Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

It has happened again. Poor Thomas Jefferson is under fire – the enemy? Credulity and malicious suspicion. The rumor, of course, is the infamous Sally Hemings case in which Jefferson is accused of romantic affairs and/ or rape of the young slave Miss Hemings. I have addressed this rumor before – it made national headlines but was quickly debunked as being unprovable at best. And yet, some people still love bringing this back up and continue to put forth zero evidence.

This time, the article I could not leave alone is from consortiumnews.com in which Robert Perry attempts to label Thomas Jefferson as a rapist –  the reason for attacking one of our more intelligent and open-minded presidents remains unknown. Mr. Perry begins his argument in a somewhat repulsive way, “Jefferson apologists raised finicky demands for conclusive proof of the liaison, as if it were absurd to envision that a relatively young man then in his mid-40s, a widower since his wife died in 1782, would have initiated a sexual relationship with an African-American female, even an attractive light-skinned mulatto like Hemings” almost as if Perry expects anyone to want to abuse Miss. Hemings.

The most important sentence in this page-long conspiracy accurately describes the whole Jefferson-Sally Hemings case

Though it’s true that unequivocal evidence does not exist…

If I had the honor of Mr.Perry reading this post – or any Jeffersonian conspirator, I would ask them to please read that slower: “evidence does not exist”.

The article could have stopped there! In fact, I would argue that if any idea, assertion, or story was not found in any evidence, it is a mute point. A good weapon to use in an argument lacing any facts is to say, “Anything asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”. As to this case, consider it dismissed.

 

The Snowden Dilemma

In somewhat of a daze, my wife and I left the theater after watching the movie Snowden. I was quite happy with the movie. It did not seem too bias one way or another and it provided a pleasant story for those who do not keep up with politics or world news. I could not wait to get in the car and start picking my wife’s mind about the issues the movie brought up – only to get stopped by one of those mall venders who pester you to buy something or try some invention of theirs. He got my attention by standing in front of our path and asking, “What movie did you see?” Slightly put off by his action to stop us, I tried to walk around him and muttered, “Snowden”.

 

As most people are when they hear the word Snowden, he was taken aback and asked, “I hear the movie was biased and make him out to be a hero. I think he should be hung – he is responsible for American deaths! What do you think?” I was clearly not wanting to talk to the man – and his question isn’t something that can be answered right there in the middle of a mall – but his clear ignorance of the issues warranted my response. Plus, there are many people who don’t clearly know what Snowden did, or the outcome of his actions, or what should be done with him. the Snowden case will undoubtedly go down as a historical and moral questions that will decide the direction of our nation.

 

Edward Snowden was an extreamly capable and intelligent student. He excelled in his career and was considered a computer wizard at the CIA making him highly desired. Although Snowden loved working at the CIA, he quickly began seeing dubious actions in their international affairs. For example, at his first diplomatic mission in Geneva, he witnessed the CIA successfully bribe the Geneva police and judiciary. Although he did not report this, the whole mission left Snowden uneasy.

 

Later in his career, Snowden began working at the NSA’s Hawaii Regional operations center where he was a system administrator – technically an “Infrastructure Analyst” where he would look for new ways to break into the internet and telephone traffic. This is where Snowden had a problem with his job: although his job was directed at China and North Korea, he witnessed the government using back-door methods of entry into electronic devices of U.S. Citizens and keeping that data unlawfully. Snowden did actually try to express his concerns to officials multiple times – but was warned not to say anything. Snowden has said

The NSA has records—they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. I had raised these complaints not just officially in writing through email, but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office. I did it in Fort Meade. I did it in Hawaii. And many, many of these individuals were shocked by these programs. They had never seen them themselves. And the ones who had, went, “You know, you’re right. … But if you say something about this, they’re going to destroy you”

It would seem that the same whistle blowing standards the government holds to corporations does not apply to the NSA. Stuck in a rut, Snowden took drastic actions looking to change the course of surveillance. May 20 2013, Snowden arrived in Hong Kong in a leave of absence to meet with Guardian reporters to leak the information – which was over 1.5 million files. He finally left his hotel room and sneaked through security to board a plane to Russia which was then to take him to Ecuador to live with Wikileak founder Julian Assange. Snowden had had a ticket to Havana, Cuba but did not board his flight saying later in an interview, “I was ticketed for onward travel via Havana—a planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be in—but the State Department decided they wanted me in Moscow, and cancelled my passport.” Snowden assumed the reason they wanted him in Moscow was to label him a Russian spy. He is still in Moscow today waiting for another place to find asylum.

The idea that Snowden is a Russian spy and released information that has had Americans killed is not found in fact. And the recent election of Donald Trump has made the situation much more clear. Fox News and NBC has heard reports that Russian officials have found that Snowden has no more value to the government and could be a useful bargaining chip for Putin to cozy up to Trump. As a response, Snowden tweeted:

Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.

A very clear observation. In fact, the Ecuadorian government is feeling the same way about Assange whilst he released Clinton’s emails in the 2016 election. Could this be the end of Wikileaks and whistle-blowing? That lies with the world leaders. No doubt, as long as Snowden has asylum, he will be safe – it is the transportation that is dangerous for him. But one must ask – what would the world be like it the world governments’ secrets cannot be held up to the light? This will be a pivotal question our generation has to answer.

The Tea Party is not Libertarian

The term “Libertarian” made its debut onto the political scene through an unfortunate way. It was during the early Obama years that the infamous Tea Party made its appearance with peaceful, yet angry protests against the Obama administration. The Tea Party, hoping to create ties to the revolutionary Boston Tea party event has done anything but. They are conservative, pro-government, and religiously bias – a horrible way to commemorate the secular founding fathers. And yet, the Tea Party persisted libertarian roots and not only tarnished our founding father’s ideals, but also the very name “Libertarian” is linked to the evangelical conservative movement.

 

In a recent study by the PRRI, a conservative Christian political group, only a mere 10% claim to be Libertarians within the Tea Party – where 52% identify as the Christian Right with the remainder belonging to the “conservative” group. But the differences between the Tea Party and Libertarian base lies a huge and impassable hole of ideological differences. For example, issues like abortion, physician assisted suicide, legalization of marijuana, and gay marriage presents issues between Tea Partiers and Libertarians – one that can not be reconciled. The biggest difference, to me, is the religious ideals between the Tea Party and the Libertarians. Libertarians, famous for the rights of man, prefer no religious bias be tied into government, where the Tea Partiers overwhelmingly promote religion in the government, schools and in daily life – a huge error to the founding fathers and libertarians alike. So how can libertarians and Tea Partiers differ on such huge issues and still be lumped in together?

 

The protests, featuring aging seniors sanding around with signs, seems to have made a possibly conscious connection to Libertarians. While, yes, the Tea Party is anti-government, they are anti-one kind of government: Obama’s government and while Libertarians can agree on hedging back government power – it is for completely different reasons. The Tea Party goal is to attack the Obama’s administration for the sake of reactionary conservatism – where as the Libertarians seem to keep their focus purely on the rights of man. The Tea Party is nothing but what is now considered the alt-right: Ultra Conservative, evangelical, reactionaries.