Monday, June 29, 2009

Mongol Derby - why not just shoot the horses before the start?

Mongol horse race - guaranteed to kill horses

The largest non-sanctioned endurance race ever attempted is set to be run this summer in Mongolia. Nearly a thousand under-sized native horses have been drafted into an effort which deliberately flaunts international endurance racing rules. Worse, none of the 25 amateur riders have any previous endurance riding experience and all will be riding Mongolian ponies they have never met before. No safety arrangements are provided by the promoter, no water or food for the ponies, inadequate numbers or no veterinarians - how many of the 800 equines will be dead before they reach the 1000 km line, how many more will die afterwards as a result of the abuse they will receive?

More at

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Common Sense ­ Uncommonly Rare

For millennia human beings survived and thrived because they used common sense. Those who didn’t enabled their own removal from the gene pool (they died). Maybe its just me, but it sure seems that the gene pool is getting a wee bit murky these days as whatever has contributed since the dawn of history to common sense is somehow fading away.

The disappearance of common sense from everyday life is a scary thing, if you ask me, because common sense is really the basis for the success of democracy. The founders of the USA were a pretty brilliant bunch, but they didn’t expect that everyone who was going to have a vote was going to be brilliant. In fact, democracy doesn’t require brilliance to succeed; it just needs good old common sense to keep it going and healthy.

The point of voting is to let everyone who is ruled by our government have a say in how that ruling is going to happen. This was a very bold, exciting concept back in the day, and it still is. Our brilliant founders knew that extremists would be moderated by the overwhelming mass of people who didn’t need brilliance or higher education to see the right thing to do. That’s because people then, who had to rely on common sense applied in their daily lives to survive, would apply that same common sense to identifying what was the right thing to do.

Thing is, it doesn’t take common sense any more to make it in our daily lives. With the mass withdrawal from fundamental interaction with nature (growing our own food, building our own houses, being responsible for our own safety) that has resulted from mechanization, technological innovation and the internet, we have lost the need for exercising our common sense. Industrial farming and the importing of so much of our food and other commodities means that fewer and fewer people in this country are connected to the real world. Fed by the fantasy world of TV, movies and video games, spending all day long indoors, has created a gap between what is real and possible, and what is desired - and the gap is growing faster and faster.

Simply put, most people just aren’t practicing the use of common sense any more because they don’t have to. So, like any other faculty that doesn’t get used, common sense is just dying out. Unfortunately, what we’re losing is what is needed to vote in something approaching a rational manner in order to maintain a living, healthy democracy. Without common sense, it all falls apart.

Today, our health, our well being, our communities, our society and our country are all going away so rapidly that it’s hard to see how things can be brought back to equilibrium again. We’re all being fed information that has so little connection to reality that it’s stunning. There is so little common sense being used that sometimes I wonder if we’ve been taken over by alien beings from another dimension. Such irrational behavior isn’t all that surprising, since that’s pretty much what has happened - just substitute media, government and political correctness for alien beings.

Really, coming up with a solution is tough, but it seems to me that a first step would be to return power to the people via local governments, because it’s obvious that locals know best about local issues. This means that locals should be the ones who implement federal and state programs in the places that they’re meant to be implemented. It’s only common sense that locals would do a good job of it ­ as they have throughout history - because they’d be the ones who’d suffer if they screwed up.

You can’t force people to use their common sense, and you can’t expect people to suddenly begin using any faculty when it has become atrophied. Still, things have a way of balancing out over time. I’m hoping people wake up and shake themselves up on their own before too long, though, because as bad as it’s become, those who will be paying for the folly of this and past generations will be our children, their children and beyond. That’s not a legacy I’m happy about leaving for them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gila Sustainable Community News

My last post was about having my rebuttal of some statements by Nancy Kaminski rejected and my thoughts about bias, propaganda and censorship. I just wanted to say that I received an email about "problems with the software" and eventually my comments did wind up on that forum.

I tell you, you have to watch everyone and everything all the time. It would be easy to get into conspiracy mode, but sometimes accidents do happen.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bias, propaganda and censorship

Using them says more about the user than about what is being said
Copyright © CR Edmunds

I received a copy of a post to the Gila Sustainable Community News, Calendar and Forum about the Mexican wolf. Because I wanted to rebut some of the statements by the author, Ms Nancy Kaminski, I properly joined the forum. After being accepted as a member, my rebuttal post was rejected.

Bias, propaganda and censorship are tools for those who cannot stand the light of truth. Those who resort to such do so because they have no truth to convey. Ms Kaminski’s forum post is chock full of inaccuracies and downright misinformation – is that all that pro-Mexican wolf people have in their arsenals?

What bias, propaganda and censorship say is that the message is suspect. What Ms Kaminski’s post and the Gila Forum are saying about themselves is the truth be damned - they want what they want and they’ll stoop to whatever it takes to get it. But heck – that’s what we have blogs for – I can say what I want to say anyway, right here.

So, here’s the reply I tried to submit:

In the interests of truth and accuracy, I would like to provide corrections and comments regarding Ms. Kaminski’s article about Mexican wolves.

We brought these beautiful wolves to the very brink of extinction.”

I have asked many people – including those with the Mexican wolf program - to tell me how many Mexican wolves are in Mexico. No one has answered. I wonder if anyone knows? Without knowing, can anyone say truthfully that Mexican wolves were brought to the brink of extinction?

There may have been thousands of them when we first drove cattle across the plains and into what would become New Mexico and Arizona.”

There may have been, but that is unlikely, given that the local wolves were Mogollon wolves. The Mexican wolf program will tell you, if directly asked, that the Mexican wolf recovery area is actually the extreme limit of the possible hunting (not denning) range of Mexican wolves (there is no definitive scientific evidence of Mexican wolf presence in the area). It is hard to imagine Mogollon wolves not protecting their territory. It’s more likely that there were occasional Mexican wolves here, and you bet they were being very, very careful about it.

A trapper named McBride was sent to Mexico to find wolves there [in Mexico]. After several months he found only six, one pregnant female and five males”.

I have always thought how awful this history is for the Mexican wolf. Trapped and kidnapped from the place where they were born and lived wild, transported and kept in captivity in a non-native area, some dying, others bred and rebred in captivity (from one female!) so that their gene pool is extremely limited - how frightening for the original wolves. How miserable they must have been in captivity. What a horrible experience for those wolves and a shameful beginning for the Mexican wolf program.

“With these and others in zoos and wildlife centers across the US, which were genetically tested to be sure they were pure Mexican wolves, the captive breeding project began.”

Actually, from the information available on the Mexican wolf site and it would seem from Ms. Kaminski’s assertions just above, the original Mexican wolves captured in Mexico were the only Mexican wolves. There were none at that time in zoos and wildlife centers. Therefore, all Mexican wolves in captive breeding programs around the US are descended from the original prisoners. If I am incorrect about this, I would appreciate a link to documentation for such.

“Currently fifty-two of these roam freely in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area which is nearly 7000 square miles of public lands in Arizona and New Mexico. Every Mexican wolf alive today is in a stud book.”

Actually 52 collared wolves roam the area, and an unknown number of uncollared wolves are out there, too. The 7000 square miles of land includes private land as well, a fact that is conveniently overlooked so much of the time. Further, most of the uncollared wolves, if not all, are not in any stud book.

But heck, don’t believe me. Do the research yourself – just go to the source, don’t believe those Mexican wolf program supporters, who can’t be bothered with the truth.