The latest Bernie Sanders smear

I personally like the heavy sarcasm of this Splinter article.

In a move that is sure to be received in good faith and with nuance by everyone, Bernie Sanders has told the New York Times that he will release 10 years worth of his tax returns by Monday—and confirmed that he is now a millionaire, something we already knew from his 2017 Senate financial disclosure.

Indeed, I suspect it is highly unlikely that Sanders’ critics will leap on his millionaire status, as the Times pointed out and was definitely not super weird about:

Bernie is now worth $2.5 million, which still leaves him as one of the poorer members of Congress. $1.7 million came from his recent books. So how is this a bad thing?

What does Sanders, the scourge of the wealthy, have to say about his own wealth? He is uncharacteristically silent: A Sanders spokesman didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

In fact Sanders did respond. Forbes just didn't wait for it.

The next step might be for Sanders, who routinely vilifies “millionaires and billionaires” on the campaign trail, to say something constructive about work and wealth, and how to use public policy to promote them.

When asked about his happy financial status, Sanders offered this bit of wisdom: “I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”

Oh.

But what if you’re the owner of a small business, or an entrepreneur, or a dentist? Are those equally acceptable routes to becoming a millionaire? What if you’re a farmer, or an engineer, or an investor? Do those count?

This is weak even by MSM standards.
It's almost like they haven't listened to what Bernie has said at all. He's been denouncing it what the 1% has been DOING, not being.
They've created a strawman argument.
Bernie wants us to be more like Denmark and Sweden, and no one in Scandinavia gets modestly wealth there. Not.

But the big smear of Bernie is hypocrisy.

Socialism is not about giving away wealth. Socialism is about the acquisition of wealth. It is never about sharing wealth. Sharing wealth is called charity. People who want to share their wealth give money away to charity. They give it a bum on the street, they give it to their church, they give it to nonprofit organizations and charities. Socialism is about accumulation. It’s about the accumulation of wealth and the accumulation of power. It’s about saying too many people have too many things out there, we’re going to not give anything away, but we’re going to take that wealth away from them and concentrate it in the hands of a small number of people, also known as the government. That’s socialism.

No. That is NOT socialism. That isn't close to the definition of socialism.
Almost no one on the right even knows what socialism actually is.
And this is something Bernie should point out over and over again.

Conservatives think that there’s some contradiction with millionaire socialists. No, of course, a socialist is going to be a millionaire. All a socialist is concerned with is taking money, bringing in money, and accumulating money. You’ll notice most of the people who are pushing socialism are extremely wealthy. Bernie Sanders is a millionaire.

No. Most wealthy people hate and fear socialism. Most socialists aren't wealthy.
Are you noticing a pattern of strawman arguments here?

Don't think that this smear only gets repeated on the right.

“Bernie is lucky to live in a capitalist society,” CNN’s Erin Burnett remarked on a Tuesday episode of her show. “It’s all very off-brand and embarrassing, but Senator Bernie Sanders is a millionaire,” announced one ThinkProgress piece.
...
If Sanders is a hypocrite, it’s for delaying the release of his tax returns. The size of his bank account has nothing to do with it. A person can criticize capitalism, or even categorically oppose capitalism, despite being wealthy. Left-wing movements always have their class traitors, as any college freshman who is passingly familiar with Friedrich Engels could remind us. In a similar vein, socialism’s antagonists haven’t updated their arguments much over the last century or so. Leftists have frequently been accused of either lusting for other people’s money, or betraying their own cause because they do not live in cardboard boxes. Sanders has been subjected to similar attacks for years. “Bernie Sanders slams billionaires, gets reminded he owns 3 houses,” the Washington Examiner trumpeted in 2017. “Socialist Bernie Sanders Wears a $700 Jacket While Complaining About Rich People,” Newsweek jabbed a year later. (The jacket happened to be a gift.)

I'm hoping that this smear makes it into the debates because Bernie could both hit it out of the park, and use it to educate the public about what socialism actually is.

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Researchers at Clemson University, at the request of The Washington Post, examined English-language tweets that came from Russia and found thousands that were designed to urge Sanders supporters to back Trump.

Of the Russian tweets the researchers analyzed, roughly 9,000 used the word "Bernie," which were "liked" 59,281 times and retweeted 61,804 times.
...
"There is no question that Sanders was central to their strategy. He was clearly used as a mechanism to decrease voter turnout for Hillary Clinton," Darren Linvill, associate professor of communications and one of the researchers who worked on the study, told The Post.
Linvill said the tweets analyzed as part of the study "give us a much clearer understanding of the tactics they were using. It was certainly a higher volume than people thought."

Sanders was "just a tool" to the Russians, Linvill added, and "a wedge to drive into the Democratic Party."

Hillary Dean-Enders Live On

rangers.jpg

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@gjohnsit There is an emerging academic scam which I call "computational propaganda". Academic/researchers use "statistical analysis" to prove that yes the Russians did interfere with the election confirming some deep state narrative. They shape the data to confirm the conclusion they are trying to push. And ZAZAM, the Russians favored Bernie after all. Oh my gawd, Hillary was right--Bernie was in part responsible because he divided the party.

This effort is akin to people who can read the billions of stock market transactions and come to some conclusion as in "markets were down in reaction to Obama's housing plan". And so these studies can intuit Russian strategies, tactics, and motivations. And in every instance they back up once again deep state, DNC, media anti-Russian AND anti-left narratives (BLM--stats show almost a Russian sysops operation.)

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@MrWebster

to anything you want to hear.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@TheOtherMaven I find is that if the data does not fully confess, these researchers then fill in the rest of the confession. For example recent computational propaganda on vaccines and Russians. There was a study of something like 899 tweets of Russian bots interacting with anti-vaccination crowd. The Russian trolls interacting slightly more on the subject than non Russian trolls. That was the end result of the study.

Yet the authors claimed that the Russians were trying to divide us over vaccines by taking pro and con positions. However, the author while claiming Russians were posting both sides knew the Russians did not want kids to be vaccinate. The only conclusion of the study was that identified trolls have several more tweets on vaccinations--extrapolating beyond that is not supported by any evidence of Russian intent.

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Bollox Ref's picture

was a Viscount (Stansgate), until he disclaimed his title in the 1960's.

This Bernie/millionaire thing is a pretty sad smear. $2.5 million is hardly the top 0.01%

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

@Bollox Ref and it took 80 some odd years to accumulate that massive wealth. Puts him right up there with Gates and Zuckerberg.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

And when the general election gets closer, the chosen shit candidate will shill for the capitalist pigs about how we can't have 'socialized medicine' or higher wages or better energy policy or an end to the insane military budget or wars of choice because any of that will immediately turn us into Venezuela or North Korea or whatever the fuck.

No. The only way we'd turn into Venezuela or North Korea is if we were sanctioned to death or had siege warfare laid upon us by some other imperialist power through the UN or some other world government body, and for the moment, that's highly improbable because said bodies are under US control.

You seem to forget that the job of the current Democratic Party, including AOC, Omar, Gabbard and Sanders et al, is to punch down and punch left by sheepdogging us into voting for moderate republicans with black and gay capitalist friends. Fuck them all with iron bars.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

@The Aspie Corner

You seem to forget that the job of the current Democratic Party, including AOC, Omar, Gabbard and Sanders et al, is to punch down and punch left by sheepdogging us into voting for moderate republicans with black and gay capitalist friends.

You know Omar, AOC, and probably Sanders and Gabbard, are getting regular death threats, right?
And AOC is punching down and punching left?

I agree with your statement about the Dem establishment, but there is nuance here.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@gjohnsit

You know Omar, AOC, and probably Sanders and Gabbard, are getting regular death threats, right?

But that's because the rubes aren't smart enough to know this is a work, not a shoot.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

Pricknick's picture

@gjohnsit

You know Omar, AOC, and probably Sanders and Gabbard, are getting regular death threats, right?

Not that you're wrong, yet I've seen so many here use that excuse for why the candidates campaign the way they do and few of them complain about following the dem machine into it's next great loss.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick

I've seen so many here use that excuse for why the candidates campaign the way they do

I probably wasn't clear on this.
The claim was that "AOC, Omar, Gabbard and Sanders et al, is to punch down and punch left".

My point is that if your opposition is going batshit crazy about people who you think are insufficiently strident, then maybe you need to step back and reasses the situation.

It's something I learned from economics - humility. It doesn't matter if you "are right". If the markets say you are wrong, then you are wrong.

In politics, your opposition gets a vote too. Even when they are "wrong".
The political environment is relative. It's part ideology, and part reality.

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Pricknick's picture

@gjohnsit
of people everywhere, including here, stating that bernie has received death threats (probably in your words) and that is why he has done what he has. It's getting very old and does nothing to justify his actions.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick
but that still wasn't my point.

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Azazello's picture

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...to actually understand the nuance, and the fact that the press (at the behest of the status quo) is, pretty much, "managing" this entire show. I'm certain Bernie will handle the response to this bullshit (about his new-found cash/wealth) just fine. He's got LOTS of ammo to do so, based upon his CONSISTENT record over many decades (and as noted elsewhere, including your post's content).

(Another Case-In-Point: Hours after the Assange story was breaking Thursday, Bernie's being called a "traitor," and every other name in the book, around here. Why? Because there's actually a lot of nuance to the charges being levied against Assange; and, perhaps, what's more interesting is what they're not charging Assange on/with. But, this all takes a deeper dive. And, more pertinent to these matters is that this deeper dive has yet to occur. The truth is, however, that any semblance of a free press will be thrown out the window if Assange ends up doing time! Assumptions are being made, across the board, re: Sanders comprehensive response to this issue! So, why bother to note these "more complicated" facts? Because it's more convenient for bloggers to jump to conclusions--and reinforce their previously-stated, anti-Bernie, biased/predisposed positions--and to make the statement: "Bernie sucks!" [And numerous variations of same, around here, today.] This entire Assange matter is just beginning to play out, as is every thoughtful politician's response to it. )

Good post, gjohnsit!

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Hawkfish's picture

@bobswern

Many will claim that he “benefited” from WL revelations so he can’t just say random stuff in response.

I’m supporting him now but I have significant disagreements on some issues and I respect that others may have more serious ones. Generally, I have found him to have his heart and immediate reactions in the right place. This particular issue, though, is not one that he should respond to without careful thought.

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We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
- Greta Thunberg

@Hawkfish @Hawkfish The Dem establishment is more than happy to lump Bernie in WL, Russiagate, etc.. Anything Bernie has to say, with respect to Assange, needs to be a very carefully thought out statement.

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@bobswern
Sometimes I'm reminded of this.

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Wally's picture

@gjohnsit

“Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.”

-- William Shakespeare

And thanks for the very poignant Monty Python observations.

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snoopydawg's picture

@bobswern

then why can't Bernie. How hard is it for him to come at it from the journalism point like Tulsi does here?

Today’s arrest & indictment of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent of criminal prosecution of journalists who publish info the govt doesn’t like & opens the door for other countries to extradite US journalists who publish their country’s secrets.

This is a big issue for many people and Bernie's silence on is very noticeable.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg

Like many others here, I've been following this latest Assange story, closely, for the past 48+ hours. And, it's just over the past 6-12 hours that I'm realizing it is yet another very nuanced story. You should read Taibbi's latest on this, as well as Caitlin's.

And, for the record, I'm reading a lot of interesting press from other sources on this, too. There are MANY folks talking about the implications for a free press--which is obviously not free, but what little that remains of it in this country IS writing about those realities--as well. Long story short: A surprising number of folks in the MSM understand the ugly implications of this latest chapter in the Assange story. And, some of them (in the MSM) are writing (and publishing) some interesting pieces as you read this! Obviously, the majority of folks are going with the status quo's party line, but NOT all of 'em, this time around. It IS about their livelihood, after all. And, dare I say it, but some folks in the MSM are pushing back, subtly, for the moment; again, because the story's just playing out, as we blog. (This is going to take a little time. And, from what I've read, so far, this is NOT a slam-dunk case against Assange that we're talking about, by any means; at least based upon the limited information I've read over the past couple of days...the Eastern District of Virginia, aside. Apparently, those charging documents do require a second and--maybe even--third read, so I'm told.)

Here's Greenwald, from Friday...

And, here's Taibbi, over at Rolling Stone...

Why the Assange Arrest Should Scare Reporters

Matt Taibbi
Contributing Editor
Rolling Stone
Thursday, April 11th, 2019 3:26PM

Julian Assange was arrested in England on Thursday. Though nothing has been announced, there are reports he may be extradited to the United States to face charges related to Obama-era actions.

Here’s the Washington Post on the subject of prosecuting Assange:

“A conviction would also cause collateral damage to American media freedoms. It is difficult to distinguish Assange or WikiLeaks from The Washington Post.”

That passage is from a 2011 editorial, “Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Try Julian Assange.”

The Post editorial of years back is still relevant because Assange is being tried for an “offense” almost a decade old. What’s changed since is the public perception of him, and in a supreme irony it will be the government of Donald “I love WikiLeaks” Trump benefiting from a trick of time, to rally public support for a prosecution that officials hesitated to push in the Obama years.

Much of the American media audience views the arrested WikiLeaks founder through the lens of the 2016 election, after which he was denounced as a Russian cutout who threw an election for Trump...

...

...Last year, we reported a rumored American criminal case against Assange was not expected to have anything to do with 2016, Russians, or DNC emails. This turned out to be the case, as the exact charge is for conspiracy, with Chelsea Manning, to hack into a “classified U.S. government computer.”

The indictment unveiled today falls just short of a full frontal attack on press freedoms only because it indicts on something like a technicality: specifically, an accusation that Assange tried (and, seemingly, failed) to help Manning crack a government password.

For this reason, the language of the indictment underwhelmed some legal experts who had expressed concerns about the speech ramifications of this case before.

“There’s a gray area here,” says University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck. “But the government at least tries to put this at the far end of the gray area.”

Not everyone agreed. Assange lawyer Barry Pollock said the allegations “boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identify of that source.”...

...

...Now that Assange’s extant case has finally been made public, the concern on that score “dissipates,” as one legal expert put it today.

It will therefore be interesting to see if Assange is finally asked about Russiagate by someone in American officialdom. If he isn’t, that will be yet another curious detail in a case that gets stranger by the minute.

As for Assange’s case, coverage by a national press corps that embraced him at the time of these offenses — and widely re-reported his leaks — will likely focus on the narrow hacking issue, as if this is not really about curtailing legitimate journalism.

In reality, it would be hard to find a more extreme example of how deep the bipartisan consensus runs on expanding the policing of leaks.

Donald Trump, infamously and ridiculously, is a pronounced Twitter fan of WikiLeaks, even comparing it favorably to the “dishonest media.” His Justice Department’s prosecution of Assange seems as counter-intuitive as the constitutional lawyer Barack Obama’s expansion of drone assassination programs...

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

snoopydawg's picture

@bobswern

And it's not just Bernie's silence on this issue. He's also pushing Russia Gate bullshit that has caused lots of censorship. His statement on Venezuela was basically the same as the establishments except he doesn't want to send the military in. How many more things does he get a pass on before we're being called purity trolls? Which is what many of us here have been called on another site as well as simply rotten human beings.

I'm sorry, but if people can't say anything after a political refugee was literally dragged out of an embassy because this country doesn't like what he's done then yeah I'm going to have something to say about that. For gawd's sake Julian is now in one of the worst prisons in London instead of being in hospital for his many medical issues.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

SnappleBC's picture

@snoopydawg

There is an ever-growing laundry list of places that Sanders is just plain not present and accounted for. That list is not, at this time, long enough for me to totally toss him aside as a lost cause. It is, however, plenty long enough for me to question whether he is the general I want in this fight. I simply do not think that playing nice with the establishment does anything other than hand them the win.

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A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

@bobswern @bobswern to help Assange is to start reprinting "Wikileaks Greatest Hits", just to show what you know today would have stayed hidden without it. Think about what the photos from Abu Ghraib did. I know they weren't Wikileaks. But would those photo's even see the light of day if it happened today? Would the photographer be rotting away in a prison right now? Would we look at our military differently if the photos never surfaced? It has to be about truth, not they lies they tell us.

Edit; Wiki leaks did publish logs detailing the torture, abuse and summary executions of prisoners in Iraq by the CIA and the military.

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Wally's picture

@bobswern

Nuance.

Sometimes you have to let people down, especially in show business.

-- Dusty Springfield

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@bobswern what is happening to Assange, nor any need for a nuanced reaction. He is being and will be further tortured.
I do not equate the conspiracy to commit a crime indictment with any political imperative to parse.
Bernie does.
Wait and see what the polls and analytics reveal, then go over the response for hours until all your campaign people agree on the verbiage. Don't piss of voters, don't piss off donors...
I am reading "Shattered".
I thought the book would be a slam on Hillary's campaign from right winger's, but it revealed a lot about Bernie's. It slams everybody. Including Trump.
The New Bernie has learned a lot about how not to speak his mind, how to wait and see, walk a tight rope.
That is not how a People's Revolution works.
Stand up for Assange, or just go home.

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Centaurea's picture

@on the cusp

Wait and see what the polls and analytics reveal, then go over the response for hours until all your campaign people agree on the verbiage. Don't piss of voters, don't piss off donors...

What next, focus groups?

That's not what I expected my donation to Bernie's campaign to be used for.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea one of her campaign guys approached Devine, asked him to drop the killer ads about Goldman Sachs ahead of the NY primaries.
The ads were taken down.

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@on the cusp focus groups coming soon.

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Wally's picture

@bobswern

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This is a phony attack on Bernie. But there are way too many legitimate problems with Bernie for me to ever support him again. See Done. by DKMich below.

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chuck utzman

TULSI 2020

Big Al's picture

millionaires in Congress (not just me of course), and now I'm told by the democratic party that it's all relative because they're just benefiting from the system that all normal people benefit from, or would if in their places, just like Trump, and that being a millionaire just ain't what it used to be, unless it is. Sounds kind of like the mega-preachers who fly Lear jets to vacation homes while asking the masses for five bucks for the cause.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

He's in an even more "delicate" position than Bernie, with one foot in 10 Downing Street and the other on banana peels thrown under it by the Lamestream Media. But he didn't hesitate to speak out.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Wally's picture

@TheOtherMaven

. . . and leader of the Labour Party.

There's no comparable position in the US.

It's a different ball of wax.

I don't think Bernie would have moved to have Assange charged, extradited and tried if he was elected president.

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@Wally but it's awfully close. Bernie might be considered the leader of the progressive wing of the DP. We might therefore expect him to speak out on important public matters, esp those which directly affect our dying democracy. And speak out as a strong progressive, as Corbyn, and not the weak, tepid Bernie reading largely from the DeepState handouts on Russiagate and Venezuela.

It's also not an issue of what would Bernie have done w/Assange, which is easy. But whether he will speak out forcefully now, when it matters, against this travesty of justice.

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Wally's picture

@wokkamile

. . . lock, stock and barrel? And are now wielding pitchforks? They're a frenzied mob.

Problem is that nobody in the Dem field is going to get elected to president without their support.

They're already blaming Bernie for being a beneficiary of the Wikileaks releases.

It's a fucked up situation. On many levels.

Bernie's damned if he does speak up. And damned if he doesn't.

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@Wally to condemn this arrest.
I know he doesn't want to lose a chance for Hillary voters.
What bothers me is that he is not going after the left wing.
We put him on the stage.
He seems to have evolved.

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I remember when Edwards was running and who was running on helping poor people as part of his program. The rap repeated over and over again was how can a millionaire understand and help poor people. And it stuck. It was repeated mindlessly by the mass media including outlets like NPR. Forget he came from a poor background himself and made his money as a lawyer.

Given what happened with Edwards, I hope Bernie attacks this bullshit head on and constantly. One thing anti-leftists and gopers do fairly well is use class resentment effectively--and this issue will be hit constantly especially in the anti-Bernie mass media.

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