This morning a friend alerted me to the fact that today is day 76 of the Bleeding of the Earth in the Gulf of Mexico, while the U.S. “commemorates” July 4th, ’76… Hence the title of this post, beginning with two QUOTES:
1. “Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die.” — John Hollow Horn, Oglala Lakota
2. “There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than…the United States at this very hour.” — F. Douglass
I was going to go to a picnic on the Lake in Hamburg today, because a few months ago, I promised myself to go to all parties and gatherings to which I’m invited… But my car broke down (melted down, actually–a coolant leak, and it could have been sooooo much worse…) on Thursday night, and I am now without a car until Tuesday, which also means I had to reschedule some jobs from Friday to this weekend, which means I now have to work today since I was too tired to work on Saturday, after the car drama of the previous two days, so this post is my party and you’re invited!!
While I was at the mechanic’s, I sat in the sun on the curb of the step to his door, while he flushed the engine with water. I had driven only four blocks to get to the shop, but the car was dangerously overheated, and I guess I was lucky I made it there… The theme was heat: My mechanic showed me with a thermometer that the car was 275 degrees, there was the sun on my skin, there was the radiation from the black top under my feet. I watched from a distance as the water the mechanic poured into the radiator boiled wildly, and every once in awhile blow out in a spout as he leaped back, telling me not to try this at home unless the engine is cool. Then he said, “It’s too hot. We have to wait for it to get cooler before I can get you going just to get through today, so you can bring it in tomorrow.”
So, for about a quarter of an hour, as the seconds ticked away my work day and I knew I’d end up having to work this weekend, I ate breakfast while my mechanic worked on another car for a spell. I was holding two things in my hands: whole grain sourdough bread from locally owned Five Points Bakery and fresh local strawberries. I was holding at least two things in my head: 1. how screwed my work week was and now how screwed my weekend was, and therefore how it would spill into my coming work-week. And 2. I also knew that there are times one can see what’s ahead about larger matters, and can only head directly into it, as this article so eloquently reminds: https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/the-sheep-look-up-by-gray-brechin/ [Excerpt from this brilliant article is below]
And while I was thinking about that, a very large black ant appeared. I picked off a piece of bread and dropped it in front of it. As it hit the ground, a memory flashed from my childhood… I was five years old, on a hot summer day, feeding the ants with Italian bread on the warm cement in front of the house my family lived in with my Italian immigrant grandfather, on Busti Avenue. Mesmerized as I was, I didn’t even see my brother come along and step on the ants to kill them, until it was too late. Gasping, I heard my grandfather laughing and looked up at the porch, realizing he was the instructor behind my brother’s assault. So, remembering this, knowing I was safe from another such attack for now, I sat with my legs feeling the tar-heat of the parking lot, and watched my little friend respond to my offering. At first, he seemed to leaped back. I wondered if the dropping had sounded like a thud… Then he did a sort of a circle, walking first away from the bread crumb and then towards, eventually touching the bread crumb with his tentacles. After that, he climbed on top of it, and crawled all over it. He tried to move the crumb, and I realized it was too large for him. So, I put another–smaller one– down. Then he did a very curious thing. He walked around both crumbs, and then walked to my left, towards the south, about two feet, and then turned and walked towards the west, about 3 feet, and then turned and walked about 6 feet north, and then headed back in my direction, or the direction of the crumb. It was essentially a rectangular path he had drawn, and I had no idea what he was doing or saying, but I wondered if my sense was correct… He seemed to be marking a kind of visceral memory map of the location of the food. And when he came back to the crumb, he neither ate nor took the bread. He left again.
When I’m in the middle of a stream of thought that came to me only because my day has been unexpectedly interrupted and I’m now forced to sit and wait with the understanding that this is all out of my control and I might as well just breathe and enjoy the time to sit and watch the world, my mind just wanders in that stream and takes me where it will…. So, the fact that the ant didn’t take the bread reminded me of another encounter I had about 15 yrs ago… I was walking with a friend on a cold winter day. A homeless man we see regularly in our neighborhood approached us for money, and we didn’t have any. I said, “But I have this orange!”, which I took out of my pocket and handed to him. He declined the offer. I was naively stunned. When I wondered aloud why a person who’s homeless would refuse free food, my friend with whom I was walking, the friend with whom I’d eat dinner later, and with whom I’d return to a warm home and a comfortable place to sleep, where I could read, or we could talk, and from where I’d wake up in the morning and know where the front door is, said, “Food’s easy. It’s living with the pain that’s hard.”
And in mid-stream of that recall, my mechanic walked back to my car, past me, telling me how strawberries are one of his favorite foods and how to keep them fresher longer and how he just loves fruit, and I told him how I know too few people who like fruit, and we talked about bananas and how winter’s hard towards the end, when the only fruits left are apples and dry fruits……….
This post is a “we are all downstream-of-the-Gulf” random collection quotes from friends and links with excerpts. Note: Every year on the 4th of July, NPR does a really annoying special with all the staff reading from the declaration of independence. And Democracy Now does a great special that far surpasses that, using the voices and words of artists and activists voicing the real radical spirit of this day. The spirit of this post is in that camp. What follows is a stream of consciousness compilation of the history of July the 4th, in the context of current events, in solidarity with the deportees at the Arizona / Mexico border, and in solidarity with the Puerto Rican resistance to occupation, and in solidarity with the homeless, jobless, angry, hungry, fighting-back masses who must rise up to protect the earth on which their lives depend, which is being killed by the rich…..I’m remembering what Frederick Douglass said, in EIGHTEEN FIFTY TWO: “… May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice & of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, & the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, & the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young…” The nation, Folks, is older, the future is here, and the prophets still sit in full view, no longer consoled by the youth of the occupation…” What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=162
SPIRIT OF ’76 IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE COMMUNITIES OF LIFE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, THE BIRDS AND WATER-DWELLERS, AND THE OCEANS OF THE WORLD:
First Amendment Has been Suspended: Now, it’s illegal to take photos of the oiled soaked birds & marshes & booms.
Photojournalist Nick Zantop finds a dolphin wreck (many bodies) at the east end of Grand Isle, and avoids having his images confiscated by BP goons. He wonders why no other images of this fairly accessible wreck have surfaced in the news. Graphic. itsjustlight.com Black Death (part VII)…Jul 2nd, 2010…by nick….This entry is the seventh of a several-part installment on my coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico….It should be noted that this entry is VERY heavy on photo content (and is very long in general). It may take up to a few minutes for all of the images to load if you aren’t using a high-speed internet connection. You can access a larger version of each image in every entry by clicking on the photo; a new window or tab will open with the larger image, which I highly recommend to see the most detail. http://itsjustlight.com/?p=1146
The Sheep Look Up by Gray Brechin Posted on July 2, 2010…by Gray Brechin Dandelion Salad July 2, 2010 PORT FOURCHON, LA – JUNE 28: “…But what if David Bowman had told his wife that “something terrible” is about to happen? How would she — and ticket buyers — have responded?…But something terrible did. It was, in fact, the culmination of many planetary assaults that had been accelerating in number and ferocity for centuries. Battered and sapped by ever rising human population and consumption, the Earth’s complex life support systems had quietly sickened, grown more threadbare and febrile. Few distracted by entertainment, gadgets, and faith in a sky god noticed the actual emptiness of those skies or the poverty of the oceans…Youth half a century on is maturing in a very different world. Ever more umbilically dependent upon machines and the fossil fuel-derived energy that drives them, they live with a young technocrat in the White House who promised change but who — bereft of any vision of how the earth’s resources could be more equitably distributed and its technology more wisely used — delivered instead the status quo. As the lethal cloud spreads unchecked in the sea, few yet understand that a dead ocean means dead land….Those in On the Beach knew what was coming as few today do. As the worsening news from the Gulf becomes chronic, it retreats into the inner pages of dying newspapers, displaced from the front page by the World Cup and Tiger Woods’ comeback. That much of life could be ending on Planet Earth would be a bummer for many, and very bad for business. The lights must never go out, wrote Auden at the outbreak of World War II, the music must always play….That may soon change. There will be no security in high-riding Hummers or in fully loaded automatics. There will be no escape or refuge for the hyper wealthy in their pre-fueled private jets as the life support systems of Planet Earth go down. Sybaritic retreats like Atlantis in the Bahamas could soon submerge under dead and oily water. Each person may soon be forced to decide what to do with what time is left to him or her and to those they love… https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/the-sheep-look-up-by-gray-brechin/
Boycott BP BP boss Tiny Tony (minúsculo Tony) is building £1.3m Spanish villa to “escape” the oil spill mess. Must be nice. Hey Tiny Tony soon you will be able to see your handy work from your front yard, My deepest sympathies to the Spanish people for having Tiny Tony as your neighbor. Mi más sentido pésame al pueblo español po… r haber minúsculo Tony como su vecino. Boycott bp… Deny Tiny Tony more Money BP brands to boycott include Castrol, Arco, Aral, am/pm, Amoco, Wild Bean Cafe .Deutsche gegen ARAL Vereinigten…BP boss building £1.3m Spanish villa to “escape” oil spill mess Sindh Today News www. sindhtoday. net London, July 4 (ANI): Tony Hayward, the chief executive who has gifted our planet its worst man-made ecological catastrophe ever in the form of the BP oil blowout, is planning to get away from the entire mess – by building a luxurious holiday home high in Spanish hills overlooking the coast. Two people from the oil industry live round the corner from Hayward’s lodge, owning villas on the same estate….‘The area’s nicknamed Oil Corner,’ said Brit neighbour Marjorie Tripp, 69, who bought her home here 17 years ago….She added: ‘The place is now full of wealthy executives who want to get away from it all, but it’s not the sort of place where people hang out and chat over the fence….‘You come here to escape from it all and not get bothered by anyone. It’s strange to think I’m living just a stone’s throw away from the man being blamed for this current world crisis.’ (ANI)… http://www.sindhtoday.net/news/2/152572.htm
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” ~President Abraham Lincoln
The Price at the Pump by Ted Rall
tedralltoons July 01, 2010…Episode 28 in a series of short animated political cartoons by award-winning syndicated cartoonist Ted Rall and David Essman…
www. rall. com
BP Oil Disaster WORST CASE SCENARIO w/ Kindra Arnesen, BP Community Liaison…ProjectGulfImpact…ProjectGulfImpact July 01, 2010…Kindra Arnesen tells team @PrjGulfImpact about the possible outcomes for the BP Oil Disaster including her worst case scenarios, why she is moving, and her fears for the next 60 days….Project Gulf Impact – follow the truth, ask questions…. http://www.Twitter.com/prjgulfimpact
Obama deal allows bp to break oil spill research funding: http://www.mvgazette.com/article.php?26145
BP Hires CIA General Counsel Stanley Sporkin as Lobbyist by Stephen Lendman Saturday Jun 26th, 2010 7:22 PM…Stanley Sporkin was General Counsel for the CIA 5 years under William Casey during the Iran Contra years. This is the same CIA which with MI6 responded to Iran’s sovereign right to nationalize oil by overthrowing her elected government in 1953-4 and installing the torturing Shah of Iran and BP. Next Sporkin, like several other CIA employees, was moved DIRECTLY into federal judgeships through Orrin Hatch, Mormon Republican from Utah, then head of the Judiciary Committee….Stanley Sporkin: BP’s Ombudsman Fixer by Stephen Lendman Email: lendmanstephen (nospam) sbcglobal. net (verified) 23 Jun 2010 corruption in high places Stanley Sporkin: BP’s Ombudsman Fixer – by Stephen Lendman http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/26/18651967.php
Joe Kleinberg wrote: “Well, it is the 4th of July! Is there enough methane gas in the air yet, to cause a more spectacular fireworks display TONIGHT in Florida, and around the gulf?”
BP : We’re All Downstream Submitted by worker on Fri, 2010-06-04 18:54. Quality is made scarce, and only the rich can afford to live as we all should be able to live – in high quality dwellings, surrounded by lovely nature, eating and drinking of the finest of Earth’s offerings. Instead, the vast majority of us are forced to live as cheaply as possible, with minimal wages and encouraged to hoard/”save up” what money we are able to obtain to buy this or that “luxury”. “As ‘natural’ products have become a niche market for those affluent enough to pay for them, the goods available to everyone else are even shoddier and more toxic than before.” – Brian Tokar, Earth for Sale. Good-quality food, water and housing should not be a luxury….Capitalism is a system based on the spoiling and scarcity of all that is good quality in life. Thus Capitalism is a system of poverty….We are all downstream and downwind of BP’s toxic mess, and every other assault of the planet by the Capitalist system. And no water or air filter is going to be enough to protect us, unless we stop this Capitalist madness!…Instead of a system that puts profits before people and the environment, we need something new, something that has not been tried before – a system that holds the planet and life on it in the highest regard, seeing no other profit than the improvement of the quality of life for all living things.
SPIRIT OF ’76:
arnove January 13, 2008
Danny Glover Reads Frederick Douglass
Actor Danny Glover reads abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s “Fourth of July Speech, 1852” on October 5, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. Part of a reading from Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.)
Arundhati Roy on Obama’s Wars, India and Why Democracy Is “The Biggest Scam in the World” Roy-democracynow…We speak with acclaimed Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy on President Obama, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, India and Kashmir and much more. Roy also talks about her journey deep into the forests of central India to report on the Maoist insurgency. [includes rush transcript]
Weekend Edition July 2 -5, 2010 How on Earth Did This Happen? Living the Regressive Dream…By DAVID MICHAEL GREEN…Let’s be honest: We live in stunningly, jaw-droppingly, ridiculously absurd political times….But, hey, forgive my little flight into logical analysis there. We really cannot have that in these times. For a minute there, I forgot to forget. It won’t happen again, Mr. O’Brien, I assure you. From now on, up is down, black is white, war is peace, government is bad and corporations are purveyors of Happy Meals (happy, that is, unless you happen to be a cow, like having small businesses around, have a problem with obesity, don’t want your planet to catch fire, or object to the creation of massive great lakes full of animal waste). Yep, big business is good! That’s why we need to apologize to BP for our government “shaking them down” and forcing them to be slightly-barely-kinda-nominally-sorta responsible for their ecological and economic epic disaster in the Gulf. Get it?…The truth is that you’re living the regressive dream just now, right as we speak….We’ve let corporations run wild. We’ve decimated the government whose function it was to regulate them in the public’s interest. We’ve shifted a very large pile of your money into the hands of the richest one percent of us, and given you and your kids loads of government debt to pay off in exchange. We’ve shipped your job off to China or India. We’ve completely immunized all branches of your government from any form of influence other than from rapacious plutocrats….So my question is, fellow Americans, now that we’ve all had a nice heaping helping of what regressive politics means for us real people down here below the stratosphere, “How’s that recessioney, oily thing working out for ya?”…Eh? http://counterpunch.org/green07022010.html
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people…” Remember why we celebrate this day, and think… Have we not become the British Empire? Wake up because in fact, we have become worse. This independence day, declare your independence from racism, war, and inequality. Declare your independence from everything in which your ethical values disagree. Declare your independence from empire, from the largest empire in world history. Declare your independence from the red white and blue that symbolize all of this and the killing of innocent people. This independence day prove to the millions of dead Middle Eastern Children that you honestly do care. This independence day, burn what symbolizes suffering to an entire region of the world, multiple races, and many of its own people. This 4th of July, burn the flag of empire and all the evils that go with it….for the record, this event isn’t about hating america per se, but more about hating blind nationalism and the actions of our government… and the actions our government is enabled to take through the apathy and indifference of its constituents. this event is more about not tolerating flags of ANY kind. as franti said, ‘i’ve never been into flags of any kind. while they may bring people together, they always bring people together against other people.’ Michael Franti (Spearhead): We Don’t Stop
Howard Zinn–Put Away the Flags:
Sara Holden Houston wrote: Claim your independence: smash your t. v. 😉
Thomas Jefferson Feared an Aristocracy of Corporations John Nichols July 4, 2010
So, yes, by all means, let us look to the original intent of the founders this July 4. But let us recognize what they actually said and meant about the danger posed by an “aristocracy of corporations” and the danger of allowing CEOs to ride roughshod over the democratic promise of the American experiment.
William Richardson wrote:
“As a show of my patriotism, here’s a partial list of democratically elected governments overthrown by or with support from the US since WWII: Iran; 1953, Guatemala 1954, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1960, Brazil 1964, Bolivia 1971, Chile 1973, Argentina 1976, Nicaragua 1981-90, Haiti 1991, Venezuela 2002, and count… less others, often being replaced with military dictatorships. Let freedom ring.”
SPIRIT OF ’76 IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL THE CURRENT VICTIMS AND HISTORICAL OF OCCUPIED TURTLE ISLAND:
A couple years ago, my friend Mad Love had someone post a very patriotic message on his Myspace page. Never mind that he lives in Vancouver, and that he’s the furthest thing from a nationalist one can get… Below is what she wrote to him, and then his response…:
“On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain, and out Democracy was born. As Americans we will be celebrating our freedom on the 4th of July, as we do so this week, let us not forget our past and present military soldiers; for we are known as the “land of the free” thanks to the BRAVE! Happy Birthday America! As an American, do you know the basic facts?….”
YES, CELEBRATE YOUR FREEDOM TO FIRST KILL INDIANS AT HOME, THEN BROWN PEOPLE THE WORLD OVER FOR GENERATIONS…YOU [AS A WOMAN] COULDN’T VOTE IN THAT “DEMOCRACY” FOR ANOTHER 150 YRS ALONG WITH THE BLACKS AND AFOREMENTIONED ORIGINAL INHABITANTS AND BESIDES THAT YOUR MEN INVENTED DIDDLY SQUAT–THE GREEKS BEGAN DEMOCRACY (AND THEIR SLAVES AND WOMEN COULDN’T VOTE EITHER). YOU SHOULD READ ARISTOTLE. HE COULD TELL YOU THAT YOU LIVE IN A PLUTOCRACY, RULED BY THE RICH, FOR WHOM, LIKE SCOOTER LIBBY [ FOR EXAMPLE], THERE IS A DIFFERENT SET OF LAWS. TO HELL WITH YOU AND YOUR RIDICULOUSLY UNDER-EDUCATED SOLDIERS KILLING FOR NO GOOD REASON. YOU ARE A BLIGHT ON THE WORLD, AND THE LAST AND GREATEST BETRAYAL OF HUMAN DREAMS.”
SPIRIT OF ’76 IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PUERTO RICAN STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE:
“U. S. imperialism keeps the Island of Puerto Rico under occupation for more than a century; celebrating your great achievement July 4 is a blasphemy for people living under colonial rule. Today, July 4, is a shameful celebration, as you are a force of occupation in various venues around the world and one that legitimizes the Zionist intervention of Palestine.” Alberto Barreto Cardona
SEIU Calls for Congressional Investigation of Puerto Rico Riot Police Action FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Published July 2, 2010 3:33 PM…In Puerto Rico: Manolo Coss: (939) 645-3972 In DC: Meghan Finegan: (617) 283-8597…Washington, DC — Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued this statement today concerning the actions of the Puerto Rico Riot Squad in response to a non-violent protest led by university students at Puerto Rico’s Capitol in San Juan on Wednesday, June 30….”The right of individuals to openly and freely voice their dissent forms the foundation of a responsive, vibrant democracy. As working men and women throughout the island of Puerto Rico have shared their first-hand reports of the events that took place at the Capitol this week, we are deeply concerned that the actions of the police, and of the Puerto Rican government, were driven to stifle and repress the voices of these university students and citizens….”What is even more troubling – the government’s questionable use of force and the intimidation of citizens appear to be escalating on the island and no one is immune: journalists, gay men and women, our union brothers and sisters, and activists from every field who seek to make their voices heard and improve their lives and their communities….”I am certain that many members of the U. S. media and many leaders in Washington are completely unaware of the disturbing events that took place Wednesday. http://www.seiu.org/2010/07/seiu-calls-for-congressional-investigation-of-puerto-rico-riot-police-action.php
SPIRIT OF ’76 IN SOLIDARITY WITH “DEPORTEES”:
The REAL “Monroe Doctrine”: “I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeerin… g is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested… “There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket….” http://rationalrevolution.net/war/major_general_smedley_butler_usm.htm
06.30.10 – 11:15 PM And Jesus Said Unto Them, Let Us Place Land Mines Along the Mexican Border…by Abby Zimet… http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/06/30-3
bravenewfoundation June 15, 2010
EXCLUSIVE! In protest of AZ anti-immigrant law, Outernational featuring Tom Morello & Cuéntame have produced this moving MUSIC VIDEO that highlights the struggles and lives of migrants and “deportees” across the country.
SPIRIT OF ’76 IN SOLIDARITY WITH EYES WIDE OPEN TO THE CLASS WAR PERPED ON US SINCE LONG BEFORE ’76:
Who Owns You?…”Nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. The real owners of this country have the politicians in their back pocket. The politicians are put there to make you believe you have freedom of choice – you don’t. You have owners.”…”It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. It’s the same big club they beat you over the with and tell you what to believe, what to think, what to buy. The table is titled folks, the game is rigged.”…George Carlin knows and tells us about it…
From my friend Haymarket Presente: “While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”–Eugene V. Debs
Rage Against the Machine Burning the American Flag “Fuck you! I won’t do what you tell me!”
SPIRIT OF ’76 FROM YOURS TRULY:
F%ck the fourth of July!
Thanks to Robert Bohm for those images…