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2016-2022 Book Reads > Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer

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message 1: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer.

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

Our next read. Feel free to join in.

message 2: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
While Obama was being inaugurated, a group of right-wing activists met on the outskirts of Palm Springs, California, where the very rich live. They represented "the nation's most powerfully entrenched business interests." Their goal was "to nullify the results of the recent election." In the group were "billionaire businessmen, heirs to some of America''s greatest dynastic fortunes, right-wing media moguls, conservative elected officials, and savvy political operatives who had made handsome livings helping their patrons win and hold power." The "guests of honor" though were the "investors," the men and women with the money to pay for their goals. The group was summoned together by Charles Koch.

message 3: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
Thanks... scary stuff. But sadly the economics books I have been reading would agree. Not necessarily limited to one party, but an overarching move to make America run by corporate groups which suck money away from the middle class and poor.

The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time
The One Percent Solution How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time by Gordon Lafer

No Is Not Enough Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

message 4: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
I think there is great danger in the "both parties" argument. It eliminates individual responsibility to find out who stands for what, and it falls right into the hands of the people that Naomi Klein and Jane Mayer talk about. The only Republican protests against Scott Pruitt are for his money taking. I can't find any Republicans opposed to his environmental policies. Or at least none making a big deal about it.

message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments A good sucker of money from the people who can't afford it would kick back some of it [real rebates] back to the people who are least able to give up the extra dollar and it wouldn't matter what their affiliation is or was. There are plenty of rich democrats whose sources of revenue are tanking the planet by taking advantage of all the loopholes whilst they utter not one complaint.

The public infrastructure, which includes water, power, sanitation, energy, communications, streets, rivers, rails, airports, lakes should be paid for, maintained, repaired, updated and protected by those who make the real money off of it. Not some poor guy who has to live in a house or apartment and drive to work to work for a non living wage so the company they work for can make out a nice bundle every year off their use of the infrastructure from start to finish of their operations. Forget about profit, as that is an accountants allusion that can always be zero while the big bucks continue to roll in.

The people who live in the infrastructure coverage areas and are below a threshold income can not possibly pay for the upkeep of the massive infrastructure that has been created. Taxing the poor for services rendered now and for future costs is a zero sum solution. They just don't have the money to do it. The people making all the money have the resources to handle the infrastructure costs only they like to set up the population count so everyone has an equal voice so everyone has an equal fiscal responsibility which means the costs of the infrastructure will never be met starting with day 1.

message 6: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
This is often what happens in political discussions. People don't vote, they vote for 3rd parties, and the result is Donald Trump for President while his enablers are laughing all the way to the bank.

Robert, why not name a specific person that fits your description. Voters tend to lump everyone together without ever knowing the details of how their congressional representatives behave.

message 7: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Back to the book, here are some of the people who attended the Koch meeting: 1. Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking and Gulf Oil fortunes; 2. Harry and Lynde Bradley, midwesterners enriched by defense contracts; 3. John M. Olin, a chemical and munitions company titan; 4. the Coors brewing family of Colorado; and 5. the DeVos family of Michigan, founders of the Amway marketing empire. Betsy DeVos is now the Secretary of Education, and I cannot tell you how much I despise her policies.

message 8: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The Koch brothers plan was to make the extreme right libertarian view mainstream, and they succeeded. They amassed incredible amounts of money from their donors to make this possible. They destroyed all paperwork for every summit. No trail was left behind. All donations were kept secret. They became underground guerillas.

The income gap was growing in America. The goal was to create a highly unequal society of wealth: a plutocracy or even an oligarchy like Russia. Now we see the fascination with Russia in full bloom.

Mike Lofgren, a Republican staff member on the Senate Committee, decried the "secession" of the rich in which they "disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well-being except as a place to extract loot."

message 9: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments The entire world has been on this path for a very long time.

message 10: by Clare (last edited Jul 06, 2018 01:18AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
Now we're back to
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
and the Oxfam report, Wealth: Having it all and wanting more.

message 11: by Ken (new)

Ken Kroes (ken_kroes) | 69 comments Thank-you for the link to the Oxfam report Clare!

I also agree with Robert in that we have been on this path for a very long time.

The 1% that live in the commerce atmosphere have all of the important cards and will be just fine, regardless of what happens to the planet. This is the biggest obstacle to real change and I am not at all sure it can be overcome.

message 12: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Maybe we need to convince them that this will affect them as well.

message 13: by Robert (last edited Jul 06, 2018 01:00PM) (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments It's not happening to me is a very common human trait, it's always the other guy getting the bad news.

Anything done now is done on a massive scale which means you can see the consequences immediately. No waiting a life time or longer to see what is going to happen. Weakening all the regulations will start processes in motion that can be felt the next day by everyone. We are on the tipping points of so many things, that it is very easy to see what is happening. The factories in Asia go back to CFC-11s and it's only months before the effects are seen in the atmosphere. In the past it took forever for the consequences to show up. That insulation of time and space has been wiped out by the very way we live in a world of instantaneous communications. We thought it would only effect sights and sounds, things we have always controlled. But times have changed and the medium is the message. Yo want "it" now? You got it, and the "it" is everything on the menu. Everything.

I don't believe every single piece of food labeled organic is really organic. Or grown under the most auspicious conditions. Field workers forced to live in the crop fields they growing or harvesting are living in the fields they are harvesting. It used to be that if you got sick, a simple case of food poisoning, a few days and you were back on your feet. Now there can be additional genes or even other microbes in the with the ordinary food poisoning that can result in the destruction of the kidneys. Sure, having additional funds can get you better treatment if there is better treatment available. It can also get you wackier treatment if there is no valid treatment for what you got.

The microbe world reacts to everything we do to it, and just living here, we are supposed to be interacting in a beneficial way. That's how the planet nourishes life. We're not doing it by ourselves. Anyone thinking they are or has the funds to think they are living "on their own" are standing at the edge of a very deep abyss. The microbe world is on a arms race, just like us, updating its weapons and defenses every time we screw with it. Nowadays everything we are doing is screwing with it.

Thinking that you can raise a child in an absolutely germ free, super clean environment, away from the reaches of the dirt has been proven to be actually raising children with weaker immune systems. So much for money. Children have to double their weight several times before they reach adult weight. Adults on the other hand have reached adult weight and only add fat or muscle to their bodies. Fat and muscle, while important are not the building blocks of your organs, your bones, your nervous system, etc., etc. Children's bodies are taking in all this industrial crap and natural by products of an annoyed microbe world and using that to double their weights. While adults are only adding what really doesn't matter a whole lot in growing a body's integral parts bigger. Maintaining adult bodies yes, growing it, no.

The polar bears living in the Polar regions have PCBs concentrated in their organs. Which means PCBs are everywhere you want to be. Rich people eating bear organs are poisoning themselves because the powerful bear organs filter out that stuff to protect the bear's bodies. How ironic that what used to be healthy is now giving someone a self inflicted dose of PCBs.

The atmosphere is flooded thick with micro size particles
of everything in the world, anything and everything, living, dead, inert, fresh, natural, synthetic. Even bits of rock are floating around. Once anything gets to nano size it becomes virtually weightless and floats anywhere throughout the world. This nano bath is unavoidable and use to be beneficial to the growth of life. It had to be or life wouldn't have flourished. The nano bath started flowing 4.5 billion years ago. We have added a considerable amounts of nano particles to the mix that are not useful to the bigger life forms on the planet. The micro forms just by their existence are able to exist under any conditions. As the life gets bigger it is less able to adapt to the changing content of the nano stream. The existence of the micro life makes the existence of the bigger life possible, but the existence of the bigger life has nothing to do with the existence of the micro life. The micro life is not constrained to only make substances that support the bigger life. When the big and little life forms are in sync, it does provide a healthy base, when out of sync there is no contract that says the micro life has to continue providing life supporting substances.

Remember we are all breathing Shakespeare's air. That includes all the nano stuff as well. If there is a single grain of truth in Holistic medicine, and there always is a grain of truth in anything people believe in, then we are all being self medicated by some horrific crap that can't be avoided. Nano particles can sail straight through the skin into the body. When people think about clean diesels, they are missing the fact that they are creating massive amounts of nano particles in their clean exhausts. No particulate particles in that clean exhaust, and as for the rest of it you can't see, it's okay, just breath it all or just let it float through your skin. That's how it's always worked, with or without money.

message 14: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Here are the Koch brothers and the misnamed "Americans for Prosperity" still at work:

message 15: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The things that drew these people together in one group was hatred of government regulation and taxation. Sometimes we help them out with our own complaints.

Steven A. Cohen ran the spectacularly hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors which was once the subject of an intense criminal investigation. Prosecutors called his firm "a veritable magnet of market cheaters." His fortune was valued at $10.3 billion dollars.

Paul Singer ran the lucrative hedge fund Elliot Management. His fortune estimated at $1.9 billion. Critics said he ran a "vulture fund." He bought debt from distressed countries, then took aggressive action to get the loans back at a huge profit. He supported Giuliani for mayor. He called himself "a Goldwater free market conservative."

Stephen Schwarzman became a poster boy for Wall Street excess. He ran Blackstone. Like the other two, he wanted to protect himself from prosecution when Obama took office.

message 16: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Robert Mercer's firm was being investigated for avoiding paying billions of dollars in taxes.

Other names include Ken Langone of Home Depot, Richard Strong of Strong Capital Management, Philip Anschutz who was called the "greediest executive" of 2002.

Richard DeVos of Amway pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud Canada of $22 million in customs duties. He had to pay a fine of $20 million.

Corbin Robertson, Jr., owned "the largest private hoard" of coal, about 21 billion tons of reserves. He wanted to see coal burning stay on.

Richard Gilliam owned the Virginia mining company Columbia Resources. He lost 29 miners in an explosion. He was negligent in safety violations. And he hated regulations.

Many frackers were also in the group.

message 17: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands had a fortune around $31.4 billion. He was facing a bribery investigation.

Oliver Grace was involved in a stock-backdating scandal.

Richard Farmer made a $2.76 million settlement for an employee's gruesome death for six safety violations. Those pesky regulations. He had a worker, an Hispanic immigrant, burn to death in an industrial dryer. In that case he was cited for over 170 safety violations. He blamed the employee.

Stephen Bechtel had a fortune of $2.8 billion. His company relied on government contracts. He paid a $352 million fine to Boston for substandard work on the tunnel.

message 18: by Clare (last edited Jul 16, 2018 07:41AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
Since I don't know these American names I have not been following, but I spotted an article today and this seems like a good place for it as related comment.
The author is Jeremy Lent and while I haven't come across him before, he is suggesting ideas to curb the ever-increasing power of giant corporations and billionaires.

message 19: by Clare (last edited Aug 02, 2018 01:23AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
You mention a vulture fund earlier. We've become familiar with the term here in Ireland. One such is Cerebrus which is Canadian. This group has bought up bulk residential mortgages and whole blocks of rented apartments. They do such things as raising the rent by a great deal, which means that someone just managing to get by can't, and has to leave. Not only is a hardworking person's wage swallowed up in higher rent, but the wage earned in Ireland is presumably being funnelled to Canada. Thus there is no reinvestment in Ireland.
Charlie Weston, now an economics writer and editor for a newspaper, was one such person who found his not-stressed at all mortgage sold without warning to a vulture fund.

His mortgage was with Danske Bank and was sold without notice to a fund called Proteus - he investigated, being a journalist.

"So Proteus, the new owner of my tracker mortgage, provides no information on itself, yet it thinks it is appropriate to get its agent to send me and my wife separate letters (never mind that it is a joint mortgage) demanding that we identify ourselves.
Proteus, it turns out, is a company only set up last October 13, with registered offices at 32 Molesworth Street, Dublin, which is the address of corporate law firm Maples and Calder.
Mr Rowe is listed on a Maples website as having experience that “covers Irish and Cayman Islands domiciled investment funds including hedge funds, multi-manager funds, private equity funds, emerging market funds and unit trusts”.
He is a director of 239 companies. He did not return calls.
The Central Bank confirmed that Proteus is not a regulated firm in this country.

However, the Companies Office information shows that Proteus Funding DAC is owned by none other than Goldman Sachs of New York. The controversial Wall Street investment bank has been described by ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine in the US as a “vampire squid”.

“The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” it said.

Goldman Sachs has a registered office at 70 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin. The receptionists said they had no knowledge of the company when I called on the phone and in person."

message 20: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
These companies now are multi-national. I am sure all around the world there are more names we could add to this list. That makes the problem that much harder to solve. Environmental issues are put on the back burner for wealth accumulation and elimination of regulations.

Here in the US, the group I am listing worked together to be sure that "libertarian" and "conservative" ideas became mainstream. At least, their twist on those words.

message 21: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The great Louis Brandeis once said: "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." Sadly, we are now witnessing an administration in the US going gung-ho into concentrating wealth into the hands of a tiny minority.

The fiercely libertarian Koch family owed part of its fortune to two of history's most infamous dictators: Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. Fred Chase Koch founded the family oil business and developed lucrative business relationships with both of their regimes in the 1930s.

He had four sons. Frederick or Freddie was born in 1933, Charles in 1935, and the twins David and William in 1940. The father Fred was one of the original eleven members of the John Birch Society. He would say Communists had infiltrated both parties. He thought all of the following were Communist tools: Protestant churches, public schools, universities, labor unions, armed services, State Department, World Bank, UN, modern art. Birchers wanted to impeach Earl Warren after the Supreme Court desegregated public schools in Brown v. Board of Education. Fred believed the black man was an important part of taking over America. This is a sampling of what the Kochs grew up with.

Fred would use his fortune to subsidize political activism. We are now seeing his sons achieve amazing success with their fortunes.

message 22: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Fred saw taxes as socialism. He wanted an elaborate estate to pass on to his children. The Kochs have managed to get poor people to vote against the inheritance tax by calling it the "death tax." What fools we are.

Charles resigned from the John Birch Society in 1968 after his father died. However, he did promote a radical fringe group known as the Freedom School. My goodness, how the phony "conservatives" destroy that word "freedom."

The head of the Freedom School was Robert LeFevre. He could whip crowds into a frenzy by mentioning Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. The crowds would shout, "Annihilate them!" Sound familiar? Now we have, "Lock her up!"

The school taught revisionist history. They denigrated anything to do with Progressivism. Slavery was a lesser evil than the draft. Human beings ought to be allowed to sell themselves into slavery if they want to. Ah, Libertarianism!

They wanted no government at all. None. They even called it "anarchy." They wanted ONE bill of right: You can own property. Can you imagine? Charles loved this school and funded it. He made free market principles guide his whole life. He has since made so-called "libertarianism" a word that many respectable people defend. We have entered the Twilight Zone.

message 23: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments People have entered the twilight zone but Mother Nature is running the show and in her world money doesn't count for anything.

message 24: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
If the only right is to own property, it will not be long before people are property.

message 25: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments We are already treated that way. The medical ID number is used to bill people the most effective [profitable] way, not to get the best possible treatment for the situation. If you fall out of line you are left there, the line is constantly being refilled behind you. Medical treatment and the fast food industry have a lot in common. People's needs and values are graded according to their extrinsic values, just as property is. One third of the world's food is thrown away every year because it spoils before it can be sold for a profit. All that wasted food is needed to feed people who don't have enough. On this planet it is more important to make a profit than it is to make sure everyone has what they need to stay alive. That is a sure sign of life being viewed as property with no intrinsic value.

message 26: by Clare (last edited Dec 31, 2018 12:25PM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
They're at it again.

" An alarming projection produced by the House of Commons library suggests that if trends seen since the 2008 financial crash were to continue, then the top 1% will hold 64% of the world’s wealth by 2030. Even taking the financial crash into account, and measuring their assets over a longer period, they would still hold more than half of all wealth. "

message 27: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
When my sister was dying last year, I had to drop the book for a while. I will add more comments now. I feel the importance is that "libertarianism" is the most dangerous ideology we now face in America.

message 28: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The Kochs fought campaign finance rules with men like Grover Norquist. They favored the abolishment of all health care programs, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, income and corporate taxes, the Federal Election Commission, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the FBI, the CIA, minimum wage laws, child labor laws, the Food and Drug Administration, seat belt laws, welfare for the poor. I could go on.

message 29: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
I believe an upcoming candidate for US President said recently that no person gets rich by themselves. The firm they own uses roads built by the public, their workers went to public schools and public hospitals, etc. I would add electricity publicly generated and provided, water from publicly maintained rivers and air kept breathable by public statutes. Just for a start.

message 30: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments We could use a multi level tax for using the infrastructure. A higher rate for commercial use, a lower rate for personal use, like driving to work.

message 31: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Richard Mellon Scaife, like the Koch brothers, was able to keep tens of millions of dollars by donating to public "charities" or "nonprofit" organizations.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, "No amount of charity in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them." Others also criticized these efforts by the Rockefellers, but foundations were created, and we still face the consequences.

By 2013, there were over 100,000 private foundations with assets over 800 billion dollars. They have very little accountability. Now Richard Mellon Scaife is considered to be the "dark spirit behind right-wing causes." What always amazes is that poor people vote rich. They allow this to happen by who they vote for. And these foundations are supporting anti-environmental causes. Make no mistake about that.

message 32: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The key name became corporate lawyer Lewis Powell, who would later become a Supreme Court Justice. Rachel Carson, Ralph Nader, and others had corporations worried. Laws and regulations were coming to restrict their libertarian destructiveness: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, and so on. Something had to be done about it.

They looked to Powell, an unabashed defender of tobacco. He wanted to see that corporations had the same rights as individuals. That day has come. With a vengeance.

Then came the Heritage Foundation whose sole purpose was to support "conservative" causes. I mock that word "conservative." Other names were Joseph Coors and Irving Kristol to back them with money.

Heritage Foundation supporters included Amoco, Amway, Boeing, Chase Manhattan Bank, Chevron, Dow, Exxon, General Electric, General Motors, Mesa Petroleum, Mobil, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, R. J. Reynolds, Searle, Sears, Roebuck, SmithKline Beckman, Union Carbide, and Union Pacific. They paid the bills and the think tank gave them their agendas.

message 33: by Jimmy (last edited Feb 12, 2019 07:14PM) (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC helped write bills to spread to every state legislature in the country. Those small elections you have in every state are critically important.

Ronald Reagan helped pass a succession of hefty tax cuts for the rich. He slashed corporate and individual taxes. Between 1981 and 1986, the top income tax rate was cut from 70 to 28 percent. But taxes on the bottom four fifths of wage earners rose. Economic inequality, which had begun to flatline, began to climb. By the way he also cut taxes on oil profits.

message 34: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Libertarians complain about regulations. They have either conveniently forgotten or are too lacking in knowledge to realize there were times when there were not many regulations. The regulations were put in for very good reasons. Take John Olin and the use of mercury. It was leaked into waterways and breathed in by workers. No effort was made to protect people. That, Gentle Reader, is why you have regulations. All mercury needs to be regulated. It was the government left to try and clean it up.

Olin responded by trying to change education. He supported "conservative" causes in education. He bought books to make them best sellers, supported grants, and funded libertarian causes in education everywhere. His foundation funded the teaching of the class Law and Economics in the top colleges. This created a lot of judges, lawyers, politicians, to follow his lead. He also helped keep the journal National Review afloat. John Olin died in 1982, but he laid the groundwork for today.

message 35: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
A man named Donald Carlson worked at Koch refining company. He cleaned out huge tanks of leaded gasoline. Would you ever do that job? What do we owe that man? For the Koch brothers, the answer is nothing. They hated the regulations meant to protect Mr. Carlson and ignored them. To them, regulations are "socialistic." That is such nonsense. Try being a coal miner in communist China. They have very few regulations. It takes true freedom to gain those rights. The Kochs let Carlson go with six months pay. NO job and sick.

Here is how the author Thomas Frank defines libertarianism: "A corporate front masked as a philosophy."

message 36: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The Kochs were essentially able to take over George Mason University by donations. The Cato Institute called it a "libertarian mecca." The judges being created there are now taking over our judicial system as Trump nominees. With that comes an end to environmental regulation.

Here is an example of what they do. In 1997, the Mercatus Center came up with a defense of smog as blocking the sun and protecting against skin cancer. I shit you not. There were still enough Supreme Court Judges to defend the Clean Air Act. But that is slowly coming to an end.

message 37: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
The next step was to make libertarianism popular with regular people who had absolutely nothing to gain by it. And they succeeded. And that would be The Tea Party.

"Total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs."--Isaiah Berlin.

Many people believe the anti-government rage began with a crazy Network-like rant by Rick Santelli on CNBC as he complained about government "interference." Poor President Obama actually believed he could bridge the gap between the two parties. Good luck with that. And it is long past time for people to realize that. Let's also admit that race was a factor. A huge factor.

message 38: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Chapter 8 dealt with climate change. We live in a two-party country. Thanks to the libertarian movement we now have one party opposing any efforts to deal with climate change: the Republican party. There was a time when both were concerned. Now it is impossible for any Republican to go this way. Folks, it is time to send a message in the next elections. I don't care how small the election, never vote for climate change deniers.

There was a surprising connection between gun "enthusiasts" and climate change denial. Why is that? It brought on threats to scientists.

message 39: by Clare (last edited Feb 19, 2019 01:34AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
Re taking over a college by donations; I read a book Halt at X Halt at X (North of Boston #1) by Sally Ann Sims
about a Boston college administrator who keeps a horse; I could not believe how corrupt the whole college business sounded.
Trinity College here in Dublin was adding a new building and first went looking for corporate donations, then suddenly "got all conscientious'' I was told and decided to raise the funds themselves. Thus I heard they started offering an eighteen month Masters degree for twenty thousand euros. In Ireland if you've got that kind of money to spend on a degree, you don't need the degree. So you're looking at wealthy people from overseas I suppose.
The update was that they did accept one donation from the couple who were founders of Glen Dimplex, which make portable heaters. There's no suggestion that this is anything but philanthropy.

message 40: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
One of the stories in the book is about a professor that donors tried to get fired for his work in support of climate change.

message 41: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
I can understand a professor getting fired for other reasons, but not that one.

message 42: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
Chapter 9 deals with the Supreme Court decision on January 21, 2010, in a 5 to 4 vote for Citizens United. It overturned decades of controlling how much money corporations and unions could spend on political campaigns. Now Corporations are People. Nothing has been more damaging to our efforts to gain political strength for the environment.

The decision took us back to the Gilded Age when oil companies funded political corruption. It has returned. Justice John Paul Stevens, a moderate, called it "a rejection of the common sense of the American people."

Another key family along with the Kochs who helped bring this about was the DeVos family. Betsy DeVos is now the Secretary of Education doing her best to destroy public education. They got their money from Amway. Amway was a pyramid scheme designed to avoid taxes. Workers were called "independent business owners" so they could avoid paying Social Security for example. The DeVoses crusaded against homosexuality, science, feminism, abortion, and so on.

Also helping out in these secretive efforts were Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, and of course NRA leader Wayne LaPierre. They gradually took over the Republican party. They spent millions creating false fronts of groups who wanted "free speech." It was baloney. Add in Mitch McConnell and the Cato Institute. Libertarian money owned them.

David Axelrod: "Citizens United unleashed big money. It promoted constant negativity, not just toward the president, but toward government generally."

message 43: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments Pay to play seems like a good idea as a way to get things paid for but when it involves something everyone needs and not everyone can pay for it the system ultimately gets corrupted.

message 44: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
In Chapter 10, we see how dark money was used to get Scott Brown elected to the Senate in Massachusetts, the first Republican in 38 years. With Citizens United power was getting into the hands of the rich and powerful, the polluters, the wealth hoarders. They fought against any program that benefited the poor or middle class. Vicious attacks occurred by Tea Party followers against anyone who supported health care proposals. And that was by people who needed the health care. How does that happen?

And on the local level, Citizens United made an even bigger impact. The Republicans took over states that were usually Democratic, and they spread their anti-environment message in the name of freedom. They now controlled states like North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin. They created groups with wonderful sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, except that group is only interested in the prosperity of the Koch Brothers and their ilk. And no one knew where the money was coming from because there were no longer any laws requiring disclosures.

message 45: by Clare (last edited Mar 10, 2019 03:05AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6624 comments Mod
We mentioned buying property above.
This is a look at how Mark Zuckerberg has been buying up land on a Hawaiian island. He lives there so he is entitled to a home, but he has bought former sugar cane plantations, walled them, grazed cattle and denied public land or beach access.
Now someone is forcing the sale of small party-owned homesteads within the land. (Strong language warning about the comments.)

Would be nice if the area was turned into a nature reserve.

message 46: by Brian (new)

Brian Burt | 449 comments Mod
Btw, Jane Mayer's recent New Yorker article about "The Making of the Fox News White House" is insightful and well worth reading.

The Making of the Fox News White House

message 47: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
I read it. She is a priceless treasure.

message 48: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy | 1612 comments Mod
"There's class warfare all right. But it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."--Warren Buffett

When the so-called "conservatives" took over the House in 2011, they immediately set out to block President's Obama's environmental agenda. The House Energy and Commerce Committee buried progress on climate change and harassed the Environmental Protection Agency for the foreseeable future. The Kochs now controlled the House and the Republican Party. And make no mistake about it, their goal was self-interest over most of the voters who put them there.

The Koch group Americans for Prosperity (sorry, but I have to laugh every time I say that) was now set to fight any regulations on greenhouse gasses. The stage was set to pour carbon into the air and destroy the planet's future.

In 2012, Koch Industries generated 950 MILLION POUNDS OF HAZARDOUS WASTE MATERIALS. It also emitted over 24 MILLION TONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE A YEAR INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. Thank you for that, Libertarians.

And one of its biggest defenders: Mike Pompeo. Yes, that Mike Pompeo.

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