Why I have Always Hated Independence Day in the USA

Why I have Always Hated Independence Day (July 4th) in the USA

I am not the only one, either.

Fireworks
I could enjoy the fireworks from a great distance and up high, only. Sometimes I could get to my own or someone else’s rooftop or high window and watch from afar and admire the colors without hearing the awful noises: those I could appreciate, somewhat. But, I never forgot, even as a little girl, that these contraptions are supposed to represent bombs and I hate bombs, I hate war, and I, according to my mom and my own memories, have always hated fireworks up close. Still do.

illusion of democracy fireworks
image from http://www.247newsworld.com

Troy Patterson REALLY hates fireworks: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/a_fine_whine/2009/07/fireworks_suck.html

Patriotism
I am deeply disappointed in this country and have been for as long as I can remember. How can anyone around my age (60, born in 1954), whose first clear memory of a President is the insane, lying criminal, Richard M. Nixon, be patriotic?

The USA, in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, drafted and then sent millions of my classmates (and they were BOYS) to their maiming, mental health breakdowns, drug addictions or deaths in Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia FOR NO GOOD REASON.

ALL the “wars” the USA has “fought” since World War II have been nothing but thinly disguised efforts to make some a-holes richer and further the political agendae of yet another group of ignorant buffoons that the people of this country keep electing.

It is shameful, embarrassing and horrible that the USA is STILL DOING THAT today in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere else the war-mongers can stir up enough jingoism to get people to volunteer.

When Barbara Streisand sang “America, the Beautiful” for Bill Clinton’s campaign show, I cried. Not because it was so wonderful or she was so great, and not because I was moved by Clinton (the women-exploiting, lying sack of sh*t). No. I cried because I cannot feel what I wished I could feel: I can feel no pride and no love for a country I have lived in all my life.

Whatever does anyone have to be proud of? What is there to love besides the lands’ natural wonders (the ones we haven’t yet ruined) and the people we already care about?

The USA shows up far too low or is the lowest on the ranked lists, lowest among ALL “modern,” or “Westernized” countries, in too many categories to count. I’m talking about our ratings on handling issues that really matter, like infant mortality, educational attainment (high school graduation), child poverty, racist police violence, racist incarceration, numbers incarcerated, numbers of addicts/alcoholics, gun violence/mass shootings, domestic violence, rape, homelessness: on and on and on.

Aaron Sorkin nailed this problem (our mistaken belief in the USA as the “greatest country in the world”) in the rant he wrote for Jeff Daniels’ news anchor character to give in the HBO TV show, Newsroom (responses start after audience-member’s question at 3:10; Daniels’ actual rant begins at about 4:40): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpn0vh2Rj0Y or https://youtu.be/Rpn0vh2Rj0Y

Are YOU an American and proud? How? I really want to know how you reconcile the actual dismal facts of this country’s historical record and current terrible policies and behaviors around the world with your desire to be a patriot: they don’t make enough booze in the world to drown out the noise of that cognitive dissonance for me.

Celebrating War
At its core, Independence Day, July Fourth, celebrates the Revolutionary War and the newly formed United States of America’s “victory” in it. As a lifelong pacifist who abhors violence and would avoid it in every case, except as a last resort or best tactic to prevent further harm and death (as in World War II), I deplore all uses of violence and especially warfare.

Scotland recently had a VOTE to determine whether or not it should become independent from Britain. Did anyone consider that option in 1776? I highly doubt it. Maybe it wouldn’t have worked; we can’t know. But I do not want to celebrate the deployment of violent methods to achieve something that may well have been attainable by nonviolent means and certainly was not necessary.

Hundreds of thousands of people died in the USA’s Revolutionary War and subsequent wars of “independence” around the world, due to the USA’s “shining example.” I am as ashamed of all of those wars as if I had started them myself.

I also DO NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS who currently serve in the USA military, since they serve as volunteers who decided to go kill people the USA and its deluded allies have no business killing, to destroy and steal property we have no business wrecking, and otherwise to wreak havoc in other people’s countries FOR NO GOOD REASON.

These “wars” have NOTHING to do with the attacks on the USA on 9/11/01 and have actually increased the terrorism in the world rather than helped it abate. If you don’t believe me, look at the rise in terror attacks and the growth of ISIS. How else do you explain those?

No one made them go. No one should have volunteered. If no one had volunteered, the “war efforts” would have died in one year or a few months. Truly.

NO ONE should have volunteered. Period.

Why would ANYONE “support” those “troops” and these activities? I really want to know.

The USA’s “image” or “brand” has been “slipping” in the world everywhere but Western Europe for over a decade because of our hypocrisies, torture training centers and usage of torture, pollution and degradation of the planet’s resources due to corporate greed and war-mongering at others’ expense. http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/chapter-1-the-american-brand/

That is another reason NOT to “celebrate” this country on July 4th.

Gratitude and Wishes
Whom am I grateful to? Bradley/Chelsea Manning. Julian Assange. Edward Snowden. Bernie Sanders. Daniel Ellsberg. Karen Silkwood. Rosa Parks. Bree Newsome.

Rolling-Rebellion-Taos-4th-of-July-Parade-gratitude1-e1405261595292
image from: http://www.globalresearch.ca

I Wish…the USA would join the world in better living and cooperation. Start with these:
–Sign the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.
–Provide universal healthcare for all citizens in the USA for free.
–Provide college educations at public universities to all students for free and eliminate/forgive ALL student loan debt right now.
–Sign the reduction in land-mines agreement.
–Sign the reduction in carbon emissions agreement.
–Sign all treaties that attempt to stop human trafficking, sex slavery, child abduction and forced human drug smuggling from occurring.
–Improve and provide housing, alternative health care, better education, enough food and actual public safety (better policing) for ALL our own citizens.
–Model caring, democratic living for the world.
–Stop all forms of discrimination based on religion, appearance, gender, sexual orientation, and other types of social identities.
–Stop all forms of rape, sexual attacks and domestic violence by enforcing the existing laws and making better ones everywhere.
–Reduce child abuse and child poverty by providing more opportunities for jobs and meaningful employment at living wages for all citizens who want to and are able to work.
–Provide free childcare and pre-school to all children.
–Stop all armed conflicts, destroy all mass weapons we own and stop producing them.
–Repurpose the military budget to serve our citizens better (see above).

rebellion-when-injustice-becomes-law-e1412174046276
image from: http://kellidgordonlibertyblog.wordpress.com

What do you wish? Comment here. http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Best to you on this weekend, whatever you’re doing. I wish I could celebrate. Instead, I will meditate on world peace.

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Why I write about #politics, #elections, #issues and support Emily’s List #feminist #candidates

I WILL write about #politics, #elections, #issues and support Emily’s List #feminist #candidates…and so should you!

feminist activist causes
image from: http://www.list.co.uk

Maybe you think “social media” should just be for posting pictures that are funny or cute. Maybe you don’t want to offend or alienate anyone. Maybe you’re a coward. Maybe you’re undecided. Maybe you’re ignorant and don’t know enough about anything political to write about it. Whatever your reasons or rationales, cut it out.

If you are a USA citizen or a citizen of any country that allows you to vote and you do not exercise that duty and right for EVERY election, informing yourself (which is easier to do than ever before with information EVERYWHERE) and taking a stand on candidates and issues as adults who care are motivated to do, than I want you reading this post to inspire and educate yourself.

If you’re already politically active and savvy, great: SHARE!

First of all, there is a sea of candidates out there for almost every elected post and many campaigns of mis- and dis-information attempting to muddy the waters further. What’s an interested, concerned citizen to do? Utilize the groups that vet candidates and issues FOR us, that’s what. Find a group/entity who screens, analyzes, evaluates and presents, according to YOUR values and interests, those you’d want to vote for, complete with reasons, and information about whom and what to vote against as well.

Propaganda v science
image from: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com

Better yet, if you’re so inclined, RUN for office. Offer yourself to serve on a Board or Commission. Join/donate to/volunteer for a local or state chapter of the League of Women Voters, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), the National Organization for Women (NOW), or whatever else strikes your fancy. Start small and keep going, because city council members, school board members, mayors, sheriffs, judges and many others in local offices later become state or federal senators, congressional representatives for the state or federal government, state governors, Supreme Court judges, presidents!

As a life-long feminist committed to environmental, social, educational and other more radical values/components that mesh with my Buddhist, nonviolent foundations, I choose appropriate news sources (mostly nonprofits to boot) to help me learn and decide.

Here are a few I use and recommend:

  • Emily’s List http://www.emilyslist.org/, whose mission is: “We elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.”
  • Mother Jones magazine http://www.motherjones.com/, which has been analyzing and reporting from the center of core issues, reporting what many do NOT report and reporting truthfully, paid off by NO ONE, for decades
  • B*TCH Media, whose tagline is “Outsmart the Patriarchy,” which I love even though I do not like their name, and whose mission is to respond to “pop culture,” but does so much more than that http://bitchmagazine.org/
  • The Daily KOS, which has a weekly open thread on ELECTIONS, and with whom I often disagree but respect http://www.dailykos.com/
  • Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzales and the team at Democracy NOW!, independent, ad-free, on TV and public radio http://www.democracynow.org
  • Dissident Voice, which is “a radical [online] newspaper in the struggle for peace and justice,” that sees itself as providing “hard-hitting, thought-provoking and even entertaining news and commentaries on politics and culture that can serve as ammunition in struggles for peace and social justice.” http://dissidentvoice.org/
  • Upworthy.com, which is a curation site, gathering from many sources, including YOU, if you submit, to re-present “things that matter.” http://www.upworthy.com/
  • The Feminist Wire, with an inspiring and laudable mission: “to provide socio-political and cultural critique of anti-feminist, racist, and imperialist politics pervasive in all forms and spaces of private and public lives of individuals globally. Of particular critical interest to us are social and political phenomena that block, negate, or limit the satisfaction of goods or ends that humans, especially the most vulnerable, minimally require for living free of structural violence. The Feminist Wire seeks to valorize and sustain pro-feminist representations and create alternative frameworks to build a just and equitable society.” http://thefeministwire.com/

JFK quote
image made from John F. Kennedy quote

What else can we/should we do, if you believe, as I do, that change is necessary and that many important changes do occur via our elections and efforts in those directions? Here are some ideas. Comment and add your own, please! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

  • Some of you are lucky enough to have an alternative newspaper right in your area, still publishing in print and/or online (The Valley Advocate (New England, USA sites), The Bohemian (CA, USA, San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast sites), The Boston Phoenix, Women’s Voices Magazine (many locations around the world) are some of my favorites).
    Read them. Subscribe. Submit comments online. Submit “Letters to the Editor.” Tell others. Buy ad space. Distribute or allow your business to become a site for distribution.

  • Donate to and support National and local Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, other alternative online or actual broadcasting entities. They are fewer and further between than ever and are always operating on shoestring budgets with many volunteers. YOU could volunteer!
  • Maybe you want to get your news from a culturally, ethnically or group-specific source, like Al Jazeera, The Advocate (LGBTQIQ), Univision, The St. Louis Jewish Light, Black Press USA, or whichever you prefer.
    Support them. Donate. Buy ad space. Volunteer. Comment online. Support their advertisers.

social change
image from: http://mariamuir.com

Use my sources and ideas or get your own, but get informed and work for the candidates you support, for the issues that matter to you.

It is UNACCEPTABLE to be passive and silent, more worried more about being controversial than effecting necessary changes. Be bold! Just because you are an artistic sort doesn’t mean you get to hide!

artist as activist
image made from quote by Larry Neal

Get involved. March. Demonstrate. Speak. Donate. Host. Participate. Invite. Write. Solicit.

VOTE!!!!!

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

If you are a feminist, interested in feminism, a science-fiction writer or reader, or all four, you MUST listen to these 4 podcasts from Popaganda of B*TCH MEDIA.

You can listen to them all in a row (first window) or listen to each one separately. Here are the titles of the four podcasts in this Episode of Popaganda:

fem_sci_2

“The beautiful ‘feminism and sci-fi’ illustration is from Voyage by Molly Mendoza. Voyage is a visual essay on the Voyager Interstellar Mission and is embedded with the themes of wonder, distance, and exploring places far away from home.”

  • DEEP THOUGHTS ON ELLEN RIPLEY: Ellen Ripley and Gender in “Alien”
  • INTERVIEW WITH WALIDAH IMARISHA: Peace, Justice, and Octavia Butler
  • INTERVIEW WITH ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN: What Can Social Justice Activists Learn from Science Fiction?
  • AN ESSAY ON FAMILY, SCIENCE, AND POP CULTURE: The Laws of Familial Thermodynamics

If you don’t subscribe, yet, to BiTCH MEDIA, an unavoidable pop-up comes with this link, below, asking for you to subscribe. Sorry. I don’t know how to disable it, but honestly, you SHOULD subscribe and, if you can afford it, donate. BiTCH MEDIA is a great source of info, critique and news.

LINK TO ALL PODCASTS:
http://bitchmagazine.org/post/popaganda-episode-feminism-and-science-fiction

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

from B*TCH MEDIA, “#Feminism and #Science-Fiction” #Podcasts

If you are a feminist, interested in feminism, a science-fiction writer or reader, or all four, you MUST listen to these 4 podcasts from Popaganda of B*TCH MEDIA.

You can listen to them all in a row (first window) or listen to each one separately. Here are the titles of the four podcasts in this Episode of Popaganda:

fem_sci_2

“The beautiful ‘feminism and sci-fi’ illustration is from Voyage by Molly Mendoza. Voyage is a visual essay on the Voyager Interstellar Mission and is embedded with the themes of wonder, distance, and exploring places far away from home.”

  • DEEP THOUGHTS ON ELLEN RIPLEY: Ellen Ripley and Gender in “Alien”
  • INTERVIEW WITH WALIDAH IMARISHA: Peace, Justice, and Octavia Butler
  • INTERVIEW WITH ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN: What Can Social Justice Activists Learn from Science Fiction?
  • AN ESSAY ON FAMILY, SCIENCE, AND POP CULTURE: The Laws of Familial Thermodynamics

If you don’t subscribe, yet, to BiTCH MEDIA, an unavoidable pop-up comes with this link, below, asking for you to subscribe. Sorry. I don’t know how to disable it, but honestly, you SHOULD subscribe and, if you can afford it, donate. BiTCH MEDIA is a great source of info, critique and news.

LINK TO ALL PODCASTS:
http://bitchmagazine.org/post/popaganda-episode-feminism-and-science-fiction

#Nobel Prize Winners 2014: Why we should pay attention and be grateful

#Nobel Prize Winners 2014: Why we should pay attention and be grateful
Thanks to these scientists, researchers, activists and one writer, we can now enjoy advances and new inventions very soon in a variety of areas. This year, two women (one quite young) and several men (big surprise, there) were honored by these esteemed prizes. Check out their accomplishments!

  • Literature, Patrick Modiano: “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”
    Wikipedia tells us: “Patrick Modiano …previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have been celebrated in and around France, though only a few have been in circulation in English by the time he was awarded the Nobel Prize.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Modiano

    Anybody read any of his books? Not I (yet).

    -

  • Physiology or Medicine, Edvard Moser, May Britt Moser, John O’Keefe: “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.” Their combined research reveals the ways the brain understands its location even when underwater, upside down, without gravity and without visual cues.

    Edvard Moser, May Britt Moser, John O'Keefe

    for ground-breaking research on “The Brain’s GPS: how the brain knows where it is.”

  • Physics, Shuji Nakamura, Hiroshi Amano, Isamu Akasaki: “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” We will soon have inexpensive, “green” light sources widely available, thanks to these scientists/inventors.

    Light source

    for inventing/discovering “a new, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light source” image from http://www.theguardian.com/science/live/2014/oct/07/nobel-prize-physics-2014-stockholm-live

  • Peace, Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan) and Kailash Satyarthi (India): “for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education”

    Malala Yousafzai

    Malala Yousafzai is the young woman who was almost fatally shot while trying to get to school in Pakistan. During and after her recovery, she has become a vocal and well-respected advocate for girls’ rights to be educated in countries that oppress women and girls. She is also the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Kailash Satyarthi

    Kailash Satyarthi is a globally recognized hero for rescuing children from forced labor, sexual exploitation and slavery and working to prevent these from occurring image from http://www.myhero.ws

  • Chemistry, W.E. Moerner, Stefan Hell, Eric Betzig: “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy” which “brings optical microscopy into the nanodimension.” We can now SEE the extremely tiny stuff even better than ever. Wow!

    super-resolved fluorescence microscopy

    “A network of filaments in a mammalian cell revealed by fluorescence microscopy. Photograph: Stefan W Hell/Division of Optical Nanoscopy/German Cancer Research Center” image from http://www.theguardian.com

Get more info here:
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/year/?year=2014