Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Total Whitewash

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 30th, 2010


1) It’s as though Joe Scarborough thought he was bringing in the big guns when he put Harvard professor Jeffrey Miron on the show to strengthen his anti-Keynsian take on things. That was quackery at a level of bringing a chiropractor to heart surgery.

No I’m not on board with the Joe Conason venom directed at Prof. Miron. Mr. Conason would’ve been better served with temperance, even in the face of some goofy science, but goodness, you’re making a case for the other side.

What is even creepier is the blank stares Conason got when 1873 was brought up. No, I’m not talking down to people with that, equipped with some encyclopedic reference to past financial panics. But the thing that caught me off guard was that the Krugman article that might’ve set this debate off referenced the 1873 panic as part of it’s central thesis.

Mr. Scarborough, do you care to comment about an apparent hole in your homework? Your show is predicated on ‘must read op-eds’ and intertwined with takes from the great columnists working today. It would be a setback if it was that much of a fa├žade that you didn’t actually read and understand the most important column of this week prior to embarking on this crusade for Herbert Hoover austerity.

2) Where you are off the reservation on austerity, you’re in the wheelhouse on Afghanistan. I listened closely, and even the best and the brightest are cautioning that they don’t want to seem too ‘Oliver Stone’, but still no one will talk about the financial windfall concept of why these wars are fought to seeming perpetuity.

Additionally, you seem to have ignored the story of the money transfer from Afghanistan to Dubai of $3 billion US dollars in recent weeks. That story would shore up the anger your trying to get Main Street to channel, so there doesn’t appear to be any logic to your deselection.

Additionally, that line to Joe Conason: “I know who I’m talking to, and they would never talk to you”, attempting to trump Mr. Conason’s intelligence on Afghanistan issues, is so misplaced you might as well be stabbing yourself in the face. Conason just spent 2 weeks in South Africa with Bill Clinton, so you’re dead wrong plus, what happens is that it looks like you’re trying to end a debate before having a debate, which is avoidance, which means you think you’re vulnerable. We learned this when Karl Rove shouted down a reporter with “but you're entitled to your math, I'm entitled to THE math”, just in time to get whipped soundly in 2006. Just don’t do it, it’s a pathway to losing.

But after three disparaging paragraphs, the point of this is you found a very important vein with the lack of an investment in the war by Main Street. Mike Barnicle found it weeks ago, but his persistent, Columbo-esque re-insertion of that as a main culprit for the apathy towards the war has proven to be a sound strategy as Morning Joe has found a consensus point, and I like the goal.

If a draft threat, I don’t support a real draft, brings this home to America, let’s get it out there. If an important domestic investment can be shown to be lost as a direct result of financial constraints of war, put a billboard next to it saying so. If a member of congress takes money from Halliburton, then praises the war effort disingenuously, publish the conflict of interest far and wide.

Let’s get out of Afghanistan, leaving behind the Biden predator plan, and basically make a single policy: we apologize to human shields in advance, but where we see pockets of terrorist activity that we feel threatens our original mission, we will annihilate them.

We should treat Afghanistan and Waziristan equally, and clearly instruct anybody in harms way that they risk death by being near our enemies in the region.

That’s not to say we couldn’t keep a green zone situation at Bagram, or a strike force for special operations like the capture of Bin Laden as needed, but nothing on the ground in Afghanistan warrants further investment under the confines of the original mission of 2001.

3) In a previous rant, I mentioned community service should involve teaching teachers how to work around localized corruption. Geoff Canada took this point to a universal level today by stating that the log jam of compromised influence upon the educational system is now 40 years in duration. The system atrophy that continues to cascade as a result of it will leave the US school system in rubble within our lifetime, per his diagnosis, and either we choose to break the false ceiling placed upon education workers every day with managed curriculum and ranking money higher than results, or we face that future.

The Morning Joe is so far out in front on this issue, that expectations have begun to ramp up towards real progress in the forms of charter school proliferation and Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s agenda widely adopted.

There are an army of status quo barons ready for this fight, and one very large political conflict on the horizon. The unions, book publishers, outsource vendors and religious ideologues are all ready to make this ‘Obamacare II’. Conservatives are also going to ask a pretty legitimate question: if Joe Scarborough is a fiscal conservative wanting smaller government, then isn’t this issue counter to that? Shouldn’t a fiscal conservative be calling for the dissolution of the Department of Education, and leave the school system to the states?

I’m not a fiscal conservative, so it’s an easy choice for me. When a state’s education system can go from near the top to near the bottom or at the bottom in 10 years as Nevada has done, it clearly shows a need for a national expectation of standard.

But overall, this continues to rank at the very top of the shows accomplishments. I would like to see the show get out in front on the coming conflicts, and the consistency shown throughout the show’s existence makes it seem like that is going to happen.

4) See this empty observation? It’s still more than Morning Joe’s coverage of the oil spill today or recently.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You Must Be Joe Keynes

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 29th, 2010


1) It would be so easy to simply roast Joe Scarborough for painting a ‘depth takes a holiday’ argument about Keynes versus austerity in by-the-numbers water color. But hey, I learned something readying my take for the other side.

Maybe it’s a crystallizing moment, because I know every day we talk about China having out stimulus-ed us, but Andrew Ross Sorkin taught us they got infrastructure and immediate results, and every day we talk about the futility of our pittance of high speed rail, but we heard Tom Brokaw speak revealingly about China completing 41 lines of high speed rail to our three non connecting un-started plans. Keynesian stimulus certainly worked for the world’s largest economy, what happened in the US? Oh yea, the hardship of competing with central planning with our compromised legislative plan is a major failing point. Good for Google freedom, bad for high speed rail.

Is that Keynes’ fault? I don’t think so. And since when does Joe Scarborough get his economic leadership queues from the Europeans? That seemed a little too convenient to be credible. As goes Antwerp so goes Atlanta?

Krugman’s not isolated like Scarborough claims. In fact, Scarborough had to retreat from Keynsian economics ‘is dead’, to ‘it’s having a tough time’ when facing a trained economist, so what does that tell you? Sorkin who should’ve had more of a dog in the fight, could only muster ‘it’s not the stimulus, it’s the efficiency of the stimulus’ in an apparent back pedal defense of Krugman. But it was enough to show the answer is not convenient yes or no stuff but dimensions and degrees that are not sound bite portable.

It should tell you that politicians are the root of all that is wrong in this economic plan gone terribly awry. Keynes can’t control the efficiency of a stimulus plan from the grave, and if you’re building bird sanctuaries instead of innovating, you aren’t actually doing stimulus, you’re doing politics.

The worst of it has been that like a slow speed car chase, we have known this exact thing was happening from it’s genesis in Congress through this inevitable wind down in the temporary and limited effectiveness of a misguided inefficient handout. We know we wasted the money. Bob Herbert knows we wasted the money. 20 million Americans facing long term unemployment will all eventually know we wasted the money.

The way forward is even more gutting. Now the Europeans are mucking up the program by going the Hoover austerity route, making the real step forward all the harder to sell via our compromised legislative governance.

Yup, we will have to actually do a Chinese style overhaul as stimulus, 2 years later than we should, and over the protest of carpetbaggers and tea party opportunists everywhere.

Yup, Keynes will be proven out, and the pain will by global, with Joe Scarborough having to explain why he sided with the European austerity reactionaries. Mr. Scarborough will have to admit, it was not from a complex thought that he had, he just limited himself to an algebraic if-then statement and guessed wrong.

2) T Boone Pickens and I seemed to have coalesced upon the ‘fuel choices for consumers’ ideal where customers can choose their fuel and make the alternative versions compete.

Unfortunately, his version is a very bad plan. It maintains the grid, you go to a central fuel provision depot, managed by Exxon, and they sell you your choice of 8 fuels based on your need. I wonder if that market would be manipulated at all?

The idea is to have the bottom fall out of demand for 87 octane refined gasoline. What happens then? In Pickens' version, Exxon and Saudi Arabia go for an 18 month predatory pricing plan that makes that product 85 cents a gallon to see if that’s enough to get the other 7 options to go bankrupt. If not, they go another 18 months.

Unless a Byzantine equalizing mechanism prevents this, no amount of RICO prosecution can prevent big oil from pricing based on survival instinct.

My version of the Pickens’ plan for automobiles involves people having a non grid option, whether it was electricity, or bio fuel, or a home natural gas line, or several.

I want Exxon to seem like MCA Records: the gravy train is gone, and we can’t give this stuff away. Pickens’ plan tries to keep those guys in the gravy post paradigm.

Two footnotes.

It’s pretty safe to say that the various producers would seem a lot like the cell phone companies, attempting to get subscription commitments at every turn to prevent real competition from happening.

And ethanol? Come on, is someone really still trying to sell that boondoggle? It will be a very nice byproduct when we find out the truth about genetic corn dangers, but short of that, a child cries in Africa every time a suit diverts a food grain to power an SUV.

3) Scott Brown wants to have his cake and eat it too. Why do we let him do this? Where is the Morning Joe show on this issue? This is a guy who used straight talk and no hidden agendas to get elected, now, he agreed to vote for the financial regulatory reform act, via inserting the Scott Brown ‘3 percent” component, then when the Byrd situation made Brown’s vote pivotal, he turned into Joe Lieberman.

We really need to start by line item removing any component from any opportunist who changes his mind with the spotlight on. Brown already cashed the check from the lobbyist who paid him to insert. It would be nice if he had to give refunds when he became the latest McConnell disciple to agree upon, then betray, progress and governing.

There is less and less doubt that Brown is part of a future ticket. That is a Democratic advantage, and the exploiting should come right here, right now.

Now I know, there is some ‘no tax increase’ debate after the Brown insertion that gives Brown cover to bail out, but I don’t believe it. I listened to Scarborough and read Brown react to the cost recapture tax inserted into the bill as being unfair to an industry that paid the TARP money back.

That’s so misleading it hurts to hear. They continue to rake in money by getting an unlimited line of credit from the discount window at near zero interest. If you were a citizen and hit the lottery like that, whether literally or by some windfall calculus, do you think the IRS would pat you on the back and say, ‘way to go, lucky’?

Of course not, and the AMT and those aggressive audits where the IRS makes you reinsert the real value of things in sweetheart deals proves Main Street doesn’t get away with this kind of math, so why should Bank Of America? Joe? Scott?

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Economic War

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 28th, 2010


1) There was a fight about the way forward in Afghanistan early on the Morning Joe show today, but ‘round about the second hour of the program all sides agreed they were supporting agents disingenuous, and stopped fighting, instead opting to complain to invisible powers over the pointlessness of the continuing conflict.

While it’s no great mystery what’s happening in Afghanistan, somehow a long esteemed list of cast members and guest journalists could not pinpoint it. Rather than remedy, the Morning Joe cast seemed content to have an ever-evolving but undeniably circular argument for 180 minutes.

You are at war because it is part of the economic stimulus policy for the United States. The fact that everywhere there are austerity arguments, and Krugman articles refuting them, has less to do with the United States, because there is no austerity in war. It is a license to print deficit budgets and pump that money into the economy of this country like a ventilator prolongs the life of a 65 year old emphysema-suffering lifelong smoker.

We did this in Vietnam, we did this in Iraq, and we are doing this in Afghanistan. Do you realize how mad Raytheon or Bell became in 1991 when the hostilities stopped after just weeks of conflict? That in some circles Gulf War I was seen as a missed opportunity to bail the US out of it’s early 90’s financial malaise?

So as a nation watches, no less than 8 well-educated individuals went on national television and as a consensus agreed the “pro war” vote in congress was the prevalent force without inserting a lucid ‘why’ component that involved the economy.

All this while using the word disingenuous.

2) For a while now, and I got this from my parents, my service has been to do peoples taxes for them. The parents went into the inner city and filled out tax forms for people who would’ve otherwise just not filed and become criminals for not applying for money owed them.

I love this message and I love it more than the service program solicited today on the Morning Joe show and the invocation of civic responsibility attempted by its organizers.

Look, I have a trust issue with the folks that are telling me “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.

That line was really, really powerful in the early 60’s when we mixed free enterprise with a national citizenship idealism that had not yet learned distrust from assassination or issues like #1 above.

But now, that question seems like someone else’s interpretation of events. My idea of service is now helping Mexican citizens avoid oppression in Southern California when they should be treated as guest workers. My idea of service is telling people how to avoid the bill that comes from the company that represents the ambulance that says “your city’s fire and rescue” on the side of it when you call 911 for a child’s medical emergency. My idea of service is teaching teachers to revolt against local corruption rampant as the current state of affairs in education.

I have an moderately long resume of traditional service work dating back to junior high school. The trading of traditional service for the areas of immediate need above represent a sea change from the world we inhabited back when Kennedy challenged a nation, to where we are today. This is not some uber-cynical temporary malfeasance. There are real social costs to the way the overriding momentum in this country has created artificial wars, polluted the landscape, privatized health and education, and used fear to find a proxy voter segment to hide their distribution in wealth equation from plain sight.

Until someone convinces me that I won’t have to spend my time defending families and people from what Elizabeth Warren describes as the ‘fine print predators’ in this country, the United Way will have to wait, or help.

3) I’m ready to say that the Morning Joe show is abandoning it’s mission to the Gulf to represent those citizens annihilated by the oil spill.

It’s as if a focus group found out this story is a loser, and the show’s creative team has sized up a clever array of work-arounds. “How can we seem concerned but not have our show seem so messy?”

The ‘solutions’ feature and it’s central failure: that the solutions go to BP not the EPA, was covered and uncovered, respectively, with the deft touch of a local news staff not wanting to get ‘icky’.

The Brian Williams segment was cut off so fast it was if there was a risk of infection.

The only thing that isn’t unduly harsh that I can add to this complaint, is that these are optic effects: ‘icky, infection, messy’ and that I largely surmise this is unintentional.

I have said all last week and now that these are signs of immaturity in this show and its unorthodox format. Immaturity can mean the cast has no idea that their coverage of the BP oil spill looks this bad, defines their intent this poorly or redefines Scarborough’s representation of that part of the US from vital to superficial. To a person in need of a more perpetual evolution in understanding one of the worlds greatest ecological, economic and human disasters, I think a lot more is warranted.

That’s all today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Senior Skip Day

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 25th, 2010


1) God bless Dylan Ratigan. Optics, symbolic victories, 2 out of 3 major goals accomplished: hogwash. As predicted here, on the DR show and anywhere else where the whitewash doesn’t work anymore, the financial reform package is an 8 cylinder vehicle missing 7 spark plugs. In the dark of night Blanche Lincoln capitulated as expected on derivatives reform, and this morning CNBC was awash in fake complaining so as not to be seen as though dancing a jig.

This is not different than health care reform. Obama was correctly accused by Ratigan today of being as in bed with the barons of the status quo as the Republican party.

I would take it a step further.

That this is in fact the optics of being a Democratic politician. You are required to make laws with names that falsely claim populist reform but substantively move the needle further towards the status quo. Doublespeak. Will Obama become the greatest artist of doublespeak in history, or at least since Bill Clinton? His oratory soars like no one since Martin Luther King. But the substance is undeniably short of what the oratory claims.

Or am I just impatient with the checks and balances system? Will there be year two strengthening of all three major 2010 reform packages? We are stuck without that answer. We won’t get Ron Paul on the right or Howard Dean on the left. Ever. Howard may have even switched sides under the ‘life is too short to go out losing’ ideology.

I will be paying keen attention to Dylan Ratigan’s “Fix It Week” next week. Let the record show Matt Taibbi is now 100 for 100 in predicting the futility of government to govern in a time of crisis. Elizabeth Warren got a small victory with consumer protection, but at what larger cost?

2) This week has now morphed into BP week, through an absence of meaningful coverage of the spill. What appears to be happening is that the cast is tired of how bad this news is. Is the BP story bad for your career? Do you need some happy news? Is that what you signed up for?

Look BP should have lost it all by now, they were given a reprieve, and why? Today was a triple witching news day, but two witches got off the hook. We decided to back hash the McChrystal and Patraeus situations, in a non event that smacks of running out of ideas, and let BP and financial reform get what amounts to a proportionate free pass. Yea, Ratigan got a rant, but is it a rant when the rest of the cast goes the other way? What happened is Halperin, Heilemann, O’Donnell, Deutsch and Geist all did a career check and rather than venture into dangerous waters, they opted for the good optics over the substantive futility, and looked the other way.

But systematically since 6:30 AM on Monday, the Morning Joe show abandoned the BP story. This is nothing short of a dramatic clutch victory for the villain oil company. The breathing room a week of media reprieve gives them may not be much because, as Geist says, this is a “creeping” story that will be back like groundhog day next week, but this is a wasted week with the show kicking the can down the road.

There is so much work to do. There is still an infrastuctural shortcoming in the spill containment plan. The Welch plan is still unattempted. The situation got worse, and the solution got farther.

On the infrastructure side, one thing keeps coming to mind. In our forest fire reaction in the United States, we use a Han Solo looking rag tag fleet of retired warplanes and commercial jets to do our fighting. Other countries make devoted fleets of firefighting airplanes, like Canada. Canada has float planes that land in any water, take on the water, take flight, and drop on a fire source. I saw this first hand when the bright, new yellow Canadian planes on loan landed off of Pacific Palisades a few years back to resupply their water to fight a Burbank fire. It seems so, well, evolved.

We are at a same situation with the BP spill. We are drafting shrimp boats to help contain oil rather than owning any specialized reaction vessels. Britain, Norway, Venezuela, and Canada all have that fleet and have offered it to us. At the height of my cynicism, I’m forced to believe that this slow walking of accepting those fleet’s aid is a political one, so we don’t seem so feckless, so beholden to commercial interest that we allow these oil companies to operate without any safety net in the United States, whether that net is public or private.

Would’ve been great to have the Morning Joe show be on point on that news as it emanated from the gulf this week. Where were you again?

3) This is the first show I’ve seen that didn’t include the new Erin Burnett 3 points feature, and on the day financial reform passed conference? And the first show that replayed old interviews to cover the absence of the stars. That replay thing actually seems like a good idea. Some of that stuff is worth repetition multiple times, and those chosen were in that category.

Producers go 1-1 on the day, well 1-2. The west coast stuff is awful. Those people look like Iranian prisoners, except for Lawrence O’Donnell.

That’s all for today, see you Monday

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shrewd Rude Interlude

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 24th, 2010


1) The shrewdness of the Obama move to put Patraeus on the front line of the Afghanistan struggle is dawning on all of us as the first full day of the new era concludes. We looked at polls galore today that were all bleak, but didn’t take into account this latest matrix fix that will surely shore up yea versus nay by this time next week.

I saw all the polls, and I just thought we were looking at last week’s news a second time. That is the lack of efficacy of polls when it’s this thick out there. The fact that no one on the Morning Joe show offers a time context and just starts racing to momentum analysis shows how quickly they can be distracted from complex thinking and reduced to misinformative algebra.

Even Chuck Todd should have been able to build a case for ‘what you're looking at is the baseline that the fix will move polls up from’. Chuck Todd had a moment of weakness when his theory heaped on the conventional wisdom that the administration better have some answers quick because we’re witnessing erosion and it’s now critical.

So wrong. I'm so used to Chuck being a step ahead, I don’t even know how to react. This is sine wave pattern, and the Patreaus and Barton effects are already moving the needle the other way.

2) Anyone who want to get a hold on the situation on the ground in Afghanistan should watch the Zbigniew Brzezinski segment a few times until you can quote from it. This guy has it pasted together as a single narrative when most, including Richard Haas are just not able to clearly describe the moving parts singularly.

It’s troubling that we are all beginning to remember Mr. Brzezinski was the guy who baited the Russians into the first modern Afghan war. He and Charlie Wilson armed the opposition and 15 long years later, the Russians left, the global political objective of sinking the Soviet Union was successful, but 2 million souls were lost.

It’s sort of like asking BP to clean up the spill. Afghanistan is a chaos spill that dates back to a manufactured Soviet invasion that Zbigniew Brzezinski authored. We have paid a very dear price in the long run for our reconnaissance by fire approach to getting things to break our way. But, there is no better expert on the Afghanistan and Central Asian turmoil than that architect.

In a way, it appears that America’s shortcoming is our pursuit of shortcuts and our denial of the true cost of things. What’s next for an underinvested America trying to use technology or bribes or neighbor armies to do its biding? Probably Mr. Brzezinski, should he be asked would advocate the use of a mercenary army to accomplish our goals. That mercenary army wouldn’t be your typical cast of South Africans, Germans and former Rhodesians, but instead the Chinese army in a trade for lithium mineral rights.

Oh wait, that’s already happening.

3) Is there some reason why the Erin Burnett segment isn’t ever put on the replay website? Today Erin brought to bear a simple theory that helps the bell curve of the population not be so emotional about outsourcing jobs. Jobs are a perishable good in America. They have a shelf life. We are at this point the number one new economy innovator. China and Japan and Germany might have rehoused the industrial and materials based economies we dominated in economic cycles past. Russia and India may have legions of code writers ready to escalate any new cyber intellect into the next ebay, google or twitter. But we are where whats going to work next comes from.

The Russian President Medvedev made the Khrushchev - Disneyland move of our lifetime because he realizes that. He visited Twitter. He wonders how to be a system innovator and not a gas pipeline baron, then ponders why his economy for all of its intellect wealth and many of the same infrastructures as the US has about the same chance as Mongolia of patenting what comes next in the world’s innovation march.

You could cheaply paraphrase it 'trickle down theory'. But its more of a compartmentalization of core components in the global economy and the life spans of those compartments as they go from their global adoption to their commoditization to their obsolescence. And until Stanford and MIT are commoditized, I think were safe.

They have great universities the world over, but Stanford and MIT and about 100 American universities like them are chief collecting points for intellectual innovation that breeds those clutch evolutionary movements of the technology/commerce curve.

No other place can collect the human equivalent of cloud computing like those places.

Thanks Erin, that’s twice you’ve made this point on the Morning Joe show, but the new format allowed it to not be set to Bad Company, so it might have stuck.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 23rd, 2010


1) We have talked about how often the White House and other politically charged situations avoid making news when the Morning Joe show is on. It’s not that hard because the show comes on so early, but still evidence that those in charge of decisions that impact us not to have that decision be a cable news interactive one exist everywhere.

But let’s face it, shortly after the ‘what have we learned today’ segment on the Morning Joe show, Stan McChrystal was out and the US scored a historic goal to advance. That is the real news of the day, and the entire show as it was produced and went off, was a pregame to those events.

Some might declare that the pregame impact of Joe Scarborough’s tenacious pursuit of a firing added weight to that version of decision events. I would ask that people look at the Patraeus insertion as evidence that the White House wasn’t watching, and using the precious few ticks on the clock that they had since the story broke to figure out what’s next.

The Morning Joe show was nowhere near the what’s next decision all morning. That is why it was a pregame, and not part of the process. Time after time, Joe Scarborough failed to look at the situation from 360 degrees and left the viewer short of possible scenarios. Time after time, Scarborough could do no more than reinforce his entrenched view.

We wanted more.

2) A big winner for a second day in a row is BP. This has gone from an afterthought to an outright oversight resulting in what amounts to a publicity victory for the reckless villain. Why, because today was the day that the oil found Pensacola. And while we should’ve been playing ‘Taps’ and Joe Scarborough should’ve been forced to hold back tears for the death of his home city’s most precious natural wonder, the Velcro attaching Morning Joe to the McChrystal story snatched the bigger story’s coverage almost in it’s entirety.

Yea, they showed the oil hitting. But it was at best a split screen with a few seconds of only mildly troubled banter until time ran out and they had to cut to an inactive Pentagon parking lot for the 25th useless time.

You have some explaining to do. Start dialing area code 904 and any number and explain to your hometown one by one how you took your eye off of the ball. You have time. If the Prince William Sound is any indication in Alaska, you have a lifetime. This is a permanent change that will have people born next decade wondering: how did this happen?

3) Patton was the analogy that I liked. I liked it a lot more before ghastly Senator Shelby used it. With all the talk of MacArthur, where there really was no comparison, this really was more of a Patton infraction, but not a Patton comparable usefulness in the field.

George Patton struck fear in the heart of his opponents. Erwin Rommel needed a daily briefing on Patton just to sleep at night. Patton was a folk hero at home for taking the fight to the enemy and being the great momentum builder.

McChrystal is nowhere near that. I got to read in full the Rolling Stone article since yesterday, and luckily I got a lot of the stuff yesterday right. It’s a roll of the dice because the context in the news cycle gets obscenely stretched and distorted.

What struck me were the bad things that McChrystal had been getting away with all along. He altered the record of Pat Tillman’s death. His reprieve was a statement of his bright possible future. He started to refuse to accept command over prisons because he felt good people were getting unfairly bashed for what should be normal at prisons. What?

And then there is the version of events that he is viewed by the boots on the ground as a significant reason the war is a losing effort, because of his policy on limiting combat engagement. I can’t have it both ways and be Sean Penn on the prison take, and Audie Murphy on this one, wait, yes I can. You play to win. Civilian casualties harden a population against an invading army, but they also prevent the enemy from easily living within the population. Just ask the Al-Qaeda command structure in the mountains of Waziristan. Would you have your family anywhere near them?

The Afghanis are empowered by the current COIN system that allows them to freely choose whether to support the Taliban or defeat them without fear that any pro-Taliban collaboration has consequences, violent or political. The inverse is not true, as pro US collaborators will meet certain consequences at the hands of the Taliban.

This is a construct where the only interested party is the US armed contingent. Even NATO is a figurehead arrangement at this point.

You can’t win that way. You can just hold ground and count bodies, for a while.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 22nd, 2010


1) Does anybody else think this is a big win for the American public? Normally a historian will find dissent in the ranks of a failed mission 15 years later in the Pentagon Papers or Nixon tapes. This morning, the real time feedback of the command and control personnel on the ground in Afghanistan got a voice. That voice seemed like that of a guy who did not have his hand on the wheel and was busy checking his hair and talking to his memoirs consultant.

The air of ‘we got this’ in the commentary and dialog leaked and advanced by Rolling Stone is the same mission-jeopardizing groupthink that has sunk mission after mission in wartime and space. What I think we’re actually seeing by shining a light on the matter is that our mission is being bungled by people who weren’t ready for prime time in the first place, and proved it at every turn.

This is at the feet of General Petraeus. You cannot blame a guy like McChrystal, who is comfortable in his own skin, and has never promised to be your ideal publicity savvy war executive. He has told you time and time again, I came from special forces, we live under rocks, and we play by a seriously different set of rules over there.

Petraeus’ gamble was that it would take a special forces guy to sequester the Afghan resistance. That gamble was based on the fact that another conventional general would mount front loaded offensives and then hand the land back to the enemy in a predictable way that assured defeat to the Americans.

But the gamble wouldn’t pay off if, as Niall Ferguson commented, Colonel Kurtz showed up. It’s definitely not that bad, in fact that’s an undeserved compliment to McChrystal. By not ready for prime time, I suggest these people have lived in a bunker for their professional career, and have missed out on some of the socio-political complexity that might tell them adolescent humor at the helm of a war effort makes it seem like they are simply unfamiliar with the path of American national expectation.

2) BP got a day off from the howitzer for the most part today, and it should be an alert to their publicist. Maybe they should engineer some news elsewhere on the planet on a systematic calendar just to gain some breathing room here and there so that they don’t become the ant under the magnifying glass pointed at the sun.

Don’t take that seriously, in fact, the Morning Joe show needs to have a bit of the multi-tasking ability. The show I complimented yesterday should be able to use its long format to make BP seem like that mouse that is clearly ensnared by the cat, but periodically the cat lets it run a few feet away, as a game. I would’ve loved to see Mika and Joe get systematic, and put out a “just in case you though we were distractible, here’s another reminder that BP is the architect of the world’s greatest environmental disaster”.

But, alas, our show proved that it can Velcro to a story like any other news outlet. What’s particularly troublesome is that it appears that the show’s cast and producers can smell blood in the water, e.g. we might be able to make some news here, and see if their ramping up of an issue can get a person fired or a statement generated from a higher source.

That appears to your biggest fans and most ardent subscribers to be out of balance, and an immature facet of a new format.

3) The stimulus will haunt the administration for as long as any part of government is still controlled by the Democrats, unless a sea change is made that is evidence of intelligent correction. On one hand the European community has gone austerity, giving the Republicans a talking point suggesting Obama can’t help but follow suit. On the other hand, the Chinese out-stimulus-ed us 2 billion to 400 million, or 5 to 1. Not in terms of dollars spent, but in terms of dollar effectiveness of the programs engaged. They went the public works route.

While LA is talking 30/10 where its moving it’s transit system to a decade completion goal, instead of the ‘we’ll all be dead so why are we fighting’ 30 years the plan originally called for, that plan is all headwind and not certain. Conversely, the Chinese embarked 2 years ago on a 3-5 year infrastructure upgrade at the national level and are already seeing major implementation.

Any of the national issues we talk about every day could have been stimulus. These include the reformation of the automobile industry away from fossil fuels, the health care initiative, the erosion of the national highway system, the education system overhaul, the dominance of coal in the national electrical grid.

None of them were even close to being included. Anyone who wants to put some pittance study or micro project forward in any of those fields as stimulus is selling you something.

No, it’s a more certain truth that we are paralyzed by the barons of the status quo. They control government, they control media, the control the environment, they control the distribution of wealth, and they control your healthcare and education.

I love the World Cup, but I’m constantly reminded by it’s South African location, that there are parts of that country that attempt to charge poor people for potable water. Be a good citizen and learn meaning from those sorts of extreme examples when analyzing the marginal momentum in your country.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cliff Notes

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 21st, 2010


1) Mika is lost like the volleyball on Castaway. I feel horrible about it because it seems like I’m harping on this crazy bring my notes to class disorganization, and I’m not. She is missing the larger point, that no one is saying it’s the empty set of accomplishment for the White House, but everyone is saying the Houston brain trust most likely to have achieved an early answer to the leak catastrophe was not meaningfully engaged. It’s still not.

Through all of this, I also stand alongside, of all people, opportunist supreme Rudy Giuliani for having the most connecting statement crystallizing this “where are the all-stars” question we all began to mutter a few weeks back. Mika’s attempt to discredit his effort from the show last week is a real killer. None of us are the authority until the thing is stopped. Anyone can be heard who brings us closer to a solution. Giuliani brought us closer to a solution, and your notes prove it. Giuliani made the White House scramble to prove it had been doing this all along, but it was too late. Because the correct notion of assembling the dream team had already evolved and today Jack Welch was talking about the mechanics of an all hands on deck solution, while the White House was providing phone records with the 713 area code.

Additionally, the defense of old activities is politicization of the matter. Who cares? Why can’t our governing body empower the good ideas in a crisis rather than be defensive. It’s not you who is defensive, it’s the White House. You don’t say yes I was calling Haliburton looking for more ideas, you say, here is our plan to take on this best available idea starting today. Thanks for that idea Rudy and Jack, and if anyone else can evolve this process farther, our special hotline for BP oil spill solutions is 800-FIXLEAK.

Thanks also to Costner and Cameron.

2) Through all of this Scarborough is evolving as well. I’ve noticed that he is verging on a-partisan. This pocket that he has managed create is an important new concept in non-partisan punditry. I found most of the back and forth today with Joe and Mika to show Mika far more partisan and Joe objective to a fault, stopping short again of concluding an argument, to allow the opponent to regroup, just in case she can be of value in the fight tomorrow.

This stuff is ground breaking. I have not seen anything more closely resemble a shadow government. For a while I was sort’ve looking at Howard Dean as a shadow Democratic leader, but that is a step down the food chain for what I’m witnessing on Morning Joe right now. The long format, the cycle of experts, the dismissal of punditry and the personal evolution away from attack, this is a person acting like a shadow President of the United States. Effectively.

There are a lot of softballs here, Joe Scarborough owns a huge connection to Katrina, and to the Gulf Coast, and is really ‘our man in DC’ for a great deal of the southeastern US. The vacuum created by Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell and Joe Barton allows Scarborough the high ground called “the only guy from the right who might actually give you a straight answer”. Those other guys are completely bankrupt of ideas, and the youth movement of the Republican party seems to lack next level thinking. Scarborough has found lucidity while 99% of his colleagues in the Republican party don’t know where to look.

It’s the medium. This 3 hour format and basis at the heart of the two biggest drivers of data in the US New York and Washington is causing a Gladwell 10,000 hours phenomenon to occur. It’s not that there aren’t talk shows all over, it’s that this one isn’t echoing, it’s self-correcting. The level of expectation to drive the topics at hand further through the analysis process is increasing beyond any other associated medium. It’s just more.

When I started this thing forever ago, I took exception to the planting of doctrine I disagreed with inside a claim of objectivity. I may continue to hold that exception of Joe Scarborough’s work, but don’t forget, the good stuff crystallized here, the evolution occurred here.

3) Whomever’s idea it was to lengthen Erin Burnett’s segment is a genius. I can’t believe we watched the Morning Joe show cut this person off for 2 years. I hope it was her agent. I hope they laid down an ultimatum that if she doesn’t get to complete 3 sentences before someone pipes in Sammy Hagar that they can do the business news themselves.

I'm sure every day this new version exceeds expectations by 20, the powers that be of Morning Joe and the cast hope Jon Stewart doesn’t do the math here and time lapse all of the IQ points lost to bad planning in the first two years.

I want Erin Burnett’s 3 points per episode back, back to episode one, and I bet everyone in Rockefeller Center, Wall Street and Englewood, NJ do to.

That's all for today, see you tomorrow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

No Ships On The Horizon

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 17th, 2010


1) I am going to have to give Rudy Giuliani some props for that analysis. But it sucks, it’s that same level of emptiness that occurred when Darrell Issa was the only guy sounding the alarm on AIG emails.

If it really takes Rudy Giuliani to point out the missing elements of the BP oil disaster response, then the administration needs to go to extension college on governing. Obviously this rare occasion was made possible by Dylan Ratigan and Jim Cramer intensely agreeing on core operational issues, because no one take Rudy seriously solo anymore. He is so, well what did we call Peter King, a credibility disaster that only his resolute take and some accreditation would work.

Missing is the superheroes of Houston and the oil barons. I of course had added the Bush family, but I always take it a step farther.

Missing is the international response offers ignored, and the mobilization of the entire gulf fleet to contain. I have never spoke on this issue, but I think like most Americans, I thought this was obvious and its missing-ness is Katrina-esque.

I mean really, Donald Trump is a stretch and I forgive you for not finding that very good idea from that source, but T Boone Pickens? He has a 'remove oil from our future' agenda. Where are you? Is this about swift boat? Did Ike check voting records on June 5th, 1944?

When the Northridge earthquake ravaged Los Angeles in 1994, the 10 freeway collapsed. The city did a non traditional deal that time incentivized the reopening of that crucial freeway. It worked, it was at level and operational in months not years. There was debate, there were cries of overpayment, but nothing was worth letting that work take even a second longer than minimum.

That kind of resolute government action is missing here. Don Trump is the closest when he tries to incentivize with lease reassignment the solution from the private parties that make up our best hope for stopping the leak.

The White House needs to step up or face disappointing a nation, and lending new credibility to Rudy Giuliani.

2) The White House responding on Mika’s blackberry is as bad a concept as there ever was. This directly makes Robert Gibbs, the Press Secretary, responsible for the worst optics ever. The message is small, Mika has to squint to read it, it makes the communication emanating from the White House seem, well, small.

Don’t ever do this again. Call in, set up a broadcast booth, be a bigger message than your critics if you’re going to take the time to respond. Avoidance is a superior strategy to a 3 inch message.

3) The worst thing ever is the shovel in the ground in Alaska showing oil today left from 1989. It is a concept that needs to find a home with the entire United States. Somehow we are all in denial of that fact. We think some soap and we are going to clean up like a bird in a $400 bath.

We’re not. The slowness of the capture of the leaked oil actually will make this permanence thing even more of a fact of life than it had to be.

There are two schools of thought here. One is that we’re doing all we can and this is the consequences of bad luck and tough problems. The other is that once the Gulf of Mexico is permanently marred by oil, it will be that much easier to grant permits, because the damage is already done.

No on is low enough on the karma food chain to think that way are they. You would’ve had to have been in the meeting with Dick Cheney back in 2000 to know for sure

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dancing In The Dark

The Opposition Rebuttal to Morning Joe for June 16th, 2010


1) Mika has become unable to define her take on issues, and has started to find a stubborn note. I know, started? I think she is trying to adapt for year 3 and have a more aggressive take. Where Joe Scarborough is comfortable being the only person at a table holding ground for a position while 4-5 others ask him to defend from every angle, Mika is not. There comes a point where it’s not believable, and the viewer wonders about whether or not she has a take or is adrift, uncomfortable, and inconsolable.

Rather than heaping on today’s debate, lets go back to the too big to fail question she was not able to even get out in the Elizabeth Warren interview a few days back. If you recall, we anticipated that was her question, but it was shoved aside for Maria Bartiromo’s 400 regulatory agencies governing AIG question. Mika at that time appeared helpless to confront what she felt was her biggest concern regarding financial regulatory reform. And this was three women talking, so her ‘women should run this’ shot from yesterday’s show is equally adrift.

But whether it’s nonsense topics like protocol for dealing with aggressive reporters, or too big to fail, or even defending the President, the viewer more and more needs a ouija board to divine “what’s the message?” and isn’t that your tagline?

Look, it’s solvable, don’t try and create your message on the fly. You know what the topic is going to be hours before the show starts. Write down, or otherwise note 3 angles of defense prior to the show so that you don’t seem like that guy who’s mad but can’t talk. Joe Scarborough may be able to do it on the fly, but you can’t, and rather than trying to adopt a skill set on the fly, don’t take chances knowing your message for an entire show is at stake.

2) Chris Matthews is crazy, shrill and I love him. He loves to blow stuff up. It’s his thing, in fact it’s his tagline. He is infuriated with the lack of accomplishment in the oval office speech. He is ringing the Jimmy Carter alarm. He even planted a seed in Joe Scarborough’s mind about it to the extent that Scarborough did a nightmare skit comparing the spill to the Iran hostage situation.

Unfortunately, it’s sort’ve a forgone conclusion that Chris and Joe are now ideological rivals and there is not a consensus for them to call middle ground. It was a derisive Scarborough tossing in the “how was his tie?” jab while Matthews very seriously picked apart the speech as lacking control, substance, but including what amounts to two dangerous over promises. The jury is out as to whether 90% containment by the end of June is achievable, but it will be a WMD level misrepresentation if it is not. The jury is out as to whether there is merit to the President’s assurance that he can force a solvent BP to fund a claims account stewarded by a third party. Matthews pointed to these being either evidenced contrarily by prior failures or refuted directly by BP. “BP is preparing to litigate this” is Chris Matthews’ quoted analysis.

If it seems too good to be true…

3) The voice of the other side in this case was Doris Kearns Goodwin. She correctly planted the take that Obama looked at his options, at his 3 messages he had to deliver, and at his limitations and expressed them. Those looking for more would only send the President further down the unrealistic commitment road.

She made a lot of sense, but did not reconcile with the Matthews take at all. If we are to understand all sides of an issue, likely we should see those two reality-check each other’s arguments. I think we know that this would not be a cross fire type pundit debate, but the integral between these two arguments is to me the most important part of today’s analysis.

I don’t think that can occur on Morning Joe, and I think it was evidenced by not taking the core 25 seconds of Goodwin’s take and playing if for Matthews, nor does there appear to be a cast member who can nuance the argument without “tie” jokes.

A valuable path to consensus was lost as a result, and funny enough, it was Mika’s take that Goodwin paraphrased, but she was still unable to carry water in the clutch.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

History Or Quagmire

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 15th, 2010


1) What is more of a lark? The confusing happenings in South Carolina or the role Joe Scarborough has played in tempting Barack Obama down yet another untenable road. It seems to me that Joe Scarborough 100% means what he says when he asks our President to make ‘the Sputnik speech’ tonight from the oval office. But between Mark Halperin and Mike Pence and John Boehner, there is so much elation that this President will embark on yet another long, indefensible slog, it is impossible to imagine Scarborough is as pure of intention as he seems.

People are all idealist and realist simultaneously. David Remnick, I’m sure was on the realist side of the equation when confronting whatever lark Paul Wolfowitz idealized 8 years ago, but is firmly on the other side of todays equation, at one point shouting “we’re pathetic” at the notion of consensus looking grimly at the calculus of the legislative road ahead. Halperin just echoed ‘the votes aren’t there’ on demand for 3 hours.

Whatever Joe Scarborough's intent, he is long term right and short term suicidal. The last thing I need is any momentum given to John Boehner for any reason. I am happy with him right where he is, seeming like he is lost on the golf course, and having people like Willie Geist muse: “Isn’t that the assistant principal from ‘Breakfast Club’?”

2) I of course have path-ed idealistically for months about abandoning oil, not as a fuel source, but as an economic oligarch. I put the Sempra, and coal types in the same category.

From my electric fleet idea even 2 days ago, now I’m advancing towards a fuel agnostic mantra. There is an aftermarket company in Pasadena that can make your Prius a plug in hybrid right now, shooting your mileage over 100 and giving you the option to use gas or not. The trick is if you go all electric, then Sempra and big coal will have the same economic monopoly that you just took from big oil. You want to have a multitude of options, and you want the enemy to be the grid, any grid. The grid of Chevron stations, the grid of common electrical distribution, and oddly enough, the role Time Warner plays in preventing wireless contectivity over whole communities.

There was a 60 Minutes segment on a man who has invented a power cube to power your home away from the grid. There was a PBS segment on a Scottish company that made personal electrical generators that were wind powered and inexpensive. There are a multitude of ways to brew biodiesel and make cars that are happy with that as a fuel source. You can get off of the grid, and become believers in a free market system that the consumer uses to his advantage through choice, dollar votes, and options.

You want to know how to finally solve the gas prices go up, elections get lost puzzle? Get out of grid monopoly. This solution might finally allow for capture of carbon tax and social costs as well.

3) OK, so the show did a little bit of a look at Afghanistan today, which more or less just took the place of Israel. It’s as if we can only comprehend one and one half hard news items a day. Afghanistan is a mess, and the take of the Morning Joe show that the generals are sabotaging the mission as ordered in order to redefine the mission into a ‘winnable war’ strategy, is consistent from the show and disturbing.

If I understand that right, Joe Scarborough thinks the generals are deliberately missing objectives on the ground in order to delay the overall campaign, because they believe that they can do better to outlast their enemy, and every day they stall a magic bullet is more likely to appear and solve the situation as they see it now.

Further, David Patraeus is complicit in this program to the extent that he is out of sight, and has been for recent memory.

The real answer is part of the above and part that we just have zero idea what’s going on over there. We know there are corrupt deals everywhere, where the CIA tries to recreate their success in Anbar and are more or less seen like a retarded ATM by locals who feel like they have history on their side. We know that every report by 60 Minutes or Richard Engel shows an army not trying to win, but trying to play out their personal calendar before paying a terrible cost in the name of futility. We know that the conflict minerals discovered during the conflict are being exploited by the Chinese while we are their mercenary defense without compensation. But wait, there’s a bad side.

In the face of a story without any trace of positivity, we are additionally facing lining up at Bargram and leaving to let the elements that hosted the trouble in 2001 retake the entire landscape. The money and blood left behind will be for naught. We will likely replace the troops with predators, and we will seem like the bad guys in Terminator to the Muslim world until Pakistan sells the Taliban the technology to defeat the predator, or a nuclear device, which the Taliban justifies using against us because of the predator.

I’m ready to read the epilogue on this disaster at anytime. I feel for the President if the Scarborough take has any merit. It’s more of the same winner versus loser Machiavellian motions we have seen since 1949, and we ultimately do not know who controls our fate and security at this time.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tipping Pointless

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 14th, 2010


1) Any mention of the President’s demeanor, including this one, is a disservice to the process of covering the BP spill. Further, any continued lack of acknowledgment of the other things pounding the President’s imminent danger agenda is a further disservice.

I guess I could lump the Israel debacle into the attention sucking disorder. I mean, how these two issues make us more fragile for lack of a strategy on other issues is the chief threat to security today.

Iran, North Korea, China, Afghanistan {they are called “conflict minerals”}, Turkey, Mexico, and a host of domestic nightmares are stacking up, and we are still ADD magnetized to one and a half issues as we have been for five weeks.

Do you remember Richard Haas? Maybe get him back, and ask him to define the impact of the media vacuum? He used to come on an awful lot, then he let Dan Senor do some research for a potential run for New York Senator, then not so much.

As a micro-example of what happens in that vacuum, ISI in Pakistan is back collaborating with the Taliban. This is a sea change reversal. This could only happen when America is fixated elsewhere by a singularly focused media.

You have three hours, you can always find space for the beach shots, but stop exposing the flank through journalistic attrition. It’s weird that if it were features or Paris Hilton blocking the minimum necessary hard news focus, Mika would be throwing a tantrum. It just means you guys are hypnotized.

2) More and More the BP disaster is a 9/11 level tragedy. We are running around talking about MMS reform, it sounds nightmarishly like the conversations occurring in January of 2009 during the financial crisis, nightmarishly like the conversations after Katrina, and nightmarishly like the conversations we had in the weeks after the World Trade center attacks.

Our ability to understand why these bad things keep happening to us keeps coming back to a single failure type. If you speed down the road, there is a consequence for that. As an individual citizen you realize that if you set your cruise control to 84 miles an hour, you will get a ticket within a week. But if you are working outside of the standardized control mechanisms anywhere else within the government, you can see the weak points in the protective net of regulation, crisis management, and national intelligence from space. Corporations, terrorists, and figurehead government officials alike play these gaps like a violin while citizens lose.

Elizabeth Warren laments the loss of the usury laws a few decades back, I lament the lack of a GAO facility that requires implementation and stress testing of the functions and positions of the government regulatory, intelligence and reaction capacity.

3) Whitman and Fiorina are completely exposed and have a greater chance of squandering fortunes than buying a position in government. It continues to be a mystery why things like the San Francisco headline are recited regarding the 100 million dollar primary, and then, silence.

I don’t think it’s anything like a conspiracy, I just think these things are isolated by geography, and the available attention span of the cast. California is in so much trouble, forgive us for being suspicious when someone says on record that they will spend $150 million to get the Governor's chair. It makes many of us think there must be some pilfering left to be had if someone wants to pay for the ‘turn the lights out when it’s over’ gig.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

On Scene And Not A Sound Bite

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 11th, 2010


1) The sheer length of the program and localized coverage, the organization with which community, old friends and new input came, and the view of the other side of the news equation made today’s program an unstoppable victory for what the Morning Joe format can offer.

On par with the New Orleans and Education Summit works of screening long form programming, this dismantles the CNN put the anchor on the ground predictability, and hopefully forever.

It’s not like the cast ran out of ideas at the end either. The show grew over time and had a feel of a community rallying to show its resilience.


2) Electric Cars. Part of my 10 point stimulus dreamscape for fixing the jobs issue a few months back was a program calling for taking every automotive factory and parts infrastructure left behind by GM and others in their decline and making a national program of automotive conversion to electric a reality.

This thought extended to a 100% requirement of natural gas for buses and commercial trucking, with the occasional biodiesel exception.

All within three years. The fight brewing in the financial regulation reform conference is a shocking surprise that can only bode well for a national will to get off of oil without killing our economy. If we can kneecap banks and brokerage houses when they thought they had the thing bought and paid for at the end, we can at least go for the summit and knock off the ExxonMobil, BP stranglehold.

That’s all for today, see you Monday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Lack Of Connectivity

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 10th, 2010


1) Maria Bartiromo, gets it right, but gets it wrong. Four other people are sitting at the table telling her that a sub $100k career professional is no match to regulate a $1 million dollar executive armed with a $5 million dollar lobbyist, that its not a fair fight, and she stays on her CNBC-wide take that the little guy is the guy who is to blame for the financial meltdown and the oil spill.

Yes, MMS is entirely at fault for working as a sub-agency of the oil companies, in fact it's an industry shuffling it’s own executives in and out of the regulatory facility as regulators sort’ve like the executive on loan program at the United Way.

Yes, 400 government agencies we’re meant to combine to regulate AIG.

But is this the perpetuation of the American way that when things go wrong don’t blame the shooter, blame society?

Rick Santelli’s now famous meltdown on CNBC claiming the mortgage crisis is 100 million bad American borrowers with blood on their hands got a wonderful companion piece today when Maria insisted that crises in America are the fault of bad regulators and thus business should be free to drive the economy until such a time as those bad regulators step up to do their job.

While on it’s surface, the Elizabeth Warren segment seemed like an acknowledgment that Maria was on to something, if you think Warren isn’t looking to fix how government keeps us safe from economic predation, you and Maria should scoot yourselves right on over to and and stock up. Goldman Sachs did, because they still think they’re going to get away with it.

There is zero equity in regulation. Repeat. There is zero equity in regulation.

2) Elizabeth Warren made a case today that what financial regulation will accomplish is to help all these disparate regulators connect the dots to monitor our financial system. Erin Burnett, made the same case s short while later, that should the details be brought to light, it would be harder for a regulator to turn his head for profit as an executive on loan from the industry he is meant to control. Ok, I added the turn the head part, but Erin did say bring the details up one level.

This overview of how financial regulation should work sounds remarkably like the reforms made to our intelligence community after the attacks of September 11th. There needed to be a critical connect the dots infrastructure added to prevent separate agencies from allowing our enemies to attack us at the blind spots where we don’t connect. Now we have to protect ourselves from our own corporations exploiting gaps in existing regulatory structure.

The funny thing is, we have just hired our 4th Director of National Intelligence in the 5 years since the intelligence reforms went into effect, and the Christmas day attack demonstrated that inter-connectivity is still a dream unrealized in the intelligence community.

Now this is a hard comparison, but you can (sometimes) rebuild the damage from an attack, and regenerate lost populations from an attack, but let us never forget that if the sky ever fell financially, like it did in the great depression, we as a world population are just not equipped to for those ramifications.

When it happened last time, the vacuum the financial crisis created led us to World War and Cold War. Interestingly enough, the world population at that time had about 300% more self sufficiency than they do now, they were able to grow and raise their food and weren’t bound by an oil based transportation grid.

We are far more susceptible to a catastrophic interruption to society currently, should our global economy become disabled significantly.

Do you feel like anyone is explaining the stakes of the game to you? Those in charge of governing are as afraid of pitchforks as the Wall Street community, and they all have a vested interest in the gravy train as it is.

3) Did anyone else noticed that the 12 people deemed most responsible for the oil spill by Time Magazine did not include Sarah Palin and “drill, baby, drill” as a national mantra. They glossed over that omission by making the American driver the number 7 culprit. Further, somehow they got Sarah Palin to participate in an issue of Time devoted to the perils of oil consumption and aggressive extraction?

Were her publicist and strategist on vacation when that happened? That is the only way that could’ve transpired as witnessed.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blanche Wins, And It's Our Fault

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 9th, 2010


1) My candidate failed in Arkansas. I had jumped for joy when it looked like Blanche Lincoln would be primaried in Arkansas a few months back. I am on the side that was still cautiously optimistic even yesterday that it would happen. It did not.

The analysis on the Morning Joe show was astute but incomplete. Clinton was Blanche Lincoln’s endorsement, national labor was Halter’s. Wait, Arkansas is 49th in the United States in union coverage. Clinton is Little Rock’s favorite son. In a word, strategy.

Our candidates pitch must’ve sounded like this:

“We have not done anything to represent your workforce in 100 years, choosing to fight battles elsewhere and writing you off, but today, we ask a favor of you, to fight our Washington DC battle on our behalf”

Their candidates strategy must’ve sounded like this:


Where is Darwin when you need him? In Arkansas relieving the ill witted of their out-sized ambitions.

Silver lining? Morning Joe has correctly prognosticated that this is like racing to a red light and wasting gas, that the winner is going to be mowed down in the general. Silver lining #2 is that lame duck candidate Lincoln might as well try a little harder to convince America of her slogans by keeping the Lincoln-authored teeth in the financial reform bill when the conference bribery swap meet commences.

I know, what was incomplete about the Morning Joe coverage? You think that they covered every single point covered above. Give it a second. It’s not that it happened, it’s not that the White House was mad about it, that it was union leader Trumka’s first election to influence, it's that a 5 year old could’ve told you 12 weeks ago that Clinton trumps unions in Arkansas, and 12 weeks ago, you had only spent $650,000 on the election. Strategy, Darwin, missing over 3 hours.

2) Meg Whitman is Arizona redux. In a girl’s night party gala that lasted an entire show, little more than headline treatment was given to Meg Whitman’s victory over Steve Poizner. Engineered by Mike Murphy, a friend of the Morning Joe show, it seemed like Poizner was outmatched.

But on Monday on election eve, as I watched the Padres break up a no hitter that Willie covered on the show, there was an ad that the show should’ve paid attention to. It was Meg Whitman playing the euro card.

“I will control our borders”

“No Amnesty”

“No Drivers Licenses”

If you will recall the ugliness of California’s dark Proposition 187 chapter, you will come down on one side or the other of the statement that 'what the state needs now is an anti-latino candidate like it needs the San Andreas fault to divide the state in two'.

Strategy, Darwin, umm, you’re killing Poizner, you got Murphy, McCain just said on the same day that alienating the Latino population is a bad idea for your party, and you unnecessarily play the Californians of European descent should vote for me before the state gets any more overrun by the other people card?

Joe Scarborough made a statement today that the country is looking for solutions to its problems, that Washington has proven incapable of problem solving and that candidates like Fiorina and Whitman appeal for their ability to not make the simple mistakes that continually trip up our leaders in DC.

The simple mistakes of not voting until you’re 48 years old, of running unnecessary xenophobic ads in the 11th hour? Make that case again friend, one more time with feeling.

3) When Joe Scarborough let Peter King off the hook it was a lesson that many people could learn from. King is the worst kind of convenience fighter. Whatever fact is on George W. Bush’s old message agenda is King’s talking point, and up is only up if the book says it’s up.

That kind of convenience logic is just unbearable to listen to, but if you want a candidate that is loyal and resolute he is your guy. Scarborough found the hole in King’s logic and accurately derailed any momentum the congressmen thought he might garner. Then Scarborough caught himself, and stopped short of permanent damage.

The reason this is so important, is that King will live to deliver logic of convenience another day, like Giuliani, like Rove, like Fleischer, like, to be fair, Dick Gephardt or Blanche Lincoln. These people are the enemy, for their doublespeak.

Scarborough knows that one day he may need a flank defense, and King will be there. Politicians never know when the logic will run out and you will need an ace double-spokesman to keep you afloat.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don't Let Us Steer You Wrong

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 8th, 2010


1) It’s not lost on Joe Scarborough that the Katrina vs. BP equation is a slippery slope to the deconstruction of the American psyche. That BP seems worse to Americans is either ‘out of sight, out of mind’ convenience or more questionable polling.

I’m sure it’s a case of both, but the only common denominator in this equation is that the same part of the US is affected. Other than that nothing good can come from the endless comparisons, endless opportunisms, and endless attempts to define two tragedies by any relation. But while Joe Scarborough is correct in his assessment of the poll having the facts backwards, he is also a primary causal factor for the backwards-ness.

A three hour echo chamber devoted to the “street-ness” of Obama’s anger, the lack of options, the moving forward with other drilling projects while the spill continues, and the number of times the President has visited is tantamount to a time release nausea pill that makes a person uncomfortable every 12 minutes for 3 straight hours. No one else has that kind of direct access to stewing America currently. Morning Joe is the center of the national nausea turnpike as of today.

2) The deficit is as big a boondoggle as health care and financial reform. Built into the budget is a suffocating quantity of entitlements, not to individuals as covered beyond any proportional sense, but to commerce. Ethanol, defense, prescription drug companies, oil companies, logging companies and really any industry with a lobbyist, are given unfettered access to the treasury on an annual basis.

Why the conversation rests on individual citizen entitlement when so much of the crushing deficit is non ROI based ‘investment’ in well represented private companies is a perfect example of disenfranchisement of the middle class through sleight of hand.

You could balance the budget in 10 minutes and grow the economy, and along with it jobs, just by making the budget for the people. But now that the laughing gas has worn away, any actuarial analysis of results would determine that there is little legislative will to de-corrupt our budget. While the Morning Joe show fiddled about deficits as a word not an amalgam, our leadership position in the world’s economy burned like a supernova.

Joe Scarborough’s defining mantra is small governments and a reduction of the budget. So let’s count the number of times he gets the budget out and redefines how government interacts with it’s citizens and compares it with how the government entitles the nations commercial sector. This is not a Republican or Democratic thing, this is everyone, and when a guy on the right is on a network from the left perpetuating the boondoggle, no one is safe.

Don’t let anyone tell you that these private sector investments are the answer to jobs problems. They are in fact part of the jobs problem, because as we have found out with TARP, none of our current investments to the private sector are jobs accountable. There is no enforcement of how many jobs a private sector investment creates. This is amply evidenced by the inability of the administration to count the jobs they created with the stimulus, and the inability of a translation of TARP to available credit.

3) The humility of the cast in regards to the Helen Thomas situation is a really hopeful element in a day of gray disdain.

That is all for today, see you tomorrow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

We’re Number 1

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 7th, 2010


1) Did Willie Geist get a new agent or something? Not only does he get 10 am to fly solo when America is actually out of bed, but on the Morning Joe show, apparently they let him ask questions and stuff. CAA, better known as the Goldman Sachs of the agency world, must somehow be involved.

Willie put his brand of “everyman wants to know” inquisition towards every single guest today, and while results were varied, I have to say Kurt Loder would’ve been proud. Geist may actually have a niche on the hard news side after all, asking the questions that the 18-30 demo needs to know, that get skipped over or sneered at by the main two chairs. I remember the old days with absolute remorse where Geist tried to drag Maxine Waters, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and even Elizabeth Warren into his cesspool of features coverage, and am beyond thankful that those streams may never cross again.

2) Where is Red Adair? For those of you who don’t recall, we used to have a John Wayne-esque hero on oil disasters named Red Adair. Platform fires used to call this guy to come in like the cavalry and cap oil wells, even when they were generating 100 foot plumes of flame. It was this same conquering force that took to the fields of Kuwait subsequent to the first Iraq war.

Come to think of it, where are the Bush’s? George, W., and Jeb are all significant stakeholders and prizeholders from the Gulf and Texas oil riches.

Last week, Apple passed Microsoft for number 1, wait, that was for number 2. Who is number 1? Exxon Mobil is the largest company in the United States.

Ok, so BP is chairing our disaster and may be nationalized in the end. They are likely somewhere in the UK shredding documents and sending money to Switzerland and India as we speak. Their stock is plummeting, the truth about the scope of the disaster is now plain to see.

But there is something remarkably fishy about the lack of nationalization of the disaster. It appears to the viewer in an equally plain way that the Houston domestic oil technology mafia, the large domestic oil companies, and the well known oil barons of our time are letting this disaster stay contained with BP and Obama for each of their singular gains.

And yes, Obama is letting this happen. I mean its great to get to scapegoat a competitor for the disaster, great business move, only 11 men died and our entire eastern saltwater coast will be oil saturated. But hey, number 1 ain’t easy.

3) Senator Schumer came on the Morning Joe show today and willfully mislead a nation. Granted, this thought is not entirely my own, but the fact that we continue to get sold on “hopes and dreams” level legislation like derivatives reform, while we know the whisper plan is to declaw the financial reform package in conference is an apocalyptic omen for America.

All this doublespeak while appearing to speak lucidly is further to the process of ultimate disenfranchisement.

Joe Scarborough, who appears to be drifting microscopically left in time lapse, is generally credited for teaching the world the method where a Senator just wants to appear to have tried hard, but will make his ultimate transaction at the end, letting special interest prevail, for money. But Chuck Schumer takes this to a whole new level. He is a hit at parties, a wink and nod to be the next majority leader, got a 1600 on his SAT and is two pom-pom’s and a skirt short of making America believe their team is about to win.

Mika couldn’t get a question out, but I think her question was how is financial reform relevant if it doesn’t break up too big to fail, so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. A journalist, a guy who knows he is watching a sleight of hand, an ad exec, and a rising star in the day talk field all conspired to let Chuck chuck the truth a safe distance down the road.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow. No, really.