January 12, 2019

THE BEST OF MELANIA AND THE WORST OF DONALD; CUTE AND HATEFUL:

Tulsi Gabbard: how a progressive rising star is a paradox for the left (Sabrina Siddiqui, 10 Aug 2018, The Guardian)

[G]abbard's critics say her views on foreign policy and tolerance for dictators such as Bashar al-Assad deserve another look.

As one of the few Democrats to meet with Donald Trump following his election, Gabbard's unorthodox positioning has drawn scrutiny at a time when progressives have rallied their midterm messaging around opposition to the president. Her highly controversial visit last year to Syria, where she met with Assad, also raised eyebrows both nationally and at home.

"The wake up call, for most of us, came when Gabbard met with Trump soon after his inauguration and then with Assad, instead of marching on DC with us and the rest of the Hawaii's congressional delegation during the Women's March in protest of what has become an unprecedented abolition of human and civil rights in America," said Sherry Alu Campagna, an environmental scientist who is among Gabbard's most well-known primary challengers. [...]

In 2015, Gabbard was among a minority of Democrats who voted for additional restrictions on refugees entering the US from Syria and Iraq. She has also previously expressed "skepticism" that the Assad regime is behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria, and aligned herself with nationalist figures such as Narendra Modi of India.



TULSI GABBARD IS A RISING PROGRESSIVE STAR, DESPITE HER SUPPORT FOR HINDU NATIONALISTS (Soumya Shankar, January 5 2019, The Intercept)

LONG BEFORE THE Indian strongman Narendra Modi became prime minister of the world's largest democracy, he was a prominent leader of the Hindu right. He rose as a public figure through the nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, whose ideology includes a desire to carve out a Hindu nation in which Muslims and Christians are considered second-class citizens. It was a well-known activist who once had links to the RSS who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, accusing him of appeasing Muslims during the bloody partition of the Indian subcontinent.

That anti-Muslim sentiment has been a major driving force of Modi's political career in the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. In 2002, when Modi was chief minister of the state of Gujarat, he oversaw an outbreak of violence by Hindu nationalists against the minority Muslim population that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people. Local and international fact-finding groups accused Modi of complicity in the killings, charging that he did not do enough to contain the violence. Indian courts eventually exonerated him for a lack of evidence, but his image was pilloried. The United Kingdom and some European countries refused to deal with him and in 2005, the United States barred him from entering the country.

Modi's ascent has normalized nationalist rhetoric, the silencing of dissent, and violence against religious minorities in India -- and it's also had global implications. Elected prime minister in 2014, he was one of the first of a class of populist autocrats who've risen to power in recent years. That group includes Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was elected in the same month as Modi; Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who's been in office for more than a decade but has been increasingly consolidating power; Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose war on drugs has killed thousands of people; Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected in October despite his pro-military dictatorship stance; and, of course, America's Donald Trump.

In the United States, Modi's reputation has been helped by a group of Hindu-American supporters with links to the RSS and other Hindu nationalist organizations, who've been working in tandem with a peculiar congressional ally: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, the first Hindu in Congress.

Posted by at January 12, 2019 8:36 AM

  

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