Archive for dark money

The Book Booth: Valentine's Day Edition



Image: Buzzfeed

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Valentines Day Edition

Ah, the day to remember our loved ones with chocolate, cards and, one would hope, books. Which Buzzfeed reminds us.
Books for Valentine's Day!

If you and your sweetie are at some loss of how to celebrate your together, Bustle has some ideas for you.
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day!

But what becomes of the broken-hearted, as Jimmy Ruffin asked nearly fifty years ago? The last thing that those who have lost at love want to see or hear are books or songs about love; it seems every song on the radio will be about love gone wrong. Susie Steiner, author the novel Missing, has some suggestions for books for dispirited lovers here at the Guardian. To her list, I would add Ann Beattie's Chilly Scenes of Winter, which, at least, provides some hope.
Books for Good People Currently In-Between Significant Others

The big news in books this week was the announcement that there will be a new Harry Potter book coming out this summer.
Harry's Back! (and Hermione and Hagrid and Ron and...)

But as JK Rowling wants to remind us, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is NOT a novel, but a play script, and follows Harry and family nineteen years after the last novel.
More on Your Favorite Wizard's Return (to Stage and Page)

Is the printed page dying? Maybe not, if today's students are to be believed. They seem to prefer real books. Thanks to my buddy John Miller for sending this link along.
So You Think the Dead Tree Content Delivery System is Dead? Think Again

Even famous writers have a few obscure works in their oeuvre. Ernest Hemingway's Across the River and Into the Trees (the title being a paraphrase of what Stonewall Jackson was reputed to have said after his mortal wound at Chancellorsville), would be one of those books. But it may have a second life now that a film adaptation featuring Pierce Brosnan is now in the works.
Across the River and Into the Cinema for Hemingway

The advance word on Jane Mayer's Dark Money, a book detailing the bizarre and very scary world of the Koch Brothers, is positive. I know our library system has many, many holds on it. Salon has a good feature here that will make you want to learn more.
The Koch Brothers' Dirtiest Deeds Exposed

For those of us who loved the film Sorrow and the Pity, about the French resistance movement during the Second World War, should find the new book by Robert Gildea, Fighters in the Shadow, to be of great interest. The New York Review of Books examines it here. H/T to Lucian for finding this link.
Vive la France (et la Resistance)!

To all a very Happy Valentines Day! Enjoy it with your sweetie and good book. And let us know what books you are adoring!


Judge who ended #Walker probe attended junkets financed by Kochs (VIDEO)


judge walker investigation koch brothers

citizens united check republic billionaires Koch brothers dark money

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A judge is supposed to be impartial. A judge, well, judges, and so he or she must be fair and dispassionate. A judge should not feel pressured or indebted to any party while rendering a decision. He or she should only rely on evidence presented.

So, when reports surfaced that the judge who halted the Walker "John Doe" criminal investigation attended all-expenses paid "judicial junkets," that raised a few eyebrows. Why?

Those little "junkets" were funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other ideological and corporate interests. And by now, it's common knowledge that Walker and the Kochs are BFF. Well, Walker and the Kochs' wallets are BFF, because nothing defines friendship like corporate cash.

Did I mention that same judge has an assistant who is married to a Walker campaign lawyer?

Chris Hayes covered the corrupt judge story on "All In" last night. PR Watch wrote it up a few days ago:

On May 6, federal District Court Judge Rudolph Randa blocked an ongoing John Doe criminal probe into allegedly illegal coordination between nonprofit groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which spent $9.1 million on electoral ads during Wisconsin's recall elections, and the recall campaigns of Governor Scott Walker and state senators. John Doe investigations are similar to grand jury investigations, and Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and its director, Eric O'Keefe, a longtime compatriot of the Koch brothers -- asked the federal court to stop the probe, alleging it violated their "free speech" rights.

Judge Randa sided with O'Keefe, and also ordered prosecutors to destroy all evidence gathered in the investigation, an extraordinary edict in a criminal case made even more astounding by the fact that it came in the context of a preliminary injunction. The Seventh Circuit has blocked this part of his ruling; an appeal of the remainder of his decision is pending.

An analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that Judge Randa attended privately-funded, all-expenses-paid judicial seminars put on by George Mason University in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, according to publicly-available financial disclosure forms. (The 2013 disclosure form has been requested but has not yet been publicly posted).

The George Mason University seminars are bankrolled by a long list of right-wing foundations, like Koch, Bradley, and the Searle Freedom Trust, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporations like BP, Exxon Mobil, and Dow Chemical.

Much more at the link.


Gov. Scott Walker failed to disclose how much he was paid to write book



Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker co-wrote a book with Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush. He got paid to do that, but he won't reveal how much. Walker is prone to secrecy. And I am prone to stating the obvious.

But back to Walker's secrecy issues. He refuses to tell anyone who donated to his legal defense fund. He needed the money from his anonymous donors to cover the costs of the "John Doe" campaign finance violations probe into his former aides and associates.

And now Walker is hiding something else, via

Gov. Scott Walker did not disclose Wednesday how much he was paid to write a book he released last fall, providing only the bare minimum required on a statement of economic interest form he filed with state regulators.

18,000 copies were sold over a six month period.

"This report shows Gov. Walker continues to keep secret from the people of Wisconsin both the details of how much he personally enriched himself for his lucrative pre-presidential campaign book deal, as well as who financed his criminal defense fund," said Scot Ross, director of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now. "Given the corruption, cronyism and incompetence surrounding his administration, the people deserve much more information than what Gov. Walker has shielded from public scrutiny."

One thing is no secret-- Walker continues to be a scheming, hypocritical phony who should have been recalled from office.


"Here's what your money is buying right now..."


gop your money

We have written countless posts about the Supreme Court's terrible Citizens United decision, followed by their latest debacle, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the other appalling Supreme Court ruling that favors billionaires and allows them to influence our election outcomes.

Even Garry Trudeau couldn't keep quiet about it any longer: The Koch brothers can buy anything, including Doonesbury!  As I said in that post, a very few obscenely wealthy individuals are able to spend lavishly on candidates, politicians, and potential votes while, try as you might, your money simply can't compete with the endless supply of cash donated by the corporate big boys.

And with that, another installment of today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Money won't buy you votes," Opinion, April 20

Sure, money won't buy the vote of a regular person, but it sure can buy members of the state legislature or Congress. Here's what your money is buying right now:

Profits on gun sales fund the National Rifle Assn. and ensure that even when little kids get slaughtered at school, universal background checks won't pass the Senate despite the fact that about 90% of the country supports them.

Wealthy people who make money from investments make sure they don't get taxed at the same rates as wage earners.

Money strangles the implementation of banking reform. And it makes sure that no matter how many floods, fires or hurricanes we have, nothing is done about climate change.

Best of all, money buys donors the ability to hide behind "social welfare" organizations so nobody knows who's doing these evil things.

Joanne Zirretta

Aliso Viejo


A large war chest doesn't guarantee victory, as Republican Meg Whitman learned in 2010 when voters elected Democrat Jerry Brown governor by a wide margin.

But what money does allow is for the wealthy to buy the loyalty of politicians. The handful of GOP presidential hopefuls who visited billionaire Sheldon Adelson recently offer proof of that.

Most Americans agree that the latest Supreme Court rulings loosening campaign finance rules were steps in the wrong direction.

Kyle Laurent