Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Why Re-Elect President Trump In 2020?

President Trump is the best thing to happen to our country since Ronald Reagan. He is addressing the problems with our economy that the Democrats said cannot be fixed, and is fixing them. Because of his efforts, our economy is booming.

Our unemployment is at its lowest in 60 years. More minorities are working. Senior citizens have been given cost of living raises that were denied them during the Obama years. Jobs and more importantly opportunities for Americans is on the rise. The Stock Market has reached its highest peak ever.

While Democrats are calling for imposing totalitarian regulations, increased government control of our lives, and Socialist ideals that are akin to full blown Communism, President Trump has brought prosperity back to America and it is translating into better lives for all. This newfound surge of feeling good about our nation and our economic future has had positive effects on all Americans. This is shown in Consumer Confidence which has never been higher.

President Trump’s inner-city Opportunity Zones are starting to take shape. He is addressing government task redundancy, agency overlap, and over-regulation. The result has been the elimination of tens of thousands of useless, economic stifling, business killing regulations. Regulations that were meant to make the government more powerful while taking away freedoms from the American people. And yes, because of President Trump, Americans are not longer being fined, and are no longer being threatened with the confiscation of their property, for not enrolling into ObamaCare.

Also, while addressing government problems, he has given Veterans more choice and expanded our options for better heath care through the Veterans Administration. While the Democrats like to say there were no scandals during the Obama years, they refuse to acknowledge the scandal of Veterans being allowed to die on waiting lists while President Obama did nothing to address that horrible situation. That is no longer the case under President Trump. Today, Veteran Health Care is better than ever.

As for his foreign policy, President Trump has gone to meet with the North Korean dictator and has reduced tensions to a lesser degree than what was taking place under Obama who did nothing to address the possibility of nuclear war. Image that we were threatened by a nuclear attack on Hawaii, but Obama said the biggest threat that we faced to our national security was Climate Change. That's the definition of being asinine!

Also, President Trump has taken on the unfair trade practices and military expansionist policies of China, and we are achieving goals which are more favorable to us. Not them, but us. The same goes for Mexico and Canada, a better trade deal has resulted in a more favorable situation for us. American corporations that left our country, or more accurately were chased out because of draconian government regulations, are returning to again manufacture products here with American workers.

As for the Middle East, in 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which declared that "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel." That bill also stated that the American embassy should move to Jerusalem within five years. That was 1995, it took President Trump to fulfill that mandated law.

As for ISIS, while they were supported by the Obama administration, as was the case with Iran, today ISIS is gone and their dreams of an Islamic barbarian state is no more.

As for the security of our nation both overseas and at home, President Trump has stopped the dismantling of our military which was taking place during the Obama years. He has instead increased the pay of our troops, increased incentives for our men and women in uniform to make the military a career, and is in the process of giving our troops the new and improved equipment that they were denied under Obama.

As for strengthening our security on our Southern Border, President Trump has worked to replace the old ineffective security barriers with modern barriers, and has increased the amount of border being addressed with such needed security measures. This has been needed to curtail the flow of drugs and human trafficking, including child sex trafficking, across the border. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama did very little to address this growing problem. President Trump is addressing this with new barriers.

He is doing this while fighting Democrats who want open borders and appear to for the free flow of drugs, slave labor, and child sex trafficking.

President Trump has done all of this in spite of the obstructionist Democrats. Democrats have worked tirelessly to divide Americans on multiple issues including race, gender, class, and more. Democrats are working to ruin our economy through increased Climate Change hoax regulations, and they want to take more of the money that we earn to waste it on their Socialist agenda which includes giving benefits to people who are not even citizens. Democrats have even obstructed every attempt that President Trump has made to keep us safer.

President Trump has done this for our country. No one can argue the fact that President Trump is doing wonders for our country. He is a successful president in spite of the Democrat Party's attempts to stop all of the great things that are taking place under his guidance. This is why Democrats hate him and want to see him impeached for any reason, even if that reason is made up.

All of the wonderful things that he has done for us is why I will vote for him again in 2020. Yes, despite the hate and lies coming from the Democrat Party and their mainstream media. 

That's just the way I see things.

Tom Correa

Monday, July 29, 2019

The 2019 Garlic Festival Shooting -- We Do Not Live In A Protective Bubble

The gunman who opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28th, 2019, killing 3 and injuring 12, was identified by law enforcement as 19-year old Santino William Legan of Gilroy. Legan was fatally shot by sheriff deputies on Sunday after he opened fire at the very crowded festival in Santa Clara County.

When I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I used to go to the Gilroy Garlic Festival. While this incident is obviously an extreme, I can tell you that violence at the Gilroy Garlic Festival is not a new security concern for them. As far back as the 1990s, and probably before that, that event saw problems with fights and even stabbings.

I was there in 1993 when one stabbing took place. Right after that happened, the event's security along with the police made a walk through and cleared the entire event of everyone there. They closed it down. The same day of the stabbing, I witnessed more than 3 fights. It became a very rowdy atmosphere where fights happen all the time. In the 6 or 8 times that I went there, there were always fights.

While I have not been back to the Garlic Festival since 2000, the problems that the event has stems from the availability of alcohol, people getting drunk and high from the use of marijuana, and the presence of rival gangs.

As for their security at the time, the event employed private security and had armed Gilroy city police and sheriff deputies on hand. Again, if memory serves me right, they used the private security for the entrances and exits, at key locations, while armed police officers and deputies were on horseback and walking patrols. These days, metal detectors are located at the entrances.

Security for any event such as a festival are usually put in place to prevent "expected" situations. While the worse case scenarios are looked at, available resources dictate that only so many precautions can be taken. What I mean by that is this, one attempts to predict the worse case scenario within reason using available resources. I'm willing to bet that no one, not the festival's security coordinator or the sheriff's department, anticipated a gunman circumventing the festival’s security by entering from a creek area and cutting through a fence.

For me, I believe the motives of such an insane individual attempting to do such a horrible act actually mean almost nothing because I know that such individuals cannot be stopped before they carry out their plan. Unless someone knowledgeable of the perpetrator's plan comes forward and actually informs on the person before carrying out the act, the police are always a reactive security element.

While the police concern themselves with motive to see if others are involved, let's make no mistake about this, this perpetrator knew the security in place and planned his attack by circumventing security measures. Also, it is important to note that the availability of armed sheriff deputies and city police, law enforcement, did not stop the perpetrator from carrying out his plan. Since the perpetrator had planned his attack with his targets in mind long before this last weekend, armed police officers did not deter the perpetrator from carrying out his plan.

While we know that the gunman who murdered those innocent people went through a lot of trouble to get around security measures in place there, we know that increased security from years past and the presence of armed officers didn't stop his intent to commit murder. But there is something else that we should note. Even if he did not cut his way into the event through a fence, the perpetrator could have gotten into the event circumventing security through a number of other ways.

For example, if he were with any of the many many merchants and vendors there, including part of the food vendors, he could have been allowed in and staged a weapon or had a weapon on him at any time. He could have been part of entertainment. He even could have been part of the security detail itself. Point is that we have no idea who is capable of doing such an insane act. And sadly, it could be anyone.

Because we do not live our lives in a protective bubble, along with our security measures, we have to trust that not everyone out there is insane and out to kill us.

Tom Correa

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What Made Me A Republican

I was recently asked what changed my political opinion once and for all? 

This is something that I've thought about a lot since I was brought up in a very Democrat family. In fact, I was brought up in a very Conservative Catholic household. At one point, our home consisted of me and my three brothers and one sister, my parents, both maternal grandparents, and my great-grandfather who couldn’t speak English. Yes, ten of us. 

My maternal great-grandfather left the oppression of the Portuguese government in the Azores to go to Hawaii as an Indentured Servant in 1908. During his life, he worked in the sugarcane fields, the pineapple fields, and as a janitor at a High School. He tried to pass the citizenship test to become an American on three different occasions but couldn’t speak enough English to pass it. As a boy of 9, I remember him telling me, in Portuguese, to be a proud American. He used to say, "Be proud that you are an American. You are free!" 

My family was Blue Collar, Conservative, traditional Catholics, and Democrats. Hawaii was a Democrat state. I found out later that had a lot to do with FDR and World War II. Of course, back in those days, Democrats were Conservative also. If the truth be told, President Kennedy was a Conservative. He certainly wasn't a Liberal. The Democrat Party was very Conservative back in those days — especially by today’s standards. Modern Liberalism had not infected the whole of the Democrat Party yet. 

As for my becoming a Republican and shunning the Left and Liberalism? While I was raised a Conservative with traditional family values in a Catholic family, my decision to become a registered Republican came while I was in the Marine Corps.

If memory serves me right, myself and three other Marines volunteered to go to San Diego State University to attend a few hour long career day event. That took place in early 1976. I was an Instructor and my Gunnery Sergeant told me that it would be good for me to do since I was looking at the Marine Corps as a career. As is still probably the care, anything positive on one's record helps out during promotion time. 

I was a 20 year old Marine Corporal, and after we arrived, I was shocked by how we were treated when we arrived. We go out of our van and were met by college students who threw food at us, called us all sorts of vile names such as calling us “baby killers” and compared us to Nazis. A few students actually tired to get close enough to attempt to spit on us. 

I didn't know the other Marines since I had just met than that morning. If I remember right, we had a Lance Corporal who was our driver from Motor-T, I was the only Corporal, there were two Sergeants, and we had a Staff Sergeant in charge. When we arrived, we told the Lance Corporal to stay with the van. We tried grabbing up a banner and handouts, but the students sort of swarmed around us and kept throwing stuff and taunting us.

At one point, the Staff Sergeant in charge told us to get back in our van. He didn't want things to get completely out of hand but he need to check in the people who organized the event. With that, he told us to sit tight and he left. When he got back, his uniform was a mess. He simply got in the van and told the driver to get us out of there.  

On the way back to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, all of us were pretty angry. I found out later that the students who met us with such disdain and disrespect were the same Leftist students types who protested our troops returning from Vietnam; the same types of asinine individuals who burned our flag while waving the flags of our enemies; the same as those who were praising Communism of Mao and Stalin; the same who wanted a Communist America; the very people who voted for McGovern in 1972 and were campaigning for Jimmy Carter at the time. They were Democrats. 

It was then that I decided never ever to vote for Democrats.

While my father was still a true-blue Democrat until Bill Clinton was caught lying about committing perjury regarding having sex in the Oval Office, I refused to vote Democrat for years before that.

Republicans are for families, child welfare, for life and not killing babies both before or at birth, manufacturing, building trades, Christians no matter if Catholic or Protestant, supporting our troops serving and helping our returning Veterans. Everything that Democrats are against.

I find it ironic that Democrats accuse Republicans of everything that they do or have done in history. They were responsible for the Trail of Tears, the Civil War, and the have a slave-owner mentality. They created the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, Segregation, worked to stop multiple Civil Rights legislation efforts, they even fought against the Civil Rights Act as recently as 1964. And yes, they have a history of being against Women's Rights.

The irony in recent years is that Democrat President Obama refused to pay his women staffers what he was paying the men in that administration doing the same job. Recently, Democrats running for the presidency were caught doing similar things.

Over the years, I've found that the Republican Party is all about respect for our elders, our traditions, our history, our flag, and preserving our values. As a Republican, I can say that we are for equal opportunity, free association, capitalism, commerce, and the benefits of hard work, low taxes, and prosperity.

We like to keep more of our hard earned money in our pockets. And though that's a fact, Republicans give more to people in need than Democrats do. Why is that you ask? It's because Republicans believe people take care of people. In contrast, Democrats don't give to charities because they believe it's the government's job to do that. If that seems like a cop-out, I think so too.

In recent years, Democrats created another militant arm of their party. They did in 1865 with the Ku Klux Klan, years later they formed Occupy Wall St, and since 2016 they created ANTIFA to riot and destroy and attack others in the streets. In contrast, Republicans believe in stability, peace, and supporting our law enforcement professionals.

While Democrats are fighting to keep our Southern border with Mexico open and unsecured, drugs and human traffickers are bringing people across the border as never before. Republicans are for freedom and opportunity, but also the rule of law which regulates those coming into our nation. No one is against a family fleeing somewhere else and coming here. All Republicans are saying is to do it legally. Not as criminals, but with the proper papers.

Whether it's sex trafficking or human bondage which is nothing more than modern-day slavery, Democrats should be concern but they are not. And frankly, Americans should demand to know what not?

Republicans respect an individual's right to pick the religion of their choice or simple their being spiritual. We respect a person's right of association as long as it promotes peace. Democrats can't say the same. Traditionally, Republicans have been the champions of limiting government to rein in abuse and even the possibility of government oppression while promoting the general welfare. We have be for a strong military deterrence, for civil rights, respect for others, and a color blind society. Democrats want open borders, a return of segregation, a divided nation, racism, and hostility for Whites.

Unlike Republicans, Democrats do not believe in assimilation, pride in being an American, inclusion, respect for the law, and a nation of united on common values. Republican ideas of free expression, equality under law, due process, the presumption of innocence, good ethics, conscience, and a person's right to self-preservation is at odds with what Democrats believe in.

So really, what made me a Republican?

Being self-sufficient, and wanting a normal family where my kids would learn to respect our founding fathers, our flag, our Constitution, our history and struggles; my wanting to stay safe while keeping the freaks and bad doers away; my wanting to preserve our Rights, and not be prejudiced from having the same opportunities of fulfilling my dreams as those with lighter or darker skin; my wanting to be associated with other proud Americans made me a Republican.

After all, I couldn't be a Democrat after finding out at the age of 20 that the Democrat Party did not represent me, my family, Blue Collar workers, Catholics, Veterans, our flag, what's right about America, and had turned into a bunch of Communists. Yes, even back then.

For the person who wrote to ask, "What would it take for you to no longer support the Republican Party?” That’s an easy question to answer. I would walk away from the Republican Party if it were to become like the Democrat Party.

Conservatives need to understand that we have to fight as ruthlessly as Democrats if we want to prevent them from tearing down America to create a Communist nation in its place.

If Republicans embrace Socialism, Communism, want to repeal parts or all of the Bill of Rights, actually believes that a person has absolutely no right to protect themselves or their family with a firearm? If there is ever a Republican Party that supports the idea that it’s okay to rule over others with draconian regulations, supports the concept of us being slaves to the government, supports the elimination of private property, and supports the killing of babies yet will fight to save a murderer on death row, then that’s when the Republican Party becomes like the Democrat Party. And yes, that's when it will no longer get my support. But until that happening, I will remain a Republican.

As for where we'll be in the next 30 years? 

I remember talking about this with friends back in the mid-1970s. We wondered what cars and clothes would look like, and what sort of new "stuff" there would be. Back in those days, when I was overseas in the military, a few of the guys used cassette tape recorders to record their letters home. They would record themselves, put the cassette tape into an envelope and then sent them home by airmail — what is called “smail mail” today. That was big technology for the time.

Never did we image computers, the internet, being able to chat with people in group discussions, phones that you carry around in your pocket, watching films and video online, and more.

As for race relations, by the late 1970s, I thought it was getting better. For many years, a lot of people thought we were all getting along pretty well. The Obama administration changed all of that by calling everyone a "racist." Obama returned the nation to the dark days of segregation. His legacy today is that some blacks are actually calling for segregation. 

It's a safe bet that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. must be rolling over in his grave since he fought so hard to end such horrible practices.

As for the future, I hope the Democrats come to their sanity and stop the true racism which they are inciting, stop the political hate which they are encouraging, stop ANTIFA which they created, stop putting others first before Americans. While I really don't think we'll become the Socialist Third World country that the Democrats are trying so hard to turn us into, I hope I'm right.

Tom Correa

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Why Should Medical Coverage Be Completely Free?

I was recently asked the question, "What types of compromises, as a Conservative, would you need to see in order to consider a Single Payer health system?" Single-payer healthcare is defined as “universal healthcare financed by taxes that covers the costs of essential healthcare for all residents, with costs covered by a single public system.”

I translate that to mean that taxpayers supply others with free medial coverage.

That means that more taxes will be taken from working Americans of all economic levels to pay for “everyone” — even those who can afford to get their own healthcare. This doesn’t sound fair to working Americans and retired Americans on a fixed income who are already paying more in taxes and are having less and less to live on because of the government wanting to take more and more of what they have.

As for those who need coverage but can only afford expensive all inclusive healthcare plans, here’s my solution based on my own experience when I was in that very situation.

Back in 1995, I needed medical coverage. Being a Veteran, I went to the VA to see if I qualified for coverage and how much it would cost me. The first thing that the VA did was give me a “Means Test” to see what my financial situation was at the time. I was told that such a cost to me would help to defray the expenses and lift the burden of cost on the taxpayer to pay for the VA healthcare program.

While I don't know if the VA still does this today, at the time if I made too much money -- then I wouldn’t have qualified for coverage. That caveat stopped well-off individuals from taking advantage of the system. As for me, though I thought I was making a lot of money while I was working in the Inspection Industry at the time, I did in fact make an amount that met the criteria. For my situation, it was determined that my visits would cost $60 (per visit). Prescriptions cost me a minimal fee.

Point is, since there was zero monthly out of pocket expense, and would only cost me $60 per visit — which I figured would only take place 3 to 4 times a year for follow-up appointments — I jumped at it.

So why can’t Americans who cannot find medical insurance apply for Medicare, but go through the same process of a “Means Test” to see how much, how little, they will have to pay to get basic coverage as I did with the VA back in 1995? No simply give it to them free, but at a minimal cost?

Fact is $60 in 1995 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $100.84 in 2019. If a person today only had to pay $100 per visit and only went to the doctor’s six times a year, that’s affordable basic coverage for those who can't get more expensive care. Couple that with an inexpensive supplemental plan to cover the more expensive treatments, and people may be able to afford it.

Also, back in the late 1990s, Kaiser Healthcare System raised it's Emergency Room visit costs from $5 to $50 a visit. That raise reduced the frivolous visits and those not wanting to schedule an appointment and get around more expensive co-pays. Soon, Kaiser Hospital ERs were a lot less crowded with people their simply trying to fill prescriptions. The lesson was noticed by all, make it almost free and people will take advantage of the situation.

Also why can’t people afford to pay for such a “basic coverage” government program if we made that sort of minimal coverage available to people who cannot yet afford to get into other private healthcare coverage programs? Obamacare actually cost more than what I'm suggesting because there is no monthly premiums in my suggestion.

Also, why does it always have to be a case of taxpayers putting out more of their wages to supply something to other completely free — especially when those who have very little coming in can afford to pay a minimal fee to a government program? It doesn't have to be that way.

Why should it be completely free for people who can afford minimal coverage? It shouldn’t be. And where did people get this absurd and asinine notion that "Healthcare is a Right"? It isn't a "right." That's especially true since it's not the government's responsibility to see that you're looked after like the slave masters looked after their slaves. Besides, our healthcare is up to each of us to take care of for ourselves.

And if you're wondering, no, I don’t think healthcare coverage should be completely free for anyone with the exception of Veterans with service-connected disabilities, since they got their disabilities while serving us, and in the case of Seniors on Social Security since they paid into the Social Security system all of their lives.

Before retiring, I hated the fact that I was working long hours and the government took almost half of my paychecks. I hated that all of my overtime seemed to be taken from me by the government. I also hated knowing there were people out there taking advantage of government programs. Their taking advantage of such "free" programs effected how much more money the government wanted to take from my paychecks!

Besides, there is no such thing as "free" since someone has to pay for it. And while some will say that I should have took whatever I could get from the government since I paid such high taxes, I liked knowing that paid what I could to help defray the cost of my medical coverage. Knowing that nothing's completely free, I liked that. After all, I am the taxpayer who funds these programs.

Tom Correa

President Trump Has Been A Victim Of Media Harassment

Actions that we see today by the news media is not new. George Washington was attacked in the newspapers to include spreading lies about the president. 

During the Civil War, Copperhead Democrats who ran newspapers in the North attacked Abe Lincoln mercilessly to include calling for him to reestablish the Union with the South holding on to its slavery. 

President Lincoln actually jailed an editor or two for spreading false information, fake news, and deported one Southern sympathizer to the South. Not even the South wanted him and he left for Canada.

The Democrats fought to keep slavery intact and the Democrat controlled newspapers called for Lincoln's assassination. Some believe disgruntled actor and pro-slavery Democrat John Wilkes Booth was incited to murder the president by newspapers of the times.

There has been a general adversarial attitude between the news media and the White House. Some folks can make the case that the news media has also believe that they tell people what to think and don't like it when the President screws with their message.

But in modern times, the partisan attacks by the news media has been blatant. Ronald Reagan was treated horribly, as was George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

There is no denying that the media gave Bill Clinton a pass, especially when it came to his presidential conduct, sexual harassment, having sex in the White House, even his being accused of rape. They ignore or went to bat for him over most of what took place even though those were all things that have gotten people fired or put in jail.

But not even Bill Clinton was treated with the love that Obama received from the news media. Chris Matthews fawned over Obama to the point that Matthews said he had a physical reaction to listening to Obama speak — a tingling up his leg.

In contrast, even Democrat former-president Jimmy Carter has come forward to say that President Donald Trump has been treated the worse of any president in his lifetime. False accusations, attacks, allowing Democrat politicians to call for his assassination, making lite of people making threats against him, people mocking him being shot, stabbed, or being beheaded.

A great indicator of how he was treated versus how the media treats Trump can be seen in the number of retractions that were made while Obama was in office versus since Trump has been in office. There have been multiple retractions that have been made of false information since Trump has been in office. Once those stories are out there, how many people ever read the retraction stating that the report was wrong or simply false? Few if that.

The deed to smear and attack is accomplished.

In contrast, there were zero retractions of false information while Obama was in office. The news media did not print of produce anything that may be construed as not positive. Some say it was so the media did not appear racist. Other say it was because the media covered for Obama. You decide.

For me, I believe President Trump has certainly been a victim of unfounded media attacks. The bias demonstrated by news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, and print news such as the New York Times spreading out and out lies is horribly blatant. The news media today doesn't even make a pretense of being non-partisan. Like Hollywood's Late Night television hosts, the news media doesn't care who know they are working for the Democrat Party.

While Democrats need a divided nation to retain power, the political partisanship by the media, as well as its harassment of President Trump has gotten out of hand. So much so that I'd like to see laws preventing their sort of slanderous attacks.

Tom Correa

Friday, July 26, 2019

How A Liberal Becomes A Conservative

Liberals start out young, immature, and headstrong about things they know nothing about. As they become more educated, they start to see the lies of liberalism.

Soon they understand how Socialism and Communism enslaves people. They learn how hard work can be, and understand how they should be able to keep their wages. They start resenting that the government takes almost half of all they earn in taxes.

If they start a farm or a ranch, a nursery or a welding shop, a winery or grocery store, they become educated to many of the more than 800,000 rules and regulations that are imposed on us by big government. They open their eyes to the truth of how conservatism helps people and encourages personal freedom while liberalism hurts and enslaves people.

That’s how a liberal becomes a Conservative.

And no, I’ve never heard of a Conservative waking up on morning and saying to his or her self, “I want to be a Liberal. I want the government to tell me that I cannot collect rain water because the state thinks it owns the rain. I want to give the government more of my hard earned wages because I think the state should give my money away to others who don’t want to hold a job. I want to be a slave and have the government tell me what car to drive, how I can warm my home, how my hair has to be cut, how I must dress, what job I must have, where I must live, what I can and cannot eat, how many children I can have, or that I have to kill my children at birth because a Liberal Congresswoman from New York said that that's what's needed to stop Climate Change.”

Tom Correa

Friday, July 19, 2019

1906 Assessment of San Francisco's 1851 Vigilantes


Fifty years ago today, when the first issue of the News Letter made its appearance, San Francisco was in control of the famous Vigilance Committee. This determined band of citizens held the city under as firm a rule as did the military a few weeks ago, when totally different causes demanded a stronger arm for the maintenance of right and order than the established civil Government afforded.

The Vigilance Committee owed its birth not to any extraordinary sudden event, but to the intolerable conditions which were the outgrowth of municipal corruption. It was the manifestation of the revolt of the decent element of the community against an organized gang of political plunderers, who held control of the city Government for their own aggrandizement and the oppression of the honest, respectable citizens.

There are few, if any, chapters in the history of the United States as interesting as that which records the doings of the Vigilance Committee during the rule of which, in 1856, the San Francisco News Letter was born.

For several years, the worst element in the city’s population had held control of the political machine, running the elections to suit itself, stuffing ballot boxes, intimidating those who could not be bribed, placing its own representatives in office, electing its own judges and generally enjoying a carnival of graft, loot and defiance of all the laws of civic decency. So strong and well organized was the machine that the respectable element of the town was seemingly helpless, at least at the ballot boxes.

The crisis came on May 14, 1856. On that day, James King, of William, editor of the Bulletin, who had unflinchingly, persistently and relentlessly assailed and exposed the misdeeds of the ring, was murdered in cold blood, at 5 p.m., by James Casey, a low politician, ballot-box stuffer and all-around bad character.

Trusting to immunity from punishment, on account of having the sympathy of police, district attorney, courts and other civil authorities, Casey surrendered himself, and was placed in jail, partly as a matter of form and partly to protect him from vengeance at the hands of King’s friends.

The news of the murder spread abroad quickly. The respectable citizens, in desperation, determined to end the reign of outrage at any cost. About 7 p.m. a delegation of citizens went to William T. Coleman, and asked him to form a Vigilance Committee. Coleman, who had belonged to a Vigilance Committee, formed to correct abuses in 1851, was at first reluctant to take violent measures, but he was soon convinced that there was no alternative, if the existing conditions were not to be meekly endured.

Accordingly a call was issued, signed “Committee of Thirteen,” the title under which the Vigilance Committee of 1851 was disbanded. The response was prompt and gratifying. Organization proceeded rapidly, military methods being followed, Doane, an experienced soldier, being placed in charge of the purely military details. Fort Gunnybags was erected on Sacramento Street, near Sansome, and cannon mounted behind its walls.

Dismayed b the suddenness and the completeness of the Vigilantes’ preparation, the corrupt city officials bestirred themselves to resist further operations. They gathered together the police and as many of their hoodlum constituents as they could muster, and began arming and drilling.

But their efforts to assert themselves were faint-hearted in the face of the determined attitude of the Vigilantes. The Governor, J. Neely Johnson, was appealed to, but he took no decided action one way or the other. General Wool and Captain (afterwards Admiral) Farragut, commanding the Federal forces, were asked to intervene, but they did not feel called upon to do so.

The Sunday following the murder, the Vigilance Committee, well armed and thoroughly organized, proceeded to the jail, where its members overpowered the frightened guards, entered and took out Casey and another notorious character named Cora. The two captives were taken to the headquarters of the Vigilantes, where they were given a full, fair trial and found guilty.

They were then carried forth and publicly executed, at the very hour when the body of James King, of William, was being escorted to the grave.

The corrupt Government, its hoodlum supporters, and the bad element of the city, were now thoroughly cowed, but the Vigilance Committee did not stop with the execution of Casey and Cora. It set itself diligently to work to purify the city Government and the city itself. Bad characters were exiled wholesale, the reins of Government were assumed by the Vigilantes, and a general cleaning out took place. 

After three months of control, having taught a never-to-be-forgotten lesson to the corrupt and the criminal, and having seen a good municipal Government in charge, the Vigilance Committee disbanded, and thus ended one of the most remarkable instances on record of a revolt of decent citizens against a corrupt city Government.

The grafters exiled from the city by the Vigilantes subsequently sued Coleman for sums amounting to a total of $1,500,000, but the suits were all defeated, Coleman and the Vigilance Committee being upheld by every court East and West which considered the cases.

San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
July 21, 1906

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Hangings of James Casey And Charles Cora 1856

James Casey and Charles Cora were hung by the Vigilance Committee at precisely twenty minutes after one o'clock–the former for the murder of James King of Wm., and the latter for the murder of Gen. William H. Richardson. Both persons had been tried before the Committee, and found guilty. A promise had been made to Casey that he should have a fair trial, and be permitted to speak ten minutes. These conditions had doubtless been observed. Casey was informed on Wednesday afternoon, that he had been condemned to be hung.

While under charge of the Vigilance Committee his spirit appeared to be unbroken. When awaken, after a sleep, he would frequently strike the floor with his hand cuffs, and swear fiercely at his fate. During the evening previous to his execution, the Right Rev. Bishop Alemany attended Casey, who had been educated in the Roman Catholic religion. During the night he was restless, and passed a portion of the time in pacing his room.

Cora attracted less attention, and conducted himself more quietly.

At eight o'clock, on Thursday morning, the General Committee was notified that Casey and Cora would be executed at half-past one, and ordered to appear under arms. During the morning preparations were made for the execution. Beams were run out over two of the windows of the Committee Room, and platforms about three feet square extending out under each beam. These platforms were supported next the house by hinges, and outside by ropes, extending up to the beams.

Along the streets, for a considerable distance on each side of the place of execution, were ranged the Committee–more than three thousand in number–some on foot with muskets, and others on horseback with sabres. No outsiders were permitted to approach within a hundred yards.

Beneath the place of execution were several cannon and caissons ready for use if necessary. The houses in the vicinity were covered with spectators; and in the streets were collected, probably, not less than eight or ten thousand persons.

At a quarter past one o'clock Casey and Cora were brought out upon the platforms. The former was attended by the Rev. Father Gallagher. The arms of both were pinioned at the elbows. The noose was placed around Cora's neck, when he stepped upon the platform and stood firm as a statue, a white handkerchief being wrapped around his head.

The noose was placed around Casey's neck, but at his request removed, while he had some three or four minutes conversation with his priest. He then came forward and addressed the people as follows:

"Gentlemen, Fellow Citizens:–I am not guilty of any crime. When I am dead, when I am laid in my grave, let no one dare traduce my character or asperse my memory. Let no man exult over me, or point to my grave as that of an assassin. I am guilty of no crime. I only acted as I was taught–according to my early education–to avenge an insult. Let not the Alta, the Chronicle, and the Globe, persecute my memory; let them no more proclaim me a murderer to the world. Let them not insult me after death. I have an aged mother in the Atlantic States, and I hope that she will never hear how I died. I trust she will never know I am executed on a charge of murder. I am not guilty of any such crime."About this time Father Gallagher touched Casey, and said: "Pray to God to pardon you for your crime; pray God to save your soul."

Casey, after a moment's hesitation spoke again:

"Oh, God, pardon and forgive me. Oh, my mother! my mother! I hope she will never hear of this. On, God! have mercy on my mother; comfort her in her affliction. Oh, God, have mercy on my soul! Oh, my God! my God! I am not guilty of murder–I did not intend to commit murder."

After he had concluded, the noose was again adjusted, his eyes bandaged, and as he was about to step forward, he faltered, and was about to sink, when the arms of two men were extended and supported him to the fatal spot.

Both prisoners being prepared, the signal was given, and, at the same moment, the souls of James P. Casey and Charles Cora were launched into eternity; and their bodies became an inanimate mass of corruption. Neither of them struggled much, Casey showing the most physical suffering.

From the time the prisoners appeared at the window until the drop fell, the immense mob of people stood uncovered, and the utmost silence was maintained, not a shout being heard or a loud word spoken. The bodies continued to hang for nearly an hour as they were executed. Although a great many persons were in sight at the time, awaiting the climax of the tragedy, there were many others scattered about town, who had supposed the affair was postponed. 

The news spread rapidly through the city, and in ten minutes after the death of Cora and Casey, great numbers of men were to be seen rushing down Clay, and Washington, and Commercial streets, as though it were a matter of life and death to get a sight of the spectacle. The bodies were then taken down and handed over to the Coroner.

Town Talk, Print.
San Francisco, 1856

Thursday, July 11, 2019

San Francisco's Committee of Vigilance of 1851

This drawing represents the outcome of the first trial and sentence of a criminal by indignant citizens who took the law into their own hands to suppress the crimes that flooded the state.

The courts were apparently in the hands of the politicians and riffraff of the city, who used the processes of the law for their own profit. There were many murders between 1849 and 1851, but the perpetrators readily escaped punishment and hangings were rare. The ballot box and the city administration of justice was a farce. The indignation of the better class of citizens was at fever heat.

On June 9, 1851, at Sydney cove, John Jenkins walked deliberately into a merchants store, picked up the small safe, carried it to a boat at a nearby wharf and coolly rowed out into the bay. The alarm was given, and a number of merchants pursued an overtook the man. He threw the safe overboard. Jenkins was brought back and taken to a building that occupied a corner at Sansome and Pine streets, the site on which the Royal Insurance Building is now located. The prisoner duly tried by a jury and condemned to be hanged.

The impromptu Vigilance Committee wasted no time, and the execution took place in the Plaza the same night at 2 a.m. This prompt action had its effect on the criminal class, and for a while they remained under cover.

San Francisco News Letter
September 1925

Thursday, July 4, 2019

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-evident

"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."

Those words are the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. To my way of thinking, no greater words have been written. But how did such an amazing document come about? Well, this is the story of the birth of the Declaration of Independence! Its birth is the birth of a nation.

Someone once wrote, "Nations come into being in many ways. Military rebellion, civil strife, acts of heroism, acts of treachery, a thousand greater and lesser clashes between defenders of the old order and supporters of the new - all these occurrences and more have marked the emergence of new nations, large and small."

The birth of our own nation included them all.  The birth of the United States of America was unique, not only in the immensity of our later impact on the course of world history and the growth of democracy, but also because so many of the threads in our national history run back through time to come together in one place, in one time, and in one document: the Declaration of Independence.

It all started with 13 British Colonies and their slow but fateful move toward independence. Something that, up to that point in the history of mankind, had never taken place before.

The American Revolution (1775-83) is also known as the American Revolutionary War and the U.S. War of Independence. The conflict arose out of a desire for individual liberty. It was the direct result of tyranny being imposed upon British subjects in Great Britain's 13 North American colonies by their own British government and King George III.

For more than a decade before the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, tensions had been building between colonists and the British authorities. Attempts by the British government to raise more and more revenue by taxing the colonies through the the Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, and the Tea Act of 1773, all met with angry protest among many colonists - who in fact resented their lack of representation in the English Parliament in London. They demanded the same individual rights as other British subjects.

The first major American opposition to British policy came in 1765 after Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure designed to raise revenues for a standing British Army in America. Under the banner of "no taxation without representation," colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the tax and the economic burden put upon them by their government. With its enactment in November, most colonists called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on customhouses and homes of tax collectors.

After months of protest in the colonies, the Parliament in London finally voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766. The Townshend Revenue Act of 1767 established taxes on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper, and tea, all to raise £40,000 a year for the administration of the colonies. The result was the resurrection of colonial hostilities created by the Stamp Act.

Reaction assumed revolutionary proportions in Boston, in the summer of 1768, when customs officials impounded a sloop owned by John Hancock, for violations of the trade regulations. Crowds mobbed the customs office, forcing the officials to seek shelter on a British warship in the Harbor. British troops marched in to occupy Boston on October 1, 1768. Bostonians offered no resistance. Instead, they changed their tactics and they established "non-importation" agreements that quickly spread throughout the colonies.

British trade soon dried up and the powerful merchants in Britain once again interceded on behalf of the colonies. To add fuel to the fire, the Boston Massacre took place on March 5th, 1770.

British troops had been stationed in Boston, capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, since 1768 in order to protect and support crown-appointed colonial officials attempting to enforce unpopular Parliamentary legislation. Amid ongoing tense relations between the population and the soldiers, a mob formed around a British sentry, who was subjected to verbal abuse and harassment.

He was eventually supported by eight additional soldiers, who were subjected to a verbal assault and "snowballs". Yes, the Boston Massacre took place when a squad of British soldiers, came to support a sentry who was being heckled and hit with "snowballs." Their idea of support was not to scatter the crowd, but instead to let loose with a volley of musket shots at point blank range into the crowd.

Three people were killed immediately and two died later of their wounds; among the victims was Crispus Attucks, a man of black or Indian parentage. The British officer in charge, Capt. Thomas Preston, along with eight of his men was later arrested for manslaughter. The killings of March 5th, was promptly termed a "massacre" by Patriot leaders and commemorated in a widely circulated engraving by Paul Revere, which aroused intense public protests and threats of violent retaliation.

Depictions, reports, and propaganda about the event, notably the colored engraving produced by Paul Revere, further heightened tensions throughout the Thirteen Colonies. The event is widely viewed as foreshadowing the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War five years later. This pressure caused Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson to withdraw the British troops billeted in Boston to to Castle Island in the harbor.

In an effort to demonstrate the impartiality of colonial courts, two Patriot leaders, John Adams and Josiah Quincy, volunteered to defend Captain Preston and his men. The prosecution produced little to no evidence, and Preston and six of the soldiers were acquitted. Two others were found guilty of manslaughter, branded on the hand with a hot iron, and released.

Although many Patriots criticized the verdicts and the anniversary of the Boston Massacre became a patriotic holiday, the removal of troops from Boston and the repeal of all but one of the contested import duties resulted in a lowering of tension in the years following the incident.

Though individual liberty was being trampled, most colonists continued to accept British rule. At least they did until Parliament's enactment of the Tea Act of 1773. The Tea Act of 1773 was a bill passed by the English Parliament designed to save the faltering British East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation and tyranny. It was the straw that broke that broke the backs of British subjects. It turned angry subjects into freedom fighters.

In response, militant colonists in Massachusetts organized a band of Bostonians known as the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty, all dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded British ships. Once there they dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.

What become instantly known as the "Boston Tea Party" saw British tea valued at some £18,000 dumped into Boston Harbor. Parliament was absolutely outraged at what took place in Boston. The Boston Tea Party led the English Parliament to enact the Coercive Acts, called the Intolerable Acts by the colonists, in 1774.

The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America and required colonists to quarter British troops - something that British subjects had long resisted. The Coercive Acts was blatantly designed to re-assert Imperial authority in Massachusetts.

In response, the colonists called the first Continental Congress to consider united American resistance to the British. In response, a group of colonial delegates which included George Washington of Virginia, John and Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, Patrick Henry of Virginia and John Jay of New York met in Philadelphia in September of 1774 to give voice to their grievances against the British crown. Massachusetts led the resistance to the British by forming a revolutionary government and establishing militias to resist the increasing British military presence across the colony.

The First Continental Congress did not go so far as to demand independence from Britain, but it denounced taxation without representation, as well as the maintenance of the British army in the colonies without their consent. The First Continental Congress issued a declaration of the rights due every citizen, including life, liberty, property, right of ssembly, and trial by jury.

The rights of good and honest men and women were under assault. Their individual liberty was being dismantled.

The Continental Congress voted to meet again in May of 1775 to consider further action, but by that time war had already broken out. In early April of 1775, Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, where a Patriot arsenal was known to be located.

On April 19, 1775, British soldiers encountered a group of local American militiamen at Lexington, and the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. The local militiamen clash with British soldiers in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, marked the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War.

To King George III, it was a Colonial Rebellion. To Americans, a call for "independence" was sweeping the land.

In June of 1775, the Congress established the Continental Army, issued paper money for the support of the troops, and formed a committee to negotiate with foreign countries. By the end of July of that year, it created a post office for the "United Colonies."

In August of 1775, a royal proclamation declared that the King's American subjects were "engaged in open and avowed rebellion." Later that year, Parliament passed the American Prohibitory Act, which made all American vessels and cargoes forfeit to the Crown. And in May of 1776, the Congress learned that the King had negotiated treaties with German states to hire mercenaries to fight in America.

Parliament remained unwilling to negotiate with "American rebels" and instead hired German mercenaries, called Hessians, to help the British Army crush the American rebellion. As British subjects in North American, many saw it as a struggle for their rights as British citizens. But more and more all of the actions of the crown combined - was too much to deny. It had become a fact that their mother country, Great Britain, was now treating her colonies as a foreign enemy.

On June 17th, 1775, in the Revolution's first major battle, Colonial forces inflicted heavy casualties on the British regiment of General William Howe at Breed's Hill in Boston. The engagement, known as the Battle of Bunker Hill, ended in British victory - but it gave encouragement to the revolutionary cause.

By the autumn of 1775, the British North American colonies from Maine to Georgia were in open rebellion. Throughout that fall and winter, Washington's forces struggled to keep the British contained in Boston, but artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga in New York helped shift the balance of that struggle in late winter. The British evacuated the city in March 1776, with Howe and his men retreating. Government officials representing the crown had been ran out of many colonial capitals and revolutionary governments put in their places. The Continental Congress had assumed the responsibilities of a central government for the colonies.

One by one, the Continental Congress continued to cut the colonies' ties to Britain. The Privateering Resolution, passed in March 1776, allowed the colonists "to fit out armed vessels to cruise on the enemies of these United Colonies."

On April 6th, 1776, American ports were opened to commerce with other nations, an action that severed the economic ties fostered by the Navigation Acts. A "Resolution for the Formation of Local Governments" was passed on May 10, 1776. At the same time, more of the colonists themselves were becoming convinced of the inevitability of independence. Thomas Paine's Common Sense, published in January 1776, was sold by the thousands. By the middle of May 1776, eight colonies had decided that they would support independence.

On May 15, 1776, the Virginia Convention passed a resolution that "the delegates appointed to represent this colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent states."

By June 1776, with the Revolutionary War in full swing, a growing majority of the colonists had come to favor independence from Britain. Then, on June 7th, 1776, in a session in the Pennsylvania State House - later known as Independence Hall - the Continental Congress heard Richard Henry Lee of Virginia read his resolution. It began:

"Resolved: 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." The Lee Resolution was an expression of what was already beginning to happen throughout the colonies.

When the Second Continental Congress, which was essentially the government of the United States from 1775 to 1788, first met in May 1775, King George III had not replied to the petition for redress of grievances that he had been sent by the First Continental Congress. And yes, even though fighting was taking place throughout the colonies, even though the iron glove of oppression had descended on the 13 Colonies, believe it or not, even with what was right in front of their face - still some delegates wanted to put aside Independence, and instead pursue the path of reconciliation with Britain.

In keeping with these instructions that Richard Henry Lee, on June 7th, 1776, presented in his resolution, on June 11th, consideration of the Lee Resolution was postponed by a vote of seven colonies to five, with New York abstaining. Congress then recessed for 3 weeks. The tone of the debate indicated that at the end of that time the Lee Resolution would be adopted.

Before Congress recessed, a Committee of Five was appointed to draft a statement presenting to the world the colonies' case for independence. The Committee of Five consisted of two New England men, John Adams of Massachusetts and Roger Sherman of Connecticut; two men from the Middle Colonies, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York; and one southerner, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.

Later in 1823, Jefferson would write that the other members of the committee "unanimously pressed on myself alone to undertake the draft. I consented; I drew it; but before I reported it to the committee I communicated it separately to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams requesting their corrections. . . I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered to the Congress."

If Thomas Jefferson did make a "fair copy," incorporating the changes made by Franklin and Adams, it has not been preserved. It may have been the copy that was amended by the Congress and used for printing, but in any case, it has not survived. Jefferson's rough draft, however, with changes made by Franklin and Adams, as well as Jefferson's own notes of changes by the Congress, is housed at the Library of Congress.

Jefferson's account really does reflect the three stages in the life of the Declaration of Independence: the document originally written by Jefferson; the changes to that document made by Franklin and Adams, resulting in the version that was submitted by the Committee of Five to the Congress; and the version that was eventually adopted.

On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress reconvened. he following day, the Lee Resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, New York not voting. Immediately afterward, the Congress began to consider the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams and Benjamin Franklin had made only a few changes before the committee submitted the document. The discussion in Congress resulted in some alterations and deletions, but the basic document remained Jefferson's. 

It should be understood that the political philosophy of the Declaration was not new. Fact is, its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and other Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country - the crown.

Though completed, the process of revision continued through all of July 3rd and into the late morning of July 4th. Then, at last, church bells rang out over Philadelphia; a Declaration of Independence had been officially adopted. That, my friends, is how the Declaration of Independence came to be. And yes, since today is July 4th, here's just a little about our amazing document itself.

The Declaration of Independence is made up of five distinct parts: The introduction; the preamble; the body, which can be divided into two sections; and a conclusion. The introduction states that this document will "declare" the "causes" that have made it necessary for the American colonies to leave the British Empire.

Having stated in the introduction that independence is unavoidable, even necessary, the preamble sets out principles that were already recognized to be "self-evident" by most 18th- century Englishmen, closing with the statement that "a long train of abuses and usurpations . . . evinces a design to reduce [a people] 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."

The first section of the body of the Declaration gives evidence of the "long train of abuses and usurpations" heaped upon the American people by King George III. The second section of the body states that the colonists had appealed in vain to their "British brethren" for a redress of their grievances.

Having stated the conditions that made independence necessary and having shown that those conditions existed in British North America, the Declaration of Independence concludes 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."

Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence in the morning of a bright, sunny, but cool Philadelphia day on July 4th, 1776. All 56 members of Congress affix their signatures to an enlarged copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Fifty-six congressional delegates in total signed the document, including some who were not present at the vote approving the declaration. The delegates signed by state from North to South, beginning with Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire and ending with George Walton of Georgia. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania and James Duane, Robert Livingston and John Jay of New York refused to sign. Carter Braxton of Virginia; Robert Morris of Pennsylvania; George Reed of Delaware; and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina opposed the document but signed in order to give the impression of a unanimous Congress. Five delegates were absent: Generals George Washington, John Sullivan, James Clinton and Christopher Gadsden and Virginia Governor Patrick Henry.

The first, largest, and most famous signature is that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. The youngest signer was Edward Rutledge (age 26). Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest. Two future presidents signed as well, John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President).

It was exactly one month before the signing of the document, that Congress had accepted a resolution put forward by Richard Henry Lee that stated "Resolved: 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."

One of the things that I find so interesting is that the dramatic words of the Lee resolution were actually added to the closing of the Declaration of Independence. As a final thought, on August 2, the declaration was completely signed by everyone. The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths.

The American War for Independence would last for eight years. Still to come was the Patriot triumph at Saratoga, the bitter winter at Valley Forge, battle upon battle, the intervention of the French, and the final victory at Yorktown in 1781. In 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris with Britain, the United States formally became a free and independent nation.

I find it an interesting bit of trivia that Independence Day, the Fourth of July, was not made a National Holiday until 1941. I guess it just proves that sometimes priorities elude those responsible with carrying the torch of freedom -- us!

I believe today, July 4th, is a day of celebration and renewal. Let's all take a moment to give thanks to those who gave all so some may live free. Let's marvel at the wonder that was won against all odds! Let's renew our sacred vow as Americans to do as our Founding Fathers said, and "Stay Free By Staying Vigilant."

Many have given so much to preserve our individual liberty, we should stand as sentries guarding what has been handed down to us. Besides acting as guardians, we are the stewards of our freedoms.

The freedoms that so many have fought and died for, our freedoms, those that has been tested by way of politics and the courts, that so many have labored so hard to preserve, our freedoms are not a gift by any means. Yes, there are those who would take our freedoms for granted.

Sadly, there are those who see no reason to stand in defense of our freedoms. Sadly, there are those who see no reason to fight for America and our first principles. They don't understand that our freedom is a sacred trust.

Our freedom, our liberty, is a jewel among those things handed down to us by God. Our individual liberty, our freedom, is prized as more precious and more valuable than life itself - especially by those who have lived under the yoke of tyranny. Let's celebrate the birth of our great nation. Let's ignore the Nay Sayers, ignore those pitiful individuals who have no respect for our accomplishments or strengths as a nation. After all, those who've never prized our independence have always been on the wrong side of history.

Let's wave the colors and have pride in the fact that our nation is still free. Let's praise our founders, their brilliance, and their understanding of the rights of man. Let us hold our flag and our country in high esteem. Let's rejoice knowing that we have helped more, fed more, and protected more people than any other nation in the history of the world. Let's feel good about being Americans!

Happy 4th of July!

Tom Correa