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
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
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
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
Eventually, the GOP will learn why such demagoguery is always, in the
And if Rygel had a tail, I'm sure he would wag it at the news.
Republicans are giving dogs a bad name.