Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
During the Democratic candidates’ debate on November 20th, there was a significant verbal exchange, which was initiated and managed by the panel’s questioner on this topic, Ashley Parker, Washington Post White House reporter:
PARKER: Congresswoman Gabbard, you have criticized Hillary Clinton as the, quote, “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.” What is the rot you see in the Democratic Party?
GABBARD: That our Democratic Party, unfortunately, is not the party that is of, by, and for the people. It is a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington, represented by Hillary Clinton and others’ foreign policy, by the military industrial complex, and other greedy corporate interests.
I’m running for president to be the Democratic nominee that rebuilds our Democratic Party, takes it out of their hands, and truly puts it in the hands of the people of this country. A party that actually hears the voices of Americans who are struggling all across this country and puts it in the hands of veterans and fellow Americans who are calling for an end to this ongoing Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy doctrine of regime change wars, overthrowing dictators in other countries, needlessly sending my brothers and sisters in uniform into harm’s way to fight in wars that actually undermine our national security and have cost us thousands of American lives.
These are wars that have cost us as American taxpayers trillions of dollars since 9/11 alone, dollars that have come out of our pockets, out of our hospitals, out of our schools, out of our infrastructure needs. As president, I will end this foreign policy, end these regime change wars, work to end this new cold war and arms race, and instead invest our hard-earned taxpayer dollars actually into serving the needs of the American people right here at home.
PARKER: Thank you, Congresswoman.
Senator Harris, any response?
HARRIS: Oh, sure.
I think that it’s unfortunate that we have someone on this stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama…
GABBARD: That’s ridiculous, Senator Harris. That’s ridiculous.
HARRIS: … who has spent full time — who has spent full time criticizing people on this stage as affiliated with the Democratic Party, when Donald Trump was elected, not even sworn in, buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump in the Trump Tower, fails to call a war criminal by what he is as a war criminal, and then spends full time during the course of this campaign, again, criticizing the Democratic Party.
What we need on the stage in November is someone who has the ability to win. And by that, we need someone on that stage who has the ability to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump and someone who has the ability to rebuild the Obama coalition and bring the party and the nation together. I believe I am that candidate.
PARKER: Thank you, Senator.
Congresswoman Gabbard, I’ll give you a chance to respond.
GABBARD: What Senator Harris is doing is unfortunately continuing to traffic in lies and smears and innuendos because she cannot challenge the substance of the argument that I’m making, the leadership and the change that I’m seeking to bring in our foreign policy, which only makes me guess that she will as president continue the status quo, continue the Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy of regime change wars, which is deeply destructive.
This is personal to me because I served in Iraq. I left my seat in the state legislature in Hawaii, volunteered to deploy to Iraq where I served in the medical unit where every single day I saw the terribly high human cost of war. I take very seriously the responsibility that the president has to serve as commander-in-chief, to lead our armed forces, and to make sure always — no, I’m not going to put party interests first. I will put the interests of the American people above all else.
PARKER: Thank you, Congresswoman. I want to — I want to briefly give Senator Harris a final second to respond.
HARRIS: I believe that what our nation needs right now is a nominee who can speak to all people. I’ve spent my entire career standing mostly in a courtroom speaking five words: Kamala Harris for the people. And it was about all the people, regardless of their race, regardless of their gender, regardless of where they lived geographically, regardless of the party with which they’re registered to vote or the language their grandmother speaks.
We need someone on this debate stage in November who has the ability to unify the country and to win the election. And I believe, again, I am that candidate.
PARKER: Thank you, Senator.
Gabbard had become disillusioned by her military service, in a military invasion and occupation that were based on lies. Right now, she is outraged against the $6.4 trillion dollars that the U.S. has, thus far, spent on the post-9/11 invasions, and military occupations, by the U.S. Government, against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, and she wants to end each one of those military occupations and “bring the troops home.” She regrets that those $6.4T weren’t spent instead on addressing the pressing problems within our own country. She talks only very little about the millions of people who have been killed directly because of — and sometimes directly by — our invasions of their lands. Unlike the current U.S. President, Donald Trump, who also says that he wants to do this, “bring the troops home,” Hillary Clinton recently charged Gabbard with being serious about it, and even as being “a Russian asset,” for advocating it, and for having even met personally with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in order to obtain his perspective on America’s invasion of his country and America’s continuing refusal to leave there.
On October 17th, Hillary Clinton did an hour-long podcast interview with David Plouffe, who had been Barack Obama’s 2008 Campaign Manager, and Clinton spent over half the time on the topic of Russia’s destroying American democracy by using minor political parties to draw votes away from Democratic candidates but not away from Republican candidates, and she also accused Russia of using the internet in order to deceive Democratic Party voters into not voting, or else to vote for more-progressive third parties instead of for the Democratic Party’s nominees. Ms. Clinton’s underlying assumption was that Russia does all of this in order to cause Republican nominees to become elected. Whereas the Republican Joseph R. McCarthy, in the 1950s, had accused the communist Soviet Union of infiltrating the U.S. Government in order to place Democrats into control of the government, Hillary Clinton now is accusing non-communist Russia of doing something similar, in order to place Republicans in control.
Here will be presented the first full transcript of the complete brief passage in which Hillary Clinton accused both the Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (who has been a Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives for 6 years) and the Green Party leader Jill Stein (who hasn’t ever held any elective governmental office) as being “Russian assets”; and, regarding Gabbard, alleged also that Russia is “grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” Hillary meant there that Russia, and those two “Russian assets,” are planning to do this, so as to reduce the votes for whomever will be the Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee, and thus to throw the 2020 election to Donald Trump, like Ralph Nader threw the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush, by taking more votes away from Gore than away from Bush in both New Hampshire and Florida and thus actually enabling the Republican U.S. Supreme Court to step in and choose Bush to be the U.S. President. But Hillary never alleged that Nader had been “a Russian asset” — even though he actually did that. Maybe there isn’t a Russian under every rock, just like there isn’t a Jew under every rock. Hitler was wrong, and maybe Hillary is, too. However, bigots can be found almost everywhere, and evil politicians of every political party can play them like a Paderewsky upon the keys. And Obama’s former campaign manager, Plouffe, played right along with her. He seemed to like everything that she was saying.
Regarding this podcast, I warn anyone who clicks onto either of the two URLs to that podcast: it blasts one’s ears out and has no volume-control on it (at least on my system); so, I advise that, in order to save your ears, it might be safer just to read the transcript that I present of it, which is below:
Apple Podcasts: Campaign HQ with David Plouffe
Th. 17 October 2019 David Plouffe interviews Hillary Clinton
Google Podcasts: Campaign HQ with David Plouffe
17 October 2017
35:30-36:25: Hillary Clinton (referring to Russians): “They’re also going to do third party again. And, I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary, and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. She’s a Russian asset, I mean, totally, and so they know they can’t win without a third party candidate. And so I don’t know who it’s going to be but I guarantee they’ll have a vigorous third-party challenge — in the key states that they most need it.” [Commercial break]
That’s all there is of it. The rest of the hour was mainly her regular accusations against Russia, which she has stated many times before, plus a bit of her thoughts about how Republicans deceive stupid voters (whom she once called a “the basket of deplorables” — as if she had none, or else a smaller “basket,” but surely a different “basket,” of them — whomever they might be) to vote for Republican nominees. So, Hillary promotes hatred of Russians for being evil and dangerous people, and contempt for Republicans, as being Russians’ dupes. Maybe she hopes this way to win enough dupes of her own, in order to win something, other than the Senate seat from New York, which she did win, as the departing First Lady. (Otherwise, all she has in her CV are failures, some of which were disastrous ones; but, still, she has lots more support by Democratic Party voters than Tulsi Gabbard does.)
Since Jill Stein has no actual public-policy record, because she’s never been a public official, there is nothing to indicate to an intelligent voter what her polices and policy-priorities — as opposed to mere campaign-promises — are; but Tulsi Gabbard does have an actual policy-record, and it is approximately as hostile against Russia as that of most members of Congress. Here are some of her key votes, and statements explaining them, so that one can reasonably judge whether Gabbard is hostile, or friendly, toward Russia (since Hillary seems to think that Gabbard is deficiently hostile toward Russia; she wants Gabbard to have a worse record than this):
GABBARD AGAINST RUSSIA:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll114.xml 6 March 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll117.xml 11 March 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll148.xml 27 March 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll149.xml 1 April 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll413.xml 25 July 2017
Here is Gabbard’s press release in March 2014, specifically about her position regarding the overthrow in February 2014 of the democratically elected Ukrainian President who was very popular both in Crimea and in far eastern Ukraine and who refused to accept that Ukraine pay the full projected $160 billion cost which would be entailed if Ukraine were to join the European Union (which the U.S. demanded that he accept):
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Russia Must Face Consequences for Continued Aggression in Ukraine
March 17, 2014 Press Release
Calls for U.S. to offer weapons, military training assistance
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement after the President’s announcement of expanded sanctions against Russian officials:
“Russia has violated the sovereignty and independence of the Ukrainian people, in direct contravention of its own treaty obligations and international law,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an Army combat veteran and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I support the sanctions announced today, and I strongly urge the President to go further and consider a broader range of consequences. If Russia is allowed to continue its aggressive push for control in Ukraine, there will be long-term, serious, and costly security risks for the United States and Europe. Russia must face serious consequences for their actions; the U.S. must consider options that truly isolate Russia economically and diplomatically — not just sanction a handful of oligarchs — and send a message of unity and strength from the international community.
“We cannot stand by while Russia unilaterally degrades Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We must offer direct military assistance — defensive weapons, military supplies and training — to ensure Ukraine has adequate resources to respond to Russia’s aggressions and defend themselves. We cannot view Ukraine as an isolated incident. If we do not take seriously the threat of thinly veiled Russian aggression, and commit to aiding the people of Ukraine immediately, we will find ourselves in a more dangerous, expensive and disastrous situation in the future.”
In a House Foreign Affairs Committee mark-up of H.Res. 499 recently, the congresswoman gained unanimous approval on including amendments on anti-corruption, and protection of civil and political rights throughout Ukraine. She also supported the House passage of H.R. 4152, which authorized loan guarantees for Ukraine.
So: she was just as determined as the rest of Congress to force the residents in Crimea and in far eastern Ukraine to accept the illegally imposed post-coup leaders that Victoria Nuland, President Obama’s point-person controlling the overthrow, chose to lead Ukraine. Nuland did it in this phone call, when she instructed the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine to have Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “Yats,” chosen to lead the country, and for the Ambassador not to allow the EU’s preferred person, “Klitch” or Vitaly Klitchko, to be appointed. She angrily said there, “Fuck the EU,” because “Klitch,” actually, wasn’t nearly as anti-Russian as “Yats.” And having “Klitch” even so much as work under “Yats, “It’s just not going to work,” she said. The EU’s choice — the person who didn’t seethe with hate for Russians — needed to be excluded, entirely, from serving in the new, U.S.-imposed, government.
Here’s that phone-call:
A transcript of its main parts can be seen here:
The head of the ‘private CIA’ firm, Stratfor, called it “the most blatant coup in history.”
Tulsi Gabbard was just as supportive of this as were virtually all other members of Congress. So: when did Gabbard become a “Russian asset?”
If one clicks onto the votes that she had made in 2014, 2015, and 2017, when the big anti-Russian bills were being voted on in Congress, she was just as hostile toward Russia as the others were, wasn’t she?
So: when did it happen?
Frankly, if Gabbard remains in that Party, and doesn’t try to form a less war-mongering, less profoundly corrupt, party to replace today’s rabidly neoconservative (like the Republicans are) Democratic Party, and to present an authentically progressive alternative to the fascism of both of America’s two existing, billionaire-backed, Parties, then would she really be a supporter of ending America’s “regime-change wars” — the string of U.S. invasions and coups to overthrow governments that are allied with, or even merely friendly toward, Russia — as she claims to be? How can she stay in either of the existing Parties, if she doesn’t support regime-change wars? These wars are intended to isolate and ultimately destroy Russia: these wars are waged only against Russia-friendly or -allied countries, which never invaded, nor even threatened to invade, the United States. Who is she, if she doesn’t separate herself from both neoconservative Parties, which Hillary now dares her to do? Does Tulsi Gabbard really oppose “regime-change wars”?
Hillary Clinton condemns Tulsi Gabbard actually for opposing regime-change wars, but Gabbard’s voting record in Congress is almost as supportive of those wars as the rest of Congress is. So: what is Clinton’s complaint?
Gabbard claims to despise Hillary Clinton, but Gabbard has voted mostly for the initiatives in Congress that Ms. Clinton had helped to lead. (Victoria Nuland, in fact, is a close friend of Hillary’s.) If someone other than Bernie Sanders obtains the Democratic nomination, and Gabbard actually will then split from the Democratic Party, then I, for one, would vote for her against both the Democratic and the Republican Parties, because I am anti-fascist, and because both of today’s Parties are fascist. But she would first need to explain why she condemns both Parties though supporting their regime-change wars and coups. (Maybe she has changed her mind about those issues and now regrets those votes she had made on them. But the answer would need to be made clear.)
The choice between two fascist Parties isn’t any democracy — none at all. But I’m not sure where Tulsi Gabbard really stands, on the necessity to give Americans a real choice, real democracy. That’s not clear. It’s not clear where she actually stands.
George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003. Barack Obama invaded Libya in 2011, and Syria in 2012-, and Yemen 2015-. He did the coup against Ukraine. None of these countries posed any authentic national-security threat to the United States. What’s to choose between such fascists? Is that democracy? It’s empire, and empire was sought by the Axis powers in World War II — three imperialistic fascist countries: Germany, Italy, and Japan. America is now imperialistic fascist. Does Tulsi Gabbard really support that? If not, then why has she voted in Congress for it (just like virtually all other members of Congress — none of whom condemn “regime-change wars,” as she does)?
Where does she really stand? That’s the actual question about her, not “When did Tulsi Gabbard become a Russian asset?” Hillary simply lies about that (even if Gabbard does end up running as a third-party candidate). I want a choice, not an echo. But does Tulsi Gabbard offer any?
If she doesn’t, then maybe that’s because America’s press actually supports Hillary Clinton’s lie. For example, on October 23rd, Newsweek headlined “HILLARY CLINTON IS RIGHT. TULSI GABBARD IS A PERFECT RUSSIAN ASSET—AND WOULD BE A PERFECT REPUBLICAN AGENT | OPINION” and granted support to Clinton’s factually false allegation by allowing publication of their ‘news’-columnist’s ‘opinion’ (lie) that Clinton’s statement is true — instead of Newsweek’s editors rejecting that libel against the congresswoman and firing that columnist for writing a factually unsupported and undocumented smear. Apparently, mainstream U.S. ‘news’-media have no fear of losing subscribers or advertisers for publishing undocumented falsehoods, so long as those falsehoods support the owners of America’s military-industrial complex — owners of firms such as Lockheed Martin. The only accountability that seems to exist in this nation’s ‘news’-media, now, is toward the owners of America’s ‘defense’-contractors. Gabbard has apparently become ‘fair game’ for them, merely by claiming to oppose “regime-change wars” — to oppose what’s actually the excuse for the products that they sell to the U.S. Government. For an elected public official even to assert such opposition is to be virtually banned from remaining in public office. The only real or significant patrons for America’s major ‘news’-media now are the government’s ‘defense’ contractors. Apparently, those have come to constitute the core of America Incorporated. Has the American economy effectively become nothing more than a war-machine? Has what Eisenhower named the “military-industrial complex” effectively taken all of it over? Doesn’t that seem to be the case?
It’s not enough for a candidate to claim to be against “regime-change wars.” The candidate has to have a record which proves it; or else, apologize specifically for the details in that person’s record which disprove it — and assert clear foreign-affairs commitments, which would frighten the owners of America’s ‘defense’ contractors and all other corrupt billionaires. No candidate who accepts support — direct or indirect — from any billionaire, offers any real hope to American voters. And any candidate who isn’t willing to reject all such assistance shouldn’t even qualify to run for the U.S. Presidency. Instead, the current U.S. President is one of those billionaires, and the Democratic primary field now has at least two of America’s wealthiest billionaires. In fact, Tom Steyer was the top political donor of both Parties in 2016: $91 million, all to Democrats (Sheldon Adelson was #2, and all of his $83 million was donated to Republicans). Bernie Sanders is the only Democratic Presidential candidate who has no billionaire backers. (He refuses to be owned by anyone but the entire American people.) Both he and Gabbard are hated by Hillary Clinton. Perhaps that narrows the field of possibly acceptable persons to win the Democratic Party Presidential nomination to just those two candidates. But whereas Sanders has an extensive actual voting record in Congress, Gabbard does not. If hers were clearly better than Sanders’s, then she might possibly be the best option, but that’s not actually the case. Furthermore: the only Democratic Presidential nominee whose nomination would be virtually certain to prevent Gabbard from accepting a Green Party nomination if that’s offered to her would be Sanders. (And, even if Gabbard were to run as the Green Party’s nominee, virtually all of her supporters would vote for Sanders, because he’d then have the Democratic nomination, and because the public trusts Sanders more than they do any of the other candidates.) In fact: only if Sanders wins the Democratic nomination will the Green Party likely endorse the Democratic nominee. In a Sanders v. Trump final contest, only Trump would be likely to have some of his supporters vote third-party — for example, Libertarian. This is the reason why Democratic Party voters, right now, are stupid for thinking (as is shown in many polls that have been taken on this question) that Biden would be likelier to beat Trump than Sanders would be. Only Sanders would be extremely likely to beat Trump. Any other Democratic nominee — Trump, quite possibly, could beat, but not if Sanders becomes the Democratic nominee. If Sanders becomes the nominee, the “left” vote will be united around him; but the “right” vote will almost certainly not be united around Trump as the Republican nominee. The fissures on the “right” are now very real. The only way Democrats can blow 2020 as they did 2016 is by doing in 2020 what they did in 2016 — sell out to their billionaire donors and be just “liberal Republicans” with the “Democratic” brand stamped onto them.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.