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Despotism does not require self-identity through the concentration camp (although offshore we have Guantanamo, and onshore, Bradley Manning); rather, it’s the sometimes-overlooked seemingly little things, the added accretion of details, that are most telling in describing and experiencing a society’s journey to authoritarianism. Modernized nuclear weapons, supercarriers, interventions, military bases worldwide—sure, the raw stuff of incipient now becoming actualized fascism, the big-boxed items such as these, is the real thing, but equally so are the tightening of reins in and around government, in plain words an absolute denial of transparency, in which our Commander in Chief and his courtiers in DOJ reach into the drugstore counter to ensure that Plan B One Step, deemed harmful to the nation’s moral character by our science-loving POTUS, remains unavailable except through age restriction and placed out of sight.
Thanks, Mr. President, for your solicitude, custodian of the faith, which itself fortifies your moral will to murder women and children (indeed whomever, with “signature strikes,” happens to be milling around) in the Obama-Brennan crusade against terrorism, aptly carried out through armed drones for targeted assassination. That should be a tough pill for the American public to swallow, but now with a militarism-saturated atmosphere, you seem to be on your way. Not only government lockstep, but also lockdown, increasing pressure within and outside government to tow the line: an orthodoxy, and loyalty to the chief, which, as I say, is being implemented into the interstices of the body politic. In this case, first, Sec. Sebelius, of health and human services, overrules an FDA ruling on the availability of the morning after pill (not just here, Executive departments, DOJ, and POTUS make sure specific agencies–FDA, EPA, etc.– do not regulate in the people’s interest and otherwise support measures of human welfare); then, with FDA making a slight retreat (to its credit), age restriction at 15 and stocked on display shelves (instead of under the counter), the pill’s fate comes before the watchful eye, in April, of the US District Judge for the Eastern District of NY, who rules that it must be made available (i.e., no longer politicized) to all women with no age restrictions; and finally—as of now—the Obama-Holder Team immediately appeal the decision and even, by indirection thus far, repudiate the FDA compromise directive.
A stone wall worthy of the imperial potentate is under construction, who takes time away from executing a grandiose geopolitical strategy to contain—and perhaps if Dulles were alive, “liberate”—China, so that it dutfully falls into line behind America’s wise guidance of the world structure. Obama is versatile, to say the least, making the world safe for American capitalism with one hand, and protecting the virginity of American girlhood with the other. I seldom have kind words these days for a New York Times editorial but here follows my Comment (May 3) to this one, in which I suggest that Obama has become the water-carrier for vested wealth and social ignorance:
The editorial is solid, but to understand Obama and his position one must go beyond “lack of access to safe contraception” and “unintended pregnancies,” to the underlying issue: POTUS, a slight feint to the center-left, in fact has betrayed his entire reform posture from the ’08 campaign. He has transmogrified into a charlatan figure consistently taking the retrograde side on ALL issues, including your concern, correctly, with global warming.
Science itself, under his head, has been narrowed to technological means of killing–the armed drones for targeted assassination. Similarly, the “modernization” of nuclear weapons translates into a greater lethality. Too, his overriding of EPA on acceptable ozone levels, and his equivocations on Keystone XL, speak volumes about his manipulative skills in the service of a rather dismal status quo.
Will this latest affront, not only to science, but also reason and progressive thought in general, we see him as he really is: a cunning watercarrier for vested wealth and social ignorance–both vital for bringing the American people to an accommodation to his presently first love: militarism, pure and simple. Obama’s DOJ in bringing this suit is the same DOJ denying habeas corpus rights to detainees, advocating for indefinite detention, and making mince meat of civil liberties, from Espionage Act prosecutions to rolling back limits on surveillance. Young women are merely the latest casualty in his assault on the American people.
Norman Pollack is the author of “The Populist Response to Industrial America” (Harvard) and “The Just Polity” (Illinois), Guggenheim Fellow, and professor of history emeritus, Michigan State University.