Archive for the ‘SALLY HEMMINGS’ Tag


John Chuckman



Bob Woodward is not speaking for the larger interests.

He never has. He demonstrated that during the horrible Bush administration when he slithered around on his belly, flattering and giving favorable publicity to George Bush, the most incompetent and destructive president in memory.

America’s recent Supreme Court has been a disaster.

Money is free speech? That’s what it ruled, and the results are disastrous.

That view does not earn you freedom, it earns you slavery.

Slavery to a plutocracy.

That is what America has become.

Woodward also always subtly represented the interests of the Israel Lobby. They like things the way they are with America being aggressive across the globe keeping Israel afloat.

And that view shares many aspects with the views of America’s super-rich crowd.

It is ordinary Americans and others who suffer from the current set-up.

Scalia was a basic building block in creating the mess we have. His views were narrow and often uninformed, and over time he said some just plain dumb things.

His views and words on gays and gay marriage were intolerant and disgraceful, just serving to highlight his backwardness and lack of leadership.

The trouble with a lot of what is carelessly labeled as conservatism in America is that it actually supports fascism and the plutocratic crowd. I think many do not appreciate this, but it is painfully true. There is a natural border between these two, but it is easily violated and in today’s America virtually does not exist.

A number of Americans are convinced that Scalia’s views on guns were vital, but the net effect of his views is part of the explanation for the hopeless situation in America today.

Just think of America’s horrible, aggressive, poorly-trained, and murderous police who cause many Americans literally to live in fear. They killed more than a thousand of their own people last year, as they do every year, a performance putting any so-called terrorists to shame.

Scalia supporters may not see a connection, but there very much is one. The police always have the excuse that they thought the person was armed, and it is an excuse which continues to work perfectly because a huge number of Americans are armed.

The plutocrats love things the way they are: murderous police keep the mob in order. Most of these people or corporations live in what are effectively gated communities, and they have very little interaction with the mess “out there.” They just want to see it quiet where they live.

And here it is no accident that large numbers of American police now receive training in Israel, Israel being a place in which a privileged group also wants to live in quiet and security and a place where almost half the population are terrorized by police and army. Israel itself is becoming one giant gated community, and ordinary Israelis themselves do not have a great life. Israel’s equivalent of America’s plutocracy – some being Americans with dual citizenship – is the group making the rules. Thus there is a natural fit with present-day America in many aspects of life.

Scalia was not about freedom. He was about its opposite, slavery.

He reminded me of Thomas Jefferson in his thinking.

No, Jefferson was a thousand times more eloquent, but his seemingly freedom-loving words were not about freedom. Most people who quote them have no idea about the kind of man they are quoting. He actually used words as a kind of self-written legacy, a vast advertising campaign which was about sympathetic-sounding things the real Jefferson was not about.

Jefferson was quite backward in many things. While superficially interested in science, he had some remarkably unscientific views, like the healing properties of soaking his feet in cold water each morning or his interpretation of some fossils found in Virginia which was quite silly.

He was a strong, life-long supporter of slavery. Even when he was President he opposed the rebellion of slaves in Haiti and supported Napoleon’s efforts to crush them. After the French failed, he made sure to have nothing to do with Haiti. His dreamy thoughts about freedom died instantly anytime black slaves were involved.

Jefferson absolutely believed in black inferiority, and we have his own embarrassing words on the subject. This despite his long sexual relationship with a mulatto slave, Sally Hemmings, said to have been fathered by Jefferson’s dead wife’s father. That relationship started when Sally was thirteen. Today we would say Jefferson was a pedophile, and that’s hardly about freedom. He fathered children by Sally – we have the sworn testimony of her adult son on this, no matter what some of Jefferson’s Caucasian descendants claim in order to protect his legacy – and Jefferson did little to improve their lot.

Jefferson rather bizarrely hated industry and wanted only a nation of stout yeomen farmers, something, which if you analyze it, greatly resembles the views of someone like Pol Pot. His vision of stout yeoman farmers of course is completely oblivious to the industrial revolution and the new prosperity coming to some societies.

Jefferson, despite his wealth and over 200 slaves, was never able to support himself. He died a bankrupt. His love of things like fashions and luxury imports was such he was regularly borrowing from friends, some of whom he cheated, never paying them back. He was not a man of his word.

When Jefferson, as President, decided that America must boycott Britain, he was ruthless against American businesses suffering from the policy. His program put many of them under, and he used substantial force to go after any who were not complying. None of this corresponds to today’s fantasy ideas, or Jefferson’s own words, about freedom.

Jefferson as Governor, at the drop of a hat, was ready to have Virginia secede from the Union. He anticipated the entire Confederacy, and that is not an idea of freedom in keeping with a wholesome, democratic society. It’s a version of – what some American plutocrats do today – taking your marbles and running.

Jefferson opposed the Supreme Court even having the very powers which men like Scalia later exercised. He wanted no interpretation of the Constitution. He wanted it to have no force at all in the individual states. His vision much resembled anarchy. He was extremely provincial and ruthless about states’ interests when a Governor, views which were bent completely around when he had other needs as President. Consistency was not a Jefferson strong point.

Jefferson’s words about free expression were extremely hypocritical. When he was Secretary of State under Washington, he secretly hired some nasty scribblers to attack the President and his policies, always pretending he knew nothing about the source of the libels.

Despite Jefferson’s many pretentious words about bloodshed and regular revolutions, he proved in the Revolutionary War a complete coward. He rode so hard away, never stopping for a long time, from some approaching British – a quite small force under the dashing Banastre Tarleton – that there were jokes and laughter about it long afterward by colonists as well as by the British.

When Jefferson was first considered as the colonies’ ambassador in Europe, he wouldn’t go. He was afraid to sail and perhaps be captured by British ships. That didn’t stop old Ben Franklin, who went instead and served well.

Jefferson’s overall impact on the shape of today’s America is extremely negative, despite all the fine words. Ironically, for American conservatives, what I’ll call the Jefferson Myth, was revived by Franklin Roosevelt’s government when they built the memorial in Washington. They were laying false claim to aspects of his legacy for political purposes.

And just so, the acts of many American so-called conservatives like Scalia which ultimately are destructive and divisive and anti-freedom in nature, just as Jefferson was once ready to divide the young country or violently suppress those who disagreed with his presidential policies.

It is all an extremely confused and confusing legacy, and a dangerous one.

America’s armed forces and secret security apparatus today are killing people in at least half a dozen places. America supports torture and illegal imprisonment and suppression in many parts of the world, from Israel to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. America’s police, in many parts of the country, literally terrorize their own citizens. America’s secret security forces spy on everyone in the false name of protection from terror. And, all the while, we hear slogans – completely empty slogans about freedom and democracy. And the great plutocrats that Scalia represented think nothing of moving an entire company abroad, destroying jobs and communities, while enhancing their own wealth.

People who truly love and understand the meaning of a good and decent society cannot shed any tears for the passing of Judge Scalia. His legacy, like Jefferson’s, is simply poisonous.



The Cato Institute is an American think-tank, which is the same thing as saying a well-financed propaganda mill posing as something of an academic institution.

The distinguishing fact comes down to purpose: outfits like Cato – whose biggest financial backer in the past was Koch Oil – have an agenda; academic institutions do not.

So I take every publication from these people with a grain of salt, something experience warrants.

“Whereas Jefferson trusted decentralization and wanted diffuse communities making political decisions, Hamilton looked to a strong central authority to guide the nation.”

This misrepresents and even distorts the differences between Hamilton and Jefferson. It is the kind of common view often found in local newspapers, but scholars should do better than that.

Jefferson definitely had a dark side, and there are views of his which border on what we might expect from Pol Pot.

He did not believe in industry. He believed in the sturdy yeoman farmer.

He of course spoke of liberty, but as the great Dr. Johnson pointed out it was outrageous for the “drivers of negroes” to speak of liberty.

Johnson also had Jefferson in mind when he called patriotism the last refuge of scoundrels.

Jefferson owned about two hundred slaves to his dying day, and never even wavered in embracing the institution. It was the way he had the leisure to follow his interests. He still managed to die a bankrupt, his tastes so outran his ability to earn.

Jefferson wrote bluntly in his Notes on Virginia about black inferiority, and he never recanted those views.

Indeed, when the slaves of Haiti rebelled against the French, Jefferson supported the French, and strongly. He assisted Napoleon in his efforts to re-conquer the poor slaves.

Jefferson was totally inconsistent on liberty versus centralism also. He put in place an embargo against Britain that bankrupted hundreds of small businesses and merchants in New England. He used very heavy-handed measures. There was an atmosphere for a while that smelled of Stalinism.

And there was the bitter irony that in an earlier embargo when he was not in office and building Monticello, he bought British-made custom windows for his dream house, deliberately breaking the embargo. The legitimacy of rules for Jefferson very much depended upon whether they hurt his interests or the interests of others.

Jefferson also exceeded his then-understood Constitutional authority by purchasing the Louisiana territory from his friend Napoleon. He knew this himself, but never hesitated because it was what he wanted.

The dark and anti-liberty side of Jefferson’s character is displayed in his vicious vendetta against Aaron Burr, a man he hated because he almost won the presidency instead of Jefferson, the inadequate election rules of the time making it possible for a man who ran nominally for vice-president to be elected as president.

Jefferson was a vicious dirty fighter too. His hiring – while working in the cabinet of George Washington – of two attack writers, Freneau and Callendar (on the government payroll), to make ugly attacks against Washington’s government showed a very dark side of his character.

He ended falling out with both of these men. One of them then proceeded to uncover the story of Jefferson’s use of his slave, Sally Hemmings, as mistress. The girl would have been about thirteen-years old when Jefferson first hit on her. The writer ended up dead in very questionable circumstances.

Jefferson, despite his pretenses to modernity was actually in many ways backward. Hamilton was not only his intellectual superior but was a man of such modern temperament that had he been permitted to time-travel to the present, he would have fairly quickly taken in what had happened and he would devour the details. Jefferson would have been in a state of shock and indeed would be repelled by much of contemporary society: it goes almost entirely against his honest-yeoman fantasy.

Hamilton contributed more to the early United States than perhaps any other figure. From central-banking concepts to decimal coinage and a whole lot more. He was urban and progressive and open to new things, and he had been Washington’s indispensable man, writing most of his speeches, suggesting strategies.

Again, a dark episode of Jefferson’s career includes having one of his associates visit Hamilton in private at the time Hamilton was involved in an affair with a scheming woman to threaten him with exposure if the Jeffersonians did not get their way on a certain issue. Quite contemptible actually.