Police State America

Our National Portrait

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, casually kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, resulting in Floyd’s death, Memorial Day, 2020. (Screenshot) The collapse of empire is a guarantee that official violence will spread outward to batter all groups — except the coddled wealthy few. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/28/20) The above screen shot image is from the now famous Memorial Day video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, literally kneeing the life out of George Floyd, 46, after being taken into custody for possible use of a fake $20 bill. This image summarizes so much about the…

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Four Dead In Ohio: What The Kent State Massacre Meant For The Left

Remembrance is one thing, truth another. [Editor’s Note: A treacherous case of state murder, plain and simple. The intentional division and stirring of hate and racism by the Nixon administration is now SOP — Standard Operating Procedure — by the government. Note, one of the lessons of Kent State is to document any protest — now with cell phone video. — Mark L. Taylor] By Michael Goldfarb 1A / NPR (5/21/20) May 4th 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Kent State massacre in Ohio. On the day the shootings occurred, Michael Goldfarb was in his second year at another university…


America Under Donald Trump: A Failed State In Slow Motion Heading Into Chaotic, Rapid Free-Fall

“With heavily armed men in full combat gear occupying the visitors galleries in the Michigan state capitol, we are one trigger-pull away from what happens every day in places like Kabul and Mogadishu and Tripoli. With tens of millions of people out of work, they’re talking about cutting food stamps and canceling the unemployment bonus they just passed. Every day, there is more evidence that nothing is working the way it should in a country gripped by the biggest crisis it has faced in decades.” By Lucian K. Truscott IV Salon (5/23/20) What is a failed state? It’s a country that…


‘This American Life’ Episode On American Refugee Camps Wins First-Ever Pulitzer Prize For Radio Investigative Report

    [Editor’s Note: This amazing episode of ‘This American Life’ profiles the brutal, inhumanity of American asylum policies on the southern border. In the midst of our own struggles these days, we cannot lose our humanity by ignoring the terror inflicted on innocents in our name and on our dime. To do so is to lose our humanity. — Mark L. Taylor] This American Life (5/15/20) Last week, our episode “The Out Crowd“ won the very first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a radio show. This is the episode that won, with some updates on the stories. Hear what the Trump administration’s…


‘Screen New Deal’ — How Crisis Will Lead To Every Detail & Action In Your Life To Be Tracked By Google & Other Tech Giants

Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia By Naomi Klein The Intercept (5/8/20) OR A FEW fleeting moments during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the somber grimace that has filled our screens for weeks was briefly replaced by something resembling a smile. “We are ready, we’re all-in,” the governor gushed. “We are New Yorkers, so we’re aggressive about it, we’re ambitious about it. … We realize that change is not only imminent, but it can actually be a friend if done the right way.” The inspiration for these…


The Cowardly Right Wing Extremists Who Have No Idea What Patriotism Really Is

This is a man who punches down, not up, and who wants to have the power to decide whether his neighbors live or die. He is a bully and a coward. By Heather Cox Richardson Letters From An American (5/3/20) Jeff Kowalsky’s photograph of the “American Patriot Rally” at the Michigan statehouse on April 30 shows a large, bearded man, leaning forward, mouth open, screaming. Positioned between two police officers who are staring blankly ahead above their masks, he is focused on something they are preventing him from reaching: the legislature. His fury is palpable. The idea that such a…


Viral Injustice: How The Pandemic Is Unmasking The U.S Economic, Racist & Immigration Systems

  America Unmasked By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted (4/29/20) THE U.S. HAS now surpassed a million confirmed Covid-19 cases and is nearing a death toll of 60,000. This week on Intercepted: While the statistics are grim, the harsh reality is how the Trump administration — as well as some governors and mayors — handled this crisis made the situation much more deadly than it should have been. New York Magazine writer Zak Cheney-Rice discusses how the economic, social, racial, and gender injustices that predate this pandemic have impacted the most vulnerable people in the United States. He also discusses Trump’s incompetence, Joe…


Want To Understand What Is Going On In America Right Now? Then Understand The ‘Shock Doctrine’

Intercepted: Mehdi Hasan & Naomi Klein Review Mounting Cost Of  Pro-Corporate Coronavirus ‘Shock Doctrine’ Capitalism Intercepted (4/7/20) The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan speaks with Senior Correspondent Naomi Klein about coronavirus capitalism and the selective use of emergency measures to offload risks onto workers and families, while the people who are relatively more secure get no-strings-attached bailouts. Link To 33-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L.Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** The ‘Shock Doctrine’ Documentary By Naomi Klein The Shock Doctrine is Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein’s companion piece to…


The Democratic Party Better Harness The Legitimate Rage Of Americans. Otherwise, The Right Will Use It With Horrifying Results

If the Democrats refuse to harness the legitimate rage of Americans and direct it at those responsible for our predicament, the right will make this anger its own and will win. By Jon Schwarz The Intercept (4/5/20) THE POLITICAL POSSIBILITIES of this moment are different than anything we have ever experienced. We possess a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the United States a more humane country. But if we fail to seize it, we will face mortal danger from the right. That’s not hyperbole. The anger of Americans, once they figure out what’s being done to them right now,…


Glenn Greenwald On The Slippery Balance Between Authoritarianism & Freedom At A Time Of Pandemic

How much freedom are we willing to trade away for a sense of safety? The Rising (4/1/20) Co-founding editor of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald, shares why he and other staunch advocates for civil liberties are more open to government surveillance during the coronavirus pandemic. Link To 13+-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link toe www.thecommonercall.org )


152 House Dems Join GOP To Reauthorize ‘abusive government surveillance power’

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (3/12/20) With the nation’s attention fixed on the rapidly spreading coronavirus, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation to extend FBI surveillance powers that were set to expire on March 15. The bill, formally titled the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, cleared the House by a vote of 278 to 136, with 152 Democrats and 126 Republicans voting yes. View the full roll call here. The legislation, strongly opposed by civil liberties groups and privacy advocates, is the product of bipartisan negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep….


“You Will Never See Your Child Again” — Physician Report Documents The Persistent Psychological Effects Of Family Separation

Asylum narratives documented instances of four parents who were taunted and mocked by immigration authorities when asking for the whereabouts of their children. By Hajar Habbach, MA, Kathryn Hampton, MSt, & Ranit Mishori, MD, MHS Physicians For Human Rights (2/25/20) Executive Summary The Trump administration’s crackdown on asylum seekers has included the brutal intimidation tactics of family separation and family detention. These policies have profound health implications for migrant adults and children and violate basic human rights, including the right to be free from torture and enforced disappearance. A new Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) investigation, based on psychological evaluations of asylum-seeking…


The Classic Faustian Bargain Of New Intrusive Age Of Surveillance Capitalism

  “The real psychological truth is this: If you’ve got nothing to hide, you are nothing.” ― Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism ***** What happens to our pics on social media and what does that have to do with the persecution of the Uighars in China? (Scrape, scrape, scrape…) What is Pokémon Go really about? (Talk about child abuse.) Who was really behind Google Earth? (One shouldn’t be too surprised.) How much info do they really have about us? (Waaaay more than we volunteer.) Can there be a hidden microphone in your new home security system that isn’t revealed in the…


UNACCOUNTABLE: Border Patrol & ICE Granted Broad New Levels Of Secrecy

  On The Media (2/14/20) Among the norms straining to govern our top law enforcement agencies are the basic presumptions of openness safeguarded by measures like the Freedom of Information Act. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), for instance, was required to disclose its operations, salaries, and staffing — much like any local police department. But under the Trump Administration, it has aspired to greater secrecy. The Daily Beast’s Betsy Swan has reported on efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP to join the “intelligence community,” which is made up of agencies that use wide-ranging powers to surveil, detain, and inquire,…


Clearview AI: Secretive Company Providing Law Enforcement Facial Recognition Tech That ‘Scrapes’ Photos Off The Net & Eliminates Your Privacy

  This will not remain limited to law enforcement. The Daily / New York Times (2/10/20) A secretive start-up promising the next generation of facial recognition software has compiled a database of images far bigger than anything ever constructed by the United States government: over three billion, it says. Is this technology a breakthrough for law enforcement — or the end of privacy as we know it? Link To 31-Minute Audio ACLU Slams Facial Recognition Company That Scrapes Photos From Instagram & Facebook — Clearview AI, the facial recognition company that claims to have a database of more than 3 billion photos scraped…


Report Reveals CIA Controlled Trusted Global Encryption Company For Decades

By Julian Borger The Guardian (2/11/20) Encryption weaknesses added to products sold by Crypto AG allowed the CIA and its German counterpart, the BND, to eavesdrop on adversaries and allies alike while earning million of dollars from the sales, according the Washington Post and the German public broadcaster ZDF, based on the agencies’ internal histories of the intelligence operation. “It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concluded. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign…


A Radical Message Of What REAL Resistance In This Nation Will Take If We Are To Survive

“It is our job to make people in power feel fear. That’s our job. … You know why they are so scared? Because they know even better than we do how corrupt and fixed the system is. … They understand how hated they are and that makes them weak.“ This talk by Chris Hedges has been posted in the Commoner Call before, and is well worth the time, but it is being re-posted now specifically for Hedges’ call to resist. After the bumbling debacle of the Iowa caucus and the corrupting influence of oligarch Michael Bloomberg’s millions in the primary process,…


US Government Lists Non-Violent ‘Valve Turner’ Climate Activists As Threat On Par With Murderous Neo-Nazis

The making of national security is rarely about security for the population. It’s about security for those in power. By Julia Conley Common Dreams (1/13/20) Climate action advocates on Monday condemned reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has placed non-violent environmental activists on a list of domestic terrorists alongside white supremacists and mass murderers. Citing documents received by the non-profit group Property of the People, The Guardian reports how the Climate Direct Action members who shut off tar sands pipeline operations in an act of civil disobedience in October 2016, were called “suspected environmental rights extremists” by DHS. In the document, the…


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‘Literally And Politically Flammable’ — Naomi Klein On Risk Of Eco-Fascism

  By Alexander C. Kaufman HuffPost (1/5/19) California burned. The Amazon burned. Greenland burned. Siberia burned. Indonesia burned. Australia’s ongoing fires look hellish. Now, last year’s global inferno looks to Naomi Klein, the author and intellectual godmother of the Green New Deal movement, like a lit fuse to a fascist future. “We’re in a moment where we are literally flammable,” Klein, whose latest book “On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal” was published in September, said on a recent afternoon. “But we are also politically flammable.” In 2019, some factions of the global far-right that gained power in…


US Border Officer Uses Nazi Nuremberg Defense To Explain Involvement In Separating Families: “We were all told to do this.”

“Ah, so he was just doing his job? Where have we heard that defense before?” [Editor’s Note: Just a quick reminder to members of the military and police: as the Nuremberg Trials after WW II made clear, doing something wrong simply because you are ordered to do so is no legal — or moral — defense. There is an understanding and legal requirement that soldiers and police refuse to carry out criminal orders. Don’t be a Nazi — be a good citizen first — listen to your conscience, not corrupt commanders. — Mark L. Taylor] By Julia Conley Common Dreams…


American Christmas Hypocrisy

The nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church, Claremont California. Like families in our federal concentration camps, Jesus, Mary & Joseph portrayed as refugees separated in cages. As folks gather with family and friends this Wednesday for Christmas keep in mind the thousands of immigrant children — including toddlers and infants — separated from their mothers and fathers in the spreading United States concentration camps along the southern border.  The message of the season couldn’t be further removed from the policies of this criminal government. While conservatives love to rail on and on about a fictitious “war on Christmas” and many…


Trump Is ‘A Problem’ But Impeachment Doesn’t Address ‘The Problem’ That Created Him

Impeaching Trump without addressing America’s deeper structural problems, says Hedges, will only make things worse. By Chauncey Devega Salon (12/9/19) The United States is sick with income and other forms of social inequality. It suffers from cruelty, loneliness, greed, gangster capitalism, white supremacy, violence, sexism and a culture of ignorance and distraction. Our broken political system does not encourage critical thinking or nurture a capacity for responsible, engaged citizenship.President Donald Trump is the human embodiment of almost everything wrong with American society. He is both the symptom and the disease. Trump and the Republican Party’s fascist movement and its news…


Trump Trots Out Recently Pardoned War Criminals At Secretive Florida Fundraiser

“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” — George Washington, orders to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775 By Tom Boggioni Raw Story (12/7/19) According to a report from the Miami…


Talk About Impeachment? Dick Cheney, George Bush, Barack Obama And The CIA’s Lies & Torture Cover-up

  By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted (12/4/19) NO STORY IN recent U.S. history illustrates the brutal fallacy of American exceptionalism than the CIA torture program and its cover-up. This week on Intercepted: As Washington D.C. remains focused on the Trump impeachment, Daniel Jones, the former top Senate Intelligence Committee investigator into the CIA torture program discusses the years-long battle with the Bush and Obama administrations to make public the findings of his still-classified 7,000 page report. Jones is the subject of the new feature film, The Report, starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening, and the host of its companion podcast, The Report Podcast,…


Shocking! Tasers Often Put Public & Police In Needless Danger, There Are Safer Alternatives

  Reveal / Center For Investigative Reporting (12/7/19) Tasers are on the duty belt of nearly every American police officer. Their manufacturer, Axon Enterprise Inc., has long promoted the device as extremely effective at helping police resolve dangerous situations without using their guns. But a yearlong investigation by APM Reports shows Tasers often are less effective than the company has claimed. And just as Tasers can save lives when they subdue suspects, when they don’t, the outcome can be deadly. In Vermont, we explore what happened when police using Tasers failed to subdue a mentally ill man. We trace the…


Historian Timothy Snyder: Here’s How We Escape TrumpWorld, Where There’s “no future and no truth”

By Chauncey Devega Salon (11/23/19) There will come a time when Donald Trump is no longer president of the United States. The Democrats may defeat Trump in 2020, sending him back to one of his resort hotels to brood and plot further chaos. Trump could be impeached, convicted and forced from office, unlikely as that seems at this moment. A serious medical illness may mean that he is unable to fulfill his duties and is forced to resign. Because of his many scandals and likely illegal behavior, Trump could also choose to resign — if given assurances that Mike Pence, as the new…


The Secret List Of Convicted Cops

Reveal / Center For Investigative Reporting (11/9/19) When police officers misbehave, why does it often remain a secret? We follow Robert Lewis, a reporter with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, as he tries to report on a secret list of police officers with criminal convictions. What begins as a simple story becomes a collaboration with dozens of reporters across California, from McClatchy, the USA Today Network, MediaNews Group and Voice of San Diego. Next, Nikka Singh of “Snap Judgment” brings us the story of one officer who has been able to stay employed at a series of police…


Cashing In On Murder, Mayhem & Profit Making: Women CEO’s Of Top Weapons Manufactures Cash In On International Murder & Mayhem

“This is the diversity of the ruling class. This is what the ruling class does to let us think there has been progress.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/21/19) Jimmy Dore (10/23) and his panel of comedians take on a recent Fortune magazine feature celebrating the rise of women executives to lead American war profiteering corporations, beginning with Lockheed Martin’s CEO Maryliyn Hewson, who began her work life as an ambitious teen dishing up ice cream at her hometown Dairy Queen and now markets weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction used to maul, main and murder families around the…


INJUSTICE: When Justice Depends Solely On The Size Of Your Pocketbook

The ‘Justice’ mosaic on the inside of the dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol. “It’s a beautiful system for sucking money out of the people who can least afford it.”   Southern Poverty Law Center (10/5/19) Tella Barnett fears she’ll end up behind bars again if she gets behind on her payments. She’s one of thousands of people in Alabama who pay to stay out of prison. One day last March, she paid a $30 monitoring fee as well as a $40 supervision fee. She paid $40 in drug testing fees and $30 in “rescheduling fees.” “Oh, my goodness, I can barely…


Silencing Citizens: ‘Highly Disturbing’ Pentagon Document Shows US Military Surveilling Groups Protesting Family Separation

  [Editor’s Note: While violent right wing nationalist and fascist groups run about pretty much unimpeded — and even sometimes aided — by law enforcement, we have the government tracking human rights groups trying to assist abused migrant children. Any doubt about what kind of government we have? — Mark L. Taylor] By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/11/19) The U.S. military is reportedly surveilling rights groups and activists engaged in peaceful protests against both President Donald Trump’s border wall and the separation of migrant children from their families at the southern border. According to an internal Pentagon document obtained by Ken Klippenstein of The Young…


‘Simply Barbaric’: Trump Administration Proposes Charging Asylum Fee For Refugees Fleeing Violence & Poverty

By Julia Conley Common Dreams (11/10/19) The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry. As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits. “It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times. Currently, the only countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers—who are often fleeing war, persecution, or violence in…


Chris Hedges: The Enemy Within Is Deep Indeed

The deep state, incapable of reform and determined to retain its grip on power, will morph under the threat of popular unrest into a corporatized fascism. By Chris Hedges TruthDig (11/4/19) Our democracy is not in peril—we do not live in a democracy. The image of our democracy is in peril. The deep state—the generals, bankers, corporatists, lobbyists, intelligence chiefs, government bureaucrats and technocrats—is intent on salvaging the brand. It is hard to trumpet yourself as the world’s guardian of freedom and liberty with Donald Trump blathering on incoherently about himself, inciting racist violence, insulting our traditional allies along with…


Cuccinelli Open About Trump Admin Casual Cruelty To Sick Immigrant Infants & Children

MSNBC (10/30/19) Rachel Maddow reports on acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, being open in his answers to Congress about the cruelty of the policy he implemented, threatening extremely ill immigrant kids and their families with deportation. Link To 5+-Minute Video Five-Year-Old Boy Facing Deportation From Australia Because Of Mild Disability — A five-year-old boy born in Australia is facing deportation to Bangladesh with his family after their visa applications were refused because his “mild disability” would be a burden on the medical system. Dr Mahedi Hasan Bhuiyan arrived in Australia on a student visa in…


Never Underestimate The Viciousness Of the State: The Battle For People’s Park, Berkeley 1969

When Vietnam came home. By Clara Bingham The Guardian (7/6/19) On 4 May 1970, the Ohio national guard shot at hundreds of students protesting against the invasion of Cambodia, wounding eight and killing four. Kent State was seared into the national consciousness. The US government had authorized the killing of its own (white) children. But what many might not know is that a year earlier in Berkeley, California, police opened fire with buck and bird shot on a large crowd of young protesters seeking to keep open People’s Park, an impromptu community garden on land UC Berkeley wanted to use. Fifty people were hit….


Trump’s Giant Loophole: Executive Control Of The Judicial Branch Is The Final Step To Tyranny

What happens when the judiciary is captured — and the bad guys are true fascists? Well, they turn the law itself into an instrument of violence. [Editor’s Note: This is an extremely important article to read and consider. Few people really understand the most dangerous moment we are facing in this nation. Whether by bumbling stupid luck or strategic calculation, Donald Trump has pushed the nation to the abyss of totalitarian fascism and time is short. — Mark L. Taylor] By Umair Haque Medium (10/25/19) In case you didn’t notice, yesterday [10/24] was an especially dark day for America democracy….


ICE Officer Who Drove Truck Into Jewish Protesters Won’t Be Charged With A Crime

  [Editor’s Note: Once again we see an example of where police violence is protected by the American ‘Just-Us’ system. Imagine the outcome if a black or Muslin drove a truck into a line of Trump supporters. Any doubt how the courts would react? — Mark L. Taylor] By JTA The Times Of Israel (10/24/19) A grand jury declined to indict a former US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer who drove his truck into a row of Jewish protesters at an ICE detention center. Capt. Thomas Woodworth resigned his position days after the August incident at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention…


Immigrant Minors Are Being Held In ‘Secret And Unaccountable’ Network Of Lock-Ups

“The level of aggressiveness with which they are pursuing secrecy should alarm us.” By Blake Ellis & Melanie Hicken CNN (10/24/19) Angelina Godoy started digging for answers more than a year ago. The human rights researcher had heard that ICE agents occasionally swept up migrant kids and locked them up in juvenile detention facilities, but she had no idea why. One of the places ICE supposedly housed these young people, Godoy learned, was a few hours from her home in Seattle. She searched online for information about the detentions, but couldn’t find anything that explained what was going on. She then…


These Allegations Of Child Abuse Against Customs & Border Protection Go On For Tens Of Thousands Of Pages

One boy said he was threatened with rape if he didn’t behave. Several others were allegedly beaten while handcuffed. By Gaby Del Valle VICE News (10/18/19) Being run over by a vehicle, beaten while handcuffed, and even threatened with rape — they’re all examples of the treatment migrant children and teenagers have said they endured while in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Some of the kids claim officers hit them for no reason. One boy said officers accused him of lying about his age and told him he’d be raped by an adult man if he didn’t tell the…


Minneapolis Police Union Sells ‘Cops For Trump’ T-Shirts

  By Tim Nelson MPR (10/7/19) The Minneapolis police union is touting its support for President Trump in the wake of a new city policy that blocks officers from appearing in uniform with the president during a campaign rally this week. Trump is scheduled to speak at Target Center in Minneapolis on Thursday. Ahead of the rally, the city told its police force that officers could not wear their uniform while showing support for candidates at political events or in political ads. Police union president Bob Kroll unveiled the new T-shirt on his Facebook page over the weekend and said they are available for…


Pathocracy: The Pathological Power Of Governments Led By Narcissists & Psychopaths

The danger of democracy transitioning into pathocracy is always real. It is always closer to us than we think, and once it has a foothold, will crush every obstacle in its way. By Steve Taylor The Conversation (9/19/19) After spending his early life suffering under the Nazis and then Stalin, the Polish psychologist Andrew Lobaczewski devoted his career to studying the relationship between psychological disorders and politics. He wanted to understand why psychopaths and narcissists are so strongly attracted to power as well as the processes by which they take over governments and countries. He eventually came up with the term “pathocracy”…