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Morning Musings

  • Bergdahl I: The President continues to say that he is ‘proud‘ of the Taliban-Bergdahl prisoner swap, yet support on the Hill is just about non-existent. The House Intelligence Committee Chairman says the United States is going to ‘pay for this,’ while the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman laments that ‘you cannot help but worry‘ about the released detainees. And, let’s throw a wrinkle in the legal reasoning with this one: former Attorney General Michael Mukasey says that the President broke the law, however, the law he broke, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is unconstitutional.
  • Bergdahl II: Folks, many more a political shoe still to drop on this story. Yes, the President’s roll out was dumb and he broke the law. Yes, his administration has one of the most incompetent National Security Advisors in U.S. history. And, indeed, they empowered the enemy and have endangered American lives. However, I’ve been in this town long enough to know that there’s a lot more to this than they’re sharing. Can’t it get any more politically intense? It sure can.
  • The Rise of the MazaCoin. The Lakota Tribe adopts crypto-currency – the MazaCoin – as its official currency. It is not a #Bitcoin, rather one of many alternative currencies (AltCoin) that seem to be popping up these days. As with the NSA debate in recent weeks, crypto-currency is one of these issues that are not well understood on Capitol Hill or regulators. Do we even have regulators for digital currencies? The digital currency lobby needs to ramp up efforts in this town or a very promising market till be trounced by the federales. As for the Lakota, the Feds need, or should, be a little more careful before taking heavy-handed regulatory moves against the MazaCoin (in due time, the Feds will intervene or try to regulate). In the meantime, I hope they succeed with this project. The digital currency phenomena, done right and within the law, can be a a free-market solution to many an economic problem, and not just for Indian Country.
  • A Word That Spooks Members of Congress and Staff. If there is one word that can sour relations with Congressional offices it would have to be, lawsuit. Even your more seasoned Member or staff will go into psychological lock down. I was on the receiving of many a meeting on Capitol Hill when all was going well and the lawyer would interject the “l” word. Did you really have to say that, I’d think to myself? Yet sometimes you’re left with no other option but resort to the courts or an administrative process such as inspector general. POLITICO reports that SpaceX and Palantir have done just that. Faced with the military and political industrial complex, these beltway outsiders seem to have no other option. I do not know much about Palantir, but SpaceX is an interesting company with a unique product line that the United States desperately needs: outer space transport services. Want to stop launching U.S. satellites atop Russian rockets? Beat China in the outer space game? More? Work with U.S. companies such as SpaceX. I’ve been off the Hill now for twelve years and have counseled many a company in these matters. And while lawsuits, oversight investigations, and audits should be a tool of last resort, I think they are absolutely needed. Sometimes one just needs to shake things up to get people’s attention in this town. Why? Because this place is entrenched with people, companies, and old-school money politicos that are used to no competition or outsiders telling them what to do.
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