POTUS has been caught with his pants down, even if just this once and confined to government spying on the Associated Press. Only when its own ox is gored does the press, here the New York Times in a blistering editorial (May 14), fight back, yet still without touching on the real issue: Obama’s fascistic tendencies, issuing as concrete policies and Executive legerdemain, both of which assisted by Brennan in ushering in the new militarism of paramilitary operations, along with targeted assassination, and Holder in ushering in the new era of systematic deprivation of civil liberties and Constitutional rights. True, his predecessors were not innocent babes in some of these areas (although even they were not committed to assassination as a signature policy, nor, of course, so keen on employing the Espionage Act or creating Devil’s Islands like Guantanamo), but the qualitative leap taken by Obama transforms now-familiar old-fashioned Imperialism and probusiness actions into a tightening of monopoly capitalism as assisted by military power in search of absolute arbitrariness in shaping the global structure and, not incidentally, silencing dissent at home. Once upon a time, government, while pretending regulation all the while defending business, nonetheless performed some useful service, including implementing the social safety net; now, under Obama, the National Security Agency trumps the Social Security Administration, the CIA and the JSOC trump practically everything in sight, and Treasury and the Fed ensure the financial sector carte blanche, foreclosures, unemployment, increasing poverty notwithstanding—the inversion of economic democracy made possible by the thorough corruption of political democracy.
The posterior of fascism–may I be blunt, buttocks (?)—has two cheeks, capitalism and militarism, as in a well-designed form completely dependent (once capitalism reaches a certain point) on each other for the necessary invigoration to keep the system functioning in a manner acceptable to its ruling groups. Obama is their guy, the personification of amoral, ruthless, secretive traits, well-protected by elaborate defense mechanisms to ensure a wall of arrogance against any and all criticism; not a dummy partner, but one who wants full collaboration with the bankers, Neocons, defense contracters, trade association mavens, oil executives, industrial polluters, hail fellows well met all, and countless others, sharing in common the vision of unrestrained capitalism in a risk-free world at home and abroad of conformity to their desires and ambitions. One place to start: prevent the workings of a free press. Hide the gathering of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands, until too late when ruling groups cannot be dislodged short of revolution—the least likely outcome on the horizon of America, saturated as it is with the false consciousness of pride in capitalism (including whatever it takes, including a military budget strangling the lives of working people). My New York Times Comment (May 15) on the editorial follows:
The Obama-Holder regime does not want the “coverage of government,” secrecy now being at an all-time high, transparency, an all-time low. “Punch” (aka A.O.S.) would be PROUD of this editorial. Perhaps without realizing, The Times indeed exposes Obama’s rancid, puerile, deadly “integrity,” for abrogating Constitutional rights and denying civil liberties, in any regime, is always a tip-off to worse, in this case, stretching executive powers well beyond democratic limits–again, another tip-off, now the basic MILITARISM of POTUS and his administration, all connected to the construction of the National Security State.
I pray The Times finally recognizes the danger, and stops laboring under the lesser-of-two-evils arguments. Of course, the Republicans, in their infantile zeal only to obstruct, are beneath contempt–but that does not give license for praising Obama. He has much to answer for–your passing mention, prosecute those who reveal torture but never the torturers themselves, speaks volumes for the closed system of Reaction under his leadership.
For Obama, speaking truth to power is itself terrorism, and whistleblowers, the real terrorists. How much longer are these cryptofascist thugs to be allowed to act with impunity, whether on intervention, armed drones for targeted assassination, the “pivot” of military forces to the Pacific (looking to square off against China), or many more abominations of thoughtful, democratic policymaking?
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.