Category Archives: Politics

President John Adams to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776

This one is more fun. :)

Philadelphia July 3d. 1776

Had a Declaration of Independency been made seven Months ago, it would have been attended with many great and glorious Effects …. We might before this Hour, have formed Alliances with foreign States. — We should have mastered Quebec and been in Possession of Canada …. You will perhaps wonder, how such a Declaration would have influenced our Affairs, in Canada, but if I could write with Freedom I could easily convince you, that it would, and explain to you the manner how. — Many Gentlemen in high Stations and of great Influence have been duped, by the ministerial Bubble of Commissioners to treat …. And in real, sincere Expectation of this effort Event, which they so fondly wished, they have been slow and languid, in promoting Measures for the Reduction of that Province. Others there are in the Colonies who really wished that our Enterprise in Canada would be defeated, that the Colonies might be brought into Danger and Distress between two Fires, and be thus induced to submit. Others really wished to defeat the Expedition to Canada, lest the Conquest of it, should elevate the Minds of the People too much to hearken to those Terms of Reconciliation which they believed would be offered Us. These jarring Views, Wishes and Designs, occasioned an opposition to many salutary Measures, which were proposed for the Support of that Expedition, and caused Obstructions, Embarrassments and studied Delays, which have finally, lost Us the Province.

All these Causes however in Conjunction would not have disappointed Us, if it had not been for a Misfortune, which could not be foreseen, and perhaps could not have been prevented, I mean the Prevalence of the small Pox among our Troops… This fatal Pestilence compleated our Destruction. — It is a Frown of Providence upon Us, which We ought to lay to heart.

But on the other Hand, the Delay of this Declaration to this Time, has many great Advantages attending it. — The Hopes of Reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by Multitudes of honest and well meaning tho weak and mistaken People, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished. — Time has been given for the whole People, maturely to consider the great Question of Independence and to ripen their judgments, dissipate their Fears, and allure their Hopes, by discussing it in News Papers and Pamphletts, by debating it, in Assemblies, Conventions, Committees of Safety and Inspection, in Town and County Meetings, as well as in private Conversations, so that the whole People in every Colony of the 13, have now adopted it, as their own Act. — This will cement the Union, and avoid those Heats and perhaps Convulsions which might have been occasioned, by such a Declaration Six Months ago.

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

UPDATE: See the letter here: 1, 2, 3

President John Adams’ Diary from July 1 and 4, 1776

July 1 1776

A Resolution of the Convention of Maryland, passed the 28th. of June was laid before Congress and read: as follows: That the Instructions given to their Deputies in December last, be recalled, and the restrictions therein contained, removed, and that their Deputies be authorised to concur with the other Colonies, or a Majority of them, in declaring the United Colonies free and independent States: in forming a Compact between them; and in making foreign Alliances &c.

Resolved that Congress will resolve itself into a Committee of the whole to take into Consideration the Resolution respecting Independency.
That the Declaration be referred to said Committee.

The Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the whole. After some time The President resumed the Chair and Mr. Harrison reported, that the Committee had come to a Resolution, which they desired him to report and to move for leave to sit again.

The Resolution agreed to by the Committee of the whole being read, the determination thereof, was at the Request of a Colony postponed till tomorrow.

I am not able to recollect, whether it was on this day, or some preceeding day, that the greatest and most solemn debate was had on the question of Independence. The Subject had been in Contemplation for more than a Year and frequent discussions had been had concerning it. At one time and another, all the Arguments for it and against it had been exhausted and were become familiar. I expected no more would be said in public but that the question would be put and decided. Mr. Dickinson however was determined to bear his Testimony against it with more formality. He had prepared himself apparently with great Labour and ardent Zeal, and in a Speech of great Length, and all his Eloquence, he combined together all that had before been written in Pamphlets and News papers and all that had from time to time been said in Congress by himself and others. He conducted the debate, not only with great Ingenuity and Eloquence, but with equal Politeness and Candour: and was answered in the same Spirit.

No Member rose to answer him: and after waiting some time, in hopes that some one less obnoxious than myself, who was still had been all along for a Year before, and still was represented and believed to be the Author of all the Mischief, I determined to speak.

It has been said by some of our Historians, that I began by an Invocation to the God of Eloquence. This is a Misrepresentation. Nothing so puerile as this fell from me. I began by saying that this was the first time of my Life that I had ever wished for the Talents and Eloquence of the ancient Orators of Greece and Rome, for I was very sure that none of them ever had before him a question of more Importance to his Country and to the World. They would probably upon less Occasions than this have begun by solemn Invocations to their Divinities for Assistance but the Question before me appeared so simple, that I had confidence enough in the plain Understanding and common Sense that had been given me, to believe that I could answer to the Satisfaction of the House all the Arguments which had been produced, notwithstanding the Abilities which had been displayed and the Eloquence with which they had been enforced. Mr. Dickinson, some years afterwards published his Speech. I had made no Preparation beforehand and never committed any minutes of mine to writing. But if I had a Copy of Mr. Dickinsons before me I would now after Eight and Nine and twenty Years have elapsed, endeavour to recollect mine.

Before the final Question was put, the new Delegates from New Jersey came in, and Mr. Stockton, one of them [Dr. Witherspoon and Mr. Hopkinson], a very respectable Characters, expressed a great desire to hear the Arguments. All was Silence: No one would speak: all Eyes were turned upon me. Mr. Edward Rutledge came to me and saidlaughing, Nobody will speak but you, upon this Subject. You have all the Topicks so ready, that you must satisfy the Gentlemen from New Jersey. I answered him laughing, that it had so much the Air of exhibiting like an Actor or Gladiator for the Entertainment of the Audience, that I was ashamed to repeat what I had said twenty times before, and I thought nothing new could be advanced by me. The New Jersey Gentlemen however still insisting on hearing at least a Recapitulation of the Arguments and no other Gentleman being willing to speak, I summed up the Reasons, Objections and Answers, in as concise a manner as I could, till at length the Jersey Gentlemen said they were fully satisfied and ready for the Question, which was then put and determined in the Affirmative.

July 4 1776

Resolved that Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson be a Committee to prepare a device for a Seal for the United States of America.

Mr. Jay, Mr. Duane and Mr. William Livingston of New Jersey were not present. But they all acquiesced in the Declaration and steadily supported it ever afterwards.

Dear Congresswoman McCollum…

Dear Congresswoman McCollum,

Please consider voting no or abstaining from voting on the “Cap and Trade” bill so quickly coming to a vote today.

I have a family of eight in your district. The CBO estimates concerning the financial impact on my family have varied wildly – from $7,000 to $700 for a family of four – with no clear explanation of the reason for the differences. MIT estimates $3,000 for a family of four.

I just can’t afford this kind of brand new cost.

How can I come up with this kind of money? Even if it really was only $1,000 a year, that’s a lot of money for me.

Beside the direct personal cost to me that’s about to be voted on a thousand miles away from your district and mine, it strikes me as obvious that that this will put American production at a disadvantage compared to other nations who do not similarly restrict themselves, and this is a very bad time for our country to become less competitive.

Finally, I suppose it old fashioned of me to wonder if you’ve actually read all 1,000+ pages and if you are certain you approve of all of what’s in there.

On this what will likely be a very busy day for you, I hope you have a moment to consider these things. Again, please consider voting no or abstaining from voting on the “Cap and Trade” bill.


Ken Martin

Probably should have picked a better chant

While I well understand that things were a little tense when President Obama spoke at Notre Dame’s commencement, one would think that grads at this level might have put a little more thought into the counter-protest:

Obama entered the arena to thunderous applause and a standing ovation from many in the crowd of 12,000. But as the president began his commencement address, at least three protesters interrupted it. One yelled, “Stop killing our children.”

The graduates responded by chanting “Yes we can,” the slogan that became synonymous with Obama’s presidential campaign.

Simple financial considerations

OK, folks. This will take about one minute and you don’t need your thinking cap. It’s about budgets and stimulus and stuff.

  • Total U. S. Population: $280,000,000
  • Proposed 2010 U.S. spending: $3,400,000,000,000
  • So, 2010 per person (man, woman, and child) spending: $12,000
  • Average number of people in a family: 3.1
  • So, 2010 per family spending average: $37,200
  • Average per family household income: $50,233
  • (All numbers found at census or Wikipedia and rounded to put spending in best light)

So, the government is planning to spend 74% of the average family’s household income this year.

With the remaining 26% you may pay for your food and clothes, your bills and mortgage.

Oh, I know, no one’s taking all of that money from us right now. It’s on credit; the government is borrowing the rest on your behalf. But don’t be fooled; this one year the government wants to spend that much. Next year will be something similar. And so on. There’s no extra paycheck coming. No catch-up year with no spending. They want to spend something like 3/4 of the money an average family makes in one year. Spent. Gone.

And if there’s anything the current financial crisis has taught us, it’s that if you’re facing an uncertain future, the best thing to do is borrow a whole bunch of money.

I’m just sayin’.

I’ll just post these… you decide.

Two images. Interesting juxtaposition, I think. Especially considering President Obama’s recent words: “It’s with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.” (Emphasis mine.)

First, our projected deficit:

And then this:

Updated: A couple more recent quotes from President Obama… 

“To kick these problems down the road for another four years or eight years, that would be to continue the same irresponsibility that got us to this point.”

“I didn’t run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation, or the next president.”

Apart from the need to dig his predecessor, I do like his words. But when a person buys on credit, they are kicking the financial problem down the road. When the credit obligation being created is has the word “trillion” in it, there’s no way this generation is going to pay it down.

Please spend just a minute thinking about this.

So am I just a grumpy conservative?

Well, probably. But I saw this commentary on the economic plan by Jim Cramer of Mad Money With Jim Cramer (a show which I’ve only seen when I travel because long ago I trimmed down my cable… see post below).

Basically, he’s really worried about the “stimulus plan”, too. And if you read the article, you might think it’s just one more sore-loser, conservative whiner. But I hope you keep reading; on “page 5”:

I actually embrace every part of Obama’s agenda, right down to the increase on personal taxes and the mortgage deduction. I am a fierce environmentalist who has donated multiple acres to the state of New Jersey to keep forever wild. I believe in cap and trade. I favor playing hardball with drug companies that hold up the U.S. government with me-too products.

And he goes on… six figure donations to democrats, etc.

It’s really simple: we as individuals and we as a nation cannot afford this spending spree. This isn’t a partisan assertion; it’s just common sense. A couple of years ago we all understood that Social Security is in danger because it didn’t have enough money to meet it’s obligations. Now we want to commit to more obligations while having less money and a struggling economy.

We never did fix Social Security. Funny how no one talks about that right now.

By the way: this isn’t about President Obama. President Bush did the wrong thing by opening this Pandora’s box. He spent a big glob of money: what did it get us? Why are we chasing that failed concept?

The “Making Home Affordable Plan”

So, let me get the straight. Those who are close to defaulting on their mortgages (and also those who have defaulted?) can get their mortgage interest rates reduced to a set percentage of their income. “The Treasury Department” would subsibize this:

For a loan modification, lenders would have to reduce the mortgage payments to no more than 38 percent of the borrower’s income. The Treasury Department would share the cost for lenders to cut that debt-to-income ratio to 31 percent. (link)

Since I’m not about to default, I can’t take advantage of this. So I pay the same as always because I have acted responsibly and made adjustments as necessary to meet my obligations. But those who haven’t get a discounted mortgage and a partial subsidy from the government.

Of course, “The Treasury Department” has no money with which to “share the cost”. They can only spend what they have collected or plan on collecting in taxes, or what they print (and if they print too much, it’s inflation, and the dollars we have are worth even less). And since our government really doesn’t have a surplus of collected taxes, they will borrow money and pay interest on it to fund this.

I don’t really want to pay a percentage of someone else’s mortgage.

And I really don’t want to pay interest for the privilege of paying for a percentage of someone else’s mortgage.

This is a dreadful idea.