Memorial Day 2011: Two Names That Matter


by Walter Brasch


Unless you were in a coma the past few years, you probably know who Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton are.

You heard about them on radio, saw them on television.

You read about them in newspapers and magazines, on Facebook, Twitter, and every social medium known to mankind.

 Because of extensive media coverage, you also know who dozens of singers and professional athletes are.

Here are two names you probably never heard of. Sergeant First Class Clifford E. Beattie and Private First Class Ramon Mora Jr.

They didn't get into drug and alcohol scandals. They didn't become pop singers or make their careers from hitting baseballs or throwing footballs. They were soldiers.

Both died together this past week from roadside bombs near Baghdad.

Sgt. 1st Class Beattie, from the small rural suburb of Medical Lake, Wash., spent 17 years in the Army, and was in his third tour of duty in Iraq. On the day he was killed, according to the Spokane Spokesman–Review, he had participated in a run to honor fallen soldiers. Sgt. Beattie was 37 years old. He leaves two children, one of whom was three weeks from graduating from high school; four sisters, a brother, and his parents.

PFC Mora, from Ontario, Calif., a city of about 170,000 near Los Angeles, was in his first tour in combat. He was 19 years old. "He was a very serious student, and education was important to him," Carole Hodnick, Mora's English teacher and advisor, told the Ontario Daily Bulletin. Hodnick also remembers him as having "a charisma about him, and the students just fell in line with him."

Clifford E. Beatttie and Ramon Mora Jr. were just two of the 6,049 Americans killed and 43,418 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan in war the past decade, the longest wars in American history.

You can't know or remember all of their names. But you can remember two.

Clifford E. Beattie. Ramon Mora Jr. 

Two Americans. One near the end of his Army career. One not long out of Basic Training. A White Caucasian and a Hispanic. Two different lives. Two different cultures. Two Americans.

Clifford E. Beattie. Ramon Mora Jr. Killed together more than 7,000 miles from their homes.

As you prepare for Memorial Day barbeques, surrounded by celebrity-laden news, remember the names of Clifford E. Beattie and Ramon Mora Jr., and all they stood for. Theirs are the names that matter.


[Walter Brasch is a social issues columnist and author. His next book is Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, available at and other stores after June 20. For more details, see YouTube.]



NV-St.Sen: Explosive audio of possible bribe

[cross-posted at]

Something in the water must be affecting Republican primaries in Nevada. Hot on the heels of the “chickens for checkups” incident roiling the U.S. Senate race, an incumbent State Senator has been caught on tape allegedly offering to bribe the parents of a rape victim in an effort to protect the man who was convicted in the case:

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'Political celebrity'

A liberal blogger finds that McCain's site hosted an article describing the Republican that way, since removed.
(via Crooks & Liars)
(photo on C&L)

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Chelsea Clinton shows how to do it right!

Chelsea Clinton deserves great credit for showing other, supposedly more "professional" politicians how to deal with the media. Her first badge of honor is the obvious realization that she takes questions UNFILTERED from the audience. we saw definite proof of this when she was asked a very inappropriate question at a news conference. most politicians or surrogates would never have faced this type of question at a rally, because they so heavily screen campaign events. so kudos number 1 for her openness.

But the main kudos go to her for her PERFECT answer in response to a foolish question about her mother's experience in dealing with the Lewinsky scandal and what Chelsea felt that showed about her strength. Chelsea's answer:

Bingo! we have a winner. perfect answer to a stupid and personal question. i hope all politicians were watching, and taking notes. think how much better off we'd be if more politicians gave this answer and stuck to it when asked ridiculous personal questions. if her dad had said "that's none of your business" instead of "i did not have sexual relations with..." he would have been much better off. instead of being impeached for lying under oath (an actual crime, no matter how stupid the question you're lying about) the ReThugs would have had to try to impeach him for not answering a stupid personal question. they still would have tried, but would have looked even stupider than they did. and he wouldn't have openly lied to the entire country.

so, note to politicians, there is one proper answer to personal questions, Chelsea Clinton just gave it to you:

Great going young Ms. Clinton!

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Our Post-Spitzer World

I believe a lot of the jitters we are having about possible scandals coming forth from either presidential camp is the result of the Elliot Spitzer scandal.

More than the election, this was the most important turning point in American politics because it holds people to a new standard.

I am one of the few liberals who did not find Bill Clinton's infidelity a lighthearted turn with a cigar.

The only sex that I have ever had that is worth $4,300.00 is with the woman I love who stimulates me mentally and challenges my character. I look forward to being married and staying faithful to her, learning to love her more and more each day. I would like male candidates who feel the same way as I do about the institution of marriage and don't think affairs are just boys being boys. And no, Republicans do not care more about family and they certainly don't keep themselves from having affairs -especially with children. No thank you.

Maybe we have to wait another 8 years until we find a candidate with true integrity.

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