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Who says right wingers can't be trained?

by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
September 27, 2009

My wife and I have been training a rat terrier pup for the past few weeks. He's a smart little guy, and prompt and eager to obey the two most important commands: “come” and “sit”. He's not yet four months old, so more elaborate commands await him.

This morning, Rygel and I walked down to our local post office, a distance of about a kilometer. It was his longest walk to date, and he was frisking and jumping on the way home, not even slightly tired. (Proper leash training begins this week). As we came back, we would stop so he could sniff something exciting (our neighborhood has, along with dogs and cats, ducks, chickens, and a lot of wildlife that traverse at night from the surrounding forest. Lots of adventurous scents for a little puppy, and I was indulging him.)

But he would get overstimulated, so we would stop, and I would say “Rygel. Sit” with the appropriate hand gesture. He would plop his butt right down with a happy and eager expression on his face. He would get praised on what a smart boy he was, and we would continue. When we started teaching him that command we would (as with all new commands) give him a doggie treat when he did what we wanted, along with praise. But once he gets halfway reliable with a specific command, the treats cease. He always gets praise, of course. But he's just the right size, and he's brown and white, and if he starts getting thick around the middle, he could be in mortal danger if the local HS football team were to make an understandable mistake. That's no way to treat a dominaar. And the limitation of treats to new training adds emphasis to the new commands.

His adolescence is rapidly approaching, and he's going to be willful and defiant. But just having those two commands in our arsenal will make getting him through that difficult stage a lot easier. We got a kitten for a companion for Rygel (named “Lally” by the kitten's original owner, an eight year old girl, and it stuck) and while we were horrified the first time we spotted Rygel dragging Lally around the house by her throat, it quickly became clear that Lally could escape when she needed to, and that the roughhousing was consensual. The two adult cats and the ancient Samoyed have all taken turns teaching Rygel to Know His Place, a process that involved loud puppy shrieks of outrage but left no permanent marks. And now the animals have all pretty well settled in with one another. Moon, the preposterously old (14½ years) Sammie, seems to enjoy mentoring Rygel.

All that said, I'm going to compare poor little Rygel to America's right wing. But don't worry: I'm not out to defame my dog. He's intelligent, friendly, sweet tempered and anxious to work with others. Everything the right wing isn't.

The comparison is mostly the training.

We already know that right wingers will cheerfully go against their own best interests on the behest of Faux news and all the rest of the right wing echo machine. That's why we are treated, on a daily basis, to the ludicrous and even grotesque sight of seniors campaigning to keep “socialist” government away from their Medicare, or out of work factory workers supporting “right to work” laws, I refer to the phenomenon as “cultivating fools”. Not politic, I agree, but perfectly apt. These people are TRAINED. Rupert Murdoch or Karl Rove snap a clip on the ring through their noses, and lead them down any path they care to, and they trail along obediently, tails wagging behind them. Rygel could learn how to be a good little dog from them.

The latest example involves the big foofooraw over ACORN. The advocacy group has long been a target of the GOP, because it focuses on getting the poor and minorities to vote, and attempts to empower them with legal and social aid. The GOP utterly hates people who do that, and will stop at nothing to destroy them. Indeed, the whole thing of the Bush administration illegally firing federal District Attorneys stemmed from the refusal of many of those DA's to carry out Karl Rove's vendetta against ACORN, arguing that it was their job to investigate and prosecute actual crimes, and not to frame people for political reasons. Two sleazy clowns, apparently at the behest of Andrew Breitbart, a Matt Drudge protègé with pretensions of being a journalist, went into ACORN offices and passed themselves off as a couple looking to set up a business. They gradually worked around to saying they wanted to open a brothel, and wanted to know the tax advantages to hiring illegal underage girls to work there.

It's safe to assume that the majority of ACORN offices threw them out on their slimy asses. But a couple played along, mostly waiting to see where they were going with this. One, realizing they were frauds, pulled her own head game on them, claiming that she had murdered her ex-husband, but shhh! Don't tell anyone! Another one, the one accused of conspiring to set up a child prostitution ring (conspiring with whom? Shhh!) called the police after that loathsome pair had slimed out. The two clowns playing the class act of a prostitute and her pimp were James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. They were secretly recording the proceedings. Given that they were in a office, asking for tax advice, confidentiality rules were in place, which meant that the ACORN people had a reasonable expectation of privacy. In other words, O'Keefe and Giles violated the rights of the ACORN volunteers, and since they did this in Maryland where non-consensual videotaping is illegal, may face criminal charges along with the civil suit they already face. Definitely class acts. Rygel would kick sand over them.

Highly edited tapes of the ones that played along—although none of them actually agreed to the scheme—got wall to wall coverage on the vicious and dishonest pseudo-journalistic outlets such as Fox, Drudge, and all the Kangarupe Murdoch “newspapers”.

A couple of the volunteers were “fired” (ie, told not to show up until the heat was off, but reckless outfits like Faux called it being fired anyway), and Congress, in a spectacular display of cowardice, suspended funding for ACORN. Since this makes up less than 10% of their funding, it won't do them any real damage.

And of course, the howls of moral outrage and breast beating among right wingers was endless. “They were ENDORSING CHILD PROSTITUTION!” The horror, the horror!

Of course, it never occurred to any of the howlers that the two were soliciting on behalf of child prostitution. Never mind that the intent of O'Keefe and Giles was just to entrap people; they were soliciting criminal activity.

The main howl, of course, was that taxpayers were supporting this incredibly vicious, evil criminal enterprise in which a couple of people actually bandied about thoughts on opening a brothel. Right wingers were apoplectic about that. Along, of course, with the usual pretenses that Obama was secretly the head of ACORN and they were a recruiting office for the Nazi Party and all the other insanities we've come to expect from the lunatic right. (I was amused to see that even Ann Coulter thinks it's getting out of hand – given that she did much to instigate such insanity, that's a bit surprising – and is now trying to blame the Obama/Hitler comparisons on liberals sneaking in with signs to make right wingers look stupid. As if “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” doesn't.)

But the howlers are the same people who have been utterly silent about the billions of dollars in tax payer money (tens of thousands times as much as went to ACORN) that went to Halliburton, Kellogg-Brown-Root, and Blackwater (now Xe). These are outfits that used those billions of dollars to steal from the public, kill civilians for the fun of it, endanger legitimate troops with provocations of the populations in Iran. Their employees raped, looted, stole and burned people alive. While there are doubtlessly decent people working in those outfits, there are a lot who are sheer filth, who really are no better than Nazis. The howlers were silent about the abuses of these outfits during the Bush years, despite swarms of complaints from the military, despite the stories of soldiers being electrocuted in the showers because of the incredibly shoddy contract work, of civilian populations in an uproar because mercenaries were shooting people for sport. I suspect the right knew that these guys were utter slime: in a famous incident in the early days of the Iraq occupation, an Iraqi mob got their hands on three Blackwater employees, burned them, and left the charred corpses to hang from a local bridge. The right's response to this was muted. Even if the individuals did nothing to deserve such a horrific fate, there was a general appreciation that as Blackwater employees, they were a logical target for such treatment.

How is it possible for people who howl about ACORN -- an outfit that, when all is said and done, is guilty of nothing worse than encouraging people whom the GOP doesn't like to vote -- but yet remain silent, even now, to government paying tax dollars to rapists and murderers to endanger US troops?

Training. “Sit!” “Stand!” “Bark! Bark mindlessly and endlessly, until we tell you to stop.”

If the right wing echo machine has taken nearly every moron in America and turned them into inferior versions of dogs, the Democrats aren't any better, because they show only cowardice. The Democrats who voted to defund ACORN should be hit with serious primary challenges next year to get their craven asses out of Congress and replaced with Democrats who can show even a little courage.

As for the Republicans, well, Ann Coulter is right, although she won't admit it: the right wing is beginning to lose control of their morons.

If you train dogs to be vicious and dishonest, you get vicious and dishonest dogs.

Eventually, the GOP will learn why such demagoguery is always, in the end, self-destructive.

And if Rygel had a tail, I'm sure he would wag it at the news.

Republicans are giving dogs a bad name.

Posted: September 29, 2009

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