Citizenship, Economy, Free Society

We fought a war for these freedoms

© 2014 Earl L. Haehl: Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

In 1743, Sam Adams and James Otis, Jr, were admitted to the degree of Master of Arts with Honours by Harvard College. These two gentlemen were both allies and rivals over the next few years and the intellectual fathers of the American Revolution in Massachusetts Bay colony.

James Otis, Jr, was appointed advocate general of the vice admiralty court in Boston where he was an advocate enforcing the onerous Acts of Trade of 1751. As the residents of Massachusetts Bay sought extra-legal relief (Messrs John Hancock and Sam Adams being involved in such activity) Parliament came up with the use of “General Warrants” which allowed the Kings officers to search what they chose, when they chose and where they chose without specifics.

In 1761, partly because Gov Bernard appointed Thomas Hutchinson rather than James Otis, Sr, as Chief Justice, the younger Otis resigned his position as advocate general and took up the cause of the merchants of Massachusetts Bay. He did this pro bono or without fee.

His five hour argument in February of 1761, included the following:

A man’s house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court may inquire.

Does this sound familiar? Does the justification of NSA surveillance by such “defenders of our freedom” as Rep Peter King (R-NY) ring familiar?

James Otis, Jr, had begun his argument with the following.

I was desired by one of the court to look into the (law) books, and consider the question now before them concerning Writs of Assistance. I have accordingly considered it, and now appear not only in obedience to your order, but likewise in behalf of the inhabitants of this town, who have presented another petition, and out of regard to the liberties of the subject. And I take this opportunity to declare that whether under a fee or not (for in such a cause as this I despise a fee) I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other, as this Writ of Assistance is.

John Adams, Sam’s more conciliatory cousin who had doubts about independence characterized this as the first act of resistance. It was the first action in an intellectual war of small actions which culminated in the shots fired at Lexington Green on 19 April 1775.

The court, presided over by the corrupt Thomas Hutchinson, rejected the argument. But the speech was amplified and published over the years. In December of 1773 Hutchinson was to be the recipient of a shipment of tea that would be forfeit to his warehouse on 17 December of that year. James Otis, Jr’s classmate Sam organized a costume party (it took place on Beethoven’s third birthday) that result in the tea being tossed into the harbor so it could not be unloaded.

Through the assistance of the anti-federalist movement which in the newly free and independent Commonwealth of Massachusetts included Sam Adams and the sister of James Otis, Jr, Mercy Otis Warren, ten amendments restricting governmental powers were adopted and ratified. These included the Fourth Amendment which reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

After “9/11” supposedly changed “our democracy forever” the United States passed the USAPATRIOT Act which greatly expanded the powers of the US Department of Justice, the NSA (LBJ’s Secret Police) and government in general—we now have a Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security with seemingly unlimited powers. (I could posit that the events of 11 September 2001 did not substantially change the risk level for the United States but only the fear level.)

This legislation is not “the law of the land” in that it is passed, not pursuant to the powers granted in the body of the Constitution and contrary to the limits on federal power bluntly stated in the fourth article amending that Constitution. In other words, the argument is that an emergency grants extraordinary powers to ignore the basics of governing in a free society. In the 1688 Bill of Rights, the British Parliament objected to standing armies in time of peace—and since 1688 every monarch has assured military adventurism as a means to keeping standing armies. In 1798 John Adams wanted emergency powers because he had a gotten into a shooting conflict with France—his successor refused to enforce those powers. Since 1914 the United States has been in conflict with one or more foes—only twice, 1917 and 1941, have there been formal declarations of war although Bill Fulbright posited that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution might be so considered.

The advantage to the powers that be of “emergencies” is that the electorate, with a dire threat from the outside, is willing to forgo freedoms in the belief that such willingness will diminish the threat. Ergo, since Muslim extremists were capable of flying a couple planes into buildings we are under threat—although we currently have no enemies with industrial capabilities, having reached a rapprochement with Red China and having caused the downfall of the Soviet Union through a massive spending war. However, we have a “Global War on Terror” as a result of G.W. Bush acting like John Adams on steroids and Barack Obama not being Thomas Jefferson in any sense.

Going back to the Fourth Amendment, James Otis, Jr, began a revolution of thought. As the kernel of the idea grew, it was added to and built up pressure. By April of 1775, the American Revolution was over—what lay ahead was a War for Independence. Yes, for these ideas and freedoms we went to war, not to give power over to a government that took crises as a rationale for going back to a time before it all happened and back to a government that made Leviathan look like a gila monster.

 

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Compleat Idler, Economy, Humor, Technology

Short commentary

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Susan Rice withdrew from consideration for Secretary of State. No, this will not end the Benghazi debate—it was not the messenger but the message. Obama wanted his narrative.

Obama to meet with Boehner. A headline something like Fighting Intense Near Verdun in 1915 and 16 and 17 and 18. Look for something that kicks the can down the road a year or two.

Michigan passes “right to work.” Do not be surprised by repeal in a couple years.

Obama supports “secular” opposition in Syrian. Of course they can fit in one phone booth. Jordan is next.

Kansas Governor merges adult and juvenile corrections. This is an extremely bad idea which has been around since the early eighties—at least.

Lindsay Lohan is down to one story in today’s Mail—apparently she is impoverished. You might think that playing Elizabeth Taylor might lead her to Paris’s brother Conrad.

There are petitions on the White House website for secession. The state legislators who actually pass secession resolutions are not about to give up their entitlements and funding for their projects by doing so.

Meanwhile there are also petitions to nationalize Twinkies and build a Death Star—the latter being touted as a “jobs engine” on the scale of NASA. I do not see private capital coming forward to finance even part of such a project.

There are some private capital bids for some Hostess trademarks and recipes (take sugar, add high fructose corn syrup, throw in artificial flavors and colors, pump air into the center, throw on some more sugar). Meanwhile, Little Debbie sits there luring customers with her innocent smile—plus sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, sugar frosting, powdered sugar.

There may be something to this petition site. It helps identify the clueless.

The MailOnline reports a decline in the Samurai Caste during the Edo period because of lead poisoning in the make-up they wore. My brother sent me the more nuanced report from MSNBC. As an historical note, in the 1860s the District of Columbia installed new lead water pipes to prevent sabotage of the system. Solutions cause problems.

 

 

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Compleat Idler, Education

Scottish-Americans meet reality – Jacobites

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

NOTE:  This is a rant, not a detailed piece of scholarly history.  Much is relayed through different family traditions and I am not a Jacobite.

The season of Scottish-American pride draws to a close. Soon it will be October with the weather getting cooler and snowfall upon us making outdoor festivals less than pleasant—I remember freezing my buns at McPherson in late September after ditching my windbreaker in Estes two weeks earlier. My broken hip has, for the last few seasons, limited my ability to get to these gatherings and tweak the pride—though a good argument is probably the most Scots of that goes on.

My definition of modern Scots is as follows: A people of varied Celto-Norse heritage living north of England who, without English interference, would have annihilated each other centuries ago. The languages spoken are English, Scots (an English dialect originally called Inglis), Cymru, Gaelic (also called Erse or Irish), Norwegian and Glaswe (the dialect of Glasgow which does not appear mutually intelligible with any known language). Cymru, Gaelic and possibly Glaswe are Celtic (Seltic) languages. English, Scots and Norwegian derive from Old Norse.

I will start with the Jacobites because they are the easiest to describe, being a group of English and Scots aristocrats and bishops who preferred the profligacy of James II (VII of Scotland) to the hard money austerity of William of Orange (both of whom were descendants of Henry VII). We are here talking about the throne of England, the throne of Scotland not having much in the way of power or finances. No, kiddies, Bonnie Prince Charlie had no interest whatsoever in an independent Scotland.

Do not worry. Over the next few weeks I can dispatch Duncan the Wicked, his son Malcolm the Fat Head, Malcolm’s English second wife Margaret, Robert the Brus, the Stuarts and anyone else I can skewer.

Charles I had been removed as King by Parliament. The power of Parliament to choose the monarch goes back to the days of Henry VIII and his concern about the Spanish Princess Mary inheriting from him and restoring the bishops to outside control. He had hopes that Edward VI would grow into a powerful monarch destined for greatness, but gave Parliament authority to name Edward’s successor. Instead of naming Henry’s nephew James V of Scotland, They named Henry’s hapless niece Jane Grey, setting her up to last about as long as Macbeth’s successor Lulach. What happened in terms of greatness of Henry’s successors was that the throne eventually devolved on his younger daughter Elizabeth. And while Elizabeth of England eliminated her whiny, manipulative cousin Mary Stuart, when she died the throne went to Mary’s son James VI of Scotland. This was not because his mother was the rightful monarch but because his great-great grandfather was Henry VII—the Stuarts were in the Royal line because they were Tudors.

In 1688, a group of seven nobles persuaded William of Orange, James II’s nephew/son-in-law and his wife Mary to come to England to oust James. Mary believed her new half-brother to be a switch for a stillborn and feared the coming Catholicism. William arrived with his troops, the military switched sides and James, on his second attempt, was able to take a permanent vacation in France. Parliament declared the Throne vacant, disqualified Prince James Edward by disqualifying any Catholic, and made William King. Note: I determining “rightful” monarchs I follow the practical solution of recognizing the prevailing monarch in the fight.

The first Jacobite uprising was led by John Graham of Claverhouse (AKA Bonnie Dundee—see Sir Walter Scott’s notes in Old Mortality). Claverhouse slaughtered a bunch of Presbyterians at Killiecrankie—he enjoyed slaughtering Presbyterians. However, Claverhouse was killed and the movement sputtered.

Jacobites derive that name from Jacobus (Iacobus) Rex—the Latin for King James. The fact is that Parliament prohibited the issue of James II by his second wife from inheriting which left his two daughters, Mary and Anne, and his nephew William of Orange. Following the deaths of William and Mary, Queen Anne assumed the throne. Following the death of Queen Anne’s last son, Parliament passed the 1701 Act of Settlement which provided the English crown, in default of issue from either William or Anne, was settled upon “the most excellent princess Sophia, electress and duchess-dowager of Hanover” and “the heirs of her body, being Protestant.” As it happened, when Queen Anne died without issue in 1714, the crown went to Georg Ludwig, great grandson of James I. So we have the line from the Hanovers to the Stuarts to the Tudors.

Now the throne of England has a history of being transferred by military power. The most famous was in 1066. When Edward the Confessor died there were four claimants. The “rightful monarch,” grandson of Edmund Ironside stayed in Hungary and expected to be called. Harald Hardradi of Denmark invaded from the North, picking up support from Caithness and Orkney. In a fluke he was killed by the troops of Harold Godwinson who then marched his troops south to Hastings where he ran across William of Normandy. William’s Normans had lived in Normandy since his ancestor Ganger Hrolf had made a deal with Charles the Simple for land in exchange for stopping the raiders from the North from viking in Paris. The were basically Norsemen who spoke abominable French. So when George ascended the throne James Francis Edward Stuart, having been recognized as King by Louis XIV in 1702 decided to restore his rights.

The problem is that when you attempt a military solution against a recognized monarch you need a competent army, competent commanders and a coherent plan. Remember that when the Brus went up against Edward II at Bannockburn, he had 300 Norman cavalry stashed in surprise mode and he had more or less popular support. Scotland was not universally Jacobite. The Duke of Argyll had no love for the profligate James II and VII. The Protestant branch of the family had stabilized the economic situation. A note: The Stuarts, like the Brus, were Normans—they tended to crop up in a lot of places as the civilizers of Europe.

Again in 1745-46, there was another major uprising led James Francis Edward’s generally besotted son Charles Edward William Stuart who was half-Polish and raised in Italy. The general reception he got in the west of Scotland was, “Go home.” According to Alex Beaton he replied, “I am-a home.” Alex went for the New York showbiz laugh. Bonnie Prince Charlie had never led an army in combat but that was not a problem because Scots are “natural fighters.” (Note how Robert Brus had heavy French Cavalry and the Scots did not fare that well against the English overall.)

So after getting within striking distance of London, Charlie retreated to Inverness. George called on his own surrogate, his son William, Duke of Cumberland, who had been in military combat for years and was battle hardened. With experienced English and Scots troops he marched north to the climax at Culloden. There was no secret Templar army waiting, only Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobites. The aftermath of the battle—the slaughter of survivors—was carried out by Scots troops, the English not really having much taste for slaughter.

We all know the Skye Boat, the escape in drag courtesy of Flora McDonald in exchange for the Dram Buie recipe, and the later life which would indicate he was not as much into discipline as his Hanoverian cousins. But this little tidbit was in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9211247/DNA-reveals-the-truth-about-Bonnie-Prince-Charlie.html

Evidently there is a gene for profligacy in Cornwall as well.  (Addendum: Well he should have Welsh DNA.  He was a direct descendent of Owen Tudor.)

While the rout a Culloden ended the military threat to the Hanoverian line, there were some sphincters tightened in 1784 when Scottish Episcopal Bishops consecrated Samuel Seabury as Bishop for the Church of North America. Fearing the rise of a Jacobite Church the English Bishops swiftly obtained authorization to consecrate Bishops for the American Church without the oath to support the King.

There are still some “Stuart” claimants, but it is more likely that the monarchy will simply disappear altogether. As I have said, no one recognizes a loser—except maybe other losers.

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Citizenship, Education

Antique Roman

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

 

Never believe it.
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.
Here’s yet some liquor left. – Horatio in Hamlet act V

It takes awhile to find that line though it rings true to me—it always has and yet it is not found in the memorable quotes because it is not “profound” to English lit professors. I admit to having not read the play itself since high school, following the admonition of my Shakespeare scholar father to watch rather than read.

Why I relate to the specific line is that I, too, am more antique (republican) Roman than 21st Century progressive American. The Roman republic was created when Lucius Junius Brutus defeated the tyrant Lucius Tarquinus Superbus (the Proud) and ended the monarchy in 509 BCE. From this republic which was defended by blood—Brutus watched the execution of his own sons for attempting to restore the monarchy. During the Republic 509-44 BCE the people of Rome began referring to themselves as Citizens and at Brutus’ insistence took an oath:

Omnium primum avidum novae libertatis populum, ne postmodum flecti precibus aut donis regiis posset, iure iurando adegit neminem Romae passuros regnare.
First of all, by swearing an oath that they would suffer no man to rule Rome, it forced the people, desirous of a new liberty, not to be thereafter swayed by the entreaties or bribes of kings.

We have never, since the beginning of the American Republic, been required to take such an oath although we insist on school children repeating a mindless pledge to a flag that was written by a socialist minister and used to enforce a belief in a unitary democracy.

At any rate, the antique Romans believed in defending the Republic but not giving power to a king or a dictator. Unfortunately, as time progressed the Senate allowed generals their way and was happy with conquest. While maintaining the trappings of republicanism, the actual form of government that began to develop was an empire. Cato the Elder, Rome’s Joe Lieberman, would end his senate speeches on any topic with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam or “in my opinion we should destroy Carthage.” While Republicans would counter this, in 146 BCE Rome destroyed the Phoenician port of Carthage and the die was cast about a century before Gaius Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

At any rate, Caesar was content to keep the fiction of a Republic—the Senate made him dictator for life in 44 BCE. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a shorter term than expected as Marcus Junius Brutus, descendant of Lucius Junius Brutus, led the assassination that got him mention in Dante and Shakespeare. With Gaius out of the way, his nephew Octavian defeated Antonius and Brutus to become Caesar Augustus. Plutarch used the term “fall of the Republic” rather than “rise of the Empire.”

I am more of an Antique Roman than a 21st Centuty progressive. I am a citizen of the Republic.

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Compleat Idler, Education, Free Society

Things to come

SEPTEMBER:

There are a couple of crucial events in the history of freedom.

12-13-14  1814  –  Battle of Baltimore

General Ross’s finest troops take on the “ill-prepared” Maryland Militia.

Vice Admiral Cochrane discovers that Congreve rockets make an excellent light show

23  1779  –  “I may sink, but I shall not strike.”

New vs refitted ships

DECEMBER:

Repel of Volstead Act

6 Dec 1933

Right in the middle of the month, having nothing to do with the Old Wolf’s birthday are a couple days to remember.

15  1791  –  George Mason prevails

Ten articles for liberty.

16  1773  –  Costume party at Griffins’s Wharf

Break out your Welsh flags

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Free Society, Preparedness

Night military maneuvers in Massachusetts

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

A cautionary tale

There was a night Back in ’75
Or so I’m told, the story’s alive
The officials went out with 800 boots
to confiscate the powder that shoots

And maybe capture a traitor or two
Old Adams was there and Hancock too
There’d be no alarm at Concord of Course
They’d captured Revere, and taken the horse

And there as they arrived at Lexington green
Were armed Minutemen–very few were seen.
The officials alert so quick to the gun
They neglected two men on the run

‘Twas over in minutes- the rebels in retreat
And redcoats marched on up the street,
To Concord where there was powder none
Except that loaded in horn and in gun

While Adams and Hancock who thought redcoats silly
Sat in the coach that would take them to Philly
While the Redcoats back to Boston did go
Pursued by the rebels with no spoils to show

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Uncategorized

More on Anonymity and Retribution

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

This is a little more on the use of anonymity in American politics without going into street names and current literature.

Anonymous was, according to Paul Stubblefield who was my freshman English teacher at DU, the most prolific writer in the English language prior to the eighteenth century.  On the web (s)he seems to be making a comeback.  The use of noms de plume goes back in politics in this country at least to 1722 when Silence Dogood slipped letters under the door of James Franklin’s printing operation.  James’ younger brother Ben had a number of similar correspondents of whom Poor Richard is the best known.  I might go back to Elizabethan times if I accepted the nonsense about Edward de Vere writing plays and sonnets under the name of William Shakespeare, but I’ve read some of De Vere’s work, and he is no Bill Shakespeare.  I am listing here a url to a pdf of an article in the January 8, 1770, Boston Gazette signed by Vindex.  It appears that Vindex is none other than Sam Adams.

The Constitution of the United States was a controversial issue in 1787 when it was submitted for ratification.  There are still writers who consider it a coup d’tat and assert that the Articles of Confederation are the legal founding document, but I have also heard claims regarding the descendants of James VII of Scotland, II of England to the current throne.  As an answer I point out that Cumberland won at Culloden with an army of Scots. The fact is that Cumberland won.  And the fact is that the United States Constitution was ratified by the states.  

Virginia and New York were problematic states.  Jefferson and  George Mason were both master politicians who were able to force a “conditional” ratification on the convention.  New York was a battle ground.  The Federalist faction wrote up a series of arguments which we read as the Federalist Papers like they are just nice essays explaining the Constitution.  They were part of a debate as to what should be the form of government and whether there would be a republic strong enough to ward off the recolonization that England would attempt.  (People in those days knew that England was the power in the British Isles–there was no pandering to the Welsh, Scots and Irish with the namby-pamby United Kingdom language of the twentieth century.)   The name signing the Federalist Papers was Publius.  In addition to anti-federalists there were Tories still loyal to King and Church.  No, they did not all go to the Hudson Bay colony.  Their descendants are still here.  But they were keeping in contact and would gladly have turned in Col Hamilton or Mr Jay.  Mr Madison had already been convicted of treason in absentia.  So the name Publius was used because, let us face it. we are products of the Roman Republic, of the literature, culture and law.

The Anti-Federalist papers argued against doing away with the Articles of Confederation.  They believed in a voluntary compact that would allow them to come and go and to enact legislation that would help them protect jobs in their own state.   So who wrote the Anti-Federalist Papers.   Cato and Brutus were the primary authors.  There is some evidence, though not conclusive, that Col George Clinton was Cato.  Clinton was the governor of New York and a Revolutionary War Officer.  Other names mentioned are Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee.  The latter is not to be confused with Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee, a staunch federalist.  At any rate, identities were “secret” until after the fact.

The upshot of the conflict between the factions was that New York, like Virginia, ratified the Constitution conditioned on passage of a Bill of Rights.  And that Bill of Rights contains ten Amendments that essentially prohibit federal action or regulation.  Without the input of Publius, Cato and Brutus we might be living under a constitutional government with no limits on its powers.

In my opinion (realizing that everyone who took constitutional law I and II is an expert, and further realizing that the only justice who comes close to my constitutional view is Thomas) the decision in Citizens United did not go far enough and dismantle the Federal Election Commission as well as the regulations it enforces.  My reasoning is that the First Amendment permits no regulation on speech, petition, or the electoral process.  The Congress has power to regulate the selection of electors in the District of  Columbia and the power to regulate local elections in said District and in territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam etc.  Otherwise the only provision for federal interference in state sponsored elections which include elections to the house and senate are the Fifteenth. Nineteenth and Twenty-sixth Amendments which guarantee individual rights to vote and are handled by the Justice Department.

There is an argument that in our society with open communication there is no retribution and therefore no need for anonymity.  Retribution goes back to the administration of John Adams, second president of the United States and one of two former presidents to endorse the idea of Massachusetts’ secession, had an enemies list, a number of whom were incarcerated under the Sedition Act of 1798.  There was a similar Sedition Act in 1917 under which a number of anti-war, anti-military ministers were incarcerated as well as a number of opponents of conscription were incarcerated for the duration.  During the War of 1861-65, a number of judges and legislators were banished to the Confederate States of America.  Much anonymous literature was circulated opposing Lincoln and the War.  Specifically, Clement Laird Vallandigham of Ohio was convicted by a military commission and denied a writ of habeas corpus when he was forthwith incarcerated.  Lincoln ordered him transported to the Confederacy in order to prevent him from becoming a “martyr for the Copperheads.”  This did not stem the anonymous criticism of Lincoln and the war.

In the thirties there was a true civil war in Spain.  The Loyalists who considered themselves a soviet and had representation on the Politburo were portrayed as the “good guys” in the American press.  There was an American contingent in the International Brigade called the “Lincoln” battalion and there was at some point some adverse action attempted but the popularity of the cause–celebrated in Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls protected them. There were also Americans  who fought for Franco in the Spanish Foreign Legion, but they kept quiet about their participation in the cause of the Falange because they could suffer retribution at home.  However the choice was not between the Falange and Republicanism but between Falangist Republicanism and the agents of Stalin.

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Free Society

July 4, 1776 High Treason

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl – Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

 

NOTE: This is going out on 3 July 2012 because that was the vote for freedom. They postponed the signing so Matlack could make a clear copy. The Flags went up today although there were about four flags in use, none which had stars and stripes. Two had stripes, two had snakes, two had the Union Jack.  I am also including a glossary that wlll define certain terms in bold letters.  Acknowledgement is due to Thomas Jefferson. Benjamin Franklin and John Adams who produced the significant text of this article.

July 4, 1776. No stars and stripes. No speeches about conquest and empire. It was a solemn occasion and the men in the room knew how solemn. And yet, without hesitation, one of the wealthiest men in Boston signed a document that confirmed the treason of the armed rebellion that had been going on for fourteen and a half months. Everyone knew that should they fail the gallows awaited. The slogan “freedom is not free” was not a slogan but a grim reality and yet after Hancock signed they adjourned to the watering holes of Philadelphia to celebrate. Cannon and fireworks were fired,

And yet, the King’s forces were in New Jersey. The governor of New Jersey had issued a warrant for Benjamin Franklin for seditious speech. Washington’s first military command was the Continental army—his previous experience had been coordinating the retreat of Braddock’s army and attempting to limit casualties. The colonials still had a slipshod military. There were those for whom the traitor’s noose was a very real spectre,

Actually the wording had been agreed upon the previous day and taken to the scrivener, Timothy Matlack. Matlack had been selected by Franklin as someone who could be trusted. Although he had been read out of meeting for pursuing education rather than learning a trade, he was a devout Quaker and would be instrumental in founding the Free Quaker Meeting for those believing in a defensive war.

There were those in Congress who had misgivings with following Sam Adams and Ben Franklin down the road to revolution. There are also interpreters who said the revolution had already occurred and this was merely its revelation to the world and statement that it would now defend itself.

For today’s Liberty Movement, it is somehow perceived as “we did it once and we will do it again.” And there are those who believe it to be a cake walk—look how we’re defending liberty in …. whereever. It is not. Our troops are supporting empire. Our revolution was the beginning of the end of the British Empire. What we are seeking is a freedom that has been compromised by those who came after and decided to change the system to be more democratic. With these changes, there has been an expansion of governmental power and a shrinking of individual rights.

So what were they signing that took so much courage? Try this:

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.

Ready to sign? John Hancock was but the Royal Navy already had a noose with his name on it. Are conditions so bad that you are ready and willing to take arms against an army that has you outgunned? Do you think that your First Amendment rights protect you?

In 1956 there was a national revolt in Hungary against the Soviet Union. 3000 were killed and more than 1200 incarcerated. In May of l968 Alexander Dubcek announced relaxation of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. In August the Warsaw Pact tanks rolled in. Some were arrested, there were no deaths and Moscow had reasserted authority.

In June 1989 the Chinese reacted to unarmed protestors with military force. The death toll is in the thousands. In Moscow, military units defected, giving the protestors armed force to overthrow the Soviet Union.

Still ready to sign? NDAA2012 suspended the Posse Comitatus Act and US troops may be used on dissidents. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are being desensitized about firing on civilians. Additionally, there are federal police in the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, HUD, HHS, Energy and Agriculture. They have the latest military weapons and training. And then there are the reeducation camps where you learn to fit in.

Are you ready for the long soft war? Are you ready to do your research and talk to people, taking over the political structure on precinct at a time. Be aware that the forces of Tyranny are ready to defend their turf and perquisites. Be aware that a deliberately created underclass will rise up to support the power structure.

BUT REMEMBER: The patriots had minority of the population. They were outgunned and outprovisioned. But eventually they prevailed. And we will prevail.

Mini-glossary:

  • Democratic: By popular vote and majority rule. It is a good way to elect representatives but there is a need for checks and balances.
  • unalienable Rights: That is rights conferred by Nature and Nature’s God and cannot be taken away by government whim under any pretext.
  • Right of the People to alter or to abolish it: The people have the right to change the government by any means available.
  • repeated injuries and usurpations: The justifications list as causes for separation and rebellion.
  • Petitioned for Redress: Made request formally to the governing powers to alleviate the conditions listed.
  • mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor: This means everything, jobs, benefits, family, possessions.
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Education, Free Society

Flag of Defiance

(c) Earl L. Haehl  Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

I just made an order for a new flag—I like to fly two on my front porch on important holidays. We celebrate Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Defenders’ Day, Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. I suppose I could get some foreign flags and also celebrate the Battle of Puebla, Bastille Day and Guy Fawkes Day, but it’s safer in my neighborhood to stick with US flags. Especially on 5 May when the Mexican flag would attract neighbors wanting beer.

I also ran across a video urging the replacement of the National Anthem with America the Beautiful for the following reasons. America the Beautiful is recommended because it is easier to sing, has several stanzas, was written in Colorado and is less jingoistic. I first heard these arguments from Miz Kirk which is what we called our fourth grade teacher at a time when Miz was short for Mrs and Kirkpatrick was difficult to pronounce. And I may have at the time signed the schoolchildren’s petition, but now I look on it from close to sixty more years of experience.

The flag I ordered to replace the Gadsden flag is what I call the Flag of Defiance. It is a replica of the flag I saw as I entered the History Museum of the Smithsonian in 1969. As I remember it, the flag was hung on a wall and we saw it behind a seated sculpture of George Washington in a toga with his hands gesturing as if he were saying, “My body lies at Mount Vernon, my clothes are in the Smithsonian.”1 As we got past General Washington, we noticed that it was bigger than the post flag at NTC San Diego and Fort Ord, CA. And the colors were dull and dark, because it had come through the darkest hours of the Republic.

In a sense our flags up to that time had been flags of defiance from the Cromwell flag of the Sons of Liberty right up to the flag sewn by the gentle Quaker upholsterer2 who lived next to what Amos the Mouse calls “the old Church on Second Street.”3

It was in Baltimore, Maryland, in mid-September 1814. While Jefferson had embargoed British trade in retaliation for the Royal Navy using American merchant vessels as a source of impressed seamen, his successor James Madison had made the misstep of getting into war. The New England states had held aloof from this war which had given the King and Regent the excuse needed to subjugate and recolonize the breakaway lands. And General Robert Ross had just changed the game by capturing the Capital. The National Army was dead, captive or in hiding in the hinterlands, the Marines were dead or in British Custody, the legislators had gone home as had the Court Justices, and the President was in flight and hiding. A missive to this effect had been sent home.

This capture of the seat of government was a stunning blow and in any country in Europe it would have meant conquest. But what Ross knew was that the seat of the United States was the seat of a confederation and some of the states would still hold out. In 1814 the term state and nation were roughly synonymous. It was not until after the unpleasantries of the 1860s that states were considered as subordinate units rather than sovereign entities. There he decided on Baltimore as the first target for pacification,

Baltimore was known in London as a “nest of pirates.”  There were small fast sloops  that smuggled goods past the blockade and captured supply ships that were then taken to France where the goods were sold and they were refitted as naval vessels. This would be a piece of cake after taking out the national army. The problem was what George Mason had referred to as a “well regulated” militia. And they were waiting on the morning of 13 September. Ross was killed while on reconnaissance and his second made two attempts to dislodge the defenders before advising the Navy it was their baby.

So Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane advised his luncheon companion, Francis Scott Key, that he would be released upon the conclusion of the imminent bombardment of Fort McHenry. He then moved his squadrons out of the range of the Fort’s guns. About 4 pm the bombardment began—General Smith’s defenders initially returned fire, but ceased when they realized the targets were out of range. So it was a night of hammering the fort with the big guns and a few Congreve rockets which provided a light show, but not much more.

The flag flying over the fort took some damage, About ten minutes before dawn it went down. The protocol for situations like this was to draw down your battle flag and raise the white one. Cochrane, and Key as well, had been watching all night. And then in the first light, the flag came up. I call this the flag of defiance rather than the Star Spangled Banner but I was trained as a soldier before I was trained as a lawyer. (Neither profession came to much.) The colors were brighter then in the breeze of the morning—brighter than the faded banner in the Smithsonian which is in fact the same banner. And there was no mistaking the message, a hand made flag, 30′ x 42′, red and white and dark blue. This was a more genteel version of the Abby Hoffman salute.

Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane made a couple diversionary attempts, but he had few marines and Ross’s force was much diminished. And so he dispatched his message to his superiors—knowing that King and Regent would not be happy. And then, picking up the remnant of the infantry, he proceeded to join Lord Packingham at the Port of New Orleans.

The flag of defiance told Britain and the world we were free. By the time the siege of New Orleans erupted into battle, the parties at Ghent knew about Washington and knew about Baltimore. And this is why on September 14, 2012, the first flag up and the one on the right will have fifteen stars and fifteen stripes.4

Footnotes:

1. A guidebook to Washington, DC, I seem to have lost over the years.
2. Elizabeth Griscom Ross Ashburn Claypool. She was read out of Philadelphia Meeting because she married an Anglican but later joined the Free Quaker Meeting founded by Samuel Wetherill and Timothy Matlack (who drafted the Declaration of Independence but probably did not put invisible clues to the treasure on the back).
3. “Ben and Me” Disney, 1953. A cartoon every third grader should see.
4. The next flag had twenty stars and they went back to thirteen stripes. I was just trying to imagine fifty pinstripes.

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Uncategorized

The new Villienage

About a year ago commentary in Alex Jones’ infowars.com discussed a tax protest in England. A number of Englishmen engaged in effecting a civil arrest of a judge over a “charter tax” which the judge was enforcing. This was in neither Idaho nor Montana, but in the mother country. Commentators are comparing this to a poll tax protest in 1990 and on this side of the pond to the American Revolution.

Such comparisons are often made. However the Peasants’ Revolt or Wat Tyler’s rebellion took place in 1381 as peasants who were unhappy with their lot of being taxed. They rebelled against the boy king, Richard II, who had ascended the throne because his father, Edward the Black Prince, had the bad form to predecease his grandfather Edward III. As a minor Richard was controlled by John of Gaunt and Simon Sudbury, a pair of tyrants who would exist gloriously in the pages of a Sir Waltet Scott novel. The tax was not as important as the fact that these peasants were held in a state of villeinage or perpetual debt by their lords.

Added to this was that a theologian named Wycliffe had recently been dismissed from Oxford for his deviation from church doctrine regarding the Eucharist. His followers were called Lollards and were mostly from the class of villeins.

This is just a little background. In the great twentieth century we began some programs to have the government guarantee and regulate loans for various purposes such as small business (really big businesses do not need these loans because they have subsidies in the form of contracts), farming, home ownership and education. This was to protect these from the rigors of the market and to protect farmers from the villainous bankers who appear in melodrama to take the farm until Dandy Dick shows up, having hit the Power Ball to save the day. Note that the term villain is used for a creditor whereas the term villein means debtor. The term villain was early on used as a class distinction as in “these rough villains” to refer to the debtor class who were outside polite society. In American usage the term villain became the loathsome creditor.

In the late seventies and early eighties there was a mortgage crisis in the midwest—it is not considered as serious because the people losing their stuff were farmers. So were they the victims of predatory banks? In the words of Walter Williams if you said no go to the head of the class. The banks had been working with the farmers, adjusting rates—they had been through the tough times together and come out of it before. The Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) was the successor of a new deal agency that guaranteed agricultural assistance loans. It was a GS-14 or supergrade administrator who made the decision that the banks had to foreclose.

During the Clinton Administration many of the loan guarantee programs became direct loan programs. During the “recovery,” bailout or takeover of the financial system there were a lot of requirements on private lenders to adjust terms and even write off debt.

However, no government debt was written off and, in fact such debt follows for the rest of people’s lives and is not discharged in bankruptcy. The existence of Federal student loan debt (either direct or guaranteed) may restrict government employment, travel outside the country, educational programs etc. Such controls over individuals is much like the semi-feudal control in England in the fourteenth century.

During various times, especially in rural areas, there have been organizations sprout up to actively protest debt policies. (A joke in early Wyoming was that Republicans were beholden to the big banks in New York or Denver whereas Democrats were beholden to banks in Chicago and Omaha.) In the upper midwest there were “penny auctions” wherein friends and relatives of those farmers foreclosed on would bid trivial amounts on the land while other friends and relatives convinced speculators and bank representatives that they did not want to bid. This could happen again.

The problem with villienage is that it leads to the condition Kristofferson wrote about in Bobby Magee. “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” When too large a portion of the population gets into that situation it is going to be a lot different than the collectivist controlled Occupy movement.

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