Paid by Putin: Bernie Sanders' Ongoing Conspiracy Against the United States
Follow the money.
For nearly 14 months, Bernie Sanders' role in Russia's unprecedented attack against our nation has gone conveniently underreported. It made sense after all as our corporate media needed him for their weekly "Democrats In Disarray" segments. Chris Hayes needs Bernie like an addict needs his fix. Chuck Todd continues to gracefully gave Sanders unprecedented airtime which was in no way related to his wife's firm giving $2 million to the Bernie 2016 PAC. Cenk Uygur and The Young Turks gleefully propped up Sanders' candidacy and have continued to speak of him in glowing terms, which surely had nothing to do with their $4 million contribution from former Republican governor Buddy Roemer or Uygur's convenient transition from a Republican to a Democrat during the George W. Bush Administration. At a time when nearly the entire world is vocally denouncing Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders' silence has been deafening.
Yet Sanders continues to be given airtime for precisely that reason: he speaks to secondary issues, his go-to issues, during a time when the majority of media coverage is centered on Donald Trump and Russia. What's ironic is the fact that these platforms are only available to Sanders because he admittedly ran as a Democrat for the media exposure during the 2016 Democratic primary campaign. Then and only then could he have the much-needed access to public debates, interviews, software, and all other resources afforded to him by the Democratic National Committee. Sanders ended up using all these opportunities to enrich himself and those closest to him. During the campaign, Sanders attended Hamilton, the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and flew to the Vatican all thanks to his newly afforded lifestyle. As his campaign progressed, he replaced his talk about the "evil millionaires and billionaires" and replaced it with "billionaires." That seems to be directly related to the fact that Sanders himself became a millionaire thanks to the campaign and could now afford such luxuries as a third home and a $700 jacket. All and all, not too bad for a self-described Democratic socialist who didn't have a steady paycheck until just shy of his 40th birthday.
But like all good socialists, Sanders was a giver. In particular, he gave to those closest to him. For example, Sanders was quite generous to his pal and longtime friend and adviser, Tad Devine. Devine's Old Towne Media Company, which made upwards of $12 million on the campaign, has been revealed to be a shell company with no actual building or staff. In addition, the consulting firm of Devine, Mulvey, Longabaugh, Inc. was pulling in a cool $800,000 a month, of which Devine received a percentage as well. Sanders also gave generously to his campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, who went from running a comic book store in Virginia to pulling in a six-figure salary every three months. While millions of Americans generously gave $27, Sanders and his closest advisers were working their way into the 1% of all Americans.
But like all rags-to-riches stories, this one deserves scrutiny. In particular, because one does not simply run for president out of the blue without having widespread support from a political base. Outside of Vermont, Bernie Sanders had no national following. His informal campaign announcement was widely panned. After Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders would be facing more diverse demographics, something he had no experience dealing with. Sanders had never helped fundraise for any other candidate. He was going up against two seasoned Democratic politicians in Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley. And, perhaps most importantly, he was engaging in all of this as one of the poorest members of the United States Senate.
So who helped Bernie make his money?
With recent revelations this past week regarding Russia propping up the Sanders campaign, that particular question bears revisiting. In particular, we must look at Sanders himself who stated that Russian oligarchs don't prop someone up unless they know they are getting something in return. Seeing as they had an official investment in Sanders, the Russians clearly expected something. What were they expecting and did Bernie deliver?
To analyze this question, we have to ask what Sanders might have had that the Russians needed. The answer, it seems, would be information. In particular, information related to Hillary Clinton.
In December of 2015, Bernie Sanders' campaign was caught breaking into the DNC software, NPG-VAN, and accessing voter information related to Hillary Clinton's campaign. As a result of this, the DNC suspended Sanders' access to the software, much to the chagrin of Sanders and his staff. In fact, rather than admitting their mistake, the Sanders team accused the DNC of a grand conspiracy against them and filed a lawsuit in a desperate attempt to defend their honor. After several months, the lawsuit was dropped but not before the idea had been planted that the DNC was somehow out to get Sanders. In fact, it was this incident that would drive the campaign for the next 7 months as they began their desperate attempt to paint themselves as the victims of a system rigged against Bernie and only Bernie.
Yet the severity of the data breach was much more significant than anyone imagined. Josh Uretsky, the Sanders digital staffer who took responsibility for the breach and was fired, claimed that the event did not benefit the campaign in any way. However, it was this event that was later referenced by hacker Guccifer 2.0 at a London show in September of 2016. Referencing the breach, Guccifer, said in a written statement:
As it was agreed.
Lost on every single worldwide media outlet seems to be an admission that Bernie Sanders' campaign was actively working with a Russian hacker to target DNC software. If true, then right there, in December of 2015, we have foreign influence into Sanders' campaign and we also have Sanders' campaign openly conspiring against the United States by aiding a foreign adversary's efforts to gain access to stolen data. This single event, when viewed through this lens, goes a long way in analyzing the rest of the Sanders campaign.
As was mentioned, once Sanders' campaign got going, money started to flow in. Thanks to recent revelations, we know part of that foreign money came from the Australian Labor Party. However, looking at Sanders' potential relationship with Guccifer 2.0 and Russia, we then can start to really look at his campaign finances. In particular, just two months after the data breach at a time when Sanders had momentum after strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, his campaign was the benefactor of a mysterious $10 million donation from a single zip code in Washington, DC. This donation was never explained and it ended becoming a harbinger of things to come. In May, Sanders had 639 FEC violations for excessive donations at a time when his campaign had raised over $200 million dollars. Despite a campaign being allegedly driven by $27 donations, it appeared as if dozens, if not hundreds of individuals had given more than the $2,700 allowed by law.
In addition to financial support, Sanders was also a benefactor by the Russian online troll farms. As was revealed in Robert Mueller's indictment, Sanders' campaign was amplified as a way to sow division among Democratic voters, mainly through the creation of pro-Sanders and anti-Hillary social media pages and messaging. These media pages not only spread misinformation about Hillary Clinton but they also forced a large segment of her supporters underground, both in online platforms as well as in daily life. Countless Clinton supporters, primarily women, felt harassed and bullied and even progressive websites failed to protect their online communities for fear of alienating Sanders supporters who made up a small but very vocal percentage of their users. With both misinformation and targeted harassment, the Sanders campaign was able to overstate their popularity, especially as the campaign progressed and there was a need to keep the campaign financially solvent.
So with all this foreign money and influence pouring in, what was expected of Sanders?
By positing that there was a quid pro quo with the Russians, we can then look at Sanders' campaign in a new light. Despite promising to run a clean campaign, Sanders quickly fell into a routine of attacking Hillary Clinton, often parroting Republican talking points. By mid-January, he had already jumped on the Goldman Sachs bandwagon and was criticizing Clinton for her paid speeches. By February, he was criticizing Clinton for not being a "true progressive." By March, he was criticizing Clinton's views on trade. By April, he was criticizing Clinton for using George Clooney of all people to help fundraise for down-ballot Democratic candidates. And by May, at a time when Sanders had been mathematically eliminated from contention, he was still criticizing Clinton as having been "anointed" by the Democratic Party. All this was going on at the same time when Sanders recently admitted that his campaign saw strange things going on with Hillary Clinton's campaign and Russian interference yet refused to sound the alarm.
And then, we got to June. After having lost the California primary and losing any semblance of an argument that he was the more qualified candidate, Sanders met with then President Obama on June 9th and pledged to work to defeat Donald Trump. Yet, eight days later Sanders reneged on his pledge and released a video in which he refused to officially concede the nomination, despite having lost by 3.5 million votes and nearly 400 delegates. By spending nearly 5 weeks playing victim and claiming that his campaign had been cheated, Sanders not only sowed division within the Democratic Party but he also provided Donald Trump with an extra 5 weeks of attacks against Clinton while the Democratic Party was not yet united. Even after officially conceding on July 12th, Sanders did nothing to tone down his supporters' divisive rhetoric leading up to and including the first two days of the Democratic National Convention two weeks later.
Despite campaigning for Clinton leading up to the election, Sanders immediately jumped ship as soon as was humanly possible following her defeat. His transition began with a proclamation that he would be willing to work with Donald Trump including working on a $10 minimum wage despite having a $15 minimum wage as being a key issue of his campaign. In July of 2017, Sanders was one of only two senators to vote against a new round of Russian sanctions. Recently, as revelations have come out regarding Russia's influence into his campaign, Sanders chose to blame Hillary Clinton of all people for her inability to stop the Russian hacking, an assertion eerily similar to that offered by Donald Trump. Sanders later was called out when it was revealed that his campaign never officially notified anyone of the suspicious Russian activity targeted against Hillary Clinton and yet, he has continued to insist that his campaign did not know or benefit from the hacking.
With these newest revelations, it cannot be denied that Bernie Sanders was a key part of the Russian attack against our country. With Sanders once being seen as an unwilling stooge, we now have ample evidence to suggest he was actively engaged in a conspiracy against the United States. What we likely have here is a classic quid pro quo agreement. Sanders paved the way the Russian hacking by having his own staffer hack the DNC software. Sanders amplified Republican and later Russian attacks against Hillary Clinton. Sanders voted against Russian sanctions. Even now, Sanders has continued to deflect Russian involvement in his campaign. All while Sanders earned millions of dollars, a large portion of it illegally, and was able to afford a lavish lifestyle that he never thought possible. All it took was for Bernie Sanders to run as a presidential nominee for a party that he famously claimed he would never be a part of and use this run to promote his own personal agenda.
As his agenda, as it turns out, was to conspire against the United States of America.
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