Looking for Lincoln

And…..we were off!

Girlfriend, Thumper and Jabber took off for the Land of Lincoln in search of…..Lincoln!

Springfield, Illinois is located smack-dab in the center of Illinois, so it was a day-long road trip to get to our destination.  Jabber’s son lives there.  First on the search was a trip through the Illinois State Capitol building.

  The Senate Chamber.  Not meeting today.

The building has recently (and is currently) undergone renovation.  This is where our current President worked prior to becoming the President of the United States.  Son pointed out his seat, in the back row.

Son explains some of the history of the building to the girls (above).

But….pretty soon…..

Thumper and Girlfriend took their seats–Presenting The Honorable Girlfriend and Honorable Thumper of the Illinois State Senate.

Thumper looks pretty comfortable in that seat, doesn’t she?

The ceilings were as gorgeous as the walls.

 One of the statues of former notable politicians in Illinois history.

Girlfriend and Thumper contemplate the history of Illinois, but they are in search of Lincoln!

Above, the outside of the building and the dome….inside the dome below.

This is the dome in the center of the Capitol building–it is magnificent!

Looking down from the second floor of the rotunda under the dome (above).

Girlfriend decided to google where Lincoln might be while Thumper has decided that, no, Lincoln definitely is not here.

 

We tried looking in the House of Representatives in the Capitol building, but no one was there, either.

To get to the building, Son had taken us underground, through the tunnels and Rathskeller–what an amazing walkway it was, too!

View of one side of the Illinois State Capitol Building.

We had a private, wonderfully educational tour of the building–but we didn’t find Lincoln!  Tomorrow we would search elsewhere.

Just in Time!

“Just in time, I found you just in time, before you came my time was running low….”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_in_Time_(song)

Wonderful old song, don’t you think?  It’s a love song!  It was meant as a love song, and the writer was telling his/her love how grateful he/she was that he/she came along…

Transfer that ‘just in time’ message to 2015.  Do you know what it means?  It means that you, the average worker, are needed just in time for the employer–not earlier, not later, and sometimes not at all–just in time.  Just in time to do the work which the employer knows needs to be done when and where and at what time the employer says.

That is to say, your beneficent employer may decide they need you 10 minutes before they actually do.  Or, you may be scheduled to work at a certain date and time, but if circumstances change, your employer may send you a text  ten minutes beforehand and say, “Oh, never mind.  Turns out you aren’t necessary after all.”

That is called human resources, which is what we’ve all turned into.  Resources.  Like any other commodity, for the employer to use, use up, or choose not to use at all.  No consideration, folks–you are a resource, easily replaced in the modern-day workforce.  This, combined with the (laughably named) “right to work” laws give the employer all the cards in the deck.  In fact, YOU are JUST A CARD–To be dealt out, discarded or used as they see fit.  You aren’t even human any longer, you are a resource.

For more information on ‘just in time’ management, its impact on our society and the resulting chaos for actual human beings, I refer you to Robert Reich’s article on his blog: http://robertreich.org/post/116924386855

How the New Flexible Economy is Making Workers’ Lives Hell

MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2015
These days it’s not unusual for someone on the way to work to receive a text message from her employer saying she’s not needed right then.

Although she’s already found someone to pick up her kid from school and arranged for childcare, the work is no longer available and she won’t be paid for it.

Just-in-time scheduling like this is the latest new thing, designed to make retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, and other customer-driven businesses more nimble and keep costs to a minimum.

Software can now predict up-to-the-minute staffing needs on the basis of information such as traffic patterns, weather, and sales merely hours or possibly minutes before.

This way, employers don’t need to pay anyone to be at work unless they’re really needed. Companies can avoid paying wages to workers who’d otherwise just sit around.

Employers assign workers tentative shifts, and then notify them a half-hour or ten minutes before the shift is scheduled to begin whether they’re actually needed. Some even require workers to check in by phone, email, or text shortly before the shift starts.

Just-in-time scheduling is another part of America’s new “flexible” economy – along with the move to independent contractors and the growing reliance on “share economy” businesses, like Uber, that purport to do nothing more than connect customers with people willing to serve them.

New software is behind all of this – digital platforms enabling businesses to match their costs exactly with their needs.

The business media considers such flexibility an unalloyed virtue. Wall Street rewards it with higher share prices. America’s “flexible labor market” is the envy of business leaders and policy makers the world over.

There’s only one problem. The new flexibility doesn’t allow working people to live their lives.

Businesses used to consider employees fixed costs – like the costs of factories, offices, and equipment. Payrolls might grow or shrink over time as businesses expanded or contracted, but from year to year they were fairly constant.

That meant steady jobs. And with steady jobs came steady paychecks along with regular and predictable work schedules.

But employees are now becoming variable costs of doing business – depending on ups and downs in demand that may change hour by hour, possibly minute by minute.
.
Yet working people have to pay the rent or make mortgage payments, and have keep up with utility, food, and fuel bills. These bills don’t vary much from month to month. They’re the fixed costs of living.

American workers can’t simultaneously be variable costs for business yet live in their own fixed-cost worlds.

They’re also husbands and wives and partners, most are parents, and they often have to take care of elderly relatives. All this requires coordinating schedules in advance – who’s going to cover for whom, and when.

But such planning is impossible when you don’t know when you’ll be needed at work.

Whatever it’s called – just-in-time scheduling, on-call staffing, on-demand work, independent contracting, or the “share economy” – the result is the same: No predictability, no economic security.

This makes businesses more efficient, but it’s a nightmare for working families.

Last week, the National Employment Law Project reported that 42 percent of U.S. workers make less than $15 an hour.

But even $20 an hour isn’t enough if the work is unpredictable and insecure.

Not only is a higher minimum wage critical. So are more regular and predictable hours.

Some states require employers to pay any staff who report to work for a scheduled shift but who are then sent home, at least 4 hours pay at the minimum wage.

But these laws haven’t kept up with software that enables employers to do just-in-time scheduling – and inform workers minutes before their shift that they’re not needed.

In what may become a test case, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week warned 13 big retailers – including Target and The Gap – that their just-in-time scheduling may violate New York law, which requires payments to workers who arrive for a shift and then are sent home.

We need a federal law requiring employers to pay for scheduled work.

Alternatively, if American workers can’t get more regular and predictable hours, they at least need stronger safety nets.

These would include high-quality pre-school and after-school programs; unemployment insurance for people who can only get part-time work; and a minimum guaranteed basic income.

All the blather about “family-friendly workplaces” is meaningless if workers have no control over when they’re working.

**********

I’ll bet, as you read the lyrics to “Just in Time” below, you will have an entirely different ‘take’ on what ‘just in time’ actually means.  I do.  So I had to change some of the lyrics…..

“Just In Time”

Just in time
I found you just in time
Before you came my time
Was running low

I was lost
The losing dice were tossed
My bridges all were crossed
Nowhere to go

Now you’re I’m here
And now I know just where I’m going don’t know where I’m going…

No more  Lots of doubt and fear
I’ve found lost my way

For love work came just in time
You found me I got here just in time
And changed my lonely frantic life
That lovely Every single day

Now you’re I’m here
And now I’ve know just no idea where I’m going
No more Only doubt or and fear
‘Cause I‘ve found my way  need some pay……

For love work came just in time
You found me I got here just in time
And changed my
Lonely life that lovely  frantic life to suit your (way)
Lonely life that lovely  hectic life to suit your (way)
Lonely life that lovely day panicked life to get some pay……..

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/franksinatra/justintime.html

Chronicling Our Times

If you live in this country–or any other–likely you are aware of the on-going issues of reproductive ‘rights’ and the ‘war on women’ currently at the forefront of some politicians’ agendas.  The irony to me is that these reproductive ‘rights’ seem to apply ONLY to women and what they can and/or can’t do.  Men don’t seemingly enter into the equation.  Nobody passes laws saying that men can’t use condoms, get vasectomies or use Viagra or Cialis because of religious beliefs; certainly they are not threatened with losing their jobs if they do nor if they have children out of wedlock they must support!

How obvious does it have to be for people to understand that simply because one is a female she will be subjugated to religious laws?  Some people think they have the right–make that obligation because of their own personal beliefs–to force women to behave in a manner in which the enforcers believe?

I received this email today from Tammy Duckworth–a courageous woman soldier, Congresswoman, and now a new mother (go ahead, you right-wingers–be opposed to those credentials!):


The District of Columbia recently took a step forward for women’s rights, making it illegal for employers to fire anyone for their reproductive choices, like having an abortion or using fertility drugs.

But congressional Republicans, who have been consistently hostile to women’s rights, have stepped in and are trying to overturn the D.C. law.

As a new mom who had the privilege of giving birth to my daughter at age 46, I am especially heartbroken to know that women can be fired for using treatments like in vitro fertilization.

So last night, I proposed an amendment that would protect women in D.C. from being fired for trying to start or expand their family. Add your name: tell Congress to prevent D.C. employers from firing women who use infertility treatments.

http://action.tammyduckworth.com/stand-up-for-women

This is yet another frustrating example of politicians attempting to interfere with a women’s personal medical decisions.

Couples who struggle to have children face enough difficulty and heartache as is. They should not have to consult their bosses or risk job loss in order to seek medical care.

Thank you for joining me in standing up for these women,

Tammy

To read more about Tammy Duckworth, go here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammy_Duckworth

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Once again, there is a proposal in front of Congress to demand that women behave in a certain manner when it comes to their reproductive rights.  Men are not addressed in this as far as I am able to ascertain, only women.

Keep in mind the enforcers say this is a right of employers–employers!! have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.  The underlying issue (they imply), of course, is religious beliefs and whether or not they should have an impact upon legislation.  Quite obviously in recent years, these religious beliefs do.  (The real reason is money, people–it’s always money.)

I reference a bill which applies, at the moment, to employers in the District of Columbia.  The bill is to allow employers the right to fire any employee (read that female) who uses birth control pills OR who uses fertility treatments to actually get pregnant!  That about covers all bases, doesn’t it?  For women, of course.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/04/21/house-gop-advances-opposition-to-dc-reproductive-health-non-discrimination-law

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/house-committee-votes-to-upend-first-dc-law-in-23-years/2015/04/22/3a59c722-e877-11e4-9767-6276fc9b0ada_story.html

In other words, if a religion-oriented employer (or actually, ANY employer) does not wish to pay medical bills (it all does ultimately come down to money) for a woman who wants to get pregnant OR who wants to prevent pregnancy, and she proceeds to do so anyway, the employer can fire her.

When this law applies to men who use condoms, Viagra and the like, or vasectomies, I’ll not have such great opposition. 

But I’ll bet you THAT never happens.

(Although I will still be opposed to such laws because I do believe in inalienable rights for all.  It’s in the Constitution, people…..and women ARE citizens.)

***********************

I should stop the post here.  I’ve made my point.  But let me add some background:  many religious institutions (who CLAIM to be eleemosynary, non-profit, religious institutions–and in most cases, THAT in and of itself is a laugh) do not cover birth control pills for women.  Of course, men are still covered for vasectomies–and for Viagra.  Beyond the actual pregnancy coverage, there often are limits for health coverage for the infant.  How religious is THAT?  Reminds me of our entire society where women are denied abortions on demand–because, of course, somebody else knows more than she does about her desires, abilities, financial situation, family circumstances–and she should have to have the child.  The “fetus” can be cells 24 hours old or up to 9 months old–she has to have it!  No ‘day after’ pill for her!  Nope!  She should have known better.

Hey, people, what about the GUY in the equation here?

Never mind….obviously men aren’t responsible.  They sure don’t want to pay for indigent children and single mothers in this culture, do they? (MOST legislators are men.  As you can see from Tammy Duckworth’s email above, thinking women often feel differently.) No free healthcare.  No affordable daycare.  Not enough money to buy food–never mind diapers and formula–for the infant.  No decent free education for that child.  Nope.  This mother who didn’t WANT to be a mother is stuck for the rest of her life–and twenty years give or take paying for a kid she simply did not want–but once she went through those 9 months of pregnancy and delivery, she decided to keep–again a host of reasons, not all good ones.  She’s in so deep financially, she will never climb out of the hole.

And her beneficent employer?  Well….no time off for her!  No child care days.  No child care at work.  A salary so low she can’t feed herself and a child on it.  And she is ‘on demand’ at work 24/7.  (This thanks to cell phones, the internet, texts, computers, etc.)   If she is fortunate enough to have health care coverage, it may have a cap on how much it will pay (especially for a new born)–but certainly it will have copayments and deductibles.  There will be no forgiveness should she need to take time off to care for an ill child.  And now, should she decide she wants to have a tubal ligation so this does not happen again, she can be fired!

This is insanity in our culture.  Absolute insanity.  This is ‘kick them when they are down’–punish the women for being women, apply a different set of rules for them than are applied to men.  This is clearly telling women that we are second class in this culture.

Fine Christian bunch they are.  And they are worried about “Sharia” law?

Well, to paraphrase Pogo, “I have seen the enemy and it is they………”

***********

One more caveat:  I’m 70 years old, a mother and grandmother–heck, I’m a great grandmother.  I’ve seen a lot of life, birth and death, known a lot of young women who had to make hard, difficult choices, had their lives ruined by unwanted children and those children’s lives ruined because they were brought into the world in an impossible situation.

I’ve worked in health care administration, for several eleemosynary institutions, as well as in business– and know how they work–and I’ve followed political gamesmanship my entire adult life.  That’s exactly what it is:  gamesmanship.  It’s a struggle for power and money fought with words about ideas and beliefs meant to bend listener’s minds in one direction or another.  For women, especially, the sob-story often works.

Toughen up women!  It’s time to see all this for what it is.

“Inalienable rights”?

Ladies, you don’t have them.

I’m going to be brief on this:  there is a movement afoot in this country to ensure you don’t get your ‘rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.‘  So long as your bodily functions are regulated by special interest groups and their laws, by a government and its laws, you do not have these rights.

In fact, in Indiana (among 38 states–that’s right, THIRTY-EIGHT STATES), your reproductive system may be regulated by these laws; you may be punished should you have a miscarriage or a stillbirth.  You may serve LONG jail time.  Your wants/needs/desires/life are not your own.  It will be regulated by laws, now seemingly escalating to a point of what can only be described as Sharia Law–you know that dreaded term?  Women in bondage.  The burkas are optional; it is the rule of those laws which matter.  And they are here.  Now.

Here is a New York Time‘s article about a case, followed by a website which is accepting signatures for a petition to help a woman whose pregnancy ended in tragedy.  Even the anti-abortionist movement opposes criminalization of women in such circumstances.  

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/magazine/purvi-patel-could-be-just-the-beginning.html?_r=0 

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/free-purvi-patel-prison-and-clear-her-all-charges

There really isn’t any other way to view this, whether you are one of the ‘right to lifers’ or the ‘women’s righters’…..this is punishing a woman because the system wishes to make an example of her, to keep women in their place.  I am appalled at this miscarriage of justice.  And frightened by the trend.

 

 

 

The Turn of a Phrase

Ever contemplate the ‘turn of a phrase’?  What does a word or a phrase REALLY mean?

In the Southern lingo, “Bless Your Heart” doesn’t mean that a person is being loving and compassionate in many situations.  What it actually means is, “You really ARE stupid, aren’t you?”  But you knew that, didn’t you?

In recent years, words and phrases have been hijacked from everyday language and put to political use.  Often the phrases or words mean precisely the OPPOSITE of what they state.  These phrases are used to convince voters to vote a certain way, and usually against the voters’ very own personal/financial interests.  Such words and phrases don’t impact individuals the way that they should because they are used and designed to manipulate the emotions–at a subconscious level.  

In the past, a word or a phrase–or a song–has been the rallying cry for various causes.  What does “We Shall Overcome” bring to mind or how about “No Taxation without Representation”?  Both were rallying cries of the oppressed (of course, “We Shall Overcome” is also a song–one which everyone has heard and now knows).  These phrases worked to rally the better angels of our American soul–at least for a while!  The price of liberty truly IS vigilance!  And maybe some new phrases from time-to-time.

The phrase which is currently angering me is “RIGHT TO WORK”.  Specifically, Illinois teachers are now in the fight of their collective lives to keep their teachers’ union.  Many issues revolve around education these days–suffice it to say, I (for one) am very unhappy with how we are treating our public ‘servants’ who politicians now think ought to actually BE servants, without rights and with low pay.  This includes teachers (along with police, firefighters and others who are paid with public monies).

Take a look at what happens when unions disappear–when the voice of the workers is silenced!  When ‘right to work’ laws are put into place.  Of course, it’s not ONLY this one law, but it has played a huge part in this inequity.

Back to the (laughable) phrase, ‘right to work.’

Who doesn’t want the right to work?  We all do!  But this phrase doesn’t mean what it says–what it means is NO WORKERS’ RIGHTS.  It is currently being used to promote the idea of eliminating collective bargaining rights of workers.  This has already occurred in many states.  If there are no unions, there is no collective bargaining.  And then the employee has the ‘right’ to accept employment at whatever the business offers in remuneration.  It will be for as little as the business can get by with dependent upon the ‘going wage’ for that particular position.  You have no rights other than to accept the position for what is offered or walk away.  Should a supervisor dislike something about the employee, an employee can be fired regardless of the reason–and sometimes it’s beyond the employee’s control.  That’s your ‘right to work.’  The business has the right to hire and fire at will–THEIR will.

The businesses have the right to hire and fire and set pay and benefits (think golf courses and country clubs for such agreements) and they do.  They ‘collectively bargain’ with one another–because they MAKE, CHANGE, AND ENFORCE the laws through lobbying (buying) of politicians when they have this much control.  And they have the stage, too–to buy commercials, to make media write and speak their message.  Individuals can’t compete with such power.

This isn’t news.

Unions were formed for the purpose of furthering workers’ rights*–the right to decent hours, to establish child labor laws, overtime pay, a ‘living’ wage (and increases) dependent upon the productivity of a worker, safety at the workplace, negotiate for health care and other benefits which workers needed and to which they are entitled as part of the profits of their labor.  (Productivity is at its highest level in this country, yet wages are stagnant and have been for over 30 years.  There is no sharing of profits.  See Youtube video below.)  Why should the upper echelon of corporations be the ones getting ALL the ‘perks’ and profits while workers get less and less.**  Where is the justice in that?  Where is the DEMOCRACY in that?  There is a movement afoot today to annihilate  workers’ unions, and I can assure you the fewer unions there are to support workers’ rights, the fewer rights workers have.

Today it is becoming much more difficult for an individual to exert his or her individual ‘rights under the laws that presently exist’ and obtain justice in the workplace.  It is clear that the abuses of corporations have a much greater negative impact on many more people, INCLUDING THE TAXPAYERS (who are for the most part ‘workers’) than any union ever did.

Teachers, specifically, are now required to teach to the test–the mandated testing regime which forces them to cram certain facts down their students’ throats so the students will pass the tests.  If so, they get to keep their jobs.  If not, sometimes the schools themselves are eliminated and so are the teachers.  I’ve seen this first-hand as my grandchildren struggle with 5 or more hours of ‘homework’ each night–in grade school–in order to learn the necessary ‘facts’ for the varying tests.

Do you realize there isn’t even time for children to have ‘recess’ on most days?  Have YOU tried getting up at 5:30 to catch a 6:30 bus and then sitting in classes where facts are thrown at you for 8 hours, and then returning home at 4:30 or 5 to continue to work on homework for 5 more hours–without a break?  Try it.  I guarantee you won’t like it.  The teachers are faced with the same problem–for their work day does not stop when classes are out.  They continue to work until the wee hours of the night, grading papers, lesson planning, emailing parents and students who have questions and need assistance.  In their ‘time off’ most have to take continuing education classes to remain certified to teach.  On their own ‘dime’ so to speak.  For this, they get to keep their jobs–there is little extra remuneration for their efforts and many are barely surviving on their incomes, some must take on a second job.  Where is the LOVE OF LEARNING we Americans mouth as our mantra?  In our collective wisdom (to save money), Americans eliminated most of the enrichment programs and classes from schools….music, art are no longer part of many schools curriculum.  They are extras.  Sometimes they are offered informally after school.  Occasionally they are offered as an actual course, but it is no longer common practice.  Of course, profitable sports activities were fully funded.  Again, American Greed ruled the day.

Schools are now factories with workers charged with turning out students who know facts and can pass tests and follow orders.  All pegs should fit the same holes–little robots.  There is little love of learning and precious little ‘enrichment’ time in classrooms today.  There is a lot of competition, however, to get a job which pays a decent wage or to get into an extremely expensive college (they are all expensive today) so the student can survive (and no doubt pay off a life-long debt if he/she goes to college). We are told that such an ‘educational program’ is necessary to ‘stay competitive.’  I maintain such an educational program is necessary for the profiteers to make the maximum profit (at every single turn!) from workers.   America is beginning to look like a factory from birth ’til death.  Its people are functioning just as the engineers designed the system to operate.  How long will we tolerate this?

Certainly, MANY people have more power than one–and unions provide and have always provided some recourse to unfair management practices.  Teachers need their unions.  So do most workers.  If you think you are the exception because you are middle management (and most people reading this aren’t any higher than middle management), you are wrong.  Your share of profits and income are being squeezed, too–just watch the Youtube video above.  Unless you are a multimillionaire (and I mean many millions, not just a couple), your income is much lower than it would be if we had a real democratic system in place.  And you have no guarantee that the system won’t take what you now have–in tax law changes, in reverse bailouts, in property taxes, in market shenanigans by slick maneuvers, in some manner.  It has happened before!  It may well happen again…..the bankers certainly didn’t suffer with the housing market crash and got off Scott-free.  Or have you forgotten?

Instead of focusing on the problems with union organizations, why don’t politicians focus on the problems with corporations?  You know the answer to that–because the corporations are FUNDING THE POLITICIANS!  And the money from the lower and middle and upper-middle classes is flowing upwards to corporate management–to the wealthy.  They are accumulating most of the wealth and most of the power.

Read some history; read this blog post:

http://tobytrimmer.com/2015/03/04/ill-sum-up-addiction-in-one-word-more/

read some current economic statistics; look at how it’s going in this country–and tell me that we don’t need unions!   They are the last bolt holding the gates of fairness and justice in place–and the gates are wobbly, and being stormed by corporations.  Believe me, the corporations don’t have your interests in mind.

RIGHT TO WORK LAWS = NO WORKERS’ RIGHTS

Plain and simple.  Now it is time for the 99% to start telling it like it is–and making some slogans of our own.

**********************

This post is not intended to be a scholarly report detailing every single argument going on with this issue.  It doesn’t need to be.  Just take a look at the video above.  Unless you are the upper 1/2 of 1%, this is YOUR FIGHT TOO.

***************************

 

 

 

 

Circadian Schedules

I have a circadian schedule I keep with Christmas. 

Really.  I just know when the deadline is for each part of the process.

“Although circadian rhythms are endogenous ("built-in", self-sustained), they are adjusted (entrained) to the local environment by external cues called zeitgebers, commonly the most important of which is daylight. “  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm

So today I wrapped Christmas presents.  All day.  Piles of yard sale treasures wrapped, marked in my document file (I keep a list of who is getting what).

Anyway, they’re all wrapped.  I am pleased, but the job isn’t completed yet.  There will be more wrapping, but at least I can look at a clean upstairs area, more or less.  Until the next wave hits.

However, with the available wrapping completed, it is time to take inventory of the items for Christmas trees for this year. 

The theme this year is going to be Holiday Christmas Movie Trees.  I’ll be posting how I made the invitations (done at the end of August—I told you I have a circadian rhythm with this!), some of the decorations (with photos) and ultimately the trees themselves.  Always my happiest time of the year, despite the chaos and clutter.  I love it.

I am nuts.

That’s alright.  I think it’s better to be nuts and have a good time than to not be nuts and be miserable.  At 112, it’s really quite an art and not a science to stay nuts.  Believe me!

**********************

On to other thoughts, since I am in the mood to write and you must be in the mood to read? 

Next topic, close to circadian rhythms:  Politics and Zeitgebers (see above from Wikipedia).  If you don’t like the topic, quit reading right here.  (Personally, I think there is a whole article in my head about zeitgebers, but that will have to wait until later.  Jabber’s really into the issue of voting right now.)

If you are a voting citizen of this country, will you please keep up with at least SOME of the current issues with which our country deals?  There are lots to choose from, take just one issue and make it your business to be informed—at least a little bit.  Do this by reading a variety of opinions (or listening to a variety of ads from opposing points of view).

Make it a priority to vote.  Please. 

Get informed and vote.  It’s important.  We live in a country which still, at least ostensibly, honors the public’s opinions cast by voters.  Otherwise, there would not be so much money going into influencing us. 

But we have very low participation.  This is almost a sin……..close to it.  So, whatever and however you lean, please vote.  Lots of people died for this right—and we owe it to ourselves to be educated and participatory voters.

Will you PLEASE think about what these advertisements on TV and radio and newspapers are telling you?  I saw one ad last night on TV which literally turned a situation on its head—that is to say, what the ad said was exactly the OPPOSITE of what the actual issue was.  All one has to do is read a little bit—from various sources—to get a clearer understanding about an issue.

I’m not taking a stand here.  But I am asking you to get current with issues which WILL IMPACT YOU and your families and your financial future.

Take your choice—here are a few issues to consider:

Voting accessibility, environmental issues of all sorts, politics and money in politics, education, fracking (ever heard of it?), oil industry, alternative energies, local and state laws and amendments, pro-choice or anti-abortion issues, women’s rights, selection of judges, legalization of marijuana (especially medical), gay rights/marriage, WARS (the conducting of, for what purposes, with who participating), lotteries, treatment of military (especially injured), health care, immigration, banking and financial laws/oversight, local issues on development (zoning, schools, infrastructure, roads)—these are only a few of the issues we are facing as a community, as a state, as a country, as a society.  Maybe one of these interests and concerns you, maybe you have something else which you place in high priority.

First, be educated on the issues and who represents your point of view.  Do this by self-education or join a group such as League of Women Voters or a political party such as Young Democrats or Young Republicans (Jabber asks, “Why isn’t there a group called Old Democrats and/or Old Republicans?”), then attend some meetings and consider the issues at hand.  (And, as an aside, hold your elected officials accountable for how well they actually represented you!  In other words, if they didn’t represent you and your point of view, don’t vote them back into office.)

Friends don’t let friends NOT VOTE!  Make sure your friends and family, if eligible and registered voters, cast their ballots as well. 

Most of us do not have millions to donate to our cause or issues; most of us only have our vote.  While there is lots of money ‘thrown’ in the arena, we are many people—and that money is used to try to influence how we vote. 

This means our vote is VERY valuable.  So, use it!

VOTE.

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“A zeitgeber is an external cue which influences the operations of the internal clock in an organism. The classical example of a zeitgeber is light, which leads some organisms to wake up, while others go to sleep. An interruption in such cues can confuse an organism, potentially causing health problems and functional difficulties, as demonstrated in numerous studies.

The term was coined in 1954 by Jürgen Aschoff, a German biologist who studied circadian rhythms. In German, “zeitgeber” means “time giver,” so in a sense, you could consider a zeitgeber to be like a natural alarm clock, triggering some sort of change in an organism’s internal clock, like a cue to wake up, eat, or engage in various activities.

Light is such a powerful zeitgeber that numerous studies have been carried out on the influences of light over the lives of various organisms. Deprivation of light clearly has an influence on health, as does an excess of light, and many people struggle when they travel across time zones because they receive external cues to wake up or go to sleep at times which feel strange to the body.”

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-zeitgeber.htm

Options

Slipping off the sidewalk, she fell hard on her left hip and leg and heard a slight pop.  She was able to get up, alone, and holding onto the railing, she hobbled inside the door and sat down.  Her leg was already turning black and blue with a bit of swelling.

Her cell phone was sitting handily on the table next to the bench where she sat, so she called her son and asked him to come see about her.  He left his job and hurriedly drove to her home, letting himself in.  He immediately looked at her knee and leg and called an ambulance. 

After a few tests, a few nights in the hospital, some recuperation and therapy, she found herself being escorted by private driver from her one-level 2500 square foot home to a physical therapy facility three times a week.  She had formed a blood clot very soon after the fall, but that had been successfully managed and she’d spent a week in a physical therapy nursing home where she’d been well-treated.  Her new cook, two-day-a-week housekeeper, and the two full-time sitters (one for night and one for day) ensured she exerted herself no more than necessary and soon she was happily enjoying her pastimes of playing bridge and having dinner with her friends.  She now had a home security alert which she wore at all times, just in case she happened to need assistance again. 

She made a full recovery.

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Slipping off the sidewalk, she fell hard on her left hip and leg and heard a slight pop.  She was able to get up, alone, and holding onto the railing, she hobbled inside the door and sat down.  Her leg was already turning black and blue with a bit of swelling.

She called out for her husband to come, but he didn’t hear her as he was upstairs and a bit deaf.  Their small home was two-story, with the two bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen and living room downstairs.  They’d moved there when he’d retired because they needed to lower their expenses.  It was what they could afford—1,000 square feet of two-story townhome.  They’d felt lucky that they could stay in their own home and managed well on their social security and small savings. 

Grabbing onto the wall, she managed to rise a bit and hop over to the counter where the phone was.  She called her daughter and told her what had happened.  Her daughter was working her hourly second-job and could not get away for a few hours, but promised to look in on them when she was off work.  She then sat back down and yelled up again for her husband.  Finally, he heard her.

He came down, slowly, and seeing her in some distress asked what had happened.  She told him.  He put a cup of coffee in the microwave and heated it for her, shakily bringing it to her.  He managed to scoot the small ottoman over next to where she sat so she could put her leg on it.  Raising it up, she whimpered in pain.  The leg was swelling and she knew she might have broken something.

He pulled a chair up next to her side and they waited there for 3 hours until her daughter finally drove in the driveway.  It was she who called the doctor and made an appointment for them to go see him the next day. 

A cab picked them up and took them to the doctor’s office.  She could not drive and his license had lapsed some time ago because he would not be able to pass the vision test.  The doctor looked at her leg and determined she might need x-rays, so sent them to a facility about a half hour’s drive from his office.  Another cab was called which took them to the centralized building where x-rays were taken (after all the insurance information was completed).  The technician told her he thought she only had a slight fracture, but he’d send the x-rays to the doctor after the radiologist had read them.

They asked to use the office phone and once again called a cab to return them back to their home.

The next day, still without any medication and now unable to put any weight on the leg, she received a call from the doctor.  He told her that nothing was broken.  He suggested she take it easy until the swelling went down, prescribing hot and cold compresses and elevation of the leg along with over-the-counter medication to ease the pain.  She collapsed later that week and her husband found her in the bathroom on the floor.  The ambulance came and rushed her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.  The undetected blood clot had broken loose. 

Soon after, her husband fell down the stairs and died.  The daughter found herself distributing the last of her parents’ savings to the funeral home, doctors, hospital and ambulance bills.  Even with their Medicare and supplemental insurance, there wasn’t enough to pay them all, so she continued to pay off the bills for the next five years.

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Slipping off the sidewalk, she fell hard on her left hip and leg and heard a slight pop.  She was able to get up, alone, and holding onto the railing, she hobbled inside the door and sat down.  Her leg was already turning black and blue with a bit of swelling.

She had managed to get into the driver’s seat of her car.  She’d be late for her job distributing food samples if she didn’t hurry.  Thank goodness it was her left leg and not her right one!  She could still drive.

Slowly she pulled away from the apartment complex, noticing she’d accidentally left the light on in her kitchen on the third floor walk-up.

Arriving at the store, she hobbled into the staff’s locker room and looked for her assignment.  She’d be serving heated food today which required she have an oven, table, napkins, small spoons and cups and of course the food itself.  Her leg was turning black and blue and swelling.  She’d just have to attend to it later she thought as she gathered everything together.  It helped a lot to have that rolling table to hold onto as she walked to her appointed place in the store.

Four hours later, while handing a sample to a customer, she collapsed and died.  Someone took her place for the duration of the store hours and she was carried to the staff’s locker room where the ambulance came and transported her body to the morgue.  No one claimed the body.  The superintendent of her apartment building was notified and let himself in to her tiny one-room.  He turned off the kitchen light.

*************************

 

Some interesting tidbits about the Founding Fathers

All of the tidbits are taken from this website:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_founding_fathers_delaware.html#Read

I thought you might find this ‘quiz’ interesting—some little-known facts about our founding fathers.  Turns out, THEY WERE PEOPLE TOO!  All kinds of people—some “rogues” so to speak, some highly moral, some speculators, some who were rebellious (remember some were born in Europe).  Many had ten or more children, one or two had none.  They held all sorts of opinions about the new country they founded and some of these controversies continue to this very day.

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!

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“On February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress resolved that:

…it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have    been appointed by the several States be held at Philladelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation…

The original states, except Rhode Island, collectively appointed 70 individuals to the Constitutional Convention, but a number did not accept or could not attend. Those who did not attend included Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams and, John Hancock.

In all, 55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention sessions, but only 39 actually signed the Constitution.    The delegates ranged in age from Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, to Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, who was so infirm that he had to be carried to sessions in a sedan chair.”

**********************************************

Who was the only signer of the Declaration of Independence who voted AGAINST the Declaration of Independence?

“He voted against independence on July 2, 1776, the only signer of the Declaration to do so, apparently either bowing to the strong Tory sentiment in Delaware, or believing reconciliation with Britain was still possible.”

George Read, Delaware

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“More importantly, he figured prominently because of his advocacy and co-authorship of the New Jersey, or ?? Plan, which asserted the rights of the small states against the large. He apparently returned to the convention only to sign the final document. “

William Paterson, New Jersey

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One representative has a murky history on his marriage—who might this be?”

Apparently while still in school, Bedford wed Jane B. Parker, who bore at least one daughter.”

Gunning Bedford, Jr., Delaware

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“One of the most aristocratic delegates at the convention, ??? was born in 1744 in County Carlow, Ireland. His father was Sir ???, member of Parliament and a baronet.

“Like so many younger sons of the British aristocracy who could not inherit their fathers’ estates because of primogeniture, ?? pursued a military career. He became a major in His Majesty’s 29th Regiment and during the colonial unrest was posted to Boston in 1768 to quell disturbances there.”

Remember, he was a signer of the U.S. Constitution!

Pierce Butler, South Carolina

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In New York, “…………. career continued to blossom. He served 4 years in the legislature (1802-5) and then as inspector of prisons (1802-10), alderman (1813-14), and U.S. commissioner of loans (1804). From 1804 to 1814 he held a directorship at the Manhattan Bank and later the presidency of City Bank. A devout Methodist, he also donated generously to philanthropic causes.”  But he signed as a delegate from Georgia!

William Few, Georgia

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“In the Pennsylvania assembly, he drafted an authorization to send delegates to Congress in 1776. It directed them to seek redress of grievances, but ordered them to oppose separation of the colonies from Britain.”  Which signer was this?

John Dickinson, Delaware

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“…….he represented the Federalists as Vice-Presidential candidate, and in 1804 and 1808 as the Presidential nominee. But he met defeat on all three occasions.”

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, South Carolina

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“Subsequently indicted for treason, (he) was not prosecuted but could not salvage his national political career. “

Jonathan Dayton, New Jersey

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“After his tavern-keeper father deserted his mother, he was reared by a relative, Peter Lawson, from whom he later inherited Bohemia Manor (MD.) estate.”

Richard Bassett, Delaware

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“To solve economic problems, at both national and state levels, he advocated high taxes rather than excessive borrowing or the issuance of paper currency.”

Roger Sherman, Connecticut

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Who was NOT a distinguished patriot?

“His only recorded service was the preparation of maps for George Washington before the Battle of Brandywine, PA. In 1776, at 24 years of age, ???? became assistant burgess of Wilmington. “

Jacob Broom, Delaware

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“Beginning in the preceding decade, he had begun efforts to advance the educational system in Georgia. Appointed with six others in 1784 to oversee the founding of a state college, he saw his dream come true in 1798 when Franklin College was founded. Modeled after Yale, it became the nucleus of the University of Georgia.”  (He was one of 12 children.)

Abraham Baldwin, Georgia

********************************

“Meantime, in 1730 ?? had taken a common-law wife, Deborah Read, who was to bear him a son and daughter, and he also apparently had children with another nameless woman out of wedlock.” and

“Energetic nearly to the last, in 1787 he was elected as first president of the Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery-a cause to which he had committed himself as early as the 1730s. His final public act was signing a memorial to Congress recommending dissolution of the slavery system

Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania

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Which signer was the first Secretary of War?

“A staunch Federalist, he then accepted Washington’s offer of the post of Secretary of War and held it into the administration of John Adams. ?? looked to Hamilton rather than to Adams for leadership. As time passed, the latter became increasingly dissatisfied with ?? performance and distrustful of his political motives and in 1800 forced him to resign. Subsequently, the Democratic-Republicans accused him of maladministration, but a congressional committee vindicated him.”

James McHenry, Maryland

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“During these years, his political affiliations changed. As a supporter of a strong central government, he had been a member of the Federalist Party, but by the time of Jay’s Treaty (1794) he was opposing its policies. By 1801 he was firmly backing the Democratic-Republicans.”  (He ‘switched’ parties!)

John Langdon, New Hampshire

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“He never married.”

Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Maryland

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“When Charleston fell to the British the next year, the youth was captured and remained a prisoner until June 1781”

“……facilitated Spanish acquiescence in the transfer of Louisiana from France to the United States in 1803.”

Charles Pinckney, South Carolina  (the second cousin of fellow-signer Charles Cotesworth Pinckney)

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“Meanwhile, he had helped to raise troops and in May 1775 won appointment as a major in the Continental Army, which caused him to be expelled from his Quaker faith.”

Thomas Mifflin, Pennsylvania

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“His maternal grandmother reared him until he was 14, and he then spent a year with a missionary among the Mohawk Indians. He attended Yale and graduated in 1741.”

William Livingston, New Jersey

(Dr. Livingston I presume?  I couldn’t help myself!)

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“The British arrested him for high treason, but a group of patriots freed him”

David Brearly, New Jersey

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“In the last body, on July 1, 1776, he voted against independence, which he personally considered premature, but the next day he purposely absented himself to facilitate an affirmative ballot by his delegation.” and

“a key congressman, specialized in financial affairs and military procurement. Although he and his firm profited handsomely, had it not been for his assiduous labors the Continental Army would probably have been forced to demobilize. He worked closely with General Washington, wheedled money and supplies from the states, borrowed money in the face of overwhelming difficulties, and on occasion even obtained personal loans to further the war cause” and

“ (he)………speculated wildly, often on overextended credit, in lands in the West and at the site of Washington, DC. “ (and finally)

“(he)………was thrown into the Philadelphia debtor’s prison

Robert Morris, Pennsylvania

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“(His) older brother was John ??, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States.”

Daniel Carroll, Maryland

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“ (his)………..political philosophy had begun to drift toward the Democratic-Republicans. In 1802, when he was defeated for the U.S. Senate, President Jefferson appointed him as a bankruptcy commissioner, and 2 years later as a Democratic-Republican he won election to the U.S. Senate.”

Nicholas Gilman, New Hampshire

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“Whose uncle was “first president of the College of William and Mary. “?

John Blair, Virginia

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“As a state legislator, he advocated a bicameral legislature and reform of the penal code and opposed capital punishment

George Clymer, Pennsylvania

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“Although a slaveholder all his life, he was active during his later years in the American Colonization Society, whose mission was the resettlement of slaves in Africa.”

James Madison, Virginia

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“an eldest child, was born in 1738 at Charlestown, MA, into an old Bay Colony family of modest means. His father operated a packet boat

Nathaniel Gorham, Massachusetts

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“…………..(he)decided to work for peace between Britain and the colonies and to oppose the extremist Whig faction. On that basis, he refused to participate in the First Continental Congress, to which he was elected in 1774, following service as a judge of the Connecticut colonial supreme court (1772-74).

“Although he was arrested in 1779 on charges of communicating with the enemy, he cleared himself and was released.

“Once the passions of war had ebbed, (he) resumed his political career. In the Continental Congress (1785-87), he was one of the most influential and popular delegates. Playing a major role in the Constitutional Convention, he missed no sessions after arriving on June 2; espoused the Connecticut Compromise; and chaired the Committee of Style, which shaped the final document. He also worked for ratification.”

William Samuel Johnson, Connecticut

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He had an outstanding career, all throughout his life, yet do we recall who he was?

“………believing that the issue of slavery could not be compromised but must be settled once and for all by the immediate establishment of a system of compensated emancipation and colonization, he denounced the Missouri Compromise”

Rufus King, Massachusetts

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“In 1797………That same year, he also apparently concocted a plan involving use of Indians, frontiersmen, and British naval forces to conquer for Britain the Spanish provinces of Florida and Louisiana.”

The House impeached him, but the Senate dropped the charges in 1799 on the grounds that no further action could be taken beyond his dismissal.”

William Blount, North Carolina

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“In 1781 he had been one of the founders of the Bank of North America. He also helped organize and held a directorship in the Insurance Company of North America and several times acted as president of the Chamber of Commerce. His financial affairs, like those somewhat earlier of his associate and fellow-signer Robert Morris, took a disastrous turn in 1805. He later regained some of his affluence, but his reputation suffered. “

Thomas Fitzsimons, Pennsylvania

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“Only 44 years old in 1802, ??? was struck down in a duel at New Bern with a political rival, Federalist John Stanly. So ended the promising career of one of the state’s foremost leaders. He was buried in the family sepulcher at Clermont estate, near New Bern.”

Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr., North Carolina

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“He was the illegitimate son of a common-law marriage between a poor itinerant Scottish merchant of aristocratic descent and an English-French Huguenot mother who was a planter’s daughter.” and

“Burr, taking offense at remarks he believed to have originated with ???, challenged him to a duel, which took place at present Weehawken, NJ, on July 11. Mortally wounded, (he) died the next day.”

Alexander Hamilton, New York

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“After the Battle of Camden, SC, he frequently crossed British lines to tend to the wounded. He also prevented sickness among the troops by paying close attention to food, clothing, shelter, and hygiene.”  (This man was highly talented in many fields!)

Hugh Williamson, North Carolina

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“In the midst of the Revolutionary fervor, which neither father nor son shared, in 1773, on the advice of the elder ????, sailed to London and studied law at the Middle Temple. Completing his work in 1776, he made a 2-year tour of the Continent, during which time for some reason he shed his Loyalist sympathies.”  (He changed his mind!)

Jared Ingersoll, Pennsylvania

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“He was a Presidential elector in 1789 and Washington then appointed him as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but for some reason he apparently served only a short time. In 1791 he became chief justice of the his state’s supreme court. Four years later, Washington again appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, this time as Chief Justice to replace John Jay. “  (He was not confirmed, partially due to mental illness concerns.)

John Rutledge, South Carolina

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“In the fall of 1779, during a period of inflation and food shortages, a mob which included many militiamen and was led by radical constitutionalists, set out to attack the republican leadership. (He) was a prime target. He and some 35 of his colleagues barricaded themselves in his home at Third and Walnut Streets, thereafter known as “Fort ??.” During a brief skirmish, several people on both sides were killed or wounded. The shock cooled sentiments and pardons were issued all around, though major political battles over the commonwealth constitution still lay ahead.”

James Wilson, Pennsylvania

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“In early life, he lost a leg in a carriage accident.”

Gouverneur Morris, Pennsylvania

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“was born into the landed gentry in 1732…………. Until reaching 16 years of age, he lived there and at other plantations along the Rivers”  “His education was rudimentary, probably being obtained from tutors but possibly also from private schools, and he learned surveying.”

“then wed ??, a wealthy widow and mother of two children. The marriage produced no offspring, but (he) reared those of his wife as his own”

“he urged his countrymen to forswear party spirit and sectional differences and to avoid entanglement in the wars and domestic policies of other nations.”

George Washington, Virginia

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Rhode Island
Rhode Island did not send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

The Declaration of Independence

And here, copied from website linked at the bottom, are the original words of our Declaration of Independence.  How long since we have read this?  Seems now is as good a time as any!

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 harass 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 benefit 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 British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by 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.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

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

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

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

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

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

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/index.htm

On Memorial Day

An interesting article with suggestions on how to improve our—meaning citizens–participation in DECISIONS regarding war and the military.  I take no sides on these issues except to say that it does seem we, as a country, ask way too much of too few for the rest of us to be so comfortable and prosperous thanks to them.

This is from:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/opinion/americans-and-their-military-drifting-apart.html?_r=0

The New York Times


May 26, 2013

Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart

By KARL W. EIKENBERRY and DAVID M. KENNEDY

STANFORD, Calif. — AFTER fighting two wars in nearly 12 years, the United States military is at a turning point. So are the American people. The armed forces must rethink their mission. Though the nation has entered an era of fiscal constraint, and though President Obama last week effectively declared an end to the “global war on terror” that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the military remains determined to increase the gap between its war-fighting capabilities and those of any potential enemies. But the greatest challenge to our military is not from a foreign enemy — it’s the widening gap between the American people and their armed forces.

Three developments in recent decades have widened this chasm. First and most basic was the decision in 1973, at the end of combat operations in Vietnam, to depart from the tradition of the citizen-soldier by ending conscription and establishing a large, professional, all-volunteer force to maintain the global commitments we have assumed since World War II. In 1776, Samuel Adams warned of the dangers inherent in such an arrangement: “A standing Army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the Liberties of the People. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a Body distinct from the rest of the Citizens.”

For nearly two generations, no American has been obligated to join up, and few do. Less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II. Even fewer of the privileged and powerful shoulder arms. In 1975, 70 percent of members of Congress had some military service; today, just 20 percent do, and only a handful of their children are in uniform.

In sharp contrast, so many officers have sons and daughters serving that they speak, with pride and anxiety, about war as a “family business.” Here are the makings of a self-perpetuating military caste, sharply segregated from the larger society and with its enlisted ranks disproportionately recruited from the disadvantaged. History suggests that such scenarios don’t end well.

Second, technology has helped insulate civilians from the military. World War II consumed nearly half of America’s economic output. But in recent decades, information and navigation technologies have vastly amplified the individual warrior’s firepower, allowing for a much more compact and less costly military. Today’s Pentagon budget accounts for less than 5 percent of gross domestic product and less than 20 percent of the federal budget — down from 45 percent of federal expenditures at the height of the Vietnam War. Such reliance on technology can breed indifference and complacency about the use of force. The advent of remotely piloted aircraft is one logical outcome. Reliance on drones economizes on both manpower and money, but is fraught with moral and legal complexities, as Mr. Obama acknowledged last week, in shifting responsibility for the drone program to the military from the C.I.A.

Third, and perhaps most troubling, the military’s role has expanded far beyond the traditional battlefield. In Iraq and Afghanistan, commanders orchestrated, alongside their combat missions, “nation-building” initiatives like infrastructure projects and promotion of the rule of law and of women’s rights. The potential for conflict in cyberspace, where military and civilian collaboration is essential, makes a further blurring of missions likely.

Together, these developments present a disturbingly novel spectacle: a maximally powerful force operating with a minimum of citizen engagement and comprehension. Technology and popular culture have intersected to perverse effect. While Vietnam brought home the wrenching realities of war via television, today’s wars make extensive use of computers and robots, giving some civilians the decidedly false impression that the grind and horror of combat are things of the past. The media offer us images of drone pilots, thousands of miles from the fray, coolly and safely dispatching enemies in their electronic cross hairs. Hollywood depicts superhuman teams of Special Operations forces snuffing out their adversaries with clinical precision.

The Congressional Research Service has documented 144 military deployments in the 40 years since adoption of the all-voluntary force in 1973, compared with 19 in the 27-year period of the Selective Service draft following World War II — an increase in reliance on military force traceable in no small part to the distance that has come to separate the civil and military sectors. The modern force presents presidents with a moral hazard, making it easier for them to resort to arms with little concern for the economic consequences or political accountability. Meanwhile, Americans are happy to thank the volunteer soldiers who make it possible for them not to serve, and deem it is somehow unpatriotic to call their armed forces to task when things go awry.

THE all-volunteer force may be the most lethal and professional force in history, but it makes a mockery of George Washington’s maxim: “When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.” Somehow, soldier and citizen must once again be brought to stand side by side.

Let’s start with a draft lottery. Americans neither need nor want a vast conscript force, but a lottery that populated part of the ranks with draftees would reintroduce the notion of service as civic obligation. The lottery could be activated when volunteer recruitments fell short, and weighted to select the best-educated and most highly skilled Americans, providing an incentive for the most privileged among us to pay greater heed to military matters. The Pentagon could also restore the so-called Total Force Doctrine, which shaped the early years of the all-volunteer force but was later dismantled. It called for a large-scale call-up of the Reserves and National Guard at the start of any large, long deployment. Because these standby forces tend to contain older men and women, rooted in their communities, their mobilization would serve as a brake on going to war because it would disrupt their communities (as even the belated and smaller-scale call-up of some units for Iraq and Afghanistan did) in ways that sending only the standing Army does not.

Congress must also take on a larger role in war-making. Its last formal declarations of war were during World War II. It’s high time to revisit the recommendation, made in 2008 by the bipartisan National War Powers Commission, to replace the 1973 War Powers Act, which requires notification of Congress after the president orders military action, with a mandate that the president consult with Congress before resorting to force. This would circumscribe presidential power, but it would confer greater legitimacy on military interventions and better shield the president from getting all the blame when the going got tough.

Congress should also insist that wars be paid for in real time. Levying special taxes, rather than borrowing, to finance “special appropriations” would compel the body politic to bear the fiscal burden — and encourage citizens to consider war-making a political choice they were involved in, not a fait accompli they must accept.

Other measures to strengthen citizen engagement with the military should include decreased reliance on contractors for noncombat tasks, so that the true size of the force would be more transparent; integrating veteran and civilian hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, which would let civilians see war’s wounded firsthand; and shrinking self-contained residential neighborhoods on domestic military bases, so that more service members could pray, play and educate their children alongside their fellow Americans. Schools, the media and organs of popular culture also have a duty to help promote civic vigilance.

The civilian-military divide erodes the sense of duty that is critical to the health of our democratic republic, where the most important office is that of the citizen. While the armed forces retool for the future, citizens cannot be mere spectators. As Adams said about military power: “A wise and prudent people will always have a watchful and a jealous eye over it.”

Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired Army lieutenant general, was the United States commander in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007 and the ambassador there from 2009 to 2011. He is a fellow at Stanford, where David M. Kennedy is an emeritus professor of history. They are, respectively, a contributor to and the editor of “The Modern American Military.”

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