25 November 2010

Thanksgiving: Washington & Lincoln

President Washington:
City of New York, October 3, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
President Lincoln:
It has seemed to me fit and proper that [our blessings] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

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04 November 2010

The Election of Ronald Reagan, 30 Years On

Birth of a Revolution

Thirty years ago today Ronald Reagan won the presidency. Few elections have had the monumental economic and foreign policy consequences of the one held on Nov. 4, 1980.

In the decade before Reagan's election, the economy had faltered worse than at anytime since the Great Depression. The stock market lost almost half of its value, mortgage interest rates hit nearly 20% and the inflation rate topped 14%. The word "stagflation" -- high inflation and high unemployment -- entered the lexicon. After the full implementation of Reaganomics -- lower tax rates, less regulation, control of government spending, the taming of inflation -- the economy boomed. Eight million jobs were created over the next decade, and the economy grew at 8% per year.

I asked Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of the new book "Rendezvous with Destiny," about the significance of the 1980 election. "Reagan understood what few other politicians of his era did," said Mr. Shirley, "and that is that intellectualism and wisdom are with the American people and not the elitist ruling classes. Reagan and the populist conservatives he led made the elites uncomfortable because they were a threat the existing order. Common sense is intellectualism." Arthur Laffer, Mr. Reagan's chief economist, told me: "Reagan had three priorities and he never deviated from them: cut taxes, slay inflation, and win the Cold War."

One of the Gipper's greatest legacies was the Reagan Revolution, which gave birth to a modern-day conservative movement that continues to thrive three decades later. Tuesday's victory for Republicans was a result of stitching together the Reagan coalition of free-market advocates, social conservatives, Reagan Democrats and independents. Reagan said during the 1980 campaign that "all of our problems . . . are in direct proportion to the overspending in Washington." That sounds a lot like what today's Tea Partier say about Mr. Obama and his $2 trillion spending spree.

"Ronald Reagan was a Tea Partier before the phrase was coined," said Mr. Shirley, "because he knew what the Founders intended, and that was for power to flow upward and not downward."

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02 November 2010

Be The Tsunami: Today Is The Day

Remember, vote only if you intend to vote Republican.

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