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Friday, July 02, 2004

Hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud, an annual tradition on National Public Radio. It's inspiring and at moments instructive even today. The old language doesn't disguise what a moment in world history it was for the American colonies to overthrow the most powerful empire on Earth to gain its independence in 1776.

Here's some of it, but really, it's worth a trip to the NPR website while it's still up there to listen:


"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."

(and it continues, after listing initial reasons to rise up against the English King, including the following)

"...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."

(finally concluding with the establishment of it own authority)

"...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."

Have a great 4th. Support Democracy. It's our right.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

in a celebratory press conference back in December, President Bush was asked what he'd say to Saddam if they met.

" I find it very interesting that when the heat got on, you dug yourself a hole and you crawled in it...," was part of his well scripted reply.

Well, Saddam's role now appears to be getting the President out of a hole. Bush is now at his lowest approval rating ever and Saddam's trial will no doubt be full of October surprises during the election campaign. Will there be enough headlines to drown out the continuing toll of American soldiers lost? Time will tell, but it would be a mistake to write off Bush in a campaign for his political life. This is the arena in which Bush (and Rove) is the savant.

Stay tuned for political theater of the highest/lowest order.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

listen to Michael Ware, Baghdad Bureau Chief for Time Magazine discuss the outlook for peace in Iraq on On Point yesterday. It's a bleak picture not being told in mainstream media. One wonders what his editors are doing to his pieces from Baghdad if his view is this disturbing.

I guess we'll be treated to an election season "Trial of the New Century." The new Prime Minister of Iraq announced that his government will try Saddam "in a few months." hmm, wonder about this timing?

Monday, June 28, 2004

Is there hope for real television in the US? Listen to the report from Banff on the 25th Television Festival. Maybe there's hope for better programming, whether it originates here or elsewhere. Check out Fresh Air...

See BBC for an analysis by Paul Reynolds of the outlook ahead in Iraq...

In a nod to the failure of the “coalition” to provide adequate security there, the transition of authority in Iraq took place in a whisker this morning. Most Iraqis were unaware that it happened until afterward. Colin Powell took to the phones from Istanbul to call the ever-present props--er “coalition partners,” letting them know. His deputy, Richard Armatige, hoped that Iraqis would find the new transition government less offensive than the occupation and support it against resistance fighters and foreign terrorist fighters who’ve come there to fight the US.

It’s going to be touch and go. The Kurds are alarmed, worrying that the new government will break all the US assurances of continued federal self-sufficiency in northern Iraq. The Shiite militias will continue to jockey for power. Foreign fighters will continue to flock to Iraq to fight the Jihad. Iraq is, after all, a British construction of three separate areas of the former Ottoman Empire.

Will the government have the honesty, the power, and the clarity to get Iraq to elections by January? The Prime Minister has already done an about-face this week, first saying he thought they might be postponed, then (no doubt after getting a talking to) changing his mind today.

You’ve got to hope that somehow, there is enough international support to make this transition happen without seeing another Afghanistan develop, ripe for being devoured by it's neighbors, filled with warlords, and ripe for terror.

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