MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/wp-login http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en DHS Public Database Includes Personal Information of Abuse Victims http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/immigrant-domestic-violence-victims-appear-dhs-database <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Trump administration's effort to highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants has become a nightmare for immigrant victims of abuse, with the personal information of undocumented victims <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/tylerkingkade/abusers-who-want-to-find-their-victims-have-a-new-tool?utm_term=.mfJ0RVQ1V#.wlwqlOBzO" target="_blank">appearing</a> in a publicly searchable database launched last month by the Department of Homeland Security.</p> <p>Last month, DHS created the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, aimed at assisting the victims of crimes committed by immigrants. At the same time, it rolled out a database called Victim Information and Notification Exchange, or DHS-VINE, ostensibly to provide information on the custody status and detention information of immigrants who have been accused of crimes. But the database appears to contain information about a much broader group of people, including undocumented immigrants in detention who are not suspected of crimes other than lacking legal status&mdash;and who are sometimes themselves victims of abuse.</p> <p>The problem was first highlighted by the Tahirih Justice Center, which supports immigrant women and girls escaping gender-based violence. On Thursday, the group wrote<a href="http://www.tahirih.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Second-Tahirih-letter-to-ICE-re-VINE-5.25.pdf" target="_blank"> a letter</a> to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement explaining that the personal information of immigrant survivors was searchable in DHS-VINE.</p> <p>Earlier this month, the center was able to find the personal information of one of its clients in the database. The group then reached out to attorneys who work with immigrant survivors; together, they confirmed that the names, custody status, and detention location of other survivors were searchable in the DHS-VINE system. The database also includes information about where detainees are housed and sends notifications when they are transferred or released, potentially allowing abusers or traffickers to find their victims and cause further harm. "Their listing in the public database is a violation of federal statute which carries significant penalties under the law, and puts survivors' lives in danger," the center notes in its letter.</p> <p>Immigrant advocates first notified ICE of the problem earlier this month but received no response. They then sent a second letter on May 25, calling for the information of survivors to be pulled from the system immediately or for DHS-VINE to be shut down by Friday.</p> <p>"We're concerned that DHS does not seem to be seriously considering the concerns of victims of crime," says Archi Pyati, chief of policy for the Tahirih Justice Center. The inclusion of survivors' information, she says, is a violation of federal law protecting the information of people applying for special visas or other protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking. &nbsp;</p> <p>In statements to <em>Mother Jones</em> and other media outlets, ICE said that it was aware of the problems with the database. "ICE continually strives to ensure that information protected both by policy and law is never divulged," the agency said. "When the agency receives evidence suggesting that non-releasable information is unintentionally available, immediate actions are taken to ensure proper mitigation both to correct and to prevent further disclosures." The agency did not respond to questions about how long it would take to remove survivors from the DHS-VINE database. Earlier on Friday, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/26/us-immigration-crime-database-victim-data-exposed" target="_blank">the <em>Guardian </em></a>reported that some names were removed from the database after the outlet sent an inquiry to ICE. But the names of other survivors remain in the system.</p> <p>The VOICE office has been criticized for painting immigrants as uniquely engaged in criminal activity despite evidence that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than US citizens. Shortly after the office launched, the <em>Los Angeles Times </em><a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-children-in-immigration-database-20170426-story.html" target="_blank">reported</a> that it was able to find the information of children as young as three years old in the VINE database.</p> <p>The controversy over the DHS-VINE is the latest blow to immigrant victims of abuse, who have already <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/immigrant-sexual-assault-domestic-violence-survivors-fear-enforcement-survey" target="_blank">moved into the shadows</a> as the Trump administration continues to push aggressive immigration enforcement. A recent survey of service providers working with immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault found that three in four providers had worked with survivors concerned about opening themselves up to deportation if they contacted the police or went to court to address their abuse.</p> <p>Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE, reached out to the&nbsp;Tahirih Justice Center on Friday about the issue. "I assure you that we are implementing additional measures to strengthen the information protections of the system," he wrote.</p> <p>If survivors' names are still in the database next week, Pyati says advocates will reach out to the agency again. "Now that they're on notice, we are going to pursue every avenue that we can to ensure that victims are safe," she says.</p></body></html> Politics Immigration Fri, 26 May 2017 21:24:35 +0000 P.R. Lockhart 333926 at http://www.motherjones.com Quote of the Day: Pink Donut Boxes http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/quote-day-pink-donut-boxes <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pink-doughnut-boxes-20170525-htmlstory.html" target="_blank">From Peter Yen of Santa Ana Packaging,</a> a manufacturer of donut boxes:</p> <blockquote> <p>Anytime you see a movie or sitcom set in New York and a pink doughnut box appears, you know it obviously took place in L.A.</p> </blockquote> <p>I did not know that! But it turns out that pink donut and pastry boxes are unique to Southern California.<sup>1</sup> Why? Long story short, a Cambodian refugee from the Khmer Rouge became the donut king of Orange County during the 80s before gambling away his fortune in the 90s. When he was starting out he asked his supplier for a cheaper donut box, and the pink box was born. Click the link for the longer story.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Are they really? Or have they since spread to the rest of the country? Let us know in comments.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 May 2017 21:18:35 +0000 Kevin Drum 333931 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 26 May 2017 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/friday-cat-blogging-26-may-2017 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Someone in comments the other day was <strike>kvetching about the fact</strike> observing that I tend to crop my photos pretty tightly, and that's true. I like sharp, tightly-cropped pictures. Still, variety is the spice of life, and my fondness for close-ups means that you rarely get to see Hilbert or Hopper in action. I use the word "action" advisedly, since that mostly just means walking around. But even that's something, so today you get an exciting action shot of Hilbert.</p> <p>Even with the fancy new camera, this is surprisingly hard to do. Cats in motion are frequently blurry or out of focus, and the follow-focus feature of the Lumix is pretty hit-or-miss. All that said, here it is. Photographic proof that Hilbert doesn't just sit around 24 hours a day.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2017_05_26.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 0px 0px;" width="630"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 May 2017 19:05:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 333911 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump: Overseas Trip Has Saved "Millions of Jobs" http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/trump-overseas-trip-has-saved-millions-jobs <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Donald Trump claims that his world trip this week has saved millions of jobs. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/05/26/president-trumps-claim-that-hes-already-saved-millions-of-jobs-on-his-foreign-trip/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_fact-checker-11am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&amp;utm_term=.e22bd24e4136" target="_blank">Millions!</a></p> <blockquote> <p>A White House official said Trump was not talking just about the Saudi deals but &ldquo;benefits to trade from the entire trip from Saudi Arabia to the G7.&rdquo; He noted that &ldquo;any improvement on trade would save many jobs. Stopping even one bad trade deal can save millions. Changing the infrastructure of global trade to tilt it back toward the U.S. would save and create millions.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Hmmm. Barack Obama made 52 overseas trips during his presidency, and employment climbed 12 million during the same period. That's about 200,000 jobs per trip. Trump says he's responsible for millions just in one trip. That's pretty remarkable, no? But Trump is a remarkable man.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 May 2017 18:52:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 333916 at http://www.motherjones.com Did Michael Flynn Lobby for the Turkish Government? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/did-michael-flynn-lobby-turkish-government <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last year, Michael Flynn received half a million dollars as part of a contract with the Inovo Group, headed by Ekim Alptekin, the chairman of the Turkey-US Business Council. Was this legit? Or is Inovo just a front for the Turkish government? <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/michael-flynn-mystery-payment-foreign-agent-turkey-alptekin" target="_blank">David Corn investigates:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The paperwork Flynn filed with the government is confusing. Some of the records note that his company, the Flynn Intel Group, <strong>was hired to compile opposition research on Fethullah Gulen,</strong> a Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania whom the Turkish government claims helped orchestrate an unsuccessful coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last summer....It was through his contract with Inovo that Flynn ended up in a <strong>September 19 meeting set up by Alptekin at the Essex House hotel in New York City with Turkish government officials, where reportedly the participants considered kidnapping Gulen.</strong> (A Flynn spokesman insisted Flynn had not discussed any illegal actions, and Alptekin has denied there was any talk of abducting Gulen at this gathering.)</p> </blockquote> <p>OK. But there's also this:</p> <blockquote> <p>An attachment to the filing, citing an American law firm representing Alptekin, says that "Inovo represented a private sector company in Israel that sought to export natural gas to Turkey".... In March, Alptekin told one reporter that he had hired Flynn <strong>"principally to produce geopolitical analysis on Turkey and the region" for a "regional energy company that is considering an investment in Turkey."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Digging up dirt on Gulen doesn't sound like something a private consulting group would be interested in. It sounds like something the Turkish government would be interested in. This is all the more mysterious because we don't know who was funding Flynn's work:</p> <blockquote> <p>In an interview with a Dutch newspaper in April, Alptekin said the funds for the Flynn project came from a loan from his wife and payments from Ratio Oil Exploration, an Israeli natural gas company.</p> </blockquote> <p>It seems unlikely that an Israeli oil company would have much interest in Michael Flynn's assessment of the potential market in Turkey for Israeli natural gas&mdash;especially since the oil company in question flatly denies that it has any connection with Alptekin at all. And it seems even more unlikely that Alptekin's wife would have any interest in this.</p> <p>So was Flynn actually acting as an agent of the Turkish government, with the money being thinly laundered through Alptekin? Or was it, as both Flynn and Alptekin claim, really all about Alptekin's belief that Flynn had keen insights to offer regarding geopolitical analysis of Turkey and the region? We report, you decide.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 May 2017 18:27:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 333906 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton Shades Trump with Nixon Comparison http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/hillary-clinton-just-shaded-trump-perfect-nixon-comparison <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton returned to Wellesley College Friday to deliver her alma mater's 2017 commencement speech, encouraging graduates not to sit on the sidelines during a political climate she described as a "full-fledged assault on truth and reason." Her remarks, which frequently sparked loud applause from the audience, included a number of veiled slights at President Donald Trump, including an implicit comparison with Richard Nixon.</p> <p>"By the way, we were furious about the past presidential election, of a man whose presidency would end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice," Clinton said. "After firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice."</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Wow. Clinton doing some major trolling of Trump here. Comparing him to Nixon by bringing up obstruction of justice, firing investigator, etc <a href="https://t.co/UmQ5o7kZTh">pic.twitter.com/UmQ5o7kZTh</a></p> &mdash; Yashar Ali (@yashar) <a href="https://twitter.com/yashar/status/868137150486896640">May 26, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>"But here's what I want you to know," she continued. "We got through that tumultuous time."</p> <p>The sharp quip was just one of the few times on Friday Clinton appeared to offer a side some have&nbsp;claimed she rarely exhibits: funny, warm, and self-deprecating. The former Democratic presidential candidate set the tone by humorously crediting the role a bit of wine played in helping her get back on her feet after November.</p> <p>"You may have heard that things didn't go exactly as I planned," Clinton said. "But you know what&mdash;I'm doing okay."</p> <p>"Long walks in the woods, organizing my closets, right? I won't lie&mdash;Chardonnay helped a little too."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hillary Clinton jokes about coming back from her election loss, crediting long walks in the woods and chardonnay <a href="https://t.co/Sm9vGlCwNe">https://t.co/Sm9vGlCwNe</a></p> &mdash; CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) <a href="https://twitter.com/CNNPolitics/status/868136284090400768">May 26, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>But she also sharply criticized the Trump administration's policies, specifically calling the new budget proposal "an attack of unimaginable cruelty."</p> <p>While the speech was largely praised on social media, conservative networks could not resist focusing on Clinton's cough at the beginning of her remarks:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">HILLARY STILL COUGHING... <a href="https://t.co/AIJcjLnet2">https://t.co/AIJcjLnet2</a></p> &mdash; DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) <a href="https://twitter.com/DRUDGE_REPORT/status/868137900449210369">May 26, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center></body></html> Politics Hillary Clinton Fri, 26 May 2017 17:10:10 +0000 Inae Oh 333881 at http://www.motherjones.com American Health Care Is Expensive. It Will Take Years to Change That. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/american-health-care-expensive-it-will-take-years-change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/health-care-expensive-deal-it" target="_blank">A couple of days ago</a> I tossed off a late-night post pointing out that health care is expensive, so it's hardly surprising that estimates of California's proposed single-payer plan have clocked in at a net additional cost of around $200 billion. That was pretty much my only point, but this post caused quite a...stir...on Twitter from the usual suspects, who were outraged that I hadn't assumed single-payer would radically slash medical costs. Today, Jon Walker provides <a href="https://shadowproof.com/2017/05/24/single-payer-health-care-less-expensive-deal/" target="_blank">a more measured version of the argument:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It is critical to address this weird claim from Drum because the idea that single-payer would cut health care costs isn&rsquo;t some optimistic liberal talking point. <strong>It is a near universal assumption</strong> and the main reason achieving single-payer has politically been so difficult. It is the heart of the whole debate.</p> <p>Again, this is not a liberal idea. The Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm owned by UnitedHealth Group, has repeatedly concluded that single-payer would cut health care costs. <strong>For example, they analyzed a single-player plan for Minnesota and <a href="http://growthandjustice.org/images/uploads/LEWIN.Final_Report_FINAL_DRAFT.pdf" target="_blank">concluded,</a> &ldquo;that the single-payer plan would achieve universal coverage while reducing total health spending for Minnesota by about $4.1 billion, or 8.8 percent.&rdquo;</strong> It reached the same basic conclusion looking at a national single-payer plan in years past.</p> </blockquote> <p>As it happens, I've found Lewin Group estimates in the past to be a little optimistic, but set that aside. I put the ballpark additional cost of national single-payer health care at $1.5 trillion, but if someone wants to assume it would be $1.36 trillion instead, that's fine. That's still in the ballpark. More important, though, is this chart, which accompanies that Lewin report on Minnesota:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lewin_single_payer_minnesota.gif" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>This is basically right. As I mentioned in the original post, "If we're lucky, a good single-payer system would slow the growth of health care costs over the long term, but it's vanishingly unlikely to actually cut current costs." And that's pretty much what Lewin shows. The initial cost saving is small, but the cost containment measures inherent in a government-funded plan push the cost curve down over time. Their estimate is that within a decade Minnesota's proposed plan would have been a third less expensive than business-as-usual. This is roughly what I'd expect for a national single-payer plan too.</p> <p>Is it technically possible to cut initial spending more? Sure. We could nationalize the whole medical industry, cut nurse and doctor pay by a third across the board, and create a mandatory formulary for drugs at a tenth of the price we currently pay. When the revolution comes, maybe that will happen&mdash;and doctors and pharma executives will be grateful we didn't just take them out and shoot them. In the meantime, I'm more interested in real-world movements toward single payer. Obamacare was a good start. Adding a public option would be another step. Medicare for all might be next. And something better than Medicare would be the final step. That will be hard enough even if we don't make mortal enemies out of every single player in the health care market.</p> <p>In broad terms, if we adopted national single-payer health care today it would cost us something like an additional $1.5 trillion in taxes. That's reality, and as a good social democrat I'm fine with that. In theory, after all, my taxes might go up 30 percent, but <em>Mother Jones</em> will also increase my salary 30 percent because they no longer have to provide me with health insurance. Roughly speaking, this would be a good deal for half the country, which pays very little in income taxes; a wash for another third; and a loss for the top 10 percent, whose taxes would go up more than the cost of the health insurance they currently receive. If we decide to tax corporations instead of individuals, the incidence of the tax would pass through to individuals in a pretty similar way.</p> <p>So that's that. I don't believe in Santa Claus, and I don't believe that we can pass a bill that slashes health care costs to European levels. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/raw-data-health-care-spending-growth-around-world" target="_blank">They've had decades of cost containment</a> that got them to where they are. We, unfortunately, haven't, so we have to start with our current cost structure. One way or another, that's what we have to deal with.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_health_care_spending_real_per_capita_1970_2002_0.gif" style="border: 1px solid #cccccc; margin: 15px 0px 0px 0px;" width="630"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 May 2017 16:32:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 333886 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump's Behavior in Europe Has Made the World Cringe. Here's What's Really on the Line at the G7. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/05/trump-spoils-g7-climate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>One year ago Friday, when speaking on a campaign stop in North Dakota, Donald Trump <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20170509043316/https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/an-america-first-energy-plan" target="_blank">declared</a> he'd "cancel" the Paris climate agreement within 100 days of his presidency, framing it as a <a href="http://www.bna.com/paris-climate-accord-n57982078218/" target="_blank">"bad deal"</a> that undermines domestic interests. The <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/04/trumps-real-success-his-first-100-days" target="_blank">100 days</a> have passed, but his unfulfilled pledge hangs over the G7 meeting in Italy.</p> <p>Trump has already appeared to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/watch-trump-shove-nato-leader-get-front-group-photo" target="_blank">push a NATO leader</a> aside in Brussels and caused a diplomatic scuffle in Italy after accusing Germany of being "very bad" on trade. But his decision on Paris is far more significant, especially in terms of the response of the <a href="https://cait.wri.org/source/ratification/#?lang=en&amp;ratified=AF,AL,DZ,AD,AG,AR,AM,AU,AT,AZ,BH,BD,BB,BY,BE,BZ,BJ,BO,BA,BW,BR,BN,BG,BF,KH,CM,CA,CF,TD,CL,CN,KM,CK,CR,HR,CU,CY,DK,DJ,DM,SV,EE,ET,EU,FM,FJ,FI,FR,GA,GM,GE,DE,GH,GR,GD,GT,GN,GY,HN,HU,IS,IN,ID,IE,IL,IT,CI,JM,JP,JO,KZ,KE,KI,LA,LV,LS,LT,LU,MG,MY,MV,ML,MT,MH,MR,MU,MX,MC,MN,MA,NA,NR,NP,NZ,NE,NG,NU,KP,NO,PK,PW,PS,PA,PG,PY,PE,PH,PL,PT,CG,RW,KN,LC,VC,WS,ST,SA,SN,SC,SL,SG,SK,SI,SB,SO,ZA,KR,ES,LK,SZ,SE,TJ,TH,BS,TO,TN,TM,TV,UG,UA,AE,GB,US,UY,VU,VN,ZM" target="_blank">195 signers</a> of the 2015 agreement. The question is whether the rest of the world sinks to the low bar that Trump has set, and the G7 is the first key test. On the one hand, Trump's resistance may force the G7 to downgrade its climate ambitions and show how US denial is already taking its toll on the global stage. On the other, a G7 that reaffirms Paris goals would demonstrate that the rest of the world won't be dragged down by America's new president.</p> <p>"I think what the other countries are concerned about is that there is not any question about the rest of the industrialized countries raising ambition over time," says Union of Concerned Scientist's Director of Strategy and Policy Alden Meyer, who's followed global climate negotiations for more than 20 years. "That's why this is so tricky to go along with the US's minimalist demands in negotiations."</p> <p>After world leaders from Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom meet on Friday, senior officials will gather to hammer out a text to try to represent a unified front, with global warming usually ranking among the top priorities. Climate change may not be important to Trump, who's regularly called it a hoax, but it is to leaders of the G7&mdash;and has been for a long time. Meyer, who's followed global climate negotiations for more than 20 years, points to 2005 as when concerns began, but David Waskow, World Resources Institute's International Climate Initiative director, says the focus extends even further back, receiving some mention in every G7 text for the last three decades.</p> <p>That's not to say there were never any disagreements. In 2015, Canada, home to carbon-intensive tar sands and then led by the conservative Stephen Harper, <a href="https://newrepublic.com/article/121992/canada-japan-opposition-g7-climate-text" target="_blank">resisted strong climate goals </a>but eventually agreed to a long-term decarbonization target<strong> </strong>that involved phasing out fossil fuel use by the end of the century. Japan, which has higher emissions than most countries in the G7, save for the United States, has also historically resisted stronger climate language and has become more reliant on coal ever since it mothballed nuclear plants after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Yet both these countries have changed. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is more committed on climate change than his predecessor was, and Japan has vowed to fulfill its pledges in the Paris agreement. European countries, especially Germany, are expected to take on new leadership in climate negotiations. France's new President Emmanuel Macron <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-macron-meeting-idUSKBN18L1SI" target="_blank">urged</a> Trump in Brussels on Thursday not to abandon the deal.</p> <p>"We're seeing a much broader set of actors playing a real leadership role," says Waskow. "It ranges from major emitters, like the EU, China, and Canada coming together, to many of the most vulnerable countries, to many countries in between, as well as cities, states, and businesses. It's no longer dependent on one or two countries playing that leadership role."</p> <p>But Trump could change everything. The United States is still the major polluter in the G7, at <a href="http://unfccc.int/files/ghg_data/application/pdf/table.pdf" target="_blank">18 percent</a> of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to self-reported data to the United Nations, and second in the world only to China. France, Italy, and Canada are each responsible for less than 2 percent of global emissions, and Germany and Japan's slightly higher emissions hardly compare to pollution in the United States. If it were up to Trump, the G7 would probably break its tradition on climate change and ignore the issue entirely. His administration <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/05/ivanka-pruitt-paris-agreement-duel" target="_blank">is divided</a> on the Paris decision, and the uncertainty has spilled over into other international negotiations.</p> <p>Even if the United States remained in the agreement, it would likely push for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/01/trump-tillerson-paris-climate-deal" target="_blank">lower engagement across the world,</a> urging countries to include language that recognizes the long-term dominance of fossil fuels, which the oil, gas, and coal industries would appreciate seeing. In a <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/remake-the-paris-deal-to-promote-americas-energy-interests-1494187641" target="_blank"><em>Wall Street Journal </em></a>op-ed earlier this month, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who was an energy adviser on Trump's campaign, argued that the United States should advocate "advancing technology for clean coal and pushing for increased investment and a better regulatory environment" in future climate talks.</p> <p>On the other hand, the United States will face pressure to flip on Trump's insistence that we do nothing. We saw that at an Arctic Council meeting with Nordic countries, Russia, and Canada earlier this month, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-arctic-summit-idUSKBN1870FT" target="_blank">agreed to text</a> that loosely reaffirmed the Paris climate agreement and global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Headed into the Arctic Council, it wasn't clear if the United States would attempt to remove language on Paris entirely.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the world waits for Trump to decide: recommit, drop out, or come up with some understanding for continued engagement.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Some of the Europeans seem to think he may make a decision on the spot in the [G7] meeting," Meyer says. "No one obviously knows. Maybe even including him."</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change Climate Desk Fri, 26 May 2017 16:28:21 +0000 Rebecca Leber 333811 at http://www.motherjones.com The Blue-Slip Rule Is On Its Last Legs http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/blue-slip-rule-its-last-legs <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>Washington Post</em> confirms what we've already heard about Senate Republicans <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/senate-republicans-consider-changing-custom-that-allows-democrats-to-block-judicial-choices/2017/05/25/d49ea61a-40b1-11e7-9869-bac8b446820a_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_judges-1245pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&amp;utm_term=.6070313cc796" target="_blank">doing away with the blue-slip rule:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Leaders are considering a change to the Senate&rsquo;s &ldquo;blue slip&rdquo; practice, which holds that judicial nominations will not proceed unless the nominee&rsquo;s home-state senators signal their consent to the Senate Judiciary Committee....<strong>Removing the blue-slip obstacle would make it much easier for Trump&rsquo;s choices to be confirmed.</strong> Although Trump and Senate Republicans have clashed early in his presidency, they agree on the importance of putting conservatives on the federal bench.</p> <p>....The Senate acted Thursday on Trump&rsquo;s first appeals-court nomination, <strong>elevating U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar</strong> of Kentucky to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.</p> <p>....&ldquo;Eliminating the blue slip is essentially a move to end cooperation between the executive and legislative branch on judicial nominees, allowing nominees to be hand-picked by right-wing groups,&rdquo; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, wrote in a memo this week. <strong>She pointed out that the vacancy for which Thapar is nominated exists only because McConnell refused to return a blue slip for Obama&rsquo;s nominee, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Tabor Hughes. The seat has been vacant since 2013, and Tabor Hughes never received a hearing, because blue slips were not returned.</strong></p> <p>Christopher Kang, who advised Obama on judicial nominations, said that was the reason 17 of the president&rsquo;s picks did not receive hearings, killing the nominations. But the impact was even greater than that, <strong>because Obama gave up on trying to find nominees in some states, such as Texas, with two Republican senators.</strong> One vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, has been open for five years.</p> </blockquote> <p>Were Republicans snickering in private for six years because Democrats continued to be Boy Scouts during the Obama presidency, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/republicans-are-laying-groundwork-their-normal-blue-slip-hypocrisy" target="_blank">respecting the blue-slip rule</a> despite blanket Republican opposition of the kind that Republicans now say will prompt them to kill it? Probably. Was it the right thing to do anyway? I guess I'm still unsure. But it sure doesn't look like it.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_blue_slip_vacancies.gif" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;" width="630"></p> <p>The Brookings table above shows the effect of all this for circuit court vacancies. The absolute numbers aren't huge, but both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama simply gave up nominating judges in states where there were any Republican senators. They would object as a matter of course and their objections would be honored. George Bush, by contrast, continued nominating judges everywhere. Democratic senators sometimes objected, but not always&mdash;and Republicans often ignored their objections anyway when they controlled the Senate.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 26 May 2017 15:12:57 +0000 Kevin Drum 333871 at http://www.motherjones.com More Than One in Three Black Students in the South Attend an Intensely Segregated School http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/more-than-one-in-three-black-students-in-the-south-attend-an-intensely-segregated-school-trump-devos <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>More than 60 years after <em>Brown v. Board of Education</em>, the progress made toward dismantling segregated schools in the South, once the most integrated region in the country, seems to be steadily falling apart.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/k-12-education/integration-and-diversity/southern-schools-brown-83-report" target="_blank">report</a> released this week by UCLA's Civil Rights Project and Penn State University's Center for Education and Civil Rights finds that in 2014, more than one in three black students attended a school in the South that was intensely racially segregated, meaning a school where 90 percent of students were racial minorities&mdash;a 56 percent rise from 1980. The report also finds that the number of Latino students enrolled in public schools in the South surpassed black enrollment for the first time ever, making up 27 percent of the student body. That's significant, as the<strong> </strong>percentage of Latino students in the South attending an intensely racially segregated school is also on the rise&mdash;42 percent in 2014, up from 37 percent in 1980.</p> <p>The result, the report notes, is that the typical student faces decreasing exposure to a race other than his or her own. The average black public-school student in the South in the 2014-2015 school year went to a school that was 27 percent white, while the average white public-school student attended a school where black students made up 15 percent of those enrolled. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, segregation doesn't get any better when poverty is taken into account: Black, Latino, and low-income students saw a rapid increase in exposure to poverty in the last decade as compared to their white and Asian peers.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="500" id="datawrapper-chart-A3xgZ" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="//datawrapper.dwcdn.net/A3xgZ/1/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["A3xgZ"]={},window.datawrapper["A3xgZ"].embedDeltas={"100":500,"200":500,"300":500,"400":500,"500":500,"600":500,"700":500,"800":500,"900":500,"1000":500},window.datawrapper["A3xgZ"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-A3xgZ"),window.datawrapper["A3xgZ"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["A3xgZ"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["A3xgZ"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("A3xgZ"==b)window.datawrapper["A3xgZ"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"});</script></p> <p>While the problem is getting much worse in the South, it's far from confined to the region. Last year, a US Government Accountability Office report <a href="http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/676745.pdf" target="_blank">concluded</a> that nationally the number of high-poverty public schools&mdash;or those where at least 75 percent of students were black or Hispanic and at least 75 percent of students were eligible for free or reduced-lunch&mdash;more than doubled between 2001 and 2014. The GAO report also found that the country saw a nationwide rise in the percentage of schools separated by race and class, from 9 percent to 16 percent, in the past decade and a half. These stats are further supported by a new report <a href="https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017144_Highlights.pdf" target="_blank">released</a> on Thursday by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, which finds that black and Latino students in the 2014-2015 school year disproportionately attended high-poverty schools; while 8 percent of white students attended high-poverty schools across the country, nearly half of black and Hispanic students did so.</p> <p>This is a massive problem as research has shown that students who <a href="https://tcf.org/content/facts/the-benefits-of-socioeconomically-and-racially-integrated-schools-and-classrooms/" target="_blank">attend</a> integrated schools score higher on tests and are more likely to enroll in college. Moreover, as the GAO report notes, high-poverty schools have tended to&nbsp;provide fewer resources and opportunities to minority students.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="500" id="datawrapper-chart-NYJAc" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="//datawrapper.dwcdn.net/NYJAc/3/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["NYJAc"]={},window.datawrapper["NYJAc"].embedDeltas={"100":649,"200":554,"300":527,"400":500,"500":500,"600":500,"700":473,"800":473,"900":473,"1000":473},window.datawrapper["NYJAc"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-NYJAc"),window.datawrapper["NYJAc"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["NYJAc"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["NYJAc"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("NYJAc"==b)window.datawrapper["NYJAc"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"});</script></p> <p>Erica Frankenberg, co-director of Penn State's Center for Education and Civil Rights and the co-author of the report, says that as court oversight of school districts has diminished, some have returned to relying on neighborhood schools, an act that could perpetuate segregation if housing around the neighborhood is also divided. Consider a place like <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-desegregation-and-resegregation-of-charlottes-schools" target="_blank">Charlotte, North Carolina</a>, where a 1971 Supreme Court decision resulted in the implementation of a mandatory busing program for kids in Mecklenburg County in an attempt to make schools there more racially balanced. Over three decades, the district became a model for integration across the country. That lasted until 2001, when a legal challenge resulted in the program's end. The district turned to a student-assignment plan that let students attend schools in their neighborhoods, confining them to institutions in areas long shaped by housing segregation.</p> <p>Making matters worse are recent efforts from communities to break away from larger metropolitan school districts. The break-away communities tend to be whiter and wealthier than the larger district, and when they leave, they take funding gained from property taxes, in turn negatively impacting the students left behind. Most recently, for instance, a federal judge in Alabama allowed members of the city of Gardendale to establish its own school district, beginning with two elementary schools, despite <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/judge-says-mostly-white-southern-city-may-secede-from-its-school-district--even-though-the-effort-has-attacked-dignity-of-black-school-children/2017/04/26/4d654232-2a89-11e7-b605-33413c691853_story.html?utm_term=.ef0f34989aea" target="_blank">concluding</a> that race motivated the community's actions. A forthcoming <a href="https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2017-05-05/the-quiet-wave-of-school-district-secessions" target="_blank">report</a> by the non-profit EdBuild finds that of the 45 successful attempts to split from larger school districts since 2000, 17 occurred in the South.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="500" id="datawrapper-chart-L1hjT" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="//datawrapper.dwcdn.net/L1hjT/4/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["L1hjT"]={},window.datawrapper["L1hjT"].embedDeltas={"100":676,"200":554,"300":527,"400":500,"500":500,"600":500,"700":473,"800":473,"900":473,"1000":473},window.datawrapper["L1hjT"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-L1hjT"),window.datawrapper["L1hjT"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["L1hjT"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["L1hjT"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("L1hjT"==b)window.datawrapper["L1hjT"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"});</script></p> <p>What sticks out most to Frankenberg, however, is the rapid growth of charter schools in the South. She noted that growth of enrollment in charters in the region outpaced that of the rest of the country. The number of charter schools in the region has actually quadrupled to more than 700,000 in the past decade, enrolling 4.4 percent of all students in the South in 2014. While black and Latino students make up most of the students enrolled in charters in the region, the percentage of charters' white students has fallen over the past decade. Mirroring what's happening in traditional public schools, black and Latino students in charters are, on average, less exposed to white peers. The average black student in a charter school, for instance, attends a school with 16 percent white student enrollment.</p> <p>That lack of exposure, coupled with the pace of charter-enrollment growth, Frankenberg says, has helped drive the overall pattern of segregation in the region. In the 2007-2008 school year, just Florida and Louisiana had more than 3 percent of students enrolled in charters in the region. Now, they are joined by North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. And though private school enrollment in the South and nationally has been declining since 2001, 1.2 million kids in 2011, the most recent year of available data, were still enrolled in private schools in the South&mdash;70 percent of whom were white.</p> <p>So, as the Trump administration <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/white-house-deep-cuts-education-department-devos" target="_blank">doubles</a> down on an investment in promoting school choice nationally&mdash;at the expense of after-school programs, subsidized loans, and other deep proposed cuts&mdash;the report recommends state officials not let communities break away from school districts and suggests policymakers ensure school-choice programs are implemented in such ways that encourage integration. Unfettered choice without careful design <a href="https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/k-12-education/integration-and-diversity/choice-without-equity-2009-report" target="_blank">could</a> <a href="https://tcf.org/content/commentary/private-school-vouchers-exacerbate-school-segregation/" target="_blank">lead</a> to further segregation, just like it did in the South decades ago and, more recently, in Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' home state of <a href="http://www.bridgemi.com/talent-education/betsy-devos-and-segregation-school-choice" target="_blank">Michigan</a>.</p> <p>"Our lost progress on segregation for southern black students, and our failure to ever confront segregation for Southern Latino students, has to be a wakeup call for the region&rsquo;s leaders," Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and a co-author of the report, <a href="https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/news/press-releases/2017-press-releases/southern-schools-83-press-release" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement.</p></body></html> Politics Education Race and Ethnicity Fri, 26 May 2017 14:56:09 +0000 Edwin Rios 333696 at http://www.motherjones.com