FILE – A marijuana bud is seen before harvesting at a rural area near Corvallis, Ore., on Sept. 30, 2016. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is pardoning an estimated 45,000 people convicted of simple possession of marijuana, a month after President Joe Biden did the same under federal law. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday she is pardoning an estimated 45,000 people convicted of simple possession of marijuana, a month after President Joe Biden did the same under federal law.
“No one deserves to be forever saddled with the impacts of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana — a crime that is no longer on the books in Oregon,” said Brown, who is also forgiving more than $14 million in unpaid fines and fees.
Biden has been calling on governors to issue pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offenses, which reflect the vast majority of marijuana possession cases. Biden’s pardon applies to those convicted under federal law and thousands convicted in the District of Columbia.
In recent months, the governors of Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington state have taken steps to grant pardons to those with low-level marijuana convictions, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.
Several states, including California, Illinois, and New Jersey automatically review criminal cannabis convictions and expunge past records. In other jurisdictions, eligible persons must petition the courts for a review.
Target: Kevin Shea, Administrator, U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Goal: Demand zoos use only rescued animals for human display.
Zoos can be a wonderful place to visit. They give us exposure to animals we may never see otherwise in real life. Through these experiences, people can learn more about all the creatures found on the planet and their habits and connections to one another. Zoos also offer opportunities for animals who are endangered or injured and will not survive in the wild. Not only does this give us a chance to fulfill curiosity about other creatures, it gives those animals a second chance at life.
Unfortunately, zoos do not operate so altruistically. Out of the estimated 800,000 animals in zoos, those that are bred in captivity also end up behind bars with generations after them never getting to run free. While it is understandable zoos have an invested interest in staying stocked with animals, they should not lose sight of their goal to operate in the best interest of wildlife under their supervision. Using all or mostly animals rescued from unsafe circumstances is the best way to improve zoo operations.
Rescued animals can include those that are injured or healthy animals close to extinction. Injured animals who may die in the wild can live safely in captivity given they have care sympathetic to the adjustment from their natural habitat. Those facing extinction can be protected, too, chiefly in the event any safely bred in zoos are correctly reintroduced to the wild. According to PETA, animals facing extinction only make up 18% of those in zoos, evidence there is much work to be done to make these establishments a place to sustain species the world may lose otherwise.
Sign the petition below to urge Administrator Shea towards an understanding for how important it is for zoos to be about animal conservation, not just human recreation.
Dear Administrator Shea,
Every year, animal welfare is more important to people than in previous generations. U.S. zoos have always operated on a platform revolving around conservation, though not much has been done to improve animal welfare efforts at a reasonable pace. Their cages are stocked with wildlife that may not need human help whether from injury or endangerment. Those who do face extinction are bred more for entertainment rather than their survival. This is where APHIS needs to step in.
Because zoos will always be popular for children and interested adults alike, they still can survive with a shift in business model. Plenty of animals with permanent injury can be sourced from the wild and nurtured in captivity given fair and understanding care. In addition, with more animals facing endangerment and extinction every day, zoos have a fabulous chance to not only facilitate the survival of these poor creatures, but maintain a population for people to enjoy and learn about. Remember, zoos are first and foremost for the animals.
We urge you to reevaluate the guidelines governing zoos and to enforce a more animal-centric approach to their operation.
Goal: Stop rewarding abusive roadside zoos for confining wild animals.
Roadside zoos are disgusting institutions that capitalize on the suffering of sentient wild animals. Animals ranging from tigers and bears to lemurs and monkeys are kept in small, filthy cages that encompass a mere percentage of what their natural habitats in the wild would be. Often, these animals are kept alone, entirely isolated from the rest of their kin and denied access to mental stimulation and social inclinations. They are fed inadequate food, given dirty water, and receive little to no veterinary care, even when they are sick or injured.
Still, roadside zoos are somehow legal—and even encouraged—in much of the United States. Early in July of 2022, for example, North Carolina passed a bill that would exempt certain roadside zoo owners from having to pay sales tax on items for the zoo. This bill covers items used in the housing, raising, and feeding of animals for public display, in essence subsidizing the cruel confinement of these wild creatures.
Sign this petition to demand North Carolina stop rewarding the cruel capture, breeding, and display of wild animals at roadside zoos.
Dear Governor Cooper,
Animals in roadside zoos endure extreme physical and psychological suffering. Tigers, monkeys, bears, and others are often stolen from their natural habitats and thrown in barren cages that are much too small. They are often kept alone, isolated from their friends and kin, and are fed inadequate food and water. Even so, North Carolina just signed a bill that would exempt certain roadside zoo owners from having to pay a sales tax on all required housing, raising, and feeding items, essentially subsidizing the cruel confinement of wildlife.
We are asking you, Mr. Cooper, to stop incentivizing abusive roadside zoos and, instead, focus legislative efforts on animal conservation.
.@RepMTG: "I think the American people and the taxpayers of this country deserve to know why the Biden administration and this Congress is so interested in funding the protection of Ukraine's border, and not the protection of our border." pic.twitter.com/0cGkTNyoJx
Three days after Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a legally dubious invocation of the “invasion clause” of the U.S. and Texas constitutions over the high number of migrant encounters at the Texas-Mexico border, his border mission is set to include armored personnel carriers designed to carry troops into battle alongside tanks, according to a planning document obtained by Army Times and The Texas Tribune.
The order issued Thursday by Texas Military Department officials to the headquarters overseeing Operation Lone Star reveals that the National Guard will soon deploy 10 M113 armored personnel carrier vehicles to the border.
According to the order, around 50 soldiers will be trained to operate the vehicles, and state officials will identify 10 positions to station them along the border.
The Texas Military Department said in a written statement Friday that in addition to the 10 armored vehicles, the Texas National Guard is increasing “aircraft flights and security efforts” on the border.
“These actions are part of a larger strategy to use every available tool to fight back against the record-breaking level of illegal immigration,” the department said. “The Texas National Guard is taking unprecedented measures to safeguard our border and to repel and turn-back immigrants trying to cross the border illegally.”
Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Armored personnel carriers like the M113 are designed to carry infantry troops across modern battlefields alongside tanks. They can be equipped with a range of weapons: heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, antitank missiles or even large cannons similar to those mounted on tanks. It’s not clear what weapons, if any, will be on the Texas Guard’s M113s at the border.
Such vehicles are by definition bulletproof and can withstand small explosions. In the civilian world, lighter, wheeled armored personnel carriers are sometimes used to carry police SWAT teams.
Lovingly known as the “battle taxi” by Army troops, the Vietnam-era M113 features tracks instead of wheels, leading observers to sometimes confuse them for tanks. Tracks allow heavy armored vehicles to traverse difficult terrain — such as ditches or muddy areas — with a lower risk of becoming stuck.
The U.S. has sent 200 of the aging vehicles to Ukraine to support that country’s fight against invading Russians.
It’s not clear why the Texas Military Department plans to deploy the vehicles to the border. Since Operation Lone Star began, the agency has not publicly acknowledged any incidents in which the protection provided by the more nimble Humvee vehicles deployed there was inadequate.
The move didn’t surprise Fernando García, the executive director and founder of the Border Network for Human Rights, who said Abbott is “trying to justify the narrative of the invasion” by casting asylum seekers and migrants seeking opportunities as violent criminals.
“For [Abbott] it’s easy to say there’s an invasion, and send troops to the border with a potential consequence of a major situation of human rights violations,” García said.
Since Operation Lone Star began, the number of migrants apprehended along the Texas-Mexico border has increased despite the expenditure of $4 billion and the involuntary deployment of up to 6,500 Texas Military Department troops.
In recent months, the military department has taken steps to address soldiers’ concerns and slowly reduced the number of troops on the border. Three of the department’s top leaders also abruptly departed the agency in March and April.
Ten soldiers linked to the mission have died since September 2021, all via accident or suicide.
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. —Soren Kierkegaard. "...truth is true even if nobody believes it, and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. That is why truth does not yield to opinion, fashion, numbers, office, or sincerity--it is simply true and that is the end of it" - Os Guinness, Time for Truth, pg.39. “He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
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