July 4th Oration Notes

July 4, 2004

It is said, “A man’s patriotism is not measured by the size of the flag he flies.”

Today let’s consider some of the great men who brought forth this great nation, then
consider what things we might do to preserve liberty.

Let’s do a little exercise. Voting statistics illustrated.

One important event in our history was the Declaration of Independence, the reason we celebrate every 4th of July.

55 men signed the Declaration of Independence.

It had taken many months of debate to write.

One of the men most influential in its adoption was John Adams. (Put book up.)

In this picture he has sideburns long enough to be in style in GQ today, but just a little
too bushy.

What does the Declaration say? We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
…(created equal),
that they are endowed…by
whom (by their Creator)
with certain unalienable
That among these are …
(life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.)
It is to secure these rights that governments are made and they get their powers from the consent of the governed.

This was our complaint with the British and King George III. They made the government and imposed it on us without our consent!

So we said in here that we are going to be free, independent of Britain. We declared our independence.

The closing lines read, “With a firm reliance on the protection of diving Providence, we
mutually pledge to each other our lives, our … (fortunes), and…(our sacred honor).

These men, and their wives, knew well what they were risking by signing.

Here is where John Hancock signed. His name is the biggest. He said he wanted King George to be able to read it without his spectacles.

Six weeks after passing the Declaration, the British attacked in New York. It was their
30,000 against about half that many on our side. They had thirty ships; we had none. 1,000 of our men were killed, wounded or captured. British losses were about 400. Two days later, in the dark and in the rain, the American army escaped across the river, rowed by many volunteer fishermen.

Two weeks later the British commander sent a note to Philadelphia asking for some
Congressmen to come talk to him. Franklin, Rutledge, and Adams went. They had a cordial meal, then got into discussion. Admiral Howe asked, “Is there no way of treading back this step of independency?”

He further said he was not talking to the three as members of Congress because Congress was not acknowledged by the King. He considered them men of great ability and influence, private persons and British subjects.

Adams objected. “You may consider me in any character which would be agreeable to your lordship, except that of a British subject.” He said he was determined “not to depart from the idea of independency.” Admiral Howe turned to the
other two: “Mr. Adams is a decided character,” with a gloomy emphasis on the word decided. Years afterward, Adams would better understand the gloomy look on Howe’s face, when he learned that before leaving London, Howe had been given a list of those American rebels who were to be granted pardons if peace could be
arranged. John Adams was not on the list. He was to hang.

Such were the risks these signers entered.The meeting ended without

John Adams left behind a profitable law practice, making, as a member of Congress the same wages as a farm laborer. And we must not forget the women of the
Revolution. John’s wife, Abigail, was farming and raising their children alone near Boston, while John spent years in Philadelphia in Congress. They exchanged many tender letters. Her sacrifice for this country matched his.

Among the other signers, Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. So did Morris and Livingston. Thomas Nelson had a beautiful home in Yorktown. The British captured it and used it as a headquarters. As the British approached, Nelson stood beside George Washington. Nelson gave him the go ahead to open fire. The home was completely destroyed. Nelson died bankrupt.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside while she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

Truly they made great sacrifices.

We can support liberty by:
serving on juries,
testifying in the legislature,
writing and calling elected representatives,
running for office,
assisting campaigns.

We can also keep our marriages and families strong through love, prayer and sacrifice, for strong families and righteous people, people reliant on divine
Providence, are what make this nation strong.


Random Thoughts “Inspired” by a trip to Las Vegas

Vegas Trip


One reason I don’t gamble is that I’m afraid to embarrass myself sitting at a machine
trying to figure it out.

The lady at her table in the buffet room at Sunset Station has a Keno easel, meaning, I guess, that she is playing Keno through a “runner” while she stokes up
on biscuits and gravy. How did she learn about that? Did she feel
silly asking for help her first time? Doesn’t she have to see the
facial features of her opponents to win? Or, is that only in the
movie The Entertainer? She munches so serenely, looking into the
distance. She must be a seasoned gambler to maintain such composure
in the middle of a Keno struggle! I envy her stoicism.

I can tell I am in the heart of this casino’s demographic slice. Paul Simon’s “Slip
Slidin’ Away”, and Little River Band’s “You’re Still the One” are the background music.

This buffet prides itself on having every possible breakfast food. Not so. At home we have exotic amaranth seasoned with Brasilian Stevia, an herbal sweetener.
They do have grits. I try some.

The pleasures of Las Vegas, like those of skiing are for soloists. People range from
machine to buffet to machine to buffet, frequently alone, unconnected. Skiers are lone actors, too. Their selection of runs is highly individualistic. Brotherhood is fleeting, easily shucked when a buddy needs to eat or chooses another run. It is hedonism with occasional hollered greetings at passing acquaintances. Little
self-sacrifice is called for on a ski hill.

Style is uncomfortable. Girls must show their extra 10 pounds between pant and shirt, the place where accretion is most likely to begin. What a shame, you have
to show your first ten excess pounds. That’s also the last ten
pounds to go, when losing weight. The designers zeroed in on the most
troublesome region for a girl. How thoughtless. Boys must wear
stocking caps even at 72 degrees. Maybe that’s why head shaving is also cool.

In a buffet it is hard to abide Thoreau’s advice to “eat to live, not live to eat.”

Kids are rare around here.

I could tell I was being led to the SHOT Show, (the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show), when, ahead of me in traffic was a dually Dodge with Texas plates.
One occupant wore a cowboy hat, another a camo cap. “This is my group”, I thought.

The food at
the Aladdin Buffet:
Lamb, stuffed pork,
(that’s the dish, not me and all the other patrons), primavera,
sauteed vegetables, prime fresh pineapple, strawberries in
vinagarette, shrimp with red sauce, crab legs, crème puffs,
tort, Asian chicken stir fry, Viet noodles and tofu, red potato,
pecan pie, apple crisp, fish wrapping a crab stuffing. Wow!

I saw a man at the gas station wearing red and white patent leather wingtips. Anyone wearing those should not have to subject himself to the ignominy of gassing
up a car.

NASA Loses the Mars Rover

Mars Rover

We’ve lost the Rover! NASA is embarrassed. They shouldn’t be; the little
machine is a zillion miles away. I have a hard time finding my screwdriver and flashlight though they are no more than 35 feet away from me, in the same house.

Might I help NASA? I got out my binoculars and peered at Mars. Nope, I
couldn’t find the lost robot either. Now I can really see what
their problem is. I hope they have better binoculars than mine. Maybe
if we had a neighborhood spotting party, where we got everybody’s
binoculars and duct-taped them in a row, we could see up there.

Losing the rover brings up a conspiracy. Have you heard from Al Gore lately?
A guy like him is hard to shake loose. If he were within shouting
distance of earth, we would be hearing from him. Giant radio
receivers are listening for signs of extra-terrestrial life and even
they haven’t heard from him. It is entirely possible that House
Republicans kept the space program alive, and refrained from shutting
down the government just for this purpose, so they could abduct Al,
stuff him inside the Rover and catapult him up to Mars, then feign
innocence when communication is terminated. I bet Al is inside.

I sympathize with NASA losing its link, for I use the internet. My
modem connection is like that. Sometimes I desperately want to
connect so I can check my spam and download viruses, but my internet
provider gnome is down. This normally happens at 5:01. The service
desk remains open until 5:00. Maybe NASA should consider a new
internet service provider. It would only take ten days and three
house calls from a $60/hour internet shaman to switch. Then they
could, like me, be sure not to miss any spam, static, or dating
service ads. Not to mention calls from the Rover.

When the Rover landed it was a big triumph. Then when the link was lost it stunk. But NASA’s public relations department, all 1,500 of them, glazed that burned cupcake. That the mission had gone so well to that point was a pleasant surprise, we were told. Why weren’t we told, when Congress budgeted for this that it would be surprising if it worked? I need a couple of their publicists to explain things to my banker.

You should feel richly rewarded”, I say, backed up by Arthur Anderson,
a retired NASA publicist.

Richly rewarded? You only made one of your 360 payments. And that was six
months ago!” says the bank president.

Look how far he got. Even getting his doors open in such a speculative
business was a major triumph,” Arthur says.

What do think this bank is, a dumb taxpayer?” the president says.
He thinks we should be embarrassed. But Arthur and I are hard to
embarrass. If not being able to find my goosedown coat in one of the two
closets in our home can’t shame me, a little tardiness in bank
payments shouldn’t either. As soon as I make payment number two,
I’ll call that a fabulous triumph.

I can learn from NASA. No failure is so great that a small success can’t
redeem it. When my wife rolls her eyes at having to find my wallet,
palm pilot, work keys, car keys, and toothbrush, I say, “But honey,
I found my own shirt. Don’t you think I did good? Now where was
that job application for NASA?”

No Teacher Left Behind

A bill in the Montana legislature would pay school districts $1,000 new money for each teacher, each year. This amounts to $13 million annually, or $56.27 in new taxes per Montana family.
Some schools are losing students. Since the amount of money a school gets
depends on the number of students enrolled, schools are losing money.
One might think that fewer students may need fewer teachers. That is,
unless one was a teacher’s union president or the sponsor of the
bill. It appears that public schools exist to serve the interests of
teachers as much as, or more than, the interests of students.

The bill should be called the No Teacher Left Behind Bill.

CHIP and medical communalism

March 16, 2003

To Members of House Human Services Committee:Please vote against SB 314.

I am a member of the Union of Concerned Taxpayers, a group of mostly Gallatin County voters, who oppose further communalizing health care. We think that individualism is better for all concerned, taxpayers, recipients, providers and the
economy as a whole. We are concerned when we see baby-steps taking us
further toward central, state-controlled health care. The taxpayers
of the state are broke. Income-wise, we can’t afford the extra $1
Million. Montana is the “Mississippi of the Northwest”.

A baby-step you are asked to consider is SB 314, which would expand CHIP to kids whose families’ incomes fall below 175% of poverty, so-called. Do you realize that roughly half of all Montana households fall under 200% of poverty? Do you really intend to put half of Montana on the medical dole? (Cheerleaders for CHIP expansion want to eventually get to the 200% level. SB 314 is merely a step in that direction. Expansion will occur in another legislative session.)

Families under 175% can provide their own health insurance. They need to economize, and work long hours. It can be done. Most of my married life, I have provided insurance for my wife and four children while living near or under
this income level.

The more functions the state picks up, the less fathers are needed as breadwinners. Women more readily slough their husbands. Men breed, then run. More
children struggle through life without fathers. The economic obligations of fathers, now made less important, are more easily shirked. Families disintegrate, and family breakdown is the driving force behind escalating social service costs.

It is unfair to saddle taxpayers from the other 49 states with $8,000,000 in new costs. Just because it is “Federal money” doesn’t mean it is free money.
Six new employees added to the state payroll adds to the rapidly growing bureaucracy. Here’s a chance to arrest that growth.

Though this bill appears to be a way for you to look generous with mostly “Federal money”, resist the urge. Each advance towards complete social medicine must
be thwarted. Please vote against SB 314.

Thank you for your

Principles of Leadership at Marathon Seat Covers, Inc.

Few Principles of Leadership

A leader is not an overlord; a leader is a helper.

A leader helps people to achieve their potential, to realize their goals.

A leader is a servant, not a nag or a tyrant.

A leader inconveniences himself or herself for the people in the organization or the

customer. One way he or she does this is by absorbing criticism when
it is not warranted, and by asking for input, though it may run
counter to his or her plan or preferences. This means subjecting
himself or herself to the barbs and digs of people who frequently are
not as gentle in their opinions as the leader strives to be. A leader
knows that employees’ barbs and digs will sometimes have nuggets of
truth in them and will seek these out by listening carefully, taking
notes, and reflecting on what is said. Sometimes good advice comes to
us in the critical comments of others, in spite of the difficulty of
receiving these.

A leader also inconveniences himself or herself by making up jobs that the employee was not able to finish, working shifts when they are sick,accommodating their needs for time off, working in their stead. These are some ways of serving others.

A leader also inconveniences himself or herself by holding their tongue and not

pointing out, unnecessarily, the flaws in others.

A leader persuades people to follow the program; he or she doesn’t demand, pressure, or coerce. All employees are volunteers. If they feel cornered, belittled, or forced, they will leave.

Company policies will spell out relatively few things. We don’t multiply picayune rules. Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles, and the people govern themselves.”