"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Archive for July, 2016|Monthly archive page

The Diversity Of Life Across Much Of Earth Has Plunged Below ‘Safe’ Levels

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2016 at 12:38 pm

An aerial view shows a tract of Amazon rain forest that has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture near the city of Santarem, Para State, April 20, 2013. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

Oldspeak: “While Americans are enthralled by The States’ latest National Popular Delusion that is the democratic national concert, Earth’s 6th great mass extinction rumbles on, largely unnoticed by us. Recently, it was reported that more than half (58%) of our Great Mother’s ecosystems biodiversity are below safe levels.

The most terrifying paragraph of this piece for me is the following:

The research is based on a “planetary boundaries” concept that “attempts to set some sort of safe limit to the amount of biodiversity we can lose, while biodiversity still supports important ecosystem functions,” said Newbold, the study’s lead author. And it is important to note that in the context of this analysis, safety actually means safe for humans, in significant part.”

The bolded sections, in my view are the crux of our intractable predicament. Our omnicical pathological anthropocentricity, gives us gall to believe that we are in a position to set safe limits to the amount of biodiversity we can lose! This, in light of the fact that we’re not even fucking sure how much biodiversity there actually is on Earth! And the narcissistic self absorbed arrogance to assert that safe for humans is somehow preeminent and more important than safety for untold other lifeforms, upon which we depend for survival… This folks is why we’re all gonna die in relatively short order in a nutshell. As long as we view Our Great Mother and all her children through the lenses of “the market” and “human supremacy” we’re proper fucked. It’s just that simple.” -OSJ


Written By Chris Mooney @ The Washington Post:

In an ambitious study that represents the latest merger between big data approaches and the quest to conserve the planet, scientists have found that across a majority of the Earth’s land surface — including some of its most important types of terrain and its most populous regions — the abundance or overall number of animals and plants of different species has fallen below a “safe” level identified by biologists.

The reason is not exactly a surprise — from grasslands to tropical forests, humans are using more and more land for agriculture, to live on, to build roads and infrastructure upon. When we take over, we clear the land or otherwise convert it for our purposes. This doesn’t always cause extinctions, but it does reduce the abundance of species and what researchers call the “intactness” of ecosystems — and when biodiversity levels fall too low, it can mean that larger ecosystems lose their resilience or even, at the extreme, cease to function.

“Exploitation of terrestrial systems has been vital for human development throughout history, but the cost to biosphere integrity has been high,” notes the study published Thursday in Science, which was led by Tim Newbold of the United Nations Environment Programme and University College London with a large group of colleagues representing several British, Australian, Danish and Swiss universities and institutions.

The researchers compiled 1.8 million separate measurements of the abundance of species (39,123 of them) at 18,659 locations across the globe — a volume of data that an accompanying essay in Science, by ecologist Tom Oliver of the University of Reading, calls the “most comprehensive quantification of global biodiversity change to date.”

The researchers then extrapolated across the rest of the planet, and compared the results to a “Biodiversity Intactness Index” to determine where species declines were too great.

The research is based on a “planetary boundaries” concept that “attempts to set some sort of safe limit to the amount of biodiversity we can lose, while biodiversity still supports important ecosystem functions,” said Newbold, the study’s lead author. And it is important to note that in the context of this analysis, safety actually means safe for humans, in significant part.

The concern is that species-anemic ecosystems will struggle or fail, and so become unable to provide us what we actually need in the form of stored carbon, filtered water, fertile soils and much else. Animals need these ecosystem “services,” to be sure, but so do humans.

“Biodiversity supports a number of functions within ecosystems, things like pollination, nutrient cycling, soil erosion control, maintenance of water quality,” Newbold said. “And there’s evidence that if you lose biodiversity, that these functions don’t happen as well as they would have done in the past.”

As a conservative or precautionary standard, the researchers therefore assumed that a decline of more than 10 percent of species abundance in a given area (compared with what that abundance was before human interference) represented crossing into a danger zone for biodiversity. But their study found that overall, across the globe, the average decline is already more like 15 percent. In other words, original species are only about 85 percent as abundant (84.6 percent to be precise) as they were before human land-use changes.

Some places are, of course, better off than others — for instance, northern tundras and boreal forest ecosystems were still relatively intact, the study found. So was much of the Amazon rain forest. In contrast, central North America showed a huge gash on the researchers’ maps, representing a large region with less than 60 percent of its original biodiversity intact, stretching all the way from Canada to Texas.

Overall, 58 percent of the Earth had declined below 90 percent biodiversity intactness and, in effect, into the danger zone. And this was strongly correlated with human population — that 58 percent of the Earth is the home to 71 percent of its human inhabitants, the study reported.

There are, to be sure, some major uncertainties (and matters of interpretation) in this analysis, ones that the authors freely acknowledge. For instance: Who is to say that 90 percent “intactness,” or abundance of the original species that lived in an ecosystem, is the right number in all cases?

And moreover, it isn’t just that ecosystems have been losing original species — they have also been gaining, in many cases, non-original or “invasive” species. So is that a net plus to them, or a net minus?

The study considered these options and, not surprisingly, found that if new species are considered to benefit ecosystems, or if ecosystems can go down to 80 or 70 percent of their original species abundance, then considerably less of the world is in trouble. In the end, then, this really boils down to a decision about how much risk you want to take with nature.

It is not, therefore, that ecosystems are about to start collapsing all around us because of passing this 90 percent threshold. However, the research does mean that less-intact ecosystems will be less able to withstand future challenges like ongoing global warming, Newbold said.

“We’re entering a space where things become more uncertain, and we expect that things will be less resilient in the face of other changes,” he said.

Immediate reactions to the work were mixed from two experts consulted by the Post to respond to the study.

“Newbold and colleagues find sobering evidence that we have already crossed that line in terrestrial ecosystems,” said Mark Urban, who directs a newly founded Institute of Biological Risk at the University of Connecticut, which focuses on biodiversity losses. “Human land use has reduced local populations to 85 percent of original abundances on average. What this means is we have not only crossed a planetary boundary, but have kept going. At least now we’re looking back.”

Urban added that while the new study stresses the impact of changes in land use, “this result ignores the accelerating threat from a warming climate. Climate change is about to make things more complicated as we try to pull back from the edge of the Earth’s resilience.”

But Erle Ellis, who directs the Laboratory for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, had a different take. While Ellis said the new study “should be widely read and thought about,” he challenged the basis for the 90 percent figure used in the paper, suggesting the threshold was “arbitrary.”

“There is no rigorous scientific basis behind the concept that there is a single measurable ‘safe space’ for biodiversity change,” Ellis said by email.

“As a policy message, with numbers and maps of how much and where ‘safe limits’ on biodiversity change are exceeded, this paper goes way beyond the science — and this could lead to very faulty decisions on strategies and priorities for conservation,” he added.

There is no dispute, then, that humans have caused a significant retraction of non-human biological life on land — that they have, in effect, acted very effectively as its competition. Nor is there much dispute that human-caused climate change will act on top of this preexisting disturbance as an exacerbating factor.

The question, then, remains how close we are to a point where global ecosystems could see major tipping points, or dramatic changes of a sort ultimately traceable to us.

Conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy is in Brazil on a research project that studies the effects of Amazon deforestation. His results have shown less tree growth and animal life in the fragmented forests left behind, which may impact the Amazon rainforest and global climate. Deforestation may be leading to climate change in more ways than we know. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)





Here’s What Your July 4th Road Trip Will Mean For The Heating Of Climate

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Traffic In Los Angeles. Credit: Prayitno/flicker


Oldspeak: Pay no attention to green-washed environmentalists exhortations to “Break Free” and divest from fossil fuels. Record-breaking numbers of Americans are driving fossil-fueled cars. These increasing numbers are mirrored in other giant fossil-fuel belching countries like China and India. In fact, in an omnicidal twist “Cheap gasoline has made it easier for people to ditch electric vehicles and fuel-efficient cars and buy larger, less efficient vehicles instead.” So humans are forgoing healthier for the environment options because it’s cheap. SIGH… While greater awareness of and better education about consumer choices is important, what about car makers advertising and marketing? Every other commercial on TV is for a non-electric car or SUV and how driving one will make you sexier, cooler, smarter, tougher, trendier and better. These death machines are literally killing us. Outdoor air pollution has risen 8% in the past 5 years, concentrated mostly in human cities, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air. Don’t the makers of these death machines bear some responsibility for their devastating environmental impacts? What this story highlights for me is the sad reality that most humans, ensconced in the myriad illusions, comforts and conveniences of industrial civilization, really and truly don’t give a shit about their environment. Like ZERO SHITS. Sure, they’ll go march around  with protest signs and shout about giving a shit for a few hours, or chain themselves the the white house fence and get arrested civilly disobeying, but after that, they go home and plug back in to the systems of death that are killing them. Very few are truly interested in giving up their conveniences and comforts for anything and definitely not the environment, especially if it’s “not economically viable” They’ll happily consume “green” and “organic” products and “recycle” to make themselves feel better, but that’s about it. While we quibble about economics, human generated emissions keep rising. We’re all gonna die. Happy Imperial Dependence Day! -OSJ

Written By Bobby Magill @ Climate Central:

When an expected record-breaking 36 million Americans take their holiday road trips this Fourth of July weekend, they’ll be part of what is quickly becoming our nation’s biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions — transportation.

This winter, for the first time since 1979, carbon dioxide emissions from cars, trucks and SUVs surpassed the carbon pollution from electric power plants, which have been America’s chief climate polluter for more than 35 years, U.S. Energy Information Administration data released this week show.

“The major significance is it shows that decarbonization is about more than just the power sector,” said Sam Ori, executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

In both February and March, the transportation sector’s annual carbon dioxide emissions added up to more than the emissions from electric power plants (when calculated using a rolling 12-month total).

In raw numbers, Americans’ vehicle tailpipes emitted 1.88 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide for the 12 months ending in March. During the same period, U.S. power plants polluted the air with 1.84 billion tons of carbon dioxide. The numbers were similar in February.

By contrast, for the 12 months ending in March 2015, vehicles polluted the air with 1.84 billion tons of carbon dioxide, quite a bit less than the 1.99 billion tons of carbon dioxide that power plants emitted into the atmosphere.

Roughly two-thirds of transportation sector carbon emissions come from light-duty cars and trucks, with airplanes, trains, heavy trucks and ships making up the rest.

Cheaper gasoline is the primary reason for the increase in emissions as Americans are driving a lot more than they used to. For the moment, that’s offsetting increasing vehicle fuel efficiency.


Credit: Sam Ori/Energy Policy Insitute of Chicago, University of Chicago

At the same time, power plants are getting greener and cleaner. Their emissions have been falling for more than six years as the fracking boom, cheap natural gas prices, federal mercury pollution regulations, and the prospect of having to comply with climate change rules such as the Clean Power Plan have encouraged utilities to shutter coal-fired power plants.

Cleaner-burning natural gas power plants and wind and solar farms are replacing those that run on coal, and today, natural gas, which emits about half the carbon as coal, is becoming America’s chief source of electricity.

Consumer transportation choices — the kinds of cars people choose to drive and the road trips they choose to take when gasoline prices fall — are among the biggest reasons transportation is becoming America’s biggest climate change problem, Ori said.

“Miles driven on U.S. highways grew by the second-fastest rate in 40 years last year and will probably match that rate this year,” Ori said.

With gasoline averaging $2.31 per gallon of regular unleaded — 47 cents less than a year ago, according to AAA — Americans are driving more than ever before. Ori’s analysis of EIA data shows that Americans drive an average of about 8.7 billion miles per day, up from about 8.1 billion in 2011 and 6.8 billion in 1997.

The 2008 recession stopped growth of vehicle miles traveled in its tracks, but those miles started growing quickly in 2013 and 2014 as the economy improved and crude oil prices collapsed. This weekend, AAA expects the highest-ever Fourth of July travel volume — 36 million people — on the highways, mainly because of cheap gasoline.

Cheap gasoline has made it easier for people to ditch electric vehicles and fuel-efficient cars and buy larger, less efficient vehicles instead.


Credit: Sam Ori/Energy Policy Insitute of Chicago, University of Chicago

“As oil and gasoline prices fell, U.S. consumers piled into SUVs and pickup trucks at record levels,” Ori said. “Those kinds of light trucks now account for about 60 percent of the U.S. market, up from around 50 percent in 2013.”

All vehicles are becoming more efficient, but larger vehicles will always be less efficient than smaller ones, so the more people drive larger vehicles, the more pollution they’ll emit, said Daniel Sperling, a civil engineering professor at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis.

The trend toward higher transportation emissions shows that to address climate change, the government needs to both boost fuel efficiency standards and think beyond them by developing new fuels and technology that would reduce carbon emissions from vehicle tailpipes, said John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute.

“In terms of how people think about climate change, there is a need for much greater awareness of the significance of transportation as well as better education about consumer choices,” he said.

It has always been easier to slash emissions from power plants than from cars and trucks because regulating power plants doesn’t require consumers to change their lifestyle choices, said Timothy Johnson, an energy and environment professor at Duke University.

For vehicle emissions to be drop, it will have to become more expensive for people to drive, Johnson said.

“Transportation costs are a reasonably small share of average household spending (less than 20 percent) for people in the middle class and above, and people seem to tolerate a certain amount of time spent commuting,” he said. “Transportation choices and behavior are not likely to change unless either of these factors increases appreciably.”

93 Degrees In Siberia As Wildfires Rage For Hundreds Of Miles Just Below Arctic Circle

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2016 at 11:11 am


A forest under fire in Buryatia, Russia. (Max Avdeev/For The Washington Post

Oldspeak: “It’s forecast to be 79 degrees in New York City today. It hasn’t broken 90 all Summer. Yet wildfire and extreme heat ravage the land of frozen tundra, “permafrost”. While attention is focused on wildfire and extreme heat in the American southwest, this crazy shit is happening, right below the ARCTIC FUCKING CIRCLE.  I talked about basically the same thing this time last year. This is not good. Understand, that “permafrost”, contains twice as much carbon as is present in the atmosphere.  And when it starts to warm and burn, it releases not only copious amounts CO2, but another heat amplifying and less discussed greenhouse gas, methane. This is the element in this burning hellscape that has the potential to trigger even more dangerous global warming. Human activities have no doubt created the conditions for this life extinguishing madness to occur, but it’s not likely humans can affect or retard the progression of these non-linear positive feedback loops once they’ve been triggered. These fires will likely burn year round, and will only intensify as temperatures rise and humans wean themselves off fossil fuels;thus removing the sulfate aerosols that have masked a significant percentage of human generated warming. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick….. “-OSJ

Written By Robert Scribbler @ robertscribbler.com

It’s another day in a record hot world. And in a few hours, just below the Arctic Circle in Siberia, the temperature is predicted to hit 33.2 C (or just shy of 92 degrees Fahrenheit). According to climate data reanalysis, that’s about 15-20 C above average for this time of year over a land filled with cold weather adapted boreal forests and covering ground that, just below the first few feet of duff, is supposed to be continuously frozen.


(33. 2 C [92F] temperatures run to within 3.7 degrees of Latitude south of the Arctic Circle [66 N]. These are readings in the range of 15-20 degrees Celsius above normal and are likely record ranges for the area. Nearby, enormous Siberian wildfires now burn. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

All along the southern and western boundary of this region of extreme heat, very large wildfires now rage. Sparking near and to the east of Lake Baikal during early April, May and June, the fires have since run northbound. Now they visibly extend along an approximate 1,000 mile stretch of Central Siberia ranging as far north as the Arctic Circle itself.

As recently as June 25th, Russian authorities had indicated that around 390 square miles had burned along the southern edge of this zone in Buryatia alone. For other regions, the tally is apparently uncounted. An unreported number of firefighters are now engaged with these blazes and have currently been assisted by an additional 150 Russian Army personnel. The Interfax News Agency also reports that 11,000 personnel from the Russian Army are currently on standby to battle the massive fires, should the need arise.

Massive Siberian Wildfires June 30

(NASA’s LANCE-MODIS satellite shot for June 30, 2016 shows enormous smoke plumes rising up from intermittent wildfires apparently burning across an approximate 1,000 mile stretch of Central Siberia. For reference, right border of frame is approximately 1,200 miles.)

Today’s Siberia is a vast thawing land and armies of firefighters are now apparently necessary to stop or contain the blazes. Already interspersed with deep layers of peat, melting permafrost adds an additional peat-like fuel to this permafrost zone. When the peat and thawed permafrost does ignite, it generates a heavier smoke than a typical forest fire. This can result in very poor air quality and related incidents of sickness. During 2015, a choking smog related to peat fires forced an emergency response from Russian firefighters. The thick blanket of smoke currently covering Siberia (visible in the June 30 LANCE MODIS satellite shot above) now blankets mostly uninhabited regions. But the coverage and density of the smoke is no less impressive.

Peat and thawed permafrost fires have the potential to smolder over long periods, generating hotspots that can persist through Winter — emerging as new ignition sources with each passing Summer even as Arctic warming intensifies. During recent years, wildfires in the Siberian Arctic have been quite extensive. According to Greenpeace satellite analysis, 2015’s wildfires covered fully 8.5 million acres (or about 13,300 square miles). These reports conflict with the official numbers from Russia. Numbers Greenpeace indicates fall well below the actual total area burned.

Thawing permafrost under warming Siberian temperatures not only generates fuel for these wildfires, it becomes an additional source of greenhouse gas emissions. And as the area of land wildfires burn in the Arctic expands together with the heat-pulse of human-forced warming, this amplifying feedback threatens to add to an already serious problem.


Earth Nullschool


Climate Reanalyzer

Russian Volunteers Seek a Foothold as Wildfires Rage in Siberia



The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

In Freedom of Speech, the artist interprets the meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights as it applies to the civil rights of all people. Across the red stripes of the flag are the words of the First Amendment (ratified in 1791) protecting freedom of speech, the right to religious practice, peaceable assembly, and lawful redress of grievances. In opposition to these noble ideals, however, Ringgold writes an array of names and words over the white stripes and stars that reference serious breaches of these freedoms.

Oldspeak:”What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.” –Frederick Douglass

“This will be a yearly repost. Enjoy.” -OSJ

“Unvarnished truth from a Bodhisattva of the highest order. America’s “former’ slaves are catching hell in 2016, 163 years after those words were spoken. Gunned down repeatedly by racist police and white supremacist vigilantes, who face little to no punishment for their crimes. Stopped, frisked and harassed needlessly for Driving/Walking/Sitting/Standing/Breathing While Black. Scraping by struggling to survive through generations long, institutionally sanctioned cycles of poverty, miseductation, oppression & structural violence.  Warehoused and used for slave labor in absurdly disproportionate numbers, making up the majority of workers in the supposed “Land of The Free’s” burgeoning and ever expanding world leading for-profit prison-industrial complex; a system of new slavery. We have to ask ourselves, how much has really changed in the U.S. for the Negro? Sure, a whole host of cosmetic changes have been made to laws, they’ve been placed in positions of ceremonial power and entertaining influence. America does a wonderful job of highlighting the few Negros who manage to “succeed” within a system inherently stacked against them. What has remained largely unchanged is the superstructure of this country that was built upon a base of white supremacist patriarchy. As long as that system remains unnamed, undiscussed and unacknowledged, America’s exhortations about liberty, freedom & justice for all will remain as fraudulent and full of hypocrisy as they were in 1852.” -OSJ

Written By Frederick Douglass:

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too. Great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….

…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? 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. I am not included within the pale of 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 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 to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day 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, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I 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, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue 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 4th 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, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; 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 hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Amercans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their mastcrs? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival….

…Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. — Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. ‘Ethiopia, shall, stretch. out her hand unto Ood.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,
And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom’s reign,
To man his plundered rights again

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower;
But to all manhood’s stature tower,
By equal birth!
That hour will come, to each, to all,
And from his Prison-house, to thrall
Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive —
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate’er the peril or the cost,
Be driven.