Taking the Rage a Bit Far?

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I’m sure that all of the “aggressive, shirtless, white males” that saw Rage Against the Machine perform at the Rock the Bells hip hop concert in New York this weekend were stoked to see the Grammy-winning political metal-rap band back together after a seven-year hiatus.

But were they expecting lead singer Zack de la Rocha to say that members of the Bush Administration should be hung and tried and shot for war crimes? Yikes!

I mean, I’m all for mixing politics with music, but really? After seven years off, you’d think the band would have prepared a better statement.

This is the same band that, 10 years ago, took on social justice issues by making an album cover from a picture of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk protesting the murder of fellow monks by self-immolation in Saigon in 1963. This is also the same band that has spoken out against the death penalty in front of the United Nations, donated concert earnings to social justice organizations, and performed benefit shows for American political prisoners like Leonard Peltier.

I’m not sure what the band was hoping to accomplish, but de la Rocha’s comment got author Ann Coulter and rocker Ted Nugent to agree that there’s a limit to freedom of speech rights.

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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