Archive for June, 2010

United States Declaration of Independence

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

   

The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of AmericaIndependence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

After finalizing the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as a printed broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The most famous version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is usually regarded as the Declaration of Independence, is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Although the wording of the Declaration was approved on July 4, the date of its signing has been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against King George III, and by asserting certain natural rights, including a right of revolution. Having served its original purpose in announcing independence, the text of the Declaration was initially ignored after the American Revolution. Its stature grew over the years, particularly the second sentence, a sweeping statement of human rights:

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.

This sentence has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language”[2] and “the most potent and consequential words in American history”.[3] The passage has often been used to promote the rights of marginalized groups, and came to represent for many people a moral standard for which the United States should strive. This view was greatly influenced by Abraham Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy,[4] and promoted the idea that the Declaration is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.

Created June–July 1776
Ratified July 4, 1776
Location Engrossed copy: National Archives
Rough draft: Library of Congress
Authors Thomas Jefferson et al.
Signers 56 delegates to the Continental Congress
Purpose To announce and explain separation from Great Britain[1]

Thomas Jefferson, the principal drafter of the Declaration, argued that Parliament was a foreign legislature that was unconstitutionally trying to extend its sovereignty into the colonies.

Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.

Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1775[5]

By the time the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year. Relations between the colonies and the mother country had been deteriorating since the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763. The war had plunged the British government deep into debt, and so Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase tax revenue from the colonies. Parliament believed that these acts, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767, were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep the colonies in the British Empire.[6]

Many colonists, however, had developed a different conception of the empire. Because the colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament’s authority in the colonies.[7] The orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, and so by definition anything Parliament did was constitutional.[8] In the colonies, however, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government—not even Parliament—could violate.[9] After the Townshend Acts, some essayists even began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all.[10] Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth,[11] by 1774 American writers such as Samuel Adams, James Wilson, and Thomas Jefferson were arguing that Parliament was the legislature of Great Britain only, and that the colonies, which had their own legislatures, were connected to the rest of the empire only through their allegiance to the Crown.[12]

Congress convenes

The issue of Parliament’s authority in the colonies became a crisis after Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774 to punish the Province of Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. Many colonists saw the Coercive Acts as a violation of the British Constitution and thus a threat to the liberties of all of British America. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia to coordinate a response. Congress organized a boycott of British goods and petitioned the king for repeal of the acts. These measures were unsuccessful because King George III and the North ministry were determined not to retreat on the question of parliamentary supremacy. As the king wrote to Prime Minister Lord North in November 1774, “blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent”.[13]

Even after fighting in the American Revolutionary War began at Lexington and Concord in April 1775, most colonists still hoped for reconciliation with Great Britain.[14] When the Second Continental Congress convened at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia in May 1775, some delegates hoped for eventual independence, but no one yet advocated declaring it.[15] Although many colonists no longer believed that Parliament had any sovereignty over them, they still professed loyalty to King George, who they hoped would intercede on their behalf. They were to be disappointed: in late 1775, the king rejected Congress’s second petition, issued a Proclamation of Rebellion, and announced before Parliament on October 26 that he was even considering “friendly offers of foreign assistance” to suppress the rebellion.[16] A pro-American minority in Parliament warned that the government was driving the colonists towards independence.[17]

Towards independence

In January 1776, just as it became clear in the colonies that the king was not inclined to act as a conciliator, Thomas Paine‘s pamphlet Common Sense was published.[18] Paine, who had only recently arrived in the colonies from England, argued in favor of colonial independence, advocating republicanism as an alternative to monarchy and hereditary rule.[19] Common Sense introduced no new ideas,[20] and probably had little direct effect on Congress’s thinking about independence; its importance was in stimulating public debate on a topic that few had previously dared to openly discuss.[21] Public support for separation from Great Britain steadily increased after the publication of Paine’s enormously popular pamphlet.[22]

The Assembly Room in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Although some colonists still held out hope for reconciliation, developments in early 1776 further strengthened public support for independence. In February 1776, colonists learned of Parliament’s passage of the Prohibitory Act, which established a blockade of American ports and declared American ships to be enemy vessels. John Adams, a strong supporter of independence, believed that Parliament had effectively declared American independence before Congress had been able to. Adams labeled the Prohibitory Act the “Act of Independency”, calling it “a compleat Dismemberment of the British Empire”.[23] Support for declaring independence grew even more when it was confirmed that King George had hired German mercenaries to use against his American subjects.[24]

Despite this growing popular support for independence, Congress lacked the clear authority to declare it. Delegates had been elected to Congress by thirteen different governments—which included extralegal conventions, ad hoc committees, and elected assemblies—and were bound by the instructions given to them. Regardless of their personal opinions, delegates could not vote to declare independence unless their instructions permitted such an action.[25] Several colonies, in fact, expressly prohibited their delegates from taking any steps towards separation from Great Britain, while other delegations had instructions that were ambiguous on the issue.[26] As public sentiment for separation from Great Britain grew, advocates of independence sought to have the Congressional instructions revised. For Congress to declare independence, a majority of delegations would need authorization to vote for independence, and at least one colonial government would need to specifically instruct its delegation to propose a declaration of independence in Congress. Between April and July 1776, a “complex political war”[27] was waged to bring this about.[28]

Revising instructions

In the campaign to revise Congressional instructions, many Americans formally expressed their support for separation from Great Britain in what were effectively state and local declarations of independence, Historian Pauline Maier identified more than ninety such declarations that were issued throughout the Thirteen Colonies from April to July 1776.[29] These “declarations” took a variety of forms. Some were formal, written instructions for Congressional delegations, such as the Halifax Resolves of April 12, with which North Carolina became the first colony to explicitly authorize its delegates to vote for independence.[30] Others were legislative acts that officially ended British rule in individual colonies, such as on May 4, when the Rhode Island legislature became the first to declare its independence from Great Britain.[31] Many “declarations” were resolutions adopted at town or county meetings that offered support for independence. A few came in the form of jury instructions, such as the statement issued on April 23, 1776, by Chief Justice William Henry Drayton of South Carolina: “the law of the land authorizes me to declare…that George the Third, King of Great Britain…has no authority over us, and we owe no obedience to him.”[32] Most of these declarations are now obscure, having been overshadowed by the declaration approved by Congress on July 4.[33]

Some colonies held back from endorsing independence. Resistance was centered in the middle colonies of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.[34] Advocates of independence saw Pennsylvania as the key: if that colony could be converted to the pro-independence cause, it was believed that the others would follow.[34] On May 1, however, opponents of independence retained control of the Pennsylvania Assembly in a special election that had focused on the question of independence.[35] In response, on May 10 Congress passed a resolution, which had been introduced by Richard Henry Lee and seconded by John Adams, calling on colonies without a “government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs” to adopt new governments.[36] The resolution passed unanimously, and was even supported by Pennsylvania’s John Dickinson, the leader of the anti-independence faction in Congress, who believed that it did not apply to his colony.[37]

This Day the Congress has passed the most important Resolution, that ever was taken in America.

John Adams, May 15, 1776[38]

May 15 preamble

As was the custom, Congress appointed a committee to draft a preamble that would explain the purpose of the resolution. John Adams wrote the preamble, which stated that because King George had rejected reconciliation and was even hiring foreign mercenaries to use against the colonies, “it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed”.[39] Everyone understood that Adams’s preamble was meant to encourage the overthrow of the governments of Pennsylvania and Maryland, which were still under proprietary governance.[40] Congress passed the preamble on May 15 after several days of debate, but four of the middle colonies voted against it, and the Maryland delegation walked out in protest.[41] Adams regarded his May 15 preamble as effectively an American declaration of independence, although he knew that a formal declaration would still have to be made.[42]

Lee’s resolution and the final push

On the same day that Congress passed Adams’s radical preamble, the Virginia Convention set the stage for a formal Congressional declaration of independence. On May 15, the Convention instructed Virginia’s congressional delegation “to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain”.[43] In accordance with those instructions, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a three-part resolution to Congress on June 7. The motion, which once again was seconded by John Adams, called on Congress to declare independence, form foreign alliances, and prepare a plan of colonial confederation. The part of the resolution relating to declaring independence read:

Resolved, 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.[44]

Lee’s resolution met with resistance in the ensuing debate. Opponents of the resolution, while conceding that reconciliation with Great Britain was unlikely, argued that declaring independence was premature, and that securing foreign aid should take priority.[45] Advocates of the resolution countered that foreign governments would not intervene in an internal British struggle, and so a formal declaration of independence was needed before foreign aid was possible. All Congress needed to do, they insisted, was to “declare a fact which already exists”.[46] Delegates from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York were still not yet authorized to vote for independence, however, and some of them threatened to leave Congress if the resolution were adopted. Congress therefore voted on June 10 to postpone further discussion of Lee’s resolution for three weeks.[47] Until then, Congress decided that a committee should prepare a document announcing and explaining independence in the event that Lee’s resolution was approved when it was brought up again in July.

Support for a Congressional declaration of independence was consolidated in the final weeks of June 1776. On June 14, the Connecticut Assembly instructed its delegates to propose independence, and the following day the legislatures of New Hampshire and Delaware authorized their delegates to declare independence.[48] In Pennsylvania, political struggles ended with the dissolution of the colonial assembly, and on June 18 a new Conference of Committees under Thomas McKean authorized Pennsylvania’s delegates to declare independence.[49] On June 15, the Provincial Congress of New Jersey, which had been governing the province since January 1776, resolved that Royal Governor William Franklin was “an enemy to the liberties of this country” and had him arrested.[50] On June 21, they chose new delegates to Congress and empowered them to join in a declaration of independence.[51]

Only Maryland and New York had yet to authorize independence. When the Continental Congress had adopted Adams’s radical May 15 preamble, Maryland’s delegates walked out and sent to the Maryland Convention for instructions.[52] On May 20, the Maryland Convention rejected Adams’s preamble, instructing its delegates to remain against independence, but Samuel Chase went to Maryland and, thanks to local resolutions in favor of independence, was able to get the Maryland Convention to change its mind on June 28.[53] Only the New York delegates were unable to get revised instructions. When Congress had been considering the resolution of independence on June 8, the New York Provincial Congress told the delegates to wait.[54] But on June 30, the Provincial Congress evacuated New York as British forces approached, and would not convene again until July 10. This meant that New York’s delegates would not be authorized to declare independence until after Congress had made its decision.[55]

Draft and adoption

While political maneuvering was setting the stage for an official declaration of independence, a document explaining the decision was being written. On June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a “Committee of Five“, consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft a declaration. Because the committee left no minutes, there is some uncertainty about how the drafting process proceeded—accounts written many years later by Jefferson and Adams, although frequently cited, are contradictory and not entirely reliable.[56] What is certain is that the committee, after discussing the general outline that the document should follow, decided that Jefferson would write the first draft.[57] Considering Congress’s busy schedule, Jefferson probably had limited time for writing over the next seventeen days, and likely wrote the draft quickly.[58] He then consulted the others, made some changes, and then produced another copy incorporating these alterations. The committee presented this copy to the Congress on June 28, 1776. The title of the document was “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.”[59] Congress ordered that the draft “lie on the table“.[60]

John Trumbull‘s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress.[61]

On Monday, July 1, having tabled the draft of the declaration, Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole and resumed debate on Lee’s resolution of independence.[62] John Dickinson made one last effort to delay the decision, arguing that Congress should not declare independence without first securing a foreign alliance and finalizing the Articles of Confederation.[63] John Adams gave a speech in reply to Dickinson, restating the case for an immediate declaration.

After a long day of speeches, a vote was taken. As always, each colony cast a single vote; the delegation for each colony—numbering two to seven members—voted amongst themselves to determine the colony’s vote. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted against declaring independence. The New York delegation, lacking permission to vote for independence, abstained. Delaware cast no vote because the delegation was split between Thomas McKean (who voted yes) and George Read (who voted no). The remaining nine delegations voted in favor of independence, which meant that the resolution had been approved by the committee of the whole. The next step was for the resolution to be voted upon by the Congress itself. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, who was opposed to Lee’s resolution but desirous of unanimity, moved that the vote be postponed until the following day.[64]

On July 2, South Carolina reversed its position and voted for independence. In the Pennsylvania delegation, Dickinson and Robert Morris abstained, allowing the delegation to vote three-to-two in favor of independence. The tie in the Delaware delegation was broken by the timely arrival of Caesar Rodney, who voted for independence. The New York delegation abstained once again, since they were still not authorized to vote for independence, although they would be allowed to do so by the New York Provincial Congress a week later.[65] The resolution of independence had been adopted with twelve affirmative votes and one abstention. With this, the colonies had officially severed political ties with Great Britain.[66] In a now-famous letter written to his wife on the following day, John Adams predicted that July 2 would become a great American holiday.[67] Adams thought that the vote for independence would be commemorated; he did not foresee that Americans—including himself—would instead celebrate Independence Day on the date that the announcement of that act was finalized.[68]

After voting in favor of the resolution of independence, Congress turned its attention to the committee’s draft of the declaration. Over several days of debate, Congress made a few changes in wording and deleted nearly a fourth of the text, most notably a passage critical of the slave trade, changes that Jefferson resented.[69] On July 4, 1776, the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and sent to the printer for publication.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.
A Declaration
By the Representatives of the
United states of America,
In general Congress assembled.

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 abolish it, and to institute a 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 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 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 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 Powers 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 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 among 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 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 the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress,
John Hancock, President.

Attest.
Charles Thomson, Secretary.

Please consider this 4th of July, what we really have this wonderful document the United State Declaration of Independece.  Lets all work to save it.  It is a one of a kind.  There will never be a second nation to have what our founding fathers gave us.  (Emma K. Hunt)

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

New MacBook Pro Just Auctioned for $121.55. Crazy auction site selling stuff 95% off. promo http://tinyurl.com/2cj7jnq

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

XBOX 360 Elite Just Auctioned sold for $41.30. Crazy auction site selling stuff 95% off. spon http://tinyurl.com/2asl6ds

What The Hell Happened??

Monday, June 28th, 2010
 Monday, June 21, 2010 8:11:44 PM

 STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?

THIS IS EXCELLENT — READ IT ALL — 
 “When Injustice becomes law, Resistance becomes DUTY!” Thomas Jefferson

What the hell happened ? - 
545 people vs. 300 million peopleThis is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be – read it!! 
The article below is completely neutral …not anti republican or democrat.Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day.It’s a short but good read.  Worth the time.  Worth remembering! 545 vs. 300,000,000

EVERY CITIZEN NEEDS TO READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT WHAT THIS JOURNALIST HAS SCRIPTED IN THIS MESSAGE.  
READ IT AND THEN REALLY THINK ABOUT OUR CURRENT POLITICAL DEBACLE.Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.   
545  PEOPLE–By Charlie ReesePoliticians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.. Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget.  The president does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You  and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve  Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one  president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human  beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally,  and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague  this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.   In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority.  They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.   I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.  The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault.    They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.   No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits…..   The president can only propose a budget.    He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes..   Who is the speaker of the House?     Nancy Pelosi.  She is the leader of the majority party.  She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.  If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility.   I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.  When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red ..

If the Army & Marines are in   IRAQ , it’s because they want them in IRAQ  

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.   Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power..

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it……… Is up to you. 
This might be funny if it weren’t so darned true. 
Be sure to read all the way to the end:

 
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone   State  and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.  We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the hell happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 100 times!!!  

YOU can help it get there!!!

GO AHEAD – – – BE AN AMERICAN!!!

This is an email I received this morning from a dear friend; This is what it is all about.  We can all like it or change it.

LEMON COOKIES

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Book: Emma’s Food Storage
Chapter: Cookies

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Remove to cake cooler rack.

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose  flour Sift flour and then measure      
    1/2 teaspoon                                                   
    7/8 cup (1 cup minus 2 tbl.) shortening                        
    1/4 teaspoon salt                                              
    1/2 cup butter                                                 
    1/4 cup shortening                                             
    3/4 cup granulated sugar                                       
    1 egg                                                          
    1 teaspoon lemon juice                                         
    1/2 teaspoon grated lemons rind                                

Sift flour, measure, and resift 3 times with baking power and salt.  Cream butter and shortening until smooth and soft; add sugar gradually and blend well, then add egg and beat vigorously until fluffy and light colored.  Stir in lemon juice and rind.  Add flour mixture in 2 or 3 portions, stirring until smooth.  Cover dough with waxed paper and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour. Shape dough into balls about the size of small walnuts, and place about 2 1/2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Cover a flat bottomed glass tumbler with a piece of clean, smooth-textured white cloth which as been wrung out of cold water.  Use this to press the cookies out flat, about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker.  Bake in a moderately hot oven (400 F.) for 6 to 8 minutes, or until delicately browned at edges.  Remove to cake racks to cool before storing.  6 dozen cookies.

FOOD STORAGE CALCULATOR

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Food Storage your family will need:  

for each adult your household Per Year.

Grains
Wheat  lbs
Flour  lbs
Corn Meal  lbs
Oats  lbs
Rice  lbs
Pasta  lbs
Total Grains  lbs

 

Fats and Oils
Shortening  lbs
Vegetable Oil  gal
Mayonnaise  qts
Salad Dressing  qts
Peanut Butter  lbs
Total Fats  lbs

 

Legumes
Beans, dry  lbs
Lima Beans  lbs
Soy Beans  lbs
Split Peas  lbs
Lentils  lbs
Dry Soup Mix  lbs
Total Legumes  lbs

 

Sugars
Honey  lbs
Sugar  lbs
Brown Sugar  lbs
Molasses  lbs
Corn Syrup  lbs
Jams  lbs
Fruit drink powdered  lbs
Flavored Gelatin  lbs
Total Sugars  lbs

 

Milk
Dry Milk  lbs
Evaporated Milk  can
Other  lbs
Total Dairy  lbs

 

Cooking Essentials
Baking Powder  lbs
Baking Soda  lbs
Yeast  lbs
Salt  lbs
Vinegar  gal

 

Water
Water  gal
Bleach  gal

Food Storage your family will need: For each child.

Grains
Wheat  lbs
Flour  lbs
Corn Meal  lbs
Oats  lbs
Rice  lbs
Pasta  lbs
Total Grains  lbs

 

Fats and Oils
Shortening  lbs
Vegetable Oil  gal
Mayonnaise  qts
Salad Dressing  qts
Peanut Butter  lbs
Total Fats  lbs

 

Legumes
Beans, dry  lbs
Lima Beans  lbs
Soy Beans  lbs
Split Peas  lbs
Lentils  lbs
Dry Soup Mix  lbs
Total Legumes  lbs

 

Sugars
Honey  lbs
Sugar  lbs
Brown Sugar  lbs
Molasses  lbs
Corn Syrup  lbs
Jams  lbs
Fruit drink powdered  lbs
Flavored Gelatin  lbs
Total Sugars  lbs

 

Milk
Dry Milk  lbs
Evaporated Milk  can
Other  lbs
Total Dairy  lbs

 

Cooking Essentials
Baking Powder  lbs
Baking Soda  lbs
Yeast  lbs
Salt  lbs
Vinegar  gal

 

Water
Water  gal
Bleach  gal

These are the basics.  You will want to have on hand some comfort food that will store well.  This will give your family the basics until you can get further help and assistance.  You may want to add to this accourding to your family needs.  Medications etc.

Protected: Food Safety

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

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USDA Food Safety Guidelines

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
 

 

Bacteria, Spoilage

“Bird Flu,” or Avian Influenza

Cookware & Equipment

Food Storage, Preparation & Handling

Foodborne Illness

Keeping Food Safe During An Emergency

Labeling, Dating, Food Additives

Meat and Poultry Inspection, & Other FSIS Programs

Natural Flavorings on Meat & Poultry Labels

Nutrition

Product Appearance

Product Recalls

Last Modified: September 6, 2006

 

 
 
Food Safety: Bacteria, Spoilage

 

What are spoilage bacteria?
Spoilage bacteria are microorganisms too small to be seen without a microscope that cause food to deteriorate and develop unpleasant odors, tastes, and textures. These one-celled microorganisms can cause fruits and vegetables to get mushy or slimy, or meat to develop a bad odor.

Do spoilage bacteria make people sick?
Most people would not choose to eat spoiled food. However, if they did, they probably would not get sick.

Pathogenic bacteria cause illness. They grow rapidly in the “Danger Zone” – the temperatures between 40 and 140 °F – and do not generally affect the taste, smell, or appearance of food. Food that is left too long at unsafe temperatures could be dangerous to eat, but smell and look just fine. E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, and Salmonella are examples of pathogenic bacteria.

How do bacteria spoil food?
There are different spoilage bacteria and each reproduces at specific temperatures. Some can grow at the low temperatures in the refrigerator or freezer. Others grow well at room temperature and in the “Danger Zone.” Bacteria will grow anywhere they have access to nutrients and water. Under the correct conditions, spoilage bacteria reproduce rapidly and the populations can grow very large. In some cases, they can double their numbers in as little as 20 minutes. The large number of microorganisms and their waste products cause the objectionable changes in odor, taste, and texture.

Last Modified: June 23, 2006

Uh, oh! You’re home and forgot to defrost something for dinner

Monday, June 21st, 2010

.

 You grab a package of meat or chicken and use hot water to thaw it fast. But is this safe? What if you remembered to take food out of the freezer, but forgot and left the package on the counter all day while you were at work?Neither of these situations are safe, and these methods of thawing lead to foodborne illness. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during “the big thaw.” Foods are safe indefinitely while frozen. However, as soon as food begins to defrost and become warmer than 40 °F, any bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to multiply.

Foods should never be thawed or even stored on the counter, or defrosted in hot water. Food left above 40 °F (unrefrigerated) is not at a safe temperature.

Even though the center of the package may still be frozen as it thaws on the counter, the outer layer of the food is in the “Danger Zone,” between 40 and 140 °F – at temperatures where bacteria multiply rapidly.

When defrosting frozen foods, it’s best to plan ahead and thaw food in the refrigerator where food will remain at a safe, constant temperature – 40 °F or below.

There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave.

Refrigerator Thawing
Planning ahead is the key to this method because of the lengthy time involved. A large frozen item like a turkey requires at least a day (24 hours) for every 5 pounds of weight. Even small amounts of frozen food — such as a pound of ground meat or boneless chicken breasts — require a full day to thaw. When thawing foods in the refrigerator, there are several variables to take into account.

  • Some areas of an appliance may keep the food colder than other areas. Food placed in the coldest part will require longer defrosting time.
  • Food takes longer to thaw in a refrigerator set at 35 °F than one set at 40 °F.

After thawing in the refrigerator, ground meat and poultry should remain useable for an additional day or two before cooking; red meat, 3 to 5 days. Foods defrosted in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, although there may be some loss of quality.

Cold Water Thawing
This method is faster than refrigerator thawing but requires more attention. The food must be in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Also, meat tissue can also absorb water like a sponge, resulting in a watery product.

The bag should be submerged in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Small packages of meat or poultry – about a pound – may defrost in an hour or less. A 3- to 4-pound package may take 2 to 3 hours. For whole turkeys, estimate about 30 minutes per pound. If thawed completely, the food must be cooked immediately.

Foods thawed by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing.

Microwave Thawing
When microwave defrosting food, plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwave defrosting. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed and, indeed, may have reached optimal temperatures for bacteria to grow.

Foods thawed in the microwave should be cooked before refreezing.

November 2005

Many of us Garden throughout the Spring & Summer then Home Can in the Fall.

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Many of us Garden throughout the Spring & Summer then Home Can in the Fall. This is a great way to save on your grocery bill and have food on hand for your families consumption at all time. However, a word of caution is advised. Be very careful to handle you food during processing carefully. This will prevent your family from becoming ill as a result of food related poisoning; do to food borne poisoning, are bacteria from under processing.

 Many times canning equipment, (pressure cookers etc.) come with use instructions. For instance the minimum temperatures your food must be processed at and for what length of time. Read and follow instructions carefully. The food will taste better and your family will be healthier. Use the proper equipment, timing and temperatures. You cannot cut corners on time or temperature while processing foods for storage. Your families health and safety are at stake.

 Emma Hunt

 

” The Importance of Food Safety and Quality in Home Canning

 A popular pastime in the fall for gardeners who grow fresh fruits and vegetables is canning their harvest for later. Some important things to remember when canning fruits and vegetables are to use fresh foods, can them soon after picking, follow recommended processing times and procedures, and can no more food than will be used in a year.

 Using fresh foods can help ensure the quality of the preserves later. The variety of fruits and vegetables can also affect the quality of the canned product. Use the varieties that you prefer that are well suited to canning. After harvest, the food should be washed and examined carefully. Old, diseased or moldy food should be thrown away. Trim away any small diseased lesions or spots from food that is in otherwise good condition.

 Fruits and vegetables should be canned while they are still fresh. Most vegetables should be processed within six to 12 hours after being picked. Apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums should be ripened one or more days between harvest and canning. Spread in a single layer on a clean dry surface to ripen more evenly. If the canning of fresh produce must be delayed, keep it in the refrigerator if possible, or in a cool, dark place.

Recommended processing times should be followed because proper canning practices remove oxygen from food tissues, destroy enzymes, prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria, yeast and molds, and help form a vacuum in jars. Good vacuums form tight seals that keep liquid in and air and microorganisms out.

If proper canning practices are not followed, chances increase for the of the survival of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism, a deadly form of food poisoning. These bacteria exist either as spores or as vegetative cells.

Botulinum spores, which are similar to seeds, are on most fresh food surfaces. The spores can survive harmlessly in soil and water for many years. However, when ideal conditions exist for growth, they produce vegetative cells that multiply rapidly. The deadly toxin is produced within three to four days.

Ideal conditions for cell production include a moist, low-acid food, a temperature between 40 F and 120 F and less than 2 percent oxygen, which occurs in tightly packaged foods.

Using the recommended processing time ensures destruction of heat resistant microorganisms in home-canned foods. The recommended time is based on the largest number of microorganisms expected to be present on a given food.

 The acidity, or pH, of a food determines whether it should be processed in a pressure canner or a water-bath canner. Acid blocks the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria or destroys them more rapidly when heated. The acid may be natural, as in most fruits, or it may be added, as in pickled foods. Acid foods are not at risk for botulinum growth. Botulinum spores in low-acid foods, however, must be destroyed with high heat.

Acid foods, with a pH of 4.6 or lower, can be canned in a water-bath canner. They include most fruits and some varieties of tomatoes. Adding lemon juice, citric acid or vinegar can increase the acid content of many other foods. Acid foods should be packed in a water-bath canner using the hot-pack method.

 Low-acid foods have a pH higher than 4.6 and must be canned in a pressure canner. They include red meats, seafood, poultry, milk, all fresh vegetables, and some varieties of tomatoes and must be canned in a pressure canner. Mixing low-acid foods with acid foods does not lower the pH below 4.6 unless the recipes include enough lemon juice, citric acids or vinegar to acidify them. Low-acid foods should be processed at temperatures of 240 F to 250 F. This temperature range can be reached only with pressure canners operated at 10 to 15 pounds per square inch of pressure. At these temperatures the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-acid food ranges from 20 to 100 minutes. The exact time depends on the food being canned, the way it is packed, and the size of the jars.

Always follow time, temperature and pressure recommendations very carefully. Home-canned foods will be free of spoilage if they are properly prepared and processed, the lids are sealed to form a high vacuum and the foods are stored at temperatures between 50 F and 70 F.

To maintain good color and flavor during processing and storage, do the following:

Use only high-quality, disease- and bruise-free foods in the proper stage of maturity.

Wash foods thoroughly and trim away small damaged areas.

  Use the hot-pack method, especially for acid foods to be processed in a water-bath canner.

After preparing foods for canning, protect them from too much exposure to light, heat and air. Can them as soon as possible.

 • Fill clean, hot jars with hot foods, leaving the amount of headspace specified in the recipes.

 • Remove air bubbles from filled jars and wipe jar rims with a clean damp cloth before adjusting lids.

 • Use recommended self-sealing lids and screw bands or rings.

Tighten screw bands securely but, if you are especially strong, not as tightly as possible. Read manufacturer’s instructions.

 • After canning, store sealed jars in a relatively cool, dark, dry place, preferably between 50 F and 70 F.

 • Can no more food than you will use within a year.

For more information about home canning, contact you county Extension agent.

Source: Jean Weese, Extension Food Science Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, (334) 844-3269

 Prepared by Jana Huggins, Agricultural Journalism Intern”