‘Chillingly Authoritarian’ — Revealed: Trump Team Hired Israeli Spy Firm For ‘dirty ops’ On Iran Arms Deal

  By Mike Townsend & Julian Borger The Guardian (5/5/18) Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observercan reveal. People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal. The extraordinary revelations come days before Trump’s 12 May deadline to either…


Tab On Walker’s Costly Foxconn Con Grows

When one lives under the tyranny of one party rule, our laws and constitution don’t matter to the party in power. They can just rewrite them to suit their tyrannical wants. #EndTheTyranny    #VoteBlue2018 By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call (5/7/18) Here are updates on recent Foxconn developments… The Political Environment Blog — “Scott Walker’s done it! He’s found another way to bring Wisconsin special recognition in addition to his headline-grabbing wars on clean water, hungry families, women’s health, public employees, poor people, federal funds or ethical spending.SE Wisconsin population centers will be exempted at Walker’s request from US Clean Air…


How The Republican Party Has Betrayed American Democracy

  “Put simply, political parties are democracy’s gatekeepers.” “We know that extremist demagogues emerge from time to time in all societies, even in healthy democracies. The United States has had it share of them, including Henry Ford, Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and George Wallace. An essential test for democracies is not whether such figures emerge but whether political leaders, and especially political parties, work to prevent them from gaining power in the first place — by keeping them off the mainstream party tickets, refusing to endorse or align with them, and when necessary, making common cause with rivals in support…


Post Office Banking Could Become A Reality Even Without Congress. Here’s How.

  By David Dayen In These Times (5/2/18) When Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation last week to establish simple banking services in every U.S. post office, she continued a trend of aspiring Democratic presidential candidates using their perch in Congress to propose big, progressive ideas. In this case, Gillibrand was aiming to solve a major problem in America of financial inclusion: Over one in four households have little or no access to banking services, causing them to use high-cost alternatives like check-cashing stores or payday lenders, which gouge them with exorbitant fees and create cyclical debt. If the post office, with over 31,000 locations across…


Russia Monitor: The Disaster Twins & Their Multiplying Lies And Lies About Lies

  “What we have is the president inarguably demanding of both the institutions and their leadership that their first priority is personal loyalty to him rather than to the norms that have governed their behavior for a couple of centuries.” — Ret. General Michael Hayden (5/4/18)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/7/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Country over party. Didn’t all of us grow up saying the pledge of allegiance? Even if we didn’t contemplate the meaning, isn’t it self-evident? How can anyone misconstrue, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one…


Yanis Varoufakis: Marx Predicted Our Present Crisis – And Points The Way Out

The manifesto remains a source of hope not to be dismissed. By Yanis Varoufakis The Guardian (4/20/18) No manifesto has better succeeded in doing all this than the one published in February 1848 at 46 Liverpool Street, London. Commissioned by English revolutionaries, The Communist Manifesto (or the Manifesto of the Communist Party, as it was first published) was authored by two young Germans – Karl Marx, a 29-year-old philosopher with a taste for epicurean hedonism and Hegelian rationality, and Friedrich Engels, a 28-year-old heir to a Manchester mill. As a work of political literature, the manifesto remains unsurpassed. Its most infamous lines,…


Mike McCabe Calls For ‘fix ‘em first’ & ‘pay as we pave’ Policies On Our Roads

  Just another stretch of Hwy. 14 running through Vernon County, between Readstown and Viroqua. Mile after mile of cracked n’ crumbling Wisconsin republican blacktop.  McCabe for Governor (5/1/18) Wisconsin’s roads and bridges are deteriorating badly and the state needs a whole new approach to strengthening its transportation infrastructure that prioritizes fixing existing roads before expanding or building new ones and paying as we pave to end excessive borrowing, governor candidate Mike McCabe said today as he called for bringing back automatic adjustments in the gas tax for inflation to keep revenue in line with road expenses. Of all the…


Amazon Pays Nothing In Federal Income Taxes Yet Grabs $137 Million In Tax Rebates

  By Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders’ Facebook Page (5/18/18) Last year, not only did Amazon pay nothing in federal income taxes, it received a $137 million tax rebate from the IRS. It turns out Amazon is not alone. Last year, 15 profitable corporations, including AFLAC, Eli Lilly, Metlife, Prudential Financial, and Molson Coors also paid nothing in federal income taxes after posting a combined $24.5 billion in profits. And that was BEFORE Trump signed his disastrous tax plan into law slashing corporate taxes by some 40 percent. In 1952, corporate income taxes accounted for 32 percent of all federal revenue….


You Can’t Say That. Oh, Yes I Can!

The rising tide of national protest and opposition has brought forth a lot of creative humor, satire and other forms of protest. Some of that is to be found on protest signs created by fellow citizens speaking truth to power. In our new original cartoon feature  — “You Can’t Say That! Oh, Yes I Can!” — The Commoner Call will feature some of that handheld wisdom. If you see a particularly good protest sign send it along for consideration. Pass this invitation to your contacts. And maybe take some of this good signage to your next local protest. (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark…


Why These 5 Books Are Censored From Your History Class | Interview With Mark Crispin Miller

  Abby Martin (9/22/14) Abby Martin speaks with NYU media studies professor, Mark Crispin Miller, discussing the addition of 5 books to the Forbidden Bookshelf, a project aimed at making important literature that has gone out of circulation once again available to the public. The newest additions to the Forbidden Bookshelf include: 1. DuPont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain by Gerard Colby 2. Hidden History of the Korean War by I.F. Stone 3. Assassination on Embassy Row by Saul Landau and John Dinges 4. The Assassination of New York by Robert Fitch 5. The Polk Conspiracy by Kati Marton Access…


Russia Monitor: Drip By Drip Trump’s Toxic Lies Poison The Nation

“When Trump lies, he lies for a purpose. The content of his lies matters less than their function, which is to sell the idea that truth doesn’t matter – or doesn’t even exist at all. He lies to obscure reality so that he can redefine it. Trump’s lies *are* the story.” — Tweet by Matt Schlapp (4/30/18)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/5/18) Dear Fellow Readers, There is a war, let’s call it ‘Russiagate’, and there are many battles underway. Without divining motivations, we have on one side Trump, cronies and Russpublicans. On the other side we have the…


Russia Monitor: Drip By Drip Trump’s Toxic Lies Poison The Nation

  “When Trump lies, he lies for a purpose. The content of his lies matters less than their function, which is to sell the idea that truth doesn’t matter – or doesn’t even exist at all. He lies to obscure reality so that he can redefine it. Trump’s lies *are* the story.” — Tweet by Matt Schlapp (4/30/18)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/5/18) Dear Fellow Readers, There is a war, let’s call it ‘Russiagate’, and there are many battles underway. Without divining motivations, we have on one side Trump, cronies and Russpublicans. On the other side we have…


Formula For Failure: The Democratic Establishment’s War On Progressives

By Richard Eskow OurFuture.org (3/30/18) By supporting corporate-friendly candidates and policies, Congressional Democratic leaders are be moving closer and closer toward open warfare with their party’s base. There is a real need to raise money, of course. But the party’s leaders have chosen to raise and spend money in ways that conflict with voters and render it all but ineffective as a force for much-needed change. Under the best-case scenario, the party’s establishment is heading toward a Pyrrhic victory.  And other, grimmer scenarios are possible. Democrat vs. Democrat A majority of Democratic voters, led by black, brown, and female Democrats, told…


Thanks To Trump & Russpublicans, Major Corporations Set To Hand Over ‘Obscene’ $1 Trillion To Wealthy Investors Instead Of Workers

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (5/2/18) As even one member of the Republican Party was forced to admit earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut has done virtually nothing for the vast majority of American workers—but evidence continues to roll in that it has been a massive boon for the largest corporations. According to new data compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices, America’s biggest and most profitable companies are on track to hand “a record $1 trillion to investors through dividend increases and stock buybacks.” A major example of companies using their tax savings to buy their own stock…


Another Way GOP Screws Wisconsin: In Gerrymandered Districts, Citizens Likely To Lose Economic Security

  By Shankar Vedantam NPR (5/1/18) The researchers believe this is because politicians in gerrymandered districts are less likely to advocate for goods on behalf of their constituents. Link to 3+-Minute Audio ***** Check Out The Commoner Call Archive File “Screwing With Your Vote” For Stories On The Many Ways Your Vote Is Under Attack. Pass The Link Along To Your Activist Contacts. Knowledge is the first step of reform! Link Here


‘A Dangerous Low’: Trump Ignores Deadline For Reporting Civilians Killed By US Drone Attacks

    (Editors’ Note: While the White House may not be willing to admit our national war crimes that does not make any of us innocent. We fund the killing with our tax dollars and silence. — Mark L. Taylor) By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (5/2/18) The Trump administration on Tuesday flouted two major deadlines for disclosing the number of civilians killed by U.S. military forces: one public report that was mandated by an Obama-era executive order and focused on drone strike deaths; and one report to Congress that is supposed to detail all civilian deaths tied to U.S. military…


Holding Up A Mirror To The Ways & Patterns Of Life

  (Editor’s Note: This BBC feature is a beautifully haunting portrayal of lived life that is a wonderful reminder of what is — and isn’t — important in life. True magic. Enjoy. — Mark L. Taylor) BBC (4/27/18) From childhood to old age, a journey through life reflected in the mirror – via a series of interviews recorded with people as they confront their reflection in the mirror. What do they see? How has their face changed? What stories lie behind the wrinkles and scars? We hear the initial wonder of the small child give way to the embarrassment of the…


Down Range: Gun News From Around The Country

Not Worth The Headache: Vista Outdoor May Dump Its Gun Brands By Aaron Smith CNN (4/30/18) Vista Outdoor, a manufacturer of guns and ammunition, said on Tuesday that it could divest from its gun brands, prompting a steep decline in stock price. “Vista Outdoor is exploring strategic alternatives, which include potentially divesting the remaining Sports Protection brands, Savage/Stevens firearms, and Jimmy Styks [paddle boards,]” said the company, in a statement provided to CNNMoney. “We will begin the process immediately, but will take the time necessary to make prudent decisions.” Vista said that it’s “potentially” selling its Savage brand of shotguns and…


Folksinging Activist Pete Seeger Was Born 99 Years Ago Today

  “And there’s a wonderful parable in the New Testament: The sower scatters seeds. Some seeds fall in the pathway and get stamped on, and they don’t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don’t grow. But some seeds fall on fallow ground, and they grow and multiply a thousandfold. Who knows where some good little thing that you’ve done may bring results years later that you never dreamed of?” — Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)


Crash Test Dummies: Trump Lawyer Cohen’s Shady Personal Injury Practice

  By Seth Hettena Rolling Stone (5/1/18) A few years before he started working for Donald Trump, and long before he gave legal advice to people like Fox News personality Sean Hannity, Michael D. Cohen had a different kind of clientele. Cohen roamed the courthouses of New York City, filing lawsuits on behalf of people with little means who were seeking compensation for the injuries they suffered in car collisions. Many personal-injury lawyers make their living this way, but there was something striking about Cohen’s cases: Some of the crashes at issue didn’t appear to be accidents at all. A Rolling Stone investigation…


Activist Holds Up Sign Saying Police Hate Free Speech, So They Arrest Him To Prove Him Right

  By Matt Agorist Activisst Post (5/2/18) Stamford, CT — Free speech and liberty activist, Michael Picard had harmed no one, had not committed a crime, and was merely expressing his right to free speech by claiming the Stamford PD dislikes free speech. Indeed, within just a few minutes, the chief of police himself came out to prove Picard right. Last Thursday, Picard held a sign that said, “F*ck Free Speech —Stamford PD,” merely attempting to point out the gross violations of the First Amendment committed by the department after they arrested another activist, Michael Friend, for holding up a different sign…


Leftist Dilemma: The Double Russia Conspiracy Trap

By Paul Street Counter Punch (4/27/18) The RussiaGate conspiracy drama is a double-edged damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t trap for people on the portside. The perils of signing on to the storyline are clear as day to any self-respecting Leftist. Five come to mind off the top of my head: 1. Neo-McCarthyite distraction from numerous terrible things that the racist, nativist, sexist, white-nationalist, and eco-cidal, planet-cooking Trump administration and the Republican Party are doing with scant serious opposition from the dismal dollar Democrats. The media and the Democrats have the political culture mired in the Russia-Trump conspiracy while the in-power right-wing has worked all-too behind the…


Russia Monitor: Do The Dems Dare Play The Trump-Russia Card?

  “As far as the presidential race in 2020, the Democrats seem to be repeating the mistake that Hillary Clinton made: counting on the awfulness of Trump to do their work for them.” — New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (4/29/18). By Dan Peak The Connoner Call (4/30/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Let’s give the answer to a question as a way to start. The answer is: Vladmir Putin just broke form and has openly demonstrated he influenced the U.S. election in favor of Trump. There is much competition for the most important news of the latest cycle for Trump-Russia corruption. Maybe your…


Recognizing The Corruption Running The Joint, More Than 75% Of Americans Back Campaign Finance Reform

By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (4/27/18) Amidst a widely-shared recognition that the country is effectively being run by powerful special interests, a new poll out Friday shows that more than 3 out of 4 Americans now support serious campaign finance reform as a way to mitigate the corrupting influence of money in the nation’s democracy. The results of the extensive Pew Research Center survey, released Thursday, reveal Americans “see the country falling well short in living up to” democratic ideals and values, and believe core changes are needed in the political system. Seventy-six percent say the government is run by a few…


Secretly Taped Audio Reveals Democratic Leadership Crass Strong-Arming Progressive Candidate To Drop Out Of Primary Race

[Editor’s Note: Hmm, ‘nothing personal’? What is this, a lost episode of the Sopranos? — Mark L. Taylor] By Lee Fang The Intercept (4/26/18) STENY HOYER, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, has for years been a prolific campaigner on behalf of current and potential members of Congress. It was no surprise, then, that December found him in Colorado, where the party has hopes of knocking off Republican incumbent Mike Coffman. Before Donald Trump had even been inaugurated, local resistance groups began deluging Coffman’s public appearances, pressing him not to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and putting him back on…


This Week’s Edition Of ‘On The Media’ Gives Insightful Round-Up Of All Things Trump

‘On The Media’ is one of the best public radio shows on the air. Each week hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield and the staff of WNYC take an unflinching look at how the media handles breaking news the previous week and long-term trends in news coverage. ‘On The Media’ is public radio at it’s best. This past week’s edition of OTM — ‘Dog Whistle’ — had several really insightful segments on Trumpland. You can listen to the whole show straight through here, or check out individual segments of interest below. — Mark L. Taylor ***** How A Strong Economy Could…


Silencing Speech, Muzzling The Mind & Cutting Off The Flow Of Information

These recent incidents are part of a broader government scheme to wield immigration authority to silence activists both within and beyond the US borders.  By Carrie DeCell The Guardian (4/20/18) The Trump administration has explained that its so-called “extreme vetting” program is intended to bar individuals from the United States based on their attitudes toward this country. It is the fulfillment of a campaign promise to resurrect a cold war–era “ideological screening test” for admission into the United States. If the growing number of activists who have been denied admission or removed from the country in recent months is any indication, that test…


You Can’t Say That. Oh, Yes I Can!

  The rising tide of national protest and opposition has brought forth a lot of creative humor, satire and other forms of protest. Some of that is to be found on protest signs created by fellow citizens speaking truth to power. In our new original cartoon feature  — “You Can’t Say That! Oh, Yes I Can!” — The Commoner Call will feature some of that handheld wisdom. If you see a particularly good protest sign send it along for consideration. Pass this invitation to your contacts. And maybe take some of this good signage to your next local protest. (Commoner Call cartoon by…


Americans & Guns: A United State Of Insecurity

  The Why Factor/BBC (4/23/18) In the USA, those least likely to become victims of gun violence are the most likely to carry guns. So if they are not likely to become victims of crime, what are they really afraid of? We speak to people getting their gun licence to try and untangle what lies behind their anxieties and discover it’s about something much less tangible. Link to Story and 23-Minute Audio (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Opensource nd free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommnercall.org )


In ‘Huge Win For Pollinators, People, And The Planet,’ EU Bans Bee-Killing Pesticides

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (4/27/18) Faced with mounting scientific evidence that bee-poisoning neonicotinoids, or neonics, could cause an “ecological armageddon,” European regulators on Friday approved a “groundbreaking” and “historic” ban on the widely-used class of pesticides—an announcement met with immediate applause by campaigners. “The E.U.’s groundbreaking ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides is a huge win for pollinators, people, and the planet,” responded Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth (FOE). Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program, said it’s also a win for “science-based regulation of pesticides.” Under the new rules, which…


Syrian Refugee Stranded In An Airport Transit Zone For More Than A Month

VICE News (4/20/18) For anyone who has complained about being delayed in an airport, spare a thought for Hassan Al Kontar. The Syrian refugee has been stuck in the transit zone of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia since early March. Al Kontar’s chronicled his story on social media, highlighting similarities to the Tom Hanks film The Terminal. The 36-year-old left Syria for the UAE well before the war started, but when it came time to renew his Syrian passport in 2012 the regime refused, because he hadn’t completed his military service. He was eventually kicked out of the UAE…


House Chaplain Who Prayed For Fairness In GOP Tax Bill Fired By Paul Ryan

  By Jennifer Bendery The Huffington Post (4/26/18) WASHINGTON ― House Chaplain Patrick Conroy was suddenly forced out of his job last week by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and while it’s not clear why, Democratic lawmakers and Hill sources say it was driven by Ryan’s distaste for one of Conroy’s prayers about the GOP’s tax bill. As first reported by The Hill, Conroy was clear in his resignation announcement that it wasn’t his choice to go. It was Ryan’s. “As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives,” reads Conroy’s…


Pulitzer-Winning Reporter David Cay Johnston: “The evidence suggests Trump is a traitor”

  [Editor’s Note: Please listen to this interview. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston’s insights on Trump and his long ties with the Mafia and Russian oligarchs and the only way the democrats can unseat Trump are spot on. Unlike many, he calls things as they are. Also, listen to Chauncey DeVargas’ comments afterward. He gives a hard dose of reality that we on the left need to fully grasp about what may well be coming even if — especially if — Trump were driven from office. This is serious business, folks and the democrats and the left really…


Scholar Of Authoritarianism Tells Seth Meyers That When She’s Being Asked On TV ‘you know America is in bad shape’

By Sarah K. Burris The Raw Story (4/25/18) Writer and researcher Sarah Kendzior’s new book is a series of essays that she wrote from 2012 through 2014 that ultimately predicted the rise of today’s politics, government institution bashing, paranoia — and the possibility of a President Donald Trump. In a Tuesday interview with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, Kendzior explained that despite understanding the possibilities of Trump, she finds no solace in being right. “When I’m in demand, when my areas of expertise are in demand, then you know America is in bad shape,” she explained. She went on to…


“Handout Hannity”: Trump’s Fox News Bro Faces Questions Over $90 Million Real Estate Empire

Illustration by Seth L. Taylor, 2018.   By Charlie May Salon (4/23/18) Fox News host Sean Hannity is responding to the “latest fake news attack” against him, playing the victim to claim that he is being vilified for “investing my personal money in communities that badly need such investment.” Despite his frequent rants against liberal or media “elites,” an extensive report from The Guardian on Monday revealed that Hannity is linked to numerous shell companies that have spent at least $90 million on nearly 900 properties across the country. Furthermore, belying his supposed conservative principles, Hannity’s empire was purchased at a deep…


What’s In A Name — Are You Really A Progressive Or A Liberal?

How a vital term in U.S. political life lost its significance—and could regain it today. By Win McCormick The New Republic (4/20/18) What distinguishes a progressive from a liberal? This is one of the more pervasive ambiguities in contemporary American political discourse. In a recent issue of the journal Democracy, the historian Sean Wilentz addressed it head-on: Liberals, he argues, recognize the flaws of capitalism, are dedicated to remedying them, and have great achievements to their credit in that regard, notably those of the New Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society. Progressives are meanwhile “emphatically anti-liberal”—because they are hostile to capitalism and, “deep…


Russia Monitor: Russian Lullaby Lies & And Weird Stuff To Keep You Awake At Night

  “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized, and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.” — James Comey, “A Higher Loyalty” By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/26/ Dear Fellow Readers, Some days politics seems like something worse than just a dirty word. Certainly, as the Washington Post documents,  Trump and his cronies contribute to such a feeling: The Daily 202: Mick Mulvaney’s Confession Highlights The Corrosive Influence Of Money In Politics. As Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve write about the head of…


Russian Dissident Garry Kasparov’s ‘Winter’ Warning To The West

“‘Winter is coming’ is a warning, not an inevitable conclusion. The good thing about the seasons of political and social change is that we can affect them if we try hard enough. If we rouse ourselves fro complacency and relearn how to stand up to the dictators and terrorists who threaten the modern world we have built, we can alter the course. Anti-modernity is a dangerous virus, and to remove a virus a reboot or re-set is not enough. We have to build a values based system that is robust enough to resist the virus at home, smart enough to…


Black Agenda Report: Democrats Prepare To Pimp Their Own Lefties For 2018 & 2020.

By Bruce A. Dixon Black Agenda Report (4/26/18) Every two years, Democrats need a Big Black Vote, along with impressive turnouts of Latino and Latina voters, the elderly, students and young people to maintain their status as a national party. They need this turnout of their base constituencies to elect governors, members of Congress and state legislators, senators and of course the president. So while the commanding heights of the Democratic party remain securely in the hands of the representatives of capital, empire and the deep state, Democrats must allow self-identified leftists a certain amount of room to campaign for…


Big Banks Cash In On Their Congressional Buyout (And Your Family Will Pay For It All)

By Libby Watson Splinter News (4/20/18) The Associated Press reported this morning that the nation’s six biggest Wall Street banks got a honking great $3.6 billion tax cut from the Republican tax bill, which will raise taxes on Americans earning less than $75,000 by 2027. The tax plan, as has already been well established, is a big scam. Many activist groups worked tirelessly to try and defeat it; average Americans called their congressional offices, wrote letters, made demands on social media. It was for naught. The six biggest Wall Street banks spent a total of $19 million on lobbying in 2017 and received a…