Milbanks tiger blood: Dana MilbankYale, and Skull and Bones too!is part of our fatuous press corps elite.
One month ago, he played the fool, begging off mention of Sarah Palin (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/24/11). He vowed to deny himself the pleasure for a good solid cold-turkey month.
Yesterday, in the Post Outlook section, Milbank wasted everyones time again, returning to the same subject.
Milbank marveled at the strength it took to honor his month-long commitment. Why, even when Bristol hit the news, he showcased his hot tiger blood!
Civilizations have crumbled beneath the weight of such inane elites. In this case, hes often called Lord Dowdinpantzexcept he isnt that bright!
Big Eddie makes Walkers case: Should governors like Walker, Christie and Cuomo raise state taxes on upper-end earners?
Its obvious that the top one percent should pay more on the federal level; Warren Buffet should pay tax rates that equal those of his staff! But is that also true at the state level, where certain types of problems apply?
In Saturdays Washington Post, Allan Sloan said no. He said Cuomo and Christie are basically right to resist the urge to tax high earners. In the New York Times, the editors disagreed, speaking only of Governor Cuomo.
Last Thursday, Ed Schultz tried to discuss this topic. The analysts recoiled, then openly cried, stung by his hapless attempt.
Good lord! The group IQ on MSNBC seems to get lower by the day! Heres what happened when Schultz tried to scold Walker on this basic point, which Schultz has been pushing for months:
SCHULTZ (3/3/11): Republicans would like you to believe that slashing spending on the backs of the poor is the only way to fix a budget crisis. But, of course, that is a lie.
How do we know? Because Democratic governors facing the exact same problems are doing something a little bit different. Theyre proposing to [whispers] raise taxes. Is the Earth still spinning? Somebody is going to raise taxes? That is right, facing a $25 billion budget shortfall, California Governor Jerry Brown has had to cut funding to many state programs, but he also wants to extend across the board tax increases.
Illinois has a $15 billion budget gap. Governor Pat Quinn raised both personal and corporate tax rates. Scott Walker found that hysterical:
WALKER (videotape): We still have this for tourismits a bumper sticker that says "Escape to Wisconsin." And instead of sending it to tourists, we are going to send it to employers down in the state in Illinois.
SCHULTZ: That will turn a lot of people, governor. Except even with the increase, that the tax rates in Illinois are still lower than Wisconsins. And Governor Quinns plan will net seven billion of revenue to boot.
Good God, that was stupid! Unknowingly, Schultz made Walkers point about the problem with raising taxes.
Even after Illinois raised taxes, its rates are still lower than those in Wisconsin! So Schultz said, not realizing that this is the very case Walker makes.
Like other governors, Walker says he cant raise taxes because employers (and high earners) will flee to neighboring statesto states with lower taxes. The analysts cried when Big Eddie reinforced Walkers point.
So it goes on MSNBC, where the intelligence level seems to drop by the week.
By the way, this news report in the New York Times discussed the Illinois tax situation. Under Governor Quinns temporary plan, the state income tax went from 3 percent to 5 percent, for all citizens. Illinois has no higher rate for upper-end earners; everybody pays the same rate. By way of contrast, Wisconsin has a graduated state income taxand its rate for the highest earners is 7.75 percent.
Despite these facts, Big Eddie tells us that Walker should raise Wisconsins rates, just like heroic Quinn! Illinois marginal rate in 5 percent; Wisconsins is almost three points higher. Despite this, Governor Quinn is the manand Walker should take his rate higher! Meanwhile, this later report noted that Quinns bump in income tax rates was passed in Januaryand he proposed no additional taxes in last months full budget proposal, despite Illinois large shortfall. (Even after Illinois raised income and corporate tax rates last month, Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing a budget that would cut aid to the poor, skimp on many services and count on borrowing billions to pay overdue bills.)
Was Big Eddie twisting his facts just a tad? On MSNBC, if it werent for the twisted facts, would there be any facts at all?
How should the various states deal with taxes? Wed love to see a serious discussion, but it wont likely occur on The True Liberal Channel. That said, the question is more complex on the state level than it is for the feds.
At any rate, the analysts howled, writhed and cried when Big Eddie made Scott Walkers case. His staff may be the worst on the channel. Big Ed himself doesnt seem to noticeand he keeps making us liberals dumb.
ITS TIME FOR HER TO GO (permalink): George Wills new column appeared in yesterdays Washington Post.
Will is a very prominent conservativehas been for decades. Thats why yesterdays column is a potentially helpful big deal.
In his piece, Will trashed Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. He called the pair weird and delusionaland he even trashed Steve Malzberg, a fairly significant slimeball figure from conservative radio.
Perhaps most importantly, Will also denounced the culture of birtherism, calling it paranoia.
Liberals, progressives and Democrats have been trying to deal with birtherism for several years now. Its culture involves the kinds of kooky claims that made life hell for both Clintons, and then for Candidate Gore. (And then for Candidate Kerry.) Now, a major conservative has trashed the whole movement, throwing Gingrich and Huckabee under the bus as he did.
Will does these all things in his most recent columnunless you watched last Friday evenings Rachel Maddow Show. On that program, Maddow focused on a different factthe fact that Will said a naughty, embarrassing word in this column. Using this naughty, embarrassing word, Maddow proceeded to indulge herself in a few of her favorite games.
Then too, there was the fairly obvious lie she told, in which she seemed to revert to an inaccurate claim Politifact scolded her for.
Question: Has it ever been more clear that the time has come for Maddow to go? That its time for her to get the help she seems to need, to let the liberal/progressive world develop a serious politics?
Before we review Maddows latest round of silly-girl clowning, lets make sure we understand what George Will said in his column.
In his column, Will addresses Huckabees recent spate of garbage talk about the presidents upbringing. As he starts, he gives a sense of where his column will go. According to Will, vibrations of weirdness are emanating from the GOP field:
WILL (3/6/11): If pessimism is not creeping on little cat's feet into Republicans' thinking about their 2012 presidential prospects, that is another reason for pessimism. This is because it indicates they do not understand that sensible Americans, who pay scant attention to presidential politics at this point in the electoral cycle, must nevertheless be detecting vibrations of weirdness emanating from people associated with the party.
According to Will, vibrations of weirdness are emanating from people associated with the GOP. Sensible Americans are surely detecting these vibrations, he said. Before long, Will explained who he had in mindGingrich and Huckabee. He trashed them for their slimy statements about Obamas upbringing and/or place of birth.
And make no mistakeWill trashed these major Republicans hard.
Let us not mince words, he said near the end of his piece. After that, he said the following words, denouncing a pair of major Republicans and the whole culture of birtherism:
WILL: Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizonIndiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.
So the Republican winnowing process is far advanced. But the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.
Because of their talk about Kenya and colonialism, Will denounced Gingrich and Huckabee as delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidatesthe type of candidates who might do harm to more serious GOP hopefuls. And ouch! Will said the pair were such stone-cold nuts that American voters would never entrust them with even a lemonade stand! Nor was that all: Earlier in the column, Will essentially called Huckabee a liar. He and Gingrich are dealing in paranoia concerning Obamas background, Will essentially said.
In context, the claim of paranoia extends to the whole birther movement.
In a rational world, liberals and Dems might see this column as significantand as potentially helpful. Given Wills status on the right, this column could be a strong tool with which to bat vile nonsense down. But you didnt hear any such judgment expressed if you watched Fridays sad Maddow show. On that program, Wills column became the latest excuse for Maddow to clown and behave like a child, vamping in the phoniest ways and begging us rubes to adore her.
Maddow staged one of her silly-girl acts, helping us see how special she is. It would be hard to be much dumberor to be a bigger fake.
Then too, there was that once-denounced lie which Maddow seemed to retell.
A bit of background:
On Friday, extensive portions of Wills column had been pre-released to the press. On that afternoons Hardball, Chris Matthews read most of the text weve posted above; more specifically, he read Wills denunciations of Huckabee. (The part of Wills column dealing with Gingrich may still have been under embargo.) Matthews and David Corn then discussed the various things Will had said.
Incredible! Matthews read the bulk of Wills columnand then led a serious discussion!
But four hours later, on Maddow, Rachel chose to play familiar silly-girl games, the kinds of games that are designed to make us rubes adore her. She very briefly discussed Wills remarks, then zeroed in on a troubling fact: George Will had used the word vibrator at one point in his column! (This was a reference to the vibrations of weirdness coming from Huckabee/Gingrich.) And then, our own egomaniacal spotlight-chaser did what she so often doesshe feigned embarrassment about the embarrassing word Will had naughtily said. This now became the total focus of her treatment of Wills pieceand she extended this nonsense throughout her program. Clowning and playing her viewers for fools, Maddow pretended she was too embarrassed to say that embarrassing word.
Darling Child Rachel was too embarrassed to say that very bad word! This is a familiar part of her shtick, of coursebut in this way, a significant column was transformed into a chance for Rachel to frolic.
How phony will this egomaniac be when she feels the need to vamp about, seeking new adoration? As always, you really have to watch the tape to take the full measure of Maddows dishonesty. (Seriouslyyou really have to watch her performance, in which she wrings every ounce of deception out of her plainly ridiculous claims. Just click here.) But heres how she started her first segment on this matter, talking shit with every word:
MADDOW (3/4/11): Ive always wanted to do one of those text polls? On TV? Umthey do them on other shows here on MSNBC. But for a long time, I didnt really understand how to do them. And then once we figured out how you do them, it took us a long time as a staff to figure out a question that would be an appropriate one to use for a text pollinga question that really requires instant answers from our viewing audience.
Then at todays news meeting, we realizedfinally! Finally, we have exactly the sort of day for which you need that text-y, poll question, instant response thingy. Because for us, the question is: Whats more embarrassing today? So, get your cell phones ready.
Translation: Hey, you big dumb fucking rubes! Look here! Please, please adore me!
Seriously, do you believe a single word Maddow says in that passage? Do you really believe that Maddow always wanted to do one of those text polls, except that, for a long time, she didnt really understand how to do them? Please. To state the obvious, every anchor knows how to do such a poll: You tell your producer you want to do it, and he or she sets it up! But Rachel was playing her silly-girl games, begging viewers to love her even more. (Again: You really have to watch the performance. You really have to watch the way she sells that ridiculous tale.)
One more question: Do you really believe the nonsense which followed those first statements? Do you really believe this: Once we figured out how you do them, it took us a long time as a staff to figure out a question that would be an appropriate one? Obviously, none of this piffle is actually true; Maddow was simply adopting a standard pose, a pose in which were asked to see how innocent and authentic she is, despite all her glory and wealth. Helping drive the play along was Darling Rachels little-girl language, in which she discussed her drive to conquer that text-y poll question thingy.
Darling Rachel is so adorableso unrelentingly cute!
At any rate: After a brief review of Huckabees week, Darling Rachel was finally ready to quote Wills actual column. But then, as she started to read Wills text, she engaged in one of her greatest ploys. She read Wills text right up to the place where the naughty word vibrator appearedand then, the blushing bride broke down! The word vibrator could be seen on the screen. But our darling girl just couldnt say it.
Maddow has played this phony game many times in the past. Turning Wills column into a joke, she revived a familiar old chestnut:
MADDOW (3/4/11): This Huckabee media round is being criticized by a prominent conservative columnist expressing concern for the circus-like atmosphere around the Republican presidential nominating practice so far. The Washington Posts George Will gave a preview of his column on the subject to Politico.com today.
Here it is. He writes, "Sensible Americans must be detecting vibrations of weirdness emanating from people associated with the party. The most recent
I dont think I can say that out loud. I will just let you read it off your screen. The most recent
Umall of this brings us to our question...
Manfully, Matthews had managed to read that embarrassing word. After that, he conducted a real discussion of the things Will said. Not Rachel! Egomaniacally, she turned the spotlight on herselfon the endearing way she cant make herself say bad, embarrassing words.
As she continued, the faking did too. What follows is perfect Grade A bullshit Grade A bullshit which took the place of a real discussion:
MADDOW (continuing directly): All of this brings us to our question. Now, it is time for your cell phone. Are you ready? Ive never done this beforeI hope we do it right. Ready?
Today`s question: What`s more embarrassing? A, Huckabee saying stuff like the president grew up in Kenya... Or B, Mike Huckabee vaguely not apologizing for saying stuff like that but telling anyone offended to buy his book. Or C, George Will calling Mike Huckabee (two-second pause) a something Im not going to say. Which is more embarrassing?
Were doing this for real! Text A, B or C to the number 622639. Im supposed to say, Message and data rates may apply! 622639. Text A, B, or C.
They tell me that we were supposedly going to have the results a little later on this hour, which I sort of cant believe, but that`s what they say. So, if theyre right, that will be true, in just a minute.
In the highlighted passages, Rachel was extending the familiar ploy in which she pretends to be a confused, helpless child. We strongly advise you to watch that tape. Youll be watching one of the biggest phonies in cable history.
Also, one of cables least honest performers, as well note below.
Why does Rachel like to stage this I dont really know what Im doing act? (Its a major part of her arsenal.) Why does she like to stage this Im too embarrassed nonsense? Presumably, these endearing tics are designed to make gullible cable viewers like her. And sure enoughall over the web, Rachel got a lot of attention for her I just cant say it act. (Just search on Maddow Huckabee vibrator.) Gullible liberals believed itthey seemed to think her I cant say it act was truly spontaneous. For one example, read this credulous piece from the Huffington Post.
Later in the show, Maddow gave the results from the instant response poll thingyand of course, she continued to vamp. She still couldnt make herself say that very naughty wordand of course, she feigned amazement at the number of messages she had gotten during her thingy. To watch the tape of this second gong-show segment, go aheadjust click here.
But this nonsense dominated two full segmentstaking the place of a real discussion of the useful things Will had said. In the world of Darling Maddow, the need to build adoration for the host routinely comes first.
A person could imagine a world in which this utterly silly vamping wasnt that big a deal. When it comes to Maddows obsessive vamping, that isnt the world we live in. Maddow loves to build viewer adoration. (Cable ratings suggest that her various ploys are working.) Beyond that, theres the miserable lack of political smarts, and of course the incessant apparent lying, that typify the performance of this poorly-wound cable host.
Maddows political analyses have been woeful in the past several weeks. Asking her to analyze domestic politics is a bit like asking Pee Wee Herman to critique the Bolshoi Ballet. She rarely knows what shes talking aboutbut she advances her theories with massive assurance.
Then too, theres the incessant apparent lying. Consider what she did Friday night.
In yet anotrher segment, Maddow tried to discuss Scott Walkers plan to send layoff notices to Wisconsin workers. Here too, the discussion had to make way for another Maddow favorite, in which she plays tape of private security workers in Afghanistan drinking vodka from each others butt cracks. This too lets her cringe in hyperbolic fashion, letting us see how childishly modest she is. In truth, the tape isnt relevant at this pointbut Maddow has found a way to play it twice in the past few weeks.
Last Friday, this was the silly banter as she ran that embarrassing butt-crack tape again. As she starts, Maddow is talking about an action Walker apparently took when he was county executive in Milwaukee. To watch this nonsense, click here:
MADDOW: Mr. Walker overruled the country board, he fired all the union guards, and he replaced them with new ones from Wackenhuta private, nonunion foreign company that was sort of already a household name, at least in certain households, because they are the same company that became famous for this thing Im about to show you . Uhhhsorry, Mom. Umparents, it is time to put your hand over your childs eyes if you are the sort of parent who puts your hand over your childs eyes. OK, ready?
Uh, remember? Yeah.
These are the Wackenhut guys who we, the American taxpayers, paid to guard the U.S. embassy in Kabul. These guys found a really, really novel way to spend their down time, dancing around naked, some of themsome of them in coconut brassieres to celebrate the challenge of drinking vodka out of really hard-to-reach places in the rear-facing portion of one anothers naked bodies.
As my grandmother might have had me put it, if she were still watching by this point, they drank spirits from each others nethers.
Actually, nothe fact that some guys drank vodka out of colleagues butt cracks doesnt really have much to do with Walkers past or current actions. But Maddow likes to play that tapeas she feigns her standard embarrassment, even on Grandmas behalf.
This was the third separate segment in Fridays program in which we got this absurd entertainment. But as she continued, Maddow returned to a standard story about Walkera story Politifact shot down, a story Maddow and her staff swore she never said or meant to imply. When he became governor, did Scott Walker cook the books? Did he gin up a fiscal crisis, turning a surplus into a deficit? At one point, this claim was widely asserted. Two weeks ago, Maddows pool boy, Bill Wolff, wrote two e-mails to Politifact insisting that Maddow never believed it and hadnt meant to imply it.
But so what? Last Friday, vamping and basically lying, Maddow pretty much went there again:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Thanks to Scott Walker, Wackenhut became Wisconsins problem, too. Scott Walker improperly fired the union security guys, brought Wackenhut in instead, took $5 an hour off the wages, slashed the benefits. Wackenhut in turn hired a man with a criminal record who had done jail time and put him in charge of security at Milwaukee`s courthouses and other city buildings.
Now, because the courts have ruled that Mr. Walker did all of that improperly under the very transparent cover of a ginned-up financial emergencysound familiar?Milwaukee is locked into paying double right now for a service it already has. The old union security guards are back, and they still got the booty-hind vodka Wackenhut on the job as well.
When he was country executive, did Walker fire government workers under the very transparent cover of a ginned-up financial emergency? We dont know; weve learned in the past that you cant believe things you hear on Maddows program. But when she threw in that sound familiar?, it was clear what Maddow meant.
Earlier in the segment, Maddow had described Walkers earlier action like this: When the county board tried to stop him, tried to save him from himself really, he overruled them, citing that fiscal emergency he had evidently cooked up. In short, he cooked up an emergency as county execand that conduct should sound familiar now.
Theres a narrow way to read Maddows words in which they might be said to be technically accurate. But well tell you what happened all over America. All over America, viewers thought they heard Maddow recalling that earlier story, the one in whiuch Walker created the current shortfall. Thats the story Politifact shot down. Its the story Maddows staff renounced on her behalf.
In e-mails, Maddows staff swore she doesnt believe that. Friday night, she tickled those strings again.
Maddow is a charismatic performerbut shes also a near basket case. Last Friday, she clowned and played and sought adoration in several silly, standard ways. In the process, she dumbed her viewers way, way downand seemed to reinforce an old lie.
Progressive really cant win this way. A certain phrase comes to mind. Isnt it time for this egomaniacal spotlight-chaser to go?