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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dark Money, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana -- a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide -- to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Through this gripping story, Dark Money uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. Official Selection, 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

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Film Review: ‘Dark Money'

variety.com

In Kimberly Reed's potent documentary, Montana is a microcosm of the troubling impact of the Citizens United ruling on U.S. democracy.

"Dark Money" looks at how the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has unraveled nearly a century of relatively clean politicking in Montana, clouding the Big Sky state with an influx of corporate-funded smear campaigns and legislation of dubious pedigree.

It's a case study all too applicable to the nation at large in an era when moneyed interests seem to be trumping (ahem) citizens' will and welfare on every front.

For decades, Montana had arguably the cleanest campaign laws in the U.S., precisely in reaction to a long history of political corruption. Its sparse population and rich natural resources made it particularly vulnerable to private-industry malfeasance...

Montanans strove for a "citizen legislature" of representatives who, while in office, held onto their day jobs -- farmer, schoolteacher, Porta-Potty vendor -- and were resistant to lobbyist bribes because the state's political finance rules were so tight.

Then came the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, creating "corporate personhood" and allowing, in the name of "free speech," unlimited political contributions without donor transparency.

Almost immediately, a new genre of political attack campaigning hit the state, with propaganda and misinformation flooding airwaves and mailboxes. These generally came from hitherto unknown organizations that claimed to be of grassroots origin but whose funding was unknown -- and almost impossible to trace.

Interestingly, many of the targets in this red state were Republicans, albeit those perceived as too moderate or not willing enough to enact the legislative agenda of the Koch brothers and other right-wing puppet masters whom Citizens United now allowed to hide behind the middle-man of the Super-PAC.

People on both sides of the aisle were horrified by this blatant meddling, particularly as it successfully used inflammatory scare tactics to unseat several respected politicos.

Reed's film details the ongoing fight against the influence of the "dark money network." While most protagonists here are elected officials, a principal figure is John Adams, an investigative journalist who continues to relentlessly "follow the money" even after he loses his newspaper job.

Still, "Dark Money" is but a microcosm of what's been happening nationwide. And with bodies like the Federal Election Commission and Supreme Court increasingly stacked to prevent any movement that would derail the trend, it's clear the nation is in trouble.

Since the doc focuses at least as much on Republican as Democratic activism against outside corporate influence-peddling, this is the rare social-justice documentary that few conservatives are likely to find too slanted in theme or perspective.


We need more Americans like Kimberly Reed.

#1 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-06-13 07:39 PM | Reply

Citizens United = Our Kristallnacht

#2 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-06-14 12:46 PM | Reply

And think of the disproportionate impact that Citizens United monies can have in the context of a political atmosphere that's been massaged by conservative narratives, repeated over and over with no concern for veracity, courtesy of the repeal of the fairness doctrine.

#3 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-06-14 12:53 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

"courtesy of the repeal of the fairness doctrine."

The beginning of the end of democracy.

#4 | Posted by danni at 2018-06-14 01:12 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The beginning of the end of democracy.

#4 | Posted by danni

Who their ddan, do the dems take big bucks from the unions? I guess that doesn't count.

#5 | Posted by Sniper at 2018-06-14 01:15 PM | Reply

Who their ddan, do the dems take big bucks from the unions? I guess that doesn't count.

#5 | Posted by Sniper

Dems will give up union money if repubs give up corporate money. Deal?

No. Because repubs know if it's simply their policies vs dem policies, they'll lose.

#6 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2018-06-14 01:42 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Tracing the money is what I ultimately want SUMMIT to perform.

An AI to reverse-engineer the theft - then paralyze the masses of corporate, political and military parasites.

I have a feeling that our prisons would be overflowing.. with JOBS!!

#7 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2018-06-14 02:12 PM | Reply

Dems will give up union money if repubs give up corporate money. Deal? - #6 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2018-06-14 01:42 PM

Most corporate money does not go to Dems or Repubs. It is spent by Political Action Comittees, but the candidate has no say on the money or how it is spent. It's not theirs to spend.

#8 | Posted by Avigdore at 2018-06-14 02:29 PM | Reply

youtu.be

#9 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-06-14 02:50 PM | Reply

Most corporate money does not go to Dems or Repubs. It is spent by Political Action Comittees, but the candidate has no say on the money or how it is spent. It's not theirs to spend.

#8 | POSTED BY AVIGDORE

For one I say BS. They may "officially" not coordinate. But they coordinate.

Also, this is what we need to get rid of. It would be pretty simple. Just say that corporations cannot advertise political messages or donate money to political causes or groups. Problem solved (but it never will be because Republicans thrive in the corruption).

#10 | Posted by gtbritishskull at 2018-06-14 04:51 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Just say that corporations cannot advertise political messages or donate money to political causes or groups. Problem solved (but it never will be because Republicans thrive in the corruption)the First Amendment prohibits it.

FTFY

#11 | Posted by et_al at 2018-06-14 05:33 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

What's the actual case where it was determined that the First Amendment prevents the government from regulating monetary expenditures?

#12 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-14 05:40 PM | Reply

trump loses the popular vote by 3 million but an arcane rule allows that he be declared the winner..and as such, the head of a government that has passed rules that allow not only unregulated monies but allow that money to be distributed to office holders via lobbyists.

#13 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-06-14 09:35 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

trump loses the popular vote by 3 million but an arcane rule allows that he be declared the winner..and as such, the head of a government that has passed rules that allow not only unregulated monies but allow that money to be distributed to office holders via lobbyists.

#13 | POSTED BY ABLOCK

Some here would have us believe that this is the "original intent" of the Founders. I call BS.

#14 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2018-06-14 09:56 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Just say that corporations cannot advertise political messages or donate money to political causes or groups. Problem solved (but it never will be because Republicans thrive in the corruption)the First Amendment prohibits it.
FTFY

OK. Seriously. What's the legal justification for an individual right like the first amendment applying to a corporation?

#15 | Posted by jpw at 2018-06-14 11:08 PM | Reply

The legal justification is the same as why a corporation like Hobby Lobby can hold "religious beliefs"
In short, it's because the courts have decided to give all the rights that people have to corporate entities.
It's obviously a legal fiction, piled upon another legal fiction.

I'm with Stephen Colbert: "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

#16 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-14 11:18 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Some here would have us believe that this is the "original intent" of the Founders. I call BS.
..............................#14 | POSTED BY WHODAMAN

and i've always contended that the 'original intent' argument was BS because...amendments. Dyin' is the only thing we can't not do

#17 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-06-14 11:31 PM | Reply

you would've thought that the traitorous SOB's would have at least given a nod to history and granted corporations a 3/5's status...i feel now like a southern white man during reconstruction, having to watch the colored vote

#18 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-06-14 11:37 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

What's the legal justification for an individual right like the first amendment applying to a corporation?

A corporation is an association of people.

#19 | Posted by et_al at 2018-06-14 11:51 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

"A corporation is an association of people."

So is a conspiracy.

#20 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-15 12:13 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

www.thedailybeast.com

#21 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-06-15 12:27 AM | Reply

"you would've thought that the traitorous SOB's would have at least given a nod to history and granted corporations a 3/5's status"

It's not clear why corporations can't vote once they turn 18.

Maybe Et_Al won't explain it.

#22 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-15 12:31 AM | Reply

Can corporations plead the 5th?

#23 | Posted by Alexandrite at 2018-06-15 12:54 AM | Reply

A corporation is an association of people.

#19 | POSTED BY ET_AL

All but one of which has a say in where those politically motivated dollars are donated.

Sounds like a load of crap to me.

#24 | Posted by jpw at 2018-06-15 01:04 AM | Reply

A corporation is an association of people.

#19 | POSTED BY ET_AL

What a colossal fraud you are. a corporation is an artificial government created construct.

#25 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2018-06-15 02:34 AM | Reply

reclaimdemocracy.org

Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States

When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country's founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society.

Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these*:

Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

#26 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2018-06-15 02:40 AM | Reply

Corporations are a collection of people.

They are all evil of course, other than GE, which had an ---------- relationship with Lord Obama.

#27 | Posted by JeffJ at 2018-06-15 03:09 AM | Reply

#27 Typical response from the usual suspect. Not surprised in the least.

#28 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2018-06-15 03:21 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

A corporation is an association of people.
#19 | POSTED BY ET_AL

What a colossal fraud you are. a corporation is an artificial government created construct.
#25 | Posted by LauraMohr

True, corporations are artificial entities, but that does not change the fact that corporations are an association of people.

When does that association lose the rights of those persons? Does that happen when "Laura the Advocate, a proprietorship" decides to legally become "Laura the Advocate, Inc.?" Both do the same thing, say the same thing, pay the same bills, same old s**t everyday. Why should one be constrained and the other not?

#29 | Posted by et_al at 2018-06-15 04:19 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

"When does that association lose the rights of those persons?"

With rights, come responsibilities.
When do the members of that association face the death penalty for a murder committed by a member of that association?
Why isn't the association held to account for the actions of the association?

You are playing a game called, "I want to have my cake and eat it too."
It serves those with cake, at the expense of those without.
I'm sure you understand what I'm saying, but I'd love to know why you do it.
Who bakes your cake, Et_Al?

#30 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-15 05:31 AM | Reply

Why can't these associations, if they are to be treated as people, vote, after 18 years of incorporation?

And since you probably think it's ridiculous that they'd be allowed to do that, go ahead and trot out the rationale by which, if they can't do that, why should we construe the other rights that "people" have upon them?

Good luck.

#31 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-15 05:34 AM | Reply

Most corporate money does not go to Dems or Repubs. It is spent by Political Action Comittees, but the candidate has no say on the money or how it is spent. It's not theirs to spend.

#8 | POSTED BY AVIGDORE

Your'e painting a silly picture.

For example ... if dark money doesn't go to Dems or Repubs, who gets all that untraceable money, U.S. Pacifist Party candidates?

#32 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-06-15 07:12 AM | Reply

What's the root word upon which 'corporation' is based?

#33 | Posted by visitor_ at 2018-06-15 07:24 AM | Reply

What's the root word upon which 'corporation' is based?

#33 | POSTED BY VISITOR

douchebag

#34 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-06-15 07:47 AM | Reply

Incorrect.

#35 | Posted by visitor_ at 2018-06-15 08:12 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

Incorrect.

#35 | POSTED BY VISITOR

greedy douchebags

Better?

#36 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-06-15 08:46 AM | Reply

"When does that association lose the rights of those persons?"

They don't. Every person in that association has the same rights as any other person. What they SHOULDN'T have is extra rights because they associate with other people.

Each individual can donate. The group should not be able to donate extra.

#37 | Posted by RevDarko at 2018-06-15 10:03 AM | Reply

A corporation is an association of people.

#19 | POSTED BY ET_AL AT 2018-06-14 11:51 PM | REPLY | FLAG

A corporation is a separate legal entity distinct from it's owners.

#38 | Posted by 726 at 2018-06-15 10:15 AM | Reply

#39 | Posted by Avigdore at 2018-06-15 10:38 AM | Reply

For example ... if dark money doesn't go to Dems or Repubs, who gets all that untraceable money, U.S. Pacifist Party candidates? - #32 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-06-15 07:12 AM
Ad companies mostly. TV, radio, print, and electronic media - mostly.

*Don't edit html in the preview screen

#40 | Posted by Avigdore at 2018-06-15 10:39 AM | Reply

Dems will give up union money if repubs give up corporate money. Deal?

No. Because repubs know if it's simply their policies vs dem policies, they'll lose.

#6 | Posted by SpeakSoftly

You are so funny I don't even know where to start.

#41 | Posted by Sniper at 2018-06-15 04:38 PM | Reply

trump loses the popular vote by 3 million but an arcane rule allows that he be declared the winner..and as such, the head of a government that has passed rules that allow not only unregulated monies but allow that money to be distributed to office holders via lobbyists.

#13 | Posted by ABlock

You are just as funny as spe.

#42 | Posted by Sniper at 2018-06-15 04:40 PM | Reply

#16 | Posted by snoofy

Now I know where you are hiding to avoid my insurance question.

#43 | Posted by Sniper at 2018-06-15 04:41 PM | Reply

The musings of an imbecile...

#44 | Posted by Hans at 2018-06-15 04:45 PM | Reply

Considering where the towers were struck - the data center containing all records of banking malfeasance, SEC violations and the murder of investigators at the Pentagon - all were obliterated in one day.

Anonymous should consider accessing what CONVAR found on the recovered hard drives that the Pentagon and NIST refuses to allow public.

Also, isn't there one copy of SilverStream available for analysis? What about Deutsche Bank being hacked before the planes that very morning? Nobody mentions the banking crimes being covered-up, or the largest gold heist in history occurring right under the noses of the alleged "investigators".

When Christopher Wray claims that "the FBI needs to regain the public trust", the first thing that comes to my mind is their "NOT A MISSILE" campaign. TWA 800 was completely covered-up, the FBI agents caught moving the plane parts around to change the logic of a missile attack. The FAA director lied several times on live television and NO "news sources" noticed. They all have the credibility of a bag of venomous snakes - they will always bite to kill, not necessarily for survival, it's just their nature. Criminality is their nature.

If I took that job with ICE I'm certain to have confronted corruption at every level. Whatever Homeland Security are doing with local law enforcement has resulted in fake prints, fake DNA and real military armament at the highest costs possible.

Military and weapons contractors should be terminated. The NRA, like Manafort, the entire Trump family and BushCo - are Russian agencies. What makes anyone less suspicious of the banks themselves? They are the root of these embezzlement and laundering schemes.

#45 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2018-06-15 05:21 PM | Reply

"Now I know where you are hiding to avoid my insurance question."

Sniper, you should probably direct your insurance questions to Eberly, so he can ignore them too.

You said sick people should be placed in a special risk pool, like bad drivers are. It was funny. Do you still have questions as to how the risk pool gets funded? Insurers get a handout from government to cover the cost. So, what you're asking for is corporate welfare. And that's funny.

#46 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-15 08:44 PM | Reply

Murder sells the local news every night -- some woman was killed by her lover, some gang member was killed by gunfire, or preferably a more entertaining/horrifying story involving, say, serial murder, kidnapping, rape, necrophilia, a child's death, etc. The more grotesque, the better for ratings. Most importantly, though, homicide sells repressive, reactionary politics. Even the buffoon in the White House understands this. "They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists." Let's lynch them all!

By contrast the networks cannot make money from suicide. So its growing impact, which now exceeds murder, goes largely unreported. It is hardly a mystery why so many millions of Americans are depressed and even suicidal. Our society is approaching ever more closely the totalitarian ideal of no-human-connections, in which interactions take the means-to-an-end form of the market.

The genius of the system is that by keeping us atomized it so demoralizes us that we see no other option but to keep running on our lonely little treadmill day after day, year after year, as the existential nausea grows more acute and we're finally smothered by Meaninglessness. And kill ourselves.

#47 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-06-15 10:07 PM | Reply

"By contrast the networks cannot make money from suicide. So its growing impact, which now exceeds murder, goes largely unreported."

Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes

Fun fact, most gun deaths are self-inflicted suicides.

It's what The Founders wanted.

#48 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-15 10:25 PM | Reply

"It's what The Founders wanted." Which is why they wrote the Declaration of Independence, which includes these choice words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

#49 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-06-16 07:03 AM | Reply

So Et_Al

If a corporation lives in an asbestos building will it get cancer?
If a corporation kills someone do we inject it with lethal drugs? Where is the vein?
If a corporation F***s my wife will I have to raise a little baby corporation?

A corporation is an association of people. Each person in the association retains the rights of an individual but does not convey those rights to the corporation.

#50 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2018-06-16 07:37 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

We should bring back the draft, and then conscript corporations into the army ...

If only that was possible.

#51 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-06-16 09:26 AM | Reply

"Can corporations plead the 5th?"

Et_Al sure did on this thread.

#52 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-16 12:10 PM | Reply

Each individual can donate. The group should not be able to donate extra.
#37 | Posted by RevDarko

Corporate entities cannot make "donations," they can participate in the political process through "independent expenditures."

A corporation is a separate legal entity distinct from it's owners.
#38 | Posted by 726

True, it is an artificial entity defined by state and federal law as a person.

A corporation is an association of people. Each person in the association retains the rights of an individual but does not convey those rights to the corporation.
#50 | Posted by TaoWarrior

Not always true, Laura the Advocate, a proprietorship, transfers her business assets, publication and production rights, to Laura the Advocate, Inc. in exchange for stock. All rights to those creative works belong to the corporation.

But that misses the broader point. People associate together for any number of purposes. What is it about the form of association that opens that association to government intrusion into otherwise constitutionally protected conduct.

#53 | Posted by et_al at 2018-06-16 01:24 PM | Reply

"What is it about the form of association that opens that association to government intrusion into otherwise constitutionally protected conduct."

You're asking, why is it possible that ------ can be illegal.

I'm assuming you're being Socratic with this...

#54 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-16 02:09 PM | Reply

You're asking, why is it possible that marrying your daughter or your sister can be illegal.

Go on. Explain to us why.

#55 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-06-16 05:07 PM | Reply

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