2:00PM Water Cooler 6/30/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“The pending Section 232 review, under which the administration is considering whether to limit imports of both steel and aluminum in the name of national security, would help Trump keep his campaign promise to crack down on unfair trade practices. The administration has been debating the issue behind closed doors for months, including in a high-level meeting this week with the president, and it finally appears to be moving toward a coherent path forward” [Politico]. “The president’s advisers are coalescing around a tailored approach that would target the steel imports of individual countries, rather than across-the-board measures against every nation that sends steel to the U.S., according to two sources familiar with the discussions. The administration’s more narrow approach is meant to allay the concerns of U.S. allies like Canada and the European Union, which together make up a large share of steel imported in the United States.”

“If the Trump administration is wondering where to start as it looks to build a digital trade chapter to include in NAFTA 2.0, it should look no further than the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a panel of representatives from top e-commerce platforms said on Thursday” [Politico].


Hall of Mirrors

Eric Holder’s mysterious midnight tweet:

Rainmaking for Covington and Burling?

Health Care

“Bipartisan Legislation to Lower Premiums and Stabilize Insurance Markets” [Center for American Progress]. Neera and her goons race to head off single payer:

In the wake of Senate Republicans’ decision to delay consideration of their health care repeal bill, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), it is clear that their partisan approach has little support and would inflict widespread harm on the American people. This moment is an inflection point where Senate Republicans can choose one of two paths: They can continue to pursue repeal, or they can work with Senate Democrats on a bipartisan basis to stabilize insurance markets.

In other words, a Grand Bargain, this time on health care. Because markets.

“Many of the estimated ’22 million’ people who would ‘lose’ health insurance by 2026 under the Senate plan are people who were forced to purchase it because under Obamacare, they’d have had to pay a penalty if they went without. If policyholders aren’t required to keep a plan they don’t want or can’t afford, they can either continue to keep buying it or choose not to. This is not ‘losing’ health insurance — for instance, if people move from a state that requires auto insurance to one that doesn’t, they aren’t ‘losing’ insurance if they keep their policy active” [Christian Schneider, USA Today]. “Further, as Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has been pointing out, the CBO used an outdated estimate that’s more than a year old to determine the “loss” of coverage in the individual market from year to year under the Senate plan. When the most recent estimates from January are used, the number of Americans with individual health insurance would remain unchanged between 2017 and 2018. (It is these types of late-breaking revelations that buttressed Johnson’s successful argument to delay a vote on the bill.)” At the level of semantics, Schneider’s first argument on “loss” is true. But it’s not very helpful if you accept that going without health care is, well, risky. And Schneider’s argument on the numbers is mere quibbling; the trend line is clear.

“Senate Republicans continue to work to repeal and repeal Obamacare, but even if they succeed, it has become clear this week that the law has fundamentally shifted expectations surrounding health care in the country” [CNN]. “‘You can’t just erase Obamacare and go back,’ said a Georgia Republican senator.”

“Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later” [Reuters]. So that was the surprise?

New Cold War

Another Clintonite talking point goes to a not-early-enough grave:

Idea: Fire more editors!

Our Famously Free Press

From the Department of Oh, Puh-Leeze:


“Over­all, the GOP is de­fend­ing 27 of the 38 gubernat­ori­al races up this cycle; Demo­crats hold 10 and Gov. Bill Walk­er of Alaska is an in­de­pend­ent” [Cook Political Report]. “Gov­ernors play a crit­ic­al role in con­gres­sion­al and state-le­gis­lat­ive re­dis­trict­ing, es­pe­cially next year be­cause it’s the last midterm elec­tion be­fore the 2020 Census and 2021 re­dis­trict­ing. The ex­ample of Demo­crats’s dis­aster in 2010, the first midterm elec­tion un­der Pres­id­ent Obama and last midterm be­fore the 2011 re­dis­trict­ing, should be deeply con­cern­ing for Re­pub­lic­ans. It’s no secret that midterm years are bad for the party hold­ing the White House. With more straight-party vot­ing than at any time in Amer­ic­an his­tory, this bi­as goes from the top of the bal­lot all the way to the bot­tom. Be­cause Demo­crats got clobbered in the 2010 and 2014 midterms, Re­pub­lic­ans now enter their first midterm elec­tion un­der Pres­id­ent Trump with an un­usu­al de­gree of ex­pos­ure….. Of the 38 gov­ernor­ships up this year and next, 19 are open, with no in­cum­bent seek­ing reelec­tion in five of the 10 Demo­crat­ic seats and 14 of the 27 Re­pub­lic­an seats…. Four of the five Re­pub­lic­an toss-up seats are open—Flor­ida, Maine, Michigan, and Nevada—and all will have con­tested primar­ies.”

“The baseline assumption is that there are few competitive districts in the House. Based on PVI alone, that’s true. But, there are also a lot of districts that have the potential to become competitive in the future. Some have been quietly trending toward/away from a party and this movement was finally brought to light by Donald Trump’s performance in 2016. Not all of these districts will be part of the 2018 battleground map. But they should be considered as part of a broader look at the nation’s evolving voting patterns and behavior” [Cook Political Report]. Handy map:


“[Republican Party] chairs from Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania met with Trump at the White House on May 18, RealClearPolitics confirmed with the state parties. Also there, according to attendees, were chairs from Florida, Nevada and Wisconsin along with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus” [RealClearPolitics]. “Trump won seven of those states in November. Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire by less than a point, Nevada by two points and Colorado by three. The meeting, which was scheduled for 15 minutes but lasted 45, was a chance for the president to ask his visitors about the situation in their states, participants said.”

Democrats in Disarray

“As a political scientist who focuses on gender and party discipline in the House of Representatives, I have studied Pelosi’s long leadership” [Kathryn L. Pearson, MarketWatch]. “In the upcoming midterms, Democrats will need a united front and they’ll need money to win seats in the House. They are unlikely to forget how Pelosi can draw upon her vast connections to raise record amounts. According to the New York Times, Pelosi has raised nearly US$568 million for her party since entering the House Democratic leadership in 2002. Just in the 2016 election cycle, she raised over $141 million [ka-ching]. Viewed through that lens, I would argue she may be ‘worth it.’ Yet House Democrats in swing districts may decide that it is too challenging to make the case for change with Pelosi as their leader. If Pelosi’s vote-counting history is a guide, she will know if and when that time has come.” Weird lack of agency. Weird lack of a concept that the Democrat Party as a whole ought to stand for something.

“There’s no clear path to national office for a younger senator like Kirsten Gillibrand or Michael Bennet, or even a celebrity like Cory Booker, continually eclipsed by their higher-decibel, nostalgia-peddling elders” [Matt Bai, Yahoo News]. Cory Booker makes Steny Hoyer look good.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Importance of Fairness: A New Economic Vision for the Democratic Party” [James Kwak, Baseline Scenario]. This is very good. And it will take a leadership purge to make it happen. Bring it.

“The practice of public officials shopping “dirt” to reputable journalists has become so common, this twenty-something I’ve never met before has no compunction about raising it openly in front of his colleagues. He thinks his job, as he collects a salary from taxpayers, is to conduct and spread opposition research against political enemies. He thinks my job, and that of other reporters in Washington, is to sift through the dirt we’re handed and decide whether to use it or take a pass. It tells me this must happen all the time” [RealClearPolitics].

“But 24 House Democrats, including the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, are now pushing an equally radical alternative: They are backing a bill that would create a congressional ‘oversight’ commission that could declare the president incapacitated, leading to his removal from office under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” [Michael Issikoff, Yahoo News]. Hence the latest spate of health rumors. The key sentence: “So far no Republican members of Congress have signed on to the idea.” Worth a read on the mechanics of the 25th amendment, however.

“Donald Trump’s Latest Election Commission Pick Is A Huge Believer In Voter Fraud Conspiracy” [Slate] (NC on Trump’s election commission). Something nasty in the woodshed: “Hans Von Spakovsky.”

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, May 2017: “May was not a strong month for the consumer. Income did rise 0.4 percent but it wasn’t because of wages & salaries which could manage only a 0.1 percent gain. It was personal income transfers and proprietor income that gave a boost to income which the consumer, however, moved into savings” [Econoday]. “Price data are very soft…. The second leg of the second quarter did not turn out well for the consumer nor for GDP. But the weakness in price data is a more strategic concern for monetary policy makers who may be removing stimulus into inflationary headwinds.” Where are those headwinds? Somewhere in the tiny little punchbowl? And but: “Still on the downtrend line from when oil capex collapsed” [Mosler Economics]. And but: “Personal consumption has been the major driver of GDP since the end of the Great Recession.. The rate of growth of consumption is slowing which does not bode well for 2Q2017 GDP. Economically, it seems the consumer is spending less with an improving savings rate, and higher income” [Econintersect]. “It is also significant that inflation is moderating. The backward revisions this month SIGNIFICANTLY affected the year-over-year rate of growth for expenditures.” Then again: “The increase in personal income was above expectations, and the increase in PCE was at expectations” [Calculated Risk].

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, June 2017: “Business picked up sharply in the Chicago-area economy based on the PMI” [Econoday]. “This report extends what has been six months of enormous strength for privately compiled data, strength that has not been matched however by government data.” And: “Well above the consensus forecast” [Calculated Risk]. And: “The strongest reading in over 3 years” [Economic Calendar]. And but: “Also a bit better than expected, though expectations continue to revert” [Mosler Economics].

Consumer Sentiment, June 2017 (final): “[R]egained some momentum.” but “tangibly less strength” [Econoday]. “The consumer is still positive but perhaps less so as economic questions, such as tax cuts and fiscal stimulus, remain unanswered. And consumer spending, as highlighted in this morning’s personal income & outlays report, is not responding. The sentiment index has not been able to move higher from its 98 highs in January and December.” And: “Partisan differences persisted with Democrats generally uneasy surrounding proposed economic policies while Republicans remained broadly confident despite little headway in areas such as tax reform” [Economic Calendar]. “Overall confidence in the personal financial outlook remained strong which provided strong underlying support to confidence. The combination of optimism surrounding personal finances and increased concerns surrounding the outlook is often seen around a cyclical peak which will create further uncertainty over the overall spending prospects.”

Shipping: “Maersk operational, but still facing a ‘big task'” [Lloyd’s Loading]. “Maersk confirmed last night that its vessels remain fully operational and its ability to deliver cargo in transit was now ‘close to normal’ following the 27 June cyber attack on the company. But the world’s largest container line acknowledged that fully restoring its infrastructure remained ‘a big task’ and although it was accepting new bookings, these would take longer than normal to confirm and may not be processed until next week, when it expects its IT systems will be fully restored.”

Shipping: “The ransomware attack on Maersk may have the biggest impact on global supply chains, halting handling at ports in the U.S., India, Africa and Europe, and is raising concerns in the shipping business about moves toward digital operations in an industry that carries an enormous share of global trade. Maersk ships have been able to operate, but problems loading and unloading ships will ripple beyond the carrier’s own operations as the problems persist” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “The thesis for the May edition of the Cass Freight Index Report from Cass Information Systems, which was released yesterday, could be something along the lines of “slight economic growth is better than no economic growth at all,” with the report seeing positive traction for freight shipments and expenditures for the fifth straight month” [Logistics Management].

Supply Chain: “According to the latest Annual State of Logistics Report from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), total logistics activity in the U.S. in 2014 cost $1.45 trillion – roughly equal to 8.3% of gross domestic product. Of this, $900 billion was in transportation costs [Supply Chain 247]. That’s real money, but only about half health care.

Supply Chain: “Don’t bother telling Charles Fox about digital, real-time container tracking. The 31-year-old isn’t in the shipping industry, but he’s part of an unusual corner of the business—container spotters. They’re something like the enthusiasts that chronicle trains and planes. [T]hese connoisseurs who scout for shipping containers have built a separate culture around the ubiquitous containers, hanging around ship yards to identify the globe-trotting metal boxes by color, size, vintage and other details. One expert likens the site of rare boxes to ‘the satisfaction that bird watchers get from spotting a very rare breed of bird.’ That could be the blue—not gray—Gateway Management box Mr. Fox found recently in Indiana, or containers carrying the logos of defunct shipping lines around the world. There’s even a field guide called, simply enough, The Container Guide, that may have more detail on the boxes than shipping lines themselves may even have. Except, of course, where to find them” [Wall Street Journal]. This is totally cool. Like trainspotting (not the movie), though I’m surprised DHS hasn’t stomped all over this, the same way railroad photographers have been. Here’s a link to The Container Guide. And here is a lovely, dynamic map of ships in motion:

However, I can’t find a map of containers in motion…

The Bezzle: “I ask 100 information questions to four digital assistants. All of them fail at least half” [Vlad’s Box]. “Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the assistants do best in the areas where their company has an adjacent business.” BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

MMT: Quoting ECB: ” the fiscal authority can ensure that public debt denominated in the national fiat currency is non-defaultable” [Mosler Economics]. Mosler comments: “Looks to me like this opens the door to fiscal relaxation!!!”

Five Horsemen: “As the quarter ends, Amazon leads the pack while Apple brings up the rear” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Jun30

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 47, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jun 30 at 12:50pm.


“Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees” [Science]. From the summary:

Early studies of the impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators indicated considerable harm. However, lingering criticism was that the studies did not represent field-realistic levels of the chemicals or prevailing environmental conditions. Two studies, conducted on different crops and on two continents, now substantiate that neonicotinoids diminish bee health (see the Perspective by Kerr). Tsvetkov et al. find that bees near corn crops are exposed to neonicotinoids for 3 to 4 months via nontarget pollen, resulting in decreased survival and immune responses, especially when coexposed to a commonly used agrochemical fungicide. Woodcock et al., in a multicounty experiment on rapeseed in Europe, find that neonicotinoid exposure from several nontarget sources reduces overwintering success and colony reproduction in both honeybees and wild bees. These field results confirm that neonicotinoids negatively affect pollinator health under realistic agricultural conditions.

Of course, neonicotinoids are in the water supply, too, so one can only wonder what other effects there are…

Health Care

“What Killed Single-Payer In California?” [The New Republic]. Important:

The bill—SB 562, also known as Healthy California—had already passed in the Senate in June before Rendon unilaterally decided to take it off the table. Now it will lie in committee without any hearings “until further notice.” …

The timing of Rendon’s decision was especially egregious. Only a day earlier, U.S. Senate Republicans had revealed the first draft of their health care reform plan that would take insurance away from 22 million Americans, many of them Californians. This was a time to shore up support for those vulnerable residents of the Golden State, not leave them to the wolves.

Gee. And Pelosi said single payer efforts should focus on the state, right before this happened. Odd. Here’s the math:

However, a report by professors at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, commissioned in part by National Nurses United, estimated that after taking in the savings of single-payer, such as lower administrative costs and prices of pharmaceuticals, the actual cost of the plan would end up at around $331 billion. And, because 70 percent of the state’s current health care spending is covered by public programs like Medicare and Medi-Cal, California would only need to come up with $106 billion in new revenue, which researchers proposed could be done through two new taxes (a 2.3 percent gross receipts and sales tax), with exemptions for small businesses and tax credits to offset costs for low-income families. In exchange, nearly all of Californians’ medical expenses would be covered, doing away with premiums, copays, and deductibles.

Guillotine Watch

Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of Paypal, was granted New Zealand citizenship despite spending only 12 days in the country, new documents have revealed…. The usual route to citizenship requires applicants to be in New Zealand as a permanent resident for at least 1,350 days in the five years preceding an application” [Guardian]. So, New Zealand’s youth: Is their blood tasty?

Class Warfare

“The Rise of the Thought Leader” [The New Republic] (points for leading with Gramsci). The deck: “How the superrich have funded a new class of intellectual.” More: “The influx of plutocrat money has done much more than produce a handful of hollow thinkers. The institutions that enable intellectuals to conduct meaningful research are also being radically remade by their new sponsors. Over the past few decades, as funding from government sources and philanthropic organizations has dried up, think tanks have tried to make up the deficits by courting donations from corporations, foreign governments, and politically minded elites. These donors, however, are less interested in supporting intellectually prestigious, nonpartisan work than they are in manufacturing political support for their preferred ideas. In other words, they want a return on their investment. As a result, think tanks have become increasingly partisan.” A must-read, not least because it supplies a justification for small, independently funded blogs like Naked Capitalism.

“The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise” [Politico]. “From crisis came a desire for disruption. From disruption came, well, too much disruption. And from that came a full-circle return to professional politicians. Including one—a beloved mayor and respected bureaucrat who was short-listed to replace James Comey as FBI director—who is so persuasive he has gotten Colorado Springs residents to do something the outside world assumed they were not capable of: Five years after its moment in the spotlight, revenue is so high that the same voters who refused to keep the lights on have overwhelmingly approved ballot measures allowing the city to not only keep some of its extra tax money, but impose new taxes as well.”

“Global publishing giant wins $15 million damages against researcher for sharing publicly-funded knowledge” [Privacy News Online]. “Most of the papers published by Elsevier and the other academic publishing houses and found on Sci-Hub were written by scientists and academics whose research grants were paid for by the public. … Typically, neither editorial boards nor peer reviewers are paid for their work, which is carried out as a kind of academic responsibility accepted by all as part of the job, and done for the greater good of society. That is, most of the work writing, checking and editing a paper is carried out completely for free. The only costs that academic publishers incur are typically for production, which are limited if publication is purely digital, as is increasingly the case. Given the extremely efficient nature of the academic publishing system, it will come as no surprise to learn that leading companies in the sector – including Elsevier – have consistently achieved profit margins between 30% and 40%, levels almost unheard of in other industries.” It’s not clear to me why what Elsevier is doing is legal. Is not this outright theft of public goods, and theft of unpaid labor?

News of the Wired

“The Librarian Who Guarded the Manhattan Project’s Secrets” [Atlas Obscura]. “Upon accepting the position, Serber taught herself the Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal classification systems,* and teamed up with Oppenheimer’s secretary to develop a pass system for accessing the library’s secure vault, requiring that each scientist present a ‘typewritten letter’ bearing Oppenheimer’s signature rather than a badge.” NOTE: The note at “*” is funny.

“The Science of Ticks” [JSTOR Daily]. “Most hard ticks (like deer ticks) don’t have any eyes. They lack antenna, instead relying on fine hairs all over most of their body as well as complex sensory organs on their legs. They have a hard plate-like structure on their back, but the rest of the body is soft and able to expand as it gorges itself on blood.” Rather like health insurance company executives. No, but seriously folks, cover up if you go out in the woods over this long weekend.

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allegic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (AB):

AB writes: “From a tiny crack in the concrete a mighty poppy grows. This locally (SF Bay Area) exotic volunteer on a public sidewalk has sprouted next to our fence. I’ve put a sign up asking people not to pick the flowers and two weeks later it seems to have worked. I want the seeds from this tough little beauty.”

I have had excellent luck this year with self-seeding poppies, and sunflowers!

UPDATE Now that that the 2017 Water Cooler fundraiser post is launched, I can say that directions for sending a check will include a request to send me a parallel email so I can thank you. Note that the Water Cooler fundraiser was for work that I have already done; so I see meeting the 250 donor goal as positive feedback for the 2016-2017 year, and rely on your continued support. Thanks to all!

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Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the Naked Capitalism fundraisers. Please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Jim Haygood

    The ex­ample of Demo­crats’s dis­aster in 2010 …” — Charlie Cook

    This nonpareil possessive does not meet NC readers’s expectations. :-0

    1. Carolinian

      Hey we’re not that picky. More disturbed by the Trump body snatching as reported by Morning Joe.

  2. Carla

    “The guy that’s in the White House now is not the guy we knew 2 years ago.”

    I’ll bet his ex-wives don’t have any trouble recognizing him. Just a hunch.

    1. Propertius

      Or any of the small business people or employees who got shafted in his various bankruptcies, either.

      1. Loblolly

        Are you well versed enough on bankruptcy law and his individual dealings with it to back up that snark or are you just regurgitating talking points?

  3. John k

    “Weird lack of concept that Dems as a whole should stand for anything.”

    But we’re a big tent… on any issue some are for, some against… let’s just stay focused on what we do agree on, raising money. Lots of money. Got a whole infrastructure to support, gotta put bread on a lot of tables… think of all the kids in private schools…
    let’s stand stronger together for money and resistance, and against Putin and trump.

    1. polecat

      A ‘tent’ fabricated from a thin vail of osmotic tissue, from which you little peons simply cannot penetrate !

    2. Mike

      Ah, yes – the tent of opportunism, sprinkled with the leaven of instrumentalist rain. Very big tent…

  4. A Farmer

    Are there states in which you can legally drive a car without auto insurance? I wouldn’t think that would work out well.

    1. EricT

      Florida, at least 20 years ago, you didn’t need insurance nor even a safety inspection. At the time, individual car insurance was very expensive in Florida, for obvious reasons.

      1. Mike

        Here is the story about my father that just knee-slaps any idea of “inspection”, “testing”, or “safety” in Florida’s laws. He was 68, had lost sight in one eye and 80% in the other, and was STILL allowed to drive by Florida law in 1975. He pulled himself off the road, and later that year some 90+ year-old ran up on a curb and killed 3 people at a bus stop (stroke due to decades-old heart condition, according to the St. Pete Times). Neither one of them knew anyone important enough to bribe.

        Those were the days.

    2. Alex Morfesis

      Well…if you are a multinational corporate enterprise claiming you are “self insured” or claim to have organized a “captive”…

      So yes…there are many vehicles that one could strongly argue are not insured or are insured by “air”…yet are driving by you every day…

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for link. A cynic might ask why–knowing about Prop 98–the CA lege keeps passing these bills that cannot be implemented. Sounds like single payer battle must be waged on the national level. If only there were a party…..

      1. Oregoncharles

        There is, of course, but not one of the “majors” – and, I gather, with little presence in N. Carolina (one of the most difficult states for ballot access.)

    2. xformbykr

      I am confused. Dayen’s article refers often to the funding and budgetary problems that single payer would beget. Confused because I have believed that single payer would result in lower costs to people by virtue of possible drug price reductions and administrative cost reductions.

      1. Benedict@Large

        As long as single payer is implemented as “everyone in; no one out”. the administrative savings are tremendous. Initial enrollment cost, sales commissions, constant recertification with every visit for care, and more; all of these would be eliminated entirely. The savings would be enough (probably more) to cover everyone who is not now covered at no increase in cost.

        1. Loblolly

          I would think the major pitfall to avoid would be fraud. Reimbursement fraud as we have now with sham billing for nonexistent problems and creative coding. Can government employees do a good job a dealing with that kind thing? Insurance companies are incentivised by their profit seeking to pay out as little as possible.

          Secondly I would be concerned for the kind of corporate cronyism fraud that could be hidden in an agency that would have a stunningly large budget. Given that Medicaid can’t even negotiate drug prices because of a law passed by Congress.

          I think we need single payer, but it is an uphill battle, both houses and several very powerful businesses oppose it. Some of the same businesses that are trying to dismantle the NHS in the UK.

          Healthcare could stand some deregulation, posted prices at least and lowered barriers to entry, whatever that would entail. Then It seems to me it would resemble dentistry or optometry as they exist now in the US.

      2. g

        Single payer gives lower costs to the economy as a whole. You’re still moving spending from individuals onto the state, that money has to come from somewhere.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the TNR article:

      There are problems other than the fact that the bill did not include a specific funding mechanism. The biggest hurdle may be Proposition 98, a complicated California funding law that requires that around 40 percent of the state’s budget go to schools. This means that a huge portion of any increase in the state budget would have to go to education, so legislators would have to come up with almost double the money to cover the single-payer plan. To get around this, voters would have to first pass a ballot initiative.

    4. kgc

      OK. So why can’t the legislature pass a measure that’s subject to voter approval and then put it on the ballot? Instead of killing it…

    5. Lupemax

      Thanks for this I found the comments to be the most informative part of this article. This article also makes me more likely to be skeptical of Dave Dayan’s reporting in the future. I was uncomfortable with his take on the pro-single payer activists in CA, who are probably not “completely wrong” as Dayan writes.

      1. Liberal Mole

        Yes. What is the problem with passing a bill and THEN with all the cheering going round, throwing up your hands and saying it needs to be a proposition vote. Would it not give the proposition momentum? So his idea that the groups promoting single payer are in this for a charade is pure opinion, not fact.

  5. Jim Haygood

    She’s fed UP, ain’t gonna TAKE it no mo’ …

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno is resigning from her position, effective July 1.

    As for the budget, more talking no action. The leaders here, including Radogno, met at the speaker’s office this morning. House GOP Leader Jim Durkin called it productive.

    Time is running out; if there is no deal by midnight Friday, Illinois will enter it’s third year without a budget.


    Similar budget dramas are underway in other states. Nearly all states begin their fiscal year on July 1st.

    Connecticut (Illinois’ little brother) is in a budget standoff. So is Maine, where the guvnor is resisting a popular initiative approved last November that would push Maine’s top marginal income tax rate to a towering 10.15% on incomes over $200K.

    New York City tax rates, rural infrastructure and incomes … yeah, that oughta work! /sarc

    1. Jim Haygood

      Lights out in the Nutmeg state:

      HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed an executive order needed to maintain essential state services in the absence of a two-year budget or a temporary budget for the new fiscal year.

      The Democrat is calling it “regrettable” that he must run state government using his limited executive authority. The order will mean deep cuts for many programs, including nonprofit social service agencies that help people with mental illness, drug addiction and other challenges.

      Barry Simon, president and CEO of Oak Hill, says his Hartford-based agency which serves people with developmental disabilities is already closing four group homes and consolidating two others. He says Oak Hill stopped accepting new clients in expectation of the budget impasse.

      Other agencies say they’re seeking new lines of credit to continue day-to-day operation.


      … as the Hartford Courant pleads in an editorial, “There is an ugly lesson here for Connecticut’s General Assembly: Don’t be like basket-case Illinois.


      1. Jim Haygood

        “How to be like Illinois” in one easy lesson:

        Illinois significantly raised taxes in 2011 in an attempt to address its $8.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills and other financial difficulties. The state raised its flat individual income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent and increased the corporate income tax from 7.3 percent to 9.5 percent.


        The 2011-2014 Illinois income tax increase triggered a significant flight of income-earning power from the state. Illinois lost more than $14 billion of annual adjusted gross income during the four years of the tax increase, the Illinois Policy Institute said.

        The average income of a taxpayer leaving Illinois rose to $77,000 a year, compared with an average income of $57,000 for taxpayers entering Illinois. This income-earning differential—people leaving making $20,000 more than people entering—is the largest of any state.


        I do believe it’s working, good
        That’ll keep you going through the show
        Come on it’s time to go

        — Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb

        1. ambrit

          So, what’s the answer? Eliminate State income taxes, raise the Federal tax rates and institute revenue sharing?
          Block grants for block heads.
          I always think of what one of the later roman emperors did when faced with a severe skills drain; enforce hereditary transmission of skills sets. This procedure was “bureaucratized” by having the male children of tradesmen physically branded with a “trades mark.”
          (I am having trouble with the [family blog] Internet finding a citation for my claim of above. The imposition of restrictive guilds happened in the reign of Diocletian, and accelerated thereafter.)
          In my search for a citation for the guilds laws, I ran across an article in the Mises Institute blog trying to link Krugman with Diocletian!!! Oh, Austria in the springtime!
          See, if you have the stomach: https://mises.org/library/krugman-and-diocletian

  6. flora

    Viewed through that lens, I would argue [Pekosi] may be ‘worth it.’

    So, that’s the Dem estab’s justification …. a L’Oreal hair color ad? “Because [she’s] worth it.” /s

    1. flora

      Boatloads of money won’t win elections where there are no ideas/policies to vote for.

      1. Propertius

        Boatloads of money will, however, maintain a large number of political consultants in a style to which we’d all like to become accustomed.

        And that’s what really matters, isn’t it?

      2. ambrit

        Aren’t the “boatloads of money” the policy pure and simple?
        The lens referred to is obviously “rose coloured” glass.
        Or, in honour of the “(wo)man behind the curtain,””green coloured” glass.

  7. EricT

    I thought poppies were illegal. Like growing Marijuana. I recall an article about Jefferson’s garden at Monticello, where the DEA came in and removed the poppies from the garden.

      1. barefoot charley

        The poppy is California’s state flower. Marijuana was historically California’s state illegal drug.

      2. Dr. Roberts

        Opium poppies are not illegal and are in fact sold openly and widely. There’s nothing stopping you from ordering some Papaver somniferum seeds or even buying a plant at a gardening store and growing it in your garden. Harvesting the latex from the seed pod is illegal, but you could easily get away with it in small amounts. It doesn’t take a big field to produce a significant amount of raw latex which can be easily processed into opium or used on its own in a tea or something, a handful of plants will produce quite a bit. Though I guess that’s all relative, it would take a substantial number of plants to support someone’s opium addiction, but it would be pretty trivial to grow a significant amount for occasional medicinal or recreational use. The effects of opium depend on dose, obviously, but you have to smoke a lot to get the equivalent effect of serious pharmaceutical opiates.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Both the leaves and the dried pods (the seeds are edible and commonly used) contain some analgesic; chewing on the leaves, or tea brewed from the pods, will help a toothache.

          Scoring the pods and collecting latex is the act that could get you in trouble.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Opium poppies aren’t illegal to grow as ornamentals. I’ve seen the seed packs in racks at the nursery. Of course they don’t call them “opium poppies”. They’ll call them paeonifloriums, or Danish Flag poppies, or parrot poppies or whatnot. They are very commonly seen in old neighborhoods all around the US and the UK. Your neighbors probably have them.

      (edit) I see my point has been addressed above. Harvesting the latex is a *very* inefficient means of capturing the alkaloids in the plant, just let the plants go brown, collect the seed heads with the mature black seed inside, save the seed inside to spread the next spring and grind and make tea from the dried pods.

      1. Oregoncharles

        They’re also called breadseed poppies, since the seeds are highly edible – used as a staple in Turkey.

        I think the poppy in the photo is either California or Iceland poppy. Opium poppies are usually pink or white.

      2. marieann

        Yay for NC!!. I thought opium poppies were illegal…..though from the googling I did I think their status is questionable……but I have a big back yard.
        Now I am going to look for seeds…..I love poppies and grew the wild oriental poppy for years and the little yellow California poppy.
        Does anyone know the name of the big white ones with the black centre ?

  8. dcblogger

    Obama, Holder, and Tom Perez (who started out in the civil rights dept. of the DOJ) could have shut down voter suppression by charging those involved with conspiracy to violate people’s voting rights. They could have hit these criminals with RICO charges. They failed to act.

    1. jo6pac

      Yes, they could have but that would have taken away time from keeping their friends on wall street from going to Jail.

    2. Seth A Miller

      For all the noise about Perez being so great at the Labor Dept, they could have sued the major corporations that use the “independent contractor” loophole to avoid labor laws, (Microsoft, FedEx, Uber), for failing to pay social security. Instead, the private bar has to do it, with every incentive to settle any case that is brought.

      Yesterday there was a discussion of the “administrative state.” This is part of it: enforcement of most administrative rules cannot be done by private parties, yet most regulatory enforcement has been offloaded to private lawsuits, with fewer available theories and less leverage.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think the DNC is still using unpaid interns. And I don’t know if they’ve settled their unpaid overtime lawsuit yet.

        Yeah, “Labor Secretary.”

    1. Kurt Sperry

      That’s an ornamental cultivar of Papaver rhoeas, which is a common weed/wildflower in most of Europe.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The poppies of Flanders field, associated with Memorial Day. I forgot that one.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Streisand effect.

      If original poster wants to harvest to those seeds, poster shouldn’t have put up a sign to draw attention to it.

      just sayin too.

      1. Lee

        We had one picked prior to putting up the sign and none since. We live in a mutually respectful neighborhood for the most part.

  9. Ranger Rick

    I can only hope Trump raked the the Colorado delegation over the coals when they got to the White House. I hope they had a good explanation for why they didn’t have a primary in 2016 (and backed Cruz). I know I would’ve been angry.

    1. Propertius

      The Colorado Presidential Primary was abolished by the state legislature after the 2000 election cycle. This did admittedly occur at the instigation of the Republicans, who controlled both the legislature and the governorship at the time (mainly intending to bankrupt the Libertarians, although it was billed as a “cost-saving” measure).

      Proposition 107, re-establishing the primary, was on the ballot in 2016 and passed overwhelmingly, so we’re getting our primary back for the 2020 cycle.

      Primary elections are paid for by state and county governments (as opposed to caucuses, which are paid for by the parties themselves). No primary was held in 2016 because the state was not legally permitted to have one (just like 2004, 2008, and 2012).

      I’m not a Republican, but my understanding is that the Republican result in 2016 resulted from a failure of Trump delegates to appear and actually vote at the state assembly, which was in turn due to a lack of organization and experience on the part of the Trump campaign in the state. Speaking from my experience on the Democratic side, it’s hard to get delegates to show up for state assembly meetings: they’re on a nice spring weekend (after a long winter), there’s no travel or lodging reimbursement, and Colorado is a fairly large state so hours of driving (or an expensive plane ticket) are involved for people who don’t live nearby. It’s amazing how much the prospect of being locked in a room listening to politicians for a whole weekend will diminish the fervor of even the most ardent supporter. The Cruz campaign, like any well-organized campaign that had bothered to read the bloody rules called their delegates, arranged carpools, etc. The Trump campaign didn’t do any of that, their delegates didn’t show, and they lost the assembly vote (which is where the national delegates were selected).

      Obviously, they learned a thing or two about organization between then and November.

  10. Altandmain

    Some interesting links today:

    No, Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Is Not Hurting Workers

    Testimony: Shkreli’s plans to fleece patients is what hooked big investors

    Speaking of big pharma: Apparently the backlash is building on Booker:

    Equally disgusting … they want to form a debate team on whether or not global warming is happening

    Oh and from the WP (yuck!), birth rates in the US are dropping

    Totally disagree with the blame women and Gen Y tone though of the article. No discussion about how grim the livelihoods of people are.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Booker: “I won’t cash big pharma’s campaign donations right away.”

      Does Booker still believe he will make any noise in a Presidential run? Delusion is a helluva drug after all, but still.

      So does Booker or Cuomo ever poll above 5% in a single state?

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        So does Booker or Cuomo ever poll above 5% in a single state?

        Doesn’t matter. The uneducated masses who still think HRC should get to be president will follow blindly whatever candidate the DNC and its captive media put forward as the next Savior of the Republic. They can’t be bothered to do any in-depth research, because everyone knows the WaPo and NYT are completely trustworthy.

    2. Propertius

      I’m generally opposed to the death penalty, but I’d be willing to give some serious thought to making an exception for Shkreli.

    3. Chris

      Do these people understand how expensive it is to have kids these days??? And how little parents are supported??? My daughter has friends with parents that are the same age as her grandparents because people in MD/VA/DC wait until their 40’s to have kids. Because that’s when they’ve got enough money to afford it.

      1. Punta Pete

        Yah, when my wife and I lived in No Va we used to play a game called “guess if that’s the mother or grandmother”

        1. ambrit

          That has been a staple “street entertainment” here in the American Deep South for generations. Usually, the grands treat the children much better than the moms. Something about the enforced lowering of expectations or some such.

      1. sporble

        This comment was originally meant for Altandmain but showed up here, not sure why. Your pic’s good too, though, Lee!

  11. Propertius

    There’s no clear path to national office for a younger senator like … Michael Bennet,

    Proof positive of the existence of a benevolent Deity.

    1. nippersmom

      Great article, bad caption to the top photograph. The signs are promoting
      Universal Healthcare, not the ACA.

      I award Taibbi bonus points for referencing Gogol.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Universal Healthcare, not the ACA

        Universal health care isn’t single payer, either. The good faith reason is that fully socialized medicine, like the NHS that the Tories are trying to dismember, is universal also. A somewhat less good faith reason (why, next) is that there are systems that do include private health insurers, which are heavily regulated (Switzerland, the Netherlands). The bad faith reason is to claim that your market-based solution of choice — the Dems tried this with ObamaCare, for awhile — really is universal, and this crowd sometimes uses Switzerland, the Netherlands, and such, as a distraction.

        1. Lee

          It would seem that there is no way to achieve universal, affordable healthcare without price regulation. The amount paid by Medicare to most of my providers is a fraction of what is billed. Does anyone actually pay those higher prices?

          1. CD

            Yes, we as patients pay. We as patient, in many cases,s pick up the difference between the billed fee and Medicare’s alllowable.

            1. Oregoncharles

              No, physicians are forbidden to “balance bill” Medicare, which sends out sheets reminding me of that. The real problem is the stuff Medicare doesn’t cover and doesn’t regulate, plus kickers like “co-insurance” if you have a really large bill. Cost me about $1500 – cheap surgery, considering, bu tnot planned for.

            2. Lee

              Jeez, it wasn’t that long ago I was a member of the group you describe as “we as patients”. I paid into Medicare plan for decades and before that had an employer paid healthcare plan that cost the company a pretty penny that could otherwise have been paid directly to me. Hence the term “earned benefit” as opposed to “entitlement”.

        2. jrs

          I’m not sure there is that much ground for arguing any of those system are better than each other (they are better than the U.S. and costs are somewhat different). But as per today’s links those systems in the Netherlands seem to have lower childbirth deaths than the NHS (true it’s also a better social system overall.).

          [this u.s. childbirth deaths are] more than three times the rate of the United Kingdom, and about eight times the rates of Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden

        3. Benedict@Large

          “Universal health care isn’t single payer, either.”

          Sorry, but if you have multiple payers, people will slip between the cracks of the different plans on offer. No one will insure that everyone has a plan. To have truly universal health, you must also have single payer.

  12. PKMKII

    On the shipping map, see the occasional ship going straight over the Sahara at high speed where there are clearly no rivers. Data errors, or someone covering something up?

  13. allan

    Blue Dog Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), striving for complete irrelevancy,
    introduces a constitutional balanced budget amendment:

    U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., today introduced a balanced budget amendment that would amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the federal government from spending more than it receives in any given fiscal year, except in the cases of war or recession. Murphy’s amendment also generally prohibits a court from enforcing this requirement by ordering cuts to Social Security or Medicare payments. Murphy, who is a member of the fiscally-responsible Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, is the only House Democrat to introduce a balanced budget amendment so far this Congress.

    “Our national debt is skyrocketing, and we are irresponsibly passing this burden on to our children and grandchildren—shackling them with unsustainable debt,” said Murphy. “Just as every family and small business is expected to balance their budget, so should the federal government. The only way to force Congress’ hand is to amend the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to pass a balanced budget each and every year. My balanced budget amendment will compel Congress to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to being a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.” …

    Sadly, she left out any references to kitchen tables and tightening belts.

    1. voteforno6

      “Fiscally-responsible”? Hoo-boy.

      A balanced budget amendment just might be the dumbest frakkin’ idea out there.

    2. diptherio

      If someone leaves me a bunch of Treasury notes I will feel not at all burdened. In fact, if anyone feels burdened by the government debt in their portfolio, I’ll take it off their hands, free of charge.

    3. EGrise

      except in the cases of war or recession

      I assume she means declared war, because I can’t see us not fighting someone somewhere under some sort of AUMF (if that) for the foreseeable future.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The lack of declared war raises a real question whether there can be treason charges; it may be the real reason Lindh (the Taliban from Cali) wasn’t charged with treason.

    4. Benedict@Large

      The problem isn’t Murphy. The problem is that the field of macroeconomics as practiced by 95% of its PhDs is entirely rotted from the inside-out. How exactly is Murphy supposed to understand how insane what she is suggesting is when at 95% of the colleges in the US (including all of the elites), there is no one there to explain this to her?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I knew it was bad, but I had no idea it was 95%. Any references/links to back this up that I can research? TIA.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Philip Mirowski is an excellent resource on this. Virtually all undergraduate economics programs stick to simple and entirely unrealistic models of “economic” activity, both micro and macro. And virtually all graduate programs start from the same premises and then add a lot of math-based statistical analysis (“econometrics”) based on exactly the same premises. Virtually no economics program requires economic history and only a handful of outliers teach anything other than the standard neoclassical model. I haven’t seen numbers but I would guess the percentage of heretics (heterodox is the label but it is defined by what it isn’t – neoclassical – and includes many different approaches) is substantially less than 5%. You can’t be published in any of the major journals in the field and you can’t get hired by any of the major employers of economists (banks, the fed, international orgs like OECD or World Bank, consulting firms, academia) unless you work in within the neoclassical framework. Which requires accepting one outlandish assumption after another.

          There are hard liners (Chicago School – no exceptions to the model, ever) and there are “yes, but” types (i.e. Krugman) that work from the same basic premises but allow for tweaks in the model to explain this or that. (This is Krugman’s “freshwater vs saltwater”.) But the tweakers don’t oppose the basic premises and the tweaks are all basically ad hoc explanations that “fit the data.”

          This is why MMT seems like such a breath of fresh air. Instead of just having to say again and again to neoclassicals, “That is ridiculous, you know it doesn’t work that way,” they have an alternative explanation for how certain aspects of economies do work (i.e. how money is created).

  14. Carla

    You do a smashing job, Lambert. I hope the Watercooler fundraiser was adequate in total funds accrued, as well as attracting 250 Contributing Kibbitzers, of whom I happily represent 1/250th.

  15. diptherio

    Re: Holder’s mysterious tweet

    If I were foily, which I’m totally not, (except for on sometimes on Friday afternoons) I’d say that Holder is quite obviously shoring up the morale of the coup-plotters and carrier-outers in advance of their planned 4th of July color revolution. He’s assuring them that even though they’ll be blamed for the death of American democracy (such as it is), that really they’re doing the honorable, patriotic thing by removing the Russian spy from the White House. Again, not that I’m foily…

    1. kimsarah

      Saw this reply on Holder on zerohedge:

      Translation, Ratting me out is DEATH. Just reminding you to not get stupid!

  16. Shirley Ende-Saxe

    The poppy in the side-walk crack is a Shirley poppy. Plant the seeds before the frost (if you have one), it helps them to germinate.

    1. Lee

      We don’t get frosts here very often. We had a hard freeze in 1973. I made a lot of money that year taking down dead and damaged eucalypti.

      Should I put them in the freezer and if so for how long?

      1. HotFlash

        Don’t know about these guys particularly, but in general, 4 to 6 weeks in the freezer will trigger those seeds that need to be ‘stratified‘.

  17. Oregoncharles

    ” Some have been quietly trending toward/away from a party and this movement was finally brought to light by Donald Trump’s performance in 2016. ” Under “Dems in GOP trending districts”, I see my own District 4, southwestern Oregon. It will not change hands while Peter DeFazio chooses to run, and he’s still looking pretty healthy.

    It’s always been potentially Republican – except for Eugene and Corvallis, it’s very rural. But Peter knows how to sound like a populist and sometimes even votes that way. One result is that the Republicans have been running a near-joke candidate against him. (A Green runs, too, because of his less populist votes; they’ve become quite friendly. At his last town hall in Corvallis, Greens asked the first and last questions.)

  18. clarky90

    “Maersk operational, but still facing a ‘big task'”

    For people worried about the looming, “Thousand Year Silicon Reich”.

    IMO, this entire totalitarian project is built squarely on a misguided, fragile, greedy (not cooperative) sandy foundation.

    For instance;
    Zero Days (2016) STUXnet Virus – Full Documentary


    “A documentary focused on Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target”

    Meanwhile, back in the palpable world ;
    Life on the planet is billions of years old (Deep Ecology) and is tough and co-operative. The extremophiles cheer me up! Life that flourishes…

    ….”For example, organisms living inside hot rocks deep under Earth’s surface are thermophilic and barophilic such as Thermococcus barophilus. A polyextremophile living at the summit of a mountain in the Atacama Desert might be a radioresistant xerophile, a psychrophile, and an oligotroph. Polyextremophiles are well known for their ability to tolerate both high and low pH levels…..”


    Our wonderful ancestors!

    1. charles leseau

      Love the dog, and the Mendelssohn!

      I was more immediately struck by the name Fazil Say on the twitter link. I have his recording of the duo piano version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, with extra percussive effects via string plucking, etc, added by the pianist. It’s brilliant and fun. I’ve played the primo part of that with a friend and there’s some tough stuff to accomplish in it!

  19. different clue

    In California: was Rendon paid to double-cross Single Payer all on his own? Was it his own bought-and-paid-for decision?

    Or was Rendon merely playing the visible part in a “rotating villains” drama? Was he the visible fall-guy for a Democratic Conspiracy to prevent Single Payer after pretending to support it in California?

    Since there is no way to know, it offers the Democratic voters of California an opportunity either way. Someone could primary Rendon before his next election on the promise to seek Rendon’s key choke-point-place in the Legislature if elected, and if elected . . . to use that place to get Single Payer all-the-way-passed. If the primary challenger cannot drive Rendon off the next ballot, then all the Single Payer supporters in Rendon’s district could vote against Rendon one way or another to at least remove Rendon and destroy Rendon’s career in elective office.

    If Rendon were the problem, that would solve the problem. If Rendon were merely the visible part of a Democratic Conspiracy to prevent Single Payer in California, then changing Rendon out would not get Single Payer in. The Democratic voters of California would then have to purge and burn and destroy and exterminate every single Democratic officeholder in California one-by-one-by-one until they got a total turnover of personnel and total replacement of Single Payer sabatoogers with Single Payer achievers.

  20. EverythingsJake

    Ugh, Trump is helping to resuscitate the careers of Joe and Mika. It’s the worst effect that centrists and center-rightists will start to seem heroic.

    1. allan

      Intersectionality for the win. From 2008:

      …. In two recent appearances on MSNBC’s Morning Joe , former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee boasted about frying squirrels in a popcorn popper.

      “When I was in college, we used to take a popcorn popper – because that was the only thing they would let us use in the dorms – and we would fry squirrel,” he said on Jan. 18, 2008.

      When he appeared on the show three weeks later, on Feb. 6, co-host Mika Brzezinski asked him if he would come back and demonstrate his cooking techniques. …

      So, shouldn’t the national conversation be about either

      (i) whether or not Brzezinski has any journalistic standing,


      (ii) the long term cognitive effects of being fed pop-corned squirrels, presumably chock full of lead,
      by your parents.

  21. Jim Haygood

    A barbed Independence Day send-off from the curmudgeonly James Howard Kunstler:

    The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the repo squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford F150.

    We’re just doing what we always do: gittin’ our summer on. Breaking out the potato salad and the Bud Lites — at least those who have enough mojo left in their MasterCards to charge the party supplies.

    An awful lot of Americans must be maxed out, though, people who actually used to work at things and get paid for it. Each one of them is a walking Illinois now, facing each dawning day with a bigger load of problems, more things they can’t pay for, and moving closer to the dreadful day when everything is gone, every chattel, every knickknack, the very roof over their head, and most particularly the belief that they live in a fair and decent society.


    “A walking Illinois” … oh, how the mighty have fallen.

  22. Chris

    I had hoped that post 2016 people who supported a more liberal platform would stop propping up failed DNC strategies. Mentioning to some of my friends that KaRen Handel and the RNC spent almost as much on ads as Jon Ossof and the DNC spent on paying consultants like Mothership has been received in some less than generous ways. You really can’t help people who don’t want to be helped.

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