M. Taylor Columns

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…

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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…


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,…