Food Politics, Not Science

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Bloomberg article, “The world is getting fatter and no one knows how to stop it,” blathers on about how world governments will centrally manage obesity, with one avenue being the bureaucratic analysis of the ”negative” impact that free trade has upon health outcomes, and hence the centralized management of trade via tariffs, taxation, and policy. Another Bloomberg piece hilariously gets it wrong on “unchallenged” free trade:

In the black-and-white world of economics textbooks, free trade is good for everyone. Each country figures out what it does best, then exchanges the wine or cloth or software it makes with other nations, creating wealth. Where jobs are lost, they’ll be replaced by more suitable ones. Or so the theory goes. For two centuries, the virtue of free trade went almost unchallenged by economists and politicians. Now it’s under attack. Plans for the most ambitious trade agreements in a generation have brought together an unlikely coalition of unions, religious groups, Internet freedom activists and conservationists to galvanize public opinion against them. They’ve refocused the debate on trade’s winners and losers, arguing that the deals threaten to aggravate inequality, degrade labor and health standards and weaken democracy.

Breaking News: The Libertarian Party is Even More Irrelevant Than Ever

Saturday, April 9, 2016
Posted in category Libertarianism

I couldn’t stop laughing.

Famous computer programmer and businessman John McAfee is one of the top three contenders for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, but one of his greatest weaknesses within the party is a lack of connections within the movement itself.

He may have just solved that problem by asking libertarian photographer and entrepreneur Judd Weiss to be his vice presidential running mate.

McAfee has selected a Belair playboy from the Narcissim.Me, anti-brutalist sphere who follows celebritarians around, snapping photos, to “make libertarianism cool” and “make nerds look cooler.” He calls himself “the guy who single handedly hijacked the image and brand of the liberty scene” by photographing “unfolding legends.” To quote:

Essentially what I do with a camera is go around boosting people’s narcissism.

Um, okay. And, oh yeah, these guys are busy floating the all-important ideas of “sexual libertarianism” and the need to make libertarianism LGBT-friendly. This, they say, will undo the problem of the Libertarian Party having become “a joke”? Ironically, these birds like to note that libertarianism is an “intellectual movement” that needs to be about “style over substance.” (Try making sense of that…but I’ll stop there.)

Of course, all of the other unfreedoms that are Americans are being subjected to – especially in the current environment of economic and regulatory totalitarianism – are mere sidebars relegated to limited lip service. This is how the far down the rathole this whole “Libertarian” thing has gone.

Because There’s Just Not Enough Diversity

Saturday, April 9, 2016
Posted in category Politics

Hillary leaves no special interest group untouched. Thanks to Marty for the tip.

Clinton herself pledged in January to “get to the bottom” of whether rumors of U.S. contact with extraterrestrial life were true.

…And he made clear: “The American people can handle the truth.”

She Worked Herself Out of a Job

Saturday, April 9, 2016
Posted in category Health Tyranny

A socialist policy wonk dies by the blade of her own sword. It’s not surprising given the obvious horridness of socialized medicine. What I find striking is what you see a lot of in socialist European countries: the absolute decrepit and disgusting condition of her teeth in spite of living in a wealthy, 1st-world, western region. This is the result of rationed, low-quality, government-managed non-care.

Under the British system individuals have to register with public dentists, and the dentists are paid on a per-patient basis, leading to a volume-based methodology that completely ignores the basic rules of patience beneficence. Plus, the wait times can be atrocious as the NYT once reported, leading to a huge “do-it-yourself-dentistry” industry. This is criminal and deplorable, and Herr Obama and his central planning cronies have put Americans on the same path to subservient hell.

The Fed’s Bubbles

Friday, April 8, 2016
Posted in category Bubble Economy

I think this is self-explanatory.


Auto Bubble: Federal Reserve Policy Shifts Spending Patterns

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fiat Chrysler is laying off workers at its assembly plant right near my house.

Fiat Chrysler says it will lay off about 1,300 workers at an assembly plant in Sterling Heights this summer for an indefinite time due to slow sales of midsize cars made at the factory.

…”While today’s announcement of a shift reduction at Sterling Heights Assembly is unfortunate, it is not unexpected. FCA is not the only company experiencing a slow market for small cars. On a bright note, there is a strong demand for larger-sized vehicles. The company has been planning to increase its capacity to build more trucks and SUVs. I believe that in the long term this move will be a positive one for our members and the company,” said Jewell in a statement.

The auto bubble, with its easy credit and super-low (or no) interest rates guiding the way, has redirected consumers from more affordable small and mid-size cars to the $30k – $40k+ SUVs and pickups that are financed at or near 0% on a 5 – 7 year loan period. In mid-2015, Kelley Blue Book reported that the average new car transaction price had reached $34k. I personally know of individuals who have financed cars that cost at or near 100% of their annual (gross) salary. This is not uncommon, and it is unsustainable.

The “Keeping People Safe” Oppressive State

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

In Marin County, California, the police state is broadening to include zapping ‘speeding’ mountain bikers out on the trails.

Starting this month, Marin County rangers will be deploying radar guns in the open areas and on the shared trails of the Mount Tamalpais park to catch mountain bikers speeding around. There will be two deputies assigned to the role and they could be deployed in any of the 34 open spaces of the park – an area that encompasses 16,000 acres.

…The penalty for speeding on a bike is similar to a motor vehicle offence with riders paying a fine of several hundred dollars, having points put on their license and potentially facing higher insurance costs in the future.

Cyclists can’t exceed 15 mph. To any cyclist with a good level of fitness, let alone a performance level, 15 mph is slow and does not allow for performance improvement training. They’ve already done it in Colorado, and yes, bureaucrats did tell reporters they were “keeping people safe.” Riding faster than 15mph because one is healthy and fit is regarded as “reckless.”

Ultimately, an enforcement of this nature has to have a plan for those who aren’t compliant. So how will these cyclists be pursued if they don’t stop for the trail cop? Will they be pursued, wrestled down and arrested, or shot at? Will they then have a criminal record for engaging police in a pursuit and resisting arrest?

As a long-time cyclist and former mountain bike racer, I’ve come across cyclists who are rude and obnoxious, but then again they are that way off the bike, too. But I deal with far more obnoxious and reckless pedestrians or recreational bikers crossing or wandering into designated bike paths with their heads down, and oftentimes, while looking at their phones. How is the government going to keep me safe from them?

Daily Statins For All

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

CNN reports on the statin pushers and their drive to “qualify” a diverse population around the world to take daily statins.

“This will make the case that statins should be used more broadly, in more countries around the world, and in a more diverse population of people,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

Gupta also noted that in the United States, there is no longer a specific blood cholesterol or lipid level that is targeted, routine blood testing is no longer recommended,and the overall group of patients being recommended statins has increased. In addition to people who have known heart disease, very high cholesterol or are diabetics, the list of people now being recommended statins was widened to include people older than 40 who have a 7.5% or higher risk of heart attack or stroke within 10 years.

The study authors believe this represents a very simple approach to treatment around the world: 10mg of statins without the need for routine blood tests or clinic visits, he said.

Oh, and this should be noted: “The trial was funded by Canadian Institutes of Health and Research and AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company that makes the statin Crestor, which was used in the study, among other drugs.”

Dr. Brownstein, MD, at the Center for Holistic Medicine in southeastern Michigan (where I am a patient/customer), is always on the ball deconstructing each of these pro-statin media hosannas with common sense. And he clarifies this one by explaining how these studies are skewed by interpreting the data in terms of relative risk, not absolute risk.

Several years ago I predicted that the medical-pharmaceutical-government complex would eventually lower the parameters for statin use to the point where they are as common as aspirin across the broader population. The new guidelines from 2014 “increase the number of Americans eligible for statins from about 40 million to 60 million people.” What I wonder is how long it will take for the use of “everyday” pharmaceuticals such as statins to become so normalized that they become mandatory under the guise of “saving us” from horrible medical risks. Perhaps when the masses become further desensitized to the point of full compliance, the anti-statin’ers will become the new “anti-vaxxers.”

Recall the “chewing gum” statement from Merck’s CEO Henry Gadsden, when he told Fortune magazine it was a shame that the company’s products could only be limited to “sick people.” As cited in the book Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients, by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels:

Suggesting he’d rather Merck to be more like chewing gum maker Wrigley’s, Gadsden said it had long been his dream to make drugs for healthy people. Because then, Merck would be able to “sell to everyone.”

Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.


Monday, April 4, 2016
Posted in category Victimology State

This was deemed important enough to be a front page headline in the Sunday Detroit Free Press. Yet, so few libertarians have the cojones to weigh in on this special interest-motivated, political-class victimology that smacks down the worshipped non-aggression principle and private property rights. Why? The silence is deafening.


Obama Fights “Climate Change” With His Cronies and Your Billions

Monday, April 4, 2016

It looks like Spain’s largest corporate failure may not fail at all if its crony benefactors have anything to do about it. In fact, government talking heads have alluded to the fact that the company is “too innovative to fail.” So innovative, you see, that it can’t survive in the market because it is reliant upon government subsidies where there is no market for its products.

Abengoa was a pet project of the Obama administration so he and his cronies could funnel billions in federal subsidies for government-green projects for favored players in the crony ring. The company received $2.7B from the Obama regime for solar energy projects in Arizona and California, and he personally promoted the company while he proudly threw billions into its strongbox. The Arizona project was rife with impropriety. The Washington Times had reported, in late November 2015:

The renewable energy firm, which is constructing several large-scale solar power projects in the U.S. and has received at least $2.7 billion in federal loan guarantees since 2010, said Wednesday it will begin insolvency proceedings, a technical first step toward a possible bankruptcy.

…A potential Abengoa bankruptcy could be much worse for taxpayers, although it’s unclear how much of the guaranteed loans the company has paid back. Neither the White House nor the Energy Department responded to requests for comment Wednesday seeking information on how much the company still owes on the loans, for which the federal government might be left on the hook.

…“When you have a company that is based on subsidies, it is no surprise they run into financial trouble because their business model isn’t based on economics; it’s based on politics,” said Daniel Simmons, vice president for policy at the conservative Institute for Energy Research, a leading critic of the administration’s spending on renewable fuels and of the president’s energy policy more broadly.

In Spain, a company is given 4 months to reach agreement with its creditors. Last week marked that day when that agreement was due, otherwise the company would have to seek insolvency proceedings. Except that on the day of reckoning last week, Bloomberg reported that ”more than 75 percent of the company’s lenders agreed to continue talks for as much as seven months, Seville-based Abengoa said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Note what banks are lining up at the trough of credit default swaps. Now what’s really interesting is the cast of characters around the company. Many thanks to Steve for the links to the latest, updated stories on this topic. Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.