[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.
Behind every great fortune, there is a crime.
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.
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.