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Rot runs much deeper than Republicans are willing to admit

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I Am Going To Eat You - Paul Noth
I Am Going To Eat You – Paul Noth – The New Yorker

There’s a reason Donald Trump swept the primaries, and Ted Cruz came in second: their beliefs are what the Republican base also believes. All the GOP establishment hand-wringing about tone and blah-blah-blah does not change the basic fact that the majority of the Republican voters believe Obama is a secret Muslim, born in Kenya, and that Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster to cover up her lesbian affairs, and so forth.

The rot runs much deeper than most Republicans are willing to admit.In the spirit of always fighting the last war, Republicans are kicking around the idea of imposing strict barriers to entry into the Republican presidential primary field four years from now. “Let’s make running for the Republican nomination a truly conservative affair,” writes John Noonan, former adviser to Jeb Bush. “You want it? Earn it. Raise $5 million for the RNC in the years before the nomination and only then do you qualify to run.”

This kind of thing may be necessary if the GOP is to avoid another Trumpening, but also woefully insufficient. Noonan’s specific idea would be difficult to implement for some of the reasons he lays out in the article. It also probably wouldn’t have stopped Trump from running this cycle, thanks in large part to the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon two years ago, which made it much easier for rich people to raise money for official party committees.

But let’s imagine a rule that would’ve foreclosed a Trump candidacy altogether was in place as of 2015—for instance, one holding that to run, you must have won elected office as a Republican within the past 12 years.

Maybe Trump would’ve just sat the whole thing out. But he might’ve driven a near-majority of the GOP’s base into a third party. Or, he might’ve made the qualifying candidates compete for his endorsement by establishing politically toxic criterion: mass deportation, commitment to a border fence, other commitments that would’ve Trumpified the winning candidate.

Remember, it’s not like Trump barely edged out the establishment. The runner-up was Ted Cruz; basically everyone else got no traction at all. Absent Trump, Cruz would’ve consolidated the charlatan wing of the party, and the influencers now propping up Trump would be doing the same for Cruz, only with somewhat less establishment resistance.

(click here to continue reading The rot runs much deeper than most Republicans are willing to admit. | New Republic.)

You'll Have To Bear It
You’ll Have To Bear It

Ted Cruz expected Donald Trump to drop out1 so that Cruz would be the default candidate, which is why Cruz is already gearing up his 2020 presidential bid. At least the Natural Born Citizenship question will get decided if Cruz ever wins the nomination…

Ted Cruz, it appears, has had a dismal time since the Republican National Convention, where his decision not to endorse Donald Trump drew vigorous boos. Cruz’s national favorability rating among Republicans has plummeted from fifty-nine per cent to forty-three per cent. Several Texas Republicans, including perhaps former Governor Rick Perry, are said to be weighing primary challenges when Cruz seeks reëlection to the Senate, in 2018. Cruz has devoted several weeks to travelling around his home state, apparently trying to mend fences and persuade the locals that he hadn’t forgotten them during his long race for the White House. Is Cruz doomed, locally as well as nationally?

Far from it. Cruz is merely taking the next step toward the Presidency in a manner that he previewed when I profiled him for the magazine, in 2014. Cruz may be wrong about Republican and Presidential politics, but he’s consistent, and his rejection of Trump, when every other putative successor as Republican nominee has endorsed him, fits into his master plan. In simple terms, Cruz thinks that conservative Republicans win Presidential elections: Ronald Reagan, in 1980 and 1984; George H. W. Bush, in 1988; George W. Bush, in 2000 and 2004. He thinks moderate Republicans lose: George H. W. Bush, who had agreed to raise taxes, in 1992; Bob Dole, in 1996; John McCain, in 2008; and Mitt Romney, in 2012. Cruz intends—someday—to be that conservative Republican nominee.

Cruz built his 2016 campaign on the principle that he had to be the most conservative candidate in the race. He embraced social issues (opposing abortion and proposing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage) in a way that Trump never did. Although Trump made opposition to illegal immigration the cornerstone of his candidacy, Cruz had the same hard-line approach to evicting people from the United States. On climate change, taxation, Obamacare, and every other issue, Cruz positioned himself at the far right of the Party. Of course, Cruz’s efforts fell short, and he did not become the nominee.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz Is Still Running for President – The New Yorker.)

Donald Trump Is A Swine
Donald Trump Is A Swine

Footnotes:
  1. as did Donald Trump, probably []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 23rd, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Posted in politics

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Ted Cruz Prepares for 2020 Presidential Run

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https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7416/27799876280_d9f7ef04db_z.jpg
Might be worth saving this magazine…

Oh, joy. Being a Senator must be too boring for “Calgary” Cruz, he’d rather have a permanent presidential campaign instead. Well, on the bright side, maybe that Natural Born Citizen case will get settled this time.

Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign ended just two months ago. But his campaign for next cycle is already getting started.

According to a report Wednesday in National Review, the Texas senator is making big changes inside and outside of his Senate office to ready his political operation for a 2020 run. Cruz has been “conspicuously silent” recently, the report notes, but behind the scenes has “supervis[ed] the vast expansion of his electoral enterprise, integrating the operations of his campaign team,” and has instituted staffing changes to reflect his long-term goals.

Among them is Cruz’s decision to bring on a longtime Republican campaign operative—with no Hill-office experience—as his Senate chief of staff. His current chief is departing to work as a senior adviser to two new Cruz-aligned nonprofit groups:

Central to [Cruz’s] plans is the creation of two new affiliated nonprofits, their names to be announced in the coming days, which will effectively keep Cruz’s political machinery humming over the next four years. These groups, one a 501(c)3 and the other a 501(c)4, will be responsible for everything from championing Cruz’s legislative priorities to maintaining his donor database and coordinating his early-state travel. They will be an outgrowth of Cruz’s existing campaign apparatus, the nucleus of which has remained active in the aftermath of his departure from the race on May 3.

(click here to continue reading Texas Senator Ted Cruz Prepares for 2020 Presidential Run – The Atlantic.)

Written by Seth Anderson

July 7th, 2016 at 8:14 am

Posted in politics

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Thursday Leftovers – Plate 4

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Some morsels you’ve maybe already sampled…

 Urban Roses

Urban Roses. 

What an asshole…

Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday slammed his colleagues’ efforts to pass sweeping criminal justice reforms, saying the United States is actually suffering from an “under-incarceration problem.”

Cotton, who has been an outspoken critic of the bill in Congress that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences, smacked down what he called “baseless” arguments that there are too many offenders locked up for relatively small crimes, that incarceration is too costly, or that “we should show more empathy toward those caught up in the criminal-justice system.”

“Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed,” Cotton said during a speech at The Hudson Institute, according to his prepared remarks. “Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”

(click here to continue reading Sen. Tom Cotton: U.S. has ‘under-incarceration problem’ – POLITICO.)

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7702/27089637486_79e83f1a3c_z.jpg

Good for Google, doing something notEvil…

In its first five years, the Google Cultural Institute scanned and archived 200 works of art in super-high-resolution gigapixel images. Now in just the past few months, it has managed to scan another 1,000.

The sudden expansion is thanks to a new camera developed by Google, simply called the Art Camera. It’s designed to be far simpler to use than other camera setups, making it easier for museums and other institutions to start digitizing the art and documents in their collection. And critically, it’s also much faster.

“The capture time has been reduced drastically,” says Marzia Niccolai, technical program manager at the Cultural Institute. “Previously it could take almost a day to capture an image. To give you an idea, now if you have a one meter by one meter painting, it would take 30 minutes.”

(click here to continue reading Google made an insanely high-res camera to preserve great works of art | The Verge.)

Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn
Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn

Gee, that’s great news, LinkedIn. Remind me why I even have a LinkedIn account?

Hey, do you remember back in 2012 when hackers hit LinkedIn, stole a few million passwords, and released them online? It was a while ago, so don’t feel bad if you don’t. LinkedIn simply can’t leave the breach behind, though: there are now another 117 million e-mail addresses and passwords for sale on an underground marketplace.

…Sure, the data is old, but people do tend to use the same password from one site to another, which means that the credentials might still be useful for accessing other sites, even if users have already changed their passwords, or LinkedIn reset them.

After an initial report on Motherboard that the the cache was for sale for 5 bitcoin ($2,285), LinkedIn confirmed that the leaked information is genuine. “We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords,” the company said in a post on its official blog. “We have no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach.” Well, that’s… still not comforting.

(click here to continue reading Remember That LinkedIn Breach Back In 2012? It May Have Been Bigger – Consumerist.)

 Familiar Ground

Familiar Ground

Still waiting for Ted Cruz to admit he’s told lies, you know, sinned. Oh that’s right, for Ted Cruz’s brand of Christianity, lying your ass off is fine as long as you lie to attack liberals.

Last year liberals took a break from attacking veterans, unborn babies, and Christmas to wage war on cops. Like all the other wars that didn’t actually happen, this one was deserving of a full-court press on Fox News and became a centerpiece of the Cruz campaign. … Cruz, of course, blamed Obama. And complained about Obama’s “complete silence” following the shooting of a deputy—a silence in which Obama had already made comments, issued a statement, and called the deputy’s relatives. But faster than you can repeat “Obama won’t say radical Muslim terrorists,” the entire right was singing the chorus of how liberals hate cops, cops were getting massacred, and it was all the left’s fault for backing horrible, life-threatening ideas like not shooting unarmed 12-year-olds, and accountability. In New York City, the police union went so far as to insist that officers shouldn’t conduct arrests because of “wartime” conditions.

The narrative continued through the year, but now that all the numbers are in …

Data released by the FBI on Monday shows that 2015 was one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in recorded history, following a sustained trend of low numbers of on-duty deaths in recent decades. …
Every one of the 41 police officers killed on the job is a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero. Oh, and every one of the at least 1,186 people killed by police in the same period is also a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero.

The number of officers killed on the job was down almost 20 percent from 2014. However, even in 2014, being an active duty police officer was number 15 on the list of dangerous jobs.

(click here to continue reading The ‘war on cops’ leads to … one of the safest years for cops on record.)

Back to You in the Studio…
Back to You in the Studio…

For news organizations, Trump is good for business, so expect the cable news flunkies to line up to kiss his ring

And it’s clear Trump is good for business. According to one Fox News producer, the channel’s ratings dip whenever an anti-Trump segment airs. A Fox anchor told me that the message from Roger Ailes’s executives is they need to go easy on Trump. “It’s, ‘Make sure we don’t go after Trump,’” the anchor said. “We’ve thrown in the towel.” Similarly, the New York Post has staked out a pro-Trump position in the marketplace while its rival the Daily News remains one of Trump’s loudest critics. The Post endorsed Trump last month and dubbed him “King Don!” after he won the New York primary. (The outlier among Murdoch’s properties is The Wall Street Journal. “They’re stupid people,” Trump told me back in March).

(click here to continue reading Hullabaloo- Rupert’s game plan .)

Pink Tv
Pink Tv

Case in point: Megyn Kelly is no journalist, but people still pretend she is…

“You are so powerful,” Megyn Kelly, of Fox, said to Donald Trump, with a note of wonder in her voice, as she interviewed him for her special on Tuesday night. They were sitting in a conference room on a high floor, with a view of Central Park behind them, the proper backdrop for an interview characterized by a soft deferral to the grandeur of Trump. Kelly had, in the moments before, remembered his angry response, after she asked a question at the first Republican Presidential debate about his past comments disparaging women. It had caused a “firestorm,” and Trump was the fire. Did he understand the profound effect that he had on people?

And what did Megyn Kelly know? When the special returned to Trump Tower, the Donald let it slip that, in the period when he was loudly claiming to be boycotting her on Fox News, he had, perhaps, peeked at her show. The other big news was Kelly’s unveiling of her new book, “Settle for More”—not a good slogan for the G.O.P. at the moment—which will go on sale after the election and in which, she said, “For the first time, I will speak openly about my year with Donald Trump.” So what did we just watch? “Well, that is it,” Trump tweeted after the broadcast ended. “Well done Megyn—and they all lived happily ever after! Now let us all see how ‘THE MOVEMENT’ does in Oregon tonight!” Trump won the Republican primary in Oregon with about sixty-seven per cent of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich were still on the ballot, but Trump was, effectively, unopposed—just like he now is on Fox.

(click here to continue reading Megyn Kelly’s Guide to Surrendering to Donald Trump – The New Yorker.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 19th, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Links

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Leftovers – Plate 2

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The best part of leftovers is filling up your plate again…

Frozen Head of Rhaegal
Frozen Head of Rhaegal

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, RodentPro.com® specializes in the production and distribution of premium quality frozen mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and quail.  We are proud to include hobbyists, commercial reptile breeding facilities, raptor sanctuaries, and some of the nation’s largest and most respected zoos and aquariums among our broad spectrum of customers.

(click here to continue reading Online Store – Frozen Mice, Rats, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs – About Us.)

 Jeff is a Jew

Jeff is a Jew

Vanity Fair and a well written essay:

The author reflects on her lifelong role—above and below the Mason-Dixon Line—of being the only Jew in the room, and how an unexpected declaration by her daughter helped her reconstitute her identity. BY AMY FINE COLLINS

(click here to continue reading Jewish Like Me | Vanity Fair.)

I especially liked this paragraph, and plan to use it in the future1 :

My habitual muteness in these situations—a reflex of politeness, a journalist’s instinct to listen with a neutral ear, a female tendency to grant the other person the benefit of the doubt—doesn’t make me proud. At these moments—whether I’m “passing,” a fly on the wall, intentionally being provoked, or simply confronted with perplexing ignorance—I wish I had at my disposal the stun-gun comeback, the withering rejoinder that would silence the speaker, neutralize his words, force him to swallow even a micro-pellet of the poison that he is spewing my way.

If only I had this arrow in my quiver (and the balls to fire it) for my college friend’s D.A.R. mom and Fred Flintstone dad: When Clare Booth Luce, perhaps apocryphally, told a Jewish friend, “I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust. Why can’t you people just get over it?” the Jewish lady replied, “I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the Crucifixion. Why can’t you people just get over it?”

Strong Sound Ideas - circa 1995
Strong Sound Ideas – circa 1995

I never use a hair dryer, mostly because I hate how loud they are…

“There has been zero innovation in this market for over 60 years,” said Mr. Dyson, 68, a billionaire who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.

“Millions of people use contraptions daily that are hideously inefficient, waste their time and are causing them long-term damage,” he said. “We realized that we could — and should — sort this situation out.”

He triumphantly held up what appeared to be a sleek black and pink plastic doughnut on a stick. “Four years, 100 odd patents and 600 prototypes later, I think we might have found the answer.”

Known as the Dyson Supersonic and unveiled in Tokyo on Wednesday, the device is his response to a question many never thought to ask: Is it possible to make a better hair dryer?

This may not seem like a big deal. A few burned scalps and frizz issues aside, people have been doing just fine with the standard hair dryer for decades. But, as Dai Fujiwara, a Japanese fashion designer who collaborated with Mr. Dyson on an Issey Miyake runway presentation, wrote in an email, “Because everyday life is too common, people rarely realize there is a problem.”

(click here to continue reading Dyson Wants to Create a Hair Dryer Revolution – The New York Times.)

Shit Fountain
Shit Fountain, literally.

Microbiome study is going to advance by leaps and bounds in the upcoming years. Here’s one tale from the front lines…

Human feces floated in saline solution in a mortar, on a marbled countertop, in a dimly lit kitchen in Burlingame, California. A bottle of ethyl alcohol, an electronic scale, test tubes, and a stack of well-worn pots and pans lay nearby. The stove light illuminated the area as Josiah Zayner crushed the shit with a pestle, creating a brownish-yellow sludge. “I think I can feel something hard in there,” he said, laughing. It was probably vegetables — “the body doesn’t break them down all the way.”

This heralded the beginning of Zayner’s bacterial makeover. He was clad in a Wu-Tang Clan T-shirt, jeans, and white socks and sandals. At his feet, James Baxter, Zayner’s one-eyed orange cat, rubbed its flank against its owner’s legs. The kitchen smelled like an outhouse in a busy campground.

Over the course of the next four days, Zayner would attempt to eradicate the trillions of microbes that lived on and inside his body — organisms that helped him digest food, produce vitamins and enzymes, and protected his body from other, more dangerous bacteria. Ruthlessly and methodically, he would try to render himself into a biological blank slate. Then, he would inoculate himself with a friend’s microbes — a procedure he refers to as a “microbiome transplant.” Zayner imagines the collection of organisms that live on him — his microbiome — as a suit. As such, it can be worn, mended, and replaced. The suit he was living with, he said, was faulty, leaving him with severe gastrointestinal pain. A new suit could solve all that. “You kind of are who you are, to a certain extent,” he said. “But with your bacteria, you can change that.”

A full bacterial overhaul like this had never been documented before — in fact, it may have been the first time it had ever been attempted. There was no evidence to suggest it would work, though there was a real risk it could make Zayner life-threateningly sick. That didn’t bother him.

(click here to continue reading A Bitter Pill | The Verge.)

Spectators in Ketchikan
Spectators in Ketchikan with sunglasses

Sadly, I couldn’t get this to work:

If you need reading glasses—and if you’re over about 40, you probably do—then the next couple of paragraphs will change your life. You’re about to find out how to read small type, in a pinch, without your glasses.

Maybe you’ve lost or broken your reading glasses. Or maybe you don’t feel like going upstairs to get them. Or maybe you’re naked in the shower, frantically trying read the bottles to see which one is shampoo.

Here’s the trick: Curl up your index finger, making a tiny hole. Hold it up to your dominant eye and peek through it.

Incredibly, you’ll discover that the small type you couldn’t read a moment ago is suddenly crystal clear! You can read the date on a penny, or the serial number on a product, or the instructions on a medicine bottle. It doesn’t matter if you’re nearsighted or farsighted.

(click here to continue reading Life Hack: Instant Reading Glasses – David Pogue.)

Your Choice
Your Choice?

Ted Cruz was almost nobody’s favorite:

[Ted Cruz] spoke out of both sides of his scowl, itching to be the voice of the common man but equally eager to demonstrate what a highfalutin, Harvard-trained intellect he possessed. He wed a populist message to a plummy vocabulary. And while the line separating smart and smart aleck isn’t all that thin or blurry, he never could stay on the winning side of it.

He wore cowboy boots, but his favorites are made of ostrich.

Two peacocks in a pod, he and Trump, and what ghastly plumage they showed on Tuesday.

Trump somehow saw fit to bring up a National Enquirer story linking Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Cruz exploded, branding Trump a “pathological liar” and “serial philanderer.” He also brought up an interview from many years ago in which Trump told Howard Stern that his effort to steer clear of sexually transmitted diseases was his “personal Vietnam.”

Where was this rant six months ago, when the Republican field was crowded and Cruz played footsie with Trump? Back then he was wagering that Trump would fade, and he wanted to be in a friendly position to inherit the billionaire’s supporters.

But by Tuesday, Trump was the main obstacle between Cruz and the Republican presidential nomination, and Cruz has just one true compass: his own advancement.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz’s Bitter End – The New York Times.)

You Look Amazing Today
You Look Amazing Today!

How mentally ill do you have to be to want to poison strangers via fresh produce? Damn…

A man accused of sprinkling mouse poison and hand cleaner on produce at several self-service food bars in Michigan grocery stores over the last two weeks has been arrested, the F.B.I. and local police said on Tuesday.

Images taken from surveillance video at a supermarket and published online by the F.B.I. showed the man carrying a red basket in a grocery store, walking past a display of avocados and down aisles.

The man was identified by members of the public and arrested by the agency and the Ann Arbor police, but his name had not been released as of early Wednesday.

The authorities said the man was suspected of contaminating food in several Ann Arbor grocery stores, including a Whole Foods Market, a Meijer and a Plum Market, over the last two weeks

(click here to continue reading Man Is Accused of Putting Poison on Food at Michigan Stores – The New York Times.)

AniMoog screenshot
AniMoog screenshot

I will probably purchase this app late one night, I already own Animoog, and it is fun to play with:

Moog Music has been known for producing some of the most popular synthesizers since the 70s— we reviewed a couple of the newer models in our Logic Pros series and noted that iPad/Mac synths still can’t quite capture the experience of even a $1,000 Moog. But today Moog is releasing its own iPad and iPhone version of its popular $10,000 Model 15, aiming to offer a similar experience in a $30 mobile app. 

Moog’s own techs helped program the app at the Moog Factory in Asheville, NC, according to the company, with the app both resembling the look and sound of the original 1970’s Model 15 hardware:

Each facet of the Moog Model 15 modular synthesizer has been meticulously recreated in this application to ensure the power and transcendent sound quality of each module remains intact. The character, harmonic complexity and mystique of the Moog Model 15s modules, from the legendary Moog 921–series oscillators and 904A Low Pass Filter, to the coveted 907 Fixed Filter Bank have been painstakingly preserved.

That means you’ll find both monophonic and 4-voice polyphonic modes with four controllers, and you can also pull up an on-screen keyboard in the traditional Moog style and layout, as well as a “1150 ribbon controller, 8-step sequencing arpeggiator and the award-winning Animoog keyboard with 22 built-in scales and polyphonic modulation capabilities.” Animoog is the company’s other very popular iOS app that it designed specifically for iPad and touchscreens. 

(click here to continue reading Moog brings its $10,000 Model 15 synth to iPad and iPhone w/ new $30 app | 9to5Mac.)

Footnotes:
  1. despite being only 1% Jewish, per DNA testing – I actually didn’t think I had any Jewish ancestors beyond Adam and Eve []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 5th, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , , ,

Thursday Topic – Leftovers – Plate 1

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The editor of this humble blog couldn’t think of a good topic to fit the day, instead assigning a day of leftovers. Steaming pile of lukewarm tidbits, most of which you’ve already read on Twitter or in your local fish wrap. Drive-by’s, one-hitters, hot-takes, all basically the same thing. Copy-pasta is what the blogosphere was built with. Without further ado, here are some plates of copy-pasta for your general amusement…

 

Slight Return
Slight Return

First off: I enjoyed the hell out of this book review essay from Scott Alexander, responding to David Hackett Fischer’s book, Albion’s Seed, a history of early American migration patterns.1

90% of Puritan names were taken from the Bible. Some Puritans took pride in their learning by giving their children obscure Biblical names they would expect nobody else to have heard of, like Mahershalalhasbaz. Others chose random Biblical terms that might not have technically been intended as names; “the son of Bostonian Samuel Pond was named Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin Pond”. Still others chose Biblical words completely at random and named their children things like Maybe or Notwithstanding.

(click here to continue reading Book Review: Albion’s Seed | Slate Star Codex.)

and

These aristocrats didn’t want to do their own work, so they brought with them tens of thousands of indentured servants; more than 75% of all Virginian immigrants arrived in this position. Some of these people came willingly on a system where their master paid their passage over and they would be free after a certain number of years; others were sent by the courts as punishments; still others were just plain kidnapped. The gender ratio was 4:1 in favor of men, and there were entire English gangs dedicated to kidnapping women and sending them to Virginia, where they fetched a high price. Needless to say, these people came from a very different stratum than their masters or the Puritans.

People who came to Virginia mostly died. They died of malaria, typhoid fever, amoebiasis, and dysentery. Unlike in New England, where Europeans were better adapted to the cold climate than Africans, in Virginia it was Europeans who had the higher disease-related mortality rate. The whites who survived tended to become “sluggish and indolent”, according to the universal report of travellers and chroniclers, although I might be sluggish and indolent too if I had been kidnapped to go work on some rich person’s farm and sluggishness/indolence was an option.

The Virginians tried their best to oppress white people. Really, they did. The depths to which they sank in trying to oppress white people almost boggle the imagination. There was a rule that if a female indentured servant became pregnant, a few extra years were added on to their indenture, supposedly because they would be working less hard during their pregnancy and child-rearing so it wasn’t fair to the master. Virginian aristocrats would rape their own female servants, then add a penalty term on to their indenture for becoming pregnant. That is an impressive level of chutzpah. But despite these efforts, eventually all the white people either died, or became too sluggish to be useful, or worst of all just finished up their indentures and became legally free. The aristocrats started importing black slaves as per the model that had sprung up in the Caribbean, and so the stage was set for the antebellum South we read about in history classes.

(click here to continue reading Book Review: Albion’s Seed | Slate Star Codex.)

and my favorite as an inveterate map lover:

Borderer town-naming policy was very different from the Biblical names of the Puritans or the Ye Olde English names of the Virginians. Early Borderer settlements include – just to stick to the creek-related ones – Lousy Creek, Naked Creek, Shitbritches Creek, Cuckold’s Creek, Bloodrun Creek, Pinchgut Creek, Whipping Creek, and Hangover Creek. There were also Whiskey Springs, Hell’s Half Acre, Scream Ridge, Scuffletown, and Grabtown. The overall aesthetic honestly sounds a bit Orcish.

(click here to continue reading Book Review: Albion’s Seed | Slate Star Codex.)

Line Drawn In Space
Line Drawn In Space

Erick Erickson claims he’ll the flee the GOP. Doubtful, at best. I’m guessing 98% of Republicans will hold their noses and end up voting for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton, despite what they say now. Maybe higher!

Prominent conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson said Tuesday night he will de-register as a member of the Republican Party if Donald Trump secures the presidential nomination.

“If Trump is the Republican Party nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” Erickson, who founded RedState, told the Daily Beast. “I’m not down with white supremacists.”

(click here to continue reading Erick Erickson Vows To De-Register As GOPer If Trump Is Party’s Nominee.)

The Earth Was Here
The Earth Was Here

Climate Disruption is going to disrupt the planet until it is stopped, or we perish…

In 2006, six years after his presidential bid, Al Gore launched the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The movie made headlines around the world, raising awareness of global warming and its predicted dire consequences for the planet and society.

The movie did more than this, though, as it also politicized global warming to an unprecedented level. It brought the spotlight to an issue that, as the title says, many investors and politicians find inconvenient. If nothing is done to curb the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, temperatures will rise, ice caps will melt, ocean levels will rise and weather patterns across the globe will be disrupted. This truth remains unchanged.

An article in Science News by Thomas Sumner does an excellent job summarizing what we’ve learned since the release of the movie, which predictions panned out and what was off the mark. Lonnie Thomson, the climate scientist whose studies of melting glaciers in the high Andes were featured in the documentary, says: “The physics and chemistry that we’ve known about for over 200 years is bearing out. We’ve learned so much in the last 10 years, but the fact that the unprecedented climate change of the last 40 years is being driven by increased carbon dioxide hasn’t changed.”

(click here to continue reading After 10 Years, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Is Still Inconvenient : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.)

43
43

Don’t know if this is positive news or negative news for Donald Trump:

Neither George HW nor George W Bush, the only two living former Republican presidents of the United States, will endorse Donald Trump.

In statements released to the Guardian on Wednesday evening, spokesmen for both former presidents said they would be sitting out the 2016 election. Freddy Ford, a spokesman for George W Bush, told the Guardian: “President George W Bush does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign.”

The statement by the 43rd president was echoed in one released by his father. Jim McGrath, a spokesman for George HW Bush, told the Guardian: “At age 91, President Bush is retired from politics.

(click here to continue reading Neither George W nor George HW Bush will endorse Donald Trump | US news | The Guardian.)

Donald Trump Is A Swine
Donald Trump Is A Swine

Speaking of idiots, Donald Trump has already began to flip-flop:

“I’ll be putting up money, but won’t be completely self-funding,” the presumptive Republican nominee said in an interview Wednesday. Mr. Trump, who had largely self-financed his successful primary run, added that he would create a “world-class finance organization.” The campaign will tap his expansive personal Rolodex and a new base of supporters who aren’t on party rolls, two Trump advisers said.

The new plan represents a shift for Mr. Trump, who has for months portrayed his Republican opponents as “puppets” for relying on super PACs and taking contributions from wealthy donors that he said came with strings attached.

(click here to continue reading Donald Trump Won’t Self-Fund General-Election Campaign – WSJ.)

Tribune Tower
Tribune Tower

and speaking of fish-wrappers:

Less than two weeks after the Gannett Company went public with an unsolicited bid to acquire Tribune Publishing Company, Tribune’s board formally responded with a firm answer: No.

On Wednesday, Tribune Publishing, which owns newspapers including The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, sent a letter to Gannett saying its board had unanimously rejected the $815 million takeover offer, which included debt and other liabilities and represented a significant premium above Tribune’s share price.

(click here to continue reading Tribune Publishing Says No to Gannett’s $815 Million Offer – The New York Times.)

Prince - A Singular, Meticulous Master of Pop
Prince – A Singular, Meticulous Master of Pop

This is just sad news: addiction is a real epidemic…

Prince Rogers Nelson had an unflinching reputation among those close to him for leading an assiduously clean lifestyle. He ate vegan and preferred to avoid the presence of meat entirely. He was known to eschew alcohol and marijuana, and no one who went on tour with him could indulge either.

But Prince appears to have shielded from even some of his closest friends that he had a problem with pain pills, one that grew so acute that his friends sought urgent medical help from Dr. Howard Kornfeld of California, who specializes in treating people addicted to pain medication.

Dr. Kornfeld, who runs a treatment center in Mill Valley, Calif., sent his son on an overnight flight to meet with Prince at his home to discuss a treatment plan, said William J. Mauzy, a lawyer for the Kornfeld family, during a news conference on Wednesday outside his Minneapolis office.

But he arrived too late.

(click here to continue reading Prince’s Addiction and an Intervention Too Late – The New York Times.)

Ted Cruz - National Enquirer
Ted Cruz – National Enquirer

On a lighter note, at least Ted “Calgary” Cruz has suspended his campaign. Though I suspect he’ll still try to cause disruption at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, at least enough to get his name in the news again.

Before confronting for the first time the innate chaos contained in the phrase, “Presumptive Presidential Nominee Donald Trump,” let us pause for a moment to bid farewell to Tailgunner Ted Cruz, who probably is not the Zodiac Killer, whose father probably did not drink hurricanes in the French Quarter with Lee Harvey Oswald, and who definitely is not the towering figure in our national history that he fancies himself to be. Nothing became his ego so much as the speech in which he decided that his campaign was, indeed, a dead fish

He brought Carly Fiorina in as a mock running mate. (For the record, she was Cruz’s “running mate” for less time than Tom Eagleton was for George McGovern.) It didn’t work. He played the Urinal Cooties card. It didn’t work. Instead, he probably lost badly on Tuesday night at least in part because Trump deftly played The Oswald Card when it would do the most damage.

That was a bit of mock punditry there on my part, but the fact that Cruz couldn’t resist rising to that idiotic clickbait on the day of the primary is measure enough of the self-delusion that was his greatest weakness against a shameless and vulgar talking yam. It was Jeb (!) Bush who learned the second-worst thing for a candidate to be if he’s running against He, Trump—which is a humorless, privileged fop. The worst thing to be is what the Tailgunner was—a self-important dweeb with delusions of sacred grandeur. In both cases, you are a big bag of hot air in search of a needle. That is He, Trump’s only consistent political skill. No wonder Tom Brady loves him. Nobody is more skilled at deflating people than He, Trump.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz Drops Out of Race After Indiana – The Same Forces That Produced Trump Produced Cruz.)

Footnotes:
  1. more than just the Mayflower folks []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 5th, 2016 at 9:10 am

A Few Odd Facts about Lee Oswald and Rafael Cruz

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Sphinx - Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum
Sphinx – Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum…

The 2016 Presidential Nomination race has been the weirdest of my lifetime, especially on the GOP side. Ben Carson angrily insisted he stabbed someone, claimed Egyptian pyramids were giant grain canisters, and yet he still led the polls for a while. And then there was Ted Cruz – a/k/a the Zodiac Killer, or who knows what…

3/4 of a Kennedy Trumps 1/2 a Reagan

3/4 of a Kennedy Trumps 1/2 a Reagan 

And there was the allegation that Ted Cruz’s religiously-insane former Cuban Communist father, Rafael Cruz was friends with Lee Harvey Oswald, and was photographed with Oswald in New Orleans before President John Kennedy’s assassination. 

Earlier this week, the National Enquirer published a groundbreaking investigation that would prove fatal to the Ted Cruz campaign: TED CRUZ FATHER LINKED TO JFK ASSASSINATION. But is any of it true? After an exhaustive investigation of our own, Gawker has concluded that, sure, why not!

The trouble really started yesterday when Donald Trump referenced the burgeoning conspiracy theory on Fox News. During an interview, the host brought up Rafael Cruz’s supposed influence over the evangelical community. Trump, a noted lover of both Philippians, countered with his own Christian credentials (read: Jerry Falwell Jr.). And then he said this:

And you know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being… you know—shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? And nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about it. And that was reported, and nobody talks about it.

… I mean, what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was an American grassroots group for sympathizers of the Cuban revolution, with Oswald heading up the New Orleans branch. A branch that supposedly only consisted of two people—Oswald himself and a man named A.J. Hidell. Of course, A.J. Hidell was also probably just Lee Harvey Oswald again.

Which means, when it came time for Oswald to start handing out pamphlets in the summer of 1963, he needed to hire some people to get the word out. According to the Warren Commission report, that meant hiring two men (one of them Cuban, just like Rafael) out of the unemployment line for a bit of afternoon flyer work. One of the young men later provided testimony about his brief working relationship with Oswald, the other was never found.

According to records from Ancestry.com, Rafael did live in Dallas briefly in 1962 before moving to New Orleans. Now, here’s a photo from Dealey Plaza on the day of JFK’s assassination.

(click here to continue reading Why That Actually Could Be Rafael Cruz With Lee Harvey Oswald.)

Probably not true, but we’ll never know unless President Trump1 decides to waterboard Rafael Cruz to get the truth out. And even then we’ll never know:

In February 1967, FBI official W. A. Branigan told deputy FBI director William Sullivan that the mystery man remained unidentified after an “ex[h]austive investigation.” In the context of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s query about gaps in the investigation, this person was singled out as an individual associated with Oswald who could not be identified.

Lee Harvey Oswald and Rafael Cruz

 

 

The failure to investigate

By February 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was investigating an alleged JFK conspiracy in New Orleans and the FBI and the CIA began to watch him closely.

In April 1967 CIA director Richard Helms sent out a worldwide memo seeking to identify critics of the Warren Commission as irrational and anti-American and claiming that the Agency had fully cooperated with the Commission. Last October, Politico reported that CIA historian David Robarge now acknowledges that the CIA did not cooperate with the Commission but rather foisted a supposedly “benign coverup” on JFK investigators.

In September 1967 the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff, headed by James Angleton, set up a “Garrison Group” to monitor the New Orleans investigation. Angleton’s people never identified Oswald’s collaborator in handing out pro-Castro pamphlets either.

The Garrison Group was more concerned about preventing Garrison from identifying Cubans who had worked with the agency than it was about investigating Oswald’s Cuban contacts. One possible explanation:  George Joannides, undercover case officer for the CIA-funded Cuban Student Directorate in Miami in 1963, maintained a residence in New Orleans, according to sworn testimony of U.S. Attorney Ron Machen.

The bottom line

So while there is no reason to think that the man in the picture is Rafael Cruz,  the theoretical possibility cannot be eliminated, thanks to the government’s failure to thoroughly investigate JFK’s assassination. Once again the malfeasance (or incompetence) of the CIA and FBI has empowered a conspiracy theorist whose speculations serve to obscure, not clarify, the historical record.

(click here to continue reading JFKfactsThe facts about Lee Oswald and Rafael Cruz – JFKfacts.)

Footnotes:
  1. godz forbid []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 4th, 2016 at 10:50 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , , ,

South Carolina and Nevada GOP 2016 Results Confirm Trump As Eventual Nominee

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Now that the South Carolina primary and the Nevada Caucus results are in, we can probably agree that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee. What is going to stop him? other than him becoming bored of “inflating his brand”, which as we know, is the main point of his existence.

In South Carolina, nobody else even won a delegate.

South Carolina GOP Primary Results 2016 02 23

South Carolina GOP Primary Results 2016-02-23.png 

As we mentioned, losers Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz crowed about coming in not-first, as if there was some consolation prize. Maybe in some contests, but not in South Carolina! Delegate count: Trump 50, the rest of the field, zilch.

Jeb Bush blew through hundreds of millions of dollars on the campaign, and netted exactly 4 delegates. If we use the $130,000,000 cited by the NYT, even though I’m sure the actual amount spent by John Ellis Bush! Bush’s campaign was greater than this number, that works out to $32,500,000 spent per delegate acquired. Damn! I should really start a political consulting business, there is some sweet, sweet cash available…

When Jeb Bush formally entered the presidential campaign in June, there was already more money behind him than every other Republican candidate combined. When he suspended his campaign on Saturday night in South Carolina, Mr. Bush had burned through the vast majority of that cash without winning a single state. It may go down as one of the least successful campaign spending binges in history.

(click here to continue reading How Jeb Bush Spent $130 Million Running for President With Nothing to Show for It – The New York Times.)

Why exactly are business moguls and other wealthy people going to keep giving and giving to Super PACs if they get nothing to show for the largesse? David Frum explores this thought in greater detail:

The 2016 super PACs certainly had the funds to do it! In addition to the nine-digit haul at Right to Rise, super PACs aligned with Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker all raised amounts somewhere between handsome and staggering. Yet in this Republican presidential contest, “never in the history of political campaigns has so much, bought so little, so fleetingly.”

Or more exactly…

Never has so much bought so little of what it was meant to buy. Obviously the funds expended on behalf of Jeb Bush have bought a great deal for a great many people. Even if the estimate of Mike Murphy’s take is overstated—or possibly confuses gross billings by his firm with net income to himself—the 2016 super PACs have provided princely incomes for their principals and comfortable livelihoods for hundreds more. The question that is bound to occur to super PAC donors is: “Are we being cheated?” Increasingly, super PACs look like the political world’s equivalent of hedge funds: institutions that charge vastly above-market fees to deliver sub-market returns.

Disgust with the costly ineffectiveness of super PACs may explain one of the most important mysteries of the current phase of the 2016 campaign. We keep hearing that Marco Rubio has replaced Jeb Bush as the new darling of establishment Republicans. Yet Rubio’s fundraising has lagged. Rubio’s super PAC, Conservative Solutions, raised $14.4 million in the second half of 2015—the period in which Jeb Bush’s candidacy cratered. In January 2016, by which time Bush was plainly doomed, and Rubio cast by almost all reporters as theoretical front-runner, Conservative Solutions raised only $2.46 million.

And flashing forward in time, one has to wonder: How voluntary, really, were those gifts to Right to Rise? The campaign finance system is often described as organized bribery, but to many of those writing the checks, it must often feel like organized blackmail. How many would have appreciated some way to reply to the call from the Jeb Bush campaign: “Sure! Gladly! Love Jeb! Happy to give the legal maximum!”—in a world in which the legal maximum was $5,000 or $10,000 or $25,000. Like all human beings, multimillionaires have finite funds and infinite possibilities to expend those funds. Some must regard the local hospital or the homeless shelter or the city opera or their alma mater as more deserving causes than the ambitions of this politician or that. But the politician can retaliate, and the hospital, the homeless shelter, the opera, and the alma mater cannot. So it’s the politician who shoves his or her way to the head of the giving queue.

(click here to continue reading The Mystery of the Super PAC – The Atlantic.)

 In Nevada, Trump again won by big margins.

Nevada Caucus Results GOP 2016 02 24
Nevada Caucus Results GOP 2016-02-24.PNG

 Cruz, deep down, knows he is not going to win, but is continuing the grift, to build his own brand, for those post-Senate years ahead…

Instead, Trump trounced the two senators, defeating Rubio, who came in second place, by twenty-two points and beating Cruz by almost twenty-five points. Combined, they still lost.

Rubio had enough good sense to leave the state before the results were tabulated and to stay off the television after Trump was declared the winner, at midnight.

In what has become a new development this campaign cycle, Cruz took the stage to deliver what sounded like a victory speech after a resounding loss. It was like watching a broadcast from North Korea. Cruz came onstage to cheers and applause from smiling supporters, who arrayed themselves behind him. “God bless the great state of Nevada!” Cruz announced. Even though the race had been called for Trump, Cruz said the ballots were still being counted and suggested there was some mystery about the results. “I want to congratulate Donald Trump on a strong evening tonight.” He couldn’t bring himself to admit Trump had won. “The only campaign that can beat Donald Trump is this campaign,” Cruz said, as the chyron next to his face on the cable screens showed him winning fewer than half as many votes as his rival. T

his morning, Rubio similarly tried to make the most of his poor Nevada showing during a round of TV interviews. “We did well, and we picked up delegates there last night, and we move on,” he said in one appearance.

(click here to continue reading The Rubio and Cruz Delusion – The New Yorker.)

So, who are the people who support Trump? Do they realize he cannot fulfill most of his campaign promises, unless he overthrows the US government and become dictator? Doesn’t matter, they are just pissed off at the status quo, and have been trained by years of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, et al, to despise the government, and undocumented workers, and non-Caucasians, and non-Christians, and you get the gist…

At this point, the only thing surprising about Donald Trump winning a Republican primary is the fact that we all—the media, the panicked liberal voters, the GOP Establishment—continue to be surprised. Almost immediately after voting ended in the chaotic Nevada caucuses Tuesday, the networks called the race for the Republican frontrunner, confirming what polls had long predicted in the Silver State. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Trump won 46 percent of the vote, nearly double the total for Marco Rubio, whose second-place finish somehow didn’t stop him from sounding triumphant in interviews.

The breakdown of the vote was similar to what it was in South Carolina days earlier, with Rubio barely edging out Ted Cruz, and Trump wiping the floor with both of them. According to CNN exit polling, Trump dominated across every demographic, even the ones he wasn’t supposed to win. He won among young voters and educated ones, among evangelicals and ultra-conservatives—hell, he even won among Hispanics.

But while Cruz may have the support of far-right state politicians—the sort of new Republican Establishment birthed by the Tea Party—Trump seems to have a solid lock on their rank-and-file. Obviously, this is a bad sign for Cruz, signaling that when conservatives are faced with the choice between him and Trump, they will continue to choose the candidate who’s louder, brasher, and even more of a dick. And should Cruz drop out of the race, it’s hard to imagine those ultra-conservatives deciding to embrace Rubio over Trump.

What Nevada demonstrated is what observers who’ve been dreading a Trump nomination haven’t been willing to admit: Republican voters really love Donald Trump. From the Deep South to the Northeast to the West, voters are angry and have found someone who validates, reflects, and amplifies their anger. It doesn’t particularly matter that he might not share their specific anger about land use rights or whatever.

(click here to continue reading How Donald Trump Won Nevada’s Cliven Bundy Vote | VICE | United States.)

Remember the movie, Idiocracy?

This was the plot of the 2006 cult comedy “Idiocracy,” a satirical movie that poked fun at an imagined dystopian version of America, where everyone — including lawmakers and government officials — were morons. But this week, the film’s writer said the world of “Idiocracy” had become all too real.

“I never expected ‘Idiocracy’ to become a documentary,” Etan Cohen, who co-wrote the film, posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

(click here to continue reading ‘Idiocracy’ Writer Says Satirical Film About Dumbed-Down America Has Become A ‘Documentary’.)

Less-well educated voters are a core constituency for Trump:

“Actually, I won everything,” Donald Trump said this week, after his victory in South Carolina and before his rout in Nevada. “I won short people, tall people. I won fat people, skinny people. I won highly educated, OK educated, and practically not educated at all. I won the evangelicals big and I won the military.”

The Republican presidential frontrunner was, broadly speaking, correct. After his third consecutive victory, one that puts him on course to win the Republican nomination for the White House, it is less useful to ask who is voting for him than who isn’t.

The only state he didn’t win was Iowa, where he came second.

In New Hampshire, South Carolina and, on Tuesday, Nevada, Trump did not just win resoundingly by leveraging one or two types of conservative voters. Entrance polls reveal he triumphed by drawing on a pool of voters as wide as it was deep.

Who are Trump supporters? Insofar as the Republican electorate goes, the answer, for the moment at least, seems to be everyone.

Analysis of recent polling and elections survey data indicates that while his base his broad, its members tend, overall, to be older, whiter, poorer, less conservative, less-well educated and, going by past voting records, less likely to turn out than supporters of rival candidates. Many have spent their lives on the fringes of politics.

(click here to continue reading ‘I won everything’: just who are Donald Trump’s supporters? | US news | The Guardian.)

Is there a ceiling for Trump? Are there enough less-educated voters to sweep him to power? Let’s hope not…

Written by Seth Anderson

February 25th, 2016 at 10:03 am

Losers Now, Losers Forever

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Don’t you find it amusing that Rubio and Cruz (and earlier, John Ellis Bush! Bush) assert that coming in second or third is a big victory? Even in a basically three person race? I realize 95% of politics is just spin, but that’s pathetic…We Three Pigs

We Three Pigs

Sen. Ted Cruz had a massive “third-place win,” a term his campaign actually relayed to reporters, on the record, intending for it to be published. This third-place win, per the Cruz campaign, marked an absolutely dominating victory over second-place loser Sen. Marco Rubio. “Nevada, Rubio’s Firewall: The Place Where He Would Win Big,” read the alert from the Cruz campaign Tuesday night. It is true that the Rubio campaign had pointed some months ago to Nevada as the early state where their guy had the strongest chance of winning. What a devastating silver medal it was, then, to Cruz’s victory bronze.

Take a lap, Marco, and slap some fives. You may not have anything close to an old-fashioned “first-place victory” under your belt yet, and in no contest have you bested Donald Trump. But that’s all going to change soon when the intimidating streak of second- and third-place finishes you rack up on Super Tuesday forces Cruz, who may actually win a very large state on March 1, to drop out. After all, as you said Wednesday morning on Fox News, “you don’t win the nomination by how many states you win.”

The will to stop Trump does not appear to exist, and that is pathetic.
That’s particularly great news for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished in fifth place in the Nevada caucuses, pummeling Rubio in the for-pretend game that Kasich’s campaign is playing. “Contrary to what his campaign is trying to portray,” the statement from Kasich campaign manager John Weaver read, “Senator Rubio just endured another disappointing performance despite being the highest spending candidate in Nevada. He also missed an opportunity to back up the notion that he can bring new people into the Republican Party or succeed above expectations in a diverse state.” Fair, but come on: Isn’t it a little crass for the fifth-place winner to be rubbing it in so nastily to the second-place loser? At least give the guy who finished 20 percentage points ahead of you a couple of days to recuperate before mocking him.

(click here to continue reading Cruz and Rubio are doing nothing to stop Donald Trump..)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 24th, 2016 at 11:29 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Ted Cruz could be disqualified

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Romans Discussing Motor Scooters 1993
Since the issue of Natural Born Citizenship is of personal interest to us, we’ve been following closely the many discussions of the issue. An incredibly large number of news articles include a misleading phrase like:

Monmouth University asked Republicans nationally how they felt about Cruz’s eligibility to be president, given his birthplace. (Legal experts broadly agree that it is not an issue.) Nearly all Republicans felt confident that Trump is a “natural-born citizen” — the requirement for serving as president.

(click here to continue reading The increasing signs that Donald Trump’s ‘birther’ attack could be hurting Ted Cruz – The Washington Post.)

Did you catch that parenthetical: Legal experts broadly agree that it is not an issue. Except that statement is demonstratedly not true. There are no Supreme Court cases to cite because there are none, not because they are hidden or obscure. And legal experts are not in broad agreement.

or this aside, also from The Washington Post:

Legal scholars agree that Cruz meets the Constitution’s natural-born citizenship requirement, though it is untested in the courts.

(click here to continue reading Trump says Cruz’s Canadian birth could be ‘very precarious’ for GOP – The Washington Post.)

or this one from USA Today/Arizona Republic:

The legal consensus would appear to deem Cruz eligible to be president, as most legal scholars use historical context to interpret the intentions of the constitution’s framers.

(click here to continue reading Fact Check: Ted Cruz on constitutional clarity of ‘natural-born citizen’.)

Yeah, not so much. You get the idea, notice for yourself how many news articles will slip in a variation of “nothing to see here”.

Standing in the Shadows of Others
Standing in the Shadows of Others

On the other hand, there are smarter journalists like the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Chapman, who writes, in part:

There is no dispute that the Texas senator was a U.S. citizen from birth, since his mother was an American. Donald Trump has raised questions, though, about whether Cruz, being born in the great state of Alberta, qualifies as “a natural born citizen.”

Cruz dismisses the issue. “It’s settled law,” he says. “As a legal matter it’s quite straightforward.”

In fact, it’s never been settled, it’s not straightforward and some experts don’t agree with his reading.

The fact that it was Trump who raised the issue made it deeply suspect. But though it’s unlikely that anything coming out of Trump’s mouth is true, it’s not impossible. And his claim that this is an unresolved question that could end up throwing the election into doubt happens to be correct.

When it comes to parsing the crucial phrase, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe has noted, “No Supreme Court decision in the past two centuries has ever done so. In truth, the constitutional definition of a ‘natural born citizen’ is completely unsettled.”

Tribe says that under an originalist interpretation of the Constitution — the type Cruz champions — he “wouldn’t be eligible, because the legal principles that prevailed in the 1780s and ’90s required that someone actually be born on U.S. soil to be a ‘natural born citizen.'”

Nor is Tribe alone among experts. University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner says, “The ordinary meaning of the language suggests to me that one must be born on U.S. territory.”

Chapman University’s Ronald Rotunda, co-author of a widely used constitutional law textbook, told me a couple of weeks ago he had no doubt that Cruz is eligible. But when he investigated the issue, he concluded that under the relevant Supreme Court precedents, “Cruz simply is not a natural born citizen.”

 …

Catholic University law professor Sarah Helene Duggin wrote in 2005, “Natural born citizenship is absolutely certain only for United States citizens born post-statehood in one of the 50 states, provided that they are not members of Native American tribes.”

Steven Lubet, a Northwestern University law professor, spies another possible land mine. Cruz qualified for citizenship because his mother was an American citizen (unlike his father). But “under the law in effect in 1970, Cruz would only have acquired U.S. citizenship if his mother had been ‘physically present’ in the United States for 10 years prior to his birth, including five years after she reached the age of 14,” Lubet wrote in Salon.

 

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz could be disqualified. GOP, is that worth the risk? – Chicago Tribune.)

Running and Running, Yet Standing Still
Running and Running, Yet Standing Still

In other words, this does not seem to be a settled matter, and it will not be until the SCOTUS takes the case, after someone with proper standing asks them to.

probably not this guy:

A Utah man has filed a federal lawsuit against Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, claiming he is not a natural-born citizen and thus, cannot be President of the United States.

Walter Wagner filed the lawsuit on his own in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. He claims Cruz’s parents were seeking Canadian citizenship at the time of his birth.

(click here to continue reading Utah man suing Ted Cruz claiming he’s not a natural-born citizen | fox13now.com.)

and probably not this guy either:

An 85-year-old Houston trial lawyer has had enough of political debate over whether Sen. Ted Cruz’s Canadian birth affects his presidential eligibility, deciding Thursday to attempt to raise the issue in court.

Newton B. Schwartz, Sr. filed a complaint Thursday in U.S. District Court in Texas asking for a judgment concerning whether Mr. Cruz can run or serve as president.

Now a leading Republican presidential candidate, Mr. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1970 to an American mother. His U.S. citizenship is not in doubt, but the Constitution sets out a requirement that the president and vice president be “natural-born” citizens. The phrase is left undefined by the Constitution and the question of presidential eligibility has never been firmly settled by the Supreme Court.

A former assistant U.S. attorney, Mr. Schwartz in an interview said he was surprised “nobody else filed it.” Mr. Schwartz in the complaint names himself as the plaintiff – noting in the complaint he was filing it “pro se and pro bono,” legal jargon meaning he would represent himself free.

“This 229-year question has never been pled, presented to or finally decided by or resolved by the U. S. Supreme Court and by any other U. S. Court of Appeals,” the lawsuit said.

Filing the case may be the easy part. Mr. Schwartz must now convince a judge he has standing, or the right, to bring the case and then that he has raised an issue the court must decide. He claims he has standing based on his eligibility as a voter in the Texas presidential primary and the November general election.

(click here to continue reading Houston Trial Lawyer Files Lawsuit on Ted Cruz’s Presidential Eligibility – Washington Wire – WSJ.)

No Alien is Illegal
No Alien is Illegal

There is also the irony that the target of the Natural Born controversy is Mr. Smug himself, Teddy Cruz…

The more natural reading of the language and original understanding of the “natural born” citizenship requirement therefore would seem to be that one needed to be born, as the 14th Amendment put it, “in the United States,” rather than that one had an American parent. The Constitution, as opposed to any statute, prescribes birthright citizenship, not lineage, as the constitutional definition of acquiring citizenship at birth. Any statute expanding that definition to take into account the massively increased mobility of American citizens since the rural agrarian roots of the Constitution in 1787 would provide a means of automatic naturalization. In short, the framers of both the original Constitution and the 14th Amendment seem to have distinguished between constitutionally and legislatively conferred citizenship. Those who acquire their citizenship by virtue of birth in the United States are, according to the 14th Amendment, constitutionally conferred citizens, which also seems to be the original understanding of “natural born” citizens. All others must secure their citizenship through legislative enactment, i.e. naturalization, whether with or without any required process or prerequisites.

The irony, of course, which cannot be lost on Sen. Ted Cruz, is that under the Constitution anyone born in the United States to a set of undocumented immigrants has a much clearer and more certain legal entitlement to run for president of the United States than he does. No wonder Cruz has railed against birthright citizenship, even though it is expressly contained in the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, a document he swore an oath of office to uphold.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz Is Not a ‘Natural Born’ Citizen According to the Constitution – US News.)

Written by Seth Anderson

January 30th, 2016 at 10:33 am

Posted in politics

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Ted Cruz Argues For War Crimes

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Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Speaking of Ted “Calgary” Cruz, did you hear the part of the Republican Debate last night where Cruz demanded the US commit war crimes?

CRUZ: Well Chris, I will apologize to nobody for the vigorousness with which I will fight terrorism, go after ISIS, hunt them down wherever they are and utterly and completely destroy ISIS.

You know, you claim it is tough talk to discuss carpet bombing. It is not tough talk. It is a different fundamental military strategy than what we’ve seen from Barack Obama. […]

You want to know what carpet bombing is? It’s what we did in the first Persian Gulf war. 1100 air attacks a day, saturation bombing that utterly destroyed the enemy. Right now, Barack Obama is launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day. He’s not arming the Kurds.

We need to define the enemy. We need to rebuild the military to defeat the enemy and we need to be focused and lift the rules of engagement so we’re not sending our fighting men and women into combat with their arms tied behind their backs.

(click here to see video of Cruz Argues For War Crimes To Defeat ISIS | Crooks and Liars.)

Carpet bombing: the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, bombing hospitals, schools, neighborhoods, anything alive at all. Very Christian of you, Teddy. I guess I missed that part of Jesus Christ’s message that called for indiscriminate slaughter of innocent babies and pregnant mothers.

Born To Kill
Born To Kill…

Seriously, even the Pentagon doesn’t think that’s a good strategy, but then Commandant Cruz doesn’t often listen to experts…

The Pentagon on Wednesday criticized proposals to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that it says would fuel the terrorist group’s recruitment abilities.

“It’s clear from ISIL’s strategy that their objective is to cause us to engage in what they believe is an apocalyptic war with the West,” said Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, using an alternate acronym for ISIS. “And anything that we do to feed that particular frame of thinking counters our national security, and we have to be very careful about how we prosecute a campaign that appears to be an indiscriminate attempt to attack ISIL and the population that surrounds it.”

“We will carpet bomb them into oblivion,” Cruz said last weekend in Iowa. “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

[Senator] McCaskill slammed Cruz’s comments, saying that actually carpet bombing Iraq or Syria would kill numerous innocent women and children, prompting some to side with ISIS.

“If we did an indiscriminate carpet bombing of a major area and killed thousands of women and children, would you assume that would have some impact on their ability to recruit misguided barbarians like this couple that took out more than a dozen innocent people last week?” she said, referring to the couple suspected of carrying out last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. “I would have to assume it would put their recruiting on steroids.”

Selva avoided answering directly, saying the military’s campaign strives to avoid collateral damage.

“I’m going to avoid anything hypothetical,” he said. “What I would say, categorically, is the process you described as your hypothetical question is not the way that we apply force in combat. It isn’t now, nor will it ever be.”

(click here to continue reading Pentagon blasts ISIS proposals that would lead to ‘apocalyptic war’ | TheHill.)

Written by Seth Anderson

January 29th, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Posted in politics

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Trump Will Debate Cruz Once A Judge Rules Him Eligible To Run

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Chairman Trump
Chairman Trump

The Donald keeps up his birther schtick, expertly trolling Ted “Calgary” Cruz…

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said on Thursday that his candidate would be “happy” to debate Ted Cruz once the Texas senator gets a federal judge to rule him eligible to run for president. “Once you’ve gotten that ruling from the federal judge and you’re the last man standing in this presidential contest next to Donald Trump, we’ll be happy to have a debate with you one-on-one, anywhere you want, because that’s the way the system works,” Lewandowski said. “But, as it stands right now, we don’t even know if Ted Cruz is legally eligible to run for president of the United States.” Trump and his supporters have argued that Cruz, who was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen, is not natural born and therefore ineligible to run for president under the Constitution.

“What this is, is a publicity stunt by Senator Cruz who is continuing to fall in the polls in the state of Iowa,” Lewandowski told Boston radio host Jeff Kuhner, before unleashing a slew of attacks at Cruz, arguing that he had used “dark money donors” through his super PAC to offer a donation to charity if Trump agreed to the debate.

“If Ted Cruz were able to disclose the loans that he’s taken out from Goldman Sachs and Citi, then maybe he would use his own money for this, but instead he’s using super PAC money which I don’t even know if he can do legally,” Lewandowski said, referring to loans Cruz took out during his 2012 run for Senate that he did not disclose in campaign filings. “And the bottom line is, you know what we’ve said to Ted Cruz, go into court, seek a declaratory judgment to find out if you’re even legally eligible to run for president of the United States.”

(click here to continue reading Trump Campaign Manager: Trump Will Debate Cruz Once Judge Rules Him Eligible To Run – BuzzFeed News.)

At least this particular Birther attack has the benefit of being plausible, unlike Trumpf’s earlier ridiculousness regarding Barack Obama’s childhood.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 29th, 2016 at 10:15 am

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Ted Cruz versus Wong Kim Ark, a Natural Born Citizen

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Superman and Terminator
Superman and Terminator

A commenter by the name of “PoorCitizen” left the following statement in response to the very interesting discussion re: Natural Born Citizen and Ted Cruz as part of a Talking Point Memo blog post entitled: Centuries-Old English Law May Hold The Answer To Ted Cruz’s Birth Issue, which you should read too. 

“Why should American constitutional law in the 21st century depend on what English law from the 1300s?”

The reason is fairly simple to understand. If the words in the Constitution are to mean anything at all, then they must be at least they must be tied to the spirit and context in which they were originally used. This is true, whether you believe in a very restricted “original” interpretation of the meaning of the words in the Constitution or whether you believe in an interpretation of the meaning of the words that allows their meaning to evolve in the context of their “contemporary” legal meaning.

The specific requirements for eligibility for the US Presidency don’t simply demand that a person be a citizen, they specifically require a person to be a “natural born” citizen. The meaning of this common law term dates back to English common law and it is evident that the meaning of the term, as is amply evidenced in virtually all English Common Law as well as in the letters and discussions surrounding the writing of the US Constitution indicate that “natural born” refers specifically to the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the territory where a child is born and not to that of where his parent or parents were born.

There has been much talk about this being an “unsettled” matter of law. However, this is not true, since the US Supreme Court did rule specifically on the question of “natural born” in a case US vs Ark 1898 and specifically researched the meaning of “natural born” in the context of Common law to establish its meaning. After much reference to the meaning of the term in both English Common Law and with respect to its legal meaning at the time the Constitution was written, the Court ruled that “natural born” meant precisely that a person is considered “natural born”, if and only if, they were born within the sovereign territory of the United States. In fact, this is precisely why Mr. Ark won his case, even though both of his parents were Chinese and not Americans. Mr. Ark was born in San Francisco.

It should be noted that in US vs Ark, both the majority and minority opinions came to the same conclusion that “natural born” means specifically that a person is born within the jurisdiction or sovereignty of the United States. It is clear that had Mr. Ark not been born within the jurisdiction of the United States he would have lost his case and would have been deported as the US was trying to do.

It is further worth noting that the Court in US vs Ark also made specifically clear that the US could not simply pass a law, at that time the Chinese Exclusion Act, and use it to alter the meaning of “natural born”. They specifically referenced the fact that since that term was used in the Constitution, its meaning could not be altered by statute alone but would require a Constitutional amendment. The Court ruled that no law can amend the Constitution of the United States and any law that the government may attempt to use to do so is unconstitutional in its application. Congress has the power to naturalize, but it does not have the power to amend the meaning of the constitution via statute.

Legally, since the ruling in US vs Ark remains precedence, Mr. Cruz is ineligible to hold the office of the Presidency because he was born in Calgary, Canada as his Canadian birth certificate clearly demonstrates. He remains in ineligible under US law, at least until he gets a constitutional amendment passed permitting him to do so or he can provide proof that US State Department specifically claimed US jurisdiction over his birth. So far Mr. Cruz has not provided that critical piece of evidence.

The present court may attempt to reverse the precedent. However, to do so it will clearly have to waive the original meaning of the term in the Constitution, previous Supreme Court precedent, and more than 500 years of Common Law to do it.

(click here to continue reading Discussion: Centuries-Old English Law May Hold The Answer To Ted Cruz’s Birth Issue – TPM Article Topics – The Hive.)

The Goon in Chinatown
The Goon in Chinatown

Since I’d recently read about the 1898 decision, United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, here’s part of the ruling in that case for reference:

The facts of this case, as agreed by the parties, are as follows: Wong Kim Ark was born in 1873 in the city of San Francisco, in the State of California and United States of America, and was and is a laborer. His father and mother were persons of Chinese descent, and subjects of the Emperor of China; they were at the time of his birth domiciled residents of the United States, having previously established and still enjoying a permanent domicil and residence therein at San Francisco; they continued to reside and remain in the United States until 1890, when they departed for China, and during all the time of their residence in the United States, they were engaged in business, and were never employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China. Wong Kim Ark, ever since his birth, has had but one residence, to-wit, in California, within the United States, and has there resided, claiming to be a citizen of the United States, and has never lost or changed that residence, or gained or acquired another residence, and neither he nor his parents acting for him ever renounced his allegiance to the United States, or did or committed any act or thing to exclude him

Page 169 U. S. 653

therefrom. In 1890 (when he must have been about seventeen years of age), he departed for China on a temporary visit and with the intention of returning to the United States, and did return thereto by sea in the same year, and was permitted by the collector of customs to enter the United States upon the sole ground that he was a native-born citizen of the United States. After such return, he remained in the United States, claiming to be a citizen thereof, until 1894, when he (being about twenty-one years of age, but whether a little above or a little under that age does not appear) again departed for China on a temporary visit and with the intention of returning to the United States, and he did return thereto by sea in August, 1895, and applied to the collector of customs for permission to land, and was denied such permission upon the sole ground that he was not a citizen of the United States.

It is conceded that, if he is a citizen of the United States, the acts of Congress, known as the Chinese Exclusion Acts, prohibiting persons of the Chinese race, and especially Chinese laborers, from coming into the United States, do not and cannot apply to him.

The question presented by the record is whether a child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution,

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The evident intention, and the necessary effect, of the submission of this case to the decision of the court upon the facts agreed by the parties were to present for determination the single question stated at the beginning of this opinion, namely, whether a child born in the United States, of parent of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States. For the reasons above stated, this court is of opinion that the question must be answered in the affirmative.

(click here to continue reading United States v. Wong Kim Ark :: 169 U.S. 649 (1898) :: Justia U.S. Supreme Court Center.)

If you have some time, the US v. Ark case has lots of citations and references. I confess I did not read it all, just enough to get the gist. 

And as I’ve said more than once, until the Supreme Court takes up this case and settles what specifically the phrase “Natural Born Citizen” means, speculation will continue. Ted Cruz is a citizen of the United States, but does he meet the additional requirements to run for president? Who knows?

Written by Seth Anderson

January 14th, 2016 at 6:30 pm

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Ted Cruz and The Birther Head Winds

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The Road to Socialism In Canada
The Road to Socialism In Canada

I too was born in Canada of an American mother. She had to provide a signed, notarized list of all places she lived after the age of 14, can we see Ted Cruz’s mother’s statement like that? Especially since Ted Cruz’s dad was a member of Fidel Castro’s army in Cuba.

Maybe I can become president of the US after all!

Or not…

It was only a matter of time before Donald Trump threw Ted Cruz under the birther bus now that they’re duking it out to win Iowa. Behold, that time came on Tuesday. Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1970 to an American mother, and although it clearly pained Trump to bring it up, he just had to do it. For the better of the Republican Party, of course.

“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when asked about the topic. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”

Trump added, “I’d hate to see something like that get in his way. But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.” Is this little hiccup too good to be true? Maybe not.

It comes down to a question of what the constitutional requirement of being a “natural born citizen” means. Legal scholars have typically interpreted that to mean someone who was a citizen at birth, which Cruz was based on his mother’s U.S. citizenship. However, one nagging fact remains: the Supreme Court has never ruled on exactly what “natural born citizen” means.

(click here to continue reading Trump goes full birther on Cruz: His Canadian birthplace could be ‘very precarious’ for the GOP.)

The Constitution does not define the term natural born citizen. Even so, Governor Schwarzenegger is clearly out of the running. Given that he was born in Austria to Austrian parents, there is no basis for arguing that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States.

For Senator Cruz—who was born in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother and a Cuban father—the question is more complicated. There is a strong argument that anyone who acquires United States citizenship at birth, whether by virtue of the 14th Amendment or by operation of federal statute, qualifies as natural born. The Supreme Court, however, has never ruled on the meaning of the natural-born citizenship requirement. In the absence of a definitive Supreme Court ruling—or a constitutional amendment—the parameters of the clause remain uncertain.

The origins of the Natural Born Citizenship Clause date back to a letter John Jay (who later authored several of the Federalist Papers and served as our first chief justice) wrote to George Washington, then president of the Constitutional Convention, on July 25, 1787. At the time, as Justice Joseph Story later explained in his influential Commentaries on the Constitution, many of the framers worried about “ambitious foreigners who might otherwise be intriguing for the office.”

“Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen,” Jay wrote.

Washington thanked Jay for his hints in a reply dated September 2, 1787. Shortly thereafter, the natural-born citizenship language appeared in the draft Constitution the Committee of Eleven presented to the Convention. There is no record of any debate on the clause.

(click here to continue reading Is Ted Cruz a natural-born citizen eligible to serve as president?.)

And of course, some couldn’t help but jump on the birther wagon…

Rand Paul said on Wednesday that he’s not sure if his Canadian-born rival for the Republican presidential nomination Ted Cruz is eligible to be president of the United States.
“You know, I think without question he is qualified and would make the cut to be prime minister of Canada, absolutely without question, he is qualified and he meets the qualifications,” the Kentucky senator said of Cruz on the radio show Kilmeade and Friends.

“You know, I’m not an expert on the natural-born clause in the Constitution and people have various opinions,” said Paul. “Some people believe it means you need to be born here, some people think it means you can be born in another country as long as your parents are citizens.” “And we’ve had some previous cases of it, but I don’t think we’ve ever gone through the court system for the Supreme Court to decide one way or another,” he continued. “It is interesting, and I think sometimes people point out that it’s a double standard, in the sense that people went out, hot and heavy, including Donald Trump you know, about President Obama when there was really nothing more than conjecture that he wasn’t born in the country. And yet, there hasn’t been really the same outrage at all for some one who actually is born in another country.”

(click here to continue reading Rand Paul Says He’s Not Sure If Ted Cruz Is Eligible To Be President – BuzzFeed News.)

White House press secretary Josh Earnest poked some fun Wednesday at renewed interest in Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’s eligibility to be commander-in-chief.

“It would be quite ironic if after seven or eight years of drama around the President’s birth certificate if Republican primary voters were to choose Sen. Cruz as their nominee,” Earnest said with a smirk. “Somebody who wasn’t actually born in the United States and only 18 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship.”

(click here to continue reading WH Spox: It’d Be ‘Ironic’ If Canadian-Born Cruz Chosen As GOP Nominee.)

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, who once dismissed birthers as “cranks,” suggested Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may be ineligible for the presidency because he is not a “natural born citizen.”

(click here to continue reading Ann Coulter Now Suggests Ted Cruz Isn’t A ‘Natural Born Citizen’.)

Useful as a Canadian Penny
Useful as a Canadian Penny

the only real obstacle is having standing to argue in front of the Supreme Court, before the election:

Despite the shadow that lawsuits may cast over a presidential bid, the obstacles to successful litigation of natural-born citizenship challenges are formidable. These matters raise a wide array of justiciability concerns. Standing issues led to the dismissal of lawsuits filed in federal courts in New Hampshire and California challenging Senator McCain’s natural-born status in 2008 (Hollander v. McCain, Robinson v. Bowen), as well as to the dismissal of claims brought by a Guyana-born naturalized citizen who argued that the Fifth and 14th Amendments effectively repealed the natural born citizenship clause (Hassan v. Federal Election Committee).

Standing is not the only obstacle to adjudication of natural-born citizenship issues. Claims that a candidate lacks the requisite natural-born citizenship credentials are unlikely to ripen until a nominee is chosen, or perhaps even elected, and federal courts may be reluctant to delve into the merits of challenges to a candidate’s natural-born citizenship status on political question grounds.

(click here to continue reading Is Ted Cruz a natural-born citizen eligible to serve as president?.)

Written by Seth Anderson

January 6th, 2016 at 6:34 pm

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Snootful of Snippets for December 11 2015

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We'll see what happens
We’ll see what happens…

Some quick takes for your general edification and amusement, and disgust…

Too many people have not learned this essential 21st C.E. lesson: corporations are not really people, and thus cannot really “like” you…

A downside of any emotional relationship that can bring such joys is that it can also bring anguish if things go sour. A 2004 BusinessWeek analysis found mergers were a common cause of that anguish: Measures of customer satisfaction tended to decline significantly and persistently after them. Just ask anyone who was a Flickr super-user before Yahoo! bought the photo sharing service. Or the shoppers who protested in downtown Chicago streets when the beloved local department store Marshall Field’s turned into Macy’s.

That may seem like an argument for resisting the urge to fall in love with a company. After all, companies don’t really love their customers. They love profits. And they see gaining customers’ affection as a good way to make profits. They will let that affection wilt if it stops being an effective tool for making money.

(click here to continue reading Sorry, but Your Favorite Company Can’t Be Your Friend – The New York Times.)

Jon Stewart is starting to get bored not being on the teevee, methinks

That’s when Stewart got down to business by bringing da Trump with a thick New York accent, wagging shoulders and wild gesticulations we’ve come to love about his classic impressions. “These 9/11 first responders, let me tell ya’ something, hey, these 9/11 first responders are the most top-notch, first-class, diamond-encrusted heroes America can produce,” Stewart said. “Don’t let Congress play politics with this necessary bill. If I’m elected, and I will be elected, I will build a wall around politics and I will make politics pay for it. Tweet at your Congressman #WorstResponders. Tell them Donald said ‘pull up your big boy pants and make America Great again. Pass the Zadroga Act, or I will glue Congress together, dip them in gold and wear them around my freggin’ neck!”

Stewart is hoping with enough public pressure on Congress they will add the Zadroga Act to the upcoming omnibus bill that has so many riders it’s not as if anyone would notice.

(click here to continue reading Jon Stewart plays Trump in riotous reunion with Stephen Colbert – Salon.com.)

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/593/22586967893_7ba686f897_m.jpg
The madness has begun!!

Like a food court maybe? Seriously, how long before Scalia says something so vile that impeachment talk begins to rumble in Congress? Within the year? 

A new study conducted by legal scholars indicates that Justice Antonin Scalia would fare better if he served as a judge at a court that was “less advanced” than the United States Supreme Court.

According to the study, Scalia’s struggles to perform his duties in a competent fashion stem from his being inappropriately placed on a court that is “too demanding” for a person of his limited abilities.

“Forcing Justice Scalia to weigh in on complex legal issues that he lacks the background or aptitude to comprehend is, at the end of the day, cruel,” the study said.

(click here to continue reading Study: Scalia Better Off in “Less Advanced” Court – The New Yorker.)

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5749/23282530220_3d6ccf998e_m.jpg

Sign me up!

Icelanders opposed to the state funding of religion have flocked to register as Zuists, a movement that worships ancient Sumerian gods and – perhaps more importantly – promises its followers a tax rebate.

More than 3,100 people – almost 1% of Iceland’s population – have joined the Zuist movement in the past two weeks in protest at paying part of their taxes to the state church and other religious bodies. Followers of Zuism will be refunded the tax element earmarked for religion.

Icelanders are required to register their religion with the state, with almost three-quarters of the population affiliated to the established Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland. There are more than 40 other registered religious bodies that qualify for “parish fees” paid through the taxation system. The amount set in next year’s budget is the equivalent of about $80 (£53) per taxpayer over a year.

“There is no opt-out. Those who are unaffiliated or belong to unregistered religions effectively just pay higher taxes,” said Sveinn Thorhallsson, a Zuist spokesperson. An opinion poll published in September showed 55% of respondents want an end to the system.

(click here to continue reading Icelanders flock to religion revering Sumerian gods and tax rebates | World news | The Guardian.)

One Stop Shopping
One Stop Shopping

Our premiums have jumped, our insurance broker says it is most certainly due to this change: Feds promised money to insurance companies, then reneged…

Nine days later, the New York Times’s Robert Pear broke some news to readers. “A little-noticed health care provision that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida slipped into a giant spending law last year has tangled up the Obama administration,” he wrote. “Mr. Rubio’s efforts against the so-called risk corridor provision of the health law has hardly risen to the forefront of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, but his plan limiting how much the government can spend to protect insurance companies against financial losses has shown the effectiveness of quiet legislative sabotage.”

A paradox emerges. A “quiet” sabotage would seem to be one the saboteurs do not discuss. Rubio, by contrast, went after risk corridors with all the subtlety of Auric Goldfinger talking to a captured James Bond. Two years ago, when Democrats controlled the Senate, Rubio introduced a stand-alone bill, the “ObamaCare Bailout Prevention Act,” to end risk corridors altogether. Rubio’s talking points have hardly changed since then; letting HHS make up the difference in cost for insurers amounted to “Washington picking winners and losers.” When the CRomnibus passed, health care wonks rang alarm bells about the risk corridor amendment.

(click here to continue reading The ‘quiet victory’ that Marco Rubio can’t stop talking about – The Washington Post.)

Rubio is responsible for the premium hikes, basically

What he calls a bailout is the idea of risk corridors. That was a cushion created, paid into by health insurance companies, to help out companies who took on a disproportionate number of sicker, more expensive Obamacare patients. In the early going, companies couldn’t predict what their customer mix was going to be to help them set premium levels. For those who ended up paying out more in coverage than premiums brought in, the risk corridor gave them a safety net of funds to draw on. At the same time, the companies who paid out less than predicted and had higher profits paid into the fund. 

But in the first year, “claims to obtain money from the program equaled $2.9 billion, while insurers’ payments into the system came to $362 million.” Health and Human Services would have transferred departmental funding—taxpayer money—to the fund to cover the shortfall, but Rubio blocked them from doing so. The result has been that a bunch of smaller insurers have had to drop out of the exchanges, and a dozen or so health insurance cooperatives that started up under the law have folded. Because they’re the ones who couldn’t recoup losses.

(click here to continue reading How Marco Rubio might be responsible for higher Obamacare premiums.)

Buddha Checks Out Illinois Lottery
Buddha Checks Out Illinois Lottery

Scary.

A new round of testing by The Associated Press shows the city’s Olympic waterways are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land, where raw sewage flows into them from fetid rivers and storm drains. That means there is no dilution factor in the bay or lagoon where events will take place and no less risk to the health of athletes like sailors competing farther from the shore.

“Those virus levels are widespread. It’s not just along the shoreline but it’s elsewhere in the water, therefore it’s going to increase the exposure of the people who come into contact with those waters,” said Kristina Mena, an expert in waterborne viruses and an associate professor of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “We’re talking about an extreme environment, where the pollution is so high that exposure is imminent and the chance of infection very likely.”

Now, the AP’s most recent tests since August show not only no improvement in water quality — but that the water is even more widely contaminated than previously known. The number of viruses found over a kilometer from the shore in Guanabara Bay, where sailors compete at high speeds and get utterly drenched, are equal to those found along shorelines closer to sewage sources.

“The levels of viruses are so high in these Brazilian waters that if we saw those levels here in the United States on beaches, officials would likely close those beaches,” Mena said.

(click here to continue reading AP test: Rio Olympic water badly polluted, even far offshore – Yahoo News.)

Enough of this nonsense!
Enough of this nonsense!

Speaking of viruses and pathogens…

Republican party officials are now actively preparing for the prospect of a contested convention in Cleveland as front-runner Donald Trump continues to draw strong support from the GOP base. The scenario was discussed by more than 20 party stalwarts Monday at a Washington, DC, dinner held by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, the Washington Post reported. A person familiar with who attended the dinner confirmed to Bloomberg that it took place, and that Priebus, members of congress, establishment lobbyists and others have held similar discussions for weeks. Should Trump continue to dominate the nomination race in the coming months and amass the required number of delegates to become the official Republican nominee, members of the establishment told the Post they would be forced to contest his nomination on the convention floor in Cleveland from July 18–21. 

(click here to continue reading Republicans Discuss Brokered Convention as Trump Leads – Bloomberg Politics.)

What I Say
What I Say

…and worse, Ted Cruz:

In no particular order, Texas senator and Republican presidential aspirant Ted Cruz has: said acts of Christian terrorism stopped centuries ago, forgetting the Ku Klux Klan and the shooting in Colorado last week; claimed he has never met an anti-abortion activist who advocates violence, despite being endorsed by one just days before; dismissed the need for Planned Parenthood because there isn’t a shortage of “rubbers” in America; and made an offhand comment that Colorado mass shooter Robert Dear could be a “transgendered leftist activist.” All this in just the last week.

Ted Cruz is far from crazy, which is the essential Ted Cruz problem. Crazy you can deal with, even forgive a little, often ignore. Ben Carson is a bowl of Froot Loops floating in a sad lethal pond of gasoline. Donald Trump went warp speed into the Trumpiverse decades ago. Both men have conducted their campaigns and recent years on perpetual tangents. But Ted Cruz knows exactly what he’s doing. He doesn’t even hide it particularly well. Not only is his intelligence one of his favorite selling points, his book undermines any notion that he misspeaks. He is gaffe proof because the gaffes are not arrived at by error. Ted Cruz does awful things by intelligent design.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz Isn’t Crazy – He’s Much Worse | Rolling Stone.)

flapper Head gear (?)
flapper Head gear (?)

I’m sort of interested in watching The Man in The High Castle, even though it is one of my favorite PKD books, especially since fascist ideology seems to be on the rise

They basically stole Phil Dick’s pitch — and then deployed it in their own inimitable style. I find the show fairly compelling to watch. But I also find myself saying, “I don’t know that this is what Dick was getting at.”

It seems much morally simpler, less ambiguous. There were some suggestions in [the novel] that America and Nazi Germany were not all that different — that’s not a particularly P.C. idea, but it is important. While the Germans were extinguishing Jews, we were excluding black people from the lunch counter. It was a matter of degrees.

We had [racial] superiority here … The Nazi fantasy of the blond, blue-eyed book and how it overlapped with California dreamin’ … The idea of the blond, perfect teeth, riding on the wave like some übermensch. It’s not without its resonance, and to leave all those out and make it a simple good vs. evil — that’s a travesty. A betrayal of Dick’s intention. But probably works better on TV.

(click here to continue reading “They basically stole Phil Dick’s pitch”: Why Amazon’s “Man In the High Castle” might not please die-hard Philip K. Dick fans – Salon.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

December 11th, 2015 at 11:29 am

Ted Cruz Isn’t Fit To Be President, Part 234,234

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God Is Ugly
God Is Ugly

If you had any doubts, Ted “Calgary” Cruz is not fit to be President of the US. At the very least, he should be required to read the U.S. Constitution at least once.

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Friday that he believes anyone who wants to be president must fear God and pray daily.

Speaking at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, Cruz joined other GOP presidential candidates for a discussion about the persecution of Christians in the U.S. and around the world. After some very extreme, very weird comments about homosexuality, right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson introduced Cruz to the stage to ask him how important it was for candidates to submit to Jesus Christ as “the king of the President of the United States.”

“Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country,” responded Cruz.

Atheists are one of the most politically underrepresented groups in the U.S. According to the most recent Pew survey on religious affiliation, about 3 percent of Americans identify as atheist and 4 percent identify as “agnostic,” all part of the nearly 23 percent who say they’re “unaffiliated” with any particular religion. Despite those numbers, there are no openly atheist members of Congress, and only a handful of U.S. politicians who identify as unaffiliated, or who have chosen not to identify a specific religion.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz: An Atheist ‘Isn’t Fit To Be’ President.)

The video footage is here, if you have the stomach to listen to his smarmy voice…

Since Ted “Calgary” Cruz is supposed to be so smart, perhaps he just forgot what Article 6 actually says:

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the US., shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

(click here to continue reading Article Six of the United States Constitution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Somebody Please Tell This Machine I'm Not A Machine
Somebody Please Tell This Machine I’m Not A Machine

Maybe Cruz is just talking about oral sex? 

Written by Seth Anderson

November 9th, 2015 at 1:33 pm