The Truth About Tulsi Gabbard’s “Cult”

Of all the Anti-Tulsi narratives, the one that really pisses me off the most is the one that Christine GRALOW started about her belonging to a weird cult. It pisses me off because I once actually believed it, and now feel so thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed that I ever succumbed to such bigotry.

Gralow’s Thesis

According to GRALOW, Tulsi belongs to a secretive religious cult with nefarious political aims.

Confirmation Bias

Back when I thought Tulsi was an Assadist, to be regarded with nothing but contempt and disdain, I was delighted to hear that she belonged to a weird-ass cult that most would find revolting. I didn’t even bother to consider whether any of it was true. I automatically embraced it because it confirmed my bias.

And I confess: I hadn’t actually read all of GRALOW’s articles before I had made up my mind to believe the story. I’d only read discussions about them.

Self-Admitted “Longform Journalism” … aka, Propaganda

It was not until after GRALOW contacted me on Twitter and sent me links to her blog that I actually did get around to reading her work. When I did, I found it all pretty suspicious. Especially after seeing that she calls what she does, “longform journalism“.

Interesting… Since longform journalism is otherwise known in academia as creative non-fiction… a form of writing that utilizes creative license or rhetorical device to draw conclusions that would not otherwise be drawn from the facts, alone. Ultimately, it is narrative propaganda.

Filthy Association

GRALOW actually spends very little time trying to prove that Tulsi belongs to a cult. Most of her effort is put into forming “filthy” associations… an old school propaganda technique that the Nazis used to embed nasty feelings about Jews. Even after I realized that the shady stuff had nothing to do with Tulsi, it took me a while to actually shake those associations off. That’s how conspiracy theories work–they call on the imagination to relate the unrelated, to create lingering associations.

Unfounded Rumors

The Honolulu Civil Beat previously investigated allegations posted in the internet forum Gralow admits to using as a source.

[25MAR2019 Note: GRALOW personally confirmed her use of the internet forum, when she wrote to inform me that it was not her only source, and berated me for not contacting her to verify irrelevant documents.]

After exploring all avenues, searching official records, and conducting in-real-life interviews, the Honolulu Civil beat debunked every controversial rumor about the so-called cult, and they found absolutely zero evidence that Tulsi was even a member of the Science of Identity Foundation.

They also conducted investigations offline to see if there was anything else to be concerned about, and discovered nothing nefarious.

I discovered a bit more than the Civil Beat did: How I accidentally discovered the dubious source of the smear campaign that frames Tulsi as a culty homophobe.

Prejudice and Conflation

Hawaii is a magnet for Hippies. Most of the posts in that forum were about childhood experiences that could have happened at any one of the hippie communes that once plagued the islands. But it is highly unlikely that any of them were about SIF, because SIF didn’t even exist until 1979, and it was never a commune.

When I realized that the “cult leader” GRALOW writes about is Chris Butler, I knew that her secretive cult narrative was a total lie. There is no secret Butler Cult. Chris Butler’s organization has always been mainstream, and his weekly lectures (when he gave them) were so public that it aired on local TV.

Chris Butler is not a cult leader. He is a hippie who once ran a small meditation studio and a hippie farm, who later became a local religious celebrity. Today, he is simply an eccentric old man who lives a quiet life, with a small entourage who takes care of him.

Ask any of the locals who live in East Hawaii about the Kailua Cult that Tulsi Gabbard is supposedly mixed up with and you’ll get one of two (or both) reponses:

Gralow’s Dubious Sources

The Rick Ross forum that GRALOW does all her research in is plagued with unreliable and disproven speculations that conflate “Krishna Cults” from around the world and the “Lanikai Cult” with Chris Butler and SIF.

A forum member who Christine GRALOW heavily relies upon for testimony is Rama RANSON. Besides testimony about overall cultiness, RANSON also alleges that SIF is tied to a drug smuggling ring and an unscrupulous land development project in New Zealand.

RANSON and others with similar claims have been successfully sued for slander and defamation. GRALOW is fully aware of the lawsuit lodged against RANSON, yet continues to use him.

GRALOW and RANSON would have people dismiss these lawsuits as a “cult tactic” used to silence dissenters. It is however worth noting that, as well as sharing culty stories and allegations of criminal activity, RANSON often suggests that SIF is a CIA MK-Ultra Op.

RANSON was also a member of the “truth seeking clan” led by Nicholas Bredimus who I write about here. According to RANSON’s own online lamentations, BREDIMUS had arranged the interview he gave for the New Zealand article linked above.

Today, it is Christine GRALOW who arranges his interviews.

Connecting Disconnected Dots

By using charged language, such as “cult leader” and “disciple”, GRALOW forms associations that lead people to imagine that Butler has mystical mind-control powers… as if he has a psychic bond with everyone who has learned his Yoga philosophy… as if everything such a Yoga practitioner does, is done so because of this psychic bond.

She leads one to imagine that there exists a nefarious mind-hive under his supernatural spell, in which Tulsi Gabbard should be held accountable for what another Yoga practitioner does, even if she doesn’t know the person, and even if it happened on the other side of the world, or before she was even born.

Questionable Intentions

As a former professor of journalism, Christine GRALOW should know all about how dishonest these rhetorical devices are… which makes me question her motives and integrity.

[25MAR2019 Note: GRALOW informed me that she spent a year researching the story before she started writing it. This contradicts her previous claims about starting her investigation after she was “stalked” by “Butler devotees” for daring to ask Tulsi about her trip to Syria. If her new claim is true, this would mean she started her investigation no later than the 2016 election cycle, long before Tulsi even went to Syria. In her ‘Open Letter to the ACLU’, she claims an entirely different motive: That she started investigating the group because she found them “interesting”, and barely knew who Tulsi was at the time.]

[30APR2019 Note: Contradicting herself once again, GRALOW claims that she has “years of experience” in dealing with the Gabbard PR Team.]

Fomenting Hinduphobia

GRALOW often says that “the cult” is trying to silence her with accusations of fomenting Hinduphobia. These accusations are not without merit. Here’s one example of that xenophobia from comments posted to her blog, from a woman who is now terrified of her Hindu neighbors since reading GRALOW’s hit pieces:

“I often wondered where they got their money. They don’t work, their kids run the lane all day and seem to have no respect for their neighbors. This is a sad day for Kailua. Aloha and welcome is something they do not respect. I know all to well of the problems of these people. They moved in about 15 years ago and now [note from girlyGRRRL: It is only “now” that she starts to feel they are a threat] they are trying to get rid of everyone who is not of their cult in my lane. I had to get a camera to show what is going on around my house. I feel invaded. I feel I have to protect myself. Cars go in and out of the lane more than 30 times a day. They must be wealthy , they all have 2 new cars and are able to pay the high rent without working. I was open and friendly at first, now I am tired of people coming in and trying to make you feel like you don’t belong. I will not move!”

Another reader (Rama RANSON) commented:

“So I have suspicions wether [sic] this cult has any connections to the “deep state”, wether [sic] it was the project of an intelligence agency all along …”

To which, GRALOW replied:

“Several readers – including a former Butler disciple – have emailed regarding MKUltra …”

o.m.f.g. //done//


25MAR2019: Added reader comments from GRALOW’s blog. [1, 2]
25MAR2019: Added paragraph about “long form journalism”.
25MAR2019: Added comments about cult conspiracy forum.
25MAR2019: Corrected errors pointed out by GRALOW related to the age of the Civil Beat article, and removed a poorly worded and confusing statement about how the article fact-checks GRALOW’s work.
26MAR2018: Corrected hippy commune era dates after checking a few things with local historians.
26MAR2019: Added info about the Buddhafields.
16APR2019: Added Twitter thread link with more info about referenced cult conspiracy forums.


 

Once again, “No. She didn’t say that.”

After everything I wrote here, people are still sending me messages to insist that Tulsi Gabbard is an Assad apologist.

So… I am right about this or that accusation being a total lie, but…

“She once said that she didn’t believe he is responsible for the chemical attacks, and that proves that she supports him.”

I challenged those people to show me an actual statement from her about this. Turns out, one does not exist. I was sent this, instead:

“So she didn’t say he didn’t do it. But she did say that if he was found guilty of it, she would be the first to call for his execution. Well, he’s been found guilty, and she hasn’t called for his execution. So there… she supports him.”

God. So sick of this.

That isn’t what she said. She said that if there is evidence that he ordered the attack, he needs to be tried for war crimes by the ICC.

While y’all accuse her of protecting Assad, the reality is that she called for him to be put on trial… but that fell on deaf ears, and no such trial ever happened. People really need to start paying attention to her actual words and actions, instead of all the journo mansplaining, and troll hyperbole that’s being planted on her behalf.

It is mind-blowing to discover just how much OpEd journalism is wrecking our realities.

The Abyss

“No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” — The US Constitution

Once people realize that Tulsi is neither an Assadist nor a Putin-lover, and once they’ve overcome their Hinduphobia, there’s usually one more thing that they still want to rail against Tulsi over: “Anti-gay” religious beliefs that she expressed when she was a LOT younger. A video of her when she just 15-years-old (back when most of America was against gay marriage) has served as particularly inflammatory.

Tulsi has apologized for her younger comments and says her views have changed. But whether she does or doesn’t still believe (as a lot of Christians and Muslims do) that homosexuality is a sin, is really not any of our business. What matters, is that she believes in the separation of church and state, and her voting record proves that she does.

She has been a strong advocate for LGBT rights, and even helped overturn the Defense of Marriage Act that Clinton enacted, and that she herself once rallied for when she was younger.

People present Tulsi’s history as if it’s new news… as if it is some hidden dirty secret that they’ve uncovered. But the truth is that Tulsi was very open about her history when she first ran for congress. A large part of her platform included a heartfelt apology to the LGBT community, and a promise to correct the injustices of intolerance that she once engaged in. She recognized she was once part of the problem, and she asked her community to elect her to make things right, and be part of the solution. She kept, and continues to keep her promise. Her path of redemption has included setting the nation upon its own path of redemption… and I applaud her for it.

I personally don’t think she still thinks homosexuality is a sin… but if she does, she has proven herself capable of religious tolerance… which would make her a lot more liberal than so-called progressives, who are growing more authoritarian every day. And that is what is happening here. Progressives are beginning to define a group morality, with zero tolerance for deviation. They are turning into monsters, not unlike those they claim to fight. They who would condemn Tulsi’s religious beliefs as a disqualifier for office are the real bigots.

“But… her religious views are too extreme to tolerate!” You know what’s super interesting? Not only is this unconstitutional, but it is as well exactly the sort of “progressive” thinking used to justify dictatorships in the Middle East. You know… the kind y’all keep saying, all the live long day, that we need to topple? Is that really what y’all want for our nation? I certainly hope not. It’s a free country. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?

It’s time for Kremlinologists to Rethink Tulsi Gabbard

The other day, I wrote about why I no longer think that Tulsi Gabbard is an Assadist, and about how I am pretty sure that pro-Russia folk have been running a reverse psychology Op, to get us to hate her. Now… after doing more research on her… I think I know why they would do such a thing.

For all the praise she’s getting from the far right and far left for being the anti-intervention candidate… which previously led me to believe that she’s bought into the isolationist anti- American Imperialism thing… she actually isn’t an isolationist at all. What she is, is anti- regime change war. A lot of people really don’t understand the difference. The isolationists have been pretending to be peace-mongers for so long, that when someone who actually does mean to wage peace comes along, we have trouble realizing it.

I’d like to write more about that, but later. Right now… I feel like I need to get a few distracting things out of the way:

She is not a conservative homophobe. When she says that she has grown up, and no longer believes in anti-gay policies, I believe her… because her congressional record shows that she’s been working for, and not against, LGBT rights.

She is not a Hindu Nationalist. In fact… after meeting with Modi (on a fact finding mission), she said:

“If India were to enact government policies that punish their citizens simply for being of a minority religion, I would condemn that action.”

The religious group she is involved with is not a “weird cult”. I called my cousins who live in Waianae (where Tulsi allegedly engaged in cult activities) and they laughed when I asked about it… telling me that the whole thing is a smear job started by two conservatives who are really pissed that Tulsi no longer advocates against gay rights.

Anti-Kremlin folk, like me, who previously disregarded her as a Putin Puppet should really take a closer look at her… because she would actually not be good for the Kremlin at all… and it would actually be in their best interest for her to fail.

She is the only candidate who acknowledges that we are engaged in a Cold War with Russia. Did you hear that? She didn’t call it “election meddling”. She didn’t make it all about Trump “collusion”. And she didn’t try to brush it aside with nonsense about how the existential climate crisis should be the only thing we focus on. She calls what is happening between us and Russia, “a New Cold War”. And she wants to put an end to it.

And just in case you’re wondering if that, by “ending” the New Cold War, she might mean appeasement… think again. Because Tulsi was the one who pushed for the US to supply weapons and financing to Ukraine, and she’s been calling for the revival of Iron Curtain policies since 2014.

“We cannot stand by while Russia unilaterally degrades Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We must offer direct military assistance—defensive weapons, military supplies and training—to ensure Ukraine has adequate resources to respond to Russia’s aggressions and defend themselves. We cannot view Ukraine as an isolated incident. If we do not take seriously the threat of thinly veiled Russian aggression, and commit to aiding the people of Ukraine immediately, we will find ourselves in a more dangerous, expensive and disastrous situation in the future.” — Tulsi Gabbard (2014)

Let that sink in.

Related thread on Twitter:

 

 


Corrections 10FEB2019: Changed, because I wrote it oddly and my original meaning wasn’t clear: “She is not a member of a weird religious cult.” to, “The religious group she is involved with is not a “weird cult”.”


Tulsi Gabbard is not an Assadist

I haven’t spoke very highly of Tulsi Gabbard in the past. Assadist. Hindu nationalist. Bigoted conservative. Trump appeaser. Isolationist. Useful idiot who helped derail the democratic party during the last presidential election. Left-wing darling of the alt-right. Bannon’s not-so-secret political crush. These are some of the unkind words I’ve said of the congresswoman from Hawaii.

My impression of her only got worse after she announced that she’s running for president… because the Nazis… literal Nazis, like Richard Spencer… and other white supremacists like David Duke… they all came out to sing her praises. So did the socialists. So did Russian state TV. And the vicious Bernie Bros? They’re out in full force… Berning for Tulsi.

But then… I came upon weird chatter on the dark web that sort of threw me for a loop.

“The Deep State military industrial complex is doing some reverse psychology. They’ve got their MSM mocking birds trashing her so people will actually like her.”

While publicly endorsing her, the Russophile NazBols are privately talking about how liberal operatives are trashing her to trick them into liking her. Which made me wonder… have the baddies actually been running a Reverse PsyOp on us… throwing down Russian and Nazi support… to get us to not like her?

I began to wonder if my impression of her was rooted in reality… or if I had fallen for propaganda. When did I start disliking her… and why? And I remembered… I started hating on Tulsi back when I followed Louise Mensch on Twitter… before I started suspecting Mensch of alt-right sock-puppetry.

Mensch has always had the most vile things to say about Tulsi… telling people that she’s a Kremlin operative… going on and on about her secret trip to visit Assad… implying something treasonous was going on. I stopped listening to Mensch a long time ago… yet the bad impression she had painted of Tulsi stuck with me.

But maybe it shouldn’t have. Because after doing some research I discovered that the things that made me hate her from the beginning weren’t even true. Her trip to Syria wasn’t a “secret” rendezvous with Assad. Unlike Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria, Tulsi’s visit was approved in advance by the House Ethics Committee.

And all that talk about how the trip was paid for by a group linked to a Pro-Assad nationalist terror group? What those articles fail to mention is the fact that Kucinich made all the arrangements.

Also… she had not planned to meet with Assad. Her plans, were to meet with the people, including refugees and opposition leaders… and she did… to learn firsthand about what was going on in Syria, so she could make informed decisions as a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees.

None of that sounds nefarious or treasonous to me. In fact… it seems quite thoughtful. And after searching for days, despite the hundreds of hit pieces that accuse her of being an Assad apologist, I could not find a single statement from her that actually expressed praise or support for Assad.

Kucinich is the shill who is always talking about what a good guy Assad is. Why isn’t anyone giving him crap? Why isn’t anyone giving Pelosi crap? Pelosi came back from Syria gushing over Assad, insisting that we can trust him.

Tulsi very rarely ever expresses an opinion about Assad’s character, but when she does, she has always described him as a “brutal dictator“, and she has called for him to be tried by the ICC for crimes against humanity. How does that amount to praise or support?

I also discovered evidence of her long standing support for one of Assad’s most formidable enemies: The Kurds. And not just with words, but in tangible, meaningful ways.

So why was she so bothered by Trump taking military action against Assad? She believes that Trump should not be able to launch military action without congressional approval… and that he should not try to justify military action without even trying to present congress with evidence. I agree with her on this. 100%. Personally, I think that Russia could be the actual culprits.

And if that alone wasn’t enough to completely convinced me… her showing up to this year’s State of the Union Address with a high ranking SDF leader did. Would an Assadist have a close enough relationship to an SDF leader, to even ask her to be her guest? I think not.

And here’s the kicker… when I took the time to research her congressional record on Russia… Tulsi is a Russia Hawk. The most hawkish I’ve ever seen among today’s politicians. Putin’s puppet? More like Putin’s worst nightmare. She has been a thorn in his side as a congresswoman… imagine what she would do as President? Just… holy shit.

I really think that many have jumped to the wrong conclusion about this… about her trip to Syria… based on preconceived notions due to her endorsement of Bernie the Russophile. And some may have easily mischaracterized her because of Hillary.

Anyway…

I think it is totally fucked up that journalists are giving her grief over refusing to recognize Assad as an enemy or adversary of the United States. How the fuck can she say yes to either? Especially since, according to the legal definitions of these terms, he is officially neither? Such a declaration from a military officer or any of the presidential candidates would have serious repercussions for our country… It would be tantamount to a declaration of war.

She may not be willing to make such a serious and consequential declaration… but I’m pretty sure she is not an Assadist.

As far as the other things I’ve said about her? I don’t know yet. I still have a lot of research left to do.

Related thread on Twitter: