‘Just-Us’ System

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…

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American “Just-Us” For Sale: Leaked Audio Shows Oil Lobbyist Bragging About Success In Criminalizing Pipeline Protests

“Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/20/19) As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry’s success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors. Speaking during a conference in Washington, D.C. in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted “model legislation” that states across the nation have passed in recent months. AFPM…


Leaked FBI Documents Reveal That At A Time Of Deadly White Extremist Violence It Lists Black ‘Extremists’ As Biggest Threat

FBI’s ‘Iron Fist’ Program The Young Turks (8/9/19) “Under President Trump, the FBI’s official counterterrorism priorities have included “Black Identity Extremists,” “anti-authority” extremists, and “animal rights/environmental extremists,” according to leaked Bureau documents obtained exclusively by The Young Turks. The documents, many of which are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive” and “For Official Use Only,” also reference a mysterious plan to mitigate the threat of “Black Identity Extremists” with a program codenamed “IRON FIST” involving the use of undercover agents. Each fiscal year, the FBI headquarters updates its Consolidated Strategy Guide, which lists the Bureau’s priorities in numerous domains such as counterterrorism,…


Justice Denied? Nobody Will Ever Believe The Official Story On Epstein’s Death

By Charles Pierce Esquire (8/10/19) Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell Saturday morning. Absolutely nobody is going to believe any official story that comes out about this. From The New York Times: Mr. Epstein hung himself and his body was found this morning at roughly 7:30. Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years. How in the hell do they let this happen? The guy was incarcerated in the Manhattan Correctional Center. He already had made one try. He…


The Untold Story Behind ICE Raids Of Miss. Plant After $3.75 Million Sexual Harassment Settlement

[Editor’s Note: So What do you think the chances are the billionaires who hired these workers will be arrested? — Mark L. Taylor] By Mike Elk PayDay Report(8/7/19) Today [8/7], ICE carried out what is believed to be the largest immigration raid in decades when they detained 680 workers at seven poultry plants in Morton, Mississippi. The workers, many of them members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), were employed by a company called Koch Foods Inc, which employs 13,000 workers throughout the US. (Koch Foods Inc. has no connection or relation to the billionaire political donor…


‘Official Indifference’ — U.S. Justice Dept. Provides Cover For White Nationalist Murder

By Michael German & Emmanuel Mauleón Salon / Commentary (8/4/19) How many violent white supremacist attacks happened last year in the United States? 50? 500? 1,000? Recent news stories have reported a rise in such crimes across the country. Yet the truth is that no one knows the scope of far-right violence in the United States because the FBI and Department of Justice deprioritize the investigation and prosecution of these crimes and fail to collect accurate national data regarding such attacks, despite a congressional mandate to do so (see here for a list of state hate crimes). Applying a hate crime label to an attack that clearly…


Republicans Are Radically Transforming Federal Courts To The Extreme Right For The Next 20-40 Years

“Justice” mosiac in the dome of the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol. ‘Perverted American Corporate Just-Us’ Real News Network (7/22/19) The Nation’s Elie Mystal says Conservative think tanks and Senate Majority Leader McConnell are creating a right-wing federal court system with Trump’s help that will affect generations to come. Link to 12-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


How A Trojan Horse Project To Rewrite Our Constitution Could Actually Happen If Trump Wins In 2020

By Thom Hartman Common Dreams (7/17/19) It’s often said that if Trump is reelected, it’ll be the end of democracy in America. But how could Trump get reelected, and how could democracy get wiped out in the USA? Turns out, there’s an actual project to rewrite our Constitution, turning America into a corporate-run oligarchy. They’d end the income tax, eliminate federal regulatory agencies like the EPA, end all labor protections (including laws against child labor), let states ignore anti-discrimination and other federal regulations, and impose term limits so the only “institutional memory” for legislatures will be the corporate lobbyists. All…


Protest Repression: Big Oil Warps Legislatures To Redefine Criminality

Is it “criminal” for an industry to drive the global climate crisis in order to reap profits? Or is it “criminal” to (literally) get in the way? By Sarah Lazare & Simon Davis-Cohen In These Times (4/16/19) Researchers concluded in January that humanity has a hope, a 64 percent chance, of keeping the temperature rise below the international target of 1.5 degrees Celsius—if the phaseout of fossil fuel infrastructure begins now and every car, plane and power plant in existence gets replaced by a zero-carbon alternative at the end of its life span. “We are basically saying we can’t build anything…


William Barr’s Been Accused Of A Presidential Cover-up Before

“If you want a presidential cover-up, Barr is your guy.” By Greg Walters Vice News (4/17/19) WASHINGTON — Weeks before former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s criminal trial over his role in the 1980’s Iran-Contra scandal, then-Attorney General William Barr dropped a bomb on the prosecution. “People in the Iran-Contra affair have been treated very unfairly,” Barr told USA Today in December 1992, blasting the charges as illegitimate. “People in this Iran-Contra matter have been prosecuted for the kind of conduct that would not have been considered criminal or prosecutable by the Justice Department.” Weinberger faced charges of lying to Congress,…


How Far-Right Thugs Evade Charges As Domestic Terrorists

The people marching with tiki torches don’t end up being viewed as domestic terrorists.   By Luke Barnes ThinkProgress (3/23/19) Christopher Hasson’s alleged intentions were clear from the start. Hasson, 49, a Coast Guard lieutenant, was arrested by federal agents in late February on gun and drug charges. But the guns alone weren’t the reason prosecutors were concerned. Instead, they were troubled by the fact that Hasson had allegedly amassed an arsenal in preparation for a lone wolf attack inspired by the far right, and had compiled an alleged hit list of prominent Democrats and journalists, which included CNN’s Don Lemon, Sen….


The American ‘Just-Us’ System Subjects Poor To Grinding Cycle Of Injustice & Hopelessness

  ‘I’m going to be paying it down until I die.’   Southern Poverty Law Center (1/25/19) The women incarcerated in Corinth, Mississippi, have a phrase for it: “sitting it out.” We have another name for it: “debtors’ prison.” Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has been clear that it’s unconstitutional to jail people simply because they can’t afford to pay fines and fees. But in states across the South — and across the country — that’s exactly what cash-strapped municipalities are doing. Take Glenn Chastain. He owed $1,200 to the city of Corinth for expired vehicle tags. Because he missed a hearing, he…


Border Patrol Abuses: The Office Of Missing Children

ProPublica [Editor’s Note: OMG! This is an amazing piece of journalism and a heart wrenching profile of our inhumane immigrant policy. Be sure to watch the video. — Mark L. Taylor] By Reveal Staff Reveal / Center for Investigative Journalism (12/21/18) More than 2,600 kids were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy. What happened to those children? Reveal’s investigative reporting team looked at facilities across the country to answer that question. After being separated from their parents at the border, some of the children were held in office buildings…


U.S Law Enforcement Coddling Of Far Right Fascist Gangs & Nazis Places Nation At Risk

And now they have no idea how to stop it. [Editor’s Note: This is a stunning piece of reporting on not just the ignoring of fascist organizing and violence but a deadly fostering through neglect. As Timothy Snyder notes in his book “Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century”, when the police and military begin to align with the fascist paramilitaries the game is over. — Mark L. Taylor] By Janet Reitman The New York Times (11/3/18) The first indication to Lt. Dan Stout that law enforcement’s handling of white supremacy was broken came in September 2017, as he was sitting…



High-Profile Wall Street Pedophile Pal Of Trump, Bill Clinton & Alan Dershowitz Benefits From Corrupt Connections & Twisted ‘Just-Us’ System

  The Young Turks (12/4/18) Jeffrey Epstein avoids a civil trial by paying out and apologizing. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. “A politically connected multi-millionaire sex offender accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls struck a last-minute deal to avoid a civil trial that would have allowed some of his victims to finally testify against him in open court. Jeffrey Epstein struck the deal with lawyer Bradley Edwards shortly before jury selection was set to begin in West Palm Beach, Florida. ‘What happened today was a win,’ Edwards, who represents some…


Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Isn’t Democracy. It’s A Judicial Coup

  By Richard Wolffe The Guardian (10/6/18) Brett Kavanaugh is the symptom, not the cause, of our sickness. He is the nasal congestion snorted out by the politics that have plagued us for the best part of three decades. If we’re ever going to recover our health and sanity, we need to start with the correct diagnosis. For all the justified outrage about sexual assault, involving allegations that Kavanaugh denied, the new supreme court justice represents an even bigger lie than his mindless fabrications about “ralphing” and “boofing”. He can blame his weak stomach if he likes; the rest of us are…


Brett Kavanaugh Teaches America How To Be A Real Dude

All-American Role Model… ***** Saturday Night Live: Kavanaugh Hearing Cold Open “Now usually I am an optimist. I’m a keg-is-half-full kinda’ guy.”   Saturday Night Live (9/29/18) Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Matt Damon) takes questions from Senators Chuck Grassley (Alex Moffat), Dianne Feinstein (Cecily Strong), Amy Klobuchar (Rachel Dratch), Thom Tillis (Mikey Day), Cory Booker (Chris Redd), John Kennedy (Kyle Mooney), Sheldon Whitehouse (Pete Davidson), Lindsey Graham (Kate McKinnon) and prosecutor Rachel Mitchell (Aidy Bryant). Link to 13-Minute Video


What To Do When ― Not If ― Roe Vanishes

  (Editor’s Note: And be clear, choice isn’t the only target. Once Roe has been smothered the ‘Christian’ right will begin pushing to get rid of contraceptives. That will impact every woman of child-bearing age. — Mark L. Taylor) By Robin Marty The HuffPost (6/27/18) Like many reproductive rights activists, I was horrified ― but sadly, not terribly surprised ― by the news that “moderate” swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring from the Supreme Court. Though he was often unreliable, Kennedy was the one slim ray of hope for a continuing federal right to a legal abortion now that…


Truly Orwellian: Abusive Secret Federal Prisons You’ve Never Heard Of Before Are Designed To Silence Political Dissent

  Environmental activists included in the count. TED Talk (11/9/15) Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Link to 15-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. taylor, 2018. Open source and free for…


Secret FBI Program Now Jailing Activists For Speaking Out Against Police Brutality On Facebook

  By Jay Syrmopoulos Activist Post (5/11/18) Dallas, TX – When militarized FBI agents clad in tactical gear raided the home of Rakem Balogun in December 2017—forcing him and his 15-year-old son outside in their underwear on the cold and windy night as agents ransacked his residence—he thought it had to be a mistake. In an exclusive report by The Guardian, Balogun explains that he was stunned to later learn that he was under investigation for “domestic terrorism” and had been under law enforcement surveillance for years. Incredibly, Balogun’s arrest and the FBI raid on his home were partially due to a simple, and constitutionally protected,…


If You Want To Kill Dangerous Drug Dealers, Start With Big Pharma

By Domenica Ghanem OtherWords (4/4/18) At a recent rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump called for the death penalty for drug traffickers as part of a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. At a Pennsylvania rally a few weeks earlier, he called for the same. Now his administration is taking steps toward making this proposal a reality. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on March 21 asking prosecutors to pursue capital punishment for drug traffickers — a power he has thanks to legislation passed under President Bill Clinton. Time and again, these punitive policies have proven ineffective…


Baltimore Cops Kept Toy Guns To Plant Just In Case They Shot An Unarmed Person

  By Michael Harriot The Root (1/30/18) In April 2016, a 13-year-old boy was shot by officers of the Baltimore Police Department. The boy ran when faced with the police, so they gave chase. During the chase, the police spotted the boy holding a gun, and when he turned, they shot the teenager. The youngster wasn’t critically injured, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case of a justifiable use of force. Now people are wondering. The Baltimore Police Department is currently in court over one of the biggest scandals in the history of American law enforcement. The corruption case is replete…


Ssssh! Jeff Sessions’ Dept. Of Justice Charged A White Supremacist With Terrorism … And Kept It Quiet

  (Editor’s Note: Just imagine how Trump, Jeff Sessions and the Rethuglicans — and the mainstream media — would have handled this if this right wing wack-job had been a member of Black Lives Matter or a Muslm. – Mark L. Taylor) By Ryan J. Reilly The HuffPost (1/8/18) WASHINGTON ― Usually, when the FBI arrests a terrorist and the Justice Department charges them, it’s a big deal. Combatting terrorism is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities, and terror cases are a great way for federal prosecutors and agents to make names and build careers. The press and the…


The Most Important Privacy Case To Come Before The Supreme Court In A Generation

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (11/30/17) If you care about privacy, whether it’s online or on your smartphone, the coming weeks will define the scope of privacy rights for Americans for the next decade or more. Two issues – whether the police can track on our cellphone location 24/7 without a warrant, and the potential to curtail some of the NSA’s most controversial powers to spying on Americans – will be decided by Congress and the US supreme court, and it’s hard to overstate their significance. On Wednesday, the US supreme court heard a landmark cellphone privacy case called United…


Trump May Be A Bumbling Fool In Most Ways But He Is Radically Distorting The Federal Judiciary

  By Tom Ashbrook On Point (11/15/17) President Trump is remaking the federal bench. Naming judges in record numbers. Some called unqualified. We dive in. The U.S. Supreme Court hears the tip-top cases, but federal appeals courts rule on many more. Thousands. They shape American life. And at that tier of the federal judiciary, President Donald Trump is pushing through appointees at a rate not seen in half a century. Deeply conservative, quite young appointees with lifetime appointments as judges. Some with deeply disputed qualifications. It may be his deepest stamp. This hour, On Point: The fast, deep Trump stamp…


Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Gives An Appropriate Salute To His “Just-Us” Department

(U.S. ‘Just-Us’ Dept. Photo.) By Aaro Rupar ThinkProgress (11/9/17) On Wednesday, the Justice Department shared photos of Attorney General Jeff Sessions welcoming new U.S. Attorneys in a tweet that was regrettable for reasons that go beyond Sessions’ arm angle. Of the 27 people visible in the photos, just one is a woman. [And only one African American. – Ed.] The gender disparity in the photos isn’t a fluke — it reflects how few women Trump has nominated to serve as the country’s top federal prosectors. In mid-September, CNN reported that just one of the 42 U.S. attorneys Trump had nominated to that…


The Only One Punished Since Eric Garner’s Killing Is The Citizen-Journalist Who Recorded It

Ramsey Orta Can’t Breathe By Josmar Trujillo Fair & Accuracy in Reporting (11/8/17)   When we went to a New York state prison to visit Ramsey Orta, the young man who filmed a police officer choking Eric Garner to death on a Staten Island sidewalk in 2014, we didn’t even make it past the metal detectors. Last year, members of El Grito de Sunset Park, an NYC-based group that organizes patrols to film cops on the street, as Ramsey did, drove with me a few hours north to Fishkill prison, where Ramsey was being held. We called ahead to confirm…


Discrimination Is The Big Winner In The Justice Department’s New Religious Guidelines

  By Heather L. Weaver ACLU (10/6/17) The Department of Justice today [10/6] issued religious-liberty guidelines for all federal agencies, and anyone who values equality for all and the separation of church and state should be deeply disturbed by the message the guidelines send. Purporting to interpret religious-liberty protections in federal law, the guidance — a 25-page memo sent to all executive branch departments — doubles down on a distorted understanding of religious freedom. Not only does it allow discrimination in the name of religion, it also treats the separation of church and state as a mere afterthought. One of the most…


Face Of The State: D.C. Cops Used Jailhouse ‘Rape As Punishment’ After Inauguration Day Mass Arrests, ACLU Lawsuit Says

By Andy Pyke ThinkProgress (6/22/17) When black-clad marchers began smashing windows in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, the city’s police force — reputedly the best in the country at upholding protesters’ rights during disruptive demonstrations — went nuclear. Officers quickly deployed pepper spray, tear gas, and crowd-control grenades of various types. The Metropolitan Police Department opted to “kettle” everyone on the streets nearby the initial anarchist-driven property destruction, something it does not, by reputation, make a habit of doing during protests. The mass round-up swept the “Antifa” rowdy types together with many peaceful protesters, journalists, and volunteer legal observers who turn out in bright…


A May Day Call: When Corporations Don’t Take Precautions To Avert Workplace Deaths Executives Must Go To Prison

  By Leo Gerard, President of United Steel Workers AlterNet (4/24/17) Every 12 days, a member of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), or one of their non-union co-workers, is killed on the job. Every 12 days. And it’s been that way for years. These are horrible deaths. Workers are crushed by massive machinery. They drown in vats of chemicals. They’re poisoned by toxic gas, burned by molten metal. The company pays a meaningless fine. Nothing changes. And another worker is killed 11 days later. Of course, it’s not just members of the USW. Nationally, at all workplaces, one employee…


Bought & Paid For: Wisconsin State Supreme Court Legalizes Bribery Of The Courts

By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call (4/24/17) Yes, indeed, the Wisconsin Supreme Court just ruled that your First Amendment right to free speech would be impinged if you couldn’t bribe …err… support with cash, Wisconsin judges. This should come as no surprise, as our state supreme court is the most expensively purchased court in state history. They are, like so many politicians, nothing more than employees of the far right wing Ayn Randian corporate groups funding their campaigns. The free speech, which isn’t free if it costs money, argument can be fixed by amending the United State Constitution to state…