MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/files/images/nasa-project-orion-600px.jpg http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Sanders and Clinton Disagree on Climate. Why Won't Debate Moderators Ask Them About It? http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/02/climate-change-pbs-debate-clinton-sanders <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>This <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/02/12/bernie_sanders_and_hillary_clinton_differ_on_climate_change.html" target="_blank">story</a> originally appeared in </em><a href="http://slate.com" target="_blank">Slate</a> <em>and is reproduced here as part of the <a href="http://climatedesk.org" target="_blank">Climate Desk</a> collaboration.</em></p> <p>If human civilization were facing a potentially existential threat, you'd probably want to know about what our leading candidates to run our country thought about it, right?</p> <p>There was no question on climate change during Thursday night's PBS-sponsored Democratic debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This, despite the Supreme Court <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/us/politics/supreme-court-blocks-obama-epa-coal-emissions-regulations.html" target="_blank">dealing a meaningful</a>, though <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_juice/2016/02/supreme_court_put_a_stop_on_obama_s_clean_power_plan_it_won_t_stop_the_war.html" target="_blank">likely temporary</a> blow to the centerpiece of Obama's climate policy on Tuesday and a defiant President Obama including a sweeping <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/10/3747630/obama-budget-environmental-proposals/" target="_blank">set of proposals</a> to transition the nation's transportation sector toward fossil-free sources of energy in his annual budget proposal on Wednesday.</p> <p>This isn't the first time moderators have ignored climate change. Back in December, just a few days after world leaders achieved the first-ever <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/12/12/paris_climate_agreement_will_lower_emissions_and_usher_in_end_of_the_fossil.html" target="_blank">global agreement</a> on climate change in Paris, Democratic debate moderators were silent. By my count, moderators have asked <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/01/11/analysis-presidential-debate-moderators-obsess/207888" target="_blank">substantive questions</a> on climate change in only half of the first six Democratic debates. That's better than nothing, but given how consequential and urgent the topic is, I expect more.</p> <p>Apparently, so do voters. In a <a href="http://www.quinnipiac.edu/images/polling/ia/ia02012016_Ifsmb28.pdf" target="_blank">Quinnipiac poll</a> released on the day of the Iowa caucuses, 11 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers ranked climate change as their top issue, third only to the economy (36 percent) and health care (22 percent). Climate change ranked higher than terrorism, immigration, and gun policy combined. And caucus-goers who listed climate as their main concern broke for Sanders by a whopping 66 to 30 margin, almost certainly making the race there closer.</p> <p>Perhaps one of the reasons climate doesn't come up more in the debates is the conventional wisdom that Clinton and Sanders basically agree on the issue. But that's simply not true. There are substantial differences between the two candidates.</p> <p>Both agree that climate change is real and not a massive conspiracy between scientists and the government so that nerds can get rich stealing tax dollars. Both want to cut subsidies to fossil fuel companies and shift the country toward renewable energy (though neither to the level <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/12/07/bernie_sanders_climate_plan_calls_for_end_to_nuclear_energy.html" target="_blank">scientists say is necessary</a>). At this point, these are basic staples of Democratic Party orthodoxy&mdash;and what casual observers already know.</p> <p>Their differences, though, are substantial: Sanders' <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/12/07/bernie_sanders_climate_plan_calls_for_end_to_nuclear_energy.html" target="_blank">climate plan</a> is much more comprehensive than Clinton's and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a faster rate. He's forcefully <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/11/14/bernie_sanders_was_right_on_climate_change_and_terrorism_at_the_debate.html" target="_blank">linked climate change and terrorism</a>. He's staunchly opposed to continued fossil fuel exploration on public lands and has vowed to ban fracking outright, a <a href="https://newrepublic.com/article/128434/bernie-sanderss-radical-environmental-proposal" target="_blank">stance Clinton doesn't share</a>. His focus on ridding politics of corporate lobbyists is a swipe against Clinton, whose campaign <a href="http://grist.org/climate-energy/hillary-clinton-rakes-in-money-from-fossil-fuel-interests/" target="_blank">has taken money</a> from fossil fuel companies. On the flip side, unlike Clinton, Sanders wants to <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/12/07/bernie_sanders_climate_plan_calls_for_end_to_nuclear_energy.html" target="_blank">phase out nuclear energy</a>, a position that many scientists and environmentalists <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2016/02/10/can_you_be_an_environmentalist_without_embracing_nuclear_energy.html" target="_blank">increasingly don't share</a>, given the need to transition toward a zero carbon economy as quickly as possible.</p> <p>As for Clinton, though her presidential campaign was launched with a <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/04/12/3646143/important-tweet-hillarys-announcement-everyone-pretty-much-ignored/" target="_blank">historic focus</a> on climate, when she talks about climate change, it often feels like she's <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/10/14/hillary_clinton_on_climate_and_copenhagen_at_cnn_debate.html" target="_blank">playing catch-up</a>. In recent months, Clinton has shifted her position to be more hawkish on Arctic drilling, the Keystone pipeline and on restricting fossil fuel exploration on public lands, likely in response to <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/bernie-sanders-clinton-climate-change-218027" target="_blank">pressure from Sanders</a> and voters.</p> <p>When Sanders won New Hampshire this week, he devoted a <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bernie-sanders-singles-out-climate-change-in-victory-speech/" target="_blank">big chunk of his victory</a> speech to climate change. When Clinton conceded, she didn't mention it once. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the New Hampshire winner (Donald Trump) is a <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-china-created-climate-change-2016-1" target="_blank">climate conspiracy theorist</a>. People often ask me if I feel hopeless about climate. Only when it's not taken seriously.</p></body></html> Environment 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Top Stories Fri, 12 Feb 2016 23:32:31 +0000 Eric Holthaus 296806 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger: It's Personal. Very Personal. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/hillary-clinton-kissinger-vacation-dominican-republic-de-la-renta <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>At Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate, one of the most heated exchanges concerned an unlikely topic: Henry Kissinger. During a stretch focused on foreign policy, Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont, jabbed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for having cited Kissinger, who was Richard Nixon's secretary of state, as a fan of her stint at Foggy Bottom.</p> <p>"I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country," Sanders <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/11/transcript-the-democratic-debate-in-milwaukee-annotated/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory" target="_blank">huffed</a>, adding, "I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger." He referred to the secret bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam war as a Kissinger-orchestrated move that eventually led to genocide in that country. "So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger," Sanders roared. Clinton defended her association with Kissinger by replying, "I listen to a wide variety of voices that have expertise in various areas." She cast her interactions with Kissinger as motivated by her desire to obtain any information that might be useful to craft policy. "People we may disagree with on a number of things may have some insight, may have some relationships that are important for the president to understand in order to best protect the United States," she said.</p> <p>What Clinton did not mention was that her bond with Kissinger was personal as well as professional, as she and her husband have for years regularly spent their winter holidays with Kissinger and his wife, Nancy, at the beachfront villa of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who died in 2014, and his wife, Annette, in the Dominican Republic.</p> <p>This campaign tussle over Kissinger began a week earlier, at a previous debate, when Clinton, looking to boost her r&eacute;sum&eacute;, said, "I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time. So I have an idea about what it's going to take to make our government work more efficiently." A few days later, Bill Clinton, while campaigning for his wife in New Hampshire, told a crowd of her supporters, "Henry Kissinger, of all people, said she ran the State Department better and got more out of the personnel at the State Department than any secretary of state in decades, and it's true." His audience of Democrats clapped loudly in response.</p> <p>It was odd that the Clintons, locked in a fierce fight to win Democratic votes, would name-check a fellow who for decades has been criticized&mdash;and even derided as a war criminal&mdash;by liberals. Bill and Hillary Clinton themselves opposed the Vietnam War that Nixon and Kissinger inherited and continued. Hillary Clinton <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/hillary-clinton-henry-kissinger-world-order" target="_blank">was a staffer</a> on the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach Nixon, and one of the articles of impeachment drafted by the staff (but which was not approved) cited Nixon for covering up his secret bombing of Cambodia. In the years since then, information has emerged showing that Kissinger's underhanded and covert diplomacy <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/hillary-clinton-henry-kissinger-world-order" target="_blank">led to brutal massacres</a> around the globe, including in Chile, Argentina, East Timor, and Bangladesh.</p> <p>With all this history, it was curious that in 2014, Clinton wrote a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clinton-reviews-henry-kissingers-world-order/2014/09/04/b280c654-31ea-11e4-8f02-03c644b2d7d0_story.html" target="_blank">fawning review</a> of Kissinger's latest book and observed, "America, he reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not governments alone." In that article, she called Kissinger, who had been a practitioner of a bloody foreign-policy realpolitik, "surprisingly idealistic."</p> <p>This Clinton lovefest with Kissinger is not new. And it is not simply a product of professional courtesy or solidarity among former secretaries of state, who, after all, are part of a small club. There is also a strong social connection between the Clintons and the Kissingers. They pal around together. On June 3, 2013, Hillary Clinton presented an award to de la Renta, a good friend who for years had provided her dresses and fashion advice, and then the two of them <a href="http://http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/06/hillary-clinton-celebrates-with-de-la-renta-kissinger/" target="_blank">hopped over</a> to a 90th birthday party for Kissinger. In fact, the schedule of the award ceremony had been <a href="http://http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/06/hillary-clinton-celebrates-with-de-la-renta-kissinger/" target="_blank">shifted</a> to allow Clinton and de la Renta to make it to the Kissinger bash. (Secretary of State John Kerry also attended the party.) The Kissingers and the de la Rentas were longtime buddies. Kissinger wrote one of his recent books while staying at de la Rentas' mansion in the Dominican Republic and dedicated the book to the fashion designer and his wife.</p> <p>The Clintons and Kissingers appear to spend a chunk of their quality time together at that de la Renta estate in the Punta Cana resort. Last year, the Associated Press <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/hillary-clinton-decision-president" target="_blank">noted</a> that this is where the Clintons take their annual Christmas holiday. And other press reports in the United States and the Dominican Republic have pointed out that the Kissingers are often part of the gang the de la Rentas have hosted each year. When Oscar de la Renta died in 2014, the <em>New York Times</em> obituary <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/nyregion/oscar-de-la-renta-fashion-designer-dies-at-82.html?_r=0" target="_blank">reported</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>At holidays, the de la Rentas filled their house in Punta Cana with relatives and friends, notably Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy and Henry Kissinger, and the art historian John Richardson. The family dogs had the run of the compound, and Mr. de la Renta often sang spontaneously after dinner. First-time visitors, seeking him out in the late afternoon, were surprised to find him in the staff quarters, hellbent on winning at dominoes.</p> </blockquote> <p>In 2012, the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>, in a profile of de la Renta, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203358704577237381943862336" target="_blank">wrote</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Over Christmas the Kissingers were among the close group who gathered in Punta Cana, including Barbara Walters, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Charlie Rose. "We have two house rules," says Oscar, laughing. "There can be no conversation of any substance and nothing nice about anyone."</p> </blockquote> <p>A travel industry outlet <a href="http://www.travpr.com/pr-11160-hillary-and-bill-clinton.html#sthash.TYZ8RLBb.dpuf%20http://www.travpr.com/pr-11160-hillary-and-bill-clinton.html" target="_blank">reported</a> that <em>Vogue </em>editor Anna Wintour was part of the crew that year. The <em>Times</em> described the house this way: "[T]hough imposing in the Colonial style, with wide verandas (and its own chapel on the grounds), [it] also had a relaxed feeling." Last April, the <em>Weekly Standard</em> <a href="http://www.weeklystandard.com/clintons-new-years-vacation-in-dominican-republic-costs-taxpayers-104k/article/906782" target="_blank">noted</a> that the Clintons had spent a week around the previous New Year's at Punta Canta and that Secret Service protection for the trip had cost $104,000. It was during this vacation that Hillary Clinton <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/hillary-clinton-decision-president" target="_blank">reportedly decided</a> to run for president for the second time.</p> <p>This gathering of the Clintons, the Kissingers, and the de la Rentas seems to occur most years. In 2011, de la Renta, a native of the Dominican Republic, <a href="http://blogs.vogue.mx/team-vogue/con-oscar-de-la-renta-en-su-casa-de-punta-cana/" target="_blank">told</a> <em>Vogue</em> that he built this seaside estate so he could host his close friends, and he cited the Kissingers and Clintons as examples. "At Christmas," he said, "we're always in the same group."</p> <p>The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Henry Kissinger or Annette de la Renta.</p> <p>When awarding herself the Kissinger seal of approval to bolster her standing as a competent diplomat and government official, Hillary Clinton has not referred to the annual hobnobbing at the de la Renta villa. So when Sanders criticized Clinton for playing the Kissinger card&mdash;"not my kind of guy," he declared&mdash;whether he realized it or not, he was hitting very close to home.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Fri, 12 Feb 2016 23:32:24 +0000 David Corn 296801 at http://www.motherjones.com There's Finally an Agreement to Stop the Fighting in Syria—and It's Probably Doomed http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/theres-finally-agreement-stop-fighting-syria-and-its-probably-doomed <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Less than two weeks after peace talks over the Syrian civil war <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35488073" target="_blank">abruptly ended</a>, the International Syria Support Group&mdash;a body of about 20 countries and international organizations involved in the war, including the European Union and the United Nations&mdash;announced on Thursday that they had finally brokered the terms of a halt to the brutal war that has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/world/middleeast/death-toll-from-war-in-syria-now-470000-group-finds.html" target="_blank">killed nearly half a million people</a>. The "cessation of hostilities" between regime forces and rebel groups, if successful, would be the first general stop to the fighting in almost four years. It seemed to meet some of the Syrian opposition's demands for humanitarian relief and a halt to Russian airstrikes against civilians and rebels. But none of this means the agreement is likely to succeed.</p> <p>The International Syria Support Group group pledged its members would push "all parties [to] allow immediate and sustained humanitarian access to reach all people in need" and "take immediate steps to secure the full support of all parties to the conflict for a cessation of hostilities." Those parties, however&mdash;the Syrian government and mainstream rebel groups&mdash;weren't actually part of the negotiations. Thursday's agreement merely sets the terms for how a cessation of hostilities would look, leaving the United States, Russia, Iran, and others to convince their allies on the ground to abide by the pact.</p> <p>How exactly they'll convince the regime and the opposition to play along hasn't yet been decided; the declaration gives the ISSG a week to figure out the details of the agreement and implement them. "We will only be able to see whether this was a breakthrough in a few days," <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/12/syria-ceasefire-munich-talks-us-russia" target="_blank">admitted German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier</a> during the announcement, which took place at a security conference in Munich. Secretary of State John Kerry also tempered expectations for the cessation agreement. "The real test is clearly whether or not all the parties honor those commitments and implement them in reality," he said. "What I've said again and again is we cannot guarantee success in the outcome."</p> <p>The fact that the opposition's High Negotiations Council, a body made up of dissident Syrian politicians and rebel leaders, is not taking part in the discussions in Munich means the agreement may not get crucial buy-in from armed groups on the battlefield. Such support is critical for political negotiations or agreements to hold.</p> <p>The <em>Washington Post</em> reported that while rebels may accept the "ceasefire"&mdash;the United States and Russia are divided on whether to use the term&mdash;out of exhaustion and lack of options, they are still highly skeptical. "We no longer trust words. There have been too many recently, matched with opposite action on the ground from the Russians," Issam Rayess, a spokesman for the rebels' Southern Front coalition that fights near Damascus, told the <em>Post</em>'s Liz Sly. "Within a week everything will have been destroyed," one civilian told her. And no matter what the rebels decide, the agreement will also have no effect on jihadi groups like ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria's homegrown affiliate of Al Qaeda.</p> <p>The High Negotiations Council has adopted a wait-and-see approach. When the Geneva talks stopped earlier this month, the HNC said it <a href="https://twitter.com/SyrianHNC_en/status/694981832388001793" target="_blank">would not return to the table</a> until Russian airstrikes ended and humanitarian aid began flowing to starving and decimated areas of Syria. The United Nation's Syria envoy hopes to restart the talks by February 25, and HNC spokesman Salim al-Muslat says the cessation of hostilities must actually take effect before the opposition returns to talks. "If we see action and implementation, we will see you very soon in Geneva," he told reporters on Thursday.</p> <p id="yui_3_18_1_1_1455302034310_1163">But even if the fighting does stop for any significant length of time, the two sides are still no closer to agreeing on the most basic issue of the war: what to do with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition and its backers will not accept any political solution that allows Assad to stay in office. But on the same day the cessation was announced, Assad <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/afp-exclusive-assad-vows-retake-whole-country-warns-150319669.html" target="_blank">told the French wire service AFP</a> that he has no plans to give up any territory or power, instead reconfirming his intent to regain control of the entire country. "This is a goal we are seeking to achieve without any hesitation," he said in an interview on Thursday. "It makes no sense for us to say that we will give up any part [of Syria]." As Middle East analyst Brooklyn Middleton noted on Twitter, Assad's statement means the cessation of hostilities will mostly be an illusion of progress rather than an actual achievement.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It is as though what Assad vows to do - and then does - is completely and utterly disregarded by those attempting to facilitate a ceasefire.</p> &mdash; Brooklyn Middleton (@BklynMiddleton) <a href="https://twitter.com/BklynMiddleton/status/698167493664378880">February 12, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Politics International Syria Fri, 12 Feb 2016 21:28:24 +0000 Max J. Rosenthal 296761 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 12 February 2016 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/friday-cat-blogging-12-february-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Just look at our little lovebirds. So adorable. So innocent looking. In reality, of course, they are just furry little batteries, recharging for their next romp around the house. In the meantime, though, Hilbert and Hopper remind you not to forget Valentine's Day. Buy your loved one some treats this weekend. Treats are good.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_hopper_2016_02_12.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 12 Feb 2016 20:51:33 +0000 Kevin Drum 296796 at http://www.motherjones.com Raw Data: Income Gains By Age Since 1974 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/raw-data-income-gains-age-1974 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's some raw data for you. It's nothing fancy: just plain old cash income growth for individuals, <a href="https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/people/" target="_blank">straight from the Census Bureau.</a> It gives you a rough idea of how different age groups have been doing over the past few decades. Enjoy.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_median_income_age_2.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 23px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 12 Feb 2016 20:45:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 296791 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Are George Soros-Linked Financiers Giving Big Bucks to Support John Kasich? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/john-kasich-george-soros-fund-managers-donations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Two Wall Street titans who helped financier George Soros make his billions have channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars into John Kasich's presidential bid. According to Federal Election Commission records, Scott Bessent, who was Soros' chief investment officer until December, last fall donated $200,000 to New Day for America, the pro-Kasich super-PAC. In August, Stanley Druckenmiller, who was Soros' lead fund manager from 1988 to 2000, donated $150,000 to the same super-PAC.</p> <p>Given that Kasich, after retiring as a congressman in 2000, worked for seven years at Lehman Brothers, until its collapse in 2008, it's not surprising that the Ohio governor is an attractive investment for big finance guys. But Soros is a bogeyman for conservatives, fiercely reviled by the right over the years for his deep-pocketed support of Democrats and progressive organizations. He recently emerged from something of a political slumber, <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/donor_detail.php?cycle=2016&amp;id=U0000000364&amp;type=I&amp;super=N&amp;name=Soros%2C+George" target="_blank">donating $8 million in 2015 to two pro-Hillary Clinton super-PACs</a>, after several years of keeping a relatively low profile as a political donor.</p> <p>Druckenmiller no longer has a connection with Soros. Bessent, though, is still involved with managing Soros' wealth. In early January, he announced he was creating a $4.5 billion hedge fund, Key Square Group, with $2 billion from Soros.</p> <p>Bessent is perhaps best known for his role in a 2013 move by Soros <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/hedgefund-yen-sorosfund-idUSL1N0BE0YL20130214" target="_blank">to bet against the yen</a>, which netted Soros' fund about $1 billion when the Japanese currency fell. Bessent, who did not respond to a request for comment, also donated $2,700, the maximum allowed, directly to Kasich's campaign. He has a history of contributing to candidates and PACs on both sides of the aisle. Last March, he donated to $5,400 to Democratic Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), $1,500 to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and $5,000 to Right to Rise, the pro-Jeb Bush super-PAC. In 2013, he gave $25,000 to Ready for Hillary, a pro-Clinton super-PAC. But, by far, his largest political donation has been to Kasich.</p> <p>Druckenmiller has focused his political giving largely on Republicans, but he has donated to a few Democrats. Last year, prior to donating that $150,000 to the pro-Kasich super-PAC, he wrote Right To Rise a check for $103,000. He also gave $100,000 to a super-PAC backing Chris Christie, who dropped out of the presidential race this week.</p> <p>Druckenmiller and Soros <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2773265/Billionaire-who-broke-the-Bank-of-England.html" target="_blank">"broke"</a> the Bank of England in 1992, shorting the British pound and making more than $1 billion in a single day when the currency plummeted. That windfall made Soros famous and one of the world's richest men. Eight years later, Druckenmiller left Soros to manage his own hedge fund. He retired in 2010. He has publicly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/stanley-druckenmiller-social-security_b_4133863.html" target="_blank">campaigned</a> for cuts to Social Security payments, arguing that baby boomers' retirement costs will prove disastrous for future generations.</p> <p>There's no word yet on how the donations to the Kasich presidential effort from these Soros-linked financiers will effect Glenn Beck's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mItj4bA9Rn4" target="_blank">theory</a> that Soros is the puppet master behind&hellip;well, everything.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections John Kasich Fri, 12 Feb 2016 20:04:01 +0000 Russ Choma 296701 at http://www.motherjones.com A Majority of States Now Have Right-to-Work Laws http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/majority-states-now-have-right-work-laws <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>West Virginia, once a bastion of organized labor, will soon join the ranks of the right-to-work states that have undercut union participation. The Republican-dominated state legislature on Friday <a href="http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160212/legislature-overrides-vetoes-of-right-to-work-prevailing-wage-bills" target="_blank">overrode Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin&rsquo;s veto</a> of a right-to-work bill, becoming&nbsp;the 26th state&nbsp;in the nation to pass such legislation.</p> <p>Right-to-work laws <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-are-right-to-work-laws" target="_blank">bar unions from negotiating contracts</a> that require all workers represented by a union to pay dues&mdash;in effect guaranteeing workers the union&rsquo;s protections and representation regardless of whether they contribute. The laws are broadly understood <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2012/12/10/how-right-to-work-laws-could-reshape-michigans-economy/" target="_blank">to weaken unions</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif;">The bill faced fierce opposition from unions,&nbsp;who <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-bc-wv--legislature-opening-the-latest-20160113-story.html" target="_blank">organized protests</a> at the state capitol and launched TV and radio ad campaigns to fight the legislation. But it also <a href="https://www.nationaljournal.com/s/313225/afp-pushing-right-work-west-virginia" target="_blank">had money behind it</a>, courtesy of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/12/americans-for-prosperity-michigan-right-to-work-gas-cards-free-food" target="_blank">has lobbied for right-to-work laws across the nation</a>. One of the West Virginia bill&rsquo;s key proponents, Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Senate president Bill Cole, <a href="http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160201/wv-senate-president-bill-cole-speaks-at-retreat-organized-by-koch-brothers" target="_blank">touted his efforts</a> to pass the&nbsp;right-to-work bill at a Palm Springs retreat organized by the </span>Kochs<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif;"> earlier this year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif;">According to the US Census Bureau, West Virginia had a <a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2014/tables.html" target="_blank">higher poverty rate</a> than all but 10 states between 2011 and 2013. Many communities have been hit hard by the <a href="http://wvmetronews.com/2016/01/26/coal-industry-reeling-from-newest-layoff-notices/" target="_blank">loss of thousands of mining jobs</a> in recent years. Republican lawmakers claimed&nbsp;that loosening labor laws was&nbsp;necessary to attract businesses to the state. Democrats have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Awaiting-court-input-W-Va-GOP-Senate-passes-6774661.php" target="_blank">argued</a> that it will ultimately hurt workers, and that the bill was aimed primarily at diminishing unions&rsquo; political clout.</span></p> <p>The right-to-work law will go into effect on July 1.</p></body></html> Politics Labor Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:41:41 +0000 Delphine d&#039;Amora 296786 at http://www.motherjones.com Worldwide Water Shortages Might Be Worse Than We Thought http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/02/water-shortages-drought-crisis-scarcity-conflict <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The world's water crisis might be much worse than we thought. Four billion people, or two-thirds of the global population, face severe water shortages for at least one month out the year,<strong> </strong>according to a study published on Friday in <em>Science Advances. </em></p> <p>Arjen Hoekstra, a professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and the study's lead author, says better living standards and the expansion of agriculture are among the factors that have increased demand for water and caused resources to dry up across the globe. And during the hot months of the year when water is already scarce, people draw from rivers and groundwater, further threatening water sources and the people who rely on them.</p> <p>"Direct victims of the over consumption of water resources are the users themselves, who increasingly suffer from water shortages during droughts,"&nbsp; according to the study's authors, who add that even one month without reliable access to water affects quality of life.</p> <p>Of the 4 billion people who face severe water scarcity for at least part of the year, 130 million reside in the United States, mostly in Western and Southern states like California, Texas, and Florida, where drought is already a common aspect of life. But those dry spells are made worse by the rising demand for water.<strong> </strong>In the West, <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/california-drought-colorado-river-water-crisis-explained" target="_blank">the vast majority</a> of water flowing from the all-important Colorado River goes to agriculture, and federal subsidies actually encourage farmers to plant the thirstiest crops, like cotton. On top of that, state laws push farmers to <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/killing-the-colorado/story/wasting-water-out-west-use-it-or-lose-it" target="_blank">flood their fields</a> with as much water as they can.</p> <p>The remaining 3.8 billion people affected by severe water shortages are outside the United States, in places like Africa and the Middle East, where access to water has long been a source of concern. This January marked the fifth year in a row that the World Economic Forum ranked water crises <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GRR/WEF_GRR16.pdf">among the top three risks</a> to the world economic stability, alongside climate change and weapons of mass destruction.</p> <p>Increased water depletion could also create fodder for increased political tensions. Volatile places like Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, and Somalia are among the countries where large portions of the population experience severe water scarcity all year-round. A Yemeni newspaper estimated that <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/02/water-scarcity-yemen-conflict">70 to 80 percent of conflicts</a> in rural areas of that country were about water. <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/2015/01/30/al-qaida-plans-its-next-move-yemen-300782.html">Yemen&rsquo;s Al Qaeda branch has even exploited the shortage</a>, winning over support by digging wells and providing villages with water.</p> <p>Hoekstra's findings paint a much bleaker picture of the global water crisis than most previous estimates. Both the <a href="http://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/water-scarcity">World Wildlife Fund</a> and the <a href="http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml">United Nations</a> have&nbsp;said it would take until 2025 for two-thirds of the world population to be without access to water, meaning today's findings put us a decade ahead of schedule.&nbsp;</p> <p>"We have generally underestimated the risks associated with water scarcity," Hoekstra told <em>Mother Jones</em> in an email.<strong> </strong>But, he adds in a press release, there's a bright spot: "All over the world, it is clear that the risks associated with high water consumption are being increasingly recognized."</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change water Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:00:17 +0000 Sara Rathod 296561 at http://www.motherjones.com Senator Sanders, Why Do You Hate President Obama? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/senator-sanders-why-do-you-hate-president-obama <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Most of last night's debate was pretty familiar territory. But toward the end, Hillary Clinton <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/11/transcript-the-democratic-debate-in-milwaukee-annotated/" target="_blank">unleashed a brand new attack:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Today Senator Sanders said that President Obama failed the presidential leadership test....In the past he has called him weak. He has called <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hillary_debate_2016_02_11.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">him a disappointment. He wrote a forward for a book that basically argued voters should have buyers' remorse when it comes to President Obama's leadership and legacy.</p> <p>....The kind of criticism that we've heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans....What I am concerned about is not disagreement on issues, saying that this is what I would rather do, I don't agree with the president on that. Calling the president weak, calling him a disappointment, calling several times that he should have a primary opponent when he ran for re-election in 2012, you know, I think that goes further than saying we have our disagreements.</p> <p>....I understand we can disagree on the path forward. But those kinds of personal assessments and charges are ones that I find particularly troubling.</p> </blockquote> <p>The problem Sanders has here is that this is a pretty righteous attack. Back in 2011 <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/07/22/277124/bernie-sanders-primary-obama/" target="_blank">he really did say,</a> "I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president...who cannot believe how weak he has been, for whatever reason, in negotiating with Republicans and there&rsquo;s deep disappointment." And he really did push the idea of a <a href="http://www.thenation.com/article/bernie-sanders-talks-primary-challenge-obama-good-idea-our-democracy-and-democratic-part/" target="_blank">primary challenger to Obama.</a> And he really did <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/30/politics/bernie-sanders-democrats-obama-progressives-hillary-clinton/" target="_blank">write a blurb</a> for <em>Buyer's Remorse: How Obama let Progressives Down</em>. So there's not much he can do about this attack except sound offended and insist that everyone has a right to criticize the president.</p> <p>But will it work? It was actually the only hit last night that struck me as genuinely effective. Obama still has a lot of fans who are probably surprised to hear that Sanders has been so tough on their guy. If Hillary Clinton keeps up this line, it might be pretty damaging.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 12 Feb 2016 18:40:39 +0000 Kevin Drum 296776 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/health-update <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, my chemo regimen changed last month. The Revlimid reduced my M-protein level for a little while, but then flattened out around 0.6, which is still a long way <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_m_protein_2016_02_12.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">from zero.<sup>1</sup> So now we're trying Revlimid plus dexamethasone. Dex is pure evil, but it's also pretty good at fighting multiple myeloma, so let's all give a big round of applause to evil! My first test result came back yesterday, and after only three weeks on the dex my M-protein marker has finally budged from 0.6. It's now down to 0.48. There's still a long way to go, but at least things are once again moving in the right direction.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Standard explainer: myeloma cells produce M-proteins, so measuring them is a good proxy for the level of cancerous cells in my bone marrow. This will never get to zero, but when the M-protein marker reaches zero it means the myeloma is at a very, very low level. So that's the goal.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 12 Feb 2016 17:55:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 296771 at http://www.motherjones.com