Oh, it’s so much fun to watch the NRA form a circular firing squad, especially when it involves the grifting and ever-scamming Ollie North.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Friday, November 16, 2018
According to the Daily Beast, being a fawning suck-up to Trump doesn’t guarantee he’ll return the favor.
Trump’s close relationship—on air and off—with Sean Hannity hasn’t stopped the president from mocking the Fox News star behind his back for being such a suck-up, according to three sources who have independently heard this mockery. These sources asked to remain anonymous in order to discuss private conversations with the president, and in one case also to avoid incurring the ire of Hannity, whom they called a “perfectly nice guy.”
Trump’s many radio and TV interviews, always touted as “exclusives” and rarely making any news, have been widely derided by media critics and political observers as simpering propaganda. And the president himself, a man famous for demanding relentless validation and unwavering loyalty, feels the same way.
Trump has repeatedly—and sometimes for a sustained period of time—made fun of Hannity’s interviewing skills, usually zeroing in on the low-quality laziness of the host’s questions, the three people with direct knowledge tell The Daily Beast.
“It’s like he’s not even trying,” Trump has said, one source recalled, right before the president launched into a rough imitation of Hannity’s voice and mannerisms to complain that the questions about how “great I am” give him nothing to work or have fun with.
No real surprise here; Trump doesn’t have any real friends other than that swell guy he sees in the mirror. It’s pretty obvious that he treats even the members of his own family as if they were partners in a business deal.
Not that it matters, but it will be a major dose of schadenfreude when the wheels finally come off Trump’s wagon and he’s either indicted or carted off under sedation and no one will stand by him. He’ll be all alone and railing against how everyone has turned against him. Well, boo-hoo.
Friday, April 13, 2018
I think the last Washington insider book that I bought and read was John Dean’s “Blind Ambition” that depicted this role in Watergate. So I probably won’t read James Comey’s forthcoming tome, “A Higher Loyalty,” in which the fired FBI director recalls his brief time in the Trump administration. But it must be a page-turner the way the right-wing media and the White House is laying into it.
The battle plan against Comey, obtained by CNN, calls for branding the nation’s former top law enforcement official as “Lyin’ Comey” through a website, digital advertising and talking points to be sent to Republicans across the country before his memoir is released next week. The White House signed off on the plan, which is being overseen by the Republican National Committee.
“Comey is a liar and a leaker and his misconduct led both Republicans and Democrats to call for his firing,” Republican chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to CNN. “If Comey wants the spotlight back on him, we’ll make sure the American people understand why he has no one but himself to blame for his complete lack of credibility.”
While it’s an open question how successful Republicans will be in making their case against Comey, given that Trump unceremoniously dismissed him last May 9, there is no doubt that many Democrats remain furious at how the former FBI director treated Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.
If the RNC and the White House wanted to suppress book sales and discredit Mr. Comey, they would ignore it or say nothing more than “Well, he’s entitled to his opinion” and let it be. But giving the campaign to discredit him its own website? Sales of the book are going to go through the roof.
The biggest question now will be, where will they find an actor who’s 6’8″ to play Comey in the HBO version?
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Nothing gets the schadenfreude going like a good schoolyard fight between two raging egos.
Trump on Wednesday castigated his former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon as a self-aggrandizing political charlatan who has “lost his mind,” marking an abrupt and furious rupture with the onetime confidant that could have lasting political impact on the November midterms and beyond.
The White House’s sharp public break with Bannon, which came in response to unflattering comments Bannon made about Trump and his family in a new book about his presidency, left the self-fashioned populist alienated from his chief patron and even more isolated in his attempts to remake the Republican Party by backing insurgent candidates.
Late Wednesday, lawyers for Trump sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon, arguing he violated the employment agreement he signed with the Trump Organization in numerous ways and also likely defamed the president. They ordered that he stop communicating either confidential and or disparaging information, and preserve all records in preparation for “imminent” legal action.
“You have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company,” read the letter from lawyer Charles Harder.
In a lengthy statement issued in the afternoon, Trump blamed Bannon — his former campaign manager and chief strategist who now heads the conservative Breitbart News website — for everything from leaks to the news media to the upset GOP loss in last month’s Senate race in Alabama. The president cast Bannon as a disgruntled former staffer whose chief goal is to stir up trouble.
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” the statement said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
The White House also released a statement from the first lady’s office condemning the forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by Michael Wolff as a title to be found in the “bargain fiction” bin, while the Republican National Committee said Wolff has “a long history of making stuff up.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, meanwhile, devoted much of her Wednesday news briefing Wednesday to disputing Wolff’s claims and seeking to undermine Bannon’s credibility.
The response was a marked departure from mid-October, when Trump called Bannon “a friend of mine” and said he understood his perspective.
But the much anticipated account of life in Trump’s White House caught the president and his West Wing team off-guard, with the president huddling with White House communications director Hope Hicks, one of his most trusted advisers, and Sanders to craft the fiery statement, after calling friends for much of the morning. Aides thought they had more time to prepare for the book’s formal release.
Trump spent much of the day raging about the book to top aides, officials and advisers said, and Sanders described the president as “furious” and “disgusted.” As he fumed, some aides were still frantically searching for a copy of the book, and even senior aides such as Hicks had not seen it by the afternoon, officials said.
“He’s out of control,” one person with knowledge of Trump’s comments said. This person added that the president had been in an upbeat mood for much of Tuesday, continuing to brag about last month’s passage of the Republican tax bill even as he fired off combative tweets.
New York magazine has an excerpt from the book in which Trump never expected to win the election and was stunned — like the rest of us — when he actually did.
Most presidential candidates spend their entire careers, if not their lives from adolescence, preparing for the role. They rise up the ladder of elected offices, perfect a public face, and prepare themselves to win and to govern. The Trump calculation, quite a conscious one, was different. The candidate and his top lieutenants believed they could get all the benefits of almost becoming president without having to change their behavior or their worldview one whit. Almost everybody on the Trump team, in fact, came with the kind of messy conflicts bound to bite a president once he was in office. Michael Flynn, the retired general who served as Trump’s opening act at campaign rallies, had been told by his friends that it had not been a good idea to take $45,000 from the Russians for a speech. “Well, it would only be a problem if we won,” Flynn assured them.
Not only did Trump disregard the potential conflicts of his own business deals and real-estate holdings, he audaciously refused to release his tax returns. Why should he? Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.
And that’s when the smiles turn into fixed grins as is the realization that we’ve got someone who has no more business running the country than a six-year-old does driving a semi. Nothing’s going to get him to let go of the wheel voluntarily even if we’re heading for a cliff. And what this will do to relationships with the rest of the world is scary because even once Trump leaves office, our allies are going to be wary of a country that would elect someone like him to office after the presumed maturity of electing Barack Obama. Can we be trusted not to go batshit crazy again?
So enjoy the infighting while we can, but remember that we have a country to run and a world to keep safe.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Not only is Trump giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a tough time at home, they just don’t like each other.
Via the New York Times:
The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.
What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.
The rupture between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell comes at a highly perilous moment for Republicans, who face a number of urgent deadlines when they return to Washington next month. Congress must approve new spending measures and raise the statutory limit on government borrowing within weeks of reconvening, and Republicans are hoping to push through an elaborate rewrite of the federal tax code. There is scant room for legislative error on any front.
During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue. He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation.
Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.
In offhand remarks, Mr. McConnell has expressed a sense of bewilderment about where Mr. Trump’s presidency may be headed, and has mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond, according to people who have spoken to him directly.
This is karma with cheese. McConnell spent the previous eight years plotting how to get rid of Barack Obama and put a Republican in the White House so he could have smooth sailing to screw over the country and bask in the sunshine like a turtle on a log. So along comes Trump and his entourage of gators. At least President Obama was polite.
As for Trump, he’s learning what every president finds out much to their chagrin: you can’t always get your way even when your party is in charge.
Would you like some popcorn to go along with that heaping helping of schadenfreude?
Friday, July 28, 2017
Via the Washington Post:
Senate Republicans suffered a dramatic failure early Friday in their bid to advance a scaled-back plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, throwing into question whether they can actually repeal the 2010 health law.
Their latest effort to redraw the ACA failed after Sen. John McCain’s decision to side with two other Republicans against President Trump and GOP leaders. The Arizona Republican, diagnosed with brain cancer last week, returned to Washington on Tuesday and delivered a stirring address calling for a bipartisan approach to overhauling the ACA, while criticizing the process that produced the current legislation.
It was a speech that laid the groundwork for Friday’s dramatic vote.
The vote was 49 to 51 — all 48 members of the Democratic caucus joined with McCain and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to block the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had hoped to approve the new, narrower rewrite of the health law at some point Friday, after facing dozens of amendments from Democrats. But the GOP defections left McConnell without a clear path forward.
“Our only regret is that we didn’t achieve what we hoped to accomplish,” McConnell said after the failed vote. In a dejected tone, he pulled the entire legislation from consideration and set up votes on nominations that will begin Monday.
“It is time to move on,” McConnell said, culminating a nearly 75-minute set of roll calls. In a last-minute rescue bid, Vice President Pence — there to be the tie-breaking vote if needed — stood at McCain’s desk for 21 minutes cajoling the senator to no avail.
McCain and Pence then walked to the Republican cloak room to confer in private and later to the lobby off the Senate chamber. When McCain returned — without Pence — he stopped in the well of the chamber, cast his “no” vote — sparking stunned gasps and some applause — and returned to his seat.
McConnell and his leadership deputies stood watching, grim-faced and despondent.
Thank you, Sens. Murkowski and Collins. A little bit of Shakespearean irony in the face of the pussy-grabber. Oh, and Sen. McCain, thank you, too, but it all could have been avoided if you had voted No earlier this week. But I guess we all need a little Thursday night/Friday morning drama, right?
As for Mitch McConnell, you earned the grim-face and despondency. Get used to it, you tortoise-faced putz.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
U.K. terror threat raised to “critical” following Manchester bombing.
Ex-C.I.A Director John Brennan said there is good reason to inquire into Trump/Russia connection.
Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas more documents from Flynn.
Fox News retracts nut-job Clinton conspiracy story.
Trump budget breaks 7 campaign promises.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
I had forgotten that Rush Limbaugh is still out there. But he is, and it sounds like he’s turning on Trump.
In the process, sanctuary cities are continually funded. Obamacare is not repealed nor is it replaced. The White House is saying that they’re very close to having enough votes in the House to actually move forward on Obamacare. But until we see the vote, we will know they don’t have the votes. They’re not gonna conduct a vote ’til they have them. So Obamacare gets funded. Sanctuary cities get funded. The EPA gets funded through September. Planned Parenthood gets funded. The wall does not. So if you’re asking yourself, “Why am I voting Republican?” you have a good question.
Why is anybody voting Republican, if this is what happens when we win?
We won the House, we won the Senate, we won the White House, and the Democrats thwarted everything we supposedly said we were going to do with our victory.
He’s so surprised that the Democrats learned something from the Republicans. Funny how that works.
Friday, March 24, 2017
In a major setback for the Republicans’ years-long effort to repeal Obamacare, GOP leaders were forced to delay a House vote planned for Thursday as negotiations continued around the legislation. The delay comes after the conservative hardliners who have been resisting the legislation emerged from a meeting with President Donald Trump with no clear deal to win over their votes.
According to various reports, the floor vote on the American Health Care Act will be pushed until at least Friday, with a meeting with the full House GOP conference slated for Thursday evening, followed by a procedural vote to make way for the final bill.
As the White House negotiated Thursday with members of the conservative hardline House Freedom Caucus, more and more members of Republicans’ moderate flank came out of the woodwork to say they oppose the repeal bill due to the rightward direction in which it was heading.
The Republicans have the House, they have the Senate, they have the White House, and according to Himself, he’s the greatest deal-maker in history. They have been talking about repealing Obamacare for exactly seven years since the day it was signed into law and they can’t even get their own right-wing to fall in line.
And when they do, the Senate will take one look at it, hear the hoofbeats of ten thousand Democrats ready to run against each and every one of them who voted to take back everything that everyone — even Trump voters — like about Obamacare and say Are You Fucking Kidding Me and run away from it like it was a toddler with a paint gun.
Oh, and when this miserable excuse for legislation finally screws itself into the ground, guess who they’re going to blame: Yep, you got it. Obama.
Go on, have an extra helping of schadenfreude. They’ll make more.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Former Gov. Pat McCrory says the backlash against House Bill 2 is making some employers reluctant to hire him but he’s currently doing consulting and advisory board work.
McCrory has been appearing frequently in interviews with national media outlets to defend the controversial LGBT law, but he hasn’t announced what’s next for his career. In a podcast interview recently with WORLD, an Asheville-based evangelical Christian news website, McCrory talked about his challenges on the job market.
The former Republican governor says HB2 “has impacted me to this day, even after I left office. People are reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot’ – which is the last thing I am.”
Pro tip: If you have to tell people you’re not a bigot, you probably are.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
The Republicans have been talking about and voting on repealing and replacing Obamacare for almost seven years now. They’ve held news conferences and election campaigns to demonize it and then promise to replace it. Now they’ve come out with their plan, hoping to unite their base and the country and show the world that they can really govern.
Well, to be fair, they did bring a lot of people from all over the political spectrum, but not in the way they hoped.
Republican efforts to revise the Affordable Care Act met with widespread resistance Tuesday from conservatives in and out of Congress, moderates in the Senate and key industry stakeholders, casting doubt on the plan’s chances just one day after House GOP leaders released it.
The most imminent and serious threat to the plan crafted by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) was the growing backlash from conservative lawmakers and powerful outside groups who argue that the draft is nothing more than “Obamacare Lite,” a disparaging reference to the former president’s signature 2010 domestic achievement.
In short, they have had seven years to come up with something, and this is the best that they could come up with? It reads like some kid who tried to write a ten-page history paper on the school bus the morning the assignment is due.
The best part is that the right-wingers are in complete revolt against it. Which means that it’s not going anywhere.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Charles P. Pierce has no sympathy for those folks who are now regretting their vote for Trump.
Holy mother of god, I’m tired of reading quotes from people who live in places where the local economy went to hell or Mexico in 1979, and who have spent the intervening years swallowing whatever Jesus Juice was offered up by theocratic bunco artists of the Christocentric Right, and gulping down great flagons of barely disguised hatemongering against the targets of the day, all the while voting against their own best interests, now claiming that empowering Donald Trump as the man who will “shake things up” on their behalf was the only choice they had left. You had plenty of choices left.
In Kansas, you could have declined to re-elect Sam Brownback, who’d already turned your state into a dismal Randian basket case. In Wisconsin, you had three chances to turn out Scott Walker, and several chances to get the state legislature out of his clammy hands. And, now that the teeth of this new administration are becoming plain to see, it’s a good time to remind all of you that you didn’t have to hand the entire federal government over to Republican vandalism, and the presidency over to an abject loon on whom Russia may well hold the paper.
You all had the same choices we all had. You saddled the rest of us with misrule and disaster. Own it. I empathize, but I will not sympathize.
The only thing that will make it worse would be spineless Democrats who think they can either work with him — guess what — or who are too afraid of losing the next election to try to win it.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
I’m trying to see the downside of this epic tweet-storm between Donald Trump and the GOP leadership and in the short term I really can’t, so I’m kind of enjoying it while it lasts. The more time they spend squabbling like a bunch of cranky kids in the back seat of a 1963 Ford Country Squire with no A/C traveling through the Mojave Desert in the middle of July, the better. And the best thing the Democrats can do is sit back and butter their popcorn.
The short version is that Speaker Paul Ryan has basically conceded the election to Hillary Clinton and now it’s every man — and woman — for themselves.
Of course at some point they’ll have to govern, and while I’m hopeful that the Democrats will take back the House from the GOP at some point, I don’t think it’s going to happen this year. The Senate looks good to flip to the Democrats, which means that President Clinton will be able to get some important things done such as appoint Supreme Court justices, and if the House is diminished, she might even be able to squeak some of her plans through the House.
The Very Serious Village People will shake their heads and say, “Oh, but we need two parties to provide checks and balances and make sure that every voice is heard.” Yeah, we’ve been hearing that for a while now, but since the Republicans basically said “Up yours” in 2009, they haven’t earned the right to speak up. They’ve done everything they possibly can to make it worse.
I may not be the most objective observer, but I think this was all planned out by the strategists in the GOP: tie up the government, investigate Hillary Clinton every time she scratched her butt, get nothing done, and then blame it all on That Man in the White House. Then they’d ride in with a gallant savior for president — Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan — and hey presto, all’s right with the world. They didn’t count on the fact that all their demonizing and dark innuendo would actually result in the base getting all fired up would deliver them a combination of Scary Clown and Benito Mussolini in one Cheeto-colored package.
This can’t go on forever; at some point we have to get stuff done. At some point the driver has to say “Don’t make me pull this car over.” But for now, enjoy the trip. And stop bothering your brother. I mean it.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
On the very day that Ann Coulter, the whitest woman in America, releases her new book that lathers up her affection and devotion for Donald Trump, he goes mushy on immigration, the one topic that Ms. Coulter never gives ground on.
Oh, she is pissed.
Would you like some popcorn with your schadenfreude?
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Republicans nominate dangerously insane person to lead America, then panic when he proves he’s dangerously insane.
Overindulging in schadenfreude can provoke bad karma, so it’s never a good idea to chortle too much about the misfortune of others, but what the hell.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
For most of the folks that tried and failed at getting the GOP nomination, they have a private life to go back to; they can fade into the background and resume whatever consulting or lobbying or grift they had going before they decided to save the country and shower us with their glory. Bobby Jindal is no longer the governor of Louisiana, Mike Huckabee can pick up his gig at Fox News or hustling diet plans, Carly Fiorina can go back to looking for another Fortune 500 company to tank.
Not so for Gov. Chris Christie. He still has a state to run and a term to finish out, and now that he’s endorsed Donald Trump and broken the world’s record for going from a blustering bully to a toadying sycophant to Donald Trump (and by all appearances having buyers’ remorse), he’s even not welcome back in the Garden State.
Six New Jersey newspapers say Gov. Chris Christie should resign over his endorsement of Donald Trump. They add that if Christie refuses to quit, New Jersey citizens should initiate a recall effort.
The papers — all owned by the Gannett Company, Inc., — on Wednesday ran brutal editorials saying they are fed up with everything from Christie’s famous sarcasm to “his long neglect of the state to pursue his own selfish agenda.” They add that they are “disgusted with his endorsement of Donald Trump after he spent months on the campaign trail trashing him.”
Christie quit his own presidential campaign after disappointing finishes in early state contests and abruptly endorsed Trump. He said he was backing the billionaire because Trump represents the best chance to defeat Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton in November.
It sounds like the guy has some work to do back home. Perhaps he should spend his time building bridges instead of blocking or burning them.
HT to Booman.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
The Republicans and the anti-choice movement just got their heads handed to them by a grand jury in Houston.
Prosecutors in Harris County said one of the leaders of the Center for Medical Progress — an anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of fetal tissue — had been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.
That leader, David R. Daleiden, 27, the director of the center, had posed as a biotechnology representative to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and surreptitiously record his efforts to procure tissue for research. Another center employee, Sandra S. Merritt, 62, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.
The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.
Abortion opponents claimed that the videos, which were released starting in July, revealed that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of body parts — a charge that the organization has denied and that has not been supported in numerous congressional and state investigations triggered by the release of the videos.
On Monday, the Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, said in a statement that grand jurors had cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.
She declined to provide details about the case against Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt, including any documents or evidence presented to the grand jury, citing state law on the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.
“As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” Ms. Anderson said. “All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
In a statement on Monday night, Mr. Daleiden said: “The Center for Medical Progress uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws. We respect the processes of the Harris County district attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well. Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.”
The release of the videos last summer created a furor and gave new strength to the conservative drive to defund Planned Parenthood. The organization was forced to apologize for the casual tone that one of its officials had used to discuss a possible transfer of fetal tissue to what she believed was a legitimate medical company. But Planned Parenthood said the fees being discussed were to cover costs and were legal.
No word yet on whether or not Carly Fiorina, who has based a good deal of her presidential campaign on demonizing Planned Parenthood and claiming that she saw a non-existent video of dismembered foetuses, has apologized or owned up to making stuff up. Not that it would make any difference; she and the rest of the anti-choicers will go on lying and demonizing PP.
But it is righteous justice, especially since the grand jury was supposed to investigate PP and ended up indicting the accusers instead.
Monday, January 11, 2016
There are a lot of reasons Ted Cruz should be kept as far away from the Oval Office as possible, and the question of his “natural born” status is way down there on the list. After all, if Barack Obama can be born in Hawaii and no one has problem with that, then… oh wait.
Anyway, now the Republicans are beginning to raise the issue of Mr. Cruz’s citizenship status more as a way to tweak his nose — he’s universally despised by his fellow Senate members — than a serious question about his eligibility to actually serve in office. It sounds like they’re having fun with it.
So we’re entitled to savor some schadenfreude now as Cruz himself gets caught in the birther web. Donald Trump’s questioning of Cruz’s status as a natural-born American and, therefore, his eligibility to be president is rough justice. Cruz, like Trump, has stoked the fires of resentment and xenophobia, so it’s entirely fitting that he gets burned.
Like Cruz foe John McCain (the 2008 Republican presidential nominee said Cruz’s eligibility is a “legitimate question”), Democratic leaders have been happy to see Cruz twist in the wind. “I do think there is a distinction between John McCain being born to a family serving our country in Panama and someone born in another country,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Thursday.
But there may be something worth looking into back up in Canada. In 2013 TPM found documentation that Ted Cruz’s mother was a registered voter in Calgary, Alberta.
TPM shared an electronic copy of the document with Sen. Cruz’s office when it originally obtained the document in 2013. Cruz’s then-communications director, Sean Rushton, emphasized that the document is not a record of people who actually voted in any election. He further pointed out that the document itself provides notice that “applications for corrections,” “deletions from,” and “additions to” the list may have been necessary.
“At least one other error is evident on its face: the name of Sen. Cruz’s father is misspelled,” Rushton told TPM in his 2013 statement. “Regardless, Mrs. Cruz has never been a Canadian citizen, and she has never voted in any Canadian election.”
TPM eventually decided not to publish an article based on the document at the time, in part because Cruz was not yet a candidate for president. TPM decided to revisit the story earlier this week as rival Donald Trump renewed his skepticism about Cruz’s eligibility, moving the story to the center of the campaign, and was prepared to publish this evening.
Then late Friday afternoon, Breitbart.com published an article about the same document TPM had shared with Cruz’s office in 2013, a voter list for the southern district of Calgary, alongside a lengthy, exclusive statement from the Cruz campaign.
Jason Johnson, Cruz’s chief campaign strategist, said in the statement that candidate’s mother “was never a citizen of Canada.” He added that she could not have been a Canadian citizen at the time her son was born because of residency requirements. Eleanor Cruz was born in Delaware, while her ex-husband, Rafael Cruz, was born in Cuba, obtained Canadian citizenship while living in Calgary and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the mid-2000s.
The document in question is a voter list of individuals who lived in the southern district of the city of Calgary, were over the age of 18 and were Canadian citizens, thus eligible to vote.
In accordance with the Canadian Election Act, such lists were compiled in the 1970s by a pair of officials, called enumerators, who went door-to-door together in an electoral district to ascertain the name, address and occupation of any person qualified to vote. The statute states that enumerators who “willfully and without reasonable excuse” added a name to the list “of any person who is not entitled to have his name entered thereon” forfeited pay for their services and were be subject to other punishments.
Another election official, called a returning officer, then reviewed the list. The statute states that the returning officer could not certify the document if he believed the list contained the name of any person who shouldn’t be included. The document obtained by TPM was certified in Calgary by a returning officer.
In 2013, a Canadian elections official told TPM that in the process of compiling the list, enumerators asked people to affirm that they were Canadian citizens.
“So when they knock on doors, they ask them: are you Canadian citizens, are you 18 years of age or older, and are you a resident in this facility and how long have you been living here?” Drew Westwater, the director of election operations and communications for Elections Alberta, told TPM. “If they meet all that criteria then they add them to the list, take their name and addresses and anyone else who’s living there. And they ask, is anyone else living here a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older? And if they are, then they take their names from them at the door. And that’s the way it worked in those days.”
The Raphael and Eleanor Cruz listed on the document clearly appear to be Cruz’s parents. The spelling of Cruz’s father’s name is anglicized to “Raphael” rather than the correct spelling “Rafael” and his occupation is listed as self-employed; at the time, the Cruzes worked in the oil industry running a seismic data-processing business.
To confirm the Cruzes’ identity, TPM cross-referenced the address listed for the couple on the southern district voter list with Calgary city directories for the years 1971-1974.
Most of the directories listed the Cruzes as living at the northwest Calgary address where it’s been reported that Ted Cruz was born. The address listed for the couple in the 1973 city directory matched the address on 1974 voter list and further listed both Cruzes as executives of the data-processing firm.
According to phone books from 1971, 1972 and 1973, Cruz’s parents were the only individuals with the surname Cruz living in Calgary.
There’s no proof that Mrs. Cruz ever voted in an election in Canada, but showing up on a voter list at least raises the question as to what she was doing on it.
If the schadenfreude fits, enjoy it.
Friday, December 18, 2015
It could not happen to a more worthy target.
It has been a busy week for Martin Shkreli, the flamboyant businessman at the center of the drug industry’s price-gouging scandals.
He said he would sharply increase the cost of a drug used to treat a potentially deadly parasitic infection. He called himself “the world’s most eligible bachelor” on Twitter and railed against critics in a live-streaming YouTube video. After reportedly paying $2 million for a rare Wu-Tang Clan album, he goaded a member of the hip-hop group to “show me some respect.”
Then, at 6 a.m. Thursday, F.B.I. agents arrested Mr. Shkreli, 32, at his Murray Hill apartment. He was arraigned in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on securities fraud and wire fraud charges.
In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Shkreli said he was confident that he would be cleared of all charges.
Mr. Shkreli has emerged as a symbol of pharmaceutical greed for acquiring a decades-old drug used to treat an infection that can be devastating for babies and people with AIDS and, overnight, raising the price to $750 a pill from $13.50. His only mistake, he later conceded, was not raising the price more.
My schaden is now freude. Heh.
Photo by Andrew Burton, Getty Images.