tail end of last winter, just a month after the inauguration of the new American president, an evening when only a sickle moon hung in the Levantine sky, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters flew low across Jordan and then, staying under the radar, veered north toward the twisting ribbon of shadows that was the Euphrates River. On board, waiting with a professional stillness as they headed into the hostile heart of Syria, were Sayeret Matkal commandos, the Jewish state’s elite counterterrorism force, along with members of the technological…


EMERGENCY! Seven Things You Can Do Right Now To Save Our Open Internet

  By Mary Alice Crim Common Dreams (11/22/17) According to reports, the FCC will vote on Dec. 14 to destroy Net Neutrality and allow for online discrimination. Time to hit play on Wake Up Everybody, a song covered by John Legend and the Roots, and sing along: “Wake up everybody no more sleepin’ in bed … the world won’t get no better if we just let it be. The world won’t get no better. We gotta change it yeah, just you and me.” After you’re finished singing, hit the phones and prepare to get in the streets. It’s time to get loud…


History They Don’t Want You To Know: Historian Peter Kuznick On American Exceptionalism & US Imperialism

Reality Asserts Itself (10/15/17) On Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, Prof. Peter Kuznick, historian and co-author with Oliver Stone of The Untold History of The United States, looks at the ideas that Americans use to justify conquest and empire. Link to 17-Minute Video To Watch The Entire 4-Part Interview With Peter Kuznick Link HERE.


Pesticide Drift – Why Monsanto’s Dicamba Is So Damaging & Dangerous

    By John R. Platt Nation of Change (11/18/17) Drift kills. Earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the pesticide dicamba – a weed killer sprayed on genetically modified, pesticide-resistant soybean and cotton crops – had drifted away from application sites and caused damage to more than 3.6 million acres of soybean crops in 25 states. It was the latest blow against the use of dicamba, which was recently banned in Arkansas and Missouri after complaints from hundreds of farmers. The pesticide, which is manufactured by Monsanto, BASF and other companies, has also been linked to increased rates of cancer in humans exposed to…


Ralph Nader: Democratic Party Stumbling & Wheezing Into The Future With Same Old Tired Cast & Crew

  By Ralph Nader Common Dreams (11/23/17) Seeking to capitalize on the Republicans’ disarray, public cruelty and Trumpitis, the Democratic Party is gearing up for the Congressional elections of 2018. Alas, party leaders are likely to enlist the same old cast and crew. The Democratic National Committee and their state imitators are raising money from the same old big donors and PACs that are complicit in the Party’s chronic history of losing so many Congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative races—not to mention the White House. The large, embattled unions are preparing to spend millions on television ads and unimaginative get-out-the-vote…



A Thanksgiving Teaching Americans Need To Hear From The Dalai Lama

Since the brutal Chinese invasion and occupation of their homeland in 1950, Tibetan Buddhists have suffered deep persecution by the Chinese government and military. John Oliver travels to India to sit down with the Dalai Lama to discuss China, resistance to the brutal conditions in Tibet, the Dalai Lama-endorsed horse milk cure for alcoholism  and – of course – compassion. Always compassion. Be sure to watch it all the way to the end. Link to 19-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


So CBS Didn’t Know There Was Something Up With Charlie Rose? They Should Have Watched Their Damn Show

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/23/17) Years ago, in a previous career as a journalist, I worked for a feisty underdog newspaper, The Albuquerque Tribune. We were the afternoon paper and with half the staff fought a scrappy daily battle against the larger, locally-owned and much larger circulation Albuquerque Journal. The dramatic implosion of television journalist Charlie Rose this past week in a tawdry sexual harassment and abuse scandal had me thinking about those days, especially when I saw how CBS News reacted to the whole disaster. Pretty much every news cycle brought fresh allegations, going back years,…


America Is About To Kill The Open Internet And Small Town America Will Pay The High Price

  By Lucy Rock The Guardian (11/21/17) It’s Saturday morning at a café near the museum in Winlock, Washington, and Michelle Conrow is eating brunch while surfing the internet on her laptop. What might seem a banal activity for many is a luxury for Michelle. The internet at her house just outside the town is primitive by today’s standards, with speeds similar to the dial-up days of the 1990s. It took three days to download Microsoft Office to her new computer. Many of the 1,300 residents in this rural area, which was once the US’s second largest egg producer, report…


Republican Rigged Tax Scheme Is Not Just A Scam, It Is A Treasonous Betrayal Of Our Shared Social Responsibility

      By Robert Reich robertreich.org (11/12/17) Selling the Trump-Republican tax plan should be awkward for an administration that has made patriotism its central theme. That’s because patriotism isn’t mostly about saluting the flag and standing during the national anthem. It’s about taking a fair share of the burden of keeping America going. But the tax plan gives American corporations a $2 trillion tax break, at a time when they’re enjoying record profits and stashing unprecedented amounts of cash in offshore tax shelters. And it gives America’s wealthiest citizens trillions more, when the richest 1 percent now hold a record 38.6 percent of the…


Russia Monitor: Will They Get To The President, Jared? We Sure As Hell Hope So

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (11/23/17) Dear Fellow Readers, “Do you think they’ll get the president?” – Kushner asked a friend, according to a person briefed on the conversation. I do. Kudos to Fresh Air this week. On Monday (11/20) the show ran How The Panama Papers Reveal Illicit Money Networks. Then on Tuesday (11/21) they aired Journalist Investigating Trump And Russia Says ‘Full Picture Is One Of Collusion’. In broad strokes these are the same story and are the key to Trump’s greatest risk with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation – his business longstanding and extensive, shadowy relationship with…


Bernie Sanders Throws His Support To Iron Worker Randy Bryce—Which Could Be Very Bad News For Paul Ryan

By Marc Daalder In These Times (11/20/17) Randy Bryce took the political world by storm this June when he released a stunning television ad announcing his campaign to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan. Bryce is running for Ryan’s seat in Wisconsin’s southeastern 1st congressional district, which straddles Milwaukee’s metropolitan border. “I decided to run for office because not everybody’s seated at the table—and it’s time to make a bigger table,” Bryce says in the ad. “If somebody falls behind, we’re so much stronger if we carry them with us. That’s the way I was raised. We look out for each…


Do-It-Yourself ‘Ghost Guns’ Bypass Background Checks & Firearm Registration

  By Brian Mann NPR (11/21/17) When Kevin Neal went on a deadly shooting rampage last week in California, he was armed with at least two semi-automatic rifles, known as “ghost guns,” that he didn’t buy in a store or from a gun dealer, authorities say. “These arms are manufactured illegally, we believe, by him at his home,” said Tehama County assistant sheriff Phil Johnston, during a news conference on Nov. 15. Neal was banned from buying guns and reportedly had to surrender a firearm because of a court order. But it turns out there is a growing industry of companies that sell gun…


Reckoning? Bill Clinton’s Sex Scandals Face Fresh Scrutiny In Post-Weinstein Era

  By Jane Clayson On Point/WBUR (11/20/17) We talk to Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic, Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard and Joe Klein of TIME Magazine about renewed attention on former President Bill Clinton’s sex scandals. Should he have resigned? Been removed from office? How is this conversation changing in the post-Weinstein era? Guests: Caitlin Flanagan, contributing editor at The Atlantic. (@CaitlinPacific) Joe Klein, political columnist, TIME magazine. (@JoeKleinTIME) Michael Warren, senior writer, The Weekly Standard. (@MichaelRWarren) Link to Story and 46-Minute Audio The Atlantic: Bill Clinton: A Reckoning — “It was a pattern of behavior; it included an alleged violent assault;…


Daily Stormer’s Lost Boy Andrew Anglin: The Making Of An All-American Nazi

  By Luke O’Brien The Atlantic (December 2017) On December 16, 2016, Tanya Gersh answered her phone and heard gunshots. Startled, she hung up. Gersh, a real-estate agent who lives in Whitefish, Montana, assumed it was a prank call. But the phone rang again. More gunshots. Again, she hung up. Another call. This time, she heard a man’s voice: “This is how we can keep the Holocaust alive,” he said. “We can bury you without touching you.” When Gersh put down the phone, her hands were shaking. She was one of only about 100 Jews in Whitefish and the surrounding Flathead…


A Commoner Writes: Anti-Trump Is Not Enough. We Need Solutions.

Some good articles [11/9]. But please give us more articles on how we analyze and organize to recover from years of disastrous neglect of our base (Let’s define and refine) and swing voters. Anti-Trump is not enough, except for our core liberal supporters. Peace, Dr. James R. Anderson ***** Editor Reply: Hey, Jim:  I’ll keep an eye peeled and please send along anything you find of interest.   Did you read the piece on the recent “Autopsy” of the Dems 2016 campaign? There is a good executive summary but I would urge you to read the entire 33-page report. It’s…


Once Again, Mike Pence Gets Tangled Up In Lies: This Time About Don Jr. & WikiLeaks

The Confessor By Sophia Tesfaye Salon (11/14/17) It’s time for another round of “Is Mike Pence actually as incompetent as he looks, or is he just a liar?” On Monday, the Atlantic’s Julia Ioffe published the details of a series of Twitter direct messages between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jr. during the presidential campaign. Despite a flat denial previously offered by then-vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, the direct message transcripts appear to show the president’s oldest son communicating with WikiLeaks between September 2016 and July 2017. So what did Mike Pence not know and when did he not know it? Are we to…


Orwellian: The Corporate Media’s Pathological Refusal To Report The Simple Truth About Trump’s Record Of Lies

“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” – George Orwell   By Reed Richardson Fairness & Accuracy in Media (11/16/17) It is a truism to say that everyone lies to someone. Since public officials entrusted with power in our democracy are no exception to this human trait—as historical research documents—it should be exceedingly acceptable to point out that all politicians, from your local city council right up to the White House, lie as well. The Framers afforded the press special constitutional protection in large part to ensure that such lies would not…


Republican Corporate Tax Cuts: A “heist” Or Way To Raise Wages?

  By David Brancaccio & Janet Nguyen Marketplace (11/17/17) A centerpiece of the planned GOP tax overhaul has been to lower the corporate tax rate, which Republicans have argued will push companies to invest more at home. Right now, the rate stands at 35 percent, with both the House and Senate calling for a reduced rate of 20 percent. The proposed tax plans would also allow companies to repatriate corporate profits at a one-time lower tax rate. Many corporations have used loopholes to avoid paying the 35 percent rate, such as keeping assets in tax havens abroad. But questions have arisen over whether companies…