Sunday 9th of August 2020

happy fourth of july...


More than three-quarters of a century after the delegates of the Second Continental Congress voted to quit the Kingdom of Great Britain and declared that “all men are created equal,” Frederick Douglass stepped up to the lectern at Corinthian Hall, in Rochester, New York, and, in an Independence Day address to the Ladies of the Rochester Anti-Slavery Sewing Society, made manifest the darkest ironies embedded in American history and in the national self-regard. “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” Douglass asked...

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Cartoon from The New Yorker, circa 1960. Note the workers in the field... They are robots.

the full speech of Frederick Douglass...


Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that the dumb might eloquently speak and the "lame man leap as an hart."


But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn that it is dangerous to copy the example of nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people.

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! We wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."

Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! Whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorry this day, "may my right hand cleave to the roof of my mouth"! To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine. I do not hesitate to declare with all my soul that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate, I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, shall not confess to be right and just....

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not as astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, and secretaries, having among us lawyers doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers; and that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!...


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The American Civil War, also called War Between the States, four-year war (1861–65) between the United States and 11 Southern states that seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America, followed....


Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey;c. February 1818[4] – February 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory[5] and incisive antislavery writings. In his time, he was described by abolitionists as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.[6][7] Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.[8]

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we the dorks...


The United States' public radio broadcaster has faced accusations of spreading propaganda after they marked the Fourth of July holiday by tweeting the nation's Declaration of Independence line by line.

For the past 29 years, National Public Radio (NPR) has broadcast on-air readings of the declaration.

This year, the NPR Twitter account decided to do things a little differently but the exercise was lost on many.

Clearly unaware of what the tweets were, a number of Twitter users slammed NPR for tweeting "trash" and accused the organisation of trying to push an agenda.

"Propaganda is all that you know how?" Twitter user John Lemos, who has since deleted his account but whose tweets were screenshot by Winnipeg Free Press reporter Melissa Martin.

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Both human and machine have 10 seconds per plant. They must find the ripe strawberries in the leaves, gently twist them off the stems and tuck them into a plastic clamshell. Repeat, repeat, repeat, before the fruit spoils.

One February afternoon, they work about an acre apart on a farm the size of 454 football fields: dozens of pickers collecting produce the way people have for centuries — and a robot that engineers say could replace most of them as soon as next year.

The future of agricultural work has arrived here in Florida, promising to ease labor shortages and reduce the cost of food, or so says the team behind Harv, a nickname for the latest model from automation company Harvest CROO Robotics.

Harv is on the leading edge of a national push to automate the way we gather goods that bruise and squish, a challenge that has long flummoxed engineers.

Designing a robot with a gentle touch is among the biggest technical obstacles to automating the American farm. Reasonably priced fruits and vegetables are at risk without it, growers say, because of a dwindling pool of workers.

“The labor force keeps shrinking,” said Gary Wishnatzki, a third-generation strawberry farmer. “If we don’t solve this with automation, fresh fruits and veggies won’t be affordable or even available to the average person.”

The problem is so pressing that competitors are banding together to fund Harv, which has raised approximately $9 million from corporate behemoths like Driscoll’s and Naturipe Farms, as well as local farmers.

Wishnatzki, who created Harv with former Intel engineer Bob Pitzer, one of the minds behind the television hit “BattleBots,” has invested $3 million of his own money.


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120-year old spelling mistake has been fixed...

ALBANY — This spelling slip-up is no longer set in stone.

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ last name, misspelled ‘Douglas’ since at least the 1890s in the state Capitol, has finally gotten its extra ‘S.’

Douglass’ face is among 77 carved into the ornate interior stonework of the Capitol’s “Million Dollar Staircase” from 1884 to 1898. He’s the only African-American.

But the stone carver at the time spelled his name “Douglas.”

A carver hired more than 100 years later by the state added the second “s” on Wednesday.

Staircase construction took 14 years, employed over 500 stone cutters and carvers and totals 444 steps.

It was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson.

This is the first recorded name fix.


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celebrating the fourth of july with sprague...

Charles Sprague (October 26, 1791 – January 22, 1875) was an early American poet. He worked for 45 years for the State and Globe Banks and was often referred to as the "Banker Poet of Boston". His odes and prologues won several competitive prizes and were collected and published in 1841 as The Writings of Charles Sprague.

Many of Charles Sprague's poems were delivered at public festivities — major, historical Boston events — including Curiosity, delivered at the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard University in 1829. This is his longest and most elaborate work. In the Salem Observer, August 29, 1829, it is noted that at the commencement at Harvard an honorary degree of Master of Arts was given to Mr. Charles Sprague, the poet. It goes on to state, "We are glad that the distributors of the literary honors of old Harvard are so discriminating in the selection of the candidates for their favors". This was quite an accomplishment as his formal education ended at thirteen and he was the epitome of a 'self-made man. "Shakespeare Ode" was delivered at a Boston theatre in a pageant in honor of Shakespeare, in 1823; "Ode" was pronounced at the Centennial Celebration of the Settlement of Boston of 1830; "Triennial Ode" at the Massachusetts Charitable Assoc. 1818; "Fifty Years Ago" at the Fourth of July Celebration, and "Song" at a festival in Faneuil Hall.


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Turn to the press — its teeming sheets survey,

Big with the wonders of each passing day;

Births, deaths, and weddings, forgeries, fires and wrecks,

Harangues and hailstones, brawls and broken necks.


―Charles Sprague


Meanwhile the Donald wants TANKS ON PARADE!

President Donald Trump's plans to host a military parade on US Independence Day this week have left critics seeing red, rather than red, white and blue.

At his "Salute to America" on Thursday, Mr Trump will address the nation from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC amid a parade of military tanks. 

But city officials have expressed dismay at the possible damage to roads at the 4 July event.

A congressman dismissed the celebration as a presidential vanity project.


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diverting cash for a donald parade...

The US National Park Service (NPS) is diverting almost $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees to fund an Independence Day parade at the National Mall in Washington DC, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Speaking under condition of anonymity, two administrators provided insight into the White House’s closely guarded secret of how much taxpayer money would go to the expanded celebration, which Trump has dubbed “Salute to America".

While US presidents have traditionally refrained from participating in Independence Day celebrations, this year, Trump will give a speech at the Lincoln Memorial, sparking fears that the president is turning the national holiday into a campaign-like event.


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a despot's self-award on 2019-07-04.....

Washington is getting Trump’s martial parade after all. Today the capital will see fighter jet flyovers, marching Marines, and a pair of Abrams tanks squatting like mastiffs on the National Mall. It will surely be politicized and cost millions. But this “Salute to Service” has a far bigger problem: what the hell are we celebrating?

Certainly not victory in the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism). For all the unquestioned valor and dedication of our servicemen, our military is 0 – 2 in wars against ill-equipped insurgents since 9/11. Toss in the crusade to kill Qaddafi and we’re 0 – 3 above the tactical level. The jury is still out on Syria. 

America has spent nearly $6 trillion in the war on terror. The cost to the countries we broke is incalculable. Afghanistan and Libya will continue their civil wars for years, if not decades. Iraq could easily join them again. 

Okay, so how about celebrating the force itself? Today’s tributes, honestly, will come off as empty as any Starbucks salute. Since 9/11, we have lost nearly 7,000 men and women in combat and have returned at least 350,000 mentally and physically damaged veterans to their communities. Yet the VA remains a work in progress, at best.


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Meanwhile in pussygrabbingland:


US President Donald Trump claims this year’s July 4 celebration on the National Mall will be the “show of a lifetime,” featuring a series of musical performances, military flyovers and a public address from 45 himself. However, Trump’s scheduled displays may not be the only prominent gatherings in Washington, DC.


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A Sarbuck salute? Trump showed us the way...:


whitewashing black slavery...

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport apologised for the tweet that advertised the promotional campaign, describing the slave trade as an “abhorrent practice”.

A new promotional campaign launched by the UK Department of Transport, lauding the British maritime sector, has come under fire from academics due to the imagery used in it.

As The Guardian points out, some of the ships featured in the ad, such as fluyts and the East Indiaman, were "used between the 16th and 19th centuries to establish the British Empire, transport slaves and indentured labourers across the Atlantic and bring hauls of valuable goods to Britain".

​"This is what happens when the historical memory is limited to a narrative in which we simply abolished slavery – it is remarkably tone-deaf, never mind historically illiterate," historian and author Kim Wagner said as quoted by the newspaper.

Priyamvada Gopal of Cambridge University described the history of British commercial shipping as "a deeply violent one, which included shipping millions of black and indentured bodies tightly packed in the holds of ships to be exploited on plantations."

The tweet in question also sent ripples across social media, with many netizens criticising the department’s move.

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retaliation for attacks on monuments?...

A statue of the 19th Century US black activist Frederick Douglass has been toppled in New York state. 

It appears to have been vandalised on 5 July - the anniversary of a famous speech the former slave gave in 1852. 

In it he said Independence Day celebrations were a sham in a nation that still enslaved its black citizens. 

His statue, in the city of Rochester, could have been targeted in retaliation for attacks on monuments linked to slavery, activists said.

The leader of the group that erected the statue, Carvi Eison, said a new statue of Douglass would take its place.

No-one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack on the statue.


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the full speech of Frederick Douglass...



See also: gentile black and anti-semitism... in when racism was more civilised and had less anger...