Upside Downtrodden's blog
Its Wednesday May 8th! Do you know where your Podcast is? On this day in history back in 1858 John Brown held a secret anti-slavery convention in Canada where he and around 50 like-minded individuals adopted an anti slavery constitution. Brown is one of the most polarizing figures of the chaotic period leading up to the civil war. Hated by supporters of the southern way of exploiting human beings for their own personal gain and glory - I mean advocates of states’ rights; revered by the growing population of civil rights warriors who believed that change would not come without a fight; shunned and shamed by peace loving, meek abolitionists who preferred to sing songs, publish articles, and peacefully assemble to end slavery. Read more
Its Sunday April 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1967, Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. military. The self-proclaimed "Greatest Fighter of All Time" cited religious reasons for staging his most important fight; a fight against institutionalized, senseless killing. Take a moment to process these statements - yes, a fighter by profession and religious person (Ali converted to Islam in 1964) refused to go to war! Ali was fined $10,000, sentenced to 5 years in prison, and was stripped of the world title he had won by beating Sonny Liston. He avoided prison while appealing all the way to the highest court, and lost his heavyweight title the first time the same year he won his case in 1971. Muhammad Ali is the only three-time boxing world champion, and is still one of the most intriguing figures in American history. His reason for refusing conscription was because "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong." Amazing that the government of a "Christian nation" would seek to take everything from a person who was acting exactly in the manner that Jesus would have prescribed. Read more
It’s Monday April 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1935, Congress established the Works Progress Administration program, and FDR signed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Not too shabby considering they were in the depths of The Great Depression, eh? It makes you wonder. We were able to find money to help people during the time in America’s history when we were as broke as broke can be. We were able to create jobs, invest in the country, and work together towards what would become America’s golden age. We were able to pass The Social Security Act and form unemployment insurance delivering a New Deal for Americans. This only happened because enough people decided that helping people was the right thing to do. They realized we were stronger together. They were right. Read more
It’s March 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history in 1774 the government of the British Empire embodied the term “tyranny”, passing The Boston Port Act, The Massachusetts Government Act, The Quartering Act, and The Administration of Justice Act. You know what they say about those who don’t study history right? The Sons of Liberty, or insurgent rebels to the British, had dumped three cargo ships worth of precious tea into Boston Harbor to protest the Tea Act. In response the British government passed the draconian acts to remind the insurgents of their place. The British enjoyed global hegemony and needed to remind the colonists, and the rest of the world, that they were not to be trifled with (in British parlance those are actually strong words). With zero sense of the justice that many British philosophers helped to define, the empire closed the port of Boston, made the Massachusetts government impotent, placed British troops in the homes and businesses of the insurgents, and placed British officials above the law. Read more
Its March 18th, do you know where your podcast is? On this date in history back in1937, 298 school children experienced the worst gas of their lives, and not the kind that would provide their schoolmates with smirks, giggles, and sour smells. Their school, Consolidated School of New London Texas, had been built in 1930 and was in the middle of massive oil and gas fields and many of the nearly 1,200 students were sons and daughters of energy workers. The gas that troubled the school on that day was natural gas, there was an explosion, and those 298 students were killed, many of them instantly. This astonishing disaster was investigated thoroughly; findings revealed that raw gas escaping from leaking lines had accumulated in the dead space between the foundation and basement floor. The gas expanded due to a drop in barometric pressure and an electric spark from a switch in the manual training shop had triggered the explosion. It has been reported by history.com (caveat emptor) and others, that a cryptic message was found on a blackboard in the rubble, “Oil and Natural gas are East Texas’ greatest natural gifts. Read more
It’s Thursday February 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1861, the U.S. Congress created Colorado Territory. They didn’t actually create anything. They just wrote and signed some pieces of paper that claimed the land that would come to be known as Colorado Territory was now officially Colorado Territory. The land wasn’t aware of its new name. Until that time, the land had always been the land on which the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe people lived. What’s most surprising about this decree to those of us alive today is not how the U.S. Government had taken yet another brutal step in annihilating the indigenous peoples of North America (that’s old hat – and we’re still going to write about it until the day we die), but that the U.S. Congress somehow managed to get something done. Times have changed. Read more
It’s February 18th; do you know where your podcast is? On this date in 1856 the American Party held a convention to nominate a candidate for president - electing Millard Fillmore as the nominee for the Know-Nothings. This moniker reflected the early nativists’ tight lips when asked about their political platform, as members would respond to questions by saying the knew nothing. Two secretive nativist organizations, the “Order of United Americans” and the “Order of the Star Spangled Banner” (sound like great folks), merged to form the American Party in order to protect America from insidious immigrant influences. Ironically, every tribe of “nativists” on the continent prior to the arrival of the European deluge most certainly had a kindred faction the Know-Nothings would really have related to. History was, alas, not on the side of these patriotic souls. The nomination of Fillmore officially ended the party’s demure disposition as they “came out” to the public. This act also signified the beginning of the end of the party itself, as the public responded with a resounding “you suck” and the Know-Nothings won only Maryland, eventually disbanding shortly after. Read more
It’s Saturday February 9th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 2009, a few loose-screw Americans formed what we ended up calling the Tea Party thanks in large part to the funding and support of right-wing think tanks like FreedomWorks and ideologues like Dick Armey who oversaw the Tea Party’s perplexing (and totally manufactured) rise across the political landscape. Four years later, the Tea Party (having fulfilled its purpose as a punchline of choice to comics the world over) has dissolved into the impotent, irrelevant, waste-o’-space guano bucket we always knew it was. Thus, in honor of what is sure to be the last year of even Tea Party members taking the Tea Party serious, we’re delighted to share with you a letter we sent to Tea Party members back in 2009 in response to their solicitation to join the Tea Party. Enjoy.
"Dear Fellow New Tea Party Members, Read more
Its January 18th, do you know where your podcast is? On this date in 1778, Captain James Cook “discovered” the Hawaiian Islands when he sailed past the island of Oahu. Thanks captain! I am sure the people living there were happy you found it. Two days later, he landed at Waimea on the island of Kauai and named the island group the Sandwich Islands, in honor of John Montague, who was the earl of Sandwich and one of his financial supporters. Thanks captain! I am sure the people living there appreciated the new name, and the shit sandwich they were eventually served by Sanford Dole, William McKinley and the United States government. Cook and his crew were welcomed by the locals and were able to trade iron products for important provisions like food and sex. Cook and his crew sailed on with bigger fish to fry, but would return with two ships in 1779 to Hawaii’s Kealakekua Bay. This was a very sacred time and place for the Hawaiians, Kealakekua Bay was considered the sacred harbor of Lono, the fertility god of the Hawaiians, and at the time of Cook's arrival the locals were engaged in a festival dedicated to Lono. Read more
It’s Tuesday January 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1877, Crazy Horse and his noble warriors fought their final battle against U.S. military forces in Montana. General Nelson Miles of the U.S. Army located Crazy Horse’s camp along the Tongue River. According to what is formerly known as The History Channel, “U.S. soldiers opened fire with their big wagon-mounted guns, driving the Indians from their warm tents out into a raging blizzard. Crazy Horse and his warriors managed to regroup on a ridge and return fire, but most of their ammunition was gone, and they were reduced to fighting with bows and arrows." Read more
Its December 18th, do you know where your podcast is? Ok so it’s not December 18th. Due to the wonderfully automated customer service at AT&T our material has been held hostage by Internet issues. Listen to episode 39 for a full drubbing of AT&Taint. Thankfully we are back on line, tired, frustrated, and weary of our culture’s reliance on technology. On this date (you know what we mean) back in 1620 the Mayflower made its final stop at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. After originally reaching Cape Cod on November 11th and exploring the coast for over month for a place to “settle”, the Puritans were finally ready to begin the process of making their new home. Their choice seemed to be an inhospitable one as 50 of the original 102 members of the colony were dead by spring of the next year. The only saving grace was Massasoit - the tribal chief of the Wampanoag tribe that had survived in the region since the glaciers receded at the end of the ice age (roughly 10,000 years) - who helped the Puritans learn to grow what grew there and kept them alive. Certainly, if given the chance, he would take a mulligan on that one! Read more
It’s Saturday December 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City. The late great playwright, James McLure, even wrote a play about it called "The Day They Shot John Lennon". Hmm. John Lennon gets killed, and Dick Cheney gets another heart. Ain’t that some shit?
Of course the day John Lennon was killed is a day worth remembering. But worth even more than the day he was killed, was the day he was born. If that day hadn’t happened, we never would have been blessed with all he had to share with us. It’s the day John Lennon was born that matters most. All too often, our culture chooses to define itself with death by its wars, atrocities, disasters, incidents, events, etc. Seems like most our history is marked by the days and ways we’ve died. We have a macabre fascination with death, and more specifically, killing. This should come as no real surprise to any of us considering that death is a virtue we hold in high regard. We find it “Simply Irresistible” (thank you, Robert Palmer…who is dead). Read more
It’s Wednesday November 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1520, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached The Pacific Ocean. This made him the first European explorer to reach The Pacific Ocean from The Atlantic Ocean. Hooray? We call the stretch of water he sailed The Strait of Magellan. We suppose if you make good on your promise to further enrich the empire of the day, they’ll pay homage to you by naming whatever you accomplish (i.e. whatever atrocities you commit) – in their name – after you (we’re looking at you Columbus Day).
But just because we call The Strait of Magellan The Strait of Magellan, that doesn’t mean that’s what it is. It doesn’t belong to Magellan (or his Spanish masters), and he didn’t discover it. The strait had already been discovered by the indigenous peoples who called it home for thousands of years prior to any contact with future European annihilators. The archipelago off the southernmost tip of what we call South America – through which runs the channel we call The Strait of Magellan – are lands and waters that belonged to people of different tribes such as the Alacaluf, Yaghan, and Ona. Read more
It’s Sunday November 18th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1978, Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones led hundreds of his followers in a mass murder-suicide in the South American country of Guyana. Now, we might be paraphrasing just a bit, but we’re pretty sure there’s a passage in the Bible that reads, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man…especially one that is instructing you to inject your child with cyanide-laced grape-flavored Flavor Aid soft drink.”
Like crows, maybe that’s why we call a flock of believers a murder. Because all too often (e.g. most wars, witch-hunts, ethnic cleansings, honor killings, human sacrifices, suicide bombings, indigenous peoples annihilation, The Crusades, The Inquisition, The Thirty Years’ War, The Holocaust, Islamic Jihad, 9/11 and The Norwegian Massacre - just to name a few examples), that’s exactly what believers do. We hear it all the time. The people who commit heinous crimes like the ones you’ve mentioned aren’t true believers. They’re false believers. Their perverted versions of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, (insert any religion here) aren’t real religions. They’re cults. Read more
It’s Thursday November 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1923 Adolf Hitler unsuccessfully launched the Beer Hall Putsch (which was his first attempt at seizing control of the German government), and on this same day in history back in 1939 Adolf Hitler survived an assassination attempt (one of many) at the Munich Beer Hall when a bomb exploded minutes after he had finished giving a speech commemorating the 16th Anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch. Anybody else keeping score here? A failed assassination on a failed dictator of a failed Republic at a failed ceremony memorializing a failed coup? What gives? We thought German engineering was supposed to be reliable. Unfortunately, when it came to crimes against humanity all throughout The Third Reich, it was. Not every German supported the Nazi Party. In fact, there were many dissenters. Read more