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Benny

John Nicols, The Nation

That Time Bernie Sanders Told America: “I Am Proud to Say That Henry Kissinger Is Not My Friend”

In his brilliant 2001 book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens argued that the former national security adviser and secretary of state for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford should be prosecuted “for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture.” The trial never happened. Instead, Kissinger lived to the ripe old age of 100. His passing on Wednesday was marked with predictably tone-deaf headlines that declared “Henry Kissinger, America’s most influential diplomat, dies at 100” (Politico), “Henry Kissinger Is Dead at 100; Shaped Nation’s Cold War History” (The New York Times) and “Henry Kissinger, Who Helped Forge U.S. Foreign Policy During Vietnam and Cold War, Dies at 100” (The Wall Street Journal).

The Journal’s subhead actually described Kissinger as “a hero to war-weary Americans”—an audacious way to portray a man who was widely understood to have helped prolong the Vietnam War for political gain.

But, while the former secretary of state escaped a formal trial, he was relentlessly prosecuted—and convicted—in the court of public opinion.

Recalling the role the former secretary of state played in orchestrating the secret bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War era, globe-trotting chef and documentarian Anthony Bourdain famously explained in his 2001 book, A Cook’s Tour:

Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia—the fruits of his genius for statesmanship—and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to [Serbian strongman] Slobodan Milošević.

Bourdain’s visceral assessment of Kissinger was inspired. It spoke to the popular rejection of Kissinger as any kind of hero. But in the highest circles of our politics, the former secretary of state was still spoken of in respectful terms.

Until a winter night in 2016, when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state who had long been closely aligned with the country’s foreign-policy establishment—and who proudly touted her bond with Kissinger—faced Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a frequent critic of that establishment open and secret wars.

In one of the most remarkable exchanges in the modern history of presidential politics, Sanders asked, toward the close of the foreign policy section of the debate, if he might add a brief final word. “Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate and I believe in her book…she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country,” said the senator, to loud applause.

“I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend,” continued Sanders.

I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.

Clinton countered with a dig at Sanders. “Well,” she said, “I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.”

“Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger. That’s for sure,” replied Sanders.

“That’s fine. That’s fine,” said Clinton.

You know, I listen to a wide variety of voices that have expertise in various areas. I think it is fair to say, whatever the complaints that you want to make about him are, that with respect to China, one of the most challenging relationships we have, his opening up China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship for the United States of America. So if we want to pick and choose—and I certainly do—people I listen to, people I don’t listen to, people I listen to for certain areas, then I think we have to be fair and look at the entire world, because it’s a big, complicated world out there.

“It is,” injected Sanders.

Clinton was now scrambling to put Kissinger in perspective. “And, yes,” she said, “people we may disagree with on a number of things may have some insight, may have some relationships that are important for the president to understand in order to best protect the United States.”

Sanders was having none of that explanation, suggesting that his historical perspective was “very different”:

Kissinger was one of those people during the Vietnam era who talked about the domino theory. Not everybody remembers that. You do. I do. The domino theory, you know, if Vietnam goes, China, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. That’s what he talked about, the great threat of China. And then, after the war, this is the guy who, in fact, yes, you’re right, he opened up relations with China, and now pushed various type of trade agreements, resulting in American workers losing their jobs as corporations moved to China. The terrible, authoritarian, Communist dictatorship he warned us about, now he’s urging companies to shut down and move to China. Not my kind of guy.

Watch the video of the historic exchange below.

wi65

Thanks for the new thread Orl

wi65

Dem voters urge Wisconsin Supreme Court to strike down ‘unconstitutional’ maps

“Ultimately, we should be able to choose our representatives instead of the other way around,” said Katie Rosenberg, mayor of Wausau, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will soon make a decision on whether to strike down state Republican-drawn maps that Democratic voters argue discriminate against them, including Black voters in the state.

Last week, the state’s high court heard hours of oral arguments in Clarke v. Wisconsin.

Supreme Court entrance marble sign plaque in United States legal system. A courthouse room marker inside of Wisconsin state capitol building, Midwest USA. Gilded capital letters carved in stone and traditional architectural interior formality inspire concepts for justice, fairness, and government law. Horizontal format with copy space and no people.
Supreme Court entrance marble sign plaque in United States legal system. A courthouse room marker inside of Wisconsin state capitol building, Midwest USA. Gilded capital letters carved in stone and traditional architectural interior formality inspire concepts for justice, fairness, and government law. Horizontal format with copy space and no people.More
In August 2023, Democratic voters filed a lawsuit against the state, contesting that the maps are “unconstitutional” and contain “extreme partisan gerrymanders” that violate the state’s constitution. The suit requests that the legislative maps be redrawn for failing to be contiguous and reflect all of Wisconsin’s voting population.

Jonathan Miller, chief program officer at the Public Rights Project, told theGrio that Wisconsin has “the most aggressively gerrymandered state legislative map in the country.”

He added, “Districts are drawn in such a way so that the populations in those communities don’t have as much weight,” and in some cases, “parts of districts have been completely excluded” and left off the map, ostracizing voters from marginalized communities.

Miller said the maps need to be struck down because “communities of color are not represented” in the legislative body. He added, “That means things like funding and projects aren’t going to be advanced by the legislature.”

“What does anybody get out of this… having unfair advantage over another?” asked rhetorically Katie Rosenberg, mayor of Wausau. She told theGrio, “It’s truly about power.”

The next step is to “realign the power to the people” and remove power from “the people who have put themselves there,” she added. “Fair maps help all of us have better policies.”

Miller said state Republicans argued on Nov. 21 that since “the court previously signed off on the map, it shouldn’t change its mind so quickly.”

Mayor Rosenberg said, “The only reason you would be against fair maps is because you want to have unfair policies.”

A sign encouraging Black people to vote sits in the window of a downtown storefront Sunday in Racine, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
In 2011, state Republicans drew maps that gave the state’s GOP a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate and a majority in the state Assembly. Last year, the state Supreme Court kept the map in place.

However, the court’s political makeup changed this year when liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn into office in August, replacing a conservative justice on the court.

Given Protasiewicz’s election to the bench, there is a chance the court could strike down the Republican-drawn maps because she characterized the maps as “rigged” while she campaigned to serve on the court.

Mayor Rosenberg said she agreed with the liberal justice and said, “Ultimately, we should be able to choose our representatives instead of the other way around.”

“It really does matter when people think they have a shot at winning…they don’t want it to be rigged,” she added.

Miller of the Public Rights Project said he believes that the court will strike down the state maps and appoint a “specialist or referee” to help propose redrawn maps for the court to make a final approval.

Rosenberg said that even if the high court appoints a special master to redraw the maps, “We’re still going to need to keep working and make sure that we can have the right policies that lift up all of our communities.”

“Especially those communities of color who have been underrepresented,” she added.

The legal battle in Wisconsin comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court appointed a special master to redraw Alabama’s federal election maps. The high court ruled that the southern state’s congressional map discriminated against Black voters and violated their constitutional rights.

Benny

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Benny

Benny

it time for a big, united strike by millions of union members against the billionaire class?

We get pitched this idea sometimes at Labor Notes. Usually we dismiss it as coming from starry-eyed dreamers eager to pass over the hard work of organizing and skip ahead to the “general strike.”

But now the call is coming from a major international union: the United Auto Workers (UAW), whose new contracts covering 146,000 workers at the Big 3 are strategically set to expire on May 1, 2028. The union wants others in the labor movement to align their own expirations for that date, setting up a battle with some of the country’s biggest corporations in four-and-a-half years.

“If I could have a dream scenario,” UAW president Shawn Fain told In These Times, “it would be that all of organized labor maps their expiration dates to May 1.”

May Day
“May Day was born out of an intense struggle by workers in the United States to win an eight-hour day,” said Fain. “That’s a struggle that’s just as relevant today as it was in 1889,” when the international labor movement began holding yearly demonstrations for an eight-hour day to commemorate the Haymarket martyrs who lost their lives for their role in big Chicago protests for a shorter workday a few years earlier.

The fight for a shorter workweek could feature in 2028 negotiations. One of the UAW’s public demands in this round of bargaining was for a thirty-two-hour week at forty hours’ pay. Autoworkers are often forced to work mandatory overtime, including sixty-hour weeks (six ten-hour days).

Although that proposal went nowhere with the companies, raising it broached the topic.

“If there was one good thing that came out of COVID — with all the loss of life and the bad things that went on — it was that working-class people realized that life shouldn’t revolve around working seven days a week, twelve or sixteen hours a day, or working multiple jobs just to survive,” Fain said.

Coordinated Contracts
Unions seem to be discovering that engaging in high-profile public fights with employers can be to their benefit. We’ve seen that with the Teamsters at the United Parcel Service (UPS) this year, and most recently with the UAW, whose no-holds-barred campaign against the Big 3 reportedly inspired thousands of autoworkers at nonunion plants to reach out and ask how to join.

“If we’re going to truly take on the billionaire class and rebuild the economy so that it starts to work for the benefit of the many and not the few,” Fain said on Facebook Live, “then it’s important that we not only strike, but that we strike together.”

So what if a bunch of unions say they’re all going to walk out on May 1, 2028, unless their employers offer record contracts to make up for years of runaway inequality?

What if they align some of their demands — like demands for an end to forced overtime and for the restoration of the eight-hour day? Or, hell, for workers to share in the gains of productivity with a thirty-two-hour week at forty hours’ pay. Or for a return to real pensions.

What if newly unionized workers fighting for first contracts join them?

Not only could it push the employers, it would also put some big pressure on politicians, in a presidential election year, to back solutions that help working people.

Sure, it’s hard enough to even get a union to coordinate its contracts with the same employer: the Communications Workers of America Union have multiple expiration dates at AT&T; the Food and Commercial Workers International Union have more than a hundred different contracts with Kroger that expire at different times; and on and on.

But maybe this bold idea is the push the labor movement needs.

Republished from Labor Notes.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

I love it! It’s time for Shawn Fein to start running for president in 2028.

jcitybone

Benny

Bernie will hold a discussion, but I expect Chuck Schumer and he disagree on this one, thus Israel will get pretty much what they want from our Senate, thanks to AIPAC, DFMI.

wi65

more than likley, The dems dont have a spine as $$$$$ talks.

jcitybone

jcitybone

Good but about time

wi65

deleted

jcitybone

Benny

I dropped you a PM.

Benny

Benny

wi65

I thought it would be more than that

Benny

That’s probably about right. Two years ago, with the pandemic funding, kids got child care subsidized and likely, there was some money for Santa Claus to bring a gift or perhaps a nicer meal. Now we’re back to Square One.

Benny

While Sex and the City made Cynthia Nixon famous, I think her role in The Gilded Age on MAX is better, and I hope she becomes well known for her performance in a show that has been largely overlooked by the Emmy voters.

Paul ADK

She would have made an excellent governor.

Benny

The article attached to the tweet is free, worth perusing.

Benny

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/28/us/politics/koch-network-nikki-haley-endorsement-trump.html?

The political network founded by the Koch brothers is endorsing Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential primary race, giving her organizational muscle and financial heft as she battles Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida for second place in Iowa.

The group announced its plans in a memo on Tuesday.

The commitment by the network, Americans for Prosperity Action, bolsters Ms. Haley as the campaign enters the final seven weeks before the first nominating contest. Since the first Republican primary debate, Ms. Haley has steadily climbed in polls, even as Mr. DeSantis has slipped. Former President Donald J. Trump remains the dominant front-runner in the race.

“In sharp contrast to recent elections that were dominated by the negative baggage of Donald Trump and in which good candidates lost races that should have been won, Nikki Haley, at the top of the ticket, would boost candidates up and down the ballot,” reads the memo from Emily Seidel, a senior adviser to Americans for Prosperity Action, who adds that Ms. Haley would win “the key independent and moderate voters that Trump has no chance to win.”

The memo goes on to say that the country “is being ripped apart by extremes on both sides,” adding: “The moment we face requires a tested leader with the governing judgment and policy experience to pull our nation back from the brink. Nikki Haley is that leader.”

The group laid out polling describing the shift in the race toward Ms. Haley in a separate memo.

Ms. Haley, who has described Mr. Trump’s time as past, has gained support from donors and elite opinion-makers, many of whom describe her as the best alternative to Mr. Trump.

But Ms. Haley’s campaign does not have the organizational strength that Mr. DeSantis does, thanks to work the super PAC affiliated with his campaign has been doing for much of the year.

The endorsement from the super PAC established by David and Charles Koch could help change that. It will give her access to a direct-mail operation, field workers to knock on doors and people making phone calls to prospective voters in Iowa and beyond. The group has money to spend on television advertisements, as well.

The network’s backing also helps fuel Ms. Haley’s momentum heading into the final weeks before voting begins.

Americans for Prosperity Action has been among the country’s largest spenders on anti-Trump material this year, buying online ads and sending mailers to voters in several states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. All told, the group has spent more than $9 million in independent expenditures opposing Mr. Trump.

One mailer in Iowa, paid for by the group, shows images of Mr. Trump and President Biden and reads, “You can stop Biden … by letting go of Trump.”

But so far, none of that spending has benefited any of Mr. Trump’s rivals, who have been busy battling one another.

The Koch network is well financed, raising more than $70 million for political races as of this summer.

The group has been committed to opposing Mr. Trump’s return as leader of the Republican Party. In a memo in February, Ms. Seidel, who also serves as the president of Americans for Prosperity, the political network’s parent group, wrote: “We need to turn the page on the past. So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter.”

Mr. DeSantis’s campaign, which has had upheaval in recent days, including the resignation of the chief executive of his super PAC, tried to throw cold water on the endorsement before it was even announced.

“Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley’s candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign,” Andrew Romeo, a DeSantis campaign spokesman, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, 30 minutes before Americans for Prosperity Action officials announced the endorsement on a press call.

“No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different,” he wrote.

wi65

One of the lesser of the GQP evils

Benny

Not by much.

wi65

I cant argue that at all, just marginally better than the cult.

Benny

jcitybone posted another tweet up the thread, but this has a passage from that article.

Benny

A little bit of sports levity…

George Santos - New FB coach TAMu (funny) Screenshot 2023-11-28 101352.jpg
Benny

Looks like Santos is likely to get the boot on Thur or Fri this week.

wi65

And with the redistricting his seat could go Blue