The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Can Bernie Sanders Overhaul the Democratic Party?

    One year ago, Bernie Sanders stood in the sun on the shore of Lake Champlain and opened his presidential campaign with a promise “to build a movement of millions of Americans.” Critics scoffed, dismissing his supporters as callow youngsters destined to drift once #FeelTheBern stops trending. But Sanders’s campaign proved more popular and resilient than anyone expected. Ironically, many Democrats now want him to terminate his movement and convert it into a get-out-the-vote drive for Hillary Clinton.

    But that is not how movements work. The celebrated political movements of American history—abolitionism, progressivism, and civil rights—were never subordinate to political parties. Their leaders did not bow to party elites. Great movements transcend partisanship; they are the makers and breakers of parties.

    Read the full story at the Daily Beast

    (As nice uncontroversial topic for a lazy Mem Day Weekend. ;)



    Nice piece, Michael.

    But politics is unkind to second place and I think that Clinton is actually more progressive than she's given credit for.  Maybe Sanders doesn't have to force her to do anything.

    I agree with Hal's point below. Hillary's views may be progressive enough, but she doesn't have much backbone. She has demonstrated a tendency to blow in the prevailing wind. And if nothing else, the force of a strong progressive faction will strengthen her negotiating hand.

    That said, this isn't really about Hillary or even the Democratic establishment. The point I was trying to make in the piece is that political movements are bigger than presidents and bigger than parties.

    I think that with Clinton we're in good shape from a progressive point of view.  She doesn't lack backbone, really.  She is, however, an opportunist.  If we give her good reasons to move left, which is the direction she probably wants to move, she will.

    To say this is bigger than parties and presidents is fine but then it is, by definition, way bigger than Bernie Sanders. I voted for him, I like him, but it's time for him to get out of the way.  This claiming victory by losing schtick is just no good.

    Isn't opportunism antithetical to having backbone?

    PS Of course, the movement is bigger than Bernie. My argument is that for Bernie to "get out of the way" does not serve the movement.

    Finger stabbing in the air. We have had the history lesson multiple times, and have read your book on TR.

    You manage to mention not a single 'plank' in the Party platform that 'the revolution going to the brink' will demand at all cost.

    Or who will promote it on the committee.

    Sanders has one Senator backing him.

    And about 2% or less for House members.

    I am unaware of any active Bills or examples of actual legislation or Constitutional amendments the 'revolution' has prepared or put before Congress.

    A revolution without clearly stated, tangible, widely popular and supported legislative objectives is just hot air.

    Aren't these all examples of "clearly stated, tangible, widely popular, and supported (by many millions of people) legislative objectives?"

    1) Universal single-payer healthcare.

    2) No more "free trade" deals.

    3) $15 minimum wage.

    4) Tuition-free college education.

    5) Reinstating Glass-Steagall.

    6) Taking corporate money out of politics through a Constitutional Amendment.

    7) Cutting back military spending.

    8) Outlawing private prisons.

    9) Legalizing marijuana.

    10) Banning fracking.

    If your point is that Congress will not back Sanders on any of these, isn't that a strong argument in favor of the Revolution rather than against Sanders?

    Where are the Bills and the sponsors? Where is the public support?

    For instance, support for cutting our national oil production in half and by 2/3 for natural gas?

    The resulting price increases and job losses would kill the movement overnight.

    Cut the military by how much and where? Vermont? Bernie hasn't supported that.

    These are fanciful platitudes.

    This is a nation with states litigating on the use of bathrooms, and the same actors control Congress, for which Bernie shows little interest except in revenge attacks against Democrats he dislikes.


    1) Universal single-payer healthcare.

    We basically have it.  Not the way I would have done it, but Obama solved for this.

    2) No more "free trade" deals.

    What does this even mean? Clinton came out against TPP.  But we are going to trade with other countries.  I need Spanish and French wines. Sorry.

    3) $15 minimum wage.

    She agrees!

    4) Tuition-free college education.

    Clinton has a plan for this.  It does not make college free but makes it affordable to those willing to work. Ideally, I think college students should not have to have jobs while going to school (though I had three) but they may opt for them any way because college is better when you have some money.

    5) Reinstating Glass-Steagall.

    Why?  Really, why?  I like being able to get consumer credit, brokerage services, checking, savings and even insurance from one bank. Besides, neither of the big banks that failed (Lehman and Bear Stearns) would have had their activities curtailed by Glass Steagall. Also, in Europe, banks have been able to engage in both i-banking and commercial banking, to no specific ill effect.  Why is this important?

    6) Taking corporate money out of politics through a Constitutional Amendment.

    That would likely be an amendment to the first amendment.  Good luck.

    7) Cutting back military spending.

    Nio argument here.  Clinton probably doesn't appeal to you because she will, as a liberal interventionist, use our military under the responsibility to protect doctine. I am at least confidant that her motive will be to save innocent lives.

    8) Outlawing private prisons.

    Damn right, we should. This should be a bigger issue.

    9) Legalizing marijuana.

    Heck, yeah. She'll come around.

    10) Banning fracking.

    Not sure. Fracking upended the oil industry and challenged OPEC dominance. Without it, oil would be north of $150 a barrel and my oil ETF investment would not be the embarrassment that it is, but... Fracking has been good for the United States. Tell the six figure North Dakota long haul trucker that the industry that made him rich should never have existed.

    I'm with NCD on this. It doesn't appear to me that Sanders is leading a revolution. He's just articulating the far left position on issues that the democratic party basically agrees on.

    1) Universal single-payer healthcare.

    Universal affordable healthcare has long been a goal of the democratic party. We've tried several times, made some progress, but didn't get the whole way there. The argument that Sanders makes is that the only way to get there is single payer. Most see that as one of several ways to get to universal healthcare.

    2) No more "free trade" deals.

    This is an absolutist position. It's just throwing red meat at those on the far left that lack the ability to deal with nuance. No free trade deals with not solve the problem of a lack of good paying middle class jobs. We must trade with other nations. A more nuanced discussion would be about how trade deals can be less harmful to American jobs. Or what arrangements can we make to more effectively deal with the global economy.

    3) $15 minimum wage.

    Everybody in the democratic party has wanted to raise the minimum wage for years. Hillary wants to raise it to $12.  We're fighting a revolution over a difference of three dollars? Really?

    4) Tuition-free college education.

    Making college more affordable is a democratic goal. Hillary has a good plan. Sanders has a good plan. Of course for Sanders there's only one way and one plan. It must be tuition free.

    5) Reinstating Glass-Steagall.

    Regulating banks is another democratic goal. Dodd Frank was a good start and Hillary has a more comprehensive plan to build on it. We can argue whether Glass Steagall is better than other regulatory schemes or even necessary with a comprehensive legislation but controlling big banks is a democratic goal.

    6) Taking corporate money out of politics through a Constitutional Amendment.

    Another democratic goal. Some hope that with a more liberal Supreme court Citizen's United will be overturned. I'd prefer a more broad ruling that corporations are not people and do not have the rights that a person has.

    7) Cutting back military spending.

    Another general goal of most of the democratic party.

    8) Outlawing private prisons.

    Private prison contribute to but are not the main source of the problem. The largest part of the problem is the criminal justice system. The racism in the system, it's focus on punishment rather than rehabilitation, and the lack of opportunities for paroles. Eliminating private prisons won't solve any of those problems and if we solve those problems it might not matter whether the prisons were privately run.

    9) Legalizing marijuana.

    Marijuana is on the way to being legalized. 20 years ago we could have used a revolution but now we can just let the process play out to reach the goal.

    10) Banning fracking.

    I suppose you could fight a revolution to ban fracking. I don't see it succeeding. To much to get into here but I don't support a ban on fracking.

    I just don't see the Sanders revolution. I see democratic goals. If more people had voted in the midterms and democrats hadn't lost the house and the senate Obama would have made some progress in most of these areas.

    More than that though is the idea of Sanders leading such a revolution. There's a paragraph from one of my favorite books that I think fits the so called Sanders revolution. From The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson.

    The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people, and this is true whether or not they are well educated, is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations, in fact they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.

    I'm not saying I necessarily agree with this quote. But it's an interesting hypothesis and it often fits with the way I think. One of the biggest problems I have with Sanders and his revolution is it's lack of subtlety. The lack of nuance in his policy proposals. His one way only policy proscriptions for each problem we face. The world I live in seems more complex than that.





    There will be no single payer

    There will be no free college, and Hillary is alread working on tuition relief

    Glass-Steagall  - wont happen - look at the industry's changes and the reforms implemented.

    There will be no amendment for "no corporate money in politics" - it's a pretty undemocratic blanket idea

    Private prisons hold only 9% of prisoners, including only 6.x% of the larger state population that Bernie cant regulate. They grew because states and the fed couldnt handle numbers and costs of growing population, not to cause more.incarceration.  Additionally, maybe 70% of state prisoners are violent offenders, and almost all drug prisoners are there for dealing (or plea-bargained down to possession), with .3% for pot possession - these facts apply largely to federal level as welll, where pot possession only is .7% and usually a lesser plea. Since states are leading our pot legalization and medical marijuana efforts quite well, it's hard to see what pushing it at federal level will accomplish except give Washington types more room to grandstand about evils of derugs and marijuana dispensaries.

    It should also be remembered that more attention to an issue is not necessarily good. Conservatives turned back Dont Ask Dont Tell to make it a honeypot attack rather than relief, while conservatives have focused on "protecting police just doing their jobs" post-Ferguson rather than reforming racist process and obvious police abuse like in Chicago.

    >50% of oil and gas is pulled out via fracking. That ship has sailed, unless we find $10 trillion lying around unused, and banning it would give a huge competitive advantage to everyone from Canada, Norway, Holland, UK and Russia to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela Iran, et al. Economic suicide. A gun's faster and less painful.

    Excellent points by PP and OKat.

    The problem with going Full Bern for Hillary is Americans are not socialists. Say socialist and they think of commies, or failed states like Venezuela.

    And all Bernie's free stuff costs money, all his economic plans raise costs and taxes. Americans like to make their own choices not let the government make it for them.

    His education plan calls for states to pay 1/3 the cost. 48 of 50 states have CUT higher education funding since 2010. The plan is nothing but a scam.

    More votes can be had with practical progressive approaches like Hillary has presented rather than going the Full Bern on the platform.


    1.Good job of being specific.

    2. Yes ,just as you say these are clearly stated objectives

    3. No they are not arguments in favor of a Revolution. Nothing is. They are arguments for choosing the nominee who has the highest probability of achieving the largest percentage of these. BTW maybe that would be Bernie . If Hillary is indicted before the convention I think the super delegates ought to switch.


    Many thanks Flavius.  I posted the list in response to NCD's comment.  The reason it (the list) can be an argument for the revolution is if Congress and the Executive Branch refuse even to contemplate these laudable goals but continue to act in ways that benefit those who own and operate enormous corporations while harming us then we really do need a revolution.

    Good piece Michael.  I agree Sanders should continue campaigning until the convention.  While I am pessimistic that his goal of unrigging the economy can be accomplished, the only strategy that has a chance of success is to keep fighting.

    Without evidence, Michael Maiello posits here Clinton is more progressive than you credit her for being.  Even if true, his conclusion that Sanders may "not have to force her to do anything" doesn't logically follow.  To the extent Clinton personally desires liberal outcomes, she has repeatedly shown a willingness to forsake them.  Thus, countervailing political force will be necessary to unleash any innate progressivism in the nominee.

    Your support for Sanders' ongoing efforts doubles my surprise at your previous remark that you don't care about Clinton's speeches to Goldman Sachs.  (Is this an okay place to raise the topic?) You claim our country's problems and hence, I assume, the Sanders "revolution" isn't predicated on them.  But what could be more emblematic of the rigged game than the Democratic Presidential nominee refusing to divulge what she recently said to the lords of finance?  Those who nearly toppled the world's economy and whom we ultimately bailed out to the tune of billions of dollars.

    Excellent point about building a "countervailing political force."

    The speeches are symbolically resonant but a bit of a sideshow. The real crisis in this country is not that Wall Street has bought Democratic centrists with well-paid speeches. Dark money and general campaign contributions are far bigger issues. But the biggest issue is the obfuscation--of economics, of climate science, of history, of law--that has clouded the eyes of the voters.

    She gave some speeches to MDs at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. I'm amazed that this is somehow an issue.  Banks pay political celebrities to give speeches all of the time.  At industry events I have seen Malcolm Gladwell and Doris Kearns Goodwin. These people, when they are giving speeches, are entertainers.  Wall Street people love the Clintons because the Clintons are celebs in the Davos/TED set. They also love Bono. But there is nothing to these speeches.  She was not raising the spirit of Cthulhu. She probably just said nice things about people who securitize debt and while I get those people are villains for good reasons, debt is also securitized for good reasons.

    As for a countervailing political force... that's what Hillary Clinton is, against the momentum of an activist and angry Republican congress.  She might be our best gladiator in our national battle of ideas and Sanders, who I do like, may need to step aside now that he's lost.  Clinton has already taken some of his best ideas.  His war is over.

    "She was not raising the spirit of Cthulhu." - doesnt that make you question her suitability for office? Cthulhu will be appeased one way or other, and for her to ignore this important constituency is, well, playing with a loaded volcano.


    Certainly Hillary should have challenged Obama up to November, using Bill and Davos and other connections to wage total war for the presidency. Dont know why people thought she should play nice when they said she never did. Back to 365 day a year campaigns and take-no-prisoners. I think Hillary made a mistake not spending $10 million in Indiana just to make Bernie look pathetic rather than running out the clock.... etc etc

    And of course if Bernie gets blown out in California and New Jersey he should disrupt the convention still because... the caucuses. And the transcripts. And the possible indictment. And Bill's bimbos. And the revolution.

    Hillary Clinton will be the next POTUS.

    Nothing will change in the following four years, however, for these great United States. But it will be the swan song of Blue Boomers who have dominated the party with little to nothing to show for it for thirty or forty years. Generation X will sweep up the confetti and recycle the champagne bottles, and otherwise mop up after the Boomer Wars, literal and figurative. The party's over. The latchkey kids, consigned to the kids table for a generation will manage the transition. They will see their first majority in congress in the 2020's, though it will be short lived. But the pragmatism with which they govern will pave the way for the heroes of this story. Enter a new generation of idealists, the Millennials.

    Consider the Democratic Party overhauled. Just give it twenty years.

    Wow, I see a stadium full of waving Bic lighters, how inspirational. One would hope in 20 years, we'll be mostly weaned off fossil fuels, using a much more developed nanotech/assistive device/sequenced genetically savvy/analytics-based health system, education will all be self-paced with schools focused on team interaction and socializing, most core work processes will be automated so that most work should be moving towards discretionary activity so that subsistence payments for non-work will no longer be shameful.

    Yeah give it 20 years. By then those young men and women will be older and might just vote in midterm elections. If I'm still alive I'll laugh quietly to myself when those 45 and older millennials bitch about the kids that only get inspired enough in a presidential year to go out and vote.

    Given the timeline, Obama will be remembered by historians as a Progressive President. Sanders will go down as a failed Presidential candidate. 

    I still dont get it. I dont see Bernie as thinking about goals most people dont want, including Hillary, but most people ont believe in his methods, and most are happy with the system if it's tweaked, not overhauled. Few want Danish tax rates, few want to give up their investment schemes (retirement or discretionary), few think college education should be free or want to pay for someone else''s sociology or dance or history degrees (yeah, STEM will cure all...). 

    You say Hillary doesnt show backbone to stick with stuff, but whats your example? No, she didnt want to push free healthcare for immigrants seeking abortions for obvious reason. Shes a pragmatist, but works hard for those more narrowly defined ("compromised") solutions. Yet all the media says America wants compromise, non-dogmatic politicians - until they don't?

    Anyway, I dont see his latest actions as embedding his legacy - rather he's making the greatest case for Bernie fatigue andthe idea of "good ideas, but need different implementor".

    Much fo Bernie's campaign has been FUD - that Hillary will sell out to monied interests. The evidence is underwhelming, such as "she got paid for speeches to banks" or "her husband helped rescind a law that most politicians of both partiesagreed was outdated" or "I poll better vs Trump so your Hillary vote will get you Trump instead".  Nice try, but hasnt worked.

    Pericles, you nailed it once again.  Bravo.

    America's great movements--abolition, progressivism, civil rights--did not give people what they wanted. They taught people to want something more. 

    That's my point - he's mainly just promising what they want, but in an unrealistic way, or things they dont really want but that dont make up a profound new change. Will free college lead to the Bastille? A $15 wage (and chicken in every pot)? Is single payer miles away from the path Hillary, Kennedy and Obama started? Cut defense spending is generic since time of Ike (and isolationism is a standard swing of the pendulum). Protect US jobs is standard cant. Etcetera, etcetera. Fracking is something that barely registers on most people's radar, and prison incarceration has lagged behind fixing crime and war on terror...

    Sanders sent out an email endorsing D.W. Schultz's primary opponent and asking for support for the guy and he raised over $250,000 in less than 24 hours. Sanders may well not be kicking off a movement, only time will tell, but he sure as hell is demonstrating that there is a constituency for one. 

    That's <10,000 donations @ $27 per - not as impressive as at first glance. It's only 100 full campaign contributions in a presidential race. And it's back to money power. Where's his ability to change things without cash? He's outspending Hillary - just pandering to a different clientele. Sooner or later they demand what he cant deliver and they move on. For now it's "fighting back against da man", we the oppressed. Only Trump seems to be able to go full goose loony without spending much, and that's cause he understands TV ratings and reality shows. The rich guy turns out to be the most miserly. Whatever, the sun riseth, the sun setteth... nothing yet that truly surprises me this round except Trump's continued success, and I guess it's just that if you have 1 horse in the stable, that's the one you'll ride. The GOP's truly become the party of beggars and attention whores weaned on victimology.

    How do you see Bernie's demand that small donations are the only acceptable form of financing playing out in urban and rural communities?

    Actually there is a movement and we will be seeing more of it after the primaries and convention. Right now pressure is being put on the Super Delegates that hold office. Also there is pressure in courts at state levels about election fraud. 

    What kind of pressure is being put on the Super Delegates that hold office?  I haven't heard anything about election fraud (except from the GOPers who insist that it is a huge problem everywhere).  Are you referring to the primaries?  Are there lawsuits pending in state courts?

    edited for (hopefully) clarity.

    This is a fair criticism. I think Sanders' (and the left's) lack of a cohesive, comprehensive vision is the greatest impediment to getting a new progressive movement off the ground. It's one of the reasons that I don't completely feel the bern.

    That said, it takes time for reform ideas to mature. The movement that created the Republican Party was not an abolitionist movement; it was a "free soil" movement--meaning that slavery should not be extended to new states and territories. The idea to abolish slavery in the South only became mainstream during the Civil War.

    Similarly, the progressive movement in the Democratic Party began with "free silver"--meaning that inflationary silver should back the dollar instead of deflationary gold. The Republican version started a few years later with three planks: reform the caucus system, bust the trusts, and ensure fair railroad rates. As the movement matured, it incorporated many other ideas.

    25 years, Michael - Bernie's not had much new in all that time. This article included his push for healthcare before Hillarycate. It's not that people are rejecting Bernie's ideas - they're rejecting him - he's a disagreeable asshole. Picking Cornel West is nothing new - West's a permanent decades-old member of the gadly community, largely making useful but fringe observations, but overplaying his hand with Obama. Will he radicalize the Dem platform? Of course not - he may put some useful points of food & compassion not bullets. Along with Zogby for a wishful "fix Palestine now", but it's all pretty well recycled and near mainstream by now - rejected less by the party than AIPAC and voters. Environment was one of Obama's few actual initiatives this term, and it's labeled illegal by conservatives. 

    At this point Bernie's off in #OWS territory, with "we thought we knew what you want, but now we're not sure..." Is it wealth equality or just revenge against DWS, Barnie Frank, and anyone else who crossed him? Cornel West found out what happens when you let it all get too much about personality and peevishness. Bernie's going to shut down the convention? For what end? I'm confused already. He seems to have adopted #BLM's "just walk on stage and interrupt and do whatever" strategy, which won them a few interviews and probably helped Hillary take police abuse of blacks more seriously, but it lost steam after that. Once the Bernie crowd has to define its actual beef, it'll turn into infighting and disarray. They think "independents" is some cohesive force waiting to be tapped, but it's Ted Bundys and neonazis combined with Save The Whales activits and cultural anarchists and the Joe 6-packs who cant be bothered with either Jon Stewart or Rush Limbaugh. But most independents are roughly aligned with a party, left or right, so if we registered them tomorrow we'd just make the red-blue pie bigger but not much different.

    Meanwhile, Bernie's Rainbow campaign is largely devoid of women's issues, racial issues, while LGBT is largely solved aside from a cultural wars fight over bathrooms. Which to me is the biggest issue - we've got states refusing healthcare, education, abortions, police reform,  while our military/foreign policy is horribly undefined aside from "send in some advisors and planes and hope locals succeed",  and we're off worrying about some national politician saying something mean to Bernie and the unlikely chance a transgender walks into a bathroom. It's perfect Trump/reality show conditions if we're not careful - 3 players on Big Brother having a spat and who gets thrown off the island/fired. At this point I think a lot of voters just want the entertainment, to keep the carny show going with only a wiff of political agenda behind it. Yeah, too much money in politics. But when the reformer gets private money, he focuses on who was mean? It's like an episode of Bad Santa.

    Cornel West

    just sayin

    I hope you are keeping notes and clipping articles.  I think historians will be digging into this election. There is plenty of moving parts that has not surfaced yet. The out come will be far different then what the current orthodoxy envisions. Social media has unleashed a sleeping giant who is not going to settle for politics of the last 40 years. The movement is moving much faster then in the past because of technology. We are in some interesting times and all those college grads that are under utilized in our economy is fueling the change. They are really smart and looking for a chance to use that education for something good.  The current orthodoxy expects them to face down militarize police force in the streets but they are in the process of building political clout and changing minds. There will be a protest at Philly but it is the work that has gone on in the last few months that will move this forward. OWS didn't die. It just got smarter. 

    60,000 in Oakland yesterday. 


    "Bernie has awoken a sleeping giant, and has filled it with a terrible resolve..."

    The sleeping giant that from 2010 onward was under some strong sedation.

    Hope they can stay active for more than one election, and show up for more political campaigns than just The Berns.

    People want to spin a narrative but wishing  doesn't make a reality. If a sleeping giant woke up it seems to me it woke up in 08 primary when both Hillary and Obama each got about 18 million votes. After the general election it fell back into deep sleep. It certainly didn't wake up this year. Clinton has about 13 million votes and Sanders about 10 million. Numbers tell a truer story than wishes and dreams.

    Anger is not enough. It just isn't. There is a certain amount of irrationality when people state that they will NO LONGER VOTE FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS when one evil is a bomb that will kill every human on Earth, and the other is someone you have disagreements with.  The relative difference between Bernie and Hillary is one of degrees only.  

    But the joyful pleasure of teaching the only political party that you are totally pissed, at the expense of the entire world, seems a little childish.

    I'm glad to see you finally realize that HRC with her neocon, neoliberal and interventionist ilk are the true threat to the world and yes it is childish to to ignore this fact.

    My goodness!  


    edited to remove objectionable words.

    This is a typical childish response to fact based criticism of the extreme right-wing democrat HRC that must come from other right-wing sources while some of the worst right-wing republicans are publicly showing their admiration of HRC's status quo agenda and fear of Trump's less interventionist FP and much less multinational corporate-friendly DP.

    US vassal states in Europe and elsewhere are certainly frightened by Trump and what he represents, their leaders/parasites are worried about their precarious positions and offshore bank accounts.

    C'Ville and Peter. This is a perfect example of why we do not permit ad hominem attacks at dagblog. A series of comments in which two dagbloggers repeatedly call each other "childish" or other epithets does not facilitate civil discussion. ToS warnings to both.

    And C'Ville, the next one means a suspension for you. I think that I already delivered this warning to you. This exchange is so silly that I'll overlook it, but that's the last time.

    It was silly, but I didn't think at the time that it violated TOS.  On review, it did.  I changed it.  Think of it this way, Michael -- you are getting such good experience for when your daughter is about 5 years old and you have to intervene in her squabbles!  Lol

    Yeah, my daughter will get some serious time-out for ad hominem attacks

    PS Your edited comment still violates ToS

    I don't like time-outs.  I just feel like isolation is not a good message.  I have 3 children who are all good citizens and very loving and successful people.  May I suggest two books that really helped me with parenting?  

    Smart Love, which explains the way to let your children know that you have trust and confidence in them, and give them confidence and trust in themselves to do well.

    Reviving Ophelia, which you should definitely NOT read until she is about 12.  It is a truly wonderful book and I wish my mother had read it.  Reading it in my 40's actually transformed my thinking.

    Sorry, I don't mean to preach, but wanted to share these two tomes that were really helpful to me.  I will delete the  post but quite frankly don't understand why it is still not ok.  

    Thanks so much for the book recommendations. I'll check them out, well, not the second one just yet. I do have a traumatic time-out memory from an occasion when my parents sent me to time-out and then forgot about me. ;)

    PS Your comment still violates ToS

    PPS Kidding

    Don't worry. I'm sure dealing with a 5 year old throwing a temper tantrum will be a piece of cake after dealing with the obstreperous oldsters here.

    Someone should write a Smart Love for Old Crankards book

    Michae.I accept your warning and apologize to Dag and CD for my slip into a personal response to an attack, it leads nowhere good.

    I try to understand if not appreciate why people support political  creatures such as HRC and would appreciate when people are honest about the reasons for their support but projecting false narratives about HRC or anyone else doesn't pass the smell test and deserves a pointed response.

    I doubt anyone running would pass your smell test.

    Your premise is that we Hillary supporters are not being honest and are deliberately projecting false narratives. That isn't what's happening here. I think my posts are true and you are projecting false narratives or more often, just gibes. But I don't find much value in questioning your honesty nor do I find much value in you questioning our's. Mostly I just accept that you are posting what you believe to be true. The purpose of discussion here is to have one's narratives challenged and to defend them in open debate.

    Apology accepted. I think everyone here is honest about their arguments. Trolls don't survive long at dag. We all have unconscious biases, of course, but that doesn't make us dishonest.

    In any case, trying to second-guess why people "really" believe something usually says more about what you believe than what they believe. It's not productive.

    In any case, trying to second-guess why people "really" believe something usually says more about what you believe than what they believe. It's not productive.

    As if.  That's just what you say you believe and that says what I believe about what you believe.

    Go away troll. Everyone knows you're a paid shill for Big Wrestling.

    Nope, it's a pretense to allow men in tights into transgender bathrooms - he's the worst type of subversive.

    An honest appraisal of what it means to be an enabler of Clintonism, you can't pick and choose what part to support it is a package deal, is what i was referring to not  individual honesty or dishonesty in comments. There have been some creative fables promoted here about HRC and others but those are usually just opinions or beliefs.

    I wouldn't dare to second guess or comment on what people 'really' believe because beliefs are rarely based in logic or facts and sometimes come from very dark sources. Hal's long series of Sanders posts have exposed some of the darker and even sinister reasons some people choose to enable this type of leadership and i prefer to let people state their own beliefs before commenting on the fallacies or fables I observe.

    Peter - thanks for saying you have found my posts elucidating with respect to a phenomenon that I myself have trouble understanding.  Now if only I could explain it to myself.

    Norm Ornstein, the token rational thinker at American Enterprise Institute, said in his book It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism that our system, and especially 'midterm elections' where the President is not on the ballot and almost always loses big in Congress, along with other perverse features of our system impede necessary action by the government.

    I would venture less than half of Americans even know who controls the Senate and House.

    A Parliamentary style government is more accountable, as the Party that wins controls the legislature elects the executive Prime Minister. The average voter can handle knowing that one single political fact, which Party is in power. You vote for your Party rep. not the PM.

    As far back early 1900's, Teddy Roosevelt wrote that our system obfuscates accountability with the division of power between Congress and the President.

    When TR felt it was in the interest of world peace to send the Great White Fleet on the around the world tour, Congress tightwads said they wouldn't pay for it. TR had won the Nobel Prize for arranging peace in the Russo-Jap War sensed more trouble was coming, ergo he built the fleet to try to keep peace thru display of US strength in the Pacific.

    TR told opponents of the world cruise he had the funds to send the fleet as far as the Philippines.  If Congress wanted to strand the fleet there they certainly can do it.

    Obama is doing what he can in a similar unilateral way on many issues without a Congress 'at war' with him and progress.

    I've been rolling your comment through my mind for a couple of days. There's certainly many problems with the American system and parliamentary systems might have more accountability. But parliamentary systems don't seem to do much better than ours. While most other nations do better at getting health care to their citizens they don't seem to fair better in most other ways. They don't seem to control their banks any better than we do. They seem less able to integrate minorities. They're less good at lowering unemployment. The greater accountability of parliamentary systems doesn't seem to lead to better outcomes.

    Seems to me there are just as many right wingers and incompetents elected under parliamentary systems as our system and they seem to hang around as long. So called liberal Canada elected the conservative party and Harper. Berlusconi was prime minister off and on for years. Then there's the problem when there are more than two parties none of which gains a majority. Often in Israel the center left party must make unpleasant bargains with the far right to form a coalition to achieve a governing majority.

    It may seem that America's incompetent leaders are worse but I think that's mostly about America's ability to do damage. Was Berlusconi less incompetent than Bush or was bush just more capable of inflicting damage on the world with his stupid decisions? What havoc would a corrupt fool like Berlusconi have unleashed on the world if Italy had America's power?

    Good points.

    That 75% of those surveyed (below) didn't know who controlled House/Senate before the midterms of 2014, it's a sad reality and probably the 'norm' for voters (not being well informed)....anywhere.....parliamentary or whatever..

    The same survey also showed most surveyed couldn't name the 3 branches of gov't.

    Well, Trump thinks the President can direct the Supreme Court to investigate someone.  He thinks the President can change libel laws to suit him.  It wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't know the branches of government either.  Or how long a Senate term is, or a House know - just simple stuff that if you have been informing yourself by reading about how things work, you would know.

    He lacks any intellectual curiosity because he hasn't needed it in his life as a bully.  Honestly, when this is all over, I do believe that he will be in financial ruin.  His brand is suffering all over the world, and he is losing hotel and condo business that was previously a steady flow of income.  Once the Trump University fraud bills are paid, there will likely be criminal charges.  Because fraud is not only civil; it is also criminal.

    But his biggest example of ignorance is when he shouts something one day and the next day he says he never said that. I'm sure that in the Trump Boardroom that goes over just fine.  But finally he decided to diss the press, and so finally, they are waking up and challenging one or two things that he lies about...not to his face yet, but it is coming, hopefully.

    tRumP wOod suE theerAss if tHEY dind't invesTiGate kiLLery. he APPOints THEM sO tHey haVe too. Hehas a lOt of lieryers.

    Revolution, successful, made on this stat line? following from my comment above:

    9/2014 Gallup poll, -  36% Americans correctly knew Democrats controlled the Senate, and GOP the House.

    Random guess (1 out of 2, 1/2 probability you're right for each) gives:  .5 x.5 = .25 = 25%

    Americans were 11% better than random guessing.

    I'm guessing Americans don't care enough about government to revolutionize it.

    If all Americans [to be fair, make it all humans] were teleported to a working utopia we would in fairly short order fuck it up. For a thousand reasons which can be distilled to seven, utopia would soon head in the direction of becoming Guernica.

    Without a few thousand generations somehow guided by an evolutionary feedback loop which would eliminate them, mankind will always be corrupted by the deeply ingrained instinct towards acting on the impulse towards the seven deadly sins. They are; Envy, Gluttony, greed, Lust, Pride , Sloth, and Wrath. Unbridled capitalism has a feedback loop which works because of and promotes and depends on these sins to keep it going in one direction and it is a direction with a history of great material success here in the United States so far but which is not sustainable.

    I do not have a vision of a system  alternate to capitalism which, I believe would work, and so I put my small portion of hope into the idea that ‘bridled’ capitalism might work better and for longer than what we have now.  Two of the remaining candidates play to the seven sins in somewhat different ways while a third suggests actually constructing a bridle and actually coming together in numbers great enough to use it. Even if he were elected it would only, could only, be a beginning. Even though he will almost certainly not be elected, it might yet be a significant beginning. Capitalism with a conscience, capitalism as if people mattered, what a concept.

    This essay today at Counterpunch speaks to ideas expressed in this blog and the comments.

    The only way a genuine redistribution of wealth will occur in the United States is when there is a Left broad enough and grand enough to force the hand of the capitalists who run this land. Neoliberal capitalism–capitalism’s latest, most insidious and most pervasive manifestation–is a difficult beast to control and an even greater challenge to defeat. Its ability to invade every aspect of the community and the communal mind means that every single issue-oriented movement, from those against police murder of African-American and other working class youth to issues of gender and sexual equality and identity; from opposition to fossil fuel exploitation of the earth to indigenous rights; from national liberation to imperial war–all of these issues can and have been manipulated by those who would make a buck or gain a neoliberal vote.

     This essay speaks to ideas brought up in this blog and comments.  In a follow-on to some things which we must do as we try to bridle capitalism it makes what I see as the most important characteristic of our capitalistic society which must be changed soonest if we hope to pass on a livable world to our grandchildren.

    But we must also oppose imperial war and the ever-increasing militarization of our society. The acceptance of the military and its martialism is a sickness. It is a sickness that infects our schools, our culture, our worship, and our work. Its pervasiveness is so great we accept it as if it was a natural given. It is not. Those current Left movements that deemphasize these aspects of US capitalism do so at their own risk. As always, the ultimate expression of imperial power is war. When we don’t oppose or even address its omnipresence in today’s world we provide tacit acceptance of it. Yet, the existence of war and militarism is directly related to most of the fundamental issues we face: immigration, racism, and the battle against neoliberal capitalism.

    A constructive ‘movement’ must recognize this 365 days a year. Memorial Day would be a good day to start remembering what caused the last wars, what caused the current ones, and what will likely start the next ones, and who will be most likely to lead us in that direction or who else might possibly lead us in a better direction.


    Capitalism is already bridled. In fact, it was never truly unbridled, though it was less restricted during the laissez-faire 19th century.

    The question isn't really bridled vs. unbridled but how tight to make the bridle. The trick, I think, is to design a better bridle--one that resists corruption and bureaucratic bloat, that rewards free enterprise and risk-taking without disenfranchising and debasing the poor, that allows businesses to be nimble without crushing the workers. Beats me how to do it. The Europeans do it better than us, but the model is still flawed.

    Yes, I was going to post the same thing. And each additional bridling adds costs that will be passed onto consumers. This is especially true with environmental protections. For example were we to truly take action to deal with the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico we'd have to regulate agricultural run off from farm lands in 31 states that the Mississippi River basin runs through and that would increase food costs. As an environmentalist I favor such regulation but I'm very aware that the politics are problematic.

    I feel the same way about gas/carbon taxes.  I generally support them and they make a lot of environmental sense and also economic sense as they price externalities.  But, they're regressive as all heck.  People have to drive to work, they can't always afford the latest, most fuel efficient car and they can't tear out their home heating system. Rich people can buy a luxury Tesla and avoid your gas tax, saving money over time. Most people cannot. You have a good tax but you're making the wrong people pay it.

    Cap and trade carbon systems work the same way.  A few years back the investment banks were all lining up to build those exchanges.  Again, it makes sense, but in practice it will move a bunch of money from industrial sectors into the financial sector and that will come out of people's wages or be priced into the goods they buy.

    I agree with what you say here and my first impulse was to agree that I had chosen a poor metaphorical word but that would mean passing up a chance to bicker.  :-)   So, my idea of a bridle is to control and guide and make the beast go where you want it to go and do what you want it to do. A bridle designed and used correctly will not choke. I don't know either how to make such a bridle for capitalism but I suspect that the design parameters will always need to remain fluid so as to change with different conditions and as "innovators" learn how to hold the bit in their teeth and run where they wish, which is usually amuck. 

    You're thinking of a halter.  A halter is what you put on a "beast" when a less constricting method of control is required, and it's used with a lead rather than reins.  It's also a far more persuasive harness for something in need of guidance - a bridle simply demands compliance.

    Bring them to heel?

    Lead them to water ...

    Cornel West?

    Horace Greeley?

    People keep leaving out Tavis Smiley :)

    I read your article the morning it was released online. I read The Beast almost every morning. Interesting article. Well done! 

    Thanks, Tmc!

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