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When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

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

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

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

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

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, 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, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

We wonder what they’d think today.

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From Jayne Lyn Stahl at The Huffington Post

What might get lost in the ad nauseum mainstream media coverage of the gladiator-style struggle for the Democratic Party presidential nomination is what the Associated Press calls a “landmark treaty” which received a formal thumbs-up on Friday at a meeting, in Dublin, of more than 100 nations, including many of our partners in NATO. Not only does the treaty call for banning munitions cluster designs, but demands the destruction of stockyards within the next ten years.

What’s more, not only did the U.S. boycott these negotiations, it joined other major manufacturers of cluster bombs, Russia, China, India, Israel and Pakistan, in doing so. Our focus and that of the other munitions’ manufacturers was not on how deleterious cluster bombs are, but on their military (i.e. monetary) value.

One defense analyst even went so far as to argue that “only countries that don’t fight wars” would draft a treaty like this, and say that its value is strictly “feel good.” We haven’t seen this kind of logic since the fall of Rome. No one from the Defense Department, so far, has said what would happen if and when a European country orders cluster bomb munitions from U.S. bases on the continent.

That India joins the U.S. in this militarist circus only shows just how far they have strayed from the days of Gandhi and “passive resistance.” Remember, it was Mahatma Gandhi who said “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” We can guess what Gandhi would have to say about who India is in bed with now; the artful draft dodgers, and Texas oil men.

Indeed, anyone opting for disarmament who dares to approach 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will have to check their bags at the door. We not only are a military industrial complex, we have a military industrial complex, which means this is no longer just a wartime economy, this is a country that has made a religious fetish of combat. That we’ve also become occupation zealots is obvious from how many military bases we’ve amassed world-wide, as well as reports of plans to keep contractors in Iraq long after troops are removed.

Make no mistake, any candidate who talks about nuclear nonproliferation and doesn’t include India, Israel, and the U.S. as among those who need to honor nonproliferation agreements is blowing smoke up our ass. Any candidate who claims to be strong on national security and doesn’t want to actively revisit efforts at de-profitizing warfare is one that is moving us closer to nuclear annihilation.

Similarly, any leader who puts the manufacture of cluster bomb parts which can only maim, and kill, thousands of people, as we saw in Lebanon in 2006, ahead of the greater good doesn’t deserve to use the White House john.

What possible value can cluster bombs have in the advancing of civilization? And, by what kind of skewed, twisted logic can anyone in government claim that no pre-emptve strike against Iran is “off the table,” justify a build-up to war in light of that country’s uranium enrichment program while, at the same time, engaging in brazen steroid use when it comes to the arms race? What does it tell you about a defense analyst that he would suggest any effort at disarmament is merely a placebo?

That 111 countries met, many of whom we consider allies, to formalize a treaty that would, in essence, neutralize our artillery power speaks volumes about our descent not merely from the moral high ground, but from honoring a generation of international efforts away from the chaos of war, and towards the survival of the planet. This treaty isn’t just about cluster bombs — it is a breathtaking indictment, and condemnation of American militarism, and war profiteering, we’ve seen in a long time.

We have a right to answers from those we elect as to who’s making the money from these cluster bomb parts, as well as other wartime manufacture, and how much of our tax dollars are going to subsidize these companies, and ensure that they meet their bottom line.

Arguably, the only difference between a drug dealer and a defense contractor is that a defense contractor gets government subsidies. While some might argue there are drug dealers, largely in our inner cities, who might be getting government subsidies, too, the point is that war is not only toxic, it’s heroin, and we must eradicate the demand before we can touch the supply. But, how can we do that when the world’s richest countries are growing richer on war?

Nobody can deny that there is some serious erosion in the moral high ground when, as some human rights groups assert, the U.S. allegedly holds detainee, and terror suspects, on prison ships out at sea. If this is how we intend to maintain “national security” by egregious human rights violations while, at the same time, allowing Osama bin Laden to text message his Al Qaeda pals in Afghanistan, then something is seriously awry.

If we can figure out that there may be life on Mars, we can find a way to have a peace-based global economy, and it has to start in our own backyard. This is a message both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share — moving towards a green economy, and if Obama wins in November, he must be held to account for a hyperactive Defense Department every bit as much as John McCain. It is our tax dollars that stoke their fire for war.

Think about the hypocrisy of any government that boycotts negotiations to destroy cluster bombs, spitting in the face of disarmament, when you hear the tired, counterfeit argument about Ahmadinejad, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, as we get closer to war with Iran.

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Father’s Day

bush_collage.jpg On Father’s Day, 2007, as the men in Washington who are fathers and sons continue the charade that has become our government and the war that has become an atrocity, I want to send the children who are missing their dads because of this war – and especially the ones who now will always miss their dads because of this war – our thoughts and prayers.

In spite of what some people would have you believe – people in the media and the government…even people who have commented here – we do support our troops. In fact, those of us involved in ending the war are doing it because of them – and because of you.

To all sons and daughters on this Father’s Day – we send you our blessings. To all fathers – here and gone – we send you our love.

Say “When.”