M. Taylor Columns

Labor News: Frontier Pilots Ready To Ground Airline If New Labor Agreement Can’t Be Reached

  By Joe Rubino Denver Post (9/11/17) Frontier Airlines pilots are ready to strike if contract talks with the Denver-based carrier fall apart. One hundred percent of eligible pilots recently voted in favor of walking off Frontier jets if the airline and pilots can’t reach a new collective bargaining agreement, according to the Air Line Pilots Association union. The two sides began negotiations in March 2016, the union said.  A neutral mediator has been involved since October. Tensions were heightened last week when an arbiter in a different negotiation between the two sides ruled the airline was acting in bad faith…

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VIDEO Interview With Author Thomas Frank: Liberal Elite Doesn’t Care Much About Inequality

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/11/17) Political observer and author Thomas Frank (What’s The Matter With Kansas? and Listen Liberal) was interviewed recently by Real News anchor Paul Jay for a fascinating look at just what the hell is wrong with the bumbling Democratic party. In his most recent book Listen Liberal Frank documented the party’s long, slippery slide from being the champion of labor and the middle and lower classes to a protector and promoter of Wall Street greed and Silicon Valley entitlement. Frank argues that the slide from relevance of the party to average Americans…


White Supremacism Is The Republican Brand

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/21/17) It has been encouraging to see a few prominent republicans condemn Donald Trump’s “Many sides. Many sides” defense of white supremacists and Nazis in the wake of the Charlottesville attacks. Utah republican Sen. Orrin Hatch spoke out forcefully about the Nazi torch lit display on a tweeted message: “Their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate, and have no place in civil society. We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged…


Nazis Nation – Time For Everyone To Admit The Obvious Damn Truth: Trump Is One Of Them

“Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us… He implied that there was hate on both sides! So he implied the antifa [anti-fascists] are haters. He said he loves us all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.” – Nazi website The Daily Stormer By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/14/17) Donald Trump’s shamefully sketchy response to the Nazi riots in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the killing of a young woman and the injury of at least 19 removes any hint of a doubt that 72 years after the…


1945 Short Film ‘The House I Live In’ Celebrated A Time When The US Aspired To Be Better Than It Was

  By Mark L Taylor The Commoner Call (8/14/17) Unlike now, in the years immediately following WW II the government and Hollywood would speak out forcefully in the popular media against (some) forms of racism and prejudice. Following the war homegrown American fascists were pushing a lot of anti-Semitism. In the 1945 award-winning short film  The House I Live In Frank Sinatra was featured as the main character intervening with a gang of kids bullying a Jewish boy. The film featured the song The House I Live In which was written by black-listed writer Abel Meeropol who wrote the lyrics…


WDRT Interview: ‘Commoner Call’ Editor Mark Taylor & Contributing Columnist Dan Peak Talk Politics & Current Events

WDRT (7/22/17) The Commoner Call editor and web site’s “Russia Monitor” columnist Dan Peak have a wide-ranging conversation about a variety of political and current events topics on the appropriately named “Conversations” WDRT 91.9 weekly broadcast. WDRT is a local community based and supported alternative radio station, and located on Main Street in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Link to 59-Minute Audio  


Russia Monitor: The Explosive Magnitsky Testimony You Probably Missed

      By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/7/17) It’s predictable and, to a certain extent, understandable that congressional republicans and diehard Trump fans dismiss the growing Russia investigation as some kind of Clinton-excusing witch hunt. Despite an ever growing, constantly evolving list of witnesses, secret meetings, Trump/Russia business ties and embarrassing ‘coincidences’, the Trumpsters wave it all away as simply democratic party sour grapes. Partisanship is a kind opaque blinkered view of reality that, to a certain extent – even if morally wrong – is understandable. What is not understandable is the number of lefties I have…


Mark Shields: When The Chickenhawks Flock They Are Clucking About Only Putting Your Kid At Risk

  “It is just a helluva a lot easier to talk tough when it isn’t your son, or your daughter who’s in harms way.”   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/3/17) In doing some other research I stumbled across a few comments by PBS commentator Mark Shields during a conversation with David Brooks of the New York Times and moderator Jeff Greenfield during the midst of the 2016 campaign that are worth noting. Shields is one of the old lions of the media and his comments at the very tail end of the broadcast are well worth considering…


Internet Freeze Out Begins: New Google Algorithm Restricts Access To Left-Wing, Progressive Web Sites

By Andre Damon and Niles Niemuth World Socialist Web Site (7/27/17) In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing “fake news,” the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly. On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called “low-quality” information such as “conspiracy theories” and “fake news.” The company said in a blog post that the central purpose of the change to its search algorithm…


Can You Even Imagine The US Govt. Putting Out A Message Like This 1947 War Office Film Today?

“A nation of suckers.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/13/17) I stumbled across a poignant little film put out by the United States War Office in 1947 called Don’t Be A Sucker” that was a warning against domestic fascism. Fresh off the devastating tragedy of World War II there was a worry that the ever present currents of American fascism could replicate and metastasize into what had recently occurred in Europe. Don’t Be A Sucker does a quaint but excellent job of briefly explaining the dangers of fascism and how fascists had been able to drive wedges between the…


Before We Can Challenge Entrenched Power We Need To Find The Right Language Of Resistance

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/29/17) The release of the republican senate Trumpcare bill was yet another stunning piece of sociopathic class warfare. In this case the result would be tens of millions of the most vulnerable losing their health coverage and nearly everyone else seeing their rates and annual deductibles go up and coverage go down. Meanwhile, senate republicans would hand the 400 richest families in America a $33 billion tax cut over ten years. What, many of my acquaintances ask, are they thinking? How could they? Don’t they realize the harm that would be done?…


Republican Trumpcare Bill Is Only About Massive Tax Breaks For The Wealthy

Elizabeth Warren Says Key Thing to Know About Trumpcare Bill: ‘This Is Blood Money’ Common Dreams (6/23/17) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has now read the Republican bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and says that it contains “one flashing neon light after another” that signals who this piece of legislation is designed to serve: the very rich and the very powerful. “This is blood money,” the senator said both on the floor of the Senate on Thursday and in a video posted to social media. “They’re paying for tax cuts with American lives.” “Make no mistake:…


Welcome Congressional Republicans To The Insanity You Have Inflicted On Our Daily Life

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/15/17) Much will be learned about the Wednesday morning shooting during a republican congressional softball practice in Alexandria, Virginia that left five wounded, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Keep in mind much of the news that comes out in the first 24-48 hours after these kinds of all-too-common American events eventually prove to be wrong. One hopes for the recovery of both body and mind of the shooting victims and those who witnessed the eruption of all-American gun violence. Working in the mental health field with survivors and witnesses of trauma I…


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…


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…


We’re Not Asking For Much: Here’s Why We Progressives Can’t Stand The Current National Democratic Party

“I need you all to help us play defense,” [Tom] Perez pleaded with the crowd. “This is the most dangerous time of our lifetime.” ***** By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/25/17) The above quote was taken from the story below regarding the recent contentious California State Democratic Convention. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez made his frantic plea as he was trying to tamp down a raucous crowd giving voice to the growing discontent of the progressive wing of the party. After a primary season of DNC deceit, duplicity and double-dealing progressives are no longer buying what the…


Powerful Interview: Author Tom Ricks Brings The Lessons Of Churchill & Orwell Onto Today’s Stage

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/25/17) Former Washington Post Pentagon reporter Tom Ricks has been a long and careful observer of the American military machine. In the course of that work he has covered the four generals – James Mattis, secretary of defense; John Kelly, secretary of Homeland Security, H.R. McMaster, national security adviser and Michael Flynn, the national security adviser – who have been at the heart of much of the drama and scandal of the bumbling Trump administration. He has interviewed all four and, in fact was in a conference with several other journalists in Michael…


WTH? How Does Trump Get Away With It & Why Can’t His Followers See What’s Going On?

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/15/17) As we have repeatedly seen over the past year and-a-half, facts and logic, history and common sense have no room in Trumpland America. Trump can spout the most obvious lies and repeat them over and over with boisterous self confidence as many numbly nod in agreement repeating his empty “Make America Great Again” mantra. Even when confronted by the facts or the past failure of his lies he doesn’t break pace. How, one asks, is this possible? There is a psychology lesson that can provide part of the answer to this…


A Closer Look: Seth Meyers Takes Paul Ryan Apart Piece By Dishonest Piece

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/11/17) Late Night host Seth Meyers sliced and diced Rep. Paul Ryan’s cynical dishonesty in a “Closer Look” segment. Meyer’s was responding to an emailed objection Ryan sent about anther piece that Meyers had done the week before. “And unlike Republicans and their health care bill, we actually read the whole email,” Meyers said. Masterfully employing a series of clips of Ryan objecting to the Obamacare debates, Meyer’s deftly displays the brazen hypocrisy of Ryan and House Republicans. “Everything that Paul Ryan claimed to hate about the Obamacare process in 2009, he’s…


The Nazi I Knew: Still Spewing His Sewage Of Hate

An old campaign photo of Arthur Jones from his race for Milwaukee mayor. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/1/17) When I was in my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, back in 1970, there was a fiery, oddball upperclassman, named Art Jones. He was a tall, gangly kid with limp dirty blonde hair and a nervous energy that made him fidgety and a fast walker and a faster talker. While looking a bit like Ichabod Crane loping across campus he didn’t particularly stand out from other kids on campus except for one thing: he was…


Obama’s $400K Cash-In Illustrates The Fundamental, Fatal Flaw Of The Democratic Party

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/26/17) OMG, the democrats are just bound and determined to remain ineffectual, irrelevant and teeth-grindingly tone deaf while slavishy devoted to the corporate forces grinding what’s left of America into dust. Even in the face of the existential threat of Donald Trump, congressional republicans and the corporate state coup, former president Barack Obama just can’t resist trotting off to Wall Street to snag his own MOAB (Mother of All Paybacks) by collecting $400,000 for a single speech for the investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Sure, Obama is known for a silver tongue, but…


John Oliver Blows Up The Delusion That Ivanka & Jared Can Save Us From The Incompetence Of Trump

“The apple does not fall far from the orange.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/27/17) John Oliver and his Last Week Tonight team broke through the mainstream fantasy that America – and the world – can depend upon Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner to provide any kind of moderating, reasonable influence on Donald Trump’s impulsivity or casual cruelty. As Oliver noted, if knowing these two children of unearned wealth, privilege and  power have helped you sleep at night you better stay awake. Oliver includes a montage of TV talking heads talking sagely about the graceful, moderating influence…


Brothers & Sisters, We Live In Glorious Times! A Gathering Of Friends In A Time Of Challenge

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/27/17) Given the steady flow of sludge from the Trump White House and usual flow of delusion and deceit from deep inside Scotty “Bucky Weasel” Walker’s fur-lined burrow a fella’ needs to spend some time with friends when he can and this past Saturday somewhere north of 200-plus progressive friends journeyed to Mazomanie for the 9th Annual Wisconsin Grass Roots Festival. The annual event is put on by Wisconsin Grassroots Network. WGN Nate Tim and a small army of local volunteers always put on a hell of a gathering. Folks from all across…


Here’s How Gas Lighting Works In Every Day America: Twisting The Meaning Of A Single Word

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/20/17) Every victim of a crazy, abusive relationship or childhood suffered at the hands of an abusive parent knows what it means to be the target of “gas lighting”, even if they have never heard the term. It is taken from “Gaslight”, a 1944 Oscar-winning mystery-thriller movie starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer and Joseph Cotten about a woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into questioning her reality and making her believe she is going insane. Gaslighting is when someone in some position of relationship or power lies with a boldness then denies…


A Guy Oughta’ Ask Why In A Year Of Change GOP Didn’t Run Against Rep. Kind…

(The Commoner Call & Lines of Resistance cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/30/17) A fellow commoner forwarded Rep. Ron Kind’s latest fundraiser, posted above. The underlying assumption, I’m guessing, of the congress critter’s appeal is that he is such a stellar democrat not even the Trump wave could take him out. Of course the GOP did not even field a candidate in 2016. Nevertheless, folks are urged to pony up some bucks if they want to keep their wonderful congressman…


In This Era Of Intolerance White Men Of Conscience Have A Special Duty To Speak Out Against Hate

“Silence is consent.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/20/17) Since Trump’s minority victory there have been about a thousand reports nationwide of harassment and violence against the full range of minorities. American Muslims have been especially targeted and women wearing the hijab especially so. There was one incident that really stuck in my memory. Certainly the act itself was not the worst of what we have seen and it wasn’t just the action I found so disturbing as the inaction on display. The event happened three days before Christmas. A middle-aged white woman in a J.C. Penny store in a…