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Sometimes I wake up and I’m instantly confused. My twitter stream is blazing with snark over some topic that I’ve never heard of, and every individual tweet simply assumes you know what the fuss is about. Today it’s #nolabels. WTF?

Well, it turns out that No Labels is the latest centrist brainchild of….someone. I’m not sure who. But it features such luminaries as Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman, Michael Bloomberg, David Gergen, and a bunch of others. And what are they all about? I’m not sure. A pragmatic and sensible approach to our nation’s problems, of course, and God knows I’m OK with that, but beyond that it’s not clear. I browsed through their Issues page, but it was mostly just explanations of problems and links to reports and white papers from other organizations.

I don’t want to be instantly cynical about this. Who knows? Maybe it will catch on. But I dunno. Issues are pretty important to people, and No Labels categorically ignores social issues and doesn’t go much further on the rest of the issue spectrum either, saying “we don’t want to prejudge or lock ourselves into a given position on any issue when there is a much bigger cause that can unify us as Americans.”

Maybe. Turning down the outrage-o-meter certainly sounds like a good idea, but I’m not sure it means much to have a civil discussion if you don’t actually engage with all the stuff that normally turns our political discourse uncivil in the first place. In any case, now you know.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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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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