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Bernie Has Opened an Opportunity for Us to Build an Anti-War Movement. We Should Seize It.

American historian Howard Zinn, a veteran of World War II, once wrote, “I wonder if people and governments would be so eager to fight if they were able to see what physical combat and its consequences truly look like. Too often the reality is concealed by faceless numbers.”

After nearly two decades of military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States recently came dangerously close to another war. The alleged enemy this time is Iran. More than two years after unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), and after imposing multiple rounds of crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy, on January 2 the United States assassinated the highest-ranking military official of the Islamic Republic, General Qassem Soleimani.

In the immediate aftermath of Soleimani’s killing, many Democratic politicians were quick to both rationalize and question the intent behind the decision. Joe Biden, for instance, emphasized that while Soleimani “deserved to be brought to justice,” the decision to assassinate him was an “escalatory move” in a volatile region. Pete Buttigieg, invoking a similar kind of both-sidesism in his statement, pointed out that Soleimani was a “threat to the safety and security” of Americans, but that the decision raised practical concerns about Iran’s response.

But from this chorus of concern and criticism, it was Bernie Sanders who most emphatically called for opposition to yet more American war overseas.

Unlike his colleagues, Sanders did not qualify his immediate response to the news of Soleimani’s killing with an evaluation of the Iranian general’s moral character. Instead, Sanders sought to make tangible the abstraction of war — to humanize the costs of military conflict both at home and overseas. Soon after the news broke, Sanders tweeted “The U.S. has lost approximately 4,500 brave troops, tens of thousands have been wounded and we’ve spent trillions.” He continued, “Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.”

In subsequent days, Sanders elaborated that his opposition to war derived fundamentally from his understanding of the concrete brutalities of military conflict. During a late-night appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show, Sanders put his frustration with the obliviousness of the political elite to the terrors of war as follows:

We sit in Congress in our beautiful rooms … and we do not know what war is about. I’ve met with the mothers of young men who lost their lives in the [Iraq] war. I’ve met with the wives. I’ve met with the kids. I’ve met with the soldiers who came back without arms and legs, who are dealing with PTSD today. War is a horror. And it is time that politicians understood that we should do everything humanly possible to avoid war.

The heart of Sanders’s opposition to war was simple: wars are not faceless affairs that revolve around numbers. Rather, wars are fought by everyday people, amongst everyday people, and the atrocities that they bring about specifically involves human death, destruction, and misery.

For Iranians like me, Sanders’s comments struck a chord. I grew up in the immediate aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War in Southern Iran. I witnessed firsthand the consequences of death and destruction that wars invariably result in. Nearly one million Iranians perished during the eight years of conflict, with similarly needless casualties among Iraqis, while numerous other millions would return home with various physical and psychological injuries from which they’d never recover.

And in recent years, the horrors of warfare have been supplanted with the brutalities of life around the economic sanctions’ stranglehold, which hurt working-class people the most. In October 2017, I lost my father because we could not procure life-saving medications that he needed, due to an artificially produced medical shortage resulting from US-imposed sanctions — sanctions that Bernie Sanders had singly opposed just a few months earlier.

But if progressive politicians like Sanders want to forestall wars, they cannot be the lone and unsupported voices of opposition. Rather, they need activist and political allies to continue to amplify the message that wars—both economic and military—are horrors that destroy blameless lives. In short, Sanders needs an actual movement behind him, both on the streets and in the halls of power.

Bernie Sanders is not an ordinary politician. Unlike most of his colleagues in Washington, Sanders’s early career did not start at an elite law school, but in grassroots organizing and activism — from marching on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr, to protesting the war in Vietnam, to getting arrested for protesting segregation at University of Chicago.

To appreciate the influence that activism had on Sanders’s political thought and character, we can observe the frequency with which Sanders’s critique of American imperialism draws on King’s critique of capitalism and militarism. Echoing King’s demand for a “radical revolution of values,” to reverse the trend wherein the United States “continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift,” Sanders reminds us that the “Pentagon is set to grow by $90 billion,” imploring us to stop “handing over billions to the military-industrial complex.” Much like King, Sanders is acutely attuned to the brutal reality that “it is rarely the children of the billionaire class who face the agony of reckless foreign policy. It is the children of working families.”

But the influence of mass organizers like King is also deeply reflected in the ethos of movement building that Sanders has popularized in recent years. This was borne out by Sanders’s unique fundraising style during the 2016 primary. Sanders himself often emphasizes that his presidency will not be shaped around the authority of a Commander in Chief, but rather around the mass mobilizing of an “Organizer in Chief.”

And this is a crucial reason behind Sanders’s appeals to young people, many of whom have followed his stead to themselves become organizers, agitating on the ground against income inequality, racial injustice, climate injustice, immigration injustice, and on other related fronts. Bernie Sanders has already laid the groundwork for a popular movement against all forms of inequality—including wars overseas that worsen inequality at home and abroad.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, opposition to the war in Vietnam was led by diverse coalitions of students, women’s rights activists, and civil rights organizers. As the war intensified, so did the movement’s opposition. In the 1970s, student strikes rippled across the country’s college campuses. These once-isolatable strikes would soon evolve into mass protests throughout the country. These repeated waves of protests helped force the United States to finally withdraw its troops from Indochina in April 1975.

In 2020, we do not have an organized anti-war movement that can instantly move to organized action as the need arises. But Bernie Sanders’s candidacy has given us not just a trustworthy anti-war ally, but millions of electrified people — a diverse coalition of folks across all demographics — united around a popular disaffection with the political establishment, including a deep frustration with the propensity of status quo for endless war upheld by entrenched decision-makers. This movement represents an enthusiasm for radical change unlike any we have seen in decades. And remarkably, Sanders has instilled in the core values of this movement an understanding of the connection between foreign and domestic policy — the realization that spending on wars overseas contributes greatly to the scarcities that ordinary Americans face at home.

But Sanders is also drawing on the momentum of his movement to propose actionable forms of legislative oversight, especially on the war-making powers of the executive branch. Alongside Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Sanders recently introduced legislation that would prohibit funds for acts of war against Iran that have not obtained congressional authorization — acts like the illegal assassination of Qassem Suleimani. As a sort of sequel to the War Powers Resolution that the two lawmakers introduced last year, this legislation would greatly curtail the war powers of the president through freezing the Pentagon’s funding in case of unauthorized war with Iran.

Thus, Sanders might very well be the first politician who is inviting voters and anti-war advocates to avail themselves of legislative powers that would hold him, and all future presidents, accountable.

Lastly, the ascendancy of Sanders as a progressive stalwart in recent years has inspired the mainstream emergence of anti-war politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN). In the last two years, these lawmakers have demonstrated an unflinching reluctance to accept business-as-usual on both domestic and foreign policy matters. For instance, in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Omar voiced deep criticism of the use of sanctions as a standard disciplinary foreign policy instrument, arguing that such measures too often hurt the people that we purportedly want to help. In similar fashion, at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in May 2019, AOC publicly excoriated the executives from the military contractor TransDigm for price-gouging American taxpayers. In this sense, AOC and Omar are decidedly unlike your run-of-the-mill DC politicians. But we need to acknowledge that neither of them would have likely risen to such prominence without the support of Sanders and the movement that he has built. To this end, Sanders and affiliated organizations, like Our Revolution, need to continue to support and invest in the young, ambitious voices of anti-war advocates from the progressive left.

As we get closer to Super Tuesday, and remain close to the possibility of another war in the Middle East, we must continually remind ourselves that we need an anti-war movement and we need it urgently. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate running for president who has continually proven himself an ally of the still-burgeoning anti-war movement, or of a bottom-up approach to enacting social change in general. He has laid the infrastructure and given us the tools to build such a movement. But we can’t take what we have for granted.

A social-democratic approach to domestic policy requires an anti-imperialist approach to foreign policy. We have to foreground this connection with Sanders’s supporters and organize them against thoughtless, warmongering foreign policy.

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Why was Rand banned? Sen. Paul reveals his CENSORED question at Trump impeachment trial — RT USA News

As Senators gathered for the last day of questioning in President Trump’s impeachment trial, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul found his question censored in a way that may have revealed the identity of the mysterious whistleblower.

With the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump nearing its final stages, senators gathered on Capitol Hill on Thursday to question the Democratic prosecution team, and Trump’s defense attorneys. However, Paul (R-Kentucky) found his question shot down by presiding Chief Justice John Roberts, who declined “to read the question as submitted.”

Paul left the chamber after Roberts’ denial.

Taking to Twitter afterwards, Paul revealed that he planned on asking whether Obama-era “partisans” within Trump’s National Security Council conspired with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to engineer impeachment proceedings against Trump, by sounding the alarm on the now-infamous July phone call between Trump and Ukrainain President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Are you aware that House intelligence committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council together,” Paul’s question read. “And are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.”

Ciaramella, a CIA analyst, is widely believed to be the ‘whistleblower’ who kickstarted the impeachment inquiry by alleging that Trump tried to strong-arm Zelensky into reopening a corruption investigation into Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his business activities in Ukraine.

According to a recent RealClearPolitics report, Ciaramella was reportedly overheard in 2017 “plotting” with Misko to have Trump “removed from office.” 

Schiff, the lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial, has both denied knowing the identity of the whistleblower and called the report of Ciaramella’s plot a “conspiracy theory.” Schiff has also repeatedly warned Republicans against naming the whistleblower, citing a need to protect his or her identity – though no statutory requirement for that actually exists.

However, Roberts’ refusal to read Ciaramella’s name and the media furor that followed Paul’s question – with mostly liberal pundits hounding the senator for “naming the whistleblower”  –  all but confirms that he is indeed Schiff’s source. Paul never mentioned the term “whistleblower” in his written question, yet Roberts still refused to read Ciaramella’s name. Earlier, Roberts had vowed not to read any question that might “out” the whistleblower.




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Roberts was not compelled to censor Paul’s question by law. Rather, his decision was a personal one. Contrary to Schiff, the whistleblower does not enjoy a “statutory right to anonymity.” If Ciaramella is indeed the whistleblower, his only guarantee is that the intelligence community inspector-general may not name him as such.

Senators will likely vote on Friday on whether to allow testimony from additional witnesses, beyond those heard during the inquiry led by House Democrats. While Democrats have pushed for testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton, some Republicans have argued that if they even agree to witnesses, they intend to call on the whistleblower, conclusively revealing their identity and giving Trump his constitutional right to confront his accuser.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear that he will move to block any additional witnesses from testifying, bringing the trial to a speedy conclusion and acquittal as soon as possible.

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‘The Best Is Yet To Come’

Commentary

It’s the biggest game of the year, and President Donald Trump’s re-election team is rolling out its best argument.

A 30-second ad released Thursday by Trump’s campaign and set to air nationally during Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV hits hard on the economic success the country has seen in Trump’s three years in the White House.

In a televised event where ads are part of the entertainment, and too many come up way too short, this one is upbeat, positive and powerful.

And even Democrats will have trouble arguing with the premise:

“America demanded change,” the ads narrator intone over news footage of Trump’s Nov. 8 , 2016, upset victory.

“And change is what we got.

“Under President Trump, America is stronger, safer and more prosperous than ever before.”

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For many voters, it’s the “prosperous” part that really hits home.

Do you think political ads for the Super Bowl are a good thing?

After the malaise of the Obama administration, when stifling government regulation and anti-business sentiment pervaded the federal government, Trump’s pro-business, pro-growth, optimistic agenda has helped the economy hit new highs — at all levels of society.

As the ad notes, unemployment is at or near historic lows — including for the black and Hispanic populations Democrats pretend to care about when they need votes.

Wages are rising, which can only spell trouble for a Democratic Party that thrives on class warfare.

Three days before its Super Bowl appearance, the ad was getting rave reviews:

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According to USA Today, the 2020 election cycle marks the first time campaigns have purchased ad time for the game that has become an American secular holiday.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and Democratic nomination contender who wants to take his nanny-state view of government to the national stage, has bought a 60-second ad slot, according to USA Today.

The newspaper reported that the Bloomberg ad focuses on gun control — just what every American wants to talk about on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let Bloomberg buy all the air time he wants.

The $10 million he’s spending for a minute of Super Bowl time is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $100 million he’d blown on campaign advertising by mid-December, according to Fox Business.

In a mid-January interview with The New York Times, Bloomberg even said he was ready to spend up to $1 billion of his own money on the race.

But America can only stand to hear so much about overturning the Second Amendment to the Constitution, or getting lectured about the size of their soft drinks.

The Trump ad demonstrates that what Trump is doing in the White House is paying off for normal Americans of all races — the ones who don’t have $60 billion fortunes like Bloomberg, or poisoned delusions of a poisoned grandeur, like the rest of the Democratic establishment.

For the nation’s biggest audience, the Trump team’s unveiling its best arguments.

And all the political impeachments for sham reasons in the world aren’t going to give Democrats an answer to that.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Dershowitz attempts to clarify controversial argument about presidential powers

“I hear he’s correcting it on TV today. That seems to be Mr. Dershowitz’s pattern,” Schumer said at a news conference in the Capitol. “He gives a statement on the floor and then spends the next day correcting it. What a load of nonsense.”

According to what Schumer called “Dershowitzian logic,” President Richard Nixon would have been absolved of any wrongdoing during the Watergate scandal. The reasoning from Trump’s attorney, he added, “would unleash a monster. More aptly, it would unleash a monarch.”

Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), another House manager, deemed Wednesday to be a “really astounding day” for the president’s defense during an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Maybe the most astounding thing came out of Mr. Dershowitz,” Crow said, adding: “I mean, that is just a very dangerous hole to go down.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said she thought that even some of her Republican colleagues “quietly agreed” with her bleak evaluation of Dershowitz’s logic, which she considered “completely contrary to what this country is about.”

“Our country was founded on this idea that we were an independent democracy, that we didn’t want to be ruled by a king,” Klobuchar said. “And if you say things like that — like you can do anything you want and it doesn’t matter — just to further your election, you basically have a dictator. You have a king. You have no democracy.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also blasted Dershowitz in a tweet Thursday, writing: “I still can’t believe the President’s lawyer tried to convince the United States Senate that foreign election interference isn’t a crime.”

Appearing before reporters in the Capitol ahead of the second day of senators’ questions, Schiff again sharply criticized the White House defense team for making “the most incredible arguments born of desperation — arguments that, if the senators ever followed, would lead this country down the most destructive path.” 

Meanwhile, Trump’s senior aides and congressional allies sought to contain the fallout from Dershowitz’s comments, which counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway was pressed on during a White House briefing Thursday.

“I actually am not going to discuss politics from the podium. I will tell you, I was very struck by his argument that no one is above the law, including the Congress,” Conway said.

Hogan Gidley, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, described the legal argument to Fox News as “kind of a one-two punch” dealt by Dershowitz and White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin, “saying, ‘Listen, you don’t want to start impeaching people on what’s inside their head.’ Meaning a lot of the senators in that chamber make decisions that would or could benefit them in an upcoming election.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) maintained that Dershowitz was actually discussing “rooting out corruption and fighting corruption” in his argument before the Senate, telling CNN “that that is in the public interest.”

“I think that when you look at this, we have to realize that this boils it down to a policy disagreement,” Blackburn said, adding: “The policy disagreement is over foreign policy and how we approach foreign policy. That is at the crux of this entire thing.”

Myah Ward contributed to this report.

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Barbara Ehrenreich on Her Endorsement of Bernie Sanders and Why Socialism Should Be Fun

In a sprawling interview, Ehrenreich explains why Sanders is her choice for 2020, the joys of radical politics and why there’s no time to wait on capitalism to solve the climate crisis.

“We need to offer a vision of the joy of collective accomplishment, the joy of working together.”

Barbara Ehrenreich is an activist, journalist and author of over 20 books, including her classic 2001 title Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. Ehrenreich is a contributing editor to In These Times where her work first appeared in 1977.

She, along with John Ehrenreich, coined the term “professional-managerial class” (PMC) in a famous 1977 essay to describe a class of “salaried mental workers” separate from the working class, whose main function is to reproduce capitalist culture and class relations.

Ehrenreich recently endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic race. She spoke with In These Times about the upcoming elections, socialism and the climate crisis. 

IO: You recently endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 race. What made you decide to do so?

BE: The same reason I endorsed him the first time around. He’s the candidate that most represents me.

IO: How so?

BE: Well, he’s a democratic socialist. There’s nobody closer to me that’s running.

IO: Do you think we’ll see a rise in union membership or union militancy if Bernie Sanders wins the election?

BE: I think so. I don’t think that’ll be a completely direct effect, but it will be an indirect effect where people begin to see that a radically different direction is possible, and begin to feel their own agency, their own power.

IO: What’s your response to Hillary Clinton’s recent comments that “nobody likes Bernie,” that he’s a “career politician,” and opening the door to not backing him if he’s the Democratic nominee?

BE: I worry about Hillary. I can’t understand why she would be doing this. And I don’t want to speculate. It’s just sheer meanness.

IO: Why do you think she lost in 2016?

BE: It’s attributable to her. Specific things about her. A kind of visible elitism best represented with that statement about “deplorables.” But the deeper reason is that the Democrats have, in recent years, betrayed the working class. They have not fought strongly for issues that are important to people who are not upper-middle class or richer, and there’s a sense of betrayal.

IO: President Trump, even if he didn’t win the popular vote, still has some pretty committed supporters. What do you think is energizing his base?

BE: Well, what I just said. This sense that Democrats really have nothing to offer. And liberalism comes across to many people as a kind of elitist stance. It’s not “here are the people who are going to join with me in improving conditions,” but rather, “here are the people who are going to criticize us for being politically incorrect.” And it’s just heartbreaking.

IO: What do you make of the recent New York Times endorsement of Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, whom the editorial board described as the “radical” and “realist” models?

BE: You know, I don’t know. I have no idea what went on with that. What goes through their minds? Who knows. Klobuchar is kind of a mystery to me. I’m willing to learn a lot more. She’s certainly been galvanizing and she is definitely to the right of Warren and Sanders.

IO: A lot of the rhetoric around the election has been framed as ‘can a woman beat Trump’ and not ‘what kind of woman candidate can beat Trump.’ What do you attribute that to?

BE: Sexism for one thing. I mean, you just put it very well, but mainly we have to beat Trump, and I would love to see a woman do it and I don’t see a reason why a woman couldn’t do it. I really think we have moved on quite a bit. I can remember when Geraldine Ferraro was running for vice president with Walter Mondale and the criticism that was raised was that she was of a menopausal age and “could a menopausal person make decisions?” That was the level of discourse. I think we have moved on from there. Don’t you?

IO: I do. My concern is that, even on the Left, people want a woman to be president but some are more concerned about a candidate being a woman and less concerned about what kind of woman she is—like whether she’s a Hillary Clinton type, for example. They want to see a woman represented, and they care a little bit less about the platform she’s bringing because she’s a woman.

BE: I’m obviously not in that camp. In 2016, I voted for Hillary in the end, but there were so many reasons to distrust her. For me, it all started in the 1990s with welfare reform which Bill Clinton gets credit for—and Hillary enthusiastically supported. It plunged a lot of people living in poverty into extreme poverty. It was just very distasteful to me that she was, with her politics, the Democratic candidate. Also, her stance on bankruptcy, which I guess she modified over time. The Iraq war. On and on and on. So I did not see her as the right candidate of either sex, that I would be interested in.

IO: Liberal pundits, when they’re speaking about the candidates, often lump Warren and Sanders into the same camp. How would you describe their differences and the differences between their supporters?

BE: *laughs* I don’t know. I haven’t done a study of this. I understand that there has been some talk on the left that Warren is the candidate of what John Ehrenreich and I describe as the PMC, whereas Sanders is potentially more the candidate of the working class. But, you know, I think that’s getting a little bit silly. People can come from different classes and change their class allegiances. So I’m not interested in that kind of essentialist thinking. Somebody’s from a wealthy background or white so that determines everything about their politics? I don’t think so.

IO: Would you note any differences between the PMC from when you wrote that essay in 1977 versus today?

BE: Oh, for sure. And I’ve written about those differences and so has John Ehrenreich. We have seen vast swaths of the professional managerial class dumped down to the level of the working class. This is the big lesson of Occupy. There were homeless blue collar workers with graduate students who knew they were going nowhere or who had PhDs even and were going nowhere. So there’s been a huge demotion for traditional PMC professions such as college teaching, which is over 70% adjunct now. Opportunities have just shrunk in so many areas. I feel it particularly as a journalist and writer. You must feel it, too, I should think. At one point, a long time ago, when I was starting out and my kids were small, I could pretty much support us—with child support—but as a freelance writer. Now, could you do that today?

IO: *laughs* No, I bartend.

BE: That’s one of the things I actually thought of at times, but in those days, this would be in the ’80s, I could still get jobs, not decent-paying jobs, but I could get outside jobs and I could patch those things together with the freelance assignments and the freelance assignments paid at least a dollar a word. And as my name became better known, it went up to like $3 a word.

You can’t get that now. This is why I instigated the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which is a little group that encourages low-income people to write and we will work with them from the initial idea and framing it into a pitch and finding a place to get it published. And then we also raise money so that we can pay the writer and make sure the writer gets $1 a word.

IO: That’s incredible.

BE: You know, we’ve been doing things for In These Times, recently. And we’re always looking for people who have a great story to tell and hopefully an original way of telling it and getting them into both mainstream media like the New York Times, for example, and in local newspapers. The path that existed for me—the upward path—is gone. The fact that I could make a thousand dollars for a thousand-word piece was decisive in allowing me to also be an activist and also write about things that I didn’t care if I got paid for.

IO: How would you explain this rise in precarity, not even just among people who formerly had union jobs or industrial jobs that were shipped overseas, but in general, for things like journalism?

BE: The big media outlets are owned by billionaires who, in most cases, have no real interest in the content of the journalism or the quality of the journalism that they are helping manage. If you eliminate half the people in the newsroom of a newspaper, they don’t care. To them, it’s just another profit source. That’s what happened—capitalism ate it up.

IO: Even outside of media, for example, teachers’ jobs are under attack. It feels like the economy keeps growing but there is still less and less work for all of us.

BE: Well, teachers are actually a very hopeful side. In the last couple of years, the number of teacher strikes, including with radical demands like for affordable housing for the families of the students they teach—this is unprecedented. It’s amazing. I feel very hopeful about them. I think that they’re a great example of some sort of resistance. But you know, it’s been relentless.

And I don’t have to tell somebody at In These Times that huge volumes of money and managerial effort go into preventing unionization or collective action of any kind by workers. I don’t want to limit the forms that that action could take to official unions. There are other ways people can resist, other forms of organization people have been creating, like the National Domestic Workers Alliance—there’s just a lot of things going on and experimenting, which is exciting.

IO: What do you think we need to stop this upsurge in right-wing populism? Is it a left-wing populism or is it something else?

BE: Well, yes of course. The short answer is a left-wing populism. But something I would want to add to that is, and this may sound a little weird to say in a straightforward political interview, but we need to offer a vision of the joy of collective accomplishment, the joy of working together. The joy of working together across lines of race or other things that separate people. We have to be not just the side that’s about gloom, which is what I feel, but about possibility and good feelings.

My favorite organizing project in this country is the Workers’ Project of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They organize workers and community, too. They do a lot of their organizing through fun things: Picnics and parties that draw hundreds and thousands of people. People love it because we don’t have that kind of thing in our lives.

IO: I think the best vision of a future with any kind of joy in it is being provided by the Green New Deal. People are starting to talk about a shorter workweek, leisure time, a jobs guarantee, publicly funding the arts.

BE: There are just so many things that could be done. We could be increasing public spaces where people gather for festivities and entertainment. We’re instead limiting public spaces more and more and segregating more and more by class and race. We could be having a good time together. And we need to radiate that a little bit.

Socialism, to affluent people, often sounds like privation. Oh, they’re going to take stuff from me and give it to somebody else. Suppose what you got in exchange is just a more joyous and convivial world. Where you talk to people on the street, where maybe people start dancing in the street—whatever!

And I’m serious about this. I wrote a book called Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, about the intertwining of festivities, historically, with political movements. One of the greatest examples would be the slave uprisings in the Caribbean in the 19th century. They would use the occasion of Carnival for the uprising for some practical reasons: there’s a lot of noise going on and people can be masked. But also, what makes people want to do things? It’s not just all antagonism and anger—there’s a lot of that. It’s also the joy of doing it.

IO: What do you think it will take to get to that joyous world?

BE: Practice. I just want to see that become part of what the Left does. Everything we do should have some thought for the pleasure of doing it.

IO. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) went from around 6,000 members in 2015 to almost 60,000 today. What do you make of DSA’s recent growth?

BE: Oh! It’s wonderful. It was the most heartening thing that happened after the election in 2016. I feel great about it.

IO: Could you speak a little bit about your time in DSA? What was it like when it was first founded? How has it changed?

BE: There was a lot of discord from the beginning. And I am, I guess, a good example of it because I was part of the NAM contingent, New American Movement, that merged with DSCO, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. And I had not been enthusiastic about the merger. What happened was they said, ‘would you like to be the co-chair of this organization?’ I said okay not realizing how much I was putting myself in a very difficult situation politically because there were such big differences between me, for example, and Michael Harrington. And I came to feel something like a token, which I was.

In those days it was totally different. You could not bring up the question of Palestine. You’d be quickly silenced. Certain things were just off limits. You could not criticize union leadership. We were supposed to always identify with union leadership which was, at the time, often quite progressive, like Bill Winpisinger of the Machinists’ Union, but we were very limited in what we could talk about. DSOC came from a tradition in the American left where politics was all about class and class was represented by the Democratic Party and the unions. And so, things like women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, were just seen as distractions. You must run into that sometimes, still.

IO: Definitely. Within the Left there are people who view class too narrowly, in the way you were just describing, and are criticized heavily for it and go back and forth with others between ‘your understanding of the world isn’t intersectional’ and ‘you’re focusing on identity politics.’

BE: It’s kind of crazy. So-called identity politics, like the feminist movement, grew out of larger movements—how much larger can you get than women? We came into feminism with anger about racism, about the war in Vietnam, about all these other things. It was never, ‘Hey, look at us. We’re women.’ I mean, yeah there was some of that. That was important, but to narrow it down is to misunderstand. We had a much more inclusive notion of what we were going about. It’s always been true.

IO: I think a lot of the liberal left misses that when they say I want a woman president and don’t factor in what material interests that candidate has in mind. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was recently disparaged for pointing out that in any other country she and Joe Biden would not be in the same party. She later added that the United States does not have a left party and, at best, the Democratic Party is a center or center-conservative party. What do you make of this cleavage between establishment Democrats on the one hand and the progressive wave pushing the party towards the left on the other? Do you think the left will be able to capture the Democratic Party?

BE: Oh, god. We used to debate this so much in the old DSA! I never had a strong feeling. I’m sort of an opportunistic person when it comes to this kind of thing. If you have a local Democratic Party that is very progressive, then go with that. I don’t know, I’m not a strategic person in that sense.

IO. Could you imagine a future where capitalism can somehow adapt to the climate crisis, but we still all survive?

BE: There’s no time to wait and see. There isn’t enough time. I would have to say socialism takes a lot of defining. And I think people will be going about it all kinds of different ways. So it’s not like Oh, here’s what you do. Here’s the starter kit for society.

IO: How would you define socialism?

BE: Well, it has to start with the knowledge and the faith that we can solve problems when we work together. Which means it has to start with some sort of work as well as an understanding of how totally mutually dependent we are. The issue is no longer the Left versus the Right. It’s those who want as many people as possible to survive this crisis and those who will be satisfied to get a few hundred thousand billionaires safely tucked away in their missile silos turned into mansions.

That’s one outcome, is that you do have some survivors but the great majority of people die off. That’s the right wing. And the outlook, judging from the Trumps and Bolsonaros of the world, seems to be grab what you can while the grabbing is good. Let’s burn the Amazon. Let’s get everything we can out of this situation and those of us that are very, very super rich will survive, perhaps, in lunar colonies or in old missile silos.

IO: What do you think it will take to avert the climate crisis? To a place where we live in an inhabitable society?

BE: Well, we have to have less reliance on things, objects, fossil fuels and more reliance on each other. For example, in growing food, in entertaining ourselves, all sorts of things. We have to see ourselves as each other’s resources. In the frame of mind I’m in today, whatever I think about politically, whether it’s Democratic primary candidates or anything, has to be in the context of the coming apocalypse—no, really. This is no time to fool around. I will keep trying. That’s all. Until the last gasp.


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Senate Impeachment Trial | Live Coverage & Highlights | Day 9

Check out the rundown from Day 2 of the questions and answers offered by the Senate. — Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney

3:01 P.M.

At-risk Republicans push for swift end to Senate trial

The pressure to end the debate in the president’s impeachment trial is coming from a closely-watched contingent: Senate Republicans up for re-election in battleground states.

While Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has said she favors hearing more evidence and witnesses —– which would lengthen the trial — the majority of Republican senators up in 2020 are urging the Senate to wrap it up.

“We’ve had 17 witnesses, from the House,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in an interview. “We do hear from people back home but they’re like, ‘get this over with.’ That’s what I’m hearing, is that we really need to wrap this up and get the American people’s business done.”

The senators’ comments illustrate they’re not caving to pressure from Democrats who argue that public opinion polling supports their calls for witnesses. Their resistance to bringing in additional witnesses and documents highlight they’d rather spend their time talking about issues other than the present’s impeachment trial. A vote for witnesses is also viewed as a break with Trump and could alienate his base. Read the full story. — Marianne LeVine

2:21 P.M.

John Roberts rejects Rand Paul

Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read aloud a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that identified the alleged whistleblower who first raised concerns with investigators that President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

“The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,” Roberts said after appearing to read the question to himself.

The chamber was silent, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whispering to an aide, standing up and appearing like he would speak. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) then asked her question and McConnell sat down.

But Paul was not done. The Kentucky senator then gave a contentious news conference in which he read his question, which named a person referred to in conservative media as the possible whistleblower and an acquaintance who works for the House Intelligence Committee. Read the full story. — Kyle Cheney, Burgess Everett and Andrew Desiderio

1:35 P.M.

Burr backs Trump lawyer claim on foreign dirt

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said on Thursday he has “no problem” with a White House lawyer’s argument that American politicians can accept damaging information on their opponents from a foreign country — a proposal that shocked Democrats.

White House Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin told senators during Wednesday’s session of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that it was a “mistake” to believe that any information about a political opponent that originates from a foreign country amounts to improper interference in a U.S. election

“I have no problem with what Philbin said,” Burr told reporters. Read the full story. — Andrew Desiderio, Kyle Cheney, and John Bresnahan

1:11 P.M.

Democrats seek to undermine Trump acquittal

President Donald Trump hasn’t been acquitted in the Senate trial yet, but Democratic leaders are already testing out their post-impeachment spin.

“He will not be acquitted,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared to reporters during her weekly press conference on Thursday.

“You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation and all of that,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) added. “Does the president know right from wrong? I don’t think so.”

The argument — that Trump cannot be truly exonerated without a fair trial in the Senate — is clearly an attempt to undermine the White House’s victory lap after the president is acquitted, possibly as soon as Friday. Read the full story. — Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris

12:16 P.M.

Schumer: Some of the ‘best questions’ came from Republicans

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday highlighted questions asked of President Donald Trump’s lawyers from a trio of Republicans, arguing that their inquiries only bolster the Democrat’s case for additional witnesses and documents.

The three Republican senators — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — have indicated they’re open to Democratic calls to subpoena former Trump national security adviser John Bolton.

“Some of the best questions actually came from Republicans,” Schumer said. “Simple factual questions and the president’s counsel unable to answer them — wow. You know who could help them answer those questions? Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton.”

Democrats need four Republicans to join them for a vote to subpoena witnesses to pass. But so far, a fourth Republican remains elusive. — Marianne LeVine

11:31 A.M.

Dershowitz attempts to clarify controversial argument about presidential powers

Alan Dershowitz, an attorney for President Donald Trump, on Thursday claimed the media twisted his words when he made the controversial legal argument that a president could engage in a quid pro quo for personal political benefit as long as the president believes his or her reelection is in the public interest.

In a series of a dozen tweets, the former Harvard law professor and prominent criminal defense attorney claimed that “CNN, MSNBC and some other media willfully distorted my answers” from Wednesday’s Senate impeachment trial proceedings, when lawmakers began posing questions to the White House defense team and the House impeachment managers. Read the full story. — Quint Forgey

9:45 A.M.

Crow hammers Dershowitz over presidential powers argument

Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), one of the House impeachment managers, lambasted arguments advanced by the president’s defense team during Wednesday’s question-and-answer session — singling out a particular legal theory promoted by President Donald Trump’s attorney Alan Dershowitz as “a very dangerous hole to go down.”

“Yesterday was a really astounding day, frankly, in what we heard come out of the president’s counsel,” Crow told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday.

“I mean, they’re making completely contradictory arguments in the same breath. Saying that the process wasn’t fair, but that if we went through a fair process, it would take too long. Saying that we should issue subpoenas, but then saying that we don’t have constitutional authority to issue subpoenas,” the congressman continued.

Crow then homed in on Dershowitz’s remarks before the Senate regarding his expansive view of executive power, when the former Harvard law professor controversially asserted that a president could engage in a quid pro quo for personal political benefit as long as it was in service of winning reelection.

“Maybe the most astounding thing came out of Mr. Dershowitz, where he said an elected official always thinks they’re acting in the best interest of their constituents or the country, and then presumptively that means that they never are doing anything bad — that they can do whatever they want to do because they believe that they’re doing the right thing,” Crow said. “I mean, that is just a very dangerous hole to go down.” — Quint Forgey

9:35 A.M.

Conservative group runs ad pressing Romney to reject witnesses

FreedomWorks is running a full-page ad against Sen. Mitt Romney to put new pressure on the Utah Republican to vote against witnesses.

The conservative group is running the ad online and in print in the Salt Lake Tribune. It seems unlikely to work; Romney is the most committed senator to hearing from former national security adviser John Bolton, whose unpublished book reportedly links Trump more directly with Ukraine aid freeze. — Burgess Everett

5:03 A.M.

How Trump’s impeachment created two Democratic superstars

The House Democratic Caucus has long been dominated by a gaggle of also-rans: men and women who, while good enough for Congress, proved to be underwhelming on the larger stage of national politics.

That’s changed.

Sitting shoulder to shoulder on the Senate floor as they argue for the president’s removal from office, two men — Adam Schiff of California and Hakeem Jeffries of New York — have been catapulted to the front of the nation’s consciousness, to the top of the Democratic Party and have become the fulcrum for speculation about a host of prominent positions both in the House and beyond. Read the full story. — Jake Sherman and Heather Caygle

5:03 A.M.

Trump allies see witness-swap scheme as impeachment messaging coup

President Donald Trump’s allies are relishing the political benefits of a plot to offer an equal number of impeachment witnesses for both parties, even though it likely won’t go anywhere.

But that’s the point.

Republican strategists are viewing the offer as a potent tool in the PR war around the president’s impeachment trial. In their eyes, the proposal defangs a Democratic argument that Republicans are shutting down witnesses without actually having to call witnesses. It could give the appearance of fairness, they said, while also energizing the Trump base eager to at least imagine the president’s foes — like Joe Biden — taking the witness stand. Read the full story. — Anita Kumar

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Trump impeachment trial: Live updates and latest news

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar would not outright agree with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi that if there are no witness, it won’t be a genuine acquittal of President Trump. 

“I’m not giving up on no witnesses. We still have another day of questions,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash today.

Bash pushed Klobuchar again to hypothetically say if she would agree. Klobuchar hedged: “Well, no I don’t think it will be—It will not be a fair trial, I’ll just leave it at that.”

“I don’t think it’s a fair trial, you can’t have a fair result. Why don’t we see what happens first,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar also wouldn’t pre-judge if Democrats played their hand well for impeachment trial, when asked by Bash if there was anything Democrats in the House or Senate could have done differently to change the outcome. 

“I am always good at looking in the rear view mirror, I’ll do that when it’s done. We are not done yet. I’m right in the middle of this,” she said.

Klobuchar called the request from Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s attorneys, to hear from both Biden’s, House manager Adam Schiff and the whistleblower a threat.

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‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ Proposes to Son’s Reported Ex-Girlfriend 7 Months After Wife Beth’s Death

Anyone who watches Dog the Bounty Hunter and is a fan has seen the struggle that Duane Chapman has faced after the loss of his wife.

The two seemed like the perfect, sassy couple, and their love didn’t end when Beth passed away last June.

Duane has expressed on multiple occasions how lost he feels without his wife by his side, and still remembers her on special dates.

“There will never be another like you,” he posted to Instagram on Oct. 29, Beth’s birthday. “Happy birthday Beth! We ❤️you!”

When people questioned whether or not he’d ever find love again, their daughter, Bonnie, quickly said no.

TRENDING: Nancy Pelosi Says House Will Soon Pass Legislation Aimed at Blocking Trump’s Travel Ban

“Nope, he found his soulmate,” she told a fan, according to Fox News. “No one can replace her in his heart. Their love was one of a kind, it made me believe love truly exists.”

The bounty hunter himself told US Weekly that he wouldn’t get married again.

“We both said, ‘If I die, you can have a man. Ten [men], I don’t care. But don’t marry one,’” he said in August. “And she said, ‘Don’t take my name off your chest, Dog. Do not get married.’ … Don’t worry, I will not get married.”

Do you think Dog’s proposal was legitimate?

But there’s a clip circulating that has taken some people by surprise. Shared by the Dr. Mehmet Oz Twitter account, the clip — taken from an episode set to air Monday — shows an interview exchange between the bounty hunter, Dr. Oz and family friend Moon Angell.

Angell has been working with the family for a while, and was even one of Beth’s bridesmaids.

Dog’s daughter, Lyssa Chapman, claimed this month that Angell also used to date one of Lyssa’s brothers — though she wouldn’t say which one.

The clip highlights some interesting snippets from Duane and Angell, including him crediting her with keeping him from suicidal tendencies. He also said “I am a lot happier with her around” and even uttered the words “Moon Angell, will you marry me?”

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Fans are in an uproar over what appears to be a proposal, and many have commented to criticize him for moving so quickly after his wife’s death.

Other remarks the bounty has made recently aren’t exactly putting fan fears to rest.

“Who knows what my future holds, but right now I need her,” Duane told RadarOnline.com this month. “There will never be another Mrs. Dog but that doesn’t mean I have to be so sad.”

“She has been with my family through many ups and downs. All my children are grown and gone on their own, there’s no one left to help me!”

“I know almighty God hears my broken heart and I didn’t ask him for another Mrs. Chapman, but I asked him for a friend and He gave me Moon,” he continued.

Lyssa Chapman has made it very clear that she doesn’t like or trust Angell, tagging her in a number of rather scathing tweets.

“You’re disgusting woman,” she tweeted on Dec. 18. “Any person who moves in on a man weeks after losing his wife, who you were supposed to be a ‘friend’ to, Is the lowest scum on the planet-Which for you wasn’t that far of a step down from where you were before.”

Other sources told TMZ that while Duane was emotional and indeed popped the question, there’s no ring, it wasn’t a legitimate proposal and the two are not engaged — merely good friends.

As we all know, shows often cut segments and paste together parts of interviews to shock people and get them to watch the entire show to boost their ratings.

So, based on what you know, what do you think: Was this a legitimate proposal or will the full episode reveal that it was not really serious?

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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FLASHBACK: Schiff Opposed Bolton’s UN Nomination, Claimed He Was ‘Belligerent’ Now He’s His Star Witness

House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Monday that “you can’t have a meaningful trial” without hearing from former National Security Advisor John Bolton,. However, in September, 2006 Schiff penned a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in opposition to his nomination as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The star witness in Schiff’s trial was once his national security nightmare. In the letter, Schiff blasted Bolton saying his “conduct and belligerent style alienated key allies and proved ineffective, most visibly in the failure to make any progress on consolidating UN operations to make them more efficient and cost-effective.”

“At a time when the United States and other Security Council members must work together to block Iran’s quest for the nuclear fuel cycle and build a lasting peace in Lebanon, we need a representative at the UN who is deeply committed to the multilateral diplomacy needed to effectuate a successful resolution of these crises,” Schiff wrote.

Some critics suggest Ambassador Bolton has had a long record of hostility to working with other international actors. Bolton has also expressed skepticism about whether the UN should have any role in peacekeeping efforts.”

The New York Times reported Sunday several excerpts from Bolton’s upcoming tell-all book where he is said to recount his White House tenure. In the book, Bolton says that the President’s hold on aid to Ukraine “was separate” from the investigations into the Bidens, according to the report. The timing of the leaks was curious as the impeachment trial continues and the Senate weighs the option of calling Bolton to testify as a witness.

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*FIREWORKS* Rand Paul to Demand Senate Trial Question That Reveals Name of Whistleblower

*FIREWORKS* Rand Paul to Demand Senate Trial Question That Reveals Name of Whistleblower


Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul on Thursday afternoon at 1 PM ET will insist on his question rejected by Justice Roberts.

Chief Justice John Roberts blocked a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) from being asked at the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump on Wednesday.

Senator Paul’s question had to do with the whistleblower’s contact and coordination with Adam Schiff’s office.

Roberts is refusing to mention Eric Ciaramella’s name and will not allow anyone to say the whistleblower’s name during the question-and-answer session.

Senator Paul was furious for being gagged by Justice Roberts and will put up a fight on Thursday.

“Senator Paul believes it is crucial the American people get the full story on what started the Democrats’ push the impeach President Donald Trump…” Rand Paul’s office announced.

GOP Senators Mike Lee (UT), Ted Cruz (TX) and Josh Hawley (MO) asked a similar question about the whistleblower’s employment and his relationship with Schiff’s top aide Sean Misko, however they did not identify the CIA official.

Impeachment manager Adam Schiff has TWO aides, Sean Misko and Abigail Grace who worked with the whistleblower Eric Ciaramella at the National Security Council and Republican Senators asked about their role in plotting to remove Trump.

There is no law prohibiting the Senators from identifying the identity of the whistleblower, but Justice Roberts is covering for Schiff and blocking mention of Eric Ciaramella.