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18 Apr 19:39

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, It is Now Past Time to Google "the Streisand Effect"

by admin

The Peoria, IL mayor used the city police to raid and shut down the owners of a Twitter account that mocked the mayor.  The original twitter feed probably had about 12 followers when it was shut down.  I suggest that it is now past time for him to Google the "Streisand Effect"

Streisand_Estate

Too bad she didn't have a police force.

 

18 Apr 11:00

Friday Funnies: Modern Debate

by Chip Bok

Modern debate

15 Apr 00:08

blazepress: Volcanic eruption from space.



blazepress:

Volcanic eruption from space.

17 Apr 15:35

Revisiting Resistant Starch: Part Two

by Tom Naughton

Here’s part two of my interview with Richard Nikoley, Tim “Tatertot” Steele and Grace Liu about resistant starch.  Given how many questions I asked and the comprehensive answers, I decided to divide the interview into three parts.

Fat Head: What do you think of the high-maize resistant starch the corn refiners are promoting? From some of your comments, I get the feeling you consider it yet another industrial food we can do without.

Tim: I’m very disappointed in the direction that the makers of Hi-Maize have taken it. Here they have a substance with the potential to help billions, yet they only want to put it in bakery goods and snacks so they can promote them as “high fiber foods.” The people who make Hi-Maize are the same ones who make High Fructose Corn Syrup. Since that bubble burst, they are looking for ways to refill the coffers of the corn producers. The studies in which Hi-Maize, or High Amylose Maize Starch (HAMS) was used to show marked metabolic improvements required approximately 20-40g of RS per day. This level makes most people fart, so when they put it in food, they are very careful to get it in at a level that ensures nobody “squeaks one off” in church, God forbid. This fart-proof level is the same issue that inulin and other prebiotic supplement makers had to deal with. A level of RS that produces no farts in 90% of the consumers is a level that does no good for 100% of people eating it for its “high fiber” benefits.

Grace: Movies like Fat Head, and others — King Corn and Future of Our Food — brought awareness and enlightenment for me about the dangers of the greed and perversions of industry interests including USDA collusion and GMO Big Agriculture. Part of the reason industrialized nations have epidemic gut problems, many experts believe, is secondary to GMO foods in the food supply that make up 80-90% of the American SAD food pyramid: GMO grain and GMO Bt corn fed livestock (pork, poultry, beef), GMO grain crops, GMO Bt corn, GMO soy, GMO sugar beets, etc. We have moved away from sustainable, organic, heirloom and biodynamic farming and livestock production and all its abundant life, including the soil organisms and other gut-preserving probiotics that live on the roots, tubers, shoots, fruits and leaves of our crops.

Fat Head: Lower glucose levels are a nice benefit, but I wasn’t getting the high fasting glucose levels that you and other people have reported on a very low-carb diet – perhaps because I’m low-carb but not zero-carb, and I usually have a high-carb Saturday night meal. So reports of lower fasting glucose levels didn’t persuade me to run out and buy potato starch. But when you wrote several posts about resistant starch and gut bacteria, you got my attention. Describe how resistant starch affects our gut microbiome.

Tim: RS is ALL about the gut bugs –100%. The first studies on RS in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s didn’t take the gut microbiome into account, and lots of their studies made it look like RS was not all it was cracked up to be. However, give a person RS for a couple weeks and allow their gut bugs to grow and change, then try the same studies — big difference. If most people had really good gut flora and all that was lacking was some fermentable fiber, then RS would be HUGE on its own.

Unfortunately, with widespread overuse of antibiotics, sanitized food and living conditions, and a disconnect from the microbes that live in the dirt, most people just don’t have the right set of gut bugs to take full advantage of simply adding RS to their diet. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s when they first started looking into prebiotic fibers, they noted that about 75% of test subjects could not tolerate RS or inulin over 30 or so grams per day, causing them excessive gas, bloating, and pain. Now I suspect it’s even higher. The folks who can’t tolerate RS are the ones who need it most! For them, a good program of probiotics and fermented food should get them back on track.

Richard: It’s really been quite a deal for me. Unlike you, Tom, I’d had high fasting numbers for years and recently had seen a post-meal spike as high as 194 after a carby meal. Thing is, as I already said, my carb intake was very sporadic. Now, someone’s gonna say “Well, then you’re diabetic, or pre-diabetic, by clinical definition.” Well, that’s the rub. I just did a post about the Inuit and how in three studies, 1928, 1936 and 1972, they found no ketosis in the Inuit (To Reiterate, Just In Case You Missed It: No Elevated Ketone Levels in the Inuit), even though they are low carb, about 55g per day on average, mostly from the glycogen in fresh, raw animals (liver, meat, skin and surprisingly enough, whale blubber—the most carby of all). So researchers give them a glucose tolerance test and they passed with flying colors, with max spikes right to about 140. Keep in mind that nowadays in LC forums and comment threads all over, people have convinced themselves that they literally cannot have carbs. Why? Because they have physiological insulin resistance, high fasting BG, and so when they go eat a piece of their kid’s birthday cake and get 160-180, they self diagnose as diabetic or pre-diabetic and the prophesy is self-fulfilled.

So then how come the Inuit eating low carb can handle a bolus dose of glucose? The secret is in two things: 1) all the prebiotic fibers they get from the glycans in fresh raw blood, organs and meat, so they have healthier guts than your average modern LC dieter and 2) they have a massive protein intake, 250g and up. Try eating 250g protein daily without drinking it. So, they had plenty of dietary protein to fuel gluconeogenesis without causing insulin resistance. But what happens if you fast them for 82 hours, putting them into no-shit ketosis and forcing physiological insulin resistance? Give them the same bolus dose of glucose and they spike to 280-300 and 3 hours later, they’re still above 230.

Interestingly enough, some negative reaction to that post focuses more on measuring methods for ketones, insisting that it’s a LCHF diet — missing the point that it’s the very high protein that’s making the difference — and for some inexplicable reason, continuing to insist that they just must have really been in ketosis in spite of three studies spanning 44 years finding no ketosis amongst Inuit eating their traditional LC diet. For some reason, perpetual, chronic ketosis just simply has to be a very healthful thing to do, beyond it being proven therapeutic for certain medical conditions, and in spite of the very unhealthful thing that happened to their BG numbers when there’s no dispute about them being in deep ketosis after an 82 hr fast.

There’s much work to be done.

Fat Head: You’ve written that living on a very-low-carb diet might even starve our gut bacteria in the long term. Is there evidence for that, or is it more of a concern that warrants more research?

Tim: Well, here’s my stance on that…a VLC diet, such as an Atkins induction-type keto diet, isn’t going to completely kill off all your gut bugs, but what will happen is that the ones that do all the “good stuff” we’ve been talking about — for instance, producing butyrate and stimulating gut health — will be relegated to the minority. The majority of your gut bugs on a VLC diet are ones that can eat any old plant matter, animal scraps, and the lining of your intestine — the mucus layer. A gut thus populated has a high pH, pathogens thrive, and colonocytes starve. The good gut bugs are more than likely still there, just hiding and waiting for enough food for them to once again flourish. These populations change fast, even on a “by-meal” basis. Long-term eating habits set up long-term health patterns. We can eat however we want in survival situations, or any short-term diet intervention, but in the long run, a colon with ample butyrate and populated with beneficial microbes such as those that eat RS and the ones that benefit from the RS feeding frenzy is best.

Another thing to consider, Tom, is your lifestyle on the farm … your close association with chickens, animals, dirt, trees and fresh foods give you a leg up compared to most people. Your gut is most likely populated with all the soil-based organisms and lactic acid producers that folks are paying dearly for. I’d guess that for you, a big slug of RS gave your gut bugs a real treat and they were trying to tell you something: FEED US! What do your chickens do when you miss a day of feeding them? They cluck and fuss and let you know they are hungry. When well fed, they lay eggs and grow big juicy breasts and drumsticks. It’s the same with your gut bugs. Treat them like your farm animals or crops, feed, fertilize, and treat them well and they will pay it back in spades.

Grace: I love VLC and LC diets. They will always have a place therapeutically and clinically, I believe. My problem is that for some or many, these diets compromise or will eventually compromise 1) the gut and 2) adrenal/thyroid/gonad health. In four different LC or VLC short-term studies, prominent core gut microbial populations were dramatically reduced. These gut populations are important for health because not only do they serve vital functions such as expelling pathogens, vitamin processing and production (A, K2, B) and maintaining healthy immunity, they are also huge butyrate factories, pumping out butyrate which keeps gut tight junctions tight, immunity intestinal integrity intact, pathogens low and insulin sensitivity appropriate via the GPR41/43 receptors.

In one study, the researchers examined the shifts in gut populations during an Atkins induction diet (24 g carb/day) for 4 wks. With the VLC diet, they observed an enormous drop in butyrate to a fraction (about one-quarter) of the maintenance diet level. Four very significant subpopulations of gut bugs were decimated by the VLC low fiber and RS-deficient diet: Bifidobacteria, Ruminococci, Roseburia, and F. prausnitzii.

The study groups ate salads, but this was not apparently enough to sustain the important core gut communities. Salads may provide about 10 grams of non-starch fiber, but zero RS or oligosaccharides for them to feed on. These prominent populations are also highly correlated to longevity and robustness in centenarian and aging studies. In more and more gut microbiota studies, these populations are found missing in disorders and disease, yet found in great abundance and diversity in the healthy. Their favorite substrate to feed on is resistant starch.

Strict paleo diets that eliminate legumes, GF grass grains, roots and tubers may also exert the same detrimental gut effects as RS-deficient Atkins because the gut has to contend with the same conflict: a deficiency of RS and soluble fibers from starchy ‘plant babies.’ Without RS and other fiber, fecal carcinogens are not diluted, N-nitroso compounds occur at higher amounts, stool pH increases (allowing more pathogenic growths), and microbial-derived antioxidants such as ferulate and other phenolic compounds decrease.

Fat Head: If we do starve our gut bacteria, what would be the negative health effects?

Tim: Look at America…the modern, dyspeptic gut we’ve created: Frequent heartburn, loose stools or constipation, indigestion, smelly gas, GERD, IBS, or worse. You may even have one of the many autoimmune diseases that are running rampant, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or cancer. Digestive diseases affect over 70 million people in the US alone! These diseases required 48.3 million ambulatory care visits, 21.7 million hospitalizations, and caused 245,921 deaths in 2009. Total cost for digestive diseases was estimated at $141.8 billion in 2004. And, these stats are getting worse, not better. It’s estimated that over 90 million Americans use antacids or other digestive upset medicines. Upset stomachs are the number one cause of self-treatment. These are all caused by “hungry gut bugs.”

Richard: Most people actually have both E. coli and C. difficile in them, but they are kept at bay by our symbionts and commensals. C. difficile causes about a half million sicknesses annually in the US, hospitalizes 250,000 and kills 15,000. Guess when the most common time is for an infection to occur? Immediately following a round of antibiotics. Now, connect them dots.

[On that topic, folks, you may want to listen to this NPR interview about the effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiome -- Tom]

Fat Head: To experience the benefits of feeding our gut bacteria, we need gut bacteria to feed. Is it worth taking probiotics while adding resistant starch to the diet? Or do probiotic supplements just create expensive poop?

Richard: This was the last puzzle piece for me personally. I pounded three brands of soil-based organism probiotics that Grace recommends. I did this for a week or so but by about day three, it was very clear this was a huge benefit. Very notable was energy and sleep. Very interesting because I seemed to be relieved of this sort of regimented thing where you have to get 7-8 hours. It quickly became way different. Some nights 4-5 hours and others, 8-9 but less on average and when it was one of those 4-5 hour deals, I wasn’t just getting up at 4 a.m. because of insomnia. I was ready to hit it and felt great.

But the biggest deal of all was airborne allergies or, for all I know, food allergies. Anyway, I’ve had perpetual congestion, sneezing, runny nose and cough virtually all my life. Used to be on meds year round. LC Paleo did wonders for that initially. Got rid of the meds, felt a lot better. But it was creeping back and I’d always have to have tissue on hand, have to shoot Afrin some nights to get to sleep, and now and then, have to pop an OTC. Within 3 days on the SBO probiotics and for the first time ever, I’m breathing clearly through my nose 80-90% of the time. Seems to be getting even better, even though I’m down to just taking one or the other of those three products every day or two. They are pricey, so after pounding them the first week or two, I’d recommend stretching them out like that.

Lots of folks have now introduced these and many positive reports are beginning to come in. Clear breathing seems to be a common one.

Grace: Since you are a farmer, Tom, I am envious of the natural probiotics you and your family encounter daily! My family and I are suburbanites with no garden and the only healthy dirt I encounter is the few that rim our carrot tops or the little dusting on my organic greens that haven’t been blasted off by triple filtered water rinsing. Also I’ve had plenty of antibiotics in my lifetime which likely decimated my gut little did I know.

What I see anecdotally and clinically is that many people’s guts are missing core ancestral species (which is my AHS14 topic this year). Our gut bugs have taken a hit and the damage is immeasurable. By using functional medicine lab testing of stools and urine organic acids, I can see the damage. By talking to people, the damage is often evident as well. This is the same advanced testing that is bringing us rapid information about the gut microbiota over the last 10-15 years.

I can’t tell you how often I see Bifidobacter, Lactobacilli and other core ancestral species missing. I advocate a few good soil based organisms (SBO) probiotics such as Prescript Assist and AOR Probiotic-3, which do an excellent job of filling in nicely for now for the lack of soil exposures that our ancestors were immersed in, and we now have challenges in obtaining.

Modern, industrialized societies consume 100% of food, vegetables, and packaged beer that is sterile, dead, or hyper-hygienically clean. By contrast, our ancestral gut strains Bifidobacter, Lactobacilli, Clostridium, Bacilli, and wild yeasts all naturally co-exist on farm livestock, children, chickens, eggs, raw dairy, legumes, grass grains, tubers, roots and other plant sources.

Tim: In the ancient past, no one needed probiotics because we got all the new microbes we needed from dirty food, dirty fingers and a close connection with the Earth. In the more recent past, probiotics worked like migratory farm workers. As long as you used them, they gave you some benefits, but as soon as you stopped, they were gone because they had no incentive to stick around. With RS, that all changes. Probiotics now have a reason to stick around a while. If you are one of the 25% of people who cannot ferment RS, or even one of the 75% who can, you should take probiotics when first healing your gut or switching to a high RS diet. Most if not all of us are missing key gut bugs that are found in several probiotic supplements. In a diet filled with RS, inulin, glucomannan, and other prebiotics in the 20-40 gram per day range, these probiotics will not only survive, but kick ass on the pathogens and set the stage for stability and resilience in your gut’s ecosystem.

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17 Apr 17:12

Colorado County Bullies Couple into Handing Over Land for Non-Use

by Ed Krayewski

government's just us, gimme!The Barries, Ceil and Andy, of Summit County, Colorado, have been fighting their local government, which was trying to use eminent domain to seize their land and keep it "open space." The Barries bought 10 acres and a cabin just outside Breckenridge in the White River National Forest in 2011. The sale came with an all-terrain vehicle, but the U.S. Forest Service told the Barries they couldn't use the old mining road to get to the cabin from their home in the sub-division below.

The county got involved when the Barries petitioned it to declare the road a county route, which would permit them to use it. Instead, the county offered to buy the land. The Barries refused.

Then the county condemned the cabin over plumbing and electricity issues (the cabin has neither and a prior owner didn't get permits to remodel it) and then tried to use eminent domain to take it.

The Barries finally agreed to a sale, or "voluntary settlement" according to the county, this week, for $115,000. That amount, they say, barely covered the legal bills and a portion of the land value. It got too expensive to fight the government, and court-ordered mediation indicated they weren't going to win, as Fox News reports:

The Barries said the slim odds laid out by a mediation judge also influenced them to settle.

"The judge, who was the mediator, basically told us, 'You're fighting Summit County, in the Summit County Courthouse with a Summit County jury and a Summit County judge that has to be re-elected by Summit County voters in November, you're not going to win'," said Ceil Barrie.

The county cited "motorized travel" (the Barries say they've never gone off-road on their property) and "commercial activity" (Andy Barrie says he collected pinecones for his Christmas wreath business) in the area as reasons for trying to take the land from the Barries.

h/t Raven Nation

17 Apr 15:09

State Attorneys General to Google: Censor or Be Censored

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

If you have to ask Google how to rob a house or become a drug dealer, you probably aren't going to make a terribly superb robber or drug dealer. In other words: Search engine inquiries into how to start a life of crime are probably harmless. But that's not really the point—were eHow and Ask.com the premier way of learning the drug trade, it still wouldn't make it right for the government to intervene. The government is intervening, however, with state attorney generals (AGs) pressuring Google to obscure sites that promote illegal activities or sell "dangerous" or illegal materials. 

In a December 2013 letter, published by The Washington Post this week, attorneys general from 23 states and Puerto Rico "expressed concerns" about "Google's monetization of dangerous and illegal content," "the promotion of illegal and prescription free drugs," and general intellectual property violations on the Internet. The gang proposed a meeting in Denver in January, to which Google agreed.

A subsequent letter from the AGs, sent in February, calls the meeting a "valuable first step" but stresses that "much work remains to be done." Summarizing requests made at the meeting, the AGs ask Google to enhance content screening systems and place increased "human scrutiny" on content uploaded to YouTube and Google Drive; to delist sites that sell illegal drugs or any other illegal materials, and prevent these sites from using paid search or ads; and to provide "swift responses" to law enforcement officials about this content. 

"What can Google do to encourage a culture worthy of its 'Don't be evil' motto?" they ask. Oh, I don't know, perhaps not censor the Internet based on the whims of a group of paternalistic prosecutors or use its massive reach to be a spy for the state?

Google, to its credit, wanted no part of the AGs' evil schemes. The company explained that it already has initiatives in place to identify and address copyright violations or prohibited content, and it has (since 2010) barred illegal pharmacies from placing paid ads via Google.

It also, at the request of the AGs, recently removed more than 1,200 phrases from its auto-complete predictions, such as "how to become a drug dealer," "how to get away with robbing a house," and "how to buy slaves" (note that these search terms are still perfectly possible, you'll just have to type the whole phrase yourself). Additionally, it added hundreds of search terms (such as "buy foreign women") to a list of things that will not return ads on YouTube and AdWord.

However, Google patiently explained to the AGs, it does not own or run everything on the Internet nor have a desire to be censor in chief (emphasis mine): 

In contrast to our hosted platforms, our search index reflects existing content on the web, and the sites linked in Google search results are created and controlled by those sites' webmasters, not Google. Given the First Amendment and free-expression issues at play, search is the least restrictive of our services ... It is our firm belief that Google should not be the arbiter of what is and is not legal on the web.

Hell yeah. And Google also rejected (as it has many times before) the idea that it should remove entire sites from search results for copyright violations. Whole-site removal "sends the wrong message internationally, by favoring over-inclusive private censorship over the rule of law," it said. "This would jeopardize free speech principles and the free flow of information online globally and in contexts far removed from copyright." 

The state AGs aren't satisfied, of course. If Google won't fall in line, they've threatened to pursue legal action, according to The Washington Post. Jim Hood, Mississippi AG and the one leading this crusade, explained to the Post that they were merely "trying to make (Google) do right." 

16 Apr 21:51

Emails: IRS Lerner Contacted DOJ About Prosecuting Tax Exempt Groups...


Emails: IRS Lerner Contacted DOJ About Prosecuting Tax Exempt Groups...


(First column, 10th story, link)

15 Apr 17:30

Larry F. Correia, International Lord of Hate

by correia45

So I got slandered in the Guardian last Friday. I would have responded sooner, but I don’t normally blog on weekends, and yesterday was the highly successful Book Bombing of John C. Wright’s latest book. We got him into the 200s overall, #2 on three different bestseller list, onto the Movers and Shakers list, and the top of Hot New Releases. Side note, it is kind of funny how I’m not a *real* writer, yet I somehow manage to routinely manipulate the sales rankings of the world’s biggest online book seller once a month for my friends. Go figure.

Anyways, my name showed up as the poster child for hate mongery and villainy in the Guardian (a liberal tabloid that passes for a major newspaper in Britain). I’ve been in a lot of American news things but this was a first for me, so on Friday afternoon I had to discuss with my fans on Facebook what I should put on my new business cards. We finally decided on Larry F. Correia, International Lord of Hate. Almost went with The Hatemaster because of the 70’s super villain vibe, but that looks too much like The Hamster when you’re reading fast.

So here is the article written by Damian Walter. It turns out that Tom Kratman knew him back when Asimov’s had a forum, and remembered him as a shrill little libprog, and that if Damian was at the Guardian a village somewhere in England was missing their idiot.

Somebody else told me that Damian is an “aspiring” author, and that he’d recently been given a grant by the British government to write a novel. I have no idea if this is true, and don’t care enough to look it up, but man, if it is… your government actually pays people to write novels? BWA HA HA HAW! Holy shit. As an actual novelist, that’s funny. And I thought my government was stupid.

Unlike Damian, I’m not a huge pussy, so I will include the link to the thing that I’m about to insult. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/11/science-fiction-needs-to-reflect-queer-fluid-gender-identity

As usual, the article is in italics, my comments are in bold.

Science Fiction Needs to Reflect that the Future is Queer

You’re probably thinking, oh, not this shit again. Don’t worry. I’m not going to fisk the whole thing. I’m skipping the first few paragraphs. It is just more of the usual whiny ass demands for more message fic catering to Special Topic of the Day X. Tomorrow the X will be different, but the lectures will be exactly the same.

Though you should read it for tidbits like how male gamers play female characters in video games because they are curious about gender roles… Uh huh… And not because if you’re going to be staring at your character’s ass in Skyrim for 200 hours, it might as well be an attractive ass. The new Tomb Raider spent millions of dollars to perfect 3D boob jiggle for the next generation consoles because male gamers really want to hear Laura Croft’s feelings about the dangers of cismale patriarchy.

All of the other dumb shit he threw out there has been taken apart by other authors already:

Dave goes through why gender roles actually exist for things beyond hurting Damian’s delicate lilac scented feelings: http://madgeniusclub.com/2014/04/14/cow-manure-and-truth/ (and this one is especially good, because as he talks about punching cows. That back breaking, filthy, dangerous job is how I grew up. No wonder every other job in my life has seemed easy in comparison. I must have “privilege”)

Sarah explains how Damian having to cut his hair isn’t the worst thing to ever happen, while trying to steal my title of International Lord of Hate: http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/04/13/i-need-a-secret-lair-and-minions-and-piranhas/

And while the libprogs are tring to poison the awards well against other conservative writers, Amanda explains the modern literati libprog’s concept of fairness: http://madgeniusclub.com/2014/04/15/so-much-for-fairness/

I just want to focus on the part where he comes after me.

When author and historian Alex Dally Macfarlane made a call earlier this year for a vision of post-binary gender in SF, her intelligent argument was met with predictably intractable ignorance from conservative sci-fi fans.

First off, it wasn’t intelligent at all. It was a petulant demand for authors to end the default of binary gender in their fiction, and how she never wanted to see the default of binary gender again. Please, go ahead and read it. Don’t take my word for it.

For writers and fans like Larry Correia, whose virulent attack on MacFarlane

Interesting… Notice how Damian doesn’t ever link to what I actually said and never uses any actual quotes from me. Here is my “virulent attack”. If you’ve not read it yet, read it for yourself and decide if it matches anything Damian goes on to accuse me of: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writing-career/

was excellently dissected by Jim C Hines, sex is a biological imperative and the idea of gender as a social construct is a damn liberal lie!

If Jim’s pathetic slap fight attempt at taking me down strikes you as “excellently dissected” I’d hate to live in your sad little Everybody Gets a Trophy world. It was more of an attempted playground hair pulling, so then I responded by metaphorically knocking his fucking teeth in. Here is an actual dissection of excellence, where I take Jim Hines out and kick him around like a soccer ball. http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/29/5687/

Unlike Damian, I don’t need to put words in people’s mouths. Libprogs want conservatives to be silent. Conservatives want libprogs to keep talking so the world can see just how full of shit they are. The links are all there. Judge for yourself.

There are so many distortions that I can’t even take this line by line, I’ve been forced to responding to fragments.

But Correia boils it down to a much simpler argument.

Not even close. None of what he goes on to say is even close to my argument, which was story first, message fic WAY later.

However accurate a queer future might be,

Uh… Wow… No. I never made that argument either. First, “however accurate a queer future might be” – Nope. Whatever sexuality floats your boat, it is no skin off my nose, but only about 2% of the population is gay, so I definitely don’t think it is accurate that we are going to have a queer future, or that mankind is going to ever end the default of binary gender.

That’s just wishful thinking on Damian’s part. Even if Earth went full Sparta in the future, most of us would still think that Damian is a pussy. As for the future, western nations have become more forgiving of homosexuality, true, but once again, while a libprog is quick to lecture us all on white privilege, their usual soft racism overlooks the rest of the world, where cultures that despise and persecute homosexuals are common. I would assume that those cultures have a future too. Demographically those cultures are making babies and growing while the permissive euro-socialists have quit having kids. Yes, I’m sure in the future the Space Caliphate is just going to love it some gay folks.

SF authors must continue to pander to the bigotry of conservative readers if they want to be “commercial”.

So that was my argument? Hmm… Interesting. Since Damon couldn’t be bothered to link to my actual article or use any quotes from me except for the ones he made up, let’s take a look at some of the things that I really said in the article:

“Now, before we continue I need to establish something about my personal writing philosophy. Science Fiction is SPECULATIVE FICTION. That means we can make up all sorts of crazy stuff and we can twist existing reality to do interesting new things in order to tell the story we want to tell. I’m not against having a story where there are sexes other than male and female or neuters or schmes or hirs or WTF ever or that they flip back and forth or shit… robot sex. Hell, I don’t know. Write whatever tells your story.

But the important thing there is STORY. Not the cause of the day. STORY.

Because readers buy STORIES they enjoy and when readers buy our stuff, authors GET PAID.”

Hmm… Write whatever tells your story… That sure sounds like me telling people to not write about gay people to satisfy conservative bigotry. Let’s see what other vile hate speech I spewed in those articles he was too chicken shit to link:

“Robert Heinlein had stories where technology allowed switching sex. Great. That’s actually a pretty normal sci-fi trope where in the future, there’s some tech that allows people to change shape/sex, whatever, and we’ve got grandmasters of sci-fi who have pulled off humans evolving into psychic space dolphins or beings of pure energy. If that fits into the story you want to tell and you want to explore that, awesome for you. I’ve read plenty of stories where that was part of that universe. If your space whales that live inside the sun have three sexes, awesome (that one was my novella push on Sad Puppies 1).”

Yeah. Wow. There I go again… Could it be that it is the libprog Social Justice Warriors who are bossing people around and trying to push conformist group think, and that they suffer from projection issues? Naw… That’s impossible. Let’s keep going, surely this simple idea that I boiled it all down to can be found in there somewhere!

You want a truth bomb? Readers hate being preached at. Period. Even when you agree with the message, if it is ham fisted and shoved in your face, it turns you off. Message fic for message fic’s sake makes for tedious reading. Yet, as this stuff has become more and more prevalent, sci-fi has become increasingly dull, and readership has shrank.

Nope. That can’t be it either. I warn writers not to bore the shit out of their audience for commercial reasons, but where’s the part where I tell writers not to write about gay folks?

Which is of course nonsense.

Yes, you fucking twatwaffle, it would be nonsense because you made it all up. When you can’t actually debate somebody libprogs go for Make Shit Up. And once you’ve hit that check box, they can go for Dismiss. For my new readers, here is a handy checklist for when you are arguing with morons like Damian. http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/09/20/the-internet-arguing-checklist/

Ironically, as this little ass clown was putting words in my mouth about how writers shouldn’t write about gay folks in order to assuage our homophobic red state audience, my book of the week was Sarah Hoyt’s novel with a gay narrator. My last Book Bomb was for a Michael Z. Williamson novel where the main character was a bisexual. You know why? Because the stories were entertaining and they were enjoyable books from talented authors.

The science fiction novels of Iain M Banks were bestsellers many times over, in part because the future they explored was openly queer.

In part? In fucking PART? By that logic Tolkien is a bestseller because some people really like books with trees in them.

Citizens of Banks’ future society the Culture have the ability to change their sex at will, and frequently shift between sexes and gender roles. Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 became both a bestseller and multiple award winner with a vision of the future that included fluid non-binary gender.

I like how he throws these out there like he’s proving me wrong or something… I suppose if I was the imaginary straw man he’d constructed I’d be all sorts of outraged or something.

And Nicola Griffith’s historical epic Hild, nominated for this year’s Nebula awards by members of the SFWA, is built around a bisexual protagonist.

Anybody who wants to be a writer really needs to separate “award winning” and “best selling” in their mind. They are not synonyms. Sometimes a book will be both. Usually they are not, and prestigious awards don’t pay shit. To most readers “award winning” is more of a synonym for “boring and preachy” because they’ve learned the hard way that over recent years awards are more likely to go to whatever preaches about Special Topic X than what is actually the enjoyable. This is a leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness.

And if members of the SFWA like it? Whoop. SFWA doesn’t represent the book buying public that actually pays the bills. The SJW crowd of SFWA will love whatever preaches about Special Topic of the Day X, and then they’ll write blog posts about how it was too bad more left handed transsexual Eskimos haven’t won awards, then they’ll lead a lynch mob against one of their fellow libprogs for slightly deviating from proper goodthink. SFWA is useless and their Social Justice contingent is tedious.

Now I want to raise a question, why is the Guardian brining me up now? If you look at the dates, I pissed off the left half of the internet clear back in January. That’s like ten million years in internet time. Since then the Social Justice Warrior crowd has moved on and been outraged by Jonathan Ross for possibly telling fat jokes in the future, then they got outraged at Neil Gaiman for his being surprised at how easily they get outraged, then they got outraged at Robert Silverburg and a couple dozen other prominent writers for saying that they didn’t want a soviet style editorial board to prosecute thought crime, then they got outraged at liberal Patrick Rothfuss for saying maybe they shouldn’t be so easily outraged all the time, then they got outraged at liberal Wil Wheaton for agreeing with Rothfuss, and I think I’m forgetting some other outrages in there too.

So there’s been plenty of outrage since their outrage over me saying that their message fic is annoying. (if only I could figure out a way to harness the friction energy of liberal hand wringing, I’d have a source of limitless free energy… then I’d then sell the patent for this device to Big Oil for a zillion dollars, because I’m a greedy capitalist 1%er)

So why now, months later, does a British newspaper feel the need to mention me and make up some shit that I never said? Hmmm… What could possibly be going on in, oh… let’s say, London… Could they have been counting up Hugo nominations maybe? Naw… Surely this is just a coincidence.

Well, Damian, as a libprog it is never too early for you to start poisoning the well. Though if you’re going to make it as a journalist maybe you shouldn’t be so ham fisted in your timing. You might inadvertently reveal that somebody leaked information to you early or something.

Personally I look forward to the next few months of nonstop character assassination about me by the Social Justice Warriors. It will be just like when I was nominated for the Campbell. If I can generate enough infamy in Britain, maybe I will be invited to go on Top Gear to drive the reasonably priced car. Then Jeremy Clarkson and I can go over to Piers Morgan’s house and toilet paper his trees.

 

EDIT: John C. Wright has chimed in, and holy moly, Damien gets whooped on. :) http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/04/a-marvel-from-a-d-801702/


14 Apr 20:44

The Washington Post Quietly Corrects Justice John Paul Stevens's Grievous Error about Gun Laws

by Trevor Burrus

Trevor Burrus

Last week, former Justice John Paul Stevens penned an op-ed for the Washington Post on “The Five Words that Can Fix the Second Amendment.” The piece is actually an excerpt from his new book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the ConstitutionIn the book, Stevens suggests some changes that would ratify his view of cases in which he stridently dissented, such as Citizens United and Heller

Stevens’s dissent in Heller, the case in which a 5-4 Court held that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to own guns even for those not part of a militia, is largely re-hashed in his Washington Post op-ed. In addition, there is, or was, a glaring error that the Post has since corrected sub rosa, that is, without acknowledging at the bottom that the piece was edited. As Josh Blackman originally reported, and thankfully preserved by excerpting, the first version contained this error:

Following the massacre of grammar-school children in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, high-powered automatic weapons have been used to kill innocent victims in more senseless public incidents.

As Josh and others noted, not only were automatic weapons not used at any recent high-profile mass shooting, they’ve been essentially illegal in the U.S. since 1934 and since 1986 they’ve been almost impossible to come by. Justice Stevens also repeated his error a few paragraphs down: 

Thus, even as generously construed in Heller, the Second Amendment provides no obstacle to regulations prohibiting the ownership or use of the sorts of automatic weapons used in the tragic multiple killings in Virginia, Colorado and Arizona in recent years.

When you view the piece now, however, the words have magically disappeared. But they have not, apparently, disappeared from Justice Stevens’s book, which went to press with those errors. I don’t have a copy, but I checked by searching the inside of the book on Amazon for the word “automatic.” 

Why is this omission important? Well, for one it is part of a long series of mistaken statements by many gun-controllers, including President Obama, who made a similar statement in a speech last spring. More generally, the gun control crowd often shows a pronounced ignorance of how guns work and which guns are actually illegal, which certainly doesn’t help when they try to make their case for more strict controls. For just two famous examples, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) once described a barrel shroud as the “shoulder thing that goes up” (it’s not), and Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO) once remarked that after high-capacity magazines are emptied they would not be reusable (they are). 

It seems reasonable to conclude that, based on the prevalence of these errors by people who should know better, they don’t care too much whether their statements are accurate. To them, the fact that someone used a weapon to commit a mass shooting is enough to ban that weapon. Unfortunately for them, there is nothing about the weapons used in those atrocious crimes that meaningfully distinguishes them from weapons used every day by responsible, law-abiding Americans. The AR-15, for example, used by the shooter at Newtown, is the most popular rifle in the U.S. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time it is used responsibly, including for self-defense. Ipso facto, it is not just for “spraying death.”  

A better argument can be made that actual automatic machine guns “spray death.” And if those are what Justice Stevens believes were used at Newtown, then that seems relevant to his position on guns. I imagine, however, that his views wouldn’t change if he understood the truth. At the very least, however, the Washington Post should make clear that the piece was edited. 

14 Apr 23:39

Revisiting Resistant Starch: Part One

by Tom Naughton

I should file my next few posts under Stuff I Got Wrong, or at least Stuff I Wish I Hadn’t Ignored.  One is resistant starch.  The other is “safe starch” as prescribed in Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet.  Revisiting resistant starch led to me to revisit safe starch, so I’ll start with resistant starch.

I dismissed resistant starch because of how it came to my attention.  Some articles hit the media praising resistant starch as a means of controlling blood sugar.  Reading those articles, it was clear to me that resistant starch was being promoted by the makers of high-maize resistant starch – an industrial corn product.  When I looked up the studies mentioned in the articles, it turned out researchers had replaced white flour with high-maize resistant starch in baked goods, and lo and behold, people who ate the resistant-starch versions ended up with lower blood sugar.

So it looked like the “Whole grains are good for you!” story all over again:  replace total crap with less-than-total crap, and people have better health outcomes.  That doesn’t mean less-than-total crap is good for you.  If you want to convince me resistant starch lowers blood sugar, show me the studies where it’s added to the diet, not used to replace white flour.

Oops.

Turns out those studies exist and have been around for decades.  I only became aware of that after Richard Nikoley took up the subject of resistant starch with a vengeance on his Free The Animal blog.  He’s become so passionate about the subject, he created a permanent, top-level page on the blog called A Resistant Starch Primer for Newbies.

That page includes this brief video, which offers a clear explanation of what resistant starch is, so give it a look:

Mark Sisson also wrote a nice summary of the benefits of resistant starch on Mark’s Daily Apple.

The bottom line is that despite being labeled as “starch,” resistant starch doesn’t turn to glucose in your body.  It resists digestion (thus the term) until it reaches your colon, where it feeds your gut bacteria – and that’s where the benefits kick in.  The good gut bacteria digest the resistant starch and release butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, as a result.  Yup, eating a “starch” produces good fats in your colon.

And although the exact biological mechanism isn’t known (at least according to the research I’ve read), something about the process increases insulin sensitivity and leads to lower blood sugar, both before and after meals.  Let’s see … glucose control, insulin control, gut health … isn’t that what drew most of us to a low-carb paleo diet in the first place?

So after Nikoley had posted enough articles to overcome my resistance to the subject of resistant starch, I finally ordered some Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, which is almost pure resistant starch, and started experimenting.  (I’ve since learned I can just buy the stuff at our local Whole Foods.)

I started out with two tablespoons per day and didn’t experience any of the explosive-gas problems some people reported on Nikoley’s blog, so I upped it to four.  I just stir it into some warm water (warning:  hot water will turn it into starch, not resistant starch) and drink it.

Like many of Nikoley’s readers, I found that my fasting glucose dropped, from around 100 in the morning to around 90.  Not bad, but the more impressive result has been post-meal glucose levels.  As an experiment, I ate about 3/4 cup of white rice without consuming any resistant starch for the preceeding 24 hours.  My glucose peaked at 150.  The next day, I swallowed two tablespoons of resistant starch around 10:00 AM and consumed the same amount of rice around noon.  This time my glucose peaked at 118 and dropped to 95 an hour later.  In another experiment, I pre-loaded with resistant starch and then had a baked potato with dinner.  My glucose peaked at 126.  Lots of Free the Animal readers have reported similar results.

I was early in the experimenting phase when Jimmy Moore invited me to participate in the 100th episode of Low-Carb Conversations, so that’s what I talked about:  resistant starch.  My part begins at around 1:27:00 into the episode.

Jimmy, in fact, has invited Richard Nikoley to host The Livin’ La Vida Low Carb show later this month and interview his partners in crime about resistant starch.  The partners are Tim “Tatertot” Steele and Grace Liu, who together with Nikoley are writing a book on the subject.

I enjoy podcasts, but I’m also a fan of written interviews, so I asked all three of them if I could submit a long list of questions, and they graciously agreed.  You’re probably familiar with Nikoley already.  Here are brief bios on Steele and Liu before we get to the Q & A:

Tim Steele lives in the small town of North Pole, Alaska where he is the electrical systems supervisor of a local hospital.  He retired from the Air Force in 2004 after 21 years of service as an electronics technician and combat engineer. In his spare time he hunts, fishes, gardens, and studies health and food science for simple solutions to modern problems.

Grace Liu, PharmD, AFMCP, is a functional medicine practitioner with an international functional medicine practice. In addition to hormone and digestive disorders, her clinical areas of interest are autoimmune disorders, diabesity, heart disease, cancer prevention, toxins, and nutrition. As science editor, she has an upcoming book being published on evolution, the gut microbiota and how to fuel it.  She also writes about gut health and other topics on her AnimalPharm blog.

On to the interview.  Like I said, I asked a lot of questions and the answers are very comprehensive, so I’ll post this in two or three parts.

Fat Head: Richard, you’ve become known as the resistant-starch blogger in the past year or so.  In fact, most of your posts recently fall into one of three categories:  1) resistant starch, 2) people who piss me off, and 3) people who piss me off about resistant starch.

Richard: Heh, never really thought of it that way but it does have a nice ring to it. I suppose I might add to that, those entrenched about anything, where it becomes more about the entrenchment than whether it still makes complete sense.  I’d use the word iconoclastic, but I think that’s something others call you and not something you call yourself — like being humble, or something. One just doesn’t say, “I’m so humble.”

Fat Head: True, if you call yourself humble, people tend not to believe you, especially if you’re proud of being humble.  Anyway, as you’ve pointed out on your blog, research pointing to possible benefits of resistant starch has been around for 30 years.  There was a bit of buzz about resistant starch three years ago, but since the articles hitting the media were about replacing white flour with high-maize resistant starch, most of us in the low-carb camp dismissed it as an attempt to sell more corn products.  So what prompted you to take such a passionate interest in the subject last year?

Richard: It was also dismissed out of hand because it had the word “starch” in it, and but for Paul Jaminet — who was only coming online around that time as I recall — we’d probably still be entrenched against starch. One prominent member of the overall community even called resistant starch an “anti-nutrient,” and even though he has since admitted he was unaware of it and has expressed a willingness to look at it again, that post from way back was referenced dozens of times in various forums and comment threads all over as justification to not even bother looking.

I think that’s a bad thing and I hope I never see anything anywhere like “Well, Richard (or Tim, or Grace) said this, so that settles it for me.”  Nobody deserves to be taken as an authority like that.  On the other hand, take a guy like Mark Sisson who, in his Definitive Guide on Resistant Starch, just plain comes out and admits he was wrong and regrets not taking a harder look.

As for me, RS didn’t cross my radar back then, for whatever reason. I was probably too busy soaking in ice cold water whilst engaging in Internet warfare or something, and when at war, things get serious in a hurry.  Pansy stuff like “resistant starch” just isn’t going to cross the attention threshold.

So, when I did begin blogging about this last April — so a year ago now, or nearly 100 blog posts and over 10,000 comments ago — it was a completely new thing for me. Tim Steele, a.k.a. “Tatertot,” brought it to me and we’d just had a pretty good run with “the potato hack,” where people were essentially doing Chis Voigt’s “20-Potatoes-a-Day” deal and virtually everyone was dropping weight very rapidly.

I tried it but stopped at about a week or so. I happen to love potatoes and don’t want that to ever change. But it was very instructive and once again, caused me to begin questioning entrenched “wisdom.” So Tim had creds with me and I heard him out. He shot me enough info to take it seriously, and there was this point where I thought that if half of this stuff is true, it’s going to be huge; and moreover, this goes way beyond resistant starch. This is about the human gut biome, so you have these news things you’re seeing every day and you have all these researchers studying resistant starch, but for the purposes of better livestock, or to help a big company get their franken-RS product into every baked good on the planet — but not for gut health, but because it’ll essentially lower GI and cause 1% fewer cases of diabetes, colo-rectal cancer, or both, or something.

But I knew the Ancestral community had a very good appreciation for gut health, was paying attention, knew why it was important, had the evolutionary context in terms of probiotics and prebiotics, and really, we’re just looking at another in a set of prebiotics. All I had to do was overcome the hurdle of the “S-word.” And that was tough. We were dismissed essentially by everyone. Ridiculed, etc. But of course, ridicule is like high-octane fuel for a true iconoclast…oops, there I go again, being all humble.

Fat Head: We appreciate your humility.  For those who don’t already know, what is resistant starch?  How is it different from other starches?

Tim: Normally when we think of “starch,” we think of the blood-glucose spiking stuff that is one step away from pure sugar.  The “bad calories” of Good Calories, Bad Calories fame.  Of course, Paul Jaminet made some of the starches “safe” for us in his Perfect Health Diet, but resistant starch is something entirely different.  RS was discovered in the ‘80s when scientists were trying to measure fiber in food.  Under microscopic examination of the effluent of human and animal small intestines, they kept finding a confounding element that they weren’t expecting—undigested starch granules.  They termed these “resistant starch.”  Resistant in this case meaning resistant to enzymes that digest food.

Grace: During my schooling and training for diabetes education, no one was aware of resistant starch or how it blunts blood sugar increases just as other fibers do — psyllium, pectin, hemicellulose, and oligosaccharides.  Resistant starch is consumed by the vast majority of the ‘core members’ of the gut microbes. It is a core fuel for the core gut bugs. The evolutionary purposes of fiber and resistant starch may be threefold:  1) store carbohydrate energy from the sun and photosynthesis, 2) provide structure, and 3) act as anti-freeze and stress protectors to safeguard the plant and ‘plant babies’ against environmental extremes such as frost, acid, moisture, dryness, mold/fungi, pests, and pathogens.

What I mean by plant ‘babies’ are the progeny that contain genetic material that will be passed on to the next generation of plants: tubers, underground storage organs, legumes, grass grains, fruits, and seeds and nuts. All of these contain some degree or a lot of RS and oligosaccharides that resistant human digestion. By shielding the genetic material, the fiber and RS buffered and protected the tuber, root, legume and grain from freezing and bursting open. Plants and microbial bugs were here on Earth billions of years long before Homo sapiens emerged. It is actually speculated that the extreme Ice Ages are what largely shaped the carbohydrate and fiber content in plants and their survival. To us mammals, the vast majority of these carbohydrates are indigestible; however, for the gut critters, these carbs are their favorite feasts and fuel. Our co-evolution was inseparable. Now, perhaps our de-evolution is imminent because we are suspiciously lacking our co-evolved microbial appendages. Antibiotic over-utilization, C-sections, and phobic attempts to be sterile and super-sanitary has perhaps amputated our collective guts.

Resistant starch will not raise blood glucose, unlike starch. It behaves like other fiber. The plants that have more RS also have more protein (again protecting and nourishing future ‘plant babies’) and a lower glycemic index. All of these contribute to a lower impact on blood sugars.

Fat Head: If resistant starch isn’t digested and converted to glucose, what happens to it?

Tim: Resistant starch ends up in the large intestine where it gets fermented by gut bugs into fat (short chain fatty acids=SCFA). Sounds simple, but it’s anything but! RS is the substrate for fermentation by the prime gut bacterial players, but one of the few fibers that require numerous ‘actors’ to degrade it into its final end stages. The gut is truly an ecosystem and the apex predators take first dibs on the prime rib, then the bottom feeders and scavengers get their turns eventually. The byproducts of all these interactions feed other microbes and create an entirely different structure in the gut than when simpler fibers are eaten. Inulin, legume oligosaccharides, and glucomannan are other fibers that behave the same way. The fibers found in human breast milk (Human Milk Oligosaccharides or HMOs) also share this trait. Unfortunately, when we are weaned we usually never get a good taste of these type prebiotics again, except for the tiny bits found in a few foods and snacks.

Richard: What’s cool beyond this is that we live mostly in a symbiotic relationship with the vast majority of these gut microorganisms. Keep in mind we’re talking big numbers, 100 trillion to our 10 trillion human cells. About the size of a football if packed together. People can have up to about 1,000 different species, and while the human genome is comprised of about 25,000 genes, the total genome of all the different microbial lines in our gut are about 3 million, over 100 times more. There’s more. A human generation is about 30 years while on average, bacteria go through 6 generations in a day, and they’ve been evolving for 2 billion years longer than we have.

It makes you wonder in a chicken or egg kinda way, are we just a nice house that bacteria built for themselves? And then it takes on sci-fi alien invasion proportions when you consider that via the brain-gut connection—with more neurons outside the brain than anything, including the spinal cord—it influences behavior, mood, sleep, satiety and more. I’m just guessing, but I’ll throw out there that you want to keep your mind-control aliens well fed and content.

Fat Head: If we’re talking about NSA mind-control aliens, I’d rather keep them starved and cranky, but I see your point.

Grace: It’s great you bring up breast milk, Tim! Since the dawn of breasts and breast milk, babies have received carbs (lactose) and over 100 oligosaccharides (fiber) from mom’s milk. The lactose is for the baby, but the fiber feeds the neonate’s burgeoning societies of microbes colonizing its gut and other organs. Another misconception about breast milk was recently busted as well. Mom’s breast milk contains over 700 species of probiotics (entering the mammary glands via the gut lymph circulation). On Day One of life, our superorganism symbiosis starts. Richard loves the cyborg and Matrix motifs, and rightly so!

Fat Head: “The Dawn of Breasts” sounds like a movie I might have rented when I was single, but I digress.  So as counter-intuitive as it sounds, when we consume resistant starch, the stuff is converted to short-chain fatty acids in our colons.  What happens to those fatty acids?  Do we burn them for energy, or do they mostly feed our gut bacteria?

Grace: The SCFAs made are butyrate, propionate (metabolized by the liver) and acetate (muscle, kidney, heart and brain). Approximately 30% of butyrate is burned for host energy and the remaining 70% is rapidly absorbed to feed the intestinal cells, which are as enormous in surface area as that of a tennis court. The gut also houses a hidden brain which is innervated by over 100 million neurons, bigger than our spinal cord. Additionally the entire gastrointestinal tube is lined by immune cells; therefore, the gut is one long lymphoid organ. For an extremely large and often overlooked organ, studies demonstrate what happens when it is not properly fueled or fed. In sterile, germ-free animals, their immunity and immune organs are blunted and intestinal organs atrophied when the gut bugs are absent.

Richard: Another thing to keep in mind is that you basically have three types of these critters:  1) the symbionts, i.e., we cut a deal and it’s win-win, 2) the commensals, those who do nothing for us, but don’t harm us, either, and 3)  the parasites or pathogens. The commensals are an interesting lot, because while they may not do anything directly for us and so don’t fit technically the definition of symbiosis, some do stuff for the symbionts who do, such as produce stuff they need to eat.

Keeping the whole thing in balance by feeding them fermentable fibers, primarily, is the ideal way to keep the pathogens in check. It’s chemical warfare down there, and it’s far better to have a specifically targeted antibiotic, manufactured in a 3 billion-year-old chemical plant, than to have to resort to carpet bombing or nuking the whole thing with broad spectrum antibiotics.

Tim: The end-result with the biggest impact does seem to be the creation of SCFAs, especially butyrate.  A colon flooded with butyrate has a lower pH and healthier colonocytes.  The lowered pH creates an environment that favors beneficial over pathogenic microbes and the increased butyrate serves as fuel for the special cells that line the colon.  When these cells are fueled by butyrate, they behave normally, self-destructing when they need to and regrowing as they should.  Colonocytes can also run off glucose, but when fueled by glucose, they behave completely differently.  They don’t self-destruct and they are at higher risk for cancer.  A low carb/high fat diet for you is a low fat/high carb diet for your gut.

Fat Head: When the makers of high-maize resistant starch sent out press releases announcing that resistant starch doesn’t raise glucose levels, my thought was “Whoop-de-do.  Neither does cardboard, but that doesn’t mean eating it will improve my health.”  But resistant starch doesn’t just have a neutral effect on blood glucose; it seems to have actual positive effects.  Describe what you’ve heard from people about how resistant starch affects their fasting blood sugar levels.

Tim: If you replace 50% of the wheat in white bread with sawdust, the glycemic index will be cut in half! — this is how most people read those reports.  But with RS, it’s a bit different.  Some of the immediate blunting of blood-sugar spikes is definitely from the same action as in the sawdust and cardboard analogies, but RS is also acting as a powerful prebiotic in your large intestine, making long-term changes that affect hormones that stimulate insulin among others.  Usually within a few days, many people who have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes notice lower fasting blood glucose in the morning and post-prandial spikes that are lower than normal after a carby meal.

Some really neat experiments were done by Steve Cooksey (the Diabetes Warrior) involving a dose of RS before exercising, and he clearly demonstrates that RS increased his insulin sensitivity while exercising — which is something that diabetics struggle with continuously.  RS has been shown to increase whole body insulin sensitivity … that’s huge!

Richard: For me personally, RS alone wasn’t enough to get me all the way there. For some low carbers, even clinically diabetic ones, RS just works like a champ, right off. Steve Cooksey, as Tim mentioned, is one of those. Then there are others for whom it seemingly does nothing, or works for a while then nothing. I was in the middle. So, instead of 110-120 fasting, it brought me to 100-110. And in terms of post meal, I was seeing spikes maybe 20 points less but still in the 140-160 range, often.

But I had been so used to eating low carb so much of the time that it was difficult, and I had to really force myself to eat the rice, potatoes or legumes with almost every meal. As it turns out, I now prefer a bowl of my pinto beans with a couple of over-easy eggs on top to my bacon and eggs; and anyway, I was getting pretty tired of the most Paleo food on the planet: bacon. It began tasting like a salt lick to me (just guessing) a long time ago, but I digress. So, yeah, some days it’s the beans and eggs, some days “refried wok potatoes” from previously baked and tossed in the fridge to form retrograde RS that resists degradation with mild reheating.

Long story short, by getting my starchy carbs (“safe” in every sense) up to the 100-200 range, maybe 150 average, BANG!, my BG normalized, both in terms of fasting and post meal. I understand that this is hugely inconvenient for a lot of folks to hear, entrenched in low carb doctrines, but it is nonetheless true, and I’m far from the only one to report it.

Grace: What is impressive to me is how RS and other fibers improve insulin sensitivity anecdotally and in clinical trials. We have seen a huge number of improvements in fasting BGs reported at Free the Animal. If a person has noticed fasting BGs > 125 mg/dl in the mornings, then with consumption of  RS, they may report that their fasting glucoses return to the 80s range. Many of these folks at FTA noticed trending of higher glucose readings the longer that they were adapted to chronic VLC. With no other changes to diet, they noted that after eating RS, their BGs began to shift downwards. It’s not uncommon to see high fasting sugars in regards to VLC diets. It is related to normal feedback mechanisms of the body to preserve circulating glucose for the high energy organs — liver, brain and muscles — by ratcheting up insulin resistance in peripheral tissues. Under perceived starvation, insulin resistance can occur at even the muscle level — exactly where you don’t want it.  If one is trying to lose body fat, this physiological insulin resistance may strongly hinder your efforts. The best ways to improve insulin sensitivity in my opinion is to not starve insulin-regulating organs of what they need (gut, fiber + RS; muscles, carbs) and use the organs that use insulin — muscles. Studies demonstrate that weight loss can depend on the glycemic index of diet, but even more predominantly the insulin-resistant status of the individual.

Fat Head: People are also reporting that if they consume resistant starch, they get less of a rise in glucose levels after eating starchy foods like beans or rice or potatoes.  Is there a timing issue involved?  Do we need to consume resistant starch shortly before consuming other starches for that blunting effect to occur?

Richard: It was actually first called “the lentil effect” because they noted that legumes yielded less of a spike in glucose than one would expect for the amount of carbohydrate ingested, and that the blunting persisted, often into the next day, for other starches or sugars a person ate. They had unwittingly discovered what RS and other fermentable fibers do when the gut critters get fed.

Tim: What you are referring to is the “second-meal effect.” This has been studied for many years and is a normal part of our physiology.  When you embark on a diet that incorporates RS at every meal or at least every day, then every meal is a ‘second meal’ and you see long term reductions in HgbA1C as well as postprandial glucose spikes.

Grace: This effect is one of the coolest side benefits. It appears to last 2-4 hours depending on the study. Many other fibers like glucomannan, psyllium and pectin have it as well. In a way it provides even further shielding from potential high-glucose damage, because one study demonstrated for a high glycemic meal with sufficient fiber and resistant starch, glucose tolerance was maintained at the next meal. Ultimately what impacts the second meal effect is the fermentability of the indigestible carbohydrates and fiber, and this is contigent upon the right species being located in the gut, which ultimately do the magic.

Fat Head: Do researchers understand how resistant starch ends up lowering glucose levels?  What’s the mechanism?

Tim: Well, it’s not so much that it lowers glucose, it’s more about increasing insulin sensitivity.  Remember all those hormones that people have been talking about…Peptide YY, Glucagon-like Peptide-1, Ghrelin, and Leptin?  These are all modulated by the microbes in your gut.  When the right microbes are present and they are being fed enough fermentable fiber such as RS, they start producing these hormones that act together with them to increase insulin sensitivity.

Grace: In the gut, pancreas and immune system are fatty acid receptors called GPRs 41 and 43. The selective fats that bind these are the SCFAs (butyrate, etc.) made from the gut microbes metabolizing RS, oligosaccharides and other indigestible complex carbohydrates.

When GPR41/43 are activated by butyrate, they decrease body fat, increase satiety (PYY), increase insulin sensitivity and other anti-diabetic effects, reduce inflammation, power immunity, suppress and shrink cancer cells, divert oxidative DNA damage, maintain tight barrier and gut function, and many other beneficial host activities. We even double our butyrate from the gut microbiota with exercise.

Butyrate from microbial production also binds the ketone receptors known as GPR109a (formerly known as HM74A in humans and PUMA-G in animals). This was a surprising and recent discovery. I suspected butyrate would bind it, but no confirmatory studies occurred until recently. It makes sense, no? We are cyborgs and controlled in symbiosis with our microbes. Microbes maketh who we are and what we burn and store. Earlier the research showed only niacin (vitamin B3), nicotinic acid, and ketone bodies could bind HM74A with fidelity and duration. Therefore many of the health benefits that short-term ketosis affords overlaps with what is achieved by optimal gut health. This is what I observe clinically as well as anecdotally at my blog Animal Pharm and Richard’s blog Free the Animal.

Tim: Thanks, Grace…you had to go there didn’t you?  As if this stuff isn’t boring enough!  Now you kind of see our problem, Tom: this stuff is just so complex that everyone’s eyes sort of glaze over when we talk about the magic of RS.  These GPRs that Grace talks about are an incredible piece of the puzzle, but just so hard to work into conversation or even write about.  GPR stands for G Protein-coupled Receptors (the G doesn’t even seem to stand for anything).  And, we haven’t even mentioned Peyer’s patches, Treg cells, and defensins!  Seriously, you could write an entire book on the deep science of RS. People spend their entire lives studying it, but sometimes it’s best if we answer questions like this with, “It just works…who cares how?”

Okay, I admit it:  Tim’s right — my eyes did glaze over a bit with all the chemical names.  I don’t like words without vowels.  But I agree … if it works, it works.  So far it’s working nicely for me.

More Q & A in my next post.  We have a ways to go yet.

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13 Apr 21:27

Guest Post: If It's Such A Privelege, Why Do They Have To Stick A Gun In Your Face?

by Tyler Durden

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

Two. Billion. Hours.

That’s how much time people in the Land of the Free waste each year preparing and filing their tax forms to the IRS– roughly 13 hours for each of the ~150 million individual returns filed.

And if you’re doing your own taxes this weekend, it may certainly seem like you’ve spent that 2 billion hours yourself just preparing your 1040.

To put this number in perspective, two billion hours is roughly the time it would take to walk to Uranus and back… which is a bit ironic given where you’d probably like to tell Mr. Obama to go stick his tax forms right about now.

Now, I’m not going to tell you today that taxes are illegal. Nor will I tell you that you don’t have to file.

I think taxes are morally reprehensible. Taxes rob an entire population of its financial resources in favor of a tiny political elite that has a long-term track record of incompetence and deceit.

Unfortunately, though, this humiliating exercise is forcibly perpetrated at gunpoint. So not filing your taxes can lead to very bad consequences. Just ask Richard Hatch.

As you may recall, Richard was the very first winner of the reality show Survivor.

What you probably don’t know is that Richard spent several years in prison on charges of “attempted tax evasion.”

I was astounded when he told me that ATTEMPTED tax evasion is a crime in the Land of the Free. It sounds more like Thoughtcrime.

People are brainwashed into believing that taxes are a ‘privilege’, and the “price we pay for civilized society.”

But if the society is so civilized, and it’s such a privilege, then why do they have to threaten people at the point of a gun?

It’s because the value proposition is completely upside down. Whether in the US, France, England, Spain, or Italy, people pay out the nose for taxes… and get very little in return.

It’s like forking over fifty bucks for a Big Mac– it doesn’t make any sense. There has to be a balance between how much you pay and the value that you receive.

And everywhere you look these days, that value is in serious decline.

Increasing chunks of governments’ budgets are going just to pay interest on the debt… not to mention absurd domestic spying programs, or destructive wars to go (as George Carlin joked) “drop bombs on brown people” in foreign lands.

Think about it as you write that check to the government– are you getting any value?

A few hundred years ago, the Founding Fathers certainly didn’t think so. As Samuel Adams summed up in 1764, taxes made the colonists “tributary slaves” to the British government.

And the taxes that they were paying were almost nothing compared to what people pay today. They would be astounded to find citizens in “free societies” paying 40%, 50% of their -income-, plus property, estates, sales purchases, imports, etc. to a massively bloated government.

Let’s go back in time together and explore this further in this week’s Podcast Episode: Taxation without Consideration.

You can listen to or download it here:

http://www.sovereignman.com/podcast/005-taxation-without-consideration-14089/

11 Apr 16:57

Attkisson: When I'd Begin Investigating an Obama Scandal, CBS Would Pull Me Off...


Attkisson: When I'd Begin Investigating an Obama Scandal, CBS Would Pull Me Off...


(Third column, 3rd story, link)

11 Apr 16:00

California Demands $55 Million from Microprocessor Inventor

by Steven Greenhut

SACRAMENTO—Business owners who have fled California often say their decision to leave wasn’t just about tax rates, but about the punitive attitudes sometimes found among tax and regulatory authorities here. A new wrinkle in a high-profile, 22-year-old tax case gives fodder to those who make such claims.

In 1970, a young Southern California electrical engineer and inventor named Gilbert Hyatt filed a patent application for an innovative microprocessor chip. That was a year before Intel patented its chip, which led to the personal-computer revolution.

Twenty years later, after a complex legal battle over the origins of that technology, the U.S. patent office awarded Hyatt the patent for a microprocessor — a shocking and still controversial decision (that was later partially overturned) that would provide Hyatt with a multimillion-dollar windfall. He moved to Las Vegas, where he said he was a full-time resident before he received the earnings.

California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) saw a newspaper article congratulating Hyatt for his patent and decided to seek $7.4 million in back taxes, claiming that he was still a resident of California when the money came in. That sounds like a simple enough dispute that could quickly be resolved, but what followed has been an ordeal that has consumed a good bit of Hyatt’s adult life.

On Friday, Hyatt, now 76, filed a federal lawsuit accusing the state of violating his constitutional rights in pursuit of a sum that now tops $55 million as interest and penalties have accrued. He’s asking for an injunction forbidding the state from pursing its claim any further. After all these years and legal expenses, he just wants California to leave him alone already.

The tax authorities have been pursing him through its administrative process. Tired of the endless investigations, Hyatt filed suit in Nevada court in 1998. California officials said they weren’t subject to an out-of-state tort lawsuit. California lost that argument in the Nevada Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court and the high court decision sent the case back to a Nevada district court, which awarded Hyatt nearly $400 million in damages after finding that the California authorities abused their power and invaded his privacy. That case is on appeal.

Hyatt believes that California officials are purposefully delaying. “Specifically, because of the 20 year delay Hyatt can no longer obtain a fair and full adjudication of whether he owes state taxes to California,” according to his lawsuit. “During this time, material witnesses have passed away, memories of witnesses have faded, and documents relevant and important to Hyatt are no longer available.” The board keeps assessing penalties, so he says it has every reason to keep delaying. He suspects the tax board is waiting for him to die so that it can go after his estate.

Under California law, the Franchise Tax Board has the “presumption of correctness,” meaning that the onus always is on Hyatt to disprove what the tax officials say. And, he argues, they keep changing their stories and their allegations, thus resulting in more years of legal expenses and disputes.

“It’s ruined my life. They keep coming up with these intensive positions, many hundreds of pages of allegations and such that we have to try and disprove decades later and it’s just very consuming,” Hyatt told me in an interview last week. “The FTB is out to get taxpayers’ money and it will go to extreme ends to get money whether it is entitled to it or not....”

The state controller’s office has yet to review the newly filed lawsuit. But former Board of Equalization member Bill Leonard, a former Republican Assemblyman, believes the state government is abusing rules designed to give taxpayers every opportunity to appeal a judgment to drag out a case against a taxpayer. The Legislature could fix the problem with a law granting a right to speedy trial on tax matters, he added.

It’s hard not to conclude that California’s tax agency is out of line as it continues to run up administrative and legal fees — not to mention risking potential multimillion-dollar liabilities — to pursue a decades-old dispute over where a taxpayer lived for six months. There’s a troubling lesson here for wannabe entrepreneurs, who might want to think carefully about their residency before they hit the big time.

11 Apr 14:58

Obama Announces Kathleen Sebelius Resignation

by Tyler Durden

... Because the sheer success of Obamacare was too great for her to handle.

11 Apr 12:48

Sen. Coburn Offers To Put An Outdated Agency Out Of Its Misery With His 'Let Me Google That For You' Bill

by Tim Cushing

No entity highlights the ridiculous amount of bureaucratic inefficiency and ineptitude of government agencies better than the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Its reports are loaded with the sort of damning evidence that would lead those unfamiliar with how government actually works to assume that heads will be rolling. In reality, the agencies investigated by the GAO soldier on from scathing report to scathing report with little to no sign of improvement.

Tom Coburn, a long-time combatant of government waste and fraud who publishes a yearly report exposing the worst of worst in terms of senseless government spending (the "Wastebook") is now using the GAO's own words to craft a bill targeting the money pit that is the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).

Here's the leadup:

(3) NTIS is tasked with collecting and distributing government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information and reports.
(4) GAO found that NTIS sold only 8 percent of the 2,500,000 reports in its collection between 1995 and 2000.
(5) A November 2012 GAO review of NTIS made the following conclusions:


(A) 'Of the reports added to NTIS's repository during fiscal years 1990 through 2011, GAO estimates that approximately 74 percent were readily available from other public sources.'
(B) 'These reports were often available either from the issuing organization's website, the Federal Internet portal (http://www.USA.gov) or from another source located through a web search.'
(C) 'The source that most often had the report [GAO] was searching for was another website located through http://www.Google.com.'
(D) '95 percent of the reports available from sources other than NTIS were available free of charge.'

(6) No Federal agency should use taxpayer dollars to purchase a report from the National Technical Information Service that is available through the Internet for free.
And here's the punchline:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the 'Let Me Google That For You Act.'
Someone had fun cranking out this "Short Title."

As the bill points out, it was suggested by the Secretary of Commerce in 1999 that the NTIS would eventually outlive its usefulness. According to the GAO's 2012 findings, that sell-by date was reached more than a decade ago.
NTIS product expenditures exceeded revenues for 10 out of the past 11 fiscal years.
The "Let Me Google That For You" Act calls for the repeal of the 1988 National Technical Information Act and the disbandment of the agency itself, with the redistribution of whichever of its duties are still deemed essential to the Commerce Department.

It's not often you get the chance to watch an extraneous government agency be put down and even rarer still under a snarky, incisive, short title. This is for the best. As we've seen all too frequently, time marches on, swiftly distancing itself from the glacial pace of government innovation.

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11 Apr 14:03

Police accused of dragging teen onto train tracks to cover up beating that left him paralyzed...


Police accused of dragging teen onto train tracks to cover up beating that left him paralyzed...


(Third column, 11th story, link)

10 Apr 20:10

Autopsy Shows Cops Shot Miriam Carey Five Times From Behind

by Ed Krayewski

"active shooters" by another nameSix months ago, Capitol police shot and killed Miriam Carey after the mother, accompanied by her one-year-old daughter, allegedly tried to ram a checkpoint at the White House before speeding off and leading cops on a chase toward the Capitol building. Reports of shots fired on Capitol Hill resulted in media coverage focusing on a potential shooting in the nation’s capital. A photo of an officer being loaded into a helicopter was captioned by the Associated Press as a “victim from a shooting.” The photo was actually of a Capitol police officer being medevac’d after crashing into a barricade while chasing Carey. Carey was the only victim of a shooting on October 3, 2013.

Initial reports indicated police fired at Carey’s vehicle five to ten times. An autopsy now reveals she was hit five times, all from behind. Via CNN:

The office of the District of Columbia medical examiner said in the autopsy that one round struck Carey in the left side of the back of her head, and she was also hit three times in the back and once in her left arm. The report didn't determine in what sequence Carey was hit.

Toxicology tests determined Carey didn't have alcohol or drugs in her blood.

Her family has questioned since the day of the incident whether shooting Carey was the only way to end the chase, which went through the heart of the nation's capital.

[Family attorney Eric] Sanders said on Tuesday that Carey's family members still feel police should have considered other options. The autopsy only "confirms what we said. It was unjustified."

Carey’s sister filed a $75 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Secret Service and the Capitol Police earlier this year.

Court documents related to the killing of Carey largely remain sealed. According to a public information officer with the Capitol Police, the shooting remains under investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C.

10 Apr 03:15

Meet Rep. Mike Rogers: Crony Capitalist & Warfare State Benghazi Blowhard

by Tyler Durden

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

For those of you who don’t know Congressman Mike Rogers, he is the Representative hailing from Michigan’s Eighth District. He is also one of the biggest blowhard, chicken-hawk defenders of unconstitutional NSA spying in all of Washington D.C.

Back in 2012, he gave his support to internet spy bill CISPA by proclaiming: “Stand for America! Support this bill!” Naturally, this clown would also serve as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers is notorious for being one of the staunchest critics of Glenn Greenwald. For example, earlier this year he made up all sort of lies about Greenwald in an attempt to smear the journalist. In response, Greenwald had the following to say about Rogers back in February:

“First is that he’s not only lying, and he is lying, but he not only is lying but he knows that he’s lying. This what is Mike Rogers is notorious for in Washington is literally making things up and smearing political opponents and journalists he doesn’t like.

 

I defy Mike Rogers, if he wants to make that accusation, to come forward and present actual evidence that any journalist has stolen, has sold documents or stolen material or engaged in any kind of criminality. He has no evidence, he’s just making things up.”

You’d think a guy like Rogers who aggressively lobs untrue accusations against a journalist trying to inform the American public about government criminality would have a squeaky clean background himself. After all, he was a former FBI agent. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

Incredibly, Dick Morris points out that until recently Mike Rogers’ wife was the president and the CEO of the company that was contracted by the State Department to provide intelligence-based and physical security services. While this sort of crony capitalism is seen as “business as usual” in the cesspool that is D.C., the really crazy part of this story is that as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rogers is charged with investigating the adequacy of security at the Benghazi compound prior to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack.

You can’t find a bigger conflict of interest than that…

Dick Morris writes:

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is charged with investigating the adequacy of security at the Benghazi compound prior to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack.

 

His wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers was the president and the CEO of the company that was contracted by the State Department to provide that security!

 

Mrs. Rogers, until recently, served as president and CEO of Aegis LLC, the contractor to the United States Department of State for intelligence-based and physical security services.

 

Aegis, a British private military company with overseas offices in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kenya, Nepal and the U.S., won a $10 billion, 5-year contract with the State Department to provide security for U.S. diplomatic posts around the world.

 

Aegis describes itself as “a leading private security company, provides government and corporate clients with a full spectrum of intelligence-led, culturally-sensitive security solutions to operational and development challenges around the world.”

 

Congressman Rogers, who abruptly announced his intention not to seek re-election, has been criticized for dragging his feet in the Benghazi investigation. Only when pressure from back benchers on his committee became intense did he agree to hold last week’s hearing at which former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morrell testified.

 

How on earth can the Rogers family justify having a husband who chairs a Congressional committee charged with reviewing the performance of his wife’s company in guarding the Benghazi compound?

Is this the reason Rogers just abruptly announced his retirement to become a talk radio host?

Full article here.

09 Apr 14:50

Florida Trying to Make Microbreweries Sell, Buy Their Own Beer Back from Distributors

by Nick Gillespie

Submitted for your approval via Political Fix Florida: A proposed beer law so freaking stupid that it will make you want to get really drunk.

The legislation worming its way through the Florida state Senate forces microbreweries or other craft beer producers to sell their beer to a distributor and then buy it back before selling it to the thirsty public. Even if the microbrewers have restaurants or on-site bars.

The measure (SB 1714) has so infuriated craft brewers and beer enthusiasts that some on Twitter have christened it with the hashtag “#growlergate.” The Community Affairs committee approved the bill Tuesday.

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, was so incensed at the idea of craft brewers having to pay someone else to sell their own product that he likened it to a mobbed-up racket. Latvala has championed the microbrewery cause.

The requirement is similar to paying "protection to 'Vinnie' in New York," he said.

The bill also is favored by the Big Beer lobby, which is feeling the heat from craft beer’s competition.

Ah, there you have it! The Big Beer lobby!

As The Tampa Tribune explains it, this is all part of the notorious and ridiculous three-tier system ushered in after Prohibition.

After the country's failed experiment with Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, states wanted to make sure no one - like mobsters - had monopoly control over booze.

They created a three-level system in which producers, including brewers, could sell only to wholesale distributors. The distributors then would sell to the retailers, and only retailers could sell to consumers. The idea was that nobody in one tier could unduly influence anyone in another, especially on pricing.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargell (R-Lakeland) and, as Political Fix notes, doesn't even require that the beer actually leave a microbrewery's property and then return. It's a pure payoff scheme. The bill also legalizes a 64-ounce "growler," or large jug of beer drawn from a tap. Currently, only 32-ounce and 128-ounce growlers are legal under state law. Because, you know, state legislatures are filled with idiots.

Hat tip: Patrick R. Gibbons

Watch "Beer: An American Revolution—How Microbreweries Promote Choice"

08 Apr 19:15

STUDY: Ability to forgive oneself critical to longer life...


STUDY: Ability to forgive oneself critical to longer life...


(Third column, 18th story, link)

07 Apr 16:21

IRS agent testimony: No progressive groups were targeted, despite claims by Dems and media...


IRS agent testimony: No progressive groups were targeted, despite claims by Dems and media...


(Second column, 1st story, link)
Related stories:
04 Apr 23:17

EPA Proposal Seeks Huge Power Grab over Farmlands

Republican lawmakers joined farmers and land developers to discourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from asserting a proposed rule which will increase its regulatory authority over the nation's streams and wetlands. 

"It's the most breathtaking power grab I've seen in a long time,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-PA). In a letter from Toomey and signed by 14 other GOP Senators, they declared that the proposed rule hurts economic activity and oversteps legal bounds. At issue is the federal Clean Water Act, which grants the EPA authority to regulate "U.S. waters."

Two Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 restricted the EPA’s ability to regulate isolated ponds or marshes with no direct connection to navigable waterways. The EPA now wants to expand pollution regulations to include the country's so-called "intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands," which are created during wet seasons, or merely after it rains, but are temporary. As Breitbart News contributor Charles Hurt pointed out in one of his recent "Nuclear Option" columns, just having a pond on one’s property can subject landowners to enormous fines by the EPA. Moreover, Hurt asserted that the EPA has its own propensity for polluting our waterways.

The American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said the proposed rule will create much uncertainty because it subjects farmers to potential regulation if water pools on their private land after a rainfall. Moreover, it gives the federal government authority over creeks and even ditches that are miles away from "navigable waters." For instance, an intermittent pond formed by rainfall which contained fertilizer or pest control chemicals could be subject to anti-pollution regulations.   

Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) introduced appropriations language this week aimed at blocking the rule entirely. Stockman said that farmers can apply for exemptions, but they must engage in a “conversion practice” that complies with Natural Resources Conservation Services standards. “Once the landowner completes the conservation practice or changes the use of his land, he loses his EPA exemption and must now comply with a new, and more complex, set of rules,” Stockman said. "In other words, the only way a farmer or rancher can exempt himself from the EPA rule is to adhere to a mountain of other new federal rules."

The proposed regulation is strongly endorsed by environmental groups and is at the heart of the Obama Administration's strategy for the 2014 midterm elections. President Obama has promised to use his executive “pen” as needed to ram through environmental and climate change protections.


    






05 Apr 01:26

Google's Discriminatory Leftism

On February 6, Google revealed not only its dramatic bias against conservatism, but against reality. How else to explain an email received by WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah with regard to the Google AdSense policy?

The email announced that AdSense would be cancelling WorldNetDaily’s account thanks to a “policy violation email this morning regarding negative/hate speech particularly with the repeated references to ‘black mobs,’ although I don’t know that this is specifically what it’s limited to.” According to Farah, Google wrote, “The reviewers cited a number articles [sic] with usage of this term specifically and in general asks that no ad code is placed on articles containing hate/anti or sensitive content as this is against Adsense policies and does not provide a good experience for users and advertisers.”

So what, exactly, was WorldNetDaily’s heinous offense? WND reported on the so-called “knockout game” phenomenon in which mobs of black teens attacked white and Jewish passersby in a macho attempt to prove their testosterone-filled bona fides. Google did not reference any specific misuses of the term “black mob,” nor did they identify any articles that actually constituted hate speech. “Just the term ‘black mob’ was disallowed, both within the content of WND stories and any comment left from viewers within the forums on WND.com,” Farah explained.

According to Farah, the issue goes beyond simply WorldNetDaily. “[W]e heard from a reliable third-party source,” he stated, “that Google has a list of sites they actively monitor for policy violations. Apparently WND is on that list because other sites with same or similar content are not getting flagged.”

Perhaps most disturbing, Google’s decision to pull WND’s AdSense account did not restrict its scrutiny to the actual written material by WND staffers or writers; it also encompassed the comments section, which on many sites is lightly policed. Such a policy would heavily discourage websites from opening comments at all, stifling speech and shutting down debate and community formation.

It’s no surprise to see Google crack down on particular political viewpoints. Google has long been a leftist company. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of the company, is a heavy supporter of President Obama financially, helping him with campaign advice in 2008 and 2012; Obama reportedly considered him repeatedly for slots within his administration before Schmidt was picked as Obama’s transition advisory board, as well as for a position on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST. Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, received personal training from Schmidt. So did Obama for America Chief Technology Officer Harper Reed and Engineer Mark Trammell.

Even the company’s Google doodles are politically charged. Last Easter, Google featured Cesar Chavez instead of Easter, and has not had an Easter doodle since 2000. The site also has never had a specific Christmas doodle, even though it featured Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson, and iconic figure Frank Zamboni (creator of the Zamboni ice machine).

Furthermore, Google is in bed with the Obama administration when it comes to the greatest threat to internet freedom currently on the radar: net neutrality. That policy, under which the government would require “non-discrimination” with regard to bandwidth use for internet service providers, would dramatically regulate the market and prevent entrepreneurial exploitation of comparative advantage by competing internet service providers and websites. Google was in favor of net neutrality; that’s because, as Robert E. Litan and Hal J. Singer wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “Absent net neutrality restrictions, entrepreneurs in their garages would devote significant energies trying to topple Google with the next killer application.”

Google was in favor of net neutrality. Until, of course, Google got into the broadband business, at which point it became an opponent of net neutrality, at least for its own purposes, and at which point the Obama administration’s FCC simply ignored enforcement of consumer regulations against GoogleFiber.

But Google’s overall position has not changed. Schmidt still maintains that Google stands for internet freedom, which makes its new take on disapproved political language somewhat unwieldy.

Google is a private company. It has the capacity to utilize its massive power for whatever political agenda it chooses. But for it to pretend to be an advocate for internet freedom while simultaneously disadvantaging messages it finds politically incorrect is deeply hypocritical.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.


    






05 Apr 19:39

The Simple Politics of Tax Simplification

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

George Will writes that “tax simplification would reform politics by shrinking opportunities for transactions between private factions and the political class.  This class confers favors as much with the tax code as with appropriations.  ‘You can drain the swamp,’ says [Sen. Ron] Wyden.  ‘They did it in ’86′” (“A tax reformer’s uphill push,” April 6).

Alas, matters are more complicated.

In 1986 Milton Friedman, along with my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan and many other economists, while applauding the tax simplification enacted that year, pointed out that it was politically feasible only because by the mid-1980s the tax code had become so flooded with fiscal favors dispensed to special-interest groups that there was little room left for politicians to dispense any further such favors.  So politicians drained the swamp.  They did so, however, not to shrink opportunities for them to exchange political favors with private factions, but to make such exchanges once again easy and profitable.  The swamp was drained, in short, only so that it could be refilled with the foul water and stench of interest-group politics.

This reality is no argument against tax simplification, but it does counsel realism about the motives of politicians who seek it and about the permanence of that simplification.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030​​

04 Apr 21:54

Book Review: The Calorie Myth

by Tom Naughton

I began the year with a series of posts explaining why I believe weight loss is mostly about chemistry, not character.  People who insist it’s all about character (usually people who’ve never been fat) are fond of reciting calorie math:  there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, ya see, so if you just shave 500 calories per day from your diet, you’ll lose a pound per week.  Problem solved.  So demonstrate a little character, stop buttering your toast and pour skim milk instead of cream in your coffee, and you can be as thin as Jillian Michaels and the other experts in thermodynamics.

Those of us who spent years as frustrated dieters know it isn’t that simple.  We cut those 500 calories per day from our diets, maybe even drank crappy meal replacements like Slim Fast, lost a little weight, then stalled.  Calorie math just didn’t work as advertised for us.  The more we tried that whole “just eat less and move more” theory, the more it seemed like a myth.

Hmmm, maybe someone should write a book to explain this stuff with a title something like The Calorie Myth …

That is, in fact, the title of Jonathan Bailor’s latest book: The Calorie Myth.  (I’m more than a little fashionably late with my review, by the way.  The book was released in January, but as I’ve explained in my recent posts, I’ve been swamped with work.)

I reviewed Bailor’s book The Smarter Science of Slim back in 2012 and met him on last year’s low-carb cruise, where he gave a presentation about misguided calorie math.  As he explained in that presentation, the usual calories-in/calories-out math assumes your body works like a machine.  But it doesn’t.  Your body works like a body.

In The Calorie Myth, Bailor explains what “works like a body” means, and not surprisingly, it’s about all hormones — a.k.a. chemistry.  Bailor is quite a science wonk, and he cites published research virtually every time he makes a point.  Frankly, I’d buy this book just for the study references. But he’s also a gifted writer, so he takes what is often complex science and explains it simply enough for your Aunt Martha to understand.

I know some people will see the title and assume Bailor either doesn’t understand the laws of thermodynamics or is denying them, so let me say this for thousandth time or so: no one, including Bailor, is claiming that calories don’t count or that a high-quality diet causes calories to magically disappear.  The point is that the quality of the calories you consume has a dramatic effect on what your body decides to do with those calories … store them, burn them, use them for repair and rebuilding, etc.  In other words, the calories-in side of the equation affects the calories-out side of the equation.

For example, here are some quotes from the book about the metabolic effects of semi-starvation diets:

Eating less of a traditional Western diet does not cause long-term fat loss because this approach incorrectly assumes that taking in fewer calories forces our bodies to burn fat. This has been clinically proved to be false.  Eating less does not force us to burn body fat.  It forces us to burn fewer calories…. When our body needs calories and none are around, it is forced to make a decision:  go through all the hassle of converting calories from body fat or just slow down on burning calories.  Given the choice, slowing down wins.

… When we do not provide our body with enough essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals and essential fatty and amino acids) our body goes into starvation mode.  What does our body want more of when it thinks we’re starving?  Stored energy.  What is a great source of stored energy?  Body fat.  So when our body thinks we are starving, does it want to get rid of or hold on to body fat?  It wants to hold on.

… After our body survives starvation, its number one priority is restoring all the body fat it lost and then protecting us from starving in the future.  It does that by storing additional body fat.  Researchers call this “fat super accumulation,” and they believe it is a primary trigger for “relapsing obesity” – also known as yo-yo dieting.

He goes on to cite several studies (both animal and human) in which starvation diets led to slower metabolisms and more fat accumulation over time.

Wait, don’t get depressed just yet.  It isn’t hopeless.  The problem with those starvation diets is that they don’t adjust your set-point – the amount of fat your body is hormonally driven to maintain and will, in fact, fight to maintain.  As Bailor explains:

Long-term fat gain works like this: a person’s hormones go haywire, causing his set-point to rise, and then his body fights to keep him storing more fat…. Most obese people hold a stable weight around their elevated set-point.  Obesity is simply the result of the body defending this elevated weight – but in a very regulated way.  A heavy person’s higher set-point prompts the body to store more fat in just the same way that a thin person’s lower set-point prompts the body to burn more fat.

We all have a set-point – and that’s what determines how slim or stocky we are long-term.  Not calorie counting.

As Bailor points out, what makes the calorie-counting frenzy of the past several decades so ironic is that back in the days when most people were lean, almost nobody knew what a calorie was – and even if they did, it’s not as if there were calories counts listed on food labels.  So why weren’t they fat?  Bailor explains:

The explanation is that up until a few decades ago, we ate foods that maintained our body’s ability to balance calories automatically around a slim set-point weight.  In other words, for the past forty years we’ve been told to eat things that prevent our body from doing what it did for the entirely of human history – stay healthy and fit automatically.

Notice he wrote we’ve been told to eat things, not food.  That’s largely what screwed up so many people’s hormones and in turn their set-points:  the food-like substances that resulted at least in part from anti-fat hysteria and the push to convince everyone to consume more grains and more processed vegetable oils.  So it’s no surprise that Bailor’s prescription for lowering the body’s set-point revolves around food – as in real food.

The diet he recommends isn’t high-fat, but it isn’t low-fat either.  It’s not a low-carb diet, but by virtue of being a real-food diet, it’s not a high-carb diet either.  Rather than focusing on macronutrients, Bailor measures the quality of food by applying his SANE acronym, which looks like this:

  • Satiety – how quickly calories fill us up and how long they keep us full
  • Aggression – how likely calories are to be stored as body fat
  • Nutrition – how many nutrients (protein, vitamins, minerals, essentially fatty acids, etc.) the calories provide
  • Efficiency – how many calories can be stored as body fat

The idea is to eat foods that are high in satiety and nutrition, but low in aggression and efficiency.  Those are the SANE foods.  Sugars and refined starches (and food-like products in general) are INSANE foods because they’re not satiating, not nutritious, and easily converted to fat.  Protein is of course high on the SANE scale because it’s satiating and not easily converted to fat.  Nutrient-vegetables are high on the SANE scale because they’re nutritious (duh), not aggressive, and not easily converted to fat.  (I watched Bailor eat on the low-carb cruise.  The man is serious about getting his daily dose of vegetables.)

The meat of the book (pardon the pun) is dedicated to explaining the science of how SANE foods lower our set-points and how INSANE foods raise our set-points and thus make us fatter.  But there are also chapters on why most forms of exercise won’t make us thin, why yo-yo dieting makes us fatter, why anti-fat and anti-cholesterol hysteria don’t hold up to the actual science, and why what Bailor calls smarter exercise (the right kind of progressive resistance training) will improve our health and body composition by building lean muscle mass and triggering positive hormonal changes.  The final section of the book provides an action plan for putting Bailor’s recommendations into practice.

Bailor doesn’t label his plan as paleo specifically, but it’s pretty close, as evidenced by this quote:

The closer a food is to a plant we could gather or an animal we could hunt, the more SANE it is.  And if anything other than cooking or cutting is required between the plant or animal and our stomach, it probably does not belong in our stomach to begin with.

So it’s a real food diet, but at the same time, Bailor and I share the opinion (which we’ve discussed) that perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of good … in other words, don’t freak out if you can’t find or can’t afford local and organic versions of everything you eat:

This point has nothing to do with eating organic versus conventional food.  Until someone discovers a Cheerios tree, a pasta plant or a bread bush, conventional blueberries are more SANE than organic Cheerios, pasta or bread.

Bailor’s writing is simple and direct, his advice is very SANE indeed, and I highly recommend this book.  (I also highly recommend his podcast show.)

NOTE:  As I suspected, Wednesday night’s very impressive lightning storm knocked out our cable service entirely — no signal coming into the house, according to Larry The Cable Guy, which means a crew will have to come out and find the problem.  We were told this will take anywhere between one and seven days.  So I’m posting the review, but won’t be able to read or approve comments without driving somewhere to get an internet connection.

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04 Apr 14:38

Health insurance market closed to most, now what?

by sean@impactpolicymanagement.com

As a general rule I try not to discuss Obamacare (officially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA) here on The Self-Pay Patient blog. I have plenty of other outlets to share my views on that law, and this blog is supposed to be focused on how self-pay patients can find affordable care, whether they’re uninsured, have a high deductible plan, or have more comprehensive coverage but their insurer won’t cover a particular treatment or provider.

But Obamacare is a central feature of today’s health care system, and it’s just not possible to completely avoid the subject here. So today I want to address one of the problems that Obamacare has created for people wanting to buy health insurance, and what some solutions might be.

The problem is pretty basic – the ‘open enrollment’ period for people to buy health insurance is now over (well there’s still some leeway for people who tried to sign up but couldn’t because of technical difficulties, or who at least claim they tried), meaning that it is effectively impossible for many, perhaps most, people to buy health insurance until the next open enrollment period rolls around (November 15, 2014 thru February 15, 2015). 

A story in the Washington Post this morning explains the problem pretty well:

Health insurance isn’t a year-round thing anymore

WASHINGTON — Here’s more fallout from the health care law: Until now, customers could walk into an insurance office or go online to buy standard health care coverage any time of year. Not anymore.

Many people who didn’t sign up during the government’s open enrollment period that ended Monday will soon find it difficult or impossible to get insured this year, even if they go directly to a private company and money is no object. For some it’s already too late.

With limited exceptions, insurers are refusing to sell to individuals after the enrollment period for HealthCare.gov and the state marketplaces. They will lock out the young and healthy as well as the sick or injured. Those who want to switch plans also are affected. The next wide-open chance to enroll comes in November for coverage in 2015.

It’s a little-noted consequence of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, which requires nearly all Americans to be insured or pay a fine and requires insurers to accept people with health problems.

“I have people that can buy insurance, but the companies shut them down. They won’t take the applications,” insurance broker Steve Bobiak of Frackville, Pa., said…

… eligibility for coverage during 2014 is guaranteed only for people who experience certain qualifying life events, such as losing a job that provided insurance, moving to a new state, getting married, having a baby or losing coverage under a parent’s health plan…

What this means is that anybody who decides that they actually should have health insurance (and I’m an advocate for people having health insurance or anything else that provides protection against major medical expenses) but missed the March 31 open enrollment deadline, will have to wait until med-November to roll around.

As the article notes, there are exceptions. People who lose employer-sponsored coverage, get married, age off of their parents plan, or experience another ‘life event’ will still be able to get new coverage before the next open enrollment period.

But if none of those apply, and someone decides they should get some sort of coverage, what options to they have? Fortunately, there are a number of options, which I’ll run through briefly here.

Health care sharing ministries. These are voluntary, charitable membership organizations whose members agree to share medical bills. They provide protection against major medical expenses similar to insurance. There are five sharing ministries that I know of (I have been told there may be a few small, local sharing ministries, but don’t have any info on those).

Four are open only to practicing Christians: Samaritan MinistriesChristian Healthcare Ministries, Altrua Healthshare, and Christian Care Ministry (CCM operates under the name Medi-Share).  A fifth, Liberty HealthShare, accepts anyone who shares their belief in religious liberty.

Each of these ministries operate entirely outside of Obamacare, and accept new enrollees year-round. They all operate a little differently, but the basic idea is consistent across all of them, with likeminded people sharing medical expenses similar to insurance. Members of three of the five (Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry/Medi-Share are exempt from Obamacare’s tax on being uninsured, while Liberty Healthshare is seeking confirmation from the Department of Health & Human Services that their members will enjoy a similar exemption. Altrua appears to have been founded too recently (only 9 years before Obamacare was passed, while the law requires 10 years) to qualify for the exemption.

One other major benefits of health care sharing ministries is that they are typically much, much less expensive than conventional health insurance. I cut my own cost of coverage by about 75% when I joined a ministry.

Short-term health insurance policies. If someone is looking for a policy that will cover them for several months, until the next open-enrollment period, a short-term policy may be just what they’re looking for These policies usually last between 1 and 11 months  and are not regulated under Obamacare. Because of this, they don’t offer the same level of benefits that drive up costs for conventional insurance, meaning they are typically much less expensive. Deductibles are available that are higher than what is allowed with Obamacare-compliant health insurance, leading to further savings.

Short-term policies can typically be renewed at the end of the policy (technically it isn’t a renewal, it’s simply purchasing a brand new policy, which means it won’t cover any conditions that occurred under the previous short-term policy). This shouldn’t be a problem assuming that someone is simply trying to obtain insurance coverage to fill the period until the next open-enrollment occurs.

Alternative insurance products. While not as comprehensive as conventional health insurance, a sharing ministry, or short-term insurance, there are other insurance products that will provide lump-sum payments if you are diagnosed with a major illness like cancer, or have a heart attack or stroke, or have another medical event. These include fixed-benefitcritical illness, accident insurance, and even some life insurance policies. They cost a fraction of what health insurance costs, and by giving you cash directly you aren’t locked in to any particular provider network.

People might also look at what it would take to qualify for one of the ‘life events’ that allows the purchase of a health insurance policy outside of the open enrollment period. While getting married just to get insurance probably isn’t a very good idea, it may be that you live and work in an area where a short move across state lines will allow you to buy insurance without having to uproot yourself from your job, family, and friends.

And of course, as regular readers of The Self-Pay Patient blog know, not having health insurance or even alternative types of coverage is not a complete barrier to getting affordable care. There are numerous ways to get affordable health care and pay bills if a major medical need arises while uninsured, such as medical tourism, medical bill negotiators, patient assistance programs offered by nearly every pharmaceutical company, and several other options.  

It’s unfortunate that Obamacare only allows people to make such an important decision during a limited time frame, but that is how things will work going forward. If for some reason you find yourself in a situation where you missed the open enrollment deadline but still want health insurance or at least some sort of coverage, you do have options that will get you through until the next open enrollment period and perhaps beyond.

04 Apr 16:48

$6 Billion Went Missing...

Jts5665

How much did they pay Hillary, again??

03 Apr 22:17

The Progressive View of the First Ammendment

by admin

I didn't really pay all that much attention to the Supreme Court's election speech case yesterday.   But as I learn the reasoning that is driving the dissent by the four Justices on the Left, I am left deeply worried about the future of speech rights.

I really haven't put much time in understanding how Progressives justify strong speech protections for non-political activity (e.g. pornography) while eschewing them for political speech (in the form of multiple types of limits on the amount and timing of speech one is allowed prior to an election).  Justice Breyer, in writing for the minority in in McCutcheon, lays out what I suppose is the Progressive position.

First up, here is David Bernstein

But how can liberals, who so expansively interpret other constitutional provisions, narrow the First Amendment so that campaign finance no longer gets protection?

Justice Breyer’s dissent today shows the way, as he revives the old Progressive conception of freedom of speech as serving instrumental purposes (which he calls “First Amendment interests”), rather than protecting individual rights or reining in potential government abuses.  And once we identify those “First Amendment interests,” we must limit freedom of speech to ensure that they are advanced.

Thus, Justice Breyer, writes, “Consider at least one reason why the First Amendment protects political speech. Speech does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, political communication seeks to secure government action. A politically oriented ‘marketplace of ideas’ seeks to form a public opinion that can and will influence elected representatives.”  Just to make sure he’s not being too subtle, Breyer goes back to the source, Justice Brandeis, citing his opinion in Whitney for the proposition that freedom of speech is protected because it’s ”essential to effective democracy.”

Further showing off his affinity for the Progressive statism of a century ago (noted by Josh Blackman and me here), Breyer turns constitutional history on its head, by declaring that the purpose of the First Amendment was not to prevent government abuses, but to ensure ”public opinion could be channeled into effective governmental action.”  ...

Breyer adds that “corruption,” by which he means individuals engaging in too much freedom of speech via campaign donations, ”derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie. Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard. Insofar as corruption cuts the link between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of political ideas loses its point.”

This strikes me as both tortured and dangerous.  Once one posits that that there is some ill-defined, un-measurable value like "promotion of positive government action" can be balanced against free speech, then the government gets a nearly unlimited ability to limit speech.

James Taranto also highlights parts of the decision

In making the case for the constitutionality of restrictions on campaign contributions, Breyer advances an instrumental view of the First Amendment. He quotes Justice Louis Brandeis, who in 1927 "wrote that the First Amendment's protection of speech was 'essential to effective democracy,' " and Brandeis's contemporary Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who in 1931 argued that " 'a fundamental principle of our constitutional system' is the 'maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people" (emphasis Breyer's).

After citing Jean-Jacques Rousseau's (!) views on the shortcomings of representative democracy, Breyer quotes James Wilson, one of the Founding Fathers, who argued in a 1792 commentary that the First Amendment's purpose was to establish a "chain of communication between the people, and those, to whom they have committed the exercise of the powers of government." Again quoting Wilson, Breyer elaborates: "This 'chain' would establish the necessary 'communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments' between the people and their representatives, so that public opinion could be channeled into effective governmental action."

And here's how Breyer sums it all up: "Accordingly, the First Amendment advances not only the individual's right to engage in political speech, but also the public's interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters."

What is democratic "order"?  What the hell is "collective" speech?  This is the kind of thing I would expect dictators-masquerading-as-elected-officials to spout as an excuse for suppressing dissent.  After all, doesn't dissent interfere with order?  How can we have collective speech when there are these folks out there disagreeing so much?   Again from Taranto:

It's important to note that when Breyer refers to "collective" rights, what he does not have in mind is individuals exercising their rights by voluntarily collecting themselves into organizations. In fact, the prevailing left-liberal view, most notably with respect to Citizens United v. FEC (2010), is that collections of individuals, at least when they take corporate form, have (or should have) no rights.

The only "collective" that matters to Breyer is the one from which you cannot opt out except by the extreme measure of renouncing your citizenship: "the people" or "the public" as a whole. In Breyer's view, the purpose of the First Amendment is to see that (in Chief Justice Hughes's words) "the will of the people" is done. Individual rights are but a means to that end. To the extent they frustrate it, they ought to be curtailed. You will be assimilated.

03 Apr 06:00

Robots Read News 15

03 Apr 16:21

POLL: 75% Believe Politicians Corrupted; 70% Use Political Power to Hurt Enemies...

Jts5665

I'm kind of sad it's not closer to 100% who believe that politicians are corrupt, but this is probably progress.


POLL: 75% Believe Politicians Corrupted; 70% Use Political Power to Hurt Enemies...


(Second column, 12th story, link)