James Ridgeway

James Ridgeway

In 1965, James Ridgeway helped launch the modern muckraking era by revealing that General Motors had hired private eyes to spy on an obscure consumer advocate named Ralph Nader. He worked for many years at the Village Voice, has written 16 books, and has codirected Blood in the Face, a film about the far right. In 2012, he was named a Soros Justice Media Fellow.

Get my RSS |

Health Care: The Key To A GOP Comeback?

| Tue Aug. 4, 2009 8:19 AM EDT

With polls showing the Republicans on the rebound, and with conservatives driving to win state governorships this fall and cut Democratic majorities in Congress in next year’s midterm elections, the stakes of the health care fight just got higher. If Obama can’t win a little something in the health insurance battle, he’ll be portrayed as a flop by the GOP in the midst of an election season. But if he wins even a token victory, right-wing attack dogs can pick apart the details of the final plan—or simply paint him as a socialist with a secret plan to "kill Granny” by rationing health care. Tuesday’s Washington Times lays out the opportunity for Republicans:
 

Advertise on MotherJones.com

GITMO in Kansas?

| Mon Aug. 3, 2009 9:44 AM EDT

Obama’s leaked plan to move Gitmo to either Fort Leavenworth in Kansas or the Standish state prison in northeastern Michigan has set off a fresh set of political battles over how to close down the detention facility. The Kansas congressional delegation firmly opposes the idea. "Enemy combatants should under no circumstances be housed at Fort Leavenworth," Sen. Sam Brownback told the AP.

However, some key Michigan Democrats are more receptive to the plan—seeing an influx of detainees as a possible source of relief for a state hit particularly hard by the economic crisis. Because of a state budget squeeze, Michigan aims to close up to 8 state prisons, including Standish, whose prisoners are already being moved out of the facility. Michigan Democrats Rep. Bart Stupak and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin have both endorsed the idea, according to the Hill, with Stupak touting the notion as a means to save jobs and provide economic stimulus to the area. However, their GOP counterparts aren't so enthusiastic: Pete Hoekstra, the House Intelligence Committee's ranking Republican, opposes the plan.

In January, former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius—now Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services—wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying that she supported shutting Gitmo down but opposed transferring the detainees to Leavenworth. Here were some of her arguments:  

  • If GTMO detainees are sent to Fort Leavenworth, it is likely that eminent domain would be used to obtain additional land around the Fort… Some of the land expected to be included in eminent domain is prime development land for the region…
  • Fort Leavenworth currently does not have a medical facility, and it is estimated that it will take three to five years to build the required class three medical facilities for GTMO detainees. In the meantime, high risk detainees would be transported through the community to a nearby VA hospital. Based on past escape/break out experiences with the United States Penitentiary, this is an unacceptable risk to local citizens.
  • The local airport is on Fort Leavenworth, and that airport will most likely no longer be available to local citizens. Furthermore, Congress granted a right of way to a rail line to pass through the installation more than 100 years ago, and today more than 50 trains a day use the line to transport goods to Omaha. Additionally, the river running through the Fort has commercial barge traffic. The airport, rail line and river traffic can become security risks, and making them inaccessible will significantly impact the economics of the area.

Another Giveaway, This Time to Insurers

| Thu Jul. 30, 2009 10:37 AM EDT

While the health care debate has been consumed by the smoke and mirrors game on Capitol Hill, one big story is being overlooked: the Obama administration’s decision not to regulate—or even attempt to regulate—the insurance industry, led by AIG, the giant outfit at the center of the national financial collapse. Instead of curbing the power of these companies, Obama is proposing another one of his half-hearted solutions. This time, it’s something called the Office of National Insurance, to be stuck in a corner of the Treasury Department. This new contraption is meant to “monitor’’ insurance—but can’t get involved in setting rules or regulating the business.

 

 

Accused Killer of Abortion Doctor Could Be Down By Law With a Kansas Jury

| Mon Jul. 27, 2009 5:21 PM EDT

As he prepares for a court hearing Tuesday, Scott Roeder, the man accused of shooting Dr. George Tiller in the foyer of his church in June, says he’s full of “relief and joy” over the murder of the Wichita abortion provider. In interviews with the Kansas City Star, Roeder, who is in a Sedgwick County, Kansas, lockup, said he’d been thinking about killing abortion doctors since 1992. He praised Paul Hill, who shot and killed an abortion provider in Pensacola, Florida, in 1994 and was executed for the murder in 2003, and he described several visits to Shelley Shannon, the woman who shot and wounded Tiller back in 1993 and is currently serving 20 years for a series of abortion clinic bombings and arsons.

Roeder believes that these acts qualify as justifiable homicide, explaining to Star reporter Judy Thomas: “When a policeman shoots somebody on the street, for example, and stops somebody from taking the life of innocent people, that’s violence, and everybody’s fine with that,” he said. Since the murder of Dr. Tiller, he said, “I’ve heard that three women have actually changed their minds and had their babies because there’s no availability here,” he said. “Wichita has been abortion-free since that time." He added, “That’s total elation.”

Scott Roeder stops short of stating that he is the man responsible for what he considers the heroic act of killing Dr. Tiller, instead saying that “For the man accused of this, things fell together for that day,” and the shooting “would have been earlier if things had panned out.” Such almost coyly circumspect statements can hardly help Roeder’s case, and his attorney, Steve Osburn, would make no comment on his client’s defense strategy. But Roeder himself raised the possibility of introducing “jury nullification,” which holds that if a jury concludes the law is wrong, it can take matters into its own hands, overriding instructions from the judge, to deliver its own version of justice.
 

Wed May. 16, 2012 3:09 AM EDT
Mon Nov. 7, 2011 6:00 AM EST
Wed Sep. 28, 2011 5:42 PM EDT
Sat Aug. 27, 2011 12:09 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 9, 2011 1:39 PM EDT
Wed Apr. 13, 2011 4:53 PM EDT
Fri Mar. 18, 2011 12:02 PM EDT
Fri Mar. 11, 2011 3:27 PM EST
Tue Mar. 8, 2011 4:59 PM EST
Thu Feb. 24, 2011 10:46 AM EST
Sun Feb. 20, 2011 11:48 PM EST
Mon Feb. 7, 2011 11:54 AM EST
Thu Feb. 3, 2011 12:30 PM EST
Tue Jan. 18, 2011 5:38 PM EST
Sat Jan. 8, 2011 5:58 PM EST
Wed Nov. 10, 2010 6:20 PM EST