If It's What You Say, Tulsi Gabbard Loves It, Especially Later In The Summer
A while back, a certain part of the internet we rarely travel to published the definitive piece on Tulsi Gabbard, What Is Wrong With Her, which was actually called "Tulsi Gabbard Is Not Your Friend." It was at Jacobin -- which if we recall correctly is not the name of Neera Tanden's DNC Establishment Factchecking Studio, Bar And Grill -- and it went chapter-and-verse through all kinds of things about Gabbard that are problematic, to say the least, from her claims to being anti-war (she isn't, she's just very selective about what kinds of wars she likes, which involve lots of bombing) to her anti-LGBT record to her anti-Islamic rhetoric to her love for the very creepy prime minister of India, Narendra Modi.
Oh yeah, we should also mention that Gabbard is a major fucking bigtime apologist for Syrian murderer dictator Bashar al Assad. Jacobin didn't get far into that, but we're about to.
But we guess all that is forgotten now, because Tulsi Gabbard said kAmAla iS a cOp during Wednesday night's debate, and therefore certain parts of the internet we rarely travel to are going to now act like all the problems with Gabbard have gone away and Tulsi is good now:
This lazy slur that Tulsi "loves" Assad because she met with him to discuss the civil war in Syria is Bush era poli… https://t.co/XUYpBCMYDM— Lee Fang (@Lee Fang)1564625967.0
Is it a "lazy slur" to say Tulsi Gabbard refuses to admit that Assad illegally murders his own people with chemical weapons on the regular, and that she refuses to call him a war criminal? It's not as lazy as saying "Kamala is a cop," but this post isn't about that.
After the debate, the candidates made their rounds. The Russian parts of the internet and the right-wing/Glenn Greenwald media are hitting the fainting couch because Harris responded to Gabbard's attacks by brushing them off her shoulder like a pesky fly, noting that OF COURSE people like Gabbard are going to throw shit at her, as she is a "top tier candidate" and they want attention so they can qualify for the next debate stage. Harris also noted that Gabbard is hard to take seriously on issues of criminal justice when she is so warm with Assad, who gasses his own people to death a whole bunch.
Meanwhile Gabbard went on CNN to refuse to condemn Assad some more:
@WajahatAli Anderson: “Do you consider [Assad] a torturer or a murder?” Gabbard: “That’s not what this is about.” https://t.co/CdNnJ78J4y— Josh Campbell (@Josh Campbell)1564634790.0
Then on Thursday Gabbard went on MSNBC and accused host Yasmin Vossoughian of spreading "propaganda" and being "fed" talking points by the Kamala Harris campaign:
Tulsi Gabbard explodes on MSNBC after they repeatedly press her for meeting Bashar al-Assad, who gasses children: "… https://t.co/CKL7MjiqxR— Ryan Saavedra (@Ryan Saavedra)1564689013.0
And then last night, Gabbard, like a common Glenn Greenwald, went over to Tucker Carlson's White Power Hour on Fox News for a softball interview and some giggles. Oh, yeah, and somewhere in there, she told CNN's Chris Cuomo about her "skepticism" and "cynicism" regarding Assad's murderous war crimes. Totally normal! It was of a piece with Gabbard's February appearance on "Morning Joe," where under repeated questioning, she simply refused to say anything definitively unkind about Assad, much like Donald Trump refuses to say anything definitively unkind about Vladimir Putin.
If you're not familiar with where all this "Tulsi and Assad, sittin' in a tree, OH FUCK he's throwing chemical weapons out of the tree at innocents!" thing came from, it started with a 2015 trip, where Gabbard met with the opposition in Syria, AKA the victims of Assad's crimes. But as Josh Rogin notes in the Washington Post, she's not big on talking about that trip. She likes to talk about when she went there in 2017 instead:
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) talks often about her January 2017 trip to Syria, when she met Bashar al-Assad, toured Aleppo after it had been reduced to rubble (by the Assad regime), and interviewed Syrian civilians and the regime-approved "opposition," who unanimously told her Assad was a better option for Syria than the "terrorists." [...]
Listening to Gabbard, one might think the United States initiated the Syrian conflict by arming terrorists for a regime-change war that has resulted in untold suffering. But Gabbard knows better. She has heard the testimony of children who have been maimed and orphaned by the actual murderers, the Assad regime, but she chooses to ignore them.
"Like the Russians, Iranians and the Assad regime, Tulsi sees the Syrian people struggling for dignity as terrorists, despite the facts," said Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, who was Gabbard's guide on that 2015 trip.
After that trip, Tulsi Gabbard turned into a one-woman propaganda machine for the Assad regime. Rogin details the lengths to which Gabbard has gone to carry water for Assad, and you should read it all, but the consistent feature seems to be that America is the devil, whereas Assad and his Russian allies are the heroic bringers of peace.
Bad enough US has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria. But it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists.— Tulsi Gabbard (@Tulsi Gabbard)1443678040.0
Got it? Who calls the opposition that's getting gassed to death in Syria "terrorists" and falsely claims they are all al Qaeda? That would be Assad himself, Russia, Iran, and Tulsi Gabbard. Who calls them Not That? Everybody else.
More from Rogin:
[B]laming the United States for Assad and Russian war crimes is Gabbard's pattern. That's what she did during and after her 2017 trip to Syria, which she calls a diplomatic mission.
In fact, what she did was tour Aleppo after it had been decimated by Assad and Russia, and declared it a victory for peace. She made videos that regurgitated Assad propaganda from Assad-friendly Syrians and blamed the United States and the rebels for the destruction Assad's regime wrought. She helped a mass murderer whitewash mass atrocities.
Golly, look at us unfairly spreading propaganda about Tulsi Gabbard, Assad, and the Russian regime that props him up! Are we literally Kamala Harris right now? PROBABLY.
For more about how the Syrian conflict actually got started, and the psychological warfare campaign conducted by Russia and Assad (and Gabbard, we guess), to paint all their opponents as terrorists and thereby make people think it's more or less OK to gas them to death, here is an excellent and well sourced thread from Caroline Orr, who is kind of an expert on these things:
No, it’s not. The Syrian Civil War started after Assad’s regime detained, tortured, murdered, & mutilated a 13 yea… https://t.co/B0e9qyU1aw— Caroline Orr (@Caroline Orr)1564738830.0
What a lazy slur it is to call Tulsi Gabbard a mouthpiece for Assad and the Russians, oh boy, we are feelin' LAZY.
Speaking of the Russians, another odd thing happened after the debate. Journalist Virginia Heffernan predicted it after seeing the Google Trends data on the most-searched candidates before and after the debate:
Prediction for Facebook users: certain lefties are going to see the zone flooded with Tulsi Gabbard comms—and attac… https://t.co/eW5zQmryue— Virginia Heffernan (@Virginia Heffernan)1564630190.0
Heffernan was correct except a shitload of the activity happened on Twitter, which is no surprise:
This is a clear example of Russian disinformation happening in real time. A hashtag created & promoted by Russia To… https://t.co/5eyNJV3mwc— Richard Stengel (@Richard Stengel)1564671348.0
The Wall Street Journal found that during and after the debate there were bots all over Twitter amplifying hashtags like #KamalaHarrisDestroyed. Wonder why!
NBC News did some analysis a while back and found that "the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling show Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii ... has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016." It went on:
Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line. The CIA has called RT and Sputnik part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine."
Their coverage? Breathtakingly positive.
On the February "Morning Joe" appearance we mentioned above, Gabbard got very mad and accused NBC News of spreading propaganda, and falsely claimed its analysis of Russia and its government's support for her (which we imagine she loves, especially later in the summer) had been "debunked." We say "falsely" because do you know who "debunked" the conclusion that Russia's propaganda organs were activating for Tulsi Gabbard? None other than state-owned Russian propaganda organ and Putin regime mouthpiece RT!
We should note for the record exactly who is denying all the available evidence and saying Democrats who see Russia's fingerprints out there boosting Gabbard in the aftermath of the debate are just cray-cray. It's Republican mouthpieces like Red State and Fox News; it's woo woo sites like Common Dreams that we used to subscribe to when we were brand new at politics and thought we knew everything; and it's, you know, people like the yappy fucker we posted at the beginning of this piece, who comes from the Michael Tracey/Glenn Greenwald section of Twitter. Oh yeah, and again, RUSSIA is denying it. (And RT is still going.)
In other words, everything is 2016 again. Christ, at this rate, whatever Mueller Report gets issued after the 2020 election might just be a copy/paste of the original.
This time, though, we know their fucking game.
One more thing, regarding Gabbard's attack on Harris at the debate:
Does Harris's record deserve to be thoroughly and honestly examined? Of course! She's running for president, and she is indeed a "top-tier candidate." On that note, the Mercury News actually fact-checked the attacks against Harris during the debate, and while some had merit, others were just about 100 percent bullshit -- like the thing Gabbard said about Harris supposedly putting 1,500 pot smokers in jail. That was bullshit. We really encourage people to read that, and check Harris's record, and all other candidates' records. But please, for the love of God, do it FOR YOURSELF.
And no, reading a Facebook meme/email forward sourced from David Sirota's bowels does not count as doing it for yourself.
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