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:
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.
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.
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 whoadmitted 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.
On Monday afternoon, as markets fretted over the possibility of the United States government running out of money to pay its creditors, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) held a briefing on a crisis that could bring the nation to its knees. "This is about the protection of each and every American citizen who ever resides within our borders," West told the audience in the basement of Rayburn House Office Building.
West wasn't there to talk about Congress' apparent inability to raise the debt ceiling, though. He was there to introduce Peter Leitner of Citizens for National Security, an organization based in Boca Raton, Florida, that is dedicated to raising awareness of the threat of Islamic extremism in American communities. The group, which previously tried to ferret out perceived Islamic bias in Florida public-school textbooks, had been invited by West to present the findings of its latest report: "Homegrown Jihad in the USA: Muslim Brotherhood's Deliberate, Premediated Plan Now Reaching Maturity." CFNS claims to have a list of 6,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood who are living in America and determined to "penetrate the United States and eventually erode its institutions, policies, and sense of self through the creation of a multifaceted Fifth Column movement within our borders."
That's a serious charge, and in a 45-minute presentation, Leitner backed it up with a series of charts that linked various Muslim organizations, from Hezbollah to the Muslim Students Association, in one giant, overarching conspiracy bent on "destroying the United States as it currently stands."
Two days after it was discovered that Anders Breivik, the Oslo gunman, was an admirer of America's leading anti-Islam activists—including CFNS advisory committee member Daniel Pipes—the American anti-Sharia movement showed no sign of mellowing. Leitner dismissed Breivik ("a bizarre Norwegian farmer") as a nutcase, but, like a number of prominent conservative commentators, allowed that he might nonetheless have been on to something. "He may be correct that there's a certain kind of a threat that we face, depending on his view," Leitner said in response to a challenge from a Muslim audience member, "but he fits the lines of a classic lunatic."