The unpopular popular majority

While shopping for aquarium stuff the other day at a PETCO store, I happened to see ferrets for sale. They're very cute, friendly, and inquisitive animals, and for people who want a pet but who are allergic to cats and not allowed to have dogs, they might be just the ticket.

It cheered me to see that such alternative pets were for sale, along with some cool-looking reptiles, and of course, lots of tropical fish. But my thoughts soon turned gloomy, as I realized that someone had to breed those ferrets, and that there is a relentless corps of activist thugs who think the breeders are profoundly evil, and want them stopped by any means necessary. And, the fact that PETCO does not sell dogs (like the much demonized PETLAND) or that the activists stopped PETCO from selling large birds did not satisfy them; it only emboldened them for the next battle in their declared war on pet ownership, pet stores and all things related. The goal is total abolition of the ownership of animals by humans.

For now, they want no animals to be sold or owned except by them or their activist allies. It's about power over people, of course....

But animal rights activists are an old and tired issue at this blog. I can't help notice that they're more determined than I am. They devote 24/7 to what they do, and while I'll write an occasional post, it pretty quickly fades away from public view, and I've noticed that no matter how many posts I or anyone else might write criticizing them, facts matter not at all to them, because they are activists. They're always there and they get stronger, bigger, and better organized, while all I can do is express my wistful feelings as I anticipate the loss of the simple freedom to buy a small animal at a pet store.

Not being able to buy a ferret is a little thing. A minor annoyance so trivial that I really ought to be ashamed for writing a blog post about it when there are major things going on in the world. Besides, ferrets are not even "my" issue, and I don't think I've ever discussed them in this blog. I didn't even say anything about Rudy Giuliani's rather bizarre hatred of them, because I thought there were bigger issues. Which there are.

However, the fact that many people don't like ferrets (or weasels) makes them a convenient target. Like landlords, especially landlords in Berkeley. Where it comes to taking away freedom, the unpopularity of the target always supplies a weak link in the chain.

No one likes "polluters," for example. So busy was I at PETCO getting all hot and bothered on behalf of ferret owners that I didn't stop to consider that the animal rights activists are now teaming up with environmentalists with a whole new wrinkle aimed at criminalizing a large swath of pet owning community, including the tropical fish owners like me. Sure, PETA and groups like that oppose keeping tropical fish, but it's a harder sell than opposing ferrets, and I wasn't worried about it except over the long term. The new wrinkle is to ban so-called "non-native species.":

HR 669 bans import, export, transport, breeding, sale or barter of ALL nonnative species unless they are placed on an Approved List established by the USFWS after extensive study. This law would affect most pet owners of non native species.

Most pet birds, ornamental aquarium fish, reptiles and small pet mammals are nonnative species and would be ILLEGAL under this act, unless placed on the Approved List!

Any company manufacturing or selling product for these pet species would be affected by this act. This means hundreds of thousands of pet birds and animals, reptiles and fish would be affected

Thousands of small businesses involved in any aspect of the pet industry, from breeding, selling and transporting animals to manufacturing and selling products for animals, such as foods, toys, and equipment.

It's being called "the most restrictive animal bill ever concocted." Watch the video:

There's a web site devoted to stopping HR 669 here.

Why should you care about HR 669?
Anyone with pet fish, birds, reptiles, or small mammals will be affected by this bill. Any company selling product or services for pet fish, birds, reptiles or small mammals will be affected by this bill. Would you be impacted by "The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act"?

* Virtually all fish in an aquarium are not native to the United States
* Most pet birds are species not native to the US
* Most reptiles kept as pets are not native to the US
* Hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and ferrets are not native to the US

There's another video at the link.

It appears to be the most horrendous attack on pet ownership I have yet witnessed, and it is all being misleadingly packaged as "protecting the environment."

I'm embarrassed to say that I had not even heard of HR669 until today, and I wouldn't have even thought to write an admittedly frivolous post about ferrets had an old blog friend Connie du Toit (whose blog I dearly miss) not emailed me about yet another horror.

I'm sending this to you because, well, I don't blog anymore, and I thought you might be interested in this subject. To get around the staggering cost of cigarettes (because of Obama and Congress increases taxes on them), I started ordering "Native American" cigarettes. The carton price differences make it worth the effort (my 20 year loyalty to B&H went out the window when the price of a carton went to $85! From about $55). The price of a carton of "Native American" cigs is about $20. They aren't as good and the quality isn't as great, but we're talking a $55 difference here!

Anyway, it seems so tragic that folks who have been operating as mail order businesses are going to be put of business by this legislation. It just seems WRONG.

Thought you might agree and get some attention focused on it.

Damn right I agree. The cigarette issue might not sound like keeping ferrets or snakes, but it's that same busybody activist mentality. These people want to run our lives, down to the last detail. And if we figure a way around them, ever more draconian laws will be passed. By activists, who always claim to be fighting against the evil, polluting, unhealthy minority and in the name of the good, sane majority!

What they're trying to do in the case of cigarettes is to make it a crime to put them in the mail, and I'm delighted to have an opportunity to try to stop this bill, which is called the "Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009":

THE SITUATION: Right now there is legislation pending in the United States Senate - the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 ("PACT Act") (S.1147) which contains, among other bad ideas, a provision to make ALL cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products non-mailable.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU: By making all cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products non-mailable, the Senate is ensuring you will no longer be able to purchase these products by mail-order, telephone order, and/or the Internet because the United States Postal Service will be prohibited from delivering your orders to you. Taking away your options means forcing you back to buying over-priced tobacco products from your local retailer once again.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP: Native American cigarette and tobacco sellers are committed to doing everything we can to stop the PACT Act but we need your help. Your Senators work for you and as their constituents, it is your voice and your vote that counts!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact your Senators and tell them not to pass the PACT Act. Your Senators should be protecting your interests, but it is up to you to let them know what you think about the PACT Act. There are three easy ways to contact your Senators - by telephone, email, or regular mail - all of which are explained below. Every state has two Senators - please remember to contact BOTH Senators for your state. At this point time is a big factor, so a phone call is by far the best means to use.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: As an American Citizen, it is your right to let your Senators know how you feel about any action Congress takes. You elected your Senators to represent you and they can only do this if you tell them what you want. When you contact your Senator you do not need to identify yourself as a smoker or as someone who purchases cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco products by mail-order, telephone-order, and/or the Internet. You only need to identify yourself as a resident of the state they represent.


THE POSTAL SERVICE: The price of stamps is being raised practically every year. The PACT Act will take an entire class of legal, non-hazardous goods and make them non-mailable. What this means is a huge loss of business (potentially hundreds of millions of dollars) for the Postal Service. Will they continue to raise the price of stamps and other mail services to compensate for their lost income? The United States Postal Service is already suffering a fiscal crisis due to the downturn in the economy. If the PACT Act is passed and millions of dollars of revenue are taken away, there could be serious consequences for consumers, including reducing the number of delivery days from 6 per week down to 5 or perhaps only 4 days per week.

COST: When the PACT Act of 2003 (S.1177) passed the Senate, the Congressional Budget Office prepared a Cost Estimate for the Bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the PACT Act of 2003 would cost about $140 MILLION over the 2004-2008 period to enforce. $140 Million over four years - and that estimate is already six years old. How much will the PACT Act of 2009 cost to enforce? Isn't there a better way to spend our tax dollars?

To an activist, there is no better way to spend our tax dollars than harassing small merchants (mostly Indians, in this case), and driving the price of cigarettes ever higher.

This will also harass (and aggravate the plight of) the millions of Americans who suffer from schizophrenia and who rely on cigarettes as self medication. Doubtless schizophrenics are another minority few care about.

Looking back over this post, I'm realizing that even though it's a similar theme, there are so many topics that it's unwieldy. And while it might seem a bit counterintuitive to lump together ferrets, snakes, pet stores, aquarium fish and cigarettes (if for no other reason that agreement on one issue might not translate into agreement on others) the reason I'm doing it is to illustrate how the activists succeed by demonizing unpopular minorities one at a time, while pretending to act for the common good of us all.

So I've nearly run out of steam, but before I do, there's one last thing. In San Francisco, it will soon be illegal to throw coffee grounds and eggshells in your trash:

Throwing orange peels, coffee grounds and grease-stained pizza boxes in the trash will be against the law in San Francisco, and could even lead to a fine.

The Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 Tuesday to approve Mayor Gavin Newsom's proposal for the most comprehensive mandatory composting and recycling law in the country. It's an aggressive push to cut greenhouse gas emissions and have the city sending nothing to landfills or incinerators by 2020.

"San Francisco has the best recycling and composting programs in the nation," Newsom said, praising the board's vote on a plan that some residents had decried as heavy-handed and impractical. "We can build on our success."

The ordinance is expected to take effect this fall.

Too late to stop it in San Francisco, but I'm sure the idea will spread, and pretty soon the activists will be sticking their noses into every last trash can in America. (How do we fight them? Should we should start mailing "compost" to Al Gore in protest?)

I'm no statistician, but I think it's clear that if you total up all the people the activists are going after, well, it becomes a bit like Dirksen's rule.

An unpopular minority here and an unpopular minority there and pretty soon you're talking about an unpopular majority.

To a true activist, there's nothing popular about the majority.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Yeah, I know, I should have titled this post "First they came for the ferrets."

But to be accurate, I'd really need to say "First they came for the cigarettes."

(The point is, they always go after an unpopular minority first, so you can just fill in the blank with the unpopular minority of the moment.)

posted by Eric on 06.11.09 at 12:58 PM


I like the cut of your jib, my man.

Methuselah   ·  June 11, 2009 3:16 PM

Humans are not a native species of this country.

Donna B.   ·  June 11, 2009 5:13 PM

Pet ferrets are illegal in California. I once allowed a tenant to keep a ferret in a house he was renting from me, but I'll never do that again! Ferrets are cute, real cute, but they scent mark their territory - big time! That house smelled just awful!

chocolatier   ·  June 11, 2009 6:47 PM

Please note, it becomes extremely difficult to provide for certain pets, many of those pets will be released to the wild to fend for themselves. Picture the impact on the local environment of thousands of macaws and parrots when they get dumped.

Alan Kellogg   ·  June 11, 2009 7:08 PM

Righteousness is powerfully scary stuff in the wrong hands.

Penny   ·  June 11, 2009 8:52 PM
Picture the impact on the local environment of thousands of macaws and parrots when they get dumped.

what's up with the evolution crowd? they don't think species can adapt?

newrouter   ·  June 11, 2009 9:45 PM
Picture the impact on the local environment of thousands of macaws and parrots when they get dumped.

thousands of exotic birds are not going to be dumped by people who paid money for them unless the idiot gov't forces them to. sorry peoria won't have a macaw problem if they do.

n   ·  June 11, 2009 9:49 PM

Are there 1000s of parrots being dumped now? If not why would they be dumped in the future?

So people are supposed to save their smelly rotting organic trash for days until they have time to take it to a compost center? and I thought you had to keep meat products out of compost - what are people supposed to do with that? Oh right, everyone in San Francisco is expected to become vegetarian of course.

Speaking about ridiculous and scary bills being enacted when you weren't looking, do you know about this? It's now law. The book trashings have already begun.

"My daughter works in a used bookstore. TODAY they pulled all the books from the children's section that had any kind of metal or plastic or toy-like attachment, spiral bindings, balls or things attached, board books, anything that might be targeted under this law, and they very quietly trashed them all."

This is also the law putting small businesses which make childrens clothes or sell used clothes out of business.

A constant theme behind all these Obama-Pelosi regulations is that they put more and more people out of business, contributing to the unemployment rate. Not a single one of them has created employment. I know Obama hates business and I do think Obama wants to ruin the economy on purpose. This kind of petty micromanaging of people's lives just rubs it in.

Anonymous   ·  June 12, 2009 12:40 AM

This morning, I awoke and because of serious addiction problems, lit a cigarette as I made a pot of coffee.

I threw the grounds in the trash.

Less than an hour later, I decided to have a breakfast of scrambled eggs. I threw the eggshells in the trash.

I pause in writing this post to light another cigarette. I feel more subversive now than I did in protesting the Vietnam War.

My, my how times change.

Donna B.   ·  June 12, 2009 12:41 AM

We need to ferret out the nefarians.

M. Simon   ·  June 12, 2009 3:26 AM

I feel more subversive now than I did in protesting the Vietnam War.

The End by the Doors:

Just to get you in the mood. BTW I'm with ya.

M. Simon   ·  June 12, 2009 3:32 AM


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abagale   ·  June 12, 2009 8:24 AM

i could give a thousand reasons why this bill should not be passed into law ~ over a thousand people in my small city work at a native owned mail order smoke shop, including me. other than smoke shops, there aren't many job opppurtunities here. we will lose our jobs, health insurance, etc. additionally, there will be unspoken job losses ~ postal workers, truck drivers, etc. instead of contributing to our already weakened economy, we will become a burden. the cost of unemployment benefits cannot be justified in any way. mostly, this bill is just a back door for the states to hinder native american free trade agreements. the states think they will collect millions of dollars in tobacco taxes. they will tell you it's an effort to stop us from smoking. they will tell you many things, but what they won't tell you is the truth. this bill will cost billions of dollars to enforce. it's time our representatives represented us... tell them to vote NO!

Anonymous   ·  June 21, 2009 2:00 PM

This post is really informative. If you canít leave your smoking habit immediately you can switch to the smokeless electronic cigarette or e-cigs with which you can really save yourself and your surroundings from the risks that are associated with smoking any traditional cigarette.

smokelesscigarettes   ·  June 25, 2009 12:16 AM

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