MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/favicon.ico http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en The Russians Are Doing Surprisingly Well in Syria http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/russians-are-doing-surprisingly-well-syria <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In the interest of keeping myself honest, I should acknowledge that&mdash;so far, at least&mdash;the Russian incursion in Syria has apparently gone <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/after-four-months-russias-campaign-in-syria-is-proving-successful-for-moscow/2016/02/02/7a65d676-9dd0-11e5-9ad2-568d814bbf3b_story.html" target="_blank">a lot better than I expected:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Under the banner of fighting international terrorism, President Vladimir Putin has reversed the fortunes of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad....Government forces are now on the offensive, and last week they scored their most significant victory yet....<strong>&ldquo;The operation is considered here to be quite successful,&rdquo;</strong> said Evgeny Buzhinsky, a retired lieutenant general and senior vice president of the Russian Center for Policy Studies <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_russia_air_force.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">in Moscow. It could probably continue for one year or longer, he said, &ldquo;but it will depend on the success on the ground.&rdquo;</p> <p>....<strong>&ldquo;Putin can afford to play geo&shy;political chess in the Middle East because it does not cost much,&rdquo;</strong> said Konstantin von Eggert, an independent political analyst based in Moscow. Entering the conflict in Syria has allowed Putin to combat what he sees as a U.S. policy of regime change, show off his military muscle and reassure allies in the region that Moscow is a loyal partner, von Eggert said.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the past couple of days, thanks to Russian help, Assad has come ever closer to taking control of Aleppo, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-07/tipping-point-in-syria-as-russian-air-power-turns-tide-for-assad" target="_blank">Syria's biggest city:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Gains by Assad and his allies in the past month have squeezed overland supply lines to Turkey that may represent the last bulwark against defeat for the rebels in northern Syria.</p> <p>Assad, who was on the verge of defeat in mid-2015 before Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in with military support, has wrested back the initiative. <strong>His army last week broke a three-year siege of two villages north of Aleppo. The city is almost encircled, apart from a narrow stretch of contested territory.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The Russian air force has acquitted itself better than I expected, and Assad's forces have taken advantage of Russian air support better than I expected. It's still early days, of course, and there's a lot more to Syria than Aleppo. Russia could still find itself drawn into a long, pointless quagmire down the road. But it hasn't yet.</p> <p>Over the past decade, Putin has taken on several small-scale military incursions: in Georgia in 2008; in Crimea in 2014; and now in Syria. But small though they may be, they've been executed competently and they've provided the Russian army with invaluable real-world experience. Apparently that's paid off.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:05:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 296426 at http://www.motherjones.com Flint Is Still a Disaster, But Obama Just Proposed a Giant Cut to Water Funding http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/02/flint-obama-budget-proposal-cut-clean-water-fund <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>President Obama <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-flint-water-crisis_us_56a03c39e4b0d8cc1098bf55" target="_blank">has called</a> Flint, Michigan's water crisis "inexplicable and inexcusable." But his administration's proposed 2017 <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget" target="_blank">budget</a>, released today, cuts the Environmental Protection Agency's water infrastructure funding by roughly a quarter billion dollars.</p> <p>The EPA's State Revolving Fund (SRF) provides loans to improve state and local water quality and is the primary source of federal funding for water infrastructure improvements. The 2017 budget proposes a $158 million increase to the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf" target="_blank">Drinking Water SRF</a>, which would help municipalities replace pipelines, fix water main breaks, and generally improve aging water infrastructure&mdash;the type of changes that could help places that, like Flint, have an aging water infrastructure. But the budget also proposes a $370 million cut to the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/cwsrf/local-clean-water-state-revolving-fund-cwsrf-success-stories#other" target="_blank">Clean Water SRF</a>, which goes toward projects making water sources cleaner overall, from reducing urban runoff pollution and improving wastewater treatment to researching how unregulated chemicals in our water supply affect human health.</p> <p>In light of the disaster in Flint, the proposed cuts have provoked criticism from both <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/obama-clean-water-cuts-flint-218949" target="_blank">sides of the aisle</a>: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he was "grossly disappointed" by the proposal, while Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) accused Obama of prioritizing climate change over water. Overall, federal water infrastructure spending has been relatively stagnant for years:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//datawrapper.dwcdn.net/mLjgt/2/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Mae Wu, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, equates the proposed budget with "robbing Peter to pay Paul." "Cutting funds that help keep pollution out of our water (CW SRF) and moving the money to remove pollution once it's already in our drinking water (DW SRF) is no solution at all," she wrote in an NRDC <a href="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mwu/robbing_peter_to_pay_paul_wont.html" target="_blank">blog post</a>. "At best it is a short-term band-aid approach to addressing the chronic levels of underinvestment in our water infrastructure by local, state, and federal government."</p> <p>The bigger problem, says Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, is that the nation's water challenges overall continue to be woefully underfunded. "We're talking about a hundred million here, a hundred million there," says Gleick, who notes that the single <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/12/f-35-pentagon-budget-deal-cupcakes" target="_blank">F-35 fighter</a> costs roughly $100 million. "Overall, our budget priorities are still distorted."</p></body></html> Environment Econundrums Health Regulatory Affairs Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:55:28 +0000 Julia Lurie 296406 at http://www.motherjones.com The One Line in New Hampshire That Donald Trump Won't Cross http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/new-hampshire-canadian-border-ted-cruz <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It's hard to get too lost on your way to Pittsburg, New Hampshire (pop. 869). You just drive north for a while. And then you keep driving north for a while longer. Pittsburg is New Hampshire's largest town by land area, covering nearly 300 square miles of North Country mountains and lakes and spanning the entire length of the state's international border with Canada. It's also one of the only corners of the nation's first primary state where candidates never go.</p> <p>In a year in which Republican candidates have made the Rio Grande a mandatory stop on the presidential campaign trail, trekking to McAllen, Texas, to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/mexican-border-scott-walker-2016" target="_blank">stare grimly</a> into the Mexican desert, the far vaster northern border&mdash;the one terrorists <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/fear-canada-not-mexico-111919" target="_blank">have actually tried to come across</a>&mdash;is a much different story. Of the hundreds upon hundreds of town halls and meet-and-greets in the 2016 election cycle, only one happened in Pittsburg. And it was held by Lindsey Graham.</p> <p>(It's not just candidates who have a tendency to overlook Pittsburg; in the 1830s, it was excised from the United States by a vaguely written treaty, and it hummed along for three years as the independent republic of Indian Stream before the boundary was clarified.)</p> <p>"[People] certainly can sneak through here, there's no doubt about it," said&nbsp;Laurie Urekew, braving the snow flurries on Saturday afternoon outside Young's general store, an all-purpose grocery and gas station that features a punching bag of President Barack Obama by the register. "But it's very vast here, so chances are someone from the southern area wouldn't survive too much."</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/obummer_3.jpg"><div class="caption">Tim Murphy / Mother Jones</div> </div> <p>Urekew is a Republican ("the only good Democrat is a dead one," she joked), who was torn between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, provided the latter is ruled eligible. "I like Trump because we need somebody like him&mdash;he's strong and yet he's not afraid to be politically incorrect," she said. But she trusts Cruz more than Trump to shut down the border&mdash;the southern one.</p> <p>Although Trump is popular in the North Country, his warnings about a Canadian senator usurping the American government has hit with a thud&mdash;it's just not that big of an issue. Canadian flags fly with American ones outside some houses, road signs are in French and English, and there's a Quebecois radio station. The compelling local issue up north is not the border; it's the proposed Northern Pass transmission line, which would cut through the North Country to bring hydroelectric power from Canada to the Northeast, but would require the use of eminent domain to acquire land for the project. For that reason, it's deeply unpopular in northern New Hampshire. (The slogan that Northern Pass opponents have come up with is "Live Free or Fry," which you have to admit, is pretty good.) Trump was asked about the Northern Pass at Saturday's debate and gave it his seal of approval.</p> <p>Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was widely mocked after briefly entertaining the idea of building a fence on the Canadian border last summer; he dropped out soon after. To the extent that Canada has played a determinative role in the New Hampshire primary, the concern has been what's leaving the United States, not what's coming in. Opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the subsequent loss of lumber jobs to Canada, helped propel Republican Pat Buchanan to victory in 1996. (Some Buchanan supporters did believe Russian tanks would <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=ReO99-69rAIC&amp;pg=PA239&amp;lpg=PA239&amp;dq=Pat+Buchanan+Canadian+border+tanks&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=aTj2r0bMkG&amp;sig=edKd-YE7Z85tVC_tqjUMi7m9k9E&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwikq7OuxuvKAhXG9h4KHRXzCoYQ6AEIKjAC#v=onepage&amp;q=Pat%20Buchanan%20Canadian%20border%20tanks&amp;f=false" target="_blank">invade</a> the United States by way of Canada.)</p> <p>When I asked Cal DelaHaye, who was working on a piece of funnel cake at Grampy's diner in Pittsburg, if he thought more candidates should make the trek up north, he was emphatic. "No," he said. "I'd tell them they're wasting their time."</p> <p>There was one group of New Hampshire Republicans that was particularly concerned about the Canadian border threat. In 2006 and 2007, the New Hampshire branch of the Minutemen Civil Defense League made a few weekend trips to West Derby, Vermont, and Pittsburg, to draw attention to the great northern threat.</p> <p>"One time we saw a guy who actually parked his car in the New Hampshire side and then backpacked, and it looked like he was hiking the Long Trail, and he headed north toward Canada, and we looked at his car later and it turned out he was from Canada," said Ron Oplinus of Exeter, New Hampshire, who lead the chapter before it disbanded a few years back. "So we don't know exactly what was going on but we didn't see him again."</p> <p>Other than that, he conceded, "there wasn't much" to see.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:57:10 +0000 Tim Murphy 296391 at http://www.motherjones.com Arizona Is Paying a High Price for Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/arizona-paying-high-price-cracking-down-illegal-immigration <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>Wall Street Journal</em> has an interesting look today at the costs and benefits of immigration across the Southern border. After Arizona cracked down on illegal immigration in 2007, their population of undocumented workers dropped by a whopping 40 percent&mdash;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-thorny-economics-of-illegal-immigration-1454984443" target="_blank">and it's stayed down since then:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Arizona is a test case of what happens to an economy when such migrants leave, and it illustrates the economic tensions fueling the immigration debate.</p> <p>Economists of opposing political views agree the state&rsquo;s economy took a hit when large numbers of illegal immigrants left for Mexico and other border states, following a broad crackdown. But they also say the reduced competition for low-skilled jobs was a boon for some native-born construction and agricultural workers who got jobs or raises, and that the departures also saved the state money on education and health care. Whether those gains are worth the economic pain is the crux of the debate.</p> </blockquote> <p>You should read the whole thing if you want all the details, including the fact that wages increased about 15 percent for a small number of construction workers and farmworkers&mdash;though Arizona's unemployment rate more generally has been no better than its neighbors'. Beyond that, though, the <em>Journal</em> provides only a graphic summary that doesn't really summarize much. So I've helpfully annotated it for you. It sure looks to me like Arizona has a very long way to go before the benefits of reducing illegal immigration will come anywhere close to the costs.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_arizona_illegal_immigration_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 20px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:15:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 296401 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Says He Wouldn't Call Ted Cruz a "Pussy" If He Were President Because His Uncle Taught at MIT http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2016/02/donald-trump-says-he-wouldnt-call-ted-cruz-pussy-if-he-were-president-because-hi <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Donald Trump says he wouldn't <a href="https://t.co/AED0iqdZFG" target="_blank">call Ted Cruz a pussy</a> if he were president because "when it comes to great steaks, I've just raised the stakes."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LyONt_ZH_aw" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Just kidding!</p> <p>He actually told Lester Holt that he wouldn't call Cruz "a pussy" as president because "I went to one of the best schools. I was a good student. I have an uncle who was one of the top professors at MIT. It's a good gene pool right there." So that doesn't make that much more sense than the steak thing.</p> <p>Watch:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"Is this an act?"<br><br> After another vulgar moment, <a href="https://twitter.com/LesterHoltNBC">@LesterHoltNBC</a> asks Donald Trump if he would act same as president.<a href="https://t.co/9IHNm1jVSM">https://t.co/9IHNm1jVSM</a></p> &mdash; NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCNightlyNews/status/697138545606004736">February 9, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Contributor Donald Trump Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:05:34 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 296396 at http://www.motherjones.com NRA Board Member Ted Nugent Is Having a Very Anti-Semitic Week http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/ted-nugent-nra-anti-semitic <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ted Nugent is <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/12/nra-board-directors-nugent-selleck-north" target="_blank">no stranger</a> to mounting outrageous defenses of the gun lobby. But this week, the musician's predictable inflammatory language reached new levels of offensive starting on Monday with the following anti-Semitic image posted to his Facebook page:</p> <center> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153470914987297:0" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153470914987297:0"> <p>Know these punks. They hate freedom, they hate good over evil, they would deny us the basic human right to self defense ...</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/">Ted Nugent</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153470914987297:0">Monday, February 8, 2016</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center> <p>The info-graphic features the images of 12 Jewish-American politicians all paired with the Israeli flag<strong> </strong>and the banner question, "So who is really behind gun control?" Subtle, right?</p> <p>A day after this posting, Nugent, who is an NRA board member, confused his perpetrators and his victims with yet another offensive image, this one appearing to compare gun control advocates to Nazis:</p> <center> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153471510392297:0" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153471510392297:0"> <p>Soulless sheep to slaughter. Not me.</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/">Ted Nugent</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/tednugent/posts/10153471510392297:0">Monday, February 8, 2016</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center> <p>This isn't the first spasm of anti-Semitism and Nazi imagery to come from the NRA or its board members. Back in 2007, the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nra-depicts-bloomberg-octopus-anti-semitic-symbol-article-1.211274" target="_blank">group's official magazine published</a> an image of then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg&mdash;who is featured in Nugent's social media rant this week&mdash; depicting him as an octopus, a well-known symbol of anti-Semitism<strong>. </strong>The NRA denied the analogy.</p></body></html> MoJo Guns Religion Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:34:33 +0000 Inae Oh 296386 at http://www.motherjones.com Here’s the One Thing Every Candidate in New Hampshire Has in Common http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/people-candidates-meet-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>New Hampshire is different&mdash;so says New Hampshire. But it's unarguably true; no state combines as high a saturation of candidate visits with such a small, tightly concentrated population. (Just try having <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/chez-vachon-manchester-carly-fiorina" target="_blank">some breakfast poutine</a> in Manchester.) The effect is that the candidates sometimes seem as if they spend as much time talking <em>about</em> the voters they meet as they do talking <em>to</em> them. As the Republican and Democratic contenders made their final pitch over the last eight days, they used New Hampshirites they've met to make substantive points about heroin addiction, drug prices, and college tuition&mdash;or just to have some fun with their audience. (We see you, Chris Christie.) Here's a sampling:</p> <p>Ohio Gov. John Kasich:</p> <blockquote> <p>One lady was sitting way up in the bleachers, at the end of the town hall...And she's sitting way up in the stands and she raises her hand and she says, 'I have a 31-year-old daughter, she developed cancer as a young kid, and we don't know where we can put her. She's on prescription drugs because of the pain and so we have to watch that and we don't know exactly where she should be.' And I looked at her and said, 'You're all alone aren't you?' And she said, 'Yeah, I am, I'm all alone.' And I said, 'Why don't you come down here?' And she came down to where I was. I gave her a big hug, and I said, 'You know you're not alone anymore.' And we followed up&hellip;</p> </blockquote> <p>Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:</p> <blockquote> <p>In short encounters with people, they sometimes tell you the most personal things&hellip;When I was canvassing in Manchester, a young man came up to me and he said, 'I'm supporting you.' I said, 'Thank you.' I said, 'I want to know why.' He said, 'Because you've been talking about addiction.' I said, 'Did you have a personal experience?' He said, 'Yeah, I'm a student athlete, I got injured my senior year in high school. I had to have surgery and I got a lot of pain pills. A lot of opioids. And I got hooked.' He said then when they cut him off, 'I turned to heroin. It was cheap and readily available.' He said, 'I'm two and a half years sober. It's really hard. Every single day, it's really hard.' He said, 'I want a president who thinks about people like me.'</p> </blockquote> <p>New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:</p> <blockquote> <p>It's funny, when you're a US attorney or a governor and you travel out of state from New Jersey, it's amazing the things people wanna ask you. So I had a guy in New Hampshire, he said, 'I need to ask you a question about something.' I said, 'Okay, what do you want to ask me?' He said, 'I wanna ask you about Tony Soprano.' So I said, 'Oh my God&hellip;'</p> </blockquote> <p>Kasich:</p> <blockquote> <p>A couple nights ago, there's a young woman sitting in the back, we were talking about the issue of heroin and prescription drugs and all the things that we've done, 'cause there's been so many things that we've done. She finally raised her hand back there and she said, 'My daughter's been sober for 11 months,' and everybody was stunned, and there were people out there that were tearing up. And I said to the crowd, I said, 'Do you have any idea what this lady's life is like? Eleven months sober? Well, we don't know what's gonna happen in the 12th month, or the 13th month. And it's a mom that loves her daughter.' Yeah I guess I'm now gonna call this daughter and say, 'You know, mom's counting on you.' Things like that have been happening all the time and I have become convinced that all of us need to slow down.</p> </blockquote> <p>Christie:</p> <blockquote> <p>I met a guy this morning who was talking to me about his dad, who's a truck driver. He was at a town hall this morning to ask me a question about his dad. His dad had to be out driving today. One of the things that we talked about was&mdash;I know how to drive, right? I know how to work the clutch and shift, I know how to use the steering wheel and pump gas. You don't want me driving an 18-wheeler truck. Believe me, you do not want me driving that truck. Right? It's a different skill set. You've got to have some experience and training. Especially on a day like today. It's raining out, the weather's wet, the roads are tough. You don't want somebody who doesn't know what they're doing behind the wheel of that truck. Even though I know how to drive, it doesn't mean I know how to drive an 18-wheel truck.</p> </blockquote> <p>Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush:</p> <blockquote> <p>At a town hall meeting today, someone came&mdash;told a story of their father who looked like he was 85. He had, he got a bill eight years later from an operation he had. Eight years it took. They couldn't resolve the dispute and then he was told that he died. Literally, the Veterans Administration sent a death certificate to this guy and it took nine months to clarify the guy [was alive]. I met him. He's voting for me. And he is&mdash;likely to be alive.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/07/cool-people-buy-steaks-from-brookstone" target="_blank">Failed steak salesman</a> Donald Trump:</p> <blockquote> <p>I was just up in Manchester, I met with the police officers yesterday. Tremendous people. They love the area, they love the people, they love all the people. They want to do their job. And you're going to have abuse and you're going to have problems, and you've got to solve the problems and you have to weed out the problems. But the police in this country are absolutely amazing people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Christie:</p> <blockquote> <p>Let there be no doubt that I want your vote...Earlier in New Hampshire, back last August, I gave a town hall meeting and a gentleman came up to me afterward, he said, 'Governor, I love everything you said, I agree with all your positions, I think you'd be a great leader for our country, and I'm not voting for you.' I said, 'You're not voting for me, what do you mean you're not voting for me?' He said, 'Well I agree with on your positions. I'm not voting for you but I wish you the best of luck.' He looked like he was in his mid '80s, and he started walking away from me. I said, 'Wait, wait, wait, come back here.' I said, 'Come on, tell me what I've got to do. That's fair.' He said, 'Alright&mdash;because you didn't ask for my vote.' He said, 'I sat here for two hours, I listened to all your positions, I loved them, I like you, but if you don't ask for my vote, you're not getting my vote. So you're not getting my vote, I'm sorry.'</p> <p>I looked at him and said, 'Well <em>can</em> I have your vote?' He said, 'Too late.' I said, 'Too late?? It's August, man. You're not voting until February. How can it be too late!' He said, 'Alright, this is what I'm gonna do: I'm gonna come back to one of your town hall meetings later.' He said, 'I'm gonna sit in a place where you can't see me. And I'm gonna see if you remember what I told you. And if you do and you ask for my vote, then I'm gonna reconsider my position. And if you don't, I won't.' I said, 'Alright sir, thank you, I appreciate it.' And we shook hands. And he walked away, took about four or five steps away, and then he stopped and turned back and looked over his shoulder and he said, 'By the way, that's how we do things in New Hampshire, son.'</p> <p>So I live in mortal fear of this guy.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:27:35 +0000 Tim Murphy 296301 at http://www.motherjones.com White House Announces Major Expansion of Cybersecurity Efforts http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/white-house-announces-major-boost-cybersecurity-efforts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The White House took a big step Tuesday to boost the government's internet defenses after months of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/chinas-huge-hack-us-government-only-getting-worse" target="_blank">devastating data breaches</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/01/governments-expensive-cybersecurity-system-disaster-says-new-report" target="_blank">embarrassing revelations</a> about the systems designed to stop such attacks.</p> <p>President Barack Obama issued an <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/09/executive-order-commission-enhancing-national-cybersecurity" target="_blank">executive order</a> Tuesday that creates a Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which will "make detailed recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors" and deliver a report by December 1. The administration also wants to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-obama-budget-cyber-idUSKCN0VI0R1" target="_blank">increase the federal cybersecurity budget</a> by a third next year, asking Congress for an additional $5 billion to upgrade old computer systems, strengthen defenses, and help recruit cyber professionals.</p> <p>These two actions are part of the "Cybersecurity National Action Plan," a new <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/protecting-u-s-innovation-from-cyberthreats-1455012003" target="_blank">large-scale effort</a> to tackle a series of internet security problems that became major issues in 2015. In addition to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/chinas-huge-hack-us-government-only-getting-worse" target="_blank">attacks on the Office of Personnel Management</a>, in which hackers stole the background check records of more than 20 million federal workers, the government and private sector fought over law enforcement's ability to read encrypted messages&mdash;something tech companies say weakens both security and civil liberties&mdash;and the ability of terrorist groups like ISIS to plan online and recruit new members through social media. The administration had already announced the creation of a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/01/new-government-agency-takeover-backgrounding" target="_blank">new federal agency</a> to run background checks, and also sent top national security officials to <a href="https://theintercept.com/2016/01/08/white-house-raises-encryption-threat-in-silicon-valley-summit/" target="_blank">meet with tech executives</a> in California last month.</p> <p>To allay privacy concerns, the president also announced the formation of a Federal Privacy Council that would help federal agencies share and standardize rules for handling personal data. "The proper functioning of Government requires the public's trust, and to maintain that trust the Government must strive to uphold the highest standards for collecting, maintaining, and using personal data," Obama wrote in <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/09/executive-order-establishment-federal-privacy-council" target="_blank">a second executive order</a> issued on Tuesday.</p></body></html> Politics Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:07:13 +0000 Max J. Rosenthal 296366 at http://www.motherjones.com Maryland Restores Voting Rights to 40,000 Felons http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/maryland-restores-voting-rights-40000-felons <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a dramatic vote to override the governor's veto, the Maryland state Senate on Tuesday <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-felons-voting-20160209-story.html" target="_blank">voted</a> to restore voting rights to felons on probation or parole, giving approximately 40,000 felons the right to vote.</p> <p>The right of former felons to vote has become an increasingly partisan issue in recent years. Democrats have pushed to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/11/kentucky-governor-voting-rights" target="_blank">roll</a> <a href="http://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/dp-nws-mcauliffe-felon-voting-20150623-story.html" target="_blank">back</a> restrictions on ex-felon voting rights, while Republicans in states such as <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/10/jeb-bush-florida-felon-voting-rights-clemency" target="_blank">Florida, Iowa</a>, and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/12/kentuckys-new-gop-guv-nixes-voting-rights-ex-felons" target="_blank">Kentucky</a> have recently made it harder for ex-felons to regain their voting rights. Felons are disproportionately likely to be minorities and Democratic voters. But not every Republican is opposed to rights restoration. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for instance, has <a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c114:S.457:" target="_blank">pushed for</a> restoring rights after incarceration. In some states, such as the swing state of Florida, nearly 20 percent of voting-age African Americans cannot cast a ballot due to the state's permanent ban on felon and ex-felon voting.</p> <p>But in Maryland, the Democratic-controlled General Assembly was able to narrowly override the veto of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in order to expand voting rights.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2016/02/maryland-restores-voting-rights-40000-felons"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Civil Liberties Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:58:44 +0000 Pema Levy 296371 at http://www.motherjones.com The Worst Argument Ever For Not Drafting Women http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/worst-argument-ever-not-drafting-women <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I can't say that I've paid a lot of attention to the question of whether women should be required to register for the draft or allowed to serve on the front lines. There are, I'm sure, some good reasons to oppose allowing women in the infantry, <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431002/women-combat-selective-service-natural-law" target="_blank">but this sure isn't one of them:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Such a policy inverts natural law and the rules that have grounded our civilization for thousands of years. Men should protect women. They should not shelter behind mothers and daughters.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's a <em>National Review</em> editorial. Not a personal opinion piece or a blog post. It's the official and carefully considered institutional view of the magazine. Did they invite Vladimir Putin to guest edit this issue, or what?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:41:39 +0000 Kevin Drum 296381 at http://www.motherjones.com