New Essay at the Daily Beast: The Plot to Kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Escalating Threat of Right Wing Violence

I have a new essay at the Daily Beast on the terrorist plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and how it is emblematic of the escalating violence and danger from the American right.

“More than any story other than the attempted right-wing coup d’état of Jan. 6, the conspiracy to assassinate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer illustrates the escalating threat of political violence, the diminution of America’s civil society and the growing menace of a Republican Party willing to excuse, diminish, and at times, even encourage extralegal extremism as a means to achieve its political ends…”

Read the rest at the Beast.

Interview with Mike Lofgren about Ukraine, and why the Far Right Idolizes Putin

I’ve interviewed Mike Lofgren, a former high level Republican Senate aide who denounced his old party in 2010 and has since become an acerbic and insightful analyst, about Russia’s war crime in Ukraine, and the bizarre and troubling sympathy for Putin on the American right.

The interview is short, but offers tremendous clarity on many vital issues related to the war in Ukraine, and politics in the US. Read at The Progressive Magazine.

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”



New Essay at the Progressive: Neil Young’s Righteous Crusade

I have a new story at the Progressive on Neil Young’s “righteous crusade” against Spotify. In my analysis, it represents a much larger fight against the corporate capture of the arts, and the dominance of greed as a decision-making calculus, no matter how destructive to public health or the common good. As Neil himself sings, “Have to shut the whole system down!”

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At the Bottom of the Empire: Homelessness, Housing Injustice, and Jesse Jackson’s Call to “Eradicate Poverty”

Last week, I attended a press conference that Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition hosted in the Martin Luther King Legacy Apartments in Chicago. Jackson, and other speakers, condemned the “moral disgrace” of widespread poverty, housing injustice, and homelessness in the world’s wealthiest country.

I’ve written a story on the press conference, the history of King and Jackson’s anti-poverty and anti-racism work in Chicago, and the related issues of oppression and exploitation in the present. Read at CounterPunch.

Jesse Jackson recalls Martin Luther King Jr.'s last birthday - Chicago  Tribune

America’s “Culture of Death”: Covid-19, Gun Insanity, White Supremacy, Ecological Destruction, and Public Indifference

I wrote an essay for the December 17 Weekend Edition of CounterPunch – a broad exploration of the deep problems within the United States, turning on my appropriation of the late Pope John Paul II’s phrase, “culture of death.”

Read it at CounterPunch.

New Story for the Progressive: How the GOP Plans to (Legally) Steal the Next Election

I have written a new story for the Progressive, detailing the right wing, fascist assault on voting rights throughout the United States, with a soft focus on the Carolinas. For the story, I spoke with Patricia Sullivan, brilliant historian at the University of South Carolina, and author of the riveting and insightful new book, Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy’s America in Black and White. I also interviewed Joselle Torres, communications manager with Democracy North Carolina, and obtained a statement from Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., who was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and whose organization, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is valiantly fighting for voting rights.

This is an important story about the resurrection of Jim Crow. It also makes a good companion piece to my recent profile of former neo-Nazi and current anti-racist leader, Christian Picciolini, as it relates to the ongoing demolition of democracy that he warns is happening right in front of our eyes.

Read the story at the Progressive. It was also reprinted on Common Dreams.

Virginia Becomes a Voting Rights Bastion - The New York Times

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