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

    Scary Stuff

    I have for some months now been afraid there is something fundamentally scary going on in our country.

    As both Trump and Sanders have gained popularity, it occurred to me that they are two sides of the same coin, each in their own way appealing to people who have lost faith in our government, and are willing to follow a "leader" who not only acknowledges that anger, but feeds it. Even more concerning to me is that neither of these leaders have a workable solution to the problem, and their followers don't seem to care.

    From an article in the Guardian:

    The World Values Survey of 2011 included a stunning figure. It found that 34% of Americans approved of “having a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress or elections”, the figure rising to 42% among those with no education beyond high school. It’s worth reading that again, to let it sink in. It means that one in three US voters would prefer a dictator to democracy. Those Americans are not repudiating this or that government, but abandoning the very idea of democracy itself.

    Although they have different ideas of which direction they want the country to go, both Trump and Sanders fit that bill.

    Both have contempt for the checks and balances put in place by our founding fathers. Both think they can make an end run around them to get what they want through a ground swell of public indignation and "revolution."

    The article focuses primarily on Trump, but with a little reworking would work for Sanders as well.

    If the concept is interesting to you, could you read the whole piece so we can discuss?



    Please identify one check or balance "put in place by our founding fathers" for which Bernie Sanders has contempt.

    Wrong guy. You might be thinking of Andrew Jackson (who was also accused of assuming autocratic powers, as was Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, a bunch of other guys, and oh yeah, Barack Obama).

    PS Technically, Jackson killed the Second Bank of the U.S., not Hamilton's

    Oh never mind

    But was Hamilton's idea - original intent. 

    It was Hamilton's original intent to raise interest rates in 2016? Or are you suggesting that it's an abuse of executive power to call for legislation to reform the Federal Reserve. Quick, someone tell Hillary! (Also Thomas Jefferson and James Madison)

    I think about ole Andy sometimes.

    I mean he won the biggest battle against a foe who had already quitted; so to speak. hahahah

    You are missing the bigger point, both men are appealing to white political frustrations. The Trump argument about minorities is that they need to be excluded (Muslims) or that they are rapists (Mexicans). We need to make America great again by making certain that minorities are put in their place. The Sanders argument is that blacks will benefit by addressing white economic concerns. Fix the economy and racism disappears.Both campaigns dismiss the concerns of the majority of minority voters. In fact, the only acceptable blacks for both are those who express contempt for Obama/Clinton. For both campaign, blacks and other minorities are too ill-informed to understand what is in their best interest. Supporters of both men find links to Martin Luther King Jr. Liberty University chose Trump as their Martin Luther King day speaker. Trump is said to be on the same path as Jesus. Cornel West tells us that Bernie Sanders is an heir to Martin Luther King Jr. Of course when contemporaries of King disagree, West lashes out. Both campaigns use King as a prop.

    Actually, Hal was addressing Stilli's point head on: "Both have contempt for the checks and balances put in place by our founding fathers."

    The only support for this startling claim appears to be an article about Donald Trump.

    Stilli didn't write anything about white political frustrations or cite irrelevant commentary from Cornell West. That point is pure rmrd.

    I was addressing the content of the Guardian article

    The individual personalities and contexts are different, but this disparate collection of parties and candidates feed on the same discontent. Usually the voters rallying to populist insurgents are those who feel failed by conventional politics, left behind either economically or culturally. They are the ones whose incomes have been squeezed, whose jobs have been shipped abroad or who simply have seen their neighbourhoods transformed before their eyes, by a changing, diversifying population. 


    For many of those angry white males this is deeply unsettling. A society that gives a prominent and equal place to, say, black men or gay women can seem to contradict the values in which these traditionalists (some would want to call them reactionaries) were raised. Put more harshly, one of the consolations available to a straight, white, working-class American man of the past was the knowledge that there were others below him in the social hierarchy. He was in a society that validated him above the gay, the non-white and the female. Now that knowledge, along with the job and the affordable home, has gone. Recall that the title of a landmark book on white southerners in the age of civil rights was There Goes My Everything.

    Rmrd, you know that Hillary's white, right?

    PS I still don't see what Cornell West has to do with any of this

    Wow, thanks for telling me about Hillary,. She does have the fact that she married the first black President in her favor.

    The article is about populist movements. Trump has encouraged disruption. Bernie encourages disruption. Both Trump and Sanders are outsiders. They both feel slighted by party leadership. Until Trump became the presumptive nominee, he threatened discord at the convention. Sanders does not condemn his aggressive supporters tactics in Nevada and elsewhere. The Trump and Sanders campaigns appear to be hitting nearly the same marks.

    I gave examples of supporters of Trump and Sanders who linked their candidates to MLK. Falwell brought Trump in for MLK Day. West said Sanders was in the great tradition of MLK.

    Rmrd, this is a textbook case of association fallacy.

    It's also totally irrelevant to Stilli's astounding assertion that Sanders has no respect for checks and balances, which is where we started.

    Good day, sir.

    Bernie respects checks and balances and he has more now than he ever thought possible.

    Re:Sanders from the Guardian article

    Some of this fury fuels the Sanders candidacy, for example, as he argues that both main parties are the twin faces of a sham democracy, bought up by Wall Street and the big corporations. (Tellingly, both Trump and Sanders are outsiders to the parties they seek to lead: not long ago, neither were even members.) It defines the Brexit campaign too, with its core contention that Britain has lost democratic control over its own destiny, that only a break from the EU will allow Britons to govern themselves again, no matter who’s in Downing Street.

    This rage against the system powers many of the populist movements now making waves around the world

    The Sanders or Brexit positions are predicated on the notion that democracy is still the ideal: the problem is that the current arrangements do not deliver it. But there is a disaffection that can run further and deeper. It asks whether democracy even remains an ideal to be pursued.


    Sanders supporters are disruptive and Sanders does little to pull them back from attacking Hillary supporters and the DNC

    Ah, I get it. This article focuses primarily on Brexit, but with a little reworking would work for Sanders as well.

    Plus, Cornell West!!!!!!!!!

    Scary stuff

    Glad you agree :)

    While we're on the kick Sanders bandwagon, this article focuses primarily on David Berkowitz, but with a little reworking would work for Sanders too.

    And this one is about the Zika virus. A bit of stretch but with a little reworking...

    Scary stuff

    Thanks Michael.  It's nice not to face alone a slew of disputations.

    Ok. I think I have it. You can't call someone here at Dag a fool but it's ok to specifically mock them. Good to know.  

    Buzz! Thanks for playing. You cannot mock people at dag, but you can mock what they write. You can even call what they write foolish.

    I think we've all written foolishly at times, though none of us are fools.

    Speak Sirrah for your betters and yourself but not for us. Signed,  Feste,  Trinculo,  and  Falstaff.

    You're a smart ass, but I suspect you know that already! I live in a family full of them. It's just like being at home. Oddly comfortable.


    There was one about Vlad the Impaler that had uncanny similarities.

    It would be great if you stuck with Stilli's topic and didn't hijack it in order to diminish it.  It's clear that you think her conclusion is astounding.  How about addressing that?

    I would just like to add, if I may:

    Cornel West. 

    2 minute penalty, unsportsmanlike conduct. Sheesh, always the brawler.

    You forgot Tavis Smiley

    Sorry for throwing this out, then disappearing. I'm on vacation and expected a quiet day today, but it didn't happen.

    As far as their contempt for the checks and balances - both are apparently going to try to do an end run around the congress. Trump will just make everyone do what he wants. Bernie needs a democratic congress to do what he wants to do, but he's done little or nothing to make sure he gets a Democratic congress. No fundraising for down-ticket candidates, and some followers who vote for him for president, but leave the rest of the ballot blank. When asked how he will accomplish his goals he spouts a bunch of nonsense about millions of people making it happen. Apparently he didn't get the memo that his followers don't get to vote in Congress. Oh, wait, they vote for the congressional candidates. Except when they don't. Oh, and the Democrats are corrupt anyway. 

    Yet another logical fallacy: I'm on vacation. Therefore everyone's on vacation. ;)

    This Congress thing is whole nuther argument. I have often argued that Bernie has a far more realistic strategy for reshaping Congress than Hillary, and frankly, I don't feel like rehashing it again right now.

    But even if he didn't have a better strategy, the inductive leap from failing to fundraise downticket to becoming some kind of scary autocratic is about 25 leaps too far.

    Plus Cornel West

    (I sense a meme)

    We wil see who has jokes after the curmudgeonly Vermont grandpa uses his four planned rallies at the Democratic Convention to disrupt things. BFF will likely be there to stoke the fire. ( I sense a meme as well).

    Edit to add:

    You again forgot Tavis Smiley.

    Gearing up for the DNC

    Not a logical fallacy - Not that I thought it would be a quiet day in Dagblog - a quiet day for me, here, on vacation. I would never presume to guess whether Dag would be quiet or not on any given day.

    I never said anything about Cornel West, so direct that at someone other than me, please. ;-)

    I'll have to investigate his strategy for reshaping Congress. I read a LOT, from a variety of sources, and I have seen nothing.

    Pssssst!!!!  Bernie doesn't have a strategy except the one you already mentioned --> That millions of people will show up in Washington and....(presumably that will change EVERYTHING.-- including, I guess, the Constitution)   1.  All Congresscritters will slink home to count their money and do nothing at home instead of in Congress. 2.  The millions hanging around in the DC Mall will a) vote in all of Bernie's ideas. B) Elect from amongst themselves, people who will vote in Bernie's ideas.  Or C). Bernie just makes the rules and everyone is so happy that no voting is required..  How else is he planning on getting his stuff through.

    So I guess this answers Hal's question about what Bernie thinks of the Founding Fathers.

    I'm not sure what Mike W meant about the conceit that Bernie not helping downstream Dems is no big deal. He doesn't even give them verbal support; rather he continues to demonize the very party that has made him famous.  Even in terms of perception, when he goes back to the Senate, does he think he will have MORE friends than the one lone person who has endorsed him?  


    That's my understanding, CVille! I'm going to read the link, Michael provided, and maybe that will change my perception, but so far, I'm seeing nothing but yelling, and stirring up as much anger as possible, with zero thought as to what all those people are supposed to do with that anger once he finally concedes.

    This being an election year, I find that almost everyone writes about the horse race, not long-term political strategy. Barring a miracle, the House will still be Republican next year, so we will not see any progressive legislation until 2019 at the earliest, no matter who wins the election. The question is what happens after that.

    Here is my explanation, based on history, for why Sanders' movement politics would be more effective than Clinton's pragmatic approach at reshaping Congress:

    PS Sending money down ticket is not really a strategy. Obama has been doing that for years with little effect.

    PPS Enjoy your vacation!

    Thanks, Michael. We are in London, now, following a few weeks in Europe, and it has been EXTREMELY interesting visiting with people from other countries. Whenever anyone hears our accents, they want to talk politics, with the vast majority of them wanting confirmation that Hillary will win. They do not understand the draw of Bernie, and are horrified with the possibility that Trump could be our next president. One lady asked me, "Do Americans even consider the rest of the world when they make their choice for president? I don't know if you understand how much the rest of the world depends on you."  Another, a Canadian, said, "If Trump wins, we're building a wall and we're going to make you pay for it!" 

    It's been an interesting time to be overseas.


    Okay, read the article, and I have to say, it makes me feel hopeful that the progressives might prevail again. It seems like we live in a different world now. Is it that things just aren't bad enough for enough people yet? Or the extremes on both side make people nervous? Did a greater or lesser percentage of the people vote back then? Were people as divided then as we are now? 

    You are obviously much more politically educated than I am, so I listen when you talk. But for the life of me, I don't know what people see in Bernie. When this whole thing started, I liked his ideas, but just didn't see how he, who is not at all charismatic, could accomplish something that Obama could not.  When I would ask, "How?" the Bernie folks would get defensive and say it'll be a grass roots effort. A grass roots effort to do what? Where is is he going to gets the votes in Congress? Where will the money come from? And then crickets. No answers. But a lot of, "Well how is Hillary going to fare any better? She's corrupt, a liar, bought and paid for, part of the establishment."  "My" thought is that Hillary will do a better job at building coalitions. And whenever the old repub talking points get thrown at me, especially from progressives, my blood boils. (How can any woman be part of the establishment? Seriously?) Bernie has a reputation for being a hard ass who will not bend. None of his colleagues like him. Hillary seems to be respected amongst her colleagues in the Senate. We need to work together and I just don't see Bernie being able to do that. Just in this race he has shown his thin skin. I can barely stand to listen to him, but then I don't respond well to pissed off people who do nothing but complain and sprinkle fairy dust without any real world solutions to the problems, or sarcastic, passive/aggressive men who think they can bully women into submission.


    Bernie has a reputation for being a hard ass who will not bend. None of his colleagues like him

    This was also true of Bob La Follette. They called him the "lonely man" of the Senate. His refusal to compromise drove Theodore Roosevelt crazy. Congress was so dominated by conservatives--for decades--that no one believed that he would ever accomplish anything.

    But the thing is, La Follette's strategy worked. His tactics brought attention to his cause and inspired a national movement that changed everything. La Follette was the one who named it the Progressive Movement. Seven years after he became a senator, the conservative power structure came crashing down, and Congress passed all those bills that everyone had dismissed as impossible a few years earlier.

    Can Sanders inspire another progressive movement the way La Follette did? I don't know. But I do believe that every progressive who wants to change the status quo should take his proposal to build a new movement seriously--even if they don't think he should be president.

    You have broken it down to one basic question:
    Is Sanders applying for a job or using his influence for a purpose outside the concern of whether he gets hired or not?
    I understand the long term importance of the latter element. But performing well at a difficult job is not just a horse race. Hiring someone to call the shots in real time has long term consequences of their own.

    I agree, Moat. Using his now "much more visible influence" to advance the progressive cause would be a positive outcome for this race. Getting the job? Not so much.

    I think there are a lot of us who could agree with that.  And have.

    I have absolutely no problem with him heading a movement that will take the country down a more progressive route. From day one, I have liked his stated goals. I DO have a problem with him being in charge of the whole country. He has a narrow focus of interest (and I'm not minimizing the importance of those areas) but there is more to being president than just those areas. And the fact that he was in the house for 16 years and now in the senate for 10 without getting a single one of his "big" ideas enacted, makes me wonder if he is capable of leading such a movement. But then again, I never thought in a million years he'd get as far as he has, so that shows what I know.

    I have a feeling that Sanders is less important to the movement, and the movement doesn't actually need him. Though he's more malleable and sympathetic to their various agendas than Warren would have been.


    stillidealistic - you write "Bernie has a reputation for being a hard ass who will not bend. None of his colleagues like him."  Can you provide the sources on which you rely for this assertion?  I spent some time on the internet trying to find confirmation and I could not do so. 

    I did find the following.

    Based on on an average of these metrics, Sanders comes in 19th among the 100 currently serving Senators. Although he didn’t crack the top 10, Sanders seems to have a great working relationship with his colleagues. This is especially impressive given that he is a relatively new Senator and a nominal Independent. Most of the Senators in front of him have served in the Senate longer than Sanders and in many cases have served in party leadership. (emphasis in original).

    Also, please consider this from the Atlantic.

    In the Senate, Bernie Sanders should be all alone.

    Sanders is constantly ribbing Republicans in his trademark condescending Brooklyn-accented tone. He offers up legislation that's so far to the left that it couldn't get a vote even under Majority Leader Harry Reid. He's the curmudgeon in the Senate Democratic conference, rarely satisfied with how far his leadership will go to pursue progressive policies, and not afraid to vote 'nay' when his leaders come up short. And none of his Senate colleagues, on either side of the aisle, think he could ever be elected president of the United States; most of them even believe he shouldn't be.

    But rather than earning the frustration and ire of his peers in the vein of other Senate hard-liners such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Sanders has managed to be respected — even liked — by much of the chamber, according to members on both sides of the aisle.

    Another way to assess Congressional favor-ability is how many Congressional endorsements you get for your Presidential campaign.

    Ted Cruz got endorsements from one Senator and 12 members of Congress.

    Bernie Sanders has one Senator and 9 members of Congress endorsing his campaign.

    rmrd - stillidealistic posited that "none of 'Sanders' colleagues like him."  To the extent that an endorsement demonstrates "liking," your notation that one Senator endorsed Sanders disproves stillidealistic's claim doesn't it since at least one Senator does, under your test, like Sanders right?

    Your test actually fails though right?  A Senator can endorse one candidate while still "liking" another right?  According to two sources, Senators like Bernie Sanders.  Most Senators, in 2008, ultimately supported Obama as the Democratic nominee but early on they preferred Clinton.  Does that mean first they didn't like Obama and then later they didn't like Clinton or does that mean that Senators choose to endorse candidates for a variety of reasons one of which may or may not include whom they like better or dislike more.

    I look forward to your reply but will not respond to it.


    I do think Sanders is likable enough.


    I used to, not so much anymore.

    You may be correct that I am too generous with the Vermont grandpa. He openly calls Hillary the "lesser of two evils". He wants the DNC chairman gone. Grandpa is not promoting Democratic Party unity.

    He sounds just like trump..."I wouldn't say that, but that's what the American people are saying...." Passive/agressive much?


    sorry, double post


    Somebody said what Obama has done for progress in this nation vs. what the lifelong pol and quirky Grandpa from the non-fluoridated hills of Vermont has done... is like comparing the mass of the sun to that of a lentil bean.

    Not to intrude unduly, but I wonder if you all don't start finding the arguments here over Bernie and Hillary a bit incestuous by now?

    If so, may I suggest that some of you Clintonistas register at

    The site is mostly (meaning not altogether) about getting Bernie elected.  Most of them seem to be former members of the Great Orange Satan, and are now voluntary exiles.  It might be at least a little bit fun to argue with new people, yes?

    To Michael Wolraich: while I won't vote for either Bernie or the Queen of Chaos, I really enjoyed your humorous and worthy comments on this thread.


    Goldberry ♥s Tom Bombadill


    Don't hear from many Trump supporters around these parts. Stick around. You might change your mind.

    Another stillidealistic logical fallacy: if one doesn't vote for either Democrat, one intends to vote for the teevee star Hotel Magnate.  tsk, tsk.


    Goldberry♥s Tom Bombadil

    Nice try. If you do not vote for Hillary, your vote (no matter if goes to someone else or if you don't vote at all) is a vote for Trump - a vote that COULD have gone to Hillary, but doesn't, so it doesn't require a republican vote to cancel it out. It's simple math.


    Presuming I'm a "Clintonista", too busy bashing my foot with a ballpeen hammer to join in the "fun" of "debating" Bernistas 24x7. Have to pick your battles in this world, and I'm going for gratuitous masochism rather than the more painful type. And sometimes an exile's just an exile, not a budding Che Guevera or Aztecs rising from a garbage swamp.

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