Archive for July 4th, 2014

By JC

If there is one thing you should read today, it is Robert Parry’s lengthy takedown of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence – the signing of which many of you are “celebrating” today. (Me? I’ll be spending time at the Arlee Celebration today):

On July Fourth, the people of the United States extravagantly celebrate the high-blown expressions on human rights that Thomas Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence – especially the noble phrase “all men are created equal.” But Jefferson really didn’t believe that or much else that he said and wrote during his lifetime. He was, in reality, a skilled propagandist and a world-class hypocrite.

Yet, rather than subject Jefferson to a rigorous examination for his multiple hypocrisies, many Americans insist on protecting Jefferson’s reputation. From the Left, there is a desire to shield the lofty principles contained in the Declaration. From the Right, there is value in pretending that Jefferson’s revisionist concept of the Constitution – one favoring states’ rights over the federal government – was the “originalist” view of that founding document.

So, Jefferson – perhaps more than any figure in U.S. history – gets a pass for what he really was: a self-absorbed aristocrat who had one set of principles for himself and another for everybody else. Beyond the glaring contradiction between his “all men are created equal” pronouncement and his racist views on African-American slaves, he also lectured others about the need for frugality and the avoidance of debt while he lived a life of personal extravagance and was constantly in arrears to creditors…

Jefferson may have been America’s original “chicken hawk,” talking cavalierly about other people’s blood as the “manure” of liberty but finding his own too precious to risk. …

The historical record increasingly makes Jefferson out to be a serial rapist, exploiting at least one and possibly more girls who were trapped on his property, who indeed were his property, and thus had little choice but to tolerate his sexual advances…

“A child raised every 2 years is of more profit than the crop of the best laboring man,” Jefferson wrote. “[I]n this, as in all other cases, providence has made our duties and our interests coincide perfectly”…

The reason the Tea Partiers get away with presenting themselves as “conservative constitutionalists” is that Thomas Jefferson engineered a revisionist interpretation of the Founding document, which – as written by the Federalists and ratified by the states – created a federal government that could do almost anything that Congress and the President agreed was necessary for the good of the country…

In his rise to power, Jefferson waged a nasty propaganda war against the Federalists as they struggled to form a new government and endeavored to stay out of a renewed conflict between Great Britain and France. Jefferson secretly funded newspaper editors who spread damaging personal rumors about key Federalists, particularly Hamilton who as Treasury Secretary was spearheading the new government’s formation.

Jefferson’s governmental actions almost always dovetailed with the interests of slaveholders and his own personal finances…

Today, we see Jefferson’s racist legacy in the nearly deranged hatred directed at the first African-American president and in the unbridled fury unleashed against the federal government that Barack Obama heads.

As unpleasant as it may be for Americans who prefer – especially on July Fourth – to ponder the pleasant image of Jefferson as the aristocratic republican with a taste for fine art and a fondness for free-thinking, it is well past time to look at the Declaration’s author as the person he really was, America’s founding sociopath.

Read the whole thing. And then go out and wave your sparklers until they fizzle out, along with our “democracy.”

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by lizard

The situation in Ukraine hasn’t been getting much attention recently, but that doesn’t mean atrocities aren’t occurring. Once upon a time, “humanitarian interventionists” opposed the slaughter of citizens by a despotic regime. Three years ago, for example, over at Intelligent Discontent, Don wrote this post, titled Libyan Intervention: Another Example of Rational Humanitarian Foreign Policy. This is what Don had to say about the NATO-backed overthrow of the Gaddafi regime:

I don’t celebrate the death of anyone, but it’s hard to feel terribly sad about the fact that the Colonel is no longer in a position which allows him to torture and kill indiscriminately. Eventually, people rise up to take down despots. It’s often ugly, even brutal, but it will happen—and I’d prefer a national security policy which works to prevent those people from being slaughtered.

Now that a US-backed billionaire is doing the slaughtering, there is silence from those humanitarian interventionists. Here is a Reuters piece with a rather curious title: Ukraine forces attack rebel positions, Putin growls:

Ukrainian forces struck at pro-Russian separatist bases in eastern regions with air and artillery strikes on Tuesday after President Petro Poroshenko announced he would not renew a ceasefire but go on the offensive to rid Ukraine of “parasites”.

His decision quickly drew fire from Russian President Vladimir Putin who said Poroshenko had disregarded the advice of himself and German and French leaders. Putin said Poroshenko would now have to bear full responsibility for veering off the road to peace.

Put more bluntly, Poroshenko is bombing his own people with air strikes. The allegations that Gaddafi was doing this is what triggered the no fly zone that morphed into the NATO-backed regime change. Where is the rational humanitarian foreign policy now? The answer is it never existed, and in Ukraine, Poroshenko is killing his people to draw Russia into a trap at the behest of the Obama regime. Here is Paul Craig Roberts’ take:

The slaughter of Ukrainians on Washington’s orders by Washington’s stooge government in Kiev has worsened considerably in the past three months, producing more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing into Russia for protection from strikes against civilian housing from the air, artillery, and tanks.

Every effort by the Russian government to involve Washington, the European Union, and Kiev in negotiations to find a peaceful settlement has failed.

Washington is not interested in a settlement. Disturbed by its NATO vassals’ dependence on Russian energy and the growing economic relationships between Russia and Europe, Washington is at work through its Kiev proxy murdering citizens in eastern and southern parts of present-day Ukraine that once were part of Russia.

Washington has declared these civilians to be “terrorists” and is trying to force Russia to intervene militarily in order to protect them. Russia’s protective intervention would then be denounced by Washington as “invasion and annexation.” Washington would use this propaganda, which would blare from the Western media, to pressure Europe to support Washington’s sanctions against Russia. The sanctions would effectively destroy the existing economic relationships between Russia and Europe.

Now let’s go back to Don’s assessment of the actions of Obama’s foreign policy:

In the end, the US and NATO did an admirable job. They used a relatively inexpensive mission which gave the rebels breathing room in which they could defend themselves against a despot. And then the people of Libya did the rest. We can’t know what kind of government or future Libya will have, but I think we can be sure that it will be better than the past two generations.

Following eight years of disastrous foreign policy, this was another sign that the Obama administration is simply far more competent when it comes to national security and military issues than the previous administration. In less than three years, he’s overseen the elimination of Osama bin Laden, led the effort towards killing of some of his chief deputies, drawn up firm plans to finally end Bush’s destructive war in Iraq, and done his best to navigate the complex issues of the Arab spring and its aftermath.

I think its pretty clear, three years later, that US foreign policy continues to be disastrous. Will we hear any mea culpas from the interventionists? Probably not. With violence escalating in Ukraine, The Polish Wolf continues to be silent, and Don is busy making dick jokes.

And so it goes.




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