Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Herman Cain Apologizes for Anti-Muslim Positions

| Thu Jul. 28, 2011 9:51 AM EDT
GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain

We've pilloried GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain in these parts for his insistance that Islam is incompatible with American values, his promise not to appoint any Muslims to his administration, and his belief that communities have the right to block religious groups (or at least Muslims) from building houses of worship. Cain, perhaps realizing that such bigotry has derailed a presidential campaign that really should have been focusing on health care reform instead, met with Muslim leaders in Virginia on Wednesday. Following the meeting, he released a statement declaring himself "humble and contrite," and apologizing for potentially offending Muslim Americans.

Here is his statement, in full:

I would like to thank Imam Mohamed Magid and the ADAMS Center for extending their hospitality to me this afternoon. We enjoyed heartfelt fellowship and thoughtful dialogue about how patriotic Americans of all faiths can work together to restore the American Dream.

While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends. I am truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it. Muslims, like all Americans, have the right to practice their faith freely and peacefully.

As I expected, we discovered we have much more in common in our values and virtues. In my own life as a black youth growing up in the segregated South, I understand their frustration with stereotypes. Those in attendance, like most Muslim Americans, are peaceful Muslims and patriotic Americans whose good will is often drowned out by the reprehensible actions of jihadists.

I am encouraged by the bonds of friendship forged today at our meeting, and I look forward to continuing this very healthy dialogue. The relationship we established was so positive that the Imam has invited me back to speak to not only some of their youth, but also at one of their worship services.

If Cain's views on Islam really have changed, that's great. But from a leadership standpoint, the initial problem remains. Cain, despite running on a platform of constitutional conservatism, jumped to bigoted conclusions about American Muslims based on a handful of readily debunked conspiracy theories. When he condemned the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, he cited the attorney who filed suit to block it—an attorney who has also alleged that President Obama is attempting to raise the black flag of Sharia over the White House. When Cain tried to find examples of Islamic Sharia law being forced on American courts, he errantly cited a case in Texas (the case was actually in Florida), and seemed willfully ignorant of the fact that the case followed the same arbitration process that applies to all religious groups.

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Bachmann Anti-Gay Ally Sues Rachel Maddow For $50 Million (Updated)

| Wed Jul. 27, 2011 11:32 AM EDT

Bradlee Dean, a longtime ally of GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, runs a heavy-metal ministry in her Minnesota district that travels to public schools on the taxpayers' dime to push students to find Christ. He has performed at fundraisers for Bachmann, and Bachmann has done the same for Dean's ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International. Long a target of local bloggers in his home state, Dean has become increasingly defensive over the last few months as national organizations have taken note of his ties to Bachmann, and he strongly hinted that he was about to push back against the criticism in a big way. And now he has. On Tuesday, Dean announced he was filing a defamation suit against MSNBC host Rachel Maddow (and the network) for $50 million.

Specifically, Dean is upset that Maddow—quoting heavily from Dean—accused him of supporting the execution of gay people. Here's his press release:

Despite the very clear disclaimer by Bradlee Dean on his ministry's website and elsewhere regarding the false accusation that he was calling for the execution of homosexuals, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and others seized on and accused Dean on her show of supporting the killing of homosexuals, as is the practice in some radical Islamic countries. This seriously has harmed Dean and the ministry, who pride themselves on respect and love for all people...

The lawsuit is filed by attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, in DC Superior Court and seeks in excess of $50 million in damages. However, money is not the issue. "This case is filed as a matter of principle," stated Klayman. "We need more Bradlee Deans in the world and hateful left wing television commentators must be made to respect not only his mission but the law," he added.

Dean and his lawyer should get along well. Klayman recently wrote an op-ed warning that the United States was being crippled by "political heterophobia" (he also noted that he had gay friends). Anyway, what set Dean off is Maddow's citation in May of this quote, from a 2010 episode of Dean's radio show:

Bachmann Vows to Ban Teleprompters From White House

| Wed Jul. 27, 2011 11:14 AM EDT

Economists disagree on many things, but one thing you'll find a near-consensus on is the idea that President Obama's frequent use of a teleprompter is slowly destroying the American economy. Because of President Obama's frequent reliance on the teleprompter, credit agencies have warned that the United States' AAA credit rating could soon be downgraded, causing Americans' interest rates to soar. Unemployment, meanwhile, is stuck at upwards of 9 percent—again, because of President Obama's repeated use of the teleprompter.

There are few issues more critical to the nation's well-being, which is why we're happy to report that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has promised to ban teleprompters from the Whiten House if she's elected president. Via Gregory Pratt:

"I know you're not used to seeing a president without Teleprompters," she told an Iowa crowd. "But I'm just here to tell you President O'Bach — President Bachmann will not have teleprompters in the White House."

Oof. Maybe those teleprompters wouldn't be such a bad investment after all.

WATCH:

Rick Perry's Cancelled MoJo Subscription

| Wed Jul. 27, 2011 6:00 AM EDT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's big break in politics came in 1990, when he won a tight race against incumbent Jim Hightower, a progressive Democrat, to become State Agriculture Commissioner. It might not sound like much, but a statewide office is a statewide office, and Perry, who is now seriously thinking about running for president, won in a pretty rough electoral climate. (He had some help from campaign manager Karl Rove, who zeroed in on ethics lapses by a Hightower subordinate.*)

The gulf between Hightower, an organic-farming booster and later a Ralph Nader supporter, and Perry, an arch-conservative who supports criminalizing gay sex, is pretty wide. How wide? Well, in a 1991 Texas Monthly story, Dana Rubin explains that one Rick Perry's first orders of business was to cancel the agency's subscription to MoJo:

In early January, an employee armed with a video camera swept through the Austin headquarters of the Texas Department of Agriculture, making a record of every office: desks, bookshelves, computers, trash cans. Newly elected commissioner Rick Perry had ordered a top-to-bottom inventory, and his staff wanted to account for every item in the agency. Employees were asked to strip the posters, signs, and comic strips from their doors and hallways. Within days every vestige of the folksy, college dormitory atmosphere cultivated under former commissioner Jim Hightower had vanished. Gone was the rusty old plow from the lobby. Gone were the nostalgic Depression-era photographs from the walls. Gone were the agency's subscriptions to leftist periodicals such as Mother Jones, the Progressive, and the Utne Reader.

Whoa, hey! Governor, the next subscription is on us.

*Note: This section has been edited to clarify that Hightower was not personally implicated in the ethics lapses.

WorldNetDaily: Oslo Attacks Were a Left-Wing Conspiracy

| Tue Jul. 26, 2011 10:22 AM EDT
Watch out for the black helicopters.

I had thought Glenn Beck's comparison of the massacred Norwegian children to the "Hitler Youth" was the most horrific response to last Friday's terrorist attack in Oslo. But now, via Right Wing Watch, I see that WorldNetDaily and radio host Michael Savage have upped the ante. They've decided that it's just too far-fetched to think that Anders Breivik, the blue-eyed, blond-haired white guy who admitted to the crimes, could have possibly committed such a barbaric act. So they've decided it's probably a cover-up by the left-wing Norwegian government:

"The official story makes no sense," Savage told WND. "This looks like a classic conspiracy."

"This has all the appearances of a cover-up," Savage told WND. "They created their Reichstag fire. They found their Timothy McVeigh. They created their Jack Ruby. How could one man have blown up the downtown and then raced to the island to kill the teens?

"This is likely a fabrication of the Labour Party, who needs to hold onto power to enforce their multi-culturalist, Muslim-favoring, anti-nationalist views," he continued, "especially in light of the earlier 'credit' for this atrocity claimed by the radical Muslim group whose leader they were threatening to deport.

"The official story defies logic in the following sense as well," he continued, "if this lone right-winger hated Muslims, as the New York Times is reporting, then why did he slaughter his own people and not Muslims?"

So there you have it. I suppose it's about as plausible as Rush Limbaugh's assertion last summer that the BP oil spill was part of a plot by environmentalists to make the oil companies look bad.

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