It gets boring having to explain basic words to supposed grown-ups who get fooled by their propaganda's entry-level semantics tricks and then get satisfied with themselves that "ah'm good at loGIcKsz!"
It'd be nice if they understood that "asset" doesn't necessarily mean collaboration.
You can be an asset
without talking to the people you're helping. You just have to be helpful to them.
But let's start with collaboration, anyway, because Barr's misrepresentation got Republicans confused on that. Right-wingers have pretended Trump's not a Russian asset because there wasn't sufficient proof of collaboration to prosecute him for it. The findings were not that there was no collusion, it was that there wasn't enough for an airtight case to prosecute him.
They want facts, here's facts... which, as always, they will ignore, or mock for being "too long to read all that."
“The president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed,” Mueller told the House judiciary committee, adding that Trump could theoretically be indicted after he leaves office.
“We did not address ‘collusion,’ which is not a legal term,” Mueller added. “Rather, we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy. It was not.”
"Not sufficient to charge" does not mean "he didn't do it" -- it just meant that they couldn't find enough to prosecute him on. Remember, Al Capone did a whole lot of murder and such, but what they got him on was tax evasion, because that's what they were able to build a case around.
But, collusion or not, Trump was clearly an asset to the Russians. They certainly view him as one, which is why they keep trying to promote him. They view him as bad for America and they like that. Whatever Putin wanted to do, Trump gave him a free hand. He always sided with Putin and defended him, and was always sucking up to him like a lovesick puppy, with his "please please please like me!" bullshit. Anybody who can't see that Trump fawned over Putin (and just about every other adversarial dictator) is just not being honest.
Same thing with Tulsi Gabbard. Does she talk to Putin? Probably not. Does she put Putin's viewpoints out there on a regular basis? Absolutely she does. The Russians view her as an asset, whether they're in communication with her as a "spy" or not. She is helping the Russians undermine America.
Is she a "spy"? I don't know. Is she collaborating? I don't know. Is she an asset? Yes, and it's hardly even arguable otherwise at this point, if you understand what the word "asset" means... which, sadly, the dimmer bulbs among us don't seem to.
I reached out first to Bill Browder, an American-born British businessman who spent many years in Russia and became a leading foe of Vladimir Putin. He later pushed Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. government to freeze assets and ban visas for human-rights violators around the world.
"All I have is an observation on a number of observable facts about Tulsi Gabbard in connection with Russia or Russian interests,” Browder said. “The first fact is that Tulsi Gabbard had hired a man named Chris Cooper from a firm called Potomac ... to help her run interference on people who were doing negative reporting on her. Chris Cooper has an ugly history of having been involved in the anti-Magnitsky campaign,” including work in 2016 intended, Browder says, to discredit him personally along with the Magnitsky Act.
Adding that Gabbard was one of the few members of the House to vote against the Global Magnitsky Act in December 2016, Browder cited as his “next piece of circumstantial evidence” the fact that “Tulsi Gabbard is celebrated on Russian state television." He also pointed to the “very unpleasant fact” that Gabbard “is a supporter of Bashar al-Assad, the dictator in Syria, and the person responsible for the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians. And that is a position which is exactly consistent with the position of the Russian government." (Gabbard has said she does not support the Assad regime, although she has met the Syrian president and has at times expressed skepticism about charges that Assad has used chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war.)
Gabbard "may be entirely innocent” of any actual collaboration with Putin, Browder said, “but she may be an asset as far as the Russians are concerned because they may see her candidacy as an opportunity to further spread chaos in the U.S. political process." He noted that Putin is likely “extremely happy” with the chaotic consequences of his meddling in the 2016 presidential election, noting that Trump’s ascent to power has earned Putin “some huge geopolitical wins,” such as Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
She consistently acts as Putin's mouthpiece in American media:
Former presidential candidate and Congress member Tulsi Gabbard shared false information Sunday about U.S. involvement in Ukraine biological laboratories Sunday, giving credence to an unfounded Russian-backed conspiracy theory the U.S. has warned could serve as justification for Russia to use biological and chemical weapons against Ukraine.
In a two-minute video posted to her Twitter Sunday morning, Gabbard said there are 25 to 30 American-funded biological laboratories in Ukraine and called for an immediate ceasefire at the laboratories as they could spread dangerous pathogens.
Gabbard’s concern about the spread of pathogens is supported by fact—the World Health Organization called for Ukraine to destroy high-threat pathogens this week to prevent the spread of disease if a laboratory is attacked—but there’s no evidence of the U.S. supporting biological labs in Ukraine and the U.S. has consistently denied doing so.
Gabbard’s comments notably give apparent credibility to a particularly dangerous Russian-backed conspiracy theory.
This week, Russia spread a conspiracy about the U.S. developing biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine laboratories, a false claim that the White House and NATO have warned could be justification for a Russian attack of its own.
The theory became popular on Alex Jones’ InfoWars platform and on social media several weeks ago, and since was co-opted by Russian and Chinese state-run media.
“As we have said all along, Russia is inventing false pretexts in an attempt to justify its own horrific actions in Ukraine. The United States does not own or operate any chemical or biological laboratories in Ukraine,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price Thursday.
Whether you want to say she's a spy or simply a useful idiot, she's clearly an asset to Russia because she's helping spread their misinformation and defend them against the United States. What her motivations are is up for speculation. What the results of her actions are, is not.
As somebody who worked against Russian intelligence, I agree with Clinton's assessment—Gabbard's campaign and messaging are at risk of being weaponized to interfere with and manipulate our election.
Therein lies my chief concern: that Moscow will use its skillful propaganda machine to prop up Gabbard and use her as a tool to delegitimize the democratic process.
In order to understand the Russians' goal, we must understand how they think. My understanding of Russian logic comes from the three years I worked undercover for the FBI, as well as from interactions I had with both the Russians and with FBI counterintelligence in the 20-year relationship that began after a Soviet intelligence officer walked into my parents' NYC office. That cumulative experience watching and dealing with Russia for decades brings me to this conclusion: Russian ideology seeks to harm the United States, and they will support anyone who can help them achieve that goal. This is not about pushing ideas that are pro-Russia— that is too small for them. They want to see a retreat of American influence. What better way to accomplish that than to attack our democracy by casting doubt on the legitimacy of our elections.
Russia's success in attacking our democracy is not tied to their ability to recruit Gabbard (or anyone else) to parrot Russian talking points. Rather, their success comes with their ability to influence and manipulate, through amplification, certain messages and candidates that create division. As we saw in 2016, Russia was able to aid Donald Trump by using tailored and manipulated social media campaigns, without even the knowledge or direction of the Trump campaign itself. After all, Russia's goal in 2016 was the delegitimization of our elections; they did not need to coordinate with Trump to make that happen. That's the disturbing parallel with Gabbard: Russia can seek to support her, without her knowledge.
If borne out, Russian support of Gabbard does not mean that she is a Russian-directed operative, or that she has ties with or is in contact with Moscow. As I learned during my operational time working against Russian intelligence, the targeting of U.S. persons for recruitment by a foreign intelligence service does not make that person guilty of a crime. The same holds true if Russia seeks to independently aid the Gabbard campaign. Russia may choose to covertly amplify her message by building what may look like organic and grass roots online support for her. They may take some of her talking points—such as, Assad "is not the enemy of the U.S." or that the U.S. is in "a new nuclear arms race"—and work to increase their reach across social media.
Just as Russia was invading Ukraine last week, Gabbard sent out this decidedly pro-Russia tweet: “This war and suffering could have easily been avoided if Biden Admin/NATO had simply acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO, which would mean US/NATO forces right on Russia’s border.”
So she's basically saying Putin's right
to invade Ukraine. And we shouldn't oppose him. Gee, maybe she's not an asset... maybe she just does all the things that an asset would do!
Honestly, what would she do different if she weren't?
“On podcasts and online videos, in interviews and Twitter feeds, alt-right internet stars, white nationalists, libertarian activists and some of the biggest boosters of Mr. Trump heap praise on Ms. Gabbard.”
Gabbard has been a regular guest on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show of late, raising questions as to why Ukraine should join NATO and why the US would support that.
“I have a hard time seeing how President Biden or anyone can say with an honest face, ‘we are defending democracy,’” Gabbard told Carlson in early February.
Ukraine is trying to defend its rights to elect its own leaders, etc., against a totalitarian invader. Ukraine has its flaws, but it's a free country, especially compared to Russia. It certainly has the right to exist without Putin telling it what to do and what organizations it can and cannot join. That's
why Biden can say we're defending Democracy, with an honest face.
Gabbard has also suggested that President Joe Biden needs to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin has said for years his security concerns are about NATO increasingly approaching and surrounding Russia on all sides,” Gabbard said in an interview with the New York Post after her CPAC speech. “The Biden administration has failed to outline for the American people how does this serve your best interests? What will the costs be?”
She's very concerned with Russia's "rights" to invade other countries, and disdainful of their rights to defend themselves. She doesn't support America setting up a bulwark against one of its oldest enemies... and yet people are still going to sneer if people say she's an asset to Russia and claim we're
not dealing in facts.
It’s not clear what Gabbard’s end game is here. If she wants to run for office again as a Democrat, her recent decisions make very little sense. In the wake of her decision to speak at CPAC, local Democrats voted to condemn her. And given the strong Democratic leanings of Hawaii generally, there’s very little chance of an electoral future in the state for a candidate who positions herself as Gabbard has.
Maybe she’s angling for a Fox News gig. Or maybe a party switch is in her near future?
Tulsi's in it for Tulsi. She's a vain sociopath who knows Hawaii's gonna kick her stinky ass out the door, so now she's either angling for a veep spot on some Republican's ticket, or she'll do a third-party run just to rake in some cash. She's a smear of wet shit, is all she is. She doesn't give a fuck about America. She sides with its enemies, consistently. Not only Russia, either.
Pssst! This is what she's really about.
She has decried US support for militants fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, advocating for Washington working with Russia and Assad to fight terrorist groups instead. For some time, Gabbard opposed the release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, and is against removing the Assad regime. During her campaign for the Democratic nomination, she sold herself as having an anti-establishment, anti-interventionist foreign policy, which drew support from many controversial and far-right figures like Richard Spencer and David Duke. Also contentiously, Gabbard frequently appeared on Fox News as a sitting member of Congress, making more than 20 appearances between 2013 to 2017, and often opposing Obama’s foreign policy.
Not only is Gabbard’s foreign policy at odds with the majority of the Democratic Party, but her own actions have appalled people both on the political Left and Right. In early 2017, Gabbard held a private meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad; in the immediate aftermath, while many foreign policy experts and US citizens were shocked, elected officials were largely silent. This came at a time when the Al-Assad regime’s repeated war crimes, including the deliberate targeting of civilians, were known to the public. When Gabbard announced she was running for President, she defended her actions in a CNN interview; when asked if she had any regrets, she argued that it was important to meet with other leaders, “whether they be friends or adversaries or potential adversaries if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country”.
Putin’s American cheerleader
While Gabbard’s foreign policy decisions and statements were alarming during her time in office, her most concerning actions have occurred since she stepped down in early 2021. She has since started her own podcast, where she frequently calls for donations,
A lot of people have recognized that right-wingers always fall for the same televangelist tell-me-what-I-want-to-hear-and-I'll-make-you-rich bullshit, and they're exploiting the hell out of their stupidity for it. There is no cottage industry in this country more lucrative than grifting off of Republicans now. It's easy and people are getting rich at it. It's especially lucrative to parrot everything Trump says while claiming you're "a liberal" (ala Tim Pool). Black people parroting white supremacist bullshit (ala Candace Owens) is probably the only thing that'll make you more money. Tulsi wants some of that grift.
and has remained very concerned with and invested in foreign affairs and politics in general. Gabbard has grown increasingly vocal, while taking a significant turn to the political right.
In appearances on Fox News, in particular on The Ingraham Angle and Tucker Carlson Tonight, Gabbard has openly criticised Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and has called for Democratic congressman Adam Schiff and former CIA Director John Brennan to be considered “domestic enemies” of the US. She considers the pair a greater danger to the United States than the rioters who stormed the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021, while she has also warned of “efforts to combat domestic insurgents through surveillance and other monitoring activities”.
In August of 2022, perhaps driving the largest wedge between herself and the Democratic Party, Gabbard guest hosted for Tucker Carlson. During the broadcast, Gabbard said “there’s no denying that the unprecedented raid on [Donald Trump’s] Palm Beach home earlier this week has set our country on a dangerous new course, and there’s no turning back”. She also claimed that US law enforcement had been weaponised “to target the political opponents of the … Biden regime”, a move which had the “hallmarks of a dictatorship”.
While it is one thing for Gabbard to voice her own views, this becomes rather problematic considering her position as a Commissioned Officer in the US Army Reserve and the potential for her to serve Russian government interests as a useful idiot — a term often attributed to Lenin, and which describes a naïve person who can be used to further a political cause without necessarily properly comprehending it.
The danger of Gabbard’s use by the Russian government and the appropriate consequences
Gabbard’s comments are not surprising considering the number of people in both the political sphere and on social media who espouse Russian or non-Western aligned views. However, her comments are particularly surprising given her position within the US Armed Forces. In addition to her political career, Gabbard is a currently serving Lieutenant Colonel (O-5) in the US Army Reserve, assigned to the United States Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs Command-Airborne (USCAPOC(A)) as a Civil Affairs Officer. According to the official webpage of the US Army Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, any Civil Affairs Officer must be eligible for (and maintain) a Top-Secret Security Clearance, one of the most demanding and stringent security clearances within the United States government.
Within the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the military legal system, there is one area in which Gabbard’s comments could land her in hot water. Under 10 US Code § 888 – Article 88, “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct”.
Gabbard’s statements against President Biden have been numerous, while she also took direct shots at Nancy Pelosi, high-ranking members of Congress and the Executive Branch long before she starting hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight. Gabbard has asserted that the Russian Federation and the United States are “not so different” in terms of the censoring of free speech. She also claimed, in the early days of the Russian invasion, that “[Biden] wants Russia to invade Ukraine so that they can impose ‘draconian’ sanctions on the country”, while she also seemed to support Putin using his military to deter Ukraine’s NATO membership as a case of Russia pursuing its own national security interests.
What is of particular concern, however, is the fact that Gabbard’s top-secret security clearance gives her access to sensitive special operations and intelligence information, while she simultaneously operates within a mutually reinforcing dynamic with Russian propaganda outlets. Gabbard has claimed, for example, that the US supports several dozen former Soviet biolabs in Ukraine, which work with diseases like COVID-19, while also accusing the Biden administration of covering this up, claims which are directly based on Russian disinformation. Gabbard’s accusations are in turn rebroadcast by Russia propaganda outlets to further the country’s policy goals. According to The Intercept, Russian media “… featured translated clips of Tucker Carlson or his guest Tulsi Gabbard … attacking the Biden administration” at least four times in the month of February 2022.
In the aftermath of her hosting Carlson’s Fox News segment in August, the government of Ukraine placed Gabbard on a list of American citizens who have promoted Russian propaganda. Meanwhile, Alexander Vindman, the former US Army Officer who testified against Trump during the Trump-Ukraine Scandal, called her out on social media for being a liar and “an agent of Russian disinformation [who promotes] Russian aggression and endanger[s] America”.
Time for a review of Gabbard’s privileges
Gabbard’s actions have greatly benefitted the Russian government. Putin has been gifted a mouthpiece who commands the national attention of his main adversary, and who is supportive of his foreign policy goals. It would be wise for the US Department of Defense, the US Army Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs Command, and the US Army Reserve to reconsider her status within the elite field of Civil Affairs officers, and reevaluate her top-secret security clearance.
Gabbard has met the head of state of a sanctioned nation whose forces were actively engaged in combat with US-allied (and possibly US Special Operations) forces, called the Biden administration a dictatorship, and labelled the senior ranking member of a House Committee a domestic terrorist. She has not distanced herself nor seemed at all concerned that her face and views are being propagated by Russian state owned media for what are clearly nefarious and detrimental purposes. It is time for her privileged military status to be reviewed.
The Russians are playing chess. The right-wing -- focused as usual on "owning the libs" and not much beyond that -- are playing Hungry Hungry Hippos. And they're doing Putin's work for them, just out of spite.
"I don't like Joe Biden! He hates this Putin guy, so I'm gonna like this Putin guy! Biden supports Ukraine, so Ukraine must be bad!
" And on and on.
Our enemies have figured out that right-wingers are stupid as fuck and that they can be easily manipulated to tear the country apart from within. And right-wingers, with all their childlike beliefs in ghosts and all manner of horseshit, are falling right in line with it. They don't care if Tulsi is working against America's interests or not... all they say is "She duddun like Demoquats, so therefore ah lahk her a real whole bunch, guhhh-heee!" and they slap their flipperlike forelimbs together and hoot.