Background Briefing: February 14, 2023


The Authoritarian Movement Underway to Ban Books, Ideas, Knowledge and History in America

We begin with the new authoritarian age in America with a national movement underway to ban books, ideas, knowledge and history in 20 states with 18 states having passed laws that criminalize classroom discussion and intimidate and punish educators. Joining us is Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Propaganda Works which was the winner of the 2016 PROSE award for philosophy. His latest book is How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them and we discuss his article at The Guardian, “Banning ideas and authors is not a ‘culture war’ – it’s fascism” and explore the Orwellian nature of these laws based on the absurdity that the “anguish” of the dominant white racial group is such that the history of cruelty towards black Americans can no longer be taught or acknowledged.


The Pious Bigots Behind the $20 Million Superbowl Ad Buy For a Hip and Cool Jesus Who Gets Us

Then we look into the pious bigots behind the $20 million advertising buy at the Superbowl for a hip and cool Jesus who gets us. Joining us is Frederick Clarkson, a Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates and an analyst of the Religious Right for over 30 years. He has worked as Communications Director at the Institute for Democracy Studies, and co-founded the important group blog about the Christian Right, Talk to Action. His books include Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America and Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy. He has a new series of essays on the New Apostolic Reformation, the cutting edge of the Christian Right, at the online magazine Religion Dispatches.

Delayed and Insufficient Information Following the Ohio Derailment That Spilled Hazardous Chemicals

Then finally we get an update on the February 3 derailment of a 150 car train carrying hazardous chemicals in Ohio after which it was decided to burn the rail cars carrying vinyl chloride to prevent an explosion. Joining us to discuss the delayed and insufficient information about the toxic gases and groundwater contamination is Andrew Whelton, a professor of environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue University whose research focuses on environmental chemistry and engineering, disasters, polymer science and engineering, water quality, infrastructure, and public health. His team investigates and solves problems that affect our natural and built environments.