Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Land of Dis Enchantment: Dems behaving badly in New Mexico. Really badly. There is some weird, freaky shit going down in the name of democracy and Democrats these days. Events in New Mexico are now about as weird as it gets. Special interests. . .beat out the U. S. Constitution Now, from this dog-owning Democrat's point of view, here are a few questions:

Has political posturing--calculated to appeal to animal rights extremists--replaced core Democratic Party values in the Land of Enchantment?

Will Governor Bill Richardson, the Democratic Party's Great Latino Hope, place the priorities of special interest groups ahead of the U. S. Constitution ? Albuquerque's HEART-less animal control mandate Richardson's understudy, Albuquerque's Democratic Mayor with gubernatorial aspirations Martin Chavez, beat him to the punch when it comes to sucking up to animal rights extremists. Chavez extols the virtues of mandatory microchip insertions and mandatory surgical sterilizations for pets, and promises to campaign to make such requirements a statewide obligation in 2007. Chavez is sounding less and less like a Democrat, and more and more like Rick Santorum. New Mexico animal rights organizations just love Chavez. Its easy to see why. There sure is a whole lotta smoochin' going on. Chavez is no renegade Democrat, though. He was just appointed to the Democratic National Committee. The preamble to Albuquerque's huge new anti-pet, anti-pet owner HEART ordinance reads-- "The Council further finds that the people of Albuquerque should treat animals as more than just lifeless inanimate chattel property. . ." Gag me with a spoon. Drivel and spin New Mexico's Animal Protection Voters lapped up that incoherent drivel, though. APV counted passage of HEART among their many 2006 "accomplishments." As far as Mayor-wannabe-Governor Chavez is concerned, your right to privacy -- destroyed by the easily-accessible database of household information created by mandatory microchip programs -- is unimportant. Your worries about the health implications of spay-neuter don't count either. In fact, your ability to make any decision at all on the care of your animals, protected by your constitutional property rights, is basically gone. In Albuquerque, you're just there to pay the bills. Paving the way for Louisville And you'd better have plenty of cash, too. Like Louisville, Albuquerque ordinances discriminate against the poor by establishing prohibitively high fees for various categories of pet ownership. Readers who were shocked by the undemocratic, wildly over-invasive, fraudulent set of animal control ordinances inflicted on Louisville, KY should think about what happened in Albuquerque first. Residents of both cities are now in court, struggling to rid themselves of deeply flawed ordinances that were strong-armed through the legislative process. In both cities concerns about the legality of the proceedings have been raised. Both sets of ordinances are so over-reaching and unenforceable that municipal officials, including both Mayor Martin Chavez in Albuquerque and Mayor Abramson in Louisville, indicate that they can only hope to enforce the new laws selectively. So much for equal protection under the law. Dems that diss civil liberties Just how many civil rights and liberties will Democrats blow off, anyway? Governor Bill Richardson: itchin' to lose his . . . virtue? Or was it already but a faint memory? Playing to the adoring New Mexico animal rights lobby, Richardson already signed a bill into state law that makes dogs that chase cats "potentially dangerous" and subject to seizure by authorities. Richardson's 10 point Animal Protection Package was released on December 27, just in time to compliment announcement of his presidential bid. The $3.6 million in funding offers more taxpayer money than the animal rights lobby previously asked for, and covers "humane education" for children in public schools and the establishment of an "Animal Welfare Oversight Board". Gee, I wonder who gets appointed to that? Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, the world's largest and richest animal rights organization, was quick to offer his thanks. Slick Billy Richardson: Between worlds, or simply AWOL on constitutional rights? This guy is a Democrat? Friend of the little guy? Campeón del pueblo? Protector of the oppressed? Where is Bill Richardson on protecting personal property rights, anyway? People like Ralph Nader "got it" years ago. Republicans like Charlie Norwood rule the eminent domain debate. As far as I can see, they're the ones standing up for our rights. What's up with that? Latino Uncle Tom for the Humane Society of the United States

The HSUS deliberately plays up middle-America's worst nightmares when they profile dog owners as "drug dealers, gang members, and anyone else who is looking for a dog to be a status symbol." And yeah, race and ethnicity are the unspoken subtexts here.

Doesn't that Tío Tomás, Bill Richardson, understand that the negative stereotypes so unjustly conjured up by HSUS encourage discrimination against the very socio-economic groups he is supposed to deliver to the Democratic Party?

How twisted is that?

Bill Richardson, blowing in the wind

Just what the hell is he thinking?

Other than "I want to be president", its hard to answer. The Albuquerque Journal quotes him, circa 1996: "I was a conservative Democrat, who became a progressive Democrat, who's now a moderate . . .a progressive moderate who's also pragmatic ." But, hey. That was ten whole years ago. Looks like Bill Richarson has moved on since then.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Score after Round One in the Big Apple-- Pit bulls: 1 Peter Vallone: 0 And those happy-go-lucky dogs with the infectious grins never laid a glove on him.

Opening a can of whoop-ass on Pete Vallone

NYC Councilman Peter Vallone (Democrat-Astoria) must be wondering what the hell happened. Response to his Christmas proposal to reverse New York State law and ban pit bulls from the City of New York met with near unanimous scorn.

The New York Post's Julia Szabo -- a pit bull owner herself -- ran the above photo from the Unexpected Pit Bull calendar. Then she encouraged readers to contact Vallone and tell him how they feel. And then she published his telephone number and email address.

Then there was Newsday's Denise Flaim.

". . .breedism is a fact of life for the pit bull, whose reputation is tinged with racial and socioeconomic associations that no one is comfortable talking about, but invariably react to."

Snark infested waters

And there was ultra-hip Gawker's take on the whole thing:

"Councilman Peter Vallone: Killjoy of the Year We've got to hand it to Queens Councilman Peter Vallone: Never has one politician advanced more ridiculous, attention-getting legislation. . ."

NY City Councilmember Peter Vallone. Animal Rights activist. Vallone's response to New Yorkers who contacted him about his proposal? "Thank you for contacting my office [. . .blah, blah, blah. . .] As a dog owner and animal rights activist I am well aware that when raised properly, pit bulls can be as loyal and loving as any other breed . . ." Animal rights activist? Now, where would a guy like Peter Vallone ever get the idea that animal rights activism could be squared with the destruction of pit bulls? Maybe from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who actively supports the euthanasia of all "pit bulls?" Ingrid's we-love-pit bulls-so-we-must-kill-them-all logic might have appealed to Vallone. Or maybe Vallone tried to follow the murky twists of Wayne Pacelle-speak, and concluded that Humane Society of the United States would be perfectly fine with a pit bull-free New York? Hard to say. But move over, Ingrid and Wayne. Peter Vallone just joined your team. Pit Bull sightings on Madison Avenue Will that goofy grin once again be used to encourage people to surrender their paychecks? After all, its not like pit bulls don't have experience in advertising. An informal survey of media watchers was decisive: pit bull sightings are on the rise! Its not your imagination. Pit bulls are everywhere. They're peddling lawn mowers, hot sauce, jeans, sports drinks. All kinds of stuff! Peter Vallone's worst nightmare. . . The Pit Bull that founded. . .Gotham? Or, should that be: "Gotham that founded the New Yorkie"? Does it really matter? Not to me.

Just as long as caring dog owners can to keep their good dogs, free of unreasonable restrictions.

Is that so much to ask, Councilman Vallone?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mission: Market Share New York's ASPCA shows its true colors What has Orange done for you lately? New York City's ASPCA fired out a breathless "breaking news" alert last week and a letter from ASPCA President Ed Sayres. The ASPCA has long been a dominant animal law player in New York City, where all dogs and cats picked up stray, or impounded for any reason, must be surgically sterilized before they are returned to their owners. The ASPCA maintains a full-time dedicated lobbyist in Albany, too. But that was then, and this is now. The ASPCA has widened its horizons. Spread its wings. Got the bit between its teeth. Targeting four cities this year as, Mission: Orange, the ASPCA's million dollar PR campaign and re-branding effort, pledges to take the ASPCA coast-to-coast. Humaniac turf war? Looks like competition for "humane" donations just ratcheted up a notch. There'll be fierce competition for constituencies, too. Just how many national animal protection organizations does this country need, anyway? How are donors supposed to figure out where to send their money? While smaller than the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA reports revenue of about $50 million in 2004, and claims more than 1,000,000 members and supporters across the country. The ASPCA's tagline: "We are their voice" HSUS? "Promoting the protection of all animals" "Donate now!" is all over both websites, naturally. Decisions, decisions. Where to mail the check? This could get complicated! "We need you on our side" , also known as "Join now!" But the ASPCA doesn't mean me. I'm a dog owner, and the ASPCA doesn't support dog ownership. Or cat ownership. Gerbil or canary or turtle ownership. The ASPCA says guardianship is better. Their entire website was updated, not long ago, to reflect a global change to guardianship language. In other words, the ASPCA would like you to forfeit your ability to make decisions regarding the care and welfare of your pets, because you would no longer own them. And since the ASPCA is in the humane law enforcement business, guess who would be stepping in to make those decisions for you? Agent: Orange. Of course, of course. Orange will be backed up by the court system which has the power to appoint, and to remove, guardians. We are The Enemy. The Enemy is us. It used to be the hunters (bloodthirsty sociopaths). Then it was the breeders (money-grubbing puppymillers). Occasionally its the pit bull crowd (drug-dealing criminal losers). Now its all animal owners. So I'm the enemy. You probably are, too. We are characterized by the ASPCA as those who "have title to and dominion over the animal for the owner’s enjoyment and benefit as he/she sees fit." By definition, we're heartless monsters. Exploiters exerting our dominion as we see fit. Just ask the ASPCA. Selling shelter animals to pet shops. I thought that pet stores were on the humane movement's shit list. Remember the battle cry? "Don't buy from a store while dogs and cats wait in misery at the shelter!" I guess, anticipating that the pet supply chain will swing away from established sourcing, that had to change, too. Sha-zaam! Selling shelter animals to pet shops is now a good idea. But let's be clear: We're not talking consignment deals. Those puppies and kittens will be SOLD to pet stores. But, no worries! This is a good thing! The ASPCA says it is. Yup. All about market share. But I can see the angle. With a little coaching from pet retailers on bringing the product to market, those dogs and cats mean significantly increased revenues! Plus, think of what the sales would do for those "live exit" statistics the ASPCA is so concerned about. Hey, that dog or cat went out the door alive on its way the the pet store. Right? ASPCA and Agent Orange on the national platform Its not just the color scheme that's making me queasy, although the blunder seems to indicate an overall lack of judgement, if not a complete break with reality. What were Saatchi and Saatchi thinking? The ASPCA paid a million dollars for orange? By the way, do you think the ASPCA or their PR firm has any clue about who else might be using blaze orange? Any clue at all? This orange thing is so confusing! Just ticking along like Clockwork ORANGE The ASPCA opposes hunting under any circumstances, but uses blaze orange as their new symbol. The ASPCA "does not support purchasing or otherwise acquiring animals from large-scale commercial breeders [or] the retail outlets they supply. . ." but says that selling shelter animals to pet stores is okay. The ASPCA says owning animals is bad. Its exploitative. But then the ASPCA says there are problems with "guardianship", too. What kind of a whacked out outfit is this, anyway? I don't think they have a coherent position that differentiates them from HSUS. Not anymore, at least.

This is all about market share. The mission is market share. Not preventing cruelty, or any of the rest.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Death, destruction, and the HSUS: Democratic Party's gift to Louisville Dems continue to wander and dabble their way towards automatic support of animal rights issues, leaving their dog and pet-owning constituents to fend for themselves as best they can. Residents of Louisville, Kentucky are getting ready to assume the position. The countdown for implementation of Louisville's gargantuan anti-pet, anti-pet owner animal control ordinance continues. In the meantime, Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the largest, richest animal rights organization in the country--the organization that basically wrote the Louisville ordinance--says he's looking forward to a banner year. In fact, he comes precious close to hijacking Democratic Party rhetoric. In an article published for him by the Denver Post, he writes-- "The Democrats have now taken control of Congress . . .[and] the 2006 election brought decisive victories for the cause of animal protection - and left the callous to lick their own wounds for a change. . . Despite the enormous financial advantages of animal-use industries and their trade groups, they don't seem to welcome open debate and direct democracy. They do best in the clubby comfort zones of back rooms and big-time lobby firms. " Daring comments, coming from an organization that outspent Exxon Mobil in lobbying during the 2006 election cycle, spreading $3.4 million to support the candidates and issues HSUS favors. But then Wayne has been taught to spin by experts. HSUS employs one of the trendiest, most adept PR firms around. And with an income of upwards of $125 million in donations offered up by the unwitting to "save animals", HSUS can afford the very best. People who live in glass houses But problems with open debate and direct democracy? Oh, my. My, my, my. The Louisville Kennel Club and the League of Kentucky Sportsmen are filing suit against the city of Louisville to halt implementation of that HSUS-driven animal control law. One of their prime grievances? "[Counsel for the Louisville Kennel Club] says the council's Democratic Caucus violated the open-meetings law twice on the day that the council passed the ordinance. Hamilton, the ordinance's sponsor, held a work session early in the day to go over changes in the ordinance, with the full caucus meeting at 4 p.m. . . .Fleischaker asks that the council acknowledge violating the open-meetings law and apologize, acknowledge the vote was illegal and call a special meeting to rescind its approval." Meanwhile, back on the farm: low expectations prevail in Louisville Everyone's heard of the Peter Principle, right? Employees rise within the bureaucracy until they hit their level of incompetence ? "Incompetence" is going to take on a whole new meaning in Louisville, when the Director of Animal Services' new police state powers kick in. Meloche's employment history: clear pattern of failure Reporter Stephen George of the Louisville Eccentric Observer summarized Meloche's professional low points: Guilty administrative plea in Canada for improper record keeping of a controlled substance (anabolic steroids) at his veterinary clinic Fired after 10 months on the job as animal control administrator for the city of Durham, NC for insubordination Resigned from a position as Director of the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Control Services amid accusations of veterinary malpractice, aggravating shelter over-crowding and increasing euthanasia figures, inexperience with the public sector, and more. Meloche's mama might be proud, but I really wonder what Democratic Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson saw in a job applicant with a work record like that. Who the heck put that resume on his desk, anyway? Huh? Democrat Abramson hired Meloche little more than a year ago. And Democrat Cheri Bryant Hamilton soon became his very best friend, along with Pam Rogers of the Humane Society of the United States, as the three of them cooked up an animal control ordinance widely acknowledged as the worst in the country. The Louisville animal control ordinance places near totalitarian power in the hands of Gilles Meloche. The 90 odd pages of it--and councilmembers were left scrambling to see if they had actually read it prior to considering it--passed on a clear party-line vote. Dems played follow the leader in what observer Stephen George called "a fantastic display of the dismal possibilities of partisanship in local politics." Usual suspects in Louisville: ordinary dog owners, good family dogs Disconsolate dog and pet owners in Louisville are waking up to what the Dems in the Louisville City Council did, and they're beginning to ask hard questions. Dems are feeling the noose begin to tighten, too. Selling out your constituency has its consequences. Let's just hope Democrats, both in Louisville and nationally, wake up and smell the dog. Soon.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Live from New York! Its not the dogs--its the dog owners ! As New York City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. attempts to surf the fearmongering wave his recent anti-pit bull tirade spawned, who will step in to control the spin? Vallone? I'm thinking not so much. At this point, it looks like Vallone can't find his butt with both hands. His comments on pit bulls are a steady stream of misinformation, myth and hype. Shocked members of the Dog Federation of New York rushed to offer their assistance in understanding things like bite statistics and dog anatomy. They offered to help him set up community-based dog safety programs within the scope of existing law.

Let's just hope he takes it. He seemed to have no facts of any sort available to him.

No traction on the mean streets of New York

At least not for a tough guy wannabe like Councilman Vallone, trying to work a crowd that's been there, seen that, and gave the t-shirt to the dog.

Predictably, his talk of banning pit bulls from the Big Apple met with a cool reception. Many New Yorkers fondly remember former Animal Care and Control Director Ed Boks' comments on pit bulls. Ed famously suggested renaming the dogs "New Yorkies" and quipped:

New Yorkers, like pit bulls, are sometimes perceived as a standoffish and mean breed - but are actually some of the most generous and open-hearted people I've ever met.

And here's Ed with a New Yorkie. Yup. "Pit bulls" have plenty of advocates in the City of New York. Including outspoken members of the "animal protection" business, like New York's ASPCA, the Mayor's Alliance for Animals, the Humane Voters League, and others. But politics abhors a vacuum. The momentum Vallone created is going someplace.

If NYC doesn't ban pit bulls, what will it do? Gotta do something about the ruckus he kicked up. Right? Blame gamesmanship in the Big Apple I think Vallone is looking to nail someone. Anyone. He has to. Otherwise he's just a wussy that started something he couldn't finish. Not the image he wants to cultivate. So let's look at his remaining options for spinning that pit bull-inspired media blitz, and maybe saving his political rear end while he's at it. Resolution 156, Vallone's call to the New York State legislature to reverse state law and allow him to ban pit bulls and other breeds reads:

. . .dogs are often the weapon of choice of drug dealers and gangs seeking to intimidate and terrorize neighborhoods

That language is remarkably similar to what Humane Society of the United States' Pam Rogers used to stampede the Louisville City Council. In Louisville they passed what may be the worst animal control ordinance in the country.

Pam Rogers wrote:

["pit bulls"] are likely the most popular dog in the country, but unfortunately, they are also the dogs of choice for drug dealers, gang members, and anyone else who is looking for a dog to be a status symbol."

The ASPCA, long a dominant force in NYC animal issues, says: [“Animal owners” have] title to and dominion over the animal for the owner’s enjoyment and benefit as he/she sees fit. [Shifting to "guardianship"] will foster better protections for animals, as well as the development of a more respectful and humane society. And then there's Jane Hoffman, President and COB of the NYC Mayor's Alliance for Animals. Questioned by the NY Daily News about Councilman Vallone's pit bull tantrum, she responded: . . .dangerous dogs are created by neglectful owners who often leave them chained up in a yard.

Pointing the finger at. . .us?

Oh, yeah.

Its not the dogs. Duh. We knew that.

Its us. Nasty, mean, criminal, vicious, drug-dealing spiteful dog owners.

Dog owners need regulation. Supervision. Rules and boundaries. Lots and lots of them. Maybe 100 page's worth, like they got in Louisville. It will serve us right.

Sound like a plan? It will take a little more spinning, of course, but I'm thinking Peter Vallone will have some help with that.

What do you want to bet something very similar to that Louisville ordinance is going to hit Peter Vallone's desk with a thud?

Any takers? I'll give you good odds.