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

Posts relating to travel, in Asia and elsewhere.

The Great Recognition of 2016: Nixon-level Corruption in the DNC Means It’s Time to Build a New Party

Green Party Nominee Dr Jill Stein

The Democratic Convention fiasco has triggered an exodus to the Green Party

Back at the end of July, as I was leaving home and traveling to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, I wasn’t yet certain whether the leaders of the Democratic Party — the Democratic National Committee — were simply incompetent or actually corrupt. As a writer, as a progressive, and as a citizen inspired by the Bernie Sanders campaign, I was interested to see the workings of the DNC up close.

I had already witnessed in 2016 the DNC allocate and count “superdelegates” prematurely, which favored the Clinton campaign. I had also seen tremendous irregularities and probable fraud in the primary elections, which also favored the Clinton campaign. In short, I knew the DNC wasn’t running a fair primary between Sanders and Clinton, but I wasn’t sure exactly how unfair it was, and whether it was random incompetence and peccadilloes, or whether it was concerted rigging and intentional corruption to install Hillary Clinton as the nominee.

The future of our democracy, our country, and our planet hang in the balance here in 2016, so I departed for the convention knowing that the decisions of the DNC and the superdelegates would be extremely important. (more…)

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Posted in Democratic Convention | Peaceful Revolution | Politics | Travel
by Tony Brasunas at 10:15 am on September 4, 2016

Want to learn Mandarin? Channel your inner baby.

Learning to speak Chinese can be challenging for native English speakers. The grammar and vocabulary pose obstacles, to say nothing of the unusual sounds and the semantic tones.

The problems posed by the new grammar and vocabulary are more or less the same as those posed by learning any foreign language, so I’ll leave them aside for this post. But if you want to learn to speak Chinese, the unfamiliar sounds that exist in Chinese that don’t exist in spoken English, and the semantic tones that distinguish one word from another will be the most critical and difficult challenges.lu_green-transparent

One way to learn the new sounds is to practice assiduously, to enunciate them over and over, and to listen to them repeatedly until you can differentiate them. You can practice, for instance, the essential tight ü sound, over and over, with words like (green). And you can repeatedly practice speaking and hearing the differences between (mother) and (horse).

Practice is crucial to climbing the mountain towards competency and, eventually, fluency. But with only practice, you won’t get there. (more…)

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Posted in China | Travel
by Tony Brasunas at 9:20 am on November 27, 2015