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Iowa Radio Host Says Nuns Should Be “Pistol Whipped”; GOP Congressman Laughs

June 22, 2012, 5:24 pm | By Nick Sementelli

Today on the Iowa conservative radio show “Mickelson in the Morning,” host Jan Mickelson had on Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) to talk about the Nuns on the Bus tour and the Ryan budget. Objecting to the tour, Mickelson asked Latham whether he had any power to pull over the bus and “pistol whip” the nuns:

MICKELSON: There’s a bus full of nuns headed towards Washington to lobby against the Ryan plan. Do you guys, do you have any power to pull the Nuns on the Bus over and pistol whip them?

LATHAM: It’s always fun to be on your show [Laughs]

While Congressman Latham doesn’t express outright support for Mickelson’s statement, he seems unfazed by the suggestion and happy to laugh off this grotesque call for violence on women religious. It’s unacceptable for anyone, let alone an elected representative, to tacitly condone suggestions of violence. Rep. Latham should apologize and clarify that he would never support “pistol whipping” religious sisters.

H/T Progress Iowa

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Catholic GOP Congressman Admits He Disagrees with Church on Budget

June 21, 2012, 1:46 pm | By Nick Sementelli

Rep Joe WalshAs Simone Campbell explained in an interview this week, one of the purposes of the Nuns on the Bus tour is to respond to Catholic conservatives such as House GOP budget author Paul Ryan, who falsely argued that his radical plan to gut the safety net and slash taxes for millionaires is consistent with Catholic social teaching (and tried to dismiss the bishops when they rebuked him).

But Paul Ryan wasn’t the only Catholic who supported the bill — 58 other Catholic House members voted in favor of it this year, and the nuns are hoping to talk to a few of them. One of those members is Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, at whose office the bus tour stopped yesterday. Unlike Congressman Ryan, Walsh didn’t try to argue that the budget upholds Catholic teaching — he just admitted he thinks the Church is wrong:

My Catholic teaching tells me that it’s my responsibility to take care of my fellow man,” he said. “That’s not the government’s responsibility. It’s mine. … Oftentimes, the Catholic Church can be misguided on economy and government.

Coming to different conclusions than Church leadership about how to put Catholic moral teachings into practice isn’t unusual for Catholic politicians. Conservative commentators just like to pretend only Democrats do it. It’s refreshing to hear a Catholic Republican acknowledge the disagreement.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

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Nuns on the Bus Greeted by Mass Rally at Rep. Ryan’s Office, Ctd.

June 20, 2012, 5:36 pm | By Nick Sementelli

Here’s a great news report from Al Jazeera highlighting the Nuns on the Bus tour’s visit to Rep. Ryan’s office in Janesville, Wisconsin and their enthusiastic welcome.

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Who’s Speaking at Rep. Peter King’s Hearings on Hearings Today?

June 20, 2012, 9:26 am | By Nick Sementelli

Zuhdi Jasser

Today, Rep. Peter King is holding yet another round of his infamous hearings on “Muslim radicalization,” this time on the American Muslim response to his earlier hearings.

The problem, as usual, is that the central premise of King’s hearings remains untrue: Muslim Americans are neither particularly radicalized, nor are they uncooperative with law enforcement. Expert witnesses have even made a point of telling King this at the hearings themselves.

Faced with this problem, King has taken to ignoring the experts in favor of witnesses who will tell him what he already wants to hear, and this most recent round is no different. Testifying today are three people whose primary qualifications appear to be their willingness to confirm King’s conspiracy theories and falsely implicate their fellow Muslim Americans as contributing to radicalism.

Here’s a quick background on the three witnesses:

Zuhdi Jasser

Jasser, who testified at a previous round of King’s hearings, is a physician and former Navy medical officer who has become the go-to spokesman of anti-Muslim extremists looking for Muslim allies to baptize their views. Media Matters has compiled information on Jasser here, and he was prominently featured in the Center for American Progress’s Fear Inc. report as one of the Muslim “validators” for Islamaphobic activists.

Jasser most recently came under scrutiny for serving as the narrator for the documentary The Third Jihad, an anti-Islamic movie produced by the right-wing Clarion Fund (whose board Jasser also sits on). The film prompted a major scandal earlier this year after NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly admitted to voluntarily appearing in it and showing it in training sessions for officers.

Asra Nomani

Nomani is a former Wall Street Journal writer most notable for her support of the misleading and dangerous tactic of profiling people who appear to be Muslims at airports, her defense of NYPD’s illegal spying and religious profiling program, and, of course, her support for King’s original hearings.

Writing in The Guardian today, Nomani previews her testimony at today’s hearing, reiterating these extreme views and attacking critics of the hearings.

Qanta Ahmed

A British doctor who grew up in London, Ahmed wrote mostly about international issues and her experience practicing medicine in Saudi Arabia before penning two op-eds in support of King’s initial hearings and another one the following year defending NYPD.

Ahmed’s invitation to speak appears to be the result of a chance meeting with King at her hospital. She also seems to have connected with the Clarion Fund, which published an interview with her earlier this month in which she attacks Muslim-American organizations despite admitting she has no contact with them.

Faiza Patel

The minority witness is an actual expert on human rights and the legal issues related to counterterrorism, serving as Co-Director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center. She has specifically written about King’s previous hearings and the deficiencies of his and his witnesses arguments.

Photo source: Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

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Nuns on the Bus Greeted by Mass Rally at Rep. Ryan’s Office

June 19, 2012, 6:32 pm | By Nick Sementelli

The Nuns on the Bus tour rolled into Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin today and were met by hundreds of supporters lining the streets. Here are some photos from their tour and exuberant reception:

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