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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Gettysburg Address – Profound Challenge for our Time

Champion of Freedom, Freedom History
Author: admin
Thursday, November 19, 2015
10:06 am

AbrahamLincoln

Seven score and twelve years ago, on November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as part of the “Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg.”

What a timeless, profound speech!  In only 272 words, President Lincoln solemnly honored all who died in battle at that site and challenged the nation to forge forward in the cause of freedom.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Lincoln was incorrect in one phrase, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.”

On the contrary, although most have forgotten the 2 hour oration by Edward Everett that preceded President Lincoln’s remarks, the President’s speech has become one of the best known and most often quoted speeches in history.

However, as a society we too often forget President Lincoln’s challenge, which is just as relevant today as it was 152 years ago:

we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

May we never forget that challenge.  May we devote our lives to the preservation of God-given freedom in this wonderful nation!

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Freedom to Choose Our Destiny

Freedom Article
Author: admin
Monday, May 11, 2015
6:52 am

Forkroad

President Thomas S. Monson has often taught, “Decisions determine destiny.” Because of the atonement of Christ, each of us possesses the freedom to choose where our lives will lead.

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)

 

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Nelson Mandela on Freedom

Freedom Champion, Freedom Quote
Author: admin
Friday, April 10, 2015
9:07 pm

Nelson mandela 400

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ― Nelson Mandela

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Signers of the Declaration, I salute You!

Freedom Article
Author: admin
Monday, July 4, 2011
7:13 am

Today we celebrate the crowning event of that fateful July 4th, 1776, when a group of men with vision and faith, courage and fortitude, had the temerity to officially accept the principles of a sacred document, the Declaration of Independence, that marked the birth of our great nation:

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.

It took great courage to declare independence from a sovereign power. There were many in the Colonies who did not agree. But the brave Founders were fueled with passion, grounded in determination, and sustained with an abiding faith that the cause they supported was in accordance with God’s will.

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,[70] 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. …

And so, probably not fully realizing the grandeur of the moment, these great men pledged their all in support of the equality of man and freedom of the soul.

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.

Today, dear founding fathers, I salute you, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. May the God in Heaven bless your sacred memory.

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We Must Protect Freedom from Extinction

Freedom Quote
Author: admin
Saturday, November 20, 2010
7:25 pm

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States

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Will the Government Micromanage Online Privacy?

Freedom Article
Author: admin
Saturday, November 20, 2010
3:22 am

I currently publish two blogs: “Discovering Identity”  and “I Love Freedom (this one).”  Usually, the information I publish on these blogs doesn’t overlap, but this subject certainly does, and is posted on both sites.

Thanks to an acquaintance, Jane Grafton, I recently read two opposing views on the subject of federal government regulations of privacy:

An LA Times article, Privacy and the Web, concluded:

Although Washington shouldn’t try to micromanage the Net, it should make clear that websites have a duty to help users manage their personal information effectively, giving them the chance to understand the tradeoffs they’re making and to choose wisely.

Phil Lieberman of Lieberman Software responded in his post, “Internet Privacy Is No Place for Government Regulations”:

Attempts by the federal government to constrain the collection of data, and the ability to tailor offers based on this data, is a case of the government meddling in areas where it has no place.  Interference with the free market serves only to punish those companies that know how to efficiently mine their data and so is the worst form of government interference with the free market.

I’m all for privacy and opt-in/opt-out options. However I feel it does little good to cripple those companies who are good at business for the purpose of expanding the nanny-state. Any decision to overreach with privacy controls will also provide a bounty for greedy and litigious attorneys looking for fresh kills on the Internet.

What do you think? 

Although the LA Times article mildly asks the federal government not to “micromanage the Net,” history has that government has the propensity to always micromanage everything it touches.  How’s that for a cynical view?

If I believe the most effective way to deal with this issue would be for private industry to self-regulate. In much the same that PCI DSS has become an effective industry-driven regulation of the credit card industry, perhaps we need an “Online Privacy Standard” developed and enforced by the online industry itself. 

Otherwise, if such industry self-regulation doesn’t happen, given the current mood in Congress, I think federal government regulation of online privacy is a foregone conclusion (more cynicism).

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Radical Idea – Let’s Fix Congress

Freedom Article
Author: admin
Saturday, November 20, 2010
2:23 am

A good friend, Joel Brame, forwarded the following email message to me yesterday.  It is kind of a radical idea, but I agree that it would fix much of what ails Congress today, and return that august body to its original intent – to represent the people of the United States, rather than serving themselves and special interests.

I am sending this to virtually everybody on my e-mail list and that includes conservatives, liberals, and everybody in between.  Even though we disagree on a number of issues, I count all of you as friends.  My friend and neighbor wants to promote a "Congressional Reform Act of 2010."  It would contain eight provisions, all of which would probably be strongly endorsed by those who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.    

We need to get a Senator to introduce this bill in the US Senate and a Representative to introduce a similar bill in the US House.  These people will become American heroes.

Congressional Reform Act of 2010

1. Term Limits.

   12 years only, one of the possible options below..

   A. Two Six-year Senate terms
   B. Six Two-year House terms
   C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2.  No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office. 

3.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11. 

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.  Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

I have long thought that politicians get so wrapped up in the prestige and power of their offices that they soon forget what it is like to be a common citizen.  It indeed takes an exceptional person to not succumb to the the trappings of political power.  It is tragic that the Congress has progressively set itself up as an elite body that only superficially answers to the voice of the people. 

I like the ideas this congressional reform proposes.  Now, we just need to figure out how to get people with the guts to put it into law.

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Flying the Friendly Skies of Uzbekistan Airways

Freedom Humor
Author: admin
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
9:14 pm

Have you ever visited Uzbekistan?  Me neither.

I may never go if I need to rely on the Uzbeki (is that a word?) national airline, whose billboard ad wishes us “Good Luck” as an airliner disappears into a dense cloud with apparent snowy weather ahead.

image

Thanks to The International Business Edge for pointing out this fun example of a somewhat misguided effort at language translation.

By coincidence, I stumbled today across a second encouraging article about this fine country.  The Kansas City FBI office reported today that “an Uzbekistan national pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a criminal enterprise involving illegal aliens working in 14 states, including employees at hotels in the Kansas City, Missouri area and in Branson, Missouri.”

Maybe this fellow and his cohorts were so scared by the prospect of the flying Uzbekistan Airlines that they came to the United States and took up smuggling illegal aliens instead.

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Imprimis: Tea Parties and the Future of Liberty

Freedom Article
Author: admin
Sunday, August 15, 2010
10:33 am

If you are not already a regular reader of Imprimis, a monthly publication of Hillsdale College, I strongly encourage you to start. 

image “Imprimis is the free monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College and is dedicated to educating citizens and promoting civil and religious liberty by covering cultural, economic, political and educational issues of enduring significance.  The content of Imprimis is drawn from speeches delivered to Hillsdale College-hosted events, both on-campus and off-campus.  First published in 1972, Imprimis is one of the most widely circulated opinion publications in the nation with over 1.8 million subscribers.”

A subscription to deliver a printed version mailed to your home is free; an electronic copy is at your fingertips on the web.  I always enjoy the insightful commentary from a broad range of speakers, all devoted to the principle of freedom.

image This month’s issue was adapted from a speech by Stephen F. Hayes, Senior Writer, The Weekly Standard.  Entitled “The Tea Parties and the Future of Liberty”, the article highlights the rise of the Tea Party movement and discusses the objectives of participants of the movement.

How did the Tea Party movement begin?

“The accidental founding of the Tea Party movement took place in February 2009, when CNBC commentator Rick Santelli let loose a rant against the stimulus package, and in particular the proposal to subsidize what he called “the losers’ mortgages.” He proposed a ceremonial dump of derivative securities into Lake Michigan, and a few hours later a website popped up calling for a Chicago Tea Party. The video clip raced around the Internet, and it was soon clear that many average Americans were furious about the massive new spending bill and the plan to subsidize bad mortgages.”

Who is involved in the Tea Party movement? In July, 2008, during the last presidential campaign, John McCain participated in a town hall in Belleville, MI.  A provocative question was posted by Rich Keenan, who told McCain he would not be voting for Obama.  But then he said: “What I’m trying to do is get to a situation where I’m excited about voting for you.” 

Hayes explains further:

“I talked with Rich Keenan after the town hall. He described himself as a conservative independent. He said he often votes Republican but does not consider himself one. He added, “I do think that there are millions of Americans out there like me who are fairly conservative, probably more conservative than John McCain, and I think a lot of them are concerned about what’s going to happen if he does get elected.”

So who participates in the movement?

“Keenan was right. There were millions of people out there like him—conservatives, independents, disaffected Republicans, and many of them stayed home on election day. These people form the heart of the Tea Party movement.”

“…The Tea Party movement arose in an environment in which a growing number of Americans believed neither party was voicing its concerns.

“… This dissatisfaction flows directly from the president’s policies and those of his party. It is not simply “anti-incumbent,” as many of my press colleagues would have it. This voter outrage—and it is outrage, not hate—is specific and focused: Americans are fed up with big government and deeply concerned about the long-term economic health of their country.”

Besides the outrage against big government and massive spending, there is a deeper concern:

“For many Tea Partiers, the massive and unconstitutional growth of government is the fundamental issue. But I think there’s something deeper, too. After her husband had won several primaries in a row in the spring of 2008, Michelle Obama proclaimed that for the first time in her life she was proud of her country. It was a stunning statement. It also foreshadowed what was to come: Since Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he has devoted much of his time to criticizing his own country. He apologizes for the policy decisions of his predecessors. He worries aloud that the U.S. has become too powerful. He has explicitly rejected the doctrine of American exceptionalism.”

So, what will become of the Tea Party movement?  Will it have a profound effect in the upcoming election?  Only time will tell.  The proof will be in the pudding, as they say.

Where you stand?  I attended a Tea Party rally once.  I was impressed with many of the speakers, but was disturbed by the hateful fringe.  I asked that my name be taken off the mailing list when a few people on the Tea Party website commenced a hateful diatribe against Congressman Jeff Flake, who, in my mind, is as close to an ideal congressional representative as we have in government today.

The hateful fringe does a disservice to a legitimate grassroots movement fueled by concerns that echo my own: rapid growth of government, overspending and over-taxation, rejection of traditional values and the principles of American exceptionalism.

I do hope the Tea Party movement succeeds, if it serves as a catalyst to encourage disaffected American voters to engage in civil debate and bring about a profound effect this year’s election – a step towards reducing the size of government, reducing spending and taxes, and reversing the trend towards moral decay and apology for the greatest nation in the world.

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Jon McNaughton: One Nation Under God

Freedom Video
Author: admin
Saturday, August 14, 2010
7:33 pm

The following YouTube video features artist Jon McNaughton speaking about his painting depicting his belief, which I share, that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by Jesus Christ.

The rich symbolism in the painting is explained via an informative interactive page on the McNaughton Art website:

image

From the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I quote the words of the Savior:

77 According to the laws and aconstitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the brights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral aagency which I have given unto him, that every man may be baccountable for his own sins in the day of cjudgment.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in abondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the aConstitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the bshedding of blood.

(D&C 101: 77-80)

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