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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

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

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 (more…)

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Posted in Peaceful Revolution | Politics
by Tony Brasunas at 9:03 pm on July 19, 2016