Thursday, March 17, 2016


You may have already heard that Ted Cruz has announced his foreign policy team, and it includes one particularly prominent conspiratorialist:
The list includes Frank Gaffney, a conspiracy theorist who has spent years advancing the idea that American society and the government are being systematically infiltrated by Muslims bent on imposing Sharia law, and he has also indulged repeatedly in the theory that President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen....

In a 2008 column in The Washington Times, pushed a few weeks before the election, Gaffney wrote: “Another question yet to be resolved is whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States, a prerequisite pursuant to the U.S. Constitution. There is evidence Mr. Obama was born in Kenya rather than, as he claims, Hawaii.”

Gaffney continued to talk up the Birther conspiracy theories, such as in a 2012 interview he hosted with right-wing columnist Diana West.

Gaffney has also repeatedly accused longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of being an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, calling her the “ticking time bomb” for Clinton’s campaign.

... he accused anti-tax activist Grover Norquist of being a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.
But Gaffney isn't the only tinfoil-hat wearer whose support for Cruz we learned about today.

At The Washington Post, Robert Costa writes about the anti-Trump gathering convened by Erick Erickson and other prominent conservatives. We're told that the assembled right-wingers are now focused on a strategy of backing Cruz in the primaries, as one quoted participant makes clear:
... a consensus emerged by the end that the best option may be working in upcoming primaries to boost Cruz and hope to prevent Trump from securing a majority of delegates and making a convention standoff the culmination of those efforts, the people said.

"I support Ted Cruz," said Mike Farris, an influential Virginia conservative, as he stepped onto 17th Street NW shortly before noon Thursday, waving off questions from reporters.
That would be Michael Farris, founder of Patrick Henry College and the Home School Legal Defense Association -- a guy who thinks that the UN wants dictatorial control over the upbringing of children who wear glasses:
Farris was featured on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° on December 7, 2012 as a leading opponent of U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act. The treaty, already ratified by 126 countries, calls on participating countries to work to attain equality in access to education, healthcare and more, and was based largely on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.... Despite strong support from groups such as Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Vietnam Veterans of America, the treaty failed on December 4 to garner the two-thirds vote in Congress necessary for ratification, largely because of opposition from HSLDA and Heritage Action for America.... Host Anderson Cooper noted that during the campaign against the treaty, Farris stirred opposition by making the claim that U.S. ratification could give the UN control over American children who wore eyeglasses.
Yes, really -- here's what Farris said:
... the definition of disability is not defined in the treaty. My kid wears glasses, now they’re disabled, now the UN gets control over them; my child’s got a mild case of ADHD, now you’re under control of the UN treaty. There’s no definitional standard, it can change over time, and the UN, not American policymakers, are the ones who get it decided.
Do you have time for one more? This endorsement happened last week, but Right Wing Watch spotted it today:
... people who hate gays sure do seem to love Ted Cruz, and to that ever-growing list we can now add Mark Creech of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, who endorsed Cruz last week....

Creech is [the] sort of right-wing activist who asserts that "hunger is rampant in India" because the people there have not embraced Christianity and that President Obama could be the Antichrist....

He stated that the push for gay marriage is an attempt to rape society: "... I suggest the defying of marriage laws by gays and lesbians in California, New York, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oregon -- the foisting of the issue of gay marriage on the country by judicial activists sympathetic with the gay agenda -- is an attempted gang rape of our culture. It is an attempt to sodomize our society."
And that's just in one day's news.

So you really want to embrace Cruz as a safer alternative to Trump? Please proceed, Republicans.


Philo Vaihinger said...

The Trumpistas are right that Cruz is a "natural born Canadian" and not eligible for the presidency.

But the issue is obscure enough for him to get away with it.

Feud Turgidson said...

It may be impossible to capture just how comically horrible Cruz's team of foreign policy advisers really is. This, for example, doesn't do it justice:

Ted's F-Team doesn't just have the certifiably rabidly insane Gaffney, it's got quite arguably the two most preeminent foreign policy rat-fuckers of the post WWII era in the utterly amoral Michael Ledeen and the completely bent Eliot Abrams (Gaffney's awful but ist mostly hate speech: both Abrams and LeDeen are directly connected to the slaughter of thousands of innocents from Turkey to east to Kazakhstan and south thru the Sudan and Rwanda all the way thru central Africa. These are merchants of death of Ted's F-Team.

And now WTF is Drumpf supposed to turn now for FP advise - Ollie North? Bill Kristol? Bristol Palin? Jidge Gomer? Cuz none of those TV FP/military dudes he named will.

Feud Turgidson said...

Philo, it's a really muddy area, based on a concept that was dubios to start with and IAE no longer pertains, and that now and for many decades included some serious undertones of jingoism attached to parsing it out.

But besides all that, the real 'answer' is that it's a thing known to the law as a quasi-political quasi-legal question. As such, IMO the Constitution provides for this the very same test as it does for impeachment.

Say Cruz were to win the POTUS election. What would happen as a matter of legal procedure under the Constitution is that the results would be reported to the College of Electors, and the College then in turn would report those results to Congress - along with any challenges or concerns about the information that's been reported to the College. So, assume some one or some several people or legal entities with standing to do it were to advise the College of their 'challenging' the results, or some of them. Well, the College wouldn't rule on those challenges: it would just report them to Congress.

At this point the House could say, Thanks, College, all hail the new president. Or it can go into debate on a bill, or a motion to consider a bill, of some description - question, challenge, eligibility whatever name they call it. It could refer parts of the quetion to committee, or special committee. At the end of all that, the House would then vote. The House could actually vote against the bill and so abandon the question, which could mean they've voted to welcome the new president or have just accepted the result as reported the College and by the College to them, while disregarding or ruling against the challenges.

But if they voted for a REFERRAL of the question to the SCOTUS, then the only way to get there would be thru a 'trial of the question', to be conducted in and by the Senate, with the CJ of the SCOTUS presiding.

So then, you'd say, Turg: by this system, Mork of Mork & Mindy could get confirmed! ET could be elected POTUS! And you'd be right. But that's the design of the Constitution.

Victor said...

Abrams also was a merchant of torture and death throughout Central and South America in the Reagan and Papa Bush years, and in the Middle East, too - especially during Baby Bush's 2 terms!

The Stasi probably learned some things from him, before the fall of the USSR and East Germany!

CH said...

Do the words "Kissinger", "Allende" and "Pinochet" (Chile '73) and "Kissinger", "Videla" and "desaparacidos" (Argentina '76) come to mind in the context of this discussion? Or are we politely limiting the scope of the discussion to the objectionable sources of foreign policy advice on the Republican side only, in the interests of party unity?

Feud Turgidson said...

AFAIK< "politely limiting" has not been a standard enforce or even honored historically at this website.

Unknown said...

The only difference I see between Cruz and Trump is that Cruz thinks he is "anointed by God" to be President of the United States whereas Trump thinks he should be President because he is God. Both of them are vicious authoritarian personalities and complete sociopaths. "Heaven help us" if either of them were to get elected.

Personally, I do not think that will be happen. But I do think we will have street riots, political hate-crimes, and deaths because of the "tone" these two set. For the life of me, I can't understand why any Republican could imagine that Cruz is a viable alternative to Trump.

Ten Bears said...

Serious conspiracy theorists think of Gaffney as a bit of a joke, having about as firm a grasp of what's really happening as it does it's Bible (yes, it). Not unlike Alex Jones or Michael Riviera, but not as nutball as Beck. I tend to think of them all as witless unwitting quite possibly paid shills that distract the rubes from what Abrams, Cheney, HW and the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Davos, Bohemian Grove and Bilderberger crowd are up too.

Fascinating reading.

Grung_e_Gene said...

"It is regrettable that they had to die, but I believe they did have to die... I'm still delighted that we did what we did." - Gaffney defends the deaths of Americans in Iraq.

Ed Baptist said...

Is Grover Norquist an agent of the Muslim Brothethood because when Bobby Jindal put his anti-tax ideas into action, it wrecked the Louisiana economy?