MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Trump's Christian Policy Adviser Believes He Singlehandedly Stopped a Tsunami and Healed Cancer <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last week, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Time</em></a> reported that&nbsp;Frank Amedia, a televangelist, had recently organized a meeting between Donald Trump and Hispanic evangelicals. The magazine noted that Amedia was the Trump campaign's new "liaison on Christian policy." What the story did not mention was that Amedia is a faith-healing pastor and self-described "apostle" and "prophet" who claims to have healed cancer with the power of prayer, calls AIDS the result of "unnatural sex," and says he once stopped a tsunami by appealing to Jesus.</p> <p>Amedia is a former Jew who says he found God through an encounter with Jesus <a href="" target="_blank">in 1980</a>. He runs the Ohio-based Touch Heaven Ministries, an international ministry with affiliated churches in Africa and Asia, and he is a frequent presence on Christian TV networks. He appears daily on the evangelical Daystar network and occasionally on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the North American version of <a href="" target="_blank">Isaac TV</a>, a Pakistan-based evangelical network that airs Christian broadcasting across several Asian countries.</p> <p>Since becoming the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president, Trump has worked to shore up support among social conservatives and evangelicals who are likely to be skeptical of the twice-divorced real estate mogul who once held pro-choice views. Amedia's new role fits with the Trump campaign's efforts to reach out to the Christian right. But the pastor's past isn't without blemishes: District court dockets and <a href="" target="_blank">media reports show</a> that <a href="">in 2001</a>, Amedia admitted in court to having participated in an effort to bribe an Ohio prosecutor to drop a case against a car-dealer friend who had been charged in an odometer-rollback scheme. The bribery plan failed, and the car dealer was convicted. Amedia received immunity for his testimony against the dealer.</p> <p>Amedia and the Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.</p> <p>Amedia claims to be an apostle&mdash;a messenger of the word of Jesus on Earth&mdash;and in a 2012 interview <a href="">on the Trinity Broadcasting Network,</a> he claimed to have stopped the 2011 tsunami in Japan from hitting the coast of a Hawaiian island that his daughter happened to be visiting. "I stood at the edge of my bed and I said, 'In the name of Jesus, I declare that tsunami to stop now,'" he recalled. "It was seen by 400 people on a cliff. It was on YouTube. It was actually on the news that that tsunami stopped 200 feet off of shore." Here's the clip of Amedia's claim, first found by <em>Right Wing Watch</em>:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In an undated Isaac TV broadcast, Amedia engages in faith healing, trying to assist people with jaw problems, bleeding teeth and gums, ringing in their ears, tongue cancer, and parched lips. None of those healed are seen on screen. In the same broadcast, Amedia says that AIDS is caused by "unnatural sex." He adds, "We understand that many of the diseases that we receive is because of exposure that we have to things that we should not be exposed to, lifestyles that are unhealthy."</p> <p>In 2010, Amedia traveled to Haiti, where his ministry was providing aid and food to earthquake survivors. Amedia was interviewed at the time for an <a href="" target="_blank">Associated Press</a> story about recent clashes between missionaries like himself and Haitian practitioners of voodoo. Amedia told the AP that he would consider cutting off food aid to Haitians if they did not give up voodoo, because "we wouldn't want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel."</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Tue, 24 May 2016 20:16:50 +0000 Hannah Levintova 304681 at Millennials Are the First Generation In Which Men Outnumber Women <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Maybe everyone else already knows this, but I discovered something this morning that was new to me. I'm accustomed to thinking that girls outnumber boys among live births, but apparently that's no longer true. It's now about 51-49 in favor of male babies. This means that millennials are the first adult generation in which men outnumber women.</p> <p>I don't have anything special to say about this. I was just surprised to learn it. I wonder why this happened?</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_male_millennials_0.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 May 2016 19:21:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 304766 at A Judge Has Ordered Bill Cosby to Stand Trial for Sexual Assault <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday ordered comedian Bill Cosby to stand trial for allegations that he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004&mdash;ending a five-month battle by Cosby's lawyers to have the case dismissed.</p> <p>More than <a href="" target="_blank">40 women</a> have come forward with similar allegations, but Constand was the first to make her story public, and her case is the only one so far to advance to a criminal trial. Cosby denies all the allegations.</p> <p>If convicted, the 87-year-old Cosby could face a maximum sentence of 10 years, according to <a href="" target="_blank">CNN</a>.</p> <p>During a preliminary hearing in Montgomery County on Tuesday morning, the judge determined that there was enough evidence for Cosby to stand trial for multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault.</p> <p>Cosby's next court date has been set for July 20.</p> <p>Constand did not appear in court on Tuesday. Instead, a former detective gave testimony based on a statement she provided to law enforcement in 2005. A <a href="http://Montgomery%20County,%20Pennsylvania%20district%20attorney%20charged%20Cosby%20with%20three%20counts%20of%20aggravated%20indecent%20assault%20in%20December." target="_blank">criminal complaint</a> filed last December describes multiple incidents, the first occurring when Cosby allegedly invited Constand to his home for dinner and then allegedly fondled her, causing her to get up and leave. A later encounter allegedly took place on January 22, 2005, also at Cosby's home, according to the December complaint. There, Cosby allegedly offered Constand wine and three blue pills "to relax":</p> <blockquote> <p>Within about twenty to thirty minutes of ingesting the pills, water, and wine, she began experiencing blurred vision and difficulty speaking&hellip;Despite her impaired physical and mental condition, the victim was aware that Cosby was fondling her breasts, put his hands into her pants, and penetrated her vagina with his fingers. Cosby also took the victim's right hand and placed it onto his erect penis. The victim told investigators that she did not consent to any of these acts, and was unable to move or speak during the assault. She described her condition as "frozen" and "paralyzed."</p> </blockquote> <p>At the time Constand filed her initial report, former Montgomery County district attorney Bruce Castor declined to file charges due to <a href="" target="_blank">"insufficient credible and admissible evidence</a>." Constand then brought a civil suit, which Cosby settled. But when parts of his sworn deposition from that case were <a href="" target="_blank">unsealed</a> by a federal judge last year, prosecutors decided to press charges.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Cosby listened from the defense table as Castor explained why he had declined to press charges more than a decade ago, <a href="" target="_blank">according to CNN</a>. "What I think, and what is provable in a courtroom, is two different things," Castor said. "What I think is that Andrea Constand was inappropriately touched by Mr. Cosby."</p></body></html> Media Crime and Justice Sex and Gender Tue, 24 May 2016 18:32:27 +0000 Madison Pauly 304751 at The Senate Just Unanimously Passed a Bill to Give Basic Rights to Sexual-Assault Survivors <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Monday, the US Senate unanimously passed the <a href="" target="_blank">Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act,</a> bringing the country one step closer to enacting the first piece of federal legislation that would establish rights for survivors of sexual assault.</p> <p>Central to the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H), is the right for victims' to have their <a href="" target="_blank">rape kits preserved for free.</a> The law would also prevent rape kits from being destroyed until the statute of limitations ends in the state where the crime occurred. States would be required to inform victims 60 days in advance of the kit's expiration date.</p> <p>"This bill will send a powerful message to survivors all across the country: You do have rights, we do care about you, if you choose to come forward we're going to be there for you and we're going to ensure a justice system that treats you with dignity and fairness," Shaheen said in a speech addressed to the Senate on Monday.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The Senate's passage is a major victory for Amanda Nguyen, the 24-year-old activist who co-authored the bill alongside Shaheen. <a href="" target="_blank">More than two years ago</a>, Nguyen reported being raped in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and underwent a rape kit examination within 24 hours of the assault. Since then, she has had to request for an extension to keep her rape kit from being destroyed twice a year&mdash;a routine that she says forces her to repeatedly confront her experience of being sexually assaulted. Nguyen must request the extension even though Massachusetts has a 15-year statute of limitations on filing rape or sexual-assault charges.</p> <p>"The six-month rule makes me live my life by date of rape," Nguyen said in an <a href="" target="_blank">interview with the site <em>Broadly</em> in February</a>. "It's so ludicrous, because in other states this isn't the case. Had I been raped in a state like California, Illinois, or Texas, this wouldn't happen to me."</p> <p>"Justice shouldn't be dependent on geography. It's completely unconscionable that a survivor in one state would have a completely different set of rights than a survivor in another state," she added.</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Sex and Gender Tue, 24 May 2016 18:12:31 +0000 Inae Oh 304721 at Bernie Sanders Requests a Recanvass of the Kentucky Primary <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Bernie Sanders has formally requested a recanvass of the results of last Tuesday's Kentucky's presidential primary, where he lost narrowly statewide to Hillary Clinton, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the <em>Associated Press</em></a>. State election officials will review the final tallies from electronic voting machines and absentee ballots cast in the Democratic primary.</p> <p>"He's in this until every last vote is counted and he's fighting for every last delegate," Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs told the AP.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We have received a request from <a href="">@BernieSanders</a> for recanvass of the vote totals in May 17 Dem presidential primary. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Alison L. Grimes (@KySecofState) <a href="">May 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>A recanvass isn't a recount; it's merely a review of the voting machine and absentee ballot data reported to the secretary of state. The request for a recanvass comes as Sanders and the Democratic National Committee <a href="" target="_blank">begin to work out</a> how his ideas will be incorporated into the party's platform committee, and Sanders slams Clinton for backing out of a <a href="" target="_blank">previously agreed-to</a> debate in California, <a href="" target="_blank">calling her move</a> "insulting to the people of California."</p> <p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">the Kentucky State Board of Elections</a>, Sanders came up 1,924 votes short of Clinton, out of 454,573 votes cast. The AP notes that both candidates picked up 27 delegates in Kentucky. One additional delegate will be awarded from the state's sixth congressional district, where Clinton is ahead by about 500 votes, according to the current count. Sanders has a chance, then, to win that one additional delegate if the recanvass swings that district to his favor.</p> <p>But it would hardly make a difference in the overall state of the race, where <a href="" target="_blank">Sanders trails Clinton</a> in the pledged delegate count by 271 delegates. When superdelegates are added in, Clinton's lead swells to 766, and she <a href="" target="_blank">needs only about 80</a> more delegates to win the nomination. There's a good chance she'll reach that total on June 7, when California, New Jersey, and four smaller states hold contests.</p> <p>Based on those figures, Clinton has already <a href="" target="_blank">declared herself the presumptive nominee.</a> "I will be the nominee for my party," she told CNN's Chris Cuomo last week. "That is already done, in effect. There's no way that I won't be."</p> <p>Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear <a href="" target="_blank">told local TV station WSAZ</a> that his office had received 76 calls to its election fraud hotline during the primary concerning voting machine issues, voter identification problems, electioneering, poll disruption, and vote buying, among other issues.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Elections bernie sanders Tue, 24 May 2016 18:09:34 +0000 AJ Vicens 304736 at Republicans Really Do Have Themselves to Blame for Donald Trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Is the Republican Party/Movement Conservatism responsible for the rise of Donald Trump? <a href="" target="_blank">Megan McArdle rounds up five theories about how Republicans brought Trump on themselves</a> and concludes that they don't make sense. It turns out that four of her theories seem pretty marginal to me, so instead I'm going to offer three of my own. Here we go:</p> <p><strong>#1: Talk radio and Fox News made conservatives crazy.</strong> This is McArdle's Theory #1, and it's the only one on her list that I hear frequently&mdash;and agree with. But she doesn't: "Media follows its audience, rather than leading it. Opinion columnists <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_frankentrump.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">who spend any time at all interacting with their readers are well aware of how pitifully rarely we manage to change anyone&rsquo;s mind about anything."</p> <p>I feel her pain. But Rush Limbaugh is in a whole different universe from Megan McArdle and Kevin Drum. Obviously his popularity owes much to the fact that he channels his listeners' views, but he's also influenced them over the years. It was (and is) very much a vicious/virtuous circle: Limbaugh and his audience basically egg each other on. Remember when he was made an "honorary member" of the congressional class of 1994? I don't know what the official political science view is about this, but Republicans at the time sure thought that Limbaugh was instrumental in stoking the anger that led to the to Gingrich revolution&mdash;and I agree with them.</p> <p>Beyond that, common sense suggests that the Rush/Fox/Drudge axis has had a big influence on the conservative movement. It's created a take-no-prisoners style of conservatism that disdains facts, encourages conspiracy theories, creates secret enemies around every corner, rails against compromise of any kind, and insists that conservatives could win if only their leaders were strong enough. This became fertile ground for someone like Donald Trump.</p> <p><strong>#2: Tolerance of racism.</strong> Are leading Republicans racist? How should I know? But honestly, it doesn't matter. What matters is that they've been plainly tolerant of racism and xenophobia in their ranks because it's politically convenient. Now along comes someone like Trump, who all but wears his racism on his sleeve, and they're shocked, shocked, that much of the Republican base is swooning over him. But what did they expect? We've been through years of attacks on "urban" welfare recipients. Years of opposition to affirmative action policies that affect only a tiny fraction of the population. Years of attacks on political correctness that are barely concealed gripes about not being able to tell off-color jokes anymore. <a href="" target="_blank">Years of race-baiting from Fox News.</a> Years of pandering to angry white males. Years of racially inflected attacks on Barack Obama.</p> <p>Is it merely an amazing coincidence that all this stuff and more is really principled conservatism that just happens to code as racist? Spare me. Republicans let this stuff fester because it helped them keep their base enraged, and now Donald Trump has reaped the benefits.</p> <p><strong>#3: The hack gap.</strong> I don't imagine I'll persuade McArdle of this, but conservatives really do have an intellectual superstructure that exists almost solely to provide backup for conservative beliefs. Obviously there are liberals who do this too, but there are also plenty of mainstream lefties who routinely try to keep things real. Hell, we even have a name for them: "Even the New Republic" liberals. These are the folks that Bernie Sanders supporters deride as sellouts and shills, and there's really hardly anything comparable on the right anymore. You can find pushback now and again among, say, libertarians, but they have little influence among mainstream conservatives. In the heart of the movement, it's a considerable surprise if you ever find a think tank or magazine article warning that facts on the ground don't really support some beloved tenet of conservatism. I believe that McArdle herself <a href="" target="_blank">has been a victim of this.</a></p> <p>This has created an electorate that doesn't really care about facts anymore&mdash;or, at least, is convinced that they aren't worth worrying about since the facts are so plainly on their side. So along comes Donald Trump, the ultimate fact-free salesman, and it should be no surprise that the Republican base is fine with this. They've been trained for decades not to be concerned about trivia like telling the truth. If Trump says it, they're willing to believe it. Why wouldn't they?</p> <p>So that's that. Republicans created a field that turned out to be fertile ground for someone like Donald Trump, and guess what? They got someone like Donald Trump. Now they're troubled because Trump has his own agenda&mdash;which, it turns out, the Republican base likes better than theirs&mdash;but it's too late. The only thing left to do at this point is to work for Trump's defeat and then spend some time rethinking their larger strategy. We'll see how that goes.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 May 2016 18:07:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 304746 at White-Collar Coup in Brazil Becomes Ever More Coup-Like <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_romero_juca.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">I haven't had much to say about the recent impeachment of Brazilian president Dilma Roussef, but today comes evidence that certainly makes it look ever more like a white-collar coup designed to keep a whole lot of people out of jail. When Roussef was impeached, vice president Michel Temer took over, and now Temer's right-hand man&mdash;planning minister Romero Juca&mdash;has gotten the plotters in some very hot water. For reasons that are a little fuzzy, Sergio Machado, a former oil executive, recorded a conversation <a href="" target="_blank">he had in March with Juca:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The recordings were allegedly made secretly by Machado who, like Juca, is the target of an investigation into massive embezzlement centred on state oil company Petrobras.</p> <p>In the conversations, <strong>Juca is heard calling for a "national pact" that he appears to suggest would stop the investigation,</strong> known as Operation Car Wash, in which dozens of top-ranking politicians from a variety of parties, as well as business executives, have been charged or already convicted for involvement in the Petrobras scheme.</p> <p>In comments immediately taken up by Rousseff and her supporters as evidence for her claim that the impeachment process is a coup in disguise, Juca said: "We need to change the government to stop this bleeding."</p> <p><strong>"I am talking to the generals, the military commanders. They are fine with this, they said they will guarantee it,"</strong> he said. He also said that he has been clearing his plans with justices on the Supreme Court, which oversees impeachment proceedings.</p> </blockquote> <p>Juca says his comments are being taken out of context, which is what I'd probably say too if I were in his shoes. However, since the entire transcript of the conversation has been leaked to the newspaper <em>Folha de Sao Paulo</em>, that doesn't seem like a defense likely to hold water.</p> <p>So why did Machado record this conversation? He's the former head of Transpetro, Brazil's largest oil and gas transport company, and is under investigation over his alleged involvement in the Petrobras scandal. <a href="" target="_blank">From the BBC:</a> "The newspaper alleges he recorded the conversations with a view to negotiating a plea bargain, wanting to exchange information implicating other suspects for a lower sentence."</p> <p>No honor among thieves, I guess.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 24 May 2016 15:30:46 +0000 Kevin Drum 304726 at Samantha Bee Smacks Down Angry Bernie Supporters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>According to Samantha Bee, Bernie Bros were too deep in their "Bern-gasm" at the Nevada caucus last February to meet the delegate deadline. That's what led to the chaos a few months later&nbsp;at the Nevada Democratic Party convention, when a group of his supporters lost a dispute on convention rules and delegate eligibility and then lost control of themselves. The uproar reportedly involved violent behavior and <a href=";_r=0" target="_blank">death threats directed at party leaders.</a></p> <p>On last night's episode of <em>Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, </em>after walking viewers through the complicated Nevada election landscape, she assured viewers that the election didn't get stolen from Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Silver State: "The fact is nobody stole the Nevada election&mdash;he just lost!"</p> <p>Just the way he did in <a href="" target="_blank">other states</a>.</p> <p>"I love the passion of Bernie supporters," Bee said. "But why is it curdling into rage at their own party?"</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></div></body></html> Media Film and TV Media Reproductive Rights samantha bee Tue, 24 May 2016 14:26:10 +0000 Jenny Luna 304716 at The Virginia GOP Is Trying to Keep These Two Women—and 206,000 Like Them—From Voting in November <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Virginia Republicans have followed through on their threat to sue Gov. Terry McAuliffe over his April 22 decision to <a href="" target="_blank">restore the voting rights of more than 200,000 felons,</a> filing suit on Monday with the state's Supreme Court and alleging that the governor overstepped his authority.</p> <p>"The Virginia constitution has a blanket prohibition on felons voting, but it gives the governor a narrow clemency power to restore voting rights or other political rights," said Charles Cooper, the Washington, DC, lawyer hired by the state Republicans to challenge the decision. "But that power, we are arguing, can be exercised by the governor only on an individualized basis."&nbsp;Cooper said McAuliffe's two predecessors, Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and Bob McDonnell, a Republican, looked at voting restorations and concluded that the governor could only restore voting rights "case by case, rather than <em>en masse</em> and categorically, the way he has." He added that "the imminence of the November elections, the importance of the issue, convinced us that we really ought to ask the Supreme Court to take it up immediately."</p> <p>McAuliffe said his office will fight the suit. "Today Republicans filed a lawsuit to preserve a policy of disenfranchisement that has been used intentionally to suppress the voices of qualified voters, particularly African Americans, for more than a century," the governor said <a href="" target="_blank">in a statement</a>. "These individuals have served their time and are now living, raising families and paying taxes in our communities&mdash;this suit is an effort to continue to treat them as second-class citizens."</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">McAuliffe's order</a> immediately gave convicted felons who had completed their sentences and probation or parole requirements the ability to register to vote, serve on a jury, run for office, and become a notary public. <a href="" target="_blank">McAuliffe's office released an analysis</a> suggesting that nearly 80 percent of the felons affected by his order were convicted of nonviolent crimes, and that nearly half of the disenfranchised population is African American, even though that group represents less than 20 percent of the state's entire population. (White felons make up 51.5 percent of the group.) Additionally, the average time since completion of parole or probation for the group is 11.1 years. McAuliffe's office estimated that the decision would affect about 206,000 people. As of May 17, <a href="" target="_blank">3,933 of them had registered to vote</a>.</p> <p>One of them is Terry Garrett, 48, who registered after McAuliffe announced his decision. Sitting in an office of the Friends of Guest House in Alexandria, Virginia, an organization that helps nonviolent women transition back into society after incarceration, Garrett described getting a text message explaining the governor's order.</p> <p>"I was so excited," she told <em>Mother Jones </em>last week, before the Republican lawsuit was announced. "I was running around my house like, 'Oh my god, I can vote! I can vote!'"</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/terry.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Terry Garrett </strong>AJ Vicens</div> </div> <p>Garrett said it had been a long road from drug addiction and charges to her life today. S<span class="message_body">he helps coordinate the Friends of Guest House Speakers Bureau, which talks to the community about issues related to prison reform and reentry.</span> She said she'd be "devastated" if the right to vote were pulled away from her again. She was 18 when she first got mixed up with the law, and she tried to vote for Bill Clinton but was turned away because of her criminal record. Many state legislators have no idea what felons have been through, she said, and discount the hard work and effort it takes for someone with a troubled past to get her life in order.</p> <p>"I don't think any of them, not even the lawyer they hired, could walk one day in my shoes and survive it," she said. "I really don't." She added that she'd go to the state legislature in Richmond and try to talk to legislators about it. "Why don't you want us to have a voice? Why don't you want us to be a part of this?"</p> <p>Jennifer McDaniel, who works at a kennel and dog-grooming business, is another ex-felon with shoplifting charges and her own battles with addiction. She joined Garrett at Friends of Guest House to talk about getting the right to vote and said the governor's action validated all her hard work to get straight.</p> <p>"We have a voice, too; we have an opinion," she said, adding that she pays taxes, has a job, and has paid her debt to society. "I follow the laws, so give me my damn rights."</p> <p>If the lawsuit succeeds, Garrett and McDaniel&mdash;and the nearly 4,000 additional felons granted the right to register to vote pursuant to the governor's April 22 order&mdash;would be stripped of that right once again.</p> <p>"If we're right, the governor's order did nothing to change their statuses," Cooper said. "They remain unqualified under the constitution to vote."</p> <p>State Republicans <a href="" target="_blank">said at the time that McAuliffe's decision was an effort to help Hillary Clinton become president</a>, a claim that might be hard to substantiate. Shortly after the decision, <a href=";contentCollection=U.S.&amp;module=RelatedCoverage&amp;region=Marginalia&amp;pgtype=article" target="_blank">the <em>New York Times </em>noted</a> that felons who have their rights restored tend to register as Democrats, but also tend to be younger and less educated, "the two most powerful demographic predictors of low voter turnout in the United States." But given Virginia's status as a swing state in this November's presidential election, any advantage&mdash;perceived or otherwise&mdash;will be fought between the political parties.</p> <p>A. E. Dick Howard, a professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law, <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>New York Times </em>in April</a> that the governor had "ample authority" to do what he did, but noted at the time that the move could be challenged based on the idea that the decision applies to an entire class of people.</p> <p>"Virginia Republicans want to block certain people from voting, it's that simple," the Democratic Party of Virginia <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement Monday</a>. "Virginia Republicans are clinging on to Civil War Era [sic] laws that were passed with the intent of preventing African Americans from voting, it's that simple."</p> <p>The Republican Party of Virginia also released a statement on Monday. "Terry McAuliffe has proven time and time again that he is willing to abuse the powers of his office in his effort to elect Hillary Clinton," party chairman John Whitbeck said <a href="" target="_blank">in the statement</a>. "No governor, regardless of party, has the power to re-write Virginia's laws unilaterally."</p> <p>While Cooper says that this lawsuit is really about the governor's authority, and that there are good people on both sides of the argument on felon voting rights, all Garrett and McDaniel see is partisan bickering. Both say that people who want to block felons who've served their time and probation want to silence them for fear of what they'll say and how they'll vote.</p> <p>"They're using this for keeping the poor from having a voice," McDaniel said. Garrett agreed.</p> <p>"I just think they're afraid of us," she said. "Because we have voices now, and we're starting to talk, and we're starting to make it clear as a human being, as a citizen, we want to vote. I really think they're afraid of us."</p> <p>Read the lawsuit filed Monday:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2841392-Howell-v-McAuliffe">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("", { width: 630, height: 500, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2841392-Howell-v-McAuliffe" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Howell-v-McAuliffe (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Howell-v-McAuliffe (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Civil Liberties Elections voting rights Tue, 24 May 2016 10:00:19 +0000 AJ Vicens 304661 at The Obama Years Have Been Very Good to America's Weapons Makers <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The Obama years have been a boom time for America's weapons makers. Since 2009, the United States has approved arms deals worth some $200 billion&mdash;more than under any other presidency. The deals include sending Apache helicopters <a href="" target="_blank">to Qatar</a>, "<a href="" target="_blank">bunker buster</a>" bombs and <a href="" target="_blank">cluster munitions</a> to Saudi Arabia, and <a href="" target="_blank">Hellfire missiles</a> all over the place. Predicting an increase in weapons sales fueled by the war against ISIS, an unnamed American weapons manufacturing executive told <a href="" target="_blank">Reuters</a> last year: "Everyone in the region is talking about building up supplies for 5 to 10 years. This is going to be a long fight. It's a huge growth area for us."</p> <p>The United States currently controls <a href="" target="_blank">more than half of the global arms market</a>. Its top five customers are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Iraq, and Israel. By comparison, Russia, the next biggest global weapons supplier, controls just <a href="" target="_blank">14 percent</a> of the market.</p> <p>Some of the factors driving the surge in American exports include a shift toward arming allies instead of putting American boots on the ground, regional threats from ISIS and Al Qaeda, and Obama's 2013 decision to relax arms export rules, a move supported with an estimated <a href="" target="_blank">$170 million in lobbying</a> by the defense industry. In the past week, the Obama administration announced it was considering <a href="" target="_blank">expanding weapons sales to Vietnam</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">easing an arms embargo</a> on Libya.</p> <p>Here's a look at the recent explosion of international arms deals:&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Arsenal_1_0.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Arsenal_3_0.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Arsenal4.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Arsenal_5.png"></div> <p><em>Sources: <a href="" target="_blank">Congressional Research Service</a>,<a href="" target="_blank"> Department of Defense Fiscal Year Series</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Stockholm International Peace Research Institute</a> (SIPRI), <a href="" target="_blank">Defense Security Cooperation Agency</a></em></p></body></html> Politics Foreign Policy Military Tue, 24 May 2016 10:00:18 +0000 Bryan Schatz 295711 at