Thomas DiLorenzo's Rebel Yelling
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 04:02:29 PM EST
I have written a great deal in the past few years about the odd phenomenon of Catholic Neo-Confederatism.  Let's add one more name to the pantheon.

Thomas DiLorenzo is a man of contradictions. He teaches university level economics yet he is best known as an avatar of Neo-Confederatism. He teaches at a Catholic university, but subscribes to economic views that have more in common with the libertarianism of Ayn Rand than anything in Catholic social teaching. He is also a leading loather of Abraham Lincoln and a contemporary advocate of nullification and secession -- two zombie ideas that are being resurrected as a means of religious oppression -- often in the name of religious liberty.

(1 comment, 931 words in story)
Censorship Challenge: Texas Pastor Seeks Restrictions On `Dangerous' Library Books
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:32:20 PM EST

Back in the 1990s, some Religious Right activists in Virginia got the bright idea to begin attacking America's public libraries. The idea was to demonize public libraries in the same way that public schools have been successfully demonized by fundamentalists in some parts of the country.

The effort, dubbed "Family Friendly Libraries," fell flat. Americans simply weren't interested in allowing a bunch of far-right Christian fundamentalists to determine what books they or their children could read.

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Suspended St. Louis County Officer Dan Page Made Rounds on Rightwing Radio Shows
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:34:03 PM EST
St. Louis Police Officer Dan Page drew national attention when he shoved CNN's Don Lemon during a broadcast of the protests in Ferguson, and again, just a few days later, when a speech Page gave to the St. Charles/ St. Louis Oath Keepers emerged. That speech revealed his paranoid and conspiratorial worldview, but it wasn't a one-time event. Page has been making the rounds on rightwing radio and podcasts over the last several months, including an interview with Rick Wiles on TruNews, on the John Moore Radio Show, and on Caravan to Midnight with John B. Wells.  While it would be easy to dismiss these interviews as fringe, they represent a worldview that has been mainstreaming with the help of groups like the Oath Keepers, Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), Gun Owners of America (GOA), and the John Birch Society (JBS).

Following is a short video clip of one of the segments, the link to my recent PRA article on Dan Page, and the complete audio/video from the three interviews.

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Cop Who Shoved CNN Host Don Lemon Lassoed in Another Conspiracy Rodeo
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 10:38:21 PM EST
Rachel Tabachnick broke an important story this evening showing that the rant by Officer Dan Page that got him suspended from the St.Louis County police force -- was not his first conspiracy rodeo.

The topic for a recent appearance on rightwing conspiracy radio TruNews was:

Retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Dan Page tells Rick why he thinks 2015 is the start date for a series of actions to collapse the USA so that a global regime can emerge.

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Exile Excitement: Some Fundamentalists Seek Escape From Decadent Society
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:00:31 AM EST

OK, now we've done it. Those of us who advocate things like separation of church and state, secular government, LGBT rights and self-determination when it comes to issues of sexuality have really torqued off the Religious Right - so much so that some of them are thinking of going into exile.

Don't get too excited. It's not like they are going to flee en masse to some forgotten island or anything. Rather, some folks on the far, far right of the theological spectrum seem to be contemplating a type of "internal exile." They'd hole up in a fundamentalist denomination until this current age of wickedness blows over.

(2 comments, 879 words in story)
Controversy Over White Nationalist GOP Candidate Still White Hot
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 12:11:26 AM EST
The 2004 Constitution Party candidate for president Michael Peroutka's current race for County Council in Maryland -- as a Republican -- it is still one of the white hot political stories of the summer.  

In recent days, not only did publish Paul Rosenberg's groundbreaking story about how Peroutka epitomizes the problem of race in the Republican Party, but The Baltimore Sun and the news site Maryland Reporter have already advanced it. The Sun followed-up on Salon's disclosure of a new PAC --  Maryland Reporter further reported the names of the leading Democrats behind the innovative anti-Peroutka site.  The news site also ran a column about how the GOP has "a Peroutka problem."

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Race, Republicans and the Religious Right
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 11:07:03 PM EST
The Republicans have a race problem, and by this I don't just mean that racial minorities don't much vote for them, particularly in the age of Obama.  Rather that overtly racist figures are rising in prominence in the party. And as this takes place, party leaders are not handling it well.  

Paul Rosenberg, writing at has an extensive discussion of this as part of a wide context of how poorly we all deal with extreme political and religious views.

(1 comment, 972 words in story)
Pope Francis' Meet Up With Two Controversial Religio-Preneurs
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 12:26:13 PM EST
Not since Oscar hooked up with Felix in Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" are we seeing such a seemingly unusual pairing. In late June, Pope Francis, a man who has expressed deep concern for the poor, the downtrodden, and issues of social inequality, met with two controversial televangelists who have rarely seemed interested in anything other than building their ministries into huge money-making empires.

Kenneth Copeland and James Robison, two extremely controversial and conservative televangelists and religio-preneurs, met with the Pope at the Vatican "in an effort to work toward tearing down the 'walls of division' between Catholics and Protestants," the Christian News Network recently reported.

(3 comments, 1140 words in story)
Rev. William Barber on Religious/Political Inclusiveness
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 10:49:40 PM EST
A few weeks ago, I posted about the extraordinary oration of Rev. William Barber at Netroots Nation. (A transcript of the speech is now available.) I said at the time I would have more to say about it, and I do.  Here is a little more. (More to come.)

Barber says that it is important to look to religious progressives to help to counter the Religious Right. And I couldn't agree more.

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Short Takes
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 07:56:03 PM EST  Columnist Thomas Frank considers how snark can cut more than one way.
What does it mean when being "on the left" is defined as being a fan of extremely partisan entertainment? What does it do to our larger political vision when we confine our political thinking to the crafting of hilarious put-downs of Tea Partiers and right-wing reality-doubters?

The answer is simple: We miss a substantial chunk of political reality ourselves.

Daily Kos  Denise Oliver Velez considers the candidacy of theocratic white nationalist Michael Peroutka for county council in Maryland and finds "There is Something Rotten in Anne Arundel County."

(1 comment)
David Brat as a "Libertarian Catholic" is an Oxymoron
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 09:39:52 AM EST
David Brat, the Tea Party Young Turk who recently shocked the GOP establishment with his primary win over Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is reportedly, a convert to Catholicism, but (one source has him affiliated with four different Virginia churches: St. Michael's Catholic, Christ Church Episcopal, Third Presbyterian, and Shady Grove Methodist.). If he has converted to Catholicism, it appears he may be hedging his bets.

But if he has indeed become Catholic, apparently he has not yet encountered the Church's social teachings. Brat is a vociferous proponent of libertarian economics, which is not only radically out of step with Church teaching on economics, but glaringly so in the age Pope Francis.

(2 comments, 1035 words in story)
Kountze Cheerleaders Take on the Courts
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 11:16:06 AM EST
The entire town of Kountze, Texas is in a frenzy with business banners, suv window paintings and legal action supporting their local cheerleaders. The small East Texas town is just a few miles north of Beaumont. It made national news by the pom pom girl's defilement of their school administration's caution about posting Bible verses at the football stadium.
(2 comments, 444 words in story)
A Talk to Action Anthology on Neo-Confederacy, Nullification and Secession (Updated)
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 10:54:44 PM EST
A number of posts over the past year have addressed the growing Neo-Confederate movement, the advocacy of nullification of federal laws, and even the secession of states from the union.  Below is an anthology of about 30 posts -- a list that we will continue to update from time-to-time. -- FC

(5 comments, 527 words in story)
Good Incentives Gone Awry: Kentucky Officials Are Adamant About Propping Up The 'Ark Park'
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 11:04:52 AM EST

I've lived in the Washington, D.C., suburbs since 1986, so when it comes to museums, I am spoiled. Just a short subway ride away is the National Mall, lined with the Smithsonian museums. They are an incredible national treasure.

When I'm traveling, I try to take some time to visit local museums as well. When my children were younger, we never missed a science museum. Several cities have them now. Not only are science museums a great educational resource, they can also be a significant income generator for communities.

(2 comments, 724 words in story)
White Hot Controversy for a White Nationalist GOP Candidate
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 11:30:39 PM EST
The controversy over Michael Peroutka's theocratic, white nationalist candidacy for county council, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland -- has gotten white hot after he inadvertently blew-up a press conference intended to stabilize his foundering campaign.

He declared among other things, that he was not a racist, that he is even an anti-racist. But he was also forced to acknowledge that his advocacy of secession at the 2012 convention of the League of the South and his leading the assemblage in the national anthem -- Dixie -- was not a mistake.  

The Baltimore Sun, the state's largest newspaper editorialized that even though the League of the South insists it is not a hate group, it is "harder to argue that it isn't an oddball extremist group with some hair-raising ideas. That they support Southern secession and rally behind all things Confederate pretty much defines the Alabama-based league."  

And the blistering editorial, like the rest of the press coverage before and since the press conference, only got hotter.

(2 comments, 895 words in story)

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