Entries Tagged 'Reviews' ↓

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 →

Snakes in Suits – When Psychopaths Go To Work – a book review

Snakes in Suits – When Psychopaths Go To Work (by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare 2006)

Snakes in Suits

Once upon a time, I was employed to run a department within a non-profit organization funded by grants.

The other department heads along with the director often worked away from our office.

Moreover, the director lived in a far away town. He only came into work two times a week and slept overnight in the building. He needed an Administrative Assistant to take over day-to-day operations, and quickly.

I was on the hiring committee along with another department head. My job was to check out applicant references.

When “Cynthia” was being considered, I reported to my boss, “They liked her, but they all said they didn’t work directly with her. That’s a red flag, you know.” He grunted and said nothing.

Charmed by this tall elegant-looking woman, he and the other department head hired her. She became the bane of my life, not only my life but the lives of all of the other employees.

The director gave Cynthia unlimited power over purchasing as well as day-to-day operations. Starting with an expensive silver pitcher on her desk Cynthia spent money like water…

Within a couple of weeks, Cynthia took the organization’s credit card and went to Europe for a month, claiming she couldn’t come back because she had picked up a disease that’s only found in tropical areas of the world. Continue reading →