Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Declaration of Independence.....From The Volkh Conspiracy...

I liked this presentation By The Volkh Conspiracy.....A fellow blogger.....I decided to reproduce the way they describe the Declaration with annotations......but, wanted to color the annotations to make it a bit more clear......Enjoy!

1.  “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.”  This first sentence is often forgotten.  It asserts that Americans as a whole (and not as members of their respective colonies) are a distinct “people.”  To “dissolve the political bands” revokes the “social compact” that existed between the Americans and the rest of “the People” of the British commonwealth, which resumes the “state of nature” between Americans and the government of Great Britain, and “the Laws of Nature” are then the standard by which this dissolution and whatever government is to follow are judged.  “Declare the causes” indicates they are publicly stating the reasons and justifying their actions rather than being thieves in the night. The Declaration is like the indictment of a criminal that states the basis of his criminality.  But the ultimate judge of the rightness of their cause will be God, which is why the revolutionaries spoke of an “appeal to heaven”—an expression commonly found on revolutionary banners and flags.   As British political theorist John Locke wrote: “The people have no other remedy in this, as in all other cases where they have no judge on earth, but to appeal to heaven.”
2.  “Decent respect to the opinions of mankind.  This might be viewed as a kind of an international public opinion test.  Or perhaps, the emphasis is on the word “respect.”  The obligation to provide the rest of the world with an explanation others can evaluate for themselves.  Again, like the presentation to the public of an indictment stating legal and factual grounds for incarcerating an individual.
3.  “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.” The most famous line of the Declaration.  On the one hand, this will become a great embarrassment to a people who permitted slavery.  On the other hand making public claims like this has consequences—that’s why people make them publicly.  To be held for account.    And this promise will provide the heart of the abolitionists case in the Nineteenth Century, which is why late defenders of slavery eventually came to reject the Declaration.
What are “unalienable,” or more commonly, “inalienable rights”?  Inalienable rights are those you cannot give up even if you want to and consent.  Unlike other alienable rights that you can consent to transfer or waive.  Why inalienable rights?  The Founders want to counter England’s claim that by accepting the colonial governance, the colonists had alienated their rights.  The Framers claimed that with inalienable rights, you always retain the ability to take back any right that has been given up.
The standard trilogy throughout this period was “life, liberty, and property.”  For example, the Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress (1774) read:   “That the inhabitants of the English colonies in North-America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following RIGHTS:  Resolved, 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty and property: and they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.”  Or, as John Locke wrote, “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
Perhaps the most commonly repeated formulation was found in the Virginia Declaration of Rights of May 15, 1776 drafted by George Mason: “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, . . . namely the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”  The switch from property to “pursuit of happiness” came at the last minute of the drafting process.  The exact reason for change is not clear.
4.  “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men. . . . Another overlooked line, which is of greatest relevance to our discussion of the first underlying assumption of the Constitution: the assumption of natural rights.  Most emphasis today is placed on “the consent of the governed” passage that follows.  But both parts of this sentence need to be reconciled.  This part identifies the end of governments as securing the natural rights which the previous sentence affirms is the measure against which all government—whether of Great Britain or the U.S.—will be judged.
5.  “. . . deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Today, there is a tendency to focus entirely on this portion of the sentence to the exclusion of the first part, but we should recognize both parts are there and do not mean the same thing. Although the ultimate criteria of legitimate governance is the protection of natural rights, this affirms that particular governments only gain jurisdiction to protect these rights by the consent of those who are governed.  The “consent of governed” is a different idea from protecting rights.  It is how to get government up and running.  But it is a problematic idea in terms of rights.  If you emphasize consent and de-emphasize rights, government gets empowered to do anything in the name of the people, so long as it can claim the “consent of the governed,” which is never going to be the actual consent of each and every person.   So there is a tension between the first and second parts of the sentence.
One way this tension was later resolved was with the concept of presumed consent.  The people can only be presumed to have consented to what was actually expressed in the written constitution; conversely, absent a clear statement to the contrary, they cannot be presumed to have consented to surrender any of their natural rights.  So to interpret the meaning of what must be an amorphous “popular” consent, we must know what natural rights the people have.
6.  “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.” People have the right to take back power from the government.  Restates the end—human safety and happiness—and connects the principles and forms of government as means to this ends.
7.  “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.” Affirms at least two propositions: On the one hand, long established government should not be changed for just any reason. The mere fact that rights are violated is not enough to justify revolution  All governments on earth will sometimes violate rights.  But things have to become very bad before anyone is going to organize a resistance.  Therefore, the very existence of this Declaration is evidence that things are very bad indeed.
8.  “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.” Revolution is justified only if there “is a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object.”  Evidence of what amounts to an actual criminal conspiracy by the government against the rights of the people.  The opposite of “light and transient causes,” that is, the more ordinary violations of rights by government.
9.  “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 [George III] 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.” What follows is a bill of indictment.  Several of these items end up in the Bill of Rights.  Others are addressed by form of the government established, first by the Articles of Confederation, and ultimately by the Constitution.
The assumption of natural rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence can be summed up by the following proposition:  “first comes rights, then comes government.”  According to this view: (1) the rights of individuals do not originate with any government, but preexist its formation;  (2) The protection of these rights is the first duty of government; and (3) Even after government is formed, these rights provide a standard by which its performance is measured and, in extreme cases, its systemic failure to protect rights — or its systematice violation of rights — can justify its alteration or abolition; (4) At least some of these rights are so fundamental that they are “inalienable,” meaning they are so intimately connected to one’s nature as a human being that they cannot be transferred to another even if one consents to do so.  This is powerful stuff.

Monday, May 28, 2012

This one is GREAT!!!! A triple threat controlled?

Well, not yet....but inflammation, rapid aging and development of cancer have been traced to one gene!!! Possible control of these is a marvelous thing to help us age we should

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Priorities....We Humans Seem To Get It Wrong!

There should be, a rational being would believe, a system of priorities among a species as cognizant as are we. There are, after all, certain things that would tell even a lower animal that survival is the number one. 

We lost our cat, Jackie, in the wilds of Colorado last Summer. She got out a window of the motor home overnight and we looked for a day for her. 8 weeks later she turned up, despite the presence of wild cats, and other predators where she escaped. She was unharmed. In reading up on house cats (she'd never been loose outside) which are suddenly outside, they seek a hiding place 1st. Their 1st goal is not shelter, food, water....It is instead survival.

The human species in all its intelligence seems almost to avoid that survival least as a species. Instead we busy ourselves with wars, budgets, societal issues that will not mean a hill of beans in 10 to 50 years...let alone centuries.

My feeling, for years, has been that there is a certainty that this planet will face another catastrophic impact of a meteor in the future such as that experienced 60,000,000 years ago, wiping out almost everything on the Earth's face. That fact alone would seem to dictate that we would take our new-found space capability and expand upon it until we can send some folks to live 1st on Mars....and eventually into outer space to find habitation on a nearby (as galactic distances go) planet in a second solar system.

Nope. We have, instead dropped space from our plans and in stead turned it over to private industry, ill-funded to accomplish this expansion in less than perhaps one hundred years at a minimum and up to three or four hundred years at a maximum...largely dependent upon our development of a much faster space drive.

Our governments, while launching satellites, and planning lunar visits exhibit no taste for even Mars. They'd rather spend their time fighting over religion, oil, and land control.

Meanwhile, the average time between cataclysmic events has elapsed, and we are on borrowed time as a species.

Too bad man is so narrow-minded and shortsighted. It could cost us our survival!



Friday, May 4, 2012

Keep It Hidden!

The seeming battle-cry of both political parties....else why would we find the cost of living figures from our marvelous ruling-class DO NOT include Food and Fuel? They are at the very least the most volatile items in all pricing, changing more quickly than homes/medical care, etc. They manage to do the same with Unemployment figures. Currently the picture is worse, but the unemployment figure dropped one-tenth point! How you might excluding all those who have given up seeking employment! Thus, with even fewer new jobs created, we see a miniscule drop in unemployment. In actual numbers, the folks unemployed looking or not, and those greatly under-employed, we are nearer to 12% unemployment. Sad how we allow our govt. to mislead us as they live in the never-never land of Washington D.C.'s Beltway..... Duke

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Speed of Life!......Ever Faster!

When I was a kid, admittedly decades ago, there was such a relaxed life style. Doors were left unlocked, unless we were leaving town for a vacation, and what was the difference anyhow as the doors were locked with skeleton keys which everyone had!

Not so today. We have deadbolts, super-locks, and multiple keys plus electronic alarm systems able to notify us by cell phone if someone arms/disarms our system, or enters the building. More to the point, there is an atmosphere of fear of something happening.

I seriously fear for my kids/grand kids future life! What will they live with?????

I remember the slow, relaxed life of doing nothing a lot of the day. I did that! Now, I move from laptop to large-screen TV for the news......I only remain in two locations as I refuse to take my laptop to the living room where the TV s located! I am, of course, an anachronism! The young live on their ipads/TV/laptops/etc.

I am concerned for their future!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

O.K......I Voted today in Florida!

That pretty well stakes me out as voting GOP.....Like anyone knowing me had a problem identifying that.

I did the unthinkable.....I voted for Gingrich!

Nahny-Nahny-Boo-Boo......The Florida vote is already tilted a bit to Romney, the "Heir-Apparent" to the GOP crown via earlier polls. He will have gained many votes among the early-voters....That may change a lot in the final real vote.

Interesting to watch this as it develops.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

UPDATE on Captain!

Watching TV news, reading blogs today.....News of the Italian ship captain is growing worse by the minute.....There is a recording of the local dock master extolling the captain to return to his ship from his position on a small boat nearby. While the capt. says he is not refusing to return to the ship, but he won't go back anyway.

With the recording and testimony by many travelers that the crew was ill-trained/ignorant of their jobs, or just did not care! Horrible. Every person familiar with protocol knows the entire situation points to major problems for the entire vessel line....though much of this is directly laid at the feet of the captain.

Sad, and now the body count is rising....topping 10 with more than 20 missing.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Captain??? How Did This Happen?

O.K., I am not a sea captain....BUT I have achieved Coxswain status with the U.S, Coast Guard Auxiliary (Vessel Commander).....I understand the facts of vessels moving in water.

HOW did a Captain of a HUGE cruise vessel manage to go aground???? The Italian sinking because of going aground hard enough to rupture the hull is amazing to me.

ANY vessel of this size has a set of equipment which should make it aware of any place where they may be located....INSTANTLY! They should know position within a few feet, depth of water, etc.

Someone Fxxxxx up in a really BIG WAY!

This should never happen in this day and age.


Friday, January 13, 2012

S & W, Glock, & Springfield XD9

Instapundit posted on the change from the long-popular S & W .38 cal pistol to Glocks.

I stumbled onto the gun I feel goes a step further than Glock....The Springfield XD9, a 9mm pistol, also holding 16 shells + 1 in the chamber, and with a 4 inch barrel. However the Springfield solves one of the so-called Glock safety. On the Glock there is a smaller 2nd trigger located atop the primary.
Springfield XD9 - Mine is in black not olive
On the Springfield, there is also a second safety feature....a small trigger-like blade on the rear of the stock. The gun will not fire unless both the second trigger and the rear blade are depressed.

The weapon also features some other neat items; a small tab atop the barrel which slightly sticks up if there is a shell in the chamber, as well as a small round hole in the back of the slide from which a small wire extends when the gun is cocked...the two together allow you with a glance or a feel if the gun is cocked and if a shell is in the chamber.
Springfield XD9 w/case
The weapon also came with the case, two clips, a plastic belt holster, twin clip holster, a locking cable for shipping and a cleaning brush. The package was less than $500 from Bud's Guns.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reflections: Return to 2009......

From our 2009 trip of 10,000 we are in the Badlands in SD. What a beautiful place. We were fortunate that we were there early in the year when there was minimal traffic. The colors were much more vivid than the camera seemed to capture.