Injustice of US Travel Ban / Muslim ban

“To defeat Trumpism will take an extraordinary popular resistance”
Owen Jones

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Petitions and other suggested actions further down.

Muslims, refugees, immigrants, caring people from all over the world stand with you. The above protest took place here in the UK, in Newcastle.  Also In Edinbergh,Cardiff, London  and other cities across the UK and worldwide

In London many many thousands took to the streets:
Donald Trump Protest Attracts Tens Of Thousands To Downing Street And UK Cities
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/30/donald-trump-resistance-protests-travel-ban-opposition?CMP=share_btn_tw

The world is in turmoil because of one man, extraordinary times indeed when one person can unleash so much misery and suffering on millions of people and plunge the whole world into chaos simply by signing a piece of paper. How is this democracy?   Trump signs these executive orders and they are simply carried out, though there is growing resistance such as the mayors of several big cites who have said they will defy Trumps Executive order that threatens to cut off federal funding to cities which offer protection to undocumented immigrants in their communities.

The travel ban affects refugees and people from Muslim-majority countries.

People from the following countries, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen have been banned entry into the USA for 90 days. The order also bans refugees from entry for 120 days and Syrian refugees have been banned indefinitely.

The consequences have been distressing in the extreme for anyone affected including legal residents

What you need to know about Trump’s travel ban

Is this a Muslim ban? Trump’s executive order explained
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/28/trump-immigration-ban-syria-muslims-reaction-lawsuits

The ban has torn families apart, unless you are personally affected you cannot imagine the misery and despair. Refugees who have already experienced so much horror in their lives must now live in dread and insecurity, the lack of compassion on this man’s part is astounding.

Here are the stories of some of those affected

Trump travel ban: people’s stories from US and around the world

“If I go back to Syria I have to join the army and I would have to shoot or be shot. I want to go to America to have a decent, safe life for my family, and be somewhere I can continue my studies and have a future. Now I feel offended because [Trump’s] decision is specifically targeting Muslims.

I used to think America was an open-minded country with an open-minded government; but now I’ve seen it’s a racist government, and I can’t raise my children in a racist society so I’m rethinking my decision. Trump’s order must be challenged.”

Mohammed: Syrian Refugee

Read more stories:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/29/trump-travel-ban-peoples-stories-from-us-and-around-the-world

‘I haven’t seen Dad in 11 years’: Teenager’s Iranian father blocked from coming to the U.S. for her 16th birthday – because of President Trump’s Muslim visa ban

Read More:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4170482/Donald-Trump-Muslim-travel-ban-US.html

The ban is shocking and inhumane. Furthermore it is sickening that our PM Teresa May did not speak out and condemn Trump’s actions. Unless we speak out all of us, including politicians, things will only get worse and these grave social injustices will be embedded in our society, normalised and unchallenged. We must keep up the momentum even if there is little we can do other than voice our opinion by signing petitions, writing letters and e-mail, making phone calls, tweeting, blogging and if you can, taking to the streets and joining any of the demonstrations worldwide, anything to protest this great social injustice.

Actions you can take

Take to the streets protest protest protest

It is astonishing how quickly huge numbers of people can be alerted to take part in demonstrations as a result of social media.Read How one woman’s Facebook post spurred massive airport protests after Trump’s Muslim ban

The following Hashtags may prove useful

For further information about demonstrations and protests check out the hashtag   set up by Owen Jones.  Also see  #trumpprotest    

Below are a number of petitions you many wish to sign relating to Trump’s ban on people from Muslim countries and other related issues.

Petitions

This petition to stop Trumps state visit has  at the time of writing 1,664,388  signatures just a couple of  days after it was launched

Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928TrumpBan please keep signing to let the government know how we feel about this outrage. Unfortunately this petition may only be signed by UK citizens or people resident in the UK.

All the petitions petitions below may be signed by anyone world wide so please add your name and share.

Please add your name to the following :

From AVAAZ

Global Open Letter to Donald

“With the Muslim ban, Trump has shown that the worst fears about his Presidency are true.

This is the start. He’s threatening to tear down international agreements. He’s threatened to start a nuclear arms race. Didn’t believe it before? Believe it now.

And this is happening in all our countries. We must build the global movement to stop it. Over 3 million have already signed the open letter, below, from the world to Trump, and it’s been covered across major media. Today it becomes a symbol of resistance. Help it become an even more powerful message — forward it widely and sign below:

Dear Mr. Trump,

This is not what greatness looks like.

The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you.

Facing your fear we choose compassion. Hearing your despair we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance we choose understanding.

As citizens of the world, we stand united against your brand of division.”

Add your name by clicking the link below, please share widely

https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/trump_muslim_ban_letter_sgnr_rb/?bMsmGdb&v=87468&cl=11750357671&_checksum=c2a9a7a301209a04323eb45490e044ca6d06dcf7e7de0d94a689ea65e456a7cb

Over 3 million signatures already please help to reach the 4, million signature target and more.

Sign George Takei’s Petition: Stand Up for Muslims in the U.S.

“When I was just 5, my family was rounded up at gunpoint and forced from our home in Los Angeles into an internment camp. We were prisoners in our own country, held within barbed wire compounds, armed guards pointing guns down at us. It was an egregious violation of our rights under the U.S. Constitution, all in the name of “security.” During that time, fear and racism drove government policy, creating a living hell for over 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans, most of whom were U.S. citizens.

I have spent my life trying to ensure something like this never happens again. But dark clouds once more are gathering. A Trump spokesperson recently stated the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II “sets a precedent” for Trump to do the same today. And Trump continues to stand by his plans to establish a Muslim registry and ban immigrants from “certain” Muslim countries from the U.S. It starts with a registry, with restrictions, with irrationally ascribed guilt, and with fear. But we know well where it might lead.”

Please sign this petition to let the Muslim community know you support them and oppose any policy targeting them based on their religion or national origin. Help send a message to Trump and his ilk that this will never again happen in America.

Please read more and sign the petition

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/882/936/102/sign-george-takeis-petition-against-the-internment-of-muslims-in-the-u.s./

Contact the White House

Why not e-mail the White and make your protest

https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Or e-mail  Trump directly
https://www.donaldjtrump.com/contact

There is no justification for this ban, at least no ethical justification. Even considering the tragedy of 9/11 it is still extremely unlikely to die as a result of terrorism. You are more likely to die in the USA from lack of medical care, a situation that is set to get worse as Trump seeks to repeal Obama Care. It’s estimated there are between 20,000 and 45,000 deaths a year due to lack of health insurance. I am not saying that numbers count, for each person who died in 9/11 and other terrorist attacks and their relatives and loved ones it is of course a tragedy and if the death of anyone for any reason can be prevented all the better . But it is important to get a perspective. Under Trump more people will die because they cannot afford medical treatment than are likely to die as a result of terrorism.

According to an article in the Washington Post you are more likely to die from being Crushed by Furniture than from a terrorist attack:

“In the United States, an individual’s likelihood of being hurt or killed by a terrorist (whether an Islamist radical or some other variety) is negligible.

Consider, for instance, that since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have been no more likely to die at the hands of terrorists than being crushed to death by unstable televisions and furniture. Meanwhile, in the time it has taken you to read until this point, at least one American has died from a heart attack. Within the hour, a fellow citizen will have died from skin cancer. Roughly five minutes after that, a military veteran will commit suicide. And by the time you turn the lights off to sleep this evening, somewhere around 100 Americans will have died throughout the day in vehicular accidents – the equivalent of “a plane full of people crashing, killing everyone on board, every single day.” Daniel Kahneman, professor emeritus at Princeton University, has observed that “[e]ven in countries that have been targets of intensive terror campaigns, such as Israel, the weekly number of casualties almost never [comes] close to the number of traffic deaths.”

Continue Reading the  full article:

You’re more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/11/23/youre-more-likely-to-be-fatally-crushed-by-furniture-than-killed-by-a-terrorist/?utm_term=.6683cd427585

Also see

Syrian Refugees Are Not a Risk to America
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-james-clark/syrian-refugees-and-the-r_b_9111374.html

Trumps measures are extreme, cruel inhumane and should be vigorous protested.

While Trumps actions are shocking in the extreme, it is nevertheless heartening to see how many people care, how many people reject his policies of bigotry, hate and discrimination. Lets hope with enough determination Trump can be thwarted.

Keep in mind other damming executive orders which need to be vigorously challenged:

The approval of Dakota Access and Keystone Oil Pipelines.

Dakota Access Pipeline explained: What is it, why are people protesting it and what happens next?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/dakota-access-pipeline-facts-explained-pros-cons-protests-what-next-a7544451.html

“Donald Trump signs executive actions to push through Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines

Accompanied by his exclusively white staff, Trump signed the orders that will affect Native American land”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-push-forward-dakota-access-keystone-xl-pipelines-standing-rock-protest-executive-orders-a7543711.html

The Mexican Border wall

Every US household will pay $120 for the border wall if Mexico does not reimburse the cost
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-households-mexican-border-wall-president-donald-trump-mexico-enrique-pena-nieto-national-debt-a7550426.html

The wall is not only a detriment to Mexico but also to the environment and endangered animals

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/donald-trump-great-wall-mexican-border-damage-environment-insane-self-sabotage-wildlife-mexico-a7548861.html

Repeal of Obama Care ( Affordable care)

Poor, minorities, unemployed most likely to lose insurance if Obamacare is repealed
http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/20/14336470/obamacare-affordable-care-act-health-insurance-republicans-poor-unemployed-minorities

What would the impact be if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/jan/05/what-would-be-impact-if-affordable-care-act-repeal/

 

 

 

 

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UK Poverty: More Than I Million People are Living in Destituion

“It is simply unacceptable to see such levels of severe poverty in our country in the 21st century. Governments of all stripes have failed to protect people at the bottom of the income scale from the effects of severe poverty, leaving many unable to feed, clothe or house themselves and their families.”
Julia Unwin, chief executive of JRF

I wrote most of this last May but from the look of things nothing has improved and in fact is likely to get worse concerning poverty. Frankly there are times when I wonder is it worth writing about any of the awful circumstances that prevail in the UK, however with the events of this year, namely the disastrous outcome of Brexit and even more disastrous election of Donald Trump, about which I will have plenty to say another time, issues such as poverty, welfare reforms, including the injustices of the treatment of the disabled and benefit sanctions, seem to have faded into the back ground and rarely reported in the main stream media. So it is perhaps worthwhile to mention these injustices even if such reminders are seen by relatively few people.

We must never forget that poverty is a reality here in the UK

From a group of ten children as many as four or five will be living in poverty

The author of the article below describes the situation as a “… loss of empathy taking hold of this country “

A generation of UK children will suffer in poverty. Suddenly that’s normal

“Nearly half of children are now living in poverty in some parts of the UK, research by the End Child Poverty coalition has found. It’s worth pausing on that. In an era of rising rents, low wages and benefit freezes and cuts, go to a playground in many areas of this country – think Birmingham, Manchester, or London – and out of a group of 10 boys and girls, four or five of them will be in poverty.”

“Nothing has got better – in fact, the number of children living in poverty increased by 200,000 over the past year – and the truth is, things are only going to get worse. The UK is set for the biggest increase in child poverty in a generation, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies projecting that relative child poverty will rise by a staggering 50% by 2020.”

“We mourn a loss of empathy taking hold of this country – and watch this week, as the world appeared to get a little darker. The attitude to child poverty is now part of it. No politician stands up and claims to be for child poverty. No voter is pro-hungry 7-year-olds or shivering newborn babies.”

Continue reading:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/10/uk-children-suffer-child-poverty-crisis

Here in the sixth richest country in the world there are thousands of people who do not have enough food to eat or the money to keep warm and dry.

Why you might ask?

The simple answer is the government does not care, not only does it not care it has intentionally caused poverty to increase as a result of its polices of greed which serve the rich at the expense of the poor. With the continuous cutting of benefits to the sick, disabled and the unemployed, the reduction of workers rights, the introduction of zero contracts and low wages it is no surprise that there are many many people living in misery and poverty.

During 1015 184,500  thousand households had to rely of charities for food, toiletries, cloths and shelter

“More than three-quarters of destitute people reported going without meals, while more than half were unable to heat their home. Destitution affected their mental health, left them socially isolated and prone to acute feelings of shame and humiliation.”

Read more:

More than a million people in UK living in destitution, study shows
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/27/million-people-uk-living-destitution-joseph-rowntree-foundation

A third of the UK live below the poverty line

Third of UK population ‘fell below the poverty line’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32812601

Among the numbers of people living in destitution are sick and disabled people. No not just a small number often described as slipping though the cracks but thousands of disadvantaged suffering people, people too sick or disabled to work, people who have faced the full force of the government’s austerity measures in the form of vicious cuts to benefits.

Hundreds of thousands of disabled people in Britain destitute – report

“Hundreds of thousands of disabled people in Britain are forced to live in destitution and are unable to afford basic requirements such as food, shelter and clothing, the UK’s first study examining extreme poverty suggests.”

Read more:
https://www.rt.com/uk/341358-destitute-poverty-thousands-uk-disabilities/

Thousands of children are having their lives blighted by poverty both now and in the future

Here are some of their stories

Note the comment in the description which follows the video on You Tube:

“3.5 million children are growing up in poverty in the UK. It’s one of the worst rates in the industrialised world and successive governments continue to struggle to bring it into line. Struggling & without a voice, ‘Poor Kids’ shines a light on this pressing issue.”

Again the misconception that governments struggle to bring it into line

In reality the Tory government have added to the situation with benefits cuts and other austerities.

According to the UN the situation regarding inequality among children in the UK is now so bad that it is  “behind some much poorer nations in achieving parity between rich and poor on health and educational outcomes, and warned over the likely impact of future welfare cuts.

The Unicef report, Fairness for Children, emphasised the importance of a strong welfare system in reducing inequality – and carried a strong suggestion that the Government should reconsider its cuts to benefits.

The UK ranked 25th out of 37 wealthy countries covered by the report – behind Poland, Romania and Slovenia – for its equality levels in children’s reading, maths and science skills at age 15.

Read More:

Britain ‘lagging behind developed world’ on child poverty, Unicef report reveals

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-lagging-behind-developed-world-on-child-poverty-unicef-report-reveals-a6983291.html

UNICEF reveals ‘depressing’ level of UK child poverty

“Britain has been criticised by the UN, after new research reveals it is lagging behind much poorer countries on reducing inequalities between rich and poor children.”

Read More:
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/unicef.reveals.depressing.level.of.uk.child.poverty/84017.htm

More than a million live in ‘extreme poverty’ in UK

“Study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation finds more than a million, including 300,000 children, live in destitution.”

Read More:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/million-live-extreme-poverty-uk-160427143528526.html

One-Third Experienced Poverty In Four Years

“Surprising” poverty figures show the annual poverty rate in the UK was higher than in Lithuania, Spain and Poland in 2014.

Read More:
http://news.sky.com/story/1697044/one-third-experienced-poverty-in-four-years

How does this affect Children:

Poverty in the UK jeopardising children’s health, warns landmark report

‘Stark inequalities’ and high rates of child death, obesity and ill-health highlighted amid calls on government to prioritise child health

Children living in the most deprived areas are much more likely to be in poor health, be overweight or obese, suffer from asthma, have poorly managed diabetes, experience mental health problems, and die early, the report shows.

“Poor health in infancy, childhood, and young adult life will ultimately mean poor adult health, and this in turn will mean a blighted life and poor economic productivity. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world; we can and must do better, for the sake for each individual, and that of the nation as a whole,”

Read More:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/25/poverty-in-the-uk-jeopardising-childrens-health-warns-landmark-report

What a shocking situation , here in the UK we live in a country where the choice of food is overwhelming yet out of reach for so many people. Why do we allow people to starve to death, go undernourished in this wealthy country were food is in abundance. It is shameful that we allow children and adults too of course in so-called developing countries to starve, to be without clean water, life saving medication, adequate shelter and a full and meaningful life but when it takes place in a country that has more than enough to feed its population and even throws tons of food away it seems even a more shocking, abusive crime again humanity. By means of benefit cuts, sanctions, low wages the government has deliberately caused the poverty, deprivation and even starvation of vulnerable people who have no means of changing their situation. It’s not about the failure to protect people against poverty, it’s about dismantling the welfare system, abandoning people to a life of deprivation until our towns and cities become filled with homeless destitute people including children. We are supposed to be a developed country yet here we are regressing to a time long forgotten when children roamed the street homeless destitute as where the children in the photograph below of Edwardian England

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There were children living with their families in these desperate situations but there were also numerous, homeless, destitute children living on the streets of London.

It does appear that many people and various agencies were becoming aware of the problem, but the sheer scale of it must have seemed overwhelming.

One of the difficulties in dealing with it were contemporary attitudes:
‘the poor were improvident, they wasted any money they had on drink and gambling’;

Read More:
http://www.hiddenlives.org.uk/articles/poverty.html

No one should starve in this world of plenty here in the UK or elsewhere.  The reason it is happening here is as a result of vile right wing policies that favour the rich and powerful, polices that consider that the reason for existence and the meaning of success is to accrue vast wealth even if it is at the expense of others. A Sad sick society we have become as we turn our backs on our fellow citizens.

Watch the videos below and also check out the new film which made critics at the Cannes film festival cry: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms/film/i_daniel_blake

and write to you MP and state your outrage – please be polite.

Contact your MP:
http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

Or write to the PM:

Contact Teresa May:
 http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/mrs-theresa-may/8

If you have any doubt concerning the situation in the UK regarding hunger please watch the following videos

Hungry Britain? First shown 03/03/14

Panorama’s Darragh MacIntyre investigates the dramatic rise in the number of food banks in Britain”

 

Published on Feb 6, 2016

“A part of Dispatches collection, Breadline Kids asks daring questions about food poverty in the UK, asking children what it’s like to live when the cupboards are bare, and what desperate measures parents go to feed their kids. “

UK: Gap in life expectancy between rich and poor widens for first time since 1870

“The gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poorest in the UK has increased for the first time since the 1870s.

A recent report by the Cass Business School (part of London’s City University) and the International Longevity Centre-UK shows that after a long period in which the effect of social inequality on life expectancy had fallen, this trend has been thrown into reverse. While the population as a whole has a longer life expectancy, the extent to which people have benefited from this is highly dependent on their social class.”

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/05/18/life-m18.html

Please Sign Petition. Tell Congress: Save the sight of millions of Americans who need it the most

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Tell Congress: Save the sight of millions of Americans who need it the most

Make eye care a priority. Save the sight of millions of Americans.

In the U.S, 1 in 4 kids have a vision problem, and nearly 1 in 10 adults suffer from vision loss. But most cases of blindness can be prevented or treated, beginning with a single visit to an eye doctor.

The problem is, not everyone can access care. And because of that, some members of our most vulnerable communities are losing out on more than just their sight.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/285/777/021/?z00m=28792894

When I saw this petition for just an instant I thought it referred to a developing country not the richest country in the world! It is immoral that anyone regardless of where they live loses their sight or struggles with poor vision when there are treatments, medication and in many cases simply the use of glasses that will fix the problem. It is a violation of human rights and surely any medical code of ethics… Anyone’s code of ethics!.

Loosing ones vision is more than not being able to work and contribute to society, it’s about not being able to see this beautiful world, not able to see a sunset, a flower , an animal, the faces of your loved ones. It means being dependent on others, not able to read, write or do much of anything. Blindness is one of the most profound and severe of disabilities. Sight is our most valuable sense. To spend ones life in the dark must be terrible. To leave someone to this fate when something can be done is a crime. For the sake of money 1 in 4 children in the USA either lose their vision or suffer impaired vision as do one in 10 adults. A grave injustice.

Please sign and share the petition, thirty thousand signatures needed before March

Here in the UK health care for the most part is free, you simply book an appointment to see a doctor without the need to worry about payment. However in some cases adults may pay a small fee to see an optician,  about £18 but many adults and most certainly all children do not pay. Frankly I think no one should have to pay for an eye test, any fee however small can be prohibitive if you are on a low income. Our vision is a vital part of our lives and well-being and no one should be denied medication or other intervention to improve or save their eye sight simply because they cannot afford to consult an optician.

It is difficult to imagine what it must be like to have to consider whether or not you can afford to pay for needed medical care including ophthalmic treatment.

If in the USA  it is so difficult to afford, I imagine this is the problem, to see an optician and receive treatment now, what’s it going to be like when Trump repeals Obama care?

Trump threatens to build a wall on the Mexican boarder, the cost of which will be an estimated 12 billion!!!! This money could be better spent providing the citizens of the USA with proper health care such as increasing funds to prevent blindness and poor eyesight in children and adults and “Make eye care a priority” and “Save the sight of millions of Americans.” At the present time according to the petition just $3.8 million is spent on preventive measures.

 

 

Please Sign Petition to Help Stop Using Animals as Throwaway Prizes!

Please sign and share this petition.

Stop using animals as throwaway prizes!

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“Animals can still legally be won as a prize in England. This means someone can take home a pet without any planning or preparation, which ultimately leads to neglect and suffering for many innocent animals. Please sign this petition to demand that Defra follow the lead of Scotland and Wales, and ban the use of animals as prizes in England.”

Please continue reading and sign the petition

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/398/540/461/

Please share widely. Another 4,000 signatures are required.

I find it very disturbing that animals are given away like toys to any Tom Dick or Harry as prices. I admit I have not come across this personally with the exception of fish in plastic bags at fair grounds.  This is a worrying problem that is more prevalent than we might care to think.

Concerning fish as prizes, it matters not if the prize is a fish, a cat or a dog it is still cruel and needs stopping. A fish is a living being like your cat or dog but sadly is not thought of in quite the same way. I hate to see fish in tiny plastic bags handed out at fair grounds, their life hanging in the balance, I imagine many die or are thrown away.

Why Animals Do Not Make Good Gifts

http://www.peta.org/issues/companion-animal-issues/companion-animals-factsheets/animals-make-good-gifts-2/

Letter: A goldfish is a cruel prize

“These fish, are hung up waiting to see what fate awaits them. They live in a minimum amount of water, containing chemicals, possible dangerous to the fish. The water is low in oxygen and these fish try so helplessly to survive in all these poor conditions. However, some of the fish, as seen on the day, just give up and lie dead at the bottom of the bag they used to call home.”

Read more at http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/letters/2012/11/20/letter-a-goldfish-is-a-cruel-prize/#vvIh2vOYFfiT2lWA.99

The problem it appears is not an exclusive one to the England. However many countries now have laws prohibiting this:

http://www.oocities.org/vbiguana/StatePrizeLaws.pdf

I can’t format the above link to open into a new window. You will need to click the back arrow to get back to this blog post.

The UK needs similar laws to protect animals from this type of exploitation with its potential for neglect or even outright cruelty. Time to respect animals as sentient beings not items to be disposed of as we see fit given, away as prizes to suffer an unknown fate.

Please Sign a Petition to Stop the Slaughter of Mountain Hares

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Pleases sign and share the following petition from One Kind

“We care for the mountain hare and call on the Scottish Parliament to urgently introduce greater protection for this iconic species that is native to Scotland.”

Stop the Mountain Hare slaughter

Click the link below for more information and to sign the petition:

http://onekind.scot/campaigns/stop_the_mountain_hare_cull  Please Share

These amazing creatures are being mercilessly slaughtered so that there are more red grouse for the wealthy to shoot come grouse shooting season. While the shooting of these tiny birds is an atrocity in its own right that should no longer be allowed or condoned in any ethical society, it is compounded by the killing of other creatures who may interfere with the numbers of grouse available, for instance, it is feared that hares spread a disease which kills the grouse. Hares are also shot even in the Cairngorms National Park by hunting parties simply for the sadistic thrill of killing a defenceless wild animal. As a result of this barbarity as many as 24,529 hares were killed in Scotland between March 2006 and February 2007. The mentality of such people I have to add is beyond my comprehension.

These animals have a right to their lives as do the grouse as do all animals with whom we share this world. When are we going to stop the wanton killing of defenceless animals. Most of us don’t want this to happen Most people so not know that it happens. So please share this information widely.

 

 

Homelessness

I wrote this back in August, not much has changed for the better.

We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.
Linda Lingle

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Since homelessness has increased by a third since 2010 it is time the government did something about it. It is obvious that the problem of homelessness is much worse since this government came into power, it is time they fixed the problem which they themselves have created or at least made much worse. In the sixth richest country homelessness is a disgrace, an outrage, a grave social injustice that cannot be ignored or tolerated.

In any case in the 21st century no matter where in the world we live no one should be sleeping rough, a home is a basic human right – or at least it should be.

Please sign the following petitions

Parliament: Boost Efforts to Reduce Homelessness in England
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/658/751/153/

Sussex Police: NO to arresting and fining rough sleepers!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/576/913/589/

Stop housing discrimination against homeless people with pets: email your Council leaders
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/120/720/988/stop-housing-discrimination-against-homeless-people-with-pets/ 

Though the petitions relate to the UK please everyone sign. The last petition though may not be available for international signatures.

The latest shocking news below may well not surpise you considering the Tory government’s poor track record on house building, budget cuts which make it more difficult for councils to find suitable homes, and the drastic reduction of benefits leaving many people destitute .

Devastating’ Spike In The Number of Homeless Children In Britain

Over 120,000 children face homeless in Britain, the highest level recorded since 2007, and the equivalent of four children in each school, a new analysis of Government figures shows.

Continue reading

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/devastating-spike-in-homeless-children-in-britain_uk_581a57bfe4b06ab5f04f22bf

Homelessness a worldwide problem

Homelessness is a world-wide problem not only in so-called developing countries but in some of the richest countries in the world

“The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing (Habitat, 2015).”

https://www.homelessworldcup.org/homelessness-statistics/

By now 11 years on these figures are more than likely much higher of course.

Note:  While the Brazilain government spent millions for the Olympic games Official reports say that there were 5,500 people living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and around 15,000 in São Paulo, in 2013 (P. Rio de Janeiro, 2014; P. São Paulo, 2011). However, estimates of street children in Brazil have ranged from 7 to 30 million (UN Habitat, 2000).

These are shocking statistics worldwide considering the vast resources squandered by countries that sponsor events like the Olympic games.

Information about housing and homelessness worldwide

Consider  the  vast cities in China which have sprung up like mushrooms but rather like ghost towns are empty of inhabbitants.

It is not easy to ascertain the extent of homelessness in China

Here is some information
http://gbtimes.com/life/homelessness-china  –

Maybe a little off topic but the last statement in the above article really needs some comment “communist ideologies are made a mockery of every time another picture related to homelessness makes the news”.

I have to say it astounds me concerning the continued ignorance about China’s status as a communist country . China is anything but communist and it is its more capitalist ideologies which has no doubt resulted in an increase in homelessness in relation to its increasing prosperity.

Homelessness in Canada

“Housing: Statistics about homelessness and precarious housing in Canada

  • 3 million Canadian households are precariously housed (living in unaffordable, below standards, and/or overcrowded housing conditions).
  • An estimated 235,000 people in Canada experienced homelessness in 2014, with roughly 35,000 people being homeless on any given night.
  • Almost 1 in every 5 households experience serious housing affordability issues (spending over 50% of their low income on rent) which puts them at risk of homelessness.
  • The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has described the lack of a national housing and homelessness strategy in Canada as a “national emergency”.”

http://www.cwp-csp.ca/poverty/just-the-facts/

Homeless in Australia

There are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless.
http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/index.php/about-homelessness/homeless-statistics – notice the under twelves make up 17% that 17,845.  Though a lower statistic I am shocked that 2 percent 2,028 of homeless people are 75 +

Homelessness in the USA
How many homeless people are there in America?

In 2014 , 1.49 million people used homeless shelters and 578,424 were recorded as being without shelter: sleeping on the streets, in tents, in cars, and other exposed places. Cities completed the 2016 point-in-time count in January.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2016/02/counting-street-sleepers

Homelessness in America
http://america.aljazeera.com/topics/topic/issue/homelessness.html

Read the Stories of some of America’s homeless

Invisible People
https://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/

Homelessness in Scandinavian countries

I don’t know why but the statistics below surprise me, though they are lower than the countries above I had thought that Scandinavian countries had a better track record of social progress and the grave social injustice of being homeless would not be quite the problem that it is. I was wrong.

The number of homeless people in Denmark has increased by 23% since 2009. There are now an estimated 6,138 homeless people nationwide compared to 4,998 in 2009.

Number of homeless people in Denmark on the rise
http://www.west-info.eu/number-of-homeless-people-in-denmark-on-the-rise/

Homelessness In A Welfare State: Perspectives From Copenhagen
http://www.humanityinaction.org/knowledgebase/9-homelessness-in-a-welfare-state-perspectives-from-copenhagen

The Immorality of Grouse Shooting

Again another delayed article, but a reminder of the atrocity of grouse shooting season is something which can be discussed and fought against any time. Firstly apologies for the awful formatting. Not my fault, I have tried for some considerable time to sort it out and it seems that this all too common wordpress glitch will not resolve.

When I was twelve, I went hunting with my father and we shot a bird. He was laying there and something struck me. Why do we call this fun to kill this creature [who] was as happy as I was when I woke up this morning.
Marv Levy
 grose-shooting-appeal-main-image
At the beginning of August my husband and I were in the Yorkshire Dales which is very beautiful at this time of year as the hills are covered with purple heather. All very tranquil except for the sound of gunfire.
The problem is that about the same time of year the four-month long shooting season begins where a small minority of very wealthy people go out onto the moors to shoot grouse. Grouse are tiny birds like the one below who has been shot down from the sky for no other reason than sadistic pleasure. These birds are  bread on the moors for this purpose – more about this later. During August to December they are shot in their thousands, in  2012, 700,000 red grouse were killed during the season,  as day after day shooters use them as live targets.

The Yorkshire Dales of course is not the only locality that provides this obscene form of pleasure to the elite minority, other locations include the Durham Dales, the Yorkshire Moors, Exmoor, in fact any area that has heather moorland.  Throughout the UK since the mid 1800s many areas of heather have been carefully managed to provide grouse for shooting.

 

Indeed there is a dark side to the breathtaking splendor of the heather covered hillsides that so many of us admire and that is, the… heather-rich environment is created because the grouse thrive on young heather shoots. To create fresh young shoots, the heather is burned, which can harm wildlife and damage the environment.

My family and I have enjoyed this breathtaking scenery for many years without knowing the disturbing reasons for its existence.

 

A return trip to the dales in late September and the situation was even worse with three shooting parties in close proximity.

 

The three shooting parties where in short distance from one another and many many birds who were once enjoying the beautiful windy day were shot from the sky for the pleasure of these over privileged psychopaths. I did tell one group what I thought of them along the lines of “you murdering bastards, cowards shooting tiny defenceless birds”. Yes I know I often say that verbal abuse does little good but…well… I get angry, so angry.  It is depressing, and frustrating knowing that there is nothing I could do to stop this as this country (UK) allows the annual barbaric slaughter of these innocent helpless birds. It’s all about money and abhorrent pleasure, shooting parties are charged as much as £10,000 per trip just to shoot these tiny birds. Like many of the awful things that happen in the world it is I fear the acquisition of wealth for the minority that perpetuates this atrocity.  Vast acres of this beautiful landscape are managed in order to accommodate this barbaric pleasure. Notices displayed all over the hills at the commencement of footpaths tell people not to disturb ground nesting birds or in the case of the notice below not to allow dogs except on public footpaths. No not for the welfare of the birds but so that there are more birds for these wicked people to kill every year.

 

grouse-moors

The Yorkshire dales is a popular place for hikers, people like to walk in the hills, myself included, and it is awful to suddenly come across these shooting parties. This aspect of grouse shooting is rarely considered.

The locals accept this blatant cruelty as a way of life, just the way things are and even make light of it. In a local tea room a notice says something a long the lines of: ” It is grouse season, be careful to duck!  Relax with a nice soothing cup of tea.

 

This day in September was a glorious day with sun wind and even a little rain with rainbows but all this was spoiled by the sound of gunfire.

The Yorkshire Dales is a peaceful place and very scenic until you become aware of the awful things that take place there to animals. The shooting season lasts from August 12th until mid December, so for four months of the year these helpless birds are shot down from the skies, walkers and other visitors to the dales are more than likely to meet up with a shooting party and even if you just drive through, stop for a picnic or admire the view you are likely to be confronted by the sound of gun fire and see men – well it is still mostly men- approaching carrying dead grouse.

I loath this time of year in the dales, when you can hear gun shots you know that birds are being killed for no reason other than the perverted pleasure of the over privileged.

Why, why do we allow this barbaric practice to continue. It is a fact the majority of the population oppose grouse shooting, yet it remains.

There has been a recent petition concerning grouse shooting  which gained 125,76 signatures, the number required to force a debate in parliament:
Ban driven grouse shooting

Grouse shooting for ‘sport’ depends on intensive habitat management which increases flood risk and greenhouse gas emissions, relies on killing Foxes, Stoats, Mountain Hares etc in large numbers and often leads to the deliberate illegal killing of protected birds of prey including Hen Harriers.

Driven grouse shooting uses animals for live target practice, with thousands killed every day. Native predators are killed because they eat Red Grouse. Mountain Hares are killed because they carry ticks that can spread diseases to grouse. Heather is burned to increase Red Grouse numbers for shooting. Grouse shooting is economically, ecologically and socially unnecessary. This is ‘canned hunting’.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003  This petition is now closed

The above petition by Scientist Dr Mark Avery supported by the League against Cruel Sport and wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham aimed to bring an end to this barbarity.

Prior to the debate a committee met on October 18th to consider evidence, the Committee wanted the House of Commons to have the chance to hear evidence on this issue. This is supposed to inform MPs taking part in the House of Commons debate.
Signatories of petitions were invited to share their expertise on the subject.
In particular, the Committee welcomed contributions on the following points:-
“Should the law on grouse shooting be changed? If so, how?
– What effect does grouse shooting have on wildlife and the environment?
– What role does grouse shooting play in rural life, especially the rural
economy?”
You can read more about the committee meeting and debate by clicking this link
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003  and go to the heading: Other parliamentary business
You can read Mark Avery’s written evidence and also the evidence of the RSPB, Countryside Alliance and
Moorland Association
The debate took place on October 31st.
You can watch this online :
I am sure that it will come as no surprise that the government rejected the petition’s call for a grouse shooting ban. Sadly we remain an uncivilised country that allows its citizens to wantonly take the lives of members of another species for pleasure and profit and simply because they can. The progress it seems towards a more ethical society has taken another step backwards, a sad day for all who worked tirelessly, all who signed the petition and a sad day also for the grouse who are shot out of the sky as living targets in a barbaric so-called sport that should now be consigned to history.
Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow-creatures is amusing in itself.
James Anthony
The issue of morality

In addition to the sound arguments against grouse shooting –  such as the intensive habitat management required, which is responsible for damaging protected wildlife sites, increased water pollution, flood risk and greenhouse gas emissions – there is an even more important consideration: morality. Yet there is no mention included in the points of evidence to be considered of the ethics of killing thousands of living beings simply to fulfill some perverted pass-time of the well shod.

It is surely deeply immoral to use live animals as targets, yet morality is rarely considered in any debate concerning grouse shooting or pheasant shooting which commenced in October.

Yes I of course realise that nothing would change on the basis of morality as a stand alone argument, the rights and wrongs of killing another living being for the purpose of pleasure would sadly not alone hold any weight in such a debate, yet this issue is surely one of the most important.

Concerning the Countryside Allowances’ now familiar argument

  • For many upland communities, grouse shooting plays a pivotal role in the local economy, providing a valuable source of jobs and income for local businesses. It also underpins the social life of these communities and helps to tackle rural isolation.
The same could surely be said of just about any of the grave social injustices both past and present and the ongoing exploitation of most of the species on the planet including our own that the continuation of these abuses are important to local economies, employment and social life. I am particularly amused by the rural isolation argument which is just so ludicrous as there are few places here in the UK which are really that isolated and even if they were the influx of a relatively small number of people for three months each year would have little impact and in my opinion does not justify the slaughter of thousands of birds.
Here is more information.
Below is an account of a driven grouse shooting moor in the UK

The chilly air chaps your cheeks as your boots rustle through the heather – and when you reach the top of the hill, you can see for miles.

Stretched out all around you is moorland. Open, treeless, with not a house or farm in sight.

It looks and feels wild, so you should expect to be able to see plenty of wildlife . But there is nothing, it’s silent and still, it’s eerie.

Then you pass a log lying over a little stream. On it, inside a metal cage, is a trap and in its jaws are the smashed and tangled remains of a stoat, its eyes squeezed from their sockets, its mouth locked open in a grimace of terminal pain.

Before that, you had stood holding your nose at the side of a gamekeeper’s “stink pit”, gazing in disbelief at the rotting bodies of foxes , crows, magpies, all mouldering in a vile mess of feathers, fur and flesh and bone.

And then through your binoculars, you spot something. It’s a bird, flapping furiously, battering itself against a post. It is hanging with its feet clamped in a trap.

When you get closer, you can see its bent and bloody legs, its long black-tipped grey wings and its frayed tail. It is a male hen harrier and it has been caught in a pole trap. It will die a long, painful death.

All this so the birds of prey and natural predators won’t harm grouse – birds that have been bred and reared to be shot for pleasure.

Continue reading:
Ban grouse shooting – it’s cruel, harms the environment and we’re all paying for it
More Grouse Shooting Facts
“100,000 birds killed every day during the shooting season, the senseless massacre of wildlife on a massive scale, dubious financial claims and significant animal welfare abuses – our new report – “The Case Against Bird Shooting” – exposes the true nature of commercial shooting. This is Britain’s canned hunting industry.”
The true face of Driven Grouse shooting

“Intensive grouse shooting depends on wildlife crime – protected raptors have to be killed in order for the big ‘bags’ of Red Grouse to be possible. Even if a particular grouse moor does not kill protected raptors, they will benefit if other grouse moors, near and far, do so. Intensive grouse shooting is underpinned by wildlife crime.

Continue reading:
http://markavery.info/2016/08/09/true-face-driven-grouse-shooting/

Mark Avery’s website has more links to articles about grouse shooting:
http://markavery.info/

Another immorality is that this cruel practice is subsidised by the tax payers, most of whom do not support this barbaric so-called sport. Grouse shooting is supported to the tune of 17 million pounds which is paid to landowners and farmers, people who are already wealthy and who will accrue even more wealth as a result of the business of grouse shooting.

In addition to grouse shooting being heavily subsidised by the tax payer, it involves wildlife crime as already mentioned as the grouse’s natural predators including protected species such as peregrine falcons, golden eagles, red kites and hen harriers are killed to maintain the vast numbers of grouse required for shooting.  In England, the hen harrier remains critically endangered and on the verge of extinction as a result of persecution on grouse moors  Also the following animals are killed in large numbers: mountain hares, weasels, stoats, magpies, crows, foxes, badgers, rats, even squirrels and many more. As discussed earlier the land is intensively managed by burning and draining to create a monoculture of the heather the birds eat. This releases the carbon in the soil, pollutes rivers and helps to flood the towns downstream.
 …grouse moors are subsidised by us. At the height of his austerity programme, as essential public services were cut to the bone, David Cameron’s government raised the subsidy for grouse moors by 84%, to £56 per hectare. Some owners now harvest hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money every year. Cameron also tried to close the national wildlife crime unit, which would have pleased his friends no end. It was saved only by a public outcry.

“But through the efforts of wildlife campaigners (like Packham and the RSPB) and people whose homes have been flooded downstream, the grouse industry is now being called to account”

Continue reading
The grouse shooters aim to kill: the first casualty is the truth
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/16/grouse-shooters-kill-first-casualty-is-truth-astroturfing-botham-rspb-packham  This article discusses less obvious concerns of Astroturfing and the threat of such to democracy

Watch the real Price of Grouse: Subsidies

While 17 million is spent on subsidises for the rich to indulge their cruel sport councils throughout the country face as much as a 40 per cent cut back in government funding . As a consequence vital services such as lollipop men and women are cut with the result of a loss of their jobs and children are consequently put at risk as a result.

As a result of government funding cuts  Newcastle council are considering axing school crossing patrols.

Getting rid of the 53 lollipop men and women would save more than £200,000.

Other areas of the Labour-run authority also face big cuts, including £4m from children’s services, and more than £11m from adult social care, as well as the city’s community and information hubs.

Social care cuts take English service to tipping point, regulator warns

Read More:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-37550447

Newcastle is of course not the only council affected by government cuts which forces them to make cut backs to vital public services. While millions of the tax payer money is spent subsidising the “sport of kings “(grouse shooting) our services are cut. Grouse shooting is referred to as the “sport of kings” as it is only the wealthy elite who can afford to participate. Yet this is subsidised at the expense of poor people.

Cut backs are also affecting the NHS

Schools also suffer as a result of cuts by the government

£3billion cash crisis in schools as funding to be cut by more than £1,000 per pupil
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/3billion-cash-crisis-schools-funding-9629493

Most of the land in the Yorkshire Dales is managed to encourage the numbers of grouse to increase, this is many many acres of land. The following blog provides a good assessment as to what goes on behind the scenic facade that people enjoy all the year round, including hunting, shooting and sheep farming,

A vegan’s observations in the Yorkshire Dales
http://theveganpunk.com/vegan-observations-in-reeth-arkengarthdale-swaledale-the-yorkshire-dales/

 

The UK can never claim to be a civilised country while it allows people to use live animals as target practice. I had hoped that this debate would bring us closer to a more modern nation which respects the lives of the other beings who inhabit our beautiful countryside.

Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gunsight. And after I’ve finished “shooting,” my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy. I have developed a deep respect for animals. I consider them fellow living creatures with certain rights that should not be violated any more than those of humans.
Jimmy Stewart
Related Link
Grouse shooting estates shored up by millions in subsidies
Common agricultural policy money given to estates in England, including one owned by the Duke of Westminster,  the richest landowner in Britain with land holdings estimated to be worth £9bn
 
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/28/grouse-shooting-estates-shored-up-by-millions-in-subsidies  This article reveals who gets the subsidies and where grouse shooting takes place.