Summertime in Georgia at Mustache World Headquarters
Is high time for mowin'
'Cause the grass sure likes growin'
The field ain't level nor flat and it's peppered with holes
And there's always a threat
Of thunder and wet
Tall trees tower over the edges of the open space
So when morning or evening shadows fall
It can seem like I'm hitting a wall
You'd think with so much rain I'd never have to worry about dust
But with every turn it'll rise
Covering my hat, whiskers and eyes
Well, so between all the dust and the shadows and sun I wove
Up and down and across the field I drove
Turning a wild weed pasture into something closer to a golf course fairway
I'd turn my head when I had to go through the red clay haboob
And slow down a touch when over toward the trees I moved
There's no regular grid on this patch, I go here, there and thataway
If you've never mowed grass
Here in Georgia, take a pass
If you're squeamish about wildlife surprises
You need to let your senses do
'Cause there's a lot to pay attention to
But none are as important as your eyes is
More than once these last few years
I've often had to swerve and veer
As summer's cycle goes through its flow and ebb
But when you're shade and dust cloud blind
It's hard not to accidentally find
Your face plastered with a giant spider web
It could have been a mighty crash
I could only use one hand to thrash
And fend off the critter with my spittin', slappin' and blowin'
It just goes to prove with real aplomb
How true is that ol' rule of thumb
Keep your mind on what you're doin', and look where you're goin'
Some parts of this narrative may be fiction. Sort of.
Memo to Self: Next time work out a rhyming scheme before you start writing the poem.
Climate alarmists could get some respect if they could bring themselves to admit once in a while that they're not as sure of the "settled" science as they used to claim to be, that the data don't necessarily all point the way they used to claim it would, and that they still have a lot to learn about how the climate works.
Actual climate scientists do include these caveats in their pronouncements, but the media can't bring themselves to emphasize them anywhere near as boldly as they do the claims of Al Gore, Hockey Stick Mann, and the rest of the "March the Infidels to the Prison Camps" alarmist cult.
NASA has been "tweaking" the data so consistently that the truple-digit summer heat waves of my youth in Sacramento have surely been retconned into subzero blizzards by now, so that the trend line can still point toward future actual subzero blizzards being forecast as triple-digit winter heat waves and still support the CAGW Newthink.
Here's the thing: climate changes. It is a natural process, and nothing in nature is static. While the cult wants everyone to believe that man is responsible for catastrophic changes that nature can't possibly recover from, the truth is that the geological record has been known for over a century to demonstrate a tremendous range of natural variation. Our planet has seen subtropical conditions in the subarctic, and has at other times been a virtual snowball, with no significant liquid water to be found anywhere.
If the prescriptions of the cult could actually be implemented, and if they could actually affect the climate (the former is unlikely and the latter is impossible), they could be every bit as negatively disruptive as they claim modern industrialization has been.
But the cult churns on, and mere scientific truth shall ever fall before it.
One of the fundamental tenets of the faith has been rising sea levels. (The site in the link has had its server melted down due to a Drudge link. I found this quote at Gateway Pundit.)
NASA satellite sea level observations for the past 24 years show that – on average – sea levels have been rising 3.4 millimeters per year. That’s 0.134 inches, about the thickness of a dime and a nickel stacked together, per year.
As I said, that’s the average. But when you focus in on 2016 and 2017, you get a different picture.
Sea levels fell in 2016, and with all of this winter’s record-breaking snowfall, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decline again this year.
This is actually not the first sea-level decline observed in recent years. From merely searching "sea level falling" on Google, I found the following cultsplaining of similar findings from 2013 and 2015, respectively. The first is a real howler.
The one-and-a-half-year, 7-mm fall in sea levels was certainly a curveball. At the time, global warming skeptics used it to support arguments against climate change.
Fasullo, who was trying to balance out the Earth's "water budget," sought an explanation for where that water, normally ocean bound, might have ended up.
Now he believes he has one....
In most cases, though, water that falls on land eventually drains into the ocean. Even if a whole lot of rain fell in South America's Amazon, for example, it could slow sea-level rise for only about a couple of months, as it slowly made its way to the sea.
So in order to make sea levels fall, the water had to be stored in a place where it didn't reach the ocean for a long while. That place, it turns out, was Australia.
Yes. Tiny Australia has enough water storage capacity to cause the oceans to drop by a measurable amount, according to a member of the Most Holy Church of How Your Cushy Modern Standard of Living Is Destroying Everything.
The later cultsplanations at least have the advantage of trying to blame an actual geological process, but in 2015 they seem to have misplaced the decimal point on the timescale.
Rocks seem so very solid from our puny human perspective. Things are rock hard, rock solid, and are reliable as the rock itself. But from a geological perspective, rock is an elastic sheet that encompasses our planet in a thin, flexible membrane that responds to every disturbance.
Nowhere is this more evident than with isostatic rebound, a process of geological buoyancy by which the earth's crust, having sunk beneath the weight of glaciers from a preceding ice age, bounces up as ice sheets melt and the water runs back into the sea. While this melting ice is filling the oceans, the land can rebound so quickly that it rises even faster than the climbing sea level. The result is an apparent paradox: where continental glaciers are melting and exposing the land, the local sea levels are dropping.
The last major glaciation on North America, during which the continent was compressed under billions of tons of ice, ended some 11,000 years ago, but parts of the Great Lakes region, for example, are still rebounding. This is what could be contributing to sea-level decline in the present day, not the melting of the scattered few puny glaciers climate alarmists are whining about.
Here's another shocking discovery about global climate change: It contributes to the falling of sea levels, and not to the rising of the seas as previously thought...
"What we didn't realise until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge – at least temporarily," the lead researcher added.
He further explained that these new findings from this study, which is set to be published on Friday in the journal Science, give scientists an idea of the connection among climate change, sea levels and water shortage.
This actually comes close to admitting that the "settled" science isn't settled, but the greater doctrine -- that Human-Caused Climate Change is Coming to Kill Us All -- still needs to be advanced.
The coming plummet in sunspot activity that the world's actual space scientists have been forecasting, could result in Sacramento actually having subzero blizzards in July, but the cult would blame it somehow on mankind. They might even find a way to say it's a consequence of global warming, as they have been wont to do for three decades and change.
When any other set of false prophets keeps predicting the end of the world and getting it wrong, eventually, cosmopolitan and hick alike, we all laugh them off the stage. We hicks are still waiting for the cosmopolitans to catch on to a scam we never bought into in the first place.
Unlike Jethro Gibbs, I do believe in coincidence. I also believe that not everything that looks like a coincidence is a coincidence. I suppose I adhere more closely to the Goldfinger Rule of Thumb.
Still, if the little hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, it's prudent to be (at least mentally) prepared for the next step in the Goldfinger progression. Which kinda resembles Gibbs' Rule #36.
In algebra -- and probably in other flavors of occult mathematics -- r is the variable used to represent all numbers.
All numbers. Positive and negative. Odd and even. Rational and irrational. Real and imaginary. Prime and non-prime. It is an infinite set.
It's not the only infinite set. The set of only all positive numbers is entirely contained in r, as is the set of only all negative numbers, and the set of only all even numbers, and so on. r is not only the set of all numbers, it is the set of all sets. It contains every numeric value in the known universe and all the unknown universes.
Does it contain literally everything? No. It does not contain that creepy uncle who's always telling you to pull his finger. It contains every number that can possibly be used to describe him, such as the one defining all the ways he grosses you out -- but it doesn't include the actual ways.
How long has it been since I watched a movie in a theater?
Nancy Pelosi was Shrieker of the House. Nobody had any clue what Obamacare was going to look like. The first George W. Bush "Miss me yet?" billboard had yet to appear. Karl Urban was still "that guy in Lord of the Rings -- Elmer or something like that." Or worse, "that Kiwi country singer who's married to Nicole Kidman."
What the cartoonist says about machine learning also perfectly illustrates what climate alarmists have done with temperature data and their models. If you back-run the models in an attempt to predict what's happening in actual global temperature data today, they fail miserably -- yet the cartoonist would have us accept the alarmists' claims without question.
As a rule, people set out on purpose to "make history" either when they're about to be history and don't know it, or they do know it and want to go out with a raised middle finger.
So kindly forgive me if I don't get excited because Doctor Who is going to get the estrogen treatment that boded so well for the recent Ghostbusters remake.
I'm willing to admit that I may prove to be wrong and the experiment won't be a massive failure, but that would be an exception. Most of the time when people pull stunts like this it's an example of why we can't have nice things.
According to research by Dembe and Boden, the term dates back to the 17th century and was widely used by English insurance companies by the late 19th century. Early usage of the term carried negative connotations, implying fraud or immoral behavior (usually on the part of an insured party). Dembe and Boden point out, however, that prominent mathematicians studying decision making in the 18th century used "moral" to mean "subjective", which may cloud the true ethical significance in the term. The concept of moral hazard was the subject of renewed study by economists in the 1960s and then did not imply immoral behavior or fraud. Economists would use this term to describe inefficiencies that can occur when risks are displaced or cannot be fully evaluated, rather than a description of the ethics or morals of the involved parties.
Boldface added. Now for the meat and potatoes, also with boldface added:
In insurance markets, moral hazard occurs when the behavior of the insured party changes in a way that raises costs for the insurer, since the insured party no longer bears the full costs of that behavior. Because individuals no longer bear the cost of medical services, they have an added incentive to ask for pricier and more elaborate medical service, which would otherwise not be necessary. In these instances, individuals have an incentive to over consume, simply because they no longer bear the full cost of medical services.
Two types of behavior can change. One type is the risky behavior itself, resulting in a before the event moral hazard. In this case, insured parties behave in a more risky manner, resulting in more negative consequences that the insurer must pay for. For example, after purchasing automobile insurance, some may tend to be less careful about locking the automobile or choose to drive more, thereby increasing the risk of theft or an accident for the insurer. After purchasing fire insurance, some may tend to be less careful about preventing fires (say, by smoking in bed or neglecting to replace the batteries in fire alarms). A further example has been identified in flood risk management where it is proposed that the possession of insurance undermines efforts to encourage people to integrate flood protection and resilience measures in properties exposed to flooding.
A second type of behavior that may change is the reaction to the negative consequences of risk, once they have occurred and once insurance is provided to cover their costs. This may be called ex post (after the event) moral hazard. In this case, insured parties do not behave in a more risky manner that results in more negative consequences, but they do ask an insurer to pay for more of the negative consequences from risk as insurance coverage increases.
And that's why costs rise, since insurers have to recoup their increased costs by increasing premiums, which inevitably extends to all insured. Insurers also have lawyers that can pressure care providers to conduct additional tests that the providers don't consider necessary, to rule out other, potentially less expensive treatments.
You end up paying not only for the treatments that are undertaken, but also in part for treatments that are not. Even if you don't do any of these "moral hazard" behaviors, others do -- and if enough others do, you may find yourself on the business end of a perverse incentive to do them too.
You know how using cloud storage, live-synched to your own computer, sounds like a great way to preserve your data?
If you use Linux and the Google Drive sync utility InSync, not so much.
Now I need to get used to no longer having years and years worth of irreplaceable content. Essentially all that's left is what's here.
I hate to say it, but my data, at least, was safer when I was using Windows, and the sync utility I used wasn't some third-party POS.
Update, Saturday evening: I'm copying my Linux home folder files onto a thumb drive so I can access them if I decide to install another OS on that laptop. I wonder if anybody's selling Windows XP on Ebay?
'Nother update, Sunday morning: I suppose one of the reasons I don't know more about XP's vulnerabilities is that for most of the five years (!!!) it was Microsoft's flagship OS, I was running Windows 2000.
'Nother other update, Monday afternoon: While I contemplate what to do with the laptop, I'm using a Chromebook with touchscreen, that supports the Android app store and therefore a surprisingly wide selection of Android apps (though some that will install won't actually work...). Hey, it was cheaper than a new tablet.
The downside is that while Chrome is the only browser that works suitably well on the Chromebook (I can install Firefox for Android but it isn't designed for a laptop-like environment), its Android counterpart on my phone lacks features I've come to rely on. So I guess I'm a two-browser mustache for now.
'Nother other other update, Wednesday evening: I think this particular Chromebook, with its Android capabilities, is the intermediate (and inexpensive) platform I was looking for between a laptop running a desktop OS, and my smartphone. It therefore makes what desktop OS runs on the laptop less critical, and since I'm unwilling to go back to the half-assed third-party software on Linux I might as well go ahead and put Windows 10 on it.
There are really only a handful of things I find I need a desktop OS for, so it's not as if I'd even be using the laptop all that much.
In fact, I'll wait until I actually need to use a desktop OS before I deal with the laptop again. And that could be a while.
Updates out the effin' wazoo, Saturday evening: I went ahead and got Windows 10 and installed it. It's a lot less of a pain in the ass than I remembered. Of course, I've stopped expecting much of any of my computers since the last time I ditched Windows, which may help.
These outfits offer to cover minor auto and home repairs, respectively, not covered by actual auto or homeowners' insurance. It's not only a bad deal for the customers, who inevitably end up paying more for the coverage than they would pay out of pocket for whatever repairs they may actually need, but as the evolution of medical coverage has played out, it will be a bad deal for everyone else as the rise of third-party payer programs for these kinds of repairs makes costs go up.
And when costs go up, more and more people will buy these kinds of policies, and the momentum for higher costs will increase.
It came in a large-ish envelope with those red-and-blue hashes around the edge, like on an actual international-mail envelope. But the postmark was domestic.
Right away the letter started in with the flattery. The mustache does not abide flattery. It said,
McG, please forgive us, but we have taken a closer look at your profile. It turns out you're even more special than any of us imagined!
I'd like to know how they got their hands on my bank balance -- I mean, profile.
Notice: this is not a mass mailing; this letter came to you by first-class mail, not by third-class bulk mail.
The going rate for first-class mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service, is 49¢ -- but the postage stamped on the envelope was only 40¢. You don't get that kind of discount unless you're sending (ahem) mass quantities of first-class mail. Not to mention the fact this wad of ... paper can't possibly have come in at only one ounce.
McG, we are the rich, the famous, the powerful -- and the crème de la crème of society; famous sports and movie stars, musicians, billionaires, businessmen, intellectuals, and scientists.
Do tell. Nice use of the Oxford comma -- you've got that going for you at least.
I wish I could tell you who I am. But under advice from my counsel, I cannot reveal my full name.
So you're pleading the Fifth?
I don't mean to brag, but I'm one of the most famous people in the world. If you own a TV, listen to the radio, browse the internet
...look at the flyers on the post office wall...
there's barely a day that goes by that I'm not mentioned in a news story.
Fools' names and fools' faces are often seen in public places.
The Society has uncovered the World's most powerful secrets. Most people will never know them. We are only willing to share them with our members.
Every successful person throughout history knew the secrets. And that's why they were successful, rich, happy, healthy, and powerful. It's a blueprint for your success. And I will send the secrets to you FREE of charge. Why?
Because I am nominating you for membership into the Society.
You'll note that this letter is marked "FOR YOU ONLY". It is meant to be read by you and you alone, McG. Its contents are TOP SECRET and contain sensitive information which cannot be shared by anyone except the recipient.
These words are intended for your eyes only. They are not to be shared with anyone else.
By allowing development in areas where fires are known to regularly occur, it is inevitable that damage will occur, Simon argues. In “Flame and Fortune in the American West,” the author says that the way we often discuss dangerous wildfires -- as unstoppable natural events, rather than the result of building homes and businesses in unwise places -- contributes to this view and he proposes a new model of viewing the interaction between fires and development. Simon also takes issue with how climate change has been used to explain the increase in fires, arguing that global warming is often used as an easy explanation to cover up poor decision making by planners and developers.
Which suggests that while those bloggers who have popularized the snarky question in the title of this post have done so ironically, the typical irony-challenged bureaucrat has taken the concept to heart.
I left my shocked face around here somewhere but I can't seem to find it.
Previously known as planned obsolescence, which has been a feature of mobile devices since the TI-1200. My tablet, a Google Pixel C, got dropped in the vicinity of our brick hearth, and when I find out who dropped it I'll send him to bed without his nightly wee dram.
It's not as catastrophic as what happened to my Nexus 4 phone -- I'm writing this post using the tablet -- but there are visible cracks in the touchscreen and they'll never get smaller.
So I guess in this case it's not so much planned as anticipated, like the eventual outcome of an incurable disease. I'm not contemplating buying a replacement and the last time I had a touchscreen replaced (did I mention the Nexus 4?) the operation was not a success. I still have my Nexus 9, which is slower and has less storage, but can resume some measure of its former duties if the Pixel C goes Technology Up before I win the Powerball.
But yeah, if I ever do buy another tablet it's getting a case, just like nearly every one of my phones since the Nexus 4.
Update: Well, pieces of glass are starting to come off now. I think I'll just try doing without a tablet.
'Nother update, Sunday: I would have expected tablet withdrawal pains by now, but not so much.
I've been saying for years now that the power of internet anonymity is vastly overrated by many of those who depend on it. The only thing standing between online trolls and exposure is the question of how motivated someone needs to be to hunt them down.
What a public service CNN has done, identifying the dangerous man behind a silly GIF posted to Reddit! Days of investigation in the making, CNN ascertained the name of a guy who likely lives in his mother’s basement while posting to a sub-Reddit devoted to Trump.
Read the whole thing.
CNN even went so far as to retain jurisdiction over the defendant, should he ever re-offend:
CNN is not publishing ‘HanA**holeSolo’s’ name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.
CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.
Deep down, a lot of obnoxious online trolls don’t want their comments and behavior associated with their real identity. They know it’s wrong, and it violates their own conception of who they are, and how they want other people to see them. If you’re doing something that would cause you that much personal and professional ruination if it were ever exposed . . . eh, maybe you shouldn’t do it?
Nothing to disagree with there, but...
There are all kinds of things about CNN's action here that makes the hair stand up on my neck. For one, it's a clear case of "punching down." As Bethany Mandel, author of the first linked excerpt above, noted (in case you didn't read the whole thing, as I instructed),
CNN took it upon themselves to not question the world’s most powerful man about this, but to dig into the private life of the private citizen who had created the GIF.
There are surely people in this polarized political landscape that are cheering a multinational media company for raining global vitriol on an internet troll who ... made fun of it. Which leads me to another thing that bothers me here: while the trolls who infested my first blog 12 to 15 years ago undertook to harass me, hijack my comment threads, and drive me off the web, this guy ... made a joke at CNN's expense.
If I went after everybody in the world who'd ever made a joke at my expense, I would have been in prison since I was ... well, probably 13 or 14, since by then the state would have decided to try me as an adult.
As I said at the top of this post, motivation is key. CNN wasn't motivated to investigate this guy because of his other material -- they only found that because they dumpster-dived him for the Trump tweet.
I've seen claims that HanA**holeSolo's animated GIF wasn't even the same one Trump tweeted. I haven't looked into that myself but if true it only adds to CNN's ignominy. It's bad enough you go after some schmuck who made an animated GIF that a President you hate retweeted -- but to wind up nabbing the wrong suspect?
It just goes to show:
"The Most Trusted Name In News" is sorta like "The Most Trusted Used Car Lot In Shreveport"
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 shown 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 invasions from without and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration 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
For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
For imposing taxes on us without our consent;
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 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, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and 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 insurrection among us, and has endeavored 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 our 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 the 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 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.