Friday, January 29, 2010

The 58 Market Strategy

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 29th, 2010


Observations:


1) There are 472 elections coming to congress this year. For the first time in our lifetime, the mid term elections have an easy to access amalgamator on wikipedia that allows you to track competitive races and see where all of these Democratic seats are going to be lost.


What if Obama got there first? What if a designated marketing area analysis was made and each DMA of a competitive race was targeted for town halls, not cozy co-campaigns, but town halls where a voter felt like he was entering into a contract with the party to implement in a timely manner his will, not the will of lobbyist or incumbents.


As much as we would like to go to Iowa again, a state that Obama carried in the election, and get our revenge against Chuck Grassley, we know that Arkansas and Illinois are where better outcomes opportune themselves. It’s a wonderful double message: Arkansas and Illinois get a real contract for change, but Iowa, unless you can work out your issues, you’re stuck with Grassley for a 58th year, and he is a senile embarrassment.


The town halls, the Q and A’s, the letting the voter tell Obama directly how disappointing 2009 and his caving on health care were, these are the real messages voters want heard. The only way the message won’t be Scarborough’s distortion, '75% of America didn’t want health care’, and will be the true take of the independent voter, ‘keep lobbyist out of the equation like you promised, and protect consumers’, is if the voice of the voter gets 58 chances to be heard between now and November 2nd.


2) The interview with the leader of the teachers union was disgusting. I really felt like the cast of the show did a wonderful job pinning Randi Weingarten down that she, in fact, did cost the New York educational system $700 million dollars by her action. But, when it should have gotten further detailed, when she should have been forced to parse the ‘we want this for all teachers’ and ‘get the teachers the tools they need’ lines, to expose them for the self serving double speak they are, the cast stopped short.


‘We want this for all teachers and all students’ is a thinly veiled stiff arm to competition in the educational arena. If the quote could have also been ‘we don’t want to compete with the charter school for resources’ then the quote is double speak. Joe and Willie Geist are on top of this issue and need to mount a more vigorous campaign when facing the single biggest bottleneck to teacher accountability with unprecedented access. Randi Weingarten is a perfect example of the kind of obstruction that used to be rampant in the old municipal world, that can today be turned over like so many mossy rocks due to better availability of all angles of information on the matter.


Rather than call this a setback, I think of this missed opportunity as more of a call to action for the show as it looks for new ways to cover greater availability of information and evolves as an advocate of better educational results.


Arne Duncan just can’t get enough coverage, and a solid next step would be to have him back to look at the situation as the missing third element to this story. Unfortunately there is a fourth element to the story as well, and if the New York state legislature is anything like the California one, shame doesn’t work with those bag men.


3) One of the things that Morning Joe could be doing more often is showing available paths forward and strategies. I know that was done today with an analysis of the way forward for health care. But if, for a second, we looked at health care as a giant symptom of the more fundamental problems that are coming up over and over again, the Bernie Sanders ‘Congress is in the pocket of lobbyist’ and the Ron Brownstein ‘lets get 51 vote rule in the Senate if the megatrend is parliamentary in its partisan divide’, then the show should be at that level in it’s discussion. Aren’t these 2 subjects more important than even election reform, if it could be argued that election reform is also a symptom and would be diluted if tackled before congressional reform?


What are the paths forward to get lobbyist out? To get the cloture rule out? Is it referendum? Is it legal challenge? Could the Senate move to 51 vote rule with 51 votes on its session bylaws vote that starts every session? What experts can the show deliver to examine whether this is an attainable goal?


What I don’t want to see is these things covered as passing references in passionate statements by credible guests a fifteenth and sixteenth time without the show giving that more fundamental debate teeth. It’s all about the order of things and if you stick to the jobs vs. health debate, you are playing it safe, and all the while refusing to move the debate closer to the frustrations of the American people. Those voters wan’t government to be less paralyzed, and they want lobbyists out.


Randi Weingarten could’ve just as easily been a lobbyist for CIGNA or Senator Joe Lieberman with the doublespeak she got away with today.


That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What We Learned Today is “That We Have A Broken Legislative Body That Will Cause The Country Problems For A Long Time”

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 28th, 2010


Observations:


1) That is a real quote above from Mort Zuckerman in the normally fluffy “What Did We Learn Today” segment of the show. When an absolute captain of industry is that depressed at the state of things, it has to be a front and center concern for all of us. Joe Scarborough claims that the rules of the legislative body prevent it from swinging wildly, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem. Paralysis seems to be the problem, the ‘broken’ in Mort’s statement.


Look at the Republicans during the state of the union address. They had all of the posture of an invading army just out of reach of the cannons. They had the confident look of ‘we will be in charge this time next year’. I am the first to admit that the claims of obstruction go both ways. But the motivations of those parallel actions are so vastly different that we have to take a second to understand them before we can digest what we’re seeing.


The Republicans are lockstep to a mantra of anti-big government. They obstruct because they feel like Democrats are giving away the store via new unfundable mandates and entitlements. Government run health care, government established pollution policy. They say let the free market take care of itself or you will inhibit business beyond it’s ability to grow the economy.


The Democrats when in a similar situation in 2004 made similarly desperate obstructions a daily occurrence and hissed at President Bush’s address. They felt the Bush administration had made calculated, disengenuious claims that took us into an unnecessary war, but that also the war and the prescription drug overhaul and the tax cuts and the actions by the EPA were all mechanisms to transfer power and wealth to a small elite segment of the private sector.


Halliburton was Dick Cheney’s first taste of real wealth in this world. He got that job because he was a Defense Secretary. Once installed as a CEO there, he was an interested party in their well being forever. The magnitude of their enrichment by the Iraq war is still not fully understood. The fact that they profited to a far greater extent because Cheney and Rumsfeld did such a lousy job prosecuting the first 90 days of post invasion occupation has never really been examined as a potential strategy for the greatest war profiteering scheme in human history.


Yea, Democrats were obstructing in congress in 2004. this has nothing to do with the size of government. Yea the Republicans are bent on a zero outcome for 2010, until they think they can regain power and possibly move the 2012 presidential election towards Mitt Romney. This also has nothing to do with the size of government. Ladies and gentlemen, the ‘broken’ in Mort Zuckerman’s statement is that the two parties are on either side of the transfer of wealth issue, and that sneering, arms crossed group of 41 Senators and 178 Congressmen will have a tough time explaining why a smaller government will help you keep your money away from their clients Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, Eli Lilly, CIGNA, Exxon Mobil, and Comcast. Do your job as a voter and make them explain that before you put them back in power.


2) Katrina Vanden Heuvel had a spot at the table when Tim Kaine was on the show today and really missed a great opportunity. It is so crucial, and was literally set up for her by a fantastic grenade by Mika when she asked the DNC chairman if he was sucking up in his state of the union analysis and made Kaine explain himself on a reality check basis.


We all want to know where Kaine was in the Massachusetts election. There he was, there was Katrina, and nothing. Everyone on the set at that time is responsible for this misstep, you’ve as a cast setback your journalistic goals, but Katrina, cmon!


Kaine should have spent the entire time squirming out of his role in the Massachusetts debacle and been asked to compare and contrast his contribution to the DNC chairmanship to Howard Dean’s, and then he should’ve been asked if he should still be getting paid for that job, or was he actually being paid by CIGNA. Kaine should literally be fighting for his life right now and I’m shocked by the softballs.


3) I am impressed by the Joe Scarborough stand on the Justice Alito issue. I’m not taking sides, I think the campaign finance issue is horrible, the Supreme Court decision makes it worse, but it does us no good to argue from a distorted platform. As an optimist, I feel like the Supreme Court may have paved the way to get campaign finance reformed fully and finally. Our sister nations don’t allow paid television advertising and strictly limit the nature of campaign funding. We have to look at the equation of campaign finance and conflict of interest. We can’t keep putting loophole creators in with doublespeak names claiming to be campaign finance reform. We also can’t violate free speech. We also can’t deny market and profit impact of elections.


Just like healthcare reform is a lot simpler than 2600 pages. Campaign finance reform is a lot simpler than McCain Feingold. When it gets complicated, you’re being wagged.


McCain Feingold could be best described as a finger in the dike. Eventually it and everything else that only halfway accomplishes reform will be eroded away fully by a lawsuit or a planted loophole. That concept is not limited to this singular issue. It extends fully across our broken legislative and executive branches of government.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Shopping Mall Full Of News And You’ve Only Got One Bag

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 27th, 2010

Observations:


1) A failure to communicate. Tim Dickinson and Paul Ryan appear on the show within 2 minutes of each other. Ryan claims one of the biggest travesties of the Obama administration is the 132% increase in the budget of the EPA, Dickinson says the EPA is one of the few bright spots of the Obama administration.


This is a blooper of a scale I have not seen since Farrah Fawcett was on Charlie’s Angels. Did it just slip your mind to attempt to reconcile those two disparate takes? You called out 7 Senators for obstructing the people’s business for their counterproductive action on the deficit panel today, so fair is fair. Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle and Chris Licht were all three present for both interviews, Dylan Ratigan, Joe Scarborough, and Willie Geist were there for one or the other. Those top three names are called out for a class A fumble on national television.

What should've happened:

Mike Barnicle: “You know, Tim Dickinson, we just had Congressman Paul Ryan on the show in the last segment with a completely opposite take on the EPA, do you think his interest is citizen based or based on a relationship with the coal industry?”


Mika Brzezinski: “Tim, do you demonize Paul Ryan like you demonize Warren Buffet”


Chris Licht “Can we get Rep. Ryan back for a quick retort?”


You can salvage this by forensically showing the clips tomorrow and asking the two camps for comment. And for the sake of completion, Tim, you deserve some of the blame, as you saw the Ryan interview and missed a chance to show your point in the context of the previous guest. Sometimes, you have to lead them to water.


2) Who was that guest dressed like Dylan Ratigan? Why, that was Dylan Ratigan, who apparently is going to night school as no question had more than two qualifiers and actually had a grenade like precision. That was Dylan leveling ‘be more than rhetoric’ mandates without waving the camera to himself. Less broken, more effective, and subscribers can see the fear he raises in guests who are hiding any conflict.


The other part of this feel good story is a fierce determination by the entire cast, and Chuck Todd, and David Gregory to make a concise Dylan Ratigan their CNBC-on-a-stick. That is an ensemble comprehension that the reward for this strategy is to empower your Wall Street Kryptonite. Joe Scarborough was the best at this with strong cuts at any run on question from any angle that undermined the flow of a 7 way discussion, making it not just training wheels for Ratigan but the whole group to try and get this to be the discussion that carries the most weight on any air wave in today’s complex media.


That of course should be the course and your future. You have the same mandate the President has: to make sense as an ensemble of the time between tonight and November 2nd. This first step, if clipped against Ratigan’s last appearance, progresses the agenda: real right, real left, real Washington, real finance, all as one analytical measure of the road ahead.


3) But as proof that there is a perilous road ahead: the beef, part 2, with Scarborough and Goldman is Scarborough defending Goldman Sachs today. The take that ‘you can’t blame Goldman for making a profit in 2009’ is an indefensible statement and chapter two of a lack of comprehension of the situation on the ground. You certainly can blame Goldman for making a profit in 2009. Here’s a list of reasons and a timeline:


· Goldman manipulated the housing market bubble on both sides of the transaction: selling mortgage backed securities while also shorting them


· Goldman knew the level of the impending disaster 15 months before it occurred


· Goldman placed an executable strategy over the disaster based on that prior understanding of it and let it unfold for profit


· Goldman used it’s influence over Paulson and Geithner to engineer a resolution to the disaster it helped create that reduced its only real competitor in market making to rubble, opened the Fed window to it for the first time, and got it an undeserved 100 cents on the dollar buyout by the government of its illegitimately placed (see item 1 above) short play with AIG


· Goldman used the Fed window to it’s sole advantage for the entire 2009 year, not to rebuild domestic economies, but to move paper in proprietary trading that, like we’ve covered before, continues to drain our nation’s middle class of it’s wealth one pension evaluation at a time


· Goldman used all this momentum plus it's continued influence to have the recent bank tax initiative further it’s dominant position in the industry by being the least affected while it’s competitors will be far more significantly tethered. Erin Burnett said GS 'stepped on JP Morgan Chase’s neck' with this move on your show.


And you can’t blame Goldman Sachs for making a profit when that profit is chapter 5 of the “greatest transfer of wealth” quote you made how many times today? How can you not feel like one of the Washington dupes who let it happen when this gets by you? Ratigan? Apparently all the Elizabeth Warrens, Andrew Ross Sorkins and Dylan Ratigans in the world are still not an adequate failsafe system when you are at the center of the informational universe, yet still get fundamentally tripped up in real time.


As an optimist, this is a learning moment. We all got duped, we all sometimes feel envious of that guy, think Mark Cuban, who prospered via some Wall Street hijinks and now owns sports teams and a jet. Joe Scaroborough’s job as America’s everyman is to share a learning moment like this one with the people who trust him.


Hey, I could be wrong, tell me I’m wrong.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When Outnumbered: Name, Rank, And Serial Number

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 26th, 2010


Observations:


1) Chris Hayes and Michael Crowley had Joe Scarborough cornered. Joe had played possum along the incumbent point we’ve all made recently: that Dems and Republicans alike are in trouble if incumbent. Then Joe took a leap of faith when he claimed this is all the sign of a center right nation. Both guests didn’t react emotionally to the claim, they dropped science: Chris Hayes said this isn’t center anything, it’s anti incompletion because no administration can do the people’s business and appear to be at the service of Wall Street and special interests, while Michael Crowley took a dismissive interpretation by JS of Chris Hayes and knocked it out of the park with the simple science that between cloture and the redefining of the national demographic by the Senate, where California and Alabama have equal representation, the center right as a population is over represented by the most severe magnitude in government. The two takes, one the peoples judgment, and one the peoples representation, Joe Scarborough could only mutter his new catch phrase “nothing to see here, move along people”. Implying the guests were somehow misconstruing his altruistic version of the tea leaves.


The music played over loud protests by the two guests who were being mis-paraphrased to such an extent that Chris Hayes got a further question in asking Joe if there was a double standard or if JS the candidate would fall within the same expectations and use anti incumbency to his benefit in any case, revealing that the voter is getting duped whether the administration accomplishes it’s goals or not.


I call it possum because it’s the same thing that Mike Pence is doing in Indiana, but from a fa├žade of equal peril for both parties. Joe knows full well that anti incumbent has nothing to do with an anti big government platform but is instead cyclical. The size of government is coincidental with whomever resides in power at the time of the next upheaval. The voter is triggered by a feeling of powerlessness that corporate interests will continue to rule the day, and is continuing to send incumbents home in increasing droves.


2) This point was furthered by the Bob Herbert segment. All the same objections are there: we would’ve been in financial meltdown if we hadn’t acted when we did, and possibly the problems we face are ungovernable in our current structure. But there are two results of the actions we took financially, one good and one cataclysmic: we staved off a depression, but we gave every dollar we had to Wall Street, who traded the apocalypse for personal enrichment without recourse. Simultaneously, there is a worsening situation regarding doing the people’s business in Washington: the insiders are intent on holding on to power, and the war chest for doing so comes from the anti-populist interests, and the last vestiges of control over how that war chest is distributed just got thrown out by the supreme court.


The coming election will be the most obscene thing anyone has ever seen. Up will be down. Truth will be heresy. Over 100 people with the same look in their eyes as Mitt Romney will look into the camera and say literally whatever placation is available to them to make their base (the weakest, most fear based voters) walk in lockstep. It will be the disintegration of any inconvenient science or math or economic theory by sheer white noise in opposition, sort’ve like what we’ve seen on the global warming front, but on steroids.


Unfortunately, the anti-incumbent tendency of the independent voter favors a dramatic swing back to the pro-corporate profit camp, not by any wisdom, but simply by cyclical, emotional mechanics. If we said above that big or small government was accidental in the cyclical anti-incumbent tendency, we are about to face the most unhappy of accidents.


3) What’s missing from all of this gloom and doom? As my daily optimistic aside, I give you what’s missing is the synthesis of the soaring rhetoric that turned us all into believers not once but at least 5 different times with Obama, and governing.


Everyone is really mad at Barack Obama. They are mad not at his intent or belief, but at the symptoms of his inaction. We are all convinced that we’ve made a bad choice because he got into office and was reduced to George Bush II showing even a Harvard-ite struggles with the learning curve of the job. We have interpreted that as incompetence.


What’s missing is that just like a quarterback just entering the professional level, the speed of the game is a demon early on and you look like an absolute moron. While he may have thought that he needed to keep the Goldman guys close in the first post apocalyptic year, for fear that they would engineer an outright meltdown if the financial crisis wasn’t managed to their liking, he may have thought he had to use his majority in Congress to accomplish his toughest mission in his first year, he could not have thought that the sheer speed of the game would make him seem like he was a step late or outright invisible on issues that needed out front leadership.


We may not have been wrong about Barack Obama after all. There may be a tornado coming. But the stakes are clear: even though it’s conventional wisdom that it’s the 3rd year where even a great quarterback adjusts to the speed of the game, if you are the chosen one, you’re period to deliver is from right now until November 2nd, 2010.


This isn’t an endorsement, but my optimism is that sometimes it’s the stakes that deliver the goods.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chaos – It’s What’s For Breakfast

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 25th, 2010


Observations:


1) Why are the cast members fighting? Why does Willie refer to his segment on the show as ‘trotting out’ the news no one else is willing to associate themselves with? Why does Chris Licht act as though he has had ‘just about enough’ of Mika, and why is Joe Scarborough oblivious?


How on earth was this the backdrop to 3 of the most intense philosophical debates concerning the way forward anyone could have hoped for?


A word of warning if any of the cast take this forward: I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. Mika Brzezinski does not have an ego problem, it’s the psycho mechanical defense mechanism that you have to put a label on everything, and if you had to swim upstream everyday in a world not really trying to ween itself of nonessential pop culture, you might seem during the grind of a 3 hour daily show to be driven by something beyond the normal pale. That’s not ego, that is determination.


The fallout of mis-diagnosis is disintegrative. Its plain that there are giant egos everywhere you look on MSNBC. But those bonfires are of necessity. Your entry into the female lead category for which there is no Emmy, is fighting with you like a psychotic sister and you either argue on the merits, or stay on the sidelines.


2) In the fallout of Massachusetts, everyone is finding consensus rapidly. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs very efficiently speaks on this matter as condensed as Richard Hass speaks to foreign affairs. His take is that dilution of Obama’s economic objectives is what the protest is all about. About the same number of people voted for a public option as voted for a giant industry handout: zero. And when sausage making was the story of the entire first year, revolt ensued.


Everyone is finding consensus that is, except Obama, Congress and Washington. It would seem to the naked eye that this denial is some form of gravy train maintenance. The most effective use of the media in the second year is to amplify this disconnect as loudly as possible. I am enamored with the clarity with which Joe Scarborough basically told Republicans today ‘wipe that smile off of your face, this apocalypse is yours as well’. Obstruction is sausage as well.


This denial, as has been well documented on Morning Joe for some time, was mine as well. And if you look back at my defense of public options and the Obama technique, it was that there must be a secret weapon waiting in the wings. Howard Dean? Reconciliation? Conference? I never thought that was the whole strategy I was watching. The what you see is what you get, we never really had a plan, plan. As it became apparent that no silver bullet existed and that Obama had retreated from the high ground without a plan to fight for it, no megaphone was loud enough for me to shout alongside those on the center right: that’s not leadership, that’s not even realism, that’s attrition. And further, I smell a rat.


3) But as always, optimism must prevail. Obama is having a hard time making a fairly obvious move, and Congress is having a difficult time making a parallel move. Bernanke and Somers have got to be shown the door. Volker, Goolsbee and Elizabeth Warren have to be injected into the conversation, and the first order of business is whether Tim Geithner is a useful conduit in a checks and balances infused financial team or if he needs to go as well. If they fail at this, and I daresay the decision is more evident in the Plouff hiring, as he will be effective in communicating to the administration how damaging a continued Goldman tie is, that failure would be a voter trigger.


That Joe Scarborough is finding optimism in what a better balanced health care move would look like with the stuff the middle of America wanted in that bill back on the table from death’s door, is a very good sign that the voter may get a result after all. If I had one beef with Congress it’s its inability to multi-task. The fact that it’s been broken trying to write health care for months, that the results were failure, that no side looked like a finisher, and that the jobs work was set aside the entire time Congress was busy failing, that fact is a voter trigger.


Congress needs a supervisor much like the cashier at McDonalds needs one. They need to be told that only 20% of their productivity can be allocated to the health care debate but they must come forward with a bipartisan product, post conference, by the summer break. 30% budget, 40% job creation, 10% everything else, no failure permitted or else the voter will be triggered by that lack of accomplishment. That supervisor is meant to be Obama, not by constitution, but as a representative of the revolting voter.


In a dream world, on Wednesday, during the state of the union address, Obama would ask Pelosi, Reid, McConnell and Boehner to stand with him, and they would unveil an 8 item bipartisan health bill where each got a fair bit of representation, and that the majority only determined the order of choice, not the exclusion of choice. Then Obama would reveal that the plan was hammered out in 3 hours in the oval office the day before over Chinese food, and that no longer will the Congress of the United States obstruct the nation’s business for it’s own selfish benefit.


That would be a voter trigger.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Dems Get The Memo Early

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 22nd, 2010


Observations:


1) The most prescient thing I’ve heard all week came from Joe Scarborough and his guests in the last hour of this Friday show: that the Massachusetts election solving the Democratic tone deafness 10 ½ months earlier than would’ve otherwise occurred could be the biggest blessing ever for the Democratic party. The fact that the state of the union address will not be a false cheerleading and ‘where’s the carfax’ sales job by the President of an omnibus health care bill that by all accounts is the single largest occurrence of myopia and citizen betrayal in western history, is a great victory for me: a registered Democrat who voted for Obama.


No, it’s back to the drawing board for the advocates of health care reform, and still on the table are all the things Axelrod was pointing to in the Dean flap up: preexisting condition insurability, additional coverage options for uninsured, etc. But it is far more important to look at what’s likely off the table: a mandate, the Nebraska compromise, the Louisiana compromise, anything for Lieberman, the pharma handout, the insurer handout, and the bad stuff that hasn’t even been found out yet. And it’s far more important to see whats back from the dead: repeal of anti trust, portability, repeal of interstate restriction, and tort reform.


Why? Because horse trading as I described earlier this week is the only way to go. The free market will get a fair chance of insuring the health of America before we enact Medicare for all one incremental horse trade at a time. Axelrod and Obama could get the four or five good pages of the 2600 deal with the devil bill passed into law by the fall elections and tell the electorate: we got the memo. Thanks, Massachusetts, you’re leaders.


2) That all sounds nice, but what do we think the various associations representing the health insurers and pharmaceutical companies are making of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling? Do you think that the game has changed for the 2010 elections? If Goldman Sachs pays out $14 Billion in bonuses over $12 Billion in profits, what percentage of the estimated $1 Trillion dollars in aggregate corporate profit would be allocated to the new return on investment bonanza of shaping government for growth of said profit?


As if it wasn’t bad enough. It’s as if two memos were in the inbox this week. ‘Wake up!’ read one, while the other said ‘We regret to inform you that we now retain the right to freely distort civil elections going forward, and in fact have an obligation to our stockholders and stakeholders to do so as efficiently as possible in order to grow our profitability at the highest rate possible. Sincerely, your Chamber of Commerce’.


3) I have a beef with the common theme of Joe Scarborough fawning over Goldman Sachs. They are not crooks, they are not evil, but they do not have any conscience or obligation regarding main street and are defiant in their refusal to curate any domestic job growth not associated with their bottom line. That’s understandable. The proprietary trading in unregulated private markets is not as understandable, but in a capitalist society market manipulation is an open secret. Yea, it’s brilliant. But it’s also damaging the world we live in by siphoning goods and services through a private tariff process and leading us towards an entropic abyss. When oil or corn is traded 50 times on it’s way to market, it’s not to benefit farmers or Mexico. It’s to charge pension funds a fee to create paper wealth, which is then taken back systematically later.


Joe, please take a second to understand that if the smartest guy in the room is stealing from you, albeit legally, he is not your friend and you’re going to need to find recourse at some point before you’re broke.

I have suggested an alteration to the capital gains tax that encourages trades with a domestic job benefit. I have heard others ask that all markets be made transparent. I have heard Tim Geithner resist these things on the basis that proprietary markets would simply move overseas. But before we can get anywhere or battle any apparent conflicts of interest, there has to be a starting point for reflection by the American people.

Your fawning delays and obstructs that necessary process. Therefore everyday you tell America that ‘You want to be Goldman Sachs when you grow up’ sends another batch of American jobs to China. Erin Burnett indirectly told you you’re doing it when she tried to explain that they really aren’t any smarter but are benefiting from the perception they are via empowering statements like the one you made today.
S T O P D O I N G I T.

I mean really, what if there was video of you out there saying 'I want to be Bernie Madoff when I grow up'.


That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

If Republicans Think This Is Their Time, Let Them Delude

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 21st, 2010


Observations:


1) Maria Bartiromo needs the truth-o-meter. Loretta Sanchez had it bad enough with the classic ‘never empower the question’ histrionics of Rudy Giuliani, but when future Wall Street super lobbyist Bartiromo claims any sort of divining rod in what’s right and rational in the banking system at this level, she is exposed as an arbiter of conflict of interest. Just Google Maria Bartiromo and try and find hard hitting journalism about the role of Moody’s in the financial meltdown, and all you’ll find is pro business fluff pieces. That’s what an apologist does, that’s what a lobbyist does. Loretta Sanchez had it exactly right, fine, talk about Countrywide, but give equal time the sub prime mortgage securitization process and the role a compromised Moody’s played in that. You were there, Maria, you were part of the hoax.


Now, as for Rudy, I don’t need game film to call you out for all of the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ level anecdotal nonsense, it just isn’t necessary. You do enough yourself. If anyone doesn’t characterize Giuliani getting off of a plane in Massachusetts as wanton opportunism, if they can’t directly see that part in ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ where the fat incumbent Governor Pappy O'Daniel dances a jig to George Cluny’s sudden hero, then they simply don’t understand the shallow place hermit crab Giuliani has chosen to dwell this week.


2) Mike and Willie did something very right today when they didn’t become the 104th on-air opportunity for Indiana Republican Mike Pence, who went everywhere else to try and claim a victory lap for the Republican party based on the Massachusetts election. This guy is looking for the airtime just to float his coming senatorial campaign. But the fact that he has decided to break national based on a dubious read of momentum is astounding.


We had a super shift in the standing of the independent voter in Massachusetts. There was no pro Republican message anywhere in the Brown campaign. Pence is so far off in his interpretation of the Brown message, that he probably should be counseled by the RNC prior to causing a huge schism in any real opportunity possessed by them in the next 12 months. An incumbent is an incumbent. Financial records will already show they’re in the bag for special interests and voters have reacted to a modern media phenomenon where virtual inventory of your vast bank of conflicts of interest is part of their voting decision.


The jig is up for the Dodds and the Sessions of the world equally. Pence running around with an elephant flag is Gary Larson level misinterpretation on display.


The show, instead of having Pence, or anyone else with any party delusion for that matter, on to try and spin rightward, chose a very moderate Nicole Wallace, and a very scholarly Melissa Harris-Lacewell to have an adult discussion of the facts on the ground subsequent to the Massachusetts (and New Jersey) elections. That is an astounding victory for the show where your competitors were letting Republicans shoot episodes of ‘The Far Side’.


3) I thought it was interesting today that Mike Barnicle talked about his checkered past with banks, foreclosures, repossession and credit. This comes a couple of days after this column blasted Mike and Harold Ford Jr. for being part of the machine while claiming to be agents of honest appraisal. I want to know more, because I find this self-characterization of today troubling.


On one hand, it could be that all the personal experience led a rational broke person to marry well so that he could carry on with his low paying populist vocation comfortably. On the other hand, he might’ve run game film on himself and felt the need to place some populist credibility on his public record. Either way, Countrywide came up again today. They are hurting people. Bank of America owns them. Mortgage restructurings account for less than five percent of all defaults. The banks are not allowing any of the government mortgage relief mandates to move forward. They are slow walking the mandates trying to force a 100 cents on the dollar subsidization of mortgage restructuring by the government similar to the deal Goldman got for it’s AIG repayment. That is Bank of America hurting main street for profit, trying to dynamically force an enriching bailout one American family tragedy at a time. Who pays your mortgage again?


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It’s Time To Play Some Dodgeball

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 20th, 2010


Observations:


1) Here's how bipartisan progress should work: the majority and minority leaders and the committee chairmen of the various health care related committees get together in a binding selection framework.


Harry Reid gets to go first and says “no pre existing conditions” , Mitch McConnell gets to go second and says “tort reform” , Nancy Pelosi goes third and says “end to antitrust exemption”, John Boehner goes last and says “rescind state line limitations”


The two sides go back and huddle up for a day. And come back and see if there is a phase two selection. The selection is sudden death and there are five available attempts to get the first set of 4 selections complete or the process is scuttled for the congressional session. So if anyone says something and the following chooser says I can’t agree to that, the selection process is scuttled, and goes back to what we have now.


If any party says public option, the process is likely killed, if either party says unfunded mandate, the process is likely killed, but if the bipartisan horse trading results in progress for the free market system, we all win. Obviously, John Boehner could say with his last vote, “John Boehner for termless king” but that likely wouldn’t get 60 votes. Nor would abortion restriction, nor would medicare for all.


But what would happen is if the 4 things we need the most in the existing system were progressed in a bipartisan manner, it would avoid omnibus pig troughs and limit amendments and earmarks. That’s the rules in horse trading, an amendment is a fifth selection, and that wasn’t the bipartisan deal.


2) There is no doubt that the Brown victory is a victory for the American people. The American people gave Obama a fair chance to make his case, and his case was as popular as Ishtar. Health care has proven to be a feckless giveaway on par with the stimulus, which consensus says was misguided beyond all doubt.


Goldman Sachs, big pharma, the insurance industry, and the ethanol lobby all have a closer relationship with this administration than any citizen who voted for this President, thus making the lion’s share of his election mandate appear to be an absolute fraud to an angry electorate.


Blaming centrism for dilution and corporate giveaway is making matters worse. You are beholden to Lieberman and Nelson because you did not talk to the whole Republican party, just a couple of tokens. This was your own doing.


This math could’ve been overcome several ways, but they all had a common necessity: leadership. When we’re selecting managers for industry, we look to see if they manage by crisis or are out in front of potential trouble spots allowing at least some of them to be reduced to managed events rather than blowups. It’s been blowup after blowup after blowup on this executive’s watch, and he has just been made accountable.


3) As an optimist, I’m ready for year two to be Obama the tornado. What Bill Clinton found out early on, is that you sign the checks yourself. Clinton micromanaged and immersed like no President before him. He was obviously fluent in everything from Bosnia, to the oppositions contract with America.


You have every opportunity to be the ball in year two, and it starts with the horse trade above as an admission that you have not achieved your bipartisan goals and will need to reinvigorate that process to finish this health care agenda once and for all. A horse trade version of health care can be through the legislature in weeks. Make those leaders make that deal in your office, make them show up every Monday at 8 am until its done. That’s what being an executive is all about, they all work for you, including the opposition.


But it can’t stop there, you are going to need to clean house in Treasury. Austan Goolsbee and Elizabeth Warren have to move reform forward unencumbered by the industry interests. Your staff are directly executing the industry’s agenda, visible to voters who are choosing to vote against you until this changes.


Lastly, this Mohammed trial is a domestic loser beyond all scope. Now that it’s not Dick Cheney shooting holes in your patriotism, its Democratic voters saying they had no idea you we’re this far off of the grid when it comes to using our courts to protect the rights of admitted terrorists, your choice is clear. Let’s rush on domestic needs and slow down on Guantanamo and banning Tribunals until we can catch our breath on this. It appears you have grossly overcomplicated the already complicated.


We are at a historic crossroads. One more wrong move and this country will look a lot like what’s going on in Russia right now with our own Putin named Romney. I don’t think we have much longer to fight that off. And if that happens to us, how many other great societies go with us?


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Two Guys On The Same Train For Different Reasons

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 19th, 2010


Observations:


1) Two guys go into a voting booth, both pull the lever for Brown, one says 'Ha! I have finished off Obamacare and Death Panels once and for all, my Tea Party brethren will be so pleased', another says 'Ha! That’ll teach Obama for abandoning the core principles that made me vote for him in the first place, real universal health care, defending America from the lobby effect, an end to Government doublespeak'.


One lady goes into a voting booth and pulls the lever for Coakley, she is lonely, she has been abandoned by her husband, who has had enough of defending his Obama vote at the union hall, and she doesn’t understand why she has also been abandoned by the Democratic party that has performed like an amateurish small state street team in it’s national job of message and candidate management.


How long have we said there were three factors in this governing conundrum? This is a cornerstone of the warnings Joe Scarborough has been issuing to anyone who would listen forever, the path chosen by the Obama camp has been to compromise (nice way of saying take for granted) it’s progressive left to move it’s mandate through in as diluted a fashion as the center required. The far left and right feel equal in their rage, and the middle wonders why they can’t sell a platform that no one can latch on to.


I concede the message of the day is the Mike Barnicle message that 6 million Massachusetts voters have zero ability to catalog any part of the President’s national mandate on health care, and that is catastrophic.


2) I would force Axelrod, Emmanuel, Obama and Plouffe, to watch the Mitt Romney bit on the show this morning, 100 times. To be versed on the clarity achieved by the opposition as a direct result of your lack of clarity, of the energy Romney has captured in a room where your energy left via the vacuum your leadership created in your first year. I will give you one more little gift for your nightmare, in the same scenario faced by Reagan, Clinton, and GW Bush, their adversaries were non entities like Mondale, Dole and Kerry. Romney is real, he got his Reagan-esque minor league experience in the last election, and is so far out in front this time, that he is not even going to bother with Republican primary objectives. Tea Party loves him, independents seeking confidence in the economy love his business experience, the shadow elite really love him (he is one of them).


So get out the toothpicks, wedge those eyes open, and be motivated by this: the downside of creating a grassroots revolution and being swept into power by a generational majority, is that if you turn in a lukewarm “where is he?” performance in your crucial first year, the laws of physics apply to politics too, and the reversing trend will be equally violent, as if spring loaded.


And these little tornadoes cropping up in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virgina are accurate early indicators that we are headed that way.


3) Is there an incrementalist theory out there that the country would have been better off with a Hillary Clinton presidency followed by an Obama administration that would’ve benefited from some groundwork like that spoken of above with Romney. That Hillary could have made a more palatable case for the mid level progressing of health care leaving the sweeping NHS version to a spitfire Obama forced to wait in the wings until he was 56 years old?


Are we being tricked as an electorate into voting for change that is structurally impossible, and losing our gravitas not at the promise of change, but the impossibility of the change being implemented by our government with it’s omnipresent tether to corporate interests effectively and defiantly wagging it back towards status quo?


In that moment of a lost battle to a corporate lobby power structure and it’s propaganda department known as the Republican party, are we unable to see the greater conflict and only vote on the nearest dimension, that of the previous 12 months, completely forgetting the atrocity of eight years of outright rule by that same industrial complex?


If I had a regret in the world, it’s that the media as we have come to be saturated by, never made this point to us, not that we should be led by them, but that they too are only able to see the first dimension, missing or denying that greater struggle, and perpetuating a flat out distortion of what is really at stake today in Massachusetts.


And Obama, via his now normal tepid nothingness, is an accomplice to his opposition at this point.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

At Last, We’ve Found That Defeat We’ve Been Begging For

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 18th, 2010

Observations:

1) I think the show is evolving, and it’s almost sinister how it’s Bob Schrum and Chris Matthews defining the cascading implosion of the Obama agenda rather than a gloatcast from the right. We learned no less than 5 previously unseen factors today. Credit that to the depth of the attempt by the show to go as far as possible to understand the situation on that ground in Massachusetts. We learned that Brown owned the small towns, that those towns were Dems voting for him, we learned that the inside polls called the race for Brown last Thursday based on bellwether analysis, we learned that Coakley is the worst candidate in recent memory, we learned the only hope possible is from missing analysis of gender tendencies with a female candidate learned from the New Hampshire primary, and finally we learned that the disorganization we commented on Friday, actually grew within the Democratic party over the weekend. This growth was best exemplified by another vain use of a Presidential appearance after the insiders called the election Thursday. Copenhagen redux.

Now I typically write this column before I read the competing blogs on the item. So as I idolize the purity that is the Howard Dean version of governing, I am going to guess that he couldn’t be happier about this. Howard Dean hates the health care bill, hates the chances of conference fixing all the cancer in the bill, and loves the fact that we will now have to probably use reconciliation to make a health care mandate happen, and that simplified version of health care that qualifies for reconciliation would do more in 200 pages than the current 2600 pages accomplishes in righting the ship. Go Machiavelli.

{now with more, 3:19pm}

2) The great ironies today are as plentiful as corn in a cornfield. That Coakley is likely a better Senator than Brown, reverse of the two candidates in campaign effectiveness. That it’s Kennedy’s Senate seat that could likely be the death knell for legislature borne healthcare, a second time. That Obama is a great campaigner and unable to effectively govern, amplifying the Coakley phenomenon through reverse example. That a state with near universal health coverage gets to deny the same coverage for the other 49 states so it doesn’t face higher taxes for something it already has.


How does the average citizen feel empowered anywhere in this story? How is it possible that the stripping away of the last vestiges of 'for the people' occur 365 days to the exact day that the supposed reversing candidate was sworn in? One of the words in that landmark sales job in the 2008 campaign was hope. The nation looks at this result and is reading the fine print looking for any protection under the lemon law. The Massachusetts vote has a lot of hopelessness built into it.


3) The finest point of a show that was great for it’s coverage of minute changes in the same exact 3 stories it was covering on Friday, was that this is now the third consecutive President who came to office on a change and outsider mandate and got a full comeuppance. This President is only lucky in that he didn’t get it as quick as George W. Bush and for the same terrible reasons.


On the surface this is a very negative position for that same American citizen to be in. The insiders in Washington can’t be defeated. Mike Barnicle can listen to a Tom Brokaw story about Bank of American being the agent of death in the west coast mortgage trenches, yet remain at a safe distance from the real plight of vast segments of the population while living off of BofA spoils and writing as if he was in those trenches. It’s a gift, really. The worst thing that he could do here is make a call and fix that person’s foreclosure so in that singular moment he has removed himself from the stream of guilt. It’s not Mike Barnicle’s fault that person is in foreclosure while he and Harold Ford pull 7 digit benefit from the bank that’s manipulating foreclosure markets as dynamically as possible for profit. But until we say enough and declare war on loopholes that allow this false populism conflict of interest, we are just being whispered to in our time of dying.


You may not get why, but this is a statement of hope. I am eternally optimistic that we actually need to bottom out to get to the pitchforks and ‘never again’ part of the story. The worst thing I’ve heard in the last decade is how lucky we were that tanks weren’t rolling in the streets surrounding the 2000 Gore election. That was a veiled threat more than a comfort to those of us who witnessed this ‘alternatively’ to the corporate news show version of events.


We need to progress past the current state of affairs where reform is unattainable, and that candidates who threaten the profitability of the shadow elite in the country are beaten into submission or systematically prevented from gaining power. It may take 51 state and federal bankruptcies, and some Achilles heel searches, but I’m optimistic that politicians and corporations will fear citizens again in my lifetime, similar to the fear that the French citizenry can achieve, only bigger, better and healthier.


I think I’ll go move more of my money to a credit union now.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's Important People, Let's Get It Done Now

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 15th, 2010


Observations:


1) Don’t leave work today without getting one of these two things done.

Yele Haiti
Wyclef Jean's grassroots org
Text Yele to 501501 to donate $5 via your cell phone

Or text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

Get this done immediately in case you have to do it a second time in the next few days.

2) It felt like the streams got crossed on the proton generators today when Brown passed Coakley in the polls. What a disaster. I was waiting for a gloating moment from Joe Scarborough, and I never got it. I don’t think its lost on Republicans that being a default choice is no victory. Right now, and this theme was pressed on this show, we are all losers. Our only victory will be some organized relief result with Haiti, but we have no victory imminent in Massachusetts regardless of outcome. That is also the takeaway for the coming 2010 elections.

I felt like even today, the denial rampant in the Democratic party, evident in candidate Coakley, evident in our President is at a level unseen since “American Psycho”. Are you really just going to go through the motions with your entire health care bill at stake with this election? Where is Tim Kaine? How bad does the DNC and the President miss Chairman Dean? What would Mike Allen say? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

3) Who is that guy who came in dressed as Harold Ford Jr.? A guy came in and was referred to as the Tennessee congressman, but when he spoke, there was an edge that scared little children and when he looked at Willie Geist, the searing heat removed all hope that at some point Mr. Geist would grow facial hair.

That guy is about as electable as Charles Manson, and may want to assemble a focus group of babys and grandparents to work through his issues before he wastes anyone’s contributions. My problem specifically is that Mr. Ford appears Manchurian. Normally, New York embraces the best and the brightest from anywhere and has benefited from that openness with great leaders like Hillary Clinton and Mike Bloomberg. But I think in this case the voters will scrutinize any quick fix platforms or industry underwriting very closely and suspect the worst.

I really like Harold Ford and Barack Obama, but I have lost all patience for disorganization whether its message, management, or focus. This was the key point today and it’s even lost on the cast and guests of the Morning Joe show. What’s different between this year and 1994? This year and 1982? The internet, have you heard of it? Corporately controlled cable news with 5 unique heads, have you heard of it? We have mashed comprehensible bits of information into neutrons and the Diaspora of said information reaches even grandmothers and babys in mere minutes. Today in Texas, Mr. Ford’s words on Morning Joe will be rebroadcast ad nauseum by some swift boat level 527 PAC, and I assure you the results will not be kind. And worst of all, it was 100% preventable by Mr. Ford, if he had simply decided to play himself on TV today.

That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Athena, On Parade

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 14th, 2010


Observations:


1) Mika, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, Erin Burnett, Kathleen Sebelius, Today’s Ann Curry: every guest of consequence was female today and with all of the talk of Anne Kornblut's book documenting the glass ceiling, it appears Mika Brzezinski has other ideas. The powerhouse performance by Valerie Jarrett, shows an administration evolving and brings us hope that 2010 will have a new face to replace the 2009 sit on the sidelines and let the vacuum rule version. Hillary Clinton is always a powerhouse, and the tapping of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, is an important step, even if artificial, to help the shouting men in opposing camps take a breath for a second, and remind a country what unity feels like.


This guest parade is not by design, but it’s a telling coincidence especially in the face of a disaster that the face of leadership today of all days had a female lead.


2) It can be said that real reform in our country has happened maybe twice in our generation’s adult life, since LBJ. Once when Ronald Reagan reformed how our income taxes worked, and once when George W. Bush reformed another country, Iraq. Some may want to argue about welfare reform, but we won’t see the effect of that reform until this first real recession since it’s inception plays out and see if we made life during difficult times better or worse.


That Bush wants to call prescription drug revisions on his watch reform, and that Obama is trotting out the word reform on his revision of health services should fall under FCPA “truth in advertising ” statutes. The reason that this is germane towards today’s conversation is the mandate in Massachusetts. Those people aren’t scaring the daylights out of Democrats because they want a Republican. It’s a referendum on the bait and switch that’s gone on for two years now by the Obama administration. The progressives feel baited by a promise of real reform, and are stunned that the Obama camp conceded the high ground without a fight.


There is some of the misleading activity still going on, with the anti trust repeal threats, the national exchange endorsement, the union meetings. But the verdict win or lose in Massachusetts is that Obama is wolf boy until proven otherwise. The ball is in your court.


2) The Warren interview appeared to be a fraction of its possible outcome. The chief missing element was not connecting the dots from the prized Andrew Ross Sorkin statement yesterday about “the greatest transfer of wealth in our lifetime". Let me remind you that part of the show’s mission has to be about finding consensus. That criticism for the ARS statement yesterday was about 6 months of omission of an obvious megatrend being very disturbing, to omit it again with both Warren and Jarrett today, I feel like you should give your paycheck back.


And this thing that Erin Burnett brought up about the scapegoating of the banks by the administration is indefensible. That’s like going to a Miami bank with Tony Montana standing outside with a machine gun, and saying you guys are fine laundering, its that drug dealer that’s the whole problem. The banks provided a necessary vehicle to the hedge funds in the market collapse that was a violation of their fiduciary responsibility by any version of universal law. The fact that they had lobbied our legislative bodies to legalize portions of the crime doesn’t make it OK, especially given the disastrous outcomes. The message at the end of the day is that there will always be Tony Montanas and hedge funds, but by being a bank you are expected by custodial provision to be high enough on the food chain to not make a problem exponentially worse for profit.


Erin’s usually the sharpest in the room on financial matters, but a great amount of care has to be levied to counterbalance what will be a white noise war coming from people on her right in the coming days, as they crouch into fox holes and will apparently try to put a lipstick anywhere that might help or at least distract their foes.


At the end of the day, Obama will win if the next bank is scared into saying we better get some proportion of all loans to domestic growth industries else we appear to be in need of rehab. I’d call it reform, but let’s keep expectations bounded by facts on the ground.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This Morning, The Economy

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 13th, 2010


Observations:


1) It’s with great relief that I witnessed the discussion that should have been happening for 16 months. We talked finance today and really got a lot of points of view to the fore. Chris Hayes really got beat up by the three conservatives in Washington and one capitalist in New York trying to get a Keynesian point across when everyone wants to paint a precipice of disaster picture. Christi Hefner also tried to keep an eye towards the balance of necessary evil deficit spending during a recession versus the loud and growing clamor for common ground fiscal discipline before the entire country is in a default situation. But the lack of consensus was everywhere except to note a large difficulty exists for the United States economic stability.


Andrew Ross Sorkin has been on the show forever. Today he launched the greatest transfer of wealth in our history charge. This is forensic. How on earth can you say pitchforks now and roll tape of yourself over the last 6 months and only see book promos? That’s called letting it happen.


But the story continued with determination over the course of 3 hours and despite fluffiness of Palin and Conan on TV and soberness of Haiti. It finished with Elijah Cummins admitting the Senate is broken and corrupt, powerless to fend of the financial lobby, and that is the chief reason Dodd saw no future for himself running as an exposed fraud.


So now the whole story is out there. You have done an effective forensic accounting of how bad it is. What is your path forward? Can you regenerate the energy on the issue similar to what you had on Dean day or election day or inauguration day? Can you convey the story in the appropriate scope: that it is more important than anything else you've ever talked about?


2) The political cycle has moved from a useful balance to maddening. Today the country is polling that it wants to throw the bums out again, but this time it’s the Democrats. The country has “voter remorse” over their vote for Barack Obama. I have voter remorse for Barack Obama. I freely admit he has gotten in office and seemingly immediately lost complete control of the country to unseen interests with apparently greater power to direct our government.


But the notion that we will allow a sea swing back to a Republican for no other reason than the Democrat made us unhappy is us being broken. The Republicans have telegraphed that they will be running as “not Democrats” and will “repeal any health care”. So let me get this straight, two guys who accomplish nothing and breach trust at every turn keep getting alternating turns based on a calendar only. That the country will bounce like a rubber ball between two sides equally beholden to the seduction of power and the will of special interest?


What do you think this schizophrenic temperament does to our credit rating?


3) President Obama is America getting George Bush a second time in a different suit. It was a open secret that the election of George Bush was the goal of the Washington power elite. A guy who would play ball and allow the insiders to openly govern. The chamber of congress had more power then the EPA, the Department of the Interior was again a real estate agent. When the effect of this caught up with the mainstream and the voter sentiment had gone completely against this regime, it was clear they were going to vote the other way with such magnitude that no Florida coup could keep power. It was evident a long way off, and with resignation the power structure took a cycle off and let McCain be the lame duck candidate, and used the down cycle to try and make some new stars.


Barack Obama said all the things that a poll would dictate would resonate on the way to office. Populism, change, hope, freedom from lobbyists. But he had no intention of risking his political capital in confronting the Senate. Health care is costing Barack Obama support from the population not from its existence but from it’s lack of a spine. It’s this backbone issue that is rampant through the Goldman stewards running his finance, to the last administration running his wars. Austan Goolsbee is the progressive economist from Chicago pointed towards as the sign of things to come in the campaign. In the White House, Goolsbee's desk is microscopic compared to the Goldman boys.


Barack Obama is playing ball with everyone but the voter. The only hope we have is that these guys actually get their sea legs in the 6th year. Bush, when it all had already gone wrong, made some small, gentile, steps on behalf of the American people in his last two years and stopped letting Cheney run the country for a second. Maybe Obama will find his second opportunity to govern and fix some of this awful cascading mess his lack of promised leadership is progressing. The other outcome here is President Romney, and I know we have to not use the “evil” moniker, but I just don’t feel the love in his heart for the middle class, do you?


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Morning Joe Misses Hindenburg, Tackles Small Chinese Balloon Instead

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 12th, 2010


Observations:


1) Well thank goodness the offensive repetition count was lower today, but Joe Scarborough is unending in his "coverage" of the apparent double standard in the Reid story, when no one cared about it anymore. This story belonged with Snooki somewhere today and yet, while less of a leader than yesterday, still had 51% of airtime. It’s a sad state of affairs and it seemed that the center of the revival was that a junior MSNBC writer overnight remembered Officer Crowley, thus, apparently the holy grail of the double standard was uncovered.


For me, rather than weigh in where it’s useless to, the only merit to asking for a quick end to this episode is that you will need your credibility later, arguing race is like arguing with a 5 year old, you just don’t do it, and bottom line, you might be being duped, and might harbor regret in the near future that you couldn’t see it in real time.


2) I just won’t rest on the lack of inclusion of the Wall Street bonus scandal in the Morning Joe program. It is an absolute atrocity that one of the chief advertisements for the show, run incessantly on MSNBC, involves Joe Scarborough quoted as saying “the endless pursuit of class warfare just won’t work”. Look, I think the show needs a life coach to tell them that 4 months ago when Joe’s name was on tip sheets everywhere as the next Fred Thompson, he was getting traction on a populist basis. To abandon that basis by focusing the show anywhere but the Wall Street scandal is a dilution of the show’s star’s character.


The administration's bank fee as it was divulged is lip service. The show also divulged that by the enactment of the campaign for the bank fee, the administration is in fact conceding that they are powerless to enact any reversal of a 24 trillion dollar heist that is more on their watch than the previous administration’s. That Tim Geithner is obstructing the release of information regarding the terms of the Fed bailout and the internal emails of AIG, a company the US is currently a custodian of, ad continuum without media scrutiny, is a hit on the long standing media bias claim of this show and others.


Yes, media is selective, yes it is sometimes seduced by perceptions of right and wrong rationalizing levels of coverage and intent. There is no doubt at this point that the New York Times caused Fox News. But your job, if you can really tell when they’re lying, is to confront those lies and those crimes, and not hack at the useless sand of race instead.


3) Bill and Hillary Clinton did an awful lot for the United States of America, and continue their work today. They had a powerful, insider savvy, protecting layer of professional managers marshaled to counterbalance the machine of their opposition. An opposition machine whose size, effectiveness and magnitude is unimaginable to 99.9% of the population. At the end of the day these were just two individuals who drew up an architecture. They knew what they were facing, got out a calculator, and said simply: “to beat them if they’re this big, we will need this support (Bill Gates), this lever (New York Times), this budget (Hollywood, George Soros), this visualization (Steven Spielberg), and this message (Fleetwood Mac) and a Canada-sized truckload of luck.


That the architecture worked will be covered in political science manuals forever. That it showed the difference between campaigning and governing will as well. That it was the phenomenon that made a next generation phenomenon possible, the Clintons created the atmosphere that Obama advanced, will over time to be accepted as political evolutionary fact.


To see them betrayed in these last few days, isn’t heart breaking or even disappointing. It’s a nod to their prowess. They are in fact just two individuals who thumbnailed a plan and executed it to heights before unseen.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Morning Low

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 11th, 2010


Observations:


1) This is the very worst showing for Joe Scarborough since the show began. I agree often with the intellectual basis and strategy musings of Mr. Scarborough on Morning Joe and that continued even today. I was completely disappointed by his inability to control his petty glee. The quote “Negro Dialect” was uttered by JS 36 times. Again, I made that number up but stand by the larger point that his repetition was damaging to his long term credibility. Further, if you’re going to make a point of how destructive it is to give a peek at back room insight with a single contextually unclear quote…


… then you may not want to have a mock back room agreement with yourself, Andy Card, and Pat Buchanan where you wave an African-American genius like Jonathan Capehart off in a “let the men talk” manner, and then have a judge, jury, and executioner passage of judgment regardless of any of the other viewpoints that resultantly favors your minority standing as to what needs to prevail.


This is tantamount to protesting the murder of a single victim by murdering 36 more victims to show how bad murder is, then going to Simi Valley to find a jury of your peers.


2) But look, in that 36 repeat coda, the repeats fell off just enough in the second ninety minutes as the credible guests began lining up to try and repair context on your show. The shift moved to the book that appears to be a nuclear news generator. As a fan of what goes on behind the scenes, I’m riveted by all the stuff flying off of this phenomenon. John Heilemann and Mark Halperin make it clear that there is still a legion of background to learn as to how President Barack Obama happened. Is this a positively ending version of the Oliver Stone JFK style of event reading by either bugging or pretending to know what happened in the back room along the way?


I think the insinuation that Bill Clinton has a mistress while his wife is running for President, that he still thinks Barack Obama is an intern (the coffee quote has zero race in it, despite the shows mistaken consensus) is a news item that will have more legs going forward than anything else I've heard. The back room of the Democratic party definitely believed it, and thus shoved Hillary aside and made Barack president for the sake of the party’s survival. Wow.


3) We are going to have to examine the vacuum effect when a story like this grabs 99% of your three hours on the air. Howard Dean’s frustration was correct of intent but was useless in the face of the gravity of the Reid story. We saw Erin Burnett bumped, we saw health care shut out, we saw drone attacks uncovered, we saw the biggest story of the day, the bonus handout commencement, unmentioned. This country needs to hand out pitchforks and head to New York, yet the show followed the Harry Reid story exclusively like a trout after a spinner.


The bonus situation is so frustrating, because we are already saying a clawback 4-5 years in retroactive duration needs to occur, but we are allowing the another round of illegitimate redistribution of the nation’s wealth. The Wall Street firms are not just unapologetic, they are running around saying “get used to it”.


4) There is another darker examination of the Reid story that turns the Morning Joe show into a dupe. What if this is a Democratic back room strategy to make Harry Reid’s swan song be the health care vote, followed by a retirement, followed by Chuck Schumer as leader, followed by a healthier candidate showing themselves in Nevada that, like JS alluded to, had a Chris Dodd 'bad news on the singular issue made good news on five others' result. If Harry Reid’s goose is cooked prior to the story, what does the story accomplish that already wasn’t baked in? Mister X says follow the money.


This possibility means we are going to need Lawrence O’Donnell going forward, and without taking sides, if it's even questionable where Joe Scarborough’s work wound up today on the credibility map, shooting critics would be a major setback.


It’s just Monday people, take a breath and focus.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Morning Joe Torture Test

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 8th, 2010


Observations:


1) While it may have felt good to get Dylan Ratigan on the set, it accomplished very little. There he was like a frustrated 5 year old, frustrated because the words aren’t serving the ideas racing about his head, and he was trying to ask the uber-polished Rudy Giuliani a simple question. “Mr. Giuliani, if it was your watch, what would you do going forward 10 years”. But alas, by the time the question got out, he had worn out everyone with endless qualifications, and the music was playing. But this isn’t about Dylan, it’s about Mika and Joe, who had an opportunity to listen to Giuliani hedge at Obama’s expense and then redirect him to Dylan’s intent. “That’s great Mr. Mayor, but what would you do going forward 10 years, what are your big ideas?”


Dylan desperately needs a teaching moment, his thought process is leading edge, but the machine is broken. Over time Joe and Mika (and Mike and Willie?) have become ace question/grenade lobbers, and they need to get that skill transferred to Mr. Ratigan.


2) I feel like there was a great equalizing force between the show today and the prior show that elicited the complaint of bias on it’s reporting of Democratic election prognoses. Joe Conason leveled the playing field and it appeared convinced even Joe Scarborough that the right is overcounting its support and underestimating its split.


The additional daily dose of Micheal Steele reporting points to a remarkable move towards realistic expectations on behalf of those on the right, I mean, he almost sounds like DNC era Howard Dean for the opposition. Howard will be on the show on Monday and it would be a fair subject to try and define if Michael Steele is “doing what Howard would do” for the Republicans.


I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid to the extent that I think Steele has dropped agenda-speak and that the Republicans are now realizing that they’ll have to separate distant agenda items like abortion and fiscal responsibility to ever win the middle again. But what candidates like mega conservative Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania are doing is trying to sway the conversation away from base baiting subjects. He has given interviews to left leaning publications and had the content been exclusively economic, leaving out some fairly important hate mongering subjects, in an effort to appeal to middle voters, like myself, who put fiscal leanings of some Republicans in high regard, but litmus them away upon discovering their dark social restriction.


A while ago, Joe Scarborough made a very valid point, that there is an equation where you can agree explicitly and up front, to remove a nasty albatross like abortion from a discussion or even a platform, for a term, in order to focus solely on other priorities if you were deemed to be the best leader for the accomplishment of those other priorities. That concept, if Michael Steele ever mastered it, would do more to re-unify the Republican party based on his established program, than anything else.


3) San Diego got a shout out when Ron Insana talked about the available gold rush of real estate bargains in cities like this one. It’s a fact. I saw a house with a horizon view of the ocean go in north San Diego country last month for less than $300,000. It’s unreal, but also an equation. The big negative for this area for a long time is unless you’re married to the service industry, the jobs are there, just not fulfilling or an exercise in career growth. Houses a fraction of the size of the one above are still getting $800,000 2 counties north because a job there means 3 times as much as a job here.


When you’re cutting jobs at your mega company, you close the esoteric satellite operations first, and doesn’t that sound like San Diego? Until that changes, yea you can buy some investment houses and rent them to San Diego State students, but there is little opportunity to look at this region as our state’s Oregon.


4) The Morning Joe torture is when you bring a guest on at the top of the hour, and then get to him at 15 past the hour, and that’s after making him watch a fight from "Jersey Shore". If he doesn’t tell you all the information you want right on cue, you can move your torture to a waterboarding level by asking him what he thought of the fight on "Jersey Shore". If that doesn’t work, play the music and show the Koalas.


That’s Stern meets Clockwork Orange level stuff and today I thought it was done on purpose because it was Joe Conason, then I remembered you did it to Richard Haas. I am alerting Geneva.



That’s all for today, see you Monday

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Morning Tide

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 7th, 2010


Observations:


1) What a striking line from Ed Schulze: “the Democrats are going to have to focus on pre-existing conditions and sell that as the entire reform of health care”. It’s striking for being two or more things at once. Is it the first hedge of candidate Schulze? Is it the last haymaker from the Dean-aligned antagonist? What was a questionable booking in the first place, because he was only there to screen test, not to make the waves that got him consideration, that makes two screen tests just this week, counting Harold Ford.


But the bigger issue is what is the net effect for the American people? Do we gain more from having a progressive with notoriety “Al Franken” North Dakota? Do we lose more when a guy we have grown to trust starts selling us a bill of goods?


These are the things Ed Schulze is currently battling. And it’s creeping out of every pore, as I thought he was gonna put Mike Barnicle in his trunk when Mike tried to project nerd status on him.


2) What everyone else in the media is talking about is this: why all the coverage of the 2 Senatorial retirements on the left when the score is 5-2 with the Republicans on top? How is that analysis missed with the cast, Chuck, Savannah, Mike Allen, and every other pundit known to man trying to get 10 minutes of face time on this show? When it’s 5 hours of coverage next week, will all 5 hours be allotted to not bringing up relativity?


When this kind of issue comes up, it becomes the latest drinking game. How many times can Joe Scarborough say “the Democrats are in trouble”. To make that statement whole, one would think that there would be the counter balancing “but no one is in love with their Republican option either”. Why is that missing? Relativity is not attacking bias, while being the bias.


True to the MJR scoreboard test, eh.


3) And lets finish with this: what do Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Eric Bates, James Fallows and Donald Sutherland all have in common? It’s not football that’s fixed. It’s our government. It is by designed equipped a safety valve where competing agendas demonize each other and its not a scorched earth they leave behind, it’s their own debilitation, leaving corporate interests to retain control of government.


Joe Scarborough did a respectably amazing job of defining that 85% of the country would be better equipped to govern if they weren’t being led to demonization by the 15% on the fringe. I think those numbers are very optimistic, but it doesn’t matter. Even it its 60% or even 51% in the middle, neither of the two 24.5% opposing forces would have purpose other than to attempt to sway the middle with hate and altruism.


The problem is that the first paragraph and the second paragraph have more in common than anyone wants to admit. The middle is significantly bigger than 51%. But the bicameral system we have adopted is designed to defeat not either side but the middle. Other countries are effectively bicameral, but not with the same distorting factors of paid television campaigns and cloture. What those two megafactors and a catacomb of unearthed smaller loopholes and distortions accomplish is disempowering of the group that should in fact be leading this country, the middle class.


Whether it’s Eric Bates explanation of the oil and coal lobbies being the most powerful force in opposing global warming, James Fallows coming from other countries and seeing America in political disarray without any apparent point, the right is teaching their children hate at pro-life protests, the left is teaching there children hate by it’s portrayal of the right as intellectually inferior, and their combined goal seems to be if we can just amass 51% of the vote, special interest to our extreme side included, we can at least keep the demons at bay for 2 more years. Is that a goal, or a guideline to attrition?


The show gets a passing grade on both the MJR connect the dots test and the lucidity test, even if by accident, but for making this disturbing trend one step closer to our everyday dialogue, where it can eventually be reversed.


That’s all today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This Party Sucks, That Party Sucks, Let’s Just Stay Home

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 6th, 2010


Observations:


1) I just couldn’t be happier that Senator Dodd is retiring. What the Democratic party, what the Republican party for that matter needs, is fresh leaders who are willing to make a solemn oath to put people first. There is no legal requirement to make such an oath, but if you want any votes at all in an election, the voters at this point are going to require a contract, signed in your blood.


We have to weed out the Liebermans, we have a responsibility to the union to send representatives that will both serve our interests at home, and not shame our nation with juvenile obstructionism or petty larceny while on duty.


Chris Dodd was guilty of petty larceny while on duty as a Senator. What makes it worse is that it affected his judgment on future necessary reforms. He was going to be Citibank’s fair haired boy on financial reforms like the replacement of the Glass–Steagall Act. But on the way to the dirtiness, he was prepared to trot out the same old “tried hard” trick of a reform package that meant something when written, but was feckless upon completion of his work. One larceny followed by another, covered by a misrepresentation of intent.


You had a good career, and history will show that you knew that you would see Matt Taibbi’s face throughout the state of Connecticut while trying to convince the beaten down masses that your 7th term would be in their best interests, so you are going to quit while you’re temporarily ahead and hope there is not a Nurenberg-esque clawback trial while you’re still walking this earth.


2) Senator Dorgan can go right with him. Joe Scarborough and the cast were painting this as a big setback for the Democratic party and numerically they are absolutely right, but the intent of this Senator was not to prioritize health care and similar to the head of the Florida Republican party yesterday, Dorgan is leaving in protest of having to support a progressive agenda in the first term rather than just focusing on jobs.


I am not a subscriber to that, and if he feels that strongly about it, we will again need to bring anti-status quo people in. If it’s not in the cards in 20 years time in North Dakota, it’s still better than having reluctance in your ranks when you have some of the most important work ahead.


If we still have cloture, election reform, banking reform, tax reform, a balanced budget amendment with close the government down teeth, and avoiding a lost economic decade on our program, how can reluctance serve?


3) What on earth is the show doing looping Nancy Pelosi and not backing it up? You played the loop 6 times and never talked about it. Mika threw in the same canned “is she serious, I think she is” quote in a distressingly robotic form, and as a whole, your ensemble accomplished nothing.


Obama is telling Nancy Pelosi to take the awful Senate health care bill intact and shove it through the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi has informed the nation with that quote: “he promised a lot of things on that campaign” that she is holding him accountable for the version of health care he advertised before accepting the “tried hard” Senate bailout bill.


I think it’s time for the nation in it’s insistence to not feel duped by Congress to stand in support of Nancy Pelosi as one person who is trying to move the conversation towards the 2008 election result and away from the usual Washington self serving status quo.


Admittedly, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t do herself any favors by using the “never been more open” rationale for turning down CSPAN at the informal conference. But, it appears she is bent on getting some concession for her work. And if you held up the work of Pelosi versus the work of Reid, who delivered and who was beholden to the insurance industry?


4) The American people are in no hurry to run to the Republican party. Michael Steele knows this and is actually pretty impressive in his attempt to get his party off of the rocks in time for the election. He has a mess in Florida, a bigger mess nationally, and he is not telling people what they want to hear. There is no air of superiority in the Republican party and that has been the one thing that has been their hallmark in my lifetime.


You can talk to them about the issues, you can talk to them about the country, but as recently as the week before the 2006 elections, a party line Republican would listen to you talk but be saying to himself: you have your numbers, I have THE numbers. This person is implying you’re wasting your time trying to reason, because they’re winning based on superior information, and are therefore superior.


Those days are gone. The Republicans appeared blindsided a week later. They aren’t finally recovering, Their former constituents are reforming under another mantra that reads like “we won’t get screwed again”. Michael Steele is in the same spot that the Democratic party is in. Voters are going to demand a contract that limits their representative from saying one thing and then doing the exact opposite while in power.


Promises just don’t cut it anymore.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Morning A' La Carte

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 5th, 2010


Observations


1) As much as I’m critical about the Morning Joe show missing key elements of a story, I have to admit that I caught the Cuba flight list item yesterday, but either ran out of room to talk about it or just didn’t. I’m happy that the show and it’s longtime reality measuring guest Eugene Robinson tackled the prima facie of the matter today.


But the missing dimension is that if anything, it’s a good sign for Cuba that the administration is considering them among these 14 nations. It must be read that the administration is preparing for the eventuality of a normal relationship with Cuba and the good and bad that come with it. We have a prison there. We have listened to cautionary takes for a long time that if that base were domestic it would be a terrorism target. We must adjust that if we were to allow domestic bound flights from Cuba, it must carry with it the possibility of pass through terrorism from persons relating themselves to Guantanamo inmates. So as a potential conduit, it’s smartly on the list.


Eugene’s take has another problem in that it reads as a tit for tat from the side of the far left. Ever talk to Chris Matthews about Cuba? He still wants to nuke them for assassinating JFK. We have established the MJR lucidity test, and of these two far left takes, Eugene Robinson’s fails, and Chris Matthews’ irrational outburst passes. Crazy.


2) But any day that David Ignatius is on the show is a great day for lucidity. He in fact has come off of the Harrison Ford perch for a second to tackle the very subject. As Joe Scarborough butcher para-titled: the “Californication of American Government”. JS has for a long time considered California ungovernable. But in typical fashion it’s a talking point that mysteriously has lacked any detail or substance ever in the history of the show, allocating it to the mile high pile of negative broadstrokes that define his and the shows greatest challenge.


Ignatius eloquently put his finding in a paragraph. The state started with a 60 billion dollar budget imbalance, wound up with a 21 billion dollar one, and is running around telling itself it did its job governing. It bodes grimly for the whole union in that it is a microcosm for the fundamental inability of the legislative and executive branches, as designed by our forefathers, to make a difficult people first decision, instead deciding based on lobby, campaign, earmark, and commerce.


Mort Zuckerman quickly paralleled the health care process where a three word ideal took 2600 pages in congress just to pay everyone off but the American citizen.


What I found striking is that Joe Scarborough conveniently missed an opportunity to defend his take that the cloture rule “softens” legislation as a necessary stabilizing force in good governments. We have invented another test here at MJR called the scoreboard test, and you fail that test friend, there are no results of good government anywhere in sight, just deliberative bodies instead deciding based on lobby, campaign, earmark, and commerce.


3) Another great missed opportunity was the fantastic dichotomy of Ignatius’ point and the earlier Erick Erickson interview. Believe it or not, there is some merit in Erickson’ take if you could pick and choose. But you know the problem, we all know the problem, it’s the purity test.


If the next great political party is purple, guys like Erickson unfairly bind the voter into platforms unassociated with each other. You can’t be purple if you can’t take each item a' la carte.


Being an independent to me is fiscal responsibility, mixed with privacy protections that keep the government out of my social life. What it means to another demographic can be polar opposite, and they are equally invited. It’s the lack of a connectivity to the unrelated agenda items that is key to being in the middle.


Erickson has a great take about commerce (mentioned above) being a disaster to government as displayed in supernova fashion in the health care debate. But because I think that health care is a public good, we apparently can never be friends.


Until the show can create a lucid dialogue between the Erickson take and the Ignatius take on its same show, it fails the third test we are unveiling here on Morning Joe Rebuttal: the connect the dots in real time test. You can’t idolize ideology at 6 and damn ideology at 8


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mika Full Of Grace

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 4th, 2010


Observations:


1) One of everyone’s favorite catch phrases as they try to tame over-reaction to terrorist activity is “we always seem to equip ourselves for the last event”. Everyone, myself included, has pressed that full body scans would’ve prevented the Detroit attack, as would some common sense and if the NCTC had done their job. But this prescription to put full body scanners everywhere now is not what my take was last week, and falls into that paradigm Katrina vanden Heuvel talked about today: it’s a mistake if it costs us any vigilance elsewhere or ceases any part of our critical thinking on the matter.


Al-Qaeda and whomever takes their place when we obliterate them over time, are nothing if not amorphous. In fact, Al-Qaeda is this year’s model of the Viet Cong. The absolute definition of this kind of adversary is test, probe, attack, scatter, repeat. We have no chance of creating a safety net that is impervious over time to this. Al-Qaeda listened with great interest today to the cast as they described full body scan as a potent solution to today’s airport security problem, tantamount to an end-all.


No, it was an end-next if it had been employed in 2003 instead of all of the silly pork barrel projects handed out in all 50 states under the banner of homeland security.


Now, Al-Qaeda would like for you to review the movie “Maria, Full Of Grace” as to what to expect from them should you lack vigilance in the coming decade. A full body scanner would not have picked that scenario up, but the common sense part, and the NCTC doing its fundamental duty, both, would represent opportunities still available.


2) The war in Afghanistan is taking a big hit as the world finally catches up with Barack Obama. I think it was on his radar that his enemies have moved on and that he is on a 100,000 troop cleanup mission to undo a terrible failure of the last administration. If he had advertised that the war wasn’t winnable at the announcement of his strategy, the reactionary forces in America would’ve skewered him and asked “then why invest any more blood or money at all”. This does not reconcile with President Obama’s mission to reform the reputation of the United States abroad. We have not only sacrificed our soldiers and a mountain of treasure, we have asked 60 other countries to do the same. If we pull a Baltimore Colts and leave in the dead of night on this fruitless mission, we will sacrifice our ability to build a coalition for the next and coming crisis, when it’s clear we will need it to be coalition based more than ever before.


By winding down and methodically doing all we can to pack out what we packed in with dignity and respect to the country we invaded, we will accomplish one thing, if not the main thing. The main thing got by us at Tora Bora, and it will not come back. The entrenched enemy is impenetrable for their invisibility and causing our vital opposing apparatus catastrophic setback, as defined by the massacre of an elite collection of CIA experts in Khost last month.


And now we know we need these people and can’t afford to lose any more of them before we refine our deployment to reflect an enemy that has metastasized into Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Europe, Malaysia and Detroit.


3) I was very amused by the right defining it’s 2010 national platform as including it’s long held claim of national security as their exclusive provincial anchor. To my eyes this is done while having a record of dismantling that same security to the extent we find ourselves today. That Dick Cheney talks of the war which he has led us into a loss on as a “love it or leave it” mantra is so useful for it catalogs his myopia as itemized selling points:


Fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here?


We are at war, but wait, we invaded both spots?


We will hunt the people down who did this to us? Who is hunting who?


Obama is making America less safe, well you’re correct there because he has to mop up the abhorrent mess you left, leaving us vulnerable until a majority of the world doesn’t hold us in a forked tongue regard.


Yea, good luck politicizing security as one of your key national issues guiding Republican candidates in 2010. I would like to hear more.


4) I can already hear the Joe Scarborough response asking for accountability and reversal of the use of American courts for foreign terrorists, the use of American prisons for foreign terrorists, the closing of Guantanamo in the wake of new fronts in the terror war developing. ‘And wasn’t that short sighted of the Democrats?’ I can hear him say it.


Maybe, but if we paint the best possible picture on our actions, do we leave ourselves more or less options than the famous Cheney line that you quoted today “we will have to do more hard work in the shadows with unsavory people”. Justice out in the open as a carrot and the shadows as a stick, or the hopelessness of the shadows only as a motivating force for Al-Qaeda’s next recruiting poster?


I await your decision.


5) My apologies for using a double entendre involving Mika for a title that might have led to the reader thinking I was going to do a book review or talk about their interview with her about the “All Thing At Once” release. Good luck with that.


That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.