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Tulsi Gabbard seems to be okay with ‘warmongering’ — when it comes to Russia’s bombing of Syria

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Speaking on a podcast last week, Hillary Clinton sparked a huge firestorm with a veiled swipe at 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, theorizing that she’s being groomed by Russia to be a potential third-party candidate in an effort to help President Trump win reelection. While Clinton’s theory sparked controversy in and of itself, it was Gabbard’s response that kicked the story into high gear.

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“Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain,” Gabbard tweeted last week.

Gabbard’s characterization of Clinton as a ‘warmonger’ prompted some of her critics to point out that when it comes to war, the military combat veteran and Democratic Representative of Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district is not exactly a pacifist, especially when it comes to Russia’s brutal bombing campaigns in Syria. In September of 2015, Russia began targeting jihadist and rebel positions in the region, and Gabbard was among the first to tweet her support for the operation.

“Bad enough U.S. has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria. But it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists.” she tweeted on September 30, 2015.

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The very next day, Gabbard praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s willingness to bomb Syria, tweeting that “Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did.”

As journalist Caroline Orr pointed out earlier this year, Tulsi’s self-proclaimed position as the “anti-war” candidate in the 2020 Democratic campaign doesn’t match up with her record.

She’s not opposed to war; she’s opposed to U.S. involvement in some wars — even if that means doing nothing to help civilians who are being slaughtered by war criminals. She has accepted huge sums of money from the defense industry, expressed support for increasing the use of drone strikes, and hinted that she would consider using torture if she thought it was necessary. And like Trump, she believes in putting “America first,” regardless of the global consequences.

She isn’t “anti-war” — she’s a nationalist, hiding behind a mask of anti-interventionism.

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Gabbard has said that she backs bombing campaigns only if terrorists are the target, but human rights watchdogs have been unequivocal in accusing Russian and Syrian forces of committing war crimes in Syria. Various human rights groups have estimated that between 371,222 and more than 570,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Featured image: Matt Johnson/Flickr

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Google tightens political ads policy in effort to stop abuse

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Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.

The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.

"It's against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died," Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.

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Pope Francis begins Asia tour with visit to Buddhist temple

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Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand's famed gilded temples Thursday to meet the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the first full day of his Asian tour aimed at promoting religious harmony.

The 82-year-old pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, where he will spend four days before setting off to Japan.

His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok includes a meeting with the king and the prime minister before leading an evening mass expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across Thailand, where just over 0.5 percent of the population is Catholic.

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Hong Kong campus stalemate persists while US congress passes bill of support for democracy protesters

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Hardline Hong Kong protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub.

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