Russia Monitor: A Never-Ending Blizzard Of Syllables & New Russiagate Leads

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/31/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Initially, Russiagate, was hard to write about. Who is Sergei Magnitsky, or Yury Chaika? Who the heck is Natalia Veselnitskaya – or as Sen Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says, Natalia “Agent XYZ” after struggling to pronounce her name at the beginning of the Thursday Senate judiciary committee meeting. More importantly, who cares? It was hard to connect dots with such broad territory, timing and blizzard of syllables. I knew enough to know that ‘adoptions of Russian orphans’ was synonymous with the Magnitsky Act, which are sanctions against Russia. I knew the sanctions…


Reality Asserts Itself – Chris Hedges: “The Tinder Is There – Something’s Coming”

“The formal mechanisms of power don’t work. We’ve undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion and it’s over. They won…. Our only hope left is to build mass movements of dissent that can wrest power back from this rapacious corporate elite that quite literally will kill us.” The Commoner Call (7/6/17) “How do you make the power elite frightened of you?” Chris Hedges poses – and answers – the question at the 21-minute mark in part two of the video. We had better learn the lesson and learn it soon. Link to 29-Minute Video Link to the Reality Asserts Itself…


Organizing Beyond Our Circle For Resistance

  By Jessie Mannisto Democratic Left / Democratic Socialists of America (7/19/17) We live in a strange new political world, with a bigot in the White House on one hand and a swelling of the democratic socialist ranks on the other. How do we chart a path forward? One way is to learn from experienced leaders on the left, many of whom are putting their experiences out there as books. One of those leaders is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose Our Revolution is half recap of his run for the White House and half treatise on the issues he championed during…


Author Joshua Green On The “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump & The Storming Of The Presidency”

  Democracy Now! (7/26/17) We turn now to look at the man many credit with helping Donald Trump become president: Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News. During the early days of the Trump presidency, many suggested Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, was pulling many of the strings in the Oval Office. We speak to journalist Joshua Green about how Bannon took his hard-right nationalist politics from the fringes of the Republican Party all the way to the White House. Green has been closely following Bannon’s career for years. In October 2015—before Bannon joined Trump’s campaign—Green dubbed Bannon the “Most…


Meet The Two Young Catholic Workers Who Secretly Sabotaged The Dakota Access Pipeline To Halt Construction

  Democracy Now! (7/28/17) Two Iowa-based Catholic Worker activists revealed they secretly carried out multiple acts of sabotage and arson in order to stop construction of the controversial $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. We speak with Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya about how they set fire to heavy machinery being used to construct the pipeline. They say their actions were inspired by the anti-nuclear Plowshares Movement which used nonviolent direct action to target nuclear warheads and military installations. Link to Story and 21-Minute Video


The ‘Devil’s Chessboard’ – Allen Dulles, The CIA & The Rise Of The Secret Corporate State

  (Editor’s Note: David Talbot’s book on the role of the CIA in transforming our government into a branch office of Wall Street interests is an important book. This article will lead you to excerpts. I recommend the book highly to Commoner Call readers. – Mark L. Taylor) By Russ Baker WhoWhatWhy (7/26/17) Exactly 70 years ago today [7/26/17], President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff — and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Sixteen years later — just one month after the Kennedy assassination…


A Commoner Writes: Give Us More Than The Typical Left vs Right Stuff

  I am sure it is no small task to compile this document every time.  But for me, and perhaps for others, it appears more often than not to be a compilation of the typical left vs. right stuff I can get from the usual sources from both sides of the political coin.  I urge you to look beyond these typical sources and also find presentations from places like The socialist party, James Corbett, Boiling Frog Post, the world of monetary reform, the P2P community, those whose work is genuinely that of restoration of The Commons, alternative communal structures like the…


CARTOON: The Democrats’ Performance As An Opposition Party? Pathetic

  By Steven W. Thrasher The Guardian (7/20/17) Six months into Donald Trump’s term, and Democratic politician’s ability to be an opposition party is, in a word, pathetic. When the poll came out saying that “Democrats stand for nothing more than opposing” Trump, I thought to myself, ‘If only that were true!’” But they can’t even do that well. When House Democratic Caucus chairman Joe Crowley was asked by the Associated Press just what his party’s core message was, he “hesitated” and then said, “That message is being worked on.” It was as tone deaf (but honest) an answer as when Mother Jones writer…


Mike McCabe’s Pathway To The Gubernatorial Campaign Began In A Muddy Clark County Cornfield

  “We gotta be there for each other and help each other in restoring a political culture we can be proud of.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/27/17) Mike McCabe grew up on a small family dairy farm along a gravel road in rural Clark County, Wisconsin. That experience formed his view of the world in many ways. As a youth he participated in two barn raisings for neighbors. One had lost their barn to fire and another to a tornado. “I saw people from miles around come to build those barns in a day,” McCabe recalls. But…


Connecting McCain’s Tragic Diagnosis To Trumpcare Isn’t Opportunism, It ‘Is the Goddamn Point’

By Jon Queally Common Dreams (7/23/17) “It isn’t in poor taste, and it isn’t political opportunism—it’s the goddamn point.” That’s what Jon Pavlovitz, a pastor from North Carolina, writes regarding the importance of talking about the recently-announced cancer diagnosis of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)—which he calls “tragic” and “horrific”—in the midst of a raging national debate over healthcare. On Thursday, McCain’s doctors confirmed the 80-year-old senator and former presidential nominee had been diagnosed with an aggressive and malignant form of brain cancer. In the wake of the news there was an outpouring of support and well-wishes from across the political spectrum aimed…


While The Uninsured Suffer & Die: 70 Top Healthcare CEOs Raked In $9.8 Billion Since 2010

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/24/17) While the Senate GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been denounced as potentially devastating to the poor, the sick, women, people of color, children, and those with pre-existing conditions, a new analysis published Monday finds that no matter what happens, the CEOs of large healthcare companies are likely to continue living lavishly. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010, the “CEOs of 70 of the largest U.S. healthcare companies cumulatively have earned $9.8 billion,” according to a report by Axios‘s Bob Herman. “The median household income in 2015 was $56,515, which the average healthcare CEO…


Russia Monitor: We Gotta’ Do Two Things Well At The Same Time

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/27/17) Dear Fellow Readers, First, a note on a domestic issue that affects everyone of us: Health Care – Urgent and Important.  Time to make calls… President Donald Trump: (202) 456-1111 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: (202) 224-2541 Speaker Paul Ryan: (202) 225-3031 Senator Ron Johnson: (202) 224-5323 Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 Governor Scott Walker: (608) 266-1212 ***** Russiagate updates Russia put forward a great effort to influence our election. There are so MANY ties between the Russians, their influence and the Trump administration and new ones keep spilling out daily. The topic is BROAD and DEEP. Health care…


Snappy-Dressing, Obsequious, Empty Suit ‘Mooch’ Is The Perfect Trump Chump

  By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (7/22/17) So much for marketing. First reviews on Wall Street hedge funder Anthony Scaramucci, the beleaguered Popular Loser’s swaggering, sweet-talking, snappy-dressing, obsequious new White House Communications Director, are less than stellar. Having decided his problem is just poor messaging – not that he’s an awful human being ineptly struggling to advance a cruel, stupid, politically regressive agenda – Drumpf, a sleazy salesman, has brought in another sleazy salesman. “The Mooch”– does he belong in “Good Fellas” or what? – is “a wealthy mini-me Manhattan bro with a wolfy smile and slick coif who will say anything and…


The Idea Of Justice At Sessions’ DOJ Is No Laughing Matter

  By John Kiriakou Reader Supported News (7/25/17) Several friends of mine were arrested recently and convicted of federal crimes. Two were sentenced, and a retrial was ordered for the other one. Their crimes? One laughed during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s confirmation hearing during a peaceful protest against the nominee. The others defended her. Seriously. Desiree Fairooz, Lenny Bianchi, and Tighe Barry, all members of Code Pink, attended the hearing in January 2017. At one point, Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Sessions’s home state of Alabama, said that Sessions’s record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and…



Meet The GOP Insider Money Man Who Created White Nationalist Richard Spencer

  By Lance Williams The Center For Investigative Journalism (7/21/17) Long before Donald Trump’s election ushered in an era of resurgent white nationalism, a disaffected Republican named William H. Regnery II was brooding about the demographic plight of white people and plotting their rescue. Like Trump more than 20 years later, Regnery, the wealthy scion of a famous GOP family, had an increasingly dark view of a changing America: As he wrote, the U.S. had become a crime-ridden society with bad schools, high taxes, an intrusive government and a penchant for political correctness that was “morphing into an intellectual tyranny.”…


Redneck Revolt: The Armed Leftwing Group That Wants To Stamp Out Fascism

  By  Cecilia Saixue Watt The Guardian (7/11/17) The cookout offered free food, a face-painting booth and a “protest sign-making station” – a pile of cut-up cardboard boxes, paint markers and rolls of packing tape. A group of neighborhood boys, each no older than 12, gathered around. They wanted signs to tape to their bicycles, so they could ride around and “tell Trump” what they thought of him. One grabbed a piece of cardboard and wrote in big letters: “TRUMP’S A BITCH.” Max Neely quickly stepped in. “I’m not sure you should use that word,” he said, his voice taking on…


Worker Notes: American Workers Don’t Need Trump To Give Them A Voice. They Need Unions.

  By David Madland Talk Poverty (11/18/16) As this election made clear, a lot of Americans are angry. They feel left behind by the economy, and isolated and unheard in our democracy.  Some of this frustration is understandable—wages have hardly budged in decades, inequality is near record levels, and money dominates our political system (and those who don’t have much of it are usually ignored by politicians).  That’s a recipe for frustration and alienation, and President-elect Donald Trump seized on it. Trump promised economic security in part by scapegoating people of color and immigrants, and his supporters took the bait….


Pony Up, Suckers: While Millions Go Without Basic Health Care, Taxpayers Pick Up The Tab For Trump Family Greed

By Brooke Seipel The Hill (4/14/17) The Secret Service has spent more than $35,000 on golf cart rentals at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort since his inauguration, CBS News reported Friday, as Trump begins another weekend in Florida. CBS News reported that it had reviewed purchase orders showing $35,185 in costs for renting golf carts during Trump’s frequent visits to Palm Beach, Fla. The president has played several rounds of golf at Trump-branded clubs, including in Florida and Virginia. Trump has come under fire for his frequent trips, which current estimates show have cost more than $20 million — nearly the amount President Obama spent on travel in…


Al Gore Breaks With Democratic Party Leadership To Support Single-Payer Healthcare

By Eleanor Sheehan Fusion (7/18/17) A day after the Republican party’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act crumbled, Al Gore spoke at a community college in Manhattan, NY, about his new climate change movie. Completely unrelated to the documentary, however, Gore expressed his support for a single-payer healthcare system. The Huffington Post first reported Gore’s comments during Tuesday’s event. Breaking with ranking Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Gore told the audience that private health insurance has failed to provide accessible coverage for all Americans. “The private sector has not shown any ability to provide…


Oh, No! Pious Pauly Ryan Doesn’t Like It When We Get Angry

  (Editor’s Note: Oh yeah, lessons in manners from the pinhead-hearted Paul Ryan who won’t even accept phone calls or meet with his constituents about their healthcare concerns. Given the circumstances, I want to be as polite about this as I can: Screw you, Pauly. – Mark L. Taylor) By Mara Pellittieri Talk Poverty (7/20/17) In the past six months, this administration has pushed hard to dismantle the health care system. It is rolling back financial and environmental regulations, undercutting public schools, and hacking away at the legal system. It has been actively hostile to immigrants, tried to defund Planned Parenthood,…


Russia Monitor: Pardon Me, Mr. Mueller … Please!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/25/17) Dear Fellow Readers, I will let Donald Trump conduct his own news roundup to start this edition; here’s one of his tweets from Saturday morning: Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS 6:35 AM – 22 Jul 2017 When Trump tweets or comments on such things he is often foretelling things to come. It’s always an indication of his focus, often described as a distraction from all…


Mobbed Up: Trump’s Dirty Russian Money Laundromat

  By Craig Unger The New Republic (7/13/17) In 1984, a Russian émigré named David Bogatin went shopping for apartments in New York City. The 38-year-old had arrived in America seven years before, with just $3 in his pocket. But for a former pilot in the Soviet Army—his specialty had been shooting down Americans over North Vietnam—he had clearly done quite well for himself. Bogatin wasn’t hunting for a place in Brighton Beach, the Brooklyn enclave known as “Little Odessa” for its large population of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Instead, he was fixated on the glitziest apartment building on…


All Hell Breaks Loose As The Siberian Tundra Thaws, Releasing Deadly Anthrax & Methane

  By Jeremy Plester The Guardian (7/20/17) Strange things have been happening in the frozen tundra of northern Siberia. Last August a boy died of anthrax in the remote Yamal Peninsula, and 20 other infected people were treated and survived. Anthrax hadn’t been seen in the region for 75 years, and it’s thought the recent outbreak followed an intense heatwave in Siberia, temperatures reaching over 30C [That is 86F. – Ed.] that melted the frozen permafrost. Long dormant spores of the highly infectious anthrax bacteria frozen in the carcass of an infected reindeer rejuvenated themselves and infected herds of reindeer and eventually local people….


Corporate Media Largely Silent On US Civilian Death Toll In Iraq

  By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (7/19/17) Earlier this week, human rights group Amnesty International issued a lengthy report accusing US-backed forces of “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes,” in Mosul, Iraq, causing the deaths of at least 3,700 civilians. Neither this report, nor the broader issue of the civilian toll in the US war against ISIS, has come close to penetrating US corporate media. The only major radio or television outlet to report on Amnesty’s claims was NPR (7/12/17). While traditional print outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, did run Reuters (7/11/17) and AP (7/12/17) articles,…


‘Democracy In Chains’ – How One Man’s Mission To Rip Up Democracy Has Become The Republican Party

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 see what was previously invisible. The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan….


PETITION: Stand With Survivors Of Sexual Assault & Against Trump Appointee Betsy De Voss

TheCommonerCall.org   By Nicole Regalado, Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets (7/22/17) Under Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education (DOE), campus sexual assault survivors are on their own. DeVos recently met with misogynistic “men’s rights groups” and rape deniers about weakening Title IX protections for campus sexual assault survivors.1 And that’s not all. DeVos has also appointed Candice Jackson – an anti-feminist activist who publicly doubts women who report sexual assault – as acting head of the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights. This is beyond appalling.2 We cannot remain silent while DeVos undermines policies that protect students from discrimination and violence, empowers…


Worker Wages Flat, But Since 1978 CEO Pay Has Soared By ‘Outrageous’ 937%

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/20/17) Wages for most American workers have remained basically stagnant for decades, but a new report published on Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the CEOs of America’s largest firms have seen their pay soar at a consistent and “outrageous” clip. Between 1978 and 2016, CEO pay rose by 937 percent, EPI’s Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder found. By contrast, the typical worker saw “painfully slow” compensation growth—11.2 percent over the same period. “We could curtail the explosive growth in CEO pay without doing any harm to the economy.” Mishel and Schieder also note…


Thoreau’s Call For Radical Empathy For All Other Beings Rings True Now More Than Ever

“If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849. ***** 200 Years After His Birth,…


No More Namby-Pamby! Progressive Groups Push Democrats To Back #PeoplesPlatform

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/18/17) Following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s concession on Monday night that Trumpcare is likely dead, progressive groups that played an integral role in rallying opposition to the legislation are now looking to go on the offensive. On Tuesday, dozens of organizations—including Our Revolution, National Nurses United, and Fight for 15—announced the launch of a new initiative titled “The Summer for Progress,” during which activists across the country will pressure Democratic lawmakers to embrace “a bold, progressive agenda.” This agenda, called the People’s Platform, includes legislation that would make public colleges tuition free, establish automatic voter registration,…


The Trump Administration Turns Away From Concerns About Human Rights

    Tom Ashcroft On Point / WBUR 97/17/17) With the death of China’s Nobel Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo, we look at human rights under the Trump administration. China’s only Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, died in state custody last week. He was China’s highest-profile political dissident. He died silenced. Then he was cremated and his ashes dropped at sea, leaving no place for admirers to rally. The White House said President Trump was “deeply saddened,” but the same day Trump called Xi Jinping a “great leader” devoted to doing what’s right for China. This hour On Point: Human…


When Religion Rules A Government: Diary Of A Pakistani Atheist

  By Mobeen Azhar BBC (7/14/17) In March 2017, a High Court Judge in Pakistan made the dramatic declaration that “blasphemers are terrorists.” The declaration is just one part of a growing national campaign to make disbelief socially, publicly and morally not just unacceptable, but one that allows Pakistani people the right to attack those who doubt the importance of Islam. Websites offer a satirical take on Islam and challenge the notion that Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, but the government replied with adverts in national newspapers and text messages to all Pakistanis, urging them to report those who express their online…


Duopoly: The Greatest Story Too Rarely Told – America Is Now A Corrupt Oligarchy

  By John Atcheson Common Dreams (7/13/17) Enough.  It’s time to quit being “balanced” or “non-partisan” or whatever other euphemism the elite establishment media uses to justify ignoring the two biggest elephants in our national living room. After Trump was elected there was a lot of concern about allowing his idiocy to become the “new normal.” But in truth, we’ve been accepting an unacceptable level of insanity in our national body politic for decades now. Elephant Number One—and it’s a huge honking beast squatting squarely on our ottoman—is the fact that the Republican Party has come unhinged and it’s dragging…


Russia Monitor: Turns Out What Was Fake Wasn’t The News But All The Trump Denials

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/20/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Adam Schiff (D-CA) and senior Dem member of the House Intelligence committee summarizes the Trump-Russia history this way: Evolution of a Defense: No meetings w/ Russians Yes, meetings No collusion We tried to It’s not illegal Everybody does it I didn’t know. And that’s where we are. Trump and Donald Jr. denials no longer sell so well. I will offer a bit of breaking news then let the headlines tell the story and paint the picture of where we now stand with Trump-Russia. F.B.I. Nominee Answers Questions on Donald…


Warping Reality: Computer Scientists Demonstrate The Potential For Whole New Level Of Fake News Video

By Aarti Shahani NPR (7/14/17) An update from the Wild Wild West of fake news technologies: A team of computer scientists have figured out how to make words come out of the mouth of former President Barack Obama — on video — by using artificial intelligence. If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the last year, there’s a good chance you’ve come across fake news articles. Well, soon enough we may see a wellspring of fake news videos. As a team out of the University of Washington explains in a new paper entitled “Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip Sync from…


A Million Plastic Bottles Per Minute Enter Planet’s Waste Stream

  Dr. Mercola Mercola.com (7/18/17) The immense waste that comes along with one-time-use plastic products is clearly evident, yet despite the growing amount of plastic waste filling up our oceans, coastlines and landfills, their usage continues. The number of plastic bottles alone is staggering, with data obtained by The Guardian suggesting 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide. Worse still, this is expected to increase by 20 percent by 2021 and reach more than half a trillion sold every year by 2020.1 Most of this waste comes from the seemingly insatiable thirst for bottled water, which exists even in…


Hillary Clinton’s Hawkishness May Have Cost Her The Election

TheCommonerCall.org By Branko Marcetic In These Times (7/12/17) The Democratic Party remains embroiled in a tug-of-war over its future direction. Critics on the left point to the party’s recent losses at all levels of government as evidence that Democrats must embrace a commitment to economic populism in order to regain political power. But there might be more to it than that. A new study published by researchers from Boston University and the University of Minnesota Law School suggests it’s not just economic policies Democrats need to start reconsidering—their foreign policy also needs an overhaul. The takeaway is clear: Adopting a more robust…


What Went Wrong With The F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?

Problem plagued F-35 boondoggle. (Defense Dept. photo.) By Michael P. Hughes The Conversation (6/13/17) The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current – and aging – aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those…


A Commoner Writes: Stop Monetary Illiteracy!!

  Oligarchy works by means of the system called money that is run by banks.  It is a fools errand to challenge the system if one does not challenge the very notion that bank debt can function as money or that government can function for The People when it has already handed its money creation authority to banks. (See Can You Say ‘Oligarchy’? 75 Percent Of Americans Are Wise To The Con & Know The Govt. Only Serves The Wealthy. 7/17) “Capital must protect itself in every possible way, both by combination and legislation. Debts must be collected, mortgages foreclosed as…


Naomi Klein: The Most Dangerous Thing Democrats Can Do Right Now Is Moderate

Say No To Centrism: Time To Go Bold, Dems! By Isaac Chotiner Slate (7/12/17) In her new book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, the author and activist Naomi Klein identifies the election of our current president as the result of a number of trends in American society. Klein has long written about what she perceives to be the devastating effects of globalization and American militarism; here she presents Trump as part of a culture obsessed with branding, where honesty is irrelevant and winning is what counts. She partially blames neoliberal economics and the glorification…