Andrew McCabe’s FBI Perspective On Why None of This is Normal

Book review: The Threat, by Andrew McCabe (Amazon / Book Depository) Several times throughout The Threat, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe describes a scene in the Oval Office. People called in to meet with Donald Trump sit on small wooden chairs lined up in front of the Resolute desk, “like schoolboys who’d been called to the principal’s office.” Considering who’s positioned like this, from … Continue reading Andrew McCabe’s FBI Perspective On Why None of This is Normal

All the Latest Conspiracy Theories: A Journalist Explores

Book review: Republic of Lies, by Anna Merlan (Amazon / Book Depository) It’s a typically disorienting winter day in an unremarkable part of Los Angeles, the palm trees bristling above the Walgreens and the tire shops, the golden light washing insistently over the slowly rotating sign above a twenty-four-hour burger joint, its paint peeled away into nonexistence. The sun doesn’t penetrate into this vast, windowless … Continue reading All the Latest Conspiracy Theories: A Journalist Explores

Modern Rasputins: Identifying the Manipulators in Power

Book review: No One Man Should Have All That Power, by Amos Barshad (Amazon / Book Depository) Wherever there is a puppet master, an eminence grise, a Svengali, a manipulator, a secret controller – that is a Rasputin. Author Amos Barshad, fascinated by the shadowy and powerful, started noticing manipulative figures everywhere, from pop culture to politics. He developed a seven-point system to identify the … Continue reading Modern Rasputins: Identifying the Manipulators in Power

Be Very Afraid

Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward (Amazon Book Depository) (I keep promising myself I’m not going to read any more of these Trump/White House books but I’m unable to resist, apparently.) Real power is fear.  That’s the mantra seeded throughout veteran political reporter and one-half of Woodward and Bernstein Bob Woodward’s diligently reported behind-the-scenes look at the Trump White House. What does … Continue reading Be Very Afraid

Hope in Historical Precedence

Book review: Lessons from a Dark Time, by Adam Hochschild Book Depository When times are dark, we need moral ancestors, and I hope the pieces here will be reminders that others have fought and won battles against injustice in the past, including some against racism, anti-immigrant hysteria, and more. The Trumps and Putins of those eras have gotten the ignominy they deserve. Journalist, public historian … Continue reading Hope in Historical Precedence

Jon Ronson Double Feature: “Them” and its Could-Be Addendum, “The Elephant in the Room”

Book review: Them and The Elephant in the Room, by Jon Ronson (Amazon / Book Depository) This book began its life in 1995 as a series of profiles of extremist leaders, but it quickly became something stranger. My plan had been to spend time with those people who had been described as the extremist monsters of the Western world – Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, etc. I wanted to join them … Continue reading Jon Ronson Double Feature: “Them” and its Could-Be Addendum, “The Elephant in the Room”

Hacking, Trolling, Espionage, and Moscow Ambitions: A Peek Inside the Russia Probe

Book review: Russian Roulette, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn Amazon Political investigative journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn (the former the chief investigative correspondent at Yahoo News and the latter the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones) write a thoroughly researched, detail-driven, and rage-inducing account of relations between Trump family, campaign, and administration with Russia, as well as the impact of Russian cybercrime on … Continue reading Hacking, Trolling, Espionage, and Moscow Ambitions: A Peek Inside the Russia Probe

Hilarious, Acidic Commentary From the 2016 Campaign Circus

Book review: Insane Clown President, by Matt Taibbi (Amazon/ Book Depository) Who knows what will come next, but that’s not really what this story is about. “Insane Clown President” instead describes how we got here. Matt Taibbi is one of several journalists who covered the madness of the Trump campaign on the ground and has since published in longer form about the experience. Taibbi’s dispatches … Continue reading Hilarious, Acidic Commentary From the 2016 Campaign Circus

The Book Making America Read Again

Book review: Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff Amazon First, I have to apologize for what I wrote in one of my books to anticipate in 2018 posts. I can’t believe I even considered NOT reading this book, in light of everything that’s happened around it since. To be fair, I think the day I published that post was the same day this started making headlines and … Continue reading The Book Making America Read Again

Follow the Money: Examining What’s Known About Trump & Co. in Russia

Book review: Collusion, by Luke Harding (Amazon / Book Depository) How to explain Trump’s consistent praise of Putin? In the febrile months leading up to the November 8, 2016 vote, Trump had lambasted not only Clinton and Obama but also his Republican Party rivals, Saturday Night Live, the “failing” New York Times, the U.S. media in general—his favorite enemy—and Meryl Streep. And others. It was … Continue reading Follow the Money: Examining What’s Known About Trump & Co. in Russia

Biting Commentary On What’s Not Normal, and What’s Possible

Book review: Trump is F*cking Crazy, by Keith Olbermann (Amazon / Book Depository) (It’s another week of political releases, so apologies for the back-to-back similarly-themed content, but you know it’s important!) MSNBC political commentator Keith Olbermann chronicled the Trump campaign, election, and aftermath in a video series for GQ called The Resistance. This book is a collection of those commentaries, opinions, rants, analyses, researched revelations, and carefully-crafted insults in chronological … Continue reading Biting Commentary On What’s Not Normal, and What’s Possible

Revisiting the Roots of the Alt-Right

Book review: Alt-America, by David Neiwert Alt-America is an alternative universe that has a powerful resemblance to our own, except that it’s Alt-America, the nation its residents have concocted and refigured in their imaginations. It is not the America where the rest of us live. In this other America suppositions take the place of facts, and conspiracy theories become concrete realities. Its citizens live alongside … Continue reading Revisiting the Roots of the Alt-Right