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

It was quite a wild ride at the 2016 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.

Propaganda & Moles: What We’ve Learned from the Wikileaks So Far

Throughout the spring and the summer, many supporters of Bernie Sanders were mystified and angry about the ratio of negative to positive pieces appearing in the media outlets that liberals tend to trust: NPR, the New York Times, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and others.

There was so much persistent negative press about Bernie Sanders — at one point the Washington Post ran ten negative pieces about Sanders in 24 hours — that people suggested that these supposedly left-leaning publications were actually in the tank for Hillary Clinton. That theory was vigorously denied and even ridiculed by both Clinton supporters and the media outlets themselves.

Now, with all the Wikileaks emails circulating, it appears that everything that Sanders supporters suspected — and worse — has been confirmed. Let’s go quickly through what we’ve learned in the past three weeks:

  • The Clinton campaign (CC) and the Democratic Party leadership (DNC) have been essentially one entity since at least last August.
  • News outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post generally alert the DNC/CC before they run pieces about Clinton.
  • Journalists for the New York Times and other outlets often have to offer editorial control over pieces written in order to get access to Clinton, and do so.
  • Reporters for the New York Times sometimes not only show the DNC/CC pieces they’re writing but allow them to edit the pieces.
  • The DNC/CC not only spoke with Donald Trump last spring and summer before he entered the race, the DNC/CC also determined last fall to elevate Trump (as well as Ted Cruz and Ben Carson) as a candidate.
  • The DNC/CC used their channels for media collusion with outlets like the New York Times and CNN to legitimize and boost Trump throughout the winter and spring.
  • The DNC/CC held at least one lavish private party wining and dining 30 or so writers from major corporate media outlets. Many of these writers were the ones collaborating most closely with the DNC/CC.
  • The DNC/CC hid Clinton’s remarks and speeches to big Wall Street banks in which she stated or implied her support for the TPP and lax bank regulation, and revealed holding separate “public” and “private” positions about progressive issues in general.
  • The DNC/CC sees activists who work for things like climate action, black lives matter, peace, and global fair trade as obstructionists to be ridiculed and marginalized.
  • The DNC/CC used their media collusion with outlets like the New York Times to repeatedly disparage Sanders, his supporters, and his rallies.
  • The DNC/CC leaked damaging information about Sanders to many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, and co-wrote a hit piece on Sanders for the New York Post.
  • The DNC/CC had moles inside the Sanders campaign, who communicated covertly back to the DNC/CC and weakened the Sanders campaign.
  • The DNC/CC found ways to appear to appeal to Sanders supporters while actually marginalizing them.

Surprise — the corporate media isn’t really covering these leaks. They don’t seem to want you to know how dishonest and biased their reporting is, nor do they want you to consider how many of their articles should more accurately be called propaganda rather than journalism. After all, what do you call a reporter or publication that publishes articles to support a candidate without disclosing their aim?

When the corporate media does cover the leaked emails, they suggest it’s all the result of Russian hacking, which is an insult to our intelligence: There’s no more proof that it was Russians than that it was me doing the hacking, or you, or Bernie Sanders, or Barack Obama. We don’t know who managed the hacking. What matters is the authenticity of the revelations, which isn’t questioned.

Since the corporate media isn’t covering this with any fairness or thoroughness, here are four independent media stories from various sources, right and left, so you can take your pick how you’d like to learn more.

Regardless whether you’re cynical or optimistic about the present state and future of our political system, it is essential to stay apprised of the state of our democracy. The fact that moles and extensive propaganda have been (successfully) used in our political system is an important lesson from this 2016 election, and it likely indicates that our democracy is significantly endangered, if not already illegitimate.

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Posted in Balanced Media Diet | Democratic Convention | Peaceful Revolution
by Tony Brasunas on October 21, 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 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. (more…)

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Posted in Democratic Convention | Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas on July 27, 2016

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


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 (more…)

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Posted in Democratic Convention | Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas on July 25, 2016

There Is a Moderate Republican in this Race, but She’s Running as a Democrat

Historical perspective on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Who is the real Democrat — Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton? Why are fringe candidates getting all of the attention this year? Who are the moderates?

These questions can all be answered by understanding something that has been unfolding for forty years: The center of American politics has shifted steadily to the right. Today neither party is even remotely similar to what it was when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, for example, first entered politics.

In the late 1970s, as large corporations turned into transnational giants, they pumped huge amounts of cash into the political system. This largesse lured, first, the Republican Party, in the 80s, followed by the Democratic Party in the 90s, and precipitated a rightward political shift as both parties rewrote their policies to compete for the same corporate contributions.

Before this, from 1932–1976, the Democratic Party as a whole was far more progressive. The issues and approaches advocated today by Bernie Sanders (more…)

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Posted in Democratic Convention | Politics
by Tony Brasunas on April 18, 2016