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In advance of his Monday night address to the Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders spoke to supporters in Philadelphia, delivering remarks similar to those he's spoken throughout his ill-fated campaign for the Democratic nomination. When Bernie declared that he and his followers must do everything possible to make sure Donald Trump doesn't win the presidency, the crowd rightfully cheered. However, when he mentioned the reality of the matter -- that electing Hillary Clinton is the only way to do so, the Bernie loyalists erupted in booing and jeering, lasting far longer and louder than it ever should have.

The negative reaction forced Bernie to offer up some tough love, "Brothers and sisters this is the real world that we live in."

Yes it is. In the real world, the only way to defeat Trump is to work extraordinarily hard to elect Hillary. That's a fact. That's how it works in the real world, as Bernie said. Voting for Jill Stein or, gasp!, libertarian Gary Johnson won't disrupt Trump's tyrannical ascension to the Oval Office. No matter how much we rend our garments over emails or provisional ballots or superdelegates, there's only one candidate who can defeat Trump, and her name is Hillary Clinton.

Bernie knows this, but too many of his loyalists don't. Indeed, an exceedingly misguided yet vocal subgroup of Bernie supporters have descended upon Philadelphia to augment an already chaotic couple of weeks, while concurrently offering the cable news media plenty of fuel to propel its Dems In Disarray narrative, despite the reality that it's Trump who's the dumpster fire, and not the other way around.

But I get it. There are throngs of Millennials whose candidate lost. For the first time in their first presidential campaign, they came up short. And it stings badly. The prevalence of social media has provided an echo-chamber for their gut-churning pangs of loss and heartache, reinforcing and legitimizing the irrational notion that staying home or voting for anyone-but-Hillary will show the rest of us what it's like to feel their pain. But unlike previous contests in their young lives, there is no second place trophy. There's just loss. So they're lashing out with irrational, self-defeating anger, not unlike the angry white people in Cleveland last week, but for different reasons.

In the process, Bernie loyalists in Philadelphia and elsewhere are busily repeating exactly what the Republicans -- exactly what Trump and, we've learned, his most powerful surrogate, Vladimir Putin -- want to hear. This week, the Bernie-or-Bust crowd is, of course, screaming about the DNC document dump orchestrated in part by Julian Assange's Wikileaks outfit. In the process, they're behaving as useful idiots in Putin's and Trump's plan to seize tyrannical power and to subsequently upend the American system. And not for the better. Not the way Bernie planned it, that's for sure.

While the progressive left plays grabass -- rubber-stamping the RNC's "Lock Her Up!" mantra and turning the convention into a disorganized spectacle, thus aiding in Trump's improving post-convention bounce, it's entirely ignoring the dire circumstances revolving around the Republican nominee's rise to power and Putin's involvement in that endeavor.

According to Vice's "Motherboard" vertical, a security firm hired by the DNC discovered the existence of "two sophisticated adversaries" that had infiltrated the Democratic Party's internal email network. Known as "APT 28" and "APT 29," the handles are used by both the Russian intelligence service, the FSB (formerly the KGB) and the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. Later, using a front handle, Guccifer 2.0, the agencies announced back in June that it had given Wikileaks "thousands of files and mails."

Last Friday, the day after Trump's sweaty, screechy, dictatorial speech, Wikileaks dutifully released 19,000 private emails to the public, several of which appear to indicate that the DNC had its thumb on the scales in support of Hillary over Bernie. The document dump effectively represented an honorary fifth day of proceedings for Trump's convention, allegedly confirming to a clickbait-driven audience that Hillary and Debbie Wasserman Schultz colluded to thwart Bernie's campaign.

But as we witnessed during the Edward Snowden affair (which The Daily Banter covered at length), the cable news networks and internet audiences alike tend to leap to simplistic conclusions based on likely never-having-read the details of the story in the first place -- merely retweeting and sharing stories based on sensationalistic headlines and pervasive groupthink. To repeat a mantra from the Snowden era: a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on. Thus, American voters will only really hear about the content of the four or five emails implicating how the DNC unfairly obstructed the Bernie campaign, even though there's no hard evidence that it actually took place.

Indeed, according to former NSA analyst, John Schindler, who, by the way, is no fan of Hillary Clinton, part of the FSB's tradecraft is to fabricate intelligence and toss it into a cocktail of legitimate documents. In other words, it's quite possible, based on Russia's modus operandi, that the questionable emails were doctored, if not manufactured for impact, while exculpatory emails might've been scrubbed from the tranche.

The DNC email leak, therefore, has to be viewed in context in order to be fully understood. 

  • The leak occurred the day after Trump's speech. 
  • The leak only involved DNC emails, not RNC emails or internal Sanders campaign messages. 
  • Reputable cyber-security experts have proved the linkage to spies inside the Russian government. 
  • And, on top of everything else, we learned that Trump is being financially supported by Russian oligarchs with close ties to Putin. 
  • Toss into the equation the fact that Trump has repeatedly lauded Putin, and agrees with the former KGB agent about NATO. 
  • Furthermore, Wikileaks has well-known ties to Moscow and, as is public record, Snowden was shuttled from Hong Kong to Moscow with the help of Wikileaks operatives, while being represented in Moscow by a former FSB lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena.

(Before you accuse me of concocting a wacky conspiracy theory, bear in mind that reputable outlets such as The Daily BeastABC NewsNBC News, Yahoo! NewsVice and The Washington Post, as well as A-list reporters like Richard Engel are working on this angle.)

Ultimately, we're talking about the despotic usurpation of the American presidential election by Putin in collusion with his number-one fanboy, Donald Trump. In the face of this disturbing news, the left is busily shouting down its own candidate, Bernie Sanders, while (fairly or unfairly) smearing Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton. This can't be emphasized enough: Russian intelligence, on the orders of Putin, are stealing the election for Trump, and the progressive left is targeting... Schultz?

The most relevant equivalence would have to be focusing on, say, Edwin Muskie in the 1972 election, while entirely ignoring Nixon and the White House plumbers who broke into the Watergate Hotel to bug the DNC. In this case, Nixon is Trump; the plumbers are Putin, the FSB and the GRU; bugging the Watergate is the DNC email theft; and instead of Nixon resigning, the DNC chair resigns.

That's how colossally fucked up this story is. And it's only just begun.

If this nefarious Russia angle combined with the authoritarian tone of the RNC last week doesn't unite the left in the name of victory, nothing will. Nothing.

UPDATE: Trump just now in Roanoke, Virginia: "Little did [Wasserman Schultz] know, Russia, China, one of our many, many ‘friends’ came in and hacked the hell out of us. Can you imagine?"

UPDATE 2: The Daily Beast's rundown of Trump/Putin connections:

Officials also noted Trump’s own connections to the Russian government. Putin has publicly praised the nominee, who said he was “honored” by the compliment. Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a consultant for Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine who was ousted for his pro-Moscow orientation (and now lives in Russia). One of Trump’s top national security advisers, retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, sat with Putin at a dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kremlin-backed media network RT and was paid to give a speech at the event; Flynn later retweeted an anti-Semitic message that called into question any Kremlin-Trump link. Another Trump adviser, Carter Page, recently denounced America’s “often-hypocritical focus on democratization” while in Moscow. And last week, Trump said that he might not come to the aid of U.S. NATO allies in the face of Russian aggression unless they paid what he thinks they owe for Europe’s common defense.