Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Confessions of a Vegan Libertarian
by Cathy Cuthbert

I lead a double life.

By day, I shop for organic produce in local health food stores and farmers’ markets. I talk with people about what’s in season, new vegan recipes, the next fermented food craze, and how to displaced cooked, junk foods — excuse the redundancy — in our families’ diets. I meet many people who are trying to reverse the hardship and disease that our modern food and medical industries have wrought. These are thoughtful people, open minded and willing to make huge changes in their lives. They are taking responsibility for their own health.

By night, I socialize with freedom lovers. I feel a true sense of relief that I can comment against taxes, inflation, government schools, in fact all manner of regulation and coercion. These people agree with me and show admiration for my choices in life. They are a fellowship of honest, moral and wise people. Libertarianism is a club in which I am proud to have membership.

Now, here’s the rub. I cannot without derision expose myself as a vegan to libertarians. Similarly, I cannot reveal my libertarian politics to vegans and escape with my life. What’s a vegan libertarian to do?

Whenever I go to a vegan potluck, I’m forced to listen to stories of greedy capitalists committing horrors that only tougher government regulation can dispel. I have to keep my mouth full of kale and carrots for fear that a libertarian sentiment may escape my lips. Only my favorite soup — an amazingly flavorful tomato avocado chowder that I invented myself, email for recipe — prevented the murder of Terry when she said, “I like paying taxes. The more I pay, the more money I get back.” And mango lime pie was all that stood in the way of Vivian’s demise the day she patiently explained to me that licensing is essential for keeping the riff raff out. “Not just anyone can sell insurance…” Would that celery up the nose could have done her in.

The frustration is different although equally acute with my libertarian friends. When they comment on my habit of eating salad for dinner, I hide behind the excuse of having to watch my weight, adding, “Wow, that steak looks great.” I suffer in silence as they hoot and laugh at the crazy “granola crunchers” who are so stupid to think that organic matters. And I’m itching to break it to them that wisecracks about coffee enemas do not demonstrate even the slightest comedic genius. If only I had the courage to wear my “Thomas Jefferson was a vegetarian” sweatshirt — but alas, I don’t.

I’ve been living a lie.

I know one thing I absolutely can’t do, and that is approach vegans for understanding. To confess my libertarianism would be tantamount to proclaiming myself the devil incarnate. I would no doubt be subjected to emotional, ad hominem, socialist tirades from which it would be impossible to recover a cordial relationship. I would be pilloried with invectives such as “capitalist” and sneered at for having no heart.

Yet, I can no longer live this life of dishonesty, not 24/7 anyway. Mainly because libertarians eschew the initiation of force, I’ve chosen to come out of the closet to the libertarian brotherhood and throw myself on your mercy.

I am a vegan. I am, in fact, the worst kind of vegan, the raw food kind. That’s right, not only do I eat exclusively fruits and vegetables, I refuse to cook ’em, too.

On this very website, Brad Edmonds recently said, “[Y]ou tend to find more paleolibertarians among carnivores than among vegans.” Is the converse true as well? Are there more carnivores than vegans among paleolibertarians? Or are there many vegan libertarians hiding their orientation as I do, constantly in fear of being outed and branded quasi-antivivisectionist Marxists? (Or is that neo-antivivisectionists?)

I make my confession with the intention of slaying my own personal demons, yes. But I have a higher purpose, as well. I aim to free my fellow oppressed vegan libertarians and bring unity to the movement. My sacrifice can mark the beginning of a new era of peace and understanding among carnivore and vegan libertarians. We have more in common than you may think. The forces of fascism are destroying both the food and medical industries. Surely, there can be agreement on that. And I have yet to meet a hawkish vegan, so if we discount the fringe pro-war Objectivists — please — here is more common ground.

Libertarians of the world unite. Let us drop the snide comments across the dinner table and pursue the struggle against our true enemy; call a culinary truce so that we may defend our homes and refrigerators. Let us shop, eat and fight for freedom in dietary harmony.

And please, pass the kelp…

October 19, 2004


Alright, so the current GOP royal rumble is hilarious. I found out today that Gingrich was still in the race, who knew? Santorum is out spewing theocratic nonsense, and nobody really seems to care that Mittens Romney strapped a dog to the top of his car.

Herman Cain, the Federal Reserve shill and pizza overlord, dropped out of the race months ago, but here he is, shooting rabbits in a bizarre, incoherent political ad.

So that’s neat, I guess.
Herman Fudd, Pizza Lord.

What made Pizza Cain think this would be a good idea? His PR people kind of suck at their jobs (kind of like Godfather’s Pizza sucks at pizza. Zing). First, you’re shooting a bunny. A few days before Easter. Second, you’re shooting a rabbit. Third, the shooter looks like Michael Douglas in that movie where he went crazy and shot up LA.

The rabbit CGI looks terrible, too.

Below is a letter to the Sierra Club, who accepted $25  million dollars from the fucking fracking industry.

No right way is easy. . . .We must risk our lives to save them.
—John Muir, Sierra Club’s founder

Dear Sierra Club,

I’m through with you.

For years we had a great relationship based on mutual admiration. You gave a glowing review of my first book, Living Downstream—a review that appeared in the pages of Sierra magazine and hailed me as “the new Rachel Carson.” Since 1999 that phrase has linked us together in all the press materials that my publicist sends out. Your name appears with mine on the flaps of my book jackets, in the biography that introduces me at the speaker’s podium, and in the press release that announced, last fall, that I was one of the lucky recipients of a $100,000 Heinz Award for my research and writing on the environment.

I was proud to be affiliated with you. I hoped to live up to the moniker you bestowed upon me.

But more than a month has past since your executive director, Michael Brune, admitted inTime magazine that the Sierra Club had, between 2007 and 2010, clandestinely accepted $25 million from the fracking industry, with most of the donations coming from Chesapeake Energy. Corporate Crime Reporter was hot on the trail of the story when it broke in Time.

From the start, Brune’s declaration seemed less an acknowledgement of wrongdoing than an attempt to minister to a looming public relations problem. Would someone truly interested in atonement seek credit for choosing not to take additional millions of gas industry dollars (“Why the Sierra Club Turned Down $26 Million in Contributions from Natural Gas Interests”)?

Here, on top of the Marcellus Shale, along the border between Pennsylvania and New York—where we are surrounded by land leased to the gas industry; where we live in fear that our water will be ruined, our mortgages called in, our teenage children killed in fiery wrecks with 18-wheelers hauling toxic fracking waste on our rural, icy back roads; where we cash out our vacation days to board predawn buses to rallies and public hearings; where we fundraise, donate, testify, phone bank, lobby, submit public comments, sign up for trainings in nonviolent civil disobedience; where our children ask if we will be arrested, if we will have to move, if we will die, and what will happen to the bats, the honeybees, the black bears, the grapevines, the apple orchards, the cows’ milk; where we have learned all about casing failures, blow-outs, gas flares, clear-cuts, legal exemptions, the benzene content of production fluid, the radioactive content of drill cuttings; where people suddenly start sobbing in church and no one needs to ask why—here in the crosshairs of Chesapeake Energy, Michael Brune’s announcement was met with a kind of stunned confusion.

The Sierra Club had taken money, gobs of it, from an industry that we in the grassroots have been in the fight of our lives to oppose. The largest, most venerable environmental organization in the United States secretly aligned with the very company that seeks to occupy our land, turn it inside out, blow it apart, fill it with poison. All for the goal of extracting a powerful heat-trapping gas, methane, that plays a significant role in climate change.

Climate change: identified by The Lancet as the number-one global health problem of the 21st century. Children, according to the World Health Organization, are among its primary victims.

It was as if, on the eve of D-day, the anti-Fascist partisans had discovered that Churchill was actually in cahoots with the Axis forces.

So, I’ve had many weeks now to ponder the whole betrayal and watch for signs of redemption from Sierra Club’s national leadership. Would it be “coming clean” (to quote the title of the executive director’s recent book)?

Freed from the silence that money bought, would it now lend its voice in support of environmental groups in New York State that seek a statewide prohibition on fracking? Would it come to the aid of those in Pennsylvania calling for a halt to the devastation there?

Would it, at the very least, endorse the modest proposal of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, who recommend a national moratorium on fracking until human health impacts are researched?

And would Michael Brune humbly ask forgiveness from antifracking activist Lisa Wright, formerly on the executive committee of the Sierra Club’s Finger Lakes chapter? As recently as last May, in response to a direct query from Wright, who had become suspicious, Brune wrote, “I do want to be clear about one thing: we do not receive any money from Aubrey McClendon, nor his company Chesapeake. For that matter, we do not receive any contributions from the natural gas industry. Hopefully this will alleviate some concerns.”

The answer to all of the above questions: No.

So, Sierra Club, call some other writer your new Rachel Carson. I’ll be erasing your endorsement from my website.

And take back these words, penned by your own fierce and uncorruptible founder, John Muir, that have hung for years by my writing desk:

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The wind will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

There is no peace in the mountains and hills over the Marcellus Shale. No glad tidings. The forests of Pennsylvania are filled with chainsaws, flares, drill pads, pipelines, condensers, generators, and the 24/7 roar of compressor stations. The wind that blows east from the gas fields carries toluene, benzene, and diesel exhaust. Sunshine turns it all into poisonous ozone. Storms send silt into trout streams from denuded hillsides and cause good people to lie awake at night, worried about overflowing impoundment pits full of neurotoxic chemicals and overturned frack trucks full of carcinogens.

Even now, plans are being laid to transport 88.2 million gallons of liquid propane and butane to caverns that lie beneath the idyllic New York lakeshore where my ten-year-old son was born. (“This transaction is yet another example of the successful execution on our plan to build an integrated natural gas storage and transportation hub in the Northeast,” says the company called Inergy.) When you tramp through the fields and forests where I live—40 percent of the land in my county is leased to the gas industry—cares don’t drop off like autumn leaves. They accumulate like convoys of flowback fluid laced with arsenic, radium, and barium with no place, no place to go.

And, yes, they are fracking in Rachel Carson’s beloved Allegheny County, too.

The hard truth: National Sierra Club served as the political cover for the gas industry and for the politicians who take their money and do their bidding. It had a hand in setting in motion the wheels of environmental destruction and human suffering. It was complicit in bringing extreme fossil fuel extraction onshore, into our communities, farmlands, and forests, and in blowing up the bedrock of our nation. And I can’t get over it.

So, here are some parting words from the former new Rachel Carson.

The path to salvation lies in reparations—not in accepting praise for overcoming the urge to commit the same crime twice. So shutter your doors. Cash out your assets. Don a backpack and hike through the gaslands of America. Along the way, bear witness. Apologize. Offer compensation to the people who have no drinkable water and can’t sell their homes. Whose farm ponds bubble with methane. Whose kids have nosebleeds and mysterious rashes. Write big checks to the people who are putting their bodies on the line in the fight to ban fracking, and to the grassroots groups that are organizing them.

Finally, go to Washington and say what the Sierra Club should have said in 2007: Fracking is not a bridge to the future. It is a plank on which we walk blindfolded at the point of a sword. There is no right way to do it. And the pirates are not our friends.


Sandra Steingraber

So, yeah. Fuck you, Sierra Club.

Not vegan related in any way, but, c’mon, what the fuck?


In New York City, they are banning terms like ‘dinosaur’, ‘terrorism’, ‘birthday’, and ‘Halloween’. Why? Because those terms may damage children’s fragile eggshell minds, or something.

Kids that were raised as creationists may be upset about talking about dinosaurs. Halloween may imply paganism. Birthdays may upset Jehovah Witnesses.

But… its not about censorship, apparently.

No, what its about is dumbing down our kids even more. Education in this country is already a fucking joke, lets make it funnier?


Oh, and:

On Drugs

Posted: January 10, 2012 in news, politics, rant
Tags: , , , , ,

Drugs are bad.
Drug laws are worse.
The Drug War is evil.

I have not always been drug free, I experimented with pot and a little acid in high school. I smoked cigarettes for damn near fifteen years. I used to drink like a fish, hell, I once drank ninety days in a row with my former roommate, just to see if I could. Do I regret any of that? Probably the cigarettes and the alcohol. To this day, I get momentary cravings for tobacco, before I catch myself and call myself stupid for even thinking of it. Once an addict, always an addict, I guess. I drink coffee, but on the days I abstain (usually by just plain forgetting to make it) I don’t suffer withdraws. I usually just end up drinking more water that day, for whatever reason. To paraphrase a conversation Ian MacKaye had once:

“My friend says caffeine is a drug.”
“Oh. Tell your friend fuck you.”

I am against drug laws, I believe that any consenting adults can do to their own body what they want to do to their own body. If they want to mess it up with crack, tobacco, copius amounts of peanut butter, booze, whatever I don’t care. Its their body. Fuck em, as long as they’re not doing it in my house. I don’t care about smoking in public. I wouldn’t care if someone lit a joint near me on the bus. I’d probably just switch seats, or open a window. As long as whatever they do doesn’t cost me any money, or any grief (a brief stench that lasts a moment doesn’t qualify as grief in my opinion), they can do what they want.
Of course I don’t want drugged drivers, anymore than I want drunk drivers. What makes you think the numbers of drugged drivers would increase if drugs were legal? That’s pretty stupid thinking. The people who would do drugs if they were legal are the same people who do drugs now. They’re driving under the influence now. What do I suggest for punishment? The same punishments that drunk drivers have for operating under the influence IF they do harm to another person or damage property. (The same thing I would want for drunk drivers.)

I’ve had friends fuck their entire lives up with drug use. I’ve also seen friends fuck up their entire lives without touching aspirin, bad choices are bad choices, and we should not protect adults from themselves. Sometimes reaching bottom is the only way to ascend. The government should not be there to bail anyone -people, banks, and companies included- out of failure. Do I think it should be easier for drug abusers to get into rehab that they can afford? Yes. I think there should be more private charities that do that exact thing, especially without the religious bullshit that AA has.

People don’t seem to realize there is a huge difference between drug users and drug abusers, and that is one of the reasons the drug war goes more or less unopposed.

We spend tons of money on a failed, evil, racist war against our own citizens. Why? Well… any property seized during a drug raid instantly belongs to the government, a la Christian Inquisition style. That could be a deciding factor. Or, it could be that almost all prisons are now owned by corporations that are funded through tax dollars, and the more prisoners they have (violent offenders, or non-violent druggies) the more money they get, which they funnel to cops and judges for putting more people into their prisons. Its a cycle of racism and greed, all in the guise of saving people from themselves. Its what we, in the real world call bullshit.

So, in closing, remember these things:
1)Don’t do drugs.
2)Don’t enforce drug laws.
3)End the drug war.

We’ll have either four more years of Obama, or four years of Romney/Gingrich. That’s pretty frightening. Not as scary as, say, Santorum or Bachmann, but scary enough.

Not vegan-related in ANY way, but the truth, nonetheless.

The non-aggression principle (also called the non-aggression axiom, the anti-coercion principle, the zero aggression principle, the non-initiation of force), or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate. Aggression, for the purposes of the NAP, is defined as the initiation or threatening of violence against a person or legitimately owned property of another. Specifically, any unsollicited actions of others that physically affect an individual’s property, including that person’s body, no matter if the result of those actions is damaging, beneficiary or neutral to the owner, are considered violent when they are against the owner’s free will and interfere with his right to self-determination, as based on the libertarian principle of self-ownership. Supporters of NAP use it to demonstrate the immorality of theft, vandalism, assault, and fraud. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violence used in self-defense.[1]

Many supporters argue that NAP opposes such policies as victimless crime laws, taxation, and military drafts. NAP is the foundation of most present day libertarianphilosophies.

I extend this to non-human animals as well. Yes, if I was charged by a bear, or if a bear was attacking someone, I would kick that bears ass. No, I would not kill a bear if I could avoid killing said bear, if said bear was not attacking myself or someone else.

I don’t know why people stop the principle at people. Speciesism, I guess. Oh, well. I can’t control what others do or think, nor would I ever want to.

Because of the NAP, I am vegan, anti-war, anti-taxation, and anti-violence. Self Defense is the ONLY justification for violent action. Preemptive attacks are never justified, especially if diplomacy and negotiations have not been used to their furthest potential.
There is no reason for slaughterhouses, of factory farms, etc in -my- version of NAP. I also would not destroy them, I’m not crazy. Would I like to see the world transition into veganism? Of course. Would I do anything to force it? No.

Yes, I do understand the mental partition I have set up. If I would protect a person from a bear, would I protect a bear from a human? That is not an easy answer, and the only one I could give is, yes. By education.

Until next time, be kind, be free.