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.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nice Job Morning Joe You Helped Steal An Election

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for Election Day, 2010


1) I guess I should have known when there was a managed media blackout on Morning Joe suppressing coverage of the gulf oil spill, that the show was doing a bit of a dry run in preparation to be that outpost on MSNBC that emulates Fox News’ efforts to suppress the progressive vote.

On the surface, it all seems so reasonable, Joe is a right leaning guy, his henchmen Halperin and Buchanan have a vested interest in the outcome, so why all the surprise that they would perform a service to the ruling class by convincing voters that they need no longer participate in the democratic process, for it is a foregone conclusion that the 78% unfavorable Republicans will be handed the halls of the nation’s legislature.

The demonization of progress, the irrationality of scapegoating the wrong guy for all the job losses, and the indescribably logic free notion that further enriching the ultra rich is the way out of the economic downturn caused by the net effect of the last wealth transfer is stunning for it's myopic effectiveness.

Joe Scarborough is guilty for terming the next step of the disintegration of the middle class necessary progress, and that step is this pre-ordained Republican victory. You can’t waste your days hoping Ed Schultz will bust on the set and beat Scarborough’s ass (you know he wants to), you just have to know what is happening around you and figure out your next step.

2) This notion of voter suppression is so irrational that it may be a greater mystery than what causes cancer.

We all know that the final margin in the Reagan – Carter presidential was drastically affected by the media coverage handing the country to Reagan before anyone from Colorado to the Pacific Ocean had voted. The margin of victory was significantly widened when those states that amalgamate to a huge progressive voting block, became suddenly disaffected voters. The undercard elections in those states swung mercilessly right and outcomes throughout the west were distorted by unprecedented leaps, resulting in permanent damage.

This phenomenon has driven strict media rules that for the most part don’t help at all, because of the nature of new media, and it’s ability to move information around any attempt to suppress.

So here we are today and the lessons, not the constructive ones that had us trying to curb election steering by showing the eastern state's results, but the diabolical ones about how a person stays home if you convince him it’s a lost cause, are now part and parcel to modern political science. The election process of buying media advertisements and debating is an expensive stalemate process. The new needle mover is voter suppression, and the historic turnout in 2008 is the greatest threat to future Republican power holds, the simple fact being the return on investment is greater in this arena than the traditional campaign tactics.

The evidence is as simple as looking at what mandated voting would look like. There would be two drastic effects: a devaluation of the white vote, and an end to the effectiveness of gerrymandering. Oh there would be one other effect, a Democratic super majority for the foreseeable future, and an end to the current corporate control of the nation’s capital. If you’re a Republican, a white person interested in retaining control of the politics of the United States, or a chamber of commerce, voter suppression is vital to your survival.

3) Social Media could produce the next step necessary in modern politics. For lack of a better descriptive, Facebook or its nextgen could be the architecture for a form of a witch-hunt that could use its loose interpretation of privacy to build a virtual inventory of the voter base. Add in one sprinkle of Google maps or Zillow real estate chronicling, and there could be an available tracking of who is voting and who is not, and pressure could be applied to those submitting to voter suppression to endear upon them the patriotic loss that goes with their missing vote.

That’s right, I said it, I have extreme disdain for the 60% who will hand power elsewhere today. It’s on my list of national crises and I want answers from those people. I had a very good chance this election cycle when Meg Whitman suddenly wanted to control the California governor’s office despite here disinterest in voting until the age of 46. That kind of hypocrisy is a punishable event, and 150 million dollars is a good riddance deserved.

But as an equal opportunist in this realm, I have equal disdain for people who attend protests, there aren’t enough recent examples if you’ve noticed, but who have an imperfect record of participating in the voting process. The last time there was a solid protest schedule was in the run up to the Iraq war. I felt then and I feel now that those protests were hollow because of how many of the participants didn’t vote. I irrationally think people who did not vote should be arrested if they attend a protest for their hypocrisy. The net effect is the protests ran out of gas, and protest have become more and more diluted and easily policed in this country.

Largely disintegrated by our lack of a Democratic credibility, we Americans can only watch with confused admiration while French and Greek citizens keep their governments in exponentially more effective check. The reason is so simple, yet today we risk a dangerous repeat of our irrational path. The reason is we think its OK to hand the government to agents of our demise via voter attrition to the tune of 60%.

Various elements of the corporate interest have actually broken away from the indirect suppressive effort and tried to run ads that simply told people who weren’t going to vote in their favor to not vote. Those ads never made it to the airwaves but you would never know it given the coverage they received from the media. It’s a modern phenomenon that you can run this stuff knowing that it won’t actually be televised on a paid basis, but you will have a publicity effect for your message because it’s so extreme that it can be called news, despite it’s blatant marketing composition. Was the media duped? No, they consider this stuff tools to their ultimate goal.

Joe Scarborough has been projecting wishful thinking since 1994. This is his most successful year. It is much easier to effect the country from a commercial pulpit, and he is really ready to cement his will on the nation from here for a long time. It’s evident that he became interested in his electability late last year, and got his answer: stay in media. No background checks, deserved or not, and no fact checks. You can go on forever in this environment, that is unless any of the changes that need to happen see the light of day: campaign finance reform, disassociation of lobby interests from congress, and a comprehensive study on the process of steering our politics via formerly objective journalism.

4) How can I make these outlandish claims? In the 3 hours of Morning Joe directly adjacent to the mid term election, there were Pulitzer Prize winning left leaning journalists, there was the DNC chair, and there was Scarborough going after any Republican that claims to be ready to solve any problems as having no credibility.

To me, the left elements of the show were pure capitulation, lead by Mika Brzezinski, in one of her finest Alan Colmes moments. Eugene Robinson seemed forlorn, and Tim Kaine seemed just as delusional as when he began the malpractice he calls his tenure at the top of the Democratic Party.

John Stewart captured the same delusional moment from DCCC chair Van Hollen. Stewart then called it delusional. Shock, he called a spade a spade.

It all seems so credible when presented on the show, but as Zbigniew Brzezinski has indicated conclusively, Morning Joe is the most extreme example of superficial objectivity currently being televised. At least Fox makes no illusion of really being fair and balanced. The roots of the superficiality are the extreme talent of Joe Scarborough at taking distorted anecdote and turning it into a mantra for governing, no matter how falsely based.

Wow, and you are going to fall for it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Tunnel To Tragedy

The Hudson River tunnel stoppage is a national tragedy. Rather than rant as I’ve done repeatedly about the Krugman-Keynes versus Republican denial debate, it’s more important to ponder how Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough can have formed a blind alliance with Chris Christie and immediately came down in favor of his work stoppage order. They then went on to cite the travel musings of Chrystia Freeland in Turkey and the second Zbigeniew Brzezinski compare and contrast observation in the last few months, and went further citing Germany’s austerity program, and could not make cohesive sense if their life depended on it.

Germany can afford austerity because its public works is at a rate of completion that it isn’t perpetually 20 years behind in terms of infrastructure maintenance needs like the US is. The two recent foreign travelers are basically saying every day we do things like stop the second Hudson River tunnel the closer we come to having the infrastructure of the third world and having global business look elsewhere.

Freeland and Erin Burnett have made this as clear as they can, but choosing talking points over logic, Morning Joe has pre-aligned itself with the Republican party and cheers any new loss of momentum in governing as some great victory. Freeland and Burnett pointing out the money we would use to make public works happen is beneficial as a whole economy revival and is cheaper now on both a nominal interest basis and a real cost basis than when we had a budget surplus in 1999.

But Morning Joe’s mind is made up and that’s all there is to it. Stop building infrastructure and reverse anything else in the name of austerity. Tragic.

Conveniently the unemployment numbers boost critics either way. The unemployment figures released today were the opposite of the numbers released last month. Last month the nominal jobs lost was better than expected but because more people entered the workforce and looked for work the rate ticked up to 9.6%. The good news caused the uptick but the critics went crazy looking for ways to blame the administration for the rate.

This time the rate was expected to go up to 9.7% for the same positive reasons, but it didn’t, because again we didn’t lose as many jobs as we thought. But now the critics are camped on the fact that because there was a net job loss at all, Obama must be held accountable. It all looks like the analysis of convenience.

In a weird convergence with, Morning Joe just seems to scroll itself to whomever is complaining and cover that. Again you have that future commerce secretary Maria Bartiromo on the show chomping at the bit to show business is ready to revolt because Obama can’t give them the rest of the wealth they haven’t already pilfered.

Objective types continue to fail to break through with rational mathematical reasoning with the Morning Joe cast. In fairness the White House is having the same problems reasoning with people, as we talked about yesterday. But the inability of the show to connect the dots seems intentional.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NY Pro-Choice Ad And Marketing In The New World

The shock and dismay displayed on the faces of the cast of Morning Joe upon viewing the Pro-Choice for New York ad came off like theater at the same level as the casting call for hicks ad for West Virginia. The claim that any non economy or jobs related ad is missing the national point is a group of analysts showing their age.

Seth Godin has laid it out for you, and Malcom Gladwell has spent two books worth of time supporting him: modern advertising revolves around speaking to the different factions or tribes of your target market in a way that moves them.

Many of the people who would be targeted by the pro choice ad have jobs and money. They would be chief candidates for voter apathy on jobs and economic elections, but a reminder of the social Trojan Horse that rides along with Tea Party and Republican candidates gets them out of their safe haven to the voter booth.

Chris Hayes has accurately depicted the atmosphere in Washington DC is that of an island of full employment where people with money go out to dinner and live normal lives in blissful ignorance of the situation on the ground one mile off the I-15 freeway opposite the Las Vegas strip where one in four is unemployed and a new member of the poverty class, a former resident of the middle class.

The tribe of those who have not been affected by the economic downturn is not likely to vote unless something that actually affects them is brought into the equation. The Democrats do themselves a disservice by not bringing all subjects to the table in a way that moves the most people to vote.

The consensus at the Morning Joe show that the two parties run solely on the generic ballot and the single most important issue isn’t just misguided it’s also not how American politics functions, thus they are asking for voters to be duped. I wish I could believe this is just a senior moment, but I don’t, I think it was another Fox & Friends moment of palpable dishonesty on display.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Trojan Horse

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for October 6th, 2010


1) I feel like the national club of persons interested in providing a counterpoint to the Morning Joe show has left the show’s subscribers in good hands in my absence. The show appears incapable of seeing itself as a biased take on events, not in the Roger Ailes way, but in the inherent stubbornness borne of Joe Scarborough’s personality. Over time Scarborough has morphed into a second period Bill O’Rielly, the version that dug a moat around his version of events and took on all comers not by real debate but by a form of fact free semantic wrestling that timed out opponents rather than built a more resolute consensus. This type of phenomenon needs critics. Critics with the voracity to overcome dime store defense mechanisms and make those painfully constructive observations that allow resolute consensus to form with or without the self appointed protagonist.

And man have these critics come out of the woodwork. Two of note are @CallOutJoe and @The_AntiJoe. The former is a direct attack twitter feed that real time tweets on the show on a daily basis and is at this point a required resource for viewing. @The_AntiJoe has no direct correlation to the show but has come into the picture as an accidental resource of Deepak Chopra level enhancement to the aforementioned bias. Neither of these entities are Trojan Horse faculties of political action committees. These are real people like myself who seek catharsis. Cathartic relief from the volume granted to at a very important time to a single program in such a way that the bias would otherwise be a false consensus.

This Morning Joe megaphone has shouted at the top of its lungs that Clinton would be president, that health care and financial regulation would fail, that tax cuts for the rich have a dominant effect on job growth, and that we could have done without the financial interventions of late 2008 and early 2009. Not since the pre invasion propaganda of 2002 and 2003 has a source of opinion been allotted a factual, objective platform with such a large probability of false prognostication. The Morning Joe show needs critics and left to its own devices would morph into the echo chamber it seeks to evolve out of.

2) The real Trojan Horse is the collection of pirates and proxy dupes that will combine to attempt to elect Republican candidates in this and future elections. If you listen to the “Pledge”, if you look at the money going into campaigns, if you watch closely the Jim Demint snafu, you get a pretty good picture that the embittered gun-clinging, god-justifying voter is the swing voter in play here. The business owner, or the highly educated citizen is not that swing voter and was not ever in play. The business owner is not content with his single vote, or his citizen level contribution to his pro commerce political agenda. The business owner is in constant search for the right trigger mechanism to enlist by proxy the guns and god crowd, and boy does that Citizens United case help his cause. The academic is unfortunately trying to reason with the electorate, but its no news flash that the electorate is irrational because it contains a significant population of swing voters willing to vote against their own interests for either short term gain or when victimized by mirages conjured up by political artists.

Matt Taibbi has documented this reformation of the Republican party extremely well in his latest article. In it, he draws the direct time line that once it became obvious that the libertarians phenomenon grew into a movement that became known as the Tea Party, the Republicans waited for their chance to coop it and re-define their own long standing principles as the core principles of the Tea Party despite the fact that it was often an ideological 180 degree shift. We have known this about the Republican party for some time, whether it’s foreign policy or domestic politics, you’ve got about 22 seconds of loyalty and in the 23rd second it’s on to the next exploitation.

So this concoction of opportunists and meek march on to bring about reversal of change meant to empower the middle class. The meek are prepared to vote for the next great transfer of wealth, their own wealth, to a ruling financial class. It’s insane, and it’s happening, and Morning Joe is doing its part to let it happen, mainly by not covering the identifying news stories that show the process as described above as a national myopia.

And don’t get me started on the elements of a political Trojan Horse bent on social restriction and non secular enshrinement of evangelical mores. This, my friends, is a business deal. If you are a rich banker and need to make the transfer of wealth described above happen, wouldn’t you, too, make deals with the southern evangelicals to make laws banning abortion and gay marriage or military service if it enabled said wealth transfer? Nothing like a zealot to bring you South Carolina’s electorate, and it’s wealth, all for some moral illusion. That is something for nothing, which by definition should be an illegal contract for its lack of consideration.

3) The Democratic party seems to be on autopilot with a programmed descent. In the face of all sorts of attackable phantom logic by their opponents, the Dems are shrunken academics attempting to reason with an impassioned voter. They don’t bring up the obvious points about themselves, elect us and we will get the health care program moved up two years, elect us and we will end outsourcing with powerful domestic corporate tax strategy that forces growth within our borders, elect us and we won’t let the next transfer of wealth happen. Elect us, middle class, for you have no other friend.

Nope, this is the party thinking about who to put in charge, and thinking of Robert Gibbs, the guy who could not communicate any of the things above for the last 2 years. In fairness he had help, for the architect creating the bird’s nest messages that came out of the White House was David Axelrod, who several satellites have spotted crying in the rose garden every time another of his uneventful near placations fell short of the resolute message required to lead a nation in tough times. These are good guys, they did one thing really well and expected to run the table. Joe Scarborough was all too happy this morning to make this point. Running the table certainly has not happened, you’re not special, and you need Daschle and Dean immediately. The fact you demonized Dean can now be forgiven as misguided youthful exuberance when you though you were going to run the country like Mark Zuckerberg runs Facebook. You might have wanted to have some practical experience before really believing your self estimations, and now it’s time for a best and brightest moment to shore up your camp, and fend off hordes of looters hoping that 2010 is remembered as the year hypnosis on the right, and rookie missteps on the left conspired to hand them the nation, lock, stock, and barrel.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Have We Lost Yet?

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for September 13th, 2010


1) Joe Biden had it figured out before all of us. What was amazing about the seemingly enlightened conversation that took place between Joe Conason, David Ignatius, and Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough was what was missing. Seeming like a retroactive genius, Joe Biden had this Afghanistan debacle figured out light years before anyone else. Whether he was blasting Karzai to his face, or making the Pakistan math plain, or showing us the right solution, Joe Biden has been out in front for a long time. A lot longer then myself, a lot longer than the panel today.

We need to go back to a 15,000 person expeditionary force under CIA control. Maybe even less. And we need to control the airspace, freely using the predator system to make no corner of the vast, uninviting terrain of Afghanistan safe for enemies of the United States. That skeleton force should be agnostic to the government of Afghanistan and should rightly be as empowering to the opposition as it is to the ruling party.

The implication that the surge is having an opposite effect actually makes a lot of what Morning Joe has been wishing for suddenly realistic. If we can go from $100 billion in meaningless to $500 million in no one is safe if we’re not safe targeting, that’s a lot of fiscal change for our country.

I do understand that the last of the surge troops just got there in the last few weeks. That doesn’t make me happy, and should bring up continued charges of slow walking by the Pentagon. I am no longer sure if that slow walking was residual effect from the McChrystal regime or if it is a lingering issue, but either way the strategy by those doing it is fatally flawed. The flaw is that there was little calculus in a slow walking strategy for the deteriorating domestic fiscal situation.

A second possible scenario that would disturb anyone may have been that the slowing of the implementation was a process of obstruction by the Pentagon similar to what legislative Republicans do every day: we just won’t do our jobs until a friendly governing regime takes over in Washington. No one knows whether that is part of the calculus, but if Wall Street and Mitch McConnell are doing it, if United Technologies is openly endorsing regime change in the United States, what would generals in the US armed forces do if they want post retirement high paying work?

Nonetheless, now the December evaluation can’t come soon enough, and look for the Biden plan to get several million more eyeballs now that throwing $150 billion more dollars into the ocean didn’t work.

2) Who is retarded now? How can you not be motivated by the Frank Rich article over the weekend? When Rahm Emmanuel slighted the base of the Democratic Party over their incessant calls for real reform instead of lip service, all of us got a reality check. Did we really have a naiveté of a level that made wanting to fix our crumbling governing services on a real level an exercise in Shangri-la?

Reminded by Rich of the FDR vitriol spewed at the robber barons who used fallacy optics to try and populize their self serving enrichment, reminded of the Obama claims made on the way into the oval office that it was real change not something titled change that is being heralded as change but can’t pass any reasonable muster as change, you have to feel at least a little better that you weren’t just dreaming irrationally for the last 22 months.

Rahm is jumping ship. We are left with his awful compromises, and in need of someone who has his moxie, but aims that moxie at adversaries instead of eating his own young with it.

What happens next is clearly indicative of whether we were duped at the outset, or if this is the most cardiac arresting new scale yet of the Obama ‘real good in the fourth quarter” phenomenon. Is it a setup where all the Goldman guys got the finance gigs, Rahm the chief of staff gig, Gates stayed on as defense chief to keep the wolves circling? Will the Goolsbee appointment, a Warren nod, a new Defense Secretary, and a street fighter with the people on his prevailing agenda as the new chief of staff be Obama setting the tempo for a 6 year run of cementing the loose cornerstones into a formidable new style of US governance? Or is it next stop, Manchuria?

3) Can I get an economist, please? I’ll remind you of one other nugget from my month long pro Paul Krugman rant: part of Keynesian doctrine insists that the private sector be harnessed in times of crisis and made to work towards a common goal of full employment. That is not from any Krugman rant, surprisingly, but is a most valid connection to this weekend’s Frank Rich column. You have to not let the Wall Street guys hold you hostage, it has to be the other way around. Listen to the Joe Scarborough harping on capital gains taxes today and you will see my point. Joe Scarborough desperately needs to have an economist on set at all times right now because he rarely makes more than base algebraic sense when he talks about the subject. But when you raise the capital gains tax without going the extra step of steepening the raise for gains made at the expense of the domestic tax base, and lessening or removing the tax for gains made that evolve the domestic tax base you leave a resonating point on the table. When you make numbers move without a substantive reasoning you give hipshot anecdotes like what came from Scarborough today a whole new round or repetition, and repetition outlasts, and can ultimately undermine, more logical paths when mixed with political rhetoric.

You, Mr. Obama, also have to not let the guys running around without a logical leg to stand on maintain the high ground simply by attrition of your will. I’ll gladly continue to take a pickaxe to Scarborough’s fallacy economics every time it comes up. He has yet to be right with that argument about the top-level tax expiration. The only reason he is almost right about the capital gains thing is that the administration lacked the conviction to use targeting of the capital gains tax to grow the economy, a reason Scarborough didn’t cite or base his argument on, he just got lucky.

Mr. Scarborough, you got the high ground via attrition, don’t get used to it.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Paint The Target Orange

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for September 9th, 2010


1) Morning Joe did a great job of presenting a diverse news program today and avoiding Koran-gate as an overwhelming force. It did get some high altitude observations here and there, but Mika made some pretty stringent requirements for how the show was not going to get sucked into a self perpetuating publicity stunt as a unwitting enabler.

They get it, I wish they would’ve gotten it during their plagues that overwhelmed them previously like Professor Gates, Reverend Wright, the ground zero muslim center, or the other 25 cover up assisting noise makers that Morning Joe helped blow completely out of proportion. The golden rule is if you talk about it, you might as well be burning a Koran yourself.

Mika seems to have circled in on this logic without fully realizing why. Here’s hoping that she will connect the dots and be the person to discover how to filter stunts from news. The amount of good that can be done by the program if it could properly filter out white noise and junk would be exponentially higher.

2) It’s not lost on anyone that Joe Scarborough ducked a major embarrassment today when he did not engage Ezra Klein on Social Security. Ezra is not alone in his finding that the real demagoguery belongs to those who call Social Security a doomed entitlement that needs to be stopped in the interest of America’s solvency.

The demagoguery claim is really simple, and Ezra Klein made it, and the Washington Post printed it: going after Social Security is the path of preying on the weakest amongst us because the antagonist himself is in fact too weak, or is motivated otherwise, to go after the segments of the government’s fiscal problems that need it more. You need to fix Medicare more, and you need to understand that Medicare is an entitlement whose subscriber base is going to grow whether the country adopts single payer or continues the horrific systemic disassembly into chaos it paths to currently. Same for the $700 billion defense budget. Same for the $2 billion a week wars. Same for the amalgamated subsidies, earmarks and sweetheart contracts that came in with teaser coverages but now at maturity cost the taxpayer a premium for less service whether its $578 million dollar schools, sugar and corn subsidies, or tax credits for business engaged in outsourcing our economy.

The problem is that there is collectively zero spine in our current form of government to fight those necessary battles, so what’s left of that group just goes after the weakest among us like a bad episode of Survivor. Joe Scarborough, promised to have Ezra Klein back at some point to have that discussion, probably on a day that is hosted by Willie Geist.

Just to finish the thought on the growth of the Medicare subscriber base. Sure in the hypothetical world of single payer in America it will grow. That is not what I’m talking about. Sooner or later the 50 million Americans that are currently uninsured will all grow into some form of qualification for Medicare. You may believe that the new Health Care reform will insure more Americans, but the morass of remaining fiefdoms like the state monopolies and the wrist slap punitives of not insuring people with preexisting conditions will continue to allow maneuvers that create uninsured citizens everywhere. And those people will walk into hospitals, and hospitals will find way to get Medicare reimbursement for them. Its similar to a back door draft in our wars. The private health insurers are still motivated to not insure the same 50 million citizens they didn’t insure last year, and you can bet they are quick at work finding ways to not cover them.

It’s something the Republicans simply don’t understand. You don’t have the option to not provide health care to people. I know it’s a deep concept, but until you start the conversation ready to admit that 100% of the population is going to get medical care if they seek it, you continue to throw useless histrionics at the problem.

The only real conversation you can have about Medicare is cost control. The industry paid you dearly to not have that conversation, so you opportuned elsewhere. Can anyone tell me the pro Social Security lobby budget? I know AARP will be up in arms when Social Security gets demagogued, but financially they are a flea in comparison to the combined forces of the health care interests.

So go ahead Joe Scarborough, tell us all how you want seniors to cut their entitlements first and those other problems can go on. I can’t wait.

3) One thing that Scarborough got right: Phil Griffin is panicking right now because he gave Lawrence O’Donnell his own show. That performance today was nearly on par with Joaquin Phoenix’s rap movie.

That dress down of Richard Trumpka was disgusting. The guy who has previously gone jugular on Marc Thiessen, Paul Cantor, Phil Musser and a cast of others can’t wait to have everyone whom he feels needs a good screaming at on his own show. The new show should be titled:

“When Crazy Larry Attacks”

I really am a fan of the in control version of Lawrence. His ability to find saliency on complex political issues leads the way whenever he is on Morning Joe. He is less effective in his various fill-in hosting jobs because the structure leads him to the bent version of himself that stops all debate and starts heaping vitriol.

That in control version comes from the framework of being a moderate foil to the combination of Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan. Those guys need a moderate foil. Especially Joe Scarborough due to his penchant for projecting wishful thinking on the likelihood of outcomes.

Take today, Boehner is too much of an unknown to be targeted in the Obama speech in Ohio. Pat Buchanan: “Targeting Downward” , Joe Scarborough “no national traction”. But wait Ezra Klein “it was in Boehner’s home state”, Tina Brown “Obama should call these do nothings out and forcefully” John Heilman “ditto on the ‘good to see Obama fighting” and Chuck Todd “they do need a target for their message” and O’Donnell: well, O’Donnell didn’t have a take because it was the Crazy Larry version and he was busy doing the Joaquin thing. But only Buchanan and Scarborough roped off the negative critique and presented it as obvious doctrine.

I am pretty sure it’s incumbent on the Obama administration to point out the cast of nobodies voters are about to put in charge of the legislature. I understand voter anger about the economy, about alienation of the white middle of America viewing a leadership that includes an African American, a woman, and Harry Reid. But as they go the other way with a tidal wave force they have to know these guys they’re putting in are known shoplifters and they are about to finish the pilfering they started under George W. Bush.

There’s a reason why there is no visible leader of the Republican party: no one wants to be the mug shot when their disingenuity is found out. That’s why John Boehner seems like Roland Burris right now. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for Boehner who’s career path should’ve topped out a long time ago.

But don’t expect Pat or Joe to figure that out for you, they’re busy trying to sell a script.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Armed With 15% Of The Facts And A Howitzer

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for September 8th, 2010


1) How embarrassing is Tim Kaine? Audacity is defined as making that quip “I don’t pretend anyone remembers a DNC chairmen 3 minutes after they’re gone”. Ummm, I think every registered Democrat remembers the last DNC chairman, that guy who WON elections. Howard Dean.

But rather than just lament the critical velocity in reverse that the above misquidedness represents, it’s more important to point out the sheer lack of lucidity when Kaine speaks. It is all rosy if you ask Mr. Kaine. Often you hear people say this would all be a little easier if someone in government was simply speaking like adults or business men (not their publicists).

That is the opposite of the effect given off when Kaine describes how strong the Health Care Reform polls. That is just wishful thinking and amateurish projection of that wishful thinking. Health Care polls as poorly as possible because the part people need is 40 months away, and all we can think about as we wait those 40 months is the sheer capitulation that occurred defanging the needed reform. When HCR gets in place will we then find out it actually has been outflanked by defensive maneuvers by the insurers who’ve had the 40 months to get back to status quo?

The bottom line on our current DNC chairman is that he is the doctor whose bedside manner is so bad that he just lies. He tells the cancer victim that recovery is imminent so that he doesn’t have to do the tough work of telling them to write their will. Kaine is selling lottery tickets with his prediction that the Democrats will come back. All of the ‘he has to do that rationale’ is actually the strategy of the other side. This side gets its backbone by saying the truth, which is not centrist doctrine. The Kucinich's and Weiners of the world don’t go down making false promises that a nonexistent turnaround is just around the corner. They appeal to passion, and in Tim Kaine representation of the role of the DNC chairman today, could you spot that passion in any lucid form? No, it just seemed like a door to door Xerox salesman who would say anything.

While I’m throwing darts at that guy, I want to point out that there was a publicity stunt in February where it was leaked that Kaine would finally fulfill his potential as DNC Chair because Virginia inaugurated a new governor and Kaine would no longer have to split his time. His focus in the six months since has made things worse as he has been free to make more half pronouncements in a day than previously possible.

2) Now, its actually good news that Joe Scarborough can’t actually stop talking about the positive economic effects of extending tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. That opposing the extension is “mindless”. You can already see the retort on the Daily Show. Joe Scarborough would walk into this ambush like a basic training flunkee.

You can pick from about 87 3 minute rants all with the same message, jump to Mika endorsing with a “you’ve been saying that all along”, and then play 25 guests on the Morning Joe show that have lined up to say in a deep as available science that the economic foundation of Joe Scarboroughs argument is 100% fallacy.

One would say on an ROI basis with limited available funds, tax cuts to the rich are in last place, another would say it’s not 2% small business its less than that, a third small business growth we seek primarily offshoots from manufacturing growth, not singular business. At the end of 25, none of which would need to be Paul Krugman or Robert Reich mind you, it would be obvious that Joe Scarborough stands in distant opposition to genuine economic consensus, and makes you wonder about his motivation in doing so.

I fully realize that this rationale has zero effect on Joe or John Boehner’s complete rejection of letting the tax cuts expire, but I think there is also a growing consensus of people forced into a better understanding of economics by tough times asking why those leaders pursue this path? It seems dishonest with great costs to America associated to those dishonest claims.

The more middle America hears a false argument, the more a baseline realization that we're being duped sets in. We used to talk about how in polls Americans embarrassingly told pollsters they thought Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks. It’s safe to say that the awfulness of that national misunderstanding has corrected itself through repeating with great frequency just how embarrassingly wrong it was.

Similarly, Americans on the right, in the Tea Party or towards the middle right of America, will look with a degree of humiliation at where they were duped into making the comparatively poor investment of repealing a tax on the top 2% of America instead of directly investing in new jobs for their constituencies. You aren’t in that 2%. Supply side economics is the economics of waiting for crumbs, and you don’t have time to wait. Direct investments in your constituencies revive economies at a 2 to 1 rate compared to tax repeals for the rich, because the rich have the option to NOT spend the money, which they exercise at least HALF the time.

Why do John Boehner and Joe Scarborough make the trickle down case at every opportunity in defiance of any logic except the artificial one they simply concoct on the spot? It can only be one of two reasons: they are in the 2% or they are paid to protect the interest of the 2%.

3) As suspicious as I am about Maria Bartiromo, it was happy to see her on the show trying to find common ground with Arianna Huffington. But before that Willie Geist did a connect the jobs duty by asking Maria to weigh in on the small business negative impact of the tax cut for the rich debate. She of course ducked the question, instead going with the fact that if you want to talk negligible, talk about the amount of money the government gets via the top 2% returning to a 29.9% federal rate. It’s insignificant, its $36 billion dollars. Does that seem insignificant to you? Or did she just put some words together and hope nobody would check?

But yes, Arianna and Maria found middle ground. It’s as if Maria had a bit of an awakening working on her book where she was forced to analyze the role of market touts in explaining away the criminal behavior that’s taken control of Wall Street. Well, I obviously took it too far, but let’s see if over time Maria starts to look for an exit from fallacy island.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lucidity Takes A Holiday, Part Seven

The Opposition Rebuttal to Morning Joe for September 7th, 2010


1) Boy, this show is all about piling on. Don’t let it deter you that the Morning Joe cast sat around the campfire for the same 14 months they now complain about and predicted the end of health care and provided exactly zero jobs solutions while cynically complaining about that thing they couldn’t refine themselves.

So when Erin Burnett says that you need $2 trillion in infrastructure investment to simply find competitiveness with the Chinese, and you trot out the Zbigniew Brzezinski line about getting off of the plane from China and feeling DC to be comparatively in 1975, do you think that’s where you put the period?

See, that’s where your take is supposed to go. Yea, the whole cast was on vacation last week, and when you get to the non multiple choice part of your show it gets cumbersome, but that’s why you had to say the word ‘cynical’ about yourself all day today: it’s so easy to bash your opponents that when you have to set the bar for yourselves low, red herring baiting without detail provides the best return on investment.

Let’s not forget that you killed the stimulus from day one, but never said where you would have stood if it had been effective stimulus instead of the Pelosi handout. That is a defacto obstruction on par with what the Republicans have done this entire congressional term. I’m sad about the $787 billion too, but you’re Google away from being able to see an MJR blueprint in detail for the $2 trillion Erin mentions above. You? Tax cuts? Or just spurious kill the bill sound bites?

2) So, did Morning Joe think they were just gonna slink their new ad planner through and no one would notice? Are you kidding me? Remember when Joe Scarborough said as loud as he could that repealing anti-trust for health care insurers was key to a free enterprise solution? Let’s count the number of times that he brings that subject out of it’s box now that United Health is running lobby level endorsements of the Morning Joe show.

I was pretty depressed when Tom Daschle and Howard Dean took the money. I am a lot less depressed about Morning Joe taking the money. But just don’t go around pretending that you are no longer free of compromise on an issue that will continue to kill more people than smoking in the United States until change manifests. That’s right United Health owns monopoly health care operations in states like California, where individual plans go up 30% October 1st without debate. They are the operational equation behind where does that 32 cents of your health care dollar go that doesn’t go to health care? Switzerland and the Netherlands mandate that private industry health insurance revenues flow through at 90%. But your new sponsor will masquerade as the benign endorsement of Mika’s health walk in a BP-esque attempt to have a neutral credibility derived from that endorsement.

And oh yea, Ethanol? I was going to predict that you were re-upping with Extenze on the west coast, then the ethanol lobby beat me to it. Maybe Morning Joe has stumbled on a new business venture. Howitzer some part of the political spectrum, the least nationally useful the better, and see if they turn around and counter your message with those Archer Daniels Midland style branding ads to keep their momentum.

What I think Chris Licht should consider, is during the next round of mass vacations Morning Joe pre tape a segment with people who look like newscasters but actually work for either the Ethanol lobby or United Health. Then read editorials about the validity of these entities as if they were news. Maybe 10 minutes each? Possibly add a witty title like ‘Shine A Golden Light On Ethanol’ or 'Health Care Is A Privilege And Not A Right’.

That’s called double dipping my friend, a paid segment that looks like programming that you can repeat, thus lowering programming cost at the same time. Credibility? That sand castle found high tide a while ago.

3) I’m not as horrified by the sameness as I might sound. This is really just where Morning Joe and the country are going at nearly similar trajectories. But, alas, I do need to write everyday and the show doesn’t seem like it can provide content at that frequency in it’s current form. Sort’ve like that playground that seems smaller and smaller upon each return.

I’m happy to check in when the urge to throw the remote at the TV strikes, but the show seems incapable of surprise or traction at this point. Joe Scarborough is going to pontificate on approximately 15% of an issue as if it was the whole range of description or analysis available, Mika Brzezinski is going to be unconvincing in an Alan Colmes sort of way as the lefty foil, Mike Barnicle is going to take the days events and boil them into 60 seconds of Will Rogers without a call to action, and friends of the show will join them not in bringing about a new dynamic understanding of the world, but a hallow hip shot of the sort that gets us the election results of 2004 delivered in a nice mid term version this November.

It’s not like there are a million options out there. I haven’t watched Chris Matthews in a very long time, Dylan needs a spokesman, Keith is funny, but not helpful, Rachel is funny, but just funny, Ed is radio with a camera, and Lawrence’s new promo clip for his show shouts needs work at the top of its lungs. CNN is really out in the wilderness, save Fareed, Fox requires decompression, and Jon Stewart works a 4 day work week when he works, with a 39 hour delay. And Stewart, as funny and on point as he is, is really committed to less is more with 100 or so writers doing 2 segments and an interview as their semi daily yield.

As a collective cable news returns far less social good for money invested than our government run health care or educational systems. Television in general is a chief enabler of the breakdown in our political system. The news part is wholly owned by status quo industry barons, and the commercials that run the lions share of campaigns cost so much money, they are the real reason lobbyists have so much power. If you are GE, NBC, MSNBC or channel 39 in San Diego, you have a vested interest in keeping politics viewable best via your prism. Every single service to that interest is slightly defeated by solution, slightly leveraged by status quo or stalemate conflict.

We talked about the perverse dollar motivations in our health care system where cost control has zero incentive at any part of the health care process, doctors and patients feel best when they spend far beyond rationality. Television’s command of politics is that same reverse logic. In England when another not paid for advertisement runs, an executive at Sky News cries a silent tear for the what could have been as it exists in the US. Marketers are having a field day and myopic optics like the 'Young Guns' prove the point at each turn.

It’s an important addendum that political advertisement is sky rocketing at 312 times the rate of job growth. The only other multiplier out there that is similar is the current CEO to average employee pay in the United States. It’s a growth industry, a gravy train because it’s a war between the nations corporations and the nation’s people. Guess where the money is?

I still think that Joe Scarborough is a populist at heart. But remembering his core reasons for that populism isn’t getting any easier every day results like this are on his timecard.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Elements Of Disintegration

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for September 3rd, 2010


1) What should have been a ho-hum Friday filler with vacation coverage casting turned into a 9 way labyrinth of economic upheaval. Chris Jansing was quoting Anne Kornbluth, and Willie Geist was Eddie Haskell-ing his way through Pulitzer prizers and wunderkind like it was easy.

I’m not so sure that Carl Bernstein is right in his pessimism for the future, and actually Matt Lewis made the most salient point to counter said pessimism by encouraging all parties to not fear the shared power version of government. So what if the Republicans own some part of the legislative body? Won’t it just draw them out into actually having to govern as opposed to the convenient cover they have right now to not actually having to do anything, and the gain they make as a minority via obstruction?

You may not like Republican obstruction, or negative campaign ads. But it is now doctrine that both practices are highly effective. There are only two ways to end the obstruction, share power or bury the Republican Senate below 40 votes during a Democratic House. The only option that is in our future is the former, and embracing it isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, if you are pro government effectiveness, you have to see the shared power scenario as more useful than if the Democrats squeak out two victories.

I really take issue with the fact that we have to give up the House to the Republicans, when it is the Senate that is the most compromised away from effective government. It would actually be far better for America in a shared power environment if the Senate went Republican and the House stayed Democrat. That makes the Republicans responsible for the filibuster nonsense, removes the Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson corruption, and leaves subpoena power in the vault where it belongs.

2) The news surrounding the on air debate was fair cause for Bernstein’s depression. The Obama administration coming out and saying no second stimulus is a very bad optic showing that administration as hapless. That message should have been ‘we will do whatever it takes’. Instead the message is we are hamstrung by the political will of Washington and Congress.

The point above about Matt Lewis noting the effective possibilities in a shared power environment was even more shocking given that he made an idiot out of himself trotting out Bush era fallacy economics, which was torn apart by 4 other guests like a zebra on the Serengeti Plain. But listening to the Carl Bernstein part of the tear down was particularly poignant because it hit the Obama headwind right on the head. Obama can’t win with logic because the Republicans have succeeded in making a nonsensical economic theorem stick in the voter psyche. The ideology that serves the Republican theorem is not made to make the economy better or life better for the middle class, it is to arrange words in any order possible to say you are making the economy better while actually pilfering the tax base, cutting services and entitlements to the middle class, and privatizing government via sweetheart deals that enrich enablers. All this and then Lewis finishes by proving the double speak mantra with the unemployment number.

The unemployment number ticks down but the rate ticks up because of the good news, and the brutally honest Matt Lewis take is if Republicans parade the negative optics of the rate around then the voter won’t ever see the positive fine print number that carries it. That is Lord Of The Flies stuff, up is down, down is up, make the negative louder, making sense be damned.

3) Then, with a very long base of information feeding it, Eugene Robinson comes on and uses unfortunate words to describe the phenomenon of voter irrationality. The voter isn’t irrational because they suddenly became selfish or ‘spoiled brats’. They were taught. Taught by the Republican Party that says no taxation is ever safe on their watch. Taught by the Democratic Party that includes corrupt expenditures masked as provision in its spending plans.

Voters were more accustomed to an employer who provided many of the services other countries rely on their government for. As those employers turn the page on honestly providing job security, health care and pensions, that voter has been forced into an irrational position of having to go back to the government looking for those services.

The ultimate genesis of this voter irrationality, at least on my radar, was California proposition 13. A promise was made to find ways other than property taxes to pay for the Rolls Royce educational system and local governments in California, but those governments were no longer going to have the power to stay solvent via property taxes. This morphed over 35 years to become the mainstay public persona of the Republican party. The problem was whenever it was time to discuss solvency, the promise to remain solvent was broken, and deficit governments emerged everywhere. The California education and services systems are fatally wounded at this point, and the voter base doesn’t find it convenient to look at solutions. They have been taught when the dirty little secret of solvency shows up, you can turn your head the other way.

35 years ago, 99.9% of people never considered that they would be propped up by unemployment insurance, or that privatized health care would be afforded monopoly power and allowed to consume 32 cents of every health care dollar spent on ‘administration’, or that United Airlines would be allowed to use bankruptcy to void pensions and tell retired mechanics to go drive a truck to live out their days on this planet because their pension was gone. There was no such thing as a 401k 35 years ago.

No you have taught the voter that government can get real small just by cutting off the tax revenue spigot, but you conveniently left out the fact that your new sevices partner is the unwilling potpourri of for profit banks, for profit health care companies, for profit colleges and student lenders, and for profit security firms. They don’t want to be taxed, they lobby the government into a hapless quivering mass, and they consider the middle class to be useless eaters unless they have a dollar left to spend.

The only thing left in the hands of the voter is the voter booth. But even that ‘vote the bums out’ ability seems to be operating in a manageable range. The Democrats have been forced to lie about their accomplishments, calling them ‘health care reform’ and ‘financial regulatory reform’ and ‘the end of combat operations’ when what’s left of the objective journalists in the country uniformly state that each of those descriptions is a misnomer.

It’s not a temper tantrum, Mr. Robinson. When that plane crashed into Rockaway Beach, the FAA figured out that the pilot, while trying to regain control, thrust the rudder all the way left then all the way right so many times that he eventually broke the tail of the plane off causing disintegration.

The voters are right there, right now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

I was inspired today by a small comment in a Paul Krugman blog post: far as I can tell, hardly any of the new anti-Obamanites is thinking at all about what will really happen once John Boehner is speaker.

I was equally revolted by Morning Joe commentary concerning the coming doom of the mid term elections, without even mentioning the Howard Dean differentiating take from yesterday.

So I made an exercise for us to try and imagine this time next year.

[editors note: there is no way that I will ever top the seminal outing of the Morning Joe idiosynchratic parade contained in last month's video. This is not that at all, and this new one is really just trying to hard focus on one topic that Paul Krugman and I feel like the nation could use some help visualizing]

Monday, August 30, 2010

Headless Horseman

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for August 30th, 2010


1) If anyone sees anything other than great news out of the Glenn Beck debacle over the weekend, I may not be able to help you. The right is agitated and they want change now. But the fact is despite a spoiled brat mentality that covers the entire right of center spectrum, there is no leader. I know the feeling, because I lived it for 6+ years from the other side. John Kerry? Nothing elicits helplessness more fiercely than having the ‘for it before I was against it’ guy running your squad.

Glenn is out there because of the opportunity brought on by the absence of anyone approximating leadership in the Republican Party. Even if there were an heir apparent, his advisers would have him in an ice cave in Saskatchewan avoiding the recent implosion of the right into its two base parts. Recently is misleading, because the right has been best described as a poster child for identity crisis for the better part of a decade. Let gays in or persecute? Brown skinned Republicans or refuge for those of European descent? Like or dislike Eric Rudolph? All of these seemingly absurd questions show the peril of wanting to be on the right side of humanity without offending the extreme base of the party.

Enter master of doublespeak Glenn Beck. I know nothing of this man, proudly. When I try to watch the guys show, anything else seems more entertaining or informative. I basically get the feeling he is just guessing as he goes along with a piece of chalk in his hand. But look, there’s nothing hiding the fact that Rupert and Roger don’t want him actually making sense or his show even watchable. The more of a catacomb of self serving code that the show is, the more of a convenient device it is to be all things to all of the people mentioned above. There were brown skinned people at the rally and people who didn’t like having brown skinned people, well, at the rally. They were too confused by a lack of any real agenda to question why they were in the same circumstance without a partition.

My favorite fact overviewing the rally was the instruction sent out beforehand to avoid signage. It might as well have said: 'make Joe Scarborough guess your stand on the 2nd amendment, don’t make it obvious that you’re a 99.9% over my dead body crowd'. It was very hard to abide by that instruction. The Toby Keith garb was an overwhelming trend.

I can’t wait. Next, Glenn will say “let’s all meet just over the Potomac in Manassas and settle this thing once and for all”. The population is just weak enough right now because of everything that Glenn Beck is not talking about, to believe that might be the answer.

Lead to your untimely demise by a puppet being strung along by an Australian guy, you really need a leader to emerge prior.

2) Joe Scarborough has declared war on Paul Krugman. Krugman is the whipping post for Scarborough’s scathing dismissal of all things John Maynard Keynes. Amazingly, Scarborough gets away with this despite having offered nearly zero solutions of his own. These are difficult times and what this war on Krugman and Keynes embodies is a disastrous demonizing process when we need solutions and everything should be on the table.

Keynes does not equal stimulus in his theoretical entirety. In fact the thing I find the most interesting about Keynes has to do with regulatory policy. Keynes was for significant segmentation of the financial services and would have been absolutely horrified at the black box that currently best describes the lawlessness that the entire industry operates under. Keynes also has another key ingredient: that the private financial sector has an obligation towards progressing a national goal of full employment.

Now as you digest those two things, ponder that they are higher order elements of Keynesian theory than stimulus to replace spending in a time of crisis. So if you want to wage a war on Krugman and Keynes, you owe your subscribers more than the sound bite sensibility you have exhibited in your vitriolic dismissal of these two great economists.

If you think Krugman called you stupid or insane, you know he has zero inhibition about coming on your show to shine a light on the circumstance or context of that. I agree with the Joe Scarborough assertion that once you base your argument in one dimensional insults like this, the argument is essentially over because you’ve stated that the other side is void of credibility. The bottom line is if the answer really does lie inclusive of some of the things these two historically credible people endorse, they need you to help explain it to the lost souls described in section #1 above.

Those guys around you with economic bonifides: Sorkin, Sachs, etc; I don’t think they would endorse a cold shoulder where a significant part of the collective answer might lie. Ask them.

3) You guys have really lost the plot as it pertains to Erin Burnett. The top 3 things got weighted down by a bunch of Cramer-esque props, and now she is back to fighting to get any intelligent discussion going. Mr. Licht, you had something, you had a path to getting Erin to be an asset, and then it kept getting tinkered with. Can’t you get enough control of the show to not lose assets like this with histrionics as the culprit?

We had this discussion a long time ago when the show got bent on features and forgot to cover the news. This is a microcosm of that discussion. Even when you watch Erin on CNBC she rarely gets an opportunity to wax philosophical on what she sees. You own the real estate ideally equipped to get that conversation from her, void of all the necessary CNBC automations, just what she thinks about things. Yet you let it slip away into a cooking show day after day.

It was a notable evolution of the show just minutes earlier when Howard Dean was done with a segment, and by the reverse magic of television did not have to disappear, in fact, reappearing magically to provide balance to at least two more segments. I remember a few weeks ago when the segment Dean was on was notably short, or shortened. Dean is a cornucopia of knowledge from the other side, and I think it was a great part of the show today when Willie Geist got a chance to ask Howard what he thought of Mark Halperin’s negative election prognosis for Democrats in November.

If you recall I was furious about the Halperin prognosis. But look at the track record of the Morning Joe show: health care has no chance, it’s Hillary for sure in '08, I’m sure there’s more, but the point is, you aren’t very good at prognoses regarding the Democrats, because your cast leader is on the other side. He is projecting his wish list on the Democrats, takes his pocket calculator with him, and needs an azimuth check by guys like Howard Dean periodically.

You have people like Dean and Burnett surrounding you, be sure you aren’t cutting them off and then filling in the blanks with what you wish they would have said or predicted.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vote For The Skunk

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for August 25th, 2010


1) I want to talk to the 55 congressional districts bent on pitching their Democratic congressperson for a Republican one. I want to go to work for the DCCC tomorrow and make 55 micro campaigns happen. It would look like this:

A skunk emits a stink that envelopes an entire Country or District, that skunk then says vote for me because it stinks in here, and that skunk is John Boehner and his proxy in your town.

We should have done more to correct economic conditions, but why didn’t we? Could it have anything to do with a campaign of obstruction on the other side? Does the average American voter maintain the irrationality needed to vote for the architects of stagnation in Government?

We should have really reformed health care instead of falsely naming the prevailing capitulation ‘reform’. Does that same voter believe that the capitulation occurred within the Democratic congressional caucus? The agents of dilution were in the White House, Rahm Emmanual, and the Senate, Max Baucus. You are throwing the people the least responsible for the diluted nature of the health care attempt out, and subsequently doing the bidding of the party of the company store.

We should already be looking at the Consumer Protection czar Elizabeth Warren. The fact that we aren’t is likely in the hands of lame duck Senator Chris Dodd, and White House jelly David Axelrod. Do you really want to pitch out your Congressman for someone who will come down on the wrong side of ‘Banks versus People’?

There is virtually no issue where the Republican party has the high ground. They have made a perilous place for us to live in, and are telling you that unless you put them back in office the economy, run by their chief campaign benefactors, will continue to hoard the money from the bailout within our nations corporate coffers and will refuse to do their part to path the nation towards recovery.

That isn’t a campaign slogan, that is a threat, and no fear mongering is base enough for any member of the Republican Party to utilize to regain political control. Once in control, the Republican economic recovery will be designed for those at the top of the food chain and the former middle class will await the descent of crumbs in subsequent time periods.

As you can probably tell, I am infuriated at the glib insinuation that it’s over for the Democratic congress. Mr. Van Hollen feel free to shoot me an email anytime at and I”ll go spend the next 90 days putting the above message into your 55 most perilous districts in a way that I’m not sure traditional campaign tactics are capable of.

Like I said a couple of months ago to Harry Reid’s campaign, if you think the under 35 crowd is ready to let the guy who got health care through the Senate get ousted as a reward for his work, you are mistaken. The same is true here. If you think that the under 35 crowd wants to see the legislative body that most closely resembles the truth in progress regress to rubberstamp land, you have misjudged. They want jobs, but the days of being held hostage by pro-corporate trickle down theory for those jobs are ancient history, and that is all your opponents have.

As a footnote, Chris Christie is coveted property in Republican circles for his determination to be fiscally responsible and not to tax in a time of economic crisis. Anyone who mixes up his state level governing with what happens in Washington is being duped. Executive control of a state is a much different thing, even though it’s not currently obvious to us in California. I also would wait a little bit before getting too glowing on Gov. Christie, and look at the results a couple years in: did he fire teachers or kill sweetheart corporate contracts first? There are $578 million dollar schools across this corrupt land, and they have to be a deficit mending priority.

2) Morning Joe had Jim Cramer on yesterday, and he made small talk over all kinds of mosque related time wasters and baseball and whatever else trotted across a discombobulated set. Then, when it was time for his show he made a special comment on markets that called out everyone but especially the President in a very bearish statement.

Why have a show like Morning Joe if you have these guest on that will make news and have important takes a few hours later, but you have them bogged down in distraction land. This isn’t an indictment of Mika Brzezinski, who did an admirable job of hard line interrogation of anyone she thought was making political opportunism their selfish priority, but more a Chris Licht question. Why do you think it’s a good idea to have your show look like a 10 million dollar jungle gym by missing this stuff? Why not be out in front that if Cramer has a boilup on his mind, if he is genuinely impassioned about something, it must be part of your show?

I don’t agree with a lot of Cramer’s take in his diatribe, the Geithner adulation, the take that Obama’s limitations are the significant part of the malaise in the stock market, that these items are priority reasons why companies aren’t hiring. In fact, in keeping with #1 above, I think it’s actually part of the problem that 30 years into to trickle down economics we have stumbled on the dirty little downside of that school of thought: we have to ask big business to stop holding the country’s middle class hostage, and they get to lobby for a further position of control of the levers of the country that affect them as a result. That is nothing if not showing the opposite nature of civic and corporate intent.

Business is meant to be harnessed, there is a way to do it, but it is evaporating one Citizen’s United at a time. That debate could have been had on the Morning Joe show with the Cramer, but instead, hilarity ensued.

3) Pat Buchanan almost got it out and on the discussion table, but the similarity between the Florida senate election and the eventuality that Mike Bloomberg will be our next president is uncanny. A populist (Bloomberg or Christ) supplants the extremist (Rubio or Palin) as the conservative yet centrist choice in order to have a level head in the game versus the Democrat. Hopefully this premonition is in designs for 2016, driven by the fact that the Florida Democrat is weak as the example and no one is heir apparent to Obama. As an investor, Bloomberg knows running against Obama in 2012 is a risky.

We are forced to accept the trend that there hasn’t been an election with two qualified candidates for President in recent memory. Often, neither are qualified. The job is so hard that when we see people who might be able to do the job, we saw that in Obama and it may yet pan out, we as a nation coalesce around a path to get them in the chair. Bush 43, Gore, Kerry, McCain, Mondale, Dukakis, Romney, Palin or Pawlenty: None of them should have ever been or ever be near that chair.

Bloomberg will likely get a chance to survey the field and walk into the White House unopposed in 2016. He will be seen like the microcosm similarity of Governor Christ in Florida as the sane choice, party regardless. Hillary Clinton stands an outside chance of changing this, but we will know more when and if the Biden-Clinton swap occurs in 2012.

If Bloomberg chooses 2012, it’s not so clear.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.