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Morning Musings

  • I broke one of my rules this weekend, I watched the Sunday talk shows. You know how, sometimes, when you stop doing something that you used to enjoy, you start to do it again and you wonder why you stopped doing it? Well, did not apply yesterday. Far from it. The May cable ratings were apparently real bad for news outlets.  News is dead in this town. I know a few reporters who would like it to be otherwise, however, just watch these shows and you’ll understand. Where is the hard news?
  • Berghdahl Rescue I: Listening to National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s defense of the President’s law-breaking reminded me of an old J.B. Handelsman New Yorker cartoon. It depicts a bespectacled judge on the bench looking down at a lawyer. A befuddled-looking lawyer pleads with his honor: “Are you telling me that just because it is against the law, that makes it illegal?” The country is proud Sgt. Bowe Berghdahl is home safe; however, there is a lot more to the story of  Berghdahl’s desertion, captivity, and rescue. Putting all that aside for a moment, the President broke the law. He seems to have a knack for doing so. He also set a terrible precedent on the policy front by negotiating with terrorists. Americans serving in foreign lands always put their lives at risk, some more than others. The value of an American, as of this weekend, has sky-rocketed. Dumb.
  • I wonder what strategy General George S. Patton would have recommended for dealing with the Sgt. Bowe Berghdahl matter before, during, and after his release from Taliban captivity?
  • Secretary of State Kerry is off the Congressional hook on Benghazi, for now.
  • The reason why there will be little Veterans Affairs healthcare reform this year: “Senate bills on Veterans Affairs will reignite fight over spending” and “GOP proposals to reform Veterans Affairs face roadblocks on Hill.”
  • Berghdahl Rescue II: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed that “we didn’t negotiate with terrorists.” Yet several Members of Congress, including a Veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan strongly disagree. “This whole exchange is shocking to me and I’m very disappointed,” Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) shot back. There were similar statements made by other Congressional Republicans. If the Obama Administration wanted to bury the Veterans Affairs healthcare scandal from media scrutiny, at least for a week, it succeeded.
  • Last week Google took to Twitter and urged users to chime in on National Security Agency (NSA) reform efforts with hashtag #RealSurveillanceReform. The use of Twitter to sway public opinion, and lobbying efforts, is a relatively new thing. It is a fascinating dynamic that has been deployed by many groups. Does it work? I think it does, however, it is a lot like polling. More art than science. Time will tell.
  • Berghdahl Rescue III: The Democrats should not be surprised at the political maelstrom that should be coming their way. They did as much to President Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal. I say should because, these days, I’m never sure that Congressional Republicans have the stomach for good ol’ fashioned political warfare.
  • According to an e-mail Edward Snowden sent to his superiors at the NSA, it seems he also fancies himself a lawyer. Come home. You can represent yourself. The Brian Williams interview with Snowden reinforces the well-grounded belief by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress that this fellow is a traitor. Pride will be this fellow’s undoing. And an example needs to be made so that future law-breakers will think twice before putting U.S. national security at risk.
  • Hey China, you can try to whitewash Tiananmen Square but “Congressional leaders [will always] commemorate Tiananmen massacre as China cracks down on democracy activists.”
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