Veterans Day, 2017 – Who Died?

First posted for Memorial Day, who died is just as relevant on
Veteran’s day.

We best honor the sacrifice of those who died by providing for
the men and women who  fought with them and survived.

‘Who Died’ is a five minute memorial to the young men who died
in the 1944 Invasion of France.

It speaks to the sacrifice of all young men and woman who give
their lives to preserve and protect American democracy.

Written, introduced, and narrated by novelist Betty Smith, author of
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” the film answers the question “Who died?”

Betty Smith: “I’ve just been told that over 3,000 of our American boys
died in the first eleven days of the invasion of France.

Who died? I’ll tell you who died.

Not so many years ago, there was a little boy sleeping in his crib. In the night, it thundered and lightninged. He woke and cried out in fear.

His mother came and fixed his blankets and said, ‘Don’t cry. Nothing will
ever hurt you.

He died.”

From the Technique newspaper

‘Who Died?’ – 1945

Description at National Archives: “Designed to sell war bonds, this picture requests the purchase of and retention of war bonds.”

National Archives Identifier: 11823

 

 

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The Struggle for Human Rights

You won’t find perfection in the United States but you will find the freedoms and tools to work with your government to strive for it.

That’s our history.

People from every nation in the World built the United States.

Below are excerpts from a speech by Eleanor Roosevelt to the United Nations on the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

Her differences with the former Soviet Union are especially interesting
in light of Russia’s recent attack on the U.S. election.

“The Soviet amendment to article 20 is obviously a very restrictive statement of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It sets up standards which would enable any state practically to deny all freedom of opinion and expression without violating the article. It introduces the terms “democratic view,” “democratic systems,” “democratic state,” and “fascism,” which we know all too well from debates in this Assembly over the past two years on warmongering and related subjects are liable to the most flagrant abuse and diverse interpretations.”

“We in the United States have come to realize it means freedom to choose one’s job, to work or not to work as one desires … people have a right to demand that their government will not allow them to starve because as individuals they cannot find work … and this is a decision … which came as a result of the great depression in which many people were out of work, but we would not consider in the United States that we had gained any freedom if we were compelled to follow a dictatorial assignment to work where and when we were told.”

“The final expression of the opinion of the people with us is through free and honest elections, with valid choices on basic issues and candidates. The secret ballot is essential to free elections … I have heard my husband say many times that a people need never lose their freedom if they kept their right to a secret ballot … Basic decisions of our society are made through the expressed will of the people. That is why when we see these liberties threatened, instead of falling apart, our nation becomes unified and our democracies come together as a unified group in spite of our varied backgrounds and many racial strains.

In a recent speech in Canada, Gladstone Murray said:

The central fact is that man is fundamentally a moral being, that the light we have is imperfect does not matter so long as we are always trying to improve it … we are equal in sharing the moral freedom that distinguishes us as men. Man’s status makes each individual an end in himself. No man is by nature simply the servant of the state or of another man … the ideal and fact of freedom — and not technology — are the true distinguishing marks of our civilization.

This Declaration is based upon the spiritual fact that man must have freedom in which to develop his full stature and through common effort to raise the level of human dignity. We have much to do to fully achieve and to assure the rights set forth in this Declaration. But having them put before us with the moral backing of 58 nations will be a great step forward.”

Excerpts from, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Struggle for Human Rights – Sept. 28, 1948

Public domain photo of Eleanorr Roosevelt hoding a Spanish Language copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This is how Eleanor Roosevelt fought bullies

 

The ‘Bird of Human Rights’ (c) Rob Goldstein All Rights Reserved

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11 Beautiful Minds of The 20th Century

Eleven of brilliant and courageous men and women who took us forward.

1.

Pablo Neruda
July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973

Art by Rob Goldstein
Pablo Neruda Ricardo Reyes as a young man

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

~ Pablo Neruda

2.

Norma Jeane Mortenson
June 1, 1926-August 5, 1962

Art by Rob Goldstein
Portrait of Norma Jeane Mortenson

I am not a victim of emotional conflicts. I am human.
Norma Jeane Mortenson

3.

Harvey Milk
May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978

 

Art By Rob Goldstein

“All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”
Harvey Milk, The Harvey Milk Interviews: In His Own Words

4.

el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz
May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Malcolm X


“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
Malcolm X

5.

Nina Simone

February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003

Art by Rob Goldstein
Nina Simone

“I am just one of the people who is sick of the social order, sick of the establishment, sick to my soul of it all. To me, America’s society is nothing but a cancer, and it must be exposed before it can be cured. I am not the doctor to cure it. All I can do is expose the sickness.”
Nina Simone

6.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

Art by Rob Goldstein
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

7.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929- April 4, 1968

Art By Rob Goldstein
Dr. Martin Luther King

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

8.

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau
July 5, 1889 – 11 October 11, 1963

Art by Rob Goldstein
Jean Cocteau

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
Jean Cocteau

9.

Frank O’Hara
March 27, 1926 – July 25, 1966

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Frank O’Hara


“I wonder if the course of narcissism through the ages would have been any different had Narcissus first peered into a cesspool. He probably did.”
Frank O’Hara, Early Writing

10.

Simone de Beauvoir
January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Simone de Beauvoir


Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying. Simone de Beauvoir

11.

Jean Genet
December 19, 1910-April 15, 1986

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Jean Genet

What I did not yet know so intensely was the hatred of the white American for the black, a hatred so deep that I wonder if every white man in this country, when he plants a tree, doesn’t see Negroes hanging from its branches.  Jean Genet

 

Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the images on this page are in the public domain.

Header photo, Portrait of Malcolm X, by Rob Goldstein (c) 2016

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The Week John Kennedy Fubared

Shortly before his inauguration the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) briefed John Kennedy on a plan developed during the Eisenhower administration to train Cuban exiles to invade Cuba.

On April 17, 1961, against the advice of his military advisors, John Kennedy approved an assault on Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.

Cuban armed forces defeated the U.S. backed invasion within two days.

On April 21, 1961, Kennedy held a tenth press conference attended by 402 reporters.

The questions are tough and Kennedy looks tired, but he is never insulting, he doesn’t blame the previous President, he doesn’t tell anyone to sit down or shut-up, he is the President and he knows his responsibilities to his office, the Constitution, the press and the American people.

This is how a normal President interacts with the press in a democracy.

Kennedy starts the press conference by saying  he doesn’t want to talk about Cuba beyond statements he’d made the day before, announces U.S. support for a UN attack on World hunger, increased insurance dividends for Veterans and the Peace Corps first project.  Then he takes questions.



Noteworthy moments:

QUESTION: Mr. President, quite respecting your feeling of not going beyond your statement of yesterday on Cuba, there still is in print this morning, quite widely distributed, a published report that you took the decision to continue training Cuban refugees with arms provided by this government, and for releasing ships and fuel for launching the current operations in Cuba. Furthermore, this report says, that you reached this decision against the advice of Secretary Rusk and Mr. Bowles. Now is this true?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that the facts of the matter involving Cuba will come out in due time. I am sure that an effort will be made to determine the facts accurately. As for me, I am confining myself to my statement, for good reason.

QUESTION: Sir, since last Saturday, a certain foreign policy situation has given rise to many conflicting stories. But during that time, reporters in Washington have noticed that there has been a clamming up of information from formerly useful sources. To my knowledge the State Department and the White House has not attempted to take a representative group of reporters and say “these are the facts as we know them.” And this morning we are not permitted to ask any further questions abut this foreign policy situation. In view of the fact we are taking a propaganda lambasting around the world, why is it not useful, sir, for us to explore with you the real facts behind this, or our motivations?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think in answer to your question that we have to make a judgment as to how much we can usefully say that would aid the interest of the United States. One of the problems of a free society, a problem not met by a dictatorship, is this problem of information. A good deal has been printed in the paper. I wouldn’t be surprised if those of you who are members of the press would be receiving a lot of background briefings in the next day or two by interested people or interested agencies.

There’s an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan, and I wouldn’t be surprised if information is poured into you in regard to all the recent activities.

Now, I think we see some of the problems, to move from this particular case, in the problem of Space, where the Soviet Union — no reports were made in regard to any experiments that they carried out. “Our man in space” — I saw in a national magazine about some student said the Americans talk a good deal about their man in space. The Soviet Union says nothing and yet it wins. Well, that is one of the problems of a democracy competing and carrying on a struggle for survival against a dictatorship.

But I will say to you, Mr. Vanocur, that I have said as much as I feel can be usefully said, by me, in regard to the events of the past few days. Further statements, detailed discussions, are not to conceal responsibility because I am the responsible officer of the government, and that is quite obvious, but merely because I do not believe that such a discussion would benefit us during the present difficult situation. I think you will be informed and some of the information, based on what I have seen, will not be accurate.

QUESTION: You have practiced what has been described as the quiet diplomacy approach (to Russia). Your speech yesterday seemed to suggest that you have perhaps decided upon another approach?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I wouldn’t attempt to make a judgment or response to that. I think that — I am concerned about these kinds of problems which I just described. I don’t feel satisfied that we have an effective answer to it yet, and I think it’s a matter of the greatest possible concern to all of us, because I think events have been moving with some speed.

The use which Communists (Soviet Union) make of democracy, and then when they seize power, the effectiveness with which they manage the police apparatus so that dissent cannot arise, and so that the people can no longer express their will, liquidation by gunfire of the opposition, or by forcing them out of the country to be refugees -this suggests the kind of problem which we are going to have in this decade.

In my judgment, it is an extremely difficult matter for the free nations to deal with. But I must say that it is a matter to which we must address all of our energy and all of our attention.

This isn’t the Arthurian Kennedy of Camelot.

This is clearly a humiliating moment for President Kennedy but he is in command of the facts, understands the issues, gives detailed and respectful answers, and takes responsibility for his decisions.

We’re fortunate to have videos like this one.

We can see and hear the important events of the last 100 years.

President Kennedy’s News Conference 04/21/1961
U.S. Information Agency. (1982 – 10/01/1999)
The Internet Archives

Full transcript of President Kennedy’s News Conference 04/21/1961

To learn more about the Bay of Pigs visit the JFK Presidential Library.