Category Archives: veterans

Rees Lloyd: Dec 7, 1941, Attack on Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Survivor S.J. Hemker Remembers: A Day of Infamy
December 7, 2015, Pearl Harbor Day, marks the 74th anniversary of the Japanese air attack on U.S. naval and air installations at Pearl Harbor, HI, at 7:53 a.m., Dec. 7, 1941, without a declaration of war. 
 
It was then the worst attack on American soil in history: Some 2,403 died, 2008 of them Navy personnel; another 1,178 were wounded. 
Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
 
Eighteen Navy ships, including the U.S.S. Arizona, were sunk or damaged. Almost all the planes at the island bases were destroyed or damaged while still on the ground.
 
President Franklyn D. Roosevelt memorably called December 7, 1941, “a day which will live in infamy” in his dramatic speech to Congress, which then declared war on Japan. 
 
Only the sneak attack on America by radical Islamic terrorists on 9-11-2001 in New York resulted in more deaths. But for many Americans of this generation — and millions of immigrants, legal and illegal — the significance of Pearl Harbor is not fully known, or appreciated. 
 
One for whom it does “live in infamy,” is Pearl Harbor survivor S. J. Hemker, now 96, of Banning, California. A retired three-war combat Navy veteran, and an American Legionnaire, Hemker remembers Pearl Harbor up close and personal:
 
“Ordinarily, we would have been at sea. We were at Pearl Harbor because we had to repair an engine that had been sabotaged at the shipyard back in California. I was up on the fantail of our ship, the USS New Orleans, a heavy cruiser, with the Chief Master at Arms. The Quartermaster was there, getting ready to raise the flag,” Hemker recalls.
They were grinning at us as they went down toward Battle Ship Row. Grinning at me and the Chief. They were so close, you could have thrown something at them and hit them. A potato, maybe. 
 
“It was 7:53 a.m. when we saw the Japanese planes. They were flying so low I could see the pilots’ faces in the cockpit. They were grinning at us as they went down toward Battle Ship Row. Grinning at me and the Chief. They were so close, you could have thrown something at them and hit them. A potato, maybe. They were that close. Just skimming the top of the water. Torpedo planes. The pilots grinning at us,” Hemker reluctantly, but vividly recalls.
 
“The loudspeakers blared: ‘Man your battle stations – the Japs are attacking’. All hell broke loose.. It was terrible, horrible, …,” he says, pausing in his remembrance.
 
“I spent the next eight hours down in the magazine loading for our five-inch anti-aircraft guns. We fired everything. If we had been hit, that would have been it for us in the magazine. We would have been blown up. We had a big crane over the top of our ship. I think that’s what saved us,” he states matter-of-factly as to his own circumstance., then somberly relates:
 
“The Arizona capsized. Thirteen hundred men went down with her. Half the guys I was with in boot camp died on the Arizona. That’s where the Memorial is today. They say that oil still leaks out every day. Those guys…they’re still down there,” Hemker says quietly, his voice trailing off, as if physically turning away from a memory, and reality, which is still too painful to talk about.
Those guys…they’re still down there,” Hemker says quietly, his voice trailing off …
 
Getting Hemker to talk about it at all is no easy task. Like many of his fellow World War II veterans, he still doesn’t talk about his war experiences, never expects any thanks or gratitude, and never, ever boasts about it, despite the fact that after Pearl Harbor he served America in battles and combat zones for the duration of WWII, in the Korean War, and in Vietnam.
 
Hemker is a widower whose wife died more than 20 years ago. He has three sons. All served in the Vietnam War. Hempker, still roguishly handsome and possessed of a sly sense of humor, charms the ladies in the Legion Auxiliary with country gallantry. 
 
He is universally admired by his comrade veterans in the American Legion. “I’m not able to do what I used to do, but I do what I can,” he says.
 
Reflecting on Pearl Harbor seventy-four years after surviving it, Hemker, who has lost his eyesight but not his vision for America, observes: 
 
“We Americans should never forget. If we forget our past and those who died, we won’t have a future. A free one, anyway. Look at what happened on 9-11. More people were killed on that day then were killed at Pearl Harbor. It can happen again,” he warns.
 
“I don’t think people remember Pearl Harbor and what it means, the way they used to do,” Hemker concludes. “That’s too bad. A lot of us can’t forget. An awful lot of really good people died to keep America free. They shouldn’t be forgotten.”
 
(Rees Lloyd, a longtime California Civil Rights attorney and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.)

Rees Lloyd: Veterans Day 2015

“The cost of war is in two parts: The cost of the battle itself, which is immediate; and the cost of care for those sent to fight the battle. Since most of those fighting the battle are young, that cost can continue for seventy years, or even longer. But when the country needs veterans, it gets veterans; when it feels it no longer needs veterans, it forgets veterans.”

 

This piece was written by veteran@ReesLloydLaw for VictoriaTaft.com 2014
These are the poignant words of former U.S. Marine Terry Tracy, himself a 100% disabled combat veteran (Vietnam) and one of the most knowledgeable Americans concerning Veterans Affairs as the now retired Service Officer of The American Legion Department of California for almost twenty years in which literally tens of thousands of veterans were aided in VA health and pension claims.

The truth of Terry Tracy’s words should be remembered not only on Veterans Day but every day if we Americans are to “keep the faith” with all those veterans who have served and sacrificed in defense of American freedom, including the almost 1.4-million veterans who have given their lives for our freedom from the Revolutionary War against Monarchial tyranny to the present war against Islamic terrorist tyranny.

But, even today, as Veterans Day is observed while Americans once more must stand and fight to defend freedom from tyranny, many Americans, not only ordinary citizens but many politicians, office holders and policy makers — not to mention the estimated 11-million or more aliens illegally living in America while still bearing allegiance to and flying the flag of the countries of their origin — either do not remember or have never learned of the truth of the costs of war as expressed by Marine Terry Tracy, or even the history of why there is a “National Veterans Day.”

That history of the Veterans Day Holiday should be known, including being taught to school children of the rising generation (instead of being taught by progressive liberal government school teachers and bureaucrats such farcical multi-cultural concocted non-holidays as “Kwanza” [not in fact an African tradition] or “Cinco de Mayo”[not in fact a Mexican tradition] ), if the service and sacrifice of American veterans in defense of freedom, and the true dual costs of war – the costs of the battle, followed by years-long continuing costs of care for those who fought the battle — are not to be forgotten.

Veterans Day observances traditionally commence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, the anniversary of the date and time of the signing of the Armistice ending combat in World War I on November 11, 1918.

It was World War I, “The War To End War,” “The War To Make The World Safe For Democracy,” which gave birth to what was originally Armistice Day, to honor WWI veterans. It was thought then that WWI was so terrible that there could not be another such war. Only twenty years later, the even more terrible World War II began in Europe in Euope. By Act of Congress, WWI Armistice Day is now Veterans Day, honoring all veterans of all the wars.

It has to be remembered that WWI was a most terrible war, the horrors of which are difficult to comprehend. The spark which set off WWI was the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the crown in Austria, and his wife, on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist. But scholars debate to this date who and what actually caused the war to escalate as it did into a world war, and why, in fact, it was fought. Each side blamed the other. Whatever the answer, a complex web of entangling alliances and mutual defense treaties set off what would become the most horrendous war in the history of the world.

An estimated 10-million combatants were killed in that war; an estimated 22-million were wounded. It was a war in which almost 100,000 died from poison gas, use of which has since then been banned as a war crime. It was a war fought on the model of earlier “trench warfare” in which waves of soldiers charged across fields to combat the enemy in an opposing trench often in bayonet and hand-to-hand combat. The difference was that in WWI it was not soldiers with rifles and bayonets in the opposing trench; it was a trench armed with machine guns which did not exist in the earlier wars. Troops were slaughtered in those fields by the tens of thousands in single days of fighting in the new reality of WWI, while their generals drew battle plans based on outdated tactics of the last war.

For but one example, the battle of Verdun, regarded as the most momentous battle of WWI, began in mid-February, 1916, when the Germans launched an offensive. By mid-March, more than 90,000 French troops had been killed in that one month. The battle of Verdun went on for seven (7) months in which more than 700,000 troops died, a hundred thousand dead soldiers per month.

The United States did not enter the war until 1917. President Woodrow Wilson, a Princeton academic progressive liberal politician who believed the U.S. Constitution was outdated, ran for re-election in 1916 as the Democrat Party candidate in a campaign based on the slogan, “He Kept Us Out Of War.”

Wilson was sworn in on March 4, 1917. Only a month later, his deceitful campaign slogan no longer needed, Wilson called on Congress to declare war on Germany, which it did on April 6, 1917. The first of some 4-million Americans who would serve in that war began arriving in France in June, 1917.

There is no doubt that the Allies defeated the Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Muslim Ottoman Empire –because of the American sacrifice. Prior to the entrance of the U.S. into the war, Germany was victorious and advancing on three fronts. By 1915, Great Britain so feared defeat that it established a naval blockade in an attempt to literally starve Germany into surrender. In response to the starvation blockade, which is today generally regarded as a violation of international law by scholars, the Germans declared all the seas around Great Berlin and Ireland to be a “war zone” and all shipping subject to German submarine U-Boat attack. Wilson, after his re-election, cited the submarine threat to American shipping as the reason to declare war on Germany. The tide of war turned when the Americans arrived, and not before.

The first Americans to die were three soldiers who were killed in combat on Nov. 3, 1917. By the time the Armistice was signed a year later, on Nov. 11, 1918, some 117,000 Americans, almost 10,000 per month of combat, had given their lives in service.

The horror of WWI, side-by-side with the honor of those Americans and allied forces who served, fought, and died, is expressed most profoundly by the poem, “Flanders Fields, written by then-Major John McCrae, MD, a surgeon in the Canadian Army who was born in 1872 and would die in 1918, the year that terrible war ended.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS
By Lt. Col. John McCrae, Army of Canada, WWIflanders field poem

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
Scare 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 it yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

Although “Flanders Fields” was written by a grieving Dr. McCrae in the devastation of the battle of Yres in WWI, days after his best comrade had been killed, his words reach across the more than a century to bring home the reality of all the wars, and of the service and sacrifice of all those Americans who have served when our country has called, believing that the defense of freedom was why they were serving, and was worth dying for if necessary. It is a poem which calls on us not to “break faith” with those who gave their lives so that we might be free.

May God bless all of them, all the veterans who have served in defense of our freedom in all the wars, and may the country whose freedom they preserved honor them on Veterans Day and on every day. They kept the faith with us; and, as expressed in the haunting words of “Flanders Field,” we must not “break faith” with them.
[Rees Lloyd a veteran and longtime California civil rights attorney, now resides in Portland and is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.]

This 9/11 Tribute Tells the Real Story of War With Radical Islam … And Who’s Been Fighting It.

This Wall of Remembrance shows you how radical Islam has waged its modern war on the U.S. for decades.

Image Credit: Victoria Taft
Image Credit: Victoria Taft

This Wall of Remembrance is touring across the country to remember 9/11. On one side are the names of every single person who’s died fighting radical Islamists since the Beirut bombing that killed 241 of our finest U.S. Marines.

  • 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing
  • 1991 Operation Desert Storm to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
  • 1993 Blackhawk Down, Somalia
  • 1996 bombing of 19 servicemen in Dahrain, Saudi Arabia
  • 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa
  • 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing
  • 2001 Attacks on World Trade Center, U.S. Pentagon and Flight 93’s target was either U.S. Capitol or the White House.

Never forget.

I haven’t included all of the subsequent — hundreds — of attacks on the country since but you can in the comments section.

The Wall of Remembrance includes the anthrax attacks; Major Hassan’s attack on Fort Hood; the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya; the invasion of Iraq to get Saddam Hussein, a state sponsor of terrorism and many others. It’s worth a look.

This video was taken at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California.

Rees Lloyd: MEMORIAL DAY 2015

From Rees Lloyd’s post from 2010:

giphy

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

Rees Lloyd on Veterans Day: Why Everyone–Not Just Veterans–Should Remember Flanders Field

This piece on Veterans Day by Rees Lloyd first appeared at VictoriaTaft.com on 11/11/11

On Veterans Day, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice ending combat in World War I on November 11, 1918, we Americans, or many of us, remember and honor all those Americans to whom we owe our freedom –- American veterans, those who have served when our country called, the one percent who have kept the ninety-nine percent free. 

flanders field poem

Veterans, that less than one percent whose service has secured and secures today the freedom that the more than ninety-nine percent enjoy, are more often forgotten than remembered, more often ignored, secretly regarded as not quite smart enough to avoid military service, or openly vilified, rather than honored. 

That is evidenced dramatically in these times when media and government devote enormous time and attention indulgently providing tender loving care to a tiny and self-righteous motley crew of “occupiers” who have never served to defend the nation but narcissistically set themselves up as representing “the 99%.” That ungrateful gaggle, whose acts and antics preoccupy media and government as wondrous to behold, exploit the freedom that veterans have preserved for them by demanding, in an arrogant attitude of ingratitude, special “rights” not accorded to other Americans, and demanding national resources be devoted to such of their priorities as “forgiveness of [their] student loans.” Right. This while thousands risk their lives and limbs defending America in war zones, and tens of thousands of other veterans are in need of full funding for the medical care they need and were promised in serving the nation, not parasitically feeding off it. 

The media will perforce acknowledge the nation’s veterans on Veterans Day, before returning to indulgently if not breathlessly reporting on those so much like themselves, the “occupiers.” That is, like the “occupiers,” not even “1%” of today’s media darlings have served a day in defense of the nation, and admit in confidential polls that they are in fact liberal “progressives” who voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, one of only two American presidents of the modern era who did not deign to serve. The other is, of course William Clinton, Vietnam-era draft dodger who evidenced his regard for veterans as President by discussing military matters with a Congressman by phone while being fellated in the White House by a 21-year-old intern, Monica Lewinsky. Liberal Progressive Noblesse oblige. 

Notwithstanding, many of the “1%” and the “99%” who the “occupiers” do not in fact represent, will pause at 11-11-11 to honor and remember America’s veterans, all who have served, including specially the more than 1,350,000 Americans who have sacrificed their lives for American freedom in all the wars. 
World War I, which gave birth to Armistice Day, now Veterans Day, was a most terrible war the horrors of which are difficult to comprehend. The spark which set off WWI was the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the crown in Austria, and his wife, on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist. But scholars debate to this date who and what actually caused the war to escalate as it did into a world war, and why, in fact, it was fought. Each side blamed the other. Whatever the answer, a complex web of entangling alliances and mutual defense treaties set off what would become the most horrendous war in the history of the world. 

An estimated 10-million combatants were killed in that war; an estimated 22-million were wounded. It was a war in which almost 100,000 died from poison gas, use of which has since then been banned as a war crime. It was a war fought on the model of earlier “trench warfare” in which waves of soldiers charged across fields to the enemy in an opposing trench. The difference was that in WWI it was not soldiers with rifles and bayonets in the opposing trench who ran out to fight them, it was a trench armed with machine guns which did no exist in the earlier wars. Troops were slaughtered in those fields by the tens of thousands in single days fighting that WWI, while their generals fought the last war. 

For but one example, the battle of Verdun, regarded as the most momentous battle of WWI, began in mid-February, 1916, when the Germans launched an offensive. By mid-March, more than 90,000 French troops had been killed in that one month. The battle of Verdun went on for seven (7) months in which more than 700,000 troops died, a hundred thousand dead soldiers per month. 
The United States did not enter the war until 1917. President Woodrow Wilson ran for re-election in 1916 as the Democrat Party candidate in a campaign based on the slogan, “He Kept Us Out Of War.” He was sworn in on March 4, 1917. A month later, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany, which it did on April 6, 1917. The first of some 4-million Americans who would serve in that war began arriving in France in June, 1917. 

There is no doubt that the Allies defeated the Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Muslim Ottoman Empire –because of the American sacrifice. Prior to the entrance of the U.S. into the war, Germany was victorious and advancing on three fronts. By 1915, Great Britain so feared defeat that it established a naval blockade in an attempt to literally starve Germany into surrender. In response to the starvation blockade, which is today generally regarded as a violation of international law by scholars, the Germans declared all the seas around Great Berlin and Ireland to be a “war zone” and shipping subject its submarine U-Boat attack. Wilson, after his re-election, cited the submarine threat to American shipping as the reason to declare war on Germany. The tide of war turned when the Americans arrived, and not before

 The first Americans to die were three soldiers who were killed in combat on Nov. 3, 1917. By the time the Armistice was signed a year later, on Nov. 11, 1918, some 117,000 Americans, almost 10,000 per month of combat, had given their lives in service. 
The horror of WWI, side-by-side with the honor of those Americans who served, fought, and died believing, rightly or wrongly, that it was a war “To Make The World Safe For Democracy,” is expressed most profoundly by a poem, “Flanders Fields, written by then-Major John McCrae, MD, a surgeon in the Canadian Army who was born in 1872 and would die in 1918, the year that terrible war ended. 

Although “Flanders Fields” was written by a grieving Dr. McCrae in the devastation of the battle of Yres in WWI, days after his best comrade had been killed, his words reach across the more than a century to bring home the reality of all the wars, and of the service and sacrifice of all those Americans who have served when our country has called, believing that the defense of freedom was why they were serving, and was worth dying for if necessary. They kept the faith for us; we must keep the faith with them. 
May God bless all of them, and may their country honor them, on Veterans Day, and on every day. 

[Rees Lloyd a veteran and longtime California civil rights attorney, now resides in Portland and is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.] 

Rees Lloyd: Send Vets to Congress–It Makes a Difference

The first of Rees Lloyd’s Caustic Commentaries

Wonder why America has been transformed from world leader to its present degraded state in the progressive liberal Era of Obama? Military. com reports: 

“Veterans In Congress Could Fall To The Lowest Level Since Word War II.” 

Photo: Aletia
Photo: Aletia

Veterans and other patriotic Americans are witnessing the devolutionary “transformation” of America sought by a progressive liberal President and Commander-in-Chief, Barack Hussein Obama, His Great Incompetence,  who never served a day in military service and who, confronted with war by Muslim terrorists and tyrants, has been “leading with his behind” from one feckless policy 

It is a “transformative” decline wrought by Obama in a period in which  patriotic veterans who were once numerous in House and Senate have been replaced by elitist non-veteram progressive liberals who consider themselves “citizens of the world,” as does Obama, himself. While paying rhetorical  “lip service” to “our veterans,” these elitist progressive liberals sneer privately and sometimes even publicly at  veterans and other American patriots — “clinging to their guns and religion,” as Obama infamously put it — and, indeed, smugly sneer at the very ideas of “patriotism” and of American exceptionalism in the 21st Century.

As the progressive liberal policies of Obama have been negatively transforming America, only 106 veterans are presently serving in the 535-member Congress. Now, Military. com points out that “[t]he number of veterans serving in Congress could fall to the lowest level since World War II depending on the results of [the Nov. 4] election.” 

The decrease in the number of veterans in Congress has been dramatic since the 1970’s. “During that time,” Military.com reports,”Congress was made up of many members who had served in any of three wars — World War II, Korea and Vietnam. There were 80 veterans in the [100-member] Senate from 1973 to 1975, and 347 in the [435-member] House from 1977 to 1978. The highest number of veterans recorded was during the 95th Congress in 1977-1978 during which 77 percent of the members had served in the military, according to the Pew Research Center.”

“Today, there are 18 veterans in the Senate and 88 veterans in the House of Representatives,” Military.com reports, “and there are fewer than 200 veteran candidates for Congress in the upcoming election.”

“What difference does it make,” if veterans and not progressive liberals are serving in Congress?” as might be asked by self-declared progressive liberal Hillary Clinton who seeks to follow Obama as President and Commander-in-Chief in 2016.

Military.com notes: “The declining number [of veterans in Congress] is significant as fierce debates in Congress continue over the size of the military, the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), mitigating sexual assault, and reducing military suicide rates.”

And what about the VA and its scandalous failure to properly provide to veterans the benefits veterans haveearned? Can any veteran, or any honest American, for that matter, doubt that it would have made a difference in acting swiftly and effectively to remedy  the appalling scandals of the Veterans Administration bureaucrats in the six years of the Obama regime if it had been veterans serving in House and Senate instead of progressive liberals sharing Obama’s progressive liberal agenda and priorities, which do not include veterans, as is proven by Obama’s deeds in office, not his occasional lip-service to veterans? 

It must be remembered that a central promise Obama made in campaigning for the Presidency in 2008 was that he would remedy the failures of the VA which he at that time acknowledged as scandalous.   Once elected, Obama not only did nothing to oversee the VA and remedy those bureaucratic wrongs, he pretended he didn’t even know about the VA’s failures until he read or heard about it from the news media in 2013, after his election to a second term in 2012.

The lip-service to “our veterans” of Obama, Harry Reid in the Senate and  Nancy Pelosi in the House, and the progressive liberals who elected them to leadership in Congress, are manifestly belied by their deeds, most inescapably in the VA scandals — which must be remedied as more and more veterans are coming home with the wounds of war. 

When they need veterans, they get veterans; when they don’t need veterans, they forget veterans,”   as has been sagely stated by former Vietnam  combat Marine Terry Tracy of Los Angeles, based on his almost twenty-years experience as former American Legion Department  of California Service Officer leading efforts to have America’s promises to its veterans for their military service actually performed and fulfilled, not rhetorically noted and forgotten.

More broadly, the difference it has made to have fewer veterans in House and Senate and more self-declared progressive liberals, is the difference between an America as the world’s leading and most powerful nation and an America in rapid decline. 

That difference is exemplified by the choice presented in the race in the 50th Congressional District in So. Cal (San Diego).  It is, ironically, a District which is heavily military, but, through apathy or otherwise,  has sent a progressive liberal to Congress for multiple terms. 

Thus, the 50th California Congressional District incumbent is a non-veteran,  certified progressive liberal who has lemming-like followed the failed polices of progressive liberal Barack Obama, and is guaranteed to continue to do so if re-elected. 

But she is  challenged this year not by another career politician making empty promises, but by a genuine combat veteran and proven patriot, Larry Wilske, a 30-year, now retired U.S. Navy SEAL.

Which one is likely to defend America and not aid-and-abet in America’s continuing decline and devolutionary “transformation” at home and internationally?  The certified  progressive-liberal politician, or the proven patriot protector of America, the veteran, the 30-year Navy SEAL, Larry Wilske?  

The same question is relevant in Congressional elections all across the country: Given the record of devolutionary “transformation” of America sought and wrought by Obama in the White House and his fellow progressive liberals in Congress, which candidate in the 2014 Congressional elections is likely to defend veterans, the American nation, and freedom — progressive liberal politicians, or veterans whose willingness to sacrifice to defend veterans, America, and freedom,  has been proven not by mouthing liberal platitudes, but by their military service?

It is an important question; and the answer on November 4 will most definitely make a difference.

(For more information on SEAL Larry Wilske see www.WilskeForCongress.com, and other proven patriotic combat veterans  endorsed by the Combat Veterans For Congress, with commentary by CVFC founder Capt. Joseph R. John (USN, ret.), see www.combatveteransforcongress.org.)

(Rees Lloyd, a veteran and longtime California civil rights attorney, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.)

Rees Lloyd: Supreme Court denies expedited review of Mt Soledad case

The case goes back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. LiMandri: Cross stays put till then.

Rees Lloyd addressing dignitaries at the dedication of the plaque commemorating the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial
Author Rees Lloyd addressing dignitaries at the dedication of the plaque commemorating the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial

The Supreme Court on Monday, June 30, 2014, issued an order denying a petition for expedited review of the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Cross Case (Mt. Soledad Memorial Assn. v. Steve Trunk, et al, USSC NO. 13-061.)

The petition filed by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association requested the Court to grant review, by-passing the appeal pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. The Court declined without an opinion.
Justice Alito published a separate statement explaining that denial of the petition does not represent a final decision on whether the Supreme Court will ultimately grant review.

Rather, Justice Alito noted that because the Ninth Circuit has not ruled on the appeal from the U.S. District Court decision ordering the Cross destroyed, there is “no final judgment” on which the Supreme Court to Rule.
Further, he pointed out that because the U.S. District Court ordered a stay pending appeal, the Cross will not be destroyed as the appeal process continues in the Ninth Circuit.

Veteran overlooking the Pacific Ocean from atop Mt. Soledad, home of the Veterans Memorial.
Veteran overlooking the Pacific Ocean from atop Mt. Soledad, home of the Veterans Memorial.

Justice Alito, in issuing his statement clarifying that the denial of expedited review is not a final decision on whether to grant Supreme Court review, noted again that the “ ‘Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence is undoubtedly in need of clarity.” Few constitutional law practitioners would disagree.

Justice Alito’s statement is published at 53 U.S. ____(2014), and is below in its entirety for convenience.

San Diego Attorney Charles S. LiMandri, founder and chief legal counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), who is credited with doing more to save the Mt. Soledad Cross than any other single person, said in response to the Supreme Court’s denial of expedited review:

“It is an unfortunate delay. It means going through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal processes. This is what the Supreme Court wants, and what the government wanted. So, instead of a delay of perhaps one year, we may be waiting two or three years.
“But it is not ‘bad news.” They are not saying they won’t take the case ultimately; just not now,” LiMandri said.
“The good news is that the stay is in effect pending appeal. So the Cross isn’t going anywhere, and we believe we will ultimately prevail based on statements made by the Justices and rulings in other cases,” LiMandri concluded.

There is also a possibility of legislative action to preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial “where it is, as it is,” with the Cross intact.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a combat veteran and former Marine, has a bill pending to preserve all veterans memorials.

Further, the legislative solution reached which saved the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial may be a precedent for saving the Mt. Soledad National Memorial.

That is, the ACLU sued for ten years to destroy the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross, established in the remote desert in 1934 by WWI Veterans of Foreign Wars members to honor their fallen WWI comrades. When the ACLU obtained an order from the U.S. District Court in Riverside, CA, to destroy the Cross in 2002, then-Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) sponsored legislation in which Congress authorized a land swap in which the one-acre Mojave memorial site was exchanged for five acres of land donated by private citizens, Henry and Wanda Sanchez.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that that land exchange did not violate the Constitution. Although the ACLU continued to sue for two more years, claiming that the Act of Congress was itself unconstitutional, the ACLU ultimately surrendered in 2012.

The Mt. Soledad Cross was established in 1954 to honor Korean War Veterans. Later, it became a memorial honoring all veterans. There are now more than 3,000 plaques, many bearing crosses or Stars of David, on the walls of the memorial beneath the 29-foot Cross honoring all veterans.

photo-9

The extremists of the ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism, have been suing to destroy the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross for 25 years now.

In 2006, a U.S. District Judge in San Diego ordered the City of San Diego to tear down the Cross in 90 days or he would impose a fine of $5,000 per day. Congress responded by passing the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial Act, which transferred the memorial from the City of San Diego to the federal Department of Defense. Because the ACLU had sued to destroy the Cross in federal Court but under the California Constitution, that transfer nullified the cross destruction order.

ACLU sued to destroy the Cross again, this time under the U.S. Constitution. A different U.S. District Judge in San Diego ruled that the Mt. Soledad Cross was constitutional as a reasonable person would understand that the Cross was part of a war memorial intended to honor veterans, not to advance religion or any particular religion.
The Ninth Circuit overruled the District Court and remanded the case for a remedy to be ordered. The District Court stated it continued to believe the Mt. Soledad Cross is constitutional, but had no choice but to order it destroyed due to the Ninth Circuit ruling. The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and petitioned the Supreme Court to expedite resolution by granting immediate review. That was declined.
Many believe the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Cross Case is the most important pending Establishment of Religion Clause case. Final decision by the Supreme Court will set a precedent affecting this and future generations of Americans.

What is at stake is whether 300-million Americans will continue to be able to honor their war dead and other veterans as they choose, using symbols of our American history and heritage, including the cross and other symbols with a religious aspect; or whether atheists, agnostics, and intolerant secular extremists epitomized by the ACLU will have a veto power over those decisions because they are “offended” by the sight of the cross.
For now, the Mt. Soledad Cross will remain protected due to the stay order until the appeals process is complete. A legislative solution could be enacted in the meantime.

However, experience has shown that in order for effective action to be taken by Congress, or the White House, veterans and other American patriots have to rise up and fight for it, or little or nothing will be done.

FOR GOD AND COUNTRY FOREVER; SURRENDER TO THE ACLU—NEVER.
(Rees Lloyd, a longtime California civil rights lawyer and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.)
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Cite as: 573 U. S. ____ (2014)
Statement of ALITO, J.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
MOUNT SOLEDAD MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION v. STEVE TRUNK, ET AL.
ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI BEFORE JUDGMENT TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
No. 13–1061. Decided June 30, 2014
The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment isdenied.
Statement of JUSTICE ALITO respecting the denial of the petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment.
This case came before us two years ago, see 567 U. S.___ (2012), and at that time I issued a statement respect­ing the denial of certiorari. I noted that although the“Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence is undoubt­edly in need of clarity,” certiorari was not yet warranted inthis case “[b]ecause no final judgment has been rendered and it remains unclear precisely what action the FederalGovernment will be required to take.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 2, 3).
Since that time, the District Court has issued an order requiring the memorial to be removed, but it has stayed that order pending appeal. The Court of Appeals has not yet reviewed that order on appeal. Seeking to bypass that step, petitioner seeks certiorari before judgment. In my view, it has not met the very demanding standard werequire in order to grant certiorari at that stage. In lightof the stay, any review by this Court can await the deci­sion of the Court of Appeals. I therefore agree with the Court’s decision to deny the petition.

Pete the Banker: Pentagon brass obscure KIAs in Bergdahl search

How many soldiers died looking for apparent deserter Bowe Bergdahl? The Pentagon does more to obscure than clarify.

The headline read:

2 soldiers died while Bergdahl search underway, but not while on patrol, Pentagon finds

Something about this article didn’t sit well with me initially. Perhaps it is my cynicism, perhaps my instinct which questions the Pentagon’s cursory response. More likely based upon my own military experience, I implicitly trust facts from the troops on the ground and those closest to the situation more than that from those occupying desks at the higher echelons, far from the battlefield. Facts that haven’t seemed to change in the face of the constant ebb and flow of political fancy or the latest editorial whim.

bowe-bergdahl
Photos from New York Daily News

The Pentagon release, “Pentagon officials probing claims that eight soldiers died while looking for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have confirmed two troops from his unit died while the search was underway, but not while they while they were on patrol, a senior defense official told Fox News Friday.”

I obviously am criticizing from afar and my military service is far behind me now, but the Pentagon I suspect is being disingenuous at best. First, any search likely wouldn’t have been limited to Bergdahl’s immediate unit. Second they are stating it obliquely, not including key details/assumptions of their probe including the time frame over which the original search was conducted, the territory (provinces) involved in the search, or detailing the number of military units involved. And finally the actual casualty numbers just don’t support the Pentagon’s (and Administration’s) rather self serving assertion.

Much of what we know continues to come from those closest to the action in Bergdahl’s unit. Much of what remains unknown rests with the Pentagon and the Administration itself. The persistence of the unknown from official sources likely provides them future flexibility in creating story lines or the latest spin. So much for independent research.

A rather quick and cursory bit of research (limited to only the Paktika Province in which Bergdahl’s unit was located) shows 11 combat casualties in the 10 weeks following his disappearance on June 30, 2009. That compares with a total number of fatal casualties for the year of 16 in Paktiki Province. So now tell me why all these casualties were concentrated in this Province over such a short period following his disappearance? One suspects the summer season in a mountainous area accounts for some of the concentration, but one’s intuition dismisses the assertion that 68% of the annual casualties can be explained by weather only. (Casualties list, Afghanistan; See pages 42-43-44-45 for dates 6-14-2009 to 9/14/2009;)

For example, specific details provided by former platoon members asserted, “Lt. Darryn Andrews, 34, and Pfc. Michael Martinek, 20, were among at least six soldiers killed during such missions. For saving the lives of three of his troops during an ambush on Sep. 4, 2009, Lt. Andrews was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.”  Their deaths are memorialized in the above casualty list, attesting to accuracy of those on location and belying the Pentagon probe.

The Pentagon’s issuance of rather tepid and useless statement seems intent on obfuscating, rather than clarifying the events surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance. Bergdahl’s peers have alone been open about the extent of losses surrounding the recovery effort. Given the concentration of fatal combat casualties in the Paktaki Province in the two and a half months after the Bergdahl disappearance seems to overwhelming support their assertions. A thorough and independent research of the recovery operation and losses sustained from it are absolutely necessary to provide accuracy and transparency, apparently missing commodities in Wash DC these days.

Addendum:

Search parameters/results: July 2009 – three casualties; August and first half of September – 8 casualties; Start date July 1 and end date 9-11 with Martinek’s death, all in Paktika Province. (So why is the Pentagon dismissing based upon only 2 cases?)

FYI in 2008, over roughly the same period, Paktika Province recorded 2 deaths of an annual total of 20 deaths. Four additional combat deaths occurred on 9-17-2008 in Paktika. But even including those the deaths of those individuals that accounts for only a 30% annual casualty rate in a roughly comparable period.

Pete the Banker is a Veteran, banker and good citizen. He is a member of the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce.

 

Rees Lloyd: Liberty Milestone–D-Day, June 6, 1944

Rees Lloyd: Liberty Milestone — D-Day, June 6, 1944
D-Day at Normandy
D-Day
 
June 6, 2014 is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. A day on which  the “citizen soldiers” of America and British and Canadian allies made and changed history by turning the tide of war against the then-victorious totalitarian imperialism of the National Socialist Workers Party (NAZI)  regime of Adolph Hitler in  Germany. Hitler had conquered all of Europe and established “Fortress Europe” on the coast. He believed it could not be breached by any invasion from the sea, no matter how great. 
 
Hitler underestimated how great was the love of freedom of ordinary citizen soldiers of America, Britain, and Canada,  that they would fight and give their lives  in seemingly impossible combat circumstances to defend it. On D-Day, in the most massive amphibious landing in history, some 5,000 ships carried some 175,000 troops to Normandy in one 24-hour period. There  were almost 5,000 casualties dead on the beaches that first day, some 2,000 of them Americans. Some 400,000 Americans ultimately would sacrifice their lives for freedom in WWII.

 

The American citizen soldiers of of D-Day were the children of the Great Depression.  Childhood for most was poverty,  most living in humble Depression conditions of deprivation  from which would be deemed appalling by contemporary standards of poverty. Their late teen and young adult years were spent in war. Most who fought in WWII were between the ages of 18 and 28. In that war, there were not one-year tours of duty. They served for the duration. Period. Many entered service at  after the Pearl Harbor Attack by Japan on December 7, 1941,  and did come home until five years later after victory in WWII. Their”college years,” so to speak, were spent in the horror of war. Hundreds of thousands never came home. Those who did come home, went to work; raised families; built the most prosperous nation in the world by their work ethic;  almost never talked about their service in war except to other veterans; and never complained about the sacrifices they made in service to the nation, and to our freedom.

 
Author, theologian, and recovering former progressive liberal Michael Novak, in his important book “On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding,” noted that when a national survey was done to determine what values were being held by various groups of Americans in the mid-1950’s, the researchers found that the Americans whose values were closest to those of the Founding Fathers were “the Americans who served in WWII.” 
 
Americans of this day are the beneficiaries of those Americans who served on D-Day and WWII. Indeed, Americans today are the children, grandchildren, great- and great great grandchildren that  the 400,000 American soldiers, sailors, marines, air force and coast guard members never had because they gave their lives on D-Day and in WWII so that Americans of that and succeeding generations could remain free.  
 
On D-Day, June 6, 1944,  General  Dwight David (“Ike”) Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in WWII, and principle architect of the D-Day invasion that Winston Churchill called “the most difficult and complicated operation ever to take place,” issued a history changing Order of the Day to the citizen soldiers of America:  “Good luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”
 
On the 20th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1964, General Eisenhower, who had gone on to become President of the United States in 1954, returned to Normandy Beach. He said about those citizen soldiers, as quoted by Stephen Ambrose in his classic book, D-Day: The Climatic Battle of WWII:
 
“[I]t’s a wonderful thing to remember what those fellows twenty years ago were fighting for and sacrificing for, what they did to preserve our way of life.  Not to conquer any territory, not for any ambitions of our own. But to make sure that Hitler could not destroy freedom in the world. I think it’s just overwhelming. To think of the lives that were given for that principle, paying a terrible price on this beach alone, on that one day, 2,000 casualties. But they did it so that the world could be free.  It just shows what free men will do rather than be slaves.”
 
On the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1984, then President Ronald Reagan, who enlisted in the Army in WWII and proudly served in the uniform of the country he would later lead as President and Commander-in-Chief, gave perhaps the most moving, eloquent, and elegant tribute ever delivered to honor those who served in the D-Day invasion. President Reagan’s memorable D-Day tribute speech can be read or heard in its entirety at here. 

 http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/reagan-d-day.htm

The citizen soldiers of D-Day and WWII taught a great lesson about patriotism, service, sacrifice, and freedom, by what they did in the D-Day Invasion and the combat which followed until totalitarianism was defeated
Unfortunately, one place in which there will be little or nothing taught about D-Day and its meaning, is in many if not most of the public progressive liberal government-run schools.

This generation of American children is being taught less and less about America’s Founding Fathers and traditional American values, and the fact that military service and valor is what has made and kept America free from the time of the Revolutionary War to D-Day to this day in the current ongoing war against Muslim jihadist terrorism

The citizen-soldiers of D-Day and WWII are owed a great debt for preserving the freedom not only for their own generation but for succeeding generations, including our generation of Americans. We pay that debt by preserving freedom for the generations of Americans who will come after us.

Regarding that debt, General Eisenhower spoke of the service of the D-Day WWII generation as showing “what free men will do rather than be slaves.” The question on this 70th Anniversary of D-Day is: Has America, and have Americans, been so “transformed” in the progressive liberal modern era from the values of the Founding Fathers and those who served on D-Day and in WWII, that we no longer have the same “will” as they did to do what must be done to preserve freedom, including to fight and die if need be, “rather than be slaves” of modern totalitarian enemies of American freedom?

May the God the citizen-soldiers of D-Day served bless and keep them; and may the nation they served always remember them, in an attitude of heartfelt gratitude, and with the courage to do what they did to preserve American freedom.

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

Rees Lloyd: Cesar Chavez, AMERICAN hero.

March 31 marks what would have been the 87th birthday of an American hero, the late Cesar Estrada Chavez, founder and president of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

Cesar Chavez Rees Lloyd
Cesar Chavez and author Rees Lloyd

Twenty-one years after his death on April 23, 1993, a new generation of Americans is learning about the life of Cesar Chavez. A number of states, including California, will observe a Cesar Chavez holiday; there is a call for a national holiday. His headquarters, an abandoned former TB sanitarium in the Tehachapi Mountains, which Chavez later acquired and renamed “La Paz,” is now a national memorial that includes his burial grounds. A movie is being released celebrating his life, a life of selfless service for others.

Indeed, while he was alive, Cesar refused to sign away the movie rights to his life, though offered millions. He also refused offers to publish an autobiography or an “authorized” biography. He refused because he never sought personal recognition. It was not about him, he insisted. It was about La Causa, the cause of justice for farm workers. Thus, no movie was made until now, and the only authorized book was the “Autobiography of La Causa,” by Jaques Levy, who didn’t pay for it; he earned it by working for La Causa.cesar chavez la paz

Although Cesar Chavez eschewed personal celebrity, he nonetheless became nationally and internationally renown for his work for others. But during his life, and to and beyond his death, even to this day, Cesar was defamed and burdened, and his cause impeded, by being branded falsely as a “Communist.” This defamatory cruelty was done by persons who should have known better, as most of those who self-righteously repeated that utterly false calumny defined themselves as Christians and patriots.

It pains me to this day that that good man, Christian to his core, should have been, and should continue to be, vilified as a “Communist” by people who have been misled by that lie.

For one instance, I was invited to address an annual gathering of activists convened by the late Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy at his Coral Ridge Ministries, along with patriot author William J. Federer and others. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee keynoted the annual dinner. In the large Coral Ridge Chapel, Bill Federer received a rousing standing ovation after his speech from an enthusiastic crowd of at least a thousand Christian patriots, as I did after him. At the break following my speech, Federer and I walked out to the foyer where several hundred waited with questions. The very first question to me was: “That was a great speech. But how could you represent that Communist Cesar Chavez?” He had been dead for years, but the lie was still alive, even among otherwise well-informed Christian patriots.

cesar chavez b 2The answer to the lie was easy, however, because Cesar Chavez was no Communist. He was a Christian. A devoted Catholic Christian who did what he did as a follower of Jesus Christ, living his Christian faith daily, hourly, existentially not rhetorically. It was his Christian faith, his humility before God, that made Cesar Chavez what he was, and made him both good and great.

Although it is little known by those from the secular left who celebrate him as a civil rights leader as well as those who condemned him from the religious right as a Communist, in the Adult Catechism of the Catholic Church approved by Pope John Paul the Great, the section on “Life In Christ” includes as exemplifying a life in Christ: Cesar Chavez.

It should not need to be said that if anti-Communist Pope John Paul II believed that Cesar Chavez was not a “Communist” but a Christian of such proven faith that he should be the example of living a life in Christ in the Adult Catholic Catechism, that should be good enough proof for any doubter that Cesar Chavez was in fact a Christian, and profoundly so, and not the “Communist” his detractors maliciously claimed.

Indeed, Cesar Chavez, living his Christian faith, was the moral heart of the American labor movement, and there are lessons to be learned from his well-lived life.

My own life has been enriched beyond measure by working with him for some 20 years, from 1973, when he mentored me as a leader of the Truckers for Justice in a nationwide truckers shutdown during the so-called Arab oil embargo; through the many years I served as one of his attorneys until the day of his death on April 23, 1993, during an epic court battle in Arizona.

I was but one of thousands who worked with Cesar Chavez through the years. Others did so much more to help him, his cause and the UFW. I write these words not to celebrate my association with him, but to celebrate Cesar Chavez and the life he lived. Cesar Chavez, by his humble service and sacrifice for others, was not only a great man, but also a good man.

Cesar Chavez was born in 1927 on the small ranch near Yuma, Ariz., that his grandfather purchased in the 1880s. The Chavez family worked the ranch until 1937, when the bank foreclosed and the giant Bruce Church lettuce corporation took it over. The family went from being American landowners to “Mexican” migrant workers, living and working in appalling conditions.

Cesar Chavez SailorIn 1944, as World War II raged, Chavez, at the age of 17, joined the U.S. Navy. When he came home on a three-day leave, he engaged in his first nonviolent civil disobedience by sitting in the “white” section of a segregated movie theater in Delano, Calif., with his date, Helen, who would later become his wife. He was arrested and taken to jail, but they couldn’t figure out what to charge this U.S. sailor with in wartime. So, they cut him loose with threatening warnings that he should know his “place.” Chavez went back to war in the South Pacific for the duration.

Ironically, Chavez’s life ended where it began, in Yuma, in a fight for justice against the same Bruce Church Corporation that had taken the Chavez family ranch during the Depression. Bruce Church sued Chavez and the UFW in Arizona courts in Yuma for millions of dollars in damages allegedly caused by a lettuce boycott Chavez had led in California, not Arizona.cesar chavez funeral

Bruce Church’s lawyers called Chavez as a witness. When his examination by Bruce Church’s lawyers was complete, Chavez went to the home of a UFW member where he was staying. Cesar Chavez died peacefully in his sleep that night, April 23, 1993.

Those who entered the room in the morning when he did not respond to their knock said his shoes were off, but he was still dressed, as if having dozed off while reading. They said there was no evidence that he had suffered any pain or distress. Indeed, the book he was reading still rested on his chest undisturbed. Further, they said it appeared that Chavez had a small, serene smile on his face. “God came and took him,” an elderly campesino told me.

More than 50,000 people attended Chavez’s funeral in Delano, Calif., where he had gone in 1962 with his wife, Helen, and eight children to organize what would ultimately become the United Farm Workers of America.

When the trial resumed in Arizona. I was honored to be one of the attorneys defending the UFW and Chavez. Even though Chavez died before he had a chance to tell his side of the story, the judge refused to grant a mistrial. As expected, the jury found for Bruce Church, the biggest employer in the Yuma area. Bruce Church was awarded $3.5 million, enough to bankrupt the UFW.Cesar Chavez Rees Lloyd

But, following Cesar’s example, his son-in-law and successor as UFW president, Art Rodriguez, didn’t quit. After years of litigation, the UFW won the case on appeal. The judgment was thrown out by higher courts, primarily on a ground we had insisted on from the beginning: Arizona had no jurisdiction over a boycott in California.

Chavez’s son, Paul, once said to me of his father’s persistence in the face of adversity: “Did you have one of those little cars when you were a kid that you wind up and it takes off, and when it hits a wall it bounces off then hits the wall again, and again, and again? Well, my dad reminds me of that little car. It won’t quit. But the difference is, with my dad, the wall falls down.”

Cesar Chavez lived with constant death threats. Five UFW workers were killed in UFW’s struggle – shot, stabbed, beaten and, in one instance, run down by a truck while on a picket line.

Through it all, Cesar never wavered from his adherence to non-violence. His small office was full of books on non-violence in general and Ghandi in particular. Cesar was to become in America what Gandhi was to become in India: a “Mahatma” – a “great soul.”

I have never forgotten the lesson on non-violence he taught me back in 1973, when I was a long-haul trucker involved in the nationwide truckers’ shutdown protesting the escalation in diesel fuel prices by the “Seven Sister” oil companies during the so-called Arab Oil Embargo. Thousands of owner-operator truckers were driven out of business by the fuel price gouging. Congress later investigated and found the oil companies guilty of illegal “windfall profits” in the so-called embargo.

I had called on Cesar to have his lawyers help us in the strike. He did and mentored me in daily phone calls. There was violence in many parts of the country. After two weeks on strike with over 250 truckers shut down in the Triple T Truckstop in Tucson, I told Cesar that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to control violence.

Chavez admonished me so loudly and emphatically regarding violence that I had to hold the phone away from my ear: “Rees, if there is violence, it is your fault: It is a failure of creative intelligence; a failure of creative intelligence.”

At the time, I said to myself: “What does he know? I’m the one here, I’m the one with the problems.” But later that day I picked up the newspaper and spotted a story saying the Tucson blood bank had run out of blood and needed help. I called a meeting, pointed out that we were getting lambasted by the media over our strike, and if we gave blood to the people of Tucson, maybe we would be seen in a different light. The truckers voted to give blood, and I called the media.

The next day, we loaded up the trailers of two 18-wheelers with strikers and drove to the blood bank. With television cameras running, out of the trailers came the truckers, cowboy-hatted and cowboy-booted, John Wayne-patriots, big, tall and proud, to give their blood to the people of Tucson.

The entire atmosphere changed. The media began telling our story, and the people of Tucson began taking truckers into their homes for the duration of the strike. The threat of violence evaporated – thanks to Cesar Chavez.

We created an Alliance of the United Farm Workers and the Truckers for Justice in the aftermath of that strike. It caused a real commotion – Deep South truckers (I was the only “Yankee”) joining with Cesar Chavez, a Mexican-American union leader whom they had been propagandized to believe was a “Communist.” However, Cesar won them over very quickly with straight-forward common sense when we negotiated the UFW-TFJ Alliance at his headquarters.

The late A.S. “Pappy Phifer,” who sounded just like Yosemite Sam and was built like a bowling ball with feet, and was just as hard, was our TFJ president. He had begun trucking as a member of Jimmy Hoffa Sr.’s Teamster Local in Detroit before moving back home to Georgia and buying his own truck. He came right to the point: “Mr. Chavez, they tell us back home that you are one of them Communists?”

Cesar Chavez looked around the room linking eyes with every trucker in the room, all of whom towered over him, before quietly saying: “I’m a Christian. How could I be a Communist?”

That simple truth made sense to every trucker on the negotiating team. Each one was a Christian and knew Cesar couldn’t be a Communist. Confidence was struck, and so was a deal when the details were worked out.

The news media splashed the story of Southern truckers agreeing not to haul “scab” non-UFW lettuce and grapes and Cesar Chavez agreeing to help truckers in round two of strike activity over the fuel prices. Within 24 hours we were receiving death threats in the TFJ and being denounced for joining forces with “that Communist Cesar Chavez.” “Pappy” Phifer never backed down because of the death threats. We never again hauled a “scab” grape or head of lettuce and, never retreated from the alliance with Cesar Chavez. “Pappy” Phifer, in the heart of KKK country, Christian and anti-Communist to his bones, remained publicly and defiantly proud of his association and friendship with “Mr. Chavez,” to the day of Pappy’s death.

After the second strike was broken, Cesar told me that I needed to go to law school so I could better serve. It was his recommendation that opened the doors of law school to me. After graduation and passing the Bar in 1979, I became one of the volunteer attorneys for the UFW and Chavez.

I have devoted my entire legal career defending civil rights, workers rights and veterans rights. I am guided to this day by the lessons taught me by Cesar Chavez: Never surrender in the cause of justice, act with audacity, but always remember that “violence is a failure of creative intelligence.”

I am infinitely grateful to Cesar Chavez for these lessons, and most of all for the lesson and example of his life. I will always walk in his shadow.

Rees Lloyd originally wrote this piece for World Net Daily which can be found here. He has written several pieces about Cesar Chavez for VictoriaTaft.com for which he is a contributor. He coined the term “Blogforce.” Now you know why.

November 13th, 1982

H/T Rees Lloyd
(pictured: The Vietnam War Memorial in DC and below the replica of The Wall visiting Portland in 2007)

American Minute with Bill Federer
November 13
The Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated NOVEMBER 13, 1982, honoring 58,000 American troops who died.
U.S. forces inflicted over a million enemy fatalities, yet politicians did not allow a victory.
A former Communist North Vietnamese colonel, Bui Tin, called the American “peace movement” essential:
“Every day our leadership would listen to the world news over the radio to follow the growth of the American anti-war movement.
Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.”
On October 12, 1967, during Operation Medina, Marine Sergeant George Hutchings of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Division, had a dozen men killed around him when ambushed by North Vietnamese in the Hai Lang jungle.
Months later, after numerous battles, George was shot three times, bayoneted and left for dead.
He survived and was later awarded the Purple Heart
Of the Vietnam Memorial, George Hutchings said:
“On that wall is the name of Corporal Quinton Bice, who was hit in the chest with a rocket running a patrol in my place.
A Christian, he had shared the Gospel with me, but I didn’t understand it till he gave his life in my place.”

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

November 13th, 1982

H/T Rees Lloyd
(pictured: The Vietnam War Memorial in DC and below the replica of The Wall visiting Portland in 2007)

American Minute with Bill Federer
November 13
The Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated NOVEMBER 13, 1982, honoring 58,000 American troops who died.
U.S. forces inflicted over a million enemy fatalities, yet politicians did not allow a victory.
A former Communist North Vietnamese colonel, Bui Tin, called the American “peace movement” essential:
“Every day our leadership would listen to the world news over the radio to follow the growth of the American anti-war movement.
Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.”
On October 12, 1967, during Operation Medina, Marine Sergeant George Hutchings of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Division, had a dozen men killed around him when ambushed by North Vietnamese in the Hai Lang jungle.
Months later, after numerous battles, George was shot three times, bayoneted and left for dead.
He survived and was later awarded the Purple Heart
Of the Vietnam Memorial, George Hutchings said:
“On that wall is the name of Corporal Quinton Bice, who was hit in the chest with a rocket running a patrol in my place.
A Christian, he had shared the Gospel with me, but I didn’t understand it till he gave his life in my place.”

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