Sunday, January 17, 2016
The organization calling itself People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is probably crowing over its latest victories: forcing Barnum and Bailey's circus to give up its performing elephants, after a century of displaying them, and steadily running Sea World (and its marine studies division) out of business. Flushed with victory, PETA has let slip that the next step in its agenda is to get rid of all circus animal acts. Apparently there are enough gullible people out there, with more money than sense, who are happy to contribute millions to PETA every year.
But cracks are appearing in the facade; more and more animal welfare organizations are turning on PETA and publishing revelations of its real behavior and intentions. As the director of Humane Farm Animal Care reveals:
"I don’t think you can stand in the way of progress for farm animals, euthanize more dogs and cats than other animal shelters, and still call yourself a “humane” organization.
"The PETA animal shelter in Norfolk, Va., euthanizes dogs and cats in far greater numbers than does other animal shelters in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA has euthanized more than 33,514 animals since 1998 at its Norfolk shelter. In 2014, the group euthanized 2,454 of the 3,369 cats, dogs and other animals there. Most were “surrenders” – pets turned into shelters by their previous owners. Only 23 dogs and 16 cats were adopted.
"By contrast, the Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), also in Virginia, took in about the same number of animals as PETA in 2014, but saved 94 percent of its homeless pets. Other animal shelters in the state found homes for more than 90 percent of their animals, and without the $51,933,001 that PETA raised in contributions and merchandising in 2014.
"Tabitha Frizzell Hanes, of the Richmond SPCA, once wrote on the shelter’s blog, “Over the past decade, as save rates at private shelters across Virginia have risen and euthanasia rates have fallen, the PETA facility euthanizes the animals it takes in at a rate of about 90 percent. It is out of step with the progress being made for our state’s homeless animals for a private shelter to operate not with the purpose of finding animals adoptive homes, but almost entirely to take their lives.”
"Meanwhile, the elimination of pets rather than finding the animals new homes appears to be something PETA embraces. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk once admitted, “I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself … I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day. The animals…got the gift of euthanasia, and to them it was the best gift they’ve ever had. How dare you pretend to help animals and turn your back on those who want an exit from an uncaring world!”"
Now personally I have never seen an animal indicate that it wants "an exit from an uncaring world". But it gets worse.
"According to an article published in the Huffington Post in 2015, a former PETA employee, Heather Harper-Troje, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, alleged that Newkirk authorized her and other employees to steal and kill pets, then falsify records in order to cover their tracks. Harper-Troje said, “If we felt an animal was in immediate danger we would steal them . . . It was what she told us to do — it was standard operating procedure . . . If you adopt out dogs you steal then you leave a trail, in theory. If they just go poof, there is no trail.”
"America has been hoodwinked to think that PETA wants to help animals, when in fact it wants to eliminate pet ownership and sever all our ties with the animal kingdom.
"PETA’s Web site and print material states:
“Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.”
“Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.”
“The cat, like the dog, must disappear…We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist.”
“As John Bryant has written in his book ‘Fettered Kingdoms,’ they [pets] are like slaves, even if well-kept slaves.”
“In a perfect world, all other than human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme.”
[Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild…they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch T.V.”
“The bottom line is that people don’t have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats. If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind.”
"That will not likely sit well with the estimated 70 million to 80 million dogs and 74 million to 96 million cats living with people in the United States. [Source: American Pet Product Association]
"As the executive director for Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), I have spent 35 years working on animal protection issues. After seeing laying hens crammed in cages and pigs confined to gestation crates, I launched HFAC in 2003 to improve the lives of farm animals raised for food.
"However, HFAC’s mission is not to turn everyone into vegans. With 95 percent of the U.S. eating meat, HFAC offers a realistic approach to helping farm animals with standards of care written by the world’s top animal welfare scientists. These standards ensure farm animals cage-free, allowed to exhibit natural behaviors, receive humane care throughout their lives, and includes humane slaughter guidelines. The standards also require the animals’ diets are free from hormones, antibiotics, and animal by-products. HFAC uses third-party independent inspectors to perform audits for the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program, which has grown from 143,000 farm animals in 2003 to more than 103 million farm animals today in four countries.
"All too often animal rights groups such as PETA sabotage farm animal welfare progress. Although they may appear to attack factory farming, they go after animal welfare groups such as ours that are trying to improve the lives of farm animals. They would rather see farm animals suffer to promote their agenda than support compassionate standards and systemic change to the farm animal system. That’s the height of hypocrisy to me. They would rather go after companies and farmers who have actually worked very hard to raise the animals the right way.
"A growing number of farmers, producers, grocery stores, and retailers who want to improve the lives of farm animals, are under constant pressure by PETA to halt this progress because PETA believes factory farming will result in more vegetarians and vegans. Recently, fast-food retailer, Tasty Burger succumbed to PETA’s pressure to drop HFAC’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label from its menu because as PETA puts it, “the only truly humane meal is a vegan meal.” PETA also went after Whole Foods, asking that firm to remove “humane,” “humanely-raised,” and “raised with care” from its marketing materials.
"Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle quickly came to Whole Foods’ defense, saying, “This is why I am troubled that PETA has chosen to sue Whole Foods in an apparent attempt to undermine or call into question the value of the GAP program. This is counterproductive, especially in a marketplace where there are dozens of other chains nearly exclusively selling factory farm animal products. Not one of them has done as much as Whole Foods has to promote more plant-based eating and to advance farm animal welfare and fight factory farming in very practical terms.”
"PETA’s Newkirk was once quoted as saying, “Businesses are terrified. They have no idea what I’m going to do next.”
"People who choose to be vegans and vegetarians will not be persuaded to eat meat because of
HFAC’s standards. Putting pressure on businesses that want to make a difference for farm animals and keeping the status quo of factory farming alive only increases animal suffering. Any progress for animals is seen as a loss by PETA because it wants animals gone from our lives. That’s PETA’s warped strategy – a strategy that causes farm animals to continue to suffer in factory farms because that better supports their agenda.
"The fact that this group continues to portray itself as the humane stewards of animals is duplicitous. I don’t think you can call yourself “humane” while you’re standing in the way of the humane treatment of farm animals and euthanizing dogs and cats at a 99 percent rate at your shelter. They’re not interested in creating a humane world, only a world where our relationship with animals is broken. Does this sound like an organization working on “humane” changes for animals?"
In fact, PETA's agenda is not only inhumane, it's cruelly insane. Humans have always lived with animals, and animals with us, and certain of those animals will not be willing to break the connection with us. One in particular will definitely not go away willingly, and I don't just mean the cockroach. There is one animal that not only eats, happily, all the foods we eat but will gladly eat us as well -- and also carries catastrophic diseases. It infests all of our habitat, city or country, taking advantage of unprotected food stores and unprotected humans too. In the countryside, its numbers are kept in check by bird, reptile, and mammal predators. In cities, all that keeps its population down, besides regular poisoning by humans, is the presence of -- yes -- dogs and cats. Get rid of all the dogs and cats, and this animal would swiftly overwhelm us. There are already, according to the UN, more of this animal in the world than there are humans -- and there are 7 billion of us.
This animal is the rat -- particularly the brown rat, rattus norvegicus.
The last time humans drove small dogs and cats away from a large geographic area, the result was an explosion of the rat population -- and the Black Plague, which killed one-third of the human population of Europe. One has to wonder if the PETA people are ignorant of history.
Or, perhaps, given their famous slogan "A boy is a dog is a rat", they're perfectly aware of it -- and hopeful of a rerun. They've revealed, many times, their real contempt for human beings. They've said, many times, that there are too many humans in the world. Iis this their plan for cutting our numbers down?
Sunday, January 10, 2016
It's not just Black lives, you fools!
Trying to make political hay out of police corruption isn't doing Blacks any favors, either. Yes, yes, you can stampede this or that city council into giving you and your cronies money, sinecures, and political clout, but the tactics you're using are going to backfire on you.
Look, from the top, thuggish cops are quite ready, willing, and eager to attack, beat up, and even kill poor folks who aren't Black. If you want specific cases, look up Corey Kanash -- Paiute Indian, Misty Holt-Singh -- Sikh, Samantha Ramsey -- White, and for a real horror-show go up on YouTube and search 'The Death of Kelly Thomas'. But with that last one, turn the sound down once the beating starts; the screams get very loud. Anyone, of any race, is fair game when dirty cops go out to play; all you have to be is poor and powerless when a bored cop wanders by.
...Or a drugged one. One of the best-kept secrets in America is how many police are taking steroids -- or stimulants, or both. It's difficult to catch them with random drug-tests, because steroids break down quickly in the bloodstream, though stimulants leave more obvious traces. Still, bi-weekly random tests would help, if only by making the cops more circumspect about what they take and when.
The government's deliberate policy of militarizing the police is another obvious culprit, which could be reversed if the federal administration really wanted to do it. Surely the army keeps records of just when and where it has sold -- or given -- that military hardware to various police departments. It would be easy enough to round up those goodies and send them off to the local National Guard armories, where they belong, and replace them with a lot of tasers. Since so many cops are willing to shoot first and think later, let them do it with non-lethal weaponry.
Now those are solutions that would work, but I don't see you guys yelling for them. Instead, we've seen a lot of obstructive demos -- like that stunt of blocking streets on Christmas eve -- which are guaranteed not to win you any sympathizers, even in the Black community. Worse, you're public speeches have stopped barely short of inciting fools to go out and shoot cops. If you'll recall, that tactic didn't do the original Black Panthers any good, either.
It sure as hell isn't winning you any sympathy in cases where assorted Black looneys have actually gone out and done it. Neither is staying noticeably silent in public about those incidents.
Note the present case of Edward Archer, Black, in West Philadelphia, who ran up to a cop-car and fired 13 rounds through the window. I find it ironic that he managed to hit the cop with only three of those shots, all of which hit in the arm. This doesn't say much about Archer's shooting ability. It's also remarkable that the cop then jumped out of the car, chased Archer down, caught and cuffed him, and only then called for help. The cop is in stable condition in a local hospital, and Archer is still alive, thank you. Now that's one tough cop -- and a remarkably restrained one.
Archer then compounded his stupidity by bragging in public that he'd pledged allegiance to ISIL/Daesh, and did the attempted assassination "in the name of Islam". That, to say the least, made him look like a terrorist -- even though the Philadelphia mayor and district attorney promptly tried to divert attention by blaming "too many guns on the street". This argument was rendered even more laughable when it turned out that Archer's gun had been stolen from, if you please, the local police department. Everyone who's heard the story can readily assume that Archer was a Muslim terrorist, who are sympathetic to nobody but themselves.
Now, have you guys made a point of publicly denouncing this murderous idiot, or taken care to separate your cause and complaint from any and all Muslim terrorists?
Believe me, the last thing you need is to make Black Lives Matter look like an ISIL/Daesh front!
That's guaranteed to make the clash between cops and urban Blacks escalate to a real war, not to mention getting your members hunted down and prosecuted by Homeland Security.
So just how far do you want to push your proud-and-loud, emotionally-satisfying but none-too-smart protests? At what point are you going to take a deep breath, calm down, and start running your campaign with some real political common sense?
--Leslie <;)))>< Fiah
Sunday, January 3, 2016
(Sorry I took so long getting back to this. I’ll continue quicker hereafter, I promise.)
Suppose that you were a proper British (or French, or Dutch) aristocrat, just after the American Revolution. Of course you'd believe that the aristocracy were a superior "race" (or at least bloodline) – more intelligent, moral, beautiful, graceful, etc. than the "lower orders", and therefore naturally fit to rule them. Of course you'd be appalled at this horrid vulgar "democracy", which allowed any coarse peasant to vote, to choose his leaders and laws, or even (horrors!) get rid of them if he so chose. Oh, outrageous! But those peasants and their "class traitor" generals had won the Revolution, and even written a Constitution and made it the supreme law of the land. What could you do to restore the Proper Order of Things?
At first, you and your class of Proper People would simply ignore these upstart new laws by the time-honored process of suborning the agents of government. The ink was barely dry on the Constitution when the new Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts – whose basic purpose was to prevent Irishmen from immigrating to the United States, gaining the vote, and voting for that original Traitor to His Class, Thomas Jefferson.
That didn't work. First, that upstart new Supreme Court made it clear that no citizen was required to obey, nor any government agent required to enforce, an unconstitutional law. The Alien and Sedition Acts were repealed, Irish refugees came to America anyway, and Thomas Jefferson got elected President. One of the first things he did was to pass the Homesteading Act, which gave portions of federal land, free, to any peasant who would work it and claim it. He also funded the Merriweather and Clark expedition to explore and map the unknown territories to the west, to provide more lands for individual settlement. The War of 1812 ended not only with Britain failing to take back its old colonies, but with America owning more territory than before. The Mexican War ended much the same way. One result of this was that the early 19th century saw an explosion of American small businesses – starting as small as the family farm, and growing from there. At the beginning of the Civil War, the average American lived on a family farm and provided most of their necessities for themselves. Even city-dwelling craftsmen and businessmen owned houses on plots of land big enough to provide a kitchen-garden and a small pen of livestock – poultry or rabbits, at least, and often a horse. The average American citizen, even in the slave-states, was distressingly self-reliant and independent.
By the end of the Civil War it was clear that direct opposition – openly trying to establish a de facto aristocracy – wouldn't work, and more subtle manipulations were necessary. The obvious means was the manipulation of money, either by establishing large factories to sell products and make money and crowd out the small-fry competition, or by directly manipulating money through the burgeoning "financial industry". The factory system led to the growth of labor unions (horrors!), but the financial manipulators suffered no worse than an occasional slap from various governments – and that happened only when the government was effectively petitioned by those pesky citizens. By the turn of the 20th century it was clear that the only major obstacle to establishing the New Aristocracy was the competence and vigilance of the citizenry. What could the would-be ruling class do about that?
Well, since 1852 there had been a growing movement toward public schools, and every private-interest group in the country had been trying to take them over. The aristocracy was just one voice out of many, each trying to insist that the schools teach their agenda -- religious, economic, or political – but at least it could use money, by suborning state and local governments, to become a major voice. This is why the public school system was originally designed along factory-model lines: to teach working-class children to become good, obedient, interchangeable factory-workers, while the private schools continued to teach the children of the better-off how to become good managers and rulers. Besides teaching propaganda that was acceptable to the major factions, schools could also be used to divide the populace into classes according to skills – and keep each class from learning the skills of the others, on the excuse of "division of labor". Thus evolved the difference between "blue-collar" and "white-collar" workers, with the "white-collar" workers assuming themselves better educated and of a higher class, even though the "blue-collar" workers might actually have more skills and earn more money.
But working against this effort was the folk tradition of learning cross-class survival skills as "crafts"— which included gardening, livestock raising, hunting and fishing, even among the new industrial urban poor, and never mind the rural middle-class and poor. Also, there were various social crusaders, often religious, who made a point of spreading literacy and survival skills among the "less fortunate". By the turn of the century, every American had the means, or at least access to them, of self-reliance – therefore independence. And of course, most of them could vote.
By the early 20th century, despite the wealth it had gained during the age of the Robber Barons, the aristocracy was embattled on several fronts. The labor movement was growing, women were agitating for the vote, education and literacy were widespread, and the average citizen was still dangerously competent, self-reliant, and independent. What to do? How to reduce them to that dependence which ensures the rule of the aristocracy?
Well, first there was the growing influence – often mistaken for power – of the media. William Randolph Hearst's newspapers covered the nation with his own attitudes, which had been influential enough to stampede his readers, and then the federal government, to waging the Spanish-American War. It was lost on nobody that one way to power was to gain a monopoly on the public's source of information. Thus began the trend, continuing today, of publishing companies buying each other up until only half a dozen giants are left. This pattern was followed in turn by later-developing media: film, radio, and television.
The drift toward monopolies, which had begun in the 19th century and suffered only temporary setbacks with Teddy Roosevelt's Anti-Trust crusade, spread to other industries too. Mining and manufacturing companies, which were in the front of the wars with the labor unions, ate up any of their weaker brethren who faltered. Service industries were slower to follow, but managed to consolidate the medical business – especially after the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act – into the "closed shop" of the A.M.A. and the narrowing handful of big pharmaceutical, medical equipment, and hospital companies. The financial industry made its greatest gain with the establishment of the Federal Reserve, which empowered a collection of banks to control America's money supply regardless of actual wealth created. And on, and on. The point was to concentrate ownership and control of what Marx called "the means of production" in as few hands as possible, leaving the rest of the citizens dependent on the "job creators" for their survival.
World War One provided a marvelous new tool to the aristocracy, in the form of the federal government's bureaucracy. The mass regimentation necessary for raising, arming, training, transporting, and supplying the biggest military America had yet seen required a similarly huge bureaucracy which the aristocracy could easily influence and use. This is where the now-famed Military-Industrial Complex got its start. The tendency toward growing bureaucracy and monopoly was only encouraged by World War Two, which followed just over twenty years later.
Unfortunately for the aristocracy, the skills learned during WWI also assisted the "peasants" in forming labor unions. The "labor wars" of the '20s-to-'50s were real shooting wars, in which the aristocracy hired private guards and government troops, but the "blue collar" workers outnumbered and often outshot them. Eventually the aristocracy realized that some concessions – and a more subtle attack – were necessary. The National Labor Relations Board was formed not just at the request of the working class for legal protections but also at the urging of the aristocracy, who managed to work in some legal restraints on unions as well, and followed with a few more – as note the Taft-Hartley Act. The last shooting labor-battles happened in the 1960s, in the coal-fields of Harlan County, Kentucky, and by then most of the aristocracy had already changed tactics.
Since most unions were clustered in the “blue collar” jobs – primarily mining and manufacturing – the aristocracy did its best to take the jobs away, moving them overseas to countries where the peasants had never heard of the concept of unions. The fact that such labor was lamentably unskilled was beside the point; cheap, if shoddy, goods would always sell among the poor at home.
Alas, the tactic wasn’t entirely successful. Some industries – such as construction, medical treatment, firefighting, police work, teaching, and weapons construction (for obvious security reasons) couldn’t be moved, and those industries found themselves unionized in short order. It was no coincidence that the era of greatest union membership in America also happened to be its period of greatest prosperity; a rising tide lifts all boats. But this isn’t what the aristocracy intended.
What to do, what to do? Well, first, try corrupting those unions. It’s easier to corrupt a poor man than a rich one, because it’s cheaper; wave $10,000 at a rich man, and he’ll sneer and hold out for $100,000 – but wave $10,000 at a poor man, and he’ll think of all the necessities (like paying off the mortgage on his house, or buying decent health-insurance, or paying for his kids’ college) he could buy with that money, and his knees will shake and his morals will quake. From the 1950s on, a distressing number of union officials were corrupted by big money – which was dutifully exposed and gleefully moralized about in the mainstream media, giving the impression that unions were all corrupt.
Second, playing on that phenomenon, launch a long and thorough and subtle propaganda campaign to discredit the very idea of unions among most of the population. And, of course, every time a business raises prices or closes a mine or factory, blame it on the cost of union demands. It’s cheaper to dig minerals or make goods overseas, anyway. As we’ve seen recently, blame the cost and inefficiency of government on government-workers’ unions – teachers, police, firefighters, garbage-collectors, and all.
Third, mechanize whenever possible. No workers = no unions, and never mind what this does to your product quality or the overall economy. There’s an old tale of Henry Ford taking John L. Lewis on a tour of his newest, most thoroughly automated factory, and then bragging: “How are these machines going to join your union, John?” John L. replied: “How are they going to buy your cars, Henry?” There is no record of what Henry Ford replied, or if anyone learned from that exchange.
In any case, today – 60 years later – union membership is down to less than 10% of the American work-force, and our economy is in wretched shape. It seems that a falling tide lowers all boats, too – except for the aristocracy, now labeled “the 1%”, who own more than half the physical wealth in the country.
(To be continued)