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When mega-lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced to jail in early 2006, he was seen as the personification of corruption, along with Tom DeLay and Bob Ney. But as "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" shows, Abramoff and the individuals associated with him were just the tip of the iceberg. Alex Gibney's documentary takes the same approach to its topic that his previous documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" does, looking at the roots of the main character, and how deregulation led to the culmination.
I had read in Al Franken's book "The Truth with Jokes" about Abramoff's fleecing of the Tigua Indians and DeLay's promotion of the Mariana Islands to hide the garment industry's sweatshops there. The documentary looks at those, and goes a little further into Abramoff's role in the college Republicans, alliance with Angolan autocrat Jonas Savimbi, and more. One of the most important points is how Abramoff and Ralph Reed used religious fundamentalism, specifically how Reed was making large sums of money through links to Indian casinos while pontificating against gambling.
But the most important topic that the documentary brings up is that this is neither "a few bad apples" nor a conspiracy. This happened because the American people let it happen by neglecting to take democracy seriously. Prevention of such events in the future requires the American people to stay vigilant of their government, and of corporations. Everyone should see this documentary.
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