Memorial Day 2017, Unfiltered.

John Kennedy’s grave, April 1964

Thank God!, Betsy DeVos (US Secretary of Education, and fanatical crusader for school privatization) realizes that what American parents really want is what the State of Israel has now: the US government-subsidized apartheid of their choice.

The American people do not have the right to healthcare, or job security, or food, or childcare, or a good education, or housing security, or clean water, or truth-in-advertising, or climate security, or internet access, or public transportation, or respect from police, or fiscal equality before the law, or protection from corporate monopolies, or privacy, or equality of treatment based on gender, or the freedom to choose which toilet room to pee and poop in. But, the American people do have the right to their bigotries, and the right – proportional to their wealth – to have them subsidized by the US government. This is what we mean by “freedom” in America: the freedom to exercise the bigotry of your choice without government interference!

Kissinger is still unindicted, Bush is still unindicted, Colin Powell (the officer in charge of keeping the My Lai massacre under wraps) is still unindicted, Elliot Abrams is still unindicted (again), Oliver North is still unindicted, Bush is still unindicted, Cheney is still unindicted, Condoleezza Rice is still unindicted, and many more. America certainly must hold the record for hosting the largest number of unindicted war criminals, in lives of comfort and even luxury.

“War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” (Smedley Butler 1881-1940)

America lost the Vietnam War, but its war criminals got away with it.

An Iraq War veteran, on being thanked for his service: “I didn’t serve, I was used.”

So many graves with American flags flying over them are, sadly, burials of used soldiers, and also of this nation’s morality.

PBS will air a Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam War this fall. I’m sure it will be infotaining. To what extent it will expand the public mind, and elevate the American public’s moral character, is hard to say. The PBS promo trailer prompted these thoughts:

“Those who have forgotten the past are condemned to repeat it.” As are those who only remember their illusions, preferences and prejudices about past and present reality. There is a great deal the American people (and their “leaders”) could learn about themselves and their (not very equitably shared) country, by absorbing the many painful lessons of the Vietnam War. However, that has not happened, and I doubt it can happen for quite some time (ever?). Having lived through the period, I look at America today and I think: hopeless. If ignorance is bliss then America is paradise.

My own shrine to the victims and the truly noble of that war is here:


12 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2017, Unfiltered.

  1. Well written as usual, Manuel. I do have one question – why in your third paragraph did you omit Mr. Obama and Hillary from your list of unindicted war criminals? It would seem that they have amply earned their right to be included in the roster of murderous dishonorables.

    My experience of the war was to have my bags packed when lottery time rolled around. I expected to be Canada-bound. My number was mid-range so I was able to go on to college … and devote what time I could to opposing the war. Lucky. In retrospect, it turned out that I would today be enjoying dual citizenship (thank you for the amnesty, Mr. Carter) had I been obliged to go. That would also have been lucky.

    Survival is the real luck though.

    Your linked to your 2015 essay/”shrine to the victims and truly noble”. That is worth reading for those who arrive to see this comment of mine. It is a compendium, exhaustive, and a small treasure. Here is the link again …

    When I hear about “the Wall”, I do feel sorrow and pity for those Americans who died uselessly, but I feel greater sorrow that our 3+ million dead victims, and untold numbers of maimed/displaced victims, are not seen as being worthy of mention.

    • Robert, thank you for your kind remarks. I omitted Obama and Hillary from my list of war criminals because I wanted younger (than me) readers to remember (or learn about!) the rogues I did list, instead of letting those rogues off the hook by letting them slip down the memory-hole as unremembered “ancient history;” and also because I was hoping such younger readers would put two and two together (from the chronological listing of the names: from the Vietnam War; through Reagan’s and Bush 1’s sponsoring of a Central American holocaust of the Maya, and support of South African apartheid, assassinations and invasions; and then up through the period of the Iraq War with Bush 2 and Cheney) to see how the “many more” extended right up to today, with names they could easily surmise. Maybe a good decision, maybe not; I guess it depends on the reader’s knowledge of current and past events. Also, I wanted to bring out that people like Kissinger and on up to G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney have lived a long time in comfort and luxury, as “honored members of American society,” since the years in which they committed their war crimes. I wanted to indict American society for tolerating – even celebrating! – the deeds and horrible consequences of these men and women. I thought that a direct mention of Obama and Hillary Clinton would distract younger readers from the message I was trying to convey, because Barack and Hillary are still very current political actors with loving fans. Some of those naïve young fans might think, “well, gee, if Obama and Hillary are on that list, then I guess the others can’t really be that bad, they were probably just patriots doing a tough job, and not everybody can agree with their decisions.” And, there are so many more that could be added to the list (e.g., Madeleine Albright); I had to stop somewhere. Again, an “artistic” decision that was maybe good, or maybe bad, depending on the reader. Tonight, I once again watched Stanley Kramer’s 1961 film, “Judgment At Nuremberg,” and a commentary on it by the playwright (of the source play) and screen-writer (of the Kramer film), Abby Mann, who said “the real villain” was patriotism, by which he meant the kind of patriotism that obeyed the dictates of “my country, right or wrong.” While my list of living American war criminals could certainly be extended, I didn’t want to let the rogue’s gallery I presented to take the heat off American public attitudes, which acquiesces to such rogues and thus enables the war crimes, and rewards the war criminals.

      • It does go on and on, doesn’t it? I think that you needn’t worry about this … “because Barack and Hillary are still very current political actors with loving fans.” For the faux-left loyalists, none of your message will resonate, no matter how you may try to phrase it. They are in no way anti-war as the last 8 years have proven. The same is true regarding the lamentable Obama environmental record. You can point out the details, and the fingers become deeply wedged in ears. Faux-environmentalists who proudly fill their recycle bins with bottled water containers.

        Nonetheless, the words need to be said, simply because they bear truth. I continue to enjoy your frequent posts and smile when they arrive in my in-box.

        Regards, R.

  2. In the Chicago of my childhood, my grandmother called it ‘Decoration Day’. I prefer that. She was a widow and took a vivid memory of her husband with her to the cemetery. She would decorate his grave. We say ‘Memorial Day’, but remember nothing. The present is fake news and the future a promise of a reality TV show with a former president huffing and puffing as anchor.

    • I remember reading about Decoration Day, when I was young. I believe it was started by Civil War widows. Thanks, Peter. I sometimes wonder if “fake news” goes hand-in-hand with a “fake audience.”

    • I miss seeing your articles in Counterpunch, Manuel.

      Further information on the topic of anti-environmentalism under the Obama regime …
      “How Obama Became the Oil President – He once talked of plans to reduce oil consumption—now the US drills more than ever. What happened?”

      And here is an analysis of the concept of natural gas as “bridge fuel” …
      “Bad News for Obama: Fracking May Be Worse Than Burning Coal – New science shows that thanks to methane leaks, gas won’t work as a ‘bridge fuel.'”

      Of course, natural gas was never intended to “bridge” anything, just to add to extraction industry earnings. Thanks to a lapdog press, Mr. Obama’s feet were never held to the fire on any transgression. It has been a travesty.

      • As to Couterpunch & MG,Jr, I have many family duties and activities (besides my own laziness) that take up so much of my time that I decided to cut back (stop!) writing for the Internet public. During the 2016 campaign, I knocked myself out trying to promote Bernie Sanders, because I saw him as the candidate of my lifetime for the “salvation” of the U.S.A. To my great frustration, the “sophisticated” left made no efforts for Sanders, and even rained on his parade with snide critiques, because they “knew better” that Sanders was not a “true socialist” and “true leftist” but merely a “liberal.” My view is: “In a land without sheep, a goat is a prized possession.” I realized that most of the loudmouth left are childless and well-enough-off people to not feel threatened by either a Trump or Hillary presidency, and that what they really do with their Internet writing and publishing is just ego-tripping careerism in the infotainment for comfortable couch-potato lefties-in-their-own-minds people. So, I found I didn’t fit in with the overall “editorial policy” at any of the web-sites I had written for, except my blog. Also, I had lots more time to improve my piano playing, and get more sleep. Just the other day I was actually offered a job writing a daily political column for a set of left-liberal blogs (trying to be commercial), but that would totally consume my life so I passed on it. I like my blog because I don’t have to hassle with editors, I can publish what I want on whatever schedule suits me, and I don’t have to care about whether the reading public likes it, dislikes it, or entirely neglects it (usually the third option). I’m being selfish with my time (“you can always make more money, but you can’t make more time”), but then, I’ve paid my dues and can afford to. Enjoy!

  3. “Judgement At Nuremberg” is a masterpiece of playwriting, cinema, and collaborative human-hearted art. As a movie it boasts perhaps the finest cast of Hollywood actors ever assembled – along with Maximilian Schell, who won the Oscar for Best Actor, in 1961. The themes exposed in “Judgment At Nuremberg” are both timeless and universal. The “real villain” of the story is patriotism. I strongly wish that the concepts of truth and justice that were so clearly presented in that film could be vigorously applied in America today, and thereafter (since at least the 1960s, Germany has been very far ahead of the U.S. in this regard). American industrialists, in particular IBM, Ford Motor Company and Coca-Cola, as well as financiers like Prescott Bush (G.W. Bush’s grandfather), helped (to their profit) Hitler build up his war-machine even into 1942, well after Hitler’s declaration of war against the U.S. (on 11 December 1941, 4 days after Pearl Harbor). The speech in the video clip refers to this fact.

  4. Hmmm. Manuel, your last two comments have no “reply” button even though all other comments here DO have “reply” buttons. WordPress may be capping comments in some way???

    As for your question, “Is that the “Like” button, above under “Share,” with a star in front of it?” …

    The “Like” button requires a login with (and tells you it is not for It only allows a “like” vote to be posted for the article, so appreciation of a particular comment cannot be expressed except with a reply. At present, I am not registered as a subscriber to WordPress so the article-vote, “like”, is not for me. I prefer saying howdy anyway. 🙂

    Aside from the article and your comments, my last appreciation was for the movie clip. The concept of national responsibility is only remembered by the victors who, of course, did nothing wrong themselves.

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