Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Musings: Treading on Tulsi

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is paying dearly for taking a supposed “fact-finding” trip to Syria — and I don't just mean having to repay the costs of her travel to pro-Assad activist Bassam Khawam and his dubious Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services (Aaccess) group.

Even longtime fawning supporters like Civil Beat are criticizing her one-woman attempts at diplomacy, which resulted in her being used as a propaganda tool for Bashar-al Assad and denouncing all the rebels as terrorists.

Ah, if only that bloody conflict could be defined so simply, with no condemnation of Assad's murderous, tyrannical reign.
Are people finally starting to realize that Tulsi is a self-serving opportunist who is primarily interested in positioning herself within the limelight? I mean, come on, timing the trip to coincide with the inauguration? Failing to inform the House committee on foreign relations, of which she is a member? Having a Syrian nationalist pick up the tab and serve as her escort?

In this case, it appears her relationship with former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and his wife, who have previously taken Aaccess-funded trips to meet with Assad, have again led Tulsi astray. Elizabeth Kucinich is a prominent organics/anti-GMO activist and former policy director for the Center for Food Safety who was instrumental in drafting Tulsi into the anti-GMO movement. Both Kucinichs joined Tulsi on the trip.

A report in The Guardian quotes Tulsi as saying:

Whatever you think of President Assad, the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.

Uh, yeah, maybe. But why does Tulsi think she is the one to do it? And after apparently meeting only with Assad loyalists, does she really think she's akamai enough on the issue to make this pronouncement in her recent Star-Advertiser guest commentary?

Repeatedly I was told there is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or Isis – they are all the same.

Told by whom, though? The people lined up by those who paid for her trip, got her an audience with Assad and made sure she was able to get out of the country with the puff piece footage filmed by her husband?

Here we have yet another example of so-called “progessives” being on the wrong side of an issue.

Which is why Tulsi's action earned her the praise of white supremacist Richard B. Spencer, who Tweeted that Gabbard is “brave and the kind of person we need in the diplomatic corps,” and former KKK leader David Duke, who Tweeted that she was “speaking the truth.”

As Kauai resident Luke Evslin recently wrote on Facebook:

Let me clearly say that the Syrian Civil War is complicated and that there are evil actors on both sides who have committed war crimes. Nobody has proposed a workable solution. The lessons of American intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are still important to remember.

But, to vote against allowing Syrian refugees into the country, and then to claim that the war was caused by the US, and then to claim that all rebels are terrorists, and then to meet with a brutal genocidal dictator and parrot his talking points as the only way towards peace-- is incredibly disingenuous.

Sadly, disingenuous rhetoric and actions are the MO of the anti-GMO movement — and too many other "progressive" groups these days — and Tulsi has learned it well.

Still, her new BFFs in the white supremacist movement remind me of another Facebook post I saw regarding the opposition to Trump's executive order on immigrants and refugees:

If Michael Moore, the Pope, the Kochs, and Dick Cheney are in basic agreement on an issue, and you're on the other side, don't you think it's worth some soul searching to ask yourself why?

Which prompted one person to comment: "I never thought I'd be on the same side with Cheney and the Koch billionaires."

See, it is possible to find common ground. Perhaps the Trump presidency will inadverently work to unite unlikely allies. And that would be a good thing, because we're all in this together.

It's also been amusing to see how, in classic American capitalist fashion, the protests are being co-opted for advertisements, branding and publications. But corporations must tread carefully, because pleasing one group may mean pissing off another. Though Starbucks got props when it announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in the 75 countries where it does business, the action also spawned a #BoycottStarbucks backlash. Uber got similarly blasted for continuing to operate at the JFK airport while NY taxi drivers waged a solidarity strike in support of protestors.

Budweiser is planning to air a 60-second pro-immigrant commercial during the Super Bowl, which is likely to earn it pats and cracks as well.

My favorite, though, was the display window in a women's boutique that featured well-dressed mannequins holding signs related to women's rights. It prominently featured the placard: “Clothes won't change the world. The women who wear them will. — Anne Klein”

Ah, yes, make sure you're dressed right for the march.

Seems that even in the midst of international turmoil, there's still room for the superficial. To paraphrase the words of Dubya after 9-11: Now get out there and shop. 


Anonymous said...

Hello: I am an American. Please tell me what I should be offended by today.

Anonymous said...

Interesting commentary. Thank you.

Wondering why the media and the public are so quiet re Russia's latest offensive in eastern Ukraine, coincidentally timed with Trump taking office. Putin is an accomplished opportunist and sees his chance.

Destabilizing Europe is a far greater threat to world peace than terrorism.

Anonymous said...

If her pandering to Assad were the only problem: She's also buddies with Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi who while governor of Gujarat province fomented a massacre against Muslims. Here's how The Guardian reports it:

"On 27 February that year, a train coach carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire in Godhra station in Gujarat. Fifty-eight people died. Within hours and without a shred of evidence, Modi declared that the Pakistani secret services had been to blame; he then had the charred bodies paraded in the main city of Ahmedabad; and let his own party support a state-wide strike for three days. What followed was mass bloodshed: 1,000 dead on official estimates, more than 2,000 by independent tallies. The vast majority of those who died were Muslim. Mobs of men dragged women and young girls out of their homes and raped them. In 2007, the investigative magazine Tehelka recorded boasts from some of the ringleaders. One, Babu Bajrangi, boasted of how he slit open the womb of a pregnant woman."

When HR 4017, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress in 2013 to ask India to improve human rights for religious minorities and cited the case of Gujarat, Gabbard opined that she thought it was timed to oppose Modi's national campaign, even though the More recently Modi has caused chaos by decreeing a "cashless" society, and moving toward only digital payment, wreaking hardship on the millions of poor and rural Indians who have no bank accounts or digital access. She has
Yet Tulsi has aligned herself with Modi, met with him several times and gets financial support from his US backers.

She is selective about the tyrants she criticizes and I agree with Joan that she is a headline-seeker as the Democrat Republicans adore. Hoping that someone challenges her. She's a progressive in reactionary's clothing.

Anonymous said...

Great way to weave the anti GMO factor into the Tulsi/Syria story Joan. You are on it!

Anonymous said...

(from today's Star-Advertiser)
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has decided to personally pay for her trip to Syria, following new stories about her trip sponsor being a backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Gabbard issued a news release Tuesday evening saying while she has met U.S. House ethics guidelines, the travel expenses for her trip in January have become a distraction from the important issue of whether the U.S. should support terrorists in overthrowing Assad.

“Contrary to baseless claims in the media, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is beholden to no one in the region, her views on the situation are her own, and her determination to seek peace is beyond question,” the news release from Gabbard’s office said.

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, @10:33, I saw that. It doesn't mention whether she is also going to pay for her husband's trip or why she took the money from pro-Assad forces to begin with. And it's not reassuring in the least to hear that her views are her own when they mirror Assad's.

Anonymous said...

I hate being on the same side of anything with Michael Moore. But it is what it is.

Anonymous said...

10:33 said: "'Contrary to baseless claims in the media, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is beholden to no one in the region, her views on the situation are her own, and her determination to seek peace is beyond question,' the news release from Gabbard’s office said."

... and she has shown she couldn't give a rat's ass about the concerns of her constituents in the 2nd Congressional District of Hawaii. She makes sucking noises for votes every two years and then devotes the rest of her time to ludicrous grandstanding and constant, relentless self promotion.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Tulsi for standing up against regime change wars and US government propaganda. So proud that she actually went there herself. So easy to criticize her from the comfort of our homes. While ignoring the deaths and displacement of millions of innocent civilians caused by regime change wars created by the USA. At least Tulsi is trying to help create a more peaceful world by calling attention to those who create and profit from such wars (weapons manufacturers and bankers). If only more veterans would speak out like Tulsi.

Anonymous said...

No ‘G’day, mate’: On call with Australian prime minister, Trump badgers and brags
The Washington Post
Greg Miller, Philip Rucker

It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.
Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.
At one point Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that, “This was the worst call by far.”

Yep, we elected Mr. Tact and Deliberation to the presidency.

Anonymous said...

Well said @2:57. She doesn't respond to constituents. Staff doesn't pick up the phones. She doesn't respond to emails. Big sucking sound is righ

Robin Clark said...

Hats off to Turnbull! There is a reason Australia is our favorite country to visit and one in which we would gladly, and may soon, live!

As for Tulsi, is there no dictator she does not like? First Trump and then al-Asaad. Is Putin next? Good thing Hitler is no longer around or she might want to "dialogue" with him.

Anonymous said...

Said the Donald, "That Vlad gives tremendous phone, the best!"

Anonymous said...

From a post by Ann Wright, retired US army colonel and US State Department official- I'm proud of our Veterans for Peace endorsement of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's "Stop Arming Terrorist Act"!!!

"The Veterans For Peace network advocates for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars. Ladendorf, who served as a naval officer during the Vietnam War, said that Veterans For Peace seeks to restrain the government from intervening, overtly or covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations.

“Certainly, the U.S. government should not be supporting regime change wars nor directly or indirectly supporting known terrorist organizations, proxy groups and their allies to violently overthrow established governments,” Ladendorf said. “We also thank Rep. Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq War, for introducing this important bill, Stop Arming Terrorist, which Veterans For Peace proudly supports and for her recent important fact finding trip to Syria.”

According to Gabbard, the act would prohibit U.S. government funds from being used to directly or indirectly support terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS or those working with them. In the same way that Congress passed the Boland Amendment to prohibit the funding and support to CIA backed-Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980’s, this bill would stop CIA or other Federal government activities in places like Syria from using U.S. funds to directly or indirectly support al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other groups working with them. It would also prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups."

Anonymous said...

One man's freedom fighter is another's terrorist.
Tulsi isn't calling for the dismantling of a war economy, though. She's part of it. She gets money from it and wears its uniform.

Anonymous said...

You might want to research Australia's ongoing Muslim conflicts. It's not all peaches and cream there.

Anonymous said...

Australia flip-flops from conservative to liberal leadership every few years. Australia has many of the same problems we do.
Australia is in the hands of the Chinese. These Reds hold the economy on their Marxist hands.
Australia is our friend.......but in no way should we be bound to collect and harbor thousands of so-called immigrants. Australia takes them off of little boats and stuffs them onto little islands. A good policy. But do not expect the USA to take your rejects.
It will be a while before we get thru the damage Obama has done.
And for all you rich NS libs....try go to other countries and see what rights these "immigrants" share with their women and kids.
Gotta Burka? If not go get one. Any color is fine as long as it is black................but on the other hand, if those ladies at the Lihue March all wore Burkas - mine own eyes wouldn't have been so offended by the overt display of wrinkled flabby aging womenhood. Great God almighty...if y'all don't got the body- "cover up". Just cause you are marching like it is 1972 doesn't mean you got the bod of your younger self. The march of the sister uglies.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the dumbest laws ever by that criminal Tokioka. How many unsolved murders, murders made to look like suicides, murders made to look like missing persons on Kauai? And now he wants to give the hunters (that are apart of some of the killings) another tool to help murder people on Kauai. I thought the selling of alcohol on wailua golf course on the most dangerous stretch of Hawaii in the state of Hawaii was BAD but this gun silencer bill tops the most idiotic proposals ever.

Bill aims to legalize firearm noise suppressors
LIHUE — A bill aiming to legalize the use of silencers on firearms is gaining support from local hunters.

Anonymous said...

joan, please consider running for her seat in2016
you have developed a loyal statewide base of support
we need more leaders like you, untainted by political baggage with integrity intact and ethics unquestioned. you go girl!

Anonymous said...

@1:06pm, Great idea. Joan can fly to Syria and give us the real story on what is happening there. Buying her own ticket, of course. Still waiting for Joan to actually speak about the situation there like Tulsi has made the effort to do. Hopefully Joan can speak about the reasons for the conflict in Syria and her ideas of how to solve them? That would be much more interesting than reading a condemnation of Tulsi's attempts to do so.

Anonymous said...

Shay Chan Hodges ran against Tulsi and while she did not win, she got her message out to those who were looking for more than an ornament. I hope Shay runs again as she is smart and tough enough to go head to head with Tulsi.

Anonymous said...

"Australia flip-flops from conservative to liberal leadership every few years. Australia has many of the same problems we do."

Maybe so but Malcolm Turnbull is sane, so they have that going for them.

Anonymous said...

"Australia is in the hands of the Chinese. These Reds hold the economy on their Marxist hands."

And another commie country has Donnie's balls.

Anonymous said...

"It will be a while before we get thru the damage Obama has done."

Whereas Trump's damage will be permanent.

Anonymous said...

"The march of the sister uglies."

Consider the source: the clear-eyed author of this comment.

Anonymous said...

8:26am 02/02/2017 When Kauai's serial killer was killing women on Kauai, women couldn't even buy pepper spray to defend themselves and now these so called public safety officials want to propose a gun silencer.

Wait until all the chronics that have illegal guns and some are felons who aren't suppose to have guns that you see on the police blotter start putting this on their illegal guns while they rob or do home invasions.

Tokioka is stupid and still committing criminal acts.