PETA is a lousy god.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been controversial for some time even amongst vegans and animal rights activists for its ads which treat women as meat, but there has also been a campaign supported by the meat industry denouncing PETA for killing animals.

It is certainly clear that PETA shows a lot more female skin than male skin in its ads, apparently to attract especially the attention of a particular age group within a particular gender. But what is even more disturbing is to see reliable evidence, at least in Virginia in 2006, backing claims that PETA kills many more animals than it finds homes for.

Animal rights activists, presumably including PETA, criticize speciesism, which values humans more highly than animals. Accordingly, a correct conclusion to fears that no-kill shelters may drive animals insane is to refrain from keeping animals in captivity. It is to understand that humans neither have the right nor the righteousness to decide for animals whether they should live or die. And it is to understand that humans have neither the right nor the righteousness to decide for animals the conditions of their existence.

It appears, however, that PETA has drawn the opposite conclusion. PETA will assume the authority to decide these matters for animals, presumably because it believes that humans have a greater mental capacity than animals and an ability to weigh their potential suffering against their will to live. But such an assumption is inherently speciesist; it is to take on the role of a god. And at least in the case of PETA in Virginia in 2006, it is to rationalize a genocide.

(UPDATE: PETA’s practice of euthanasia in Virginia in 2006 appears to be systematic rather than exceptional.)

I told you so

Since Barack Obama repudiated the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, effectively denying the truth of Wright’s criticisms, I have warned that Obama was playing what, in “Message to the Grassroots”, Malcolm X called a “house negro” to what he called a “field negro.” Al Qaeda later echoed my criticism; I do not know if they had read my blog.

So fast forward a few months, in which we have seen Obama choose a series of regressive advisors and cabinet members, leading Glenn Greenwald to write, “It was [progressives’] own desires, their eagerness to see what they wanted to see rather than what reality offered.” Obama has reaffirmed signing statements but promised not to abuse them. He chose to have the Supreme Court dismiss a challenge rather than face a review of Bush’s claimed authority to indefinitely detain legal US residents as “enemy combatants,” even as he chose to stop using the term, “enemy combatant.” His Iraqi puppet Nouri al-Maliki has now explained after a much-lauded agreement to withdraw all US troops, that some will stay, even as Obama has promoted an Afghan surge despite the fact that US troops contribute to insecurity rather than to security.

Obama’s policies are looking a lot like Bush’s, even if they appear to be put forth with the bit more intelligence we should expect of a former law professor. That facade of intelligence is fading fast as his advisors now pretend that the fundamentals of the economy are sound as if they had not mocked similar words from the Bush administration and from ex-candidate John McCain and as they appear powerless to prevent AIG from paying out $165 million in bonuses to those who bear some responsibility for the financial part of the economic mess we’re in.

Even as I have applauded Gore Vidal for saying that in the United States, we have a one-party system, “the property party,” with “two right wings,” even as I have criticized the limited differences between the Democratic and Republican factions, with the Democrats having enabled Bush administration policies even after voters handed them control of Congress in 2006 with an explicit mandate to end the Iraq War, I must confess disappointment.

I told you so. I was not wrong. I just wish I were.