Editorial: Ignoring him didn't work, so get the knives
With his overwhelming win in the Granite State, Sen. Bernie Sanders can expect the sheathed knives to come out for sharpening.
We will have to wait until after South Carolina and Nevada to see how those knives are wielded. While he has had to withstand the attacks from the far right over the years, which deliberately and maliciously conflates Marxism with Sander's democratic socialism, Sanders now will have to confront the lies, deceit, and false representations of his policies by more well-respected "think" tanks and "social advocacy" groups (read: super pacs).
Less-respectable "news" sites on the Internet and those with backing from groups and individuals with agendas related to the corporatization of America have not waited to attack Sanders.
Case in point: The self-proclaimed Accuracy In Media, which bills itself as "a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage."
In reality, AIM is nothing more than a fossil-fueled propaganda machine designed to serve the needs of the oligarchy that has perverted American democracy and is intent on destroying the world's resources in return for all the gold it can hoard. According to SourceWatch, AIM's financial backers include Bethlehem Steel, the Carthage Foundation (a branch of the Scaife Foundations), Chevron, Ciba-Geigy, Coors Foundation, Dressor Industries, Exxon, the Lawrence Fertig Foundation, Getty Oil, Horizon Oil and Gas, IBM, Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical, F.M. Kirby Foundation, Mobil Foundation, Pepsico, Phillips Petroleum Company, Smith Richardson Charitable Trust,Texaco Philanthropic Foundation and Union Carbide. Anything obvious pop out at you?
In an August 2015 article posted on AIM's website, states Sanders is carrying water for "greedy" George Soros and has been unfairly critical of the Koch Brothers. "While the Koch brothers make products that are useful to people, Soros manipulated and exchanged currencies to make his initial fortune," wrote AIM's Cliff Kincaid. "He was convicted of insider trading in France. His currency manipulations against the Bank of England, which damaged the Pound and hurt the investments of ordinary people, earned him $1 billion."
Just to be factual, Soros' alleged insider-trading behavior occurred in 1988. And Soros wasn't alone in his "currency manipulations," as noted by Thomas Jaffe and Dyan Machan: "They bet that the politicians and central banks could not much longer maintain artificially high exchange rates in the interests of European unity."
And according to BloombergBusiness, "Soros has given away more than $8 billion in the last 30 years to promote democracy, foster free speech, improve education and fight poverty around the world, he said in a recent essay. He announced on Oct. 3 (2011) that he would give $27.4 million over the next five years to the Millennium Villages program, a United Nations project to eradicate poverty in Africa."
But AIM's criticism of Soros is not limited to his amazing prowess at making money. "One of the biggest causes into which Soros has poured millions of dollars is the legalization of dangerous drugs," wrote Kincaid, including marijuana, a statement that is too easy a target to even deserve a snarky retort.
Kincaid dug out a 1972 Sanders letter to a local newspaper, "in which he said he supported abolishing 'all laws dealing with abortion, drugs, sexual behavior (adultery, homosexuality, etc.) ...'" Again, no snarky retort necessary.
Soros and, by extension, Sanders, is also "guilty" of morally and financially supporting movements such as Occupy and organizations such as Critical Resistance, which Kincaid claims is a "Marxist-oriented" group "founded by long-time communist Angela Davis. Her goal is to empty the prisons because, she argues, they are filled with victims of capitalism." But that's not what Davis, who has been an easy target for right-wing smear groups for years, said. Here is her quote: "They contend that they are political prisoners in the sense that they are largely the victims of an oppressive politico-economic order, swiftly becoming conscious of the causes underlying their victimization." Can't argue with that, but any "news" site funded by the aforementioned will find a way to simplify and distort such an educated argument.
Kincaid notes that Soros isn't the only billionaire financing groups or causes that Sanders believes in. "Others include billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, billionaire gay activist Tim Gill, and billionaire anti-Second Amendment advocate Michael Bloomberg."
While Sanders has been critical of the oligarchy, contends Kincaid, he adores the oligarchs that support the causes he also supports. Of course, while the above-mentioned billionaires who believe in the same causes that Sanders does put their money to what they believe is the good of society and the world at large, the oligarchs that Sanders criticizes are intent on investing in an agenda that will bend democracy to their will for their own financial benefit (such as the Koch Brothers funded American Legislative Exchange Council, whose other funders include the Castle Rock Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and Richard Scaife, and the Allegheny Foundation has held over $11 million of ALEC board member Altria's stock, along with major stock holdings in other ALEC corporate board members such as Kraft, Coca Cola, AT&T, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and Exxon, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.
It's not surprising that AIM and its corporate backers are hoping to puncture Sanders' campaign success, because for the past 30 years he has been in attack mode — heaping scorn upon those who manipulate the puppet strings and exposing the hypocrisies and absurdities of the libertarian movement and "trickle down" while seeking justice for the poor, the imprisoned, the vulnerable, veterans and those victimized by our military-industrial complex.
Yes, wrote Kincaid, the Kochs and their co-evals have promised to spend millions upon millions of dollars to influence elections in the United States, but over 32 years "the Soros Foundations concede they spent $1.5 billion 'to promote reform in the United States on issues such as criminal justice, drugs, palliative care, education, immigration, equal rights, and democratic governance.'" Um ... OK.
It seems Sanders' messages of economic justice and political reform are resonating with many people in America today. While we can't predict who will occupy the Oval Office in January of 2017, we relish the fight Sanders is bringing to the forefront of American politics and enjoy his "cranky old uncle" attack on the powers that be. We hazard a guess that Sanders also relishes and enjoys his role in political theater today, because it serves his life-long dedication to true American values and not the values of the plutocrats.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.