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Losing Friends, and the Super Crud of the Super Bowl

A friend recently told me that although I can sometimes be annoying, she really admired my passion, and valued our friendship. I appreciated her honesty, and even though I never want to be annoying, I took it as a compliment. And here’s why, I can’t help it. I can’t walk down the street, shop, travel, eat, turn on the TV, go online, hang out with friends and family, or do anything without being reminded of the suffering of animals, and how our species exploits, abuses, and kills billions of beautiful sentient beings on a daily basis (75+ billion animals live lives of complete misery, and are slaughtered each year in order to support our destructive food system). For many of us, once we know, it is impossible to un-know, and remain silent. I am flawed like anyone else, and I try to meet people where they are, but I suspect that I have lost more than a few friends (and close ties with family members) due to my “annoying” activism and advocacy. I am reminded of dialogue from the film, Out of Africa, where the character Berkeley says, “We had a friend…Hopworth, he’d got a book from Denys and didn’t return it. Denys was furious. I said to Denys…”You wouldn’t lose a friend for the sake of a book.” He said, “No, but he has, hasn’t he?”” This is how I feel about animal rights, other social justice issues, and the loss of friends. I wouldn’t lose friends for the sake of animal rights, but they would, wouldn’t they? For most people, the choice is clear, and the onus is on them. Perhaps Damien Mander, co-founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, summed it up best: “Whether we’re talking about factory farming, live export, poaching, the fur trade, logically, it is all on the same playing field to me. Suffering is suffering, and murder is murder. And the more helpless the victim, the more horrific the crime. Next time you think an animal lover is too emotional, too passionate, or even a little crazy, please remember we see things through a different lens.” 

Although I still have fun to some degree following sports, my interest has faded as I haven’t been able to watch (or stomach), an entire National Football League (NFL) game for years. This is mainly due to the rampant hypocrisy of the NFL, and its offensive and misleading commercials (glorification of wars (militarization, nationalism), the promotion of meat, dairy, eggs and other junk food products, Big Pharma ads, phoney baloney pink ribbon messaging, as well as a ton of other deceptions, and nonsense). 

“We are a culture of celebrity, not morality” – Maureen Dowd

The authors of the wonderful book, The Pleasure Trap, once compared America’s addiction to junk food, to that of a frog choosing not to move when placed in a pan of water that is heated slowly enough for the frog not to notice. Despite there being no barrier to his escape, the frog may ultimately boil to death as the temperature continues to rise. His sensory capabilities fail to warn him in time that action is required for his survival. In addition to our violent and toxic food system, many Americans are sleepwalking and being “slowly boiled to death” with their other addictions as well, including flag-waving (for ongoing wars), celebrity worship, consumerism (the drive to buy and own more stuff, and to define their identity through what they own), and an unwavering faith in US healthcare (sick-care), and Big Pharma. Despite the warm and fuzzy marketing for each of these industries and practices, Americans are being misled, and are sicker than ever, as US mortality rates continue to rise, and a record number of people are on prescription drugs (Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) are the 4th leading cause of death in the US). One of the best ways to identify what is causing so many of America’s health and wellness issues is to watch the TV commercials, ceremonies, and promotions for an NFL game. Here you will get a front row seat for a master class in manipulation, and an opportunity to clearly understand why we are in big trouble. There is no sporting event that is more instructive in this regard than the NFL’s Super Bowl, and although it pales in comparison to the Olympics (3 billion viewers), a World Cup final (1.5 billion) or an important cricket tournament (1 billion), the Super Bowl typically draws an audience of over 150 million people worldwide. Wow.

The Super Frauds!

The US Military: – The NFL is a huge propaganda arm for the US Military (and a major contributor to its predatory recruiting practices). It seems as though you can’t watch an NFL game without a pre-game military flyover, which apparently costs about $4 million per contest. Can you imagine what the 1 in 5 US households that are food insecure could do with $4 million? What a country! Okay, so what about the 2023 Super Bowl? Have you heard of Pat Tillman? Pat Tillman was an NFL football player who gave up his promising and lucrative NFL career to join the US Army Rangers and fight in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. In 2004, Pat was killed in a friendly fire gun battle. However, that was not the original report that the public heard. For propaganda reasons, the US military told quite a different story and tried to cover up the truth of what really happened to Pat Tillman. It turns out that Mr. Tillman had become disillusioned with the illegal US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and was going to go public with his feelings of outrage and opposition. Evidence uncovered by Pat Tillman’s Mother, Mary Tillman, and journalist Narda Zacchino, suggest that it wasn’t just friendly fire, and that there may have been a deliberate attempt to silence Pat Tillman as there was apparently no mandatory “air cover” provided to him for the mission in which he was killed. Another investigation revealed that all of his personal belongings and notebooks had disappeared as well. Despite knowing all of this, the US military and the NFL once again chose to not tell the truth about Pat Tillman, and instead used his name as a promotional device to boost recruitment during this year’s super bowl. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. According to DeadSpin’s Sam Fels, “The NFL being an official advertising wing of the US military is nothing new…For the coin toss, the league trotted out its honorary captains, all Pat Tillman Scholars. And an introductory video pumped the same message that the league, and originally the government, wants us to swallow. We know that story, about Tillman leaving behind his NFL career to serve in the army, becoming a Ranger, and dying in combat. All the vested parties love to trot him out as everything that’s right with the country and military and government and how they all intertwine…But that story has been thrown out for a while now. Tillman was more a symbol of rebellion, calling the Iraq war “fucking illegal”. He was going to meet with Noam Chomsky after he returned. He refused to let the Bush administration use him as a piece of propaganda to boost approval for a war he loathed. We know he was killed by friendly fire. We know the military and government tried to cover it up, even from Tillman’s own family. This is the whole story, and the NFL was hoping on Sunday night that we would all just forget. Tillman didn’t want to be a prop in life. We can be sure he wouldn’t either 19 years after his death…Tillman shouldn’t be erased from the NFL annals, but the whole story should be told. Tillman would have been a better symbol for players kneeling across the league, given how he was an informed thinker and not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, rather than the league once again trying to dry hump the armed forces.” 
Click here to learn more from The Intercept about how the NFL, and the US military hijacked Pat Tillman’s story. 

Click here for an excellent interview with Mary Tillman and Narda Zacchino on The Katie Halper Show.

I wonder how many of the 150 million viewers of this year’s super bowl were children who will now join the US military to kill or be killed. 🙁

The NFL: There are 32 NFL franchises, and except for the Jacksonville Jaguars, they are all owned by white billionaires (who are often racist). But this doesn’t matter to most people in and out of the sport because racism is everywhere, and each NFL team is a money making machine. The NFL has shown complete disregard, and even contempt for players’ safety for years as well (see the NFL’s unconscionable concussion protocols). The NFL also stands for corporate greed, crony capitalism, and an unjust status quo. Just a couple of months ago, the NFL pretended to care deeply when one of its players, Damar Hamlin, suffered cardiac arrest on the field during a nationally televised broadcast. It was good for business for the NFL to appear to have great concern for the Buffalo Bills’ star player, as the entire country held its breath. It was all for show however, as nobody cares when the US military kills millions of innocent people overseas, or NFL fans eat themselves to death with the meat, dairy, egg and other junk food products that are shamelessly promoted during NFL games. Somehow, the National Football League can’t find its voice regarding its flagrant hypocrisy. The NFL is a dangerously greedy, and fraudulent organization. 
Click here to learn more about the NFL’s reckless concussion protocols from Chris Nowinski.

Click here to learn more about racism in the NFL.
Click here to learn more about Colin Kaepernick.
Click here for a trailer from the new documentary titled, “Behind the Shield: The Power and the Politics of the NFL”.

The Super Crud! (celebrities who endorsed animal, health, and planet harming products for the 2023 NFL Super Bowl)

Steve Martin, Ben Stiller, and PEPSI – Like millions of others, I love Steve Martin, and I do think that he is a comedy genius. I can only think of a few people that are in his league when it comes to being funny (Mel Brooks, Ricky Gervais, Richard Pryor, and perhaps a few others). However, the one thing about Steve Martin that has been a disappointment, is his decades long reluctance to fight the good fight, and be a voice for the voiceless. He seems like a nice guy, but it is a shame that he chose not to stand up and be counted over the years, and yet has had no problem putting himself out there to promote cancer causing junk food like PEPSI. What happened? He was a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour at one point (the show was cancelled by CBS in 1969 for criticizing the Vietnam War). Can you imagine what his brilliant and fertile mind could do for animal rights, human health, or the peace movement? Bummer. Also, what is the actor Ben Stiller thinking? Another seemingly nice guy, but how disconnected can he be too? Incidentally, Steve Martin’s estimated net worth is $140 million, and Ben Stiller’s is $200 million. If they didn’t need the money, then what is their motivation? Do they know that 71% of Americans are either overweight or obese, and that US childhood obesity rates are at an all time high (many studies suggest that artificial sweeteners are even more dangerous than sugar)? Have they heard that the average American drinks over 53 gallons of soda per year in the US, and that people who are obese, are at an increased risk to develop other chronic illnesses, and die prematurely? Are they aware that Johns Hopkins calculated the cancer risk and burden, and estimated that PEPSI may be causing thousands of cancer cases? Yikes.
Click here to learn more about the harmful effects of drinking soda.
Click here to learn more about the caramel coloring carcinogens in PEPSI and Coca-Cola from

Melissa McCarthy & Ham – Melissa McCarthy is a talented and funny actress but how tone deaf does she have to be, to imply in a TV ad that she can’t wait to chow down on a big leg of ham (which is actually a leg of a pig, and pigs btw, are smarter than dogs). Ms. McCarthy doesn’t appear to be desperate for money either, as she has an estimated net worth of over $90 million. So, what is she thinking? Her actions normalize animal suffering, and encourage people to eat the very foods that cause disease, and destroy Mother Earth. And here I thought that she was too smart for that kind of nonsense. 🙁    
Click here to learn more about Ms. McCarthy’s commercial. 
Click here to learn more about the health risks of ham and bacon.
Click here to learn more about the intelligence of pigs.

Ben Affleck and Dunkin Donuts – The actor Ben Affleck is another willfully blind celebrity. Although his net worth is estimated to be over $150 million, he still chooses to be a corporate shill, and promote the misery of animals by peddling bacon, eggs, cheese and other animal products for Dunkin Donuts. I swear this guy is clueless (see the lies and racism contained in his film Argo). 
Click here to learn more about the health risks of eating eggs.
Click here to learn more about why we should celebrate pigs rather than torture them, and why eating a pig is bad for our health, spiritual wellness, and the planet.   

Missy Elliot and Doritos – I don’t know anything about Missy Elliot but I do know that Doritos are incredibly unhealthy too (GMO corn, and genetically modified oils, animal products, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, etc.)
Click here to learn more from EWG about the health risks of Doritos.

Deion Sanders and Oikos Yogurt – Has former athlete Deion Sanders and his family ever watched a documentary on the dairy industry? I think that Deion Sanders is a religious person too. Dairy products are amongst the least healthiest on the planet, and the dairy industry itself causes enormous animal suffering. 
Click here for Erin Janus’s excellent 5 minute video, Dairy is Scary.

Entertainers Jon Hamm, Brie Larson, and Pete Davidson – Hellman’s Mayonnaise and processed meats – Really? Do I have to? Ditto (please see the “Dairy is Scary” link above).
Click here to learn more about the health risks of processed meats. 

Actor Brian Cranston, and members of the cast of Breaking Bad – White Cheddar Air Poppers
Click here to learn more about the health risks of consuming dairy products.

Click here to learn more about the health risks of processed foods.

Dishonorable Mentions (the usual suspects)

Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) – Kudos to PETA for another excellent piece, and shame on Budweiser!
PETA uncovered that Anheuser-Busch, which produces Budweiser beer, amputates the tailbones of the famed Clydesdale horses, primarily so they’ll look a certain way as they pull the wagon for their promotions and commercials. 

Click here to learn more about Budweiser’s ugly practices from PETA. 

McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway…well, you get the idea. 

Reasons for Hope?

There are many reasons for hope. One is a group called Vegan Leaders in Corporate Management (VLCM), that helps larger corporations adopt plant-based initiatives. According to the Food Revolution Network, “Some of these initiatives include connecting corporate vegans with one another, as well as offering tools and resources to help them introduce plant-based projects to their workplaces. One example is The Vegan Leaders Playbook, an informational and strategy guide that includes case studies and communication templates to help employees implement plant-based projects at work.”
Click here for a link to the VLCM website.

Click here for the Vegan Leaders Playbook.

One of the few things that my father and I could talk about was sports, and it is one of the reasons why, despite my waning interest, I still follow my childhood teams and “root for the laundry”, as they say. Sports can be such a wonderful way to teach children and ourselves important lessons, bring people together, have fun, and improve our health. Unfortunately, sports can also be used as a tool to manipulate others, create misery, and make the world a far more dangerous place too. If only we knew how to shut down corporate greed, and the cancerous growth of the US Military Industrial Complex. The good news is that despite the undermining efforts of some of the people and organizations mentioned above, there has still been a 30-fold increase in the number of vegans in the US, from 290,000 in 2004, to almost 10 million in 2019! 🙂

If people cared about animal welfare as much as they care about their favorite sports teams, and celebrities, then everyone would be vegan. Moreover, the universal adoption of healthy plant-based diets would do more than anything else to address the major issues of our lifetime, including human health, animal rights, world hunger, the climate crisis, homelessness, and world peace. 

So yes, it starts with us. 🙂 

Until next time…

Click here to learn more about LGBTQ rights, and the coordinated attacks on trans student athletes.

Click here to learn more about how young and middle-aged adults in the U.S. have been dying at higher rates since 2010.
Click here to learn more about how the NFL propagandizes for the US Military.
Click here to learn more about how the NFL and the US military will not leave Pat Tillman alone.
Click here to learn more about the $4 million military flyovers during NFL games.
Click here for a study that found that all former NFL players were diagnosed with CTE.

Click here to learn more about the important work of Chris Nowinski.
Click here to learn more about the shamefulness of Pink Ribbon messaging. 
Click here to learn more about the wonderful and important work of Damien Mander, Akishinga, and the International Anti-Poaching Foundation ( 
Click here to learn more about the global rise in Vegan and Plant-Based eating from Food Revolution Network.
Click here to learn more from a talented young writer name Carson Kindred on how US military marketing reveals America’s failure to support the younger generation. 


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