In the Good Book it’s stated
That evil’s to be hated
But for those with no conscience
This is all nonsense
For Greed is Good
In their neighborhood
And the birth of Nations
Is through the Corporations
For the uninitiated, the last six years seem to be an aberration where we are being told that we need to give up our rights of habeas corpus, and our 4th Amendment rights. In other words, we must to give up our freedoms to stay free. There are several points to be made and surely I will miss a few, but let me try.
When corporations broke the law by spying on each of us that uses electronics like telephones, but including TV, cell phones, Internet, pagers and blackberries, the President insisted on providing retroactive immunity for the telephone companies, including Big Brother Bell. Now this is from a president that in April 2004 (at Buffalo) stated:
“…Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, Constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution….”
According to Mark Klein, the whistle-blower who reported this NSA operation, the facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco (Room 641A) was built in 2003, well before Bush spoke in Buffalo. Qwest refused to participate in this illegal spying on Americans and was soon prosecuted by the Federal Government for unrelated charges. Now is that ironic or what? Big Brother Bell can spy on us illegally and without the record of a FISA court order and be paid for it, but it is an offer you had better not refuse. Qwest refused. Collaborators can use the information and will be protected retroactively from prosecution and lawsuits. Clearly, the President was disingenuous at best in suggesting that he got court orders. Direct lie?…”Not exactly” as the Hertz ad goes. What is most revealing about this set of transactions is that the telephone companies unanimously agreed to obey the law and stop spying when the government fell behind in making payments. As long as they were being paid, they were OK with breaking the law. Not incidentally, this high-speed fiber-optic arrangement went far beyond spying on foreign nationals. It was/is called the Total Information Awareness Program headed up by Vice Admiral Poindexter (of Iran Contra fame). Poindexter is an experienced, recycled and ethics challenged operative. Are you shocked? If we pay, they spy on us.
This is one example of how Bush has embraced corporatism. Others abound, including outsourcing the Hurricane Katrina disaster aftermath (we cannot call it a recovery effort. Want to buy a toxic trailer?). He outsourced intelligence gathering at Abu Ghraib and myriad additional activities in Iraq to the tune of 180,000 non-military, including Blackwater, on our government corporate payroll for the Iraq adventure alone. He has outsourced much of our military health care to corporate contract labor and eliminated military positions. Our State Department mercenaries are also above the law. As I have reminded you before, Cheney is still on the corporate payroll for Halliburton, but this does not suggest a conflict of interest. Instead, it demonstrates a primary corporate interest. Similarly when creating an energy policy, Cheney met with energy companies who proceeded to run up the energy charges in California and laugh about it. If it were not for audiotapes showing their disdain for the law as well as Californians, we might have to guess that Cheney had a hand in the process. Bush enacted a drug policy that eliminated competition in pricing for government drug programs and established blocks and penalties for prescriptions coming in from Canada. This alone costs Americans billions of tax dollars each year, but it protects corporations from competition by a government that talks constantly about free trade and open markets. Bush has surrounded himself with cronies and incompetents who are protected from scrutiny and as long as the circle of contributions to Bush and favors to corporations remains unbroken, the curtain shall not rise. Daylight and transparency tend to discourage the growth of these viruses, but they flourish in darkness.
Even in the days following Katrina, Bush sought to eliminate union wage scales for the cleanup work and cheap imported labor was quick to the scene. Unions seem to be feared by the Bush administration. Who knows, they might limit the profit potential of corporations or shrink the circle of contributions to the Administration?
Another area of concern is the merging of Church and State. Not only have we endured the scandals at the Air Force Academy pushing evangelical Christianity, but we have had Major General Boykin caught preaching to congregations while in uniform and then “punished” by promotion to Lieutenant General. Blend these signs with the “Faith Based Initiative,” and you have the makings of a cozy relationship not seen with western governments since the twenties and thirties in Italy.
In fact, that brings us to other chilling parallels with the ultimate corporatist, Benito Mussolini. Military adventurism for Il Duce culminated in the botched invasion of sovereign Ethiopia. Does that parallel the invasion of sovereign Iraq? Too often, amateurs have equated Fascism with Totalitarianism. They are independent variables. Mussolini himself defined Fascism as corporatism. He also kissed up to the Pope and called Italy, “Catholic.” Benito Mussolini also hated freedom because he saw that as a threat to Italy and he claimed to give the people only enough “elbow room” for them not to revolt against the state. Dissent is discouraged. And is it not poetic, that we have the freedom to shop, but not to get involved in state policies? Another distraction is the use of a scapegoat or a boogeyman so that all the people have a common enemy. Elitism and corporatism go together for he ultimate good of the state. The corporate leaders become the elite and therefore the ordinary citizen does not have to concern himself with civic affairs except that we must all be very afraid of the boogeyman. Be very afraid of “Islamofascists” that represent an absurdity in terms since they are, by nature, the antithesis of corporatism. That gives us a boogeyman just as effective as the Socialists and Communists of Mussolini’s Italy.
Remember that dissent was the enemy of the Fascist state and that efforts were made to root out dissent. Benito was a uniter and not a divider. There are other characteristics of the fascist state that may not yet have materialized. Rigged elections, for example, were common in Mussolini’s Italy. Thank goodness that they have not happened here. Why does W hate our freedom? Freedom simply cramps his style. That is where dissent comes from, too. So if you lose your right to habeas corpus and privacy and security of your person and property, maybe the boogeyman won’t come…but then, maybe he is already here. Look up the definition of Fascism. It is fascinating.
“Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” Think “Ma Bell” becoming Big Brother Bell. We can still vote in frequently fair elections. Work to make elections fair and Vote, damn it, Vote.