DARK MONEY by Jane Mayer traces the history of the Koch brothers in the implementation of extreme libertarian views in both Washington and (to a lesser extent) the general votership. Privileged members of the inheritance meritocracy intended to become “the ruling class” via the setup of private foundations and the manipulation of public officials. Rather than pay higher taxes, this scheme was turned to their advantage in supporting those institutions which served their interests, and promoted the philosophy of Ayn Rand and trickle-down economics while demonizing anything sniffing of socialism as “communism.” Oddly, some of the ultra conservative Kochs were John Birch supporters and conspiracy theorists dedicated to doing away with taxes of all kinds, with only a tiny government controlled by them (and the Mellons, Olins, and Bradleys.) They balked at paying for parks, services or even wars, yet profited from them. Although anti-government, the Kochs quietly supported banking bailouts in 2008 when they saw their investments sliding. And today they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The rich are getting ever richer and bolder as Americans have embraced the idea that the little guy can become a millionaire overnight, (along with the prerequisite jingoism, sense of entitlement, and lack of empathy for anyone not rich and famous.) In Mayer’s analysis, the plutocracy controls Congress and the Pentagon behind the scenes, and uses the media as a tool to brandwash the public into compliance and acceptance. “Dark Money” refers to the campaign cash used to bribe officials or to fund campaigns deemed “on the same page” with the ideals of free market capitalism (with the tax burden borne by the now-vanishing middle class.) Read by Kirsten Potter, this is an epic audiobook told without hyperbole of expression or treatment. AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH.