Author: John Foster
John Foster is a librarian, writer, and musician based in Cleveland, Ohio. When not writing or attending shows, he can usually be found cursing at his television during Arsenal matches.

Mr Trump brought his own brand of Christmas magic to US troops serving in Afghanistan this week. As is so often the case, there were complications. Before we address the particulars, we might well take the opportunity of the end of Mr Trump’s second year in office to take stock of his position. (More…)

Sunday, August 25th, 1968, Lincoln Park, Chicago. The Yippies had set up an event called The Festival of Life as part of the protest activities directed at the Democratic National Convention. They’d sent out invitations to a lot of heavy hitters (Janis Joplin, etc.) but the only band that showed up was the MC5. (More…)

In The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, former New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani provides a passionate and compelling statement of the mainstream liberal critique of the misdeeds of the 45th president and the cultural and political effects that it has spawned. Digging deeper, Kakutani locates the source of the problem in the loss of standards of truth held in common. (More…)

The furore over Mr. Trump’s recent visit to Europe has mostly dissipated now. His return to the United States has been accompanied by yet another round of angry and unbalanced tweets excoriating his enemies and wondering aloud for the umpteenth time why it was that the FBI hadn’t seen fit to carry off the DNC’s servers. (More…)

Donald Trump does not exist. This is not to say that there isn’t a guy with the initials DT sitting around the White House in a Trump Tower bathrobe live tweeting Fox and Friends. But Donald Trump the individual human being is trivial, merely the avatar of the spectacular complex bearing the designation “Donald Trump, successful businessman.” (More…)

Fascism is a state that capitalism sometimes occupies, but it is also a system of ideas. It is important to remember this because this ideological dimension generates dynamics in a turbulent landscape that cannot be unproblematically reduced to (or mapped onto) the underlying economic formation. (More…)

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the highest court in the land is, in the current circumstances, roughly on par in terms of certainty with death and taxes. There is not that much to add at this point. It was a foregone conclusion as soon as Anthony Kennedy was convinced to retire. (More…)

America is once again deploying that odd pantomime which arises when it becomes necessary to simultaneously affirm and negate the humanity of women. Brett Kavanaugh’s path to a lifetime tenure on the highest court in the land seemed straight and free of obstacles only two weeks ago. (More…)

The late historian Detlev Peukert once wrote of the literature on Max Weber that the annual volume of new publications was such that not even specialists could keep fully current. This statement could equally apply to the literature on Marx and Marxism which, even without “actually existing socialism” to act as motivator or bête noire, continues to appear in its accustomed profusion. (More…)

The eminent jurist Learned Hand once wrote that “the spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure it is right”. This particular shade, always a rather anaemic presence in American public life is now well and truly dead. The question that one is tempted to ask in our current circumstances is how long will it be until the republic joins it in the grave. (More…)

On July 23-24, 1968, African American radicals engaged in a wild shootout with police in the Glenville section of Cleveland. When it was over, six people were dead and the raw racial tension that had simmered below the surface in the city since the Hough Riots two years earlier again flashed into the open. (More…)

Baudrillard says somewhere that the (or one) reason that schizophrenics are persistently agitated is that they lack a capacity for differentiation, such that all the dangers of the universe seem proximate and threatening. Perhaps this does not comport with modern psychology’s understanding of schizophrenia, but as a back-of-the-envelope diagnosis of our current circumstance, one could really do a lot worse. The entire American political spectrum is saturated with suspicions, some more valid and some less, that the centre cannot hold and the blood-dimmed tide is fast approaching. (More…)