Says the guy who predicted the Iraq War might cost $50B and the Bush Tax Cuts would erase the deficit…

NYT: Indiana Becomes ‘Right to Work
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/us/indiana-becomes-right-to-work-state.xml

“Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right to work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered,” Mr. Daniels said in a statement that his office released after he signed the bill. He has indicated in the past that his views on the issue have evolved in recent years, in part because of the struggling national economy and the number of people out of work.

In his statement, he added: “This law won’t be a magic answer, but we’ll be far better off with it. I respect those who have objected, but they have alarmed themselves unnecessarily: no one’s wages will go down, no one’s benefits will be reduced and the right to organize and bargain collectively is untouched and intact.”

In case you weren’t aware, Mitch Daniels is a flat out liar.

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Romney: Any Concern By Anyone For Income Inequality Is ‘About Envy’

LAUER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I’m curious about the word ‘envy.’ Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus one percent — and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent — you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.

LAUER: Yeah but envy? Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as ‘envy,’ though?

ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.

via Romney: Any Concern For Income Inequality Is ‘About Envy’ | ThinkProgress.

Glad you made this personal, Willard.   Sorry, but not everyone can blow $54,000,000 losing the Presidential nomination and then come back 4 years later and do it again, using only the money they’ve made by not working at  any discernible job during those four years, and do so while claiming their own taxes are too high (and whining about the debt in the next sentence).

“Sanctimonious prick” is  about the best definition for this waste of space I can find.  I mean…how much money does it take to be this tone deaf?

Mitt?  How much?

You know what’s ridiculous about this?  A guy with many times as much money as Mitt is saying the opposite thing he is.  Mitt Romney thinks you (my fellow Americans) are stupid enough to believe that Warren Buffet is only “envious” of Mitt’s vastly smaller fortune, which is why Buffet keeps bringing up the subject of income inequality.

Makes total sense…if one is a sanctimonious prick

Hindsight 2010

This’ll be a a Quick backwards looking post at Election 2010.  Now that we are a few weeks out, we’ve got a bit more perspective on what happened (and why).  I find it is generally useful to look back, after things are all said and done, in order to further refine one’s ability to look forward.   Since we know what we thought would happen and we know what happened, it’s time to re-calibrate.

And we’re off…

1) Speaking of “off” here’s Rasmussen.

Every election cycle has its winners and losers: not just the among the candidates, but also the pollsters.

On Tuesday, polls conducted by the firm Rasmussen Reports — which released more than 100 surveys in the final three weeks of the campaign, including some commissioned under a subsidiary on behalf of Fox News — badly missed the margin in many states, and also exhibited a considerable bias toward Republican candidates.

The 105 polls released in Senate and gubernatorial races by Rasmussen Reports and its subsidiary, Pulse Opinion Research, missed the final margin between the candidates by 5.8 points, a considerably higher figure than that achieved by most other pollsters. Some 13 of its polls missed by 10 or more points

Moreover, Rasmussen’s polls were quite biased, overestimating the standing of the Republican candidate by almost 4 points on average.

[full blog post here]

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear about a Rasmussen opinion poll somewhere.  If their real polls, the one where they make their bacon, where so far off, how bad do you think their “Do you like the President?” poll is?

Speaking of general bias in polling, one we’ve suspected for a while has finally become distinct and knowable.

A new analysis of 2010 election polling found that surveys that relied only on landline telephone users were more skewed toward Republicans, as opposed to polls that also included cell-phone users.

According to the Pew Research Center, polls that included landlines gave Republicans a roughly 6-point boost compared with polls that included both landline and mobile phones. According to Pew, its landline-only surveys found the GOP with a 12-point lead in House races ahead of Election Day. But when cell-phone users were included, the Republican lead dropped to just 6 points — a result much closer to what actually happened on election night.

We’ve discussed before (and will again shortly) how the U.S. Election of 2010 was dominated by old people, one can also see how this tends to skews the land-line polls.   I haven’t had a landline in many, many years, and I doubt a sizeable percentage of people younger than me will ever have an official one.   While this is generally just a thing, for the polling world, it has had predicted results now show up in hindsight.

Speaking of old-people, hindsight, the Tea Party and Election 2010, (see what I did there?), here’s a summary picture of the electorate’s attitude…

And here’s the poll summary data illustrating the same point.

According to an Associated Press-GfK Poll this month, 84 percent who call themselves tea party supporters don’t like how President Barack Obama is handling his job — a view shared by just 35 percent of all other adults.

Tea partiers are about four times likelier than others to back repealing Obama’s health care overhaul and twice as likely to favor renewing tax cuts for the highest-earning Americans.

Tea party backers were about five times likelier to blame Obama for the country’s economic ills, three times likelier to say Obama’s policies will be harmful and twice as apt to see the country on the wrong track.

These aren’t subtle shadings between tea party backers and the majority of Americans, who don’t support the movement; they’re Grand Canyon-size chasms.

Tea partiers are likelier to be white, male, older and more affluent than everyone else, the polls show — groups that tend to be more conservative. Yet even compared with the 47 percent of conservatives who don’t back the tea party, the views of conservatives who do support the movement stand out.

Among conservatives who are tea party backers, 74 percent are glad Republicans will run the House next year while Democrats retain control of the Senate and White House. Just 36 percent of conservatives who don’t back the tea party agree that divided government will be good for the country, likely because of concern over gridlock.  [see the special note on why this level of partisan hatred is bad thing]

Tea party backers are also far likelier than other conservatives to like Palin, the former Alaska governor.

[full story based largely on exit polls]

For those in need of another picture summary of who the Tea Party is, why they broke 100% for the Republicans, and why that’s not really a good thing for the country, here ya go…

I know, I know, it’s totally uncouth to call racists assholes, and I understand the only thing Teabaggers hate more than being called racists are minorities, but I have to point out the content-free character-assassination crap that just keeps coming from these dolts.  And there’s ever-more evidence that empowering them was a very bad idea, but hey, what are you going to do, vote against them?

Ha!  No one has more time to vote, and more reason to, than someone who’s well-being, income and healthcare, is paid directly by the govenment.   There’s a reason “small government” Republicans ran against the cuts (read: needing, obvious cuts) to Medicare that were a part of HCR.   

When your core constituency is dependent on the government and complete dedicated to the fight against socialism,  you’d best get while the getting’s good, because that’s not a stable situation that can last terribly long.   There are, of course ways to extend that cognitive dissonance…

So while I’m somewhat disappointed by the general outcome of the election, at least I’m not confused about why it happened (as is most of the world watching).

In the real world [and our special note mentioned earlier] we have Capitalist A#1 [who actually does kind of control the world] praising the Obama administration for their actions in saving the country…

Nor was it just business that was in peril: 300 million Americans were in the domino line as well. Just days before, the jobs, income, 401(k)’s and money-market funds of these citizens had seemed secure. Then, virtually overnight, everything began to turn into pumpkins and mice. There was no hiding place. A destructive economic force unlike any seen for generations had been unleashed.

Only one counterforce was available, and that was you, Uncle Sam. Yes, you are often clumsy, even inept. But when businesses and people worldwide race to get liquid, you are the only party with the resources to take the other side of the transaction. And when our citizens are losing trust by the hour in institutions they once revered, only you can restore calm.

When the crisis struck, I felt you would understand the role you had to play. But you’ve never been known for speed, and in a meltdown minutes matter. I worried whether the barrage of shattering surprises would disorient you. You would have to improvise solutions on the run, stretch legal boundaries and avoid slowdowns, like Congressional hearings and studies. You would also need to get turf-conscious departments to work together in mounting your counterattack. The challenge was huge, and many people thought you were not up to it.

Well, Uncle Sam, you delivered.

In the crazy world, where Commie-Jew-Bankers hold Kenyan-puppets on strings and Socialism, Socialism, Socialism is all you need to know about Beelzebub HUSSEIN Obummer, I guess people are happy that our most effective tool in fighting for our shared prosperity has been effectively hamstrung.

I guess we’ll see, in hindsight, if they turned out to be correct.

The Short History of False Rumors and Those Who Believe Them

This little lie has been fun to watch worm it’s way around the world.  I’ve seen this happen before, and since I’m sure it will happen again, I’d like to point out exactly how this stuff happens, and what exactly it results in (well, we saw that last Tuesday, but I digress a wee bit early).

First up, the seed, in this case coming from an anonymous Indian government beauracrat

An Indian government source told the NDTV channel: ‘The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit.’

 That’s it.  That’s all it takes for one of these things to take off.   This is then reported as “news reports” in other stories…

President Obama’s trip to India will cost the U.S. $200m-a-day, it was reported today.

The visit – part of a 10-trip to Asia – will take place amid unprecedented levels of security in the city of Mumbai, where terrorists killed at least 173 people two years ago.

Then the story goes to Drudge, and the torrent is on.  Fox, of course, gets in on the action early.  They do this with the same “other people are saying” b.s. they use to introduce a lot of disinformation.

The details on the trip, extensively reported in the Indian media but strongly disputed by U.S. officials, read like lyrics for a hawkish version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” 

The president will be accompanied by 40 aircraft, 3,000 people, a fleet of cars and 34 warships, according to a string of blow-by-blow news updates. The Press Trust of India quoted an official in the state of Maharashtra pegging the cost at $200 million a day. 

Read the full Fox story here.

The lie also gets play on their other TV networks.   At this point, it has now been reported as outrageous fact all over AM radio, News Corpse various networks, etc.  *AND* more importantly, the Secret Super-Patriot Warning System, also known as your crazy uncle/aunt/cousin forwarding emails fill with wild rumors and baseless rants by the thousands very night.  This is actually one of the biggest factors in spreading this kind of disinfo.

We know this story is making the email rounds because A) it is taylor-made for this kind of conspiracy nutjobbery and B) someone who gets a lot of her information from email forwards mentioned it publicly.

“Republican Paul Ryan has suggested sharp cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Are you willing to make cuts there?” Cooper asked. But [Michelle] Bachmann [R-MN] wasn’t initially interested in discussing Medicare and Social Security. Instead, she responded to Cooper by arguing about a much more pressing matter: the cost of President Obama’s upcoming trip to India.

“Well I think we know that just within a day or so the President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day,” Bachmann said. “He’s taking two thousand people with him. He’ll be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are 5-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending, it’s a very small example, Anderson.”

But wait: $200 million a day? Snopes.com says that the $200 million figure, which has been picked up by right-wing blogs, is “probably false.” Snopes traced the rumor back to an anonymous Indian government official, quoted in a Press Trust of India article published on Tuesday. Factcheck.org calls the claim “highly doubtful,” and points out that the entire war in Afghanistan currently costs about $190 million a day (h/t AJC).

So now the lie has made it halfway around the world before the truth can put its boots on.

Not only that, and I’ll get another post of this, but when asked what the cut from the budget, it’s crap like this the Republicans brings up.  They want to cut myths from the budget.  That’s the plan to balance it, make up crap and then cut it.

At this point the lie has become the “truth” and anyone who questions it is on the conspiracy.  In this part of the play, we have dupes like CNN coming in and “de-bunking.”

(CNN) — It’s a story that originated from a single, unnamed sourced in India — but it quickly gained momentum, spreading like wildfire among critics of the Obama administration in the United States and eventually, the airwaves.

The claim: The United States will be “spending a whopping $200 million per day” on President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia.

That’s roughly the amount the federal government spends each day on the war in Afghanistan. The figure has been dismissed by the White House as “wildly inflated.”

What’s more, the claim doesn’t appear to hold water.

There’s a couple standard response to this de-bunking.  First up is “Oh, it’s CNN they’ll say anything.” or, in this particular case, “They didn’t debunk it because they didn’t give the real number (which is assumed to be astronomical)”.    In this case that is difficult because spending on security is not something that is normally publicly divulged (quick sidenote:  Obama’s is the first administration *ever* to voluntarily release comprehensive spending figures on intelligence, they were quickly attacked for it.)

So on the one hand you have a wildly inflated figure (probably a mis-translation of rupees to dollars, $200M rupees is about $4.5M dollars, which sounds close to what similar trips have cost) and on the other hand you have the (Big Bad Evil) Government saying they can’t tell you the real number.

So the rumor keeps alive and, in fact, grows.    Note all those right-wing blogs and the echo chamber.  Less than 1% will ever post a retraction or clarification.  Those blogs get archived.  And then, two years later, we’ll hear this spending come up as a whisper campaign issue, like Obama being a Muslim, and being a Socialist and Obamacare raising the deficit, all rumors, all false, and all believed by the same group of people.

Luckily, after a pattern shows up, and keeps showing up, it can be studied.  Here it turns out that the results are not surprising, but it is good to know, precisely, how much bullshit your average Fox Viewer believes…

Those who rely on Fox News are more inclined to believe rumours, a study looking at the behavioral patterns of viewers of reports pertaining to the Ground Zero mosque in has concluded.
According to the study, a typical viewer who reported a low reliance on Fox News believed 0.9 rumors on average, while a similar respondent with a high reliance on Fox believed 1.5 rumors – an increase of 66 percent. On the contrary, people who relied heavily on CNN or NPR believed fewer false rumors. High reliance on CNN reduced the number of rumors believed by 23 percent, while heavy use of NPR reduced belief by 25 percent.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/298969#ixzz14iFLSgHg

You can also see, from the study, *why* it is that Fox viewers are so prone to believing in, and voting according to, rumors and lie.   It is not only their faith in a bad actor (Fox) but their hatred of less biased news sources like CNN and NPR, both of which have showed consistently and over time, to do a better job informing their viewers/readers of the real world  (which is why they are evil to the Fox afficianado, they are just like the older neighborhood kid who told you Santa Claus wasn’t real.  Fox News would never do that.)

So you can add one more lie/rumor to the big list of them.   This is how it happens.  I’m sure you’ll see it on comment boards and chain mails, rants and raves, and other racist rationalizations.  It’ll keep coming up.  

It’s a lie, a big one, and as last Tuesday proved, the Big Lie works.  You just have to keep saying it, over and over again.

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).

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.

Taibbi Nails the Baggers

This is as solid a summation as I’ve seen.

The individuals in the Tea Party may come from very different walks of life, but most of them have a few things in common. After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview. One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. (“Not me — I was protesting!” is a common exclamation.) Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with “people who do not cherish America the way we do” is that “they did not read the Federalist Papers.”) Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill “cracker babies,” support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called “White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo,” checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.) And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America.

It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists. They’re completely blind to how offensive the very nature of their rhetoric is to the rest of the country. I’m an ordinary middle-aged guy who pays taxes and lives in the suburbs with his wife and dog — and I’m a radical communist? I don’t love my country? I’m a redcoat? Fuck you! These are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head as you listen to Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are.

It’s not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It’s just that they’re shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.

He didn’t really get too far into the Tea Party Truism that Taxes = Deficits (“All we need to do to fix the deficit is cut taxes! herp derp!”), but he nails them on quite a few other fronts.   Fun reading, if a bit heavy on the fucking expletives.

How Crazy Have We Become When…

George W. Bush comes across as a voice of reason (or when viewed through the skewed prism of Election 2010, a terrorist sympathizer).

Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We’ve just had a wide-ranging discussion on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday’s attacks, and so were Muslims all across the world.

Both Americans, our Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslim in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens. These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.

The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Quran itself: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil, for that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.”

The face of terrorist is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace, they represent evil and war.

When we think of Islam, we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race, out of every race.

America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.

The Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads, and they need to be treated with respect.

In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear covering must not be intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know; that’s not the America I value.

I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America.

Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America. They represent the worst of humankind. And they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.

And it’s a great country; it’s a great country because (we) share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They are outraged; they’re sad. They love America just as much as I do.

And I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by, and may God bless us all. Thank you.

“The worst of humankind”, indeed.

How quickly so many forget the lessons of 9/11.

UPDATE: Here’s a few of them…

The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama’s defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party’s posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.

Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence — always controversial inside the party — that Islam is a religion of peace. This weekend, former Bush aides were among the very few Republicans siding with Obama, as many of the party’s leaders have moved toward more vocal denunciations of Islam’s role in violence abroad and suspicion of its place at home.

NYC mosque will be election issue, Republican predicts

Of course it will be. The R’s ran on 9/11-9/11-9/11 to great effect in 2004. Why not try again in 2010?

Between this, immigration, and Obama, the ‘Brown Scare’ wins the Republican motivate-the-base campaign theme trifecta.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-08-16-mosque16_ST_N.htm?csp=hf

WASHINGTON — The top Republican in charge of Senate campaigns said Sunday that President Obama’s support of a Muslim group’s right to build an Islamic center near the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York would become an issue in the fall elections.

The comments from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, added to the firestorm that erupted this weekend over Obama’s decision to first weigh in on the controversy and then clarify that he was not endorsing the site for the center.

The proposed $100 million project, two blocks from the World Trade Center site, would include a community center, a mosque and memorial to 9/11 victims. A city commission unanimously approved the project this month.

Yes, a community center with a mosque…pretty much a Muslim version of the YMCA is what these *Senators* are opposing.  I’m glad our President remembers his oath of office to defend the Constitution, if only these Senators took the same oath…oops, they do.

Can someone please remind Senator Cornyn that the first amendment to the Constitution reads thusly…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I fail to see the “Except for Muslims” or “after 9/11 this doesn’t count” clauses.  Perhaps I’m just not scared enough to read it that way.

UPDATE: Here comes the politics…

On today’s show, Republican strategist Ed Rollins, who was the National Campaign Director for the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1984 and the national campaign chairman for the Mike Huckabee presidential campaign in 2007, even called Obama’s comments “probably the dumbest thing that any president has said or candidate has said since Michael Dukakis said it was okay to burn the flag. And it was very similar.”

“This is an emotional issue,” Rollins said. “Intellectually the president may be right. But this is an emotional issue. People who lost kids, brothers, sisters, fathers, what have you, do not want that mosque in New York.”

And what, may you ask, is “probably the dumbest thing that any president has said” according to GOP operatives?

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country,” Obama told a crowd gathered at the White House to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Note that second bit, about the President being technically, legally, and intellectually correct, but that the GOP hopes to capitalize on the emotion (FEAR!!!) to win some elections.   Today’s GOP in a nutshell, as far as I can tell.  (and it’s pretty far, since this post started out with the chairman of the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee) which is currently running this bit of slander.  That last thing is…just sad.  Hamas also thinks the sky is blue, so any Senators who agree with them are obviously terrorists, at least by NRSC “logic”.)

Rand Paul Replaces Staffers for his mistakes

http://abcnews.go.com/m/screen?id=10741012

Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul said Tuesday he’s planning a campaign staff shake-up a week after a round of interviews in which he dismayed fellow Republicans by discussing his views on racial segregation.

Campaign manager David Adams, who had been a Republican blogger in Nicholasville before joining up, will remain though perhaps in a different role, Paul said.

The comedy tour continues.

UPDATE:  I find the politics of personal responsibility to be a bit lacking here.  Rand’s will be an interesting race to watch over the summer.  He is running for Jim Bunning’s old seat….

During his reelection bid, controversy erupted when Bunning described Mongiardo as looking “like one of Saddam Hussein‘s sons.”[6] Public pressure compelled him to apologize. Bunning was also criticized for his use of a teleprompter during a televised debate with Mongiardo where Bunning participated via satellite link, refusing to appear in person.[7] Bunning was further criticized for making an unsubstantiated claim that his wife had been attacked by Mongiardo’s supporters,[8] and for calling Mongiardo “limp wristed”.[6] Bunning’s mental health was also questioned during the campaign.[6]

In October, 2004 Bunning told reporters “Let me explain something: I don’t watch the national news, and I don’t read the paper. I haven’t done that for the last six weeks. I watch Fox News to get my information.”[9]

…so…yea…even Ayn Rand Paul would be an *improvement*, if you can believe it.