Rachel Maddow Turned a Scoop on Donald Trump’s Taxes Into a Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle
“It’s been a little bit of a hullabaloo around here this evening, I apologize for being flustered,” Maddow said at the top of the hour, before confirming that her show had copies of Donald Trump’s federal tax returns, obtained by the reporter David Cay Johnston, to share with her audience. “In just a second we’re going to show you exactly what it is we’ve got,” she said, before launching, instead, into a 20-minute monologue. Maddow seemed uncharacteristically nervous as she wended her way though what could kindly be described as context and which I am unkindly describing as word salad, a long meander that was difficult to follow even without the distracting promise of a revelatory tax return at its end.
The monologue started contextually enough, with a long-winded skewering of Trump’s refusal to share his tax returns that touched on Richard Nixon, the Clintons, and his unaudited tax forms, before veering off conspiratorially. “Whether or not you are a supporter of Donald Trump,” Maddow said, “It ought to give you pause that his explanations [for not releasing his tax returns] have never made any factual sense. … When you get an excuse from them that doesn’t make sense, you have to look for another reason. What’s the real explanation? Well, choose your own adventure.” She then launched into a long hypothetical about a particular Russian oligarch’s possible relationship to Trump that touched on Florida real estate, Deutsche Bank, and Preet Bharara that Trump’s tax returns—though not, as it would turn out, the ones she actually had—could conceivably clear up.
After the first break—at which point the tax returns were already available on the internet and glossed by the Daily Beast—Maddow was joined by Johnston, and she began by asking him how he knew Trump hadn’t sent the returns himself. Johnston said that he could have. A few hours after Maddow finished airing, this has become a popular conspiracy theory, simply because, if Donald Trump were to share any of his tax returns, the 2005 1040 seems like a good candidate. Trump paid taxes at a rate of around 4 percent, but because of the alternate minimum tax, he also paid an additional $31 million. The form revealed that, rather than not paying taxes and making no money, Trump paid $38 million on $150 million in income. Maddow promised to pull a sordid revelation out of a hat and instead plucked out … Trump’s credibility? Maddow was soon parsing, asking Johnston to explain that Trump is currently trying to do away with the AMT, which, unfair as it may be, still wouldn’t change the amount he paid in 2005.
As the show went on, it became clear that Maddow knew she didn’t quite have the scoop that had been promised. “What would we have to see, what would we hope to get in mail,” she asked Johnston, “if we were going to get to the real meat of Donald Trump’s foreign ties?”—i.e., what would be more meaningful than the tax form that we have? Speaking to Chris Hayes and Johnston, she said, “The story here to me is, a) we have obtained this [tax form], b) that this stuff is obtainable.” “BREAKING: Trump’s tax returns theoretically obtainable. Tonight, 9 p.m. ET. MSNBC. (Seriously)” does make for a less rousing tweet.
Trump’s tax returns, whatever information they happen to contain, constitute a major scoop. Maddow’s social media team ensured the highest possible ratings for that scoop. But if ever a story should have been delivered in a stentorian, fuddy-duddy, nonpartisan manner, this was it. In positioning it as a grand revelation, a vital step in comprehending Trump’s corruption, MSNBC created an exceedingly cynical spectacle. By playing into the network’s loyal liberal audience’s fantasy that there exists a Trump silver bullet, it instead delivered Trump a positive news cycle—the guy pays taxes! Who knew!—amidst the debacle of the American Health Care Aact, along with more evidence that the media is aligned against him. The lesson? Don’t tell us you have news, just tell us the news.
We won’t forget how you bloodied people because of the shirt or hat they wore. We won’t forget how you burned and looted. We won’t forget how you torched freedom of speech.
We Won’t Forget
By Mario Murillo
We won’t forget how you bloodied people because of the shirt or hat they wore. We won’t forget how you burned and looted. We won’t forget how you torched freedom of speech.
Schumer, Pelosi, and you gaggle of Dem leaders who remain silent in the face of anarchy—do you honestly think we will forget? We will remember your tacit approval of these riots.
We aren’t fooled by your support for open borders. It’s not about equality…it’s about staying in power. How can we forget that?
You hapless Hollywood haranguers who spewed murderous venom—comparing Trump to Hitler, and for calling not only for his death, but for the death of his entire family—will not be forgotten.
You nattering nabobs of journalism will live in infamy. CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times…you have sold your souls to override the will of the people. Thanks to the internet, social media, and yes, bloggers, you will be fact checked into irrelevance. How rich! You complain that Russia hacked the election…while you were the hack of the century for Hillary. We will never forget how you are still trying to manipulate reality.
We will remember how you all thought you were a resistance movement. No one said it better than John Feehery in his article for The Hill entitled Dem resistance is futile:
“America is not on the brink of civil war. Trump is not Adolph Hitler or Benito Mussolini. Nor is the so-called “resistance” really a resistance. It’s a political movement.
It’s certainly no French Resistance, which arose after the Nazis invaded and then occupied France in 1940.
The French resistance movement started slow but picked up steam as the German regime revealed itself to be a murderous, plundering, racist group of thugs. By 1944, the resistance became a full-fledged army, capable of going behind enemy lines, cutting off telephone lines, blowing up train tracks and otherwise causing mayhem.
The Democratic resistance movement isn’t capable of stopping Trump’s efforts to appoint his own Cabinet officials because Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) helpfully changed Senate rules right before he retired.
Nor will Democrats be able to stop Trump from appointing his highly-qualified pick to the Supreme Court.
They aren’t much of resistance movement because Trump is not a Nazi and because the United States is not Germany in the 1930s.
An imperfect understanding of history is every bit as harmful as complete ignorance of history.
The Democrats, and more than a few Never Trump Republicans, imagine themselves to be brave, solitary figures standing against the rise of a brutal dictator.
We not only have plenty of institutional checks and balances arrayed against any potential dictator. We also are, as a people, a nation that takes its liberties pretty seriously.
We are not the Weimar Republic. We don’t have inflation hitting 300 percent. Unemployment is not at 30 percent but at 4.8 percent.
We might have our fair share of disagreements, but we have a constitutional process to resolve them amicably, without bloodshed.”
We will not forget how thugs, thieves and liars tried to pawn themselves off as guardians of liberty.
We are only two years away from having to remember. We will not loot, lie, or burn… we will vote. We will enter the booth with vivid images of both your lawless behavior and the politicians who sided with you.
But there are other things we will not forget:
We will not forget the soldiers who died to give us the freedom of speech that you are so wholeheartedly abusing.
We will not forget the unborn whose rights—in the name of rights—you have so blatantly disregarded.
Most of all, we will not forget that we are one nation under God. We will never forget the holy advantage prayer has been in every national crisis. We will never forget the Bible—the sacred scriptures that formed the character that made us great.
Lastly, we won’t forget the power of forgiveness. Many young hearts, because of peer pressure, are being swept up in a frenzy of deceit. We know Christ has the power to open their eyes and give them new life. We will never forget compassion and the Good News!
When Journalists took sides in the election and let Hillary Clinton dictate their campaign coverage they began to self-destruct. Here’s why their war on fake news will finish them off.
In a piece for Market Watch by Darrell Delamaide, just days before the election predicted their implosion: “Newspapers have long since been doomed by the digital revolution and the collapse of their economic model. New waves of buyouts and layoffs recently announced by the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal mark another step by print media toward extinction.
Broadcast networks, too, face severe difficulties as new technologies and changes in viewing habits transform the television industry and bring new challenges to news operations.
But it is the bias of the establishment media so blatantly in favor of the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, that may strip these news organizations of their last claim to value — as an objective and authoritative source of information — and hasten their demise.”
You would think when the media was outed as biased and dishonest they would changed their ways. As Frank Luntz said, “After Election Day, the media promised to improve substantive reporting and focus on real issues. They have learned nothing.”
Their mental disconnect is stunning. Derek Hunter said, “You hear it all the time – MSNBC and CNN hosts and pundits can’t fathom the concept of their policies being unwanted any more than they can accept that they don’t work. Their losses have to be caused by other factors.
Since the election, Democrats have blamed everything but a comet, a plague and the death of Prince for the GOP winning the White House and holding Congress. A couple more appearances by Howard Dean on TV, and you probably will start to hear about comets and plagues.”
If being in the tank for Hillary began their doom…here is what will seal it: THEIR WAR AGAINST “FAKE NEWS.” Back in October, Obama—flush with overconfidence that Hillary would win—said “there is no way to rig the election.” Now he believes the election has been rigged. The media agrees and they are pushing the fake news narrative.
What they are purporting boggles the mind: Wikileaks was more powerful than all the liberal media!
Think about it…the left just levelled the greatest insult ever to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and all the other legacy news media. How weak are you when your combined influence is less than one lonely website? But it gets even more mind-numbing.
The Gallup poll says 68% of all Americans say the liberal media fakes the news, yet they have started a crusade against fake news. Hypocrisy does not begin to cover this. This is irrational.
Irrational people will not listen to reason. They don’t care about rational explanations. They want to fulfill a need right away. The media will behave irrationally until that need is fulfilled. The media needs to be right but America says they are wrong. America is telling them that if you do not want to tell the truth we will not buy your product.
A sane person or company would heed that warning. The fact that the media is pushing the fake news narrative—which is astoundingly embarrassing and without merit—proves they would rather die than admit they are wrong. Sadly, they will get their wish.
However, this opens a gigantic door for the Gospel in America. This is because the message of Jesus was a prime target of the media. Being the mouthpiece of secular progressives and Hillary meant they had to discredit and lie about Christianity.
The media called the Gospel sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-science, anti-immigrant and on and on. Christian values became the all-purpose thing to be offended by. It was the last legal prejudice. But something has changed!
I tested this fact by saying deliberately saying Merry Christmas to someone I knew didn’t like it. At first, they gave me a scowl. Then they caught themselves. I could see it in their eyes. That moment of recognition. Thinking this wonderful gesture is a symbol of oppression is a silly thing of the past.
But it goes much deeper than that. People tried to protest churches for supporting Trump. That is gone. The insults have gone. The late-night comedians feel the fatigue of a public that is sick of leftist rants. It is not funny anymore. Teachers don’t get away with class rants against God and America anymore.
College students—millennial snowflakes who whimper, cry foul at anything Christian and run to safe spaces look real pathetic to the public. Something has changed. The shift is unmistakable.
A door to share the love and power of Jesus has opened. But it will not stay open long. We have this golden moment of opportunity for a handful of years.
The left will come back like a rash. They will regroup and once again try to control the nation. They cannot help themselves. In the meantime, we must preach the Good News without apology or hesitation. Revival–heaven sent true revival–will build a new nation under God that will stand the test of time.
When I began this blog, I could not see how it could succeed. Now readership is in the millions. Success will not tame it. We will provoke the church in the Trump era…
Success will not tame this blog
By Mario Murillo
My nerves were frazzled the first time I sat down to write something called a blog. I argued with God. I could not see how it would succeed. I knew there would be a firestorm over the things I was compelled to say. I was right about the firestorm.
Now millions have read the blog in virtually every nation of the world. Every day we are amazed at the impact of this little blog.
Check out this excerpt from the first time we spoke out:
“The America we once knew has been taken away. It happened overnight. Because America has changed ministries must change the way that they relate to this new nation.
Government has become our national God. This new God is waging an incremental war on the Constitution. The New York Times just called the U.S. Constitution an evil document that we should give up on.
Obamacare targets freedom of worship. It forces Christian Institutions to violate their religious convictions. Cardinal Dolan the spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of New York calls it “an unwarranted, unprecedented radical intrusion.”
The White House met with Cardinal Dolan and several Bishops met with the White House to talk. He said he was told to “shut up and accept the mandate.”
It is time for the people of God to speak out on the danger of gun control.
Mass shootings have become the excuse to take away our guns. Obama wants absolute power.
Mahatma Gandhi the great pacifist said, “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed that the greatest threat to liberty was not foreign invasion or domestic unrest but rather a standing army and a militarized police force that had no fear of inflicting tyranny upon the people.
If Government is our new God, Celebrities are our new pastors.
Ben Stein asked, “Where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? There are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.”
Hollywood is the most powerful propaganda machine in history and it has declared war on our faith.
Ministries must change how they relate to America. 1 Samuel 10: 6 Says, “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.
Here is what I believe the occasion demands:
The Holy Spirit is saying we can publicly oppose government tyranny while still maintaining a loving witness. Acts 16: 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” Paul had just led a jailor and several prisoners to Christ and now he turns around and exposes politicians who have broken the Roman Bill of Rights.
We must accept the fact that there is a new generation that has no Christian orientation. “And also all that generation was gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, who knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
We must lay a new foundation of faith in America. We must preach the central doctrines of our faith. The Bible needs to set fire to our sermons.”
The big question now is what does the church do now that Trump is president? In the next few blogs I will open my heart to you about the radical steps the church must take to seize this greatest soul winning opportunity in our lifetime. Once again we must change the way we relate to government.
I know we need fresh fire. Prayer, repentance and waiting for new orders are the keys for the American church this Christmas.
One thing is certain…success will not tame this blog. It will continue to keep its edge. It will continue to provoke, stretch and force minds to think and hearts to examine themselves.
Trump is not a pastor or a moral reformer. Trump is a foot in the door—a stay of execution. He is an act of God to buy the church time to repent and return to her rightful role in American life.
The King Cyrus Crisis: If we blow this…disaster will strike
By Mario Murillo
Something worse than Obama looms. Something indescribably bad can take over for the agony we have just left. It will be more hellish than Hillary. You can already see the evil forming.
Meanwhile, American Christians claim Trump is a miracle like King Cyrus. In 536 B.C. God moved King Cyrus to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah who said that after 70 years the Jews would be sent home from bondage in Babylon. Cyrus even provided resources to help rebuild Israel.
If history is repeating itself, we had better remember what happened next. The restoration of Israel faced multiple warheads:
Pagan tribes: The pagan tribes who settled in Israel set a sophisticated trap for the returning Jews. At first, they acted like they wanted to help. Instead, they hampered the work. When that failed, they launched terror attacks.
Political backlash: After Cyrus, the enemies of Israel lied to King Artaxerxes, accusing Israel of preparing for war, so the king stopped the work.
Morally corrupted Jews: Many Jews wanted to stay in Babylon. Some who came back to Israel were half-hearted in their mission to restore the nation. Those who were left behind during the 70 years became pagans. They knew nothing about Scripture or the laws of God.
If not for the astonishing endurance of a handful of priests, prophets, and one notable cupbearer, Israel would have remained in ruins. (Read Ezra, Nehemiah and Haggai). It took nearly 80 years after the king’s decree before the Temple and the wall were finished.
Let me let you in on a secret: we can’t wait 80 years—we don’t have 80 years. Unlike Israel, this is our last chance. If we do not learn from history—America will never be restored. If we blow this…expect disaster.
The Christians who want to make America morally great again face significant headwinds and don’t realize it. Here are the threats:
-The left is staging a massive retaliation. A nefarious coalition of universities, billionaires and tech companies are ramping up their rhetoric, paying agitators and plotting against the church.
-The media doesn’t care that people know they are lying. They are stepping up their lies. They learned nothing from Trump’s victory. The crocodile tears we saw from some media outlets meant nothing. Their blatant falsehoods are back with a vengeance.
-Most Christians don’t know what to do because they don’t understand the miracle. They thought Trump would save us. They are not preparing for the work that we need to do right now. They are already disappointed in Trump because they don’t get it.
Trump is not a pastor or a moral reformer. He will not be a social conservative who will fight for family values. If you look to him for that, you will be disappointed. Worse still, it will distract you and you will miss your assignment in this miracle.
If you ever listened to anything I ever said, I beg you, listen now! Trump is a foot in the door—a stay of execution. He is an act of God to buy the church time to repent and return to her rightful role in American life.
Trump broke the political correctness that threatened to swallow us whole. The revival is our job, not his.
-Morally corrupt Christians and lukewarm pastors don’t appreciate the miracle. Why would we expect a generation of believers raised on Pablum to know what to do with this miracle? They don’t read the Bible or pray. They have never truly repented. They have no concept of sacrifice. There is no way they will stand in the heat of battle.
-We are not seizing the moment to repent because we do not appreciate God’s mercy. The Jews did not appreciate the miracle of Cyrus’ decree. It did not provoke them to repent. Ezra the priest said, “And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this, 14 should we again break Your commandments…” -Ezra 9:13,14. This is a chilling warning to us.
-We want Trump to do things for us that we must do ourselves. Winning the lost is up to us, not Trump. Trump may not be a big help to the church. The Jews thought they could keep going back and complaining to the King about the same thing. They vainly tried to communicate with the King and found that it was a waste of time.
The American church must build on the opportunity that Trump gave us. We must wake up to our task! Our disunity is killing our cause. Petty differences have never looked so petty! We must shake off the disastrous apathy and complacency that is dulling us to our duty. Churches must come together in citywide prayer and soul winning. Pastors must push back on the lies being perpetrated against orthodox Christianity—they must roar from their pulpits.
We must muster all our strength and stand strong. Seize this miracle for what it is. Remember the words of the man who God told to make Israel great again and build the wall, “And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.’” -Nehemiah 4:14
Liberals are understandably panicked about what Donald Trump can carry out. “We have a president-elect with authoritarian tendencies assuming a presidency that has never been more powerful,” Franklin Foer wrote this past week in Slate. Trump will command not only a massive nuclear arsenal and the most robust military in history, but also the ability to wage numerous wars in secret and without congressional authorization; a ubiquitous system of electronic surveillance that can reach most forms of human communication and activity; and countless methods for shielding himself from judicial accountability, congressional oversight and the rule of law — exactly what the Constitution was created to prevent. Trump assumes the presidency “at the peak of its imperial powers,” as Foer put it.
Sen. Barack Obama certainly saw it that way when he first ran for president in 2008. Limiting executive-power abuses and protecting civil liberties were central themes of his campaign. The former law professor repeatedly railed against the Bush-Cheney template of vesting the president with unchecked authorities in the name of fighting terrorism or achieving other policy objectives. “This administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide,” he said in 2007. Listing an array of controversial Bush-Cheney policies, from warrantless domestic surveillance to due-process-free investigations and imprisonment, he vowed: “We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers.”
Yet, beginning in his first month in office and continuing through today, Obama not only continued many of the most extreme executive-power policies he once condemned, but in many cases strengthened and extended them. His administration detained terrorism suspects without due process, proposed new frameworks to keep them locked up without trial, targeted thousands of individuals (including a U.S. citizen) for execution by drone, invoked secrecy doctrines to shield torture and eavesdropping programs from judicial review, and covertly expanded the nation’s mass electronic surveillance.
Blinded by the belief that Obama was too benevolent and benign to abuse his office, and drowning in partisan loyalties at the expense of political principles, Democrats consecrated this framework with their acquiescence and, often, their explicit approval. This is the unrestrained set of powers Trump will inherit. The president-elect frightens them, so they are now alarmed. But if they want to know whom to blame, they should look in the mirror.
Obama’s approach to executive power flipped so quickly and diametrically that it is impossible to say if he ever believed his campaign-era professions of restraint. As early as May 2009, Jack Goldsmith, a Justice Department official under George W. Bush, celebrated Obama’s abandonment of his promises to rein in these authorities, writing that “the new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit.” He added that the “Obama practices will be much closer to late Bush practices than almost anyone expected in January 2009.”
Liberals vehemently denounced these abuses during the Bush presidency. From 2001 through 2008, Democrats called them the embodiment of tyranny, an existential threat to democracy, a menacing expression of right-wing radicalism. “America’s Constitution is in grave danger,” Al Gore warned in a widely praised 2006 speech on civil liberties. Bush had become “the central threat that the founders sought to nullify in the Constitution, an all-powerful executive, too reminiscent of the king from whom they had broken free.” In one 2007 poll, 57 percent of Democrats said they wanted the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to be closed.
But after Obama took office, many liberals often tolerated — and even praised — his aggressive assertions of executive authority. It is hard to overstate how complete the Democrats’ about-face on these questions was once their own leader controlled the levers of power. According to a 2012 Washington Post-ABC News poll, 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats and 67 percent of moderate or conservative ones now supported keeping Guantanamo Bay open. After just three years of the Obama presidency, liberals sanctioned a system that allowed the president to imprison people without any trial or an ounce of due process.
In fact, a new Democratic Party orthodoxy took hold under Obama: the right of a president to detain people, or even assassinate them, without charges or a whiff of judicial oversight. This included even American citizens. “We do not believe that [Anwar] al-Aulaqi’s U.S. citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action” by the military or the CIA, a Justice Department memo proclaimed in 2010.
Democrats (who had bitterly complained in 2005 about mere eavesdropping without court approval) not only failed to contest this assassination program but ultimately expressed their support for it. “Fully 77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones,” according to the write-up of that 2012 Post-ABC poll. Support drops “only somewhat when respondents are asked specifically about targeting American citizens living overseas, as was the case with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American killed in September in a drone strike in northern Yemen.”
And of course, Obama aggressively expanded the system of mass surveillance, including on U.S. soil, that had been secretly implemented by the National Security Agency after 9/11. Once Edward Snowden showed the world what had been created, many Democrats became the leaders in protecting this spying system from meaningful limits, reform or oversight. When, in the immediate aftermath of the Snowden revelations, a bipartisan coalition of House members headed by Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) sought to impose serious limits on the NSA’s domestic spying, the White House turned to then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead the successful effort to stop them.
Civil liberties advocates and proponents of limited executive authority tried everything they could think of to persuade and cajole Democrats to rediscover their concerns about these abuses and once again become allies in the battle to constrain government power. But those efforts were largely futile. Partisan loyalties easily subordinated any commitment to the principles that they had purported, in the Bush years, to support.
The problem such advocates encountered was the same one they’d faced during the Bush presidency when trying (and failing) to persuade putatively small-government conservatives to oppose these expansions of presidential power: namely, many people are perfectly content to have such authority vested in leaders they trust, and fear them only when a politician from the opposing party wields them.
As such, the tactic of last resort to induce Democrats and liberals to oppose such policies was to ask them to think about how, one day, these powers could be in the hands of someone other than a benevolent, kind-hearted, trustworthy progressive like Barack Obama. Instead, Democrats were urged, imagine that a right-wing authoritarian, or a lawless demagogue, or a petty, vindictive tyrant won the presidency and inherited the framework of unrestrained, unchecked powers that Republicans implemented and Democrats expanded.
That day has arrived. With Trump looming, there is much talk of uniting across ideological and partisan lines to impose meaningful limits on executive authority, and those efforts are justified. But, as progressives were repeatedly warned, a matrix of power that has been defended and legitimized for 15 years by both parties will be very difficult to uproot.