Archive for the ‘tyranny’ Tag

Let’s Elect a Dictator   2 comments

I’m seriously embarrassed to be an American right now. I don’t recognize this country anymore.

Why do we want to elect a dictator?

Let’s just look at the three people who are front runners in the 2016 Presidential race.

Hillary has a history of dictatorial behavior and comments. She wants a cradle to grave social security system with the absolutely authority to take children from their parents, put people in jail for opposing her policies, and the ability to disarm the population so that we cannot fight back. She would be an elected dictator.

Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist. You know the saying, now pretty well-worn, “democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner”. There’s a second line to that — Liberty is the sheep contesting the vote (and I would add) with a gun to back their opposition up. So democracy can and has led to tyranny. Hitler was elected to h is position after all before he became a dictator.

In order for socialism to work, society has to agree to give up personal liberty. Socialism is central planning of the economy which requires central planning of our lives. To give everybody no-personal-cost stuff requires that the government take money from those who work and produce comfortable incomes and give it to the people who qualify for no-personal-cost stuff. You are either enslaved by having your earned income taken from you or by relying on your government for your basic necessities. That takes your choices away from you and a life without choices is tyranny.

Bernie may be well intentioned, but to institute his ideals requires a dictatorship. And, historically, he’s expressed  admiration for dictatorships so I’m not convinced of his intentions. It may be (for a time) a lovely gilded cage, but eventually, you’ll run up against what you cannot do in this comfy society because everyone must fulfill their role in a planned economy. If you try to step out of your assigned role, you will run up against the boundaries placed around you — fined, regulated into inaction or jailed. Democratic socialism cannot allow people who do not walk in lock step with the rest of society. Remember, Hitler was elected under the democratic socialist banner.

Donald Trump – ah, Donald! We all know the outrageous things he says – fomenting hatred of women, Mexicans, Muslims, the Chinese. His plan for tariffs will likely set off a very deep Depression. Follow the link to study the Smoot-Hawley tariffs and their role in turning the Depression of 1929 into the 12-year-old Great Depression that existed nowhere else in the industrialized world, but may well have encouraged the nationalism that created the Fascist movement.

But what’s more, you can listen to what he says when asked certain questions. He honestly believes that the Army should obey him about anything regardless of whether they object or it goes agains their oath.

This shouldn’t surprise us. He’s a businessman and he’s used to his employees doing what he wants, without opposition, because he owns the company.

While that works in the business world, it violates the Constitution.The president doesn’t lawfully possess sweeping power to do what he wants. And a president who doesn’t undestand that is an dictator.

All three of these politicians (and, yes, Trump became a politician the minute he threw his hat into the ring) are asking you to elect them as dictator. They know what’s best for you. Just put them in office and they will give you what you need in your life.

And once they’ve been elected, you will live according to the dictates of their dictatorship until you have an opportunity to elect someone to replace them. We’ve seen how well that worked with eight years of Obama.

Just stop and take a deep breath and ask yourself — Is this really the best choice for the country? What are the long-term consequences of this election?

We don’t get any mulligans on this. Elections have consequences. Take a really good look at that quote by Orwell. What is the purpose of revolution?

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Posted March 12, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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Thought for the Day   2 comments

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Posted February 11, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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A Christian History of Christmas   4 comments

This is part of a series. Check it out

The Bible never mentions Christmas. The early Christian churches did not celebrate Christ’s birth. They celebrated Christ’s resurrection (which is a topic for Easter), but Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. The apostles and the churches they founded did not celebrate it or commemorate it. In fact, it was about 300 years after Christ’s death before we see the first recorded observance of Christ’s birth. It seems strange to folks nowadays, but the early Christians praised that Jesus Christ was God come in the flesh, but the day of His birth had no relevance to them because Jesus was no longer physically on earth. It was the risen and exalted Christ to whom they looked, not a baby in a manger. So how did we come to celebrate Christmas. Well, there are a lot of contradictory explanations for the celebration.

Some say Christmas was first practiced in Rome in 354 AD under Bishop Liberius, others say it was in the Church at Jerusalem about 440 AD, while still others believe Constantine created it whole-cloth to legitimize the Saturnalia festival around 380 AD. Which tells me that nobody really knows and that it is likely that the celebration of Christ’s birth was slowly growing in the churches before Liberius set it among the Saturnalia festival in 354 AD.

Contrary to popular belief, Emperor Constantine did not rescue Christianity from extinction and he had very little to do with most of our traditions and doctrines. Christianity flourished despite the best efforts of his predecessors to destroy it. When Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, he declared Christianity a legal religion. This ended one of the bloodiest and fiercest persecutions of Christians by the Roman government, called the Diocletian persecution. This edict didn’t make Christianity the official religion of the Empire. That was actually done by the later Emperor Theodosius in 380 AD. Christianity had continued to evangelize despite persecution and it is estimated that 40% the population of the Roman Mediterrean region espoused Christian beliefs by the time Constantine recognized the religion as allowed among other religions. Constantine was just getting on board with what he recognized as inevitable.

As Christianity began to be practiced more by Gentiles than Jews, the Jewish religious ceremonies and holidays were less a part of Christian practice. This is perfectly understandable. The Jerusalem Council in AD 49 allowed Gentles to remain culturally Gentiles while practicing Christianity. They were not required to be circumcised or to observe Jewish rites. But people love ceremonies and festivals, so it is highly likely that Christians were already observing Christ’s birthday around the Roman empire by the time the holiday was fixed to December 25. It may have been celebrated at different times depending on a community’s own cultural calendar. It’s likely that the church in Rome was already celebrating Christ’s birth around the same time as the Saturnalia festival because a persecuted people do not want to seem out of step with their neighbors and what better way to hide your beliefs than to gather when others are celebrating and celebrate something of your own?

Jesus was not born on December 25. Biblical scholars think He was probably born in September. Just because the apostles did not celebrate Christ’s birth does not mean we cannot. There are many things that occur in our world today that were not sanctioned by the apostles. We celebrate the 4th of July as American Independence Day, for example. I do know some people who object strenuously, but there’s no Biblical evidence that the apostles or Jesus would have objected to the celebration of a cultural event. Let’s remember, Jesus and the apostles continued to celebrate their own cultural events throughout their lifetimes while at the same time Jesus’ brother James and the other apostles came to recognize that Gentiles were not Jews and were allowed to put their own cultural stamp on the Christianity they observed.

Jesus was God come to earth, stepped out of glory into human flesh and destined to die for our sin. After His death and resurrection, His birth is easily the greatest event in human history. It makes sense that some early Christians gradually adopted a religious observance of that birth. It may be unfortunate that the church at Rome elected to officially observe the celebration on December 25 and then force the rest of the Christian churches to fall in line. I get why they did that, but they probably should have avoided the connection with Saturnalia.

But in 2015, I am 1600 years after that decision. I did take a pause several times during my younger years to ask God if it offended Him that Christians acknowledge Jesus’ birthday on December 25. He hasn’t gotten back to me, even though He regularly corrects my behavior in other areas.

Christmas is one of those times when we gather with family and friends and it allows us to share our faith in a non-threatening way. If for some reason, the world around me suddenly declared Christmas to be ended, I would still celebrate it. If they changed the date for the celebration, I might well change my observance to that date.

My point is, Christians should – if they want to – observe Jesus’ birth. We should constantly be lifting up praises to God for EVERYTHING He has done for us. In some ways every day of the year is Christmas for Christians. We just happen to call December 25 by that name. If you don’t want to celebrate it then, you don’t have to. But we do and I absolutely do not feel any guidance from God not to

Christmas Wars   5 comments

The Christmas “wars” have started for 2015. Most years it’s the atheists who lob the first volley when they act like tyrants, but this year a Christian freaked out over the color of Starbuck’s coffee cups.

Oh my! Can we stop? Please!!

The United States of America is a pluralistic society. Approximately 80% of Americans identify as “Christian.” They don’t, for the most part, match the Biblical definition of Christian (that’s less than 20% of the population), but this 80% includes a lot of cultural “Christians” who grew up celebrating Christmas with Nativity scenes and Santa Claus, evergreens and eggnog. Of the other 20% of Americans who are not cultural Christians, there are many who still celebrate the secular version of Christmas. Why? Because it’s fun.

There are small percentages of others who are “offended” by the whole idea of Christmas and some of these folks work overtime to make the celebration of Christmas as miserable as possible for the rest of us.

Why? I guess they find their Grinch-like behavior to be fun and amusing? Or, er ….

Well, to be perfectly honest, I think many of them are simply tyrants who want to force others to live and act in ways that they approve. They may believe they’re doing it for our good, but in reality, they are simply tyrants.

But …

If I’m completely honest with myself, atheists aren’t the only ones who seem bent on taking the fun out of Christmas. And that is going to be my research theme for the season. You’ll find the complete discussion her.

Merry Christmas 2015

Christmas Wars (This article

A Christian History of Christmas

Diversity’s Mark on Christmas

Freedom in Christmas

Santa That Old Demon

We Just Go Nuts At Christmas

First Noel

 

They’ll Be Watching You   15 comments

It happened almost without our realizing it. How did it start? Who authorized it? How do we get rid of it? Should we get rid of it?

I’m talking about the Surveillance State or, as I like to call it, institutional stalking. So are my fellow authors on the Open Book Blog Hop. Check out what Kelli Williams has to say on her blog and while you’re at it, maybe pick up a great book to read.

We’re interested in your opinion as well, so if you want to join us for the blog hop, click the links below.

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So, first, “nanny” spying. It wasn’t an option when my kids were little, so I had to rely on this quaint old-fashioned value called trust. Before I left my kids with someone, I got to know them a bit, so that I came to trust them with these precious humans. I turned down some people I knew pretty well because something in my gut said “No.” If I’d had a camera, maybe I wouldn’t have done that and I don’t think that would necessarily have been a good thing. I’m not sure our world is improved by the lack of trust and, generally, these nanny cams seem to mostly end the owners’ marriages, which makes me wonder who it is the installers are not trusting.

I used to work for a mental health agency that hired a paranoid supervisor who installed cameras in the residences to spy on the workers. They were absolutely no good for catching the client who murdered our coworker because they were all in the office focused on the workers. I was asked once to go through the tapes. What did I find?

Nothing! My coworkers were boring. They did their jobs. I learned that I am not a stalker at nature and that I have no desire to ever waste a day going through surveillance tapes again. Ever! I also solidified a vague feeling that I had that I don’t like this technology.

Ah, but these cameras and other surveillance catch criminals and terrorists! Do they?

Most Americans are deeply suspicious when government tells us that we should trust it with our privacy because “they” know what is best for us. That’s what the Obama administration tries to tell us as deep in the Utah desert, the National Security Agency (NSA) has built a $1.5 billion complex to collect and analyze data from the Internet. This complex quite literally could withstand a nuclear war, so our petty protests mean nothing to it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah — the Patriot Act is no more … but that didn’t stop the stalking. Stalkers don’t stop when you tell them to because they don’t care about you. And all of the changes in law will not affect their behavior.

To a certain extent, some of this is our own fault. We all give up a great deal of privacy whenever we choose to go out on the Net. Google keeps massive amounts of data on all of us and a good many of us have voluntarily allowed Facebook and other social media sites to pretty much track our every movement.

For the record, I might tell you I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, but I have my location blocked because it’s nobody’s business where I am at any given moment. Not Google’s … or Amazon’s … or the NSA’s. I may never fire a shot in a bloody revolution, but I will exercise my liberty to the fullest extent that I can within my capabilities of doing so. Every time Google or Facebook or whatever says “Let us know your location so we can serve you better”, I click the box that says “Block location”. I don’t have a GPS on my car or my cell phone. Nobody needs to know where I am!

Big Brother is watching you and just because it’s the government does not make it any less creepy than any other stalker. Just because Facebook asks permission does not mean you should comply. If a flesh-and-blood stalker asked you for permission to stalk you, would you say “since you asked, oh, sure”? I doubt it. So why do you allow these companies to do it?

Where I believe the surveillance state should exist is exactly where it hasn’t existed. Body cameras on cops and government officials would get my vote. They’re our employees and besides, if they want to watch everything we do, why shouldn’t we return the favor? It might curb their tendency to shoot unarmed civilians and generally tyrannize any citizen they come in contact with. Of course, some government officials may struggle with paying their bills when they can no longer take bribes. And, yes, I would stick body cameras on Senators and Presidents, make them wear them 24/7 and make the footage available to the public online. Fair is fair and they are ALL our government employees. If they want their privacy, they don’t have to take the job. I’m giving them far more choice in the matter than they have given us.

This philosophy undergirds much of my book Life As We Knew It and the series Transformation Project. The surveillance state is all over the book to where my main character even asks “Is there really anything resembling privacy anymore?” He is told that, no, there really isn’t.

And THEN terrorists blow up the world.

OP-DEC: Operation DeceitNo, I don’t believe the surveillance state keeps us safe. There are cameras everywhere in the United States and Europe and it didn’t stop the Boston Bombing or the Paris terrorist attacks. The invasion of privacy hasn’t stopped school shootings or mall mayhem. About all it does do is make it easier for law enforcement to issue speeding tickets. Maybe if the cameras were turned on the officials instead of the people, they would be effective. Otherwise … nope!

But wait! The day of drones is coming and that will just facilitate easier spying on we the people. So … what do we do about it?

No, that’s a question. What do you think we can do about it? Or do you think it’s a good idea to allow the government and Amazon to stalk our every move? Maybe you can convince me I’m wrong. Feel free to share. All opinions are welcome.

How About Declaring Actual Independence?   6 comments

Most of us read the beginning statement of the Declaration of Independence in Government class back in high school. It’s a wonderful statement of political philosophy.

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.

Sometimes, it becomes necessary for a people to dissolve the political bands that have connected them to another and to launch out on their own. When they do that, they ought to have a good argument for doing so.

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.

Government exists for protecting the rights best summed up as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (John Locke said “property”, but Thomas Jefferson and his editorial committee wanted to avoid that whole discussion of slavery, so they decided upon “pursuit of happiness”). Government derives its power from the people and so, if the people decide government is no longer serving their rights, they have a right to dissolve those bands. It’s not just their right, it’s their obligation to throw off despotic governments and to provide structures to protect their rights going forward. The Colonies have patiently tried to find common ground with the King of Great Britain, but we have failed. Here is our argument, the evidence of his tyranny.

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.

King George had suspended the provincial laws in the colonies and expected the colonists to wait until he (or Parliament) got around to deciding what laws would replace them, but it had been several years and so far … crickets.

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 expected the legislative bodies of the colonies to meet in places where the people they ruled could not easily attend the meetings and influence the outcomes. I’m a long-long way from Washington DC. How about you?

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.

Although there have been no state legislatures dissolved, think about Puerto Rico which voted years ago now to become a state, but Congress has refused to take up the issue. Now their government is out of money and about to collapse. Is it possible that one reason for this is that they don’t control their own economic destiny because Congress has refused to allow them to control their own political destiny. And even if they were allowed to become a state, Alaska is a state, but we usually have to ask Congress’ permission for just about anything of value we might want to do. And, let’s remember the 30 state constitutions that were set aside just last week.

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.

President Obama is not the first president hoping that the legalization of unlawful immigrants will swing voter registration and resultant elections in the direction of his political party. President Reagan tried it too and look how well that worked out.

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.

King George controlled the colonial judges. Today, someone appears to be buying off the Supreme Court on the issue of health care and for those of you would are so up in arms about the United case, maybe you ought to be asking if money didn’t change hands on that one too.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

Can we say czars? The ACA has created entire new offices within the Department of Social Services. In fact, the federal administration has grown substantially during the Obama presidency.

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.

The next time you get pulled over by a plain-brown wrapper and talk to a cop wearing kevlar, ask yourself “is this not a standing army among us that we have no consent over?”

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:

When the president of the United States is allowed to sign onto treaties without the consent of Congress that obligate us to change our laws and structures within our own borders, we are subject to jurisdictions foreign to our constitution. Remember that when we’re all living nine to a unit in high-rise apartment blocks because of international global warming regulations written into some UN treaty President Obama thought was a great idea and Congress wasn’t allowed to vote on.

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: (I live in a huge military town and military helicopters frequently fly over my house, sometimes really low and really slow.).
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: (Military personnel can and have killed civilians in my town and then been tried in military courts without any civilian oversight.)
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: (There’s a new trade law that just gave the president unmatched authority without the advice and consent of Congress).
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: (The ACA is a tax imposing unconstitutionally because the Senate cannot originate spending bills and the House was never allowed to vote on it).

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: (The Patriot Act allowed this. The replacement to the Patriot Act pretends not to allow it. Do you believe that? I don’t).

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences (Could we talk about entrapment here? The only terrorist attacks this government has stopped were ones where federal agents solicited the terrorism, provided the plans and the — so far — non-working bombs.)

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: (Jefferson was alluding to Quebec here, but again, consider Puerto Rico)

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: (How often in the last few years have you thought “That can’t be constitutional?)

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. (Congress might as well be a figurehead government for all the power it has these days.)

You should get my point, but there are more examples that I’m sure you could find parallels for in our own times.

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.

People are trying to petition for redress, with little or no ability to be heard.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We haven’t exactly gotten to this point yet, but maybe we should. Maybe it is time to be honest about the condition of our country and choose independence. Of course, that holds risks.

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.

I’m not sure how much sacred honor most of us have left today. As a nation, we’ve been here twice before. It worked out the first time. It didn’t work out the second time. Whoever fires the first shot loses is the general consensus. And I don’t disagree. This battle will not be won with armed conflict, but it might be won with civil disobedience.

So what happens if we keep it non-violent and demand our rights? Well, we’ve been there before too and that worked out pretty well, though we should be prepared for worse than water cannon to be directed at us these days.

The question is — how much do we actually value liberty? It sure looks more like we value comfort and a federal Sugar Daddy to keep us placated more than we value our rights of freedom of speech, religion, self-governance, fair trial, privacy, security in our persons, places and papers … well, pretty much, we have traded liberty for security and getting just about what we deserve.

Independence Day?   1 comment

So today is the day we set aside on our calendar to remember when our ancestors declared our country’s political independence from England. We holds parades, sand-castle building contests, fire works displays, concerts in the parks, and barbecues … lots and lots of barbecues.

But do we ever stop to think about what independence meant and whether we as a nation still exemplify that understanding?

Not really.

That’s obviously in the crap we take from our government. We all say we love freedom, but what freedom do we still have? I’m paying for health insurance regardless of whether in need it or not and paying extra so that people who have a lot of health conditions can pay less. Is that freedom? It doesn’t look like it to me. I’d rather spend that money on other things. If I could pay for catastrophic coverage (like I used to), I’d have a savings account again that I could use for medical expenses as needed or for buying a newer car before the one I have breaks down permanently. If that happens, I will have to incur several hundred dollars a month in payments because I haven’t got a savings account to use to buy a car with cash.

So, I lack basic freedom because in a town where you need to have a car to get around, I can’t afford to buy an affordable car because I’m forced to buy medical insurance I don’t need.

I have ZERO attachment to the Confederate flag. I grew up about as far from the south as you can grow and my great-grandfather was an abolitionist. Like many people I see it as a symbol of racism, but I’m willing to believe southerners I know (yes, Alaska has a lot of ex-pat southerners) who say they see it as a symbol of unbowed enthusiasm for states rights in the face of overwhelming tyranny. I know the acquaintance now driving around town with two of them streaming off the back of his truck is not a racist, so I’m assuming he’s doing it for another reason. Nostalgia, freedom of speech, a statement about states rights, a statement about liberty in general ….

But when I watched him drive by, two women behind me were talking in loud voices about how he ought to be arrested for his “racist” actions, as if they have forgotten that liberty means we all have a right to express opinions.

I stand with Fred Phelps in his refusal to be forced to participate in the pagan mating rituals of same-sex couples by sanctifying them through baking wedding cakes for them. We seem to have forgotten in this country that freedom of religion includes not forcing our neighbors to worship our god against their will. By forcing business owners like Mr. Phelps into catering to same-sex weddings, you are demanding that they kneel at a pagan altar. You may not see it that way, but that is the Biblical understanding of it. You are violating freedom of religion by insisting upon it.

I have very little use for the federal government. I can’t think of many things in this world that the federal government does that benefits me directly. Maybe the money it gives the State of Alaska for roads … but trust me, if the federal government quit doing that, the State of Alaska and the people who live here would figure out how to pay for them ourselves and we’d probably start building roads to the Scandanavian standards so they don’t fall apart every five years, which would reduce road costs in the long-run.

Right now, 25% of my income goes to the federal government for …???? That’s about 23% less liberty than our Founders had because they paid only excise taxes on the goods they purchased.

Like it or not, sooner or later, we will all of us have to pay a whole lot more in taxes because the federal government continues to spend like a drunken sailor. We’re $18 trillion in debt. We owe only a fraction of that to foreign entities, but if they ask for it back …. If we default on the debt owed to Americans, we bankrupt everybody’s retirement accounts. Yeah, so we lose freedom at one end by higher taxes to service the debt I didn’t ask the federal government to run up and then we lose freedom at the other end when they gut our retirement accounts. In the middle there is the increasing real inflation of food and fuel that is largely driven by our debt and the effects of quantitative easing (also known as printing fiat currency).

The freedom to spend the money you earn on what you want to spend it was well understood in the Founding generation. So how much liberty does the tax man take from you? Between the IRS, Social Security and medical insurance, I’m somewhere in the 40%, but people who make more money than me are up in the 60%.

So are we the land of the free anymore?

Perhaps we ought to look at the Declaration of Independence and ask ourselves:

Could we sign it today?

But of course, that’s the dirty little unspoken among us, right? We who celebrate that our ancestors seized their independence from the English know that the US government does not recognize our right to do the same from them.

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