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Calvin Coolidge: Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, Pa.

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Fellow Countrymen:

We meet to celebrate the birthday of America. That coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation. It is to pay our tribute of reverence and respect to those who participated in such a mighty event that we annually observe the 4th day of July. Whatever may have been the impression created by the news which went out from this city on that summer day in 1776, there can be no doubt as to the estimate which is now placed upon it. At the end of 150 years the four corners of the earth unite in coming to Philadelphia as to a holy shrine in grateful acknowledgment of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world.

Although a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period. Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. They have been in existence long enough to become very well seasoned. They have met, and met successfully, the test of experience

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

It is not so much, then, for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection.

It is little wonder that people at home and abroad consider Independence Hall as hallowed ground and revere the Liberty Bell as a sacred relic. That pile of bricks and mortar, that mass of metal, might appear to the uninstructed as only the outgrown meeting place and the shattered bell of a former time, useless now because of more modern conveniences, but to those who know they have become consecrated by the use which men have made of them. They have long been identified with a great cause. They are the framework of a spiritual event. The world looks upon them, because of their associations of one hundred and fifty years ago, as it looks upon the Holy Land because of what took place there nineteen hundred years ago. Through use for a righteous purpose they have become sanctified.

It is not here necessary to examine in detail the causes which led to the American Revolution. In their immediate occasion they were largely economic. The colonists objected to the navigation laws which interfered with their trade, they denied the power of Parliament to impose taxes which they were obliged to pay, and they therefore resisted the royal governors and the royal forces which were sent to secure obedience to these laws. But the conviction is inescapable that a new civilization had come, a new spirit had arisen on this side of the Atlantic more advanced and more developed in its regard for the rights of the individual than that which characterized the Old World. Life in a new and open country had aspirations which could not be realized in any subordinate position. A separate establishment was ultimately inevitable. It had been decreed by the very laws of human nature. Man everywhere has an unconquerable desire to be the master of his own destiny.

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We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not without the support of many of the most respectable people in the Colonies, who were entitled to all the consideration that is given to breeding, education, and possessions. It had the support of another element of great significance and importance to which I shall later refer. But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility. It was in no sense a rising of the oppressed and downtrodden. It brought no scum to the surface, for the reason that colonial society had developed no scum. The great body of the people were accustomed to privations, but they were free from depravity. If they had poverty, it was not of the hopeless kind that afflicts great cities, but the inspiring kind that marks the spirit of the pioneer. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.

The Continental Congress was not only composed of great men, but it represented a great people. While its Members did not fail to exercise a remarkable leadership, they were equally observant of their representative capacity. They were industrious in encouraging their constituents to instruct them to support independence. But until such instructions were given they were inclined to withhold action.

While North Carolina has the honor of first authorizing its delegates to concur with other Colonies in declaring independence, it was quickly followed by South Carolina and Georgia, which also gave general instructions broad enough to include such action. But the first instructions which unconditionally directed its delegates to declare for independence came from the great Commonwealth of Virginia. These were immediately followed by Rhode Island and Massachusetts, while the other Colonies, with the exception of New York, soon adopted a like course.

This obedience of the delegates to the wishes of their constituents, which in some cases caused them to modify their previous positions, is a matter of great significance. It reveals an orderly process of government in the first place; but more than that, it demonstrates that the Declaration of Independence was the result of the seasoned and deliberate thought of the dominant portion of the people of the Colonies. Adopted after long discussion and as the result of the duly authorized expression of the preponderance of public opinion, it did not partake of dark intrigue or hidden conspiracy. It was well advised. It had about it nothing of the lawless and disordered nature of a riotous insurrection. It was maintained on a plane which rises above the ordinary conception of rebellion. It was in no sense a radical movement but took on the dignity of a resistance to illegal usurpations. It was conservative and represented the action of the colonists to maintain their constitutional rights which from time immemorial had been guaranteed to them under the law of the land.

When we come to examine the action of the Continental Congress in adopting the Declaration of Independence in the light of what was set out in that great document and in the light of succeeding events, we can not escape the conclusion that it had a much broader and deeper significance than a mere secession if territory and the establishment of a new nation. Events of that nature have been taking place since the dawn of history. One empire after another has arisen, only to crumble away as its constituent parts separated from each other and set up independent governments of their own. Such actions long ago became commonplace. They have occurred too often to hold the attention of the world and command the administration and reverence of humanity. There is something beyond the establishment of a new nation, great as that event would be, in the Declaration of Independence which has ever since caused it to be regarded as one of the great charters that not only was to liberate America but was everywhere to ennoble humanity.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Vintage School House Rock: ‘Shot Heard Round the World’

Schoolhouse rock sings about the Revolutionary War! No more monarchy. Paul Revere announces the British are Coming!


Whiskey Content Not Disclosed: A Vial of Winston Churchill’s Blood Now Up for Auction

Churchill In Croydon

…Churchill famously said he had nothing to offer but “blood, toil, tears and sweat” and now some of that blood is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder by Duke’s Auctioneers on March 12.

“…the most poignant and unique memorabilia we’ve ever had…the closest you can get to Churchill.”

— Timothy Medhurst, an auctioneer and appraiser at Duke’s

The blood was collected when Churchill was in the hospital for a fractured hip in 1962. Typically vials of blood are discarded when they are no longer medically 51hrU8b98BL._SL250_necessary, but the nurse who collected it, an apparent fan of the former Prime Minister, received special permission to keep the vial.

[Or, you can order this Churchill book “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Great Speeches” from Amazon]

Upon the nurse’s death, it was bequeathed to a friend who decided to sell the historical medical waste to mark the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death. Read the rest of this entry »


Art Auction Records Shattered in London

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London, United Kingdom – It took a breathtaking span of 26 hours in London for more records to fall in the thriving global art market.

Works by Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, and Cy Twombly were among those that set the pace at the post-war and contemporary art sales hosted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

The highest priced lot took place on Tuesday when Richter’s Abstraktes Bild surprised the packed auction room on Bond Street with aggressive phone bids coming in at 2 million British pound increments ($3.1m).

The final sale price of 30.4 million pounds ($46.8m) established a new auction record by a living European artist.

Gallery technicians hanging a picture by Gerhard Richter at Sotheby's

The anonymous bidder, reported to be an American, was represented by Sotheby’s worldwide co-head of contemporary art, Cheyenne Westphal.

“I think I can genuinely say it went to someone who truly wanted this painting, and he was set on buying it tonight,” Westphal said, noting Richter also happened to be her favourite artist.

A sister painting of the large abstract work was sold by

Eric Clapton in 2012 for a then-record of 21 million pounds ($32m).

The artwork, which measures 3 x 2.5 metres draped with jagged lines of reds and greens, was last sold on auction at Sotheby’s in 1999 for $607,500, generating a return of 32.4 percent annually.

“Richter is not hot all of a sudden, he has always been sought after,” said Arianne Levene Piper, founder of the New Art World consultancy

“There are plenty of ultra-high net worth collectors who are willing to pay for top works.

This explains why a great painting by a great artist will sell for high prices at auction.”

Works by another European artist, Francis Bacon, failed to make headlines this auction season, despite drumming up a buzz prior to the sales. Read the rest of this entry »


National Security on the Cheap: 10,000 Less Soldiers This Year, 20,000 Less Next Year

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Army Times reports: Nearly 30,000 soldiers must be removed from the active rolls in the next 17 months if the Army is to make the first waypoint in a drawdown that eventually will reduce the force to 450,000, or even 420,000, soldiers.

As of April 1, there were 519,786 troopers on active duty, according to the most recent accounting of Regular Army strength by the Defense Manpower Data Cnter.

The personnel total includes 4,000 West Point cadets and several hundred soldiers who are processing for separation because of physical disability, and several hundred others who have been identified for involuntary separation or retirement because of indiscipline or selection by force reduction boards. Read the rest of this entry »


Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock Born Today, August 13, 1899

Alfred-Hitchcock

On this day in 1899, film director and producer Alfred Hitchcock was born in London.  Considered to be a pioneer of the suspense and psychological thriller genres, Hitchcock set precedents in the filmic techniques of camera movement, composition and editing.

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Hitchcock’s filmography includes popular classics like Psycho and Vertigo, but he also worked as “treatment advisor” (or film editor) on an unfinished Holocaust documentary commissioned by the British Army in 1945.

alfred-hitchcockbday Read the rest of this entry »


How a 20-Year-Old British Sniper Killed Six Taliban Insurgents With a Single Bullet — From Half a Mile Away

A sniper serving in Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 10 with the Sniper Platoon, D (Fire Support) Company, 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, with his .338mm L115 A3 sniper rifle. ORG XMIT: MOD Crown Copyright   PHOTO CREDIT: UK MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (link: http://www.defenceimagery.mod.uk/fotoweb/ )/pws

A sniper serving in Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 10 with the Sniper Platoon, D (Fire Support) Company, 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, with his .338mm L115 A3 sniper rifle. PHOTO: UK MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

For The Telegraph, Holly Watt reports:  A British sniper in Afghanistan killed six insurgents with a single bullet after hitting the trigger switch of a suicide bomber whose device then exploded, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

L115A3 Sniper RifleThe 20-year-old marksman, a lance corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit his target from 850 metres, killing the suicide bomber and five others around him caught in the blast.

The incident in Kakaran in southern Afghanistan happened in December but has only now been disclosed as Britain moves towards the withdrawal of all combat soldiers by the end of the year.

Lt Col Richard Slack, commanding officer of 9/12 Royal Lancers, said the unnamed sharpshooter prevented a major attack by the Taliban, as a second suicide vest packed with 20 kg of explosives was found nearby.

The same sniper, with his first shot on the tour of duty, killed a Taliban machine-gunner from 1,340 metres.

“I think I’ve just shot a suicide bomber”

Several hundred British and Afghan soldiers were carrying out an operation in December when they were engaged in a gun battle with 15 to 20 insurgents.

“The guy was wearing a vest. He was identified by the sniper moving down a tree line and coming up over a ditch,” said Lt Col Slack. “He had a shawl on. It rose up and the sniper saw he had a machine gun.

“They were in contact and he was moving to a firing position. The sniper engaged him and the guy exploded. There was a pause on the radio and the sniper said, ‘I think I’ve just shot a suicide bomber.’ The rest of them were killed in the blast.”

UK MINISTRY OF DEFENCEThe L115A3 sniper rifle.

It is understood the lance corporal was using an L115A3 gun, the Army’s most powerful sniper weapon.

The Armed Forces are gradually decreasing their presence in Helmand, handing over security of the country to the Afghan armed forces. Last month, three major bases were closed or handed over to Afghan control. At the height of the campaign, there were 137 bases across Helmand – now there is only one base outside Camp Bastion, Sterga 2, which is staffed by a company from 4 Scots and the 9/12 Royal Lancers. Read the rest of this entry »


US military Begins Purchasing and Testing Smart Rifles

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Reports coming out of the Las Vegas SHOT gun show this week indicate the U.S. military has purchased and is testing smart rifles for use in the field.

According to a Military.com interview with TrackingPoint, Inc., the Army bought six different smart rifles from the company for a price of $10,000 to $27,000, each of which includes a built-in Linux-based computer that uses sensors and scopes to maximize accuracy amidst a variety of conditions like terrain, weather and even the Earth’s rotation.

Read the rest of this entry »


Outrage is not a Strategy

Never Go to War without the Support of Your People

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by Michael Yon

In 2006, the talking points from London and Washington insisted we had won the war in Afghanistan, and Iraq was not in civil war.  To say otherwise was apostasy.

In 2006, British Defense Secretary John Reid was famously quoted on Afghanistan:

“We are in the south to help and protect the Afghan people construct their own democracy.”

Read the rest of this entry »


How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?

By Radley Balko

Are cops constitutional?

In a 2001 article for the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal, the legal scholar and civil liberties activist Roger Roots posed just that question. Roots, a fairly radical libertarian, believes that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow for police as they exist today. At the very least, he argues, police departments, powers and practices today violate the document’s spirit and intent. “Under the criminal justice model known to the framers, professional police officers were unknown,” Roots writes.

The founders and their contemporaries would probably have seen even the early-19th-century police forces as a standing army, and a particularly odious one at that. Just before the American Revolution, it wasn’t the stationing of British troops in the colonies that irked patriots in Boston and Virginia; it was England’s decision to use the troops for everyday law enforcement. This wariness of standing armies was born of experience and a study of history—early American statesmen like Madison, Washington and Adams were well-versed in the history of such armies in Europe, especially in ancient Rome.

If even the earliest attempts at centralized police forces would have alarmed the founders, today’s policing would have terrified them. Today in America SWAT teams violently smash into private homes more than 100 times per day. The vast majority of these raids are to enforce laws against consensual crimes. In many cities, police departments have given up the traditional blue uniforms for “battle dress uniforms” modeled after soldier attire.

Police departments across the country now sport armored personnel carriers designed for use on a battlefield. Some have helicopters, tanks and Humvees. They carry military-grade weapons. Most of this equipment comes from the military itself. Many SWAT teams today are trained by current and former personnel from special forces units like the Navy SEALs or Army Rangers. National Guard helicopters now routinely swoop through rural areas in search of pot plants and, when they find something, send gun-toting troops dressed for battle rappelling down to chop and confiscate the contraband. But it isn’t just drugs. Aggressive, SWAT-style tactics are now used to raid neighborhood poker games, doctors’ offices, bars and restaurants, and head shops—despite the fact that the targets of these raids pose little threat to anyone. This sort of force was once reserved as the last option to defuse a dangerous situation. It’s increasingly used as the first option to apprehend people who aren’t dangerous at all.

Click here to read the rest of “How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?” from the July issue of the ABA Journal.

via ABA Journal


Islamist Fanatics Approach British Soldier in Public Street…

…to Engage in a Peaceful Discussion about the Deeper Meanings of their Islamic Faith, and Demonstrate their Sincere  Butcher him to Death with a Meat Cleaver, in Broad Daylight, in view of Horrified Witnesses

Terrorism returned to the streets of London as two suspected Muslim fanatics butchered a man in broad daylight in the name of “Allah”.

One of the attackers behind the barbaric killing, near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, was filmed wielding a bloodied meat cleaver, saying: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.”

Security has been stepped up at military barracks across London, as witnesses and others close to the area said the victim, pronounced dead immediately, was a serving British soldier. Metropolitan Police officers called to the terrifying scenes opened fire and shot the attackers, who were rushed to nearby hospitals, where one is said to be in a serious condition.

Prime Minister David Cameron described the attack as “truly shocking” while the Home Secretary Theresa May said it was “sickening and barbaric”. At a press conference in Paris, the PM said Britain has faced such terror attacks before and added: “We will never buckle in the face of it.”In expressing solidarity with the PM, French president Francois Hollande referred to the murdered man as a “British soldier”. The Prime Minister, who was planning to stay in Paris overnight, is to return on Wednesday night instead.

After it became clear through witness accounts that the attackers had political and religious motives, the Government held a so-called Cobra emergency response meeting. The meeting, which lasted around an hour, heard security had been tightened at Woolwich barracks and increased at all London barracks, Downing Street said. It was attended by Mrs May, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Met Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick and intelligence agencies.The meeting was told there are strong indications that it was a terrorist incident.

 

In a chilling development, footage emerged of one of the suspected killers, apparently explaining his terrifying actions. In the clip, obtained by ITV News, he is heard to say: “We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you.” In an extended version on The Sun website, the man adds: “You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start bussin’ our guns? You think politicians are going to die? No it’s going to be the average guy, like you, and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so you can all live in peace.” The attacker, who spoke clear English without a foreign accent, is then seen walking towards the victim, who is lying in the street. Another man is standing by a car that has collided with a road sign.

via Man butchered by terror pair – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.