Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The war on sugar

By Alex Beam  

On the eve of Halloween, our solemn National Festival of Sugar, I see some startling news in the august British Journal of Sports Medicine. “Sugar produces drug-like effects that may increase the risk for drug addiction,” the article’s authors inform me. “Indeed sugar may have a ‘gateway effect’ as it cross-sensitises with drugs of abuse.”

Sugar “behaves like a chemical or drug,” we are told, “due to its ‘pure’ white crystalline form.” It “produces drug-like psychoactive effects” and “there are substantial parallels and overlap between drugs of abuse and sugar, from the standpoint of brain neurochemistry as well as behaviour.”

Today, Hershey’s Kisses; tomorrow crack cocaine.

The world soured on sugar decades ago. I well remember William Duffy’s 1975 “dietary classic,” “Sugar Blues,” which made the same odd assertion that because sugar is a white crystal, it is like heroin. What about salt, or quartz, for that matter? Maybe we need to broaden the purview of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Sugar came in for a mugging in a famous New York Times magazine cover story, “Is Sugar Toxic?” Toxic means poisonous, so: Is sugar a poison? Author Gary Taubes’s article became a book, “The Case Against Sugar,” which itself got a going-over in The New Yorker earlier this year. “Taubes’s indictment of sugar as the leading culprit in virtually all modern Western maladies doesn’t provide enough evidence for us to convict,” Harvard Medical School professor Jerome Groopman wrote.

But the indictment has certainly garnered plenty of headlines. Groopman reports that one of his cancer patients feared that ingesting sugar would cause her malignancy to return. Just a few days ago, The Wall Street Journal reported on food companies’ near-desperate search for acceptable sugar substitutes, given the public’s general aversion to artificial sweeteners.

The anti-sugar jihadists aren’t stupid, they are just opportunistic. They know as well anybody that sugars provide the energy that keeps us alive. So in a way it’s like aspirin. It’s perfectly safe in normal doses, and too much can kill you. But that simple assertion doesn’t generate dodgy headlines or Internet page views.

I keep a file on harmless substances that some Americans have come to believe are toxic. “Alcohol is toxic,” a professor at New Zealand’s Massey University told a credulous Wall Street Journal reporter earlier this year. It “is essentially a poison which the body works very hard to eliminate.”

But here is a 2017 study in the Journal of Alzeimer’s Disease, which seems to say quite the opposite: “Relative to nondrinkers, moderate and heavy drinkers . . . had significantly higher adjusted odds of survival to age 85 without cognitive impairment.” So this purported poison fosters longevity and bolsters cognitive health. Make that a double!

Once you start playing the “let’s call it toxic” game, it never stops. Wheat is toxic; but you knew that. Microsoft and the Eat This, Not That! gang produced a click-baity list of “70 Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.” It’s important to remember that soda pop doesn’t meet any reasonable definition of poisonous; if you drink a can of their high-ranked Fanta grape soda, you won’t die.

You could drink 50 cans of Fanta at a sitting and you wouldn’t die. Fifty cans of Fanta every day for a year? Not good. But then it’s your stupidity and penchant for self-abuse that’s toxic, not the sweet, fake-grape liquid you are pouring down your throat.

All this to say: Happy Halloween! And do send me your Reese’s pieces. I must confess, I’m addicted.


Dana Loesch Explains Why She's Being Forced to Move Out of Her House

Radio host and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch explained on Fox News' The Story with Martha MacCallum Monday why she has been forced to pack up and move her family out of her house.

Following the Las Vegas massacre, Loesch said she and her family -- including her children -- have received credible violent and vile threats from gun-control advocates and other political opponents because of her role with the National Rifle Association.

Loesch on Sunday described what she has been going through on Twitter, following the lead of other women who were using the #MeToo hashtag to share their personal stories about sexual harassment and sexual assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

"It's an awful, unfortunate thing," said Loesch, explaining that while she was taking a break from packing on Sunday, she saw that the #MeToo hashtag was trending.

"And I looked at it and I saw many awful stories of women who have experienced and have endured sexual harassment," she said.

Loesch tweeted on Sunday that one guy threatened to shoot her in her front yard.  Another guy posted photos of her house on social media and threatened to "rape her to death," she said.  Another gun-control advocate threatened to hunt her down and assault her, and then dragged her kids into it.

She wrote: "The culture is only non-conservative women deserve respect. It’s idiotic, demonstrated daily, and deserving of more than 140 chars."

"These threats are why I'm leaving!" Loesch told MacCallum. "These threats are why I'm moving my family at a horrible time in terms of real estate, before the holidays -- which is never fun."

Loesch said she doesn't hate her political opponents, she just wants people to have a choice to carry a weapon.

She praised the FBI and local law enforcement for their help during her ordeal. "They've all been absolutely amazing to work with," she said.

Loesch also credited Chelsea Clinton for backing her up on Twitter. Clinton tweeted her support on Sunday, saying that the threats are "awful and unacceptable:"

Unfortunately, many of Clinton's followers didn't agree.

"I think for so long there have been many who have tolerated a little bit of sexism to achieve their political objective. I think that some people -- some on the left -- have tolerated sexism toward conservative women because it helps them achieve a goal of silencing conservative women and silencing the conservative agenda. And that is never how it should be."

"I feel that all women, all men should have the platform to be able to speak freely and voice their opinions without having to move out of their houses," said Loesch. "I'll never stand down."


IRS Shouldn't Be Allowed to Punish Churches for Content of Sermons, Pastors Say

In 1954, Congress passed the Johnson Amendment forbidding 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from openly endorsing political candidates. Alongside other non-profit organizations, churches that violate the Johnson Amendment risk having their non-profit status revoked by the IRS. Inserted into the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, the Johnson Amendment has been fairly uncontroversial until recent years.

Starting in the 2000s, a growing number of religious and conservative leaders have called for its repeal. President Donald Trump promised to repeal it earlier this year. And in a new survey sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom and conducted by LifeWay Research, a majority of Protestant pastors believe that the IRS shouldn't be allowed to punish churches over sermon content.

While the Johnson Amendment is currently a political hot-button issue, LifeWay Research points out that:

Only one congregation has lost its tax-exempt status due to the Johnson Amendment. That happened in 1995, after the Church at Pierce Creek near Binghamton, N.Y., ran newspaper ads opposing Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential bid. Other churches have been investigated for the content of their sermons, including All Saints Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, after a preacher there criticized President George W. Bush days before the 2004 election.

Still, the IRS warns churches to steer clear of direct involvement in campaigns. And since 2008, the ADF has been challenging the restriction on endorsements through a series of annual 'Pulpit Freedom' Sundays.

Many pastors who responded to the survey don't believe that it's appropriate for sermons to include political endorsements. Simply, as ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb explains, "This poll demonstrates that religious leaders don’t want to be burdened by the continual threat of an IRS investigation and potential penalties based simply on what they say from the pulpit."

LifeWay Research found widespread opposition to any government penalties for the content of a preacher’s sermons. Ninety-one percent of pastors agree with the statement, 'Pastors should have the right to speak freely from the pulpit without the fear of being penalized by the government.' That includes 77 percent of pastors who strongly agree. Six percent of pastors disagree. Three percent are not sure.
Among those who agree:

96 percent of pastors at larger churches (those with 250 or more attenders).
88 percent of pastors at small churches (those with fewer than 50 attenders).
86 percent of pastors ages 18 to 44.
93 percent of pastors 45 and older.
96 percent of evangelical pastors.
85 percent of mainline pastors.

The survey of 1,000 protestant pastors did reveal small divides, though. Some of LifeWay's other findings include:

Pastors in the South (77 percent) are more likely to agree than pastors in the Northeast (66 percent).
Evangelical pastors (84 percent) are more likely to agree than mainline pastors (58 percent).
Baptist (86 percent), Pentecostal (93 percent) and Holiness (91 percent) pastors are more likely to agree than Lutheran (61 percent), Methodist (56 percent) and Presbyterian/Reformed (61 percent) pastors.

LifeWay Research points out that the vast majority of churchgoers, as well as pastors, don't want political endorsements included in sermons. Nearly 80 percent believe that pastors shouldn't endorse candidates from the pulpit. In the words of LifeWay Research's Executive Director Scott McConnel: "But when they do address political candidates, they don’t believe it is the government’s business. There’s very strong support for Congress to make sure the IRS isn’t policing sermons."


Hollywood Outraged at the Monster It Created

After 50 years objectifying women, it's no wonder that our nation has a problem with sexual abuse

Since the counterculture of the 1960s, Hollywood movies and television programs promoting promiscuity, pornography, moral relativism and the objectification of women have saturated our minds. And so it’s fittingly ironic that this smut-driven industry is finally preying on itself amid the still-emerging allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Indeed, Hollywood leftists are going after one of their own, but it’s taken a long time for them to muster the courage to speak out — and some are still clinging to a preposterous defense of this depraved mogul. Apparently, Weinstein has a long track record of using his power to harass and abuse women — and of being protected by hypocritical media powerhouses like The New York Times and NBC News.

What they’ve been protecting isn’t hard to figure out: If you’re a male with political power in DC or star power in Hollywood, you can treat women as you please so long as you stand up for the right causes. Think about it: This system has given us the likes of Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner and now Harvey Weinstein. They all walked the walk and talked the talk when it came to supporting a range of progressive causes.

But let’s not put all the blame on the men. There are plenty of women on the Left who were willing to “stand by their man” as long as their man towed the progressive line on women’s issues. We’re looking at you, Hillary Clinton.

The same people who were indignant over the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump boasted about groping women knew all along that there were far more dangerous characters on their side. And yet, just like Hillary Clinton, they remained silent for decades while also silencing, demeaning and destroying any and all victims with the courage to speak out.

What is it about Democrats and their sick propensity to protect and defend the monsters within their own ranks?

Weinstein, of course, is presumed innocent, but let’s not mince words: The behavior of which he’s accused is appalling. Still, we should be careful not to let social media serve as both judge and jury. The understandable desire to convict has in the past destroyed innocent lives.

Michelle Malkin suggests that it’s “irresponsible for news outlets to extrapolate how ‘commonplace’ sexual abuse is based on hashtag trends spread by celebrities, anonymous claimants and bots. The role of the press should be verification, not validation. Instead of interviewing activist actresses, reporters should be interviewing bona fide experts.” Malkin adds, “Rape is a devastating crime. So is lying about it. Ignorant advocates and lazy journalists can be as dangerous as derelict detectives and prosecutors driven by political agendas instead of facts. When #MeToo bandwagons form in the midst of a panic, innocent people get run over.”

Unfortunately, the Left isn’t using the Weinstein situation for self-reflection. Instead of looking within and taking a stand against their culture of sexual predation, leftists seem more intent to attack prominent conservatives who embrace traditional values and morals.

Indeed, the real problem with the Left’s indignation is that it’s grossly hypocritical. Apparently, Weinstein’s enablers would often deliberately leave him alone with a target to do whatever he liked. And yet consider all the criticism Vice President Mike Pence received when it was reported that he doesn’t dine with a woman alone if his wife isn’t present. Progressives characterized Pence as a chauvinist, as an oppressor of women — all while Weinstein was “grooming” his next victim.

Clearly, there’s a lesson here, but our decline into moral oblivion goes unchecked. In response to the #MeToo hashtag movement, actress Mayim Bialik wrote this in an op-ed for The New York Times: “I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”


Leftist outrage over Bialik’s common sense statement was immediate and powerful enough to force a complete reversal of her position. And that’s the problem. The “anything goes” mindset is what creates people like Harvey Weinstein. The Left demands accountability on occasion, but not modesty or decency.

This is what the ‘60s counterculture has given us. Traditional marriage is oppressive and discriminatory. Porn is ever present, even among our children. Men are welcomed into women’s bathrooms (and one has been charged with raping a 10-year-old). Gender is subjective. Heather has Two Mommies is actually the title of a children’s book, and a drag queen “demon” reads books to children at school. Even pedophilia is normalized.

In January, a headline in the Los Angeles times read, “Has Hollywood lost touch with American values?” Ya think? It only took decades for someone on the Left to consider the possibility that Hollywood is out of sync with the rest of us.

Remember how many celebrated the life of Hugh Hefner, a man whose Playboy magazine promoted exactly the kind of objectification of women that fed men like Weinstein.

Patrick Trueman considers Hefner’s legacy as “an unlimited supply of pornography on the Internet, a myriad of harms have taken the country by storm: sexual addictions and disorders, damaged and broken relationships, sexting, child-on-child sexual abuse, revenge porn, increased rape on college campuses and the military, rampant sexual objectification of women in popular culture, psychological effects such as anxiety and depression, and the list goes on.”

Going after Harvey Weinstein isn’t going stop sexual abuse in Hollywood, and a Twitter hashtag campaign won’t change decades of cultural rot, just as wearing an AIDS ribbon won’t cure the disease, nor condemning child slavery will end the practice, nor an artful photo spread of an inner-city neighborhood will solve crime, poverty, drug-addiction and fatherlessness.

In the 1980s, none other than Sen. Ted Kennedy viciously attacked Robert Bork’s candidacy for the Supreme Court. Conservatives knew that a Kennedy lashing out at anyone over morals and values was gross hypocrisy. As Bork titled his book, we really are Slouching Towards Gomorrah.

It only took 50 years for Hollywood to figure it out.



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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