It’s 3 am here on the mean streets of Irvine. It’s a dex night, so I’m wide awake. Suddenly the cats start wailing.

I stand up. Wham! Hilbert and Hopper nearly bowl me over running to the patio door. Their tails are bushy. They are hissing. I look outside.

It’s a cat wearing the damnedest fur coat I’ve ever seen. There are three of them and they want to come inside. Naturally I’m too smart to fall for that old trick: I keep the door closed while I take my pictures. Unfortunately we removed our patio lighting a few months ago and never replaced it, so it’s dark and the photos turn out blurry and grainy. But it’s enough. They know I’m on to them and eventually they go away.

According to my wildlife guide, this is a breed of cat known as “raccoon.” Elsewhere in Southern California, mountain lions are roaming backyards and bears are ambling down the streets of Monrovia. Here, we just have hungry raccoons.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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