Independence Day – 2008

1335421761_80db032532 We are going to have an open thread today.  At our house we have a big annual neighborhood picnic to attend and those helping with the arrangements must arrive early.  This is an annual event held at Matthew F. Maury school a couple of blocks from here.  The picnic involves all the usual old-timey American features; contests for prettiest baby, best looking dressed up dog, bicycle, etc.   Athletic events suitable for the day, such as three legged races will occur along with a lot of picnic food and the inevitable speeches by local politicians.  Ah, I forgot the carnival "rides" for the little kids.  So, we are busy today.

There ought to be a lot to talk about.  Have at it!  pl

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22 Responses to Independence Day – 2008

  1. Maureen Lang says:

    Have a great time @ the July 4th doings, dear brother. I wish we could be there w/you to celebrate.
    Appropos of July 4, 2008- a clip from the excellent HBO series “John Adams”-
    JOHN ADAMS-Declaration of Independence-Drafting in 1776
    A happy 4th of July, & a pleasant three day weekend to all.

  2. Paul in Nc says:

    I’ve never before been first on a comment thread.

  3. Walter says:

    I have been reading this blog for a couple of years, desperately trying to find integrity, objectivity, knowledge, humanity. I want to thank you for your unselfish service to us who desire to know the truth about what the heck is going on out there in the this world of ours.
    Its hard to know who to believe and trust. I turned off ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX when the Iraq War started because of the blatant pandering to our Executive Branch.
    I just want to thank you for your service.
    Walter Reed

  4. Trent says:

    Off to Larkspur for a parade and cookout with lots of Marin County hot-tubbers.
    Happy Fourth, all! Boo, King George III!

  5. b says:

    July 4th – indeed a great day:

    On the 4th of July 1187 Saladin defeated the crusader King of Jerusalem in the Battle of Hattin:
    The Muslim armies under Saladin captured or killed the vast majority of the Crusader forces, removing their capability to wage war. As a direct result of the battle, Islamic forces once again became the eminent military power in the Holy Land, reconquering Jerusalem and several other Crusader-held cities.

    Independece – freedom from foreign oppression – something everybody should cherish …
    Have some nice fireworks everyone …

  6. par4 says:

    Have a happy 4th Col.

  7. Patrick Lang says:

    Thanks, but there were no nations or nationalities then. “Foreigners” is an anachronistic term if applied to that period. Animosity to the Franks in the Levant was based on religion. If they had converted to Islam they would have been just another group of armed “players” in the power game there. pl

  8. condfusedponderer says:

    Happy 4th of July everyone ‘over there’.

  9. Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA says:

    It’s a good day to remember the wisdom and courage of the Founding Fathers, and to give thanks for a country strong enough to survive the machinations of fools and liars.

  10. Watcher says:

    Happy 4th of July from Historic Manassas, hope the rain over there wasn’t too bad.

  11. J says:

    What the 4th is all about — The United States Of America Declares Independence From Great Britain!
    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 harass 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 benefit 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 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 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.
    — John Hancock
    New Hampshire:
    Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
    John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
    Rhode Island:
    Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
    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
    Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
    Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
    Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
    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
    Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

  12. J says:

    based on the past since the founding of our republic, don’t you think it was time that we as a 50 state nation declared independence from the office of the presidency and put in its place a 5 member board representation of all the state governors to sit in what is the current presidency’s stead. that way it would take a unanimous decision to go to war, or really screw things up.
    i think that such could be ratified by all 50 states without too much trouble as then states would have more control as was the original intent.

  13. J says:

    while our elderly go hungry, bush and cheney don’t miss a catered meal courtesy of the u.s. taxpayers, that includes their personal chefs, waiters, and food staff.
    don’t you think that all that money wasted on the office of the presidency and vice presidency could be better spent on the nation’s elderly who helped to build and maintain this nation? what has the presidency or vice presidency ever done for our nation other than cause strife, mischief, and grief. just think if that money that was wasted on the presidency and vice presidency were instead turned to specifically tending to the needs of the nation’s elderly, think of all that would benefit. and we would not have to pay a presidency and vice presidency’s retirements, secret service details, communications staffs, office staffs, library staffs, drivers, chefs, butlers, maids. etc. hundreds upon hundreds of millions wasted on two individuals who too frequently walk around with their noses up in the air.
    abolish the presidency and vice presidency, and render that taxpayer money to caring for our nation’s elderly instead.

  14. Larry K says:

    I have been reading Stephen W. Sears’ “Gettysburg” and thinking of necessity of what so many thousands of men on both sides gave up during those three days in July, 145 years ago. To encounter in detail what happened in that battle is almost more than mind and heart can bear.

  15. different clue says:

    I was on the job where I work till just a few minutes ago. Next year I will be off.
    I remember from very young childhood that our next door neighbors organized an Independence Day picnic for our whole part of the subdivision, all
    who wanted to come. I don’t
    remember too much else, but I remember bottles of Orange
    Crush from the ice-water-filled cooler. And pitching
    Another neighbor further down the street would organize a back-yard sized fireworks display with roman candles, reasonable sized rocket air-bursters, and so on.
    Where I live now does not
    have a fireworks display, but neighboring towns do. So on my Independence Days off (every other year), I go
    to a high local hillock, and
    watch the fireworks on different points of the far horizon.

  16. McGee says:

    Watched the fireworks and Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade tonight, as we have for the past 30 or so years since moving here and falling hopelessly in love with this most European of American cities. Strange that it should be known as the birthplace of our nation. Perhaps NASCAR-loving, Walmart-shopping middle America is not the epicenter of who we really are? Someone cue the networks!
    Happy 4th of July!

  17. zanzibar says:

    I trust every one that congregates here at SST had a good Independence Day.
    A thought that occurred to me was that since every elected official takes an oath which requires them to support and defend the constitution that every one who stands for office needs to pass a competency test on the constitution.
    I believe all naturalized citizens take such a test . We should extend it to candidates for public office. Of course it does not mean that once in office they will support the constitution but at least we’ll weed out those who have not even read it.

  18. Spider Rider says:

    Spent the night watching fireworks from my window.
    The shower of light, the dazzling shower of light, always makes me remember the true heart, and spirit, the brilliance of this nation, and what it represents.
    Despite the corrupt stupidity we see, this nation was founded on the highest principles of free thought, the enlightened thinking of brilliant men and women.
    What we see now?
    This, too, shall pass.

  19. Tuli says:

    Dear McGee:
    “Watched the fireworks and Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade tonight, as we have for the past 30 or so years since moving here and falling hopelessly in love with this most European of American cities. Strange that it should be known as the birthplace of our nation. Perhaps NASCAR-loving, Walmart-shopping middle America is not the epicenter of who we really are? Someone cue the networks!
    Happy 4th of July!”
    I miss the Boston Pops and the evening on the Esplanade on the 4th. It was a tradition coming up in Massachusetts. Of course now with $4.00 gas it would have put a real dent in our plans. I am glad that the tradition lives on. In NYC we have, however, started new traditions that are wonderful, though not as spectacular. And I think that NYC is far more European than Boston ever was. JMHO! But, Fiedler at the Esplanade, priceless.

  20. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    A belated happy Independence Day to all.
    It seems to me both very significant and ironic that next week the US Senate will vote on the extension of FISA — a piece of legislation that also includes amendments providing the telecoms immunity from civil liability.
    The vote on this FISA legislation, at least right now, appears to constitute a watershed event. Joseph Galloway just weighed in, where he basically claims that if FISA passes, then the USG along with the telecoms will have the authority to treat the people no differently than the British during colonial days. In other words, the 4th Amendment is all but gone.
    Is he right? Each must decide on his or her own . But if so, then I just don’t see how the spirit of Sic Semper Tyrannis is compatible with the FISA legislation. The two seem mutually exclusive and operate in different intellectual spheres, where FISA represents a royal prerogative.
    So — following this line of reasoning — if Senator Webb votes for the legislation then he no longer embodies the spirit of Sic Semper Tyrannis. Alternatively, if Senator Webb opposes the legislation, then he does.
    The only other alternative is for Webb to prove Galloway wrong.
    I look forward to the debate, as I need to know more about the FISA legislation. But here’s a link to Galloway’s essay:

  21. different clue says:

    Excellent idea, Zanzibar. And since it would never have occurred to me, I am glad you posted it. The mechanics of it deserve working out for application at some future time.
    Mr. Smith, I (like many) continue to fail in our Due Diligence as citizens to actually READ the whole Constitution often enough to keep it memorized and understood. So I can only say that I dimly remember an
    item in there about how if the Congress passes a bill which is repugnant to the Constitution, that bill is automatically null and void in Constitutional terms even
    if the President signs it into law. That would be true for New FISA or anything else. Of course the armed Government Power Enforcers wouldn’t concern their pretty little heads about that. They would just
    say: “Who should I spy on, Boss? Who do you want me to kill, Boss?” So if New FISA passes and gets signed,perhaps we will have to learn from Vaclav Havel about “living in Truth”. Living AS IF we are free people in a free country with a legitimate government, and accepting our potential high-profile target status based on that refusal to live a less-than-free-life. Perhaps we should all begin studying how the Captive Nations of Eastern Europe wore down the
    Communist Regimes by decades
    of sullen obstruction.
    Of course it might be possible to get New FISA killed by a swift mass-appeal to Senator Clinton’s ambition. If millions of people each sent a few dollars apiece to the Clinton Campaign together with millions of notes that said each of these people would support the Democratic
    Convention stripping the nomination from Obama and giving it to Clinton IF!..Clinton were to lead a sucCESSful movement in the Senate which got New FISA killed dead in the Senate. Such re-animation of her dormant Presidential ambitions might inspire her to “pull out all the stops” to get New FISA killed.

  22. Charles I says:

    Yes, belated happy Independence Day to all, and your wonderful country.
    Sidney O. Smith re: FISA.
    The legislation immunizes co-operative private putative law breakers who can produce a piece of paper from the Whitehouse stating that the requested activity was/will not be illegal. This facile device is at once a step beyond the Nuremburg defence, which, after all, basically rests upon “soldiers following orders”, whilst simultaneously, being couched in the negative, avoids an affirmative declaration of legality : “I never SAID it was legal.”
    This involves assurance from the Executive that the voluntary activity of a private entity will not infringe the law or the constitution – will not involve the actus reus of any offense. That determination is the purview of the Judiciary, the very point of separation of powers.
    Under the FISA rule, there’s no difference in theory, between a note from the King saying its okay(well, not illegal) to listen in one day, listen in and record everything the next day, and to torture and murder the next day.
    The legal principal – ultimately the law is what I, the Executive, say it DOESN’T mean – remains the same in each case, handily bridging any separation between the Executive and its chimera of legality and probity.
    Sounds like royal prerogative to me. Which the 60 vote rule buttresses from a Congress MIA aside from daring cheque-writing forays. A bitter irony that the only semi-effective institutional rejoinder to this entire regime of rampant executive criminality have been the Supreme’s habeus corpus rulings.
    I note though, that the Federal Court of Appeals, in dismissing Canadian Maher Arar’s $10M renditon-to-Syria lawsuit, ruled the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction over the federal government’s rendition activities carried out on U.S. soil – its not reported why, perhaps its because Arar, after all, got out. In any event, absent the legislature, the courts are a meager balance to an unopposed executive.

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