Talking About Clinton v. Trump the Day of the First Bomb Dropped

Afterthoughts in a world tied to bats in the belfry as our daily existence to just make it past the 10 pm news

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.
— Franz Kafka, Letter to Max Brod, July 5, 1922

I’m listening to Hedges and Reich, on the other millionaire’s venue, Amy Goodman. Let’s make no bones about it – that former labor secretary and now professor at UC-Berkley, and then the former NYT journalist and now best-selling Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the War and Peace Report Democracy Now host and producer, they all have a few cool million in the bank.

Retirements, investments, equity, all of that, and power, a certain powerful First World elite self-agency, the power of getting paid lots for speeches (no, not as much as Albright or Clinton or what Obama will be fetching, but still, not one of us, the 80 percent, has any access to power, to the bully-pulpit). They both write books about us, the floundering, and some of us, not just folks like me with educations, real and on paper, should have been taking up the mantel, should have been put into some system of checks and balances. Some internship, paid, to be the real voice of us, the voiceless. Instead, there is so-so much yammering on and on about our plight, our demographics, our historical place in the Capitalistic mosh pit. You will never see Hedges or Reich give up anything for the real people they profess to care about and write vociferously and vicariously around.

Let us write about us, and let us get the platforms that these vaunted few seem to be wresting from the very people they think they are caring about and concerned with.

The revolution will not happen with the literati and intelligentsia running things. Or not this focused few calling the shots. Or the continual analyzing “us” to death. Or without warrior ways? Legal mandates, geeks and nerds? Not so, not so. Or not through the pages of the oh-so irrelevant NY publishing world. The ramparts must be bulldozed and Molotov-cock-tailed into oblivion. Both Reich and Hedges call for some color revolution, some passive, non-violent changing of the guard? The perverted rulers keep kettling us, corralling us in debt, fear, as we have more and more boxes to check off in our precarious lives – bad debt, bad schools, bad credit, bad laws broken, bad zip codes, bad families, bad reputations, bad employment records, bad parents, bad spouses … The game of the controllers is to have these spitting intellects argue among themselves about whether Trump is as really bad as these sheltered labor secretaries say or if Clinton is any more destructive as these sheltered prize seeking article writers profess. We are dying at the hands of the war-makers, the toxin mixers, the pharmacy-edu-IT-surveillance deliverers, the history wipers, the cultural cleansers. We are being shot daily, into extinction, those of us who see nothing in their DNA or line as worthy of their power.

We need more than passive books and an avalanche of people writing about their books to not only foil the felonious few, but to start the pandemic against the very nature of the elite and their riff-raff shilling for their empty consumerism and permanent passivity-prompting sentimental crap on TV, in their music, in their movies, in their daily bread of media mendacity.

Yep, debating the great war of 2016 – madman Trump, vilified in the media, the same rotten to the core media that vilify Chavez, Castro, Stein (Jill), Sanders, Snowden, Assange, Whistle-blowers, Putin, the Marxists, the true leftists, Anyone/thing/cause that just doesn’t fit into the elite’s Pandora Box of Capitalist Tricks, Oh That East Coast Coffin for us all, or in the case of the Washington Post, East Coast digs, Seattle Amazon (dot) com neo-fascist, effete, billionaire, sociopath, owner, Bezos, those East Coast oh-so-erudite(sic) creeps running the media-madison ave-political-defense-financial playground to HELL.

I am hearing the back and forth, the parsing of what should come off as progressive, a new energy, some youth movement away and against this juggernaut of Corporate Control and Fascist Elite Insanity.

Hedges – Well, reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. It’s a system where corporate power has seized all of the levers of control. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We’ve lost our privacy. We’ve seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. We’ve seen the executive branch misinterpret the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving itself the right to assassinate American citizens, including children. I speak of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son. We have bailed out the banks, pushed through programs of austerity. This has been a bipartisan effort, because they’ve both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, and it’s over.

Reich sounds so so much like a groveling academic, someone who has a billion good things to say about Mrs. Clinton, so many ways she will be a great president. Imagine, how many young people and old (like me) really thing the presidents in anytime were great? Not a one, not a one. How many of us know this country is a continuing criminal enterprise, at the top, and it’s no democracy, kleptocracy, but hearing Reich yammer on about backing Sanders and how that beady eyed CPA-fellow led some revolution, makes the stomach turn. He – the Burn-Bern – did not start a revolution, and he didn’t start a dialogue. He was a vessel, and always will be. He is not out front on progressive issues, and he backs war, backs that B-35, backs bombing Palestine, and he wants capitalism to be a more efficient and egalitarian system of a few accumulating wealth and community and public commons while being taxed a little bit more and sharing a little bit more of the expenses of paying (sic) for already-exploited labor, for work that is, of course, contrary to fairness, justice, environmentalism, peace, global solidarity.

Reich — I think that voting for Donald Trump or equating Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump is insane. Donald Trump is certainly a product of a kind of system and a systematic undermining that has occurred in the United States for years with regard to inequality of income and wealth and political power. But we don’t fight that by simply saying, “All right, let’s just have Donald Trump and hope that the system improves itself and hope that things are so bad that actually people rise up in armed resistance.” That’s insane. That’s crazy.

Now, we can—but in order to do that, we cannot have—and, you know, I think that Hillary will be a good president, if not a great president. This is not just trucking in fear, Chris. But I do fear Donald Trump. I fear the polls that I saw yesterday. Now, polls, again, this early in a campaign still—we’re still months away from the election, but they are indicative. They show Donald Trump doing exceedingly well, beating Hillary Clinton. And right now, given our two-party system, given our winner-take-all system with regard to the Electoral College, it’s just too much of a risk to go and to say, “Well, I’m going to vote—I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils, I’m going to vote exactly what I want to do.” Well, anybody can do that, obviously. This is a free country. You vote what you—you vote your conscience. You have to do that. I’m just saying that your conscience needs to be aware that if you do not support Hillary Clinton, you are increasing the odds of a true, clear and present danger to the United States, a menace to the United States.

It’s insane how out of touch that guy who is just soft-shoeing into five levels of hell really is, and that creepy insider shit, how he’s known Hillary for 40 or fifty years, and oh how he knows she will do good, be good, be great, even. Shit. I am 59, and I have seen one disastrous criminal president after another come to power – head to head, back to back, slimy hands to hands, as bad as humanity gets. Count every rotten one, from my birth in 1957, to now, and this “professor” is lecturing Americans to get in line, once again, for what, Mrs. Clinton? What bullshit country would throw billions at Trump, would be in his stable of CPAs and lawyers and in-his-pocket politicos? Which evil is it that would throw prime time fourth grade shit at him and at the American people? Who are these creeps, these misanthropes, money-loving, money changers, laughing all the way to the bank with their perverted TV-Movies-Marketing Shit that is also another rail of this country’s lobotomizing?

Here I am, listening to the two authors and millionaires go at it, and, I am jumping over puke, shit, dodging little Eichmanns in squad cars, talking to old men at 30 staring at the imagined cockroaches and talking to a hundred voices. Downtown Portland, Oregon, but reader do not be blithe or chauvinistic, because this neoliberal experiment is already on your streets, and coming to a city center near you. Dirt and filth outside, and the thirty-somethings happy as fat cats, living the edgy life, Zip Cars, Smart Cars, Little BMWs, all those Urban Cruiser Bicycles, all that tragically white hipsterism, while the insanity of this country just placates on and on for the billionaires. I am walking over completely insane people living on the streets of Portland, on my way to help people who were almost that insane, broken, scabbed over, twitching, shit coming out of their pants, DTs and voices and like wounded survivors of death camps from 80 years ago.

This is the reality for some of us real and paper educated people – daily, battles by the hundreds, carried out against the most vulnerable, all those shitty lawyers, judges, cops, case managers at the county, in the city, the parole officers, the money lenders, all those people who make a living, earn a salary or wage, off the nearly un-living. My people.

Compassion Fatigue my ass! This is lunacy, illogical, testament to a country about to belly up.

These millionaires (small ones, sure, but still) arguing in the safety of their bubbles, on radio, while homeless camps explode, poverty skyrockets, the near houseless exponentially grow, and inept, mean, felonious county, city, private leaders get away with ripping off the old, the students, the young, the infirm, the vulnerable.

Listening to Hedges and Reich and Goodman while I step over people bundled up like cadavers on my way to work. Big and small fancy SUV’s, trendy fusion restaurants and those Portlandia food carts, young women jogging in REI-outfits, guys vaping cherry-scented juice while sipping triple grande Starbucks. This is crazy, sick, flagrantly indicative of death, death-spreading, death-flowing CAPITALISM.

The crazy people letting moths and bats go from their mouths. Amazingly like some sketch from a Dickens play, something Twain wrote about, this amazing growing population of brain-sliced people, culled by meth-booze-PTSD-violence-the streets-cops-judges-systems!

So what lipstick do these liberals want to paint on the dead pig of democracy? Which form of verbal jujitsu will they deploy to prove that there is one humanity, over there, and another one, under here!

The indestructible is one: it is each individual human being and, at the same time, it is common to all, hence the incomparably indivisible union that exists between human beings. – Franz Kafka

The singularity of that killing spree, USA, this day lives in infamy, and another one a few days later, the powerful charm of the devil bombs, those secret projects in New Mexico, the Hanford nuclear plant. This demented sickness of enthrallment for the Apache helicopter blasting entire villages to shreds, those B-52’s 40,000 feet up evicting payloads for civilians, or the contrail of ballistic missiles proudly displayed for all to see, or the fascination in the  double- and triple-tap of the drone operator.

No great voices today, no great agony, no Clinton or Trump or Obama, none of them, rotten to the core, not only apologizing for the insanity of dropping hydrogen bombs, but also the insanity in the collective lies and consciousness of Americans for decades, approving of the immolation, Little Boy and Fat Man.

The Disneyfication of war! Here, from a Catholic website:

In his thought-provoking 1995 work, On Killing, retired Army Ranger Lt. Col. Dave Grossman examines the extent to which physical distance creates emotional distance from the act of taking a human life. He shows with numbers what we know intuitively: A soldier is more likely to resist driving his knife into an enemy soldier’s abdomen than a bomber pilot is to resist dropping a bomb on a civilian neighborhood. He reports that despite all of the historical evidence of soldiers’ unwillingness to kill in hand-to-hand combat or with their rifles from within a line-of-sight range, he did not find a single incident in which a soldier refused to fire a long-range weapon such as an artillery piece or missile launcher—nor did he find a pilot or bombardier unwilling to drop his bombs.

More unsettling, while psychological trauma is not uncommon among infantrymen who have been in close combat, Col. Grossman did not find “a single instance of psychiatric trauma” associated with long-range killing. That includes the pilot and crew of the Enola Gay, the B-29 Super Fortress that dropped “Little Boy” on the people of Hiroshima. Indeed, Enola Gay’s pilot, Col. Paul Tibbets, went to his death claiming that he never felt guilt or lost sleep over having dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Indeed, he flew reenactments of the event at air shows.

Grossman provides eerily antiseptic testimony given by Allied bomber pilots and crews who firebombed Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo. These campaigns together claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 noncombatants, mostly women, children, and elderly (because men of fighting age were off fighting). The bombers reported feeling “fascination” and “satisfaction” but not guilt or regret.

Grossman’s argument should provoke us to ask if many people’s comfort with the bomb does not derive, at least in part, from a condition of distance from the event. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed an estimated 180,000 civilians. Would supporters of the bombings be as sanguine if a battalion of Marines had been sent into the same cities to bayonet an equal number of women, children, and elderly?

Those bombs are set off daily — in our unjust judicial system, in the global enterprise of cultural, linguistic and geographic thievery. Daily, thousands are destined for the immolation garbage heap that is the end product of CAPITALISM.

Paul Kirk Haeder has covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/ community journalism in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, and PK12 districts. He organized part-time faulty. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. He blogs from Waldport, Oregon. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.