Saturday, July 4, 2020

John to Abigail, 3 July 1776

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia July 3d. 1776
Had a Declaration of Independency been made seven Months ago, it would have been attended with many great and glorious Effects. . . .1 We might before this Hour, have formed Alliances with foreign States.—We should have mastered Quebec and been in Possession of Canada. . . . You will perhaps wonder, how such a Declaration would have influenced our Affairs, in Canada, but if I could write with Freedom I could easily convince you, that it would, and explain to you the manner how.—Many Gentlemen in high Stations and of great Influence have been duped, by the ministerial Bubble of Commissioners to treat. . . . And in real, sincere Expectation of this Event, which they so fondly wished, they have been slow and languid, in promoting Measures for the Reduction of that Province. Others there are in the Colonies who really wished that our Enterprise in Canada would be defeated, that the Colonies might be brought into Danger and Distress between two Fires, and be thus induced to submit. Others really wished to defeat the Expedition to Canada, lest the Conquest of it, should elevate the Minds of the People too much to hearken to those Terms of Reconciliation which they believed would be offered Us. These jarring Views, Wishes and Designs, occasioned an opposition to many salutary Measures, which were proposed for the Support of that Expedition, and caused Obstructions, Embarrassments and studied Delays, which have finally, lost Us the Province.

All these Causes however in Conjunction would not have disappointed Us, if it had not been for a Misfortune, which could not be foreseen, and perhaps could not have been prevented, I mean the Prevalence of the small Pox among our Troops. . . . This fatal Pestilence compleated our Destruction.—It is a Frown of Providence upon Us, which We ought to lay to heart.

But on the other Hand, the Delay of this Declaration to this Time, has many great Advantages attending it.—The Hopes of Reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by Multitudes of honest and well meaning tho weak2 and mistaken People, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished.—Time has been given for the whole People, maturely to consider the great Question of Independence and to ripen their Judgments, dissipate their Fears, and allure their Hopes, by discussing it in News Papers and Pamphletts, by debating it, in Assemblies, Conventions, Committees of Safety and Inspection, in Town and County Meetings, as well as in private Conversations, so that the whole People in every Colony of the 13,3 have now adopted it, as their own Act.—This will cement the Union, and avoid those Heats and perhaps Convulsions which might have been occasioned, by such a Declaration Six Months ago.

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with4 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.5

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not.—I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.—Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing6 Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even7 altho We should rue8 it, which I trust in God We shall not.9
“John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776,” Founders Online, National Archives, [Original source: The Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 2, June 1776 – March 1778, ed. L. H. Butterfield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 29–33.]

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

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.

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

North Carolina
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

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

John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

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

Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

New York
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

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

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple

Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire
Matthew Thornton

Friday, June 19, 2020


This is Juneteenth.

I had long known that on June 19th, 1865 -- Juneteenth -- the Emancipation Proclamation was announced in Texas.

That's the short version, of course, the "I learned it in elementary school" version. (Actually, I think it was in junior high.)

What I did not realize was that the man doing the announcing was General Gordon Granger. General Granger had been my great great grandfather's corps commander at the Battle of Chickamauga.

I'm not claiming any deep personal connection. It's unlikely General Granger had a clue who some random rifleman in Company K of the 22nd Michigan was, and G'G'Grandfather was still convalescing in a hospital in Detroit a year and a half after the battle, so he probably never saw Texas.

I think what impresses me more than the (tenuous) connection is the fact that, this morning, I actually learned something from a Pubic Service Announcement on TV.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Flash Back!

A little way into the Korean Basic, once we had gotten to the point that we could manage more advanced grammar, we had a lesson in which "Dad" came home from work to find his sons brawling, and yelled "POK DONG AH! SSA-OOH JI MA!"; colloquially translated, "What is this riot?! Stop fighting!" 

Only we thought he was calling one of his sons "Pok Dong" -- riot or civil disturbance -- and did not quite grasp yet the nuances of Korean grammar; in this case, the imperative forms indicated by the "AH/MA" verbs endings.

(Confession digression: I are grammaring goodly in English, written or spoken, but if you require me to diagram a sentence, I'm heading for the door. I still have a hard time telling the difference between an adverb and an adjective, and I'm not clear on what a gerund is.)

So several years later I'm in Korea on my second tour, my first at the Second Infantry Division, and one weekend I scored a day pass to head down to Seoul. Maybe I was Christmas shopping, I don't recall, but I don't remember it as being particularly cold, so may not. 

Anyway, the bus route went by several universities, including Yeon Sei Dae Hak ("tae hak" = university; commonly referred to as "Yeon Dae", which, confusingly, is also the word for "regiment".)

The student body was participating in their favorite intramural activity, loudly proclaiming their opinions on various and sundry matters of great concern, featuring a variety of special effects and training aids by both said student body and their critics, to wit: bricks, rocks, fire bombs, and tear gas.

In other words, rioting.*

I caught a whiff of said tear gas, leaving me a bit hoarse for a day or two. When a Korean acquaintance asked if I was well, I explained that I had gotten too close to the "pok dong" near Yeon Dai.

And was promptly corrected: "Not a pok dong, it was a demo!"

And that, boys and girls was my first exposure to the concept that, if the cause is exalted enough, any amount of riotous, destructive, behavior can be excused by the simple process of designating it a "demonstration" or "peaceful protest."

*See P.J. O'Rourke's hilarious essay "Seoul Man" from Rolling Stone, reproduced in his collection Holidays in Hell.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

"Hygienic Fascism"

Author Aldous Huxley once said, “A thoroughly scientific dictatorship will never be overthrown.”

Even as we try to battle the COVID-19 pestilence, we may be contracting a more dangerous virus — hygienic fascism. This involves a process when our political leaders defer to a handful of “experts,” amid what Dr. Joseph Ladopo, an associate professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, describes as an atmosphere of “COVID-19-induced terror.”

Ideologically, hygienic fascism is neither right nor left, nor is it simply a matter of taking necessary precautions. It is about imposing, over a long period of time, highly draconian regulations based on certain assumptions about public health. In large part, it regards science not so much as a search for knowledge but as revealed “truth” with definitive “answers.” Anyone opposed to the conventional stratagem, including recognized professionals, are largely banished as mindless Trumpistas, ignoramuses, or worse.
I must confess, I was surprised, most of the articles I've seen at The tend to be more on the Big Government/Social Justice Snowflakery end of the spectrum than in Rugged Individualism's neighborhood, although it is very true that I don't go there enough to be able to say that my impression of their material is conclusive.

But there they are running this article, too: Facial recognition: The other reason we may need a face mask | TheHill
Don’t get out of the hard-learned habit of covering your face, even if you live in a place that will soon no longer require it. Long after the pandemic recedes, we may still need our N-95 respirators, surgical masks and DIY bandana coverings. Marking the triumph over COVID-19, when it finally happens, should not include a bonfire of masks. This symbol of the coronavirus fight may prove just as crucial against a different foe altogether.

Also spreading fast, but largely outside of global health debates and meaningful scrutiny, is facial recognition. We’ve had Apple’s handy Face ID since 2017, of course, with its 30,000 invisible facial dots that coalesce into a phone-unlocking faceprint, but potentially more perturbing applications are already here or around the corner. Face-Six wants to reduce medical errors and fraud by promising to help hospitals “identify patients whenever necessary, conscious or unconscious.” ISM Connect has scanned crowds at Taylor Swift’s concerts to weed out stalkers and generate tour promotion metrics. Clearview AI has been used by over 600 law enforcement agencies to solve cases from shoplifting to murder. So private it listed a fake Manhattan address as its business location, Clearview AI sold a product that allows users to take a picture of someone they are curious about and obtain links to public photos and sites pertaining to this person.

The power that such apps must bestow is suggested in another purveyor’s name, iOmniscient. Its site boasts of clients in 60 countries and over 30 industries, including retail, where it measures customers’ footpaths, visit frequency and dwell time. iOmniscient “excels in uncontrolled environments with non-cooperative individuals,” which would explain its suspected use during Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy protests. In response to the potential surveillance, demonstrators toppled smart lampposts believed to house the technology, destroyed CCTV cameras, hid themselves under umbrellas -- and donned face masks.
These pieces are from the Opinion pages of,  not "news", but still, I'm surprised.

Maybe there's hope after all.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Pandemic Panic Ponders

Haven't posted as much as I might, for a variety of reasons.

For one thing Bobbi and the guys at Powerline are tracking my thoughts pretty closely, and probably more eloquently than I could.

When it comes to science, I have found Spin, Strangeness, Charm and Watts Up With That? to be excellent sources; the former, especially, posts daily (if not more often) on news reports put of Europe, translated into English, with clear explanations of the science and medicine involved, with a minimum of hysteria.

OldNFO published this meme yesterday:
There is a lot we still don't know about SARS-CoV2 and COVID19. A lot of that gets lost in the squabbling surrounding it.

How virulent is it? What simple countermeasures are effective? Are the asymptomatic contagious? are there risk factors beyond the obvious?

If you find yourself hoping people die because they identify it as coming from China, then you're an idiot and I don't care for your opinion. If you screeched because the president shut down air travel from China and then kept screeching that he was overreacting, and pivoted immediately to he wasn't doing enough then you're an idiot and I don't care what your opinion is.

It is my opinion that after a 2 or 3 week lockdown we could have started re-opening with precautions, and we would be a lot better off, because people would still be working, the economy wouldn't be tanking, and, based on the experience in certain places that did not go full "Stay in your homes or else" mode, the disease "profile" would look little different.

I am not an epidemiologist. I admit I could be wrong. But when you look into the backgrounds of the "experts", there's a lot to question there.

The Brit that claimed the USA would have 2,000,000 deaths  was not only grossly mistaken, but he was responsible for several past public health related over-reactions on the part of Her Majesty's Government. (Not to mention having his married lover visit him from across town after publicly scolding Brits to stay indoors...)

Several years ago Dr Fauci responded to legislation banning certain virological research by funneling money to... a Chinese lab in Wuhan China. (I can actually follow the reasoning here. The research involved testing certain mutations to viruses to study responses. and treatments, so the research was important. But...)

As for government reaction...

Releasing felons from prison and arresting law abiding citizens for going outside? No wonder they want 100% mail-in ballots!

Monday, April 27, 2020

A New Definition for "Chutzpah"

It used to be the guy that murdered his parents begging for leniency in sentencing, due to being an orphan.

Now it's the Director General of the World Health Organization saying we should have been listening to him all along...


Saturday, April 25, 2020

QOTD, Wifely Wisdom Edition

As mentioned in the previous post, we have some show set at the Bronx Zoo running.
Being a tiger means never having to say you're sorry
Mrs. Drang

Earworm, Antipodean edition

Mrs. Drang, former docent at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, is watching some Animal Planet show set at the Bronx Zoo, where they are dealing with a wallaby that some idiot had as a pet.

So, naturally...

Fav comment from YouTube:
Gary Chamberlain 4 months ago:
I got this song in my head Fred,
I got this song in my head,
It'll be there till I am dead Fred,
It'll be there till I am dead.

  1. This is the original version, with the politically incorrect, racially insensitive 4th verse. I don't have much use for political correctness, but that attitude towards Australia's Aborigine was reprehensible. (Yes, the song could just be saying "Lay them off as they have no further employment after I've snuffed it", but if the rumors I've heard of  "Abo Hunts" are true...)
  2. Apparently Mr. Harris had some rather unsavory habits, and was pretty much unpersoned. This is unfortunate, but doesn't change the fact that this is a fun song. 

This reminds me that I missed ANZAC Day.

Sorry, Mate.

And, ANZAC Day:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Do You Want The Boogaloo? Because This is How You Get The Boogaloo (Updated)

(Links added to comments.)

First: If  you don't understand what is meant by The Boogaloo, well... I guess you can look it up on The Urban Dictionary.

Having said that...

In View From The Porch: People are getting edgy... Tamara excerpted a key 'graph from the rather lengthy post The COVID-19 Boogaloo Opus - Handwaving Freakoutery at Medium.

So then I see the following Tweet:
 Which of course, prompted a revival of the age-old questions
  • Drone: Rifle or Shotgun?
  • What Caliber for Drone?  
As infuriating as the implementation of technology in service of Big Government nannyism is,
Law enforcement is using drones to shout at people for violating social distancing.
the really bizarre thing about this story, as @LizRNC points out in her tweet above, is that these are DJI drones, a product of Communist China.

And an Internet search for the keywords "chinese drones law enforcement" will return dozens ( a conservative estimate) of articles referring to the US Government banning the use of drones from Communist China because of the predilection of the commies to have their tech phone home to the mother ship with details we'd rather the commies not have.

Seriously, what kind of an idiot elected official can be so tone-deaf in the face of Communist China's obvious responsibility for the current global pandemic and think "Hey, I know! We'll use ChiCom spy technology to nag people!" is a good idea.

Allegedly, these drones do not have the ability to transmit or record video.


Winnie The Flu says so.

EDIT to add: And then there's this crap:

Note: See comments for some links to news reporting on the subject. Also, statements re: No Video are probably meant to be "no recording of video or taking of photos."