Unlike the So-Called Left, Government and Industry Really Get Animal Rights

While many on the ostensible Left continue to point and laugh at animal rights activism, the US government continues to regard it with deadly seriousness.

Yesterday the FBI arrested Joseph Buddenburg, and Nicole Kissane, for allegedly releasing minks from mink farms and vandalizing fur retailers. The pair are charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a 2006 law that reclassifies crimes such as theft and property destruction as “terrorism” if done in the name of harming the profits of animal enterprises. Buddenburg and Kissane face up to ten years in prison.

Almost exactly a year ago, the FBI arrested activists Tyler Lang and Kevin Oliff, and charged them under the AETA, also for releasing minks from farms.  An account of their arrest by Will Potter in Vice suggests coordination between the FBI and local cops who pulled their car over and searched it on suspiciously flimsy grounds. As in yesterday’s arrests, the FBI arrested Lang and Oliff only weeks before the annual Animal Rights National Conference. Lang and Oliff claim that the FBI timed their arrest this way “to scare activists, create divisiveness” and deter even above-ground activism.

The only evidence the FBI presented in the earlier case were tools and items of clothing in the activists’ car. Lang made a plea deal. Olliff was sentenced to thirty months in jail for possession of wire and bolt cutters, which become instruments of terror under the AETA. According to Potter, Lang claims he is now routinely searched by the TSA and Homeland Security.

If you’re foolish enough to think the ACLU is more dedicated to civil liberties than it is to property rights and corporate interests, you might think the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act would send the organization into opposition overdrive. After all, the AETA is a law that enhances penalties for crimes on the basis of their political motivation. This is undoubtedly a First Amendment no-no for an organization that insists burning a cross on a Black family’s lawn is simply vandalism. But, in fact, the ACLU only agonized over parts of the bill, while explicitly not opposing it.  Indeed animal abusers have a friend in the ACLU, which has gone to bat on behalf of animal torture pornographers and religious groups that ritually abuse and kill animals.

The FBI’s priorities are remarkably similar. While the Bureau acknowledges that “white supremacy extremism” is a form of domestic terrorism that has been rising since the 90s, John Lewis, the Bureau’s top domestic terrorism official in 2oo5 said, “The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement.”  The Bureau takes this position while acknowledging that these groups emphasize property destruction, and that none of them  has ever killed anyone.

The FBI’s list of Most Wanted domestic terrorists bears this emphasis out. The only people included on the list whose alleged crimes took place after 1981 are Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker, members of The Family, an “eco-terror” group said to be associated with the the Earth Liberation Front and The Animal Liberation Front. According to the FBI, The Family is responsible for at least 25 domestic terrorism criminal actions totaling over $48 million in damages. The rest of the list consists mostly of leftists from the 60s and 70s. There are no white supremacists or right-wing extremists of any kind on the list.

On The Bureau’s list of 30 Most Wanted worldwide terrorists, animal liberationist Daniel Andreas San Diego is one of only two inclusions who are not Muslim extremists. Andreas is charged with the 2003 bombings of two corporate offices in California. Former Black Panther Assata Shakur, charged with shooting a  New Jersey State Trooper in 1971, is the other list inclusion who is not a Muslim extremist. As with the domestic terror Most Wanted, there are no white supremacists or right-wing extremists of any kind on this list.

This emphasis is, of course, entirely consistent with white supremacy’s historic relationship with the state, particularly where the FBI is concerned. As I discussed here, it is completely misleading, even pernicious, to lump white supremacists in with the so-called political fringe. They are reactionaries, not radicals, and as such, they are the most extreme expression of hegemony. This makes them useful to the state and the ruling class it serves. In the 60s, they became a paramilitary for the state in the suppression of Black civil rights activism. This could certainly happen again. Last month, the Guardian reported that white supremacists sign up for the military in preparation for race war, with “very little pushback from the Pentagon.”

For whatever reason, a preference for white supremacy over animal and environmental activism seems to inform liberal and libertarian political priorities as well. Every public liberal must surely know who Pam Gellar is, and several of them have made pitches on behalf of her inalienable right to libel Muslims via bus signs and cartoon contests. But how many of them have heard of Amy Meyer, the first person charged under one of the many ag-gag laws that criminalize video recording and photography on farms?  Like The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, ag-gag laws attempt to make serious crimes or actionable offences out of deeds that would be penalized less or not at all, were they performed in any context other than defending animals. This penalty enhancement raises the same First Amendment issues as the AETA.

Considering the obsessive romanticizing of whistleblowing in other areas, and the immediate threat ag-gag laws pose to free speech, it is remarkable how little most liberal and libertarian opinion havers say about the proliferation of these laws, which have passed in a dozen states. Of course they make the occasional gesture, but nowhere near in proportion to the problem. While the ACLU has signed on to suits against these laws, animal rights groups are doing the heavy lifting of mobilizing opposition.

The ACLU’s stronger stance on ag-gag laws vs. its passive support for the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, may owe to its customary preoccupation with legality — ag-gag laws penalize lawful behavior — and fears of a steep slippery slope toward more sweeping legislation. Fear of a slippery slope is entirely justified, since we’re already on it, with some states attempting expansion of these laws to cover other specific industries such as fracking, or even commercial enterprise as a whole. The campaign to pass these laws has gone global, with Australia now taking them up.

Surely a strong indicator of what most afflicts power is that which power is most intent on crushing. Capital has robustly hated the animal rights movement for over a decade now, and justifiably so. The animal rights movement challenges profitable exploitation at its most basic level, aims to change habits that subsidize this exploitation, and attempts to significantly raise the cost of this exploitation. It’s extremely well-organized and aggressive.  All of this should garner ardent defense from the Left, particularly now that it is classified as terrorism. However in a sphere where billionaires capitalize dissent and winning an Oscar is widely considered subversive, the wacky idea that one can easily infer capital’s worries from its actions is a tough sell. Hence, we can no doubt anticipate more indifference and even outright contempt, as more animal advocates end up on Most Wanted lists, and others go to jail.

In writing this post, I made ample use of Green is the New Red, an indispensable blog for anyone interested in attempts to crush activism on behalf of animals and the environment.

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143 Responses to Unlike the So-Called Left, Government and Industry Really Get Animal Rights

  1. Good post – The laws of the national security state already regulate a lot of the energy industry as “critical infrastructure”, which can be used to harass and intimidate activist, limit photography, access, and protest. This is used to justify surveillance and infiltration of environmental groups as potential terrorists – have you seen the abuses of anti-fracking activists in Pennsylvania?

    And with respect to corporate and property rights – many “conservation” groups in NJ are relying on private property rights and voluntary individual landowner tactics in battles against pipelines, seemingly oblivious to the contradiction there. The landowners ideologically reject effective government regulation, which is the only tool (in concert with movement based massive non-violent resistance) that can stop the corporate onslaught. So, like the ACLU, conservationists feed the corporate and elite worldview, while diverting from what they need to do: i.e. organize resistance.

  2. no soy yo says:

    The enemy of my enemy …

    Considering the fact that the FBI puts threats to power and capital on the list and there are almost no additions in the past 34 years shows the general state of true dissent in the U.S.

    • Tarzie says:

      Considering the fact that the FBI puts threats to power and capital on the list and there are almost no additions in the past 34 years shows the general state of true dissent in the U.S.

      Wow, yeah. Good point.

  3. Rich says:

    Because none of this behavior can said to be new and because this behavior has been obvious even to the most moderate of sentient beings, one can easily conclude the only differences today are the overt nature of the action (open, arrogant, defiant) and the unwillingness of anything
    resembling a Democratic Party to any longer participate in a false front of opposition. The goal is social dominance of every aspect of society, absent the commonwealth and common good. Any resistance has been criminalized, individual or collective resistance. Whoever can’t be infantilized becomes demonized. Since the 1980’s the deferred income of labor (pensions and healthcare benefits through retirement) have been pillaged increasingly by the same people and classes in order to finance their poor decisions and monetary losses in the financial markets. Toxic.

    • Tarzie says:

      Whoever can’t be infantilized becomes demonized.

      An excellent phrase. You’ve described the situation quite well, unfortunately.

    • Bitman says:

      The goal is social dominance of every aspect of society, absent the commonwealth and common good. Any resistance has been criminalized, individual or collective resistance.

      This observation, which is unavoidable to anyone paying attention to developments implicating Western governance across the world, must be the point of departure for any serious thinking about how to act against it. I’m pretty well convinced securitization is the linchpin concept driving the strategy, since security (be it biosecurity, national security, economic security, global health security, any form really) knows no internal principle of limitation. It’s Goebbels on steroids.

      But there’s something else at work, too, which is just as insidious. Our Western political inheritance requires consent of the governed be registered in some form. But real consent, in any sense that might allow the popular will to constrain the designs of Empire, cannot be risked any longer, so mechanisms for producing simulacra for real consent must be created and implemented. The FISA court, with its secret proceedings and classified rulings, is a good example. The proposed TPP tribunals will function similarly, I imagine. There are lots of others. “Europe” is perhaps the most obvious.

      At the supranational level what Europe has done to Greece offers the most recent example of the impossibility of exit. You could not ask for a clearer expression of popular will than the referendum of three weeks ago, yet the world is not shaken somehow by Tsipras’s acceptance of the Troika’s requirement that Greece not only ignore the result, but that his own government be the instrument by which Greece is punished for it’s citizens expression of resistance. The punishment is really directed at SYRIZA’s leadership, for having given the people a forum for having their voice heard – one that was completely ignored, yes, but the crime was reminding citizens that states should have sovereignty. That’s not looked upon kindly by our rulers.

      Society is being engineered to make consent to neoliberal governance something which citizens have always already given, and which cannot be undone. Thus when you resist, by definition you are outside the confines of the polity and a threat to the body of state.

      • Society is being engineered to make consent to neoliberal governance something which citizens have always already given, and which cannot be undone.

        We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

      • Rich says:

        I agree, but also offer this observation. The stated goal of these authoritarians (“They”) has been full spectrum dominance. Why should that spectrum not logically and pragmatically include the reclassification of animal rights protesters as Terrorists? “They”, however, are not so omniscient and omnipotent. After all, “They” turned to the Dover Pros from Spokane, the Magnificent Mormons Mitchell and Jessen for design and execution of their signatureTorture program, a program designed to treat human beings as bad as animals. These two pathetic men and average psychologists provided cover and credibility for Bush/Obama Torture Program. It’s an admission of cowardice and ineptitude that two Presidential administrations allowed these two atrocious men to act as leaders for a Torture program that simultaneously debased the supposedly moral reputation of a whole generation of military medical officers as well as an entire Nation. “They” their decision was criminal and they paid grotesque men $180 million dollars in a miserably amoral attempt to purchase a modicum of respectability. But here’s the internal irony, military medicine is/was chock full of physician, psychiatrist and psychologist volunteers willing and prepared to carry out the Torture orders for no more than their pre-existing Base Pay……purposefully ignorant of their responsibility to the Geneva Conventions under existing laws and regulations. It makes perfect sense in this context that the Obama administration would turn to its domestic arm of approved behavior enforcement, the FBI, to police and harass the existential threat to The Nation’s corporations posed by a few poorly funded animal rights terrorists.
        Simply unhinged.

      • jason says:

        “Society is being engineered to make consent to neoliberal governance something which citizens have always already given, and which cannot be undone.” well-said. for the individual as an exemplar for society, the legal fiction of a trial & the psycho-drama of the confession still have great value. The State in the guise of a trial presents itself as the Rational Actor;of all of history. The confession publicizes the transgressor’s desire to be reunited with Big Brother’s loving breast. (criminal cases almost never go to trial. a co-erced confession is quite enough to prove guilt. the trial itself occurs on all the cop shows on TV wherein the scientific, disinterested, utilitarian, totalizing rationality of the State can be seen in all its bureaucratic, procedural, professional glory.)

  4. Bitman says:

    it is entirely misleading, even pernicious, to lump white supremacists in with the so-called political fringe. They are reactionaries, not radicals, and as such, they are the most extreme expression of hegemony.

    Yes. And in Western societies they can and have functioned to perform state-sanctioned violence in furtherance of that hegemony. One need only remember the role right-wing reactionaries (NATO’s “stay-behind armies”) played across Europe for the entirety of the post-war era under Operation Gladio.

  5. jason says:

    thanks tarzie. commentors too. been sitting here shaking my head in a kind of horrified, mystified stupor for the last few moments after reading this. all of the cages & pens show whose side the (non-human) animals are on. The FBI exists to police the animals too.

    capitalism: coerced, exploited labor + x resource=piles of toxic garbage + a non-existent “money” (+ usually some trinket for a rich asshole, a fur or a yacht). waste the world & *everything* in it for the nothing that is money. capitalism=nihilism. perhaps it’s harder to miss capitalism’s destruction of any sense of decency or innocence or “sacredness” if you will (i.e., not to be exploited, violated) when it comes to animals. (some % of money generated by exploited labor goes for “government,” i.e., cops. some for soldiers, too, for the creative destruction that generates new markets.)

    so, perhaps above all else, animal exploitation must be hidden because of how immediately revelatory such exploitation is.

  6. AmishRakeFight says:

    A very thought-provoking post, Tarzie. Thank you! For now I don’t have much to add, so I’ll check back for the usual excellent comments and follow-up discussions.

    Also thank you for pointing me towards Green is the New Red. I’m going to spend some time over there and brush up, so far it seems fascinating. Cheers.

  7. mog says:

    An interesting article. Made me think about the issue of animal rights in a way I hadn’t before.
    With interest in the label of terrorism and its perception in relation to eco-activists and animal rights campaigners, I looked at ‘Green Is The New Red’ About page :

    Animal rights and environmental advocates have not flown planes into buildings, taken hostages, or sent Anthrax through the mail….
    ….And the Department of Homeland Security lists them on its roster of national security threats, while ignoring right-wing extremists who have bombed the Oklahoma City federal building…

    I get the point made here, that there are huge mass murder events blamed on other groups which throw a revealing perspective upon the disproportionate level of criminalisation and demonization seen in the eco and AR scenes.
    However, I’m someone who doesn’t buy the Patcon story about McVeigh (see ‘A Noble Lie’) or the Al Qaeda/ office fire story about Manhattan, and as for the Anthrax letters it seems that even the FBI investigators have walked away from that one. So I have to sigh once again when I read people distancing themselves from smoke and mirrors (even when they are well within their rights to do so).

    Several incidents in 1989 and 1990 were described by the movement as false flag operations. In February 1989, an explosion damaged the Senate House bar in Bristol University, an attack claimed by the unknown “Animal Abused Society”. In June 1990, two days apart, bombs exploded in the cars of Margaret Baskerville, a veterinary surgeon working at Porton Down, a chemical research defence establishment, and Patrick Max Headley, a professor of physiology at Bristol University. Baskerville escaped without injury by jumping through the window of her mini-jeep when a bomb using a mercury-tilt device exploded next to the fuel tank. During the attack on Headley—which New Scientist writes involved the use of plastic explosives—a 13-month-old baby passing by in a stroller suffered flash burns, shrapnel wounds to his back, and a partially severed finger.[64]

    No known entity claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were condemned within the animal rights movement and by ALF activists. Keith Mann writes that it did not seem plausible that activists known for making simple incendiary devices from household components would suddenly switch to mercury-tilt switches and plastic explosives, then never be heard from again. A few days after the bombings, the unknown “British Animal Rights Society” claimed responsibility for having attached a nail bomb to a Huntsman’s Land Rover in Somerset. Forensic evidence led police to arrest the owner of the vehicle, who admitted he had bombed his own car to discredit the animal rights movement, and asked for two similar offences to be taken into consideration. He was jailed for nine months. The Baskerville and Headley bombers were never apprehended. [Wiki][65]

    I am reminded of this recent TED talk by Aaronson about the level of entrapment evident in so-called Islamic extremism cases:

    The (wrong IMO) framing of this as security state opportunism on the back of a genuine paradigm changing attack in 2001, once again brings me, somewhat pedantically, back to the unavoidable acknowledgement that if we don’t really know what happened in these alleged ‘terrorist’ attacks, we are building endless future discourses -even genuinely motivated ones- on shaky or outright false assumptions about our recent history.

    Proven state collusion and conspiracy in these matters would disarm the weaponised label of ‘terrorist’.
    I am not sure, all things considered these days, what else could.

    • jason says:

      the anthrax came from “secure” gov’t facilities (working on bio-“defense”), right?

      • mog says:

        I think all parties agree that it originated in the US, at either Fort Detrick, Battelle Memorial Institute, or Dugway Proving Ground.

      • Tarzie says:

        The Hartford Courant did a series on it shortly after it happened and I felt confident they nailed the culprits without saying it outright. It’s an excellent piece of investigative journalism. The Courant didn’t retain it on their site, but it’s archived elsewhere. Well worth a read if you haven’t read it already.

      • Luther Blissett says:

        It may surprise you, but there are private labs that operate at Biosafety Level 4 (The highest level). Such as the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, which changed it’s name recently 2011 after publication of a book called ‘DEAD SILENCE: Fear and Terror on the Anthrax Trail’.

        But i’m sure it was a co-incidence. After all the founder also founded the ‘Tom Slick Professorship of World Peace at the University of Texas’.

    • jason says:

      i only mentioned that incident b/c it seems obvious that the least likely explanation is the official one: some disgrunted lone wolf, etc., etc. one doesn’t have to agree in each particular case to agree with your general principle. i don’t know enough about mcveigh & OK City to comment. the ethos of real material insecurity & deep paranoia cultivated in our society is enough to drive some few of us off the deep end without further direct gov’t involvement. Uncle Sam knows this & is perfectly happy to provide more mental health screenings for everyone so no one will become Wesley Clark’s dreaded “free radical.”

  8. RUKidding says:

    Thanks, Tarzie. Insightful and educational as always. To be brief, seems to me it boils down to who the PTB feel can be useful to them & then give a pass, especially if you’re a white Nazi. The PTB like Nazi’s clearly. They hired them to f*ck up Ukraine, amongst other global hot spots. So if some proto-Nazi in the Yew Ess Aay goes nutty and kill a bunch of citizens here?? Eh? So? Oh well. The media will play the tune of “oh dear oh dear we really need to DO something about mental illness….” It’s a double-win if the white Nazi kills brown-skinned citizens, an unfortunate reality for them.

    Vis the animal rights issues. Well these people messed around with a business, not a church. Ergo, this shall not be tolerated. The business of the USA is business, so don’t f*ck with business. Go shoot up some people in churches or synagogues or temples…

    And so on. Just saying. Look at how Cliven Bundy is still not paying his taxes and use fees and continues to use OUR public lands to enrich himself. Bundy threatened the Feds directly with guns, and they packed up and scurried away with their tails between their legs. And nothing has happened to Bundy since then. But hey: Bundy’s all about business. HIS business. Don’t mess with business (plus I’m sure Bundy paid off a bunch of “powerful” people).

    That’s how it works.

  9. no soy yo says:

    “Vis the animal rights issues. Well these people messed around with a business, not a church. Ergo, this shall not be tolerated. The business of the USA is business, so don’t f*ck with business. Go shoot up some people in churches or synagogues or temples…”

    I’m not sure I totally agree that this explains the phenomenon — banks are the epitome of wealth and capital and even bank robbers who use violence aren’t called domestic terrorists. I think what Tarzie says in the last paragraph explains this a lot, and also the fact that ecological disaster is currently the most devastating effect of capitalism — so efforts to fight that need to be quashed.

    • Tarzie says:

      I think if a wave of bank robberies were tied to a political agenda, it might become a bigger deal. Lots of the Most Wanteds from the 60s and 70s are wanted for robbing things and shooting cops. But I also think that animal rights really gets at the heart of exploitation, and a politics that puts animals outside the bounds of exploitation, is surely going to place humans outside it as well. Animal rights lays capitalism bare at its ugliest. Regardless of how individual animal rights advocates see it — some of whom are run of the mill liberals otherwise — it is inherently subversive and anticapitalist. And as you say, on the environmental front, they really don’t want to acknowledge the impending catastrophe.

      • no soy yo says:

        Yeah I totally agree. I just think that when the gov’t is ready to turn a blind eye to tens of thousands (or more, I lost count) of fraud and felony counts, and boost your coffers with trillions, a few bank robberies don’t really phase you; but if the robberies go along with a concurrent and significant challenge to power, or a challenge to your making your billions and trillions in the future, then that needs to be stopped immediately. While I said earlier that the lack of modern “domestic terrorists” is a sign of the state of (no) dissent, it’s probably also a sign of the confidence and/or complacency of capital and the state (to the extent there is any distinction). And perhaps an indication at how successful the state is of silencing dissent. So when they do feel challenged, it’s definitely good to take note, like you did about the eco/AR movement; I also thought that Occupy folks got put on some kind of watch lists, or was that only in England?

      • Tarzie says:

        I also thought that Occupy folks got put on some kind of watch lists, or was that only in England?

        There are so many lists these days, I reckon some of them have made it onto something. Certainly they’ve been subject to a lot of arrests and harrassment, but as far as I know, they’re not on the FBIs Most Wanted lists. Very few of them have done anything that would function as a reasonable pretext for calling them terrorists, even for a state that plays so fast and loose with the term. The eco-terrorists at least have done millions of dollars in property damage.

      • dmantis says:

        “Very few of them have done anything that would function as a reasonable pretext for calling them terrorists, even for a state that plays so fast and loose with the term.”

        I think Occupy does offer some examples in a threat to capital. There were numerous ‘stories’ of looting, thuggish behavior and property damage coupled with the actual ‘right to exist’ rhetoric coming from the group themselves. It seemed to me that the media painted them as closely to domestic terrorists as was possible without actually saying the phrase. Even taking into account its marginalization, I think its perceived threat to elite interests was apparent in that it had to be squished with extreme prejudice in a coordinated effort across numerous jurisdictions and agencies.

        I can’t see how any overt domestic terrorist with direct action against capital would be treated any differently. Perhaps with a little more deadly force sprinkled in, but even that would doubtful. The enforcers would still have to deal with media attention and public sympathy that any body count would no doubt attract.

      • Tarzie says:

        I didn’t say Occupy was ignored by the state. Obviously they were a provocation and they were dealt with accordingly. There is no question that DHS watched them closely.

        What I said was they hadn’t done anything that “terrorism” could credibly be applied to. The government is, of course, at liberty to call anything terrorism, but the word will lose its propaganda value if it applies to people and groups with a high upper middle class white people quotient that don’t even break windows to any extent. I think saying the media painted them as terrorists is a great exaggeration though it certainly was dishonestly unflattering much of the time.

        Occupy fizzled out long before anyone associated needed to be put on a Most Wanted list.

      • dmantis says:

        Oh, sorry…I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth and I don’t disagree with anything you said. I was simply stating tangentially, that I thought Occupy offers some useful examples with how a threat to capital would be dealt with…namely: swiftly, harshly and in the cover of night. As you noted, they were long since co-opted by establishment interests, yet they still felt a pretty big boot to their throat.

        It’s a chilling thought for any movement even a hairs breadth more of a threat than Occupy.

  10. Bitman says:

    I have considerable shame over my diet. Has zero to do with outward appearance – I’m relatively thin and healthy-looking. But there’s just no defense for eating factory farmed, Big Ag meat. 10 billion tortured and slaughtered animals a year in the US alone. A massive and horrifying system of destruction, a virtually total visual embargo on where the food animals “live” and how they’re transported (notice you don’t see too many of those open-air “chicken trucks”). Factor in the amount of water consumed in the production of beef and there’s no way at all to even utter a word in defense.

    Thx for the reminder that I’m too driven by the bullshit of day-to-day urgency to slow down a bit and live in a way that’s in step with my political beliefs. I’ve made several poor efforts at veganism, never getting past a few weeks, but I’m now planning to try again thx in small part to this series you’ve done (I’m lucky to have a vegan and nutritionally well-informed close friend who’ll help).

    • Kat says:

      Hey! Good for you. I understand when people say I am weak or lazy. When people start talking about their “need” for protein (as if there are not dozens of ways to get protein without animals or the US diet is lacking in protein!) and their body’s extra special requirements, I get seriously annoyed.
      Non human animals are the ultimate “others”.

    • Kat says:

      …and please don’t take “weak” or “lazy” as a smear. What I meant is that we are human and stumble when trying to live up to our ideals.

      • Bitman says:

        I’m disgustingly lazy about diet. No offense taken.

      • Kat says:

        Oh I meant “lazy” as in you don’t have to think about preparation as much– it’s easier to decide what to have/make to eat when you have that other option. I never care whether people are eating healthily– I think the power of diet on your physical well being is really overrated.

      • Tarzie says:

        I think the power of diet on your physical well being is really overrated.

        I feel pretty much the same way. I don’t notice big differences from making changes.

      • Tarzie says:

        we are human and stumble when trying to live up to our ideals.

        Not least because there is so little support when we do. Being unhealthy and exploitative is easier and cheaper usually in all things.

    • Tarzie says:

      The best way to do it is focus on the non-meat foods you love, even if it makes you fatter. I’ve been going heavy on fruit lately and it’s been fantastic, because I like fruit and it kills cravings. Nuts are good too. It’s so simple too. Hardly any prep or cleanup. I only cook dinner now.

      • I second the fruit/nut recommendation. I was sure I could never stop eating meat, but then when I did I didn’t really miss it at all. Part of it I think comes from habit; if your default quick meals and/or comfort foods are meat based like mine were, then fruits and nuts are really good replacements.

        Also I’m incredibly lazy, but I’ve found meal preparation gets much simpler without meat. You don’t have to worry about food poisoning from old/undercooked vegetables (unless they were processed in a facility that also processes animal products). The most important thing for me is to have a pantry full of canned beans. In a pinch, a can of beans with some oil and vinegar is pretty good and takes about a minute to “make”.

        Also, I think looking at things in an all or nothing kind of way can be discouraging. Maybe start with one day, then a second, and so on, without feeling the need to decide to give up meat completely. It’s better to eat less meat than to do nothing because you feel incapable of giving it up completely. But if you are anything like me, I think that going one day at a time will make it easier to conclude that you really don’t need to eat meat .

        Of course, I’m not vegan so take that as you will.

      • Tarzie says:

        Also I’m incredibly lazy, but I’ve found meal preparation gets much simpler without meat.

        By virtue of my tastes, I guess, this was not true for me until recently. Having gone to a regimen where I do raw foods — mostly fruit — in place of breakfast and lunch — and eat what I want in the evening, I wonder what took me so long. Raw is so great for lazy people. And the combo of fruits and nuts really kills cravings. I sometimes don’t want my cooked evening meal until very late and sometimes I won’t have it at all.

        I agree with you also on all or nothing. I think people should give up meat and dairy altogether, but doing it partially is certainly better than not doing it at all. It seems like when people feel like they’ve failed, they don’t even settle for half-assed. They go back to their old habits. Much better to be a half-time vegan than a full-time meat and dairy eater, and as it gets easier you can work gradually toward full time. I don’t even want meat anymore. I haven’t wanted it for years. I wouldnt even be able to eat it. Cheese is another thing altogether. I love pizza and lasagna and stuff like that.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        Another take on the incremental approach that Pwnership Society Treasurer brought up which is working well for me to to gradually cut out certain meats and/or dairy groups one-by-one. I gave up beef many years ago, and now I’m phasing out pork and poultry. It introduced me to experimenting with substitutes and also learning that some substitutes were actually much tastier. For example, people often wonder how I can go without hamburgers, but from my experience veggie/grain/mushroom/herb based patties have so much more to offer in terms of flavors and textures.
        I’m gradually making progress with the goal to eventually be full-time vegan, though I must say I admire people who make the transition much faster than I am. Like you said, Tarzie, cheese is going to be a big hurdle for me. Right now it is probably the food I would miss the most.
        I think it’s hugely important to have support systems like Tarzie discussed in a previous comment, especially for those of us trying to make the transition. The tips and suggestions and encouragement have really helped me in the past. I have really enjoyed this thread, so thank you to everyone who has participated. The positive, prescriptive, encouraging atmosphere here is inspiring.

    • no soy yo says:

      Ok, here’s my pep talk:

      They say that you need around 21 days to get used to new eating habits (whether it be stopping salt or cheese or whatever) and I’ve found that to be pretty true. A water or juice fast for a day or two helps to re-set your cravings to be more natural. I think cold turkey is best personally as opposed to the slower route suggested below.

      Once you don’t think of it (animal products) as food it will be easier — I promise. Watch Dr McDougall or Dr Esselstyn on Youtube or Forks Over Knives on Netflix and you’ll think of it as pure fat; watch Earthlings and you’ll think of it as tortured beings; watch Cowspiracy and you’ll think of it as cooked planet. Or watch all of the above! Oh, and can’t beat Dr Lisle for info on cravings (though the punchline is the short juice or water fast I mentioned)

      [If you have a flag you like to raise, this might motivate you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4ECnqXQpDA%5D

      Like some others, I also like an all-fruit breakfast, but then I eat mostly boiled (or nuked in a microwave silicone “steamer) potatoes with some veggies the rest of the day. Incredibly easy. Sometimes I put some legume soup on top (Either I make it in batches myself — super cheap — or use Dr McDougall’s soup in aseptic cartons, which is expensive but the rest of my food is really cheap). Really doesn’t have to be a lot of work. If you like pasta, eat that. Throw in some frozen veggies. Don’t get caught up in needing x amount of protein or limiting carbs or anything. Remember that vegan is many times better for environment than “locavore,” so eat lots of frozen veggies if you want — easy, cheap, usually flash frozen on the field so “fresher” than lots of fresh veggies, no waste (except packaging). Or eat more raw which is also easy. Like someone said below, at first especially, just eat a non-animal version of your favorite foods, and I think even if it means buying some fake stuff for a short while do that. And never underestimate the power of Chalula hot sauce.

      I do personally find that my mood is very affected by the food I eat, and my physical health is then affected by my mood. I find that low-fat vegan helps my mood. And eating well motivates me to be (mostly) healthier otherwise.

      Shame won’t get you anywhere, but I promise that at some point you will wish you had done it a lot sooner, so why not now?

      • Tarzie says:

        These are great tips. I’m a veteran and there’s a lot here I never heard or thought of. You have a nice, down-to-earth approach. Veganism so often comes larded up with all kinds of nutritional puritanism. I ratify you on not worrying too much about protein, but I think B vitamins, particularly B12 is something people make sure they get if only through supplements. You can also get it through certain brands of soy milk. Silk, for instance, which I consider the best soy milk, provides 50% of your B12 per glass.

        I like the idea of not thinking of animal products as food. I was there with meat within weeks of giving it up. It disgusted me so much it was even difficult at first to see other people eating it. However, with cheese, I continually have to remind myself of the cruelty of the dairy industry to leave it alone.

      • no soy yo says:

        Apparently there’s a limit to replies of replies, so I need to reply to myself instead of Tarzie (I’m my best audience, anyway):

        Thanks, Tarzie, I started as an environmental vegan but soon became also a strong low-fat health vegan and am now also a strong ethical vegan, so I’ve watched and read and thought a lot about all three aspects (as well as the fourth social/economic/climate justice aspect: if I ignore the health and ethical sides, then if anyone is going to fish the last fishes or emit those greenhouse gases, then it shouldn’t be any of us; definitely easier than giving up many of the other environmental destroyers we are used to).

        I am actually a bit of a fanatic about the health side, but mostly to do with less (fat and protein) rather than more (our health problems are mostly ones of excess in the US), but first is stopping the animal foods. I’m also very obsessed about the medical industry’s power and deception, which is an overlapping concern. There aren’t many challenges to their power either.

        Cow’s milk has morphine-like substances to entice a calf to gain 700+ pounds in two years. Cheese concentrates it. It’s not our imagination that it’s addictive! I picture myself needing to drink dairy from a cow’s breast (“teat”) and that stops me from thinking of it as (people) food.

        I agree, B-12 is important, though most omnivores have several years’ worth stored up. I follow Dr Greger’s advice re B-12. Unlike other vitamins, the total quantity of B-12 you need changes with frequency of consumption, so the total weekly amount depends on whether it’s from several servings of fortified food throughout day, a pill once per day, or a pill once per week. http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/ (some recommend a pill twice a week on Sat and Sun to remember to take it on days off — it would be a bit more than half of what Greger’s once a week recommendation is. Again, if someone has a current source, they probably have quite a store but good to get in the habit. Excess B-12 gets excreted or stored for later, so none of it needs to be very exact.)

        I also am prone to SAD (why I like living at lower latitudes) and am very affected by lack of D, so depending on latitude, best is to make sure to store up enough to get through winter, especially for those not drinking D-enriched milk or “milk.”

      • Tarzie says:

        your concern with fat and protein is interesting, since we’re now being told carbs are the enemy, and as much as I hate to admit it — since starch is my favorite thing in the world — that rings true for me.

        You do a lot of potatoes, which are so anathema to the Atkins crowd, they created panic among potato growers. May I ask what your body fat situation is?

      • no soy yo says:

        When I went low-fat vegan (and very little protein) I painlessly lost 80 lbs (from obese to normal weight). There were times I had to add salsa to my food so I’d eat more because I was losing weight too fast, that’s how easy it was, and I’m a big eater (how I got to be 70 lbs over normal weight) and love potatoes. I actually recently have been eating more of a junk-food vegan diet (high fat) and have gained a bunch of weight back — definitely not all; I don’t want to know how much. But I definitely lost tons of weight and kept it off for years eating a high starch diet, felt great, gained quite a bit of muscle relatively (for a woman my age), and — speaking of the video from my previous post –yes, my libido went through the roof when I went low-fat vegan.

        I only gained weight back from depression (lived for a spell in Boston, that will do it to anyone) which made me eat high fat, and not exercise and the cycle of those three. And I stopped eating so many potatoes. Gained weight back with much lower %age carbs.

        And I feel worse when I eat higher fat, both physically and mentally.

        [The more potatoes I ate, BTW, the more wight I lost. I thought it was weird, but it was always true. I figured I was eating fewer higher-calorie legumes, but there are studies that something in the potato has weight-loss-inducing properties, over and above the resistant starch which already helps weight loss]

        I follow (well, with a lapse of junk food in there) the low-fat vegan gurus: Dr McDougall and Dr Esselstyn especially, as laid out in movie Forks Over Knives (though I made change before movie), & the less commercial movie Eating, by Mike Anderson, though that one’s not on Netflix (may be older version for free online but I recommend latest edition). High starch, like every traditional healthy trim group of people on the planet. The Okinowans, for example — the longest-lived population ever — got 70% of their calories just from the sweet potato, and ate 85% carbs. They weren’t vegan but very close to it. All animal products were less than 4% of total calories — fish was 1% and meat, dairy and eggs < 1% each. Their total sugar intake was about 1 tsp a day and total oil about 1 tsp a day. So very much whole foods, plant-based, and very high carb. They were significantly thinner even than "mainland" Japanese who ate more fish (and more white rice; white rice isn't terrible but I'd definitely recommend whole foods)

        Dr McDougall, around 17 min, Tedx: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5wfMNNr3ak

        [Dr Esselstyn also has some Youtube videos — maybe even at the same Tedx as my link above — and is an incredibly kind person. One can find his email address online on some sites I follow and he often replies. He has replied to me — just to motivate me to cut out the fat again (I had a medical issue but he didn't think it was anything, thought I just needed to cut out the fat) — though he doesn't know me, has never met me, I'm not his patient, he's retired from private practice in his '80's and has money-making ventures helping people and is well-known and must get tons of emails from other people asking for free advice just like I did. I wrote him, and got a reply that I had forgotten to include my phone number (I wasn't expecting a phone call), and he called me back that same day. Really a fantastic human being. He was around 79 or 80 years old when he got into a serious bicycling accident on mountain roads, but luckily made a full recovery; very healthy himself.]

        What is true is that both carbs and protein are more satiating than fat. And it isn't actually totally true that a "calorie is a calorie," so fat calories are worse. And a more restricted diet helps to lose weight. And a more monotonous diet helps to curb eating. But overall, starches are even more satiating than protein, and excess protein is bad for the kidneys and the body in general. It's easier to lose weight with carbs, and, because of how the chemistry works, significantly harder to gain. People who lose weight eating low-fat tend to keep it off much longer than people who lose weight low carb (the problem is, carbs taste so much better with fat on them, which is where Doug Lisle comes in)

        Doug Lisle (psychologist), The Pleasure Trap, 17 minutes:

        Doug Lisle, How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, 1.25 hrs

        Students who wanted to lose weight were put on a diet that included 12 pieces of bread (either white bread or a special reduced calorie extra fiber bread) a day, 4 at each meal. All lost significant weight, including those eating the white bread. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/32/8/1703.full.pdf

        I acknowledge that the guy was from a potato commission, but he ate 20 (big) potatoes a day and lost 21 pounds (17 in first 30 days) had not only lower cholesterol, but lower blood glucose, etc.
        (a pretty corporate-likevideo, feel free to skip:

        (oh well, so much for being free of vegan nutritional puritanism! But still, it's puritanism about absence not worrying about getting enough. And long, good thing I'm just replying to myself!)

  11. bholanath says:

    Personal experience, deep reflection, intuitive sense, and research has shown me that the question of sentience/consciousness is a major key at the root of what freaks out the PTB and some of their slightly aware minions, and feeds the ferocity of the violence, animosity, and hatred toward the AR movement as a whole. I have come to see that ‘consciousness’ is perhaps a
    vast spectrum, analogous to light, where some areas overlap for different species/life-forms and other areas are not perceptible by one or the other. If this were to become widely understood (or rediscovered/remembered?), it would expose the huge missing element in our current unnatural view of what is thought of as “reality”. It would not only affect financial processes, but blow to smithereens religions, medical/healing practices, educational systems, cultural ‘traditions’, legal practices, entertainment/media, and so many other habitual human endeavors – basically bringing down the whole societal edifice. Are we ready for that?
    I, for one, don’t give a shit. I’m up for chantin’ down babylon.

    • Tarzie says:

      I’m not sure I credit AR with all that, but it has all kinda potential reverberations. I just think putting lowly animals outside the bounds of acceptable exploitation can’t but have a positive effect for humans, not that it has to redeem itself with that. It’s a good on its own.

      • bholanath says:

        Yes, I’m not crediting AR with all that as it exists today. Just imagining the possibility that there may be underlying fear of the many reverberations. If AR, along with radical, but credible and proven, scientific breakthroughs created even a small measurable shift in public perception, it could snowball into fearsome reverberations. There is a quickening now in other areas of long-held assumptions and beliefs as the fascism of ‘civilization’ is on view in its nakedness to many.

  12. bholanath says:

    Animal liberation front dot com looks like it’s completely gone today – comes up “example domain”.

  13. diane says:

    On a human animal level, this is most sickeningly witnessed in the ever increasing do not beg, sit, lay down, or live out of your car in view of the populace, when weary and homeless.

    Even more horrifying are the do not feed the homeless humans laws.

    Not to worry though, the law enforcers who are increasingly favored as the desired norm, will toss the homeless a nut or two (just agonizingly and viciously degradingly out of reach while ‘hog tied’).

    Loved Rich’s comment:

    Whoever can’t be infantilized becomes demonized.

    sums it up perfectly, to my mind, when discussing the human forces running things.

    • diane says:

      speaking of infantilizing, or demonizing, the powerless and voiceless: PA ‘House’ Rep, R-Tim Murphy is/has been fervently working towards those ends. His latest effort was, of course, ‘bipartisan’ co-sponsored by one of ‘thee’ most powerful, and certainly dirty up past her eye brows, CA ‘House’ Reps, D-Anna Eshoo:

      09/24/15 By Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy New Video and Campaign Calls for REAL Change in Mental Health Policy:

      These pressing social issues are deeply interconnected and are rooted in trauma, the breakdown of community support, and socioeconomic inequality. We need reform that sees the intersections and addresses the public’s health and well-being across the lifespan. But instead, we continue to scapegoat the most vulnerable members of our society for the problems we face, churning out simplistic answers to complicated social questions.

      One politician, Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA), has exploited the mass shooting tragedy at Newtown, and every tragedy since, to launch a crusade against people diagnosed with “severe mental illness.” The research evidence shows that people with a psychiatric diagnosis are no more violent than the general population. They are far more likely to kill themselves, or to be killed by law enforcement, than to kill another person. Murphy’s focus on people with mental health diagnoses as violent and incompetent is not only wrong, it actually serves to increase fear, discrimination and social distancing. When mental health is treated as a public safety issue rather than a public health issue, then we have taken a disastrously wrong turn.

      Congressman Murphy first introduced the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” also known as the “Murphy Bill,” in December 2013, but it never made it out of committee, because it was seen as too controversial. In June 2015, he reintroduced the bill in slightly modified form as H.R. 2646, and it is quickly gaining co-sponsors in the 114th Congress. Don’t be fooled by the “helpful” sounding name; this is dangerous legislation that represents a giant step backwards for people with psychiatric diagnoses and their families.

      VERY Directly related:

      09/23/15 By Noel Hunter , Involuntary Hospitalization: What’s Love Got to do With it?:

      Psychiatry is the most powerful medical profession in existence. Aside from those doctors who might commit a person because of the fatal health risk they pose to society (i.e., tuberculosis), psychiatrists and their associated mental health professionals are the only medical persons who can legally take away a person’s rights when they have committed no crime. Unlike those doctors who might commit a TB patient, however, psychiatrists can also force their “care” onto another person whether he agrees to it or not. It is a power that is unbelievable in an era where “freedom” is the quintessential goal of humanity.

  14. Pingback: Dylann Roof Is Not a "Terrorist"- But Animal Rights Activists Who Free Minks From Slaughter Are - 2 Real News

  15. Bitman says:

    Thanks to everyone for the encouragement. A new, hopefully improved effort at ridding my diet of meat is now underway: )

    And credit where due to Greenwald for citing Tarzie’s post, pointing readers to Green is the New Red, and reviewing important aspects of the operation to criminalize animal rights activism in his usual style. It’s an effective piece.

    With that in mind, and with the likelihood that some of his readers will show up here for the first time, I will politely point out two things worthy of further discussion from his article. In probing the alleged deeper reasons for the persecution of animal rights activists, he writes:

    American elites are typically willing to tolerate political protest as long as it remains constrained, controlled, and fundamentally respectful of the rules imposed by institutions of authority — i.e., as long as it remains neutered and impotent. When protest movements adhere to those constraints, they are not only often ineffective, but more so, they can unwittingly serve as a false testament to the freedom of the political process and the generosity of its rulers (they let us speak out: see, we’re free!). That kind of marginal, modest “protest” often ends up strengthening the process it believes it is subverting.

    When, by contrast, a movement transgresses those limitations and starts to become effective in impeding the injustices it targets — particularly when preserving those injustices is valuable to the most powerful — that’s when it has to be stopped at all costs, including criminalizing it with the harshest possible legal weapons.

    I agree with this assessment. I imagine he would agree that one might easily substitute the words “adversarial journalism” for the words “political protest” or “movement” in those paragraphs and come to similar conclusions. As someone who has bragged of having Eric Holder’s cell phone number, who moves rather freely around the planet, and who writes dozens of articles on the problems with state surveillance, does it occur to him that his own analysis (mildly tweaked in this way) may have something important to say about the supposed adversariality of his own work in that arena?

    Elsewhere, he quotes Will Potter:

    “People don’t want to engage with these issues because it challenges the most fundamental assumptions about how we’ve structured our society. It makes people confront the assumption we’ve adopted that we, as humans, have the right to do anything we want to the planet and other species for any reason: clothes, food, entertainment, transportation. Once you engage with those issues, it can be a shocking confrontation with how you’ve been living your life for awhile. These activists are threatening not only corporate profit, but also the fundamental precept that humans are the center of the universe and have the right to do whatever they want.”

    I’m not sure this is quite right. The enormous effort undertaken to remove the slaughter of animals from public view is a sign that the assumption may be less stable that Potter contends (in fact, much of Greenwald’s piece is about the criminalization of efforts to publicize it). In a society where it was fundamentally assumed that animals have zero value and do not have to be regarded whatsoever in human decision-making, the threat of making cruelty towards them visible would not carry so much risk. My untutored thinking on the matter is that it’s the society’s addiction to comfort and the association of success with mastery over and domination of the natural world that pose the biggest threat to US society changing its ways, even if that cruelty were highly visible. Capitalist propaganda (in the form of advertising most obviously) is vital to engineering this.

    • Tarzie says:

      And credit where due to Greenwald for citing Tarzie’s post

      Blow me. He appropriated my post, mischaracterized it and didn’t name me. It’s insulting and contemptible.

      I had the same thought as you about the result of turning that analysis on himself. Since he’s simply appropriating, I reckon he hasn’t thought it through. Or he realizes that people buy his bullshit about virtual exile and risks or don’t give it any thought.

      I agree with you on how the high level of suppression is a measure of how unstable acquiescence in this system is. Exploitation of animals is certainly on shaky ground in a society that consumes internet pictures of baby animals almost as avidly as it consumes porn, and which goes ballistic over trophy hunting.

      • Bitman says:

        Appropriated how? He credited your post.

        It’s a little much to expect a social climber like him to be more generous to you when you’ve taken him apart (completely appropriately) for more than a year now.

      • Tarzie says:

        Appropriated how?

        You can’t answer this yourself?

        Ain’t it amazing how he writes his first animal rights post three days after I write mine and his contract troll Mona Holland has approvingly cited it on Twitter? How its structure and emphasis, right down to recommending Green is the New Red are almost shameless in their similarity? Perhaps the line about the romanticizing of whistleblowing in other quarters was a provocation. Or perhaps I simply alerted him to an unplumbed repository of brand-building martyrs for him to use.

        Whatever the incentive, I’m fairly confident that had i not written this post, GG would not have written his, since his involvement in animal rights advocacy to date was to ratify a Supreme Court decision green lighting animal torture porn, and having warm feelies when Michael Vick adopted a dog after his prison term. When an almost identical arrest of animal rights activists happened last year, he said and did nothing. The AETA is nine years old. Has he written about it? Why, no. Ag-gag laws? Ditto. Has he ever written about animal rights activists on the FBIs Most Wanted lists? No again. But three days after I posted, he played catch up on all of that, and what a nice job he did! I hope you’ve thanked him on The Intercept. I’d do it too, but I’m blocked, even though his commenters are free to trash me til the cows come home.

        It’s a little much to expect a social climber like him

        Yeah, and it would look pretty silly considering he once told me on this blog that I’m so stupid I should kill myself.

        Status consciousness dies hard I guess. You’re literally saying be grateful he wasn’t a *complete* asshole, the way he usually is. After all, he could have used my post as an outline and not even linked to me.


        I feel a little guilty about going off on you, especially as the rest of your comment is insightful and useful. But you have to understand Greenwald is not just some pundit I don’t like. Putting aside his pernicious political influence and opportunism, he’s a liar and an abusive inciter of trolls, who has a lion’s share of responsibility for a bullying, smearing and silencing campaign that went on for over a year. Giving him props for opportunistically doing something he should have done years ago, while lifting from my post is minimizing at best, and I seriously doubt if you’d have felt compelled to do it for a low-status peer, all other things being equal. Greenwald has everything he needs and more. He needs nothing from us, including “credit where due.”

      • robertmstahl says:

        Well, here is something Greenface would never follow the way it should be followed like, instead, that of Omidyar’s hat-in-the-ring” (half hour each)

        A New View of Evolution – Part I

        Part II

    • no soy yo says:

      I think that if the torture and slaughter were in the public view that might increase the number of AR activists (from a minuscule number to a bigger minuscule number), and it would make people uncomfortable so they would choose x brand over Tyson, or whatever. But I don’t think there is any real challenge to the idea that it’s wrong to view other creatures as useful or to judge them based on their relationship to humans. Even within the mainstream vegan groups there’s a lot of discord about that. Most mainstream vegan/ “animal rights” groups support the notion that there is legitimacy in fighting for slaughter that involves a bit less torture, i.e., “compassionate butchering,” cages that have a few more inches, etc. Gary Francione calls these “welfarist” groups. http://www.abolitionistapproach.com They are mostly vegan themselves, so it has nothing to do with giving up comfort themselves.
      17 of these groups signed a letter praising Mackey for Whole Food’s “Farm Animal Compassionate Standards,” which is of course an oxymoron. http://www.humanemyth.org/mediabase/1009.htm

      Even the idea of only being against “cruelty,” but not against viewing other creatures as existing for our use I think shows that we still think we would be able to be at the center of the universe, but just a bit nicer. Like owning slaves but not beating them.

      And the general public openly defends the idea of being so outraged about Cecil the Lion that they’ll sign a petition to have the dentist extradited, yet eat meat from animals they know have been tortured and killed. Cecil matters not because he was a sentient being who wanted to live, he matters because he was pretty and majestic to humans, and had a beautiful and unique mane for us, and had a name and a backstory and fame for us.

      Ditto on the idea that for GG challenges to power are great when other people take part and he can write what his fans would call cogent (and mellifluous!) articles about power and the heroes that stand up to it, but when it’s up to him to stand up (without even any real need for the kind of heroism others show), then there are all sorts of reasons why true challenge shouldn’t happen today. And then he basically openly embraces the idea that his role is as influential and powerful (leverage financial support for Manning’s defense, e.g.), while claiming to be another challenger to power, which of course he isn’t. And the fundraising for Chelsea Manning is while continuing to throw her under the bus re. her “dumping” of material that wasn’t sufficiently “controlled, and fundamentally respectful of the rules imposed by institutions of authority,” whereas Snowden is a responsible adult (because responsible releasing is that which is respectful of authority).

      He talks/writes about these kinds of challenges to authority all the time. So he has thought it through in general, even if not about AR. He will never admit that he either always was or has become a representative and member and abetter of the power elite who he pretends to criticize.

      And yeah, the “this post” link was quite hidden for an article that clearly was researched and written because of “this post.”

      • Tarzie says:

        This is all right on the money. I like your take on Cecil especially. It’s really about celebrity and aesthetics, though I think being a member of a somewhat endangered species lured from a preserve helps Cecil’s case also, and that his murderer and his murder are so particularly vile. Also, people conflate the necessity for food with the necessity for meat and truly see trophy-hunting as far more gratuitous than eating an animal because you like the way it tastes. I went back and forth with someone on Twitter about this and was awestruck by the pigheaded stupidity.

      • no soy yo says:

        Yes, Tarzie, the endangered, or close to endangered, bit is always important. Cute (or beautiful or majestic, etc) and endangered always = important, which just shows that ultimately it’s always our own interest that is important. Radiolab does a show on the Galapagos (“To the Brink”) that is fascinating and horrifying. Massacring hundreds of thousands of goats (that are on the island because of humans) to save x species of Galapagos tortoise (that is going extinct because of humans) because humans think the tortoises are interesting (and the last one has a name — Lonesome George) and awesome, and hell, there are amazing goats on other islands in the world, so what’s a few hundred thousand shot? The show also covers humans’ efforts to save a few other species that we decide are important.
        And the thing is, the tortoises ARE amazing (and yes,Cecil and his mane ARE beautiful), so I thought the show was really powerful as a reminder about how we judge each creature based on our own preferences.

      • Tarzie says:

        so I thought the show was really powerful as a reminder about how we judge each creature based on our own preferences.

        Species preservationists are fond of saying “it pays to be cute.” One reason why I think a logical assessment of sentience is so helpful.

        That Galapagos story is horrifying. I don’t know how y’all can bring yourself to watch that stuff. One reason I became vegan is so I could give myself a pass on bearing witness. Earth will be so much better when we’re gone. If I were religious, I would pray for our extinction.

  16. AmishRakeFight says:

    Well, I did it. I can’t tell you how many months it’s been (and they’ve been happy months, dammit) since I read my last Greenwald article, but I read the one referenced in the discussion above. My take is that it’s no coincidence that Greenwald suddenly took up this topic a few days after this blog post appeared. His piece basically covers the same topics as Tarzie’s post, but with Glenn’s typically wordiness, and also he adds in some of his typical brand building around topics he has extensively written about (whistle blowing and the abuse/meaningless of the word “terrorist”). For fucks sake, he practically admits it in third-to-last paragraph:

    “The countless hours of interviews and reading I’ve now done has made me, for the first time, fully cognizant of the shocking amount of legal abuses being undertaken here.”

    Ah yes, he just so happened to start those countless hours of reading maybe a few days ago… which is right when this post went up. Golly-gee, what a coincidence!

    Lastly, I implore anyone listening, do not read the comments on his article. It’s sickening, the amount of adoration people are heaping on him for taking up this topic, clearly ignorant of his prior non-existent interest in the topic except for the disgusting cat-crush porn case. I did a quick Google search for “Glenn Greenwald ag-gag” and “Glenn Greenwald AETA” and turned up one, lonely tweet. That’s it. Yet already this asshole is being celebrated as a champion of animal rights and environmentalism – for writing one fucking, heavily-pilfering article? I guess that’s how fans are though. It’s exactly the same way liberals treat Obama or Hillary. They pay lip service to a particular issue, mention something in a speech, and suddenly their entire contradictory record over the years vanishes.

  17. BlanchoRelaxo says:

    Sweet black female jesus! Notwithstanding imitation being the highest form of zzzzzzz……., there is some pretty heavy duty context missing from a conclusion that GG’s citation is merely a complementary and incidental rounding off of his piece; an expression of a long-standing labour of love on his part in defence of the defenceless. *cough*

    Of course, as mentioned, a core issue at hand in his article is the publication of what takes place behind the scenes across the industries driven by exploitation of “lower” life forms, which is hidden from us and aligns with several points of Glenn’s fans criteria for granting support for the activists a la free speech etc…

    I imagine a bizarro reality where cats buy official hulk hogan scarves, made from real hulk hogan, and post selfies on socmedia eliciting outrage from their human rights activist & lefty animal buddies. Exclamations of “how we treat even the lowliest of human celebrity creatures is how we will all be judged as a society” abound. Rex Greenwoof’s explosive article in “The Dogwhistler” brings it all home for the lefty-ish animal masses…

    Anyways.. also an exploration of the relationship with society, media and power, framing of discourse and dissent. It does strongly telegraph co-opting when you consider the timing and several of the points explored. It feels icky given the bigger picture.

    Nevertheless, I personally have trouble throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. Better that he wrote the piece than not(GG is going to GG, after all, and Tarzie’s grass will always be something he is keen to cut if the chance arises), political dynamics with Tarzie aside. My opinion of course. Green is the new Red gets exposure. The Rancid Sector gets exposure. (Most)Any exposure is good exposuzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

    I dont think Tarzie agrees.

    • Tarzie says:

      No, I agree that Greenwald’s post is a net good. He’s a role model and now the kiddies have a reason to take animal rights seriously since God knows they can’t think of one themselves. I just don’t think butt-crack licking is in order.

      The Rancid Sector gets exposure.

      I think you’d all be surprised how little traffic GG’s link is sending my way. Perhaps they’ve been warned off the link in comments. Or maybe TI is a bigger flop than I’d even thought.

      • BlanchoRelaxo says:

        Cool. Agreed. To me it mostly underlines that he would fall swiftly from the stars and crash to the earth but not for the legitimacy that your posts(and others’ he piggy-backs on) provide, even if only by linking/citing as he has.

      • Margin says:

        Well Tarzie, the link got me here and devouring a crop of your posts. I was never a Glenn acolyte, and was getting tired of the Investigative Journalism Enquirer over there, as well as the ball washing comment sections. It’s good to find a place on the internet with more than a couple of brain cells floating around (smart people on the internet, who knew?), and I’ve got a real liking for the way you put your sentences together.

  18. diane says:

    welp, tried to view the greenwald/intercept piece (a first, and last, time) and couldn’t. I assume it was either, or both, the fact that I’ve refused to update my [though it isn’t at all approaching anything I have any control over] browser! [just fucking UUUUGH], which ‘updating’ I assume always allows even more murkiness and backdoor snooping, and, that I block scripting. (I am still able to view 99.9999 percent of the writing I’m interested in reading, in far, far, far less time than if I enabled scripting, and sans 99.999999 of the unsolicited “ads” ).

    As a consequence, I’m less informed as to what exactly Glenn wrote but also now aware that The Intercept does not allow anyone to read it without insisting on tracking them in some form or another, unlike countless other news sites which I can still read freely.

    Anywho, now I’m left to just suspect that Glenn works for an unscrupulous billionaire snooper asshole and was gaslighting under the flimsy auspices of regard, in the most insidious of manners. I do know he made bank off of the above piece, which he did not write.

    • diane says:

      (yes unscrupulous billionaire snooper asshole was putting it far, far milder than deserved. Omidyar is a “snake,” it hardly matters whether he’s even as aware of it …. as those nameless millions subjected to his (and his peers) venomous fangs, on a daily basis.)

      • jason says:

        yeah, i’m running into that “your browser is/will soon be not supported” a fair amount on a few really popular sites, there’s nothing wrong with my browser except my impatience & industry’s built-in obsolescence & urge to bombard me faster with a salvo of adverts. i myself don’t *need* to toss this aging PC into a landfill but somebody else sure does.

      • diane says:

        Truly, Jason!

        Last time I had to fix my shabby ass computer (shabby ass keyboard and shabby ass optical scanner, a feature, not a bug) I was informed by the first company (which I will now never go to for a computer fix) that I needed to replace it, at the ancient age of three. Luckily I found another place and the young man was great, pleasant, and very affordable. He told me I didn’t need to fork out another half a grand, plus set-up headaches (I spent a great deal of time disabling all sorts of built in snooper crap the first time around).

      • diane says:

        A currently unblocked – maybe to the end of today ( https://mobile.twitter.com/PandoUnlocks?p=s , which works for those of us with un-updated browsers, can be helpful when one wants to read a Pando piece) – 07/31/15 Pando piece, by Mark Ames, on just how powerful and insidious Pierre Omidyar is (Tarzie has already spent quite some hours pointing it out himself):

        07/31/15 What Pierre did next After helping the State Department fund revolution in Ukraine, Omidyar is reportedly ready to invest in Gawker.

        ( https://pando.com/2015/07/31/what-pierre-did-next/4f412c79c486eb2343c4de2ffd89731a05da9a1c/ )

        It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to witness Omidyar (or Bezos) also heavily investing in Pando, and Naked Capitalism (which highlights quite a few Intercept pieces, with no qualifying commentary), and partnering with the Daily Kos (if that hasn’t been done in some form, already) in the next few years.

      • Tarzie says:

        This likely stayed in moderation because of links. I’m not spending as much time online as I used to. Hence, there will be delays.

      • diane says:

        I’m not spending as much time online as I used to.

        Wonderful, and you certainly deserve that break honey, the off line face to face, one on one, with other animals is irreplaceable, in my thoughts …..gut.

        stay safe, and kind, … honey.

      • diane says:

        (sigh, speaking of all four, in reverse order – totally unnecessary computer update$; billionaires running the presses; those billionaire’s lackeys [Glenn Greenwald, et al), lackeys despite the fact that they are of the few who could survive elsewhere, without validating monsters; and, lastly, the stunningly unquestioned sadism towards those horrified at tormenting, or, ending another beings life simply because they can –issues on this ‘page’:

        Windows 10 is likely in the top five of the most ghastly things Bill Gates has pawned off on the planet earth, yet barely a peep on all of those go to On Line[Those Musical Chair Survivors? ♪] Sites . ♪ ♪ ♪.

        … “we’ll read everything you type on your computer to make sure you’re not pirating stuff.” [and likely “stuff “ whose ‘owners’ stole in the first place, including one’s own medical records – diane]

        @ gbelljnr also provided a linked article in that commentary (the article and comment section is worth the read/scanning, as are some of the ‘sidebar’ links) which linked to: fix windows 10 – By default, Windows sends a lot of your information to their servers sometimes without asking you to opt-in. Follow this guide to fix Windows 10 and restore your privacy. https : // fix 10 . isleaked. com / (<remove blank spaces to ‘connect to’) which (thank you much gbelljnr, if I ever end up stuck with Windows 10) may be somewhat of a help (if, in fact, those forced Windows 10 updates don’t reset ‘your’ software back to its beginning) in preventing the ultra snoop (the best thing would be not to update to Windows 10, but (certainly not gbelljnr ‘s fault) that won’t even help those poverty ridden youngsters, nor poverty ridden ‘middle aged’, or poverty ridden eldsters, who just found themselves forced (to get that new jawb; apply for that “safety net” when all of the physical local offices have been shut down, along with most of the libraries where you could have waited in line to go online, and not be allowed to delete your ‘digital’ fingerprints, even though you’ve never been committed of a malicious, or PROFITEERING, crime in all of your fifty plus years) to buy a new computer, automatically locked and loaded with Windows 10™.)

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  22. Bitman says:

    I appreciate the update. Since hard feelings were the opposite of what I wanted, let me address a few things. Sorry for the length.

    1. I read this blog regularly. I’m pretty familiar with your public history with GG. I completely agree he’s behaved appallingly, and side with you entirely (in fact, I’ve sided with you publicly – more on that below). During the almost-two-years this has been playing I’ve been repeatedly disappointed that so few ‘left’ people I respect seem to acknowledge how poorly GG has behaved toward you and his other left critics (like Chris Floyd, for one). It’s been eye-opening for me, to say the least.

    Perhaps because a lot of happens outside of my view in that I don’t follow other social media closely, I do think I failed to appreciate the toll the trolling and harassment can take. It must be extremely tiring and depressing, and I should try to be more cognizant of that. I write flippantly at times when I shouldn’t.

    2. My crediting him for his article had nothing to do with his status, and I don’t think you’ll find anything in my comments here indicating a favoritism for high-status people over low ones. If anything I’m strongly disposed in the opposite direction, and in the area of his handling of the Snowden docs I’m demonstrably disposed to favor the arguments of GG’s low-status critics to his own. As I alluded to in my original post, my crediting GG was done in the spirit of being welcoming to his readers who may have landed here from the link he supplied. I wanted to, in my own small way, dispose those readers to be as openminded as possible when reading here. I thought all that was clear from context, but maybe it wasn’t. In no way was I trying to elide his general shittiness in offering what were very mild kind words related to an article you yourself later acknowledged to be a “net good.”.

    As it turns out, I see my ‘welcoming’ wasn’t exactly needed. Who could have expected such weak traffic from his site? It’s unfathomable how badly he’s squandered the embarrassment of riches to which he was staked there.

    3. Does it have to be reiterated how big a piece of shit he is? From his handling of the Snowden trove and from his ludicrous, impossible-to-believe shoulder-shrugging over Omidyar’s politics we know how power-hungry and shameless he is. It’s not debatable. Further, his inflated sense of self ensures he’s neither going to give you full credit for the arguments you made against his media strategy, nor accept your surgical exposure of his subtly poisonous brand-building efforts during the Manning trial. That’s HIS problem, of course, not yours, and by no means was I trying to go easy on him or let him off the hook for it. Fuck him. He’s picked a side, and it ain’t mine.

    But – and this is just me – I have nothing invested any longer in his being fair. That ship has sailed. He’s a social climbing lowlife who wittingly or not, chose personal enrichment over social movement-making and helped Omidyar honeytrap other high self-regarding journalists. A pox on all their careers. GG’s historical contribution won’t be anything he’s reported as a journalist; it will be as an example of a new, pernicious phenomenon in the news industry, and that’s my primary focus when it comes to him.

    I sincerely hope more people come to see that he’s really just a journalistic entrepreneur who, for purposes of dissent management, has been given the cooperation of power in constructing his coveted “outsider” brand status. He’s not outside power whatsoever, of course, which accounts for the mutuality of the benefit.

    4. W/r/t status: I don’t want to entirely break my anonymity here so I’m limited in the details I can offer, but I have first-hand experience about how it goes when you give a public talk before an audience disposed to view him favorably and take a strong position against both his treatment of his low-status left critics, his “drippyleaks” strategy, and his effort to recast the “responsible adversarial journalist”. ( In that talk I specifically mentioned you, Chris Floyd, Patrick Higgins, Walter Glass, and Mark Ames, and specifically credited some of the arguments you and Chris Floyd have made in this area, while adding my own) Suffice to say the talk didn’t go over very well. It may have injured me professionally to some degree as well, given who else was in attendance, though I haven’t confirmed that and don’t care to.

    I’m not mentioning this b/c I want “credit” for being adversarial to GG, I’m mentioning it as evidence that, on the internet, it’s a mug’s game trying to detect individual motivations except in matters where they’re obvious. I’ll keep reading but probably comment less, since I sincerely didn’t want any hard feelings.

    • Tarzie says:

      Thanks for having a thick skin. No hard feelings. Lots of good stuff here. I was in a bad mood about GG having pilfered my piece. I was kinda shocked by it, which is why your sunny take rattled my cage. Please don’t stop commenting.

      the talk didn’t go over very well. It may have injured me professionally to some degree as well

      This is insanity. The mandatory uncritical compliance is so damn bizarre. They’re so ruthless.

      Would love to know the whole story and would have also liked to see your talk. I’m very discreet. ohtarzie/gmail in case you want to dish.

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  24. jason says:

    “These thematic elements provide an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner‍ ’​s central theme of examining humanity. In order to discover replicants, an empathy test is used, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals – seemingly an essential indicator of someone’s “humanity”…” from the wikipedia article on Blade Runner, which i happened to be reading today apropos of nothing. can’t believe i never really noticed this before in this movie. not sure what to make of this. maybe like the minor character, the cat, in another early ridley scott movie, “alien”? human: cat-animal:: replicant/”alien”: ???

    • Tarzie says:

      I’m a big Blade Runner fan. There are, I think, two empathy tests of replicants in the movie, and questions about animals feature in both of them. It’s an interesting idea, but surely there are humans that would answer the same way, though they might at least know how to fake it.

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at with that last bit about cats and replicants and aliens. I mean I’m aware of the cat in Alien, but I don’t understand what connection you’re attempting to make. The novel that inspired the movie apparently made empathy a large concern, including empathy for animals, so it may be more about keeping to the spirit of Dick’s novel than anything that relates to Scott’s other films.

      You could be onto something with Scott, though. Empathy *is* explored in Alien as you point out, but in a very pessimistic light. The overriding of Ripley’s no-nonsense adherence to quarantine rules above sentimentality is what puts the monster on the ship to wreak havoc. And, of course, there is the cat, who does quite well looking out for himself, while humans go to their doom attempting to rescue him.

      • jason says:

        animals as one boundary against which humans attempt to define themselves, the other boundary being the alien or replicant (incl. the android in alien.) there’s so much one could say about both these movies. humans do not come across well; at least the replicants have sympathy for each other and might not, of their own devices, use animals in sex acts (as Zhora does). in alien, the only things humans can think to do with a predator is to kill it. we the audience naturally take ash’s viewpoint on the creature at face value: a perfect killing machine. and ripley’s viewpoint: killing is the only way to stop it.

        but the cat represents another possibility, another dynamic of relationship. and in the end, the alien (and aliens, later) must be killed because humans can’t be trusted not to exploit the aliens to kill other humans. “i don’t know which species is worse!” they can’t even be trusted not to exploit the aliens to make a whole bunch of other crappy movies.

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  26. jason says:

    He was gunned down like a hog-Tyrone Harris’ dad on the shooting of his son in Ferguson. we casually talk about violence this way all the time.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah, as I mentioned here, animal comparisons are made all the time in the context of crimes against humanity. It’s perfectly fine if the comparison suggests that animals are comparatively negligible.

      • jason says:

        yeah. i feel self-conscious now referring to “animals” as animals, as if we all aren’t animals, “just animals”. it’s shorthand BS & probably does more harm than good given that the killing floor for hogs & human animals is…the same company.

    • no soy yo says:

      Many vegans say “nonhuman animals” to acknowledge that we’re animals also.

      • jason says:

        thanks. “only 20% of global food production goes to feed humans.” sorry, can’t place that quote. either counterpunch or “green is the new red”. a god-awful amount of that 80% goes for amerkin beef/pig/fowl. ‘markets’? ‘efficiency’? what a bunch of BS that whole line of thinking is.

        i ran into this real live “animal trapper” a while back here in s-urbia. (not a cop, har har). “what are you trapping?” says I. “rabbits.”. and he opened his little hand-held trap and let a rabbit go off into the s-urban wild. i hadn’t noticed it before in this chicken-wire cage contraption he’d done up.. “they in my garden,” he said, heading to his car.

        i couldn’t help but assuming he was killing the rabbits. until he said otherwise.

  27. erico says:

    Tarzie, I’m a huge fan, mostly lurk as I’m not really emotionally suited to participating in the warzones that are the intertubes lol, but I have to at least add my voice to those who are incredibly grateful that you in fact seem quite able to survive the mayhem. I found you a while back when I was speculatively looking for something to give shape to my growing discomfort with GG and you were the perfect antidote. Coming here is always a cathartic respite amidst the growing madness lol.

    But anyway, I’m sending this quick note to ask if you might not be enticed to cast your crystalline gaze towards what happened recently here in Seattle, involving BLM and Bernie. If you spend some time on SLOG you can get the gist of events and characters, at least to start. The whole situation is nauseating on so many levels, yet so familiar at the same time. Even if you don’t end up writing something about it specifically, it will provide you with heaps of data for further writing on topics that you cover so persuasively.

    • Tarzie says:

      Thanks very much for the kind words.

      I wasn’t intending to write about the confrontation with Sanders. There are a lot of interesting layers to it, but I feel the best approach to these electoral dog and pony shows is to mostly ignore them. I am interested in BLM, though.

      • erico says:

        Yeah, it is the BLM character who took the stage that is the aspect of the story that I thought might grab you; her background and philosophy (not sure it actually qualifies) are curious to say the least. Here’s a link:


        And apologies for inserting this into the animal rights thread.

        I loved this particular essay, I wish I’d had it handy when I was stunned into silence by some of the rather shocking comments made to me by my socialist friends a while back. I just couldn’t believe I was basically hearing: ‘Pave the Sahara with solar panels so everyone can drive a Prius to all their employee-owned high-tech creative-class jobs in chic hipster condo neighborhoods, and who gives a fuck about a few lizards?’ The contempt for a humbler Green perspective, or anything that questions Man’s supreme status in the hierarchy of Being, has long been a major sore point with me here in the supposed hippie granola ecotopia of the PNW (at least the urban parts where supposedly remnants of the Left still matter). There is a lot of shunning here of anyone who speaks up questioning a ‘Progressive’ agenda that is just as cornucopian and technophilic (and even market oriented) as anything offered by the developer crowd here, the ones who really run the show.

        Any chance you might do some musing on the whole Derrick Jensen/DGR vs trans+ kerfuffle? All kinds of tangled psychosexual/power/astroturfing/deplatforming agendas in that mess lol.

  28. Kat says:

    A note on food puritanism– I don’t believe vegans are any more puritanical than carnivores, but we need to lose the puritanism and fear of all things processed (whatever that means). People are not going to lose their taste for meat overnight. We need more fake meats and we need to get over this obsession with “natural”. If we can make a good facsimile for chicken breast then we need to support this. I know there is nothing that human animals do that does not have a negative impact on non human animals, but raising livestock and factory farming is definitely worse than putting together some fake meat from plant products in a factory.

    • Kat says:

      and I am of the belief that if eating potato chips gives you some of the satisfaction that eating a burger does than eat the damn potato chips.

    • Tarzie says:

      Though I am evolving into something way closer to a purist than I ever thought I’d be, I agree with you. When I first became a vegan, it bothered me that it seemed bundled together with the puritanism you describe, presumably because a lot of people do it for health reasons. I didn’t care about that. I just didn’t want to eat animals. If I didn’t have junk food, convenience foods and fake meat — which I love — I would never make it.

      • Kat says:

        Glad to hear you have no qualms with the fake meat. We need more of a market for it so it will be cheaper making it an even more attractive alternative.
        I’m want to open a factory-to-table restaurant. Ha.

      • Kat says:

        Also, it is refreshing to read a lefty blog that does not have to preface the words “junk food” with “toxic”.

    • no soy yo says:

      If you look at the world of ‘ex-vegetarians,’ (not that I think that morally being vegetarian is any different from being a meat-eater), their number one reason (or excuse) for going back to eating meat is health. I’m sure the same is true of vegans, and probably the “health” reason/excuse is even higher. Only 20% went back to meat-eating because of cravings. So in that sense there’s a reason to tout a healthy vegan diet (not that I go for the “natural” craze, which is usually an excuse to take more pills and have more processed stuff with a “natural” label).

      The overriding concern for this century will be climate change. But ignoring that (if you could), the number one problem in the US may be health care costs — even before military expenses. Again, that’s reason to push a healthy vegan diet (and exercise and not smoking).

      None of that is to say that as transition food, faux meats and cheeses shouldn’t be praised; they should. Anything that can help people get off meat and cheese is the right choice morally and even health-wise. But I think they should be just that: transition foods. Though there’s also evidence that making a sudden plunge cold “turkey” is better for big changes. And yes, eating vegan junk food is better than eating animal-based junk food. Whether it’s “toxic” or not, it is junk.

      • Tarzie says:

        I agree on transition foods. The more raw I do, the less interest I have in highly processed foods like fake meats. I think its in everyone’s interest for people to really try to find that sweet spot between enjoyment and health. For me, that’s turning out to be raw veg and fruit. If you can just stumble on the healthy thing that you like, it’s a nice surprise. Eating becomes such work otherwise. I agree on the point of promoting healthy diets also. There isn’t a single good reason not to.

        The food nuts are scaring me off wheat now. Which is a hard thing for me to give up — for pasta and nothing else, really — but I think they might have a point.

      • no soy yo says:

        No, don’t be suckered in by the anti-wheat stuff. They’re anti-science, and mostly promoting meat and fat. Read what Dr McDougall has to say on topic. Or watch this short video Also, re. enjoyment and cravings, Doug Lisle’s The Pleasure Trap is a must-read (book) or must-watch (two Youtube versions, tedx and longer)

      • Tarzie says:

        I just watched the Lisle Tedx. That makes a lot of sense. I used to wonder why we had evolved to love things like candy, when they’re so bad for us. Now it’s really rather obvious.

        I think promising people that they will eventually find pleasure in eating healthfully should be a bigger part of the vegan message.

        As to wheat, I felt McDougall kinda phoned that in. For one thing, it’s not just the low carb crew that objects to wheat. A lot of high carb vegans do too. It’s hard to make a case for white flour products at the very least, which is too damn bad, because I love bread and pasta and can’t stand the whole grain stuff.

      • no soy yo says:

        Yes, it would probably be hard to find someone outside of industry or a crazy person promoting white flour (all wheat pastas are not created equal, though, so I’d suggest trying different brands). None of the gurus I follow (McDougall, Esselstyn, Greger [nutritionfacts.org], Barnard [PCRM], Popper) have a problem with wheat for the ordinary person (w/o celiac – 1% of population — or gluten intolerance — up to around 4% of population). They all, including McDougall, recommend trying stopping wheat and/or gluten when facing autoimmune and other issues that don’t heal with cutting out animal products and oil. If you want faster weight loss or aren’t losing or are at a plateau, McDougall’s “MWL” or “Maximum Weight Loss” program does exclude flour of all kinds. I haven’t seen any non-raw advocates that have a problem with wheat other than perhaps Fuhrman who has his issues. I haven’t found any raw promoters that I find convincing. I’m convinced that lower fat is better and it’s hard to get the calories with raw w/o lots of nuts and seeds. Strict fruitarian really only works with athletes who eat so many calories that they can get sufficient protein from the fruit, and who happen not to have a triglyceride problem with fruit.

        Anyway, I still say that generally our eating problem is one of excess and not deficiency, so cutting out wheat is fine, I just don’t like the hype which is mostly promoted by low-carbers. And to reiterate, yes, potato chips are better than hamburgers.

      • Kat says:

        I don’t think our medical costs are high because people are eating too much white flour or whatever. I think our medical costs are high because it is profit over everything else. Anyway, diet and exercise are just one component of health and our medical industrial complex would like us to believe that they are the gatekeepers of our health (everything must be mediated by a “professional” of course) but there is so much we don’t know about the human body. When I walk, rather than drive to the grocery store it is true that I am burning more calories. It is also true that I am calmer. I can enjoy the trees, and my mind wanders. My stress is reduced (until I get to the grocery store and discover how many things on my list they are out of this time!). I also recognize that I am fortunate in that I live in a neighborhood that is relatively leafy and the houses are in good repair and the air is OK because there is not some industry that ends up in poorer parts of the city.. All these things make it more enjoyable. And many of these things are predicated on the fact that I have enough money to live where I do (not sayin’ I’m rich or anything.)
        I wish it could be this way for everyone- it would mean some come down in the world, no doubt. I wish we cared more about these things than what everyone else is putting into their mouths (when it comes to health, not ethics, that is).
        I also think the emphasis on wellness has a way of seguing into ableism. Plus, it is more about granting control to employers or surveillance rather than wellness. I’ve been waiting for this book– I’ve read other things the authors have written:

      • Tarzie says:

        Good stuff. Thanks Kat.

        I don’t think anyone was saying costs are high because of poor nutrition. I think it was more along the lines of avoiding the high costs by staying healthy.

      • jason says:

        the aetiology of disease (mostly cancer) will became vaguer as the toxicity of the environment increases. one’s personal health is part of a cluster of reasons to go lean & green.

      • no soy yo says:

        I don’t believe at all in tracking anything in general, but I do believe that living healthier (again cutting excess, not adding or tracking anything) would save trillions of dollars and millions of lives. And sorry, we don’t have western diseases because we have more stress (and can’t go for calming walks) than someone living in extreme poverty in India or China or Africa. So there must be an explanation for the higher incidence of many cancers, heart disease, diabetes and healthcare deaths. Along with lung cancer, those are our biggest killers. They are all from lifestyle. Sure I agree the medical industry, like I said, is one of the most criminal of all, and costs go up because of their criminality. But avoiding the industry altogether is the easiest way to deal with that, since so much of their criminality has to do with offering needless tests and treatments, and neglecting to offer the best cure which most of the time is lifestyle-based (except for trauma) Not going for a physical, not getting screened for much of anything (except infrequent pap smears) and having a healthy lifestyle (although I don’t follow the alcohol advice — no need to be that extreme!!) are ways to avoid the industry http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/24_Triage_Your_Health_Efforts__The_Good,_The_Bad,_%26_The_Ugly.html

        I recommend articles/videos/books by H Gilbert Welch (Overdiagnosed) and John Abramson (Overdosed), then for even more depressing (so to speak) info, work by Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic) re psychiatry. All of those show that in most cases, the issue isn’t gatekeeper or no, but rather we should avoid the industry altogether. A longer video that is funny and informative is “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” by Michael Greger. [Don’t want to be make Tarzie moderate by putting more than one link]

      • Tarzie says:

        It’s shameful how the medical establishment denigrates things like diet and lifestyle. Whenever I am assisting someone in a health crisis, I am always struck by how shitty and unhealthy the food is, how they don’t let anyone get a full night’s sleep and how they treat frequent, long-stay visitors like nuisances. I dread hospitals. They’re dangerous places full of hard people.

        As for cutting out excess, I’ve been on this 2/3rds raw thing for over a month now, I think, and it’s getting a little rough. Every fiber of my being is crying out for dark chocolate. If I could just have chocolate…

        Loving my green smoothies though, and salads made with kale. I decided today that eating a salad made with raw kale spritzed with lemon juice and really enjoying it is a milestone. It’s true that everything tastes better after awhile.

      • jason says:

        unfortunately, i recently spent the weekend in the hospital. the stereotype of awful hospitals is largely valid, but from top to bottom in my stay the staff were unbelievably nice and caring. i was shocked. though the “dietician” did get miffed when i asked why they are serving this high fructose garbage when some large percent of patients are diabetic. and why they are loading up on meat. in every goddam meal.

        everything you folks have said is true about food/lifestyle, health care, etc. but the toxicity of the environment will overwhelm our individual responses. it already is.

        “I don’t believe at all in tracking anything in general”. not sure what that means.

      • Tarzie says:

        Sorry to hear you were in the hospital. I hope everything is ok.

        Yeah, my criticism of hospitals was overstated. I have met a lot of really good people in hospitals. A lot of my objections are to things that are baked in.

      • jason says:

        thank you. stay away from the med. establishment if at all possible. good individuals only compensate so much for an unfathomably shitty system. who wards the vultures off the diseased body of the uninsured? illness is a profit vector like everything else.

      • no soy yo says:

        Jason: glad you’re out of hospital. My remark about “I don’t believe in tracking anything” was in response to the content of a link Kat posted. The vast majority of GMO foods are either fed to farm animals or used in food processing (corn and soy in both cases). If you buy edamame it is not GMO and therefore not so much “Monsanto.” Same with ears of corn — it’s not GMO corn but the corn syrup used to make your processed foods is often GMO. Therefore that is one more reason to buy whole plant food. Sure, it’s not possible to skip big ag, but it is possible to lessen our support of big ag and Monsanto dramatically.

  29. liamofktn says:

    Hi Tarzie. I have an update for you. So Deray got exposed as a fraud today. Scroll down his timeline to where he gets mad at someone for talking about “economics” and read their correspondence with him. It proves he’s not about making real reform, just fame and attention. Sad it took so long for him to be exposed, but people need to learn that leaders won’t save the world. Only communities building their own societies will. I’m confident the lesson will be learned. Hope you are holding up alright. Best wishes to you.

  30. jason says:

    “blood on the men. blood on the beasts.” in PP’s “Guernica,” the struggle against “fascism” is shared with & and on behalf of the “beasts”.

  31. diane says:

    (sorry, off topic ( but wasn’t that an absolutely priceless, … and way, way, way too late – AT&T/NSA vs. [VERSE US!] Snow Den and Fascist Mentors/[PO]/NYT [New York City’s WALLED ‘STREET’ “Times”!]/ProPublica [1] – Expose!, today?

    [1] I highly recommend spending time on those About/Board/Staff, etcetera, ProPublica pages, to determine the backgrounds of those who preside and [can afford to] intern at ProPublica[!]. Yes of course they reveal many truths, well after the fact, but they never take action towards preventing those truths in the first place, … and then, they receive an obscene and stunning amount of funding to admit those crimes, … well after the horrid carnage has been done.)

    • diane says:

      Yes of course they reveal many truths, well after the fact, but they never take action towards preventing those truths in the first place

      Oh my, … and when I took time, so much time, to read between the lines at ProPublica, I came to the conclusion that much of that website has everything to do with coded “welfare queens” language, and it was totally horrifying (once again) as there were long concealed truths told (of course, admitted well after the carnage) that were presented out there to make anyone calling them out to look like they were insane, … how fucking deadly can something become?

      In a nut shell, …fill in the blanks.

  32. Kat says:

    And sorry, we don’t have western diseases because we have more stress (and can’t go for calming walks) than someone living in extreme poverty in India or China or Africa.
    Okay, I am not sure where you got the idea that I feel long calming walks are the antidote to stress. I was saying that it is usually less stressful than driving. But sure, looking up at trees does calm me down. And I really am mystified how you concluded that I feel we have more stress in the US than say India or Africa (not sure where in Africa you refer to specifically.) I don’t believe these populations are necessarily healthier though. Many don’t live long enough to get these diseases/conditions that come with age– cancer, diabetes, hypertension– these are conditions for which age is a big risk factor.
    I agree, it is best to stay our of the hospital and skip the tests as much as possible (As Welch makes clear). When we talk about lifestyle diseases, we make it all seem like everything is in our control but I think this is an illusion. It surely deflects blame from everyone who is profiting– pharma, hospitals, insurance companies.

    • Kat says:

      Meant to say deflecting blame for soaring costs of health care.

    • Kat says:

      I stay away from the doctor as much as possible. If they look hard enough they’ll always find something wrong with you.

    • no soy yo says:

      Much of the difference in life expectancy between rich and poor countries has to do with infant and young child mortality. The differences in life expectancy for a 5- 10- or 18-year-old between countries are much smaller. But generally when they’ve done these studies between countries they have adjusted for age anyway. And in the Jeff Novick post I linked to: “In their report the WHO identified 10 misunderstandings that were obstacles to changing these modifiable risk factors…
      1) Chronic diseases are often viewed as primarily affecting old people. One quarter of all chronic disease deaths occur in people under 60 years of age.” That’s talking about worldwide; in the US it’s even more pronounced since we have more chronic disease: 26% of 18-44 year-olds and 63% of 45-64 year-olds have one or more chronic diseases; not sure about death number. (From “Multiple Chronic Conditions Among US Adults: A 2012 Update” from the CDC)

      BTW admittedly when I compare the US to other countries it’s more difficult to do now because they increasingly have our diseases, so really I’m talking about differences 20 years ago. China has a diabetes epidemic that is soaring. It’s not because their life expectancy has improved so much in a few decades. And in terms of cost, “Diabetes also poses a large economic threat to China. National healthcare expenses for diabetes rose from 1.96% of national healthcare expenditure in 1983 to 18.2% in 2007.” (From “Diabetes is a Major Public-Health Crisis in China”).

      Yes, the human body is complicated, just like the earth’s climate is complicated. But that doesn’t mean we don’t already have the evidence that whole foods and plant-based is healthier just like we have evidence that climate change is real.

      I am not taking any responsibility away from the health-care industry for costs or for causing death and illness themselves. I think it is one of the most criminal enterprises that has ever existed. However, a large part of their criminality is the fact that they don’t recommend dietary changes to their patients, often because they think their patients won’t do it anyway. Talk about paternalistic. Part is probably because they don’t follow it themselves (discussed in video I link to later). Also they get wined and dined and have stock in pharmaceutical companies so they suggest Lipitor when cholesterol could be lowered by dietary changes. All their conferences are sponsored by pharmaceutical cos (and nutritionists’ conferences are sponsored by McDonalds). Medical journals are “sponsored by” pharmaceutical companies in terms of ads. They also have ego invested: after all these years telling women to get mammograms, they still stick to it despite the outcome; women’s health is less important than ego so they’re convinced they’ve been right all along. They also get zero to inadequate training in nutrition. Studies show that the majority of doctors don’t know how to interpret studies on screening, thinking that if a screening finds more cases of cancer, it’s automatically better which is not at all true. They learn how to prescribe not prevent or cure. And of course they want their money which is easier to come by for prescriptions and surgeries for sick patients than advice for well patients.

      I don’t think the food industry should be let off the hook either, which is what we do if we say that medical costs are just because of doctors and hospitals charging too much (they do), and insurance cos taking their fat cut (they do). Just like tobacco cos purposely put addictive materials in their products, so do food cos. Just as tobacco cos hid research from the public, so do food cos. Just as the AMA, the gov’t and individual doctors ignored problems with cigarette smoking, so do they ignore it with food. And the government subsidized meat and dairy to make sure it’s cheap.

      Although I highly recommend watching all of Michael Greger’s last four full-length videos in their entirety, the final 20 minutes of this video gives a great comparison of big tobacco in the 1950’s (in collusion with the medical industry and government) and the food industry today (also in collusion). It also happens to be entertaining. Starts at 56:22 (though for anyone with 75 minutes to watch, I recommend the whole thing as well). http://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-as-medicine

      Diabetes especially is absolutely a disease of food. I’ve never heard any legitimate claim otherwise. We’ve even had to change the common name from “adult-onset” to type 2 because now young kids get it. If more than 20% of medical dollars are spent on diabetes in the US as well, then preventing and curing (type 2) diabetes would save money, no matter how terrible the medical industry is. Much heart disease is also food-related. And cancer. Looking at obesity, vegans who eat the same number of calories as non-vegans are still trimmer. And vegans as a whole have body weight in the “normal” range; the only such group. This includes junk food vegans in the mix. The vegans that find replacements for french fries and don’t support the food cos are even trimmer.

      I am not putting any blame on individuals, BTW (though I think we do have responsibility towards animals). Just like the moth who flies into the light until she dies, humans who are sick and fat in today’s culture are the normal ones. By “normal” I don’t mean in the majority, though that’s true too, but normal following what our genes tell us to do. I think it’s a shame there’s illness and obesity but I don’t think people should be ashamed. Again, I have recommended Doug Lisle several times. He would never say it’s “not in our control,” but he shows why it is that it’s so hard to change our lifestyle. In addition to the Ted-X video, he has a longer one on same “Pleasure Trap” topic, and another long one “How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind,” and maybe other free ones.

      The fact that we’re sick and fat because of big ag, phrma, the gov’t and the medical industry and that it’s very hard to get out of their grips doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything we can to get out at the same time as we fight to change or abolish these industries. We can be right and dead or right and alive. And the best way to stop the medical industry (and food industry) from succeeding is to opt out altogether, and the best way to do that is a vegan whole-foods diet with enough sunshine, exercise and a B-12 supplement.

      Ok, Tarzie, now I’ll stop clogging your comments section …

      • jason says:

        unfortunately, none of us can “opt out of” Monsanto. Monsanto and the like will have to be destroyed.

        thanks for all the links & info.

      • diane says:

        there are so many subtle, yet extremely important, issues to be taken into account as regards proclaimed “poor” vs. “rich” countries, it’s mind boggling, especially since many of the wealthiest areas in those “rich” countries also “house” the highest population of poverty ridden and, Census[!] abandoned, homeless (think London and Silicon Valley, for two excellent examples).

        And then such ongoing for decades, and nearing centuries in some cases, still current realities as North American Indian Reservations; the Appalachias (a short distance from DC, a little farther distance from Wall Street); the permanently displaced, Katrina’d POVERTY RIDDEN New Orleanians; or the gut of Detroit City, etcetera? Rich Nation?

        Further the effects of traumatic STRESS, know no monetary boundaries, whatsoever, in terms of health. Anyone who has a ‘kind bone’ in their body is under an enormous amount of daily stress which can really be quite deadly, no matter what one eats, in those “Rich Countries” .

      • diane says:

        as a matter of fact, more than a few of those ‘third world’ hot beds of poverty, were yesterday’s equivalent to Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

        ‘Funny,’ how that is never noted.

  33. forest says:

    thought you might appreciate this little known site full of tasty and accessible vegan/vegetarian recipes. http://www.poweredbyplantz.com.

  34. diane says:

    eggplant (if affordable in your area), garlic, onion, tomato (raw, paste, or sauce, as available and affordable), oregano, basil, cilantro, parsley, teeny dash sugar and hot sauce, ground pepper, rice, vegetable oil to saute (olive grapeseed nice if you can even afford it, particularily in a glass bottle, as plastic (petrol) bottles leach into that oil ….sigh. Time, if one has to work two plus jawbs to stay alive, cannot prepare that food.)

  35. poppsikle says:

    I need to talk with you.

  36. Richard Estes says:

    OT: but thought you might be interested as it relates to a recent post about Black Lives Matter

    deray mckesson retweeted
    Cory Booker ‏@CoryBooker 24h24 hours ago
    @Nettaaaaaaaa @deray Great talking with you briefly yesterday. Thanks for your leadership and activism. I look forward to talking more soon.
    elana. Linzinnati lukey shmurdahotline daleChristopher HearnBen WiznerSam TurnbullJaideep SenMH
    7:57 AM – 19 Sep 2015 · Details

  37. forest says:

    any articles in the works? spending way too much web time watching kingcrusher.

  38. Pingback: a theory for social emancipation | ablackunbound

  39. Casey says:

    Maybe we should all join Falun Gong. China is suppressing them so they must be on to something.

  40. Pingback: Why Privilege Discourse Predominates | Dolores Vek

  41. Pingback: He Frees Minks From Slaughter Area: Dylann Roof, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane | Adonis Diaries

  42. pim says:

    In a twist new to me, the Bank of England have started to literally make money out of dead animals.


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