Friday, February 26, 2010

Dems, Reps Skate To A 0-0 Tie

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 26th, 2010


1) When the teams skate to a 0-0 tie, the Morning Joe show still has to cover it as if it’s news. Mika picked a good day to take off, because what happens is that the show also skates to a zero summation. If you compared and contrasted the Scarborough, Heilemann, Halperin, O’Donnell takes in the 6 am and 8 am hours, you saw little evolution, because there was no thing to progress the thing from a non story to a story.

Every single point in the latest hour - professorial is a dumb criticism, Republicans are due a philosophical difference, snarky or not snarky - was a bronze medallist in the non news category.

2) When I saw Guns and Roses at the LA Coliseum, towards the end of the show, Axl took a victory lap. Anthony Wiener deserves a victory lap after his scathing assault on the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, and Joe Scarborough is on to this, the subsidiary of the health insurance industry in our legislature includes some Democrats and a particularly infuriating Independent. Oh, and the President is still asking the insurers if they like him OK.

While Anthony Wiener couldn’t take the flag and do the lap, at least his understanding of the mechanics of 60 votes empowering those Democrats that are the least likely to govern, and most likely to plan for their retirement ala’ Billy Tauzin, got some more airtime.

What does Bill Frist do for a living these days?

3) Now is the time for hard work. The conversation has been stabilized by the tactic of creating calendar benchmarks like the summit that caused the Republicans to move to a defensive position to be sure they didn’t look like obstructionist buffoons, something they achieved, rather than have this time to take extra Scott Brown related victory laps. So instead of the story being it’s over for Dems and health care, it's health care is on the table, alive and about to pass.

The hard work is to pressure the bill that passes to include the stuff that will make a difference, and systematically remove all the 60 vote related nonsense. All of it.

I’m not happy with Republicans, and that’s a good thing, because they couldn’t make a single thing in their strategy look like progress. So it’s likely the independent voter either won’t be swayed or if he is in his 2010 voting pattern, he will have immediate buyers remorse, setting up the 2012 election cycle as the big rebound and 6 of the 8 Obama years about progress.

But I’m not happy with the Democrats either, I’m on the sidelines waiting for courage, a youth movement, results, and for them to work as hard as possible to remove the shame of a wasted year. The stakes are this, if they don’t show that courage, even if a bill passes but further empowers the insurers rather then stem the inequity in the country’s health care system, it could be 2 more election cycles of wild pointless thrashing as a gerrymandered, fixed primary, broken election system displays it’s incapability to end corrupt influence and enhance progress.

Where’s it going to end?

That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dogs And Cats Living Together

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 25th, 2010


1) How can you watch Elizabeth Warren and not go out and start hoarding gold Krugerrands? I mean that’s a bleak outlook, the small signs are there that a big second financial struggle is upon us. The Norah O’Donnell question is the crux of it all, how has the financial industry been allowed to create a second precipice unchecked, and it’s an important point. That should be Mika asking that question. Currently the show needs to import someone to ask the connect the dots question. We have done nothing to prevent the next collapse and the second bubble is forming.

Buchanan brings up the Chinese divestment strategy on US bonds. Perriello quotes ‘the recession is already over for the rich in this country, but the rest of us are miserable without a sign of our recession ending’. But Warren, she has turned into the true canary in the coal mine. And she looks near as though her hope is eroding.

2) Anthony Wiener didn’t have to be in the room to still be kicking Republican ass. John Shadegg, the baby lifter, is on the show trying to not be a wholly owned subsidiary of the health insurance. He sounds like a salesman you would try and avoid. Like the guy that the second after you sign his deal, his demeanor changes to ‘you work for me now’. There you are, feeling like if you don’t talk at the speed of light and create cocktail talking points at a rate of 5 per second, Anthony Wiener wins, and he is not even in the room.

Yea, I know, it seems like I’m doing the denial, that Democrats are equally guilty of allowing special interest to poison the well, that the mandate is in both current bills, that unions are preventing some of the competition that would help the overall market. But the bottom line is that the Republicans sound great now, but were silent for their run. They will get their chance to put those three things into law only because the Democrats will have enacted the first blueprint to fix the system.

Your status quo is far more damaging than the compromises that are present to get that toughest first step completed. Don’t ever forget, the 16 years that the Republicans didn’t do a single thing to fix health care, and did something tragically grift-worthy with their prescription drug work, you were getting the lions share of the buy off from the benefiting lobbies. Your wholly owned subsidiary cashed checks that whole time. The only reason you’ve got all your good ideas out there now is that you’ve lost control of the spot light.

3) The jobs bill is a sad joke. Even today, MSNBC is running around touting the positive political gains of a win. What win? To win hollow victories really only cements the charge of mismanagement levied upon the White House. It’s time for the White House to turn MSNBC off, because they are entering an echo chamber that allows them to claim victory over meaningless gains. It’s like when Verizon is at the Lakers game and they draw a winner for a free cell phone. There are 20,000 people in the building when they do that. And 15,000 of them are smart enough to elicit a Bronx cheer when someone ‘wins’ a contract for $1400 of charged cell phone service by virtue of a ‘free’ phone.

It’s more important to circle back to Rep. Perriello. He is physically upset at the jobs bill. He is as upset at the jobs bill as Wiener is at Republican doublespeak and Democratic weakness. The common denominator? We need a youth movement that disallows placebo.

And as Morning Joe is the pre game show for the big summit, do you predict that it will feel anything like a youth movement at Blair House, or some really angry entrenched old guys who are locked into their many years of back room deals and can’t map a way forward?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Man, That White Noise?

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 24th, 2010


1) I don’t think I would’ve liked to have read Joe Scarborough’s Twitter feed yesterday. He re-Tweeted some of the most disappointing stuff ever and it was all from the left. I have to say I was able to easily find consensus on my point amongst the white noise of vitriol, but the vitriol won the day, which is a loss for the left. I re-looked at my own column yesterday, and if the noisiest thing I wrote was that in defending Goldman Sachs by blaming the middle class for causing the mortgage crisis, you are representing the dark side, I feel like I employed restraint I was comfortable with.

But the consensus outside of the hatespeak was that Joe Scarborough talked over Chris Hayes. That he used volume and editing to cover a lack of debatable facts. Joe Scarborough knows that the white noise is the cost of doing business, so when he edits what he rebroadcasts on Twitter, and then plays the victim on today’s show, but doesn’t acknowledge the good part of the post show debate, he empowers his less classy detractors. They are allowed by Joe to defeat the message, by replacing it with hatespeak.

So if the left loses but the white noise agents win, Joe covers a loss by claiming a crime of non-contextual contempt on behalf of the left, where is the progress? I hate to say it but victims aren’t winners either. You would have been better off to do what you normally do, what your best analytics tell you to do: white noise is meant to be filtered out, and you probably should attempt to make the Chris Hayes debate recur with a level playing field. Test your ability to defend your philosophy, but don't bury it using the left’s white noise as your defense.

Chris will be there to offer up that challenge any time you want, I’m guessing.

2) For me, the big numbers went unconnected today, again. The jobs bill is $15 billion, the Wall Street bonus pool $20 billion. And everyone is high-fiving each other. What a win-win! We have declared the jobs bill pocket change. Simultaneously, we have talked of the recurrence of a single employee of a Wall Street firm getting $30,000 to $9 million in bonuses per head, which is the opposite of pocket change.

So this is a money flow that is this period’s transfer of wealth. Mika reads both sides, you’ve got Sam Stein, Pat Buchanan right there, and nothing. I think you need a connect the dots czar on the show, because it appears to me that the crew is too comfortable and you lack a competitor making you try to raise the bar.

The last two days has you blaming the middle class for the mortgage crisis and handing the baton to Pat Buchanan on today’s bonuses, where he says he thinks that they’ve earned those bonuses. That’s Cavuto level distortion.

At least Sorkin mentioned the ‘wasted for its minimalism’ view of the jobs bill, but that was yesterday, and that would be asking too much to connect.

3) I think my optimism can withstand another round of arbitrary ‘the public option is dead’ opinions from your cast today. I find the lack of coverage of the growing number of public option votes, plus the backlash of the Gibbs downplay of the public option, plus the pointing to the progress of the existing framework as the only workable solution, to be business as usual favoritism on Morning Joe. I am the first to admit that I was surprised that the calculus predicted on the show last year won out, not because the show was right, but because the Obama administration seemed to perpetuate the negative outcome via its mismanagement.

Whether or not the public option is going to prevail, as I’ve indicated before, the carrot and stick mentality is in play, and it’s not the Obama administration, it’s those legislators who have realized that the voter doesn’t need a contract with them to hold them accountable for a lack of a spine. That the non-utilization of the 60 vote majority in 2009 is a national shame, and blaming the mismanagement of Obama this time around is a legislative body unable to learn. They don’t seem to be waiting for the President to get up to game speed anymore, realizing he is on a different electoral calendar. Both the House and the Senate have had a comeuppance, that they had better show a bit of self reliance, a little less waiting as a strategy, and a lot more clock management or it’s over.

They may not have heard what they wanted from the Obama press secrateary yesterday, but gone are the days where that matters. Obama can’t stump for them and be a game changer. Obama can’t get out of bed with his awful deals with pharma and the insurers. The Dems can distance themselves, and as interesting as anything going into tomorrow, they can distance themselves on the side of progress and show the President as part of the obstruction.

That’s a form of competition on my side of the aisle we haven’t seen in a very long time. More of that Rubik’s cube alluded to today than we have banked on.

Now if only Morning Joe had that kind of competition, maybe they could say the news and see the news at the same time. Aww, you know I just kid, kid.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Denial Of Momentum

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 23rd, 2010


1) It didn’t seem to bother Chris Hayes that rather than debate the issue of health care, Joe Scarborough preferred to run through his Juilliard voice projection exercises. That’s OK, because after the break we will give Chris a response. So after the break it was Willie and Williams. So there it is, it must be written in stone that:

75% of Americans don’t want health care reform. And 90% didn’t miss a mortgage payment.

Dude. Enough. Those facts are the denial that is sinking progress. Those people claimed in that 75% are in 4th place in the decision tree of their own health care behind employers, health insurers and doctors, all of whom are for profit. It’s accurate to say 75% want their health care to stay the same. It’s accurate to say that that is not possible if each of those other three entities have opposite financial interests.

What are you going to say to those 75 % when it erodes to 65% because another round of significant attrition occurs in employer benefit provision? That is the current momentum. Are you going to say you were wrong then or now? Your duty is to explain the mechanics of this momentum to people regardless of their ideology.

The best analogy out there is the Huck Finn one: your chance of maintaining 75% of people on their same health care currently is the same as walking them down to the banks of the Mississippi, and telling them to swim to the other side. Every year fewer and fewer make it.

Think of all of the elements of the polynomial. Take the above fact that private enterprise will struggle to provide what is essentially a public good. Take the fact that states are swimming in red ink because they get saddled with the uninsured as an unfunded mandate. That and cost curve perversion. That and international competitiveness of the manufacturing base. That and 70% flow through on a publicly traded health insurance companies requiring quarterly growth. Erosion is a form of momentum.

At some point, your ill fated logic will play out to another Bush era unfunded mandate bequeathed upon broke states, all for the sake of reprehensibly irrational populist sound bytes.

Is Morning Joe the tour guide to the erosion of the middle class?

2) Now lets get that mortgage factoid - 90% didn’t miss a mortgage payment - taken care of. You are flat out perpetuating a fiction on your subscriber blaming the middle class or lower class homeowner for the mortgage crisis. It is dishonest and something I would expect from a Goldman Sachs apologist, but I somehow must be in denial that you are that capable of myopia.

The 10% of Americans who participated in the defaults that created a short squeeze for unfunded and irresponsible Wall Street ponzi schemes controlled by Goldman Sachs are victims not perpetrators. To accuse them as having a shared responsibility in this corporate larceny will get you cast as the bad guy on Erin Brokovich.

Look at the elements of the 10%. People who structurally had to move, people who were marketed to by Fannie and Freddie and FHA to take a gamble on the American dream, and people who thought they read a market trend and started to speculate. Funny thing is, only the speculators are remotely responsible for any part of the macro phenomenon of the mortgage crisis, the other two chief segments were innocent riders forced to participated in an extremely distorted market, and often with fraudulent pressure from Wall Street incentivized mortgage brokerages.

That’s right blame the middle class for getting sick and needing a doctor, or for needing a roof over their head and believing an FHA loan was a trustworthy proposition. Will you be my lawyer, or do you only work for the dark side?

3) Compare and contrast Detroit and Montreal for a second. I have never been to Montreal, and my visits to Detroit have been short and unenlightened. But why is it that Detroit has such a mythical place in the hearts of Americans? I tend to think it’s because of white flight. Everyone knows someone from Detroit, they just live in Arizona, Austin, or Arroyo Grande now.

When you travel the streets of the Detroit downtown and immediate mid city areas, you think of it as an empty shell populated by people who missed the bus out. Whether its Mike and Me, or 8 Mile or the great NBA riot, find a positive spot about what’s still there.

Conversely, Montreal is a frozen bilingual Paris with a level of sophistication and sovereignty that exports resilient pride. It is the capital of Quebec, which isn’t a country, but don’t tell them. Do people stay for the weather? They stay because it is the homeland.

How did the two similarly positioned cities get so far off in their respective prosperity in the last 30 years? Look at points one and two above. Detroit is a poster child for abandonment. Yea, New Orleans got jacked over Katrina. But that is understandable because of its finite time frame. What’s happened to Detroit is a time capsule of all of those things that have me slightly left and Joe Scarborough slightly right.

If you abandon your national manufacturing belt headquarters to satisfy Wall Street investors, Detroit happens. If you simply let the real estate market cave in a bottomless fashion, those houses that have been abandoned for decades that get torched on devils night happen. If you let the population get sick without doctors because of an employer based health system, they either move or move money that should be trying to create economic solutions to band aids at the state level.

Your mission, Mr. Scarborough, is to adopt Detroit, and make it the model for American turnaround. Find a way to provide health care to 100% of the Americans there, find a way to use your Harlem Academy educational belief system to go from last to first in the city known as the very worst for k-12 education. And find a way to nationalize the Detroit area manufacturing base so that it is employed by Jennifer Granholm and her stakeholders, not Goldman Sachs, as a provider of goods and services to the world, on behalf of the homeland.

When they don’t believe, point to Montreal. Its colder there. They are more isolated. But why do they possess 100 times the civic pride? Why do they have less, but have so much more?

Something tells me you will comment on situations one and two above quite differently if you follow through on your adoption today.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pre Game Show

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 22nd, 2010


1) Welcome to Chris Berman’s world. It appears that the powers that be are moving towards a Morning Joe avoidance game. They will release their newest model an hour after your window for scrutiny, and that’s a badge of honor. Thus the President waited one hour after your available scrutiny to release his health care proposal.

You would be in the likeliest window to get your analysis wrong if stuff came out during your show. Case and point Sarah Palin VP analysis. Instead you get 23 hours and every other opinion to digest for your next day effort. So there’s nothing for the show to complain about.

But it is a very interesting trend that media experts are telling their clients to avoid the 6 to 9 AM slot for issuance of press releases. It is a statement not about accuracy but volume. You guys are loud, and on so many points, you will pick out the things that are important to you and go for the megaphone effect. Another good example is the Rahm Emmanuel appointment announcement. Joe Scarborough’s early comments still affect Rahm’s ability to do his job.

So you are the pre-game, which isn’t really thrilling but a job nonetheless, but far more importantly you are eternally relegated to the role of quarterbacking on Monday.

2) Ok, so lets delve into the megaphone effect. The most important thing in health care reform to Joe Scarborough might be tort reform. I, like anyone else have seen the 60 minutes reports that OB-GYN doctors are leaving some areas uncovered via an inability to afford or even acquire malpractice insurance. It is a huge problem that needs fixing, until you put it into the context of the other issues being debated as part of health care reform.

There are 14,500 medical related bankruptcies for every 50 people who lose doctor coverage for a single specialty due to tort risk, for every 1 doctor who is affected. That’s a 300 to 1 ratio per capita, and infinitesimal per doctor. When you listen to Joe put the issue on the same pedestal as universal coverage or pre-existing conditions, that is the megaphone effect, because for that minute, those two issues are of equal weight.

You need to come up with a way to derive equity in your debate framework. If you spend a majority of your airtime pontificating on a 1/3rd of 1 % solution at the expense of a 95% solution, you are doing a disservice and at least there should be disclosure. You know that awful and upsetting system they use on CNN that analyzes a focus group with a line graph in real time. Don’t do that, but that mixed with a consensus impact percentage is a necessary element otherwise the results are perverted. Don’t be a case study that that loudest guy wins a 5 cent victory so that $100 goes out a side door to CIGNA for lack of a shining light, simply because the nickel had the loudest guy in the room.

In all fairness, Mike Barnicle swings the conversation the other way for his position about pre existing and portability while nothing else matters, but he is not a host.

3) Today’s debate on torture and the later appearance by Kati Marton was unintentionally a powerful game changer that I think points to a new level of debate. You didn’t mean to do it, but it’s important for Joe Scarborough to come back to his audience and talk about how he felt when he witnessed a victim of government with no boundaries after advocating his willingness to pursue enhanced interrogation techniques, which, his own show has shown consensus is in fact torture.

First, let me give you mine. I am an advocate of the public option of a black hole. You point to it as one of the possibilities facing a person, but he and the world knows it exists so that we as a population against terrorism face that together, not relegate it to a crew of self appointed hypocrites like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Marc Thiessen. The reason I feel that way is because of the good and the bad of the Kati Marton story. If we put KSM in the black room the press would constantly remind us that we are doing it, and we would be required to report on the efficacy of the project, like the press impact that freed Kati Marton’s parents. But without it, if its left to the creeps, it’s a government that is no better than all of our enemies of the last century combined and we have de-emphasized our own evolution as a nation with a conscience.

Now for you. Now that you know that what neocons are proposing via people like Thiessen is that we have to have a lack of accountability or else the world is less safe, help me reconcile. Help me reconcile that with the face of the other side. How do you know you aren’t performing rendition on an innocent man, torturing him, and victimizing his family in the Cheney model? We know we are doing it, because 60 Minutes showed you his face. The best thing in the world is to have a person like Kati Marton, who has had 50 years to reflect on an just such an event, an event that you know was repeated 4 years ago, only the US was the perpetrator.

Kati Marton is married to Richard Holbrooke, and has top line credibility. She has processed right from wrong on the issue longer than you have been alive. Dismiss any of her positions at your peril. Im not taking sides, I’m simply asking that you reconcile.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, February 19, 2010

We’re Fighting For Freedom

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 19th, 2010


1) If what we’re witnessing is the high water mark of conservative excitement and energy this seems like a focus group upon the untenable. Mitt Romney is not fighting for freedom, he is an omnipotent pandering machine. The fact that he has not grown out of those awful out of touch jokes he told - Obama overtakes Lindsay Vonn on the Downhill -or- whos to blame? pin the tail on the donkey - is more news than anything. That’s their guy. He has no newness to his game.

Mitt Romney is not fighting for freedom, and the fact that he is at a conference where Grover Norquist is the voice of reason, but he is playing to the other side says everything that was wrong in 2007 and 2008 when he was losing the first time. Mitt Romney is fighting for corporate enrichment and interest.

Marco Rubio is not fighting for freedom. He is fighting for half of freedom. The half that plays well in this election, deficits and taxes. There is less freedom in a sunk economy with higher interest rates, a return of foreclosures, and runs on banks, and last year proved it, and the guys in his own party that he’s meant to replace caused it. Do you know why Marco Rubio exists? To put a fresh face on the same old half truths, and because the guys who used to represent those ideas from the conservative side of the aisle grew out of them in the face of reality.

Dick Cheney is not fighting for freedom. Dick Cheney calls freedom the Patriot Act. Dick Cheney thinks deficits are irrelevant. Dick Cheney is a photo opportunity for the hypocrisy present at the APAC meeting when they cheer the guy they sent home last year. It made no sense, Joe Scarborough amongst others was visibly embarrassed at an obvious groupthink error, and the opening in all of this was captured in real time on Morning Joe today by John Meacham:

“Strategic issues confounded by a tactical mentality”


2) Joe Scarborough went a step further and exponentially added to the damage by making the same mistake in his oversight of the issue. He tried to say “As a drill, I’m not going to talk about anything else besides entitlements”. Look, that’s a good conversation to have friend, but that’s exactly it: you cannot have any single conversation in the face of today's catacomb of pressing issues because they are all interrelated. In fact, its not the algebra of deficits versus jobs, it’s the integral of that and entitlements and a continuing fragility in the banking system and the inverse of entitlements where 60 million people become income-less, health care less-wards of the underfunded state.

When you walk into that trap of your own doing, you actually provide a modicum of sympathy for the President. The President doesn’t want entitlement bankruptcy. The President wants the surplus from his party’s last period of executive branch ownership. The goals are mutual, but preaching algebra is a causal effect of the wildly swinging electorate, and the recipe for that meeting where people all dress the same and smile and shake hands but couldn’t put their belief system into the context of a polynomial if their life depended on it. You and Mitt don’t help with algebraic logic, as it is the marketing of denial.

3) My most optimistic moment was when the panel went around the table and all voted that the goose was cooked for the Democratic party in 2010. That is what cable news does best. Prognosticate badly.

Check your sources people. Some guy was running around a convention center and it was televised. He was what’s wrong with the Republican party and proof that its freedom fighting offshoot is still in it’s infancy. Who was that guy?

Well if I gave you a clue: had orange skin, Pat Riley hair, looks like Freddy on iCarly, seems like a Bond villain, maybe you could pick him out.

He was everyone.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Gelb Standard

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 18th, 2010


1) Your subscribers indicate that they are suspicious about the agenda of Maria Bartiromo. It just seems that she is an undisclosed lobbyist. I’m bored with picking apart her take on things, suffice it to say you are hearing Mitt Romney accurately channeled in this appearance.

My prediction is that one of these non disclosure checks is going to reveal that Maria Bartiromo is on the payroll of Goldman Sachs or the national association of corporate raiding hedge fund managers (I made that up). No one believes that anything she says is actually an opinion but instead a sales job.

The disturbing thing is besides the ubiquitous appearances on Morning Joe, she has that Wall Street Journal show, and her CNBC platform. It just appears we have given the megaphone to the voice of corporate greed and no distortion is too fuzzy to serve the bottom line of those individuals who are most benefiting from the transfer of wealth created by the current mix of status quo politics and government funded banking guarantees to proprietary investment.

Maybe its good to have Maria on Morning Joe, the same way Rachel and Keith have an intern monitor Glenn and Bill. We should let her come on the show and rant pro Wall Street-isms, it’s a gold mine of self serving hypocrisy, and you can’t get Harold anymore, who at least cloaked his allegiance expertly.

2) I am so happy to hear that the Howard Dean appearance yesterday had the same effect on Joe Scarborough that it did on me. There are guests and there are guests. Funny, I didn’t hear any reflections on the Kaine appearance, but Dean made sound bites that hit you.

I was less happy that that reflection wasn’t connected to the now 11 Senators pushing for a tough reconciliation health mandate. I think these elements are distinctly connected. It seems that simultaneous to the ramp up to the health care summit on February 25th, there are two legislative versions of events being attempted. In addition to the public option reconciliation dagger, there is the resuscitation of the existing bill with the necessary changes. But in standard Washington D.C. ice cube demonstrata, that resuscitation effort can’t seem to find closure and current estimates indicate that again the legislature will fail to deliver a signable action by the summit, leaving the Republicans with leverage that could’ve been avoided or turned.

This is Democratic cannibalism. It is the weakness Dr. Dean spoke of incarnate. And funny enough at the center of the failure is the void where the President or Tom Daschle, or Howard Dean should be.

I say that staffing shortcoming analysis fully briefed on the apparent conflict of interest charges levied at both Daschle (United Health) and Dean (Pharma). I await comment from them or a second source to decide whether they are of limited effectiveness because of it, but it couldn’t be any worse than the horrible deals Rahm Emmanuel made with both organizations directly on behalf of the White House.

3) That leads me to Les Gelb. No I don’t want Zbigeniew Brzezinski empowered to replace Jim Jones. But I do subscribe to a multi front catastrophic failure of strategic planning complete with pictures of Jones, Axelrod, Gibbs, Summers, and Emmanuel.

I think more important than cleaning house are teachable moments. If you do as Gelb says, it’s no longer an Obama administration. It could be said that the first 45 days and last 2 years of Goerge W Bush’s tenure were actually GHW Bush administrations by proxy. No, it’s more important to salvage the talents of Axelrod and Emmanuel, to harness the Economic regime, pathing Austen Goolsbee for eventual ascension, and to enable Jones.

Emmanuel should consider doing what Mike Dunleavy did last month, fire himself, but retain partial ownership of the continuing project. He should go get the best chief of staff possible (DEAN, DASCHLE) and stay on in an advisory role so that its boot to the throat time, but still Obama’s ship.

I think, as I always have, that Summers is the obvious plank walker. You can actually thank Summers for being there when you needed a guy to keep Goldman Sachs from engineering a depression, for they are at that scale at this point, but point to a future where we need to get rid of the government lending to investment banks and too big to fail. I don’t know that we could dress up Elizabeth Warren to look like Maria Bartiromo, I don’t know that Volcker is any more a solution than Brzezinski. I know Goolsbee would be more of the same tough sledding until his time has come in an earned fashion.

If there is one thing consensus (minus Maria) could find, it’s that having the government seem like a department of Goldman Sachs had better go the way of the dodo bird in the next 90 days or get ready for Romney 2012 with his new economic advisor: Lloyd Blankfein.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

{ed.- don’t miss the point on the Warren / Bartiromo thing, dress up means to not scare Wall Street into a catastrophic tantrum, not any superficial definition}

Man Up

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 17, 2010


1) Today’s Morning Joe show was overbooked. The raw mechanics of what was on paper versus what came across was critically out of balance in that with all the ads that talked about Tim Kaine being on the show, when he was there, he was half of what the fractious audience needed to explain all the Democratic party dysfunction. It was no payoff to all of the buildup.

We are a mad electorate, and we have now loudly started to call for that man’s resignation. To finally get him on and to have him get away with being a statistical apologist for about 2 minutes and get only one question from Bob Woodward, and regrets from Sam Stein, is to give him sanctuary rather than shine a light on a huge issue.

The one questions from Bob Woodward said so much. “Sir, do you and the President talk?”. Wow.

2) So, yea, tough day for me in all the days travels, but I still got to be part of that glorious moment of Chris Dodd being on the show (on the same day as Tim Kaines), and saying with a straight face that filibuster isn’t the problem, it’s the transportation curve allowing Congress to no longer function like a boarding school that is the ill of the legislative branch. I’m sorry but that is the most excuse driven, cause and effect denial I have ever heard. It is also a golden ticket for Mr. Dodd to move to the next phase of his life, for he clearly displayed how he cannot be the path forward today.

Mr. Dodd might be a nice enough person, and his wife might have a point about the Countrywide scandal being an unfair bookmark on the guy's legacy. But that is really a cheap camouflage and someday someone will explain to his wife that the Countrywide situation is a convenient ‘explain away’ to cover other scandals far more distressing. What is happening here and in Iowa and in South Dakota, and on the other side of the aisle, is that a legion of Duke Cunninghams are choosing to get out or to have the world and the modern informational path congregate around the aggregated deals of their legislative lifetime, and see the rats.

3) But the real show was the Dr. Dean segment, where so much logic and order was placed upon the situation it was both infuriating and hopeful. Look, you had both the current and form DNC chairmen on one show. One guy came on late and all he could do was sound like a statistician anticipating a level of economic disarray, as if to say “here are all the reasons we should expect things to be bad”, but no solutions, and the other guy earlier in the day saying “the solution was right there”.

Today’s problems were solvable in 2009 but our administration was not man enough to accomplish them. And they will be much tougher to solve in 2010 because the odds will be further stacked against progress. If we complained bitterly about the effect of the 58th, 59th, and 60th vote in the Senate and how those three voting Senators were allowed to functionally change over half of the health care bill, can you imagine what our reaction will be if they are the 49th, 50th, and 51st vote? Maddening. If we look at Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman again in a 'pay the piper' way but at the crossroads of reconciliation, when we had it as an unused option and leverage in 2009, we will then cement on our psyche that we did this to ourselves through lack of certain leadership.

But the optimist is where we are on the calendar. Dr. Dean said what we have all said, so it might actually be true. We got the memo in January of 2010, Bill Clinton got the memo on Halloween of 1994. that 10 month gap might be the turnaround opportunity that saves us all. Mr. Obama is a different guy. He is taking hard shots across the bow of not just the Republican party but the dysfunction of Congress.

There is no doubt we are at a second genesis of this Presidency and thankfully so. If it is anything, it’s not too late, not because of the good break of the calendar, but because the Achilles heel of the Republican party is a hallow platform.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Helpless, Helpless, Helpless

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 16th, 2010


1) I’m so motivated with Al Franken, that if there is even a remote chance that John Cougar can be the next Democratic senator from Indiana and join the usurpation caucus, then we win. No offense Evan Bayh, but you are an obstructionist more closely aligned with Joe Lieberman than Chuck Schumer.

In fact, the way that Evan Bayh is going out is the ultimate Lieberman like act of obstruction based politics. Block the fire exit while you get out. All I heard was hypocrisy, complaining about the things he was equally responsible for. You can’t claim the deficit commission was the final straw when you were taking the same stance on issues of war and health care, modest support until vote time. Yea, any of the spineless middle would’ve voted for that gutted mass called Senate health care reform, that’s not brave, that’s Bayh.

Those pictures that Morning Joe was pasting up as Democratically endorsed triage candidates in Indiana had all of the momentum of the off green wall paint in your junior high school cafeteria. Good luck with that if that’s your strategy.

2) That branding point made today by Melissa Harris-Lacewell is an important one that will be explored by historians for some time in regard to the failures of 2009. If the marketing message “People First, Health Insurers Last” had been evoked in March of 2009 it would’ve trumped “Death Panels” as it would’ve associated that as snake oil from special interests instead of rightful fear of government abuse from Chuck Grassley.

The fact that ‘Main Steet, Not Wall Street’ was out there but ineffective is another stinging indictment of where the Obama administration was throughout 2009. The Goldman cabinet will not endear you to Main Street. It’s an interesting but consistent aside that both sides of the slogan have new vitriol for the administration.

And lastly, the ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’ high ground was ceded because the Democrats consistently pointed to the stimulus and health care as them saying yes, when Main Street was left asking ‘Where’s The Beef”? The conversation today about how China spent their stimulus with 40 high speed railroads OPENING next year versus us still with 67% of ours unaccounted for in the economy is all the answer you need as to what bedeviled our brand. Please note, that as much as Joe Scarborough used the China example today, he certainly railed against any sort of similar domestic action 12 months ago.

3) But the answer, the answer to the question that Gene Robinson asked and no one could answer: What is the central reason for the huge political shift? Not just anti incumbent. Not just health instead of jobs. Not because Republicans are so great or offered any alternative. Not because of message wars lost. The answer is mismanagement. The branch of government that Obama was elected to lead? The executive branch. I don’t need a Latin class to figure out that leading and execution are hallmarks of this position.

Even though it’s his watch and he gets the blame. The administration has some absolutely key failures that lead one to think about that career ascension conundrum: you ascend in your career until you get a job you’re not qualified for in too quick a timetable to effectively retrain or adjust and you tread water for a second until reality rushes failure over your head with the certainty of a 12 hour tide.

That failure is the departure of Howard Dean right at the administration outset, with Tim Kaine invisible for 14 months. That failure is Axelrod and Emmanuel using ‘Entourage’ mentality in a time of historic crisis where there should’ve been a Secretary Gates or Secretary Clinton at every post.

This vacuum of leadership that we’ve so consistently talked about, the missing branch of government needed to overcome huge obstacles in broken facets of BOTH other branches of government, simply misses the scale of necessity of the times. We could all learn something from George W. Bush.

Late in his Presidency, he came to power. He consulted with his dad and brought in Gates to shore up his power throughout government and turn the Iraq war while he still could. He got smart and realized the agendas of his closest advisers were divergent with his own. He seemed so lonely at the end, but often the correct path is the loneliest. No lobby money, no George Will, not a poll number in sight.

Obama has this moment in the 14th month. The template is there, erect the super squad and get to work.

That's all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Everyone’s Favorite President Is Lincoln On The Eve Of A New Civil War

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 15th, 2010


1) The Morning Joe show did little to solve America’s problems today. It in fact seemed bent on preserving the wedge nature of Sunday talk shows as the substance of it’s Monday program. The Vice Presidential discord was replayed on the show 8 different times and ways as a reference point.

When the panelist went around the room, they all chose Lincoln as their favorite President. Its not lost on the viewer that the Lincoln Presidency has an eerie parallel to modern times as we have grown into two divided populations beholden to a wildly swinging middle independent voter. And that middle independent voter swings so wildly because he has no representation in Washington.

When the independent voter swings one way, the base of the losing party grows militant in their call for a shadow government to view the actions of the nation from their perspective. That is the need that calls Dick Cheney to the podium again and again. That is the antithesis of post election cohesion.

It’s not the progressives that are abandoning Obama, it’s the independent voter. And it’s not because of torture, it’s because the agencies protecting America were asleep at the wheel on Christmas day. It’s not because of a “Government takeover” of health care, it’s because the false reform plan was a lobbyist giveway with the Democrats acting like the untrustworthy Republicans that had just been shown the door.

No one is serving the consensus population, and that population is growing.

2) In this process of neither party seeming particularly capable of trustworthy governing, it’s fair to say that this angry middle voter is susceptible to distortions planted in the news by either party’s pandering. Miranda has become a rallying cry because Scott Brown used it to great effect to symbolize inefficiency in the steps taken to secure the homeland. That word was a leading edge similar to ‘death panels’. It has since been marginalized amongst the pundits, but the damage to the middle voter is a lagging scar no longer based in facts on the ground. Just like ‘death panels’.

Miranda rights to enemy combatants is an endangered species because the middle voter now sees it as the reason we won’t stop the next attack. If you put David Ignatius under truth serum, he would likely say that rather than Miranda, it’s bitter infighting causing ruptured information flow between security agencies that will victimize this country’s defense. The show today highlighted a symptom of that with Joe Scarborough centering his discussion of the matter around Miranda symbolizing the disintegration of the CIA interrogation program. Read that again. One agency prevails over another agency, and the left out entity has thrown it’s hands up.

Do you feel safer?

Yea, I would like that CIA option back, too. But is the answer really to swing the middle voter with a malfeasance of the Miranda story? Is this an indication of the health of this country as a voter and government? If we recently allowed some credence to the theory that the voter has been thrown into an irrational state and shown positively schizophrenic voting patterns, what are we to expect as a result if a poll can be found that Americans want Miranda out, but also want the best method possible, which might include Miranda?

We are creating this irrationality. Morning Joe got nabbed for the Mark Penn appearance on the show, unrelated to this subject but important for the concept, so as a penance, it should be sure that it’s a forum for consensus, not a forum for lobbyists to come on under the guise of analysis and drive red herring sound bites into wedge issues bent on being a domestic media civil war. And it should be even more careful not to embody that wedge building concept via it’s own cast and writing.

3) If the stock market would’ve opened today, it would’ve fallen 500 points. Germany is pulling out of the Greece bailout. Goldman Sachs has been found to be a chief participant in hidden activities bent on reducing the visibility of sovereign debt it was selling in markets it makes.

Tomorrow, it remains to be seen if there is any way to recover from this parade of negative news from across the pond. Early in the show, Mika alluded to a story regarding this, yet the show never covered in in the 3 hours.

Maybe the show could’ve reshown the Biden - Cheney wedge tournament 2 less times, and talked about a multi-trillion dollar wealth shift in the making instead?

You solved little, developed no consensus, highlighted the extreme edges most prominently, and resolved that the two parties should try and talk out their differences. All this while missing some important stories going on elsewhere.

Am I the only one who wants more out of Morning Joe?

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Morning Joe Needs A Jobs Recipe

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 12th, 2010


1) The Morning Joe show has again forgotten the substance behind the jobs issue. Except for a glancing blow to candidate McMahon by Joe Scarborough, rolling tape on the various angles pursued to get to the bottom line of the day’s jobs news, that effort was unsuccessful. There needs to be a rule of thumb that when in doubt, create a new idea. The synthesis of a talk show and this particular issue is how can the show be, itself, an agent of innovation. What happens instead is a glancing of the issue that results in nearly zero consumable substance on the what, when, why, where, and how mechanics of how to replace 20 million lost jobs, along with a sustainable marginal employment market superiority.

Funny, no one ever puts it in those terms. Not Joe Scarborough, not the President, not the heckling hacks trying to sponge popularity off of the disenchanted American population. And the entire population is affected and disenchanted on this issue currently, no matter their view on abortion or torture. We will at some point need to actively prioritize the national agenda, government and media alike, to reflect that jobs and health need to come first, litmus du jour subsequent.

Anyone pointing to the payroll tax discussion with candidate Blumenthal today as substantive, or his aid to states for capital projects, or McMahon’s generic tax comments on the matter, are just encouraging pandering and placation. Now, I’m not ready to throw that as a direct accusation towards either appearing candidate. This is in fact an indictment of the show’s cast for being unprepared to lead the charge.

The show has successfully made what amounts to a platform that works for healthcare, although they’ve never published a checklist that you could find, it exists as running consensus. (private market, non monopolistic, nationwide, insurers bound by pro consumer mandates like pre existing and 90% flow through). The show needs to have this same preparation in order to be as effective as their subscribers need them to be on the jobs issue.

2) The road forward for jobs is as simple as health care should be. The broken Senate doesn’t help, but dangling the solution to the jobs conundrum alongside the solution to the health conundrum on one side of the senate, and the voters on the other, might actually fix all three broken systems.

I published a laundry list of necessity-based job creation projects a while back, that may or may not be adoptable, but indicate what a public works package should look like from our government, in concert with private industry. There is no need to update it or guess what projects exists that wind up in production. The point was that none of them were in the original stimulus, which is a shame, and that there is still an equal need to think that way. There is unfortunately significant doubt that we have enough political will to do any of them.

I also published the economic equivalent of the Laffer curve for jobs. A tax plan that uses capital gains as it’s tool to effect the jobs market. That plan is in fact worth restating and updating for this current market condition, and I’ve started to hear the President state parts of that plan as part of his assembly of a jobs solution.

Capital gains is currently at 20% no matter where you invest your money. People in mutual funds really know this because they get an annual tax bill due to the tendency to lock in gains at each periods end. It’s not bank loans that we should be using to fund business innovation that breeds jobs, it’s the vast, investable wealth of the nation. The previous incarnation of my plan included reducing capital gains to near zero for domestic investment, leaving it at its current rate for foreign investment (to avoid the protectionist tag), and to raise it to 40% for the market damaging elements of proprietary trading and inefficient speculation in financial markets.

Additionally, the same determination would be applied to taxes on corporations and the schedule c small businesses out there, using an old term to a new positive fashion. We all know that President Clinton used Alternative Minimum Tax to fight loopholes amongst wealthy individuals, until its threshold became obsolete and it affected too many people and hampered the economy. I would propose a new version of the same concept that is a two way street. A three way street actually. Businesses that don’t outsource to India, that do revitalize old manufacturing infrastructure, that create long term domestic jobs based investment would be subject to an Alternative Maximum Tax, companies that lay people off, use bankruptcy to void pensions, disallow shareholder control of executive pay, avoid taxation via offshore financial strategy, or any other action that attacks the domestic jobs economy or personal income tax base would be subject to an ‘Alternative Minimum Corporate Tax’. The business who doesn’t participate either negatively or positively or at least achieves equilibrium would be taxed under the current rates.

Even the meanest corporate raiders out there, like Bain Capital, would have to give something back to the economy in their activity in order to avoid that punitive version of AMT. Currently the system rewards business that hurt the middle class. Their stocks go up, their executives get rich, and even when their company is in flames, they can get a government handout on the basis of the effect on a middle class that they just pillaged.

Bottom line, I would love some public works, but I think we’ve squandered that opportunity. A 25 billion dollar jobs bill is a broke guy talking to you. That is literally the per capita equivalent to the coins you have in your pocket right now.

What’s worth harnessing is the economic powerhouse of the private sector of the United States of America. I am a reformer, so by harness I mean unadulterated, unobstructable, applies to everyone rules that go ten years with extension debated at eight years. The Laffer curve will tell you that lower taxes will bring more governmental revenue in the long run. That taxation beyond some point leads to diminishing returns like many other economic phenomenon. What you may not yet realize is that the Laffer curve can be compartmentalized into market segments: domestic, foreign competitors, inefficient markets.

Wall Street will hate this idea because it cuts to the core of our current crisis. We need to reward tangible domestic economic creation. Wall Street has figured out this thing called proprietary trading. It wants your money for itself, not to invest in America. They have a lot of your money right now and can affect elections. Change now or they will own you outright.

3) Lets add a ‘pay-go’ element to this. We need tax revenue, we need to cut spending, we need this at both the state and federal level like no other time in our lifetimes. Thus, one thing I would not do is reduce any revenue source from 98% of personal income tax or payroll tax as it currently exists. It undermines the already ballooning problems of entitlements and budget deficits. If we use the might of private industry it’s actually far less expensive. Corporate taxes are less than 15% of federal revenue. State corporate taxes would remain unchanged and in effect. If you call 5% unemployment full employment, the delta effect of increasing payroll and income taxes by 5% calculated and 10% real reemployment is an 8.4% increase in your biggest revenue source at constant personal income tax rates.

You would, I’m sure, make the nominal assumption that 15% lost corporate tax revenue versus 8.4% increase in income tax revenue is a net negative. Those percentages are completely unassociated. In actuality, the net reduction of collected corporate tax would affect the overall rate of revenue collection by less than 1%, probably less. With small changes in a bohemeth economy, that’s as close as youre gonna get to invisible. But it’s not a small change, it’s a sea change in how our companies look at the path to profitability going through main street, not around it.

As with any economic theory, there are boundless assumptions. But I am making the point that income tax will rebuild the financial standing of the US in a recovery, investment can be a better tool than speculative small business lending, and corporate behavior can be harnessed in an equitable way bringing American companies back into the fold as the solution, not the chief exporter of our jobs and middle class wealth.

4) Lastly, the last part of this equation is government spending. Somewhere along the way, we will need to get our fiscal house in order. The legislature is completely incapable of fiscal restraint, and a negative of any economic solution to our current problems is the short sighted ‘money solves everything’ phenomenon would prevent the federal government from tackling this horrendous giveaway of tax dollars.

In a perfect world, the government would act within the boundaries it is going to make the health care industry work under. 90% flow through. Currently the budget of the US is 20% of GDP. It needs to be 10%, plus interest and entitlements. But I don’t want to lead anyone on, most industrialized governments are nowhere close to this figure, but we are way off, out there with Greece, and we should at least begin to educate ourselves as to how we get better and where our money is going. Like Oprah says, we should be signing each check ourselves to prevent the outright theft that’s going on now.

I may start to research the budget now so that I might be ready to fix it at some point in this lifetime.

That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surrounded By Populists

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 11th, 2010


1) OK, so now I’m not so obsessed with Maria Bartiromo, because she was on the show for practically the whole morning and is like having the financial equivalent of an Al Qaeda double agent on. In one exchange, prior to Elizabeth Warren being on, Maria basically acted like your mean boss at Pizza Hut and said ‘Obama better stop being so leftist’ or face the consequences of Wall Street not supporting his presidency. That is so important, this is a person who has an early entry on the show and feels like there are no adversaries philosophically around her, so she can basically admit shoplifting American wealth from the middle class is OK, because we (Wall Street) said it was ok, now get back to work.

The only thing missing from this was how when Joe Scarborough tackled the backwards logic of Maria’s sentiment, he did not send the debate towards Joe Conason, who you know must’ve been seething. That was an unfortunate edit. But look, if you’re going to try and gain intelligence from double agent Maria, and she already has alluded to the Wall Street sentiment, that they know what they’re doing so stay out of the way, maybe this was strategy, for she must be willing to eclipse that data with some further even more significant watershed.

And watershed we got, because after Elizabeth Warren, cloaked in a ‘bank fees will cost jobs and be passed on to the consumer’ false ideology, which Conason heckled, was the real nugget: “proprietary trading didn’t cause the financial meltdown, sub prime mortgages did”. America, digest Wall Street’s internal thought process upon light of day, as they attempt to explain away their role in your disaster. That viewpoint is revolutionary for a number of reasons.

The securitization of sub prime mortgages in a hedge environment that included default swap insurance products is a direct product of proprietary trading. Proprietary trading is a trade a company does for itself and not for its client. Goldman sold securitized sub prime mortgages on behalf of clients, and then collected default swaps against them proprietarily. It wasn’t the first time they did this. It was oil for a while, it was dot com for a while, it was sub prime mortgages balanced by default swaps for a while. All bubbles, all ended badly, seemingly as if the proprietary trading was pushing those markets off a cliff on purpose, right Maria?

Maria makes two mistakes with one unhealthy view from the inside, because not only was proprietary trading a hierarchical financial pattern overseeing the sub prime crisis, today, funded by the government, the proprietary trading that is occurring is doing one thing very, very badly, it is not serving the US economy. To put it simply if your proprietary equation today was to find the cheapest manufacturer of an item in order to create wealth in a New York based trade, you would trade a US job to China instantly. To put it in a macro sense, the money being given to Goldman Sachs by the US Treasury is specifically monetizing the continuing destabilization of the US job economy. The tax payer is funding his own job loss and the profit from the trade is retained by Lloyd Blankfein.

And for 120 minutes, Maria Bartiromo was the face of that transaction. Willingly.

2) Elizabeth Warren has made a youtube moment for our time and it occurred today on Morning Joe. She called out the highest level of leadership: both the Wall Street crowd, and undoubtedly, Barack Obama himself. Her words said loudly, you’re either really dumb, or you’re committing a crime against the American people.

Praise to Joe Scarborough for trotting out the ‘transfer of wealth’ line in goading Maria, above, to spill the secrets of the castle. But it was not needed in the Warren segment, as she has become the populist and consumerist juggernaut for finance that Howard Dean is to health care.

“He doesn’t ask me for advice” quipped Warren about the President as she mused about the administration appearing for sale in trading ever weakening financial reform, that is more a securing of the status quo than reform, for campaign money. At this point, it’s obvious the only way to trust Tim Geithner, is if he works for Elizabeth Warren and she signs off on his work, Summers, same, Volker, same. President Obama, it’s right there for the taking.

“It’s not competition when you can legally contract competition away from a transaction”

“This is banks versus people”

You don’t need to add any observation to that.

3) All in all, Morning Joe continues on a hot streak of a previously unseen level. I wish they didn’t waste appearances by Conason and Haas, but that’s live television. They self edited altruism from the conversation with Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, they have been relentless on getting Elizabeth Warren on and exposing the dangerous high level math going on in the financial world, versus the algebraic placation attempts by Maria Bartiromo, and not by making judgment but making the foundations of the two arguments stand to be judged themselves.

I feel like I felt yesterday. If it’s true that the White House has this show on in the morning, they have to be a bit on the despondent side. We all make mistakes, and when Bush made mistakes, he could just switch the channel to Fox. But Obama doesn’t have a base bathed in doublespeak and Orwellian message. When he tries to use that kind of messaging, his base actually revolts. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good”. Your base does not hear higher order logic there, they hear capitulation.

This is going somewhere important. This president is neither conservative, nor liberal, centrist or extreme. He is looking for opportunity, but unfortunately each of his mandates feel more like a business deal than governing.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What’s Left To Deny?

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 10th, 2010


1) It will be interesting to see whether the sense of denial in the Obama White House can withstand a salvo like we saw on Morning Joe today. It’s a dream world of consensus. Joe Scarborough had another “was that Joe or Howard Dean” moment that must’ve felt like a Louisville Slugger across the chops of David Axelrod. Now it is questionable if Mr. Scarborough has aligned the facts in the optimal or even correct manner, but he has achieved an unseen level of accuracy demonstrating the national mood on the vitality of this presidency.

Mr. Obama sold out and has been found out as such for the entire first year. 6 cast members Heilemann, Halperin, Ratigan, Dickinson, Mika, Joe. That’s 3 on 3, all moderate, riffing on Tim Dickinson's "No We Can't" article in RS. Consensus: You campaigned on a platform of citizen government and immediately abandoned it. You did not build a team to optimize your standing or the standing of your campaign platform in Washington, and lost every battle. Whether it was being out gunned, or you were lying to the people, you have only one minor victory, education, that no one knows anything about (more on that below).

You have overestimated your abilities as a magician. Consensus: New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Copenhagen, the Senate. All depressing defeats that, with the exception of Virginia (that state you can see from your new house), had last minute appearances by the President that seemed like a bad student cramming for a Literature final. Not one of those cram sessions has worked and they have all voted against you by proxy. Missing from every one of those losses were the people that were on the mall at your Inauguration.

You have proven out the strategies of your opponents. Consensus: Whether it was the “Washington always wins” crowd, the Waterloo crowd, the death panels crowd, or the Dr. Strange-Cheney crowd, each of these opponents have won their respective message wars with stronger messages representing weaker points. Washington shouldn’t always win, it’s bad for America. Party of no hurts America, wins elections. Death panels don’t exist, health care frees up job growth, no one understands this. Torture makes more terrorists and the world is less safe, but don’t try and sell that in Massachusetts.

The cataloging of this across the board failure was done as completely and concisely on Morning Joe as one could’ve ever hoped. But it had a cherry on top. Joe Scarborough actually got into role playing and imitated David Axelrod failing to grasp the sheer weight of his role in America’s future capturing Axelrod’s Starbucks-esque passive aggressive demeanor unable to disguise real denial and real contempt. Then Joe Scarborough put on his Howard Dean lucidity cap and told the Democrats what a path to victory looks like, abandon the 2600 pages, put real reform in 50 pages that kneecaps special interests, and ram it through reconciliation.

It is not too late. Tom Daschle needs to replace Rahm Emanuel. And Howard Dean needs to be brought in as a competitive rival within the party and craft the 50 most lucid unadulterable pages of health care reform possible, and then Tom and Howard muscle every vote needed to gain reconciliation. Further. If Ben Nelson, Claire McCaskill, and Evan Bayh are a collection of cooked geese, then what prevents them from casting their vote the right way versus some delusional job security way for once in their political lives.

2) The only part of this story that Joe Scarborough is questionable on is the leave John Boehner and Mitch McConnell alone and concentrate on the same 3 northeastern Senators. These congressional leaders have hid in the trees long enough. They are both weak leaders. Drawing them out to a fight doesn’t just expose them as having the weaker standing, it exposes all 179, all 41 in their respective tribes.

We tried the fringe insurgency tactic before and it didn’t work because it made good people like Susan Collins look like bad people like Joe Lieberman. All of the fringe Republicans abandoned us in the end, and looked at Nelson and Lieberman as bellwethers. That is horrible for governing, as it more dilutive than directional.

No, we need to go to the heart of the opponent. When you are in a fight, you find the biggest opponent, and you take him down. The rest of your adversaries then take a recount of their assets and that's when you gain the most ‘new friends’.

Defensive wins nothing, and unless you have been waiting for some time to line up Boehner and McConnell and exact your brutal superiority while they’re out in the open, then why did you bother? They don’t hold the high ground because they are right, they hold it because you gave it to them for absolutely nothing.

3) It’s a day of two triumphs really, as the show continues to use it’s New York influence to shine a light on the battle over New York education. Bringing in the New York Superintendent of Schools kept up a regular drum beat on the matter of an old world union blocking real educational reform. This is a real chance to show a win for schools.

I was a harsh critic of the appearance of Randi Weingarten on a past show for, while representing education, she was actually shilling for status quo and putting the tenure of bad teachers ahead of the interests of school children. I continue to wish that she did not have a benign forum for what amounts to disingenuous grandstanding, but I accept this next chapter of focus as a strong correcting action in this ongoing fight.

It’s a microcosm of what’s going on across the nation. Let’s be very careful not to forget that the only player in this fight that isn’t local is Ms. Weingarten. She is the national union chief. She must be assumed to be pursuing this myopic agenda nation wide, and a New York defeat might represent a national tipping point.

4) OK, so I thought I was done, but reading observations 1 and 2 might leave the lazy amongst us with a quick read that they are mutually exclusive. Nope. Do you think that the Republican leadership is going to show up on February 25th, if there is no threat of reconciliation, or at least the sub nuclear option of a blind pass of the 2600 page monstrosity currently sitting out there? You do both the hard line and the cooperative strategies simultaneously and give the Republicans the one minute to midnight option. You will come to the table, you will not filibuster, we will trade simple unpolluted ideas, we will do an honest horse trade and build a mutual goal, or Dr. Dean will come.

That current bill is so bad, it might actually motivate both sides.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Connect, Not Bisect

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 9th, 2010


1) This was a slow news day. A re-examination of a re-examination of the Palin Tea Party confab, a re-examination of Mirand-izing the Christmas bomber, a rehashing of cloture, and a preclusion of civil posturing leading up to the great horse trade on health care. Oh, and Toyota did something bad too.

What do those issues have in common? They are examinations of conflict and wedge mentality. What is the show going to do when everyone gets a say in health care, except Aetna, and the horse trade as a mechanism is a proven success?

Why not find out now? It has been this columns strong belief that when the front page conflicts slow down, there has to be at least some room for prescribing progress one suggestion at a time.

With all of the discussion of the hate oriented and race oriented nature of the Tea Party and the obvious pandering of Sarah Palin to it, for these are her people (read: the only people not on Tina Fey’s side), even David Melnick should have to come up with some positives there. The tea party is doing something that no other segment of America is currently doing. They are organizing their dissent into an undeniable scale that is a voice unheard of since the Vietnam war. This is a first voice not of special interest, but of common interest. That is important accomplishment and needs to be recognized.

Further, the warts and all mentality is important, because quickly the Tea Party is refining and policing its own, take the Breitbart backstage counseling session as top line proof of that. The civil rights movement evolved after some horrific violence into non violence. The Tea Party movement probably deserves that same chance. Joe Scarborough glossed over that by a sober admission that the media goes out and finds the most extreme footage and then replays that footage ad infinitum. That is distortion.

I am not an advocate of so much that is going on with the Tea Party movement. Most of the platform in its early incarnation has been that margin of society that thinks that our borders should have walls, Mexicans deported, taxes repealed as unconstitutional, and abortion doctors should be jailed. But this party also wants an all-out clawback for runaway government spending that includes the military. They want a voice for privacy rights. They have agreement on what should be a universal platform that the legislature in it’s current form is corrupt beyond repair and needs to be retooled to soley focus on the people’s business, with the corporate elite left on the outside before it’s too late.

All that, and first to market with a modern common populist protest. Compare and contrast their months of assembly and growth with the presidential election of 2008. In 2008 we were coddled by celebrities, goaded by television, winked at by the national print media, and sold by the Billy Mays of politics. Then nothing changed at all. Suddenly our new change and hope guy seemed to be advocating the status quo, and what did we do? We, that great mass on the Washington mall at inauguration day, melted away to become lonely bloggers of our discontent.

Not the Tea Party, they assembled, did it again, and did it again. They’ve been called racists. Even today, they were labeled as hiding their intellectual inferiority via mentally lazy labels like nazi, socialist, Hitler and Stalin. What are they doing? They are reacting internally by boiling away the attack points and re assembling and re assembling until their message for progress is advanced. You may not like them, but you have to respect them for doing something while you lay inconsolable on the couch.

2) Joe Scarborough almost got there with the Tea Party people, but got all the way there in the Miranda debate. If my chief complaint yesterday was a lack of dissent during two disparate segments on financial reform, than there is a just compliment due for the handling of the Miranda debate with Mort Zuckerman, JS, and Chris Hayes.

Hayes did just enough to cause a genesis moment, he had just enough Constitutional knowledge to not allow Joe and Mort an easy answer. And let’s face it, Scarborough and Zuckerman were desperate to resolve this debate into an easy answer, and they lost. We did not determine that Chris Hayes was right, this was not a victory for pundit absolutism, we instead claimed the greater high ground that an assembly of constitutional scholars was needed to be sure that the facts being bandied about in the media are responsibly grounded.

To be fair, I’ve more closely sided with the Zuckerman principle that we have to be careful not to be our own worst enemy. That the Eric Holder mandates thus far seem to make the US beholden to strategic misstep for the sake of appearing perfect. I want the Holder and Obama ideal of one less terrorist recruited via our morally based actions as a nation. But there is no losing sight that the enemy dating back to Vietnam will use zero moral compass in its wartime decisions, and if they felt they could attack us while we were in church, they would, and they have proven it.

So let’s find out where the constitution is and let’s stick with it. If it appears that some part of the constitution leaves us vulnerable, lets make a morally responsible open decision to shore that up in the face of a modern threat.

The whole argument here, that should unite us all, from those who voted for Scott Brown so that our dollars ‘fight terror not provide terrorist lawyers’, to those who had their library cards inspected in Fresno, California for adequate patriotism, is that ultimately whatever we vote for we should be willing to submit to, for chances are we will.

3) There was a huge connection, not made, but embarked upon today when the cloture debate included a referral to alternate versions of the Senate. Joe Scarborough only wants to take the ‘grass is always greener’ posture, but that is not a take that is an evasion. The principle that we allow a monumental distortion of the nation’s will in the Senate is striking a national chord, and we have to have a sober conversation of alternatives. I heard popular representation uttered in relation to the Senate for the first time in the show’s history. I don’t support popular representation in the Senate. But it starts a conversation of alternatives.

Additionally, if the most distorted body of the two in the legislative branch adds another compounding level of obstruction to progress, it exponentially magnifies any and all existing distortions. There are more people that lost coverage when the health reform bill died at the hands of Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, than reside in their states combined, fivefold! Their obstruction was empowered by cloture. Yet, even more infuriating, the cloture that empowered them is in name only, as the rarely discussed no filibuster agreement doesn’t even allow a filibuster test in this session of Congress.

Now I’ve heard of lots of alternatives to the current version of the Senate. And I’ve read the results of this version of the Senate, with its obstruction of progress dating back to the civil rights debate. And we didn’t even talk about the distortion that pervades the entire process called lobbyists and corporate money and television advertising dollars. There has to be a better way. It’s the scoreboard, and it doesn’t lie.

Rather than embark on that process today, let’s take a look at a wonderful alternative proposed by Annie Lowrey over the weekend involving representation based on income, and how that might empower the middle class, and let’s ask Joe Scarborough to proctor a proper discussion of possible alternatives rather than sticking with his “you can’t handle a simple majority in the Senate” dismissal. That dismissal seems a little too much like contempt for process and progress.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, February 8, 2010

30 Seconds To Mars And Back

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 8th, 2010


1) The Morning Joe show and its long list of esteemed guest are equally terrified of Sarah Palin. The anxiety comes from that sinking feeling that the cast, like everyone else, can’t figure it out. I’ll try and provide a public service here so we can suspend our collective Palinioa.

Sarah Palin is the missing link between Rush Limbaugh, the Roger Ailes consortium of tail gunners, and the headless horseman that is the Republican party. Because the base can’t be seen publicly looking towards Rush or Beck as it’s leader, Palin is as close as the establishment can come to a figurehead currently. The real leadership centers around Mitt Romney, but his personality is as amorphous the bad guy on Terminator, so strategically, the party needs a den mother to placate the base. With their focus on a red herring billboard like Palin, the party can move behind the scenes to get off the mat and set up their 2012 move.

Palin is in need of something that Peggy Noonan hit on today. She needs to be an identical player to George W. Bush, an enabler friendly Manchurian. There is no doubt that even with as much Palin bashing as is going on, Bush and Palin are intellectual equivalents. But the Steve Schmidt interactions prove that she will spend the Romney years being taught to work within the enabler machine while coddling the base that is perpetually scared to death by Ailes, Beck and Limbaugh.

2) Why debate Steve Forbes? Joe Scarborough has always brought in the dangerous politicization of the deficit, the economy, the stimulus, the issues that needed to be in the hands of economic surgeons. So Forbes is preaching to the choir in his segment looking at JS and Peggy Noonan. No one in the audience thought for even one second that three Reagan-ites were going to cite Paul Krugman or Keynsian principle to give that conversation depth. In the same hour you had Matthew Bishop and Michael Green arguing that side of things, albeit with the telegenics of a soap dish. But the show needs to do a better job of connecting the dots lest it perpetuates playing to both sides blindly and thus being an engine of voter irrationality.

What is the voter irrationality? A population that simultaneously supports and vilifies deficits, stimulus, healthcare, Afghanistan, and a pro life advertisement to an impossible 60th percentile. Where do they get that from? ‘Stop printing money’ at 8:11 and take rational long term steps like attacking joblessness and rebuilding infrastructure at 8:43 will always manufacture irrationality.

An interesting article came out over the weekend showing that we are as a voting body slapping our own face irrationally by swinging from right to left and back wildly. One of the specific things talked about is how necessary deficits during the managing of an economic recovery face unfair and debilitating headwinds by the aforementioned politicization. Joe Scarborough, although agreeable enough, just can’t help himself when attacking deficit spending to this end, and it’s debatable whether his altruism on the subject isn’t actually a significant part of the problem.

3) This year for Christmas I got a Phillip Rivers no. 17 jersey. No doubt Rivers is an elite quarterback and his team is in that tough soul searching part where they figure out how to get a Super Bowl ring. A position that Peyton Manning was in for years before getting his single ring.

I never wore that jersey. I never had a chance to. The Jets came and that was it. But rolling around all season long and at every game I went to in the last 6 years was the powder blue no. 9 Brees jersey from his stint as a Charger.

Brees was the beginning of the current Chargers ‘win way more then they lose’ era. It had a difficult end, and in fact the Chargers made the right decision at the time when they let him exit via free agency. The mechanics of the injury that Brees had made his recovery either questionable at all, or left him as a highly paid assistant coach waiting for 100% to recur. Not to mention that the injury occurred in a meaningless spot at the end of a meaningless game ending a meaningless season. Marty Schottenheimer left Drew Brees in that week 17 game versus the Denver Broncos because he knew that Brees was gone even before the injury and it was more important not to risk injury in that setting to the heir apparent Phillip Rivers.

But via the miracle that happens every once in a while, Brees didn’t just rehabilitate, he came back better. In repairing his shoulder and rehabbing, it is unquestionable that Drew Brees can throw the ball 20 yards further than he ever could, and with 50% better strength, and all that alongside a character that just seems superhuman to the naked eye. Character that would have gone a long way in the Chargers locker room 3 weeks ago.

I think I’ll trot that no. 9 jersey out this offseason for a 6 month victory lap. It will help lessen the sting of a huge missed opportunity for the Chargers knowing when we get there, Brees will have been part of that story too.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 5th, 2010


1) I guess I made a mistake yesterday when I said I agreed with Joe Scarborough on most of the issues on health reform. Because today, it was Joe Scarborough the voodoo science obstructionist, conjuring up brand new numbers out of the air for the same old talking points, not even platform or policy, but talking points.

Joe’s math is now ‘60% of Americans don’t want health care reform’. It was 75% last week. Neither number is anywhere near the heart of sentiment on the matter. And nothing constructive can come from this message, that is so JS 5 months ago, that IT is dead and we should move on.

I want the current health care bill dead. I came out in support of the Dean decision that very day, and wrote both Senators Boxer and Feinstein asking that they vote against it. I itemized that more was lost than gained, the new coverage of 31 million was achieved by making uninsured people scofflaws if they didn’t buy a policy under the same awful conditions that exist in status quo, and that the pre-existing conditions part of the legislation was nothing more than a sound bite with no real enforcement that would create an additional cat and mouse game between insurers and hapless regulators.

Further, I’ve come out with a model for piecing together the good items into enforceable law in a bipartisan way and without loopholes, the leadership horse trade, and identified the mission as creating a hyper efficient private insurance model with strict accountability towards free market and full coverage. No state lines, no preexisting conditions under threat of lifetime liability, repeal of anti trust, and tort management.

Lastly, Joe parroting those old scripts is infuriating because we have uncovered in the last 5 months several anomalies that make American’s judgment of the issue the result of conflict of interest on almost every level. Massachusetts voters had universal coverage and thus were essentially voting a no new taxes mandate so they didn’t have to pay insurance cost for citizens of other states. Employed workers across the country are being victimized by propaganda that it will be reform that costs them insurance instead of the loss of a job or a cancellation by an insurance company on a technicality leaving them without a safety net. Uninsured are being told to vote against any mandate as a violation of their American freedoms.

And that leaves one small group of advocates. Americans who work for small businesses below the group threshold, are unemployed, are self employed or have some similar commonality that makes them outside of the reach of group insurance. Those people got news yesterday far worse than the Joe Scarborough betrayal of their trust. Blue Cross Anthem told 2.5 million California individual policy holders that they were getting a premium increase of 39% on March 1st. The average policy cost for a family of four is moving from $20,134 to $27,336 per year. Blue Cross Blue Shield have a near monopoly in this state. And there is zero regulatory recourse. The only thing that Blue Cross Anthem has to prove is that at least 70% of premiums make it to health care for covered patients. That’s not insurance anymore, that’s a siphon.

Joe Scarborough, stop with the talking points and become an advocate for an immediate solution, 2.5 million people found out yesterday, while you were in their state, how bad they need you to get this right.

2) Obama, the bad juggler part 2. Mike Allen revealed side by side today that the administration got chewed out by the junior Senator from Minnesota Al Franken, who at this point is the heir apparent to the Howard Dean lucidity throne, and then promptly that same administration sent legislators on the road to a jobs bill without a map.

If this is true, it is another major setback for an administration that is now getting Carter comparisons daily. I’m not one of them. But I’ve used the words feckless, hapless, vacuum of leadership, and rookie to describe what we saw in 2009 and as 2010 gets underway, to see the same needs to be a call to action for all of us.

Franken went off saying everything we have discussed about a lack of leadership on the issues, and went specifically after David Axelrod. Sound familiar? I remember the day that the health bill turned into untenable sausage and Howard Dean came out against it. I remember how Axelrod came out not asking to look at the issues, but to sell the talking points, and asking not for understanding but loyalty. That’s an outrage. It was an outrage listening to Senators turned into doublespeak salesmen, it was an outrage seeing the opposite of necessity nearly enacted into law, it was an outrage to have proven the opposition right.

I went to bed that night thinking maybe football is fixed and Oliver Stone’s Mr. X was the closest I would come to the truth in this lifetime.

Scarborough is the opposition, not the extremists like Limbaugh or Erickson. We have to be the example of the availability of bipartisan progress here, so the drill in the coming days is the same as oft described here: get the good people on the set, Dean, Warren, Krugman, and come out of the 10 minute segments with 4 consensus parts to a solution to each of the demons plaguing America right now, Health, Finance and Jobs.

That’s all for today, see you Monday

Thursday, February 4, 2010

California Bender

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 4th, 2010


1) Andrew Ross Sorkin is in the room and AIG gets a pass on it’s bonus announcement. I know it was yesterdays news, but Sorkin and Huffington need to have an open debate about this every time they’re on the show. I’m confused, you have gone with the ‘greatest transfer of wealth’ thing now to the point that it’s part of the show’s mantra. That is great news for America. But today’s failure to launch is a serious writing error.

I know Jon Stewart and the book party make for very entertaining television, I know that jet lag coming this way is a bohemeth (I’ve warned you about it), but on a day where the AIG bonus gets released, the Goldman bonus creates a secondary market to sell the bonus stock earlier than promised, and the sovereign debt of 5 European countries finds previously unseen volatility, Mika had better sell 6.54 trillion books to equate the allocation of airtime. This isn’t the Today Show, and the Grove is only so big.

2) John Heilemann is the one guy explaining Obama better than Jon Stewart. His analysis can be paraphrased that ‘the administration didn’t want to marry any specific in health care reform early as to not appear to have a setback moving to the final bill’. Boy, how did that work out? Nelson is toxic, Lieberman is toxic, the caucus meeting yesterday was an absolute wake.

Joe Scarborough and I agree on 9 out of 10 fronts on health care at this point, that the stinking pile of stimulus II that came out of the Senate and falsely claimed to be health care reform needs to die, that the Obama resurrection of any of the back room deals are the real toxicity, and that all of this is getting in the way of the simple things we could do to objectively fix health care the fastest and have it move towards Swiss or Dutch models, hyperefficient private markets with strict rules of the road nationwide.

Going back to the Obama back room deals, this is incredibly troubling. I guess I’m more on the Jon Stewart side of things that I still can’t tell if he is playing us or using a stiff upper lip to hide an absolute fiasco on multiple fronts. A devout Democratic conspiracist would say that the last big part of the Bush – Cheney coup was to leave crippling multi front crises for the next administration then sit on the sidelines and point out how bad the state of things was. But I’m worried about something else. Why is it Obama and Eli Lilly, Obama and CIGNA, Obama and Goldman?

Joe Scarborough, despite jet lag, has this issue on his front burner at this point, but his subscribers are left guessing, similar to how they’re left to guess about Obama, if JS is ready to do the people’s work exploring this difficult and dangerous land.

3) Like the San Diego Chargers-owning Spanos family, part of the native flight out of Stockton, California includes yours truly. Having spent time at the very top as the ‘murder capital of the world’ in a neck in neck battle with Washington DC, and at the very bottom next to Yuba City as the worst place to live in the United States, Stockton is an extremely troubled place.

Those elements, the literacy and higher education elements that make up that quality of life equation, the really under reported lawlessness and additionally the national economic peril have combined to give Stockton a new distinction: “foreclosure capital of the US’. 60 minutes did a report verifying this. But even 60 minutes didn’t take a second to look at the 25 years of trouble that preceded the mortgage dilemma as a possible causal factor.

When Mike Barnicle asked Barbara Boxer to speak to Stockton’s citizens today, and she gave a typically incumbent answer that solved nothing and talked about how ‘she was a fighter’, you just felt the backlash brewing didn’t you. If Carly Fiorina gave a bilingual speech tomorrow underneath the incredible infrastructure that is Stockton’s inland port, the largest of it’s kind in the world, Boxer would be toast.

Barbara Boxer, you have to talk to them, or you are Coakley redux, because it seems like your fighting for your job, not for Stockton, California the vanquished.

Don’t look for pawns there, you’ll get limo-jacked.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

What If Anything Did The Kids Teach At School

The MJR Cliff notes for February 3rd, 2010

[not quite a rebuttals worth of stuff here despite a powerhouse lineup]

When Joe and Mika leave the keys to the car on the table and take off here's what happens:

1) Gays in the military openly

2) Canada’s financial system get’s imported

3) When they need a chair they take Barnicle’s instead of Geist’s

4) Rich white guys start applying at chicken factories

5) Mortgages require 20% down

6) Portugal's sovereign debt fails

7) David Wilson says Willie Geist is the 101st Grio

8) They let Joe Biden fly solo on TV

9) The microanalysis of the mortgage crisis is moved to 2nd homes in the Hamptons

10) And where an anchor normally channels Brokaw or Murrow, Geist has chosen Chase, Chevy Chase, as his anchor model and is likely working on a pratfall for his next show. Straight face? Naah.

This is the equivalent of the sky raining frogs folks, its useful in a Ferris Bueller way about once every 60 days, but more than that and you’ll find smoldering embers when you get home from your California junket.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Up In The Air

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 2, 2010


1) I’m flying today, and I’m flying Southwest. This airline is not immune to some of the same maintenance troubles we have seen across the US airline industry, but it does not have Colgan Air in charge of its unprofitable routes. You can look at the planes and see some are tertiary market planes and some are LA-SFO top line planes. The chief difference is that it’s the same mechanics, same pilots, same standards. My other two favorite airlines Jet Blue and Virgin America don’t have contract service for route completion either.

Continuing on his hitting streak, Mike Barnicle has paragraphed Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski’s raw anger, considering their own airborne near miss. Barnicle caught the whole subject by identifying the major airlines as cutting corners across their business from safety to pensions as the ultimate culprit. This example is another in a series of open wounds in the disintegrating old world American airline industry. Unrelated to the Buffalo crash, but somehow part of the equation are those other statistics, like when Las Vegas turns down United for growth into the Nevada market because it doesn’t want to risk the burden of United using bankruptcy again to void pensions, leaving its retired mechanics as wards of the state.

I have friends who have had severe life disruptions because out of school they chose Delta and Continental as their career paths. Both are no longer in the industry. The person I’m closest with endured humiliation after humiliation for nearly 10 years prior to finally restructuring his vocational plan. And just to be very clear, 9/11 occurred near the end of that 10 years, not early as a chief causal factor. Now take that scenario one further step to those airlines wanting out of the small commuter routes and moving toward a version of outsourcing that enabled them, or so they thought, a degree of plausible deniability to some of the most reckless cutting they desired to move their bottom line and executive bonuses forward.

2) Education Secretary Arne Duncan might as well have said ‘unions have consequences’ in his non answer today to why the teachers union was obstructing his ‘race to the top’ program for New York. Look closely and you’ll see that look that you normally see in job interviews from trained hr execs that are making you do all the talking, while they note results. Duncan will wait for the teachers union to make a conciliatory plan, or they will be the cause of a significant loss of opportunity for New York’s children and watch the bottom fall out.

That is management, empower the parts of the organization to strive to get better, or cut themselves. It serves in stark contrast to the style of management we talked about with the airlines above where cutting your way to victory still has supportive boards of directors.

Next step for this discussion has to be ‘no state left behind’. The quickest way to make a state seem like Chainsaw Al Dunlop is to leave it facing disastrous choices on multiple fronts from health, to transportation to education.

The states are no better than the airlines in that they were very bold in their attempts to get handouts in 2009. Unfortunately in state after state, key funding for the three big things above has been migrated to other parts of the budget. If you were going to fund a state initiative anywhere from the federal level, the last thing you would do is leave that state any wiggle room, they will let you down like a central park junkie at this point.

Arne Duncan is making this point in the New York issue via lack of comment on Morning Joe today. That void says this: the teachers union will not take Duncan’s program and reduce it to status quo through double speak like “let’s make this competitive fund available to all teachers”.

And these are teachers.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.