Friday, July 30, 2010

There Is A Lot To Talk About

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for July 30th, 2010


1) There are two distinct realities in irreconcilable conflict in the Arizona standoff. There are a probably 102, but the others are hierarchically beneath the main two. First, you cannot do a bad job of enacting and enforcing laws for two decades then wake up one day and declare the quid pro quo that your created over, and that each person invited into this country by the conditions you created are now criminals. Those people are victims. Those people are coming to the US to work because there is a demand for their labor.

We are 100 percent making the situation worse by having these business as usual laws that don’t make any sense, are not reality based, and there to openly flout. Think about it: the 55 mile an hour speed limit, the marijuana situation, underage drinking, you can’t go 10 feet in this country without a law that is so far beyond enforceable that to enforce it creates even greater problems which conspire to drain the economy, the workforce and the prospect for growth all beyond repair. We have a nation that chooses which laws they can abide by today based on a cost benefit analysis, the migrant worker just happens to have less rights available to them and is thus easier to pick on.

Second, we have a real need to create a national economic understanding where all of this illogic currently resides, because with each day that goes by, the living wage that Americans depend on is eroded one construction job at a time. This isn’t about dishwashers, field workers, or Burger King. Those jobs do not pay a living wage, they are jobs for people that can only hope to supplement a living wage coming from elsewhere, or they are poverty work. But the construction jobs, the meat packing facilities, the textile industry those jobs were able to pay a living wage, a wage that would keep a roof over a families head, provide health coverage, and a minimum of normalcy. Those jobs are being affected by the pool of migrant workers. That is a very bad thing in this economy because so many people have been tossed out of their chosen profession and are in need of a transitional living wage. In normal economic periods, people who opt to not complete college, people who need a professional existence despite not having a normal professional aptitude could look to these businesses to find a living wage. In desperate times, finding an illegal alien in the position that could keep you in your house, and finding that position now pays $11 an hour less because of access to that labor pool is a disaster.

Arizona’s attempt to solve the issue on it’s own seems like cave man drawings to most of us. The 55% of people who support the law don’t really support the law, they just happen to be in places across the country that just spent their first decade with guest labor taking jobs in formerly living wage industries. They know this has to stop, and are really, really angry that they have found yet another part of this country attempting to operate without effective governing.

This is a dangerous situation because now you’re hitting the everyman US citizen where it really hurts. The money saved by having migrant farm workers working in US agriculture was an abstraction to most US citizens, that 50 cents a head saved at the grocery on lettuce is hard to grasp as cause and effect. But in a construction industry already rocked by economic circumstances, competing with people who weren’t there 5 years ago for those jobs is bound to create boiling frustration. For good reason. If the results are states enact things that remind you of the segregated south or the Japanese internment, part of that shame rests in Washington. And if there is an irreconcilable difference in an area in need of good governing, do you think the current congress is capable of overcoming that, or will they yet again irrationally just say yes to both sides and make matters worse?

2) It was to my great dismay to see the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense holding a press junket to attack the WikiLeaks people. That ‘blood on his hands’ line was reprehensible and seemed like shooting down of the first order. The dismay stems from witnessing two people who don’t seem particularly ready to adapt to the new way of the world, where reporters won’t tolerate murdering reporters and will not abide by any military muzzling of video and facts on the ground.

This seems to me to be the two guys in charge of the military of the United States possessing a blind spot for all to see, including the enemy. The result of this negative optic, one would hope, will be a consensus exit from the region of expeditionary forces in the next 12 months. Any separation from that path has to be seen as old world military attempting to self-serve.

The WikiLeaks thing was meaningless except as a volume enhancer for the people wondering whether Obama has the military under control. We wrote off the McChrystal thing pretty fast, without really asking the question of control. Now with the White House racing to support the military in a reaction out of scale to the value of the leaks, I wonder if observers are rethinking the control issue.

Let’s not get lost in the court marshalling the leak culprits, and look for detail showing the evolution of the military. If this means one fewer pregnant woman is killed while flying innocently in South America, one fewer reporter along with every single person standing within 20 feet is mowed down by a helicopter in a scene that looked more like culling the populations than protecting servicemen, if one fewer Afghan citizen is allowed to die under a veil of illegal secrecy, if the military stops assuming classified means buried in terms of its self policing, we will likely have less Pat Tillman situations along side a better humanitarian record.

3) Rangel has left the building. He has shown to be in absolute denial of his circumstances. There is a whole new world out there, and it will not allow obstructionists to hide or cheaters to get away with it. I keep thinking about Rostenkowski and am a little disappointed that no one is doing a compare and contrast between these two situations.

But this isn’t about Rangel. Every time a thing dies another is born. As Charlie Rangel walked his career into a bright light one final time, it wasn’t to soft poetic music it was to the shrill scream of a young New York Congressmen named Anthony Weiner. Weiner has brought some element of lucidity back. And he has brought a passion that threatens to end the stand off as business as usual in the legislative branch. The real debate isn’t Boehner versus Pelosi. The real debate is Weiner versus Ryan.

Take your pick of subjects, immigration, health care, financial regulation, or the economy. You get the feeling that Weiner and Ryan could actually solve these issues in a bipartisan manner if given the opportunity. That opportunity of course will never come, but to at least know the answer is resident in the hall at a minimum provides the voter with a bellwether for progress in his or her own district.

Howard Dean is out of government. Joe Scarborough is out of government. Where are the pragmatists in the room? For the most part there aren’t any, there are several pretend pragmatists who leave their agenda behind like a script when the camera turns off, but for the most part Ryan and Weiner are a small minority surrounded by political machinery attempting to milk the old world legislative chicanery for all it’s worth while it still exists. But take it from someone in the record business, or the construction business, don’t ever think how it is now has any permanence, because sea change can be just one megatrend like 24 hour coverage split 538 ways away.

Mr. Rangel and Mr. Weiner appear to be showing that metamorphosis happening.

That’s all for today, see you Monday.

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