Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2012/06/did-supreme-court-just-gut-habeas. http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Forget Elizabeth Warren. Another Female Senator Has a Shot to Fill the Senate's New Power Vacuum. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/patty-murray-harry-reid-senate-majority-leader <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update (3/30/15)</strong>&mdash;So much for that. On Monday, Murray <a href="http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/patty-murray-backs-schumer-for-leader/" target="_blank">endorsed</a> Schumer, who now appears to have a clear path to Reid's job.</em></p> <p>In the nanoseconds after Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/harry-reid-announces-his-retirement" target="_blank">announced</a> Friday morning that he will give up his leadership post and retire in 2016, liberal groups raced to <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/03/27/morning-plum-liberal-groups-float-elizabeth-warren-for-dem-senate-leader/" target="_blank">promote</a> their go-to solution for almost any political problem: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Much like the movement to draft Warren for president, the idea of putting her in charge of the Democratic caucus was more dream than reality. Warren's office has already <a href="http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/harry-reid-successors-murray-schumer-durbin/" target="_blank">said</a> she won't run, and as <em>Vox</em>'s Dylan Matthews <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/3/27/8300441/elizabeth-warren-senate-leader" target="_blank">explains</a>, putting Warren in charge of the Democratic caucus would prevent her from holding her colleagues accountable when they stray too far from progressive ideals.</p> <p>Instead, Reid's likely replacement is New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who already has endorsements from Reid and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/27/durbin-endorses-chuck-schumer-for-senate-leader-easing-path-for-new-yorker-to-succeed-reid/" target="_blank">Dick Durbin</a>, the outgoing minority leader's No. 2. But lefties have long been wary of Schumer, who, thanks to his home base in New York City, is far more sympathetic to Wall Street than the rest of his caucus. And lost in the Warren hype is another female senator: Washington's Patty Murray.</p> <p>As caucus secretary, Murray is the fourth-ranking member of Senate Democratic leadership, behind Reid, Durbin, and Schumer. If she decides to take on Schumer for Reid's job, Murray could be the first woman to serve as a party leader in the US Senate. Murray's office didn't respond to a request for comment on whether she'd run for the job and, besides a general <a href="http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/newsreleases?ID=2e8573fe-0cf2-419d-b777-7c8102319171" target="_blank">statement</a> praising Reid, was notably quiet on Friday.</p> <p>In 2013, I cowrote a <a href="http://prospect.org/article/patty-murray-19-takes" target="_blank">profile of Murray for <em>The American Prospect</em></a> looking at her role in leading Democrats' negotiations with Republicans on the budget, and explained how she's a pragmatic progressive who will push for the most liberal policies she can pass while still being willing to forge compromise with the centrists in her party:</p> <blockquote> <p>There's something peculiarly undefined about Murray's ideology. She's a liberal, a West Coast liberal to be precise: strong on social issues, the environment, workers' rights, and the government's role in society. She hews closely to the Democratic talking points of the day. But it's hard to discern a coherent vision or theory behind her views. She is as far left as you can go without alienating the centrists in the party. More than anything, she's a pragmatist. Success trumps belief in the "right" things. At the same time, Murray doesn't venerate moderation for its own sake&mdash;she's no Rahm Emanuel. "She's a strong progressive," says a former Budget Committee staff member, "but she won't tilt at windmills, she won't force a vote on something she knows she's not going to win."</p> </blockquote> <p>Murray certainly has the r&eacute;sum&eacute; to compete for the job. She led the Democrats' campaign arm in 2012, when the party picked up two Senate seats, defying pundits' predictions. She <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/budget-deal-is-not-compromise-murray-ryan" target="_blank">forged a budget agreement</a> with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2013 that averted across-the-board budget cuts. Murray is generally press-shy&mdash;she flies home across the country each weekend instead of doing the Sunday show circuit&mdash;which would leave room for other Senate stars, including Warren, to be the party's public face while Murray controls the behind-the-scenes negotiations. But as that budget committee staffer told me in 2013, Murray isn't known for picking fights she can't win. If she runs against Schumer, it'll be because she thinks she has a real shot at Reid's post.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Top Stories Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:58:21 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 272506 at http://www.motherjones.com Harry Reid Announces His Retirement http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/harry-reid-announces-his-retirement <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Update, 12:26 p.m.:</strong> Shortly after announcing his retirement, Reid <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/27/harry-reid-endorses-chuck-schumer-to-succeed-him-as-senate-minority-leader/" target="_blank">endorsed</a> Sen. Chuck&nbsp;Schumer (D-N.Y.) to replace him. "I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,&rdquo; he told the <em>Washington Post</em> in an interview at his DC residence.&nbsp;</p> <p>Senate Minority&nbsp;Leader Harry Reid <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/us/politics/senator-harry-reid-retire.html?smid=tw-bna" target="_blank">announced on Friday </a>he will not be seeking reelection when his term comes to an end next year. He announced his retirement in a YouTube video:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>My life&rsquo;s work has been to make Nevada and our nation better. Thank you for giving me that wonderful opportunity. <a href="https://t.co/dwy2rDWYhO">https://t.co/dwy2rDWYhO</a></p> &mdash; Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenatorReid/status/581422891285245952">March 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The decision to retire, the 75-year-old senator from Nevada said, "has absolutely nothing to do" with the injury he sustained back in January from an exercising accident or his new role as minority leader following the Democrats' loss during the midterm elections. In an interview with the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/us/politics/senator-harry-reid-retire.html?smid=tw-bna" target="_blank">he explained</a>, "I want to be able to go out at the top of my game. I don&rsquo;t want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter."</p> <p>In the video, Reid continues with a message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, "Don't be too elated. I'm going to be here for 22 more months, and you know what I'm going to be doing? The same thing I've done since I first came to the Senate. We have to make sure the Democrats take control of the Senate again."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Video Congress Elections Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:21:47 +0000 Inae Oh 272486 at http://www.motherjones.com This Lawmaker Publicly Discussed Her Rape and Abortion. And Some Dude Laughed. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/ohio-abortion-heartbeat-bill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>While speaking out against a proposed bill in Ohio that aims to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) revealed on Wednesday she had been raped during her time in the military and chose to have an abortion.</p> <p>"You don't respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice," <a href="http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2015/03/25/Ohio-House-votes-across-party-lines-for-heartbeat-abortion-bill.html" target="_blank">Fedor said before the state senate.</a> "What you're doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I've sat here too long."</p> <p>Her testimony comes just weeks after an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/arizona-lawmaker-abortion-molested" target="_blank">Arizona lawmaker</a> shared details about her own abortion, which she had after being sexually assaulted by a male relative when she was a young girl. In a later editorial for <a href="http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/interviews/a37718/victoria-steele-sexual-assault-arizona/" target="_blank"><em>Cosmopolitan</em></a>, Rep. Victoria Steele said that while she was glad to have spoken out and share her story during the legislative debate, she resented the fact that "women have to tell their deepest, darkest traumas in public" in order for lawmakers to grasp how dangerous such anti-abortion bills were to women and their health.</p> <p>In Fedor's case, not only did she feel she had to share her trauma with her colleagues, at one point she was forced to pause and address the fact a man appeared to be laughing at her while she spoke.</p> <p>"I see people laughing and I don't appreciate that," she said. "And it happens to be a man who is laughing. But this is serious business right now and I'm speaking for all the women in the state of Ohio who didn't get the opportunity to be in front of that committee and make this statement."</p> <p>Ohio's House Bill 69 eventually <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2015/03/ohio_house_approves_heartbeat.html" target="_blank">passed </a>with a 55-40 vote. The legislation now goes to the senate, and if passed, will make it a fifth-degree felony and result in up to $2,500 and possible jail time for doctors who perform the abortions.</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height='354""' id="flashObj" width="630"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=4134552171001&amp;playerID=1148472331001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAABCveqeEk~,BRLBX-1yBlngZ35whr_dStkPV5pOiI5Q&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true"><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com"><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=4134552171001&amp;playerID=1148472331001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAABCveqeEk~,BRLBX-1yBlngZ35whr_dStkPV5pOiI5Q&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height='354""' name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630"></embed></object></body></html> MoJo Video Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:42:45 +0000 Inae Oh 272451 at http://www.motherjones.com Wondering What Happens in the Cockpit of a Crashing Plane? Read This Story. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/wondering-what-happens-cockpit-plane-crash-read-story <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>An international airliner falls out of the sky, seemingly for no reason. A cryptic recording from the cockpit voice recorder. The crash of Germanwings flight 9525 on Tuesday has, at least in the early going, left investigators with a lot of puzzling questions. It's also drawn obvious parallels to an earlier incident&mdash;the 1999 crash of EgyptAir 990 off the coast of Massachusetts.</p> <p>That crash, which killed 217 people, was ultimately chalked up to "<span class="st">manipulation of the airplane controls,</span>" according to the National Transporation Safety Board. But that euphemism left a lot unsaid. In <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/11/the-crash-of-egyptair-990/302332/" target="_blank">a masterful piece in the <em>Atlantic</em> in 2001</a>, reporter William Langewiesche sought to piece together the mystery of what actually happened:</p> <blockquote> <p>I remember first hearing about the accident early in the morning after the airplane went down. It was October 31, 1999, Halloween morning. I was in my office when a fellow pilot, a former flying companion, phoned with the news: It was EgyptAir Flight 990, a giant twin-engine Boeing 767 on the way from New York to Cairo, with 217 people aboard. It had taken off from Kennedy Airport in the middle of the night, climbed to 33,000 feet, and flown normally for half an hour before mysteriously plummeting into the Atlantic Ocean sixty miles south of Nantucket. Rumor had it that the crew had said nothing to air-traffic control, that the flight had simply dropped off the New York radar screens. Soon afterward an outbound Air France flight had swung over the area, and had reported no fires in sight&mdash;only a dim and empty ocean far below. It was remotely possible that Flight 990 was still in the air somewhere, diverting toward a safe landing. But sometime around daybreak a Merchant Marine training ship spotted debris floating on the waves&mdash;aluminum scraps, cushions and clothing, some human remains. The midshipmen on board gagged from the stench of jet fuel&mdash;a planeload of unburned kerosene rising from shattered tanks on the ocean floor, about 250 feet below. By the time rescue ships and helicopters arrived, it was obvious that there would be no survivors. I remember reacting to the news with regret for the dead, followed by a thought for the complexity of the investigation that now lay ahead. This accident had the markings of a tough case. The problem was not so much the scale of the carnage&mdash;a terrible consequence of the 767's size&mdash;but, rather, the still-sketchy profile of the upset that preceded it, this bewildering fall out of the sky on a calm night, without explanation, during an utterly uncritical phase of the flight.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read the entire piece <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/11/the-crash-of-egyptair-990/302332/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo International Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:52:52 +0000 Tim Murphy 272441 at http://www.motherjones.com "Everything Could Be Taken Away From Me": Watch This Woman Bravely Fight an Anti-Transgender Bill http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/03/florida-transgender-bathroom-cindy-sullivan <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As Florida lawmakers continue to consider a bill aiming to make it a criminal act for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/transgender-bathroom-discrimination-bills" target="_blank">transgender people</a> to use the bathroom of their choice, we'd like to direct your attention to Cindy Sullivan, who spoke out against the bill in incredibly brave and <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/national/transgender-woman-makes-tearful-testimony-in-fla/2015/03/06/bb2f14f8-c42b-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d_video.html%20James%20West%20%5B3:41%20PM%5D" target="_blank">emotional testimony</a> earlier this month.</p> <p>"I see this bill as effecting not just my business but my partner's business," Sullivan said. "If I go to use the restroom, everybody in that restroom has the ability to sue me and my family, affect my child, affect my reputation. Everything could be taken away from me."</p> <p>"You could put me in jail for being me!"</p> <p>As her tears well, Sullivan repeatedly looks behind her shoulder, as the bill's sponsor, state representative Frank Artiles watches on.</p> <p>House Bill 583 has already been approved by <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/24/papers-to-pee-texas-kentucky-and-florida-consider-anti-transgender-bills" target="_blank">two subcommittees</a> and is expected to be reviewed by the house judiciary committee later this week. In Kentucky and Texas, lawmakers are attempting to pass similar anti-transgender legislation. All three states have the support and financial backing of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an influential conservative group.</p> <p>Sullivan, who began her testimony noting she too was a Republican, slammed the bill as "government intrusion at its worst."</p> <p>"I'm a throw-away piece of trash, in this country of freedom, and liberty, and respect."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/c/embed/bb2f14f8-c42b-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Video Civil Liberties Gay Rights Sex and Gender Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:37:48 +0000 Inae Oh 272391 at http://www.motherjones.com Ted Cruz Expected to Headline Event With a Man Who Compared Muslims to Nazis http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/ted-cruz-GOP-presidential-candidate-robert-spencer-jihad-watch <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who announced his candidacy for President on Monday via Twitter, is expected to speak <a href="http://www.yaf.org/eventdetails.aspx?id=13203" target="_blank">at</a> the Young America's Foundation's "New England Freedom Conference" in Nashua, New Hampshire on Friday.</p> <p>Also on the lineup is Robert Spencer, the co-founder of Stop Islamization of America and director of the Jihad Watch blog. He is notorious for his attacks on Islam. "It's absurd" to think that "Islam is a religion of peace that's been hijacked by &hellip; extremists," he <a href="http://mediamatters.org/video/2010/02/22/jihad-watchs-spencer-its-absurd-to-think-that-i/160747">said</a> at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. He has <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/03/terrorist-inspirer-robert-spencer-compares-muslims-to-nazis-says-muslims-cant-be-trusted/">compared Muslims to Nazis</a> and <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/03/robert-spencer-muslim-appointees-deserve-special-loyalty-test-video/">demanded</a> that Muslims take a loyalty test before being appointed to public office in America. He has told reporters that Islam is <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/09/fathima-rifqa-bary-update-no-abuse-found/">here to take over America</a>, and that President Barack Obama is <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/robert-spencer-watch-obama-may-be-a-mooslim/">secretly</a> a Muslim. His book opens with the rallying cry of the Crusades, "God wills it!" and he calls for a second crusade <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/do-muslims-want-to-reimpose-dhimmitude-or-live-as-equals/#tagcloud">against Islam</a>.</p> <p>The conference, to be hosted at the Radisson in southeast New Hampshire, <a href="http://www.yaf.org/eventdetails.aspx?id=13203">bills itself</a> as a conservative gathering on "why big government policies are a big problem" and "ways to effectively push back against leftist, big government threats to your freedoms." It's hosted by the Young America's Foundation, which has previously been linked to extremists. Young Americans for Freedom, which merged with the Young America's Foundation in 2011, hosted an event <a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001c1cZksnKo9TRcqsmnQl8MW08hszIRDbRg4L3-93lle6VQA4hHmBNLekPoxkDKCAZBFop_au46I2MgdcWv-xHhUlvcifmbI9-WXRVbHrKC7hOw0Hy2vXUifD88BZaKuDZcM9zFI3BlzzRctNa_pbm5HwqoUzo5RPeOqNtec7cTnpofuw6UUsxR3he92fj2LuhLZO8EIXyU3nwnZRwfWrUagcTwM9exaVRAQrS_Gd6Y8wEMAVlt0Vgb6lXpD78QRG-rwFTbRjyQa7E_v5VhNkDQTnluqCyHSR6Vpb0jbPF_c4=&amp;c=Zu7GojTVYR9YouYv6xSy5D6xOxmBbnT0F36MDp72l4whWxV-Zuq8ng==&amp;ch=XOHfV-PSFGpE46WmBTPruvS-IhCvyTJlGonEawVFCbJFqboDIPTOow==">in 2007</a> in which Nick Griffin&mdash; who was the chairman of the British National Party, a white supremacist group, and a Holocaust denier&mdash;spoke. Two board members of Young America's Foundation, Ron Robinson and James B. Taylor, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/ron-robinson-james-b-taylor-young-americas-foundation-white-nationalists">also ran</a> a political action committee that donated thousands of dollars to a white nationalist organization, the Charles Martel Society.</p> <p>The Council on American Islamic Relations criticized Cruz for agreeing to speak at a conference that is providing a platform to Spencer. "If Senator Cruz believes that he can campaign for president while sharing center stage with a professional hate monger like Robert Spencer, I seriously doubt his ability to win the US minority vote or unite the country as president," said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw.</p> <p>"Senator Cruz has been invited to speak to Young America's Foundation," says Rick Tyler, a spokesperson for Cruz's campaign. "He intends to keep that commitment."</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Religion Ted Cruz The Right Top Stories Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:36:13 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 272366 at http://www.motherjones.com Everything Changed on 9/11, Starting With Ted Cruz's Musical Taste http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/why-ted-cruz-hates-rock-music <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height="270" id="flashObj" width="480"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=4131746112001&amp;linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.slate.com%2Fblogs%2Fthe_slatest%2F2015%2F03%2F24%2Fted_cruz_country_music_9_11_pandering_video.html&amp;playerID=58264559001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAASoY90~,_gW1ZHvKG_0UvBsh7aZU7MXZe77OcsGq&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true"><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com"><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=4131746112001&amp;linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.slate.com%2Fblogs%2Fthe_slatest%2F2015%2F03%2F24%2Fted_cruz_country_music_9_11_pandering_video.html&amp;playerID=58264559001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAASoY90~,_gW1ZHvKG_0UvBsh7aZU7MXZe77OcsGq&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height="270" name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480"></embed></object> <p>During a segment of <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/ted-cruz-my-music-tastes-changed-on-911/" target="_blank">CBS's <em>This Morning</em> show</a>, Senator Ted Cruz attempted to explain how the attacks on September 11&nbsp;moved him to shun the soulless genre of rock music and pick up country:</p> <blockquote> <p>You know, music is interesting. I grew up listening to classic rock and I&rsquo;ll tell you sort of an odd story. My music tastes changed on 9/11. And it&rsquo;s a very strange&mdash;I actually, intellectually, find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn&rsquo;t like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me and I have to say, it&mdash;just as a gut level, I had an emotional reaction that says, &ldquo;These are my people.&rdquo; And so ever since 2001 I listen to country music, but I&rsquo;m an odd country music fan because I didn&rsquo;t listen to it prior to 2001.</p> </blockquote> <p>September 11, the day the music died for our only declared presidential candidate and now the phoniest dude you'll run into at a country concert. This is going to be a wildly entertaining road to 2016.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/03/24/ted_cruz_country_music_9_11_pandering_video.html?wpsrc=fol_tw" target="_blank">(h/t Slate</a></em>)</p></body></html> MoJo Video 2016 Elections Music Ted Cruz Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:26:54 +0000 Inae Oh 272291 at http://www.motherjones.com Police: There Is "No Evidence" of Gang Rape Detailed in Rolling Stone's UVA Story http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/police-conclude-there-no-evidence-gang-rape-detailed-rolling-stones-uva-story <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a news conference on Monday, the Charlottesville Police Department announced it would suspend an investigation into the University of Virginia rape allegations first detailed in an explosive <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119" target="_blank"><em>Rolling Stone</em> article</a> published last November. The police said they found <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/evidence-back-uva-fraternity-rape-allegations-police-investigation/story?id=29841952" target="_blank">"no evidence" </a>supporting the claims of the student <em>Rolling Stone </em>identified as Jackie.</p> <p>"I can't prove that something didn't happen, and there may come a point in time in which this survivor, or this complaining party or someone else, may come forward with some information that might help us move this investigation further," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/us/police-to-release-results-of-uva-rape-inquiry.html" target="_blank">Police Chief Tim Longo told reporters</a>. He also stressed the inquiry was not permanently closed.</p> <p>According to Longo, Jackie did not cooperate with police officials, who conducted nearly 70 interviews, including speaking with Jackie's friends and members of UVA's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Jackie alleged her 2012 rape occurred in Phi Kappa Psi's fraternity house.</p> <p>The results of the investigation follow a turbulent four months for the magazine, after news outlets such as <em>Slate</em> and the <em>Washington Post </em>unearthed major errors compromising <em>Rolling Stone</em>'s story.<em> </em>The magazine acknowledged the discrepancies, saying it had "misplaced its trust" in Jackie.</p> <p>The story, however, fueled a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/college-campus-rape-sexual-assault-stats-rolling-stone-uva" target="_blank">national conversation</a> over campus sexual assault. An independent investigation led by Columbia University's School of Journalism is expected to be released in the <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/print/columbia-to-release-review-of-rolling-stones-questionable-uva-rape-story/" target="_blank">coming weeks.</a></p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Media Sex and Gender Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:01:27 +0000 Inae Oh 272241 at http://www.motherjones.com The Boston Globe Really, Really Wants Elizabeth Warren to Run for President http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/boston-globe-really-really-wants-elizabeth-warren-run-president <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Sunday, the editorial board of the <em>Boston Globe</em> published a <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/03/21/democrats-need-elizabeth-warren-voice-presidential-race/TJkJtbu3UYaJYBmVHcrAcI/story.html?wpisrc=nl_readin&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank">four-part argument</a> urging Senator Elizabeth Warren to run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. The editorial, which touted Warren's commitment to reducing income inequality, warned Democrats that allowing "Clinton [to] coast to the presidential nomination without real opposition" would be a big mistake.</p> <p>"Unlike Clinton, or any of the prospective Republican candidates, Warren has made closing the economic gaps in America her main political priority, in a career that has included standing up for homeowners facing illegal foreclosures and calling for more bankruptcy protections," the <em>Globe</em>'s editorial board argued. "If she runs, it&rsquo;ll ensure that those issues take their rightful place at the center of the national political debate."</p> <p>The paper went onto argue that even on issues, such as strengthening financial regulations, on which Clinton and Warren agree, it was difficult to imagine&nbsp;a "President Clinton enforcing the Dodd-Frank legislation with as much vigor as a President Warren" at a time when income inequality remains a high priority for many Americans.</p> <p>Although Warren has repeatedly said she is not interested in running for president, Sunday's editorial comes at somewhat of a vulnerable moment for Clinton, who's still dealing with the controversy surrounding her exclusive use of a personal email account while serving as secretary of state. Although the controversy doesn't appear to have damaged Clinton's popularity with top <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-usa-politics-clinton-donors-idUSKBN0M604820150310" target="_blank">Democratic donors</a>, it has further underscored the serious lack of viable challengers to her nomination.</p> <p>"Fairly or not, many Americans already view Clinton skeptically, and waltzing to the nomination may actually hurt her in the November election against the Republican nominee," the <em>Globe </em>argued.</p> <p>If Warren were to remain uninterested in a run, the editorial board said she should continue her efforts to reduce income inequality and "help recruit candidates" to advance her signature cause.</p> <p>To read the editorial in its entirety, visit the <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/03/21/democrats-need-elizabeth-warren-voice-presidential-race/TJkJtbu3UYaJYBmVHcrAcI/story.html?wpisrc=nl_readin&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank"><em>Boston Globe. </em></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Income Inequality Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:47:53 +0000 Inae Oh 272201 at http://www.motherjones.com Ted Cruz's First Campaign Stop: the Birthplace of the "Clinton Body Count" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/ted-cruz-liberty-university-falwell-clinton-bodycount <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LihB7ZoGf4c?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/ted-cruz-running-president" target="_blank">launched his presidential campaign</a> on Monday at Virginia's Liberty University, a private Christian college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Liberty has become a mandatory stop for aspiring Republican candidates&mdash;and it's not just for the campus museum exhibit of the<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/road-trip-blog/2010/07/day-jerry-falwell-museum" target="_blank"> taxidermied bear that Falwell's father once wrestled</a>. Liberty is perhaps the premier academic institution of the religious right, and Cruz's choice of venue sends a clear message that he's trying to position himself in 2016 Republican field as a social conservative crusader&mdash;and that he's counting on evangelicals for support.</p> <p>But Liberty University and its controversial founder have additional significance to the 2016 presidential race. During the 1990s, the anti-gay pastor did more than anyone to popularize the so-called "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-conspiracy-theories" target="_blank">Clinton Body Count</a>"&mdash;the notion that Bill and Hillary Clinton had been responsible for dozens of murders during and after their time in Arkansas. This conspiracy theory was the centerpiece of a 1994 film called the <em>Clinton Chronicles</em>, which Falwell helped distribute to hundreds of thousands of conservatives across the country.</p> <p>Despite Falwell's best efforts, though, President Bill Clinton won his 1996 re-election campaign, and the episode helped reinforce the pastor's reputation as a bigoted crank. Republican candidates will find it hard to avoid Falwell's institution as the 2016 campaign heats up. We'll see if they've learned from his mistakes, too, when it comes to taking on the Clinton political machine.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Ted Cruz Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:29:49 +0000 Tim Murphy 272181 at http://www.motherjones.com "That Tree Is So Perfect For Lynching": NC State Frat Suspended Over Alleged Link to Outrageously Offensive Pledge Book http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/nc-state-university-frats-suspended <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Update: The Associated Press <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fdc35f6e45634e268c91606c00dbcd39/2-fraternities-suspended-nc-state-amid-investigations" target="_blank">reports</a> that&nbsp;North Carolina State University</em><em>&nbsp;will temporarily ban alcohol from&nbsp;social events at more than 20 fraternities. The ban&nbsp;would not apply to historically black Greek organizations or the Multicultural Greek Council.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Amid ire over&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/03/09/with-their-fraternity-closed-oklahoma-universitys-sigma-alpha-epsilon-members-move-out/" target="_blank">racist activity at the Sigma Alpha Episilon chapter</a> at Oklahoma University that led to its shut down, a pair of fraternities at North Carolina State University are under investigation this month&mdash;one for sexual assault and drug allegations, the other for its relationship to a book containing derogatory and racially charged language.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, according to a search warrant obtained by <em>The&nbsp;News &amp; Observer</em>, campus police seized <a href="http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article15338534.html" target="_blank">drug paraphernalia, white powder and an orange liquid</a>&nbsp;at the Alpha Tau Omega house after a student, who had <a href="http://abc11.com/news/nc-state-fraternity-suspended-from-campus/564928/" target="_blank">also&nbsp;reported </a>she was sexually assaulted at the house, said she saw at least one of the fraternity's members dealing cocaine, ecstasy and LSD at the house. No arrests or charges have been made in connection to either the drug or sexual assault inquiries.</p> <p>The fraternity was suspended two days after the student filed the sexual assault complaint with campus police. Alpha Tau Omega CEO Wynn Smily <a href="http://abc11.com/news/nc-state-fraternity-suspended-from-campus/564928/" target="_blank">told </a>WTVD the drug paraphernalia belonged to a pledge and that he had been kicked out of the house. "It's devastating for the organization's reputation," Smiley said. "It's very unsettling and it's too bad this has all happened." He went on to accuse the alleged victim in the investigation of lying.&nbsp;</p> <p>"What she claims was happening in the chapter house was not happening. This woman's claims to police that she saw all kind of drug activity going on in the house, we believe that to be at best wildly exaggerated and in many cases, fabricated. Her credibility throughout this whole process has been certainly in question."</p> <p>Meanwhile, the discovery of an apparent pledge book linked to the Pi Kappa Phi chapter at NC State has led to a school probe. <a href="http://www.wral.com/nc-state-fraternity-placed-on-interim-suspension-after-embarrassing-scary-book-found/14526403/#6V98yxuypG7k63zm.99" target="_blank">WRAL reported</a> that the book, found at a restaurant near campus, contained disturbing racial and sexual commentary. Some of the handwritten comments included:&nbsp;</p> <p>"It will be short and painful, just like when I rape you."</p> <p>"If she's hot enough, she doesn't need a pulse."</p> <p>"That tree is so perfect for lynching."&nbsp;</p> <p>The chapter has been temporarily suspended as a result of the inquiry. In a statement on the&nbsp;fraternity's national website, CEO Mark Timmes <a href="http://www.pikapp.org/contentnomenu.aspx?id=5454" target="_blank">said</a> it would cooperate with the school's investigation. "The written comments and quotes reported earlier this evening are offensive and unacceptable. These statements are inconsistent with the values of Pi Kappa Phi and will not be tolerated."</p> <p>The investigations follow a&nbsp;string of behavioral misconduct at fraternities&nbsp;across the country. The Kappa Delta Rho fraternity at Penn State University was suspended for a year on Tuesday after a former member told police about two&nbsp;private Facebook pages in which members shared photos of nude and partially nude women, drug sales and hazing,&nbsp;according to a probable cause affidavit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150318_PSU_frat_suspended_for_secret__nude_Facebook_page.html" target="_blank">obtained by <em>The Philadelphia Inquirer</em></a>. The pages included photos of nude and partially nude women, some of whom appeared asleep or&nbsp;passed out.&nbsp;The fraternity <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20150319_PSU_brothers_could_face__revenge_porn__charges.html" target="_blank">could face criminal charges</a> under the state's&nbsp;"revenge porn" law that went into effect in September.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Sex and Gender Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:36:41 +0000 Edwin Rios 272136 at http://www.motherjones.com After Mother Jones Report, University of Arkansas Pulls Diary Critical of the Clintons http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/university-arkansas-pulls-bumpers-diary-clinton <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, I <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/dale-bumpers-bill-hillary-clinton-diary" target="_blank">reported</a> on the newly public diary of retired Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.), the longtime Clinton ally, which is included in the 89-year-old's personal papers at the University of Arkansas. In entries penned during the 1980s, Bumpers was highly critical of the Clintons, dishing on the future First Couple's "obsessive" qualities and alleged "dirty tricks" by Bill Clinton's gubernatorial campaign. Bumpers, who gave the closing argument for the defense in President Clinton's impeachment trial, became a close friend and confidante of the president later in his career. But the previously unreported entries revealed a more tense relationship in the early going, as Clinton vied for political elbow room with the Democratic icon.</p> <p>In response to the <em>Mother Jones</em> piece, the University of Arkansas library has pulled the diary from its collection at the request of Bumpers' son, Brent. Per the <a href="http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/mar/20/ua-says-deed-of-gift-for-bumpers-papers/" target="_blank"><em>Arkansas Democrat&ndash;Gazette</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Brent Bumpers of Little Rock, son of the former senator, said he was "shocked" by the diary. He has questioned its origin and authenticity, saying nobody in the family had ever heard anything about Dale Bumpers keeping a dairy.</p> <p>Brent Bumpers said his father, who is 89 years old, doesn't remember keeping a diary. He said Dale Bumpers always admired the Clintons and wouldn't have written the things the diary contains.</p> <p>Brent Bumpers said he wants to review the diary, but he won't have the opportunity for several days.</p> <p>Although Dale Bumpers hasn't personally requested that the diary be pulled, Laura Jacobs, UA associate vice chancellor for university relations, said Brent Bumpers is speaking and acting on behalf of his father regarding the Dale Bumpers Papers.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the Bumpers diary could not have been written by anyone but Dale Bumpers. When not commenting on the various politicians he interacted with, it is filled with personal musings on his wife, Betty, and three kids; the strains of the job; can't-miss events such as the annual Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival; and the trials of a first-time candidate at an Iowa presidential cattle call&mdash;all interspersed with the thoughtful reflections of a lawmaker who was generally regarded as such.</p> <p>This is the second time in the last year that the University of Arkansas has made news by restricting access to a political archive in its special collections. Last year, the university's library <a href="http://freebeacon.com/politics/clinton-donor-bans-free-beacon-from-university-of-arkansas-archives/" target="_blank">blocked</a> the <em>Washington Free Beacon</em>, a conservative news outlet, from accessing its collections because of a dispute over publishing rights. (The library ultimately <a href="http://freebeacon.com/issues/unconditional-surrender/" target="_blank">backed down</a>.)</p> <p>With Hillary Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush both running for president, reporters (and opposition researchers) will have more access to archival records than perhaps ever before. The two candidates have nearly a century of public life between them; that's a heck of a paper trail. This may not be the last time a little-noticed archive makes news.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:19:39 +0000 Tim Murphy 272141 at http://www.motherjones.com This Declassified CIA Report Shows the Shaky Case for the Iraq War http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/cia-iraq-bush-wmd-report <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The United States began its invasion of Iraq 12 years ago. Yesterday, a previously classified Central Intelligence Agency report containing supposed proof of the country's weapons of mass destruction was published by Jason Leopold of <em><a href="https://news.vice.com/article/the-cia-just-declassified-the-document-that-supposedly-justified-the-iraq-invasion" target="_blank">Vice News</a></em>.<strong> </strong>Put together nine months before the start of the war, the National Intelligence Estimate spells out what the CIA knew about Iraq's ability to produce biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. It would become the backbone of the Bush administration's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/leadup-iraq-war-timeline" target="_blank">mistaken assertions</a> that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and posed a direct threat to the post-9/11 world.</p> <p>The report is rife with what now are obvious red flags that the Bush White House oversold the case for war. It asserts that Iraq had an active chemical weapons program at one point, though it admits that the CIA had found no evidence of the program's continuation. It repeatedly includes caveats like "credible evidence is limited." It gives little space to the doubts of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which found the CIA's findings on Iraq's nuclear program unconvincing and "at best ambiguous."</p> <p>This isn't the first time the report's been released in full: A version was made public in 2004, but nearly all the <a href="http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB129/" target="_blank">text was redacted</a>. Last year, transparency advocate <a href="http://www.theblackvault.com/" target="_blank">John Greenwald</a> successfully petitioned the CIA for a more complete version. Greenwald shared the document with Leopold.</p> <p>Here's the full report:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1689902-cia-2002-iraq-report">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1689902-cia-2002-iraq-report.js", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1689902-cia-2002-iraq-report" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1689902/cia-2002-iraq-report.pdf">CIA 2002 Iraq Report (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1689902/cia-2002-iraq-report.txt">CIA 2002 Iraq Report (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Foreign Policy Iraq Military Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:31:54 +0000 Julia Lurie 272106 at http://www.motherjones.com Facebook Is Being Sued for Gender and Racial Discrimination. Here's Why. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/facebook-being-sued-gender-and-racial-discrimination <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a lawsuit filed against Facebook on Monday, former employee Chia Hong accused the company of gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and sex harassment.<a href="#correction">*</a> She is represented by Lawless &amp; Lawless, the same law firm representing Ellen Pao in the high-profile <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/03/here-are-some-ridiculous-things-weve-learned-about-silicon-valley-ellen-pao-trial" target="_blank">gender discrimination case</a> against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. (And yes, Lawless really is the last name of the two sisters who head the firm.)</p> <p>Hong, who worked as a product manager at Facebook until October 2013, alleges that she suffered from discrimination by her boss, Anil Wilson, and dozens of other coworkers during her three years at the company. She also claims that she was wrongfully terminated after complaining about the harassment and discrimination.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1689552-259169039-chia-hong-vs-facebook" target="_blank">complaint</a> states that Facebook employment policies were "neutral on their face" but "resulted in a disparate impact" on Hong, due to her gender:</p> <blockquote> <p>The harassment included, but was not limited to, ANIL WILSON regularly ignoring or belittling plaintiff's professional opinions and input at group meetings in which she was the only woman or one of very few; asking plaintiff why she did not just stay home and take care of her child instead of having a career; admonishing plaintiff for taking one personal day per month to volunteer at her child' s school, which was permitted under company policy; ordering plaintiff to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues, which was not a part of plaintiff's job description and not something that was requested of males with whom she worked; and telling plaintiff he had heard she was an "order taker," by which he meant that she did not exercise independent discretion in the execution of her job duties.</p> </blockquote> <p>It also alleges racial discrimination against her:</p> <blockquote> <p>The discrimination included, but was not limited to, plaintiff having her professional opinions belittled or ignored at group meetings in which she was one of the only employees of Chinese descent; plaintiff being told that she was not integrated into the team because she looks different and talks differently than other team members, and plaintiff being replaced by a less qualified, less experienced Indian male.</p> </blockquote> <p>This latest case comes as various Silicon Valley companies are struggling to diversify their conspicuously <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/05/google-diversity-labor-gender-race-gap-workers-silicon-valley" target="_blank">white, male workforces</a>. According to a <a href="http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/06/building-a-more-diverse-facebook/" target="_blank">report</a> issued by Facebook last June, 69 percent of its employees are male&mdash;including 77 percent among senior staff and 85 percent among its tech workers. The report also found that Facebook's overall workforce was 57 percent white and 34 percent Asian.</p> <p>In a statement to <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/18/facebook-sued-by-former-staffer-alleging-sex-discrimination-harassment-other-charges/#qb74Oe:Jvnu" target="_blank">TechCrunch</a> on Wednesday about the lawsuit, a Facebook spokesperson refuted Hong's allegations: "We work extremely hard on issues related to diversity, gender and equality, and we believe we&rsquo;ve made progress. In this case we have substantive disagreements on the facts, and we believe the record shows the employee was treated fairly."</p> <p id="correction"><em>Correction: The initial version of this post misstated the allegation as "sexual harassment."</em></p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Sex and Gender Tech Thu, 19 Mar 2015 19:59:40 +0000 Julia Lurie 272076 at http://www.motherjones.com UVA Student's Violent Arrest Sparks Outrage and Calls for #JusticeForMartese http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/martese-johnson-uva <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Images and footage capturing the arrest of Martese Johnson, a University of Virginia student <a href="http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2015/03/university-student-honor-committee-member-martese-johnson-arrested" target="_blank">who needed 10 stitches</a> after being arrested by state liquor police for allegedly having a fake ID, prompted large protests at UVA's Charlottesville campus on Wednesday, with hundreds of students gathering to demand justice.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>UVa looking so powerful <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JusticeForMartese?src=hash">#JusticeForMartese</a> <a href="http://t.co/rGj0JLpplp">pic.twitter.com/rGj0JLpplp</a></p> &mdash; Sophie Abramowitz (@NewSoftShoe) <a href="https://twitter.com/NewSoftShoe/status/578349861805764608">March 19, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Johnson, 20-years-old and a member of the school's Honor Committee, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/bloody-arrest-university-virginia-student-prompts-police-review-n326226" target="_blank">was arrested on Tuesday</a> by officers from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as bystanders recorded the bloody encounter. In one video, Johnson's head appears covered in blood, and he screams "you fucking racists." According to Johnson's lawyer, he was <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/03/18/3635934/university-virigina-honor-student-brutally-beaten-cops-allegedly-fake-id/" target="_blank">charged</a> with "obstructing justice without force" and public intoxication.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0faIzE0TSJA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>After footage of the arrest emerged online, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe launched an investigation into the incident.</p> <p>"Governor McAuliffe is concerned by the reports of this incident and has asked the Secretary of Public Safety to initiate an independent Virginia State Police investigation into the use of force in this matter," his office said in a<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/salvadorhernandez/university-of-virginia-martese-johnson-arrest#.oi7oe63M" target="_blank"> statement.</a></p> <p>It is unclear what led to the arrest. A statement from the state's liquor agents <a href="http://www.nbc12.com/story/28557455/mike-martese-rally" target="_blank">said</a> that "a determination was made by the agents to further detain the individual based on their observations and further questioning." On Wednesday night, Johnson joined the demonstrators and appeared with a gash wound to the head.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Photos from protest at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UVa?src=hash">#UVa</a> in response to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarteseJohnson?src=hash">#</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarteseJohnson?src=hash">MarteseJohnson</a>'s injuries from ABC arrest <a href="http://t.co/i6XFYmlsz0">http://t.co/i6XFYmlsz0</a> <a href="http://t.co/rXCJX33Et1">pic.twitter.com/rXCJX33Et1</a></p> &mdash; Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) <a href="https://twitter.com/AJFriedenberger/status/578401590945521664">March 19, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>"His head was slammed into the hard pavement with excessive force," UVA officials said in a <a href="http://president.virginia.edu/speeches-writings/important-message-marcus-l-martin-and-maurice-apprey" target="_blank">released statement.</a> "This was wrong and should not have occurred. In the many years of our medical, professional and leadership roles at the University, we view the nature of this assault as highly unusual and appalling based on the information we have received."</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Absolutely no excuse to justify what's seen in this photo <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JusticeForMartese?src=hash">#JusticeForMartese</a> <a href="http://t.co/qesz2st4eZ">pic.twitter.com/qesz2st4eZ</a></p> &mdash; Jarmere Jenkins (@JarmereJenkins) <a href="https://twitter.com/JarmereJenkins/status/578257261237264384">March 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>IT DOESNT MATTER IF YOURE SAGGIN' OR WEARING A TIE. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JusticeForMartese?src=hash">#JusticeForMartese</a> <a href="http://t.co/w1kEZhqcGk">pic.twitter.com/w1kEZhqcGk</a></p> &mdash; Tyree Boyd-Pates (@TyreeBP) <a href="https://twitter.com/TyreeBP/status/578419714809970688">March 19, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>As images of both the protest and Johnson's arrest flooded online with the hashtag #JusticeForMartese, demonstrators <a href="http://www.nbc12.com/story/28557462/kelly-martese" target="_blank">chanted</a> "black lives matter" and "shut it down."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="true" scrolling="no" src="http://news.yahoo.com/video/governor-launches-investigation-uva-student-132057989.html?format=embed" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Video Race and Ethnicity Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:06:09 +0000 Inae Oh 272061 at http://www.motherjones.com Even Life Insurance Actuaries Are Coming Around on Pot http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/american-actuaries-pot-legalization <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A copy of <em>Contingencies</em>&mdash;the official magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries&mdash;came in the mail on Monday. I don't know why&mdash;I'm not an actuary; I'm not even in a celebrity death pool. But there's some interesting stuff in there. AAA president Mary D. Miller, in a column titled "It Takes an Actuary," boasts that "our world will be more vital than ever" in the era of drones and Big Data, as people find more and more innovative ways to die; the puzzle columnist is retiring.</p> <p>But I was mostly struck <a href="http://www.contingenciesonline.com/contingenciesonline/20150304#pg22" target="_blank">by the cover story</a>:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/contingencies_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Contingencies! </strong>Tim Murphy</div> </div> <p>Weed!</p> <p>With the legalization movement racking up victory after victory, the writer, Hank George, seeks to correct a misunderstanding among his actuarial colleagues&mdash;that marijuana "conferred the same relative mortality risk as cigarette smoking." To the contrary, he writes, "recreational marijuana users enjoy better physical fitness and get more exercise than nonusers" and "have even been shown to have higher IQs." He concludes: "The tide is turning&mdash;life underwriters would be wise to be at the front end of this curve, and not stubbornly digging in their heels to the detriment of their products."</p> <p>For now, at least, life insurers are still holding the line on pot smoke as a vice on par with cigarettes. But it's a testament to how far the legalization movement has grown beyond its hippie roots that even the actuaries are starting to fall in line.</p></body></html> MoJo Health Care Marijuana Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:48:47 +0000 Tim Murphy 271911 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Just Officially Decided White House Emails Aren't Subject to the Freedom of Information Act http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/white-house-officially-decided-its-emails-arent-subject-foia-regulations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Civil liberties advocates are adding another strike to the Obama administration's record on transparency: on Monday, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/16/white-house-foia-regulations-deleted/24844253/" target="_blank">the White House announced</a> that it is officially ending the Freedom of Information Act obligations of its Office of Administration. That office provides broad administrative support to the White House&mdash;including the archiving of emails&mdash;and had been subject to FOIA for much of its nearly four-decade history.</p> <p>In 2007, the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/05/watchdogs-obama-reverse-bush-decision-shielding-missing-emails-docs-disclosure" target="_blank">George W. Bush administration decided</a> that its OA would reject any FOIA requests, freeing it from the burden to release emails regarding any number of Bush-era scandals. When President Obama took office in 2009, transparency advocates were hopeful that he'd strike down the Bush policy&mdash;especially after he claimed transparency would be a "touchstone" of his presidency. <a href="http://www.citizensforethics.org/page/-/PDFs/Legal/Letters/Group_Letter_to_Craig_OA_Status_20090514.pdf?nocdn=1" target="_blank">In a letter that year</a>, advocates from dozens of organizations urged Obama to restore transparency to the OA.</p> <p>He never did, and Monday's move from the White House makes the long-standing policy official. Coincidentally, March 16th was Freedom of Information Day, and this week marks the annual <a href="http://www.sunshineweek.org/" target="_blank">Sunshine Week</a>, which focuses on open government.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Obama Top Stories Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:14:58 +0000 Sam Brodey 271921 at http://www.motherjones.com If You Own a Pitchfork, You Will Grab It When You See This Chart http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/income-inequality-chart-wall-street-bonuses-minimum-wage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This statistic provides a pretty compelling snapshot of the severity of our income gap: In 2014, Wall Street's bonus pool was roughly double the combined earnings of all Americans working full-time jobs at minimum wage.&nbsp;</p> <p>That sobering tidbit came from a new Institute for&nbsp;Policy Studies <a href="http://www.ips-dc.org/deep-end-wall-street/" target="_blank">report</a> by&nbsp;Sarah Anderson, who looked at new figures from the New York State Comptroller and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average bonus for one of&nbsp;New York City's 167,800 employees in the securities industry came out to $172,860&mdash;on top of an average salary of nearly $200,000. On the other side of the equation were about one million people working full time at the federal minimum wage of&nbsp;$7.25.&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/Qgon6/3/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>In a recent <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/upshot/wall-street-bonuses-vs-total-earnings-of-full-time-minimum-wage-workers.html?_r=0" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a> article, Justin Wolfers, a senior fellow for&nbsp;the Peterson Institute for International Economics, picked apart some of the uncertainties that go into creating such a calculation, and ultimately came up with a similar result:</p> <blockquote> <p>The count of workers at federal minimum wage includes only those who are paid hourly, and so omits those paid weekly or monthly. On the flip side, the B.L.S. count is based on income before tips and commissions, and so may overstate the number of people with low hourly earnings. And while my calculation assumed that all minimum wage workers earn $7.25 per hour, in fact many earn less than this, including wait staff and others who rely on tips, some students and young workers, certain farmworkers, and those whose bosses simply flout the minimum wage law.</p> <p>For all of these uncertainties, the broad picture doesn&rsquo;t change. My judgment is that we can be pretty confident that Ms. Anderson's estimate that the sum of Wall Street bonuses is roughly twice the total amount paid to all full-time workers paid minimum wage seems like a fair characterization.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Corporations Economy Income Inequality Mon, 16 Mar 2015 19:50:13 +0000 Julia Lurie 271831 at http://www.motherjones.com This Man Is Missing a Chunk of His Brain. The Missouri Supreme Court Says It's Okay to Execute Him. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/missouri-supreme-court-rules-mentally-ill-man-fit-execution <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Update: <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/missouri-executes-cecil-clayton-missing-part-brain-n325081" target="_blank">Cecil Clayton was executed</a> at 9:21 p.m. Central time on Tuesday, March 17. </em></p> <p>Cecil Clayton, a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/missouri-man-missing-parts-his-brain-might-get-put-death" target="_blank">mentally ill Missouri man facing execution on Tuesday</a>, was denied a crucial avenue to clemency this weekend: The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that Clayton is competent to be executed. But he's missing one-fifth of his frontal lobe.</p> <p>Clayton, 74, was sentenced to death in 1997 for murdering a police officer. Twenty-five years before that,&nbsp;he suffered a horrific accident that caused the removal of significant parts of his brain, transforming his brain chemistry and personality. His lawyers are aiming to secure him a stay of execution and a hearing to evaluate his competency to be executed, but Missouri law makes it highly difficult to do so after the&nbsp;trial.</p> <p>In a 4-3 decision, the state's highest court found that Clayton's lawyers had not presented a sufficiently compelling case for the state to delay his execution and hold a hearing to evaluate his competency. <a href="http://www.kmbc.com/news/missouri-supreme-court-wont-block-execution-of-deputys-killer/31808994" target="_blank">The majority argued</a> that though Clayton suffers from debilitating dementia, paranoia, schizophrenia, and a host of other conditions, "there is no evidence that he is not capable of understanding 'matters in extenuation, arguments for executive clemency, or reasons why the sentence should not be carried out.'"</p> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1687388-missouri-supreme-court-clayton-dissent" target="_blank">In their dissent</a>, the three judges in the minority&nbsp;wrote that Clayton's lawyers presented reasonable grounds that his "mental condition has deteriorated and he is intellectually disabled." They noted that he is "incompetent to be executed and&hellip;is entitled to a hearing at which his competence will be determined." And they contended that the "majority's decision to proceed with the execution at this time and in these circumstances violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment."&nbsp;</p> <p>A few options remain for Clayton. On Monday, Clayton's lawyers filed a petition to the US Supreme Court to stay the execution. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) also can stay the execution and order a competency hearing. Clayton is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection&mdash;a method his attorneys claim could cause him a "prolonged and excruciating" death&mdash;at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Top Stories death penalty Mon, 16 Mar 2015 18:26:30 +0000 Sam Brodey 271871 at http://www.motherjones.com Key Obama Adviser: "There’s Never Been a Time When We’ve Taken Progressive Action and Regretted It" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/obama-liberal-white-house <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here to jump start your weekend is a "Quote of the Week," taken from Jonathan Chait's <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/03/dan-pfeiffer-exit-interview.html" target="_blank">interview</a> with longtime Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer, who worked closely with president from the 2008 campaign until his resignation last week. Their conversation focused on the president's embrace of liberalism in the face of a staunch GOP-controlled Congress. <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/03/dan-pfeiffer-exit-interview.html" target="_blank">Pfeiffer's choice quote:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Whenever we&nbsp;contemplate bold progressive action, whether that&rsquo;s the president's endorsement of marriage equality, or coming out strong on power-plant rules to reduce current pollution, on immigration, on net neutrality, you get a lot of hemming and hawing in advance about what this is going to mean: Is this going to alienate people? Is this going to hurt the president's approval ratings? What will this mean in red states?</p> <p><strong>There's never been a time when we&rsquo;ve taken progressive action and regretted it.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Happy Friday!</p></body></html> MoJo Obama Fri, 13 Mar 2015 21:33:40 +0000 Inae Oh 271821 at http://www.motherjones.com This Arizona Lawmaker Bravely Revealed Her Sexual Assault to Fight a Restrictive Abortion Bill http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/arizona-lawmaker-abortion-molested <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Arizona state Rep. Victoria Steele (D) <a href="http://www.azhousedemocrats.com/2015/03/steele-bill-will-force-victims-to.html" target="_blank">revealed</a> during emotional testimony Wednesday that she was molested by a male relative when she was a young girl. Steele, who was speaking against a bill that would make it harder for women to elect abortion coverage in plans bought through the Affordable Care Act, hadn't planned to talk about her past abuse, she explained later. But when committee chair Kelly Townsend&nbsp;asked her whether she felt abortion was a medical service, she felt compelled to share her experience.</p> <p>"When I was a child, I was molested for years by one particular person," Steele <a href="http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/politics/2015/03/12/arizona-abortion-debate-lawmaker-molested/70194810/?fb_ref=Default" target="_blank">testified</a>. "This is health care. Having the ability to get an abortion. This is health care. And that's why I see this as necessary."</p> <p>Steele said she later found out there were multiple victims, one of whom told her their molester had told her he would "stick a pencil up there and take care of it" if she ever ended up pregnant.</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height="390" id="flashObj" width="640"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isSlim=1"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=4108730100001&amp;playerID=2868544859001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAABvZFMzE~,IXjx0MpOF0rs6Zj6tTY84DVV4TqsG9K-&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true"><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com"><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=4108730100001&amp;playerID=2868544859001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAABvZFMzE~,IXjx0MpOF0rs6Zj6tTY84DVV4TqsG9K-&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height="390" name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isSlim=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640"></embed></object> <p>After Steele's testimony, a state House committee approved the bill by a 5-3 party-line vote. The bill now faces a vote before the full House.</p> <p>In an editorial for<em> Cosmopolitan</em> published on Friday, Steele said she expected the bill to survive further debate, but <a href="http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/interviews/a37718/victoria-steele-sexual-assault-arizona/" target="_blank">explained</a> why she thinks it's&nbsp; dangerous for women's rights:</p> <blockquote> <p>I was sexually abused by an adult over a period of years when I was a young girl. My immediate family didn't know about this until long after I had grown up and left home. When I was a child, I thought I was the only one. Then I found out that this person had many victims.</p> <p>What I want, what I'm really hoping will come of all of this is that people will realize that this bill will cause women who have been raped recently, who are now pregnant as a result of their rape, to have to tell their insurance panel, or even their insurance agent, about one of the most horrific things that can happen to a person in order to get the exception that this bill will allow.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Video Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Fri, 13 Mar 2015 18:18:56 +0000 Inae Oh 271791 at http://www.motherjones.com The NYPD Is Editing the Wikipedia Pages of Eric Garner, Sean Bell http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/nypd-editing-wikipedia-pages-eric-garner-sean-bell <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Edits to the Wikipedia entries of several high-profile police brutality cases, including those of Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, and Sean Bell, trace back to the headquarters of the New York Police Department, <em>Capital New York</em> <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/03/8563947/edits-wikipedia-pages-bell-garner-diallo-traced-1-police-plaza" target="_blank">reports</a> this morning. The pages have been edited to cast the NYPD in a more favorable light and lessen allegations of police misconduct<em>. </em>The edits are currently the subject of an NYPD internal review.</p> <p>In the case of Garner, who died while placed in a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/police-misconduct-payments-eric-garner-nypd" target="_blank">chokehold</a> by a NYPD officer last summer, the word "chokehold" was swapped for "respiratory distress" and the line "Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them" was added. The changes ostensibly suggest Garner's death was his own fault.</p> <p>Such modifications echo the views of NYPD supporters, including <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/peter-king-eric-garner" target="_blank">Rep. Peter King</a> (R-N.Y.) who adamantly declared Garner would not have died had he not been so "obese." In August, the city's medical examiner officially ruled Garner's death a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/03/us/2014-12-03-garner-video.html" target="_blank">homicide</a> due to the chokehold.</p> <p>The Wikipedia activity brewing at 1 Police Plaza took a distinctly more bizarre turn with edits to the <a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mcnQZaZCYSYYG0-_uU4i1Fczvj7gn_GkiPjxcdnneRU/edit" target="_blank">pages</a> "Ice Cream Soda," "Who Moved My Cheese?" "Chumbawamba," and "Stone Cold Steve Austin."</p> <p>Following <em>Capital New York's</em> story on Friday, the <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPDedits" target="_blank">Twitter account "NYPD Edits"</a> was created to keep tabs on any future changes authored by the NYPD.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Tech Fri, 13 Mar 2015 15:03:28 +0000 Inae Oh 271786 at http://www.motherjones.com Joe Biden Blasts Republicans for Letter to Iran http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/joe-biden-blasts-republicans-letter-iran <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Joe Biden's pissed. Yesterday, 47 GOP senators sent <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1684306-cotton-open-letter-to-iranian-leaders" target="_blank">a letter</a> to Iranian leaders suggesting that the negotiations with&nbsp;President Obama over their nuclear program were essentially a waste of time, stating: "The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen...and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time." Biden, who served in US Senate for 36 years, responded with his own blistering rebuttal, writing that the senators' letter is "<span class="anno-span">beneath the dignity of an institution I revere."</span></p> <p><span class="anno-span">He wrote: </span></p> <blockquote> <p><span class="anno-span">The senator&rsquo;s letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States. Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.</span>..</p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="169000"><span class="anno-span">Since the beginning of the Republic, Presidents have addressed sensitive and high-profile matters in negotiations that culminate in commitments, both binding and non-binding, that Congress does not approve. Under Presidents of both parties, such major shifts in American foreign policy as diplomatic recognition of the People&rsquo;s Republic of China, the resolution of the Iran hostage crisis, and the conclusion of the Vietnam War were all conducted without Congressional approval....</span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="169000"><span class="anno-span">In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country&mdash;much less a longtime foreign adversary&mdash; that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America&rsquo;s commitments&mdash;a message that is as false as it is dangerous.</span></p> </blockquote> <p>Iran's response to the GOP letter, which was spearheaded by Arkansas Sen. <a href="http://www.cotton.senate.gov/content/cotton-and-46-fellow-senators-send-open-letter-leaders-islamic-republic-iran" target="_blank">Tom Cotton</a> who previously argued that the US should seek "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/09/tom-cotton-iran_n_6831328.html" target="_blank">regime change</a>" in Iran rather than conduct negotiations, was similarly dismissive. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday chalked it up to little more than "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/irans-foreign-minister-shuts-down-gop-letter-propaganda-ploy" target="_blank">a propaganda ploy</a>" that had "<a href="http://en.mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=3&amp;fkeyid=&amp;siteid=3&amp;fkeyid=&amp;siteid=3&amp;pageid=1997&amp;newsview=330948" target="_blank">no legal value</a>," adding: "I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with 'the stroke of a pen,' as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law."</p> <p>Biden goes on to note that the senators have offered "no viable alternative" to the diplomatic negotiations, and the letter seeking to undermine them sends a message to the international community that is "as false as it is dangerous."</p> <p>Here's Biden's letter in full:</p> <blockquote> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="168997"><span class="anno-span">I served in the United States Senate for thirty-six years. I believe deeply in its traditions, in its value as an institution, and in its indispensable constitutional role in the conduct of our foreign policy. The letter sent on March 9th by forty-seven Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.</span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="168997"><span class="anno-span">The senator&rsquo;s letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States. Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.</span><span class="anno-span"> </span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="168998"><span class="anno-span">Around the world, America&rsquo;s influence depends on its ability to honor its commitments. Some of these are made in international agreements approved by Congress. However, as the authors of this letter must know, the vast majority of our international commitments take effect without Congressional approval. And that will be the case should the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany reach an understanding with Iran. There are numerous similar cases. The recent U.S.-Russia framework to remove chemical weapons from Syria is only one recent example. Arrangements such as these are often what provide the protections that U.S. troops around the world rely on every day. They allow for the basing of our forces in places like Afghanistan. They help us disrupt the proliferation by sea of weapons of mass destruction. They are essential tools to the conduct of our foreign policy, and they ensure the continuity that enables the United States to maintain our credibility and global leadership even as Presidents and Congresses come and go.</span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="168999"><span class="anno-span">Since the beginning of the Republic, Presidents have addressed sensitive and high-profile matters in negotiations that culminate in commitments, both binding and non-binding, that Congress does not approve. Under Presidents of both parties, such major shifts in American foreign policy as diplomatic recognition of the People&rsquo;s Republic of China, the resolution of the Iran hostage crisis, and the conclusion of the Vietnam War were all conducted without Congressional approval.</span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="169000"><span class="anno-span">In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country&mdash;much less a longtime foreign adversary&mdash; that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America&rsquo;s commitments&mdash;a message that is as false as it is dangerous.</span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="169001"><span class="anno-span">The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine.</span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="169002"><span class="anno-span">There is no perfect solution to the threat posed by Iran&rsquo;s nuclear program. However, a diplomatic solution that puts significant and verifiable constraints on Iran&rsquo;s nuclear program represents the best, most sustainable chance to ensure that America, Israel, and the world will never be menaced by a nuclear-armed Iran. This letter is designed to convince Iran&rsquo;s leaders not to reach such an understanding with the United States.The author of this letter has been explicit that he is seeking to take any action that will end President Obama&rsquo;s diplomatic negotiations with Iran. But to what end? If talks collapse because of Congressional intervention, the United States will be blamed, leaving us with the worst of all worlds. Iran&rsquo;s nuclear program, currently frozen, would race forward again. We would lack the international unity necessary just to enforce existing sanctions, let alone put in place new ones. Without diplomacy or increased pressure, the need to resort to military force becomes much more likely&mdash;at a time when our forces are already engaged in the fight against ISIL.</span></p> <p class="annotatable" data-annotation-count="0" data-article-id="359228" data-thread-id="169003"><span class="anno-span">The President has committed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He has made clear that no deal is preferable to a bad deal that fails to achieve this objective, and he has made clear that all options remain on the table. The current negotiations offer the best prospect in many years to address the serious threat posed by Iran&rsquo;s nuclear ambitions. It would be a dangerous mistake to scuttle a peaceful resolution, especially while diplomacy is still underway.</span></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Foreign Policy International Military Obama Tue, 10 Mar 2015 19:32:02 +0000 Bryan Schatz 271666 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton Just Responded to Her Email Controversy http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/hillary-clinton-email-controversy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_0ap9FPu5dk" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton responded to questions from reporters regarding the ongoing controversy over her exclusive use of personal email while she was serving as secretary of state.</p> <p>"I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails than two,"<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-to-answer-questions-about-use-of-private-e-mail-server/2015/03/10/4c000d00-c735-11e4-a199-6cb5e63819d2_story.html" target="_blank"> Clinton said.</a> "I did it for convenience and I now looking back think that it might have been smarter to have those two devices from the very beginning."</p> <p>Although the email revelation, which was reported by the <em>New York </em><em>Times</em> last week, does not appear to have affected top <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/democratic-donors-unfazed-hillary-clintons-private-email-015155559.html;_ylt=A0LEVi1eF_9UbbAAs4onnIlQ" target="_blank">Democratic donors'</a> enthusiasm for Clinton, it has prompted renewed questions about the likely presidential candidate's propensity for secrecy.</p> <p>Aside from a tweet saying she requested the State Department publicize 55,000 pages of emails that she turned over, Clinton has largely avoided addressing the emails until today.&nbsp;</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.</p> &mdash; Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/573340998287413248">March 5, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">For more on the Clintons and their relationship with the media in the wake of this latest controversy, read&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/clinton-media-persecution-complex-emails-state-department" style="line-height: 24px;" target="_blank">David Corn's analysis here.&nbsp;</a></p> <p><strong>Her <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/10/transcript-hillary-clinton-addresses-e-mails-iran/?tid=sm_tw" target="_blank">full </a>transcript below:&nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>I want to thank the United Nations for hosting today's events and putting the challenge of gender equality front and center on the international agenda. I'm especially pleased to have so many leaders here from the private sector standing shoulder to shoulder with advocates who have worked tirelessly for equality for decades.</p> <p>Twenty years ago, this was a lonelier struggle. Today, we mark the progress that has been made in the two decades since the international community gathered in Beijing and declared with one voice that human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights.</p> <p>And because of advances in health, education, and legal protections, we can say that there has never been a better time in history to be born female. Yet as the comprehensive new report, published by the Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation this week makes clear, despite all this progress, when it comes to the full participation of women and girls, we're just not there yet.</p> <p>As I said today, this remains the great unfinished business of the 21st century. And my passion for this fight burns as brightly today as it did 20 years ago.</p> <p>I want to comment on a matter in the news today regarding Iran. The president and his team are in the midst of intense negotiations. Their goal is a diplomatic solution that would close off Iran's pathways to a nuclear bomb and give us unprecedented access and insight into Iran's nuclear program.</p> <p>Now, reasonable people can disagree about what exactly it will take to accomplish this objective, and we all must judge any final agreement on its merits.</p> <p>But the recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership. And one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter?</p> <p>There appear to be two logical answers. Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander- in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letters' signatories.</p> <p>Now, I would be pleased to talk more about this important matter, but I know there have been questions about my email, so I want to address that directly, and then I will take a few questions from you.</p> <p>There are four things I want the public to know.</p> <p>First, when I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.</p> <p>Looking back, it would've been better if I'd simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn't seem like an issue.</p> <p>Second, the vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.</p> <p>Third, after I left office, the State Department asked former secretaries of state for our assistance in providing copies of work- related emails from our personal accounts. I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related, which totalled roughly 55,000 printed pages, even though I knew that the State Department already had the vast majority of them. We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work- related emails and deliver them to the State Department. At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails -- emails about planning Chelsea's wedding or my mother's funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes.</p> <p>No one wants their personal emails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy.</p> <p>Fourth, I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related emails public for everyone to see.</p> <p>I am very proud of the work that I and my colleagues and our public servants at the department did during my four years as secretary of state, and I look forward to people being able to see that for themselves.</p> <p>Again, looking back, it would've been better for me to use two separate phones and two email accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn't worked out that way.</p> <p>Now I'm happy to take a few questions.</p> <p>QUESTION: Sorry.</p> <p>Madam Secretary, Kahraman Haliscelik with Turkish Television. On behalf of the U.N. Correspondence Association, thank you very much for your remarks, and it's wonderful to see you here again.</p> <p>Madam Secretary, why did you opt out not using two devices at the time? Obviously, if this didn't come out, you wouldn't -- probably wouldn't become an issue.</p> <p>QUESTION: And my -- my second follow-up question is, if you were a man today, would all this fuss being made be made?</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>CLINTON: Well, I will -- I will leave that to others to answer.</p> <p>But as I -- as I said, I saw it as a matter of convenience, and it was allowed. Others had done it. According to the State Department, which recently said Secretary Kerry was the first secretary of state to rely primarily on a state.gov e-mail account.</p> <p>And when I got there, I wanted to just use one device for both personal and work e-mails, instead of two. It was allowed. And as I said, it was for convenience. And it was my practice to communicate with State Department and other government officials on their .gov accounts so those e-mails would be automatically saved in the State Department system to meet recordkeeping requirements, and that, indeed, is what happened.</p> <p>And I heard just a little while ago the State Department announced they would begin to post some of my e-mails, which I'm very glad to hear, because I want it all out there.</p> <p>QUESTION: Madam Secretary, can you...</p> <p>CLINTON: Andrea? Andrea, thank you, Andrea.</p> <p>QUESTION: Can you explain how you decided which of the personal e-mails to get rid of, how you got rid of them and when? And how you'll respond to questions about you being the arbiter of what you release?</p> <p>And, secondly, could you answer the questions that have been raised about foreign contributions from Middle Eastern countries, like Saudi Arabia, that abuse women or permit violence against women to the family foundation and whether that disturbs you as you are rightly celebrating 20 years of leadership on this issue?</p> <p>CLINTON: Well, those are two very different questions. Let me see if I can take them in order. And I'll give you some of the background.</p> <p>In going through the e-mails, there were over 60,000 in total, sent and received. About half were work-related and went to the State Department and about half were personal that were not in any way related to my work. I had no reason to save them, but that was my decision because the federal guidelines are clear and the State Department request was clear.</p> <p>For any government employee, it is that government employee's responsibility to determine what's personal and what's work-related. I am very confident of the process that we conducted and the e-mails that were produced.</p> <p>And I feel like once the American public begins to see the e- mails, they will have an unprecedented insight into a high government official's daily communications, which I think will be quite interesting.</p> <p>With respect to the foundation, I am very proud of the work the foundation does. I'm very proud of the hundreds of thousands of people who support the work of the foundation and the results that have been achieved for people here at home and around the world.</p> <p>And I think that we are very clear about where we stand, certainly where I stand, on all of these issues. There can't be any mistake about my passion concerning women's rights here at home and around the world.</p> <p>So I think that people who want to support the foundation know full well what it is we stand for and what we're working on.</p> <p>CLINTON: Hi, right here.</p> <p>QUESTION: Secretary Clinton?</p> <p>CLINTON: She's sort of squashed, so we've got to...</p> <p>QUESTION: Hi, Secretary.</p> <p>CLINTON: Hi.</p> <p>QUESTION: I was wondering if you think that you made a mistake either in exclusively using your private e-mail or in response to the controversy around it. And, if so, what have you learned from that?</p> <p>CLINTON: Well, I have to tell you that, as I said in my remarks, looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices. But I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department.</p> <p>And I have to add, even if I had had two devices, which is obviously permitted -- many people do that -- you would still have to put the responsibility where it belongs, which is on the official. So I did it for convenience and I now, looking back, think that it might have been smarter to have those two devices from the very beginning.</p> <p>QUESTION: Secretary Clinton?</p> <p>CLINTON: Yes? QUESTION: Did you or any of your aides delete any government- related e-mails from your personal account? And what lengths are you willing to go to to prove that you didn't?</p> <p>Some people, including supporters of yours, have suggested having an independent arbiter look at your server, for instance.</p> <p>CLINTON: We did not. In fact, my direction to conduct the thorough investigation was to err on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work related.</p> <p>That doesn't mean they will be by the State Department once the State Department goes through them, but out of an abundance of caution and care, you know, we wanted to send that message unequivocally.</p> <p>That is the responsibility of the individual and I have fulfilled that responsibility, and I have no doubt that we have done exactly what we should have done. When the search was conducted, we were asking that any email be identified and preserved that could potentially be federal records, and that's exactly what we did.</p> <p>And we went, as I said, beyond that. And the process produced over 30,000 you know, work emails, and I think that we have more than met the requests from the State Department. The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and the server will remain private and I think that the State Department will be able, over time, to release all of the records that were provided.</p> <p>QUESTION: Madam Secretary, can you...</p> <p>CLINTON: Right there.</p> <p>QUESTION: Madam Secretary, two quick follow ups. You mentioned the server. That's one of the distinctions here.</p> <p>This wasn't Gmail or Yahoo or something. This was a server that you owned. Is that appropriate? Is it -- was there any precedent for it? Did you clear it with any State Department security officials? And do they have -- did they have full access to it when you were secretary?</p> <p>And then separately, will any of this have any bearing or effect on your timing or decision about whether or not you run for president? Thank you.</p> <p>CLINTON: Well, the system we used was set up for President Clinton's office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.</p> <p>So, I think that the -- the use of that server, which started with my husband, certainly proved to be effective and secure. Now, with respect to any sort of future -- future issues, look, I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters. And I feel that I've taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails. They're going to be in the public domain. And I think that Americans will find that you know, interesting, and I look forward to having a discussion about that.</p> <p>QUESTION: Madam Secretary?</p> <p>CLINTON: Hi.</p> <p>QUESTION: How could the public be assured that when you deleted emails that were personal in nature, that you didn't also delete emails that were professional, but possibly unflattering?</p> <p>And what do you think about this Republican idea of having an independent third party come in an examine your emails?</p> <p>CLINTON: Well first of all, you have to ask that question to every single federal employee, because the way the system works, the federal employee, the individual, whether they have one device, two devices, three devices, how many addresses, they make the decision.</p> <p>So, even if you have a work-related device with a work-related .gov account, you choose what goes on that. That is the way our system works. And so we trust and count on the judgment of thousands, maybe millions of people to make those decisions.</p> <p>And I feel that I did that and even more, that I went above and beyond what I was requested to do. And again, those will be out in the public domain, and people will be able to judge for themselves.</p> <p>QUESTION: Okay, Madam.</p> <p>Madam Secretary?</p> <p>Madam Secretary, excuse me.</p> <p>Madam Secretary, State Department rules at the time you were secretary were perfectly clear that if a State Department employee was going to be using private email, that employee needed to turn those emails over to the State Department to be preserved on government computers.</p> <p>Why did you not do that? Why did you not go along with State Department rules until nearly two years after you left office?</p> <p>QUESTION: And also, the president of the United States said that he was unaware that you had this unusual email arrangement. The White House counsel's office says that you never approved this arrangement through them.</p> <p>Why did you not do that? Why did you -- why have you apparently caught the White House by surprise?</p> <p>And then just one last political question, if I -- I might. Does all of this make -- affect your decision in any way on whether or not to run for president?</p> <p>CLINTON: Well, let me try to unpack your multiple questions.</p> <p>First, the laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary of state allowed me to use my email for work. That is undisputed.</p> <p>Secondly, under the Federal Records Act, records are defined as reported information, regardless of its form or characteristics, and in meeting the record keeping obligations, it was my practice to email government officials on their state or other .gov accounts so that the emails were immediately captured and preserved.</p> <p>Now, there are different rules governing the White House than there are governing the rest of the executive branch, and in order to address the requirements I was under, I did exactly what I have said. I emailed two people, and I not only knew, I expected that then to be captured in the State Department or any other government agency that I was emailing to at a .gov account.</p> <p>What happened in -- sorry, I guess late summer, early -- early fall, is that the State Department sent a letter to former secretaries of state, not just to me, asking for some assistance in providing any work-related emails that might be on the personal email.</p> <p>And what I did was to direct, you know, my counsel to conduct a thorough investigation and to err on the side of providing anything that could be connected to work. They did that, and that was my obligation. I fully fulfilled it, and then I took the unprecedented step of saying, "Go ahead and release them, and let people see them."</p> <p>QUESTION: Why did you wait two months? Why -- why did you wait two months to turn those emails over? The rules say you have to turn them over...</p> <p>(CROSSTALK) CLINTON: I don't think -- I'd be happy to have somebody talk to you about the rules. I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by.</p> <p>QUESTION: Were you ever -- were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using -- using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?</p> <p>CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.</p> <p>So I'm certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.</p> <p>(CROSSTALK)</p> <p>QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)</p> <p>CLINTON: Because they were personal and private about matters that I believed were within the scope of my personal privacy and that particularly of other people. They have nothing to do with work, but I didn't see any reason to keep them.</p> <p>(CROSSTALK)</p> <p>QUESTION: At the end of the process.</p> <p>(CROSSTALK)</p> <p>QUESTION: ... who was forced to resign two years ago because of his personal use of emails?</p> <p>By the way, David Shuster from Al Jazeera America.</p> <p>CLINTON: Yeah. Right...</p> <p>QUESTION: What about Ambassador Scott (inaudible) being forced to resign?</p> <p>CLINTON: David, I think you should go online and read the entire I.G. report. That is not an accurate representation of what happened.</p> <p>(CROSSTALK)</p> <p>CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Tue, 10 Mar 2015 18:26:36 +0000 Inae Oh 271651 at http://www.motherjones.com Iran's Foreign Minister Dismisses GOP Letter as "Propaganda Ploy" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/irans-foreign-minister-shuts-down-gop-letter-propaganda-ploy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to a controversial letter signed by 47 GOP senators urging Iran to reject a nuclear deal with the United States, <a href="http://en.mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=3&amp;fkeyid=&amp;siteid=3&amp;fkeyid=&amp;siteid=3&amp;pageid=1997&amp;newsview=330948" target="_blank">dismissing the message</a> as "mostly a propaganda ploy" that aimed to undermine President Barack Obama's diplomatic efforts. Zarif said in a statement:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history. This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Republican letter, which was organized by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, warned Iran's leaders that a nuclear agreement with Obama could be scrapped by any president who succeeds him. The message was clear: if you accept this deal, you could end up screwed; so don't do it. It was a brazen attempt to sabotage Obama's attempt to curb Iran's nuclear program through a negotiated accord between Iran, the United States, and other nations.</p> <p>In his response, Zarif challenged Cotton and his fellow Republicans on their reading of international law:</p> <blockquote> <p>The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfill the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations.</p> <p>Change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran's peaceful nuclear program.</p> </blockquote> <p>This latest attempt orchestrated by Republicans to undercut the president's negotiations with Iran angered the White House and&nbsp;sparked a furious response by Vice President Joe Biden, who slammed the GOP senators' <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/09/joe-biden-iran-letter-republicans_n_6836146.html" target="_blank">letter</a> as "beneath the dignity of the institution I revere." Several GOP senators also criticized&nbsp;the move, expressing concern that Cotton's letter&nbsp;could backfire and spur additional support for a nuclear deal.</p> <p>"It&rsquo;s more appropriate for members of the Senate to give advice to the president, to Secretary Kerry and to the negotiators," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/iran-letter-could-backfire-gop-dissenters-say-115922.html" target="_blank"> said.</a> "I don&rsquo;t think that the ayatollah is going to be particularly convinced by a letter from members of the Senate, even one signed by a number of my distinguished and high ranking colleagues."</p></body></html> MoJo International Obama The Right Tue, 10 Mar 2015 13:49:04 +0000 Inae Oh 271641 at http://www.motherjones.com