Archive for July, 2014

PETA Dines on the Corpse of Detroit

July 27, 2014

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Detroit, one of the world’s great cities, is slowly dying. The city government is cutting off water to thousands of residents, and there is serious talk of selling off the artworks in the city’s art museum. The rest of America stands by and watches while this happens.

Ah, but the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is doing something about it. On their website, they have announced:

    Thanks to this donor, PETA will be able to pay off the water bills for 10 families who commit to going vegan for one month. We’ll also help them get started by giving each family a basket of healthy vegan foods and recipes.

    The last thing that people who are struggling need is increased health-care costs. By accepting our offer to go vegan, not only will families be getting an immediate financial boost and helping animals, if they stick with it, they’ll also lower their risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and strokes.

Yes, a lucky few – 10 families exactly – will get to have running water in exchange for agreeing to eat vegan for one month. (And if they break their promises, will they have to pay the money back?) Not quite the same as finding a ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but pretty close to it.

No doubt this is meant to provide publicity for PETA and to make people aware of the many advantages of veganism.

The website provides an address that people can write to if they want to be considered for this. I hope the people of Detroit write to them to tell them what they think of this offer.

The people of PETA are not vegans, they are vultures.

Here is some more about PETA.

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The Slaughter in Gaza

July 25, 2014

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I know a woman who used to live in Gaza. Today, she told me that three children she knew when she was living there have been killed by Israeli bombs. As the slaughter in Gaza continues, it’s effects are beginning to be felt even here in the US.

Barack Obama has displayed his usual moral cowardice, giving pious speeches about Israel’s “right to defend itself”, as if the people of Gaza have no right to defend themselves. Obama talked about this at an Iftar dinner attended Muslim Americans. Obama deliberately insulted these people by inviting the Israeli ambassador to the US to this dinner.

There is growing opposition to Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza throughout the world including within Israel itself.

We must stand with the people of Gaza.

Carving Up the Golden State

July 17, 2014

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Every few years, somebody comes up with a proposal to break up California into smaller states. (Usually, by some conservative who thinks the state government is “too liberal”). These proposals have always never gone anywhere, no doubt because most Californians are pretty much satisfied with the state the way it is. Now, however, a Silicon Valley billionaire named Tim Draper says he has collected more than enough signatures to put on the ballot a plan to divide up California into six states.

Draper has given these proposed states such imaginative names as “Central California”, “South California”, “West California”, and “North California”. Another state will be called “Silicon Valley”. (That’s right, it will be named after a branding gimmick.) And another state will be named “Jefferson” (after a slave owner who never set foot in California). According to SF Gate: “…Draper spent $1.3 million and hired the signature-gathering firm Arno Political Consultants, which paid collectors as much as $3 per signature.” Draper claims that California as currently exists is “ungovernable”. (If California were truly ungovernable, it would resemble Somalia.) In fact, if this plan were put into effect, it would be a bureaucratic nightmare. Among other things, responsibility for the state’s enormous water system would have to be divided up between six different governments. (Just think of the potential for lawsuits here.)

I once had a job verifying signatures for a company that did ballot petitions. I was struck by the huge number of redundant signatures I would find. Certain people would sign the same petitions over and over again. This suggested to me that these people weren’t really paying that close attention to what they were signing. This confirmed to me a suspicion I had always had: you can put almost anything on the ballot if you’re willing to spend enough money and hire enough collectors. “Direct democracy”, the rationale behind having ballot initiatives, is a highly problematic concept in a society in which there is an enormous disparity in wealth.

Even if this initiative passes, the plan would have to be approved by Congress, which is not likely to happen. However, this provides us with an illuminating example of how a billionaire can wast people’s time.

The Ghouls at Natural News

July 13, 2014

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Mike Adams

This is an addendum to the previous post. The Natural News website, which claims that immigrants are bringing diseases into this country, is a hotbed of anti-vaccine bullshit. (Here is one example.) As a result of the anti-vaccine hysteria created by outlets such as Natural News, childhood diseases such as whooping cough, once thought to have been eliminated, are making a reappearance. The people spreading disease in this country are not immigrants, but Mike Adams and other of his ilk.

From El Paso to Auschwitz

July 6, 2014

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On July 1, protesters in Murrieta, California blocked buses carrying Central American immigrants, many of them children, from overcrowded Border Patrol facilities in Texas to a facility in that town. According to CNN, the protesters chanted “Go back home!” and “USA” at the buses.

On June 29, the “alternative medicine” website, Natural News, carried an article by Mike Adams (aka “The Health Ranger”) entitled Unloading disease-carrying immigrants in large U.S. cities a ‘perfect storm’ for pandemic disease outbreak. I will spare you any quotes; the title says it all.

Beginning in 1917, and extending through the 1920’s and 1930’s:

    Mexican visitors were forced to strip naked and subjected to ‘screening’ (for homosexuality, low IQ, physical deformities like ‘clubbed fingers’) and to ‘disinfection’ with various toxic fumigants, including gasoline, kerosene, sulfuric acid, DDT and, after 1929, Zyklon-B (hydrocyanic acid) – the same gas used in the Holocaust’s death camps.

    The ostensible reason for the US fumigation was the fear of a typhus epidemic. Yet in 1916, the year before such ‘baths’ were enforced, only two cases of typhus had occurred in the poorest El Paso slum.

In 1924, Hitler wrote:

    The American union itself… has established scientific criteria for immigration… making an immigrant’s ability to set foot on American soil dependent on specific racial requirements on the one hand as well as a certain level of physical health of the individual himself.

It never ceases to amaze me how the same old rubbish keeps getting recycled over and over again.

Religion is a Business

July 2, 2014

Pope Francis

Now that the Supreme Court has decided that business owners have a right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, I think this is an appropriate time to remind people that religion itself is a business, a point I made in a previous post:

    Sun Myung Moon was one of the greatest entrepreneurial geniuses of the twentieth century. Like L. Ron Hubbard, he grasped the essential truth that religion is a business. You promise salvation to people, and they pay you money for it. (Salvation is a special kind of commodity. Although it has no form or substance, it is nonetheless fungible.)

No one should know this better than Pope Francis. Salon recently posted an article by Anna Marsh about the pontiff. In it, Marsh destroys the Pope’s reputation as a populist. She writes:

    While the pope transmits a populist vibe—particularly about the economy— he is an old-school conservative who, despite his great PR, maintains nearly all of the socialpolicies of his predecessors and keeps up a hardline Vatican “cabinet.” He has done virtually nothing to change the policies of the church to match his more compassionate rhetoric. People excuse the pope, claiming that he doesn’t have much power to make changes, but this simply isn’t true. Further, it is ludicrous to suggest that a man who denies comprehensive reproductive health care (including all forms of birth control including condoms and abortion) and comprehensive family planning is a man who cares about the poor of this world.

Marsh tells us that the Pope’s populist rhetoric has a venal motive:

    According to The Economist, “The American church may account for as much as 60 percent of the global institution’s wealth. Little surprise, then, that it is the biggest contributor to head office (ahead of Germany, Italy and France). Everything from renovations to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to the Pontifical Gregorian University, the church’s version of West Point, is largely paid for with American money.” The National Catholic Reporter points out that American Catholics put more than $150 million a week into the collection plate, totaling $8 billion annually. Even if, as they assert, ninety percent of those donations never leave their parish, that means that about $800 million a year donated by American Catholics is being used to fund the Catholic Church around the world.

    Forbes points out that U.S. Catholics are responsible for almost a third of the charitable contributions that directly fund the Holy See, contributions that were down from $82 million in 2009 to 70 million in 2011. This time period overlaps the decline in Pope Benedict’s favorable numbers among U.S. Catholics and is widely attributed to Benedict’s lack of PR finesse, handling of the church’s sexual abuse scandal, and launching of an investigation into the practices of the American nuns.

The Vatican hired a PR man named Greg Burke to help them with this problem. Burke used to work for Fox News, and he is a member of the reactionary Opus Dei. It is apparently Burke who has largely engineered the new pope’s reputation as a populist. A lot of people have apparently fallen for this, but I wonder how long Francis will be able to continue this charade.