In His Book “American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity,” Author Christian Appy Looks at the Myth of American Exceptionalism

AmericanReckoningBy Elaine Magliaro

Over at Salon, there’s an excerpt from Christian G. Appy’s new book American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity, which was published by Viking in February. Appy is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of two previous books on the Vietnam War. Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides was a main selection of BOMC and won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction.

Christian G. Appy

Christian G. Appy

In his new book, Appy posits that the myth of American exceptionalism is a lie—and that our country has not been a force for good. Appy believes that “only an honest accounting of our actual history will allow us to chart a new path.”


My main argument is that the Vietnam War shattered the central tenet of American national identity—the broad faith that the United States is a unique force for good in the world, superior not only in its military and economic power, but in the quality of its government and institutions, the character and morality of its people, and its way of life. A common term for this belief is “American exceptionalism.” Because that term has been bandied about so much in recent years as a political slogan and a litmus test of patriotism, we need to be reminded that it has deep roots and meaning throughout our history. In many ways the nation was founded on the faith that it was blessed with unrivaled resources, freedoms, and prospects. So deep were those convictions they took on the power of myth—they were beyond debate. Dissenting movements throughout our history did little to challenge the faith.

That’s what made the Vietnam War’s impact so significant. Never before had such a wide range of Americans come to doubt their nation’s superiority; never before had so many questioned its use of military force; never before had so many challenged the assumption that their country had higher moral standards…

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Posted in American History, Cold War, Countries, Democracy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Propaganda, Imperialism, Literature, Political Science, Politics, Propaganda, United States, US Military, Vietnam, War, World History | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

New York City Mayor de Blasio Says Someone May Have Improperly Tapped a Gas Line Before Building Explosion

NYCExplosionFireBy Elaine Magliaro

New York City officials reportedly “suspect that leaking natural gas was the source of Thursday’s explosion and fire, which sparked a raging blaze that took hundreds of firefighters to quell.” Last Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that someone “may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people…as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.”

Mayor: Gas-Related Blast Causes Fire, Collapse (AP, 3/26/15)

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Posted in Crime, Local Government, New York, United States | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Songs for Sunday: Jackie Wilson


Normally, I post one “songs for” piece on Saturday, but today I’m doing another because when I first thought of featuring Roy Hamilton yesterday, I also thought of featuring Jackie Wilson “(June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984) was an African American soul singer-songwriter and performer. Known as a tenor with a four octave vocal range, he was nicknamed “Mr. Excitement“, Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was considered a master showman, and one of the most dynamic and influential singers and performers in R&B and rock ‘n’ roll history.[1][2] Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes, he went solo in 1957 and recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening. This included 16 R&B Top 10 Hits, including 6 R&B # 1’s. On the Billboard Hot 100, he scored 14 Top 20 Pop Hits,6 of which made it into the Pop Top 10. During a 1975 benefit concert, he collapsed on stage from a heart attack and subsequently fell into a coma that persisted for nearly nine years until his death in 1984, at the age of 49. By this time, he had become one of the most influential artists of his generation. A two-time Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee, Wilson was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.[3] In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jackie Wilson #69 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

Although different performers stylistically, in my mind Roy Hamilton and Jackie Wilson were always linked because both had powerful, operatic voices, with beautiful depth and quality. They also could “Rock Out”.  Wilson, like Roy Hamilton also had an Elvis connection in that when Elvis was asked if Jackie Wilson was the “Black Elvis”, Presley replied “Well I guess that makes me the White Jackie Wilson. In truth both Elvis and Jackie were influenced by Roy Hamilton. What forever links the three, besides their eras, is that they all had rich, powerful voices and fabulous phrasing. This first song is Wilson’s signature song and a favorite of mine:

This next song always lifts my spirits and I can’t understand why a cover of it wouldn’t be a hit today. Continue reading

Posted in American History, Art, Celebrity, Jackie Wilson, Jazz, Media, Memorial, Memories, Music, Poetry, Rock and Roll, Short Video, Society, Television, United States | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Colorado State Representative and Wacko Televangelist Gordon Klingenschmitt Says That Brutal Attack on a Pregnant Woman Is “The Curse of God upon America” (VIDEO)

Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt

Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt

By Elaine Magliaro

Last November, I wrote a post about Gordon Klingenschmitt, a far-right Christian zealot and anti-gay televangelist also known as “Dr. Chaps,” who had been “swept into office” in Colorado with just under 70% of the vote. Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain who now represents the state’s 15th House district, supposedly performed an on-air exorcism of President Obama.

Well, the wacko televangelist made the news again recently after he claimed that the gruesome attack on a pregnant Colorado woman named Michele Wilkins may have been God’s punishment for our legal abortion laws. Wilkins, who was seven-months pregnant, had been “lured to the home of a Longmont woman advertising baby clothes for sale on Craigslist.”

Instead of selling baby clothes to Wilkins, “police said 34-year-old Dynel Lane stabbed the 26-year-old pregnant woman and ‘removed’ the fetus from her body. Lane then went to a hospital, where she claimed she had had miscarriage.

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Posted in Christianity, Colorado, Crime, Criminal Law, Media, Murder, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Short Video, Television, United States | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Our Big Bank Crooks Threaten the Democrats Because of Elizabeth Warren


Elizabeth_Warren--Official_113th_Congressional_Portrait--Sometimes a news item raises my blood pressure and engenders a sense of rage building from my gut and spreading outward to the rest of me, leaving me feeling slightly ill. I just read one this morning at Huffpost and the best way for me to regain my equilibrium is to write something that will allow my anger to dissipate in the process. The story is Upset By Elizabeth Warren, US Banks Threaten Withholding Campaign Donations. “Big Wall Street banks are so upset with U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party’s tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week.

Bank officials said the idea of withholding donations was not discussed at a meeting of the four banks in Washington but it has been raised in one-on-one conversations between representatives of some of them. However, there was no agreement on coordinating any action, and each bank is making its own decision, they said.

The amount of money at stake, a maximum of $15,000 per bank, means the gesture is symbolic rather than material”

Now let’s look beyond the face of this story and parse out what it is really all about. In 1933 at the behest of Franklin Delano Roosevelt congress enacted what is know as Glass-Steagall Legislation which “usually refers to four provisions of the U.S. Banking Act of 1933 that limited commercial bank securities activities and affiliations within commercial banks and securities firms.[1] Congressional efforts to “repeal the Glass–Steagall Act” referred to those four provisions (and then usually to only the two provisions that restricted affiliations between commercial banks and securities firms).[2] Those efforts culminated in the 1999 Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), which repealed the two provisions restricting affiliations between banks and securities firms”  This was done aided an abetted by President Bill Clinton, in his effort to free up the financial industry from regulations deemed to be “stifling financial commerce.” Nine years later this country entered a financial collapse that perhaps rivaled the  “Great Depression” in its impact on ordinary Americans. To save these banks, whose unregulated state allowed them to speculate on fraudulent financial instruments, the citizens of this country “bailed them out”, since they were deemed “to big to fail”. Presidents and congresspeople from both parties made this “bailout” possible and allowed the passage of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as supposedly the way to curb the excesses that led to the Great Recession. The problem was that those in charge of regulating the Banks were  former Wall Street bankers themselves. As such their oversight was problematic. This is where Senator Elizabeth Warren enters the picture. As we shall see her populist, progressive positions are anathemas to the Banking Con Men, who  run this country’s economy. Warren’s positions in themselves clearly threaten the status quo, but it is her ability to clearly articulate her positions, that makes her most dangerous to these people who are destroying this country with their greed and thoughtlessness. Continue reading

Posted in American History, Barack Obama, Campaign Finance, Civil Law, Conservatives, Conspiracy, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Democracy, Economic Policy, Economics, Elizabeth Warren, Fascists/Corporatists, FDR, Financial, Fraud, George W. Bush, Government, Historical Persons, History, Hypocrisy, Investing, Jurisprudence, Law Enforcement, Legal Analysis, Liberals, Libertarians, Media, Mythology, Oligarchy, Organized Crime, Political Science, Politics, Presidents, Progressives, Propaganda, RNC, SEC, Society, Stock Market, United States, Wall Street | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Songs for Saturday: Roy Hamilton


Roy Hamilton“Born in Leesburg, Georgia, United States, Hamilton moved to Jersey City in 1943, studied commercial art, had operatic and classical voice training, and was a heavyweight Golden Gloves boxer,[2] before joining the gospel quartet, The Searchlight Singers in 1948.[3] In 1947, he entered and won an amateur talent show at the Apollo Theater with his rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone“. However, he did not record commercially until 1953, when he was discovered singing in a New Jersey club by a local DJ Bill Cook, who became his manager.[4] Columbia Records saw him as a possible “crossover” singer with a foothold in both pop and R&B, and signed him to their subsidiary label Epic.[4] His first single, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, became an R&B number 1 for eight weeks, and a national US Top 30 hit in 1954, and shot Hamilton to fame.[5]

He followed up with a string of singles that reached both R&B and pop audiences, many of which were popular show tunes of the day. These included “If I Loved You So” (#4 R&B), “Ebb Tide” (#5 R&B), “Hurt” (#8 R&B), “Unchained Melody” (#1 R&B, #6 pop), and “Don’t Let Go” (#2 R&B, #13 pop). His style and sound directly influenced later artists such as Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and the Righteous Brothers, all of whom covered his music.

Roy Hamilton actually could sing anything and this first song is one of my all-time favorite rock songs.

And here is another great song that really rocks! Continue reading

Posted in American History, Art, Celebrity, History, Jazz, Memories, Music, Poetry, Rock and Roll, Roy Hamilton, Short Video, Society | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Stateside Indiana: Ridiculing and Speaking Out Against Bigotry

Mike Pence (R) Governor of Indiana

Mike Pence (R)
Governor of Indiana

By Elaine Magliaro

I’m am so happy to hear that Governor Mike Pence of Indiana “has come in for an extra heaping of scorn on social media” after signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Curtis M. Wong (Huffington Post) said that the “legislation allows individuals and corporations to cite religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. Thus, business owners who don’t want to serve same-sex couples now have legal protection to deny service.”

Pence reportedly defended his actions in a speech following the signing of the bill. The Republican Governor of the Hoosier State said, “If I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”

Anyone believe that? Anyone???

The Internet Action Force (IAF) team mocked the state of Indiana in a “tongue-in-cheek” travel commercial. In the video, Indiana  is praised “for its world-class cities, sports teams and ‘Hoosier hospitality that makes everyone welcome, especially bigots.'”

Indiana Is A Great Place To Be A Bigot

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Posted in Christianity, Civil Law, Civil Liberties, Conservatives, Democracy, Documentrary Films, Equal Rights, Fundamentalism, Government, Homosexual Rights, Humor, Justice, Political Science, Politics, Sexuality, Short Video, Society, State Government, United States | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments