Friday, February 11, 2011
Bonesman Dana Milbank Rewrites History [and Omits Some] Concerning Henry Clay; Ridicules Rand Paul For Stating Facts
Dana Milbank portrays Henry Clay as an advocate of freedom who hated slavery [despite the fact that he owned slaves] and vilifies Rand Paul for stating the facts about Clay
by Larry Simons
February 11, 2011
In a February 2 article in The Washington Post, liberal writer and Skull & Bones alum Dana Milbank vilifies Kentucky senator Rand Paul for simply stating facts about 19th century statesman Henry Clay during Paul’s opening speech on the Senate floor.
In the article titled, “Rand Paul, the great uncompromiser”, Milbank says:
“His [Paul’s] first address to his Senate colleagues came in the form of an extended denunciation of one of his home state's favorite sons and one of America's most accomplished statesmen: Henry Clay, the antebellum Whig senator and speaker of the House known as the "Great Compromiser," whose work in the decades before the Civil War preserved the union.”
How could Clay have “preserved the Union” when his entire political philosophy evolved around unconstitutional beliefs and mandates that actually led to the eventual secession of the South? Naturally, Milbank refuses to mention the fact that Clay’s protectionist advocacy and proposal of a bill in 1824 to raise tariffs and of the 1828 Tariff of Abominations angered Southern politicians who immediately opposed it. It angered Southern citizens so much that it nearly caused secession then. The government backed down and reduced the tariffs in 1833.
This compromise was known as one of the big three compromises of Clay’s political career. Ironically, it was a compromise that angered Clay to make and one in which Clay receives credit for settling when he was the one who instigated it in the first place. Oddly, Clay also receives credit for “peacemaking” as a result of the Missouri Compromise when he persuaded two dueling factions in Congress to accept the state of Maine into the Union in 1820 as a non-slave state when Missouri [as part of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory] wanted to enter the Union as a slave state.
This, of course, would restore the balance of congressional representation among the states. What Milbank fails to comprehend is that if Clay were the pro-freedom/anti-slavery guy Milbank claims he was, Clay would have been working night and day to end slavery. Compensated emancipation would have been a great place for him to start.
Clay became so angered that he was forced to compromise [in 1833], that he promised to defy the South one day and raise tariffs even higher. Clay was the author of the American system and wanted desperately to bring the British mercantilist system to America. Defenders of the Jeffersonian view of limited, decentralized, constitutional government constantly stopped him. Clay got his wish [posthumously] in the establishment of the Hamiltonian view of a centralized, protectionist American system [that ignored the Constitution] in the election of his clone, Abraham Lincoln, in 1860. Clay’s promise of “defying the South” came true after his 1852 death in the form of dishonest Abe.
The Compromise of 1850 was yet another issue of newly acquired land for the country that divided the North and South again over the slavery issue. Henry Clay stepped forward once again to propose a compromise and offer concessions for both sides. Once again, Clay was not motivated by a desire to end slavery, but to keep alive the slave trade in Washington D.C., allowing the New Mexico and Utah territories as well as Texas to decide for themselves if they wanted to allow slavery.
Clay also proposed [as part of the Compromise] the extremely pro-slavery Fugitive Slave Law [a revamped version of the old Fugitive Slave Law of 1793], in which law officials, federal marshals and ordinary citizens were required to capture or assist in capturing escaped slaves even in non-slave states. The accused slaves were not entitled to a jury trial, nor could they testify in their own behalf even if they weren’t even a slave! If the accused slave was really a freedman, they could not resist their return to slavery. Yeah, Clay sure was “devoted to the cause of liberty” all right!
Milbank then includes excerpts of Paul’s senatorial speech:
“Henry Clay's life is, at best, a mixed message," Paul informed the nearly empty chamber, as he stood at a desk once occupied by Clay himself. The objectivist objected to Clay as "morally wrong," a slave master who had "no room for the abolitionists" and who made decisions that "may have even ultimately invited the war that came." Paul said such demerits should be considered "before we eulogize Henry Clay.”
Then Milbank says this, “Sorry, senator, but Clay already was eulogized -- in 1852 -- and the history has already been written.”
Milbank’s link to Clay’s eulogy delivered by Abraham Lincoln on July 6, 1852 is a much-condensed portion of the eulogy. In fact, in the portion linked to by Milbank, the only sentences taken from the eulogy are Lincoln’s own [positive] words written for Clay, and since Lincoln practically worshipped Clay, naturally none of the excerpts included in that condensed version would put Clay in a negative spotlight.
No part of the complete eulogy that includes Clay’s own words or puts negativity on Clay appears in the condensed version posted by Milbank [and there are portions of the eulogy that, when spoken in 1852, would not have seemed controversial or negative, but now they most certainly do]. This is why Milbank makes sure his readers only see a bullshit condensed version. This is how strong and widespread the Lincoln cult is: that even liberal Democrats buy into the myth that Lincoln [and his idol Henry Clay] were champions of freedom and hated slavery.
In the complete eulogy given by Lincoln here, we see why Milbank purposely misled his readers to a shortened form of the eulogy. I wonder if it is because in the eulogy Lincoln mentioned that Clay was one of the earliest members [and founders] of the American Colonization Society [Clay was its president when he died in 1852] when he said:
“The American Colonization Society was organized in 1816. Mr. Clay, though not its projector, was one of its earliest members; and he died, as for the many preceding years he had been, its President. It was one of the most cherished objects of his direct care and consideration; and the association of his name with it has probably been its very greatest collateral support. He considered it no demerit in the society, that it tended to relieve slave-holders from the troublesome presence of the free negroes; but this was far from being its whole merit in his estimation. In the same speech from which I have quoted he says: "There is a moral fitness in the idea of returning to Africa her children, whose ancestors have been torn from her by the ruthless hand of fraud and violence. Transplanted in a foreign land, they will carry back to their native soil the rich fruits of religion, civilization, law and liberty.”
“How they would do this after having been deprived of an education and of the fruits of religion, civilization, law and liberty in the United States was not explained”, writes historian Thomas J. DiLorenzo in “The Real Lincoln”.
Lincoln continues [in Clay’s eulogy]:
“May it not be one of the great designs of the Ruler of the universe, (whose ways are often inscrutable by short-sighted mortals,) thus to transform an original crime, into a signal blessing to that most unfortunate portion of the globe?" This suggestion of the possible ultimate redemption of the African race and African continent, was made twenty-five years ago. Every succeeding year has added strength to the hope of its realization. May it indeed be realized!”
Lincoln called being black in the United States “an original crime” then suggested that it would be an act of God to have blacks returned to “that most unfortunate portion of the globe [Africa]”
“If as the friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means, succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery; and, at the same time, in restoring a captive people to their long-lost father-land, with bright prospects for the future; and this too, so gradually, that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will indeed be a glorious consummation. And if, to such a consummation, the efforts of Mr. Clay shall have contributed, it will be what he most ardently wished, and none of his labors will have been more valuable to his country and his kind.”
Here, Lincoln attempts to act as a savior by the two-fold act of 1. Abolishing slavery [by removing all blacks to Liberia, which was a portion of land in Africa purchased by the American Colonization Society in 1822 for the sole purpose of sending all blacks to Africa under the guise of “ending slavery”] and 2. Giving black people hopes of a brighter tomorrow by returning them to “their long-lost father-land”. Also noteworthy is the fact that Lincoln was President of the Illinois Colonization Society.
Gee, what swell guys Clay and Lincoln were. It was so thoughtful for them to think about the well being of the black man and strive to give them the “best futures possible” so they could have “freedom, education, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Hmmmm, wasn’t that the idea of the Declaration of Independence? So they could have all those things right here in the U.S.?
Does Milbank mention any of this? Of course not. He mentions historian Robert Remini’s quote:
“[The] Compromise of 1850 delayed the catastrophe of civil war for ten years, and those ten years were absolutely essential for preserving the American nation under the Constitution. Had secession occurred in 1850, the South unquestionably would have made good its independence, and the country might well have split permanently into two nations.”
Milbank fails to mention what would have been wrong with the South seceding from the Union, since most Northern newspapers wished the South “god-speed” in their act of secession and no one besides Lincoln saw it as an act of treason. This is why Lincoln shut down over 300 Northern newspapers during the war, to silence their opposition and to indoctrinate generations with the myth that secession is "treason".
Milbank then says:
“The attempt to turn Clay into a pro-slavery figure was a daring position for Paul, who spent an embarrassing part of his campaign debating with himself about whether the Civil Rights Act was such a hot idea.”
Not only have I already debunked the lie that Clay was an abolitionist [or even a closet one], but Milbank links to a May 2010 article by Greg Sargent who repeats the lie that Rand Paul said “yes” to Rachel Maddow when she asked him, “"Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don't serve black people?”, on her show on May 19, 2010. I debunked this last year.
“Clay, the first person to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda, wasn't available to defend himself. But in the 2010 biography, "Henry Clay: The Essential American," David and Jeanne Heidler point out that the Great Compromiser's list of admirers included the Great Emancipator himself. Lincoln “admired Clay more than he did any other man on the American political scene,” they wrote, and he “was convinced, like Clay, that only gradual emancipation would end slavery without destroying the union.”
Here, Milbank attempts to glorify the works and beliefs of Clay by telling his readers that Lincoln was a big admirer of Clay. Why he uses a quote from two authors to point out an obvious fact that anyone who does 10 seconds of research can find out [that Lincoln admired Clay] is a big mystery. The irony here is that while Milbank acts as if it is not an obvious fact that Lincoln admired Clay [by using a quote by authors], which of course it is; it is also just as obvious [to anyone who cares about facts and doesn’t buy that Lincoln is a great man just because his face is on the penny, the 5 dollar bill and Mount Rushmore] that Lincoln is no one to be admired.
Lincoln was a racist dictator whose quest for empire destroyed the America that the founding fathers created and envisioned forevermore. Many could argue that America ended in April of 1865. They would be right. Lincoln freed no slaves, waged war against his own citizens and murdered over 300,000 of them in order to establish his real agenda: Adopting Henry Clay’s “American System” to centralize government, obliterate states’ rights and destroy individual liberty so it could be replaced with allegiance to the Federal government.
For Milbank to give his stamp of approval to Henry Clay by saying that Lincoln admired him shows that his knowledge of American history comes exclusively from Lincoln cultists.
Milbank admits in his next paragraph that Clay owned slaves. He justifies this by mentioning George Washington owned slaves too. I would assume from this statement that Milbank believes that two wrongs make a right. Was Washington the President of an organization created for the sole purpose of removing all blacks from the country? Did Washington’s actions directly lead to near secessions and eventually lead to a full blown one after his death? Was Rand Paul talking about George Washington in his speech? [Oh by the way, Washington posthumously freed all his slaves. It was in his will to do so]
Milbank then says:
“Had Clay been any more of an outright abolitionist, he would have become a “marginal figure,” David Heidler told me. Paul may think Clay's failure to embrace emancipation “cost him the presidency,” but Heidler pointed out that “no abolitionist could have secured the nomination of a major party” back then.”
An “outright” abolitionist? Are you kidding? In Lincoln’s eulogy to Clay, Lincoln said this:
“He ever was on principle and in feeling, opposed to slavery. The very earliest, and one of the latest public efforts of his life, separated by a period of more than fifty years, were both made in favor of gradual emancipation of the slaves in Kentucky. He did not perceive, that on a question of human right, the negroes were to be excepted from the human race. And yet Mr. Clay was the owner of slaves. Cast into life where slavery was already widely spread and deeply seated, he did not perceive, as I think no wise man has perceived, how it could be at once eradicated, without producing a greater evil, even to the cause of human liberty itself.”
“On principle and in feeling” he was “opposed to slavery”? But apparently not in practice. Lincoln said that Clay could not see how slavery could be eradicated “without producing a greater evil, even to the cause of human liberty”. Slavery is the complete opposite of human liberty, but Clay thought ending slavery [which gives birth to freedom] would be worse than slavery itself? Translation: Freedom for the black man is worse than him being enslaved.
Milbank contradicts himself by quoting David Heidler as saying, “no abolitionist could have secured the nomination of a major party [back then]”, when in the previous paragraph he said, “It was Clay's “corrupt bargain” that gave the presidency in 1824 to the anti-slavery John Quincy Adams.” Adams managed to become President while being very anti-slavery [which Milbank had just said]. In fact, Clay ran for President in the very same election  and both men were of the same party. Does Milbank have a clue of what he writes about?
I think Milbank should stick to writing about what he knows best: Fairy tales? His days at Skull & Bones? Revisionist history? Regardless of which topic he picks, it will guarantee that he won’t have to spend any time on research.