MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Freddie Gray Hearings Open Amid Police Clashes <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Hearings in the case against six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray <a href="" target="_blank">began this morning</a> against an all-too-familiar backdrop of police confrontations with protesters.</p> <p>The first pretrial hearing of the case, involving six officers charged in <a href="" target="_blank">Gray&rsquo;s death in police custody</a>, opened with victories for the prosecution, as a judge denied motions to dismiss the case and to recuse the state's attorney. Outside the courthouse, protesters clashed with police. People on the scene described police <a href="" target="_blank">grabbing women</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">harassing members of the press</a>, and restricting sidewalk access to the courthouse. Netta Elzie, a prominent black activist, also tweeted an account of Kwame Rose, another black activist and Baltimore resident, being hit by a police car and promptly arrested.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video tw-align-center" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Baltimore. <a href="">#FreddieGray</a>. Baltimore police just arrested <a href="">@kwamerose</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) <a href="">September 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Baltimore's finest. Protest. 2015. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; deray mckesson (@deray) <a href="">September 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Inside the court, Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams <a href="" target="_blank">denied motions</a> to recuse State&rsquo;s Attorney Marilyn Mosby from the case and to dismiss charges because of alleged prosecutorial misconduct on behalf of Mosby. Defense attorneys for the six officers, who&nbsp;face charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to second-degree assault, <a href="" target="_blank">argued</a> that Mosby should recuse herself, citing her relationship to the Gray family's attorney and her husband's position as a city councilman as reasons for a conflict of interest.</p> <p>This story will be updated as it develops.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:51:11 +0000 Miles E. Johnson 283246 at Iran Will Always Be Three Months Away From Having Nukes <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Paul Waldman writes about the asymmetric political risks that Democrats and Republicans face <a href="" target="_blank">over the Iran nuclear deal:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>If the agreement proves to be a failure &mdash; let&rsquo;s say that Iran manages to conduct a nuclear weapons program in secret, then announces to the world that they have a nuclear weapon &mdash; it will indeed be front-page news, and the Democrats who supported the deal might suffer grave political consequences. <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_nuclear_explosion.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">So in order to vote yes, they had to look seriously at the deal and its alternatives, and accept some long term political peril.</p> <p>By contrast, there probably is less long term risk for Republicans in opposing the deal.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s true that if the deal does achieve its goals, it will be added to a list of things on which Republicans were spectacularly wrong, but which led them to change their opinions not a whit....Iraq War....Bill Clinton&rsquo;s tax-increasing 1993 budget....George Bush&rsquo;s tax cuts....But if the deal works as intended, what will be the outcome be? Iran without nuclear weapons, of course, but that is a state of being rather than an event. There will be no blaring headlines saying, &ldquo;Iran Still Has No Nukes &mdash; Dems Proven Right!&rdquo; Five or ten years from now, Republicans will continue to argue that the deal was dreadful, even if Iran&rsquo;s nuclear ambitions have been contained.</p> </blockquote> <p>In a way, it's actually worse than this. Even if Iran doesn't get nukes there will be endless opportunities to raise alarms that it's going to happen <em>any day now</em>. Israeli leaders have been warning that Iran is three months away from a nuclear bomb for over two decades. There will always be new studies, new developments, and new conflicts that provide excuses for hysterical Fox News segments telling us we're all about to die at the hands of the ayatollahs. To see this in action, just take a look at Obamacare. All the top line evidence suggests it's working surprisingly well. Maybe better than even its own supporters thought it would. But that hasn't stopped a torrent of alarming reports that provide countless pretexts for predicting Obamacare's imminent doom. Premiums are going up 40 percent! Workers' hours are being slashed! You won't be able to see your family doctor anymore! Death panels!</p> <p>So have no worries. Iran could be nuclear free in 2050 and Bill Kristol's grandkids will still be warning everyone else's grandkids that the ayatollahs are <em>this close</em> to getting a bomb. It's kind of soothing, in a way, like a squeaky door that you'd miss if you ever oiled it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:43:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 283256 at Here's the Price Tag for CAP's New Child Care Program: About $100 Billion <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The Center for American Progress&mdash;aka "Hillary's Think Tank"&mdash;has released <a href="" target="_blank">"A New Vision for Child Care in the United States."</a> But it's not really very new. It's just a tax credit that varies with income. If you're at the poverty level, you'd get a tax credit of about $13,000 paid directly to the child care facility of your choice. If you make more, the tax credit <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cap_child_care.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">would be less. The maximum out-of-pocket expense for families would range from 2 percent at the low end to 12 percent at the high end.</p> <p>Does this sound familiar? It should: it bears a strong family resemblance to Obamacare.</p> <p>But it might be a good idea regardless of how new it really is. I'm certainly a fan of both preschool and subsidized child care. The big question is going to be how much it costs, and that's something the authors don't address. There's probably a reason for that. My very rough horseback calculation suggests it could run up a tab of $100 billion per year. Maybe more.<sup>1</sup></p> <p>That's a lot of money. How's it going to be paid for? <a href="" target="_blank">Danielle Paquet asked CAP about this,</a> and was told vaguely that "restructuring the tax system" and "closing wasteful loopholes" might do the trick. I dunno. That's a lot of wasteful loopholes.</p> <p>Needless to say, this is one of the downsides of taking public policy seriously. If you're Donald Trump, you just tell everyone not to worry. "I'm going to be great for the kids," and he'll take care of it from there. But if you're a Democrat, you normally feel obliged to present an actual plan that can actually work in the real world&mdash;and that means people can attach a price to it. And that, in turn, means you can be badgered about how you're going to pay for it.</p> <p>Politically speaking, this is something that Democrats will need to be careful about. There's a temptation among liberals to be the anti-Trump, tossing out dozens of detailed white papers to solve all the world's problems. But this gives conservatives an opening to add up the cost of all those white papers and start bellowing about how their very own proposals prove that Democrats want to bankrupt the country and tax millionaires into insolvency. It's best to tread carefully here.</p> <p>On the other hand, maybe Hillary could benefit from a small dose of Trumpism. Maybe she should adopt CAP's proposal and just declare that she's going to soak the rich to pay for it. Why pussyfoot around it? After all, polls show that taxing the rich at higher rates is a pretty popular idea. Maybe it's time to go bullroar populist and just beat the tar out of the malefactors of great wealth.</p> <p>Then again, maybe not. That doesn't really sound much like Hillary, does it?</p> <p><sup>1</sup>The program is for kids aged 0-4. My estimate is based on about 20 million kids qualifying, with an average tax credit in the neighborhood of $8,000 each. That's $160 billion. If two-thirds of all families take advantage of this tax credit, that comes to about $100 billion. Needless to say, more detailed cost estimates are welcome.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:21:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 283241 at September Is All Set to Be Ben Carson Month <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Donald Trump's moment in the spotlight is up. He won't go gently into that good night, but go he will. The big question at this point is who will replace him as the tea party's temporary favorite? The answer appears to be Ben Carson, the retired <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ben_carson_hands.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">neurosurgeon who made a name for himself among conservatives with a speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. Here's a short excerpt:</p> <blockquote> <p>The PC police are out in force at all times....We&rsquo;ve got to get over this sensitivity....what we need to do in this PC world is forget about unanimity of speech and unanimity of thought....PC is last thing about political correctness, which I think is a horrible thing, by the way....I&rsquo;m not politically correct....</p> </blockquote> <p>Do you notice a trend? Carson also talked about HSAs (a replacement for Obamacare) and tithing (a 10 percent flat tax) and the deficit (bad) and education (good) and moral decay (ruined the Roman empire) and, yes, even mentioned God a few times. But political correctness is his real schtick, and he hates it even more than Trump.</p> <p>But why? Since Carson seems set to become the Next Big Thing, Ed Kilgore decided to explain him to us. In the first GOP debate, Carson made mention of the "Alinsky Model," which enjoyed a brief vogue among conservatives a few years ago and then sort of disappeared from sight. <a href="" target="_blank">Kilgore takes off from there:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The &ldquo;Alinsky Model&rdquo; is a dog whistle to a certain breed of conspiracy minded hard-core conservative, as is the identification of [Hillary] Clinton with the &ldquo;secular progressive movement.&rdquo; Both are references some might recognize from Glenn Beck&rsquo;s many discourses, and both are meant to describe people who are actively and consciously working through deceit to enslave if not destroy (Carson&rsquo;s word) America. <strong>The Alinsky Model&rsquo;s main weapon, according to most aficionados of this sort of thinking, is &ldquo;political correctness,&rdquo;</strong> which happens to be Dr. Ben Carson&rsquo;s favorite phrase for everything he is fighting against.</p> <p>....The more you listen to Carson talking about &ldquo;political correctness,&rdquo; the more it becomes obvious he&rsquo;s not attacking college speech codes or disputes over racial or ethnic or gender terms, but liberal elite mockery of right-wing conspiracy theories....In this context, it becomes clear that Carson&rsquo;s occasional &ldquo;gaffes&rdquo; aren&rsquo;t really accidents, but what he believes: <strong>Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery; Obama might be planning to cancel elections; Democrats are opening the borders to bring in immigrants who will increase the welfare population and thus keep Democrats in power.</strong> Even though these are not unusual beliefs in the fever swamps of the far right, they are exotic for a major-party presidential candidate.</p> <p>....And there&rsquo;s something extra special about an African-American preemptively labeling suspected incidents of racism and sexism as mere political incorrectness, which he then defends as essential free speech! Let it rip!</p> </blockquote> <p>Ladies and gentlemen, this is your next man of the moment. Like Trump, he specializes in mood affiliation politics: nice, easy, common-sense solutions to all our problems, without bothering to explain how any of this stuff can actually work. Unlike Trump, he has a very calm demeanor. So if you like your third-grade comfort food politics with a side of bombast, Trump is your guy. But if you like it smooth and affable, Carson is. Take your pick.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:31:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 283226 at Ted Cruz Blames President Obama for Inciting Murder of Texas Cop <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Following the brutal murder of Texas Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz is <a href="" target="_blank">blaming</a> the Obama administration, especially the president, for inspiring anti-police sentiment and incidents of gun violence toward law enforcement officials.</p> <p>"Cops across this country are feeling the assault," Cruz told reporters when campaigning in Milford, New Hampshire, on Monday. "They're feeling the assault from the president, from the top on down as we see. Whether it's in Ferguson or Baltimore, the response of senior officials, of the president, of the attorney general, is to vilify law enforcement.</p> <p>"That is fundamentally wrong, and it is endangering the safety and security of us all," he added.</p> <p>The Texas senator and presidential hopeful even accused President Barack Obama of staying "silent" on Goforth's murder, when in fact the president condemned the shooting and violence against police officers as <a href="" target="_blank">"completely unacceptable.</a>" On his way to Alaska on Monday, Obama also phoned Goforth's wife to express his condolences.</p> <p>Cruz is hardly the first to denounce the president for provoking anti-police hostilities. Following the murders of two New York Police Department officers in December, former Mayor <a href="" target="_blank">Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News</a> and accused Obama of disseminating "propaganda" that "everybody should hate the police."</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Crime and Justice Guns Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:59:03 +0000 Inae Oh 283201 at Iran Deal Now Assured of Passage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The Iran nuclear agreement picked up its 34th supporter in the Senate this morning, assuring that even if Congress rejects the deal (which it probably will), it won't be able to override President Barack Obama's veto of the rejection.</p> <p>In the end, this probably didn't matter much, since Nancy Pelosi says the House already had enough votes to sustain a veto, but it never hurts to be sure. Next up: If Obama can round up 41 votes, the Senate won't even be able to reject the deal in the first place and no veto will be necessary. I think that's a long shot, since now, with passage secured, it leaves wavering senators free to vote against it in the knowledge that their vote won't matter. We'll see.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> And the 34th and deciding senator is&hellip;drum roll, please&hellip;Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who is retiring next year.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Foreign Policy Obama Top Stories Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:20:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 283211 at You Will Die Alone in a Ditch With a Headache—But At Least the Headache Won't Have Been Your Fault <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Alcohol is great. Maybe not health-wise, and maybe not for your uncle who has a bunch of DUIs, but, in general, society has long agreed that alcohol is great. The bad thing about alcohol is that sometimes drinking it makes your head hurt the next day. In the world, we call this a hangover. Some people get them worse than other people. The lucky ducks who seem spry and dandy no matter how much they put away the night before often offer unluckier ducks #smarttips for not getting hangovers.<em> </em><em>Drink water! Eat grease! Meditate! Pray! Have you tried barre classes?</em> These tips probably never work for you&mdash;or at least never work <em>consistently</em> for you. (Everything works anecdotally once in a while.) But that's probably your fault, right? I mean everything is your fault. That's why you drink so much in the first place. Your parents got divorced because of you. Your spouse is unhappy because of you. The Dow Jones is down because of you. America is entangled in a never-ending mess in the Middle East because of you. Hollywood keeps rebooting Spider-Man because of you. These hangover tips aren't working because of you, too, right?</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Wrong</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>Raiding the fridge or downing glasses of water after a night of heavy drinking won't improve your sore head the next day, Dutch research suggests.</p> <p>Instead, a study concluded, the only way to prevent a hangover is to drink less alcohol.</p> </blockquote> <p>The bad news is: You will die with a headache. The good news is: It won't be your fault.</p></body></html> Contributor Science Ben's Thoughts Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:18:29 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 283206 at You Are Haunted By Regret. Soon You Will Be Haunted By Even More Regret. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>You shouldn't eat fast food because fast food is bad for you but if you do eat fast food&mdash;and you will eat fast food at least once in a while because no one can be perfect all the time&mdash;then you could probably do worse than eat a <a href="" target="_blank">Sausage McMuffin with Egg</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">which will finally be available all-day, along with the rest of McDonald's breakfast menu, starting October 6. </a></p></body></html> Contributor Food and Ag Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:32:42 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 283196 at Biden's White House Ambitions May Die in Iowa—Again <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Joe Biden's 2008 campaign died on the evening of the Iowa caucuses. "So many of you have sacrificed for me and I am so indebted to you,"&nbsp;Biden <a href="">told supporters</a> in a speech in Des Moines announcing that he was <a href="" target="_blank">shutting down</a> his campaign, shortly after the results had come in. "I feel no regret. I ain't goin' away." Biden, then a senator from Delaware, had staked his entire campaign on a strong showing in the caucuses. He spent months bouncing around the state from campaign event to campaign event, but he came up well short. He finished in fifth place, with just 1 percent of the caucus delegates, behind not only the marquee candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards, but also Bill Richardson.</p> <p>If Biden decides to run for president again in 2016, he'll surely draw more support, thanks to his increased public profile after serving as Obama's vice president for the past seven years. But Iowa will once again pose problems for his presidential ambitions, particularly with such a late entry into the race. Caucus votes will be cast five months from now, and so far there is scant evidence of a groundswell behind Biden in the state&mdash;or the organization to bring it about.</p> <p>Recent polls have put Biden far behind Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Iowa. The veep drew just 14 percent in a <em>Des Moines Register</em> <a href="">poll</a> released this week, compared with 37 percent for Clinton and 30 percent for Sanders. (Biden supporters argue that his numbers are high for someone who has yet to start an official campaign.) In the Democratic caucuses, a candidate needs at least 15 percent support in a precinct in order to win any delegates, a bar Biden currently falls under statewide.</p> <p>There doesn't appear to be much movement toward an official Biden campaign in Iowa either, according to old Biden hands in the state. "There's been interest, there's been conversations," says one Biden 2008 Iowa staffer who requested anonymity due to continued involvement in state politics. "There's been outreach at the first level [of close Biden friends], but it hasn't been intense." Some of his longtime supporters have yet to hear from that inner circle, though. "Our sense is that it's more possible that he's going to run than not run," says state Sen. Tony Bisignano, a supporter of Biden's 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns. "It seems much more likely." What gives Bisignano that sense? "We're just hearing the news and reading different stories about it," he says. He hasn't heard anything beyond that.</p> <p>Bisignano is part of a <a href="">small band of elected officials</a> in Iowa who have endorsed Draft Biden, a super-PAC started earlier this year to encourage the vice president to enter the race. The Chicago-based group <a href="">started off as a small-time outfit</a> of former low-level Obama staffers and volunteers, and got off to a slow start, raising just $80,000 in the first half of the year. Even as it has gradually been ramping up over the past month, <a href="">bringing on</a> a slew of former Biden staffers, the group has a small Iowa footprint.</p> <p>Clinton and Sanders already have massive field teams working the ground to identify supporters in Iowa. According to a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign, the senator has 53 paid organizers working out of 15 field offices in Iowa. As of early June, the Clinton campaign <a href="">tallied</a> 47 paid organizers in Iowa.</p> <p>Draft Biden, on the other hand, didn't bring on an Iowa state director until June. And that director, James Rigdon, spent just two months in the state before moving to Chicago to work as the group's national outreach director. Draft Biden recently hired a new state director and two other paid organizers in the state. "First and foremost, it's going to be outreach to volunteers and supporters who have already signed up, and there are plenty of those to make a continued hit with," Rigdon says of the new hires. "Beyond that, it's going to be attending the county party meetings and attending any other local events across the state. Just getting the word out that Draft Biden is for real, this isn't a flash in the pan or a desperate attempt, we are a force to be reckoned with."</p> <p>But that force of potential volunteers to be organized is still a small pool. Draft Biden has gained more than 200,000 signatures for its petition encouraging Biden to run. Rigdon boasted that 6,000 of those signatures had come from supporters who live in Iowa&mdash;hardly the makings of a grassroots army.</p> <p>Still, Biden's Iowa fans are optimistic that the campaign could ramp up rapidly should the vice president officially enter the race. "I think the Democratic race needs to get reenergized," Bisignano says. "I think it has fallen flat this summer. With the Clinton issues, it's a constant flow of negativity and negative discussion. Biden would bring a breath of fresh air to the enthusiasm here."</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Elections Top Stories iowa caucuses Joe Biden Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:00:12 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 283151 at Jeb Bush Says He Helped Save Thousands of Ethiopian Jews. Here's What Really Happened. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Did Jeb Bush help launch a covert mission to airlift thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the 1980s, saving them from starvation?</p> <p>He says he did. Twice in the past week his campaign has posted blog posts on its website making this claim in order to tout Bush's record on Israel and to show his foreign policy chops. One <a href="" target="_blank">reads</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>In the 1980's thousands of members of the Jewish community had fled their homeland due to famine for a refugee camp in Sudan. Jeb, hearing of the conditions in the camp and the persecution these Jews were suffering, suggested to Reagan-Bush officials that the United States had a duty to support a massive airlift. The resulting effort, Operation Moses, made history when Israeli planes, with American support, brought these Jews to the homeland of the Jewish people, the State of Israel.</p> </blockquote> <p>But Bush's campaign boast is false. Bush, then 31 years old and a fledgling developer in Miami, had nothing to do with with Operation Moses, the secret operation that rescued nearly 8,000 Jews in Africa. And he played no role in triggering the rescue effort by prodding the Reagan-Bush administration to take action. However, he&mdash;and several other Americans&mdash;did play a bit part in a subsequent effort to rescue about 900 Ethiopian Jews left behind when Operation Moses was halted abruptly in early 1985.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/08/jeb-bush-ethiopian-jews-israel-operation-moses"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics 2016 Elections Human Rights Jeb Bush Top Stories Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:00:11 +0000 Stephanie Mencimer 283091 at