Thursday, August 21, 2014

This Is Bad For My Brand

The Morning Joe Rebuttal For August 21, 2014

There’s been a striking amount of favorable timing not just for Radley Balko but for the principles he has been fighting for on our behalf for some time.  Earlier this week I tweeted an acknowledgement of that timing in a manner so cryptic only bees and dogs may have connected with it:

prepped a nation for this moment, even echoed & amplified, tonight a high water mark

Now Joe Scarborough is on the bandwagon with a moderately spacious segment given to Radley this morning to talk about militarization of our domestic policing.  For good measure Scarborough even lobbed a flash grenade at the atrocious use of SWAT teams to serve low level drug warrants rampant across the country.

I obviously think they could’ve devoted an entire hour to something this important.  Maybe there is some calculation afoot?  Maybe the anti journalist ‘axis of evil’ criticisms Scarborough weathered over his requests that journalist submit to law enforcement regardless of their free press duties last week stung him and this was him swinging his pendulum.  Mr. Scarborough can swing a pendulum, it’s a gift.  

Radley Balko was via timing, (maybe) necessity, and good fortune free to connect the dots with his Morning Joe airtime.  Giving heavy armor to police undermines their central manifest to protect people’s rights, and serve the public interest.  It provides the wrong sort of mission creep in police ranks amplifying militaristic urges to fight an enemy rather then form a community.  Balko was easily able to find a forum on his segment to connect the two key principles of militarization and misguided SWAT raid employment as both derivative of federal provision.

The SWAT raids on disproportionately low level crimes and warrants aren’t random, they are specifically driven by a horrible legacy DEA program of providing federal money to local law enforcement to make drug raids.  This phenomenon is routinely exasperated by the insane inclusion of Marijuana as a Class I drug (on par with heroin, more evil than meth by one, more evil than Oxycontin by 2), meaning you motivate law enforcement even in Colorado, Washington, and the grey area capital of the world California to ‘get that money’ by raiding marijuana use.  Balko in his columns over the last several years have highlighted the unsightly human toll of SWAT raid justified shooting deaths, wrong addresses with dead innocents, warrants drawn from 7th grade science projects, and flash grenades harming toddlers.

Militarization has blurred the lines between your SWAT division and your whole police force.  To the naked eye, Ferguson displayed this, the whole force of Ferguson and St. Louis County can militarize on demand.  They can point their weapons on the community they serve without regard to propriety.  This exists everywhere in America, and it took Ferguson’s outlandish display to drive it home.

The Republican party thinks they have found their calling to re-capture hearts and minds in the 53% of America no longer trusting them.  They have Rand Paul authoring multiple bills to end asset forfeiture and reduce prison populations, and penning anti-militarization op-eds in Time.  And now they have Joe Scarborough making it OK for the middle of the road GOP to question police roles in the whole country.
But before you relax, 'tough on crime' isn’t done with us.  We will still have all sides fear mongering to placate the police lobby, the DEA lobby (which includes Purdue Pharma), the defense industrial complex, and the gun lobby. They are likely going to do what all good lobbyists do: play both sides of  an issue to prevent progress, where the status quo is profitable to them.

Mr. Scarborough is great to have provided this forum today, let's hope the coverage can resist fading. I would reasonably expect that ‘whatever it takes to take the Senate’ is the prevailing wind here, and as soon as the lobby dominated non-presidential election cycle needs him, Scarborough will be silent on MRAP’s and SWAT.  I hope not.

Mr. Balko on the other hand, is celebrating the paperback release of his book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces”.  You release your paperback after you have sold enough hardcovers to justify publishing.  That 14 months in this case has provided proof that this book flat out predicted Ferguson, and maybe the book’s other theories should be central to police planning and control going forward.

One lingering concern was the Thomas Roberts question: “In the wake of 9/11 isnt there a segment of the population that wants this heavy armor distributed across the country, and they just don’t want to know about it?”.  I’m a Thomas fan, he is appropriately impatient when people don’t make sense with their messaging in interviews.  But, man, what a collection of nightmares presented as normal American inclination: 'hide the truth from me', 'I’m still in a fear prison from 9/11', and 'let’s have a secret domestic army'.  Hasn’t that question been asked and answered for well over a decade? Aren’t these the results?

This was a particularly good show.  The hostage and ransom panel was another gem. That's a whole other column.  It’s definitely the antithesis of a slow news day.  I’m even a fan of the alternative ‘cold blooded bastard/son of a bitch’ references to the President (with famous suspended President insulter Mark Halperin at the table) to respond to the latest round of vacation shaming.  But then again, any day Peter King can’t commute to the set in his personal MRAP and poison another episode of Morning Joe is a victory for all of us.

Read everything Radley Balko writes, it’s infuriating, but it’s the path back to domestic freedom.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hapless Guessing

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for Friday April 18th, 2014


A seasoned MJ cast at the 7am Eastern block attempted to dissect the Bundy Militia story, and forgot or misrepresented about half of it, but still felt strongly enough to draw conclusions on all fronts.  

Harry Reid labeled the groups that showed up heavily armed to the media saturated melee as ‘domestic terrorists’, and Nicole Wallace was put in the difficult position of toeing the GOP line of apologizing for them and attacking Reid’s assertion.  If you were to take Wallace’s factual analysis to its core precepts, you have to accept that the federal government showed up suddenly with a one million dollar land use bill, and then began armed enforcement action, and that there is a segment of society that has a serious disdain for federalism, to the point of denying its viability as the ultimate governing authority of the United States as imposed by it’s citizens and constitution.  OK, she didn’t put those high minded buzz cornerstones in her descriptives, but that's just it, you have to fall short and live in vagaries, otherwise illogic beams down on you.  You can say they have a ‘deep distrust’ of ‘all things federal’, and that it’s OK to bear arms in this situation because ‘the government was armed’, but it simply belies the principles of organized society.

Of course John Heilemann attacked the armed civilian response analysis, which is entirely accurate, but no one could move the conversation one dimensional analysis further, as it pertained to Wallace’s tenuous platform defense.  

Barnicle smartly read a definition of terrorism, but two well respected journalists took unbelievably placebic opposition.  

David Gregory, still smarting from an awkward back story about Pulitzer Prizes being awarded to people he thought should be charged for espionage, said calling the militia response ‘terrorism’ probably needed to be thought out more.  ‘Thought out more’ is actually what happened.  Missing fact number one that the panel simply could not rise to in analysis: the President directly ordered the de-escalation.  This is in step with his foreign policy pattern in similar decisions not to strike Syria or send arms to Ukraine (more on this later).  The President and his team including the FBI and ATF, groups immeasurably harmed by the Branch Davidian disaster, have showed an evolution in response: stand down and take good notes.  It is a dare, the President to the militias, as indicated by Harry Reid, ‘we are going to enforce the law, and now we are better prepared to quietly interdict all incoming armed militia response before it can dangerously assemble’.  The rule of law will preside, and the likelihood for a first response cataclysm has been for the time being averted.

Eugene Robinson, similarly missing the integral analysis of this event, called it a civil matter that the courts could decide as is prevalent in our higher order society.  Hey Gene, the 5 o’clock train left at 5, and it’s 7.  The civil matter was decided long ago, and this is more like Ruby Ridge than we’re allowing.  The civil matter, and this speaks to Nicole’s fundamental misrepresentation, has been decided appropriately (admittedly, that’s a guess given the asymmetry of the current judiciary) over a long amount of time.  The rancher Bundy refused to acknowledge the existence of a federal government, that million dollar accumulation of land use charges accrued over 20 years and was always billed. Bundy attempted to make the payments to the county he resides in, in keeping with his anti-federalist views, but the county couldn't accept the money on the federal government's behalf, in hindsight, I believe our President would ask for a more clever adaptation at this spot in the future, although that’s plausibly unrealistic, and/or, coddling a misanthrope. To attempt to label the current events as a civil matter is to grant some level of immunity to 20 years of willful violation of court orders and that’s not a civil matter.  What good is civil law if it’s not enforceable?

Nicole Wallace, when she tries to paint a picture of a sudden one million dollar bill, is being mischievous.  If I we’re a representative of the GOP, that is the last thing I would ever want to do as it stands on the very last tethers of credibility, driven into the margins by marginal belief sets treated as absolutes and defended with mischievous semantics across all topics.

This discussion imploded at this point and never recovered.  Wallace: ‘It’s not like he was getting monthly bills”, Truth: yes he was.  Wallace:  ‘I don’t see any guns’, Video: guns.  Barnicle: ‘there is a very disturbing segment of the population’, Truth: that was also on the 5 o’clock train you and Gene missed, those people have been around forever, but they seem to really bubble up when there’s a Democratic President.

The ultimate 5 facts short conclusion was attempted by Gregory as he trotted out the right versus left analysis to try and sum up the differences exasperated in this situation.  These warring parties are both margins on the right.  The militias are obvious, but what we aren’t talking about is that the agencies participating in the enforcement.  That conglomerate, both local federal agents and local law enforcement, is by no means some Obama ‘hope and change’ army.  Those people are the law enforcement right.  The US Attorney for the State of Nevada is a Republican.  If Nicole is the person representing the right in this discussion, the bickering parties are in essence two of her small toes ready to fight each other with guns.  The Democrats are at best in a position to referee the event, and Harry Reid is right in calling out the militia as ‘domestic terrorists’ and portraying the situation as a ridiculous escalation of gun toting immatures aggravated by not getting their way.  These are the people who blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  The administration knows this and is positioning itself to regulate this and any ensuing action to the fullest of it’s abilities.

We are simultaneously monitoring the Ukraine, and in a stunning parallel, its a story with separatists with guns at odds with their government.  Lots of differences to be sure, but the US has to handle its domestic efforts in manner that allows it credibility at the table of that international affair with a ton of similar elements.

Having complex arguments on the fly is the recipe for Morning Joe.  Unfortunately the tendency towards unprepared analysis is prevalent.  Hard to say if anyone could do it better than these highly qualified people, but I suspect that both John Heilemann and Eugene Robinson wish for a more effective presentation of the whole situation in retrospect.  I clearly have the advantage of DVR multiple viewing playback and prepared response, so it’s not a fair counterpoint, except that the truth has to be advanced. John and Gene would want that.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Fork In The Road

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 19th, 2011


I haven’t really missed much of the show since I was last posting consistently, but the motivation to challenge the cast to evolve their show just seems to be falling off of the priority food chain to a spot normally reserved for chasing seagulls at the beach. All the winning stuff about the show is right there, right there, and for the most part goes underutilized or unused. In fact, the move of repeating the top of the show at the top of the 8am hour shows this production is running away from it’s competitive advantage in a counter logical way, and it hurts to view that new abbreviation each day it happens.

What do you think the threshold is for the repeat or not decision point? There has been no shortage of history these last 5 months, but apparently unless it’s an exclusive with Oprah or Bill Clinton, it’s just easier to, well, not work.

The other really disturbing trend is the guest programming. Now, I have some pretty solid personal experience with how this works, and it’s entirely possible that they aren’t keeping their lineup of guests really tight like a Phil Jackson playoff run, but likely there has been some chasm in their guest getting process where those likely to feel like they wouldn’t get a fair reflection point for their take on things looked for more civil discourse. This show didn’t start that way, it’s not overtly altruistic like Bill O’Reilly, but it’s overtly altruistic like the next best example of altruism to this rightward slant hiding behind many smokescreens of balance. Let’s use one of my very favorites on these matters Matt Taibbi, whose arguably in the top 5, like Zbigniew Brzeznski top 5, in the world in effectively communicating whats happening in said world in the most crystallizing form. Ever see him? Does he not call them, or do they not call him? Does it stem from Scarborough not being on set a couple times when his slot came up? Why the attrition? Is it money?

Does Gene Robinson just show up for the money? I really don’t think so but you have to ask the question. Robinson’s scathing ‘Reagan showed America how to forget the unfortunate in our country and let them find a new low of social support’ was arguably one of the finest takes in a tough situation that we will hear all year. But was this solid, winning debate on a decidedly pro Reagan everything television show a paid commentary accident?

Joe Scarborough seems like Colonel Kurtz at this point. There is a slouch, there is a bubble, there is an almost Beck-like ‘is there anyone else in the room or is it just me?’ absolution as the guy banters on circularly in a sphere normally reserved for a discussion over an 8 ball of cocaine between two self medicating experts. It’s been going that way from the outset, but really slowly, so you could watch even a year ago and still expect the show would take an evolutionary turn that would make the average politically interested subscriber say ‘I can count on them’ about their coverage. But the host of the show basically had a look on his face this past Friday that said he was ready to gas those who didn’t agree with his take on Wisconsin. It appears to the viewer that there was some kind of an off camera intervention and they tried later in the show to back pedal from the beach head they were pounding at 6 am.

The constant attack on entitlements and even the Pentagon attack that Morning Joe marches upon constitutes an enthusiastic proof of what I’ve been saying all along: we are being sold algebra when a more complex polynomial exists. The ‘math is simple’ and ‘we can’t afford it’ are two phrases on obscene overdrive on the show. But what most people really find offensive is whats left out of that simple equation that makes it so unrealistic.

Sorry about Social Security, we simply can’t afford it (should be part of a polynomial that includes) but these people have to be taken care of so we can’t afford not to do it, lest we complete Eugene Robinson’s earlier Reagan vision by adding a significant part of our burgeoning elderly class to the forgotten part of society currently not housing our mentally ill and homeless.


Sorry about Medicaid/Medicare, the math is simple (should be compliant in a long equation that conforms with) while we really should be creating a baseline for coverage for all Americans, something to replace the rapidly diminishing group health insurance plan, instead we want to lose the best scenario for said baseline coverage without acknowledging that most people who don’t have group health coverage don’t really have any significant health insurance, are being sold nearly worthless catastrophic policies, and are in effect going right along with the elderly to Ronald Reagan avenue into a long line of destitute former working professionals and their dependents who simply got sick and lost everything for a lack of a basic medical support system.


We can’t afford to skip the Pentagon in budget cutting, the math is simple (should be subservient to the higher order economic phenomenon) that while fraught with waste Pentagon houses the largest return on investment driver known on the planet. I’m bundling NASA into this, but most of the innovations that have made our largest industries thrive were simply shoplifted from funded research and development paid for under the guise of long term weapon system creation. These industries have been soaking the defense budget for 70 years getting rich but being a form of national economic growth that will go down in history as a highest attainable level. We spend 20 times what other superpowers spend on defense. It isn’t a pariah like most people are led to believe, it really has been our backbone through the greatest economic period imaginable, and before people with two dimensional math skills are allowed to turn this into a metal scrap heap resemblant of Detroit’s auto belt, we ought to really try and organize this into a proper complex vision where the military can drive the economy in a best returns fashion but lose the pointless German tank command outposts.

It’s probably time for Morning Joe to have a hard talk about what it’s doing and where it’s going as an entity. It’s turned into a bit of a Robert Redford romantic comedy (in reverse) and needs to NPR itself on one side and Paul Wolfowitz itself on the other. Isn’t it on anybody else’s radar that Wolfowitz should be running around cable news like Donald Trump with his neo-con architecture getting some real love right about now? It’s interesting to me, but I’m afraid our friends on our show are in too much of a rut to be on top of that right now, and sameness prevails.

There’s a fork in the road ahead, and we can all tell you will be turning right, right?

That’s all for now, see you soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spin Out

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for November 29th, 2010


1) For a guy who cites demagoguery of others as one of his chief annoyances, Joe Scarborough had zero issues painting a false picture on the tax cuts for the rich debate in his effort to appear on the right side of the issue. Apparently the right side of the issue is that people making 250,000 dollars a year or more in taxable income are the new tired and huddled masses in need of his defense. In his crosshairs are anyone who wants to explain to him that those 250,000 aren’t actually subject to a tax increase, its only the next subsequent dollars earned, thus not a primary income setback. Also in those same crosshairs are the two richest men in America who are on record now saying the Bush tax cuts are a chief fiscal culprit.

That outburst by Scarborough upon viewing the Buffet interview was embarrassing. It was nearly as embarrassing as the Senator-elect Kirk interview. These are two smart people looking you in the eye and lying to you selectively. In a leap of hypocrisy, Scarborough actually was the chief antagonist in the Kirk interview, beating even Howard Dean to the punch in the insolvency of Kirk’s responses, forgetting that Scarborough’s mathematical bonifides left the room just two hours earlier. This of course led to another critical but nuanced on set panic as the Buffet interview got replayed while Dean was still on with the cast, and rather than restate the 6 AM monstrosity, Scarborough had to duck and cover. I used to not notice the planned cover up activity, now it’s like a neon billboard.

2) Kirk was an absolute embarrassment. Yea, I have a dog in this fight, having been on the side of the tough to elect bankster Giannoulias in that election, and in complete admission that this was just more Tim Kaine disaster manufacturing. But Kirk is the new face of the voter who won’t accept tough answers and demands a government that leaks like a colander. If you could buy stock in rich people, now would be a good time, because we have elected 95 new legislators who will be handing the nations treasury to the richest 2% of the country and a newly accelerated rate, and without any recourse or return on investment whatsoever. And it was the 98% who don’t have any money anymore, or at least 40% of those who participate in midterm elections, that created this suicidal mandate.

To hear Kirk apply doublespeak logic to the real problems we face should be a cold shower reminder of the architects of the three Bush tax cuts. This stuff has been completely debunked by every economist and accountant who ever got out of college, yet the American public is going for it like the old ball of string trick, again.

3) And then there was the Wikileaks. Joe Scarborough plastered the face of his chief suspect on the screen no less than 5 times, a private in the army. Scarborough then sentenced the private to 25 years in prison even though there has been no trial or evidence presented. Joe Scarborough never lashed out at the ruler of Yemen for lying to his parliament, to the King of Saudi Arabia for war mongering, or to the State Department as a whole for having the internal maturity of Will Ferrell. No it’s none of these large institutional players doing anything wrong. It’s not the DOD’s fault that it’s getting mugged 52 million dollars at a time in Afghanistan. It’s a private in the army. That kind of scapegoating simply means we will make the same mistakes next week at our highest level.

Reverberating in my head is the weird championing of the Sebastian Junger movie, deserved sure, with the debunking of the organization that brought to light that Baghdad massacre of 17 civilians by a US helicopter gunship. I thought all weekend about the guy who was the shooter in the helicopter. He probably knew he was murdering people when he did it. He probably thought that the government was going to suppress details of his crime for self serving publicity and diplomacy reasons so his demons were limited to a very small sphere of judgment for his crime. Upon the Wikileaks disclosure, that sphere went from very small to global awareness, and likely will lead to his eventual prosecution. Junger is an award winning movie maker, Assange is a war criminal. That math doesn’t work.

Equally appalling is the treatment of the Rolling Stone article that damned General McChrystal when compared to the Wikileaks phenomenon. You probably think that the part of the equation that I’m complaining about was the treatment of the Rolling Stone author as a reviled hero compared to the reviled war criminal treatment Assange is getting. No that was the last paragraph, this paragraph is about the unequal treatment the sophomoric actions of our leaders get across the media, but how Morning Joe takes the prize for degrading this story to its most despotically surreal level as its core show discipline. The Peter King segment about extending the laws of terrorism to include the Wikileaks principals, similar in his mind to the extension of the RICO statutes for its convenience in ‘making up crimes as you go along’ mixed with the Jamie Rubin conjecture of Wikileaks as a ‘cyber attack’ shows that rational responsibility for your actions has taken a holiday.

Where were you when the Freedom of Information Act and the First Amendment were first successfully attacked under the guise of national security? King and Morning Joe were all to happy to start that fight this morning under the guise of terrorizing the Wikileaks phenomenon, and they were too busy with the scapegoat killing to say a single intelligent word about the hollow altruism Wikileaks successfully chronicles.

It’s been the American way for a long time, it’s OK as long as you don’t get caught, or if you can kill the guy who caught you before he gets any momentum. Way to go, Joe, that’s just good journalism.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The Morning Joe Rebuttal for November 24th, 2010


{more later but really….}

1) Welcome back Joe Scarborough from your martyrdom operation, and really, just to be clear, no one but Mika missed you. At least the version of Joe who joined Mike Barnicle and decided to shout down the American public outraged by the TSA activity with a “stay out of my way” vitriolic outburst that served as an unobjective embarrassment to your employer.

Of course, no one else agrees with you and they have begun to line up to tell you that perspective is necessary in this world and not to simply rely on some O’Reilly-esque shouting.

Does it matter why we are bringing this up when there is other news? Why do we have to justify our prioritization of this issue because the Koreans are playing chicken? Where were you when someone launched a missile off of Los Angeles? In a secret TSA meeting?

Like I said before, no one asked the airlines before Napolitano, Barnicle, and Scarborough decided to tell the world not to fly. I did opt out today, like I do every Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Only amateurs think that’s a good day to trudge across the country and submit to cavity searches by people who couldn’t solve our security problems at any scale, ever, in their lifetimes.

The TSA does not make us safe. They perpetuate a fraud of government imposed safety to prop up commerce. Any determined party can disrupt this process at its retail level at any time. You currently are advertising that 1-2 out of every 100 people flying will get a more comprehensive search. That system failed during the bus bombing phase of the Isreali-Palistinian standoff. It failed at their borders and in their internal security, yet 11 years later you just trotted it out as a new path to TSA success. You just told 98 of 100 interested terrorizing parties that they will succeed in their operation with the current level of underwear bomb technology juxtaposed with the enhanced TSA process. Great job.

Imagine if you took this technology and tried to stop shoplifting. Not life and death enough for you? OK, try and stop murder via armed robbery at liquor stores. Every 100th visitor got a thorough and privacy reducing screening. Do you think commerce would suffer? Do you think you would stop either crime from occurring? The most successful technique of stopping both has historically been to stop screening and start following the likely culprits until they committed a crime. The same empirical logic transfers cleanly to airport counter-terrorism strategy.

In fact, you could even take this a step further and say that you are making airport terrorism a more likely outcome by misapplying both your limited budget and the trust and cooperation of the flying public by so shamelessly working backwards from a solution. The public thinks you are not solving the problem, have a track record of failure and could be better using what they are paying for and being asked to sacrifice for?

So let’s recap,

-You are shouting, where is that in 'Art Of War'?

-You are outnumbered by people you have previously christened as reasonable

-Using prioritization to liken the TSA story to the British Wedding for its improper attention makes you seem like Fox & Friends

-No one believes you actually have to submit to this stuff yourself, thus that you’re hypocritically preaching

-Everyone caught you playing company man during the LA missile debacle, so this seems to them to follow suit that you’re doing someone else’s bidding

-Your logic and conversation has never once found an opportunity to find the perspective of the airlines, who just don’t need this as part of their marketing mix

-You never once had the self realization that while you were making the ‘only 2% get screened’ dismissive, you were painting a 98% success rate road sign for the wrong people

-And finally in your capacity as an objective journalist, you have willfully reneged on any contract with any fan, viewer, reader or subscriber by absolutely blowing it by weighing the facts and finding judgment that seems more corrupt and compromised than James Traficant running for state treasurer

Welcome back, it’s just the facts.

See you later, or maybe not, haven’t seen if Zbig actually told you this in person, like he normally does.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

For Keith, My Brother

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for the Week ending November 19th, 2010


1) It started off innocuous enough, with the Morning Joe cast failing to demonstrate equal vision by taking a “stand” regarding the royal wedding news while stumbling through every media trap set by the Palin family. It was so obviously a double self imposed standard that they were left muttering to themselves on air about why the Palin non news kept getting devoted segments. On two consecutive days this occurred with Palin scoring devoted sets while the gang on Morning Joe attempted to pat itself on the back for its “filtering” of the wedding news. Even Willie got caught up trying to sell his features bit with a line about how the news portion of the show had standards but he could show a horse in a car. It’s really off putting when even Willie Geist loses leverage on what should have been a pretty good one liner because he suddenly realized the show had shown a horse named Palin in a car with zero filter for most of the week.

2) Then the cast took its Reagan era wood chopping technique and trained it on the House not passing unemployment extensions while simultaneously proposing tax breaks for the rich that are nearly 6 times as costly to our deficit. Joe Scarborough trotted out the line and logic that small business owners can’t get people to work for them for 17 dollars an hour because they don’t want to risk losing their unemployment. Like it’s a bad thing. Between the two revenue sources, which one has used the economy to reduce staff at every opportunity in the last two years, and which one has kept up its end of the bargain faithfully ever since the jobs began pouring out of the country? So if I can make 17 bucks an hour is that full time or part time? Does it have a 99 week guarantee of continuous employment or is it a casual? When you find an apples to apples comparison call me, but while interesting, your attempt to explain away the congressional action is really just the banal analysis of someone who has steady work in a ‘haves and have nots’ mentality.

3) No one is talking about the most disturbing element of the Palin presidency. If Sarah Palin rides a populist wave to the White House, she will be in the top office with at best an extension college education and the temperament of a me-first school board opportunist. Who will be her Dick Cheney? Is this the same line of action that brought us George W Bush? He is nice enough but just not of the mold required to be a leader of the free world. It is very interesting that Morning Joe crew and guests use the same ‘intellectual curiosity’ quip in describing Palin but are unable to connect the dots that this was the chief gripe about W.

Somewhere out there is Mr. Burns. Is he with United Technologies or Sempra now? Does he have some shadow elite position in a near government think tank? Was he already chosen as the next steward of our nation in the event that the nation can be stolen by Sarah Palin? We now lucidly acknowledge that the 43rd presidency was largely run by Dick Cheney, that there was an internal coup powered by Bush 41 executives somewhere around 2006 to wrest absolute power away from Cheney in a failed attempt to install Romney as successor, but that in the end it was best to use a placeholder, McCain, once the presidency was a foregone conclusion. This year’s midterms cast a foreboding image of what the next two years hold as the Republican party wants to have multiple paths to reinstalling it’s regime, one with Romney, one with Palin, probably another with Jeb.

4) Speaking of temperament, you have to hand it to the Republicans for having superior temperament. Mainly it’s Bill Maher that speaks to this issue, and shockingly in the Jon Stewart Obama interview, the superior temperament belonged to Stewart. Republicans do what they set out to do and compromise as little as possible. They telegraph that their foreign partnerships are only going to last as long as needed, that nothing is permanent, without any moral hesitation, and with remarkable purpose. It’s not fair, but it’s not a surprise. The lockstep obstruction of the last two years is simply remarkable as an extension of the Dick Cheney remorselessness from the previous regime. Maher’s reflection on compromise when it is really just goading Democrats closer to the Republican line systematically is spot on.

We are watching an erosion of the higher level consciousness in our government to a lower level consistency based attack organization. It appears to the naked eye to be a game of breakout where the obstacles to a Republican return to rule are being cast aside one brick at a time. The Democrats have only a couple of fighters, but a lot of marshmallow place holders who apparently know nothing of Machiavelli’s power vacuum.

I think it’s interesting that Joe Scarborough reads this megatrend and thinks independent candidates are the answer. I feel like he misses Bill Maher’s critical point, that the independent voter just got compromised and cooped, just like the Democratic Party. Independent voters just voted to bring back the architects of the failure because the party of consciousness didn’t appear to them to have the verve to drive the ship through rough seas. Independent voters have just made a type I statistical error. They got the hypothesis right in 2008, but irrationality made a false positive outcome occur in 2010. This is a critical theory for understanding what lies ahead. The voter is nowhere near getting what they want so they are just going to swing 180 degrees every two years. They are not rewarding any success or repudiating any failure anymore, they are simply reacting to the same negative state of things with randomly opposite outcomes.

A graph

Shows what irrational voter outcomes do for the next few election cycles. We will likely be in an economic malaise for some time, and with it the voter will toss out whatever bums they find in office every two years. Unfortunately, the midterms will destabilize the government, but unfortunately for Republicans, randomness favors Democrats during presidential elections.

When the message prevails over the substance, this kind of thing occurs. When reforms are mirages with doublespeak names, this kind of thing occurs. When a Democratic party enters into an unfavorable arena, one that asks it to compromise with an uncompromising adversary, and it lacks the LBJ will to toe its own value line, this kind of thing occurs.

5) John Tyner’s San Diego airport blowup is a martyrdom operation no doubt. He is simply asking that the humiliation stop, that US citizens not be seen as lambs in the face of yet another government contracts scandal. Scandals like subsidies nearly always cause anomalies that can over time turn a normal situation into a boundary-less one that needs citizen revolt to right the ship. In the United States it takes individual attack to correct this stuff, because unlike Greece or France, we have lost out civil protest gene somewhere along the way.

The scandal is clearly the Michael Chertoff lobby effort to install these radiation expelling body scanners, then enforcing their involuntary application by putting a typically Chertoff-draconian negative pat down as the alternative. The pilots aren’t saying it’s an inconvenience, they are saying the machines aren’t safe, and aren’t making us safer.

Neither is wanton disregard for the airline consumer. What other economic opportunities are there for the $500 it cost to fly these days? A washer or some other durable good? An Ipad? A new sofa? My point is that Janet Napolitano has flatly instructed the American consumer to explore alternatives to flying if they don’t want to submit to Chertoff gate. Did she check with the airlines before undermining their marketing message?

It is with untold embarrassment that I admit that this is likely the clearest example yet of an administration that just does not comprehend how business works. It is also confounding why they would dismantle the trust of the TSA, an organization whose trust is vital to the survival of our free and open society? I’m quite frankly on board with opt out day, if I wasn’t busy finding and employing alternatives to flying. Before there was this, there was already an all out war against the airlines for anti consumerism, they didn’t need this kind of help.

6) Speaking of martyrdom, the Joe Scarborough suspension might appear to be a martyrdom operation as well. Politico and Scarborough basically turned themselves in and demanded that MSNBC prosecute them similarly, so that they don’t get trapped later. It is by no means what the title of this week’s rant implies, a statement of support for arch rival Keith Olbermann. It is a self serving cleansing to undermine later turmoil before it starts.

Hey Phil Griffin, for those two days, I’m available, and I could fix a lot of stuff.

That’s all for now, see you Monday.

Friday, November 12, 2010

When Will The Thrashing Stop?

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for November 12th, 2010


1) Dylan Ratigan is a Mona Lisa of unexplained complexity. His efforts on the show today dragged the conversation up the food chain from the superficial to the, well, less superficial. Dylan explained to America that you can cut all you want but that austerity is not an equation for recapitalization. Wait, I did that in 14 words, it took Dylan 5400 and his message was diluted for its lack of cohesion.

Fresh off of his voter suppression efforts, Joe Scarborough was all to happy to edit out the progressive message that dubbed the deficit commission the “cat food commission”. That is suppression of another kind, but Joe’s greater argument that the extremes on both sides unduly control the debate allows this kind of editing. He has a point, a point I wish I could recall him enforcing in August of 2009 at the heat of the death panel scare.

So it was a great relief that Dylan couldn’t control the conversation and that Joe could just mock his inability to boil a matter down. It was a great relief because it would show that had Dylan not been there and Joe would have interviewed David Walker by himself, they would have never brought up revenue. That conversation, which happens way too often on Morning Joe, the one void of depth and in shallow pursuit of a key operating objective, exposes the show to its chief criticism that it only finds depth accidentally but left to its own devices is a magnet for superficiality.

Bravo for the show’s self awareness, for it’s relentless pursuit of depth, for knowing that if it was just Joe and Mika talking they would aggregate to less than Bill Karin’s segment.

Now if only Dylan could take an extension class on clarity, or at least the transfer of clarity from one’s mind to one’s rocket ship.

2) Not since the southeastern gas crisis in 2008 have we seen such an effort to blackout the media. I am of course talking about the rocket launch that occurred Monday off of the coast of California and has been dismissed with the most juvenile assertions from the government, its as if they are begging the country to dig deeper.

I can’t in good faith go into the story, as it would just lump me in with the Mel Gibson ‘Conspiracy Theory’ crowd, but I often look at the Morning Joe show as a bellwether for this blackout lever. Why? Because Joe Scarborough is at once very close to the intelligence community of Washington, DC, and a terrible, terrible liar. He is so bad at acting that when the obligatory brush off move comes up like it did 2 days ago on the air live, you can actually learn quite a bit about ‘the fix’ by watching his mannerisms.

I know, I know, that show “Lie To Me” is one of my wife’s favorite shows, and this is me telephoning some misperception of that process. I get it that it’s easy to criticize.

But what I saw stuck with me the same way James Woods still sticks with his story about seeing the dry run for 9/11. It was as if a really scared guy at the NSA was on the earpiece that Chris Licht normally operates whispering “look down, kill the story, move on quick, OK, we may have gotten away with it”. That same guy probably went to a meeting later and described Joe Scarborough’s inability to have a poker face in these situations a tragedy heretofore known as “the Scarborough situation”

What is the CIA going to do about “the Scarborough situation”

3) In other self serving suppression news, Morning Joe ran with a Politico based repeal health care story today without referencing the new uninsured figure of 59 million Americans. The election last week proves beyond a doubt that left to it’s own devices, the Americans who retain health care or financial wherewithal will act like chapter 7 of ‘Lord Of The Flies” all the way down the decline of our civilization.

The point is best represented by expatriates. I know someone who recently moved to Australia, and Morning Joe had an opportunity to run this Politico story while Chrystia Freeland was on the set. These people know that US healthcare is a giant Ponzi scheme at this point, and that other governments have systems in place that allow them to better compete in the global marketplace via a healthier population.

These expatriates look at what’s going on here and tell you the truth in the first ten minutes of the conversation. But left to our own devices, all of the central points of the Moynihan segment, Joe’s own don’t subscribe to political parties segments, the Jon Stewart segment about where the real conversation should be, are all lost in the wave of Morning Joe’s magic wand. Why say you hate the extremist controlling the argument, when on the same show on the same day, you reinstall the semantic system of demonizing solutions for the good of political control?

It was the same show, it wasn’t some amalgam of some month’s work, it was just today’s show. We are losing ground on health care every day and need a solution. And just like austerity is not a solution, but a dimension to an overall economic plan, you cannot just stick steely knives into solutions to a health care crisis for political gain.

Here is the right way forward. Listen close. Repeal will be a political loser. Get those things you wanted included last time, and make them phase 2 of the big fix. Be a solution seller. Get the state lines situation fixed, the anti trust exemption fixed, and fix the microeconomic incentive in a way that allows the customer to choose services and participate in the cost curve. Trade the mandate for that. Make your free market improvements alongside what Obama got done. But if you’re on the repeal team because ‘elections have consequences’, you’ve got 40, maybe just 20, months to live.

Keep calm and carry on, despite the missiles overhead

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.