How Libertarians and Socialists Can Work Together

March 18th, 2016 by Sam

Andrew Stewart interviewed me about the election and how to people can make a much more meaningful impact by using VotePact. He writes about how he — from the left — can join with someone from the right to unite against the establishment that seeks to divide them:

Take as example myself and Pat Ford over at The Coalition Radio Show. We are basically on the same page with every imaginable social issue (LGBTQQI rights, abortion, sex workers, drug decriminalization) but have a respectful disagreement on economic issues, Pat is a Libertarian and I am a Socialist/Communist of the unaffiliated variety. Even if we disagree on those issues, which have a great level of difference, we both loathe the Democrats and the Republicans in this state and the wider nation. So we both have said we want to form a Vote Pact. I am going to vote for my Green Party candidate and Pat will vote for his Libertarian Party candidate. This is not to say that either of our votes are going to push our third party candidates to victory this year. But the loss of votes for the duopoly is far more threatening in the long run than trying to reform the Democrats and Republicans from within, a strategy that has failed again and again for literally decades.

Please read his writing and listen to our discussion here.

Talking VotePact on “Watching the Hawks”

February 29th, 2016 by Sam

Talking about VotePact.org with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace on RT’s “Watching the Hawks” — Feb 25. Great interview — would have loved to learn more from Tyrel about the dynamics around his dad’s — Jesse Ventura’s — success at breaking out of the two party system.

Tabetha Wallace: Gridlock is the name of the game in Washington and I don’t mean traffic. I mean congress. And if you’re a concerned citizen you may not take notice anymore. That’s because the process of moving through effective legislation didn’t come to a sudden screeching halt or a stumble with a deafening thud. Congress has been deadlocked for a decade or more, which for some people constitutes their entire young adult life. Enter from stage left and stage right the candidates for the Republican and Democratic parties and the race to the White House 2016. The GOP has been trying to push establishment candidates like Rubio and Bush but Cruz and of course Trump are dominating. The Dems thought that Hillary was a lock and then came Bernie with a successful message of social justice and an aggressive stance against Wall Street. The establishment just can’t seem to get it’s sway this time. But will that really matter in the end? Let’s say Hillary gets through against one of the GOP candidates. Are hardcore Republicans really going to vote for Hillary? Even if their only option is Trump? And will Bernie supporters really lead the fold to vote for a Trump, a Cruz or a Rubio? No, probably not. And thus: voter deadlock. So it there a solution? Well our next guest Sam Husseini seems to think so. His new organization VotePact has come up with an interesting strategy for Democrats or Republicans to team up and take votes away from the establishment by supporting third parties in pairs.

Welcome Sam.Sam Husseini: Good to be with you

Tyrel Ventura: Always a pleasure. Thank you for coming on today.Sam: Great to be on the show.

Tyrel: Yeah so you know, we were just talking about the gridlock in our democracy. We see it in congress, we see it all over, even on the local level. You see this right-left gridlock. You know? What is the reason behind this and is there any reason to suspect that we are going to be able to move beyond this gridlock in congress, senate with this system of democracy and the way we vote as it is today?

Sam: It’s not a total gridlock you know, the establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans collude on a bunch of issues. They are trying to get their trade bills through, keep their wars going so on and so forth. So when it suits them they can (laughter).. But you’re right that by and large there are people that are basically boxed in to both parties. People leftist, you know, feel they have to keep voting for the Democrats no matter how establishment they become no matter how corporate they become no matter how corrupt they become. same thing on the other side, bunch of libertarians other folks who want to see another way out but can’t. You can vote for a third party but then you’re quote-unquote throwing your vote away. You’re afraid of doing that because you’re afraid you’ll help the guys you hate most.

Tabetha: Right.

Sam: So you become a prisoner. You gotta keep voting for the Republicans you gotta keep voting for the Democrats no matter if they stop listening to. Solution to VotePact. Team up. Find somebody in your life, ideally. Your brother, your wife, your brother-in-law who annoys you over the Thanksgiving day table. But you trust them as a person, you trust them with your kids they take care of your kids, whatever. Your debate partner, your coworker, whatever — and say ‘Okay we’re both going to use our personal bond to vote for the third parties that we most want.’ Now it can end up that they vote, you know, one votes for the Socialist or the Green and the other votes for Libertarian or Constitution party. That’s all well and good. But this could, conceivably be a path for literal electoral victory. If you can get a ticket that appeals to what I call ‘radical center.’

Tyrel: Radical center, interesting term.

Tabetha: I like ‘radical center’ that seems like a good place to be, actually.

Sam: Against the Wall Street bailouts, corporate trade deals, for civil liberties —

Tyrel: Most of America I think if you look at the polls and stuff, most people are fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Generally by and large they are kind of in that middle area. We can pull ideas from …

Tabetha: Yeah, more people now as they are looking, the center is a little further left than it was

Sam: Certainly among young people

Tabetha: Yes, which is the biggest chunk of the voting block which they finally figured out which I’m very, very glad. I’m very glad that my slightly younger brothers and sisters have gone ‘Oh wait a minute, there’s a lot of us and we don’t like this and we can do something about it’ and that’s really powerful. But I wonder if part of what you’re seeing is this gridlock in democracy and part of the pushback against it, the fall out that we’re seeing … the two party system is from the gridlock  in Congress. Is it just that or I mean is that the main thing because it seems to me watching years of our legislative body just sit there and do nothing has had such an impact on us.

Sam: The repetition in terms of gridlock does two things it makes people fed up with the establishment as a whole but in a way by focusing in a few narrow issues it compels people to be more on their side digging in their heels and hating the other side more. So you see, focusing on issues likes refugees or immigration where there is a difference in left and right. What I think is really interesting about those issues is that they are in a way symptomatic of other issues. Refugees from Syria wouldn’t be coming over getting out of there in desperation if there weren’t a perpetual war policy. Immigration is largely a result of drug war and corporate trade policy. Now all those deeper issues are things that the left and the right, the principal left and right as we would call them, agree on. But they end up bickering over the symptomatic issues of refugees and immigration. Now those are real issues I’m not diminishing them but they are in effect a result of other things.

Tyrel: You gotta take a step back and look bigger and say what is the bigger policy we need to be looking at? That seems to get like as you said the earlier – that sails through – bigger policy that effects that trickle down of things like immigration and things like that sails through without a problem.

Tabetha Wallace- Emotional issues. People seem to have gotten very emotional. Millennial are always accused of being too emotional. Like have you seen Capitol Hill? It’s temper tantrums and crying and even without John Boehner it’s temper tantrums and everything’s very like ‘they don’t want to talk to me, oh what’s going on?.’

Tyrel: What’s interesting is that you talked about kind of corralling the disenfranchised voters saying hey go to your family member or your friend say how do we vote for a third party or something like that you know. Will that strategy work and with I mean do you believe you can create this powerful enough voting block to break the two party system.

Sam: I think it can. People have to work it out and dialogue it out and really be serious about it. They have to trust the person that they’re dealing with. And in a way, we have the politics of hatred. MSNBC is telling all the Democrats hate the Republicans and Fox does the other way around. So this is building a bridge so that people can talk to each other and get stuff on the table. And you see, I mean, even in this election it’s Sander and Trump and they agree on some stuff. In past elections it was Kucinich and Ron Paul. They agreed on stuff. I mean imagine if you had a ticket of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich saying we are gonna run on the stuff that we agree on and that’s what we’re gonna implement. And don’t talk too much about the other stuff that we don’t agree on. But that’s a hell of a lot. That’s a hell of a lot.

Tyrel: Other people could get behind that if we didn’t have that kind of left-right paradigmers. My dad called it, when he was running and he was in office he always   it’s like professional wrestling. On T.V. they fight with each other but behind the scenes they all get in favor of some people and are all hand-in-hand.

Tabetha: Of course.

Tyrel: Yeah it’s pretty interesting stuff. Especially when you get to third parties.

Tabetha: Yeah. And I think part of the thing about third parties that is so interesting is that you’re organization is trying to sway voters away from democrats and Republicans ultimately or the two big —

Sam: Well to at least, you know, not be prisoners. To vote their actual preferences instead of feeling like they have in effect been browbeaten into putting aside all their hopes, desires, their dreams because ‘I just gotta vote against the other guys I don’t want.’

Tabetha: Right. So let me ask you a question because I think what I’ve seen and what you’ve seen in your personal experience is that the problem isn’t necessarily the party problem and getting a third candidate it’s that the media obsess over those two things and what happens is when you have a third party candidate, someone like you know Jill Stein, the green party Gary Johnson of the libertarian party, ugh some Ventura guy might have ran a while ago. (Laughter)  When you have those people they are not included in the polls. They’re not included in the conversation and they’re just left out. So how do you make that next step when the media has such a Trump-esque wall in front of you to keep you from even knowing about them?

Sam: The media is an absolute wall but I put a little bit of responsibility on the third parties themselves. They don’t have a strategy for breaking out of that saying they want to get into the debates. And then they have their alternative debates and they end up agreeing on a lot of stuff on their own. So I’m saying.. A lot of policy issues. Why not join together? But part of the strategy would be getting endorsements in pairs. So you imagine a ticket like this getting endorsements of the old union official and a small business man coming together. Over and over again people coming together in pairs to this campaign. The strategy implies a media strategy that I think would generate serious news stories.

Tyrel: I wanna bring up one thing, this is interesting we are talking about voting and all that. Look the electoral college in today’s day and age, is I believe, pretty unfair and out of date. Especially for third parties because if you look at like DC. Put it in a two-party perspective. DC primarily votes, has three electoral votes, primarily votes Democrat every time. So if you have a Republican in DC generally your vote is kinda of just disappears every presidential election because of the electoral college. How do we? Is it time to drop the electoral college and do a legit popular vote or develop a new system so that way people in red and blue states or states that predominantly go red or blue. Well we have about a minute lets try to sum that up.

Tabetha: So fixing it on a structural level.

Sam: Sure, there are all types of structural proposals that should happen. The electoral college, instill run-off voting, proportional representation all kinds of things. But you’re in effect asking the political establishment to please dismember itself.

Tabetha: Yes!

Sam: And they’re not going to do that. And the beauty of VotePact is saying we don’t need anything else. We can come together as people and using the votes that we have to implode the system as it is. So it doesn’t require their cooperation.

Tabetha: I get it. Thank you so much, thank you.

Tyrel: I like that, come together and change the system Sam Husseini thank you very much for joining us and educating us.

Sam: My pleasure.

Face It: Trump is Right About Iraq — and that Should Sink Clinton

February 14th, 2016 by Sam
At first I thought it ironic that Saturday’s Republican debate happened in the “Peace Center” in Greenville, South Carolina. [video and transcript]But perhaps that had a positive effect.Actually, no. For the discerning listener, Donald Trump has been critical of U.S. militarism for some time. On Russia, on Syria, on Iraq and on North Korea.People say that Trump is loud. But I don’t think he’s been loud enough.

Last night, he finally screamed an anti war stance to the boos of Bush’s and Rubio’s and Kasich’s one percent donors. It’s only half of what needed to be said, but it was a measure of reality that’s desperately needed.

Trump: “You fight ISIS first. Right now you have Russia, you have Iran, you have them with Assad and you have them with Syria. You have to knock out ISIS. … You can’t fight two wars at one time.” But of course, to some of the U.S. establishment, two wars is slacking, they want more than two wars. Trump continued: “We shoulda never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. … The World Trade Center came down (BOOING) during the reign. He [G. W. Bush] kept us safe?”

And, if anyone noticed, even as the auditorium packed of monied interests booed Trump, the tracker at the bottom of the screen went up for him.

Trump’s truth telling was met with more ridiculousness and lies.

Jeb Bush described Trumps attacks as “blood sport” which, given the subject matter at hand — his brother’s appetite for illegal war and failure in his responsibility to protect the U.S. public — was, to put it mildly, ironic. And then Bush appealed to the values of his family, which, evidence would show, includes hands quite drenched in blood.

John Kasich’s reaction on Iraq WMDs was to appeal to Colin Powell’s credibility, which has been a late night TV joke for over a decade. He also claimed the U.S. got into a civil war, which is wrong — the U.S. government helped foster the sectarian violence. And no, Kasich, the borders of the Mideast were not “drawn after World War I by Westerners that didn’t understand what was happening there” — they were drawn by Westerners who wanted to divide and rule — as is the actual goal of Western interventions to this day.

Marco Rubio was perhaps the most priceless — “Saddam Hussein was in violation of UN resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn’t do anything about it.” That’s a total lie. Iraq had disarmed and the U.S. did everything it could to prevent the UN from verifying that disarmament so that the draconian sanctions would continue on Iraq indefinitely and they could have their regime change war, see my time line: accuracy.org/iraq.

The worthies at the Weekly Standard now write: “Interviewers should press Trump on this: What evidence does Trump have that George W. Bush and his top advisers knowingly lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? How many other government officials does Trump believe were in on the deception? What does Trump believe would have been the point of such a lie, since the truth would soon come out?”

In fact, it’s quite provable that the Bush administration lied about Iraqi WMDs before the invasion. I know, I helped document such lies at the Institute for Public Accuracy, where I work, before the 2003 invasion:

In October, 2002, John R. MacArthur, author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf Warnoted: “Recently, Bush cited an IAEA report that Iraq was ‘six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.’ The IAEA responded that not only was there no new report, ‘there’s never been a report’ asserting that Iraq was six months away from constructing a nuclear weapon.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what was knowable at the time. See other such news releases from before the invasion: “White House Claims: A Pattern of Deceit” and “Bush’s War Case: Fiction vs. Facts at Accuracy.org/bush” and “U.S. Credibility Problems” and “Tough Questions for Bush on Iraq Tonight.”

The problem in 2002 and early 2003 was that Bush didn’t get those tough questions. Just like there are no real tough questions about U.S. policy in Libya, Syria, etc. now.
What we’re getting is Trump raising these issues years later when it seems some of the public is finally/still willing to hear them. And that’s splendid. The establishment has tried to just keep rolling along with their wars and deceits after the Iraq invasion. No accountability, no nothing. They make Wall Street look like self-critical introverts. To answer the Weekly Standard’s question — the truth still hasn’t come out in full force; Bush and the other pro-war deceivers have managed thus far to get away with it all.
The only problem with what Trump is saying is that he’s not saying it loud and strong enough. He didn’t back up the case for impeachment against G. W. Bush for the Iraq invasion, which was the point of one of the questions to him, though several legal scholars have done so, including Francis BoyleJonathan TurleyBruce Fein and Elizabeth Holtzman. Reps. Dennis KucinichCynthia McKinney and John Conyers, in different ways and at different times, pursued the possibility.
Some are deriding Trump for apparently exaggerating his objections to the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004. Maybe so, but the fact of the matter is that most who spoke out meaningfully against Iraq war early were defacto drummed out of establishment media and politics.
Trump is being Buchanan 2.0 — that there’s some real bad that comes with that and there’s some real good that comes with that. And quite arguably in a post 9/11 world, the good is more important than it was in 1992.
As I’ve written elsewhere, I have no idea what Trump would actually do in office and what his current motivations are. He’s been contradictory, but the thrust of his comments is quasi isolationist. His campaign should certainly be a huge opening to groups wanting to reach out to millions of working class whites on issues of foreign policy, trade, as well as some core economic issues.
And even on foreign policy, Trump can be extremely dangerous. For example, the apparent force behind his anti Muslim comments is Frank Gaffney, a rightwing pro-Israel militarist.
The point is that what Trump is appealing to is an electorate that is sick of deceit and perpetual wars and there’s a lot of good that comes with that. It should be an opportunity for anyone claiming to care about peace — and not a cause to mock the people supporting him as I’ve seen many “progressives” do.
But, for the Democrats, the import now is this: What’s it going to look like if Trump is the Republican nominee? If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Trump — with very good reason — will tie the stench of perpetual wars and the lies that accompany them around her neck. She will make the 2004 John “I-was-for-the-war-before-I-was-against-it” Kerry look like a stirring exemplar of gracefully articulated principles.
If any Democrat cares a bit about electability, Clinton — the candidate not only of Wall Street, but of endless war and of the war machine — should have been dumped yesterday.

Iowa: The Establishment and Corporate Media Lose

February 2nd, 2016 by Sam

Monday night began on CNN with Anderson Cooper asking “who would have thought we’d be talking about Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump winning?” The actual answer to that question is anyone who’s not wedded to the establishment.

And Monday night ended with Ted Cruz and Sanders giving victory speeches, both of which attacked the establishment and major media:

To perhaps the biggest cheers of the night, Sanders said: “I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way, to the media establishment.”

Similarly, Cruz: “Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee for the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media. Will not be chosen by the Washington establishment.”

The simple numbers show a serious anti-establishment majority transcending party: 50 percent for Sanders, 28 for Cruz, to 24 for Trump. And anti-establishment tendencies are probably deeper among independents and those who have dropped out of the political process.

The more wedded to the establishment a candidate is, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush et al, the more they are stuck in single digits — in spite of them being treated to extensive, and generally positive, major media coverage.

Clinton’s rise has more to do with the Republican attacks on her. She’s deemed as “good on foreign policy” by many ostensibly anti-war Democrats simply because the Republicans vilify her over narrow issues like the Benghazi attacks. This has had the twisted effect of eclipsing from public memory her Iraq war vote — and host of other militaristic positions. (Ironically, Clinton backers will the next moment often argue that she would be more skilled at working with Republicans — ignoring among other things that she works with Republicans against the interests of much of the Democratic party base.)

Sanders may ultimately well be defeated for a variety of reasons: His unwillingness to pointedly attack Clinton in debates (Martin O’Malley’s sharp crit of Clinton will be missed in future debates); his own contradictions (calling himself a democratic socialist while in fact being a New Dealer); his largely pro-establishment foreign policy.

But it’s also possible that the media attacks on Sanders will benefit him — that was the apparent dynamic in Britain, as Jeremy Corbyn rises with each unfair attack from a corporate media there that has lost legitimacy. The more sophisticated media are already finding other ways to attack Sanders: Show his supporters in the most unflattering light. If Sanders won’t give them a “Dean Scream,” find a supporter who will.

Still, we have — in the highly flawed candidacies of Cruz, Trump and Sanders — an insurgency in each of the major political parties against the permanent political and media class. Or, we should say, that is their appeal to their bases.

If the establishment gets their way, the two insurrections will demonize each other and peter out instead of finding ways to build up.

The solution, may ironically lay in a substantial fight from each of these two insurrections, but an ultimate defeat at their conventions.

If it ends there and the voters so riled up against the establishment now ultimately vote for Clinton or Marco Rubio or Bush, then Sanders, Cruz and Trump would have served as “sheepdogging” function — shepherding voters to the establishment of each party they claim to deride.

But there’s the possibility for another approach — a serious victory: These insurgencies could conceivably go deeper and have an ultimate victory in joining forces. There is a new anti establishment center: The U.S. is a republic, not an empire; it must abide by the rule of law; it should not be forever meddling in other countries; liberty must be preserved; the corporate class can no longer be favored with Wall Street bailouts and corporate trade deals tailored for the benefit of transnational corporations.

What’s needed in a sense is meaningful transpartisan caucusing: The anti-establishment from within each party making plans for how and to what extent they can possibly join together instead of allowing the monied establishment to perpetually divide them. In so doing, the election becomes at minimum a tool of outreach for those who want to see serious change hearing each other out as to what sort of change that should be. Such an outcome would be the worst possible defeat for the establishment.

The Anti-Democratic Structure of Two Party Elections, Chomsky, Bloomberg and the VotePact Solution

January 29th, 2016 by Sam
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight
And I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the changes all around

I was nearly moved to tears this week hearing WTMD in Baltimore, which barely gets into Washington, D.C., play Richie Havens’ rendition of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It was a good week to hear that as Nature seemingly attempted to intercede and ground Washington, D.C. to a halt.

By officialdom knows no rest — and has built and used over and over the edifice of the two party system that virtually assures non-choice. That’s exactly the problem attempted to solve with VotePact.org — whereby populists from the left and right join together in voting.

The establishment onslaught was made clear in a number of recent events and statements, perhaps most vividly in a piece by the Washington Post in which Dana Milbank writes “I adore Bernie Sanders” while the point of the piece is “Democrats would be insane to nominate Bernie Sanders.”

I should clarify at the top, before showing how rotten this thinking is: I’ve been a critic of Sanders. I think his main problem is a lack of radicalness,especially on foreign policy.

But the logic that is being employed by Milbank and others is that as a “strategic” matter, one shouldn’t vote for Sanders because he won’t win in the general election. Milbank notes that the polls don’t bear that out, but argues that when the Republican propaganda machine gets through with Sanders he will be unelectable.

One of the main things that this ignores is that if indeed Sanders becomes unelectable, the culprit will not be simply Republicans, but the establishment media which has shifted from largely ignoring to largely deriding Sanders, including the Post itself. And Milbank does not take it upon himself to debunk the notion that Sanders will raise taxes to pay for healthcare and save millions of people a ton of money in the process by stopping their hemorrhaging of dollars to the health insurance giants, Milbank simply says that mythology will win out — so you’d have to be nuts to vote for Sanders. Resistance, even of the limited Sanders flavor, is futile.

But beyond that, what Milbank is explicitly arguing for is, at its heart, a renunciation of the slightest pretense of democratic process that has long been implicit in electoral thinking: The Democrats and Republicans must field the most establishment candidate so that they win in the general election. It’s the pundification of the populace.

A corollary to this line of thinking — which has, implicitly or explicitly, dominated political thinking in the U.S. — is that one should not vote for a third party candidate in the general election. Doing so is “throwing your vote away” and is “nonstrategic.”

So you, dear voter, are a fool by this establishment logic if you voice your views in the primaries and you’re a fool if you voice your preferences in the general election!

While such establishment logic may be very strategic for the status quo, it is not “strategic” at all from the voter’s point of view because the end result of this course of action is to further and further mute the power of the anti-establishment voter — which now seems to constitute a working majority of the public. The establishment of each party becomes stronger and stronger, even as it becomes less and less popular, and dissent from the establishment becomes weaker and weaker because it always has to cave in no matter how huge it gets.

Unfortunately, Noam Chomsky plays a part in this farce, since he granted an interview to Al Jazeera which apparently put out a rather skewed bit of his election analysis that some other mainstream and social media ate up — and did so several days before releasing the full video on Friday. As Ben Nortonnotes: “Essentially the only time Chomsky gets a mainstream platform in the media is when he is talking about partisan politics.”

When I emailed Chomsky about reports that — in the words of the seemingly ecstatic Politico headline: “Chomsky: I’d ‘absolutely’ vote for Hillary Clinton,” Chomsky stated “I never said I’d rather vote for Clinton” and indicated that he’d rather vote Green. Of course, Chomsky lives in Massachusetts, which is not a “swing state.”

But at one level, of course, Chomsky must know the media will use his statements as they do, which is to corral progressive Democratic voters to pull the lever for Clinton where Clinton needs it, part of the “sheepdogging” role Sanders plays as put forward by Bruce Dixon.

But even Sanders — flawed as he is — is in fight mode, yet Chomsky has allowed himself to broadcast the progressive terms of surrender already, which are virtually unconditional. While the media somewhat skew Chomsky’s words, the underlying capitulation is plain — though he did in my exchange with him tacitly accept the logic of VotePact.

Contrast this effective waving of a white flag with what billionaire Michael Bloomberg did this week. The New York Times reported on Jan. 23: “Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.”

I predicted this, tweeting several days earlier, on Jan. 19: “Prediction: if its Trump-Sanders, the establishment will run a ticket as a perversion of@votepact.”

Thus, if the anti-establishment wings, limited as they are, on the Republican and Democratic side gain the nominations, the media mogul Bloomberg will attempt to unite the establishment.

Or at least threaten to. It’s quite possible that Bloomberg is just threatening this in order to scare primary voters into voting for Clinton.

In either case, what Bloomberg is actually doing the perverse inverse of what I have been advocating with VotePact.

The idea behind VotePact is that a populist, anti-establishment center can rise. It would draw support from both principled progressives and conscientious conservatives.

That is, VotePact is an electoral strategy — a voting manifestation of the overdue populist anger. The commonalities between the left and right arecontinually treated like aberrations, but they now compose a great many political issues, from anti war to anti Wall Street to anti corporate trade deals to anti surveillance. Certainly left and right use different language and reasoning to come to some of those conclusions and their affirmative solutions often vary, but they could, with hard work, come to sensible consensus if they engaged in honest dialogue without demonization and were somewhat freed of the perennial manipulation of the establishment.

As events show, the emergence of an anti-establishment center is more desperately needed than ever: There are massive rallies for Sanders. And for Trump. Much of the public wants an end to the Democratic and Republican establishment regime.

Many thoughtful people are itching for a debate between Sanders and Trump. I’d like a dialogue. They could talk about both things that they agree and disagree about. Indeed, real media would now be facilitating a dialogue between their supporters.

But the current electoral and media logic pushes away such a dialogue and pushes voters — and ultimately candidates — toward the establishment center.

It’s past time that structures give rise to anti-establishment center candidates that skillfully appeal to both the left and right.

Chomsky in my exchange with him did accept the notion of VotePact, especially its potential as an organizing tool — that is, it encourages those on the left to dialogue and cooperate with those on the righ,t who are also against the establishment — that is, fellow populists of various orientations. He regards the potential number of people who would embrace that approach as very small and I think he’s very wrong on that; especially if “notables” embrace the concept and that facilitates proliferation of the idea.

In either case, part of Chomsky’s line of argument is to unite against the “lunatics” of the Republican party, based largely on their denial of human-caused global warming. At one level, this ignores commonalities even on issues where the left and right disagree: Trump and Rand Paul might not believe in global warming, but they might oppose subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which may do more to slow global warming than the actions someone of like Clinton, who claims to oppose global warming, but will almost certainly continue to back fossil fuel subsidies.

There’s other threatening lunacies coming from the establishment of both parties, as Robert Parry notes in his recent piece “A Crazy Establishment Demands ‘Sanity’” about the perpetual war stance of both Democrats and Republicans. Is the immediate threat of global warming really more than the threat of nuclear war from continuing wars and even provoking Russia?

And there’s a lunacy ultimately driving this: Saying you want the system to change when you signal from the onset that you will capitulate. Or that you should capitulate at all. The insanity of year after year having an alleged set of beliefs but then, using the vote, when people sacrificed and died to get this paltry tool, to in effect back establishment candidates you say you regard as criminal.

It’s past time to stop allowing election years to be when much organizing takes a rest and instead use the election — in part by fomenting a greater left-right alliance.

The Left and Right Must Stop the Establishment’s Perpetual War Machine

November 20th, 2015 by Sam

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, some of us tried to raise questions of U.S. foreign policy. I got my mic cut on O’Reilly’s show. Others got far worse — a friend basically felt he had to move out of his neighborhood he was so reviled for criticizing the U.S.’s militarism. Oh, yeah, and hundreds of thousands of people got killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

The root causes of the 9/11 attacks were hardly discussed — unless it was people deriding Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell for blaming gay folks.

Now, there’s no meaningful peace movement. Party as a result of that, we’re not having a serious discussion we should be about foreign policy after the Paris attacks: How U.S. — and Western — foreign policy manifests hatred and all that brings.

One might have thought that would be possible — the target of this attack was not the U.S., though it could be the next target. But that should give us some breathing room as well as a measure of urgency to think things through.

The major policy debate now is about Syrian refugees.

This is part of a political pattern: The two party establishment agrees on a series of issues and those issues are largely ignored. (Perpetual war.)

Then, there’s something they disagree on and that’s vociferously debated. (Refugees.)

Problem is, sometimes what they agree on (perpetual war) is what causes the other issue (refugees).

Right now, both the Democratic and Republican establishments both agree on a course of perpetual war. There’s virtually no remorse about having pushed for regime change in Syria and Libya and that leading to enormous human suffering that we’re mostly blind to.

When the Obama administration made an overt push for war in Syria in 2013, the left and right united and stopped it.

But ISIS threats gave the Obama administration the pretext it so seemed to desire to have a sustained bombing campaign, with thousands of strikes in Syria and Iraq the last year and a half — which is largely ignored such that now “critics” of U.S. policy suggest that the U.S. bomb Syria, as if it hasn’t been — and that could be the actual problem.

Now, Democratic Party politicos are talking about the humanity of Syrian refugees and ideals of the U.S. as a sanctuary. And Republican politicos are talking about alleged security concerns from letting refugees in. While I think we should let far more than a mere 10,000 refugees, which is what the Obama administration is talking about, I don’t think that’s the issue we really need to be talking about now.

The real issue is that the Democratic Party has participated in perpetual war policies that are leading to Syrians becoming refugees. The real issue is that the Republican Party has participated in perpetual war policies that are leading to greater insecurity for people in the U.S.

The issue of the refugees, while obvious real to real people is being seized on because it’s a wedge issue to keep the Democratic base and the Republican base shouting at each other rather than to examine the underlying issue: Perpetual war and the current set of U.S. colonial allies in the Mideast www.sildalisonline.com.

It’s the nightmare of the establishment that the left and right wake up to the fact that they are manipulated by the Democratic Party and Republican Party establishments.

A major issue is that the public is prone to scapegoating the vulnerable, like Syrian refugees, when no other cause of the problem is highlighted. There are obvious causes for the problems coming from the Mideast. But there’s a silence of conspiracy about them. At the top of the list is is the U.S. government’s backing of the authoritarian Saudi regime that has fostered Wahabism, a twisted from of Islam used by al-Qaeda and ISIS.

But even the most progressive Democrats are silent on this. Just this week, Barbara Lee — possibly the most left wing member of Congress — was asked on “Democracy Now” about U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia. She didn’t contemn it.

Bernie Sanders talks about refugees; he can bring a lump to every throat in the hall while talking about economic inequality in the U.S. But his solution for ISIS is to get the Saudis to “get their hands dirty.” Sorry, Bernie, but the Saudis hands are dirty enough as it is. They fostered jihadis like ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and are now bombing Yemen, ripping human beings apart.

So, at the CBS debate the day after the Paris attacks, Sanders didn’t even want to talk about foreign policy. It was tragic really. He could have laid into U.S. foreign policy, he could have said that by arming the Saudis we’ve fostered problems, it would have jolted the campaign and the public could have been engaged in foreign policy in a meaningful way.

But he didn’t.

The most he could do is criticize the invasion of Iraq, which is valid — no one who voted for the Iraq war is qualified for any title other than inmate — but 13 years later, totally inadequate. Whatever you have to say about economy (and even here I think Sanders could be better) will ultimately be trumped by the fact that you can’t articulate a path out of perpetual war. If you don’t show you’ve got a path out of perpetual war, the people will pick someone who they figure knows how to do perpetual war.

But someone is going to have to break with the backing of autocratic regimes and perpetual war, because I’ve got news for you: Perpetual war is going to cost you a lot. The Vietnam War helped undermine the war on poverty — Martin Luther King called it a “demonic suction tube.” Perpetual war is going to make you lose your soul. Perpetual war will make you an accomplice to murder many times over. Perpetual war will mean generations more of Muslim youth driven to madness against the U.S. Perpetual war is going to potentially lead to nuclear war. Perpetual war will mean an even more militarized police force. Perpetual war will likely mean more of a repressive state. Perpetual war will mean you can’t march against climate change — or anything else. Perpetual war will mean that refugees and other folks get treated like trash. Perpetual war means your kid can’t get a job in much of anything other than the military. Perpetual war means soldiers with PTSD coming home and beating the crap out of their wives and traumatizing their children. Perpetual war will mean at every public venue you’ve got to go through security so that you can scratch yourself without court approval.

There’s a hunger out there for another course.

Fact is, the Republican candidates leading in the polls are those — at least in public persona, whatever their faults may be — that are furthest away from the foreign policy establishment.

There was a group called Come Home America that aimed to bring the left and right together against Empire.

Part of the reason that didn’t take off is that elections are movement killers. People constantly being pushed — especially in election years — to focus on symptoms of policies gone wrong, like the Syrian refugees, without looking at the elephant in the room: Perpetual War, brought to you by the Democratic and Republican Parties and which ruined the refugees’ lives — and will ruin many more unless the left and right join to stop it.

Sam Husseini founded the website votepact.org encouraging Democrats and Republicans to team up in pairs and and vote for the anti-establishment candidate(s) they most want.

The Need for Real Strategic Voting

October 20th, 2015 by Sam

In the aftermath of the Canadian election, The Real News brought on Dimitri Lascaris as part of their panel to discuss the election.

I know Dimitri as a expert on Greece, but he’s a partner at a Canadian corporate law firm and ran for a seat in the Canadian election with the Green Party.

He summarized the quandary of running as a third party quite well:

Well you know, I did knock on a lot the doors. I had a lot of interactions with voters through a variety of methods, including canvasing, but also online debates, other campaign events, and I was pummeled in the sentiment that we had to do whatever it takes to get rid of the Harper government. I would say that you know, some 60-65 percent of the people I spoke to were intensely hostile to the Harper government and that was their singular objective, and the strategic voting argument had a great deal of appeal to them. You know, if I had a dollar for every time I heard “I want to vote Green, but I want to beat Harper more” I would be richer than Bill Gates. I mean, it was something that was a constant refrain in the campaign, and you know, I think it’s reflected in the results. The Liberal candidate won handily in her riding, the incumbent Ministry of Science Ed Holder after two terms has been soundly defeated.

The NDP candidate was a distant third, and I did not manage to improve substantially on our party’s last result in the 2011 elections with 2.7 percent. I’m currently standing at about 3 percent with about 82 percent of the votes counted. so it was really the only way to describe it was a toxic environment for which a small party to operate in, this environment in which you have a “first-past-the-post” system and intense hostility to the conservative incumbent government, and everybody looking to the most viable option to defeat that government cialis generique.

Indeed, people can agree with a third party 100 percent, but unless they break out of the constraints of voting for the lesser evil that seems most likely to win, they will not even seriously consider casting a vote for them.

Unfortunately, most third parties simply come up with platitudes like “voting for the lesser evil is still evil” or such.

What’s needed is a real concept of strategic voting beyond simply voting for the establishment party you least distaste.

Unfortunately, most discussions by progressives, mirrored by discussions among conservatives, debate simply working within or outside either of the establishment parties without a real strategy.

Both these positions are wrong. The people saying you have to work with the Democratic party are entering a situation where they have no leverage — they will end up backing whoever the nominee is and have little leverage over that person bestcasinoandroid.com.

And the people saying you have to only back third parties have no meaningful strategy for winning and are going to end up being simply marginal, again.The ironic solution, in my view, is for disenchanted Democrats to team up with disenchanted Republicans so the bases have a chance at actually breaking down the two party system and actual victory — and, regardless, some leverage over the party apparatus.

And it’s in the U.S. — with an extreme form of “first-past-the-post” electoral system — that the establishment parties are most vulnerable with the VotePact strategy since the Democratic and Republican parties mirror each other and collude with each other so deeply.

Did the Greeks Just Re-Invent Democracy?

January 26th, 2015 by Sam

It’s often noted that the Greeks invented Democracy — that it’s in fact a word of Greek origin, from dēmos “the people” and -kratia “power, rule.”

Too often, as anyone who has lived in a modern “democracy” for any length of time can attest, it becomes apparent that the people don’t rule.

They are ruled over and managed, appeased and manipulated by various interests, typically monied interests.

A primary way this is done is divide and conquer. Elites in effect end up sicking “the people” on each other on issues that are marginal to most elites. School prayer. Gay marriage, etc. What pundits sometimes call “wedge issues.”

Now, in Greece, the left wing anti-austerity Syriza party won 149 of 300 seats in the Greek parliament, just short of a majority needed to form a government. So, they teamed up with the anti-austerity right wing Independent Greeks party so together they have the majority needed.

Some may snark at this, but it’s a childish thing to do. There are certainly differences between Syriza and Independent Greeks — and they don’t seem to be pretending otherwise — but to team up with someone you disagree to achieve something you both want can be a very mature thing to do.

What they have done is a version of a voting strategy I’ve been advocating: VotePact.org. Here’s the idea: Instead of disenchanted Democrats and disenchanted Republicans continuing to back the establishments of their parties — which then becoming ever more controlled in real terms by corporate interests — that the voters pair up and back candidates and policies they truly believe in.

That seems to be what’s happening in Greece. Principled progressives there could continue voting for the pro-austerity liberals and conscientious conservatives could continue voting for establishment right wingers doing the bidding of big European banks instead of watching out for the Greek public.

The Greeks, by joining together from the left and right, have befittingly cut the Gregorian Knot that ties up voters and turns them into prisoners of the political parties that are supposed to serve them.

Now, of course a parliamentary system is different than our system. There, the politicians who are willing to buck the establishment can more easily form alliances. But in the U.S. — if the people will it enough — you can make a VotePact with your political mirror image. Instead of you being compelled to vote for an establishment Democrat and them continuing to vote for an establishment Republican they don’t really believe in, you can both vote for independent and third party candidates nearer to your heart hotslotsonline.net.

As in Greece, there will obviously be disagreements, but they will be more likely to be worked out by the people, not managed and manipulated by the monied interests.

And then the people may stand a chance at ruling — and fulfilling the meaning of “Democracy.”

Sam Husseini is founder of the website VotePact.org.

A Path out of the Reversible Straitjacket of the Political Duopoly

November 5th, 2014 by Sam

In perhaps the best mainstream report during the election season, the typically firmly D.C.-based Steve Inskeep went knocking on doors in Colorado and came across a woman, Ili Bennett, who told him she’s felt some excitement from both Elizabeth Warren — and in the past, the Tea Party.

Said Inskeep: “I think you’ve hit on something insightful here. And I want you to help me with this a little bit because the Tea Party, those are some very conservative people — Elizabeth Warren, very liberal person. But they both represent deep unhappiness with the way things are. And it sounds like they both struck a chord with you. Am I right?”

He was and it’s not one woman in Colorado of course. Politico headline today states: “Exit polls 2014: Voters hate everyone.” It might seem that way to the insiders at Politico, but actually it’s that voters mostly just hate the establishment of both political parties, which to Politico might seem like “everyone”. And this isn’t new. From 2010: “CNN Poll: Majority angry at both political parties.”

The problem is that people feel they have virtually no where to go and can’t translate that anger to action. There is a de-facto anti-establishment, populist majority. But the entire structure of politics, media and elections is designed to keep them divided and prevent such populists from the left or right or wherever from coalescing politically. Third parties coming from either the left (Green, Socialist) or the right (Constitution, Libertarian) are automatically dismissed by the vast majority as potential spoilers. (I’ve set up VotePact.org to solve exactly this problem.)

Some sectors of the media have lauded the Republican establishment’s stepping into the primary process and preventing Tea Party candidates from getting nominations in so-called “swing states.” Those looking for salvation in presidential elections from the likes of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or their Republican mirror images will have to bear in mind the obstacle in the primaries is “electability” (as defined by the establishment) and it’s a virtual certainty that candidates who seems serious about delivering real change will be denied any nomination. Rather, such candidates will likely mostly function as a way of keeping voters on the establishment party reservation, endorsing the ultimate nominee.

As for midterm elections, part of the equation is lower and lower voter turnout — the “leadership” of the parties is in effect firing and further marginalizing the public and their alleged bases.

The establishment will attempt to produce their own version of “bipartisanship” — pro-establishment bipartisanship that is. The mantra of “change” is being used to peddle the never ending use of the Reversible Straitjacket of the Democratic and Republican establishments. This manifests itself as “seesaw politics” and what I’ve called the “guillotine pendulum“, helping ensure the continuity of what some call the Deep State.

The major corporate media frequently focus on marginal differences between the two major parties, but the areas of agreement between them are sizable in terms of economic, trade, civil liberties, foreign policy and other issues. On these and other critical issues, the establishments of the duopoly are frequently aligned together against their alleged bases, explaining why the public “hates everyone”. Crazy public. Politicians of both parties talk about helping the little guy and then do the bidding of corporate interests.

Now, the political narrative is that Washington is dysfunctional and “can’t agree on anything”. The the general public is clearly being prepared to embrace whatever pro-corporate monstrosity President Obama and presumptive Senate Majority Leader McConnell agree on.

So, predictably, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting: “American businesses are hoping the dust will settle from Tuesday’s GOP takeover of Congress with new attention on corporate taxes, immigration, trade and energy, top priorities that have eluded breakthroughs in recent years. A post-election landscape that includes a more sharply divided government is likely to lead to continued frustration over some items on businesses’ wish list. At the same time, a reshaped political landscape could lead Congress and the White House to seek legislative breakthroughs on some economic issues before the 2016 election season heats up.”

So, the big business agenda on taxes and corporate trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership could well be advanced by establishment Republicans in Congress working with the Obama administration. This could well extend to other issues such as civil liberties, more war, etc, www.paroxetinehcl.net.

The anti-establishment forces either still in the Democratic Party or that have given up on the electoral process all together should join with those deluding themselves into looking for the Republican Party for some salvation. They should work to building new institutions that adopt their best beliefs.

And this must go beyond voters. There should be candidates running for Democratic and Republican nominations who — once the establishment ensures their defeat the the primaries — are willing, jointly perhaps, to bolt and not back the party’s establishment nominees.

The day after election day is the most important. Now is the time to reach out across the partisan divide and find populists on the other side to work with. You have nothing to lose but your perpetual chains.

Sam Husseini founded VotePact.org which encourages voters to pair up with their political “mirror image” and vote for their preferred candidates rather than the “lesser evil” offered by the establishment.

VotePact on Social Media

May 27th, 2014 by Sam

For the latest, please visit out twitter feed: @votepact or our facebook page, managed by Jennifer Wingard. Thanks.