Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy, Part XX

Here’s a round-up of my latest articles and interviews:

Gutting net neutrality is a death knell for the resistance (11/26/17) — Globe and Mail
It’s time to purge the pervs from politics, and let women step in (11/17/17) — Fast Company
Jeff Sessions’ testimony proves how little the truth matters under Trump (11/15/17) — NBC News

Rewire, The Breach, “Sarah Kendzior on the ‘Oligarch envy haunting Trump” (11/28/17)
Rick Smith Show, “Sarah Kendzior on the potential death of the resistance” (11/27/17)
MSNBC, interview on Mueller probe, 11/26/17
UNBUILT, “Use Your Collusion: Writer and resistance leader Sarah Kendzior”, a long interview with me by Alex Skolnick, the lead guitarist of Testament!

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Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy Part XIX

Here are some of my articles, speeches and interviews from the past three weeks, otherwise known as a millennium in Trump Time…

How Data Can Save Us From the Trumpocalypse (10/16/17) — Fast Company
Paul Manafort charges don’t ensure justice — but it’s a start (10/30/17) — Globe and Mail
Russia’s Social Media Propaganda Was Hiding in Plain Sight (11/2/17) — NBC News
Voter ID laws, hackers, gerrymandering — just how much can a democracy take?(11/10/17) — De Correspondent

MSNBC, “Hillary Clinton Emails: Did Russia tempt the Trump campaign?” (11/6/17)
Mark Sutcliffe Show, interview on indictments (11/2/17)
AM Joy, interview on Trump and Russia (10/28/17)
Indivisible Austin, “Understanding autocracy” speech and Q & A (10/19/17)
AM Joyinterview on election interference (10/22/17)

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“The View From Flyover Country” will be published in paperback this spring!

I’ve got some big news — my best-selling 2015 essay collection “The View From Flyover Country” will be released in an updated paperback version this spring! There has been intense reader demand for a print version of this book, and I’m happy to announce that this demand will be met thanks to Macmillan Publishers. My book is now available for preorder and will be released in April 2018.

The updated collection includes new essays on the Trump administration and how to navigate changes in our political system, so I encourage those who enjoyed the earlier version to check the new version out as well.

You can pre-order a copy at the following vendors:

Barnes and Noble

If you’re unfamiliar with “The View From Flyover Country”, it’s a collection of essays that I wrote between 2012 and 2014 which (unfortunately) documented the political social and economic conditions that led to Trump’s rise. Many people found it a useful read after the 2016 election, and it quickly became an international best-seller.

Here is a description of the book from my publisher:

A collection of penetrating essays about life in an America of dwindling opportunity—from the St. Louis–based journalist often credited with first predicting Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

St. Louis–based writer and expert in authoritarian states, Sarah Kendzior, has been called “a political heavyweight” and “a Cassandra in Trumpland.” In 2015, she collected the essays she reported for Al Jazeera and published them as The View from Flyover Country, which became an ebook bestseller and garnered praise from readers around the world. Now, The View from Flyover Country is being released in print with an updated introduction and epilogue that reflect on the ways that the Trump presidency was the certain result of the realities first captured in Kendzior’s essays.

A clear-eyed account of the realities of life in America’s overlooked heartland, The View from Flyover Country is a piercing critique of the labor exploitation, racism, gentrification, media bias, and other aspects of the post-employment economy that gave rise to a president who rules like an autocrat. The View from Flyover Country is necessary reading for anyone who believes that the only way for America to fix its problems is to first discuss them with honesty and compassion.

“Please put everything aside and try to get ahold of Sarah Kendzior’s collected essays, The View from Flyover Country. I have rarely come across writing that is as urgent and beautifully expressed. What makes Kendzior’s writing so truly important is [that] it . . . documents where the problem lies, by somebody who lives there.”Omair Ahmad, The Wire

“Sarah Kendzior is as harsh and tenacious a critic of the Trump administration as you’ll find. She isn’t some new kid on the political block or a controversy machine. . . .Rather she is a widely published journalist and anthropologist who has spent much of her life studying authoritarianism.” —Columbia Tribune

I’m very grateful to all my readers and hope you are as excited about this new version as I am! Thank you for all your support.


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Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy Part XVIII

Here are my articles and interviews from the past two weeks:

Fast Company, Why Puerto Rico Is Not Trump’s Katrina (9/27/17)

CPAC, “Perspective with Alison Smith: Mass Shooting and the Mood in America” (10/8/17) (Canadian TV interview; my segment is 20 min in)
AM Joy, inteview on the Russian interference investigation (10/6/17)
Springfield News-Leader, “For Sarah Kendzior, each day brings a new reason to resist Trump” (9/30/17)
Rob Burgess Show, interview on St Louis police brutality, Trump, foreign affairs, etc (9/27/17)

I’ve been publishing less this week in part because I’ve been busy working on a big project, which I will be able to announce soon. Stay tuned!

Also, Austin, I am headed your way and giving a talk on the Trump administration and American authoritarianism on October 19. Come by!

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Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy Part XVII

I’m back in the US and back on the road to give talks over the next few weeks. If you’re in Springfield MO, Austin TX or New Haven CT, come on by! Here are some of my latest articles and interviews:

Real patriotism, Mr. Trump, isn’t show you treat a flag. It’s how you treat Americans (9/24/17) — Globe and Mail
Get a grip, Democrats: Clinton’s book is not your biggest problem (9/12/17) — Globe and Mail
Trump’s sparring with North Korea is a reminder that foolishness really can kill (9/27/17) — Quartz

Rob Burgess Show, interview on St Louis police brutality, Trump, foreign affairs, etc (9/27/17)
Rick Smith Show, “Sarah Kendzior talks possibility and realities of indictments” (9/27/17)
Mike Farwell Show, 570 News, Ottawa, interview on NFL protests (9/26/17)
AM Joy, interview on Russian interference scandal (9/23/17)
AM Joy, interview on Russian interference scandal (9/9/17)

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Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy Part XVI

My latest articles and interviews:

The Trump ship may finally be sinking (8/21/17) — Globe and Mail
Steve Bannon may be a bigger asset to the White House outside of it than in it (8/19/17) — Fast Company
Why Trump blames “both sides” for Charlottesville (8/16/17) — Fast Company
Welcome to the Third Nuclear Era: Trump and the Point of No Return (8/14/17) — Fast Company
There aren’t ‘many sides’. There is only one right side, and Trump is not on it (8/13/17) — Globe and Mail

AM Joy, discussion of Bannon departure and white supremacists (8/19/17)
Crooks and Liars, “Sarah Kendzior: Even with Bannon gone, there are still nazis in the White House” (8/19/17)
BBC News, interview on Steve Bannon’s departure (8/19/17)
Ottawa Today, interview on Charlottesville (8/14/14)
FP Interrupted, “Sarah Kendzior” (interview on foreign and domestic policies) (8/4/17)

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Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy Part XV

My latest articles and interviews:

First they came for trans Americans. Who will be next? (7/27/17) — Globe and Mail
How Trump fullfilled a 30-year fantasy of becoming president, with a little help from the Kremlin (7/26/17)

AM Joy, “Trump is an orange puppet who is hooked up with oligarchs and possibly owes them a lot of money” (7/29/17)
Colin McEnroe Show, “The Trump Era: A Retrospective at Six Months” (7/28/17)
AM Joy, discussion of Jeff Sessions (7/22/17)
Rob Burgess Show, “Sarah Kendzior” (long interview on lots of stuff) (7/21/17)
Crooks and Liars, “Sarah Kendzior on the Impending Trump Autocracy”(7/15/17)

Off to Australia next week to give a keynote speech at the World Congress of the International Federation of Translators. No new articles for a bit; look for updates on Twitter.

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Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy, Part XIV

Hey do y’all believe me now about that whole “Russian inference” thing I’ve been writing about for over a year?

Anyway, here are some of my articles and interviews from the last few weeks:

Trump family troubles: Who will project Donald Jr? (7/11/17) — Globe and Mail
Don’t focus on Georgia. Voter suppression is the issue (6/21/17) — Globe and Mail
Trump is the best autocrat. The best. No one has a better autocrat (6/24/17) — De Correspondent
America’s highest-ranking legal professional is more interested in protecting his boss than protecting the law (6/15/17) — Quartz

Crooks and Liars, “Sarah Kendzior on the Impending Trump Autocracy” (includes clip of most recent appearance on AM Joy) (7/15/17)
Rick Smith Show, interview about Donald Trump Jr (7/11/17)
Raw Story, “REVEALED: Kremlin spokesman asked in 2016 about hacked DNC emails” (7/12/17)
New York Magazine, “Here are all the books Hillary Clinton has time to read now” (6/27/17) One of many articles on Hillary Clinton’s recommendation of my book, “The View from Flyover Country”. See this article at Library Journal for more. You can buy the book here. Thanks again, HRC!
Ottawa Today, interview on obstruction of justice (6/16/17)

I’m off to Australia soon as my “See the world before it ends tour” continues. (I’m the keynote speaker at the FIT 2017 World Congress in Brisbane.) As a result, I’ll have fewer articles out over the next couple weeks. Until then, catch me on Twitter!

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Welcome to the Authoritarian Kleptocracy, Part XIII

Taking it day by day, learning to live like an animal in the jungle where we play…

My latest articles and interviews:

Trump is reportedly under investigation. Does that signal the end? Not so fast (6/15/17, Globe and Mail)
Comey testimony reveals Trump is running America like a crime boss (6/8/17, Globe and Mail)
America’s highest-ranking legal professional is more interested in protecting his boss than protecting the law (6/15/17, Quartz)
March for Truth, my speech in St Louis (6/3/17)

Ottawa Today, interview on obstruction of justice (6/16/17)
St Louis Magazine, “A List”, named top journalist in St Louis for 2017 (6/16/17)
Hellbent, “Smarter by Osmosis”, interview starts at 31:00 (6/15/17)
Rick Smith Show, “Sarah Kendzior on Comey Fest” (6/9/17)
Press Herald, “Legal experts look ahead at keys to Comey’s testimony to Senate panel” (6/8/17)
AM Joy, interview on the March for Truth (6/3/17)

I’m off to Germany in two weeks to give a keynote talk at the University of Giessen, and before that I’m giving a keynote at the Rouge Forum in St. Louis. For updates on each talk, check Twitter.

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My speech at the March for Truth in St Louis

Today I spoke at the March for Truth at St Louis. Thank you to everyone who came out to the Arch and heard me speak and a special thank you to the organizers! Below is a loose transcript of my talk:

It’s great to be talking to you all in St. Louis. Since the election, I’ve been flying around the world giving talks in other countries, but this is my home, this is my favorite place to be, so thank you for turning out.

I’m a journalist who covers US politics, but I also got my PhD at Wash U studying former Soviet authoritarian states. I studied countries like Uzbekistan, a country ruled by an egomaniac dictator who abused executive privilege to enhance his personal wealth, who persecuted anyone who opposed him, who deemed the media his enemy, and who had this fashion designer daughter who kept getting involved in state affairs despite her total lack of qualifications and total lack of interest in the well-being of her countrymen…

Yeah, it sounds familiar to me too. And when my knowledge of an authoritarian state like Uzbekistan becomes relevant to understanding the USA, you know we’ve got serious problems.

But that’s why I’m so glad to be talking to you today in St Louis. I actually think, as residents of St Louis, or other parts of Missouri, or Metro East, or wherever you came in from, that we may be better equipped than most to handle the threat to our rights that is Donald Trump’s administration.

And that, my friends, is because out here we know corruption. We are surrounded by corruption, we see it every day. We know corruption, we know injustice, we know pain, we know betrayal, and we know what it’s like to have to fight back.  We know to never take our rights for granted.

For years, I have been watching St Louis stand up and fight back – for civil rights, for voting rights, for a living wage, for all that we as citizens deserve yet are frequently denied. I watched you fight for justice in Ferguson, despite brutality and threats. I watched you fight against bigotry at the Peabody Opera House last year, when Donald Trump came in and pretended to speak for us, pretended to care about a region of the US he and his elite group of backers have always held in contempt. I watched him cower at our protesters, because Trump talks tough, but he can’t handle dissent – and he sure as hell can’t handle dissent St. Louis-style.

I have watched you fight back because you know standing up for your countrymen, your fellow citizens, is always the right thing to do. And here, today in St Louis, we are standing up not only for ourselves, but for all Americans, and for America itself — for the America we deserve, which is not the America we have. We are demanding justice, and in order to get justice, we need to know the truth.

Despite what politicians and pundits tell you, truth always matters. They say that truth is irrelevant now, that we live in a “post-truth world” of so-called “alternative facts”.

But here’s my question: if truth doesn’t matter, why is this administration trying so hard to suppress it?

If there is nothing to investigate, why does Trump keep firing the investigators?

You know the answer to that. Trump is a con man. He is a shakedown artist, a grifter, a hustler who is too weak to hustle on his own so he relies on a team of wealthy backers to thread legal loopholes and shield himself from prosecution. That is how Donald Trump has operated his whole life. You know his type in St Louis, because we see guys like Trump all the time. He is the slumlord letting your building rot, he is the paid-off politician disregarding the people he’s supposed to represent, he is the Stan Kroenke of politics, the kind of swindler who takes the money and runs – no loyalty, no honesty, no interest in the people beyond making a profit.

And now we’ve got this anti-American con artist as our president. We have a kleptocrat who is stripping America down for parts and abusing executive power to enhance his personal wealth. If you knew anything about Trump from the last forty years, none of this should surprise you.

It’s true that we have had major scandals in the White House before. We had Watergate under Nixon, we had George W Bush’s false pretext for the Iraq War.

But what Trump is doing is very different, and it is much worse.

For until now, the fundamental question about our president has never been: “To which country do his greatest loyalties lie?” Until Trump, sovereignty was something Americans could take for granted. This is no longer true in the United States.

And it appears, from all evidence, that Trump’s greatest loyalties lie not to the country he has been elected to serve, but to Russia.

I have been covering the Russian interference scandal since last year, when many dismissed it as fantastical, despite the mass of evidence that was already in the public domain. If I were to list all the evidence showing that Trump and his team have colluded with the Kremlin – and worse, that the executive branch may have been infiltrated – we would be here all week. I could talk about campaign manager turned foreign agent Paul Manafort who worked in the service of Russian oligarchs; about the illegal backchannel Jared Kushner tried to establish with Kremlin officials; about the many members of the Trump administration who lied about meeting Kremlin officials; about former national security advisor Michael Flynn who is a confirmed foreign agent not only for Russia but for Turkey. And there are dozens more implicated from there.

I could talk about how Trump himself: how has been obsessed with working with Russia for over thirty years, how he has never deviated from his praise of Putin, how he has numerous ties with Russian oligarchs and mobsters, how his businesses have been propped up with Russian money for decades.

Trump and Russian officials collude brazenly, and then they lie brazenly, and that audacity, paradoxically, is why I think a lot of Americans had trouble accepting that this is really happening.

But I have studied authoritarian regimes my whole life, and this is how they operate. Lies are a signal of power, and they want that lie big, because the purpose of a brazen lie is to say “We know that you know what we did, and we do not care, because there is nothing you can do about it.”

But there are things we can do about it. And we, as citizens, need to be the ones doing it, because some of our elected officials – I’m looking at you, Roy Blunt – are not doing their jobs. They are not serving the public. We need to apply pressure on our representatives, we need to make our concerns known, and we need to fight for our freedom and our sovereignty, or we may lose them even more than we already have.

We need a non-partisan, independent commission to investigate Russian interference not only in the 2016 election, but right now. Because if you think this ended in November, you’re kidding yourself. Just ask the Russian officials who Trump gave classified information to in the White House two weeks ago.

We need an objective, transparent and thorough look at what Trump and the Kremlin have done. Russian interference is not a partisan issue. National security is never a partisan issue. This is about the freedom and sovereignty of Americans. This is about all citizens, no matter their party affiliation or if they have a party affiliation at all, getting the answers they deserve.

It has been nearly a year since Democrat Harry Reid begged James Comey to release information about Russian interference because he feared it would, and I quote “falsify the election results”. It’s been seven months since Republicans John McCain and Lindsay Graham similarly demanded that information about Trump’s relationship with Russia be made public.

This is information you deserve to know.

But we cannot stop with merely demanding an honest investigation. We also need an unbiased and trustworthy justice system. The justice system in the US has always been flawed – I don’t need to convince people in St Louis of that. We’ve seen injustice at a local level, and now we see it at its absolute worst at a national level, particularly in individuals like Jeff Sessions – a long-time opponent of civil rights who also met with Russian officials and then lied about it, committing perjury in the process.

Jeff Sessions cannot be trusted to bring this administration to justice, because Jeff Sessions cannot be trusted, period.

And he is hardly alone in abusing his power to stop justice from being served. So we need not only investigators that we can trust to do their jobs honorably, but a justice system that can be trusted to act on the findings of the investigation, and if crimes are confirmed, to hold criminals accountable.

The administration likes to portray citizens, especially out here in the Midwest where we live, as passive, as compliant, as uninterested in justice and law. What they are really hoping for is that we will be complacent, that we not defend the honor of our country or the sanctity of our laws, that we’ll just stand by silently and let them get away with it.

But we are St. Louis! We have witnessed injustice so many times, and we do not always win, but Lord knows we let everyone know when justice has not been served. We correct the lies. We come for the liars, and the grifters, and the traitors. We come hard, and we will not quit.

Never let anyone tell you that you do not deserve the truth or that truth itself has no value. When they say that, what they’re really saying is that you, as a citizen, have no value, that you have no voice.

You deserve so much better than this.

You have value, and you have a voice, so use it.

Demand truth. Demand transparency. Demand accountability. Demand justice. Demand the government we deserve!

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