The Moment of Truth — May 9, 1998

Military Vehicle Accidents

Hi. I’m mejeffdorchen. Welcome to the moment of truth. The moment of truth, that segment of radio commentary that cuts scalpel-like through the gray, moribund flesh of the capitalist media corpus.

To begin with, I’ve been wondering why, after a year of flight demonstration crashes, a submarine collision, and the destruction of an Italian cable car, no one in the media or the government has put the facts together and pointed out that the military needs to drastically improve its instruction in basic vehicle operation. Whoever the driving instructor is over at the Pentagon needs to be fired. The airshow crashes were bad enough, but the possibility existed that the military was engaged in a secret attempt to draw the Evel Knievel, demolition derby, drag racing, Jerry Springer crowd. Their thinking may have been that their pilots were so perfect that it was getting a little boring. Time to spice up the airshows with the possibility of a fiery death.

But then there was the submarine crash, two nuclear subs colliding. Two nuclear – how many nuclear subs ARE there in the world? When your nuclear subs start crashing into each other – my dad has driven his entire life without even crashing into another car. I’m pretty sure the nuclear submarine traffic isn’t like – is there a nuclear sub rush hour? Isn’t 78% of the Earth’s surface enough room for these idiots to keep out of each other’s way?

And then a cable car? My dad has driven his whole life without ever crashing into a cable car, and in Northern Michigan in winter the cars routinely pass a lot closer to ski lifts than most planes usually do.

Let me just point out the double standard here: If your standard citizen happened to own a nuclear submarine and crashed into another one, or sent a cable car plummeting to the rocks below by cutting the cable with his or her F14, I think we all know what would happen. His or her license would be suspended. But under the shroud of protection of the military/state/industrial/media complex it’s all hushed up, and those guys are probably cruisin’ around the oceans and skies even as we speak. But worst of all, the connection between all this sloppy vehicle operation isn’t even being made, let alone investigated. Who is the Pentagon’s incompetent drivers’ ed instructor?

And speaking of double standards, listen. Republican Senator Dan Burton says he’s out to get Clinton cuz Clinton’s a scumbag. Gingrich spouts off about him, Starr’s office releases Webster Hubble tapes carefully edited to make it sound like he’s implicating Hillary. It makes me wanna puke, not because I think the Clintons are either good or innocent – they stink! But when I think of how polite the Democrats were to Nixon and Reagan during the investigations of those scandals – why didn’t Sam Ervin call Nixon a scumbag? Who in the universe was more deserving of the epithet?

And let’s get something straight. There’s no comparison between this petty crime and Watergate or Iran/Contra. There’s no comparison between Whitewater, the scandal no one understands or cares about, and the Savings and Loan bailout starring Neal Bush, the scandal that takes and keeps on taking.

Sure Clinton’s in bed with the murderous Indonesian oligarchy – but since General Electric and General Dynamics are too, you won’t see anyone in the Republican congress trying to alter that relationship significantly. It’s business as usual. But it took a Nixon to secretly bomb Cambodia, break into Democratic headquarters, break into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, orchestrate his own pardon, fire the special prosecutor, try to weasel a third term in office, smuggle heroin into the US in bodybags, shoot college students. It took a Reagan to trade arms for hostages, mine Nicaraguan harbors and illegally fund a rightwing army to blow up their schools and hospitals, invade Grenada under a press blackout uniquely Orwellian even in a pretend democracy such as ours, unleash Ollie North on the world to grease the path for cocaine traffic and make plans to inter dissident US citizens in concentration camps. It took a Bush to get his son off the hook at the expense of the US taxpayer, to propagandize an Arab border dispute into a massacre which is still destroying Iraqi children’s lives to this day, to turn the end of the Cold War into the beginning of an age of unchecked US military extortion, and to invade Panama, slaughtering hundreds of civilians, ruining the lives of thousands, and covering it up.

Scumbag is too tame a word for these monsters. They deserve to have their memories excoriated far into future history and their corpses violated by necrophiliacs. And not even by good-looking necrophiliacs.

But the Democrats have been notorious wussies when it comes to calling a scumbag a scumbag. The main reason for this is that they like having the Republicans to do the butchering that they also, deep down, feel is necessary – necessary for the economic success of the corporations at whose teats both parties suck. If JFK had lived he’d be seen today as the mass murderer that he is for sending the first US troops to Vietnam. LBJ’s butchery in manufacturing the Tonkin Gulf deception and escalating the Vietnam War helped the Democrats lose to Nixon in 1968.

The wussyism and complicity of the Democrats in all things Danishly rotten is the reason that real progressives are always so fed up with them.

At the Democratic Convention in 1964, after 11 years of civil rights activism and one of Bob Dylan singing that the times they were a-changin’, southern black Democrats still had to force the party to recognize them. In the next century, anyone who wants real social progress, and certainly anyone interested in economic justice, would be well-advised to bypass both of the major parties – because neither the scumbag party nor the wussy party are interested in anything but business as usual.

This has been the Moment of Truth with mejeffdorchen. Join me every Saturday at the tail end of the hour beginning at 11 am on National Beer Presents This is Hell with your host Chuck Mertz right here on WNUR 89.3 FM Chicago’s Sound Experiment.