Settled matters outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

July 8, 2020, 8:39 am

John Trumbull: The Declaration of Independence painted by John Trumbull. Photograph by Thomas Cizauskas is in the public domain (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

 

Several statements in the opening of the Declaration of Independence are settled matters. The issues are resolved. They are final.

If those key issues are not final but are instead malleable or alterable or subject to revocation the consequences will be horrible.

A speech by Pres. Calvin Coolidge explained this idea back in the 1920s. Let’s expand the concept of those ideas being resolved issues.

Please consider President Calvin Coolidge’s Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1926.

He lists the three resolved issues:

“Three very definite propositions were set out in its (the Declaration of Independence) preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that

all men are created equal,

that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that

 therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” (emphasis added)

He explained these issues are settled, resolved, final.

We can expand on those ideas. We need to bring them into further fruition. We can dive deeper into their meaning.

Setting them aside or replacing them means we go backwards. Declaring they are no longer true is regression to the ancient past.

More eloquently than I could ever describe, the president said:

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

Expanding those foundational concepts

Read the rest of this entry »


Text of the Declaration of Independence:

July 5, 2020, 9:51 am

From the National Archives:

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

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 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. Read the rest of this entry »


Happy 244th birthday America!

July 4, 2020, 8:32 am

American militia reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the 1770s and 1780s, a ragtag collection of citizen soldiers waged a war of independence against the most powerful empire on the planet…

British Army reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

…and defeated them.

 

Two hundred forty-four years ago today marked the start of this wonderful, aspirational, fantastic, heaven-blessed, messy, delightful, powerful, flawed, and glorious experiment called the United States of America which has delivered unimaginable levels of freedom to hundreds of millions of people here in the US of A and contributed massively to the freedom of hundreds and hundreds of millions more around the world.

That experiment had multiple severe flaws baked into the design which are taking a long time to correct, yet the aspirational dreams then drove and still drive that wonderful experiment to constant improvement.

Before our independence, anything resembling a democracy had been absent for so many long centuries. Apart from the ruling elite, ordinary people were merely the subjects of their ‘betters.’  Common folk only had the very few rights and freedoms that those born to power consented to give them, like crumbs thrown from the table.  You and I would only have been able to do what those controlling us allowed us to do.

And then came those rabble-rousing founding fathers.

The results of this grand experiment in self-government, not tried before, has produced fabulous results.

Read the rest of this entry »


Headline unemployment rate drops by two percentage points in June 2020.

July 2, 2020, 9:50 am

Wow, I sure don’t understand what is happening.  The headline unemployment rate declined 2.2% in June. That is a big drop.

At the same time, new claims for unemployment were 6.01 million for the four weeks ending 6/27/20. See previous post: New unemployment claims barely decline in week ending 6/27/20.

(How to put that information together? Well, the reason I’m blogging is to put my thoughts into writing, which forces me to think deeper in order to sort out what is going on around me.)

The U-3 unemployment rate in last four months with change from previous month:

march        4.4
april      14.7      10.3
may      13.3      (1.4)
june      11.1      (2.2)

 

That is a 2.6% drop in two months after a 10.3% rise in April.

Wow.

Graph above shows key unemployment rates since the start of 2019.

This discussion will be posted at several of my blogs.

For longer term perspective, consider the rates since before the Great Recession:

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims barely decline in week ending 6/27/20.

July 2, 2020, 9:43 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/27/20 were 1.427M, down slightly from 1.480M the previous week. That is five weeks of between 1.4M and 1.9M following ten weeks of between 2.1M and 6.9M new claims.

The impact of new claims is mitigated by the number of people getting rehired which leads to the calculation of ongoing payments for unemployment.

  • 20.29M revised down from 20.5M- 6/13/20
  • 19.23M revised down from 19.52M – 6/20/20
  • 19.29M – 6/27/20 (a rare and exquisitely unexpected typo refers to this as the 6/20 week)

That shows the number of people finding new jobs is running higher than the number of people losing their jobs.

This discussion will be posted at several of my blogs.

My tally of data:

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims are still around 1.5 million per week.

June 25, 2020, 8:31 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/20/20 were 1.480M, down slightly from 1.540M the previous week, which was revised upward from 1.508M.

The impact of new claims is mitigated by the number of people getting rehired. That leads to the calculation of ongoing payments for unemployment which are:

  • 20.5M, revised to 20.289M – 6/13/20
  • 19.52M – 6/20/20

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Data:

Read the rest of this entry »


Unemployment rate starts to decline in May 2020 after shooting up in April.

June 22, 2020, 8:35 am

The headline unemployment rate declined to 13.3% from 14.7% in April. Rates for both months are a dramatic increase from the 3.5% rate in February.

The only way I can square this data with the massive volume of new unemployment claims is that a lot of people are getting new jobs after being furloughed. That is the only way the U3 is not above 20%.

So, my tentative guess is the economy is actually starting to recover, in spite of efforts of multiple governors to keep the economy in their states shut down.

Misclassification error in data understates unemployment

A new phenomenon in the age of shutdown is arising from the way the data is accumulated. The unemployment rate is determined by a large survey.

Turns out people are answering the question of their unemployment status as “employed but absent from work.” In normal times, that means a person is on vacation, thus actually employed.

In this shattered economy that means you got laid off or furloughed but are still getting paid by your employer or perhaps highly enhanced unemployment. People in that category are actually unemployed but are counted in the statistical data as employed.

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims since start of shutdown is about 1 out of 3 people who had a job in February.

June 18, 2020, 11:55 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the economic mess created by the shutdown.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/13/20 were 1.508 million, seasonally adjusted, down from revised 1.566 million the previous week.

My tally of data:

  • 45.69 M – seasonally adjusted new claims since the economy was shut down – that is up 4.96 million in three weeks
  •   9.28 M  – new claims for unemployment by people who otherwise aren’t eligible for unemployment – self-employed and independent contractors
  • 54.97 M – total of seasonally adjusted plus independent contractors and self-employed people

Number of new claims for unemployment as percent of February civilian labor force:

Read the rest of this entry »


In spite of some preliminary signs of restoration of the First Amendment, there is resistance to the idea.

May 30, 2020, 7:29 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

California and Minnesota may be taking tiny baby steps to reinstate the First Amendment to the bill of rights, but there are indications here and there of opposition to any such efforts.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Excessive focus on the First Amendment is a “suicide pact”

5/23/20 – CNN – Federal appeals court upholds California’s ban on in-person Church services – A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban on in-person worship does not violate the First Amendment.

The ruling can be found here.

Astoundingly the ruling stated:

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims since start of shutdown is equal to about 1 out of 4 people who had a job in February.

May 28, 2020, 6:03 am

If you could take a photograph of the US labor market today, the picture would look something like this. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A useful adjective to describe the devastation we are seeing in the job market escapes me.

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/16/20 were 2.12 million, seasonally adjusted. Nearly as many, 1.19 million who are not otherwise eligible unemployment filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in the week.

That’s somewhere around 3.3 million people who lost their job in week 10 of the shutdown.

My tally of data:

  • 40.73M – seasonally adjusted new claims since the economy was put in an induced coma
  • 6.82M – new claims for unemployment by people who otherwise aren’t eligible for unemployment – self-employed and independent contractors
  • 47.55M – total of seasonally adjusted plus independent contractors and self-employed people out of work since shutdown began

Number of new unemployment claims is a tally equal to about one fourth (24.8%) of the civilian labor force in February. Independent contractors and self-employed people who are out of work is now equal to about 4% of the February civilian labor market.

That means about three out of ten people who were in the civilian labor force in February are now out of a job (28.9%).

If you haven’t passed out from the shock of those numbers, Read the rest of this entry »


Religious freedom partially reinstated in California and Minnesota.

May 26, 2020, 6:00 am

The state governments of California and Minnesota have given their permission for people of faith to partially engage in the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

5/25/20 – Daily Bulletin –Newsom: California places of worship can reopen with limited capacity and San Francisco Chronicle – Newsom issues plans for places of worship in California to reopen at limited capacity – Places of worship in the state can begin having in-person worship.

At least that’s what all the headlines say.

Look at the detail for more than 15 seconds and you realize there’s only a fractional restoration of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, along with the fractional restoration of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Remaining restrictions include:

Read the rest of this entry »


It is more important this year to remember that we are the land of the free because of the brave.

May 25, 2020, 7:52 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

With our freedom under assault by many state and local politicians across the United States, it is more important than ever before that on this Memorial Day we remember those who shed all their blood so that we may be free.

A ‘thank you’ from me is so trivial.  I will demonstrate my appreciation for freedom purchased by others by exercising my freedom of speech today. Yesterday I exercised my freedom of religion. Today and tomorrow I will exercise my economic freedom, also called pursuit of happiness, by running my business the way I choose to do.

Following post was first published on May 29, 2017. It reprints an earlier post of May 30, 2011. I will update the discussion slightly. Deletions are struck through, new comments are in italics. This feeble tribute to those who have gone before will be posted across several of my blogs.

 

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

From May 29, 2017:

Those of us living in the United States are blessed with religious freedom, political freedom, and economic freedom because those who went before us fought for freedom.

Many of those fighting offered up their life for freedom and the offer was accepted.

I am humbled and grateful to God that some of my ancestors are included in the long list of those who fought. I am especially humbled that a great, great grand-uncle is in the list of those who died in the defense of freedom and the effort to crush slavery.

Because of their sacrifice, I get to enjoy this kind of freedom:

Read the rest of this entry »


Looks like the First Amendment is going to be restored to the U.S. Constitution.

May 23, 2020, 9:28 am

Um, that’s not how this freedom thing works. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It’s about time.

As of this morning (update Saturday 5/23), places of worship in California will be allowed to resume full operations in Phase 4, which will be at some distant point in the future, likely the end of the year or sometime in 2021. Vague comments by state authorities hint the opening date may be after a vaccine is in use.

In Illinois, full worship services will not be allowed until after a vaccine is in use, with the governor acknowledging that will be 12 or 18 months from now.

Another state, I lost track of which one, put worship in the last category to reopen, along with concerts and stadium-filled athletic events.

Other states and counties, too numerous to bother gather articles for specific citation, have placed worship services low on the list of places to open.

It now looks like the First Amendment may be put back in the Constitution after having been removed by a wide variety of governors.

Several recent events for you to consider:

  • Catholic and some Lutheran churches in Minnesota will resume worship on May 24.
  • Around 500 California churches (primarily Protestant) are reopening May 31, with or without permission.
  • Roman Catholics in Orange County will resume Mass on June 14.
  • CDC issued guidance for worship services.
  • California governor is thinking about maybe allowing worship again. Will let us know Monday, May 25.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Why fuss over something like gathering to worship?

If you think I’m being too harsh on the long list of governors and bumbling public health officials who won’t allow in-person worship, be advised that too many of my relatives and ancestors fought for our freedom to let American freedoms be trampled upon.

Three of my relatives I personally knew came home from war with life-long physical or emotional injuries. Each suffered until he died.

One of my ancestors died in the effort to crush slavery and rebellion. His blood is in the ground at Champion Hills, east of Vicksburg.

The price paid for our freedom is measured in blood.

 

Reclaiming the First Amendment

5/20/20 – Tyler Bursch, attorney representing four named advocacy groups and over 1,200 pastors in the state of California – A Letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom from Churches / Declaration of Essentiality / Reopening May 31, 2020 – Letter indicates it is been signed by more than 1,200 pastors.

Read the rest of this entry »


Economic destruction from lockdown continues to expand.

May 22, 2020, 9:14 am

There is severe danger that a growing number of businesses are going to look like this over the next few months. Abandoned Safeway store [01] by Ben Schumin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The damage from the lockdown is spreading. More news is emerging about the devastation that took place in just the first full month of the closure.

The damage will continue to grow the longer the shutdown continues. At some point it will start compounding, growing at a faster rate out of proportion to the time that is passing. Keeping the economy closed now is unnecessarily so the compounding damage is a choice.

Merely a few of the articles in recent days:

  • Guess on GDP shrinkage in next quarter
  • Disproportionate number of poorer households hit by job losses
  • Collapse of tax revenue in New York state
  • Collapse of home sales in Southern California
  • Another retail chain announce store closures and another announces liquidation

It is imperative to reopen the economy in full, not just for ‘curb-side delivery.’ If we don’t open soon, I fear the following articles will be mild in comparison to what we will see in the future.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/16/20 – Fox Business – US GDP could sink over 40%: Atlanta Fed – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is forecasting a 42.8% drop in GDP for the second quarter of  2020.

Read the rest of this entry »


What word could be used to describe 44 million people filing for unemployment in just 9 weeks?

May 21, 2020, 2:54 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I don’t have any word that can describe this disaster:

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/16/20 are just under 2.5 million, seasonally adjusted. An additional 2.2 million people who wouldn’t usually be qualified for unemployment filed during the week for Panemic Unemployment Assistance. The new PUA tally is shocking.

The tally of seasonally adjusted new claims is 38.6 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

Data:

Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims

3/21/20– Wall Street Journal – Workers file 2.4 Million Unemployment Claims

Summary of new claims and running total

Here is my running tally of the new unemployment claims.

Read the rest of this entry »