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A couple of months ago we bought one of those upside-down tomato planters you might have seen advertised on TV.  I like it.  It hangs right outside my window, so I get to watch it grow every day.

And it’s done well.  At least, we thought it was doing well until the first tomatoes ripened and we took a look at them.  The top halves are all fine, but the bottoms all look like the ones in the picture: convered with a gray, pulpy mass and basically ruined.  I’m not sure what causes this kind of thing.  Is it a bug?  A parasite?  Overwatering?  An alien nanobot infestation?  Something else?

I desperately need advice.  Are there any expert tomato farmers out there who can tell me what’s going on?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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