Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

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Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy@motherjones.com.

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GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain.

If you watched Tuesday evenings' GOP presidential debate, you heard a lot about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan. For the unfamiliar, it's pretty straightforward: 9 percent corporate tax, 9 percent sales tax, and 9 percent income tax. Win-win-win! Or maybe not. Cain was asked at the debate to explain away the charge that his 9-9-9 plan would effectively raise taxes on low-income workers. (Among other things, Cain's plan would implement a sales tax on groceries, which only two states currently do.)

Cain rejected the notion, but the facts are pretty clearly not on his side. Don't take it from me, though. None other than Bruce Bartlett, a former economic adviser to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, says so. Here's how he explained it at the New York Times' "Economix" blog earlier this week:

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

At Tuesday evening's GOP presidential debate at Dartmouth, Michele Bachmann was asked by the Washington Post's Karen Tumulty whether she believed Wall Street had ever really paid for the financial crisis it caused. The Minnesota congresswoman, whose campaign has hit a rut of late, rejected the premise. She argued instead that the financial crisis had been created by the policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-governmental housing agencies.

It's an enticing narrative for conservatives—pin the blame on government lending money to poor people—but it's not true. My colleague Andy Kroll explained over a year ago why exactly this is wrong:

Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress said in April that Americans had good reason to suspect that President Obama is a Muslim.

Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, as you might recall, endorsed Rick Perry on-stage at Friday' Values Voter Summit in DC with Perry's approval, and then proceded to call Mormonism a "cult" and argue that Mitt Romney's faith was a strike against him as a candidate. Mitt Romney has since called on the Texas Governor to repudiate Jeffress's comments, and the Perry campaign has responded by essentially shouting "Romneycare!" really loudly.

But Jeffress has taken shots at more than just the LDS Church. He also said that Islam causes pedophilia, and that the Catholic church and Jewish faith are both paths to eternal damnation. He's speculated as to whether President Obama is a Muslim. Here's an interview Jeffress did with Steve Doocy of Fox News, back in April, after President Obama (like President Bush before him) declined to produce a formal White House proclamation celebrating Easter. Why would Obama do something like that? Jeffress, starting at about the 53-second mark, says it mights be because he secretly still harbors Muslim sympathies:

The Occupy Wall Street protests have entered their second month.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is so unlike the tea party movement in so many ways it's almost worth dismissing the comparison entirely as a totally contrived media-generated narrative. Almost. But there is one key similiarity: Both groups have become, in the eyes of their opponents, a symbol for everything that's wrong with American politics. They are their brothers' punching bags. Which is why Occupiers and tea partiers sort of freak out when you make the comparison; it's like being told to look in the mirror and finding out that you've suddenly sprouted three heads.

The protesters weren't the number-one topic of discussion at the Values Voter Summit in DC—that would probably be President Barack Obama's continued assault on American values. But the nationwide demonstrations were a recurring theme on stage and among the rank-and-file attendees. Over the course of the weekend, a consensus began to form about who these protesters were and what shadowy groups might be behind them.

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