Calls to investigate Carlson, Gabbard for treason

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ASPartOfMe
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17 Mar 2022, 2:56 pm

Feel free to criticize people who spread Russian lies. But don’t call them ‘treasonous.’

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Truth is the first casualty of war, as the saying goes. That might be accurate, but there’s another common casualty that we must be careful to preserve: tolerance for dissent.

Consider the recent uncharacteristically immoderate comment from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in his criticism of former Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. Gabbard had contended that the United States funded “biolabs” in Ukraine that could result in the release of “dangerous pathogens” if they are destroyed in the war there. This claim came close to echoing false Russian claims that the United States was funding labs in Ukraine to make illegal biological weapons for use against Russia. Romney responded by castigating Gabbard on Twitter for her “treasonous lies.”

They might be lies; who knows what Gabbard actually believes? But they are far from treasonous.

Gabbard’s statements do not “levy war against” the United States or give “aid and comfort” to our enemies, as the venerable document requires. Indeed, we are not even at war with Russia, even if many consider it our enemy.

Labeling speech, however ill-conceived or untrue, as treason only serves to stoke the passions that lead to mob rule. It does no favors for liberal democracy, which Romney takes great pains to exalt.

If Gabbard’s statements are treasonous, what else would qualify? Bernie Sanders’s positive assessments of the Marxist Sandinista government in Nicaragua or Fidel Castro’s Cuba during the Cold War, for example, would seem to give more aid and comfort to our enemies than Gabbard’s assertions. People should be careful when labeling speech as disloyal and potentially criminal. There’s a real danger those words can become action.

Take the remarks from progressive commentators such as Whoopi Goldberg and Keith Olbermann. Goldberg used her perch as a host on ABC’s “The View” to criticize Gabbard and Fox News host Tucker Carlson for making false statements about biolabs, adding that the government “used to arrest people for doing stuff like this.” Olbermann backed that up in a tweet, calling Gabbard and Carlson “Russian assets” and saying, “There’s a case for detaining them militarily.” He tried to justify that by saying “there is a war,” but of course we are not at war.

This sort of hyperventilation is exactly what leads to the suppression of legitimate freedoms. It’s why the government blocked the mailing of antiwar newspapers and imprisoned antiwar speakers during World War I. It also led to the internment of about 120,000 U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II. Both acts were passion-fueled abrogations of long-standing constitutional liberties and are now rightly condemned. But that is of little comfort to those who saw their lives, liberties and property taken away because they had the temerity to dissent or simply exist.

Truly treasonous, punishable acts are those unambiguously meant to harm or destroy the United States. Providing secrets about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union, as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg did, clearly qualifies. So does producing propaganda broadcasts for an enemy during wartime directed at undermining the morale of American troops, as the woman known as “Axis Sally” did during World War II. Expressing opinions, no matter how malign or odious, does not.

I don’t have to like Gabbard’s or Carlson’s comments to think they have the right to make them. In fact, I don’t like them. There’s no evidence the United States engaged in anything nefarious with its involvement in medical labs in Ukraine. Moreover, Vladimir Putin has been clear for decades that he wants to restore the Soviet Union, and he has attacked countries, imprisoned dissidents and poisoned his enemies to achieve that goal. His invasion of Ukraine was monstrous and unprovoked, and his conduct of that war has been barbarous and inhumane. President Biden and his Western allies are right to arm Ukrainian resistance; if anything, they aren’t doing enough.

Liberal democracies are defined by their tolerance. Disagreeing with the government in a liberal democracy does not make one disloyal, much less treasonous. That’s not an element of weakness; it’s the source of democratic strength.

Protecting that strength is especially important in times of stress and high emotions such as these. Maintaining our democracy will be essential to winning the current global battle against autocracy. Failure to do so would be more dangerous to our country than anything we might now seek to suppress.

As I recall progressives were correctly all upset about those “lock her up” and “enemy of the people” comments. “New boss same as the old boss”


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17 Mar 2022, 4:04 pm

Agreed. I'm not a fan of either of them and it's fair to call them out for seeming to carry water for the Putinist party line but that doesn't mean the label treason should be applied when it doesn't actually apply. Hysteria can make it easy to roll back civil liberties but the fight to reestablish them always requires a lot more effort.

The article points to the First and Second World Wars for examples but there's a more recent example most of us lived though. Remember after 9/11 how little tolerance there was for dissent? Especially if that dissent was opposing the shameful invasion of Afghanistan and the criminal invasion of Iraq.


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17 Mar 2022, 4:52 pm

So far Gabbard has been an inconvenience but she hasn't gotten caught lying, yet.


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17 Mar 2022, 5:15 pm

r00tb33r wrote:
So far Gabbard has been an inconvenience but she hasn't gotten caught lying, yet.


Yeah, nothing she said was a lie. The fact is there are U.S. backed bio labs in Ukraine that need to be secured for obvious reasons.

We are entering a whole new level of stupid in America, all thanks to the propaganda we're fed by the MSM.


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17 Mar 2022, 6:05 pm

Carlson and Gabbard are odious individuals. They have twisted morality and disdain for the truth. However, as repulsive as they are, they shouldn’t be persecuted for their beliefs. The government should tolerate people saying all kinds of stupid and even evil things - dissent is a crucial part of liberal democracy and what separates it from totalitarianism. We should never lock people up for being wrong, and there are very limited circumstances in which speech becomes dangerous enough for government action to be warranted.

That said, it would be appropriate to call for boycotts of organisations that they are associated with, or bans from social media, or such. The state should leave them well alone as long as they aren’t inciting violence or selling state secrets. But those who disagree with them can pursue non-state means - that’s part of the marketplace of ideas. Fox viewers who are sick of Carlson’s derangement should pressure advertisers to withdraw, for example.



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17 Mar 2022, 6:45 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
disdain for the truth

Please provide an example in the case of Tulsi Gabbard.

Please be clear regarding what exactly you're saying.


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17 Mar 2022, 9:26 pm

Our media has hit an all time low with this story. What Gabbard said was based on facts and concern for unleashing deadly pathogens, but they're calling her a Russian propagandist for stating the truth. There are indeed bio labs in the Ukraine, and they are U.S. backed. That has been confirmed by officials within the government. And, no, no one has said they are developing bio weapons.

It's only going to worse from here. Don't look for it to get better.


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18 Mar 2022, 5:23 am

r00tb33r wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
disdain for the truth

Please provide an example in the case of Tulsi Gabbard.

Please be clear regarding what exactly you're saying.

The most famous example is her equivocating on Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Following the Khan Shaykun attack, Gabbard tried to cast doubt upon whether the attacks were carried out by Assad, but said if he was found to have carried them out by an independent investigation she would be the first to call for him to be prosecuted as a war criminal.

When OPCW and the UN found that Assad had carried out the strikes, Gabbard initially disputed their independent findings, saying the attacks may have been staged.

It took a further two years (until 2019) for Gabbard to publicly admit that Assad had been carrying out chemical attacks… but she then repeatedly refused to call him a war criminal or say he should be prosecuted.

Other Gabbard lies:

- accusing President Trump of supporting al-Qaeda

- accused Vice President Harris of laughing about drug users being imprisoned

- accusing Congress of “denying the existence of women” by voting to use gender-neutral language



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18 Mar 2022, 8:02 am

Actually, the OCPW never found any empirical evidence that Assad used chemical weapons in 2018.

https://apnews.com/article/chemical-wea ... ee2d09d74b

It didn't make sense. Assad was winning the war against the rebel groups, and just a week earlier Trump announced intentions of pulling U.S. troops out of Syria. Why would he do that, knowing full well it would lead to air strike, which it did. It never added up, since it would be like Assad shooting himself in the foot.

Gabbard was right in questioning it. The incident where she accused Harris about laughing over locking up drug offenders was also justified. She was doing a podcast where she admitted smoking marijuana and then cackled about it. That's pretty disgusting. Her record as attorney general in California was horrible. Gabbard exposed it, pretty much ending her run for president.

Now's she our VP. Of course she is, we only get the worst.

I stopped liking Gabbard, though, even though has been right many times. She sold out to the corporate Dems too many times, and didn't hammer them hard enough.

As for accusation that Trump, that was justified as well. It stems from our longtime support of Saudi Arabia. She should have hammered Obama as well, but failed to do so, hence the reason I soured on her.

https://english-alaraby-co-uk.cdn.amppr ... 5251%2524s


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18 Mar 2022, 9:48 am

The_Walrus wrote:
r00tb33r wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
disdain for the truth

Please provide an example in the case of Tulsi Gabbard.

Please be clear regarding what exactly you're saying.

The most famous example is her equivocating on Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Following the Khan Shaykun attack, Gabbard tried to cast doubt upon whether the attacks were carried out by Assad, but said if he was found to have carried them out by an independent investigation she would be the first to call for him to be prosecuted as a war criminal.

When OPCW and the UN found that Assad had carried out the strikes, Gabbard initially disputed their independent findings, saying the attacks may have been staged.

It took a further two years (until 2019) for Gabbard to publicly admit that Assad had been carrying out chemical attacks… but she then repeatedly refused to call him a war criminal or say he should be prosecuted.

Other Gabbard lies:

- accusing President Trump of supporting al-Qaeda

- accused Vice President Harris of laughing about drug users being imprisoned

- accusing Congress of “denying the existence of women” by voting to use gender-neutral language


Where are her lies wrt to the Ukraine labs? Is this a honest error? If you are calling for boycotts, censuring and accountability, there should to be a reason.



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21 Mar 2022, 8:43 am

VegetableMan wrote:
Actually, the OCPW never found any empirical evidence that Assad used chemical weapons in 2018.

https://apnews.com/article/chemical-wea ... ee2d09d74b

Neither of those alleged attacks are the Khan Shaykhun attack, which took place in 2017 and is one of the attacks mentioned as having been confirmed by investigations later in the article. Gabbard herself has admitted that Assad was behind Khan Shaykhun, but has backed down from her earlier promise to describe Assad as a war criminal if he was found to be behind the attack.

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The incident where she accused Harris about laughing over locking up drug offenders was also justified. She was doing a podcast where she admitted smoking marijuana and then cackled about it. That's pretty disgusting.

I don’t think there’s anything disgusting about using marijuana. There’s obviously a pretty big difference between laughing about using drugs and laughing about prosecuting people, but Tulsi Gabbard has never been known for her appreciation of nuance.

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Her record as attorney general in California was horrible. Gabbard exposed it, pretty much ending her run for president.

That’s an interesting take but I don’t think either of those things are true. Harris is widely regarded as an excellent and reforming AG, which is why California elected her to the Senate. Harris’ run for President was ended by the same thing that ended everyone else’s run - Biden’s popularity with black voters. She particularly struggled to stand out from the crowd of centre-left figures trying to run as the “alternative to Biden” - Buttigieg ended up being pretty much the last one standing but he also couldn’t break through with black voters. But frankly I don’t think it’s super important why Harris lost.


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As for accusation that Trump, that was justified as well. It stems from our longtime support of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is famously one of the most anti al-Qaeda countries in the world. They expelled Osama bin Laden in 1991 and have since been the target of several AQ terrorist attacks. That’s one of the many factors behind the uneasy alliance it has with the West.



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21 Mar 2022, 12:01 pm

One point for her comments on Saudi Arabia, although 17 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

As for Harris laughing, you missed the point entirely. What was disgusting was locking people up for minor drug offenses, then laughing about her own use of marijuana.

Still wpuld like to know what Gabbard said that was incorrect about the Ukranian bio labs. She only stated facts.


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22 Mar 2022, 4:59 am

The ISIS “Beatles” were British. Does that mean that anyone who allies with the UK is supporting ISIS?

The AG generally doesn’t decide to prosecute people for minor offences (junior officials do that), and they certainly don’t decide to lock people up - judges and juries do that.



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22 Mar 2022, 7:37 am

As attorney general, one is is responsible for the laws and should advocate for what's in the best interest of the people. Enough said. You have no idea how corrupt our system is, and how the state benefits from incarcerating as many people as possible. Poor people are worth more to the state in prison than on the street.

Still no answer on the primary topic of this thread.


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22 Mar 2022, 12:27 pm

VegetableMan wrote:
As attorney general, one is is responsible for the laws and should advocate for what's in the best interest of the people. Enough said. You have no idea how corrupt our system is, and how the state benefits from incarcerating as many people as possible. Poor people are worth more to the state in prison than on the street.

:roll: Come on, don’t act like the prison-industrial complex is some deeply guarded secret. However, it is factually incorrect to say that poor people are worth more to the state in prison than on the street, at least in California. Prisoners are a drain on the state. The cost per inmate in California is over $75,000 per year. That’s considerably more than the cost to the taxpayer per year for a homeless person, and far more expensive than supported housing:

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la- ... story.html
https://endhomelessness.org/resource/en ... s-money-2/

The central issue of the prison-industrial complex is for-profit prisons, who are having their costs paid by the state and skim a bit for themselves. They don’t need to worry about taxpayers.

In any case, this doesn’t relate to whether Kamala Harris was sending people to prison for using marijuana.

As for the topic of the conversation- I’ve already given a detailed answer to whether I consider Gabbard to be a traitor to the United States.



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22 Mar 2022, 1:47 pm

No, you didn't. You failed to explain what exactly Gabbard said that would justify the statement that she's a traitor. Nothing she said was incorrect. There are bio labs in the Ukraine, and that has been confirmed by U.S. officials.

You understand the Prison Industrial Complex about as much as you understand the Military Industrial Complex. You parrot pro-war taling points and have little understanding what the wars of the last 20 years are about. I could get the same from a CNN corporate shill.


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