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

How Democrats and Republicans Seek to Bar Greens and Libertarians from the Presidential Debates

Jill Stein and Gary Johnson Debates

The Democratic and Republican parties aim to exclude Jill Stein (G) and Gary Johnson (L) from the debates.

Millions of American voters will remember this 2016 election year as the year they left the two older political parties once and for all. After deeply problematic primaries, including epidemic fraud on the Democratic side, the two parties nominated the least-liked candidates in history. Never in modern politics has a candidate with either Hillary Clinton’s approval rating (-16) or Donald Trump’s approval rating (-18) won a nomination, let alone the White House. These two candidates are widely, historically disliked.

Meanwhile three-quarters of Americans want to see two other candidates in the presidential debates. You can’t find a lot of things that three in four Americans agree on, but polls show a stunning 76% of us want Dr. Jill Stein, nominee of the Green Party, and Gov. Gary Johnson, nominee of the Libertarian Party, to be included in the debates.

Not that this should be surprising. With our democracy fraying, corruption and election fraud on the rise, climate change encroaching on virtually every ecosystem, and income inequality at record levels, it’s a crucial juncture for the United States and for the planet. Citizens of all backgrounds long to hear a broad range of ideas before determining the optimal path forward.

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Americans want to see Stein and Johnson in the debates.

With climate change a leading issue for many voters, the Green Party, which pushes for immediate action on climate change, should be heard. In light of revelations about domestic spying from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, American citizens want personal liberty and privacy right now, and for this reason the Libertarian candidate should be heard as well. The two older parties inspire little trust on these 21st century issues.

Presidential campaigns are the only nationwide campaigns we have as a country. These political seasons are the most important avenue for large scale political exchange, inspiration, and expression. (more…)

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by Tony Brasunas at 11:02 am on September 22, 2016

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

While Publicly Seeking Unity, the DNC is Censoring a Convention and Silencing Dissent

Bernie Sanders supporters locked out of the DNC convention

Locked doors separate Sanders delegates who walked out of the Democratic Convention

Sanders delegates, volunteers, and supporters have felt marginalized.

The Democratic National Committee professes publicly that it longs for peace and unity between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The DNC’s actions as organizers of the convention, however, have repeatedly had the opposite effect.

To begin, no one who wanted Bernie Sanders as the nominee was ever allowed near the microphone on stage. It is an open convention, regardless of the way it’s been covered in the corporate media; Hillary Clinton did not get the required 2,383 delegates required to win outright from pledged delegates. The superdelegates are casting the deciding votes this week. Bernie Sanders, although issuing an endorsement of Clinton earlier this month, hasn’t conceded the race nor released his delegates and so he could become the nominee.

Nevertheless, the entire first day of the convention — ostensibly the “Bernie Day” — featured no speakers who favored a Sanders nomination. Several one-time Sanders supporters who now favor Clinton were allowed to speak.

“Instead of having both candidates’ surrogates make their case, even if the outcome seemed obvious, Monday only featured speakers who advocated voting for Hillary,” said Justin Baird, from the convention floor, a Sanders delegate and whip from Washington state. “It was painfully obvious that if that was Bernie Day, it was really just another Hillary Day, and it riled nearly half the delegates.”

Simply allowing a few Sanders supporters — Nina Turner, for instance, or Tulsi Gabbard, or even Jane Sanders — to speak Monday would have immediately increased feelings of unity. Instead, the convention got off on the wrong foot, fomenting feelings of suppression right away, even before Bernie gave his heart-rending “three minute ovation” speech later that night.

Barring the ‘Super Volunteers’

Even worse than preventing pro-Bernie speakers to address the convention, the DNC has barred all 824 Bernie Sanders volunteers from the convention. Yes, all of them, having traveled across the country on their own dime, expecting to be inside the convention, have been barred from the convention floor. (more…)

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Posted in Democratic Convention | Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 2:52 pm on July 27, 2016

Today It Begins — Democrats’ Last Chance to Ensure Victory by Nominating Bernie Sanders

PHL DNC

Some might call it a long shot. Some might call it blasphemy. Some might call it the most brilliant and patriotic political maneuver in a generation.

Whatever one calls it, nominating Sen. Bernie Sanders remains a possibility at the Democratic Convention that starts today here in Philadelphia. Sanders provided an endorsement of Hillary Clinton a week ago in a show of party solidarity, but he has not conceded the race nor relinquished his delegates.

Thus this convention revolves around one critical question for superdelegates and members of the DNC: Which political path do they want their party to take today and in the coming decade?

Do they want their party to sweep to a landslide victory in November and add millions of diverse, enthusiastic new members who will carry the party to Democratic wins for a generation? Or do they want their party to run against the populism sweeping the country, attempt to embrace corporate power more fervently than Republicans, fight a risky battle in November, and likely dwindle in popularity over the coming years?

Of these two paths, nominating Sanders is taking the first path. With Sanders atop the ticket in November, Democrats will win decisively, and not just the presidency. Sanders is historically popular, brings unprecedented levels of grassroots enthusiasm and fundraising, and will likely unite the Democratic Party into an unbeatable juggernaut. Month after month, polls show a Sanders ticket would defeat Donald Trump handily, by double digits, which would constitute a landslide and a mandate in modern presidential politics.

Independents and new voters will flock to the Democrats in a Sanders-Trump race, and thus down-ticket races and propositions will benefit as well. The country will see a November groundswell of progressives, Democrats, and independents converging on the polls to vote for this honest and inspiring candidate.

A Hillary Clinton nomination, on the other hand, risks not just the 2016 campaign but the future of the party as well. (more…)

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by Tony Brasunas at 12:28 pm on July 25, 2016

The Deeper Reason Many Intelligent Progressives and Independents Will Not Support Hillary Clinton

The Deeper Reason Intelligent Progressives Support Bernie Sanders

The “lesser-of-evils” argument might not work for independent voters this year.

For those who hope for swift unity in the Democratic Party, there are reasons to believe it won’t happen if Hillary Clinton is the nominee.

While there are serious policy differences between Clinton and Bernie Sanders, a deeper fault line must be acknowledged between their supporters.

Certainly the two candidates remain far apart on issues that matter to progressives and independents — fracking, the TPP, tuition-free public colleges, universal single-payer healthcare, racist policing, militarism in the Middle East — to name just a few. Indeed, based on policy and political strategy, many independents and Democrats see Clinton as more like a traditional Republican. Many even see it as indicative of privilege if one supports Clinton over Sanders, given the current state of the economy and the environment. Many intelligent progressives see the two candidates as representing different social classes.

Nevertheless, a debate about policy differences only partially explains the disconnect between Clinton, on the one hand, and Democrats, independents, and progressives, on the other. Clinton has begun incorporating into her speeches many core issues of the Sanders campaign, including some mentioned above, but there remain deeper reasons many left-leaning voters remain unable to support Hillary Clinton: dishonesty and scandals.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

These deeper issues aren’t generally considered important by writers in the mainstream media. They paint Clinton’s dishonesty and scandals as Republican fabrications or as remnants of longstanding political vendettas that no longer matter. Writers, like yours truly, are generally accused of supporting the Republican if we even mention Clinton’s deeper shortcomings; we are also accused of sexism if we happen to be men.

So I will be attacked for writing this article. But I find it important nonetheless to try to help Democrats understand why, on a level deeper than just policy, intelligent non-sexist progressives and independents are generally unable to support Hillary Clinton. (more…)

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by Tony Brasunas at 9:03 pm on July 19, 2016

The Connection Between Brexit and Bernie

Leon Neal / AFP

It has never been more important to ‘think global, act local.’

The movement in Britain to leave the EU and the movement to elect Bernie Sanders in the US share an underlying cause. Across the world today there is massive dissatisfaction and anger with how global capitalist rule is converging into smaller and smaller units with more and more power via elite agreements — NAFTA, WTO, TPP perhaps, and yes, the EU. These elite agreements are driving down wages for nearly everyone, destroying the environment, and starting or abetting wars.

There are several responses to this dissatisfaction and anger.

One shortsighted and simplistic response is xenophobia and isolationism. This response is manifest in the appeal of the Brexit vote and in the appeal of Donald Trump. If you can tell yourself that it’s your neighbor — rather than unregulated global corporate rule — that is making people you know lose their healthcare, their jobs, or their homes, then you can close a symbolic door to the world.

The more challenging response is manifest in the rise of Bernie Sanders — and also in the push to radically democratize the EU. People across the world need to work together as a planet now more than ever to take on climate change, corruption, economic justice, for-profit wars, and the refugee crises that these other problems create. We must work together to ensure healthcare for all, clean water and food for all, and a peaceful and healthy environment that all can live in. A world in which all have clean water, healthy food, and peace is a world with little terrorism and few refugees. Human beings generally prefer to live out their lives peacefully in the culture in which they grew up. 

Status quo politics — the Hillary Clintons and the David Camerons — is being rejected by both the right and the left because it pushes ever onward with corporate, oligarchic rule that further enriches the already wealthy under deceptive names like “free trade” and “neoliberalism.” These policies create inequality, war, refugees, and terrorism.

In my humble opinion, we should all support Bernie Sanders and a much more democratic EU. And we should oppose the xenophobic supporters of Brexit and Trump — not by yelling at them or calling them stupid, but by acknowledging that they’re partly right. Yes, the corporate-rule status quo is making 99% of the planet poorer and more dangerous. Yes, we do need to make changes as soon as possible. But breaking into smaller and smaller units based on xenophobia will only make the real problems that we must face as a planet less likely to be addressed.

It is through working together as a planet that can we address these issues.

There is a reason that the famous axiom is: “think global, act local.” Think global. It isn’t “think local, act local.” Thinking locally simply won’t bring the sustainable, peaceful, just, and healthy society we all can share.

Whether you’re trying to get by in Britain, the US, or anywhere else on earth today, it is time to think globally and to work together.

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by Tony Brasunas at 4:13 pm on July 1, 2016