Mother Jones July/August 2021

Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization with a bi-monthly magazine that delivers bold and original reporting on the urgent issues of our day, from politics and climate change to education and the food we eat. We investigate stories that are in the public’s interest. From revelatory scoops to deep-dive investigations, Mother Jones journalism is award-winning storytelling that informs and inspires 10 million monthly readers.

United States
Foundation For National Progress
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min

After spending the last two years learning about equities and investing as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow at Columbia Business School, Mother Jones reporter HANNAH LEVINTOVA put the education to work investigating Robinhood’s trading app (“Who Really Gets Rich From Robinhood”). Unraveling the app’s complexities led to a familiar conclusion: Wall Street is ripping you off. We gave GUILLEM CASASÚS a meta challenge: designing art for a story about how design tricks people (“Who Really Gets Rich From Robinhood”). He was just the right person for the task, because he’d used a similarly layered approach in writing the bio for his website. Instead of words, friends made a series of portraits of Casasús. One is his face with “I Hate Type” laid over it. Mother Jones fellow LIL KALISH was curious when they heard…

4 min
“are you screwed without trump?”

So, reader, have you been following the news less lately? As the CEO of a news outlet, God, I hope so. I’m not supposed to say that. Reach, eyeballs, ratings, traffic—so much of the conventional wisdom about what journalism is revolves around those numbers. That’s certainly what Donald Trump thought. Remember how he warned that news ratings would “tank if I’m not there”? The truth is, they kind of did. For four years he had Americans glued to screens, lured by viral outrage, schadenfreude, or just fear of how deeply we’d slid into coup territory overnight. Now, finally, our collective grip on the remote has relaxed a bit. CNN’s primetime ratings dipped 45 percent from February to March. The Washington Post’s traffic declined 26 percent; the New York Times’ 17 percent. Mother Jones’…

11 min
mr. troll goes to washington

I've seen many things at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the years, including many things I wish I hadn’t. But until Ted Cruz spoke to a ballroom of activists from the main stage in Orlando in February, I had never seen an elected official interrupt his own speech to promote a podcast. “Please go subscribe,” barked the Texas Republican, sounding more like a street performer with a SoundCloud than a second-term senator. “Verdict With Ted Cruz! Verdict With Ted Cruz! Click on ‘subscribe.’ Five stars, please!” One week earlier, Cruz had left his constituents and his poodle behind to wait out his state’s deadly grid failure at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun. It was the sort of PR disaster that would leave many politicians reeling. Cruz tried to monetize the controversy instead,…

5 min
los deliveristas

On a sunny Saturday in March, Gustavo Ajche and Ligia Guallpa welcomed two dozen food delivery couriers to a morning rally in lower Manhattan. As mimosa drinkers filled SoHo cafes’ outdoor tables, couriers lined up for hot chuchitos, Guatemalan tamales filled with chicken and beef. Guallpa, head of the immigrant-focused Worker’s Justice Project, and Ajche, a sometime courier himself, had invited the men to learn about Los Deliveristas Unidos, an informal WJP-backed network of mostly Mexican and Guatemalan delivery workers who banded together during the pandemic. Ajche, dousing his snack in green Picamás hot sauce, pitched them on demanding better working conditions: higher wages, a commitment from restaurants to let working couriers use restrooms, and a state-financed insurance fund to replace stolen bikes. Once everyone grabbed chuchitos, Guallpa, petite and peppy, passed…

2 min
amazon’s army

Everything about Amazon is big—including the revolving door between its Seattle headquarters and Washington, DC. Major corporations have always enticed ex-officials to sign on to lobby their former agencies, win and manage government bids, offer strategic or legal advice, or otherwise wield knowledge gleaned while serving the people. No federal agency tracks such career changes, so we used LinkedIn to find almost 250 former Beltway staffers who have decamped for the tech company. “Amazon is so vast—and vaster in its ambitions,” says Jeff Hauser, director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Revolving Door Project. “There is almost no department of the US government Amazon is not interested in.” Not only does the $1.6 trillion company have an enormous stake in the decisions of key lawmakers and bureaucrats, but the US government…

7 min
transitioning 2.0

By August, Felicity Giles knew it was time. Her happiness was long overdue. The 36-year-old trucker changed her name, adopted the middle name Saoirse—“freedom” in Gaelic—and started looking into medically transitioning. “It was mainly an attempt to break from who I was and who I grew up as,” she told me. At the start of 2021, she spent weeks calling Planned Parenthoods in Fort Worth, Texas, where she and her spouse live, seeking a consultation for hormone replacement therapy. But the pandemic, and high demand, meant waiting more than a month to get a consultation, let alone begin HRT. Even when appointments opened up, she said, “I called them every day and never got through.” Scrolling through Twitter one night, Felicity read about Plume, a new subscription telehealth service that makes…