One night earlier, Schultz had said that the state of Wisconsin faces “no budget crisis.” Waving her arms to attract attention, Maddow ratcheted that fuzzy claim up a bit. According to Maddow, nothing was wrong in the state of Wisconsin; actually, Wisconsin was great! In the process, she made the puzzling claim Politifact would score as “false.” (“Despite what you may have heard about Wisconsin’s finances, Wisconsin is on track to have a budget surplus this year.”) It’s still unclear what Maddow meant by that statement; at this point, everybody seems to agree that there is a current shortfall. Indeed, as Maddow continued her report, she seemed to contradict that original claim—although her live presentation is so confused it’s hard to know just what she meant:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Why is there a revolt in the American midwest tonight? Why are we in Day 3 of massive, massive protests—real upheaval in Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison? Why are we seeing what was described today by my friend John Nichols, a seventh-generation Wisconsinite, as perhaps the biggest protests that have been seen in that state since Vietnam? Why is this—look at this! Why is this happening?
As the state’s own finances show, it is not happening because people who work for the state are the cause of some horrible budget crisis. It’s not because teachers are lazy and rich. It’s not because greedy snowplow drivers have bankrupted the state somehow.
The state is not bankrupt! Even though the state had started the year on track to have a budget surplus—now, there is, in fact, a $137 million budget shortfall. Republican Governor Scott Walker, coincidentally, has given away $140 million worth of business tax breaks since he came into office.
Hey, wait! That’s about exactly the size of the shortfall!
Maddow cited “my friend John Nichols”—the man who made the initial mistake. She said “the state is not bankrupt,” thus refuting a fuzzy claim that no one had really made. At no point were viewers ever told that the state where everything is great is facing a $3.6 billion shortfall in the coming budget cycle. Indeed: Judging from a Nexis search, Maddow has never reported this basic fact as she excitedly waves her arms for her transfixed viewers.
That's from Bob Somerby's Daily Howler. And he misses the main point, sadly. Why did Rachel get egg on her face? Because she cuts corners (yes). Because she's a partisan (yes). But the answer is also: John Nichols.
In 2008, we walked away from liar John Nichols for good. He went on Democracy Now! (when AP exposed Barack's talks with Canada to reassure them he wouldn't gut NAFTA while he was wooing voters by telling them something different) and Nichols declared it was really Hillary who did that -- not Barack -- he had sources and he would be writing a big story on it. Big. Then when the issue went away, no one noticed he never had a story.
He lied. He's a liar. If that flew by you in 2008, check out Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past" because they were paying attention.
That's only one of the 2008 examples.
When Samantha Power was fired by the Obama campaign, Jonny Nichols was lying again. He lied that Sammy was being treated badly because she and Hillary were really good friends. Uh, no, liar, they weren't. And if you missed that in 2008, check out C.I.'s "John Nichols employs 'girl power' for Sammy Power" -- she called out John Nichols immediately on that lie.
John Nichols lied to cover up for Barack's NAFTA thing and he lied to make it look like Samantha and Hillary were friends. He lies all the time. He can't make a strong argument because he's nothing but a liar. A damn dirty liar.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Meanwhile with Ayad Allawi, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and Moqtada al-Sadr weighing in on the protests Saturday, New Sabah reports that Jalal Talabani has now issued a statement in support of the Iraqi people -- what a brave move. Why is it that the President of Iraq is always the last to make a statement or take a position? Al Mada notes that Talabani declared that democracy is the aspiration which drives people.
Nouri's press conference yesterday was to again proclaim "reform." New Sabah reveals that among the issues he floated was reducing retirement age from 63-years-old to 61-years-old. Dar Addustour reports he declared the proposed change was necessary to provide young people with opportunities. He also pledged more construction projects. (Day laborers and construction workers were among the first to join the recent wave of protests in Iraq.)
Meanwhile, though the New York Times misses it, the Iraqi press is all over Moqtada al-Sadr's remarks. New Sabah reports that al-Sadr has declared Nouri is the one responsible for the conditions in Iraq nothing that Nouri "tops the pyramid" of power. Dar Addustour also leads with al-Sadr saying Nouri had full responsibility for the conditions in Iraq and that he's compared it to what has taken place in Egypt and calls for Nouri to address the issues. If Nouri seems a little on the ropes, that may explain why, when asked about a rumored cabinet post for Ahmed Chalabi at yesterday's press conference, he begged off.
Raman Brosk (Zawya) reports that al-Sadr announced yesterday the seven-day referendum he's calling "People's Voice Week." The referendum is a rather silly idea. But it does keep Moqtada's name before the public and does give the appearance that he is doing something which may be the whole point. Meanwhile Dar Addustour reports that Iraqiya is accusing State Of Law of blocking the appointment of heads for the security ministries -- Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of National Security. The posts have never been filled. Nouri appointed himself the minister of all three 'temporarily' but that's gone on for months now. New Sabah notes that Iraqiya reminded Nouri is the head of State Of Law.
Maryland Caller (on the GOP line): I wanted to know what your thoughts were on what sort of example and therefore role Iraqi government might play in the Middle East uprising as it continues to afford more and more democratic opportunties to its people. Thank you.
Bobby Ghosh: That's a great -- that's a great question. And what we're seeing in Iraq right now, unfortunately, does not -- does not lend itself to a lot of confidence in the Arab world. You're seeing a lot of instability in Iraq. This is a country that took more than 200 days to create a government after elections. Iraq's new government has already proven itself to be very corrupt and not very responsive to its people which is why Iraqis have also been inspired by what's happened in Egypt and Tunisia and over the last week there's been a lot of uprising all over Iraq -- from the north to the south -- against the government and there have been demonstrations demanding that the government respond to the needs of the people. I think if Iraq stands as an example to the Middle East, it is that Iraqis now have an opportunity to express themselves. That Iraqis have the ability now to go out and, without fear, and demonstrate and protest and make themselves heard. And every four years, they have the opportunity to elect their own leaders. They have the opportunity to kick out a government that is not responsive to them.
MURRAY TO CHAIR VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HEARING ON THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET
(Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 2, 2011, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will chair a hearing on the President's budget. The Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. in Room 418 of the Russell Senate Office Building.
Witnesses will include:
The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The Honorable Robert A. Petzel, MD, Under Secretary for Health
Michael Walcoff, Acting Under Secretary for Benefits
Steve L. Muro, Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs
The Honorable Roger W. Baker, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology
W. Todd Grams, Acting Assistant Secretary for Management
Independent Budget Representatives
Carl Blake, National Legislative Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America
Joseph A. Violante, National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans
Christina M. Roof, National Acting Legislative Director, AMVETS
Raymond C. Kelley, National Legislative Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars
Tim Tetz, Director, National Legislative Commission, The American Legion
Maryann D. Hooker, MD, Lead Neurologist, Wilmington, Delaware VA Medical Center, representing American Federation of Government Employees