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Mother Jones July/August 2018

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


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mother jones

A former environment editor at the Wall Street Journal and a current scholar-in-residence at Stanford, JEFFREY BALL traveled to Beijing, Changzhou, Shenzhen, and Xi’an to explore Chinese clean-energy innovation (“Sun Blocked,” page 28), touring assembly lines and labs and eating a lot of railroad station food. (The spicier the better.) He has written about energy and the environment from 15 countries and five continents. Brooklyn-based photojournalist RUDDY ROYE was named Time magazine’s 2016 Instagram photographer of the year for documenting the experiences of black Americans for his more than a quarter-million followers. His work has taken him from Bed-Stuy to Baton Rouge—and to Cairo, Illinois, abandoned by the Ben Carsonled Department of Housing and Urban Development (“The Exodus,” page 38). RACHEL POSER spent stints at Oxford University as a classical archaeologist and…

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disarming disinformation

THERE ARE MANY compelling moments in the story of Shane Johnson, the former Klansman who shares his experience for this issue’s cover piece. One of the most fascinating ones is a conversation between Johnson and other ex-extremists and some techies who are building an anti-hate-speech app. At a table strewn with Kind bars and LaCroix cans, Johnson warns the techies that their message, pitching a way out of a dark, “hate-filled life,” won’t work. “You need to challenge them to engage,” he says. In a hate group, “the whole belief system is that I was right and you were wrong. So you can’t just tell me I’m wrong.” This, in fact, is one of the key take-aways from research on reaching people who don’t think like you: It’s not about coming…

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the new trump democrat

ON MOST nights during the nine-day West Virginia teacher strike last winter, Richard Ojeda could be found at his office in Logan County, gesturing wildly at his iPhone. Ojeda, a 47-year-old former paratrooper who is rarely seen outside the state Senate chamber in anything other than a tight-fitting Grunt Style T-shirt, had been logging on for Facebook Live segments about once a week since getting elected in 2016. During his first year as a state senator, he typically got a few thousand viewers for his riffs about the corruption in the Democratic Party or his proposal to turn decommissioned surface mines into vast fields of marijuana and lavender. Then, in January, Ojeda became the first politician in Charleston to say publicly what the teachers in his district had been discussing among…

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canadian bakin’

IN THE DARK OF A FRIGID February morning on the outskirts of Ottawa, Canada, a convoy of trucks pulled up to the loading docks of a refurbished Hershey’s factory that’s now the headquarters of the world’s largest marijuana company—Canopy Growth Corp. Horticulturists in Tyvek suits began loading the vehicles with unmarked boxes, each the size of four refrigerators. The boxes were filled with 100,000 baby cannabis plants that had been packaged for transport to a 1.3 million-square-foot former bell pepper greenhouse in British Columbia, just miles from the US border. By the time the plants were flown cross-country and transplanted into their new home, it was dark again—and the greenhouse had temporarily claimed the coveted title of world’s largest grow op. The plants could yield as much as 88,000 pounds of…

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pregnant while black

AT THE END OF a long day in January 2011, Brittney Bruster, 28 years old and eight months pregnant, lay down on her sofa to rest. A few minutes later, she was swept by a wave of nausea, followed by a mighty urge to push. She called 911, but “by the time they got there,” she recalls, “I had had her in my sweatpants.” Bruster, who had given birth to four children, was rushed to a hospital in Greenville, South Carolina, with her premature daughter, Tianna, who weighed just five pounds and four ounces. Of all the dangers facing newborn babies, the most dire is coming into the world early. Despite rapid advances in neonatal intensive care technology, nearly 70 percent of newborn deaths in the United States are the result…

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addicted to hate

ON JULY 4, 2013, one of Shane Johnson’s pals pushed through the front door of his trailer and announced that “a bunch of black guys” had just “said some shit to him.” Johnson was small and lithe, tattooed from neck to toe with swastikas, and his throat was inked with a portrait of Jesus and the words “I AM NOT A JEW.” As a teenager, he’d earned the nickname “Punchy” for his willingness to make up for his stature with an even shorter temper. It served him well as the leader of his Ku Klux Klan chapter in Kokomo, Indiana. JOHNSON WANTED TO ESCAPE THE KLAN. BUT HOW? HE HAD NO SKILLS, NO JOB, AND HE WAS COVERED IN RACIST TATTOOS. On his orders, he and several of his buddies tied bandannas…