This Week in National Insecurity: Frequent Fliers Edition

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Welcome, insecure reader, to the friendly skies of national defense! In this weekly link dump: Air marshals are freeloaders; WikiLeaks Wiki-locks down on its public image; dirty subs, built dirt-cheap; Iranian arms dealers stop for cheesesteaks; your granddaddy’s Medal of Honor means bubkis at the White House; and a tea party Republican exaggerates just a teensy bit about his military experience.

The sitrep:

The United States government’s national threat level is Elevated, or Yellow. You’re welcome.

  • Sky marshals, who fly with you (for free) to prevent a hijacking, sit in first class a lot. Which airline executives don’t like. Not because “a free ride in a fluffy seat” costs the airlines money, mind you, but because it’s less secure. Silly air executives: Protecting profits is a national security issue. Every good free-marketeer knows that.
  • What’s long, hard, and wrapped in a “Wal-Mart tarp”? The Navy’s new $2 billion submarines, whose super-stealth coating falls apart in the water. It turns out that cutting costs on the construction of nuclear vessels is not totally a good thing.
  • What’s the best investigative national security story you haven’t heard about? It’s this Philadelphia Inquirer series about how authorities used a storefront sting to ensnare an arms dealer for the Iranian government, operating in a Philly suburb. Wait, what?
  • We’ve said it before: If you’re a descendant of the last African American Medal of Honor recipient in World War II, who rallied his fellow black troops and took out a bunch of Nazi gunner’s nests after his white commander deserted, and you don’t want to be turned away from a tour of the White House…don’t wear shorts and a T-shirt bearing the likeness of your hero grandfather. It’s just disrespectful.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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