Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday Amé......rica ;)

Amélie's birthday is tomorrow... today it's America's one.

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 bonds 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

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

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

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

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

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

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

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

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

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

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Thanks guys ;)


Nadl said...

do i have to read this?

happy b-day amelie

Bumsby said...

Amé's birthday is tomorrow... :P

Nadl said...

i know

BARBIE said...

Do you all think she will celebrate her bday ???

Nadl said...

why not

BARBIE said...

I also think so but then if she thinks about her bad wimbledon and decides to not celebrate it ???

But I would like her to celebrate her bday *banana dance*

Anonymous said...

Ah, come on. She's old enough and wise enough to drink wine when she can. No matches in the next few days, so she'll be drinking a bit.

As for America's birthday, ironically I just finished watching the last season of the television show "24", which involves murder (by Americans), torture (by Americans), terrorism (by Americans), etc etc etc.

Actually, the interesting film for America's Independence Day is "Waco: The Rules of Engagement".

I actually held a 4th of July party one year where we watched that.

sapph said...

*raises a glass to Mary and Spanky*

Here's to Independence of the mind!!

Anonymous said...

*toasts sapph back*

I used to go to a fireworks celebration of the Independence Day in the town where I work. They'd play taped music before the show began, and they'd always always always play "America" from "West Side Story"--it's as though the music programmer had no idea what the lyrics were.

Totally off-topic: I've been working on my Nadal painting (geez, I should probably not post this here...OK, I'll go over to spank's site; she probably won't mind.)

Spank said...

Mary:Actually, the interesting film for America's Independence Day is "Waco: The Rules of Engagement".
I actually held a 4th of July party one year where we watched that.


Spank said...

Raises glass to toast "freedom to have a healthy mind" :P ;)

Nadl said...

why shouldnt she drink?! it's her bday
wohoo exactly 0:00 here

sapph said...

I ADORE West Side Story. Bernstein was a frickin' genius. And it's a whole bundle of fun to play, too.

Bumsby said...

"sapph: Here's to Independence of the mind"

Madison: "What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of liberty and learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?"

Bumsby said...

What's wrong with playing "west side story" on independence day? I think the lyrics are not necessarily elegant but quite pro-America.

Bumsby said...

About showing that documentary on Independence Day: was it a reaction towards other simple, blindly-patriotic celebrations?

Somehow I find anti-Americanism (either by Europeans or by Americans themselves) is the result of a lack of opportunities to get to know either of the sides of the pond. I don't know of anyone who has lived/studied/worked in both countries and eventually chose Europe in the long term, out of those who had opportunities to choose both. I know (of) many Europeans who go to the US and stay there, and only one Americans who came to Europe and stayed (but he came to train in a sport which is unpopular in the US so he had no opportunity there).

I wonder if the people who take the time to stress America's faults in a non comparative way (that is, not as compared to other real countries historically existing/existed) would have done so in case they actually could make the comparison. And yes, I know about Scandinavian Social Democracy. But what has Scandinavian Social Democracy done for the rest of the world? Little.

No country is perfect. But some are less perfect than others IMO. As Uncle Winston went, "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others".

I know it's a long story and this is not the place to discuss such a matter... but still, I'm dying to find evidence of Americans who had opportunities to leave as much as to stay, and left. I don't know of any European like that who stayed. (Oh wait, there are some. But they're extremely rich. Shows Europe is a good place for vacation.)

Bumsby said...

And yeah, all my friends are Commies. *rolls eyes* :P
What can I do, everywhere I go, I'm surrounded by Communists. It's as if I have Commie glue on my body *shrug*

When I went to the US, I was like, "hey, no Commies here! How come?" I couldn't believe it. Until my third friend, who was a radical leftist :P I think I successfully picked one of all the four existing over the country...

Anonymous said...

Re: the Waco documentary. I just happened to rent it, and some friends dropped by before the fireworks celebration. That was the "party".

As for "anti-Americanism", it's not so much being anti-American, as to being very disappointed with lip service to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

If you'd talked to me during Clinton's administration, I would have been a lot more positive. But the Bush know, I can't even write more about it, I get so angry.

Anonymous said...

Most Americans I know move to Massachusetts, or Canada.

sapph said...

"But the Bush know, I can't even write more about it, I get so angry."

What she said!

But some people have their minds set on one end of the spectrum or the other (hate/love America) and won't be swayed no matter the facts.

Bumsby said...

I understand the lip service thing, but it's not much different in other Western countries. I may be wrong, but I think what makes a big difference is having a democratic Constitution for over 200 years rather than 50. There's a higher chance to actually listen to it and drop the lip service even if by mistake, over more years.

About administrations, I don't think one single administration has the power to change much of a country. For a start, it's very hard to reverse the original character, shaped by the circumstances under which the nation was born; and all the more if someone's in power for just 4/8 years out of 200. Just one president out of 43.

Having said this, I profoundly disapprove Bush administration's "internal" policies and I think I'd be quite angry if I were a US citizen.

But on the other hand, I can't help judging with a foreigner's eye and I happen to cherish the neocon's intuition that currently existing forms of fascism need to be controlled; and if they can't be controlled, they need to be eradicated. People have been very slow to recognize this in Europe (as already happened last century). We're so used to tyranny that we think it's normal. We don't even recognize it, let alone fight it (unless something vaguely close to it comes from America the devil because it's too hip not to bash America in postmodern times).

Bumsby said...

sapph, you can't be swayed from Communism, that's a fact ;) j/k

re: moving, Massachusetts is my favorite state :D (btw two Brazilian friends of mine who have been living in Rome for a few years are moving to Boston right now and they're throwing a goodbye party this evening).

From the little I know about states, I prefer the East Coast Northern ones - which somehow are more American than Texas or Kansas or Georgia, because they were the original colonies and later won the civil war. I guess they shaped the nation more than many other states. I may be wrong, but I think there's more of Massachusetts in Montana than Montana in Massachusetts.

Other than this, I don't know how San Francisco turned out to be so cool, and I wish it had more influence on the country's identity; but it probably came a little too late.

Bumsby said...

Questions: 1) why do I sneeze when I do my eyebrows? 2) Why do I find toothbrushes in my bathroom I have no idea who they belong to?

Bumsby said...

Mary I've been to your website today: I think you need to do more watercolors.

And the bridesmaid photo was hilarious.

Hugo87 said...

bumsby you keep my life interesting ill give you that

sapph said...

"About administrations, I don't think one single administration has the power to change much of a country."

Really? Think: Germany, 1933.

"We're so used to tyranny that we think it's normal. We don't even recognize it, let alone fight it..."

Which is precisely why Bush et al are so dangerous. Civil liberty in this country has been eroded more since he took office than in several decades (at least!) previously. The "land of the free and the home of the brave" exists mostly in those patriotic songs they like to play on days like yesterday. Most Americans don't realize it, apparently, or so long as they're kept fat & happy, they don't care.

And just to be topical (I'm guessing Mary will love this) it's now the "land of the free and the home of the brave, where you can break/trample all over the law and get away with it - so long as you do it on behalf of the White House." ZING!!

"sapph, you can't be swayed from Communism, that's a fact ;) j/k"

Picture my fingers making a very rude gesture.

For anyone else who might be reading, our friend decided I must be a Communist because I said that all human beings had the same basic necessities: water, food & shelter. Quite how she made this astonishing leap of logic is beyond me, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I refused to be swayed by her arguments to the contrary. (I can live without intellectual/political sophism, but I'll die pretty damn quick without water. Try going out to the desert some time. *shrug* Seems like a no-brainer to me.)

On a completely unrelated note: as unlikely as I think it is, knowing how disgusted and frustrated she was after that match, I nevertheless wish Amélie a very happy, peaceful, and loving birthday. She'll always be my champion.

Bumsby said...

Sapph, not everyone can live without what you can live without. Accept it. And that your basic necessity stance is more popular amongst Commies is a fact. Have you ever heard of liberals (in the EU sense) fighting for minimum wage and housing rights? But stay cool, because as I said I find nothing offensive in sharing those views and as a matter of facts the vast majority of my friends do.

Spank said...

The Scandinavian (sweden in particular) goverments have done a huge amount for human rights and womens rights and peace movements around the globe BUT they do it quietly unlike the american administration :P

There are quiet a few (10,000s) of Americans who emigrate to the UK each year :P Heaven knows why they come!

Questions: 1) why do I sneeze when I do my eyebrows? 2) Why do I find toothbrushes in my bathroom I have no idea who they belong to?
1) Because the nerves tell you too.
2) You are an amnesica slut :P :D

I come from a very anti amercian family. Yank-bashing was the past time for my folks but it was really frustration and disappointment at bad policy decisions when there was so much potential for change.

I think we are better at managing the everyday tyranies(religion, hatred of women etc) in the UK rather than letting them become national and hysterical.

Bumsby said...

And about Hitler, it was much more than that. Dictators were spreading all over the West at the time, do you think that was because of poorly performing administrations?

What I mean is, historical forces are much stronger than a single administration. I'd try not to demonize single individuals.

Bumsby said...

Thanks for the figure spanky :)
Do you know how many Brits cross the pond then?

?! Erm, I don't agree with your explanation... normally I have a good memory. That's why it's so puzzling *shrug*

sapph said...

* rolls eyes *

Spank said...

But since WW2 western Europe has been solidly committed to not allow dictators on it's own soil and to stop invading and terrorising one another, that is an enormous achievement :P

Spank said...

Page 9
And I don't care if I'm wrong :P
I don't want rich fundamentalist republicans in this country, she said turning into a rabid xenophobe.

Bumsby said...

Thank God :P :D
We're on the right path, that's for sure.
But when I see how the EU works in practice, I realize we don't really have a democratic way of dealing with pluralism. We don't really have a vision where to go together, we just try to keep the pieces together.
Everyone keeps saying we'll never be America, mainly because of language barriers.
When Italy was unified back in 1860, one of the "unification fathers" said: "We made Italy, now we must make Italians". It's similar to Europe now. We have Europe, but we don't have Europeans.

sapph said...

"I don't want rich fundamentalist republicans in this country..."

You said it, Spank. Shoot the b@$tards.

"Everyone keeps saying we'll never be America..."

Thank Christ!!

Bumsby said...

But you are a natural rabid xenophobe, spank, you don't need to turn into one! (j/k)

Ah sapph, thanks for your enlightenment-inspired "shoot the bastards" wisdom... :P

I see why you don't get along with'em... at least spank is coherent and doesn't want to move there. So why don't you go back to your beloved Europe, huh?

Bumsby said...

Damn, I'm late. I took a while looking for street directions. But now I'm off to Brazil... LOL

Spank said...

Could the US really offer me a better life?
Maybe I could turn into a redneck bubba and shoot the bastards ;) J/K

sapph said...

"So why don't you go back to your beloved Europe, huh?"

So why don't you mind your own damn business (for the Nth time)?!

Then again, maybe I'll move back just so you won't know where to find me....

Bumsby said...

I don't know where to find you. Well, unless I stalk you, that is :P

But yeah, for logic's sake, it would be nice to hear something that justifies your stay there. I see a big rift in your practical, factual attachment to the country and your constant spitting-on-it discourse.

I'm not saying you're hypocrite or opportunist, but the contradiction remains. Hearing your demonizing of the country, one can't help wondering what you're doing over there torturing yourself.

You're a European citizen. You have 25 gorgeous countries full of tolerant, cultured, sensible and judicious women and men to choose from. Must be the embarassingly wide choice... *shrug* ;)

sapph said...

When you speak your opinions so freely, remember that they ARE just your opinions, and nothing more.

You come perilously close to putting words in my mouth, and I'll thank you not to do that.

Hugo87 said...

Ladis keep it down play nice

Anonymous said...

Mary I've been to your website today: I think you need to do more watercolors.

I'm way behind, and can't catch up on this discussion. I started sketching for a new watercolor today. (But still, if I had infinite time, I'd probably do oil paintings mostly.)

I suspect you were looking at my work website. Most of the art stuff is here now.

Spank said...

B, I spit on my fellow countrymen as well but as you have said before "better the devil you know" and "the lesser of two evils" :)