free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English

reading tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.

More where those came from ... stay tuned.

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All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.


free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ...
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?
Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew was smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.

Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Thursday, March 07, 2002

--- Murky Disclosures re Shadow Government ---

"Shadow Government" is unfortunate coinage indeed, with hints of conspiratorial opportunism in the realm of Dilbert's Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light. Call it something else -- anything else -- "Asymmetric Warfare Contingency Reconstruction Assurance Plan", or whatever. Let the acronym mills work their will.

An executive contingency nucleus should exist. There are valid reasons to limit the number of people who know the plan. [For now, the practical implications are far-fetched. Bunker blueprints wouldn't be of much value to al Qaeda, who lack the means to select targets at will or sustain operational tempo. They must attack opportunistically, and against exposed targets.]

There is no excuse for hiding the scheme from a co-equal branch of government. Granted, a finite marginal risk attaches to each person in the loop ... but the relative risk attendant to four Congressional leaders is miniscule relative to some 300 Executive personnel.

Conduct to date is in keeping with GWB's taste for an Enron-like Culture of Minimal Disclosure, and with evident indifference to core constitutional principles. As this sinks in, it won't sit well with conservatives of a certain stripe.

An underappreciated angle is the divergence between Daschle/Gephardt's "nobody told us", and Lott/Hastert's hemming, hawing, equivocal concurrence to the effect that yes, they could not confirm being told. Disclosure aside, did the White House play partisan favorites re disclosure of plans for continuity in case of catastrophic near-destruction of the US government? Did Congressional Republicans play along ... and did they play dumb about it later?

Nondisclosure would be a misdemeanor affront to the Constitution ... selective disclosure would be a felony. And if Congressional Republicans hid the ball from Congressional Dem's, the consequences could be most severe.

I suspect we'll hear more on this "a uniter or a diverter?" front ... possibly from the formidable Senator Byrd (who follows Cheney and Hastert in the line of succession) ... at a time and place of his choosing.

On a related priority track, where's the buzz on the Baird Amendment? Following a major hit on the House of Representatives, there's no existing constitutional mechanism to reboot consitituional government.