FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

One Week, and Counting: Bottom-Fishing in America

Webster: frequenting the bottom. When a right-wing cell (FBI), from its inception, at the heart of government, now appears to the Left of the leading candidate for president (Clinton), one knows that she is fishing on the shoreline of fascism. From a democratic standpoint, it doesn’t get any worse. Even her challenger, matching her stride for stride in vulgarian (pretentious, indecent), gut-authoritarianism, the two the Janus-faced expression of the Class-State, at least does not demonize Putin and Russia, as preparatory, in her case, to still wider confrontation, including China, as dangerously leading up to a catastrophic war, or at first the breakdown of the international order.

The FBI, from cops and robbers, to reds and fellow subversives, as television and popular opinion would have it, was a spearhead for McCarthyism and a practical annex of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Those were the days, from Baby-face Nelson to the Rosenbergs, and now, hardly chastened from its turbid (muddy, foul, opaque) past, still the guardian of American innocence, Director Comey makes one correct move to undo the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover, and the American political world falls apart. I am not a fan of Comey’s for his initial exoneration of Clinton in her use of a private server at State, but surely, this is an eye-opener, about how far the political spectrum has shifted to the Far Right.

Whomever wins the election, America digs itself deeper into the cesspool of hierarchical class-differentiation, wealth-concentration, a pervasive ideological atmosphere of solipsistic hatred at home for human difference, rancid hegemony abroad for any who seek an alternative path to modernization away from the example of US petrifying capitalism. This election reveals that America, like a broken record, is stuck, playing over and over again the themes of domestic repression and foreign counterrevolution, the ideal synthesis for the unilateral assertion of world power. Neither candidate nor major party distances itself from the latter goal.

Comey, perhaps against his will and ideological proclivities, achieves standing here, merely, as he should, by doing his duty. The bipartisan consensus maneuvering in place to chastise him reveals the dark reality of a nation so devoted to denial and untruth, possibly to cover over its sins of commission (war crimes, indigenous racism and xenophobia) and omission (failure to act on environmental degradation, an adequate system of health care, a military budget crowding out the general welfare), that it has lost its way and falsified its original promised constitutional existence. America is presently normless, and has been since capitalism inaugurated its take-off stage following the Civil War. And before that, with institutionalized slavery, internal genocidal expansion, and cap-in-hand deference to political ideologues not adverse to compromise with, if not actually representing, vested interests.

Scratch America from the democratic column, transposed now to an enlarged banana republic wherein one can expect, from either party and successful candidate, enhanced features of an already ripening Police State. Surveillance, proscription, total exclusion of viable methods, measures, and structural changes pointed toward democratization, America will formally become what it already is: a panicked response to the self-realization of its nihilistic core of moral values and systemic attributes—a nuclear-armed Goliath lacking soul and conscience, and for that reason a menace to world peace and self-renewal at home. No, Comey, by his actions, is not the enemy, but one who for the first time has put on his spectacles and looked around him. There are some things that even an ardent “patriot” cannot stomach.

I recall how in the 1960s, e.g., Mississippi Freedom Summer, the FBI would interrogate us, try to sow doubts in the hearts of the demonstrators, act as intimidators pure and simple, combined with its undercover role in breaking up antiwar protests throughout the decade, so I hardly have much hope that things have changed. Yet, my hat is off to Comey, even if only to anger Clinton, force Democrats into self-protective mode, and raise questions about the rotten stinking fish used to fertilize her and the party’s position on war and peace, capitalism (Wall Street’s Miss America), and the Clintons’ own mind-boggling accumulation of personal wealth—all of which is instinctively known by the public, but unable to extricate from the mental prison of submerged guilt for totalitarian ways and practices.

We await the election, a studied exercise in un-freedom, where tyranny of false consciousness defines the psychological mental set of America, what Adorno writing sixty-six years ago called authoritarian submission, a framework where the Leadership Principle comes to the foreground if it has not already. Parallels to the incipient stages of Nazism are not an exaggeration, and it is not a loud-mouthed Trump who is necessarily the greatest danger. He is predominantly all-surface. It is Clinton who plumbs the depths of arrogance, ambition, congealed militarism. America, R.I.P.

My New York Times Comment to its editorial, “James Comey’s Big Mistake,” 11-1-16, follows:

Comey acted honorably. Unlike Hoover, he is here depoliticizing the FBI. The Times has demonstrated such partiality to Clinton, in news selection as well as editorial opinion, that it is hard to take its criticism seriously. Endorsement is one thing, blind-siding the other side quite different. Are not emails a legitimate area of investigation? Does not the public have the right to know, especially in an election? If there is no smoking gun, this will redound to Clinton’s benefit; if there is, yes, it might change minds. But what is wrong with that?

Clinton invariably is treated with kid gloves. Even the initial issue, the use of a private server to transact government business, is forgotten. Rather than jump on Comey, why not revisit the whole question–which Comey had originally dismissed–of Clinton’s valuing of transparency, and from there (although it is now late in the game) her whole foreign policy framework and hostility, in particular, to Putin and Russia?

To criticize Clinton does not necessarily make one an apologist for Trump. Call the shots with equal endeavor; responsible journalism requires no less.

More articles by:

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

June 20, 2018
Bill Hackwell
Unprecedented Cruelty Against Immigrants and Their Children
Paul Atwood
“What? You Think We’re So Innocent?”
Nicola Perugini
The Palestinian Tipping Point
K.J. Noh
Destiny and Daring: South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s Impossible Journey Towards Peace
Gary Leupp
Jeff Sessions and St. Paul’s Clear and Wise Commands
M. G. Piety
On Speaking Small Truths to Power
Dave Lindorff
Some Straight Talk for Younger People on Social Security (and Medicare too)
George Wuerthner
The Public Value of Forests as Carbon Reserves
CJ Hopkins
Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
David Schultz
Less Than Fundamental:  the Myth of Voting Rights in America
Rohullah Naderi
The West’s Over-Publicized Development Achievements in Afghanistan 
Dan Bacher
California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters
Lori Hanson – Miguel Gomez
The Students of Nicaragua’s April Uprising
Russell Mokhiber
Are Corporations Are Behind Frivolous Lawsuits Against Corporations?
Michael Welton
Infusing Civil Society With Hope for a Better World
June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail