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.
Perfect for a rainy day: The premiere of a new episode of the outstanding podcast, Songfacts. The gracious guest host, Carl Wiser, interviewed me about John Mellencamp’s music, and all things related to the forthcoming publication of my book, Mellencamp: American Troubadour, in an updated paperback edition!
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.
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.
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”
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.