Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Sanders Campaign gets Sparks and Sparkle

Tulsi 3

Caricature – Bryan Hemming  © 2016

On February 12th this year Dan Froomkin, the influential Washington Editor of the Intercept, used an article slamming Hillary Clinton’s slavish adherence the doctrines of Henry Kissinger to solicit likely names for a ‘dream foreign policy team. Taking up the challenge, I dashed off an email expressing grave doubts as to whether there were anywhere near enough politicians in the U.S. political establishment possessing sufficient knowledge of foreign affairs to form a whole team.

Having said that, I do believe there is one politician eminently qualified to lead a dream foreign policy team, and she might even get to do it.

“I cannot remain neutral any longer; the stakes are too high.”

Using those words Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard resigned from her post as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee on February 28th to endorse the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Announcing her resignation on NBC’s Meet the Press she cited her main reason as being that members of the committee were proscribed from expressing their opinions in the primaries. And Gabbard has plenty of opinions, particularly on the abysmal failure of U.S. interventionist foreign policy. You’re welcome, Mr Froomkin.

Judging by the rousing reception Gabbard received as she introduced Bernie Sanders at the Michigan primary, the Clinton clan probably slapped each other on the back for managing to keep her away from the microphones for as long as they did.

Her short, but sparky, intro might go some way to explain why her views have mostly escaped the attentions of a corporate media besotted with La Clinton. Compliant journalists record Hillary’s every word with the eagerness puppies lap up spilt milk. They lick the floor around her right up to the last drop. Her euphoria at recalling how a leader of a faraway land was taken out by sodomising him with a bayonet had some hacks swooning. If only Emperor Nero had survived to see himself being so outshone. Meanwhile, those same hacks choose to ignore Congresswoman Gabbard’s statements regarding the viability and wisdom of taking military action without first weighing up all the various outcomes and their possible long-term consequences.

Away from the main pack, CNN anchor man Wolf Blitzer interviewed Gabbard several times on foreign policy  last year (view here, here, and here). Though the aura of telegenic appeal she exudes is undeniable – she flashes smiles that could melt ice cream at the North Pole – it is her refreshing honesty and evident lack of guile that set her apart. Increasingly rare among U.S. politicians, she comes across as both well-informed and principled. What is worse for them; she isn’t shy when it comes to speaking her mind.

Up until now, Bernie Sanders has been criticised by the corporate media for not having a coherent foreign policy. It may not be coherent to the unelected hawks that have been dictating Western foreign policy for far too long but when have neo-cons and their puppets been noted for coherence? To a growing number of American voters the ideas on foreign policy Tulsi Gabbard brings to the Sanders camp make good sense. Many are tired of shelling out diminishing incomes to pay for endless wars that seem to serve no purpose when viewed from fraying sofas in Amarillo, or from homes on wheels in Wichita. They are tired of the media distorting facts and figures so they don’t show the reality of how U.S. foreign policy is failing big time.

The accusation against Sanders is especially rich considering the dog’s dinner Hillary Clinton made of foreign policy in her role as Secretary of State before she set her crosshairs on the White House. Not only is Madam Clinton a slavering disciple of Condor Kissinger but she is also a keen fan of husband and wife team Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland’s slash and burn policies that helped ‘free’ Ukraine, Iraq and Libya from tyranny and brought them the neo-con, Newspeak version of democracy, where majority votes are swiftly morphed into minority vetos. Investigative journalist Robert Parry described the Kagans as A Family Business of Perpetual War.

Under the watchful eye of State Secretary Hillary Clinton the United States has lurched from disaster to disaster, as she transformed each local dispute into an international crisis.

The Cheney Matrix

As long ago as 1991 Dick Cheney set the matrix that would mold U.S. foreign policy for the next quarter century. Despite a growing list of failures it still does today. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cheney set about re-organising NATO in preparation for a creeping mission into Eastern Europe that would take the U.S. military might right up to Russia’s doorstep. It was Cheney who led NATO into the war on terror, based on lies, which destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq at the cost of thousands of U.S. soldiers′ lives and countless billions of dollars. That hardly compares to the cost in lives to nations targeted by Cheney. The figure is estimated to be in the millions and still rising. Clinton has proved herself a fine apprentice. Conspiring to enmesh the U.S. in even further foreign interventions into North Africa and the Middle East, things have gone from bad to worse. Thanks to failures in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, to name but a few, U.S. foreign policy successes can now be counted on the fingers of a man with no hands.

Allowing the CIA, and a cabal of unelected politicians harbouring ambitions of ruling the world, to run foreign policy was always the height of madness. But that’s exactly what transpired when ultra-conservatives, Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland, were handed the reins. We only have to look at the results of Nuland′s meddling in Ukraine to see that.

It should come as no surprise Victoria Nuland served under Dick Cheney for two years from 2003. Having delved into Cheney′s bag of tricks, she and her flock of fellow lunatics now plot death and destruction on a global scale from the comfort of their own well-appointed libraries far away from the chaos they seed so generously. Like pampered aristocrats out of the unlikeliest Lewis Carroll tale, no matter how many times they fail, they convince themselves that each rout is a victory more magnificent than the one before. Their favourite tinpot warrior generals pore over maps and intelligence they can barely affect to comprehend. The fact they can’t comprehend the information received is reflected in a miserable string of defeats marked by the shiny medals pinned to their chests. Yet it’s growing doubtful all U.S. generals will remain content to suffer never-ending defeats that are as much the result of incompetent politicians’ impossible demands as inappropriate military strategy. After all, nobody likes to lose all the time; the odd victory here and there helps buoy flagging morale.

The US media bullhorns

From the Washington Post and New York times to Fox News the U.S. corporate media bullhorns have foisted their gung-ho message onto Americans with a barrage of lies, disinformation and propaganda. Blinded by ambition, Hillary Clinton now does little more than play puppet to a group of unelected neo-cons becoming ever more desperate to continue pulling the strings on U.S. war-led foreign policy from behind the scenes. Like all wannabes before her, she will become as dispensible as last year′s iphone, should she fail to deliver what her masters demand. Hardly five minutes into the game, Tulsi Gabbard is already proving a much-needed and effective counterweight.

A looming problem for Hillary Clinton is that she has never actually got close to the battlefronts of the wars she is so eager to promote. A position made far worse by the imaginary incident in Bosnia, where she claimed to have come under fire from snipers. Unfortunately,  film of the incident reveals her to be a liar, or, as she would have it, was ‘mistaken’. A “At first they looked like snipers with rifles, but they turned out to be little girls bearing flowers” sort of thing. It happens to us all.

As a war veteran Tulsi Gabbard’s understanding of the conflict in Syria is based on personal experience of war in Iraq and facts on the ground, and not the endless vomit fed to Western media outlets by government spokespersons or NGOs sponsored by oligarchs. Enlisting into the Hawaii National Guard in 2003, she first volunteered for a 12-month tour in Iraq in 2004. She has also served in Kuwait. Last year she was promoted, and now holds the rank of major. Gabbard doesn’t just talk war she’s been there, and she doesn’t like it.

Often seeming a lone voice in Washington, Gabbard has consistently spoken out against rushed military actions in the Middle East and North Africa. Despite giving voice to what growing numbers of Americans think, the corporate media has chosen to ignore her, as she doesn’t fit the narrative they are following.

It is the neo-con warmongers who will feel most threatened by Tulsi Gabbard’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders. Few politicians and news anchors will be able to debate her convincingly on Syria or the Middle East. And the thought of meeting her face to face is not something most of them will relish. Should Sanders be nominated things aren’t going to get any easier come July. From then on it might be Tulsi who gets to choose who she talks to first. And she might be the one everyone wants to watch.


10 comments on “Sanders Campaign gets Sparks and Sparkle

  1. berlioz1935
    March 13, 2016

    As we look on from afar and are being horrified of what is going on in the USA, we are looking for some light of reason. If Tulsi Gabbard can be that light of hope, than the better it is for the world. Thanks for open our eyes to her, Bryan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      March 13, 2016

      You can take some pleasure in knowing that Tulsi Gabbard has roots far closer to your adopted homeland than she has to the United States mainland. She was born in the village of Leloaloa, on the island known as American Samoa, before the family moved to Hawaii.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Colltales
    March 13, 2016

    Very good, Bryan (the illustration is fantastic). It’s an intriguing possibility, that the Sanders’ ‘awakenings’ would also bring about a a new batch of politicians. And Gabbard may as well be a contender for his VIP. But his campaign still seems out of pace with what the budding black movement is already accomplishing; unlike Sanders, they’re already at the front lines, fighting an all too clear enemy. Look at what happened at the Trump event in Chicago; it was cancelled. Which means, they’ve done what 400 of the wealthiest rightwing Americans are utterly failing at, despite the millions: stop Trump. At the end of the day, while we know the limitations of a president’s power to affect change, no one can predict how far this current push for racial equality may lead us. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      March 13, 2016

      Thanks, Wesley. Glad you like the illustration, I enjoyed doing it.

      It is my hope that US politics gets the big shake-up it sorely needs. But what Trump is doing now is way over the top, and it definitely needs exposing. In many countries he could be accused of inciting racism and violence. Giving right-wing nutjobs the feeling they can assault anyone they please, does not bode well for the future.

      The demonstrators braving the thugs attending his meetings deserve applause. Hopefully, their actions will start the backlash that will act as a wake-up call for his more sober supporters, and drive them away as they are put off by the violence he actively encourages.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. auntyuta
    March 13, 2016

    Reblogged this on auntyuta and commented:
    I think Tulsi Gabbard is a very interesting person.


  4. auntyuta
    March 12, 2016

    Thank you very much, Bryan, for telling us about Tulsi Gabbard. What an interesting woman! I hope it is all right, if I do reblog your post?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jerry "Peacemaker"
    March 12, 2016

    Those who’ve been critical of Sanders in the progressive community might need to go a little deeper with their analyses of Sanders’ strategy, stop discouraging readers from voting for him, and place their focus on eliminating Hillary Clinton. Bashing Sanders has zero effect on the campaign of Green Party candidate Jill Stein – whether Sanders or Clinton, Stein will still be there when the Dem nominee is decided.

    Sanders said at the beginning he chose to run for president as a Democrat, because he “didn’t want to end up like Ralph Nader”. At this moment, he has a genuine chance of beating Clinton, so his decision was the correct one; if he’d run as an independent, Clinton would already be the nominee and he’d indeed be a repeat of Nader.

    Saying he’d support the Dem nominee if he lost was part of his strategy to force Dem-leaning voters, progressives and independents to choose between him and Clinton, creating in the minds of voters a “now or never” perception (see: “Bernie or Bust”).

    During the 10 months since he announced Sanders’ strategy has been consistently talking to voters on issues which they resonate positively to, while disciplined in avoidance of those issues which move voters toward Clinton. If Sanders had pushed hard in his speeches the need to cut defense spending, he would have alienated workers in every congressional district of America; each district has defense contracting companies in operation, explaining his avoidance of that issue. Ms. Gabbard’s bold choice provided Sanders the near perfect surrogate for voters to contrast to Clinton; Gabbard’s decision was genuinely made, her decision was based on true philosophical, spiritual values.

    Now is the time for true progressives to see the brilliance in Sanders’ strategy, stop actions hurting Sanders efforts to eliminate Clinton, and realize Sanders is leading a real, historic political revolution.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bryan Hemming
      March 13, 2016

      Thanks for a very good analysis, Jerry. Tulsi Gabbard is managing to focus on the positive side of cutting back on defence spending by pointing out that money wasted on foreign wars could be better spent on reviving the economy at home. But it’s a close call that could alienate many voters. The military-industrial complex is far too powerful to be ignored. That it seems completely oblivious to the fact it has begun eating its own tail is very worrying indeed.


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