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One of the wisest men I know, who was once described by a business associate as a man with “impeccable integrity,” my father, wrote this:

Today is my birthday, so I think I will do something I do not usually do.  I will blog. I had hoped…even believed…that I would get my greatest birthday gift ever, a new President.  But I learned a long time ago that we don’t always get what we want, at 62 I am old enough to know that.
I have paid close attention to politics since I was in college.  The first presidential election I was eligible to vote in was 1972, Nixon vs. McGovern.  I did not like McGovern’s policies and I couldn’t understand how this man, McGovern, who admittedly started with nothing when he entered politics ended up quite well to do, but that is another story.  At the time, I was young and idealistic and I thought the biggest disservice a President could do to the public was to lie to them.  In a democracy you need information to make proper voting choices, so lying to the public, to me, was worse than bad policies.  I voted for McGovern, it was a protest vote.
I knew Nixon was lying big time.  His Watergate lies hadn’t been exposed yet, but the evidence was overwhelming if you were paying attention.  I grew up in a very conservative neighborhood.  All my friends, and especially their parents, were behind Nixon.  I was the maverick. They were kind to me, but they couldn’t believe the President of the United States was out right lying to them.  I knew he was, and in fact he was.  That revelation to the country came after the landslide election victory that Nixon won, and led to his later resigning from office.  I mark that as a turning point in American society, the time when respect for authority suffered a great blow that it has never recovered from.
Indeed, now many people assume their government routinely lies to them, and I believe they are often right.  But there is something worse than a government that lies to the public, and that is a public that accepts the lies, either out of indifference, ignorance or too often, convenience.  Just recently we had a former President who had explicitly lied to the public on national television, then later to a court of law under oath, complain that we shouldn’t trust a man who would lie to us to become President.  The saddest part of that sorry episode is how few people paid attention or cared what he had just said.  Just more of the same.  Too inconvenient to hold him to account; he is after all a popular fellow and agrees with the majority’s world view, so what difference does a lie make?
I think that is where we are today, and I think that is one of the major reasons the biggest con man in American history has just been re-elected President of the United States.  A majority of the public no longer care much about the truth. To quote another great con man, “the truth is inconvenient.”  No, a majority of the public is happy to go along with the free lunch propaganda.  We are all Greeks now.A majority of the public and most of the media are all too happy to look the other way while great lies are told and honorable men have their reputations trashed because that is easier than telling the truth or addressing real issues.  My friends and their parents in 1972 looked the other way and we re-elected a liar whose lies had a profound impact on the morality of the entire country.Many in the government have been lying to us for years.  They do not tell the truth about how they spend our tax money.  They do not tell us the truth about who pays the taxes.  They use budgetary gimmicks or simply ignore accounting for it all together (off budget items).  That other great con man, Al Gore, lied to us about many things, but I think my favorite was the Social Security “lock box”.  We will soon be opening that lock box and the assets big Al promised us won’t be there.  The lock box is filled with slips of paper, mere promises from a lying government.

We just went through a campaign where one candidate simply made up false stories about what the other believed and a majority bought it.  Too much work for the press and public to actually pay attention, but then paying attention would be inconvenient to their world view.

We just went through a campaign where one of the most honorable men in our political history was willing to run the gauntlet of lies and distortions because he wanted to help his country.  He didn’t need the job.  He doesn’t need any job.  He didn’t need it for his resume; he already had one of the most impressive resumes of any man to run for President.  He didn’t need it for a cool address, he already owns one of the coolest houses on the planet.  He didn’t need it for his ego, so unlike the great vanity of his opponent.  He was a man who understood that his many and great accomplishments were not the most important measure of him.  He was the best kind of humble, he chose to be that way.  He was truly a man prepared and ready for this difficult time.

But the lies had it, the motion carried.  We were conned again.  The country just made a huge mistake because a majority is willing to accept being lied to by their government and press.  They say you can’t fix stupid, maybe they are right.

So do I think the Country is going to hell in a hand basket?  No, not yet.  We are blessed to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. Our economy is the biggest and provides the best standard of living to the most people of any in the world.  It will take a lot to wreck it.  It can be wrecked, and if we don’t eventually change course we will ruin it.

I feel most sad now for the people who are already struggling, who can’t find good work…whose homes and businesses are sinking.  The country has just chosen to make it much more difficult to fix our problems.  There is going to be a lot more pain before things get really better.  It didn’t need to be this way but if you are willing to be lied to and still want to believe in Santa Claus, then you get the government you deserve.

What will turn this around?  When it becomes more inconvenient to continue believing the lies and in the free lunch that Government Santa is supposed to bring.

The Soviet Union and the former Eastern European Block (not to mention innumerable banana republics) went through this already and died.  They sought to redistribute income and only redistributed poverty.  Santa really is make believe.  Their demise was prolonged and delayed through brute force, but they eventually collapsed.  Much of Europe is going through this now; but they are merely socialistic, not communistic so it will take longer to unfold.  It is only a question of degree.  We are perhaps a generation behind them, so we have more time.  But our time will come if we stay on this course.  If it does, I trust in the basic goodness and resilience of the people of this great country to get back on track.  It won’t be pretty, but I believe we will make it.  I believe we will still remain the greatest country in the history of the world and the greatest hope for mankind.

This is a great country, and that is no lie.

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A MUST read:  Mark Steyn’s “Dependence Day.”

A couple of choice excerpts:

When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the modern British welfare state in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want,” to be accomplished by “cooperation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from the vicissitudes of fate, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams: Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity.”

For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what lbj’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population. One-fifth of British children are raised in homes in which no adult works. Just under 900,000 people have been off sick for over a decade, claiming “sick benefits,” week in, week out, for ten years and counting. “Indolence,” as Machiavelli understood, is the greatest enemy of a free society, but rarely has any state embraced this oldest temptation as literally as Britain. There is almost nothing you can’t get the government to pay for.”

Seriously though, you should REALLY read the whole thing HERE.

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I began this Independence Day series on a whim, without any specific ideas about what I might post about.  I have to admit that it has been more than a little challenging finding the time each day to get a post up…and I am so sleep deprived at this point that I’m not sure I’ll ever make up the deficit.  Even so, I am so glad that I challenged myself with this as it as given me cause to reflect upon the Independence that we are celebrating today to a greater depth than I would have otherwise in the week proceeding the 4th.  In fact, I have been thinking so much upon the themes of freedom and liberty that there are many more ideas for posts in my head than I was able to get to this week.  There is one particular thought, though, that I would be remiss not to touch on here, even if briefly.

Luke 12:48 states: “…For unto whomsoever cmuch is dgiven, of him shall be much erequired…”    I can’t help but think that, as Americans, we have been blessed with so much that there must be some level of responsibility that comes with the freedoms we enjoy.  To take our freedom for granted is the surest way to lose it.  And yet so many Americans are disinterested, or just apathetic, toward the political process.  I can completely relate to the feelings of frustration that come as we observe the craziness and corruption that comes with politics, and the feeling of uselessness…as if there is no point in becoming involved because we are too small to make a difference.  But it is our obligation to be informed, to learn of our history and to study the issues of the day, to vote and to care. This land has been set apart as a land of liberty, and this nation was raised up as a beacon of freedom to the world; and it is our responsibility as citizens of this country to preserve the freedom that our fathers have fought and died for.  It is up to us to make sure that the legacy of liberty goes on.

Ronald Reagan said:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be FOUGHT for, PROTECTED, and HANDED ON for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Smilingldsgirl, who sometimes comments here, recently had a great post on patriotism.  I love how she put it:

Do we make good use of it [our freedom]?  Has an interest in the future of our country turned into a hobby?  I get so tired of people saying ‘I’m not interested in politics’ in the same way one might say ‘I’m not interested in basket weaving.’  Are you interested in freedom?”

John Adams, one of our great Founders who endured much personal sacrifice as he played his part in securing the nation’s independence, speaks to us through the ages:

Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it.”

And from Abraham Lincoln:

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

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*This post is part of my week-long Independence Day series.

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In response to the recent Supreme Court ruling, McDonald vs. City of Chicago, Chicago Mayor Daley  made this profoundly ignorant remark: “We are a country of laws not a nation of guns.” Mayor Daley is in need of a good schooling in the history of the American Founding.

America is indeed a “nation of guns,” or rather, a nation of arms.  As rightly pointed out by Phyllis Schlafly in the June 2000 Phyllis Schalfly Report (vol. 33, no. 11)“Individual ownership of guns made the American Revolution possible. Also:

The chief reason America has remained a free country is the widespread private ownership of firearms…The principal purpose of the Second Amendment was to maintain our freedom from government.  It is an insult to our heritage to imply that the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment just to protect deer hunters.”

Note to Mayor Daley:  We are a “country of laws,” but the first and most fundamental law of this land is the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution.  That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” In his press conference, the mayor said:  “As a city we must continue to stand up ..and fight for a ban on assault weapons ..as well as a crackdown on gun shops,” then he added, “We are a country of laws not a nation of guns.” Mayor Daley, the supreme LAW of the land is that we are indeed, have always been and shall continue to be, a “nation of guns,” whether you like it or not.

Me, firing an MP-5 semi-auto; I was actually surprised by how well I liked shooting with this gun.

[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…”

—Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
—Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

I'm a pretty good aim, but I still definitely need more practice.

More from the Phyllis Schalfly Report, concerning lessons from history on why the individual right to bear arms is essential to maintaining our freedom:

My good friend, the late Reverend Stephen Dunker, C.M., was a missionary in China who was imprisoned by the Communists during the early 1950s. I heard him tell of his experiences many times. When the Communists first took over the area where he lived, they appeared to be good rulers. They established law and order and cleaned up the traffic in drugs and prostitutes. Then one day the Communist bosses announced, “You can see that we have established a good society and you have no need for your guns. Everyone must come in the night and dump all guns in the town square.” The people believed and obeyed. The next day, the reign of terror began, with public executions and cruel imprisonments. Everyone accused of being a “landlord” was dragged through the streets and executed; a “landlord” was anyone who farmed his little plot of ground with two water buffalo instead of one.

Gun confiscation leads to a loss of freedom, increased crime, and the government moving to the left. This has already happened in England and Australia. After Great Britain banned most guns in 1997, making armed self-defense punishable as murder, violence skyrocketed because criminals know that law abiding citizens have been disarmed. Armed crime rose 10% in 1998. The Sunday Times of London reported on the new black market in guns: “Up to 3 million illegal guns are in circulation in Britain, leading to a rise in drive-by shootings and gangland-style execution.” There has been such a heavy increase in the use of knives for violent attacks that new laws have been passed giving police the power to search anyone for knives in designated areas.

In 1996 Australia banned 60% of all firearms and required registration of all guns and the licensing of gun owners. Police confiscated 640,381 firearms, going door to door without search warrants. Two years later, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that all crime had risen and armed robberies were up 44%.

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D., described his first-hand experience in Cuba. Before 1958, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista had all citizens register their firearms. After the revolution, Raul and Fidel Castro had their Communist thugs go door to door and, using the registration lists, confiscate all firearms. As soon as the Cubans were disarmed, that was the end of their freedom.

Tyrannical governments kill far more people than private criminals. The Nazis conducted a massive search-and-seizure operation in 1933 to disarm their political opponents, in 1938 to disarm the Jews, and when they occupied Europe in 1939-41 they proclaimed the death penalty for anyone who failed to surrender all guns within 24 hours.”

Me, firing an AR-15

This AR-15 may look cool, but it's a beast to handle. Although it has an awesome scope, I still found it hard to aim properly because the gun was too heavy for me to hold it steady on the target long enough to pull the trigger.

A young man I know recently said that he is a pacifist and doubts he will ever own a gun or knife because he “just hate[s] what they symbolize.”  I am guessing that in his mind guns symbolize violence, death and oppression, or something to that effect.  But the same object can mean entirely different things to different people.  You see, in my mind, guns symbolize self-reliance, self-preservation, protection of life, family, property and liberty…ultimately, from my personal American perspective, guns represent freedom.  We are and must always be the protectors of our own freedom.  And as Dwight Eisenhower said:

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid.”

This Taurus .44 magnum revolver is a wildly impractical gun, with an insanely powerful kick...but hey, don't I look tough?

Thomas Jefferson, writing to George Washington in 1796, said: “One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.”  My sentiments exactly, excepting for target practice, of course….

*This post is part of my week-long Independence Day series.


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What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown?  To each of you, the names Franklin, Adams, Hancock and Jefferson are almost as familiar as household words.  Most of us, however, know nothing of the other signers.  Who were they?  What happened to them?”

In this moving address,  The Americans Who Risked Everything” (published in the Limbaugh Letter and on Rush’s website, but originally and oft delivered orally by his father), the sacrifices of the great signers of the Declaration of Independence are displayed in emotive detail.  The profound respect and deep and humble gratitude for these courageous men who were so committed to the cause of freedom that should come to any American after reading this should strengthen our own commitment to the cause of liberty and the to the principles upon which this greatest nation was founded.  I strongly encourage you to follow the link and read its entirety; I have included here only a few stirring excerpts.

It stands to reason that “it was principle, not property, that had brought these men [the signers] to Philadelphia,” for only a genuine commitment to principle could be worth enduring what these men did.  “Even before the list [of names] was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts.  Some were taken.  Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes.  All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.”

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war.  Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment.  Several lost wives, sons or entire families.  One lost his 13 children.  Two wives were brutally treated.  All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes.  Twelve signers had their homes completely burned.  Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.”

John Martin, a Tory in his views previous to the debate, lived in a strongly loyalist area of Pennsylvania.  When he came out for independence, most of his neighbors and even some of his relatives ostracized him.  He was a sensitive and troubled man, and many believed this action killed him.  When he died in 1777, his last words to his tormentors were:

‘Tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it to have been the most glorious service that I have ever rendered to my country.'”

*This post is part of my week-long Independence Day series.

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RED

strawberries from my garden

hardiness & valour

_ . _. _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _

WHITE

an onion blossom in my garden

purity & innocence

_ . _. _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _

BLUE

tight grip on a sippy cup

vigilance, perseverance & justice

“On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution authorizing a committee to devise a seal for the United States of America. This mission, designed to reflect the Founding Fathers’ beliefs, values, and sovereignty of the new Nation, did not become a reality until June 20, 1782. In heraldic devices, such as seals, each element has a specific meaning. Even colors have specific meanings. The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for The Stars and Stripes when it was adopted in 1777. However, the colors in the Great Seal did have specific meanings. Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the Seal, stated:

“The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”

From the book “Our Flag” published in 1989 by the House of Representatives, as reported by usflag.org.

United States Seal

*This post is part of my week-long Independence Day series.


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Will we witness a Massachusetts Miracle tomorrow?

I really, really hope so…but even if we don’t, the fact that this race has become a contest at all says A LOT about the mood of the voters right now and has to have Dems up for election in November shaking in their boots.  And that’s a good thing.

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