2:00PM Water Cooler 5/4/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“U.S. seeks $200 bln cut in China trade imbalance” [MarketWatch]. “The U.S. handed China a lengthy list of demands on trade, ranging from immediately cutting a trade imbalance by $100 billion a year to halting all Chinese government support for advanced technologies, according to a document sent to Beijing before talks this week…. To address the trade relationship, the U.S. document offered an eight-point plan to Beijing and called for China to change its policies within a year or two. It also said the U.S. was ready to negotiate on the proposals.”

“Here’s What the U.S., China Demanded of Each Other on Trade” [Bloomberg]. Synopses of the eight-point US plan (there seem to be more than eight points) and of the Chinese counter-proposal. This is interesting, from the US: “The document also calls on China to take no retaliatory action in response to actions taken or to be taken by the U.S.” The Chinese equivalent seems to be the more specific: “Not to initiate any Section 301 investigation against China in the future.”



“Is James Comey a Secret Beyoncé Fan?” [The Cut]. He’s running, isn’t he? Please kill me now.


“Before They Make Gains, Dems Need to Look in the Mirror” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. Democrats: lol no. Cook: “It is not clear that Democrats fully understood why they lost the last presidential election and why their congressional gains were so paltry—picking up just two Senate and six House seats, far fewer than expected…. [I]t might not be an accident or random chance that the three most popular governors in America are moderate Republican governors in very Democratic states—Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Larry Hogan in Maryland, and Phil Scott in Vermont. Could it be voters are seeking moderation, checks and balances? As Democrats seek to win power this year and to recapture the White House in 2020, the question of pragmatism versus self-indulgence is a real and important one. A bit of self-reflection rather than just scapegoating might be in order.”

“House: Democrats Risk Disaster in California’s Top Two Primaries” [David Wasserman, Cook Political Report]. Skipping the horserace material to pull this out: “DCCC Chair Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and House Democrats are operating in a much different media environment than the one 2006 DCCC Chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel faced. In 2006, activist blogs were a relatively new political phenomenon and it was easier to maneuver behind the scenes. In 2018, jilted campaigns routinely leak damaging audio to The Intercept and social media, not DC, makes or breaks candidacies.” First, my Old Eschatonian school tie says that it was activist blogs that convinced the Democrat leadership to oppose Bush’s attempt after 2004 (“I have political capital and I intend to spend it”) for a Grand Bargain on Social Security, and that this was key to the Democrat victory in 2006, since, for once, the Democrats were managed to position themselves as supporting universal concrete material benefits. Second, the Blue Dogs that Rahm put in place in 2006 — few of whom survived, because fake Republicans tend not to survive — ended up gutting whatever positive programmatic impulses the Obama administration had. Third, if Wasserman thinks that a Democrat party that isn’t democratic — that determines its Presidential candidates in smoke-filled rooms, and its Congressional candidates through string-pulling in back rooms — isn’t a disaster in and of itself, then I want some of what he’s smoking.

VA-10: “VA-10 Preview: Democrats Fight to Take on Most Vulnerable GOP House Incumbent” [Cook Political Report]. “There are six Democrats on the ballot in the June 12 primary, but there are four with the resources and appeal to be contenders in the expensive DC media market: state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, former Obama Department of Veterans Affairs official Lindsey Davis Stover, anti-human trafficking activist Alison Friedman and Iraq/Afghanistan Army veteran Dan Helmer. A month out, Wexton is the substantial frontrunner.” (Helmer, interestingly, is a “CIA Democrat.” So perhaps there are worse things than having been a Democrat state rep.)

NY Governor: “Cuomo leads Nixon by double digits in New York governor’s race” [CNN]. “Cuomo is 22 points ahead in this latest survey… Before she announced her run, Nixon was trailing Cuomo by a whopping 47 points.”

NY Governor: “As Primary Season Heats Up, the Left Battles the Left” [Governing]. “Four years ago, Cuomo beat back a challenge from Zephyr Teachout, an underfunded law professor who nonetheless took just over a third of the primary vote. The final result may not have been close, but Teachout performed better than any challenger had against a sitting governor since New York first instituted gubernatorial primaries. Although she can’t match his fundraising, Nixon has the potential to put a bigger scare into Cuomo than Teachout did, says Doug Muzzio, a pollster at Baruch College. Last month, Nixon won the endorsement of the progressive third party Working Families, meaning she’ll not only challenge Cuomo in the September primary, but likely remain on the ballot in November.”

NY Governor: “Bernie supporters push for registration overhaul to vote in state primary” [New York Post]. “New York Democratic Party activists who backed Bernie Sanders for president in 2016 — and now support Cynthia Nixon for governor over Gov. Cuomo — have drafted a resolution to force the state Democratic Committee to pass a rule allowing independent or “nonaligned” registered voters to vote in the 2018 Democratic primary for governor, on Sept. 13.”

NY Governor: “Cuomo, borrowing from Churchill, vows to lead citizens’ armada to block offshore drilling” [Politico]. “‘I’m going to commission the citizen fleet from throughout the state to go out and interfere with their federal effort just as Winston Churchill did in Dunkirk,’ Cuomo said. ‘If you think I’m kidding, I’m not, and I’m going to lead that citizen fleet.'”

NY-27: “Fake Green Party Candidate Exposed as Having Ties to Republican Congressman” [Daily Beast]. “Michael Zak petitioned to run under the Green Party ticket in New York’s 27th congressional district, a seat currently held by Rep. Chris Collins. Zak’s candidacy petition listed as the official contact person Ross Kostecky, a local Republican operative who interned on Collins’s 2009 campaign for Erie County, New York executive, The Daily Beast has found.”

2016 Post Mortem

“PR boss Jennifer Palmieri: ‘We reduced Hillary to a female facsimile of a male president'” [Guardian]. Palmieri: “Right up until 19 December that year, when the president was formally elected by the electoral college: ‘I held out hope that we would fight on. I thought there was a chance the Republicans would stop it.’ She allows a bleak smile. ‘I thought maybe they would make Paul Ryan president.'” Palmieri, let us recall, thought the Russians were going to hijack her limo. And see here on the electoral college and faithless electors.

“Hillary Clinton: Big Business Is ‘Disrupting Our Democracy'” [Fortune]. “How does one go about fixing that imbalance and regaining people’s trust? Clinton, a Democrat, gave a tongue-in-cheek, “simple, partisan answer:” Change the majority Republican Congress in the November 2018 mid-term elections.” Uh huh.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Bernie Sanders Camp Says Ending Superdelegate ‘Debacle’ Key to Defeating Trump in 2020” [Newsweek]. “[Nina] Turner, who took over [Jeff] Weaver’s post at Our Revolution in June, said ‘re-establishing faith’ among Democrats will be key if the party wants a shot at turning out voters in 2020 and defeating President Donald Trump. ‘We have to show voters—registered Democrats as well as independent voters who lean our way—that we recognize our faults and our failings and that we’re willing to correct them,’ Turner said. ‘We’re saying to millions of voters that the process is open, and we’ll commit to a more robust debate and contest than we had in 2016.” DCCC delenda est.

“Actually, National Democrats Should Interfere in Primaries” [Elaine Kamarck, New York Times]. “No other political parties in democracies in the world have abdicated their leadership role as much as America’s have, weakening themselves and their ability to govern in the process. Party leaders have essentially given away the most important power they have — to determine who can run and win under the party’s banner. This power now rests exclusively with primary voters.” Exclusively? Reallly?

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, April 2018: First sentence: “Wage pressures may not be going up right now, but given the solid pace of job growth and the dwindling labor force, they may be appearing soon” [Econoday]. Second sentence: “Nonfarm payrolls rose 164,000 in April which is on the low side of expectations but revisions, at a net 30,000 gain in March and February, help make up the difference.” Conclusion: “Right now, however, the mix is a good one: inflation-free expansion of the labor market. Other data include a downtick in the labor participation rate, to a lower-than-expected 62.8 percent to further highlight tight conditions, and also a noticeable pickup in manufacturing hours which, together with the gain in manufacturing payrolls, points to increasing acceleration for the factory sector.” It’s almost like there’s some power greater than the invisible hand… (Although good news in the factory secton!) And: “[U]nemployment in the U.S. has fallen to one of the lowest levels of the post-World War II era, the result of a historically long jobs expansion that shows little evidence of slowing. The jobless rate fell to 3.9% in April from 4.1% a month earlier” [Wall Street Journal]. And but: “The headline jobs number at 164,000 for April was below consensus expectations of 190 thousand, however the previously two months were revised up a combined 30 thousand. With the revisions, this was close to expectations” [Calculated Risk]. “Wage growth was about as expected in April, however hourly wages for March were revised down.” But: “April 2018 BLS Jobs Situation Is A Little Chaotic” [Econintersect]. “The headline seasonally adjusted BLS job growth was again significantly below expectations. This month’s data is so chaotic – I would not look too deeply at the internals…. The household and establishment surveys were not in sync – which means if you believe the establishment’s survey’s employment growth, then it is hard to believe the unemployment rate. The year-to-date employment is running slightly below the pace of last year.”

Capital Spending: “Small Decline in Combined U.S. & Canadian Industrial Spending” [Industrial Reports]. “Research by Industrial Reports, Inc. shows combined U.S. and Canadian planned capital spending slipped .78 percent in April compared to March. April spending for the two nations totaled $31.50 billion compared to March’s $32.28 billion. The research organization reported 254 planned U.S. and Canadian projects in April. Planned U.S. project spending dropped by 29 percent in April with $19.60 billion in planned investment compared to the March total of $27.76 billion. Canadian planned investment jumped to $11.90 billion in April from March’s $4.52 billion. Projects in both nations ranged in value from $500,000 to $7.5 billion.”

Capital Spending: “Why you should pay attention to this, and not to the unemployment rate” [Rex Nutting, MarketWatch]. “Everyone is talking about employment today, (which makes sense since it’s “Jobs Friday”) but I’d like to talk about another economic statistic that’s more important for the long run: Capital spending…. The good news is that corporations are increasing their investments again after a slump in 2015 and 2016. Over the past year, real business investment has increased at a 6.1% annual rate, according to the Bureau of Economic Affairs in the Commerce Department. It’s a good number, but nothing jaw-dropping. The bad news is that net investment is very weak by historical standards. Companies have loads of cash, but little is going back into the business. This dismal trend may be about to change for a very good reason: Businesses are reporting that strong demand is running up against the economy’s capacity (including imports). Supply chains are tight, and prices are rising for goods and services in short supply. The natural response by profit-maximizing companies would be to expand their capacity rapidly to meet demand, and to some extent that seems to be happening.” According to an analysis by equity strategist Jonathan Golub of Credit Suisse, capital spending by large companies in the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.06% is on pace to increase 20% year-on-year, based on the companies that have already reported their first-quarter earnings. But Golub cautions against seeing the pickup in capex as a broad trend. It’s concentrated in just a few sectors and in stocks ‘with higher [return on equity] opportunities,’ he wrote in a note to clients. Two-thirds of the dollar increase in the first quarter comes from just 10 companies: Alphabet, General Motors, AT&T, Verizon, Walmart, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Micron, and Charter Communications.”

Shipping: “Exclusive: UPS weighs strategy to deliver bulky goods to boost growth” [Reuters]. “United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) is in talks with at least one U.S. trucking firm to launch an in-home delivery service for large, heavy goods such as couches and treadmills, as the world’s largest package deliverer looks to cash in on one the fastest growing segments of online retail.”

Shipping: “Truck factories are trying to accelerate production to cope with the biggest backlog in orders in more than a decade. Fleet owners ordered more than 35,000 heavy-duty trucks last month, a step back from the first quarter’s red-hot ordering pace but still enough to keep manufacturers rushing to build the vehicles” [Wall Street Journal]. “The order backlog reached some 205,000 units at the end of April, more than double the order book of last September and the biggest since May 2006, according to ACT Research. ACT’s Kenny Vieth says the “backlog-to-build ratio” recently hit 7.2 months, leaving plenty of work for manufacturers well into the fourth quarter.”

Shipping: “Anheuser-Busch orders up to 800 hydrogen-electric Nikola semi-trucks” [DC Velocity]. “In announcing the largest deal to date for heavy-duty trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch cited the Nikola One trucks’ range of 500 to 1,200 miles per refueling stop, 20-minute refueling time, and zero-emission operation…. Nikola leases its vehicles at a rate of 90 cents to $1 per mile in a package that covers the vehicle, fuel, warranty, and maintenance. It also includes replacement parts such as tires and wiper blades. Its leasing arrangements are managed by rental and leasing giant Ryder System Inc., which serves as Nikola’s exclusive distribution and maintenance provider.” Interesting material on Nikola v. Tesla.

The Bezzle: “The most important last mile for Blue Apron Holdings Inc. may lead to a grocery store. The meal-kit pioneer has started selling its boxed-up fare at Costco Wholesale Corp. in a shift away from its business model as a delivery company” [Wall Street Journal]. “The decision is an admission that competition in the business has grown too strong and the costs to win and keep customers are too great to go it alone…. It also signals that the logistics hurdles are proving too great to overcome over the long haul. Blue Apron has struggled to fix problems at a New Jersey warehouse that executives were counting on to support rapid growth. First-quarter results show the company appears to be turning a corner, and getting shelf space at a retailer may provide a better logistics and financial recipe.” For this, an IPO?

Fodder for the Bulls: “March 2018 Leading Index Review: Continued Average Growth Forecast” [Econintersect]. “Most of the leading indicators are based on factors which are known to have significant backward revisions – and one cannot take any of their trends to the bank… At this point, Econintersect continues to see NO particular dynamic at this time which will deliver noticeably better growth in the foreseeable future – and the majority of the indicators are forecasting a near average rate of growth which has been seen since the end of the Great Recession.”

The Fed: “The Case for Central Bank Electronic Money and the Non-case for Central Bank Cryptocurrencies” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. “We characterize various currencies according to their control structure, focusing on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and government-issued fiat money. We then argue that there is a large unmet demand for a liquid asset that allows households and firms to save outside of the private financial sector. Central banks could offer such an asset by simply allowing households and firms to open accounts with them. Finally, we conclude that a central bank will not issue cryptocurrencies in the sense of a truly decentralized and permissionless asset that allows users to remain anonymous.”

Five Horsemen: “Apple soars to a record on news that Buffett was buying” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen May 4 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index fell to 47 (worry) after yesterday’s sharp intraday drop” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index May 3 2018

The 420

“Maine Lawmakers Override Veto, Clear the Way for Recreational Marijuana” [Governing]. “Maine lawmakers overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of an adult-use marijuana regulatory bill Wednesday, putting the state on track to regulate a retail market that has been in limbo since voters legalized recreational marijuana use in 2016…. This year’s bill, sponsored by Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, will set an effective tax rate of 20 percent on marijuana products, give Mainers priority for commercial licenses, and set health and safety standards for the market. It won’t open before LePage leaves office in early 2019.” Good thought to give Mainers priority, although I imagine ginormous out-of-state corporations are already trying to figure out how to work through straws.


Sending a message:

Jobs Guarantee

“4 big questions about job guarantees” [Dylan Matthews, Vox]. “The single most encouraging study on the idea of a job guarantee comes from India, whose National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is meant to offer a permanent, guaranteed source of income for rural farmers during the dry season. A group of economists — UC San Diego’s Karthik Muralidharan and Paul Niehaus and the University of Virginia’s Sandip Sukhtankar — conducted a randomized experiment and found that the program raises earnings for low-income households by 13.3 percent, mostly because it bid up wages in the private sector. It also increased employment in the private sector, amazingly.”

“Can a Federal Jobs Guarantee Help Democrats Defeat Trump in 2020?” [Newsweek]. “Democrats eyeing a run at toppling President Donald Trump are coalescing around a federal jobs guarantee they hope will propel them to the White House in 2020. In doing so, they are aiming squarely at winning back the voters who gave up on the party two years ago as they bought into Trump’s pledge to provide for the ‘forgotten men and women.’…. When researchers at Civis Analytics, another progressive data analytics firm, narrowed the data by voting pattern, they found that 56 percent of those who went from voting for former President Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 supported a jobs guarantee, and 58 percent of nonvoters looked favorably on the idea as well.” Idea: Instead of trying to flip Trump’s base (wealthy suburban Republicans) why not try to flip Trump’s margin (working class voters, many of whom voted for Obama). Clintonites: lol no.

“The Job Guarantee and the Wilted Liberal Imagination” [Democracy]. “[S]kepticism about government’s ability to perform complicated tasks is a common refrain in job guarantee criticism…. This attitude and the pessimistic presumptions underneath it are immensely frustrating, and the person who best explained that frustration was… Matt Yglesias, when he tweeted that ‘If they didn’t already exist, public libraries would strike people as the most outlandish left-wing idea.’ This is also true of the post office (a public program to send any letter or package anywhere in the country for relatively little money), the national parks system (50+ government parks spanning 84 million acres), and a million other government achievements we all take for granted. But more relevant to the job guarantee and the Kliff, Drum, et al. criticisms: the Works Progress Administration and related agencies during the 1930s. To employ millions of people and do many good things, they performed exactly the sort of complicated administrative and logistical work that is today declared impossible.”

“We Work” [James Galbraith, The Baffler]. “On this issue, I’m an ex-skeptic. I was deeply involved in the full employment debates of forty years ago; I had the staff role—it was considered minor at the time—of drafting the monetary policy provisions of the original Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Bill. I’ve remained a resolute believer in the possibility and benefits of full employment, but my first published article, in Working Papers for a New Society back in 1978, was titled “Why We Have No Full Employment Policy.” It was about how hard getting there would be, including how hard to have the government serve as “employer of last resort.” I held that position for many years, but I’ve changed my mind. Here’s why the job guarantee deserves a better rap…. Against the job guarantee [Dean] Baker makes three points. First, that it will cost too much and be too hard to implement. Second, that it will upend the private labor market. Third, that it will provoke inflation and a harsh response from the Federal Reserve. The first is untrue. The second is a good thing. The third is a combination of unlikely and irrelevant—or to put it another way, an admission of impotence and a call for preemptive surrender.”

Guillotine Watch

Who are these people?

Class Warfare

“Silicon Valley’s Rigged Game of Life” [The New Republic]. “The Silicon Valley that [Corey] Pein uncovers is not unlike dystopian visions we are accustomed to seeing in science fiction. Like any of number of fictional futures, from Metropolis to Altered Carbon, it is a society where the wealthy in live in glistening towers in the clouds, surrounded by technologies of luxury and convenience, looking down on an underclass that cannot afford basic necessities. As Pein shows, the world where a handful of billionaires own more wealth than the majority of the world’s population is not just the stuff of fantasy, it’s the world we’re living in…. A 2012 Harvard Business School study showed that 95 percent of VC-backed startups fail. The idea that Silicon Valley is a land of opportunity, Pein points out, is based on only five percent of reality. As Live Work Work Work Die shows, most success stories are not entirely the result of dreams realized in the open market.”

“Study: overhyped media narratives about America’s fading white majority fuel anxiety” [Matthew Yglesias, Vox]. “The very same census report projects that as far out as 2060, 68.5 percent of the population will be white. It’s just that a reasonably large share of the white population will be partially descended from Latin American immigrants. A further 6.2 percent of the population will belong to “two or more races,” with a large share of those likely identifying at least in part as white. The difference here is between an exclusive and inclusive definition of whiteness.”

News of The Wired

Up to a point, Lord Copper:

Heroic transport workers:

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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 allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JG):

JG writes: “This peace lily flower is from about one month ago. Another one is opening now.”

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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. Wukchumni

    “Maine Lawmakers Override Veto, Clear the Way for Recreational Marijuana”
    Meanwhile here in the heart of the San Joaquin far away from Fresno but how far is far enough you’re always asking yourself?, and the city named after an ash tree, is decidedly anti-420 and quite pro-booze.

    “The first store to legally sell recreational marijuana in the central San Joaquin Valley has opened in Woodlake, a town of about 7,700 people east of Visalia in Tulare County.

    Valley Pure opened Monday, said general manager Wes Hardin.

    “It feels really good. It’s been a two-year process,” Hardin said. “We put a lot of work into it.”

    He credited city officials for having an open mind to the idea of a storefront in the heart of downtown.

    “The city of Woodlake has been phenomenal,” he said. “They’ve been forward thinking this whole time.”

    Voters approved a ballot initiative that gives the city a 5 percent excise tax, on top of the sales tax. Most cities that allow marijuana sales have an excise tax of 2 to 10 percent.

    By being first in the region, Valley Pure hopes to develop a brand name that catches on statewide and even nationally, Hardin said, and expand into other cities.”


    1. jo6pac

      May be they can follow this company that only does seeds and plants in Calif. I just ordered my 6 plants from them hopefully they ship this Monday by Post Office.


      Now I need to go and remove the compost I just bought from my truck so I can buy large pots tomorrow.
      I received 2 lemon and 2 avocado trees that need to be put into large wine barrel halves.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Light is important at important points, just in case anyone isn’t aware. I’m contented to imbibe without knowing how it works.

        But when I visited Alaska back when it was a privacy right, I’d turn down a toke with, ‘I’m from Florida’ and get knowing nods. The average jay was like smoking bananas. Or rope in point of fact :)

    2. The Rev Kev

      Big mistake! Huge! Gov. Paul LePage should totally support marijuana in Maine. He would probably find that most who smoke the wacky-tobacky vote democrat so it may play to the advantage of the republicans. Come the mid-terms and even in 2020 a lot of them may be high and not remember that it was voting day and go down to vote, thus taking votes away from the democrats.
      Found a very unusual bit on his Wikipedia page. It seemed that he had difficulty entering college as French was his first language in spite of being born in Lewiston, Maine. It may be a local cultural thing but I am sure that Maine is a long way from any of the Louisiana Purchase states.

      1. sd

        For what it’s worth. There are a lot of French Canadians in upper New England. French names are very common in Vermont and New Hampshire.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Lot of French Canadians in southern New England, too. Fall River, Mass., Woonsocket, RI, CT’s northeastern “Quiet Corner” — in fact, I think French is the largest single ancestry in Northeastern CT according the Census Bureau.

          There was a huge migrant wave c. 1870-1920. Mills needed workers, life in rural Quebec was difficult and often under the tyrannical control of a combination of the Catholic Church, the French seigneurs, and Anglo-Canadian capitalists. Manchester and Lewiston and Willimantic looked better by comparison.

          Like Italian immigrants in places like NYC and Philly, they often voted Republican because of the Irish-dominated Democratic machine.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > seemed that he had difficulty entering college as French was his first language in spite of being born in Lewiston, Maine

        Class is an enormous part of LePage’s bio, and a source of his appeal, particularly in the Second District.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        It’s not far from Quebec though so there is a large French-Canadian population in Maine. Lots of family names like Boucher, Lebel, Fontaine, etc. If I’m not mistaken, this is a result of some wave of French immigration that filled the factories of the area back in the 19th century or before. When LePage was born there were a lot more people in Maine who spoke French but that has dwindled over the years. I run into a lot of people who are native Mainiacs with French last names but nit many still speak the language these days.

        LePage’s problem with weed is that his father was a drunk who beat him and his family while he was growing up. Now as an adult, he seems to project his experience onto everybody else and tries to crack down hard on what he considers illicit activity, no matter how mild it is. He has the ‘go die’ philosophy on those issues, and was also in favor of keeping Narcan unavailable in the state, making welfare unavailable to those who tested positive for drugs, etc.

  2. grayslady

    DCCC delenda est would make a terrific bumper sticker–and an even better reality. DNC delenda est also has a nice ring to it.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Since the DCCC and the DNC are secret conservative agents, DCCC delenda est and DNC delenda est seem perfectly fine.

        Also, the DCCC and DNC are discrete organizations which can indeed be delenda estified. Whereas “conservatism” is a belief system. It is harder to delenda estify a belief system.

        1. Buckeye

          If you don’t discredit/marginalize/kill the evil belief system, then ending a political institution is worthless. And ending the GOP and all conservative agents/surrogates must be at the top of the list, as well.

          Whining about and attacking the Democratic Party ONLY has no effect, except to reinforce the right-wing narrative that “all evils descend from Democrats, and all Democrats are liberals/socialists and therefore anyone who isn’t conservative Republican is evil-wrong.”

          The point is just wind anyway, since the alleged-Left has consistently shown it has no organization, no strategy/tactics, and no real understanding of how internal political parties are run. The DNC et al, and the GOP, will never be undermined by activism or primary challenges. Only by getting into the county party apparatus and State Central Committees can any changes be made. And getting into the party apparatus is impossible for interlopers with a wrecking ball mentality.

          The best of the (not very good) options would be to form a REAL political organization, that recruits, trains and runs/funds REAL candidates with a well-thought out vision of society .And has a solid platform of policies that have been written, tested and rewritten and retested until they are a fine-edged weapon that can win elections at all levels and destroy the corrupt status quo, through politics and through non-political actions.

          Oh, gee….we need to have a REAL political party, built from the ground up. And boy, is that difficult.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > If you don’t discredit/marginalize/kill the evil belief system, then ending a political institution is worthless.

            Really? When the Romans sacked and burned Carthage, the institution, and then salted the earth, we didn’t hear a lot more of Carthaginian belief systems, whatever they may have been.

            “When there’s an institution, there’s a problem. When there’s no institution, there’s no problem.” — reworking Stalin

      2. Lost in OR

        Funny how words are. “Conservatism”, haven’t seen much of that around lately. Like since someone opposed stupid wars. Or wanted to audit the Fed and/or keep Glass-Stegal. Or be good stewards of Mother Earth. Or take some responsibility for their own resilience. I’m pretty sure that I have a conservative streak in me. I’d say that streak might have some “Liberal” in it too, but I haven’t seen much of that around lately.

        How about “Willfully-Blind Neo-Liberal Industrialist-PissAnt delenda est”?

    1. Tim

      Not when 99.9% of the population doesn’t know what it means. I certainly don’t.

      But forgive me my credentials (Bachelors of Science) are weak in the language department.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Exterminate the DCCC

        Exterminate the DNC

        Those would make good bumper stickers too.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Dehumanization is fun, but not effective. Stick it to the institution. Pepsi/Coke doesn’t really define any important qualities of any of the individuals who are inclined to pick a brand.

      2. Swamp Yankee

        Fair point, Tim. “DNCC delenda est” is a variation of “Carthago delenda est”, a Latin phrase meaning “Carthage must be destroyed.” Carthage was Rome’s major rival. Cato the Elder, a Roman statesman, would append the phrase to every speech he made on any topic. So he might be talking about a new law on the running of latifundia (giant Roman slave-powered farms), and he would add at the end, “Carthago delenda est.”

        The Senate listened to him, and in the Third Punic War, destroyed Carthage and salted the earth where the city stood so that nothing would ever grow there again.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Except they had to go back and in no time, rich North Africans formed the largest block in the senate, and a few emperors hailed from there.

          There still stands a nice,big Colosseum at El Djem.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Then the Visigoths, after shuffling around a bit, turned out to be more capable administrators of the region.

          2. JBird

            True, but the original Carthaginians, who were either enslaved or murdered after Rome broke the treaty ending the Second Punic War because they were better merchants, were not among them.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Carthago delenda est.”

        … a Latin oratorical phrase. Originating in the Roman Republic in the 2nd century BC prior to the Third Punic War against Carthage, by the party advocating destruction of Rome’s ancient rival Carthage, which was thought to be rebuilding its capacity for further warfare. The phrase is associated with the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who is said to have used it as the conclusion to all his speeches.

  3. JohnnySacks

    I’m used to being the target of a lot of derision by our li-ion everready energizer future supporters when I suggest it’s long overdue that hydrogen fuel cells get some positive PR consideration in transportation. Are there still technical and safety problems to solve? Yes. Do we need a clean source of hydrogen production? Yes. (Norway being a source of AB hydrogen stations being the tell for where their hydrogen comes from) But up to 1200 miles travel, zero emissions, and a 20 minute refuel time sort of make the case for the effort. I think the Saudis and other countries in the equatorial desert blazing sun are being quite shortsighted in their adherence to the oil market when they could be investing their oil profits in running a perpetual money machine fed off sunshine to set themselves up for the next phase of worldwide energy demand.

  4. bob

    Shipping: “Anheuser-Busch orders up to 800 hydrogen-electric Nikola semi-trucks”

    What does ABinbev need trucks for? The distributors do all the deliveries.

    Also, up to….could be 1

  5. dcblogger

    The Democratic base and the national leadership have the same relationship that the teachers have the the national leadership of the NEA and AFT. the base is running forward and the leadership is being left in the dust. The energy on the ground is as nothing like 2006. If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins her race it will be a total earthquake.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Democratic party is a private corporation.

      I don’t know if it’s cooperative corporation or not (a cooperative can be a corporation, I just read that after Googling).

      If not, then, those with most money in it control it…like all other corporations.

      1. sleepy

        And just like private corporations, every year or two they rig the shareholders’ meeting aka elections.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        >The Democratic party is a private corporation.

        I think it’s more a tightly coupled network of private institutions, including NGOs (e.g. CAP). It’s nothing at all like the Labour Party in the UK, for example.

  6. Jim Haygood

    June West Texas crude settled at $69.72/bbl, the highest since Nov 2014.

    The average US price of gasoline — $2.81 a gallon — is 45 cents higher than 12 months ago. That’s a 19% hike.

    But hey — keeping Israel safe from Iran is more important than helping Americans afford to drive to work. The middle east is our wretched tar baby.

  7. Swamp Yankee

    Re: Victoria’s Secret model and DJ’s Boho Wedding. And “Boho” is supposed to mean bohemian, evidently.

    That word doesn’t mean what they think it means.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Boho has been short for bohemian in pop culture since at least the recording of Joni Mitchell’s “Boho Dance” in 1975. It probably goes back a lot further.


      Modern usage seems to primarily refer to a fashion style that is kinda sixties-retro.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Actually, I think flamboyant wealth on the part of entertainers (including athletes) is much less offensive than on the part of financiers or CEOs. Entertainers earned their money by providing something valuable to a great many people. (In her case, by being really pretty, which is hardly earned, but still…) They also faced really poor odds when they started.

      Financiers “earned” theirs by gambling, and arguably by sabotaging the real economy; and CEOs, in a rigged game, in many cases by raiding their own companies. Interestingly, my Republican, investment manager father thought that 30 years ago. Of course, as an investor his interests weren’t the same as theirs.

  8. willf

    Regarding the article by Charlie Cook “Dems need to Look in the Mirror”,

    “Lol, no”, indeed. Not just that Democrats won’t spend any time on introspection (which they won’t, agreed), but on Cook’s weak sauce rewarmed corporate centrism diagnosis:

    While there were plenty of positive and important things that President Obama and his administration did or tried to do over his eight years, a good case can be made that some things done or attempted helped create a political climate that led to the election of Donald Trump, who is in many ways the antithesis of 44th president. Is Newton’s third law of motion—for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction—applicable to politics? Was there policy overreach during the eight years of Obama, pushing the envelope just a bit too far, creating a backlash? Were there regulatory excesses that alienated businesspeople who may have had plenty of reservations about Donald Trump but held their noses and voted for him anyway?

    According to Cook, Obama’s problem is that he was too tough on business. This led directly to the election of Donald Trump.

    It’s the flip side of calling Trump supporters racists (nothing we can do to persuade those people anyway, right?) Instead here, any legislation or oversight of business –even if largely imagined or only a p.r. campaign– will result in the election of more Trumps. Somehow the policy prescription is always simply to back away from policy making in general.

    I don’t read Cook regularly, but I thought he was better than this. Or is that when he sticks to the numbers?

    1. dcblogger

      Cook has as much insight into this election as Guizot and Metternich has into 1848.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chris Buckley 储百亮

    China is unsurpassed at making hair-raising U-turns

    It looks like a picture from the Burma Road.

  10. polecat

    Oh man ! .. seeing that tanker on the precipice makes my palms sweat .. profusely !

    1. Oregoncharles

      No way I’m starting the video. The still alone is bad for my blood pressure.

    1. Lunker Walleye

      They don’t know how to pronounce Des Moines, so I’m biased against this video. Ha ha! I thought maybe we would find out why so many on our street are getting cancer.

  11. Jim Haygood

    Nice try but no cigar:

    New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law Friday that will allow homeowners in the state to declare property taxes as charitable donations.

    The law will allow property owners to donate up to 90% of their tax bill to charitable funds set up by municipalities in exchange for tax credits.

    Many legal and tax analysts believe New Jersey will have to fight the IRS in court after taking this step.


    Municipal services are not charities. The IRS will sue in federal court and demolish NJ’s potemkin ‘charities.’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One usually doesn’t not get into trouble with the city hall not donating to a charitable fund.

      Presumably, being optional is one test of whether it is or is not a charitable fund. You should risk losing your home not donating to one.

    2. todde

      Luckily the tax deduction isn’t for charities, but qualified organizations, some of which are government organizations.

      We will see

  12. HotFlash

    Businesses are reporting that strong demand is running up against the economy’s capacity (including imports). Supply chains are tight, and prices are rising for goods and services in short supply. The natural response by profit-maximizing companies would be to expand their capacity rapidly to meet demand

    Unh, unh, does this mean that the Trump tariffs and such are *working*???? I need a fainting couch, stat! Don’t worry, it’s e-bay, not Amazon.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      having somehow achieved emotional distance from the whole mess, and resigned myself to living in an age of hyperabsurdity, it would be hilarious to watch, if you’re right.
      Trump as FDR 2.0,lol.

      Dem True Believers, on hilltops in the moonlight, waiting for the end.
      Think I’ll get high and go follow the geese around.
      easier to talk to.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Two-thirds of the dollar increase in the first quarter comes from just 10 companies: Alphabet, General Motors, AT&T, Verizon, Walmart, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Micron, and Charter Communications.”

      OK, so GM pays half-decently but will probably not hire a soul despite capital spending. Not sure about Intel or Micron, but since no unions I can guess. (Hey, at least those three still manufacture stuff here.) Presumably capital spending at AT&T, Verizon, and Charter is simply running more cable (coax or fiber) – I do know what they pay their cable installers and it’s not much. Walmart and Amazon? Nuff said. Which leaves Microsoft as potentially the only company doing major capital spending that might create some decent jobs. And as I recall, Microsoft likes to hire temps.

  13. Jim Haygood

    The jaw-dropping arrogance of the special prosecutor:

    U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III demanded to see the unredacted “scope memo,” a document outlining the scope of the special counsel’s Russia probe.

    Mueller’s team says its authorities are laid out in documents including the August 2017 scope memo – and that some powers are actually secret because they involve ongoing investigations and national security matters that cannot be publicly disclosed.

    Ellis seemed amused and not persuaded.

    He summed up the argument of the Special Counsel’s Office as, “We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it and we were lying.”

    The judge gave the government two weeks to hand over the unredacted “scope memo” or provide an explanation why not — after prosecutors were reluctant to do so, claiming it has material that doesn’t pertain to Manafort.

    I’ll be the judge of that,” Ellis said.


    Mueller’s inquiry: an undertaking of great advantage, but no one to know what it is.

    Hope that unredacted scope document isn’t just quotes from the infamous Steele memo about golden showers and such … in which case, the yellow rain’s gonna blow back in Mueller’s face.

    1. cnchal

      I hope that unredacted scope document is just quotes from the infamous Steele memo. Not that I am a fan of Trump but he was sent to Washington to create havoc and so far is meeting expectations.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Question. Does the judge have sufficient security clearance to view all documents, should that become an issue?

      1. sleepy

        I know that judges frequently view documents that are classified in chambers. I doubt if they have security clearances. I suspect too that the government only shows the court what it wants to show the court and lies about it.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is starting to look serious.

      Looks like Ellis — a Republican appointee, IIRC — is measuring himself for Sirica’s robes?

      Although I do recall reading scuttlebutt that he was often tough on litigants he later ruled in favor of.

  14. Summer

    Re: “Study: overhyped media narratives about America’s fading white majority fuel anxiety”
    “A further 6.2 percent of the population will belong to “two or more races,” with a large share of those likely identifying at least in part as white. The difference here is between an exclusive and inclusive definition of whiteness.”

    And the ability to “pass” as “white.” I also think those media narratives make a mistake of assuming who will identify as non-white, which relates to the exclusive vs inclusive definitions mentioned.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I’m a white dude(czech/irish/cherokee) married to a Mexican American.
      our boys are filled with hybrid vigor.
      Interestingly, when wife looks at them, she sees Mexicans…I see dark complected white boys.

      we worry about racism, given where we live(Texas), and the anti-Mexican sentiment that exists out there(there’s been no overt sign of it here locally).
      racist loons I grew up with, when they found me on faceborg, took exception to all of this.
      I told them, gently, that “one of these days, we’ll all be a lovely brown, and all such things will be incomprehensible”

      “Pass as brown” would be an interesting turnabout.
      Given that the whole racist construct is an artificial creation, I figure that…like gay people and weed…exposure is the most effective cure.

      1. Jim Haygood

        I actually did try to “pass as brown” in an Asian-only (code for Pakistanis and Indians) bar in apartheid South Africa.

        No dice — they kicked my ass out.

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        While we wallow in generalities here, as such topics usually do, pasty Celtic redhead + Latina/Latino seems like a pretty unremarkable high school pairing these days. As my Puerto Rican BIL says with a grin, “a little cocoa” (plus mad kitchen and handyman skilz) is catnip to white girls. While the ‘Tiger Mom’ notes that Jewish+Chinese is nearly a demographic majority in certain university towns.

        I see great hope in the steady cocoa-ing of whitey, just as Irish won acceptance by fighting 4+ wars for America and finally became fully ‘white’ in the JFK / Archie+Veronica era.

        It’s all about the shared social contract in the end; the presumption that my neighbor ‘gets me’ and has got my back. It’s what we are losing (or having stolen, if you like) but there is some hope that we will collectively replace it with something more resilient. Pax.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I’m intrigued that the eagles don’t eat the cats, and the cats don’t even seem to be worried about it. Eagles eat animals bigger than that.

  15. Jim Haygood

    GDP hall of shame: three states — Connecticut, Louisiana and Kansas — suffered negative growth in 2017. Map:


    Growth was weak in the Plains and Midwest, as low ag prices and retaliatory tariffs turn bad to worse.

    On the other hand, California (population 40 million) now has the world’s fifth largest economy, just pipping Great Britain (population 60 million).

  16. chuck roast

    Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 deals with “…policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.” The Chinese are also going great guns on their One Belt One Road (renamed One Belt). Their monster shipping line COSCO is now running mega ship 20,000 unit container ships. No way MAERSK will stay out in front of these guys. The Danes are too nice. There will also be one shipping company to rule the rings. So, they are doing the fundamentals too.
    As a bonus, Chinese ship builders go bankrupt and are resurrected. To build yet more capacity into an already over-capacity industry that has barely recovered from the last downturn. Kind of like a full employment policy while forgetting Keynes rules about when its time to build pyramids. The next slowdown will be very painful for these internationalized, oligopolists; particularly the ones without major state subsides. There are fewer and fewer small fish in this gulf. And there are no Codfish hiding down in the canyons.

  17. freedeomny

    Just a quick question for the more social media/twitter savvy….I haven’t been on any other site except NC in quite a while and keep reading people writing about the “mob”. Who is the “mob” – is it us? Anyone who is not considered an elite?

    1. ambrit

      I was taught that it came from the Latin, “mobile vulgaris,” or common people.
      Dr. Johnson considered ‘mob’ an Americanism, the contraction of ‘mobile,’ which was a shortening of ‘mobile vulgaris.’
      As for the NC commenteriat, well, it is immodest of me, but, the NC commenteriat is an elite congeries of esoteric wisdoms to be found on the internet.

      1. freedeomny

        :) Yes – I think NC rocks as well….

        Saw the “mob” refs on twitter … some by celebrities (who’s income is paid by the “mob”)….so, a bit surprised by that one.

        I hope you are doing well :)

  18. fresno dan


    In March of 1977, Roman Polanski was arrested in Los Angeles for charges emerging from a sexual encounter he had had with Samantha Gailey, then 13 years old: The 43-year-old Polanski, she said, had given her champagne and a quaalude, and then had raped her. Polanski, in response to the charges, eventually struck a deal: He pled guilty to a blanket count of unlawful sex with a minor.
    For years, there Polanski remained: a reminder of who loses when celebrity is pitted against decency, and a testament to Hollywood’s great capacity to say one thing about itself and mean, in the end, quite another.

    Until, that is, this year. On Thursday, the Academy announced that it had expelled Polanski, along with Bill Cosby—making the two men only the third and fourth people to have been ousted from the organization over its long history…….Weinstein was cast out, the organization said in a statement, “not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues, but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”
    Willful ignorance….shameful complicity
    are quaaludes and champagne sexually predatory behavior when used on 13 year olds?
    “Hollywood’s great capacity to say one thing about itself and mean, in the end, quite another.”

    1. ambrit

      I believe that Polanski later fled to Europe for some reason and languishes there.
      Anyway, having helped raise, with guidance from Phyl, two daughters, I’ll hazard the guess that champagne and quaaludes are predatory behaviour when used on anyone of any age.
      Besides the men who prey on “Pretty Babies,” I’d also severely punish the supposed caretakers of the victims.

  19. marym

    The Whitening
    Trump Administration Ends Protected Status for Thousands of Hondurans

    Tens of thousands of Hondurans who have lived in the United States for up to two decades must prepare to leave, government officials announced Friday, a decision that effectively spells the demise of a humanitarian program that has protected nearly half a million people who had sought refuge from unstable homelands.

    …With an estimated 86,000 people currently registered, Hondurans represent the second-largest group of foreigners who have benefited from the program.

    “I did everything right: I worked hard, started a company, had two children and made investments here,” said Samuel Contreras, a licensed contractor on Long Island who arrived in 1998, shortly after Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras. “The bank approved a $300,000 mortgage because I have good credit and income. Now I don’t know what will happen.”

    Two weeks ago, the administration announced 9,000 Nepalis with similar protection must leave. In January, it canceled protection for 200,000 Salvadorans, notifying them to depart by September 2019. Last year, it decided that 45,000 Haitians must leave by July 2019 and 2,500 Nicaraguans must go by January of that year.

  20. Oguk

    Careful, your edit changed the quote from the WSJ article on employment stats significantly : “Unemployment in the U.S. has fallen to one of the lowest levels of the post-World War II era, the result of a historically long jobs expansion that shows little evidence of slowing. The jobless rate fell to 3.9% in April from 4.1% a month earlier” Not “Employment…”

  21. Lunker Walleye


    The packets of wild flower seeds I bought said to plant when the soil temp is consistently 60 degrees. Last frost date is typically May 10th or Mother’s Day in Central Iowa. Mother Nature has fooled us before so guess I’ll wait til the 10th even though the chart shows soil temp is 75.

  22. Kim Kaufman

    “House: Democrats Risk Disaster in California’s Top Two Primaries” [David Wasserman”

    My recollection is that although some were writing about Rahm’s corrupt practices of marginalizing as many progressive candidates as he could, it went fairly under the radar. Now, not so much.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “PR boss Jennifer Palmieri”

    Now this is getting weird. She says that: “I would have spent more time and money in Texas, Arizona and Georgia” as they were historically safe Republican states that could have been flipped instead of places like oh, I don’t know, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin? Texas, Arizona and Georgia may be flippable now but were they back in late 2016? I can think of a few other States that should have had time, money & effort spent on them to give here the win (hint – any State that does not have a coastline).
    I am afraid that when she said that: “Women didn’t even have the vote until the year Clinton’s own mother was born” as a reason why America wasn’t ready to have a female President, I gave up. I looked it up and her mother was born in 1919. So women have had the vote since then which is about FOUR generations ago so America wasn’t ready for a female president? Give us a break. AlI can say is something that I read a long time ago and that is that people are entitled to their delusions.

  24. Kim Kaufman

    “House: Democrats Risk Disaster in California’s Top Two Primaries” [David Wasserman”

    And why haven’t Dems gotten rid of the “top two” system? So the party can play kingmakers, is what I’ve been told.

    1. Oregoncharles

      They only just passed it. They – which certainly included a lot of Democrats – tried to get Top Two in Oregon, too, but the voters weren’t buying it. Whew.

      Now we’re working on Ranked Choice/ Instant Runoff voting in Oregon. Maine’s way ahead of us, though.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Skunk cabbage is in the family Araceae . . . an “aroid”. This flower is also an aroid. I had never heard of “peace lily” before. But this certainly looked like not-a-skunk-cabbage” to me.

  25. XXYY

    Third, if Wasserman thinks that a Democrat party that isn’t democratic — that determines its Presidential candidates in smoke-filled rooms, and its Congressional candidates through string-pulling in back rooms — isn’t a disaster in and of itself, then I want some of what he’s smoking.

    There seem to be two conceptions of “democracy” outstanding:

    (1) Established parties put forward their own candidates, and then the voters choose from this small number of preselected alternatives, or

    (2) Anyone can run, and the popular choice(s) are eventually backed by one or more parties.

    Obviously the Democratic Party strongly prefers the former, and in fact made no bones about operating that way until the late 60s or 70s, when they began to make motions towards letting voters weigh in on the candidate selection process. This was mostly for show, obviously, and the party still clearly believes it is the one that should decide who the “Democrat” is.

    Letting people “choose” between pre-chosen alternatives is a classic way of keeping power in one’s own hands. I used to do this with my young son when picking where to eat: “You can choose where we eat, Fred, either my favorite restaurant or my other favorite restaurant. It’s completely up to you!”

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