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

Bold Vision of a Bernie Sanders-Led People’s Party Launched by New Group

Could Bernie Sanders lead a new political party?

A group of former staff and delegates from Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign have joined with hundreds of others this week to launch a campaign called “Draft Bernie For A People’s Party.”

The goal is to convince Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that the Democratic Party is corrupt beyond redemption, and that the creation of a powerful new party is not only possible but one of the best things that could happen for the country and planet right now.

The launch of “Draft Bernie For A People’s Party” is led by Nicholas Brana, former national political outreach coordinator for Bernie 2016.

“People are yearning for something positive and honorable that they can build as their future,” says Brana, adding that the new party intends to capitalize on the desire for progressive change that the Sanders campaign so prodigiously tapped into. “While Trump is busy dividing us, Bernie can continue to do what he did during the campaign—unite us — only this time outside the corporate, neoliberal constraints of the Democratic Party.”

A new People’s Party, with Sanders at the helm, would launch with at least half of the Democratic Party (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 11:39 am on February 11, 2017

Are You Living in the Matrix?

How do you know if you are accurately perceiving news about the world?

How do you know if you are accurately perceiving news about the world?

A quick test to understand your viewpoint in today’s bizarre political media landscape.

It was a political year in which up was often down, and right masqueraded frequently as left. The year 2016 then wrapped up with a steady stream of diametrically opposed media stories all clamoring for recognition as “the truth.”

The mainstream media featured incessant talk of “fake news,” and pundits propounded conspiracy theories about Russians hacking email servers. The independent media continued to analyze piles of evidence showing collusion on the part of the mainstream media and the two political parties who ran the worst presidential campaign in modern American politics.

With all this news and theory swirling around, some of which must be false, it has become difficult to know at any one time whether you’re reading the news correctly, whether you’re seeing the role of the media itself clearly, or whether there’s a Matrix-like veil obscuring your comprehension of national events.

Here’s a quick test to determine whether

(more…)

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Posted in In the Media | Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 5:50 pm on January 4, 2017

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.
  • (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