Articles by Mark Taylor

Holdouts Vow To Challenge Purdue Pharma Settlement That Protects Multi-Billionaire Sackler Family Fortune

  “Purdue has had all of its money sucked from it by the Sacklers, so the money is with the Sacklers. This proposal is … not going to require the Sacklers to pay back any profits they took out from Purdue from the sales of OxyContin over the last 10 years.” — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D). By Nathaniel Weixel The Hill (9/17/19) Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing, the centerpiece of a settlement intended to shield the company and its owners from more than 2,500 lawsuits by cities and states over its role in the opioid crisis, is already facing…


The Full MSNBC Interview: Edward Snowden Warns Of The Intrusive Government Surveillance Threat To Privacy & Our Freedom

[Editor’s Note: For some reason, there was a delay in the interview beginning after the brief opening ad. this is an important interview for every citizen to view and think about deeply. The role of Joe Biden in the suppression of Edward Snowden is especially interesting. — Mark L. Taylor] 11th Hour / MSNBC (9/16/19) On the eve of his memoir ‘Permanent Record’ being published, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden talked at length from Moscow with MSNBC’s Brian Williams in an exclusive interview. This is their discussion in its entirety, edited down slightly for clarity. Link to 54-Minute Video ***** Govt….


How The FBI Ratcheted Up It’s Power After 9/11 And Helped Install Trump In Office

  “I believe the FBI contributed to this breakdown of public trust in government institutions, not just by who it chose to target for disruption but, just as important, who it didn’t.” By Ryan Devereaux The Intercept (9/14/19) MIKE GERMAN, A former FBI special agent, had four years on the job when he took an assignment that would change his life forever. It was 1992. A jury in Simi Valley, California, had just acquitted a group of mostly white Los Angeles police officers for the videotaped beating of a black construction worker named Rodney King. Decades of pent-up anger directed at one…


Media Ignoring The Deadly Impacts Of Climate Crisis Doesn’t Mean They Just Go Away

[Editor’s Note: This is the original — unedited — version of the writer’s letter that recently appeared in The La Crosse Tribune. — Mark L. Taylor] By Cathy Van Maren Letter to the Editor Media reports about 9/11 first responders and survivors sickened by toxic debris fail to mention that George W. Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency head, supported by his National Security Adviser, ignored science and assured the public that Ground Zero air was safe to breathe. “No Bush administration officials have paid any price for lying thousands to their deaths.” But that’s nothing compared to what will happen if…


Guide To Area Climate Crisis Action Events

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. (Illustration by Seth L. Taylor, 2019) You may have heard about the new Fridays For Future La Crosse Chapter founded by Central High School students (July 12 WKBT story & July 21 La Crosse Tribune article) an open to all youth. They are also on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram. The international organization was first started by Greta Thunberg of Sweden in 2018 after she was inspired by the American activism of the March For Our Lives students from Parkland, FL as well as the Zero Hour climate movement and event in Washington D.C. by young climate activists. The youth leaders of Fridays…


Russia Monitor: Impeach Or Not To Impeach, Dithering House Dems Stumble Forth

    By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/18/19) Dear Fellow Reader, Did you know the House Dems have started the impeachment process against Trump? Did you know former Trump campaign manager and New Hampshire republican Senate candidate Corey Lewandowski appeared before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday? Did you ‘get’ the Dem talking points about what they accomplished yesterday? Before sharing damning condemnation of the Dem approach let me acknowledge a few positives. One thing that worked particularly well for Dems was their use of majority counsel Barry Berke as a questioner, getting 30 minutes to question Lewandowski. It was…


‘RIP GOP’ Review: How Democrats Could Usher Fall Of The House Of Trump, But…

By Lloyd Green The Guardian (9/15/19) Nearly 35 years ago, the pollster Stanley Greenberg took a hard look at Macomb county, Michigan, wanting to better understand the political DNA of “Reagan Democrats”. He concluded: “These white Democratic defectors express a profound distaste for blacks, a sentiment that pervades almost everything they think about government and politics.” A supporter of Robert Kennedy in 1968, Greenberg saw class, not race, as the lever of choice in wooing Democratic voters. A quarter-century later, he was Bill Clinton’s pollster in his victorious 1992 presidential bid. Now Greenberg delivers RIP GOP, in which he predicts that the…


‘SOCIALISM’ — The All-American Tradition That Made Us Once Great

The GOP hopes the S-word will scare you, but great public works projects transformed this country for the better. By Tim Butterworth Other Word (9/1/19) From single-payer health care to climate change, the 2020 Democrats have ambitious plans. But these new, grand, and green deals aren’t as radical as some make them sound. In fact, big public projects are what made America great. When President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower took office in 1953, America had been buffeted by the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s. The Cold War put us in competition with Soviet “5-Year…



Excerpt Form Naomi Klein’s Latest Book ‘On Fire’, Addressing Mounting Climate Crisis

  The Guardian (9/14/19) ‘On Fire’ by Naomi Klein: On a Friday in mid-March, they streamed out of schools in little rivulets, burbling with excitement and defiance at an act of truancy. The little streams emptied on to grand avenues and boulevards, where they combined with other flows of chanting children and teens. Soon the rivulets were rushing rivers: 100,000 bodies in Milan, 40,000 in Paris, 150,000 in Montreal. Cardboard signs bobbed above the surf of humanity: THERE IS NO PLANET B! DON’T BURN OUR FUTURE. THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE! There was no student strike in Mozambique; on 15…


Madison Willy Street Co-op Workers Vote In Favor Of Union

As grocery co-ops expand, co-op workers across the United States have increasingly pushed to unionize their workplaces.  By Alice Herman The Isthmus (9/12/19) Bjørn Thorson says that in 2014 management at the Willy Street Co-op asked him to help fight an effort by workers to unionize. “I was asked to keep my ears out and my eyes out and see if I could sway people away from unionizing,” says Thorson, a produce stocker and clerk at the westside Willy Street Co-op store. Thorson agreed to push back against the campaign led by United Food and Commercial Workers. “If someone would…


Notably Quotable: “I think we have to face the truth that no one seems to want to admit…”

“I think we have to face the truth that no one seems to want to admit. This is no longer a case of excessive narcissism or grandiosity. We’re not simply dealing with an unusually large ego. The president of the United States is seriously, frighteningly, dangerously unstable. And he’s getting worse by the day.” — Robert Reich, Trump is seriously, frighteningly unstable – the world is in danger. ***** “We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill, and lie to make money. They throw…


Creator Of Stanford Prison Experiment On ICE & Trump’s Camps: It’s How Nazi Guards Behaved

Philip Zimbardo, whose work explored the psychology of cruelty: America under Trump is a “nightmare situation” By  Chauncey Devega Salon (9/12/19) Thousands of migrant and refugee children have still not been reunited with their families. Many may never be returned to their parents. Children being held in Donald Trump’s concentration camps and other detention centers have been sexually assaulted by staff members. A new lawsuit against the Trump administration alleges that Trump’s ICE and Border Patrol enforcers are abusing teenage girls and young women by denying them proper sanitary products, leaving the girls in bloody clothes and refusing to allow them to properly…


Calculated: Bullying Cruelty Is The Point

By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (9/11/19) Sweet mother of God. Racist and cruel doesn’t begin to cover the ongoing atrocities now daily committed – coincidentally, virtually entirely against brown and black people – by the sick demons running our country. The refusal to offer temporary refuge to the desperate survivors of a climate-crisis-fueled hurricane that left 70,000 people homeless and likely killed another 2,500 still missing is only the latest. The day before, ICE officials stonewalled Democrats on their ungodly efforts to deport critically ill kids – in Boston alone, they include a 7-year-old boy with severe epilepsy, a 10-year-old girl blinded by eye cancer and…


Commemorating An Astonishing Act Of Bravery & Compassion In A Time of Cowardice & Hate

On and after October 1, 1943, thousands of Danish families left their lives behind. A makeshift armada hastily ferried more than 7,000 Jews and their spouses across the water to neutral Sweden.’ (photo: Museum of Danish Resistance) By Harvey Wasserman Reader Supported News (9/14/19) As we flounder in the sea of hate spewing out of the White House and all around it, honoring one of humankind’s greatest acts of compassion might help us heal, and renew our faith that change can still come. It happened October 1, 1943 – 76 years ago this coming month. Jews around the world were…


Profits Roll In For “corporate vultures” As They Pay To Burn Down The Amazon Rainforest

“The only reason these companies are able to keep burning down the forest year over year is because their customers keep paying them to do so.” By Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson & Negin Owliaei People’s World (9/13/19) While the world watches in horror as fires rage in the Amazon, activists are naming culprits. “Put out the flames, we name your names—politicians, corporate vultures, you’re the ones we blame,” demonstrators chanted as they marched from the White House to the Brazilian Consulate on Sept. 5. The fires are no accident. Most have been set by agribusiness and mining interests hoping to make money off…


Louisiana Frack Gas Well Blowout Has Been Burning For 2 Weeks And Will Likely Burn For Next Month: “The emissions from such a source can be enormous,”

This burning well may be releasing approximately 8,700 pounds of nitrogen oxides, pollutants that lead to smog and acid rain, each day. By Julie Dermansky Desmog Blog (9/12/19) A fracked natural gas well in northwest Louisiana has been burning for two weeks after suffering a blowout. A state official said the fire will likely burn for the next month before the flames can be brought under control by drilling a relief well. DeSmog obtained drone video footage shot 10 days* after the blowout, which occurred early in the morning on August 30, the day after the well was hydraulically fractured. A tower of flames reportedly shot into the air that could be seen from more…


In ‘Disgusting’ Move, Amazon’s Hypocritical Billionaire Jeff Bezos Abruptly Cuts Health Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Part-Time Whole Foods Workers

    [Editor’s Note: Now, keep in mind, Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 and, in fact, received a $129 federal tax rebate. All of that despite the company nearly doubling its profits to $11.2 billion in 2018, up from $5.6 billion the previous year. Bezos and two others now own more wealth than the bottom half of the country. Time for huge changes and run-of-the-mill neoliberal, pro-corporate dems like Joe Biden are not the answer for these deeply corrupted times. — Mark L. Taylor] By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (9/13/19) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday cut benefits for part-time…


Chris Hedges ‘On Contact’ — Tyranny Of The Corporate Workplace

By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT (9/14/19) Host Chris Hedges talks to Elizabeth Anderson, professor of philosophy at University of Michigan, about the tyranny of the corporate workplace from non-disclosure agreements to punitive, restrictive work conditions and censorship. Their discussion comes as California lawmakers passed landmark legislation challenging the business model of “gig-economy” companies forcing companies to reclassify certain contract workers as employees. Anderson’s new book ‘Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)’, was published by Princeton Press. Link to 28-Minute Video


Russia Monitor: It’s Moscow Mitch & Sharpiegate And So Much More

“McConnell is more comfortable having Russia engage in our elections than he is in having the federal government work with the states to protect them.” — Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) commenting on lack of GOP Senate election protection action. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/16/19) Dear Fellow Readers, One more note about Senate Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell before moving on, Moscow Mitch prioritizes Russian aluminum over coal miner pensions. Similarly I’ll tie up one more loose end with a report on Trump’s now former national security adviser John Bolton – though I’ll also comment on the more important part…


Edward Snowden Memoir ‘Permanent Record’ Lays Out The Emerging Worldwide Surveillance Threat

“The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.” By Ewen MacKaskill The Guardian (9/13/19) The world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, says he has detected a softening in public hostility towards him in the US over his disclosure of top-secret documents that revealed the extent of the global surveillance programmes run by American and British spy agencies. In an exclusive two-hour interview in Moscow to mark the publication of his memoirs, Permanent Record, Snowden said dire warnings that his disclosures would cause harm had not come to pass, and even…


Joe Biden’s Unintelligible Education Word Salad

“Look, you talk about education…We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It is not they don’t want to help. They don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio. Make sure the television — excuse me make sure that you have the record player on at night, the phone — make sure that kids hear words, a kid coming from a very poor school—a very poor background will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.” — Joe Biden, 9/12/19 Democratic debate, ‘What was he talking…


Justified Anger Social Action Plan Training Sessions

Nehemiah Center For Urban Leadership Development Have you taken the Justified Anger history course, feel like you need to mobilize Madison for change, but are still uncertain how to begin? Have you wanted to take the history course, haven’t been able to – but want to mobilize now? Join Paul Terranova Executive Director of the Lussier Community Education Center, and Marie Stolzenburg, Director of Mobilization for Justified Anger/Nehemiah, for three training sessions that will: Help you realize your relational power Teach you how to approach the difficult and complex issues of racial inequity and break down into achievable – rather…


How Corporate America Invented ‘Christian’ Libertarianism & The Myth Of A ‘Christian America’ To Fight New Deal Reforms

The rise of corporate religous nationalism. By Ron Briley History News Network (3/23/16) The 2016 annual meeting for the Organization of American Historians (OAH) will feature a session focusing upon the provocative book One Nation Under God by Princeton history professor Keven M. Kruse. In One Nation Under God, Kruse argues that the idea of the United States as a Christian nation does not find its origins with the founding of the United States or the writing of the Constitution. Rather, the notion of America as specifically consecrated by God to be a beacon for liberty was the work of corporate and religious…


Religious Right Round-Up: Liberty University Insiders Blow The Lid Off Evangelical Jerry Falwell Jr’s Shady Personal & Business Dealings

“Somebody’s gotta tell the freakin’ truth’.” By Brandon Ambrosino Politico (9/9/19) At Liberty University, all anyone can talk about is Jerry Falwell Jr. Just not in public. “When he does stupid stuff, people will mention it to others they consider confidants and not keep it totally secret,” a trusted adviser to Falwell, the school’s president and chancellor, told me. “But they won’t rat him out.” That’s beginning to change. Over the past year, Falwell, a prominent evangelical leader and supporter of President Donald Trump, has come under increasing scrutiny. News outlets have reported on business deals by Liberty University benefiting Falwell’s friends. Trump’s former personal…


Secretive Dark Money Healthcare Ad Spending Exceeds $65 Million In 2019 As Insurance Industry Ramps Up Effort To Kill Medicare For All

By Jake Johnson Commoner Call (9/11/19) An Axios analysis released Wednesday found that spending on healthcare advertisements has exceeded $65 million in 2019 as dark money organizations, the insurance industry, and Big Pharma ramp up their campaigns against Medicare for All and other proposed reforms. “More than half of all issue advertising this year has been on healthcare,” according to Axios, “and that spending will only increase as the 2020 campaign gets closer.” Doctor Patient Unity, a dark money group that purports to represent doctors but doesn’t publicly disclose its members, has been the biggest spender on healthcare ads this year, Axios found. The group has…


The Grave Danger Of The Dem’s Timid Opposition To Trump & Russpublicans

“While the official opposition party expresses grave concern about the gradual demolition of constitutional democracy — and, in fairness, some of its leading members use forceful language and demand action — it remains confused and defensive as to both strategy and tactics. At the moment, it appears committed (if that’s not far too generous a word) to relying on the machinery of constitutional democracy to defeat the assault on constitutional democracy, which is … I don’t know what it is. Stupid? Naive? Evidence of collaborator’s guilt? One struggles to find the correct metaphor: It’s something like trusting that there will…


Shut It Down: Veteran Organizer Lisa Fithian Offers A Guide To Resistance In Era Of Climate Crisis

“Learn Your History.” Democracy Now! (9/6/19) Lisa Fithian is a longtime organizer and nonviolent direct action trainer since the 1970s. She has shut down the CIA. She has occupied Wall Street, disrupted the World Trade Organization and stood her ground in Tahrir Square. She has walked in solidarity with the tribal leaders at Standing Rock and defended communities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. “It’s an incredibly painful time, but we can’t let that pain de-stablize us.” She joined us at the Democracy Now! studio to talk about her new book, which was published this week, titled “Shut It Down: Stories…


“We Are Striking To Disrupt The System”: An Hour With 16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

“I walk the walk. If I say something, I do it.’ Democracy Now! (11/9/19) In her first extended broadcast interview in the United States, we spend the hour with Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired millions across the globe. Last year she launched a school strike for the climate, skipping school every Friday to stand in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding action to prevent catastrophic climate change. Her protest spread, quickly going global. Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren around the globe have participated in their own local school strikes for the climate. Since her strike…


‘The Blob’ — Devastating Oceanic Heat Wave Returns To West Coast

TeleSure (9/10/19) Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are worried about the reappearance of a gigantic oceanic heat wave in front of the western U.S. coast that threatens a repeat of the devastating effects of a similar phenomenon in 2014. This unprecedented situation, since the start of registering temperatures in 1981, persisted over the next few years causing the death of millions of sea animals. Because of its destructive nature and of the unmeasurable damages to ecology and industry, this phenomenon was named after Chuck Russell’s 1988-movie “The Blob”, the shapeless unstoppable monster. Five years ago as a result of the rising of water temperature all along the coast belt between the Southern…


Russia Monitor: Is There A Blanket Big Enough?

“We’ve got a problem: It’s in 2026,” Trump told his supporters. “And I said, well wait a minute, under the normal rules I’ll be out in 2024. So we may have to go for an extra term, OK?“ — Trump at 9/9/19 Fayetteville, NC rally.  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/13/19) Dear Fellow Readers, “Only kidding”, Trump says about the quote above. Except he keeps saying it, having tweeted, posted to Instagram and repeated the ‘joke’ repeatedly over the last few days. I recently had an acquaintance tell me I was being petty over some example of Trump corruption…


Just Pause For A Moment & Consider What It Says That We Live In A Nation Where This Is A Business…

Florida Teachers Begin School Shooting Defense Business  A turning point came for her though in 2017, when one of her students threatened to shoot up the classroom. By Patrick McCreless Herald-Tribune (9/3/19) PANAMA CITY BEACH — The threat of school shootings has been a fact of life for Julie Johnson her entire teaching career. “When Columbine happened was my first year teaching … after class I was just watching this all unfold,” Johnson said, referring to the infamous 1999 high school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. “The horror struck me — ‘what would I do?’ ” Turns out, what she would do years later after training and…


Elimination Round: Thursday Dem Debate

Your absurdly complete guide to the next 2020 Democratic presidential debate on ABC and Univision By Wilson Criscione, Josh Kelety, Daniel Walters & Samantha Wohlfeil The Inlander A version of this article first appeared in the Inlander, a weekly based in Spokane, Washington. The next Democratic debate is Thursday, Sept. 12, starting at 5 pm Pacific time and airing on ABC and Univision. George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, Linsey Davis and Jorge Ramos will moderate. The culling has begun. Jay Inslee is out. So are Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Gravel and John Hickenlooper. And the next debate for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary is one night…


Notably Quotable: “Whether or not his disorders are diagnosable, the president’s psychological flaws are…”

“Whether or not his disorders are diagnosable, the president’s psychological flaws are all too apparent. They were alarming when he took the oath of office; they are worse now. Every day Donald Trump is president is a day of disgrace. And a day of danger.” — Peter Weher, Trump Is Not Well. ***** “He pisses ice water.” — Roy Cohn’s assessment of his protege, Donald Trump. ***** “We’ve become now an oligarchy instead of a democracy. And I think that’s been the worst damage to the basic moral and ethical standards of the American political system that I’ve ever seen in…


Grifter In Chief: Trump Businesses Banking Millions Bilking Taxpayers

Pentagon Officials Are Allowing Trump To Personally ‘profit off of the military’ By Matthew Chapman Raw Story (9/7/19) On Saturday [9/7], Politico’s Natasha Bertrand spoke with MSNBC’s Joy Reid about her new reporting that Air Force transports made unusual stopovers at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, as the resort gained $3 million in revenue in 2018. “How unusual is it for a military transport to stop at a private hotel, any private hotel, rather than like Ramstein Airbase in Germany and the other official military bases where they stop?” “Very unusual, Joy,” said Bertrand. “[Trump Turnberry] made about $11 million off…


One Of Most Encouraging Articles You Will Read This Week

  How a small active minority can change the world. By David Robson Future Now / BBC (5/14/19) In 1986, millions of Filipinos took to the streets of Manila in peaceful protest and prayer in the People Power movement. The Marcos regime folded on the fourth day. In 2003, the people of Georgia ousted Eduard Shevardnadze through the bloodless Rose Revolution, in which protestors stormed the parliament building holding the flowers in their hands. Earlier this year, the presidents of Sudan and Algeria both announced they would step aside after decades in office, thanks to peaceful campaigns of resistance. In each case,…


When The ICE Police State Drag Net Hits Close To Your Home & Family

By Tom Balistrieri Special to the Commoner Call (9/9/19) Big ICE Border Patrol check-point stop on I-89 in West Lebanon, New Hampshire  yesterday [9/5]  near the exit to a popular local Mexican Restaurant named Gusanoz. The owner, Nick Yager, was interviewed by the local newspaper, and he told them that immigrants have been his best workers. A young Mexican American woman and her kids were caught in the stop. She said they didn’t give her any trouble, but she was scared and she had to explain it to her kids, who were in the backseat. (That ‘Young Mexican American woman…


Getting Real About What It Will Take

“All of the movements that opened up the democratic space in America—the abolitionists, the suffragists, the labor movement, the communists, the socialists, the anarchists, and the civil rights movement—developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of power to respond. The platitudes about justice, equality, and democracy are just that. Only when ruling elites become worried about survival do they react. Appealing to the better nature of the powerful is useless.”  – Chris Hedges, America: The Farewell Tour ***** Chris Hedges On What it Takes To Be A Rebel In Modern Times VICE News (11/2/15) Bestselling author and…


Joe Biden Lying About His Role In Disastrous Iraq War Is Typical Of American Pols & Shows Why We Have So Many Wars

In Biden’s case, he attempted to take a Sharpie to the entire war and black-out his name. By Jonathan Turley The Hill (9/7/19) Former French President Charles de Gaulle once explained that “since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.” This week, no one is more surprised than President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump succeeded in turning an innocent mistake about the weather into a giant lie and then, after days of determined effort, into a full-fledged scandal. Biden succeeded in denying his own words in…


Exxon Mobil Is Funding Corporate Dem Think Tank Operation By Way Of Rep. Ron Kind’s Third Way

    [Editor’s Note: Keep in mind Rep. Ron Kind is a founding and ongoing member of the Wall Street funded corporate front group Third Way. — Mark L. Taylor] By Kate Aranoff The Intercept (9/6/19) THE PROGRESSIVE POLICY Institute, a centrist Democratic think tank that grew out of the party’s pro-business wing in the 1980s and ’90s, received $50,000 from Exxon Mobil in 2018 via its parent organization, the Third Way Foundation, according to the oil giant’s 2018 Worldwide Giving Report. Exxon Mobil did not return The Intercept’s multiple requests for comment. In an email, PPI Executive Director Lindsay Lewis…