Since we examined the pros and cons of biotechnology (“A Growing Concern,” January/February), another dietary staple—corn—moved further into genetically altered terrain.

Tomato

Monsanto won EPA approval in late December to sell a transgenic corn seed, and immediately took full advantage, buying Holden’s Foundation Seeds—whose seed is used in 35 percent of U.S. cornfields—for $1 billion.

But Wall Street took heed of continued protests in Europe, where consumer groups worry about the health risks of genetically engineered crops. Investment bank NatWest Securities warned that the protests threatened the company’s seed sales.

Social Security

 

When we exposed the backdoor lobbying effort to privatize Social Security (“Up in Smoke,” November/December 1996), President Clinton’s Social Security Advisory Council was still keeping its study of privatization quiet—and out of the 1996 presidential race.

But in early January, the council endorsed a general plan to privatize, Social Securityand stories of the securities industry’s massive lobbying began to surface. One council member, Thomas Jones of TIAA-CREF, the country’s largest private pension system, says he was pressured by the mutual fund industry’s trade group to support an extreme privatization plan. “My response,” Jones told the Washington Post, “was that I was appointed as a public member of the advisory council, not as a representative of a company or an industry.”

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

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.