Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Same Old Grind

Spring has just sprung, today is the day of the Vernal Equinox.  The sun is noticeably rising earlier and setting later.  We've already had a blast of unseasonably hot weather, and just a couple of days ago we were basking in record heat for the date (94 degrees).

While it is WAY too early for such temperatures, and the trend over the next couple of days is moderation closer to normal (80 degrees), time does march on.  Springtime inevitably brings the Easter holiday, and with it the equally-inevitable problem of live rabbits as Easter gifts.

Last year I created a meme for Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue to be used on Facebook.  Much to my delight, it was wildly successful and got a great deal of sharing and "likes."  You can see it below:

We re-released that meme a couple of days ago and it is again getting widespread attention and sharing.  Update:  According to Facebook insights, as of April 14 this meme has been seen by 962,571 people worldwide.  Inevitably, along with the sharing comes the barrage of hateful, idiotic comments from real scum-of-the-earth types.  Just this morning I had to wade through a bunch of stupid comments and delete-and-ban at least 15 people.

These comments, sadly, are pretty much the same.  A simple-minded, juvenile comment about how rabbits are so good to eat.  The vast majority are from males, which makes me very ashamed of my gender (athough women aren't entirely immune from such assholery).  I don't call them "men" because they are not men.  They are small-minded, psychopathic little boys who spend their worthless, pointless, and hopeless lives parked in front of a computer, trolling the internet for ways to inflict their mental illnesses on the world.

Much like a really annoying 12-year-old boy starving for any kind of attention, no matter how negative, they make it a point to pipe up and insert their bile into any discussion.  I just don't understand the mindset of people who think their opinions are either needed or wanted.  If you don't have anything nice to contribute to a group of people who are working for the welfare of innocent animals, then go back to your internet porn or something.  But no, so many of them choose to write a hateful comment which serves no useful purpose other than to make them feel like men, which could not be further from reality.

There has never been anything like Facebook in the entire history of humankind on earth.  Even back in 2000, when the internet was still pretty much in its infancy, something like Facebook could barely be imagined.  A global platform, easy to use, available to all free of charge (except for advertisements, but I have an ad-blocker on my browser and I see ZERO Facebook ads), which provides instantaneous communication to users in all corners of the world.  The egalitarian nature of Facebook means your comments can appear right next to celebrities and national figures.  The very democratic, populist nature of Facebook is its greatest strength, and also its greatest weakness.

Because any idiot in the world can sign up for a Facebook user id, it more often resembles an overflowing toilet instead of a freewheeling digital repository of ideas.  The isolation and protection Facebook offers means that really diseased, disturbed individuals can hole up in the moldy comfort of their mother's basement and spew their garbage-filled comments far and wide, free of responsibility or fear of retribution.  They are the ultimate cowards, because if they were actually out in a group of people I highly doubt they would be spouting the offensive bullshit that they so often do.  If they had to answer for their comments, and get called on the carpet for their festering, disgusting bile, you can be sure the vast majority of them would crawl back into the toilets they came from and continue their sad, stunted lives in mommy's cellar.

Far from being a new development, the very toxic minds of people were on full display right after the Newtown shootings last December.  As the gun control debate raged anew, I was astonished to read some extremely vile and disturbing comments from people whose only priority is to keep their arsenals of guns and high-power weapons.  Whatever happened to America that citizens feel so under-siege in their own communities that they need to stockpile such lethal weapons?  So many of them are extremely paranoid, and feel that the world is going to come to an end very soon, with vast hordes of criminals sweeping into every town, village and hamlet in this country, raping, pillaging and waging war on the innocent.  Where did this poisonous, malignant paranoia come from?

Facebook certainly has a role in all this, providing instantaneous, worldwide communication of any idea at all, without the responsibility of actually having to justify and explain your opinions.  People make hateful, vicious comments about anything because it's easy, and there are no repercussions.  They spew their loathsome, disgusting hatefulness, solely because they can.

If these disturbed individuals are looking for a platform for their psychoses, they won't find it on the BHRR Facebook page.  I check our page constantly, and immediately delete-and-ban any fool who thinks their being cute or "edgy" with disgusting comments.

Leave it to human beings to screw up and corrupt something as miraculous and astonishing as Facebook.  Count on some people who aspire to be nothing more than bottom-feeders, living in the muck and mire of the lower depths of the gigantic cesspool that the internet is becoming, and lashing out against anyone who is working to make the world a better place for animals, which are so often victimized and exploited in the most horrific ways imaginable. They will do it, just because they can.

And I will check our Facebook page throughout the day and through the end of the month, and I will swiftly delete-and-ban any dickwad who has absolutely nothing else going on in their miserable life other than being a hateful, bitter asshole.

I will do it, because I can.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Taking The Heat

Last evening The Rachel Maddow Show had an absolutely brilliant piece detailing the extents to which two of the biggest death merchants in the history of this country will go to avoid answering for their actions.

For decades the tobacco industry produced a product specifically designed to create an addiction in their users for that product.  Nicotine levels were purposefully manipulated to guarantee that the vast majority of their users would be unable to stop.  The industry was less than subtle when it came to advertising their product to children, knowing full well that the younger you can get a smoker hooked, the more likely you will have a customer for life, even a life that will be significantly shortened by use of the product.

With the full cooperation of the popular media, especially Hollywood, the tobacco industry made sure their product was portrayed as an essential part of American life, a birth right to which everyone was entitled.  It was turned into a symbol of class, glamour and sophistication.

But when medical and scientific evidence began to mount concerning the link between smoking and many of the most severe health issues affecting the population, Big Tobacco began to get nervous.  Through the courageous actions of pioneers like former Surgeon General C. Everett Coop (recently deceased), the harsh spotlight of public attention was being shone on the cigarette makers, and not in a flattering way.

It was starting to get hot, so the tobacco industry decided they needed a "heat shield" to protect themselves from this increasingly aggressive scrutiny, so they created and funded a bogus organization which they called the National Smokers' Alliance.

Ostensibly cast as a spontaneous, "grass roots" organization of fine, upstanding Americans who were seeking nothing more than the freedom to exercise their god-given right to get cancer, the NSA received millions of tobacco dollars to act as national apologists for the tobacco industry.  They came up with completely preposterous pronouncements such as "Accommodation and common courtesy would solve this problem," meaning that the answer to all the health concerns is for everyone to mind their own business and pretend nothing bad is happening.

But it was hard to ignore the huge costs of tobacco addiction, and a number of high-profile, big-dollar lawsuits against the tobacco makers were beginning to get a lot of attention.  And some of that attention came from a Senate investigating committee, which at one famous session summoned a number of top tobacco executives to answer for many years of lying to the American public.  The gig was up for the phony National Smokers' Alliance, and it quickly disappeared from the national scene.

This was an example of a "heat shield" that did not work.  Now, an example of a heat shield that DOES work:

The corporations that make and sell guns found themselves in a similar situation to the tobacco industry.  Their product is produced solely for the purpose of murdering people.  Guns can't be used for anything else than that.  Knives kill people too, but knives have other legitimate uses.  You can kill someone with a baseball bat, but bats can be used for their intended purpose, in a baseball game.  Guns have one and only one use.

The gun industry did not want to have to deal with the messy business of gun violence and the carnage it wreaks on American society.  The daily slaughter of innocent people of all ages was something they did not want to rationalize.  They needed something to take the heat for them and deflect the public anger away from them, to provide cover for the continued sale of their product and rake in many millions of dollars of profit.  Enter the National Rifle Association.

The NRA would like you to believe they are comprised of four million stalwart American citizens who seek nothing but the ability to defend their family and property from vast legions of vicious, bloodthirsty criminals, undocumented immigrants and an increasingly Fascist government that wants to invalidate the Constitution.  The NRA just wants to make sure the Second Amendment stays firmly in place and every obese, ignorant hillbilly who wants to have a half-dozen automatic rifles in their filthy double-wide should be afforded that opportunity.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution contains exactly 27 words and was written at a time when the newborn country was just getting on its feet.  Those 27 words have been mangled and stretched beyond recognition, and I am certain the Founding Fathers could not dream that it would someday cover mass-produced, insanely powerful weapons like the AR-15 or the AK-47.

The truth is, the NRA receives an enormous amount of funding from their "corporate partners," a veritable who's-who of gun manufacturers.  Their decrepit zombie of a CEO, Wayne LaPierre - purposefully as repellent and obnoxious as humanly possible - acts as a very effective lightning rod for the all the criticism coming at the gun makers.  The NRA has one of the most powerful lobbying machines in Washington to make sure that cowardly members of Congress remain firmly in their back pocket and resist any sort of gun control legislation.

The NRA also relies on the ignorance of their own members, who have been duped into thinking that the NRA is really interested in defending their Second Amendment rights from all the socialist Muslims who want to do heinous, vile and un-American things like ban high-capacity magazine clips or close ridiculous loopholes in gun sales.  In reality, the NRA could not care less about gun rights, beyond the extent that gun rights can be used to maintain and increase their sales margins, and it exists only to make sure there will be an insatiable market for more and more guns in this country.

But, NRA members seem to be perfectly happy and content with being stooges, dupes and idiots, blatantly manipulated by gun industry proxies and being played like cheap violins.  No doubt they are laughing insanely in the NRA board room at how easy it is to make really stupid people do exactly what you want them to.

No doubt the National Rifle Association has learned well from the example of the National Smokers' Alliance on how to be an effective heat shield.  Whether or not it is going to save them from the same fate as the Smokers' Alliance remains to be seen.  We are starting to see little cracks in the NRA heat shield today.  We can only hope that these cracks will grow and eventually, the NRA will be seen as the cruel, cynical scam that it has always been.