Think Progress

That Time Newt Gingrich Tried To Take Kids Away From Welfare Recipients And Put Them in Orphanages

That Time Newt Gingrich Tried To Take Kids Away From Welfare Recipients And Put Them in Orphanages Bryce Covert Jul 20, 2016, 12:00 pm SHARE Facebook Twitter Email SMS WhatsApp Share Newt Gingrich at the Republican National Convention on Monday CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MATT ROURKE After widespread speculati…
That Time Newt Gingrich Tried To Take Kids Away From Welfare Recipients And Put Them in Orphanages

That Time Newt Gingrich Tried To Take Kids Away From Welfare Recipients And Put Them in Orphanages

House Republicans want to make it harder for people with disabilities to access businesses


This week, Congress is expected to vote on a bill that would significantly weaken the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act and let businesses off the hook for failing to provide accommodations for accessibility. The ADA Education and Reform Act was introduced by Rep.
via House Republicans want to make it harder for people with disabilities to access businesses This story is slipping through the cracks. This is especially awful.

Oops! White House admits it has zero evidence of voter fraud in 2016 election


In a court filing on Tuesday, the White House announced that it had not uncovered any preliminary findings of voter fraud in the 2016 election and that it would be destroying confidential voter data initially collected for President Trump’s controversial voter fraud commission, which was disbande
via Oops! White House admits it has zero evidence of voter fraud in 2016 election
This should have been a bigger story.

Major Libertarian Thinker On Human ‘Failures': ‘It Is Best They Should Die’

Major Libertarian Thinker On Human ‘Failures': ‘It Is Best They Should Die’:

The fact that Cato and Reason both reacted so swiftly is a testament to the central place Spencer holds in the development of libertarian thought. According to Rothbard, who the elder Paul describes as the “founder of the modern libertarian movement,” Spencer’s Social Statics is the “greatest single work of libertarian political philosophy ever written.” Yet this foundational libertarian text does not say what Root and Cato claim that it said. Indeed, if Social Statics is, indeed, the “greatest single work of libertarian political philosophy ever written” then that is the most damning indictment of libertarianism imaginable.

This is why it’s a waste of time to argue with libertarians. Both Cato and Reason just flat out denied the text of the book said what it clearly says.

This is exactly how Reason reacted to being called out of publishing Holocaust denials. The PDFs are online but they claim they didn’t publish what you can clearly see they published.

Why not admit you were wrong; apologize and move on?

Rand Paul’s Favorite Philosophers Think Poor People Are ‘Parasites’

Rand Paul’s Favorite Philosophers Think Poor People Are ‘Parasites’:

Spencer’s own philosophy can safely be described as genocidal libertarianism. In Social Statics, the book Rothbard raises up as the “greatest single work of libertarian political philosophy ever written,” Spencer argues that “[i]nconvenience, suffering, and death are the penalties attached by nature to ignorance, as well as to incompetence.” They are also, he adds, “the means of remedying” these traits. “By weeding out those of lowest development” Spencer explained, “nature secures the growth of a race who shall both understand the conditions of existence, and be able to act up to them… . Nature demands that every being shall be self-sufficing. All that are not so, nature is perpetually withdrawing by death.” Rather than proving nature’s cruelty, Spencer believed that this deadly game “purif[ied] society from those who are, in some respect or other, essentially faulty.” If a man or woman is “sufficiently complete to live,” then they should live. But if “they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they should die.” Needless to say, Spencer saw no place for what he labeled “[a]cts of parliament to save silly people.”

The good old days when libertarians didn’t bother to pretend to care about the poor. These days they pretend that government programs are the cause of poverty. Because poverty didn’t exist in pre-new deal America. And something-something didn’t you read Atlas Shrugged?

The standard defense of this is to claim that that isn’t libertarianism or to claim a straw man. Or that the free market magic will somehow prevent this.

Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling

Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling:

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty.

When the Satanists seem more reasonable than you, maybe you need to start rethinking your position.

Romney's Former Company Under Investigation For Tax Evasion

Romney's Former Company Under Investigation For Tax Evasion

Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is under investigation for questionable tax practices, according to the New York Times. Since July, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been issuing subpoenas to private equity firms including Bain, which he believes intentionally changed management fees into capital gains as a way of hanging onto millions of dollars that would have otherwise been taxed at a higher rate.

The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).

The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).
The Average Bush Tax Cut For The 1 Percent This Year Will Be Greater Than The Average Income Of The Other 99 Percent | ThinkProgress

CBS News' 60 Minutes aired a report last night alleging that several members of Congress have traded stock using information they received during private briefings or meetings, enabling them to profit from inside information.

CBS News' 60 Minutes aired a report last night alleging that several members of Congress have traded stock using information they received during private briefings or meetings, enabling them to profit from inside information.

One Day After Attending Private Economic Crisis Briefing, GOP Financial Services Chairman Bet On Stocks Tanking | ThinkProgress

Worth watching.

I suppose I agree with Will Wilkinson about the importance of "an ethos of initiative, hard work, and individual responsibility" though I have no real idea why he thinks most progressives are against such an ethos. It strikes me that cultivating such an ethos is sort of integral to making a progressive agenda work. I think back sometimes to the time when I stumbled into a Stockholm Metro station and got the person working the booth to explain what I needed to do to use the city's bikeshare system. This wasn't really her job, and the conversation wasn't in her native language, and obviously no practical harm would have come to her if she'd blown me off but I take it that she took pride in working for Stockholm Metro and had a self-conception as someone who's a helpful public servant. Any effective public agency from the United States Marine Corps on down is built in pretty profound ways on an ethos of duty and hard work in an even more profound way than things in the for-profit business sector. People who believe in public sector work and public services must believe in the idea of a strong work-ethic.

I suppose I agree with Will Wilkinson about the importance of "an ethos of initiative, hard work, and individual responsibility" though I have no real idea why he thinks most progressives are against such an ethos. It strikes me that cultivating such an ethos is sort of integral to making a progressive agenda work. I think back sometimes to the time when I stumbled into a Stockholm Metro station and got the person working the booth to explain what I needed to do to use the city's bikeshare system. This wasn't really her job, and the conversation wasn't in her native language, and obviously no practical harm would have come to her if she'd blown me off but I take it that she took pride in working for Stockholm Metro and had a self-conception as someone who's a helpful public servant. Any effective public agency from the United States Marine Corps on down is built in pretty profound ways on an ethos of duty and hard work in an even more profound way than things in the for-profit business sector. People who believe in public sector work and public services must believe in the idea of a strong work-ethic.

Who Killed Hard Work And Personal Responsibility? | ThinkProgress

Worth a read.

The Recovery The Fed Wants

The Recovery The Fed Wants

the FOMC meekly "anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually toward levels that the Committee judges to be consistent with its dual mandate." If the unemployment rate is not currently at a level consistent with the mandate and is also not converging rapidly toward a level consistent with the mandate, then in my view the FOMC ought to do something new and dramatic in order to fulfill its mandate. Instead, the FOMC is standing pat. They think 9.1 percent unemployment and moderate growth is fine and they don't intend to do anything about it.


Al Jazeera released a new mini-documentary yesterday on the Koch Brothers - the multi-billionare energy tycoons who have spent over $50 million on campaigns to tear down the science of climate change and clean energy policy. From Think Progress

the only difference between debt-financed spending and tax-financed spending is that debt-financed spending needs to be paid back with interest. So by preferring $1.2 trillion in cuts to $2 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in spending hikes, the GOP position is pushing both long-run spending and long-run taxes much higher than it would be under the Democratic plan.

the only difference between debt-financed spending and tax-financed spending is that debt-financed spending needs to be paid back with interest. So by preferring $1.2 trillion in cuts to $2 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in spending hikes, the GOP position is pushing both long-run spending and long-run taxes much higher than it would be under the Democratic plan.

Conservative Orthodoxy Makes Spending Higher | ThinkProgress

And somehow we are to believe that the GOP cares about the debt? Or that their interest in cutting spending is about concern about the debt and not policy preference to push desired economic outcomes?

the Bush administration took a very ideological view of "the war on terror." They viewed the United States as broadly in conflict with a vast-yet-hazily-defined array of Muslim Bad Guys such that Saddam Hussein and the government of Iran were somehow part of the same problem as Osama bin Laden. The conceptual alternative to this that Obama offered ... was to think of al-Qaeda as a specific, narrow thing that ought to be obsessively targeted and destroyed. ... You see in the rising body count that this all wasn't just talk. There's been some kind of meaningful reallocation of national resources away from Bush's geopolitical vision in favor of a much more literal global effort to identify, locate, and kill members of al-Qaeda.

the Bush administration took a very ideological view of "the war on terror." They viewed the United States as broadly in conflict with a vast-yet-hazily-defined array of Muslim Bad Guys such that Saddam Hussein and the government of Iran were somehow part of the same problem as Osama bin Laden. The conceptual alternative to this that Obama offered … was to think of al-Qaeda as a specific, narrow thing that ought to be obsessively targeted and destroyed. … You see in the rising body count that this all wasn't just talk. There's been some kind of meaningful reallocation of national resources away from Bush's geopolitical vision in favor of a much more literal global effort to identify, locate, and kill members of al-Qaeda.
The Obama Doctrine In Action | ThinkProgress

The National Flood Insurance Program Reextension Act of 2010 was sponsored by a bipartisan group, it passed the filibuster-ridden Senate by unanimous consent on September 21, it passed the House of Representatives on a voice vote on September 23, and was signed into law by President Obama a week later. The lead sponsor of the current Flood Insurance Reauthorization is Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi. Amidst fierce ideological debate about the size and scope of the federal government, in other words, there's no serious budget-cutting move to stop subsidizing people from living in dangerous flood zones.

The National Flood Insurance Program Reextension Act of 2010 was sponsored by a bipartisan group, it passed the filibuster-ridden Senate by unanimous consent on September 21, it passed the House of Representatives on a voice vote on September 23, and was signed into law by President Obama a week later. The lead sponsor of the current Flood Insurance Reauthorization is Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi. Amidst fierce ideological debate about the size and scope of the federal government, in other words, there's no serious budget-cutting move to stop subsidizing people from living in dangerous flood zones.
America's Worst Federal Spending Is Generally Its Least Controversial | ThinkProgress

You might not think that America is a net exporter of solar products. But it is - to the tune of $1.8 billion. That's a $1 billion increase over net exports documented in the solar sector last year. ... a report released this morning from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association found that the U.S. has a $247 million trade surplus with China. (via Solar Stunner: America is a $1.9 Billion Exporter of Solar Products | ThinkProgress)

imagine a small country that never borrows money. Alongside funding its normal operations out of tax revenue, it sets a little bit aside each year in an investment fund looking forward to the time when there'll be enough money in the pot to build a giant monument to the country's founder. Then along comes a recession-unemployment rises and revenue plummets. Under the circumstances, deciding to skip a year or two of contributions to the Monument Fund in order to maintain regular levels of public services is the most intuitive thing in the world. What would sound strange would be the idea that economic growth could be maximized by reducing spending to cut the deficit in order to "restore confidence" by making full contributions to the Monument Fund. Who cares about the Monument Fund? Back to the actual situation, the basic logic of "deficit spend in a recession if you can get away with it" holds just as clearly whether you have a Monument Fund or a budget deficit.

imagine a small country that never borrows money. Alongside funding its normal operations out of tax revenue, it sets a little bit aside each year in an investment fund looking forward to the time when there'll be enough money in the pot to build a giant monument to the country's founder. Then along comes a recession-unemployment rises and revenue plummets. Under the circumstances, deciding to skip a year or two of contributions to the Monument Fund in order to maintain regular levels of public services is the most intuitive thing in the world. What would sound strange would be the idea that economic growth could be maximized by reducing spending to cut the deficit in order to "restore confidence" by making full contributions to the Monument Fund. Who cares about the Monument Fund?
Back to the actual situation, the basic logic of "deficit spend in a recession if you can get away with it" holds just as clearly whether you have a Monument Fund or a budget deficit.
—Keynes in one lesson. The Magic Of Zero | ThinkProgress

The basic notion seems to be that if you see "the government" doing "something" and the outcome is perverse, that proves that when "the government" does "things" it gets bad results so the government shouldn't do anything. But pay attention to the story! This looks to me essentially like a story of the slightly perverse consequences of what amounts to privatization of infrastructure provision. The New York State Thruway Authority dealt with the Hudson River bridge issue in a manner designed to maximize profits rather than a benevolent social planner putting the bridge in the socially optimal more southerly location.

The basic notion seems to be that if you see "the government" doing "something" and the outcome is perverse, that proves that when "the government" does "things" it gets bad results so the government shouldn't do anything. But pay attention to the story! This looks to me essentially like a story of the slightly perverse consequences of what amounts to privatization of infrastructure provision. The New York State Thruway Authority dealt with the Hudson River bridge issue in a manner designed to maximize profits rather than a benevolent social planner putting the bridge in the socially optimal more southerly location.
The Tappan Zee Bridge | ThinkProgress

Probably the single most false claim in Rick Perry's book is his view of the end of the Great Depression, namely that "recovery did not come until World War II, when FDR was finally persuaded to unleash private enterprise." World War II is, of course, an example of the reverse. With the nation engaged in a total war against Germany and Japan, the federal government introduced massive distortions into the marketplace in order to maximize production of things that were useful for winning the war. That meant, among other things, massive rationing and price controls

Probably the single most false claim in Rick Perry's book is his view of the end of the Great Depression, namely that "recovery did not come until World War II, when FDR was finally persuaded to unleash private enterprise." World War II is, of course, an example of the reverse. With the nation engaged in a total war against Germany and Japan, the federal government introduced massive distortions into the marketplace in order to maximize production of things that were useful for winning the war. That meant, among other things, massive rationing and price controls
Private Enterprise Unleashed During World War II | ThinkProgress

Medicaid Spending In New York State

If you have a program that delivers services, and the expense of providing the services seems disproportionate to the benefits, and if the reason the expense seems disproportionate is something that unionized public workers have gotten out of the political process, then it's easy to get conservatives hopping mad about it. But if you have a program that delivers services, and the expense of providing the services seems disproportionate to the benefits, and if the reason the expense seems disproportionate is something that private firms have gotten out of the political proces, then suddenly increased government oversight (regulation of for-profit colleges, IPAB, etc.) is a slippery slope to socialism.

From ThinkProgress

In a nutshell, this is what is broken about our policy making system.

The era of Keynesian fiscal policy is dead and may never have been alive in the first place. Yet economic success stories caused by adherence to policies that most observers would consider "Keynesian" still can be found - even in small Southern cities with Republican mayors.

The era of Keynesian fiscal policy is dead and may never have been alive in the first place. Yet economic success stories caused by adherence to policies that most observers would consider "Keynesian" still can be found - even in small Southern cities with Republican mayors.

Keynesian Economics Alive and Well in Greenville | ThinkProgress

If Keynesian policies don’t work, then why do they work?

Even with several decades of median wage stagnation, the fact of the matter is that the median American household has quite a lot of money compared to the median household of almost every other country. And yet, I think there are a lot of other respects in which quality of life in the United States falls short. We spend a lot of time in traffic jams. We have both a frighteningly high murder rate and a frighteningly high level of incarceration. Our health care system is very inefficient. Americans work very long hours and have unusually little vacation time. It's not clear to me that any of these issues can be usefully tackled primarily by focusing on higher taxation of the very wealthy.

Even with several decades of median wage stagnation, the fact of the matter is that the median American household has quite a lot of money compared to the median household of almost every other country. And yet, I think there are a lot of other respects in which quality of life in the United States falls short. We spend a lot of time in traffic jams. We have both a frighteningly high murder rate and a frighteningly high level of incarceration. Our health care system is very inefficient. Americans work very long hours and have unusually little vacation time. It's not clear to me that any of these issues can be usefully tackled primarily by focusing on higher taxation of the very wealthy.

Beyond The Top One Percent | ThinkProgress

This is why there is more to policy than taxes.

(via Yet Another Conservative Economist Thinks Barack Obama Can Travel Through Time | ThinkProgress) Business investment started trending toward way back in 2006 and did the bulk of its plunging in 2008. It also seems to me that George W Bush was president at this time. Soon after Barack Obama took office, investment bottomed-out and began to rebound. Neither Obama's rhetoric nor his policies can possibly be responsible for the Obama-era drop in investment for the simple reason that no such drop occurred.

Americans Overwhelmingly Believe President Bush Should Not Pardon Libby

new CNN poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly believe that President Bush should not pardon Scooter Libby, who was convicted last week on felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
From Think Progress

Since when has this administration cared what the majority think? Frankly, I view the inevitable Bush pardon of Libby as if it were Mayor McCheese granting a pardon to The Hamburglar. Both are absurd, cynical mockeries of our justice system.

Libby will be sentenced on June fifth. My guess is that the pardon will be granted on June 1st, the last Friday before sentencing.

They Were Making Things Up

FBI Agent Who Consulted On Path to 9/11 Quit Halfway Through Because 'They Were Making Things Up'
James Bamford, an author and journalist who has written about security issues, appeared on MSNBC to discuss "The Path to 9/11." Bamford revealed that an FBI agent who worked as a consultant to the film quit halfway through production of the mini-series because he believed the writers and producers were "making things up." Watch it:
From thinkprogress

I’m really torn about this. While I defend the right to make this movie, I really don’t think that a ABC should run it without disclaimer. This isn’t being presented as fiction, despite having fictional scenes. This is truthiness at its worst. Blending facts and fiction in an cynical attempt to re-write history. And if you’re going to do this, why not go all out and add all the BS you need to promote all the GOPer talking points. As an example, they could add the following:

  • Saddam and Osama watching the 9/11 attack on TV together and giving each other a high-five as the planes hit
  • Bill and Hillary having a coke fueled three-some with a 9/11 hijacker
  • W personally leading an assault that captures Osama just before Osama and Kerry launch a follow up attack by legalizing gay marriage.

Just a thought.

Exxon-Backed Pundit Compares Gore To Nazi Propagandist

Sterling Burnett is a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, an organization that has received over $390,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. This afternoon on Fox, Burnett compared watching Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, to watching a movie by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels to learn about Nazi Germany.
From Think Progress

The media needs to enforce Godwin’s Law and immediately kill the microphone of anyone that compares someone or something to Hitler. If they don’t, I fear that political discourse in this country will slowly devolve into two sides exchanging Nazi analogies about the other side. The only exceptions are those who are actively involved in genocide. Not that I’d expect Fox News to act like a responsible media outlet and prevent people from comparing Al Gore to Goebbels by challenging that assertion as off-base or gross hyperbole.

the Neo-Con two step

The only thing better than watching Neo-Con Francis Fukuyama flip, is watching other Neo-Cons like Christopher Hitchens attack them for it.You can always count on Hitchens to be infuriatingly delightful. But this time he is way off. The Neo-Con failure is breaking them up into three camps.

  • Neo-Cons like Fukuyama that now think the war was a bad idea and that Neo-Conservationism is failing.
  • Neo-Cons that still think the was was a good idea, and blame the problems either on Bush, Rumsfeld or The Liberal Media. Case in point, William Kristol of the Weekly Standard
  • Neo-Cons that think everything is going well and the media is mis-reporting it

Right now it looks like the real conservatives like William F. Buckley agree with the reality that the War in Iraq is lost. A position they declared defeatism just a few months ago. Not to mention this Zogby pool U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006. So the only people left supporting the war are a dwindling number of GOPers with Fox News colored glasses.

bipartisan consensus on abramoff

Abramoff is a Republican who worked closely with two of the country’s most prominent conservative activists, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Top aides to the most important Republican in Congress, Tom DeLay (R., Tex.) were party to his sleazy schemes. The only people referred to directly in Abramoff’s recent plea agreement are a Republican congressmen and two former Republican congressional aides. The GOP members can make a case that the scandal reflects more the way Washington works than the unique perfidy of their party, but even this is self-defeating, since Republicans run Washington.

And…
The problem is a network of criminal activity stretching from the House of Representatives (and, to a lesser degree, the Senate) to K Street and then into the Executive Branch — a network of bribery, money-laundering and fraud all aimed at selling public policy and official actions not in exchange for political contributions but money rewards to members of Congress, administration officials and their families.
From lowry at NRO and TPM

One from a progressive source, and one from a conservative source. Rarely do you see such bipartisan consensus. It nice to see that even GOP apologists at the National Review are able to see that this is a GOP problem that will hurt the GOP no matter how hard the hard right GOPers insist on banging the square peg of ideology into the round hole of reality.

Square peg one from Bloomberg.

Representatives Roy Blunt of Missouri and John Boehner of Ohio have been among the key intermediaries between Republican lawmakers and lobbyists since their party took control of the U.S. Congress in 1995.
Now, with both men vying to succeed Representative Tom DeLay as House majority leader, those ties may loom as an issue.

Blunt, 55, and DeLay, 58, share a network of ties as extensive as any in Congress, including links to lobbyists.

Square peg two from Think Progress

DeLay Takes Over Cunningham's Spot On Appropriations Committee
Why is there a seat available? From the San Diego Union Tribune, 12/10/05:
A vacancy on the panel occurred earlier this week when Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Rancho Santa Fe, formally resigned from Congress after pleading guilty to charges that he accepted bribes from defense contractors.

And square peg three also from Think Progress

Ney: Congress's "Ethics" Instructor
Ney has been named as Representative #1 in the plea agreeements of both Abramoff and his partner, Michael Scanlon, detailing lavish gifts, travel, and contributions from the lobbyists in return for Ney's cooperation in Congress. You can find more details of Ney's extensive ties to Abramoff here.

Why on earth would you replace someone involved with a scandal with someone connected to the same scandal? Are they really that tone deaf? More importantly, why would you do this three times in the same week. I know there are conservatives that aren’t criminals. Why don’t they reach across the aisle and work with reform minded liberals and progressives?