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.

Get my RSS |

Rick Santorum Takes on Treaty for Disabled Kids

| Tue Nov. 27, 2012 1:44 PM EST

According to my Google Alerts, Monday's big Rick Santorum news (such as it is) was his declaration on Piers Morgan's talk show that he is "open" to another presidential run in 2016. We sort of knew that, though, and anyway it's 2012 right now; the speculation can wait. The real story is what he did with the rest of the day. Dana Milbank explains:

Santorum, joined by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), declared his wish that the Senate reject the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities — a human rights treaty negotiated during George W. Bush’s administration and ratified by 126 nations, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

The former presidential candidate pronounced his “grave concerns” about the treaty, which forbids discrimination against people with AIDS, who are blind, who use wheelchairs and the like. “This is a direct assault on us,” he declared at a news conference.

The treaty, which is up for ratification in the Senate, has plenty of Republican support (Arizona Sen. John McCain backs it). But it's become a rallying cry on the far-right, where conservative Christian activists fear that it will water down American sovereignty and threaten families. As homeschooling activist Michael Farris put it in August, "My kid wears glasses, now they’re disabled, now the UN gets control over them; my child's got a mild case of ADHD, now you’re under control of the UN treaty."

The United Nations isn't really coming for your kids. As Milbank points out, the treaty exists mainly to nudge other countries a little closer the United States' standards. The irony here is that is Santorum's daughter Bella, who he brought with him to the press conference, is precisely the kind of special-needs child the treaty is designed to protect. But much like his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and its prohibition on denying access to people with expensive preexisting conditions, Santorum's paranoid fears of a Big-Brother takeover only serve to undermine policies that are designed to benefit families like his own.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Bachmann's Ed Allies Warned of Mind Control Scheme

| Tue Nov. 20, 2012 3:28 PM EST

Since we reported last week on Georgia GOPers' four-hour, closed-door briefing on a planned United Nations takeover of the Deep South, the event's organizer, Sen. Chip Rogers (R) has dropped his bid for another term as majority leader and distanced himself from the contents of the presentation. On Monday a spokesman told the Huffington Post that Rogers "probably sat politely if he was there, that is his style."

But the conspiracy in question—that liberals like President Barack Obama are using a mind-control technique called "Delphi" to push a one world government with the aim of foisting sustainable development on the world's citizens, as outlined in a decades-old UN agreement called "Agenda 21"—actually has much deeper roots. How deep? As Bluestem Prairie blogger Sally Jo Sorensen points out, the Delphi siren was sounded in 2002 by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's allies at the education watchdog, the Maple River Education Coalition. That year, when Bachmann was still speaking at group functions and pushing its policies at the state capitol, the MREC hawked a two-page instructional document titled, "Beware the Delphi Technique." It warned:

The Delphi Technique was developed by the RAND Corporation, a liberal think tank, in the 1960s. It was developed originally as a way of using repeated surveying of a group of people to bring them to agreement or "consensus."

The original survey technique has been adapted for use in controlling and manipulating meetings or study groups called to get public input for issues in education, police community relations, state control of child care, etc.

Delphi was framed as the vehicle by which central planners at the state and federal level would ultimately break down the walls of sovereignty and push a pantheistic global union. But all was not lost; there was an easy way out:

Maple River Education CoalitionMaple River Education Coalition

Bachmann, as far as I can tell, never discussed Delphi directly. But it was a pretty integral aspect of the MREC's push against the Profile of Learning, the Minnesota curriculum standard that launched Bachmann's career in public life. Beginning in 1998, she criss-crossed the state on behalf of the group and maintained close ties with the MREC during her time as a state Senator in St. Paul. In hearings as a state Senator Bachmann used her platform to push the Agenda 21 conspiracy in a fashion that would have fit in at the Georgia state capitol; she once questioned a panel of professors on whether they supported population controls or intended to ban humans from living in certain areas. She also fretted that the United Nations definition of sustainable development would lead to a moratorium on light bulb production.

In early November, Bachmann scored the narrowest re-election victory of her congressional career despite the fact that her district became more conservative after redistricting. She held off a challenge from Democrat Jim Graves by just one point—in a district that Mitt Romney won by 15. Raving against sustainable development helped launch Bachmann's career, but if this month's election results are any indication, her frequently conspiratorial warnings may also be what eventually brings it to an end.

Thanks for the Memories, Rep. Allen West

| Mon Nov. 19, 2012 3:13 PM EST

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.)

Predictably, the last person to realize that Rep. Allen West's political career is over—for now, anyway—seems to be Allen West himself. 

The Florida congressman famous for instructing a Muslim Republican to quit trying to "blow sunshine up my butt," asking his supporters to "grab your muskets," and suggesting that the Bureau of Labor statistics had fabricated the October jobs report, trailed Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by 2,500 votes when the dust settled on November 7. For two weeks, though, West challenged the results, refusing to concede while charging that there had been "a willful attempt to steal the election" by St. Lucie County elections supervisor Gertrude Walker.

West's request for a full recount in St. Lucie County was officially rejected by a judge, and because his margin of defeat exceeded 0.5 percent, he had no grounds to demand a recount under Florida law. But the county went along with one anyway, and over the course of two days, double-checked their math, after which point West found himself trailing by an additional 274 votes. Womp womp. Despite conservative howls of voter fraud and West's pledge to fight on, it's almost impossible to imagine a scenario in which Murphy isn't seated come January.

Here are some of the highlights from West's one term in Congress:

The good news for West is that 2,500 votes is not an especially large margin in a presidential election year in which Democrats dominated the ground game in the Sunshine State. So maybe he'll be back in two years to take back the seat.

Well, that or he'll land a cushy job at Fox News.

Quote of the Day: Marco Rubio Is Not a Scientist

| Mon Nov. 19, 2012 11:22 AM EST
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

Here is one of the presumed contenders for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, in an interview with GQ's Michael Hainey:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

Marco Rubio: I'm not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries.

Should be a fun four years.

Mon Jul. 21, 2014 3:33 PM EDT
Tue Jun. 10, 2014 9:26 PM EDT
Tue May. 6, 2014 10:03 PM EDT
Tue Apr. 15, 2014 4:54 PM EDT
Fri Mar. 28, 2014 7:41 AM EDT