The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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

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

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

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

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

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

dailycaller.com
Hey, you know what's totally racist? Reason, that's what.

Yes, you read the headline correctly. And, no, I’m talking about the magazine or the band. A progressive “professor” at Syracuse University says that reason is a “white male Euro-Christian construction”. I think the lunacy pretty much speaks for itself.

A philosophy and religion professor at Syracuse University gave an interview to The New York Times Thursday in which he critiqued the notion of pure reason as simply being a “white male Euro-Christian construction.”

Prof. John Caputo was being interviewed by fellow philosophy professor George Yancy for the 13th installment of an interview series Yancy conducts with philosophers regarding racial topics.

Given its emphasis on first principles and abstract thought, it may be tempting to view academic philosophy as a turf where the race of participants matters little, but Caputo says that’s entirely untrue. In fact, race is of central importance, and it’s proven by the mundane phrases philosophers use.

“‘White’ is of the utmost relevance to philosophy, and postmodern theory helps us to see why,” Caputo says in the interview. “I was once criticized for using the expression ‘true north.’It reflected my Nordo-centrism, my critic said, and my insensitivity to people who live in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, no such thing had ever crossed my mind, but that points to the problem. We tend to say ‘we’ and to assume who ‘we’ are, which once simply meant ‘we white male Euro-Christians.’

… “I think that what modern philosophers call ‘pure’ reason — the Cartesian ego cogito and Kant’s transcendental consciousness — is a white male Euro-Christian construction,” he says.

…“The great scandal of the United States is that it has produced an anti-gospel, the extremes of appalling wealth and poverty,” he says. “But instead of playing the prophetic role of Amos denouncing the American Jeroboam, instead of working to close that gap, the policies of the right wing are exacerbating it…

time.com
The 5 Most Important Points of Pope Francis's Climate Change Encyclical
We can and must make things better

Hot topic of the moment. Not everyone agrees with the Pope’s encyclical, and I have little ‘faith’ that the environmental community will do anything more than wave the Pope’s call around for political gain. I doubt they (well, ‘we’ since I am clearly part of the enviro-community!) will change behaviors to pivot to help others. We won’t agree to get involved in political decision making (are you going to run for office or go to your city council meetings?). I doubt we’ll make serious and effective efforts to basically reverse the western way of life. And I am firmly confident the enviro-left will absolutely reject his call to reduce investments and dependence on new technologies.

So, what will change because of his call? After all, conservatives and business leaders around the world have openly condemned Pope Francis as a temporary blip. The right are masters of the ad-hominen attack (namely because the media eats it up). The right thinks the Pope no longer has influence. So, to them, it’s not risky to throw a world-religious leader under the bus. For me, I wonder if there are changes, how will people be held accountable if they don’t act? How will possible changes be monitored and measured? Climate denial knows no bounds.  

Here are the five according to TIME:

1. Climate change is real, and it’s getting worse. Though some politicians in the U.S. still argue about the reality of the climate change, Pope Francis doesn’t mince words: “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day,” he says. “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.”

2. Human beings are a major contributor to climate change. While many agree that climate change is real, some believe that human beings don’t contribute to it. The science suggests otherwise, and Pope Francis—a trained chemist—says human beings do have an effect on the Earth: “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”

3. Climate change disproportionately affects the poor. Climate change’s worst impact, Pope Francis says, “will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.” This environmental inequality creates a strange economic phenomenon: Poor countries are often financially indebted to rich countries. The world has what Pope Francis calls a “social debt towards the poor … because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.”

4. We can and must make things better. Some of those who study climate change believe this process to be irreversible, too far gone. But Francis—whose first major letter was entitled Joy of the Gospel—says he doesn’t believe we should be robbed of hope. “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start”

5. Individuals can help, but politicians must lead the charge. Francis argues that personal responsibility is an important step toward reversing climate change, but that political and structural transformations are needed for lasting change. “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.”

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.
—  Murray N. Rothbard

Joseph Rivers, a 22-year-old Michigan resident, was on his way to Los Angeles in April to fulfill his dream of becoming a music video producer, according to Rivers and his lawyer, when federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) boarded his Amtrak train during a stop in Albuquerque.

DEA agents approached Rivers, the only black passenger in the train car, and asked to search his bag. Inside the bag, agents found $16,000 in cash—money Rivers said he had saved up and received from family members to pursue his music video aspirations.

The agents detained Rivers and asked him about the cash. According to Rivers and his lawyer, Michael Pancer, a San Diego-based attorney, Rivers had the agents call his mother to confirm his story, but the DEA nevertheless seized his money, believing it was somehow connected with drugs.

The DEA agents then released Rivers, leaving him penniless in Albuquerque. He was never charged with a crime. The incident, first reported by the Albuquerque Journal, is the latest case to highlight the practice of civil asset forfeiture.

Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police and federal agents can seize property on the mere suspicion that it is connected to criminal activity. The property owner does not even have to be charged with a crime, since asset forfeiture is technically an action against the property itself.

“We don’t have to prove that the person is guilty,” Sean Waite, the head of the DEA’s Albuquerque office, told the Albuquerque Journal. “It’s that the money is presumed to be guilty.”

Civil asset forfeiture became a popular tool in the 1980s among police and prosecutors for disrupting organized crime, especially drug trafficking, but since then the practice has ballooned, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars for local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies across the country.

Civil rights advocates say the civil asset forfeiture process is riddled with perverse incentives and lax oversight, leading everyday citizens to have their cash, cars, and even homes seized without being charged with crimes.

The Washington Post reported in an investigative series last year that federal, state, and local law enforcement agents have seized $2.5 billion in cash since 2001 from nearly 62,000 people.

“In the last couple years, I’ve seen four or five [asset forfeiture] cases, and I’m only one lawyer, so I think it’s an epidemic,” said Pancer, Rivers’ lawyer.

Pressure from media reports and civil rights groups led U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to announce in January that the Department of Justice would place new limits on its program that distributes asset forfeiture funds to police departments across the country.

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) re-introduced a bill this year that would curtail federal civil asset forfeiture.

New Mexico abolished civil asset forfeiture at the state and local level earlier this year, but the new law only restricts state and local police, not federal agents.

A fellow passenger helped Rivers get back home and contacted lawyers and media about his case, according to the Journal. Pancer said his client will challenge the government’s forfeiture action.

The Albuquerque DEA office said it could not comment on the specifics of Rivers’ case, as the forfeiture process is still ongoing, but that it would present its evidence supporting the seizure in court.

“The agents must be able to articulate probable cause when taking assets from an individual,” Eduardo Chavez, group supervisor at the Albuquerque DEA office, said in a statement to the Free Beacon. “At that point, they obviously felt that they did meet that criteria, and we are just going through the civil asset forfeiture process now.”

—  DEA Seizes Amtrak Passenger’s Life Savings Without Charging Him with Crime http://ift.tt/1cs94YN
Uber bans drivers from carrying guns AFTER driver uses his gun to STOP mass shooting

Nobody ever said liberals were logical people…

from Breitbart:

On April 20, the Chicago Tribune reported the driver was watching “a group of people” walk in front of his car on North Milwaukee Avenue just before midnight when 22-year-old Everardo Custodio allegedly “began firing into the crowd.” The Uber driver pulled his own gun and “fired six shots at Custodio,” wounding him in “the shin, thigh, and lower back.”

But now, the AP reports that Uber has decided to ban guns “to make sure riders and drivers feel comfortable.” The previous policy had simply been to follow local laws in areas where Uber drivers operate.

Uber says that “drivers or riders who violate the rule may lose access to the platform.”

The company did not comment on the lives saved by the Uber driver who had a gun in Chicago, nor did they explain what unarmed drivers and law-abiding passengers are supposed to do if there is a similar public attack near their Uber drop-off or pick-up.

read the rest

They might as well have hung a big sign on their drivers’ cars that said “defenseless driver.” 

READ THOMAS SOWELL

The Thomas Sowell Reader 2011

Judge silences bakers who closed after refusing to bake for lesbian wedding, fines them $135K

Any time we allow the government to begin picking and choosing whose liberties are more valuable, you wind up with a popularity contest.  Whoever is not in favor with the media or the power brokers in Washington ends up on the losing side of the equation.  

In this case, a couple’s sexual orientation means that they can force a deeply religious couple to participate in their wedding.  Now, after the couple closed up shop, the Oregon judge presiding over the case has tried to take away their 1st Amendment rights to speak about the case by issuing a gag order, but the couple isn’t backing down.

Watch this video:

from Daily Signal:

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

The cease and desist came about after Aaron and Melissa Klein participated in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. During the interview, Aaron said among other things, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong.”

Lawyers for plaintiffs, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, argued that in making this statement, the Kleins violated an Oregon law banning people from acting on behalf of a place of public accommodation (in this case, the place would be the Kleins’ former bakery) to communicate anything to the effect that the place of public accommodation would discriminate.

[…]

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” Avakian wrote.

The Kleins’ lawyer, Anna Harmon, was shocked by the provision.

Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas,” she told The Daily Signal. “Now he has ruled that the Kleins’ simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American’s right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas.”

read the rest

This isn’t a case of discrimination against gay people.  As you can hear in the video, the Kleins did serve the couple at their bakery.  They simply refused to participate in their wedding by baking a cake.  

Where there is discrimination, however, is the state of Oregon and the couple who filed the complaint targeting this couple because of their beliefs.  This kind of militant attack on personal religious beliefs should be terrifying to anyone out there. The “damages” in this case are so absurd that they would be laughable were this not so serious.  No, this is a case of the state and a special interest group trying to stamp out dissent. 

There’s a reason why the Founding Fathers put religion and speech first in the Bill of Rights.  Once we lose our ability to practice our religion peacefully and speak freely, the rest of our liberty will soon follow.