Mother Jones November/December 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
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6 Issues

in this issue

1 min

ON THE COVERWe wanted to capture the hope and precarity of our fight to battle climate change, and Keith Negley, whose gorgeous use of color and texture can make even carbon look beautiful, was the perfect artist for the job. CONTRIBUTORSWhat were the comforts that got you through your magazine deadlines? Lauren Markham: In the midst of closing this piece, I herniated a disk in my back. Thinking about trees helped—it was a balm to immerse myself in their long timescale. Alexandra Starr: I took a lot of videos in the course of reporting. My favorite was of the baby sister of one of the teenagers I followed. She’s wrapped in her favorite blanket, singing the song “Bingo.” Michael Johnson: A trip to Red Rocks, in Colorado, to see Wilco inspired the soundtrack that…

4 min
the shame of journalism

By the time you read this, the 20th anniversary of 9/11 will be far in the rearview mirror, and so will the “where were you” recollections that dominated the news in early September. So let’s talk instead about what happened after the tragic attacks: a failure of journalism that helped lay the groundwork for so many failures to come. That morning in September 2001, I headed to the Mother Jones newsroom—the only place I could imagine being. I watched cable news, typed queries into a still-newish search engine named Google, called up sources in DC (few picked up). Everything was confusing, but one theme soon emerged: America’s warmongers were not about to let a crisis go to waste. Pundits like ex–CIA Director R. James Woolsey went on CNN urging war on…

5 min
mainstreaming militias

On a bright afternoon in late June, members of the Bedford Militia lined up in a grassy field next to the Bryan Buchanan Auto Auction lot, right off the county highway in Montvale, Virginia. The group of a few dozen, half bearing sidearms and all in fatigues, stood still in formation, a US flag on one side and their own ensign on the other. With the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, Bob Good, a Republican serving his first term representing the region in the US House, was onstage addressing them, fired up about his efforts on Capitol Hill to defend the Second Amendment. Good warned that Joe Biden and the Democrats would not rest before taking every gun in the country. The only thing stopping them were people like the…

8 min
who you gonna call?

One morning this spring, Cat Brooks got a call letting her know that Oakland police were swarming a crashed car on East 25th Street. The driver of the silver hatchback was unresponsive, and his stereo had been blasting R&B for an hour before a neighbor, worried the man might need an ambulance, called 911. The neighbor hadn’t seen the gun in his lap, but the cops who arrived did. At least 16 police officers soon took over the block and surrounded Lavel Jones, a father of four, who remained in the driver’s seat, appearing to pass in and out of consciousness. Brooks rushed to the scene. An anti-racist activist and former mayoral candidate, in 2012 Brooks co-founded the Anti Police-Terror Project, dedicated to fighting police brutality targeting Black, brown, and poor people.…

3 min
purdue’s payouts

Before it was dissolved this fall, Purdue Pharma made billions selling the painkillers behind the overdose crisis while giving millions to patient advocacy groups, doctors’ organizations, and academia—spending that effectively served as an OxyContin marketing blitz. Yet the details of this largesse have long been murky. Congressional and media investigations have named only a handful of recipients, and a more comprehensive view of Purdue’s payouts didn’t exist—until now. Buried among thousands of opioid litigation documents is a 44-page spreadsheet from the company detailing more than $115 million in disbursements to nearly 800 organizations, including medical societies, police associations, anti-drug campaigns, and political networks. The data, which runs from 2002 to early 2015, reveals that groups like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, PhRMA, and the Patient Advocate Foundation took even more money…

23 min
up rooted

I drove to Oregon because I wanted to see the future. Our rapidly changing climate vexes me, keeps me up at night—perhaps you’ve felt this, too—and recently I’d become particularly preoccupied with trees. In California, where I live, climate change helped kill nearly 62 million trees in 2016 alone, and last year, 4.2 million acres of our state burned. I wanted to know what was in store for our forests and, because we humans rely on them for so much—for clean air, for carbon sequestration, for biodiversity, for habitat, for lumber and money, for joy—what was in store for us. I’d read about a group of scientists who were not only studying the calamities befalling our forests but also working to help the trees migrate in advance of coming doom. So…