War State America

American “Just-Us” For Sale: Leaked Audio Shows Oil Lobbyist Bragging About Success In Criminalizing Pipeline Protests

“Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/20/19) As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry’s success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors. Speaking during a conference in Washington, D.C. in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted “model legislation” that states across the nation have passed in recent months. AFPM…

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‘Official Secrets’ — Movie About Courageous UK Intel Whistleblower Who Leaked Damning Memo

  [Editor’s Note: The disastrous Iraq War rolled forward and was enabled by government deceit and malfeasance, bitter failure and active complicity of the British and American corporate media. In the midst of the craven battalions of government and corporate media a few brave souls stood out. Here’s the story of a courageous 27 year-old intelligence worker who stood for truth and principle. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (7/19/19) In 2003, Katharine Gun, a young specialist working for Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, exposed a highly confidential memo that revealed the United States’ collaboration with Britain in collecting sensitive information…


This Is How Genocide Begins: A Border Patrol Agent Reveals What It’s Really Like To Jail Migrant Children

“Somewhere down the line people just accepted what’s going on as normal. That includes the people responsible for fixing the problems.” By Ginger Thompson ProPublica (7/16/19) The Border Patrol agent, a veteran with 13 years on the job, had been assigned to the agency’s detention center in McAllen, Texas, for close to a month when the team of court-appointed lawyers and doctors showed up one day at the end of June. Taking in the squalor, the stench of unwashed bodies, and the poor health and vacant eyes of the hundreds of children held there, the group members appeared stunned. Then,…


Trump & Republicans Desecrate July 4th National Holiday

Investigation Of Secret Border Patrol Group Launched As New Degrading Facebook Posts Surface A ProPublica story revealing demeaning posts directed at Latina lawmakers prompted widespread revulsion. By A.C. Thompson & Dara Lind ProPublica (7/1/19) The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has opened an investigation into vulgar and misogynistic social media posts made by members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents. On Monday, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees,” said Matthew Klein, head…


Concentrate Real Hard On This, America: Here Is Why They Are Called ‘Concentration Camps’

MSNBC news host Lawrence O’Donnell does an excellent job of running down the shameful history of concentration camps in the United States, supposed home of the free. Link to 5-Minute Video (Commoner Call illustration by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** How Trump Administration’s Border Camps Fit Right Into The History Of Concentration Camps When it comes to this kind of detention, even when a government isn’t plotting a genocide, shocking numbers of people can still end up hurt—or dead. By Andrea Pitzer GQ (6/18/19) In February 2018, U.S….


Monsterous: ‘Just-Us’ Dept. Lawyer Argues Migrant Children In Concentration Camps Don’t Need Soap, Toothbrushes, Beds Or Blankets

“You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of safe and sanitary conditions?’”  –– U.S. Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon By David Badash New Civil Rights Movement (6/20/19) The Trump administration’s Justice Dept. lawyers say migrant children detained in federal concentration camps do not need soap or toothbrushes despite a settlement agreement that requires the U.S. Government to keep them in “safe and sanitary” facilities. The DOJ also argues that the children, detained in the Southern border camps, can continue to sleep on cold concrete floors in overcrowded cells without being in violation…


Concentration Camp Expert Backs AOC Concentration Camp Statement : ‘Same Thing’ Happening At Southern Border

“If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps ― not the nomenclature.” — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez By Hayley Miller HuffPost (6/19/19) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) controversial comments likening U.S. immigrant detention centers at the southern border to “concentration camps” aren’t inaccurate, a concentration camp expert and author said Tuesday. Andrea Pitzer, who literally wrote the book on the global history of concentration camps, defended the freshman lawmaker against Republican backlash during an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes.” What the U.S. is doing at the U.S.-Mexico border today by detaining hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants and children “fits…


Here’s Exactly Who’s Profiting From The War On Yemen

They’re working hand-in-glove with the State Department. By Alex Kane In These Times (5/20/19) PRIYANKA MOTAPARTHY, A RESEARCHER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, arrived at a market in the Yemeni village of Mastaba on March 28, 2016, to find large craters, destroyed buildings, debris, shredded bits of clothing and small pieces of human bodies. Two weeks earlier, a warplane had bombed the market with two guided missiles. A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says the missiles hit around noon on March 15, killing 97 civilians, including 25 children. “When the first strike came, the world was full of blood,” Mohammed Yehia Muzayid, a market…



‘This Is About Attacking Journalism,’ Warn Press Freedom Defenders As Trump DOJ Hits Assange With New Espionage Charges

The Editor   By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (5/21/19) In an unprecedented move that journalists and press freedom defenders denounced as “the most significant and terrifying threat to the First Amendment in the 21st century,” the Trump Justice Department announced Thursday that a federal grand jury charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act. “This is about attacking journalism and the public’s right to information about war crimes done in their name with their dollars,” The Intercept‘s Jeremy Scahill said in a series of tweets. “This is about retaliation for publishing evidence of U.S. war crimes and other crimes by…


Andrew Bacevich: ‘Honest & Heartfelt’ Shrine To America’s Useless Forever Wars Of Empire

  Where better to commemorate conflicts that Americans would like to ignore or forget than in a hollowing-out Midwestern town they never knew existed in the first place? By Andrew Bacevich Tom Dispatch (5/23/19) Earlier this month, I spent a day visiting Marseilles to videotape a documentary about recent American military history, specifically the ongoing wars that most of us prefer not to think about. Lest there be any confusion, let me be more specific. I am not referring to Marseilles (mar-SAY), France, that nation’s largest port and second largest city with a population approaching 900,000. No, my destination was Marseilles (mar-SAYLZ),…


Author Annie Jacobsen: Inside The CIA’s World Of Secret Wars In Our Name

No longer interested in peace. Preparing for the next war. [Editor’s Note: This is an essential interview for all American citizens to watch, to learn what is being done in our name and how the architecture for corporate forever wars is being welded into place. A sobering account of national insecurity. — Mark L. Taylor] Commonwealth Club (5/22/19) Annie Jacobsen is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and investigative journalist whose work revolves around government secrets. She has published books on a range of topics, including what really goes on inside Area 51; Operation Paperclip, which brought Nazi scientists to America; and…


Falling Into Line: The Liberal Establishment Embrace Of War

America is incapable of understanding or respecting foreigners’ instinct for self-rule.   By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (5/16/19) The United States has just suspended flights to Venezuela. Per the New York Times: CARACAS — The United States banned all air transport with Venezuela on Wednesday over security concerns, further isolating the troubled South American nation… A disinterested historian — Herodotus raised from the dead — would see this as just the latest volley in a siege tale. America has been trying for ages to topple the regime of President Nicholas Maduro, after trying for years to do the same to his…


‘Unfathomable Evil Recognizing Unfathomable Evil’ — Trump’s Possible Pardons Of American War Criminals Provoke Outrage

  “Who pardons war criminals? DICTATORS. What is the signal you give by doing this? No amount of violence whether at home or abroad will be punished; no one will be held accountable.” — Jodi Jacobson, New York Times [Editor’s Note: Make special note of the words “whether at home or abroad” in the above quote. Make no mistake, Trump is paving the ground for violent suppression of political opponents here at home. The fascists are elegraphing their plans openly. — Mark L. Taylor] By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (5/18/19) Progressives, human rights advocates, and journalists responded with outrage on…


Author Arundhati Roy: A U.S. Attack on Iran Would Be “Biggest Mistake It Has Ever Made”

Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the U.S. government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state.  Democracy Now! (5/13/19) [Editor’s Note: Author Arundhati Roy reads a portion of her recent Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, titled: “A Place for Literature.” — Mark L. Taylor] As the ice caps melt, as oceans heat up and water tables plunge, as we rip through the delicate web of interdependence that sustains life on earth, as our formidable intelligence leads us to breach the boundaries between humans and…


‘Presidential Endorsement Of Murder’: Trump Pardon Of US Soldier Who Tortured, Killed Iraqi Prisoner Spurs Outrage

President Trump has granted former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna a full pardon for his charge of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone. Behanna is pictured in Iraq in 2008, shortly before he murdered an Iraqi prisoner. (Image: Facebook) ***** [Editor’s Note: Trump is telegraphing a clear message of what to expect here at home should he lose the 2020 election and decides not to leave office. The growth of right wing militias is a clear and growing danger. The tactics and cruelty empires exercise to subjugate foreign populations is eventually always exercised at home to quel dissent. — Mark…


Chris Hedges: Coming Down To Corporate Totalitarianism’s Brutal End Game

  “I’m calling for the overthrow of the corporate state.” [Editor’s Note: This powerful, prescient talk by author Chris Hedges has been posted in the Commoner Call  before. What we have seen with the recent Barr hearing and suppression of the Mueller report is the gathering storm drawing near. Hedges’ assessment of the corporate state’s rush to totalitarianism is moving fast. His comments about resistance and hope are a lesson for all. — Mark L. Taylor] By Ed Mays Pirate TV (10/9/18) Pirate TV welcomes back Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges for the 6th time. In his current book, America:…


Erik Prince Reportedly Wants His Piece Of The Action From The Venezuelan Corporate Coup

For Prince, the unlikely gambit represents the latest effort in a long campaign to privatize warfare. By Aram Roston & Matt Spetalnick Reuters (4/30/19) WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Erik Prince – the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and a prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump – has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, four sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters. Over the last several months, the sources said, Prince has sought investment and political support for such an operation from influential Trump supporters and wealthy…


NY Times Report: Navy SEALs Were Ordered To Remain Silent On War Crimes By Their Commander

  [Editor’s Note: The seven courageous SEALs who pushed this case forward deserve medals. They won’t get them, but they should. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (4/24/19) Navy SEALs who witnessed their platoon chief commit war crimes in Iraq were encouraged not to speak out, and told they could lose their jobs for reporting him at a private meeting with a superior officer last year, according to new reports from The New York Times. A confidential Navy criminal investigation obtained by the Times reveals that the commandos saw Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stab and kill an unarmed teenage…


War Dept. Spending Set To Hit Near-Record Levels, While ‘Establishment Says We Can’t Afford’ Programs To Help Citizens

“Very few in Congress are questioning how the U.S. can afford to spend $7.5 trillion on the military.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (4/19/19) Pentagon spending is on track to grow significantly for the fifth consecutive year, but “very few in Congress are questioning” how the U.S. can afford it. That’s according to the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg, who reported Thursday that “the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War.” In his 2020 budget…


Assange’s Indictment Is Trump’s Next Step In His War On Our Free Press

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (4/13/19) The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is so disliked in journalism and political circles that many reporters and liberal politicians were publicly cheering on Thursday when the Trump administration released an indictment of Assange, which was related to his interactions with the whistleblower Chelsea Manning in the months leading up to the publication of Pentagon and state department cables in 2010. Please do not fall for this trap. It is exactly what the Trump administration is hoping for, as the Department of Justice (DoJ) moves forward with its next dangerous step in its war on journalism…


US Government’s Refusal To Confirm Or Deny It Put American Journalist On Drone Kill List Called ‘Chilling’

“The government seeks to shield itself from all inquiry into the process by which it acts as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (4/2/19) Lawyers for an American journalist who believes he was placed on the government’s infamous “kill list” warned Tuesday that the rights of all U.S. citizens are at stake if the country’s drone assassination program is allowed to continue. The organization’s comments came as part of a response to the U.S. government’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit regarding its use of the list. Reprieve is representing Bilal Abdul Kareem, a journalist and U.S….


Max Blumenthal’s “The Management Of Savagery” Explores The American Role In Rise Of Global Extremism

Amazon Review: The Rise Of International Jihad & Western Ultra-nationalism In the Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal excavates the real story behind America’s dealings with the world and shows how the extremist forces that now threaten peace across the globe are the inevitable flowering of America’s imperial designs. Washington’s secret funding of the mujahedin provoked the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. With guns and money, the United States has ever since sustained the extremists, including Osama Bin Laden, who have become its enemies. The Pentagon has trained and armed jihadist elements in Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya; it has launched military interventions…


We Have Spent $32 Million Per Hour On War Since 2001

The U.S. military is escalating a shadowy network of “anti-terror” operations all across the world — in at least 76 nations, or 40 percent of countries on the planet. The Mind Unleashed (3/25/19) This March marked the 16th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In 2003, President George W. Bush and his advisers based their case for war on the idea that Saddam Hussein, then dictator of Iraq, possessed weapons of mass destruction — weapons that have never been found. Nevertheless, all these years later, Bush’s “Global War on Terror” continues — in Iraq and in many other countries. It’s a good…


On The 16th Anniversary Of Disastrous Iraq War, Matt Taibbi Asks ‘Where Were The Reporters?

In this March 23rd episode of The Zero Hour Richard ‘RJ’ Eskow and Rolling Stone journalist and book author Matt Tiabbi mark the 16th anniversary of the disastrous Cheney/Bush Iraq by reviewing the many mistakes, errors and missed opportunities and close cooperation of most of the American media in leading the nation to war and the Middle East to multiple senseless tragedies. Link to 34-Minute Video ****** 16 Years Later, How The Press That Sold The Iraq War Got Away With It How the media built new lies to cover their early ones. By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (3/22/19) Sixteen…


Venezuela Coup Leader’s Oil Plans Revealed: Guaidó Hopes To Privatize State-Controlled Industry

  By Ben Norton The Grayzone (3/14/19) The international news agency Reuters has confirmed that Venezuela’s US-appointed coup leader Juan Guaidó and his right-wing economic advisers drafted a plan to privatize the country’s petroleum industry and open up the oil-rich South American country to foreign corporations. This privatization scheme will be difficult to implement, however, given the Venezuelan government still remains under the control of its elected leftist president, Nicolás Maduro, and the coup attempt led by the Donald Trump administration has thus far failed. The Grayzone reported on the opposition’s moves to try to privatize Venezuela’s oil industry immediately after the coup attempt began nearly…


Silicon Valley Revolt Ripples In Response For Big Tech War Dept. Projects

  Should Big Tech partner with the War Department? The New York Times podcast “The Daily” looks back at the Vietnam era involvement of Dow Chemical in War Department  weapons development is a cautionary tale for America’s war industry. Link to 24-Minute Audio (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


An Ocean Of Lies On Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose American-Led Coup

  The Empire Files (2/22/19) On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN Investigator and Human Rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas. Link to 39-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** The Coup Has Failed So Now The U.S. Is Looking To Wage Yet Another War For Oil: Venezuelan Foreign Minister Speaks Out Democracy Now! (2/25/19) Venezuela’s opposition is calling on the United States…


Venezuela & The Bipartisan Record Of War: The U.S.’s 68th Regime Change Disaster

This generation of Americans has already seen how our government’s endless sanctions, coups and wars have only left country after country mired in violence, poverty and chaos. By Medea Benjamin & Nicolas J.S. Davies Common Dreams (2/4/19) In his masterpiece, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II, William Blum, who died in December 2018, wrote chapter-length accounts of 55 U.S. regime change operations against countries around the world, from China (1945-1960s) to Haiti (1986-1994).  Noam Chomsky’s blurb on the back of the latest edition says simply, “Far and away the best book on the topic.” We agree. If you…


‘Shock Doctrine’ Author Naomi Klein Worries ‘What Next?’ If Trump Succeeds In Inventing A ‘National Emergency’

“What is to stop him from declaring emergencies again and again if this works?”   By Jon Queally Common Dreams (1/10/19) As a result of creating a fake crisis in order to appease his far-right base and achieve a policy goal that has majority public opposition, President Donald Trump continues to threaten to declare a “national emergency” as a way to commandeer military funds in order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But even as experts debate whether or not Trump has the authority to make such a declaration—and consensus that an immediate legal battle would ensue—author and activist Naomi Klein…


Some Prominent Democrats Join With Trump, Media, CIA & War Criminal Elliot Abrams To Overthrow Nicolás Maduro & Steal Venezuela’s Oil

    “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” — Friedrich Hegel   By Jeremy Scahill The Intercept / Intercepted podcast(2/2/19) The Trump administration is openly engaging in a blatant effort to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. It’s a campaign aimed at regime change, and it’s being publicly promoted as an opportunity to steal Venezuelan oil for the benefit of U.S. corporations. They’re not even pretending. But this is not some insane Twitter thought spewed by Trump after guzzling down gallons of Fox and Friends. It’s open imperialism, and it’s not just being…


Inside America’s Meddling Machine: The US Funded Group Interfering In Elections Around the Globe

  By Max Blumenthal Grayzone Project (8/20/18) On June 13, 2018 the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy presented its 2018 Democracy Award to a collection of Korean activists who aim to topple the communist government of North Korea. The event was timed to coincide with President Donald Trump’s peace summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-Un. The ceremony appeared to be the opening shot of a massive public relations effort aimed at stifling normalized relations with North Korea. I covered the ceremony because these organizations are doing precisely what Congress accuses Russia-funded media outlets and troll farms of doing in the United…


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…


It Could Go On Forever: What Trump Could Legally Do If He Declares A State Of Emergency To Save Himself

From seizing control of the internet to declaring martial law, President Trump may legally do all kinds of extraordinary things. By Elizabeth Goitein The Atlantic (Jan/Feb 2019) In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans. Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass…


U.S. Strategic Command Rings In The New Year With Adolescent War Porn Threat

As if the American runaway war machine isn’t enough of a threat and dark obscenity to begin with, the U.S. Strategic Command somehow thought it fit to ring in the New Year with a grotesque bit of war porn promoting America’s darkest profile… #TimesSquare tradition rings in the#NewYear by dropping the big ball…if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger At the same time U.S. war planes and intel facilitate the starvation and murder of hundreds of thousands of Yemini families and children by Saudi Arabia — using American weapons and bombs — some knucklehead officer…


American Military Policy Of Uncounted Civilian Casualties In Iraq

  The Daily / New York Times (2017) The American-led battle against the Islamic State has been hailed as the most precise air campaign in history. But its airstrikes have killed far more Iraqi civilians than anyone has acknowledged. Basim Razzo, a resident of ISIS-occupied Mosul, lost his family and his home in one of these airstrikes. Video of the strike shows a target hit with military precision. Why was Mr. Razzo’s home targeted? And how often does this happen? Uncounted Civilian Casualties in Iraq was produced by Annie Brown, with reporter Azmat Khan and edited by Lisa Tobin for The Daily….


Search For Missing $21 Trillion Comes Up Empty As Pentagon Fails First Audit In 71-Year History

The War Dept can’t account for trillions. Yet we are told there isn’t enough money to care for citizens. We have the resources, they are just in the wrong hands.   [Editor’s Note: This story barely made nary a ripple in the mainstream corporate press, which — of course — gobbles down multiple billions in war industry advertising dollars. This scandal is a real opportunity for the democrats in the House, but will they hold meaningful hearings? — Mark L. Taylor] By Randi Nord Mint Press News (12/21/18) WASHINGTON — Despite being legally required to conduct audits since the early 90s…


The U.S. & Saud Family Have Been Getting Away With Murder For Years

  By Roqayah Chamseddine In These Times (10/16/18) March 2015 marked a decisive phase in what is now a more than three-year war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia, in coordination with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, initiated a military operation against Yemen’s capital of Sana’a in an effort to dislodge any fragment of Houthi presence while also fomenting a tide of psychological warfare that would signal the ruthless course of action to come. Yemen’s infrastructure was so thoroughly upended by coalition attacks that within a year and a half of the initial salvo, the local population was struck by the…


‘A Moment To Remember’ — When The US Abandoned Any Pretense Of Democracy For The Love Of ‘Our S.O.B.s”

“In December 1954, the NSC [National security Council] met in the White House to stake out a strategy that could tame the powerful nationalist forces of change sweeping the globe. Across Asia and Africa, a half-dozen European empires that had guaranteed global order for more than a century were giving way to new nation, many — as Washington saw it — susceptible to “communist subversion.” In Latin America , there were stirrings of leftist opposition to the region’s growing urban poverty and rural landlessness. To make it “absolutely clear we will not tolerate Communism anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.”influential Secretary…


Ralph Nader Addresses Conservative Audience On Eisenhower’s Prophetic Warning Of The Danger Of The Corrupt Military, Congressional, Industrial Complex

“The military, congressional, industrial empire complex — if not stopped — will destroy the United States of America.” — Ralph Nader The American Conservative (7/6/18) On June 21, 2018, The American Conservative hosted its annual crony capitalism conference at which Ralph Nader delivered a speech on the military industrial congressional complex titled “Eisenhower’s Warning: Prophetic and Presently Understated.” Nader is an author, consumer advocate, and former presidential candidate. He is one of America’s most effective social critics, and has emerged as a leading voice against the growing convergence of government and corporate interests. He is the author of Unstoppable: The…