In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was campaigning against George Bush Snr for the Republican Party ballot, Reagan's camp ran an advertisement which claimed:
"A coalition of multinational corporate executives, big-city bankers, and hungry power brokers... want to give you George Bush... their purpose is to control the American government."
At that time, the widely unpopular George H. W. Bush was considered "unelectable". Does anyone remember that?
Before WWII, President Franklin Roosevelt issued a warning:
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling power... Among us today, a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing."
That "concentration of private power" included George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, who was later convicted by the US government under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
Then there's President Eisenhower's dire warnings in 1960 about the growth of the "military-industrial complex", a term he himself invented:
"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.There were other warnings too. Here's Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, in 1941:
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
“We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”Here's Huey Long, who won fame by taking on the powerful Standard Oil Company, which he sued for unfair business practices:
“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag.”