What Free Press?


Breaking news of DOJ surveillance of the AP brought a welcome fighting back, a rare display of calling Obama on his running roughshod over civil liberties and here freedom of the press.  The Holder-DOJ record so tarnishes the Constitution, all with Obama’s knowledge and blessing, as to erase any real distinction between the two major parties weighing all things considered.  What ever happened to Harvard Law, the descent into the gutter from the days of Pound, Cox, Griswold, now to Obama, one convinced he can act with impunity with his transgressions of the rule of law.

Lucky for him, the US is in a state of profound alienation, willingly acquiescent in anything or anyone who promises security from terrorism, as POTUS meanwhile has transformed counterterrorism into an agency of TERROR, at home through seeking the eradication of dissent, abroad, through the military-saturation of the globe with Special Ops, bases, assassination, doctrines of containment and hegemony (both directed at China), intervention (aka, regime change) in the internal affairs of nations the US does not like (Venezuela, for one, but others too), indeed, as Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo all testify, we are approaching the nadir of US foreign relations since Vietnam, and this under a Democratic president!

When will this criminal attack on international law stop?  Probably not in the foreseeable future, as the Obama-Brennan team lays the groundwork for a condition of permanent war, as much to prevent the democratization of the class structure, by among other means the squeezing dry of the social safety net, as it is to achieve—already a work in progress—the militarization of US capitalism as a vain effort to remain on top in which unilateral dominance is no longer possible.

Obama will fail, at least on the second count, which in turn will adversely affect the domestic system, driving America further into the moral void of militarism as the national policy.  What does DOJ’s invasion of the AP have to do with the US’s decline and growing belligerence?  Everything, for when the agency of law enforcement acts the role of common criminal and invades the security of lawful activity, one instinctively knows that fascism is just around the corner.  My Comment to the Times (May 14) on DOJ skullduggery follows:

Wake up, NYT. Your editorial page continues to give Obama praise because he somehow appears less repellent than the Republicans. Yet your investigative reporters, like Savage, Mazzetti, Shane, know better. AG Holder has been leading the assault on the Constitution since taking office–and Carney’s claim of Obama’s noninvolvement reeks with duplicity. How much evidence do you require that Obama tramples on the law, from denying (while still proclaiming) transparency to the questionable use of surveillance, the Espionage Act, and of course assassination as a tool of national policy.

Liberals and progressive fail to stand up to him. But I expect better of The Times. This is not a Left vs. Right issue, but simply one of freedom of the press. “Punch” is gone–does that give license to coddling those who suppress news-gathering? I wish you would come out fighting on PRINCIPLE, by exposing the abuses of POTUS and especially DOJ. For some time we have been in a new era of McCarthyism, but unlike the late 1940s when I and other resisted, the civil-rights community is silent as the tomb–the tomb in which we shall all be buried, if Obama-Holder have their way.

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.


Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

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