Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This Morning, Heads Will Roll

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 30th, 2009


1) Dan Senor was disappointing in his embrace of the gotcha. Has he ever heard of group think? When you suppress the revision of such an important chain of events for fear that the original take will be seen as an essential failure, you allow that failure to regenerate. Who cares if the President went out with that same old ‘it’s safe to fly’ reassurance the day of the attack? That’s what Presidents do.

The criticism from the right and the analysis that claims frustration with that initial reassurance is hypocritical beyond all boundaries. That Bush took 6 days to respond to the shoe bomber, that it is obstruction not lucidity that’s both a goal and a cause of this particular failure, take your pick but both then and now, the right has no standing in this and can only expose themselves to morally reprehensible agendized opportunism.

The left is faced with the tough task of cleaning up an absolute mess in the face of a useless 40% minority bent on obstruction and gotcha. Our leadership must find the difficult will to knock the skulls of the various governmental agencies who refuse to talk together in such a way that this perpetual sandbox politic in our intelligence and anti-terrorism bodies is humiliated out of existence. The only way forward is demonstrable virtual accountability, and thus, heads will roll.

The space shuttle Challenger blew up despite of months of warning. Those warnings were repressed not by lucidity, but by agenda. It is in every textbook as the event that most captures group think, and I would hope that it’s not replaced by this event as a more current example of a parallel occurrence.

2) It took the same media that’s blasting the administration for it’s self correcting story 6 full days to come up with some of the most pertinent facts. Why are you beating up the TSA about its screening of passengers as they board a flight? For 5 days you showed magnetometer after magnetometer and never once made the point that the screening you are projecting upon Janet Napolitano was actually conducted by the Dutch government. That’s the same country that provided the solution via the Dutch citizen who foiled the attack. There is not a TSA crew on the ground in these foreign airports feeding us these security prone flights.

The failure that is Janet Napolitano’s is purely a database breakdown. The TSA is only responsible for approving the passenger manifest against the no fly list, and some part of that is additionally contracted back to the airline. That today the Dutch government took the step to make a 100% full body scan requirement is an indicative step that they are in fact responsible for not letting bombs on planes originating from their soil. The TSA audits these airports, but that’s like sending in a C student to grade the class, where the Dutch, French, and Germans are A students not by aspiration but by absolute necessity.

The media should take a second and examine itself. What’s lost is dissecting the information that is helpful from the information that is sensational. It’s exasperating to watch important elements of a story left on the no fly list by journalists, just so the red herring can make it’s plane on time.

3) What a wonderful insight, albeit a short one to compare the failure that was this passing decade with other dreadful decades. I tend to agree that the decade reads like a ‘what I loved about 1942’ article. I’m just not sure that the old adage “how can we know where we’re going, if we don’t know where we’ve been?” is up to today’s standards.

We know the history of these past few decades back to front and front to back, so what’s changed given that each of the fundamental mistakes are set to repeat themselves ad infinitum until mounting systemic failure brings us as a country back to the pack?

Obama’s poster simply said “Hope”. But for a freedom loving, free enterprise driven, American like myself, I’m feeling the same box around my hope that Iranian students are feeling around their fundamental freedoms. That box is fortified with anti-usury, pro-corporate mechanisms that seem to be working against the many in subservience to maybe the top 1% of the population. It may be despicable to compare my next level frustration with the existential frustration of Iranians that are dying trying to get where we were as a nation 240 years ago, but it might also bear insight. We are still in need of “Hope” and “Change” equal to that at election day. So are the Iranians.

That’s all today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The TSA, Asset Or Liability?

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 29th, 2009


1) Kudos to the show for bringing in Digger Phelps to update on it's charity efforts. Not because the floor in the gym is getting done, but because Digger has re-aimed the effort from the school to the real task of getting the full service hospital the city of New Orleans so desperately needs.

The show is on to something with its charity choice, but you can’t just neglect the singular item that brought you to this task in the first place. As you have pathed towards New Orleans, you have kept this flagship task at arm’s length. You are going to be in a bad spot if you haven’t agendized the hospital by the next time Digger Phelps comes on the show, or you’ll have to schedule it during your next vacation, but that might be too obvious an avoidance.

2) It is an amazing coalescence around the center where Eugene Robinson and Pat Buchanan are finding common ground. This mini-drama surrounding the near miss bombing attack has given us a Petri dish view of what larger hysteria would look like. The right is using current events to gain ground on having more options and less responsibility toward our anti torture mantra when an enemy combatant is found. The center left is letting them.

The left is using this as an opportunity to get an ‘I told you so’ moment to say that the conventional war in Afghanistan is provably misguided. The right is letting them make that point. The common ground is amazing but how much of it will be retrenched away from this point in the near to medium term as the hysteria subsides. It’s a bizarre scientific experiment showing the effects of powerlessness and fear upon your moral compass.

3) The center left is a willing participant in the ‘black hole’ policy. If you are trying to do us harm, you have a Jack Ryan decision coming to you that you will either tell us 100% of the information you possess and we need to ensure the nations safety in a way that we are 100% convinced, or you will be taken into a black hole, which starts with a rendition, continues through an advanced interrogation, and dumps you out in Guantanamo or Illinois, where you will reside until we feel like all of the information concerning you has surfaced, and then your life sentence will be confirmed by a military tribunal.

Remember, you were given a choice at the entry to the black hole, and you chose your fate. I couldn’t care less about the international debate on torture as long as it’s not a secret what’s being done. When it is a secret, you are feeding the tortuous regimes in Iran and elsewhere with an ideological crutch, which is where we are now. But if we just had the courage to come out and say that pertinent only to violent terrorism bent on mass casualties, we are going to overtly suspend our ideals that we serve to uphold regarding human rights of a few savage individuals, but do it publicly, I believe the international community would understand, and we could add a tool to the fight.

4) This show established a communion with the nation’s feeling that the TSA are morons acting like an early 1980’s Japanese toy robot trying to pass off learning to take 3 steps as artificial intelligence. It actually points to the dysfunction of Congress where the post-9/11 civil defense funds were mis-spent trying to prevent a terrorist attack on Spokane, Washington by speed boat when we could’ve installed full body monitoring devices in every airport in the US and every incoming gateway airport in the World. Those machines are expensive, but at least you own an armored anti invasion boat in Spokane instead.

The privacy concerns that lawmakers cited in slowing the establishment of the full body scans are the exact lack of imagination that infuriates Americans who have been humiliated in their own airports by their own government for 8 years, have been an additional kick in the teeth to airlines who have never made money since the attacks, given our enemies new opportunities to attack us, and set us back financially on the war on terror a full decade. Way to go Congress. If you’re counting at home that’s a 70% idiot quotient for a Rebublican legislature, a 30% idiot quotient for a Democratic legislature, and another in the perpetually growing number of fronts that our government is demonstrating an abject failure to govern with any efficiency at all. After all that Digger Phelps answered your privacy concern in one statement: “You could just ask the flier, they would opt-in 95% of the time”.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Morning Off

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 28th, 2009


1) When Erin Burnett speaks, and no one interrupts, so much happens that it is a great discovery of the vacation. A long delay caused a lack of back and forth and suddenly news and reporting happened. It should be a New Years resolution that the air is cleared and Erin gets the floor. She generally outclasses much of the other CNBC representation anyway, and you have her built into your program. Incidentally, added to that New Years resolution should be a ‘we want you back’ olive branch to Mark Haynes.

The grumpy men should talk more.

2) The pressure caused by the overexposed media reaction to the Detroit bombing is going to skew the reaction of our government in a way that’s not useful. Already with the new restrictions, the horrible reaction of the Homeland department, and the Lieberman nonsense, we are on the wrong path.

There was a very good take on the show by Chris Hayes that we lose 50,000 annually to hospital borne infections and compared to that the war on terror is a bit over dramatized.

If we keep this drum beat up we will enter our next airplane ride with our head shaved, all because of our own disproportionate hysteria.

3) Speaking of olive branches, the great irony of the December 24th greatest hits episode is that it got interrupted for the live news and coverage of the passing of health care, and the guest that got bumped was Chris Matthews, the deposed.

All these guys did all they could to get Morning Joe started. This is like a family feud that doesn’t make sense to anyone on the outside. Get over it, play up the differences, don’t be the next guy to challenge them to a duel.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Accidentally, Morning Joe

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 23rd, 2009


1) So there we were content to let this be a phone in program, what with Christmas upon us and the news that the GOP admits it’s powerless to stop tomorrow’s health care vote. But wait, Mika Brzezinski had another idea: let’s get this day off to a start by looping Bernie Sanders alarm on the functionality of the government, bring in Carl Bernstein and start ambushing guests on why this is a celebration rather than a placation.

Bravo. I was ready to go back to bed when the Bernstein interview took off. “A systemic failure of the legislative branch of government”. “It’s necessary to reform towards a public funding of campaign finance”. A 1-2 punch that we’ve heard before, but right now, right this second, when we are looking at the crowning achievement of a 60 vote voter induced mandate on health care that looks like a Chinese made recreation of reform on sale at Wal-Mart for $19.99 with the proceeds going to Connecticut and Nebraska, I think this time that systemic message has more intrinsic weight than Uranium-238.

This along with some very necessary measure from Andrew Ross-Sorkin on what reasonable people should expect looking a lot like the status quo, and a late arriving Joe Scarborough adding the crucial connecting point that the systemic failure has to point to the executive branch and the money signals that appear to be guiding the Presidency as well, what we have here is some Oliver Stone level fixing going on. Because of MSNBC, Howard Dean, Firedog Lake, and ironically Lindsay Graham, this fix has been more transparent than Mr. Obama intended when he claimed transparency but was relying on the limits of a public’s comprehension of the inner workings of government.

Not today. The cat is out of the bag. No longer can you put a “D” next to your name and claim to be insulated from the corruption failing 2 branches of our government. A 6th grader now knows that it’s not right or left but systemic that the government of the United States is making its deals in violation of the interests of it’s citizens. That consequently the American citizen is not even in the top ten of the food chain, and the top ten in that food chain are dismantling the riches of a nation and heading to higher ground with their new and our former wealth.

And I doubted you Mika Brzezinski, shame on me.

2) I wrote my Senator Barbara Boxer when I promised to do so last week and asked for a no vote on health care. I got a letter back that I’ve seen before from her. “Thanks for your note, here’s my position irrespective of how you feel”. Then she came on the show and I was ashamed. The Senate has lost it’s will and is fighting not for the people but for its war chest in 2010 and 2012. Joe Scarborough is dead on with the cross hairs being the ability to purchase 30 second spots when it matters.

Senator Boxer did not miss a single message from the party line in a moment Karl Rove would’ve been proud of. What sucks is that same 6th grader from above knows its not a message with any lucid restraint, but in the a good concept Steven A Smith had provided to the show, that message is everything we ever hated about John Kerry, hyperbole at every turn.

Message 1: 31 million Americans get insurance that didn’t have it before. That is a number driven by the mandate. The show didn’t catch that underlying ugliness. The math here is that healthy 20-somethings look at the mess of health care and choose with dollar votes not to participate. They are also, if they’re not employed or underemployed, in a lower tax bracket simultaneously, so not paying via taxation either, and are getting a free ride. If they get in an emergency, the service is provided. That 31 million people are those people who have opted out, not people that were barred from the market. You didn’t insure 31 million Americans in a rush to charity, you enslaved 31 million Americans by mandate to enrich private insurers and re-establish the pool they were avoiding by choice.

Message 2: Pre existing conditions are no longer a way out of, or preventing the acquiring of, health insurance. If the penalty for drunk driving were a $61 dollar fine, would it be effective, or would it still amortize out as less than the cost of cabs 5 times a month? If a business not bounded by a universal requirement amortizes out that it’s better off to pay a small fine than insure a child with a hole in their heart, get ready for that to happen. You can call something illegal, heck, marijuana, driving 71 miles an hour, banking in Antigua to avoid taxes, and keeping a handgun under the seat are all illegal, but their commonplace occurrence displays that you can’t effectively manage unless there is real consequence, and there isn’t here.

Message 3: 15% margin. History shows that the accounting practices of US Corporations are designed to make a 35 look like a 7.4, the difference between the corporate tax rate and the rate of tax contributions of the Fortune 500. So, yea, we’re talking politics.

That Barbara Boxer asked for the show’s credibility by saying she was a progressive completes this shameful observation of what amounts to 50% of the hope I have for reform from the Senate reduced to a shell game removing my interests and the interests of my Fox-watching conservative neighbors with equal effectiveness.

3) I write about this show. I am not a subscriber of the show that was the Morning Meeting. I am not because I largely agree with every single thing that Dylan Ratigan says and don’t need to participate in an echo chamber. I can watch that show once a week and catch all I need from his debate, which has been painfully circular and woefully without discipline, but just so right as rain for its entire run.

I hope that viewers don’t look at hack commentary based on the numbers of viewers for that show and its viewership decline and eventual cancellation and derive some take void of critical thought that it must’ve sucked. It had all the hard edges of U2’s first album when they really didn’t know how to play their instruments. But the heart present in these cases should be ample to win out over time, and I sincerely hope that MSNBC realizes that talent development is where the content comes from.

The 4 PM slot is no picnic. Many a generic show have gone there to die or placate a contract. But the 9 AM slot is equally difficult. The entire range from 9-5 is tough, because lets face it, we’ve already heard the reading of the news, there is little new content, we don’t have the free time to think critically about politics, and it’s just better for your career to switch to CNBC at that time.

Your mission at Morning Joe is to embolden what’s working with Dylan’s message and help develop what’s going on there. He didn’t come from lefty radio like Ed and Rachel, from congress like Chris, from sports like Keith, but from CNBC, the very place your show needs to relate to better, yet he has all the chops of a whistle blower gone mad.

What I did see when I watched that show is that it found stuff further in the details than Morning Joe could. As I’ve often been critical of missing underlying details on Morning Joe, which relies on expert guests and pure political instinct, it would be fair to say jettisoning the depth that the Morning Meeting provided in the hours after your show isolates your show further, and you'll need to find some depth and resolution that the sameness of a political scorecard show like what Savannah and Chuck are going to do just won’t provide you.

Personally, I think that Dylan should be lobbying for the overnight shift, and drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes on the set. Getting guests might be hard. It would be very, very good live TV and conspiracy theorists the world over would set their Tivo's accordingly. I vote for the Midnight Meeting, only on MSNBC.

Have a great holidays, see you Monday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 22nd, 2009


1) While the cat’s away, the show makes quick work of repaying constituents defiled during said cat’s tenure. Lawrence is emerging as the show’s defacto 2nd in command and while he knows that it would be different had Scarborough been on the air, without him a great deal of time was spent crediting Harry Reid and by implication Nancy Pelosi. It is direct contrast to how the show would have gone without the involvement of Delta Airlines.

My only hope was that MSNBC was on the small LCD screen directly in front of JS on his flight. Not to get all food fight, but it’s a great fantasy to think that Joe would have been forced to watch as the vehicle bearing his name countermanded his core principle that the character of Harry Reid should be assassinated at every turn.

2) This show proves you can expect standout work, even given the absence of its star. Credit the above theory that Lawrence is a solution to the drift that often occurs when the cast is limited to Mika and Mike Barnicle (or Pat Buchanan, or similar). There was however not a single Republican interviewed in it’s journey through an important news day, and that was a drift of another sort.

What can happen as a result of only hearing the sales pitch of the left is the building of false hope. Hope that conference will bring some meaningful change, that the rules of cloture will somehow take a holiday, or that the five holdouts on the far right of the Democratic party will start acting like Democrats. They won’t. What you’ve got now is what you’re going to get. Lawrence again is the measure of certainty, not allowing any false scenario to seem likely.

This is not at all at the expense of Mika. She had a strong go at it today leading with some biting questions and playing gritty commentary from Michael Steele to leading Democratic Senators throughout the show, while saying she actually agreed in principle to Steele’s logic despite his typically reckless manner. It might at some level seem sexist to point to Lawrence as a leader when the co-anchor is present. I can only assess by results of shows both current and past. The recent strength by Mika of holding her own in shout downs from her own partner, in returning the show from the features abyss with some of the iciest stare in the business and by showing up today in a big way is undeniable. I think the nod to Lawrence has more to do with who has the best ability to make a credible case for what happens next. While Mika is channeling outrage in a Bernie Sanders interview, who between her and Lawrence knew in advance that in it’s current state the Senate had 5 votes for single payer?

3) Ahh the airlines. It’s a snowstorm destroying the Christmas travel plans of a nation, with airlines holding a show’s own star hostage, and being slapped with new rules to prevent them from acting like plantation masters to their customers. Dollar votes mean a lot, but apparently not enough. Each of the last many years the major airlines have lost multiple billions of dollars, they have made egregious errors in their attempts to find more revenue, and have lost the message war so completely that you will not find one member of the media or political establishment not camped adversarially against them.

Southwest Airlines, and, to a lesser extent but still near, Jet Blue and Virgin America are the only airlines left domestically that deserve a red cent. The American consumer has concocted every scheme known to man to ensure no financial certainty to the negative outliers United and US Air. And close relatives Delta, American, Continental and Northwest know they are on red alert with all customers, and have policies that can only be defined in a word as alienating.

Competition can turn a once proud industry leader like United Airlines into a wounded monolith bent on eating it’s young, apparently. They still play that song in their ads, but what do you think it means to alienated consumers or former employees who’ve had their pensions voided by corporate greed. I like that other song better anyway, “Bags fly free”, by their competitor.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Suddenly, Joe Scarborough Is A Solution Machine

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 21st, 2009


1) So there’s a list: reinstate antitrust, tort reform, and interstate availability that apparently cures cancer. Where was this list on any day previous to today? When have any of these items been presented as a bill to any congressional body by a Republican? Seemingly without memory, Joe Scarborough has provided a list of what’s missing from reform as he attacks the bill that is going to pass the Senate as of this morning. It is uniquely dishonest for a person who would never submit a solution to provide one from the sidelines only when beaten.

I’d like to have seen Mr. Scarborough do what he does best: call out the Republicans on the futility of obstructionism when the other side has 60 votes. It’s a landmark bill, but apparently Republicans are happy to sit on the sidelines when every single person willing to trade a difficult vote was going to the bank, and every progressive that could be taken for granted was having his pocket picked. That’s like passing on stock in Microsoft in 1982.

Now I shouldn’t say the Republicans got nothing, because they bathed in the cash shower from the health care industry lobby to maintain their disciplined obstruction, but if you’ve lost to the other side, and your money is just going to fund a much tougher campaign next time through, have you maximized?

2) Elections do have consequences, and the Democrats are going to lose seats in 2010. But, 2012 is another story, and the Republicans are going to need so many things to go wrong to get through two election cycles with growth while not doing a single good thing, all the while not making it obvious where their endless supply of campaign funding is coming from. It’s very interesting to point to the 2012 election with a mandate of further gains on health care reform, and banking reform, and cloture reform with a different business cycle and the results of continued Democratic majorities taking a stab at job growth, fiscal discipline and deficit reduction.

Think that’s a pipe dream? If Joe Scarborough didn’t have a personally promotional campaign daily about the effect his tenure in congress had on a balanced budget and deficit reduction, Bill Clinton would get 100% of the credit for the surplus years that ended the 90’s and greeted George Bush. Even with JS pointing to himself, Bill Clinton still gets 90% of the credit. So if you want to try and make a point that Democrats have no business talking about the surplus years, they can claim scoreboard and your attempts to take credit will only come off like sour grapes.

3) While I never expect an about face from Joe on his unending vitriolic stream of abuse directed at Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, it’s becoming obvious that he loses credibility with each demonstrable victory by them. This has become like saying you don’t like Kobe Bryant’s approach to basketball, when the world knows these people are accomplishing feats that you apparently can’t comprehend, let alone achieve.

Ever since Pelosi delivered the House bill, your dismissive tone when uttering her name with a grimacing difficulty has had an opposite effect. What is it when altruism leads you off a cliff? Are you going to do the same thing now with Reid, attempt to keep the attack up on a daily basis and hope the world hasn’t noticed your discredit is actually not holding up to history? Like a Fox viewer who doesn’t like the state of things so they listen to Glenn Beck say stuff that isn’t true but designed to tell the audience what they want to hear, will you continue to trumpet the denial of facts on the ground?

Ratings will probably go up, but the truth is still required at some point, so don’t wait too long.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Morning Hijinks

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 18th, 2009


1) The missing political roundtable from yesterday was basically today’s entire show. The subscriber needed closure on the caravan of disparate thought flying around like the Karamazov brothers yesterday, and the show neatened things up today by taking a very deliberate tempo and making every attempt to sound out what’s out there. Remember the discussion of yesterday’s missing roundtable likely would’ve been ‘what’s next, given current events’.

Lawrence O’Donnell continues to be the best guest for the what’s next conversation, and it’s disturbing that his answer is I don’t see the end game clearly. It’s an honest appraisal given that when it was his playoff march in 1994 he was already showered and done with a loss in the books and starting the post game analysis, so he doesn’t really know the look and feel of completion. It’s not inevitable that we’re at a point of completion, we don’t know, the nation doesn’t know, and the uncertainty is killing us. But at least by having the closest thing to experience in your cast you can appropriately show the stakes and mechanics of the outcome.

One key misinterpretation is the shoehorning of the Howard Dean position as a kill the bill and start over analysis from Joe Scarborough. I agree Dean might’ve said those exact words on television and made a sound bite error that has given John McCain some new material, but it’s not the Dean position. Dean wants the process to play out in conference, he would prefer that the Senate strip out a lot of what’s in its bill and just take the things that don’t qualify for reconciliation. Care centers, no pre-existing cancellations or bans, and the like stay in. He then would hold out hope that the post-conference bill is closer to either reform or a two step process involving reconciliation.

It’s a flawed strategy for the simple reason of double cloture. If you put any of the Lieberman antagonizing hallmarks back in or allude to a two step strategy, he gets to double Lieberman you. As humiliating as it is, at least we know that cloture is going to go the way of the dodo bird in our lifetimes now that a real news cycle has been forced to bear witness to its tendency to favor obstruction in a nations time of need for reform and need to move on and govern elsewhere. The nation spoke by putting 60 in the democratic caucus, but to be told that that’s not enough and that it would take 65 to be able to disregard the holdouts in their own party, is shocking.

So there it is, the bill will have to pass and stay fairly tame, maybe some architecture could be adjusted to make it more defensible to the fiscal scalpel in future budget battles, but become a juggernaut that over time whittles it’s way to a single payer system.

I would not be surprised to see Dean come around to this in the next day or so, now that he is re-established himself to be the equivalent of Elizabeth Warren in this forum: the guy telling you the lucid truth now that both sides have gone robotic.

2) It’s polling that is the hijinks I refer to. There were how many guests on your show today? 15? Of the guests and hosts, how many used the phrased “the polling shows” in a sentence? The answer is 3: the hosts and Chuck Todd. What does that tell you: one monumental weakness on the show is it’s credit bestowed on polling. I know that in some cases the science of politicking includes the use of polling, but those cases normally center around a project or campaign with assets being deployed and measured for effectiveness. No one is doing that in regards to health care, financial reform or Afghanistan. The polls seeking sentiment on all of these current events are deemed useless by so many of the people your looking at for consensus, you should really be taking it as a sign.

Let’s look at it another way: (hypothetical) “in the latest Fox News Poll, that terrorist fist bump we showed you between Barack and Michelle Obama was troubling to 64% of you and 36% only felt he should be deported”. OK, first the use of the word terrorist was a distortion limiting the ability of the audience to be measured on a factual basis, and the polling no matter how widely sampled still suffers from a preaching to the choir segmentation because non Fox subscribers just hang up on the survey, and lastly the questions are never a complete set of outcomes.

Now bring it home: the weakness of today's poll on health care was specifically the lack of a factual basis amongst the sample. There is no requirement that the sample be able to define the debate in at minimum consensus terms and likely many still think the Senate is voting on single payer. Further how many feel that if they say yes to the poll they will be stripped of their employer based coverage? And lastly, how old is the 75% number that Joe Scarborough referred to five times today, (like 3 months?) and it too was a daily tracking number during the death panel campaign. I think your subscribers want more than that.

Sure, these pollsters that your show uses are respectable bunch of meaningful prognosticators. But in any poll if there is little connectivity between the results and what 12 of your guests are deeming the predictable future or real sentiment. I continue to attribute what I’m seeing en masse from polling as a darkest before the dawn phenomenon, but if you borrow science from the closest cousin of the poll, the stock market, Mark Haynes wouldn’t touch anything short of a 200 day weighted moving average. This makes what you do with polling a denigration to the conversation you’re trying to have. Stop taking static results as a sign of anything and try harder to understand the real weight of momentum and the psychology of cycles. Therein lies an answer that will separate you from the pack going forward.

3) Copenhagen is an unneeded distraction. I really had a hard time even watching the speech, and was really pleased it was short. In my line of work, if the world had been betrayed at this level previously and even Barack Obama came promising to make good, I would require full prepayment prior to signing anything further. The argument they are having is a tired futile attempt to shame all the nations into compliance.

I really think the debate amongst nations has no bearing on the debate the show should be having. I think the micro economic debate is where it all is heading. The kind of equations like leaving an incandescent light bulb on overnight costs one bucket of coal. If we are 50% coal in this country and coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, it seems fair game to make every transaction in a person’s typical day, week, or month a transaction on that basis to emphasize conservation. You spend so much, and what do you do to neutralize what you spend? Plant a tree a week? It’s the micro economics that would bring this home.

A funny side effect is with the decentralization of employment, Tina Brown refers to it as gigs rather than jobs, a micro economic discussion is a very pertinent shortcut in the formation of green jobs and industry because if you have a problem like neutralizing your own personal carbon footprint being pondered worldwide, you have a lot more entrepreneurs. In Scotland there is a personal electric windmill company that sells a garage top windmill that generates enough electricity to offset that bucket of coal we talked about. That would sell here, but I can’t buy one in this country yet. Do you think that a machinist in Detroit could use that information?

That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Good People Go Lieberman On You

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 17th, 2009


This is the cost of silence. The White House is still doing it, the Senate is still doing it, and the debate is now in the hands of Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean. I really think that David Axelrod was crying in his call in segment. Crying out of passion and frustration that he is not in control of the message concerning his priority legislation. But that is what he deserves when he is perpetually putting the administration in the position of reaction only. They are never out in front, even the soaring speeches that have defined Barack Obama are mainly reactions rather than proactions. Race speech? Health Care speech? Both to settle raging debates where the President or candidate had been absent at the inception of these key issues.

Joe Scarborough has defined this Obama trait as deferment. He is correct but only captured part of the issue he is trying to define. The whole definition has elements that appear as a gap in his leadership effectiveness. Joe had another take that he had called the President “not as left as everyone thinks” and I’m not sure that’s accurate but more of a symptom of the leadership vacuum. The research where even back at Harvard the President had defied progressives by choosing conservative elements in his work with the Harvard Law Review was the tea leaf that brought Joe Scarborough's analysis to this point. My point isn’t that its right or wrong, it’s that it is superceded by the more dominant trait that JS calls deferment and I’m calling a vacuum in Obama’s leadership skills.

The show actually hit its borders on this subject today and timed out. They didn’t get a roundtable to digest all this news. It’s a shame, because given the hot streak the show is on, I’m sure that roundtable would’ve started to tackle the next logical debate: which is the way forward? I know that there are two giant opposing forces right now with all their guns drawn and aimed. The left has reached it’s tipping point and their strategy is to test if the Insurers and their Senatorial agents have played their hand. It’s a lot like Ebay where if you want the thing and there is an auction you had better be the bidder closest to the end, because it’s all about sniping. If the insurers got the bill where they wanted it and played that card in what they consider the “safety zone” of the final week where even David Axelrod would have to defend their ideal legislation for fear of ultimate failure, it remains to be seen if the new world with a much more lucid news cycle has provided a window for the progressives to snipe the bill back towards health care reform.

That begs my final analysis: is the legislative process actually evolving on Morning Joe and are the machinations of the Senate now a secondary function? It seems closer to the center of the universe than even the closed door meeting with the President and the Democratic caucus. The caucus meeting by all accounts turned into an echo chamber. The Senators emerged roboting a message that defies their value system as defined by the election that put them in the majority. They are marching to that fear of failure and can’t break ranks. What might’ve been the final outcome has been severely hampered by Howard Dean and hampered further by the lack of an echo chamber on Morning Joe this morning.

That's all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There Are No Good Answers But No

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 16th, 2009


1) If Zbigniew Brzezinski can’t figure out Iran, we are all in real trouble. The trouble stems from the fact that we have heard his line of thinking, and it is largely unchanged, for some time now. Joe Scarborough has caught up with this particular doctrine and pointed out that over time he has grown “less superficial” on the matter.

The reason JS has caught up is that this strategy is unchanged, and it can best be described as solution free loggerheads. There is no progress versus the previous regime. Sabre rattling and personal notes from various American leaders have produced the same result. Now that a laundry list of sanctions have started to get laid out, all the while a quiet resignation has set in to all parties on either side of the aisle. We are going to stand aside on this one and allow Israel to be our mercenary. We will probably make it an open secret that while we won’t allow airspace infiltration, we won’t enforce it actionably. We are heading to a proxy war there in 90 days.

Don’t forget that Israeli military success stories have suffered to a recent parity in opposing sides in the region of late, so this is no 90 seconds over Syria situation. And who was the military might opposing Israel in the fields of Lebanon last time…. Iran by proxy of Hamas.

2) There is a real lack of outrage about the progress of financial reform. I can’t really figure out any agenda anywhere unless it’s the agenda of invisibility. My best guess is that the financial industry has launched an effective campaign to stop regulation efforts and debunk regulation publicity without buying an ad or putting spokesmen out on the circuit but instead to buy silence and pay people not to go public on the matter. It’s a real glass wall, and completely an opposite strategy of the health care debate.

Ask yourself, have you seen the ad “1 million tea party members want your hands off of our bank?” or seen Ron Christie go on a talk show and talk about a government takeover of the American financial industry?

Silence is a sellout too. I have consistently held the platform that if you have not voted for no other reason than personal attrition in every recent election, you should not be allowed to attend a political protest of any kind. I would extend that to say if you muzzle your rage about the sellout of the American government in its attempt to reform the financial industry and prevent a second financial failure, then Mr. Scarborough’s commonplace fiscal outrage is too selective to be genuine.

You had three guests on today all on the subject and reduced yourself to a narrator of the eventual financial failure. You coronated the Fed Chairman with no acknowledgment of the lack of preventative technology, just for treating the symptoms, placated Ron Paul until a convenient “hard break” prevented any resolution, and flat out argued with Steven Pearlstien the wrong way that banks are our best way forward. I could’ve found a better debate at Margaritaville.

3) And yea, there was health care. It is ultimately confounding that Howard Dean and Joe Scarborough have become the latest odd couple bedfellows. Joe Scarborough and his various guests flat out predicted the future: that a dishonest bill inclusive of real reform would be paraded around Washington for 5 months. A bill that had a public option. And in the 11th hour the ruling party’s elite would come to the camera and “while they really fought for it” they had to move forward with the second coming of a corporate giveaway bearing the Orwellian doublespeak title of “Health Care Reform”.

Howard Dean was duped, and I was too. His credibility was allowed to seep into the conversation all along just to make the case that the pre bait and switch version of the bill was a bill with “real teeth”. That is tantamount to a Tiger Woods billboard for Accenture’s professional consulting services at this point.

Further to this is the downright malicious distancing occurring by the administration from Dr. Dean. The fact that it was at a Christmas party that lines like “irrelevant” and “he’s more the problem than Lieberman” surfaced is a ‘show us what your made of’ moment for this administration. And I will accept nothing less than the head of Rahm Emmanuel for the transgression.

This is reform off of the rails by lack of leadership. The deafening vacuum coming from the White House will rank amongst the largest discredits and lack of forthrightedness ever in US Presidential history.

Three guys you would’ve never guessed now are on final approach to a NO vote on health care as it is defined by the industry itself through bought and paid for representatives calling themselves Senators: Joe Scarborough, Howard Dean, and yours truly. I’ll write Ms. Boxer and Feinstein next.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gold Standard: Now Just Do 249 More Shows Like This

The Morning Joe Rebuttal For December 15th, 2009


1) If you can’t get Joe Lieberman on the show, At least you can get someone who outranks him. There is just one chair left to fill in the guest ascendancy as Vice President Joe Biden motorcaded through the show today and made most of America realize he should be doing this every week. This is a democracy, a democracy in a tough spot, the leaders both congressional and from the White House are missing a key advocate in their attempts at change by not bringing their agenda to the people in better connection with the new news cycle. The Morning Joe show is a first of its kind destination for this kind of governmental productivity and this citizen would like to see this kind of interaction commonplace.

2) Today is the first acknowledgement of reconciliation not by a guest but actually advocated by the host. Under the guise of “free advice for Democrats” the 900 pound guerilla in the health care debate has begun to swing wildly as it’s not just Lieberman, but a solid teaching moment of this show was the indication of the line of as little as four but as many as fourteen Senators behind him trying to profit at the wishbone. Now that you’ve arrived on reconciliation, you need to extend this thread further as quickly as possible or risk having to explain some key details forensically. Reconciliation has limits in its ability to legislate private industry. It is strictly a utility for items related to the budget, but that includes Medicare. You can open Medicare to 55 year olds but you can’t enact a law to prevent cancellation due to pre-existing conditions on a private insurer.

What follows that key definition is a portent of solutions that could’ve been vetted a long time ago, but we’re here now so let’s get to it. If you like the consensus of the show that its time to take the gloves off and get bloody with the do nothing congress, then maybe the reconciliation option should be a far reaching nuclear option that scares the masses into cooperation. How's this: make health care go forward without delay or else the reconciliation version will just be to remove the three words “at age 65” from existing Medicare. Or how’s this: split the bill in two, vote the non budget related provisions into law and use reconciliation to add in the 55 plus and the public option features unappealing to the 60 vote requirement. It’s there, and there will be new found respect for demands to get things done. I would go further and make the case that this is an important first step towards bipartisanship as it would make disciplined obstructionism like we see in the Republican caucuses less effective.

3) I was furiously looking up all of the elements of Christopher Hitchens rant trying to understand the cryptic humor. Between Wikipedia and the Huffington Post, I think I figured it out, but holy volatile pitchfork! I have sort've kept that guy in the esteemed column for a long time despite his penchant for juvenile dress downs like the one he bestowed on Joan Walsh on Hardball last year, which are outside of my boundaries for debate decorum. But you’re just not going to get that take on things anywhere else, so its worth putting up with just to get the goods. And after reading a transcript to understand the muted mumblings, he is the first person to come on the show and shine two very obvious lights: Palin=Opportunist and Taliban=Pakistani Guerillas. There was more, what ever happened to the Northern Alliance? Their leader was assassinated on September 10th, 2001. Hitchens claimed today that this was the Indian equivalent to the Pakistani Taliban there to provide balance in the region. We could sure use that group now.

It should be added that the last time Hitchens was on the show, Joe Scarborough had one of his “step away” segments he reserves to show up guests he deems too radical. He has done this to Matt Taibbi as well. I take it as a sign of growth that this tactic seems to have subsided a bit.

4) Honestly, I also thought that Joe Scarborough handled the “revisionism” quip from Chris Hayes pretty well. The debate still got cut off, the claim left unrefuted, but Hayes has proven his merit on his obviously progressive agenda, so it was less of a bluster response from JS, or worse, the apocalyptic “I’m Done” reserved for the Max Blumenthal's of the world.

I would like to see some path to having these things hashed out. The math can’t be left incomplete just because a charge is lobbed towards the host. It's about honesty, and you know what, honest people moved closer to full disclosure with what I witnessed today.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Real Morning Joe Torpedo Is Lieberman

The Morning Joe Rebuttal For December 14th, 2009


1) The news that Joe Lieberman has found a 9th life as a torpedo to health care reform is as unprecedented as it is predictable. The fact that Morning Joe has apparently lost it’s access to the Senator despite Mika’s Connecticut roots and Mike Barnicle’s relationship speaks volumes to the value of isolation. Mr. Lieberman has found the most personally profitable vacuum in political history and appears bulletproof to affect from either political party. With all the centrist, populist talk around this show it is particularly confounding that when you credit the middle for getting things done, it’s actually the pinnacle of obstructionism, and now you have your poster child.

Joe Scarborough’s thinly disguised glee at the torpedo is troubling by virtue of the inactivity endorsed as a governing strategy. Maybe if we got out 20 dry pinto beans we would have a better chance of figuring out government than listening to hallow sloganing like Mr. Scarborough is constant with. You’re right, the money has to come from somewhere, and the country can’t afford to reform health care. But the problem is that you also can’t afford not to reform health care. The bankruptcy you trumpeted concerning Medicare will actually come quicker by paying the health care costs of the uninsured in the current system, which is exploding at a faster rate. The pinto beans would prove that, but your slogans seem to conveniently forget.

2) The financial rhetoric on bank reform from Congress, the Morning Joe show, the President and the financial industry is the apex of uninspiring. It appears the citizens of the United States have no friends. What is talked about is the raise of the debt ceiling, but not how we got there. The show could’ve used a pie chart to effective success in communicating the elements of the debt. But as I always love to point out, nary a connection was made between the debt ceiling, banking reform in congress and the President’s meeting with financial CEOs. These three items were talked about on Morning Joe today as if the issues had Blackwater controlling their perimeters to avoid interconnection. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

The integration of the three issues and four stakeholders is this: we narrowly averted disaster less than a year ago, and all the will of the nation to reform and restructure, to de-leverage our countries future from private industry indiscretion, has already dissipated, yet we are closer than ever to a second coming that we cannot structurally afford to avert a second time. Will the Chinese give us another 30 trillion dollars to fix the same issue a second time? Is the government actually reforming or now that the cards are on the table, is this going to be the fall of the Roman empire? The rest of the world has gotten the message and we are in last place on all three key issues: bank reform, debt management, and governability.

I heard 2 guys talking in a Target store in Phoenix three weeks ago about an apparently open plot to try and persuade remaining liquidity in the US financial system back into the equities market via false positive market tactics, and then create a final solution selloff. There really aren’t a lot of Goldman Sachs guys in Phoenix, and this was in the toy aisle while their wives shopped. Apparently it’s an open secret that market manipulation is unbridled and our future looks a lot like bubble wrap, one bubble after the next to infinity.

3) Now that it’s out don’t you wish you had been more on top of the issue of the Taliban’s Afghanistan command center being in Pakistan? As a matter of service to the show, I provided you with the key components of the Afghanistan debate back before you had any detail at all in your portfolio. One of those facts was that Quetta, Pakistan was their CENTCOM. Today when the LA Times is reporting that the drone program is expanding to Quetta, your show was unprepared and unqualified to cover that story. In fact, you couldn’t even say the name of the city or why the drone program was expanding there.

We need you. In my open letter to Chris Licht on Friday, my attempt was to reduce the immaterial from your program so that you have an even wider canvas to bring in the best and the brightest and converge on the most intelligent consensus available. It was evident today that you are in a “back to work” mode, but missing elements like the Quetta story and the connectivity of the 3 financial stories should be a call to arms for you guys. It’s a damn serious time and no one is going to solve it in an hour in the afternoon on your network, or once a week on CNN or Meet The Press. The hallmark of Joe Scarborough is accountability, it’s why Joe Lieberman is avoiding you, it’s why Howard Dean comes on your show anytime.

All I know is I want more. Can you evolve?

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Chris Licht – A Technical Note

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 11th, 2009

Dear Chris Licht:

It has become obvious in the last several weeks that news and analysis have taken a backseat to features on the show and I feel the need to explain the peril that you face by continuing such a downward slide.

1) It keeps happening that a guest of some journalistic or political esteem is asked to participate in an awkward acknowledgment of bad behavior as news. It happened today with Richard Haas. Watch tape to see if you can catch your part in the dumbing down of America, today’s chapter.

We all know where we were when Willie Geist asked Maxine Waters about Carrie Prejean and was resoundingly scolded. It was so out of place that there was a sense of shame on the whole crew for creating an atmosphere that permitted that. Symptomatic of the current problems is that this is now commonplace, the Michigan Governor last week, anyone?

2) Structurally we lost one of the Geist segments, then it came back under a different name, and lets be honest, he has a whole show at 5:30 that you could Tivo if you want that content, otherwise one segment would be plenty. Do you remember when he went out, Letterman-esque, to the upper westside in a McCain shirt? That’s Geist’s gift, not turnstiling interruptive nonsense 3 times a show. No one has disdain for Willie Geist’s role in the program until he is the face of the interruption of the program’s core competencies.

3) It’s not just Morning Joe, but the entire 5 AM – 1 PM EST corridor is bogged down by a gross over repetition of the news slideshow. You’re cashing a check, right? Then it is your job to come up with some way out of 6 readings of the same news on your watch. The fact that the last story is rarely covered as the reading is perpetually drowned out the first time through, combined with the fact that the first two readings seemingly bump up together, should be a sign that you could creatively intersperse the news once over a whole hour so that it is not the useless logjam that it is now.

These are dynamics errors. Willie would be funnier if we wasn’t drowning himself out. Mika could bring the news to the debate, if there wasn’t a need for a hard break that often disrupts the real work going on while desensitizing or worse antagonizing the selected five or so headlines of the day.

A lack of a demonstration of core competency can have devastating effects. There is no roadmap for this show, as it has different time factors and deadline factors than any of the other shows on cable news. But the negative consequences of not getting it right are the same. If you can’t differentiate yourself in each half hour with value and brand value, your executives won’t justify your cost difference over having Alex Witt or Contessa Brewer generically reading the same script, and guests of the level of Richard Haas don’t go on that program. In fact, how many upper echelon guests are feeling a mysterious attrition coming to their appearance choice for fear of being adjacent embarrassing programming? How quickly will people you want as guests start to avoid you for fear of being set next to a man in a donkey suit? Where is that threshold today as opposed to yesterday?

I guess the jobs vigil is back too, as the subject of jobs itself took a holiday to a New Jersey beach.

I’m waiting for someone to try and claim it must’ve been a slow news day.

That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Morning Jobs

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 10th 2009


1) OK, the jobs vigil will take a holiday. This morning the team played off of yesterdays green shoots and came cast-wide with the first primitive underpinnings of practical job growth analysis. Mike Barnicle’s historical references to governments fully agendized towards job growth, the recognition of analyst Andrew Ross Sorkin’s resurrection of our manufacturing belt requirement and even the cataloging of Tuesday’s Alabama gubernatorial interview as a great idea but exemplifying why innovation based job resurrection will always be better. These are solid steps.

The concept here, that we better look at innovation based jobs, is an important element that the show should be credited for getting into. If we take the Mercedes jobs, our workers are commoditized. Joe Scarborough cites tax and union policy as to why those jobs are coming to Alabama rather than the Northeast, but doesn’t really understand that’s at best a mixed bag success. And, let’s get some substantive proof that $75,000 and full family health insurance and a G-class is a target compensation package for that Alabama worker lest we appear to be making a wishful assumption.

2) It should be no surprise that Joe Scarborough switched sides on the participation of President Obama in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him. At first, the discomfort of the nation watching its young President travel to receive an award built on mere aspiration at a time of increasing its war bidding and desperate needs of domestic execution seemed paramount, but upon reflection of what can be gained by reminding the rest of the world of our country’s accomplishments on their behalf, of our role to countermand evil in the world and our commitment to reevaluate even ourselves to re-commit towards proper human rights principles even in times of war, our President turned this from awkward to opportunity.

The problem is Iran. It was touched on in the show, touched on in the speech, but there is no existing global strategy to avoid that country’s nuclear proliferation simultaneous to its suppression of the will of it’s population. You can talk all you want, award prizes all you want, but until a mechanism is developed that effectively disallows the flouting of the principles covered in the President’s speech today, we will be led to war after war after war. Iran’s case is special because the collateral damage in an armed conflict represents what might be the most enlightened tipping point available to the entire Muslim conundrum. If your last resort bombs kill significant numbers of 140 IQ wielding anti-Revolutionary Guard Muslims, the loss may just define success or more likely failure of the next 60 years in the region. There has to be a better way.

Most importantly, if you want to tackle North Korea or the Congo, you have to solve this higher order problem with such a degree of certainty that it vaccinates those primitive parts of the world from replicating them.

3) Let’s put the subject of the dissolution of the middle class into the mix. There is a pattern on Morning Joe to make a gloss reference to an issue for a period of time, then cite a credible reference as a phase two inception, then, like what happened today, you bring on Elizabeth Warren to try and get it to a full blown shooting war. I love that this is important like jobs were important to Mike Barnicle. My problem is this is continuing evidence of the 30,000 feet lack of detail ethic on the Morning Joe show and it hurts your agenda.

If you were to want to get out there on a subject, your strength would be better administered if you got out there on a ‘facts on the ground’ basis. This was my chief criticism of your months of droning about jobs before you attempted to really understand the mechanics of the issue, which may not have actually started until YESTERDAY.

When you’re talking about the dissolution of the middle class, it is a distribution of wealth issue. Jobs are a symptom. Granted, a symptom on a grander scale than witnessed in recent memory, but nonetheless just a part of the polynomial. Lets construct just the first few parts:

· Taxes are at a 70 year low.
· Health care is at an all time high.
· Pensions are destructible via either a market collapse or a corporate strategy of chapter 11 bankruptcy.
· 401k’s are not pensions.
· Previously free goods like gasoline are now double-digit household expenditures.
· Jobs are the most commoditized they’ve ever been.
· Usury laws have been repealed resulting in predatory corporate behavior.
· Housing is based on mirage micro-economics and those often nightmare consequences have been endorsed by the US government.
· Educational effectiveness is declining generation over generation.
· Our prison population has exploded and its culture has found its way into our middle class where the two cultures previously rarely interacted.

OK, it’s a polynomial in the thousands of degrees, but its roots are displayed right there.

The net result is the distribution of wealth in this country has made two dividing lines move. The super rich are nominally more, but proportionately less and in possession of a greater amount of the nation’s assets then before. The middle class and the poverty line have moved closer, and closer to becoming one class.

We can catalog some solutions, but until all parties of this debate take concrete steps towards understanding the phenomena creating our current movement, those solutions won’t make sense. It also seems fair to point out that a majority of the politicians we have in office either don’t comprehend this megatrend, or are being paid to ship their conscience to Siberia by a corporate culture run amok.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Old Mika Is What America Wants

The Morning Joe Rebuttal For December 9th, 2009


1) There are two Mika Brzezinskis. The fitful uncooperative lets keep this conversation above the Mendoza line Mika, and the complacent paychecks are nice and so what if Joe and Willie want to spend half the day in the gutter version of Mika. The latter is a new version who has allowed the show to have a tough time of late. The former got a re-awakening today and whether it was a lack of Joe Scarborough or a story that just keeps getting farther and farther away from it’s previously sold image, old Mika grabbed a pitchfork and asked in her outside voice for some decorum. It did not go away, and we are grateful. We need you Old Mika, for the current events will magnetize themselves far from progress if left to their own devices.

2) You have to interrupt Michael Steele, or you have become a vehicle for his tool-ness. If Savannah Guthrie wants to ask a question, she cannot let Mr. Steele answer some other question of his choosing out of convenience. Some of the best loggerheads between strangers have occurred on Hardball when Mike Barnicle was guest hosting, because Mike just stares into the camera when it’s actually by default his job to create order. He did the same thing here.

3) Thank god for Donnie Deutsch. The point is that every important and painful legislative progress in our nation’s history had systematic obstructionist working the other side. Yes the subject was slavery in one of the examples. But it’s no less valid than any other example, because there are only 4 or 5 of these in our nation’s history. It was a poor choice for Senator Reid only because it allows a convenient cloud of distraction to avail itself to his opponents, but not for real impropriety or real mistaken logic. The logic is in fact correct. It does not pass the “call the opponents Nazis” test the Joe Scarborough correctly indoctrinated but is incorrectly assessing here. Donnie Deutsch was dead on target by getting the tough question out there, optics be damned. Michael Steele was exposed as the tool he is: hide behind the race card via false indignation.

What this latest issue does is reveal how the Republican party uses it's leader’s race at its core, for convenience. It sucks, but that is why Michael Steele is the current chosen leader of the RNC, because he optically disarms a core notion amongst the opposition to it, that it is in structural practicing opposition to the black population of the United States along with latinos, gays, and most other non-white segments. The level of shame in this story is unending, but brave people will fight through falsely based nonsense and get the job done anyway.

4) I’m ready to admit one level of defeat as the public option got axed from the Senate health care bill. It looks like there is some consolation in the structure of the compromise bill, but it’s neither a co-op or a robust public option, so it may be a mirage of the idea the president campaigned on. It’s too early to be sure either way, but here’s hoping that the leading newspapers and news outlets help carve out a real understandable measure of progress as the bill marches forward, outlining how much special interest has hijacked the legislative process and continue the debate of the governability of the United States when our Senators and Congressmen are so awash in money that they cannot get it right.

I’m still holding out hope that 11th hour tactics come through and real teeth get added in conference, reconciliation gets it through the Senate, and America gets it’s first change it can believe in in a generation.

5) There were green shoots of progress in a practical conversation on jobs on the ground in the United States today during the show. But alas the vigil continues because by his absenteeism, Joe Scarborough is still at 30,000 feet on the issue. We will retire the vigil when he rolls his sleeves up and embraces what started in earnest on the show today. Otherwise, it only happened because he wasn’t there.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's My Platform And I’ll Decry If I Want To

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 8th, 2009


1) Jobs, the vigil continues. At this point, we have to prepare for an eventuality of the jobs situation improving and what to expect from the Morning Joe crew as it watches the business cycle change for the better while having never really participated in the debate.

There is an opportunity every day to take the situation on the ground in the United States and break it down for the American people. We patiently await your participation.

Yes, I saw the Alabama Mercedes segment. My inability to reconcile an answer for jobs being an outsource to German industry is that long term we will be in this same position at some other business cycle yet perpetually unable to control our own fate. It is helping, but we need long term solutions to minimize the effect of the next business cycle.

2) Bob Woodward’s point about every Afghanistan success for the US Military bolstering the corrupt Karzai regime by proxy was invaluable and one not before recognized in this or any forum to my knowledge. The reaction of JS to point out the Pakistan similarity to Cambodia was also interesting but I felt like the consensus left out that the South Vietnamese government was absolutely not respected by it’s people and by reverse proxy made the people unite against the US. Only those with fear of retribution were solidly behind the US in Vietnam and when the eventual abandonment occurred, they either became boat people or met a not so nice fate. That is a more salient expectation for Afghanistan, should Woodward’s premise hold true.

3) This depiction of Secretary Gates as an out of control maverick undermining the Obama message is so off the mark it makes its perpetrators seem like dime store spinsters. We all want to be out of Afghanistan in 18 months, I think we’ve established that. Gates wants to be out too, he just recognizes that he will have a different kind of conflict to manage in the region for the decades that come after a multinational military presence as it is now. The thing is, this is a trap and the right can’t help but lose a limb to it. A Democratic regime may not invoke the autocratic messaging of a lockstep Republican regime, but it’s not weakness of message its just a more deep rooted decision making process. It, in fact, allows a Republican Secretary of Defense to do his job with an adequate amount of separation and to be singularly effective. Roll back the clock and ask yourself if message police planted throughout multiple facets of the Bush government aided or abetted dynamic thoughtful operation of this country. Whether it was the EPA or the Pentagon, so many necessary steps to the prosecution of a war or an environmental strategy were weakened by Bush message vetting. When it happens in reverse here, calling it a wedge issue is analytical failure.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sometimes It Takes A Monday

The Morning Joe Rebuttal For December 7th, 2009


1) Just like you can’t get completely back on track without some regenerating moment, it appears the weekend had its wondrous effect on our favorite morning team as they found dominant space once again for issues in their program. Unfortunately, when you lose as much ground as you did last Thursday and Friday, Monday’s show was more of a refresher on the issues at hand than a hit the ground running moment. Still, it is a step in the right direction, and I’ll take the awkward abbreviation of luminaries like Ed Rendell as a temporary phenomenon. When you are more on your game and up to speed, you won’t cut the most important spot on the show short to hide your lack of retort.

2) Kudos to Andrea Mitchell for standing up and saying what people like Matt Taibbi have said for some time now. Tom Friedman needs an analogies editor in the worst way, and it took hurting some people to bring that out. It also points to a strength in the show. Other programs would’ve missed this boat and been slammed for seemingly going the wrong way by accepting Friedman’s point blind to its collateral damage. This show had timeless experience whisper in it’s ear in time to avoid some long term embarrassment later, thanks to its longer list of experts than other less dimensional formats.

3) It’s getting to the point that we need a vigil. The vast cast of experts on Morning Joe just cannot find a collective wisdom on jobs. I won’t let a day pass without reminding Joe Scarborough that he has again commented on jobs from 30,000 feet and seems to have an anxiety attack when his G5 gets too close to the solutions and real life issues. Today, JS showed he has no ability to reconcile jobs and health care and is opening himself up to a critical flank attack by going party line with the 30k platform that it’s an “either or” issue. We already had 8 years of a President who played more checkers than chess, and if you think the American people didn’t learn a brutal lesson from what history will define as our Peter Sellers “Being There” period, then just go with that take and be prepared for some real “unable to lead” ammunition from your adversaries for showing a lack of depth here.

4) Copenhagen is a very interesting litmus on the govern-ability of the United States. Dating back to Kyoto, the United States is unable to keep up with other world governments in the “getting it done” department. Leaving climate change aside, it’s more important to look at states like California as leading indicators of hardships on the road ahead for the Federal government. All of the supreme issues of the day: health care, stimulus, banking reform, law and order, infrastructure, and many others find better planning efficiencies in other governments. No one is saying “I hate America” when they express envy that China out-stimulus-ed us by a landslide, that Europe out reformed it’s too big to fail banks by a landslide, that Ecuador is ahead of us in health care provision. We have to begin to apply an efficiency mandate to our government. I don’t envy freedoms lost to a state run economy or media or Internet, but if “we can’t afford it” is the Obama opposition mantra, it’s also a good rallying cry for reform of our broken political process.

5) The west is not kind to Morning Joe. As a fan of the show, I would really advise against any pronounced appearance of the show in the westernmost time zones. While Iowa forever gave the show a flair for being on the ground at the source of news, I’ve seen one too many redeye broadcasts from San Diego, Carlsbad, San Francisco and a “give up on live and tape it” Reagan Library episode to think that you can thrive out here. Remember: 3 hours. It’s not just a time change, not just a show length, it’s a movement from a part of the world that is adequately in motion to support the show to a place that should only be asked to help in an emergency. This is not Brokaw from Berlin. Its Chris Licht on hallucinogens. Don’t do it. Land the G5 at Burbank on Saturday, eat at the chef’s room at the Polo Lounge, catch a football game, and go back to work. Oh and there’s that other thing, no one in this time zone has a clue about the show except a few Orange County people and some Tivo-junkies, so it’s not like you’re abandoning us, it’s that majority of the population from Chicago to New York that gets shorted.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Maybe These National Issues Will Just Solve Themselves While We Gab Around The Cooler

The Morning Joe Rebuttal For December 4th, 2009

Look you're right, there is a four day weekend in this part of the year, but it was last week. Like a gender neutral sprinter asked suddenly to stretch out to a mile, the show has completely run out of gas and has cascaded into a four day weekend. Guests can’t save you, and you might as well move Willie Geist one seat to the viewer’s left.

There is a scientific reason to this trend. You have nothing to say in a constructive manner about jobs. You pontificated endlessly on minor league talking points for 2 hours and 31 minutes, and then were blind sided by the actual jobs number. It has been pointed out numerous times in this forum that your ability to prognosticate in the absolute wrong direction is an unheralded success.

Good guests are being wasted. You are dragging your tabloid agenda into conversations with people who are charged with putting jobs into the economy. Why is this conversational vacuum occurring? A lack of a serious philosophy on your part.

What can I do about it? Nothing but continue to list practical solutions to the jobs crisis.

Here’s what’s been said already:

1) Use the armed services to retrain and re-qualify our young people for the jobs market on a grand scale.

2) Look at city transit as a public works project that would show return on investment on multiple fronts including at minimum a lot of jobs, greater revenue from tourism, ecological growth of smog filled urban centers, and dignity and quality of life increase amongst people trying to get out of their cars and traffic.

3) Create a smart investment tax that penalizes paper trading and rewards investment in the domestic economy.

4) Make health care a public good once and for all, making a stimulus for job growth by the permanent reduction of the largest existing payroll tax

5) Remove the use of paid advertisements in the 2010 political season and transfer those funds into non governmental earmarks for education and public infrastructure in the countryside of those candidates seeking office.

And I’m going to test myself, yes, I have provided those five hard scenarios on various days past, but now in a drill you should have done to try and provide your subscribers real content today, here is a brainstorm of five more solutions that ought to be in the framework:

1) Go to every closed factory that used to build cars and commission a suffering US automaker or tractor maker to build natural gas or electric cars, tractors, trucks or buses.

2) Make 100 new nuclear energy plants and create a plan to send the generated nuclear waste into space. Remember it’s in our national and ecological interest to have a back up plan to our power grid, and look at Brazil for what not doing it would look like.

3) Create a national mandate to count the number to trees that were present in the United States in 1835 and reforest the entire country including urban centers to that level with a 20 year completion goal.

4) Make T Boone Picken’s wind farm.

5) Make a national infrastructural initiative out of desalinization, possibly in orchestration with the nuclear idea above with a goal of creating a second water source to provide a fail-safe to the global warming reduction in snow packs. Re-irrigate the existing water shorted fields of the San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys and wherever else in the United States similar situations exist.

I’m not a particularly smart person or a scientist but I wrote this in 37 minutes. You took 3 hours, got your main serious point on jobs completely wrong, and spent 60 percent of the time your advertisers paid for doing work normally reserved for Jillian Barberie. Congratulations.

Have a great weekend, see you Monday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Morning Phoner

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 3, 2009

Anyone would have to phone one in after the powerhouse of a show held on December 2nd. It’s forgivable. The balance of the day was devoted to TMZ material and it makes you wonder:

When is Willie Geist going to phoenix up on us and become the next Keith Olbermann? You know there’s thoughts and stuff going on in there, but obedient to his less is more mantra, he is set to stay muzzled so that he doesn’t wake up one day and feel like an extraneous third opinion. We have had two shows in a week that he could’ve anchored. That is a rare occurrence and if it happened more, it would highlight the understated part of his game. Keep playing under kid, else you’ll seem like Dylan Ratigan who is lost in a self manufactured perpetual catch up.


1) Your jobs segments are weak. You recently demonstrated an understandable position on Afghanistan after spending months drifting with the tide. As a learning moment, shore up what you think and get it out there. Days like today where it should be front and center are when you’re exposed on this as the features on your show outweigh this serious issue.

2) Any day you gloss over Elizabeth Warren is a loss for America.

3) Comcast is your new boss. It’s disheartening to think that the money that strengthened Comcast to this point came from a $1000 entertainment charge per household per year dating back to 1982. Prior to that television was free. But don’t get comfortable, consumers are on a mission to take control of their entertainment choices, wresting them away from monopolistic cable systems, and taking their dollars with them. Go ask a record company if it has any advice for cable service providers in regards to the Internet diluting their price support, and you will see your future.

That’s all for today, tomorrow is Friday, one more time, with feeling?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Trumpeting Yesterday's News

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 2nd, 2009


1) Let’s face it, this was a show of the year candidate. There was a significant national story that begged an avalanche of post prescription debate. The extent to which that debate was constructed and played out on Morning Joe displays its obvious practical advantage in being a 3-hour program devoted to issues of this sort. The cast was basically the most credible elements of foreign policy and left leaning constructs with a noticeable gap only as it pertained to the right. The questions raised around the table we’re the kind of cut through measures most useful to carry a developing consensus forward.

The superstar guests Dr. Zbigniew Brzeninski, General David Petraeus, and Sen. Bernie Sanders were the absolute pinnacle of gets to put a complex issue that tested a well studied President’s acumen into what a viewer needs to know terms.

2) Someone has to police these polls. This wrong direction on Afghanistan poll is in context the darkest moments before national policy had a light shone on it. It really was out of context and it’s a distortion of the current events to talk about how a nation was feeling last week without saying it in those terms.

3) You police the right, and leave the left to me. Ariana Huffington has chosen to base her dissatisfaction with not getting a drawdown on a lack of trust on the timetable given. This goes back to the violation of a nation’s trust we spoke of yesterday regarding Dick Cheney. If Ariana Huffington has a trust issue with Barack Obama, she is in deep trouble, because who is left for her? She has to not be still fighting the Iraq war with her take. Each new candidate and mandate has to be delivered with a fresh national trust and Ariana is misplacing her old Bush era demons on this new situation.

4) If Senator Bernie Sanders has a problem with the policy laid out yesterday, the very best, most constructive thing he can do is get his far reaching version of health care reform to the President. That is the most patriotic version of dissent there can be, and I hope all of the protests find this as an appropriate outlet.

5) What is it about Illinois that allows its representatives to vote present? Sen. Dick Durbin taking a “no comment” pass on this policy is the definition of short sighted. It was a courageous vote on the Iraq war that created separation for this President in his landmark campaign. If Sen. Durban was there then, and chose support then, then why would he choose this moment to show his courage or lack thereof?

6) The left leaning citizens of the United States need to find solace in the new place possessed by the United States on the world’s stage. For decades, our CIA and State Department have had the reputation of in your face when its in the best interest of the US, yet the quickest to depart when the political or situational winds shifted, leaving its former partners, operatives and a swath of obliged citizens to suffer in abandonment. To make a wind down decision now without a finish the job mandate would be this Democratic President making that same mistake we have endured upon the world each of the last 5 generations. We are in Afghanistan because of our own vacuum of post Soviet abandonment. Pakistan is one of the greatest threats to peace on earth and refuses to be the operative we need to get Osama Bin Ladin because they suspect if they don’t hold that leverage, we will leave them to deal with a Taliban crisis on one side and a (mania-based) India crisis on the other, thus status quo is key to their security. Iran has a similar issue with US involvement dating back to the Shah and the US backed Iraq in their catastrophic war of the 1980's. I could go on, but suffice it to say if you want to be greeted anywhere in the Muslim world anytime in your lifetime, it’s key to quit exploitation as a national currency.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Center Left Bites Back

The Morning Joe Rebuttal For December 1st, 2009


1) The center left voted to go to Iraq. They voted that way in large part because previously trustable people Colin Powell, Condaleeza Rice, and Dick Cheney made strong points that there was an imminent threat. Leaving the results of that employed trust for another day, I think an attacked America felt a little relief that Dick Cheney was our Vice President in the time between September 11th, 2001 and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. They voted that way in 2002, with independents helping shore up a Republican majority. They felt that our Buick Salesman in Chief George Bush was really an electable proxy for Dick Cheney to run the country. The center LEFT felt that way, and I was part of that.

The separation came on 3 fronts: Dick Cheney was discovered to have perpetrated a fraud to sell the war, Dick Cheney mismanaged the early Afghanistan campaign, and Dick Cheney mismanaged the aftermath of the Iraq invasion. At that point what you saw made you feel had: the enrichment of Halliburton while Americans were being killed due to administration failure, the further consolidation of power in the face of this failure by the person chiefly responsible for it, the continued presence of the missions chief target Osama Bin-Laden, and the creation of new enemies that indeed made the world a more dangerous place for Americans.

If Dick Cheney wants to write a book and defend his record, it’s a free country, but he should hurry, because with the passage of times lies get bigger, results get bigger, and denial becomes a worse and worse strategy. You could say that people on the left will always oppose anything the Bush administration did, but the country was fairly united in the aforementioned period, and the vitriol aimed at that group now is based mostly on a national sense of betrayal rather than party politics.

2) The center left felt fairly represented at the depth and complexity of debate concerning Afghanistan this morning. The use of three different experts, the recognition of 4 dimensions out of the available 5000, and the consensus that there is no silver bullet but a mission will unite the country on a path all seemed to be something a majority of Americans could rally upon.

Sometimes to rebut is to acknowledge, the Generals will get their surge, the ambassador has new power to effect leverage on the Karzai government, and the far left, while not getting a wind down, is getting a more resolute time line. What I would hope the show would measure in the coming days is the usefulness of the opposition reaction. It would be prudent for any populist to police third class political opportunism as it emerges on either side, and I can’t wait for the cast of Morning Joe to call out what’s inevitably going to come from the Michelle Bachman’s and Erick Erickson’s of the world.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.