Whom do we blame for our troubles?

A natural progression has arisen 40 years after billionaires laid plans for a cultural revolution, in large part by using fake organizations of philanthropy – replete with tax breaks – to fund it. It was a masterful   — even outrageous — plan, to make American taxpayers help finance a campaign against us. Most of their political activities were then and still are written off as tax-deductible “philanthropy.”  With this bitter irony, I am sure a number of the corporate moguls “laugh their asses off,” to put it crudely.

In the late 1900s, it was Richard Mellon Scaife and later John M. Olin, who directed and slipped “Trojan-horses” of libertarian ideas into academic institutions, think tanks, courts, statehouses, Congress and finally, the presidency, most notably with the election of 2000. Now the Koch brothers engineer, through semi-annual secret meetings and Citizen United tax-free organizations, most of the efforts to topple democracy.

But the relentless exploitation of Americans did not end there. Add to that the outright fraud and thievery by Wall Street of billions of dollars, taken from unsuspecting investors, retirement funds, and consumers. Bogus investments and the effects of the 2008 recession trashed retirement accounts for many Americans. Then their allies, the Bush administration, gave them taxpayer money to bail out the dire impacts of their grifting, followed by the bankruptcy-fearing Obama administration.

The events have been predictable, though some, surprising. For example, in the US, if you really studied financial conditions, you could have predicted the housing crash and the great recession, results of unbridled greed and a deregulated Wall Street, events practically inviting abuse.

As Republicans acted on the plutocratic plan to polarize and conquer, many predicted that GOP partisan demagoguery would reach a radical extreme, but maybe not be represented by the exploits of narcissist, Donald Trump. Perhaps, more shocking, well after the conservative campaign spread globally, was the British vote on Brexit. In fact, it was almost comical that a stooge of conservatives, David Cameron, confidently – even arrogantly — directed a vote he thought he was sure to win.

The motivation for Trump supporters and Brexit voters is not too deep to fathom. Both are angry about inequality, unresponsive government, and institutions that don’t work for them. Brexit voters, distrusting a pompous government, see their tormentors as immigrants competing for jobs. Trump supporters, confused about their real enemies, are looking for those unlike themselves as scapegoats.

Meanwhile the GOP feeds the division in our country. They are the worst in terms of supporting corporate moguls, but the Democrats are compromised as well.

Even Democrat Bill Clinton participated in permitting the mogul-managed, financial free-for-all in 1999. He joined with Republicans in passing the Financial Services Modernization Act which did away with restrictions on the integration of banking, insurance and stock trading imposed by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. This act had barred commercial banks from engaging in speculative ventures for almost seventy years and had served the country well, that is until Wall State executives were made free to swindle – through their own casino capitalism.

The following year, the presidential election of 2000 helped cement a plutocratic takeover when the conservative members of the Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush as president, stopping a recount in the Florida election.

Governor Jeb Bush, with his secretary of state, Katherine Harris, oversaw the disenfranchisement of thousands of black electors in Florida and made the vote closer than it otherwise would have been. The Bush administration spread the fruits of the conservative revolution, one example being Olin-Foundation educated John Yoo, the author of the Bush administration’s “torture memo.”

The Great Recession of 2008 was a predictable result of mixing the ingredients of deregulation, casino capitalism, corporate and private entitlements, and unvarnished greed.  Wall Street bankers made extraordinary sums of money through fraud and never were held accountable.  Meanwhile local crime in poorer communities warranted long prison terms and overstuffed prisons.

Access of the rich to government through thousands of lobbyists and Citizens United elections pushed the vast majority of Americans out of any government access. Impotency for the majority of voters became the rule rather than the exception.

The declaration of war by billionaire interests, beginning in the 1970s, was a screaming success. At the time, the people’s government actually protected our environment against polluters, banning DDT and monitoring drinking water.

The rich were beside themselves. This was not to be tolerated. Indeed, requiring the curtailing of particle pollution in cities and requiring catalytic convertors on cars was a slap in the face through the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And protecting the people against toxic foodstuffs and harmful drugs through another agency, the FDA, was downright unfriendly to the “makers.”

Their Powell Manifesto presented a comprehensive plan of attack that would sweep a corporate culture into all facets of American and — keeping pace with global developments — global life. With their piles of money and a reach that swept into the media, courts, publishing, education, and all aspects of the economy, they conquered.

In once what was a democracy, a peaceful revolution took place right under our noses. Installing a dictatorship was not needed like pre-world-war-II Germany or the post-1912 Soviet Union or like South American banana republics. It was done quite skillfully, surreptitiously, by billionaire interests and billionaire money – with the help of taxpayers, don’t forget.

It was a gradual evolution that two generations didn’t really notice because others like the poor were harmed first. The middle class got shafted only gradually: being overlooked for raises, losing company retirements, manufacturing jobs going away, fringe benefits gradually cut, your share of health care premiums going up or benefits going away, and privatization and subcontracting becoming the rule.

Meanwhile, billionaires bought elections in several states. Wisconsin set unions against others prejudiced by untold hours of watching and listening to right-wing talk shows; then gave tax breaks to the rich and ruined a great education system. The GOP was installed in North Carolina mainly with Art Pope money and went wildly radical: lower taxes for the rich, polluting with coal ash, non-white voter suppression, reverse Robin Hood, judges for sale, gutting public education and state-sponsored religion.

The rich, who consider underlings children, perhaps, think that is what Christ meant when he said, “Suffer my children”?  His children did suffer under the coup.

Is this your America now? The democrats partially represent us. Labor union membership is stifled and more jobs are being exported.

Deal with it, or just find someone other than rich corporate interests to blame – maybe non-whites or immigrants.

James Hoover is a recently retired systems engineer. He has advanced degrees in Economics and English. Prior to his aerospace career, he taught high school, and he has also taught college courses. He recently published a science fiction novel called Extraordinary Visitors and writes political columns on several websites. Read other articles by James.