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a high-resolution image of the United States Declaration of Independence.

United States Declaration of Independence

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.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
  • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • 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.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

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.


Georgia

Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton

Massachusetts

John Hancock

Maryland

Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia

George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross

Delaware

Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

New York

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple

Massachusetts

Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery

Connecticut

Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire

Matthew Thornton

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Wearing a Face Mask Is Not a Democratic COVID-19 Plot

About COVID-19 and wearing a face-mask

You’re being asked to wear a cloth mask to cover your face to reduce the majority of the droplets you exhale from combining with the droplets that other people exhale, in a community effort to lower the overall risk of contagion to others.

It will absolutely not 100% protect you from inhalation of droplets, and that is entirely the point of making it a shared effort to reduce the total volume of respiratory droplets in the same air breathed by everyone. Less droplets exhaled leads to less droplets inhaled.

Photo #1: I am wearing a polyester neck gaiter as a simple, single layer, face mask. Even though it is not intended to act as protective personal equipment, or a medical grade filtered mask or respirator, that’s not the point. It helps to reduce, not eliminate, the droplets that I exhale. It’s not perfect, nor is it the most effective, but it is better than nothing. I can breathe just fine, and go about shopping at a local Asian market for what I need to stock up on, where everyone else is masked. The risk is there, of course, but greatly reduced for everyone present. With my asthma, I never felt restricted in any way, never felt my breathing was compromised, and could easily function with very minimal impact to my oxygen levels.

Photo #2: I was wearing a chemical protective mask and full chemical protective suit designed to filter out or reduce the impact of a variety of airborne contaminants, sprayed droplets, or vaporized hazards including: mustard gas, CS gas (tear gas, for you civilians), a variety of nerve agents, blister agents, weaponized anthrax spores and some biological hazards, and toxic chemicals due to fire and smoke and it was still was not 100% effective against every threat out there. It just reduced the risk to a much greater extent and for a longer period and I would have needed a fully sealed suit with its own air supply to be completely protected against all contaminants.

At the time the photo was taken, it was August, around 3pm, during a training exercise in Georgia. It was hot, miserably humid, and I had been wearing the full suit for about two hours with another 2 hours to go before someone gave the “All Clear.” The mask absolutely could not be removed until then. I could hydrate through a tube at the opening of the mask, connected to my canteen. Otherwise, physically, I had to still carry out the training mission, fully dressed in the suit and mask (MOPP Level 4), during the hottest part of day, and the hottest day of the year, in a Georgia swamp, at a high tempo, until whenever someone in charge decided that the exercise was over.

The point is, even under conditions most civilians whining about masks will never face, MOPP-4 did not kill me. Although it made me miserable, overheated, and exhausted over the course of 4-6 hours, MOPP-4 was designed to protect me from an incredibly contaminated environment. The biggest risks I faced during that particular exercise was dehydration and possible heat stroke. Imagine, now, having to wear MOPP-4 in a real combat environment.

By comparison, a face mask is not meant to protect you from the contaminants within that environment. It is only meant to help reduce the contamination to a shared environment by reducing everyone’s exhaled droplets. It’s the same as trying to get everyone to reduce their collective carbon footprints (and we know how well that is going), only this time it is trying to get everyone to reduce their COVID-19 footprints.

For the majority of you, certain health conditions aside, even an improvised face mask is not going to cause any risk to you, outside of a slight inconvenience to your pride. Realistically, listening to Donald Trump will more likely get you killed, assuming that rat has convinced you that “mAsKs r A dEmOcRaTiC tAcTiC 2 gEt U 2 GiVe Up Ur FreEdUmBz MAGA!”

If a training exercise with the US Army 3rd Infantry Division for several hours under MOPP-4 conditions during the hottest part of a brutally hot and humid day in a Georgia swamp did not kill me, wearing a simple cloth mask to go grocery shopping for 20-30 minutes will not kill you.

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outdoor headshot portrait of adrian feliciano, a man with salt and pepper stubble making direct eye contact with the viewer wearing an olive green headscarf and dark tshirt - visit adrianfeliciano.com

COVID-19 Thoughts From Social Isolation

My name is Adrian Feliciano. I am 46 years old. And I am scared.

I am scared for a variety of reasons. Not just because of COVID-19, although, with some of my underlying pre-existing issues I’ve got good reason for it.

I’m scared for my friends and family and all of our futures, some already economically precarious long before SARS-coronavirus-2, and now with gross social inequalities laid absolutely bare and vulnerability impossible to mask away.

I’m scared that a good percentage of the population around me is willing to proudly red-cap bludgeon their way emotionally through crowds of people even as their utter capitulation to MAGA puts lives in danger. There is no reasoning with them, but unlike a virus, they are presumably sentient so many of us still try to reason with them in vain.

I’m scared of the systems in place that punish people who don’t fit in with the ruggedly-individual, radically self-reliant, cultism this country promotes.

I’m scared of the utter incompetence on display from that Moron and the smug enabling of his sycophants because, while some of them are just cowed by his cult of morons, a good number of them are just as incompetent and self-serving as he is.

I am scared of the future of this country, the “American” ideal that drew my family to immigrate from the Philippines and that was held up to me growing up as the shining example of having the best opportunity to live the best life possible.

SARS-CoV-2 will change the world, and the course of history. You cannot just restart the world’s largest economy within a couple months and expect that everything can, or should, ever go back to the normal that existed before. We are only in the very beginning stages of what will be massive reverberations felt for at least a generation.

How are you feeling, today?