New Essay on Fascism in the United States

I’ve written an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books about two insightful and important new books about Donald Trump, and the dangers of the fascist American right: historian Paul Street’s, It Happened Here, and political scientist Anthony DiMaggio’s, Rising Fascism.

These books provide masterful analyses and urgent warnings regarding the extreme threat facing the American people, and our beleaguered democracy. Read at LARB.

Profile of National Book Award-Winning Poet, Martín Espada

I recently had the immense pleasure of interviewing recent National Book Award winner, Martín Espada. We discussed his life and work, including poetry and radical politics, and right wing book bans, which have twice eliminated his work.

My lengthy profile of Espada is available to CounterPunch subscribers: “‘Put the Blood Back In’: Martín Espada on Poetry, Book Banning, and Radical Politics”



A New Essay on Joan Didion’s Political Writing

I have a new essay at Salon about the political writing of the recently deceased Joan Didion. It is obvious that Didion was one of the greatest literary artists in the US, but most people do not realize that she was also one the country’s most astute political analysts. Like few others, she sliced through the layers of lies in our public discourse, exposing how racism, middle class fear and complacency, and oligarchic oppression sabotage genuine democracy.

Read the essay at Salon.

The Most Revealing Moment in the New Joan Didion Documentary | The New  Yorker

New Profile of Former Neo-Nazi and Current Anti-Racist Leader, Christian Picciolini

For the past two months, I’ve been working on this profile of Christian Picciolini, conducting interviews and bolstering the story with supplemental research. Christian was a neo-Nazi skinhead leader in the early 1990s, and left the movement to denounce white supremacy 25 years ago. For the past two decades, he has devoted himself, full time, to fighting white hate, and disengaging members of hate organizations.

He is now shifting focus to long term prevention measures, and in doing so, sounding an urgent warning to the United States, calling everything happening right now, “The skinhead’s dream of the 1990s coming true.”

Take a moment to read Christian’s fascinating and important story. His arc demonstrates that transformation and redemption, with hard work, humility, and good intentions, are possible, and his message shows what America is currently at risk of losing and facing.

The story originally ran on Salon, and was later reprinted on the Raw Story and AlterNet.

Christian Picciolini - Photo by Britton Picciolini 3.jpg.jpg.jpg | KJZZ

Demolishing Dissent: Jesse Jackson and the Propaganda Model of Media – A Lecture

I recently gave a talk at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, IN on how multinational corporations, major media companies, and the two major political parties in the United States coalesced to create explicit bias against Jesse Jackson, and in doing so, played off the implicit bias of the audience. Citing Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman’s seminal, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, I explained how in the interest of manufacturing consent, media companies “demolish dissent,” using the work of Jesse Jackson as an emblematic example.

Listen to the lecture:

The “Lowly Origin” of the Religious Right

The Religious Right entered politics as a racist force to preserve school segregation. That is not a matter of opinion, but an assiduously documented fact of history. In my new essay for the Progressive magazine, I write about the Religious Right, and review Bad Faith: Race and the Rise of the Religious Right, the new book by historian of American religion, Randall Balmer.

Read the essay at the Progressive.

Wheaton Faculty Have Released a Statement Condemning 'Abuses of Christian  Symbols" at the Capitol - RELEVANT
Bad Faith - Randall Balmer : Eerdmans

Interview with Christian Picciolini

I interviewed Christian Picciolini, a fascinating and inspiring anti-hate leader. A former neo-Nazi, Picciolini now dedicates his life to battling white supremacy, helping young men in hate groups disengage and reform, and advocating for the full promise of multiracial democracy in the United States. His books, White American Youth and Breaking Hate, are essential for understanding the danger of white supremacy, and how it manifests as a formidable threat against the future of American democracy.

Go to Salon, to read our timely and insightful discussion about racism, the threat to democracy, and how leading right wing figures and Republican officials now sound frighteningly like the neo-Nazis of the 1990s.

Christian Picciolini reads from White American Youth: My Descent into  America's Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette Books,  2017) – Calandra Italian American Institute
Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism: Picciolini,  Christian: 9780316522939: Amazon.com: Books

The American Fool: How Provincialism, Arrogance, and Greed Make US Foreign Policy an Exercise in Idiocy

I have a new essay in CounterPunch. It covers the “American Fool” factor in US foreign policy. American ignorance, avarice, and hubris have cost millions of people their lives. The latest results are on display in Afghanistan, as a 20 year war of criminality and stupidity comes to an inevitable end.

Read at CounterPunch.

Bush Regrets 'Mission Accomplished' Banner
Who better to lecture Muslims than Islam expert Donald Trump? | David  Shariatmadari | The Guardian

New Essay at The Progressive: The Infrastructure Plan, Democracy, and Abraham Lincoln

I have a new essay in the Progressive about the Democratic infrastructure package. To make the case for its passage, I draw heavily on John F. Wasik’s excellent new book, Lincolnomics: How President Lincoln Constructed the Great American Economy. Robust investments in public goods and services created the economic engine of the United States, and made a large middle class possible – not the so called “miracle of the free market.”

Read it at the Progressive.

Pennsylvania Railroad Station aka The Pennsylvanian aka Union Station aka  Penn Station