Memorial Day 2015; With Comments from Ronald Reagan and Ted Cruz

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I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day.  And, in between food, friends, family,  and festivities, I hope everyone took at least a few moments to remember those that sacrificed much, or all, to allow us the ability to celebrate.

Here is a fitting tribute from Ronald Reagan, via Young Cons…

And a more from Ted Cruz, via Noisy Room…

Thank you very much, and God bless our veterans. My wife Heidi and I are honored to be with you today.

We gather here today to remember the heroes who have kept us free.

Each marker here represents a story, some told and some untold. Heroes who span generations.

Heroes like the Honorable Albert Thomas, who served as a Lieutenant in World War I, and then went on to represent Houston for nearly 30 years in Congress, and in large part, played a key role in the reason we stand on this green today.

Medal of Honor Recipients like First Lieutenant Raymond Knight, who completed more than 80 combat missions in World War II.

And First Sergeant David McNerney, who volunteered to serve a third tour in Vietnam.

In one particularly harrowing attack, more than half of his platoon was killed or wounded.

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Even after being injured, he fearlessly led a counterattack, saving men who were in the grip of their enemies, and climbed atop a tree to guide friendly aircraft to a safe landing.

These are just a few of the patriots who have given their utmost for liberty.

The men and women buried here have not simply known freedom; they have embodied it.

More than 30,000 Texans have lost their lives in defense of this nation.

As James Garfield said in the 1868 Decoration Day Address – what would come to be known as the very first Memorial Day – “For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

It is breathtaking to think of all the souls under this green earth who laid down their lives so that we might be free.

Their sacrifice is the very sapling of liberty.

Today Heidi and I brought our two precious little girls, Caroline and Catherine, to be with us today, and as we together lay flags on the graves of heroes, may the stripes of those flags remind us of the blood shed so that freedom shines forth for all generations.

So that my daughters, and your sons and daughters, and grandchildren, and their grandchildren may always enjoy the blessings of this great nation. Today, our hearts are filled with gratitude for their bravery. May we never forget it.

For Liberty,

Ted Cruz

Thanks for reading and watching.  Tomorrow will come an important announcement regarding the future of the Conservative Hideout.  It’s not that dramatic, so it’s not much of a cliffhanger.  Just stay tuned.

-Matt

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After Flag Desecration, Valdosta State University Does The Unthinkable: They Support An American Flag Rally

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Hat/Tip to the Conservative Tribune and CBS News.

When Michelle Manhart, former United States Air Force Staff Sergeant and Playboy model saw Black Supremacists walking on the American flag last week, she took action and rescued the flag. She was arrested for her efforts, but it didn’t end there.

Thousands of people rallied to her cause and Valdosta State University supported an event called Flags Over VSU, in which over four thousand people registered to attend. It was a peaceful rally and Old Glory could be seen everywhere. In fact, the University suspended classes for the day of the event.

Eric Sheppard the Black Panther who was walking on the flag, evidently brought a gun onto school grounds, and subsequently made a Youtube video in which he proclaims:

Black Supremacist Eric Sheppard

“That flag represents white supremacy racism which is plaguing the entire earth, so when we step on that flag we are stepping on racism, white supremacy. We are stepping on the things that were erected alongside our genocide and our holocaust,” the man said.

He went on to say, “I am a terrorist toward lies. I’m a terrorist toward liars. I’m a terrorist toward those that are wicked, so yes, I am a terrorist toward white people.”

It is sad to hear one of our youth be so misguided and ignorant of history. In his video, he claims that Africans brought civilization to the world twice, once under Egypt and once under the Morrs. What he fails to understand is that both of those civilizations used slavery to attain their goals and to build those civilizations.

According to Mr. Sheppard, only white people have ever held slaves and he purports that we still do hold black people in slavery, just not “absolute” slavery, but in the slavery of prisons.

Gee, and I always thought that if you didn’t break the law, you got to stay out of prison.

Some people are trying to criticize Michelle Manhart for posing nude with the flag a few years ago. If you follow the link to the rather long video, she explains not only why and how she did that photo shoot but reaches out to the other side. For some reason, Facebook is preventing the video from being embedded.

Yes, Michelle reaches out to the same folks who were desecrating the flag and she tries to find common ground. That takes composure and class. Let’s hope that she runs for higher office one day.

I believe Michelle handled herself very well in this situation. Although I cant understand how this girl stated that Eric did not “walk on the flag” that he was trying to walk around it…. that is BS. He Paced back and forth over and over and over the flag. Purposely! This isn’t an issue with race. Its an issue with the disrespect of the flag. If a white person did this, it would be the same situation. The whole race thing needs to stop, because regardless, whether you are WHITE, BLACK, ASIAN, MEXICAN…. You’re STILL AMERICAN. We’re all Americans and the point behind this entire rally is that we need to come together as AMERICANS, and stop drawing the line between whites and blacks.

Posted by Kristin Ann on Friday, April 24, 2015

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No, George Washington DIDN’T Say America Should Stay Out Of Foreign Affairs

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George Washington, first President of the United States

Hat/Tip to Warner Todd Huston at Publius’ Forum.

A great piece on the Father of our Country.

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With the talk of how bad Islam is for civilization and the question of just what to do about it, we are seeing those lightly informed about American history claiming that our founders–in particular George Washington–warned us to stay out of “foreign entanglements.” In fact, however, Washington neither said this, nor meant for such a policy to be enacted.

Many on the left and the isolationist right try to use the father of our country to support their ideas against the GOP and to justify their hope that the USA will pull out of the Middle East. Specifically they cite Washington’s farewell address where a retiring president supposedly warned Americans against getting involved with foreign nations and getting caught up in those evil “foreign entanglements.”

On one hand, it is quite amusing to see lefties in love with a founding father or American history and principles for the first time in their lives, certainly, but it isn’t just the left revealing a sudden respect for a founding father with citation of Washington’s address. On the other hand those Ron Paulites and his isolationist wing on the right have for years been bandying about Washington’s farewell address as some sort of “proof” that one of our “first principles” was to stay away from foreign nations.

So, what was Washington really saying? Did he warn us against “foreign entanglements”? Did he think the U.S. should steer clear of all outside political situations and relegate ourselves only to trade with foreigners?

We have to point out, that Washington never used the exact words “foreign entanglements” in his farewell address. That has been a decades-long misconstruction of his last letter to the nation. He did ask why we should “entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition,” but he never used the exact words “foreign entanglements.”

That dispensed with, we move on to the assumed isolationism of George Washington’s address. What did he mean and did he mean it to be a permanent principle from which the U.S. should never stray?

First of all we must realize that the U.S. had been up to its neck in “foreign entanglements” before it had even become a nation. With wars against the French decades earlier, then the rebellion against Britain with help from the French, pleas to the Dutch for loans, not to mention intrigues in Canada and clashes with Spanish holdings in the new world, the progenitors to the United States, with all that our nascent nation was already a key player on the international stage.

Further the United States had envoys in most of the major European nations long before Washington’s farewell address. So, to say that the U.S. was isolated from the rest of the world and that Washington’s entreaty meant for us to stay that way, to say that this was some axiomatic delineation of American foreign policy is a wrong headed claim. The U.S. was already so “entangled” that it couldn’t be untangled.

One of the important goals of Washington’s letter was to shore up his own foreign policy decisions. Washington had angered the Jefferson/Madison wing of the federal government when he decided not to side with France against England after our revolution ended. In fact, while leaning toward being an anglophile, Washington tried to tread a fine line of “neutrality” between France and England. His farewell address was in part meant to justify a policy choice he had made as president. It was less a doctrine for the ages and more an immediate act of politics.

There was also an important bit of reality that caused Washington and Alexander Hamilton to eschew full support of France and lean toward England. We didn’t have the naval power to back up any major involvement in Europe. In fact, if we had decided to jump in with France, there was no way at all we could have escaped major damage from the extensive and powerful British Navy if we sided too directly with France.

Washington’s idea of neutrality was based in part on the complete inability of the U.S. to back up its foreign policy. But even in that case he did not say in his address that we should forever stay away from any foreign involvement.

Here is the key section of his address:

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

To warn Americans against “permanent alliances” really should go without saying. Decades later a fast friend of the United States basically said the same thing when he, Winston Churchill, said there are “no eternal allies” and “no perpetual enemies” for any nation.

Washington went on to say, though, that sometimes we must form alliances. “Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture,” he wrote, “we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.”

Obviously he understood that always staying neutral–as Paulites and liberals maintain–is not possible.

It should also be realized that this was Washington’s (and Hamilton’s) vision. The farewell address was not an explication of standard practice even when it was written, but Washington’s ideals. Many founders disagreed with this vision. So to act as if an isolationist policy was a singular founding principle is a horrible misread of history.

In To the Farewell Address, the seminal book about Washington’s document and the era in which it was given, Felix Gilbert warned us all not to accept these flawed misconstructions we are discussing here as an explanation what was going on with Washington’s farewell address.

In the conclusion to his essay, Gilbert wrote:

Because the Farewell Address comprises various aspects of American political thinking, it reaches beyond any period limited in time and reveals the basic issue of the American attitude toward foreign policy: the tension between Idealism and Realism. Settled by men who looked for gain and by men who sought freedom, born into independence in a century of enlightened thinking and of power politics, America has wavered in her foreign policy between Idealism and Realism, and her great historical moments have occurred when both were combined.

In other words, today’s neo-isolationist view of America’s “real” foreign policy ideals is woefully incorrect. The U.S. was never isolationist as a first principle. Ron Paul and his isolationists are wrong and so are the liberals who have a sudden and uncharacteristic respect for a founding father.

Finally, it must be noted that this article of mine is discussing only one thing and that is the purpose of Washington’s farewell address when it was delivered in 1796 and what it means to American first principles. I have no interest in using this piece to excuse or justify anything that happened after Washington left the scene. This article is not meant to ascertain what amount of foreign policy is optimal, only that isolationism is not an American first principle.

If WWI or WWII were wrong or our Middle East policy is misguided, those are discussions for other articles, not this one.

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Obama Says “Islam Woven Into Fabric Of Our Nation”: Yes, They Gave Us The Marines And Our First Wars

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Hat/Tip to Doug Ross @ Journal and Keith Farrel at the Federalist Papers Project.

“Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” Barack Obama, 2015

Really, Mr. President? How so?

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Obama Claims Islam Part Of Founding; Here’s The Truth In The Founders Own Words

President Obama has continually asserted that Islam was “woven into the fabric” of the United States since its founding. Obama claims that Muslims have made significant contributions to building of this nation. The claim is laughable to anyone who has studied US history. Historian David Barton spoke to Glenn Beck and tore the president’s claims apart.

Barton found the first real contribution any Muslim made was in 1856 (80 years after the founding) when then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis hired one Muslim to help train camels in Arizona. Not exactly a resounding contribution, since the plan to fight Native Americans via camelback was soon dismissed.

But Muslims did have an influence on early America, and that influence was one of a foe. After winning its independence from England, American vessels no longer enjoyed British protection. France, dismayed that the US would not aid it in its war against England, also ceased protection of American ships. The result led to American vessels being raided and plundered by Muslim pirates from the Barbary Coast.

After agreeing to pay 10% of the new nations dismal GDP in exchange for passage, attacks continued. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were sent as representatives to mediate the problem. It was there that they discovered that the Islamic law the pirates followed made it their duty to attack non-Muslims.

“The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise,” Jefferson wrote to Secretary of State John Jay, explaining peace was not possible.

Ben Franklin wrote of his experience: “Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book (the Qur’an) forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.”

John Adams, in his report to Jay, wrote of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and called him a “military fanatic” who “denies that laws were made for him; he arrogates everything to himself by force of arms.”

By the time Jefferson became president the Barbary coast was extorting 25% of US GDP and attacks were still occurring. Jefferson wasted no time in signing a war powers request which launched the US’s entire naval fleet to wage war on the Barbary pirates. The US Marines were born. Jefferson saw the fleet off, ordering the US sailors to chase the pirates all the way to Tripoli, giving rise to the famed verse from the US Marines’ anthem.

President Obama is correct when he says that Muslims shaped this country, just not in how he means. They provided the context and need for the US Marines and provided our first lesson in battling extremism: It cannot be appeased. Extremism must be routed out through force.

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GOP Candidates: When Have You Stood And Fought? 15 Questions Every Candidate Should Have To Answer

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That’s the question every voter should ask, “when have you stood and fought?” to quote Senator Ted Cruz. It means a candidate doing more than voting for legislation that doesn’t have a chance of passing (although that is important too). We need more. We need a candidate who already has a background showing the passion and moral backbone to support the Constitution–long before the campaign trail began. Are you supporting our few Defending Fathers in Congress? See 15 questions below, and consider asking them every time you have the opportunity as the campaign trail fills up, or come up with your own. What do we do with a candidate not already a politician? We need LexisNexis, good gut instincts, and past history of railing against an unconstitutional government. In the graphic below, I find that Thomas Jefferson revised his original quotation in a letter to James Madison in 1787. Exactly what it was revised from, I’m not sure, but Monticello.org quotes it as “…of the people…they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” Our current Defending Fathers must be loud and clear about the “preservation of our liberty.”

Thomas_Jefferson_Quotation_102

Senator Ted Cruz, CPAC 2015

Defend the Constitution–all of it. ~ Ted Cruz, CPAC 2015

If you have a president who is picking and choosing which laws to follow, and which laws to ignore, we no longer have a president. ~ Ted Cruz, CPAC 2015

A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is power without right.’ ‘A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government; and a government is only the creature of a constitution.’ ~ Thomas Paine, Founding Father

Research a candidate before asking questions. Look for television appearances, speeches from the floor of congress, columns published, and their YouTube channel. How often has a candidate pointed to upholding the Constitution.

Yes, we need a candidate who can win. I concede that. Establishment funding makes the battle fierce, but don’t stop asking, “when have you stood and fought?” Answers will likely be vague. Get specific:

1) When have you stood and fought for a secure border, first, before any other immigration action?

2) When have you stood and fought to fix the ridiculously broken Visa program?

3) When have you stood and fought to end the “anchor baby” invasion?

2) When have you stood and fought against every taxpayer paying for the birth control of any woman wanting it?

3) When have you stood and fought against taxpayers being forced to fund Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS?

4) When have you stood and fought against rogue affirmative action?

5) When have you stood and fought against spending not authorized or appropriated

6) When have you stood and fought against administration efforts to deny us our guns and ammo?

7) When have you stood and fought against the IRS targeting conservatives?

8) When have you stood and against the IRS terrorism, and for a fair or flat tax?

We need to abolish the IRS. We need to adopt a simple flat tax that is fair, that every American can fill out his taxes on a post card. ~ Ted Cruz, CPAC 2015

9) When have you stood and fought against illegal aliens, charged with homicide, being released into society?

10) When have you stood and fought against the government warning citizens to stay out of their national parks because the park is home to drug cartels and human smugglers?

11) When have you stood and fought against Inspectors General being silenced, and even fired?

12) When have you stood and fought against the ugly revenge taken against government whistleblowers.

13) When have you stood and fought against the fact that a president and his attorney general being held in contempt of court, thumbed their noses at the court, and at We the People?

14) Have you stood and fought for school choice and parental rights:

We need to expand school choice. Every child deserves the opportunity to have an excellent education, regardless of your race, your class your creed, where you come from. Every child deserves a fair chance at the American dream. ~ Ted Cruz, CPAC 2014

15) When have you stood and fought for term limits for Congress, (supported by 75 percent of Americans)? In January 2015, The Blaze reported that four bills have been filed to change the term limits of the Senate and House (requiring an amending the 22nd Amendment). The article stated that 30 Republicans are behind the legislation, but in my search, I do not find active legislation. Let me know if you come up with active bill or resolution numbers.

That’s my 15. Standing and fighting means more than voting for legislation. It means getting the public involved, speaking out, grabbing a mic, and talking about it until you have to take respite, and then doing it all over again. It means trying to get interviews on mainstream media, and telling the truth, without giving a damn what viewers or hosts think. It means writing about the issues in clear, plain language. It means no longer giving your “friend across the aisle” legitimacy.

Ask the candidates when they have stood and fought for issues dear to you, and do not accept only signing legislation that could not pass.

Senator Ted Cruz R-TX
Senator Ted Cruz R-TX

Here are other ideas I posted previously, but haven’t updated, and find Doug Ross’ fully updated list of Obama “firsts” here.

It was 40 years ago at this event—CPAC—where Ronald Reagan stood up and explained how we win. He said we paint in bold colors, not pale pastels,” Cruz said. “I believe 2016 is going to be an election very much like 1980. We will win by providing a clear line in the sand, a bold optimistic vision for the future. That’s how we win. We stand for the people and we stand against the corruption in Washington. ~Ted Cruz, CPAC 2015

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Veterans Who Survived Pearl Harbor Mark 73rd Anniversary

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Awesome Color Photos of the Attack on Pearl Harbor (8)

Hat/Tip to NBC News.

Every year the number of Pearl Harbor attack survivors dwindles down, and now there are only four left. But they vow to keep getting together to remember that fateful day, that will live in infamy.

Veterans who survived the Pearl Harbor attack gathered on Sunday for the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese bombing that launched the United States into World War II.

About 100 Pearl Harbor and World War II survivors attended the ceremony overlooking a memorial that sits atop sunken battleship USS Arizona. Many of them arrived well before the sun came up.

Gilbert Meyer was attending his 10th ceremony. However, the 91-year-old USS Utah survivor says it’s getting harder to travel to Hawaii from San Antonio, Texas.

Many of Meyer’s comrades arrived with the help of canes, wheelchairs and motorized scooters. They were greeted with purple orchid lei.

A moment of silence was held at 7:55 a.m., the time the bombing began on Dec. 7, 1941. The attack killed about 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers.

 


 

IN-DEPTH

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The Story of the First Thanksgiving 2014

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This is the annual CH 2.0 re-telling of the true story of the first Thanksgiving.

By Matt Ross

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I heard  this story years ago, so I thought I’d post it.

The official story has the pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620-21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The Pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hardworking or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

In his ‘History of Plymouth Plantation,’ the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.”

In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, “all had their hungry bellies filled,” but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first “Thanksgiving” was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called “The Starving Time,” the population fell from five-hundred to sixty.

Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was “plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure.” He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, “we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now.”

Happy Thanksgiving all.  Thanks for all of your comments and encouragement.

Source: Mises Institute

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Heartwarming: Navy Veteran At Convenience Store Does The Unexpected

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Hat/Tip to Fox6Now.com.

 It seems that a Navy Veteran was in a convenience store in Illinois recently and in walked a bunch of our active duty military personnel. What happened next is amazing. But what makes it even more amazing is that the Navy Veteran refused ANY recognition for his actions.

A Navy veteran was purchasing a coffee at a convenience store in Illinois when a group of active military men and women walked in. The store’s manager says what happened next is unlike anything he’s seen before.

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This story reminds me of that famous Ronald Reagan quote about taking credit for something…

“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

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Happy Veterans Day: Woodsterman Style

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I’ve Posted this of me in the past. Well, here
it is again. This was taken in Vietnam in 1969.
(This is in red honoring the last election)
If you are my age (67) you will recognize the names below…

 

This was Hollywood Then:

Sterling Hayden , US Marines and OSS . Smuggled guns into Yugoslavia and
parachuted into Croatia.

James Stewart , US Army Air Corps. Bomber pilot who rose to the rank of General.

Ernest Borgnine , US Navy. Gunners Mate 1c, destroyer USS Lamberton.

Ed McMahon, US Marines. Fighter Pilot. (Flew OE-1 Bird Dogs over Korea as well.)

Telly Savalas , US Army.Walter Matthau, US Army Air Corps., B-24 Radioman/Gunner and cryptographer.Steve Forrest , US Army. Wounded, Battle of the Bulge.

Jonathan Winters, USMC. Battleship USS Wisconsin and Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard. Anti-aircraft gunner, Battle of Okinawa.

Paul Newman, US Navy Rear seat gunner/radioman, torpedo bombers of USS Bunker Hill

Kirk Douglas , US Navy. Sub-chaser in the Pacific. Wounded in action and
medically discharged.

Robert Mitchum , US Army.

Dale Robertson , US Army. Tank Commander in North Africa under Patton.
Wounded twice. Battlefield Commission.

Henry Fonda , US Navy. Destroyer USS Satterlee.

John Carroll , US Army Air Corps. Pilot in North Africa . Broke his back in
a crash.

Lee Marvin US Marines. Sniper. Wounded in action on Saipan . Buried in
Arlington National Cemetery , Sec. 7A next to Greg Boyington and Joe Louis.

Art Carney , US Army. Wounded on Normandy beach, D-Day. Limped for the rest
of his life.

Wayne Morris, US Navy fighter pilot, USS Essex . Downed seven Japanese
fighters.

Rod Steiger , US Navy. Was aboard one of the ships that launched the
Doolittle Raid.

Tony Curtis , US Navy. Sub tender USS Proteus. In Tokyo Bay for the
surrender of Japan .

Larry Storch. US Navy. Sub tender USS Proteus with Tony Curtis.

Forrest Tucker, US Army. Enlisted as a private, rose to Lieutenant.

Robert Montgomery , US Navy.

George Kennedy , US Army. Enlisted after Pearl Harbor , stayed in sixteen
years.

Mickey Rooney , US Army under Patton. Bronze Star.

Denver Pyle , US Navy. Wounded in the Battle of Guadalcanal . Medically
discharged.

Burgess Meredith , US Army Air Corps.

DeForest Kelley , US Army Air Corps.

Robert Stack , US Navy. Gunnery Officer.

Neville Brand, US Army, Europe .. Was awarded the Silver Star and Purple
Heart.

Tyrone Power, US Marines. Transport pilot in the Pacific Theater.

Charlton Heston, US Army Air Corps. Radio operator and aerial gunner on a
B-25, Aleutians .

Danny Aiello , US Army. Lied about his age to enlist at 16. Served three
years.

James Arness , US Army. As an infantryman, he was severely wounded at
Anzio, Italy.

Efram Zimbalist, Jr., US Army. Purple Heart for a severe wound received at
Huertgen Forest ..

Mickey Spillane, US Army Air Corps, Fighter Pilot and later Instructor
Pilot.

Rod Serling. US Army. 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific. He jumped at
Tagaytay in the Philippines and was later wounded in Manila .

Gene Autry , US Army Air Corps. Crewman on transports that ferried supplies
over “The Hump” in the China-Burma-India Theater.

Wiliam Holden, US Army Air Corps.

Alan Hale Jr, US Coast Guard.

Harry Dean Stanton, US Navy. Battle of Okinawa .

Russell Johnson , US Army Air Corps. B-24 crewman who was awarded Purple
Heart when his aircraft was shot down by the Japanese in the Philippines .

William Conrad , US Army Air Corps. Fighter Pilot.

Jack Klugman , US Army.

Frank Sutton , US Army. Took part in 14 assault landings, including Leyte,
Luzon, Bataan and Corregidor .

Jackie Coogan , US Army Air Corps. Volunteered for gliders and flew troops
and materials into Burma behind enemy lines.

Tom Bosley , US Navy.

Claude Akins , US Army. Signal Corps. , Burma and the Philippines .

Chuck Connors , US Army. Tank-warfare instructor.

Harry Carey Jr., US Navy.

Mel Brooks , US Army. Combat Engineer. Saw action in the Battle of the
Bulge.

Robert Altman , US Army Air Corps. B-24 Co-Pilot.

Pat Hingle , US Navy. Destroyer USS Marshall

Fred Gwynne , US Navy. Radioman.

Karl Malden , US Army Air Corps. 8th Air Force, NCO.

Earl Holliman. US Navy. Lied about his age to enlist. Discharged after a
year when they Navy found out.

Rock Hudson , US Navy. Aircraft mechanic, the Philippines .

Harvey Korman , US Navy.

Aldo Ray. US Navy. UDT frogman, Okinawa .

Don Knotts , US Army, Pacific Theater.

Don Rickles , US Navy aboard USS Cyrene.

Harry Dean Stanton, US Navy. Served aboard an LST in the Battle of Okinawa .

Soupy Sales, US Navy. Served on USS Randall in the South Pacific.

Lee Van Cleef , US Navy. Served aboard a sub chaser then a mine sweeper.

Clifton James , US Army, South Pacific. Was awarded the Silver Star,
Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.

Ted Knight , US Army, Combat Engineers.
Jack Warden , US Navy, 1938-1942, then US Army, 1942-1945. 101st Airborne
Division.

Don Adams. US Marines. Wounded on Guadalcanal , then served as a Drill
Instructor.

James Gregory, US Navy and US Marines.

Brian Keith , US Marines. Radioman/Gunner in Dauntless dive-bombers.

Fess Parker, US Navy and US Marines. Booted from pilot training for being
too tall, joined Marines as a radio operator.

Charles Durning. US Army. Landed at Normandy on D-Day. Shot multiple times.
Awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Survived
Malmedy Massacre.

Raymond Burr , US Navy. Shot in the stomach on Okinawa and medically
discharged.

Hugh O’ Brian , US Marines.

Robert Ryan, US Marines.

Eddie Albert , US Coast Guard. Bronze Star with Combat V for saving several
Marines under heavy fire as pilot of a landing craft during the invasion of
Tarawa ..

Cark Gable , US Army Air Corps. B-17 gunner over Europe .

Charles Bronson , US Army Air Corps. B-29 gunner, wounded in action.

Peter Graves , US Army Air Corps.

Buddy Hackett , US Army anti-aircraft gunner.

Victor Mature, US Coast Guard.

Jack Palance, US Army Air Corps. Severely injured bailing out of a burning
B-24 bomber.

Robert Preston , US Army Air Corps. Intelligence Officer

Cesar Romero, US Coast Guard. Coast Guard. Participated in the invasions of
Tinian and Saipan on the assault transport USS Cavalier.

Norman Fell , US Army Air Corps., Tail Gunner, Pacific Theater.

Jason Robards , US Navy. was aboard heavy cruiser USS Northampton when it
was sunk off Guadalcanal . Also served on the USS Nashville during the
invasion of the Philippines , surviving a kamikaze hit that caused 223
casualties.

Steve Reeves, US Army , Philippines .

Dennis Weaver, US Navy. Pilot.

Robert Taylor , US Navy. Instructor Pilot.

Randolph Scott. Tried to enlist in the Marines but was rejected due to
injuries sustained in US Army, World War 1.

Ronald Reagan. US Army. Was a 2nd Lt. in the Cavalry Reserves before the
war. His poor eyesight kept him from being sent overseas with his unit when
war came so he transferred to the Army Air Corps Public Relations Unit where
he served for the duration.

John Wayne. Declared “4F medically unfit” due to pre-existing injuries, he
nonetheless attempted to volunteer three times (Army, Navy and Film Corps.)
so he gets honorable mention.

And of course we have Audie Murphy , America ‘s most-decorated soldier, who
became a Hollywood star as a result of his US Army service that included his
being awarded the Medal of Honor.

I submit to you that this is not the America today that it  was seventy years ago.  And I, for one, am saddened.

And this is Hollywood Now:

May you cowards stew in your own juices
And Jane, I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!
***************************************

Happy Veterans Day to my Patriot Friends!

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Veterans Day: 2014

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Veterans hold a place in our society that is special. I know that they hold a place in my heart. My father served in WWII with the Marines in the South Pacific. The first action he saw was during the invasion of Okinawa. Later, he was 150 miles from the Japanese mainland when for the first time in his life he saw a mushroom cloud. Dad told me that his unit had already received orders to go the China coast in an effort to surround Japan. Thank God he did not have to go.

My younger brother served in the Navy during the first Gulf War. He was on a submarine tender and to this day, he can weld underwater. But as he says from his home in Northern Illinois, there isn’t a big call for that there.

I wanted to serve, but was deemed ineligible to serve because of a congenital heart defect. The Navy had tried to recruit me for their Nuclear Engineering program, and I often wonder how differently my life would have turned out, had I been able to serve.

A brief history of Veterans Day taken from va.gov – “In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”

In 1954, Eisenhower altered Armistice Day by proclamation – “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

This change came about because of a store owner in Emporia, Kansas. A man named Al King wanted to celebrate all veterans, not just the World War I vets. He persuaded his Chamber of Commerce to get behind him on this, along with Emporia’s Board of Education. King turned to Republican U.S. Representative from Emporia, Ed Rees for assistance. Rees submitted the bill, causing Eisenhower to sign it into law, issuing the above proclamation.

As we fight this ongoing battle for freedom and liberty, we must take heart from that shoe store owner, Al King. One man and his idea, plus initiative and dedication DID make a difference. We can too. We owe it to all the veterans who gave their lives and sacrificed so that all Americans are free. They did not die, so that all Americans could become complacent. Freedom is worth fighting for and we must remember that were it not for those Americans that came before us, fighting and in many cases, dying for freedom, we would not even be able to have these discussions.

I want to leave you all with a poem by Joanna Fuchs:

To rule the world with violence
Is their one and only goal;
Terror is their method;
They want complete control.

 

We’ve seen it all before,
And we could not let it be;
We gave our lives for freedom,
For the world, and for you and me.

 

We fight all forms of oppression,
Helping victims far and near,
To keep the world from chaos,
To protect what we hold dear.

 

America’s the only country
That gives with its whole heart,
And asks so very little;
We always do our part.

 

So let’s unite again
To subdue our newest foe,
Whatever we must do,
Wherever we must go.

 

Let’s show the world once more
That America is blessed
With people who are heroes,
Who meet each and every test.

God Bless America, and God Bless our brave and valiant military.

Note that this is a re-post.

always a soldier.

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How The GOP Can Get To The Magic 60 Votes And Send Bills To Obama

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Hat/Tip to WeaselZippers and William Douglas and David Lightman at The State.

So the historic 2014 Midterms have given the GOP once in nearly a century numbers in both Houses and Governorships, but with Obama in the White House for his last two, lame duck years, how do they get bills past the Dems in the Senate?

Sixty. It’s the magic number for getting most things done in the U.S. Senate – and it will be the target for Republicans to get legislation through the House of Representatives, past Democratic objections in the Senate and to the desk of President Barack Obama.

Republicans will have at most 54 seats in the new Senate next January. So they’d need to gain at least six Democrats on anything controversial, to break a legislation-blocking filibuster by the rest of the Democrats.

And they might do it. From an oil pipeline to a medical tax, there are some areas where the Senate could marshal 60 or more votes. The challenge will be building a new coalition on each issue.

If Republicans move to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s medical-device tax, for example, they might lure liberal Democrats such as Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren, who voted for the repeal in a symbolic vote last year.

The Keystone XL Pipeline

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who’ll be the majority leader when the Republicans take over, has vowed that the Senate will vote next year to push the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would send oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Senate Democratic leaders blocked consideration of the pipeline for two years, while Obama postponed his approval.

“The reality is you gain that vote in Iowa and you solidify all those folks who could have been pressured out of voting for it,” said Frank Maisano, an energy expert at a Washington law firm that represents a variety of industry clients.

Earlier this year, Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., introduced a bill that would approve the pipeline. Landrieu, who’s now the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, may not return in January: She faces a runoff Dec. 6 against Republican Bill Cassidy.

But the measure was sponsored by all Senate Republicans, as well as six Democrats who are coming back next year: Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

ObamaCare

Senate Democrats will block Republican efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act, but enough of them might go along with some changes in the health care law that would make it to Obama.

McConnell might move to repeal a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices that’s in the law, and he may have willing partners in several Democratic senators, including Warren, Klobuchar and Franken, who represent major medical-device-making states.

Last year, 79 senators – including 33 Democrats and independent Angus King of Maine – supported a nonbinding measure to repeal the tax.

Immigration

Getting a comprehensive immigration plan, including a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people already living in the U.S. illegally, might be difficult in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Addressing immigration in a piecemeal fashion may be easier, perhaps easing the way for such immigrants to stay in the country.

Some of the key players in last year’s bipartisan effort, notably Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have pushed for comprehensive immigration legislation for years and are expected to continue doing so. Fourteen Republicans joined 52 Democrats and two independents last year to pass the comprehensive immigration bill, which went nowhere in the House, and 13 of them will still be in the Senate next year.

Read the full story here.

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Defence of Fort M’Henry: The Story of our National Anthem

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(Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution) This photo shows the conserved garrison flag that flew over Fort McHenry on the morning of September 14, 1814, now on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The flag that Francis Scott Key saw measured 30 feet by 42 feet; it now measures 30 feet by 34 feet.

Today, on the 200th Anniversary of the writing of our National Anthem, I thought it would be interesting to learn about the night Francis Scott Key penned it.

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Francis Scott Key was a lawyer from wealthy Maryland family which owned an estate called Terra Rubra. He was born in August of 1779, and at the age of 10, Key was sent to grammar school in Annapolis. He graduated at 17 and began studying law there, working in his uncle’s law firm. By 1805, he had a thriving law practice of his own in Georgetown. He eventually appeared before the Supreme Court many times and was appointed the United States District Attorney.

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Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner (1779-1843)

Key was very religious and even considered becoming a preacher. But instead, he chose to become involved with the Episcopal Church. His religious beliefs led him to be against the war of 1812, but oddly enough he served in Captain George Peter’s Light Field Artillery in 1813.

Following the British attack and capture of Washington in August of 1814, a well known doctor was taken as a prisoner of war. Key was asked to negotiate for the release of Dr. William Beanes. Key went to Baltimore since it was known that the Brits were in Chesapeake Bay. He met with a Colonel John Skinner who was a government agent specializing in prisoner exchanges. The two men took a small American flag-of-truce vessel out to the British flag ship, the HMS Tonnant.

Once there, the two men were treated well by the Royal Navy who actually agreed to release Dr. Beanes. But since the three Americans now had knowledge of the impending attack by the Brits on Fort McHenry, they were detained until after that attack. Back on board their small American ship, they were forced to sit and watch the British shell Fort McHenry from behind the Royal Fleet.

The British fleet was under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane. He had notified the commander of the Fort, Major George Armistead that the bombardment would not take place if the Americans would simply take down their flag.

That was not acceptable, so the attack commenced.

And it was brutal, the bombardment seemingly, never-ending. In all, the Brits fired over 2,000 shells at Fort McHenry. Most of them, (1,500 by some estimates) were large bombshells, weighing as much as 220 pounds. They had lighted fuses that were intended to explode once reaching their target, however they weren’t always dependable, with many exploding in mid air. Other armaments consisted of new ‘Congreve’ rockets, which left trails of red flame as they raced through the night.

After an astounding 25 hours, the British finally stopped shelling Fort McHenry, deeming it to ‘costly’ to continue.

While on board their small American flagged vessel, Francis Scott Key, Dr. Beanes and Colonel Skinner watched the sun rise. Amid the smoke and haze still lingering from the battle, they desperately looked for the Stars and Stripes.

There it was! General Armistead had kept his promise that the flag would still fly. Tattered and torn from the battle, with the flag pole at a precarious angle, Old Glory still managed to wave in the breeze.

At this point, Key was inspired to put pen to paper and write out a few lines about this historical night. He began his poem on the back of an envelope he had with him. On his trip back to Baltimore on that small boat, he composed more of the poem, finishing it off at his room in the Indian Queen Hotel.

His brother-in-law, Judge J.H. Nicholson was so taken with it that he took it to a printer, made copies and circulated them around Baltimore. The title on the top of the poem read “Defence of Fort M’Henry.”

Two copies survived, with one being printed in a newspaper for the first time in the Baltimore Patriot on September 20th, 1814. Soon papers across the country were printing it. The poem’s popularity was such that in October of that year, an actor put it to the tune of ‘Anacreon in Heavan’ by composer John Stafford Smith and it was performed publicly, under the name “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

On March 3rd, 1931 it officially became our National Anthem. The copy that Francis Scott Key wrote in his Baltimore hotel room remained in the Nicholson family for nearly a hundred years. It was sold in 1907 to a Henry Walters of Baltimore. Later, in 1934 it was purchased at auction in New York from the Walters estate by the Walters Art Gallery for $26,400. That would be the equivalent of $470,000 in today’s dollars. In 1953, the Walters Gallery sold it to the Maryland Historical Society for the same price. The only other remaining copy is in the Library of Congress.

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A Second Declaration of Independence

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Hat/Tip to David Shapiro at Breitbart.com.

 

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to assume that their president, hostile to the principles that formed the nation and determined to act with malice toward its inhabitants by suppressing their rights and enabling its enemies to prosper in their attempts to destroy it, must be confronted, a rational response for the nation is to encumber itself no more with such a president and reject his authority and the acolytes who carry out his wishes.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, but their gifts are varied, and it is through the voluntary efforts of the fortunate among them to care for the less fortunate, not the province of a government to intrude on the natural imbalances that arise from the human condition, that the sanctity of ethically earned property is not to be compromised by a government eager to impose its will to address such imbalances, that when a president or member of the government flagrantly ignores the restraints of the Constitution of the United States they be punished with expulsion from the government; that when despotism in the form of such behavior arises it is the duty of the people to throw off such government and elect representatives who honor the foundational principles that underlie the nation’s existence.

The sufferance of these United States impels action to ensure the existence of the nation. The history of the present president is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his minions to be charged with crimes both high and low in order to present an image utterly hostile to the truth; he has endangered the nation both from enemies abroad who have sworn its destruction by refusing to condemn their governments and in many cases, aiding and abetting them, and those enemies who enter the country defying its laws and intent on defying the laws once ensconced in the nation; he has invaded the sacred privacy of individuals by tolerating the use of government apparatus to spy on them without their knowledge; he has championed the rights of the living to deny the right to life to those about to join their ranks; he has created enmity among the populace, separating one group from another with the use of separatist language rather than the language of unification, he has endangered those most at risk as they serve their country by destroying the defensive tools intended for the protection of the nation; he has supported the destruction of the free use of faith that is the pillar of Western civilization; he has appropriated the power granted to other branches of government in order to further ends that cannot be legislated because there is legitimate opposition to them; he has willfully ignored the future financial demise of the nation while indulging in spending doomed to ensure the demise is a certainty.

We have warned of our grievances, though a culpable media apparatus has denied us the right to be legitimately heard; we have tolerated the abuse of our citizens by those who reside in our nation but do not share its founding principles; we have trusted in the process through which the nation has traditionally resolved its differences; we have watched as those who do not share American values usurp the rights of legislators to make the law by invoking a willing judiciary to circumvent such legislators.

We, therefore, the people of the United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do swear, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these States, that we are independent of said president and his minions, that we resolve not to eschew the rule of law and remove such persons from power by force, but rather to uncompromisingly and unstintingly work without hesitation to replace them now and forevermore by voting them out of power, and continually voting them out of power until their values are seen for the enemy of our principles that they truly are. We have sworn our fealty to our Constitution, and its eternal continuance, and may the Supreme Judge of the world strengthen us in the battle for the soul of the nation that lies ahead.

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The Declaration of Independence: As Relevant Today as it was in 1776

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Note: This was originally posted on July 4, 2009.

It’s Independence Day. I wish you all a great day, and ask you to contemplate the meaning of the holiday. To assist, here is a transcript of the Declaration of Independence.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
  • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
  • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
  • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

This document speaks to us through the centuries. It is just as relevant today as it was in 1776. Will we ignore it? Will we give up what has been bequeathed to us? Who will stand up to the current leaders that usurp out rights? That remains to be seen.

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The Life & Times of Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson, 2nd President of the United States, author of The Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia

Thomas Jefferson came into this world on April 13, 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia. He was born into a very prestigious family, with near royal lineage on his mother’s side. His father gave him his work ethic, and it seems he passed his intelligence down to Thomas.

Jefferson was born into one of the most prominent families of Virginia’s planter elite. His mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, was a member of the proud Randolph clan, a family claiming descent from English and Scottish royalty. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a successful farmer as well as a skilled surveyor and cartographer who produced the first accurate map of the Province of Virginia. The young Jefferson was the third born of ten siblings.

As a boy, Thomas Jefferson’s favorite pastimes were playing in the woods, practicing the violin and reading. He began his formal education at the age of nine, studying Latin and Greek at a local private school run by the Reverend William Douglas. In 1757, at the age of 14, he took up further study of the classical languages as well as literature and mathematics with the Reverend James Maury, whom Jefferson later described as “a correct classical scholar.”

In 1760, having learned all he could from Maury, Jefferson left home to attend the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia’s capital. Although it was the second oldest college in America (after only Harvard), William and Mary was not at that time an especially rigorous academic institution. Jefferson was dismayed to discover that his classmates expended their energies betting on horse races, playing cards and courting women rather than studying. Nevertheless, the serious and precocious Jefferson fell in with a circle of older scholars that included Professor William Small, Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier and lawyer George Wythe, and it was from them that he received his true education.

Jefferson becomes a lawyer and marries quite well.

Martha Jefferson
Martha Jefferson

After three years at William and Mary, Jefferson decided to read law under Wythe, one of the preeminent lawyers of the American colonies. There were no law schools at this time; instead aspiring attorneys “read law” under the supervision of an established lawyer before being examined by the bar. Wythe guided Jefferson through an extraordinarily rigorous five-year course of study (more than double the typical duration); by the time Jefferson won admission to the Virginia bar in 1767, he was already one of the most learned lawyers in America.

From 1767-’74, Jefferson practiced law in Virginia with great success, trying many cases and winning most of them. During these years, he also met and fell in love with Martha Wayles Skelton, a recent widow and one of the wealthiest women in Virginia. The pair married on January 1, 1772. Thomas and Martha Jefferson had six children together, but only two survived into adulthood: Martha, their firstborn, and Mary, their fourth. Only Martha survived her father.

His early political life was perceived as ‘radical’ at the time. I would compare him to a Ted Cruz or a Rand Paul or a Marco Rubio of our times, in that his views of personal liberty, private property rights and limited government were at odds with the British loyalists of the day.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the earliest and most fervent supporters of the cause of American independence from Great Britain. He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1768 and joined its radical bloc, led by Patrick Henry and George Washington. In 1774, Jefferson penned his first major political work, “A Summary View of the Rights of British America,” which established his reputation as one of the most eloquent advocates of the American cause. A year later, in 1775, Jefferson attended the Second Continental Congress, which created the Continental Army and appointed Jefferson’s fellow Virginian, George Washington, as its commander-in-chief. However, the Congress’s most significant work fell to Jefferson himself.

Thomas Jefferson went on to have quite a storied life. He authored the Declaration of Independence, served as Governor of Virginia, Minister to France, Secretary of State, Vice President and ultimately President of the United States.

One would think that was an accomplished-enough life, but Jefferson went on after his two terms as President to found the University of Virginia. That school served as a model, if you will for all modern universities.

He died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, coincidentally it was the same day that John Adams died.

Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence — only a few hours before John Adams also passed away in Massachusetts. In the moments before he passed, John Adams spoke his last words, eternally true if not in the literal sense in which he meant them, “Thomas Jefferson survives.”

On his tombstone, he had engraved the actions for which he wished to be remembered.

jefferson tombstone

Read his full biography here.

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The Story of our Declaration of Independence

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On this, the most quintessential of American Holidays, I wish to delve a bit into the subject that is the Declaration of Independence. It was penned by the great Thomas Jefferson when he was but thirty three-years old. He was one of a committee of five that were formed to bring forth the reasons for our separation from Great Britain. The committee members were (in no particular order):

  • Thomas Jefferson
  • John Adams
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Robert R. Livingston
  • Roger Sherman

A vote was taken by the committee as to who would draft the statement and Jefferson came in first followed by Adams. An interesting footnote is that Adams presented Jefferson with his reasons as to why he ought to be the one to pen the document.

John Adams, 2nd President of the United States
John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

“Reason first—You are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second—I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third—You can write ten times better than I can.”

Jefferson wrote the document in his residence where he occupied the entire second floor of a three story house owned by a bricklayer named Graff. It was said that after Jefferson’s death the baby infant of Graff was consistently told that he had often sat on a great man’s knee.

The writing itself took place in the parlor of Jefferson’s domicile on a desk that contained a small writing box that was of Jefferson’s own design. He had previously rented from a cabinet maker who constructed it from drawings made by Jefferson. During the last year of his life, he gave it to the husband of his favorite granddaughter, Ellen Randolph. He was to have said about the box, “It claims no merit of particular beauty. It is plain, neat, convenient and, taking no more room on the writing table than a moderate quarto volume, it displays itself sufficiently for any writing.” (Quarto volume is what we recognize as a middle-sized hardbound book.)

Jefferson never claimed originality of the idea of governance, “of the people, by the people and for the people,” instead he remarked that he was only distilling “common sense” on the subject. True the idea of democracy dates back to the Romans and the Greeks, but in Jefferson’s time, it was a very hot topic. Jefferson expounded on the idea of natural law and the nature of government.

In the second paragraph, Jefferson articulated an entire system of philosophy with his theory on that natural law and governance issue. It stems from property

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence

rights and builds upon that. Jefferson did not separate property rights from political rights. For he felt that if one is denied property rights, then one cannot truly have political rights. Property is of course more than just what one owns, it goes to what one does to obtain property. Therefore property, as expressed by Jefferson is one’s individuality. If a government takes 40 or 50% (or more) of a person’s income (property), then that person is not truly free. For when half of one’s work goes to the government, it ceases to belong to that person.

This idea is expressed in what is possibly the most famous sentence in the American lexicon:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But when presented to Congress, over twenty five percent of Jefferson’s original document was deleted. In what was at the time, a controversial move, Congress struck out what they viewed as a scathing indictment of the slave trade. Of course, Jefferson resented the changes and said that the passages were “struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves & who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little under those censures; for tho’ their people have very few slaves themselves, yet they have been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.” Congress also got rid of passages that conveyed a censure on the people of England. Jefferson’s reaction? “…the pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms with still haunted the minds of many.”

At least Congress left the ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, they did change it from “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable…” to “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

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Lastly, Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence wasn’t really a declaration of independence at all. Rather it was an explanation of the actual declaration formally approved by Congress two days before, on July 2, 1776. That declaration was written by Richard Henry Lee, an active and respected patriot of Virginia’s congressional delegation.

It was titled: “A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General Congress assembled.” Therefore our actual declaration of independence wasn’t even called that. And ironically, John Adams was known to have said in a now-famous letter to his wife that future generations of Americans would celebrate America’s independence from England on July 2nd and it would become a great American holiday. Of course, as we all know and history has shown, we celebrate our independence on the date that Jefferson’s document explaining our reasoning behind our declaration of independence was announced, July 4th.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

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