Should Governor Ultrasound be ruined?


Rachel the Destroyer: Last night, the Maddow show had nothing about Chris Christie.

The enormous national story had apparently died down. In its place, we got an early tease about Governor Ultrasound:
MADDOW (12/19/13): Will Bob McDonnell be the first-ever Virginia governor to be criminally indicted while still in office? Today, we got an answer to that question, and it turns out it’s a fascinating answer.

That story is ahead. Stay with us.
The second tease was longer. It jacked up the power of the story, which Rachel called “mind-blowing:”
MADDOW: In political terms, one of the things that’s happening this holiday season that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s term in office is coming to a close. He has spent his final month in office being fairly festive.

He put out a proclamation that the month of December is Christmas Tree Month! That’s smart.

He attended a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Ta-da!

He unveiled a— “Oh, what’s that? A portrait of me? You shouldn’t have!”

All in the line of duty for Governor Ultrasound.

None of these things, though, have distracted anybody from the big legal storm cloud that has overshadowed his final year as governor. It turns out, though, that the legal gods just recently have presented one very, very special Christmas gift to Governor Ultrasound—a very special present, almost a festive present.

Stay tuned. This story is next and it is mind-blowing.
In truth, the story wasn’t mind-blowing. On the other hand, we thought it revealed an intriguing turn of mind on the part of Cable Host Vlad the Destroyer.

When her full segment began, Rachel worked from a front-page report in the Washington Post. She seemed to misstate the report in at least one major way.

According to the Post, this is the state of play for Governor U-sound:
HELDERMAN (12/19/13): Federal prosecutors told Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell last week that he and his wife would be charged in connection with a gift scandal, but senior Justice Department officials delayed the decision after the McDonnells’ attorneys made a face-to-face appeal in Washington, according to people familiar with the case.


On Friday, the day after the meeting, McDonnell’s attorneys were told that the decision would be put on hold, the people said. A final decision about whether to press charges is now not expected before Jan. 2 and could come as late as February, they said.
According to Rachel’s account, the Post report left no doubt that McDonnell will be indicted. The date on which he will be charged has merely been delayed.

That pretty much isn’t what the Post said. But Rachel, like Dusty Springfield before her, seemed to be wishin’ and hopin’.

Lovingly, Rachel rattled off the alleged offenses by McDonnell, which, to be perfectly honest, involve extremely stupid and venal behavior but don’t amount to much. She was careful to mention the children, as she always does at such times.

Rachel is a true believer in the evil of Others. As she introduced her guest, she expressed her frustration with the failure to charge:
MADDOW (12/19/13): The Justice Department is not commenting on the Washington Post’s reporting, and the Justice Department would not make someone available to talk with us tonight about this case.

But it is thought to be unusual for the Justice Department to overrule a U.S. attorney like this. And if they are delaying the indictment out of deference to Governor Bob McDonnell’s standing as a public official, why is that?

The alleged crimes here, violations of the Hobbs Act, the alleged crimes here, they are public official corruption crimes. Of all the crimes, wouldn’t that be the kind of crime where you would not defer to the guy’s stature as a public official? Isn’t the whole point that he has abused the office? Why keep him in it if that’s what he’s done to it?

Joining us now is Thomas Cullen. He’s a former federal prosecutor in Virginia.
Cullen tried to talk Rachel off the ledge. He told her that it isn’t “unusual for the Justice Department to overrule a U.S. attorney like this.”

He said an indictment at this time might be disruptive to the transition to Governor McAuliffe. “So I think for all those reasons, the department was receptive to the argument, you can wait a little while if you’re going to do this, buy some time, and let’s continue a dialogue about potentially how to resolve this case without an indictment.”

In response, Rachel let her destroyer flag fly. Shouldn’t we want to see McDonnell “humiliated and ruined,” she now asked:
MADDOW: If the argument is that it would be disruptive for the political process in Virginia, the other side of that is the argument for why you would ever bring charges in a case like this in the first place, right?

I mean, the federal government intervenes in a case like this. It’s a federal charge, in order to essentially ensure the integrity of public office, so that people are punished and incidentally humiliated and ruined when they abuse their office in such a way that causes them to violate the Hobbs Act and potentially go to prison.

So if the idea is to deter, the reason you prosecute these things to deter other public officials from doing it, isn’t that a good counterargument against the threat of disruption to the political process?
In Rachel’s mind, the Justice Department tries to ensure that people get punished “and incidentally, humiliated and ruined.”

We thought that was weirdly harsh. But after another attempt at soothing by Cullen, Rachel went there again:
MADDOW: I understand the argument. I totally disagree with it. I think the public interest in this case is about nailing people for public corruption and it helps if you ruin their career in the process.

But, apparently, they’ve made their decision.
It helps if you ruin their careers! Apparently, Rachel thinks the ruination of Ultrasound would be less next month.

We thought this display was odd for two basic reasons:

First, as noted, McDonnell’s alleged corruption is actually pretty small cheese. He took a lot of money from a business owner, but he didn’t do much to help him. The public interest wasn’t harmed in any gigantic way, if it was harmed at all.

Our second reason was a bit different. As Rachel rattled off the various ways McDonnell accepted money, we couldn’t help thinking of all the money Rachel is shoving into her pants as she snarks and frets her way across the stage.

She is accepting much more money than McDonnell ever did. In our view, she violates the integrity of her own position pretty much every night.

We’re a bit more mellow than Rachel. It struck us as strange that she would want to see someone “humiliated and ruined” at all.

It struck us as especially strange, given that her own misconduct seems to have eclipsed his.

That said, Rachel the Destroyer left no doubt about the way she feels. Someone gave Ultrasound a watch. On that basis, she wants to see him “humiliated and ruined.”

Rachel is a very strange duck. In our view, she works quite hard, in various ways, to keep you from seeing that.


  1. "Our second reason was a bit different. As Rachel rattled off the various ways McDonnell accepted money, we couldn’t help thinking of all the money Rachel is shoving into her pants as she snarks and frets her way across the stage.

    She is accepting much more money than McDonnell ever did. "

    All the money Rachel is SHOVING INTO HER PANTS.

    After the body-fluid reference, now this.

    Maddow's security folks ought to be aware of his.

    Blogger - "Accepting" is not the same as "earning".

    Maddow seems to cause detonations in the blogger's head.

    1. If Bob had used this term about a male, would you have been equally mortified?

      I doubt it.

    2. Would Bob have used this term about a male?

      I doubt it.

    3. If Bob would Bob could but should Bob not whether you will might shall be rather anyone might.

    4. Schizophrenic word play is so cute.

  2. A politician taking $140,000 in "loans" and "gifts" including a Rolex watch and designer dresses from a CEO? Then using the Governor's Mansion to host a party celebrating the launch of the CEO's new product? Paid for by the governor's PAC?

    No big deal? Doesn't amount to much? Simply "venal behavior"?

    I don't know how you define public corruption, but to me that is the very definition of it.

    ". . . we couldn’t help thinking of all the money Rachel is shoving into her pants as she snarks and frets her way across the stage."

    Which has got to be the pettiest and the DUMBEST thing you have ever written, and that is saying something.

    What on earth does Maddow's salary have to do with the case against McDonnell? Absolutely nothing. And you can't stand it that she is younger, wealthier and more famous than you, Bob.

    Finally, the exchange between her and Thomas Cullen was a perfect example of how discourse should be held. It was on point, relevant and mature, without either one shouting or trying to interrupt the other.

    They disagreed on the one point of WHEN the indictments should be issued, Maddow making her point that for the sake of a deterrent effect, ASAP, Cullen making his that since there is no evidence of an ongoing crime, as opposed to Bloggo in Illinois putting Obama's U.S. Senate seat up for bid, there is no reason to rush and indict McDonnell before he leaves office.

    They disagreed, but respected each other's point of view.

    You might try that sometime, Somerby.

    1. It's funny-- I've been away from the site for a while, but upon returning I've noticed this kneejerk Maddow defense now going on. Is it organized? Sure seems like it.

      Bob's point is that Rachel Maddow is her own kind of hypocrite.

    2. It's funny? No sweat. With all those big bucks stuffed in her britches our Rhodes scholar gal can buy lots of us troll bitches.

      You've notice knee jerk Maddow defense? What f'ing appedange is causing Bob to shake his non money maker incessantly at her, for Pete's sake. Hell, even his abuse of educational statistics to prove he is smarter than women who are more highly regarded than he is reads better than this latest schtick.

    3. Right. Got to be an carefully organized defense of Maddow. Can't possibly be anything to the allegations against McDonnell. After all, Somerby has spoken. And won't get off his script.

      Even if McDonnell is eventually hauled off to prison in chains, it will be because the vile Maddow "railroaded" him.

    4. She has already accused Chris Christie of blocking the bridge to the 21st Century, whioch all Gore never claimed he invented but did, in fact, help Bill Clinton build while being slimed worse than Obama.

    5. OMB

      "Bob's point is that Rachel Maddow is her own kind of hypocrite." Anon. @ 3:27

      If true, then give credit to Rachel for being original. BOB is simply a copycat hypocrite, usually doing exactly what he is criticizing others for doing at, or very close to, the time of his criticism.


    6. Public corruption is what a public official accepts a bribe for using public office to benefit that donor. It involves permits, legislation, appointments to offices, relief from government regulations, special sales or contracts that benefit the donor, and so on. It does not consist of holding a party for a special donor. This is like when the conservatives tried to portray Clinton as corrupt because he let donors sleep overnight in the Lincoln bedroom, something Presidents have been doing for many administrations. This is truly small cheese.

    7. So you disagree with Somerby that Chris Christie calling a special election on an odd date three weeks before the scheduled November election wasn't a case of "theft" or "grand larceny"? Glad to hear it.

      As far as your definition, counselor, go study the laws of Virginia a bit more. There doesn't have to be a "quid pro quo".

      McDonnell was required to report every gift he or a member of his immediate family received that is valued over $50. He is also required to report any stock valued over $10,000 that he or any member of his immediate family owns in any company.

      There is a growing body of evidence that McDonnell not only failed to report gifts and stock, but took steps to hide them from his legally obligated disclosure.

      And that would be a serious breach of the law.

      And, I hate to break this to you, but there is also growing evidence of "quid pro quo." Namely, the reception at the governor's mansion for the rollout of Star's new product, his wife's flying to Florida to pitch the product to a doctors and dieticians meeting, the word slipped to various government agencies that the governor and his wife would very much appreciate it if you would listen to Williams and Star's pitch.

    8. I worked at Main Justice and in field my entire adult life, The review taking place is undoubtedly at Tax Division as only they have the power to authorize criminal prosecution for tax offenses. As McDonnell received personal benefit the funds should have been reported on his 1040. Dollars to doughnuts, he didn't report the SSS and thus committed income tax evasion. Quid pro quo has nothing to do with it as the IRC taxes all income from "whatever source derived". It takes 2-3 months usually to wind its way through Tax Division as a case normally undergoes 5 reviews before prosecution..

  3. Oh the hate, how stupid it makes the blogger:

    "It struck us as especially strange, given that her own misconduct seems to have eclipsed his."

    You have indictable offenses on one side and as far as one knows only

    (1) Sweating

    (2) Earning what the blogger thinks is a lot of money

    are the charges against Maddow and they ECLIPSE ACTUAL CRIMES AGAINST THE LAW.


    1. Sweating on camera caused Nixon to lose the election.
      Creating the internet cause Gore to lose the election.
      Rachel sweats and stuffs big bucks.

      It's all the liberal media's fault that nobody praised black kid's progress in closing the still large acheivement gap which by is very large but whose size is never discussed.

      Only those who lack reading comprehension fail to get it.

    2. AnonymousDecember 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      "Rachel sweats and stuffs big bucks."


      You must make the blogger proud.

    3. Anonymous @ 4:23

      Making Mr. Somerby proud. That is something I can crow about to all my friends. Except reading this makes me ashamed because of all the trolls. So I will beam to my inner self even if being here makes me unclean.

    4. People make reference to sweating to indicate that someone was (1) working hard at accomplishing something, or (2) nervous (e.g., flop sweat). It isn't a sexual reference unless you include some other words, such as a reference to heaving bosoms. Trying to make it into one is just another attempt to smear Somerby by detractors.

    5. Anonymous @ 11:08

      Bob's actual description of Rachel was "the perspiring cable star," a phrase thrown into his description of her for no apparent reason. I have read him referring to anybody else that way.

  4. Quit beating up on Rachel. She is a breath of fresh air doing actual journalism and shows no fear in attacking wrong doing. If only others on MSNBC would show some courage.

    1. Actual journalism? Sounds like special pleading to me. Clamoring for the destruction of a human being ain't too objective.

      A politician accused of accepting financial favors that weren't even bribes. Ohhhh! Get me the smelling salts.

    2. Yes, by all means, let's make McDonnell the victim.

  5. "Someone gave Ultrasound a watch. On that basis, she wants to see him “humiliated and ruined.”"

    Yeah, Bob. That's all it was. A watch. Except for:

    -- The $15,000 Williams paid the caterer for McDonnell's daughter's wedding. That was a gift to the bride and groom which McDonnell was not obligated to report, or so he claims. Except the $3,500 overcharge refund check was written to McDonnell's wife, not to the bride and groom.

    -- The $15,000 shopping spree Williams took Maureen McDonnell on in New York.

    -- The $50,000 "loan" from Williams to Maureen McDonnell, $30,000 of which she used to buy shares in Star Scientific.

    -- Just before the year's end, Maureen McDonnell sells here Star stock at a loss. In January, McDonnell declares that neither he nor any of his immediate family own more than $10,000 worth of stock as of Dec.31. Then four days later, Maureen McDonnell buys back her Star stock.

    -- The $50,000 and $20,000 checks from Williams to a company owned by McDonnell and his sister. McDonnell calls them loans.

    -- The $10,000 check as an engagement present from Williams to McDonnell's eldest daughter.

    -- The dividing and transfer of Star stock among McDonnell's adult children as the probe into his financial disclosures open.

    1. But Maddow makes a lot of money and sweats on TV. Don't be a rube and a clown.

  6. Mr. Somerby says that the allegations against Bob McDonald reflect "extremely stupid and venal behavior but don’t amount to much." Does he really believe this? Or is he minimizing sleazy and potentially criminal behavior on the part of an elected official to justify his criticism of Rachel Maddow? Neither case speaks well of Mr. Somerby's credibility as a media critic.

    1. Here's what's funny. Thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of "gifts" and "loans" to McDonnell's family "don't amount to much."

      But Chris Christie ordering a special election, which was well within his powers of governor to do, is "grand larceny" and "theft."

      And then he invents the idea for his poor cattle that the press entirely ignored that Crime of the Century.

    2. Anonymous @ 3:08

      Better to be one of Bob's poor cattle than one of Rachel's loser squirrels in a sack.

      Moo to you, troll.

    3. Or you could try this. Instead of being anyone's "cattle" or "squirrel" try thinking for yourself.

      I know it's harder work that letting Somerby do it for you. But try it sometime.

    4. I tried to let Somerby do my thinking for me, but I couldn't figure out what he was talking about more than half the time. But then I didn't go to Harvard, so clearly he's way over my humble head.

  7. I am so thankful to Bob for putting this all in perspective.

    1. I used to like Maddw, but she's gotten very silly lately. And her 'I'm just so cute thing' is getting old.

      Also, it's pretty vile for her to be wishing for a destruction of another human being. Have we ever heard FOX News people do this? What a humanist she is.

    2. Well, since Bob himself likes to be literal with words, he might appreciate me telling one of his followers that Maddow did not, literally, call for the "destruction of another human being."

      She did call for him to be "humiliated" and to have his career in politics "ruined."

      But she didn't call for McDonnell's "destruction".

      This, of course, is the kind of parsing that Bob is famous for. One would think his camp followers would know better.

    3. There are people who are humiliated when telling their friends about this blog because Bob doesn't listen to our pleas and ban trolls. You can count me among those who feel unclean.

    4. AnonymousDecember 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      You are correct, but it would be wasted on the Kool Aid drinkers.

      Now I understand why people still fall for Nigerian scams - people are terrified to have to think for themselves and can be victimized because of that.

      Remember the Seinfeld episode in which George is trying to sell "a show about nothing"? The producer asks "why am I watching it"? And George says "because its on TV".

      The blogger is there - has been blogging for many years and until he transmogrified into a uber-creepy librul-basher, did some useful work. Nothing of value is left anymore and it is hate 365/7. His pseudo-learned style has an aura of authority and gives permission to liberal-haters to liberal-hate without guilt, since the great blogger is doing it and he is always right.

    5. It certainly has been sad to watch.

      Bob's personal disdain for Maddow has reached the point that he is now defending public corruption as no big deal.

      What next? Maddow proclaims the world is round, and Bob goes into a rant how flat it is?

  8. "She [Maddow] is accepting much more money than McDonnell ever did."

    Let me play Bob's game on Bob:

    Has Maddow done anything wrong by accepting a decent salary? We don't know, though we tend to believe it is fine. However, watch how the rubes follow the TDH script, that Maddow''s pay and sweating is somehow relevant to a story about an elected official collecting $ without reporting it. The script is to make this story about on of the messengers while ignoring the facts.

    Hmm, that's wasn't too good, it's too clear and straightforward. I'll work on it.