dark money the hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right random house large print

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Dark Money

Author : Jane Mayer
ISBN : 9780385535601
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 83. 28 MB
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Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. The network has brought together some of the richest people on the planet. Their core beliefs—that taxes are a form of tyranny; that government oversight of business is an assault on freedom—are sincerely held. But these beliefs also advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws. The chief figures in the network are Charles and David Koch, whose father made his fortune in part by building oil refineries in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany. The patriarch later was a founding member of the John Birch Society, whose politics were so radical it believed Dwight Eisenhower was a communist. The brothers were schooled in a political philosophy that asserted the only role of government is to provide security and to enforce property rights. When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency. Richard Mellon Scaife, the mercurial heir to banking and oil fortunes, had the brilliant insight that most of their political activities could be written off as tax-deductible “philanthropy.” These organizations were given innocuous names such as Americans for Prosperity. Funding sources were hidden whenever possible. This process reached its apotheosis with the allegedly populist Tea Party movement, abetted mightily by the Citizens United decision—a case conceived of by legal advocates funded by the network. The political operatives the network employs are disciplined, smart, and at times ruthless. Mayer documents instances in which people affiliated with these groups hired private detectives to impugn whistle-blowers, journalists, and even government investigators. And their efforts have been remarkably successful. Libertarian views on taxes and regulation, once far outside the mainstream and still rejected by most Americans, are ascendant in the majority of state governments, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Meaningful environmental, labor, finance, and tax reforms have been stymied. Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews-including with several sources within the network-and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings in reporting this book. In a taut and utterly convincing narrative, she traces the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent by the network and provides vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy. Dark Money is a book that must be read by anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.

The Broken Ladder

Author : Keith Payne
ISBN : 9780698409378
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 80. 73 MB
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A timely examination by a leading scientist of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality. Today’s inequality is on a scale that none of us has seen in our lifetimes, yet this disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. In The Broken Ladder psychologist Keith Payne examines how inequality divides us not just economically, but has profound consequences for how we think, how our cardiovascular systems respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and how we view moral ideas like justice and fairness. Experiments in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics have not only revealed important new insights on how inequality changes people in predictable ways, but have provided a corrective to our flawed way of viewing poverty as the result of individual character failings. Among modern, developed societies, economic inequality is not primarily about money, but rather about relative status: where we stand in relation to other people. Regardless of their average income, countries or states with greater levels of income inequality have much higher rates of all the social problems we associate with poverty, including lower average life expectancies, serious health issues, mental illness, and crime. The Broken Ladder explores such issues as why women in poor societies often have more children, and have them younger; why there is little trust among the working class that investing for the future will pay off; why people’s perception of their relative social status affects their political beliefs, and why growing inequality leads to greater political divisions; how poverty raises stress levels in the same way as a physical threat; inequality in the workplace, and how it affects performance; why unequal societies become more religious; and finally offers measures people can take to lessen the harm done by inequality in their own lives and the lives of their children.

In A Different Key

Author : John Donvan
ISBN : 9780307985682
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 47. 82 MB
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Finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction An extraordinary narrative history of autism: the riveting story of parents fighting for their children ’s civil rights; of doctors struggling to define autism; of ingenuity, self-advocacy, and profound social change Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different. It is the story of women like Ruth Sullivan, who rebelled against a medical establishment that blamed cold and rejecting “refrigerator mothers” for causing autism; and of fathers who pushed scientists to dig harder for treatments. Many others played starring roles too: doctors like Leo Kanner, who pioneered our understanding of autism; lawyers like Tom Gilhool, who took the families’ battle for education to the courtroom; scientists who sparred over how to treat autism; and those with autism, like Temple Grandin, Alex Plank, and Ari Ne’eman, who explained their inner worlds and championed the philosophy of neurodiversity. This is also a story of fierce controversies—from the question of whether there is truly an autism “epidemic,” and whether vaccines played a part in it; to scandals involving “facilitated communication,” one of many treatments that have proved to be blind alleys; to stark disagreements about whether scientists should pursue a cure for autism. There are dark turns too: we learn about experimenters feeding LSD to children with autism, or shocking them with electricity to change their behavior; and the authors reveal compelling evidence that Hans Asperger, discoverer of the syndrome named after him, participated in the Nazi program that consigned disabled children to death. By turns intimate and panoramic, In a Different Key takes us on a journey from an era when families were shamed and children were condemned to institutions to one in which a cadre of people with autism push not simply for inclusion, but for a new understanding of autism: as difference rather than disability.

Alter Egos

Author : Mark Landler
ISBN : 9780812998863
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 62. 71 MB
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The deeply reported story of two supremely ambitious figures, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—archrivals who became partners for a time, trailblazers who share a common sense of their historic destiny but hold very different beliefs about how to project American power In Alter Egos, veteran New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler takes us inside the fraught and fascinating relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—a relationship that has framed the nation’s great debates over war and peace for the past eight years. In the annals of American statecraft, theirs was a most unlikely alliance. Clinton, daughter of an anticommunist father, was raised in the Republican suburbs of Chicago in the aftermath of World War II, nourishing an unshakable belief in the United States as a force for good in distant lands. Obama, an itinerant child of the 1970s, was raised by a single mother in Indonesia and Hawaii, suspended between worlds and a witness to the less savory side of Uncle Sam’s influence abroad. Clinton and Obama would later come to embody competing visions of America’s role in the world: his, restrained, inward-looking, painfully aware of limits; hers, hard-edged, pragmatic, unabashedly old-fashioned. Spanning the arc of Obama’s two terms, Alter Egos goes beyond the speeches and press conferences to the Oval Office huddles and South Lawn strolls, where Obama and Clinton pressed their views. It follows their evolution from bitter rivals to wary partners, and then to something resembling rivals again, as Clinton defined herself anew and distanced herself from her old boss. In the process, it counters the narrative that, during her years as secretary of state, there was no daylight between them, that the wounds of the 2008 campaign had been entirely healed. The president and his chief diplomat parted company over some of the biggest issues of the day: how quickly to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; whether to arm the rebels in Syria; how to respond to the upheaval in Egypt; and whether to trust the Russians. In Landler’s gripping account, we venture inside the Situation Room during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, watch Obama and Clinton work in tandem to salvage a conference on climate change in Copenhagen, and uncover the secret history of their nuclear diplomacy with Iran—a story with a host of fresh disclosures. With the grand sweep of history and the pointillist detail of an account based on insider access—the book draws on exclusive interviews with more than one hundred senior administration officials, foreign diplomats, and friends of Obama and Clinton—Mark Landler offers the definitive account of a complex, profoundly important relationship. As Barack Obama prepares to relinquish the presidency, and Hillary Clinton makes perhaps her last bid for it, how both regard American power is a central question of our time. Advance praise for Alter Egos “A superb journalist has brought us a vivid, page-turning, and revelatory account of the relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as of their statecraft. Alter Egos will make a signal contribution to the national debate over who should be the next American president.”—Michael Beschloss, bestselling author of Presidential Courage “Mark Landler, one of the best reporters working in Washington today, delivers an inside account of Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Barack Obama that brims with insight and high-level intrigue. It’s both fun to read and eye-opening.”—Jane Mayer, bestselling author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right From the Hardcover edition.

Insane Clown President

Author : Matt Taibbi
ISBN : 9780399592478
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 68. 11 MB
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Dispatches from the 2016 election that provide an eerily prescient take on our democracy’s uncertain future, by the country’s most perceptive and fearless political journalist. In twenty-five pieces from Rolling Stone—plus two original essays—Matt Taibbi tells the story of Western civilization’s very own train wreck, from its tragicomic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion. Years before the clown car of candidates was fully loaded, Taibbi grasped the essential themes of the story: the power of spectacle over substance, or even truth; the absence of a shared reality; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism that would destroy what was left of the Kingian dream of a successful pluralistic society. Taibbi captures, with dead-on, real-time analysis, the failures of the right and the left, from the thwarted Bernie Sanders insurgency to the flawed and aimless Hillary Clinton campaign; the rise of the “dangerously bright” alt-right with its wall-loving identity politics and its rapturous view of the “Racial Holy War” to come; and the giant fail of a flailing, reactive political media that fed a ravenous news cycle not with reporting on political ideology, but with undigested propaganda served straight from the campaign bubble. At the center of it all stands Donald J. Trump, leading a historic revolt against his own party, “bloviating and farting his way” through the campaign, “saying outrageous things, acting like Hitler one minute and Andrew Dice Clay the next.” For Taibbi, the stunning rise of Trump marks the apotheosis of the new postfactual movement. Taibbi frames the reporting with original essays that explore the seismic shift in how we perceive our national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country. Insane Clown President is not just a postmortem on the collapse and failure of American democracy. It offers the riveting, surreal, unique, and essential experience of seeing the future in hindsight. Praise for Matt Taibbi “Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists in America who speaks truth to power.”—Senator Bernie Sanders

The Dark Side

Author : Jane Mayer
ISBN : 9780307456502
Genre : History
File Size : 47. 75 MB
Format : PDF
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The Dark Side is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made self-destructive decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world—decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In spellbinding detail, Jane Mayer relates the impact of these decisions by which key players, namely Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, exploited September 11 to further a long held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment. With a new afterward. One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year National Bestseller National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A Best Book of the Year: Salon, Slate, The Economist, The Washington Post, Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Black Edge

Author : Sheelah Kolhatkar
ISBN : 9780812995817
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 61. 34 MB
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The story of the billionaire trader Steven A. Cohen, the rise and fall of his hedge fund, SAC Capital, and the largest insider trading investigation in history—for readers of The Big Short, Den of Thieves, and Dark Money. The rise over the last two decades of a powerful new class of billionaire financiers marks a singular shift in the American economic and political landscape. Their vast reserves of concentrated wealth have allowed a small group of big winners to write their own rules of capitalism and public policy. How did we get here? Through meticulous reporting and powerful storytelling, New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar shows how Steve Cohen became one of the richest and most influential figures in finance—and what happened when the Justice Department put him in its crosshairs. Cohen and his fellow pioneers of the hedge fund industry didn’t lay railroads, build factories, or invent new technologies. Rather, they made their billions through speculation, by placing bets in the market that turned out to be right more often than wrong—and for this they have gained not only extreme personal wealth but formidable influence throughout society. Hedge funds now manage nearly $3 trillion in assets, and competition between them is so fierce that traders will do whatever they can to get an edge. Cohen was one of the industry’s greatest success stories. He mastered poker in high school, went off to Wharton, and in 1992 launched SAC Capital, which he built into a $15 billion empire, almost entirely on the basis of his wizardlike stock trading. He cultivated an air of mystery, reclusiveness, and extreme excess, building a 35,000 square foot mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, and amassing one of the largest private art collections in the world. On Wall Street, Cohen was revered as a genius. That image was shattered when SAC became the target of a sprawling, seven-year government investigation. Labeled by prosecutors as a “magnet for market cheaters” whose culture encouraged the relentless hunt for “edge”—and even “black edge,” or inside information—SAC was ultimately indicted in connection with a vast insider trading scheme, even as Cohen himself was never charged. Black Edge offers a revelatory look at the gray zone in which so much of Wall Street functions, and a window into the transformation of the U.S. economy. It’s a riveting, true-life legal thriller that takes readers inside the government’s pursuit of Cohen and his employees, and raises urgent questions about the power and wealth of those who sit at the pinnacle of modern Wall Street. Praise for Black Edge “A modern version of Moby-Dick, with wiretaps rather than harpoons.”—Jennifer Senior, The New York Times “Excellent.”—The Economist “If you liked James B. Stewart’s Den of Thieves, Sheelah Kolhatkar’s thrilling Black Edge should be next on your reading list.”—The Wall Street Journal “A lot of people do not trust Wall Street. They regard it as a moneymaking machine for those who work there, which has little interest in practice in its stated aim of channeling capital into businesses and helping them to grow for the broader benefit of society. For such skeptics, Steven Cohen is Exhibit A.”—John Gapper, Financial Times “A richly reported, entertaining tale about the cat-and-mouse game between the government and Cohen.”—Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times Book Review

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