Back To Butter

So now butter and lard are good for you again, and vegetable oils (except olive) are bad:

The World Health Organization has faced fierce backlash after telling people to replace butter and lard with ‘healthier’ oils in the New Year.
A leading cardiologist today said he was ‘shocked and disturbed’ by the advice, which the UN agency listed as a tip to prolong people’s lives.
Butter has been demonised for decades over its saturated fat content – but an array of evidence is beginning to prove it can be healthy.

Plus ça change, plus la même chose.

This announcement could have had some impact on my life, except that I never stopped using butter and I’ve always looked suspiciously at all cooking oils anyway.

Never mind:  next week some other cardiologist will warn us that butter causes (or, more likely, “may” cause) aggravated syphilis or something.

In the meantime, any report from a large government- or international agency (CDC, WHO, etc.) should be treated with the utmost skepticism if not outright rejection.  In fact, if Agency A warns that X is bad for you, a rule of thumb would be to increase the intake of X.

I don’t see that the above advice can be any worse than the bullshit we’ve been fed for the past fifty-odd years.

Involuntary Reaction

I read this story with both amazement and sympathy:

Kira Laconetti, 19, a self-taught musician, began experiencing difficulty when singing or listening to music, having two-minute ‘glitches’ and stuttering her words.
An MRI scan on the performer from Lynden, Washington, revealed a marble-sized mass in the right temporal lobe of her brain. The benign tumour was confirmed to be triggering a rare disorder called musicogenic epilepsy.
The condition, which is estimated to affect one in ten million people, according to Epilepsy Society, triggers seizures caused by certain types of music or frequencies of pitch for which the person’s brain has a low tolerance for. It is unclear what specific notes or music prompted Miss Laconetti’s seizures.

I should disclose at this point that I too suffer from musicogenic epilepsy.  In my case, it’s brought on not by any individual notes but by certain types of music, notably rap music, bebop jazz and the voice of Taylor Swift.

And I don’t suffer seizures either, just spasms of Tourette’s Syndrome.

Fortunately, I don’t need surgery because the remedy is simple:  a little Harry Nilsson, Peter Skellern or even something by the Beatles, and I’m right as rain.

Feel free to share the types of music which trigger your episodes of musicogenic epilepsy, in Comments.

Never A Truer Word Spoken

In his Devil’s Dictionary, the late and very-much-lamented Ambrose Pierce once wrote the following:

“When politicians speak, no matter the topic, they’re talking about money.”

…and boy, was he ever right.  Here’s an example.

For the past couple of years, governments have been talking about the “obesity epidemic” (as though getting fat can spread from one person to another over the air, instead of being the result of a conscious decision by individuals).  And of course, along with such alarums and panic from the Usual Suspects — those who Know What’s Best For You — have come clamors that Something Must Be Done.  And when people use the dreaded passive voice, of course, that means one, and only one thing:  government intervention.

So, of course, in steps Nanny Government to the rescue.  Of course, instead of pointing out that people get fat because they eat too much, or that their children get fat because their parents give them too much of the wrong foods, Big Nanny sets about punishing people for ingesting said wrong foods — and the easiest thing to target, because of its ubiquity, is sugar.

We all know that too much sugar is A Bad Thing, and if you eat too much of it, you get not only overweight but various health problems.  Let me repeat:  we all know that.

But how to punish excessive sugar consumption?  Do we (i.e. Nanny Government) ration the stuff?  No, too difficult and costly to implement, manage and police (although I would bet against it in the future — such difficulties have seldom stopped government in the past, e.g.  ObamaCare coff coff )  But sugar is not only bought and sold per se , it’s also a ubiquitous ingredient, and most egregiously so in the case of carbonated soft drinks (to normal mortals, that would be Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew etc.) wherein can be found the equivalent of a dozen or so teaspoons of sugar per can.  Not that this is always A Bad Thing:

So, goes Nanny’s thinking, if we punish people for drinking Cokes and reduce consumption thereof by making it more expensive to do so, the very best way to implement such policy is… to tax it.

Which brings us back to Ambrose Bierce.  And lo, there we have proof of the man’s sagacity:

The UK’s sugar tax has raised almost £154 million in its first six months, Government figures have revealed.
From April, companies selling drinks with added sugar have been taxed between 18p and 24p per litre for certain drinks containing high levels of added sugar.
The new levy was introduced in an effort to fight childhood obesity, as more than a third of 11-year-olds in the UK are now overweight and soft drinks are one of their main sources of sugar.

With that degree of success, replication must surely follow:

Raising so much money from the tax was ‘encouraging’, one expert said, but they urged the Government to extend the levy to calories in sweets [candy] as well.

And there you have it:  Nanny Government at its absolute finest.  It’s even more nasty in that with the above policy, the BritGov didn’t increase the sales tax on carbonated soft drinks — too difficult to implement, police and collect, see above — so instead they levied the tax at its source:

 There are 457 companies registered to pay the tax, and more than 90 per cent of the money came from charges on drinks with higher levels of sugar.

Much easier.  And needless to say, most of said companies simply raised the price of their product and passed it on to consumers — that would be us — to whom rising prices are a fact of modern life, and therefore the added cost went pretty much unnoticed.

Which actually makes it a perfect government tax policy:  it’s barely noticed by the public, it’s easier to collect / enforce (457 companies vs. many thousands of retail outlets), and best of all, if it fails to have the desired effect (making people drink less of the stuff), Nanny Government can simply increase the tax rate until it does — or until the supplier companies either quit or go out of business, which won’t happen because Coca-Cola / PepsiCo / Dr. Pepper / Cadbury-Schweppes etc. are collectively richer than Great Britain.  So there is theoretically no limit as to how much tax revenue the BritGov could collect from this policy.

And all because you, you fat bastards, insist on buying your kids Big Gulps and pouring  Dr. Pepper over their sugary breakfast cereals (a rant for another time, coming very soon to these pages).

And at the bottom of all this, of course is the reason why Gummint — in this case the Brit manifestation thereof — should care about fat children at all.   It’s not because they’re concerned for the chillins’ health (although that’s the figleaf), but because when obesity causes health issues, then said issues have to be covered by the foul (but government-funded) National Health Service.

Which brings us back — AGAIN — to Ambrose Bierce’s dictum.  It’s all about the fucking money.

At the beginning of this post, I said that Bierce’s death was much lamented but as I think about it, I’m glad that my favorite cynic of all time isn’t around to see all this.  He’d probably commit suicide.


And as a footnote, allow me to recommend unreservedly The Devil’s Dictionary, which under the reign of World-Emperor Kim would be a required textbook in all high-school curricula.

About That Single-Payer Health Service

Not that I need to belabor the point, but any “free” government health service is going to cost you.  In almost every such case, it’s when Gummint decides that you’ve had enough.  Here’s one from Britain’s NHS:

A hero RAF rear gunner who evaded capture by the Nazis in 1942 after being shot down over Belgium has been told to sell his house to pay medical bills as he has ‘survived too long’.

(I have to warn you that if you read that whole story, you ought to remove all throwable objects and guns out of reach — and even more so for the next one.)

Over in oh-so caring Europe comes this horrifying story:

Dutch authorities are prosecuting a doctor for euthanising an elderly woman with dementia in the first case of its kind since the practice was legalised in 2002.
The doctor, who was not named, has been charged with secretly drugging the woman’s coffee with Dormicum to make her drowsy and asking her family to hold her down as she was lethally injected in a care home in The Hague in 2016.
Whilst the 74-year-old patient was receiving the lethal injection she woke up and began fighting the doctor.

(I should also point out that the Dutch doctor was a woman, which somehow just makes it worse.)

I know, I know:  “Oh, that could never happen over here in the U.S.” — until it does.  When to comes to money, every government will eventually resort to violence;  try to find someone who has ever dealt with the I.R.S. over an unpaid tax liability, and not felt threatened by the experience.  You won’t.

Rationing

Seeing as the Socialists now control the U.S. House, I suppose we’re going to start hearing the drumbeat of support for and attempts to revive the failed ObamaCare medical insurance system, as well as support for a “single-payer” healthcare system (where the “single payer” means the government, i.e. not a single payer at all, but all taxpayers — yet another way Socialists employ a euphemism to conceal the truth).

Of course, this will all be cloaked under the banner of “fairness”, i.e. free healthcare for all people being a “fair” principle (and yes, I know it isn’t free at all;  see above), all while touting the excellence of, for example, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

So while kicking said supporters in the teeth (always a Good Thing when dealing with socialists anyway), you may want to ask them how “fair” it is when medical services are so scarce that a service, treatment or drug is allocated to the afflicted by means of a postcode lottery — this being excellent example of the principle:

Tens of thousands of people with diabetes are being denied NHS access to a life-changing device which could spell an end to painful finger pricks.
A postcode lottery in provision means many people with type 1 diabetes are missing out on the benefits of the FreeStyle Libre gadget, which measures blood sugar levels with the simple swipe of a smartphone.
The device – famously used by Theresa May – has been available for GPs to prescribe for last year.
But an investigation by the British Medical Journal revealed a quarter of clinical commissioning groups in England are refusing to fund prescriptions for their residents.
This leaves people to either pay the £96 a month to receive it privately or miss out on the system.

I guess that technically this is fair, in that everyone has the same chance of winning a lottery… but I still want to kick random Socialists in the teeth anyway.

Never Mind The Joke

So this asshole got some joke award for his charlatanry:

The man who published a widely-dismissed paper claiming the MMR vaccine could make children autistic has been ridiculed with an award for bad science. Andrew Wakefield, a former gastroenterologist who is now believed to be in a relationship with the model Elle Macpherson, has been awarded the ‘Rusty Razor’ award for pseudoscience by magazine The Skeptic.
Wakefield’s so-called research fueled the ‘anti-vaxx’ movement, by suggesting jabs could make children autistic, but his studies were fabricated.
Experts have called the paper, published in medical journal The Lancet in 1998, but retracted in 2010, ‘the most damaging medical hoax of the past 100 years’.

Never mind the Rusty Razor Award, someone should have used a rusty razor to cut this fucker’s head off.  Countless children have died and others fallen dangerously ill because of his “pseudo-scientific” study, and at least he should be in prison for life instead of dating a dim-bulb ex-supermodel.

I am not a vengeful man by nature, but if one day some bereaved parent were to shoot Wakefield in the face and I were in the jury at the parent’s trial, my vote would be an unshakable “Not Guilty”.