tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Sam Husseini 2017-07-24T16:55:15Z Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1176618 2017-07-24T16:55:14Z 2017-07-24T16:55:15Z Chame - draft
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1172272 2017-07-10T22:39:12Z 2017-07-17T17:55:54Z "Democracy Now" Again Misreports Nuclear Ban Treaty
Last October, I wrote the piece "'Democracy Now' Gets Nuclear Ban Vote Totally Wrong". 

This morning, again, "Democracy Now" got crucial information about the treaty wrong. The lead headline on this morning's show was: 

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, 122 countries have approved a global treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons, despite the United States leading the opposition to the treaty.

Actually, unacknowledged in the transcript (and spliced on the current online version) is that during broadcast, Amy Goodman initially read the headline as "despite the United Nations leading the opposition to the treaty" -- and then corrected it at the end of headlines, which is somewhat darkly amusing.

But the core statement is not true [perhaps I should have written the core statement is an drastic understatement that distorts what's happening]. The treaty doesn't "ban the use of nuclear weapons" -- it bans possession. The name of the agreement is "Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons".

The treaty states

Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: (a) Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;...

"Democracy Now" should correct this and be be far more serious about reporting on the role of the U.S. government in forcing the continued possession and threatening use of nuclear weapons. 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1161261 2017-06-06T20:13:05Z 2017-06-06T20:13:05Z After a Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. Will Britain?
[This piece originally appeared at The Nation magazine on June 5.] 

Spanish voters turned against the incumbent conservative party after the 2004 Madrid bombings.

On March 11, 2004, just a few days before a critical election, a series of nearly simultaneous bombs exploded on four commuter trains in Madrid, killing over 190 people. Before the bombing, the Socialist Party (PSOE) was about five points behind in the polls, but it ended up winning by five points. The party promised that if it won the election, Spain would get out of Iraq in six months. That happened after only five. I can find no evidence of any Middle East–related terrorism in Spain since, though there apparently have been thwarted plots.

This history may offer a critical lesson to Britain now, just days away from an election following a series of attacks near London Bridge. Incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May has backed virtually every war that Britain has participated in. In contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had criticized virtually every war.

The situation in Spain was heightened by the incumbent government of José María Aznar (now a director at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation), which blamed the Basque group ETA for the attack. This move certainly crystallized public disgust with the government. But why did the government lie about ETA’s involvement in the first place? It assessed—probably correctly—that the Spanish people would be furious that so much blood had been shed in Madrid in retaliation for Spain’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq, which was already deeply unpopular.

Contrast the path that Spain took with that of France, which had originally criticized the invasion of Iraq. Since then, France has become more interventionist, particularly in Syria—a former French colony. It has also become far more of a target of terrorism in the name of Islam in recent years.

It’s noteworthy that the interrelation between the 2004 Madrid attacks and the election has been either ignored or totally misrepresented. Last year, following the massacre in Orlando by Omar Mateen, in a discussion about how that attack might affect the US election, Dina Temple-Raston, NPR’s “counterterrorism correspondent” exactly reversed the apparent lesson of Madrid. She claimed that after the Madrid attack “the more conservative party won.” NPR refused to offer an on-air correction for this brazen falsehood.

Of course, the election of a Corbyn government doesn’t guarantee an end to terrorist attacks in Britain. For one, it’s not clear that Corbyn will adhere to a pro-peace, non-interventionist stance. Recently, he has seemed to distance himself from prior positions, like withdrawal from NATO. While the Socialist Party in Spain pledged to withdraw from Iraq, the Labour Manifesto contains no such explicit pledge.

Theresa May, however, has supported interventionist policies that helped create the conditions for radicalization. Specifically, while May was home secretary, the UK allowed extremists from the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (of which the Manchester bomber was a member) to freely travel to Libya to take out Muammar Gaddafi (see John Pilger at Consortium NewsPaul Mason at The Guardian, and Max Blumenthal at Alternet). This is a point that Corbyn has raised in less specific but notable terms: “Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.” He’s also added: “We do need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fueled extremist ideology.”

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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1159035 2017-05-30T21:46:31Z 2017-05-30T21:46:32Z Brzezinski's Biggest Disaster: Camp David
On Tuesday's "Morning Joe," Zbigniew Brzezinski was eulogized by Jimmy Carter along with the MSNBC show co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski — daughter of the former national security advisor.

The segment, of course, avoided issues that Brzezinski has been criticized for, see "How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen." Though even the New York Times obit noted: "But in at least one respect — his rigid hatred of the Soviet Union — he had stood to the right of many Republicans, including Mr. Kissinger and President Richard M. Nixon. And during his four years under Mr. Carter, beginning in 1977, thwarting Soviet expansionism at any cost guided much of American foreign policy, for better or worse. He supported billions in military aid for Islamic militants fighting invading Soviet troops in Afghanistan."

The shadow cast by such policies quite arguably lead to the 9/11 attacks and a great deal of other pain and suffering in the Mideast and beyond. 

Few have delved into the depths and aims of Brzezinski's anti-Russian bias. He wrote in “A Geostrategy for Eurasia” in the journal Foreign Affairs (1997): “A loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic — would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entities would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” 

Indeed, two main strains that we see in our current foreign policy owe a great deal to Brzezinski. One is a desire of much of U.S. establishment to further neuter — if not actually break up — Russia. The other — being employed in Syria now — is using militarized fanatics fighting in the name of Islam for foreign policy purposes.

What was highlighted by Carter and others after Brzezinski's death was the "triumph" of the Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt. 

And this is something that few question, though such praise leads to some wild statements, as in this MSNBC interview. 

Joe Scarborough claimed: "Mr. President, I was talking to Mika's daughters this weekend and trying to explain the impact that you all had on the world and talking about the Middle East. You hear about the Middle East peace. But you know, President Carter's peace efforts between Israel and Egypt prevented a ground war in the Middle East for 40 years."

Huh? Joe Scarborough is unaware of any ground wars in the Mideast over the last 40 years. He must have tuned out the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War, as well as the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Never mind the numerous Israeli invasions of Lebanon. 

And it's quite arguable that Camp David actually set the stage for all those things. As the late Eqbal Ahmad stated in 1990 (at an event I attended):

There has been nothing (that I have seen) in the media about what compels Saddam Hussein's extraordinary ambitions. ... What has suddenly in 1990 compelled his ambition, that requires 350,000 American troops to control? What did it?

No one has named the Camp David Accords. And Saddam Hussein's ambitions are directly attributable to the Camp David Accords. I won't go into details of it — just in two sentences, remember the following. Since the decline of the Ottoman Empire (in other words, since the beginning of the 19th Century) Egypt has played the role of the regional influential in the Arab World. Politically, culturally, even militarily, Egypt has led the Arab World (and ideologically). The Camp David Accords' supreme achievement was to isolate Egypt from its Arab milieu.

When Anwar Sadat signed that piece of paper, his hope had been that this would lead to the return of Egyptian territory to Egypt. Occupied territories, one (which he did get). And two, a modicum of justice for the Palestinians. So that, over time his isolation will be ameliorated. And that minimum that was promised to Sadat in the Camp David Accords was not honored. In fact, the maximum was dishonored.

To remind you of one reality alone, Carter, and Saunders, and William B. Quandt — the three American negotiators from top to the bottom (with Carter at the top, Saunders in the middle, and Quandt at the bottom) — have testified and recorded in their books that in the last three days of the Camp David negotiations, the negotiations had broken down on one issue. And the issue was Sadat's insistence that there should be written in the Camp David Accords that Israel will put up no more settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. And Begin would say, "I am willing to agree on it informally, but won't do it in writing." And Carter weighs in and says, "You must understand Begin's difficult position. I give you guarantee that there will be no settlements. ...

Now, obviously, Camp David meant moral, ideological, political isolation of Egypt from its Arab milieu. There would be a political vacuum in the Middle East after Camp David. And smaller players — like Syria and Iraq — would love, would aim at, would have the ambition, to fill that vacuum.

Similarly, the late Patrick Seale wrote in 2011 in "The future of the (de)stabilizing Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty": 

By removing Egypt — the strongest and most populous of the Arab countries — from the Arab line-up, the treaty ruled out any possibility of an Arab coalition that might have contained Israel or restrained its freedom of action. As Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan remarked at the time: "If a wheel is removed, the car will not run again."

Western commentators routinely describe the treaty as a "pillar of regional stability," a "keystone of Middle East diplomacy," a "centerpiece of America’s diplomacy" in the Arab and Muslim world. This is certainly how Israel and its American friends have seen it.

But for most Arabs, it has been a disaster. Far from providing stability, it exposed them to Israeli power. Far from bringing peace, the treaty ensured an absence of peace, since a dominant Israel saw no need to compose or compromise with Syria or the Palestinians.

Instead, the treaty opened the way for Israeli invasions, occupations and massacres in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, for strikes against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear sites, for brazen threats against Iran, for the 44-year occupation of the West Bank and the cruel blockade of Gaza, and for the pursuit of a "Greater Israel" agenda by fanatical Jewish settlers and religious nationalists.

In turn, Arab dictators, invoking the challenge they faced from an aggressive and expansionist Israel, were able to justify the need to maintain tight control over their populations by means of harsh security measures.

All these factors deflated Arab Nationalism and ultimately opened the way for Saudi dominance of much of the region. This helped lead to the collapse of the three other major secular states in the region: Iraq, Syria and Libya. Egypt itself has been relegated to the role of puppet police state and may descend further given the current dynamics. 


Sam Husseini is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org. Thanks to Berkley Bragg for research help.
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1158925 2017-05-30T16:20:32Z 2017-05-30T18:27:44Z Postol: The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017: NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims
[I just received this from Theodore A. Postol (professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) regarding claims put forward by the New York Times and others about Syria. Note full report is PDF at bottom.] 

May 30, 2017 

The New York Times Video Analysis of
the Events in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017:
NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims

Theodore A. Postol
Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Summary

On April 26, 2017 the New York Times released a video titled How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike.  This video provides extensive forensic evidence that the New York Times used to develop its conclusions about an alleged nerve agent attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017.  In this report, I show that NONE of the forensic evidence in the New York Times video and a follow-on Times news article supports the conclusions reported by the New York Times.

The forensic evidence and analytical claims in all of these reports can be traced back to a single source, an organization called Bellingcat.  This organization represents itself as “specializing in analyzing information posted online.”  As will be shown in what follows, not a single claim made by Bellingcat is supported by the forensic evidence it used to reach its conclusions.

The particular evidence of concern in this report are claims made by Bellingcat about three sites that were attacked by air on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun with general-purpose bombs.  Bellingcat’s claims about forensic evidence of an alleged sarin release in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017 are addressed in my previous report, The Human Rights Watch Report of May 1,2017 Cites Evidence that Disaffirms Its Own Conclusions About the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4,2017, issued on May 8, 2017.  This earlier report shows that Bellingcat’s claims of forensic proof for the sarin release site is based on evidence that does not exist.

This report shows that NONE of the bomb-damage areas identified by Bellingcat and shown in the New York Times video show any indication of bomb damage from 500 to 1000 pound bombs.  That is, the data from a composite panoramic view that is the foundation of the Bellingcat and New York Times analyses is clearly and unambiguously inconsistent with the claims of bomb damage from before and after satellite photographs used in the same analyses.  In fact NONE of the forensic data claimed by Bellingcat and the New York Times as evidence of general-purpose bomb damage on April 4 supports the conclusions that are said to have been derived from the forensic data.  In all, when these false claims about information provided in the forensic data are brought together with the claims about a sarin release site, the conclusion is inescapable that all of the evidence referred to by Bellingcat in the New York Times contains no forensic proof to support their narrative.

Thus, the narratives put forward by the New York Times, and the closely related Human Rights Watch report of May 1, are all based on forensic evidence and conclusions that are unambiguously false.

The specific problems with the forensic analysis produced by Bellingcat are as follows:

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1153039 2017-05-10T20:33:11Z 2017-05-11T00:38:35Z In Search of an Empire without an Emperor: Dynamics Behind the Comey Firing
In a very short amount of time, it's become something of cliche to talk of Trump's firing of Comey as the equivalent of Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre, in which Nixon fired anyone at the Department of Justice unwilling to fire the Watergate independent prosecutor.

If that does turn out to be an apt analogy, it's hardly surprising that this is happening in many respects.

The crimes of Watergate came out of the Vietnam War, though this is poorly understood. The Watergate “plumbers“ were originally set up to plug the leaks about the Vietnam War.

And so, with the rise of the imperial presidency, it was hardly surprising that someone like Nixon would use the mechanisms of Empire -- the capacity for secrecy, for surveillance and for violence -- for his own political purposes. Indeed, Hoover, atop the FBI, had been doing so for decades.

The late Watergate historian Stanley Kutler writes in his book Abuse of Power that Nixon railed to his aides about papers regarding the Vietnam War that he thought were at the then liberal Brookings Institution.

“I want it implemented…. God damn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.” 

The documents Nixon apparently wanted to get hold of allegedly showed that Johnson curtailed the bombing of Vietnam in 1968 to boost the Democrats’ election prospects of winning the election that year. 

A great irony now is that the establishment Democrats are going after Trump in a number of personal ways, but collude in others, and indeed stiffen up his use of violence. When Trump uses military violence in Yemen or Syria, he is lauded by presumed liberals like Van Jones and Fareed Zakaria as presidential. 

Johnson was thought to curtail bombing for political gain. Trump now gains politically when he engages in bombing. 

The U.S. establishment seems to want an Emperor who will go around the world spying on people and killing them as he sees fit, but want to make sure he abides by legal niceties in the U.S. 

The obsessiveness over secrecy and the intense “principless“ partisanship give us a situation where the political factions spew allegations to the public that are at best difficult to discern, even if you follow politics full time, much less if you're trying to hold down a regular honest job. 

This leads to a political culture based on loving or hating various political figures, or just checking out of politics, which much of the political establishment may want for large sectors of the public. 

The secrecy and the surveillance are sold to the public as necessary for their own protection, but the opposite is true. The little known Katharine Gun case highlights how the actual target of surveillance is frequently not "terrorism", but the threat of peace. 

So, the Trump administration's ridiculous claims about the reasons for the Comey firing are fairly similar to the lying pretexts that U.S. officialdom used to justify the Iraq invasion. Empire is compatible with democracy only with a series of dehumanizing triple standards. It's fine there, just don't do it here. 

After all, the main victims of the Iraq invasion were the Iraqi people, and they are off screen and the officials who inflicted horrors on them have all walked away nice and clear. 

The mechanisms of Empire are tolerated, until someone like Trump seems to be using them for his own personal ends. 

In terms of Trump's own crimes, he is quite impeachable on the domestic emoluments clause, but the establishment Democrats seem quite uninterested in pursuing that.

They have focused on his apparent ties to Russia. There may well be something there, Trump is a corrupt figure and it's well within his capacities to engage in massive, if at times possibly buffoonish, coverup. But it is incredibly dangerous that the establishment Democrats seem intent on risking escalations with the other major nuclear power on the planet so they can beat Trump over the head.


Sam Husseini is communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org, which encourages principled progressives to work with conscientious conservatives. 


]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1152911 2017-05-10T08:47:32Z 2017-05-10T08:47:32Z Comey Firing: Springtime in Berlin

Hard time sleeping in Berlin...

With Comey firing, my mind is going to how nefarious foreign policy instruments eventually get turned against political opponents. But the political culture cares not for the fp dimension bc the victims are non people.

Nixons "plumbers" originally stopped leaks re Vietnam War. ... Katharine Gun exposed how the target of surveillance is not "terrorism", but threat of peace in Iraq. ...

Greenwald wrote: "In fact, the idea of collecting everything was something pioneered by Gen. Alexander when he was deployed in Baghdad during the Iraq war. What we really have now is a communications strategy that was developed for an enemy population in a time of war that has now been imported onto American soil and aimed at our own population. I think that’s an expression of just how radical it is.”

God knows the result of the massive surveillance in Iraq. Hard to know, but I suspect any political actor not going along with US was targeted in one way or another.

Comey firing ridiculous pretexts remind me of fairly typical ridiculous US fp pretexts -- but they are generally accepted in that arena. Empire is compatible with democracy only with a series of dehumanizing triple standards.

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1151682 2017-05-04T19:04:56Z 2017-05-04T19:08:27Z Beyond Being Drones
Frederick Clarkson notes in an Institute for Public Accuracy (where I work) news release today that the Trump administration, following a long standing agenda, is using "religious liberty" to pursuing anti-women and anti LGTB policies, on this, National Prayer Day. 

A microcosm of how the U.S. government is aggressor and paints itself as victim, the religious right at times attempts to play the role of the oppressed while oppressing others. 

But what gets me is that we don't talk about other people being prosecuted by the state for religiously inspired actions. When religious folks fought against slavery, their religious motivation was properly cited by them and others (I think). 

But now, we have for example, people protesting against U.S. government drone assassinations in upstate New York outside Hancock Air Force base where drones are being operated to kill people in the other countries. My colleague Norman Solomon just wrote an important piece about what's happening there: "Finding New Homes for Lethal Drones." 

Some -- though certainly not all -- of the protesters against drone killing emanating from upstate New York are people associated with the Catholic Worker or other religious movements. And they are frequently using religious imagery. Norman notes that one protest outside the military base had a nativity tableau. The signs featured around Christmas time were "Peace on Earth" and "If Herod Had Drones, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Would Have Been Incinerated" outside the military base. 

Around Easter time, just last month, protesters depicted three people being crucified upon drones. Read their "Good Friday" statement: "As Jesus and others were crucified by the Roman Empire, drones are used by the U. S. Empire in a similar fashion. In Roman times, crosses loomed over a community to warn people that they could be killed whenever the Empire decided. So too, our drones fly over many countries threatening extrajudicial killings of whoever happens to be in the vicinity."

Years ago, I wrote a piece for the media watch group FAIR about how the major media ignore the religious left. But part of the reason for that is that frequently the left -- including at times even the religious left -- ignores the religious left. 

And part of the reason for that might be that because the religious right has so dominated discourse around religion that people don't want to be associated with being a "bible thumper" who forces their beliefs on others. Jesus did instruct his followers to pray in private -- but then, seemingly contradictorily, admonished them not to hide their light. 

Of course, lots of people are "against" drone killing in that they might say something about it, blog about it, tweet about it. What's interesting about what's going on in upstate New York is that they are confronting it, frequently facing jail time. (They are hardly alone in this -- as I write, activist Desiree Fairooz of CodePink is facing jail time for laughing at Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearings.) 

We're all weak in many ways, but I've found that frequently, people who are religiously motivated are -- sometimes for good and sometimes for ill -- more prone to putting themselves on the line. It's possible that religious conviction and community embolden people to act out their convictions. 

And the folks in upstate New York don't seem to be doing what they're doing because they hate Trump; they didn't start doing it a few years ago because they hated Obama. They don't hate the people at the military base. They are doing it because they love the people -- who they don't know -- who are being killed by their government using drone technology. And perhaps they love the people at the military base enough that they don't want them destroying their souls by killing their fellow human beings on the other side of our planet. 

The challenge before us is to develop ways of relating with each other, working with each other, to achieve a more peaceful and more just world. To do that, we need to develop the structures that are both steeped in meaning, drawing from the best of traditions, while they are universal, free from chauvinism. 

Such structures need to be resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of oppressive corporate and state forces -- and gentle enough so that people want to be part of them. Such structures, should they succeed in bringing about a better world, may well be the same structures that provide what we actually need as humans in that future world. It's possible that attempts like those happening in upstate New York are some of those structures in embryonic form. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1150192 2017-04-28T23:12:54Z 2017-05-01T17:34:05Z The Twistedness of "No Trump Accomplishments" in First 100 Days
A CNN headline blares a few days before the end of his "First 100 Days": "Trump's race against the clock to do something."

Similarly, "Democracy Now" headlines a segment: "'It Has Not Gone Well': 100 Days of President Trump and No Major Achievements."

It certainly hasn't gone well, but Trump has in fact accomplished a great deal. Neil Gorsuch was put on the Supreme Court using the rhetoric of "pro-life" and has already facilitated death. His ascension basically consolidates rightwing control over all three branches of government. 

Trump has assembled a incredible cabinet of corporate bosses and Wall Street and pro-war apparatchiks. 

He has adroitly broken the letter and spirit of virtually any positive promises he made to curtail U.S. interventionism and warmaking around the world; to take on Wall Street; to up taxes on the wealthy, etc. He appears to be escalating Obama's war on whistleblowers to a war on publishers

What are euphemistically called "flip flops" are actually betrayals of the interests of most of the people who actually voted for Trump. 

This is a phenomenal accomplishment. 

Like Obama before him, he has ensured the continued solidification of an oppressive pro war and pro Wall Street establishment that runs at odds to the aspirations and interests of much of U.S. public, to say nothing of the global public. 

By putting forward the "crit" that Trump has "no major achievements," do alleged opponents of Trump pretend that they are helping prevent further damage by him?

Trump could be carrying out horrific policies and many would ignore that if he just makes a dumb comment. Oh, wait, that's what's happening. He can bomb human beings in any nation and it gets minimal coverage because -- stop the presses -- the White House misidentified Steven Mnuchin as "commerce secretary" when he's actually treasury secretary. 

They should identify Mnuchin as a Goldman Sach insider, foreclosure king, or someone whose net financial worth -- estimated at $46 million -- is only a fraction of that of Wilbur Ross, the actual commerce secretary, who has $2.5 billion. 

This non-crit of Trump will actually empower him to do more damage. 

The problem here is quite similar to how George H. W. Bush was depicted early in his administration by liberals: "A wimp." The typically sensible media watch group FAIR even ran a piece way back then scrutinizing the Bush administration's attempts to characterize him as a "rough rider."  

This depiction of Bush as "wimp" actually helped enable his use of military violence, with the invasion of Panama and then the first attack on Iraq in the early 90s. 

It's clear that when Van Jones calls Trump "presidential" when he uses military violence, that that increasing the likelihood of more violence. But a similar effect is achieved in other ways. 

And as Trump racks up "accomplishments" -- as he and his cabal of corporate bosses cut deals with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell -- the liberal "crit" of Trump "not accomplishing anything" will deserve an assist on every one of those "accomplishments." 

Mission accomplished? 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1146482 2017-04-14T23:23:03Z 2017-04-26T17:13:50Z How Trump and Obama are Exactly Alike
Not until faithfulness turns to betrayal
And betrayal into trust
Can any human being become part of the truth.
-- Rumi

Trump won the 2016 nomination and election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and anti-interventionist "America Firster". 

Similarly, Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised "hope and change" and because he had given a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we can't know for certain if they planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change, but they both eventually perpetrated a massive fraud.

What is perhaps most striking is actually how quickly each of them backtracked on their alleged purpose. Particular since they were both proclaimed as representing "movements".

Even before he took office, Obama stacked his administration with pro-war people. He incredibly kept Bush's head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates; nominated Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, who he beat largely because she voted for giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq. Other prominent Iraq War backers atop the administration included VP Joe Biden, Susan Rice and Richard Holbrooke. Before he was sworn in, Obama backed the 2008 Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. See from 2008: "Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1146256 2017-04-13T20:18:57Z 2017-04-13T20:27:08Z Ted Postol Updated Assessment of U.S. Gov Claims Regarding the Khan Shaykhun, Syria Attack
I just received this updated critical assessment from Theodore A. Postol (professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) of U.S. government claims. 

"A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017 About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria." 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1145532 2017-04-10T21:40:04Z 2017-04-13T03:51:21Z Executing Birth

Today [April 9] is my dad's birthday, he died on January 26. The song that's been going through my head about him the last month or so is "The Mercy Seat". It overlays with my dad in many ways. World weariness at the end, a pleading to be with Jesus. It's about a man being executed while maintaining that he is innocent, though he admits at the end of the song that he lied, but not about what. The Mercy Seat my dad climbed into was his mother's grave, with her bones now upon his abdomen.
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1144863 2017-04-07T21:17:43Z 2017-04-11T02:24:42Z Is U.S. Policy to Prolong the Syrian War?
Many are claiming that Trump is being inconsistent in illegally attacking the Syrian regime with cruise missiles. 

After all, he had been saying the U.S. should focus on defeating ISIS, and now he seems to be going after Assad. But contradictions from Trump are a dime a dozen. 

A closer examination shows a deeper pattern of remarkable consistency in U.S. policy toward Syria that is far more critical than the perennial contradictions of politicians like Trump.  

To summarize U.S. actions and non-actions in terms of direct publicly announced U.S. air attacks targeting the Syrian regime: In 2013, when Assad was losing the war, Obama refrained from strikes that may well have ended his regime. Now, four years later, when Assad seems close to winning the war, Trump with a revamped NSC does a 180 on his previous pronouncements and attacks Assad.

Push away the personalities. Dispense with the rhetoric. Free yourself from the spin cycle that much of the media obsess over. Just follow the policy. 

The evidence is that the underlying U.S. policy -- whether the president is Obama or Trump -- is to prolong the Syrian war as much as possible. Let Assad off the hook when he's cornered, hit him when he's about to win. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1143466 2017-04-03T01:18:53Z 2017-04-07T13:25:55Z Martin Luther King Escalated his Attack on Vietnam War and Establishment Media 50 Years Ago

After Martin Luther King, Jr was denounced by major media following his April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, he actually responded in stronger terms, including in this Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967:

Excerpts on YouTube:

The sermon which I am preaching this morning in a sense is not the usual kind of sermon, but it is a sermon and an important subject, nevertheless, because the issue that I will be discussing today is one of the most controversial issues confronting our nation. I'm using as a subject from which to preach, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam." 

Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice. The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free." Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal. 

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1141346 2017-03-24T21:23:55Z 2017-03-24T21:23:55Z Ilan Pappe Response to Questions on Expulsion And Genocide

I asked author Ilan Pappe what -- exactly --was preventing Israel from doing another mass expulsion. The following question was about why he doesn't use the term genocide. I don't agree with all Pappe said, and will likely come back to this with some depth, but it was a thoughtful reply on some of the core, long term issues. (I'd be happy to post if someone transcribed this.)

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1135133 2017-03-01T13:30:42Z 2017-03-01T21:24:57Z Behind the Liberal Embrace of Trump's Speech
I can't say I'm surprised by the liberal turn on Trump. I said a couple of weeks ago that Trump and the establishment media were like George and Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" What I meant was that they are a deranged, destructive couple who argue like mad, but ultimately collude to destroy others. So, anger and hate give way to insidious bond and admiration in how they each fulfill their roles in the larger manipulative project.

So, Van Jones is admiring of Trump now really "becoming the President" because of Trump's emotional manipulation in the person of Carryn Owens. Jones did this because he's a triangulator himself and because he is very much part of the continuing imperial project.

Some of this rather reminds me of how the media used Jessica Lynch to pretend she was in danger to continue selling the invasion of Iraq at a critical moment in 2003. The actual scandals are pushed aside: The criminal invasion of Iraq then; the US-backed Saudi destruction of Yemen now.

Disinformation and emotional manipulation for the privileged "race" of USians is the order of the day. Feminism and femininity are weaponized as all emotion is focused on one person to the exclusion of the suffering of others. I imagine it's how The Passion Plays were used to fuel hatred of Jews; it's how Israel uses the Nazi Holocaust to excuse all its criminality.

The other major such manipulation last night was highlighting African American "victims" of public schools and "illegal immigrants". This allows Trump to ridiculously pose as an anti-racist xenophobe. As Martin Luther King warned in his final days: "We're integrating into a burning house."
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1134971 2017-02-28T20:53:57Z 2017-07-19T14:34:26Z Video: Schumer Eventually Calls Israel's Nuclear Arsenal a "Fact", Cuts off Further Questioning A day before President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at the National Press Club Newsmaker on February 27, 2017. 

Sam Husseini questioned Chuck Schumer about Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal:


Full exchange here

Sam Husseini: You voted for the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, claiming Iraq was vigorously pursuing nuclear weapons. Do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons?[another question directed at Nancy Pelosi] ...

SH: Senator Schumer -- on Israel's nukes -- do you acknowledge --

Chuck Schumer: I didn't get your question.

SH: Do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons, sir?
 
CS: I'm not -- you can -- go read the newspapers about that. [walks away from podium] 

SH: You can't acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons, sir?

CS: It is a well known fact that Israel has nuclear weapons, but the Israeli government doesn't officially talk about what kinds of weapons and where, etc.

SH: Should the U.S. government be forthright?

CS: Ok, that's it.

Jeff Ballou (National Press Club President, news editor at Al Jazeera): Ok, we'll move on.

----

There are a number of problems with Schumer's response. 

Roger Mattson, author of Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel notes: "First Schumer tried to duck the question, then, trying to be forthright, he went further than anyone of his stature has gone before, at least to my knowledge. Too bad the moderator did not realize you were plowing new ground, or maybe he did realize that and cut [it] off intentionally."

Another is that Israel does not simply not "officially talk about what kinds of weapons and where" -- it refuses to acknowledge that they exist at all. This has been echoed by U.S. administration after U.S. administration which have refused to acknowledge the existence of Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal. See: The Absurd U.S. Stance on Israel’s Nukes: A Video Sampling of Denial." 

Grant Smith of Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy has noted: "DOE Classification Bulletin WPN-136 on Foreign Nuclear Capabilities’ forbids stating what 63.9 percent of Americans already know -- that Israel has a nuclear arsenal.” See: "Israel Silently Lapping Field in “Mideast Nuclear Arms Race

Smith suggests: "So a final question would be: 'Since aid to non-NNPT countries is subject to the Arms Export Control Act sanctions, why do you keep passing it?'"

More coming on this issue. 

[Thanks to Ingrid Monkiewicz and Andrew Stewart] 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1134966 2017-02-28T19:57:41Z 2017-02-28T21:43:55Z Video: Pelosi Ducks Question on Impeachment
[A day before President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at the National Press Club Newsmaker on February 27, 2016.] 


Sam Husseini: "You said that there are no grounds for impeachment against Donald Trump, but legal scholars from Catherine Ross at GW to Laurence Tribe at Harvard say there is. Laurence Tribe recently said, 'Congress cannot give consent to a President's violation of the domestic emoluments clause.' Are you not giving such consent?" 

Nancy Pelosi: "We have to -- the case is being made about the emoluments, and you have to have evidence, and the rest, but the case has not fully been made.

"The fact is, is that when I was Speaker, after we won in '06, and in '07 people wanted me to impeach President Bush because the war in Iraq. But there's a big -- I've never recovered with the left on this subject for not impeaching President Bush because of the war in Iraq. Well, you don't impeach somebody because you don't like their policies. When they break the law, that's when you have grounds for impeachment. And at the time of the war I said, as a top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee: 'The intelligence does not support the threat,' and so did Senator Bob Graham. 

"But the administration was making this strong case with the American people, and perhaps misrepresenting [to] the American people could be cause for impeachment. If so, there's plenty of grounds right now with the current President, but it just, just isn't the case. That doesn't mean nobody's listening to cases that are being made in a very scientific, methodical way, as to whether there are grounds for impeachment. But the fact is, is that many of, we're trying to unite the country, and many of the president's supporters are just not ready to accept the fact that their judgment might not have been so great in voting for him, and by the time the case is made perhaps they'll be ready to accept that. It's very hard, impeachment. It's very hard.

Thanks to Ingrid Monkiewicz and Andrew Stewart. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1133654 2017-02-23T15:26:19Z 2017-02-23T15:26:19Z On Alan Colmes
I'm genuinely saddened to hear of death of Alan Colmes, but to be honest, next thought to go through my head was that perhaps his death shows you can only be a liberal punching bag for so long before major health risks arise. I think Alan would appreciate that in his own way.... I remember the first time I went on the old "Hannity and Colmes" Show and they explained Colmes would be in my corner. I joked he'd take a bullet for me. He was like, yeah, right and we all had a good laugh.... Colmes' death is a good time to note that at the beginning, in the 90s, FNC -- while it obviously skewed right -- did offer up serious debate. Lots of allies would get on regularly. That's actually how it built up its audience in large part. It's rather similar to how Al Jazeera Arabic built up its viewership around the same time -- by offering up freewheeling debate. And, after building up an audience, both networks would use that power to push their own horrible agendas.
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1133142 2017-02-21T17:46:51Z 2017-04-12T19:07:52Z The Irony of Trump's Sweden Comment: What Bin Laden said
Re Trump's recent comments on Sweden

People of America this talk of mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan, and deals with the war and its causes and results.

Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom.

If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example -- Sweden?

-- Osama bin Laden in a 2004 videotaped address to the American people on the September 11, 2001 attacks. 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1131417 2017-02-15T00:58:27Z 2017-02-21T21:56:01Z Progressives Need to Think Through Implications of Flynn's Resignation
[A slightly edited version of this was first published by The Progressive.]

Many so-called progressives are stoked that Trump's National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned charges surrounding his discussions with a Russian ambassador while Trump was president-elect.

Congressional Democrats want to use this to go after Trump. Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "After Flynn resignation, FBI must accelerate its investigation of the Trump Administration's Russian connection."

Even before Flynn's resignation, Rep. Maxine Waters did a segment on "Democracy Now:" "Trump Should Be Impeached If He Colluded with Russians Ahead of Election." 

There's certainly reasons to want to see Flynn go -- he recently put Iran "on notice" while the White House tried to gin up the case against Iran

And there are obvious reasons to try to impeach Trump that don't require congress people to qualify them with an "if" -- his violations of the "emoluments clauses."

But it's perhaps easier, more "nationalistic" and ultimately horrifying for "progressives" and others with an alleged interest in peace to be harping on the Russian angle. 

The Clinton campaign repeated that time and again during the campaign -- with disastrous results. Clinton talked about Russia and Trump talked about jobs in the rust belt. Guess who won the presidency?  

Many so-called progressives are in effect making an alliance with the most war-mongering parts of the U.S. establishment. They are in effect buttressing incredibly dubious notions of U.S. victimology and demonizing official enemies that increase U.S. militarism and the likelihood for confrontation with the other nation on the planet that could destroy the planet a hundred times over. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1126495 2017-01-27T07:55:14Z 2017-01-27T07:55:14Z Farid Yousef Husseiny, 1932-2017

My dad died this [Thursday] morning in Amman -- as he had been saying he wanted. It was fairly fast. I was with him. I'd gotten up around 9, saw him going back to bed from the bathroom, gave him a rub on the back as he went for more sleep and a few minutes later, I heard gasping. I thought maybe he was having a bad dream, but he was gasping for breath, seemed to pull away his oxygen tube. I put it back, kept rubbing and patting, called my cousin Hind who was coming over and neighbors who called 911. We were supposed to fly to the US tonight for a TAVR heart valve operation. He spent last night talking to pastor neighbor, saying he wanted to be with Jesus, that his sins were cleansed. I took this picture of him yesterday, proudly showing his file of documentation of our family's property around Tiberius, stolen by the Israeli state agencies.

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1117321 2016-12-21T20:52:16Z 2017-02-21T21:55:36Z I Correct Schumer Fudging What Medicare Privatization Would Mean and He Pretends He Was Being Honest All Along
The new Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer began his remarks at the recent "Hands Off Medicare" event [video below] by noting that he and Bernie Sanders -- another speaker at the event -- both went to James Madison High School in Brooklyn. Said Schumer: "Bernie was on the track team and they won the city championship. I was on the basketball team. We weren't that good our motto was 'we may be small -- but we're slow.'"

The quip turned out to be rather apt. 

At the event, Schumer went on about about how privatization of Medicare would mean that doctors could charge what they wanted. I call him on this -- he was totally omitting the role of the insurance companies -- and he responded by basically pretending that he was saying that all along. 

In contrast, Sanders in his opening statement railed: "The leadership of the Republican Party in the House, in the Senate and Mr. Trump have got to start listening to the American people not the drug companies not the insurance companies -- not the billionaire class." Similarly, Sandra Falwell of National Nurses United argued the U.S. needed to stop wasting "tax dollars by subsidize profit making health insurance corporations." 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1116016 2016-12-16T17:21:27Z 2016-12-16T19:33:17Z Great Song Debate: "Big Yellow Taxi" vs "(Nothing But) Flowers"
We have lost a sense of semantics in our music. We categorize things by genre. Pandora, etc connects music by musical style rather than the substance of the song. I love associating songs by meaning. Here's a little example: 

"Paved paradise, put up a parking lot"

Vs

"Once there were parking lots, now it's a peaceful oasis"
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1108733 2016-11-16T23:36:36Z 2016-11-21T17:40:44Z Navigating the Trump Crisis: Both "Anti-Trump" and "Give Him a Chance" Are Wrong
Two views seem to be dominant among progressives regarding Donald Trump: Either protest all he does, people are holding "anti-Trump" rallies -- or "Give Him a Chance", let's see what he does, maybe it will be okay. 

Both the demonizes and those urging a passive approach are wrong.

"Anti-Trump" is hollow. Trump is a human being who has said a lot of contradictory things. To protest a person is dubious. Too often, "progressives" have simply galvanized against a person -- remember "Anybody But Bush"? That's not a particularly uplifting way of approaching things and doesn't lead to genuinely positive outcomes. 

You can certainly talk about rights for immigrants or women's rights or ensuring anti-Muslim policies do not escalate. But to say "anti-Trump" or to ignore good things that Trump has said is hollow. And, yes, there are good things he's said, for example, during the primaries, he attacked the regime change wars waged by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: 

We've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could've spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we've had, we would've been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.

But it also doesn't make sense to say "let's see what he does". To stand aside is to allow Trump to be cutting deals with Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will doubtlessly work to take away what populist, anti-interventionist and pro-working class instincts Trump may potentially otherwise follow.  

Bernie Sanders has in recent days struck a reasonable tone at times. In this interview and in a statement just after the election, he said: “Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. ... To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1108479 2016-11-15T23:58:04Z 2016-11-21T17:41:11Z The Threatening Dynamics Behind a Secretary of State Giuliani
Many media are reporting that Rudolph Giuliani is slated to be nominated as Secretary of State [New York Times: "Secretary of State Giuliani? He's the Leading Choice, Trump Aides Say"]. This would likely mean that he is being backed by Mike Pence, VP-elect, now head of the Trump transition. Pence of course is a major figure in the so-called Christian Right. In 2007, many were surprised that Pat Robertson backed Giuliani for president. At that time, I wrote the following piece arguing that it actually made a good deal of sense. 

"Giuliani, Robertson and Israel."

Many from across the political spectrum seemed surprised when Pat Robertson recently endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president, but this was only the most recent manifestation one of the worst aspects of the relationship between Christianity and the state. As Blase Bonpane, whose books include Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution has written:

“Back in the fourth century when the Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea on the Turkish coast … imperial theology was born. The sword and the cross came together in building empires, in the Crusades, the Inquisition, the conquistadors and most recently among the ‘Christian’ war mongers who are cheerleaders for the war in Iraq.”

Bill Berkowitz has noted the most pertinent statements from Giuliani and Robertson:

"We had a lot of time coming back from Israel to talk about our understanding of how important Israel is to the United States, how important they are in this whole vast effort that we’re involved in this terrorist war against us," Giuliani recently told Radio Iowa. "We realized that we agreed on far many more things than we disagreed on."

For Robertson, Election 2008 is not about the bread and butter social issues that have fueled the conservative Christian movement for more than two decades. Rather, it is about the "defense of our population against the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists," Robertson told the National Press Club audience. "Our world faces deadly peril…and we need a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead."

All this is notable, but it only touches on some of the deeper reasons why you see an alliance between the likes of Robertson and Giuliani and what that says about the nature of how religion is used in the political sphere today and for centuries — going back to the oldest books of the Bible.
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1106982 2016-11-10T09:21:53Z 2016-11-11T09:55:05Z Election helps bring into view serious issues in polling
I just posted this on the American Association for Public Opinion Research listserve.

While I certainly agree that framing etc huge problem, doesn't seem to me that this gets at critical issues made evident from what happened.

There of course is a spiral of silence with regard to "third party" candidates. Stein and Johnson supporters concluded that voting was futile, as was the framing in media and polling reports throughout.

What I think is happening is the public is lurching for real change and the political system doesn't want to give it to them. Pollsters role in this is that the "prediction" of election has totally outweighed actually understanding the public's views. No poll asked who people WANT or PREFER to be president. Why?

No scientific poll asked the preference question in RCV or Range Voting form. A wealth of information could be gotten this way. A huge part of this is that this is just no on agenda of major media. But if polling is to be anything other than an accessory for media framing of whatever corporate media want to frame, then something very real has to give here.

There's a volatility in the polls because of the hunger for change and the sense that the choice (apparently feasible choices) are probably phony. There could be a plurality for a "third party" and we'd never know it because the right question isn't being asked, much less reported prominently, understood.

Sam Husseini
VotePact.org
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1104589 2016-11-01T15:23:06Z 2016-11-01T15:23:07Z Democracy Now's Non-Correction on Nuclear Vote

After I posted my piece on Friday, "Democracy Now" changed the transcript to read

The United Nations on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to start talks aimed at abolishing all nuclear weapons. The landmark resolution will see the U.N. convene a conference next year to negotiate a legally binding instrument for worldwide nuclear prohibition. The vote was 123-38, with 16 countries abstaining. [Not supporting the measure] were all nine known nuclear states: China, Russia, France, the U.K., India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and the United States.

But this is also incorrect. As I noted in my piece, North Korea in fact voted for the proposal. There has apparently been no on-air correction or pseudo-correction -- the following program's headlines made no mention of the vote. 

This is no minor matter. What's needed is a basic acknowledgement and understanding of the role the U.S. government and NATO play in ensuring the continuation of the nuclear weapons threat. "Democracy Now" is unwilling to make that acknowledgement. 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1103147 2016-10-28T17:55:54Z 2016-11-21T17:41:47Z "Democracy Now" Gets Nuclear Ban Vote Totally Wrong
"Democracy Now" sadly continues its descent, which I've alluded to occasionally on twitter. To fully tell this story would require a very long and detailed piece, but the latest chapter of this is worth noting in more than a tweet as it happens. On this morning's headlines, Amy Goodman claimed: 

The United Nations on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to start talks aimed at abolishing all nuclear weapons. The landmark resolution will see the U.N. convene a conference next year to negotiate a legally binding instrument for worldwide nuclear prohibition. The vote was 123-38, with 16 countries abstaining. Voting against were all nine known nuclear states: China, Russia, France, Britain, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea as well as the United States. [Note, this is wording as broadcast, the transcript is minorly different.] 

In fact, China, India and Pakistan abstained. North Korea actually voted for the resolution. As even the AP correctly reported: "The United States, Russia, Israel, France and the United Kingdom were among the countries voting against the measure." See country by country breakdown results from International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. See excellent map from ILPI. If you're still skeptical, see actual pic of vote board]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1102114 2016-10-25T20:27:44Z 2016-10-25T20:27:44Z The Huge Problem with Polls: My Letter to Frank Newport
This letter was sent on Sept. 24 -- via an intermediary who knows him well -- to Frank Newport of Gallup, the pollster adviser to the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. I've received no response. Ironically, Newport is author of Polling Matters: Why Leaders Must Listen to the Wisdom of the People. I think a close reading of the letter shows that Newport has hardly taken his own advice. 
-- Sam Husseini


Dear Frank Newport --

I believe I have found a significant blind spot in the exclusion criteria used by the CPD. When some suggested alternative criteria for inclusion in presidential debates, like if a majority wanted another candidate to be in the debates, the heads of the CPD rejected the effort. Then-CPD Director and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson said: “The issue is who do you want to be president. It’s not who do you want to do a dress rehearsal and see who can be the cutest at the debate.” Similarly, Paul Kirk, the then-co-chair of the CPD (now co-chairman emeritus) and former head of the Democratic National Committee, said: “It’s a matter of entertainment vs. the serious question of who would you prefer to be president of the United States.” (Citation in google books, "No Debate" by George Farah.) 

But none of the polls the CPD is relying on for its exclusion criteria actually ask the "serious question of who you would prefer to be president of the United State" -- nor do they ask "who do you want to be president."

They all ask some minor variation of "if the election were held today which of the following would you vote for". I hope that it's apparent to you that for many people who they "want" to be president among the choices given (Clinton, Trump, Johnson and Stein) is different than who they would vote for. Voting is a tactical choice based largely (especially in this election) on wanting to ensure the candidate you least like does not become president. Thus, millions intend to vote for Trump because they don't want Clinton and millions more will vote the opposite. But many of those people prefer or actually want Johnson or Stein. Those who "want" or "prefer" Johnson or Stein could even constitute a plurality and we'd never know it because the question that would gauge that is never asked. 

[This wording, "if the election were held today] -- which David Moore has described as starting as a "gimmick" may well ironically now be a serious impediment to understanding the affirmative preference of the public, since it has displaced other measurements of public opinion and preference in this critical regard. 

As the pollster adviser to the CPD, it's my view that it's incumbent upon you to ensure that the polls the CPD relies upon actually gauge the "serious" question the CPD officials publicly claim the CPD is concerned with: Who do you prefer/want to be president. 

I hope you will concur, but in either case, I would most welcome your thoughts on this important matter. As I've talked to pollsters since submitting a legal brief on this matter in June, it's become apparent that many pollsters are not free to ask the questions they want to ask, they are frequently at the mercy of the media outlets they work for. I hope that your intellectual honesty will compel you to address this potentially fatal blind spot immediately. (See "How Presidential 'Non-Opinion' Polls Drive Down Third Party Numbers and Facilitate Debate Exclusion")

Look forward to your positive and enlightened response.

best regards, 

Sam Husseini 
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Osama Husseini