Quick Hit – Who Are the Real War Criminals? Sure, the Video of Those Marines Peeing on the Dead Was Disgusting, But Here’s What’s Really Disgusting…

By Mark L. Taylor

Daily Call (1/13/12)


So when I was just a little shaver – about seven years old – I had a pal who lived on the other side of the block from our house in the hoity-toity enclave of Madison’s Maple Bluff. I don’t recall his name; I’ll call him Steve. He was a nice kid and we teamed up with other pipsqueaks in the neighborhood one summer to build forts in the last scrap of remaining hardwoods nearby.

This was in late-1950’s suburban America in one of the nicest suburbs in the Midwest. It was a time of Weber grills and Chevys and Caddies with tail fins and hula-hoops and Elvis and Milwaukee Braves games broadcast over fist sized transistor radios.

But there was something else at Steve’s house; his dad.

Steve’s dad was a short, powerfully built guy with a buzz cut, big ruddy cheeks and a perpetual squint that hooded his eyes. He was a stoic guy always armed with a monogrammed shot glass of Scotch in hand. Steve’s dad was the kind of guy you felt both drawn to and frightened of; like there was something dangerous pulling you in and you hoped to God whatever it was wouldn’t go off while you were within range.

Even when surrounded by neighbors on some sun dappled patio for late afternoon cocktails Steve’s dad seemed just a tad apart from the rest.

As with many fathers in the neighborhood, Steve’s dad was a veteran. He saw combat with the Marines in some of the nastiest hell holes in the Pacific campaign. I’m not sure, but I seem to recall he was at Iwo Jima. All I knew then about that was the famous photo of the flag raising.


A brutal souvenir

Somewhere in the house, Steve said his dad had a box and in that box were all kinds of war mementos. There were old unit shoulder patches and a set of dog tags and black-and-white snapshots of fighter airplanes and bomb shredded palm trees. There were some rifle bullets and even a pin from a real grenade. But the thing that most caught my attention was Steve’s report that there was a dog tag chain with a collection of shriveled up ears from Japanese soldiers.

I couldn’t believe it and demanded to see this gruesome souvenir, but Steve refused, saying his dad would be angry.

But the image of this collection stuck in my boyish mind until one day I asked Steve’s dad if it was true. I remember hearing the swirled rattle of ice cubes in the whiskey glass and for a moment it felt like I had just made the biggest mistake of my barely begun visit to the planet, when he sighed and said it was true.

I asked why and why the ears didn’t rot. He explained with the same calm, matter-of-fact tone that an insurance underwriter might use that in his unit when a man killed a “Jap” he cut off both ears, which were preserved in salt, dried in the sun and then strung on a chain and worn around the neck as a trophy. He simply brought his trophy home and, no, I couldn’t see it.

Outside a lawn mower moaned.


What the hell do we expect?

I don’t know what finally happened to Steve or his Dad. We moved out of Maple Bluff when I was 8, but I always remembered that conversation. Until I visited the Pearl Harbor memorial many years later as an adult, it was the closest I had come to the vicious reality of WW II.

I think of Steve’s dad now as the craven politicians who send our young off to do brutal, ghastly violence under a banner of lies and propaganda have the gall to speak of Marines urinating on the bodies of the dead as “unacceptable” and “contrary to our values”.

Bullshit, it’s completely consistent with our values.

In the past decade we have proven ourselves to be a nation that goes to war under false pretenses and justifies torture in the name of liberty. We now think it somehow noble to rain death down on innocent civilians from drones controlled by guys sitting in air conditioned trailers half a world away in the Nevada Desert. Almost 5,000 or our own died in Iraq and, conservative estimates report 100,000 Iraqis died and millions are displaced.

And all that stuff about fighting for Iraqi freedom?

Please. Is there anyone with more than a low double-digit IQ that believes that tripe? We all know it was about the oil and GW’s twisted “daddy issues”.

The corporate war mongers of both parties are the guilty ones here. When you take young men and throw them into savagery and thuggery to benefit oil companies and defense contractors what else do you expect? When you train them to kill and pound any sense of the “other” being a human being out of their consciousness, where do you expect it to go?

Most will behave with courage and decency in an indecent cauldron ignited by cowardly leaders.

Not all soldiers will pee on a dead body, or cut fingers off the dead like last year’s “Kill Team” soldiers in Afghanistan. Not all will gun down a family to rape a young girl as we saw in Baghdad and not every soldier will drag a prisoner around by a leash. But some will.

Some have, and do.

And forget all that official party line crap about “a few bad apples”; the whole damn orchard is a festering patch of deeply rooted, poisoned thorns. When we breathe life into evil evil happens and at some point in time, this nation needs to get that.

Our leaders are hopeless and without soul. They are or have become evil. People like Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Pearl and Rice and Albright and Obama and both Clintons and Petraus are the real perpetrators of war crimes. How dare they utter words like “honor” and “values” and “human rights” and “freedom” and “democracy”; their actions have robbed them of the right to use such human language.

The only thing more ghastly than the shriveled trophy in that long ago box of wartime mementos are the leaders who send the young off to such inhumanity and horror. And as long as we permit them to remain in power we bear our own bloody trophy of inhumanity around our own necks.

The whole damn thing pisses me off.



(Editor’s Note: Most of the issues erupting around us have not just sprung out of the ground overnight. Instead, there is historical context and an often interconnecting cast of characters. Quick Hits is designed to provide more in-depth understanding about what is going on. While the videos and article links may be longer that most offerings, they still provide a valuable way to get up to speed on important issues in – usually – an hour or less. - Mark L. Taylor)


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If You Have a Mortgage, You Need to Read This!

By Mark L. Taylor

Daily Call (12/27/11)

First of all, I need to say I am no real estate law expert and I profess no greater knowledge about foreclosures and the intricacies of property law than I do about molecular biology. But I came across something that just seems too big to not pass along to Daily Call readers; especially those  facing foreclosure, but, really, anyone with a mortgage.

The January 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine features a cover story by Christopher Ketchum entitled “Stop Payment! A Homeowners’ Revolt Against the Banks” (pp. 28-36). Ketchum writes about what appears to be a fatal corporate depth charge that was planted deeply in the American real estate system back in 1995 to make the slicing, dicing, transfer and casino swap derivatives market that took the economy down possible. In the process, it appears, the basic system of trust, tradition and legal assurance tying property deeds and mortgages together may have been completely shattered.

You could diligently make house payments for 30 years only to find that because there is no clear legal tie between the mortgage and the deed that you have instead been paying rent for 30 years and do not own your home.

In other words, banks trying to foreclose may not be able to produce the paper needed to show they indeed own the deed (thus standing in court). There have been scattered examples of foreclosed homeowners beating back the banks, winning in court and being able to stay in their homes because of this. There may be many more that have accepted settlement with non-disclosure agreements that nobody knows about.

When your mortgage payment is nothing but rent

But here is another big boot in this mess just waiting to drop: there is a possibility you could diligently make house payments for 30 years only to find that because there is no clear legal tie between the mortgage and the deed that you have instead been paying rent for 30 years and do not own your home. In fact, another financial institution you never heard of could show up and claim they hold the deed and demand payment.

Unfortunately, the only way you can read Harper’s online is to have a subscription, thus, I am doing this summary. You need to read the original story to get the full picture of what the article is reporting.

Please forward this on to anyone you know going through foreclosure so they can check out the source article. And actually, if you have a mortgage – even if you have no trouble making the payments – I urge you to check out the original article at your local library.

If you know an attorney – especially a real estate attorney – please let them know about this as some lawyers are having real success suing the banks on this issue and saving families on the brink.

The cancer in the system

The nexus of this potential disaster is something called the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) which, Ketchum describes, is “a privately held venture of the major mortgage-finance operators”. Both the privately owned corporations and the federal Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were central to the formation of MERS. While it is complicated, MERS was essentially designed as an electronic stand-in for financial institutions busy splitting up, repackaging and selling off mortgages multiple times; often to foreign banks.

“By the end of 2002, MERS was registering itself as the owner of 21,000 loans every day. Five years later, at the peak of the housing bubble, MERS registered some two thirds of all home loans in the United States,” Ketcham reports, noting, “Without the efficiencies of MERS there probably would never have been a mortgage-finance bubble.”

Instead of your bank or mortgage company, MERS was listed as the “mortgagee of record” – basically a cardboard front man for a legal entity that may or, often, may not exist. MERS made the overheated fraudulent real estate bubble possible by separating the mortgage from the deed. After the collapse MERS came under long-needed legal review.

Real estate law experts have described MERS colorfully, using such terms as “economic HIV”, “bank-eating cancer” and the “scam from hell”.      Others have described it more simply as “fraud” and “fraudulent”.

Courts take a close look

In 2009, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled against MERS in Landmark National Bank v. Boyd A Kesler, ruling, essentially, that MERS was against state law because it broke mortgage contracts by splitting the deed of trust from the promissory note; it wasn’t okay, the court ruled, for MERS to be a paper front man after all.

Echoing an earlier California district court ruling, the Kansas justices noted: “There is no evidence of record that establishes that MERS either held the promissory note or was given the authority [to] assign the note.”

Similar cases are now in progress in Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Utah, Delaware and other states as a growing number of attorneys are exploring the legal potential of MERS cases.

There have even been cases of homeowners who are having no problems paying their MERS mortgages but recognize the risk that they may well never be able to own the homes they have honestly paid for initiating action and earning quiet claims to their property free and clear.

Not only are homeowners at risk, but pension funds, insurance companies, municipal and state governments may have actually been duped into investing billions – perhaps trillions – into completely empty investment instruments.

To say the least, we are talking cold, calculated fraud and let’s once and for all bury that whole Rush Limbaugh Republican argument about poor people getting mortgages being the cause of the real estate collapse. The real estate market collapsed and families lost their wealth because of corporate deception and fraud.

Where to go & what to do

There is more to the Harper’s story and the long-range, inter-connecting lines of legal and economic risk of MERS are yet to be fully identified.

You can check out the National Homeowners Cooperative/Protect America’s Dream website for information and contacts. Note, you need to have a membership for a lot of their information: http://www.foreclosurehamlet.org/profiles/blogs/from-protect-americas-dream

Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Read the full Harper’s 1/2012 article.
  • Forward this Daily Call article to anyone you know facing foreclosure.
  • Check your own mortgage to see if MERS is mentioned.
  • Forward this article to any lawyers you know.
  • If you are buying property check the paperwork for MERS and ask lots of questions. It would be a good idea to consult with a real estate attorney about any potential risk.
  • Let the Daily Call know if you find out more about MERS and we’ll forward the information to our readers.


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Lessons in Failed Leadership From UC-Davis and Across the Nation

By Mark L. Taylor

Daily Call (11/27/11)


Every week brings yet another level of unwarranted official violence against nonviolent ‘Occupy’ protesters across the nation. The endless video stream of various police beatings, sucker punching, hair pulling, cursing, shootings, and hog tying underscores the corruption and emptiness of the current American state.

Certainly, not all police officers are thugs, though a disturbingly large number have gleefully taken the opportunity to play that role. No, not all police officers are thugs. But the government is.


They even have all our hard-earned tax money to purchase any God awful weapon they can dream up to punish us. But stop for a moment to ask why they need all that crap…


From UC-Davis Chancellor Kathy Katehi all the way up to the White House we need to get that those in charge have been unified in either their active ordering of state sanctioned violence against peaceful citizens exercising their First Amendment constitutional right to speak out or they have stood by silently. Make no mistake – silence in the face of evil is assent and the timid share fully in the moral responsibility.

Some of my friends will bristle at my lumping the White House in with this treasonous behavior – for that is what it is – but note it was the federal government under the leadership of Mr. Obama that coordinated the often violent crackdown on ‘Occupy’ encampments at 18 cities across the nation. The Obama led “Just-Us” Department advised the cities through the process (will they ever get around to indicting even one of the Wall Street pirates? The only ones they have gone after were when whistle-blowers made it impossible to ignore). All that military gear the police love to strut around in was paid for by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

No, folks, Barack is no ally on this issue.


Serve and protect who … or what?

With the perversion of the American law enforcement system, their pledge to “serve and protect” takes on a whole new meaning. Exactly who – or what – are they serving and protecting? It sure as hell isn’t the people or the Constitution and the reality of their fealty becomes glaringly evident with every night stick whack they deliver.

There are several blessings – I guess you would call them that – of all this official violence.

For one, it’s clear the government no longer makes even a pretense of being of, by or for the people. This government is working for someone other than the common citizen. This government has betrayed and is now actively oppressing the people.

Second, and this is really important to understand: boy are they scared. Weak and scared.

Sure, they have pepper spray and batons, they have a certain number of sociopathic police officials and a few goombah line officers willing to betray their oath to “serve and protect” citizens. They have plastic handcuffs, and armored cars and buzzing armed spy drones and informants and guns firing supposedly non-lethal ordinance. They have the media plump, pocketed and spewing out a tear gas of lies. They even have all our hard-earned tax money to purchase any God awful weapon they can dream up to punish us. But stop for a moment to ask why they need all that crap of empire: it’s because they are weak.

They have money and the power of a militarized police force and a narcissistic ego but they no longer have the people. Without that they are like Wily Coyote furiously churning his legs in mid-air, delaying for a delusional moment the inevitable long fall.


The one thing their money doesn’t buy them

While they obviously differ on the details, the tea party right and the middle and left Occupy movement, both see the emptiness of American leadership. For the first time ever, the approval rating for Congress has fallen to single digits – 9%. Obama is somewhere around 32%. About the same as our own Mr. Walker. Neither political party has put forward an inspiring candidate for the presidency. They are serving up a banquet of wet cardboard.

They have sold off our government: United States Inc. Despite their wealth they have no ideas that resonate with the human spirit. They can arrest people but they can’t arrest an idea. They can terrorize people but that doesn’t instill respect. They can lie but the truth has been set loose and all the pepper spray in the world can’t hide that. Look at what is happening in Cairo.

But, as the ongoing videos clearly show, the people in power will not quietly leave the scene of their many crimes. They will continue to fight and they will get more brutal as they get weaker and weaker.

The following video synopsis of the UC-Davis student response to the police riot and leadership treachery on their campus provides a powerful model for us all and a much-needed ray of hope we can really believe in.

7-Minute Video: http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/solutions/back-to-school.html

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Quick Hit – Police Tactics Are a Warning Images of Official State Violence on American Streets & Campuses a Dire Warning for All

There is a time … when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part.”


Mario Savio, Berkley Free Speech Movement





Quick Hit – Police Tactics Are a Warning

Images of Official State Violence on American Streets & Campuses a Dire Warning for All


By Mark L. Taylor

Daily Call (11/26/11)


Shortly after watching the now viral video of the brutal pepper spraying of peaceful young protesters at the University of California – Davis campus this odd thought popped into my head: “I bet they have even worse stuff that they will be using.”

Sure enough a day or two later there was a report from the Canadian CBC of an apparent tear gas nerve agent being used by the Egyptian military on the pro-democracy demonstrators in Cairo. Emergency medical stations were reporting victims going into convulsions and losing control of their limbs. All of them experienced great difficulty breathing and swallowing, a number – no one knows how many – have died from the gassings.

It would be nice to believe that would never happen here, but all you have to do is tune in the latest police riot on the television to see images of capricious officially sanctioned state sponsored police violence that looks like it is being broadcast from some third world hellhole.

Read Naomi Wolf’s piece below and you will understand why the violence will be upped if Washington cannot stop the ‘Occupy’ protests. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, take a look at the three ‘Occupy’ demands Wolf identifies. There is no way the powers that have high jacked this nation will put up with that stuff.

Wolf’s article is important for both liberals and conservatives to read, but especially so for Democrats so you can understand why the White House has been mum on all the recent violence; callously and cynically abandoning their supporters of ’08 to the batons, pepper spray and illegal detentions. While I still have some hope for our state Democratic Party, the national party is a lost cause; from Rep. Ron Kind to Obama himself, our national leaders will not lead reform of a system that benefits them and their class.

The reform movement must challenge both political parties if this nation is to have any hope and future for our children.

Given the inevitable crushing burden of paying for empire, the weapons of empire used against others are always eventually turned to subdue and control the beleaguered, impoverished citizens of empire. That is happening now and believe me, they have far more in their arsenal of tyranny.

Read Naomi Wolf’s piece and you can understand why the violence has been so over the top. You can understand why there have been no U.S. Justice Department investigations of the clearly illegal military action against citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. The federal government – ie. The Obama Administration – has been up to their eyeballs in the suppression and helped coordinate the crackdown in 18 cities.

The 1% are running scared, folks, and they will do whatever they need to do to hold onto power.

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They Have no Rights – “They just work there.”

(Editor’s note: One of our conservative readers (God bless ‘em, we have a few) challenged my statement a few days back saying Gov. Walker had taken away collective bargaining rights, noting while they can’t bargain on anything else, workers can still bargain on wages (up to but not over inflation – he didn’t mention that):

You have some untruths in your last blog. Walker did not take away the collective bargaining rights of state workers!!! He just limited it to bargaining for wages as it should be!! They can still bargain. One untruth pretty much takes away from the believability of the rest of it.”

In a second note the reader explained his position further: “…wage is all that they should be entitled to bargain for. They don’t run the place – they just work there.”

Given this in one of the corporate anti-recall talking points we are hearing out there from the GOP goombahs I thought I’d share my response. – Mark L. Taylor 11/23/11)


Sorry, I don’t own a micro laser to split hairs that fine.

Wages are not just the only thing labor has the right to bargain for. If they didn’t - if all they had to bargain on was wages - we’d be back to kids working in mines and workers losing limbs. That may be your idea of heaven, but it ain’t mine. That may be your concept of a profitable economy and brilliant way to run a company but facts argue otherwise.

Owners may have the capital, but they don’t make products, labor does. Without labor that money can’t really do much. Labor needs capital to have a place to work. It is - should be - a partnership. That’s how it works best.

For example, the German economy is doing very well and most experts agree they do so well because German federal law mandates that voting union members be on the board of directors.

The results have been improved efficiency through targeted savings that come from the shop floor, greater buy-in from workers knowing they had a say in things, improved communication between boardroom and loading dock, smarter product design and more efficient production, a willingness to make shared sacrifice (both labor and owner) when times are tough and an overall esprit de corps hard to find in the American workplace because they are aware that through their shared efforts all are in the same boat.

Ironically, with strong unions there is LESS of an “us versus them” dynamic going on there than here.

They also have far less disparity in income between entry level worker and top executive. I think it is around 100% as opposed to in the US where it has bloated out to about 450%. (Sorry, we have to cut your benefits, you know how it goes, tough times, blah, blah, blah…)

Here in the US the 1-percenters have this control thing going on and, boy, ain’t it working great? It’s done wonders for the US economy. Fact is, our economy was strongest in the mid 50′s to mid 60′s when we had top tax rates of 90%, strong unions and the pay differential between top execs and entry level workers ran about 50%. A strong, growing and hopeful middle class meant more wealth for everyone.

Here’s a quote that sums up the situation on this labor/owner thing.

Now, warning, it is from a radical labor organizer from years ago. But nonetheless, he really puts the whole relationship in proper perspective:


“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”


- Abraham Lincoln


Damn rabble rouser. I’m glad you brought this topic up. I used this quote in the earliest days of the DC and it is time to use it again.

What’s great about this time is that all these old constructs are in the process of falling apart. All the joints are rotten and rusty from greed and arrogance and short-sightedness and Libertarian theology over thought. That’s why the cops have been dispatched to break heads. Those in control are getting that people no longer buy their lie so they are trying to beat people back into line.

The greed has - as Marx actually predicted - swallowed itself and we’ve passed a tipping point.


Exciting times.




(Note a few minor changes were made from the original to correct spelling, clarity and provide for the reader’s privacy. – MLT)


November 23, 2011


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They Can’t Evict an Idea and Remember, There Are More of Us Than Them!

By Mark L. Taylor

The Daily Call (11/15/11)


Yes, it was disheartening to see the NYPD flying monkeys sweep in to destroy the encampment at Zuccotti Park Monday night. But it’s not surprising; oligarchs only know how to tear down – they don’t know how to build up.

It’s what they did in 1932 to the World War I Washington D.C. Bonus Marchers. That camp, too, was tolerated for about two months before Army troops under the command of Gen Douglas Macarthur and his aide, Dwight David Eisenhower, roared through the camp with tanks, horses, batons and bayonets, setting fire to the humble little shelters the unemployed vets and their families had tacked together on the Anacostia Plain. Two vets were murdered by federal troops for exercising the First Amendment rights vets had been told they were fighting for in WWI.

The Army won the battle that day. Brutally. Decisively. And they lost the war.

The same thing will happen now.

In his powerful little book, “From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation” author Gene Sharp notes some promising statistics. Here are a few to consider:

  • Dictatorships and anti-democratic oligarchic regimes, like the one that has overthrown America’s democracy, have 17 fundamental fatal flaws. Each of those flaws offers multiple points of vulnerability.
  • Sharp notes: “About two hundred specific methods of nonviolent action have been identified, and there are certainly scores more.”
  • There are 3 broad categories of non-violent action: protest and persuasion; noncooperation and intervention.
  • There are 54 methods of protest and persuasion
  • There are 103 methods of noncooperation.
  • There are 41 methods of nonviolent intervention.
  • Altogether Sharp identifies a total of 198 tried and tested successful forms of non-violent methods that have been used around the world to topple tyrannies of the sociopathic wealthy. Occupation of public space, like the beautiful camp at Zuccotti Park was but one.

We have only begun the protests. Think of all the amazing ways we have to act. I know, I know, it can feel overwhelming; hopeless, even. But there is a West African proverb to take to heart at such times:


If you think you are too small to make an impact, try

sleeping in a room with a few mosquitoes.”


Remember, for every one of them, there are 99 of us and each of us have at least 198 different ways to bite.



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AWOL: Obama Excuses Illegal Wall Street Behavior Saying No Laws Were Broken!!!

Quick Hit – Why Wall Street Gets a Pass

AWOL: Obama Excuses Illegal Wall Street Behavior Saying No Laws Were Broken!!!

By Mark L. Taylor

The Daily Call (10/24/11)

Honestly, is there a more frustrating political figure out there than Barack “Change You Can Believe In” Obama?

Herman Cain, for example, is just a straight up idiot and, bless him for it, he is consistent in his idiocy. Michele Bachmann never wavers from her fevered starry-eyed Biblical prophetic craziness and Mitt Romney can always be counted on to change his position on everything from healthcare to whether or not it is day or night if he thinks it will can gain him a tenth-of-point in the polls.

But Obama - now there’s a real political operator. The man who cultivated, and then betrayed, the most precious human emotion - hope - and smothers any possibility of real change beneath a chloroformed pillow of conformity.

For those of you wondering why, despite the theft of literally trillions of dollars of national wealth by a handful of criminals on Wall Street leading to more economic chaos and pain than at any time since the Great Depression we have seen absolutely no serious investigations and had no televised images of convicted banksters in orange jumpsuits the video below explains it all.

All in the family

In a recent press conference Obama responded to a question about the lack of Justice Department action on Wall Street fraud stating: “A lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal; it was immoral, or inappropriate or reckless.”

What the hell? This from a former law professor?

What about all the inducement for customers and retirement funds to invest in schemes that were clearly not what they were represented to be? What about the ratings agencies that manipulated, fudged and outright lied about all those convoluted, bundled and criminal investment “instruments” that were shams? What about the sub-prime derivatives mortgage fraud? There’s a word for that kind of bait-and-switch and it can be found in longstanding legal statutes; the word for it, Professor, is: fraud.

Obama owes Wall Street and despite the “Occupy Wall Street” pitchforks and torches crowds gathering in the streets he is doing his best to make good on the debt – and to scarf up as much “War Street” cash as possible for 2012.

No, Obama is as much a creature of Wall Street as the Goldman Sachs economic hit men – Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Robert Rubin and Rahmn Emanuel – he surrounded himself with. While Obama’s ’08 campaign bragged on about all the small donors fueling his campaign the reality was that Wall Street floated that campaign. (Full disclosure, I was one of the suckers writing checks; won’t make that mistake again)

Obama owes Wall Street and despite the “Occupy Wall Street” pitchforks and torches crowds gathering in the streets he is doing his best to make good on the debt – and to scarf up as much “War Street” cash as possible for 2012. Key to keeping the campaign donations rolling in is to keep the criminal banking class donors out of jail.

The evil of two lessers

Many of my liberal friends are beyond frustrated with me, saying that sure Obama isn’t perfect – who is, they remind - but, I need to consider the alternative. Do I really want a President Romney or a President Perry? Of course not, but my point is, don’t fool yourself; from war to government secrecy to erosion of civil rights to the corruption on Wall Street and the ongoing evisceration of the middle class resulting from the criminality of the 1%, Obama is consistent with much of the worst of the Cheney-Bush administration and much of the Republican Party.

All the Tea Party fulminations about Obama being a socialist is crazy talk from a bunch of flat Earthers. He’s no socialist. But he is also no (traditional) Democrat. He is, however, a good friend, consistent ally and reliable servant of the very powers that are taking us down and there is no clearer evidence of that than the absence of Wall Street con men in prison cells.

2+-Minute Video including Obama’s Comments About Wall Street: http://www.realecontv.com/videos/government-corruption/obama-banks-broke-no-laws-broken.html

Where Are the Feds? Cops Arresting the Wrong People on Wall Street

In case you wonder what Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder could and should do to prosecute the criminals on Wall Street listen to the recent Tom Ashbrook “On Point” radio interview with William Black, who led the government prosecution of a thousand S&L federal fraud cases back in the 80’s. Black lays out the laws that were broken, legal precedents to be observed, what the investigation and prosecution would need and the logic for doing it and doing it now.

Until this administration takes immediate concrete steps to prosecute Wall Street don’t delude yourself that Obama will give you anything other than what he and Cheney-Bush delivered or that any significant change from the present order will occur.

45-Minute Audio: http://www.wbur.org/media-player?url=http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/10/18/prosecuting-wall-street&title=Prosecuting+Financial+Titans&pubdate=2011-10-18&segment=1&source=onpoint

Is Bank of America Headed for the Glue Factory and the Taxpayer Being Yanked to the Cleaners, Again? http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/8033-is-bank-of-america-headed-for-the-glue-factory

(Editor’s Note: Most of the issues erupting around us have not just sprung out of the ground overnight. Instead, there is historical context and an often interconnecting cast of characters. Quick Hits is designed to provide more in-depth understanding about what is going on. While the videos and article links may be longer that most offerings, they still provide a valuable way to get up to speed on important issues in – usually – an hour or less. - Mark L. Taylor)

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Mind-Altered Freeloaders

Mind-Altered Freeloaders

By Mark L. Taylor

The Daily Call (10/12/11)

Ya gotta’ love what passes as American leadership these
days. According to a New York Times article (10/11) some three dozen states
have now made passing drug screens a qualifier to receiving public assistance
like food stamps, job training, unemployment assistance and public housing.

Self righteous calls for such accountability come despite
plenty of evidence the poor don’t use drugs any more than the rest of the
population; despite the more stressful living situations poverty entails. But
if heroic legislators are going to insist upon such abstinence demands of a
poor single mom living large on a $342-a-month welfare check how about holding Wall
Street mooches lapping up tax payer funded government subsidies, crooked tax
loopholes, sweetheart no-bid government contracts with profit guarantees to the
same standard?

they gotta be smokin’ something

Given corporate
America’s track record and how they have driven the economy right smack over a
cliff one has to wonder what the hell besides $100 bills these guys are smoking
in those cushy Wall Street offices.

But there’s one group of government freeloaders that
should be topping off test jars before anyone in the housing project across
town or even Wall Street and that would be the legislators coming up with these
plans. I mean, heck, these guys are living fat off the government teat. They
get health insurance most of us can only dream of and retirement benefits that make
the average Social Security check look like a tip at McDonalds.

And who pays for their junkets (I mean the ones they
don’t take aboard private corporate jets) and their free postage at campaign
time? It’s not like these congressional lampreys and their state house pals are
picking up the weekend night shift at Kwik Trip to make ends meet. Shouldn’t we
expect the same unadulterated streams of crystalline pure vanilla scented pee
from our sage legislators they demand of a single mom raising two kids on a few
hundred dollars of food stamps?

I mean, it’s our tax dollars, right? Why should we
subsidize depraved behavior in congress or the state house?

Of course we’d need new lab tests to sleuth out what’s twisting
the minds of so many non-producer legislators and pretty much the entire
Republican Party. After all we would need to test for toxic levels of hypocrisy
and disorienting blood levels of hubris and mind-bending greed.

We’d need to double-check the color of their blood since
all that corporate cash can give the blood a zombie greenish hue. Before that
next fat paycheck from the taxpayer demand to know if your lawmaker is
legislating under the influence of big pharma or smoking something from the
corporate farm lobby. Shouldn’t we know if they are passing bills in the middle
of the night under the dizzying influence of duplicity and soul numbing doses
of war contractor campaign contributions?

What if your representative is near overdose from
frightening levels of self-importance and utility company blow? You don’t wanna’
pay for that, do you?

I sure as hell don’t!

What if your rep is experiencing withdrawal from the
human race after snorting heart-stopping amounts of deficit reduction smack on
top of extremist religious speed? I mean these animals will snort up Ajax if
they think it will give them a tenth of a point in the polls.

stash, and a modest proposal

Pay-offs, junkets, bimbos, artery clogging meals,
discounted mortgages for weekend love shacks, yachting gifts and speaker fees
that would pay for your kid’s first year at college – in Bimini; and that’s
just in their first week on the job.  There is absolutely nothing these hungry freeloaders won’t scarf up to swell their
shriveled dank cardboard souls with self-importance.

Well not on my dime, Bucko!

If these legislative puritans want to stick it to the
poor and disabled, okay, but not before they get a good dose of their own
testing. Until we come up with the right lab tests maybe there’s some appropriate
truth test from Guantanamo that can be used on these sanctimonious charlatans.

Now where’s my CIA water boarding manual?

States Adding Drug Test as Hurdle for Welfare: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/us/states-adding-drug-test-as-hurdle-for-welfare.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=us

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Home of the Once Free, Land of the Scairdy Cats


Ten Years After

“One does what one is;

one becomes what one does.”

- Robert Musil

Home of the Once Free, Land of the Scairdy Cats


By Mark L. Taylor, Editor

The Daily Call (9/11/11)


Not since the bitter anemic brutality of the 1930’s has America suffered quite so despicable and tawdry a decade. The terrorist attacks ten years ago today launched this nation on a downward spiral that has lifted up the most base national instincts and political characters while leaving our ideals soiled tatters.

Now, ten years on in an endless “War on Terror” the “Homeland” has become a land foreign to the ideals of American democracy. We have turned our back on traditions going back to George Washington, instituting illegal rendition (kidnapping), torture and a global gulag of secret “black sites”. That sewage of illegality has backed up into the domestic scene as beefed up police, security and intelligence forces increasingly turn their attention – and power – on American citizens, some of whom are now held illegally.

The Bill of Rights is scorched and degraded in the name of making us safer. Benjamin Franklin once observed, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

We have given up one for the other and are, as Franklin warned, well on our way to having neither.


Blood on the ground

Estimates are that over 100,000 Iraqis died in a needless war fueled by official lies promoted by an unquestioning, acquiescent press and paid for with debt. Now the killing has moved on to Afghanistan and remote provinces of Pakistan. Silent drones have kept the blood on the ground but somehow it continues to stain our hands.

Our wars have enriched the contractors and bankrupted the treasury. As a tiny proportion of the population is run through tour after brutal tour in the meat grinder of empire no one in the “homeland” has been asked to contribute anything to the effort.

As the entire economy has been transferred to war and corporate profit our education, health care systems and public infrastructure collapse. The official unemployment rate is a tad over 9% but the unofficial rate is closer to 20% while the two major political parties pretty much walk away from the crisis. As the banquet is reserved for fewer and fewer, Americans turn on each other in sectarian spite and jealous animosity.


The Darkling Prince returns

Now we have Dick Cheney, the Darkling Prince himself, emerging from the dank sub-basement of the national subconscious back into the light as he shamelessly hawks his book of lies; what one reviewer calls “his love letter to himself”. In true sociopathic fashion the Darkling Prince finds fault with everyone but himself.

How appropriate for the golem of American fascism, who launched us headlong into war and “the dark side” of torture and Abu Ghraib, to be striding center stage again on this day for he – and all he represents – has never been far away. He and his Charlie McCarthy of a boss were there at the beginning of the journey into this endless descending labyrinth of shame.

There is much to mourn on this day, not least of which is the fact that Ground Zero has now spread from coast to coast.


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8/23/2011 - Obummer at the Bat

Look at How the Tea Party Right Has Obama’s Number

Mark L. Taylor

Daily Call (8/23/11)

So here’s an instructive little video animation that provides a glimpse into how well the right wing has Obummer’s number. All that wasted time and effort put into fruitless outreach, and gestures of friendship, conciliation, collaboration and appeals to the greater good while making nicey-nice with congressional hardcore corporate hit men has succeeded in Obama painting himself to the opposition as weak, indecisive and full of hot air.

He squandered his mandate waiting for a GOP Godot.

They realize – and this is frightening to Americans who value fairness, decency and the future of this nation – that there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, to fear from Obama. What he has viewed as reasonable appeals to higher civic values is all nice and moral and all – if he was but dealing with a nice, moral (and loyal) - opposition that could for one moment put aside their partisan grab for authoritarian control. But he is not.

He has never faced that kind of opposition.

Obama has foolishly thought he was in a college debate the whole time he has been in a bar fight. He has never once understood the field he has been thrust on to and the enemy he has been facing; an enemy that always carries a spare straight-edged razor tucked in its boot.

Years ago, when I was doing my student teaching at Edgerton High School, I felt pretty confident during orientation. I was even a tad cocky, figuring I could handle a classroom of high school sophomores.

But all that self-assurance evaporated in the dwindling minutes before walking into my first classroom. My supervising teacher saw my pale-faced panic and pulled me aside.

“Listen, go in there hard,” he advised. “Don’t take any crap; be tough. Once they know you mean business you can always let up later. But if you go in soft and then try to get tough later on they will never believe you.”

I did as told and went in as a combination of Mr. Grouch and Attila the Hun with a hangover. Sweet kids. Best advice I ever received.

It’s a lesson Obama needed way back in January ’09. From Day One he let loose the wandering genie of vacillating weakness and, even if he had the will (an open question) it’s doubtful he can ever get it back in the bottle.

The dead-on rightwing assessment of Obummer in the following video proves the point. No wonder the right smells blood. That’s bad news for Obama but it’s even more troubling for the rest of us who believed in him and will now have to live with the results of his dithering indecision and weakness.

5-Minute ‘Must-See’ Video for Liberals: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/obama_at_bat.html

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6/11/11 - This may be the way work will be for your kids

This may be the way work will be for your kids

What Work Looks Like When

China Owns Your Country


By Mark L. Taylor

The Daily Call (6/11/11)


So what happens when a nation falls so deeply into debt, delusion and political deception that its sovereignty is traded away like an old blown bass guitar at a pawn shop?

What does it mean, and how are the lives of ordinary folks impacted, when a nation has to grovel for money – any amount of money – to pay off the debt run up by the wealthy?

Well, in a word it means “hell”.

A model of the future we may well be facing as American corporate fascists conspire with Chinese communist capitalists (I’m not making this stuff up) to funnel more of the world’s wealth to an evil cadre by driving down the power and pay of labor is now playing out in a portion of the international Greek port of Piraeus.

Faced with staggering debt and austerity demands from the European Union the Greek government signed away a 35-year lease with China, effectively abandoning a critical chunk of their sovereign national real estate – and many of their countrymen - to a not-so-benign foreign power.

Many Greek port workers now effectively work in China; the work world our children may well be dumped into as the Chinese Politburo and corporate fascists like Koch Industries and quisling co-conspirators like both national political parties have their way selling off America.

This NPR story lays it out for you.

One other thing to ponder as you listen to this story. Remember that the Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision granting personhood to corporations to make unlimited - largely secret - cash contributions to American political campaigns applies to foreign corporations as well.

That’s foreign, as in China.

Where the hell is the tea party on that? Probably riding through New England with Sarah Palin “ringn’” them bells and firing warning shots letting the British know that the Americans are coming to … oh, I don’t know … order Chinese carry out, except now it seems to be carry-in. It’s probably all Tweeted in a fortune cookie some place.

Who the hell knows anymore? Just check out the radio story … and teach your kids the truth about labor unions: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/08/137035251/in-greek-port-storm-brews-over-chinese-run-labor

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7/18/11 - So is it mere incompetence or collusion?

So is it mere incompetence or collusion?

Political Malpractice


By Mark L. Taylor

The Daily Call (7/18/11)


While progressives are beginning to see some promising shifts in the political landscape, ranging from Gov. Walker’s root cellar low poll numbers to declining viewership ratings for hate mongers Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and a crackling progressive energy among the tinder dry grassroots, one stubbornly bleak part of the landscape remains moribund: our leadership.

After two weeks of state government shutdown, Minnesota Gov. Dayton meekly waved his white doily of surrender to the Republicans willing to drive the state straight into the ground to preserve tax breaks for the tiniest sliver of the undeserving wealthy. Instead of putting the GOP on notice for it’s greed and taking his case to the people, he signed on to a proposal the GOP offered, and he rejected as unacceptable, on the eve of the shutdown.

In exchange the GOP dropped some of their budget add-on craziness, like abortion restrictions and Voter ID disenfranchisement but that was just so much bunting on a manure spreader.

On the national level we have Obama, as he himself notes, “bending over backward” to please the likes of tea party apparatchik Eric Cantor only to receive the one-fingered salute as thanks. It has been calculated that if it had been accepted, Obama’s proposal would have given 75% to the Republicans and only 25% to the Democrats.


The betrayal of Elizabeth Warren

Now we hear that after a major push for her nomination by progressive groups that Obama has thrown consumer champion Elizabeth Warren overboard as the head of the new consumer protection bureau that is part of the financial “reform” package. This came on the same weekend the New York Times reported a gush of Wall Street money to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

(Here’s a free bit of “Daily Call” advice: save your small donations to Obama – he doesn’t need ‘em but you’ll need every penny you can hold onto by the time Barack and the banksters get done with your family.)

Change you can believe in? Not unless the change you sought was to see the Democratic Party become a wholly owned subsidiary of the radical right wing of the Republican Party.

We often hear from our supposed national leaders that it’s just too tough; the Republicans won’t negotiate or play nice; that it’s hopeless and, well, gosh darn it all, maybe if we show we are really, really nice maybe next time the Repugs will play fair.

Well, they don’t and they won’t, but the White House jellyfish masquerading as leaders just don’t get it.


Hocking the New Deal Holy Grail

When Obama happily extended the Bush tax cuts for the super wealthy without a flicker of fight (a fundamental source of our current deficit, BTW) he told shocked Democrats that we needed to understand that tax cuts are the “Holy Grail” for the Republicans.


And what do we get six months later? Obama is willing to haul the Democratic Party “Holy Grail” of fairness through Medicare and Social Security to the chopping block for some compromising Paul Ryan trimming.

It would be one thing if supposed leaders like Obama and Dayton put up a good fight and lost. Nobody expects to win every fight (unless you are a Republican, of course), but to not even fight?

That is as inexcusable as it is crazy.

Given the wide and ever growing disparity of wealth in this nation and upward of 70% of Americans supporting increased taxes on the wealthy and a mix of program cuts and tax increases to address the budget problems, it really shouldn’t be hard for smart guys like Obama and Dayton to take the debate to the people and expose the GOP for the theocratic greedheads that they are.


But does he really want to?

If (and that is a huge question) he wanted to, Obama could shift the whole debate overnight by going on national television with some simple Ross Perot style charts, paired with some social media illustrating the deadly income and tax divide in this nation. If he would get the kittenish congressional Dems singing from the same hymnal the debate in this country could be turned in a news cycle and the GOP would be on the defensive, scrambling to explain their defense of hedge fund rustlers and bankster highwaymen.

Recently, Obama made a mild jab in that direction when he spoke against corporate jet tax breaks but then flinched back when some Republican congressmen whined that he was being mean.

Dayton missed a golden opportunity to do the same in Minnesota.

Obama proved over and over under daunting conditions during the ’08 election that he has both the smarts and the magical rhetorical skills to address tough issues in language that both explains and moves people to action. But that Obama is a distant, evaporating mirage in the steamy heat of this summer of betrayal.

Think of it as a kind of political malpractice.

Obama and Dayton are – supposedly – political professionals. Their job is to frame issues, make arguments, bring together stakeholders and take the muddy boots right into the parlor of the opposition. You know, like the Repugs do.

Framing, addressing and challenging the rapidly unfolding right wing putsch that is ruining this nation and runs counter to American tradition and egalitarianism is their damn job; and to be frank, given the bald-faced, clumsy

audacity of the Republicans (I refer you to Sen. Randy “Bed” Hopper) it really shouldn’t be that hard to do.

What we have now is like having your high-priced plumber tell you she doesn’t know how to change your bathroom faucet.


Our responsibility is here and now

Pretty much every progressive I talk to have the same question: “What the hell is going on with these guys? Why won’t they fight?”

What we have here at best is incompetence and at worst collusion. I don’t have the answer. I do know we are not being served by our leadership. In fact, when it comes to Obama - most recently with the Warren appointment - we are usually betrayed. We deserve - and the country desperately needs - better.

I do know that our Wisconsin “Fab 14” and great progressive candidates like Jennifer Shilling appear to have what it takes and Obama should take a cue from what is happening here. But then, of course, this is the man who never once made it to the snowy streets of Madison when we were there in the frigid winter marching to preserve our democracy.

I also know we progressives need to demand more of our candidates and leaders and make it clear in unmistakable, forceful terms we are no longer to be taken for granted.

The national scene is beyond our control but our precious Wisconsin is our responsibility here and now. The outcome of the recall elections will be carefully watched. It would be nice to think they could nudge the quiet professor with the polished manicure in the White House to action, but I’m not that delusional.

No, the real gift of successful recalls would be to encourage and activate grassroots progressives across the country. Like a weed choked field in the spring, the cleansing fires of reform need to rejuvenate the Democratic Party - or lead to a third party.

Once the people lead, a few leaders will be forced to follow.

But don’t look over your shoulder for Barack, he already has his leaders, and it ain’t us.


Oh, No You Can’t


The following video was done during the 2008 election to support Obama and mock the Republican knee-jerk dismissal of Obama’s inspiring “Yes We Can” message.

Now, Obama is singing different lyrics and is in harmony with the characters in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI7WwY4a9ro

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5/2/11 - So, Barack, do anything special this weekend?

So, Barack, do anything special this weekend?

Boy, What a Difference a

Couple Days Can Make, eh?


By Mark L. Taylor

“Daily Call”


There was irony to the timing of the conversation.

I had gone to a meeting of the Vernon County Democrats Sunday evening and been challenged a bit on the amount of negative Obama stories running in the “Daily Call”. As I have in the past, I said Obama needs to be pushed from the progressive side to force him to follow through on his campaign promises.

Yeah, maybe, but geez, seems like we should back our guy…

I reminded everyone that while the “Daily Call” is generally supportive of Democratic Party candidates and issues it is not a publication of the party and that one of its purposes is to push the Dems to be more courageous in standing for progressive party principles. I did note a large story was slated for today’s edition on Obama’s courage (see below).


Meanwhile, off in Pakistan

Little did we know that at that very moment a U.S, Navy SEAL team was wrapping up a bold, lightning strike into Pakistan that had taken out international number one bad boy Osama bin Laden with a single shot to the face.

Hell, and I had been pretty much blown away earlier in the weekend by Obama’s pitch-perfect takedown of Republican blowhard (isn’t that redundant?) Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

In retrospect, what makes that event even more amazing is that as Obama flawlessly wound out the jokes – beginning with himself – and then turned the wheel of humor right down the spine of “The Donald” reducing the smarmy hustler into so much political road-kill, Obama displayed the cool charm and dazzling smile that turned the ’08 election into a major chapter in the nation’s history.

We now know that at the moment he was so brilliantly filleting the pompous Rump Roast, he had, or was about to launch one of the riskiest and most audacious military strikes since D-Day. Certainly D-Day was bigger, but the political stakes for Obama and the international standing of the United States at this nexus point in time couldn’t be more critical.

Those of us who remember Pres. Carter’s tragically flawed and fatal special forces attempt to rescue the hostages in Tehran can appreciate that

Obama knew that politically he had everything – absolutely everything - on the line that night as he performed with such easy grace.

Man, talk about cool!

He went on the next day to visit tornado victims in Alabama and that evening delivered a commencement address. Just another ho-hum day on the White House schedule.

The whole time helicopters were being fueled up, weaponry geared up and young men suiting up for what could easily turn into a suicide mission. A mission that, if it were to fail like Carter’s, would hang on the president’s neck and bring him down.


Obama took on the burden

Despite the loss of one helicopter, the mission sounds like it went down with the precision of a computer chip. Not only was Osama taken out, the SEAL team scooped up a treasure trove of al Qaeda computers, disks and thumb-drives. Thankfully, every man who slid down the assault ropes into that hostile compound returned to base.

A few Republicans congratulated Obama. Most in the dominant GOP sour-puss caucus – chief among them Rep. Little Paulie Ryan – did not.

From accounts I have seen, this mission was Obama’s baby. Senior military advisors wanted to bounce the rubble of Osama’s compound with cruise missiles. Knowing the need of verification to eliminate any chance of doubt, Obama wanted Osama – dead or alive – in hand. He also wanted to minimize chance of civilian casualties. Unlike George “Mission Accomplished” Bush, who lost interest in nabbing Osama the moment he realized it would involve actual  work, Obama has been involved for months in monitoring the plans.

In those four months, by his intense involvement, Obama showed more respect for our military personnel than Bush could muster in eight years.


A presidential pivot point?

So, while I have many disagreements with Obama, give the man his due. He demonstrated in his role as Commander in Chief, the kind of boldness, clarity and spirit that marked the ’08 campaign. He took – and the SEAL team took – a huge gamble and it paid off.

Barack Obama behaved like a real honest-to-god president this past weekend.

Today, all the potential republican candidates look like, well, like Donald Trump and that road-kill rug he wears on his head.

Could this be the pivot point Obama needs to accelerate his administration and get the ball rolling to 2012?

Can this be the momentum to move him in the direction of the promise of ’08. Let’s hope so because, dammit, given the problems this nation faces, we have no time to fail. We need the kind of president we saw this past weekend: thoughtful; whip smart; cool and – most of all – courageous.

Who knows where things will go in the tomorrows to come. But today, President Obama deserves praise.

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