COMMON DREAMS, INC

Rating: 1.54 stars   13 reviews 386

Issues: Civil Rights

Location: PO Box 443 Portland ME 04112-0443 USA

Mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.
Target demographics: Progressive thinkers and activists.
Geographic areas served: USA and international.
Programs: Common Dreams publishes a diverse mix of breaking news, insightful views, and press releases covering issues that resonate with progressives in every corner of the globe. We compile the latest, most relevant writings in one easy-to-access online location, and present it in a clean, uncomplicated format, uninterrupted by pop-ups or gimmicks. Over the years, we’ve published the work of some of the world’s brightest visionaries and most courageous advocates for change. The writings of Nelson Mandela, Naomi Klein, Al Gore, Arundhati Roy, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the late Molly Ivins, and many, many others have appeared on our homepage, alongside the heartfelt sentiments and piercing insights of lesser-known, ‘regular folks’ whose inspirational words and creative ideas might otherwise have vanished into the black hole of unpublished works. Common Dreams makes sure that the critical issues and ideas for the future are not drowned out in the ceaseless noise and dis-information that calls itself "the news" in most of the corporate media. We are dedicated to bringing our millions of readers honest, independent news and analysis every day of the year.
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Rating: 1 stars  

IF you wish to support a group that sensors and limits free speech by commenters who routinely hold more insight and knowledge then the authors of their own articles then by all means spend freely.
My experience has been that the comments portion of Common Dreams has been the most informative and educational portion of my internet reading and time after time I have seen brilliant commenters censored or they just "disappear". This leads me to assume that Common Dreams purpose is to collect those dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and knowledge into a tightly controlled corral in their attempt to keep the two party system facade alive.
With their recent decision to completely censor their commenters and totally control the comment portion of their organization with an in-house commenting system, I fear all value to this group has been lost. It is all about controlled propaganda now on the internet which is the last free space humans have to communicate freely without borders.
Sad commentary today when truth and freedom are corralled into smaller and tighter spaces, fending off the ever growing mass of power fueled by money. It is an obvious attempt to destroy such sediments. When truth and freedom are feared, killed, or silenced it only means one thing...........that the opposite is desired.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 1 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

common dreams has engaged in censoring political speech in its comment thread for years. i was one of those folks banished from communicating w/ open-minded, freethinking people b/c my views did not conform to traditional politics. on its face, this seems innocuous. however, the commondreams webpage claims to represent progressive values. being exposed to facts, links and arguments from many perspectives/ideologies is fundamental to understanding how the "progressive left" thinks. censoring unpopular opinions (or popular opinions that do not conform to the editor's picadillos) is not progressive. in fact, this is regressive, reductive, conservative politics. neutralize alternative points of view and then claim there is no alternative - i believe we've seen this kind of thinking in the past. commondreams receives the bulk of its funding from democratic leaning foundations, but lies to its potential fund raising base when it claims they (the broad base) represent the bulk of commondreams funding. it is disingenuous to not reveal this fact, while soliciting money - as it is disingenuous to herald the rights of free expression while censoring opinions one doesn't subscribe to.

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Rating: 1 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Forgive the bluntness, but...f#*k Common Dreams, for the only thing common about this site is that those who are "disappeared" from their comment section, are never given a chance to contest their removal, let alone are they told "why."
And yet...the infamous site pet Siouxrose, who ironically butted heads with nearly all who were banned, remains to this day to bash and belittle any who dare to question the wisdom of those writers and their beliefs whom the site owners deem worthy of printing.
In others words, any who question the wisdom of keeping one's lips tightly attached to the ass of the Democratic Party.
Again, my apologies for the language, but if being "candid" is what you desire from any who are to give a review of the site Common Dreams---I believe that the use of profanity would be a given.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

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Rating: 2 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

CD's largely one more hypocritical outrage business in an endless sea of them. I've been banned 3 times by these clowns--or, more likely, clown, since it was probably Big Craig in all 3 cases--and my crime was largely mixing it up with democrats who were probably donors.

I think the site can tolerate a reasonable difference of political opinion, but as Brown himself openly admitted in their comical "investigation" of a single idiot poster, they basically dance to the tune of large money donors. I'm still shocked the dude not only admitted it, but was actually bragging about it.

In any event, it's nothing to get worked up about because for radicals, hacking off people with cash is a way of life, and this is one of the consequences. Sure, teh hypocrisy is obnoxious, but these guys are no different than almost any other operation out there making a living selling outrage to political junkies.

Bottom line is fairly simple: if you just get unlucky nough to draw the attention of someone who is an officer or operative from the Democrats or is a larger donor, you're probably toast. If not, you'll probably live to agitate another day.

I do confess that, like many of you, I'm completely baffled by the SiouxRose Cloak of Internet Invincibility. I've never encountered a worse person on political boards before that managed to never be banned. I'd love to actually get the story on that--not conspiracy speculation, but the truth.

Anyhoo, if you're thinking about donating to a political agitation operation, there are far better ones to do it with than CD. They're decent retailers of other people's work, but contribute absolutely zero of their own work to any cause nor do they contribute a unique environment for activists to exchange ideas and discover each other. they're simply another business out to make a buck or 200,000 from keeping people mad all day.

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Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

According to the site administrators of Common Dreams:

"Our Mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good."

Except, this statement is not true. In fact, I think a more apt slogan for Common Dreams is this:

"Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."—Eric Hoffer

I’ve been a long-time reader of Common Dreams, allegedly a “progressive” site, and over the years I have come to determine the site is not what it purports to be. Though it’s not quite classified as “mainstream,” it serves as another establishment internet medium to keep those who self-identify as “liberals” clinging to the coattails of the Democratic Party, a decidedly non-progressive cabal of neo-liberal political operatives, and, like its counterpart, the Republican Party, comprises one half of the two-party fiction that most people think of as oppositional. In reality, both factions serve elite capitalist and imperialist interests at the peril of the “common good.”

In other words, Common Dreams functions very much like NPR and The Nation. It pays lip-service to populist causes favored by liberal “progressives, such as diversity and the environment, but in truth, Common Dreams has a vested interest in maintaining the Democratic Party status quo, which entails pleasing its politically-connected, Big Money donors, none of which are denoted as funders and backers on the Common Dreams website.

Big Money, politically-connected donors and the “common good” are antithetical concepts, just like capitalism and democracy. This inconvenient truth is not lost on the administrators of Common Dreams who clearly understand this, which is why they disguise their fealty to their Big Money donors in a cloak of populist rhetoric and neglect to mention them on their website, which is dishonest. From the website, this deception: “Common Dreams is funded by the pooling together of thousands of small donations from our readers.” Left unmentioned is that Common Dreams receives the bulk of its funding from wealthy patrons and foundations.

Thus, to maintain its populist credentials, it is essential for the site to 1) maintain the false notion that all of its funding comes from its quarterly fundraising drives, i.e., from its pool of loyal readers, and 2) publish some articles that recognize and are even critical of some inherent “flaws” within the existing capitalist power structure, while it pushes the false dichotomy of two-party, electoral politics as the only viable vehicle for liberal progressives to achieve “reform” of such “flaws” through their continued support of the Democratic Party.

Vigorous debate within the comments threads is encouraged, but ONLY within permissible parameters. Those who attempt to reveal to other readers the vast discrepancy between Common Dreams’s quarterly, reader-pooled fundraising efforts, which annually total approximately $200,000, and its combined, aggregate annual revenues of approximately $600,000, which include money received from foundations and wealthy benefactors, are censored.

Furthermore, those whose radical or independent political views veer too far outside of the parameters of permissible thought, i.e., express opinions considered too far to the “left,” will find themselves subjected to censure and, if necessary, complete censor.

Like our government’s political class, Common Dreams does not appear overly concerned with small-time donations from its horde of individual commenters (the CD “masses”, if you will). On the contrary, individual members of the comments crowd are expendable, as Common Dreams cares mainly about its politically-connected, Big Money patrons, just as our kleptocratic political class acts as State Capitalism’s courtier on behalf of Wall Street, the Pentagon, the intelligence apparatus and large transnational corporations.

Common Dreams doesn’t want the majority of its readers to figure this out; however, especially since site polls indicate that most of its readers have been conditioned through mediums such as Common Dreams to support and vote for Democratic politicians as “lesser-evil” alternatives, especially when juxtaposed against the Republican candidates. Thus, individuals who post comments, which point out Democratic Party complicity—bipartisan consensus—in system-wide corruption, or who voice vigorous support of third-party candidates or point to the complete futility of elections as a viable mechanism for progressive change, are disproportionately among those whose opinions are disapprovingly shunned as the “unserious,” irrational rants of “cynical purists,” and, should they persist, are typically targeted for attack and/or censor.

Implicit in Common Dreams’s unwritten policy of arbitrary, hair-trigger censorship of left-leaning critiques, is a fear or threat that maybe… just maybe by allowing some of these dissenting viewpoints to take hold within its comments threads, some of the Common Dreams faithful, who may be politically undecided prior to an upcoming election, might just put two-and-two together and decide that the Democratic Party is not only just as bad as the Republican Party in waging class warfare against the public-at-large, but possibly even worse—a “more effective,” as opposed to, a “lesser-evil.”

Censoring or banning those who intelligently, articulately, and rationally point out the complicity of the Democratic Party in a two-party conspiracy against the public temporarily eliminates this threat AND contemporaneously sends a loud and clear message to anyone else in the comments threads who might be thinking of voicing dissident views that they, too, can be “disappeared.”

Common Dreams’s administrators clearly understand that eliminating a few voices here and there, sans explanation, is an effective means of silencing further inconvenient and unorthodox opinions, even if only temporarily, while maintaining the illusion that the site seeks progressive unity.

It is important to note that serial suppression of independent political opinions cannot possibly be reconciled with any serious commitment to progressive politics on behalf of the “common good,” i.e., democracy. In fact, it would seem the antithesis.

Thus, though Common Dreams portrays itself as a progressive website, it’s obvious to me that for purely political purposes, Common Dreams periodically culls its public comments forum of intelligent, persuasive voices, particularly prior to an upcoming election of importance, and especially if those voices are gaining traction in exposing the fraud of two-party adversarialism, which could hinder voter allegiance to the Democratic Party’s preferred candidates. Such a practice on the part of Common Dreams would appear in conflict with the IRS Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Public Charities concerning political campaign intervention:

"On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that would favor one candidate over another, oppose a candidate in some manner, or have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute campaign intervention."

Recently, Common Dreams issued a new spate of banishments. None of the myriad people who have been banished without notice from commenting, either recently or in the past, violated the tenets of the site’s posted Comments Policy. On the contrary, the single, glaringly apparent and defining criterion used against those who have been unceremoniously expunged is political bias.

The only individual who, conspicuously, is never subjected to even the threat of censure or banishment is a commercial astrologer, who also self-identifies as a “mystical visionary” and “published” author and who, as of this writing, has amassed, just since Common Dreams formed its approximately two-year-long association with Disqus, nearly 18,000 comments, all of which are exclusive to Common Dreams. To point out that this woman is a daily fixture at this site would be an understatement, as she treats this site as her personal blog, with the apparent blessing of the site administrators. It should be noted, too, that this individual’s avatar/screen name matches and identifies her with the name of her easily accessible commercial website.

Unlike those banished without warning for positing unorthodox political views, the commercial astrologer routinely—daily—violates the site’s stated Comments Policy, with total impunity. Written complaints by other commenters of her voluminous site violations are ignored. For many, the question looms, “Why?”

Per the Common Dreams Comments Policy, the following delineated site prohibitions make-up this commercial astrologer’s standard modus operandi within the comments threads:

• Slander, personal attacks or abusive, hateful, offensive, or racist language or material (Unsubstantiated allegations that other commenters are “paid to post;” vicious, bullying tactics, unwarranted accusations of “anti-Semitism”, etc.);
• Comments off-topic to the article (e.g., astrology);
• Intentionally inflammatory rhetoric;
• Links to inappropriate or unrelated content (e.g., her articles at astro.com);
• Identical, repetitive comments posted on multiple articles; and
• Blatantly promotional content.

I mention this because it would seem these posted comment prohibitions were developed specifically to maintain a certain level of civil decorum among the site’s commenters and to prevent certain disruptive, unethical, offensive and intentionally divisive behaviors. Ostensibly, site guidelines are necessary to ensure that the site maintains lively, interesting, and intellectual discourse from all perspectives without devolving into an echo-chamber of one individual’s megalomania, paranoia, political agenda and unrelenting self-promotion.

Yet, in spite of these posted prohibitions, I have witnessed these violations on the part of the commercial astrologer exacerbate,unaddressed for a number of years.

Tellingly, this commercial astrologer focuses the majority of her vituperative propaganda (character defamation (libel); abusive, hateful language; and intentionally inflammatory rhetoric), against those individuals who generally end up banished from posting further commentary based solely on their political views.

This does not appear to be a coincidence.

In fact, it has become increasingly apparent to me that the commercial astrologer and Common Dreams may have established a possible quid pro quo arrangement to implement purposeful propaganda techniques with the goal of discrediting or intimidating people from voicing comments that serve as indictments of the two-party status quo, and, in particular, the role played in it by the Democratic Party.

Intelligent, rational and independent political opinions that conflict with Common Dreams’s unstated, but obvious allegiance to and support for and from the Democratic Party and some of its Big Money players, sponsors, pundits and business interests are routinely expunged.

Along with a coterie of acolytes, the commercial astrologer acts as the Common Dreams gatekeeper of permissible political opinions and as its reliable, obsequious apologist for its stable of moderate, “progressive,” liberal-lite political writers. Through the use of abusive intimidation tactics and classic propaganda techniques, the apparent objective is to incite divisiveness in effort to silence dissenting opinions that do not inure to the support of the Democratic Party and/or its affiliate pundits, many of whom also post articles at Common Dreams. Anyone voicing criticism of the Common Dreams line-up of liberal-lite, “progressive” writers will eventually be subjected to attack, degradation, and unsubstantiated accusations of being a “right-wing shill” who is “paid to post.”

When these bullying tactics cease to quell the “problem,” the individual subjected to denigration is often “disappeared,” by the site administrators along with access to all of his or her recent commentary. This is a pattern familiar to anyone who has visited Common Dreams on a fairly regular basis.

Acting as the site’s attack-dog, the commercial astrologer is permitted unlimited run of the comments forum, a public, tax-exempt platform, which conveniently provides her access to a captive audience of thousands of potential customers, to both overtly and subtlety advertise for her various private business interests, which include, but are not limited to, her self-published books, movie scripts, charts/readings, numerology services, workshops, career guidance, relocation services, and relationship compatibility. In addition to peddling her own version of junk-thought to the public, this commercial astrologer frequently provides both overt and subtle plugs for other questionable commercial purveyors of junk-thought, which include David Icke and Michael Greer.

Yet, despite her repeated Comment Policy violations, which in no way comport with Common Dreams’s paean to the “common good,” the commercial astrologer remains a site fixture.

Her ubiquitous presence at this site leads me to believe that she quite possibly functions as a Common Dreams “insider,” who is permitted unfettered use of this public forum to peddle her various manner of junk-thought, perhaps, in exchange—quid pro quo—for serving as the site’s guard-dog of permissible opinion.

In my opinion, this arrangement does not appear coincidental, nor does it seem “incidental.” If true, this sordid arrangement could be a violation of the IRS Compliance Guide pertaining to private benefit and inurement. To wit:

"A public charity is prohibited from allowing more than an insubstantial accrual of private benefit to individuals or organizations. This restriction is to ensure that a tax-exempt organization serves a public interest, not a private one. If a private benefit is more than incidental, it could jeopardize the organization’s tax-exempt status."

There is no explanation that could possibly justify why the administrators of this site, who profess as the site’s mission to stand for the “common good,” would permit the use of this site’s public comments forum to inure to the benefit of this one individual’s private interests, while also allowing her free rein to sow discord and perpetually bully and defame their other commenters unless her continued presence and divisive behavior are, in fact, intended and deliberate, i.e., desired, condoned, and actively promoted by the site’s administrators.

Based on my years of reading and analyzing the commentary at this site, this is the inescapable conclusion I have drawn from this set of circumstances. Of course, only an IRS investigation can confirm the validity of this speculative assessment.

Needless to say, Common Dreams’s mission statement is a lie. Perhaps at the time of its inception, the administrators actually did intend the site as a source to “ignite change for the common good;” however, this clearly is not the case today. Instead of promoting methods for its members to come together to organize, the site prefers atomization, as anyone who attempts to exchange contact information will be subject to censure.

In summation, it is my opinion Common Dreams has degenerated into just another politically-connected, money-making racket, and as one longtime, anonymous commenter succinctly put it:

"The site is a lucrative cash cow for Craig and his colleagues. It’s effectively a cyber-Veal Pen front for the Democratic Party, thinly disguised beneath a non-denominational (i.e., non-partisan) philosophy promoting moderate progressive liberal-lite lesser-evilism".—Anon.

Indeed.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Encourage an IRS investigation into possible violations of IRS Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Public Charities.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 3 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I agree with the various commenters that CD censors a lot of people. But CD censors a lot less people than other liberal sites like Alternet or the Guardian. While I understand the frustration of some commenters about banning because of criticizing Sioux Rose, I find many of her posts very informative. I do agree she quickly criticizes others without giving it a lot of thought. But I disagree with complaints about her relationship to Trudeau and Ickes.

Trudeau may have had run ins with the law over his diet book, but most of his problems with the book came from attacking big corporate food companies, who reacted. The FTC banned Trudeau's Mega Memory tapes, although no doubt exists as to their effectiveness and their use of memory techniques known for centuries. The many time world memory champion, Dominic O'Brien, has a set of CDs on memory that use many of the same techniques. Try them.

My larger complaints with CD come from its insistence of publishing articles by democratic party hacks on a regular basis, despite the consistent comments from the readers complaining about this. In 2016 they will support the democratic candidate.

I enjoy reading the comments on CD, invariably more interesting and observant than the articles.

CD does a good job of reprinting some less radical articles, but avoids publishing articles by effective critics of the democratic party.

Unfortunately, CD refuses to publish articles by any really trenchant thinkers, except very occasionally.

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Rating: 1 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Common Dreams routinely blocks independent progressives too critical of the Dem establishment and CD article-selection practices that support it. By "blocks" I mean suspends their accounts to delete their comments and so that they can no longer comment.

Its primary source of donations is from wealthy funders of foundations who made a killing as corporation owners and execs, and may help explain the AIPAC corruption of the Dem establishment.
Its new website uses a Madison-Avenue-lie to claim "Common Dreams is funded by the pooling together of thousands of small donations from our readers" and "We are...100% reader supported."

Further, as is well known among experienced commenters using the site, CD has long refused to enforce commenting policy routinely violated by a commercial astrologist who aggressively attacks independent progressive commenters and recklessly alleges they are paid right-wing trolls. The same commenter is a long-time friend and business-beneficiary of the infamous huckster and convicted felon Kevin Trudeau, the incontrovertible proof of which can yet be found in a recent-enough "Trudeau Channel" you-tube video of the two of them in commercial action.
In accord with Guidestar's community guidelines (ie policy) I have not entered that commenter's user name or other identifying information. Instead I would urge any foundation or individual contemplating a donation to Common Dreams to investigate this matter for themselves and consider the potential for publicized allegations of violation of 501c3 law in the conduct of CD vis-a-vis that commercial commenter. At issue is what explains CD's long failure to enforce policy. Is the commercial commenter "donating" to CD and helping it purge dissident commenters, quid pro quo for the commercial value of publicity on CD? Only an IRS investigation could determine that. As it is, there is clearly the appearance of potential for impropriety, which most 501c3's avoid like the plague. Thank you for making it possible to bring this to the attention of your users, who turn to these reviews for just such information as I have now provided.

There being a spate of CD commenting-blockings of outspoken independent progressives in recent days, including that of one who made mention of the business relationship between Trudeau and the aforementioned commercial commenter, you are apt to receive more such unfavorable reviews of Common Dreams.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

For over 30 years I have been directly involved with numerous social issues, including agriculture/food systems, environment, education and the health field. I have always tried to obtain the most honest diverse information regarding whats going on in our country/world. I have continually subscribed to at least 8-10 alternative press news sources (ie. Utne Reader, Mother Jones, Alternet, Grist, The Republic, etc.).

I have tremendous respect and trust in the sources of information found in Common Dreams, particularily via the openess of their sources and the author of the articles. Hopefully Common Dreams can continue way into the future to give authentic perspectives on what is really going on in our world, but also share the great visionaries and their inspiration.

I have two Ph. D.'s and yet i gladly chose to work for minimum wage in the public school system in order to hopefully create some positive change in paradigms. For me, Common Dreams is critical for our survival as humans- no exaggeration!

Hunter Lilly, Ph.D'

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 1 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

This website censors posters that they do not agree with. I had used CD as a source for news and a format to exchange thoughts and commentary with fellow progressives. I have multiple sclerosis and require periodic rest throughout the workday, so I used this 'down time' to read and post. I had noticed that several frequent posters seemed to suddenly disappear, but I had no idea they were being censored for their opinions! Then the editors presented the results of a survey of on-line readership on their presidential preferences for the 2012 election. The results indicated an overwhelming vote for Obama. This just didn't jibe with the opinions expressed on-line at all, which were very overtly anti-Obama and in support of third party candidates. I am a social worker by profession, (MSW) and took a basic statistics class in grad school, and thought that the format of their 'survey' was ridiculously unscientific, easy to skew, and stated that I thought their methodology was unsound in a post. The post was censored. I re-posted it. Censored again. The third time, I was censored and precluded from further comment, and when I was bold enough to ask why, there was no response. The people managing this site are censors. They have no business being in a role promoting community interaction. The damage they have inflicted on the progressive community over the years is not insignificant. Please do not contribute to this injustice.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A little

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

"We do not censor comments for their political opinion. Period." Craig Brown This is simply not true. I have been censored and had my IP blocked several times four years ago. When I inquired as to why, none of my emails were ever answered.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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