Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2005/06/kevin-drum/2010/01/conservative-healthcare 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 September 19, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-19-2014 <!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 board the USS Germantown, an amphibious dock landing ship in the Philippine Sea. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:42:30 +0000 260606 at http://www.motherjones.com 10 Fascinating Articles From the CIA's Secret Employee Magazine http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/10-declassified-articles-cia-intelligence-journal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In 2007, Jeffrey Scudder, a veteran information technology specialist at the Central Intelligence Agency, came across the archives of the agency's in-house magazine, <em>Studies in Intelligence</em>. The catch: They were classified. So Scudder filed a Freedom of Information Act request. And then things got messy. "I submitted a FOIA and it basically destroyed my entire career," he told the <em>Washington Post</em>.</p> <p>As a profile of Scudder in the <em>Post</em> explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>He was confronted by supervisors and accused of mishandling classified information while assembling his FOIA request. His house was raided by the FBI and his family's computers seized. Stripped of his job and his security clearance, Scudder said he agreed to retire last year after being told that if he refused, he risked losing much of his pension.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now, in response to a <a href="http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2014/03/cia-softcopy/" target="_blank">lawsuit filed by Scudder</a>, the CIA has declassified and released some of the hundreds of journal articles he's requested. Nearly 250 of them have been posted <a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/collection/declassified-articles-studies-intelligence-cias-house-intelligence-journal" target="_blank">on the CIA's website</a>. Published over four decades, they offer a fascinating peek at the history of US intelligence as well as the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/09/declassified-documents-cia-sense-humor" target="_blank">corporate culture</a> of "the Company."</p> <p>Here are 10 that grabbed our attention:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong><a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0000620599.pdf" target="_blank">"How We Are Perceived"</a>:</strong> "It came as a shock to learn that there seem still to be large numbers of well read and presumably intelligent US citizens who perceive that we are assassins, blackmailers, exploiters of sex and illicit drugs as well as the creators of our own foreign policy separate and distinct from that of the Department of State," a clandestine service member wrote in this essay from the winter of 1986. "How can it be that perceptions differ so radically from reality?"</p> <p>Answer: Leaks to the press "together with some of our acknowledged missteps" had fed a trail of Soviet propaganda, which misinformed the American public. Even the State Department and military intelligence harbored "misperceptions" about the work of the CIA, the author continued, listing a half-page of apparent myths&mdash;which has not yet been declassified. "We have the option of keeping mum and allowing the misperceptions to grow, or of tackling them head-on. We have only ourselves to blame if we do nothing to set the record straight."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. <a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0001407035.pdf" target="_blank">"11 September 2001: With the President"</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>President George W. Bush's CIA briefer, Michael J. Morrell, recalls the events of 9/11, which he witnessed as part of the executive entourage:</p> <blockquote> <p>The president asked me who was responsible for the attacks. I said "Sir, I haven't seen any intelligence that would point to responsibility, so what I'm going to say is simply my personal view." The president told me he understood. I said two terrorist states were capable of conducting such a complex operation [REDACTED] I pointed out [REDACTED]; that neither had much to gain and both had plenty to lose from attacking the United States. Rather, I said the culprit was almost certainly a nonstate actor, adding that I had no doubt that the trail would lead to the doorstep of Bin Laden and al-Qa'ida.</p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. <a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0006122432.pdf" target="_blank">"Leo Theremin&mdash;CIA Nemesis"</a>:</strong> Best known as the inventor of the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5qf9O6c20o" target="_blank">eponymous instrument</a> used to make UFO noises in B-movies, inventor Leo Theremin was also a Soviet spy. The "Russian Thomas Edison" survived the gulag to become a KGB researcher whose "very existence was a state secret." His biggest coup: Placing an ingenious bug inside a wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States that was given to the American ambassador in Moscow in 1945. The hidden microphone was not found until 1960.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="studies in intelligence" class="image" src="/files/studies-intelligence630px.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Not available on newstands: The CIA's <em>Studies in Intelligence </em></strong>CIA</div> </div> <p><strong>4. <a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0005393249.pdf" target="_blank">"An Interview With NSA Director Lt. Gen. Michael V. Haydem"</a>: </strong>In this prescient Q&amp;A from the pre-9/11 and pre-Snowden era, the then-NSA director and future CIA director spoke about his agency's reputation for excessive secrecy:</p> <blockquote> <p>Everything's secret. I mean, I got an e-mail saying, "Merry Christmas." It carried a Top Secret NSA classification marking. The easy option is to classify everything. This is an Agency that for most of its existence was well served by not having a public image. When the nation felt its existence was threatened, it was willing to cut agencies like NSA quite a bit of slack. But as that threat perception decreases, there is a natural tendency to say, "Now, tell me again what those guys do?" And, therefore, the absence of a public image seems to be less useful today than it was 25 years ago. I don't think we can survive without a public image.</p> </blockquote> <p>Asked about cooperation between intelligence agencies, Hayden's answer foreshadowed the intelligence failures behind 9/11 and the coming hunt for Osama bin Laden:</p> <blockquote> <p>Without getting too much into some really sensitive stuff, let's think about conducting operations against a major international terrorist leader&hellip;Think about two agencies, for illustrative purposes, 35 miles apart, trying to marry the data to get the son of a gun. And each of them saying, "I'll give you my finished reporting, but not my tickets." You cannot tell me that's the correct approach in the first year of the 21st century. We're like two foreign potentates, negotiating a transfer of prisoners, and we're both wrapping ourselves around our own tradecraft.</p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5. <a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0000617219.pdf" target="_blank">"Interview with Erna Flegel"</a>:</strong> In 1981, future CIA chief Richard Helms spoke with a nurse who was stationed in Adolf Hitler's <a href="http://youtu.be/WcJWCiXbfxs?t=44s" target="_blank">Berlin bunker</a> as Nazi Germany collapsed in 1945. About her former employer, whom she was a "fanatical admirer," Flegel gushed, "When Hitler was in the room, he filled it entirely with his personality&mdash;you saw only him, aside from him nothing else existed. The fascinating thing about him was his eyes; up to the end, it was impossible to turn away from his eyes."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/guatemala_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A redacted passage in an article about assassination planning in Guatemala. </strong>CIA</div> </div> <p><strong>6.</strong> <strong><a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0006142929.pdf" target="_blank">"CIA and the Guatemala Assassination Proposals, 1952-1954"</a>:</strong> As this heavily-redacted article explains, later reviews of CIA activities in Guatemala in the 1950s turned up documents that had not been disclosed during earlier investigations into CIA assassination plots. What was in those rediscovered files? For example, while it was plotting the overthrow of "Communist" Jacobo Arbenz:</p> <blockquote> <p>Discussions of assassination reached a high level within the Agency. Among those involved were [REDACTED] was present at least one meeting where the subject of assassination came up. DCI Allen Dulles and his special assistant, Richard Bissell, probably were also aware in general terms that assassination was under discussion. Beyond planning, some actual preparations were made. Some assassins were selected, training began, and tentative "hit lists" were drawn up.</p> </blockquote> <p>"Yet," the article asserted, "no covert action plan involving assassinations of Guatemalans was ever approved or implemented."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>7.</strong> <strong><a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0000619182.pdf" target="_blank">"Interrogation of an Alleged CIA Agent"</a>:</strong> This 1983 paper opens with the transcript of the questioning of a suspected American operative by a particularly indefatigable interrogator known as A.I.:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>A.l.: </strong>Do you work for the American Central Intelligence Agency, Joe?<br><strong>Hardesty: </strong>Hell, no.<br><strong>A.l.: </strong>Why do you persist in lying to me?<br><strong>Hardesty: </strong>I am not lying. You have no right to treat me like this.<br><strong>A.l.: </strong>Of course not.<br><strong>Hardesty: </strong>Since you agree with me, may I go?<br><strong>A.l.: </strong>So you are not lying ... interesting.<br><strong>Hardesty: </strong>May I go now?<br><strong>A.l.: </strong>Who are your superiors at the CIA?<br><strong>Hardesty: </strong>I don't know what you are talking about.<br><strong>A.l.: </strong>You had better think about that statement before I make a record of it.<br><strong>Hardesty: </strong>Go to hell.<br><strong>A.l.:</strong> Why so hostile?</p> </blockquote> <p>A.I. is short for Artificial Intelligence. The exchange actually took place between a human and a computer, indicating the agency's early interest in the kind of sophisticated computer learning that's since become <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/07/deep-learning-artificial-intelligence-facebook-nsa" target="_blank">increasingly commonplace</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>8. <a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0001372115.pdf" target="_blank">"Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story [REDACTED]"</a>:</strong> This undated release, apparently from the late '90s, takes on the PR disaster spawned by <em>San Jose Mercury-News</em> reporter Gary Webb, who had accused the CIA of <a href="http://www.narconews.com/darkalliance/shock/start.htm" target="_blank">importing drugs</a> into the United States in the '80s. Webb's claims were "alarming," and the agency was particularly stung by the allegation that it had worked to destroy the black community with illegal drugs. Fortunately, the <em>Studies in Intelligence</em> article explains, "a ground base of already productive relations with journalists" helped "prevent this story from becoming an unmitigated disaster." Hostile reporters attacked Webb's work and he eventually became a persona non grata in the newspaper world.</p> <p>Ultimately, claims the article, part of the problem with the response to Webb's stories was a "societal shortcoming": "The CIA-drug story says a lot more about American society&hellip;that [<em>sic</em>] it does about either CIA or the media. We live in somewhat coarse and emotional times&mdash;when large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community." In 1998, the agency partly vindicated Webb's reporting by <a href="http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/gary-webb-cia-drug-running-story-061813" target="_blank">admitting</a> that it had had business relationships with major drug dealers. Jeremy Renner stars as the late Webb in a new movie, <a href="http://www.focusfeatures.com/kill_the_messenger" target="_blank"><em>Kill the Messenger</em></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>9.</strong> <strong><a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0006231614.pdf" target="_blank">"The Evolution of US Government Restrictions on Using and Exporting Encryption Technologies"</a>: </strong>During the Clinton administration, the government was powerless to stop the development of open-source encryption tools. This <em>Studies in Intelligence</em> article details the many failed official attempts to control the development and proliferation of encryption tools. In the face of opposition from researchers, the business community, and its own experts, the government eventually eased restrictions on the technology. But, as the author noted, spooks yearned for the golden age of electronic eavesdropping: "The US Government, and NSA in particular, would like to return to the Cold War era of complete government control over strong cryptography and skillful manipulation of the research and corporate communities."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>10. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/09/declassified-documents-cia-sense-humor" target="_blank">Par-Faits (And Other Faits)</a></strong>: In 1984, a Mr. [REDACTED] compiled quotations from Performance Appraisal Reports (PARs) over the years along with introductory quips. The subjects and supervisors quoted are also, mercifully, anonymous.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Almost flawless&mdash;so to speak:</strong> "His English is flawless, if not close to it."<br><strong>The clairvoyant case officer:</strong> " ... His operational reporting is often on time, often ahead of time."<br><strong>His eyes are clear but his prose is measured and smoke-watered:</strong> "With the perspective of twenty months of overview of his long march, rather than with the smoke-watered eyes of those who peer too closely into his campfire, I conclude that his pace has been measured."<br><strong>The hyperactive dog of a case officer:</strong> "&hellip;He is a man of constant motion&mdash;some of it unnecessary&hellip;he bloodhounds even the longest odds and opportunities."<br><strong>Although some may wonder:</strong> "All said and done, Mr. S. is human."</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Foreign Policy Top Stories historical memory Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:00:13 +0000 Dave Gilson, Michael Mechanic, Alex Park, and AJ Vicens 260596 at http://www.motherjones.com "NO." Scotland Will Not Leave the United Kingdom http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/scotland-will-not-leave-united-kingdom <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>David Cameron has been spared his worst fear: Being the Tory who lost England's hat. <em>The</em> <em>Guardian</em> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/scottish-independence-blog/live/2014/sep/18/scottish-referendum-results-live-coverage-of-the-independence-vote" target="_blank">has called</a> the independence referendum and it appears that voters have declined to strike out on their own. Scotland will not leave the United Kingdom.</p> <p>"No" was the slight favorite heading into yesterday's vote, but that doesn't mean England isn't breathing a sigh of relief. A few months ago this result would have come as no surprise, but as the polls tightened over the last few weeks, storm clouds set in over Westminster, and the narrative seemed to suggest independence was in the wind. If momentum was in fact on the "Yes" side, it ran out of time.</p> <p>The referendum was the result of decades of work on the part of Scottish nationalists. And though they lost, it's hard to say that traditional Unionists really won. There will be <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/scottish-independence/scottish-independence-cameron-miliband-and-clegg-sign-devolution-vow-but-scots-sceptical-9736090.html" target="_blank">further devolution</a>. Scotland will have more autonomy than at any time since joining the Union. Indeed, if Labour wins the next election, greater devolution could be coming to Wales and Northern England as well, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/14/scotland-has-shown-change-whole-country" target="_blank">according to Ed Milibrand</a>. None of that wouldn't be happening had the SNP not made this race so close.</p> <p>Most everyone outside of Scotland is happy about this because it saves them a lot of messiness, especially in Brussels and DC. As my Welsh godmother said in reference to her Edinburgh-born husband, "I'm glad I'm not suddenly married to a foreigner."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/CGD27WgtKhI" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo International Top Stories Fri, 19 Sep 2014 04:32:30 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 260566 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton Threads the Needle: Obama's Done Okay But Economic Benefits Need to Be "Broadly Shared" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/hillary-clinton-women-economics-minimum-wage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton doesn't think much of her old employer. "Congress increasingly...is living in an evidence free zone," she said Thursday, "where what the reality is in the lives of Americans is so far from the minds of too many." Speaking on a panel about women and economics hosted by the Center for American Progress (a liberal think tank run by Clinton's ex-policy advisor Neera Tanden), Clinton gave a few hints of which domestic policy proposals could anchor her presumed 2016 presidential campaign.</p> <p>Speaking in non-partisan terms, Clinton slammed Congress for its lack of action on raising the minimum wage, with the former secretary of state saying that a failure to boost the wages of the working poor is particularly damaging for women. She noted that two-thirds of minimum wage jobs are held by women. "The floor is collapsing&mdash;we talk about a glass ceiling, these women don't even have a secure floor under them," she said.</p> <p>Boosting the minimum wage has become a standard Democratic talking point. But Clinton went beyond that standard fare and emphasized the plight of tipped workers, such as restaurant servers, bartenders, and hair stylists. "Women hold nearly three-quarters of the jobs that are reliant on tips," she said. "And in fact, they don't get the minimum wage with the tips on top of it."</p> <p>Although the federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 per hour since 2009, there is an exemption carved out for workers who receive tips. Employers only have to pay those people $2.13 an hour (steady since 1991); the tips are presumed to make up for the difference. But often times the tips don't suffice, and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/minimum-wage-tip-map-waiters-waitresses-servers" target="_blank">employers, who are supposed to fill the gap, don't always do so</a>.</p> <p>These workers are "at the mercy not only of customers who can decide or not to tip," Clinton said. "They're at the mercy of their employers who may collect the tips and not turn them back."</p> <p>Clinton didn't dive into the policy details on how to fix this problem. But the Center for American Progress <a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2014/09/18/97421/7-actions-that-could-shrink-the-gender-wage-gap/" target="_blank">released</a> a report right after the event that suggested raising the tipped wage up to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage (which the report proposed bumping to $10.10 per hour).</p> <p>The general tone of Clinton's speech suggested how she'd thread the needle by supporting President Barack Obama's record while crafting her own agenda when she hits the campaign trail. "The president came in&mdash;he deserves an enormous amount of credit for stanching the bleeding and preventing a further deterioration and getting us out of that ditch we were in," she said. "But we know that unless we change our policies, a lot of the benefits are not going to be broadly shared, and that's what we're talking about here."</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Income Inequality Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:14:34 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 260531 at http://www.motherjones.com This Restaurant Is Trying To Be The Worst One on Yelp http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/restaurant-wants-be-worst-yelp <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Botto Bistro wants to be the worst-reviewed restaurant on Yelp. Fed up with <a href="http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/yelp-and-the-business-of-extortion-20/Content?oid=1176635" target="_blank">the site's alleged manipulation</a> of consumer reviews, owners David Cerretini and Michele Massimo have been offering a 25 percent discount at their Bay Area Italian eatery for each excoriating Yelp review, the <em>Richmond Standard</em> <a href="http://richmondstandard.com/2014/09/richmond-italian-restaurant-waging-awesome-war-yelp/" target="_blank">reports</a>. Here are some recent entries from Botto Bistro's <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/botto-italian-bistro-richmond-3" target="_blank">Yelp page</a>:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Yelp1.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Yelp2.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Yelp3.png"></div> <p>Yelp has for years <a href="http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/yelp-and-the-business-of-extortion-20/Content?oid=1176635" target="_blank">been accused</a> of soliciting money from mom-and-pop restaurant owners in exchange for hiding negative customer reviews. In response to a lawsuit over the alleged practice, a court recently ruled that Yelp <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Yelp-can-give-paying-clients-better-ratings-5731200.php?cmpid=twitter" target="_blank">has the legal right to manipulate reviews</a> and engage in "hard bargaining"&mdash;practices restaurant owners have called extortion. Yelp denies that it accepts money to alter or suppress reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2014/09/17/richmond-restaurant-owner-encourages-bad-yelp-reviews/" target="_blank">According to Inside Scoop SF</a>, Yelp's only response to Botto Bistro has been a boilerplate email from its customer service division (see below), to which the restaurant sent a tongue-in-cheek rejoinder:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/botto%20exchange.png"><div class="caption">Inside Scoop SF</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Food and Ag Tech yelp Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:34:08 +0000 Josh Harkinson 260561 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 18, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-18-2014 <!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 prepare to conduct a simulated raid in Hawaii, part of their pre-deployment training cycle.(US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew Callahan)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:26:11 +0000 260511 at http://www.motherjones.com The Walmart Heirs Give a Measly Amount to Charity http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/walmart-walton-heirs-charity <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Walmart heirs are infamous for their <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/07/walmart-heirs-waltons-wealth-income-inequality" target="_blank">wealth</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/06/report-walmart-forces-employees-dole-taxpayers" target="_blank">penny-pinching</a>. Christy, Jim, Alice, and Rob Walton wouldn't be the sixth-, seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-richest Americans, respectively, if not for Walmart's relentless <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/11/how-walmart-could-pay-decent-wage-without-raising-prices" target="_blank">exploitation of its low-wage workers</a>. But the Waltons' stinginess also extends to their philanthropy. According to a new analysis by the union-backed <a href="http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/" target="_blank">Making Change at Walmart</a> campaign, the Walton scions give way less money to charity than other &uuml;ber-rich Americans. In fact, the six other richest Americans have each donated many times more money to philanthropic causes than all four Walton heirs combined:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Walton-charity-WEB.gif"><div class="caption">Making Change at Walmart</div> </div> <p>Typically, the extremely wealthy give <a href="http://nccs.urban.org/nccs/statistics/Charitable-Giving-in-America-Some-Facts-and-Figures.cfm" target="_blank">a higher portion of their incomes</a> to charity than middle and upper-middle income Americans. After all, you can only buy so many yachts, vacation homes, and Teslas before you start to look for other ways to spend money. But that doesn't seem to be true for the Waltons, who've redefined what it means to be a Scrooge. Americans' average net worth is about <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/26/household-wealth-has-yet-to-recover/" target="_blank">$650,000</a> per household (the median is only about <a href="http://www.census.gov/people/wealth/files/Wealth%20distribution%202000%20to%202011.pdf" target="_blank">$70,000</a>), and the average annual charitable donation is about <a href="http://www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/charitable-giving-statistics/" target="_blank">$3,000 per household</a>. Meanwhile, the average Walton has a net worth of $36 billion and gives about $730,000 to charity each year. This means that the four richest Waltons have, on average, a net worth that's 55,000 times higher than that of the average American household, yet give, as a percent of that wealth, about 1/230th as much to charity in a typical year:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="200" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/n0srZ/3/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="600"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Charts Income Inequality Top Stories Walmart Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:30:07 +0000 Josh Harkinson 260491 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 17, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-17-2014 <!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 Army soldiers prepare to board a CH-47F Chinook with the Flying Dragons task force, which searches for illegal weapons in compounds in Afghanistan. (US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:43:43 +0000 260431 at http://www.motherjones.com This Republican Tried To Stop North Carolina From Apologizing For A Racist Massacre. He’d Like Your Vote, Please. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/thom-tillis-wilmington-blocked-apology-racial-massacre <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In 1898, furious that a mixed-race coalition had swept the city's municipal elections, white supremacists burned down a black-owned newspaper in Wilmington, North Carolina; overthrew the local government; and killed at least <a href="http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-newsouth/4360" target="_blank">25 black residents</a> in a week of rioting. It was one of the worst single incidents of racially motivated violence in American history. But in 2007, when a nonpartisan commission recommended that the state legislature <a href="http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2007&amp;BillID=H751&amp;votesToView=all" target="_blank">pass a resolution</a> formally apologizing for the massacre, Republican Senate nominee Thom Tillis, then a first-term state representative, rose to block it.</p> <p>"It is time to move on," he wrote in a message to constituents. "In supporting the apology for slavery, most members felt it was an opportunity to recognize a past wrong and move on to pressing matters facing our State. HB 751 and others in the pipeline are redundant and they are consuming time and attention that should be dedicated to addressing education, transportation, and immigration problems plaguing this State."</p> <p>But at the time, Tillis&mdash;who <a href="http://www.wwaytv3.com/2014/09/16/christie-stumps-for-tillis-wilmington-duo-avoids-protestors" target="_blank">showed up</a> in Wilmington on Tuesday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in tow&mdash;offered another explanation for opposing the measure: Not all whites had participated in the riots. So Tillis pushed for an amendment introduced by a fellow state representative that would have added language to the bill commemorating the heroic white Republican lawmakers who had opposed the violence. "The proposed amendment would have acknowledged the historical fact that the white Republican government joined with black citizens to oppose the rioters," he argued. The amendment failed, and Tillis ended up voting no on the final version.</p> <p>Although North Carolina has been targeted by the GOP as a top pickup opportunity, Tillis has struggled to gain traction&mdash;in part because of his leadership role in the unpopular state legislature. In the most recent poll, he <a href="http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/15/4150826/latest-poll-shows-hagan-pulling.html" target="_blank">trailed</a> Kay Hagan,&nbsp;the Democratic incumbent, by nine points.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:37:37 +0000 Tim Murphy 260381 at http://www.motherjones.com Even Liberia's Legislature Can't Escape the Ravages of Ebola http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/even-liberias-legislature-may-have-ebola <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Of all the countries doing battle with Ebola,&nbsp;Liberia has been dealt the gravest blow. <a href="http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/who%20roadmapupdate16sept14.pdf" target="_blank">According</a>&nbsp;to the World Health Organization, the impoverished West African nation now accounts for about half of all documented cases. And more than 1,200 residents are known or suspected to have died from the disease. In late August, the government quarantined an entire neighborhood for <a href="http://www.voanews.com/content/liberias-west-point-ebola-quarantine-lifted/2434374.html" target="_blank">ten days</a> to prevent the outbreak from spreading.</p> <p>Now the virus is forcing Liberian lawmakers to put their own work on hold.</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/ebola-mini.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 Ebola crisis. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-259686"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/ebola-world-health-organization-budget"> Why the World Health Organization Doesn't Have Enough Funds to Fight Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-259576"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/world-health-organization-doctors-without-borders-ebola-senegal-nigeria"> This Map Shows Why People Are Freaking Out About Ebola's Arrival in Senegal</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258436"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/new-drugs-and-vaccines-cant-stop-ebola-outbreak"> New Drugs and Vaccines Can't Stop This Ebola Outbreak</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-257666"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/08/5-diseases-are-scarier-ebola"> 5 Diseases That Are Scarier Than Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255436"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/07/we-are-making-ebola-worse"> We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse by Cutting Down Forests</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>On Monday, Liberia's legislature announced that the House of Representatives had canceled an "extraordinary sitting" to discuss the outbreak because its own chamber had been tainted by "a probable case of Ebola" and was being sprayed down with chlorine. The statement didn't specify the source of the infection, but it noted that one of the chamber's doormen had recently died after a "short illness."</p> <p>Liberia is ill-equipped to fight off the Ebola outbreak. Its&nbsp;<a href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201308120973.html" target="_blank">entire national budget</a>&nbsp;for 2013-2014 was $553 million, with only $11 million allotted for health care&mdash;about what&nbsp;Kanye&nbsp;West and Kim&nbsp;Kardashian&nbsp;are <a href="http://abc7.com/archive/8946423/" target="_blank">estimated</a> to have spent on their Bel&nbsp;Air mansion in&nbsp;2012.</p> <p>Despite its meager resources, last month&nbsp;Liberia's legislature&nbsp;<a href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201408150798.html" target="_blank">allocated</a> $20 million&nbsp;to battle the virus. But the nation had already burned through&nbsp;a quarter of that money by the first week of September. On Tuesday,&nbsp;United Nations officials pleaded with the international community to step up assistance to Liberia and neighboring countries, <a href="http://www.voanews.com/content/ebola-outbreak-who-response-one-billion-dollars/2451347.html" target="_blank">saying</a> it will take $1 billion in aid to keep the number of cases in the region confined to the "tens of thousands."</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2014/09/even-liberias-legislature-may-have-ebola"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Health International Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:30:51 +0000 Alex Park 260371 at http://www.motherjones.com Rand Paul to Appear at Event Featuring Neo-Confederate Aide He Had to Fire http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/rand-paul-jack-hunter-lpac-neo-confederate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This week, the Ron Paul-led Campaign for Liberty hosts its fourth annual <a href="http://lpac.com" target="_blank">Liberty Political Action Conference</a>, and the speaking list features a roster of well-known Republican politicians and libertarian activists. The biggest draw of this year's LPAC will undoubtedly be Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who each day inches closer to a 2016 presidential run. Slated to speak at&nbsp;the same event, though, is Paul's ex-aide Jack Hunter, who the senator fired after his past as&nbsp;a neo-Confederate advocate was revealed.</p> <p>Hunter used to be the social media director in Paul's Senate office, and he co-wrote Paul's 2010 book, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Tea-Party-Goes-Washington/dp/1455503118">The Tea Party Goes to Washington</a></em>. But in 2013, the <a href="http://freebeacon.com/national-security/rebel-yell/"><em>Washington Free Beacon</em> revealed</a> that Hunter, under a different identity, had long been involved with the neo-Confederate and southern secessionist movements. For 13 years, Hunter was a South Carolina talk radio host who called himself the "Southern Avenger." In public, he wore a luchador mask bearing a Confederate flag. As the Avenger, Hunter made many a provocative remark, including arguably racist comments. He said that John Wilkes Booth's heart was "in the right place" and that he celebrated Booth's birthday every year. He claimed that Abraham Lincoln would have been romantically drawn to Adolf Hitler. He called the NAACP a <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20071104065513/http://www.southernavenger.com/82/?form_58.userid=4&amp;form_58.replyids=87" target="_blank">"malicious hate group"</a> on par with the KKK. He contended that a "non-white majority America would simply cease to be America."</p> <p>Hunter also chaired an organization called the League of the South, which advocated "the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic." The <em>Free Beacon</em> reported,</p> <blockquote> <p>"The League of the South is an implicitly racist group in that the idealized version of the South that they promote is one which, to use their ideology, is dominated by 'Anglo-Celtic'&nbsp;culture, which is their code word for 'white,'" said Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the [Anti-Defamation League]. The ADL said it does not necessarily classify it as a hate group.</p> <p>The League of the South maintains that it is not racist and does not discriminate in terms of membership.</p> </blockquote> <p>"When I was part of it, they were very explicit that's not what they were about," Hunter told the <em>Free Beacon</em>. "I was a young person, it was a fairly radical group&mdash;the same way a person on the left might be attracted in college to some left-wing radical groups."</p> <p>After Hunter was unmasked, Paul <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/rand-paul-john-harwood-spar-over-jack-hunter-95243.html">said</a>&nbsp;that his Southern Avenger commentaries were "stupid" and canned him. A few months later, Hunter wrote a story titled <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/11/confessions-of-right-wing-shock-jock-jack-hunter-100261.html#ixzz3DVCTAYaW">"Confessions of a Right-Wing Shock Jock"</a> and distanced himself from his old comments. "I said many terrible things," he wrote. "I disavow them."</p> <p>Now, Hunter is back in the fold and back on the speaker's list in the liberty movement presided over by Ron and&nbsp;Rand Paul. The Campaign for Liberty <a href="https://www.campaignforlibertyfoundation.org/lpac-2014-is-almost-here/">bills</a> him as "the one and only Jack Hunter." Hard to argue with that.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Civil Liberties Congress Elections The Right Rand Paul Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:29:33 +0000 Andy Kroll 260376 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 15, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-15-2014 <!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 US Marine carries a round back to his gun in Hawaii for a fire mission. (US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Victor A. Mancilla)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:49:24 +0000 260256 at http://www.motherjones.com Unredacted Court Docs Reveal Yahoo's Name and Other Top-Secret Stuff http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/yahoo-nsa-court-ruling-redacted <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Yahoo has <a href="https://cdt.org/insight/yahoo-v-u-s-prism-documents/" target="_blank">just released</a> 1,500 pages of previously classified documents relating to its <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/technology/secret-court-ruling-put-tech-companies-in-data-bind.html" target="_blank">legal challenge</a> to the government's warrantless wiretapping program. Yahoo lost the case in 2008 and was ordered to cooperate with National Security Agency or face a $250,000 fine for every day that it withheld its customers' data. The ruling in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was released to the public only in heavily redacted form, became a legal precedent for the warrantless wiretapping program that was later revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.</p> <p>Today, based on a successful appeal by Yahoo, a slightly less redacted version of that court ruling finally became public.</p> <p>Below, I've posted the more lightly redacted version released today as well as the redacted version of the ruling released in 2008. A side-by-side reading of the two documents may offer some insight into how the government has sought to cover up the true nature of its surveillance activities, or it might just be an example of how little has changed.</p> <p>The new version of the ruling is notable for what it doesn't disclose: Key evidence presented by the government. A block of text that had previously been removed from the ruling still does not fully explain why warrantless searches are necessary to thwart terrorists:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/excerptWEB.gif"></div> <p>Scanning the 1,500 pages of newly unsealed documents will take a while. Here are few examples of new information contained in the partially unredacted ruling:</p> <ul><li>The name of the plaintiff (Yahoo) and its law firm</li> <li>A footnote defining the term "surveillance" to mean "acquisitions of foreign intelligence information." But part of the definition of the term still remains redacted.</li> <li>The date when the government moved to force Yahoo to comply with the order (November 21, 2007)</li> <li>A mention of "linking procedures" (defined as "procedures that link [redacted] targets.") as a one of the safeguards against unreasonable searches</li> </ul><p>You can help us out by pointing out any other interesting tidbits in the comments; we'll note additional highlights here if we find anything worth noting.</p> <p>The slightly less redacted ruling released today:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1301184-11-yahoo702-fisc-merits-opinion-1">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1301184-11-yahoo702-fisc-merits-opinion-1.js", { width: 630, height: 800, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1301184-11-yahoo702-fisc-merits-opinion-1" }); </script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The original redacted court ruling:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1300547-fiscr082208-2">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1300547-fiscr082208-2.js", { width: 630, height: 800, sidebar: false, text: false, pdf: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1300547-fiscr082208-2" }); </script><p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Tech NSA Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:59:59 +0000 Josh Harkinson 260116 at http://www.motherjones.com The Great State Of California Will Not Be Split Into Six Mediocre States http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/great-state-california-will-not-be-split-six-little-mediocre-states <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>One day a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/07/tim-draper-six-californias-stripping-youtube-riskmaster" target="_blank">lemming</a> will fly. That day is <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Six-Californias-initiative-falls-short-of-5751683.php" target="_blank">not today</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Backers of a much-publicized initiative to split California into six separate states failed to collect enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot. the secretary of state's office said Friday.</p> <p>Supporters of the Six Californias measure sponsored by Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, turned in more than 1.13 million signatures. But a statewide sampling showed that only 752,685 of them were from voters registered in California, short of the 807,615 needed to qualify for the ballot, the secretary of state said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Happy Friday!</p></body></html> MoJo Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:55:53 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 260196 at http://www.motherjones.com See for Yourself Just How Damn Complicated the Middle East Has Become http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/see-yourself-just-how-complicated-middle-east-has-become <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="mid east relationship chart" class="image" src="/files/mid-east-top_0.jpg"><div class="caption">David McCandless/The Information Is Beautiful Project</div> </div> <p>Behold, the Middle East! If we could just understand what all the strong countries, the falling-apart countries, the unrecognized-countries, the "non-state actors", and the outside powers all thought of each other, we might be able to chart a clear way forward, right? Don't get your hopes up, although the latest project by British data visionary David McCandless is a really valiant effort to make sense of it all nonetheless.</p> <p>McCandless' charted 38 regional players&mdash; from Afghanistan to Yemen, Al Qaeda to the European Union&mdash; and connected each to its major friends and enemies. The result is a tangled ball that illustrates the enormously complicated relationships in the region. (You can parse each actor's relationships on the full, <a href="http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-middle-east-key-players-notable-relationships/" target="_blank">interactive version</a> on McCandless' site, Information Is Beautiful, which you should really check out.)&nbsp;</p> <p>McCandless calls this work an "ongoing, evolving diagram," so it may be missing a few connections (Russia's <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/defense/212024-hagel-us-knows-iran-russia-aiding-iraq-in-fight-against-isis" target="_blank">close, getting closer</a> relationship with Iraq, for instance). If you have more ideas, he welcomes input at the email address posted on his site.</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Afghanistan Foreign Policy Iraq Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:49:57 +0000 Alex Park 260156 at http://www.motherjones.com Pennsylvania Teenager Simulates Oral Sex With Jesus Statue, Faces 2 Years in Prison http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/pennsylvania-teenager-hump-oral-sex-jesus-statue-prison <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Teenagers are prone to dumb, tasteless pranks, but one 14-year-old is facing prison time for his latest stunt. The teen, from Everett, Pennsylvania, hopped on top of a statue of a kneeling Jesus&mdash;in front of an organization called "Love in the Name of Christ"&mdash;and <a href="http://news.kron4.com/news/teen-could-get-two-years-for-facebook-photos-with-jesus-statue/" target="_blank">simulated oral sex with the statue's</a> face. Naturally, he posted the pictures to Facebook, which made their way to authorities.</p> <p>Officials in Bedford County charged the teen (whose name hasn't been released) with desecration of a venerated object, invoking a <a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_JESUS_STATUTE_DESECRATION?SITE=AP&amp;SECTION=HOME&amp;TEMPLATE=DEFAULT" target="_blank">1972 Pennsylvania statute</a> that criminalizes "defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action." You'd think an appropriate punishment for a kid violating this seldom-invoked law might be picking up trash or, at worst, paying a fine. If convicted, he faces much worse: two years in juvenile detention.</p> <p>Truth Wins Out, a LGBT advocacy nonprofit, has argued that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the establishment clause&mdash;"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"&mdash;and free speech rights&mdash;"Congress shall make no law abridging the right to hump a statue of Jesus."</p> <p>Pennsylvania is not the only state with a "venerated objects" law&mdash;<a href="http://atheism.about.com/od/flagburningstatelaws/" target="_blank">many states have some version of it</a>, but most define "desecration" as vandalizing or otherwise physically harming an object of civic or religious significance. Alabama, Tennessee, and Oregon have laws like Pennsylvania's, which can be interpreted to punish individuals&mdash;like this bold, dumb teenager&mdash;who simply decide to do something offensive.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Religion Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:39:40 +0000 Sam Brodey 260106 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 12, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-12-2014 <!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>Nathan Mitchell, an aviation machinist airman of the US Navy, performs maintenance on a helicopter. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Oscar Albert Moreno Jr.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:29:48 +0000 260126 at http://www.motherjones.com News Organizations Battle Pennsylvania Over Secret Source of Its Execution Drugs http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/news-organizations-sue-pennsylvania-execution-drugs <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and four news organizations filed an emergency <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1292809-intervenors-motion-to-unseal-documents-final.html" target="_blank">legal motion on</a> Thursday, demanding that Pennsylvania reveal the source of its execution drugs.</p> <p>Later this month, the state is scheduled to put 57-year-old Hubert Michael to death for raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl in 1993. While the execution has been stayed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the ACLU&nbsp;fears the hold could be lifted at any time, opening the way for the first execution in Pennsylvania in more than 15 years.</p> <p>Since 2011, when the European Union banned the export of drugs for use in executions, Pennsylvania and other death penalty states have been forced to rely on untested drug combinations and loosely regulated compounding pharmacies, and most have become secretive about the sources and contents of their lethal injection drugs. Death row inmates around the country have sued to block their executions on the grounds that withholding this information is unconstitutional. Untested or poorly prepared drug cocktails could, they argue, create a level of suffering that violates the Eight Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. So far, they've met with little success. Clayton Lockett, who lost his bid to force the state of Oklahoma to reveal the source and purity of the drugs used to put him to death, writhed and moaned in apparent agony after being injected <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/double-execution-tonight-ok-using-secret-experimental-drug-protocol?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Motherjones%2Fmojoblog+%28MotherJones.com+%7C+MoJoBlog%29" target="_blank">with a secretly acquired drug combinations</a> in April.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/mojo/2014/09/news-organizations-sue-pennsylvania-execution-drugs"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice death Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:59:08 +0000 Mariah Blake 260071 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 11, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-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>The 2014 Tripler Fisher House 8k Hero and Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll on Ford Island memorializes more than 7,000 US service members who died since the September 11th attacks on this day in 2001. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Diana Quinlan)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:50:24 +0000 260051 at http://www.motherjones.com The New York Times Just Issued the Best Correction You'll Read All Week http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/correction-week-president-cheney <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, the <em>New York Times </em>ran the following correction on a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/us/politics/cheney-goes-to-capitol-hill-to-counter-gop-isolationism.html?_r=3" target="_blank">story</a> about Dick Cheney telling House Republicans to "embrace a strong military and reject a rising isolationism in his party":</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Correction: September 9, 2014 </strong></p> <p>An earlier version of a summary with this article misstated the former title of Dick Cheney. He was vice president, not president.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is funny because many people believe that Cheney wielded an <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-alex-wagner-bush-chose-cheney-because-he-needed-a-puppet-master/" target="_blank">unprecedented level of influence</a> over former President George W. Bush.</p></body></html> MoJo Bush The Right Top Stories Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:47:26 +0000 Nick Baumann 260046 at http://www.motherjones.com Does the Web Seem Way Slow Today? It May Be Soon If You Don't Get in the FCC's Face http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/5-things-you-should-know-about-internet-slowdown-day <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>No, the internet isn't actually broken today. Those spinning wheels of death you may have seen on Netflix, Tumblr, Reddit, Mozilla, and hundreds of other sites are part of <a href="https://www.battleforthenet.com/" target="_blank">Internet Slowdown Day</a>, an effort to show what might happen if the internet actually <em>did</em> get broken by the bureaucrats at the Federal Communication Commission. The FCC will soon vote on a proposal to essentially eliminate <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/charts-why-fcc-ditching-net-neutrality" target="_blank">net neutrality,</a> the policy that forces internet providers such as Comcast and AT&amp;T to treat all internet traffic the same. Here are five things you should know about what's happening today:</p> <p><span class="section-lead">The Participating websites aren't actually slower:</span> Not even Netflix is crazy enough to make a political statement by throttling itself. The spinning page-load symbols on participating sites are just widgets (see below), which anyone <a href="https://www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th/" target="_blank">can download here</a>. Some activists are also replacing their social media profile pics with images like this:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Sign the letter to congress, the FCC and the White House telling the cable companies to fuck off, it's our internet <a href="https://t.co/aY661mCaBw">https://t.co/aY661mCaBw</a></p> &mdash; Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/YourAnonNews/status/509768295445057536">September 10, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>In this sense, Internet Slowdown Day is very similar to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/01/how-sopa-protect-ip-and-big-content-lost" target="_blank">SOPA blackout of 2012,</a> when people and major sites across the internet blackened their logos and profile pictures to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would have given the federal government wide latitude to enforce copyright law. SOPA showed that when major internet companies team up with grassroots activists, politicians tend to listen.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img height="300" src="https://www.motherjones.com/files/anigif_2.gif" width="300"></div> <p><span class="section-lead">The real story is who is <em>not</em> participating:</span> Although Google claims to support net neutrality, it's conspicuously <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">silent</a> about Internet Slowdown Day. Last year, <em>Wired</em>'s Ryan Singel <a href="http://www.wired.com/2013/07/google-neutrality/" target="_blank">noted</a> that the terms of service for Google Fiber, the company's relatively new ISP division, included some of the same provisions that Google had long decried as hostile to an open internet. By prohibiting customers from attaching "servers" to its network, Google Fiber was contradicting the principle of treating all packets of information equally, prompting Singel to accuse the search giant of a "flip-flop" on net neutrality. It's not that simple, of course, but tech companies such as Google clearly have much less to gain from net neutrality now that they're multibillion-dollar behemoths. Even if they don't take on the role of actual ISPs, large tech firms can easily afford to pay cable companies for faster service, creating a competitive firewall between their services and those offered by leaner startups.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">In america, every day is already an internet slowdown day:</span> Pushing internet traffic into "slow" lanes might be more tolerable if those lanes were still really fast in absolute terms. Sadly, however, the United States ranks <a href="http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/" target="_blank">a pathetic 25th</a> among nations for download speeds:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="671" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/Rr0Iw/2/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><span class="section-lead">This show is bigger than the superbowl:</span> The net neutrality debate has generated a record 1,477,301 public comments to the FCC, the commission said today. As <em>Politico</em> <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/fcc-net-neutrality-record-110818.html" target="_blank">notes</a>, that breaks the previous record of 1.4 million complaints generated by Janet Jackson's 2004 wardrobe malfunction. The number of comments to the FCC will likely continue to grow as Internet Slowdown Day encourages visitors to voice their objections.</p> <p><span class="section-lead">the fcc is not your friend:</span> There's no question that the FCC is facing a public backlash against its plan to gut net neutrality. The question is whether the outrage will be sufficient to change its course. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is a major Obama bundler and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/charts-why-fcc-ditching-net-neutrality" target="_blank">former head of two major industry groups</a> that staunchly oppose net neutrality. He's likely to side with the cable industry unless essentially forced to do otherwise. All of which is to say that the bar is incredibly high for Internet Slowdown Day. Until "net neutrality" becomes a household term, don't count on Washington to care about it.</p></body></html> MoJo Tech Top Stories Net Neutrality Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:14:03 +0000 Josh Harkinson 260001 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 10, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-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 Marines perform a diving exit during pre-deployment training. (US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Todd F. Michalek)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:06:54 +0000 259951 at http://www.motherjones.com Pentagon and Other Agencies Slammed for Police Militarization at Senate Hearing http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/pentagon-slammed-police-militarization-senate-hearing <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing <a href="http://www.c-span.org/video/?321337-1/hearing-militarization-police-forces" target="_blank">Tuesday</a>, Democratic and Republican lawmakers slammed officials from the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice for their handling of federal programs that help provide military grade vehicles, equipment, and weapons to local police departments across the country. The hearing was called in response to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/timeline-michael-brown-shooting-ferguson" target="_blank">events</a> that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer, and peaceful protests were met by a heavily militarized police force. "Aggressive police actions [were] being used under the umbrella of 'crowd control,'" noted Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).</p> <p>The panel grilled Alan Estevez, a Department of Defense agent dealing with logistics and acquisition of military equipment; Brian Kamoie, a federal grant regulator at the Department of Homeland Security; and Karol Mason, an attorney from the Department of Justice.</p> <p>Senators questioned why certain military equipment was on the Pentagon's list of acceptable items for local police departments. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) declared that police militarization gives him "real heartburn" and wondered "how did we get to the point where we think states needs MRAPS"&mdash;that is, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, which have been acquired by a large number of small police departments across the country. In Texas, McCaskill noted, police departments have more than 70 MRAPS, while the state National Guard has just six.</p> <p>Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questioned what police departments could possibly do with the 1,200 bayonets that have been issued in recent years. The Pentagon's Alan Estevez replied that he was unsure. Throughout the hearing, members of the panel underscored the point that police officers are often not adequately trained in how (and when) to use the military-grade equipment their departments acquire. The Pentagon doesn't require police departments to undergo any training before supplying them MRAPS and other military equipment.</p> <p>Estevez testified that the Pentagon would reevaluate its list of acceptable equipment for police departments. But Brian Kamoie, the Homeland Security official, and the Justice Department's Karol Mason, both acknowledged that their agencies don't do much to regulate how police departments use the grant money they dole out to local law enforcement.</p> <p>McCaskill condemned the Department of Defense and the other agencies for their lack of oversight over the use of military equipment by local police. "None of them know how it's being utilized," McCaskill said. She pointed out that a police department in Lake Angelus, Michigan, which employs only one police officer, has received 13 military grade assault weapons since 2011. "I think we need to get to the bottom of that," McCaskill said.</p> <p>Watch the hearing here:<object align="middle" classid="clsid:d27cdb6eae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" height="500" id="cspan-video-player" width="410"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="true"><param name="movie" value="http://static.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.1405958893.swf?pid=321337-1"><param name="quality" value="high"><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="system=http://www.c-span.org/common/services/flashXml.php?programid=365150&amp;style=full&amp;version=2014-01-23"><embed align="middle" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#ffffff" flashvars="system=http://www.c-span.org/common/services/flashXml.php?programid=365150&amp;style=full&amp;version=2014-01-23" height="500" name="cspan-video-player" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" quality="high" src="http://static.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.1405958893.swf?pid=321337-1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="410"></embed></object></p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Guns Human Rights Military Regulatory Affairs Ferguson Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:07:49 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 259926 at http://www.motherjones.com Ebola Is Getting So Bad That Even House Republicans Will Back New Funds to Fight It http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/republicans-back-ebola-fighting-efforts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Despite some <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/white-house-requests-ebola-funds-110655.html" target="_blank">worries</a> last week that spending-averse Republicans might not support additional funding to fight Ebola, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chair of the House appropriations committee, said late Monday that House GOPers <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/08/us-usa-congress-ebola-idUKKBN0H32H420140908" target="_blank">will back</a> new money to combat the spread of the disease.</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/ebola-mini.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 Ebola crisis. </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-259686"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/ebola-world-health-organization-budget"> Why the World Health Organization Doesn't Have Enough Funds to Fight Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-259576"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/09/world-health-organization-doctors-without-borders-ebola-senegal-nigeria"> This Map Shows Why People Are Freaking Out About Ebola's Arrival in Senegal</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258436"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/new-drugs-and-vaccines-cant-stop-ebola-outbreak"> New Drugs and Vaccines Can't Stop This Ebola Outbreak</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-257666"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/08/5-diseases-are-scarier-ebola"> 5 Diseases That Are Scarier Than Ebola</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-255436"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/07/we-are-making-ebola-worse"> We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse by Cutting Down Forests</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>Lawmakers are currently negotiating a temporary spending bill that would fund the government's operations through December. Late Friday, the White House asked Congress to <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/white-house-asks-58m-ebola-drugs-25276452" target="_blank">add</a> $30 million to this stopgap spending measure to pay Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff in the United States and Africa. That came on top of $58 million the administration already requested to accelerate the production and testing of new drugs and maintain the development of two experimental Ebola vaccines, bringing the total White House request for Ebola-related funds to $88 million. Rogers wouldn't say whether Republicans would agree to fund the full amount.</p> <p>The House is due to vote on the bill on Thursday.</p> <p>If approved, the new money will add to a slow but growing American relief effort, as government agencies steer their budgets to fight Ebola, following calls from the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders to dramatically step up their involvement. On Monday, the Pentagon announced it <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/08/us-health-ebola-pentagon-idUSKBN0H31Z420140908" target="_blank">would deploy</a> one $22 million, 25-person field hospital to Liberia, the current epicenter of the epidemic. The hospital&mdash;part of a wider effort coordinated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID)&mdash;will be turned over to the Liberian government as soon as it's built and will <a href="http://complex.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/08/us_military_involvement_in_ebola_fight_is_minimal_liberia" target="_blank">not be staffed</a> by American government employees.</p> <p>But with Liberia's medical staff stretched thin, finding the right people to staff the hospital may prove difficult. Liberia's health care system&mdash;already strained before the outbreak with one doctor for every 100,000 people&mdash;has been hit hard by Ebola. Since the outbreak began, 152 medical workers have contracted the disease in Liberia, the WHO said <a href="http://reliefweb.int/report/liberia/ebola-situation-liberia-non-conventional-interventions-needed" target="_blank">on Monday</a>, about 7 percent of all suspected and confirmed patients. Seventy-nine of these medical workers have died from the disease.</p> <p>A single 70-bed facility needs 200 to 250 medical personnel to staff it, according to WHO, and Liberia "urgently needs" 1,000 more beds to treat the currently infected patients.</p> <p>While there's no cure or approved treatment for Ebola, hospitals and treatment centers are needed to quarantine infected patients. In its statement, the WHO said that sick people in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, were traversing town in taxis looking for a hospital bed, bringing the disease&mdash;which is spread through bodily fluids such as blood and saliva&mdash;into the city's public transit system.</p> <p>In a statement to <em>Mother Jones</em>, a spokesman for Doctors Without Borders (MSF), one of the few medical groups which has been actively fighting the disease since the outbreak, said that organization had also dramatically increased its budget for the effort to almost $39 million today. Still, he said, this would not be enough to stave off the disease.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Much more help is needed from actors other than MSF," he said.</p> <p>The most recent <a href="https://twitter.com/WHO/status/509347780457144320" target="_blank">figures</a> released by the WHO reported more than 2,000 people either known or believed to have been infected with Ebola, and more than 1,200 known or believed to have been killed in Liberia since the outbreak was first detected in March. More than 2,000 are believed to have been infected and more than 1,000 killed elsewhere in West Africa since the outbreak began, almost all of them in Guinea and Sierra Leone. About 49 percent of the infections in these three countries occurred in the last three weeks.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Monday, the WHO <a href="http://reliefweb.int/report/liberia/ebola-situation-liberia-non-conventional-interventions-needed" target="_blank">said</a> infections in Liberia were increasing "exponentially." On Tuesday, the country's defense minister, Brownie Samukai, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/09/health-ebola-un-idUSL1N0RA1NA20140909" target="_blank">called</a> Ebola the worst threat to the country since its last civil war ended in 2003. "Liberia is facing a serious threat to its national existence," he said of the epidemic.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Health Care International Top Stories Tue, 09 Sep 2014 20:00:33 +0000 Alex Park 259891 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 9, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/were-still-war-photo-day-september-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>A US Navy sailor plots the ship's movement on a position chart in Japan. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raul Moreno Jr.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:52:04 +0000 259871 at http://www.motherjones.com