After Another Demoralizing Loss To A Monstrous Candidate, Democrats Desperately Need A Reboot

By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (5/26/17) The story of Greg Gianforte, a fiend who just wiped out a Democrat in a congressional race about ten minutes after being charged with assaulting a reporter, is déjà vu all over again. How low do you have to sink to lose an election in this country? Republicans have been trying to answer that question for years. But they’ve been unable to find out, because Democrats somehow keep failing to beat them. There is now a sizable list of election results involving Republican candidates who survived seemingly unsurvivable scandals to win higher office. The…


Ralph Nader: Schooling For Myths & Citizen Powerlessness

  By Ralph Nader Nader.org  (5/16/17) All over America, school children are completing another academic year before their summer vacation. This invites the questions, what did they learn and what did they do with what they learned? I’m not talking about their test scores, nor the latest fads in rebranding education, like the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum that de-emphasizes the first two thirds of the old mantra – reading, writing and arithmetic. Rather, I am questioning what they learned about their real-world surroundings, about preparing themselves for life as citizens, workers, consumers, taxpayers, voters and members of…


Russia Monitor: Jared & Donald

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/29/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Jared Kushner Had Undisclosed Contacts With Russian Envoy So what you say? We’ve been hearing news about previously undisclosed contacts between Kushner and others for some days now; why lead with this? The Washington Post broke a story on Friday talking about a secret back channel for communication with Putin, again, so what? National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster assures us that governments do this all the time and, heck, isn’t this all about fighting terrorism? I encourage you to read the article, much of this sounds like old news –…


Worker Notes: Prevailing Wage Is One More Thread Of The American Dream Being Unraveled By The Right.

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (5/30/17) A critical piece of labor protection under assault in Republican rule is the idea of Prevailing Wages, known nationally as Davis-Bacon legislation, and creating what are described as “White Sheet” jobs. This legislation applies to construction work on public projects. During the era of an expanding economy and strong union lobbying, congress and state legislatures believed work done on public infrastructure should pay a living wage. The concept of prevailiing wages was introduced in the 1930’s when an Alabama construction firm transported workers to New York to work on a hospital project and…


See How The War Department Is Viewing The Wars Of The Future (Both Abroad & At Home)

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/29/17) While the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government are mired in the paralysis of corporate corruption and empty rhetoric, the Pentagon – the seat of power of the never ending US War Department – is moving steadily ahead, actively planning for the wars of the future – which it describes in a bluntly stunning training film – that will be fought in sprawling megacities wracked with inequality, religious and ethnic conflict, effects of climate change, resource shortages and spreading despair. The Intercept has published the War Department video detailing what…


History They Don’t Want You To Know: How U.S. Race Laws Inspired Nazis

  By David Swanson WarIsACrime.org (4/21/17) James Q. Whitman’s new book is called Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. It is understated and overdocumented, difficult to argue with. No doubt some will try. In cartoonish U.S. historical understanding, the United States is, was, and ever shall be a force for good, whereas Nazism arose in a distant, isolated land that lacked any connection to other societies. In a cartoonish reversal of that understanding that would make a good strawman for critics of this book, U.S. policies have been identical to Nazism which simply…


A ‘Commoner’ Reader Links Govt. Control Of Currency And Militarism

  Progressives claim they are against the wars and all the militarism. OK, but then why support an authoritarian control over the issuance of the thing called money? The sovereign ‘authority’ to spend and then tax is a trap by which The People are ensnared into militarism they do not want. An ancient strategy called out by David Graeber in his book “Debt: The First 5000 Years.” Simple plan really – government declares its supreme authority to issue currency and first spends it into existence on the military. Then the self proclaimed authoritarian government (same self-declared nonsense as the Divine…


We’re Not Asking For Much: Here’s Why We Progressives Can’t Stand The Current National Democratic Party

“I need you all to help us play defense,” [Tom] Perez pleaded with the crowd. “This is the most dangerous time of our lifetime.” ***** By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/25/17) The above quote was taken from the story below regarding the recent contentious California State Democratic Convention. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez made his frantic plea as he was trying to tamp down a raucous crowd giving voice to the growing discontent of the progressive wing of the party. After a primary season of DNC deceit, duplicity and double-dealing progressives are no longer buying what the…


Dem Bigwigs Just Don’t Get It: Progressive ‘Ideas Conference’ At Swanky Four Seasons? Puhleeze!

  By George Zornick The Nation (5/17/17) In the battle over ideas in the Democratic party, it’s clear the moderates aren’t getting much quarter. This was on display at the “Ideas Conference” held Tuesday by the Center for American Progress, the central policy and personnel clearinghouse for Democratic administrations. Just before the event, the think tank released “A Marshall Plan for America”—an ambitious jobs guarantee via “a large-scale, permanent program of public employment and infrastructure investment.” The racially and gender-diverse main speakers ranged from the liberal to the very liberal. Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a strong lunch keynote demanding strong…


Amid Drama Of “Constitutional Crisis,” Bernie Sanders Urges Workers To Seize Means Of Production

  By Kate Aronoff In These Times (5/12/17) The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind, politically speaking. Most of it has to do with the onslaught of chaos that followed Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey—a move political scientists agree is off the spectrum of normalcy in the history of the American presidency. Before his termination, Comey was leading an investigation into the Trump team’s alleged ties to the Russian government. Keith Ellison, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has said “we are witnessing a constitutional crisis.” Calls for impeachment are in…


Powerful Interview: Author Tom Ricks Brings The Lessons Of Churchill & Orwell Onto Today’s Stage

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/25/17) Former Washington Post Pentagon reporter Tom Ricks has been a long and careful observer of the American military machine. In the course of that work he has covered the four generals – James Mattis, secretary of defense; John Kelly, secretary of Homeland Security, H.R. McMaster, national security adviser and Michael Flynn, the national security adviser – who have been at the heart of much of the drama and scandal of the bumbling Trump administration. He has interviewed all four and, in fact was in a conference with several other journalists in Michael…


Russia Monitor: Ex-CIA Chief Confirms The Election Was Clearly Under Attack By Russian Hackers

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/25/17) Dear Fellow Readers, OUR ELECTION WAS UNDER RUSSIAN ATTACK: John Brennan, Former CIA Director: Suspicious Contacts Between Russians and Trump Campaign John Brennan was the CIA Chief for the final four years of the Obama administration. “As Russian hackers and propagandists tried to manipulate the American election last year, the C.I.A. noticed a series of suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday. “In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan described a nerve-fraying few months as American…


Civilians Killed By US In Borderless Global ‘War on Terror’ Largely Ignored

TheCommonerCall.org   By Jon Queally Common Dreams (5/23/17) Contradicting a version of events presented by the U.S. military and reported widely by the corporate press, a human rights group and a journalist in Yemen are citing witnesses who said a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs on Monday night killed multiple innocent civilians and not just “Al Qaeda militants” as the Pentagon claimed. Reprieve, a UK-based human rights group, cited witnesses from the village of Al-Jubah in Marib province, where the raid took place, and offered the names of five civilians killed as Nasser Ali Mahdi Al-Adhal; Al-Ghader Saleh Salem Al-Adhal; Saleh…


How The Alt-Right Is Using Humor And Irony To Disarm Critics & Normalize Fascism

  By Jason Wilson The Guardian (5/23/17) Earlier this month, hundreds of “alt-right” protesters occupied the rotundaat Boston Common in the name of free speech. The protest included far-right grouplets old and new – from the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. But there were no swastikas or shaved heads in sight. Instead, the protest imagery was dominated by ostensibly comedic images, mostly cribbed from forums and social media. It looked a little like an animated version of a favorite “alt-right” message board, 4chan. At least one attendee was dressed as the cartoon frog, Pepe (a character co-opted by the…


Scientists Were Right To Fear Our Federal Data Would Disappear Under Trump. It Already Has

TheCommonerCall.org By Emily Atkin The New Republic (/5/15/17) It’s a good thing all those scientists scrambled to preserve publicly funded data before Trump took office in January. AsThe Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin reported on Sunday, the Trump White House has “removed or tucked away a wide variety of information that until recently was provided to the public, limiting access, for instance, to disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses.” The information purged from federal government websites so far is wide-ranging. In its tally, the Post cites information about animal welfare abusers that has disappeared from the Agriculture…


Comedian Anthony Atamanuik’s Walks Stephen Colbert Through The Steps Of Becoming Trump. (Hint: It Has Something To Do With Being A Shih Tzu)

  The Commoner Call (5/26/17) As the star of Comedy Central’s new “The President Show” comedian Anthony Atamanuik morphs into an outrageous version of Donald Trump. During a recent visit to Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, Atamanuik demonstrated the process of becoming Donald Trump. Without the wig, make-up and requisite floor-dragging red tie, the comedian changes before your eyes; flashing in an out of character with an ease that is fascinating. The key, Atamanuik says, is body posture – to always be leaning forward, to always be off balance. One couldn’t imagine a more succinct way to sum up the Trumpian…


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…