The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
If you don’t know who Greg Palast is, you should. This (64-year-old) New York Times bestselling author and freelance investigative journalist for the BBC and for the Guardian dresses like a gumshoe detective from a Dashiell Hammett novel for good reason; he can back it up. This background information is important to take into account when watching “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” because Palast’s presentation comes on strong. In this day and age, such trappings could be confused with caricature, rather than character — by which I mean a person with integrity. There’s a word you don’t see very often because every time such a human being exerts his or her attempt to free the truth (see Bradley/Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, Ted Rall, etc.) they are slandered and demonized by both sides of America’s neo-liberal media and its corporate fathers.
Palast makes Michael Moore look, well, small by comparison. Moore (two years Palast’s junior) has partaken in so much of the Hillary Clinton Kool-Aid that he may as well throw in the towel. Check out Palast’s investigation into the Exxon Valdez disaster.
Voter fraud in America is the focus of Palast’s bumpy documentary, which Palast co-directed with David Ambrose. It would have behooved Palast to hire a more experienced director to take on those duties, but the meat of this film far outweighs its filmic weaknesses. Odd how in the few weeks since this film’s release, all sorts of news outlets have been jumping on the band wagon to state that Donald Trump’s version of voter fraud — namely where citizens cross state lines to vote twice — is microscopic as to be nonexistent. What Palast shows, describes, and tracks down are the billionaire corporate raiders (see the Koch Brothers, John Paulson, and John “The Vulture” Singer) who fund insidious things like Interstate Crosscheck, which effectively blocks non-white voters from casting their votes.
“The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” isn’t a great documentary, but it gets the job done. From its title, you know that democracy isn’t real. So if Greg Palast and his girl Friday (Ms. Badpenny) seem over the top, well it goes with the territory of a country on the verge of yet another fraud-based election. As always it isn’t the voters you have to worry about, it’s the perpetually rigged system that will deliver Corporate America’s latest puppet. Sometimes you need to hear such bitter truths from a private-dick-styled journo like Palast. Check it out.
Not Rated. 114 mins. (B-) (Three stars — out of five / no halves)