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Paul Ryan, Kamal Saleem, and Rick Santorum featured as speakers on the 2012 Value Voters Summit website.
A sociopath, a terrorist, and whatever Rick Santorum is
It may or may not surprise you to know that the American Taliban has its own political summit; the Values Voter Summit is that special yearly convocation for people who consider CPAC to be too liberal and who dream of a day when something-something values does something-something, therefore all the unbelievers will burn soon in a hell of high taxes and decent environmental protections unless they learn the true conservative way. No, I don't understand why those things figure as 'values' either, because as I have repeatedly mentioned earlier, I am not batshit insane. I believe it has something to do with proper hatred of homosexuals.

There are, however, no shortage of batshit insane people in this country, and so once a year the Family Research Council (tip: no research involved) get together to celebrate their own special brand of insanity. This year's version features the usual crowd of Rand Pauls and Jim DeMints and Frank Gaffneys as well as Paul Ryan, who is there to coddle up to the worst America has to offer and promise them that a Mitt Romney presidency would make all of their little fever dreams come true. Oh, and it also proudly features a terrorist.

What's that? The Values Voter crowd is happily palling around with, as part of the whole Values thing, an actual Middle-Eastern terrorist? One who says he repeatedly brought weapons into America with the intent of carrying out terrorist attacks? Yes, and no; as Right Wing Watch explains, it depends on whether or not you believe him.

Saleem, whose real name is Khodor Shami, claims that he was Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country,” saying that he crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” Somewhere along the way he converted, got a job at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, and became the favorite ex-Muslim of the Religious Right. As a result, he says his life is constantly in danger, and he is being pursued by foreign agents.

If you’re asking yourself why Saleem isn’t in jail as opposed to speaking at a conference with the likes of Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Jerry Boykin, and Tony Perkins, it’s because Saleem is widely considered to be a fraud.

So if you believe Shami's supporters, a phalanx of conservatives, including their vice presidential candidate, are currently palling around with an admitted arms-running Muslim terrorist. That seems a bit outside the realm of what a sudden conversion to Jesus can forgive, from a purely legal perspective. For a group so obsessed with whether or not secret members of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the American government, it also seems surprising that they'd happily be rubbing elbows with one, too. Sorry, ex-member.

The other possibility, of course, is that they know damn well he's a liar. They don't feel uncomfortable being around someone who, according to him, probably puts them all in danger of a terrorist attack merely by being in the same building with him, and they don't feel uncomfortable about the whole unconvicted-but-admitted terrorist bit, because they're all just as sure as law enforcement is that this guy is just conning them. A terrorist, now that's scary and deplorable—but a mere liar? Pull up a chair, fella! We've got a whole wing of the convention dedicated to that!

I'm not sure which of the two possibilities they want the rest of us to believe, but I suppose it would be rude of us to assume they are not palling around with terrorists. We wouldn't want to call them liars, after all, so fine: this guy's a terrorist, but he's the good kind of terrorist, the one they like palling around with.

I hope he and Paul Ryan get a picture together.

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