All the heartbreak and anguish of people suffering made me do it. All over the failure of political leaders. I do not blame either party. I, for one, blame parties in general. Both groups in deadlock, refusing to yield until the little people cry in pain. Party labels stick people in a box. The agenda must be this or that because of the label.
People don’t fit in a box. they live and breathe with their own hopes and dreams. Sometimes the dream is greed. Sometimes its misguided. Even people who want the best don’t agree.
I hate politics. To me, every political campaign is like listening to the worst behaved children yelling ‘he hit me’, ‘he broke my doll’, ‘he broke Mrs so and sos window, don’t trust him!’
This is our choice for leadership? It’s mind boggling. Its horrifying. And I don’t believe any of them at this point, even when they claim to have the same beliefs I do.
Speaking of same beliefs, I’ll admit freely I have doubts that the government even belongs in some areas. Where do they get off closing ‘public’ parks? Don’t those belong to ‘the public’? And for politicians not to take their messages is pure cowardice. They know people are upset. They just don’t want to hear it.
In reality things like health care and other issues should never have needed to go so far. The fact that something needs federal regulation means its broken on a lower level.
For instance on a somewhat less ‘hot’ note: The tennessee walker shows were so rife with corruption the feds stepped in.
Tennessee walking horses and the protection against ‘soring’ – a practice of putting painful chemicals on their legs to make them step higher in shows were so prevalent, it required federal intervention. How pathetic, that as many horse lovers as are out there, the horse industry couldn’t regulate itself. No, in spite of many chances, greed won out and the horses kept suffering.
Which means greed won on a lower level. But what happens when the greed has infiltrated so high up the feds themselves are involved? Then everyone suffers. Who is left to regulate?
So, I express my own discontent in my usual fashion: with my art. Not a new bear, but newly used with different background and text.
Well, here it is. The summation of much of the world’s woes, as once again, revealed through the horse world. The fox guarding the chickens. The corrupt judge sitting over his son’s trial. The blind man driving the automobile (no offense to the blind intended, the way technology is headed, it’s only a matter of time).
The first is that the BLM went back on it’s word and went ahead with a mustang roundup they’d promised and sworn was cancelled. Color me shocked. A branch of the government, lie to it’s citizens? Of course they would. What bothers me is that no other branch of the government seems interested in holding them accountable. You have perjury and animal cruelty in one fell swoop, yet no one ever arrests them. What does it say about our government, that it is no longer being held accountable to it’s citizens for such misuse of funds and power?
The second is this bit of news of the confusion over slaughterhouses. Now the Native nations – and for the moment, I won’t try and sort out which ones – are apparently divided, with some in favor of it. Some still believe the horse is sacred and are firmly opposed. But the others claim ‘overpopulation’ and ‘overgrazing’ and insist that slaughter would solve their problems.
I can’t help note that if so, they should be trying to get the slaughter plant, with its associated environmental hazards on their own reservation land. Apparently they don’t mind foisting it off on someone else. They don’t seem to be vying for the jobs associated, they just want the horses gone.
I don’t claim to know what the ratio of horses to other livestock is on the Native reservations is, or whether they have a problem. I do know slaughter isn’t the answer. But it’s a sad thing to think that people some of whom have been called ‘people of the horse’, and for some of them, still think it sacred, would consider this an acceptable solution. What is it about today’s society that people are so ignorant and determined to remain so in the name of greed and convenience?
Third, is the trial of the Tennessee Walking Horse trainer. Now what makes me shake my head at this is on the Ethics committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association. Ethics. Oh, really, ethics. The man thought nothing of soring and intentionally injuring these animals for a ribbon, prize money, or trophy. I can’t imagine why anyone would reward anyone for cruelty. But the idea of the man being on an ethics committee!! It’s incomprehensible. Talk about the blind leading the blind!
It can be kind of discouraging to see so many bad reports in the news about police officers. To be fair, if all of the police were bad, then it would no longer be ‘news’. Therefore, it must not be the rule (I hope) but rather the exception. We have fifty states with heaven knows how many cities, towns and counties. Some are better than others. We need to say thanks more often for the good and heroic service as well as objecting to the abuses.
Nonetheless, when I see the reaction of their fellow officers, their chiefs, and the rumored ‘thin blue line’, I get concerned. An unchallenged poor code of conduct is unlikely to change. This should not be ‘us against them’. We are the citizens that pay the salaries of these people. Unchecked, the attitude may spread and grow. It may even get worse, as people go from military (fighting ‘America’s enemies) to police (fighting civilian bad guys) they may label the wrong people and apparently, forget they are still in the US and subject to our Constitution.
Here are the areas these bad apple cops are falling short (in no particular order):
Ignorance of Dogs
First off, I keep seeing dogs shot or attacked for just being dogs. This suggests an ignorance of both dog behavior and the law. Clearly they need some training in telling ‘attacking’ dog from ‘scared dog defending it’s turf’ and better ways to deal. Dogs are everywhere, one of our favorite two pets and it’s too easy to correct for this. Surely, a volunteer from an animal welfare group could come in and give a few tips?
Ignorance of Mental or Physical Illness
This is understandable, but not acceptable. Yes, there are lots of bad guys. But if in a crisis, the guy or gal who refuses orders might be mentally ill and literally be incapable of answering. Good grief, what if they are not on drugs or alcohol, but are diabetic, having a stroke, or having a bad reaction to honestly prescribed medicine? When they are full of bullets, tasered, or even dead, ‘oops’ is not an acceptable answer! Even if the 99 people before fit the ‘addict’ label, number 100 could leave a dead or injured victim for all the wrong reasons.
That kid apparently staring at the police may be thinking anything, but that is not illegal. But they may also be autistic or something. Going tough guy on them will only aggravate the situation.
Ignorance of the Law.
This is kind of ironic, given that police are supposed to be law enforcers. How can they do that if they break it themselves? Sadly, dogs are considered property, not family members. Still, killing an animals is at least, ‘stealing’ it from the owner. You cannot replace it if you find you made a mistake. Therefore, you are now no better than the guy you were pursuing to that family.
Worse, things like attacking someone who you ‘suspect’ or demanding to use someone’s house as a base of operations and attacking him/her on refusal, mistreatment of prisoners and/or similar behavior is illegal. Period. No exceptions. As in, not ‘local’ illegal but ‘nationwide unconstitutional’.
Extreme Short Sightedness.
People call the police now for things previous generations would’ve just sent kids to the principle’s office or called their parents. A kid looks at the police a certain way and gets hassled for how they look at police. Then there is the officer that just opened fire and killed a bunch of kittens in front of little kids.
These all have one thing in common. They fail to take into account how the kids or people involved will feel about the police and react to them in the future. The police are supposed to deal with criminals, not discipline a kid, who hasn’t yet matured enough to outgrow some stuff. The guy that shot the cats could easily have insisted the little kids be taken elsewhere, or called for help moving them to a new location. (No, I don’t like that they were killed at all. But that’s really not the point.) The fact that he wasn’t even seen to try and find another solution has left an indelible memory on those little kids. Cop = animal murder. I don’t see them calling the cops when older, do you?
The question: why do we need petitions for this stuff, why don’t their fellow officers take a stand? I can hope they do without doing it publicly, but sometimes it needs to be public. After all, doesn’t the entire department suffer if a lawsuit is filed over it? Doesn’t the job of the other officers become harder, because those kids grow up fearing or hating cops?
It takes courage, and a lot of it, to stand up to peers. Someone, preferably one of their own, needs to remind them they are not gods, not always right and always have something to learn. Everyone does. Pinning on the badge is supposed to show you are going to be strong for those who need you. It’s not a sign that you are not an ‘official bully in power’. It’s a hard job, and if it’s thankless, sometimes it’s because the few make the rest look bad. And it certainly can’t be easy on families. Switching between ‘strong and in charge’ to ‘compassionate’ and avoiding falling into the gaping hole of being a bully can’t be easy. And I’m sure the best way to do it is for the police to check each other, rather than wait for public opinion to bash them over the head.
Cameras are even in phones and freedom of internet and press are part of our country. Those colleagues and in charge should remember this. Instead of throwing up a wall, they should encourage education. Got someone who doesn’t deal with dogs, who shot the pet? Enforce a leave involving some ‘dog’ education in animal behavior for alternatives to shooting. Got someone who has a furious parent because their autistic child was misconstrued as disobedient and got hurt? How about some education about that kind of illness. That way, we would see progress. I’m sure there are volunteers who would be happy to help. We’d only be calling for the heads of those who don’t care, who keep insisting on ignorant, bullying behavior, rather than the ones who made an honest but tragic mistake.
And for those who do stand up and do the right thing, for those who resist letting another officer get away with something that a regular citizen would be arrested for, Thank You!Thanks for saying no. We aren’t asking you to be a rat or a snitch. We are asking you to step in and stop that infection before it starts: give it an education and consider it another way to polish the badge.
The Bad Ones: (I won’t even try and list them all!)
There was a time when I believed the argument that it was better for the horse to be put down at slaughter then suffer neglect or abuse. Many still believe this.
But then facts struck me in the face. It’s evidence, not emotion, that rules on these issues, contrary to what the pro horse slaughter lobby claims. This is not just a bunch of bleeding heart horse lovers.
The reasons why American’s should ban horse slaughter are not just about caring about horses, it’s also in our own, best interest as well as the best interest of our neighbors.
Three prime reasons why American horse slaughter is dangerous to our welfare:
Our health: – between the hormones and the medicines equine athletes are given, American horse meat is unsafe for human consumption.
Our environment: – reports of communities near these plants include such horrible affects range from blood backing up the sewers to the smells of the plant cast offs contaminating the entire area.
Our ethics: – ‘humane’ means compassionate. And the word comes from human.
By denying the horse – or any other animal – a compassionate means to an end comes back and bites back by adding stress hormones to the meat, as well as possible virus and bacterial infections due to a stress weakened immune system.
By allowing the slaughter plant into the neighborhood, we are risking the safety of that neighborhood. Far from creating jobs, it will send quality jobs away because no-one wants their business in sight or smell of a slaughter plant.
Our economy: – In order to prevent cruel stress causing treatment during shipment and slaughter, we would have to fund inspections. We would have to enforce and prosecute those who use cruel transport and slaughter techniques to save a quick buck. We would have to be willing to pay for the clean up and enforce the environmental protection as well.
It may seem complicated or contradictory, but it does begin with ethics. Ethics about both our own food safety and our neighbors. Ethics about the right way to treat any living thing, even one destined for slaughter.
Why are horses NOT food animals: Due to their anatomy and high spirited nature, horses are not killed as easily as cows.Here is the process:
The Sale: Maybe it’s a retired racehorse or outgrown pony. But it’s not always in poor health to begin with. The buyers want meat, not skin and bones. Also it has to be in good health, at the very least not obviously sick. Slaughter plants don’t want obviously sick animals. However, they can’t tell at auction if the animal has been given medication.
The Feed Lot: The owner cares little for the animals health and the reports of treatment in these places is appalling.
The Transport: The horse is crammed into a truck with multiple other horses, if it resists it may be forcibly subdued and injured. Reports include mention of intentional maiming and use of electric cattle prods. They then face a horrible, pain filled journey to the plant.
Here is a big red flag.Due to European union guidelines, the slaughter plant isn’t going to just take obviously sick animals or those with no meat value. Some are actually TURNED BACK or TURNED LOOSE. To die on their own at the slaughter plant. This means the whole ‘overabundance of neglected, sick horses’ is moot. These are exactly the horses they don’t want.
At the slaughter plant: The stun bolt used on cows doesn’t work, often neither does the gun. In Mexico, sometimes they use a knife which only paralyzes, but does not render the horse unconscious.Meanwhile all the horses in line behind hear and smell the panic of the horses before them. This means that when killed you get the meat of a panicked, stressed out animal.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEOS
Horses and Stress: Obviously all these facts add up to one load of meat filled with stress hormones. Stress also weakens the immune system, and makes it more susceptible to disease and infection.
Horses and Drugs
Horses are not considered food animals. Look in the medicine cabinet or trunk of you average horse barn and you’ll find proof. They are treated as athletes or companion animals.
The labels of bute and other medicines do warn against use in food animals. Bute is proven to cause liver failure and other issues when combined with standard house hold drugs in humans. This is only one medicine but I focus on this because it’s as common as aspirin.
In order to be assured the horse doesn’t have drugs in it’s system, you’d have to have a complete record of the horse’s life. You’d have to have drug testing done.
The Economy and Environment: Locally speaking, horse slaughter plants have been disastrous for the local economies. They leave a swath of environmental contamination behind them. No-one wants their town associated with a slaughter plant. It ruins the local tourist industry. Far from giving jobs to locals, they usually hire illegal immigrants and criminals. There are reports of the blood leaking into the sewage! Would you want this in your neighborhood? Let alone house?
And where exactly does horse meat go?
Americans in general do not eat horse meat. In some European countries it may be a delicacy. But even they don’t want our hormone and drug tainted horse meat. In fact, they are already embroiled in scandal as horse meat has found to have been illegally sold in place of beef in multiple countries and leading to recalls in such big companies as Nestle and Burger King. Everything from school lunches to prepackaged TV dinners has been affected.
Now considering the health risks, do we really want this in America? Why should we pay our tax money on USDA inspections for foreign investors and a few fat cats to slaughter horses and sell the drug laden meat to foreign criminals to pass off as beef?
It won’t stop animal neglect or cruelty. That involves the human heart. And it won’t get rid of the already sick or neglected. Even if it did, selling sick animals for meat is unconscionable.
We can’t afford it financially. We can’t afford it morally. You want less horses? Stop over breeding. But we are not going to find the solution in a slaughter plant.
It’s an odd thing about culture that comparing someone to an animal is considered an insult to the human. I for one, would think it would be the other way round. They would likely be insulted to be compared to once. Politics is a prime example. For the donkey became associated with Democrats in part via Andrew Jackson being called a jackass. As for the elephant, combined with the aforementioned donkey incident, he joined a cartoon by Hurst where the elephant represented a terrified group of Republican voters. Neither animal was attached as a compliment to the party.
So the two main political parties are associated with an animal. The donkey with the Democrats, the elephant with the Republicans. Neither animal, for their part, should likely appreciate the association. Neither party (in general, for there are always exceptions) has put their mascot’s needs anywhere on there ‘things to do’ list.
Republicans (in general) tend to be associated with sport hunting and the like. I’ve seen numerous signs for this lately. Now when I think of killing an animal for sport, images of buffalo herds wiped out spring to mind. I don’t think disagree with killing animals for food, but I do have doubts about killing for sport. It seems dangerous – for ‘sport’ implies fun and killing should not be fun. Democrats (in general) don’t have any such obvious associations. However since their own mascot is the donkey, you’d think they would notice the cruelty inflicted by their own government on them. But no, nary a word is said..
How does this relate, you may wonder? Well, it’s not directly sport but sheer greed that kills animals, a desire to put human wants above nature’s needs. Ivory from their tusks gets them slaughtered and habitat reduction (big animal needs big habitat) reduces their numbers even more. The latter is, at least, understandable as a byproduct of sharing space with humans. As for the donkey, the wild version roams in several places. One of those is our National Parks. The response of the park service is to label these lovable creatures, such an undervalued and important bit of our history, vermin. In reality, they wipe them out to make room for the animals sport hunters prefer in order to lure them to the park. Also Republicans are associated with big cattle and mining lobbies. Is it a coincidence these are the ones who want the wild horses and burro (AKA donkey) off the Federal range land for their own cattle? Or that mining and alternative energies are also on this land and accessing them will affect the wild creatures – including wild born horse and burros – water supply.
Nor have either side (in general) remarked on the fact that the Wild Burro (AKA donkey) is also a protected species on Federal lands, and yet the very agency designed to protect them is rounding them up to extinction even faster than the wild mustangs. Have they done anything? Not a comment from the President or the party so far as I can tell.
Obviously neither party is asking the animals what they think. In fact, they don’t even ask most Americans. They just pretend it isn’t happening and keep doing the magicians trick: keep the public attention focused somewhere else. Don’t ask about the corruption and bias, then we’d have to deal with it and go against these large groups funding our campaigns.
Animals and Perspective
Finally, while I love the eagle as mascot, it’s also associated with the Roman empire and it’s fall, as well as pride and arrogance. Whenever I see the politicians up there making over bloated promises that they can’t keep – for they promise individual action on what takes a whole congress to decide, usually – I wonder how it translates into other languages. I know it’s hyperbole and it still turns me off. No wonder other nations think us arrogant, if this is their example. We set out to elect a leader, but our choices are usually limited to someone whose parroting the party line or their supporters. Is their an individual in there? With conviction and courage? Do they believe what they say and have a plan, whether I agree or not? Or are they just a puppet for a party?
I’ll finish by pointing out I’m not a ‘party’ person. I tend to vote the individual, which is increasingly difficult. Nor do I disagree with hunting. There is a danger at anything that encourages enjoyment of killing for fun, especially when there are so many other ‘shooting’ sports that exist without the need to kill. What I am is an animal lover. I believe animals bring out the best in us. They inspire us in their wild state. They comfort us when domestic. They heal the sick or injured in therapy programs. And yes, they even put food on the table.
Why does a politicians view of animals matter?
Animals reflect the best and the worst of us and this is why I look at a groups stance on the animal issues. Don’t care whether horses are slaughtered for consumption? Well, whatever your opinion of the horses place – livestock or companion – a politician should care that his citizens are exposed to meat full of medicines that cause Aplastic Anemia in people. Local politicians, at least, have let the people trying to promote it that they don’t want the environmental fall out in their town.
The same is true of the Bureau of Land Management and the wild horse and burro issues. You don’t have to care about wild horses or bureaus. You don’t even have to care about the range. What everyone – and certain every politician, who is supposed to support his citizens – should care about is the tremendous amount of wasted tax payer money, the suspicious lack of oversight and scientific evidence to support their claims. In a time when jobs are short and the economy a wreck, how can they afford to just ignore this?
The Animals View
Ultimately, I think it should be the animals who are insulted. We are supposed to be the dominant species, the wise, intelligent ones, with empathy and an ability and imagination to see things as others see them. Yet in these areas animals have been known to put us the shame. From the elephant who gets stuck and the whole herd who gathers around to help to the wild stallion who defends his mares and challenges the helicopter, they never put greed above the lives of their own. They aren’t perfect: they kill each other, fight, and there are rogues even among the animal world. But then, we are supposed to be the smart ones, the ones better than that. The shame of it is, we don’t act like it.
These are not set in stone, they change with the times, place and religion.
Pride is often shown as violet. Maybe it’s because it’s also related to purple which is a royal and regal color or something and when we are proud we think we are the center of the universe, king or queen of all. And we don’t like to concede we aren’t or that we need help. Everyone does, at one time or another. Purple was harder to find for pigment making so it makes sense it was used more rarely.
Pride doesn’t want us to admit we need help or accept it, even though everyone needs help at one time or another. What’s more it encourages us to assume those who do have done something wrong, or are lazy or deserve their problems. This isn’t necessarily true. People don’t choose disabilities or mental illness that may sideline them from working. It’s a ridiculous point of view. Most of us will have money troubles and even so, in the USA even the poorer among us are richer than in other countries. But we all need help. No one truly survives on their own.
It’s also the sin associated with horses. I guess that’s why Jesus rode a donkey instead of a horse into Jerusalem according to the Bible. He wanted to appear humble. Horses are magnificent animals although they can also be timid, shy and have their own families and pecking order. But as a species, yes they do look proud. Just watch a stallion prancing freely around, mane and tail held high and yes, proud and regal are the words.
Color and Creatures of Virtue
Humility is often brown. Earth is brown too. Perhaps it symbolizes a willingness to work with your hands. Sometimes red is used too. This surprises me a bit, since I think of red as blood and wrath and pain. (Anyone else find too much gives them a headache?) But apparently the blood is that of the martyrs and maybe the wrath is for those who hurt them. The humble are, I imagine, those who put themselves into other people’s shoes. They realize that they too, might easily be the ones who need help. Yesterday it might have been them, or tomorrow. So they give, sometimes quietly. Christmas 2011 saw people paying off other people’s layaway toys so children could have a Christmas. Others contribute to funds to help those having trouble with bills. Okay, only some donkeys are brown. I don’t know what other creature would be associated with humility. Long eared and gentle enough to carry a pregnant mother a long way. Perhaps a lamb or sheep would be humble.
But there is another virtue here:
It’s hard to pin a color on courage. Some say orange or red. I guess that makes sense, it takes some energy to be brave and those are energetic colors. It takes courage to say yes, I need help. But it’s important because rarely do our actions or inactions hurt only us. If one can’t find courage to say ‘yes, I need help’ for oneself, what about ‘yes, I need help because my family will suffer if I don’t at least ask? It takes courage to offer help to, because people who are proud may be offended.
You also need courage to offer help. When you give help, it’s either a loan or a gift. Offer a gift of help to a stranger, homeless perhaps, and you have to wonder if they will spend it on food, lodging or a bottle of alcohol or drugs. You can’t know. But you’ll know – and your reason for giving it is at least as important as who receives it and how they use it.
I don’t know that I’d associate any species of animal as courageous. It’s too individual a thing. Any individual of many a species can be courageous if it faces a fear for any reason. But in spite of the association with pride, horses are a decent example. The term War Horse is out there due to the movie. A horse that has confidence in it’s rider charges into situations in spite of it’s fears. Whereas the ‘average’ horse may run in fear at the sight of an oddly shaped pile of hay!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by life. So many issues, who has time to research them all? It’s so easy to just ‘believe’ what we want to believe or what we are told by the government, corporation, boss, coworker, friends or family.
But sometimes the little issues we ignore are the small stones preceding an avalanche. And sometimes the politicians and big corporations are using some issues to direct us from others, so that we don’t consider the danger: if they will lie and sell out in small areas, who is to say they aren’t selling out in others.
Sometimes you just have to speak out. Some of us use our voice. Some use bumper stickers, or hats or t-shirts. Some even use graffiti. Our art is our voice and when we ignore the signs it’s the first thing that has funding cut. Teach the kids math they think not art, as if creative problem solving and expression isn’t just as important in life.
We’d rather go for pop culture thought. So try this one: Take a look at the history of the Star Wars galaxy. A great Republic is deceived by one man from within and destroyed. That’s not just fiction. It’s the history of our world too. It’s a case of misdirection. We get busy looking at the ‘big’ issues that the ‘big’ news covers and we miss that issue over on the side that is evidence of the corruption within.
Assumption is a dangerous thing. It can cost us money. It can cost us time, or our dreams and hopes. It can also cost our ethics. You can be as loyal as you like to political parties or your favorite corporations. But if you love something, you don’t ignore it’s flaws, you try and correct them. And it takes a lot of money and influence for these people to get elected. Easy for them to forget what it’s like for those of us without it or to swing the other way and assume we won’t care what they sell out.
My personal issues to go to war over (metaphorically speaking)? Well, naturally the biggest ones involve horses.
But lest you think I’m just deciding based on my love for them, here is my decision making for who to believe and side with on issues:
Facts. Prove it, don’t just tell me and expect me to believe.
Listen to both sides.
Follow the money and the motives. Who stands to gain on either side?
Is it really my business at all?
My first war is this:
The Bureau of Land Management’s management of wild mustangs, which they are charged under the 1971 act protecting free roaming horses and burros as American symbols of the west. I for one, wanted to believe they were doing just that, from the time I first read “Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West” by Marguerite Henry.
1. Congress asked them for proof of their decision making process and how many horses were left. They could not provide it.
2. They ask for huge funding to roundup and warehouse them even though they still have not proved the need.
3. They are trying to keep journalists out. Their is currently a lawsuit about it. But photo and video of horses literally being hit by helicopters has been captured. This behavior would get any other pilot in trouble.
The horses injured in the roundups are so high in number that any civilian would be arrested for animal cruelty.
4. Fact: In spite of the law, the places the horses have been allowed has been whittled down. When they are removed due to ‘too many for the land to support’ (again, they have shown no proof) cattle move in. Millions of cattle can fit but a few hundred horses can’t? I’m no math expert but something doesn’t compute.
The BLM’s conclusion: round them all up, geld the stallions and just have show herds.
Their reason: they are overgrazing and horses non native and never mind the law.
That isn’t ‘free roaming’ it’s slow extinction. No stallions = no foals = death of the wild mustang.
They can’t prove the overgrazing.
The horses originated here before dying out, so it’s a native species returning. But the cattle were never native.
They can’t prove the horses numbers. But even their claimed ‘goal’ of how many horses left takes us to a level too low for them to survive given the genetics involved. That can be proven.
It’s MY LAND and YOUR LAND, yet the Bureau of Land Management and the local states and ranchers act as if it’s all ‘THEIR’ land. It’s the land of American citizens. All of us, not just them.
And it’s MY MONEY and YOUR MONEY. So our government claims it’s out of money yet they can supply the BLM with millions of this money for roundups and holding of mustangs without any proof.
Why? What is the Bureau of Land Management and Department Interior’s Motive for this?
The head of the BLM is a rancher and the board tends to elect those with like minds.
Some have tried to get the BLM to combine with the Office of Surface Mining.
The Dept of Interior has come under fire for being too closely aligned with mining interests. The BLM is closely aligned with Ranching
What do the opponents, those who resist the roundups have to gain?
Big bills as they drive to the roundups and try and witness them. Bills for land, rooms, and transportation and meanwhile time off from other jobs.
More bills as they fund lawyers who are going against other lawyers who are paid by the deep pockets of our own government.
The final warning on the BLM though is their response to criticism. They repeat the same old line without answering any scientific challenge, ignore all protests in meetings, keep the rounded up horses on private land so no one can witness their treatment and just try protesting on their website. They flat refuse to take emails in objection. Sometimes they say it but others it just doesn’t work. Normally I’d think that was just a glitch. But not now.
The worst part they claim they keep journalists out for their own safety. Right. Journalists with horse experience.Journalists are embedded in war zones with the military and going out in hurricanes and disasters. But they can’t watch a roundup? They might spook the horses. More than the helicopter hitting them spooks them?
These design ideas hit me whenever I get…MAD! I expect they’ll keep coming. It’s an odd form of inspiration born of fury. Fury that my country is being corrupted.
I suddenly experienced an upsurge in my ‘Don’t let the Wild Horses fade away’ designs at Zazzle. Not surprised, its’ bumper stickers. Think I’m the only one whose concerned at the deception?
I’ve also sold several: “Mustangs are an American Heritage, Don’t You Dare Sell out My Share’ featuring a buckskin charging.
I’ve got one whole Cafepress shop devoted to a bay stallion battling a mountain lion. T- shirts, mugs and more. That idea would be easier than battling humans. At least the lion just wants dinner. No, humans are a worse predator. We take more than we need and show little little at the long term damage.
Don’t take what I say at face value. Research it yourself, just for a few minutes a day if you can. If you won’t or can’t buy my t-shirts or bumper stickers, at least speak out and spread the word. Sign the petitions. Let your political leaders know that it’s your money and land and you want accountability in how it’s used.
Oh, and regarding creativity: nothing against cows, but when is the last time you were inspired by one? But the sweeping beauty of the west, the galloping wild horse have inspired true history and fiction, art and beauty, called out to tourists who are shocked to arrive and find the same horses are being wiped out. The Mustang is a symbol of freedom as surely as the American flag and bald eagle. It symbolizes the hard working cowboy, the native american battling for his land, it even has a car named after it.
What is it worth to me? Will I ever get to see a wild Mustang? I don’t know. I live in the East. But they are mine too, not the local western states. And I have seen the wild Chincoteague ponies during the annual roundup. One sight of how packed that town is and the idea that horses aren’t a tourist attraction gets blown out of the water. What about the people who claim they are cockroaches? Hm. Funny. I’ve never heard of a cockroach being a cow pony, or inspiring movies or winning Dressage championships like Pedro. And a horse only foals once a year and a wild one has no guarantees of survival. As far as I can see, the only similarity to a cockroach is that a horse is a life form.
One thing I guarantee you. I don’t come up with these designs just because I’m looking up for a sale. The inspiration has to go somewhere. It may as well be into the art.
Apparently, they had been using his art in their design mock ups and decided to contact him and ask him to collaborate. At this stage of the game, he was not pleased. They are paid to design after all and should’ve asked him before using any of his art, not after. His flat out ‘no’ was not surprising. Asking beforehand might’ve been a compliment. He could’ve said yes or no. Asking afterward is treating him like he’s an afterthought. It’s neither professional nor polite.
Having seen a piece of promotional artwork about Terra Nova some time after the show premiered, I found this story solved a puzzle. I’d seen Terra Nova. I’ve got one of the Dinotopia books and seen the mini series. Outside of them both having dinosaurs, the style of the TV show has no resemblance to the artwork, which did seem rather familiar. Now I know why.
What I find saddest about this is not just that the bigwigs behind Terra Nova were willing to rip him off. It’s that some of the designers probably never realized they were doing anything unethical.
This brings me to the whole Internet regulation debate in congress. Personally, I suspect it would just shift the ethical issues from the many individual to the few individuals in charge of big corporation if the government tries to regulate it.. I find that alarming. I don’t have any reason to think those few have higher ethics than the rest of us.
Learning Internet and Media Ethics
What they should consider is whether this is an issue under the heading of education. Most morals are learned from parents. But the internet isn’t a family activity. In order to find out the parents morals, the kid has to be watching said parent on the internet.
Now there are two reasons that won’t happen. One is, the internet is a dull spectator sport. Fun to surf, not fun to watch someone else. Two is, the older the adult the less likely they are to know anything about computers. No offense to any age group, I’ve just found the older generations grew up without it and are less likely to think they need it. Nor is the parent likely to be watching the kid surf. If they don’t know much about computers, they won’t know what they are watching anyway. So a kid downloading for free an entire music library can happen right before their eyes and how would they know?
The result is that there really are people who don’t realize the ethical implications. I still encounter people who, when you tell them that images on the internet are copyrighted, are dumbfounded. Honestly, the thought that taking the image and using it on their own commercial items is wrong, has never crossed their mind!
If it’s online, someone still had to create it, draw it, build it, sing it or act it. Someone put time and energy and money into it.
Then there is the whole justification that music studios make tons of money and stick it to consumers for regarding downloading songs for free. This may or may not be true, but like it or not, they pay the artist. The same is true for movie and television studios I for one, do not want to find my favorite music artist or actor had to abandon their art to wait tables, because they weren’t getting paid. And that’s not to mention all the background people that go into making movie or music magic happen. It’s not like when you record off the radio and TV with the old cassettes or VHS and only get part of the song or show in dubious quality. That’s more of a placeholder and reminder that when you have the money you intend to buy. An artist might offer a song or two for free as a promotion, the same for the TV shows, but if you can grab the lot for nothing, there is no incentive to buy a quality copy short of your own honor.Is your honor stronger than temptation?
Notice I’m only referring to the individual end, not the web site. I love going on Youtube and browsing music videos. I encounter music I’d never have heard otherwise. I get to enjoy funny clips of my favorite shows. And yes, if my connection is causing the video to continually stop midstream I may download out of desperation. But I don’t strip the music out. I know it’s doable, but I don’t feel like it’s ethical. It’s too tempting to keep that as the ‘final’ copy of the music instead of paying the actual artist. And I don’t plan on re uploading them under my own name either. The music videos are usually a form of fan art, meant for fun. It gives the movie or TV show or music artist a free promotion and the creator has fun and gets to learn skills in making and cutting together videos and music. But I can see why some would object: the free promotion is only beneficial if people don’t steal the goodies, but are encouraged to go out and buy them. Whatever the web site owners thoughts on the subject, in the end it’s up to the individual as to whether they’ll ‘cheat’. No matter how often they change the computer code, someone will find a way around it.
I’ve only once found any of my art somewhere I didn’t put it and it was in a Halloween music video. I was actually took it as a compliment. It’s not like they were profiting off it, and as far as I know they really did purchase the item. If they didn’t they’d only find a low res or watermarked version. Free advertising, I will happily accept.
In the end, ethics come down to the individual.
So what happens if the government and big corporations step in and decide to regulate the internet? We have to trust ‘their’ individual ethics. What if they decide Youtube is altogether too abused and shut it down? Or the fan fiction sites? Maybe they’ll find reasons to block their competitors sites or competing web hosts. And would it really stop the piracy? I doubt it. The worst offenders probably aren’t in the US. In all probability, even if they are they’d just get more creative about how to cover their tracks. Meanwhile the little people get pounded. Fan art encourages creativity. It helps develop skills and the confidence to create ones own art, video and music in ones own style. I fear government regulation would be the equivalent of a sledge hammer: it would pound the people who put up websites with the sole purpose of profiting off others content or stealing. But everyone in the immediate vicinity, those who create websites to share their creative fandom, may get flattened too. The fine line between fandom and copyright violation is just too close.
A good example of dealing with it on an individual basis is fanfiction.net. They have a list of fan fiction material they won’t accept because the author requested it. They take any fan fiction not rated mature and not on that list. Fan fiction is non profit in any case, but they accept the authors preference. No need for an army of lawyers or police descending o them. Another example is how the whole issue played out for Star Wars and Lucasfilm: there was a time they seriously considered going after the sites offering fan fiction and the like. The outrage of the fans caused them to rethink the issue. Now if you sell unofficial knock offs of Star Wars you can expect an army of lawyers as surely as the rebels could expect an army of stormtroopers if discovered. But at times their own web site has supported and encouraged fan videos, artwork and other such uploads. Even now they link to it. They recognize the fine line: they want to stop piracy and theft, but they don’t want to alienate fans or discourage their creativity. After all, today’s employees were the ones doing the fan art ten years ago!
Short Term Temptations have Long Term Consequences.
As for the individual it’s naturally tempting to turn to free downloads and ‘borrowing’ others work when money is so tight, whether personally or in business. But the people who created the art and music and video , whether they are the musician, artist or star, or some background cameraman, also need to eat. We won’t help our own job situation by stealing their product. We just may put one more person teetering on the edge out of business. Being famous or popular doesn’t necessarily equate to being rich. Neither the money or the fame will last forever.
There are a whole lot of things out there I want too. I have a backlog of songs, books and videos on my wish list (including a few by the aforementioned James Gurney and more than a few of Star Wars). I struggle with other bills (internet, cable – the only place one can see my beloved White Collar in a timely fashion.) In fact, my computer seems determined to keep demanding money (right now it’s a battery) which I can’t spare. I’ve only just gotten a job. I’m playing catch up. My priorities have been basic necessities including computer repair and the internet, since that’s the field I’m going in.
Pinched for cash I may be, but I don’t want to cheat to get the extras. And it’s my very love for the stuff that is the strongest thing holding me back. I want more. I want it to keep coming out. I want to be able to buy it, not have it cease to exist because it wasn’t turning enough profit to pay for the highly expensive creation and or production! Even if it’s ‘just’ a piece of artwork, I’m an artist and I know how much art supplies cost. And if it’s music or movie, I know it took more than just the artist: it took producers, directors, sound engineers, special effects, filming permits and more to bring it to life.
As for Terra Nova, I like the show okay, although whoever was responsible for the design department needs a remedial course in ethics. But I figure there is no point in getting to like Terra Nova too much. It’s on regular network, meaning big corporation types control the content. Sci Fi and fantasy are niche markets and rarely do those shows survive the network bigwigs for long. Even if they are popular (like Joss Wheldan’s Firefly) they get dropped by the fickle bigwigs. Forget about the show that needs to build an audience. It has as much hope as a snowball in a volcano. So if you want to check it out, you’d better hurry. It may not be there for long.
On a final note: I do think copyright laws were designed in part to give jobs to lawyers. Sometimes all you want to do is use a picture or song in a small video for fandom or non profit. Who do you ask? Have they got a plan to allow for that? It would help if they did, I’m sure. Because people who just want to use it for ‘fair use’ and would like to ask seldom are given an option. This is an issue these big networks and producers should address with something besides a blanket NO or simply ignoring them. They seem to figure ‘no use’ is fair use. Giving fans an option like that would build good will. It would probably take less time to develop a plan than run around stomping on the fans who upload just to share their fandom. And it would win over people like me…who would never have known the music artist, TV show or what have you existed without it. And if I don’t know it exists I sure can’t buy it!