The Watering Hole; Thursday August 28 2014; The Real “America” Revisited

I’ve decided to be brief today and instead allow someone else to, sotospeak, “guest post” today’s Watering Hole. Why? Because it’s become increasingly obvious over the last two or three decades that Wingnuttistanians — especially the interbred hyper-Christian and “Tea Party” elements thereof — have adopted the mission of misreading and misrepresenting the intent and ideas of the American Founders in nearly every context. It seems timely, therefore, to allow a legitimate voice the privilege of restating original doctrines and, in the process, clarifying and/or refuting various modern contorted interpretations — all in his own words.

So: following are a few dozen refreshing thoughts and ideas on a wide variety of topics including, in no particular order, government, law, war, foreign affairs, God, religion, Christianity, we the people, the Constitution — allathat and more — in words written by none other than America’s own Thomas Jefferson (specific attributions noted when available). Enjoy.

“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

“No society can make a perpetual Constitution . . . The earth belongs always to the living generation.”

“The most effective means of preventing tyranny is to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts.”

“The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.” (to Lafayette, 1823)

“Constant apprehension of war has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force with an overgrown executive will not long be a safe companion to liberty.”

“Habeas Corpus secures every man here, alien or citizen, against everything which is not law, whatever shape it may assume.” (1798)

“The country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institutions and monied corporations, and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy, the few will be ruling and riding over the plundered plowman and the beggar.”

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”

“I hold it that, a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

“Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights.” 

“Law is often the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” (To I. Tiffany, 1819)

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be . . . The People cannot be safe without information. When the press is free, and every man is able to read, all is safe.”

“No one nation has a right to sit in judgment over another.”

“We wish not to meddle with the internal affairs of any country, nor with the general affairs of Europe.” 

“I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment.”

“We have produced proofs, from the most enlightened and approved writers on the subject, that a neutral nation must, in all things relating to the war, observe an exact impartiality towards the parties.”

“The insulated state in which nature has placed the American continent should so far avail it that no spark of war kindled in the other quarters of the globe should be wafted across the wide oceans which separate us from them. At such a distance from Europe and with such an ocean between us, we hope to meddle little in its quarrels or combinations. Its peace and its commerce are what we shall court. 

“The essential principles of our Government . . . form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety.” ~(From First Inaugural Address, Jan. 1 1801)

“If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.”

“It is the old practice of despots to use a part of the people to keep the rest in order.”

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

“What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment . . . inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose.”

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.” (From “Notes on Virginia,” 1782)

“A groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications.” (Assessment of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

“I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies” (In a Letter to Dr. Woods)

“Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground [than the foundation of the Ten Commandments]. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts.” (In a Letter to Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824)

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

“I have sworn eternal warfare against all forms of superstition over the minds of men.” (Words engraved on Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC)

Context of the Jefferson “quotation” carved into the Jefferson Memorial (From a Letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800):

“DEAR SIR, . . . I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. I do not know that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum [the angry poets] who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened.

“The delusion . . . on the [First Amendment] clause of the Constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists.

“The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, and they [the preachers] believe that any portion of power confided to me [such as being elected President], will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough too in their opinion.” 

“A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. . . . If the game runs sometimes against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.” (1798, after the passage of the Sedition Act)

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding . . .” 

“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage to reason, than that of blindfolded fear . . .” (In a letter to his nephew, Peter Carr)

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” 

“If my neighbor believes in twenty gods or no gods, it does not pick my pocket or break my leg and therefore it’s no harm to me.”

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.” 

“Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” 

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.” 

“No generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.”

“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.”

To Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, Monticello, October 16, 1815:

“I grieve for France; although it cannot be denied that by the afflictions with which she wantonly and wickedly overwhelmed other nations, she has merited severe reprisals. For it is no excuse to lay the enormities to the wretch who led to them, and who has been the author of more misery and suffering to the world, than any being who ever lived before him.

“After destroying the liberties of his country, he has exhausted all its resources, physical and moral, to indulge his own maniac ambition, his own tyrannical and overbearing spirit. His sufferings cannot be too great. But theirs I sincerely deplore, and what is to be their term?

“The will of the allies? There is no more moderation, forbearance, or even honesty in theirs, than in that of Bonaparte. They have proved that their object, like his, is plunder. They, like him, are shuffling nations together, or into their own hands, as if all were right which they feel a power to do.” 

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like the evil spirits at the dawn of day.” (In a letter to Pierre S. du Pont de Nemours, 24 April 1816)

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” 

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” (To George Logan, 1816)

“. . . freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.”

“[T]he mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”

“It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislature to frame laws in opposition to the laws of nature, and to arm them with the terrors of death. This is truly creating crimes in order to punish them.” ~Thomas Jefferson in a Note on the Crimes Bill, 1779

That’s the sum total of my diminutive collection of Jeffersonian thoughts and writings. It is, I’m sure, little more than a nibble from the entire of the T.J. Pie, but even such a small smidge comes close to totally refuting a huge percentage of today’s Wingnuttistanian Politic, the vast bulk of which is NOT oriented toward Jeffersonian Constitutional Democracy, toward the well-being of the individual, toward prosperity for all, but rather is offered in the interest of money and power only. All of which seems to make it perfectly clear that Thomas Jefferson was neither a Corporatist, an Oligarch, or a Fascist, and therefore he would NOT be, today, a participant in the GOP/Republican/Tea Party, the AFM (American Fascist Movement). How sad for them, but how grand for those who actually believe in the worth of we the People!

A final thought: reading and pondering Jefferson’s own words always reminds me of something JFK said in the address he gave at the White House Dinner and Reception honoring Nobel Prize winners in April, 1962: 

“I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the white House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” 

-Amen-

OPEN THREAD

70 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday August 28 2014; The Real “America” Revisited

  1. “Habeas Corpus secures every man here, alien or citizen, against everything which is not law, whatever shape it may assume.” (1798)

    The Repugnant/TeaPottiers are always quoting/making up quotes the Founding Fathers, especially Thos. Jefferson, had to say…
    yet BabyBoyBush wasn’t ‘listening’…

    Bush’s Suspension of Habeas Corpus
    President Bush suspended writs of habeas corpus through his support and signing into law of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The bill grants the President of the United States almost unlimited authority in establishing and conducting military commissions to try persons held by the U.S., and considered to be “unlawful enemy combatants” in the Global War on Terrorism. In addition, the Act suspends the right of “unlawful enemy combatants” to present, or to have presented in their behalf, writs of habeas corpus”

  2. Referring to a “Russian-directed counteroffensive,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday, “Clearly, that is of deep concern to us, but we’re also concerned by the Russian government’s unwillingness to tell the truth, even as its soldiers are found 30 miles inside Ukraine.”

    Then do something constructive. Calling them out does nothing!

    • Yes UK PM David “Neville Chamberlain” Cameron is going to hit Putler with another “strongly-worded memo” ….. I may take out my passport tonight and look long and hard at it…. Putler just laughs at the responses…

      Putler is so far living proof that lying your ass off has *no* consequences at all

      The tanks are coming over the border and painting out there numbers with a white circle and then they stick a ‘Donetsk Peoples Republic’ flag on it and claiming to be ‘separatists’ and there are Western journalists just repeating this -” ‘separatists’ are blah blah…”

    • The real villain of the EU here is Chancellor “Frau Ribbentrop” Merkel …. who is also saying “we will have to talk about possible sanctions, maybe at the weekend” – WTF!? The first invasion of force to change Europes boundaries since … well *your* lot Mrs Merkel in 1939 and you are going to “talk” – Merkel is really bought and paid for by Putler…..that’s the only explanation for this.

    • And President Francois “Marshal Petain” Hollande is conspicuously silent on a long, long lunch I assume and hoping for his check from Putler for sending those aircraft carriers to Russia will not bounce.

    • “I’m greedy and I’m scared.”
      Simple and powerful Wayne…
      Fear is not knowing. Not knowing how to live with less than what unbridled consumer capitalism has ground into their collective consciousness. Fear of anyone and everyone who, real or imagined, might try to take away what they have. And so they want more, lest others actually gain something.

    • Part of what has driven the US race to the bottom has been the ever rising expectation of return on investments. Almost none of the wealthy are satisfied with a reasonable profit after taxes, because the ‘other guy’ got more from his investments and belittled them when they were having drinks and cigars at the Country Club, for not being more ruthless.

    • I thought it was ‘Republicans Threaten To Shut Down The Government If Obama ___________(fill in the blank)’. Any issue du jour.
      Mitch McConnell is the figurehead of the Fifth Column of the US.

  3. Today would have been our nephew Adam’s 29th birthday. Jane and I are taking the day off, but we’re about to head down to the office to share a toast in Adam’s memory with our co-workers, something that’s become an annual tradition..

  4. So now that it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that Russia has invaded Ukraine….. will anyone remember that the US, UK, Russia and Ukraine agreed to shitcan Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal in exchange for guarantees of sovereignty and borders? It was called the ‘Budapest Memorandum’

    Does anyone think that Putler would be doing this if Kyev could still lob a juicy one into a nearby city? Kim Jong-Un pats himself on the back for hanging on to his and Iran takes careful notes.

    “Article 2: The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

    So Mr fookin President…. Mr fookin Prime Minister…. Putin just wiped his ass on this….. what are *you* going to do about it?

  5. Need minor medical advice here. I just had an excruciating inner thigh cramp, the likes of which I’ve never experienced. It is still pulling and hurting. I have taken three quinine pills, dissolved under my tongue, and it subsided for a bit but is returning. I hobbled out to the kitchen and got some ice to put on it, so, would ice be better, or heat, and what else can I do?

    • Muscle relaxant – ibuprofen a hit of 800+mg – dunno qbout interaction with quinine but pass on the JDs for a bit.

      • ‘…pass on the JDs…’

        What are JDs?

        I’m not supposed to take NSAIDs at all, so I don’t have any Ibuprofen in the house. I might be able to scare up a Lortab from my last dental issue.

      • It’s better now, but I can still tell I had a cramp. I think the quinine finally kicked in. The ice made the pain bearable, then when it eased up, I got in the shower, so I guess I got some moist heat on it. Thanks.

      • I did routine bloodwork on Monday, so if it was low, maybe it will show up.

        I have to go to work in a minute. The chillers both went out over the weekend so we have had to work in 90+ degree temps for the last three nights, and presumably tonight too. I thought I was hydrated, I drank a quart of tea and a coke before I went to bed, and had a couple cokes this morning before the cramps started.

        Once again thanks everybody.

        • Is there anywhere to cool off? You need a break every hour or two if it gets much above 90.

          • I can go to the next building on my dinner break. Their break room is cool. That’s not until 9:30, for 30 minutes. Facilities has a mobile chiller on one set of ducts tonight. It’s 89 at the machine, and it should go lower after sundown.

      • that happens here in the heat of the desert. when i’m out working in the yard in the summer, i get calf and foot cramps quite often. it’s directly related to not hydrating enough and the loss of potassium due to perspiration. you need water or unsweetened tea to hydrate….not soda

        • What fatherbob wrote!

          [Monday’s numbers will not include your last few days working without air conditioning]

          • Aye, but if I go for more bloodwork it may not prove anything, since I will be better hydrated by the time I get to the doctor. I drank the coke before I had any problems. I stopped at Star Market on the way to work. They were sold out of all kinds of sports drinks.

    • That is rose among the thorns!
      I do hope they find the woman who delivered a kick to Irina while she was tied up.

  6. goshy, how the heck did we miss this ‘breaking news’?///

    The Hill

    View this content on The Hill’s website
    Obama’s tan suit startles Twitter
    Journalists were shocked by President Obama’s decision to wear a tan suit Thursday as he delivered a statement from The White House on ISIS and Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

    • Hilarious! And Oh so true.

      Logsdon says that the thorny controversy is reminiscent of another ongoing national debate, about whether it is a good idea to load a car with dynamite and drive it into a tree.

      The idiotic owner of the range said it was on the child’s ‘bucket list’…so if setting fire to a house is on that very same ‘bucket list’ do you allow it? No, of course not.

      • I’m afraid I don’t know the particulars. But are you saying that a 9-year old had a bucket list? Is she terminally ill?

        • That’s his claim. I think the owner and the parents should be charged with manslaughter and I sincerely hope that the dead guy’s family sues the owner’s pants off. I don’t think the parents should go to prison, the poor girl has enough to deal with, but a creative sentence, like being forced to become licensed firearm instructors or give talks to children about how guns are NOT toys would be appropriate. The Owner? I would be delighted if he got to watch everything he owns disappear from a cell.

          • I wonder how well the owner is insured. I wonder who would write insurance on such a place.

          • ‘Bucket lists’ are for people who accept they’re going to kick it before to many years go by.
            9 year-olds have to-do lists.
            Shooting an Uzi was something she thought she wanted to do because her parents told her it’s what she wanted to do. Look at the video, this child knows nothing of what she is about to do, there’s no real enthusiasm in her posture or actions, she is only doing what the “instructor” is telling her to do. If I see anything it’s hesitancy… The instructor is whipping through his instruction far to fast, no instruction to hang on tight; and all he allows is one single shot before turning on the auto. The weapon leaves her left hand immediately. The parents should face a civil wrongful death suit.

  7. House, please let us know how you are doing – especially if there was no cooling system on your shit!
    It is important to stay hydrated during all hours of the day!

    • I’m home, and ok as far as I know. The portable chiller got the temp down to 85 by the time I left at 11:30. Maybe tomorrow will be better if the system can keep all the metal in the shop cooler all day. It was 95 when I got there at 3:00pm.

      I’m taking a couple of the quinine pills now, in case that helps for in the morning.

      • That must be miserable working metal in that heat.
        Frequently drinking water or non -caffeinated beverages, while at work should assist keeping the cramps away.

        Here’s hoping you have a pain-free sleep (raises a glass of water).

        • The machines we run are enclosed, so it’s not real bad. The job I started about 9:00pm did put out a lot of heat from the chips as they piled up inside the cabinet. I only had to deal with that a couple of times before I got out of there. The third shift guy got the tricky operation following the one I started. By the time I get back in at 3:00pm, we’ll be on a finishing operation, which will be cooler, and take longer too.

      • Dominos didn’t have any. I had to settle for pepperoni.

        I’ll go back to the market later today, and hopefully they’ll have some Gatorade too.

        • Here’s hoping you’ll rest in peace tonight and many nights into the future. From one who also experiences night cramps and more. Bonne nuit Bama.

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