Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Roger Weightman

 

peter bakke + Thomas Jefferson

Monticello June 24. 26

Respected Sir

The kind invitation I receive from you on the part of the citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration of the 50th anniversary of American independence; as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the 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. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have met my ancient neighbors of the City of Washington and of it’s vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse; an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections, as never to be forgotten. with my regret that ill health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to receive for yourself, and those for whom you write, the assurance of my highest respect and friendly attachments.

Th. Jefferson

Concerning Trump : A Book of Parody : By Peter A. Bakke

Parody-Book-Concerning-Trump-Author-Peter-Bakke

 

Buy ‘Concerning Trump’ … A Book of Historical Quotes Reimagined for Donald J. Trump’s Turbulent Era.

About the Book:

Political parody can be defined as: “… a literary work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Parody may help those of us cope who have a liberal or moderate political disposition. It may also help make bearable these turbulent political times under the growing shadow of Trumpism. 

This frequently somber, sometimes humorous volume reimagines historical quotes with a keen eye focused on Donald J. Trump, Trumpism, and his Republican party. 

But beware, this book can only be taken in small doses. 

Like arsenic. 

If you read it and start feeling ill, that’s a good sign, a sign that you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on in our country under the Trump regime. 

Set it aside for a while. 

But never set aside your vigilance for leaders like Donald J. Trump.

Sample Parody Quotes:

Aquinas, Thomas

Since we cannot know what Trump is, but only what he is not, we must consider the ways in which he is not rather in the ways in which he is. Is that clear?

Arabin, William

Trump, God has given you abilities, instead of which you go about the country talking trash.

Arendt, Hannah

Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future. But Trump makes doing so unpredictable and unreliable to the extent that it is humanly possible.

Trump shows that no cause remains but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of tyranny.

For Trump it is easier to act than to think.

Trump haunts us. It is his function to haunt us.

Ariosto, Ludovico

Nature made Trump and then broke the mold.

Aristotle

Trump is dear to Republicans, but dearer still should be truth.

Trump does not know that excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines our destiny.

Trump is fading away because the energy of the mind is the essence of life.

Dignity does not consist in Trump possessing honors, but in him deserving them.

The educated differ from Trump as much as the awake from the dead.

A would-be tyrant like Trump must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Voters are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has God on his side.

Trump and his cult-like followers know that democracies may easily degenerate into despotisms if enough lies are believed. The bigger the lie, the better for them.

Arlen, Michael

It is amazing how nice people will be to Trump after they know he is leaving office.

Origins of the Doctrine of Christian “Discovery”

 

Well, I’ll be damned. Take a look at this:

Source: http://ili.nativeweb.org/sdrm_art.html 

To understand the connection between Christendom’s principle of discovery and the laws of the United States, we need to begin by examining a papal document issued forty years before Columbus’ historic voyage In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued to King Alfonso V of Portugal the bull Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world, and specifically sanctioning and promoting the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories.

Under various theological and legal doctrines formulated during and after the Crusades, non-Christians were considered enemies of the Catholic faith and, as such, less than human. Accordingly, in the bull of 1452, Pope Nicholas directed King Alfonso to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.” [Davenport: 20-26] Acting on this papal privilege, Portugal continued to traffic in African slaves, and expanded its royal dominions by making “discoveries” along the western coast of Africa, claiming those lands as Portuguese territory.

Thus, when Columbus sailed west across the Sea of Darkness in 1492 – with the express understanding that he was authorized to “take possession” of any lands he “discovered” that were “not under the dominion of any Christian rulers” – he and the Spanish sovereigns of Aragon and Castile were following an already well-established tradition of “discovery” and conquest. [Thacher:96] Indeed, after Columbus returned to Europe, Pope Alexander VI issued a papal document, the bull Inter Cetera of May 3, 1493, “granting” to Spain – at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella – the right to conquer the lands which Columbus had already found, as well as any lands which Spain might “discover” in the future.

In the Inter Cetera document, Pope Alexander stated his desire that the “discovered” people be “subjugated and brought to the faith itself.” [Davenport:61] By this means, said the pope, the “Christian Empire” would be propagated. [Thacher:127] When Portugal protested this concession to Spain, Pope Alexander stipulated in a subsequent bull – issued May 4, 1493 – that Spain must not attempt to establish its dominion over lands which had already “come into the possession of any Christian lords.” [Davenport:68] Then, to placate the two rival monarchs, the pope drew a line of demarcation between the two poles, giving Spain rights of conquest and dominion over one side of the globe, and Portugal over the other.

During this quincentennial of Columbus’ journey to the Americas, it is important to recognize that the grim acts of genocide and conquest committed by Columbus and his men against the peaceful Native people of the Caribbean were sanctioned by the abovementioned documents of the Catholic Church. Indeed, these papal documents were frequently used by Christian European conquerors in the Americas to justify an incredibly brutal system of colonization – which dehumanized the indigenous people by regarding their territories as being “inhabited only by brute animals.” [Story:135-6]

The lesson to be learned is that the papal bulls of 1452 and 1493 are but two clear examples of how the “Christian Powers,” or “different States of Christendom,” viewed indigenous peoples as “the lawful spoil and prey of their civilized conquerors.” [Wheaton:270-1] In fact, the Christian “Law of Nations” asserted that Christian nations had a divine right, based on the Bible, to claim absolute title to and ultimate authority over any newly “discovered” Non-Christian inhabitants and their lands. Over the next several centuries, these beliefs gave rise to the Doctrine of Discovery used by Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland – all Christian nations.


References

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 1, 8 L.Ed. 25 (1831).

Davenport, Frances Gardiner, 19l7, European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, Vol. 1, Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Johnson and Graham’s Lessee V McIntosh 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 5 L.Ed. 681(1823).

Rivera-Pagan, Luis N., 1991, “Cross Preceded Sword in ‘Discovery’ of the Americas,” in Yakima Nation Review, 1991, Oct. 4.

Story, Joseph, 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States Vol. 1 Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

Thacher, John Boyd, 1903, Christopher Columbus Vol. 11, New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons.

Williamson, James A., 1962, The Cabot Voyages And Bristol Discovery Under Henry VII, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wheaton, Henry, 1855, Elements of International Law, Sixth Edition, Boston: Little Brown, and Co.

Ziegler, Benjamin Munn, 1939, The International Law of John Marshall, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

100 years to an Imperfect Union

“Ten years after Appomattox, Northern support for the newly enfranchised ex-slaves and their white allies had faded. Recalcitrant Southern whites, whose Ku Klux Klan night-riding had been aggressively repressed by the federal government in the early 1870’s, regrouped under the political aegis of the Democratic Party. By mid-decade, most of the Reconstruction state governments had fallen at the ballot box to the forces of white supremacy, the self-proclaimed “redeemers.”

Mississippi, with a large black voting majority, resisted longer than other states, but redemption finally came there too, in 1875, sealed by a new frenzy of paramilitary carnage and intimidation. Two years later, after a disputed national election, the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes finally won the White House by agreeing to remove from the South the last of the federal troops who had upheld Reconstruction at the points of their bayonets. The troubled effort to build a Southern interracial democracy out of the ashes of the Civil War was over.”

—-
Lessons for Iraq… The US couldn’t build democracy in the South after the Civil War. Democracy-building is an ambitious undertaking in sectarian and ethnic concalves, as we have seen repeatedly – even in our own history.

See NYT review of:

‘Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War,’ by Nicholas Lemann
Review by SEAN WILENTZ

Link to REVIEW

“The story of Reconstruction’s demise in Mississippi is familiar to historians, and Nicholas Lemann, in “Redemption,” retells it in all its terrible gore. His account squares with recent scholarship, which has challenged both the traditional “Birth of a Nation” view (of Reconstruction as a tragic era of black plunder and white degradation = a fallacy) and the skeptical scholarship of the 1960’s and after that questioned the reformers’ commitment. Lemann, the dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia and the author of “The Promised Land,” among other books, affirms Reconstruction as a noble, thwarted experiment, the nation’s “unfinished revolution,” in the words of the era’s current leading historian, Eric Foner. This book strives to burn that academic re-evaluation into the minds of nonacademic readers. Written on a dramatic human scale, and leavened by some fresh research and analysis, it is an arresting piece of popular history. “

Mars Spacecraft was Lost in Translation

NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched, space agency officials said.

A navigation team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory used the metric system of millimeters and meters in its calculations, while Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, which designed and built the spacecraft, provided crucial acceleration data in the English system of inches, feet, and pounds.

As a result, JPL engineers mistook acceleration readings measured in English units of pound-seconds for a metric measure of force called newton-seconds.

In a sense, the spacecraft was lost in translation.

Mars Climate Orbiter

From 1998:

Source:  http://articles.latimes.com/1999/oct/01/news/mn-17288