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Independence Day 2011

July 4, 1776, the upstart American Colonies declared their independence from the mighty British Empire. Although the committee selected by Congress to write the Declaration included such distinguished gentlemen as John Adams (MA), Benjamin Franklin (PA), Roger Sherman (CT), and Robert Livingston (NY), the document was chiefly authored by Thomas Jefferson (VA). He intended the Declaration to be “an expression of the American mind,” and wrote so as to “place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.” In that, he succeeded. His words rang throughout the world and the gauntlet was thrown down at the feet of the British Crown. A land of farmer’s against the strongest military in the world. We all know what happened next.

These words set the tone for generations of Americans. Embodying the American Spirit of self-reliance, self-worth, liberty and persistence. We seem to have forgotten our heritage. We have set aside the gift handed down to us by these 55 men and taken up the banner of complacency and dependence. I beg you, read these words. Let them inflame your soul. It’s time we declared our independence again from an oppressive government and reclaim our American Spirit.

Declaration of Independence

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 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. –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 meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration 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 harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to 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 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 offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 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 in 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, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and 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 endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is 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 attention to our British 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 the 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.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776


Month at the End of the Money

It’s the end of the month and you’re sitting at your kitchen table with a pile of bills in front of you. You begin to tackle them, open checkbook in hand, when you realize you’re going to be a bit short. Mortgage, car payment, TV, internet, electricity, food, and cell are all adding up to more than you brought in this month. In fact you’re about 46% short. How did that happen? Was it all the dinners out? Or maybe that new computer. “Wow! Can’t let that happen again”, you tell yourself. So you dip into your savings to cover the difference, with promises to cut back and watch the budget next month.

Next month rolls around and again you find yourself in the hole. “What the heck is going on here? I gotta cut this crap out!” You beat yourself up and pull more money out of savings to cover it. Month after month, you break the budget. Dipping into that “rainy day” fund you call savings. Then one month you find it’s gone. You haven’t changed anything. You’re still spending money, going out with friends every night. So, you whip out the Visa card and begin transferring balances to cover your butt for another month.

“Things will get better,” you say. But one day you find your cards maxed out, and being a good customer, Visa raises your limit. For a few months everything is good, but then charges begin to be declined. Transfers are not going through. You pick up the phone and call those nice people at Visa to get another extension on your limit.

“I’m sorry, we can’t raise your limit,” the nice Indian lady on the other end says. “You don’t have the means to pay us back. In fact, we have to close this account until it has been paid down.”

So now what? No savings, no credit. How are you going to pay your bills? Do you get a second job? What can you cut out of your life to reduce those expenses that broke your bank? Life has to change or you face bankruptcy. Now you have to live paycheck to paycheck and hope that no emergencies come up. And even scarier, your employer has begun laying people off. What happens if you lose your income completely?

That’s where we are a nation and those are questions our country is facing today. On August 2, 2011 the United States government will hit the debt ceiling and have the credit cards cancelled. The $14,300,000,000,000 (that’s $14.3 trillion for those who don’t want to count the zeroes) limit will mark the end of spending for the US unless Congress votes to raise it another $2 trillion. But like a drunk at the bar, do you give him one more for the road?

The Congressional Budget office released a report this month painting a bleak picture for the future of the American economy and our projected debt. The US government brings in about $2.2 trillion in revenue yet spends about $3.6 trillion a year. That leaves a deficit of $1.4 trillion.

China (America’s Visa card) has recently sold 97% of their holdings of US Treasuries.These T-Bills are short-term investments that usually mature in a year or so. China does not have a favorable view of our future. On June 20th, the Wall Street Journal reported that Russia has decided US debt is too risky and will be lowering their holdings as well.

So, with the credit cards cut off and our sugar daddies running away, where do we get the money to cover our spending? More importantly, how do we fix the problem?

More to come….

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