Dreams and Songs: A Conversation with Warren Haynes about Music, Art, and Politics

I recently had the profound thrill of sitting down in conversation with Warren Haynes, the frontman of Gov’t Mule – a musical unit I recently called the “world’s best band.”

Haynes, a brilliant conversationalist, and I discussed the power and mystery of creativity, the need for personal innovation from artists, and the value of art in times of trouble.

Read my essay on the discussion, Gov’t Mule’s new record, Revolution Come…Revolution Go, and their recent concert performance in Milwaukee, WI, at Salon.

David Masciotra Warren Haynes

Republicans are Divorced from Reality

In my latest column for Salon, I examine how Republicans in government are incapable of governance. After having spent years mocking liberals as overly ideological, naive, and unable to make difficult decisions, conservatives have now drifted so far to the fringes of the right that they cannot implement or administer public policy.

The fiasco of health care reform is an illustrative example of Republican ineptitude.

Does the Right Wing Hate America?

Hostile opposition to immigration, mockery of diversity, advocacy of theocracy, and now the nomination of a man who routinely calls America an “embarrassment” and “hellhole,” has led me to wonder if the right wing hates the America that actually exists – a secular republic and nation of immigrants.

I offer my conclusions in my newest essay for Salon.

New Essay at Salon: Norman Mailer and Understanding the Cultural Influence of Presidents

In my new essay for Salon, I revisit the late Norman Mailer’s brilliant essay on John F. Kennedy and the cultural impact of Presidents¬† – “Superman Goes to the Supermarket.”

The essay applies to the current race, given that one of the dangers of a Trump Presidency, or even a Cruz Presidency, is the ugly and crass cultural influence they present.

Read the essay at Salon.

(FILES) Undated file picture of late pro

New Essay at Salon: Public Education is The Most Important Issue in the USA, But No One Discusses It

Rather than discussing several manufactured crises and phony catastrophes – like terrorism and illegal immigration – American politics would contribute much more to the improvement of the country with focus and emphasis on public education.

The widespread ignorance and illiteracy among the American populace is a true disaster, and it demands aggression and vigilance.

In my recent essay for Salon, I tackle the issue of education in the United States, and analyze the economic, social, and political consequences of neglecting educational infrastructure.

Condolezza Rice recently co-chaired a task force on educational reform, and concluded that the problem of school dysfunction is so severe it amounts to a national security crisis.

Read my essay at Salon.

Interview with Dawn Porter, Documentarian, at AlterNet

In a new feature at AlterNet, I interview documentary filmmaker, Dawn Porter, about her important and moving new film, Trapped.

Trapped tells the story of abortion practitioners, and the women they serve, in Southern states where prohibitive regulations have all but stripped away the constitutional rights of women seeking reproductive health services.

Read the feature at AlterNet, and keep an eye out for the film, which is set to air on PBS soon.

New Writing for Salon: Overblown Fears of Terrorism, Right Wing Political Correctness, and Dismantling the Businessman as President Myth

In my most recent essays for Salon, I approach a series of political and cultural with a careful eye, and pugnacious spirit.

In the first, I interview John Mueller, one of the world’s leading researchers on terrorism and public safety. We have an insightful dialogue on the dangers of exaggerating the terror threat, and wasted trillions on “chasing ghosts.”

Next, I write about the hypocrisy and inconsistency of right wing opponents of “political correctness.” While I agree that politically correct liberalism is foolish, boring, and often tyrannical (see post below on the new Devil’s Dictionary), the right wing is not the true champion of free speech and open culture. In fact, they are often the worse purveyors of speech codes and taboos. Read my explanation.

Finally, in my most recent essay, I dismantle the inescapable cliche that what America really needs is a “businessman in the White House.” Subscribers to this naive idea betray their own historical ignorance and political illiteracy.