Why Does The Universe Exist?

We have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having food and clothing, we will be content with these things.
( 1 Timothy 6:7, 8 )

When you appreciate what you have, you have everything you need.

How can a person, or a class, be free when its means of life are in the grasp of another? How can the working class be free when the sole chance of existence of its individual members depends on their ability to make profit for others?
( James Connolly )

Generous people are happy because they enjoy making others happy, even if all they can give is a little of their time and energy. They often gain in abundance what no amount of money can buy – love, respect, and genuine friends who give generously in return.

This government show little concern for our essential public services when they put them in the hands of wealthy private companies, whose sole aim is to produce profit to give shareholders their dividends.
( R S Hutchison )

We are all responsible for what we believe to be true or false that gets put into our mind and our brain.

We all wish for a peaceful, non-violent world. When we find the cure for greed, and get rid of those obsessed with power, our wish may come true.
( Rose Winfold )

We all reach that point in life when we realise that not many people like hearing the real truth.

When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.
( Shirley Chisholm )

If you wouldn’t want something done to you, why do you think it’s okay to do it to others?

You may live to see man-made horrors beyond your comprehension.
( Nikola Tesla )

When you’re dead, you won’t know you’re dead.
All the pain and suffering will be felt by others.
Exactly the same thing happens when you’re stupid.

We have invaded your country to bring you democracy. When we’re finished dropping our bombs and firing our missiles, killing thousands of your innocent men, women and children, we will take charge of your oil and resources and place a puppet government in place who will take instructions from us and be controlled by us. All your citizens will then be free, just like us.
( U.S.A. )

One day scientists will discover the centre of the Universe.
There will be many people disappointed because it’s not them.

We live in a time when most people, including many politicians, are too inattentive or occupied too much with themselves to understand others.
( Rose Winfold )

Company That Employs A Tory Politician Is Given Virus Testing Contract ..
A healthcare firm which employs Conservative politician Owen Patterson as a paid consultant has been awarded a £133million contract without any other firms being given the opportunity to bid for the work. The Department of Health and Social Care has given Randox the contract to produce testing kits to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic. It was awarded without prior publication of a call for competition. The founder of Randox Laboratories is Peter FitzGerald, a polo-playing multi-millionaire Northern Irish doctor who is the UK’s 475th richest person with a £255million personal fortune, according to the Sunday Times rich list. Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s department awarded the contract last month under fast-track arrangements that enable public bodies dealing with the pandemic to give contracts to commercial companies quickly without the need to ask other firms to bid for them. The firm has employed Owen Paterson, a former Conservative cabinet minister and leading Brexit supporter, as a consultant since 2015. He is currently paid £100,000 a year at the rate of £500 an hour. Under its contract, Randox has been paid to carry out tests, both posted to individuals at home and administered at testing centres.
( The Guardian, 11.05.2020 )

Stop engaging with idiots online.
Your response is the only oxygen they have.
( Richard Osman, 08.06.2020 )

Remember, those who try to bring you down are already below you.

War is not healthy for you or for your children.
We need a Government Secretary of Peace.
( Rose Winfold )

Governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class.
( James Connolly )

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
( Philippians 2:3 )

In my opinion, we don’t devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks.
( Bill Watterson )

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
( Galileo Galilei )

Why Does The Universe Exist? ..
How did we come to be? What is the purpose of life? What does the future hold? Some people shy away from these questions, thinking that the answers are beyond us. Others say that such questions are pointless because life is a product of mindless evolution. Some people see a universe that is governed by precise, elegant, mathematical laws. They marvel at the impressive designs in nature, some of which humans try to mimic in man-made products. And everyday experience tells them that complex, highly functional designs point to intelligence, not undirected forces.

A bully is a coward, and not one has been born that won’t burst into tears when he sees his own blood.
( Len Firswood )

If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
( Adolf Hitler )

Those who voted to leave the EU and who have spent the last four years saying to remainers, “You lost, get over it”, are still waiting to discover what they’ve actually won.

When questions of ‘class’ interests are eliminated from public controversy a victory is thereby gained for the possessing, conservative class, whose only hope of security lies in such elimination.
( James Connolly )

Blind political party loyalty is a disease that inflicts the stubborn and the stupid.
( Doris Fenlow )

The speed and anonymity of the internet has released a demon in otherwise normal people, transforming them into spiteful, mean-spirited psychopaths.
( Craig Brown )

Without doubt, greedy humans and corrupt governments are responsible for the destruction of Nature, the destruction of all creatures that inhabit our planet, and the destruction of our planet itself.
( Rose Winfold )

No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.
( Nye Bevan, 04.07.1948 )

Animals Deserve Respect And Compassion

We’re Talking About The Fight Against Injustice ..
I’ve been thinking about some of the distressing issues that we’ve been facing collectively. I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice. We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity. I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal. We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something, to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment.
( Joaquin Phoenix, 10.02.2020 )

Humans yet to fully evolve, fearful, small-minded cowards without conscience or empathy, who call themselves ‘hunters’, kill innocent creatures and, for a while, takes away their feeling of inadequacy and weakness.
( Rose Winfold )

If you could see or feel the suffering you wouldn’t think twice. Give back life. Don’t eat meat.
( Kim Basinger )

I’m vegan because I love animals, and I can’t in good conscience be involved in anything that causes or contributes to the suffering of animals. Animal agriculture is a huge contributor to climate change, to deforestation, to water use, and to human chronic diseases, so although I’m vegan for the animals, it’s just a really nice by-product of veganism that it’s also a way to save humanity and our planet as well.
( Moby )

A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of a carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher’s stall passes as food.
( John Harvey Kellogg )

What do they know, all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world, about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis. For the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.
( Isaac Bashevis Singer )

Stolen babies and grieving mothers are behind every glass of milk and every piece of cheese.
( Rose Winfold )

Farmers Are Poisoning Our Water And Our Wildlife ..
Many farmers or landowners do not have the resources to avoid polluting waterways with manure, a phenomenon that’s proved disastrous for wildlife. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that more than 10 million kilograms of antimicrobials, which includes antibiotics and antiparasitics, were sold in the U.S. for use in livestock alone. Considering there are nearly one billion cows around the world, not to mention chicken, pigs, sheep, and horses, a staggering amount of livestock pharmaceuticals are entering the water, both freshwater and marine, experts say. And from birth control hormones feminising male fish to painkillers poisoning vultures, the impacts of such drugs on wildlife are more far-reaching than previously believed. Most pharmaceuticals in manure enter the environment via agricultural runoff, the incomplete treatment of wastewater, and the application of biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, to farms as fertiliser. 
If contaminants aren’t completely removed from wastewater, for instance, they can end up in the sewage sludge that’s then put back on crops. Some of these pollutants, including heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, are taken up by plants or return to groundwater sources, where they can be ingested by wildlife and humans. That’s one way that the bacterium Escherichia coli, which is a normal part of bovine gut flora, can infiltrate food crops and make humans seriously ill.
( Carrie Arnold, 08.12.2019 )

Conditioned Into Believing These Were Normal Practises ..
Those we call “farm” animals all once roamed wild and free. The cows, the pigs, the sheep, the goats, the chickens and the ducks. All gentle creatures that man enslaved and domesticated for gain and profit. This was not meant to be and disrupted the natural order of things. It was immoral, cruel, and disrespected both the animals and Mother Nature. The hunting of other wild animals soon followed and the ignorant masses were soon conditioned into believing these were normal practises. Prior to this people were content in eating fruit, berries, nuts and plants that grew naturally and most people were generally healthy. What followed was life-threatening diseases, those we have today. Many scientists and doctors say that most of the diseases we contract are due to eating animal products, but we carry on as “normal”.
( Rose Winfold )

When I first made the transition to eating plant-based, I foolishly thought veganism was just about diet. But the more I learned, the more it was obviously so much more than that. Veganism changed me. It taught me to look past myself – to consider how my choices affect others – the animals, the people around me, and the planet we live on. To me, veganism is consciousness.
( Katherine Von Drachenberg, known as Kat Von D )

Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up, and do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals, or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught for their young, not noble ladies. And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs, for injustice is the worst of crimes. And spare the honey which the bees get industriously from the flowers of fragrant plants – for they did not store it that it might belong to others, nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts. I washed my hands of all this, and wish that I perceived my way before my hair went grey.
( Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī, 973 – 1057 )

We Are The Awakened ..
We are few, but we are the awakened.
We were all born into a beautiful, loving world.
We were then brainwashed by our cruel, greedy ‘masters’ into believing that exploiting and killing non-human animals was normal, that it was necessary for our survival. We now understand the truth – that all living beings have the same right to be here as we have, the same right to a life of safety and freedom. We have the vision that one day this will be. We will continue in trying to awaken the brainwashed masses until there is freedom for all those we share this wonderful world with.

Animals are incapable of the kinds of cruelty that humans deliberately inflict on animals.
( Rose Winfold )

I have spent 20 years being lectured by those that love hunting and shooting, about its benefits to conservation. It isn’t. It’s just used as an excuse to shoot stuff for fun.
( Ben Fogle )

Home is where them cruel humans ain’t.

We all have a voice. I have this platform and so, not to use it correctly would be wrong of me. Nobody is perfect, I’m certainly not, but this is happening every day to so many animals worldwide. This is why I have decided to go to a vegan diet. It has been over a year now. Yes, it’s hard, nothing’s ever easy, but I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt.
( Lewis Hamilton )

In their behaviour toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimise blindly and without a thought.
( Isaac Bashevis Singer )

We don’t need to eat animals to survive and thrive. You can live a full, happy, healthier and abundant life as a vegan. The animals deserve respect and compassion, I think we all know this in our hearts, and we just have to make compassionate choices. And in terms of choice, there truly is no better time in history to go vegan than today.
( Evanna Lynch )

Look into the eyes of animals and you will see the same innocence and bewilderment in the eyes of young children.

Some people will pray for mercy, but are unwilling to extend it to animals. Why should they then expect mercy from God?
( Rose Winfold )

We are all animals of this planet. We are all creatures. And non-human animals experience pain sensations just like we do. They too are strong, intelligent, industrious, mobile, and evolutional. They too are capable of growth and adaptation. Like us, firsthand foremost, they are earthlings. And like us, they are surviving. Like us, they also seek their own comfort rather than discomfort. And like us, they express degrees of emotion. In short like us, they are alive.
( Joaquin Phoenix )

The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.
( Isaac Bashevis Singer )

Who Would Have Thought ..
Something that can’t be bought.
Something that can’t be bribed.
Something that’s not interested in money or material things.
Something that can’t be persuaded, even by torture.
Something that doesn’t discriminate against race or gender.
Something that all the nuclear weapons in the world can’t defend us from.
Something that all the military personnel in the world can’t defend us from.
And guess what? It was created by the greedy, ignorant behaviour of humans.
The result of abusing and exploiting animals and interfering with natural order.
The result of cutting down rainforests and destroying animal habitats.
A deadly virus that kills the aggressors but not the victims.
Just another warning from Mother Nature :

Without doubt, greedy humans and corrupt governments are responsible for the destruction of Nature, the destruction of all creatures that inhabit our planet, and the destruction of our planet itself.
( Rose Winfold )

Some animals are no longer on Earth’s endangered species list because they are no longer on Earth.
( Anthony Douglas Williams )

If you talk to the animals they will talk to you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.
( Chief Dan George )

Hell was full so they sent some of the cowardly animal abusers back.

The absence of consciousness in the world is one of the main reasons why animals are made to suffer.
( Rose Winfold ) 

To be a vegetarian is to disagree — to disagree with the course of things today. Starvation, world hunger, cruelty, waste, wars — we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it’s a strong one.
( Isaac Bashevis Singer )

Humans Without Conscience Or Compassion

Millions Of Pigs Killed Due To African Swine Fever ..
It is being described as the biggest animal disease outbreak the world has ever seen. Its impacts are already profound in Asia and beyond. The virus has spread across the whole of China since it was first discovered in August 2018. Official figures from China show the national pig herd had declined by 32% year-on-year by July 2019, with an estimated 100 million pigs lost already. While some of the losses will be directly or indirectly linked to the disease itself, the reduction is also being heavily driven by vast numbers of producers choosing to slaughter their herds and get out of pigs before the virus gets to them. Rabobank is forecasting that, by the end of the year, China’s pig herd will have halved. Given that it numbered 700 million and accounted for half the world’s pigs before African Swine Fever struck in August 2018, the damage the virus is causing is plain for all to see. And that is just China. African Swine Fever is continuing to spread across Asia at a worrying rate, confirmed in September for the first time in South Korea, where six cases were confirmed within two weeks, and the Philippines, where 12 cases were recorded in one area in a short time. In Vietnam, infected soon after China, the virus has reached all 63 provinces and around 5 million pigs have been killed. African Swine Fever has also been recorded in North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Myanmar. So far.
( Alistair Driver, 10.10.2019 )

Extreme Heat Kills Thousands Of Flying Foxes ..
The 30,000 grey-headed 
flying foxes in Yarra Bend Park, just outside the heart of Melbourne, Australia, were having a fairly routine early spring. In September and October— springtime in Australia and prime birthing season for the 28-centimetre long megabats— many of the flying foxes had returned to the park from their winter migration up the coast. Females were birthing pups as normal. All was routine. And then the horror started. It got too hot, too quickly. Incapable of surviving the extreme, relentless heat that gripped Melbourne in December, the flying foxes were dying. Across three days just before Christmas, 4,500 of the park’s grey-headed flying foxes perished— 15% of the colony’s population. The tragedy for flying foxes in the park echoes scenes of wildlife suffering across the country and puts a spotlight on the perils of extreme heat, which for some species can be just as deadly as fire. The colony in Adelaide suffered even worse. Several thousand flying fox babies died there from extreme heat between November and January. On January 4, many thousands of flying fox babies died across multiple roosts in and around the Sydney region of New South Wales, where the temperature reached a record-breaking 49 deg.C.  This summer’s extreme heat and extreme fires, which have imperilled Australia’s entire eastern coast—prime flying-fox habitat risk wiping out the 2019 generation of newborn bats. Some 80% of flying fox pups are born in October. They were young and vulnerable when heat waves and wildfires broke out late last year. Between 1994 and 2007, approximately 30,000 grey-headed flying foxes died in extreme heat events in Australia.
( Natasha Daly, 07.01.2020 )

The Despicable Live Animal Export Business ..
Every year nearly 2 billion farm animals are loaded on to trucks or ships and sent to new countries in journeys that can take days and sometimes weeks. Every day, at least 5 million animals are in transit. Rising demand for meat in many parts of the world has been a boon for exporters who specialise in breeding or in animals that need to be fattened before slaughter. In the Middle East, in particular, animal imports have risen markedly: in 2016, Saudi Arabia alone imported nearly $1billion worth of live animals. Hong Kong’s reliance on importing animals from China has fuelled fears of greater dependence on the mainland. In turn, other countries rely on selling their farm animals overseas. Romania, for example, exports more than 2 million sheep a year. Sudan’s trade with Saudi Arabia – where it sends several million sheep annually – is one of its most important sectors. Australia, Denmark and Spain also have thriving export industries. But the steadily growing trade has led to concerns about the lack of oversight of animals in transit and when they reach their destination. Poor conditions during transportation and inhumane slaughter on arrival are two issues raised by animal charities that are calling for better regulation of the industry. There are also fears about the spread of disease. Abuse or bad animal practices, such as cutting the tendons in a cow’s legs in order to stop it moving before slaughter, or repeatedly stabbing into the side of the neck in order to kill, have been exposed in a number of slaughterhouses in Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. The US, UK and France have all recorded fewer, larger meat plants, meaning animals must travel longer distances, and even into other countries, for processing.
( Hilary Osborne and Bibi van der Zee, 20.01.2020 )

Humans Kill Millions Of Wildlife Animals And Destroy Their Habitat ..
As humans continue to develop natural areas, animals’ homes continue to disappear. And as animals search for food, water, shelter, and a place to raise their young, they’re often deemed “nuisances” or “pests” or said to be “over-populated”. Each year, millions of them are killed because humans have taken over their living areas and don’t want them there. Canada geese, rabbits, raccoons, chipmunks, mice, rats, wasps, beavers, bats, snakes, ducks, prairie dogs, and pigeons are among the types of wildlife who most often suffer because of a perceived conflict with humans. Animals ask for very little except for the opportunity to live in peace. But adding to their struggle to survive are hunters, who enjoy stalking and killing them even when they make their homes far away from cities. Hunters frequently victimise bears, coyotes, ducks, foxes, mountain lions, prairie dogs, deer, geese, and wolves. Anglers like to trick fish into biting on hooks that pierce their faces before pulling them out of the water and allowing them to suffocate. And trappers lay traps that slam shut on unsuspecting animals’ legs so that they can kill them for being a “nuisance” or for their fur.
( PETA )

The Cruel, Unnecessary, Slaughter Of Badgers ..
The culls have expanded to unimaginable scales, covering an area larger than Israel. I cannot understand why the government has permitted this massive expansion of badger culling, when it has not yet responded to the Godfray Review it commissioned and received nearly a year ago. The review concluded the government and farming industry were paying far too much attention to badger management, and far too little attention to cattle-to-cattle transmission, which is responsible for the majority of TB incidents in cattle. The review also called upon government to properly evaluate badger vaccination as a non-lethal alternative to culling. Ministers regularly call for the conservation of wildlife in other countries, but refuse to invest in helping their own farmers to coexist with wildlife.
( Professor Rosie Woodroffe, ecologist at the Zoological Society of London, September 2019 )

Badgers Are Being Pushed To The Verge Of Extinction ..
This year will take the number of badgers killed since the cull started to over 130,000, pushing the species to the verge of local extinction in areas of England which it has inhabited since the ice age. The public costs of the badger cull are estimated to exceed £60million by the end of 2019, yet the government has provided no evidence to prove this cruel slaughter is having any significant impact on lowering bovine TB.
( Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust, September 2019 )

Thanks To Boris Johnson’s Girlfriend, Derbyshire Badgers Won A Reprieve ..
Farm leaders have slammed the government for rejecting a farmer-led application to cull badgers in Derbyshire, which is considered in the ‘edge area’ for bovine TB. 
Bill Harper, National Beef Association TB committee chairman, said: “The application for Derbyshire was turned down at the last minute and we cannot understand why. It met with all the protocols and criteria. Natural England has not given us any explanation. We believe this decision was taken purely on political and not scientific grounds. I’m convinced that it is Derbyshire Wildlife Trust that has won the day. Their representatives include Chris Packham and Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust. It is almost like Boris Johnson is saying: ‘Oh right darling, we will not allow that one’. Nobody has ever got to this stage and been turned down. There are no reasons why they should be turned down. They had done everything they had been asked to do. It stinks. The problem you have got is the signal it sends out to any other areas considering doing all the work. It was one of the best applications we have seen.” Mr Harper was referring to suggestions that the prime minister’s girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, an opponent of the badger cull, had convinced him not to extend the policy to Derbyshire.
( Philip Case, 10.09.2019 )

Millions Of Animals Are Tortured And Killed Every Year In Laboratories ..
Each year, more than 100 million animals, including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds, are killed in U.S. laboratories for biology lessons, medical training, curiosity-driven experimentation, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing. Before their deaths, some are forced to inhale toxic fumes, others are immobilised in restraint devices for hours, some have holes drilled into their skulls, and others have their skin burned off or their spinal cords crushed. In addition to the torment of the actual experiments, animals in laboratories are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. They are confined to barren cages, socially isolated, and psychologically traumatised. The thinking, feeling animals who are used in experiments are treated like nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment. Diseases that are artificially induced in animals in a laboratory, whether they be mice or monkeys, are never identical to those that occur naturally in human beings. And because animal species differ from one another biologically in many significant ways, it becomes even more unlikely that animal experiments will yield results that will be correctly interpreted and applied to the human condition in a meaningful way. Because experimenters rarely publish results of failed animal studies, other scientists and the public do not have ready access to information on the ineffectiveness of animal experimentation.
( PETA )

The Ignorant And The Mindless Participate In Wildlife Killing Contests ..
Contestants use digital technology to lure animals like foxes and coyotes to their death, and then riddle them with bullets in a mad rush to kill the most animals, and then dump the animals like garbage once the contest is over. Footage captured by the Humane Society of the United States at two such contests,
the “Predator Hunters of Maryland” event in Unionville and the “Southern Maryland Predator Hunt” in Waldorf, shows contestants unloading foxes, coyotes and raccoons with gruesome injuries, their bodies bloody and ripped apart by bullets, from trucks. Worse, children seemingly inured to the violence play among the dead animals and even help drag them to the judging area. Altogether, about 200 dead animals were placed before the judges in Unionville. Contestants were judged on a point system — killing a coyote earned five points, a fox three points and a raccoon one point. Prizes were also awarded for the heaviest coyote, the heaviest fox and the heaviest raccoon killed. The winner of the Unionville contest took home a cash prize of around $400 for killing 38 foxes. At the Waldorf contest, the winning team killed 27 foxes during the approximately 16-hour allowable “hunting” window. Sadly, these are not the only contests of their kind in the state. At the 2019 Annual Central Maryland Predator Competition in Mount Airy, 236 red foxes, gray foxes and coyotes were killed; and the “Coyote in the Hills Hunt” is taking place right now in Oakland, Maryland, where participants are competing to kill the most coyotes for cash prizes. Such unnecessary carnage is shocking to anyone with an iota of compassion. As more and more scientists and state wildlife agencies are pointing out, wildlife killing contests also serve no credible conservation purpose. In fact, they may create many more problems by removing animals who play important roles in their ecosystems. For instance, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports that red fox populations are declining in some areas. Foxes provide balance in nature and, like all wild carnivores, they regulate their own numbers according to available habitat and prey. Also, when adult foxes are killed, dependent young may be orphaned and left to die from starvation, predation or exposure. But participants at one of the contests told our investigators — naively and wrongly — that killing contests create balance in nature because “people aren’t wearing fur anymore and the fox population gets out of control.” Unfortunately, such ignorance and indifference to animal cruelty is not unique to Maryland.
(Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, 19.02.2020)

Mankind is not the only animal that loves, thinks, cares for their children, and feels pain. The sooner we acknowledge that animals are sentient, emotional beings, the sooner we will cease exploiting them and doing them harm. Animals share this earth with us and have as much right as we do to be free and to live in peace. We must embrace them as neighbours, perhaps even as our brothers and sisters.
( Rose Winfold )

A World Of Oppression And Dictators

The U.S. apparently didn’t care about collateral damage when they targeted and murdered Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Among the ten victims was not just the Iranian general but also top Iraqi security officials.
( Rose Winfold )

Building Fire Safety Regulations Cut By Conservatives ..
In February 2017, ministers posted on a government website details of their ‘anti-red tape’ agenda on new-build properties. In a separate report fire safety inspections, the Conservatives said, had been reduced for some companies from six hours to just 45 minutes. The move, titled Cutting Red Tape, was part of the Tory plans to abolish a ‘health and safety’ culture that they claimed was hurting money-making businesses. Former Prime Minister David Cameron promised to abolish the ‘albatross’ of ‘over regulation’. He said in 2012 that a Conservative government would: ‘Kill off the health and safety culture for good’. More than 2,400 pieces of regulation have been scrapped since Cut Red Tape began. Sajid Javid, the business secretary, launched the Cutting Red Tape initiative in 2015 following the Conservative election victory. On the official government website it said that it ‘aims to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy. ‘It intends to shine a light on out of date legislation and confusing implementation of it, such as unhelpful government guidance or needlessly complex inspection regimes, to ensure they make sense. ‘Businesses with good records have had fire safety inspections reduced from six hours to 45 minutes, allowing managers to quickly get back to their day job.’
( Charles White, 16.06.2017 )

Massive Interference In Elections ..
Let’s say all the claims are true. Suppose Russia tried to interfere in the American elections. That ought to make people laugh hysterically. There is huge interference in American elections. It comes from the corporate sector. They practically buy the elections. In fact, there is extensive work in mainstream academic political science that demonstrates very convincingly that you can predict the electability, hence largely the votes, of people in Congress on major issues just by looking at their campaign funding. That is one factor, let alone lobbying and everything else. That is massive interference in elections.
( Noam Chomsky, 13.03.2018 )

It makes me angry and it’s shocking and shameful when our leaders and governments brag about how much they are spending on military and weapons of war, when taxpayers’ money should be spent on the people, the poor, the disabled, the sick, the homeless, the elderly, and not used to kill and maim people in foreign countries on the pretence of freeing them, when everyone knows it’s their oil and resources they want control of.
( Rose Winfold )

UK Government’s Attacks On Firefighter Pensions ..
Over 6,000 UK firefighters are entitled to return to their pre-2015 pension schemes, an employment tribunal declared on 18 December 2019, in a landmark victory for the Fire Brigades Union with implications across the public sector. This comes after the Court of Appeal ruled last December that the government’s attacks on firefighter pensions constituted unlawful age discrimination. The claimants, members of the 1992 and 2006 firefighters’ pension schemes, are now entitled to be treated as if they have remained members of their original pension scheme, with benefits including a retirement age of between 50 and 55. In July 2019, the government admitted it had spent £495,000 on legal costs fighting to maintain discriminatory pensions, while the total annual cost of applying the ruling across the public sector could be up to £4 billion.

We know this game. A good indicator of who the establishment fears is who they dehumanise, belittle and abuse in their papers.
( Joe Glenton, 08.01.2020 )

Assassination Of Top Government Official On Peace Mission ..
The United States has now blatantly and openly assassinated a major foreign government official in another country. Has this given a green light to Russia, China, and others in the future? How would an Iranian assassination of a U.S. official planning strikes against Iran be any different morally or under international law? According to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Qassem Soleimani was on a mission brokering paths to reduce tension in the Persian Gulf. “I was supposed to meet Soleimani at the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi to Iran”, the Iraqi PM said. The U.S. killed someone who actually was on a mission to reduce risks to Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally and, by extension, to U.S. forces and U.S. civilians.

Does Iran have the right to self-defence or is that only reserved for Israel when it’s bombing homes full of sleeping families in Gaza?
( Dan Cohen, 08.01.2020 )

Homelessness In The UK ..
In the UK, figures from the charity Shelter reveal that more than 320,000 people are currently homeless, with this total rising each year. While rough sleeping is the visible face of homelessness, the figures include the many families living in, often unsuitable, temporary accommodation – in some cases for several years. Rising rents in London’s private housing sector, along with a shortage of genuinely affordable accommodation, means it is increasingly difficult for many people to afford a place to live.

U.S. troops are in Iraq, supposedly, to fight Islamic Terrorists. The Kurdish and Iranian forces have been U.S. allies in this effort. And yet, the U.S. have betrayed the Kurds and murdered Iran’s top general along with several Iraq security officials.
( Rose Winfold )

Is China Taking Over Africa ? ..
Europe plundered wealth from Africa. The USA plundered slaves from Africa. Now it’s China’s turn to plunder resources and slaves from Africa as well. Some years ago, a Chinese high government official said that their plan was to move 300 million people from China to Africa. That’s an incredible number of people. But it wasn’t really picked up anywhere in the press. Over the years, every time I go back to Africa I see more Chinese, and when they’re working on an industrial or a mining project, they’re all dressed in the same colour jumpsuits. Almost like the Chinese in Goldfinger, if you remember. From a long-term point of view, China is taking over Africa. It’s a very intelligent plan, and an unspoken part of their “One Belt, One Road” program. They loan money to some backward African government to build a port, railroad, and airport, or what have you. The Africans can almost never pay those loans back, so the Chinese – as part of the deal – take over the facility and staff it with their own people. This is actually going on today. If the African leaders don’t like it – unlikely since they’ve pocketed millions under the table for facilitating the deal – they will likely find their lives are in danger. If that doesn’t work, the country may have a visit from the Red Army.
( Doug Casey, 02.01.2020 )

The UK has seen a 74% rise in the exploitation of majority-British-national children, almost reaching Victorian-era levels. London is now the money-laundering capital of the world, and the UK is the drug capital of Europe. 14million people live in poverty. Violent crime is up by 60%.

British Spy Chiefs Didn’t Trust Him ..
Theresa May repeatedly withheld sensitive intelligence from Boris Johnson when he was foreign secretary, because she believed he would leak the information. The prime minister wanted the then foreign secretary to not be shown certain sensitive secret intelligence when he was appointed in July 2016. Downing Street’s move is said to have worried security chiefs at the time because of the foreign secretary’s role in authorising sensitive operations. 
The report follows claims in 2017 that British spy chiefs were “wary” of sharing information with Johnson because they didn’t trust him. The New Statesman reported at the time that multiple diplomats had doubts over Johnson’s personal style as foreign secretary. A month previously, he had said the ISIS stronghold of Sirte, the Libyan city, could be “the next Dubai” once they “clear the dead bodies away.”
( Thomas Colson, 05.07.2019 )

NHS Hospital Waiting Times At Record Highs ..
Key targets for cancer, hospital care and A&E have been missed for over three years – with delays for hospital care and in A&E hitting their highest levels since both targets were introduced. 
The figures show: 4.42 million patients on the waiting list at the end of September 2019, the highest number ever – 84.8% of them waiting under 18 weeks – below the 92% target and the worst performance since the target was introduced, in 2012. 76.9% of cancer patients starting treatment within 62 days – below the 85% target. 83.6% of A&E patients admitted or transferred within four hours in October 2019 – below the 95% target and the worst performance since the target started was introduced in 2004.

The U.S. and the West created Islamic State Terrorists when they invaded Iraq and Libya, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, funding rebel forces to help achieve their agenda, nothing to do with democracy, but simply to gain control of the oil fields.
( Rose Winfold )

UK Government Keep Secret Relationship With Saudi Arabia ..
The UK Government want to keep secret details of their relationship with Saudi Arabia. Documents have been redacted and remain censored. Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said, “
The fact that even now the British public can’t see the level of cooperation between our country and Saudi Arabia shows that the British authorities must be worried that the full truth would disturb many sensible patriotic Brits. It is time that this relationship be exposed and ended whilst the Saudi Arabian coalition continue to bomb and destroy the Yemen, harbour international terrorism and destabilise the Middle East.”

The U.S. has more and bigger bombs than Iran but Iran has the firepower to wipe out energy infrastructure in the region and take the global economy down with it. Anyone who thinks the U.S. can “win” this zero sum game is delusional.
( Dan Cohen, 08.01.2020 )

Women Protesters Imprisoned And Tortured ..
Loujain al-Hathloul, a 30-year-old Saudi human rights activist who had long campaigned against the ban on women driving, as well as the country’s discriminatory male guardianship system is being imprisoned and tortured inside a dark dungeon in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 
Saudi women may now have the right to drive — but the Saudi women who fought, protested, and campaigned for that right have been stripped of all their rights. They are detained, behind bars, victims of vicious torture and abuse. Her family says that Saudi officials had been willing to release her if she agreed to deny, on camera, that she had been tortured.

In Africa, the average male dies before the age of 60, and just 3% of the population is over 65. The average age is 18. In Europe, it’s 42. Africa is the world’s youngest continent.

Manipulation On An Enormous Level ..
About 70% of the population of the U.S. is not even represented, meaning that their own representatives pay no attention to their views, and follow the views of the major funders. This is manipulation on an enormous level! Whatever the Russians might have done is not even a toothpick on a mountain compared to that, quite apart from the fact that the U.S. not only intervenes in elections (including in Russia), but overthrows governments. The whole thing is a bad joke, and a sign of the collapse of the Democratic Party as a serious institution. They are focusing on this marginal phenomenon as a way to discredit Trump, and almost totally ignoring the really devastating things carried out by the Trump administration.
( Noam Chomsky, 13.03.2018 )

The Belief That Things Could Be Better

A Nation can’t resolve what the press won’t let it perceive.
( Julian Assange )

The Chief Rabbi Attacked The Labour Leader ..
The Jewish establishment in Britain and the Israeli propaganda machine have taken out a contract on the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The contract was taken out a long time ago, and it was clear that the closer Corbyn came to being elected prime minister, the harsher the conflict would get. It reached its climax in an article by the chief rabbi of Britain, Ephraim Mirvis, in The Times. Mirvis has decided that the anxiety of British Jews over Corbyn is justified and he is not fit to be prime minister. He called on Jews not to vote for Labour in the election on December 12.
( Gideon Levy, 28.11.2019 )

A Myth To Distract People From The Truth ..
My thoughts on the self-flagellating post-mortems: I’m struck by how much blame is being placed on Corbyn and how much of it is framed in the personal context of ‘people just didn’t like him’. I don’t know whether I like Corbyn or not. I don’t KNOW him. And there’s the rub. How do people ‘know’ Corbyn if not through the media portrayal? Have we forgotten that? If we’re not supposed to label people as ‘thick’ and ‘racist’, what are they if they ‘don’t like’ someone who has campaigned against injustice all his life but they ‘do like’ someone who is openly bigoted against just about every ‘other’ group in society? I have issues with Corbyn’s failures: failure to work together with other parties; failure to denounce Brexit from the start; failure to hold the government properly to account. But this construct, that it’s all his fault because of ‘him’ is another myth to distract us from what actually went on. This ‘win’ which the right are now crowing about, is in the context of lies and corruption and mass manipulation. Are we going to dismiss that now? That Labour members and other ‘progressives’ are now actively engaged in it is frankly rather distasteful and exactly what went wrong. They’re still talking about ‘appealing to the Northern working class’. Those people voted Tory! They voted for racism and bigotry and the false sense of power you get when you ‘win’ a Pyrrhic victory. They voted against a better, more just, considered society. Whilst it’s worth noting that Labour won the popular vote in all but the over 65s, it doesn’t matter now. Labour may as well pack up and go home. There is about as much meaning in an opposition party in the UK now, as there was in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. That was all part of the plan.
( J. Green, 17.12.2019 )

I don’t think the internet and social media changes the propaganda model at all. The propaganda model was about the major media institutions and they remain, with all the social media and everything else, the primary source of news, information and commentary. The news that appears in social media is drawn from them. So, if you look at the news on Facebook, it comes straight from the major media. They don’t do their own investigations.
( Noam Chomsky, 13.03.2018 )

Unprecedented Levels Of Misinformation ..
Being free to participate fully requires being well informed – this relies upon the adequacy of processes, institutions and organisations of knowledge production. Yet this election saw unprecedented levels of misinformation, obfuscation and bias across most mainstream media. The Conservatives changed their Twitter account to look like a fact checking service; Johnson refused to be interviewed by Andrew Neil on the BBC and clumsily hid a reporter’s phone in his pocket,rather than respond to questions about the NHS. The study by Loughborough University showed that the Press were overwhelmingly negative about the Labour Party. Fairness and freedom are about the ability to hold power (including media power) to account. Yet both have been in short supply during this election. The Conservatives have been elected on a mandate to drop the second stage of the Leveson inquiry and repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts act (the final and integral part of the Royal Charter Framework of Press Regulation). There is no sign that they intend to regulate the tech giants to make elections and electioneering any fairer or freer. Quite the opposite. Democratic delusions abound.
( Natalie Fenton, 16.12.2019 )

The Disgraceful Connivance By Labour MPs ..
The idea that four years of character assassination by the print and broadcast media, bombarding an unusually honest, principled, courageous, kind and sharp politician with smears and slanders almost every day, could be connected to a lack of personal popularity was sneeringly dismissed by BBC attack dog Andrew Neil. But it was connected, and it was reinforced by the disgraceful connivance in those attacks by many MPs, whose personal contact with Corbyn meant they knew the accusations they threw at him were untrue. MPs who have spent the years since 2015 attacking Corbyn have a greater responsibility than he for the election disaster. And the attacks were inspired by Labour’s socialist policies. Those imagining that Labour would have benefited from a different leader are kidding themselves.
( Extract from an article by the Morning Star, 13.12.2019 )

Just to be clear, the media campaign against Corbyn went far beyond anything against any previous Labour leader. It was surely the biggest propaganda campaign in UK history. Key to this is agenda-setting: shaping what people think *about* (and what they don’t).
( Mark Curtis, 17.12.2019 )

Outrage About The Bias Of The Media ..
Britain has one of the most concentrated media environments in the world. Just three companies dominate 83% of national newspaper circulation; five companies account for 80% of national newspaper news-brand reach; five companies command 80% of local newspaper titles; and two companies own nearly half of all commercial analogue radio stations. The phone hacking scandal and its aftermath demonstrated how that power has been used nationally, whilst at the local level community after community is losing the means to publicly hold power to account. Outrage about the bias of the media has been a constant over many years of elections but the past four years allow us to make a fairly direct comparison between events. The main thing that has changed is not the media, but the leading figures in the campaign. Boris Johnson won for the Tories in 2019 for all the reasons that Brexit won in 2016. They had the man, the message and the machine. Media coverage at elections is always biased against Labour because of the agenda-setting role of the pro-Conservative press (online as well as in print). The only period when this has not been the case is during the Blair years when the Murdoch empire swung behind New Labour.
( Angela Phillips, 16.12.2019 )

Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. His real sin is to fight against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates.
( Gideon Levy, 28.11.2019 )

The BBC Have Lost Any Sense Of Its Democratic Purpose ..
This was a terrible election for the BBC, which seems to have lost any sense of its public, democratic purpose. It spent the campaign floundered from one editorial aberration to another, while its senior political reporters acting in the most reckless fashion, shocking many of their younger, more junior colleagues. There was the editing out of the Question Time audience laughing at the Prime Minister in the clip for the BBC’s news bulletins. There was the failure to secure an interview with Johnson for the Andrew Neil Interviews, only to then grant the Conservative Party’s request for an interview with Andrew Marr instead, having just at first refused to do so. There was Laura Kuenssberg tweeting a fabricated story about Labour activists attacking a Tory advisor, without any basic fact checking. There was Emily Maitlis (who mused about the possibility of a ‘coup’ against Corbyn ahead of the last election) retweeting remarks about ‘Corbyn’s cult’. Finally, a day before polling day, the BBC press office was forced to issue a statement saying that it ‘does not believe it, or its political editorial, has breached election law’ following on-air remarks made by Kuenssberg, which appear to have prompted a statement from the Electoral Commission.
( Tom Mills, 16.12.2019 )

Frankie Boyle was right to argue that “media plurality is an issue we need to address in this country: the alternative is living in a timeline where, because Corbyn has wonky glasses, in a couple of years you’ll be living in a tent city outside an Amazon warehouse trying to GoFund a tonsillectomy.” That future has come closer because of Johnson’s victory that was aided by a propaganda campaign that illustrates just how desperate vested interests were to maintain the status quo.
( Des Freedman, 16.12.2019 )

Falsehood Is Allowed To Spread Unchecked ..
Journalists just don’t understand how to implement impartiality in a post-consensus world. In the EU referendum they adopted a ‘X claims A, Y claims B’ approach to balance which proved to be disastrous in allowing falsehood to spread unchecked. In this general election, they took the approach of ‘scrutinise claims on both sides equally’ but ran into a problem. The vast majority of falsehoods were spread by the Tories and Lib Dems but ‘presentational’ impartiality meant that Labour had to be presented as equally culpable. The biggest problem, however, is a herd-like group think about ‘what the story is’. When IFS attacked the Labour manifesto, that was a far more of a ‘story’ than the equally scathing IFS response to the Tory manifesto. It just somehow ‘made sense’. When anti-semitism allegations surfaced in the Tory party it just didn’t seem like much of a headline (in spite of ticking every box of news value criteria).
( Justin Schlosberg, 16.12.2019 )

A Political Economy Of Lies ..
Fair elections means elections that are fundamentally honest. But in an age of social media, honesty is not straightforward. Corbyn had tweets sent in his name from fake accounts and First Draft found that 88% of Conservative Facebook campaigning ads were deemed by Full Fact, the UKs leading fact checking organisation, to be misleading. The BBC also stood accused of dishonesty through misleading editing (and later apologised – twice). Rather than honesty being the driver of content, this election, more than any other, felt like it was fuelled by a political economy of lies. Lies are simply more crowd pleasing, circulate rapidly, are based on intensely affective responses, are mood inducing and therefore are often more commercially attractive. But lying also erodes trust and so it is telling that the Ofcom news consumption survey for 2019 notes that in age of distrust ‘word of mouth’ is now considered a legitimate source of news. Fair also means everyone has equal opportunity to get their point across. This election has seen lack of clarity about who bankrolls the politicians. Billionaire donors have been shown to protect the position and interests of those with wealth and power. Money in politics and campaigning has corrupted the electoral system turning the digital landscape into a playground for the elite. New techniques of digital manipulation give rise to sophisticated propaganda that is only just beginning to be understood.
( Natalie Fenton, 16.12.2019 )

Russian Donations And Interference ..
The Conservative Party accepted £200,000 from the wife of a former Russian finance minister under president Putin, just days after refusing to publish a report into Russian interference in UK elections. The Conservative party received £5.6 million in donations in the first week of the campaign, from senior business figures and hedge funds, more than 25 times the amount raised by the opposition Labour party. The largest single donation received in the first week of the campaign was £200,000 from Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Russian oligarch Vladmir Chernukhin. Chernukhin has reportedly paid £160,000 for a tennis match with the prime minister, and £135,000 for a night with former prime minister Theresa May. Before parliament dissolved, Johnson’s government refused to publish a report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) into potential Russian interference in UK elections. The report into Russian interference will not be published until after the election, even in spite of a petition which received more than 230,000 signatures.
( Matthew Nixon, The New European, 23.11.2019 )

The vicious personal vilification of Jeremy Corbyn and, significantly, the bogus anti-semitism smear of him and others who had supported the Palestinians: a vendetta that shames all those who promoted it.
( John Pilger, 16.12.2019 )

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Far-Right Connections ..
In August 2013 Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke at a dinner event thrown by the far-right Traditional Britain Group. The group is run by Gregory Lauder-Frost, a well known figure in British far-right politics. Lauder-Frost argues that anyone living in the UK not of what he calls “European stock” should be offered “assisted voluntary repatriation” to their “natural” homeland. Despite being warned of the nature of the event by the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, Rees-Mogg attended the Traditional Britain Group dinner as their guest of honour. 
This was not Rees-Mogg’s only encounter with the far right. In 2017 he met with president Trump’s ex-chief of staff Steve Bannon at the Mayfair hotel in London to discuss how conservative movements in the UK and US could keep power. Bannon is the darling of far right politicians across Europe. He has been feted by Hungary’s antisemitic prime minister Viktor Orban and Italy’s rabidly anti-immigrant deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. In March 2018 Bannon told a rally of France’s racist Front National (now “Rassemblement National”, the National Rally) that they should wear the label of “racist” and “xenophobe” as a “badge of honour”. The latest chapter in Rees-Mogg’s engagement with the far-right is his retweeting the anti-EU arguments of Alice Weidel, the leader of the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD). The AfD has been linked to having racist, Islamophobic, antisemitic and xenophobic politics and is linked to Indentitarian movements in Germany.
( The Independent, 02.04.2019 )

The Latest Under-Hand Tactic Employed By The Tories ..
The Conservatives have set up a website that purports to contain Labour’s manifesto, in a bid to trick voters looking for the document. The governing party paid Google to promote the website labourmanifesto.co.uk towards the top of its results for people searching for the opposition plan. It is the latest under-hand tactic to have been employed by the Tories, who were earlier this week accused of running an authoritarian-style disinformation campaign to confuse voters about opposition plans. The party was branded “dystopian” by senior EU politicians after it set up a fake fact-checking service that was actually broadcasting messages from the Tory press office to unsuspecting voters. Other than having the domain name “labourmanifesto.co.uk”, the new website features a picture of Jeremy Corbyn at the top and the headline “Labour’s 2019 manifesto”.  Once users are on the page, it notes in smaller writing further down that it is “a website by the Conservative party”. The page then launches into Tory talking points and PR messages instead of the party’s actual manifesto.
( Jon Stone, Independent, 21.11.2019 )

Is Corbyn A Threat To National Security? ..
The stories — which quote former or current members of the army, navy and special forces, as well as MI5, MI6 and an ex-senior civil servant — have averaged one every six weeks since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in September 2015. There have, however, been significant spikes in frequency during the 2017 and 2019 general election campaigns. There is a strong suggestion that, for some stories, intelligence officials have themselves provided secret documents to journalists as part of what appears to be a campaign. Every story has been picked up across national print media, often setting the news agenda and chiming with statements from Conservative government ministers. Nearly every story appeared in four papers — The Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Mail, or The Sun. Our research also found 440 articles in the UK press since September 2015 specifically mentioning Corbyn as a “threat to national security”. The intelligence services and the military are supposed to abide by the “constitutional principle” of non-involvement in political affairs. But the numerous instances of serving national security officials briefing against Corbyn in the media raises questions about whether this principle has been upheld.
( Matt Kennard, 04.12.2019 )

The Belief That Things Could Be Better ..
It feels so hard to heave oneself up from the swamp of despair, seeing so much passionate energy for change trampled by a self-serving elite, as contemptuous of truth as they are of most of the people they continue to govern. We know our only hope is somehow to nurture those cross-generational forms of resistance and solidarity that were energised over recent years of hope, where so many new and creative ideas were developed, whether for citizens wealth funds, investment in local economies, shorter paid working time, commitments to financing home-care, life-long learning, mental health provision, and so much more. The overlap between those confronting climate emergencies and those fighting poverty, racism and deterioration of jobs and services won’t disappear overnight. But nothing will be easy, as we struggle to keep alive the imagination needed for connect movement campaigns and collective survival strategies with any levers for power, while confronting those deep regional divides. We never simply win, or simply lose, people like to say, which is in itself too simple. But hopefully what we never lose entirely is our rage against all that is wrong and our belief that things could be different, now is the time to care a little more, understand a lot better, and support all progressive struggles wherever they emerge.
( Lynne Segal, 16.12.2019 )