The Nobility of Tulsi Gabbard

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W.J. Astore

In the South Carolina primary won on Saturday by Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard earned only 1.3% of the vote.  Her poor showing was due in part to her outcast status among the Democratic establishment joined by mainstream media outlets like MSNBC and CNN.  Speaking of CNN, I caught a few minutes of coverage last night during which its commentators confessed they couldn’t understand why Tulsi was still running. (Update: See my comment below for more details on this exchange.)  One person (Anderson Cooper, the weasel) suggested she was angling for a job with Fox News.  Of course, Tulsi’s principled opposition to regime-change wars and other disastrous U.S. foreign policy decisions went unmentioned.  When her name is mentioned by the corporate-owned media, it’s usually in the context of the candidate most likely to succeed – in Russia.

By running in the election, Tulsi Gabbard continues to make an invaluable contribution: She highlights the power of the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex and its rejection of any candidate willing to challenge it.  Gabbard’s status as a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, her service in Congress on the House Armed Services Committee, her military deployments to Iraq: all of this is downplayed or dismissed.  Meanwhile, Mayor Pete’s brief stint in Afghanistan is celebrated as the height of military service.  What’s the difference between them?  Mayor Pete plays ball with big donors and parrots talking points of the Complex – Tulsi doesn’t.

In a recent op-ed for The Hill, Tulsi yet again does America a service by calling out red baiting in America’s elections.  Here’s how her op-ed begins:

Reckless claims by anonymous intelligence officials that Russia is “helping” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are deeply irresponsible. So was former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s calculated decision Tuesday to repeat this unsubstantiated accusation on the debate stage in South Carolina. Enough is enough. I am calling on all presidential candidates to stop playing these dangerous political games and immediately condemn any interference in our elections by out-of-control intelligence agencies.

A “news article” published last week in The Washington Post, which set off yet another manufactured media firestorm, alleges that the goal of Russia is to trick people into criticizing establishment Democrats. This is a laughably obvious ploy to stifle legitimate criticism and cast aspersions on Americans who are rightly skeptical of the powerful forces exerting control over the primary election process. We are told the aim of Russia is to “sow division,” but the aim of corporate media and self-serving politicians pushing this narrative is clearly to sow division of their own — by generating baseless suspicion against the Sanders campaign.

Tulsi is right here – and she’s right when she says that:

The American people have the right to know this information in order to put Russia’s alleged “interference” into proper perspective. It is a mystery why the Intelligence Community would want to hide these details from us. Instead it is relying on highly dubious and vague insinuations filtered through its preferred media outlets, which seem designed to create a panic rather than actually inform the public about a genuine threat.

All this does is undermine voters’ trust in our elections, which is what we are constantly told is the goal of Russia.

She also accurately notes how the “corporate media will do everything they can to turn the general election into a contest of who is going to be ‘tougher’ on Russia. This tactic is necessary to propagandize the American people into shelling over their hard-earned tax dollars to the Pentagon to fund the highly lucrative nuclear arms race that the military-industrial complex craves.”

Tulsi Gabbard may not be in the democratic race much longer, but that’s not because she lacks guts.  Indeed, her willingness to buck the system – and her commitment to making the world a less militaristic place – make her a notable candidate.  She’s been a noble voice crying in a corrupt and self-serving wilderness.

30 thoughts on “The Nobility of Tulsi Gabbard

  1. Tulsi was my preferred candidate from the outset of the Democratic primary race. Nothing she or anyone else has done, said, or written has deterred me from my initial assessment. Though I characterized her as a one-issue candidate, that one issue is exceptionally powerful — far more so in fact than most of the repetitive noise in debate after debate that juggles front-runners and trendy, competing memes but fails to truly address the internal rot that undermines electoral processes and self-government from within. Doesn’t take external interference. On the bright side, Tulsi will continue to be influential for some long while, unlike all the folks already deep into their 70s.

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  2. “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
    ― Frédéric Bastiat

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  3. Right you are, Mr. Astore. Tulsi Gabbard is the only one of them with any courage; the rest of them, including our dear Bernie Sanders, are all pitiful cowards. And as for “nobility”—you see, it doesn’t sound bizzare when applied to Tulsi. But can you imagine talking about “the nobility of Joe Biden”? Or the “nobility of Michael Bloomberg”?! Or the “nobility of Pete Buttigieg”? Or even, unfortunately, “the nobility of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders”? I won’t bother you with the formula as applied to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. These are not noble people. I am afraid, though, that the truth is that Americans don’t want a person of integrity or, yes, nobility, in the White House. Or in Congress. And certainly no one of real courage, because such a person would make them feel very embarrassed about themselves. And as for Tulsi’s message of “Aloha”—which I think is perfectly sincere and not just a slogan—well, that’s just not on the American menu. It’s not something that Americans understand. An American will smile and tell you, “Have a nice day” and then shoot you in the back. This is not a conclusion that I have come to lightly or comfortably, but, once again, you have to pay attention to what people do and not what they say. It’s a miracle that Tulsi Gabbard even exists.

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    1. Nailed it!
      Buttigieg’s military service: Token duty as a military “community organizer”. Duty, Honor, Country? No. Resume booster? Yes.
      Tulsi Gabbard: Noble indeed…a leader with Honor. The Charge of the Light Brigade…“Honor the charge she makes!”

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  4. Happened to catch this from a Tulsi campaign email (from the CNN segment I mention above):

    Andrew Yang: “Tulsi Gabbard could be having an event right now, but no one is going to cover it”

    Terry McAuliffe: “Why is Tulsi still in it … ?”

    Andrew Yang: “She’s running for different reasons than many other candidates… ”

    Anderson Cooper: “To be a Fox contributor, isn’t it… [laughs]?”

    That’s right: The same DC establishment elite hosts who continue to entirely erase the historic candidacy of the first female combat veteran and only woman of color left in the race…

    The same network once again denying voters the opportunity to hear from Tulsi in critical televised interviews worth millions airing on the eve of Super Tuesday, so they can decide for themselves after hearing from ALL the remaining candidates…

    The same network who decided to extend invites to billionaires polling below her, who are not even on the ballot…

    … has the audacity to criticize Tulsi for daring to go on Fox News to get her message for peace to the American people?
    END OF CAMPAIGN MAILING

    How low is Anderson Cooper? He has a net worth of roughly $100 million and makes $12 million a year, yet he laughs at Tulsi Gabbard because she goes on Fox News. https://www.thestreet.com/lifestyle/anderson-cooper-net-worth-15057207

    What a tool! And in so many ways …

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    1. Anderson Cooper has no sense of irony as he sits conversing with Andrew Yang who dropped out of the presidential campaign so he could take a gig as a CNN contributor.

      As well, Andrew Yang’s name still appears on the California primary election ballot and so will garner votes that otherwise might go to candidates still in the race, like Tulsi Gabbard. Perhaps the same applies to other states who will also hold their primary elections on March 3, 2020. What a waste.

      And speaking again of Andrew Yang, he fits right in with CNN’s policy of ignoring or disparaging anti-militarist voices. When he uttered the meaningless mouth-noises “for other reasons” in reference to Tulsi’s well-known campaign against imperial militarism, he did so as an obvious set up for Anderson Cooper to snarkily fill in his own “reasons.” Mr Yang could have used the clear English words “to stop stupid and debilitating regime change wars,” and no one would have come away with any doubt whatsoever about why Tulsi Gabbard continues running. She deserves credit for lasting this long when so many others — like Andrew Yang — have thrown in the towel and joined the Pathetic Pundit Parade.

      … [breaking news] …

      I see where Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer have quit the campaign in addition to Andrew Yang. Just goes to show how many candidates only last as long as they think they can “win” (something) as opposed to Tulsi Gabbard who campaigns to change America’s ruinous imperial foreign policy. I felt so good about this — expected — development that I sent Tulsi’s campaign another $68 from my little Social Security income. Fortunately, I can afford such expenditures because my wife and I only spend $45/month on quality universal health care (that has already saved my life twice) here in Taiwan.

      I wonder how CNN and the other corporate media sycophants to power will ignore Tulsi when only two or three other candidates remain in the cockroach race.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nailed it!
    Buttigieg’s military service: Token duty as a military “community organizer”. Duty, Honor, Country? No. Resume booster? Yes.
    Tulsi Gabbard: Noble indeed…a leader with Honor. The Charge of the Light Brigade…“Honor the charge she makes!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alex Christoforou of The Duran posts a video by Tulsi Gabbard that goes beyond the fine work that she did in her OpEd. No one else running for president, of any political party, has anywhere near her courage and ability to articulate the insanity of America’s bi-partisan Cold War 2.0 foreign policy. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “noble,” but definitely dignified. When former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel said that Tulsi had “gravitas,” he certainly had this kind of presentation in mind. The truth. What a refreshing concept.

    See: Tulsi BLASTS Erdogan, calls him “expansionist dictator of Turkey” (Video), The Duran, Quick Take: Episode 485 (March 1, 2020).

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    1. My Transcript of Alex Christoforou’s introduction and Tulsi Gabbard’s video presentation of a truly outstanding foreign policy analysis.

      [Begin transcript]

      Alex Christoforou: “A video from Tulsi Gabbard that she put out yesterday, where she calls out Turkish President Erdogan and what he is doing in Syria and the tensions between Russia, Turkey, and Syria. Tulsi Gabbard just totally crushes Erdogan. I mean, it is brutal. But she also calls on President Trump to get the hell out of Syria. Why not? Trump struck a deal with Afghanistan the other day (fingers crossed). It looks like that war is coming to an end and the US troops are going home. Get the remaining troops out of Syria. Let the international community put money into Syria so it can rebuild and the Syrian migrants – and I stress the word “Syrian” migrants – in Turkey can go home to their country. Not to Europe. They can go home. Let’s put money into rebuilding Syria. Angela Merkel and Macron, if you go to Turkey and meet with Erdogan and give him money to keep the migrants and the refugees in Turkey and not send them to Europe, then you are idiots. You are fools. Give the money to Syria. Help rebuild Syria and get the Syrian migrants back to their country so that the country can finally live in peace.”

      “Great video by Tulsi Gabbard. She also calls out the fake news of moderate rebels and how the US and the Obama administration, and Clinton, and Kerry, use that word of ‘moderate rebels,’ which was really just a farce; just clever marketing to give money to ISIS and Al Qaeda. And she calls out the previous administrations for doing that. And she tells President Trump, Don’t buy into the ‘moderate rebel’ BS. Call it for what it is. The US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, all these countries were funding ISIS and Al Qaeda to destabilize the Assad government in Syria. So check out the post via Tulsi Gabbard. Very brave post. Great, great job Tulsi. This is why she stands head and shoulders over every other Democrat candidate when it comes to foreign policy. Trump, when you win in your landslide, make her Secretary of State. …

      Tulsi Gabbard: “Russia is sending warships to Syria right to protect it from Turkey’s invasion in northern Syria which is being carried out in alliance with Al Qaeda. President Trump needs to make it very clear to NATO and Turkey’s Erdogan that the United States will not be dragged into a war by the aggressive Islamist expansionist dictator of Turkey via NATO. The corporate media needs to stop referring to Al Qaeda and their affiliated groups in Idlib [province] as quote-unquoted “rebels” in a deceptive effort to make them seem like “freedom fighters.” I and thousands of Americans enlisted after Al Qaeda’s attack on 9/11. And the media’s and the Trump administration’s continued labeling of these terrorists as rebels is a disgrace, and dishonors all of our men and women in uniform and our entire country. Turkey has been supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists from behind the scenes for years. But now Turkey is being forced to come out from behind the curtain and expose the role that they’ve been playing in the years-long effort to overthrow the Syrian government. Turkey’s Erdogan wants to create and Islamist Caliphate in Syria, re-establish the Islamist Ottoman Empire and is working with Al Qaeda and other terrorists to achieve his goal. He wants to be the Caliph in the new Islamist Caliphate of his creation. Turkey’s Erdogan is not our friend. He’s one of the most dangerous dictators in the world. And the United States government and media have no business helping this Islamist megalomaniac and his Al Qaeda partners. It is long past time for Congress to pass my ‘Stop Arming Terrorists Act,’ which would prevent our government from assisting countries like Turkey who are aiding our enemy Al Qaeda. And every presidential candidate needs to tell the American people where they stand. Will they support passage of my ‘Stop Arming Terrorists Act’?”

      [End Transcript]

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      1. Thank you for this. It is fervently to be hoped that Trump will actually take the US out of Afghanistan—Obama’s favorite war—by I am afraid that I share Pepe Escobar’s skepticism that a real withdrawal will ever take place. Even if Trump really wants it to happen (and who ever knows what Trump really wants?) the neo-con gang surrounding him (Pompeo et al.) will undermine it. I sincerely hope that I am wrong. https://asiatimes.com/2020/02/the-afghanistan-peace-deal-riddle/

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        1. As I like to say about all US military and its signature careerist ticket-punching, fuck-up-and-move-up, pooch-screwing extravaganzas: “If they knew what to do, they’d have done it already. If they could have, they would have; but they didn’t, so they can’t. Time’s up.”

          Pepe Escobar has nailed it once again. Thanks for the link.

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          1. Breaking News (1:45 PM Eastern US Time, March 2): CNN reports Klobuchar is quitting the race, WILL ENDORSE BIDEN. So now ALL the DNC’s hopes to offer a “sensible” candidate in November shift to ‘Uncle Joe.’ Without a doubt the DNC will be going all out for Biden now, doubling down on their support for him to this point.

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        2. Hell, if you’ve been spinning your wheels for nearly two decades in Afghan mud, WHY STOP NOW?!? I’m very nearly finished reading “Imperial Hubris,” written in 2003/04; predicted there was no hope of the US achieving its “dreams” in that backwater of religious fundamentalism. NO WAY!! The US Colossus was defeated in 1975 by the determination of the people of Vietnam to be free of foreign domination. Of course the US Gov’t never uttered words to acknowledge what had really happened. Would Trump, with his colossal ego, “admit defeat”?? The odds of my winning PowerBall are far greater…and I only buy a ticket once or twice a year!! And we must bear in mind the ruckus that would be raised if it was admitted, in so many words, that all US personnel killed or maimed in that theater of ops had been sacrificed purely in futility. Which IS the reality, regardless of the verbiage applied.

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  7. Woe is us, what WOULD the American Political Establishment do without Russia to beat up on?!? For decades they were the Bad Guys trying to take away our vaunted political freedoms here, indeed to flat-out enslave us and all the world thru the International Communist Conspiracy. Now, they practice a kind of Wild West Capitalism in Russia but amazingly continue to be The ENEMY!! Of anything wholesome and pure, ya know, like American Capitalism, and mother’s milk, and apple pie a la mode, etc. “They’re hacking our elections! They’re hacking our elections!” An incredible track record, eh??

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    1. Red baiting (or now, perhaps, “Russia bashing”) is a tried and true strategy that has always attracted “liberals” (or people who call themselves that in today’s meaningless political terminology). Nowadays even people old enough to have gone through episodes of this at least twice (including under Joe McCarthy) are somehow stupid enough to fall for it again, and these are “educated”, and supposedly “intelligent”, people, evidently as ignorant as Trump and regurgitating egregious media nonsense. I am at my wits’ end.

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      1. Following up on Tulsi Gabbard’s OpEd and powerful foreign policy Video (featured at The Duran), we have this tweet from independent journalist Michael Tracey:

        Security state agencies, also known as the Deep State, must stop interfering in US elections by sowing discord.”

        This in response to a NBC News item:

        NBC News @NBCNews.
        JUST IN: State Dept., DOJ, FBI and others issue joint statement ahead of #SuperTuesday:

        Americans “must remain aware that foreign actors continue to try to influence public sentiment and shape voter perceptions.” — Joint statement from DOS, DOJ, DOD, DNS, ODNI, FBI, NSA, and CISA on preparations for Super Tuesday. …

        As Tulsi Gabbard has so succinctly pointed out, America’s so-called “intelligence agencies” continue trying so sow panic and hysteria among the electorate by issuing lurid, unsubstantiated “warnings” of “foreigners” who might influence our elections by providing proof-positive evidence to us — also known as information (thank you Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden) — of how our own “Deep State” influences our elections.

        I have maintained for most of my life, ever since the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, that the United States needs to abolish the CIA and its foul spawn, the “intelligence community,” as rapidly and ruthlessly as possible. Failure to get a grip on these nasty, incompetent, criminals will surely result in the demise of the American Republic, what little of it remains.

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        1. Mike: Who’s really interfering with our elections? How about those who support gerrymandering? Those who are closing polling stations? Those who are clamoring for Voter ID laws? Those who are purging voting rolls? And all those in the MSM who are lying to the people, e.g. by red-baiting Bernie and Tulsi.

          That’s the REAL interference. Whatever Russia is doing (probably very little) is of no consequence compared to what we’re doing to ourselves.

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          1. And further to that, has Rush Limbaugh been a “Russkie asset” all these years? He and his repulsive extreme right ilk have clearly done more dirty work toward domestic discord than a Winter Palace full of Russian internet trolls could.

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        2. From “Imperial Hubris,” by ‘Anonymous’ (2004), hardcover edition, pg. 248: “[A]fter working with generals and senior intelligence officers, I have found that few strongly oppose sure-to-fail policies during in-house discussions, and none have resigned to oppose what has become a standard set of policies that weaken America abroad, cause discord at home, and ultimately cost us far more lives, respect and money than necessary. . . . The relatively young retirement age of generals and senior intelligence officers leads to day-after-retirement private-sector jobs with large pay hikes, shorter hours, and perks not given civil servants.” And there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth!

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  8. I understand the frustration of hearing the well paid professional liars bad-mouthing Saunders and Gabbard. But such frustration arises from an expectation or hope they might tell the truth. That is not their role. They never will reflect true reality, because their role is to distort it and mislead the ordinary majority of people.

    Any ruling class in the course of history has required an ensemble of strategies in order to maintain social control and preserve its dictatorship. The obvious coercive enforcers – military, police, religious, etc. But equally important is the battle for ideas – ideology, education, cultural manipulation, etc.

    The modern media is an aspect of the latter. TV, Radio, Newsprints, Electronic Media, are all resources to influence how people create their world view. And thos who own them use them ubashamedly to tell people whagt they should think, believe, how they should understand the external world.

    To combat this propaganda, an opposite ideology is required. And the only ideological weapon we have in this endeavor is truth itself. But our media consists of directly creating connection with ordinary people by weaponising the truth of their real circumstances. In my youth, there was a clear divide between “left” and “right”, that was in the Imperialist phase of capitalism. That time is passed, we are in a new period with new contradictions and new solutions to them. Representative Democracy (e.g. the GOP / Dem duopoly belong to a past time. We have entered the globalised era of Neoliberal Oligarchy in which the size of theclass of capital owners has shrunk as middle classes have been pushed downwards into an international and precarious underclass of gig workers on minimum wages (some of whom may still think of themselves as “self-employed”). The proletariat has been transformed into a Precariate.

    This new set of conditions offers huge potential to speak truth to the powerless. Armed with truth, they will become powerful. As the economic mayhem unfolds, and the money/power of the elite melts away, we must be ready and prepared to create an innovative real democracy as the present oligarchy looses its grip on reality.

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  9. Trump, as commander in chief never expressed any qualms over keeping the U.S. in yet another undeclared war (this is what Obama’s sending troops to Syria is, though, as with Venezuela, the fig leaf is that neither Assad nor Maduro are “legitimate” heads of state. However, Russia does, and its troops were invited- which puts us at risk of combat not just with pushover Syria, but Russia.) Americans were relieved when Trump announced he was withdrawing troops from Syria- and two minutes later he redeployed them to “secure” the oil fields (read: deny access to Assad).
    Congress, for its part is very belatedly having second thoughts over fobbing off its Constitutional prerogative and responsibility to follow the will of the people to decide whether to involve us in war by giving this away to the President through the War Powers Act. And it is no accident that the powers that be (aka “The Deep State”) have decided, with the MSM 100% in the tank, that the one remaining candidate who might not be a pushover for the MIC, Bernie Sanders, must be taken down, and right now.
    Tulsi Gabbard has some guts and has not lost her will to express herself. The rest of us will have to find ways to turn the boat around. Congress could not find proper funding for the CDC until coronavirus hit, but had no problems authorizing $13 billion for one aircraft carrier- and when, during the recent State of the Union Speech Trump bragged about spending a trillion on defense, both sides of the aisle stood as one to hoot holler and cheer. That they think they can get away with this is our fault as much as theirs.

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    1. You know, it had quite slipped my mind that Tulsi is, purportedly, a Hindu. Religious affiliation is a big, big deal in US politics. This is an unfortunate reality. I imagine Biden is a purported Catholic (but pro-choice, in public at least). Bernie? Is Bernie an “observant Jew”? I have no idea. Trump is the most interesting case: I have zero doubt, ZERO, that privately he’s an atheist. But this doesn’t stop the “Evangelical” far-right from adoring him. ‘Mitt’ Romney, I maintain, would have defeated Obama in 2012, as the rightwingers rose in revolt against the incumbent, if not for being a practicing Mormon. Those Southern Baptists who tend overwhelmingly to vote GOP just could not warm up to the notion of electing a Mormon! So, circling back around to Tulsi Gabbard: her purported religious leanings will NOT help her in the least among the US electorate. She will certainly NOT be chosen as Biden’s running mate.

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      1. The chances BIDEN choosing Tulsi as a running mate are about the same as his chances of being picked off by an asteroid before the convention. The only one who could conceivably run with Tulsi is BERNIE SANDERS. She deserves it, certainly, for being an enthusiastic and articulate Sanders supporter since before the 2016 convention (she quit her position on the DNC to do that), and she really hasn’t opposed Sanders after declaring her own candidacy. She’s also the only running mate who could possibly educate Bernie (if he would listen to her) out of being an imperialist pig, russophobe, and victim of TDS. Unfortunately, he’s stuck fast in the Cold War, swallows all of the Deep State propaganda, and is too much of a coward to run with Tulsi. Sorry—Bernie is by far the best of a bad lot, but not better than that.

        And, no, Bernie Sanders is not an observant Jew. But it’s possible that he has lost some support because of closet anti-Semitism. Nobody ever mentions that, of course. I think that any attempt to trash Tulsi because she’s a Hindu would wind up getting laughed out of existence. She’s a person who knows how to defend herself.

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        1. Of course, with the rise of “Trumpism,” Jew-hatred is anything but “in the closet”!! It remains unthinkable–and this is one of the saddest goddamn (oops!) aspects of US society, given the views of most of the “Founding Fathers”–for a candidate for public office to declare her or himself an atheist, or even an agnostic! This is precisely why Trump has to pretend to be a believer. Meanwhile, the American Zionist Lobby hates and actively opposes Bernie for having made tepid suggestions that maybe Palestinians should be granted some human rights. Thus said lobby throws its lot in with the very Americans who hate Bernie for being a (nominal) Jew. This revolting Unholy Alliance has been in place for a long, long time. As for a candidate self-identifying as Hindu (or a Buddhist, for that matter)…well, that will be deemed by the great ignorant American masses as no less “weird” than being a professed Mormon!! Absolutely NOT a vote-winning aspect of one’s personal life.

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