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For some time, there was a short, lively feature in this magazine called Conspiracy Watch. It did not have an exclamation point, but I read it as such: Conspiracy Watch!

Sometimes mimicking the zeal and verve of the conspiracy writers themselves, staff members would break down why a Lady Gaga music video was probably not an Illuminati plot or why it didn’t sound quite right that infamous superdollars (counterfeit bills traced back to North Korea) were, in fact, produced by the CIA. Each is affixed with a “kookiness rating”: “1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!” CIA superdollars got a 3; Lady Gaga droning you into submission got a 5.

There are others to enjoy. Rumors of Operation Couch Potato, a plan to give us better TVs so we can sit on our butts and watch in high definition instead of overturning the government. And the idea that all the gold in Fort Knox is gone. A classic? The idea that the Mafia caused the stock market crash.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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