Friday, September 19, 2014

An unsympathetic view of America

Last night I went to "The perfect American" by modern composer Philip Glass. It was a good opera, with lots going on, lots of drama and lots of dramatic music.  It even had a death scene.  So, except for Glass's unique music, it could have been a 19th century opera.  I went to it only for the music but it was a good show as well.  One's attention did not wander.

The whole point of the opera was to lampoon Walt Disney.  The intelligentsia will never forgive Disney for being anti-Communist but to my mind those who make excuses for Communism are the ethical cripples.

Disney was portrayed as a pathological egotist.  I am in no doubt that a hugely successful entrepreneur such as Disney had  to have a considerable ego but I am equally sure that a man who built up from scratch such a huge organization as the Disney organization had to be a very good people manager -- and no-one likes an egotist.  So whatever ego Disney had must have at least been kept in check most of the time.  So I very much doubt the accuracy of the Disney portrayal by Glass. But much in the opera was admittedly fictional so I suppose one should not take it as history

Another historical blooper was the portrayal of Abraham Lincoln as a champion of blacks and a believer in equality.  That is schoolboy history.  Lincoln was neither of those things.  In his famous letter to Horace Greeley Lincoln said that it was only the union he cared about, not blacks.  And after the war he wanted to send them all back to Africa, but was shot before he could implement that.  Let's have some words from the man himself, words spoken at the White House and addressed to a group of black community leaders on August 14th, 1862:

"You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this be admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. It is better for both, therefore, to be separated."

Got that?

And Glass's history is equally shaky in portraying Disney as a racist.  His biographer Neal Gabler in his 2009 book 'Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination' concludes, "Walt Disney was no racist. He never, either publicly or privately, made disparaging remarks about blacks or asserted white superiority. Like most white Americans of his generation, however, he was racially insensitive."

And in describing Disney as the perfect American, Glass was largely disparaging America as a whole -- something Leftists such as Glass generally do.  The opera has yet to be performed in America.  I predict a very mixed reception to it when it is performed in America.

Why the opera first went to Madrid, then to London and then to Brisbane I do not know.  It was a very extravagant production in Brisbane with a far larger cast than needful and a huge (4-ton!) mechanical  contraption in the roof used to change scenes etc so maybe it was that only the Brisbane arts community felt able to afford it -- JR


Below is a picture of the front cover of the program notes for the opera.  It is supposed to be a blending of Walt's face with the face of Mickey mouse.  The effect, however, is to make Disney look insane, and certainly two-faced.  So it is all part of the demonization of him.  A most unpleasant and disturbing piece of Leftist art.

Leftists customarily envy other people's success and Disney was VERY successful, so this attempt to pull his memory down might have been expected


I think we all know this guy


TWO medical backflips in one day

Common treatments for prostate cancer could speed the growth of tumours, a major study has warned

Researchers found that steroid drugs which are widely prescribed because they control the disease not only stop working over time - but began to drive the spread of cancer.

The study by the Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden Foundation trust and the University of Trento in Italy tracked 16 men with advanced prostate cancer in detail.

The research found that use of glucocorticoids - steroid drugs often given alongside hormonal therapy - coincided with the emergence of mutations that led the drug to activate the disease.

Researchers said in future, men with advanced cancer should undergo very regular blood test monitoring to identify such mutations, in order to change their treatment.

They said that "liquid biopsies" analysing tumour DNA circulating in the blood could give an accurate picture of cancer development in individual patients, so treatment could be better targeted.

The study, published in in Science Translational Medicine, used complex genetic analysis of biopsies and blood samples from patients with advanced prostate cancer.

In several patients, use of glucocorticoids coincided with the emergence of androgen receptor mutations and the progression of cancer into more advanced forms.

The study showed that blood tests to measure circulating tumour DNA levels – which is less expensive and invasive than taking repeated samples of tumours with needle biopsies – could be used to monitor the emergence of treatment-resistant prostate cancer.

Study leader Dr Gerhardt Attard, Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: "Our study showed that a steroid treatment given to patients with advanced prostate cancer and often initially very effective started to activate harmful mutations and coincided with the cancer starting to grow again."

Professor Paul Workman, Interim Chief Executive at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: "Drug resistance is the single biggest challenge we face in cancer research and treatment, and we are just beginning to understand how its development is driven by evolutionary pressures on tumours.

"This important discovery reveals how some cancer treatments can actually favour the survival of the nastiest cancer cells, and sets out the rationale for repeated monitoring of patients using blood tests, in order to track and intervene in the evolution of their cancers."

Dr Matthew Hobbs, Deputy Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "There are currently too few treatment options for men living with advanced stage prostate cancer. Not only do we desperately need to find more treatments for this group of men, we also need to understand more about when those that are available stop working and why."

He said the research was important because it could help to pinpoint the stage at which some drugs stop being effective.

"In the future this could arm doctors with the knowledge they need to ensure that no time is wasted between a drug that stops working for a man and him moving on to another effective treatment," he said.

However he cautioned that the study was an early piece of research, carried out in very few men, with larger studies needed.


Low-calorie sweeteners found in diet drinks RAISE the risk of obesity and diabetes by affecting how the body processes sugar

Millions rely on them to help them stay thin. But low-calorie artificial sweeteners actually raise the risk of obesity, researchers fear.

The popular sugar alternatives found in diet drinks and in sachets in cafes and restaurants may also increase the odds of diabetes.

The sweeteners under the microscope are saccharin, which is found in Sweet’N Low, sucralose, which is found in Splenda, and aspartame, which is found in many diet drinks.

The Israeli researchers that ‘today’s massive, unsupervised consumption’ of artificial sweeteners needs to be reassessed.

The warning at a time when growing concern about the damage done by sugar is likely to mean more people are switching to artificial alternatives.

British experts urged caution, saying that much of the work was done in mice. But they also said that water is the healthiest drink.

The researchers, from the Weizmann Institute of Science, first showed that all three sweeteners made it more difficult for mice to process sugar.

This is known as glucose intolerance and is important because it raises risk of developing diabetes and obesity.

In a study of almost 400 people, the researchers linked artificial sweetener with being fatter and glucose intolerance.

And, worryingly, volunteers who didn’t normally eat or drink artificially-sweetened foods began to become glucose intolerant after just four days of consumption.

The numbers affected were small – just four out of seven men and women in the trial – but the research overall was judged significant enough to be published in Nature one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals.

Other experiments suggested the sweeteners do the damage by altering type of bacteria in the gut.

While this might seem odd, some of the bugs that live naturally in our digestive system are very good at breaking down food.

If they thrive on artificial sweeteners, this could lead to more energy being extracted from food and more fat being stored – raising the odds of obesity.

 Lead researcher Professor Eran Elinav, said: ‘Our relationship with our own individual mix of gut bacteria is a huge factor in determining how the food we eat affects us.

‘Especially intriguing is the link between use of artificial sweeteners - through the bacteria in our guts - to a tendency to develop the very disorders they were designed to prevent.

‘This calls for reassessment of today's massive, unsupervised consumption of these substances.’

The professor has stopped using artificial sweeteners. He has also removed sugar from his diet – but says it is too early to make health recommendations based on his study.

Dr Katarina Kos, a diabetes expert from the University of Exeter, said that larger-scale human studies are ‘urgently required’.

Brian Ratcliffe, professor of nutrition at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, said that most of the experiments related to saccharin – which is rarely found in diet fizzy drinks.  He said: ‘There seems no reason to suggest that swopping to a diet version of your favourite fizzy drink is unwise.’

Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, said research contradicts ‘the overwhelming body of scientific evidence’.

He said: ‘More than 40 studies have concluded that the use of low-calorie sweeteners do not lead to either an increased risk of obesity or diabetes.

‘Decades of clinical research show that low-calorie sweeteners, such as those in diet drinks, have been found to aid weight control when part of an overall healthy diet and assist with diabetes management.’

The International Sweeteners Association, which represents manufacturers including the maker of Splenda, also strongly rejected the research.



Eric Holder’s Treating Conservatives Like Terrorists!

Yesterday, Eric Holder announced a new program to go after homegrown extremists in the United States. Except, instead of exclusively targeting radical Islamic terrorists, the Department of Justice is going after YOU!

It’s no secret that Eric Holder and Barack Obama hate Conservative America… Holder and Obama have done more to divide America than any of their predecessors.

It is no surprise that most Americans believe that the country is more divided now than it was when King Obama took office.

That is because instead of targeting our country’s enemies, the Department of (in)Justice has changed its mission to targeting Conservative Americans!

Just days after a deranged Occupy Wall Street couple went on a shooting spree in Las Vegas earlier this summer, the Department of Justice restarted its Domestic Terror Task Force. Now you might ask: “why was this task force shuttered to begin with?”

After 9/11, the government’s resources were shifted towards monitoring Islamic terrorists abroad. But according to Eric Holder, that mission is now over. Thanks to Obama’s “strong and effective anti-terror efforts,” al-Qaeda no longer poses a significant threat. Those are Eric Holder’s words, not mine…

“But we must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders,” Eric Holder continued in a statement earlier this summer. However, he restricted his definition of extremist groups to just those on the far right, defining domestic terrorists as those “motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice.”

If you look through a lot of the training materials given to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, you won’t see any mention of Islamic extremism. Instead, you will see a domestic terrorist profile that describes the average Conservative American.

According to the DOJ’s own manuals:

If you’re pro-life, you could be a terrorist… If you believe in the second amendment, you definitely could be a terrorist… If you believe in small and limited government, you could be a terrorist…

If you fly the Gadsden Flag in front of your house, the government believes you are a terrorist…

Think about that for a second… If you fly a historical Revolutionary War flag on your flag post – the one that reads ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ – then the government just assumes you’re a terrorist…

The government is trying to pressure you to change your ways. The government is trying to threaten you to abandon your ideals.

This has been developing for years. Ever since Barack H. Obama took office, government agencies have shifted their focus from monitoring Islamic terrorists towards focusing on Conservative domestic “extremists.”

We know from the leaked training manuals that the DOJ is shifting its focus towards Conservative so-called “extremists.” We know that just reading this email/article has probably put you on the DOJ’s radar.

By all definitions, this program is atrocious. It boggles the mind to think that the Attorney General has the authority to target half the country based on nothing but their Conservative ideology.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: