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Dark Money: The Hidden History of the…
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Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the… (edizione 2016)

di Jane Mayer (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
1,3705911,246 (4.26)62
Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against "big government" led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But Jane Mayer argues that a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Their core beliefs -- that taxes are a form of tyranny; that government oversight of business is an assault on freedom -- are sincerely held. But these beliefs also advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws. The chief figures in the network are Charles and David Koch. The brothers were schooled in a political philosophy that asserted the only role of government is to provide security and to enforce property rights. When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency. These organizations were given innocuous names such as Americans for Prosperity. Funding sources were hidden whenever possible. This process reached its apotheosis with the allegedly populist Tea Party movement, abetted mightily by the Citizens United decision -- a case conceived of by legal advocates funded by the network. And their efforts have been remarkably successful. Libertarian views on taxes and regulation, once far outside the mainstream and still rejected by most Americans, are ascendant in the majority of state governments, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Meaningful environmental, labor, finance, and tax reforms have been stymied. Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews -- including with several sources within the network -- and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings to trace the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent and to provide vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy.… (altro)
Utente:Urquhart
Titolo:Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
Autori:Jane Mayer (Autore)
Info:Doubleday (2016), 464 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:*****
Etichette:Nessuno

Informazioni sull'opera

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right di Jane Mayer

Aggiunto di recente damorelikecrapitalism, James.W.Beckman, davidd, TheJordans20, ejmw, biblioteca privata, btbell_lt, mikernc
  1. 00
    Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy di Donald Gutstein (LamontCranston)
  2. 00
    Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America di Christopher Wylie (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: Mindf**k tells the story of the Mercer family investments in Cambridge Analytica like no other book.
  3. 00
    Logo land di Max Barry (fulner)
    fulner: Dark Money is the investigation to the How the Koch's influence American politics. Jennifer Government is a dystopian fictional work about 21st century world if the Ko hs ideology rules the planet
  4. 00
    Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America di Christopher Leonard (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: This book provides the full account of an event mentioned in passing in Dark Money. The oil stealing allegation and investigation from the 1980s.
  5. 00
    Meet Charles Koch's Brain di Mark Ames (LamontCranston)
  6. 00
    Chi sono i padroni del mondo di Noam Chomsky (LamontCranston)
  7. 00
    Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan di Kim Phillips-Fein (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: Invisible Hands covers much of the same territory as Dark Money but addresses more the philosophical developments of the movement.
  8. 00
    Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America di Nancy Maclean (LamontCranston)
  9. 00
    Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems di Thomas Ferguson (LamontCranston)
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» Vedi le 62 citazioni

Alarming. I think Mayer did a great job of exemplifying a real issue in American politics that is threatening the growth of democracy. I'm hoping she will expand on this work and do the same investigating these practices on the Left. ( )
  btbell_lt | Aug 1, 2022 |
Dark Money by Jane Mayer was very hard to read. Not that it isn't well written but the truth that it reveals is so upsetting to me that I could only read a bit of it at a time. I am grateful to the book discussion group Rochester Social Readers for exposing me to it. Dark Money is about the brothers Charles and David Koch who used their wealth to undermine our electoral system. The Kochs started out as libertarians but their real agenda was to become increasingly wealthy without the inconvenience of laws and regulations that kept them from abusing employees, polluting the environment and acting on the border of criminality. Author Jane Mayer quoted Charles Koch as saying "I want my fair share, which is all of it" That was supposed to be Koch joking but there is something far from humorous in his attitude. Mayer wrote "with two of the largest fortunes in the world worth an estimated $62 billion by 2012 David and Charles Koch were able to take advantage of the growing importance money in American politics." Mayer shows what they did with all those millions of dark money donations and how they did it. The Kochs claim to be patriots but what they achieved benefited themselves and the few most wealthy Americans like themselves and hurt the rest of us.

I started out reading Dark Money in a library book but I bought the kindle edition partly because I wanted to reward the author for her important contribution. I hope many more American voters will read this book. ( )
  MMc009 | Jan 30, 2022 |
Basically extremely rich people and businesses are taking over the US by "donating" in their political interests, including: subverting climate change science, taxing the poor rather than the rich, and infiltrating the academia world to teach students their way of thinking. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Jul 16, 2021 |
Proverbs 29:2
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.

Do you like the feeling that you’ve been duped? Not likely. Additionally, few of us even welcome hearing the news that we’re being duped. We tend to dismiss, at least initially, news which impacts us in a negative way. We may believe the office gossip when told that a co-worker is on the short-list for layoffs, or that an unpopular boss is having an affair with an underling, but we certainly don’t want to hear bad news about being on the short-list ourselves, or that it’s our spouse who’s having an affair. We’re probably predisposed to accept scandalous news about someone we don’t like, and deny, or at least question, scandalous news about someone we do like.

And I think that’s where Jane Mayer leaves us with her book ”Dark Money”. That's because her message is that we’ve been, and are being duped, in what we read and hear, by a handful of libertarian billionaires. According to Mayer’s research, much of the political and policy information given to the general public, by talk show hosts, by blogs, by certain media outlets, or by partisan politicians are framed “talking points” dictated by a small handful of powerful oligarchs, not the least of whom are the infamous Koch Brothers. They have the business reasons to want as small a government as possible, with few or no taxes, fewer environmental restrictions, elimination of regulations, etc., since they all impact their corporate holdings and bottom lines. And these ultra-wealthy individuals have the means, the motivation, and the power, to influence public policy. And if they can influence policy in a way that doesn’t make it appear that it’s for their benefit, and instead convince others that the policies they foster, which make them wealthier, are not for their benefit but for the public’s benefit, it’s they who benefit most. The rich get richer, and income inequality becomes greater.

So ”Dark Money” presents quite a grim picture. And you have to ask yourself if such a thing is truly possible. Is it really possible for a handful of very powerful individuals to truly influence a nation? Thinking of how the Nazi's were able to unite Germany behind their propaganda in the 1930's and 1940's, or Stalin was able to unite the Russian people under the banner of Communism, or Bin Laden was able to influence so many Muslims to his doctrine of violent jihad, perhaps it is possible. So I thought I'd go along with Mayer in her book, and see if I could buy into her premise. It became easier and easier the more I read.

Mayer's detailed investigation into the Koch Brothers, their upbringing, of the lessons they learned from their anti-government father,of their Libertarian belief system, etc. is telling. Mayer notes that any fights they've led to lower taxes, reduce government regulations, fund conservative think tanks, obstruct climate change beliefs, limit the reach of OSHA and the EPA, etc. are primarily designed to protect their vast financial empire. Any residual impact on the public, for better or for worse, are purely side effects. The Koch Brothers, and a handful of other ultra-rich, have the money, power, and influence to push their ideology through their media outlets and think tanks, generously funded by their tax deductible donations, to spin the topics as if their fight is the public's fight. In so doing, can they truly be that powerful of an influence on domestic policy?

I have to admit, I have wondered in the past, how political party platforms could dramatically change in a very short period of time. For example, universal health care in the U.S. was an idea which originated with the conservative Heritage Foundation, and was backed by the Republican Party. Similarly, Climate Change concerns were bipartisan, with Democratic Party candidates Bill Clinton and Barack Obama on-board, as were recent Republican Presidential candidates including George H. W. Bush, John McCain, George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney. Then, suddenly, seemingly overnight, the Republican Party made an about face and rejected belief in Climate Change. Cap and Trade was a Republican initiative, used to solve the acid rain problem in the 1970's, and it was done at costs much less than estimated, without costing jobs, harming the economy, or raising energy costs. Yet suddenly, this policy, now being proposed as a solution to a carbon emission problem, went from popular within the Republican Party to one universally objected to by the same politicians. I had wondered what could cause such a turnabout, and in such a short period of time.

Mayer makes the case that the unlimited corporate spending now allowed in today’s political arena does change policy. She documents an unbelievably close correlation with the mega wealth of the Koch Brothers from their energy holdings, and their founding (and funding) of libertarian and conservative think tanks, talk shows, and politicians and this turnaround in thinking. The trick, according to Mayer, is how the ultra-rich can use their money so effectively, in so many ways, across so many areas, and still stay out of the public view. Their "dark money", e.g., money which can be donated anonymously, often through tax deductible donations, is the key.

She details how, through a string of inter-connected think tanks, charitable non-profits, and political spending, they are able to obtain tax breaks for off-shore bank accounts, wealthy heirs, hedge-fund managers, and the like. Similarly, they are effective in opposing welfare, health care, minimum wage, organized labor, education, etc., e.g., things big government spends money on. Their anti-government, anti-spending agenda seems to have served them well. As Mayer points out, in the first year after the recovery from the 2008 – 2009 recession, the wealthiest top 1% received 93% of the income gains. And while they spread the word that the Obama Administration was a disaster and catastrophic for the nation, the Koch Brothers personal fortune increase three fold during these years to approximately $41 Billion each. All the while, the willful environmental damage caused by a number of the Koch Brothers industries during this time are particularly galling stories. Apparently, they've rationalized that it's more profitable to fight and ignore environmental regulations and pay the modest fines when caught, than it is to comply. And if people or the environment suffer, well, that's business.

In summary, ”Dark Money” is not a cheerful book to read, but if it’s only half true, it presents a monumental problem for our democracy.

New Testament Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Koch Brothers Golden Rule: He who has the Gold gets to Rule.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
I've been putting off reading this book because I knew it was going to be an incredibly stressful read, and I was right. But it was really great. By really great, I mean so bleak and scarier than any horror book because it is our reality, and I don't know how we'll ever get the country out from this control. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
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Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Mayer, Janeautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Potter, KirstenNarratoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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We must make our choice. We may have democracy,
or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few,
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This faction hoped to use their wealth to advance a strain of conservative libertarian politics that was so far out on the political fringe as recently as 1980, when David Koch ran for Vice President on the Libertarian Party ticket, it received only 1 percent of the American vote. At the time, the conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. dismissed their views as "Anarcho-Totalitarianism."
In support of building their own youth movement, another speaker, the libertarian historian Leonard Liggio, cited the success of the Nazi model. In his paper titled "National Socialist Political Strategy: Social Change in a Modern Industrial Society with an Authoritarian Tradition," Liggio, who was affiliated with the Koch-funded Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) from 1974 to 1998, described the Nazis' successful creation of a youth movement a key to their capture of the state. Like the Nazis, he suggested, libertarians should organise university students to create group identity.
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Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against "big government" led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But Jane Mayer argues that a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Their core beliefs -- that taxes are a form of tyranny; that government oversight of business is an assault on freedom -- are sincerely held. But these beliefs also advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws. The chief figures in the network are Charles and David Koch. The brothers were schooled in a political philosophy that asserted the only role of government is to provide security and to enforce property rights. When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency. These organizations were given innocuous names such as Americans for Prosperity. Funding sources were hidden whenever possible. This process reached its apotheosis with the allegedly populist Tea Party movement, abetted mightily by the Citizens United decision -- a case conceived of by legal advocates funded by the network. And their efforts have been remarkably successful. Libertarian views on taxes and regulation, once far outside the mainstream and still rejected by most Americans, are ascendant in the majority of state governments, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Meaningful environmental, labor, finance, and tax reforms have been stymied. Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews -- including with several sources within the network -- and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings to trace the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent and to provide vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy.

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