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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Yes, we SHOULD blame Bernie

How quickly things move! Around the time I sent out the preceding post, a politically-motivated madman named James Hodgkinson opened fire on congressmen in a public park, severely wounding Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, along with four others, before being shot to death himself.

In normal times, such an event would dominate the news cycle for a week or more. Yet before day's end, many people had switched their attention to the news that Mueller was investigating Trump for obstruction of justice. The special counsel is also looking into Trump's shady finances. Oh, this should be good.

From the standpoint of hundred-years-hence history, yesterday's Trump bombshell will no doubt be considered the more significant development. Still, let us not be too quick to ignore the atrocity in that Virginia park. When the world learned that Hodgkinson was a die-hard Bernie-or-buster who hated both Trump and Clinton, we heard a very predictable set of reactions:

1. Moderate television pundits decried the partisan acrimony which has divided this country.

2. Reactionary propagandists argued that investigations of Donald Trump triggered this event. (Example.) For the right, moderation of speech is something that only Democrats must practice. The right may, of course, continue to indulge in exterminationist speech, as it has done for decades.

3. As always happens after a massacre, rightists speak as though such acts are characteristically perpetrated by liberals. You may recall that the right pretended that James Holmes, the "Dark Knight" killer, was somehow connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement. (He wasn't.) From Timothy McVeigh to Jeremy Joseph Christian (another Hillary-hating fan of Bernie, incidentally), most political killers enter from stage right.

4. Since the shooter was an anti-Trumper, much of the news coverage refused to differentiate between the BernieBots and Democrats. The two groups are not the same.

5. Bernie Sanders offered a pro-forma denunciation of violence.

Most of the left has accepted this statement at face value. Most people would be appalled by the suggestion that Bernie Sanders bears personal responsibility for this outrage.

I think he does.

As most of you know, I offered Sanders positive coverage when he began his campaign. (I was also quite disenchanted with Hillary.) Although I still support many of the things that the "Feel the Bern" crowd claims to stand for, I turned against the Sanders movement when I saw that it had degenerated into the worst kind of political cult. The followers of that cult became the mirror image of the Trumpers: Intolerant, intemperate, rabid, unthinking, rage-filled, ill-informed, deceptive, mendacious and simply vile.

It was clear to me that Sanders' purpose was not to win the election (he would have lost all 50 states, including Vermont) or even the nomination. Wittingly or otherwise, he was part of a classic Roger Stone-ian conspiracy to split the party, and to drive the Democrats so far to the left that the party would have no appeal to purple states or purple counties.

Some of his loudest, most obnoxious supporters on YouTube became (or perhaps always were) Trump operatives -- see, for example, Cassandra Fairbanks, as shifty as she is curvy. Russia supported Bernie, just as it supported Trump. After laudably stating that "nobody cares" about the pseudo-scandal involving Hillary's emails, Sanders began to spread the Big Lie as viciously as any Republican.

Sanders showed his true colors when he hired Tad Devine, a stenchy operative previously best known for his work on behalf of a Putin-linked politician who had literally poisoned his opponent. (Devine also worked for Ehud Barak and Monsanto. Imagine the outcry if Hillary had hired such a creature!) Bernie's refusal to release his taxes was every bit as suspect as Trump's refusal to release his tax information.

The BernieBot troll army inundated left-wing sites with smears and slanders against Hillary Clinton and all other perceived enemies. The Bots obtained Hillary's voter data in an underhanded fashion, no doubt with the aid of Russia. Sanders surged by gaming caucuses, which are inherently much less democratic than primaries. The Michigan primary vote was, in my opinion, transparently fraudulent. The FEC accused the Bernie Sanders campaign of financial impropriety.

Sanders personally benefited from this corruption:
Throughout the Democratic primary, the Sanders campaign was cited for FEC violations on three separate occasions including a mysterious $10 million donation from a single address in Washington, DC. Despite consistent calls for financial transparency on the campaign trail, the Sanders campaign was exceedingly secretive when it came to its own finances. After twice filing for extensions from the FEC, the Sanders campaign ultimately decided to forgo its final financial disclosure statement in June citing the fact that campaign was no longer active. This decision was accompanied by the news that Sanders himself had purchased a $575,000 home in August, much to the dismay of his loyal followers. The home would be the third residence for Sanders, someone who railed against a system that increasingly favored the millionaires and billionaires of our country.

Yet these financial gains for both Devine and Sanders would never have been possible had it not been for the millions of campaign contributions that came their way. And the only way to get campaign contributions is to convince your supporters you might actually have a chance to win. Luckily for Devine and Sanders, they had some foreign friends who were willing to step in. As reported by Rachel Maddow late on Tuesday, there existed an army of Russian bots who were weaponized to influence our election. Many of them took to various social media sites to discredit and disrupt Hillary Clinton's campaign and thus, energize potential Bernie Sanders supporters. Knowing that Clinton had been a target of right-wing media smears for a quarter-century, all the bots had to do was plant this seed to potential Sanders supporters, many of whom had no experience in politics, to get them onboard with the Sanders campaign. By doing this, Sanders and Devine were able to successfully pocket millions of dollars all while pretending to be champions of the common man.
Bernie's eventual pro-forma endorsement of Hillary was simply a tactic by which he could continue to foist his despicable cult of personality on a party that desperately needs to appeal to moderates in order to win back the House in 2018. If not for Bernie, a Democratic victory in 2018 would seem quite possible, perhaps likely. The Bernie Factor makes such an outcome nearly impossible.

What I find hardest to forgive is the fact that Bernie Sanders transformed a political campaign into a political cult. Just as Bernie Sanders himself is personally disliked in DC, the BernieBullies soon became loathed by Democrats, by moderates, by anyone outside the sect.

Bernie Sanders has never denounced scuzzy operatives like Cassandra Fairbanks and the notorious H.A. Goodman. At no point did he ever do anything to dissuade the BernieBros from erecting a cult of personality. At no point did he denounce the innumerable fake news stories that flooded Bernieland. At no point has Bernie Sanders denounced the bizarre and intemperate statements made by his followers online.

Except when circumstances absolutely require him to do so, Bernie Sanders refuses to behave like a statesman. He does not advocate moderation or concession or cooperation or compromise. Instead, he keeps goading his cultists into a frenzy. 

During the campaign, Nevada campaign chair Roberta Lange committed the "sin" of not allowing the Bernie cultists to break the agreed-upon rules. They wanted to rig the system; she would not allow it. As a result, Bernie's army of fanatics barraged her with messages like these:

Lange's voicemail included a number of death threats. Berniebots sent her images of guillotines and other implements of death. What they inflicted upon her and her family was nothing less than terrorism.

After the BernieBros lapsed into violence in Vegas, Sanders refused to apologize to Lange. The man was a complete coward who could not accept responsibility for the behavior of his crazed acolytes. He has never offered even the slightest criticism of his followers, no matter how bad their behavior. He has steadfastly refused to address the issue of Russian involvement in his own campaign, just as he refuses to discuss the irregularities of his finances.

Displaying a positively Trumpian aversion to self-doubt and self-criticism, Bernie Sanders kept whipping up hatred, primarily hatred of the Democratic party. His disciples became so warped that they lost their humanity.

Do you think that Roberta Lange was even slightly surprised to learn that yesterday's shootings were the work of a BernieBro?

Bernie Sanders created James Hodgkinson. Bernie Sanders is every bit as responsible as Hodgkinson is for the bullets that were fired yesterday.

Suppose someone living down the street were to give a dog rabies deliberately and then let the creature loose in your neighborhood. If the dog kills someone in your family, which party deserves your blame? You can't blame the animal: It was diseased. You blame the fool who created such a dangerous situation.

I hold Bernie Sanders personally responsible the shooting of Representative Scalise and four others. I also hold Sanders at least partially responsible for the murders committed by Jeremy Joseph Christian.

Not only that. I consider the late James Hodgkinson and Jeremy Christian to be (in a sense) the victims of Bernie Sanders, just as I consider Patricia Krenwinkle and Susan Atkins to be (in a sense) the victims of Charles Manson. Although a cult follower who commits an act of violence cannot escape personal culpability, the leader of that cult bears the ultimate responsibility.
Nice work, Joseph. A great piece and a great read.

Oh, and just so you know, the unhinged H.A. Goodman has blamed the shootings on Hillary and Bill Clinton via Twitter. Why hasn't this nutball been committed?
I don't go as far as you to put the bulk of the blame on Bernie for the shootings. But I'm sorry. Those who think Bernie had nothing to do with this is straight up gaslighting. Bernie ran a campaign based on anger and hostility at a "rigged" system. When you claim that everything is rigged and that you are the savior to fix everything, when you then lose an election, it is only logical for your supporters to go outside the political system to express themselves. Despite countless incidents of supporters committing harassment and making violent threats in his name, he not only did virtually nothing do dissuade them, he often validated their grievances. Did Bernie ever personally advocate violence like Trump? No. But he created an environment and advocated a message where violence is a logical answer to the problems he talked about.

The way I see it, there are two groups of Bernie supporters.

(1) The cultists. You know who these are and they include both yesterday's and the Portland shooter.
(2) Those who are not cultists but want to move the party in a leftward direction and support Bernie as an effective advocate.

I obviously have no patience for (1) and gave up on them long ago. But I'm almost at the point where I can no longer respect (2). To support Bernie Sanders is to support someone that he reaches out to cultists that engage in harassment, lies, and have a desire to destroy the Democratic Party. How can you simultaneously think Bernie can be an effective advocate to move the Democratic Party to left while at the same he appeals to those who engage in deplorable behavior including wanting to destroy the party that these people want to move to the left? You can't square the two which is why those in (2) often pretend that (1) either doesn't exist or that every politician has these kinds of supporters and it's no big deal. This is obviously not true to deny the toxic elements at the core of Bernie Sanders's movement, which at best Bernie does nothing to control, is to engage in either willful naivete or gaslighting.

As someone who worked as a pollster in the last election, and a Bernie supporter, I have to tell you, a lot of this is dead wrong. I don't know where you are getting you are information, but the facts remain that had Bernie been the candidate, he would have won overwhelmingly and most likely would have took back the House and Senate. We also know that Hillary and the DNC cheated their asses off to prevent Bernie from winning. Be careful what you accept as truth in today's world. Most of what you hear now are utter lies. Hillary ran the worst campaign and deserved to lose. Sorry to break it to you, but Bernie and his supporters, of which I know many, are not fire breathing morons wanting communism to come back. I have been involved in politics since I was little and people like Warren and Sanders are far better than Trump or Hillary, and history proves that. Stop with the garbage that Sanders is crooked and working for the Russians. I know Bernie. I've met him several times. He is not this corrupt loser like Hillary was. I fail to understand why you degrade Sanders but hold Hillary up to this high standard she so doesn't deserve. The Clintons are corrupt beyond all rhyme or reason and has she won we'd be barely better off then we are now, unless the TPP was something you approved of not to mention the same level of Congressional oversight trying to impeach her. We had two choices in the last election, classic fascism or the corporate brand. Hardly a choice. Why do you think that Hillary would have been better than Bernie when all signs point to her being terrible too. By the way, I predicted all of this five years ago and even called the shooting this week 48 hours previous. We are headed for a civil war. Had Bernie been elected, and try to tell me he wasn't cheated out of the nomination by Hillary, we would be in a far better place then we are now regardless of what you think. Facts say we are really screwed now because Hillary was the nominee and not Sanders.
I used to like Sanders. Then 2016 happened. Now I loathe the man. His phoney socialism couldn't be more apparent than when some people would say they can't decide between trump or Sanders and that didn't bothered him not one bit. Any self respecting leftist would have gone berserk over it. Not him though. Forget about his crazy followers, his own wife was urging the FBI to lock Hillary up. So I wish the DNC would grow something and deal with the menace.
Thanks for including the berniebot for an example of willful ignorance.
I thought he'd amuse you, zee. Especially the bit about Sanders winning the election. There's video of him, which the Republicans obtained, with the Sandanistas as they chant "Death to America!" Yeah. The electorate would have LOVED that.

The rest of that nut's commentary was equally loopy.
RationalWiki on the Horseshoe theory.
Good stuff.
Bravo, Joseph. You made the case brilliantly. Thank you.
St. Bernard publicly expressed some weird views of sexuality back in his younger days.

Maybe he acted on them while he was visiting the old USSR?

Maybe Putin has audio-visual evidence of that?

As (IIRC) Our Lady of Perpetual Inebriation (aka Peggy Noonan) said, "It would be irresponsible not to speculate..." ;)
It just amazes me the twisted logic those Burned apply to come up with Bernie would have won. He won the state's where it's easier to cheat(caucuses). Still he came up short. Now they wanted the DNC which they have been savaged and accused to be be dishonest to force the super delegates to switch to him. The super delegates they were trying to rid of all along. Then when he won the nomination they expected all those Hillary's supporter to be quite and obedient. Just how juvenile and retarded at that to come up with that scenario.
Bernie sure did add weight to the evidence he's tied to Putin this week. (probably not just via Tad Devine, but directly- note his refusal, like Trump, to release even one full tax return) Bernie and Rand Paul (interesting development there, has Putin business buddies been donating to Rand lately?) were the only 2 senators who voted against sanctions on Russia. (Even the other Republicans we already know are getting paid by Russian businessmen voted for the sanctions)

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