Monthly Archives: May 2015

Rees Lloyd On Memorial Day 2015: Can We Live In Freedom, If We Don’t Die For It?

Memorial Day is a day to remember what should be remembered every day–the more than 1.3-million American veterans who gave their lives in war so that they, and we, their posterity, might live as free Americans.

 

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The questions are raised: Should remembrance of the price of freedom be limited to one Memorial Day a year? And, can we Americans live in freedom if we are no longer willing to die for it?

Each of us owes a debt  to all those Americans who came before us and sacrificed their lives for freedom. We pay that debt by what we do to preserve freedom for all those Americans who will come after us.

While many Americans, unfortunately, do not even know what Memorial Day represents, many millions of others do. Among them, of course, are veterans. All across America, veterans of The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans,and other veterans, gather at their Posts, or at National or State Veterans Cemeteries, or at community events, to remember the high price of freedom, paid by those veterans who purchased and preserved our freedom with their lives.

For example, one of those American Legion Posts is Riverside Post 79, in Riverside, CA, of which I am partisan as a Life Member. It was founded in 1921 by WWI veterans, only  two years after the founding of The American Legion in 1919 by WWI GI’s in Paris, France, awaiting repatriation home after winning WWI. (For this long and proud history, see www.Legion.org; or www.CaLegion.org.)

Post 79 members conducted Memorial Day Ceremonies at Evergreen Cemetery  at 9 a.m., after earlier affixing flags to the headstones of veterans there. Honors ceremonies were conducted also at noon outside Post 79, immediately across from the WWI Pershing Tank which is located at the edge of the lake at Fairmount Park, daily reminding Post members of the sacrifices made in WWI. 

The ceremonies were led by Commander Deno Blankenship (Army, Vietnam), assisted by acting Chaplain Marcos Enriquez (USAF, Desert Storm-Iraq -and Afghanistan).They each followed in the footsteps of past Post 79 Commanders and officers in what is now a ninety-five year Legion Post 79 tradition of remembering and honoring fallen comrades in Memorial Day ceremonies. 

The solemn ceremonies of morning and noon, with the Flag first lowered to half-staff then raised again, were followed by a “Family Day” at the Post. Hamburgers, hotdogs, beverages, and “Pot Luck,”  were provided to Legion families. The afternoon was one of camaraderie of families of those who have served, amidst the joyous laughter on Memorial Day of their children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren  — who, in their turn, may one day be called to serve to preserve the nation’s freedom.

The earlier honors ceremonies included tribute rifle volleys and the playing of Taps by the Robert J. “Uncle Bobby” Castillo Honor Detail, Team 12, named for its late founder, a D-Day WWII Purple Heart survivor, Past Post 79 Commander, and  a beloved legendary California American Legionnaire. The Post 79 Honor Detail, too, crosses generational lines. Its  current members range from veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Post 79’s MHD Team 12 is one of some 29 Memorial Honor Details of volunteer veterans who provide dignified military services for fallen comrades at Riverside National Cemetery. Team 12 members perform military services at usually from six to ten funerals at RNC on the first and third Tuesday of each month, and the fifthTuesday when there is one. The Team also provides Honor Details on call at community events, schools, universities, government installations, funerals for veterans at cemeteries other than RNC. 

Post 79’s military honors ceremonies at Evergreen Cemetery were carried out in front of the rough-cut stone Cross at Evergreen Cemetery which was established in 1924 by Auxiliary Unit 79 of the Riverside Post to honor WWI veterans who gave their lives. The current Auxiliary Unit 79 President Judy Benzala, following the tradition of Auxiliary Presidents for some nine decades, placed a wreath at the foot of the Cross to  honor  all veterans who have given their lives in all of the wars in defense of American freedom. 

Fortunately, that tradition continues, as, to date, that Cross established by the patriotic women of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 79 of the WWI generation to honor Americans who died in that and all wars, has not yet been targeted for destruction by litigation by the intolerant secular extremists of the ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism. 

In contrast to the respectful honors ceremonies by veterans and other patriots on Memorial Day and every day, the ACLU sued for ten years to destroy the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross until finally forced to surrender in 2012, and is now in its 46th year of litigation to destroy the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Cross which honors the service of all veterans there, as a universally recognized symbol of selfless giving of one’s life for others. (For more information on the ACLU’s anti-Cross jihadism, see www.Legion.org, www.CaLegion.org,) 

The Post 79 honors ceremonies cited here are but one example of veterans-honoring-veterans — in ways, words, and symbols veterans choose, exercising their “right to choose” — in ceremonies large and small on Memorial Day, in the some 14,000 American Legion Posts, VFW, DAV, other veterans service organizations Posts, as well as in community observances throughout the nation.

That is good. But the question is raised:  Should those who have given their lives for our freedom be remembered only on Memorial Day?

The California Legislature last year adopted a statute  based on the “21-Second Rembrance Resolution written by former Marine and Riverside Post 79 Sgt.-At-Arms Ray Trosper,  and adopted by the 2014 California Legion Convention. The statute, like the Legion Resolution, calls on California citizens not to honor veterans only on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but by observing 21-seconds of silent remembrance on the 21st day of every month, in emulation of the honor of the traditional 21-gun salute, or the 21-steps of the honor detail members guarding the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier.

USMC Veteran and Legionnaire Ray Trosper who authored the Legion 21-Second Remembrance Resolution which is now codified in California statutes, states the matter concisely: “Those Americans who died in service gave their lives for us. We should be willing to at least remember them for 21-second moments of silence, one time a month, on the 21st day of each month. ” (For more information on the “21-Second Remembrance,”  see www.21SecondsNow.com.)

Times change, but fundamental truths do not. One of those truths is that freedom is not free, and those unwilling to fight and die for freedom will soon no longer be able to live free. As former President Ronald Reagan, who volunteered for service in WWII, said, liberty has to be defended by every generation if it is to be preserved.

Memorial-Day-Date-2015-Whens-History-First-Facts-Origin-Meaning

More than 1.3-million Americans have died in war that we might be free. (See, data attached below on all those who have given their lives in war through the generations, from the Revolutionary War to the War Against Islamic Terrorism today.)

Also, on this 100th year anniversary of its writing by Canadian Major John McCrae, a physician in military service in the battle of Ypres in WWI, we do well to remember the words of the  immortal war poem, “In Flanders Fields.” It is as moving, meaningful,  and applicable to the wars and veterans of this day, as it was when written in May, 1915, in WWI. (“Flanders Fields” is attached below in full.)

The challenge we Americans and American freedom face today is from Islamic jihadist fanaticism — which openly seeks the death of freedom, and proclaims that Islamic jihadism will defeat and conquer America, destroy the Contstiution, and impose Sharia Law on Americans “because you [Americans] believe in life, and we [Islamic jihadists] believe in death.” I

In short, they exude confidence that they will defeat us and destroy freedom because they are willing, even eager to die, defending their cause in “holy war” (sic),  no matter how misbegotten, and we, they believe, are no longer willing to die for freedom.

There can be no doubt that Muslim jihadist terrorism is as great a threat, if not greater, than was the threat to freedom of the totalitarian National Socialism (Fascism) of Adolph Hiter in WWII or the totalitarian International Communism of Lenin-Stalin-Mao-Ho Chi Minh-or Pol Pot in the Vietnam-era, which like Muslim jihadism sought world domination—the actual end of freedom, while proclaiming to provide “social justice” and “equality.”

Thus, another question raised by Memorial Day 2015 remembrance of those who gave their lives for our freedom is simply this: Can American freedom long survive if we, the heirs to the freedom preserved for us by those American veterans who came before us and gave their lives defending freedom, are no longer willing to fight — and to die, if necessary — to preserve freedom for those Americans who will come after us? 

Will those American children at play on Memorial Day Holiday 2015, and their children, live in freedom tomorrow, if we are not willing to not pay the price for their freedom as did our American patriot ancestors to preserve our freedom?   

May the sacrifice of each American who gave his or her life in defense of American freedom always be remembered, honored, and willingly emulated if the freedom for which they died is to endure.

 

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE   —   REMEMBER  THE  AMERICANS 

WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN WAR THAT WE MIGHT BE FREE:

American Wars: Killed In Action

Revolutionary War………………………….  25,324

War of 1812…………………………………      2,260

Mexican War………………………………..  13,283

Civil War……………………………………. 650,000

Spanish American War…………………….    7,166

World War I………………………………… 116,708

World War II…………………………………408,206

Korean War…………………………………   54,246

Vietnam War………………………………..   58,223

Persian Gul War……………………………        363

Afghanistan…………………………………     2,215

Iraq…………………………………………..      4,212

     TOTAL KIA:             1,342,206

     TOTAL MISSING IN ACTION:    83,126

flanders field

In Flanders Fields

by Major John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

[For the full story on Flanders Fields and the Poppy tradition,

see: http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/john-mccrae-in-flanders-fields.htm]

FOR GOD AND COUNTRY FOREVER; SURRENDER TO TYRANNY–NEVER! 

(Rees Lloyd is a longtime California civil rights lawyer, veterans activist, and a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.) 

Rees Lloyd: MEMORIAL DAY 2015

From Rees Lloyd’s post from 2010:

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The Soldier

It is the soldier, not the reporter, 
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, 
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, 
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, 
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, 
who salutes the flag, 
who serves under the flag, 
and whose coffin is draped by the flag, 
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
[By Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC]
A  time to remember the price of our freedom, 
and the veterans who paid that price…
 
American Wars Killed In Action
 
Revolutionary War…………..  25, 324
 
War of 1812………………………      2,260
 
Mexican American War……  13,283
 
Civil War……………………….. 650,000
 
Spanish American War……..      7,166
 
World War I………………………. 116,708
 
World War II……………………. 408,306
 
Korean War………………………     54,246
 
Vietnam War ……………………    58,223
 
Persian Gulf War………………       363
(Desert Storm)
In the War on Terror there were:
 
Photo: iCasualties
Photo: iCasualties

Services Set for Bruce McCain

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR BRUCE MCCAIN

I was able to be a small service for Bruce yesterday and was honored to be a part of it, but I may come back for his Memorial Service. This announcement is from his family via Facebook:

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR BRUCE MCCAIN 

A public memorial service for Reynolds School Board Chair Bruce McCain is scheduled for 5:30pm on Saturday, May 30 at the Reynolds High School Arts and Communications Building. Reception will follow in the Multipurpose Room. The RHS Arts and Communications Building is located at: 1698 SW Cherry Park Road in Troutdale. The entrance in on the west side of the building, near Columbia Park/Imagination Station. 

Bruce McCain was a community leader serving in many roles that placed in the position to serve his community. Bruce’s passing is an extreme loss for the Reynolds School District. As a member of the school board for the past four years and as chairman of the board this year, Bruce immersed himself in his duties and responsibilities and fully participated in all district activities whether board functions or student activities. 

His leadership, his sense of humor and his devotion to the district will be greatly missed. Bruce was active in high schools sports, serving as an official and photographer. Even when he learned that he had cancer, he thought about our students. His three most immediate goals, as he stated on several different occasions, were to be re-elected to the School Board, see the 2015 Bond pass, and stand on stage at graduation in June and hand out diplomas. Bruce accomplished the first two things; and in spirit he will be at Graduation in June. 

Captain Bruce McCain retired from the Multnomah County Sherrifs Department to pursue a private law practice. Bruce is survived by his wife of 35 years, Kathy and their three daughters Kelly McCain MartinRachel Heller and Stephanie Tyler and their families.

Baltimore’s ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Real-Time Smear

Days after the Baltimore’s Freddie Gray riots, there was another incident that almost became another apocryphal ‘Hands up, Don’t Shoot’ moment.

A version of his post was originally published by Victoria Taft at PoliticalVanguard.com narrative final

Sometimes you watch the news or hear ‘man on the street’ interviews on the radio and later, when the truth comes out, wonder to yourself, ‘Where did that cockamamie story come from?’

In the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, interviews contained in both the Grand Jury testimony and the federal investigation revealed Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, conceived of the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative and began to spread it around.

Investigators later deemed doubtful Johnson’s ability to see the last seconds of his friend’s life  because of where he claimed to be hiding.

But, by the time he was finished, Johnson was on TV blatantly spouting the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative, and people, later ruled not credible by the authorities,  picked up the story and lied under oath. 

It was untrue but it was everywhere. And even after it was disproved, protesters still used it.

Protesters used the ‘hands up’ meme in Baltimore, well after the world learned it was bogus. 

Just days after the riots in Baltimore, ‘the big lie’ almost happened again. 

A man was stopped by cops and subdued after he pulled out a revolver at Pennsylvania and North — the flashpoint of the original riots.

MSNBC host, Joy Reid, was on the ground and spoke to the “victim’s” relative, who revealed the name of the man “shot” and the fact he was only reaching at his waist band.

Fox News was on live and reported the “shooting”, but walked back the story within minutes. Shepherd Smith apologized and said they’d “screwed up”.

MSNBC never recanted, and instead blamed Twitter for their story.

MSNBC went on the air, with a person actually on the ground, and reported a falsehood for which they never apologized. They also talked to the “victim’s” family member who lied about the incident and never apologized.

But MSNBC was right about one thing: They saw the story on Twitter. I know that because I did too.

The Tweet talked of a shooting and contained a link leading to a live-stream of the “shooting” scene.

And here’s what I saw:

After hearing a gun shot, people came upon the scene only to see a man lying on the ground. Police surrounded him.

Within seconds, a few people on scene began pronouncing the man face down on the ground had ‘been shot’.

Though there was no blood and angry people were close enough to see, the story caught fire.

Soon, a bigger group of angry people converged at the site and, within seconds, a couple of angry men began confronting cops within inches of their faces and accusing them of shooting the black man on the ground. You can hear their voices saying:

     The police shot him!
     They done shot him, bro!
     They shot him?
     They shot in him the back, man!

Another voice rang out urging people to go after one of the cops:

     He’s the cop!
     He’s the cop!

That prompted a man to confront an officer — as if picking a school yard fight — getting within inches of the officer’s face and taunting:

     You shot my man, yo?
     You shot my man, yo?
     You shot my man, yo?

The man recording the event and putting it out over the internet pronounced:

     Hey, police just shot someone!
     Police just shot SOMEONE IN THE BACK!
     Tweet it out, please?
     POLICE JUST SHOT SOMEONE.
     They just shot someone and they maced someone.
     They shot that man in the back.
     Tweet it out.
     BALTIMORE POLICE JUST SHOT A MAN IN THE BACK!
     Now they’re macing people for no reason!

Then he beckoned them to come riot:

     Come to Penn and North now.

Soon, the woman caught on tape and who was used in several TV news stories came along to declare:

I watched that man shoot him!
I watched it with my own eyes!

Guy taking video:

     File a report on the M******F****r!

He escalated his rhetoric and urged riot again:

    Come down to Penn & North NOW!
    Those M*****F*****r cops.
    They maced someone.
    Tweet it out!

And someone did. And that’s when I saw it and MSNBC News did, too.

But just when you think things could spin out of control, they got worse. Someone’s voice in the crowd authoritatively pronounced:

     They just shot that man in the back.

The person recording the event embellished:

     Baltimore police just shot a man in the back.
     Baltimore police just shot that man in the back.
     THEY HAD HIM IN CUFFS AND THEY F*****G SHOT IN HIM THE BACK!

Almost none of what they said was true. They just made it up.

Police did pepper spray some of the people who were getting out of control and pushed them down the street and out of the way of the take down.

A Baltimore police officer told anyone who asked him that the man was seen with the gun. WBAL radio reported he’d been spotted via the ‘City Crime Watch’ camera. When he saw cops, he reached for his gun, dropped it, the gun discharged and cops seized upon him:

A fleeing suspect pulled out a revolver, which went off, and no officers fired their weapons, police said, denying conflicting reports from people at the scene.

If that guy had been shot by officers another big lie would have gathered even more momentum. As it was, this was bad enough.
Later, the paid professional protesters, of whom Deray McKesson is one, launched an assault on the media.

Deray was on the ground in Ferguson and won some fame for his activism there. Then he packed his bags and showed up in Baltimore. He was identified by Wolf Blitzer of CNN as a Baltimore community organizer. Deray, originally from Baltimore, is not.

I’d show you Deray McKesson’s original tweet, but he blocked me after I outed him as a professional peripatetic protester.

Wresting the narrative is important.

Trayvon Martin thought George Zimmerman was gay and was worried the neighborhood watch captain would sexually ‘molest’ him. We found that out in Zimmerman’s trial from none other than Martin’s girlfriend, Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Martin as he eyed the man watching him.

The teenager was also high on marijuana, his toxicology tests showed THC in his system when he got into it with Zimmerman.

And he was coming back from the store where he purchased items to make ‘Sizzurp’ to get another high. But to the media and in the world of the Reverend Al Charlatan, Martin was a be-haoloed teen angel who was just trying to get home with his Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea.

Michael Brown was a 6’4″ 300lb ‘Gentle Giant’ who wouldn’t hurt a fly. He traveled the streets of Ferguson in his cap and gown, setting an example for all youth while readying himself for his college career. He was only trying to comply with Officer Darren Wilson. He put his hands up and innocently pleaded with the malevolent Officer not to hurt him.

Reality: He ‘jacked up an old Asian man at the store, took a bunch of Swisher Sweets to roll blunts and attacked a cop, going for his gun.

Things in Baltimore were bad enough. Six cops are under indictment. You don’t have to lie to make things look bad, they already are.

The left tried to make it worse, foment riots and create another urban legend and new narrative. And you saw it in real time.

Bruce McCain: Bruce of the Blogforce

Bruce McCain’s sober civility was his hallmark in Oregon’s body politic. His memorial is set for May 30

 

Photo: Tim Newman Photography
Photo: Tim Newman Photography

Bruce McCain died Monday. 

Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon — indeed, the entire body politic — is the poorer.

You may know Bruce from his television appearances on local TV news casts, the voice of reason on my and Lars’s shows, his time as a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain, his professionalism as a Reynolds School Board Member, tireless legal advocate, political tactician, parishioner in the pew, the photographer on the sidelines, the doting grandfather and loving Dad. Husband.

He was a blogger on this website and his own.  A colleague.

He was all of these things.

But Bruce was one more thing that I believe needs to be said:

Bruce was the civil voice in a very uncivil political place. 

Columnist David Brooks says:

Politics exists on the surface, but conduct is at a deeper realm.

When I would engage in free-style verbal flame-throwing, Bruce would draw me back to reason. He did that for many people. His inner conduct — devotion to and love of God — was his deeper realm and informed everything he did. 

At one point in his life, Bruce considered the ministry as a profession, but found his calling in different areas. Still, he was always guiding people. Always the teacher.

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said,

Character is Destiny.

In whatever he did, Bruce brought his best. There were never any halfway measures on his part. Whether it was in his writings, legal briefs, advocacy or even his photographs, he always strived for his best.  

And he always strove to do more. The father of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, once said:

The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.

Bruce’s work was never done. There was always a challenge to confront, a case to win, a wrong to be righted.

He was ambitious, but his ambition was never at the expense of others. There was room for everyone in his successes. 

And he was trustworthy. As fellow Blogforce member (and Bruce’s good friend for many years), former Sheriff Bernie Giusto wrote:

From the earliest days at the Sheriff’s office Lt McCain was one of my closest and most trusted advisors. From there Bruce McCain became my closest confidant. When things were very tough during my second term, Bruce’s unwavering friendship was indescribably vital to my life at that time. The last time [I] talked with Bruce he called me friend. A great honor friend. I will never forget your strong character and honest friendship.

And he was generous. Generous with his time, his expertise and his spirit. On his daughter Kelly’s Facebook page I saw this photo:

bruce family

In the age of self indulgent, beauty-shot selfies, the meticulous photographer gave his family this photograph of himself. He’s not at his best here. He’s dying. He may not have wished this to be his parting shot. But in his spirit of generosity and love, he gave his family this memory. 

But they’ll always have this one too. 

bruce selfie

 

And so many more memories, little and big.

Salk once said,

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.

Bruce McCain was a good man. A man of rare generosity. A man of good character. A servant leader.

He knows where he was going and to those he left behind –his descendants– this ancestor left a road map of how to do it right.

Rest in peace, friend. 

Watch President Obama Seems to Admit He Knows No Poor People & Blames Conservatives for Poverty

At the Poverty Summit at Georgetown University, President Obama seems to admit he knows no actual poor people, knows no one who has trouble paying their bills, but knows they got there because rich people took their money away.

Photo: Ustream
Photo: Ustream

 

Or he assumes no rich people like him do.

The Summit, which was moderated, by E.J. Dionne, the far left Washington Post columnist, also featured American Enterprise Institute economist Arthur Brooks who’s written several books on the subject of poverty, wealth and ethics. See his response to the President below.

In this illuminating discourse by President Obama in the first video, he appears to believe there’s never before been ‘segregation’ by class and poverty level–except for black people. He seems to believe this is a new thing in the last “40 years”, though it appears he forgets about Jewish and Irish ghettos in America’s past or even old timey songs about living “on the wrong side of town” or “on the wrong side of the tracks.” 

The President, ascribing the differences between the wealthy and poor to policies of the past “40 years”, also seems to forget that roughly corresponds to America beginning to wage a  ‘War on Poverty’ by LBJ. 

In fact, according to the Heritage Foundation there have more than $22 trillion dollars in income transfers spent to “solve” the problem of poverty since that war began. As Jesus told us in Mark 14:7 (and other places), “The poor will always be among you” so the likelihood of spending our way out of it is slim. 

After you watch the President blame conservatives and rich people for impoverishing people, and Fox News for demonizing them, then watch as Arthur Brooks, economist and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, gently puncture every one of the President’s talking points. 

Arthur Brooks explains how the President has a few things wrong.