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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Obama Variations

Democrats Complicity in Political Murder

By Norman Pollack
Counter Punch
February 28, 2013

The New York Times (Feb. 21) featured an article on White House
strategy for pushing through John Brennan’s appointment as CIA
Director, with a photograph of him standing alongside an admiring
Diane Feinstein, aka Madame Apologist for CIA-JSOC Paramilitary
Operations, a truly dynamic duo, symbolizing the Executive-
Congressional consensus on permanent war through means which
makes the garden-variety war criminal’s hair stand on edge.

America, under Obama, has no precedent in this nation’s past;
sure, the Bush II-Cheney arrogance and purposeful criminality.

But we expect that.

This time is different, the liberalization of moral turpitude,
not only in foreign-military policies, but also from top to bottom,
demonstrating, hopefully even to the obtuse, the charitable, the
few authentic liberals and progressives mired in an earlier time-
warp, that all policy is interconnected: failure on climate change
and murdering children from the skies via an armed drone go
together, one not possible without the other.

Worshipping on the altar of deregulation, so that bankers and
hedge fund operators can score illegitimate gains in the millions
if not billions (while the bottom one-third to one-half in America
know want, insecurity, and distress) is also to worship—hardly
missing a step—on the altar of militarism, so that CIA can enjoy
wider latitude in covert actions.

Special Ops can bask in presidential prestige as America’s answer
to Third World death squads, and the poisons of militarization
spread throughout the culture itself.

Mental divestiture from the fakery of Democratic politics-as-usual
is the first step to moral sanity.

I began writing for CounterPunch with recalling Melville’s deeply disturbing short story, “Bartleby the Scrivener, the Story of Wall
Street,” because then it already appeared clear that Obama, a
cardboard creation of market fundamentalism and pro war doctrine
and practice, had played treacherously with well-meaning American
sympathies for socioeconomic decencies.

Now, even more, he has stepped out of the cardboard to become a
full blown menace in his own right, synthesizing the powers of his
creators to put capitalism to the test of its own inner spirit: wealth
inequality, a government wedded to the private sector at the expense
of the public interest, and the criminalization of all dissenting views.

At this point, he appears to be succeeding admirably, with a
narcotized public still shouting hosannas of praise, and John Brennan,
the proud face of an America that can act with impunity at home and
abroad on behalf of its most affluent, more familiarly known in an
earlier day as the ruling class (although I would settle for C. Wright
Mills’s “Power Elite”).

But to rub salt in the wounds of the affronted, this is not the
work of nefarious, imbecilic Republicans, but the straight-
forward, consciously-realized policy-framework of the Democrats.

Bartleby, faced with the selfish corruption of a society that hemmed
in its people with the walls of alienation (yes, Melville was brilliant,
a century ahead of his time in identifying the moral questions
Americans have ever since shoved under the rug), simply and
eloquently responded to every entreaty to be sucked in, “I prefer
not to.”

Today the Bartlebys of this world would be rolled over by the vast
construction machinery, the mammoth bulldozers, designed to
eliminate the unwanted, to be removed to make way for the
hundred-percenters, the patriots, the noble warriors keeping down
distant enemies, and .. who knows when, to be turned on those at

Obama has a thirst for command, after first placating the military
and intelligence communities to the extent of proving his admiration
for them—one increasingly reciprocated by those communities.

Each decision, portrayed as pragmatic, altogether necessary
compromise to get through anything, actually constitutes a
consecutive record of achievement in the wrong direction the
further fascisization of the social structure, from a growing
concentration of wealth and its corollary, widening differentials
of income, status, and power, to the open sesame of capital
accumulation fully assisted by not compliant but actively
sympathetic government.

I am not one to offer solutions, which, in any case, seem
presently under the radar or off the charts.

But it would be good to hark back to Bartleby’s “I prefer not
to,” as evidence of washing our hands of pseudoliberalism
(never really much to begin with, at least after 1945), spitting
in the eye of our would-be democrats, saying, we see through
you, your wars, your pollution, your contempt for the poor,
your prostitution to wealth, your betrayal of the people.

And maybe, through the power of example, the negation of
political murder, ruthlessness, me-too billionaireism, others
will pick up the tune, and someday an awakened people will
come into the sun as their earned and proper destiny.

The Feinstein-Brennan photo says it all–how cozy Democrats
themselves have come to the table of war crimes, repression,
torture, and bow at the waist of their leader.

The Assassination President, asking only for a fig leaf to cover
their treachery, i.e., the publication of legal memos to justify
Obama’s barbaric program of political murder, as though these
memos, even assuming their existence, could somehow prove

Eric Holder meet John Yoo; the OLC is rotten to the core.

The so-called “leak” to NBC was a contrived act to make
Brennan’s appearance before Senate Intelligence go more

Why even try to reason with Obama supporters, they
have abdicated all moral responsibility for a bloodthirsty
president and administration, whose Terror Tuesdays are
a Mardi Gras celebration of death and the prowess of
America’s paramilitary operations.

International law has been flushed down the toilet.

The killing of noncombatants (defined by Obama via specious
criteria as combatants), women, children, funeral attendees,
first responders, is a deliberated and heinous act intended
for the sole purpose of cowing a people into submission–the
Obama variant of GENOCIDE.

Progressives of today have become the apologists for fascism.

The litmus test of any humane, democratic standard, is the
absolute rejection of Obama and his administration.

Lesser-evil arguments are a means to accommodate ourselves
to EVIL itself.

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.

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