Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders' New Campaign Advisor David Sirota Once Touted Hugo Chavez's 'Economic Miracle' in Venezuela

"Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving."

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Sanders
Ronen Tivony/Sipa USA/Newscom

Several new staffers have joined the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I­–Vt.), including David Sirota, a columnist and political activist who once praised the economic policies of former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

In a 2013 column for Salon, Sirota credited Chavez's "full-throated advocacy of socialism" with achieving an economic miracle. "As shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving," he wrote.

Sirota's piece rants against neoliberalism in a manner characteristic of activist and academic discourse on the far-left.

"As evidenced by the treatment of everyone from Martin Luther King to Michael Moore to Oliver Stone to anyone else who dares question neoliberalism and economic imperialism, that punishment is all about marginalization—the kind that avoids engaging on substance for fear of allowing the notion of socialism to even enter the conversation in the first place," Sirota wrote.

Sanders himself is no stranger to effusive praise for socialism, and not just the allegedly friendlier version touted by the resurgent Democratic Socialists of America, but full-on authoritarian socialism as practiced by countries like the Soviet Union. In a 1988 interview, Sanders talked about how fantastic the Soviet Union's public transportation was—reserving special praise for its many "works of art, and chandeliers, which were beautiful." Sanders also defended bread lines—a common feature of communist countries—as a "good thing," because they meant that people were getting food.

More recently, Sanders refused to label Venezuela's embattled leader, Nicholas Maduro, a dictator. However, he did criticize the regime's human rights abuses, saying in a statement, "the Maduro government in Venezuela has been waging a violent crackdown on Venezuelan civil society." He also urged the U.S. government not to intervene in the matter, which is admirable.

Indeed, Sanders' comparatively restrained foreign policy is the best thing about his candidacy. His affection for nationalizing industries, on the other hand, is less than desirable. It should go without saying, but there has been no economic miracle in Venezuela.

Sirota joins the Sanders campaign as a senior advisor and speechwriter. Sanders has also hired Briahna Joy Gray, a former writer and editor at The Intercept.

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110 responses to “Bernie Sanders' New Campaign Advisor David Sirota Once Touted Hugo Chavez's 'Economic Miracle' in Venezuela

  1. “…to anyone else who dares question neoliberalism and economic imperialism, that punishment is all about marginalization?…”

    Let us PLEASE marginalize the living SHIT out of Sen. Bernie Sanders and David Sirota!!! Along with mass-murderers Mao Tse Tung, Kim Ill Dung-Breath, Lenin, Stalin, Madura, Pol Pot, and all the rest!!!!

    (PS, if’n ye do NOT elect me as POTUS, ye are MARGINALIZING me!!!)

    1. Would they prefer we emulate their heroes and respond to questions with death sentences?

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    3. This is the same David Sirota who wrote ‘Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American’ and doubled down on that within hours in another article.

  2. I know some people who claimed to be embarrassed and ashamed that Orange Man was elected POTUS; that is no where near as embarrassing as the fucking idiots who are running for that office.

    1. It’s reasonable to be embarrassed by Trump, I’m embarrassed for basically all politicians. The real divider is are they proud of someone like Pelosi, McConnell, or Trudeau.

      1. What about the Galway Gringo?

        1. “Galway Gringo.” Best moniker of the day; thanks.

        2. I huffed his farts once and they smelled like all my favorite singles by Animal Collective.

      2. Thank you, BUCS. All politicians suck. Just because you criticize one side does not mean you are supporting the other side. They are two sides of the same shit coin.

        1. They may all suck, but Trump sucks on a gameshow host level, (Sorry, Alex!) not even normal political levels of suckiness. Bernie sucks on a Stalin wannabe level.

          The fact that somebody like him could get far enough to be a real contender as the nominee of a serious party is terrifying.

          1. >>>Trump sucks on a gameshow host level

            kind of enjoying a not-politician sitting on the throne …

      3. “In a 2013 column for Salon, Sirota credited Chavez’s “full-throated advocacy of socialism” with achieving an economic miracle. “As shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving,” he wrote.”

        This is while Chavez was squandering his country’s oil wealth to buy off the peasants.

        “In a 1988 interview, Sanders talked about how fantastic the Soviet Union’s public transportation was?reserving special praise for its many “works of art, and chandeliers, which were beautiful.” Sanders also defended bread lines?a common feature of communist countries?as a “good thing,” because they meant that people were getting food.”

        This was just a year before the whole communistic system imploded from sheer dysfunction.

        Trump may well be a pussy grabbing dicko-saurus, and is an object of understandable scorn; but compared to these idiots he looks like a paragon of liberty, intelligence, and free markets. However low that bar may be, they are lower.

        1. Sad but oh so true. I’m stealing “pussy grabbing dicko-saurus” though I think i’ll go with dickasaurus.

          1. Agreee; dickasaurus looks more right.

  3. I would think these people would get tired of being wrong all of the time. Guess not.

    1. Oh Salon, makes sense now.

    2. Something about being morally right over getting your facts straight…

    3. How can you be wrong when anytime socialism fails it was because it wasnt socialist enough?

      1. ^EXACTLY

  4. Pass the popcorn! The next 18 months could surpass 4 years ago for sheer entertainment value.

    1. And if “notorious” dies and we have a supreme court nomination in the middle of it?

      Priceless.

  5. In a 2013 column for Salon, Sirota credited Chavez’s “full-throated advocacy of socialism” with achieving an economic miracle.

    Heh. If anybody asks him about Venezuela now, which excuse will he go with? “NOT REEL SOCIALISM!!!” or “KULAKS HOARDERS AND WRECKERS!!!”?

    1. You’re joking, right? Chavez’ only lapse in judgment was appointing a fool like Maduro as his successor, Maduro fucked up everything that St. Hugo achieved. If only Comrade Chavez knew!

      1. Some people actually think this. Or they think that Chavez was poisoned by the Cuban government. Not that I’d put it past them.

        1. best thing the Cuban government ever did? top 5

    1. Makes sense. Good for them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Unions, but we will see how it works out for him specifically.

      1. Thanks again, BUCS. There is indeed nothing wrong with pooling bargaining power, just as there is nothing wrong with pooling risk. What is a problem is unions getting special protections from the government.

        1. I agree. I think it’s not a particularly good way of doing things, but I believe that resolves itself better though letting people learn it doesn’t work.

      2. I think they should strike. You know, stick it to the man!

    2. Sanders is the union boss.

      1. No, he’s management. The Union Boss is never seen, always in a back room, plotting.

    3. I can’t wait to see the regs coming out from that. All union campaigners can only knock on 5 doors per day anymore then that and it’s triple pay. Whats that there are only 6 houses on this one street, well that’s nice pay up, bitch. O’ you want me to stay and make 10 more phone calls, pay up bitch.

      On the plus side those staffers who are really committed to the cause will see first hand how those who aren’t make the same as them. Hopefully their heads explode.

  6. Somebody should explain to the old man in the picture there that those aren’t clouds he’s yelling at, it’s just his cataracts. None of those phantasms are real, Bernie, they’re all in your head. Your empty, empty head. Put down the airplane glue.

  7. Indeed, Sanders’ comparatively restrained foreign policy is the best thing about his candidacy.

    Well, we don’t want too much restraint. The next Democratic President must not take military action off the table when dealing with Putin. And if any of Drumpf’s proposed troop withdrawals were done at Russia’s direction, we should put those troops back.

    I would argue that the best thing about Sanders ? besides the mere fact he’s not Drumpf or Gabbard ? is his support for legal access to abortion care throughout all 9 months of pregnancy. This is the second most important item on the Koch / Reason agenda (immigration is #1, of course) and Bernie has been consistently excellent on this issue.

    1. “Sanders’ comparatively restrained foreign policy is the best thing about his candidacy.”

      The best thing about going to hell in a bucket is that we can save a bundle on our heating bill!

      Always look on the bright side of life.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJUhlRoBL8M

    2. Don’t forget that the two issues every single CPAC speaker harped on and on about were immigration and abortion. But it’s not the conservatives that are obsessed with these issues above all, it’s Reason! Lol.

      1. When you have a party whose platform plank is letting doctors murder an already born baby… it tends to get talked about.

        1. TIme for another rousing meeting of Libertarians For Statist Womb Management and Libertarians For Big-Government Micromanagement Of Ladyparts Clinics.

          Carry on, clingers.

          1. Nah, just an opportunity for an asshole to prove he is an asshole once again.

  8. “In a 2013 column for Salon, Sirota credited Chavez’s “full-throated advocacy of socialism” with achieving an economic miracle. “As shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving,” he wrote.”

    It should be noted that this kind of thinking seems to be thriving in pro-Trump, anti-free trade circles. Yes, executing the kulaks and redistributing their wealth to the peasants who are worse off has short term benefits for the peasants. It takes a while for that to turn into a shit show, but the shit show was always coming. Not only were Venezuela’s problems foreseeable, they were also foreseen.

    Like I said, same thing with the anti-free trade right. No, slapping tariffs on China may not be bad for the economy over the subsequent two years–it might even help goose down the unemployment rate and boost the labor participation rate in the near term.

    That hardly means protectionism is good for the economy over the long term.

    The flip side of TDS is probably any Trump supporter who will denounce the socialism of AOC, Bernie, and Warren out of one side of their mouths while denouncing free trade out of the other.

    1. The opposite effect is far greater though. For every idiot right-wing MAGAhead to suddenly hated free trade, there are two moderates or liberals who now love free trade, entirely because Trump doesn’t. The Dem debates are going to be interesting. Trump’s trade policies are far more similar to Warren and Bernie than they were to any other GOP primary candidate in 2016. Do they abandon their history of restrictionism? Anybody seen to be even mildly agreeing with any Trump policy about anything will be declared a racist Nazi, so what will they do?

      1. I’m sure there are plenty of people on the left who hated free trade with China right up until the moment Trump started hitting them with tariffs. They will wail and cry if and when Trump hashes out a trade agreement with Emperor Xi, too. Suddenly, they’ll remember that they’re anti-free trade again.

        I suspect there are others who are secretly hoping Trump’s negotiations to end North Korea’s nuclear program fail miserably, as well.

        1. Nothing secret about it, they all but said they hoped he failed last time he met with Kim. Now, they are grousing about how bad Trump did and how big a failure his North Korean policy has been.

      2. I just wish free trade absolutionists weren’t naive enough to think we had free trade before trump.

    2. The flip side of TDS is probably any Trump supporter who will denounce the socialism of AOC, Bernie, and Warren out of one side of their mouths while denouncing free trade out of the other.

      Man, I’m just certain that I’ve seen that somewhere very recently.

    3. I’m all for free trade, and it would be nice to try some time.

      I just don’t think we’ve seen much of it in the last few decades, and regulated trade doesn’t become free just because only one side is restricting it, any more than it’s not a war if you don’t shoot back.

      1. A certain segment of reason requires naivete and utter devotion to ideals that wont ever exist. Namely free trade in non free markets and open border absolutionists.

        1. What I was reading yesterday, is that China’s economy has been feeling the effects of tariffs for quite awhile and it is getting desperate. Some are even mentioning the “R” word to describe China’s economy. Their leadership is scrambling trying to keep the house of cards propped up.

  9. “Bernie Sanders’ New Campaign Advisor David Sirota Once Touted Hugo Chavez’s ‘Economic Miracle’ in Venezuela”

    I’m sure Venezuela is an economic miracle to the socialists on the left. How could they have known this experiment would turn out exactly like all the rest? It’s a Festivus miracle!

    1. Not exactly like the rest. This one lasted 2 whole leaders before the leaders started looting the treasury.

      1. So how did Chavez’ daughter end up with $4.3 billion dollars?

        1. A really profitable garage sale?

  10. “Indeed, Sanders’ comparatively restrained foreign policy is the best thing about his candidacy.”

    Saying that over and over again does not make it true. Sanders supported arming Ukraine and increasing sanctions against Russia based upon a myth that is collapsing.

    The only anti-war person running among Democrats is Tulsi. I have no idea why you feel the need to pretend

    1. Look at Bernie’s position on Syria:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/d…..c3bbbf849b

      “Trump’s sudden decision to pull out of Syria and the resulting confusion among allies was more evidence of his administration’s “erratic and reckless approach,” according to Sanders.

      Although Sanders holds that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad must not remain in power and has perpetrated crimes against humanity, the senator said he wants a diplomatic approach with Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict. (He did not explain how he would convince Assad’s two biggest guarantors to give up their support for the dictator.)”

      Demanding that Assad must go is the same as saying Americans must stay

      1. I think Maduro and the whole regime must go, but I’m cool with Assad staying. He’s probably betterthan whatever would replace him.

        1. I think, for the most part, this is none of our god damn business.

    2. I think “comparatively restrained” is accurate.

      1. Compared to who, exactly?

        Not supporting the overthrow of Maduro, but supporting our continued involvement in Syria and supporting our efforts to arm Ukraine sounds like an ideological foreign policy that is uniquely terrible.

    3. They keep saying that but it would take some leap of faith to think commies like Sanders wouldn’t use military force when it suited them.

      1. Only against right wing dictatorships. Because socialists can never be dictators anyway.

    4. Tulsi is so anti war she supports assad gassing his own people.

  11. As evidenced by the treatment of everyone from Martin Luther King to Michael Moore to Oliver Stone to anyone else who dares question neoliberalism and economic imperialism, that punishment is all about marginalization…

    They should be treated as least as well as socialism treats its beneficiaries.

    1. Martin Luther King has a whole holiday named after him, plus numerous streets, schools, and boulevards.

      1. Bobby Kennedy’s Justice Department did try to blackmail King into committing suicide, but I don’t think that’s what Sirrota meant.

    2. Socialism treats its beneficiaries very well. The Castros are/were billionaires, after all. Ditto for Chavez and Maduro’s ilk.

  12. I supposed this might be a good time to talk about what Bernie Sanders has touted himself. I mean, who cares what a random staffer touts when the man himself was a major booster of the Soviet Regime his entire adult life, including but not limited to Stalin specifically.

    1. Well that’s just because Stalin was anti-war or something

  13. Bernie was, in fact, correct. Moscow has the most beautiful subway system in the world. It was built by Uncle Joe himself.
    It is not clear how much of Venezuela is socialist. Yes, the oil industry was naturalized. Yes, there is typical South American corruption. But there are free markets in the country too. It does not appear to be a command and control economy, more of a mixed economy. The pro Guido wealthier areas have nice shopping malls. There is no mass collectivism. And the opposition reveals the typical South American racial caste system. The more Spanish Caucasian, the better off. Mestizo and black were more oppressed until Cavez brought his Bolivarian Movement. The National Assembly that produced Guaido is very Caucasian. The Constitutional Assembly is much more mixed race.
    The US is after the oil, that’s the bottom line. Plus they want to crush the non aligned nations in our hemisphere. It’s benevolent American hegemony in action.

    1. Moscow has the most beautiful subway system in the world.

      Can you imagine those stations in New York City? They would be trashed within a month.

      The US is after the oil, that’s the bottom line. Plus they want to crush the non aligned nations in our hemisphere. It’s benevolent American hegemony in action.

      Are you suggesting that the US somehow orchestrated the collapse of the Venezuelan economy?

    2. They nationalized the oil industry [the profits of which Chavez squandered to get and keep himself in office] and yet you call it a “mixed economy?” I don’t think Juan’s fruit stand counts much toward a free market on any scale.

    3. For a minute I thought you were serious, lfr.

  14. Bernie was, in fact, correct. Moscow has the most beautiful subway system in the world. It was built by Uncle Joe himself.
    It is not clear how much of Venezuela is socialist. Yes, the oil industry was naturalized. Yes, there is typical South American corruption. But there are free markets in the country too. It does not appear to be a command and control economy, more of a mixed economy. The pro Guido wealthier areas have nice shopping malls. There is no mass collectivism. And the opposition reveals the typical South American racial caste system. The more Spanish Caucasian, the better off. Mestizo and black were more oppressed until Cavez brought his Bolivarian Movement. The National Assembly that produced Guaido is very Caucasian. The Constitutional Assembly is much more mixed race.
    The US is after the oil, that’s the bottom line. Plus they want to crush the non aligned nations in our hemisphere. It’s benevolent American hegemony in action.

    1. By the way, the opposition is 85% of the population. That’s whiter than Iowa

    2. This has to be an OBL sock. A sock liner perhaps….

  15. “He also urged the US not to intervene in the matter, which is admirable.”

    Let the ingrates suffer!

    It may not in US interests to intervene, but I am not sure I would describe that decision as admirable rather than merely prudent.

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  17. To be fair, the line between miracle and nightmare is oh so fine.

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  19. It *IS* a miracle: The guy turned what was the wealthiest country in South America into a hell-hole in, what, twenty years?
    It takes stupidity on a grand level to accomplish that.

    1. Castro did the same for Cuba.

      1. Took Castro less than 20 years too. Though to be fair it was already a hell-hole.

  20. Robby, this is laaaazzzzy journalism. You are quoting a guy from 2013 and not even checking to see how Venezuela was doing around 2013. Venezuela had 5.3% growth in 2012, and while they tanked in 2009 so did everyone else. In the early 2000s they had double-digit growth rates over a few years. Yes, they have gone in the tank since then but not because of “Socialism”. They suffer from the resource curse. That’s not a problem with Socialism, it’s a problem many countries that depend on just a few natural resources suffer from. Also, the US has made conditions for its growth extremely difficult with targetted sanctions and then broad sanctions. Finally, I can’t blame you for this Robby because most of the lazy journos are doing this, but Venezuela has a very large private sector. They are not Socialist but have a mixed economy. I know, that’s tough for you to grasp because your benefactors don’t want you to print that, but it’s the truth. You know that publishing these simplistic propaganda pieces are destroying your long-term career prospects? You’re not witty enough for FOX news so you might as well try giving real journalism a shot.

    1. “They suffer from the resource curse.”

      That somehow only befell them after Chavez and Maduro instituted their policies. Weird how that happened. You guys really will excuse away every socialist failure with a new unoriginal explanation. It’s fascinating.

      1. He’s an idiot.

      2. That’s how the resource curse works: When a country without an already strong, diversified economy stumbles on a valuable resource, you tend to get dictators.

        First, the resource lets the government increase spending while dropping taxes on everything but that resource a lot.

        Then the government grows in power, and realizes that it doesn’t need the rest of the economy to be healthy, and starts seeing a healthy private sector as a competing power center. So it screws up the rest of the economy to remove any challenges to itself.

        In the process it gets ever more oppressive, as it centralizes all power.

        Then, finally, it screws up the resource, and the economy, lacking any other basis, collapses.

    2. Please. “Targeted sanctions” caused it. Yes that’s right, the sanctions against various members of the Venezuelan government (and no-one else until recently) are responsible for the collapse of the peoples glorious five-year tractor factory plan.

      Unless you think that the peoples glorious leadership held so much of the nations economy that this would affect things – otherwise that is dribble.

      1. Targeted sanctions ruined Iraq and Cuba too. North Korea probably.

        These people will come up with every stupid excuse in the book except the one that slaps normal minds straight in the face.

    3. “That’s not a problem with Socialism, it’s a problem many countries that depend on just a few natural resources suffer from.”

      You’re a fucking ignoramus.

    4. Venezuela has a very large private sector.

      They did, until the fucking commies gutted them by destroying the currency.

      Try again, leftard.

      -jcr

  21. Leftards are fucking idiots, film at 11.

    In other news, water remains wet.

    -jcr

    1. wow. i bet you own the libs a lot, trashley.

      1. They’re doing a great job of pwning themselves these days.

        -jcr

      2. “wow. i bet you own the libs a lot, trashley.”

        Fuck off, Hihn.

  22. I wonder what Bernie and his early supports think about Chavez and his hand picked successor now that Venezuela is about to go down the economic drain? This is what happened to Brazil and some of the other South American countries that tried socialism. Now they want to try socialism here in the US. National ruin follows socialism every time it is tried.

    1. They think it’s a pity Maduro abandoned socialism in favor of capitalism. Not kidding, that’s what they think.

      1. Seems plausible but you any source for that?

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  24. But I thought that Venezuela wasn’t “real” Socialism.

  25. Every speaker and writer seems to have a unique definition of “socialism” Without telling us the definition of socialism that you claim Sanders allegedly supports, this article is meaningless.

    1. Free healthcare, education, and double your pay. Clean air, water, food, transportation, energy, all without any extra effort.

      It is all there for the taking. That is an easy sell. Until you need to actually deliver.

      Now try and sell a libertarian philosophy which promises nothing but freedom. That is why nobody votes for us. Not even libertarians here. They talk about which Republican or Democrat.

    2. Nah, you just can’t understand the English language, dipshit.

    3. “Every speaker and writer seems to have a unique definition of “socialism” Without telling us the definition of socialism that you claim Sanders allegedly supports, this article is meaningless.”

      Every dimbulb lefty posting here tries to divert attention from Bernie’s disastrous proposals. You, included, dimbulb.

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