Monday, October 26, 2015

The war on sugar -- another example of how governments are incompetent, careless and can't be trusted

For decades, officialdom condemned fat and salt in our diets.  As contrary evidence piled up however, they have had to walk that back and the usual advice in 2015 is that LOW consumption of fat and salt is most likely to be harmful.

But control freaks have to have something to prove their wisdom by, apparently, so in the last year or two sugar has been made the big demon.  It's utter nonsense, of course.  These days sugar is in almost everything -- including fruit straight off the tree -- and we have all been consuming piles of it for decades. So are people dying like flies?  Far from it.  Lifespans have continued their upward rise.

And what about the effect on our waistlines?  There is no way increased weight can be clearly tied to sugar consumption.  To claim cause and effect is pure speculation.  There have been all sorts of lifestyle changes in recent years and the sheer cheapness of food these days is actually the most likely culprit for "obesity".  Within living memory it was a real worry for parents to put enough food on the table for their families, but big advances in agricultural practice, distribution (big supermarkets) and international trade have steadily brought real food prices down to the point where no-one in the developed world need go hungry. These days Oliver Twist can always have "More" if he wants it. And many people now DO want it.

After the about-face on fat and salt, I think that alone should make us cynical but there is also no good research backing up this latest fad.  There is research but it is all flaky. I spent many years as a health blogger so I know what the evidence against sugar is:  It is all either in vivo (rodent studies) or epidemiological.  But rodent studies generalize poorly to humans and you CANNOT infer cause from epidemiological studies. If you want to know what rubbish is spouted in the name of epidemiology, grab John Brignell's little book: The Epidemiologists: Have They Got Scares for You!

IT’S becoming a public enemy up there with the likes of fat, salt and smoking.

Now a much-anticipated report has put sugar barons on notice, recommending a 10-20 per cent “sugar tax” on soft drinks and moves to limit the marketing and promotion of sugary foods to children.

Public Health England’s document has been more than a year in the making and has slammed the food-friendly environment that has left the UK bulging at the seams.

“The whole food environment and culture has changed slowly over the last 30 to 40 years. There are now more places to buy and eat food which is, in real terms, cheaper, more convenient, served in bigger portion sizes and subject to more marketing and promotions than ever before,” it said, adding that the continually expanding swath of restaurants, cafes and fast-food means simple labelling laws aren’t enough.

The public health body is calling for a 10-20 per cent tax on sugary drinks which are the main single source of sugar for school-aged children. It also wants to see a crackdown on marketing and promotions that target children directly, better labelling an overhaul of public facilities and messages like the “five a day” campaign to ensure they are cutting through.

“It is likely that price increases on specific high sugar products like sugar sweetened drinks, such as through fiscal measures like a tax or levy, if set high enough, would reduce purchasing at least in the short term,” the report said.

Sugar is becoming in the latest battleground in the fight against global obesity following on from fat and salt. It’s estimated to make up 12-15 per cent of UK diets, much of which is disguised in sauces, mayonnaise, cereals or alcohol. The public health body wants it cut back to less than five per cent in accordance with World Health Organisation guidelines, to prevent a host of health problems from obesity to diabetes and dental decay which cost billions a year in healthcare.

But despite the high-profile support, the recommendations are unlikely to come into effect. A spokesman for UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would not support the idea. The British Soft Drinks Association director general Gavin Partington said they “recognise industry has a role to play in tackling obesity” but don’t believe it has had a significant impact.

Nutritionist Susie Burrell said she would “absolutely” love to see a “junk tax” introduced in Australia that goes beyond sugar to cover fast food, confectionary and soft drinks.

“Isolating sugar is failing to look at the complexity of nutrition and the way people eat. Portion size and fried foods are just as big an issue as sugar is,” she told “Any scheme that would generate revenue to be used in the treatment of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease would be welcomed.”


UPDATE: In case it was unclear above, I was talking about the advice emanating from government bodies. Actions by governments have so far been muted. That is unlikely to last, however


Levin: 'Last Vestiges of Soviet Communism Are U.S. College Campuses'

During his Wednesday broadcast last week, nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin said that America’s college campuses are the last vestiges of Soviet Communism.

“The last vestiges of soviet communism are the college campuses in this country,” Levin said. “The amount of money they spend on facilities, on swimming pools, on tennis courts, you name it. Way over the top!”

Below is a transcript of Levin’s comments:

    “The Community Reinvestment Act, that’s government that’s too big to fail, destroyed our housing market, destroyed families all across this country. College tuition through the roof.

    “The last vestiges of Soviet communism are the college campuses in this country. The amount of money they spend on facilities, on swimming pools, on tennis courts, you name it. Way over the top! And these kids pay tuition, they can’t afford it, but they need a college education in many cases, they believe, to get into a profession.

    “And so they’re encouraged with low interest loans to take out these loans. They take out these loans. In the end they can’t afford them. They can’t get jobs because our borders are wide open. They can’t get jobs because we’re killing the golden goose, and they’re stuck. And the liberals have another idea, a magic wand, the liberal magic wand. No more debt, look at that, boom it’s all gone.

    “And not only that, you should go to college for free. Yeah, like the housing market, that was free, and it almost destroyed many of you out there. And now health care, right? That’s free, and you can’t afford that can you?  It’s through the roof.

    “Nothing’s free. And the bottom line is they don’t hit the so-called rich, a definition that changes repeatedly. They hit you, working people, people who make a modest income. You put some money away, maybe you can go on a vacation, maybe you can put some money away for a pension.

    “You’re the ones they’re hitting, because only you can pay for these programs in the end. The rich aren’t paying for Obamacare. You are. The rich aren’t paying for the war on poverty. You are. The rich aren’t paying for illegal immigrants. You are. The rich aren’t bailing out the banks through TARP. You are. And you pay for all of it.

    “These people are liars. How many more times are you going to accept what comes out of their mouths?

    “And there’s more. We’re supposed to hate the National Rifle Association, because it defends the Second Amendment.  And so the liberals create monsters. They create straw men. They create devils. So we’re supposed to hate the NRA, you know, like Haliburton, like oil companies, like anything they don’t control that dares to challenge them. Hate the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife when he was alive.”



From Britain: Another Leftist hypocrite

Seumas Milne is remembered for his comment on the assassination by Muslims of British soldier Lee Rigby in 2013.  Milne said it ‘wasn’t terrorism in the normal sense’, in an apparent attempt to minimize the crime.  Under new leader Jeremy Corbyn, the British Labour party has moved much further to the Left than it was under Tony Blair

The stare of a fanatic who is sure he knows it all

Jeremy Corbyn's new 'Marxist-sympathising' spin doctor Seumas Milne sent his two children, now in their 20s, to a pair of elite grammar schools instead of a number of comprehensives which were closer to his London home.

Milne's children Patrick, 22, attended the Tiffin School in Kingston upon Thames, while his 25-year-old sister Anna went to Tiffin Girls' School in Kingston-upon-Thames.

The millionaire spin doctor has taken a leave of absence from The Guardian to become the Labour Party's executive director of strategy and communications.

Milne lives with his wife Cristina Montanari in 1992 and live in a £2 million Victorian house in Richmond.

According to The Telegraph, Milne, 57,  attended the £34,740-a-year Winchester College. His father, former BBC director-general Alasdair Milne died in 2013 leaving him one third of his £3.9 million estate.

Milne and his wife ignored four nearer comprehensive schools and instead sent their children to the Tiffin grammar schools some four miles away.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who has been critical of Corbyn's leadership told Gordon Rayner of The Telegraph: 'Seumus Milne will clearly struggle to understand working people and I'm puzzled as to why Jeremy would have appointed him. 'I would have thought he would have chosen someone more down to earth and more in touch with real people.'

The appointment of a left-wing columnist as Labour's strategy and communications chief highlights a lack of 'professionalism' by Jeremy Corbyn, Lord Mandelson has said.

Lord Mandelson - a driving force behind reforms to the party in the 1980s and 1990s and at the heart of New Labour's spin operation - said he was unimpressed by Mr Corbyn's time at the helm since his surprise election.  'I don't think he's growing into the job at all, no,' the former cabinet minister said.

'I don't think he is showing any professionalism in his leadership of the Labour Party and you see from his appointment of his strategy and communications director Seumus Milne, whom I happen to know and like as it happens, but (is) completely unsuited to such a job.

'He has little connection with mainstream politics or mainstream media in the country and yet he's in charge of communications for the Labour Party. 'That doesn't sound very professional to me.'

The arch-Blairite has faced calls for his expulsion from the party for 'openly inciting insurrection' against Mr Corbyn, but he has insisted he is 'not going anywhere'.



Sanity Prevails: Teen Who Had Consensual Sex is Removed From Sex Offender Registry

Zach Anderson is a 20-year-old from Indiana who used the dating app Hot or Not when he was 19. On the app, he found an Michigan girl's profile, and they began talking. The girl said she was 17. They eventually met up and had sex. It turns out the girl lied, and she was actually 14, not 17. As the age of consent in Michigan is 16, the girl could not consent to sex. This meant that their encounter automatically made Anderson a felon and a sex offender--and despite please for leniency from both the girl and her mother, Anderson was sentenced to three months in prison and forced to spend the next 25 years on the Indiana and Michigan sex offender registries.

Obviously, this is insane. He did not rape a girl. He was lied to by someone who admits she deceived Anderson about her age. The law, unfortunately, didn't care that he was lied to. He was guilty, and he would be on a sex offender registry until he was 44 years old. Until, thankfully sanity prevailed and a judge re-sentenced Anderson to probation and removed him from the Michigan sex offender list. And yesterday, he was finally removed from Indiana's as well.

Thank goodness.

Anderson is not a sex offender. He was a 19-year-old who thought he was engaging in relations with a 17-year-old. He had no reason to believe his partner was lying about her age, and the encounter was completely consensual. This is not the actions of a criminal. It does not do society any good to put a person who has virtually no risk of harming anyone in the community on a list that will restrict where he can live and work. He is not a pervert, he is not a pedophile, and he is not a rapist. He should never have been put on the same list as someone who is a convicted rapist or child molester.

Cases like this are far too common. Something needs to be done before more lives are ruined for innocent mistakes.



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