The Schumacher Scuffle

Jeff Alworth

If you've been downtown on any recent Saturday--say hanging in Pio Square or hitting Nordstrom's--you've probably noticed the protests at nearby Schumacher Furs.  They've been going on for weeks.  In retaliation to the death march--protesters are trying to drive the Schumachers out of business, the store has offered a "protest sale," which seems to have redoubled the protesters' ire. 

Jim Redden, writing in today's Trib, notes that now police and Randy Leonard have gotten involved:

Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct Cmdr. Dave Benson has suggested that the Schumacher Fur & Outerwear Co. move out of downtown because of weekly animal rights protests at its Southwest Eighth Avenue and Morrison Street store.    

In a March 23 e-mail to Commissioner Randy Leonard, Benson said that the store owned by Gregg and Linda Schumacher may be better suited for a suburban mall, such as Bridgeport Village in Tualatin.

This has grown ugly.  I'm not particularly fond of furs, and I'm all for strict regulation of the industry, but killing animals for human use is not an isolated fashion activity.  Oregon is the third-largest fur-producing state, and Schumacher is a family-run, local business that's been selling furs here for 111 years (who knows, maybe they even sold a few beaver hats back in their early days).  Many animals bred for food suffer grim, short lives--yet I don't see protesters in front of Fred Meyer (even the Hawthorne Freddy's).

I'd like to ask an impolitic question: beyond a visceral pain at losing the lives of soft, cuddly mammals, is there any reason why Schumacher Fur should be treated any differently than other animal-using retailers?  Are the protesters--presumably all lefty enviros--doing liberalism and environmentalism a disservice by this high-profile stunt?  From where I stand, the answer looks to be yes.

(But I know you'll alert me to the error of my ways.)

Comments

  • Dave Benson is an idiot who should stick to police work (unverified)
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    Just another f-u from the City of Portland to private business. It's a sad episode in a long running series of attacks on our economic engine. That it's a furrier matters little. If Portland's economy is growing, it's certainly through no fault of the city or county government there. I say why not move to Tualatin? I wonder how they'll treat you after 111 years in business. Goodness knows you pay enough to open the doors in Portland.

  • Mark Hendershott (unverified)
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    Move to a mall makes sense to law enforcement. Malls are private property, protestors end up out on the main drag or face arrest. Tend's to discourage the protest, hence reduces or eliminates the problem for police.

  • (Show?)

    .... lefty enviros--doing liberalism and environmentalism a disservice..

    Jeff, this is an animal rights issue, not an environmental issue.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    Randy Leonard ought to call Dave Benson in and give him hell. Suggesting that an old establish business move to the Stepford Mall is outrageous.

    If the protestors are not violating the law and merely exercising their free speech rights, we can't tell them to go away. But if they are violating any kind of city ordinance, they need to be busted. Okay, I'm a meat-eating lefty who has a little farm where we free-range chickens. I've observed that other animals have no qualms about animal cruelty. Our chickens will peck to death the weakest bird in the flock and eat it, too. Our dogs will chase and kill our chickens and goats for sport. Other animals are no nobler than we are; we're just more technologically advanced.

  • (Show?)

    Jeff, this is an animal rights issue, not an environmental issue.

    Yeah, I get that. But the appearance of their activity isn't distinct--the Lars and Larsheads of the world are going to see the same young lefty crowd they also see at May Day and peace marches, the same lefties hanging onto old-growth trees. As liberals who make distinctions between effective and ineffective political efforts, I'm just wondering if others feel that this is a damaging spectacle.

  • (Show?)

    As I read it, moving was just ONE of the options. Others were to minimize the display of fur, close on Saturdays, and to NOT engage or bait the protestors.

    If the beef is with individuals or groups of individuals, then they need to take that up with the police on a complaint basis--ie, "I was assaulted while leaving the store at such and such time on such and such date, by 2 persons who are described thusly..." Otherwise, what is the City supposed to do--shoo away the protestors? Nu-uh.

    I have no doubt that people are being ugly to the Schumachers and their customers, and even that some cross the line of legality. But what do they expect? They run a FUR STORE. Some people don't like fur.

    If 3 dozen people formed a wall outside The Acropolis, preventing Portlanders from getting $5 steaks and views of nude women, I'd have sympathy for the owners of that establishment if some of the protestors abused them or their customers. Beyond that, however, I'd give the same answer: you run a STRIP JOINT. What did you expect? An exemption from the Constitution?

  • NNW (unverified)
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    "Are the protesters--presumably all lefty enviros--doing liberalism and environmentalism a disservice by this high-profile stunt?  From where I stand, the answer looks to be yes."

    This is a loaded question. It's this kind of debate that has split the enviro movement for years. Being able to have an economic impact on an issue a group is organizing around - should be considered good organizing. You may not agree, but the simple fact that it's creating buzz says something.

    Maybe there's an argument about impacting the business climate downtown, but how does this hurt liberalism, or the environmental movement? I don't think you're going to see even the most moderate of environmental, or animal rights groups coming out in favor of keeping a fur company downtown... In fact, I would say the opposite happens when you come out against this - it doesn't create division within the ranks of moderates (or swing voters), it's creates division on the left where the Dems need votes the most...

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    On the consistency side of this, why aren't protestors out there going out after the Italian leather shoe sellers. OK, cows might not be as cute as mink, but they're probably nicer animals. While I will confess that I don't think I would buy a fur, the protest -- with its apparent illegalities -- shouldn't be allowed to stifle this business.

  • Jesse O (unverified)
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    This sort of "if X and Y are wrong, why not protest Y as well?" is a traditional out. Fur is a vanity, class issue, as well as a feminist issue -- Shumaker has been advertising "Want more sex? Be sexier -wear fur" or something of the sort. And, of course, an animal rights issue.

    Anyone who wants to justify fur ranching should watch the videos and then come back (and not justify it on terms of what animals without free will, like dogs, do) and talk about it.

    Right now, the point is this: there's no justification for torturing animals for furs. End of story. Story tomorrow might look at another moral problem in animal treatment, but for now, look at the case in hand.

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    Being able to have an economic impact on an issue a group is organizing around - should be considered good organizing. You may not agree, but the simple fact that it's creating buzz says something.

    Going out on a limb here torridjoe, I'm guessing that Jeff is asking exactly what is being accomplished, and who is benefitting.

    If the PETA kids are accomplishing their goals of creating "an economic impact" and "a buzz", then I guess that they've accomplished their goals, but are they hurting the rest of the progressive community? Same question could be asked regarding ELF's fascination with blowing stuff up. They have given ammo to the enemy, but at least they remain true to "The Monkeywrench Gang" ethos. (And yes, I'm aware that we're not currently discussing illegal activities on the part of PETA's Portland branch.)

    <hr/>

    Oh yeah, the videos. I've seen 'em and they're sickening. Mink are kept in cages so small and with no sensory input other than the shrieking of thousands of other mink, that they literally go insane. They are then killed at maturity by having an electrode rammed into their anus and electrocuted.

    These are not cows, dogs, or free range chickens. They are tiny predators who live in hell from the moment they are born until the moment they die. For a guy who has to think long and hard before killing a spider, No Fur is a No Brainer.

    <hr/>

    I eat meat and wear leather, and have butchered numerous animals down on the farm, but unless you live north of the Arctic Circle, I'm with Jesse O when he says that there is a distinction between, "vanity clothing" and the rest of the animal products that most of us consume.

  • NNW (unverified)
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    "If the PETA kids are accomplishing their goals of creating "an economic impact" and "a buzz", then I guess that they've accomplished their goals, but are they hurting the rest of the progressive community?"

    Well, this topic was bound to get heated. The verdict is still out on wheather they have accomplished their goals. And to be honest, I don't know what those goals are - still, the verdict is still out because I don't think the "economic impact," or the "buzz" is going away any time soon on this issue.

    As far as hurting the progressive community. Explain to me in detail how these actions hurt the progressive commnity in a place like Portland, Oregon? Don't see it.

    And lastly, Pat you say, "(And yes, I'm aware that we're not currently discussing illegal activities on the part of PETA's Portland branch.)" Than why did you bring it up?

    And for the record I'm a meat eater... this issue isn't even dear to my heart. But unless progressives can offer up some logical alternatives than why bash people for doing something they are passionate about?

  • Garlynn (unverified)
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    OK, I'm going to go for the throat: Why the hell are protesters blockading a (locally-owned) fur business, which by the way makes clothing from animals, and not blockading... CAR DEALERS? Let's see... cars are often sold with LEATHER, which you need to kill a cow to produce. Furthermore, we've killed at least 50,000 human animals (human soldiers and civilians, nobody is even keeping track of the habitat destruction and wild, farm or stock animals that may have been killed thus far in Iraq) in pursuit of fuel for these cars just since the invasion began. So, why not blockade all the car dealers in the metro area, and prevent people from purchasing automobiles?

    Or blockade the timber transhipment points, to prevent raw lumber from being shipped out of the country, which perpetuates logging (habitat destruction for wild animals!) and the loss of american timber-industry jobs?

    And, yeah, why not blockade Fred Meyers, which sells beef, chicken, pork, lamb, many types of fish, as well as leather shoes and jackets. Oh yeah, and London Underground -- damn lot of leather in there!!

    Don't get me wrong, I'm as opposed to animal cruelty as much as the next Oregonian... but I really don't see the point in this protest. Are the protesters doing the lefty-environmental movement harm? I don't know, I think the better question is, are they doing harm to their city and their state, or could they possibly be using their energies for a more effective cause?

    Then again, I went to school with people who would probably applaud this protest, and who would love to see the store shut down, just because it sends a message that fur is murder.

    Maybe the solution is that they should start selling more faux-fur in the store? Appeal to the Burning Man/party scene set a little bit more, that'd really mess with the situation. ;-)

  • progvoice (unverified)
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    Ummmmm.... they are not protesting shoe leather or car dealerships, because what sickens them to the point of getting off their asses and away from the bloggospear <sic> is the fur trade. Some people also protest in front of KFC. Some protest an unjust and disgusting war.

    I would ask "how does it make the progressive community look, when there a record number injustices being commited by our country and yet we aren't out protesting.

    Regardless, it is their right to be there and protest. I'd say it was our duty to find a cause (there are about 10,000) and go out and do the same.

  • Madam Hatter (unverified)
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    I really have to wonder when an allegedly progressive blog questions the wisdom of people exercising their right to protest and free speech. So what if you don't agree with them? Isn't that the point of having these rights? As far a I know this is still legal in the USA.

    From the O's article:

    Police have clashed with protesters, but Central Precinct Cmdr. Dave Benson said most of the activists aren't breaking the law. Police have arrested three protesters, and Benson said he makes sure a supervisor goes by every Saturday.

    "Quite frankly, although some of the conduct is, at best, poor manners, it's not illegal," Benson said. "I don't enforce good manners. I enforce the law."

    You object because idiots like Lars Larsen will lump ALF protestors with enlightened and sensible "liberals who make distinctions between effective and ineffective political efforts" like yourself? Give me a break.

    Sorry, but it seems that these protests have been very effective political efforts as this whole article demonstrates. According to both the Oregonian and Portland Tribune, Schumacher Fur's is intending to bring the fur protests to the Portland City Council, Wednesday, April 5, 2006, at 9:30AM.

    Jeff also didn't mention that the Schumacher's aren't totally blameless in this (outside of selling fur, I mean).

    Also from the O's article:

    Instead, the Schumachers have taunted protesters, videotaped them and posted a crudely worded sign in the store window that says protesters should be treated to the kind of mutilation and physical abuse that they say animals endure. A banner advertises a 50 percent off "protest sale" on Saturdays."

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Jeff has this one very correctly framed.

    Oregon is a large producer of fur/hide. We have always been such. It seems very strange to single out a company that has been doing this for 111 years, no reason that I can see. I sometimes appraise real estate where cows are grown for food and hide - but no one is protesting in front of my doorstep for doing business with these purveyors of death.

    One of the reason's rural Oregon tends to vote Republican, is that they see these "liberal" protests, that make no sense to us, and then it is guilt by association. All them "liberals" are crazy people. We don't get to talk about health care, education, the Bush wars, etc. etc. if we start out associated with those crazy people.

    I for one don't wear fur, but I have a very warm leather winter coat, wear leather shoes, have been known to have had at least one car with leather seats (heaven to sit in, but it got poor MPG so its gone), I like pillows and sleeping bags stuffed with real feathers (versus oil based products), and I eat all sorts of formerly living things. I see nothing - not one thing - wrong with that.

    I am very glad that Jeff has pointed out how strange this protest is, as that is exactly how we see it from our rural vantage point. Now, I'm 150 miles from Portland - too far to drive for this, so would a couple of you mind going down to the store, and telling these protestors to knock it off?

  • NNW (unverified)
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    Steve,

    "One of the reason's rural Oregon tends to vote Republican, is that they see these "liberal" protests, that make no sense to us, and then it is guilt by association." If this is a reason why Republicans are voting Republican - than, please, keep voting Republican...

    "then it is guilty by association." Listen to yourself Steve. Doesn't sound like the America I love. In Portland this kind of protest is not strange - it's just another day in Portland. And while I appreciate your passion for the issue, people still have the right to protest fur, or anything else for that matter.

  • Ohnny (unverified)
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    "Are the protesters--presumably all lefty enviros--doing liberalism" For one I'm no Left wing liberal. I'm very much an Anarchist who belives the fur industry is one of many that support capitalism. 27,000 dollars for one fur coat? Really stupid if you ask me. I fight for Human Freedom and Animal Rights. Making the presumption that we all are left wing eco-loving hippies is alittle ridiculous. Read alittle of our leaflets or come down to Schumachers on Saturdays 12:00 to around 5:30. We do not deserve to be Anally Electricuded. Fight For Animal Rights! -Ohnny

  • NWW (unverified)
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    This article was just posted on Portland Indymedia by MH - expect the other progressives in Oregon to show up soon.... Happy debates...

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Just another day in Portland" is why people in the 33 or so counties outside the Metro area don't trust Portlanders to understand their areas.

    Which is why I hope there are a number of downstate Democrats who are elected to the legislature this year. Maybe even some from E. of the Cascades! Then they could explain to the members from Portland how this story looks like hounding an old established business.

    If the people doing the protests (I feel the same way about the folks who stand on a street with "abortion kills children" signs as if that helps their cause) would spend that much time and energy on productive activity (volunteering on campaigns, running campaigns which educate people on alternatives to fur, etc.) they would win more respect from average people around the state who buy into the whole "Portland is another world, alien to us" scenario.

  • (Show?)

    To the point on this NNW. This is Blue Oregon not Blue Portland. What Jeff is asking and Steve and others are addressing is a tactical question. It's just like Steve says, we are not hanging out at the Lucky Lab among our fellow Truebelievers, we think that we can't be effective down at the coffee shop by being confrontational on every issue that deviates from Ecotopia.

    Madam Hatter: what I am asserting is that unless there is an acknowledgement of some sort of.....I don't know........Scale of Urgency? If so, then some of us are asking or asserting that there could be a downside for the larger group.

    If you think that this sort of thinking is somehow immoral or impolitic, at least we are closer to the point.

  • AF (unverified)
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    Ohnny sounds like he has been anally electricuded (whatever that is) a few too many times. Good luck with the fight for animal rights there Ohnny. Where exactly did those animal rights come from, the mothership?

  • NNW (unverified)
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    "If the people doing the protests (I feel the same way about the folks who stand on a street with "abortion kills children" signs as if that helps their cause) would spend that much time and energy on productive activity (volunteering on campaigns, running campaigns which educate people on alternatives to fur, etc.) they would win more respect from average people around the state who buy into the whole "Portland is another world, alien to us" scenario."

    First off) How do you know that people holding signs are not spending time and energy on "productive activities?" That's an empty accusation. And to go to say they would win the respect of average people - so you're telling me one shouldn't have a right to one, an opinion, two, the right to protest? With all due repsect, you should like a right-wing pundit on the attack.

    Pat says, "It's just like Steve says, we are not hanging out at the Lucky Lab among our fellow Truebelievers," Again, pointing fingers.

    I lose both of your points when you just make blanket accusations without offering a reason why people shouldn't be able to voice their opinions, and protest.

  • (Show?)

    Wow. Mangled that but you get the drift...

  • (Show?)

    I think the dichotomy presented here by Jeff, that fur protests are exclusively in the realm of liberal environmentalism and thus is antagonistic to rural-conservative ideology, is a false one. The central argument of this article is that our 'opposition' will identify this protest activity as belonging to 'our' ideology and thus liberals are responsible for it. This implies that we should then police all public political activity that could be identified as 'liberal' for any impolite or irresponsible expression that would contaminate or have a deleterious effect on our ideologies and their appeal. Those who oppose the tactics of the protestors should raise their voices in opposition and not attempt to undermine the right to protest anything for whatever reason just because it might deflate the appeal of our rigidly-controlled beliefs.

    As for the meat-eating-extention, 'why-not-protest-this-too' argument, I think it's pretty clear that the logic of 'you-protest-this-therefore-you-must-condemn-all-these-with-equal-vigor' is fallacious and would only result in very, very tired activists. Fur trade stands out as particularly egregious because it's a purely cosmetic effect, and I think that distinction alone warrants some kind of place to start protesting.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Jeff: "Yeah, I get that. But the appearance of their activity isn't distinct--the Lars and Larsheads of the world are going to see the same young lefty crowd they also see at May Day and peace marches, the same lefties hanging onto old-growth trees. As liberals who make distinctions between effective and ineffective political efforts, I'm just wondering if others feel that this is a damaging spectacle."

    So here is my question Jeff...are you honestly suggesting that direct action is a less effective means of change than political campaigning/lobbying?  That's exactly what it sounds as though you are implying, and this utterly confuses me.  The people who are "hanging onto old-growth trees" are doing a lot more to save them than a bunch of Democrats fighting a hopeless political battle against the logging industry.  While you sit at home in the evening and drink beer, there is someone sitting in a tree - they are saving the forests, not the Democrats.  They are doing, not talking about what should be done.
    

    When an animal research labratory is destroyed, the research there stops. It does not stop because some Democrats think that it should stop and write about it, it stops because someone stops it. When a business profits at the expense of tortured animals, it does not shut down when some Democrats write about it, or talk about it over their beers and then forget by the morning. It shuts down when people who actually care do something about it.

    The war in the middle east will never stop because of people who write, speak, etc. against it. I'm not just bashing Democrats here either...if Ralph Nader promises to stop the war and is elected president, the war will not stop. It's not that simple. If you really wanted to stop the war, you would become a war tax resistor. This means that you would refuse to pay taxes to the federal government because those go directly to building new military bases in the middle east. Yes, you and everyone else who pays taxes to the federal government is funding this war. If the money stops, the war stops. End of story.

    This is called direct action, Jeff, and this is how things get done. Things get done when people do them, not when people write and talk about them. Our governmental system is totally fucked, and the status quo will never change as a result of legislation. A total paradigm shift requires direct action from everyone opposed to the current system, and this means that you are going to have to give up your leisurely, middle class lifestyle and fucking do something. So that's it...until you stop driving your car, smash your television, put down that beer in your hand and do something to change the this country and it's ways, stop criticizing people who do.

  • jrw (unverified)
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    It's a lifestyle issue, plain and simple. The animal rights protesters are well aware that to attack leather generally will not win sympathy, but to attack expensive furs will win them support they might not otherwise get because of class and economics issues.

    As far as the emotional arguments go about harm to mink...Mink are predatory animals. I have seen what a mink can do to a chicken flock. It ain't pretty. Given the choice and the ability, don't question the reality that mink would aggressively attempt to hunt humans. I have seen a young mink gallop around a horse barn, totally fearless, totally aggressive toward a beast that outweighed it (and wondered if it was somehow rabid, although the behavior matches what I've heard about mink boldness).

    I'm not ragingly sympathetic, especially since it's a slippery slope from condemning a luxury item to condemning other leather goods that could be viewed as luxury items. From there, it could be extrapolated to other leather goods including clothing, and the eating of meat.

    What about saddles--all leather--that can cost as much as a good mink (Yes, a good Western leather saddle that is completely custom designed will set you back a few hard-earned bucks)? When do those animal rights folks decide to protest that? Or equine events (which many of them do, spouting ill-informed quasi "facts").

    My experience in the leftie field is that those folks who are hard-core animal rights activists, unlike what the person above claimed, are pretty much purists to their subject and will not get involved in anything else unless it pertains to their subject. As someone who regularly works with animals as a trainer and exhibitor, I've found the idiocy of the animal rights crowd (most who haven't the foggiest idea of reality when it comes to how animals interact with each other, both predator and prey animals) to be appalling. One person was profoundly bothered by a show rabbit in heavy molt (shed) and thought that his midday snooze was representative of being abused. Reality is, rabbits often molt heavily in the summer. When they are acclaimated to a show environment, they'll pull the "dead bunny" sleep position (which actually meants that they, as prey animals, are completely comfortable and relaxed because it is a very vulnerable position. Rule of thumb--the flatter the bun looks while sleeping, the more relaxed and comfortable they are). They often prefer to sleep in their litterboxes.

    But I digress.

    Overall, I don't see the animal rights fur protests as doing anything useful or valuable in the long run, except to make a few purists feel good about what they're doing. If they wanted to be useful, there's other stuff that would have a greater long-term effect. Otherwise, it's just a useless expression of class envy that's best ignored rather than pushed (and promoting class envy issues is something best done in other forums--like talking about taxes, for example, or automobile choices).

  • NNW (unverified)
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    JRW; you bring up some great points, but again you offer nothing as an alternative to the issue at hand.

    You say, "If they wanted to be useful, there's other stuff that would have a greater long-term effect. Otherwise, it's just a useless expression of class envy that's best ignored rather than pushed (and promoting class envy issues is something best done in other forums--like talking about taxes, for example, or automobile choices)."

    What is that "other stuff that would have a greater long term effect?" Strategy, vision, etc.? I'm amazed at how short-sided the argument over this is!

  • Randy Leonard (unverified)
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    Below is an email I sent to the Schumachers after investigating their complaint;

    From: Leonard, Randy [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Sat 3/25/2006 9:31 PM To: Linda Schumacher Subject: RE: today

    Linda-

    I have communicated with Commander Dave Benson regarding your concerns.

    I am very concerned about the issues you raised with me and, unfortunately, from the information I have received it appears that some of the problems you are having with protesters are exacerbated by the confrontations representatives of your business, including Mr. Schumacher, have had with the protestors.

    According to Commander Benson;

    "Schumacher's always gets a little extra attention from the protestors because he verbally engages them in sometimes a spirited discourse. To date, no other retailer is getting weekly protests."

    In addition, Commander Benson told me that

    "I/we met with Mr. Schumacher early on. He came to our weekly problem solving meeting with his attorney, Greg Oldham and we spent some extra time develop solutions. Laurie Abraham from the DA's office suggested that they seek a civil injunction similar to the one sought by the Lovejoy Surgicenter and awarded by a court. To date, the Schumacher's have not pursued this option."

    I am particularly disturbed that you have posted banners inside your store that appear to taunt the protestors outside (please see attached photos).

    One poster says

                   <b>All Protesters Should be!
    
          Beaten
          Strangled
          Skinned Alive
          Anally Electrocuted</b>
    

    Another poster has a picture of a protester with the words

              <b>Poster Boy For Birth Control</b>
    

    You certainly have the "right" to display these posters in your windows, but you must know that by doing so you only antagonize the protesters and, as a result, they become as interested as you and Mr. Schumacher are in proving they are "right".

    Neither the police bureau nor my office can assist you if you are not willing to accept our advice on a strategy that helps us help you cause the protestors to lose interest in targeting your business.

    Similar businesses to yours that were subject to the same kinds of protests have followed the police bureau's advice and, as a result, the protesters have moved on.

    This series of confrontations between your business and the protesters is deeply troubling to me. I am concerned that your actions and then the reactions of the protesters is escalating to a much more serious level.

    You and Mr. Schumacher cannot control the rights of protesters that peacefully gather to protest your business. However, you can control how you react to it.

    I recommend that you reconnect with Commander Benson and follow his experienced recommendations.

    I would also urge you to instruct everyone that is associated with your business to cease engaging the protesters on any level. If the wrong combination of personalities begin confronting one another a horrible outcome could be the result. While you may not agree with me now, I can assure you that you will regret not having followed this advice if someone -on either side- ends up being hurt no matter who is "right" or "wrong."

    I am attempting to give you my most thoughtful advice. I hope you accept it in the vein I am making it. I truly want you and Mr. Schumacher to be able to conduct your business in as healthy an environment as is possible.

    I have copied Jim Redden and Phil Stanford of the Portland Tribune. Apparently, someone from you business let them know I was discussing this issue with you so, as a courtesy, I am copying them on this email.

    Please let me know if I can provide any assistance to you in helping you implement the recommendations I have made to you.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely, Commissioner Randy Leonard

  • (Show?)

    Thank you, Randy, for a little context.

    As for the person who asked, I really have to wonder when an allegedly progressive blog questions the wisdom of people exercising their right to protest and free speech. So what if you don't agree with them? Isn't that the point of having these rights?

    As Jeff wrote, of course they have the right to protest. What he is questioning is whether their protests are smart tactics...

    And Jeff didn't go this far, but in the event that anyone feels that their cause is unjust - it's certainly possible to argue (as Voltaire) that their speech is abhorrent and yet still defend their right to speak it.

    Let's not confuse a critique of the effectiveness of a particular speech with an attack on basic free speech rights.

  • Erik Larson (unverified)
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    I cant think of anything more arrogant or morally wrong than raising and torturing and killing animals for something as pitifully vain and disgusting as a fur to wear. It makes the "Animal Farm' look downright noble. The Schumachers should burn in hell while having their skin slowly peeled off alive.

  • (Show?)

    Let's not confuse a critique of the effectiveness of a particular speech with an attack on basic free speech rights.

    Thank you, Kari. I don't think I could have stood one more "how dare you question our right to" posts.

  • * (unverified)
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    so, I get that a lot of people don't think that a sentient animal should have the right to live free from being stuffed in a tiny cage from birth to death; caught in a trap where she may suffer for days; get beaten on the streets of China; get skinned alive; what have you. Go to http://www.furisdead.com and watch some video if you don't believe the depraved conditions in which these fur-bearing animals live and die. I also think you're the same people who, when slavery was legal in this country, wouldn't have been able to expand your minds to the degree that you could imagine those "other" people should be free from the yoke of their white masters. You join the bandwagon when the freedom fighters before you give value to the suffering of "the other."

    I really wonder at the mindset that so harshly criticizes those who are fighting for the freedom of those who suffer, who are voiceless (yes, even when those suffering creatures are animals), and instead stand up for the (ethical)? "rights" of those who abuse them in the most heinous of ways.

    Those who protest do it for no money, no fame. In fact it costs them money and time, and sometimes freedom. Those who they protest are getting rich off the backs of suffering creatures.

    Don't tell me or anyone else how I can "better" spend my time. If you want the world to change in ways that you want, get up and do something about it. Those of us who care about "animal rights" also care for human rights - although, when I read things like a lot of what I see here, I honestly wonder why...because many humans like those above seem to me to be self-centered whiners, who care only for their own comfort and for profit. You can speak up for your own interests just fine, while these animals are quite literally being tortured. If you were sitting in a cage for life, you'd hope that someone like me was out there fighting for you, rather than having the excuse-makers come up with reasons why it was o.k. to make a buck off of your misery.

    J. M. Coetzee: "we are surrounded by an enterprise of degradation, cruelty and killing which rivals anything that the Third Reich was capable of, indeed dwarfs it, in that ours is an enterprise without end, self-regenerating, bringing rabbits, rats, poultry, live-stock ceaselessly into the world for the purpose of killing them."

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    Mr Star-Person (please use a pronounceable name next time), you wrote, so, I get that a lot of people don't think that a sentient animal should have the right to live free from being stuffed in a tiny cage from birth to death; caught in a trap where she may suffer for days; get beaten on the streets of China; get skinned alive; what have you.

    That's NOT what Jeff is arguing. Pay attention.

    He's asking why protest fur when there are leather shops down the street, groceries across town, and burger joints everywhere? Why the fur above all else?

    He's also asking this key question: Does protesting the fur shop actually HURT the cause of animal rights?

    I don't think anyone (or very many anyones) are arguing that we should all happily engage in slaughtering minks. Rather, what's the best means to the end we desire?

    I really wish people would actually engage in the interesting substance of the debate -- rather than the mindless sloganeering that most of us have moved beyond.

    (See my schools post for a good example.)

  • Pravda or Consequences (unverified)
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    "I'd like to ask an impolitic question: beyond a visceral pain at losing the lives of soft, cuddly mammals, is there any reason why Schumacher Fur should be treated any differently than other animal-using retailers?"

    No, but there are only so many activists willing to commit. Causing a disturbance by protesting, while it may be unsettling to watch, is our constitutional right to act in accordance with our moral beliefs.

    Sitting on our butts and doing nothing, gives comfort to the perpetrators.

  • NNW (unverified)
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    So, the answer is no Jeff, it doesn't hurt the environmental movement (aka) animial rights movement, or liberalism to do this.

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    When I posted this, I knew that there was no "answer." A couple of folks asked how such a neanderthalish post could ever find its way on a liberal blog, and the answer to that one is--because the blog was created to provoke discussion. In this case, the question is itself the purpose--to spark a discussion among liberals. So far so good.

    To the comments:

    Sorry, but it seems that these protests have been very effective political efforts as this whole article demonstrates. According to both the Oregonian and Portland Tribune, Schumacher Fur's is intending to bring the fur protests to the Portland City Council, Wednesday, April 5, 2006, at 9:30AM.

    Let me keep asking the indelicate questions, then. Why do you think one solution is to move the store to the 'burbs? Because then the faithful will lose the energy and platform to protest. One could make the argument that the protest itself is a vanity. Let's say you do run a single business out of the downtown core. Is the cause of animal rights in any way advanced? Is a single mink saved? Might there not be a broader legislative solution that would actually accomplish this goal?

    I am a STRONG believer in taking to the streets. It's an expression of democracy, and one of the most effective tools to provoke public policy changes. But I don't see anything in the Schumacher protest that looks like a solution.

    Worse, it enrages everyone right of Noam Chomsky, which does a pretty big disservice to a lot of other causes liberals hold dear--certainly more dear than running a local business out of downtown.

    So again, So here is my question Jeff...are you honestly suggesting that direct action is a less effective means of change than political campaigning/lobbying?

    Yeah, I do. And I think liberals who don't ask the question of whether this protest is an effective means of accomplishing a worthwhile goal, we're not taking our responsibility as citizens seriously enough. Protesters want to protest--are we, who may even agree in spirit with the intention but not the means, not allowed to protest the protesters?

  • no longer a dem (unverified)
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    "I think liberals who don't ask the question of whether this protest is an effective means of accomplishing a worthwhile goal, we're not taking our responsibility as citizens seriously enough."

    Then, to be a "responsible citizen," I will ask. Is it effective to stand in front of Schumacher's to shame anyone who goes through those doors? Or is it more effective to effect a "mainstream guy" sheen and pretend to take a "reasonable, middle-ground" stance while pointlessly urging people to vote democrat? Hmmm. Depends on what your goals are.

    If your goal is to stop the slaughter of animals, then it's effective to start with a store that directly leads to the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of animals every year. It make sense to visibly, publically shame anyone who would wear or buy fur, because these kinds of social sanctions are a very powerful way to induce change in peoples' behavior. It is effective to choke off any connection between the insatiable, greedy, American consumer lifestyle and the fur industry. It is effective to start shutting down businesses that do business from the blood of others, just as it was effective to shut down businesses who dealt with South Africa during apartheid or who dealt with Germany under the Nazis. Yes. It's effective. This is a capitalist culture built on love of profit. It you make it unprofitable to kill animals and strip off their fur, then you end the problem.

    On the other hand, if you just wnat to hear yourself spew out words, if you just want to feel important and superior and grand, hey, maybe your way is better, Jeff.

    In answer to this: "Are we, who may even agree in spirit with the intention but not the means, not allowed to protest the protesters?" Well, sure. You can protest the protesters, Jeff. But...is it effective? No. It's just kind of sad. It's sad that you think sitting at your desk thinking and talking is the same as actually doing anything to make things better in the world. And it's sad that you would actively work against people who are doing things to make a better world, for no other reason than that you could think of nothing else to do that day.

  • AF (unverified)
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    Jeff,

    You're asking a great question. The answer for me is that the fur protests are useless and probably hurt the progressive cause more than they help it. Just like the morons who protest the WTO talks by throwing rocks thru the windows of Starbucks. Besides, the whole concept of anarchists protesting for animal rights is silly. In an anarchy, the whole concept of animal rights is going to be pretty low on the priority list. Without any form of government or civilization (anarchy) it will be tooth and nail survival of the fittest. Animal rights would go out the window as soon as the masses got hungry.

  • opus (unverified)
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    Sure - spend you time protesting the protesters, if you actually think that's the most valuable use of your time.

    The original protesters are going to be campaigning against the needless suffering of over 40 million animals per year for the fur trade, helped along by Schumacher, whether you care or not. You're the armchair "inactivist" type. They're the activists who are actually getting something done (and if you don't believe they're having an effect, why have you spent so much time thinking and writing about this). They brought the issue to the table. Do your best to trivialize it, but they aren't going away, and this issue isn't going away, whether you're embarrassed by it, or think there are more important issues, or not.

    The protests and publicity around them, if nothing else, bring to light the controversy of fur in a way you never could (although I doubt you care much about this issue, from your writing). What's so bad about a business that exists purely on the suffering of innocent animals for fashion closing up? If you think there are "more effective" ways to do whatever you want to do - YOU do them. You lead the revolution in the streets. Your issue is not fur and animal abuse though, so you don't seem to have many ideas for this - I think you would prefer rather that they work on the issues that are dear to YOUR heart.

  • Jack (unverified)
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    "What Jeff is asking and Steve and others are addressing is a tactical question."

    No, it is not a tactical question. It would only be a tactical question if you (the people discussing it) were engaged in the tactic. It is not you, you have no involvement in it, and frankly, there are far more important things for people who are not involved with the protest, to be doing and discussing.

    Some people want to protest fur at this store. They have the will and interest to do so. They are acting within the law. You can sit behind a computer somewhere and denigrate them, looks for ways to criticize their efforts, ridicule their motivations and so on and so on. That just makes you look bad.

    You do far more to harm the liberal movement than Lars Larson can ever do. You come across looking petty, whiny, disrespectful of the Constitutional right of free speech. You come across as weak, and overly worried about what others are thinking about you. As a Libertarian/Conservative person, you are exhibiting all the stereotypes us other people see in you.

    Our government is ripping away our Constitutional rights, and sounds like you want to do the same to some people just because you are worried that somehow they make you look bad! You are certainly making no allies here.

  • Aaron R (unverified)
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    Someone said:

    "The answer for me is that the fur protests are useless and probably hurt the progressive cause more than they help it. Just like the morons who protest the WTO talks by throwing rocks thru the windows of Starbucks."

    My response is to ask just exactly what kind of "progressive cause" you think you're supporting, if not a world without the injustices of both the fur trade and the WTO? And what, exactly, are you doing to "support" whatever cause it is you do believe in? Because sitting on your butt might be easier than getting out and doing something, but it's certainly not more effective. Say what you like about the "bad manners" of people who would dare to protest at a fur shop, but they're doing a lot more than you are to "help the progressive cause."

    See, the thing is, "the progressive cause" is more than just empty words. It's not just something you mindlessly mouth. It's something you get up off your butt and fight for.

    I believe that. And I'm starting to wonder how many of the divisive naysayers on this site who say otherwise really believe in what they are saying, and how many of them are actually from homeland security or schumacher's or something.

  • AF (unverified)
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    Well throwing rocks thru a Starbucks window isn't progressive. Thowing red paint on a older lady who is wearing a fur coat isn't progressive. Those acts are mean, violent, disrespective and harmful. Rather the opposite of progressive I'd say.

  • opus (unverified)
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    NO OLD LADY GOT RED PAINT THROWN ON HER AT ANY SCHUMACHER'S PROTEST(just so AF doesn't confuse the issues).

  • * (unverified)
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    What is not progressive is people like AF telling lies about others to discredit them.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    I realize that these comments have dealt with both process (protests) and substance (selling furs), and I had a question about the latter.

    The videos of animal abuse in the furrier industry proves that there is animal abuse, but not that all furriers abuse their animals. Are there producers of furs who raise their mink (or other creatures who are later killed) in humane conditions? I'm not talking about "free range mink," necessarily, but presumably we could say that there are some basic standards for raising any animals who will later be killed for their fur/hide/meat, right?

    So restaurants that serve foie gras can be protested, if the product is not certified to be free of animal abuse (I believe that there are both kinds of goose liver), but if someone raises a cute (mean) little mink just like they might raise a chicken later slaughtered for meat, doesn't it register a lot lower on the scale of appalling behavior?

    A final Oregon-related analogy ... there people who harvest timber in an ecologically dangerous way, and there are people who harvest timber in a manner that's as environmentally appropriate as possible. Is the timber industry protested as a whole, just because some harvesters use bad practices? I don't think so. Instead, we create regulations, mandating replanting, buffer zones around streams, etc. Presumably one could try to pass a law that would preclude the sale of any animal product if the producers could not verify that certain basic standards were met in the raising of the animals. Of course, a lot of meat products would disappear from our store shelves, but ...

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    Well, this has mostly devolved, but I would like to address this view:

    You do far more to harm the liberal movement than Lars Larson can ever do. You come across looking petty, whiny, disrespectful of the Constitutional right of free speech. You come across as weak, and overly worried about what others are thinking about you. As a Libertarian/Conservative person, you are exhibiting all the stereotypes us other people see in you.

    Does the irony of this comment not strike you? Exercizing my own right of speech to question yours is something you find "disrespectful." Actually, I imagine a liberal coalition where open discussion is not only not damaging, but constructive. That it would somehow be more damaging than attacks from Lars is mystifying to me.

  • Jack (unverified)
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    So what are you trying to accomplish Jeff? You are discussing tactics about people you are not allied with and not involved with. It is utterly irrelevant mental masturbation. Typical liberal intellectualizing while actually doing nothing. You liberals are always whining about something but in this case it is offensive because you are not even on about a cause but just worried about your own self image. Your own words and attitude lower your public image more than Lars or the fur protestors can. Honestly, your self-centeredness revolts me.

    Btw, I'm not vegetarian, wear leather, and am not involved in the fur protests. I came across this thread while reading about it and commented.

  • Karl (unverified)
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    When I was 13 years old I got a part time job feeding mink at a fur farm. They were constantly running around and around their little cages and projecting "let me out! let me out! let me out! I had to carefully time spooning their food in so they wouldn't leap out at me. Several times I had to beat them back in with the giant spoon. If you brushed against a cage they would grab your glove or sleeve and never let go. If you jerked loose, they might break a tooth, get an infection and die. My employer frowned on that. I thought mink were just crazy animals.

    When I first saw mink in the wild, I was shocked by the difference. I watched a mink working up a little creek, gracefully slipping in and out of the water and on and off either bank. Then he popped out with a little trout in his(or her) mouth and sat on the bank to fastidiously eat it. High energy but calm.

    On another occasion, a neighbor had set some leg hold traps on my place to try to catch a lamb stealing coyote. I checked the trap line and found we had caught a mink. I didn't want to kill him. I got eye contact with him. He remained calm while I opened the trap and released him, bare handed!

    Being progressive puts us under a big tent. It's a shame but I guess it's inevitable that some of us are embarrassed by others. I have to come down on the side of actively demonstrating for causes we strongly believe in. I might even say it's our responsibility, even if some other "progrssives" think it makes the movement "look bad".

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    Jeff you're correct that it's pretty much devolved. Conversation isn't occurring.

    Seems like there're several who flatly refuse the idea that any big picture discussion could possibly be legitimate. Such attempts at conversation over the merits of street demonstrations are an attack. Our own work is not just meaningless. It is destructive.

    Since that's the question you asked about them, we are at an impasse where we understand each other very well indeed.

    I spend my days and nights recruiting volunteers, teaching and learning best practices for the candidate campaigns, doing research online, follow the news on cable and internet, evaluating the host of initiatives, attending the endless rubber chicken dinners and speaking up in those gatherings to offer my take on effective strategies. I walk and phone for candidates, tend signs, cheerlead, etcetera.

    One of my main efforts and heartbreaks is in working the very crowd that we're discussing. These guys can fill a hall at PSU for Greg Palast and are shocked, shocked to learn about malfeance in high places (kinda like porn for liberals), and some tiny percentage of them can be persuaded to walk out of the lecture hall and join us in the effort to salvage the tattered threads of the US Constitution.

    There are a whole bunch of folks who feel that nation states have no right to exist, borders are to be ignored, capitalism is an unusable tool even if heavily regulated (which it currently is not). In sum, they are dogmatic communists, communitarians, or whatever, and any effort to prop up the rotting corpse of this nation is just slowing the inevitable transformation of the entire world into a People's Utopia.

    Unfortunately, there is another group that want a lot of the same things. It is the very Oligarchy of Big Money Hegemons that currently run the Big Blue Marble to their advantage. They too, would like to see equality for the bottom 95% and with a little help from their buddies on the Enlightened Left, they are leveling the working classes down.

    Everybody's happy with their Own Truth, and they pity the fool who tries to argue otherwise.

    <hr/>

    To those who have made various assertions regarding my level of activism, I'll trade schedules with any of you. I don't spend much of my time on Blue Oregon discussions like this, because the payoff's pretty miniscule (although it does exist).

    It is gratifying when I can convince a protestor to have a conversation with his or her apolitical neighbors, with an eye toward adding to the progressive ranks. But like George Bush sez, "It's hard work". I'd say sometimes even harder work than standing on a corner with a group of like-minded people protesting while a couple of cranky cops look on from the sidelines.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)
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    Not vegetarian, and a leather-wearer here. But I don't think the majority of the fur protests do anything to hurt animal-rights, progressive, or liberal movements, or connecting with the rest of the state.

    Methinks that the Lars Larsons and the Reds from Eastern and Southern Oregon would just find some other liberal caricature to make fun of if the fur protests stopped. (I remember when the Multnomah County Commissioners legalized gay marriage - Larson was just about having a stroke on the air.)

    As to why fur and not any other animal product - when's the last time you paid $20,000 for chicken wings? Fur garments are luxury items, plain and simple, and like Hummers, are good only for showing how much money you have to waste. A $300 leather coat or a Columbia Sportswear parka are warmer and more fashionable than fur, which is an anachronism in this day and age.

    50 years ago, a fur coat was a staple of any upper-middle-class woman's wardrobe. Now, it's an anachronism eschewed by most women under the age of 50 or so because of its association with cruelty and an unwillingness of people to show off their money. My mom had a fur coat in the 1970s - but I wouldn't dare give one to my wife or any of my female friends. That's how unfashionable they are nowadays.

    In 1940, there were 25 furriers in Portland. Now there are 2. (Source: 1940 phone book in the downtown Pizza Schmizza and the current Dex book.)

  • Karen McGill (unverified)
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    Here's my question: Why should it matter what these protestors (P's) are doing? Many on here seem to think the P's are some "extreme" element of the Progressives/Democrats/Lefters... whatever... and are discrediting the party/group as a whole.

    So why is it the Republican Party can have more "extreme" elements in their party - radical Christians & right-wingers - yet they still manage to keep their party united and voting and WINNING. Why are the Progressives so afraid?

    Why are they letting the term "liberal" continue to be a dirty word? I have watched my party become utterly gutless to stand up and shout for what they believe in, to stand up to the right and not just mewl and complain. It's embarrassing, to say the least.

    These people are standing up for what they believe in, they are standing up against cruelty - horrid cruelty being perpetrated against wild animals kept in small cages and tortured to death for their fur - and so many of you on here are shaking your heads and tsk-ing them for rocking the boat.

    What they are doing is legal and constitutional, so what is the harm? Just because it's a small business? What if this small business was selling racist material? Would that make it okay to protest?

    Good god, get up and do something constructive. Write some letters to your so-called leaders and tell them to protect the environment, stand up against the war, protect people's civil rights - things this party used to stand for before a majority lost their cajones.

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    Okay, one more comment, and then I'll really shut up.

    Good god, get up and do something constructive.

    A number of the pro-protest commenters on this thread have asserted that those who don't agree--by virtue of not participating--are not active politically. You are in error. (See Pat's comments upthread.) You make a second assumption--that not agreeing with the protesters' methods is tantamount to "becom[in] utterly gutless." This is also in error. I'd argue that folks like Jesse Cornett, who decided to run for office and do battle with Karen Minnis and Co. in Salem, are the true radicals on the left.

  • Karen McGill (unverified)
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    Wrong, Jeff. It's not the fact that some don't agree with the methods, it's the reason why some don't agree that disturbs me. You are worried about image, pure and simple:

    Are the protesters--presumably all lefty enviros--doing liberalism and environmentalism a disservice by this high-profile stunt? From where I stand, the answer looks to be yes.

    My question was why are you so afraid? Why is dissent so untolerated? Why should everyone tow some imaginary line that you have created?

    I think it's great that someone is running against Karen Minnis. But are you saying only those who run for office are radical? I would think not, but then what exactly is your point?

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    Damn you, Karen--drawing me back in! :-)

    I'm not so afraid, and dissent is tolerated--hell, it's encouraged. But I am just posing the question: is this, after three months, actually still a net positive? I've watched the effects of political action in Portland for 20 years, and I know that just because you assemble a sincere group of protesters doesn't mean you accomplish what you intended. And also, I did actually wish to pose it as an open question, not a rhetorical one.

    I have grown somewhat tired of trying to spark a discussion among my politically-active brethern only to see it degenerate into ad hominem attacks and wild speculation about my character. (You could disagree with me, for example, without calling me "afraid.")

  • Karen McGill (unverified)
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    Jeff, it's a gift I have - drawing people back in... ;)

    I must ask, though, why is asking 'what are you afraid of' an attack? It's an honest question, one born out of frustration.

    Also, you have peppered your comments with phrases such as:

    'As liberals who make distinctions between effective and ineffective political efforts, I'm just wondering if others feel that this is a damaging spectacle.'

    or

    'But I don't see anything in the Schumacher protest that looks like a solution.

    Worse, it enrages everyone right of Noam Chomsky, which does a pretty big disservice to a lot of other causes liberals hold dear--certainly more dear than running a local business out of downtown.'

    These comments sound like you are more worried about tarnishing the image of "progressives" in this community than in helping the P's create a more effective protest.

    So once again I ask those on this board - why this fear? Why so afraid of one element of the left-of-center?

  • NNW (unverified)
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    This post is a larger reflection of where the Dems, progressives, liberals, whatever you want to call people have been for years in the US. Jeff you can't write a post like this, and expect people to not be impassioned about their opinions. It's not even about Jeff - it's about living in a world that offers up such intolerance. In a lot of ways the idea of this entire debate is about the intolerance on the left, and how far right we have not only come in the mainstream, but in our own lives in little ole Portland, Oregon.

    The river still runs deep, and I think in this up and coming election (2008) if productive organizing around issues do not occur we are going to see the "Ok, I won't vote for a 3rd Party because the world blames Nader crowd" return to the 3rd party - I hope the Dems have an answer for that... And while this particular debate isn't the end all by all, it's a reflection of the larger mountain we still have to clime to take power back in this country.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)
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    How does someone protesting for a couple hours on a Saturday preclude them from doing other things to support Blue causes?

    I'm pretty sure that some of the protesters are doing other things to support Blue interests.

    What I'm concerned about is that the gutless, passive-aggressive species of Democrat is rearing its yuppified head, telling people to be quiet because it scares big-money people from Blue causes, as if it's a good thing to just be Republicans with better taste and breeding.

    This is the same breed of Vera Katz/Jim Francesconi/Ginny Burdick Democrat who supports police pepper-spraying Bush protesters, money-wasting giveaways to developers and OHSU (like the Pearl and the Tram), and protecting Enron/PGE's interest in expensive private power in Portland.

  • (Show?)

    NNW,

    I'm going to venture again that if you asked all commenters on this thread to write an essay on A Perfect World, we'd have a lot more similarities than differences. I imagine that we mostly agree on ultimate golas but disgree on best practices for achievement.

    Just hanging some arbitrary labels here. If we indentify the majority of Senate and House Democrats as the Dem right (with apologies to some in our own delegation). And the Nader/Green side as the Dem left, then this discussion is between pragmatists and idealists. The arguments write themselves if we're in these (again, admittedly somewhat inaccurate) stereotypical bunkers.

  • NNW (unverified)
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    Pat,

    I agree with you.

    So why are we questioning the protest in the first place?

  • not a do-nothing (unverified)
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    the great and ironic thing about this is, is that while Jeff writes this article putting down the protesters, it just gives them all the more strength to go out and do it some more. Press is hard to get, but they're getting plenty. Why stop when you're on a run? For animal issues, many of us know that even negative press is better than no press, because if it gets in the news at all, some people will start thinking about it and want to learn more. Because most people don't have a self-interest in animal welfare, it just doesn't come to the forefront of their consciousness. The negative people would have been negative do-nothings regardless.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    I think that the protest overall do little to endear us to the average Joe on the street, but at the same time, as long as it’s kept legal (no spraypainting storefronts, etc), it isn’t a big deal.

    Neither do I think that Schumacher is a bad egg for posting the stuff he has put up in his window. Further, he every right to videotape people on a public street. Some would argue he has an obligation to do so. I would certainly argue he has a right and duty to defend his property. I figure that whats good for the goose is good for the gander, and if they can protest him, he can protest them. Whatever.

    Two points:

    1. no one should ever have to close their business due to protesters…suggesting that they do so is nothing short of silly (sorry, Randy). If illegal activities are taking place (as Mr. Schumacher alleges), then we have laws to take care of scofflaws that should be used. Failure to do so is irresponsible at the highest.
    2. AS ALWAYS Lars is a buffoon. Big surprise there, eh? However, it is interesting how we again allow the frame to be set by someone else on the other side of the aisle, and how easily their meme gets picked up. I would say that the protesters have been about as Unsuccessful as they could be based upon that alone. I wasn’t even aware that they were doing this, and now I am mad…I am gonna go down and catch the show!

    Everybody loves a trainwreck!

  • Dan (unverified)
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    I think "not a do nothing" right on point about any press being good press for the animal rights movement. What I think people are failing to understand is that the point of the Schumacher protest is to raise awareness about the fur industry, not close the store. I'm not even sure that all of the protesters realize this though.

    Realistically, the store will never close as a result of protests. Schumachers has admitted that their business has been hurt financially, but why would they close when they can relocate to a mall where they will not be protested? They wouldn't. The point, as I see it then, is to raise awareness and bring the fur issue "to the forefront of their consciousness." Many people these days don't think about all that much unless it is spoon fed to them, and I view this as the point of the public protest in this case. In my opinion, the drop in Schumachers sales is a direct result of a more informed public...and definitely NOT the result of intimidation and social sanctions. If someone really wants a fur coat, they are going to buy it whether there are protesters or not. If they don't want the confrontation, they'll go on a weekday. If they want 50% off, they'll go on a Saturday. People do it every Saturday, and they won't stop because they clearly understand the issue but don't care. The idea is to get as many people to think about it as posssible, because most do care, and this is the way to bring about positive change. I think we would all agree that this general population of this country is asleep as far as social and environmental issues go, and the Schumachers protest has been very effective at waking some people up.

  • geno (unverified)
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    So let’s apply the shift in consciousness which favors nurture of self and others over self indulgence and see the outcome. Schumacher’s publishes press release advising of their respect for differences in values and agree to donate 5% of net profit to the humane society provided their business is not disrupted by protesters. Maybe in deference to the animal rights cause, agree to limit exterior window displays to faux fur items. Is that so tough? Instead, they seem to have fanned the flames of ire which sustains the activists determination to stay the course. Sound familiar? Oh well, we can all either get along, or if not, agree to disagree and find common ground for focus rather than the divisive tact adopted here. In this day and age some protest activity is a foregone conclusion for furriers. It is only in the disruption of business. e.g. encouraging patrons to shop elsewhere, that the protest becomes unreasonable. Solve the problem, do not exacerbate it!! Blog speed!

  • fun (unverified)
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    great, jj ark. come on down. it only helps the protest! people who love the protest, people who hate it, people who stand there starting, people who start shouting profanities because they can't stand a protest in front of a fur store - it all lends to a circus-type atmosphere that lets people know that fur is not a non-controversial issue. I welcome all involvement!

    because: most any press and attention is good for the animal rights cause.

    so, ironically, you can't hurt the protest by coming down to disrupt or gawk - you can only help the cause.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    The idea is to get as many people to think about it as posssible, because most do care, and this is the way to bring about positive change. I think we would all agree that this general population of this country is asleep as far as social and environmental issues go, and the Schumachers protest has been very effective at waking some people up.

    Ummm…this isn’t really a social issue, nor is it an environmental issue. Social issue is feeding the poor, housing the homeless, and taking care of the mentally ill. Environmental issues are timber, resource management, water. This is that “OTHER” category.

    As for being “woken up”…uhhh…no. I think most people think that the protesters are funny (informal poll in the smoking section outside my work confirmed that theory). They just don’t see a need to spend 10-20k on a coat. I don’t think that’s “waking” folks up. If anything I would call it greed. I have a funny feeling we are seeing the rooster convinced the sun only comes up when he crows.

    Furthermore…I have to disagree…the country isn’t “asleep”. They are apathetic. It’s a gulf of a difference. I just don’t see this as being the mighty sparkplug that kindles the fire in their bellies. Sorry.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    I have to feel that if one's rebuttal to a statement consists mostly of picking apart syntax, then they are talking mostly because they enjoy the sound of their own voice. If you are going to make a rebuttal, please add some substance next time. Thanks!

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    great, jj ark. come on down. Thanks, I might. Shumacher says that naked folks are running around, doing street theater. Can’t beat that entertainment on a lazy Saturday! people who start shouting profanities because they can't stand a protest Well, that ain’t me…I love a good protest. So much fun to watch! Almost as much fun as a parade. Such enthusiasm! I don’t think most protesters realize just how silly they are. I understand that protestors believe in their cause, but they aren’t taken seriously when they resort to histrionics. At that point it becomes something like Protest Warrior, protesting the protesting. Almost narcissistic in its intention as well as execution. lets people know that fur is not a non-controversial issue. Hate to tell you this…but its is a non-controversial issue. It’s a non-starter for the vast majority of folks simply due to economics.
    most any press and attention is good for the animal rights cause. Well…maybe not all (I happen to be a fan of Penn and Teller).

    Ummm...ok, Dan. Obviously, I don't unstand your deep level of substance. Sorry for disturbing your day!

  • jrw (unverified)
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    If your goal is to stop the slaughter of animals, then it's effective to start with a store that directly leads to the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of animals every year. It make sense to visibly, publically shame anyone who would wear or buy fur, because these kinds of social sanctions are a very powerful way to induce change in peoples' behavior.

    No.

    If your goal is sincerely to stop the slaughter of animals, you don't waste your time on furriers.

    Many more animals die to provide food for people. Walk your talk!

    (and yes, I happen to walk my talk by the type of work I perform).

  • (A)nti-state (unverified)
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    If your goal is sincerely to stop the slaughter of animals, you don't waste your time on furriers.

    Why? Furriers and factory farms both do harm to animals. Because one is worse we need to ignore the other? This hasn't been shown to be logically valid.

    Besides that, most AR activists are vegan or vegetarian. We're doing what we can to stop the meat trade. Abolishing all grocery stores that serve meat is a daunting task. The fur industry is almost dead (no pun intended), and seems like a step in the right direction.

    Besides that (not to excuse omnivores), meat provides some, albeit little, value. It provides nutrientes and sustains you another day. Sure you can live without it, and thus, should, but fur provides even less value. It only serves to make you look rich... something I think should be avoided anyways considering the role of the rich in a social justice climate.

    But I digress.

    It's important for Portland's reputation that we get these fucks out of our town. We could let them be here, and be percieved as a little more business-friendly, and be every major city in Amerikkka, or we could run these bastards out on a rail and show them that social justice and liberation movements are more important to us than profits. If we allow them to stay, the charm of Portland is lost altogether.

    Animal * Earth * Human TOTAL LIBERATION

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    As I sit here in my nice cozy living room, the dog snoozing at my feet, a bag of tostitos and a platter of cream cheese at my side, all I can think about is that I don't want to live in (A)nti's world.

    It seems a world of intolerance, and of demonization. Eventually, he would shut down grocery stores that sell meat. Huh???

    Problem with this protest is that 1. fur is legal. It might not be pretty, it might be morally abhorent, and it might be overpriced and a sign of affluence, but it is still legal. At one time, for a chunk of our population, it was an absolute necessity. 2. they are doing it in the name of social justice. I am still trying to piece that one out.

    These folks arent' interested in redemption, that most Christian of ideals. These folks aren't interested in compromise, that most American of ideals. They want to put the business of a family out of business.

    I find it immensely fascinating that anti's listed complaint about a piece of clothing is that it makes someone look "rich". errrr. Further he (or she) indicates that the wealthy have no place in a "social justice climate". I am sensing shades of diana moon glompers here.

    count me out. I don't like the tones of this revolution. I have a feeling we will be able to dance, but only if we dress shabily, are pasty in color and wear sand-bags around our necks in the name of social justice. No thanks...I am kinda fond of the tango.

  • PDX Number 1 (unverified)
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    Here's an idea:

    Animal Rights Protesters = Soylent Green

  • Kevin M (unverified)
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    Hey jj ark, Schumacher would have your dog turned into fur trim on a garment. Would you be ok with that? Would you protest? If your not ok with that why do you think it's ok for other animals to suffer that fate? Why do you have a problem with those of us who do object taking our message to the streets? We aren't blocking anyone from entering the store. Our goal is to educate and hopefully that will lead to kind choices on the part of the public. I'm vegan, it's a way of life, 24/7. Every individual can make kind (cruelty-free) choices every day whether veg*an or not. No I don't wear or buy leather, I don't buy products tested on animals, I don't support forms of entertainment that exploit and abuse animals, and I of course consume nothing that comes from an animal. The way we live can itself be a form of protest. The fur protests are about the animals, and I'm not concerned about whether or not this affects the image of the progressive movement. If the store was selling racist books, music, etc. would you deem that protest-worthy? Or is it that they are "just animals" and not entitled to a voice speaking on their behalf. We strongly believe that taking our message to the streets and elsewhere, in a legal way, is the right thing to do. We believe all animals human and non-human should be able to live out their full natural lives free from suffering and exploitation. We work to raise awareness about animal agriculture too, in particular factory farms...and other animal issues. We don't force our views on anyone but we believe in a peaceful world for all species and if those who care don't speak out who will.

  • (A)nti-state (unverified)
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    I'm unconcerned with legality. Slavery was legal at one point. The sufferage of women and people of color was illegal. The holocaust was legal.

    I suggest you take a step back and look at these things if you're going to use the law as a justification for something.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    After thinking about things all night long, I have a better idea:

    Lets denounce this silliness as what it is: The ranting and ravings of wannabe fascistic lunatics. Tho the goal may indeed be valid, their methodology doesn’t rally anyone except other likeminded syphilitic halfwits to their cause. I think we have enough trouble battling the degenerate moneygrubbing kiesterkissers on the other side of the aisle without having to somehow accept and endorse a bunch of lunatics on our own side. Furthermore, I can bet you dollars to doughnuts that these folks would see US as the enemy. With our cars, our pets, our kangaroo leather shoes from Nike. In other words, we don’t need these folks, and they aren’t on our side.

    Lets be tolerant of them. Lets defend, VEHEMENTLY their right to protest, provided they are doing so legally. I see no need, however to toss our lot in with them.

    I am not going to worry about the dog comments. Actually, brindle fur, like my dog has, would look nice on a coat, but dog fur is ill-suited to furrier trade.

    Now, as to racist books: No, that isn't a reason to protest. You wanna protest Powells, please be my guest. LOTS of racist works in there. How about the public library? How about my house? I think I have some anti-gay and anti-jewish propaganda in there (heck, I have a fred phelps movie somewhere in my house).

    To get this back on track: how about a protest against water After all the water bureau kills animals. How about freeways, farm machinery, the automobile, trains, 10 year olds with bb-guns, rat-traps, apartment complexes? All of these kill animals. Some are very efficient at it. Even the very food you eat kills animals (farming kills thousands of critters every square mile).

    Don't you see???? Your idealogy takes America down a path that no one is comfortable with, except for you and your ilk. This isn't the Democratic ideology. Protesting a bookstore?!?!?! Pshaw! Protesting legal businesses ?!?!?!

    Ok...I am outta this conversation. There is no point to this.

  • JC (unverified)
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    Wow. I really have to say that many of the comments here are much stronger, better written, and far more interesting than the original article. I was shocked to find this article on this site. To be honest, I am really re-thinking even being a democrat, because of things exactly like this. What kind of weak, silly pap is this, musing over whether people who protest the fur industry are "really hurting the progressive cause"? You know, things like this really make me believe that the democrats are no different than the republicans. All are equally blind, self-centered, and pointless.

    I do want to thank many of the commenters, though. Some of you have restored my hope in humanity. Especially Karl, Aron V, Madam Hatter, and especially Jack. Jeff Alworth, on the other hand, probably flatters himself to think that all this hoopla is a reflection on how thought-provoking his article was. Don't. The article is silly, trite, and thoughtless. It is the subject that people care about, and I find it frightening and offensivce that Mr. Alworth would treat it in such a trivializing and dismissive manner. The discussion did not devolve, it evolved into something Mr. Alworth cannot absorb.

    If the democratic party cannot even refrain from demonizing people who are struggling against the abuse of animals, what good is it? I think I'm going green. It really makes me almost want to vomit, reading this milky pap. I don't mean to be rude to other readers by saying that. But frankly, I hear way too many weak, passive, liberal-minded folks using their words to actively work against people who they should be supporting rather than demonizing. It's scary to me that animal rights activists are being demonized even here, on this supposedly safe "blue" space. Are you not aware, Jeff, that people who support animal rights are being railroaded off to prison all over the country? That people have actually gone to jail already just for speaking out against animal abuse? That people who have not even participated in any illegal activities have already been convicted and sent off to jail for interfering (by SPEAKING!) with the "right" of abusers to make a living from the bodies of animals? I cannot believe that you would help to sell them out just as surely as any "red" republican hate monger. It would have been interesting to see you before the House Unamerican Activities Committee a few years back. I bet I know where you would have stood. You would have sold out every one you knew for a quick blast of the limelight. But history was not on the side of the people who did that, was it? And it will not be on the side of willy-nilly liberals like you who are doing it now.

  • Ben (unverified)
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    If any store, including Schumacher's, is selling cat or dog fur trimmed articles in their store, it is illegal. Perhaps an investigation is in order.

  • Kevin M (unverified)
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    Hello JC, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I just want to mention that my overall frustration with the Democratic Party peaked last October, after having been a lifelong Dem, and I changed my registration to Pacific Green on October 3. I have no regrets about the change.

  • Kevin M (unverified)
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    Don't you see???? Your idealogy takes America down a path that no one is comfortable with, except for you and your ilk.

    JJ Ark, it isn't our responsiblity to make you or others comfortable. Let's take a tour thru a slaughterhouse, have everyone kill and then dismember an animal (everyone should know the truth of and even see where their food comes from), or to a fur farm where animals are being anally electrocuted, gassed, strangled or beaten to death then skinned, or watch videos of animals being skinned alive in China for their fur. Might that make you and others a little uncomfortable? I hope so because that is the reality of the cruelty our species imposes on others. Perhaps you don't want to acknowledge this reality. Our job is to educate, to get the truth out there, then let people make their own decisions. If the truth makes people uncomfortable that's good, they feel something. They should try to do something about it. We are doing something about it. We can't be everywhere addressing every injustice. As we reach more caring people who will act and then spread the message the world becomes a better place. Everyone, veg*an or not, is welcome to join us each Saturday afternoon at Schumacher's. Schumacher's can at any time replace its current inventory with faux fur. We would applaud that.

  • Madam Hatter (unverified)
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    JC said it all very well as did others above. This and other posts here lately have made it clear to me that I'm no Democrat anymore either.

    I just got my voter notification card in the mail. I'm going to change my registration ASAP to Pacific Green too. Been meaning to do it for awhile now. Thanks, Jeff for giving me the impetus to do so.

  • Jonatha (unverified)
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    Any wonder with these adherents that the Green Party has done what it can to help the Republican Party (and/or that the Republican Party has done what it can to help the Green Party)? Has everyone forgotten that Ralph Nader votes in Florida were arguably responsible for giving W the presidency?

    Kevin, or others -- you rant about techniques used to kill these animals. Is there a form of killing animals that you find acceptable? And if not, then isn't your litany of techniques just for show?

    As a kid, we had a butcher kill our steer -- he used a hammer to the temple, I think. I understand that's probably more humane than hanging the steer up and slitting its throat, although I think that's also a common technique.

  • sony (unverified)
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    Actually, I never thought I would consider changing from Democrat. In a 2-party system that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon, that seemed the best option. But I can say, as an AR activist, that my party does not stand behind me, and most in it don't seem to be able to comprehend that those with no voice at all (the animals) deserve some protection too. "Party of compassion," not really. And if you're looking for change, don't look to the Democrats - from the looks of it here, they're going to be fighting it every step of the way (until it becomes acceptable to stand up for this particular subclass of beings - the animals - then Democrats will jump on board). Yeah, I'm sick of this party too. It's not a big tent, it's a tiny little umbrella with a bunch of cowering people huddled under it.

  • Clark (unverified)
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    How can you guys hate these people who protest the death of animals for luxury so much? Where is all this hate coming from? They are a bunch of people who care for those unspoken for. Just because you are less sensitive doesn't mean you have to attack those who are and stand up for the values they believe in.

  • Alice (unverified)
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    We don't hate the protesters any more than they hate the Schumachers (probably less!).

    We do hate the moral superiority of all radical fringe groups who would dictate how others should live their lives. I see little distinction between the anti-fur protesters and the anti-abortion freaks. In both examples, they feel their tactics (no matter how gruesome or vitriolic) are justified by the lives they seek to protect from painful and premature death.

    Ironically, most progressives abhor the anti-abortion protesters while nodding in agreement to the anti-fur protesters. I guess they like minks and foxes more than human babies.

    Frankly, I'm glad to see some progressive push back in this example. The lefty fringe (eloquently represented by Anti-State) will not stop at foie gras and fur prohibitions. They'll want to prevent us from eating meat, from wearing any leather, and from carrying our organic groceries home in paper or plastic (everybody will be required to bring their own hemp bags when they go shopping).

    You can stand up and fight them at the Schumacher's, or in the aisles of your local grocery store. It's just a matter of time and location.

  • Kevin M (unverified)
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    Hey Alice, it's good to know you've taken a stand....with those who are partially responsible for the suffering (and those who buy the products, create the demand, are responsible as well). You must be so proud! I won't bother addressing the other stuff in your post, except you go girl, plastic bags all around. You don't understand us at all.

    Is there a form of killing animals that you find acceptable?

    And to Jonatha, the answer is no. From an earlier post...

    I'm vegan, it's a way of life, 24/7. Every individual can make kind (cruelty-free) choices every day whether veg*an or not. No I don't wear or buy leather, I don't buy products tested on animals, I don't support forms of entertainment that exploit and abuse animals, and I of course consume nothing that comes from an animal.

    ...and the key word is "killing". Euthanasia is the termination of life to relieve suffering...if a human or non-human were in severe constant pain, maybe with cancer or another illness, that's different and occurs with much less frequency compared to the many millions killed for human consumption. I support Oregon's doctor assisted suicide law. If a cat or dog, the family companion is in constant agony one must make that awful choice. I have an animal loving friend who had to face that recently, her dog had cancer, diabetes and other ailments and she did everything she could medically including surgery, radiation and chemo to bring her dog back to good health but the cancer won. The ending of suffering is of course not the same as killing a healthy animal, human or non-human. And the killing techniques listed are for perspective, since I'm unable to show a video in this forum and I think people should know. If you would like more info or a video I think In Defense of Animals can help, (503) 249-9996. Thanks for asking.

    As a for Gore losing (but not really) in 2000, he ran a weak campaign. It shouldn't have been close. And Kerry was a lame candidate in 2004. Dems should stop blaming Nader (who I haven't voted for as my votes were for the Dems against Bush and not really for Gore and Kerry) and admit the candidates in the last two presidential races ran lousy campaigns, cowardly campaigns, afraid to take clear stands on the big issues. The question is will Dems nominate an "electable" candidate like Kerry again in 2008.

  • Alice is a dipshit (unverified)
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    I agree with you Alice! How DARE anyone tell me that I can't use animals in any way I want, inflicting any kind of pain and torture on them for food or fur (because - hooray - not one law exists to protect animals in the fur industry and there are virtually none for farm animals). I mean, they're just animals. Why should my desire to eat them or wear them be hampered by their desire to live free of pain and captivity inflicted by or for me?

    The worst day in America was when slavery became illegal. Because I wanted to use black people too! How DARE anyone tell me that I can't keep another being captive for my own uses?

    Are you really that blind to your OWN "moral superiority" complex - it's dripping from your post.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    Your brilliance is stifling, Kevin. How could I possibly think that there is any difference between people and animals? And not only is there no difference, but apparently anyone who thinks there is a difference is hateful and stupid. Of course, the fact that our constitution, laws, etc. all recognize the difference between humans and animals (though sometimes they also protect animals from abuse), would not make a difference either, right, since our constitution and laws previously allowed slavery? Ahh, I see, compare it to slavery, and you win the argument!

    If you were less vitriolic, and instead engaged about the appropriate lines that humanity does or should draw between animals and humans, I think you'd get more positive response.

    But me, well, I don't treat my dog like my daughter. I only feed him twice a day, and usually just dog food. I don't wash his bowls after each meal, either ... oh, I should be annihilated! That's NOT to say that abuse of animals is OK, or even that rampant killing of animals for our own use and pleasure is OK, either. I just think there's a fair number of progressives, and I am one, that care about humane treatment of animals, even animals raised to be killed, who disagree with you.

    If you want to walk down the street making sure you don't step on ants, that's your business; hell, you can even go on a crusade about it. But don't pretend that it would be an intellectually justifiable crusade.

  • Garlynn (unverified)
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    Tom Powers wrote:

    "As for the meat-eating-extention, 'why-not-protest-this-too' argument, I think it's pretty clear that the logic of 'you-protest-this-therefore-you-must-condemn-all-these-with-equal-vigor' is fallacious and would only result in very, very tired activists. Fur trade stands out as particularly egregious because it's a purely cosmetic effect, and I think that distinction alone warrants some kind of place to start protesting." (emphasis added)

    OK, well thanks for the clarification there. IMHO, fur's just not that huge of an issue, as long as it is farm-raised and not from wild animals. Yes, it's a really awful thing to do to small cuddly furry creatures. Yes, the people that support it, at the prices charged, are terminally clueless. Yes, the store selling the fur really probably shouldn't be antagonizing the activists (though I do kind of admire the Oregonian individuality/oneryness of that move, even as I condemn it).

    But with the war in Iraq, the Republicans in office, old-growth forests being chopped down again, and everything else that's wrong with the world... well... you're right, whatever gets people out of their houses and onto the street to protest, that's great. Maybe experience with this protest will lead to more meaningful protests with more progressive results in the future.

    As a French friend said to me when I was visiting a friend in Germany: "You Americans just don't throw enough stones." He meant, we needed to protest more.

    As Dan said:

    "So that's it...until you stop driving your car, smash your television, put down that beer in your hand and do something to change the this country and it's ways, stop criticizing people who do."

    Issues of "liberal credibility" aside, I'd have to agree. Perhaps liberals just need to become known as the people who DO SOMETHING, and then this protest will just be regarded as one more example of SOMETHING BEING DONE.

    However... I think that putting down the beer might be a bit too extreme. Supporting the local microbrew industry is also an example of doing something constructive to change the world, right? ;-)

  • RCS (unverified)
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    "You can stand up and fight them at the Schumacher's, or in the aisles of your local grocery store. It's just a matter of time and location."

    Hmmm, where have we seen this argument before? Could it be, oh I don't know, GEORGE BUSH?!?!? It was faulty when he used it and it's faulty now. Arguments like these aren't "progressive", they're mealy-mouthed liberalism at their worst.

  • Going Green too, for the animals (unverified)
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    I'm truly horrified that so many democrats are actually siding with people who sell fur for a living, and actually slinging mud at people who care about animals. Crap. I thought this was supposed to be the progressive party, but the more I learn, the more I realize this is a sinking ship no different than the republicans. Jonathan said:

    "Any wonder with these adherents that the Green Party has done what it can to help the Republican Party (and/or that the Republican Party has done what it can to help the Green Party)? Has everyone forgotten that Ralph Nader votes in Florida were arguably responsible for giving W the presidency?"

    I want to respond. First, I remind your tiny and easily manipulated attention span (again!) that it was not Ralph Nader who robbed votes from your precious (pro-war) candidate, it was Bush, you dolt. Don't you remember? He stole the election, bonehead. But there, again, is a reason I am beginning to hate democrats: You did nothing about it.

    This party laid there like a limp noodle and did NOTHING about the fact that the election was a sham, and democracy was stolen out from under us. Did you not want to be "impolite"? Oh, right. I remember. You were busy denouncing anyone who protested against the illegitimacy of the stolen election, just as you are now denouncing people who are standing behind their beliefs that killing innocent animals is wrong. There's the party, for you. Hopelessly, neurotically, gutless.

    More than that, I want to point out that YOU are the reason why so many of us are deserting the party. YOU and people like you. If the democratic party can't even get THIS right, why on earth should I ever vote for another of their candidates? (Oh, yeh. Because they're "different," right? Because they're "better than republicans," right? Oh. Because "at least they would stop the war," right? Riiight.

    Oh, you think? Then how come John Kerry's whole campaign speech went something like this: "We're gonna hunt them down and kill them!" And how come the Vietnam war was mostly perpetrated by democrats?) No, I don't think this is any different, and it's certainly not "progressive." Do you even know what that means?

    Hell. If this party can't even agree that killing animals for a living is wrong and that it's all right to say so, then it really is just a bunch of whining wet noodles and I am going down today to change to the Green party. Screw this. Until the democratic party stands up, gets a spine, and takes a moral stance on this and so many other issues, I'm done with you. No more votes from me.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    Dear "Going Green Too," I think you might find that when registering with the Green party you will need to use a real name. Nothing like anonymous advocacy to demonstrate your credibility. You've clearly drunk the Kafoury-Koolaid on Nader and the 2000 election. While I think Gore should have fought more and harder, I'm not going to bunker up to live and die for farm-raised animals, or lash out at the undefined "them" of democrats who allegedly didn't do enough. I'd rather that Democrats spent time and attention on little things like stopping the Iraq war, bringing some sense to the stupid "War on Terror," adequately funding schools, providing health insurance for everyone, ending poverty. And I try to give my time and money accordingly. For you, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, join the Green party, protest fur, waste your vote, and continue to complain about everyone else.

  • AF (unverified)
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    animal rights are so yesterday. we need to move beyond that to the rights of plants. do you know that corn scream in pain when you bite into it? do you know that onions cry when you slice them? of course we need to stop eating animals but we also need to stop eating our friends the plants. please, if everyone just stopped eating the world would be a better place.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    I know I swore of this conversation, but now that the cat is out of the bag, and these folks are showing their true colors:

    I'm truly horrified that so many democrats are actually siding with people who sell fur for a living, and actually slinging mud at people who care about animals. Crap. I thought this was supposed to be the progressive party, but the more I learn, the more I realize this is a sinking ship no different than the republicans.

    Every once in a while I wonder why I still side with the Dems, too. One of the issues I personally find disturbing is the willingness of some Dems to side with terrorist organizations, even tacitly (ALF/EF/Justice Department). Even if the links aren’t there, they are generally assumed to be there, mostly cuz the other side dictates the memes, and you folks work very hard to inflate your perceived numbers, much like a puffer fish warding off enemies.

    We do not side with you for a good reason:

    Y’all are madder than march hares, gripped by the sheer fervor of your Jihad. You feel it in your bones, you feel it to the core of your being. You are a true believer in a cause that you feel supercedes all else. We believe in many causes…not just the one.

    I used to be a Green.* I used to protest everything I didn’t like (Don’t like it? Protest!) I spent many an hour picketing, fighting back, sometimes bending the law in pursuit of what I considered to be social justice. I felt hunted, hounded, persecuted. I used to feel like society was out to get me, out to abuse everything that I believed to be right and good.

    Then, one day I grew up and saw the light: The masses weren’t after me, and the masses didn’t give a rip whether or not I was protesting. The masses didn’t even care what I was protesting…they only cared that I was stopping them from getting home and seeing their families.

    Let me clarify this for you, since I think you are suffering from a skosh of egotism: The average Jane and Joe does not want to know what you are doing. It’s not that they are indifferent to the plight of the suffering, but they just have other, more pressing concerns on their minds. They have mortgages to pay, food to put on the table, church to attend, friends to watch football games with, a favorite chair in front of American Idol.

    They aren’t going to protest with you. They probably didn’t even REALIZE that you were protesting until they heard about it on the news. A bit more bad news: They won’t be joining you in your Jihad. Your Jihad would pull them away from their family. It would pull them away from that easy chair and their can of lawnmower beer on a Sunday afternoon. It would pull them away from yard-work and arguing with their children. Worse yet, it would pierce their nice, cozy bubble. The one that they want, and have cultivated. The very one you are trying so hard to pierce.

    See, the key is to inspire action without upsetting the apple-cart. Until y’all figure that out, it will be a rough long, lonely road for you.

    Don’t give up, tho. Really truly. Don’t. It is your existence at the end of the political spectrum (the so called “lunatic fringe”) that makes us look nice and normal. Oh, we won’t ever ENDORSE you and your activities, nor will most of us ever purchase a fur, but dang if you don’t make our job just THAT much easier.

    Isn’t it nice to be a tool?

    <hr/>
    • Indeed, I helped run the ’89 Committees of Correspondence in Eugene.
  • jj ark (unverified)
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    Anti wrote:

    I'm unconcerned with legality. Slavery was legal at one point. The sufferage of women and people of color was illegal. The holocaust was legal.

    Isn’t it nice how they conveniently compare African Americans, Women and Jews to animals?

    Where is MacDiva when we need her? Somebody put out the bat-symbol for her!

    Further…isn’t it lovely and convenient for these protesters, so “unconcerned with legality” to cry wolf when its THEIR legal rights and constitutional rights are infringed upon.

    “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!” to quote Monty Python.

    Since you are so unconcerned with legality, perhaps you wouldn’t object to folks infringing upon YOUR legal rights? I think not. It must be an empty sentiment. Does it help you get chicks at the bar after the protest? “Hey, baby, I am a warrior for the Animal Rights Movement! I am unconcerned with legality! Wanna come home with me tonight?”

    Snort. I DO so love people! Such diversity!

    Comedy-wise, these folks are turning into a target rich environment. Thanks, Jeff!

  • furisdead.com (unverified)
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    watch animals getting skinned alive, writhing in pain and terror; getting beaten on the streets of China; getting anally electrocuted; going crazy from life spent in a tiny cage...all so that their fur can be worn by people wanting to make a fashion statement. http://www.furisdead.com

    yeah, it's so trivial to try to prevent the suffering of other creatures.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    Protesting purveyors of fur products is as effective at stopping animal abuse as apprehending drug users is at stopping those who grow drugs. Why not put your time and breath into trying to change the law on animal cruelty (at leaast, if you really believe that anyone within the bounds of the law is doing or selling anything bad).

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    yeah, it's so trivial to try to prevent the suffering of other creatures.

    Not in the least!

    I keep trying to figure out how to keep my dog from hunting my chickens. Last year, she got 3 of ‘em and it was a gruesome mess. There was sure suffering involved there. I figure if I protest her long enough, she will leave them alone so that they can lay their eggs in peace. Would you like to come over and help? I’ll provide the cardboard!

    Bub: lemme let you in on something. You are going about this the wrong way: Single issue voters are a fickle lot. They don’t like to hear “other” things. They ONLY want to hear what they want to hear on the subject that is near and dear to them. You are an excellent example…see…you only want to hear what you want to hear, on this one issue. Anything else is considered well…worthless.

    Give it a rest. Go find some friends that don’t protest ANYTHING. Put down the signs, put away the magic markers, take up a hobby. Still feel the fervor, but expand your horizons a bit. You will find that if people like your opinions on many things, they will find you very persuasive. If they only see you as the “anti-fur” fella, then well…you lost ‘em.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    Why not put your time and breath into trying to change the law on animal cruelty (at leaast, if you really believe that anyone within the bounds of the law is doing or selling anything bad).

    Jonathan:

    When was the last time you saw a PETA candidate? Even for dog-catcher, or 4-H club president?

    They don’t run for office. They protest! Its what they do. Sure, along the way, they donate money to terrorist organizations, and they might get some beer, and maybe on a good night, after an excellent protest they get a piece, but they don’t actually want to CHANGE anything. Its much more fun to destroy than to build.

    Its like a sandcastle on the beach. Sure its fun to build it up, espectially with your friends, but the real fun is in playing GODzilla, and knocking it down.

    They won’t go away, and they won’t legislate anything. They might join the Greens, but will soon abandon them as “not radical enough” or “too appeasing”. Ultimately, they will realize that protesting is FUN. Tearing things down is FUN! Building things is much more work.

    I would welcome a PETA candidate. I think it would be great! Kinda the Tom Coxx for the left! A little kooky, but overall a nice guy (that never gets enough votes).

    Oh, and a disclaimer: I don't know the group these people are associated with. I don't really care to know either. I chose PETA cuz its fairly universal shorthand for nutty animal rights folks of the non-criminal variety. Sorry if I offended the nutty's out there!

  • seeing it clearly (unverified)
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    since when does caring about one thing mean that you can't care about anything else? talk about reductionist thinking.

    if people protest for a couple hours on Saturday, well, that's just a couple hours on Saturday (during which you're probably wasting time trolling the internet).

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    since when does caring about one thing mean that you can't care about anything else? talk about reductionist thinking.

    Ok, SIC, since you do care about other things, please take a step back, and explain to us why the Dems should support this protest.

    Pretend you are making your case to the entire Dem Movement. Why is it we should throw our support behind you.

    (hint: it might be a good idea to work in the economy of Venezuala, the alliances we have with the former eastern block countries and maybe a little pop culture reference from the MSM)

    I am very interested in hearing why I should show up to your protest.

  • jj can't think (unverified)
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    where did "seeing it clearly" ask you to show up to a protest? you're all over the map, jj.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    where did "seeing it clearly" ask you to show up to a protest? you're all over the map, jj.

    er...perhaps you didn't understand the question...let me rephrase and bring in the scope a little:

    how about you tell US what you want us to do?

    or:

    Explain to us how we can help your cause.

  • jj can't think (unverified)
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    No, no, don't get me wrong, jj, you should continue to do nothing except criticize others who are trying to make a more compassionate world.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    No, no, don't get me wrong, jj, you should continue to do nothing except criticize others who are trying to make a more compassionate world.

    Oh, I assure, you...I got nothing wrong.

    I am however, asking a question. Can you do us all a favor and answer that question?

    Potshots don't really work here. We've all been through it 1000 times before. If you have info to contribute, please feel free to do so. If you have nothing, then...well...enjoy your stay! I am sure it will be short one.

  • jj can't think (unverified)
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    I don't think the protesters are asking you or jeff to do anything, jj - no clue where you got that idea. People have responded only to the criticisms leveled at the protesters for getting out there, exercising their First Amendment rights, and doing something they believe in.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    Oh! Sorry! I thought I made that clear:

    I wrote: Lets be tolerant of them. Lets defend, VEHEMENTLY their right to protest, provided they are doing so legally.

    and also:

    Well, that ain’t me…I love a good protest. So much fun to watch! Almost as much fun as a parade. Such enthusiasm!

    and I wasn't kidding on either account. Ask around, Bub. I am a big believer in exercising the ol' constitutional muscle.

    As for the 'asking us to do anything', please reread the WHOLE thread, paying special attention to the post of Going Green, RCS, Sony and Madam Hatter.

    All have left our party (paraphrasing here) saying that we do not support the issues that are important to them.

    Again...I ask: what can the Dems do FOR you? How can we help your cause? What can you give us that will inspire us to get out on the line with you?

  • jj can't think (unverified)
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    Hey, if it's not your issue, man, then don't do it, why should you? Just don't shit on others, tell them how they "should" do it, what issue is "really" or more important, that what they're doing is worthless, ad nauseum.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    Hey, if it's not your issue, man, then don't do it, why should you? Just don't shit on others, tell them how they "should" do it, what issue is "really" or more important, that what they're doing is worthless, ad nauseum.

    errrr. no.

    I think their methodology is dumb (and that would be the CHARITABLE term).
    I think their goals are false. I think they represent a fascistic wing of liberal ideology. I view them as Jihadist. No better or worse than Osama Bin Laden . Wanna see what happens to those who disagree with them? Just look up "Justice Department" People get murdered. Corpses are dug up and stolen from their final resting places and I think their anarcho-communist goals, if they were to be realized would destroy some of the very fabric our American Society is built upon.

    Oh, sure, they also wanna save cuddly bunnies...after all: who don't love a bunny wabbit? I sure do! But thats just a stepping stone.

    Stop and think about this a minute: They compare meat to murder, fur and so on to holocausts, and endorse the imposition of criminal fines for the use of animals. They see no distinction between humans and animals. They want to ban milk-drinking. They want to ban sustenance from animal products as a whole. Do you have any idea the massive ecological nightmare this would produce? Just think of the excess nitrogen from all the non-native species we use as food. Aye carumba.

    Now, if you delve further into the individuals involved in the AR movement, you find folks in common with anarcho-elements of EF!, ALF, ARM and other known terrorist groups both here and abroad. Even if their members are entirely distict by group (as some have claimed) they don't object to funding terrorism.

    Lastly, there isn't room for dissent in the AF movement. Dissent is met with a pittock handle to the head.

    Since you have accused me of being unclear--“all over the place” is the term you used, let me make myself brutally clear:

    If you wanna wrap yourself in the AF flag, please do! I will support 100% your right to do so. If you wanna march against Peeps, and defame them as idolatry, please do! Again, you got a 100% right to do so. If you wanna protest against fur, please do! Again, that Constitutional muscle needs a-flexin.

    However, these folks won’t ask anything of us…they don’t WANT our help. They don’t WANT our involvement, and they don’t want moderating influence. You will note the RESOUNDING silence in response to my querry. No one is offering up any way the DEMS could help AR folks. Queue the crickets, maestro!

  • jj is f'ing crazy! (unverified)
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    Oh man, you're an f'ing loon, jj. Yeah, someone who stands on a corner passing out fliers about animal abuse in the fur industry is just like Osama Bin Laden. Just how many people have AR people killed? Oh, that's right - none. And how do you know how every person protesting fur feels about every issue?

    jj, I can tell you with certainty, that when people stop debating with you, it doesn't mean you have won the argument, it means that they are tired of dealing with your thickheadedness, inconsistency, inability to focus on the argument, and inability to look at yourself with a critical (or even sane) eye. You will likely be the last person to post here, and that's the reason why.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)
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    JJ ark has found some nice websites of animal-rights extremism. It's a pity that they have jack shit to do with the Schumacher's protest. (And one of them - the one he links to with "Jihadist" is a link to a lobbyist website for the fast-food and tobacco industries.)

    JJ ark - you also believe that people who are against fur devote their whole time to it. Not so. A few hours a week on a Saturday does not mean they are totally disengaged from other political events.

    You also swallow the whole Abu Gonzales "eco-terrorism threat" meme hook, line, and sinker. How gullible are you?

    I have seen videotapes of the entire Schumacher furs protest arrests on March 4. It is not "Help, help, I'm being oppressed." It's a cop who's been sued previously for attacking protesters shoving one into a pole for no reason, getting one of the hired goons from Schumacher's to rough him up some more, and pepper-spraying a peaceful crowd, then trying to break the protester's arm with a wristlock without even trying to handcuff him.

    The same cop pulls someone off the sidewalk for no reason, shoves a woman aside, then proceeds to rough him up as well.

    Many of us would never buy or accept fur, and know how to talk to people to discourage them from buying or wearing it without yelling at them. Fur's an expensive and cruel anachronism, and I wouldn't be surprised if Schumacher's and Unger's fur stores were either out of business or changed to a different line of business within ~20 years.

    <h2>Many of the protesters are very young, and if it introduces them into social and political activism, it's fine with me.</h2>

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