Thursday, October 31, 2019

Veracity of Tulsi counter attacks on Hillary

My FB interlocutor who wants me to stop supporting Tulsi has raised the following WaPo article

This article gives Tulsi three Pinocchios for her characterization of Hillary's attack on her, pointing out that literally Hillary said Republicans are grooming Tulsi  to be a third party candidate, while Tulsi is characterizing this as a statement that Russians are grooming her to be a third party candidate. There is also the business of having categorized Jill Stein and/or Tulsi as a Russian asset. Again, literally Hillary said Stein, but people understood Tulsi initially, and Tulsi has run with that. 

Here was my response, somewhat edited, and I intend to edit further. 

There's a legalistic analysis of what was said and there's what people were intended to understand, and, in fact, did understand.   The original statement is complex to construe, and required a lot of post hoc analysis.

The Russian bots rumor has been circulating for a while. Tulsi now believes that Hillary is the source of those rumors, and that the rumors are revenge for Tulsi's actions in 2016.

The aide said "if the nesting doll fits," in response to a question about Tulsi. This also was obviously intended to associate Tulsi with the Russians. 

In view of this, I feel that Tulsi's interpretation of the intent of what was said is not unfair. 

It is also possible that the intent here was to make less educated people, who read less carefully, believe that Tulsi is a Russian asset, while people who are more educated, read more carefully, and read WaPo will see that the first interpretation was wrong, without checking in to the fact that it was still a very nasty thing to say, and likely was launched in revenge. 

Tulsi's attack on Hillary is garnering her support amongst Hillary haters. That's not a bad thing. We do have to lure some swing voters away from Trump. Tulsi is, after all, trying to win an election and the more awareness she can garner for her long shot campaign, the better off she is.

Those people have been turned off all along by the type of legalistic interpretation of politician statements that are exhibited in this WaPo article. Trump, himself, is pretty incoherent, but his supporters go with what they understand the gist to be, and resent people looking at the details rather than the gist. Biden's supporters seem similar in this regard. 

On the other hand, I've said publicly on Tulsi's boards, on Twitter, on Instagram, and in emails to her that I'm not comfortable with these attacks on Hillary. 

Tulsi hasn't desisted.

While I'm not comfortable with the emotional attack on Hillary, I also don't feel that one can ever find a perfect candidate. I've been considering who my second choice would be. I feel that the front runners: Warren, Biden, and Sanders are too old. Of these, I like Warren best. Harris, I feel, lacks the charisma to win. Booker is a possibility in my mind, but I am concerned about his connections with the chemical industry in NJ. Buttegieg is interesting: iconoclastic, because he's openly gay, but still pretty old line in other respects. 

I still feel that Tulsi has the most personal charisma, which is very important to these swing voters.

I still like Tulsi's anti-war plank. In case that hasn't yet been clear to you, peace is my primary issue. 

So I haven't decided to support someone else yet.


Here's an article claiming that fake Russian bot accounts have been created to discredit candidates -- and that was the source of Tulsi/Russian bot rumors

Also, some Tulsi supporters are saying that the so-called transcript of Hillary's remarks cited by WaPo is inaccurate.

#tulsi2020 #tulsigabbard


Here is the actual Hillary podcast

The relevant portion startsi, I believe around 27:27.  Hillary says Jill Stein is "also" a Russian asset, implying that the aforementioned mystery candidate is a Russian asset.  The mystery candidate can only be Tulsi, because no one else has been accused of being helped by the Russians.  Therefore, it is not unreasonable to interpret this podcast as saying that Tulsi is a Russian asset.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

More arguments about Tulsi on FB

This blog is a memorialization of some points I made in a FB discussion about Tulsi.   

I applaud you for finally citing articles containing thoughtful analysis and actual discussion of facts, rather than gossip and sound bytes; nevertheless the articles suffer from the delusion that there is someone who is ideologically pure, who agrees with you on every single issue. For instance, I voted for Hillary in 2016, even though I was frightened by her hawkish comments, because I thought Trump was worse. Progressives have embraced Sanders, even though he’s soft on gun control. Many progressives have criticized Warren for her participation, while a professor at Harvard, in class action litigations that effectively limited plaintiffs’ recoveries. 

Tulsi has shown that she thinks about things and changes her position. She has spoken quite eloquently about her commitment to diversity and freedom for all religions. I don’t believe the rhetoric that she’s somehow anti-Islamic, tho I do believe she’s against the radical minority. 

The puzzling thing is that the US government trained the Taliban, supported dissidents in Iraq who were Shiite (sp?) and sympathetic to Iran who was supposedly part of the “axis of evil” (a categorization that I disagree with),  supports dissidents in Syria who tend to be considerably less feminist than Assad, sided with Kuwait over Iraq when women’s rights were far less respected in Kuwait than in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, overthrew Gaddafi leaving a state of violent anarchy where Isis and Al Qaeda thrive, and supports Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Our foreign  policy has been execrable.

Our repeated failure to ally with India, the world’s largest democracy, and apparently often siding with Pakistan, a country that encourages and hides terrorists, is utterly baffling to me. What are we thinking?

These articles were the ones cited:

As to why Duke wouldn’t support Buttegieg, apparently he prefers a straight, Hindu woman of color to a married, white, Christian man who happens to be gay.

If this is actually because of their stands on issues, as opposed to their demographics, in a way that’s a good thing. It implies that he is actually thinking about something, which is nice to know, especially because there are straight, white, Christian males running

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Letter to the NY Times re: Tusli

I sent this on October 16.  I haven't heard back from them, so I suppose they're not publishing it.

Tulsi accused them, in the debate, of stating that she was a Russian Asset.  They denied it.  They also said other things about her presentation. This is what I wrote

I find your response today to Tulsi's criticism of you unsatisfactory.

You say you haven't called her a "Russian Asset." I haven't read all your articles about her, but I wonder whether you haven't quoted someone as saying that, without contradicting the quote.  I think I've read something of that sort in your paper.  Repeating that kind of inflammatory language, without disagreeing, is like a tacit endorsement.

You say she's an isolationist, but opposing regime change wars is not isolationist.  She is all in favor of international negotiation.  Your calling her isolationist is pure propaganda in favor of a militarist agenda.

Also, you say the war in Syria is not a regime change war.  What is your response to Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia who has said that our CIA started this war with a desire to overthrow the Syrian government?  He said this on MSNBC.

Letter to the Atlantic Magazine re: Tulsi

I haven't heard back from them about this letter, so I think they're not publishing it, so I'm putting it here instead.  This was a response to a recent article

Mystery of Tulsi Gabbard?  Mystery?  Nothing at all mysterious here.

Why is she running?

Did you actually watch Tulsi’s video about what made her decide to run? She was alarmed by the false alarm of nuclear attack in Hawaii. Everyone received messages on their cell phones to take shelter, except that there are no nuclear shelters in Hawaii.  Are you surprised that she persists indefatigably? She’s a soldier.  She’s fighting for our survival.  She will not rest.  It’s not a guru telling her what to do.  It’s her own soldier’s mind.

And why is she so interesting? It’s because she has the x-factor.  She has charisma.  We Democrats have ignored that for too long. We’ve put out brilliant nerds: Mondale, Gore, Hillary — people who are impressive to the educated, but who can’t win swing states.  

Trump has the x-factor.  That’s why he had a successful TV show for several seasons.  Brainy nerds aren’t going to beat him.  She can. 

The fact that she appeals to Trump supporters is regarded by the orthodox left as suspicious.  Hello?  We need to appeal to some of those people in order to win.  


She’s unflappable.  You make that sound like a bad thing.  You know who else was unflappable? Barak Obama, the best president in my lifetime, as far as I’m concerned.  

You know who isn’t unflappable? Donald Trump?  He flies off the handle at the slightest provocation.  The press seems to like that.  It sells more news.  The best thing for the press is not necessarily the best thing for the country.

The smears

Your article promulgates vicious, ill-founded smears against Tulsi Gabbard.

The fact that she isn’t into pillorying a foreign leader, i.e. Assad, is a sign of a good diplomat.  When did verbally abusing foreign leaders become the preferred method of international conversation?  Why would the press insist that she parrot hostile language that the press favors?  Why does the press think it should be putting words in someone else’s mouth?

The fact that the Russians would like a more peace oriented candidate is hardly surprising.  Maybe we should look at why they were so vigorously opposed to Hillary.  Hillary was much more hawkish than Trump.  They must have believed she would actually go to war over Crimea.  Did we really want to go to war over Crimea?  I certainly don’t.  Is it really in our interest to elect hawkish candidates?

The fact that Tulsi doesn’t entirely believe that standard narrative about Assad is also not surprising, given that she was deployed to Iraq and saw thousands die, based on lies.  If you were deployed to Iraq based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, would you believe new allegations about weapons of mass destruction that were being used to justify war?  There’s a saying “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  

There are a number of alternative versions of what’s going on in Syria out there that do not meet the standard government narrative.  Have you listened to Jeffrey Sachs, professor at Columbia University, about Syria?  

And why are we such self-righteous hypocrites about weapons of mass destruction?  We are the only country to have used nuclear weapons in combat.  We dropped napalm and agent orange in Viet Nam — chemical weapons.  Where is our moral high ground?

I am totally in sympathy with her position that we do more harm by provoking war in Syria than we resolve.  Have you looked at Libya recently?  We overthrew Gaddafi and the result was violent anarchy.  Similarly, we overthrew Hussein in Iraq and the result was violent anarchy that still hasn’t been completely resolved.  

Afghanistan has been in a state of constant war for decades due to our meddling.  If we had left things to the Russians there, there would be no Taliban now.  We trained the Taliban.  We trained people who we knew were opposed to equal rights for women, people who were fighting Russia because they wanted to oppress women.  

These “insurgents” who we keep helping in Muslim countries, often at the behest of Saudi Arabia, are typically right wing religious bigots.  We’re overthrowing leaders with more feminist policies in the name of “freedom.” Granted they weren’t democratically elected, but the suffering we inflict on those countries is far worse than their leaders inflict.

We have to stop being paid mercenaries of Saudi Arabia, paid by oil drilling licenses to our oil companies.  We need to be politically independent.

The press favors war, because war sells news.  The press is a business that sells negative drama.  War is great fodder — the best negative drama.  The press is constantly promoting continuous war.  The press was thrilled to be embedded in Iraq, making sellable news, by killing innocent people.  Did any mainstream media refuse to be embedded?  Refuse to promote this evil act of war? I don’t think so.

We need Tuisi.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Creeping Hour

Oh, I'm going to be on a podcast on sponsored by #WGBH -- the largest contributor to public radio!!!!  I'm playing Dr. Chanticleer, a scary villain.  The episode drops 10/17/19.  It's called "Big Shoes."  It was really thrilling working with WGBH.

Here's my instagram post, including a preview featuring *ME*!

Here's a link to my blog about my fascination with Villain Roles

So this was a dream role for me.

Elie Lichtstein, the writer, took a set photo that sort of shows me.  I'm copying this from his Instagram.  I hope he won't mind.  This was taken at John Kilgore Studios

Please see this website for more about these podcasts

The Joker

Caveat: I have not seen this movie, nor do I think can allow the film industry to draw me into such an emotional maelstrom.  I need to remain more serene than that.  Nevertheless, I commented as follows on a friend's post on FB and wanted to memorialize it here.

I haven't wanted to see this movie, because I fear it would be too upsetting. I prefer fluffy stuff; however, I am curious, in view of the comments below, whether this is a depiction of mental illness based on medical science, or whether it's really just a sensualized and sensationalized piece of glorified click bait.

I wondered similarly about Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ.” Yes, it might have been true to the Bible story, but the Bible doesn’t present the story in technicolor with high drama, lingering closeups.

This type of glorification of emotional drama is not real life. I’m not sure exactly why it draws people in — but it does — much like junk food.

Of course, we have the ability, through the casting process, to find performers who have the talent to enthrall people with their performances; again, not because their depictions are truly realistic, but because they are artfully heightened. Real people aren’t so enthralling. Why are we sucked into a high drama portrayal? Why does drama seem more interesting than watching ordinary people walk by on the street? Or than watching a tree?

Having kids with autism spectrum disorders, I am familiar with the history of blaming these disorders on “refrigerator mothers,” when really the disorders were neurological and congenital.

I question whether these homicidal maniacs were really all abused so badly as to make them go bad, or whether they were predisposed from birth to over-react to ordinary stress. Maybe there isn’t a story about them going mad. Maybe they just were like that.

I’m also disturbed by the whole “mental illness” rubric; partly because psychiatry doesn’t seem to be oriented around any disorder of this type, i.e. the fictional “homicidal maniac.” They don’t know how to diagnose any such disorder or treat it.

It may be simply because these people are too maladjusted to seek treatment. They don’t walk into a doctor’s office and say “Hi! I’m a homicidal maniac. Please give me a pill to cure this.” They live in a different world from the rest of us, in terms of how they perceive things — so doctors aren’t in a position to develop protocols. But really we don't know much about such people. They usually die before they can be interviewed.

Friday, October 4, 2019

NH trip September 2019

Yeah, ok, I go the same place every summer, but, still, the pix are nice -- or so I think.

These are the unedited google photo albums

Here are some of my favorite individual photos, embedded

This was kind of a bucket list thing: hike to Roger's Ledge

Maybe I'm a bit like my dad in generally preferring landscapes as photo subjects to people

Fungi photos

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stream photos