Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard last week risked her polit- ical career by resigning as a Vice-Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President.

Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard risked her political career this year by resigning as a Vice-Chairperson of the Democratic Na- tional Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President. Last week she put his name in nomination at the Democratic Convention.


If ever new blood & change
were urgently needed,
the time is now

By Bjarne Rostaing
It was startling to see Rep. Tulsi Gabbard nominating The Bern at the Democratic Convention last week. Many gave her up as politically dead after her March DNC kerfuffle with Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Subtle is not DWS’s style, and the stench of blatant favoritism emanating from the Democratic National Committee was not manageable. A blatant Clinton ally, she pulled out all the stops.

That was over the top for Gabbard, her No. 2 at the DNC. Gabbard was a Sanders fan and she didn’t accept seeing him screwed every day and twice on Sunday. She would also have been his perfect running mate and heir apparent.

Few took special note of Gabbard’s defection, and it might have been forgotten in the heat of the convention, but for DWS. Debbie knew she was being fired because of leaked emails revealing her machinations and she refused to go quietly, placing herself stage-center and treating her fellow Dems to a pile of streaming scat that destroyed the all-important Party unity theme on Day 1 and disrupting what should have been a fairly routine process.

People wondered what she has on Clinton to be getting up in her grille like that and getting away with it.

Gabbard was in political limbo after leaving the DNC behind, going from anonymous to endangered. The courage to confront DWS (and by implication, Clinton, her close ally) was striking.

It made Gabbard visible and interesting, especially in light of serious non-political credentials that gave her a real-world perspective. For a machine politician like DWS, the Near East would be a political problem, but Gabbard had been there on the ground as a military officer. She emerged not as another hawk, but someone who saw that messing around in Syria and the Near East generally was a bad idea.

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CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE — Thoreau, Snowden, and the Booz

Tuesday, July 12th 2016 @ 9:30 PM


Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, which advocates simple living in natural surroundings, and his 1849 essay Resistance to Civil Government (a/k/a Civil Disobedience) which states that the individual has an obligation to disobey the laws of an unjust state.

Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau is best known for his seminal book Walden (first published in 1854 in Boston), which advocates simple living in natural surroundings; and his 1849 essay Resistance to Civil Government (a/k/a Civil Disobedience) which avers that the individual has an obligation to disobey the laws of an unjust state.


Posting as ‘TheTrueHOOHA’
By Bjarne Rostaing

Edward Snowden and Henry David Thoreau have little in common other than WASPdom.

Snowden is from a respectable middle class family, many of whose members worked for the government, and he happens to have a gift for computers and electronic information. Nothing to raise suspicion, and it was natural for him to work for the CIA, which he did for a time.

Thoreau was a different animal, a Boston Brahmin of the New England aristocracy, a dominant elite full of independent thinkers of impeccable roots going back to colonial times. The Adamses, Emerson, Hawthorne, William and Henry James, Melville, and the physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (who coined the term) were members.

Snowden held tech jobs, Thoreau went off to live in the woods and think. He was a theorist, opinionated, lacking finesse. Not a hands-on guy or a leader in his set, but strong in his views. He wrote Walden, and then he came up with the notion of “civil disobedience,” a wild and crazy idea that when government creates a stench that your conscience can’t abide, it’s appropriate to be “disobedient,” and if possible, “stop the machine,” by which he meant the government.

The idea had legs, and so Thoreau became the patron saint of whistleblowers.

Snowden is a loner, too, like many techs, and very expert on information systems. He bypassed college degrees but was eminently employable, and smart enough to be trained by the government as a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), an ambiguous and controversial government qualification.

He was always civil, and became extremely disobedient. In his world he will be remembered as a heroic practitioner of what Thoreau wrote about in his Boston cocoon — though also a traitor by traditional definition.

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“Woodstein”:  Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein, left, and Bob Woodward heeded the advice of investigative source “Deep Throat” to “follow the money” and brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon.

“Woodstein”:  When young Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein (shown here in 1973) heeded the sage advice of inside Watergate source “Deep Throat” to “Follow the Money,” they help- ed bring down the corrupt presidency of Richard Nixon.


The Donald knows a good deal from a screwing


By Bjarne Rostaing
Where did Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump come from? Their populist armies exploded from nowhere and made them national figures overnight, and except for raw energy they looked totally different.

Trump’s base was mainly angry disenfranchised white males from the right, and Sanders’ youthful gang of progressives looked as optimistic and innocent as Occupy Wall Street.

Neither man was politically connected or ever governed, but they were the story of the primaries, two underdogs tapping into a hard, grim dissatisfaction with 21st Century America, a place where you can’t afford an education that used to be almost free, or get a decent job once you have your sheepskin.

As far back as 1792, Alexander Hamilton described the American people as “a great beast.” In 2016, the “beast” is finally awake — and angry.

The raw energy of that angry beast is what the Trump and Sanders people have in common, and change is what they want, right and left, a need so urgent that both groups accept that it was worth the risk to break out.

Rearranging the deck chairs on our Titanic debt-ridden economy wasn’t working, and both groups were in revolt against globalism. Specifically they wanted out of those massive trade deals, which they saw as working for special interests and against the common good.

Say what you will about Trump, he knows a good deal from a screwing. Sanders gets that too: he’s an idealist, but he’s also a tough, smart Brooklyn Jew.

The heat was on and the most basic issues were finally being confronted: Do we continue to prioritize expensive foreign adventures like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and the “Asia Pivot,” or do we deal with domestic emergencies, starting with our reduced-income service economy, immigration, and our collapsing Third World infrastructure?

Read more »



Journalist/author Bjarne Rostaing reviews two books by
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joby Warrick exclusively for VoB

Black Flags: The Rise Of ISIS is Reviewed for VoB by Bjarne Rostaing.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joby Warrick’s Black Flags:
The Rise Of ISIS
is Reviewed for VoB by Bjarne Rostaing.


By Bjarne Rostaing

Do we really want to know what happened in Iraq and the Middle East? Joby Warrick’s handle on that is solid and troubling.

He is of a rare breed, a very well-informed investigative journalist who can write. As it happens, he’s writing about the hottest, most avoided and most propagandized subject of the day: ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

He is very clear that deposing Saddam Hussein split the fragile stability of Sunni and Shia coexistence and led to the Islamic State.

Warrick’s résumé is replete with a pair of Pulitzers and other awards, and his information is so deep and current that I assumed an intelligence background. But it’s the Washington Post that developed this remarkable writer, with an assist by Bob Woodward.

There are two hot-button books:

The Triple Agent (2012) is a personal and professional biography of a mild-mannered Jordanian physician who was radicalized via the Internet, became an influential presence there, and was recruited by the Mukharabat, Jordan’s very respected intelligence agency, then to be exploited by them and the CIA, which did not work out well.

In fact, it blew up in the face of both agencies as few operations ever do, ending with his death and that of many key high-level Western intelligence personnel. Part of that group were two influential women carving careers out of the stubborn male espionage culture, a subplot Warrick explores in some detail.

Sent to a likely death in Afghanistan, the inexperienced idealistic doctor survives and makes contact with the enemy — first the Taliban and then Al-Qaeda, at the highest level. How this backfires is a tale straight out of John le Carré; and Warrick’s ability to make “personnel” into people is remarkable.

Read more »


Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard recently risked her polit- ical career by resigning as a Vice-Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President.

Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard recently risked her polit- ical career by resigning as a Vice-Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President.


Hawaiian Representative’s gutsy trajectory

By Bjarne Rostaing
A while ago I suggested in Voice of Baltimore that while Elizabeth Warren’s conspicuous absence was critical to Bernie Sanders’ primary election loss in Massachusetts, Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was on a more gutsy trajectory.  (March 9, 2016: TULSI GABBARD—The real Elizabeth Warren)

Gabbard did not tiptoe through the tulips, but walked away from the stench that is the Democratic National Committee, currently a mutual admiration society between Debbie Wasserman Schultz and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Gabbard had been a rising star, the DNC’s No. 2, and her resignation was a courageous and politically dangerous move that got attention. However when she campaigns for Sanders it is rarely covered.

Disinvited to a Sanders-Clinton debate a while back, she was clear enough in making her case on CNN, but lacked drive and power. She is a fast learner, and given time with Wolf Blitzer, her current performances lack nothing – plenty of energy, clarity, and no wasted words. It was political, but so clear and fact-oriented it didn’t have that smell.

And finally, why is it CNN (Wolf Blitzer no less) rather than “liberal” MSNBC that is giving Gabbard this kind of exposure? Is MSNBC in Clinton’s pocket? Some of their stars are, for sure, and you can feel it when they question her.

Gabbard’s positions are tough, with long-range significance.

For example, getting real about foreign policy. She wants to stop messing around in Syria and other places where we don’t belong. It’s in complete opposition to Clinton’s failed aggression in this area (her lauded “experience”), and as a combat vet in contact with the reality, Gabbard is grounded as few politicians are.

The long-range issue is whether the war lobby continues to involve us in moneymaking wars or whether we turn our attention to our own internal problems, like debt and infrastructure. The grass-roots are tired of war, but Clinton isn’t.

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