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.
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.
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:
As of this morning, 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.
A mass casualty incident is currently underway in the United States.
Letter explains the assessment protocol in a catastrophe:
“During a mass casualty incident, victims are immediately triaged to black, red, yellow, or green. The first group, triage level black, includes those who require too many resources to save during a mass crisis. The red group has severe injuries that are survivable with treatment, the yellow group has serious injuries that are not immediately life threatening, and the green group has minor injuries.”
Goal of medical providers during such a catastrophe is to focus treatment on the red group while making sure the yellow and green groups do not deteriorate a level.
Assessment by the doctors of where we are in the United States?
Red – millions of Americans are currently at triage level red. There are normally 150,000 Americans who are given a cancer assessment each month.
We now have two months of no testing which means there are over 300,000 Americans who have detectable cancer, don’t know it, and have not started any treatment. An unknown but calculable number of those will die because of the lack of testing during the shutdown.
Our very form of existence as the United States of America is based on the idea that the power of government is based on having consent of the governed. In other words we, free citizens, give government the power it has.
Phrased more eloquently, the Declaration of Independence declares:
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, …
We are beginning to see damage to trust in public policy and confidence in government. Governors who continue to keep their economies locked up when there is no consent to do so and no justification for doing so are whittling away at that “consent of the governed” concept.
Politicians urgently need to pay attention to this. There is danger of long-term damage which nobody is going to like. More on the risks at the end of this post.
The growing resistance to the harshness of state policies is becoming more visible with each day that passes.
This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.
Many churches planning to open in California on May 31
I just came across this issue in the news. It has been brewing for a couple of weeks.
Damage from the shutdown is getting more visible; it is growing, spreading every day.
Hospitals and surgeons have been devastated by stopping what is considered ‘non-essential’ care. Many hospitals may go under. Going under is what farmers are starting to do with their crops. After a panic like we are in, who has liability if anyone gets sick and thinks they caught the bug in a store, restaurant, or business?
We are starting to see some guesses about the economic damage from the shutdowns driven by the pandemic.
When you read about the 10 million people who have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks and consider there will be millions more and the unemployment will continue for another month or two, ponder the ripple effects.
That shock of unemployment translates into cars not purchased, summer & Christmas vacations not taken, conferences not attended, college enrollment delayed a year, fancy wedding receptions never planned, and house renovations postponed by a decade.
When will we be done with this stay-at-home restriction?
When will the economy recover?
When will we be back to “normal?”
I don’t know the dates for any of those transitions.
I have a suggestion for you.
Don’t set a specific date in your mind. Instead firmly set in your mind that this mess will end, we will get through it, we will survive, and we will thrive at the end.
What is the danger of setting a date in your mind and having faith it will be over on that date?
Let me introduce you to the Stockdale paradox.
Admiral James Stockdale was an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam war. He was a prisoner in North Vietnam for 7 1/2 years, routinely subject to brutal torture, legs broken twice during interrogation, and held in solitary confinement during four of those years with his legs locked in a metal stock each night. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor a few years after his release.
I think we should listen to him. His physical courage and moral courage are a role model for all of us.
In the Soviet Union and Venezuela, grocery shopping involved/involves listening for rumors of which store got a shipment overnight, standing in line for hours, looking at lots of empty shelves, and going to the store daily to see if what you need might actually be on the shelf today.
If you have been awake the last seven days, you know that is what grocery shopping looks like in the U.S. today.
The difference between the Evil Empire and the worker’s paradise of Venezuela on one hand and the United States on the other hand is that the supply chain in the U.S. is still stocking the shelves and in a week or two or three will have them filled up.
Article raises the troublesome procedural question that the sentencing judge used allegations that were not proved in court to reach his decision. Specifically, the judge used allegations of the murder-for-hire schemes which were discussed but on which Mr. Ulbrickt was not convicted, according to his attorney’s comments in the appeal.
Apparently there were some warrant-less searches at issue, which the USSC did not take up.
Andrew Michael Jones, Gary Davis, Peter Phillip Nash
7/13/18 – Cyberscoop – Alleged Silk Road employee extradited from Ireland to U.S. – Gary Davis, allegedly a/k/a Libertas, is accused of being a high level administrator in Silk Road. Article links to previously sealed indictment which accused Andrew Michael Jones, a/k/a “Inigo”, Gary Davis, a/k/a “Libertas” and Peter Phillip Nash, allegedly who had four aliases. (Inigo? Seriously? What is the deal with all the slander of the all-time classic comedy Princess Bride?)
While looking at the sentencing of former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges I learned a few more details of what he was up to while looting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins. His sentencing is one of the loose ends on my posts about the Silk Road dark web site where you could buy any drugs, body parts, contract hits, weapons, explosives, or fake identification that your heart desired.
This guy had quite a career. Seriously. He was a successful hostage negotiator before joining Secret Service. He was on the Obama presidential protection detail and was a cyber currency expert while at the USSS.
One more loose end on my reporting of the drug/body parts/contract hit/weapons/fake ID/explosives dark web site Silk Road: sentencing for Shaun W. Bridges.
Update: After getting ready for followup to this post, I realized those are actually separate discussions. Thus, there will be no ‘part 2’ for this post.
He is the former Secret Service agent who, while assigned to the inter-agency task force investigating Silk Road, stole a large amount of bitcoins. He was sentenced to prison for 71 months.
The day before he was scheduled to report to prison he was trying to get out of the U.S. but was arrested for another theft of Bitcoins. He pled guilty and was sentenced to another 24 months, which the judge ordered to run consecutively.
He was also ordered to surrender 1,500 bitcoins, which were worth approximately $10.4 million at the time of his sentencing.
This post will discuss his sentencing. Next post will give some more background on his escapades which paid him a well-earned seven years in free federal housing.