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Archive for the ‘Daniel Dunn’ Category

Enjoy the  musical link below, thank those who have protected the ideas and beliefs of this country’s civic and moral founders,  and encourage those you share you Independence Day festivities (in a group setting or privately) to read the beautiful document below.  While not inspired by the Holy Spirit with Biblical Infallibility, it is easy to see that we were once a God-fearing nation who desired to be ruled as such with Liberty and Justice for All.

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 harass 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 benefit 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 British 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.

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Excerpts from a presentation by Thomas F. Farr of Georgetown for International Religious Freedom

 

The Underlying Cause of the Global Crisis

And yet, the root cause is quite similar: a belief that religious freedom is not only unnecessary for human flourishing or social development, but that it poses a threat to these and other goods. Of course, those views are not new. Modern tyrants from Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, to Mexico’s Plutarco Calles, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, and Syria’s Bashar Assad have sought either to eliminate religious ideas and actors altogether, or to control and suppress them in order to keep their regimes in power.

What is new, and profoundly troubling, is that we are seeing today the rejection of religious freedom not simply by authoritarian regimes in places like China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, but by democratic majorities in places like Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Western Europe. These majorities seem unwilling to embrace the core of religious freedom, which is full equality under the law in private and in public matters for all religious individuals and institutions.

To be sure, religious freedom is rejected by democracies for different reasons – in Egypt, for example, the Muslim majority is loath to permit Christian Copts full equality, because it means much more than the right not to be persecuted or the right merely to be tolerated. It means the right of Copts to run for President, or to make Christian arguments in political life, or to criticize Islam publicly without fear of recrimination, or even to invite Muslims to become Christian. In Russia, the Orthodox Church allies with anti-democratic forces in order to maintain its monopoly.

Religious freedom is also increasingly being rejected in Western Europe, but for very different reasons. Here the problem is not a religious majority but an aggressive secularist majority that refuses to permit religiously-informed moral arguments into public life. Recently our Religious Freedom Project held a major conference in Oxford on the rising tensions between religious liberty and assertions of equality for homosexuals. In his keynote address, Philip Tartaglia, the Catholic bishop of Paisley, Scotland, noted that one of his priests had expressed fear after having watched a popular television program with audience participation. The audience was of one mind – once same sex marriage becomes law in the UK, they said, any dissenters should be “pursued by the law.”

I could not help recalling the anti-Catholic penal laws enacted by the English in Scotland in the late 18th century – laws that criminalized the very existence of priests and the mass, let alone the public expression of Catholic teachings. I am not suggesting that Scotland is returning to the practices of the 18th century, but it would be foolish to assume that the growing intolerance of Catholicism in Europe cannot devolve into persecutory laws and practices. Bishop Tartaglia said that he expected one day to be standing before a judge because of his public defense of Catholic teachings. Others at the conference made it clear that they simply could not, and would not, brook any “special” consideration to religious ideas, which, they argued, had no more relevance to human beings or societies than any other idea under the sun.

In short, religion in Europe is no longer seen as intrinsic to human dignity and social flourishing. It is generally understood as merely an opinion, and, as a species, a dangerous opinion at that. While it is fine to practice your religion in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, democracy requires that you keep it there. To bring it into politics endangers democracy.

This malevolent idea, which was most famously championed by the American political philosopher John Rawls, is gaining considerable purchase in our own country. It gives reason for profound concern, not only for religious individuals but for the whole concept of democracy grounded in ordered liberty – both here and abroad.

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I would like to encourage you to contact your County Commissioner and urge them NOT to vote in favor of the $35 million increase.  While I am very much in support of education, this increase in funding has many flaws.  My concerns are the following:

-We cannot afford this increase.  With most residents battling high fuel costs and tough economic conditions, the answer is not to implement additional taxation burdens as they already tighten their own household budget belt.  Many of those who have lived in Knox County for most if not all of their lives and those who have recently come to the area love living here because we try to live within our means, have relatively low taxation, and there is minimal government intrusion.  Rather than following in the footsteps of the states and municipalities around the country that are going belly up, we should continue to live by the principles of prudence and liberty.

-The increased taxation will come in the form of property taxes.  People who work hard to own a home and/or business property will again be footing the bill, while those who do not contribute to the Knox County tax base will not contribute even a minimal amount to have their children educated and cared for. Much ado has been made about the “business leadership” of Knoxville supporting this increase.  It is amazing to see how many projects in Knox County are allowed TIFs (Tax Increment Financing) on construction and developments to allow them to build on the backs of the tax payers.  If money is the solution, these business leaders need to cut a check directly to the school systems and leverage the foundations etc they belong to in order to secure this capital that will supposedly work miracles.

-If the additional funding is approved, there are no concrete definitions of success by the recieving school system.  Many in support of the increase argue this is an investment in the future of Knox County.  Most investors require stringent detailed plans to obtain information to determine the potential success or failure of the investment.  They also tend to want a timetable on when that investment will be deemed a success or a failure.  It is interesting how the burden of proof is much lighter when the discussion revolves around the money in someone else’s pocket.  The most concrete goal I have heard of is to put an iPad in the hands of each student.  Before I stray too far down the path of the lunacy of that proposal, I will reel myself back in to recommend the school system reevaluate its needs, purpose, goals with additional funding.  A timetable to achieve these can then be placed on the funding.  If the goals are not met by that time, the funding will be taken away and “invested” in other departments.  Better yet, maybe there can be a decrease in taxes!

-Finally, the proposed increase makes no mention of charter schools or vouchers.  These are actual aggressive and innovative solutions to education concerns that have been shown to work across the country.  Rather than a lottery determining whether or not a child can attend the much praised STEM Academy, why not let each parent find the best environment and curriculum for learning that can be made available to them?  It also encourages parental involvement and responsibility in the process of truly educating their child rather than the what can be perceived as dropping the kid off at the door at K (or heaven forbid pre-K) allowing the government to prod the kid through the system to a piece of paper at the end of high school that may or may not prove the child is educated.      

Thank you for your time and consideration of this request.

Daniel Dunn

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http://http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/mar/30/mcintyre-makes-school-budget-pitch-to-community/

Not to be too sensitive, but it seems like a bit of an insensitive remark considering the current instability of our economy.  Not sure why when most downsizing, we need to increase a government budget.  Before you say I hate children, I am actually very much in support of education.  However, I am not in support government largesse to a department that promotes compulsory education at the age of 4 (Pre-K), resists accountability measures and flexibility in school choice, and has done little to incentivize parental accountability.

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http://voxvocispublicus.homestead.com/Battle-of-Athens.html

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A couple of weeks ago I attended Dr. Jim McIntyre’s State of the Schools address.  Just some bullet thoughts I will pass along.

-The Superintendent pushed for more magnet schools.  If this specialized learning is so great for kids, why the aversion to charter schools?

-The Superintendent pushed for more opportunities to pursue more opportunities for professional development.  That is great, but I hope the Superintendent does not expect the taxpayer to foot the bill on behalf of the instructors and administrators.  Workers in the private sectors often have to pay for their own professional development or at least the companies they work for.

-The Superintendent mentioned the Knox County schools are falling short of acceptable performance due to the amount of remedial course students are taking when they advance to colleges.  However, isn’t that the problem of the institutions that admit students who are not ready for colleges?

-The Superintendent also bemoaned the scale of the teacher pay.  Last I checked, there is not a shortage of teachers (The Knox County School System is one of the top 5 employers in Knox County) and the number of those preparing for careers as teachers are increasing.  Hard to make an argument that the profession cannot compete in the marketplace.

-Two Socialist/Communist/Marxist leaning positions the Superintendent recommended stuck out at me as major (pardon the pun) Red Flags.  The call for extended school days which is easy to see and the goal of having 100%  graduation rates and 90% of those students going on to higher education (this might be less obvious).  The unrealistic goals set by the Superintendent mirror those set in the liberty void nations in order to continuously grab more power to the state so they may try again to achieve the goal.  (Boxer- “I will work harder comes to mind).

-The State of the Schools  according to Dunn backs away from the abolition of state run schools to ease into a moderate position of turning the Public School System into a needs based Welfare Benefit.  Still potential for abuse, but it downsizes the bureaucracy immensely.

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Longwood Lockup

http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/8015PCTS_Prison08_FINAL_2-1-1_FORWEB.pdf

This link was provided by my sister, Katie, who is studying criminal justice at Oxford.  Hope you enjoy and comment!

Daniel Dunn

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