Archive for politics

US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ruling to decimate 3 endangered species!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by The Center Shot

January 5th, 2012, Washington, DC – Under pressure from animal rights activists, anti-hunting groups and environmentlists the US Fish & Wildlife Service announced a ruling (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-05/pdf/2012-23.pdf) that will decimate the the US populations of 3 endangered antelope species from north Africa- the scimitar-horned oryx, the dama gazelle and the addax . The ruling will remove an exemption from the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Since 2005 USFWS had exempted these 3 species from certain requirements of the Endangered Species Act (1973) and allowed US captive-bred animals of these species to be sport-hunted. As a result of the 2005 exemption, the numbers of these 3 species, particularly the scimitar-horned oryx, have exploded in the US.

Ranchers, hunters and hunting-based conservation groups, like the Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA) and Safari Club International (SCI) recognized the symbiotic relationship between conservation and hunting. As a result, ranchers began stocking and breeding these species and funded it through hunting. The interest in hunting these species spurred an ever-increasing number of landowners (particularly in Texas) to join in the effort to breed these marvelous animals, with resounding success. In fact, the vast majority of the world’s remaining members of these species are located on and have been bred by these hunting ranches.

The new ruling, which will prevent these ranches from deciding on which animals to remove from their herd, will require a difficult permitting system for each animal they want to harvest. This difficult, complicated and fickle permitting system already exists for the endangered barasingha deer and is the reason that most hunting ranches won’t stock or breed the barasingha. Consequently the barasingha hasn’t seen a significant increase in its US held population, like the Oryx has. In reaction to this new ruling, ranchers that stock scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle are scrambling to drastically reduce or, in many cases, eliminate, the numbers of these species on their properties before the ruling takes effect April 5, 2012.

The problem is, these large animals compete with native wildlife and traditional livestock. If ranchers don’t have the freedom to cull their numbers to maintain a healthy balance on their properties, they are not willing to stock an animal that has the potential to devastate their wildlife, habitat and livestock. Additionally, the new rules remove much of the financial incentive to breed and stock these antelope. Because exotic species ranchers have witnessed the difficulties of obtaining the federal permits to harvest, or “cull,” excess animals with species like the barasingha deer, they recognize that this will be the case, after April 4, with the Oryx, addax and dama gazelle. It’s with a heavy heart and no small amount of consternation or reluctance that these ranchers are already eliminating animals that they wish they could keep.

The most unfortunate thing about this new ruling is that it was made under the guise of “protecting” these majestic and endangered species and that the ACTUAL result is going to be the near extinction of these very species. Once it is done, a reversal of the ruling will serve no purpose as the animals, the only really viable herds on the planet, will already have been destroyed. Everyone involved in exotic species ranching and game conservation is at a loss to understand the wisdom behind a ruling with such devastating consequences.

Clearly, politics reign supreme and there’s no common sense at the USFWS.

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Celebrities like Bill Maher are disingenuous and deceptive – they have no business talking politics

Posted in Political/Social Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2011 by The Center Shot

I’m so sick of watching Hollywood actors, musicians, professional athletes and other celebrities talk about the economy, the debt ceiling and other issues that they know so little about and which don’t have any real effect on them anyway! Have you ever noticed how sympathetic they are, supposedly, to “the poor” and how antagonistic they are (in general) to the “wealthy?” Have you ever noticed how their (public) animosity is directed at corporate America and the conservative viewpoint and politics?

I just finished watching Bill Maher (host of Politically Incorrect on HBO) on the Piers Morgan Show on CNN. As usual, Maher’s comments were decidedly left-wing; deriding conservative (and most economist’s) beliefs that jobs are created by successful people and that when you increase taxes on those who own or invest in companies (thus cutting their available investment capital), the result is fewer jobs. Time and time again, Maher’s crass commentary hammered on everything conservative and corporate and espoused only the furthest left-wing beliefs. He even referred to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman as “MILFs.” This is nothing but naked personal hatred and ‘shock talk’ that is rude and totally inappropriate for any serious and substantive discussion. It’s not funny and is not something that should be said about ANYONE. It was a derogatory comment that was only designed to engender the further support of other ‘haters’ that identify with Maher’s extremist views and inflammatory rhetoric. Maher can’t abide or respect others’ right to their own (opposing) beliefs and he regularly ridicules people for their beliefs- in direct contradiction to the very “tolerance” that he pretends to advocate.

I just don’t get it. Why is anyone even listening to this guy or ANY of these other people who’s sole qualification for getting air time is being a celebrity? Are we really living in a world where any “celebrity” can become a political or social pundit simply because of their fame? Wouldn’t it make more sense to, at least, listen to people who’s professional expertise has SOME relevance to the subject? What makes someone like Bill Maher’s opinion about political issues any more sensible or valid than yours or mine or anyone else? I submit that Maher’s, and most other celebrities’ (like many of his guests), opinions and views have EVEN LESS validity than yours or mine. Think about  it- celebrities like Bill Mar are extremely wealthy and are paid outrageous salaries for very little of what most of us would consider “work;” and very few of them have spent any significant time in the general workforce. I don’t begrudge them their talent and good fortune but I DO have a problem with them: 

A. pretending that they are “in touch” with the average American. They aren’t. In fact, if you really think about it, the bubble they live in likely makes them LESS “in touch” than even the politicians in Washington! 

B. acting like, because they are a celebrity or a member of the Hollywood elite, they are somehow qualified to speak about political and social issues outside their expertise and personal experience; and that they are somehow smarter than the rest of us. They aren’t. 

C. acting like they really care about the lives of the poor and of average Americans. They don’t.

D. acting like, somehow, their celebrity status makes them privy to information that the rest of us aren’t. They’re not.

If these people are really as concerned about the poor as they claim, why don’t they do more to help them? Let’s take Bill Maher, for example. His net worth is somewhere around $23 million. If he was REALLY as socialistic as he claims, why not give away $10-15 million directly to some poor families to get them homes and job training and get them self-sufficient? Since Maher believes that families making $250,000 a year are rich, SURELY the remaining $3-8 million would be more than enough for him to comfortably live on! I’m sure he does donate to plenty of charities but I’m also willing to bet that the amount he donates is determined by his accountant that makes the most of these donations (as deductions) on his tax forms; and I’ll bet he takes advantage of EVERY loophole in the tax code that’s available to him. There’s ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with doing this; but there IS something wrong with doing it and then espousing socialist beliefs and acting like you’re on the side of poor and middle class Americans- it’s just plain dishonest. All this is nothing more than a ploy to make people like them more which increases the popularity of their shows/projects; which, in turn, puts more money in their pockets and in the pockets of the corporations that produce their shows, projects, events, books, etc.! Have you ever heard any of these folks (or anyone on the left) attack the corporations that produce entertainment (film, professional sports, music, etc) that earn HUNDREDS of millions, and even billions, of dollars annually? How about the outrageous salaries that are paid to movie stars, professional athletes and recording artists that are all made directly off the backs of “average” and poor Americans? Celebrities on the left, and the left in general, love to harp on corporations like oil companies for their “outrageous” profits while their OWN industry makes enormous profits off the poorest Americans seeking an ‘escape’ and while paying entertainers and their own executives salaries that exceed most corporate salaries in the very industries they decry! I’m not saying THEY don’t believe their own hype – I’m sure many of them do and are sincere on some level – but they are deluding themselves and their fans into a belief that they don’t, themselves, live by; and which is basically nothing more than a sales tactic of telling people what they WANT to hear in order to increase their popularity and fan base which, inevitably, lines their own pockets.

Think about it. If these entertainers are SO concerned about the poor, why don’t they donate more of their MULTI million dollar salaries? Do they really need TENS of millions of dollars a year to live comfortably? If they are SO outraged by corporate salaries and bonuses, why do they work so hard to negotiate movie deals, record deals and salaries in the TENS, and sometimes HUNDREDS, of millions of dollars? Where is the public’s outrage at these excessive incomes? I just don’t understand people. Compare a CEO of a oil company that works 16-18 hours a day, 6-7 days a week running a company that employs tens of thousands of people all over the globe and invests billions of dollars in research and exploration with someone who ACTS and looks good in front of a camera; or with someone who runs around a field for an hour a week and works out in a gym all week. WHO WORKS MORE and CONTRIBUTES MORE to society? The CEO gets called a “fat cat” while the actors, musicians and athletes get called “celebrities.” Don’t you see the hypocrisy? Where is the public outrage at celebrity incomes that have gotten completely ridiculous? People complain about a $3.50 gallon of gas like the world is coming to an end and the oil companies are run by Satan himself; but they don’t say a word about the $15 price of a movie ticket and the $20 price tag of a soda, bucket of popcorn and a hot dog inside the theater! THEN, these same people tune in to watch their favorite celebrity ‘school’ them on political issues and social debates.  That’s just crazy.

 We’re facing crisis’ in this country that may well determine whether we continue to be the greatest nation on earth. The decisions we make, as a nation, will determine our’s, our children and grandchildren’s future. We simply can’t afford to remain complacent and lazy (as we have been for generations) and expect things to work out “ok” simply because they always have, until now. The fact that entertainers have found a voice in the political and social debates of our time is a “symptom” of our problem- they’re not the disease. WE have allowed “news” and “entertainment” to merge through our laziness and complacency; and we’ve hidden it behind phrases like “frustration with the status quo,” “my vote doesn’t count” and “I can’t do anything about it.” We USED to get the straight news from real journalists that simply told us what ‘was’ instead of injecting opinion and analysis into everything; and WE (as a nation) made a decision on what to do about it. And we usually made pretty good decisions.  Since we can’t get plain old straight news any more, it’s INCUMBENT on US to each do our due diligence and research BOTH sides of each issue impartially; and to make the HARD decisions, ON OUR OWN, to get our country back on track – even if it’s not the decision we WANT to make or that we LIKE. It’s time we stopped “looking out for #1” and only for, “those we love” and start making decisions for the nation as a WHOLE – even if it hurts us individually or some of those we love or care about. As painful as this will be for all of us, it’s our only hope. Politicians’ pandering to our “wants” and desires instead of only what we “need” (and can ACTUALLY afford) is how we got into this mess. We don’t have that luxury any more if we want to continue to be the great nation we’ve been, despite what the “celebrities” will tell you. What do THEY care, really? They have enough money that they never have to worry about THEIR future, no matter what happens to this country or to the rest of US.

Come on America, WAKE UP! Please stop listening to and watching entertainers who engage in trying to convince you of a particular political or social viewpoint. START doing some OBJECTIVE research of BOTH sides of issues/debates to come up with YOUR OWN position. They may have a clever and humorous way of phrasing something, and they may be nice to look at or admirable in their athletic prowess, but their knowledge, understanding and information about political and social issues is NO more valid than the average American. Getting information from celebrities, or using them as a news source to help you formulate your own stance on an important issue, is like asking a stock boy for investment advice. Sure, you may get lucky once in a while but, if you bet your financial future on it, odds are you’ll end up broke!

If you’re going to hate the rich, then AT LEAST be consistent and focus an equal portion of your hatred at celebrities who actually get paid more FOR LESS than anyone. If you’re going to advocate regulation of corporate salaries, bonuses, profits and pricing for oil companies (and other industries) then also advocate for the same regulation of the entertainment industries! If you do, and these “entertainers” start seeing their own “fat” wallets getting targeted, watch how fast they change their ‘tunes.’ Personally, I’d LOVE to be able to go enjoy a movie for $5 again- like when I was a kid!