This Billionaire Mega-Donor Gets It: The Democrats Need To Push Progressive Agenda

Time’s awasting, Dems!   By  Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/17/17) As Democrats scramble to form a coherent and inspiring message for the 2018 congressional elections in the face of a historically unpopular president, billionaire Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer argued in a recent interview that they should look no further than the platform of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). While he acknowledged it is “much too early to be talking about 2020,” Steyer nonetheless insisted that Sanders’s ambitious ideas for tackling the various crises facing the United States and the world—from climate change to staggering inequality to a dysfunctional healthcare system—offer the Democrats a blueprint for victory. “When people say Bernie is…


What Should Democrats Do Now? Follow Paul Ryan’s Mustachioed Ironworker Challenger’s Message

  By Ross Barkin The Guardian (7/31/17) Randy Bryce naturally seemed a little out of place when I met him in New York last week. He was visiting, like many aspiring politicians do, to raise cash. An ironworker from Wisconsin, he is middle America personified – a man who works with his hands and has a drooping moustache. His collar is quite blue. “The message is just a really simple one,” Bryce told me, sipping coffee in a small, crowded diner a block from Madison Square Garden. “It’s ‘I didn’t invent lighting, I didn’t invent the internet’ but just a simple…


Full Transcript Of Wall Street Journal Interview With Trump Leaked

  By Josh Dawsey & Hadas Gold Politico (8/1/17) President Donald Trump called his son-in-law a “good boy” while thanking Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker for a positive editorial about Jared Kushner and said the leader of the Boy Scouts told him his jamboree speech was “the greatest speech ever made to them.” The comments, made to The Wall Street Journal and obtained in a transcript by POLITICO, show Trump holding forth at length with Baker and engaging in a familiar back and forth. Baker, according to the transcript, asked many of the questions and took the lead byline…


Thousands Died In Opioid Crisis While Trump Commission Needlessly Dawdled

  By David Dayen The Intercept (8/1/17) THE PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis called on President Trump Monday [7/31] to declare a public health emergency over the epidemic of overdose deaths nationwide. This urgency came in an interim report by the commission that was itself more than a month late. Per Trump’s executive order establishing the commission, interim recommendations were due June 27, with a final report October 1. The bipartisan commission, led by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, delayed the report twice before finally issuing it July 31. On a conference call, Christie cited 8,000 public comments as the “driver…


Mark Shields: When The Chickenhawks Flock They Are Clucking About Only Putting Your Kid At Risk

  “It is just a helluva a lot easier to talk tough when it isn’t your son, or your daughter who’s in harms way.”   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/3/17) In doing some other research I stumbled across a few comments by PBS commentator Mark Shields during a conversation with David Brooks of the New York Times and moderator Jeff Greenfield during the midst of the 2016 campaign that are worth noting. Shields is one of the old lions of the media and his comments at the very tail end of the broadcast are well worth considering…


Trump’s New Wall Street-Bred FBI Director: “A good example of state capture by the banking lobby.”

  Democracy Now! (8/2/17) The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Christopher Wray as the next director of the FBI, but in an unprecedented move, five senators voted against his nomination. Before yesterday, only one senator had ever voted against an FBI nominee. In addition, three senators abstained from the vote. Senator Ron Wyden, who voted against Wray’s confirmation, said he did so because of Wray’s position on government surveillance. “In his public and private statements, Chris Wray failed to oppose government backdoors into Americans’ personal devices, or to acknowledge the facts about encryption. That it isn’t about liberty versus security, it’s about more security…


VIDEO: Tennessee Deputies Tortured 19-Year-Old Inmate With Tasers While He Was Strapped Helplessly To A Chair

“I’ll keep on doing it until I run out of batteries!” – Cheatham County Torturer (Editor’s Note: History shows over and over again that the weapons and cruelty of empire are always brought home to subdue and destroy the citizens who protest their impoverishment for empire. What happens to one of us can happen to all, and not just in Cheat-ham County, Tennessee. – Mark L. Taylor) By Bob Brigham The Raw Story (8/1/17) Three Cheatham County Sheriff’s deputies have been placed on administrative leave after multiple videos emerged showing the officers using tasers to torture an 18-year-old inmate. “Jordan…


Internet Freeze Out Begins: New Google Algorithm Restricts Access To Left-Wing, Progressive Web Sites

By Andre Damon and Niles Niemuth World Socialist Web Site (7/27/17) In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing “fake news,” the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly. On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called “low-quality” information such as “conspiracy theories” and “fake news.” The company said in a blog post that the central purpose of the change to its search algorithm…


Freak Out & Carry On: From The Mooch To Orville Babcock: Why Presidential Advisers Matter

  By Katharine Brewer Freak Out & Carry On (7/27/17) This week on Freak Out And Carry On, Ron Suskind and Heather Cox Richardson speak with Olivier Knox, Chief Washington Correspondent for Yahoo! News. They look at presidential advisers, past and present, and how they have influenced politics and policy. From President Ulysses S. Grant’s loyalty to his secretary, Orville Babcock, to the rise of Anthony Scaramucci in the Trump White House, advisers and aides have shaped presidencies, for better and for worse. Excerpts Ron Suskind: Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the first senator to endorse Donald Trump when Trump needed it desperately….


As American Injustice Climbs: States Conspire To Break & Muzzle Dissent

TheCommonerCall.org   By Chip Gibbons Jacobin (7/20/17) On January 20, 2017, as Donald Trump assumed the presidency after his surprise victory months before, many were anxious about what lay ahead. Throughout his campaign the reality TV star turned presidential contender had repeatedly shown his deep-seated authoritarian tendencies. Before, during, and after Trump was sworn in, on the streets of Washington DC, authoritarianism was on full display. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) deployed flash grenades, tear gas, and “stingers” against protesters. Early in the day the MPD engaged in kettling, an intimidation tactic in which police pen in everyone in a…


Cautionary Lesson: How The Nazis Destroyed The First Gay Rights Movement

  By John Broich The Conversation (7/4/17) Very recently, Germany’s Cabinet approved a bill that will expunge the convictions of tens of thousands of German men for “homosexual acts” under that country’s anti-gay law known as “Paragraph 175.” That law dates back to 1871, when modern Germany’s first legal code was created. It was repealed in 1994. But there was a serious movement to repeal the law in 1929 as part of a wider LGBTQ rights movement. That was just before the Nazis came to power, magnified the anti-gay law, then sought to annihilate gay and transgender Europeans. The story of how…


It’s Time For The Compassionate Adults In This Nation To Talk Seriously About Medicare For All

A system designed to fail. By Dr. Carol Paris Common Dreams (7/28/17) Hundreds of people slept overnight in cars, or camped for days in a field. They told storiesof yanking out their own teeth with pliers, of reusing insulin syringes until they broke in their arm, of chronic pain so debilitating they could hardly care for their own children. At daybreak, they lined up for several more hours outside a white tent, waiting for their chance to visit a doctor. For many, this was the first health care provider they’ve seen in years. Is this a place torn by war, famine…


Timidity & Resistance To Bold Change: The Democrats’ New ‘Better Deal’ Agenda Is Everything That’s Wrong With The Party

  By Miles Kampf-Lassin In These Times (7/27/17) The story of the Democratic Party in 2017 has been one of timidity and stubborn resistance to real change. In the immediate aftermath of the party’s preferred candidate facing a humiliating defeat in last year’s presidential election, questions swirled over what direction the party would take to respond to the new political reality. With Democrats at their weakest position in decades, having lost over 1,000 seats in states and Congress over the previous eight years, it appeared that a drastic shift in how the party operated was in store. And the party…


VIDEO: Thomas Frank Lays Out How The Democrats From Bill Clinton On Handed America Over To The Republicans

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/31/17) Thomas Frank gives a free-wheeling talk on the recent history and current state of the Democratic Party. He also has a good conversation with the audience that really gives an understanding of how the bumbling democrats keep missing the message and, through that, continue their losing ways. The interview was from the middle of the 2016 election tornado before the primaries sealed America’s fate. If the democratic party is ever going to return to power the lessons Frank outlines must not only be learned but acted on in a way to…


The Real Heroes: For Defeat Of Senate Health Hit Job, Thank Disability Rights Activists, Not John McCain

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/28/17) Following the Senate’s vote on Friday that dealt a crushing blow to the GOP’s hopes of repealing Obamacare, major media outlets, Democratic lawmakers, and high-profile pundits singled out Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) vote against the so-called “skinny repeal” measure as the decisive factor in its downfall. But many are objecting strongly to this narrative: It is disability rights activists across the country who deserve credit, commentators argued, not a lone senator. “If you want to thank someone” for Trumpcare’s demise, wrote freelance journalist Paul Blest, “thank ADAPT and…constituents who raised hell about this. Don’t praise power.” “Folks praising Murkowski, Collins,…


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….