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Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah we're talking to you ...!  
The Truth Be Told is read in 203 countries around the world.
Like all tyrants, Republicans don't like people talking - People that talk are people that ask questions and they can't have that, now can they ... !

Today is - World Amateur Radio Day
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Congress actually does something

by Steve Benen
After the Republican gains in the 2010 midterms, Congress has fallen on hard times. The legislative branch has approved no meaningful legislative accomplishments in over four years, and congressional productivity has dropped to lows unseen in modern American history. As the public respect for the institution deteriorates, it’s been hard to watch.
It’s also why it was such a pleasant surprise to see Congress actually do something.
The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes in the way Medicare pays doctors, clearing the bill for President Obama and resolving an issue that has bedeviled Congress and the Medicare program for more than a decade.
The 92-to-8 vote in the Senate, following passage in the House last month by a vote of 392 to 37, was a major success for Republicans, who devised a solution to a complex policy problem that had frustrated lawmakers of both parties. Mr. Obama has endorsed the bill, saying it “could help slow health care cost growth.”
At the risk of sounding ungenerous, I’m not sure I’d call it a “major success for Republicans,” so much as this was a rare example of bipartisan policymaking. Far-right GOP lawmakers still opposed the compromise, but their objections were not enough to derail the deal.
The details of the package get a little wonky – readers can revisit our coverage from March to get an overview – but the underlying point is to resolve the “doc fix” problem that has annoyed lawmakers for years, ask high-income seniors to pay a little more for their Medicare coverage, and extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which was facing a dangerous cliff this year, for two additional years.
In the bigger picture, this compromise is easily the most significant health care legislation approved by Congress since the Affordable Care Act passed more than five years ago, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s the biggest legislative accomplishment for Congress in over four years.
What’s more, let’s not overlook how this happened: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) approached House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and effectively said, “Let’s try to work something out here.” And they did.
The question then becomes: maybe this can happen again?
Remember, since early 2011, Boehner has started every policy conversation asking himself what his far-right GOP conference will tolerate. If the Speaker’s conservative members were disinclined to support a proposal, the proposal was likely doomed.
To pass this “doc fix” bill, he did the opposite, starting with Pelosi. If Boehner had started governing this way from the start, his Speakership probably would have been less ridiculous.
As for whether mainstream members can repeat the success, hope springs eternal, but I’d advise lowering expectations. I’m reminded of something Greg Sargent wrote in March, before Congress left for its spring break, and before the outcome of this bill was certain.
There are plenty of differences between this situation and the other potential chaos points that loom in coming weeks and months. For one thing, as Dem Rep. Sander Levin said on the House floor today, the basic outlines of today’s compromise have been in place for a year. For another, as Paul Kane and Jason Millman write, “a significant bloc of conservatives supported the legislation,” leading to a split among the most “rebellious” of them. So the price on the right might not be too high.
Also consider the specifics of the battles that lie ahead. The Highway Trust Fund is set to run low on money this spring, which could stall infrastructure projects around the country and cost jobs, and Republicans say they want to replenish the fund. But that will require agreeing on an actual way to pay for it, which will be harder in this case than it was for the Medicare doc fix.
There are some ugly pitfalls ahead: a debt-ceiling increase, a possible response to the Supreme Court gutting the American health care system; an appropriations process that could lead to another government shutdown; etc. So far, there’s literally nothing to suggest Republicans are ready to reach out to Dems to make a deal.
Last night’s breakthrough was both heartening and a rare sight, but the odds of it happening again anytime soon are low.

Obama’s Move On Cuba Is A Win For America, But A Loss For Rubio

Photo by Emmanuel Huybrechts
Rubio’s loss, the world’s gain.
Read more 

Harry Reid Calls All Of The 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates Losers

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) delivered some devastating straight talk when he called the entire 2016 Republican presidential field losers.
In an interview with CNBC, Sen. Reid (D-NV) was asked who the Republican nominee was going to be, and he answered, You know, I don’t really care. I think they’re all losers.”
The Republican Party has been proclaiming for years that they have a “deep bench,” but a look at all of their presidential candidates reveals a group that contains fatal flaws. Jeb Bush has been out of office for a long time, and he is saddled with a last name that is synonymous with political failure. Scott Walker is being dogged by one of the worst economic records in the country. Walker’s only claim to fame is union busting. Rand Paul is too libertarian for the Republican Party and too Republican to be elected president. Ted Cruz is best known for shutting down the government. Marco Rubio has a closet full of personal finance scandals, and his initial support for immigration reform doomed his chances of winning the Republican nomination.
There isn’t a single candidate in the Republican field who Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be the favored on paper to beat. That doesn’t mean that Clinton will win. What it means is that Republicans lack the complete candidate that can go toe to toe with the likely Democratic nominee from day one of the campaign.
It is rare to see a politician be as bluntly honest as Reid was with his opinions. What Reid was suggesting is that any Republican presidential candidate will be a loser as long as they are stuck with their party’s anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-immigration, and anti-middle class agenda.
The positions of the Republican Party are extremely unpopular. It doesn’t matter who the Republicans nominate if that person will be forced to carry the flag for positions that most Americans do not support.
Republicans have put together a team of losers, but that won’t stop them from doing everything that they can to defeat Hillary Clinton.

It's a joke, folks ...

Republicans are walking jokes - 
Always have been, always will be.

Thousands Across U.S. Rally For $15 Minimum Wage

Thousands Across U.S. Rally For $15 Minimum Wage
Wilson started at McDonald’s at $7.25 per hour. Ten years and two days later, she makes $8.25 per hour as a crew trainer on the 5 a.m. shift.

Senator Elizabeth Warren pushes plan to break up big banks

It Is Time For The Democrats To Seize Control Over The Tax Argument

It Is Time For The Democrats To Seize Control Over The Tax Argument
Obama’s brilliance at passing a modified GOP healthcare bill can be repeated, this time to enable the long overdue overhaul of the tax code.

Obama Wallops Republicans With The Facts About Their Plan To Cut Taxes For The Rich

President Obama used facts and math to reveal the true agenda behind the Republican plan to cut taxes for the wealthy during an event in Charlotte, NC.
The President said:
Now, it is significant that today is Tax Day. If you haven’t filed, you — But the reason I mentioned all the policies that I just talked about is that overall when you put my policies together in the budget, I want to cut taxes for more than 5 million middle-class families who need help paying for child care. I want to cut taxes for more than 8 million families of students who need help paying for college. I want to cut taxes to help 30 million workers save for retirement. I want to cut taxes for 13 million low-wage workers the same way that I fought to expand tax cuts like the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit — and we’ve been able to implement those.

So all told, my plan would cut taxes for 44 million working and middle-class families. That’s who our tax code should benefit — working Americans who are out there struggling every day, doing the right thing, supporting their families and trying to get a leg up in this new economy.

Now, it is a good thing that Republicans in Washington have started to talk about wages and incomes and the middle class. It’s better late than never, and so I’m encouraged. Unfortunately, the policies they’re putting forward don’t answer the mail — they don’t speak to the issues that ordinary families are facing.

I’ll just give you a couple examples. Their tax plan would give the average millionaire and billionaire a $50,000 tax cut. That’s about what the average middle-class worker makes in an entire year. They’re also pushing a new $270 billion tax cut for the very wealthiest of the wealthiest. It would affect about 5,000 families all across America; it would cost $270 billion. Here in North Carolina, it would benefit precisely 120 households.
For $270 billion, which is the cost approximately of the tax breaks I’m giving to 44 million people, it would benefit a little over 5,000 people.

So their plan would cut taxes for the top one-tenth of 1 percent and let taxes go up on 25 million working families and students. And my view is we don’t need tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
Republicans are doing their best to hide the facts behind their tax plan. They keep discussing tax fairness, which in GOPspeak means rich people should pay less while everyone else pays more. All of the Republican tax plans are the same. Taxes get cut for the wealthy and raised for everyone else. The plan is nothing new. The American people have caught on to it, but every year it comes back again.
Republicans try to dress it up as helping “job creators” or some vague definition of fairness, but at its core, it is the same plan that they have been trotting out for the last thirty years, and it every time that the trickle down tax plan was tried, it failed.
Democrats will be running on economic fairness and middle-class tax cuts in 2016. Tax plans like the one that Republicans are proposing make it almost too easy. Republicans have put it in writing. It’s clear whose interest they are looking out for, and it’s not the 99% who work the hardest but have the least.

Bernie Sanders Calls For A Mobilization Of Millions Of Americans To Take Down The Kochs

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reminded MSNBC of what liberalism looks like by calling for a mobilization of millions of Americans to take down the Koch brothers and other wingnut billionaires.
The Morning Joe crew wanted to play up a potential Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton conflict, but Sen. Sanders had a bigger message.
Sanders called on millions of Americans to stand together to take down the Koch brothers.
Sen. Sanders said:
I think the issue is, frankly, it’s not just Hillary, Elizabeth, or Bernie Sanders, or anybody else. This country faces enormous problems. Our middle-class is disappearing. We more people living in poverty than at any time in the history of America. We’re the only major country without a national health care program guaranteeing health care for all people. What’s it all about? The question is this one basic question. How do take on a billionaire class, which has so much economic power, and with Citizens United, can now buy elections. Where we are moving in many ways towards an oligarchic form of society rather than our traditional democracy.
Who is prepared to do it? So let me just say this, no president, not Hillary, not Bernie Sanders, not anybody, will succeed unless there is a mass mobilization of millions of people who stand up and say, enough is enough. Koch brothers and billionaires can’t have it all.
The bottom line is we need people to stand up to the billionaire class, and their economic and political power. That is what we need.
Sen. Sanders was correct. Unless the American people mobilize and stand up to billionaires, like the Koch brothers, no Democratic president can succeed with the people behind him/her. President Obama has been able to fight back because his argument about middle-class economics is popular with tens of millions of Americans. Obama has mobilized a coalition that stands by his side every day.
The next Democratic nominee will need an ever bigger coalition because the billionaires are dumping more and more money into our electoral process in an attempt to purchase the most powerful elected office in the world. One of the reasons why Hillary Clinton is putting people first in her campaign because it is going to take an army of people armed with their voices and their votes to beat the billionaires.
The Beltway press will continue to obsess over the horserace elements of 2016, but for 99% of the country what is at stake is their voice and power in our elections.

Ted Cruz Reveals He Has No Idea What Taxes Are For — Or That They Pay His Salary

Ted Cruz Reveals He Has No Idea What Taxes Are For — Or That They Pay His Salary (STATEMENT)Ted Cruz hates taxes so hard… too bad he doesn’t realize a lot about them. Here are just a few things he may want to know…



Republicans Lay the Groundwork for the Baseless Impeachment of President Obama

Ted Yoho has authored a resolution in high hopes of using it to begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama for acting like a President. …
We have come to expect nothing less than crazy from  Ted Yoho (R-FLA), and he has delivered again.
Yoho has authored a resolution in high hopes of using it to begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama for acting like a President. It is allegedly supposed to take aim at the President for his immigration actions.
Obviously, Yoho’s resolution is fraught with peril seeing as it seeks to criminalize the president for acting on presidential power. But it also managed to take a big old (unintentional, I presume since Republicans are still refusing to admit any responsibility for the fact that they lied in the lead up to the Iraq War) swipe at former President George W. Bush, with part of his resolution reading: “(5) intentionally lying to Congress to obtain an authorization for war”.
Yoho’s resolution seeks to (for starters):
To establish standards defining impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors” within the meaning of Article II, section 4 as applied to the President of the United States.
Whereas Article II, section 4 of the Constitution provides that, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”;
What is this high crime?
Acting like a President. Ironically, it seems, a recent Republican president:
The House of Representatives declares the following Presidential actions shall constitute impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors” within the meaning of Article II, section 4, which will cause the House to vote an article or articles of impeachment to send to the Senate for trial—
(1) initiating war without express congressional authorization;
(2) killing American citizens in the United States or abroad who are not then engaged in active hostilities against the United States without due process (unless the killing was necessary to prevent imminent serious physical danger to third parties);
(3) failing to superintend subordinates guilty of chronic constitutional abuses;
(4) spending appropriated funds in violation of conditions imposed for expenditure;
(5) intentionally lying to Congress to obtain an authorization for war;
(6) failing to take care that the laws be faithfully executed through signing statements or systematic policies of nonenforcement;
(7) substituting executive agreements for treaties;
(8) intentionally lying under oath to a Federal judge or grand jury;
(9) misusing Federal agencies to advance a partisan political agenda;
(10) refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents or testimony issued for a legitimate legislative purpose; and
(11) issuing Executive orders or Presidential memoranda that infringe upon or circumvent the constitutional powers of Congress.
Cristina Marcos of the Hill noted, “The Yoho resolution defines impeachable ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ in a way that is clearly aimed at Obama’s actions to unilaterally delay deportations…”
And later, Marcos observed dryly, “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) insisted last summer that impeachment is a “scam” perpetuated by Democrats.”
Yoho denies that it is aimed at President Obama. Now go re-read Speaker Boehner’s claim that Republicans are not going to try to impeach President Obama like they did with the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton.
Yes, plenty of Yoho’s resolution applies to things that Bush did while in office. But Republicans are not known for dealing in reality right now, and so their idea of using a federal agency for partisan activities is the President telling the agency how to implement a law. This is not the same thing as what Bush did when he used the Department of Justice to carry out partisan activities. The latter actually happened.
This is not a matter of which side of the fence you are standing on, although plenty of the complaints can be applied to most presidents, including President Obama. But Obama is nowhere near Bush in abuse of presidential power. He has, at times, even sought to limit it.
Yoho wants you to believe he just so happens to be setting the stage for impeachment of any old president, while a Democrat is in office. It shouldn’t escape notice that Republicans are seeking to limit the power of the one office they can’t seem to get back, and face an uphill battle winning in the near future until they join the rest of the population in the current century.

Republican bill slashes funding for studies on Medicare, guns, climate change

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (Credit:NASA)
On Wednesday, Republicans revealed their 189-page re-authorization of the budgets for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal research institutes.

Mike Pence Declares The Storm Has Passed While GOP Keeps Voting For Discrimination

Pence's words came against a backdrop where Republicans are continuing to cast legislative votes for, anti-gay discrimination.…

Religious Freedom Law Endangered The Health of a Georgia Woman

This week a story in Georgia illustrates just how dangerous religious tyranny posing as religious freedom can be to the health of women. …
There was, and maybe still is, some interest by a few Americans over the rash of so-called ‘religious freedom’ laws sweeping the nation after Indiana garnered national attention for its legalization of discrimination against gays and lesbians. Throughout the brief but intense controversy (Americans suffer short attention spans) over the evangelical edict, few if any Americans paid attention to pundits and commentary that laws like Indiana’s will adversely affect women more than the gay community; likely because Americans have even less concern about the rights of women than they do gays. Indiana’s law, like every other state religious freedom statute, has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with imposing evangelical rules on the rest of the population.  This week a story in Georgia illustrates just how dangerous religious tyranny posing as religious freedom can be to the health of women.
In Milledgeville Georgia, a young woman looking forward to an addition to her family received some incredibly devastating news after a visit to her doctor; she had suffered a miscarriage after only six weeks of pregnancy. According to the woman, Brittany Cartrett, she had a tough decision to make whether to undergo an invasive surgical procedure known as a dilation and curettage (D&C or ‘rape and scrape’), risk a life-threatening infection, or choose an alternative treatment. In a D&C the patient is put under either general anesthetic or given an epidural and then the doctor dilates the cervix and inserts a special instrument (speculum) to scrape the uterine lining to remove tissue to prevent a dangerous infection. No matter how one looks at a D&C, it is an invasive surgical procedure that in Cartrett’s case was not the only or best option for her according to her treating physician.
With her doctor, Cartrett  “made the decision to not do a D&C and to get a medicine instead. So he said I’m going to give you this medicine, you’ll take it, and it will help you to pass naturally so that you don’t have to go the more invasive route.” Sounds reasonable under the circumstances and not only did Cartrett not have to undergo the invasive surgical procedure and deal with the risk of bleeding, the financial cost was substantially less. So the doctor did what doctors do and phoned the Milledgeville Walmart pharmacy to fill the prescription for Cartrett. However, he was told that despite his valid license to practice medicine in Georgia, they would not honor his medical opinion and treatment and did not give a reason why they overruled his choice of medical treatment. The particular drug was Misoprostol which can also be used to induce abortions at an early stage in a pregnancy, but is regularly prescribed as an alternative to a D&C.
Subsequently, Cartrett said the doctor eventually found another pharmacy that acknowledged his medical expertise and would fill the prescription. Cartrett said, “I had to go up there to get another prescription anyway, so when I went up there she (the pharmacist) asked if I had any questions about this prescription. I said no I don’t, but I do have a question about the other one. She looks at my name and says ‘oh, I can’t think of a valid reason why you need this prescription‘.” One would think that a licensed physician phoning in a prescription was reason enough, but according to a Walmart pharmacist who was aware of the situation said that in Georgia, pharmacists “have the ability to turn down prescriptions at their own discretion.”
According to a Mercer University Law Professor, Zac Buck, there has been a religious freedom (conscience clause) law in Georgia for about 15 years that give pharmacists’ personal religious beliefs supremacy over licensed physicians and the professional right to overrule the doctor and “turn down prescriptions” they believe are wrong for the patient without knowledge of the patient’s situation or medical history; religious people are apparently all-knowing according to Georgia law.  A spokesman at Walmart’s corporate office, Brian Nick, said that “Our pharmacists fill prescriptions on a case by case basis every day in our stores throughout the country. We encourage them to exercise their professional judgment in doing so.” Translation; professional judgment is code for religion trumps a physician’s training making the evangelical pharmacist the arbiter of what constitutes necessary medical treatment.
Cartrett said the experience was “very frustrating because who is the pharmacist to make that decision? I’m not going to see that pharmacist, I’m going to see a doctor and if its due to the conscience clause I think it’s called; what other decisions are they making based on our health and our needs by not giving a prescription to someone who needs it?” Cartrett related that since posting her experience on social media she had several people “message her who were in similar situations who had to go to many, up to five, different pharmacies before they could get their medications.” These situations are not unique to Georgia, and with more stringent conscience clause (religious freedom) laws making their way through 23 Republican state legislatures, there will be more stories like Cartrett’s and certainly many will have deadly consequences.
This is just one example of why religious freedom laws are not about a person’s right to worship without government interference; they are about religious tyranny to control the lives, and in Cartrett’s situation her health, of all Americans. In this particular scenario it was about several evangelicals deciding what medication a physician is allowed to prescribe regardless the reason for the prescription. It is also a portent of what the rash of ‘religious freedom‘ laws making their way through 23 different states will mean for millions of Americans; subjection to the will of any number of evangelical service providers from pharmacists to physicians to emergency room staff to first responders to nurses to school personnel.
One hates belaboring a point, but it is noteworthy that none of the so-called ‘religious freedom’ bills making their way through Republican state legislatures ever mention the words discrimination or gay, but they all give free rein to evangelicals to refuse service to anyone on the basis of religion. The religious freedom laws are the ultimate ‘conscience clause‘ edicts that give anyone, whether they are members of a religion or not, legal cover to impose their will on other citizens if they claim their personal beliefs inform their actions; sadly the Papal-5 on the Supreme Court legalized this new form of religious tyranny.
Americans have not yet seen the scope or consequences of ‘religious freedom‘ evangelicals are going to impose on this nation, but they damn sure can rest assured that every American will be impacted at some point in the near future. It is due, in great part, to both apathy in the face of impending theocracy and the abject fear of Americans to condemn what very few citizens still believe will never happen in America; theocratic tyranny under the guise of religious freedom.

20 Low-Paying Jobs Scott Walker Isn’t Qualified For Because They Require A Four-Year Degree

20 Low-Paying Jobs Scott Walker Isn’t Qualified For Because They Require A Four-Year Degree Most jobs these days require some form of higher education to get hired. There are students coming out of college right now applying for jobs that require...

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

by Ian Millhiser
Herbert Spencer was a popular author during the nineteenth century who supported strict limits on the government and even opposed many forms of charity towards the poor. Nature, Spencer argued, "secures the growth" of the human race by "weeding out those of lowest development," and he also believed that neither government nor private charity should interfere with this process of natural selection. Though Spencer was not a eugenicist - he actually argued that the poor should be treated much more harshly than nineteenth and twentieth century eugenicists did - he was both a social acquaintance of Sir Francis Galton, the father of the eugenics movement, and a significant influence on Galton's thinking. Spencer also shaped many of the policies developed by some of the most powerful judges and lawmakers of his era.
Reading Spencer's many works today is an uncomfortable experience - the man devotes hundreds of pages to establishing a philosophical justification for a kind of neglect that most Americans would now view as a moral atrocity. Yet Spencer is also one of the foundational thinkers in the development of the economically libertarian philosophy that drives politicians such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
On Monday, ThinkProgress published a piece entitled "Rand Paul's Favorite Philosophers Think Poor People Are 'Parasites.'" The thrust of the piece is that, though Paul now claims that his policies would lift up poor people and minorities, the economic libertarianism that drives Paul is so inherently anti-poor and anti-civil rights that Paul's efforts to offer himself up as the champion of the downtrodden are misguided at best and deeply cynical at worst. Over the course of the piece, we trace the intellectual roots of economic libertarianism through Paul's father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), as well as through thinkers such as Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand and Spencer.
This is, to say the least, a rogue's gallery of philosophical influencers. Rothbard, a self-described "anarcho-capitalist" economist, called for "abolishing the welfare system" and accused "the entire 'civil rights' structure" of "trampl[ing] on the property rights of every American." Ayn Rand labeled men and women who seek government assistance as "irrational," "parasites," "dishonest," "thieving loafers," "compromising knaves," "sniveling neurotics," and as "both a beggar and a sucker." Spencer's "own philosophy," we conclude "can safely be described as genocidal libertarianism."
Not long after we published this piece, two of the libertarian movement's flagship institutions leaped to Spencer's defense. Over at Reason, Damon Root does not contest our description of Spencer as one of the foundational thinkers in the development of Rand Paul's economic libertarianism. He does, however, contest our description of Spencer as a genocidal libertarian. Though we quote Spencer's 1851 book Social Statics, which opposes "[a]cts of parliament to save silly people" and argues that if a man or woman is "not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they should die," Root claims that Spencer "never advocated anything remotely like letting the poor die in the streets." Root concludes his piece with an oversimplified history of eugenics in the United States, claiming that Progressives, and not nineteenth century proto-libetarians like Spencer, are the real eugenicists. (Though Root throws around the capital "P" term "Progressive" throughout his piece, it is worth noting that this term is not synonymous with the lower-case "p" term "progressive," which is often used to mean "liberal.")
Shortly before Reason published Root's piece, the Cato Institute - arguably the nation's most influential and well-funded libertarian institution - published a similar piece purporting to rebut our description of Spencer.
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.
The Real Herbert Spencer
Root's claim that Spencer did not support allowing the least fortunate to die from neglect is simply wrong. Social Statics claims that "stupidity," "vice," and "idleness" are "nature's failures," that people who possess these traits "are recalled by her laws when found to be such." These human "failures," are the people Spencer casts aside with the dismissive conclusion "they die, and it is best they should die."
To rebut this point, Root quotes a different passage of Social Statics, where Spencer writes that "in so far as" nature's cruelty "is mitigated by the spontaneous sympathy of men for each other, it is proper that it should be mitigated." To Root, this is proof that Spencer believed that private charity should reduce the suffering caused by a laissez-faire society.
Yet, while it is true that Spencer did believe that charity was appropriate under limited circumstances, Root would have done well to read the entire paragraph where Spencer talks about "the spontaneous sympathy of men for each other." In that paragraph, Spencer also warns that charity sometimes "defeats its own end." As Spencer writes,
    Instead of diminishing suffering, it eventually increases it. It favours the multiplication of those worst fitted for existence, and, by consequence, hinders the multiplication of those best fitted for existence-leaving, as it does, less room for them. It tends to fill the world with those to whom life will bring most pain, and tends to keep out of it those to whom life will bring most pleasure. It inflicts positive misery, and prevents positive happiness.
Charity, in other words, risks extending the life of individuals who are unworthy of living.
Root, however, persists in his effort to rehabilitate Spencer. "Spencer devoted 10 chapters in his two-volume Principles of Ethics to spelling out the importance of "Positive Beneficience," Root writes, "otherwise known as charity towards the impoverished and the unfortunate."
Ten chapters is a whole lot of chapters! Only one of these chapters, however, focuses specifically on the issue of "Relief for the Poor." And that chapter spends far more time discussing cases where charity is not appropriate than it does laying out the few cases where Spencer believed that private donors should improve conditions for the poor. Needless to say, Spencer called for a near-blanket prohibition on "relief of the poor from public funds raised by rates," but he also objected to charity administered by "privately established and voluntary organizations." When a donor gives to such an organization, Spencer reasoned, the "beneficiary is not brought in direct relation with the benefactor" and this increases the likelihood that the money will ultimately be spent on "idlers, spendthrifts, and drunkards" or someone else that Spencer viewed as "worthless."
Indeed, the primary thrust of Spencer's chapter on "Relief for the Poor" is that charity must be carefully tailored to "increas[e] the aid given to the worthy and restrict[] that given to the unworthy." Those that Spencer deems "unworthy" of charity must be cleansed through suffering:
    Having, by unwise institutions, brought into existence large numbers who are unadapted to the requirements of social life, and are consequently sources of misery to themselves and others, we cannot repress and gradually diminish this body of relatively worthless people without inflicting much pain. Evil has been done and the penalty must be paid. Cure can come only through affliction. The artificial assuaging of distress by state appliances, is a kind of social opium eating, yielding temporary mitigation at the eventual cost of intenser misery. Increase of the anodyne dose inevitably leads by and by to increase of the evil; and the only rational course is that of bearing the misery which must be entailed for a time by desistance. The transition from state beneficence to a healthy condition of self-help and private beneficence, must be like the transition from an opium-eating life to a normal life-painful but remedial.
Spencer's views on charity, in other words, are entirely consistent with the vision he laid out in Social Statics calling for genocide by neglect.
The Birth of Eugenics
Having misstated Spencer's views, Root then changes the subject to eugenics. Eugenics is a morally bankrupt philosophy which claims that undesirable traits ranging from "feeblemindedness," to criminality to sexual promiscuity can essentially be bred out of the human race by preventing individuals who posses these traits from reproducing. As Root notes, many early twentieth century Progressives believed in eugenics, though this fact has far less relevance to modern politics than Root implies because, as we note above, the capital "P" term "Progressive" is not synonymous with modern day liberalism. Nor, as we explain below, was support for eugenics limited to Progressives.
The father of eugenics, like modern day libertarians, was influenced by Spencer. Sir Francis Galton was a contemporary of Spencer's who also divided humanity into the worthy and the unworthy. A few years after Spencer's death, Galton was invited to deliver the Herbert Spencer Lecture at the University of Oxford, where Galton acknowledged his "personal debt" to Spencer - the two men would often converse over games of billiards at London's Athenaeum Club. Yet Galton's vision for humanity differed from Spencer's in several important ways. As I explain in my book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, Galton shared Spencer's desire to build a stronger, more worthy race of humans, but he believed that this task should be accomplished differently than Spencer did:
    While Spencer wrote that we should simply ignore the least fortunate and allow nature to kill them off, Galton preferred a more active approach. "What Nature does blindly, slowly and ruthlessly," according to Galton, "man may do providently, quickly and kindly."
    In one sense, Galton offered a more moderate alternative to Spencer's genocidal libertarianism, as he did not argue that the least fortunate should simply be allowed to die. "I do not," Galton explained, "propose to neglect the sick, the feeble or the unfortunate." To the contrary, he promised to do everything he could "for their comfort and happiness." This charity, however, came at a steep price: "I would exact an equivalent for the charitable assistance they receive, namely, that by means of isolation, or some other drastic yet adequate measure, a stop should be put to the production of families of children likely to include degenerates."

Where the poor and rich really spend their money

by Max Ehrenfreund
Lawmakers in several states are urging limits on how welfare recipients use public benefits, suggesting that the poor are buying things like lobster, filet mignon, vacations aboard cruise ships and visits to psychics. It's an open question whether the problem these proposals aim to solve actually exists, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics just helpfully released new data on how the poor -- and the rich -- spend their money.
For the first time, the bureau released this data for ten equally sized classes of U.S. households, sorted by income. While the bureau doesn't have data on lobster and filet mignon, the survey does provide a fascinating level of detail.
As the chart above shows, the rich spend more in almost every category, because they can. As a percentage of their total incomes, which are larger, the rich generally spend less. The result is that the rich have relatively more to spare after covering essentials such as housing, despite their more extravagant budgets in these categories.
The survey provides no evidence that the poor are wasting their money on delicacies. Indeed, the results show that regardless of income, Americans make very similar choices at the grocery store. The wealthy spend more overall, of course, and less as a share of their total spending. Yet the rich, the poor and the middle class all spend about 19 percent their grocery budget on fruits and vegetables, about 22 percent on meats, and about 13 percent on breads and cereals.
Other categories of food also show no variation with income. What about that lobster? Fish and seafood account for between 3 percent and 4 percent of the grocery budget for all groups – $80 per year for the poor, and $222 per year for the wealthiest group.”

Court upholds racial profiling injunction on Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio

From the "This is a good thing" Department: