Reality Check: Don’t Count On Nixon’s Watergate Precedent To Help Dump Trump

  By Neal Gabler Bill Moyers & Company (5/17/17) “Our Constitution works.” So declared newly installed President Gerald Ford in 1974 after Richard Nixon’s resignation. “Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men.” Oh glory be! All’s well that ends well. That has been the conventional wisdom ever since. Nixon was checked by checks and balanced by balances. The republic was saved, proving, in the words not only of Ford but of just about everyone, that the system does indeed work. Except for one thing: It didn’t. In fact, the real lesson of Watergate is not…


Russia Monitor: Which Side Are You On?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/22/17) Dear Fellow Readers, First, quick review of the most significant news stories from the last few days before allowing for reflection. Russia Probe Reaches Current White House Official; Probe Expected To Accelerate In Coming Weeks Most significant was the story published by the Washington Post on 5/19/17 saying: “The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the…


 A Cornered Trump Is A Grave Threat To The Nation

  By Sasha Abramsky The Nation (5/19/17) With a cascade of leaks, a war with the FBI, and the announcement of the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, Donald Trump’s grotesque presidency now hangs by a thread. By the hour, it seems, the possibility of impeachment, of him being declared incompetent to govern—or, at the very least, of his own party bringing irresistible pressure on him to resign—grows. We have to assume that he will try to manufacture—or exacerbate—international crises as a way of rallying on-the-fencers to his side. And as that pressure grows, so balloons…


Worker Notes: Cushy Corporate ‘Right To Mooch’ Deals Leave All Of Us Poorer & Less Secure

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (5/22/17) Wisconsin has joined the ranks of states whose legislatures are deciding that state statutes protecting the well being of blue collar people are terrible cases of the government picking winners and losers. Our elected officials are ignoring a “Business 101” principle that a well educated and fully employed working/middle class actually drives a more productive economy than one based on trickle-down-from-the-billionaires. The need for a vibrant consumer base has been lost behind rhetoric that papers over the hidden rip-offs of dodgy private sector benefits – like 401(k)’s, Health Savings Accounts, etc – while championing…


The Right Is Worried As Left Accurately Rebrands Environmental ‘Regulations’ As Essential Environmental ‘PROTECTIONS’

  (Editor’s Note: This is a fascinating column in that it shows the radical libertarian right is rattled that progressives are finally beginning to grasp the importance of linguistic framing. They are rattled because they have been using it for 40 years to devastating effect. There is an emotional difference between “regulation” and “protection”. The first is propaganda and the second, in the terms of the impact on daily life, is the truth. – Mark L. Taylor) By Ronald Bailey Reason (5/12/17) “Trump signs order at the EPA to dismantle environmental protections,” declares a March 28 headline in The Washington…


Roger Ailes: Good Riddance To America’s Number One Hate Propagandist

By Matt Taibbi Roling Stonr (5/18/17) On the Internet today you will find thousands, perhaps even millions, of people gloating about the death of elephantine Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The happy face emojis are getting a workout on Twitter, which is also bursting with biting one-liners. When I mentioned to one of my relatives that I was writing about the death of Ailes, the response was, “Say that you hope he’s reborn as a woman in Saudi Arabia.” Ailes has no one but his fast-stiffening self to blame for this treatment. He is on the short list of people…


Save Your Money For Real Reform: Hillary Clinton’s ‘Onward” Group Just Another Corporate Dem Scam

  By Rob Hunter The Guardian (5/18/17) Onward Together, Hillary Clinton’s new political organization, seeks to capitalise upon widespread opposition to the Trump administration. In announcing the group on Monday, Clinton described a vision of a clearing house for coordinating millions of people in protests, fundraising, and campaigning. In other words, it’s the latest attempt to corral mass direct action into avenues that are acceptable to the Democratic party. But Onward Together threatens to dampen efforts at building solidarity and counter-power nationwide. Partially that’s because of the likelihood the organisation will exert rightward ideological pressure on wayward Democratic candidates. Mainly,…


Melting KKK Hate Through Personal Connection, Kindness & Compassion

It’s pretty tough to see beyond the vitriol and visceral nastiness of KKK racism and hate. This episode of the WNYC public radio Snap Judgment podcast three very personal journeys from hate to acceptance and understanding are profiled. Change is made by individuals taking the risk and the extra step to reach out to hate with genuine curiosity, compassion and acceptance of the wounded individual wrapped beneath all the blind darkness. These stories are reason for hope on at least an individual basis. Hosted by Glynn Washington, Snap Judgment is the smoking-hot show electrifying audiences nationwide. Snap’s “Storytelling, with a…


Dear FCC: We See Through Your Plan To Roll Back Net Neutrality

TheCommonerCall.org   By Corynne McSherry Common Dreams (5/19/17) Pretty much everyone says they are in favor of net neutrality–the idea that service providers shouldn’t engage in data discrimination, but should instead remain neutral in how they treat the content that flows over their networks. But actions speak louder than words, and today’s action by the FCC speaks volumes. After weeks of hand-waving and an aggressive misinformation campaign by major telecom companies, the FCC has taken the first concrete step toward dismantling the net neutrality protections it adopted two years ago. Specifically, the FCC is proposing a rule that would reclassify broadband…


A Commoner’s Concern About US Blundering On Jerusalem Troubling

TheCommonerCall.org   Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations has unilaterally started making policy for the US that breaks new ground and accelerates the chances for further strife in the region. Her call for the US to acknowledge the most reactionary possibilities for dividing disputed land are also fundamental Christian code phrases for the opening stages of Armageddon. She is mixing her religious beliefs with her duties as an unelected government official in a dangerous way, demonstrating a desire to see the fulfillment of prophecies that include the complete destruction of our world so the “chosen” can ascend to…


Bragging About Our Intel To Russia? Trump Is Too Needy To Be President

  By Richard Wolffe The Guardian (5/16/17) There is nothing Donald Trump loves more than a great superlative. He builds the tallest hotels. He is the most successful businessman. His inaugural crowds were the biggest ever. None of these claims are remotely true, no matter how exaggerated the adjective nor how emphatic the delivery. But after his alleged blabbing of highly classified intelligence to the Russians, Trump can now lay claim to the greatest superlative of any sitting president: he is the biggest bozo of them all. Bigger than the Bush who thought invading Iraq would be easy. Bigger than…


In 60 Seconds, A ‘Daily Show’ Guest Brilliantly Exposed The Danger Of ‘Post-Truth’

  By Maxwell Strachan The HuffPost (5/17/17) Trevor Noah had historian Timothy Snyder on to “The Daily Show” this week to discuss his book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Snyder is a Yale professor who specializes in Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. He has spent a lifetime trying to understand how fascism and authoritarianism transform from an idea into a reality. He has written book after book breaking down the patterns and signs to look for. “What post-truth does is it paves the way for regime change.” So when Snyder had the stage on “The Daily Show” this week,…


Russia Monitor: Trump Loses In Trump vs Trump Matchup

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/18/17) Dear Fellow Readers, President Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. I have not witnessed a more one-sided political night short of election results in my lifetime. Look at the front page of the NY Times or the Washington Post – you may never see any developing this laid out this starkly again. Remember Wednesday, May 17, 2017 … A devastating night for Trump, everyone in or near the White House and the GOP. What rises from the ashes – because that is the discussion we will now all be having – is unknown….


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

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


Trump’s Generous Gift To America

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


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

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


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

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


A Commoner Writes: Enough With The Whiny Russia Baloney

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Our Bawling Little 6 Year-Old Baby Boy President

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


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

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


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

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


AUDIO: Al Letson – Trump Adviser Sebastian Gorka On America

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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



Why Progressives Need A Long-term Strategy Built On Values

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


History Will Remember These 217 House Republicans For Their Casual Inhumanity

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