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

With a rating of 4.36 / 5.00 on GoodReads, this book is popular. And depressing.

My takeaways:

  • Stop worrying about Russia. It’s the richest of the rich deciding American politics.
  • Charles and David Koch started as Libertarians. In fact, David ran in 1980 as candidate for Vice President for the Libertarian Party. In recent decades everything the Kochs do is to enrich themselves. #FollowTheMoney

  • The Kochs will cheat, lie, steal, intimidate to enrich themselves. The GOP are merely a means to an end.
  • The Kochs are good businessmen, employing many. For all the hundreds of millions they’ve spent, mostly on Republicans, they’ve made more back on legislation enriching the richest of the rich.
  • The 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made the situation much worse.
  • Because their business is mostly Petrotoxins, the Kochs are keenest on preventing action on climate change.
  • Currently Americans for Prosperity is the main Koch lobbyist.
  • The E.P.A. identified Koch Industries in 2012 as the single biggest producer of toxic waste in the United States.

The U.S. political system is a fail, I’d say.

40% think Trump is doing a good job. A majority of those, I’m guessing, believe what they hear on FOX News and right wing radio.

Americans so easily misled deserve worse education, worse health care, medical bankruptcy, etc. … There’s no helping people like that.

I keep thinking American voters will figure out the richest of the rich are taking too much money. They don’t

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016) is a non-fiction book written by the American investigative journalist Jane Mayer, about a network of extremely wealthy conservative republicans, foremost among them Charles and David Koch, who have together funded an array of organizations that work in tandem to influence academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and the American presidency for their own benefit.

Mayer particularly discusses the Koch family and their political activities, along with Richard Mellon Scaife and John M. Olin and the DeVos and Coors families.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Jane Meredith Mayer is an American investigative journalist who has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1995. …

In 2016, Doubleday published Mayer’s fourth book, Dark Money, which became an instant national best-seller, and the New York Times named it one of the ten best books of the year. …

Mayer revealed that approximately six investigators, led by former New York Police Chief Howard Safir, had been hired by the industrialist Koch brothers in an effort to try to dig up dirt in order to smear her reputation, and that accusations of plagiarism had been leveled at her. She responded by publicly airing those tactics of intimidation, effectively debunking the smear campaign.

 

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Martin Luther King Jr – I have a Dream

I Have a Dream” is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States …

I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream…

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’m reading a book about those days. President Kennedy playing a balancing act between King and his supporters and the segregationists, mostly whites in the southern States.

Amazing days. King was far from perfect. Nor was Kennedy perfect. (Both were womanizers, for example.) But I admire both in different ways.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been proposed by President John F. Kennedy in June 1963, but opposed by filibuster in the Senate.

Thereafter, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the bill forward, which in its final form was passed in the U.S. Congress by a Senate vote of 73-27 and House vote of 289-126 (70%-30%). The Act was signed into law by President Johnson …

Warm-up acts at the 1963 March on Washington:

Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson sang “How I Got Over“, and Marian Andersonsang “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands“. …

Joan Baez led the crowds in several verses of “We Shall Overcome” and “Oh Freedom“. Bob Dylan performed “When the Ship Comes In“, for which he was joined by Baez. Dylan also performed “Only a Pawn in Their Game“, a provocative and not completely popular choice because it asserted that Byron de la Beckwith, as a poor white man, was not personally or primarily to blame for the murder of Medgar Evers.

Peter, Paul and Mary sang “If I Had a Hammer” and Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind“. Odetta sang “I’m On My Way“.

Charlton Heston, James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, and Harry Belafonte were there.

Charlton Heston supported civil rights?

Yep. He was a big booster of Democrats before switching to the dark side with Reagan and then the NRA.

you might be killed by a drone

Greg linked to this video. I thought it was real … for the first few minutes.

It’s fiction. Black Mirror scary.

Click PLAY or watch Slaughterbots on YouTube.

The video was created by Autonomousweapons.org and Stuart Russell, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. …

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Trump revoked Gun Checks for people with mental illness

Since it’s a white guy, Trump dismisses it as a ‘mental health’ issue, instead of calling for extreme vetting of … war vets.

So why did he sign bill H.J. Res 40 in February?

It kept about 75,000 people with mental illnesses or deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs purchasing firearms without background checks.