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May 19, 2011

Ambushed! Putative Socialist Bernie Sanders Unmasked as Evil Capitalist (VIDEO)

SandersBookIs U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-described socialist, really a closet capitalist?

That's the conclusion of Jason Mattera, editor of the national conservative magazine Human Events, in an amusing 90-second video posted this morning. (see the full video below)

Mattera confronted Sanders at a Washington, D.C. Barnes & Noble during a signing event for the senator's new book, The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class.

First, a socialist sells a book in the free market and then signs copies at a corporate chain store. Can one cram more ironies into one event? Maybe Sanders was drinking corporate bottled water, too?

"How does an avowed socialist go about selling a book?" Mattera asks glibly, looking into a video camera as he walks down a sunny D.C. sidewalk on his to meet his quarry. "We're going to find out."

Mattera asks Sanders bluntly if he'd dedicate his copy of the book to "Capitalism: The greatest economic system on earth."

At first, Sanders said, "No I won't."

Sanders then explains that he normally signs people's names into books, not concepts. After some prodding from Mattera, though, Sanders agrees to dedicate this one copy to capitalism.

Mattera asked Sanders, "How does an avowed socialist go about selling a book? Are you donating all of your profits to the federal government?"

"No," replies Sanders. "To the children of Vermont."

According to the inscription in Sanders' book, which is a text version of the eight-hour faux filibuster he delivered on the Senate floor last year, Sanders intends to donate all of his proceeds to "charitable, non-profit organizations in the state of Vermont — mostly related to the needs of children."

Mattera notes that Sanders hasn't yet named those organizations.

Not true.

A Sanders spokesman tells Seven Days that the senator will donate the proceeds from his book to the Addison County Parent/Child Center, which will distribute the funds around the state.

Human Events also wonders if Sanders will itemize those donations on next year's federal tax return.

"If Sanders follows through on his pledge, there’s no word on whether or not the Senate’s only (admitted) socialist will use the 'donations' to lower his taxable income for 2011," Mattera writes on the mag's website.

The full video, which is worth the 1:35 viewing, is embedded here:

Bernie didn't give him anything to work with. Probably because he's use to people coming at him on Church Street.

Socialist. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

That was a total waste of time.

"Mattera notes that Sanders hasn't yet named those organizations.

Not true."

If the first time his organization revealed the organizations was when you asked for this piece, then it was true, because he hadn't named them at that point. You just got your tense wrong - it's "hadn't." Like, as of May 11, when the video was posted.

Sanders certainly had time to decide which charities to donate to in the three months between the publication date of the book and mid-May. While this video is somewhat pointless, it certainly would appear that "the children of Vermont" is an answer that he was embarrassed into on the spur of the moment.

Needs more pimp suit.

@Jimmy: I agree with your point that Mattera's statement that Sanders had yet to specify at the time of the video where the proceeds would go was true. And with your view that this video is pointless.

However, considering the inscription in his book, which Shay quoted but which you overlooked, I disagree with your assessment that Sanders was embarrassed into his answer on the "spur of the moment." If embarrassed, why would he say what he's been saying all along? That doesn't add up to your conclusion.

Neither a very expensive suit (Sanders) nor a less expensive suit without a tie (Mattera) qualifies as a "pimp suit," young Tyler.

You are correct BB, I did overlook that bit. I'm not sure why he hadn't selected the specific recipient of his proceeds at that late date, but clearly he did plan to donate the money prior to this video.

See how easy it is to admit your mistakes, Totten?

Also: when one is "self-described," they are no longer "putative."

Nooooo Jimmy, I mean I wanted to see a pimp suit, James O'Keefe-style.

Now THAT makes a good ambush vid.

"Also: when one is "self-described," they are no longer "putative.""

Jimmy, I'd argue that maybe Shay was correct in using the term "putative" (but maybe without intending to be) because Bernie isn't a socialist. He's a millionaire capitalist. The only thing socialist about him is his false demagoguery. It took me a while to figure out that Bernie is a big huge fake who's played the hippies in Vermont like a fiddle for his own ambitions to power.

This is a silly argument. I'm an anti-capitalist, and I have a job just like everyone else. Having socialist beliefs doesn't mean participating in a capitalist economy makes you a hypocrite.

If Sanders were the CEO of a large corporation, I would question his authenticity. However, writing a book seems like one of the more honest, non-exploitative ways to make money while promoting one's beliefs.

Upon looking further, I found the website of the man featured in the video. In his recent writing, he questions whether Barack Obama is a Muslim, and makes many broad and demagogic statements regarding Islam. Does Seven Days really need to be giving him more visibility?

Another Conservative Punk Job. Trying to play like the guy who set up ACORN. Fortunately Bernie is smarter then they are. To bad these Conservative punkers don't spend as much time trying to do something positive for this country.

"If Sanders were the CEO of a large corporation, I would question his authenticity."

Um . . . howbout becoming a millionaire, and not giving all or even most of it away?

Sorry, Mr. anti-capitalist. Bernie's a capitalist, just as much as if he were "the CEO of a large corporation." As a matter of fact, he IS the CEO of a large corporation. It's called, Bernie and Family, Inc.

Can you provide some evidence that Sanders is a millionaire?

I hear people say that a lot but I've not seen any reliable evidence.

There are some fundamental misunderstandings (or perhaps distortions) at play here.

#1 - Bernie is a "Democratic Socialist". That is how he identifies himself. And he has espoused democratic socialist views for his entire career.

#2) Democratic socialism isn't at odds with capitalism. Democratic socialist believe in (and fought for things like) Social Security, Medicare, a minimum wage, universal healthcare, etc. Sanders has never advocated for revoking an individual’s right to make money. To say otherwise is a clear distortion of his views.

It's one thing to say that democratic socialism is unrealistic or it's an ineffective system -- there are valid arguments to be made.

It's just silly to suggest that a person who believes in democratic socialism and makes money is a hypocrite. If you truly believe that, you should read up on ‘democratic socialism’ and what it really is.

I can't find anything more recent than this 2009 profile based on Bernie's 2010 returns, which puts his net worth at anywhere between $234,989 and $444,996:


Scary that a guy that a guy that has drawn a Congressman's salary for a decade and a half and has a spouse that is a college president is only worth around $250,000. What's even scarier is that he votes on how to spend our money....

Even scarier is that Leahy, after 30+ years as a Senator isn't much better least according to his last financial disclosure.

Welch on the other hand is worth some money, which tells me he is either far and away smarter then our two Senators, or just hasn't figured out how to hide it yet.

So first, Bernie is attacked for being a 'millionaire' and when that turns out to be a lie, he's attacked for not being a millionaire.

With opposition like this, it's no wonder that Bernie has been so successful at the ballot box!

Perhaps Bernie just feels that there are more imporant things to do in life than accumulate huge amounts of personal wealth.

Perhaps he does not want to use his position in the US Senate for his own financial gain. (Honestly, our congress would be much better off if more Sentors behaved this way.) We don't really know.

The only thing that we do know is that regardless of what Bernie's net worth actually is, he will be attacked for it.

How's this One_Vermonter: I think it's great that Bernie didn't have any assets outside of a checking account, and an overall negative net worth, until he was 60 years old! That kind of financial acumen DEFINITELY qualifies him to scream at Ben Bernanke like a petulant child!

I did like the tiny disclosure of having pocketed $825 for a "Bill Mahr" (sic) appearance.

They attack him if he's rich. They attack him if he's poor.

But they seldom actually discuss the issues that he stands for.

Again, with opposition like this, it's no wonder that Bernie dominates at the ballot box.

@Jimmy: Bernie didn't pocket $825 for that appearance. A charity pocketed $825 in Bernie's name for that appearance.

"They attack him if he's rich. They attack him if he's poor."

Nice try. Hardly that simple. No, some of us attack him because he was broke but got rich entirely on the public teat. Some of us attack him because he's been desperate to hold high public office since he first moved to Vermont from Brooklyn in the late 60s and within a couple of years of moving here immediately ran for Governor, Congressman, or some other high office practically every two years. And some of us attack him because we think he's used public office as his own personal source of enrichment.

PS, newsflash: a US Senator's senate salary rarely constitutes more than a fraction of his real wealth. They get to keep unused campaign money. Face it, the guy's a millionaire.

Yeah, the inability of someone with a say in managing the country's financial affairs to handle their own is totally irrelevant.

What's much more important is that he got REALLY MAD at GE for not paying enough taxes! Yeah, screw you, GE! I know there are auditors in your offices year-round ensuring that you comply with tax law, but... I paid taxes last year, goddammit, and your CEO makes more money than me! Screw you! Tell 'em Bernie!

Just don't look too hard to see what he actually tried to DO about it.

@Murphy: Please provide facts to back up your claim that Bernie's a millionaire.


Struggling with this huh? Let me clarify...

"So first, Bernie is attacked for being a 'millionaire' and when that turns out to be a lie, he's attacked for not being a millionaire. "

First Bernie is attacked for being anti-capitalism, yet being a millionaire.

Then he is attacked because he claims he isn't worth anything, when we all know his financial disclosures aren't accurate.

Next let's attack him for being a hypocrit, then for being a liar, and finally for being a waste of a Senate vote.

Can you provide any evidence for your allegation that "his financial disclosures aren't accurate" ??

Because it sounds like you're just making stuff up.


No I can't. But one of two things has occurred. They aren't accurate or he has no clue how to manage money.

Let's do some Math

He is Bernies earnings over the years :


So Bernie has made about 2 Million from his congressional salarly alone. His spouse again makes a nice salary as well, likely making this double. And, yet for 2 Million he has accumulated 250K worth of value? He isn't being truthful or no one should let him vote on financial issues. Take your pick, he's a fraud or he sucks with money, or both.

I bet if we knew the net worth of his wife, it would surprise most people.

They may or may not be accurate - I don't think anyone's really auditing these - but they're not particularly comprehensive. Just put assets in your wife's name and they're invisible.

He did fail to report a property purchased in 2009, not that that's a particularly egregious failure in the grand scheme of things.

Human Events is a socialist magazine because they just bought a book from a putative self-described socialist.

And P.S., if this is the best the opposition can muster, it's another landslide for Bernie.

"And P.S., if this is the best the opposition can muster, it's another landslide for Bernie."

Your point ultimately makes little sense. What do you mean by "best the opposition can muster"? Pointing out that Bernie is a power-hungry capitalist who only does one thing: scream that everything is "outrageous", is dismissed by you as "the best the opposition can muster"?

Your remark only shows that you love Bernie and you don't care what anyone else says. Good for you.

Yeah, Bernie will win. Jerks win all the time, both on the Left and the Right. It has nothing to do with whether they should win. Bernie is just as bad as Michelle Bachman. Bachman's supporters are probably saying the same thing: "If calling her a crazy right wing nut is the best the opposition can do, it's another landslide for Michelle."


Being moved along after asking two lame questions and getting answers that make sense to real people is hardly an "Ambush". Like much of the conservative media this guy gets exposure because liberals watch it dumbfounded that people can be as ignorant as they can be. This is a lose/lose/lose from where I sit.
Lose 1- Wasted Bernies time and energy.
Lose 2 - Exposure to the idiot asking the stupid question in the first place.
Lose 3 - my three minutes watching and responding.

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