M. Taylor Columns

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Who Really Owns & Runs The Country: Documentary On The Plot To Overthrow FDR Documentary Is A Warning For Today

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/3/19) Commoner Call reader Gary Ebben forwarded this History Channel documentary on the 1933 fascist ‘Wall Street Putsch’ to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt to stymie his attempts at the reform necessary to rescue the nation from the Great Depression and to weave a few strands of decency into the national government and economy. To channel the anger of the veterans Bonus Marchers and to have some popular credibility, a cadre of fascsit-loving mega-wealthy Wall Street plotters approached retired Major General Smedley Butler — of “War Is A Racket” fame — to…

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“Official Secrets” — The Best Movie Yet Made About The Truth Behind The Travesty Of The Iraq War

“Official Secrets” helps illustrate the ideological malfeasance by the American press, which eagerly jumped on this grenade to save its foxhole buddies in the Bush administration. By Jon Schwarz The Intercept (8/31/19) “Official Secrets,” which opened Friday in New York and Los Angeles, is the best movie ever made about how the Iraq War happened. It’s startlingly accurate, and because of that, it’s equally inspiring, demoralizing, hopeful, and enraging. Please go see it. It’s been forgotten now, but the Iraq War and its abominable consequences — the hundreds of thousands of deaths [Estimates by various human rights groups put the total well…


What A Recent Birth Cost For An American Parent In South Korea

“That’s my kind of ‘pro-life’ policy.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/26/19) The inefficiently expensive, unjust and profit-driven model of the American corporate industrialized medical profit system leaves most citizens with a very limited vision of what could be the humane and cost-effective norm for health care under a universal, Medicare For All kind of model of universal health care. Recently, a family member and his wife gave birth to a baby and he sent me a rundown of the support they received in the South Korean model of health care. From conception until the baby’s second birthday…


Bearing Witness. Telling Truth In A Time Of Lies: Why It Is Important To Call Them What They Are — Concentration Camps

“Terrible things are happening outside… poor, helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find their parents have disappeared. “ — Anne Frank ***** By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/12/19) On Saturday I got into a fiery Facebook squabble with a frequent corporate dem critic objecting to something I posted about the growing network of concentration camps popping up along the southern border. I was accused of “extreme exaggeration” because the situation now is nothing like the death camps in Nazi…


Refusing To Report On Church Rock: “The worst incident of radiation contamination in the history of the United States”

Now 40 years on, I know that the corporate media is still not to be trusted when it comes to covering the nuclear, or any other area of the energy industry.   Editor’s note: In New Mexico, the Church Rock Spill of July 16, 1979 has been called “the worst incident of radiation contamination in the history of the United States.” Catherine Caufield in “Multiple Exposures,” and Harvey Wasserman and Norman Solomon in “Killing Our Own,” reported that when the earthen dam holding radioactive uranium mine tailings burst, it released 93 million gallons of liquid wastes and more than 1,100…


Bill Clinton Is Lying About Scandal … Again. But This Time Things Could Be Far More Serious

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” — President Bill Clinton (1/26/98) By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/11/19) While George W. Bush got tangled in its subtle logical intricacies, there is a folksy bit of advice citizens need to keep handy when dealing with politicians of all skunky stripes and varieties: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Present White House occupier aside, there is no politician where this is more true than Bill Clinton. Anyone conscious at the time can recall Clinton’s brash, self-righteous presentation when he sternly declared to…


Corporate America’s Fascist Hustle: Marketing Hitler’s Mien Kampf With Clever Nazi Coding

Normalizing the abnormal By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/4/19) In the early years leading to Adolph Hitler’s rise to power 1930’s corporate Germany looked upon the odd, babbling little man from Austria with dismissive shrugs or disdainful amusement. Surely, no one would ever take the man seriously. But as Hitler’s following of street thugs, unemployed, racists and social misfits grew and torch lit marauding street marches turned into more regimented affairs the German capitalists began to think perhaps Hitler could be massaged and manipulated to their ends. Corporate support, loans, gifts and larger and larger donations turned from…


Chickens! New York Times Cartoon Black Out

“By choosing not to print editorial cartoons in the future, the Times can be sure that their editors will never again make a poor cartoon choice. Editors at the Times have also made poor choices of words in the past. I would suggest that the Times should also choose not to print words in the future – just to be on the safe side.” – Editorial cartoonist Daryl Cagle, NY Times Trashes Cartoonists ***** New York Times Cartoon Ban Leads To A World Where We Say Nothing At All In a world where political cartoonists are routinely jailed, the paper…


The Price Of Money: Political & Moral Defeat

“The Democrats have no power to change the system. Yet. So if they want to stay in the game and be competitive they’re going to have to match the Republican’s fundraising juggernaut, otherwise Trump will out-organize, out-advertise and flat out bury us in 2020.” — Facebook post (6/6/19) By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/13/19) So let’s take a look at that siren call of money… Two figures to consider from the 2016 presidential race: $1.2 billion and $217.5 million. The first is the amount of money raised by Hillary Clinton. The second is the amount of money raised…


Matt Taibbi “Insane Clown President”

“The arc of the sort of failure of our business has really steepened in the last year or so. As news consumers people should pay more and more attention to independent media and alternative media, and worry more and more about the commercial media going forward.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/30/19) Now well into Year III of the deadly serious non-stop, mind and soul-numbing Donald Trump National Freakshow it is hard to recall just how stunning his 2016 victory was. Right up to election eve every one was sure Hillary Clinton would wipe Trump off the map….


Joe Rogan Interview With Rep. Tulsi Gabbard On War, Power & The Future Of The Nation

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/11/19) Here is a great Joe Rogan interview with democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard. The opening conversation on the never-ending war state is very thoughtful. Gabbard did two tours of duty in Iraq and has seen up close the human cost of our immoral bipartisan-supported wars for both our troops and the innocents we choose to maim, kill and torture. Her insights on the stain of bipartisan self-indulgent corruption and cynicism in congress is straight up and no-holds barred. No wonder she is sidelined by Republicans and corporate dems alike. We need to…


Trump’s Presidency: The View From Canada Reveals Two Possible Ways Trump Stays In Office & Even Wins A Second Term

How the 25th Amendment and the democrats could grease the way to a second Trump term. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/28/19) A recent broadcast of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) news show Fifth Estate with host Bob McKeown gives a view of the American political crisis much like someone witnessing a domestic squabble in the next-door neighbor’s kitchen. It is a good summary of the past two years but the last three minutes should give us all pause. McKeown explores the issue of the 25th Amendment by which members of the cabinet can remove a president if…


Surveilance Capitalism: How Tracking & Selling Your Personal Data Became A Business Model

On Point / WBUR (1/15/19) There are new calls for tech companies to stop selling your location to third parties. We’ll look at the economics and perils of “surveillance capitalism.” Guest — Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita at Harvard Business School and former faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power,” among other titles. Excerpt from “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff The Unprecedented One explanation for surveillance capitalism’s many triumphs floats above them all: it…


History Shows The Descent To Authoritarianism Happens Slowly … Then Very Quickly

An out-of-focus, rain and sleet-soaked, twisted half-mast flag tightly wrapped around a Walmart flag pole in the middle of a dark winter night is emblematic of the New Year in Trump’s America. ***** The extent of the brutality exceeds the imagination of people until it is too late. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/3/18) On a recent broadcast of Grit TV’s Laura Flanders Show (12/18) Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges spoke about his recent book “America: The Farewell Tour”. Drawing from over 20 years of foreign reporting for the New York Times in places as diverse as Central…


COUP! Unable To Even Name The Foe, Wisconsin Dems Flap Hankies & Rattle Teacups At Fascist Onslaught Against State Govt.

A brass knuckle legislative coup. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (12/6/18) What has happened in Madison this week with the hard right Republican legislature preemptively kneecapping the administration of Democrat Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kraul before they even have a chance to take the oath of office is a brass knuckle legislative coup. While it is shocking the republicans would take such action it is not surprising; after all, that is what fascists do; abandon legal niceties, tradition and the normal transition of power. All those vestiges of democracy are as dead to the GOP…


HuffPost Interview With DNC Chair Tom Perez Lays Bare What Is So Absolutely Maddening About The Democrats

Should we ever get a guarantee of decent health care for all the first surgery for a pre-existing condition is to do a ‘brave heart’ transplant on the democratic party. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/5/18) There are some things unequivocally obvious. You know, like ice is cold, the sun rises in the east, a dropped ball will respond to gravity, limburger cheese stinks and Donald J. Trump is a racist. Despite the growing body count and Trump’s overt and covert wink-winking, racist dog-whistling and compassionate heart for all things fascist you won’t hear such obvious truth from…


The New Reality: We Are No Longer In The United States

  While the run-up to the midterms has our all out attention the real story begins the morning after the election … no matter who wins. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/29/18) Even in the light of almost two years of Trumpian excess, duplicity and mendacity, the past week of right wing violence was stunning. There was the gunning down of two African American innocents at a suburban Louisville, Kentucky grocery store by a white shooter who had earlier tried to get into a nearby predominantly African American church and told a white witness, “Don’t shoot me. I…


Abusive Relationship: Progressives Need To Talk Back To Their Jackass Boyfriend

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/8/18) In a recent Facebook squabble I was accused of aiding and abetting the republicans by saying it’s right not to support West Virginia Sen. Joe “Big Coal” Manchin’s re-election because of his cuddling up to republicans to help send Brett “Brewski” Kavanaough off to the Supreme Court. I posted and supported a couple articles referencing the need to stop supporting corporate dems who continually represent the greedy whims of the 1% and corporations over the needs of the voters who put them in office. One article referenced two liberal groups denying any…


Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Lays Bare The Dangerous Crossroads We Are At And What We Need To Understand From Steve Bannon

  Tyrant. Liar. Racist. And a hole in one.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/24/18) This past weekend I saw Michael Moore’s new documentary film Fahrenheit: 11/9. You will find a detailed review of the film below, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here other than to say it is an extraordinary film — in my opinion, his best — that lays out the path of how this nation has come to the dangerous crossroads with fascist totalitarianism we now confront. As Moore explains, it is not hyperbole to talk in such terms and his…


As Union Membership Falls Almost 80% Of US Workers Struggle To Survive Paycheck To Paycheck.

All that remains of the Mirro Aluminum Company manufacturing plant in Manitowoc, Wisconsin is the front entrance. Beyond is a city block or more of broken foundations and shattered concrete slabs. When my family moved to Manitowoc in 1970 Mirro was a major employer. Whole families and generations of skilled trades workers, assembly line workers and laborers spent their entire careers at Mirro, which was founded in 1909 and shuttered and business shipped off to Mexico in 2003, as the realities of NAFTA caught up with the loyal workers. I grabbed this photo in mid-July of this year. — Mark…


Shabba rebot domda moko-dabba reboo-boo — We’re Done With Jezebel … All Praise To Trump!

Total Gibberish   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/3/18) There is crazy and then there is Trump Crazy. And then there is right down the old rabbit hole evangelical Trump Crazy. The video below is a little mind boggling to watch but I urge you to because it gives a raw glimpse into an element of energized Trump support and delusion that is both real and an active part of what is going on in the nation. The video is of a recent sermon by Alabama Pentecostal Pastor John Kilpatrick of the Church of His Presence, in Daphne,…



Don’t Let The Media’s Breathless Canonization Of John McCain Erase His Far Right Legacy Of Corporate State War & Death

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/27/18) The Sunday news was filled with one somber tribute to Sen. John McCain after another. We were told of his great sense of humor and respect for colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Senate. There were detailed stories of his horrific experience as a prisoner of war after his jet fighter was shot out of the skies over North Vietnam. Over and over he was described as the adult in the room and a respected “elder statesman” of the Senate. As a survivor of torture, he spoke out…


A Military Man Speaks Out On What Would Really Improve Our National Self-Defense … Properly Funded PreK Through 12 Education

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/22/18) Retired Admiral Bill McRaven spent 37 years in the military. He led the U.S. Special Operations Command and masterminded the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. Last week he made a blistering comment about Donald Trump’s revocation of national security clearance for one of his critics, former CIA director John Brennan. In a Washington Post op-ed, McRaven called for Trump to revoke his security clearance as well, noting, “I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the…


DOCUMENTARY — This Is No Practice Run: A Year After Charlottesville And The Nazi Threat Across America Has Grown

    “Nazism was cruel because Nazis were cruel; and the Nazis were cruel because cruel people tended to become Nazis.” — Zygmunt Bauman By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/9/18) If you haven’t already seen it, set aside an hour to watch the PBS Frontline/ProPublica “Documenting Hate” documentary to get up to speed on just how deeply the Nazi movement has embedded itself into modern America. Under the ever fascist-friendly leadership of Donald Trump, the nation that defeated Nazism in Europe 70 years ago now has the virus of fascism running freely in it’s veins. And that virus is…


Rep. Ron ‘Wall Street’ Kind Betrays The Needs Of Wisconsin With Cowardly 0-For-5 Stance On Bills Important To Our Future

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/9/18) For those who closely watch Rep. Ron ‘Wall Street’ Kind there is a clear understanding of the two Ron Kinds. The first is the upbeat, sunny, good looking, glad-handing pol with the rolled up sleeves waving to the crowds at the annual Westby Syttende Mai parade. The second is the corporate D.C. functionary casting reliable votes making things easier for Wall Street bankers and, with his recent falling into line to support the mind bending $717 billion annual War Department budget, military contractors. The democratic republican As the story below details, on…


Sen. Paul Wellstone’s Words Provide A Powerful Standard For Today’s Democratic Candidates

  One of the true progressive leaders of he Democratic party was Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone. He had a unique ability to connect with voters by bringing a humane, aspirational message to his politics. The following are a few Wellstone quotes you can use as  a comparison measure to the candidates vying for your vote this election season. The issue is not whether a particular candidate mimics Wellstone’s words and sentiments, but do they embody a genuine progressive message of humane and inclusive, positive vision and values. — Mark L. Taylor **** “This is no time for timidity.” ***** “The…


It’s Not Just Trump. Obama Also Shattered Tens Of Thousands Of Immigrant Families

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/19/18) Ryan Grim, of the investigative news site The Intercept, sends out a weekly newsletter update of stories. Recently he was looking back through the newsletter archives when he found a 2014 HuffPost story on the tens of thousands of immigrant families broken apart the year before by Obama administration policies of detention and deportation. In that year, 2013, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department deported over 72,000 immigrants who had one or more American-born children. In 2012 the number deported between July 1, 2010, to Sept. 31, 2012 was 200,000. In fact,…


Your Choice: Where Would You Be In This Picture?

  Go along or resist. Stand up or lay down. Speak out or be silent. There will be no neutral. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/31/18) The arrival of government detention — concentration — camps for an oppressed and dehumanized minority group means that politics in America is about to become far more personal and much, much more consequential. The kidnapping of children into for-profit concentration camps has added an especially grotesque dimension. The forcible separation of parents from their infants and children into concentrations camps have made it official: We are living in a fascist state now. With…


History Of Fascist Spain Government Child Abductions Will Become Model For Trump’s Kidnapping Program

  “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.” — Winston Churchill By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/28/18) As the brutal Trump child kidnapping program continues on with arrogance, cruelty and casual incompetence we are going to see many of the 2,300-plus children now incarcerated permanently stolen from their parents; they will never be reunited. There are already reports of parents deported back to Central America while their children remain in U.S. concentration camps. (And make no mistake, that is the proper term for these camps. And, no, it is not “separation”, it is kidnapping.) History provides insight on where this will go…


‘Womp, Womp’ — You Think Things Are Bad? Steel Yourself As Former Trump Aide Reveals All

  As practised and professional a liar as he is, in that moment Corey Lewandowski was the most honest man in America. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/21/18) Sometimes there is moment, a single glimpse, a small flash of reality that slices through mountains of reports and hours of media, and reveals more insight than weeks of punditry. It may be an unguarded flash in a politician’s eye, a shift in posture at a critical moment, a small gesture, a reflexive, unguarded retort, a certain tone of voice that suddenly embodies the core truth of a person or…


Let’s Get Honest With Our Language, Folks: What Is Happening To Immigrant Children Is Not ‘Separation’ — It Is Governmental Kidnapping

  “Trump’s statement that immigrants will ‘infest our country’ probably sounds better in the original German.” — Conservative journalist Bill Kristol.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/21/18) What we have seen in the southwest this week is not a law enforcement “separation”; it is government child abuse and kidnapping, which is in step with the oily history and brutal traditions of all totalitarian regimes. Wake up folks, if you think this couldn’t happen to your own families you are living a dream. In fact, this is already part of the story of what this nation has done…


Bill Maher Has A Message For The Left: Forget The Culture, Grab The Government

  “Conservatives govern without shame and liberals shame without governing.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/12/18) I don’t always agree with Bill Maher’s often overly snarky tone but on Friday he delivered a much-needed dose of political reality to liberals. While, Mahrer noted, liberals score some victories getting Roseanne Barr’s program canceled for her racist tweets larger — far more significant battles are ignored. “I’m often surprised how often liberals I talk to think that we’re winning. We, who control nothing. Winning?” he asked. Instead of formulating and moving forward a platform of true progressive reform Maher nailed…


First Thing To Understand About Our Opioid Crisis: The Problem Is NOT The Drug

Inflict enough institutionalized pain and degradation on society and the escape provided by drugs has a certain short-term logic. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/7/18) The linked National Public Radio report below on the entrenched and growing plague of opioid and methamphetamine addiction in Vinton County, Ohio is a perfect example of the fundamental and stubborn resistance of the nation to truly consider what the deepening national tragedy of dangerous substance abuse is really about. As a mental health and substance abuse counselor for 24 years one thing I know is that the drug is never the problem….


Carnac The President Caught In On-Camera Bald-Faced Lie, But, Hey, So What!

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/4/18) Last Friday Donald Trump prattled on about receiving a “very nice” and “very interesting” letter earlier in the day from North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. The letter was hand-delivered to the president by senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol. The White HOuse issued photos of Trump and Kim Yong Chol with a Trumpian scale envelope. Trump teased the journalists at a press conference, noting, “Oh, would you like to see what was in that letter? How much? How much?” When asked if Trump could share a sense of the letter’s contents Trump replied, “It…


Lost Children Of The Holocaust: A Cautionary Tale Of Tragedy For Today’s America

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/31/18) Recent stories about the forced separation of migrant children from their parents and systematic abuse at the paws of the US Border Patrol have been alarming. This practice and abuse began with the Obama administration and is now ramped up by Trump. Such state-sponsored terror tactics are common in authoritarian regimes. Under the Pinochet regime in Chile the children of murdered activists and labor organizers were handed over to the families of police and government officials to be raised as their own. The same thing — and much worse — happened…


Trump Attack On Kneeling Football Players Echoes 1934 When A German Soccer Team Was Banned For Not Giving Nazi Salute

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/28/18) The NFL football player kneeling protest has from the get-go been cynically manipulated and leveraged by Donald Trump to stir racist animosity and jingoistic faux patriotism among his core supporters. The “taking a knee” by mostly black football players began as a peaceful protest by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a statement against racial injustice and the never-ending epidemic of police shootings and brutality against blacks across the nation. Those who objected to the peaceful protests tried to reduce it to an issue of people doing their jobs and there…


Color Me Naive: Torture Debate Gave Me A Surprise Political Education

(An earlier cartoon on bipartisan acquiesce on torture, 3/19/18.) “We can’t allow ourselves to descend down the rabbit hole of unbridled partisanship for partisan sake.” — Mike Quigley By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/21/18) To begin, I must plead guilty. I have long opposed the role of torture in American policy. Since adolescence I have written letters, published cartoons (above), joined the ACLU, dutifully sent donations off to human rights groups, signed an endless stream of petitions and paid attention to the bipartisan torture policies of American foreign policy, which has often meant reading personal accounts that have…


Israeli Human Rights Crimes Are America’s Crimes & We Are Yoked To The Bloody Results

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/17/18) The wholesale, coldly methodical violence by Israeli military forces against thousands of Palestinain protesters this week has been as riveting as it is revolting. As dozens of dead and hundreds of badly wounded were filling the blood-soaked hallways of Gaza hospitals the world was treated to the self-satisfied smugness of Trump’s “little ghoul” daughter Ivanka and her husband and Trump “boy senior adviser” Jared Kushner and chortling Israeli officials at a swanky “opening” of the new American embassy in Jerusalem (which actually hasn’t yet been built). As gut wrenching as the…


First Step Of Resistance To Tyranny: Refusing To Accept Trumputin’s Twisted Abnormal As Normal

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/14/18) The greatest risk we face in the slide to Trump authoritarianism is sinking into the normalization of the abnormal; growing numb to and accepting as normal what is not normal. Over and over I hear people talking about how numb they feel at the constant onslaught of the weird news, bizarre tweets, bullying, industrial scale lies and ongoing graft and greed of Trump’s arrogant kleptocracy.   Commoner Call columnist Dan Peak directed me to the website ‘The Weekly List’ documents “This Is How Democracy Dies’. As things grow more and more…