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.

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