Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2013/12/rss/articles/feed http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 11, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-11-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>A group of US Marines, the Silver Eagles, say goodbye and prepare to deploy to the Western Pacific. <span class="meta-field photo-desc " id="yui_3_16_0_rc_1_1_1405087576232_1379">(US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sarah Cherry.)</span></em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:10:54 +0000 255941 at http://www.motherjones.com New Study: Lobbying Doesn't Help Company Profits—But It's Great For Executive Pay http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/lobbying-executive-pay <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Who really profits when companies drop millions on lobbying? A <a href="http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/Sobel-Relationship-Political-Connections.pdf" target="_blank">new paper</a> by Russell Sobel and Rachel Graefe-Anderson of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University suggests a surprising answer: Corporate America's record expenditures on political influence may be doing little for the companies doing the spending, but a lot for their executives' pocketbook.</p> <p>"Our main finding suggests that the top executives of firms are the ones who are able to capture the benefits of firm political connections," the paper says. The researchers mined a trove of PAC contributions and lobbying <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2013&amp;indexType=i" target="_blank">data</a> from the Center for Responsive Politics and matched it with a variety of standard corporate performance indicators. They found that no matter how much lobbying or political contributions a company pays for, there's almost no significant rise in the company's overall performance&mdash;but executive compensation does rise significantly.&nbsp;The only exceptions were the banking and finance industries, where companies also appear to gain some benefits.</p> <p>Regardless of who benefits, influence spending still registers in the billions of dollars: As the chart below shows, the amount of money spent on lobbying annually more than doubled to $3.3 billion between 1998 and 2013. In 2012 alone, the two leading spenders, the pharmaceuticals and insurance sectors, dropped more than $409 million on lobbying and more than $107 million on political contributions.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/vgJyB/1/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Congress Corporations Economy Income Inequality Fri, 11 Jul 2014 07:00:12 +0000 Alex Park 255876 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Are the Court Records of the Restraining Order Against Alleged Texas Murderer Ronald Lee Haskell http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/restraining-order-ronald-lee-haskell <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.click2houston.com/news/deputies-at-least-six-killed-in-shooting-in-spring-area/26871346">On Wednesday evening</a>, Ronald Lee Haskell, disguised as a Fed-Ex delivery man, gained entry to the&nbsp;home of his sister-in-law and her spouse, Stephen and Katie Stay, demanding the whereabouts of his estranged ex-wife. Haskell would go on to shoot the Stays and their five children, killing everyone except his 15-year-old niece, and only surrendering to police after <a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HOUSTON_SUBURBAN_SHOOTING?SITE=MYPSP&amp;SECTION=HOME&amp;TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&amp;CTIME=2014-07-09-23-22-34">a three-and-a-half hour standoff</a>.</p> <p>In July of&nbsp;2013, Haskell's wife <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/wife-texas-slaying-suspect-had-protection-order-against-him-n152696">filed a protective order</a> against him in Cache County, Utah, where they lived at the time. In October 2013, Haskell's protective order was converted to a "mutual&nbsp;restraining order<strong>"</strong> as part of their divorce and custody proceedings. This crucial step likely meant that Haskell was legally allowed to have guns again under both state and federal law<strong>.</strong></p> <p>Read the full docket of Haskell's protective order proceedings below. Read the full details of the case, as well <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/domestic-violence-guns-bills-texas-haskell-stay-murder" target="_blank">our analysis of domestic-violence-related gun laws here</a>.</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1215826-2014-07-10-14-45-56-4-copy">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1215826-2014-07-10-14-45-56-4-copy.js", { width: 630, height: 550, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1215826-2014-07-10-14-45-56-4-copy" });</script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1215826/2014-07-10-14-45-56-4-copy.pdf">Court Record of Protective and Restraining Orders Against Ronald Lee Haskell (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1215826/2014-07-10-14-45-56-4-copy.txt">Court Record of Protective and Restraining Orders Against Ronald Lee Haskell (Text)</a></noscript></body></html> MoJo Guns Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:45:29 +0000 Hannah Levintova 255921 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch the Ads Obama Is Airing in Central America to Keep Kids From Coming to the US http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/unaccompanied-child-migrants-us-government-tv-ads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div align="center"> <p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="300" scrolling="no" src="http://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/347898" style="border: none; overflow: hidden; width: 500px; height: 300px;" width="500"></iframe></p> </div> <p>Preparing for his dangerous trip north, a Central American teen stops to pen a letter to his uncle in the United States. He writes that his mom is telling him to think hard about the risks: the gangs on the trains, the cartels that kidnap migrants, the days of walking through the desert. But those roadblocks, he writes, are worth it: "I see myself earning a bunch of money in the United States, and my mom here without any worries."</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More <em>MoJo</em> coverage of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-252866"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-kids-immigrants-deported-guatemala"> What's Next for the Children We Deport? </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-253266"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/surge-unaccompanied-child-migrant-shelters"> This Is Where the Government Houses the Tens of Thousands of Kids Who Get Caught Crossing the Border</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255721"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/texas-we-dont-turn-our-back-children"> "In Texas, We Don't Turn Our Back on Children"</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>So begins a new public service announcement aimed at keeping Central American kids from joining the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">tens of thousands of unaccompanied child migrants</a> who have been apprehended by US authorities in the last year. The PSA soon turns dark, though: After the teen says goodbye to his mother, and his uncle puts down the letter he's been reading, the camera pulls back from a close-up of the boy, dead on the desert floor. A narrator urges viewers: "They're our future. Let's protect them."</p> <p>US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) developed the TV ads, as well as <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Dangers%20Poster%202.pdf" target="_blank">posters</a> and marimba-infused <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/video/opa/la-bestia-norte.wav" target="_blank">radio spots</a>, as part of its million-dollar Dangers Awareness Campaign. Rolled out shortly after Vice President Joe Biden's <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/20/politics/us-central-american-immigration/" target="_blank">trip to Guatemala</a> in June, the campaign is an attempt to counter rumors that unaccompanied kids will be allowed to stay in the United States. The ads emphasize that the journey is extremely dangerous and that children won't get legal status if they make it across the border.</p> <p>The campaign will run for 11 weeks, CBP spokesman Jaime Ruiz told the <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-launches-media-campaign-immigration-dangers" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>. "We want a relative that is about to send $5,000, $6,000 to a relative in El Salvador to see this message and say, 'Oh my God, they're saying that the journey is more dangerous,'" Ruiz said. "We try to counter the version of the smuggler."</p> <p>Here's the other televised PSA, in which two silhouettes&mdash;a would-be migrant and a smuggler&mdash;discuss heading north, the smuggler turning increasingly aggressive and his shadow occasionally turning into that of a coyote, the slang word for a smuggler:</p> <div align="center"> <p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="300" scrolling="no" src="http://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/347904" style="border: none; overflow: hidden; width: 500px; height: 300px;" width="500"></iframe></p> </div> <p>(Notably, CBP created slightly different versions of each of the stories for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the three countries that have sent the most unaccompanied minors to the US. Watch them all <a href="http://www.dvidshub.net/feature/dangerscampaign#.U77IWahvkrf" target="_blank">here</a>.)</p> <p>This type of campaign isn't anything new. For years, the <a href="http://tucson.com/news/local/border/gps-device-giveaway-is-effort-to-save-lives/article_2299081d-e064-5825-a6b9-a52927c2e6c4.html" target="_blank">Mexican government</a> has produced ads about the dangers of walking through the Arizona desert, and several years ago the Department of Homeland Security, as part of CBP's <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/2012-06-05-040000/border-safety-initiative-kicks-el-paso-texas" target="_blank">Border Safety Initiative</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/music/2009/may/04/us-government-immigrants-album" target="_blank">distributed CDs to Latin American radio stations</a> with sad songs aimed at slowing immigration from the south. With so many variables at play, it's virtually impossible to measure their effect.</p> <p>But with <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-senate-immigration-hearing-20140709-story.html" target="_blank">more than 57,000</a> unaccompanied kids apprehended in the United States since October&mdash;a situation that CBP head R. Gil Kerlikowske called "difficult and distressing on a lot of levels" when speaking to members of the Senate homeland security committee on Wednesday&mdash;the government seems willing to try anything.</p></body></html> MoJo Video Crime and Justice Immigration International child migrants Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:59:22 +0000 Ian Gordon 255861 at http://www.motherjones.com 40 Percent of Colleges Haven't Investigated a Single Sexual Assault Case in 5 Years http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/college-campus-sexual-assault <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>According to the <a href="http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/download/campus-sexual-assault-survey-results" target="_blank">results of a national survey</a>&nbsp;commissioned by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and the Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, nearly half the country's four-year colleges haven't conducted&nbsp;a single sexual assault investigation&nbsp;in the past five years. The <a href="http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/pdf/McCaskillSurveyCampusSexualAssaults.pdf" target="_blank">survey</a>&nbsp;was completed by 236 four year-institutions across the country&mdash;private and public, small and large<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">&mdash;but in order to encourage candid reporting,&nbsp;</span>the names of the schools surveyed were not released.</p> <p>Here's what scores of survivors of sexual assault in college have to deal with, according to the <a href="http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/download/campus-sexual-assault-survey-results" style="line-height: 24px;" target="_blank">results</a>:</p> <ul><li><strong>Simply not receiving an investigation:</strong> Forty-one percent of schools hadn't investigated a single sexual assault in the past five years, despite the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/29/fact-sheet-not-alone-protecting-students-sexual-assault" target="_blank">White House</a>, one in five undergraduate women experience sexual assault during college. Meanwhile, more than 20 percent of the country's largest private schools conducted fewer investigations than the number of sexual assault incidents that they reported to the Department of Education.</li> <li><strong>Having no clue what to do:</strong> One in three schools don't train students on what constitutes sexual assault or how to respond to it. Among private, for-profit schools, 72 percent don't provide students with any sexual assault training.</li> <li><strong>Untrained, uncoordinated law enforcement:</strong> Though in general colleges work with a number of parties to keep campuses safe&mdash;like campus police, security guards, and local law enforcement&mdash;30 percent don't actually train the school's law enforcement on how to handle reports of sexual assault, while a staggering 73 percent of institutions don't have protocols on how the school should work with local law enforcement to respond to sexual assault.</li> <li><strong>The athletic department deciding if you were raped:</strong> Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty percent of public colleges give the athletic department oversight of sexual violence&nbsp;cases involving athletes.</li> <li><strong>Your peers deciding if you were raped:</strong> Experts agree that students shouldn't be part of adjudication boards in sexual assault cases&mdash;friends or acquaintances of the survivor or alleged perpetrator face a conflict of interest, and those involved in a sexual assault likely don't want to divulge the details of the assault to, say, someone they recognize from chemistry class. Still, 27 percent of schools reported students participating in the adjudication of sexual assault claims.</li> <li><strong>Untrained faculty, staff, and medical professionals:</strong> Often, the first person to whom a student reports sexual assault is a member of the college's faculty or staff. But 20 percent of schools don't provide any sexual assault response training to faculty and staff, and only 15 percent of schools provide access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners&mdash;nurses who are trained to provide medical and other services to survivors of sexual assault.</li> <li><strong>Knowing that the perpetrator still plays sports and goes to frat parties:</strong>&nbsp;Only 51 percent of schools impose athletic team sanctions against student-athletes who have been deemed perpetrators of sexual assault, and 31 percent impose fraternity or sorority sanctions.</li> <li><strong>Seeing the perpetrator on campus, even if you don't want to:</strong> Nineteen percent of institutions don't impose orders that would require the perpetrator of the assault to avoid contact with the survivor.</li> </ul><p>McCaskill says that the results of the survey demonstrate failures at "nearly every stage of institutions' response" to sexual assault. Together with Sens. Richard Blumenthal&nbsp;(D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), she plans to unveil legislation addressing the campus assault later in the summer.</p></body></html> MoJo Education Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:46:38 +0000 Julia Lurie 255811 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 10, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-10-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>US Navy sailors navigate the USS Kidd in the waters of the Indo-Asia Pacific Region. <span class="meta-field photo-desc " id="yui_3_16_0_rc_1_1_1404999777430_1482">(US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Declan Barnes</span>.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:48:19 +0000 255826 at http://www.motherjones.com Todd Akin Is Not Sorry for His Insane Rape Comments http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/todd-akin-book-legitimate-rape <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Former GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin is not sorry for saying that women don't usually get pregnant from rape.</p> <p>Akin tanked his 2012 Missouri Senate campaign by claiming that there is no need for rape exceptions to abortion bans because "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." In his <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/1936488205/?tag=slatmaga-20" target="_blank">new book</a> due out next week, titled <em>Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom</em>, Akin says he regrets airing a campaign ad apologizing for the statement, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/todd-akin-new-book-108745.html" target="_blank"><em>Politico</em> reported Thursday</a>.</p> <p>"By asking the public at large for forgiveness," Akin says in the book, "I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said."</p> <p>He adds that the media misconstrued his words and explains why he's still right about rape and pregnancy. "My comment about a woman's body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress of fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me? Google 'stress and infertility,' and you will find a library of research" on the impact of stress on fertilization, he writes.</p> <p>And Akin doubles down on the term "legitimate," which he says refers to a rape claim that can be proved by "evidence," as opposed to one used "to avoid an unwanted pregnancy."</p> <p>Akin's comments two years ago perpetuated what Democrats have dubbed the GOP "war on women," which refers to Republican attempts to limit abortion coverage, contraception, and workplace rights for women.</p> <p>The release of Akin's book comes just weeks after the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/supreme-court-hobby-lobby-decision" target="_blank">Supreme Court ruled</a> that family-owned companies&mdash;which employ <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/30/a-lot-of-people-could-be-affected-by-the-supreme-courts-birth-control-decision/" target="_blank">more than half</a> of all American workers&mdash;do not have to provide contraception coverage for women as mandated by Obamacare if their owners have a religious objection to doing so. The decision is expected to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/supreme-court-scotus-hobby-lobby-all-forms-contraception" target="_blank">open the floodgates</a> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-bush-v-gore" target="_blank">to further assaults</a> on contraceptive access for women.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Top Stories Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:38:15 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 255821 at http://www.motherjones.com The Legacy of the Hobby Lobby Case: Protecting Anti-Gay Discrimination? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/hobby-lobby-anti-gay-discrimination <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In his majority opinion in the recent <em>Hobby Lobby</em> case, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito took pains to frame the ruling, exempting companies from complying with Obamacare's contraceptive mandate if it violated the religious beliefs of their owners, as a narrow one. But gay and civil rights groups have long warned that a decision permitting such a religious exemption could have broad ramifications, potentially allowing employers to discriminate against gays. Now, their fears may be coming to pass.</p> <p>"What we've seen since last week's decision came down is that opponents of LGBT equality have pushed a misreading of that decision as having broadly endorsed discrimination against people, including LGBT people in the workplace," says Ian Thompson, a legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union.</p> <p>Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told <em>Mother Jones</em> that the <em>Hobby Lobby</em> ruling "opens the door for corporations to discriminate against anyone that doesn't look, sound, or share the religious beliefs that they do. This isn't a business agenda; it's an extreme social agenda and it is deeply unpopular with the American people."</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2014/07/hobby-lobby-anti-gay-discrimination"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Congress Corporations Gay Rights Top Stories Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:49:31 +0000 Alex Park 255741 at http://www.motherjones.com Is Montana More Corrupt Than Miami? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/montana-public-corruption-prosecution <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>For such a sparsely populated state, Montana has managed to generate some outsize headlines lately. There's the GOP Senate candidate who made news by suggesting that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/steve-daines-creationism" target="_blank">creationism should be taught in public schools</a>. Then there's Missoula's reputation as the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/montana-rape-investigation-prosecution" target="_blank">"rape capital"</a> of the world, thanks to, among other things, serious allegations of sexual assault committed by University of Montana football players. And continuing that theme, there's also the Justice Department's investigation of the Missoula County Attorney's office alleging that prosecutors had been <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/missoula-montana-sexual-assault-justice-department-report" target="_blank">systematically discriminating against female sexual-abuse victims.</a></p> <p>Now comes new data showing that Montana is leading the country in public corruption prosecutions, suggesting that the state's reputation for graft (dating back to the days of the <a href="http://archive.greatfallstribune.com/multimedia/125newsmakers6/copperkings.html" target="_blank">Copper Kings</a>) hasn't changed much. Clocking in with 18 active cases, the federal judicial district of Montana has had more public corruption prosecutions in 2014 than those in South Florida, Southern California, and even New Jersey, according to data crunched by the <a href="http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/358/" target="_blank">Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. </a></p> <p>How is it that such a small state has so many prosecutions? "Why prosecutors do what they do is a mystery," says TRAC's David Burnham. But the prosecutors in Montana have a good explanation: They've recently organized a major crackdown on corruption on American Indian reservations, of which the state has seven.&nbsp;</p> <p>A recent AP investigation concluded that, nationally, tribal governments are five times more likely to have <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-impact-tribes-mishandle-funds-go-unpunished" target="_blank">"material weaknesses" in their administration</a> that make corruption possible, and reporters for years have been sounding alarms that federal prosecutors have largely turned a blind eye to these problems. Montana decided to change that trend, at a time when millions in additional federal dollars have flowed into tribal governments thanks to the federal stimulus package enacted after the financial collapse in 2008.</p> <p>In 2011, the US Attorney's office launched a task force, dubbed the Guardians Project, with the FBI, the IRS, and inspectors general of various federal agencies, to target corruption on American Indian reservations. The results have been telling: In 2012, Montana had only one official corruption prosecution, but by August of last year, the Guardians Project had netted 25 indictments against people who'd allegedly done <a href="http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/guardians-project-seeks-to-root-out-corruption/article_35e03f9e-2934-5c2c-a515-e2e2d35392f3.html" target="_blank">all sorts of devious things</a> to keep federal money from reaching those it was supposed to help.</p> <p>Prosecutors promised there would be more to come, and there have been. Just last month, four members of the Blackfeet tribe were <a href="http://www.justice.gov/usao/mt/pressreleases/20140624171722.html" target="_blank">sentenced to prison</a> for involvement in a scheme to steal federal mental-health and substance abuse treatment funds from a $9 million contract. More than $225,000 intended for the program ended up being spent on travel and gambling, among other things.</p> <p>Six people have pleaded guilty to embezzling federal dollars from a $361 million pipeline project designed to bring freshwater to the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. Another seven people from the Crow reservation were <a href="http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/jury-convicts-in-crow-corruption-case/article_de3ea6d9-82b6-5294-957d-fa87756b5741.html" target="_blank">indicted for stealing at least a half-million dollars</a> from the tribe in a double-billing scheme operated out of the tribe's historic preservation office. One of the people convicted in the scheme allowed a coal company to take a backhoe to a 2,000-year-old sacred bison burial site. The corruption investigations have already ensnared a former state representative and Chippewa Cree tribe official, Tony Belcourt, who in April <a href="http://www.havredailynews.com/story/2014/03/26/local/tony-belcourt-signs-plea-agreement/300355.html" target="_blank">pleaded guilty to bribery, theft, and tax-evasion</a> charges related to the water project, as well as construction of a multimillion-dollar clinic.</p> <p>Overall, though, Montana itself probably isn't more scandal-plagued than New Jersey or Miami. Montana's US attorney has just taken a harder line on prosecuting the abuses on its reservations, and all those cases have added up to boost Montana to the top of the rankings in terms of public corruption prosecutions. "These figures from Syracuse reflect only a portion of our effort," US Attorney Mike Cotter said in a statement Tuesday. "Many of the public corruption indictments brought in Montana were initiated before last October. Relatively speaking, Montana is a small office; a David among Goliaths. But the Guardians have done truly remarkable work. Their efforts have unearthed widespread criminal activity and flagrant abuses of trust with regard to federal programs and grants designed to provide for the common good of our Indian communities."</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:44:58 +0000 Stephanie Mencimer 255571 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 9, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-9-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>The 173rd Airborne Brigade Paratroopers participate in a ceremonial rotation of forces in Latvia. (US Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Cassandra Simonton, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:31:19 +0000 255746 at http://www.motherjones.com This Is the Democratic Plan to Reverse the Hobby Lobby Decision http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/democratic-plan-reverse-hobby-lobby-decision <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/harry-reid-hobby-lobby-democrats-to-act-108617.html" target="_blank">promised "to do something"</a> about the Supreme Court's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/06/supreme-court-hobby-lobby-ruling-document" target="_blank">recent Hobby Lobby decision</a>. Now two members of his caucus say they are preparing a bill that would reverse some of the controversial aspects of last week's decision.</p> <p>Take it away, <em><a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/murray-udall-legislation-hobby-lobby" target="_blank">TPM</a></em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The legislation will be sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO). According to a summary reviewed by TPM, it prohibits employers from refusing to provide health services, including contraception, to their employees if required by federal law. It clarifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the basis for the Supreme Court's ruling against the mandate, and all other federal laws don't permit businesses to opt out of the Obamacare requirement.<br> ...</p> <p>This bill will restore the original legal guarantee that women have access to contraceptive coverage through their employment-based insurance plans and will protect coverage of other health services from employer objections as well, according to the summary.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is all well and good, but unfortunately this bill will never survive a cloture vote in the Senate; even if it did, it would be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. The only way that Hobby Lobby stands even a chance of being overturned legislatively is if John Boehner is forced to hand over the Speaker's gavel to a Democrat. That's probably something someone at the DCCC should remind people of as we head into the midterms.</p></body></html> MoJo Supreme Court Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:02:52 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 255736 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's How Obama Wants to Spend $3.7 Billion on the Child Migrant Crisis http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/obama-emergency-appropriations-unaccompanied-child-migrants <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1213236-emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress.html" target="_blank">President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion</a> in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">rapidly growing number of unaccompanied Central American children</a> attempting to enter the United States. The Border Patrol apprehended 38,833 unaccompanied kids in fiscal year 2013, and it already has caught <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children" target="_blank">more than 52,000</a> in fiscal 2014.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/migrants_225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More <em>MoJo</em> coverage of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-252671"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america"> 70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-252866"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-kids-immigrants-deported-guatemala"> What's Next for the Children We Deport? </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-253266"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/surge-unaccompanied-child-migrant-shelters"> This Is Where the Government Houses the Tens of Thousands of Kids Who Get Caught Crossing the Border</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255056"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/06/map-unaccompanied-child-migrants-central-america-honduras"> Map: These Are the Places Central American Child Migrants Are Fleeing </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255721"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/texas-we-dont-turn-our-back-children"> "In Texas, We Don't Turn Our Back on Children"</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>The requested appropriations include:</p> <ul><li><strong>$1.8 billion to the HHS's Administration for Children and Families:</strong> to provide more stable, cost-effective arrangements and medical care for unaccompanied children.</li> <li><strong>$1.1 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): </strong>for the detention, prosecution, and removal of undocumented families, as well as transportation costs for unaccompanied children.</li> <li><strong>$432 million to Customs and Border Protection: </strong>for operational costs, an expanded Border Enforcement Security Task Force, and increased air surveillance in Texas' Rio Grande Valley.</li> <li><strong>$295 million to the State Department's (and other international programs') Economic Support Fund: </strong>for the repatriation and reintegration of deported migrants, and to address the root causes of migration in Central America.</li> <li><strong>$62 million to the Department of Justice:</strong> for additional immigration judges and legal representation for the children.</li> </ul><p>Notably, Obama's <a href="http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1213236-emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress.html" target="_blank">letter</a> to House Speaker John Boehner did not include a request to alter the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. That law requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to turn over unaccompanied children from countries other than Canada and Mexico to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which temporarily houses them in shelters while it locates US-based family members or sponsors. (The kids are in removal proceedings throughout.)</p> <p>Here's the full letter:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1213236-emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1213236-emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress.js", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1213236-emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1213236/emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress.pdf">Emergency Supplemental Request to Congress (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1213236/emergency-supplemental-request-to-congress.txt">Emergency Supplemental Request to Congress (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Immigration International Top Stories child migrants Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:01:51 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 255671 at http://www.motherjones.com New Conservative Meme: Migrant Children Aren't Children http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/new-conservative-meme-migrant-children-arent-children <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Conservatives have found a new line of attack on the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/unaccompanied-kids-immigrants-deported-guatemala" target="_blank">ongoing refugee crisis</a> along the southern border: The children who are migrating en masse from Central America and crowding into detention centers are not children.</p> <p>"I realize that in Barack Obama's America we now classify anyone under the age of 26 as a child eligible for their parent's healthcare insurance," <a href="http://www.redstate.com/2014/07/07/these-arent-the-droids-errr-children-youre-looking-for/" target="_blank">writes</a> <em>Red State</em>'s Erick Erickson. "But I'm pretty sure a normal person would not classify these men as children." He links to this tweet:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Yep, those sure all look like children. <a href="http://t.co/xXEnP9q2XN">pic.twitter.com/xXEnP9q2XN</a></p> &mdash; Cody Full (@CodyFNfootball) <a href="https://twitter.com/CodyFNfootball/statuses/486310562465193985">July 8, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Erickson's analysis is correct&mdash;the people in this photo are not children. The way immigration detention works is that children are separated from adults and then sorted by age and gender. This is noted in nearly <a href="http://www.thewire.com/politics/2014/06/the-border-patrol-finally-showed-reporters-how-detained-child-migrants-are-living/373054/" target="_blank">every</a> <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/24/us/texas-warehouse-unaccompanied-minors/" target="_blank">single</a> <a href="http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/06/18/arizona-immigrant-children-holding-area-tour/10780449/" target="_blank">story</a> <a href="http://www.fronterasdesk.org/content/9695/attorneys-concerned-about-legal-access-migrant-kids" target="_blank">on</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/24/immigration-crisis-child-migrants-texas_n_5524510.html" target="_blank">the</a> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/us/border-centers-struggle-to-handle-onslaught-of-children-crossers.html?_r=0" target="_blank">subject</a>. Just because more than 48,000 minors have been detained crossing the border in 2014 doesn't mean adults have simply stopped coming over.</p> <p>Lest you think that the administration is inventing this influx of young migrants, here is a photo of migrant children crowded into a single room. I found it on <em>Breitbart</em>:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202014-07-08%20at%207.05.31%20AM.png"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/07/07/SOUTHCOM-Commander-warns-border-crisis-Existential-and-National-Security-Threat" target="_blank">Big Government</a></div> <div class="caption">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p>You could also read my colleague Ian Gordon's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">wrenching story</a> for the magazine on 17-year-old&nbsp;Adri&aacute;n's flight from Guatemala City to the United States.</p></body></html> MoJo Human Rights Immigration child migrants Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:04:05 +0000 Tim Murphy 255631 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 8. 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-8-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>Children from the Charmazi Orphanage in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania bond with US Marine Corps Officers through a community relations project. (Photo Courtesy of the US Marines.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:51:09 +0000 255626 at http://www.motherjones.com Gitmo Detainees Cite Hobby Lobby in New Court Filing. Read It Here. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/guantanamo-bay-hobby-lobby-decision-court-filing-read <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a new court filing, attorneys for two Guantanamo Bay detainees have invoked the Supreme Court's controversial <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-bush-v-gore" target="_blank">decision</a> in <em>Burwell v. Hobby Lobby</em>, which allowed certain corporations to ignore the Obamacare <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/how-obama-can-make-sure-hobby-lobby-female-employees-are-covered" target="_blank">contraception</a> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/supreme-court-scotus-hobby-lobby-all-forms-contraception" target="_blank">mandate</a> if their owners object to it on religious grounds. The motions, <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/5/hobby-lobby-guantanamo.html" target="_blank">filed</a> with a Washington, DC, district court on behalf of&nbsp;Ahmed Rabbani of Pakistan and Emad Hassan of Yemen, ask the court to bar military officials from preventing Gitmo inmates from participating in communal prayer during Ramadan.</p> <p>"Hobby Lobby makes clear that <em>all</em> persons&mdash;human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien&mdash;enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the [<a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/chapter-21B" target="_blank">Religious Freedom Restoration Act</a>]," the lawyers argue.</p> <p>A spokesman for the Department of Defense <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/5/hobby-lobby-guantanamo.html" target="_blank">told <em>Al Jazeera America</em></a> on Friday that the "Defense Department is aware of the filing," and that the "government will respond through the legal system."</p> <p>Read the emergency <a href="http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/07/hobby-lobby-at-guantanamo/" target="_blank">motion</a> for a temporary restraining order below:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1212883-gitmo-hobby-lobby-filing">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1212883-gitmo-hobby-lobby-filing.js", { width: 630, height: 820, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1212883-gitmo-hobby-lobby-filing" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1212883/gitmo-hobby-lobby-filing.pdf">Gitmo Hobby Lobby Filing (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1212883/gitmo-hobby-lobby-filing.txt">Gitmo Hobby Lobby Filing (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Religion Reproductive Rights Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:27:33 +0000 Asawin Suebsaeng 255526 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 7, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-7-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>US Marines celebrate a change of command ceremony in South Carolina under the American flag. (US Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Sarah Cherry)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:24:17 +0000 255506 at http://www.motherjones.com WATCH: Now That Corporations Have Freedom of Religion, It's Time to Lay Out the Corporate Commandments [Fiore Cartoon] http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/watch-corporations-freedom-religion-corporate-commandments-fiore-cartoon <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div align="center"> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/99800910?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=c96134" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p> </div> <p>Mark Fiore is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and animator whose work has appeared in the <em>Washington Post, </em>the <em>Los Angeles Times, </em>the <em>San Francisco Examiner, </em>and dozens of other publications. He is an active member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and has a <a href="http://www.markfiore.com/" target="_newWindow">website</a> featuring his work.</p></body></html> MoJo Cartoons Video Health Care Reproductive Rights Supreme Court Fri, 04 Jul 2014 10:00:17 +0000 Mark Fiore 255471 at http://www.motherjones.com How Hobby Lobby Undermined The Very Idea of a Corporation http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/hobby-lobbys-other-problem <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's one <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/best-lines-hobby-lobby-decision" target="_blank">more reason</a> to worry about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, which allowed the arts and crafts chain to block insurance coverage of contraception for female employees because of the owners' religious objections: It could screw up corporate law.</p> <p>This gets complicated, but bear with us. Basically, what you need to know is that if you and some friends start a company that makes a lot of money, you'll be rich, but if it incurs a lot of debt and fails, you won't be left to pay its bills. The Supreme Court affirmed this arrangement in a 2001 case, <em><a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/533/158" target="_blank">Cedric Kushner Promotions vs. Don King</a>: </em></p> <blockquote> <p>linguistically speaking, the employee and the corporation are different &ldquo;persons,&rdquo; even where the employee is the corporation&rsquo;s sole owner. After all, incorporation&rsquo;s basic purpose is to create a distinct legal entity, with legal rights, obligations, powers, and privileges different from those of the natural individuals who created it, who own it, or whom it employs.</p> </blockquote> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More <em>MoJo</em> coverage of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-248586"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/04/hobby-lobby-retirement-plan-invested-emergency-contraception-and-abortion-drug-makers"> Hobby Lobby's Hypocrisy: The Company's Retirement Plan Invests in Contraception Manufacturers</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255101"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/best-lines-hobby-lobby-decision"> The 8 Best Lines From Ginsburg's Dissent</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255121"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-bush-v-gore"> Why the Decision Is the New Bush v. Gore</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255131"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/06/how-obama-can-make-sure-hobby-lobby-female-employees-are-covered"> How Obama Can Make Sure Hobby Lobby's Female Employees Are Covered</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255256"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/07/hobby-lobby-bill-gothard-institute-basic-life-principles"> Hobby Lobby Funded Disgraced Fundamentalist Christian Leader Accused of Harassing Dozens of Women</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> That separation is what legal and business scholars call the "corporate veil," and it's fundamental to the entire operation. Now, thanks to the Hobby Lobby case, it's in question. By letting Hobby Lobby's owners assert their personal religious rights over an entire corporation, the Supreme Court has poked a major hole in the veil. In other words, if a company is not truly separate from its owners, the owners could be made responsible for its debts and other burdens. <p>"If religious shareholders can do it, why can&rsquo;t creditors and government regulators pierce the corporate veil in the other direction?" <a href="https://its.law.nyu.edu/facultyprofiles/profile.cfm?personID=20165" target="_blank">Burt Neuborne</a>, a law professor at New York University, asked in an email.</p> <p>That's a question raised by 44 other law professors, who filed a <a href="http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/13-35413-356tsacCorporateandCriminalLawProfessors.pdf" target="_blank">friends-of-the-court brief</a> that implored the Court to reject Hobby Lobby's argument and hold the veil in place. Here's what they argued:</p> <blockquote> <p>Allowing a corporation, through either shareholder vote or board resolution, to take on and assert the religious beliefs of its shareholders in order to avoid having to comply with a generally-applicable law with a secular purpose is fundamentally at odds with the entire concept of incorporation. Creating such an unprecedented and idiosyncratic tear in the corporate veil would also carry with it unintended consequences, many of which are not easily foreseen.</p> </blockquote> <p>In his opinion for <em>Hobby Lobby</em>, Justice Samuel Alito's insisted the decision should be narrowly applied to the peculiarities of the case. But as my colleague Pat Caldwell writes, the logic of the argument is likely to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-bush-v-gore" target="_blank">invite</a> a tide of new lawsuits, all with their own unintended consequences.</p> <p>Small wonder, then, that despite congressional Republicans <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/30/Boehner-on-Hobby-Lobby-Decision-Another-Defeat-For-Obama-Overreach" target="_blank">defending</a> the Hobby Lobby decision as a victory for American business against the nanny state, the US Chamber of Commerce&mdash;the country's main big business lobby&mdash;was quiet on the issue. Even more telling: Despite a record tide of friends-of-the-court briefs, not one Fortune 500 weighed in on the case. In fact, as David H. Gans at <em>Slate </em><a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/02/hobby_lobby_contraception_mandate_challenge_why_have_corporations_refused.html" target="_blank">pointed out</a> in March, about the only sizeable business-friendly groups that did file briefs with the court were the US Women's Chamber of Commerce and the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Both sided against Hobby Lobby.</p></body></html> MoJo Corporations Regulatory Affairs Supreme Court Explainers Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:50:13 +0000 Alex Park 255376 at http://www.motherjones.com GOP Gubernatorial Candidate: 47 Percent of Americans Are "Dependent on the Largesse of Government" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/bob-beauprez-colorado-47-percent <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><object height="473" width="630"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/SmRddOPwM6U?hl=en_US&amp;version=3"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/v/SmRddOPwM6U?hl=en_US&amp;version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630"></embed></object> <p>Colorado Republicans thought they'd dodged a bullet last month when primary voters chose former GOP Rep. Bob Beauprez as their gubernatorial nominee over Tom&nbsp;Tancredo, a former congressman and notorious anti-immigration activist. Not so much. On Wednesday, Democrats circulated a little-noticed 2010 video in which Beauprez rails against the 47 percent of the American population who he claims are dependent on government. Sound familiar?</p> <p>From the <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26078290/video-shows-beauprez-saying-47-percent-dependent-government?source=most_viewed" target="_blank"><em>Denver Post</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"I see something that frankly doesn't surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax," Beauprez said in the video. "I'm guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47 percent&mdash;God bless you&mdash;but what that tells me is that we've got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill, and most of that half is you all."</p> <p>"I submit to you that there is a political strategy to get slightly over half and have a permanent ruling majority by keeping over half of the population dependent on the largesse of government that somebody else is paying for," Beauprez said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Beauprez's comments, which came in an address to a local rotary club, bear an uncanny resemblance to the infamous remarks, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/mitt-romney-47-percent-denial" target="_blank">first reported by <em>Mother Jones</em></a>, that Mitt Romney made to donors during his presidential campaign. (Romney's final tally: 47 percent of the vote.) A survey released by Rasmussen on Wednesday showed Beauprez running even with incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:48:18 +0000 Tim Murphy 255401 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Calls for a New Crackdown on Wall Street http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/obama-marketplace-ryssdal-wall-street <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama called for a new Wall Street crackdown, noting that more than five years after the financial crisis, banks still focus too much on gaining profits through often risky trading, instead of investing in Main Street America.</p> <p>"More and more of the revenue generated on Wall Street is based on&hellip;trading bets, as opposed to investing in companies that actually make something and hire people," the president said in an <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/obama-middle-class-issues-drive-my-agenda" target="_blank">interview</a> with <em>Marketplace</em> host Kai Ryssdal. He called for "additional steps" to rein in the industry.</p> <p>Obama's comments Wednesday represent one of the most <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/07/02/president-obama-sounds-ready-to-take-on-the-big-banks/" target="_blank">pointed critiques</a> he has made of the banking industry since he took office at the height of the financial crisis, and suggest that he may use his final two years in office to pursue further Wall Street reforms.</p> <p>The president singled out big bonuses as a central problem plaguing the financial system. Banks can still "generate a huge amount of bonuses by making some big [trading] bets," he said. "If you make a really bad bet, a lot of times you've already banked all your bonuses. You might end up leaving the shop, but in the meantime everybody else is left holding the bag."</p> <p>He did not offer specific policy cures, instead alluding to the need to "restructure" how banks work "internally."</p> <p>The massive Dodd-Frank financial reform law that Congress passed in 2010 was supposed to keep banks from taking excess risks and prevent another economic collapse. Obama pointed out that much of that law has already gone into effect. Banks now have to keep <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/06/capital-requirements-fdic-occ-fed-bank-basel-iii" target="_blank">more funds on hand</a> to guard against an economic downturn or a bad trading bet, he said. The law created a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/elizabeth-warren-consumer-financial-protection-bureau" target="_blank">new agency</a> designed to prevent consumers from being duped by mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and student lenders. Last year, Wall Street regulators implemented a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/12/volcker-rule-what-you-need-to-know" target="_blank">much-touted Dodd-Frank measure</a> aimed at limiting the high-risk trading by commercial banks that helped lead to the 2008 economic crash.</p> <p>But much is left to be done. Wall Street regulators have completed only <a href="http://www.davispolk.com/Dodd-Frank-Rulemaking-Progress-Report/" target="_blank">about half</a> of the banking rules mandated by Dodd-Frank. Scores of these regulations have been <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/sunlight-foundation-dodd-frank-meetings-cftc-treasury-federal-reserve" target="_blank">watered down</a> by financial industry lobbyists. Congress has made many <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/citigroup-hr-992-wall-street-swaps-regulatory-improvement-act" target="_blank">legislative</a> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/democrats-derivatives-financial-reform-dodd-frank" target="_blank">attempts</a> to weaken Dodd-Frank. Despite efforts to ensure that banks are no longer too-big-to-fail&mdash;or so large that their collapse would endanger the entire economic system&mdash;the largest banks are <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/obama-middle-class-issues-drive-my-agenda" target="_blank">bigger</a> than they were during the financial crisis.</p> <p>Progressives fault the president for part of the lax response to the financial crisis. Under Obama's Justice Department, for example, no high-level bankers went to jail or faced criminal charges for actions that led to the financial crisis. And liberal critics slam Obama's economic team for focusing too heavily on bailing out banks after the crisis, and allowing the foreclosure crisis to fester.</p> <p>It is unclear how Obama will push through additional Wall Street reforms. He has <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/wall-street-barack-obama-108542.html" target="_blank">limited oversight</a> of rule-making, and banking legislation is not likely to get through the current sharply divided Congress.</p></body></html> MoJo Economy Obama Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:18:28 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 255386 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 3, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-3-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>Soldiers of the 423rd Military Police Company march in a departure ceremony before training and placement at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (US Army Reserve Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:26:56 +0000 255391 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 2, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-2-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>A group of US Marines learns proper blade handling techniques in the Philippines.(US Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Austin Schlosser.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:04:52 +0000 255321 at http://www.motherjones.com This Judge Just Destroyed the Stupidest Argument Against Gay Marriage Ever http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/judge-just-destroyed-stupidest-argument-against-gay-marriage-ever <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled Kentucky&rsquo;s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional and issued a withering take-down of marriage equality opponents.</p> <p>Kentucky had argued that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/kentucky-interracial-marriage-same-sex-birth-rate-ban" target="_blank">legalizing gay marriage would harm the state's birth rate. </a>"<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/kentucky-interracial-marriage-same-sex-birth-rate-ban" target="_blank">These arguments</a> are not those of serious people," wrote US district judge John Heyburn. "Though it seems almost unnecessary to explain, here are the reasons why.</p> <p>"Even assuming the state has a legitimate interest in promoting procreation, the Court fails to see, and Defendant never explains, how the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage has any effect whatsoever on procreation among heterosexual spouses. Excluding same-sex couples from marriage does not change the number of heterosexual couples who choose to get married, the number who choose to have children, or the number of children they have.</p> <p>"The state&rsquo;s attempts to connect the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage to its interest in economic stability and in 'ensuring humanity&rsquo;s continued existence' are at best illogical and even bewildering&hellip;The Court can think of no other conceivable legitimate reason for Kentucky&rsquo;s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage."</p> <p>Heyburn stayed his ruling while Kentucky appeals, meaning no same-sex marriages are taking place just yet.</p> <p>Read the full ruling:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1211523-a-federal-judge-just-struck-down-kentuckys-gay">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1211523-a-federal-judge-just-struck-down-kentuckys-gay.js", { width: 630, height: 420, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1211523-a-federal-judge-just-struck-down-kentuckys-gay" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1211523/a-federal-judge-just-struck-down-kentuckys-gay.pdf">A Federal Judge Just Struck Down Kentucky's Gay Marriage Ban (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1211523/a-federal-judge-just-struck-down-kentuckys-gay.txt">A Federal Judge Just Struck Down Kentucky's Gay Marriage Ban (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Tue, 01 Jul 2014 17:54:35 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss and Molly Redden 255266 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Are 4 Lawsuits That Could Inflict More Damage on Unions After Harris v. Quinn http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/union-harris-quinn-lawsuits-abood-supreme-court <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, the Supreme Court's conservative justices on Monday defied some expectations by not decimating public-employee labor unions via their ruling in <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/supreme-court-harris-quinn-unions-right-to-work" style="line-height: 2em;"><em>Harris v. Quinn</em></a>. Given the opportunity to issue a sprawling decision that would overturn decades of precedent, and in the process kneecap the basic model of public-employee unionism, the five justices, led by Samuel Alito, instead issued a narrower decision. They ruled that home health care workers in Illinois are not full-fledged public workers and thus&nbsp;cannot be required to pay so-called fair-share fees to unions&mdash;money that goes toward the cost of union representation for all workers in a particular workplace.</p> <p>But we may be back in this same situation a year from now, with the Supreme Court holding the fate of public-employee unions in its hands. That's because there are a handful of ongoing lawsuits in courts around the country that pose <a href="http://onlabor.org/2014/02/28/cases-in-the-pipeline-challenges-to-union-security-clauses/">similar challenges</a> to unions as <em>Harris</em> did and that could end up before the Supreme Court. It's possible that one of these cases could do further damage to the labor movement&mdash;with the potential to wipe out the precedent set in 1977's <em>Abood v. Detroit Board of Education</em> decision. (In&nbsp;<em>Abood</em>, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of public-employee unions collecting fair-share fees from nonmembers to pay the costs of collective bargaining.)</p> <p>If you're looking for a common thread between these challenges, it's the National Right-to-Work Legal Foundation, the driving force behind many anti-union suits around the country. The foundation represented the plaintiffs in&nbsp;<em>Harris v. Quinn</em>, and it has <a href="http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/05/6131723/seiu-foes-sue-to-end-opt-out-dues.html" target="_blank">provided</a> legal <a href="http://www.nrtw.org/en/press/2014/04/massachusetts-childcare-providers-lawsuit-04162014" target="_blank">help</a> in two of the following cases.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here's a snapshot of four cases that could be the next <em>Harris</em>:</p> <ul><li><strong><em>D'Agostino v. Patrick</em>:</strong> A group of home child care workers in Massachusetts filed suit after the state passed a law designating the SEIU as the exclusive union for those workers. Similar to the Illinois home care workers who brought the <em>Harris</em> suit, the Massachusetts workers claim their rights are being infringed on by being represented by SEIU, meaning union members and nonmembers pay dues in exchange for the benefits that come with union representation. This case is in the Federal District Court of Massachusetts.</li> <li><strong><em>Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association</em>:</strong> A group of public school teachers in California <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/prop-32-teachers-union_n_3692334.html">claim</a> that the requirement that they pay fair-share dues to the California Teachers Association infringes on their First Amendment rights. Their suit also seeks to ban the "opt-out" model of automatic dues deductions, in which teachers who pay dues must opt out to keep their money from funding union political activity. Instead, the plaintiffs want teachers to opt in to fund that political work. This case is with the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.</li> <li><strong><em>Parrish v. Dayton</em>:</strong> After Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill in May 2013 <a href="http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/22304027/day-care-union-how-will-vote-impact-minn-providers">allowing</a> the state's child care providers to vote to unionize,&nbsp;opponents <a href="http://www.minnesotafamilychildcare.com/updates.htm">filed</a> a suit similar to <em>Harris</em> to halt the new law. The suit was on hold pending the outcome of the <em>Harris</em> case. The plaintiffs hailed the Supreme Court's decision in <em>Harris</em>, and their&nbsp;lawyers now expect movement in <em>Parrish</em>.</li> <li><strong><em>Hamidi v. SEIU Local 1000</em>:</strong> This suit <a href="http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/05/6131723/seiu-foes-sue-to-end-opt-out-dues.html" target="_blank">targets</a> the part of California law that allows public-employee unions to use the opt-out model for dues paying, as described above. If Hamidi, who works for the state's Franchise Tax Board, succeeds, his suit could take a bite out of <em>Abood</em>, which in part upheld the practice of opt-out clauses. Hamidi's case is currently in California district court.</li> </ul></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Economy Labor Top Stories Tue, 01 Jul 2014 16:05:44 +0000 Andy Kroll 255226 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for July 1, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/were-still-war-photo-day-july-1-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>The USS Rushmore delivers equipment to a base in Hawaii to support Rim of the Pacific, the world's largest maritime exercise. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dustin Knight.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military US Navy Tue, 01 Jul 2014 13:49:17 +0000 255221 at http://www.motherjones.com