Ted Cruz wants us to bomb more civilians

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt via Wikimedia)

MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt via Wikimedia)

Think Progress — Ted Cruz’s horrid quote on combating “radical Islamism” after the Paris attacks…

It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life.

1. I wonder where he thinks we have pursued a zero-tolerance-for-civilian-casualties air campaign policy. Certainly not against ISIS.
2. He emphasized “targeted airstrikes” as part of the problem. Does he want old-fashioned carpet bombing?
3. Responding to terrorism with “utter disregard for innocent life” by bombing civilians seems like the route to a pretty big and unending cycle of violence.

What a hot take, Ted.

Sanders outraises Rubio, Paul, and Cruz

Sanders-021507-18335- 0004Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced his Democratic presidential campaign this week and raised an impressive $1.5 million in the first 24 hours from about 35,000 donors. Although Clinton obviously has a much larger warchest on tap, this figure has at least put him solidly on par with major Republican contenders in terms of grassroots fundraising:

But the Sanders haul outpaces the three major Republican candidates who already have announced. In the first 24 hours since launching their campaigns, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) raised $1.25 million and Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) raised about $1 million each, according to their campaigns.

They, of course, can count on a lot of super PAC support, as well, in a way Sanders can’t (and doesn’t want to), but this stark comparison has suddenly vaulted Sanders into at least being taken semi-seriously by the U.S. media rather than being roundly mocked as a far-left socialist. (I’ve spotted a lot of recent headlines calling him a “liberal” and “independent” instead of a socialist.) And in truth, he’s certainly not more extreme or fringe than the aforementioned three jokers in the Republican Party’s nomination contest.

Indeed, he’s probably more mainstream than they are. In the words of The Onion on Bernie Sanders:

Biggest Political Liability: Completely out of touch with the average American corporation
Dangerously Radical Fringe Views: Reform Wall Street, avoid costly and ineffective conflicts in Middle East, help working families prosper


March 25, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 121


Topics: Who will shape the 2016 presidential election issues most? What are the consequences of the 2015 Israeli elections? People: Bill, Nate, Sasha. Produced: March 23rd, 2015.

Note for listeners: We’re testing a half-hour version of the show over the next few weeks. Let us know whether you prefer this format or the longer format.

Episode 121 (28 min):
AFD 121

Related Links:

AFD: O’Malley in Iowa echoes Bernie Sanders
The Globalist: Victor’s Bonus: What Israel Could Learn From Athens


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Ted Cruz successfully tests new levels of condescension, is booed off stage

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz seems to have decided to take the opportunity of a speech to Middle Eastern Christians to attack Arabs broadly (and Palestinians more narrowly) for the benefit of his 2016 presidential aspirations. This didn’t go over very well.

The brand of conservative, American evangelicalism that Cruz often champions—one that often aligns itself with the state of Israel’s interests—did not sit well with everyone in attendance. Cruz was keynoting a gala for In Defense of Christians (IDC) […] a conference bringing together a range of Middle Eastern Christians—Orthodox, Catholic, Coptic, Syriac, Lebanese, Assyrian, to name a few—to foster a new sense of unity in the midst of a politically fraught season.

Sidebar: Not everyone in those various Christian sects are ethnically Arab, but they are generally of the various Semitic populations of the region. Anyway, he clearly seemed to suspect they weren’t “real” Christians — which is a pretty sore spot given the history of intra-Christian feuding over 2,000 years — and wanted to tell them about their own history.

He then told them they were “consumed with hate,” as they started booing his blind defense of Israel and insisted that Israel was the region’s greatest friend of Arab Christians — as if Christians pushed out or occupied by Israel might not have some pretty strong, unaddressed grievances with Israeli policy.

“…today Christians have no better ally than the Jewish state.” His audience at the Omni Shoreham Hotel began to boo. At first, Cruz continued undeterred. “Let me say this: those who hate Israel hate America. And those who hate Jews hate Christians.” The booing got louder.

Cruz pressed on, adding that his heart “weeps that the men and women here will not stand in solidarity with Jews and Christians alike who are persecuted by radicals who seek to murder them.”

Weird, because this year’s conference was focused on the ISIS expulsions of Christians and the organization is quite focused on persecution by radicals.

Later on Facebook, he suggested they were anti-Semitic because of how they responded. Leave it to Ted Cruz to call a room full of Middle Eastern Semitic peoples “anti-Semitic” because they disagree with his views on Israel. Knee-jerk hatred of Arabs, which Cruz clearly has, seems way more anti-Semitic.

American Evangelical Conservative Christianity isn’t even good for actual Christians around the world, let alone anyone else, including Jewish Israelis. It’s always condescending and patronizing and ignorant — constantly trying to lecture and “save” people with no regard to their history or life experiences.

An event leader tried to brush off the booing as an inappropriate reaction by a minority of the audience, as if the speech and his reaction to being heckled had not been the problem. Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, who has a large constituency of Syrian-Americans and Lebanese Americans, strongly criticized the speech (which he was present for) and Cruz’s response to the heckling:

“I support Israel, but what Senator Cruz did was outrageous and incendiary,” Dent said. “He showed a true lack of sensitivity for the people he was speaking to, especially the religious leaders who were there. It was a political speech, inappropriate and, overall, an uncomfortable moment.”

Dent added that Cruz seemed to be speaking “for another audience” beyond the ballroom that would later watch the video.

“He was speaking to people outside of the building,” Dent said. “It was a willful and deliberate confrontation, and very self-serving.”

Middle Eastern Americans were a Republican-leaning constituency in the 1980s and into the 1990s. Between this kind of insulting rhetoric/baiting and the anti-Muslim/anti-Arab hate crimes that increased after 9/11 (but began much earlier), it’s no wonder Republicans have lost touch with this potential base.

AFD 58 – Yet Another Shutdown Showdown

Latest Episode:
“AFD 58 – Yet Another Shutdown Showdown”
Posted: Tues, 23 September 2013

Bill and guest host Sarah discuss health insurance exchanges, government shutdown, default, John Boehner, and Ted Cruz. Then we look at New Mexico’s legal battles over marriage equality. Finally, Bill argues in favor of diplomacy with Iran.