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Cunning Con

Posted on: March 15, 2017

Conway caricature

There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their—certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.

It’s not. But so said Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s senior advisor with an office on the 2nd floor of the White House (because he doesn’t like stairs), and the first woman to run a winning Presidential campaign. She is also the person who invented the phrase “alternative facts” and the Bowling Green Massacre. (Also fun fact: Conway’s husband, George T. Conway III, is a litigation partner at law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, whose previous notable alumni include Glenn Greenwald.)

Conway’s rise to power and fame has been long and steady. She first gained prominence as a right-wing blond pundit in the 1990s, along with Laura Ingraham and Barbara Olson. Over the years she has worked for Newt Gingrich and Todd “Legitimate Rape” Aikin. In 2016 she endorsed Ted Cruz for President and campaigned for him and against Donald Trump. Her numerous media appearances blasting Trump blasted her into election year stratosphere, so much so that when Cruz folded his wings, Conway was brought to the Trump campaign by the very scary Mercer family. (Mercers are just like the Kochs, but 100% more evil. They own Breitbart, among many other notable acts of devilry.) Once at the helm of Trump’s campaign, Conway really began to shine. Her dizzying feats of triangulation, circular talk and topic avoidance, became an Olympic sport. And it’s really not too crazy to say that she is a yuge reason Trump managed to “win.” She helped humanize him. Somehow, for a very long time, people managed to see Conway as a human herself, even SNL (where she is played by Kate McKinnon) always portrayed her as a good person stuck in an impossible situation working for an awful man, but not knowing how to stop him. (Same fantasies still exist about Ivanka Trump and Melania, contrary to all existing evidence.) That is patent nonsense, of course. Conway knew exactly what she was doing and helped give the world Trump. She is not a victim.

giphy

But everything that goes up must come down. And Conway is on her way down. Her TV appearances have dwindled because nobody wants to book her. She was temporary banned from CNN. She has been permanently (?) banned from Morning Schmoe. Shep Smith on Fox openly mocks her. (“…senior adviser Kellyanne Conway — who we don’t quote much anymore because, well, history”). Each time she gives a major interview she invents a crazy story (Bowling Green Massacre and spying microwaves are most notable over the past few weeks.) She also got a fair amount of… shall we call it “alternative feedback” to a photo of her sitting on the couch in the Oval Office with her feet up while surrounded by a large group of black men. Granted, she was prepping to take a photograph and that was one way to do it. (One way, not the only way). But when you combine all the nonsense, Conway really does seem to be coming undone and unhinged.

Conway microwave

In a February piece in the New York Times, Erin Gloria Ryan, summarized her growing dislike for Conway, which to her centers on Conway’s faux feminism.

Once she took the reins of Donald Trump’s campaign, though, she went from smooth to slippery. She’d hammer Hillary Clinton for talking too much about gender and duck behind her femininity in the face of legitimate criticism. If she succeeded, it was because she was Kellyanne. If she failed, it was because she was a woman.

As Kellyanne’s once-forceful cable news denials have disintegrated into whimpers, I can’t say I feel anything for her at all. I don’t mind when people point out how tired she looks. I simply cannot dredge up any sympathy for a person who has acknowledged the structural problems most women face only when she is personally facing them, or used them as derailing tactics when she’s losing an argument. I can’t mourn the downfall of a fair-weather feminist, a woman who has used her power to hurt other women.

Ms. Conway made her bed. And now it’s time for her to get some sleep.

 

In different, lighter and more empowering news: it took 188 years for Fanny Mendelssohn to get some recognition she deserves, but better late than never. Fanny was the older sister of Felix Mendelssohn, one of the great Romantic composers, who – among many great works of music – gave us the Wedding March. In 1829 he is said to have written a piano sonata. The manuscript, which was discovered in the 20th century, was autographed “F Mendelssohn” and the assumption was that it was Felix’s. But in 2010 a Duke graduate student proved that “F” was Fanny, not Felix, and last week the work was finally performed with Fanny’s name attached as composer. We actually know that Fanny composed over 460 pieces of music. It was unusual for women to openly composer and publish, so Felix arranged to have a handful of her works published under his name. In 1842, when visiting Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace, the Queen told Felix that she intended to sing one of his songs for him. Felix confessed that the song was actually composed by his sister. Fanny died in 1847 and is buried in Berlin.

From the screaming and fuaxrage from the Republicans in Congress, you would think that President Obama had personally legalized every illegal immigrant in the country with an autocratic sweep of the executive pen. But as usual, he didn’t do anything so definite. He merely lifted the threat of deportation from about 4.4 million, temporarily.

Obama announced on Thursday he was easing the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants. His measures include allowing some 4.4 million people who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents and who have been in the country for five years to remain in the country temporarily, with the right to work.

John Boehner, whose spray tan must have temporarily erased his memory of all the times Bush used and abused his executive authority, claims Obama is “acting like an emperor.” For once, the President has a somewhat feisty response: “Then pass a bill.” But hahaha, that’s just what those evil Democrats WANT Republicans to do. They are too smart to fall for that! Shutting down the government, instead of addressing the important issues facing America with wimpy actions like writing and passing legislation, is clearly why they have been put in office.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said on “Fox News Sunday” his party should use spending bills to withhold funds to implement the order. That could force Obama to veto vital funding bills, sparking a government shutdown similar to the one last year.

Cruz, who led that shutdown fight in an effort to block funds for the Obamacare health plan, said the big Republican gains in the midterm elections showed the shutdown was not a political blunder. Republicans will control the Senate and have a bigger House majority in the new Congress that begins in January.

It’s going to be a rather entertaining couple of years.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! This is an open thread.

Good Thursday, Widdershins.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has recently made the astounding discovery that he is also a citizen of Canada.  Astounding to him, at least.

Senator Cruz was born in Calgary to an American mother and a Cuban father who fled to the US, but did not become a citizen until 2005.  His parents were working in (what else?) the oil industry at the time, and a few years later returned to Texas.  Cruz received his undergraduate degree from Princeton, and his JD from Harvard.  He was named primary editor of the Harvard Law Review.   

Sen. Cruz enjoyed a top-notch Ivy League education, and  is described by many as “off the charts brilliant”, and indeed has a meteoric career in politics. Nevertheless, this “OTC”  brilliant man was quite surprised to discover that he holds Canadian citizenship as a birthright, along with the American citizenship passed on by his mother.  Who knows, perhaps he is a Cuban citizen courtesy of his father as well.  At ant rate, Sen. Cruz insists that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship tout suite, dissociating himself once and for all from our pantywaist neighbors to the north who insist that their citizens are entitled to a decent lifestyle.

This is a revolting development for a man who seemingly has is eye on the prize of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  I have been fascinated by the reactions of my Fundie friends who ranted and raved about Barack Obama not being an American citizen because he had a Kenyan father and probably wasn’t even born here.  Somehow, Ted’s Cuban father and Canadian birth are fine and dandy, because after all, it’s Canada.  Canada, I suppose is actually a suburb of the nearest American city of your choice, while Kenya does not possess a contiguous border with the US.  The same Fundies who screamed and carried on about Obama being a first-term senator when he ran are fine with it with Cruz, because he has “fresh, new ideas”.  This is deja vu all over again, albeit with a rightward twist.  Amazingly, my Fundie friends do not see anything even remotely odd about their sudden change of feelings.  It all seems quite reasonable to them.  Even those pinko institutions of higher learning attended by the Obamas have suddenly become academic meccas now that they have discovered that Cruz matriculated within their ivy-laden walls.  Go figure.

Seriously, I’m not certain that anyone knows for certain if Senator Cruz is actually eligible to run.  The Constitution states that only natural citizens may hold the office without actually describing what that means.  The question came up when Sen. John McCain ran, but was quickly answered by the fact that he was born in the Canal Zone when his father was posted there.  At the time, the Canal Zone was an American territory, plus his father was in the Navy and US military bases are considered to be US soil and issue US birth certificates.  (My BFF was born in Cavite, Philipines while his father was assigned there and has his original “US Registration of Live Birth” form.)  But what the hey, exactly, is a “natural citizen”?

For those of us born to American parents on American soil, that’s easy.   We are most definitely “Natural” citizens.  After that, things get murky.  I have heard a number of Constitutional law professors mumble something to the effect that “yeah, probably, Ted Cruz is a ‘natural’ citizen”, but that falls somewhat short of being a ringing endorsement.  The Supremes have never weighed in on the matter, so who knows?

I must, however. give props to Donald Trump here.  When asked about Sen. Cruz’ ability to run for President, he replied “Probably not”.  At least he is consistent.

As for the Canadians, they thus far do not appear to be too broken up by Sen. Cruz’ announcement that he plans to disavow his Canadian citizenship.  Tweets from our northern neighbor have run the gamut from “Ted who?” to “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”  From what I’ve read, it’s going to take Ted the better part of a year to ditch them, as he has to explain in writing why he does not wish to be a Canadian (that should be interesting), and undergo some sort of security clearance.  It’s not quite as simple as saying “I renounce thee” three times.

The Cruz candidacy may take off, or may stall out at the first hard turn.  I have to believe that the Canadian birth might be a little bit awkward, but time will tell.  If nothing else, it could be intereresting to watch.

This is an open thread.  Come on, everyone – let’s stand on cars and freeze.


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