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November 27, 2015 7:09 AM

(via Theo Kaht)

November 27, 2015 6:59 AM

Libertarians at the University of Oregon are feeling mighty oppressed — not only does the school ban open or concealed carry of firearms on campus, but the student government wouldn’t fund an event the group held to protest the school’s policy. To help make their point, the event was a Poker Night in which the top prizes were three guns. So to prove their displeasure at the unfairness of Big Government, the “Young Americans for Liberty” group is suing Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) to get their hands on some of that sweet student government cash. Libertarians demanding a government subsidy is not hypocrisy at all, because as Sally Brown put it so eloquently, “All I want is what’s coming to me. All I want is my fair share.”

I supposed this one could be find under “C” for “chutzpah.” Libertarians, who pride themselves on being rugged individualists, believe government is inherently evil and virtually any problem can be solved by the free market and personal initiative, are demanding a government subsidy in order to pay for a gun giveaway on a campus that bans open carry.

Ah, the irony…or, more accurately, hypocrisy. They expect to be respected and taken seriously, yet they see nothing amiss with engaging in the sort of hypocrisy and inconsistency that make most Libertarians laughing stocks. They demand that government get off their backs and leave them alone…until they want or need something. Then they have no problem demanding that government come to their assistance post haste.

When said student government declined to fund the Young Whiners for Liberty poker night because of the gun giveaway, the butthurt could be heard from the Idaho border to the Pacific Coast.

After UO student government refused to pay for the event, Young Americans for Liberty asked the conservative group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to step in.

“ASUO’s refusal to fund a poker night hosted by UO’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) expressly because it disagrees with the event’s message amounts to constitutionally prohibited viewpoint discrimination,” FIRE said in a statement.

“Prohibited viewpoint discrimination?” What is it about Libertarians that allows them to define the word “NO” as somehow discriminating against their point of view? Student government is under no obligation to fund an activity simply because someone feels entitled. Like any organization charged with doling out funds, ASUO has criteria they use to determine if an activity meets their guidelines and is worthy of being funded. In this case, ASUO decided the Young Whiners for Liberty poker night did not meet their criteria and declined to provide funding. ASUO was within its rights to do so; I suspect if they provided funding for every request they received, they’d run out of money pretty quickly.

Young Americans for Liberty were not nearly so sanguine about being rejected.

November 27, 2015 6:46 AM

The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved AquAdvantage Salmon as the first genetically modified food from animals, the agency said in a statement. The agency also issued guidance for manufacturers who choose to voluntarily label their products as containing ingredients from GMO sources. The FDA regulates genetically engineered animals under new provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, because the modified DNA introduced into the animal qualifies it as a drug. The AquAdvantage salmon made by AquaBounty Technologies, which some have dubbed a “Frankenfish,” contains a gene that allows it to grow faster than wild or conventional farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

Over time, I’ve become convinced that if there’s one argument guaranteed to be fought as much on emotion as fact, it’s the controversy over genetically modified…well, anything. The latest iteration of the “OMG…FRANKENFOOD!!!!” contretemps has to do with salmon. If you listen to the FDA and evaluate the available information, “Frankensalmon” is a safe to eat fish that can only be raised on inland fish farms in Canada and Panama. They won’t be introduced into waterways, where they might mate with puny, girlie-man salmon. At the risk of turnings this discussion into a “Hans and Frans” parody (“We gonna pump…YOU!!…UP!!”), the flip side of the genetically-modified organism (GMO) argument is that “Frankenfood” is bad, nasty, and dangerous…because we don’t know what the long-term effects of consuming GMOs might be.

I fall somewhere in the middle of the free-for-all. As much as I believe in the power of science, I understand that studies and numbers can be and often are manipulated in order to support one side of an argument. By the same token, I’ve yet to be convinced that the mere fact of a food being GMO makes it bad/nasty/dangerous. I listened to a local TV news reporter interviewing the owner of a seafood shop in southeast Portland who was quick to say, “I would NEVER sell GMO salmon to my customers! We just don’t know whether it’s safe!!”

Adding to the uninformed public hysteria: ALWAYS a good plan, no?

November 27, 2015 6:18 AM

November 27, 2015 6:09 AM

(thanks to David Flanders)

[T]op-line results are usually the most important takeaway from polls like these, that’s only part of what’s amazing about these new results. Consider this excerpt from the latest PPP report: …% [of Republican voters] overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States. That’s less than the 40% who think Canadian born Ted Cruz was born in the United States. Let that one roll around in your head for a moment. Nearly seven years into the Obama presidency, less a third of Republican voters believe the president was born in the United States. A significantly higher percentage believe Ted Cruz was born in the U.S - and he wasn’t.

I suppose this is what happens when you’ve worked to create a political system in which compromise is anathema, opponents are demonized, ignorance is knowledge, and destroying that opposition is of far greater importance than creating and fostering good governance. Six-plus years after Sen. Mitch McConnell stated that destroying Barack Obama was “Job One,” Republicans are still at it. Their entrenched opposition to anything that might reflect positively on The Black Guy in the White House ©- and the atmosphere of vitriol and rabid partisanship it’s created- has ground the legislative process to a halt. The federal government no longers works…because it’s being held hostage by Right-wing zealots congenitally unable to recognize the validity of viewpoints that don’t mirror their own narrow self-interest.

Democracy runs best when there’s healthy conflict between two opposing viewpoints, but Republicans in Congress have created a political landscape in which those on their side will believe the worst, most vile and baseless statements about those on the other side of the ideological spectrum. In this world, a lie can circumnavigate the globe and be on its second lap before the truth drags itself out of bed. How else might one explain these poll results? Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Ted Cruz in Calgary, Alberta, Canada…yet guess who the Far Right is beyond convinced is foreign-born and thus ineligible to be President? The Far Right lives in a world in which facts don’t matter and the only “truth” is what they can convince the American Sheeple to believe. When the #1 cable news network functions as the de facto propaganda arm for the American Taliban, what hope do reasonable, rational people have of creating a government that works for ALL Americans?

November 27, 2015 5:53 AM

November 27, 2015 5:20 AM

November 26, 2015 6:31 AM

November 26, 2015 6:23 AM

At the request of The Associated Press, eight climate and biological scientists graded for scientific accuracy what a dozen top candidates said in debates, interviews and tweets, using a 0 to 100 scale. To try to eliminate possible bias, the candidates’ comments were stripped of names and given randomly generated numbers, so the professors would not know who made each statement they were grading. Also, the scientists who did the grading were chosen by professional scientific societies. And Ted Cruz winned! Or shall we say, Ted Cruz got the lowest score out of everybody running, coming in with a whopping SIX points out of 100, which would suggest he misspelled his own name on the paper, except for how the scientists didn’t know which idiot said what…. “This individual understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner,” Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor, wrote of Cruz’s statements. “That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president.”

The more I try to wrap my brain around this, the more I struggle with understanding how it could be that something with a J.D. from Harvard Law School could be so unbelievably, willfully &^%$#!@ stupid. Perhaps it’s not even that Ted Cruz is nearly as stupid as he is wedded to a narrative and the knowledge that if he changed course mid-stream, he’d be laughed out of the field of GOP Presidential moral misfits contenders. As it is, one would almost expect Cruz to begin prattling on ad nauseum, ad infinitum about birth certificates, secret Muslims, and Obamaphones.

IS he truly so stupid that he can’t grasp the very basic and easily understandable science behind global climate change? Or is it merely that his lust for power and his willingness to do and or say whatever might help him grasp the brass ring has blinded him to things like truth, facts, and reality? As if I need to answer that….

Our next President, whoever he or she might be, will need to be wise and intelligent enough to address they myriad problems we face as they are, NOT as their ideology prefers to portray them. The current circus politics atmosphere of the GOP beauty contest, to the nation’s detriment, favors demagogues over solid, intelligent, and reliable leaders. The intellectual and moral midgets vying for the GOP nomination are heavily invested in believing something is so because the prevailing narrative dictates as much.

Ted Cruz is a lawyer. Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon. Carly Fiorina is a former CEO of Hewlett Packard. These are not stupid people, yet they’re willing and able demagogues and dissemblers because that’s what the GOP Primary process requires of them. The problem, of course, is that they can’t claim to have solutions when every word that issues from their lips is dogma based on Right-wing talking points. Global climate change is a hoax because the Far Right believes it to be so, and as far as they’re concerned belief equals fact. Whether or not Ted Cruz believes the dominant narrative is beside the point; if he wants to win the GOP nomination, he must advance that narrative as if he believes it with ever fiber of his being. It’s the Big Lie- repeat a lie often enough and it will eventually become the truth.

If a Presidential candidate is willing to peddle lies and disinformation in the service of a blind lust for power, how are we to assume that he or she will be honest with us once they’re in office? If you’re a willing and facile dissembler, that’s not a switch that can be flipped to the “OFF” position after the general election. If you push (and, even worse, believe in) a provably false narrative when it comes to global climate change, you can’t credibly claim to be the most qualified candidate to sit behind the big desk in the Oval Office and lead America into the future.

Willfully stupid people make for damned poor leaders.

November 26, 2015 6:10 AM


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