What do chickens and our constitutional rights have in common?

Imagine the outcry by tea party Republicans if state legislators were passing laws banning the use of video cameras in banks to capture images of robbers.
Yet, those very same tea partiers have been passing laws in various states to ban the use of videos to capture images of such giant, factory-farm operators as Tyson that are engaged in inhumane, immoral, and disgusting abuses of turkeys, hogs, and other animals. The only reason the public knows about chickens being stomped to death and pregnant sows being driven insane because they’re caged so tightly they can’t even turn around is because courageous whistleblowers have secretly taped videos of the intolerable violence inside these animal concentration camps.
In response to the videoed exposés, however, eight states run by shameless, corporate-hugging Republicans have rushed to protect the worst abusers, making it illegal to release such tapes to the media or the public. North Carolina’s corrupt legislature, for example, has decreed that videoers who cause bad publicity for corporate animal torturers can be sued by the corporation and fined $5,000 for each day abuses are recorded. To add to the Kafkaesque absurdity of this “ag gag law,” the state legislature’s corporate buttkissers mandated that releasing videos of abuses in nursing home chains, day care centers, and veterans’ facilities is now also banned.
In their eagerness to please corporate lobbyists and get campaign donations from these grossly-abusive profiteers, tea party Republicans across the country are stomping on our constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of the press, just as mindlessly as the animal abusers stomp chickens to death. For information and action tips on stopping this disgraceful industry-legislative cabal, go to www.aspca.org/OpenTheBarns.

Transforming humans into billboards

Billboards must to be living creatures, for they appear to propagate, spreading everywhere, growing to enormous size, shouting corporate messages at us – and even watching and tracking us with their digital eyes.
Now, though, rather than billboards becoming human, we humans are becoming billboards. Literally. For the love of money, the National Basketball Association is transforming its chief human asset – ie, basketball players – into advertising placards that run, dribble, leap, twist, and dunk.
While individual golfers and racecar drivers have long splattered themselves with their sponsors’ logos, NBA teams are now planning to become the first major US sports league to sell ad space on their players’ game-day jerseys. Chintzy? Well, yes – but not cheap. Team owners expect brand-name corporations to pay at least $100 million to have their logos plastered on the chests of basketball stars.
Calling this a “stylistic move,” the mammon-worshipping owners say the ads will be modest – just a two-and-a-half inch patch displaying the corporate brand of, say, Budweiser, Bank of America, Hooters, or Viagra. The ad size seems small, but ESPN’s high-def TV cameras will focus on them and show them to viewers hundreds of times in every game. And, of course, to squeeze ever-more cash out of each human billboard, both the owners and advertisers will steadily expand the commercial space to cover the entire uniform.
Actually, I’m not 100-percent opposed to ads on uniforms, for I’ve been saying since the first Clinton Administration that presidents and congress critters should have to put the corporate logos of their big funders on their suits, shirts, skirts, etc. so We The People can know at a glance whom they really represent. It’s my Truth-in-Politics proposal – and I hope you’ll push it, too.