The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Knife in the Back - Monsters on Main Street

    Even as Hillary is sighted, somewhat like that bear, slipping out of the woods back into the mainstream, I see again and again the disgruntled comments arising in each story, the "we wuz robbed", the "DNC rigged the primaries", the "crooked woman", and the "party left us" kind of betrayed mentality you seldom see so strong except for WWI German vets distraught over Versailles. Not just a few comments - *DOMINATING* the comments section.

    It's not like Mayor Daley calling out the cops to break protesters' heads at the '68 convention, or LBJ having his friends register & vote several cemeteries. It's not like Kennedy's father buying off the Democratic establishment to push JFK's candidacy or putting a friend temporarily in a Senate seat to reserve it for Ted or holding up the Illinois results in 1960 to find a few more votes. It's not like the array of Democrats who undermined McGovern's '72 candidacy far beyond his foolish nomination of Eagleton. It's nothing like the old-time smoky backroom wheeling-and-dealing that chose VPs and sometimes Presidents. It's nothing like purged voter rolls and polling place challenges that black voters have to fight against every election. It wasn't Bernie's own internal emails and strategy papers being hacked like his opoponent's and leaked out for the world to know. It wasn't even like a CREEP organized attack on Muskie via an anonymous letter + the main Manchester, NH paper attacking Muskie's wife and then claiming he'd cried (somehow unnoticed by the NY Times reporter standing next to him in the snow).  And certainly nothing egregious like Bernard Shaw asking Dukakis in a debate whether his wife being raped and killed would change his mind on the death penalty. It's nothing like being accused of hiding Parkinson's Disease and having the world's press condemn you for not being more open over a cold. It's certainly nothing like RFK's campaign being stopped in cold blood in an LA kitchen.

    It's rather hard to see where all this expectation of easy sailing and powderpuff softball politics came from, or where the impression from a few mild emails confirms the worst of a sinister plot to break up a promising arousing competitor's campaign.

    Back in 1972, as Nixon faced the first blowback from Watergate, an unknown southern governor took the ambitious step of chairing the Democratic Governor's Campaign Committee and in 1974 took over as head of campaigns for the Democratic National Committee, aka DNC. Instead of waiting for the traditional start of season back when presidential campaigns lasted just over a year, he announced his presidential candidacy by end of 1974, beating a large pack of contenders to the gate. While some candidates avoided Iowa & New Hampshire, Carter set out to get a bit of skin on each occasion - pulling a suprising 2nd in Iowa and numerous upsets in the critical first months. Later in the campaign, liberals protested his candidacy with a futile "Anyone But Carter" movement. Carter had seen the end of backroom dealing coming through and as they say, early bird got the worm.

    [When Castro planned *his* revolution, he spent years in jail, time in exile in Mexico, launched a fairly well-planned & daring boat raid across the sea, and hid out for months in the jungle conducting guerrilla hit-and-run missions].

    Contrast that with last year's "insurrection" that started over *1 1/2 months after* (May 30) the main contender and presumptive nominee announced her candidacy at already the late date in April 13, 2015. The challenger then proceeded to get in tiffs with the main democratic organization over debate schedules, and later sued the DNC when his staff was found exploiting a database glitch to access his opponent's records. Continually he declared the process rigged, refused to accept results of elections, continually pointed to the long-known superdelegate situation that had sunk his opponent in 2008 as cheating, and promised a messy fight to the convention despite already having lost badly in numbers of elected delegates.

    In short, the usurper did his best to make it likely the party would *not* welcome his candidacy, even though there was certainly a lot of enthusiasm for his bid and ideas, as shown by their half-adoption at the convention, and the DNC did adjust the debate schedule to give him the extra debates he desired.

    Still, he did not clearly win these debates, and while he managed some impressive populist fundraising, he did not overwhelm the favorite in funds, and overall he did poorly in primaries while pulling some surprises in caucuses that were tinier, less strict, and more open to upsets through fewer participants.

    He lost 3 of the 4 February contests (unsurprisingly winning the NH primary in his back yard), and lost 8 of the 13 "Super Tuesday" events, putting him behind 467-663 by March 5 and 861-1170 by March 15 in *PLEDGED* delegates, with Clinton safehouses in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, NJ, and California to come - i.e. most populous states #1, #4, #5, #11, #14, #19,

    Additionally, despite being a lost cause anyway, Bernie did not come through on his Joe Namath promise about California - despite loads of speculation about its slow-counting system and loud claims of vote theft, Hillary won easily by 7% and 350,000 votes to end an already decided primary season.

    Aside from a couple well-publicized claims of Hillary being severly ill with Parkinsons or being about to be indicted by the FBI.

    Which is when Wikileaks stepped in to keep tempers flared, dripping out hacked emails that showed some partisan emails within the DNC, mostly from May - when the primary was all but over, suggesting (but rejected) a couple naughty underhanded tactics to get Bernie to concede or go away.

    And so the permanent split was solidified - a healthy chunk of Sanders supporters committed to never giving Clinton the time of day, with the feeling that they had been unfairly treated - the invitation to help write the Democratic platform at the convention doing little to heal the wound, or perhaps even exacerbating it.

    It's ironic that Tom Perez, the supposed Obama-Clinton choice to lead the DNC, slipped out with a "primaries were rigged" proclamation (to attract Bernie factions away from Keith Ellison???) before he quickly put that outburst back in (Pandora's?) box.

    So now we're left with a seemingly permanently disgruntled faction of the party (or independents, depending), with a permanent split and a heavy tilt *against* the fairly mainstream measures that typically poll well for the bigger majorities of the populace.

    Again and again we will see that the positions that easily won Clinton the nomination and still won her the popular vote despite Comey & blocked voter access will be seen as a "failure" to be discarded, and the opposition faction will demand a new tack to the left to rebuild the party.

    But there will be no healing until people decide to heal - or like in Germany, until they burn the whole shithouse down. And at this point it doesn't seem as if the farther left care to compromise or play nice at all.

    I'm at a loss to see what will assuage this feeling of betrayal, that the system is so corrupt that it can't be trusted with anything, yet it's the system we go to elections with (and we're in a minority position anyway - perhaps shining well in opposition, but still far from prepared to take 2018 elections and reverse Republican hegemony).

    I'm at a loss to what will allow even the most innocuous comment to pass muster without invoking the "she did-no she didn't" barbs, or even to know how much is from Bernie fans and how much from sock puppets.

    While the press had a field day with the "anti-establishment" tone of the campaign year, it was largely a self-serving proclamation - it fed their news cycle, it kept people interested, and it was a largely an outburst of contrafactual utterings and substance-free declarations that left both candidates and the press free to write pretty much anything they liked, including the poorly justified polling data that fed a thousand conspiracies.

    Maybe it's nothing, but the Ellison-Perez proxy fight seemed real enough, another North-v-South internecine battle among many that resolved little but stirred up a lot.

    Trump and his buddies at Wikileaks and especially those in Moscow must be quite pleased.

    Some time ago Rod Serling did an episode where all aliens had to do was turn on and off a few lights to get the people of a town to panic, to start fighting and killing among each other. Seems it's easier than that - a few emails, tweets or Facebook posts and we're easily turned. We do live in the Twilight Zone - progressive and modern? or the butt of a familiar ironic tale 50 years after it went off the air?





    The way I see it is that the majority of Democratic party members who are enthusiastic about the party are very much against centrism for a very long time and continue to be so, they are basically loud and proud "tax and spend" liberals. While they gave Bill Clinton a break because he was charismatic and had Al Gore and could talk the liberal talk if he didn't actually walk it, Hillary was/is seen by them as just a jump too far into centrism. (While her "vast right wing conspiracy" type of enemies ironically often see her as more liberal than Bill.)

    I very much remember in the early blogosphere in the first Bush term there was plenty of Clinton hate. It was nearly absurd at times. They were asking "where's the outrage?" about Bush, but at the same time memories of Bill Clinton were not good enough, Dems wouldn't want him back either, he sold out the poor with welfare reform, he helped big corporations, he got us involved in Kosovo yadda yadda, he was just a stepping stone to Bush, sold out the party. And I also remember Dems as very unhappy with Hillary's performance as a Senator, not just her voting on Iraq, but in her supposed carpetbagging in running in NY,  but also her "pandering" to upstate conservative interests, being pro-Nafta and military friendly, too paranoid about terrorist threats to the point of being prejudiced against Islam, basically a covert neo-con,. etc. etc.

    There is a reason the majority of voters are Independents. Because most of the people active in both parties are more radical and do not relish centrist candidates.

    Centrists have mostly been purged from the GOP, but in the Dem party they still allow for them but don't exactly like them. Hence the anger against Hillary "ruining" their dream of a Bernie type candidate.  I myself haven't been in agreement with a Dem party platform since like 1985.

    P.S.I should say that in the early blogosphere activist Dems preferred to be call progressives instead of liberals, even though the historic meaning of the term didn't really fit. And they were also just as enamored of Howard Dean as they are of Bernie now. (Under the mistaken impression about Dean's core beliefs, I might add. I found Deaniacs more irritating than the current Bernie fans because they were often really deluded about what he was about.)

    Much of this I agree with except that during Bill's term I thought the general consensus among liberals was that Hillary was "Bill's liberal conscience" Some how that changed, perhaps while she was senator. Eventually she got blamed for everything Bill did as president and everything she did or didn't do as senator.

    I'd surmise your impression was only for some - she was also blamed for failure on the supposed slam dunk of passing Hillarycare, the Arkansas Project focused on her as much as Bill, "Travelgate" became a bipartisan rallying cry especially for those connected with the press corps, a lot of her "liberal" public view vanished with the "I could have stayed home to bake cookies" comment when she cut her hair and went off to play good girl scout (and pivot to a "secretive, inauthentic" image when her being too authentic was a thorn in the side). Meanwhile, any of the triangulation issues were detested on the left, and she got 0 quarter on that. Etc, etc. Anyway, too much 90's for me, I'm gunning for 2020 hoping to get across the border in time & space before it all collapses.

    I would have liked to agree with this take but I don't see the facts stacking up in its favor. Especially the part about democratic party members being more radical and so anti-Clinton:

    Mr. Sanders won big margins among independents who cast ballots in Democratic contests. But he lost Democratic Party members by close to 30 percentage points. It’s hard to win the Democratic nomination without winning Democrats. Independents accounted for fewer than one-quarter of voters.

    I appreciate the slap upside my head, Obey. Facks damn facks. I'm thinking on readjusting the brain...

    PP, are you singing for your choir or trying to pick a fight? Either way, what's the point? Expressing your disgust with disgrantled Dems will hardly allay anyone's resentment. If you actually want Democrats to stop "fighting and killing among each other," this is exactly the wrong way to do it.

    I don't have a choir - solo artist - and 1400 largely anti-Hillary comments were already laid out at The Guardian when I went to read the article, so hardly me who's "picking a fight" - especially insulting comments re: a woman who's extremely unlikely to ever run again, but they can't leave it at that.

    There's a level of fanaticism and fatalism that I likened to the returning WWI German vets, that if their government had just been a bit more supportive they would have won, never mind the other side's overwhelming superiority on the field and the lack of fighting-aged males in the ranks. Oh, and control of airspace and introduction of new lines of advanced weapons like the tank.

    So yeah, I thought that impression worth blogging about. Whenever an issue like minimum wage, fracking, trade or healthcare come up, there's a large media and commenter presence that acts as if the full Sanders platform was vetted and approved, and anything standing in the way of it is treason, and that anything centrist and not Bernie-style populist (vs. Hillary-style populist - yes, her campaign was overwhelmingly populist, despite the wonkis detailed papers) was rejected overwhelmingly by the electorate. File that with visceral hatred for the DNC and thus largely the party & anyone who's been around, it makes a rather toxic unhinged vibe to reckon with.

    There's a lot of compromise needed to step forward, but folks need to be in a compromising mood for it to work - otherwise we'll lose the opportunity for a bounceback. And where Theresa May is presumption dismissing the 48% who voted remain, our insiders are often presumptious in dismissing what's still the overwhelming majority of the party. That's what we call a "quandary". How to keep up the dissatisfaction and readiness for action while defanging the excessive sense of being wronged?

    Uh yeah, this isn't the Guardian comments section. So who is your audience at dag? Those who share your disdain for Bernie "fanatics" (the choir) or those who feel disgruntled toward the Democratic Party (and certainly won't take kindly to your disdain). And again, what are you trying to achieve here? You profess a desire for compromise and unity, but your contemptuous attitude seems designed to alienate and divide.

    I agree Michael. I still admire Hillary, I'll defend her if she's attacked, and I'll do what I can to support her if she finds a public role for herself. But I'm not sure what PP is trying to accomplish by rehashing this. Best case scenario is Sander's supporters ignore this post. Worst case it just starts another nasty purposeless unresolvable fight here.

    It's 4 1/2 months since the election, and this phenomenon isn't just happening at The Guardian. The fight over Ellison vs Perez was full of "Hillary's still pulling the strings" cinspiracy talk. 

    The only reason why I laid it out in such detail was to highlight how any offense was mild in comparison to Demicratic history, and that we're dealing with what I believe is a sentiment that's starting to take on a life of its own.

    Again, do they reflect real people, or is there sime paid sock puppet thing going on to keep the party in disarray?

    Hey PP... Well . . . there sime some paid sock puppet thing going on to keep the party in disarray?

    Does a miniscule drop of water equal a billion bucks when poured into the 187 quintillion gallons of the Pacific Ocean?


    I think it's a phenomenon of import to note and I appreciate when someone reports seeing so many passionate comments on the same theme, no matter what it is, like you did. Just a suggestion: where you might run into others seeing resentment in your "voice" is adding the rehash of old fights, i.e., basically defending Hillary of the past and revisiting old slights. Leave it with the "new news"?

    Maybe so, but if there's serious reason to be angry, it would be dumb of me to wonder why there are so many angry people on a particular site. I thought presenting the basic facts and overall perspective in less heated times would highlight the specific issue and the German analogy that popped into my head. I also understand why others might not see it that way, may jump to specific conclusions, etc., etc.

    [I did avoid some more heated, button-pushing items, as the point was not to fight the campaign anew]. Anway, written, done, hopefully a needless concern..

    I think this is a bit narrow-sighted: the 'enthusiasm' problems in the democratic party date from well before Berniacs decided to get all offended about how the primaries were conducted. The haemorrhaging share of seats in state legislatures and governor mansions dates to at least 2010. 

    In general, I think you are confusing the rabid anti-Clinton clique of Berniacs that is so active over at the Guardian with members of the Democratic party. A big chunk, if not a majority, of Berniacs are not Democrats, so it's a bit of a misnomer. 

    Just look at the DNC transition committee - 27 of 29 were establishment and only 2 endorsed Ellison in the race for chair. Hardly seems like a schism in the party. The party is very unified. 

    The question is whether the party wants to be inclusive towards Berniac economic progressive movements. And it very clearly does not. The transition committee makes that clear. 

    Of course on your view, the Berniacs should join and be more conciliatory, and give up those last two seats on the transitional committee. 29 to 0 - a reasonable compromise with centrism. Which I'm not saying is wrong. It is how things have historically gone. Just don't expect Berniacs to be enthusiastic about it.

    I'm not referring to "enthusiasm" problems. I'm not contesting that the Democratic Party needs to evolve (state losses were well below 2010, I believe - seem to recall them cleaning up in 2004 & 2006...).

    I also think the party has been *somewhat* receptive towards Sanders' proposals (YMMV, but the Democratic Convention certainly wasn't a complete shutout between minimum wage, trade. environment, war on drugs... - Sanders himself seemed pleased at the time.

    And I don't expect Sanders' fans to embrace a rout or turn suddenly kumbaya or any other unrealistic expectation. I'm talking about a severe case of vitriol and intransigence  and feeling of being wronged that has affected *some*, and I'm trying to understand is this a big roadblock in transforming the party in some kind of consolidated way, or just an overblown anecdotal data point that means little.

    I wouldn't think that looking at Guardian's readership, much less their commentariat, is going to get you a representative sample of "mainstream" democrats. And that article is written to trigger a response to the question of "should Clinton start campaigning for 2020?". There is understandable Clinton fatigue after the election - her being blamed, rightly or wrongly, for the election - not to be confused with a broader anger at the Democratic party. 

    Other than that, I don't see the internecine leftist v centrist fight in the party getting worse. At least around me, everyone is fully and exclusively invested in Trump directed fear and loathing. 

    Personally I dropped by hoping to see the Desi take on the Comey hearings, not another rerun of your election diatribe. Not meant as a criticism as such, just where my head is at, which I think goes for most people. 

    I'm looking for the Trump-HSBC connection for the new Russian banking/mone laundering scandal coming out of England. Not waiting up nights waiting for blessings and favors to come from Comey, even if we might happen to get lucky. But overall nothing's like I'd hoped it would be - damn tough to maintain enthusiasm or positive interests for now, though you know that as well.

    interesting - hadn't made the connection. But yeah, maybe some part of that 80 billion made its way to Kushner, Schwarzmann or Trump. It being a UK investigation means its hard for Trump to shut it down. But then again, I don't really trust the Brits when it comes to prosecuting banks and money laundering. It's their one remaining national industry now. That and scones. 

    The money laundering took place in Moscow, Lonfon and New York, including heavy use of Trump's fave  Deutsche Bank, fined $620mill in January for Russian money laundering, and from which Trump got loans of up to $2 billion. It I'm wondering if that NY attorney Preet Bhahara (sp?) was fired to take him off *that* case which has now spilled over to 17 other banks. I don't think the case is firewalled in London, and involvement in Cyprus, Moldova and Latvia makes it an EU matter too.

    Ah, but still missing "bank" and "Trump personal account". Can I buy a vowel, Alex?

    But still, good to know Barron's not home alone, and Melania for sure can brush up on her Russian skills (every Yugo kid knew it at one point). Hope the Trump Towers Secret Service detail is keeping the illicit money flowing smoothly in and out of the building - what else would you expect for hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars? Hmmm, maybe red lights and a marquee promoting underage girls.

    Hmmm, pushed off building day before testimony - almost as good. Maybe Trump Tower can put in a "look before you leap" platform. Russians are so creative in disposing of old business and old friends. A bunch of goodfellas indeed.

    "Manafort promoted Putin" - wow, like every 5th story off the newsfeed is further damage. If this actually hurt the Republicans, I'd enjoy this flick, but I have the sorry feeling that it's all just absorbed, like a junkie resignedly sinking further to support an insatiable habit and 1 more tawdry fix.  (segue to T2 Trainspotting images...)

    In doing what it could to assist Hillary get the nomination, in choosing Perez as its new Chair, and in rejecting a ban on corporate donations, the DNC sided wholly with the establishment, i.e., the Obama-Clinton-Wall Street, wing of the party.  Indeed, with respect to corporate money, the DNC went well beyond Obama who instituted the ban in the first place  

    It is my understanding that PP's basic argument is that progressives need to accept this, shut up, and sit down.  My view is the polar opposite.  I believe centrists must recognize that their ideology has failed the American people and, far less momentously, the Democratic Party.  Simply put, I disagree with PP completely.  

    But I also disagree, perhaps even more strongly, with those who argue that PP shouldn't have posted this piece or that little good came come from it.  Indeed, this is an essential argument that we on the left and those on the center must have and it must be won by one side or the other.  Until then the Democratic Party will continue to fade away.

    I implore all involved in this on-going unavoidable dispute to treat each other's arguments with respect, to engage primarily with facts - not emotions, and to be open to the possibility that those on the other side may well be right.

    Not what I wrote nor implied in either blog or comments, and there is no "winning" unless it's a win-win meeting of minds and goals. Otherwise it's Phyrrhic like Nov 8's popular vote "victory".

    I apologize for misstating your position with respect to complaints/allegations from the left that the Democratic Party is beholden to corporate interests.  I thought you were arguing that you didn't want to hear them any more and that they're counterproductive.  It seems to me that you do imply strongly via the title of this piece (and elsewhere) - "Knife in the Back" - that they have been and are doing the party in.

    Perhaps I assume too much that people are as familiar with Weimar history and thus will catch my references.

    Dolchstoßlegende - Stab-in-the-back myth

    Similarly, "Monsters on Main Street" refers to aliens (Russians? Republicans? Is there a difference any more?) manipulating us (Dems & Independents alike) with a few blinking lights as referenced in the warning below:






    (hopefully your level of German is up to this)


    "eyes", alias "peepholes" - klar?

    Got it

    Like McCartney sang, "ah look at all the lonely peepholes..."

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