Dateline: March 18, 2007
[This article was originally titled "Godfather Government: The Sopranos Aren't Leaving" and was published at From The Wilderness in 2006. The current posting has been updated and revised.--CB]
Don't you get the idea I'm one of those goddamn radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system.—Al Capone
Behind every great fortune, there is a crime.—Lucky Luciano
Historians study not only the past but using their analysis of the past, speculate about how the future might unfold. However, historians are not psychics; we can’t predict the exact occurrence of events with specificity, but we can analyze past and current events and conjecture likely future scenarios based on those events. In 1937, during the German Third Reich, historian Robert Brady wrote The Spirit And Structure Of German Fascism, one of the most incisive books of the twentieth century, now out of print and deemed “irrelevant” to contemporary events by most traditional historians. In his last chapter, “The Looming Shadow Of Fascism Over The World,” Brady hypothesized that corporatist influences would ultimately come to dominate many of the governments of the modern world, including and especially, the United States.
Certainly, America’s triumphant emergence from World War II and the subsequent institutionalization of the military-industrial complex established significant components of incipient fascism, as throughout the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency fomented anti-Communist hysteria and right-wing coups d’etat around the world. Meanwhile, at home, McCarthyism gave way to consumerism on steroids and the triumph of the American corporation on all fronts—a feat that had its roots in an obscure Supreme Court technicality in the decision, Santa Clara vs. Union Pacific Railroad in 1886, which declared that corporations were “persons” who had the same “civil rights” guaranteed freed slaves under the Fourteenth Amendment.
While most presidential administrations of the twentieth century gave lip service to government regulation of corporations, a new era dawned in the eighties with Reagan’s “war on government.” It was the beginning of the dismantling of government regulation of industry in America, and it was further exacerbated by a momentous Executive Order signed by Reagan. Executive Order 12615 required departments and agencies to “establish full and ambitious privatization goals.” It also created the Office of Privatization within the Office of Management And Budget to oversee the program and established an independent Commission on Privatization to study and recommend opportunities for privatization within the federal government.
According to Chapter 17 of Webster Tarpley’s The Unauthorized Biography of George Bush, Sr. and the research of Catherine Austin Fitts, Reagan’s Executive Order meant that private corporate contractors would no longer have to be accountable for the work they did nor how they used the money allocated to them. As a result, an opportunity for a black budget was created in which government money would be spent without the oversight of Congress and the American people. Clearly, this was a disastrous recipe for fraud and corruption to become standard operating procedure in the federal government.
Reagan’s Executive Order meant that private corporate contractors would no longer have to be accountable for the work they did nor how they used the money allocated to them. As a result, an opportunity for a black budget was created in which government money would be spent without the oversight of Congress and the American people.
Concurrently, the CIA was secretly financing the illegal Contra War in Nicaragua with cocaine trafficking, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was operating, a member of Senator Kit Bond’s staff told Catherine Austin Fitts, as a criminal enterprise. More recently art has imitated life in a "Sopranos" episode which mirrored HUD’s corrupt activities in South Central Los Angeles—the illumination of which by Fitts, and later From The Wilderness, precipitated the dirty tricks unleashed against her long before the "Sopranos" became an HBO series.
Enter the Democratic Clinton Administration which gave us NAFTA and made U.S. corporations sovereign domestically and internationally as globalism was born and its proponents championed the demise of nations and the supremacy of corporations. It was during that administration, not a Republican one, that the criminal enterprise we call the federal government came down on Fitts and nearly destroyed her.
Can anyone find a more stellar symbol of corporate dominance than that infamous glass skyscraper in Houston, formerly occupied by the Enron Corporation? Catherine Austin Fitts has superbly connected the dots between the egregious criminality of Enron, the Harvard Endowment, and one of the federal government’s principal contractors, CSC-DynCorp. Last year, with the conviction of former Enron golden boys, Jeff Skillings and Ken Lay--Lay’s death, not withstanding, investigative journalist, Greg Palast, unleashed a scathing expose of Enron throughout alternative media. With the convictions of Lay and Skillings, Palast seized the opportunity to muckrake enough dirt on Enron to fill its former Houston headquarters from basement to rooftop. So too have Peter Elkind and Bethany Mc Lean in their fabulous 2006 documentary, “The Smartest Guys In The Room”; however, what Palast and the filmmakers both failed to address and what Mike Ruppert covered judiciously in Crossing The Rubicon, was Enron’s involvement in moving and laundering massive quantities of drug money through its Enron Online trading company. From the research of Palast, Elkind, and Mc Lean, it is obvious that Enron cooked its books and used the smoke and mirrors of “Mark To Market” accounting to book profits out of thin air, but none of them can explain where Enron acquired the money to actually run its corporation while selling worthless stock and paving the way to financial oblivion for its investors and employees. The missing link in the Enron story is drug profits, but Mike Ruppert caught that link, as did Catherine Austin Fitts in her many articles revealing the Enron-Harvard-Citibank-DynCorp connection.
Palast nailed Choice Point, an enormous data-gathering empire which helped rig the 2000 election and has more recently been deeply involved in assisting the National Security Agency in spying on innocent American citizens. Calling Choice Point a “private KGB”, Palast writes: By ‘private KGB,’ I mean ChoicePoint, Inc., the Atlanta company that keeps over 16 billion records on Americans which it sells to the FBI, Homeland Security and, through a bit of a slip-up, identity thieves. They are watching you because George and Dick don't have time to track everyone in America (and that would be illegal, to boot), so Choice Point does it. Then turns over the electronic you -- cross-matched profiles of voting registration, your DNA info and who knows what else -- for a price.”
When one thoroughly digests the machinations of corporations like CSC-DynCorp, Enron, Halliburton, and Choice Point, it is axiomatic that whatever we have come to call “the government” is now virtually indistinguishable from private corporations—entities which are in themselves criminal syndicates. As Fitts for years has taken great pains to point out, when local communities of individuals do not control government databases, mind boggling corruption and exploitation of innocent citizens is inevitable simply because there is no fiduciary transparency. This is one of the principal arguments for local, not national, solutions; the more centralized systems become, the greater the potential for abuse. Conversely, the more de-centralized systems are, the more illumined and amenable to local monitoring they are likely to be.
From hindsight we now know that 9-11 was orchestrated by the U.S. government not only for the purpose of capturing the last remaining recoverable drops of oil on earth, but also as a pretext for sanctioning a pandemic of corruption within the federal government and corporations in the name of “national security” as well as the gradual but unprecedentedl shredding of the Constitution and the civil liberties it ensures. Subsequently, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq corporatized those countries to such an extent that it would be more appropriate for them to fly the flags of Halliburton and Bechtel than the colors of their respective nations. Add to this the Bush Administration’s admission that billions of dollars designated for the Iraq War cannot be accounted for. Why are we not surprised?
At home in the U.S. the Bush regime muscled through Congress its Medicare Reform Bill and firmly placed American healthcare in the hands of its cronies and lobbyist friends from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, spiking the costs of prescription medications and health insurance. At the same time, millions of working and middle class individuals who have no health insurance and who are being squeezed to death by the costs of mortgage payments, childcare, and simply putting food on the table in their households, find themselves decimated by medical bills, losing their jobs, or simply getting in over their heads financially with the credit cards they frantically use to “rob Peter and pay Paul.” But the Godfather Government saw this coming and found the “losses” incurred by Citibank, Chase, and other cronies of the banking industry intolerable, thereby making certain that the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 would sail through Congress with only a whisper of opposition.
The consequences of this legislation is now savaging the lives of countless middle and working class Americans. In fact, we must now ask a logical question: Will the grinding albatross of personal debt engender a massive pool of slave laborers in America who see no alternative to “working off their debt”? Economist Paul Krugman articulated a similar perspective in his New York Times 2005 article, "Debt Peonage". In any event, the gargantuan amounts of personal and collective debt in the United States will be a pivotal ingredient in the evisceration of the nation’s economy—a phenomenon impeccably documented by Kevin Phillips in American Theocracy: The Peril And Politics Of Radical Religion, Oil, And Borrowed Money In The Twenty-First Century. The progression of the demise is likely to be protracted rather than cataclysmic, with periodic crises, such as the housing bubble and a resultant credit bubble, heating up the subtle but yet very perceptible trial by fire.
In 2005, Business Week Online reported George W. Bush’s signature of the May 5 memo entitled “Assignment Of Function Relating To Granting Of Authority For Issuance Of Certain Directives: Memorandum For The Director Of National Intelligence.” In the document, Bush assigned intelligence czar, John Negroponte, the task of waiving Securities and Exchange Commission rules, established in 1934, pertaining to accounting disclosures by publicly-traded companies. As a result of no longer needing to reveal financial information in the name of national security, the cloning of Enron, having been in process for several years, was sealed. Instead of being required to disclose valid accounting ledgers, U.S. corporations have now been given carte blanche to maintain fiduciary legerdemain. Therefore, I must ask: How can any sane human being persist in believing that a legitimate government exists in the United States?
But we have a Congress, you may argue—and a Democratically-controlled one at that. Yes, and they have spent the past two months arguing about how to manage a war that the nation was lied into, rather than confronting the lies and turning off both the faucet of funding incessantly requested by the emperor and the deluge of profits flowing to military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the so-called progressive Democrats continue to perform as they have in the face of Bush’s most recent escalation of the war, they will confirm what any observer with two brain cells to rub together already knows: That the Democrats ARE the problem because of their insipid enabling of the fascist regime in the White House.
How many times has Congress cratered since September 11, 2001? Many more times than I have hours in the day to spend documenting them. In the past six years, we’ve all asked why. Post-9-11, we attributed Congressional loss of spine to the fear of the administration and political pressure to placate it. What is now being revealed almost daily, however, is the extent to which the tentacles of mobsters like Jack Abramoff and the K Street crowd reach into the halls of Congress. Kit Bond’s staffer was wrong only about one thing when he said that HUD was being run as a criminal enterprise: What is left of the entire former government of the United States is now more than ever being run as a criminal enterprise.
Perhaps even after all I have written here, you still believe you have a government. Whether you do or not, I’m fairly certain that when you read Catherine Austin Fitts’ exhaustive exposé on government-corporate corruption, you will no longer entertain the delusion that your so-called government is anything but institutionalized organized crime disguised as a government, or rather, empire, now teetering on the precipice of collapse.
In a shorter but succinct analysis of Godfather Government entitled "The American Tapeworm", Fitts provides a lucid but thorough explanation of the nuts and bolts of the criminal enterprise, not only within the United States, but how it is playing itself out globally, and specifically in Iraq.
Whether or not it has become clear to economists looking through rose-colored glasses, it is painfully obvious to the American consumer that the nation has entered a recession that promises to be long, deep, and most likely, global. While images of 1929 may haunt us, the gathering economic storm clouds are not likely to result in a sudden cataclysm, but rather a long, protracted, painful impoverishment on myriad levels. "This state of affairs," says Fitts, "can go on as long as it can be financed. Hence, as long as America can continue to export dollars, export Treasury bills and mortgage backed and other federally supported credit, and lead in global organized crime and warfare, a negative return economy can continue."
If you think your “government” is going to do anything to protect and support its citizens in the wake of endless imperial conquest, a housing market that is now toast, worsening global warming, global pandemics, natural disasters, massive food shortages, unprecedented outbreaks of violence and unrest, rates of unemployment that will dwarf those of the Great Depression, debt peonage, rapidly diminishing water supplies and a rotting infrastructure, as well as trainloads of worthless U.S. dollars, then the price you will pay for your gullibility and denial will be horrific. If you want to see what your “government” thinks of you and will do for you, think Katrina. Think the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s in this country when tens of thousands of human beings died while your government stood by and did nothing—and still is.
The only thing the members of your government care about is the colossal transfer of wealth—the financial coup d’ état that is in progress that will devastate you and your family economically and produce unparalleled profits for the gangsters you vote for. Absurdly, mainstream and even progressive media refer to eruptions of pervasive criminality in the federal government as ”scandals” revealing their inability to grasp the systemic disintegration of the rule of law in America and the reality that names like Abramoff, Libby, Gonzales, Walter Reed Hospital, are not scandals but symptoms of a disintegrating, rotting empire . Like AIDS victims suffering from incessant episodes of pneumonia, anemia, skin lesions, and other horrible ailments, none of which are their diagnosis but rather symptoms of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, epidemic criminality in high places is systemic and inherent in a fascist empire in the throes of collapse. To address the symptom as the disease merely facilitates the disease's progression and exacerbates the resultant suffering.
The driving force of fascism, and indeed all empires, is amoral sociopathy about which I wrote in my recent article "The Science Of Evil And Its Use For Political Purposes". Like AIDS or any other virulent syndrome, its symptoms manifest relentlessly but are systemic and therefore cannot effectively be addressed on the level of the symptom--the principal reason why political action, itself contaminated by the syndrome, provides bandaids and chicken soup, but is incapable of extricating itself from the syndrome.
To understand this is to stop referring to the criminal syndicate posing as the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches as “government” at all. To grasp this is to stop responding with naive, jaw-dropping surprise in the face of systemic corruption and to relinquish all hope that some other party or some more innovative politician will make it all better. There IS no government of the United States, but only corporations and centralized financial systems.
Therefore, it is now time to ponder how you will take care of yourself and your loved ones in the face of deepening, brutal, merciless, collapse (whether sudden or protracted), in an economy hollowed out and stripped bare, attended as corroding empires always are, by totalitarian management of the unruly and impoverished masses.
In 1937 Robert Brady called the corporate world view “organized piracy” and asked:
Is there any fundamental difference in appreciation of human values or in general outlook on life between a stockbroker and a pirate?…What on the open seas is thought of as an outlaw and ‘piratical’ raid of group on group is in another setting played as a legitimate game in which each man is pitted against every other man for all he can ‘get by with’ short of a snarl with criminal law.
This is fascism, and your “government” is already there. The wildly popular Sopranos HBO series has gone the way of all mini-series, now appearing several times a week in re-run status. Its greatest contribution to the culture, in my opinion, was its mirror image of the chicanery of empire, reminding us that the Sopranos of government have never gone away; in fact, they’re just getting warmed up. Tony, Silvio Dante, Johnny Sack, Uncle Junior, Christopher Moltisanti, Paulie Walnuts, and Dr. Melfi—a cast of thugs and enablers such as these, is the only government you have now or ever will have in the United States of America.
Or as Don Henley might say, "Offer up your best defense, this is the end of the innocence."
Carolyn Baker latest book is US History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You. Carolyn's blog is located at: http://carolynbaker.org/