Archive for May, 2009

My Thoughts on YouTube User VenomFangX

27 May 2009

If you ever wanted to make a list of the most contoversial YouTube users, you would have to include a young man from Canada who called himself VenomFangX,

Shawn (his real first name, which he openly admitted) is a devout Christian and Creationist. He made numerous videos expounding Creationism, borrowing much of his source material from convicted criminal and former minister Kent Hovind. While Hovind and Shawn may convince those without a scientific backbround, people with scientific educations find such “information” laughable and several YouTube users, posted videos of their own debunking the claims of Shawn, as well as ridiculing him. The most famous groups of video series posted in response to Shawn and other Creationists on YouTube include:

There are, of course, other videos posted by these and other users, but these are the most well-known. Shawn’s initial response to these videos was to attempt to get into “debates” with these posters. However, Shawn’s near-total lack of a scientific education made any sort of debate with him to be a waste of time for the people he challenged and VenomFangX even admitted in one of his videos to Thunderf00t that he simply wanted to try to get Thunderf00t to “get out of his scientific bubble” and get him to try to see the world and universe from Shawn’s perspective. In other words, he wanted to preach Christianity to Thunderf00t in some sort of attempt to convert him. He even asked his subscribers to send messages to Thunderf00t to pressure him into agreeing to watch Shawn’s videos and debate him. However, Thunderf00t rejected the offer.  Shawn’s attempts to contact Thunderf00t and earn his respect seemed to border on the level of an obsessed fanboy, which Thunderf00t found to be rather disturbing and insulting.

While Thunderf00t and the other YouTube users allowed comments and ratings on their videos by anyone, Shawn did not. VenomFangX closed his comments to “approval only”, which meant that only the comments he allowed would be posted and it gave the appearance that everyone who commented on his videos agreed with him. When this point was brought-up, he did not change his practise and he also disabled ratings, so that no one could rate his videos either and neither could anyone post video responses. As such, Thunderf00t nicknamed Shawn “Posterboy from Creationist Stupidity” (PCS) and Shanw has been called PCS by numerous non-Creationists on YouTube ever since.

In an obvious attempt to eliminate the counter-arguments of Thunderf00t and others, Shawn began to file DMCA complaints against over 150 individual videos posted on YouTube. For a time, these videos were removed and a shitstorm of controversy was the result. Shawn tried to claim that “a friend” had filed the DMCAs on his behalf, but this was soon proven to be untrue and Shawn was revealed as the filer of those complaints. This resulted in Thunderf00t calling for Shawn to either shutdown his account for six months or face criminal and/or civil prosecution for his abuse of the DMCA system. At first, Shawn tried to bluff his way out of it, along with encouragement from other Creationists, but eventually was forced to admit his guilt for filing the false DMCAs and lying in an attempt to cover it up.

After receiving this smackdown, Shawn was a bit quieter than he had been before. However, he soon began to find new ways to offend people.

For a few days, Shawn closed his account after claiming that people had obtained his personal information and had threatened his family. Shawn posted a video announcing this, saying goodbye to everyone. However, he did log-into his account over the next few days and eventually returned with a video consisting of clips from his supporters’ videos asking for his return. This bit of drama was derided by his opponents as nothing more than appealing for sympathy.

In one of Shawn’s earliest videos, he appealed for a video camera and soon received one from a supporter. However, in clips of many of his videos, Shawn revealed that he lives in a palacial home with expensive decor, which made such appeals to seem selfish. He was obviously not from a poor family, so was seen as having no business asking for donations of any kind. In my view, even if some one knew that Shawn is from a wealthy family, but still wanted to give him a donation, that was certainly the donor’s choice.

Later, after Shawn claimed to have lost his job at a video store – after having used the store’s equpiment to copy DVDs from Kent Hovind’s organization and playing the DVD “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” on the store’s television and giving-away copies of Hovind DVDs to store customers as a way of prostelytizing to store customers – Shawn posted a video asking for people to financially support him so that he could Preach the Gospel as a full-time preacher. Specifically, he asked for at least 500 people to donated $1 each. He said that he would keep $500 for his own use and give anything over the $500 to Sick Kids Hospital. Shawn began to receive donations of more that $5 from several people, including donations of $500 from a couple of individuals, which was far in excess of the $500 he had initially asked for. A YouTube user, ImSoCritical, posted a comment that Shawn should simply put the excess into a savings account to carryover into the next month, rather than giveaway the excess. This account is seen by some, including myself, to be a sockpuppet account that Shawn used to post supportive cooments to himself. Whatever the case may be, Shawn soon abandoned the idea of giving away the money he received in excess of the $500 and began to spend it on other things, whether related to his ministry or not. These expenses included paying for parking at the college he preached at, car expenses and video recording equipment.

When pressure was brought on by people asking why he didn’t donate to the hospital, Shawn’s reply was that he had asked for 500 people to donate $1 each, but he said that, since he had wanted 500 donors, he still had not reached his goal. This flew in direct contradiction of his initially stating that he wanted only $500 per month and instead counted only the number of donors. So, if he received, say, $1000 from 499 people, he did not feel obligated to give any money to charity until he had gotten money from the 500th donor. While he did end-up making donations to various charitable organizations, he did not donate any money to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, but instead to other Christian groups.

In response to apparently fraudulent use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital to raise moeny for himself, YT user UNFFwildcard posted this video.

UNFFwildcard’s video was posted both a response to VenomFangX and as a way to raise money for Malaria No More, whose goal; is to supply bed netting for people in Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to combat the spead of malaria.

This same YT user published further criticism of Shawn here

as well as a Thank You to all YouTube users who have helped in the fundraising drive

Unlike VenomFangX’s donation drive, UNFFwildcard’s effort was fully transparent and you always knew how much money had been raised and exactly where it was going.

Not to let Shawn off-the-hook for what was apparently an an attempt by Shawn to get money from people without having to work for it, another YouTube user lordhathor began his own campaign to interrupt the flow of money into Shawn’s pockets and you can view his playlist here

When Shawn began his donation drive, he stated that he wanted to be a full-time preacher and the donations were simply to financially support him while he did that. He posted videos on his channel showing him witnessing to several students at a local college. This was obviously an attempt by shawn to justify his money-raising and show that he wasn’t simply freeloading on the goodwill of others. Howvever, lordhathor uncovered evidence through an interview with a Christian minister who lives close to Shawn that

  • Shawn was offered an actual job as a missionary with a local church, but turned it down;
  • Shawn’s response to the church that offered him the job that he wasn’t interested in it because he didn’t want to answer to the church’s authorities;
  • Shawn also was not satisfied with the salary offer from the church, since he was making more money than that through his donation drive on YouTube;
  • the videos that showed Shawn converting people to Christianity were actually faked and the people he was preaching to were already Christians and, in some cases, had been so for years;
  • despite Shawn’s claims that he wanted to be a minister, none of the college courses he was taking were related to that occupation.

You can hear the interview on this video

We’ll never know how much money Shawn raised or what he did with it. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

In the end, Shawn posted another video on his channel to say goodbye. In this video he stated, once again, that people – Muslims, in this case – had obtained his personal information and sent threats against his life and the lives of his family members. As such , he was shutting-down his channel and deleting all his videos.

He did this…for a few days.

Shawn then reopened his channel, sans videos, and stated that he was giving his channel and its 26,000+ plus subscribers to another YouTube user, known as GEERUP. GEERUP is known as a rather off-the-wall character on YouTube and had less than 2500 subscribers. Now, with Shawn’s subscribers, he has a wider audience. GEERUP believes in the New World Order conspiracy and posted rather strange videos on his own channel. To his credit, CEERUp does allow comments to be posted on his video and allows comments on the VenomFangX channel, which is something Shawn did not. Time will tell if Shawn’s subscribers remain with GEERUP or will tire of his rantings and strange behavior.

Did Shawn really receive threats agaisnt his life and the lives of his family from Muslims, as he claimed? Personally, I don’t think so.

What I do think happened is this:

  • people reported Shawn’s use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital for the purposes of his money-raising;
  • it became obvious that Shawn had given none of the money he collected to that same hospital and had no real intentions of doing so;
  • copies of the video were sent to the Hospital’s legal division, as well as Canada’s Revenue Service and the Toronto police and an investigation of possible fraud was launched;
  • since Shawn lives with his parents, they became aware of what was happening under their roof when they were contacted by law enforcement and/or Sick Kids Hospital as part of this investigation;
  • Shawn’s parents, whom he lives with, were unaware of what he was doing until this contact was made. Since Shawn is over 18, they are not responsible for him or his actions previous to contact. However, now that they became aware, they are now responsible to prevent any further misuses of the name of Sick Kids Hospital by their son while he lives in their home;
  • rather than face criminal and/or civil repurcussions for the actions of their son, as well as damage to their reputations in the community, Shawn’s parents forced him to shutdown his YouTube channel and close his website.

Shawn made one last appeal for people who still wanted to send him money via his Paypal account. It’s anyone’s guess as to how successful this will be for him. For most of us,”Out of sight, out of mind” is how we are and while some of his subscribers will want to help him out, I think that when enough time passes, Shawn will be forgotten by most of his former followers and the money will stop coming in, if it does at all.

Ultimately, here is my assessment of Shawn:

  1. Shawn grew-up in a well-to-do family and his parents indulged him with gifts of expensive items;
  2. Shawn became a Christian recently and became a follower/admirer of Kent Hovind;
  3. Since Shawn was doted-on by his family, he has a strong need for attention and admiration from people around him;
  4. Shawn does not like being criticized by anyone for any reason and reacts badly to it;
  5. Shawn also has a vindictive nature, looking for ways that he can strike back at his detractors with little risk to himself for his actions;
  6. Shawn is a coward and when caught doing illegal or immoral things, will try to bluff or threaten his way out of them;
  7. When Shawn does not receive admiration, he will try to gain sympathy from others. He will settle for people feeling sorry for him, if they cannot admire him;
  8. When Shawn’s parents told him that he had to earn his own money, Shawn attempted to use the job as a platform to garner followers for himself and converts for his religion;
  9. Shawn was always allowed to do whatever he wanted to by his parents and was upset that his employers would not do the same;
  10. Shawn does not like having to work for a living and wanted to find a way to receive money without having worked for it;
  11. Shawn will try to use either people’s admiration or sympathy for him to get money for himself;
  12. He views whatever money he gets as his own money and will be loathe to give it up to anyone for any reason that does not benefit him in some fashion;

Basically, Shawn is just a selfish little punk kid who never had to earn his own money and he discovered that some people would give him money if he asked for it. He’s a lazy piece of shit who doesn’t want to break a sweat on a job and would rather spend his days playing on a computer and living the same carefree life he did when he was a child. Because his parents indulged him, he expects the rest of the world to do the same and he just can’t stand it that we all don’t line-up to kiss his ass.

Finally, it seems that his parents may have realized what a selfish little shit they raised and have taken some belated action to rein him in before he ends-up in prison or the family gets sued. I hope that they sat him down and gave him a good talking-to about how he risked their family’s reputation for his schemes.

Now, I would view this all differently if Shawn lived on his own and appealed for donations from people without mentioning Sick Kids Hospital or any other legitimate charity as a form of leverage to get people to send him money. If he wanted to ask for money on his own and people gave it to him, then I really don’t care. People give money to fake preachers all the time.

But, his use of a legitimate charity’s name to raise money for himself so that he could continue a life of leisure without doing a bit of real work for it just burned me up.

Shawn isn’t even 25 years old yet. I hope the little shit grows-up before his actions land him in criminal or civil court facing real consequences for his nonsense.

He’ll be back, I think. When he’s not getting anymore donations and he feels a need for attention-whoring, he’ll come back to YouTube or some other forum and try to pickup where he left off.

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Scientology: Nearly 18 Months Into Project Chanology

26 May 2009

I remember when Project Chanology got started on YouTube in January 2008. An online group of hackers decided to have some fun at the expense of the Church of Scientology. In the beginning, it consisted of DDOS attacks against their assorted websites, prank phone calls, prank faxes and other things.

At first, I thought that these kids were in way over their heads. After all, the Church of Scientology had made a science out of destroying their enemies and had most of the media cowed. You couldn’t say a negative word about the Church in any form of media without receiving what the Church used to refer to as “Fair Game“, which included harassment, legal threats, lawsuits, picketing your home or place of business, etc. Peoples’ lives and careers have been ruined after they decided to take-on the Church of Scientology and the Church seemed very smug with itself.

I believed that a couple of things would happen:

  1. the Church would find and Fair Game a bunch of these kids, which would result in their lives being ruined and the whole group getting scared-off; and/or
  2. the group, called “Anonymous” would get bored, declare victory and stop.

At first, the Church tried to Fair Game their way out of it by claiming persecution and making unfounded accusations of terrorism and threats. Most of the media is well-aware of Scientology’s history of bullying tactics and few tears were shed for them, if any. A few of Anonymous were located and some faced legal action for their actions or the actions they were accused of by the Church. Some, in fact, did get scared-off. But, the majority stayed with it and more joined their ranks as Anonymous dropped the DDOS and other illegal actions in favor of street protesting. Fair Game worked, but not as well as the Church had hoped. For the most part, they seem to have abandoned Fair Game, as it only made them look worse than they already did.

In fact, Anonymous won the Public Relations war early on, as few people felt sympathy for Scientology, especially when they learned of the history of Fair Game, as well as other abuses committed either by the Church or its members. While people were quick to condemn DDOSing, they developed a respect for the sheer gutsiness of Anonymous for taking-on such a powerful corporation. Every action taken by the Church against Anonymous was quickly publicized on the Internet and public sympathy for the Church seemed to be nonexistant.

In fact, the media seemed to find its testicles and media personalities in broadcast media and print began to badmouth the Church, either criticizing it or simply making fun of it. It was as if the media had awakened to find itself suddenly aware of the sheer nuttiness of Scientology and how abusive much of its behavior had been in the past. Even counter-move the Church took against Anonymous only seemed to make their situation worse, while people cheered Anonymous as they picketed outside of Scientology establishments.

Another series of events began to take place. People who had either left the Church in the past or had been victimized in some way began to organize themselves via the Internet. Prior to Anonymous, this did not occur with much frequency. However, after Project Chanology got started, it began slowly and picked-up speed. Famous people like Jason Beghe left the Church and made public statements, past critics of the Church – called “The Old Guard” by Anonymous – became more visible and there was nothing the Church could do to stop them, aside from attempting to silence them. However, the Church learned that any action they took would quickly be reported on the Internet, as was the case in the recent arrest of Mark Bunker, whose charges were dropped and the judge publicly stated that no arrest should have taken place to begin with.

As I predicted in February 2008, many of Anonymous who started in Project Chanology dropped-out due to sheer boredom. The first few pickets drew hundreds, even thousands, of people around the world. But, when pickets became regular monthly events, they got bored with it and left. However, there is a hardcore membership that has stayed with it until the present day, even though many of the original hackers deride them as having polluted Chanology and turned it into a shadow of its former self. I do have to admit that I really enjoyed the protests that took place in June 2008 Operation Sea Arrrgh, where Anonymous dressed-up in pirate costumes. For the first few protests, Anonymous developed themes for each protest and the Sea Arrrgh motife was pirates, as a dig against the Freewinds, which is the Church’s flagship.

So, who won?

Well, Anonymous stated in their original video on YouTube that their intent was to drive the Church off the Internet. That failed. They also stated that they would destroy the Church in its current form. That failed, too.

However, comparing media coverage of Scientology post-Chanology, as opposed to pre-Chanology, the fear of the Church of Scientology had evaporated, for the most part. When Steven Colbert can publicly mock Scientology and suffer no retaliation from the Church of any kind, you know that things are different now. Decades of building fear have been undone by a bunch of kids wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Now, that’s pretty sad, when you think about it.

According to what I have heard, people have left the Church post-Chanology, now being aware of a support structure awaiting them when they leave High-ranking members have defected and more people are now aware of the history of the Church and its abusive practises. While the Church still has its celebrity members, it has taken a severe blow from which it is unlikely to recover anytime soon.

People have asked me if there was anything the Church could have done to prevent the negative effects of Chanology and Anonymous. To that, I say: Yes, there was.

What the Church could have done to prevent Chanology’s damage was the one thing they never though about doing. They could have done nothing.

Yeah, they could have done nothing. Their whole history consists of striking back at their critics. Hit hard, hit fast and keep hitting them until you destroy them completely. That worked in the past, so they tried it with Chanology. However, it didn’t work this time and only made their situation worse.

Instead of having security guards follow protesters with cameras, they could have ignored them.

Instead of hiring private detectives to track these people to their homes, they could have done nothing.

Instead of releasing Anonymous members personal information onto the Internet, they could have done nothing.

Instead of having Church members harass and attempt to intimidate Anonymous in the streets, they could have done nothing.

Every action the Church took against Anonymous only resulted in negative publicity for themselves and created more public support for Anonymous. While the Church claimed “persecution”, the public openly expressed support for the supposed “persecutors” and little for the Church. Nothing the Church did resulted in anything positive for themselves, aside from scaring a few kids with Cease & Desist orders or threatening lawsuits. A few scared teenagers doesn’t make a victory.

If they had simply ignored Anonymous from the beginning, they would not have been seen as bullies themselves. Instead of shuttering their establishments, they should have kept them open. Pictures of Scientology security officers phoyographing or videotaping Anonymous simply made the Church look creepy. While this may have worked in the past against the “Old Guard”, it was a foolish move against Chanology.

Even if I could build a time machine and travel back to January 2008 to show the Church what the end result of their actions would be, it wouldn’t change their minds. That’s because the way they reacted to Anonymous is the only way they know how to react to criticism. They cannot be any other way because they don’t know how, as compared to Anonymous who showed great adaptability in the face of changing circumstances.

As with biological evolution, the life form that can adapt to a chaning environment is more likely to survive that the one which cannot adapt. Anonymous evolved while Scientology did not.

Now, the Church of Scientology faces a French court and the future of the Church in France hangs in the balance. Other nations regard them as a cult and the Church is not recognized as a religion in some countries.

Decades of creating a public face, reinforced by celebrity members and having a private force of detectives and lawyers to silence opposition could not defeat a group of kids and it will not halt the rising opposition to the Church in Europe and the growing opposition to the Church in the USA, where it is seen as a cult of loonies by many Americans. On top of all this, previously unpublicized Church of Scientology documents have been released on to the Internet, via Wikileaks. These documents include Church courses for which Church members who wish to take these course are allegedly charged thousands of dollars before they are allowed to have these materials. Now, anyone can read them, for free, in the privacy of their homes and there is nothing the Church can do about it, aside from threatening Wikileaks with lawsuits of which Wikileaks has little fear.

While Project Chanology is still on-going, I will venture my opinion on who has come out on top:

  • Anonymous: mostly win
  • Scientology: epic fail.

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A Few Thoughts on “Professional” Wrestling

25 May 2009

When I was a kid, I used to watch Pro Wrestling.  I will also admit that I enjoyed it. I’ll go further than that and admit that I even fantasized about being either a pro wrestler myself or being a manager.

In my juvenile brain, I actually thought that the whole thing was real. The Good Guys were really good guys and the Bad Guys were really bad.

When I became an adult, I realized that the whole thing was an act. There was even a magazine (whose name I have since forgotten) that openly spoke about pro wrestling like it really is: a staged performance. I read about the Real Life drama that went-on behind the scenes and how various companies treated their employees (i.e. the wrestlers, valets and managers) and it was very disturbing to me to find-out how the real business of wrestling really is and always had been.

I stopped watching pro wrestling completely after I understood how it was all an act, that the results of the “matches” were determined beforehand and that there were really no bad or good guys, only actors playing their parts. I never told other people, even my own family or friends, to stop watching it. If they knew it was fake and watched it anyway, that was up to them and I didn’t want to interrupt their enjoyment of the spectacle.

It can be fun to watch, I know. But, while I enjoy movies and TV shows where the drama is fake and never attempts to pass itself off as real, I cannot bring myself to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy Pro Wrestling like I once did.

What took me by surprise was the actual cold-bloodedness of the business, in regards to the main actors themselves. Doing an online search for “dead wrestlers” brought-up several names of wrestlers and valets whom I had enjoyed watching when I was growing-up:

Of course, there are more wrestlers, managers and valets who died from such ordinary things like cancer and heart attacks. Some died due to homicide (e.g. Gentleman Chris Adams and Dino Bravo) and accidents are blamed for other deaths.

But, seeing how many of these people had suffered drug addiction, alcoholim and steroid abuse, it makes me wonder if the public’s enjoyment of Pro Wrestling comes at too high a price. I mean, with all the pressure in the industry for wreslers to be big and muscular, steroid abuse became common and even retired wreslters, such as Hulk Hogan, talk about it today.

Aside from these people simply being dead, which happens to everyone eventually, most of the people I mentioned above died very young. Some of the wreslters I researched died in their mid-twenties, others died in their mid-forties. I don’t care who you are, but dying before you even turn 50 years old is a frakking tragedy.

Pro Wrestling is a multi-billion dollar business, with fans in the USA, Europe and Japan. So, my decision to not be a fan of this form of entertainment won’t put a crimp in their bank balances. There will alaways be other people willing to attend their shows or “matches”. Kids will still buy the dolls and fans will by the memorabilia by the boatload.

Unfortunately, for the wrestlers, most of them are locked into the business for much of their lives with no way to move up into something better. Some have tried their hand at acting in motion pictures, as Hulk Hogan did, but these movies are almost always horrible to watch and the wrestlers are almost always some of the worst actors I have ever seen on TV or the movie screen. Granted, the movies make a lot of money, but most of the wrestlers will never have a career as actors, no matter how much they might want it.

I saw a movie called “Beyond the Mat” which gave me further insight into the lives of several wrestlers, including a favorite of mine from my youth, Jake “The Snake” Roberts who is stuck wrestling on the small circuit, due to a falling-out with WWE owner Vince McMahon. Similar falling-outs happened with Koko B. Ware and the Ultimate Warrior, though for different reasons and I think the Ultimate Warrior may have deserved to get kicked-out of Pro Wrestling. Unless wrestlers invest and save their money while they are in the business, they won’t have anything to fall back on when they can no longer perform, as happened with Roberts. However, it is difficult to save anything when you spend so much of your money going to the doctor for repeated injuries which result in longterm problems later in life. Brett “the Hitman” Hart often speaks about how he lost so much of the time he could have spent with his wife and children, when he was out on the road working for the WWE and WCW. Hart and his wife divorced and I was sad to see that happen, especially after seeing his wife in the documentary “Brett Hart: Wrestling with Shadows“, which talked about Hart’s departure from the WWE.

Overall, my impressions are that the various wrestling corporations – at least, the larger companies, such as the WWE – are run by people who care little for the well-being of the performers. As long as they can perform, they’ll be kept around. When they cannot perform or something happens that causes some embarrassment for the company, they’ll be cut-loose, such as happened when Chris Benoit died and the WWE distanced itself from him when the details became public.

Thankfully, for the most part, wrestling companies have gotten away from encouraging racism – bad Arabs (e.g.the Iron Sheik, who is actually Iranian) and bad Russians (names too numerous to mention, but were usually Americans faking Russian accents) and evil primitive Africans (e.g. Kamala, the Ugandan Giant, also an American) – but they quickly found new marketing strategies when they included anti-heroes, like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and putting more sexually-suggestive content in the programs. WCW tried to counter this with more “family-friendly” content, but money talks and bullshit walks and the WCW foundered and was eventually bought by the WWE. The WCW just didn’t have the money and viewership the WWE did and still does.

The only pro wrestler, that I know about, to make it as a movie actor is Duane “The Rock” Johnson who has made several movies, some of which were pretty good. He’s also a pretty good person in real life, from what I understand. The one person making it does not cancel-out the dozen of people whose lives were cut short, whose lives have been negatively impacted by work-related health problems or whose marriages and relationships have suffered as a peripheral result of their involvement in Pro Wrestling.

One eye-opener is the Iron Sheik, who is now retired and making the rounds of the talk show circuit. He is very open regarding his own history of abusing drugs and names other wrestlers whom he had done drugs with. I don’t think many of those wrestlers are very appreciative of being metioned as having smoked crack cocaine with the Sheik in the past. But, he doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks about him or what he says. When I was a kid, I hated him for being a bad guy. But, today I have to admit that I really like him, if not for his views on certain issues, at least for being an honest man.

Despite my having been a fan of Hulk Hogan in the past, I was surprised when I discovered how many former associates of his now seem to despise him. Randy “Macho Man” Savage, “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and the Iron Sheik all seem to hate his guts, though I have never been able to find-out why. Maybe he was an asshole when he became so famous during his time as the WWE champion and he treated everyone around him like crap, I don’t know. It happens in the best of industries.

In retrospect, I won’t say that the time I spent watching Pro Wrestling was wasted. I enjoyed it before I discovered the Truth behind the industry. When I discoverd the real human cost to the very wrestlers I had cheered for and booed, the greed of the company owners and the backroom deals being made regarding match outcomes. The most disgusting discovery I made was that, as part of a storyline, Vince McMahon wanted to introduce an incest angle into a storyline by “revealing” himself as the true father of his own daughter’s baby, when Stephanie McMahon said no, Vince tried to establish the storyline with her brother Shane as the father and again she refused. Good for her. If Vince McmAhon had gone ahead with that idea, I think the WWE would have suffered a serious ratings drop, as people generally take a negative view of incest, even if it is in a make-believe environment.

I can understand how McMahon constantly needs to come up with new angles and storylines, as people always want something new and different and you don’t want to recycle old storylines too often. But, incest???

Still, McMahon is doing well for himself. He’s got the top-rated wrestling franchise in the USA and he’ll always have lots of money, unless he makes another bad investment like he did with the XFL and National Bodybuilding Federation. I heard that he eventually wants to start producing movies. Given his history of bad decisions outside of the WWE, I think he should stick with wrestling.

Pro Wrestling can be fun to watch. The pageantry and the spectacle can sometimes be breathtaking. As long as they stay away from stupid storylines, they don’t falter too much. If the industry would allow the performers to form unions, conditions might improve for them. Unionization would give the performers, at least, some sort of protection, as well as health benefits and unemployment insurance. The WWE works very hard to keep their performers from trying to form a union as Jesse “The Body” Ventura found-out when he tried to form a union within the WWE in 1984, only to be ratted-out by Hulk Hogan. This may explain why Hogan is disliked by some of his former coworkers.

But, until somebody finds a way to look after the health of the performers themselves, whether it’s physical or psychological health, there will always be a toll on the lives of the people who choose to make Pro Wrestling their career.

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Thoughts on the Movie “Greasy Rider”

24 May 2009

I watched a movie on Hulu, called “Greasy Rider”, which chronicles the story of some people who designed a process where an ordinary car can be converted to run on vegetable oil, instead of gasoline or deisel. Actually, there are several such people mentioned, but the car in the movie was driven by people from GreaseCar.com.

During the film, people who have designed similar cars are also shown, along with celebrity interviews – Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono,  Noam Chomsky, etc – where people gave their thoughts on American dependence on foreign oil and how it affects our domestic life, foreign policy, health and the environment.

Unlike most alternative fuel researchers, there is no national body of people who collaborate on how to convert more cars to run on vegetable oil. When I mention vegetable oil, I don’t mean growing vegetables for the express purpose of turning them into fuel oil. I’m talking about using vegetable oil that had been previously used by restaurants and then discarded. So, they are using a fuel source that no one would miss if it were gone. In fact, they were able to drive their car across the USA without having to pay any money for the fuel they were using. Companies, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, the mom-and-pop eateries around the country, and all other burger chains and restaurants across the US pay other companies to come and take their used vegetable oil away and discard it. Sometimes the oil is used to make other products, but often it is dumped in landfills. The simple beauty of using the vegetable oil is that we discard millions of gallons of the stuff everyday in the United States, when it turns-out that we could be running our cars on it. In fact, the first deisel engine used peanut oil as a fuel source.

Of course, for the same reason the Big Oil companies bought-up the electric rail system in Los Angeles and have ignored the very idea of an electric car is that the big profits for now come from the petroleum industry and there is no profit for them at the moment in having the American driver burn used vegetable oil instead of gasoline. Let’s face it, if you had a car like that, you could fill-up your tank everyday without even having to pay for the fuel you were using. Most restaurant owners and managers would be glad to not have to pay a company to come and take the stuff away when they could give it away. All you’d have to bring with you in a pump to syphon the oil out of their storage tank and a filter to remove the particles that are in the oil after use. One guy in the movie used an ordinary sock, for G-d’s sake. Naturally, there is a small conversion kit that you’d have to install in some of these designs, which isn’t very expensivve and you’ll be saving loads of money by not having to pay for gas.

I saw the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which spoke about how General Motors designed the fully-electric EV1, which gave good performance and the technology already exists to prolong battery life. It was only GM’s reluctance to introduce such a car onto the American market, due to low profitability for the petroleum industry, which doomed the EV1 to ultimate failure. It was a good car, as good as any on the market today, but right now the big money is in Oil and the industry doesn’t want to give-up just yet.

As was pointed-out in the film by one of the interviewees, as long as the veggie oil cars don’t pose too much of a threat to Big Oil, they”ll be tolerated, even laughed-at, by the Big Car and Big Oil industries. But, if they are perceived as posing a significant threat to their bank balances, they’ll get stomped-on like insects under the Big Boot of the Oil and Automotive industries.

This is what pisses me off to no end: we have the technology and resources to end our dependence, not only on foreign oil, but on oil entirely. Yet, because a small group of people and corporations depend upon our addiction to petroleum, such technology will be kept under wraps and also covertly suppressed.

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Kelly McGillis Comes Out of the Closet

4 May 2009

Recent news reports that Top Gun actress Kelly McGillis has come out as a lesbian, finally confirming long-held rumors that have followed her for years.

By itself, this wouldn’t be so shocking to me. However, I only recently learned that Ms McGillis had been the victim of a rape back in 1982. Her attacker had been an escaped serial rapist who had gone on to commit more rapes in the years after the attack.

Curious to see if her attacker had received serious jailtime for the attack – he and an accomplise had raped McGillis and her roommate in McGillis’ apartment – I did a quick Internet search and discovered that he had recently received a 50 year sentence for raping two other women in 1996, fourteen years after his attack on McGillis. He was convicted of that rape, but since he was 15 when he committed the crime, he first was sent to a juvenile detention facility and then went to prison where he was released in 1991.

I couldn’t think of a defendant doing more harm to his own case than this one did in his most recent trial. He argued with the judge, accused the jury of having already found him guilty in the middle of the trial and even injected racism in the trial by comparing the trial to a lynching (the defendant is black) and that they would hang him if they could.

Yes, I would hang him, if I could. But, I’d hang him for being a serial rapist and not for any other reason. Notice that I didn’t mention his name in this blog, since he’s such a piece of shit that I didn’t want to include it here.

A common fear among rape victims is that their attacker will return and attack them again. Given that his received a sentence of 50 years this time, I hope that all of his previous victims can finally have some peace of mind.

As far as Kelly McGillis, I wish her the best now that she has admitted to herself her real identity. I understand that her movie career hasn’t taken-off as much as had been expected when she co-starred in Top Gun with Tom Cruise, even having to go back to waiting tables when her career foundered at one point. She also starred in The Accused with Jodie Foster and Witness with Harrison Ford, but no other big films that I know about and I don’t see her as having any lead roles in movies, with most of her work being done onstage.

The saddest thing I read in her bios is that Kelly actually believed that all the bad things that had happened to her during her life was G-d punishing her for being a lesbian. I wonder how many people live tortured lives because they believe something like that.

There was a series on Showtime, called “Queer As Folk” which I didn’t like very much and I only watched a few episodes. Overall, I thought the series was all about sex and I got very bored with it very quickly. However, there was one line that was said in the movie that I felt was very profound and I am going to repeat it here, since I think it is most appropriate:

” I think God appreciates it even more. Because He created you in His image. At least that’s what I was always taught. And since God is love and God doesn’t make mistakes, then you must be exactly the way He wants you to be. And that goes for every person, every planet, every mountain, every grain of sand, every song, every tear… and every faggot. We’re all His, Emmett. He loves us all.

Ted Schmidt, as played by actor Scott Lowell from first season episode #13,

My best wishes to Kelly McGillis in her future life and career.

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Miss California Has Fake Boobies?

4 May 2009

So, Miss California has had breast implants?

Please say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.

Apparently, breast implants are supposedly common in beauty contests, according to Shanna Moaklar co-executive Vice President. In fact, the Miss California organization even paid for them.

Never mind that Miss California has lent her voice to a California campaign to prevent homosexuals from ever getting the right to marry in that State, but Carrie Prejean has put the lie to the old-fashioned idea that everyone is good enough just as they are.

I could understand if a woman just wanted a boob job to feel good about herself or to attract men or is a stripper or porn star. But, a beauty contestant having a boob job and her state organization paying to have it done just seems like cheating to me.

Alright, maybe I am old-fashioned on this topic. But, I think it should be against the pageant rules for a contestant to have had certain kinds of cosmetic surgery done prior to to signing-up. Dental work would be okay, eliminating scar tissue, etc. Things like that.

But, if all the contestants in a Miss USA pageant are going to be allowed to have whatever cosmetic work done that they want before the contest, then it’s less a competition between natural beauty and more a contest between whoever had the better plastic surgeon.

I really have no hostility to Carrie Prejean, despite her opposition to same-sex marriage. What I object to is her use of the title to further a cause that is working to deny rights to a very important section of the population of her State. I also object to the cheapening of an already cheap title of Miss California – and by extension, Miss USA – by allowing contestants to artificially enhance their appearance through cosmetic surgery and State organizations paying for the work to be done.

Young people all over this country, especially young women, often feel that they aren’t beautiful enough. Now, Miss California and the California organization is telling them that even Miss California wasn’t attractive enough and had to have surgery so that she would be good-looking enough.

This sends a bad message to young women.

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Militant Veganism

4 May 2009

In case people think, due to my last post, that I am somehow opposed to protecting animals from cruel treatment: I am fully in support of laws to protect animals from cruel treatment by humans.

Partly, I support such laws because when people are cruel to animals, they tend to extend that behavior to other people. Some one who beats their dog or cat is probably going to take a swing at me if I get them mad enough and they are more likely to take that swing if they have a history of animal abuse.

Furthermore, I support protecting animals from abuse because it is a mark of civilized behavior for people to be concerned for the welfare of animals over whom they have power. The more humane we are to animals, the better people we are as a whole.

Some people take that a step further and become vegetarians or even vegans, feeling that it is immoral to kill animals for food. That’s fine with me. But, I have a problem with people for whom their vegetarianism or veganism is some kind of fucking religion and that all meat-eaters (actually, omnivores) are immoral, evil scum because we eat animal flesh. I used to hangout at a local store that caters to vegans and I would hear the daily rants against the eating of meat. It seemed that becoming a vegetarian/vegan was like a religion, with its own group of fundamentalists out to spread the word even to those who didn’t wish to hear it. Instead of the “you’re going to Hell” argument, I’d hear the “you’re murdering innocent animals” argument, which did nothing to convince me, though it might have convinced some.

Most people don’t like the idea that we are being cruel to the helpless, especially animals and most Americans have never killed an animal that they would go on to eat later. One of my earliest memories was seeing my uncle slaughter a rabbit for the family dinner to be held later that night. I didn’t eat any rabbit, but I don’t remember if it was because of personal choice or because there simply wasn’t enough to go around.

One YouTube user who engaged in the “meat-eaters are evil” tirade is a young man named Onision. For awhile, his videos consisted of the omnivore-bashing that I had heard years ago, so I took little interest in his channel and didn’t watch more than a few of his videos. Other users took exception to his rants and released videos of their own. I understand that Onision even engaged in a bit of DMCA filing against users he felt had illegally copied portions of his videos, despite such actions being covered by Fair Use. I am not aware of the outcome of these filings, having taken little interest in it. Later, Onision admitted that he was an actor and that he had been playing a role. Being a YouTube Partner, he made money as his videos got more views. A good way to generate publicity for himself and make a buck. But, his latest video consists of him whining that he is receiving hate mail from other users, as well as his still  being the subject of videos made by other users.

Oh, and he’s also upset that people are mispronouncing his name. Whatever.

Kind of hard to put the genie back in the bottle, Onision. You wanted all the publicity and now you have it. Deal with it and stop whining.

A bit more radical than simple YouTUbe rants are the animal libertation groups, like Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) both of whom have found themselves on lists of extremist organizations compiled by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI here in the United States. Both encourage people to become vegans, I guess because raising cows for milk and chickens for eggs somehow counts as enslavement. I wonder what these cows and chickens would be doing if people didn’t at least need them around for that.

Both ALF and ELF have websites where the latest “Direct Actions” against people and companies that are seen as exploiting animals or harming the environment are featured. ANything from simple vandalism to outright arson get mentioned without the slighest hint of condemnation from the webhosts. Despite the fact that no person is usually harmed by their actions doesn’t remove the fact that property was destroyed and people have, in fact, been threatened with serious bodily harm.

One of the most obvious cases of a radical animal rights group being their own worst enemy is the case of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) whose primary target is Huntington Life Sciences, which is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, now with facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Eye, Suffolk in the UK; New Jersey in the U.S.; and in Japan.  HLS is the largest such commercial operation in Europe and conducts tests on around 75,000 animals every year — including rats, rabbits, pigs, dogs, and primates — testing pharmaceutical products, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, and foodstuffs on behalf of private clients worldwide.  SHAC was successful in getting HLS’ bank accounts closed and their listing removed from both the London and New York Stock Exchanges. In fact, they nearly drove HLS out of business.

But, SHAC went too far. Too far by a longshot. They engaged in threats against people who either worked for HLS or did business with them in some fashion, such as HLS’s business partners, their business partners, insurers, caterers, cleaners, children’s nursery schools, and office suppliers. There was even a letter-writing campaign where an employee of a company that did business with HLS was targeted in a campaign where eight hundred letters were sent to his neighbors accusing him of being a pedophile, the police had to assure his neighbors that the accusations were false. Threats, intimidation, vandalism or vehicles and property became their modus operandi and Huntington Life Sciences found itself having to move to the United States and takeout high-interest loans to stay in business. Actions against HLS became even more violent with physical assaults on the persons of HLS staff. Huntington Life Sciences’ marketing director Andrew Gay was attacked on his doorstep with a chemical spray to his eyes which left him temporarily blinded!

Then came Operation Achilles, where much of SHAC’s leadership was arrested, tried, convicted and imprisioned. HLS was able to move back to the UK and the majority of the attacks against them have ceased.

But, even without the threats, vandalism, etc. SHAC almost won! They almost drove HLS out of business, which is what they wanted. It was only because they decided to act like a bunch of badasses that the police cracked down on them and imprisoned their leadership. If they had stuck with legal protests, undercover investigations and whistleblowing, SHAC could have triumphed over HLS anyway. But, as I said, they shot themselves in the foot when they began to think they were all clones of Che Guevara or something and took their campaign in a direction where it had no business going.

Now, Huntington Life Sciences is back in the UK and rebuilding itself. Naturally, they are likely very exhausted from all of this and it will take them time to recover fully, but that will come in time.

Okay, so what would have happened if Huntington had gone out of business? Would animal experimentation have ceased?

Nope. It would have simply moved overseas to a country where animal protection laws are not as strict or which may not even exist.

You see, animal experimentation is a vital part of medical research. It has led to vast improvements of medical care for people, including the polio vaccine, insulin, tuberculosis medicines and so on.

Common medical procedures that we take for granted today were pioneered with animal research before they were tried on people, such as blood transfusions were first tried on dogs and penicillin was tried on mice. These are just a few examples of animal research leading to important medical benefits for humans.

We all see the films put out by animal rights activists that show dogs and cats being used as lab animals. But, the fact is that dogs, cats and primates amount for 1% of all lab animals, with the rest consisting of rats, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs which are not endangered species by any means and their species will certainly survive a small percentage being used for animal research.

In the USA, we eat more ducks every year than the total number of animals used in research. As we also consume more chickens, cattle and pigs than even the highest estimate of the number of total animals of all species used for research purposes. The United States has the most stringent requirements for animal research than nay country in the world. You just can’t go and start injecting animals with pharmaceuticals because you feel like experimenting. You have to get approval and there are also strict requirements for the quality of life for the animal while it is being used for these experiments. An animal that is uder a great deal of stress due to pain will not provide good data for a medicine’s effectiveness, so researchers must not subject the animal to more discomfort than is absolutely neccessary for the experiments. Violations of the law can result in research grant money being withdrawn and there can be civil and criminal liability involved for the persons responsible. This is why I am not opposed to groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) engaging in undercover investigations to expose violations of the law to the public and the media.  Adherance to the law results in better research, which leads to more accurate data, which leads to improved benefits for people.

While there are other ways to do research on pharmaceuticals (e.g. in vitro testing, MRI scanning, computer modeling and micro-dosing) these are supplementary to animal research and they do have their limitations. They cannot completely replace animal testing, no matter how much we wish they could. If people think that animal testing is less expensive financially than the alternatives I mentioned, then you’re wrong. Animal testing is far more expensive, time-consuming and heavily-regulated than the supplementary methods, so there is no way for medical researchers to save money by experimenting on animals. It would be cheaper if the other methods were as effective as animal testing, but they are not.

There are between 25 to 26 million animals of all species being used for animal research in the USA, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the sheer number of animals killed for food. If animal rights people wanted to save the most amount of animals, they’d be trying to get the rest of us to become vegetarians or vegans. But, there’s not much chance of that, so they go for what is a far easier target, one that they can easily pull the heartstrings of otherwise intelligent people to support them.

Here’s a video that you can have a look at to get a better understanding of the issue. The speaker is Tom Holder, spokesman of Speaking of Research, who was a key member of the UK movement “Pro-Test”, which helped win the British public over on the issue of animal testing. In this video, Mr Holder challenges some of the misinformation that is spread around by animal rights groups on the subject of vivisection. The presentation was filmed at a Speaking of Research talk at Oregon Health & Sciences University.

I am all in favor of private groups and individuals whistleblowing on researchers that abuse the animals under their care, as was done to HLS by SHAC in the early part of their campaign. Groups like PETA have done much good in this country by exposing animal abusers, who can then be prosecuted under the law. Naming and Shaming animal abusers with accurate information does the most good for animals and for the people the research will benefit.

Of course, PETA wouldn’t go for the idea of animal testing continueing, having “Until All the Cages are Empty” as a slogan. But, you’d think that they’d be more understanding, since former PETA Vice President, Mary-Beth Sweetland, is a diabetic who injects herself daily with insulin—a treatment tested and perfected in animals. She admitted her treatment still contains some animal products, but it’s okay – for her – because using these animal products helps her stay alive to help more animals. Naturally, she doesn’t see herself as a hypocrite, which is what I think she is. I mean, if it’s not okay to experiment on animals or use animals for medical purposes to benefit humans, then it should mean any humans, especially people who are trying to stop animal research.

Is it just me or is there a bit of “Do as I say, not as I do” going-on here?

Still, Ms Sweetland does claim that she uses less insulin today since she adopted a vegan diet. So, she has to have fewer dead animals on her conscience.

I do have to give my support to PETA for their campaign against animal abuse in circuses. Their investigative work did unearth horrific treatment of circus animals. But, I think that abusers should be punished, without the need or goal to close-down circuses around the country. If a circus cannot train their animals without torturing them, then the circus owners should quit the business.

Let me boil it down for you: with laws in-place to protect animals from abuse, those laws should be enforced and transgressors punished. If an animal at a research lab, at a circus, on a farm or in some one’s home is the victim of abuse, then the abuser should be Named & Shamed,  brought to justice and punished under the law.

It is not the place or the right of groups like PETA, ALF, ELF, Sea Shepherd, SHAC or any other organization to take the law into their own hands and act as judge, jury and executioner. A civilized society cannot function any other way. It is groups like these that give vegans a bad name.

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Extremism in the Anti-Whaling Movement

3 May 2009

Sea Shepherd is one of the two best-known anti-whaling organizations in the world, the other being Greenpeace.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has appointed itself the guardian of the world’s oceans, often undertaking direct actions that include the ramming of whaling ships at sea and the sinking of whaling ships while they are in harbor. They have also been seen throwing objects onto the decks of Japanese whaling ships, including small rockets and butyric acid, which can irritate the skin and damage the eyes.

As an American, I grew-up hearing the message of the anti-whaling movement and, until recently, supported it. However, in light of recent events, I have to part company with Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace.

Let me be clear: I am appalled at how closely many species of whales came to extintion due to overwhaling. Some whales (e.g. Humpback, minke) have come back strongly and have healthy populations again, while others (e.g. Blue, Sperm) are still in trouble. But, with protections given them by the international community – due, in large part, by extensive lobbying by Greenpeace – many whale species have come back from the brink and are now thriving. Personally, I don’t think I could eat whale meat. Yet, there are some groups of people for whom eating whale meat is a part of their culture and history.

The Makah Indians of Washington State are one such group who have a treaty with the United States government that allows them to harvest whales. This treaty goes back to 1855 and, according to federal law, the Makah are entitled to hunt and kill one baleen whale, typically a gray whale, each year. However, archaeological records and oral history indicates that humpback whales were hunted as well. Unfortunately for the Makah, Sea Shepherd doesn’t want anyone to hunt whales for any reason, even if it’s only one whale a year and worked very hard to interrupt the whale hunt. Despite that, the Makah did succeed in killing a single whale back in 1999 and the meat was distributed among the tribe and neighboring tribes. Sea Shepherd accused the Makah, without justification, of wanting to sell the whale meat on the open market, but this would have been a violation of the law and the Makah disputed this claim. As it was, the meat was distributed freely, to much celebration within the tribe. SInce the year 2000, the Makah have faced numerous obsticales in their quest to resum whaling, even though an indigenous tribe in Russia is allowed to whale and the International Whaling Commission does allow for indigenous tribes with a history of whaling to take a certain number of whales per year. Unfortunately for the Makah, the USA is a nation overwhelmingly opposed to whaling and the US government will not go out of its way to allow a small tribe in the Pacific Northwest to start killing even one whale a year, even if the species of whale they will be hunting is not endangered or even threatened.

That’s just one example, but I think it shows that a small tribe of Indians found itself on the losing end of a battle with a group of overwhelmingly Caucasian people who think they knew better than a bunch of Indians.

Now, Sea Shepherd faces-off against Japan, a nation that has managed to attain an exemption to the global whaling ban by stating that its whaling is done for the purposes of scientific research. A common accusation is that the research is merely a smokescreen for commercial whaling. However, Japanese marine scientists have assembled a sizable body of research and forwarded it to the International Whaling Commission, who has admitted that the information obtained by the Japanese was, in fact, valuable.

Japan has a long history of whaling, as do Russia, Greenland, Norway and Iceland. Japan has found itself in the crosshairs of Sea Shepherd in their “Operation Musashi” named after the 17th-century Japanese strategist Miyamoto Musashi, where the Sea Shepherd’s flagship, the Steve Irwin, purposely rammed Japanese whaling ships and a ship belonging to Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research. The damage to the Japanese ships was considerable, as was the damage to the Steve Irwin. I also read that Greenpeace has engaged in the ramming of Japanese whalers in the past few years, though whether that was an official Greenpeace action or just that of a zealous ship captain, I am not sure.

So, it seems that both Greenpeace  – which has historically disavowed aggressive and violent acts for the pupose of defending whales from hunting, even expelling Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd, from its ranks when he directly intervened in the Canada seal hunt by getting into a physical altercation with seal hunters – and Sea Shepherd have taken to using their ships to ram Japanese whaling ships. Sea Shepherd makes it a regular practise, though.

I have a serious problem with this. It seems that Sea Shepherd has decided that Japan is some kind of “Bad Guy Nation” that Sea Shepherd needs to teach a lesson by ramming their ships and endangering their crews. The idea that a sovereign country, like Japan, must somehow answer to a private organization with no law enforcement authority whatsoever is beyond laughable.

Let me tell you something about Japan: they have an ancient culture of which they are very proud. They may have a reputation for being polite to the extreme, but even the most polite person in the world has limits to their endurance and I think we could be seeing that limit being reached very soon. In recent years, Japanese whalers have attempted to fend-off Sea Shepherd’s attacks by spraying water at the deck of the Steve Irwin and trying to flood the inflatable Zodiacs that Sea Shepherd uses to harass the whalers. Also, the use of LRAD has been employed, using concentrated soundwaves to disorient the Steve Irwin‘s crew and try to hold them back. Given the fact that Japanese ships were rammed anyway shows the lack of success of these methods against a determined enemy.

When word got out that the Japanese whaling fleet would include a Japanese military vessel, Sea Shepherd was understandably worried. It seemed that the normally passive Japanese were going to up the ante. Instead of taking abuse, they were getting ready to dish it out. That did not turnout to be the case, however.

In case you’re wondering if Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace coordinate with each other, they have exchanged jibes in the past with Watson referring to Greenpeace as “the Avon ladies of the environmental movement”.

While Paul Watson might think that he has a free hand in dealing with the Japanese, he seems to forget that Japan is a sovereign country. While the international community is overwhelming against commercial whaling, no nation is going to impose sanctions against Japan or cutoff diplomatic ties with them in protest of their whaling activites. They can send verbal protests, but that’s about it. On top of it all, the Japanese government has a legal right under international law to protect its citizens from attack in international waters, especially since no other nation seems to be willing to do so. As with every government, the people of Japan expect theirs to protect them from harm, especially from terrorism.

Furthermore, Japan has shown a great deal of restraint so far. Given that more extreme measure could have been employed by them and still could be, means that Sea Shepherd is on borrowed time. While the Japanese public is not overwhelmingly against whaling so far with less than one-fourth opposing whaling in recent polls, their news media makes no bones about calling Sea Shepherd terrorists, which is what they seem to be acting like. They are using violence in an attempt to coerce another group of people to act a certain way. In this case, Japan to give-up whaling. The fact that no one has been killed yet or seriously injured is beside the point. Groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have, like Sea Shepherd, damaged or destroyed private property. The United States government has labelled both the ELF and ALF as domestic terrorists, even though neither group has ever killed anyone. So, why does Sea Shepherd get a pass? Is it because they are trying to “save the whales”?

Is this how it works: you burn down a building where animals are experimented on or are being raised for food or their fur and you are a terrorist; but, damage a ship at sea or sink a ship in harbor to stop them from killing whales and you’re not a terrorist? Even if nobody is killed or even hurt, you cannot burndown a building for either the ELF or ALF without having the FBI track you down, but sink a ship to protest whaling and you can travel the world in full view of the media and you’re a hero to millions?

Most Americans are against cruelty to animals in any way. A lot of us try to buy products that have not been tested on animals and wearing fur has become a social stigma. Even so, most of us don’t like the idea of people going-around and torching buildings for any reason. But, as long as these whaling ships are rammed or sunk in waters far away, we seem to be very tolerant of groups like Sea Shepherd. I wonder how people would feel if a whaling ship stopped in an American harbor for some reason and got sunk by Sea Shepherd supporters. I wonder how tolerant our government would be when the terrorism that has been aimed at Japan and Norway suddenly found its way into an American harbor. I think Sea Shepherd’s fortunes would change overnight. That’s why it will never happen. I think Paul Watson isn’t stupid enough to take a chance on the American public seeing what he really does happening in their own waters. That’s why he’ll keep it out of our eyesight.

I understand that people like whales. They’re smart and cute (sort of) and we like seeing them swimming in the ocean. While the world may cringe at Japan killing these animals, one of Sea Shepherd’s most fervent supporters, Australia, seems to be getting a pass beyond passes for killing another animal that we all think is cute: kangaroos. In Australia, kangaroos are being killed in the most inhumane fashion, even baby kangaroos are being yanked from their mother’s pouch and stomped to death. But, that’s okay with Australia, it seems. Kill the ‘roos. Aussies also seem to be going-about the killing of the Dingos, wild dogs indigenous to Australia. By the way, dingos are an endangered species. But, adult dingos aren’t very cute, though the puppies are.

Oh, I know, Australians are our friends, right? After all, we were at war with Japan about sixty years ago. So, even after all this time, the West seems to think we can still treat the Japanese as The Enemy. In the comments section of YouTube videos related to Sea Shepherd, I have seen numerous comments where the Japanese are referred to as “Japs”. Ah yes, a little racism to save the whales, eh boys and girls? Does it make you feel good to call them “Japs” when your only excuse is that they are killing whales?

Anybody who wants to hate the Japanese for killing whales and call them “Japs” for it, must now be true to their racism and throw away anything that was either made or designed in Japan. That means no TVs, CD/DVD players, computers, etc. Yeah, toss ’em out or be a hypocrite you racist fucks.

Yeah, I’m calling you racists and FUCK YOU if you don’t like it.

Japan has every right to expect nations with which they have treaties with to make every effort to protect Japanese nationals abroad and on the open sea. The fact that the USA and Australia have dragged their feet on this, due entirely to popular opposition to whaling and no other reason, shows the lingering feeling in the West that we know everything and our way is the best and only way. Anyone who disagrees with us is a barbarian who has to be beaten into submission. That’s how we’ve dealt with the East in the past, like the Opium Wars where the United Kingdom forced China to allow the importation of opium, which resulted in millions of Chinese becoming addicted and the nation falling into ruin. But, by G-d in Heaven, the Britsh East India Company needed the money and wasn’t going to let national sovereignty get in the way. This is simply more of the same with Japan and whaling.

I hope Paul Watson and his army of followers and supporters can realize before it’s too late that Japan has shown remarkable restraint so far. But, history shows that you can push the Japanese so far and you can publicly shame them only so many times before they strike back in ways you won’t like very much. If the international community won’t do anything, then Japan may have to do it themselves.

What seems to be lacking in this whole equation is that Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd seem to have done little to try convincing the Japanese people to give-up whaling once and for all. Simply citing the high mercury content in whale meat should be enough to start with. Telling people that whales are cute and intelligent won’t work, since a lot of animals we eat are cute sometimes, especially when they’re young. Little baby chicks come to mind, as do calves. So cute when young, so delicious when grownup. I don’t eat veal. Not on any moral grounds, I just don’t like it. Color me contradictory, if you wish.

I understand that onboard Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace ships, only vegetarian or vegan food is served to the crew. So, a little militant veganism is at play here, don’t you think? Historically, Japanese cuisine contains a lot of vegetable and seaweed, with most of the meat being fish, so giving-up meat might not be too much of a stretch for some in Japan, especially with its strong Buddhist tradition.

But, if anyone is going to try to convince Japan to give-up whaling, it cannot be either Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd. Once they started ramming Japanese ships, that was all over. It would have to be some other organization that hasn’t attacked Japanese ships or fishermen.

Anyway, I’m going to take a nap. When I log back in, I anticipate some nutcase calling me names or threatening me in the comments section.

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