M. Taylor Columns

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…

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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…


Picking From A Long List, Conservative Pundit George Will Declares Trump Is No Longer The Worst Person In Administration

 (Cartoon by Seth L. Taylor, 2017.)   Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying. By George Will The Washngton Post (5/9/18) Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing. Last June, a Trump…


A New Model Of Progressive Politics Taking Root In The Heart Of Midwest Deindustrialization

    By Bruce Vail In These Times (5/4/18) It’s startling when your hometown is labeled the worst city in the United States for African Americans. That’s what happened in Peoria in late 2016 when a survey by the online publication 24/7 Wall St. rated the central Illinois city at the top of its list of the “Worst Cities for Black Americans.” The slap at Peoria wasn’t even the worst indignity suffered by the people of the city at that time. Shortly afterward, world-famous machinery maker Caterpillar Inc. said it would close the company’s Peoria world headquarters and move to Chicago. The decision was…


How The Republican Party Has Betrayed American Democracy

  “Put simply, political parties are democracy’s gatekeepers.” “We know that extremist demagogues emerge from time to time in all societies, even in healthy democracies. The United States has had it share of them, including Henry Ford, Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and George Wallace. An essential test for democracies is not whether such figures emerge but whether political leaders, and especially political parties, work to prevent them from gaining power in the first place — by keeping them off the mainstream party tickets, refusing to endorse or align with them, and when necessary, making common cause with rivals in support…


Strictly Speaking, Trump Is Actually Quite Easy To Understand

  “Men grow accustomed to poison by degrees.” — Victor Hugo, Les Travailleurs de la Mer   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/23/18) As a political junkie and psychotherapist I get a lot of people asking me to explain just what the hell is going on with Donald Trump and his gang of misfit appointees and rabid fans. They want to know: Why does he say that?; Don’t his supporters realize he is going to make things worse for them?; I can’t believe what he just tweeted!; Why would anyone think that way?; He’s gonna’ change, right?” I…


WTH, Dems? Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore & 7 Other Democrats Sign Up To Protect Wall Street Corporate Car Thieves

  By Zach Carter The HuffPost (4/22/18) If an ordinary person committed any of the abuses listed in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s latest complaint against Wells Fargo, other ordinary people might call it “theft,” or “car theft.” Alas, Wells Fargo is only considered an ordinary person when it spends money on elections. The rest of the time, it is a too-big-to-fail bank, and improperly relieving its customers of their automobiles is just one of a few “unfair acts and practices” to which it neither admitted nor denied when it agreed to settle a federal investigation on Friday. But the…


Public Radio Show ‘MarketPlace’ Badly Bungles Postal Service Story

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/16/18) The Friday (4/13) broadcast of the public radio show “MarketPlace” included a report on the current controversy about the rates charged by the United States Postal Service for delivering Amazon orders. In a backhanded attack on the Washington Post for its excellent reporting on the Trump-Russia scandal, Donald Trump has been attacking Amazon for taking advantage of lower USPS rates. Both Amazon and the Washington Post are owned by many-multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos. Putting aside the Amazon issue, what I found troubling about the MarketPlace report was that it completely blew past the primary…


A Whole New Meaning For Trumputin’s MAGA

Okay — yes, yes — I know, Trumputin’s personal attorney and shady fixer Michael Cohen didn’t get arrested by the feds. He just had his home, office and hotel room raided by the FBI, sparking a Twitter meltdown by Donald “The Don” Trumputin. Just another ho-hum day in Trumplandia. But I just couldn’t help putting a comment from a reader on The Young Turks website to work in a cartoon: “M.A.G.A …..My attorney got Arrested.” So, yeah, Cohen hasn’t gotten arrested … yet. Hell, the week isn’t even done. A news item came out Wednesday that Justice Department special counsel Robert…


Just Another Tough-Talkin’ Neocon Chicken Hawk: John Bolton, Trump’s New War Consigliere, Dodged The ‘Already Lost’ Vietnam War

“I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy… I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” — John Bolton, 1995 By Adam Weinstein Task and Purpose (3/26/18) The funny thing about relentlessly pressing for more war in America is that a lot of the most zealous warhawking politicians and pundits over the years — left and right — leaned on their privileges to avoid being touched personally by war. Dick Cheney never met an oil-rich Middle Eastern nation whose ground he didn’t want to siphon, but he had “other priorities” when Vietnam rolled around….


Healthcare For All: Rep. Ron Kind Misses A Big Opportunity To Show Leadership & Listen To Voters

Rep. Ron Kind ignores the health care concerns of 3rd Congressional District democrats this past Saturday in Sparta.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/15/18) This past Saturday the Democratic Party Third Congressional District Convention was held in the American Legion Hall in Sparta. Somewhere around 100 democratic party activists from all over the far flung 3rd CD gathered to hear from candidates for a variety of offices, debate a slate of interesting resolutions and network with other activists. A contingent of Vernon County delegates (I was one) decided we needed to carry the cause of Medicare For…


“On Tyranny” Author Timothy Snyder Pulls The Trumputin-Russia Story Together & Explains The History Of Our Present National Crisis

With all chaos and change swirling through Washington DC and tugging back and forth with Moscow it is easy to feel lost and confused and uncertain as to just what the hell is going on. In this series of short video talks Yale historian Timothy Snyder brings sense out of chaos and knits together an understanding of the patterns and personalities redefining our world and lives. Snyder is an expert on 20th century totalitarian regimes. His 2017 book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century” is an essential owners manual for anyone living in Trump’s Amerika. You can link…


Trumputin’s Vagina Delusions: ‘Sgt. Bone Spurs’ Says He Could Have Saved The Day In Parkland

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/1/18) Set aside the insanity and moral vacuum and political cowardice of an administration whose centerpiece response to yet another school shooting is to put forward the idea of arming up teachers and “hardening” our schools into closed bunkers. All of that is bizarre enough but then we get Donald ‘Sgt. Bone Spurs’ Trumputin pontificating about how things would have been different if he had been on hand at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus: “You don’t know until you’re tested, but I really believe I’d run in there even if…


Our Escalating War Against Our Children

    By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/19/18) Since its founding the citizens of the United States have been quite comfortable with the killing and mass slaughter of other peoples’ children. From the ongoing genocide of the Native American population through violence, disease and introduced addictions on to the wars of empire waged in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We continue to kill other peoples’ children with the casual selective blindness of industrialized for-profit warfare in Iraq (where our mercenaries continue to operate) and Yemin (where we supply the Saudi military with cluster…


Chris Hedges On The Nobility & Sacredness Of Rebellion Against The Dystopian State

“Resistance to radical evil is the pinnacle to human existence.” – Chris Hedges By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/8/18) There is no better guide to the modern corporate state than writer and former New York Times war correspondent and Middle East bureau chief Chris Hedges. His various books – including “American Fascists”, “Death of the Liberal Class”  and “Wages of Rebellion” – deftly dissect the condition American society is in and how we got there and where – barring some form of popular uprising he doesn’t see happening any time soon – the country will wind up. Hedges is…


Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou: “The Government Turned Me Into A Dissident”

VICE News (4/2/15) In 2007, John Kiriakou became the first Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official to publicly confirm that agency interrogators waterboarded a high-value detainee, terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah — a revelation that had previously been a closely guarded secret. Five years after this unauthorized disclosure to ABC News, the veteran CIA officer pleaded guilty to leaking to journalists the identity of certain individuals who were involved with the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program. He was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison. VICE News caught up with Kiriakou for a wide-ranging interview just a few…


GOP Sen. Tom Cotton Threatens To Call Cops On Liberal Constituents Who Keep Calling & Writing Him Letters. So, Damn…

… there’s only one thing we can do! By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/22/18) Everyone needs a hobby — especially in the frigid depth of winter — and republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has offered up a great one: Letter writing; emailing and telephone messaging. Late last week the Arkansas Times reported the highly sensitive senator whined that he was getting so many letters from Ozark Indivisible progressives that he was looking into siccing the Capitol Police on citizens exercising their right to express their opinions to an elected public employee whose salary and cushy health insurance plan they…


Hey, Dems: Your ‘Trump, Bad. Send Cash’ Pitch Is Not Enough

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/1/18) In a Thursday [12/28] Morning Edition interview with National Public Radio’s David Greene, Jess O’Connell, CEO of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), addressed concerns that the party coffers are down to about $6 million while the Republican National Committee has banked some $40 million. Greene asked about that money gap and how much of an obstacle that is for the dems running strong in 2018 mid-term elections. Acknowledging the money issue was real, O’Connell gave an upbeat assessment of the “Democratic ecosphere”, pointing to recent election results in Virginia and Alabama. Putting…


Lee Camp On ‘Redacted Tonight’ – What’s Not Being Reported About About NPR

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/1/18) In the eyes of many – especially on the left – National Public Radio has a shiny halo. Unfortunately, the truth falls short of cozy liberal assumptions. Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp gives a rollicking good rundown on NPR’s ties to corporate power and how those corporations bask in the “good guy” glow of being associated with NPR. The network has softened and developed a sizeable dose of  jello in its spine over the past ten years. While there will be the occasional tough interview and every once in a great,…


With Roy Moore, Republicans Fully Embrace & Own The Ugliest Political Poster Boy, Ever

  “He totally denies it. He said it didn’t happen.” – Donald J. Trump Oh, okay, Don… By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/27/17) There is a very real chance that an accused multiple child sex offender is going to be elected to the United States Senate on a Republican ticket. A man, who, in his 30’s was banned from the local mall because of his reported predatory hitting on teenage sales girls. The behavior by the young assistant district attorney – who, obviously, should have known better – was so troubling it freaked out the community. With a…


So CBS Didn’t Know There Was Something Up With Charlie Rose? They Should Have Watched Their Damn Show

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/23/17) Years ago, in a previous career as a journalist, I worked for a feisty underdog newspaper, The Albuquerque Tribune. We were the afternoon paper and with half the staff fought a scrappy daily battle against the larger, locally-owned and much larger circulation Albuquerque Journal. The dramatic implosion of television journalist Charlie Rose this past week in a tawdry sexual harassment and abuse scandal had me thinking about those days, especially when I saw how CBS News reacted to the whole disaster. Pretty much every news cycle brought fresh allegations, going back years,…


A Commoner Writes: Anti-Trump Is Not Enough. We Need Solutions.

Some good articles [11/9]. But please give us more articles on how we analyze and organize to recover from years of disastrous neglect of our base (Let’s define and refine) and swing voters. Anti-Trump is not enough, except for our core liberal supporters. Peace, Dr. James R. Anderson ***** Editor Reply: Hey, Jim:  I’ll keep an eye peeled and please send along anything you find of interest.   Did you read the piece on the recent “Autopsy” of the Dems 2016 campaign? There is a good executive summary but I would urge you to read the entire 33-page report. It’s…


Multi-Millionaire Party Owner & Hillary Donor Gives Dem Leadership Their Marching Orders

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/20/17) In case you missed it, Las Vegas multi-millionaire Democratic Party not-so-silent-owner Steve Cloobeck recently had a bit of a meltdown on MSNBC railing against the dangerous notion that the Democratic Party should represent the interests of all Americans and not just the incestuous Wall Street cheats, corporate con artists and hedge fund grifters, scammers and sociopaths he usually runs with. I know, I know, not a radical idea that a major political party should actually stand for the interests of the families, communities and small business people they say they represent….


American Vignette: A Mom’s Guilt And Fear Of No Health Insurance Leaves Her In No-Win Position

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/13/17) It’s early afternoon and I’m sitting in the Urgent Care waiting room. Among the collection of people waiting to see the nurse is a mother and her sick middle school kid sitting nearby. The kid is both listless and restless in the way of sick kids. She leans on her mom’s shoulder as the two quietly play a game on the mom’s phone. She wants her mom to stay home with her after the appointment. There is a pleading tone to her voice. The mom explains that she has to get back…


Reckless Cartoonist Tempts Damnation & The Wrath Of God…

Evangelical Scam Artist Little Jimmy Bakker Says We Will Answer To God One Day Because We ‘Made Fun Of Jim Bakker All Those Years’ By Kyle Mantyla Right Wing Watch (10/16/17) End Times prepper pastor Jim Bakker used his television program on Friday to send a message to those who monitor or mock him that they will one day have to answer to God for doing so. Saying that he is sick of people mocking him because some of his prophetic warnings have not yet come true, Bakker bellowed that “when God says something to you, you don’t always know the exact time…


McCabe Has One Thing To Say To State Dem Party Grand Pooh-Bahs: What’s Not To Like?

Principle Over Party By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/16/17) Democratic candidate for governor Mike McCabe was in La Crosse Saturday evening for a fundraiser. Despite the blustery rainy night over 60 people came and went – but mostly stayed – for the whole event. The chili packed a solid wallop and the political talk was even better. Unlike most democratic party gatherings these days, the evening with McCabe was upbeat, positive and plucky. Oh sure, there were the occasional comments about the latest burp of Trumpland insanity or disbelief about the most recent dystopian outrage cooked up by…


Accomplices: Short HuffPo Video Nails Gun Massacre Enabling Senators On The Take With NRA Cash

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/12/17) The Huffingto Post put up a short, powerful video targeting four leading gun massacre enabling politicians who make repeated mass shooting possible.  In the 2016 election the campaigns of each pol directly profited from National Rifle Association (NRA) financial support either in ad contributions or direct cash contributions. Citing sources from The Trace, the politicians are: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) $3.2 million ad contribution. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) $6.3 million ad contribution. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) $3 million ad contribution. The big winner of NRA cash was Donald Trump, who raked…


There Are Many Kinds Of American Violence – Gun Violence Is But A Symptom

    By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/8/17) A week out from the Las Vegas massacre and the post mass shooting ritual is well underway. Flags are once again flapping limply at half-mast. Sidewalk memorials have sprung up with the requisite teddy bears, heart-shaped balloons, flickering candles and heartfelt messages on cards and posters. Bouquets of flowers pile up on sidewalks and decorated white crosses dot the cityscape. Politicians, who could actually do something to trim and manage the domestic arsenal a bit, mouth their cynically empty and oh-so-tiring “thoughts and prayers” rap and will in the next week…


Sen. John McCain Gives A Classy Interview On 60 Minutes

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/28/17) Any progressive worth his subscription to The Nation knows there are (at least) two John McCains. There is the American war hero McCain who endured five years of imprisonment, torture and solitary confinement in North Vietnam, refusing an early release ahead of other comrades based upon his father’s rank and connections. Then there was the John McCain of the bipartisan 1989 Keating Five corruption scandal. Then there was the presidential candidate John McCain who publicly rebuked a supporter’s racist comments about Barack Obama in the midst of a heated campaign. There…


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