MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/wp-login/wp-login.php http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en CCA Plans Layoffs and CEO Pay Cuts As Its Stock Keeps Dropping http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/cca-announces-layoffs-corporate-restructuring <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's second largest private prison company, <a href="http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/09/27/875073/0/en/CCA-Announces-Corporate-Restructuring-and-Cost-Reduction-Plan.html" target="_blank">announced today</a> that it will eliminate 50 to 55 full-time positions&mdash;approximately 12 percent of the corporate workforce&mdash;at its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. As part of a new effort to restructure the company and reduce costs, CEO Damon Hininger will also forfeit stock options and compensation worth $3.7 million.</p> <p>CCA, the subject of a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/cca-private-prisons-corrections-corporation-inmates-investigation-bauer" target="_blank">major <em>Mother Jones</em> investigation</a>, has recently faced a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/10-things-cca-investigation" target="_blank">series of setbacks</a>. In August, the Department of Justice announced it would <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/department-justice-plans-end-private-prison" target="_blank">phase out its use</a> of private prisons, which resulted in a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/shareholder-class-action-lawsuit-private-prison-corrections-corporation-america-cca" target="_blank">class-action lawsuit</a> brought by shareholders. The Department of Homeland Security may be <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/department-homeland-security-private-prison-contracts" target="_blank">reconsidering</a> its private prison contracts. Since the DOJ's announcement, CCA's stock price <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/09/26/3-stocks-that-have-been-cut-in-half-this-quarter.aspx" target="_blank">has dropped 53 percent</a>.</p> <p>Public opinion also seems to be turning against for-profit prisons. In last night's debate, Hillary Clinton <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/27/investing/prison-stocks-hillary-clinton-debate-corrections-corporation-america-geo-group/" target="_blank">said</a>, "I'm glad that we're ending private prisons in the federal system. I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn't have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans."</p> <p>CCA's shakeup is part of a cost reduction plan that aims to save $9 million in expenses in 2017. In its <a href="http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/09/27/875073/0/en/CCA-Announces-Corporate-Restructuring-and-Cost-Reduction-Plan.html" target="_blank">statement</a>, the company noted that some of the risks and uncertainties it currently faces include changes to DOJ and DHS's prison policies as well as changes in "<span itemprop="articleBody">the public acceptance of our services."</span></p></body></html> Politics Prisons Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:30:28 +0000 Becca Andrews 315111 at http://www.motherjones.com Stop-and-Frisk Works, But Only If It's the Legal Version http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/stop-and-frisk-works-only-if-its-legal-version <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Stop-and-frisk came up in <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/26/the-first-trump-clinton-presidential-debate-transcript-annotated/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_transcript-905pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory" target="_blank">last night's debate:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>TRUMP: Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, <strong>Mayor Giuliani is here,</strong> worked very well in New York. <strong>It brought the crime rate way down.</strong></p> <p>....HOLT: I do want to follow up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.</p> <p>TRUMP: <strong>No, you're wrong.</strong> It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, <strong>there are many places where it's allowed.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Trump said four things here, and typically for him, he was effectively wrong about all four.</p> <p>First off, he implied that Rudy Giuliani brought stop-and-frisk to New York City. He didn't. As you can see in the chart on the right, the stop-and-frisk rate didn't start rising until 2002, when Michael Bloomberg was <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_stop_frisk_nyc_0.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">mayor and Ray Kelly was police commissioner.</p> <p>Second, he said it brought the crime rate "way down." Again, the chart on the right doesn't bear this out. Crime rates were already on a steady, long-term downward trend by 2002, and the increase in stop-and-frisk doesn't seem to have changed that much. <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2614058" target="_blank">A more detailed analysis</a> concluded that stop-and-frisk actually did have a modest effect, "but only the increase in stops made based on probable cause indicators of criminal behaviors were associated with crime reductions." Save that thought, and we'll come back to it later.</p> <p>Third, New York's version of stop-and-frisk <em>was</em> ruled unconstitutional. Would that ruling have survived on appeal? Probably, but nobody knows, certainly not Donald Trump.</p> <p>And fourth, there are, in fact, many places where stop-and-frisk is allowed. In fact, it's allowed everywhere in the country. So why do I count Trump as being wrong about this?</p> <p>Simple: Stop-and-frisk has been a standard police procedure for decades, but the Supreme Court ruled in 1968 that it's only legal if it's based on a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The problem in New York City is that stop-and-frisk became a routine tool used even when there was essentially no justification at all. This is the stop-and-frisk policy that Trump was talking about, and it's decidedly <em>not</em> used in "many places." It was unique to New York City.</p> <p>This is why the study I linked above is important. It concluded that stop-and-search based on probable cause did help reduce crime. But the New York City version didn't. And it <em>did</em> target blacks and Latinos at much higher rates than whites, even after you account for disparate crime rates. So not only was it unconstitutional, but it didn't work either. On multiple levels, New York City is better off returning to the legal version.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:08:50 +0000 Kevin Drum 315116 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Did Trump and Clinton Ignore Syria Last Night? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/syria-should-be-front-and-center-debate-it-wont-be <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Even by the already horrific standards of the Syrian civil war, the violence in the city of Aleppo during the past week has been brutal. Russian and Syrian government airstrikes killed <a href="http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/martyrs/1/c29ydGJ5PWEua2lsbGVkX2RhdGV8c29ydGRpcj1ERVNDfGFwcHJvdmVkPXZpc2libGV8ZXh0cmFkaXNwbGF5PTB8c3RhdHVzPTF8cHJvdmluY2U9Nnxjb2RNdWx0aT0xM3xzdGFydERhdGU9MjAxNi0wOS0yMHxlbmREYXRlPTIwMTYtMDktMjd8" target="_blank">more than 300 people</a>, targeted the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/26/world/middleeast/syria-un-security-council.html" target="_blank">last vital scraps</a> of medical services in rebel-held areas, and used bunker-busting bombs in what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called "<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/26/middleeast/syria-aleppo-offensive/index.html" target="_blank">new depths of barbarity</a>." The attacks only added to the <a href="http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=51249" target="_blank">25,000 people</a> who have died in Syria since a temporary truce ended in April, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.</p> <p>Yet with the carnage in Syria only getting worse, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton discussed the Syrian civil war during Monday night's presidential debate, to the dismay of analysts and activists. "The fact that it wasn't mentioned in the presidential debate is depressing, to say the least," says Kenan Rahmani, a legal and policy adviser to the Syria Campaign, an advocacy group that focuses on protecting Syrian civilians. "This [was] one of the worst weekends since the start of the conflict." Lena Arkawi, the spokeswoman for the American Relief Coalition for Syria, issued a statement on Tuesday saying her group was "deeply disappointed by the utter failure of last night's debate to even mention Syria. That oversight is far more telling than Gary Johnson's <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/us/politics/gary-johnson-aleppo.html" target="_blank">Aleppo gaff</a>e."</p> <p>The candidates did mention Syria once during the 90-minute debate, but only in passing. "We're hoping that within the year we'll be able to push ISIS out of Iraq and then, you know, really squeeze them in Syria," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/27/us/politics/transcript-debate.html?_r=0" target="_blank">Clinton said</a> while talking about her plans for the anti-ISIS campaign. Trump did not speak about Syria at all. That followed the pattern of the campaign, during which the candidates have been pressed for their plans to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria but have paid little attention to the civil war between the Syrian government and the armed groups that oppose it.</p> <p>But Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy, says there's no way to separate these issues cleanly. "It contributes to all these other problems,"&nbsp;&nbsp;he says. "So there's no way to fight ISIS unless you're also willing to talk seriously about Syria, the Syrian civil war being one of the main contributors to ISIS's rise. If we want to talk about Iraq, then you have to talk about Syria. If you want to even talk about the future of the European project, you have to be willing to talk about the Syrian refugee crisis."</p> <p>Both Trump and Clinton may have good reasons for dodging the topic. "It's difficult for Hillary, because to talk about how Syria's gotten so bad would require some serious criticism of the Obama administration," Hamid points out. "It's a complicated issue to address for someone who was Obama's secretary of state until 2013."</p> <p>Clinton did <a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-clinton-obama-differences-20160729-snap-htmlstory.html" target="_blank">push for stronger action</a> against the Syrian government while in office, which may make it easier for her to take on Obama's policies. But her support for using more force against the Assad regime may not be popular. She's notably in favor of a no-fly-zone to protect Syrian civilians, a policy that could potentially bring American aircraft into a dangerous direct conflict with Russian jets. "The last thing you want is to provoke a conflict with the Russians," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-syria-isis_us_57e997eee4b0c2407cd8c748" target="_blank">Lawrence Korb</a>, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told the <em>Huffington Post </em>on Monday night.</p> <p>"I think [a no-fly-zone is] smart policy, but Americans may not necessarily be excited about that prospect of getting more involved in Syria," Hamid says. A <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/15/poll-most-americans-support-u-s-military-action-in-syria-but-only-want-a-limited-amount/" target="_blank">poll conducted</a> by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in August found that while 72 percent of Americans backed airstrikes against ISIS, support for a no-fly-zone was 20 points lower.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Trump wants to forge a closer anti-ISIS partnership with Russia, which has relentlessly bombed civilians on behalf of the Syrian government while <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/03/syrian-and-russian-forces-targeting-hospitals-as-a-strategy-of-war/" target="_blank">targeting hospitals</a> and potentially even <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/20/un-aid-convoy-attack-syria-us-russia" target="_blank">a UN aid convoy</a> last week. If that partnership carried over into the larger war, it would place him on the side of the Syrian regime and its allies, who have killed the overwhelming majority of civilians during the past five years.</p> <p>"Russia, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, has killed more Syrian civilians now than ISIS," Rahmani says. He is currently hosting Aleppo's now-famous White Helmet rescue workers during their trip to the United States, and he says they are troubled by Trump's affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Given Russia's significant role in killing Syrian civilians, both for me personally and for White Helmets, it's difficult to imagine how we could have a president of the United States speak openly in a praiseworthy way of Vladimir Putin."</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections International Presidential Debates Tue, 27 Sep 2016 21:50:21 +0000 Max J. Rosenthal 314831 at http://www.motherjones.com Climate Change Got 82 Seconds in the Presidential Debate http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/09/climate-change-debate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>This story was originally published by </em><a href="http://grist.org/election-2016/climate-airtime-presidential-debate/" target="_blank">Grist</a> <em>and is reproduced here as part of the <a href="http://climatedesk.org" target="_blank">Climate Desk</a> collaboration.</em></p> <p>One minute and 22 seconds <a href="http://grist.org/election-2016/donald-trump-shows-us-what-happens-to-a-climate-denier-in-denial/">were spent on climate change</a> and other environmental issues in Monday&rsquo;s presidential debate&mdash;and that was pretty much all&nbsp;<a href="http://grist.org/briefly/clinton-didnt-wait-for-a-moderators-question-to-attack-trump-on-climate/">Hillary Clinton talking</a>. (<a href="http://grist.org/election-2016/why-debate-moderators-avoid-climate-questions/">Surprise, surprise</a>.) How does that compare to debates in past years? We ran the numbers on the past five election cycles to find out.</p> <p>The high point for attention to green issues came in 2000, when Al Gore and George W. Bush spent just over&nbsp;14 minutes talking about&nbsp;the environment over the course of three debates. The low point came in 2012, when climate change and other environmental issues got no time at all during the presidential debates.&nbsp;Some years, climate change came up during the vice presidential debates as well.</p> <p><b>2016 so far: </b>1 minute, 22 seconds in one presidential debate.</p> <p><b>2012:</b> 0 minutes.</p> <p><strong>2008: </strong>5 minutes, 18 seconds in two presidential debates. An additional 5 minutes, 48 seconds in a&nbsp;vice presidential debate.</p> <p><b>2004: </b>5 minutes, 14 seconds in a single presidential debate.</p> <p><strong>2000:&nbsp;</strong>14 minutes, 3 seconds in three&nbsp;presidential debates. 5 minutes, 21 seconds in a vice presidential debate.</p> <p>In total, over the <a href="http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/debates.php">five election seasons</a>&nbsp;we looked at, climate change and the environment got 37 minutes and 6 seconds on the prime-time stage during the presidential and vice presidential debates. That's out of more than 1,500 minutes of debate. Not an impressive showing.</p> <p><em>A note about how we arrived at these times:</em></p> <p>We parsed questions asked of candidates and searched the transcripts for keywords like "climate," "environment," "energy," and "warming." We cross-referenced the transcripts with video of the debates. Only the mentions that pertained to fighting climate change, cleaning up the environment, and reducing emissions counted. President Obama&rsquo;s passing reference to clean energy jobs in 2012 didn't count, nor did discussions of energy security, because they were in the context of the economy and not fighting climate change.</p></body></html> Environment 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Media Top Stories Tue, 27 Sep 2016 21:11:02 +0000 Emma Foehringer Merchant 315106 at http://www.motherjones.com Comey: No Obstruction of Justice in Clinton Email Case http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/comey-no-obstruction-justice-clinton-email-case <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Speaking of Hillary Clinton's emails, we learned something interesting today. But first, here's an excerpt from the <a href="https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3039030/Hillary-Clinton-FBI-Investigation.pdf" target="_blank">FBI report</a> that was released last month. Apologies for the length, but it's important that you see the whole thing so you know I haven't left out any relevant parts:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fbi_report_email_deletion_prn_0.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 10px;"></p> <p>Here's the full timeline in a nutshell:</p> <blockquote> <p>December 2014: After turning over Clinton's work emails to the State Department, Clinton's staff instructed Platte River Networks to delete her old email files, which included all her private emails. The tech assigned to this task forgot to do it.</p> <p>March 9, 2015: Clinton's staff notifies PRN that Congress has issued a preservation order for Clinton's emails.</p> <p>March 25: Clinton's staff has a conference call with PRN.</p> <p>March 25-31: The tech has a "holy shit" moment and remembers he never deleted the old archives. So he does. Both Clinton and Cheryl Mills say they were unaware of these deletions.</p> </blockquote> <p>This timeline is a bit of a Rorschach test. If you already think Hillary Clinton is a liar and a crook, your reaction is: Give me a break. They just <em>happened</em> to have a conference call on March 25 and the tech just <em>happened</em> to delete the archives a few days later? But the Clinton gang says they never told him to do this? Spare me.</p> <p>However, if you're sympathetic to Clinton, this all seems pretty unremarkable. Her staff had ordered the archives deleted in 2014, long before any subpoenas were issued, and it was only because of the tech's forgetfulness that they were still around in March. The tech was telling the truth when he said that no one told him to delete the archives in March. The conference call just jogged his memory. And Clinton and Mills really didn't have any idea what was going on. After all, it would have been wildly dangerous to explicitly tell PRN <em>on a conference call</em> to delete archives that were under a legal preservation order.</p> <p>So which is it? The answer is that we don't know. You can read this timeline however you want. Today, however, <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/09/clinton-email-probe-obstruction-fbi-228790" target="_blank">we got this:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday his investigators looked very intently at whether there was obstruction of justice in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email account, but concluded they could not prove a criminal case against anyone.</p> <p><strong>"We looked at it very hard to see if there was criminal obstruction of justice,"</strong> Comey said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, under questioning by Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)</p> <p>"We looked at it very hard. <strong>We could not make an obstruction case against any of the subjects we looked at,</strong>" Comey said. He did not identify those whose conduct the FBI investigated for potential obstruction.</p> </blockquote> <p>What Comey is saying is that the FBI put a lot of effort into discovering the truth about what happened in March, including grants of immunity to several people so they could tell the truth without fear of prosecution. But they came up empty. Despite their best efforts, it appears that Clinton's staff did nothing wrong. The PRN tech just made a mistake and then did a dumb thing when he remembered it.</p> <p>Hillary Clinton made a mistake when she decided to use a single email account on a personal server while she was Secretary of State. But it was just a mistake, not a criminal conspiracy. Once again, there's no there there.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 27 Sep 2016 18:32:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 315046 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's Why Hillary Clinton Emails Didn't Get Much Attention Last Night http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/heres-why-hillary-clinton-emails-didnt-get-much-attention-last-night <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I read quite a few complaints last night about Lester Holt's choice of debate topics. Liberals wanted to know why climate change didn't come up. Conservatives thought there should have been a question about abortion. This is run-of-the-mill stuff, since not everything can possibly get covered in a 90-minute show. But the biggest conservative complaint was that Holt didn't ask Hillary Clinton about her emails or the Clinton Foundation. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/26/the-first-trump-clinton-presidential-debate-transcript-annotated/" target="_blank">Except that he did:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>HOLT: He also raised the issue of your e-mails. Do you want to respond to that?</p> <p>CLINTON: I do. You know, I made a mistake using a private e- mail.</p> <p>TRUMP: That's for sure.</p> <p>CLINTON: And if I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I'm not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that.</p> <p>HOLT: Mr. Trump?</p> <p>TRUMP: That was more than a mistake. That was done purposely. OK? That was not a mistake. That was done purposely. When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they're not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hillary_clinton_email.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">I think it's disgraceful. And believe me, this country thinks it's &mdash; really thinks it's disgraceful, also.</p> </blockquote> <p>And that was it. Trump had the opportunity to go after Clinton's emails at length if he wanted to, but he didn't. Why? Because he was steamed about Clinton's suggestion that he might not be as rich as he says. So he ditched the email stuff and instead spend a couple of minutes defending the greatness of his income, his company, his debts, his bankers, his buildings&mdash;and then sort of forgot what he was talking about and wandered off into a riff about how terrible our infrastructure is.</p> <p>In other words, typical Trump. But there's more to this. I think Clinton owes the press some thanks for going so far overboard on the emails and the Clinton Foundation over the past year. Here's what happened earlier this month:</p> <p>First, the FBI <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/14-excerpts-fbis-report-hillary-clintons-email" target="_blank">released its report</a> on Clinton's emails. It exonerated her almost completely, but a few days later Matt Lauer obliviously <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/09/lauers-pathetic-interview-made-me-think-trump-can-win.html" target="_blank">spent a full third</a> of his interview with Clinton on the emails anyway. Lauer was widely pilloried for this. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/washington-post-admits-hillary-clinton-email-mountain-molehill-after-all" target="_blank">Two days later</a> the <em>Washington Post</em>&mdash;which had reported on the emails as assiduously as anyone&mdash;finally admitted that the email story was "out of control."</p> <p>On the Clinton Foundation front, August and September saw a rash of stories about specific people and programs associated with the foundation. They all "raised questions" or "cast a shadow" over Clinton's campaign, but none of them uncovered anything even close to wrongdoing. By mid-September, this had become almost a running joke.</p> <p>In both cases, the mountain of reporting on these topics finally crumbled under its own weight. They had both been investigated endlessly, and in the end, had uncovered nothing aside from a few minor misdemeanors. It finally became clear that reporters were chasing after a chimera, and the bubble burst. It was time to move on.</p> <p>That's probably one reason that Holt didn't spend any time on either the emails or the foundation. I'm sure they'll come up in one of the future debates, but they've been largely defanged. There's just nothing much there anymore.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:19:42 +0000 Kevin Drum 315041 at http://www.motherjones.com Where Did Trump's VAT Nonsense Come From Last Night? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/where-did-trumps-vat-nonsense-come-last-night <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>If there were a contest for weirdest Trumpism last night&mdash;well, I'm not sure I could pick a winner. But on the nerd front, this one just confused me completely:</p> <blockquote> <p>We have to renegotiate our trade deals. And, Lester, they're taking our jobs, they're giving incentives, they're doing things that, frankly, we don't do.</p> <p>Let me give you the example of Mexico. They have a VAT tax. We're on a different system. <strong>When we sell into Mexico, there's a tax. When they sell in&nbsp;&mdash; automatic, 16 percent, approximately. When they sell into us, there's no tax.</strong> It's a defective agreement. It's been defective for a <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_vat_countries.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">long time, many years, but the politicians haven't done anything about it.</p> </blockquote> <p>In real time I wondered what the hell this was all about, but the debate moved on and I didn't have time to ponder it. Aside from being completely wrong, I wondered where it came from. Trump has never mentioned VATs before, has he?</p> <p>Well, it turns out that yesterday an economist at UC Irvine (yay Anteaters!) co-authored a long <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wilbur-ross-and-peter-navarro-score-trump-economic-plan-300333772.html" target="_blank">report</a> claiming that Trump's full economic plan would hypercharge growth and make us all rich etc. etc. Jordan Weissmann dismantles the report <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/09/26/donald_trump_s_economic_plan_is_still_god_awful.html" target="_blank">here,</a> and mentions that it takes aim at VAT taxes around the world:</p> <blockquote> <p>Here's how it works: When a company in Germany makes goods to sell at home, it has to pay the VAT. But if it makes them to sell in the United States, it doesn't&mdash;the tax gets waived at the border....Meanwhile, if an American company makes widgets to sell in Germany, it does have to pay the VAT.</p> <p>In short, everybody has to pay Germany's VAT when they're selling goods in Germany. Nobody has to pay Germany's VAT when they're selling goods outside of Germany....However, Navarro and Ross say border adjustability turns the VAT into an &ldquo;implicit export subsidy&rdquo; for foreign companies and an &ldquo;implicit tariff&rdquo; on U.S. exporters.</p> <p>....This is just ... wrong. Dead wrong. It's true that American car companies, to take just one example, have to pay a German VAT when they sell sedans to Berlin or D&uuml;sseldorf. But you know who also has to pay that tax? BMW and Volkswagen. Border adjustability just puts everybody on equal footing. Waiving the VAT on exports does the same thing. If German companies had to pay the VAT on cars they were sending to the U.S., they'd be at a huge disadvantage compared to their American rivals, who wouldn't face a domestic VAT. Germany would essentially be suppressing its own exports.</p> </blockquote> <p>So that's where it came from. Somebody at Trump HQ read the report, mentioned the VAT part to Trump, and Trump then burbled about it on stage last night. It's all gibberish, but oddly enough, you can't really blame Trump for this one. After all, a guy with a PhD in economics fed this stuff to him. It's such a mind-boggling misstatement of how VATs work that I now want to know why the guy with the PhD was willing to embarrass himself with this stuff. Trump, of course, just lapped it up.</p> <p>Anyway, that's the story of the VAT. Don't you feel smarter now?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 27 Sep 2016 16:40:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 315036 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Is a Pig http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/donald-trump-pig <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So it turns out that Donald Trump's big attack that he delicately held back on last night was...Bill Clinton's affairs. Devastating! That bit of non-news would have turned things around, I'm sure. So why did he change his mind? "I didn't feel comfortable doing it with Chelsea in the room," he said this morning.&nbsp; What a sensitive guy.</p> <p>In related news, Hillary Clinton really got under Trump's skin last night. "He loves beauty contests," she said, "supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman 'Miss Piggy.' Then he<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="242" src="//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/95568594-84a6-11e6-b57d-dd49277af02f" style="margin: 20px 0px 5px 30px;" width="400"></iframe> called her 'Miss Housekeeping,' because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name."</p> <p>"Where did you find this? Where did you find this?" Trump demanded. Today he couldn't stop himself from <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/09/27/trump-attacks-former-miss-universe-who-gained-a-massive-amount-of-weight-and-had-attitude/" target="_blank">attacking back:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>During an interview on Fox News on Tuesday morning, Trump brought up Machado on his own and launched into an attack on her credibility, saying that she had "attitude" and was a "real problem" for Miss Universe officials. "She was the worst we ever had. The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible," Trump said. "... She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem."</p> </blockquote> <p>What a pig.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:18:38 +0000 Kevin Drum 315021 at http://www.motherjones.com Someone Please Explain What the Hell Is Going on With This Mary J. Blige, Hillary Clinton Interview http://www.motherjones.com/media/2016/09/mary-j-blige-hillary-clinton-apple-teaser <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, Apple Music announced that the first episode of Mary J. Blige's new show, <em>The 411</em>&mdash;an apparent reference to her 1992 debut album, <em>What's the 411?</em>&mdash;will feature an exclusive sit-down with Hillary Clinton. A quick teaser of the interview was released on social media, where it created far more confusion than the excitement Apple likely intended.<strike> </strike></p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Like you&rsquo;ve never seen them before.<a href="https://twitter.com/maryjblige">@MaryJBlige</a> sits down with <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton">@HillaryClinton</a>.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/The411?src=hash">#The411</a><br> Coming September 30th.<a href="https://t.co/hbaWqfjJcp">https://t.co/hbaWqfjJcp</a> <a href="https://t.co/P2qpm3h3Pm">pic.twitter.com/P2qpm3h3Pm</a></p> &mdash; Apple Music (@AppleMusic) <a href="https://twitter.com/AppleMusic/status/780591433996759040">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">An intimate conversation.<a href="https://twitter.com/maryjblige">@MaryJBlige</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton">@HillaryClinton</a>.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/The411?src=hash">#The411</a> coming September 30 on Apple Music.<a href="https://t.co/hbaWqf27NP">https://t.co/hbaWqf27NP</a> <a href="https://t.co/9nYv3G36MO">pic.twitter.com/9nYv3G36MO</a></p> &mdash; Apple Music (@AppleMusic) <a href="https://twitter.com/AppleMusic/status/780615986344898561">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>As she sat with the Democratic presidential nominee in an intimate living room setting, Blige looked regal like the queen she is. She belts out Bruce Springsteen's classic "American Skin (41 Shots)," while Clinton stares back intensely. Awkward, dramatic music plays in the background; cheap slow-mo effects abound.</p> <p>Reactions to the clips were less than kind:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Anyone who can keep a straight face while Mary J. Blige is singing at them like that deserves to be president</p> &mdash; Nyasha (@NyashaMC) <a href="https://twitter.com/NyashaMC/status/780609126602792960">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Since Mary J Blige can't be trusted we'd like to trade her for Adele <a href="https://t.co/jq7pq8wboe">pic.twitter.com/jq7pq8wboe</a></p> &mdash; MyFluffyPuffs (@MyFluffyPuffs) <a href="https://twitter.com/MyFluffyPuffs/status/780647736232271872">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Mary J Blige:"IS IT A GUN?! IS IT A KNIFE?!"<br> Me: <a href="https://t.co/TLF3onBuLH">pic.twitter.com/TLF3onBuLH</a></p> &mdash; good guy (@stephansquiat) <a href="https://twitter.com/stephansquiat/status/780614677621534720">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Done cringing? Now relive the masterpiece that is "Real Love" below and remember that both Blige and Clinton are too good for whatever just happened.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/90c9pEtZquw" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Media 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Music Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:16:57 +0000 Inae Oh 315016 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Fires Back at Former Miss Universe Winner He Once Called "Miss Piggy" http://www.motherjones.com/media/2016/09/donald-trump-miss-universe-alicia-machado <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ihO5KootGjY" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The morning after Hillary Clinton confronted Donald Trump with his <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/trump-files-when-donald-fat-shamed-miss-universe" target="_blank">own words describing </a>former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado as "Miss Piggy," the Republican presidential candidate doubled down on his disparaging remarks by calling Machado's past weight gain a "real problem."</p> <p>"She gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem," Trump said during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday morning. "Not only that, her attitude, we had a real problem with her. So, Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa, but it wasn't quite that way."</p> <p>He went on to attribute Clinton's mention of Machado during the first presidential debate as an attempt to stay ahead in national polls.</p> <p>Shortly after the debate wrapped up on Monday, the Clinton campaign released a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-alicia-machado-miss-universe-ms-piggy" target="_blank">web video featuring Machado</a> where she described Trump as a frightening figure who routinely bullied her about her appearance. In one incident, Machado claims Trump once ambushed her with reporters who filmed her while she exercised&mdash;an experience she said left her scarred with eating disorders.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Donald Trump called her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping."<br><br> Her name is Alicia Machado. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DebateNight?src=hash">#DebateNight</a> <a href="https://t.co/0wrISjJe6z">pic.twitter.com/0wrISjJe6z</a></p> &mdash; Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/780611407221960704">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Machado announced that she recently became a <a href="https://twitter.com/machadooficial/status/780604340318773248" target="_blank">US citizen </a>and will be voting for Clinton this November.</p></body></html> Media 2016 Elections Donald Trump Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:02:10 +0000 Inae Oh 315011 at http://www.motherjones.com