Entries Tagged 'Reviews' ↓

Dark Money and the Anti-State – Global Libertarianism

James M. Buchanan’s Legacy

I may sound like a conspiracy theorist by titling this series, Dark Money and the Deep Anti-State, and by saying in my last post that if Brett Kavanaugh is put on the Supreme Court we may be seeing the end of our American democracy.

But I assure you there is ample documentation in two books, Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains, to back up my assertions. In particular, I recommend reading Chapter 10, “A Constitution with Locks and Bolts,” of MacLean’s book.

In Chapter 10, MacLean lays out in chilling details James’ Buchanan’s successful strategy to help dictator General Pinochet in Chile to destroy democracy in that country. Together Buchanan and the military junta who ousted Salvador Allende changed the Chilean Constitution to lock out the majority from ever changing their Constitution.

Following that coup, the wealthy were now in control of that country. Soon after Buchanan’s success, the number of Chileans living in poverty increased by over 100%. In 1970, the OECD ranked Chile lowest of developed economies when it came to decreasing wealth inequality. Continue reading →

Dark Money and the Deep Anti-State (film review)

Dark Money – the movie versus the book

When this movie began we wondered if we’d gone into the wrong theater. Beautiful shots of the state of Montana were shown in panoramic glory. But then the camera panned the ‘lake’ left behind by the Anaconda copper mining company when it left the state. 

At the ‘lake’ a guide is telling visitors that wild geese by the thousands have been killed by the acidity in this water that rises higher every year while the EPA has done nothing to remedy the situation.

I couldn’t help but think that Keats got it wrong in his “Ode on a Grecian Urn” when he wrote “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Wherever some human beings are involved we do need to know more—much more—to protect ourselves and the things we love.

Because for decades dark money, defined as massive secret funding by wealthy people to promote their libertarian goals in politics, has been radically changing the shape of our American governments.

Many voters in Montana feel deeply about the damage being done in their state, so deeply they have been the leading state in the U.S. to fight the 2010 law, “Citizen’s United” that allowed corporations to donate to state political campaigns. Continue reading →

Dark Money and the Deep Anti-State (book review)

What is Dark Money?

At age twenty I was employed by a business that I was pretty sure was owned by the Philadelphia Italian-Jewish mob. Five years later, as a temp agency worker, I witnessed my boss passing an envelope full of cash to a police detective to secure a contract with the City of Oakland, California police department

Were these dark money payments? I would say “No”.  These were illegal money transactions simply known as ‘money laundering’ and ‘bribery’. Dark money is something more – way more!

Dark money refers to money that wealthy billionaires and large corporations have been secretly funneling through charitable foundations and other nonprofits in order to support right-wing political policies via think tanks, political front groups, politicians, academics, and others who seek to radically change the very nature of our government. 

Sometimes dark money is used illegally, but often it is money legally spent in a non-transparent way so that others cannot see what is being bought. Continue reading →