In her excellent book, “Dark Money” Jane Mayer, a staff writer for The New Yorker, documents the rise of the ultra-conservatives (led by the wealthy Koch brothers) and how they have hijacked American democracy. Her book has been well vetted; those in the know say it’s a careful and responsible documentation of what is happening in American politics today — 2016. A link to the New York Times review of Dark Money is at the end of this blog.
“Mayer believes that the Koch brothers and a small number of allied plutocrats have essentially hijacked American democracy, using their money not just to compete with their political adversaries, but to drown them out.”
We ask readers to reflect on the following questions and read excerpts from the book, see comments from other media and read the NY Times book review.
1) Why is it that the Republicans can get so many people to go to the voting booth on Election Day and vote for their candidates? Is it because the base of the GOP are made up of people who are more committed?
2) Why were the Republicans able to take over the House of Representatives in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, when in 2009 the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House?
3) What will it take to get and hold the attention of those who claim to want progressive and positive changes in America?
- 3a) What is needed to help more Americans to understand the long view in politics, and also understand that everything these politicians do affect our lives in significant ways?
- 3b) What will it take for us to even partially understand how the GOP’s control of the Congress since 2014 is having, and will continue to have, a very negative long-term effect on average Americans, and in particular on those who are black, brown and poor?
- 3c) Have we given serious thought to what America will be like if the GOP wins the White House in 2016?
- 3d) It’s baffling how many immigrants who want immigration reform are blaming President Obama because that reform did not go through. How many of these people mobilized their communtities to contact and make demands of their congressional reps? That is democracy!
4) What will it take for more of us who will be negatively affected by a GOP win, to be more involved and take democracy more seriously before it’s too late?
5) What will it take for us to understand that the changes we want will only come if we vote for candidates who are progressive and who will fight in Congress for positive changes that will benefit average Americans? The rich use their money to buy influence.
6) How many of us are paying attention to what is happening on the campaign trail in 2016?
Millions of us are frightened, and even more claim to be frightened by what many GOP leaders, radio hosts, elected representatives and paid pundits say; yet, on Election Day the Republican party can rack up multiple victories. Why is that? Can we stop Donald Trump by staying home in the false belief that he will not get elected? How many Americans believe that President Obama is responsible for Palin’s son having PTSD, and that this resulted in his beating up his girlfriend? It doesn’t matter; the only votes that count will be of those who go to the voting booth Election Day. In real democracies the regular people participate. If those of us who want positive changes stay home on Election Day (starting with the primaries), the zealots, the plutocrats and the “Dark Money” manipulators will win. Is that what we want? Think about it.
According to information provided in Ms. Mayer’s book Dark Money, “Charles and David Koch, the enormously rich proprietors of an oil company based in Kansas, decided years ago that they would spend huge amounts of money to elect conservatives at all levels of American government.
“David Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 1980, but when the campaign was over, he resolved never to seek public office again. That wouldn’t be necessary, he and his brother concluded; they could invest in the campaigns of others, and essentially buy their way to political power.” (Color & emphasis added by OneWorld)
Since 2010 Republicans have dominated state legislatures; they now control a clear majority of the governorships; they took one chamber of Congress in 2010, and in 2014 they took the other. They invest in both state and federal elections.
“They helped to finance and organize an interlocking network of think tanks, academic programs and news media outlets that far exceeded anything the liberal opposition could put together.”
In 2008 Americans of all voting ages got out to the voting booth and elected Barack Obama; we know that it can be done. Question is — why can’t the Democrats maintain that type of momentum? Here are some current facts:
• All-GOP controlled states outnumber all-Democratic states 24-7
• The GOP now controls 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers –
• This is the highest number in the history of the party.
• There are currently 31 Republicans, 18 Democrats, and one independent that hold the office of governor in the states. Remember, there are 50 states!
In addition to the various media outlets (and in some network media) read Jane Mayer’s book “Dark Money” and read the NY Times review. Ms. Mayer has carefully documented the rise of the ultra-conservatives (led by the wealthy Koch brothers) joined by many others. Together they have hijacked America’s democracy. That hijacking is negatively affecting our children and our economy at the most fundamental levels.
- a) It will greatly affect our health care system.
- b) Keep in mind that the GOP wants to dismantle the Affordable Care.
- c) Prior to the implementation of the ACA there were 46 million Americans with no health care coverage and millions more who were denied access due to pre-existing conditions.
- d) Many Americans had to cross the Canadian border to get affordable health care.
- e) Many in the GOP and elsewhere decrie the Cuban system; however, in Cuba, all Cubans have access to health care services; shouldn’t America offer as much?
- f) The GOP wants to spend less on education; this is at a time when the global ecnomy demand a more highly skilled workforce with solid fundamental education.
Other related links for Dark Money: How the Kochtopus Went After a Reporter Mother Jones
Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How the Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded the Rise of the Far Right: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/1/20/dark_money_jane_mayer_on_how “…..the right-wing political network backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, expected to spend nearly $900 million in 2016.” Must Read: Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” – Mayer Drags the Kochs into the Light
2016 is the year to read Jane Mayer’s latest book: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. (Amazon is featuring it as a Book of the Month.) Published by Knopf-Doubleday, the book is a detailed dissection of the network of money the Kochs and their allies have used to convert America’s democracy into an oligarchy. Per the NY Times review,
“Mayer makes the point that the Kochs are in this for the long haul. Win, lose — they just keep pushing their agenda. This should become one of the most talked-about books this year. If it doesn’t, well… http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/1/19/1471807/-Must-Read-Jane-Mayer-s-Dark-Money
Let us PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to what is happening in this political season. Let us commit to voting and to getting friends and family members to vote. Let us hold our elected officials accountable; they need to hear from us. Let’s NOT go quietly into the GOP abyss of more riches for the wealthy. Are these the people you want to dictate the future for you and your children?
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