Last week, at a Stanford University gabfest, former House Speaker John Boehner threw some very serious “shade” on GOP presidential hopeful, Ted Cruz. Now retired and free from the decorum that typically governs reference to a congressional colleague, Boehner labelled the junior senator from Texas as “Lucifer in the flesh” and “…(a) miserable son of a bitch….” Huh??? Here’s the backstory that explains how Boehner, long known as a man skilled at multiple forms of obfuscation, was moved to such invective.
From 2013 when he arrived in the Washington as a band new senator, Cruz made it clear that he was there to obstruct and to do all that he could to derail the second term of the Obama presidency. One of his first opportunities to do just that was to insert himself into an impasse over the federal budget that had developed between the president and House Republicans, led by then-Speaker Boehner.
Boehner was trying without successful to negotiate a budget compromise with the House Tea Party Caucus. Enter Cruz, who started to lobby those same Caucus members to not give an inch, even if that led to a shutdown of the government. It was the senator’s plan to demand the repeal of Obamacare in exchange for a budget deal.
The Caucus bought into this, the government shutdown occurred at a cost to taxpayers of $26 billion, and Cruz earned the everlasting enmity of Boehner. The Speaker then did the unthinkable; he violated the Hastert Rule (1) and got a budget passed with some House Democrat votes, over and around the aforementioned Caucus. In so doing, he sealed his own fate as Speaker. Knowing that he would be voted out of that leadership position for his apostasy, Boehner retired last year rather than have the Speaker’s gavel ripped from his hands by members of his own party. He left Congress with his reputation and hatred of Ted Cruz firmly intact.
So now, we segue from labels to fables; the latter a product of Primadonald’s penchant for plying his gullible supporters with lies, distortions and in this particular case, fabricated history. It all came out like this.
At a recent campaign rally, Primadonald wanted to impress the audience with what he believed was an excellent way of dealing with Muslim extremists. So, he launched in this fable that dated back to events that took place in the US territory of the Philippines in 1911.
Back then, in the Islands’ Moro province, a band of Muslims had been on a rampage. Our government sent General John Pershing and some troops to put down the uprising. According to Primadonald, the general and his forces captured 50 of the rebels, stood them up, tied to stakes, and prepared to execute them. However, before doing so, and in full view of the captives, two pigs were brought round and butchered so that 50 bullets intended for use in the executions could be soaked in porcine blood and fat. Supposedly, once the bullets found their targets, they would render the victims, according to Muslim law, unclean to enter Islamic Heaven. (2)
The executions went off as planned though one captive was spared. He was given the bullet that was to end his life and told to take it and what he has seen back to his Muslim comrades with the warning that the very same fate awaited them if they did not stand down and end their terrorism. That was alleged to have done the trick.
As is often the case, a story like that tends to fade but never die. Over the next decades, more contemporary events brought it back only to see it fade again. The last such occurrence came after the attacks of 9-11 on the US homeland, and was viewed as a way of dealing with current-day Muslim jihadists. Primadonald, ever the opportunist, saw an opening and used it as a way to beef up his bona fides as a tough guy and merciless leader.
The problem of course (did you see this coming?) is that the the vast majority of the particulars of the Philippines story are fictional; they simply didn’t happen. There were no “50 rebels”, no executions using bullets soaked in pig’s blood, and no subsequent warning to the Islands’ Muslims. Obviously fact-checking is not one of Primadonald’s strengths and we have both Urban Legends and Snopes (3,4) to thank for setting the record straight. The latter provides an especially detailed account of what happened.
- The Haster Rule has been referenced in previous blogs published at this site.
- Islamic scholars have opined that when a Muslim dies in battle with an infidel, how his remains are treated becomes irrelevant. The deceased had already been martyred and assured a place in heaven.
- Urbanlegeds.about.com./library/bl_jack_pershing.htm. “Black Jack Pershing vs. Muslim Terrorists”.
- http://www.snopes.com/rumors/pershing.asp “Pershing and Pigs”.