Exposed: A Sanders staffer’s dreams of terror

Bernie Sanders

We don’t see it as part of our mission on this site to take sides in American presidential races. But since our whole raison d’être is to call out the fans of totalitarianism, it’s impossible, in the year 2020, to close our eyes to a campaign in which one of the more successful major-party candidates is a self-identified socialist – a man who, for heaven’s sake, actually honeymooned in the Soviet Union and has expressed admiration for the Castro regime in Cuba. To some people who would never vote for him in a million years, Bernie Sanders may seem an innocuous enough figure – like a crazy but lovable grandpa who caught the “progressive” bug in his youth and whose one pleasure, in his dotage, is to rant about capitalism. To his unsettlingly large number of supporters, however, Sanders – who until running for the Democratic nomination was not a registered Democrat but an independent socialist – is a breath of fresh air, an outsider who, like Trump in the 2016 campaign, challenges the two-party system and promises to shake up the status quo. Moreover, it’s not just young people, born after the fall of the Soviet Union and taught by left-wing professors to despise America and admire socialism, who plan to cast their votes for Bernie: only recently, we were dismayed to see the actor and comedian Larry David, who is famous not only for creating Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm but also for playing Sanders (brilliantly) in skits on Saturday Night Live, telling an interviewer that he admires Bernie and that America would be a lot better off with him as president. We thought David – who is no spring chicken – was smarter than that.

James O’Keefe

Is there any chance that a significant number of Bernie’s fans will peel off after they see the sensational video that was released on January 14 by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas? O’Keefe and his team specialize in hidden-camera exposés of teachers’ unions, media organizations, groups like ACORN and Planned Parenthood, and, not least, political campaigns. In one instance after another, they have shed light on the actual – which is to say, often shabby, corrupt, and reprehensible – agendas behind the anodyne public rhetoric. In the case of the Sanders campaign, they captured on camera Kyle Jurek, an Iowa field organizer for Sanders, calling Trump supporters fascists and saying that “The only thing that fascists understand is violence. So the only way you can confront them is with violence.” If Trump gets reelected, Jurek said, cities will “burn,” because “we have to save f***ing human civilization.” If Bernie doesn’t get nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Jurek promised, he and his cronies will beat up police, because “we” will have “nothing left to lose.”

Kyle Jurek

And if Sanders is elected? Jurek promised a “Reign of Terror.” Even leftist MSNBC isn’t leftist enough for him: he spoke enthusiastically of dragging MSNBC journalists out of their studios and “light[ing] them on fire in the streets.” Mere liberals, he promised, will be sent to a “Gulag”; they’ll “get the f***ing wall first.” Meaning, of course, that they will be lined up against a wall and gunned down, Che Guevara style. “In Cuba, what did they do to reactionaries?” he asked. “They shot them on the beach. Do you want to fight against the revolution? You’re gonna die for it, mother***er.” In a commentary at the end of this explosive video, O’Keefe asked: “Is Kyle Jurek the true but hidden face of the Sanders campaign?” He added that this was only the first of multiple videos about Jurek that Project Veritas would be releasing, and that those to come would be even worse.

Scene from an Antifa riot

Does Sanders share Jurek’s views and aspirations? Well, of course Sanders has never promised a “Reign of Terror.” Then again, he’s expressed fondness for regimes that have engaged in reigns of terror. In any case, one thing is certain: Jurek is not alone. Others who have lined up behind Bernie share Jurek’s extreme politics. And of course the promise of violence is not just talk: groups like Antifa, which are pretty much on the same page politically as Jurek, have staged riots around the U.S., causing physical harm to their political opponents and serious damage to private property. They are cut from the same cloth as the Bolsheviks who murdered the Romanovs, filled the Gulags, and carried out the Holodomor; cut from the same cloth as the Maoists who staged the Cultural Revolution in China; cut from the same cloth as the SS and Gestapo officers who herded Jews onto trains to Auschwitz. The thirst for terror, violence, and tyrannical power never dies; the price of freedom is, as ever, eternal vigilance against aspiring Stalins, Castros, and Che Guevaras. Kudos to Project Veritas for showing us that one of these aspiring Ches can be found performing a not inconsiderable job within a major presidential campaign.

Bernie’s economics

The image of Bernie Sanders as a lovable kook – a cranky but harmless Communist grandpa – was perhaps cemented for all time by Larry David’s hilarious impersonation of the Vermont pol on Saturday Night Live on October 17.

But there’s nothing funny about the real Sanders’s politics. He’s been representing the people of the Green Mountain State in Washington for nearly a quarter century – serving as the state’s only House member from 1991 to 2007 and as Senator since 2007. Although he’s running for President as a Democrat, he’s never been belonged to either party, and has served longer on Capitol Hill without a party affiliation than anyone else, ever.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, gestures as he speaks at the Californi Democrats State Convention in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, April 30, 2011. Sanders called on Democrats to work together to stop what he calls the GOP's attack on the middle class.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Bernie Sanders

He calls himself a “democratic socialist” and says he admires the political systems in the Nordic countries. We’re not the first observers to point out that his image of the Nordic countries seems hopelessly stuck in the past – but, then, his politics in general seem hopelessly stuck in the past. Although born in 1941, he brings to mind the raving New York Communists of the 1930s, who, from the safety of America, cheered Uncle Joe Stalin, turning a blind eye to the Gulag, the show trials, and the Ukrainian famine, and forgiving him for the shock of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as soon as Hitler invaded Russia. Listening to Sanders, you’d think socialism had never been tried – you’d think, in fact, that the entire twentieth century had never happened, and its horrific lessons never been learned.

Vermont is a pretty blue state, but Sanders is so far left that one suspects that for many voters there, a vote for him in a House or Senate election may not necessarily represent an affirmation of his entire worldview but may, instead, be a way of getting their little corner of the country noticed, and – just maybe – an attempt to shake things up, to give the two-party system a poke in the eye. One Sanders on Capitol Hill, in any event, doesn’t endanger the prosperity or security of the Republic. But the idea of Sanders as a serious presidential candidate is something else again. And the fact that he’s drawing huge, enthusiastic crowds – and getting standing ovations on programs like Bill Maher’s Real Time – is deeply worrying.

This is, after all, a guy who supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, praised their “very deep convictions,” met with their leader, Daniel Ortega, and – while serving as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, before his entry into national politics – arranged for his burg and Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, to be “sister cities.”

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Beautiful downtown Yaroslavl

This is a guy who honeymooned in the Soviet Union – specifically, in the glamorous tourist mecca (not!) of Yaroslavl, which he also made a “sister city” of Burlington. This is a guy who vacationed in Cuba in 1989, met with the mayor of Havana, and tried unsuccessfully to arrange a tête-à-tête with Fidel Castro – whom he admires greatly, insisting “that he educated [Cubans’] kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society,” and saying that “just because Ronald Reagan dislikes” Castro and his cronies “doesn’t mean that people in their own nations feel the same way.”

This is a guy who, during his years as mayor, reportedly had “a socialism-inspired softball team…called the ‘People’s Republic of Burlington.’” This is a guy who, before getting into politics, “wrote, produced, and sold ‘radical film strips’ and other education materials to schools about people like Eugene Debs.” (In fact, Sanders “still has a portrait of Debs on the wall of his Senate office, and calls him a ‘hero of mine.’”)

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Empty supermarket shelves in the socialist paradise of Venezuela

At a time, moreover, when chavismo has emptied Venezuela’s supermarket shelves and rendered the bolívar virtually worthless, Sanders has nothing to say about that disaster – which is a direct result of the kind of socialist policies he calls for – but is busy complaining on the campaign trail about the “choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers” that America offers at a time when, as he claims, “children are hungry in this country.”

In short, he’s a guy who doesn’t understand economics. He’s a guy for whom the real-world consequences of implementing economic policies matter less than the ideological impulse underlying those policies. And that ideology? It’s an ideology that’s led him, throughout his career, to embrace tyrants and belittle liberty.