Thursday, October 12, 2017

FDA rebukes bakery for claiming 'love' as an ingredient in granola

No sense of humor

The ingredient list for Massachusetts-based Nashoba Brook Bakery's granola was normal enough, save for one ingredient. Amid the oats and sweetener was "love."

The subject of nearly every rock-and-roll song, the thing Romeo and Juliet died for, was supposedly in the granola, which was sold at around 120 stores around New England.

The "ingredient" was a nod to the passion bakers put into their product and wink to fans of the snack. As the Concord bakery's Twitter account shows, the business has a sense of humor.

"I really like that we list 'love' in the granola," Nashoba Chief Executive Officer John Gates told Bloomberg News. "People ask us what makes it so good. It's kind of nice that this artisan bakery can say there's love in it and it puts a smile on people's face."

But the Food and Drug Administration didn't see it that way. A human emotion, it said, cannot be an ingredient in baked goods.

The FDA sent a warning letter to the bakery, which told the bakery to stop claiming that its granola contains love:

Gates said the letter "just felt so George Orwell."

"Situations like that where the government is telling you you can't list 'love' as an ingredient, because it might be deceptive, just feels so silly," he told Bloomberg.


John Oliver’s Terrible Analogy For Confederate Monuments

John Oliver thinks Confederate generals are similar to child-raping British entertainers.

That was one of the arguments underlying his Sunday night rant about America continuing to honor figures associated with the Lost Cause.

Oliver began his 20-minute segment by introducing the case of Jimmy Savile, a  previously beloved television and radio entertainer in the UK. Savile is no longer much liked anymore after it became public that he abused dozens of children. Statues and plaques honoring him have come down due to the revelations that he was a sexual predator.

Oliver finds this a fitting analogy to Confederate monuments, saying, “Once we found out that he was a monster, we accepted that it was no longer appropriate to publicly glorify him.”

This is one of the dumbest analogies ever put forward for the Confederate monument debate, and it makes sense that a Brit made it. It’s not like we haven’t known about the bad things the Confederacy was associated with for as long as the South honored the men who fought for it.

Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard weren’t discovered to be slaveholders after their statues went up — that fact has been known since they entered history.

More importantly, the reason for the monuments is completely different from the honors awarded Savile. The handful of plaques and statues for Savile were meant to honor a man who merely entertained people. He was a local hero for his achievements, but he wasn’t some great figure who embodied the heritage of British people.

Confederate generals represent southern heritage and pride. They are cultural icons for a large region of America. Those who honor them know about their role with slavery and rebelling against America. But they led the ancestors of Southerners into battle, and their conduct, especially of Lee, is considered an example to follow.

The concept of honoring your ancestors and your heritage is a concept that is never brought up by Oliver. Maybe ignorant Brits telling Americans what statues we can and can’t put up isn’t such a great idea.

However, there is a good British analogy for Confederate statues that Oliver overlooked in order to help his argument. Throughout the United Kingdom, there are statues and monuments dedicated to figures who were strongly connected with colonialism, a great sin according to the modern-day Left.

One of those figures who strongly supported colonialism is none other than Winston Churchill. For most people, Churchill is the man who saved the U.K. from the clutches of Hitler and helped turn the tide of World War II.

But he was also a figure who believed fervently in preserving the British Empire and saw its non-white subjects as inferior to Anglo-Saxons. Churchill despised Islam and thought “no stronger retrograde force exists in the world” besides that religion.

While one could say these were just the views of his time (which they were), the argument could go that they were intrinsically tied with his support for the British empire, as The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor has argued.

That would make him just as repellent as the Confederate generals who fought for slavery, in the eyes of people like John Oliver.

The late night comedian’s argument for taking down Confederate monuments statues rests on the belief that their principal cause was slavery, and that the rebels fought against the United States.

Does Oliver know that America has plenty of monuments dedicated to Amerindians who also fought against the U.S. government and owned slaves? Wonder what he would think of that.

It also would be interesting to know what Oliver thinks of statues to proud British colonialists like Churchill.

History is complicated, and it is wrong to force the past to conform to the standards of today. Confederate monuments serve as memorials to Southern heritage and culture, with all of its virtues and defects.

They are in no way comparable with that of a notorious pederast who’s only remembered for presenting the country’s biggest pop hits.


Researchers Drug Test Subjects to Curb 'Xenophobia'

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details the effects of administering oxytocin, a hormone known to enhance empathy, on subjects believed to hold xenophobic attitudes.

Stop for a minute to consider how many things are disturbing in that sentence.

The study, which was "approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Bonn" and "carried out in compliance with the latest revision of the Declaration of Helsinki," combined social pressures with nasally administered oxytocin in an effort to alter participants' social behavior. In explaining the reason for the study, the researchers note that the United Nations has recently "emphasized the importance of developing neurobiologically informed strategies for reducing xenophobic, hostile, and discriminatory attitudes." They cite the recent electoral success of European populists who are critical of refugee resettlement as a reason to urgently pursue these neurobiological strategies.

The study consisted of three experiments. In the first, participants were surveyed to assess their prejudice. They were then given 50 euros each and presented with 50 stories of people in need, half of whom were portrayed as refugees and half as natives. The participants were instructed to give a maximum of one euro to each deserving case and to keep any money that was left over. The exercise was conducted in a lecture hall so that concern over one's reputation might increase altruism among the participants. The group gave away 30 percent of their endowment. Those who were deemed to be more prejudiced gave less to refugees. Overall, 19 percent more was given to refugees than to natives. None of the results were found to be influenced by the sex of the participants.

In the second experiment, participants self-administered either a dose of oxytocin or a placebo and then completed the first experiment. (The subjects in this group were all male because of the possible sexual-dimorphic effects oxytocin can produce in females.) This time, however, the participants completed the task in private, free from peer pressure. Subjects under the influence of oxytocin gave 68 percent more to refugees and 81 percent more to natives than the group in the first experiment.

But the results in the second experiment varied significantly. Those who were deemed less prejudiced by the researchers and did not take the oxytocin gave 31 percent more to refugees than to natives, mirroring the contributions of the cohorts in the first experiment. But when under the influence of oxytocin, those who were deemed less prejudiced more than doubled their contributions to both groups. Conversely, the oxytocin had little effect on the charity of those who were deemed to be more prejudiced.

A third experiment repeated the second, with the exception of showing the participants the average contributions that were made in the first experiment before they donated. This had little effect on those who were deemed less prejudiced. But it increased the contributions made to refugees by those who were deemed to be more prejudiced and were under the influence of oxytocin by 74 percent. This result led the researchers to conclude that social pressures coupled with increased levels of oxytocin can foster more altruistic behavior "even in the most selfish and xenophobic individuals."

Understand the rationale driving this research: To question the resettlement of refugees is to be chemically imbalanced. Academics are now devising ways to biologically alter the political and social behavior of their fellow citizens by administering drugs on test subjects.

The authors of this particular study recommend that governments and institutions actively facilitate social interactions that are known to naturally stimulate the production of oxytocin. They cite group activities like singing in a choir. They also recommend that the benefits of "ethnic diversity, religious pluralism, and cultural differentiation" be affirmed and emphasized through "balanced and informed media reporting" and "the integration of refugee themes to the curricula of school and universities." While they do not call for the prescribed or coerced injection of oxytocin on their fellow citizens, they appear to leave open that possibility in an ambiguously worded suggestion toward the end of their paper: "considering OXT-enforced normative incentives in developing future interventions and policy programs intended to reduce outgroup rejection may be an important step toward making the principle of social inclusion a daily reality in our societies."

Here at the Center, we have long understood that immigration has become an immutable value for many in the political establishment. They will sacrifice all of their other political goals in order to maintain the unrestrained movement of peoples. They have abandoned the concerns of labor, minorities, feminists, environmentalists, and conservatives in their ideological devotion to open borders. But until recently, their position was a political one that could be argued and refuted using data and reason. Critics of open borders were not labeled racist for simply holding an opposing view. They certainly were not considered biologically deficient. But when academics and politicians begin to see critics of their agendas in this way, there can be no logical debate. Those who disagree must be fixed. And at a time when all problems are seen through the lens of a materialist worldview, those fixes will be addressed through the latest advances in neuroscience, as the United Nations has advocated.

The researchers of this study praise the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) as an ethical maxim that epitomizes the virtue of helping outsiders. Indeed it is. But in praising Jesus's words and acknowledging how influential and beneficial they have been throughout history, they contend that the "social and biological conditions promoting such outgroup-directed altruism have not been determined." In other words, they miss the whole point of the parable, which is its spiritual dimension, to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Furthermore, the parable of the Good Samaritan is not a commandment or exhortation to support open borders. Dealing amicably and charitably with one's neighbor is the Christian way to live, no matter who your neighbor happens to be. But that does not mean one must blindly accept the migration of millions of people, the vast majority of whom could be better helped closer to home. Such migration is a modern and unprecedented phenomenon that threatens the stability of the hosting nations. The United Nations estimates that 65 million people have been displaced from the Middle East and Africa in just the past two years. As the researchers themselves state, "Never before have individuals had to adapt to social environments defined by such magnitudes of ethnic diversity and cultural differentiation." It is a phenomenon that is creating "tensions over ethnicity, religion, and culture."

Their solution to this problem is not to question the unprecedented flow, but to come up with "neurobiologically informed strategies" to change the attitudes and behaviors of natives in the receiving countries. Their research advocates cross-group social interaction to foster feelings of generosity and empathy. The problem is that other research, like that of prominent political scientist Robert Putnam, has found that high levels of diversity discourage social interaction. The most diverse societies tend to be the least cooperative and integrated. Ironically, the researchers note how the African-American civil rights movement used the Good Samaritan parable to effect positive social change. Black Americans have been one of the groups most hurt by mass immigration, a policy the authors of the study do not challenge.

Devising "neurobiologically informed strategies" to change political and social behavior is the work of totalitarian regimes. The citizens of free republics and liberal democracies decide for themselves who will be welcomed as newcomers. And there is nothing un-Christian or xenophobic about setting limits.


Political correctness runs amok in America

Wikipedia defines the term political correctness as the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Well, it's morphed into far more. Hatched in its current form circa 1990 by that ultraliberal beacon called The New York Times, political correctness has transformed into a giant muzzle over the mouths and lives of far too many Americans. Unleashing a virtual Pandora's Box of issues, and abetted at the time by an immoral Bill Clinton presidency, a mentality of "anything goes" regarding the social fabric of the country settled in to the national psyche.

Amplified by a complicit media, the majority risked scorn and ridicule and were extorted into silence as they watched in dismay while the country seemingly went berserk. Laws were enforced on those who would speak out about actions that previously seemed dishonorable, amoral or just plain weird. Words now are taboo. Think about that, in modern America, people have been fined and lost careers over the use of the wrong word at the wrong time. Just the threat of being called the word "racist" has become feared and is used to shut down any further dialogue.

Gone is God and civics from our schools, resulting in a lack of spirituality, empathy for structure and patriotism for our country, as is currently being exhibited across the nation in sporting events. We have become so shallow, we actually are hyperconcerned about what performers, no different than a clown in a circus, say or do. In the name of political correctness, nobody asks why it is believed to be tolerable for a coach to instruct 8-year-old junior football players in southern Illinois to take a "protesting knee" before a game, thus encouraging yet another generation of resentment.

This PC society seems to be devoid of individualism. History is being rewritten as if what was right now is wrong with the founding and expansion of this great country. As one consequence, beautiful 100-year-old statues commemorating antiquity are being destroyed or seized in the middle of the night -- relegated to the back rooms of museums, so as not to offend anyone, irrespective of the fact the very removal offends others.

Lenin's cronies removed and then burnt books when they took over Russia in 1917 — how did that work out for everybody? Our forefathers are being looked down upon by some as murderers and exploiters of what now is considered no more than simple, peace-loving peoples. The word "backward" has been removed from that description though. There is irony that the PC crowd is oblivious to the fact their decedents also rode the current of American supremacy. If you don't believe that, explain the election of Barrack Obama. Yet, somehow, European discoverers ruined this utopia that evidently previously existed in North America. "Hail Atlantis."

The adage that "those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it," has become ... forgotten. Social miscreants, such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, or socialist farces, such as the European Union, now are to be admired and displayed proudly on T-shirts by elitist Hollywood types who are fawned over by our offspring and trumpeted by the media. Cultures that would like nothing more than to wipe us off the Earth are encouraged to join us for that one last big kumbaya moment.

Our universities, once the bastion of free speech and intellectual thought, now are controlled by mostly overpaid tenured Marxist do-nothings. Colleges have become nothing more than expensive nurseries for empty humanoids, frightened by any thoughts or words that might offend their sensitive safe-spaces. Instead of standing out and striving to reach the front of the pack, many children fall into lock-step, staring blankly at cellphones, confused by which bathroom they should be using.

As moral and civic boundaries are stretched, politicians jump shamelessly on the bandwagon with little regard to doing what is right, constantly in chase of the almighty vote in order to preserve their lustful grab of power and cash. They feed the machine-heads daily platitudes, emboldening the lazy, the unscrupulous, the perpetual victims, the fatherless masses, as well as those lost souls no longer interested in attaining the American dream by virtue, preferring to have it handed to them from the labor of others. Lost in the collective national conscience is the fact the government can't give them anything they didn't take from someone else.

Perhaps, this might explain the election of Donald Trump.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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