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Where realism and idealism meet Tony Brasunas, author of Double Happiness

Standing Rock Reveals the True Colors of Both the Media and the Democratic Party

standing-rock

Peaceful Water Protectors have been met time and again by militarized police.

The historic gathering of over two hundred Native American tribes and thousands of their allies at Standing Rock in North Dakota has put on stark display the state of this country’s corporate media and its nominally left-leaning party.

This is a massive movement that brings together virtually all the biggest issues of our day — from environmental justice and racial justice to climate change and corporate control of natural resources. Its treatment by the media and by our political parties is as instructive as any recent political event.

To begin, the media coverage of Standing Rock provides a nearly perfect picture of the current state of today’s media world, which is comprised of the “corporate media” and the “independent media.” There are those who trust “corporate media” more, and there are those who trust “independent media” more, but the balance has steadily been shifting in favor of “independent media” over the last 20 years. The term “corporate media,” refers to the big media news channels and publications funded and run by large corporations. “Independent media” essentially refers to everyone else: smaller publications, bloggers, and independent social media journalists.

The New York Times is the nation’s largest daily newspaper, the “paper of record,” and it is the corporate media publication trusted by many. The Times doesn’t actually have a single reporter in Standing Rock.

When one young woman, Sophia Wilansky, had her arm blown off by a police grenade, all the independent media and all the eye witnesses there in North Dakota confirmed that this (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 3:54 pm on December 4, 2016

For All Democrats to Ponder: The Real Reasons Hillary Clinton Lost

The Reasons Hillary Clinton Lost

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats lost an eminently winnable race for the White House

Beyond the media spin, the four reasons for this defeat.

As the aphorism goes, if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. While the corporate media continues to peddle hysteria, the most important thing right now is to rationally understand why Clinton and the Democrats lost this eminently winnable 2016 race for the White House.

Having taken some time to look back over the past six months, I list below what I believe are the four main underlying reasons for this defeat. As it turns out, none of the reasons is particularly complicated, but each will require consideration and systemic change by the party over the next two years.

1. The DNC subverted democracy. This was an anti-establishment year in politics, and there was an anti-establishment candidate running in both major parties. Trump was (barely) allowed to win the primary on the Republican side. On the Democratic side, despite Bernie’s obvious strength and the clear preference of the grassroots, the primary was rigged to put the less popular, establishment candidate forward. It was a colossal risk to take, but the party (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 8:54 pm on November 13, 2016

What Your Vote Says

Democracy is not an exact science. There are countless things one might wish to say with a vote, but a single vote for one candidate or another communicates with little precision. In 2016, this wild presidential election, given everything we’ve seen from leaks to gropes to voting purges to visiting Popes, examining what the candidates have done and what they verbally stand for is about all we can do in determining what our one vote will say.

To many voters, given the chicanery and the poor choices, the election is an illegitimate exercise at this point. More on that in a minute.

For now, since by all accounts the election will go forward on Tuesday, let’s consider what a vote for each candidate says to the ruling establishment and our representatives. Since there isn’t a perfect candidate for most of us, our vote says in essence what we’re OK with, what we can tolerate:

  • A vote for Donald Trump says: I’m OK with racism, homophobia, and religious scapegoating, with bullying, sexism, and mocking the political system, with global corporate rule, and ignoring climate change, and with voting for a candidate who doesn’t have elective political experience, so long as the candidate has a strong chance of winning, isn’t Hillary Clinton, and is from the nominally conservative major party.
  • A vote for Hillary Clinton says: I’m OK with lying and with deleting evidence of it, with (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 12:28 pm on November 4, 2016

Ralph Nader, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein: Progressives Have Been Helping Liberals Win Since 2000

Ralph Nader and other progressives have been helping Democrats win for decades.

Ralph Nader helped Al Gore win.

Calling progressives ‘spoilers’ not only gets history wrong but hampers future progressive campaigns.

Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party nominee in the 2000 presidential election, and while some claim that he hurt the campaign of Democrat Al Gore, an honest analysis shows that Nader’s campaign was in fact a primary reason that Gore won that election.

Here in 2016, with a wild and wildly consequential election winding to a close, it’s important to understand accurately the role Nader played in 2000 as well as to comprehend the role progressive candidates in general play in national elections.

To begin, Gore won the popular election in 2000. This isn’t contested. He received nearly a million more votes nationwide than did George W. Bush. It was clear that while the election was close, Gore was the nation’s popular choice for president.

No candidate since the 1800s has won the popular vote without also winning the electoral college, and Gore was winning the electoral college count, too.

But then, as thousands of Democrat-leaning votes were slowly being counted in Florida, the Supreme Court intervened and issued a bizarre and unconstitutional order — the least defensible decision in Supreme Court history, according to many legal scholars — to halt the vote count. This abortion of democracy took Florida’s electoral votes from Gore and made George W. Bush the next president.

Why the Democratic Party didn’t mount a more serious legal challenge to this fiasco in Florida is a true scandal, and movies have been made about it. But for whatever reason, they didn’t. They let the election slip away. It’s now history. (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 6:05 pm on November 1, 2016

This Election is the Perfect Storm for a Party: Jill Stein and the Green Party

Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President of the United States

Voters seek alternatives to the ‘choice’ between Trump and Clinton

The year 2016 is going down in history as the year the majority of American voters turned against both of the major political parties.

This year will also go down as the year a new political party spread its wings.

The Republican Party, once the “Party of Lincoln,” the party known as the Grand Old Party (GOP), has chosen an awful candidate in Donald Trump, a racist, sexist, failed businessman and television star famous for mean-spirited diatribes. Trump mocks the political system he seeks to preside over, evokes xenophobia at every turn, and calls for violence at political rallies. He is widely reviled by those who take him seriously and harshly ridiculed by those who don’t. He seems to be an awful choice for president by virtually any measure, and he might not even really want the job.

The even older Democratic Party, once the party of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, has also chosen an awful candidate in Hillary Clinton, a dishonest, corporate-controlled warmonger married to a former president who was impeached for dishonesty. As Secretary of State, Clinton has amassed millions via her private Clinton Foundation by sending billions of dollars in weapons to warring countries around the world in exchange for donations. Her misuse of private email servers to handle state business and classified information has resulted in scandal after scandal and leaves it unclear whether she even qualifies for basic security clearance. She seems to be an awful choice for president by virtually any measure, and she might not even qualify for the security clearance for the job.

People in this country and many around the world are amazed and horrified that these two ridiculously bad candidates are supposed to constitute “democracy” in the most powerful country on earth. Many wonder how this can even be called a choice. These two candidates support the same wrong side on so many of today’s most pressing issues.

A Perfect Storm

But all is not lost. What many view as an illegitimate choice comes at a time when both the United States and all of Planet Earth badly need an honest accounting of the issues that confront us. Collectively, Americans need real leadership to address these (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 1:24 am on October 16, 2016

The Four Reasons Pragmatic Progressives are Supporting Jill Stein

Jill Stein, Green Party Nominee for President

Voters seek alternatives to the ‘choice’ between Trump and Clinton.

It’s early October, and the usual suspects in the corporate media are bellowing hyperbole about the supposed “craziness” of supporting anyone other than the two most disliked presidential candidates in history.

Why might the Paul Krugmans, Ezra Kleins, and Charles Blows of the corporate media world be veering into shriller and shriller tones?

Most likely because both practical and idealistic voters are increasingly supporting Jill Stein, and one of the jobs of the corporate media is to prop up the corporate parties. When someone doesn’t listen to you and you don’t have reason on your side, you often raise your voice.

The truth is, there are dozens of reasons not to support Trump or Clinton, ranging from the way Clinton issues dangerous military threats about Russia, Syria, and Iran; to the way Trump brashly scapegoats Muslims and immigrants; to the uncomfortable sense that the Trumps and Clintons are actually longtime friends and attend each other’s events and donate to each other. Idealists could probably list one hundred reasons to avoid these candidates.

I attended Jill Stein’s energetic event in Oakland last night, and instead of talking to the idealists, I asked the pragmatists there why they were supporting Stein.

Here is what I gathered, the four main reasons pragmatic progressives are supporting Jill Stein:

  1. The Electoral College. It actually doesn’t matter who you vote for if you live in any of the 41 states that aren’t contested for the presidency. Such is the system we use to elect the president that (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 8:26 am on October 8, 2016