Thousands of bikers roared through Washington for the annual Rolling Thunder rally Sunday, given added fervor this year amid anger over an ongoing scandal concerning medical care for veterans.
Organizers estimated around 750,000 bikers and spectators had descended on the US capital for the annual eve-of-Memorial Day rally in support of American prisoners of war and those missing in action, as they have each year since 1988.
The awe-inspiring show of motorcycle might includes many US military veterans on bikes, clearly identifiable in leather jackets emblazoned with military badges and medals.
Henry, 58, travelled from Maine in the northeastern United States with his wife and five other bikers.
He said he was not surprised by the recent scandal gripping the Veterans Affairs (VA) department over delays in care to US military personnel blamed for dozens of deaths.
“I’m 70 percent disabled. I know all about the VA, it didn’t come as a surprise,” he said.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s decades-long battle against the federal government over grazing rights has heated to the point where militia groups have joined in and taken up spots against the feds who’ve circled his land — and talk is, they’re not afraid to open fire.
A spokesman for the one of the militia groups said as much to local 8 News Now: I’m not “afraid to shoot,” he said.
Margaret Houston, Mr. Bundy’s sister and a cancer survivor, said at a town hall gathering this week that the situation “was like a war zone” and that she felt “like I was not in the United States,” The Daily Mail reported.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal described it this way: “Serious bloodshed was narrowly avoided,” in a story about how dogs were unleashed on a woman who was pregnant while the rancher’s son was hit with a taser.
On Tuesday, armed Bureau of Land Management agents stormed Mr. Bundy’s property, escalating a court dispute that’s wound for two decades over the rancher’s refusal to pay for grazing fees.
Glenn Beck on Wednesday offered to fly Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly to his Dallas studios first class if she will read the review she wrote of “Lone Survivor” in the presence of former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, on whom the film is based.
In her article, Nicholson describes “Lone Survivor” as an embellished “jingoistic snuff film” with an attitude of “brown people bad, American people good.” She also claims the SEALs only faced around 10 enemy Taliban fighters, and seems to belittle the fact that Patrick Robinson helped write the book on which the film is based, because Luttrell was serving another tour of duty.
In addition to calling her a “vile, repugnant, and ignorant liar,” Beck took issue with the film critic’s “sanctimonious” attitude that somehow writing a book is more important than actually “living the story.”
“I mean this sincerely – I will fly you first class,” Beck said. “I will put you up at the Four Seasons … You will dine on the finest possible food, and you will come in here and you will sit down and speak these words to Marcus Luttrell. If you have the balls to say what you just said to Marcus Luttrell and back it up, go for it.”
But the multimedia personality predicted that the “coward” of an author will “hide” behind her cherished word processor while “people like Marcus Luttrell are out doing real things.”
The White House inched forward Friday with two new executive actions aimed at boosting the federal background-check system. The new laws will make it more difficult for “anyone who may pose a danger to themselves or others” to purchase a gun.
Under the measures announced by the White House, the Justice Department will propose changes to the federal background check system to clarify who under U.S. law is prohibited from possessing a firearm because of mental health problems.
The Department of Health and Human Services also will propose a regulation aimed at making it easier for states to submit information about the mentally ill to the federal system, without blocking all people who seek mental health treatment from owning guns.
“The administration is committed to making sure that anyone who may pose a danger to themselves or others does not have access to a gun,” the White House said in a statement. “The federal background check system is the most effective way to assure that such individuals are not able to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer.”
The new laws may make it even more difficult for US veterans to own guns.
US veterans started receiving letters from the government last year informing them that they are disabled and not allowed to own, purchase or possess a firearm. If the veteran does decide to purchase a firearm he will by fined, imprisoned or both.
This comes on page 2 of the VA letter.
Iva Toguri was a Japanese-American, raised in California with parents who instilled in their child a sense of patriotism. They even refused to speak Japanese in the house so as to help her assimilate. And when she grew old enough she graduated from UCLA and considered a career in medicine. By all accounts Iva was quickly working her way toward living the American dream.
In July 1941, Toguri went to visit her ailing Aunt in Japan. Five months later, Pearl Harbor was attacked, drawing America into the war and stranding Toguri in Japan for seven long years.
Her life during these years in Japan was incredibly trying: she was constantly subjected to interrogation by Japanese military officials, who would often wake her at all hours, prod her to jog in-between their bicycles on the way to their interrogation quarters, and attempt to force her to renounce her U.S. citizenship. But she refused. She was an American through and through.
During the war years, the Japanese Imperial Army had been working to propagandize American troops through the use of radio. Iva Toguri, seeking to assist various Allied prisoners of war who were being used by the Japanese to produce demoralizing radio shows, ended up striking up a relationship with the POW crew who worked on a show called the “Zero Hour.” This crew, led by Australian Major Charles Cousins, American Captain Ted Ince and Filipino Lieutenant Norman Reyes, decided to have Toguri host the show. They hoped to fool the Japanese into believing she was reciting propaganda when, in reality, she was sabotaging it and raising the morale of Allied troops. Iva considered the broadcasts, along with her frequent deliveries of supplies and food to the POWs as the most effective means of contributing to the war effort against the Japanese, and serving her country.
In recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Americans would do well to remember Abraham Lincoln’s words in the Gettysburg Address to honor the sacrifice of the men who fought there.
The 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment made an incredible stand at Little Round Top, culminating in a dramatic downhill charge that arguably saved both the Union left flank and perhaps the entire battle for the boys in blue. On the flip side, one looks in awe at the ground that had to be covered, under heavy cannon fire, by Confederate soldiers under Maj. Gen. George Pickett in the ill-fated charge into the Union center. For those who travel to the sacred ground at Gettysburg, it is hard not to admire those who fought on both sides.
Modern classrooms ignore the history of military conflict to an appalling degree. Students only learn that the Civil War was about abolitionists, WWI was about the League of Nations, and WWII was all about throwing Japanese citizens into internment camps. This is a shame and a detriment to future generations of Americans.
Never mind that slavery was largely extinguished by rough men in American uniforms, the League of Nations was defeated by Congress and failed to achieve even narrow goals, and that Japanese internment was created by liberal Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and fought by a conservative Republican governor of Colorado, Ralph L. Carr.
It was in large part the early nineteenth century way of teaching about the American Revolution that inspired the patriotism and the will of Northern soldiers to fight and die for the Union. Also, the devotion of leaders to inculcate the values of patriotism and American exceptionalism through speeches to the American people inspired many to fight for their country. This emphasis is sadly evaporating in modern public school classrooms in exchange for stifling political correctness; it is diminished by politicians that fail to, or intentionally avoid, speaking of the great values and people that made this nation great.