Morning Joe | November 14, 2012
>>> mika in the south of france.
>> sent them by telex.
>> that's a word out of the past. thank you, mark halperin . maureen dowd , reputation, reputation, reputation. it is disturbing that an ethically sketchy, politically motivated fbi agent could spark an incendiary federal investigation tunnelling into private lives to help a woman he liked and later blow it up to hurt a president he didn't like. it's also worrisome that the nation's spymaster who had presided in the military where adultery could result in court-martial could not have found a more clandestine manner of talking naughty to his biograph biographer, baby, than a gmail drop box used by terrorists, teenagers and authors. the scandal is a good reminder that although mccain and palin earned total trust, these guys are human beings working under extremely stressful circumstances, and their judgments are not beyond reproach. one of the elements of the story that hasn't been referred to greatly in all of the coverage because of the obvious, that's atop the coverage, is the repeated assignments to iraq and afghanistan. not only among the brass but obviously the deployments, among the troops, seven, eight, nine deployments. it takes -- exacts a crushing burden on families.
>> i mean, in the heart of this whole story, we shouldn't forget that there are real family tragedies here, and there are families who are being ripped apart not just by this immediate story but by the pressure of trying to do the job and the strains on people that have led into this bhowhole scandal are very significant and they need to be discussed more openly and acknowledged.
>> you think about the amount of time petraeus spent in theater. he was out of the country for years on end. someone around here the other day was saying, you know, 4 out of 6 years at one point where he was not at home. you know, there's not a lot of marriages that, you know, will emerge normal, if not totally dysfunctional, that's a hard thing to do. that's a hard thing to do.
>> and this particular -- now, i mean, everyone feels so badly, i would think, for mrs. petraeus, but this marriage isn in the spotlight because of his celebrity and the glamour that's been attached to him and everything like that. but ordinary soldiers, ordinary marines, deployment after deployment after deployment, they're not making a lot of money, folks. and the burden on the spouse staying here, raising children and whatever is just back breaking.
>> the divorce rate is particularly high for families that return home. obviously, they face the challenge of finding work when they return home. they face the challenge of trying to rekindle a marriage in situations like that. we were talking in the break about some of the details you learn about general petraeus . and i think some of the coverage has been interesting how it's viewed general petraeus as the victim so often and her as sort of the, you know, plying him with sexy notes, paula broadwell. specifically some of these e-mails referred to him in the evening liked to have apple pie served to him, mariah carey coming home in a fancy hotel room and demanding all-white m&m's. the inner workings of high-level generals are fascinating, too.
>> there's a fascinating group in the uk looking at the psychology of what happens to people in power and also looking at the neuroscience about what being in power does to your brain. and there's something intoxicating about being surrounded by people who are praising you, about being little bubble, where every need is met, where everyone tells you you're wonderful and they scurry and find things for you whether it's freshed slice pineapple, papers, whether it's a driver. and i think so often in the last few decades we've seen stories of usually men, not always, who get into this kind of diva mode and essentially it's a slippery slope . you don't wake up one day and say, i believe my own hype. i have to have freshly sliced pineapple. but it's very gradual. and there's a real need for everyone to watch out much more carefully what's happening to leaders when they get into power.
>> i knew barnicle had gone around the bend when i came in this morning and he was asking me to peel him a grape. the power's just gone to your head, bud day .
>> start with a banana.
>> we had asked an intern to bring in barnicle's pineapple but it didn't make it just yet. you write about the budget game. we'll read in part what you might. "hundreds of people from san jose , a cash-strapped city in california will embark on a curious modern experiment. san jose 's citizens will be invited to play with the city's budge for a day using pretend money. the hope is that by logging into these computing-cum-budget exercises, residents will become better informed about how their budget and city work, and that, in turn, should make them more engaged in crucial policy choices. should the city save money by reducing its firemen on trucks or bite the bullet and raise taxes instead? a cynic might dismiss this as a marketing or political gimmick, but if nothing else, the experiment is distinctly thought-provo thought-provoking." i'm curious your thoughts because in your essay you also talk about switzerland. they obviously face unique comparisons to the united states . we're a far larger cannot tri wi country with a lot more poverty than they face. what is your belief of why it would work here?
>> it's been tried in brazil, but the idea is you get people at a local level together to understand the importance of tradeoffs. if you ask people in surveys, what do you want to cut? they say nothing. if you say okay, you're going to have to choose what to cut amongst these alternatives and do that as a group, you start negotiations, and you make people much more realistic about what the reality is. and in san jose , for example, they discovered actually the citizens really want to hang on to their libraries, but they were happy to cut people in fire trucks from 5-4. and actually they've done that now to save money. if only you could do that in washington. the question is how do you do that on a federal level ? the reason why the swiss model is interesting is because when you have small units when people feel like a group, you can have real democracy, and you can get people talking about tradeoffs. how do you do that in a country like america which is so vast and in washington which is so sprawling? the swiss do this because they are tiny, and they do have real sense of local democracy. but trying to transplant that into the american situation's going to be hard.
>> you know, there's already a group actually that's doing that and using pretend money to work these issues out. unfortunately, they're in the congress of the united states . anyway. speaking of the congress of the united states , we have senate majority whip dick durbin coming up about the president's strategy headed into friday's fiscal cliff meeting with republican leaders. all of that and more including more on the miami marlins