SocraticGadfly: Drinking the Tulsi Gabbard Kool-Aid and strawmanning opposition to her

January 18, 2019

Drinking the Tulsi Gabbard Kool-Aid
and strawmanning opposition to her

And why is Michael Tracy leading?

So, going well beyond defending the most interesting of announced presidential candidates, who would be ...

Tulsi Gabbard, the lover of Hindu nationalist fascists ... and lover of their campaign finance money ... and lover of American defense contractor finance money ...

And, as of July 24, Tulsi is also for the voting record, a lover of AIPAC and hater of BDS (and thus a hater of the First Amendment).

And, getting cult-like followers trying to explain this away so badly that I did a new post.

Update, July 3: I cannot recommend enough this in-depth, fair but certainly not "sympathetic" long-form look at Tulsi's life, and Hindu-ish (I think the "ish" is needed) cult guru Chris Butler and his influence on her.

Update 2, Oct. 5: Yet more on both the Islamophobia and homophobia of Butler.

Some alleged left-liberal types like Michael Tracy or whatever the hell we call Glenn Greenwald besides libertarian are moving at least partially into full-blown apologetics territory.

Tracey, especially, looks like he's about ready to become at least her PR spox if not her campaign manager.

As for him being an actual, or alleged, or self-presented, or encouraging others to infer, left-liberal? Not so fast on that. I've got that near the bottom of this piece, in a mini-hot take on Tracey and why he's got his knickers in a knot for Tulsi.

Contra the RSS bromance, Tracey says, "but she also spoke to a Congress Party gathering." Yeah, and Hitler spoke to German Catholic bishops. So sue me for trotting out Godwin's Law.

And, for Tracey and the Tulsi Twerkers? A friendly reminder of why the US banned for a decade India's current prime minister, Narendra Modi.

This is far from the only strike against Gabbard anyway.

1. An in-depth 2017 piece by the New Yorker points out that she's a Trump-like level of political weathervane — other than never changing on her BJP support. I've already muted one Twitterer who refused to accept that she could want to stop American involvement in the war in Syria yet still be an Islamophobe (like Trump). That includes, like Trump, supporting a blanket ban on Syrian refugees coming to the US as part of "extreme vetting." Eoin Higgins has details.

2. In 2016, Hawaii's Dem LGBT caucus endorsed her Dem primary opponent, they found her so untrustworthy. As of late 2018, they still find her untrustworthy. So, Tulsi Kool-Aid drinkers who say she supports gay rights? People on the islands kind of disagree. (On the first link, at the time, folks like the idiotic Democratic Underground attacked the messenger, the Maui Times, as a "conservative rag" rather than actually consider the message, just because Tulsi was posing as a Berniecrat. Especially in light of the second link, the message rings true.)

I will give credit to her stepping up in this video. Whether Hawaii LGBT Dems think it's that sincere, I don't know:

Down with Tyranny takes that same tack on "is this sincere"? I think Howie is right; this is a judgment call. That said?

It would mean yet more if she disavowed the RSS. I'm not asking for a disavowal of the BJP, though condemnation of some of party members' more extreme anti-Muslim statements would be nice. I am asking for condemnation of the RSS and a disavowal of her past connections to it in language at least as strong as this video.

3. She did, eventually, support Conyers' HB 676, but I don't trust the depth of that support. Even since then, she's used the New Dem weasel phrase "universal health care."

4. She still has not modified in any way her BJP support. As of six months ago, she still drew ire of Indian minorities for that and the Islamophobia associated with it. RSS leaders spoke at the World Hindu Congress she attended.

(Note: If Modi weren't PM, and Obama were still president, I suspect he'd still be blocked from entry to our country. So, it's the BJP, not just the RSS.)

5. A Jan. 5, 2019 Intercept piece has more.

6. In this video, with quote noted on Wikipedia, Tulsi supports the "ticking time bomb" idea that torture is sometimes justified.

7. She's also pro-drone.

8. She also accused Palestinians in Gaza of using people as human shields, basically spouting standard Israeli talking points, and signed off on a blank check Congressional resolution to that effect. (Oh, look, here's a 9-year-old Palestinian human shield.)

9. Related to the three above, per a Jacobin piece that Tracey dissed as part of his strawmanning, she has been a suck-up to neocons in general. Beyond that, as it notes, her antiwar stance does NOT extend to other aspects of the War on Terra. Another Jacobin piece nails her on the Iran deal; interesting to see Tracey objected to a similar piece a year earlier, also by Branko Marcetic. Marcetic also reminds us she was one of the few House Dems to attend Bibi Netanyahu's speech to Congress, something Tracey doesn't seem to discuss.

9A. She's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, for doorknob's sake. Yes, it has more than 100 members; nonetheless, for someone who allegedly stands up to the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, aka The Blob, that's "interesting" at least.

10. She was once a DNC vice chair before opportunistically jumping ship in early 2016 to endorse Bernie. I suspect she either got busted doing something unethical or else made a crude and rebuffed power play. But, the alleged contrarian certainly wasn't so at one time. After all, she was selected for the spot way back in 2013, and she still touts that on her website. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was already known to be a hack at that time, Hillary Clinton was known to be the inside candidate for president at that time, and superdelegates were known to be problematic to left-Democrat reformers at that time. Oh, and per that New Yorker piece, which I link again here? Schultz said she was NOT "disinvited" from the first debate. And, I believe Dancing With the Schultz over Gabbard, which itself should explain her trust level with me.

11. Many Hawaiians see her as a squish on gun control.

That said, the Kool-Aid drinkers, and a strawmanner like Tracey, should note that I did NOT say she's wrong to support Trump on removing troops from Syria. (What Trump actually is doing has been overstated, though.) I've said long ago that we should get out. I've said long ago that Assad, while not "good," is the "least bad" realistic option to keep leading Syria. Ive said long ago that not every gas attack the MSM and the bipartisan foreign policy establishment has tried to pin on Assad was actually done by him. I've said long ago that the White Helmers were a PR outfit connected to ISIS.

Note that "long ago"? As in, I have known this for quite some time, and independently of Tulsi Gabbard?

So, to her Kool-Aid drinkers? I would certainly vote for any reasonable Green for president against her. An Islamophobe who may still be a closet bigot on gay rights hasn't captured me, let alone I wouldn't vote for a Trump-level weathervane and seemingly blatant political climber.

And speaking of Green types? As of Aug. 1, Brains still has a bromance, or hard-on, or whatever for her. Dude, if you think any of your vitriol applies to me for pointing out realities? Put that steaming pile on your own plate and dig in.


As for Tracey in particular? Even before the Gabbard announcement, for the past month or two before that, he'd been writing some hacktacular crap. It's only gotten worse now. He's lost two reputational star levels with me, not just one.

And, until I hit teh Google, I forget Tracey's own #FakeNews claim that Maxine Waters pushed him. I couldn't have forgotten, because I did not know until this teh Google, that Tracey wrote extensively for paleocon outfit The American Conservative. That includes repeating conservative BS that the IRS targeted conservative political shops. Both there, and before that at Reason, he wrote several bromance articles about Ron Paul, never talking about his racism or his Religious Right stances that undercut his claims to really being a libertarian. (And, yes, Michael, they're bromance pieces, and I may just do a separate blog post about this.)

The Paul bromance, assuming the heart of yearning for it still beats — and I have no reason to believe it does not — explains a lot about Tracey running Gabbard up the flagpole and saluting her. I wonder if, in a lower grade way, Tracey doesn't support sort of Caitlin Johnstone-type red-brown or red-black alliance. If not seeing his Uranus rising in the House of Caity, then compare him to a younger Justin Raimondo. (I hadn't looked up his address in years; he comes off more than ever as a self-hating gay if he can't even support traditional libertarian ideas for legal positive protection of gay rights as needed.)

And, no, this isn't an "occasional thing." Tracy was writing for Reason before the Occupy movement started. He wrote nearly 30 pieces for TAC over five years. Which then leads me to wonder: Was The Young Turks that dumb to hire him? That lazy on vetting him? Did he do some good spinning? Many Redditors had the same questions at the time Cenk let him go.

And, I wonder if Tracey has ever thought of modifying his "anti-Semitism isn't THAT bad" comments after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. As for him citing Alec Cockburn as support? I stopped reading Counterpunch for years in part because I thought Alec sometimes pushed the envelope on anti-Zionism hard enough to put a toe or two across the line of anti-Semitism. In any case, it was arguably dumb at the time and certainly is now. It comes off as of a piece with his Tulsi comments, though; that he's the one true person to see left-liberal reality correctly.

Speaking of Michael's seeming fellow travelers? Caity's also got the hots for Tulsi. Reason No. 5 is wrong, per what I've read about the reasons behind the DNC split. Besides, things like superdelegates have been around, and have been a problem, for 40 years. And, it took Tulsi three-plus to complain? She also takes a selective look at Tulsi's foreign policy (i.e., not a word about India or about refugees).

(Update, Jan. 29: The wheels are apparently quickly falling off her campaign. That includes her campaign manager re-signing, which leaves an opening for Michael Tracey!)

Glenn doesn't seem to be a Kool-Aid drinker as much as a fence-straddler, or at least he seemed that way when she first announced. But, his tweets were ... not altogether sound, is the best way I can explain it. (Note: More and more left-liberals and leftists who take a serious look at both economic and social injustice have over the past year or two taken a more serious look at Glenn, and found him more and more wanting.)


And, we now need to add martial law and suspension of the Indian Constitution in Kashmir by Hindutva Indian PM Modi to the list, namely Gabbard's silence about this. The reality of Kashmir as a "giant prison camp" and how India  — led by the BJP, but with Congress and allies in acquiescence — got to this point is explained in detail by Arundhati Roy.


Smokey_the cat said...

Good stuff.
You're one of the few independent journalists I like.Keep it up.

martin said...

Good stuff...I've been saying all those things about gabbard to progressive sheep since beginning of elections