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2016 Democratic Primary Tag

When Bernie Sanders honeymooned in the Soviet Union in 1988, Andrei Sakharov had already been released from internal exile, Refusniks were allowed to leave the country, the press were discussing the legacy of Stalinism and the state was allowing elements of the free market to take hold. The country was in the midst of perestroika, which generated excitement both in the Soviet Union and abroad. Many foreigners came to visit, among them my future brother-in-law, (more about that later) and we were clamoring to meet them, Americans especially.  And sure, it was still the Soviet Union and the GULAGS were still functioning, but without a doubt, things were going in the right direction.  I don't fault the then-Burlington mayor for visiting USSR, it's his ego, his intent and his conclusions that I find problematic. Sanders took his new bride on a trip to Yaroslavl, a historic city on the Golden Ring of Russia, a region known for the quiet exotic charm of onion-domed churches and ornate wooden cottages.  Avert your eyes from the glib Soviet projects --and you got yourself a perfect backdrop for a radical chic honeymoon circa 1988. Bernie played up the radical chic aspect in his book boasting of "a very strange honeymoon". Strange it was because, lets face it, not all  newlyweds surround themselves with an entourage of 10, hob-nob with provincial nomenclatura and tour Lenin's tomb.

One of Bernie Sanders' campaign features has been his eschewing of big donors, especially those on Wall Street.  He's been quite vocal about his pride in collecting only small donations from the grassroots and damning the "corrupt campaign finance system." Watch: The Federal Election Commission, however, has flagged thousands of illegal donations to the Sanders campaign, including those from people donating over the limit and those from foreign nationals. The Washington Free Beacon reports:
Thousands of contributions to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign in January violated federal campaign finance laws, election regulators said on Thursday.

It was a chilling speech in 1996. Speaking in favor of a new crime bill, Hillary Clinton used the term "superpredator" to describe young, mostly black, men who were residual criminals. While the term was not literally limited to blacks, it came to signify and justify the mass incarceration of young black men under harsh sentencing laws:
“They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘superpredators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Early this week, while most people were focusing on the Nevada GOP caucus, CNN held another Democratic Party town hall event. When Bernie Sanders was confronted about the viability of his proposals, he got a little cranky. Jack Heretik reports at the Washington Free Beacon:
Bernie Sanders Tries To Defend Viability Of His Socialist Proposals Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) dismissed criticism of his socialist economic proposals as coming from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during CNN’s Democratic Town Hall Tuesday night.

If you receive Morning Insurrection, you would have seen Prof. Miriam Elman's recommendation to read Jonah Goldberg's piece on the importance of foreign policy in the upcoming election. (If you don't currently read Morning Insurrection see the signup box in the upper right-hand corner of Legal Insurrection.) Goldberg wrote:
We can debate how much blame Obama deserves for Syria’s civil war, but almost no one outside his paid staff disputes that he’s only made things worse. The conflict there has set off the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since the end of World War II — that’s John Kerry’s own assessment — which may yet tear the European Union asunder. The instability closer to the fighting is even more dangerous. Russia and Turkey may soon go to war with one another, as Russia mercilessly and indiscriminately massacres anyone standing in the way of its pet, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The Jordanian monarchy may crumble, in part for a lack of assistance from the United States.

Hillary Clinton has tried to solidify support from black voters by questioning Bernie Sanders' commitment to the civil rights movement but new images have been released which show a young Bernie Sanders being arrested during a civil rights protest. The New York Times reports:
Man Captured on Film Being Arrested in a 1963 Protest is Bernie Sanders, His Campaign Says In recent days, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has questioned Senator Bernie Sanders’s commitment to civil rights, trying to cement her support among black voters who could be crucial in upcoming primaries such as South Carolina’s. A lifeline has now arrived for the Sanders campaign, in the form of film footage more than half a century old.

I don't know that this comes close to the various Obama anthems from 2008, but it's a start. There's a new video anthem for Bernie Sanders, produced by the woman who produced the viral Obama Girl video. The anthem title is "Bernie Bae" (Bae is slang for Before Anyone Else). Time Magazine (which apparently still exists) reports:
The woman who brought us the mega-viral hit “Crush On Obama” is back with another political pop song just begging to go viral. This one is about Bernie Sanders. It’s called “Bernie Bae.” The production values in this music video are much higher this time around—and we have to admit, the song is quite catchy.

As Hillary tries to assure the progressive-socialist base of her party that she is not beholden to corporate or Wall Street money, super PACs supporting her campaign are purposefully wooing these same deep-pocketed donors. The Washington Post reports:
Two powerful organizations within the Democratic establishment announced steps Friday that have the potential to provide substantial financial firepower to presidential contender Hillary Clinton by drawing on the support of wealthy donors and corporate interests. . . . .  Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting Clinton, unleashed a $5 million infusion of spending on her behalf, upending plans to hold its fire until the general election. The move calls attention to growing concern within the party’s leadership that her campaign may be in trouble, and it underscores how crucial several upcoming contests have become in Clinton’s battle with Sanders, a senator from Vermont.

At a campaign appearance in Nevada yesterday, Hillary Clinton told a story about an old campaign ad that featured a barking dog and then... proceeded to bark like a dog. CNN reported:
Hillary Clinton barks like a dog to slam Republicans Clinton was in the middle of a riff about how, in her view, Republicans say things that are not true, when she remembered a radio ad that she said ran in rural Arkansas while her husband, Bill Clinton, was running for office. "(Republicans) actually, with a straight face, say that the great recession was caused by too much regulation on Wall Street. They actually say that," Clinton said.

Bernie Sanders is Jewish and worked on a kibbutz in Israel in the 1960s. Bernie supports Israel's right to exist, though he's decidedly more into the "balanced" approach compared to other candidates, and has questionable Middle East advisors. Bernie doesn't wear either his Judaism or Zionism on his sleeve, unlike his socialism. To the contrary, when given the perfect opportunity at the last Democratic PBS debate Thursday night, February, 2016. Gwen Ifill asked Bernie if his candidacy would "thwart" history by denying the opportunity for Hillary to become the first female president. It was a perfect opportunity for Bernie to make the point that he also would be a first -- the first Jewish president. But Bernie didn't go there, instead he danced around the issue and said that it would be historic for "someone of my background and views" to be president:

As the scandal surrounding her private email server and her apparent mishandling of classified information and FBI suspicion involving her possible public corruption mount, Hillary Clinton bounds joyfully along the Democrat presidential primary trail seemingly without a care in the world. However, not everyone thinks she should be in the presidential race at all given the FBI investigations swirling around her.  Indeed, retired Defense Intelligence Agency chief, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, is calling for Hillary to drop out of the presidential race while she is under investigation by the FBI. CNN reports:

For months now, we've been told that the black community of South Carolina is Hillary Clinton's firewall to retain her front runner status but after Sanders' sizable New Hampshire win, she's not taking any chances.

In the latest batch of released emails, more than 15% had classified information. The Washington Times reports:
More than 15 percent of the latest batch of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails released Saturday contain classified information, with three of the messages being labeled “secret” — continuing to add to the questions surrounding her email use. The department released 551 messages Saturday in response to a federal judge’s order.
Apparently, the State Department had tried to delay the release of the emails due the Democrat primary schedule; however, a judge ordered their release.

In this edition of Today in Political Attack Ads, "Hillary Clinton" goes gangster on a printer, the PAC wars heat up to melt a life-sized Donald Trump, and the Club for Growth doesn't mess around.

It feels good to be a Clinton

Attackee: Hillary Clinton Attacker: Ted Cruz A spoof from a relatively famous scene in the movie Office Space, Hillary and gang whoop up on a server. Pls print.

So, this is awkward. Awkward because everyone knows it's true. Prior to introducing Hillary at a campaign event earlier this week, former President Bill Clinton said, "the hotter this election gets, the more I wish I were just a former President and just for a few months, not the spouse of the next one, because you know, I have to be careful what I say." Perfectly understandable. Buuuut, that's not where he stopped:

Funny: conservative commentator Monica Crowley recently called Bernie Sanders Lenin of Brooklyn. I don't think Bernie has Lenin's cunning and brutality.  Vladimir Lenin managed to seize the day in 1917, leading his extreme minority party to overthrow the very tenuous government of the largest country on Earth and then held on to the power, consolidating the majority of the crumbling empire. Clown-haired Bernie doesn't leave an impression of an individual capable of such feat. The way I see Sanders, the reason I think he's popular among the college campuses or those under 30 in general, is very similar to the reasons why Ralph Nader was popular sixteen years ago.  Both men leave a similar impression on the impressionable.  They're very much alike in appearance: Nader, like Sanders, had rather imperfect hair; his suits were ill-fitted, his face -- asymmetrical.  This was all part of his appeal.  Although Nader received loads of favorable attention from the media, his imperfections lent him an aura of authenticity. After eight years of Clinton, a candidate who didn't seem overly media-produced was refreshing.