PETA, their “Animal Rights” stance, and Steve Irwin

By Penny Hoffmann

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has recently been absolutely shredded by Steve Irwin supporters, animal rights activists, and people who consider their movement hypocritical, around the world.

Google payed tribute to what would have been the Australian zookeeper, conservationist and television personality Steve Irwin’s 57th birthday. Google did this by temporarily updating their search engine logo with art of Irwin holding a crocodile.

PETA responded to this by tweeting the following:

“Steve Irwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business.”

“Steve Irwin’s actions were not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife.

“It is harassment to drag exotic animals, including babies taken from their mothers, around from TV talk shows to conferences & force them to perform as Steve Irwin did.”

In order to spread their animal rights activism, PETA thrives by making contentious videos, tweets, and other forms of statements according to their FAQ page on their website:

“Thus, we try to make our actions colourful and controversial, thereby grabbing headlines around the world and spreading the message of kindness to animals to thousands—sometimes millions—of people. This approach has proved amazingly successful: In the three decades since PETA was founded, it has grown into the largest animal rights group in the country, with more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide.”

According to their mission statement, PETA is the “largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 6.5 million members and supporters”. In their activism, PETA focuses on the following areas in which animals suffer the most: laboratories, food industries, clothing trades, and the entertainment industry. According to the mission statement, PETA also advocates for animal rights amongst domesticated animals and animals that are deemed “pests”. These include rodents and birds.

“PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.”

According to their website, here is why PETA protects the rights of animals:

“Jeremy Bentham, the founder of the reforming utilitarian school of moral philosophy, stated that when deciding on a being’s rights, “The question is not ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?’” In that passage, Bentham points to the capacity for suffering as the vital characteristic that gives a being the right to equal consideration. The capacity for suffering is not just another characteristic like the capacity for language or higher mathematics. All animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love. Whenever we consider doing something that would interfere with their needs, we are morally obligated to take them into account.”

“Only prejudice allows us to deny others the rights that we expect to have for ourselves. Whether it’s based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or species, prejudice is morally unacceptable. “

However, according to PETA Kills Animals, “since 1998, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has killed over 36,000 animals. 93% of all animals that fall under PETA’s care never make it out alive”.

PETA Kills Animals requested and received reports from Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that detailed how many dogs and cats PETA received, transferred, successfully found homes for, and killed.

In 2018, PETA received 2,470 dogs and cats. Of these, 658 were transferred, 35 were adopted (1.42%) and 1,771 were killed (71.70%).

The worst year of killing of dogs and cats for PETA, according to the document, was 2006. of the 3,061 dogs and cats that were received, 46 were transferred, 12 were adopted (0.4%), and 2,981 were killed (97.4%).

In total, from 1998 to 2018, 47,316 dogs and cats were received by PETA, 3,434 were transferred, 3,459 were adopted (7.31%) and 39,961 were killed (84.46%).

The real question is whether the dogs and cats that are killed are in an irredeemable condition.

According to PETA’s FAQ page, this is why PETA supports the euthanisation of dogs and cats rather than building more animal shelters:

“A shelter should be a temporary compromise for dogs and cats. It is not a solution to companion animal homelessness. Dogs and cats need more than food, water, and shelter from the elements. They need and deserve loving care, regular human companionship, respect for their individuality, and the opportunity to play and run. As difficult as it may be for us to accept, euthanasia (carried out by veterinarians or shelter staff trained in intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital) is often the most compassionate and dignified way for unwanted animals to leave this uncaring world.”

So, because dogs and cats need loving care, regular human companionship, and so on, as well as food and water, and they lack these at shelters, they should be killed because it is “often the most compassionate and dignified way for unwanted animals to leave this uncaring world?” What these animals deserve should be more volunteers to care for them, not death. Plenty of us love dogs and cats; PETA needs to improve their advertisements to get more volunteers. That is the solution. So, because kids in orphanages may not get adopted, they should… be euthanized? No. There needs to be more advertising and selection of trustworthy workers at orphanages. These animals and people may end up getting out of their current situation in their future; why give up because of their present situation?

PROOF: Democrats are working with social media companies to try and harm the 2020 Trump re-election and the Conservative and Alt-Right movement

By Penny Hoffmann

In a paper classed as private and confidential, titled “Democracy Matters: Strategic Plan For Action”, Media Matters, American Bridge, CREW, and Shareblue are all actively fighting against right-wing misinformation, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Google have agreed to be their allies.

In the document, the current hurdles for the goal are highlighted. An analysis of their opposition, what Shareblue and their associates have already accomplished to get to this goal, and what is promised for the future are detailed. Their mission began in 2017 and will last for four years, up until Trump runs for presidency again in 2020.

The document even highlighted how they got Facebook to support their plans:

“During the 2016 election, Facebook refused to do anything about the dangerous rise of fake news or even acknowledge their role in promoting disinformation: Mark Zuckerberg called the notion that fake news is a problem “crazy”. In November, we launched a campaign pressuring Facebook to: 1) acknowledge the problem of the proliferation of fake news on Facebook and its consequences for our democracy and 2) commit to taking action to fix the problem. As a result of our push for accountability, Zuckerberg did both. Our campaign was covered by prominent national political, business, and tech media outlets, and we’ve been engaging with Facebook leadership behind the scenes to share our expertise and offer input on developing meaningful solutions.”

This is what Media Matters and their associates have already accomplished:

“Media Matters has already secured access to raw data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. We have also put in place the technology neccessary to automatically mine white nationalist message boards and alt-right communities for our archive. We will now develop technologies and processes to systematically monitor and analyze this unfiltered data.”

“Our digital efforts were largely focused on changing the narrative with the traditional media versus voters. This worked to a point but wasn’t enough in the face of a news media incentivised by profit and access and fearful of intimidation and bullying by the Trump forces.”

“In 2016, a full two-thirds of Facebook users used the platform to get news. Facebook’s algorithm fuels confirmation bias by feeding content from outlets that tell the users what they want to hear. Fake news purveyors exploited this vulnerability. Fake news purveyors exploited this vulnerability for profit and political influence.”

The paper also provided a “competitive analysis” whereby their rivals and the threats they pose were highlighted. Their competition is right-wing media, but more specifically: the Conservative Media Research Center, Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump (obviously) and his Trump TV.

Here is what the paper said about Breitbart, for example:

“Breitbart, which has received millions in funding from extremest billionaires close to the Trump administration, provides a nexus point in the so-called alt-right (the newest branding for American white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny) to exploit vulnerabilities throughout the media landscape. With a powerful ally in the White House (former chief executive Steve Bannon will be Trump’s chief strategist), Breitbart plans to export its brand of anti-establishment racism on a global scale.”

Media Matters lists what their top outcomes are and what they will “focus on achieving” in the next four years, which began in 2017:

“In the next four years, Media Matters will continue its core mission of disarming right-wing misinformation, while leading the fight against the next generation of conservative disinformation: The proliferation of fake news and propaganda now threatening the country’s information ecosystem.”

“- Serial misinformers and right-wing propagandists inhabiting everything from social media to the highest levels of government will be exposed, discredited. Journalists, activists, allies, politicians, and the general public will routinely utilize and weaponize our research products to understand and take action against the changing media ecosystem and the extremists seeking to manipulate it. We will continue to break engagement records and dramatically expand and diversify our reach by presenting our research in multiple formats on a variety of platforms. Key right-wing targets will see their influence diminish as a result of our work.

– Internet and social media platforms, like Google and Facebook, will no longer uncritically and without consequence host and enrich fake news sites and propagandists. Social media companies will engage with us over their promotion of the fake news industry. Facebook will adjust its model to stem the flow of damaging fake news on its platform’s pages. Google will cut off these pages’ accompanying sites’ access to revenue by pulling their access to Google’s ad platform.

– Toxic alt-right social media-fueled harassment campaigns that silence dissent and poison our national discourse will be punished and halted. Hundreds and thousands of activists will join our campaigns to push back on alt-right harassment. Key alt-right figures will lose credibility and influence in response to our research and pressure.”

American Bridge, a participant for this plan, is given orders that aim to make it “the epicenter of Democrats’ work to regain power”. It has three goals that will be in favor of the Democrats:

“American Bridge will cement itself as the standard-bearer of opposition research, build on its role as a progressive clearinghouse for information that drives the narrative on Republican officeholders and candidates, and be at the epicenter of Democrats’ work to regain power – starting in 2017 and building to 2020. Here’s what success will look like:

– Trump will be defeated either through impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020.

– The balance of power will shift back to democrats. We will measurably impact US Senate, gubernatorial, and state legislative races.

– We will free ourselves from solely relying on the press. Our robust digital program will reach voters directly online.”

CREW is another participant in the plan to get Trump out of office. Crew has four goals that will aid in doing so:

“CREW will be the leading nonpartisan ethics watchdog group in a period of crisis with a president and administration that present possible conflicts of interest and ethical problems on an unprecedented scale. CREW will demand ethical conduct from the administration and all parts of government, expose improper influence from powerful interests, and ensure accountability when the administration and others shirk ethical standards, rules, and laws.
Here’s what success will look like:

– Trump will be afflicted by a steady flow of damaging information, new revelations, and an inability to avoid conflicts issues.

– The Trump administration will be forced to defend illegal conduct in court.

– Powerful industries and interest groups will see their influence wane.

– Dark money will be a political liability in key states.”

Shareblue, another participant, is planning to replace Conservative influence on social media with influence from Democrats instead. They plan to harm Trump’s presidency by “emboldening the opposition and empowering the majority of Americans who oppose him”. Shareblue has five goals in order to aid Media Matters’ plan:

“- Shareblue will become the de facto news outlet for opposition leaders and the grassroots.

– Trump allies will be forced to step down or change course due to news published by Shareblue.

– Under pressure from Shareblue, Democrats will take more aggressive positions against Trump.

– Shareblue will achieve financial stability while diversifying content offerings and platforms.

– Top editorial and writing talent will leave competitors to join Shareblue.”

Media Matters is against “even the slightest bit of normalization of Trump”. Funnily enough, Media Matters plans to resist Trump’s authoritarianism by utilizing authoritarianism themselves by means of, for example, collaborating with social platforms in order to remove what they deem as “fake news”. Thus, authoritarianism, in their eyes, is fine if they themselves do it:

“We are going to fight for the things in which we believe, and we are going to fight against any attempt to erode the cornerstone work and values of the progressive movement and this pluralistic nation… Media Matters will be vigilant in holding news media accountable for even the slightest bit of normalization of Trump. We will encourage journalists to defend standard practices, like the protective press pool and media credentialing, and strive for higher standards against this threat… we are going to resist the normalization of Donald Trump. His every conflict of interest, his every bit of cronyism, his every move towards authoritarianism, his every subversion of our democratic systems and principles, his every radical departure from foreign and domestic policy norms… we are going to contest every effort, at every level of government, to limit rights, rescind protections, entrench inequality, redistribute wealth upwards, or in any other way fundamentally undermine the tenets of egalitarianism that must serve as the bedrock of our democracy.”

Predictive technology, collaborating with social media platforms, omnichannel communications, and a massive grassroots truth squad are all methods Media Matters will use to monitor fake news. Predictive technology will allow individuals and outlets who participate in fake news, misinformation, and harassment, to be identified by Media Matters.

Here is what content Media Matters also corrects:

“Media Matters’ issue teams are focused on correcting misinformation on: gun violence and public safety, LGBT equality, reproductive health and gender equality, climate and energy, and economic policy.”

AG Sessions’ DoJ Overturns Obama’s Mixed-Sex Prison Policy

Image: Left-to-right. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, male-to-female Donna (Peter) Langan and Lindsay Saunders-Velez.

By Stefan M. Kløvning

Washington, Justice System – As one of the last policy decisions of former President Barack Obama, male prisoners were permitted to move to women’s prisons if they claimed to sexually identify as a female from January 17, 2017. This decision has been overturned in a recent revision of the legislation by the U.S. Department of Justice, called the Transgender Offender Manual. The revision paper, which builds on the earlier version and highlights the edits, can be read here.

The decision that transgenders were allowed to change prison on grounds of sexual identification wasn’t the only – or primary – matter of the legislation, but it still had important implications. The specific wording was ‘[t]he TEC will recommend housing by gender identity when appropriate,’ and was replaced by a list of bullet points of factors important to consider when determining the housing of inmates. The main change was biological sex now being determined as the main factor in the placement of prisoner, though other factors would also be considered, such as the health and safety of the individual and his/her adequacy for the specific housing.

Obama got a round of backlash from critics after implementing the new legislation, primarily for giving men with criminal background the ability to transfer to women prisons just because he suddenly claims to ‘feel’ to be of the opposite gender. Though the probability of males faking it only to get into the female’s prisons is debatable, the possibility highlights a risk factor for the female prison population. In other words, as many people who claim to sexually identify as the other gender hasn’t undergone genetically cosmetic surgery, those with a criminal background who transfers could be prone to sexually assault the female prisoners there. As there unfortunately is a plethora of rape cases in all-male prisons, the danger could be even worse when among those of the opposite sex. Another argument is that it could pressure biological women who sexually identify as men to transfer to men’s prisons, which would pose an even bigger danger on them.

In the few months of experience with this legislation, what empirical evidence have we gathered to test the validity of these arguments? According to DallasNews, there are 473 federal inmates in the U.S. who are transgender. The small quantity makes the probability of such cases being actualized rather small, but still there have been instances both talking in favor and against the DoJ’s decision to alter the legislation.

Many women prisoners seems to have a problem with male-to-female prisoners transferring to their prison. Three women in FMS Carswell, for instance, demanded the Bureau of Prisons to remove all transgender inmates from the facility. Plaintiff Rhonda Flemming, who once went on a hunger strike for the facility to remove the transgenders inmates there for ‘political reasons’, claimed that ‘My bodily rights are being violated by the Defendants housing men in the prison. I am being humiliated and degraded every day so that men that identify as women can be comfortable.’ Later in 2017 she reasoned further that she doesn’t hate transgender people, but only that she has a ‘preference for the safety of women in prison.’

A different case, however, shows another side of the story. Twenty-year-old male-to-female transgender Lindsay Saunders-Velez was raped after being housed in a ‘disciplinary pod occupied by men who had previously prepositioned her or threatened to rape her,’ the Denver Post reports. This happened hours after a federal judge failed denied her request to stop the Calorado prison from housing her there. Saunders-Velez’ attorney, Paula Griesen, was furious, exclaiming that ‘they threw a 20-year-old kid in the shark tank knowing what would happen. This is outrageous.’

With these different stories highlighted, we get a perspective of how difficult the situation regarding transgender inmates can be. Should Saunders-Velez have been allowed to transfer to an all-female prison? Some would advocate that, but a better question is perhaps whether the changes made by AG Sessions’ D.o.J. will make such occurrences more common. If the bullet points are followed accurately, it’s more likely that it wouldn’t. The second point states explicitly that ‘The TEC will consider the health and safety of the transgender inmate, exploring appropriate options available to assist with mitigating risk to the transgender offender, to include but not limited to cell and/or unit assignments, application of management variables, programming missions of the facility, etc.’ The federal judge who denied her request not to be thrown into the ‘shark tank’ didn’t seem to consider her health and safety when making the decision, but would likely (and hopefully) have made a different decision if he did.