July 4, 2007, - 12:01 pm

Happy 231st Birthday, America!

By Debbie Schlussel
Happy Birthday, America! 231 years. As I said at this time last year, we hope for an endless, infinite number of repeats and an endless supply of freedom and liberty. The more we keep kissing the rears of those who would destroy us (you know, from a certain “Religion of Peace”), the less likely that will be.

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Here are some 4th of July items of interest, starting with the bad and ending with the good:
* Patriotism must be in short supply at USA Today’s “Life” Section. Movie critic Scott Bowles, while giving a thumbs up to “Rescue Dawn” (in New York and L.A. theatres, today; in the rest of the country, the next two weeks), he simply can’t understand why American soldiers shot down in an enemy country would have the will to survive a brutal prison or why they’d continue to be loyal to America. He finds it bizarre that pilot Dieter Dengler, the late real-life American hero who emigrated here from Germany to “get his wings,” would feel this way about America and calls it “military jingoism” and “simple stereotypes.”
Whenever you hear the word jingoism, it’s generally a left-wing attack on American patriotism. Sorry, there’s nothing “simplistic” or “stereotypical” about this great man’s refusal to sign documents denouncing America, while being tortured in a Laotian POW camp. His bravery and loyalty are to be admired and emulated, not dismissed with the lazy lexicon of the left. Stay tuned for my review of “Rescue Dawn.”
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* While everyone else is celebrating America’s birth and hopefully reflecting on how lucky we are to live in this great country, the Arab American National Museum wants to make sure that you know it’s just another business day for them. Unlike all other museums, the heavily federally-subsidized anti-Israel museum is open for business today, and sent an e-mail out letting us know. Nothing American about that.
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Oliver Stone with Arafat, HAMAS’ Hassan Yussef

* HAMAS is smarter than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regarding Western Infidels: While terrorist group HAMAS was smart enough to release their biggest Infidel fan and tool, Alan Johnston of the BBC (one of the terrorist group’s biggest media ass-kissers), the Iranian leader is not as savvy. He rejected anti-American American Oliver Stone’s boot-licking, jilted lover pleas to make a pro-Ahmadinejad movie, saying he’s very Orthodox about all Infidels: They are all part of the “Great Satan,” including Stone, and he, therefore, rejects them all, including Stone. Glad Mahmoud doesn’t play by the HAMAS meda-savvy playbook. The filmmaker of the lefty “Born on the Fourth of July” doesn’t really give a damn about what happened on the 4th of July, apparently.
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“Miss Manners,” Judith Martin:

Loves Multi-Culturalism for New Immigrants, Scolds Us Who Don’t

* “Miss Manners” columnist Judith Martin tells a patriotic immigrant that she’s wrong to be appalled that so many current immigrants to America won’t embrace our culture and absorb themselves (that means you folks from the “Religion of Peace” and the rest of you who won’t speak English or want the Mexican flag to replace ours). Martin attacks the immigrant and tells her that instead of “grousing,” she has no right to question hostile immigrants’ loyalties, and should instead, help smooth the way for “the newcomers.” G-d help us if the new definition of good manners is kowtowing to those that come to America with not always the best of intentions and want us to adapt to them.
* The Freedom of Information Act turns 40 today (signed into law in 1966), but it’s failed miserably. Disclosure requests under the Act are not being complied with. I’ve made FOIA requests to the Justice Department, for example, about some of their pan-Islamist polices and events. Three years later, still no response. But most Americans don’t have the wherewithall to fund lawsuits to make the government comply instead of hiding. And they know that. The law must be tightened, with severe penalties for evasive government officials.
* Too many American flags are foreign-made. I’m all for the free market and against far-reaching protectionism, but something’s wrong when we cannot even make what Betsy Ross made in our own country. $5.3 million worth of flags were imported from other countries, last year. It sends the wrong message to the world, and a satisfying message to the followers of V.I. Lenin, who predicted such folly on our part.
Minnesota passed a strong measure, in effect at year’s end, prohibiting stores in Minnesota from selling flags made other than in America. Arizona, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have either passed or are considering similarly restrictive American flag legislation. Will they be able to enforce it? We’ll see. “Made in America” often means very little of the product was actually made here.
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* I love John Trumbull’s famous painting, “The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.” The Wall Street Journal, Saturday, had an interesting read about the painting and the Signers. Apparently, Trumbull was a talented artist despite being blind in one eye.
But I’m not sure we really needed this painting to be so critiqued and taken down. Sometimes it’s better to believe in the image and the mythology:

The common understanding, of course, is that the painting portrays the birth of the nation at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, on July 4, 1776. And certainly the official title would seem to confirm that. But the common understanding is wrong. The signing of the document (which was indeed dated July 4) did not begin until August 2, and even then not all delegates to the Continental Congress were present. Those who were absent did not sign until weeks, even months later. One man did not add his signature until 1777.
What the scene appears to depict is the moment on June 28 when a committee of five named to draw up a declaration of American independence-John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin-presented Jefferson’s unedited first draft. But again no such ceremonial moment with all present took place. And besides, nearly everything about the setting is quite inaccurate.
The idea for the painting was hatched by Jefferson and Trumbull in Paris 10 years after the fact, in 1786, while Trumbull was a guest at Jefferson’s mansion on the Champs-Elysees.

* Read “Five Things About the Declaration of Independence” from the Detroit Free Press, which says that Jefferson wrote the first draft beginning on June 11, 1776.
* Though I’m no fan of his, I think it’s great that Spike Lee is doing a movie on the Buffalo Soldiers and how these Black American soldiers fought valiantly in World War II to help liberate Europe from the Nazis. I’m hoping and thinking this will be different from Lee’s usual fare, and I look forward to reviewing it for you. More on this later in the week.
* Read USA Today’s touching account on 22-year-old wounded Marine, Lance Cpl. Salvador Gonzalez, who sings the National Anthem all over. He had aspirations to become a professional singer and lost his leg during fighting in Iraq in October 2004. It’s trite, but true. Freedom isn’t free. He sings all over America, now, complete with his prosthesis and his unwounded patriotism.
* Today, Lowe’s shows its appreciation for our military, giving a 10% discount on purchases up to $5,000, today through July 8th, for all active, reserve, and retired military personnel and their immediate family members. To qualify, present a valid military ID or other proof of service, such as a VA card, VFW card, veteran’s ID or discharge papers.

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* Yes, the Fourth of July is not about hot dogs. It’s about freedom. But, still, hot dogs are a major part of Fourth of July culture and American summer living. So, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention today’s big 91st annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, with the big showdown between world record holder, American Joey Chestnut, and Japanese-champ-with-an-arthritic-jaw, Takeru Kobayashi. Love that. (Shown on ESPN at high noon.) **** UPDATE: American Chestnut beats Japanese Kobayashi, 66-63 hot dogs, a new world record. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! (Thanks to reader Ari for the update–he had faster results than even ESPN, which aired the mustard-covered showdown.) ****
* I often disagree with USA Today’s editorials. They are usually stupid and written for a 6th-grade audience. But not the one from yesterday, which tells us about the sacrifices we can make for America and its troops (and it has nothing to do with Sheryl Crow’s and Laurie David’s prescription of one-square of toilet paper per bathroom visitation):

When PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer asked President Bush in January why he hadn’t called on Americans to “sacrifice” for the war in Iraq, the president immediately assumed that Lehrer meant raising taxes.
Bush said he strongly opposed higher taxes, and he insisted Americans were sacrificing already. “They sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night,” Bush said.
In the spirit of the July 4 holiday, let’s suggest the president just missed an opportunity. A quick Google search reveals plenty of ways to “sacrifice” for the troops that have nothing to do with taxes (though paying for the war instead of charging it to future generations would be a very good idea). Many organizations have sprung up since the war began to help make life a little better for troops and their loved ones. Just a few examples:
* For $25, anyone can send a USO Care Package to a servicemember in Iraq that includes things such as prepaid phone cards, snacks and a personal message of thanks.
* The president signed legislation in 2004 that made it possible to donate unused frequent-flier miles from 10 airlines to the “Hero Miles” program to help families fly to see wounded troops in distant military hospitals.
* The Fisher House program offers places to stay for families visiting sick or wounded troops.
If you’d like a longer list, look for “Iraq” at www.networkforgood.org.
No matter what you think of the Iraq war, it’s worth remembering that a lot of Americans won’t be spending their July 4 like the rest of us, taking a midweek break with family and friends. Instead, they’ll be trying to avoid getting killed in a place where just going outside can make you wish you were somewhere else.
There are myriad ways to help, and not all involve organized programs. We like the story that a Washington, D.C., radio host told about a soldier home on leave having dinner with his girlfriend at a restaurant. When the soldier asked for the check, he found out a man across the room had already paid it. When the soldier looked over, the man simply gave him a salute.

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11 Responses

G-d Bless the U.S.A. and all who support and serve her. Also, the coveted mustard belt is back in American hands! Woohoo! OK back to the BBQ!

OneIrishJew on July 4, 2007 at 2:09 pm

The Freedom of Information Act turns 40 today (signed into law in 1966), but it’s failed miserably. Disclosure requests under the Act are not being complied with. I’ve made FOIA requests to the Justice Department, for example, about some of their pan-Islamist polices and events. Three years later, still no response…
THAT should come as no surprise!!!
One of the things that brought down the British colonialism in this cuntry 230-odd years ago was the broadsheets—”subversive propaganda” printed on what we’d now consider flyers, and Chaney’s shadow government KNOWS what a threat REAL INFORMATION is to all the electronic broadstreeters out there.

EminemsRevenge on July 4, 2007 at 2:36 pm

The story of America was always in the personal accounts which are so much more reliable that the spin put on for “national security” reasons. Screw the FOIA, the real disaster was cutting of the once standard 35 year rule about discussion about your missions.
Some people get thrown into a situation young where they serve their country and come to appreciate how good we have it. Others spend the rest of their lives trying to catch up.

code7 on July 4, 2007 at 3:58 pm

Happy Birthday, America!
And, Happy Fourth of July to all of my fellow American patriots!
BTW, Congrats, Joey Chestnut, for bringing the Mustard Belt back to the USA!! WTG!! That was S-O-M-E contest!

Thee_Bruno on July 4, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Great round-up, Debbie!
“No matter what you think of the Iraq war, it’s worth remembering that a lot of Americans won’t be spending their July 4 like the rest of us, taking a midweek break with family and friends. Instead, they’ll be trying to avoid getting killed in a place where just going outside can make you wish you were somewhere else.”
Amen to that!
Hussein was a thug and a tyrant, but not one of the 9/11 terrorists were from Iraq. In fact, the khawarij terrorists had Hussein in their sights, too. “The enemy of my enemy is my….”
Enter Bush 43 — most of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis are our “buddies” (with friends like that…), and he takes no action against the Kingdom.
Bush instead attacks Iraq on trumped-up lies instead of using the truth (that Hussein was routinely violating other elements of the cease-fire agreement).
Bush completely botches it up with no plan for policing Iraq except to disband the Iraqi security forces.
Then Bush violates US and international law (I will have a post on this soon) by authorizing the mistreatment of captives.
There were no Al-Qaeda in Iraq to speak of until Bush took out the Hussein regime and failed to establish a timely, effective replacement. We give them democracy (which, not having fought for and not having in their culture, many Iraqis don’t appreciate) and they vote in allies of the same terrorists we originally set out to fight.
Our troops are No. 1 in my book, but their commander-in-chief is definitely full of “No. 2″.

Yankee Doodle on July 4, 2007 at 7:23 pm

I just got in from Center City. I came across Truthers across from Independence Hall. I got to tell them at the top of my lungs exactly what they were. Of course, this was after two pints but it felt good to go off on them. Felt good to call nut jobs nut jobs, wing nuts wing nuts, idiots idiots, get a fucking job, oh, they let you out of your mother’s basement. All the things I’ve been wanting to say for years. Despicable creatures. Exercising freedom of speech works for me also. The more they did the Rosie shoutdown the louder I got. I think I gave the tourists a treat.

John Cunningham on July 4, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Happy Birthday USA from one Canuck who knows who his friends are.

stevecanuck on July 5, 2007 at 1:50 am

Thank you Steve. I lived in Buffalo from ’81 until ’03. The United States borders on the magnificent. The thing I loved about living there was this ‘overlapping’ of our countries along the border. The only problem I had was all that Canadian money of different sizes, but it sure is purty.

John Cunningham on July 5, 2007 at 6:07 am

Steve, by the way, I guess things are a little different along the border nowadays. Fucking moe slums.

John Cunningham on July 5, 2007 at 6:12 am

“Yes, the Fourth of July is not about hot dogs. It’s about freedom. But, still, hot dogs are a major part of Fourth of July culture and American summer living. So, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention today’s big 91st annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, with the big showdown between world record holder, American Joey Chestnut, and Japanese-champ-with-an-arthritic-jaw, Takeru Kobayashi. Love that. (Shown on ESPN at high noon.) **** UPDATE: American Chestnut beats Japanese Kobayashi, 66-63 hot dogs, a new world record. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! (Thanks to reader Ari for the update–he had faster results than even ESPN, which aired the mustard-covered showdown.) ****”
Does anyone of you DS fans have any idea how many pounds of hotdogs and buns these brothers are cramming down their esphagus in 10 minutes? This is UNBELIEVABLE! I could see eating up to 5 or 6 if I was really hungry–I think I could fit that many in there–but 63-66 dogs—oh—my—word!!! That seems like nearly 15 lbs of meat plus buns!
I heard Michael Reagan say that the “second contest” comes the next day when the same contestants see who can ‘evacuate’ the fastest! Yikes.
Who could handle that much in their gut over night?

BB on July 5, 2007 at 6:35 pm

I think this is simple-minded thinking that gets the “cheap applause” that politicians so eagerly and easily gain from the general populace of no-brain redneck Americans. Anybody that knows the basics of economics and free trade will be able to figure that one out.
I think these laws are stupid and there is no reason for them.
You can vote on this here if you like.
My post about US Flag Law

Steve on July 6, 2007 at 9:16 am

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