Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cass Sunstein Is OK with Me

I have just gotten my sixth or seventh email about Cass Sunstein who is an animal rights lunatic.

Sunstein is also a very accomplished legal scholar and academic but, in my opinion, those people are a dime a dozen in this country, and so let me simply toss Sunstein into the basket of Animal Right lunatic .

See? He fits perfectly.

So what are all these Cass Sunstein emails about?

Simple: I am supposed to be hyperventilating because Barack Obama has put Cass Sunstein in charge of all regulation in the Federal Government!! An animals rights lunatic is going to run ALL of the U.S. Government!

Really? There is such a job? One guy runs all of the U.S. Government?

News to me, but I have only been 27 years getting legislation through Congress. What the hell do I know? Not much -- ask anyone!

So I looked up Sunstein and, more importantly, his job. And you can too.

Sunstein will head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration.

What does that office do?

Not nearly as much as you think.

First this is an office that was established in the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act.

In short, it's an office about bureacracy. It's not an office that initiates anything. Congress and Federal agencies still do that.


I though the last quarter century of my life had been a joke and dream. OK, it has been a joke, but at least it was not a dream. Two houses of Congress, the President, and the Federal Agencies are still making laws -- with approval of the courts. It is not yet being done by the Wizard of Oz behind a magic curtain. Thank goodness!

So what does the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs do? Mostly it serves as an arbitration unit between federal agencies in conflict with each other, and it serves as an anlysis shop where draft regulations are looked over and rethought and quantified.

Federal agencies often produce rules and regulations which are overly elaborate and ornate, and which require companies and agencies to do a lot of work for perhaps not too much benefit.

This office tries to discourage that. In short, it is the shop where cost-benefit analysis is done.

Is Cass Sunstein the man for that job?

Probably. You see, while he absolutely thinks there is a place for regulation, he is also a bit of a cynic. He wants to see the cost-benefit analysis. He wants to see the numbers.

Though a liberal, he has raised questions about the constitutionality of workplace safety laws and the Clean Air Act, and he thinks that the lives of younger people might be worth more than the elderly since we are talking about relative years of life (and productivity) lost.

In short, Sunstein is a bean-counter's bean counter.

This is a guy who is willing to ask tough questions, and whether you like those questions or not, tough questions are the job over at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

So Sunstein is probably a good fit.

But will Sunstein be initiating policy or regulations?

No and nope.

Sunstein's job is simply to be a skeptical bureaucrat and point out where unintentional losses and gains might be occuring due to government action.

Sunstein's bloodless economic framework scares the hell out of the left.

Environmental activists in particular are saying his cost-benefit analysis is the kind of crazy-tune stuff George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan might salute.

Business interests, on the other hand, have generally saluted his nomination, hoping he might be a backstop to aggressive regulation to improve workplace safety and oversight in the food and drug arena.

Ok, fair enough, but what about the animal rights stuff? Won't Sunstein be the guy in charge of: 1) returning all the chickens back to the wild, or; 2) banning beef, or; 3) banning dog breeding, or; 4) banning hunting?

No. Absolutely not. Are your crazy? Not remotely his job.

But ... but ... but ... I got this email you sputter.

Yes you did, but in this day and age you REALLY DO need to slow down and rope your own cattle when it comes to information.

This email was generated by a "chain pull" from the folks over at the "Center for Consumer Freedom."

First, a few words about the Center for Consumer Freedom.

To start with, every single word in its name is a lie.

It is not a "Center" at all -- it is little more than the account of a public relations firm.

The Center for Consumer Freedom was started by ad man Richard Berman "to unite the restaurant and hospitality industries in a campaign to defend their consumers and marketing programs against attacks from anti-smoking, anti-drinking, anti-meat, etc. activists ..."

In short, for those of you who have read Christopher Buckley's delightful book, Thank You for Smoking, this is the "MOD Squad" come to life -- Merchants of Death lobbyists in Washington and their paid apologists and liars for hire.

And, to put things in perspective, let me give you some numbers: Smoking kills about 400,000 Americans a year, booze kills another 100,000 Americans a year, and God Himself cannot tell you what poor FDA regulation and diet choices are doing in terms of mortality and illness.

Berman and the Center for Consumer Freedom will not tell you who their donors are. This is really ironic since www.ActivistCash.com, a web site run by Berman and the Center for Consumer Freeedom, is all about "exposing" funding from the other side.

So who funds the Center for Consumer Freedom? Who knows? But I suspect you can guess. Do you really need a weather man to tell you which way the wind blows? I bet not!

The bottom line is that the Center for Consumer Freedom operates as little more than an independent nonprofit public relations firm for for-profit companies whose products are not healthy and predictably kill hundreds of thousands of people a year.

And there is nothing wrong with that. We have a lot of transvestite people in this country, so why not a few transvestite nonprofit organization as well? And it's not like it's the only one is it? No!

What makes the Center for Consumer Freedom unique, however, is that in their war with PETA (and to a lesser extent the Humane Society of the U.S.) they are aligned against an entity that really is as stupid, evil, wrong and an even bigger fraud than the Center for Consumer Freedom is.

Which is saying something!

Nor is everything
the Center for Consumer Freedom saying wrong -- much of it is correct, if not entirely complete.

But if you are smart, you should never take what others are saying as dicta. Especially stuff that comes to you via unsolicited email!

Embrace the Cass Sunstein model, and be skeptical. Do the research and look up independent sources.

Use the Google.

And if you use the Google on Cass Sunstein, as I did, you relax quite a lot and you think the Obama Administration put the right guy in the right job for this one.

Does that mean Cass Sunstein is not an animal rights lunatic? No. He is certainly that.

But so what? There are a lot of animal rights lunatics in this country, and they have always been in government.

But one man does not make law or regulation in this country, and over at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, no one is making law and regulation. They are only counting beans, reducing paper work, asking whether every rule and regulation is really needed, and trying to get warring federal agencies to fight less. And I think Sustein might be the right man for that job.

So why did the Center for Consumer Freedom do a chain pull on this guy? Why the Chinese Fire Drill?

Simple: the Center for Consumer Freedom needed to do something to show its corporate masters and donors that they were on top of things as far as the Obama transition was concerned. The fact that Cass Sunstein is not a real problem is a never mind as far as they are concerned. I mean, this guy is going to be the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama Administration!!!!!! Surely that will panic the troops! And the fact that the troops will panic will impress the corporate masters and result in more money flowing into the Center for Consumer Freedom.

Which is how it works in these astrotruf organizations.

You see, Washington, D.C. astroturf organizations are generally started by public relations firms like Berman's and they are almost always maintained by contrived crisis.

And it's a good business.

The corporate folks who pay their bills are actually in the advertising departments of their respective industries, and most could not differentiate a real political problem from a contrived one if they had an Audubon Field Guide in their hand.

And so PR-firm created astroturf organizations like the Center for Consumer Freedom are able to drum up imaginary problems and then fix them for their corporate clients. It's a lot like Filipino Psychic Surgery in which you "cure" patients of cancers they never really had.

Welcome to Washington. Welcome to my world.  

Will things ever change?  Oh sure. Right after the Chicago Cubs win the World series, which will happen right after Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize.  This way to the Egress!


Anonymous said...

A heads up about the Center for Consumer Freedom is probably a good thing as, honestly, you never know where this organization is going to show up.

Last year, one of my gardeners, who is a vegan and heads the local chapter of a regional vegan group that promotes veganism by getting together and having potlucks with vegan foods and recipes so that people will try it and decide that vegan food doesn't taste so bad after all and so for health and ethical reasons, you should just eat vegan (an impossible sell for me as I'd give up meat before I'd give up quality cheese, but other people like it, so there we are), gets together with another one of my gardeners who works as an "eco-business" that as part of its business model, allows other eco-friendly groups to hold public events in the store.

Once the store published the month's schedule, with the vegan potluck/recipe swap on it, things got REALLY weird in my little town.

For two weeks, inflammatory flyers with all sorts of very bizzare accusations about my gardener's vegan group started showing up all over the business district -- on car windshields, in mailboxes, etc., supposedly signed by the Center for Consumer Freedom, which no one in my town had heard of.

It got WEIRD -- my poor gardener ends up giving press conferences explaining what her group really does, as opposed to what the flyers said (that she was a PETA operative!!!!), the police were involved, the Main Street Program tried to pressure the store to cancel the potluck -- it was nasty, nasty, nasty -- and didn't really calm down until my husband and I started using Google (why the local newspaper didn't bother [although I suppose one can't expect much for the Journal-Register congomerate -- there's a reason they are now penny stocks] still burns me up) and sending out some choicely worded e-mails to concerned parties.

In other words:

1) Never be surprised by what shows up, even if you live "off the beaten path."

2) Use Google

3) Never let someone else define your mission.

BTW, since I'm tooting Google, here's the original flyer:



Caveat said...

Interesting. I have tried to calm a few people down, since CCF took a quote out of context, snipped it to make it looks as though it was Sunstein's personal stance, and ran it.

In my opinion, it isn't necessary to distort, the reality is bad enough.

Sunstein alone doesn't concern me - everyone is entitled to their beliefs as long as they don't try to force them on everyone else.

Sunstein's appointment, coupled with the intense Hsus lobbying of Obama and subsequent endorsement, is what I find a bit troubling.

As for the vegan thing, lots of commenters with the same name, Anonymous, announce their dietary preference as if it's a badge of honour. I don't care what you eat or don't eat. If you want to buy Gooey Burgers and eat them constantly, go ahead. If you prefer Tofutti Smoothies, knock yourself out.

The health claims about veganism (as opposed to vegetarianism) are turning out to be somewhat, er, exaggerated by the way but yeah, the food can be tasty and I've always enjoyed it, so what's the big deal?

CCF has its place and I thank them for their research into Peta, the Hsus, PCRM and the rest of the lunatic fringe. The information is extremely useful.

It's obvious they are a special interest group. I think it's irrelevant. 'Humane' Wayne and Batty Old Ingrid, among others, have yet to publicly challenge the information at ActivistCash or their other sites.

There was an article about Sunstein in Science last week. I've asked a few invisible friends if they have it. If not, I'll buy it. I did read his review paper on the animal liberation movement, where CCF got the quote they used.

Tracy H. said...

Judging by some of the links on the right side of your blog, I don't think we agree on many animal issues. But I wanted to thank you for this rationale, intelligent, calm post.

Tracy H. said...

Sorry -- that should be "rational."

Ms. X said...

Since I haven’t seen any emails from the CCF, I took your recommendation and googled this agency, to see what popped up.

It seems this agency is another Trojan horse gifted to us by conservatives (it was stood up during the Reagan administration) and opened by the liberals.

Google revealed this paper published in the Duke Law Journal and authored by one James Blumstein.

Mr. Blumstein writes: “the Clinton administration's executive order made explicit what had been left implicit in the Reagan and Bush executive orders -- that centralized presidential regulatory review is aimed at making agency regulations "consistent with . . . the President's priorities."

The cold hard fact remains that the president chose to put a devout animal rights activist in the position of making sure regulations are consistent with the Presidents’ priorities.

According to Blumsteins’ paper, during the Clinton years, “…the regulatory activity of the executive branch agencies [became] more and more an extension of the President's own policy and political agenda.”

Now, surprise, surprise, Blumsteins’ paper also quoted Cass Sunstein. So I googled Cass.

Here, is a little eau-de-Cass.

From http://www.law.uchicago.edu/Lawecon/WkngPprs_26-50/39.sunstein.pdf:

"For committed technocrats, the idea is to discipline the administrative state by assessing actual effects. Where the costs of regulation are low and the benefits high, nothing is wrong with regulation."

"By itself, the notion of cost-benefit analysis is very close to empty; everything depends
on how costs and benefits are characterized and on how underlying issues of valuation are resolved."

"My suggestion here is that it is always appropriate to identify costs and benefits so as to inform analysis, and even to require that benefits justify costs, but that regulators should not claim that benefits and costs must be grounded in traditional economic criteria involving private willingness to pay."

From http://www.bostonreview.net/BR26.3/sunstein.html:

"In a heterogeneous society, such a system [individual filtering of free speech] requires something other than free, or publicly unrestricted, individual choices. On the contrary, it imposes two distinctive requirements. First, people should be exposed to materials that they would not have chosen in advance. Unanticipated encounters, involving topics and points of view that people have not sought out and perhaps find irritating, are central to democracy and even to freedom itself. Second, many or most citizens should have a range of common experiences."

From http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-thalerandsunstein2apr02,0,3730262.story:

"The most important social goals are often best achieved not through mandates and bans but with gentle nudges."

Cass Sunstein is no number-obsessed bean counter. Cass Sunstein is interested in regulating people and protecting people from themselves. Cass Sunstein is wedged firmly in the seat of “knowing what’s best for you and willing to impose it on you”, and where he gets really scary is his preference for subversive government coercion.

I don’t see him as a fair bean counter who will objectively assess the risk benefit ratio of EPA regulations on hunting foxes. What we really have is a rabid animal rights with a mindset that it is his (governments) absolute right to make you leave the poor foxes alone. But not through an ugly ban or outright prohibition but through the boiled frog approach (where regulation is king) of excessive license, fees, and regulation e.g foxes can only be hunted in wooded areas at sunset, and the military standard definitions of “wooded” and “sunset” will be strictly enforced.

The first paragraph from his book “Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions” says “An advocate for legal rights for non-human animals must proceed one step at a time.” I think Cass selected that essay for the first chapter for a very good reason – it sums up his attitude perfectly.

Cass has a huge body of work available on the internet. Google him, read his stuff and then tell me that the father of “libertarian paternalism” is a benign number cruncher.

Miki said...

I've been banging up against fear-mongering "AR-istas-behind-every-bush" reactionaries on the poodle list I'm on for weeks now, and this stuff on Sunstein was just one more piece of shrieking. Do I agree with the guy on everything? No. Do I think he'll turn Pres. Obama (love, love, love writing that) into an AR president? No. Do I fervently wish people would stop over-reacting, start reading, and accept there is more than one side to these stories?

Oops - If I answered my own question I'd have to shoot myself. ;-))

PBurns said...

"Mrs X" maybe you should buy a vowel or at least a few more letters? Real people have real names and are not afraid of standing up behind what they say. How come you choose not to?

Setting that aside, you have failed to figure our a core point made in the post: The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs does not write ANY legislation.


I could go on ...

For example, you seem to think the EPA controls fox hunting.

It does not.

In fact, the EPA does not control hunting of all all; state game commissions do, and they are controlled by (wait for it), hunters. And they are supported by hunting license fees as well. So yes, we hunters hold a lot of reins.

What is funny to me is that folks like you have decided that a guy you have never heard of, in an office that you have never heard of, in an agency for whose purpose you are a bit vague about, runs all of Government.

And what is really funny is that you think this person will control things like farms and hunting.

But the guys who ACTUALLY DO control farms and hunting are pretty big names who are easy to research: guys like Ken Salazar who is not only going to be Secretary of the Interior, he is also a hunter.

And Ken Salazar is not a one-and-done hunter like George W. Bush was; he is the kind of hunter that favors trophy hunting of polar bears, and is firmly on record as saying protection of wild horses on western lands is NUTS. Look it up. This is the guy that will not only be charge of most western lands and parks and National Forests, but the Endangered Species Act as well. Obama nominated him and gave a big F#@K YOU to HSUS and the rest. Did you even notice??

And while you are at it, look up Bill Richardson's hunting expeditions. Richardson is a big game hunter and he was tapped to be Sect'y of Commerce before he bowed out. Look him up. It's not hard to find pictures of him with trophy shots. Obama nominated him and gave a big F#@K YOU to HSUS and the rest. Did you even notice??

Tom Vilsack, the new Sect't of Agriculture was GOVERNOR OF IOWA.
You ever been to Iowa? Every job in the state is connected to farms, pigs, cattle and crops. You cannot get elected unless you are pro-farmer, pro-livestock, and pro-agricultural livestock production. Obama nominated him and gave a big F#@K YOU to HSUS and the rest. Did you even notice??

Now to say that Vilsack is pro-pig and cattle and chicken farmer is not to say he is a monster. It does not mean that Tom Vilsack is going to salute every demented puppy mill in the nation? No.

But then no one does salute that, right?

Which brings me to a question for you: Would you be willing to bravely suit up here and now -- and only one consonant wide -- to say you yourself are OPPOSED to commercial dog breeding facilities that have more than 20 breeding bitches? It's a small thing. But will you take a stand on this one point?


Ms. X said...

Of course the OIRA doesn’t write any legislation, and as far as I can tell it doesn’t have any armed agents either. It (as I pointed out in my previous comment) is a “centralized presidential regulatory review is aimed at making the agency regulations “consistent with … the Presidents priorities”.

When you read some of Cass’s writings about how this agency should work, it is easy to see just how this consistency is achieved.

I agree it would be funny to think the Cass is going to run the whole government. I can only speak for myself of course, but I think he is going to be in charge of making sure regulations are consistent with the Presidents’ priorities. I don’t believe he will leave either his Regulatory State or Animal Rights activist hats at home.

The EPA and fox hunting was an extrapolatory example. States control most of the hunting, but for a more realistic federal example you may substitute the US Fish and Wildlife Services, if that clarifies the point for you.
Ken Salazar also voted against the horse slaughter ban. But on the flip side he gets a “D” rating from GOA. (Bill Richardson, for what its worth, the best candidate in the democratic field.)

Everybody is a mix of good and bad. It’s just the proportions that change. Even Bush did a couple of things right. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t the worst president since FDR.

Take our man Cass for example. He is a self-proclaimed student of Hayek. And he, like Obama, talks about openness in government activity. Cass is on heck of a slick talker. Worthy of study. He’s a purple passion, you don’t taste the alcohol until your sliding under the table.
Should I be opposed to a commercial dog breeding facility that has more than 20 breeding bitches?
Why would anybody oppose that? I can’t think of one good reason for promoting such arbitrary totalitarianism.

Ms. X

PBurns said...

Mrs. X your answer is all over the map, but it never lands because for your concern to be meaninful three things would have to be true: 1) Sunstein would have to write legislation; 2) Obama's mission in life would have to be to support whatever it is that Sunstein thinks about issues that has nothing to with Sunstein's actual job, andl; 3) Sunstein would be the only person voting on the legislation that he wrote.

None of these things is true. Not one.

I note, however, that when asked a direct question about Puppy Mills and commercial breeders, you are silent.

So let me ask it again: you be willing to bravely suit up here and now and say you yourself are OPPOSED to commercial dog breeding facilities that have more than 20 breeding bitches? It's a small thing. But will you take a stand on this one point?


PBurns said...

Thanks to Walter Olson at the Manhattan Institute for the plug at his blog ( http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2009/01/heretic-weigher.php )and especially for the links to (among others) this post to the right-wing "Volokh Conspiracy" in which Eric Posner says:

"Sunstein is one of the most talented academics around. With his deep knowledge of government regulation, he would be the perfect head of OIRA. Among the many people I have met in academia and government, he is one of the least ideologically rigid, one of the most open to argument and evidence. His critics should at least admit that he will give a fair hearing to their concerns. He would be an extraordinary asset for the Obama administration."

Well yes. But you would only think that if you took the time to find out what OIRA does and how Sunstein operates in the world of regulatory analyis.

For more thought (this from the left-wing) see >> http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=01&year=2009&base_name=cass_sunstein_prepares_to_nudg


Caveat said...

I see both sides of this. I agree with Mrs X (which is no more of a pseudonym than mine, which I haven't bothered to change yet) that we must be watchful, especially in view of the serious animal liberation creep which is ever escalating across the continent.

The thing is, I agree with some of what they say, no question, because I believe animals should be treated well. I don't understand the question about 20 bitches, though.

How about this - do you agree with this proposal for New Jersey?

"New Jersey dog owners are facing one of the toughest and most restrictive pieces of breeding legislation in history this year, and a second bill will have a heavy impact on lost hunting dogs.

Anyone who sells five or more dogs, cats, puppies or kittens in a year would have to be licensed and inspected as a commercial breeder and also as a pet dealer, which means facing Draconian restrictions and truly devastating fines and penalties.

That translates into a person having only one litter of puppies a year, in most cases. Even hobby breeding of the smallest possible scale would be unable to survive this legislation.

The legislation also pays snitches to turn in breeders, and the reward can be in the thousands of dollars."

The thing is, you can't separate the rough from the smooth with these AL-backed Bills. The nice stuff is put in to shut down debate because who looks sane while opposing obvious animal welfare regulations?

A state-by-state breakdown is available here, courtesy of the indefatigable John Yates:


Ms. X said...

My goodness. I am sorry you didn’t understand my comments. But I see you are troubled by the difference between legislation and regulation. So I will step back and let our friend Cass explain, in his own words. (http://www.thepocketpart.org/2006/09/27/strauss.html)

“If the EPA seeks to regulate greenhouse gases under ambiguous provisions, it is entitled to do so, even if the enacting Congress would be quite surprised by this massive and perhaps even startling turn of events. Recall that if Congress is both surprised and alarmed, it can enact legislation that overturns the executive’s interpretation.”

You see, all of these agencies in government can enact any sort of regulation they want., based on how they interpret a congressional bill. They don’t need Congressional approval to do things like regulate greenhouse gases, if they can link it back to a Congressional bill. It would take Congressional Legislation to stop them. Or, Cass, in his seat at the OIRA could stop such a regulation.

Now, using your imagination, replace “greenhouse gasses” with things like banning feedlots with more than 20 cows.

Or, like Ezra Klein said (he basically says the same thing I did in my first comment) “The point of all this is that OIRA is quiet, but important. It's the chokepoint of the entire federal regulatory apparatus. If used wisely, it facilitates the flow, provides welcome analysis and judgment, and aids in implementation.”

Even Ezra Klein thinks Cass is going to apply his preconceived ideas of “behavioral economics to the construction of regulation”.

If you want to know more about what all Cass is going to bring to this job, see my first comment.

That’s as clear as I can make this topic.

Now on the question of a regulation that would ban a USDA licensed dog facility from keeping more than 20 bitches, of course I would oppose it. Such a requirement is not a small thing, it is arbitrary and totalitarian. However, I am pretty well convinced it is just the type of regulation Cass could find cost-effective.

PBurns said...

Mrs. X, you do NOT seem to get it: the office does not regulate. It evaluates regulations.

OK, so you are all for commericial dog breeding and puppy peddling. Fair enough. A question: Are you a commercial puppy breeder yourself? Is your anonymity due to past licensing problems or run-ins with local authorities? Just wondering, because it WOULD explain your point of view.


PBurns said...

Caveat - I would oppose the legislation you describe, as most folks who have a litter or two a year will have no problem socializing those puppies.

But look at the question I asked: It's about a place that has 20 breeding bitches on the premise.

That's a place what is going to have 100 puppies a year or more (maybe twice that), and it's going to take several hours a day to feed, water, clean up, and occassionally bathe those dogs.

With that many adult dogs, and that many puppies, there is not going to be any way to properly socialize the puppies, and the adult dogs are going to be in wire runs 95% of the time or better.

That is why I am opposed to commercial dog breeding.

That said, I would not outlaw it.

But I would REGULATE it.

Would Mrs. X? Perhaps she would share with us the kind of regulation she would find acceptable at a commercial breeding facility?

Would paper work be required? Would no-knock kennel inspections be allowed? Would there be mandated veterinary checks? Would there be minimum space requirements? Ventilation requirements? Waste disposal systems? Automatic watering systems? Heaters? Minimum shelter requirement? Paperwork requirements?

I find it ironic that folks who keep large numbers of dogs in wire runs that look like prisons are the quickest to evoke "freedom" excuses. They argue that they should be free to deny health care, free to not do regular health checks, free to keep dogs pregnant their entire lives, free to kill dogs that can no longer produce puppies, free to sell pups to pet stores, free to never let dogs feel grass between their toes, free to never let dogs develop a bond with a caring owner, and free to keep dogs in small steel cages their entire lives.

And, above all, they should be free of all licensing and inspection of any kind.

So I am interested in what kind of regulations Mrs. X thinks should govern commercial dog breeding facilities. Is it anyting goes?

And for the record, Mrs. X, the person's FIRST name is Cass. His LAST name is Sunstein. I do not think he has yet entered into the single-name world of Cher, Madonna or Barack.

That said, I am looking forward to your proposed rules and regulations governing commerical breeders with more than 20 breeding bitches. And I am looking forward to knowing whether you yourself are a commercial breeder of pet-trade dogs.


Caveat said...

Patrick, I said I agreed about Sunstein overall, just so we're straight on that. I still think it's good to know about his background.

I've also said for years and in fact urged the Ontario govt in my presentation over the 'pit bull' ban (almost five years ago) to institute a voluntary inspection system for kennels, issue a certificate for those that pass and encourage the public to look for it. We do something similar with restaurants around here.

In other words, rather than picking arbitrary numbers and making hobby breeders jump through hoops or worse, hide because the local town has a pet limit and won't give out any more kennel licences, maybe educating the public coupled with a sincere approach to vetting would achieve the same end without eroding civil rights.

Dog breeding isn't a crime is all I'm saying but some of the conditions are criminal in my mind.

The breeders and registries should actually be on top of this themselves because if they don't get it together, set some standards and turn the bad guys into outcasts, the govt will do it for them - with possibly devastating results across the board since you-know-who is whispering sweet nothings into their ears.

PBurns said...

I could not agree with you more Caveat!

Dog breeding is NOT a crime, but there are a suspiciously large numbers of folks who want to end all regulation and inspection of commercial services, from restaurants (your example) to commercial puppy and boarding kennels (mine).

When people who support large scale commercial breeding of dogs freak out about inspections, standards and regulations, I wonder what their story is.

That wonder is futher compounded when they hide behind anonymity as Mrs. X does.

As for regulations in the world of commercial dog breeding, I am not afraid of them. No one keeping their kennels clean and their paperwork up will ever be afraid of inspection. A small violation does not get you closed down -- if it did, we would not have feed lots, restaurants, or construction sites.

That said, when people are *terrified* of regulation in their arena, I begin to wonder how dirty a shop they might be running. I am not sure I want to eat at a restarant that is *terrified* of the heath inspector. I would not hire a contractor that was *terrified* that someone from code enforcement might show up. And I would not let my kids ride a motorcycle unless they were wearing a helmet that had passed the minimum standards needed to get a "Snell DOT" sticker. Regulations are important; they set out a mimimum standard of acceptable conduct. If you cannot meet the minimum standard, how sad is that??

I think dogs raised in commercial kennels generally deserve better lives than they currently live.

They certainly deserve people with real names who will stand up in front of their kennels without shame or fear, but with pride, and who will say to the world: "These are my dogs, and this is how I raise them."

For all the crap I give the Kennel Club romantics, most of them can at least say that. And I know you can to :)


Ms. X said...

So sorry. My information is private. WYSIWYG. Very few people, in reality, are in a position to publicly promote their personal opinions and viewpoints. I am not one.

I choose instead to enjoy my blog and my forum for promoting freedom and dogs, in a WYSIWYG environment. I ask no more from private individuals.

I noticed that you asked what regulation I would support on dog breeding facilities. You did not ask from whom that regulation should come.

I do not support any government regulation of any private activity. That includes dog breeding.

As much as I despise the AKC, their current (and I would emphasize current) practice of regulation is certainly something I support. They are a private agency who can put any regulation they like on the people who freely join their organization. And, if they are good at promoting themselves, the pet buying public will choose to buy dogs that come with an tag of AKC blessing (whatever AKC chooses that to mean). The pet buying public will eschew lesser options.

I like to offer educational opportunities to the pet buying public. That is why I maintain my blog. I like to offer educational resources about dogs, and liberty. And above all, I like to get people to think for themselves. I like to get people to question the dogma they're fed on a daily basis so they can at least come up with some original arguments.

Freedom breeds better dogs (ok, that's a trademark).

PBurns said...

Git it Mrs. X.

You are a coward, but not a liar.

You are a puppy miller and you will not say you are not, but at the same time you will not stand in front of your kennels and say "this is who I am and this is what I do."

There are thousands of commercial dog breeders who will, and they are fine. The folks who will not, however, you can smell from five fields over.

Yeah, I am pretty sure I get it. And I am sure others get it by now too.


Ms. X said...

I understand that it’s hard for people to decide which basket to toss libertarians in. Such a wide selection! Do I pick the drug pusher basket? The baby seal clubber basket? The anti-war hippy basket? The gun nut basket?

You chose the puppy miller basket.

With so many choices, it’s no wonder that people listen to a libertarian and say “Man, she’s all over the map!”

They are using a map of rigid cosmetic ideology that charts stereotypes and generalizations.

Not a map of principle.

With respect to our friend Cass, not admitting the Regulation Czar has any influence on the regulations that get enforced is like saying the Supreme Court is unimportant, and uninfluential. After all, the justices don’t write any legislation. Ever.

But why the ad hominen attacks, Patrick? Calling someone by only their last name is somehow preferable to calling someone only by their first name?

You completely agreed with all of Caveats’ propositions for self-regulation, in restaurants and dog breeding, but turn and call me a puppy miller for suggesting the same things?

You get some things right Patrick, heck, you like bluegrass! But . . . you are no libertarian.

PBurns said...

Mrs. X, apparenly you are a commercial puppy breeder/miller.

I got it.

You have found a philosophy to rationalize your business plan.

I got it.

You are too much of a coward to put out your name.

I got it.

Whatever it is you do with dogs is so ugly there are no picture of your kennel or dogs. You will not stand in front of your product.

I got it.

You know nothing about how Government works, and you are unable to substantiate that Cass Sunstein is any problem at all.

I got it.

Now go away.

As for being a libertarian, I have never said I was one, and I am most decidedly not.

I am not an ideologue of any kind. You are.

Which is fine, if sad.

You see, I think becoming a brain-dead zombie detached from reality is a sad thing.

Now, if you want to live in a world without law and regulation, may I suggest Yemen or Sudan? I am sure the folks there would love to hear Ron Paul's bullshit philosophy, but I do not.

And, judging from the election results, neither does anyone else.

Bye, bye.