They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

The birther movement has come home to roost as the Republican presidential primary heats up.

In a column published last week on the conspiracy theory website WND, author Jack Cashill noted that questions had been raised about whether four of the 17 candidates in the GOP field were really "natural born citizens" and therefore eligible to run for President.

Ted Cruz has already dealt with those questions publicly -- the Canadian-born senator from Texas renounced his citizenship with that country last summer in anticipation of a 2016 bid -- but Cashill also listed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) among those who were suspect.

He even mentioned that Jindal's preferring to go by the name Bobby -- inspired by "The Brady Bunch" -- instead of his given name, Piyush, would make for interesting evidence in a court case focused on his eligibility to run for commander-in-chief.

But who, exactly, was suspicious of these candidates? On what grounds could these four politicians' eligibility to be President be challenged? And why was Santorum, whose background as an Italian-American doesn't get mentioned nearly as frequently as Rubio's Cuban heritage or Jindal's Indian heritage, suspect?

TPM called up Cashill to find out. Cashill notably co-wrote the 2012 book "Officer's Oath" with former Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, who was dismissed from the U.S. Army in 2010 and sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan amid his questions about President Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as commander-in-chief.

Below is a transcript of the conversation that has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Parris Frazier allegedly thought he was going to make $15,000 per kilogram of cocaine he ripped from a drug cartel’s load vehicle last month at an Arizona warehouse.

Unfortunately for him, according to court records, the man who helped him set up the drug rip was an undercover FBI agent. And instead of a tidy payout, Frazier got a high-speed chase that ended in the arrests of him and two of his associates.

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The owners of a Montana gold mine sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month warning its employees to stay off the owners' property.

"Anyone entering onto the White Hope Mine, without previous coordination, will be charged" and arrested under Montana code, the letter read, according to court documents.

"At no time will weapons be allowed onto the White Hope Mining Claim," the letter concluded.

Except there are weapons on the White Hope Mining Claim, in the hands of armed militia members the mine owners recruited to protect their claim. And the feds aren't letting the aggression stand.

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North Carolina is not one of the states where the U.S. military training exercise dubbed "Jade Helm 15" is taking place this summer. Nevertheless, three men from Gaston County were charged with conspiring to arm themselves with illegal explosive devices to combat what they saw as a potential military takeover, according to court documents unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte.

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The multi-state U.S. military training exercise dubbed "Jade Helm 15," which has spawned myriad conspiracy theories and vexed public officials who struggled to allay the concerns of constituents, is finally here.

The "unconventional warfare" exercise is scheduled to begin Wednesday and run until Sept. 15. Training is planned for certain areas of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. California, Colorado and Nevada had originally been listed as areas where the training was to take place but have since been left out.

Conspiracy theory websites and InfoWars' Alex Jones suggested that the operation could be a cover for the implementation of martial law. One site even alleged that troops were converting shuttered Wal-Mart stores into covert military bases. But the paranoia surrounding "Jade Helm 15" really became headline news in May, after enough concerned Texans convinced Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to take action to protect their civil liberties. Abbott requested that the State Guard monitor the training exercise, asserting that the move was only meant to facilitate communication between the military and residents of the Lone Star state.

Outlandish theories about "Jade Helm 15" are likely to continue to proliferate in the coming weeks. As The Washington Post reported, the military has decided not to allow media to observe the exercise, which curtails efforts to better explain the training exercise to the public. In that information vacuum, a citizen surveillance group calling itself "Counter Jade Helm" has sprung up with plans to monitor the operation for any potential funny business.

Now that the start of the exercise is upon us, here is what fringe blogs say Americans can expect, from Russian interference in southern states to retaliation against Christian opponents of the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

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