Their Own Damn Fault?

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Jim Henley discovers that FEMA “wargamed” a hurricane strike in southern Louisiana this past July. Among the findings was that a hurricane would “leave 300,000 people trapped in New Orleans, many of whom would not have private transportation for evacuation.” By now it’s been discussed ad nauseum why many people couldn’t just up and leave the city when the evacuation order came round: not everyone has private transportation, it was the end of the month and many poor people were out of savings, where would they go in any case, what if the hurricane changed course and they were docked for missing work, etc., etc. Nevertheless, Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, still insists on blaming those who “chose not to evacuate” New Orleans. Despite the fact that his own agency knew full well this would happen. Unbelievable. Meanwhile, former Sen. John Edwards looks at the possible bright side and thinks that, at the very least, the New Orleans disaster may actually get people to notice the reach and effects of poverty in the region.

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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