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

Dark Money The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right 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

  • Title: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
  • Author: Jane Mayer
  • ISBN: 9780385535601
  • Page: 496
  • Format: ebook
  • 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 uprisiWhy 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 as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step by step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.The network has brought together some of the richest people on the planet 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, whose father made his fortune in part by building oil refineries in Stalin s Russia and Hitler s Germany The patriarch later was a founding member of the John Birch Society, whose politics were so radical it believed Dwight Eisenhower was a communist 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 Richard Mellon Scaife, the mercurial heir to banking and oil fortunes, had the brilliant insight that most of their political activities could be written off as tax deductible philanthropy 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.The political operatives the network employs are disciplined, smart, and at times ruthless Mayer documents instances in which people affiliated with these groups hired private detectives to impugn whistle blowers, journalists, and even government investigators 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 in reporting this book In a taut and utterly convincing narrative, she traces the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent by the network and provides vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy.Dark Money is a book that must be read by anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.

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      Published :2019-02-21T07:21:15+00:00

    1 thought on “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

    1. We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Louis D. BrandeisIt has been a consistent element of modern life in the USA that the public polls as more progressive than our elected officials. Given that in a democracy one would expect representatives to more or less reflect the views of the people who make up the population, and not speak in opposition to them, this seems surprising at first blush. Yes, we have ou [...]

    2. "I just want my fair share--which is all of it."- Charles Koch, quoted in Jane Mayer, Dark MoneyI'm not sure reading this right after Trump got elected was the right decision. As I write this Betsy DeVos (sister of Eric Prince, daughter of billionaire Edgar Prince, daughter-in-law to Amway founder Richard DeVos) just got picked to be Trump's Secretary of Education. Let it sink in for a minute. We just had a billionaire nominate another billionaire for a seat at the political table. It is really [...]

    3. I'm not American, but my reaction to Dark Money is that everyone in the US -- and elsewhere for that matter -- who has any interest in politics must read it. For reasons related to my busy life and not the quality of the book, I listened to the audio of Dark Money sporadically over several weeks. But each time I picked it up I was mesmerized. And I suspect that Dark Money has made me a conversational bore because in so many conversations over the past few weeks, I have found a way to relate the [...]

    4. We're all fucked. Everything is fucked. Mitch McConnell, I hope you and the rest of you soul-selling goons really do believe in hell, because I'm sadistically delighted by the idea of you guys having to drink yourselves to sleep every night expecting that you're going to burn there for allll eternity. No worries, though, eventually the whole planet will be a ball of fire thanks to your collective flipflopping on global warming for Kochtopus money, so it looks like we'll all be burning with you i [...]

    5. It will not be surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that for the past twenty years our political system has been awash in special interest money. Mayer tells us it is forty years. What Mayer does in this detailed accounting is to elucidate the sources of that money and the routes it takes to influence votes. What may be more surprising to readers is how often that money has failed in its mission. Probably the best reason for reading this book is to see how Jane Mayer allows these ind [...]

    6. Urge you to read this book.Leave your political beliefs aside and read this book. How commercials, news media reports are influencing us how to vote country, state and every two years. All the dark money behind all those 501 (c) billionaires and millionaires. We don't have one person one vote anymore, our cabinet members already made of billionaires and millionaires. Even university courses, professors, judges, senators, representatives are elected.After reading how four Koch brothers were broug [...]

    7. I haven't finished the book yet, but the thrust is clear. The Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are implementing a plan to take over American government at every level. Their objectives are purely personal greed: no taxes, no regulation (especially environmental), minimal government for all people and programs except defense and whatever benefits the very wealthy. The problem is they're succeeding. They can't win the Presidency yet, but at every other level - Congress, Senate, state le [...]

    8. What an important book! I'm planning to read it slowly and will note some key quotes and information from each section. "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis BrandeisINTRODUCTION:"We are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth. When you have a few people who are so wealthy that they can effectively buy the political system, [...]

    9. Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer is a 2016 Doubleday publication. I can read supernatural horror novels, the grittiest crime thrillers, true crime and a host of other material that sends shivers down my spine, but nothing paralyzes me with fear more than hidden forces influencing government in barely detectable ways, influencing the quality of life for millions of people in the process. After this election, it has become clear, [...]

    10. This book shines a light on dark money. It’s called dark money because it is of unknown origin (i.e. secret), unlimited in its amount, intended for political purposes, and in the United States it’s legal and often tax deductible. This book based on thorough research turns the darkness into a bit lighter shade of dark.The conservative shift in American politics, and its continuing movement toward the radical right didn’t just happen. This book makes it clear that it was paid for by wealthy [...]

    11. Nothing in America makes sense except in the light of moneyed interests. Essential reading. If you don't read it, for the love of Christ at least read about it. nybooks/articles/2016/Mayer's original New Yorker article from 2010newyorker/magazine/201

    12. Our government has been hijacked by billionaires who are only interested in making themselves money. This book should be required reading for anyone living in America today to understand our political climate, and for anyone outside of America who lives in a representative democracy.Charles and David Koch have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into redefining American politics. The basic amount alone - on whatever side of the aisle - should stagger you. It would stagger any American voter [...]

    13. I'm sorry. I bailed. I simply felt as though I was suffocating under the piles of Dark Money, the angles to obstruct President Obama politically and these greedy billionaires who don't give two hoots about anyone except their fortunes and the relatives who will inherit. The author names names, lists companies, organizations which hide behind fronts as philanthropic efforts but are just tax shelters (oh, trumped?)- and as I was reading, Trump was naming the head of Amway's daughter to his inner s [...]

    14. As a Brit who had never heard of the Koch brothers – to my knowledge not once have they ever been mentioned on a news or current affairs programme in the UK – this was a startling and terrifying read. Now and again I had the feeling the US might, in the not too distant future, become the dystopian society we often read about in novels and see in films where the many are surfs ruled by an elite few corporations. This will certainly be the case if the individuals this book is about get their w [...]

    15. Charles and David Koch grew up rich in Wichita Kansas. Their father Fred had built a fortune overseeing oil refinery development for both Stalin and Hitler and establishing a thriving oil refining business in the US. He learned to despise the communists but he admired the German work ethic. He became a strong libertarian supporting the John Birch Society. He was a strict disciplinarian to his four sons not hesitating to beat them. Two sons in particular, Charles and David, reflected their author [...]

    16. This is a 464 page newspaper article by a liberal with an agenda, who seems to honestly believe only those on the right have agendas or corruption. I would highly recommend this book as a companion text for logic students, showcasing many logical fallacies, particularly ad hominem, attacking the motive, and genetic fallacies, as well as her unabashed propaganda techniques throughout. For instance, she consistently refers to teaching conservative principles as "indoctrination", describes conserva [...]

    17. First, let me begin by stating unequivocally that Jane Mayer is an important journalist whose work should be required reading for everyone – not just people interested in politics, but everyone. She continues to write, daring and dauntless, about the secret workings of very powerful forces, be they governmental forces like the NSA and CIA, in her previous book, The Dark Side, or private, like the Koch Company, whose attempts to silence her have been documented in the NYT along with other news [...]

    18. Dark Money“We have two unelected multibillionaires who want to control the US government and exercise the power to decide what is best for more than 300 million American people, without the voices of those people being heard.”This is the quote from the book which summarises it pretty well. Jane Mayer has invested a lot of her talent, courage and energy in investigating and telling the story of systematic attempt in privatising the democratic process in the US. The book tells the story how Ko [...]

    19. Yowee. What a damning exposé of the role of money in our political system. Jane Mayer mostly focuses on the Kochs, while also highlighting other oligarchic players like the Devos and their role in buying influence and crafting policy often at the cost of the public interest.I'm not going to lie. This was rather a frustrating read for me. It's hard not to get upset at the current paradigm and situation of our political system and how badly it has been subverted by powerful moneyed interests. So [...]

    20. This is your summertime, vacation beach read, right here. If you're looking to escape from it all, stop worrying about trivial things like the death of the American experiment, etc well, then this baby right here is for you.JK, this is the single most disheartening, depressing book I've ever read (and I have read a lot of downers in my day). To be frank, it sat on my desk for three or four months before I finally picked it up. But once I did, it hooked me in. Partly, it's that it feels necessary [...]

    21. A fascinating look at the behind the scenes world of politics big money and the people who control so much of the landscape.A meticulously researched look into the Koch brothers their roots and their amazing influence control of today's political world.Perfect read for today in the midst of a particularly weird caucus time from Trump to Cruz toRubio to Jeb this is their world their control &influence .

    22. Anyone who has read this book and taken a look at the composition of Trump’s cabinet will understand that the Koch brothers and the right wing network that they helped form and continue to support has, broadly speaking, succeeded in its aims.Let us briefly recap what those aims were. They were the promotion of fossil fuels and the suppression of climate scientists warning against their continued exploitation (Tillerson); tax cuts for the wealthy, paid for by a reduction in social benefits such [...]

    23. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, get a lot of attention from political observers and, increasingly, from the public. No wonder. The fortune they possess together is greater than those of Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Warren Buffet, and other private individuals who are often characterized as the richest people in the world. But it’s not the brothers’ wealth that attracts the attention. It’s their heavy-handed attempt to dominate American politics. That’s the subject of Jane Mayer’s exp [...]

    24. I'm probably as guilty as anyone of refusing to really look at things in the world I don't want to see. I think it has to do with self protection but it's possible that more is at work there. I saw Dark Money on a few lists late last year and it was one of a few books I bought for myself for Christmas. As nauseating and dispiriting as the thorough reportage is in Dark Money, it is required reading for anyone who cares about the state of politics, the rise of the radical right and the enormous in [...]

    25. A deeply disturbing and profoundly depressing account of how a cadre of extremely wealthy US business people continue to use their wealth to subvert American democracy using a variety of integrated techniques. Charles and David Koch, the enormously rich proprietors of an oil company based in Kansas, started their programme in the early 1980s and, by the midterm elections of 2010, they'd ushered in the political system that the'd spent years creating. They had financed and organised a network of [...]

    26. This is a sweeping account of how extremely wealthy individuals have over the past 30 years built an infrastructure to influence/control the US political system. While the book is heavy on policy it gives some background on the Koch brothers, the leaders/developers of this new brand of influence, and others such as Richard Mellon Scaife, the Bradley’s, the Olin’s and the DeVos Family. What these billionaires have in common is a desire to be free of regulations, unions and taxes to enrich the [...]

    27. WARNING: This is a long review filled with citations, propositions, and insinuations. Read at your own risk.The demonization of the Koch Brothers political machine by Mayers, while impressive, reminds me of one reason why the Democrats failed in 2016. They will have difficulty regaining Congress if they continue to focus on personalities rather than policies and issues. The book plays into the Democrats' (liberals?) need to blame someone else rather than their own failures. The Democrats' emphas [...]

    28. This book is about the "vast right wing conspiracy" in American politics - really. It is a very thorough and methodical history of the growing ascendency of right wing political donors since the Goldwater campaign and especially since the "Citizen's United" decision of the US Supreme Court. The principal focus of the book is on the history of the Koch Brothers and the rise of their organization into the well managed and influential hub of outside right wing money in the US. The author has writte [...]

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