Tea Party Slogan “Don’t Tread on Me”; Tea Party Action “We’ll Tread on You”

Don't Tread on my Head

Don't Tread on my Head

So this little juicy bit of the real world is making the rounds.  First up, the video evidence…

Yes, yes, I know, a bit more violent and nasty than my normal fare.  That’s Election 2010 and the joy the Tea Party has brought to American politics.

This story, BTW, gets funnier.

Like when the big guy who stomped on the little girl’s head goes on to demand an apology from the little girl…

The Rand Paul campaign volunteer who stepped on the head of a liberal activist after she had been wrestled to the ground outside a debate said Wednesday that the incident has been blown out of proportion and that the activist owes him an apology. “She’s a professional at what she does,” Tim Profitt, who was fired Tuesday from Paul’s Senate campaign, said in an interview with local television station WKYT. “When all the facts come out people will see that she’s the one who initiated the whole thing.”

A fairly typical response from serial abusers, “she was asking for it.”   It is highly creative to physically assualt someone and then demand they apologize to you. That’s some serious hutzpaugh, or, when spelled correctly and translated to English, bullshit. [He topped himself by blaming “back pain” for why he needed to stomp.]

It’s also curious to note the evolving message coming from the Paul campaign, starting from the “both sides are bad” and evolving to  “both sides are bad, and sorry.”

This is of course a completely isoloted incident (like this one was) and in no way represents the fantasies of Limbaugh-loving folks across the country.  Oh, to have a liberal to, litterally, grind under the heel of your boot.   And to do so while wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” button.  Delicious, I say.  Or at least I would if I had violent fantasies about showing liberals who’s the boss.  Not that I think all these folks have these fantasies, but after seeing this one realized and those who quickly jump to his defense…it doesn’t seem to be an uncommon dream.

But the real punchline on this one, for me at least, is this full page ad that ran *today* touting the head-stomper’s support for Paul in the coming election.

As a final bit on this, and our current, horrid, corporate meida, this Examiner looked at how Fox (who has largely ignored this one, as per) would cover it were the situation somewhat reversed.

–  Megyn Kelly would spend the entire hour of “America Live” devoted to expressing various levels of outrage.  Even more outrage would be expressed toward those who were baselessly defending the attackers.  The clip would be shown at least a dozen times, as Kelly did with the New Black Panther’s case footage.-  Glenn Beck would begin his show with a mix of tears and anger.  He would say this is a fulfillment of his prophecy regarding “violence” coming from the radical left.  He would compare the attack to attacks by the “Brownshirts” of Nazi Germany, and claim this is just the first step in larger progressive waves of violence.  Beck would then bring out his chalkboard to connect the attackers to George Soros, the Tides Foundation, NPR, and – yes – President Obama himself.  Beck would then warn his audience of the coming economic collapse, before cutting to a Goldline commercial.

–  Bill O’Reilly would send some of his producers to demand answers from individuals who had nothing to do with the attack.  In his “Talking Points”, O’Reilly would condemn the entire Democratic Party and explain how this will doom them in the upcoming elections.

Ultimately, I think this is just another asshole who self-identified with the Tea Party.  Like this one. And this one. And this one. All completely isolated incidenst of crazy and extremism.  Sure, every single major (and many minor) Tea Party candidates have all had these isolated incidents.  But that doesn’t mean anything, as I’m told repeatedly, when this stuff just keeps happening week after week, that these are all isolated incidents, and certainly not indicative that a bunch of extremists have wormed their way into the mainstream during a time of crisis.

Like this reports concludes.

One would like to think that the crazy will subside after another week or so when these (and many sane) folks act like citizens and  get thier vote on.   I, for one, am happy to be able to vote *against* the guy that called for violent revolution if he loses at the ballot box.

Hopefully, the nutjob fringe will recede a bit after this election, but considering that Chairman Fartbama HUSSEIN Obungo will still be President (as some so maturely refer to him), I’d expect the crazy to continue for 2, probably 6, more years.

At least we get some solid lulz out of the deal, and only one girl had to be head-stomped for it.

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Guess who reduced the deficit by $122B and Federal Spending by 2% last year….

…go on…just guess….

The US deficit shrank nine percent last fiscal year but still topped one trillion dollars, the government said Friday in a report seized on by Democrats’ rivals weeks ahead of mid-term elections.

For the 2010 fiscal year that ended on September 30, the government had a budget shortfall of 1.294 trillion dollars, down 122 billion dollars from the previous year’s record-setting high.

The government took in three percent more revenue in 2010 than a year ago, at 2.162 trillion dollars. It was the first time receipts had increased after two years of decline.

But it spent more than it took in, 3.456 trillion dollars, although that was two percent less than in 2009 and the fastest one-year reduction since 1984.

Oh, and now we get to the COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS LEVEL OF HYPOCRISY AWARD…and it goes to…..

“Just a few years ago, the deficit was under 500 billion dollars,” said Judd Gregg, a Republican on the SenateBudget Committee.

“Now, since the Democrat majority has taken control of the nation’s checkbook, deficits have risen to staggering levels and will average one trillion dollars annually for the next decade under the president’s policies.”

This is a funny one, Mr. Gregg.   The sad thing is that many Americans seem to buy it. 

 Just like they bought Medicare Part D from y’all a few years ago.  And by “buy” I mean “put on grandchildren’s credit card”.  This is the paragraph that should be run in every story about the Tea Party ever.  From this article…

The parties share blame for the current fiscal situation, but federal budget statistics show that Republican policies over the last decade, and the cost of the two wars, added far more to the deficit than initiatives approved by the Democratic Congress since 2006, giving voters reason to be skeptical of campaign promises.

Calculations by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent fiscal experts show that the $1.1 trillion cost over the next 10 years of the Medicare prescription drug program, which the Republican-controlled Congress adopted in 2003, by itself would add more to the deficit than the combined costs of the bailout, the stimulus and the health care law.

Now you get the Tea Party, eh?  Republicans bought them off (recall, the majority of Tea Party Patriots are anti-socialists on Social(ist) Security) with free drugs in 2003, now they want to make sure that a) no one else gets any and b) no one else gets theirs.  This also explains the popularity of the “keep-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare” meme that is so prominent in Tea Party circles.  

Gregg is such a huge hypocrite because it is the tax cuts and service extensions (with simultaneous wars) that the Republicnas championed that led to the mess.   And now that Obama hasn’t clean it all up in two years (despite making some progress, see headline), a scared and confused American electorate is heading right back to the ones that abused them.

And thanking them for it.   

What. A. Country.

What “The Left” Knows for sure about the Tea Party

There’s been a bit of debate recently about the Tea Party is, and what it stands for.  Having watched the movement saddle up its hover-round from the get-go, I’ve got a solid grasp on this thing, and what it is doing.

But that doesn’t stop News Corp from telling me I don’t.  Here’s the latest bit of hackery that is now standard fare at the Wall Street Journal (Fox News: Print Edition).

Highly educated people say the darndest things, these days particularly about the tea party movement. Vast numbers of other highly educated people read and hear these dubious pronouncements, smile knowingly, and nod their heads in agreement. University educations and advanced degrees notwithstanding, they lack a basic understanding of the contours of American constitutional government.

This should be interesting.  When you start out with “educated people are dumb” as your given article of truth, who knows where you’ll end up.  Perhaps near the Tear Party?  Anywho, barb that I thought of later (and just edited in) complete.

The article then goes on to portray various portrayals of the Tea Party as wrong.  You can check out his favorites to dismiss there.  I noticed he doesn’t mention Matt Taibbi’s article, which is one of the more direct and expletive-ridden assessments of the movement I’ve seen to date.

The article then makes a rather strange claim, given the realities we’ve been seeing lately (which I’ll get to in a moment).

Born in response to President Obama’s self-declared desire to fundamentally change America, the tea party movement has made its central goals abundantly clear. Activists and the sizeable swath of voters who sympathize with them want to reduce the massively ballooning national debt [A], cut runaway federal spending [B], keep taxes in check [C], reinvigorate the economy [D], and block the expansion of the state into citizens’ lives [E].

In other words, the tea party movement is inspired above all by a commitment to limited government [X]. And that does distinguish it from the competition.

See, now here is where many note the huge contradictions inherent in the Tea Party, from its birth to its offspring.

[A] The debt grew more under Bush and Reagan (90% of the total) than anyone else.  Even Obama’s first full year brought it down from Bush’s final year.  That this is all blamed on Obama is contradictory and wrong.

[B] First off, it’s not runaway.  Second, if you don’t count Military, Medicare, and Social Security as federal spending (since they can’t seem to be touched or talked about for cutting it) then the complaints here are very empty.  Which of the three do you want to cut and how much.

[C] Obama cut taxes already.

In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know.

Actually, the tax cut was, by design, hard to notice. Faced with evidence that people were more likely to save than spend the tax rebate checks they received during the Bush administration, the Obama administration decided to take a different tack: it arranged for less tax money to be withheld from people’s paychecks.

They reasoned that people would be more likely to spend a small, recurring extra bit of money that they might not even notice, and that the quicker the money was spent, the faster it would cycle through the economy.

And so they did, without noticing it, and getting a check in the mail.  This one is tough for Obama (and why he’s going to lose in 2010…) here he did exactly what the people most piss off wanted him to do, and they think he did the opposite.  I can only imagine *why* they think this, and to what degree it relates to them getting their information from the aforementioned (and totally fair and balanced) international media conglomerate.

[D] I’m guessing by “re-invigorate the economy” they either mean 1) do nothing (doing anything could be considered “stimulus” and they all think that’s bad) and 2) cut taxes.  If it’s 2) please see [A], [B], and [C] above.

When you have a set (federal) budget, cutting income (taxes) is the exact same on the bottom line (the deficit) as spending.  You can’t cut taxes and the deficit at the same time.  It’s a political experiment that’s been failing for twenty years.  It’s as silly as cutting taxes and going to war simultaneouly (so I guess the Republicans might do it again, since they did it the first time).

[E] and [X] both go together.  Here’s the *REAL* problem with the Tea Party.  You can see the end result of what any party brings to the table in its candidates.  In the case of the Tea Party, well, it’s pretty evidently filled with a bunch of nuts.  In Alaska there’s a guy, fired from a gov’t job for incompetence, put his wife on unemployment, then complains both about government incompetence and federal unemployment help.  In Nevada there’s a lady that thinks Muslims have taken over Dallas, TX (and it’s ruled under harsh Sharia law). In Delware…oh…in Delaware…the darling of the Tea Party (who is definitely *not* a witch) DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S IN THE 1ST AMENDMENT.

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked, a statement that drew laughter from the audience. When Coons returned to the topic a few minutes later, he said her comment “reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is.”

“The First Amendment establishes the separation, the fact that the federal government shall not establish religion,” Coons said.

“The First Amendment does?” O’Donnell interrupted. “You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”

When Coons summarized the amendment as saying government shall make no law establishing religion, O’Donnell interrupted again: “That’s in the First Amendment?”

Her comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, generated a buzz in the audience.

“You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,” Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate, adding that it raised questions about O’Donnell’s grasp of the Constitution.

There is a pretty simple explanation for where political mis-understandings like O’Donnell’s come from.   Here’s what happens: the concepts of the Consitution get simplified over time.  There is a concept, embodied in the First Amendment, that the state and religion should be kept separate.  As someone once put it, freedom of religion comes with freedom from religion.  The state doesn’t endorse or deny religion.  The concept is called “separation of Church and State”.

What people like O’Donnell believe is that because the exact phrase of the concept is not in the Constitution the concept itself isn’t.  Their argument goes exactly like what O’Donnell stated, “Show me where it is!”   This overly simplistic thinking about how the Constitution works (“Show me where the right to abort is!”) is endemic in the Tea Party.  All of their All-Stars share this same problem (if not the problem of outright hypocrisy and nutjobery).  Simplicity to the point of error is wrong.

The idea that “limited government” means that government is small enough to only control who you marry, what you can worship, when you can die, when you give birth, and gives you a choice of what country to invade is ludicrous.  “Smaller government” seems to mean very little in the real world (see [B] above, and Bush and Reagan before) to these people.  The Tea Party itself is more important than what actual candidates mean and say (or do or have done).  And that’s either party’s candidates.

So, trust me, we know what the Tea Party is about.  All too well.  We’ve seen it for years, over there, on the fringes.  Now it has simply evolved on the backs of crisis into something more.  And something less.

We know that the light of day is exactly what is needed to either propel a movement to prominence or condemn it back to the shadows.

November will let us know which way this cookie crumbled, and I’m betting on shadows for the Tea Party (based on the quality of the candidates it has produced).

Mid-October Link Dump (Future Forward Edition)

Tons of political stuff happening.  Wish I had time to explore it all in detail.  Sadly, not all of us can inherit a few hundred million dollars like the Kochs and just sit around all day talkin’ smack about poor people (and paying self-avowed Christians to do the same thing).   Actually, I guess that’s probably a good thing.  Two of those assholes are enough.

First up is a judge telling the military it can’t ask or tell gays to go home.  This put the Obama Administration in a weird place.  They like the result, just not the means (and by “they” I mean the CinC, the DoD, and the JCoS…all the main players are ready to end this rule).  The hope was to repeal this law through legislation.  That plan was, of course, sidelined by a Republican filibuster.   So now we get a bit of chaos as the ruling goes out.

The boogeyman of the right is sitting out this election cycle.

Mr. Soros, a champion of liberal causes, has been directing his money to groups that work on health care and the environment, rather than electoral politics. Asked if the prospect of Republican control of one or both houses of Congress concerned him, he said: “It does, because I think they are pushing the wrong policies, but I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche.”

This gives the “huge amounts of foreign money spent on election” edge to the Right.  Not to mention that now (thanks SCOTUS!) where this moeny comes from can be legally kept a secret.  All of which adds up to a couple links we’ll see later…

He is more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.

Graphene is pretty dang cool. (and they won a Nobel for it.)

Yesterday, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov split the Nobel in Physics for their work on a carbon compound called graphene. Graphene may not mean much to the man on the street now, but experts believe that its amazing mechanical and electrical properties will prove as transformative to coming generations as the television, atomic bomb and silicon chip did in the decades after the Nobel committee first honored the scientists who made those inventions possible.

Graphene is a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arrayed in a honeycomb pattern. It is the strongest material ever discovered, yet flexible like rubber. It conducts electricity better than silicon, and resists heat better than diamond. And it allows for physics experiments that would otherwise require miles-long particle accelerators to be performed on a desktop.

One of the few bright shining lights of small-government-freedom, pragmatism and progress I’ve seen this election cycle…

On June 2, 2005, more than 500 economists, including three Nobel prize winners, issued an open letter that called attention to a report on the economic benefits of treating marijuana like alcohol and tobacco – billions and billions in budgetary savings and gains in new tax revenue.

The report, by Harvard’s Jeffrey Miron, an expert on the budgetary implications of enforcing the prohibition of illicit drugs, provided fodder for a long-running debate on the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana but did little to impress the people to which it was addressed – President George W. Bush, Congress, governors and state legislatures. One reason: the economy was humming along nicely in the first half of 2005.

Lou Dobbs turns out to be a huge hypocrite, who would have guessed?  Multi-millionaires with glass houses and stables shouldn’t be throwing stones at the people cleaning them.

Glad to see this finally happening.  It’s taken waaay too long.

 (Reuters) – Doctors have begun testing human embryonic stem cells on a patient for the first time, Geron Corp. said on Monday.Geron has the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration license to use the controversial cells to treat people, in this case patients with new spinal cord injuries.

I love the Family Guy bit where Peter has a stroke and then gets the 5-minutes stem-cell treatment.   While a bit on the fanciful side, injecting a broken spine with stem cells, getting knocked out while they do their work, and waking up being able to walk is a potential reality I think a number of people would appreciate.   And if we run out of cells, I’d gladly donate a few million sperm to make more.

Follow-up to earlier link about foreign money being dropped all over the place by the Chamber of Commerce.  Another link points out what a bunch of hypocritical douchebags they are.

WASHINGTON – During the worst of the economic crisis, the nation’s most powerful business lobby pleaded with Congress to prop up financial institutions and stimulate the economy with hundreds of billions of dollars in borrowed money.

“Make no mistake: When the aftermath of congressional inaction becomes clear, Americans will not tolerate those who stood by and let the calamity happen,” wrote Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vice president in September 2008, who at the time pressed lawmakers before their vote on a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street.

Fast forward to the present. The chamber is now spending millions of dollars on ads trying to elect candidates whose campaigns are based on opposing the very bank rescue and stimulus law it once supported.

Fox is, of course, rampantly defending the Chamber of Commerce. 

They are, of course, keeping with their concept of journalistic “ethics” by not mentioning in that article about their own large, foreign, donation to the same Chamber. (the second largest shareholder in News Corp after the Aussie Murdoch is a Suadi)

And finally, a bit of the lulz.  I’d like to personally thank the Tea Party for bringing so many lols to the election cycle.  Here’s some of the latest…

“When we were fighting the Soviets over there in Afghanistan in the 80s and 90s, we did not finish the job, so now we have a responsibility to finish the job and if you are gonna make these politically correct statements that it’s costing us too much money, you are threatening the security of our homeland.”  – Christine O’Donnel (who is not a witch, nor likely a virgin).

And then there’s this….*le sigh*…

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado (AFP) – A billboard depicting Barack Obama as an Islamist suicide bomber, a gay and a Mexican bandit has triggered a storm of criticism in a western US city weeks ahead of crucial polls.

The colourful poster of the US president — under the ironic slogan “Vote DemocRAT” — is attracting attention from media worldwide and from people clogging a local parking lot for a closer look.

It also depicts him as a gangster…and, of couse, those responsible are so proud of their work they refuse to say who is funding it (sensing a pattern yet?)

Peace out…that was too much.

The aliens are here

About dang time.

CHELSEA, N.Y. (WPIX) —

Several New Yorkers witnessed an unusual sight Wednesday afternoon when several shiny objects were seen flying high above the streets of Manhattan.

The NYPD and Federal Aviation Administration say around 1:30 p.m., they received calls from many people who saw the objects hovering over Chelsea.

Some believed the objects were balloons, however, officials have not confirmed what the objects were.

But, according a September 13 press release for the book Challenges of Change by retired NORAD officer Stanley A. Fulham, he predicted that a fleet of UFOs would descend upon Earth’s major cities on Wednesday, October 13.

The FAA also stated Wednesday that after reviewing radar information, they only found typical helicopter traffic above the West Side but could not detect anything unusual that would prompt the avalanche of reports they recieved.

NYPD and FAA officials say if the objects were part of an planned, organized weather balloon release, it is protocol that they are notified in advance. Neither agency recieved alerts

I like the part about how they are here to keep us from destroying a Class M planet (which, while there might be a lot of them, they are still quite rare).  I would also agree with the assessment that AQ probably has a dirty bomb (I predicted back in 2002 that 2010 would be the year we got nuked) and is reluctant to use it (as they should be, the resulting suffering would destroy any semblance of public support they get, even in the hinterlands of Afghanistan).

Now…seriously…do I think aliens visited Manhattan yesterday?  I dunno. 

I saw the news releases of this guy a month ago, and I’m only posting this because he seems to have called it.

THIS STUFF IS BEING REPORTED EVERYWHERE.

I also tend to agree that just showing up would probably lead to mass panic and a lot of needless loss of life.   And I absolutely love this caveat…

Fulham clarifies there are no absolutes; the principal of free will and choice that exits with all souls precludes all absolute realities, and the aliens may decide to postpone their intervention — but the Transcendors confirm it will nonetheless occur in 2010. Quoting the author, the event will “occur this year, in what will surely be one of the great dramas of our galaxy, the introduction of their alien civilizations and technologies to mankind. We are not alone, and our world will have changed forever.”

 At least very least, it would certainly put our petty religious and political squabbles to rest for a bit.

Taking on the Myths of the RWEC and the Derp of its Citizens

So we’re going to bust a few RWEC* myths real quick-like.

Consider, in particular, one fact that might surprise you: The total number of government workers in America has been falling, not rising, under Mr. Obama. A small increase in federal employment was swamped by sharp declines at the state and local level — most notably, by layoffs of schoolteachers. Total government payrolls have fallen by more than 350,000 since January 2009.
 
So, Myth #1 : Obama, the socialist/communist, has vastly expanded the size of BIG GOVERNMENT….gone.
 
Krugman also gets at Myth #2: The stimulus was a total waste of money, what we needed was tax cuts.

So as I said, the big government expansion everyone talks about never happened. This fact, however, raises two questions. First, we know that Congress enacted a stimulus bill in early 2009; why didn’t that translate into a big rise in government spending? Second, if the expansion never happened, why does everyone think it did?

Part of the answer to the first question is that the stimulus wasn’t actually all that big compared with the size of the economy. Furthermore, it wasn’t mainly focused on increasing government spending. Of the roughly $600 billion cost of the Recovery Act in 2009 and 2010, more than 40 percent came from tax cuts, while another large chunk consisted of aid to state and local governments. Only the remainder involved direct federal spending.

This is one of those weird facts that tends to get lost in the OMGSOCIALIZM!! rhetoric of the right.   After being pared down enough to get past the unprecedented number of filibusters in the Senate, the “Stimulus” became more of a “Stop-Gap”, and indeed, that’s what it did, stopped the hemmoraging job losses that Bush scurried away from and left as a testament to his governing prowess.
 
Myth #3: TARP was a huge waste of money that we’ll never recover from.
 
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The total final cost to taxpayers of the much-maligned $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program will be around $50 billion, the Treasury Department estimated on Tuesday. The two-year TARP program, which officially expired on Sunday, initially used government money to make capital injections into large and small financial institutions to stabilize the financial system. Eventually it expanded into other programs including a spending endeavor seeking to help lenders and borrowers modify mortgages and avoid foreclosures. According to a recent Treasury transactions report, earlier this week, roughly $255 billion is still outstanding.
Turns out that investing in our own country was actually a pretty good idea.  $50,000,000,000 to keep our entire financial system from imploding and unemployment from jumping to 25%?**  That’s a deal pretty much anyone would take, and it’s less than a month’s worth of the Pentagon’s yearly budget.
 
Myth #4: Obama has left the border wide open and refuses to enforce U.S. immigration law.
 

WASHINGTON — The United States deported a record 392,000 illegal immigrants over the past year, nearly half of them people with criminal convictions, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.

The number deported during the 2010 fiscal year ending September 30 surpassed the record of 389,000 deportations set the previous year.

More than 195,000 of those deported were convicted criminals, according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“This administration has focused on enforcing our immigration laws in a smart, effective manner that prioritizes public safety and national security and holds employers accountable who knowingly and repeatedly break the law,” Napolitano said.

Immigration agents have audited 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal immigrants, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and levied 50 million dollars in penalties — more than during the entire Bush administration, ICE said.

Deportations of convicted criminals were up 70 percent in 2010 compared to 2008, the final year of the Bush administration, the agency said. 

And there’s an even better aspect to this, they aren’t going after the low-hanging fruit.  This isn’t some b.s. enforcement deal where they are instructing people to go to grade schools to pick up ESL kids and heading to Home Depot parking lots to pick up day laborers, this is actually kicking criminals out of the country. 
 
Not people who want to work for a better life for them and their kids, or those who were brought to this country as children and know no other home, but those who violate our criminal laws through violent acts and theft.  They are going after the demand for ultra-cheap labor by enforcing laws on the high end (employers).   This, to me, is the right way to deal with problem (this and comprehensive Immigration Reform, which I seriously doubt a split Congress will be able to pass, but at least we’ve made progress.)
 
The thing about this is whole excercise of pointing out how these persistent myths are just that is that it’s a waste of time for the most part (on my part).  This is why I mentioned that DERP IS ON THE RISE.
 
“Derp” is, to put it bluntly, the response I generally get from those who can’t accept that Obama is an American, enforcing our laws, making pragmatic decisions about the future of our country, and doing so effectively.   In response to these facts I’ll get something about him not being an American, being a Muslim, being a devoted Socialist or Communist, and the fact that we have a pragamtic, educated, eloquent, progressive leader gets lost in the noise.  
 
The fact that it turns out he’s a rather centrist pragmatic is met with guffaws.   So stands the situation today.   Should be more interesting in a month or so… 
* Right Wing Echo Chamber, wherein Fox/WSJ/News Corp picks up a story from Drudge/blogs, which is recycled across various AM radio/TV shows/columns and across the blogs, then Fox reports how no one else is covering it, how it has become a “controversy“.  Rinse-recycle-repeat.  With “repeat” being the operative word.  All four misconceptions dealt with above have one core similarity; in the echo-chamber to even question their veracity is grounds for dismissal from the body politic.
 
** For those that don’t recall, after the first failed vote on TARP, this happened.  Had it not passed later, the resulting crash would have redefined “epic fail”.

This is what you get when you hire the right guy

Here’s the news from the capital…

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama won’t sign legislation that critics said would have eased the way for banks to process home foreclosures, his spokesman said.

The bill would have required courts to recognize notarizations across state lines, including electronic signatures. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration was concerned about the potential impact on home foreclosure proceedings.

Obama’s “pocket veto” puts to an end, for now, a five- year effort by some of the nation’s 4.8 million notaries to streamline court proceedings involving notarized documents. The Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act for years had won approval from Democrats and Republicans in Congress as a piece of mundane, good-government legislation.

The measure was approved by the House without fanfare in 2006 and 2007 only to languish in the Senate. The bill from Representative Robert Aderholt, an Alabama Republican, passed the Senate Sept. 27 by unanimous consent and drew attention this week when Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner sent out a campaign fund-raising e-mail calling the bill “dangerous” and urging Obama not to sign it. 

And the news from across the country the next day…

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina | Fri Oct 8, 2010 11:55am EDT

(Reuters) – Bank of America Corp is halting foreclosures and sales of foreclosed properties in all 50 states pending a review of its internal processes, the bank said on Friday.

BofA, the largest U.S. mortgage servicer, is the first U.S. bank to suspend foreclosures in all 50 states. The step comes amid a growing furor over how the largest U.S. mortgage lenders are repossessing the homes of delinquent borrowers.

Critics contend the banks’ use of “robo-signers” and other automated processes is unfairly pushing residents out of their homes.

 A number of states (including my own) have been wrangling with the Big Banks after it became apparent that the due dilligence needed to foreclose was cutting into now restored profits.

Posted on October 6th, 2010 8:26am

The Texas Association of Realtors is alerting us that The Texas Attorney General’s office has halted all foreclosures, all sales of properties previously foreclosed upon, and all evictions of persons residing in previously foreclosed upon properties, until mortgage companies can get their acts together in the state of Texas and prove they were filed correctly.

So we had a business practice that was already causing issues, has been papered over my the most unpopular Congress ever, and then got pocket-vetoed by an embattled President.   Glad we got that guy at the helm.   Which lets me segue into another article I wanted to share, along that same theme.

This one is entitled, “Obama’s Critics Are Dead Wrong

Here’s the two main parts of it…(and I enjoyed it, if it was a bit bombastic).

Here is what Obama faced when he took office — none of which was his fault:

The worst economic crisis since the depression
America ‘s standing in the world at the lowest point in history
A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war
A health care system in free fall
An educational system in free fall
A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)
An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left
A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration.

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk…

Which was pretty epic, and was a good reason why we were lucky to avoid the Quitter (and the Todd).  So what’s happened since then?

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community — in just 20 short months — President Obama:

Restored America ‘s image around the globe (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Banned torture of American prisoners (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Stopped the free fall of the American economy (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Stood up for educational reform (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that seven presidents had failed to even begin — and then got the legislation passed (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Stopped the free fall of job losses (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” watering the “tree of Liberty.” (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those “disappointing” accomplishments — IN BARELY TWO YEARS — President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!

And the article points out exactly who it was that has actually “failed” after The Change.

Who actually has failed…

…are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this president to fail so that they could be proven right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

When Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts — with a canny and calculating eye to the possible — succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Good stuff, all around.  Now if we can just get some sanity back to the white folks (which I think the Tea Party is doing with their lafftastic candidates) then perhaps we can actually pull out of this thing.

After all, we did hire the right man for the big job.  And given his track record on just working hard to get stuff done, I’m thinking we’ll be seeing quite a few more “little guy” jobs popping up before 2012 rolls around.

Truth Trumps Fiction as Witch turns out just to be the Daughter of a Clown

Sometimes this stuff writes itself…

“Who told you I was Bozo?” he wanted to know.

“Your son,” I said, at which point he confirmed that yes, he was Bozo, but not an official, full-time certified Bozo, more of a part-time Bozo.

“To be an official Bozo, you had to go to a special school in Texas,” explained Mr. O’Donnell. He never did. Instead, he was asked to fill-in for the official Bozos whenever they would have to travel out of the Philadelphia area for acting gigs.

“They would leave, I would come in and work for two or three weeks, whatever, until the regular Bozo came back,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “I was the fill-in Bozo.” He worked out of a local station in Jenkintown, Pa., he said, adding that station employees did his make-up and hair. He would also do remote appearances, got to supermarkets, meet kids, sign autographs and ride around in the Bozo Mobile. His son Daniel was his assistant.

His daughter is you, or so her ads claim.  The rest of us know her as that virgin currently hoping to lead the U.S. Senate in protecting the world from a Chinese-funded plot by Pinky and his dastardly cohort, The Brain to, I believe, take over the world.

The fact that she is the daughter of a clown is almost too funny to actually believe.  To think that someone who’s been unemployed for 6 years (a full Senate term, so she can at least stick with something that long) and has falsely claimed all sorts of things is an actual nominee for the U.S. Senate is so funny it’s almost sad.

I do have to commend the Tea Party for one thing, they’ve managed to nominate what look to be some of the most epic failures in U.S. political history.  And just think of the LULZ if one of these folks actually takes office.  November is going to be a lot of fun.

Understanding the problems in the U.S. with one easy chart

It’s the difference between reality and our perception of reality.

Here’s the first one…

Matthew Yglesias points out how this affects, well…everything.

What’s interesting here is the extent to which the public vastly overestimates the prosperity of lower-income Americans. The public thinks the 4th quintile has more money than the median quintile actually has.  And the public thinks the 5th quintile has vastly more wealth than it really has.You can easily see how this could have a giant distorting effect on our politics.

 The thing that is so curious about this, including the bolded portion above, where Americans think the “middle class” actually exists in large number and has more money than than the “upper middle class”, when in reality the “middle class” has less money than most Americans think the “lower middle class ” has.

(note: for simplification purposes these are my definitions: Top 20% = “upper class”  ;  Next 20% = “upper middle class” ; Next 20 % = “middle class” ; Next 20% =  “lower middle class” : Bottom 20% “broke-ass muthas”.   It should also be noted that very few analysis on this subject include simple, quantifiable, definitions of these terms.)

I’m going to, like Yglesias, largely ignore that “ideal” section.   Compiling aggregate information from “perfect scenario” descriptions by individuals seems far to open to error.

But look at the rest?  I’ve noted before here that there has been a (to me) alarming trend of accumulated wealth in this country for the last 30 years (covered here, briefly), but this complete lack of self-perception about the extent of issue explains a great deal more.

It is because of this flawed perception that lawmakers can go on TV and, with a straight face, say, we need to cut taxes on that oppressed minority of wealthy people so they might send a few scraps on down the chain.   The scraps haven’t been coming for the last 30 years in reality, but the perception is that it works just fine.

We continue to ship off jobs overseas, increasing the wealth at the top and the congestion at the bottom, but, because of the perception, anyone trying to do something about it…

President Obama has complained that the U.S. tax system encourages companies to invest and hire abroad, but a bill that would have ended certain tax credits and deferrals to companies expanding or moving overseas was voted down in the Senate last week.

…all you hear is cries of “socialism” and any measure that might provide some relief, and bring reality back in line with something that resembles our perception of it….is defeated.

We pass a bill that tries to get some modern medicine to that slice of 20% that is so small you can’t even see the slice of 20% above it…and all you hear (sadly and largely from that 20% hiding the bottom 20%) is “socialism” and “more tax cuts for the wealthy”.

We see a “Tea Party” allegedly coming from these downtrodden folks, and their main “success story”, doesn’t even know what the minimum wage *is* in this country, only that it is too high (he’s also against unemployment insurance for people other than his wife).  The other main “success story” is busy trying to buy off her other opponent by giving access to high-ranking officials…all the while running as an “outsider”.   And the third has to explain her rampant paranoia and insider information about a secret Chinese takeover.   A fourth has decided that the invisible 20% is actually sucking up all the money by having babies.

All of these folks feel the reality of the graph I put up, and this is the emotion they play on for popular support.   Unfortunately they also have the same perception as I posted above, and therefore are *trying to solve the wrong problem*.   

Making it so United Health can, once again, cancel policies at a whim, and making it so Goldman Sachs can, once again, trade in the dark (both nasty practices have been “changed” since Jan 21, 2009) will do nothing to address this issue. 

Both will make it worse, and that, my friends, is when the snake *really* starts to eat itself.

We should have seen the bullet whiz by our faces as a country and come together.  Instead, we tear ourselves apart, and the gaps just keep growing.

Hey, Uh, Sorry about the Syphilis (and that whole coup thing)

I tell ya what…who *wasn’t* conducting horribly unethical experiments on minorities in the 40’s?

U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission more than 60 years ago.

Many of those infected were encouraged to pass the infection onto others as part of the study.

About one third of those who were infected never got adequate treatment.

Hey, at least we did it for a good reason.

The STD experiments were conducted with the cooperation of the Guatemalan government. During that time, the U.S. — which had a long association with the Guatemalan military — exerted a powerful influence in the Latin American country, largely in order to protect the interests of the American-based United Fruit Company. In 1954 the U.S. CIA helped overthrow Guatemala’s democratically elected president because of land reforms that opposed the multinational corporation.

Oh, right.  That’s why they call them “banana republics”.   Our bad.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of these “golden days” I keep hearing the Boomers talk about.  Insanely high taxes, governments infecting people for fun and profit, institutionalized racism, world wars, no rock and roll…sounds pretty much like your typical futuristic dystopia, not the golden age of a great Republic.

Class M Planet Detected, Captain

Looks like Hawking was right.

Astronomers have detected an Earth-like exoplanet that may have just the right kind of conditions to support life.

Gliese 581g lies some 20 light-years away in its star’s “Goldilocks zone” – a region surface temperatures would allow the presence of liquid water.

Scientists say that the newly found world could also potentially have an atmosphere.

Their findings, made with the Keck telescope in Hawaii, appear in the Astrophysical Journal.

Nice, 20 light years is almost doable, in theory.

The planet’s average surface temperature is estimated to be between -12C and -31C.

But unlike Earth, this alien world has one side always facing its sun and the other side constantly in the dark. So in-between the two sides, between shadow and light, there could be an area where life could potentially thrive.

“Any emerging life forms would have a wide range of stable climates to choose from and to evolve around, depending on their longitude,” said Dr Vogt.

Living on a planet like that might actually be kinda cool.  There really wouldn’t be a concept of day or night, as the amount of sunlight one is exposed to would have a direct and constant correlation to one’s position.  Real estate prices would be (ha!) astronomical in the “eternal twilight” zones and solar power would be the way to go.

Exciting stuff.