Fair Warning: 20 Top Political Scientists Gathered To Discuss The State & Future Of Our Democracy. They’re Scared.

“If current trends continue for another 20 or 30 years, democracy will be toast.”   By Sean Illing Vox (10/13/17) Is American democracy in decline? Should we be worried? On October 6, some of America’s top political scientists gathered at Yale University to answer these questions. And nearly everyone agreed: American democracy is eroding on multiple fronts — socially, culturally, and economically. The scholars pointed to breakdowns in social cohesion (meaning citizens are more fragmented than ever), the rise of tribalism, the erosion of democratic norms such as a commitment to rule of law, and a loss of faith in…


The Question For Democrats: Should They Be True To Their Progressive Roots, Or Owned By Wall Street?

Identity crisis… By Harvey J. Kaye Common Dreams (10/24/17) Halloween is coming and fear mongering seems to be the order of the day — not just on the part of Republicans, but apparently no less so on the part of “centrist” and conservative Democrats who are expressing growing anxiety about offending big donors who see politics not as the pursuit of justice but as the pursuit of their interests. Douglas Schoen, said to have been Bill Clinton’s favorite pollster during his presidency, has taken to the op-ed page of The New York Times to warn center-right party members and friends that ‘all Hell will…


History Dem Party Rulers Don’t Want You To Know: Today’s Progressives Need To Know The Courage Of Visionary Henry A. Wallace

  “The greatest remedy for fear is to stand up and fight for your rights.”  – Henry A. Wallace By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/26/17) In one of the most tragic pivot points in American – and world – history, Henry A. Wallace, FDR’s strong and visionary progressive vice president from 1941-1944 was elbowed aside in 1948 by the party’s corporate wing in favor of machine pol Harry S. Truman. What the democratic party Clinton/Obama establishment did to Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election was a replay of the nightmarish duplicity and mugged dreams and betrayed promise of 1948….


Reckless Cartoonist Tempts Damnation & The Wrath Of God…

Evangelical Scam Artist Little Jimmy Bakker Says We Will Answer To God One Day Because We ‘Made Fun Of Jim Bakker All Those Years’ By Kyle Mantyla Right Wing Watch (10/16/17) End Times prepper pastor Jim Bakker used his television program on Friday to send a message to those who monitor or mock him that they will one day have to answer to God for doing so. Saying that he is sick of people mocking him because some of his prophetic warnings have not yet come true, Bakker bellowed that “when God says something to you, you don’t always know the exact time…


Puerto Rico: We Fully Own The Whirlwind Of Problems Capitalism Has Brought To Our World

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (10/26/17) The failure to treat our colony Puerto Rico as we treated suburban Houston is no accident and it brings sharply to focus how American Exceptionalism makes exceptions to those not white-skinned and upper class. Following the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, where working poor blacks were hit hardest by poor regional planning and investment, the sequel in the Caribbean shows how ruthless capitalists can be to those low on their ladder. The “external costs” of resource exploitation of the planet include the increasingly powerful storms that run wild over intentionally ruined mangrove swamps…


Daily Dose: Why Rational Arguments, Charts n’ Facts Still Won’t Win Elections

By Scott Wittkopf Frame4Future.com (10/24/17) All it takes to see a deeply flawed political strategy in practice is look at any recent press release from most Democratic candidates for governor, in this case, Andy Gronik: “We already know that even under the rosiest projections taxpayers won’t begin to be repaid from Foxconn for 25 years. If Scott Walker and WEDC make a $3 billion mistake with Foxconn, it will be even longer before the taxpayers are made whole. That’s just a bad deal for the taxpayers and will serve as an anchor around the neck of our state for years to come.” First,…


Russia Monitor – Russia’s Most Successful Export: America’s New ‘Normal’

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (10/25/17) Dear Fellow Readers, There is one thing you can count on in US politics right now – it is predictably unpredictable. On second thought, that is too optimistic. What’s predictable is that when the dust of the latest meaningless dust-up settles we’re going to get screwed again. Maybe a little… likely a lot. We dodged a fusillade with health care when the GOP Congress motivated by ideology and money couldn’t agree to agree with themselves on how to screw us best. Much like health care we have no idea what rewriting the…


Warning Of ‘Ecological Armageddon’ After Dramatic Plunge In Insect Numbers

  By Damian Carrington The Guardian (10/18/17) The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society. The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for…


European Parliament Votes To Ban Roundup

    Center for Biological Diversity (10/24/17) STRASBOURG, France – The European Parliament, representing 28 countries and more than 500 million people, voted today [10/24] in support of phasing out glyphosate over the next five years and immediately banning its use in households. “The European Parliament has correctly acknowledged the magnitude of glyphosate’s risks,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Now European regulators charged with protecting human health and the environment must follow the parliament’s brave leadership and phase out the gross overuse of glyphosate.” The vote by the European Parliament, which is made…


Cindy Sheehan: Bush Was No Better Than Trump When Her Son Died In Iraq

  By Travis Gettys The Raw Story (10/24/17) A Gold Star mother who famously protested former President George W. Bush said he was “no better” than President Donald Trump. Cindy Sheehan, who became an anti-war activist after her son, Casey Sheehan, was killed in 2004 while fighting in the Iraq War, told The Daily Beast that the former president offered no comfort to her grief. “Where is the movement to oppose U.S. wars, instead of liberal handwringing over botched messages of condolence?” “I think that in 2017 presidents having to comfort grieving families who had loved ones killed in war is barbaric,…


Longing To Dump Trump? Better Consider The Real Threat Of A President Pence

  (Editor’s Note: This is a superb profile and background history on who could well be the next president of the United States. One aspect that is not dealt with in detail is Pence’s extremist Christian Dominionist ideology – basically, an American version of rigid Taliban-like Christian fundamentalist orthodoxy. – Mark L. Taylor) By Jane Mayer The New Yorker (10/23/17) On September 14th, the right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, who last year published a book titled “In Trump We Trust,” expressed what a growing number of Americans, including conservatives, have been feeling since the 2016 election. The previous day, President Trump had dined with…


The GOP Robbing Hoods Of The State Legislature Have Slammed The Doors Of Open Government Shut

Like a coven of blood sucking vampires, our state representatives are afraid of sunshine’s truth revealing power. What, a citizen might wonder, goes wrong when lobbyists and our representatives are hiding in the darkness away from the view of the electorate? By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call (10/23/17)   Wisconsin Open Meetings Law Wis. Stat. § 19.81 (2016) .  Declaration of policy(1) In recognition of the fact that a representative government of the American type is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of this state that the public is entitled to the fullest and…


Mother Jones Magazine Investigation: Rigged – How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin To Trump

And possibly handed him the whole election. By Ari Berman Mother Jones (November/December 2017) You can’t say Andrea Anthony didn’t try. A 37-year-old African American woman with an infectious smile, Anthony had voted in every major election since she was 18. On November 8, 2016, she went to the Clinton Rose Senior Center, her polling site on the predominantly black north side of Milwaukee, to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. “Voting is important to me because I know I have a little, teeny, tiny voice, but that is a way for it to be heard,” she said. “Even though it’s…


Corruption Protector! GOP State Rep. Scott Allen Sides With Crony Capitalists To Silence Citizens

  By Jim Crist Wisconsin United To Amend (10/19/17) Nineteen states have called for a Constitutional amendment that would overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision. Representative Scott Allen won’t even allow a public hearing on a resolution that would let Wisconsinites vote on this core issue of our time. While many politicians may like unlimited and often undisclosed campaign contributions, the rest of America is disgusted by it. Last week, Allen refused a request to have AJR 53 placed on the public hearing agenda, calling the advisory referendum, “politics at its worst”. Wisconsin law provides for advisory referendums. There was a statewide referendum in 2006 pertaining to the death penalty. “Politics at its worst”……


ACTION ALERT – Look Who Wants To Come To Dinner: Hog Producer Targeting Driftless Water Sources

Public Meeting This Tuesday, Oct. 24, To Address Threat From Iowa Hog Producer. A Commoner Call reader wrote in with the following: I would encourage my friends and neighbors to come to Westby for this important meeting next week. Just because you might not be close enough to the proposed hog slaughter plant in between Westby in Viroqua doesn’t mean you won’t be impacted. They are going to need thousands of sows produce enough pork to feed this operation. Because hogs in confinement are very vulnerable to disease they like to spread these out. So they will be within a short…


DNC Responds To Its Bungling Ineptitude By Purging Progressive Reformers & Doubling Down On Failed Corporate Clintonism

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (10/19/17) Sparking concerns that party leadership is making the same mistakes that have rendered them increasingly powerless and without an inspiring vision, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is reportedly carrying out a massive staff shake-up in which veteran progressives are being purged and “left out in the cold.” “This doesn’t bring the party together, it deepens the divide at a time we need all hands on deck,” James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and prominent Sanders supporter who was ousted from the DNC Executive Committee, wrote on Twitter Thursday. According to Alex Seitz-Wald of NBC News,…


Dems Are Well On The Way To Blowing It, Again

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (10/23/17) The recent purge of progressive dems from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) would be shocking if the DNC and Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) were truly parties of the people; forces building a better world and safe harbors for those working in the name of basic common sense, humanity, or sustainability. But forgetaboutit. The DNC has a long, sordid history of selling out the base it pretends it has, but the statements of then DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wassermann-Schultz during the last presidential race were a transparent indictment of duplicity of a party…


Russia Monitor: Golly-Gee-Willikers, Where To Next, Comrade?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (10/23/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump-Russia. What happened? What needs to happen now? Trump continues to deny Russian involvement in aiding and abetting his election and may well be the single person in this administration clinging to that notion. To do otherwise would challenge his self-imagined mythical victory mandate. Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III blandly acknowledges that no steps have been taken to prevent the ongoing Russian influence in our politics. He admits this with a golly-gee-willikers, possum-in-the-headlight look of vacant-minded innocence as if he can’t imagine who should be doing something; as if…


On The Way To An American Gestapo? Under Trump, Brags Mike Pompeo, CIA Will Be ‘Much More Vicious Agency’

  By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (10/20/17) According to Mike Pompeo, the agency he leads—which has supported coups across the globe, engaged in targeted killings, and led a detention and torture program—has not been nasty enough. Speaking Thursday at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies forum, the CIA director, who has signaled suport for torture, said “we’ve now laid out a strategy for how we’re going to execute our strategy with incredible vigor. We’re going to become a much more vicious agency in ensuring that we are delivering this work. We are going to go to the hardest places with some of the hardest…


A Measure Of Justice: Federal Judge Refuses To Erase Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Conviction

  By Andrew Emett Nation of Change (10/21/17) Despite receiving a presidential pardon this summer after repeatedly committing civil rights violations, former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio recently lost a bid to wipe out his criminal conviction. Arpaio believed his conviction should have been erased because he had planned to appeal the court’s decision before President Donald Trump intervened on his behalf. Notorious for physically abusing inmates, launching an investigation into Obama’s birth certificate, and running a self-proclaimed concentration camp named “Tent City,” Arpaio abused his authority by targeting Hispanics who had not committed a crime and arresting them on suspicion…


Who Profits Off The Opioid Crisis? Meet The Secretive Sackler Family Making Billions From OxyContin Deaths

Democracy Now! (10/19/17) This week, President Donald Trump’s nominee for drug czar, Republican Congressmember Tom Marino, had to withdraw from consideration after a Washington Post/”60 Minutes investigation found he led a drug industry-backed effort to pass a law that weakened the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to crack down on addictive opioids. Meanwhile, calls are growing to look at the major pharmaceutical companies that have fueled the opioid crisis. A new investigation by Esquire magazine reveals how the secretive Sackler family, owners of the company that invented OxyContin, downplayed the risks of addiction and exploited doctors’ confusion over the drug’s strength….


‘Stop Fawning’: Critics Say McCain’s ‘Jingoistic Revisionism’ Nothing To Applaud

    By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (10/17/17) Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered his “Liberty Medal” acceptance speech at the National Constitution Center Monday night, and his remarks were immediately met with “fawning” praise by former presidents, current elected officials, and cable news talking heads. But critics were quick to warn that such adulation risks further normalizing American interventionism and endless war—both of which McCain has consistently and enthusiastically supported—in the name of rejecting what the Arizona senator labeled “spurious nationalism.” “McCain’s speech was designed to flatter Americans with self-glorifying tales of exceptionalism and nobility. And of course, it worked,” Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept, wrote on Twitter Tuesday….


CARTOON: Trump Health Officials Just Quietly Defined Life As ‘Beginning at Conception’ And The Implications Are Huge For All

By Dr. Jen Gunter The Cut (10/16/17) There were so many things to be angry about last week that it’s understandable if you missed this one: The draft of the Department of Health and Human Services 2018–2022 strategic plan contains language that claims life begins at conception. As an ob-gyn, I’m alarmed. You should be, too. The HHS strategic plan is drafted every four years, intended to clarify the administration’s focus; under President Barack Obama, for example, the 2014–2018 plan highly prioritized matters relating to health insurance. The introduction for that plan contained this line: HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide…


As Trump Denies 17-Year-Old Abortion Access, Court Battle Exposes Broader Problem

  By Jessica Corbett Common Grounds (10/18/17) The Trump administration’s refugee office is preventing an undocumented 17-year-old from receiving a court-approved abortion, and according to documents and reports that have surfaced since the ACLU filed two lawsuits on the teen’s behalf, she’s not the first. ” The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has effectively banned abortions for undocumented pregnant minors who enter the U.S. alone and are detained in federal immigration shelters by requiring “shelters to get its approval before releasing girls for abortion-related services―approval that officials have refused to grant,” Elise Foley explains for the Huffington Post. Foley describes how the Trump administration’s policy is a departure from…


Corporate Media Owe Some Big Apologies For Getting IRS Scandal Ass Backwards

  By Justin Anderson Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (10/12/17) Back in May 2013, corporate media outlets expressed alarm at a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that suggested that from 2010 through 2012, the IRS had applied extra scrutiny to groups applying for tax-exempt status with conservative-sounding names. The report, “based on concerns expressed by members of Congress,” said that 96 groups applying for 501(c)(4) exemptions had been targeted for heightened questioning because of terms like “Tea Party” and “Patriots” in their names. Media harshly condemned the reported targeting, with Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal (5/17/13) calling…


Rigged For The 1%: The Republican Budget Is A ‘Huuge’ Unearned Hand Out To Billionaires

It’s Robin Hood in reverse. By Sen. Bernie Sanders The Guardian (10/16/17) After failing to pass a “healthcare” bill that would have thrown up to 32 million Americans off of health insurance, a bill that was more unpopular than the Wall Street bailout, Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress are back. Now, they are pushing one of the most destructive and unfair budget and tax proposals in the modern history of our country – a plan that would do incalculable harm to tens of millions of working families, our kids, the sick, the elderly and the poor. The…


“Human Flow”: World-Renowned Chinese Artist & Activist Ai Weiwei On His Epic New Documentary On Refugees

  Democracy Now! (10/9/17) The United Nations says there are now more refugees worldwide than at any time since World War II. The journey and struggle of these 65 million refugees is the subject of Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei’s epic new documentary. It’s called “Human Flow.” For the documentary, Ai Weiwei traveled to 23 countries and dozens of refugee camps. We speak to world-renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Link to Story and 16-Minute Video ***** Ai Weiwei On His Childhood In A Labor Camp, Art, Activism, Prison & Freedom Democracy Now! (10/9/17) Ai Weiwei has been…


Russia Monitor: Wonder Boy & Other Trumpland Geniuses Crater

    By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (10/19/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Why did Jared Kushner meet with Sergei Gorkov and why is the meeting important? It’s important – this is at the core of Trump-Russia with a focus on Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump’s govern-for-personal-enrichment operation that extends across his family, advisers and cabinet. It will take a few links to fill out the picture, here’s the roadmap: Sergei Gorkov was the head of Vnesheconombank (VEB) when he met with Kushner in December 2016 VEB is a Russian state investment bank that funds Putin projects Gorkov is a…


Interior Sec. Zinke Mocked For Flying Goofy Flag When He Visits Interior Dept. DC Office

“His Royal Heinous Sir Ryan of Zinke, clown prince of Interior, has an official flag that is raised when he appears at his departmental seat.” By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (10/13/17) The Washington Post on Thursday reported that the Department of the Interior raises the department’s official flag above its Washington, D.C. headquarters to indicate when Secretary Ryan Zinke visits the office. Zinke—who has cultivated a reputation for launching unprecedented attacks on public lands and jettisoning key protections for wildlife—”has revived an arcane military ritual that no one can remember ever happening in the federal government,” the Post reported. The Post explained: “A security staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs…


Steve Bannon Goes Another Round With “American Prospect’s” Robert Kuttner

  (Editor’s Note: This interview is worth the listen, however, Robert Kuttner – a pretty standard cookie cutter liberal democrat – is beyond naive on the actual state of American fascist forces propelled by a growing economic crisis. His calls for Barack Obama to come to the “rescue” misses the mark on what the democrats need. Besides, Obama is too busy cashing $400,000 Wall Street checks  and hobnobbing with Virgin Airlines billionaire Richard Branson to say nothing of the fact that his record of spineless betrayal of the working class and democratic party ideals paved the way for Trump. A starry-eyed…


Still Getting It Wrong: How Media Pundits Keep Steering Democrats Into The Shoals

By John Atcheson Common Dreams (9/19/17) In his Monday column at the New York Times, Paul Krugman said: “These days, America starts from a baseline of extreme tribalism: 47 or 48 percent of the electorate will vote for any Republican, no matter how terrible, and against any Democrat, no matter how good. This means, in turn, that small things — journalists acting like mean kids in high school, ganging up on candidates they consider uncool, events that suggest fresh scandal even when there’s nothing there — can tip the balance in favor of even the worst candidate imaginable.” He’s not alone. …


Betsy DeVos’s Attack On Our Public Schools Is Just Beginning

  By Jeff Bryant Back to Our Future (10/11/7) With less than a year in office, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is already having the narrative of her impact on the nation’s public schools recast from someone with the power to“single-handedly decimate our public education system” to someone who is capable of only incremental change or who is completely ineffectual altogether. Don’t believe this shift in the storyline. First, consider how many times media reports trumpeting efforts by the President Trump administration to act more responsibly have quickly changed, within days or even hours, to news reports of the continued fecklessness of the White House….


History They Don’ Want You To Know: How Comedian Dick Gregory Forced The FBI To Find The Bodies Of Three Civil Rights Workers Slain In Mississippi

  (Editor’s Note: In light of continued free passes handed out to white police officers killing young black men across the country, it is appropriate to remember the infamous triple murder of civil rights workers in 1964. Most Americans have a whitewashed memory of that obscenity and the active role law enforcement played in both the crime and cover-up from the movie Mississippi Burning. To understand the current grief and anger of our black neighbors over the never ending murders of young blacks by law enforcement in this country, take a few minutes to read these two great articles. They…


The Empire Comes Home: The Militarization Of American Cities Leads To Shredding Of Rights

  By Danny Sjursen TomDispach (10/12/17) “This… thing, [the War on Drugs] this ain’t police work… I mean, you call something a war and pretty soon everybody gonna be running around acting like warriors… running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, slapping on cuffs, racking up body counts… pretty soon, damn near everybody on every corner is your f**king enemy. And soon the neighborhood that you’re supposed to be policing, that’s just occupied territory.” — Major “Bunny” Colvin, season three of HBO’s The Wire I can remember both so well. 2006: my first raid in South Baghdad. 2014: watching on YouTube…


The Growing Domestic Terror Of Federal Anti-Terrorism Programs

  Guess Why: The Airport Bomber Arrested Last Week That You Never Heard About In The Mass Media By Shaun King The Intercept (10/11/12) It’s strange how some things really catch on and go viral and others don’t. These days, nothing quite makes a story blow up — no pun intended — like the president’s fixation with it. That’s why it’s so peculiar that what sure looks like an attempted terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted at an American airport this past Friday without so much as a peep from Donald Trump about it. No tweets. No nicknames for the alleged…


American Capitalism: One-Third Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Housing Or Health Care

By Alexandra Jacobo Nation of Change (10/12/17) Almost half of Americans struggle to pay there bills, and an astounding one-third of them are at risk of running out of food, not being able to afford a place to live, or not having enough money for health care or medical treatment. In a new survey of financial well-being released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, numbers reflect the diminishing median net worth of an American family, as well as the daily struggles families have with being able to pay for basic living expenses. According to the report: “There is a wide variation in how…


McCabe Has One Thing To Say To State Dem Party Grand Pooh-Bahs: What’s Not To Like?

Principle Over Party By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/16/17) Democratic candidate for governor Mike McCabe was in La Crosse Saturday evening for a fundraiser. Despite the blustery rainy night over 60 people came and went – but mostly stayed – for the whole event. The chili packed a solid wallop and the political talk was even better. Unlike most democratic party gatherings these days, the evening with McCabe was upbeat, positive and plucky. Oh sure, there were the occasional comments about the latest burp of Trumpland insanity or disbelief about the most recent dystopian outrage cooked up by…


ACTION ALERT! Hearing For Secretive Bill To Gut Local Control Scheduled For Somewhere In The Capitol Tuesday

Forward To Your Town Board Officials Your Local Government Is Threatened In A Secretive Hearing Being Held Tuesday, October 17th. There is a bill proposed that attacks local government ability to make land use decisions and the public’s ability to influence these decisions. SB387/AB479 will render most of the conditional use permit provisions in your town and county zoning ordinances useless. They relegate public opinion in the conditional use permit process to an afterthought that cannot by itself be used as part of the decision making process. This effort also upsets over a century worth of Supreme Court precedent and will…


Russia Monitor: It’s All A Big Nasty Ball Of Coincidence. Right?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (10/16/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Vetting is for losers! Just like human rights, doing business without bribes and the rule of law. Losers! Sad! Fake News! Lies and distractions can only get you so far – we want to know what really happened. Did a crowd of liars and sociopaths steal an election? If so, why? ***** Manafort’s Multiple Millions (Of Rubles) Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, has been in the news for months with details of his multiple relationships with assorted Russian characters, including oligarch/billionaire, Putin pal, Oleg Deripaska. We already know…


Robert Reich: A Republican Friend Gets Honest About Trump Threat

    By Robert Reich RobertReich.org (10/14/17) Last week, Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.” Corker said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here … the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous…