Mother Jones14 min read
Unnatural Selection
THERE’S SOMETHING UNSETTLING about the Venus flytrap. When it eats, it behaves more like an animal than a plant, ensnaring unsuspecting insects in its fragrant snapping trap in as little as a third of a second. And while one can understand, rationall
Mother Jones3 min read
The Algorithm
IN 2009, when Facebook changed its newsfeed significantly for the first time, there wasn’t much uproar over “the algorithm.” Now we’re all talking about it—whatever “it” is. The algorithm and its ramifications have been the focus of congressional hea
Mother Jones6 min readAmerican Government
Arch Rivals
WESLEY BELL, St. Louis County’s first-ever Black prosecuting attorney, appeared at a virtual Democratic event in mid-October, eager to discuss the race he was running against Sen. Josh Hawley. “We’re in a place to get this guy,” Bell boasted. Come El
Mother Jones3 min read
Pay Dirt
LIKE A REVELER who chases each of many tequila shots with a seltzer, US farm policy consists of comically clashing impulses likely to result in a nasty hangover. The Department of Agriculture doles out substantial subsidies each year to entice farmer
Mother Jones5 min read
Popping Off
AT THE START of a slickly produced 19-minute YouTube video titled “How T.Rex Arms Got Started,” Lucas Botkin, the company’s 30-year-old founder, runs through an obstacle course. A guitar-heavy soundtrack plays as Botkin, decked out in tactical gear a
Mother Jones6 min read
Blowing Smoke
HALFWAY THROUGH a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by Fox Business, an ad made a jarring argument. President Joe Biden’s proposal to ban menthol cigarettes “will fuel an illicit market, lining the pockets of the Mexican cartels,” warned
Mother Jones3 min read
How Journalism Can Resist the Tide of Doom
MOST OF THE NEWS about the journalism business right now is grim. Storied newsrooms are being hollowed out and sold to hedge funds. Once-hot digital startups are cutting back and closing down. Even public radio and television are laying off staff. La
Mother Jones5 min read
The Elephant In The Room
ONE CHILLY MORNING last October, I took a monorail through New York City’s Bronx Zoo in hopes of catching a glimpse of a famous elephant named Happy. When we finally spied her backside tucked in the far corner of the open-air exhibit, our guide begge
Mother Jones7 min read
Worked Up
THE AMERICAN PUBLIC seems to have emerged from the initial jolt of the pandemic with a newfound clarity familiar to survivors of catastrophes. Many people experienced an evaporation of the things that lent their lives the illusion of stability. Jobs
Mother Jones37 min readCrime & Violence
After the Crash
CRUISING SOUTH DOWN a two-lane highway in Montana, Braven Glenn looked out onto the open road, the evening sky chilly and dark. It was November 24, 2020—half a year into the pandemic and three months after his 17th birthday. He was a good student, on
Mother Jones9 min read
Star Struck
TWO BLONDS AND a brunette stumble out of the club, tipsy and teetering in heels. They pile into a two-seater Benz. It’s a rainy night in the City of Angels, lit by flashbulbs. Men clamber onto the car, screaming the women’s names. The next morning, a
Mother Jones1 min read
Contributions
This issue’s cover features a family photo of 17-year-old Braven Glenn, the Crow Nation teen whose death in a police chase led MoJo to investigate tribal law enforcement. What’s your golden rule when you’re on assignment? To see our masthead, visit m
Mother Jones24 min readCrime & Violence
“I Want to Know How Much I Was Used”
TANIA CULVER HUMPHREY has spent most of her life grappling with her father’s secrets. In public, her father, Ellsworth Culver, cultivated a reputation as a globetrotting Christian do-gooder. He taught schoolchildren in Cuba, ran missionary programs i
Mother Jones1 min read
Contributions
Illustrator Tim O’Brien has graced MoJo’s pages many times—so when we needed a cover that said “Let them eat cake,” his painterly and surreal style was an obvious choice. Masterminded by senior reporter Tim Murphy (who wrote the lead essay and all ya
Mother Jones5 min readAmerican Government
Rigged For A King
DONALD TRUMP IS not a typical oligarch. Before entering politics, he was not part of the small group of powerful and rich people who buttressed the ruling elite. He did not build a railroad or a technology empire. His fortune—whatever its size—was no
Mother Jones3 min read
Quit While You’re A Head
THEY SAY THE ONLY things certain in life are death and taxes, but America’s billionaires, having taken care of the latter, are now trying to disrupt the former—and make sure nobody can pry their fortunes from their cold dead hands. Four decades of ne
Mother Jones8 min readIntelligence (AI) & Semantics
Merchants of Death
SILICON VALLEY IS a physical place, but it’s also a style of thinking, a state of being, and an ethos. Its reach has extended far beyond its origins south of San Francisco, beyond even Austin and Seattle, where it has displaced anyone who dares utter
Mother Jones5 min read
It’s All About the Benjamins
THE MOST PROFITABLE, and perhaps most dangerous, factory in the United States is a two-story, off-white block about 20 minutes north of central Fort Worth, Texas. It resembles many of the other buildings in a rather barren suburb along US 287, and, h
Mother Jones11 min read
Hidden Figures
FOR YEARS, a small company headquartered in South Dakota toiled in one of the most boring niches imaginable. Specializing in servicing individual retirement accounts, Kingdom Trust acted as a so-called custodian for these IRAs, focused on maintaining
Mother Jones2 min read
How Hollywood Learned to Eat the Rich
AS THE PANDEMIC took hold and tensions between the haves and have-nots simmered, I couldn’t log in to social media without spotting an image of a guillotine, the enduring symbol of the French Revolution. By then, a similar ire toward the wealthy had
Mother Jones3 min read
Eight Ways to Hide an Asset
In January, the Treasury Department will finally require LLCs to disclose the names of their owners. But for years, anyone could buy real estate through a shell company with no disclosure at all. And in a 1 percenter world, penthouses and waterfront
Mother Jones12 min read
Givers and Takers
IN A DECEMBER 2021 blog post, novelist MacKenzie Scott expressed surprise at the “inclusive and beautiful” definitions of philanthropy, such as “love of humankind,” that she’d discovered in the dictionary. Scott, who has given away more than $14 bill
Mother Jones10 min readAmerican Government
$Drll Baby $Drll
IN AUGUST 2022, a dozen or so businessmen crowded onto the balcony that looms above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. As the clock neared 4 p.m., the group from Strive Asset Management waved, clapped, and flashed toothy smiles, waitin
Mother Jones8 min read
Rich People Problems
I’LL GIVE THE Kardashians this much: There’s nothing more relatable than fighting with your sister because she stole your favorite dress. For the past 16 years, the Kardashian-Jenners have spun gold from the tumult in their personal lives through Hul
Mother Jones3 min readAmerican Government
My Own Private Florida
FISHER ISLAND, population 684, is America’s richest zip code. It draws celebrities, execs, and oligarchs seeking social distance from nearby Miami. The average resident declares $3 million in income. As a sales rep told Travel + Leisure, “It’s the pl
Mother Jones2 min read
What Gives?
Tesla, SpaceX, etc. Musk, whose richest-man status relies on public subsidies and contracts, once told a follower that half of his wealth would be used to “help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars” in case “we destroy ourselves”—which is more li
Mother Jones7 min read
How Superyachts Explain the World
THE LUXURY YACHT may be the world’s most exclusive form of transportation. But there are only a hundred-some that meet the definition of a gigayacht—a pleasure craft 295 feet or longer. Their opaque ownership records offer a glimpse of modern wealth
Mother Jones4 min read
Oligarchy of Information
BACK IN 1983, journalist Ben Bagdikian published a book called The Media Monopoly. Fifty companies, he reported, owned the majority of US newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. It made quite a stir: So few entities had such control of the news
Mother Jones11 min read
The Big Breakup
ON DECEMBER 3, 1901, in his first annual message to Congress, Teddy Roosevelt began to articulate the new anti-monopoly doctrine that would define his presidency. “Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institut
Mother Jones23 min read
American Oligarchy
FOR THE LAST 18 months one of the most opulent and unnecessary vessels ever constructed has been floating in a narrow channel next to a jungle gym and a fleet of industrial cranes at the Port of San Diego. Built in Germany, and formerly managed by a
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