White Racism: A Psychohistory (Joel Kovel, 1970)

Nearly 50 years out, White Racism: A Psychohistory is probably still the best book ever published on the psychological underpinnings of aversive racism. Out of print, but a must-purchase if you see it in a thrift store or used bookstore. The debate between reviewer Robert Coles and Joel Kovel in the NY Review of Books…

Analogies for Our Time – The Spanish Civil War

Many analogies exist, in history and in literature, for our straining efforts to account for our inverted times. Our instincts are to obey our laws, trust our institutions, have faith in our leaders. But in these times, fealty to our laws, institutions, and leaders risks our destruction as a nation, if not as a species.…

Trump Approval Ratings (August 14, 2017)

Donald Trump’s presidential approval ratings broke badly today, tumbling in the most recent Gallup tracking poll to an all-time low approval rating of 34% and an all-time disapproval rating of 61%. In the first 200 days of his presidency, Trump has never before received less than a 36% approval rating and more than a 60%…

The True American (NY Review of Books)

The True American http://bit.ly/2uiVG2O These days the question of what it means to be a “true” American resists rational analysis. Whatever one can say about Americans that is true, the opposite is equally true. We are the most godless and most religious, the most puritanical and most libertine, the most charitable and most heartless of…

The City Strikes a Pose (NY Review of Books)

The City Strikes a Pose http://bit.ly/2uCS9kk Jamel Shabazz is a kind of anti-Walker Evans. Born in Brooklyn in 1960, he has documented New York street life, largely in the city’s black neighborhoods, with a cheerful guilelessness. A new collection of his work from his beginnings in 1980 to the present, displays Shabazz’s wish to honor…

A Far-Right Gathering Bursts Into Brawls (NYT)

A Far-Right Gathering Bursts Into Brawls http://nyti.ms/2uCvXGF A reporter working for The New York Times in Charlottesville, Va., recounts what he saw on Saturday. Charlottesville is the place where Thomas Jefferson and James Madison talked about freedom of speech. But this was a day of shouting, not listening. Assigned to cover the “Unite the Right”…

The Ugly, Violent Clichés of White-Supremacist Terrorism (New Yorker)

The Ugly, Violent Clichés of White-Supremacist Terrorism http://bit.ly/2fFo6l5 Smoke dissolving into a night sky. Bright light from torches reflected on faces. Those faces stretched into snarls. The images out of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday are unsettling—but also pathetic, also exasperating—for their boring timelessness. There’s little less original than white racists shouting in the…

Trump Misdiagnoses the Opioid Crisis (New Yorker)

Trump Misdiagnoses the Opioid Crisis http://bit.ly/2hXI4bw During the 2016 Presidential campaign, when Donald Trump was asked about the opioid crisis he often mentioned that he first learned about the severity of the situation in New Hampshire, which he visited several times ahead of that state’s primary. In 2014, after West Virginia, New Hampshire had the…

Should We Subsidize Manufacturing? (New Yorker)

Should We Subsidize Manufacturing? http://bit.ly/2vxvHYz In the auto-industry bailout of 2009, the United States loaned around eighty billion dollars to G.M. and Chrysler, saving an estimated one and a half million jobs. Since then, $70.5 billion has been repaid—meaning that, in a back-of-the-envelope sense, the federal government managed to save the auto industry at a…

Trump’s Business of Corruption (New Yorker)

Trump’s Business of Corruption http://bit.ly/2vVaU29 President Donald Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow recently told me that the investigation being led by Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, should focus on one question: whether there was “coördination between the Russian government and people on the Trump campaign.” Sekulow went on, “I want to…

Trump’s Opioid Commission Had Some Stunningly Good Recommendations. He Ignored Them for 80s Drug War Nostalgia. (The Intercept)

Trump’s Opioid Commission Had Some Stunningly Good Recommendations. He Ignored Them for 80s Drug War Nostalgia. http://bit.ly/2vV8HUx The Trump administration will not declare a public health emergency on the opioid epidemic, dismissing the top recommendation his own blue-ribbon commission called for a week ago. The commission argued such a declaration was critical to unlock emergency funding…

These Are Donald Trump’s Racist Troops (New Republic)

These Are Donald Trump’s Racist Troops http://bit.ly/2vU8EZ6 It is tempting to view President Donald Trump’s response to the weekend mob of murderous neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a logical, if morally heinous, extension of Southern Strategy politics. Liberal journalists, including Judd Legum and Chris Hayes, have adopted an analysis of cynicism, in which Trump has…

How to Stop Gentrification (New Republic)

How to Stop Gentrification http://bit.ly/2vCaiMg In September 2005, the New Orleans real-estate developer Finis Shelnutt told a German newspaper of the opportunities Hurricane Katrina had created for his business. “The storm destroyed a great deal,” he said, just weeks after Katrina had killed more than one thousand people and expelled tens of thousands more from…

Donald Trump Is Killing Us (New Republic)

Donald Trump Is Killing Us http://bit.ly/2vUGQnm As the crisis this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, reached its depressing nadir, a grim joke (is there any other kind anymore?) circulated through social media that went something like this: We are going to miss those days when all we had to worry about was a nuclear war with…