Daily Archives: September 16, 2011

Rees Lloyd: A Liberty Milestone: CONSTITUTION DAY – SEPT. 17, 1787

On September 17, 1787, after weeks of often bitter debate by delegates of the States gathered at the Constitutional Convention at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Constitution of the United States, beginning with the words, “We, the People,” was signed by thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates. The world was changed forever as America began its “great experiment “in self-government.

Never before had a constitution been established in the name of “the People” of a nation, rather than by and in the name of a monarch, a state, or other governmental power. Many of the most erudite thinkers of the so-called “Age of Enlightenment,” did not believe that a constitutional republic of limited government “by, for, and of the people” could survive in a broad land containing a large and diverse population. America is still an ongoing experiment in liberty.

The Constitutional Convention had commenced on May 14, 1787, with a challenge to the conscience and integrity of delegates by George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army which had won the Revolutionary war. Washington, then and now the model American patriot, was elected President of the Constitutional Convention by unanimous vote.

“If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the event is in the Hand of God,” said Washington, who would later become the First President of the United States and be regarded as “the Father of his country.”

The delegates were learned American patriots who had studied history deeply to meet the task of creating a constitution fit for a free people. Thomas Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence but did not participate in the Constitutional Convention because he was in Paris representing the United States, wrote of the delegates with utmost respect as “a gathering of demigods.”

The Constitution the framers wrought in the name of “We, the People,” was one creating a government of expressly limited powers – a limited federal government of not a national government of self-expanding powers.

The subsequently adopted “Bill of Rights,” contained in the First Ten Amendments, for which the efforts of James Madison earned him recognition as “the Father of the Constitution,” begins with five words limiting powers of the federal government over the people:

“Congress shall make no law…,” respecting an establishment of religion nor abridging the fundamental rights of free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, of press, of assembly, of petition for redress of grievance. These are rights which the Founding Fathers believed Americans were “endowed by their Creator,” as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. That is, the Founders believed these were natural rights, rights granted by the “hand of God, not the hand of a generous government,” as the late President John F. Kennedy would express it.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments reinforced the words “Congress shall make no law…” by mandating that the people and the states retained all rights not enumerated as possessed by the central government.

Never before in history had “We, the people,” had their natural rights so expressly protected by a constitution so expressly limiting the government as to its powers. By changing the relationship of the people and their government, limiting the power of government and making the retained rights of the people superior, the Founding Fathers changed the world. Ever after, the people of the world who have dreamed of the freedoms of Americans have looked to the values expressed in the American Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution, as a model for liberty in a constitutional republic.

The framers of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers of America, were faced with a great challenge, and they met it. The Constitution which they framed was finally ratified by all states by January 10, 1791. It has now endured for 224 years since it was signed on Sept. 17, 1787.

“What kind of government have you given us, Mr. Franklin,” an American woman asked Founding Father Benjamin Franklin at the close of the convention.

“A republic, Madam,” Ben Franklin replied. “If you can keep it.”

That, the keeping of the free constitutional republic that the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us, is our challenge.

We owe a great debt to all those Founding Fathers and other Americans who came before us who preserved our freedom. We pay that debt by what we do to preserve freedom for those Americans who will come after us.

[Rees Lloyd is a longtime civil rights attorney, a veteran’s activist, and a member of the Victoria Taft Show Blogforce.]

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Rees Lloyd: Third Friday of September POW-MIA Recognition Day

Rees Lloyd

POW/MIA Recognition Day in the United States is observed annually on the third Friday of September by Act of Congress. It affirms our American commitment to honor all those who served and suffered in defense of our liberty as prisoners of war, and our commitment to ultimately account for all of the more than 80,000 military still missing in action from WWII until the present wars against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 

           The service and sacrifice of our American prisoners of war and those missing in action deserves to be recognized, and remembered. Our children, and all future generations of Americans, and, in particular, immigrants, should be educated as to the service and sacrifices of American prisoners of war, and those still missing in action. 
 

            However, POW/MIA Day, like so many patriotic observances and holidays, is rarely, if ever observed, in contemporary American schools. American children are not being taught their own history and heritage.
 
 
 

            More information on POW/MIA Day is available from The National League of POW/MIA Families. Please see their website at www.pow-miafamilies.org. Note in particular the press release of the POW and MIA Families signed by representatives of all the major veterans service organizations objecting to the fact that the Department of Defense is reneging on the commitment to search and account for those still missing in action.
 

           The American Ex-Prisoners of War provide much information on prisoners of war at their website: www.axpow.org.
 

            In recognizing and remembering POW’s and MIA’s, it should be remembered that their families served and sacrificed, too. Their families most often did not know  whether their loved ones who went off to war to defend American freedom were dead or alive. The families of the more than 80,000 still reported as missing in action, including over 1,600 from Vietnam, are still in grief and wonder as to what was the fate of their loved ones.
 

            Many American POW’s from the Vietnam War have written books on their treatment by Communists in Vietnam. Those books ought to be in every school library – but few if any are.

            The tortures endured by American POW’s at the hands of North Vietnamese communists led by Ho Chi Minh, who was celebrated as an iconic hero by the American Left and so-called Peace Movement in the Vietnam war, were unimaginably horrific – but true. 
 

            Every American who reads their accounts is called to question:  “Could I have endured that?” “Would I have betrayed my country in that torture?” And: “How did they survive it?
 

            The POW’s who have authored books, universally state that what enabled  them to survive, to remain sane, and to adhere to the code of “Duty, Honor, Country,” was their faith in God, their love of family, and love of country.  In short, fidelity to faith, family, and freedom.
 

            Without at all ignoring the value of all the books authored by former POW’s, allow me to recommend a few from my own library, which have informed, and moved, me, as perhaps they will you:
 

            First, most recently, “When Hell Was In Session,” by Rear Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr. (USN, ret.), former U.S. Senator from Alabama,  the second longest-serving POW (seven years/seven months), has been re-issued in a new edition with a new epilogue by WND Books, published by WorldNetDaily.com. He is perhaps one of the best known POW’s to Americans due to the fact that when his communist captors tried to use him for propaganda purposes in a television interview, he blinked “T-O-R-T-U-R-E,” in morse code, confirming that American POW’s were being tortured. He also refused to speak against his country in the interview. He was terribly tortured, almost to death. Admiral Denton  was also designated by his comrades as spokesman for the first group of POW’s to come home on Feb. 15, 973, after

            It has been my great honor to be able to work with Adm. Denton in such efforts as fighting the ACLU over its abusive and profit-making Establishment of Religion attacks on the Mojave Desert and Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorials because of crosses honoring veterans. I have also worked with him in relation to his joint public statement with Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady published by WND.com opposing the open homosexualization of the military culture by repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. And I have appeared jointly with him in radio broadcasts.

            But had I never known, worked with, or been called a patriotic comrade and friend by him, I would recommend  his “When Hell Was In Session” as a must read, an inspiring classic.

            — Navy Lt.(jg) Everett Alvarez, Jr., the longest serving POW, recounts his captivity in “Chained Eagle: The Heroic Story of the First American Shot Down over North Vietnam.”

            — Leo Thorsness, who received the Medal of Honor, has written his remarkable account of American captivity in “Surviving Hell: A POW’S Journey.”

            — The legendary Bud Day, America’s most decorated warrior, a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, is referred to for his inspirational leadership as a POW in all of the POW memoirs which I have read. He has told his own story in his autobiography, and his story is told by author Robert Coram in “American Patriot: The Life And Wars Of Colonel Bud Day.”

              Navy pilot and now Sen. John McCain was Bud Day’s cellmate in the “Hanoi Hilton.” Offered early release by the North Vietnamese Communists for propaganda purposes because of the status of his father and grandfather, both four-star Admirals, John McCain refused. Rather, he insisted that he receive no special treatment and that he be released in the regular order of time-served as a POW. He was terribly tortured for refusing special treatment. Those who think they know John McCain should read his own, humble, memoir: “Faith Of My Fathers,” and Robert Timberg’s book: “John McCain: An American Odyssey.”

            –Admiral James (Jim) Stockdale, who received the Medal of Honor, is referenced for his leadership by this co-POW’s in their books. He authored several books, my favorite of which is: “Thoughts Of A Philosophical Fighter Pilot.”

            –A comprehensive telling of the story of American POW’s is John G. Hubbell’s “P.O.W.—A Definitive History Of The American Prisoner-Of-War Experience In Vietnam, 1964-1973.”

            — Last but far from least in value, is the remarkable book “A Code To Keep”by the remarkable Ernest C. Brace – now an Oregonian –who is, technically, America’s longest held “civilian” prisoner of war in Vietnam. Ernie Brace, who had served in the USMC, was taken prisoner when later flying as a civilian pilot. Although technically a civilian, Brace adhered to the Code of Military Conduct while enduring appalling torture, including being periodically buried up to his neck for escape attempts, kept in a bamboo cage in which he could barely move, and in which he was rarely fed, and beating-after-beating.  After surviving unimaginable tortures, Ernie Brace returned to America; became successful in business first on the East Coast then the West;  and now resides in Oregon.  His was active in the “Veterans For McCain” campaign for President in 2008.

            May the American nation they served,  embrace and honor each and every prisoner of war who served honorably, each member of the military services missing in action, and each and all of their families on annual POW/MIA Recognition Day, and on every day.

 

[Rees Lloyd is a longtime civil rights attorney, a veterans activist, and a member of the Victoria Taft Show Blogforce.]

 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Longshore Union Tells Its Side: It’s the Cops’ Fault

The HQ of the Longshore Union has fired off a howler to the Cowlitz County Sheriff over his handling of the violent labor dispute in Longview, Washington.

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

Six more longshoremen and their supporters were arrested overnight for the first of two violent confrontations at the EGT Company in Longview over the past two months. 

In the three page letter, Leal Sundet, a committee member of the San Francisco based Longshore Union HQ, called Sheriff Mark Nelson, “drama[tic],” “dishonest,”

twice calls him a “propagandist,” and “unprofessional,” for his handling of several protests which grew more and more violent from July on.

The beef is over EGT hiring another union to unload grain at the Columbia River facility. The Longshoremen’s union believes it has rights to all work at the Port facilities. EGT disputes that claim.

PHOTO CREDIT RAINVIEW@RAINIER

That issue is being battled in court, but the union members recently upped the ante by staging  protests blocking trains loaded with grain from getting to the EGT facility.

The protests have progressively grown more violent leading to last Thursday’s melee in which 500 longshoremen, some armed with baseball bats, ax handles and pipes, raided the company vandalizing, assaulting, cutting brake lines of trains, and holding six guards hostage.

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

The company sought a court order and twice now has cracked down on the Union–first ordering no aggressive picketing and then holding members in contempt for violating the order. Fines are apparently forthcoming.  Even the Obama NLRB has told the Longshoremen to knock it off.

In his letter Sundet laughably blames law enforcement for the violence:

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

I’d sure like to know the previous relationship between law enforcement and the union because Sundet appears to be saying here that it’s the cops’ job to cover for the union’s bad behavior:

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

 Then Sundet doubles down on the use of the word “propagandist” because the cops have been sending out press releases telling the public about the union member’s bad behavior:

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

And, of course, the childish retort to the cops about how the authorities aren’t telling the truth about ax handles, pipes, assault, battery, intimidating a witness, storming the the facility. Apparently all that is made up!

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW
PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Longview Longshore: Another Arrest

From Cowlitz County:
News Release from: Cowlitz Co. Sheriff’s Office
LABOR CONFLICT ARRESTS CONTINUE
Posted: September 16th, 2011 6:16 PM

Kelso, WA –  Deputies arrested Jacob WHITESIDE, age 34, of Longview on Friday afternoon on charges related to the train blockade on September 7th at the Port of Longview.  WHITESIDE was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail on charges of Criminal Trespass 2nd and Obstructing a Train.  He posted $500 bail and was released.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bruce McCain: Oregon Republicans Change Platform on Gays. Will Social Conservatives Leave?

Bruce McCain, WWeek

** during the editing process a portion of Bruce’s piece was left out. I’m sorry. Ed.**

On September 9-10 the Oregon Republican Party convened at Bend’s Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center to consider amendments to the state party platform. As with any party convention, emotions and tempers ran hot before, during and after the final gavel came down. Local headlines, blogs and media reports have focused on the delegation amending its Family section of the platform. Depending upon who is asked, these changes either a) brought the ORP into a place of statewide competitiveness or b) sounded the death knell for Oregon conservatives west of Harney County.

Critics of the platform changes fear the ORP has so watered down its family values that the party no longer represents those who proudly wear their social conservative credentials on their star spangled sleeves. Threats and fear of losing registered Republicans have flooded Facebook and similar blog commentary logs. Evangelicals, some of whom weren’t even at the





convention, nonetheless have joined the chorus of critics, vowing before God and country to never compromise their faith just to lure moderate or independent voters into the ideologically shrinking GOP tent. So what does the 2011 ORP platform actually say about family? The section summary says:
The Oregon Republican Party believes that the traditional family is ordained by God our Creator and is the foundation of our society. A traditional family is formed through the marriage of one man and one woman. This environment is the optimum for raising children into responsible, self-sufficient, productive citizens.

If the ORP loses members because this language is too liberal, then those voters probably belonged in the Constitution Party to begin with. But notwithstanding this clear, unambiguous statement in support of marriage as being a) ordained by God; b) the foundation of our society; and c) formed through the marriage of one man and one woman, there remains a vocal and passionate group of Republicans who feel the ORP platform is on its way to being indistinguishable from the Democratic platform. So what’s the fuss all about?
Within the Family section is plank 6.3, which contained the following two sentences the majority of delegates voted to remove:


We do not consider “same sex marriage” to be “marriage” nor “civil unions” to have any equivalency nor right to legal standing. Nor do we believe “same sex marriage” or “civil unions” worthy of legal standing for adoption or parenting purposes.


The problems with these two sentences are many and serious. Each is poorly written, creating potentially unwanted effects contrary to the apparent intent of their authors. Both sentences use the terms “same sex marriage” and “civil unions” even though Oregon does not recognize either. 


Measure 36 provided a constitutional prohibition to same sex marriage, rendering that term moot. The term “civil union” likewise is undefined, though it appears the original authors may have been referring to domestic partnerships, which have been lawful in Oregon since January 2008 and even longer in some local jurisdictions.
Thanks to large Democratic majorities in both chambers, the 2007 legislature passed HB 2007, The Oregon Family Fairness Act, which created same sex domestic partnerships with many of the same rights and privileges afforded to married couples, while specifically recognizing the constitutional prohibitions against same sex marriage provided by Measure 36 four years earlier. Contrary to the former ORP platform language, domestic partnerships or “civil unions” in Oregon do have legal standing as valid enforceable contracts. 

Oregonians who have entered into a valid domestic partnership agreement are granted the same privileges, immunities, rights, benefits, duties and responsibilities as married persons. To say otherwise in a party platform is inaccurate at best and fanciful wishful thinking at worse. But then again, there were delegates at the 2011 convention who wanted to keep the 2006 platform summary even though it still contained references to supporting “President George W. Bush in his effort to fight terrorism.”

The second deleted sentence for plank 6.3 deserved its fate for much of the same reasons as its predecessor. While again using the terms “same sex marriage” and “civil union” this clause declares that any Oregonian who enters into a “civil union” or domestic partnership agreement has no “legal standing … for parenting purposes.” The authors seemed to have been concerned about same sex couples or gay individuals adopting children. If so, that is a legitimate issue for the legislature to consider since adoption is regulated by statute. But the clumsy language of this clause included the undefined term “parenting purposes,” and therein lays the problem.
The net effect of these two horribly written sentences is that the Oregon Republican Party believed that if you are a gay or lesbian Oregonian who enters into a domestic partnership agreement your agreement has no legal effect and you have “no legal standing for parenting purposes.” Amazingly, some delegates and commentators continue to ask, “What’s anti-gay about that?” Fortunately, the majority of ORP delegates voted to overturn the Family caucus and jettison this language once and for all.
As a result, some passionate self-described conservatives mistakenly believe the Oregon Republican Party has suddenly become a champion for same-sex marriage, homosexual adoption and the corporate domestic partner of Basic Rights Oregon. But as anyone can see from the finished platform, the ORP has written a solidly conservative statement on marriage, the traditional family and its role in developing “responsible, self-sufficient, productive citizens.”  At the same time, the Oregon Republican Party no longer says to gay Oregonians that their contracts are void solely because of their sexual orientation. Nor will the ORP tell an unmarried gay man who is the biological parent of a teenager that he has “no legal standing for parenting purposes” if he chooses to enter into a lawful domestic partnership agreement in lieu of marriage.
Some will call the ORP’s action an attempt to pander to moderate and independent voters. Hopefully, for the majority of ORP delegates who approved these changes, they did it because it was the right thing to do.
The 2011 Oregon Republican Party platform can be read here:  

Bruce McCain is a former Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain, an attorney in privte practice, an elected member of the Reynolds School Board and a proud Multnomah County Republican.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Rees Lloyd: Third Friday of September POW-MIA Recognition Day

Rees Lloyd

POW/MIA Recognition Day in the United States is observed annually on the third Friday of September by Act of Congress. It affirms our American commitment to honor all those who served and suffered in defense of our liberty as prisoners of war, and our commitment to ultimately account for all of the more than 80,000 military still missing in action from WWII until the present wars against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 

           The service and sacrifice of our American prisoners of war and those missing in action deserves to be recognized, and remembered. Our children, and all future generations of Americans, and, in particular, immigrants, should be educated as to the service and sacrifices of American prisoners of war, and those still missing in action. 
 

            However, POW/MIA Day, like so many patriotic observances and holidays, is rarely, if ever observed, in contemporary American schools. American children are not being taught their own history and heritage.
 
 
 

            More information on POW/MIA Day is available from The National League of POW/MIA Families. Please see their website at www.pow-miafamilies.org. Note in particular the press release of the POW and MIA Families signed by representatives of all the major veterans service organizations objecting to the fact that the Department of Defense is reneging on the commitment to search and account for those still missing in action.
 

           The American Ex-Prisoners of War provide much information on prisoners of war at their website: www.axpow.org.
 

            In recognizing and remembering POW’s and MIA’s, it should be remembered that their families served and sacrificed, too. Their families most often did not know  whether their loved ones who went off to war to defend American freedom were dead or alive. The families of the more than 80,000 still reported as missing in action, including over 1,600 from Vietnam, are still in grief and wonder as to what was the fate of their loved ones.
 

            Many American POW’s from the Vietnam War have written books on their treatment by Communists in Vietnam. Those books ought to be in every school library – but few if any are.

            The tortures endured by American POW’s at the hands of North Vietnamese communists led by Ho Chi Minh, who was celebrated as an iconic hero by the American Left and so-called Peace Movement in the Vietnam war, were unimaginably horrific – but true. 
 

            Every American who reads their accounts is called to question:  “Could I have endured that?” “Would I have betrayed my country in that torture?” And: “How did they survive it?
 

            The POW’s who have authored books, universally state that what enabled  them to survive, to remain sane, and to adhere to the code of “Duty, Honor, Country,” was their faith in God, their love of family, and love of country.  In short, fidelity to faith, family, and freedom.
 

            Without at all ignoring the value of all the books authored by former POW’s, allow me to recommend a few from my own library, which have informed, and moved, me, as perhaps they will you:
 

            First, most recently, “When Hell Was In Session,” by Rear Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr. (USN, ret.), former U.S. Senator from Alabama,  the second longest-serving POW (seven years/seven months), has been re-issued in a new edition with a new epilogue by WND Books, published by WorldNetDaily.com. He is perhaps one of the best known POW’s to Americans due to the fact that when his communist captors tried to use him for propaganda purposes in a television interview, he blinked “T-O-R-T-U-R-E,” in morse code, confirming that American POW’s were being tortured. He also refused to speak against his country in the interview. He was terribly tortured, almost to death. Admiral Denton  was also designated by his comrades as spokesman for the first group of POW’s to come home on Feb. 15, 973, after

            It has been my great honor to be able to work with Adm. Denton in such efforts as fighting the ACLU over its abusive and profit-making Establishment of Religion attacks on the Mojave Desert and Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorials because of crosses honoring veterans. I have also worked with him in relation to his joint public statement with Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady published by WND.com opposing the open homosexualization of the military culture by repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. And I have appeared jointly with him in radio broadcasts.

            But had I never known, worked with, or been called a patriotic comrade and friend by him, I would recommend  his “When Hell Was In Session” as a must read, an inspiring classic.

            — Navy Lt.(jg) Everett Alvarez, Jr., the longest serving POW, recounts his captivity in “Chained Eagle: The Heroic Story of the First American Shot Down over North Vietnam.”

            — Leo Thorsness, who received the Medal of Honor, has written his remarkable account of American captivity in “Surviving Hell: A POW’S Journey.”

            — The legendary Bud Day, America’s most decorated warrior, a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, is referred to for his inspirational leadership as a POW in all of the POW memoirs which I have read. He has told his own story in his autobiography, and his story is told by author Robert Coram in “American Patriot: The Life And Wars Of Colonel Bud Day.”

              Navy pilot and now Sen. John McCain was Bud Day’s cellmate in the “Hanoi Hilton.” Offered early release by the North Vietnamese Communists for propaganda purposes because of the status of his father and grandfather, both four-star Admirals, John McCain refused. Rather, he insisted that he receive no special treatment and that he be released in the regular order of time-served as a POW. He was terribly tortured for refusing special treatment. Those who think they know John McCain should read his own, humble, memoir: “Faith Of My Fathers,” and Robert Timberg’s book: “John McCain: An American Odyssey.”

            –Admiral James (Jim) Stockdale, who received the Medal of Honor, is referenced for his leadership by this co-POW’s in their books. He authored several books, my favorite of which is: “Thoughts Of A Philosophical Fighter Pilot.”

            –A comprehensive telling of the story of American POW’s is John G. Hubbell’s “P.O.W.—A Definitive History Of The American Prisoner-Of-War Experience In Vietnam, 1964-1973.”

            — Last but far from least in value, is the remarkable book “A Code To Keep”by the remarkable Ernest C. Brace – now an Oregonian –who is, technically, America’s longest held “civilian” prisoner of war in Vietnam. Ernie Brace, who had served in the USMC, was taken prisoner when later flying as a civilian pilot. Although technically a civilian, Brace adhered to the Code of Military Conduct while enduring appalling torture, including being periodically buried up to his neck for escape attempts, kept in a bamboo cage in which he could barely move, and in which he was rarely fed, and beating-after-beating.  After surviving unimaginable tortures, Ernie Brace returned to America; became successful in business first on the East Coast then the West;  and now resides in Oregon.  His was active in the “Veterans For McCain” campaign for President in 2008.

            May the American nation they served,  embrace and honor each and every prisoner of war who served honorably, each member of the military services missing in action, and each and all of their families on annual POW/MIA Recognition Day, and on every day.

 

[Rees Lloyd is a longtime civil rights attorney, a veterans activist, and a member of the Victoria Taft Show Blogforce.]

 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Longshore Union Tells Its Side: It’s the Cops’ Fault

The HQ of the Longshore Union has fired off a howler to the Cowlitz County Sheriff over his handling of the violent labor dispute in Longview, Washington.

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

Six more longshoremen and their supporters were arrested overnight for the first of two violent confrontations at the EGT Company in Longview over the past two months. 

In the three page letter, Leal Sundet, a committee member of the San Francisco based Longshore Union HQ, called Sheriff Mark Nelson, “drama[tic],” “dishonest,”

twice calls him a “propagandist,” and “unprofessional,” for his handling of several protests which grew more and more violent from July on.

The beef is over EGT hiring another union to unload grain at the Columbia River facility. The Longshoremen’s union believes it has rights to all work at the Port facilities. EGT disputes that claim.

PHOTO CREDIT RAINVIEW@RAINIER

That issue is being battled in court, but the union members recently upped the ante by staging  protests blocking trains loaded with grain from getting to the EGT facility.

The protests have progressively grown more violent leading to last Thursday’s melee in which 500 longshoremen, some armed with baseball bats, ax handles and pipes, raided the company vandalizing, assaulting, cutting brake lines of trains, and holding six guards hostage.

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

The company sought a court order and twice now has cracked down on the Union–first ordering no aggressive picketing and then holding members in contempt for violating the order. Fines are apparently forthcoming.  Even the Obama NLRB has told the Longshoremen to knock it off.

In his letter Sundet laughably blames law enforcement for the violence:

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

I’d sure like to know the previous relationship between law enforcement and the union because Sundet appears to be saying here that it’s the cops’ job to cover for the union’s bad behavior:

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

 Then Sundet doubles down on the use of the word “propagandist” because the cops have been sending out press releases telling the public about the union member’s bad behavior:

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

And, of course, the childish retort to the cops about how the authorities aren’t telling the truth about ax handles, pipes, assault, battery, intimidating a witness, storming the the facility. Apparently all that is made up!

PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW
PHOTO CREDIT VICTORIA TAFT SHOW

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bruce McCain: Oregon Republicans Change Platform on Gays. Will Social Conservatives Leave?

Bruce McCain, WWeek

** during the editing process a portion of Bruce’s piece was left out. I’m sorry. Ed.**

On September 9-10 the Oregon Republican Party convened at Bend’s Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center to consider amendments to the state party platform. As with any party convention, emotions and tempers ran hot before, during and after the final gavel came down. Local headlines, blogs and media reports have focused on the delegation amending its Family section of the platform. Depending upon who is asked, these changes either a) brought the ORP into a place of statewide competitiveness or b) sounded the death knell for Oregon conservatives west of Harney County.

Critics of the platform changes fear the ORP has so watered down its family values that the party no longer represents those who proudly wear their social conservative credentials on their star spangled sleeves. Threats and fear of losing registered Republicans have flooded Facebook and similar blog commentary logs. Evangelicals, some of whom weren’t even at the





convention, nonetheless have joined the chorus of critics, vowing before God and country to never compromise their faith just to lure moderate or independent voters into the ideologically shrinking GOP tent. So what does the 2011 ORP platform actually say about family? The section summary says:
The Oregon Republican Party believes that the traditional family is ordained by God our Creator and is the foundation of our society. A traditional family is formed through the marriage of one man and one woman. This environment is the optimum for raising children into responsible, self-sufficient, productive citizens.

If the ORP loses members because this language is too liberal, then those voters probably belonged in the Constitution Party to begin with. But notwithstanding this clear, unambiguous statement in support of marriage as being a) ordained by God; b) the foundation of our society; and c) formed through the marriage of one man and one woman, there remains a vocal and passionate group of Republicans who feel the ORP platform is on its way to being indistinguishable from the Democratic platform. So what’s the fuss all about?
Within the Family section is plank 6.3, which contained the following two sentences the majority of delegates voted to remove:


We do not consider “same sex marriage” to be “marriage” nor “civil unions” to have any equivalency nor right to legal standing. Nor do we believe “same sex marriage” or “civil unions” worthy of legal standing for adoption or parenting purposes.


The problems with these two sentences are many and serious. Each is poorly written, creating potentially unwanted effects contrary to the apparent intent of their authors. Both sentences use the terms “same sex marriage” and “civil unions” even though Oregon does not recognize either. 


Measure 36 provided a constitutional prohibition to same sex marriage, rendering that term moot. The term “civil union” likewise is undefined, though it appears the original authors may have been referring to domestic partnerships, which have been lawful in Oregon since January 2008 and even longer in some local jurisdictions.
Thanks to large Democratic majorities in both chambers, the 2007 legislature passed HB 2007, The Oregon Family Fairness Act, which created same sex domestic partnerships with many of the same rights and privileges afforded to married couples, while specifically recognizing the constitutional prohibitions against same sex marriage provided by Measure 36 four years earlier. Contrary to the former ORP platform language, domestic partnerships or “civil unions” in Oregon do have legal standing as valid enforceable contracts. 

Oregonians who have entered into a valid domestic partnership agreement are granted the same privileges, immunities, rights, benefits, duties and responsibilities as married persons. To say otherwise in a party platform is inaccurate at best and fanciful wishful thinking at worse. But then again, there were delegates at the 2011 convention who wanted to keep the 2006 platform summary even though it still contained references to supporting “President George W. Bush in his effort to fight terrorism.”

The second deleted sentence for plank 6.3 deserved its fate for much of the same reasons as its predecessor. While again using the terms “same sex marriage” and “civil union” this clause declares that any Oregonian who enters into a “civil union” or domestic partnership agreement has no “legal standing … for parenting purposes.” The authors seemed to have been concerned about same sex couples or gay individuals adopting children. If so, that is a legitimate issue for the legislature to consider since adoption is regulated by statute. But the clumsy language of this clause included the undefined term “parenting purposes,” and therein lays the problem.
The net effect of these two horribly written sentences is that the Oregon Republican Party believed that if you are a gay or lesbian Oregonian who enters into a domestic partnership agreement your agreement has no legal effect and you have “no legal standing for parenting purposes.” Amazingly, some delegates and commentators continue to ask, “What’s anti-gay about that?” Fortunately, the majority of ORP delegates voted to overturn the Family caucus and jettison this language once and for all.
As a result, some passionate self-described conservatives mistakenly believe the Oregon Republican Party has suddenly become a champion for same-sex marriage, homosexual adoption and the corporate domestic partner of Basic Rights Oregon. But as anyone can see from the finished platform, the ORP has written a solidly conservative statement on marriage, the traditional family and its role in developing “responsible, self-sufficient, productive citizens.”  At the same time, the Oregon Republican Party no longer says to gay Oregonians that their contracts are void solely because of their sexual orientation. Nor will the ORP tell an unmarried gay man who is the biological parent of a teenager that he has “no legal standing for parenting purposes” if he chooses to enter into a lawful domestic partnership agreement in lieu of marriage.
Some will call the ORP’s action an attempt to pander to moderate and independent voters. Hopefully, for the majority of ORP delegates who approved these changes, they did it because it was the right thing to do.
The 2011 Oregon Republican Party platform can be read here:  

Bruce McCain is a former Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain, an attorney in privte practice, an elected member of the Reynolds School Board and a proud Multnomah County Republican.

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