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Mandalay Bay: Top O' The World, Ma! (PART ONE)

Aging Baby Boomer Runs Amok in Vegas

“The emotional bond between Las Vegas and its customers was freedom. Freedom on two levels. Freedom to do things, see things, eat things, wear things, feel things. In short, the freedom to be someone we couldn't be at home. And freedom from whatever we wanted to leave behind in our daily lives. Just thinking about Vegas made the bad stuff go away. At that point the strategy became clear. Speak to that need. Make an indelible connection between Las Vegas and the freedom we all crave.”

If you have the cash, Vegas will do its best to cater to whatever fantasy you desire. You can be a king or a queen in Vegas -- or more accurately, as Dirty Harry famously put it, you can be “a legend in your own mind.” Without guilt. But, then, there’s a catch. You can indulge in all the fantasies you can afford until your cash runs out. Then, you become a loser and the city turns hostile. There’s nothing left for you. You slink away in shame to lick your wounds, preparing for another day. Las Vegas is a Valhalla of money and sex. A large, urban municipality devoted to transforming the so-called low-rent “combat zone” in American cities of yore into a post-sexual-revolution, family-friendly, X-rated Disneyland.

The context: An Absurd Two Weeks:

Context is everything. As a 70-year-old, officially disenchanted American Vietnam veteran, the past two weeks leading up to this incredible public massacre have been especially absurd. It is my contention you can’t understand Stephen Paddock without understanding the mercenary absurdity of America 2017.

First, I joined many of my Vietnam veteran friends in watching every minute of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick 18-hour PBS film on the history of the Vietnam War. While the film was politically balanced and focused on personal narrative, by the end of the 18 hours, the dishonesty, cruelty and even criminality of the Vietnam War was clear. It was not flogged, but it was there. We learned that as far back as 1962 John F. Kennedy knew the US war against the Vietnamese -- set off in 1945 by a Cold War panicked President Truman -- was a bust and un-winnable. The filmmakers dug up a quote from JFK that went something like this: “I know this can only lead to failure. But if I withdraw I can’t be re-elected.” Gee! That kind of political self-serving, elite reality characterized the war until the bitter end 13 years later. It would be different if the US moral failure in Vietnam had resulted in few casualties. That it involved over a decade of relentless, mechanized slaughter on an unprecedented industrial scale directed against a peasant culture that had done absolutely nothing against the United States turned it into a tremendous moral crime. B52s versus water buffaloes. That Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh had been our friend and ally against the Japanese during WWII added insult to injury and made the war an incredible betrayal. The Vietnam War was a case of rot starting at the head and spreading down into the culture. And that rot still exists in the National Security State. Needless to say, the extent of killing our leaders unleashed against the Vietnamese people makes Mr. Paddock’s “lone wolf” act picayune by comparison.



story | by Dr. Radut