Catching Up: The Intercept NSA Story Is Old News More People Are Now Ready To Listen To

By Rebecca Solnit Rebecca Solnit’s Facebook Page (6/6/17) Yo, people, part of what’s going on with this Intercept thing is that they’re recycling old news that more people–starting with the Intercept–are now ready to listen to. The hilarious thing is that the Intercept fellows kept telling us not to believe things from intelligence agencies but are now building their story on one document from the NSA. I heard this story about hacked voting machines in November but couldn’t get any major media outlet to follow up on it. But the stories go all the way back to AUGUST. Here’s ABC…


Sick! How Trump Family Siphoned Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into Family Businesses

  By Dan Alexander Forbes (6/6/17) Like autumn leaves, sponsored Cadillacs, Ferraris and Maseratis descend on the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, in September for the Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational. Year after year, the formula is consistent: 18 holes of perfectly trimmed fairways with a dose of Trumpian tackiness, including Hooters waitresses and cigar spreads, followed by a clubhouse dinner, dates encouraged. The crowd leans toward real estate insiders, family friends and C-list celebrities, such as former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry and reality housewife (and bankruptcy-fraud felon) Teresa Giudice. The real star of the day…


Spiritual Crisis: The Republican Party’s Empty Soul Sickness

  By Richard Eskow OurFuture.org (5/30/17) There’s a sickness on the land. You know the facts: millions of Americans lives in poverty. The number of Americans in the workforce remains low. Wages are stagnating and inequality is growing. “Deaths of despair” from alcoholism, opioid overdose, and suicide are on the rise. But it’s not just the inequality, or the poverty, or the despair, that wounds us. It’s the fact that so many Republican leaders and voters find ways to justify living with these injustices, and are now making them worse. There’s no polite way to say it: they suffer from a sickness of…


Worker Notes: It’s Not Just About Wages & Benefits – Working Conditions Are A Matter Of Life Or Death

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (6/8/17) While wages are clearly a top reason to organize a union, and benefits are life-changing, struggles over working conditions may be the most important fights working people can take on and often are the catalyst for union organizing. From grape pickers and tomato harvesters, to nurses and corrections officers, the hours and conditions of work are often the last breaking straw that leads to organizing for change. While technology has changed dramatically, the drive to save money, and to use human capital to save on investing monetary capital, is as old as the…


The Politics Of Race, Division & The Real Reason Working-Class Whites Support For Trump Doesn’t Waver

TheCommonerCall.org By Jonathan Capehart The Washington Post (6/6/17) Unlike anyone I’ve read or talked to since the November election, Justin Gest has helped me to really understand why President Trump won white working-class voters and hasn’t thus far lost their support. In the latest episode of “Cape Up,” we discuss the George Mason University professor’s new book, “The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality” “So much of Donald Trump’s politics is symbolic,” Gest explained. “They’re symbolic in the sense that this is what people want to hear and if it doesn’t get done, it’s…


Washington Post Investigative Report Documents Rampant Corruption At USDA ‘Organic’ Program

    The Cornucopia Institute (5/2/17) Based on a scathing front-page exposé in The Washington Post presenting strong evidence that the largest organic milk producer in the United States has been operating illegally, the organic industry’s most aggressive industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, filed formal legal complaints against Aurora Dairy and their organic certifier, the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The nonprofit simultaneously wrote to the Trump administration’s new USDA Secretary, Sonny Perdue, asking for the removal of the agency’s lead organic regulator. This is not the first legal complaint Cornucopia has filed against Aurora. More than a decade ago, based…


George Lakoff On Disaster Branding: The Importance Of Giving Donnie His Due

By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Website (6/4/17) Donald Trump knows the power of branding and actually makes huge profits by selling the use of his name. But the power of naming and branding can be a double-edged sword: when a president creates and perpetuates real human disasters, we can truthfully attach his name to them and allow well-earned disaster branding to spread naturally. Mr. Trump uses the word “disaster” metaphorically for policies and practices he doesn’t like. But there are real, literal disasters in the world: huge fires, devastating, floods, deadly storms, major droughts — disasters caused systemically by the…


Orwell On The Politics Of Language

“Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.” – George Orwell, Politics and the English Language”, 1945   (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark…


What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Utility Refuses To Budge On Placing Nuke Waste Dump On Shore Of Great Lake

  By Lorraine Chow EcoWatch (6/1/17) Canadian energy company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is not budging on its plans to dump nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron, despite objections from hundreds of communities in the U.S. and Canada that fear water contamination. The utility issued a lengthy analysis on Friday [6/26] reaffirming its favored option to bury low to intermediate radioactive waste at the Bruce Power nuclear complex near Kincardine, Ontario. OPG assures that the lake would not be threatened since the waste would be encased in rock. “The Bruce Site is the safest, most appropriate site…


The Firing Of James Comey: Psychology Helps Explain What Trump Got Wrong & Why People See It The Way They Do

TheCommonerCall.org By Robert Jervis The Conversation (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…


Starve The Beast: The Best Way To Resist Trump Dumping Paris Climate Pact? Divest From Fossil Fuels

  By Jamie Henn The Guaradian (6/3/17) fter Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement, many of us are looking for a way to fight back. One of the simplest and most powerful things we can do right now is to divest from fossil fuels. What we saw in the Rose Garden on Thursday was Trump and his advisors making a bet. A bet that the scientists have got it all wrong, that climate change is a hoax, and climate action nothing but a globalist scheme to hurt the American economy. For most of us, this sort of denial…


Mexico Rolling Out New Trump Brand Toilet Paper

  By Sofia Lotto Persio Newseek (6/3/17) A Mexican lawyer is planning on helping migrants and make people “feel great again” with the help of his toilet paper brand—Trump. Corporate lawyer Antonio Battaglia was appalled at the language Donald Trump used during his presidential campaign to describe Mexicans. In an email exchange with Newsweek, the lawyer-turned-businessman recalls how he felt when Trump launched his campaign by suggesting Mexicans who came to the U.S. were criminals, drug traffickers and rapists. “I felt the need and obligation of raising my hand against such dangerous nonsense that was putting at risk my country and people,”…


Trump Moving To Finalize Bipartisan Effort To Bury America’s Torture History

American torture victim and symbol of modern America. By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (6/2/17) The Trump administration is moving to keep the lengthy Senate report on the CIA’s torture and detention program forever from the public eye, the New York Times first reported Friday. That’s because the administration is returning to Congress copies of the over 6,000-page document, following through on requests made by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the Senate Intelligence Committee’s current chairman. Laws requiring government records to eventually be made public don’t apply to congressional documents. The Times, citing multiple congressional officials, writes that the “CIA, the office of…


Russia Monitor: The Story Is Much Bigger & Broader Than Tampering With The Election

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/5/17) Dear Fellow Reader, I am 100% confident that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Russia tried to influence the outcome of the election and the connections run deeper and are far broader than the election as an isolated event. As with any significant moment in history, this election is an intersection of many different forces that have coalesced around this event but the full story is both broader and more significant. And I trust the story will come out. This week offered three key moments that add up to and underscore this…


White Male Terrorists Are An Issue America Should – But Won’t – Discuss

By Lincoln Blades Teen Vogue (5/9/17) Since September 11, 2001, preventing terrorism in the United States has become one of the main concerns of citizens, policymakers, and law enforcement agencies. Leaders believe that battling “terror” isn’t just done by waging war on jihadists themselves, but also on their ideology. When an attack whose perpetrator is affiliated with Islam occurs on American soil, the nation collectively recoils in horror at the audacious attack, mourns for those we’ve lost, and then subsequently doubles down on rooting out any semblance of pro-extremist thought in our society. When the assailant is identified, intelligence agencies…


We Are Ripe For Fascism

TheCommonerCall.org By Jeff Schech WhoWhat Why (5/31/17) In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder talks to Jeff Schechtman about what he sees as the very real possibility that our republic will go the way of history’s other failed democracies, like Athens or even the Weimar Republic. Both 1930s fascism and communism, Snyder warns, were responses to globalization and to rising inequality. We might be tempted to think that our democratic heritage automatically protects us from such threats, but he argues that this is a misguided reflex. Snyder cautions that our institutions, such as the courts, the free…


Mike McCabe: Four Steps To Turning Around Wisconsin’s Creaky, Unfair Economy

  By Mike McCabe Blue Jean Nation (5/9/17) When it comes to Wisconsin’s economy, those in power go to great lengths to direct everyone’s gaze at moderating unemployment in the state. They don’t want to acknowledge or discuss that while it’s possible to find work, for many it’s extremely hard to find work that enables you to make ends meet and stay in the middle class. Persistent stagnation and rising inequality are big parts of the full story of Wisconsin’s economy. For years now, Wisconsin has depended on an economic development strategy devoted to empowering a few thousand of the…


Black Church Congregation Recieves Anonymous Donation From Former ‘Terrible Racist’

  By Lee Moran HuffPost (6/2/17) Salvation sometimes comes from the most unlikeliest of sources. An African-American church in Greenville, South Carolina, is now able to fund one of its projects — thanks to an anonymous $2,000 donation from someone who said they used to be a “terrible racist.” The mystery person also left a letter of apology with the two $1,000 post office money orders in the Nicholtown Presbyterian Church’s mail box on May 13. “First, I am white and used to be a terrible racist,” the unidentified donor wrote. “Thanks to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, acting through the Presbyterian…


Democrats Takes Black Voters For Granted. What If We Abandoned Them?

The CommonerCall.org By Steven W. Thrasher The Guardian (5/31/17) n a widely circulated article at FiveThirtyEight, Patrick Ruffini – a digital strategist for George W Bush’s highly divisive 2004 campaign – wrote on Tuesday that while African Americans continue to vote heavily for Democrats, they are not showing up for the Democratic party in the numbers they once did. This certainly makes sense to me. Other than not being as crudely racist, xenophobic and misogynist as the Republican party, the contemporary Democratic party offers little to African Americans. Looking toward the upcoming special election in Georgia, Ruffini wrote: “Lower black…


Terror In Britain: What Did The Prime Minister Know?

  By John Pilger Counter Punch (5/31/17) The unsayable in Britain’s general election campaign is this. The causes of the Manchester atrocity, in which 22 mostly young people were murdered by a jihadist, are being suppressed to protect the secrets of British foreign policy. Critical questions – such as why the security service MI5 maintained terrorist “assets” in Manchester and why the government did not warn the public of the threat in their midst – remain unanswered, deflected by the promise of an internal “review”. The alleged suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was part of an extremist group, the Libyan Islamic…



Uneducable: Democratic Big Wigs Convinced Saying “We’re Not Trump” Is Enough To Win

  By Douglas Williams The Guardian (5/29/17) In normal times, the Republican disarray in Washington would have people talking about a Democratic sweep at the midterms in 2018. You saw it with George W Bush’s second midterm election in 2006, where a Republican party riven with corruption and weighed down with the Iraq albatross was decisively defeated by a Democratic party on the ascendancy. But these are not normal times. And in a Democratic party that is seeing their centrist and incoherent governing philosophy being ground into powder, the last thing that they seem ready for is taking power. The…


Wake-Up Call, America! The Growing Threat Of Homegrown Right-Wing Terrorism Is Real

  By Arie Perliger The Conversation (5/28/17) The murder in College Park, Maryland of Richard Collins III, an African-American student who had recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was days away from his graduation from Bowie State University, underscores the violence of America’s far-right wing. Sean Urbanski, the University of Maryland student who allegedly stabbed Collins to death, belongs to a racist Facebook group called Alt-Reich: Nation. It makes sense that the FBI is helping the police investigate this incident as a suspected hate crime. But my 15 years experience of studying violent extremism…


The Most Important Interview You Can Watch This Month: Yale Historian Timothy Snyder On How The U.S. Can Avoid Sliding Into Authoritarianism

“Twentyith century authoritarians have learned the way to dismantle systems like ours is to go after one institution and then the next. Which means that we have to have an active relationship with both to history, so you can see how failure arises and learn from people who try to protect institutions, but also an active relationship to our institutions; that institutions are only as good as the people who attempt to serve them ” – Timothy Snyder Democracy Now! (5/30/17) Is the United States sliding toward tyranny? That is the question posed by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder…


Russia Monitor: Go To The Mattresses, You Flaming Turds!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/1/17) Dear Fellow Readers, BREAKING NEWS May 31, 2017: Comey Will Testify – Trump Pressured To End Russia Investigation Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and will confirm that Trump pressured him to end his investigation into Trump associate ties to Russia. Comey will not testify about any details regarding Trump campaign collusion with Russia. MORE Persons Of Interest: Trump Personal Lawyer and Boris Epshteyn The growing list of persons of interest includes Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Caputo, Roger Stone, Carter Page, Jared Kushner…


Apathy & Attachment: The Real Terror Of The Handmaid’s Tale

  By Jesse Valenti The Guardian (4/27/17) When Hulu released a trailer for their adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale, some conservatives didn’t realize the series was based on a decades-old novel – they thought it was created in response to Trump’s presidential win. The confusion makes some sense. Much of the show feels familiar in today’s political climate: children being wrenched from their parents’ arms at borders. A lesbian tortured in order, she’s told, to cure her unnatural appetites. Women forced to carry pregnancies after they’ve been raped. But what makes The Handmaid’s Tale so terrifying…


See Some Of The Stunning Public Landscapes Threatened By Trump

Bob Wick, BLM/Flickr   By Colin Dwyer & Kirk Siegler NPR (4/28/17) President Trump has ordered the Department of the Interior to review all designations of national monuments greater than 100,000 acres created since 1996. That executive order, which he signed Wednesday, places at least 20 — and as many as 40 — monuments in the government’s sights. The areas now under review span a vast range of landscapes — from arid deserts to frozen mountain peaks, from striking craggy vistas to teeming underwater playgrounds. And, though these monuments were all established roughly in the past two decades, they all…


Time To Impeach? That Is Not The Question

  By Marilyn Katz In These Times (5/26/17) The daily revelations of the entanglement of Trump’s entourage have Republicans squirming and Democrats salivating at the smell of blood in the water. Former boogeymen like the CIA and the FBI have suddenly become heroes to liberals. After years of relative quietude, Russia has emerged once again as the evil empire, as if we were living in the height of the Cold War. Even progressives have not been immune, with thoughtful In These Times writers like Kate Aronoff and Jeff Alson spending their considerable brain power on weighing the danger, in the…


Jeremy Scahill On Trump’s Embrace Of Duterte’s Deadly War On Drugs In The Philippines

  Democracy Now! (5/25/17) (Editor’s Note: In the course of commenting on Donald Trump’s conversation with Rodrigo Duterte journalist Jeremy Scahill reveals an amazing national security breach that Trump does every single day. – Mark L. Taylor) In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested he might impose martial law across the country, after declaring it this week in his native island of Mindanao. This comes as a transcript of the call of Trump praising Duterte for his controversial drug war was leaked and published by The Intercept. According to the leaked transcript, Trump said, “I just wanted to congratulate…


Bringing The Wars Home: Pipeline Company Hired Military Contractors To Suppress Native Uprising

By Lauren McCauley Common Dreams (5/27/17) The years-long, Indigenous-led fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) briefly captured the nation’s attention last fall as images of peaceful resisters being sprayed with water canons and surrounded by police in tanks and other military-grade equipment were spread widely, fueling global outrage and a fierce protest movement against the oil pipeline. Now that the pipeline is operational and already leaking, internal documents obtained by The Intercept and reported on Saturday reveal the deep collusion between local police forces, the pipeline company, and defense contractors as they executed “military-style counterterrorism measures” to suppress the…


Witnesses Say US Military Murdered Fleeing Yemeni Child In Yet Another Sloppy, Botched Raid

  By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (5/29/17) The Pentagon said last week that there were “no credible indications of civilian casualties” from the latest U.S. Navy SEALs raid on a village in Yemen. Yet new reporting by The Intercept, citing eyewitness accounts, offers more evidence to contradict the military’s claim. Residents of the village in Mareb province said that there were in fact 10 civilians killed and wounded, including a 15-year old child who was trying to flee a barrage of firing from Apache helicopters. “My little brother Abdullah ran for his life with the other women and children. They…


Memorial Day Thought – In A Militarized State The First Thing To Be Conquered Is The Language

“Traditional slang terms for a soldier – GI, dogface, ground-pounder, grunt – used to be humorous and mildly self-deprecating designations connoting a citizen who happened to be uniform performing an onerous task. Now the preferred term is “warrior,” a term not often heard before in American history in reference to our soldiers. In tribal societies warriors as members of a caste, like priests and aristocrats, and the term does not seem fitting in a constitutional republic. I am still unsure whether “warrior” is a popular coinage that emerged on its own or whether Pentagon public relations operatives inserted it into…


Drumpf Or Trump, What’s In A Name? Turns Out, Plenty…

 The nut doesn’t fall far from the bush.   “The Trump family’s deep roots in Germany stretch back to the war-ravaged seventeenth century, when the family name was Drumpf. In 1648, they simplified the name to one that would prove to be a powerful brand for their latter-day descendants. “Looking back from the twenty-first century, it turns out to have been an interesting choice. Donald no doubt enjoys the bridge player’s definition of trump: a winning play by a card that outranks all others. But other definitions include “a thing of small value, trifle” and “to deceive or cheat” as…


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…