Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Russia Is Paying a Price for Vladimir Putin's Napoleon Complex <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Russia says its pilot received no warning before Turkey shot down one of its fighters on Tuesday. Turkey says it gave plenty of warning. <a href="" target="_blank">Here's the <em>New York Times</em> today:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>A United States military spokesman, Col. Steven Warren, <strong>confirmed on Tuesday that Turkish pilots had warned the Russian pilot 10 times, but that the Russian jet ignored the warnings</strong>....At the emergency NATO meeting, Turkish officials played recordings of the warnings Turkish F-16 pilots had issued to the Russian aircraft. The Russian pilots did not reply.</p> </blockquote> <p>The fact that the US says this doesn't automatically make it true. On the other hand, I wouldn't believe Vladimir Putin without checking for myself if he told me the sky was blue. So while it's entirely likely that both sides have been testing each other for the past couple of weeks, my best guess at this point is that Russia has flown over the Hatay peninsula repeatedly and been warned about it, but continued doing it anyway. This kind of provocation is pretty common in Putin's Russia. This time, though, he did it to a country headed by a guy much like himself, and he paid the price for it.</p> <p>So what happens now? <a href="" target="_blank">"We're not going to war against Turkey,"</a> the Russian foreign minister said today, but Russia will probably announce some kind of symbolic reprisal soon. And that will be that. Putin is discovering to his sorrow that Syria is not quite the same as Crimea or South Ossetia. It's all great when you can show off your shiny new cruise missiles on the nightly news, but this isn't a war that will be over in a few weeks because there's nobody to fight back. It's a never-ending quagmire, and there's not really much in it for Russia.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 25 Nov 2015 17:05:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 290666 at President Obama Has a Different Job Than President Hollande <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Dana Milbank was unimpressed by the contrast Barack Obama made yesterday during his press conference with French president Fran&ccedil;ois Hollande. Hollande was animated and can-do about destroying <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obama_hollande.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">ISIS, while Obama was....<a href="" target="_blank">a little more realistic about things:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Tough talk won&rsquo;t defeat terrorists &mdash; but it will rally a nation</strong>. It&rsquo;s no mere coincidence that the unpopular Hollande&rsquo;s support has increased during his forceful response to the attacks, while Obama&rsquo;s poll numbers are down.</p> <p>The importance of language was very clear at the White House on Tuesday, even in translation. There was little difference in their strategies for fighting the Islamic State, but Hollande was upbeat and can-do, while Obama was discouraging and lawyerly. It was as if the smoke-&rsquo;em-out spirit of George W. Bush had been transplanted into the body of a short, pudgy, bespectacled French socialist with wrinkled suit-pants.</p> <p>....Hollande spoke of a new era. &ldquo;There is a new mind-set now,&rdquo; Hollande said. &ldquo;And those who believed that we could wait&rdquo; now realize &ldquo;the risk is everywhere . . . . We, therefore, must act.&rdquo;</p> <p>Then came President Oh-bummer. &ldquo;Syria has broken down,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And it is going to be a difficult, long, methodical process to bring back together various factions within Syria to maintain a Syrian state.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Maybe you can motivate people when you sound so discouraging. But it&rsquo;s hard.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Aside from the fact that Milbank is cherry picking a bit here, I think he misses a few things. First is the most obvious: France is the country that was just attacked. <em>Of course</em> its president is the more emotional one. Hollande would seem more emotional than pretty much anyone he was paired up with. Have you ever seen Angela Merkel at a press conference?</p> <p>Second, let's face facts: over the past year France has probably conducted a few hundred airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. It only started strikes against ISIS in Syria last month. When Hollande says "we must act," he's basically asking the United States to act.</p> <p>Third and most important: Obama isn't <em>trying</em> to rally a nation. Just the opposite, maybe. He's been down this road before, and he's well aware that revving up the public for a splendid little war requires no effort at all&mdash;especially during campaign season. When reporters demand to know why we can't just "take out the bastards," it's obvious that he has a different job than Hollande. He's not trying to rally a nation, he's trying to keep everyone grounded about exactly what we can do. And for that I say: good for him. It's harder and less satisfying than preaching fire and brimstone, but in the long run it's better for the country.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:53:15 +0000 Kevin Drum 290656 at Vandalized Mosques, Threats of Violence—Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes on the Rise <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>One day after the deadly terror attacks in Paris, a woman in Michigan went on Twitter and <a href="" target="_blank">threatened</a> to "send a message to ISIS." How? By violently targeting Dearborn, Michigan,&nbsp;a Detroit suburb where more than 40 percent of the population is of Arab ancestry. In response, the head of the FBI's Detroit&nbsp;office&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">announced an investigation</a> into a string of<strong>&nbsp;</strong>recent threats in the city. (Sarah Beebee, the woman who sent the tweet, publicly <a href="" target="_blank">apologized</a>.)</p> <p>Since the Paris attacks, there have been similar incidents across the United States, <a href="" target="_blank">from vandalized mosques to threats of violence</a>, rattling Muslim Americans.</p> <p>Based on the latest FBI hate crime figures, these incidents are on the rise. The most recent FBI data, released last Monday, <a href="" target="_blank">indicates</a> that hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation have dropped across the board&mdash;with the exception of crimes against Muslim Americans.&nbsp;In 2014, even as the total number of hate crimes dipped nearly 8 percent from the year before, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose 14 percent.&nbsp;</p> <p>While anti-Muslim incidents have risen, they trail behind incidents targeting Jewish Americans. Last year, 609 hate crime incidents were reported against Jews, the highest number of crimes based on religious beliefs&mdash;and four times the number of anti-Muslim crimes. As Christopher Ingraham at the <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="" target="_blank">points out</a>, these figures are likely undercounted, since police departments' participation in the FBI's crime assessment is voluntary and some departments track figures better than others.</p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe frameborder="0" height="371" scrolling="no" seamless="" src=";format=interactive" width="624.5"></iframe>&acirc;&#128;&#139;</p> <p>Some bright spots can be found in the FBI data: Crimes against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity dropped from 1,264 in 2013 to 1,115 in 2014. And recorded incidents against Hispanic and black Americans dipped nearly 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively.&nbsp;</p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe frameborder="0" height="371" scrolling="no" seamless="" src=";format=interactive" width="623.51"></iframe>&acirc;&#128;&#139;</p> <p>The uptick in crimes against Muslim Americans, though, signals a troubling trend that lingers more than 15 years after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, <a href="" target="_blank">described</a> the climate in the aftermath of the Paris attacks as "increasingly bleak." "There's been an accumulation of anti-Islamic rhetoric in our lives and that, I think, has triggered these overt acts of violence and vandalism," he <a href="" target="_blank">recently told</a> the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Between 1996 and 2000, <a href="" target="_blank">according</a> to the <em>Washington Post</em>, the FBI recorded between 20 and 30 hate crime incidents against Muslim Americans. In 2001 alone, the figure skyrocketed to nearly 500. Even before the terrorist attacks in Paris, the number of anti-Muslim hate crime incidents remained roughly five times as high as it was before 9/11.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Crime and Justice International Race and Ethnicity Religion Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:00:36 +0000 Edwin Rios 290296 at The Case For Donald Trump Being a Liar Is Overwhelming <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I've gotten some pushback on <a href="" target="_blank">my post</a> about calling Donald Trump's serial tall tales <em>lying</em>. The main objection is an obvious one: something is only a lie if you tell it knowingly. Trump tells lots of whoppers, but maybe he's just misinformed. Or, in cases like the Jersey City Muslims, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_shrugging.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">maybe he's convinced himself that he really saw them cheering on 9/11. There's no way to know for sure.</p> <p>This is true: we can't know <em>for sure</em>. But in Trump's case we can be <em>pretty damn sure</em>. After all, this hasn't happened once or twice or three times. It's happened dozens of times on practically a daily basis. He doesn't just tell these stories until somebody corrects him. He blithely keeps on telling them long after he must know they're untrue. And while memory can fail, Trump has, by my count, told at least seven separate stories based on his own memory for which there is either (a) no evidence or (b) directly contradictory evidence.<sup>1</sup> Some of them are for things that had happened only a few days or weeks before.</p> <p>If you're waiting for absolute, watertight, 100 percent proof of a knowing lie, you'll probably never get it. But the case in favor of Trump being a serial liar is overwhelming&mdash;and in the fallen world in which we live, this is how adults have to make judgments about people. Given the evidence at hand, there's simply no reasonable conclusion except one: Donald Trump is a serial liar.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>On my list of <a href="" target="_blank">Trump fabrications,</a> they are numbers 1, 6, 8, 13, 18, 19, and 26.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 25 Nov 2015 03:06:28 +0000 Kevin Drum 290646 at Quote of the Day: Here's What the Republican Primary Has Come To <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Gideon Resnick shows us what the Republican primary <a href="" target="_blank">has come to:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>A Carson campaign official told CBS News on Sunday that the candidate has considered taking a trip to Asia, Africa, or Australia in order to do something &ldquo;eye-opening&rdquo; prior to the Iowa caucus in February....(Australia was likely in the mix because Carson says he spent time working there at Charles Gairdner Hospital in 1983, according to his autobiography <em>Gifted Hands</em>. <strong>The <em>Daily Beast</em> has reached out to the hospital to confirm.</strong>)</p> </blockquote> <p>A leading presidential candidate makes a simple, entirely plausible statement in his autobiography and yet a reporter feels like maybe he ought to make a call to double check it. Just in case. And I can't say that I blame him.</p> <p>(Fine: I'm being snarky. For the record, I believe that Carson really was there.)</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 25 Nov 2015 02:28:37 +0000 Kevin Drum 290641 at Purina Pet Food Is So Much More Disgusting Than We Even Knew <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>If you've ever purchased seafood or pet food from Nestl&eacute;, you may have unwittingly contributed to the abuse of migrant workers in Southeast Asia.</p> <p>On Monday, Nestl&eacute; <a href="" target="_blank">admitted</a> that it had found indications of forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor in its supply chain in Thailand, where the Switzerland-based company sources some of the seafood that it sells in supermarkets around the world, including in the United States. The findings came after an internal investigation that was launched by Nestl&eacute; in December last year, following <a href="" target="_blank">reports</a> by media and NGOs that linked the company's shrimp, prawns, and Purina brand pet foods with abusive working conditions.</p> <p>Many of the workers in question are migrants from Thailand's less developed neighbors, Burma and Cambodia, who are tricked into laboring on fishing boats after fleeing persecution and poverty at home, according to the Massachusetts-based nonprofit Verit&eacute;, which at Nestl&eacute;'s request interviewed workers at six of the company's production sites in Thailand. Workers "had been subjected to deceptive recruitment practices that started in their home countries, transported to Thailand under inhumane conditions, charged with excessive fees leading to debt bondage in some cases, exposed to exploitative and hazardous working conditions, and, at the time of assessment, were living under sub-par to degrading conditions," Verit&eacute; wrote in <a href="" target="_blank">its report</a>.</p> <p>But Nestl&eacute; isn't the only one with a tainted supply chain: The mistreatment of migrants is systematic in Thailand's fishing sector, Verit&eacute; found, meaning that other American and European companies that buy seafood from the country are likely complicit in similar labor abuses. These abuses have been highlighted by the US State Department, which last year downgraded Thailand to the lowest level in its <a href="" target="_blank">annual report</a> on human trafficking, and they underpin <a href="" target="_blank">several lawsuits</a> that have been filed recently against retailers including Nestl&eacute; and Costco Wholesale Corp. Steve Berman, managing partner of the law firm Hagens Berman, which in August filed a class-action lawsuit against Nestl&eacute;, <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>New York Times</em></a> that the company's report on Monday was "a step in the right direction," but added that "our litigation will go forward because Nestl&eacute; Purina still fails to disclose on its products, as is required by law, that slave labor was used in its making."</p> <p>For its part, Nestl&eacute; has vowed to publish a strategy to protect workers in Thailand, including by bringing in outside auditors and training boat owners about human rights. "This will be neither a quick nor an easy endeavour, but we look forward to making significant progress in the months ahead," Magdi Batato, Nestl&eacute;&rsquo;s executive vice president in charge of operations, said in a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Human Rights International Wed, 25 Nov 2015 01:16:53 +0000 Samantha Michaels 290616 at Police Just Released Dashcam Footage of the Laquan McDonald Shooting <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, Chicago officials released the dashcam footage from the <a href="" target="_blank">shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald</a>. The video&rsquo;s release came hours after state prosecutors charged Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke <a href="" target="_blank">with first-degree murder</a> in McDonald&rsquo;s shooting last October, reportedly becoming the first cop in the city to face such charges in nearly 35 years.</p> <p>The video, posted below, is disturbing. (<strong>WARNING: </strong>Seriously, watch at your own discretion.)</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In April, the city of Chicago paid McDonald&rsquo;s family $5 million, before any lawsuit was formally filed.</p> <p>The footage and a bond hearing early Tuesday <a href="" target="_blank">revealed details</a> that differed from the initial police narrative of events. Police previously said they had found McDonald in the street slashing a car&rsquo;s tires, and that when ordered to drop his knife, he walked away. After a second police car arrived and police tried to block McDonald&rsquo;s path, police said, McDonald punctured a police car&rsquo;s tires. When officers got out of the car, police officials alleged McDonald lunged at them with the knife and Van Dyke, who feared for his life, shot him.</p> <p>Instead, the footage shows McDonald, who was carrying a knife, ambling away from police as Van Dyke and his partner get out of their car. Van Dyke then unloads a barrage of bullets on the teen about six seconds after then. The <em>Chicago Tribune</em> <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> that according to prosecutors, Van Dyke fired 16 rounds at McDonald in 14 or 15 seconds and was told to hold his fire when he began to reload his weapon. For about 13 of those seconds, McDonald is on the ground.</p> <p>At a press conference on Tuesday, Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez <a href="" target="_blank">described</a> the video as "deeply disturbing" and told reporters that Van Dyke&rsquo;s actions "were not justified and were not a proper use of deadly force."</p> <p>A judge had ordered the video&rsquo;s release by Wednesday, but Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced that the city would release the video a day early. "The officer in this case took a young man's life and he's going to have to account for his actions," McCarthy told reporters. Van Dyke could face between 20 years and life in prison if convicted.</p> <p>"With these charges, we are bringing a full measure of justice that this demands," Alvarez said. &nbsp;</p> <p>Van Dyke's attorney Daniel Herbert <a href="" target="_blank">questioned</a> whether the case amounted to a murder case and <a href="" target="_blank">believed</a> the shooting was justified. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for calm after the video&rsquo;s release. "Jason Van Dyke will be judged in the court of law," Emanuel told reporters. "That's exactly how it should be." In a statement through attorneys, McDonald&rsquo;s family reiterated a call for peace and said they would have preferred for the video not to be released.</p> <p>"No one understands the anger more than us, but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful," the family said. "Don&rsquo;t resort to violence in Laquan&rsquo;s name. Let his legacy be better than that."</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Wed, 25 Nov 2015 00:18:35 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss and Edwin Rios 290626 at The Staples Singers Will Revive You With These Gospel and Soul Classics <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>The Staple Singers<br><em>Faith &amp; Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976</em><br> Stax/Concord</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Not for gospel buffs only, the Staple Singers could make even a confirmed heathen feel blessed by the Holy Spirit. Featuring Roebuck "Pops" Staples and his children Mavis, Cleotha, and alternatively Pervis or Yvonne, the quartet evolved from local Chicago favorites to worldwide soul superstars over the course of a two-decade-plus run. Their sound drew its breathtaking beauty from the shimmering tremolo- and reverb-drenched guitar of Pops&mdash;a style his peers dubbed "nervous"&mdash;and the exuberant high harmonies of the four, with Mavis' powerhouse voice adding a thrilling jolt to the mix.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Staple_Singers_Box_Set_Cover.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;"></div> <p>The earliest recordings on this fabulous four-disc set capture the Staples Singers at their most visceral. The live 16-minute medley "Too Close/I'm on My Way Home/I'm Coming Home/He's Alright" is downright hair-raising in its primal intensity. Curiously, the group's interaction with the like-minded folk movement of the early '60s resulted in some of their milder efforts in the form of a handful of Bob Dylan covers, although the lull was only temporary. Joining Stax Records in the late-'60s, they scored a series of secular-but-uplifting hits with foot-stomping songs like "Respect Yourself," "I&rsquo;ll Take You There," and "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)."</p> <p>Pops passed away in 2000, but Mavis is still going strong today. In any case, <em>Faith &amp; Grace</em> testifies to their illustrious achievements.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Tue, 24 Nov 2015 23:57:50 +0000 Jon Young 290116 at The Big Problem With Electric Cars: They're Too Reliable <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Matt Richtel has an intriguing article today in the <em>New York Times</em> about electric cars. The question is: why aren't they selling better? Is it because they have weak performance? Because they can <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_electric_car.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">only go a hundred miles on a charge? Because they're expensive?</p> <p>Those are all issues.<sup>1</sup> But it turns out that people who want to buy an electric car anyway have a hard time <a href="" target="_blank">getting dealerships to sell them one:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Kyle Gray, a BMW salesman, said he was personally enthusiastic about the technology, but...the sales process takes more time because the technology is new, cutting into commissions....Marc Detsch, Nissan&rsquo;s business development manager for electric vehicles said some salespeople just can&rsquo;t rationalize the time it takes to sell the cars. <strong>A salesperson &ldquo;can sell two gas burners in less than it takes to sell a Leaf,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a lot of work for a little pay.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><strong>He also pointed to the potential loss of service revenue. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s nothing much to go wrong,&rdquo; Mr. Deutsch said of electric cars.</strong> &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no transmission to go bad.&rdquo;....Jared Allen, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said there wasn&rsquo;t sufficient data to prove that electric cars would require less maintenance. But he acknowledged that service was crucial to dealer profits and that dealers didn&rsquo;t want to push consumers into electric cars that might make them less inclined to return for service.</p> </blockquote> <p>I suppose this makes sense. And to all this, you can add the fact that none of these cars can fly. There are so many hurdles to overcome before we make it into the Jetson's future we were all promised.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>We are, of course, talking about the non-Tesla market here.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:11:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 290601 at China Is Absolutely Destroying the US on Clean Energy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When world leaders convene on Monday in Paris for two weeks of high-stakes climate negotiations, one of the top items on the agenda will be how developing nations should prepare for and help to slow global warming. Opponents to President Barack Obama's climate agenda, such as<strong> </strong>GOP presidential contender Marco Rubio, <a href="" target="_blank">like to argue</a> that anything the United States does to curb greenhouse gas emissions will be pointless because countries like India and China aren't doing the same.</p> <p>But <a href="" target="_blank">new data</a> from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that this argument is just hot air: For the first time ever, over the last year the majority of global investment in clean energy projects was spent in developing countries. In fact, clean energy investment in China alone outpaced that in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France <em>combined</em>, BNEF found. Across <a href="" target="_blank">55 major</a> non-<a href="" target="_blank">OECD</a> countries, including India, Brazil, China, and Kenya, clean energy investment reached $126 billion in 2014, a record high and 39 percent higher than 2013 levels.&nbsp;</p> <p>The chart below shows how that level of investment is opening up a market for wind, solar, and other clean energy projects in non-OECD countries that is now larger than the market in the traditional strongholds of the United States and Europe. In other words, the very countries Rubio likes to malign as laggards are actually leading the charge.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/total.jpg"><div class="caption">BNEF</div> </div> <p>That trend is likely to continue for decades to come, BNEF found. Check out their projection for growth through 2040:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/power-shift.jpg"><div class="caption">BNEF</div> </div> <p>These numbers add up to a big deal for the climate, because they show that countries in Africa and Southeast Asia that still lack reliable electricity for millions of people are solving that problem, and growing their economies, without relying on dirty fossil fuels. China, to be clear, is still the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and it doesn't plan to <a href="" target="_blank">peak its emissions until 2030</a>. But its early commitment to clean energy means it can continue its rapid rate of growth with far less pollution than it would produce otherwise.</p> <p>The BNEF report is just the<strong> </strong>most recent good sign for the clean energy business. Big corporations in the United States <a href="" target="_blank">are signing contracts for a record amount</a> of clean energy for their data centers, warehouses, and other facilities. And the Paris talks are likely to send a jolt through the industry, as countries around the world redouble their commitments to get more of their power from renewable sources.</p> <p>Stay tuned for more news on this front as the talks unfold over the coming weeks.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Charts Climate Change Climate Desk Energy International Tue, 24 Nov 2015 21:13:29 +0000 Tim McDonnell 290591 at Donald Trump Is a Pathological Liar. It's Time to Stop Tiptoeing Around This. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Let's take a look at a few headlines about Donald Trump lately:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">CNN:</a> Does Donald Trump <strong>transcend</strong> the truth?</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">New York Times:</a> Donald Trump&rsquo;s <strong>shortcuts and salesmanlike stretches</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">ABC News:</a> Donald Trump gaining strength despite <strong>questionable</strong> comments</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">The Atlantic:</a> Donald Trump's <strong>fact-free</strong> weekend</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Washington Post:</a> Donald Trump is leading an increasingly <strong>fact-free</strong> 2016 campaign</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">NBC News:</a> Amid outcry, Trump continues campaign of <strong>controversy</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">BBC:</a> Trump <strong>'wrong'</strong> in claiming US Arabs cheered 9/11 attacks</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">CBS New York:</a> Evidence supporting Trump&rsquo;s claim of Jersey City Muslims cheering on 9/11 is <strong>hard to come by</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Business Insider:</a> Donald Trump declares massive victory on his <strong>widely disputed</strong> claim about 9/11</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles Times:</a> When it comes to Syrian refugees and fighting Islamic State, Trump <strong>wings it</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">USA Today:</a> Trump defends tweet with <strong>faulty</strong> crime stats as 'a retweet'</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Fox News:</a> Trump tweet on black crime sets off <strong>firestorm</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>It's way past time for this stuff. You can call Trump's statements <em>lies</em> or <em>fabrications</em> or even <em>falsehoods</em> if you insist on being delicate about it. But you can't call them questionable or controversial or salesmanlike or disputed or even faulty. The man is a serial, pathological liar. Isn't it about time for the journalistic community to work up the courage to report this with clear eyes?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 Nov 2015 19:35:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 290586 at Who's the Most Humble? We Are! <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_jesus_eat_sinners.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">People For the American Way emails to highlight something from last Friday's pre-Thanksgiving celebration of Christian virtue in Iowa. <a href="" target="_blank">Here is Carly Fiorina:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>"I do think it's worth saying," Fiorina declared, "<strong>that people of faith make better leaders</strong> because faith gives us humility, faith teaches us that no one of us is greater than any other one of us, that each of us are gifted by God. Faith gives us empathy; we know that all of us can fall and every one of us can be redeemed. And faith gives us optimism, it gives us the belief that there is something better, that there is someone bigger than all of us."</p> </blockquote> <p>PFAW is doing the Lord's work here&mdash;so to speak&mdash;but I can't get too worked up about this. It's annoying, but what do you expect at a big gathering of evangelical Christians in Iowa? But then there's this from omnipresent messaging guru Frank Luntz:</p> <blockquote> <p>Luntz then followed up on Fiorina's statement by declaring that "I can back that up statistically," asserting that <strong>"every single positive factor that you can describe is directly correlated to someone's relationship with faith, with God, and all the pathologies that you would criticize are directly related to a rejection of God."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>You know, I've got nothing against organized religion. It provides an important part of life for a lot of people and does a lot of good charitable work. It also does some harm, but what human organization doesn't?</p> <p><strong>&lt;rant volume=7&gt;</strong></p> <p>But it sure does get tiresome to hear Christians like Fiorina constantly preening about how great they are and then in their next breath boasting about their humility. Fiorina also explicitly suggests that nonbelievers are second-rate leaders and then immediately congratulates believers like herself for their empathy. As for optimism, I have rarely come across a community more convinced that the entire country has become a grim and ghastly abomination than evangelical Christians. Generally speaking, I'd say that evangelical Christians&mdash;the ones who blather in public anyway&mdash;are among the least humble, least empathetic, and least optimistic people in the country.</p> <p>Still, you can just chalk all this up to political hyperbole and let it go. But then Luntz steps in to bring the Science&trade;. It's not just Fiorina's <em>opinion</em> that believers are better than nonbelievers. By God, Luntz can <em>prove</em> that every single bad thing in the world is due to unbelievers. Who needs faith when you have dial tests? So there you have it: Revel in your overwhelming superiority, Christians. What better way to win sympathy for your views?</p> <p><strong>&lt;/rant&gt;</strong></p> <p>Have a nice Thanksgiving, everyone. Eat with a few sinners and publicans this year, OK?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 Nov 2015 19:03:43 +0000 Kevin Drum 290581 at Use This Trick to Avoid a Boring Thanksgiving Spread <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Turkey. Gravy. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Green-bean casserole. The great Thanksgiving war horses all deliver gentle flavor and soft texture (save, all too often, for the turkey). To avoid unwittingly serving a vast baby-food smorgasbord, what you need is a dish with a little crunch and a blast of bitterness&mdash;yes, bitterness, the most neglected and misunderstood of the <a href="" target="_blank">five basic tastes</a>. What you need, in short, is a member of the chicory family, those underutilized, cool-weather vegetables like radicchio, fris&eacute;e, endive, and escarole.</p> <p>In her excellent 2014 cookbook, <em><a href="">Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes</a></em><em>, </em>Jennifer McLagan writes that "cooking is about balancing tastes, and bitter often plays a vital role in a dish's harmony; it is crucial to the composition of a meal or a menu." Without bitterness, she adds, "we lose a way to balance sweetness. Food without bitterness lacks depth and complexity." Also, bitter is "both an appetite stimulant and a digestive&mdash;that is, it has the power to make you hungry as well as helping you digest your meal." In other words, bitterness is a necessary component to a successful feast.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/20151014_111811%20%281%29_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Some sound advice from Boggy Creek Farm </strong></div> </div> <p>Since the weather cooled a couple of months ago, Austin's <a href="" target="_blank">Boggy Creek Farm</a> has been churning out gorgeous, richly red-veined heads of leafy radicchio. I sometimes chop it up raw, toss it in a lemony dressing with plenty of chopped parsley, and serve it garnished with toasted walnuts and grated Parmesan. Such a salad would make a fine addition to the holiday table, but it might be too bold for the bitter-averse.</p> <p>To draw them in, you might try the other way I've been treating the season's radicchio bounty: braised, mixed with another earthy fall staple, kale, emboldened with garlic and a little chile pepper, and mellowed with saut&eacute;ed onions. If you really want to draw in the uninitiated, take the finished product (minus the lashing of vinegar at the end), and turn it into a rich <em>gratin</em>, a <a href="" target="_blank">technique I highlighted</a> last Thanksgiving.</p> <p>While you're cooking, listen to this <a href="" target="_blank">excellent episode</a> of the BBC Food Programme focused on bitterness&mdash;why we recoil from it, why we always come back to it, and why we need more of it. Also check out this great recent <em>New Scientist</em> <a href="" target="_blank">article</a> on the nefarious plot to reduce bitterness&mdash;and vital nutrients&mdash;from our food.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/20151123_150606%20%282%29.jpg"></div> <p><strong>Braised Radicchio and Kale </strong><br> (Makes a side dish for 3-4&mdash;multiply accordingly.)</p> <p>1 onion, halved lengthwise and sliced thin<br> 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced<br> Enough extra-virgin olive oil to generously cover the bottom of a large pan<br> A pinch of chile flakes<br> 1 bunch of kale, preferably Russian red or lacinato<br> 1 head radicchio<br> Sea salt<br> Some grated hard cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, to garnish (optional)<br> Plenty of freshly ground black pepper<br> A little vinegar, such as balsamic or apple cider (fresh lemon juice would be a great substitute)</p> <p>Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over low-medium heat, add the onions and a pinch of salt, and let them saut&eacute;, stirring occasionally, until they are very soft. Don't rush this step, and make sure there is sufficient oil&mdash;you'll want the onions to cook until they're fully translucent (but not caramelized), to tease out their sweetness.</p> <p>While the onion is cooking, prep the kale and radicchio. Remove the stems that run down the center of the kale leaves (holding a leaf in one hand, slice down each side of the stem with a knife). By the time you're done, you'll have two piles: one of stems and one of leaves. I apply a nose-to-tale ethos to vegetables, and consider greens' stems to be highly flavorful. So bunch the stems in a pile and slice them finely, crosswise. Set aside. Now chop the greens coarsely and set them aside, too. (The point of separating out the stems is to give the stems a head start cooking, as they take a little longer.) Coarsely chop the radicchio, and add it to the chopped kale leaves.</p> <p>Now the onions should be soft. Add the chopped garlic and a pinch of chile flakes to the pot and stir for a minute or so, until it has released its fragrance. Add the chopped stems and another pinch of salt, stir to mix in with the onions and garlic, and cover the pot. Let them cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add the chopped kale and radicchio leaves, and add a good dash of water (or stock). Stir, combining the leaves with the other stuff, and turn the heat up until the liquid begins to boil. Stir again, cover, and turn the heat to low.</p> <p>Allow the mixture to braise slowly until the leaves have begun to turn tender but retain a little crunch. Take the lid off and turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until any remaining liquid has evaporated. Add a dash of vinegar (or lemon juice), a big grind of pepper, and taste, adding salt, vinegar, or pepper to taste. Serve, garnished with a bit of grated Parmesan or other hard cheese. This dish makes a fine side to roast meats (including turkey), and you can also toss it with pasta, along with more olive oil and cheese, some toasted walnuts, and chopped parsley. Happy feasting.</p></body></html> Tom Philpott Food and Ag Tue, 24 Nov 2015 18:20:13 +0000 Tom Philpott 290491 at Here's a Look at the Memes That Climate Denialists Are Funding These Days <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>How does climate denial work? Who funds it? <a href="" target="_blank">In the <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em>,</a> Justin Farrell used network analysis to take a detailed look at a massive corpus of 41,000 texts written between 1993 and 2013 and came up with an unsurprising answer to the second question: ExxonMobil and the Koch family foundations are the 800-pound gorillas here. But it's not just <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_co2_is_good.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">direct contributions from these two that matter. They also act as a signal of approval for everyone else: "Donations from these corporate benefactors signals entry into a powerful network of influence," Farrell says.</p> <p>Perhaps the most intriguing finding, however, is that climate denial is faddish. Certain themes get hot for a while and then get replaced by others. For example, take a look at the chart on the right. Is CO<sub>2</sub> good? Well, sure: without it all of Earth's plants would die and then we'd die too. Duh. But around 2008 we saw a spurt of op-eds and videos telling us that since "CO<sub>2</sub> is life," then more CO<sub>2</sub> must be a good thing, not a bad one. <a href="" target="_blank">Remember those?</a> But what prompted this idiocy? As the chart shows, organizations that received no funding from corporate denialists never adopted this meme. But among organizations that <em>did</em> receive funding, the "CO<sub>2</sub> is life" meme skyrocketed.</p> <p>You can see similar dynamics with other denialist memes, which have all had both fallow and active periods. Interestingly, though, the four memes Farrell studied are all in active periods right now. Hyperactive, even. And those memes all took off at the same time: around 2007-09. This might be related to the public embrace of Al Gore's <em>Inconvenient Truth</em>, or it might be related to the election of a Democratic president. Or both. Farrell's research doesn't tell us. Just for the record, though, here are the four memes he identified. I have taken the liberty of translating them into language we can all understand:</p> <ul><li>The great "global warming pause" based on using 1998 as a baseline.</li> <li>Energy production means more jobs and more growth.</li> <li>CO<sub>2</sub>: You call it pollution, we call it life.</li> <li>Hey, global temperatures go up and down all the time throughout history.</li> </ul><p>According to Farrell's data, all of these memes are still in full flower. This is surprising since I haven't seen the "CO<sub>2</sub> is life" nonsense lately. Maybe it's just gone underground. In any case, now you know where it comes from.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:48:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 290566 at On His Way Out, Kentucky Governor Restores Voting Rights for 140,000 People <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Outgoing Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order on Tuesday immediately restoring voting rights to more than 100,000 ex-felons convicted of nonviolent offenses. Until now, Kentucky was one of three states,&nbsp;along with Iowa and Florida, that did not give ex-felons their voting rights back after they completed their sentences. "This disenfranchisement makes no sense," Beshear, a Democrat, said in his <a href="" target="_blank">announcement</a>. "It makes no sense&nbsp;because it dilutes the energy of democracy, which functions only if all classes and categories of people have a voice, not just a privileged, powerful few. It makes no sense because it defeats a primary goal of our corrections system, which is to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes."</p> <p>The restoration does not apply to sex crimes, other violent crimes, or treason. Going forward, felons exiting the criminal justice system will be presented with a certificate indicating the restoration of their right to vote and to run for public office. Those who are already eligible must submit a form to get their rights back. The Brennan Center for Justice in New York estimates that 140,000 Kentuckians are now eligible for rights restoration, along with another 30,000 who will become eligible in the future.</p> <p>A spokesman for Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin told <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Insider Louisville</em></a> that "restoration of voting rights for certain offenders is the right thing to do," but he did not weigh in on the specifics of Beshear's order. Beshear's move is particularly significant because such restrictions on the franchise have disproportionately affected African Americans&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">often by design</a>. Racial disparities in the criminal justice system are generally reflected in felon disenfranchisement rates, and Kentucky is no exception. According to <a href="" target="_blank">2010 census data</a> compiled by the Sentencing Project, 5.5 percent of the state's voting age population were disenfranchised due to a past conviction. But for African Americans, the number is 16.7 percent.</p> <p>Beshear's order comes after years of failed attempts by Kentucky lawmakers to address the issue. Because permanent disenfranchisement is in the state's constitution, a change would require approval by 60 percent of lawmakers and by voters via a ballot referendum. In 2014, the effort stalled. The GOP-controlled state Senate wanted a five-year waiting period before ex-felons could apply for their rights, and the Democratic-controlled state House would not agree to it.&nbsp;Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, now a Republican presidential candidate, opposes disenfranchisement for ex-offenders and <a href="" target="_blank">tried to revive the issue</a> earlier this year.</p> <p>Beshear said he waited until now to take executive action in order to give the legislative process a chance, according to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Louisville Courier-Journal</a>.</em> Bevin will be sworn in December 8.</p> <p>Kentucky joins several states that have eased restrictions on felon voting since the mid-1990s. One of the exceptions to this trend is Florida, a perennial swing state where Democratic-leaning black voters are disenfranchised at an even higher rate than in Kentucky. In Florida, many ex-offenders must personally petition the governor and his cabinet for rights restoration. Under the current governor, Republican Rick Scott, Florida has <a href="" target="_blank">made it very difficult</a> for ex-felons to have their rights restored.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:15:37 +0000 Tim Murphy and Pema Levy 290551 at How Popular Is Your Senator? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Martin Longman</a> points us this morning to Morning Consult, which has a fun list of the <a href="" target="_blank">most and least popular senators in America.</a> The most popular senator <em>in his home state</em> is Bernie Sanders; the least popular is either Bob Menendez or Mitch McConnell, depending on whether you go by approval or disapproval ratings. But which <em>states</em> are the most and least satisfied? That turns out to be surprisingly easy to figure out:</p> <ul><li>Vermont is the happiest state. Vermonters really like both Sanders and Patrick Leahy. Maine and Wyoming also do well.</li> <li>Arizona is the grumpiest state. Both John McCain and Jeff Flake have sky-high disapproval levels. Kentucky is also pretty unhappy with its senators.</li> </ul><p>On another note, not a single state that begins with A has a Democratic senator. How about that?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:50:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 290546 at Republican Super-PAC Attacks Trump Because He's Creepy About His Daughter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>New Day for America, a super-PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of the back-of-the pack GOP presidential contenders, has a bold new plan to take down front-runner Donald Trump: tell Iowa voters how creepy he is. The group posted a web ad on Tuesday that mocks Trump for, among other things, saying of his daughter,&nbsp;while sitting next to her on national television, "If Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her."</p> <p>Of all the Republican wannabes, Kasich took the lead in the last debate in assailing Trump, noting that Trump's plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants was nutso. But Kasich's verbal punches did not land, and, so far, it's tough to see him as the guy to dethrone Trump&mdash;and there's not much evidence to date that a YouTube clip like this will persuade Trump fans that he's too weird to be president.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Donald Trump Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:28:07 +0000 Tim Murphy 290526 at Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe>Turkey shot down a Russian jet today. Since Vladimir Putin is a real leader, not the featherweight we have here in America, I'll bet he made it crystal clear what price Turkey would pay for this. <a href="" target="_blank">Let's listen in:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Certainly, we will analyze what's happening very seriously,</strong> and today's tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations. We have always treated Turkey as not just a close neighbor, but as a friendly state. I don't know in whose interests today's incident is, <strong>but it's not in our interest.</strong> And instead of immediately establishing the necessary contacting us, the Turkish authorities immediately their NATO partners, as if we downed a Turkish jet.</p> </blockquote> <p>How....very Obama-like. But we'll see what happens. This intervention just keeps getting worse and worse.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:18:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 290531 at 5 People Shot at Black Lives Matter Protest in Minneapolis <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><strong>Update, November 25, 7:50 a.m. EST:</strong>&nbsp;A third man is now in custody. The <em>Star Tribune</em> reports the <a href="" target="_blank">three suspects</a> are&nbsp;Allen Lawrence "Lance"&nbsp;Scarsella III, Nathan Gustavsson, and Daniel Macey. Police say the Hispanic man arrested earlier in the day was released after officials determined he was not at the scene of Monday's shooting.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="line-height: 2em;">Update, November 24, 2:28 p.m. EST: </strong><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;">Police have </span><a href="" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank">arrested</a><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;"> two suspects in connection to Monday night's shooting in Minneapolis. The </span><a href="" style="line-height: 2em;" target="_blank"><em>Guardian</em></a><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 2em;"> reports the two suspects are a 23-year-old white man and a 32-year-old Hispanic man.</span></p> <p><em>Previously: </em></p> <p>The police are searching for three gunmen who reportedly shot five people during the continued Black Lives Matter demonstration in Minneapolis on Monday, where demonstrators are protesting the <a href="" target="_blank">November 15 killing</a> of an unarmed black man by the police.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">5 people shot near 4th PCT, transported to hospital w/ non-life threatening injuries. OFCs searching for 3 white male suspects.</p> &mdash; Minneapolis Police (@MinneapolisPD) <a href="">November 24, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Officials say the victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.</p> <p>A witness told NBC News that the <a href="" target="_blank">gunmen</a> arrived at the scene "yelling and being aggressive and it was obvious they were here to antagonize and confront people." At least one of the suspected gunmen was seen wearing a <a href="" target="_blank">mask. </a></p> <p>Black Lives Matter protester Miski Noor told the <em>Star Tribune </em>that the group was attempting to <a href="" target="_blank">escort</a> the men away from the demonstration, when gunfire broke out. On <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, the activist group described the gunmen as "white supremacists."</p> <p>"I don't want to perpetuate rumor," Rep. Keith Ellison, whose son has been participating in the protests,<a href="" target="_blank"> said in response</a> to Monday's shooting. "I'd rather just try to get the facts out. That's a better way to go. I know there's a lot of speculation as to who these people were. And they well could have been, I'm not trying to say they weren&rsquo;t white supremacists. But I just haven't been able to piece together enough information to say with any real clarity."</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Talking to <a href="">#JamarClark</a> and <a href="">#BlackLivesMatter</a> activists, <a href="">@keithellison</a> says people are telling him they are hurting. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Doualy Xaykaothao (@DoualyX) <a href="">November 24, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Monday marked the eighth night of ongoing protests for Jamar Clark, the 24-year-old black man who was fatally shot by the police earlier this month. On Sunday, the Department of Justice announced it was opening a <a href="" target="_blank">federal investigation</a> looking into Clark's death.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">.<a href="">@nvlevy</a> leading a prayer at scene of shooting outside <a href="">#4thPrecinctShutDown</a> <a href="">#JamarClark</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Sam Richards (@MinneapoliSam) <a href="">November 24, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>In the wake of Monday's violence, Clark's family has called for an end to the protests.</p> <p>"Thank you to the community for the incredible support you have shown for our family in this difficult time," Clark's' brother Eddie Sutton <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement released on Tuesday morning. "We appreciate Black Lives Matter for holding it down and keeping the protests peaceful. But in light of tonight&rsquo;s shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th precinct ended and onto the next step."</p> <p>Both a <a href="" target="_blank">school walkou</a>t and march are still planned to take place as scheduled today.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:21:14 +0000 Inae Oh 290516 at Turkey Just Shot Down a Russian Warplane Near the Syrian Border <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><strong>Update, November 24, 3:00 p.m. EST:</strong> Speaking at a <a href="" target="_blank">press conference</a> from the White House on Tuesday, President Obama responded to the situation by saying Turkey had the right to defend its airspace. But he pressed the two countries to abstain from escalating tensions. While expressing <a href="" target="_blank">solidarity</a> with Turkey at an emergency meeting, NATO also echoed the president's call to calm.</p> <p><em><strong>Previously:</strong></em></p> <p>A Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday, after Turkey says the Russian aircraft ignored several warnings that it was violating the country's airspace. The Kremlin denies that its warplane crossed into Turkish airspace.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Turkey downs Russian warplane near Syria border: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Reuters Top News (@Reuters) <a href="">November 24, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="tr"><a href="">#SONDAK&Auml;&deg;KA</a>! T&uuml;rkmen Da&Auml;&#159;&Auml;&plusmn;'n&Auml;&plusmn;n yak&Auml;&plusmn;n&Auml;&plusmn;na sava&Aring;&#159; u&ccedil;a&Auml;&#159;&Auml;&plusmn; d&uuml;&Aring;&#159;t&uuml;... U&ccedil;a&Auml;&#159;&Auml;&plusmn;n d&uuml;&Aring;&#159;me an&Auml;&plusmn;n&Auml;&plusmn; Habert&uuml;rk TV ekibi g&ouml;r&uuml;nt&uuml;ledi <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Habert&uuml;rk TV (@HaberturkTV) <a href="">November 24, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The two pilots inside were seen <a href="" target="_blank">ejecting </a>themselves from the SU-24 plane. Their whereabouts were still being officially determined. A Syrian rebel group claims to have found one of the pilots badly wounded. The group told <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Reuters</em></a> the pilot was dead.</p> <p>In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> the incident was a "stab in the back" that would render "very serious consequences" for relations between the two countries. He also <a href="" target="_blank">accused</a> Turkey of being "accomplices of terrorists."</p> <p>"Neither our pilots nor our jet threatened the territory of Turkey," Putin said before a scheduled meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan. "This is obvious. They are fighting terrorists in the northern areas around Latakia, where militants are located, mainly people who originated in Russia, and they were pursuing their direct duty, to make sure these people do not return to Russia."</p> <p>"These are people who are clearly international terrorists."</p> <p>A NATO official told <a href="" target="_blank">CNN </a>that the group has called an emergency meeting for later today to discuss the downing of the Russian aircraft.</p></body></html> MoJo International Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:54:09 +0000 Inae Oh 290521 at More Than 100,000 People Have Signed a Petition to Oust the DEA Chief <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>More than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for the ouster of Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Roseberg after he flatly rejected the idea that smoking marijuana could have medical benefits. "What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal&mdash;because it's not," Rosenberg said during a press briefing earlier this month. "We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don't call it medicine&mdash;that is a joke."</p> <p>In response, a <a href="" target="_blank"> petition</a> with more than 106,000 signatures is calling upon President Barack Obama to "fire Chuck Rosenberg and appoint a new DEA administrator who will respect science, medicine, patients, and voters."</p> <p>Roseberg need not look far to find reputable studies documenting the medical value of marijuana, even in its whole-plant, smoked form. As <em>Vox</em>'s German Lopez <a href="" target="_blank">points out</a>, a comprehensive review in the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association</em> found that pot can effectively treat chronic pain and muscle spasticity.</p> <p>Still, it's not <em>entirely</em> inaccurate to call medical marijuana a joke&mdash;at least in California, the state with the nation's most lax medical marijuana law. When I visited a "marijuana doctor" in San Francisco a few years ago, it took me less than 15 minutes <a href="" target="_blank">to get a pot card for&mdash;wait for it&mdash;"writer's cramp."</a> Meanwhile, my wife waited for days before being denied a pot recommendation from our HMO, Kaiser Permanente, despite suffering from a flare-up of actual arthritis. While she sat at home popping Advils, I headed to the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo, where my card got me into a "patient consumption area" staffed by busty women in tight-fitting nurse outfits and a dispensary worker with a nametag that read, "Dr. Herb Smoker, MD."</p> <p>But that sort of irony wasn't what Rosenberg was talking about. He seems to believe that because marijuana is popular as a recreational drug, it can't&nbsp; <em>also</em> be real medicine. Clearly, Dr. Herb Smoker isn't the only medical professional who disagrees.</p></body></html> MoJo Marijuana Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Josh Harkinson 290476 at An Incomplete Catalog of Donald Trump's Never-Ending Fabrications <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>There's a legal term applied to advertising called "puffery." For example, if Coca-Cola says Coke is the best-tasting soda in the world, that's just puffery. They can't prove it, but that's okay, even if polls show that most people prefer Pepsi. Legally, statements like this are evaluated not as strictly factual claims, but as mere ordinary boasting, something that "ordinary consumers do not take seriously."</p> <p>The same concept applies to politics. Presidential candidates always say their tax plans will balance, they'll crush every one of our enemies, and the current incumbent is the worst ever in history. This is just puffery. It's worth pushing back on, but it's not generally a hanging offense.</p> <p>But Donald Trump is different. Sure, his picture is probably in the dictionary next to the word "puffery," but he also&nbsp;tosses out wild howlers with a con man's breezy assurance and tells flat-out lies as a matter of routine. He'll say things one day, and 24 hours later he'll blandly insist he's being malignly misquoted even though it's all on tape. These aren't just exaggerations or spin or cherry picking. They're things that are flatly, incontrovertibly wrong.</p> <p>And that's not all. Trump doesn't do this only in private or only when he's under pressure. Nor does he do it to cover up dubious past deeds. That would at least be normal human weakness. Rather, he does it again and again in front of huge crowds and on national TV, whether he needs to or not. It's just his normal, everyday behavior.</p> <p>We need an official list of this stuff. Like I said: not exaggerations or spin or cherry picking. Things that are just plain wrong. Here's a start:</p> <ol><li>On 9/11, he personally saw <a href="" target="_blank">thousands of Muslims in Jersey City cheering.</a></li> <li>He never said Marco Rubio was <a href="" target="_blank">Mark Zuckerberg's "personal senator."</a></li> <li>There are actually <a href="" target="_blank">93 million people not working</a> and the real unemployment rate is about 40 percent.</li> <li>The Obama administration is <a href="" target="_blank">sending Syrian refugees to red states.</a></li> <li>Climate change is a <a href="" target="_blank">hoax invented by the Chinese.</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">He opposed the Iraq War</a> and has dozens of news clippings to prove it.</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Thirteen Syrian refugees</a> were "caught trying to get into the U.S." (Actually, they just walked up and requested asylum.)</li> <li>He never said the stuff&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Megyn Kelly accused him of saying</a> in the first debate.</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">He will allow guns</a> at Trump golf resorts.</li> <li><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_politifact_donald_trump_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 35px 0px 10px 30px;">People on the terrorism watch are already <a href="" target="_blank">prohibited from buying guns.</a></li> <li>Among white homicide victims, <a href="" target="_blank">81 percent are killed by blacks.</a></li> <li>America has the <a href="" target="_blank">highest tax rate</a> in the world.</li> <li>CNN lied when it reported that a <a href="" target="_blank">speech he gave in South Carolina</a> was one-third empty.</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">His criticism of Ford</a> prompted the company to move a factory from Mexico to Ohio.</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Vaccines cause autism.</a></li> <li>The Obama administration wants to <a href="" target="_blank">admit 250,000 Syrian refugees.</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">ISIS built a luxury hotel</a> in the Middle East.</li> <li>He was on <em>60 Minutes</em> with Vladimir Putin and <a href="" target="_blank">"got to know him very well."</a></li> <li>He was never interested in <a href="" target="_blank">opening a casino in Florida.</a></li> <li>November 17: The United States only started <a href="" target="_blank">bombing ISIS oil fields</a> "two days ago."</li> <li>His campaign is <a href="" target="_blank">100 percent self-funded.</a></li> <li>Mexico doesn't have <a href="" target="_blank">birthright citizenship.</a></li> <li>The Iran deal forces us to <a href="" target="_blank">"fight with Iran against Israel"</a> if Israel attacks Iran.</li> <li>We still "really don't know" if Barack Obama was <a href="" target="_blank">born in the United States.</a></li> <li>More than <a href="" target="_blank">300,000 veterans have died</a> waiting for VA care.</li> <li>The Bush White House begged him to tone down his <a href="" target="_blank">"vocal" opposition to the Iraq War.</a></li> </ol><p>This is not normal political hucksterism. It's a pathological disregard for the truth. Trump knows that the conventions of print journalism mostly prevent reporters from really calling him out on this stuff, and he also knows that TV reporters won't usually press him too hard because they want him back on their shows. And when he does get called out, he just bluffs his way through. He knows his followers will believe him when he says the fault-finding is just another example of how the liberal media has it out for him. Within a day or three, he's repeated the lie often enough that it's old news and enters the canon of what "everyone knows." Journalists don't even bother with it anymore because they're already trying to play catch-up with his latest whopper.</p> <p>Anyway, this list is meant only as a start. It's what I came up with just by digging through my memory and doing a bit of googling. I'm sure there are plenty of others. Feel free to add them in comments.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Top Stories Tue, 24 Nov 2015 06:00:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 290506 at This Judge Just Condemned Wisconsin's Abortion Law as Unconstitutional. Read the Withering Ruling. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that a Wisconsin law requiring abortion providers to gain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals is unconstitutional.</p> <p>The law that was struck down is known as a TRAP law&mdash;short for "targeted regulation of abortion providers." According to the <a href="" target="_blank">Guttmacher Institute</a>, Wisconsin is one of 11 states that have required similar admitting privileges. (Courts have <a href="" target="_blank">blocked these requirements in six of those states</a>.) The law is particularly effective in conservative regions where hospitals are <a href="" target="_blank">less likely to grant those privileges to abortion providers</a>. The law's supporters say the law ensures continuity of care if complications arise from the procedure. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists <a href="" target="_blank">notes</a> that less than one half of 1 percent of all abortions involve major complications.</p> <p>The 2-to-1 decision comes at a time when the constitutionality of TRAP laws are in question nationally. Just over a week ago, the Supreme Court <a href="" target="_blank">agreed to hear a challenge</a> to Texas' "HB 2," which decreased the state's number of abortion clinics from 41 to 18 by implementing a host of TRAP laws. The ruling, due next year, will be the most notable reproductive rights ruling since <em>Roe v. Wade.</em></p> <p>Judge Richard Posner, writing for the 7th Circuit majority, stated that the regulation qualifies as an "undue burden" and that the medical grounds for such a requirement is "nonexistent." Posner also had some words for abortion foes: "Opponents of abortion reveal their true objectives when they procure legislation limited to a medical procedure&mdash; abortion&mdash;that rarely produces a medical emergency."</p> <p>Posner&mdash;nominated by President Ronald Reagan&mdash;is known for his tart legal arguments, as <a href="http://" target="_blank">we've noted previously</a>. This case is no exception:</p> <blockquote> <p>A great many Americans, including a number of judges, legislators, governors, and civil servants, are passionately opposed to abortion&mdash;as they are entitled to be. But persons who have a sophisticated understanding of the law and of the Supreme Court know that convincing the Court to overrule <em>Roe v. Wade </em>and <em>Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey</em> is a steep uphill fight, and so some of them proceed indirectly, seeking to discourage abortions by making it more difficult for women to obtain them. They may do this in the name of protecting the health of women who have abortions, yet as in this case the specific measures they support may do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion. This is true of the Texas requirement, upheld by the Fifth Circuit in the Whole Woman's case now before the Supreme Court, that abortion clinics meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers&mdash;a requirement that if upheld will permit only 8 of Texas's abortion clinics to remain open, out of more than 40 that existed when the law was passed.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Reproductive Rights Tue, 24 Nov 2015 02:38:56 +0000 Becca Andrews 290511 at Carson Joins Trump Idiocy About Jersey City, Then Backs Away <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_911_east_jerusalem.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;"><a href="" target="_blank">The latest from la-la land:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson joined GOP rival Donald Trump in claiming that he, too, saw news footage of Muslim-Americans cheering as the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001&nbsp;&mdash; despite the fact that no such footage has turned up yet. "I saw the film of it, yes," Carson told reporters at a Monday campaign event, adding that it was documented by "newsreels."</p> </blockquote> <p>Newsreels? What is this? 1943? But wait. We have breaking news via Twitter <a href="" target="_blank">from Jon Karl of ABC News:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>@RealBenCarson spox Doug Watts: Carson was mistaken when he said he saw film of Muslims celebrating on 9/11 in Jersey City...."He doesn't stand behind his comments [on] New Jersey and American Muslims," Watts told ABC's @KFaulders...."He was rather thinking of the protests going on in the Middle East and some of the demonstrations" there on 9/11.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is nuts. These guys are trying to put the <em>Onion</em> out of business for real. "We have investigated and discovered that East Jerusalem is not on the Hudson River after all." But hell, at least Carson is willing to admit his error. One brownie point for that&mdash;though it does raise some questions about his vaunted memory. Trump will continue to insist forever that he saw it, and his supporters will continue to believe him because you can never trust the mainstream media, can you? They're always covering up for Jersey City's Muslim community.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 23 Nov 2015 23:09:01 +0000 Kevin Drum 290486 at Planned Parenthood Launches Texas Legal Offensive to Fight Funding Cuts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Planned Parenthood announced on Monday that it's suing Texas officials for stripping the organization of Medicaid funding, saying that the decision unfairly singles out Planned Parenthood and prevents women from accessing their chosen medical provider in violation of federal law.</p> <p>Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said the federal <a href="" target="_blank">lawsuit</a> aims to protect the 13,500 women on Medicaid who go to the organization for health care services. Ten patients also joined the lawsuit, all of whom are currently covered by Medicaid and would have to go elsewhere for health care unless the lawsuit is successful.</p> <p>In October, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott <a href="" target="_blank">blocked</a> Medicaid funding for the organization, citing safety concerns brought to his attention following the release of the now-infamous (and widely discredited) videos showing some of Planned Parenthood's staff discussing fetal tissue donation. Three days later, state officials also <a href="" target="_blank">subpoenaed</a> Planned Parenthood for the medical records of patients who donated fetal tissue in the past five years<strong>, </strong>in an attempt to find criminal activity. A Planned Parenthood representative <a href="" target="_blank">called</a> the move "unprecedented" and denied any wrongdoing on the part of the organization.</p> <p>Texas is one of a handful of states that have taken aim at Planned Parenthood over its fetal tissue donation, a practice that is legal in the United States. Arkansas, Utah, and Alabama have also tried to cut Medicaid funding to the group, despite a warning from the Obama administration that doing so could violate federal law. In October, a federal judge <a href="" target="_blank">blocked</a> Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in the state, saying the move would cause "irreparable harm" to the 5,200 women who depend on the organization for health care.</p> <p>Many states have also launched investigations in the organization, though <a href="" target="_blank">none</a> so far have found any wrongdoing.<strong> </strong></p> <p>"Texas is a cautionary tale for the whole nation," Richards told reporters this morning. "Officials who oppose women's health may think they can bully us out of providing care for our patients, but we will not back down, and we will not shut our doors."</p></body></html> MoJo Health Care Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Top Stories Mon, 23 Nov 2015 22:27:15 +0000 Nina Liss-Schultz 290441 at