Author Archives: John Feffer

Who needs zombies when we have Republicans?

How else would you describe Americans who deny a pandemic that’s killed 250,000 people and the election that repudiated Trump?

The 2017 film “Bushwick” begins like a lot of zombie flicks. Continue reading

This election is about Trump’s pandemic failures. But what happens next?

It’s going to take more than a change of personnel in Washington to address our decaying climate, public health, and democracy. But it’s not too late.

In 2008, Americans voted for hope and change. In 2016, they voted for fire and fury—and change. In 2020, the vote for change comes from an entirely different quarter. Continue reading

America’s new policy of demoting democracy

Trump has put a stop to democracy promotion. Will democracy put a stop to Trump?

In November 2000, the battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore for the U.S. presidency was deadlocked over the status of a few thousand votes in Florida. Gore had won the popular vote, but the margin of victory in the Electoral College depended on Florida. In that state, Bush held a very slim lead of only 537 ballots. Continue reading

The problem of surplus white men

Dispossessed white men have haunted Western politics for generations. The answer isn’t to jettison 'identity politics'—it’s to create truly meaningful new opportunities.

The problem of America today is the problem of white men.
Continue reading

America’s global reputation isn’t bouncing back anytime soon

Even if Trump loses, his administration may have permanently damaged our standing abroad. But there’s a silver lining: it makes Trumpism an ideological dead-end.

Donald Trump used to care what the world outside America thought of him. Continue reading

Trump’s scorched-earth doctrine

Trump is doing whatever he can to make it impossible for his successor to resolve some of the world’s most intractable problems.

It is a recent tradition among occupants of the White House, as they head out of office, to play a few practical jokes on their successors. The Clinton administration jesters, for instance, removed all the Ws from White House keyboards before handing over the keys to George W. Bush’s transition team. The Obama administration left behind books authored by Barack Obama for Trump’s incoming press team. Continue reading

What will Trump do to the world to win reelection?

Trump shrugged at 150,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths. Who’s to say he’s above starting a fight with China or Iran?

In 2016, Alan Lichtman departed from conventional wisdom to predict a Donald Trump victory in that year’s presidential election. The political scientist was following something he called the “13 keys to the White House.” Using this relatively straightforward metric, Lichtman had correctly predicted the outcome of presidential elections stretching back to 1984. Continue reading

Too many Americans belong to the cult of selfish individualism. In the COVID era, this has become a death cult.

On a per capita basis, Belgium has been the European country hardest hit by the coronavirus. With a population of 11.5 million, it registered over 66,000 infections and nearly 10,000 deaths. In fact, Belgium’s level of mortality of 860 deaths per million inhabitants is the highest in the world. Continue reading

Feds attack!

Trump’s use of federal paramilitaries is a classic tactic of autocrats to test how far they can push their authority in opposition-controlled regions.

Federal agents poured into Portland, Oregon, this month to crack down on anti-racism protests. They beat up peaceful protesters and fired impact munitions at demonstrators, seriously injuring one of them. They drove around the city in unmarked vans pulling people off the street. Continue reading

The Black Death killed feudalism. What does COVID-19 mean for capitalism?

How will the coronavirus transform the relationship between state and market? A look at oil, food, and finance.

You pay little attention to the systems of your body—circulatory, digestive, pulmonary—unless something goes wrong. Continue reading

The politics of the coronavirus

For the far right, the pandemic is a chance to enact border controls and erode the rule of law. It could also expose their utter incompetence.

The far right thrives on fear. It’s no surprise, then, that it would use the latest pandemic, which has generated widespread panic, to bolster its own agenda. Continue reading

What the coronavirus says about us

Trump’s message to governors on lifesaving medical equipment—“get it yourselves”—is grimly appropriate in a country without national health care.

A crisis, according to self-help and leadership books, reveals much about a person’s character. The same can be said of a nation’s character. Continue reading

The president as political hit man

Donald Trump attempts to take out his electoral adversaries one by one, Mafia-style.

Donald Trump filed his paperwork to run for reelection only hours after his inauguration in January 2017, setting a presidential record, the first of his many dubious achievements. For a man who relished the adulation and bombast of campaigning, it should have surprised no one that he charged out of the starting gate so quickly for 2020 as well. After all, he’d already spent much of the December before his inauguration on a ”thank you” tour of the swing states that had unexpectedly supported him on Election Day—Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin—and visited Florida for a rally only a couple of weeks after he took the oath of office. In much the same way that Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky once embraced “permanent revolution,” Donald Trump embarked on a “permanent campaign.” Continue reading

Will the coronavirus kill globalization?

The Spanish flu helped herald the collapse of the first wave of modern globalization. A century later, could the coronavirus do the same?

At a dinner party in mid-February, an architect told me that he was having a problem finishing his building projects. It was the carpets. Continue reading

America’s coronavirus: Containing the outbreak of Trumpism

The banality of President Trump’s evil has infected huge swaths of the electorate as well as the federal government. Can it be treated?

The epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak is widely thought to be a wet market in Wuhan. At such markets, seafood, chicken, and other conventional foodstuffs are on sale alongside live animals. You can buy more than just dogs and cats there. Local epicures also shop for more exotic fare like foxes, badgers, civets, and snakes. Continue reading

Trump: Make space great again

The U.S. military is creating an imaginary 'space gap' to pour money into closing, wasting funds while increasing the risk of conflict.

With a stroke of a pen, Donald Trump created an entirely new branch of the armed forces last year. It’s the first new branch of the U.S. military since 1947. Continue reading

The endless war with Iran

The current crisis might be averted, but the longer U.S. war with Iran continues

The United States has been in a 40-year cold war with Iran. Continue reading

Inside the battle for another world

Understanding how the new right went global—and how to stop it—is key to keeping our planet habitable.

A succession of social upheavals over the last decade has radically realigned political power throughout the world. Continue reading

How to displace the great replacement

The far right’s war on culture is capturing the hearts and minds of mass shooters and populist politicians.

The far right is on a roll. Just a few years ago, liberals and conservatives would have considered its recent political victories a nightmare scenario. Right-wing extremists have won elections in the United States, Brazil, Hungary, India, and Poland. They pushed through the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. In the most recent European Parliament elections, far-right parties captured the most votes in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Hungary. Continue reading

Trump’s undeclared state of emergency

Trump is counting on his base to endorse his increasingly open law-breaking. It may not end well.

Trump’s public appeal to China last week to help with uncovering dirt on the Biden family was both a brazen flouting of the law and (it pains me to say) an astute political tactic. Continue reading

For Trump, regime change begins at home

Trump has been enlisting foreign leaders in his fight against the U.S. state. Is impeachment a moral necessity or political trap?

A month after he won the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump gave a speech in North Carolina where he declared that “we will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with.” Continue reading

The threat of Bolton has receded—but not the threat of war

Bolton’s bellicose worldview is the basic operating system of the Trump administration.

John Bolton tried his best. Continue reading

Burning down the house

Far-right governments in the U.S., UK, and Brazil are laying bare their nihilistic roots and full destructive potential.

Doesn’t idiocy ever take a vacation? Continue reading

Is America crazy?

Mass shootings, economic inequality, a racist president: have we grown dangerously accustomed to a country gone mad?

The United States witnessed three mass shootings in one week recently in California, Texas, and Ohio. There have been more than 250 mass shootings so far in 2019, more than one a day. This year in America, more than 33,000 shooting incidents have killed more than 8,700 people. Continue reading