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Old 18 January 2016, 04:53 AM
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Default Sunday dinner and the evil government

So my family has dinner together on Sunday nights. And tonight, Dad got to talking about the situation in Eastern Oregon (he hasn't been to dinner since it began due to being out of town the last two weekends). Dad is a big time conservative, so of course he's on the side of the poor ranchers who are so oppressed by the government and got accused of terrorists and the honest, hard working men who are just trying to stand up to that oppressive government.

I usually try biting my tongue, but this time it just got too much and we had a little argument at the dinner table . Nothing major, no shouting or anything, but he's a little upset at me right now because I pointed out that the farmers weren't prosecuted as terrorists but were charged under a 90s anti-arson law that included arson and it also wasn't just one offense but a long history of illegal burning that they were charged with. And then I made the mistake of pointing out that extremists were complaining about being charged grazing fees that are quite a bit less than what it costs the BLM to actually maintain the land and far less than they'd be charged to run cattle on private land.

Oh boy, did I get it then. Dad laid into me about how I need to be careful with what I believe because other people have different opinions. Which is ironic because, well, it's not so much that he discounts other peoples' opinions as he's continually surprised that other people might have opinions. He's a guy who disbelieved the liberal media before it was cool and thinks that global warming is a conspiracy to destroy business owners. I think the only reason he never joined the Tea Party is because of his total apathy toward social issues.

It's times like these that remind me of why I don't talk to him more often.
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Old 18 January 2016, 12:05 PM
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My wife and I - and I also encourage our college age kids - do our level best to ignore, divert or otherwise minimize political talk around both of our sets of parents - they have gone from being what I might call reasonable, rational progressive moderate conservatives to wild-eyed right wing arch-conservatives in the last 10 years, devout followers of Fox News and so on. There is never any "discussion" - it's always lecture or rant. Can't do it.

In a way, it's kind of nice, since I've never found political talk to be particularly enjoyable, even when the topic is agreeable. I just hate HAVING to avoid it.
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Old 18 January 2016, 03:17 PM
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Same thing with my in-laws. It used to be, my FIL was an old school guns & God hunter/farmer/conservative, while my MIL was moderately liberal if anything. Since retirement, they stay home with Fox News and conservative beltway talk radio on all the time. My FIL mostly stays quiet, but my MIL is now a frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorist. It's very weird and uncomfortable.
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Old 18 January 2016, 03:32 PM
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My mom has taken to spouting the far right AND the far left conspiracies. I think that she just decided "Hey, if its on Facebook, it must be true! The government is coming to take our guns, and the Koch brothers own the world!"
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Old 18 January 2016, 03:55 PM
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My parents have always been closet-racist Republicans, but over the past ten years my dad has become brainwashed by the hate-filled rants on FOX News and talk radio. He'll sit there staring at the idiot box for hours at a time, with his face in a permanent scowl, and scream about Obama and Muslims and Liberals ruining the country, and Jews taking all his money.

On the once-a-year occasion when I agree to spend an afternoon with my extended family, I just get up and walk away when the conversation inevitably turns to politics. I'm the only person in my family who doesn't froth at the mouth with racist hatred and paranoia.
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Old 18 January 2016, 04:05 PM
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In my family it's one of my cousins who is like that. She watches Fox news (and we're Canadian!) and she has started using terms like feminazi. I don't know where this all came from but as a data point she's not a senior, nor is she anyone's parent - she's 40 has a university degree and works for the government. Sigh. She also hasn't met a conspiracy theory that she doesn't believe.
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Old 18 January 2016, 04:15 PM
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Dad and I have never had a healthy relationship. Honestly I don't have a healthy relationship with either of my parents, and it's not just about politics, since like a lot of people I mimicked their political beliefs for a long time until I realized that no matter how many times taxes got cut it wasn't magically making jobs appear, it was just hurting the schools and public libraries and hawkishly invading other countries to dispose of dictators really wasn't making the region better. That was about the time I joined Snopes, come to think of it.

Dad's not into the racist politics directly, but he's pretty anti-environmentalist. First of all because he's in the timber industry and thinks that every environmentalist in the world is specifically out to screw him (because, of course, it's not like they could ever possibly be right about anything). Secondly because he's in denial about the fact that being a Great White Hunter stopped being a socially acceptable aspiration when he was in college so he can't go over to Africa and shoot a bunch of lions and a rhino or two. He really took it personally when that dentist got in trouble for shooting the protected lion last year and didn't understand why people were upset.
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Old 18 January 2016, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
Same thing with my in-laws. It used to be, my FIL was an old school guns & God hunter/farmer/conservative, while my MIL was moderately liberal if anything. Since retirement, they stay home with Fox News and conservative beltway talk radio on all the time. My FIL mostly stays quiet, but my MIL is now a frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorist. It's very weird and uncomfortable.
Could your MIL be in the early stages of some form of dementia?
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Old 18 January 2016, 04:42 PM
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I will just say, "You may be right." (With the mental reservation that "and pigs may fly.")
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Old 18 January 2016, 05:16 PM
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So did you get around to asking your dad why the US government should even subsidize the wasteful, inefficient cattle raising practices of these ranchers? It's like cowboy welfare really, since none of these ranch owners could afford to privately own enough high desert pasturage for their herds. Without the low cost grazing rights on public lands, these guys would be out of business in a year.
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  #11  
Old 18 January 2016, 05:35 PM
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Well, ranchers are all poor people who live hand to mouth because the government overcharges them. It's all that burdensome regulation.

If a business succeeds (regardless of government subsidies), it's because of the superiority of the free market.

If a business fails (regardless of government subsidies), it's because of the ebil government that has it in for small business owners. Even if said "small" business owner owns two mansions and a private jet.

Dad doesn't think that the BLM subsidizes anything, even if they're letting ranchers or loggers use the land for costs that are far below what those same people would have to pay private landowners, the BLM should let them use the land for free.

And those heroic protesters found Indian Artifacts, too. Never mind that the local tribe has already said that they don't want them trampling all over their sacred land.
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Old 18 January 2016, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
If a business succeeds (regardless of government subsidies), it's because of the superiority of the free market.

If a business fails (regardless of government subsidies), it's because of the ebil government that has it in for small business owners. Even if said "small" business owner owns two mansions and a private jet.
Except, of course, if a small business started by a poor person fails, leaving the poor person even poorer.

In that case, it's because the poor person made bad choices, and probably should have instead gotten a job working for a Job Creator.
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Old 18 January 2016, 07:13 PM
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No, it's either because they were crushed by burdensome regulations or they were lazy didn't work hard enough to succeed (depending on whether they're a type of business he likes or not).

So Dad sent me this TED Talk: http://www.theguardian.com/environme...arming-miracle

I'm actually familiar with that particular TED Talk, since I follow a lot of science blogs, so I sent him this Guardian article about it: http://www.theguardian.com/environme...arming-miracle

Last edited by crocoduck_hunter; 18 January 2016 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 18 January 2016, 07:44 PM
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With my dad we avoid all talk of politics (though he was strangely silent when his beloved Harper lost the federal election) and climate change. His stand on the latter drives my scientist brother crazy. My dad doesn't have any hobbies and doesn't get out much, so watches TV all day, especially shows about conspiracies, etc. Ancient Aliens and the like.

This Christmas it was the Syrian refugees that got him going. He said that when one of the refugees brought to Canada killed someone (a real Canadian), Trudeau should be charged with murder. Notice I say 'when' not 'if' cause Dad is sure there will be mass murder in the streets.

Luckily I am usually cooking when I am there, so I get to go 'check the turkey' or something to avoid yelling .
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Old 18 January 2016, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
If a business succeeds (regardless of government subsidies), it's because of the superiority of the free market.

If a business fails (regardless of government subsidies), it's because of the ebil government that has it in for small business owners. Even if said "small" business owner owns two mansions and a private jet.
A coworker once claimed that the reason our favorite taco place was so successful was because their business was primarily in cash, therefore it's easier for them to evade taxes. He phrased it more along the "keep the government's hands out of the till" or something like that, though. Yeah, I'm sure they're successful not because they make tasty, reasonably priced food, but because they're avoiding paying their taxes.
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Old 18 January 2016, 09:51 PM
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You know where else did business mostly in cash? Greece. Or rather went about trying to "keep the government's hands out of the till."
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Old 18 January 2016, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
So Dad sent me this TED Talk:
Haven't taken time to watch the TED talk, just to read the article. I think intensive grazing techniques may well be useful in some circumstances -- I'm not a livestock farmer, but some people I respect are using them, in an entirely different climate and farming situation -- but in any case I doubt they've got anything to do with what the Bundys are doing. To use the description in the article: "grazing them intensively for short bursts in small paddocks and then moving them on" -- that's not at all the same thing as cutting fences and turning livestock randomly loose on open range.

Intensive grazing, as I understand it, is done by carefully balancing both the amount of time each area is grazed and the time between grazing times, each time a paddock's to be grazed, with the number of head and the growth stage of livestock and with the state of the pasture (species, moisture, amount of growth, etc.) when the livestock are turned out on it. I've never heard anybody claim that it'll revive deserts, though I have heard people claim that it'll revive worn out Northeast pastures as compared to allowing the same number of head to randomly roam the entire area, or to not grazing the pastures at all and allowing them to grow up to brush, or to cutting them for hay without any return of manure.

And, oh yes, the people I've heard advocate the technique aren't advocating doing it on somebody else's property. ETA: or on other peoples' gravesites; or on critical refuge areas for wild species.
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Old 18 January 2016, 11:08 PM
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Like I said, I was already familiar with that particular guy and he's really got a lot of snake-oil salesmanship going on: his results can't be verified by any independent source and many of his claims flat out contradict what can be observed. Among other things, he refers to the algal crusts that form in desert soils as "cancerous" and claims that by letting grazing animals trample and destroy them it improves the health of the desert. Destruction of the desert algal crusts has long been known as a key contributor in soil erosion in deserts and leads to a loss of desert plant life.
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Old 19 January 2016, 12:54 AM
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Oh, I wasn't defending the particular person. If the article's accurate, he sounds pretty well disconnected from reality. And I can readily believe that what's an OK idea on a NYState moderate hillside can be a terrible idea in a desert.

I mostly wanted to point out that "intensive grazing" isn't, as far as I can tell, what the Bundy crew is doing. I just got carried away and started rattling on.
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Old 19 January 2016, 01:42 AM
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Ah, gotcha.
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