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February 23, 2010



I think it's interesting that in my family we generally have ignored dietary regimes from time to time recommended from on high and yet have outlived our health care providers and those who have proferred dietary advice.

I grant that life may SEEM longer to those who live on okra and beans and no salt or fats or red eat, but in actuality--it isn't.


When it comes to healthy eating, it takes a long time for the official wisdom to catch up with medical research.

A good example is the constant noise we hear about the dangers of eating saturated fat (whose harmfulness is limited and debatable), when in fact the vegetable oils commonly used in the West are loaded with the far more unhealthy Omega-6 fatty acids.


Didn't we have enough salt talks under Nixon and Carter?

Danube of Thought

An encouraging assessment on Obamacare.

And another lusty -19 at Raz.

Dave (in MA)

Is pepper still OK?

surveys that analyzed the amount of salt excreted in urine collected over 24 hours
Now there's a fun job for you.
Jim Ryan

Hmm. I think if each family's salt intake were capped at a safe amount and any family that wanted to eat more salt had to trade its credits with other families, perhaps on some sort of market, then we could have a real solution here. Funding it might require $100B now, a little more in the out years, but this will keep American families safe with a free-market scheme that should appeal to conservatives.

Old Lurker

Jim, perhaps you can set up an Exchange to do that, but first please clear you plan with the UN. There should be a tax on each trade that goes into the HealthCare Lockbox.

Old Lurker

I am a pagan in a house surrounded by health care nuts.

They never understood my putting salt on watermelon. Geezh.

Jim Ryan

Great idea OL. Then, we could raid the lockbox to fund Earth Awareness programs or unions' getaway vacations.


OK, George Friedman has weighed in with an excellent discussion on assassination as strategy: The">http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2010/02/23/the_utility_of_assassination_98814.html">The Utility of Assassination. It's fairly lengthy, beginning with a discussion of wartime leaders--the examples he offers (inter alia) include Admiral Yamomoto (the peerless naval strategist) and, of course, Hitler (the charismatic leader). He then moves from conventional warfare to unconventional or covert warfare. Here's a sampling of his reasoning:

The contemporary reality is not a battlefield on which a Yamamoto might be singled out or a charismatic political leader whose death might destroy his regime. Rather, a great deal of contemporary international politics and warfare is built around these covert capabilities. In the case of Hamas, the mission of these covert operations is to secure the resources necessary for Hamas to engage Israeli forces on terms favorable to them, from terror to rocket attacks. For Israel, covert operations exist to shut off resources to Hamas (and other groups), leaving them unable to engage or resist Israel.

Expressed this way, covert warfare makes sense, particularly for the Israelis when they engage the clandestine efforts of Hamas. Hamas is moving covertly to secure resources. Its game is to evade the Israelis. The Israeli goal is to identify and eliminate the covert capability. Hamas is the hunted, Israel the hunter here. Apparently the hunter and hunted met in the United Arab Emirates, and the hunted was killed.

But there are complexities here. First, ... Covert warfare is different from conventional warfare, but the essential question stands: Is the target you are destroying essential to the enemy's ability to fight? And even more important, as the end of all war is political, does defeating this enemy bring you closer to your political goals?

Covert organizations, like armies, are designed to survive attrition. ...

They achieve this through redundancy and regeneration. After the massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972, the Israelis mounted an intense covert operation to identify, penetrate and destroy the movement - called Black September - that mounted the attack. ...

The mission was successfully carried out, but the mission was poorly designed. ... It might have been politically necessary for the Israeli public, it might have been emotionally satisfying, but Israel's enemies weren't broken. ...

Therefore, the political ends the Israelis sought were not achieved. The Palestinians did not become weaker. The year 1972 was not the high point of the Palestinian movement politically. It became stronger over time, gaining substantial international legitimacy. If the mission was to break the Palestinian covert apparatus to weaken the Palestinian capability and weaken its political power, the covert war of eliminating specific individuals identified as enemy operatives failed. The operatives very often were killed, but the operation did not yield the desired outcome.

And here lies the real dilemma of assassination. It is extraordinarily rare to identify a person whose death would materially weaken a substantial political movement in some definitive sense - i.e., where if the person died, then the movement would be finished. ...

A single swift, global blow is what is dreamt of. Covert war actually works as a battle of attrition, involving the slow accumulation of intelligence, the organization of the strike, the assassination. ...

In war there is a terrible tension between the emotions of the public and the cold logic that must drive the general. In covert warfare, there is tremendous emotional satisfaction to the country when it is revealed that someone it regards as not only an enemy, but someone responsible for the deaths of their countryman, has been killed. But the generals or directors of intelligence can't afford this satisfaction. They have limited resources, which must be devoted to achieving their country's political goals and assuring its safety. Those resources have to be used effectively.

There are few Hitlers whose death is morally demanded and might have a practical effect. Most such killings are both morally and practically ambiguous. In covert warfare, even if you concede every moral point about the wickedness of your enemy, you must raise the question as to whether all of your efforts are having any real effect on the enemy in the long run. If they can simply replace the man you killed, while training ten more operatives in the meantime, you have achieved little. If the enemy keeps becoming politically more successful, then the strategy must be re-examined.

We are not writing this as pacifists; we do not believe the killing of enemies is to be avoided. And we certainly do not believe that the morally incoherent strictures of what is called international law should guide any country in protecting itself. What we are addressing here is the effectiveness of assassination in waging covert warfare. Too frequently, it does not, in our mind, represent a successful solution to the military and political threat posed by covert organizations. It might bring an enemy to justice, and it might well disrupt an organization for a while or even render a specific organization untenable. But in the covert wars of the 20th century, the occasions when covert operations - including assassinations - achieved the political ends being pursued were rare. That does not mean they never did. It does mean that the utility of assassination as a main part of covert warfare needs to be considered carefully. Assassination is not without cost, and in war, all actions must be evaluated rigorously in terms of cost versus benefit.

Kevin B

For the last six months, I've been a bit like the chief guest in an episode of House. You know, the guy who, every time they try a new medicine it makes things worse instead of better.

Anyway, each time I visit one of the Doctors they take my blood pressure, and each time it's too high, (at least in the current iteration of 'too high'), and I have to remind them that I've twice been fitted with a 24hr BP monitor and, lo and behold, my BP has been normal once I leave the stressful surroundings of a Doctor's surgery or hospital. This phenomonen is not uncommon, I'm told.

Since the whole salt controversy is over whether reducing salt intake will reduce 'the nation's' blood pressure and thus prevent heart attacks and strokes, it seems to me that getting a good baseline of what a healthy BP is and whether salt intake affects it might be a good idea before we start yet another mass intervention in the nation's diet.

Jack is Back!

Interestingly, I am married to a Belgian. They know a thing or two about food, believe me. You do not last long as a butcher (slager), baker, grocer or restauranteur unless you serve up the best, highest quality foods. That given, her family uses NO salt in cooking, nor do a lot of restaurants but rather leave it to the consumer or eater to make those adjustments in taste independently. When I cook I use only Kosher salt in the cooking those rare times it needs seasoning up front but I'm always aware that even if there is no salt in the food product it doesn't mean it is "sodium" free. Just because it says "no salt" doesn't mean "no sodium".


One more tidbit of information re the Dubai hit:

Two former PA-affiliated Fatah members, and former PA intelligence officers in Gaza before Hamas overthrew the PA unity government in the June 2007 coup, have been named as chief suspects. Anwar Shheibar and Ahmed Hasnain were allegedly members of a death cell that carried out violent suppression of the PA's political opponents, especially Hamas members, before they fled Gaza after the 2007 coup.

They were recently arrested in Jordan then extradited to Dubai on request of the Dubai authorities, according to newspaper reports. The two are alleged to have rented hotel rooms and hired vehicles for the assassination squad.

Nope, it's to conserve salt; the liver is the miracle worker.

Isn't the purpose of the kidney to turn wine into water?

Why shouldn't you be stressed at the doctor's?  You never know what the hell they are gonna say.

Kevin B, your office blood pressures are a sign of 'White Coat Syndrome'. The home monitors tell the truth.

According to the new religion meat only came when the local sociopath killed animal and the rest didn't want it to go to waste.

Salt, fats, and sweets were all difficult to find in nature while our metabolisms evolved. Hence, the body supplied brain chemicals as a reward after the work necessary to acquire these nutritional necessities. At the mouth of the cornucopia, we no longer have to work, but we still get the brain chemicals, hence, the hypertension, the diabetes, the obesity, and the arterial congesting. When the government can no longer tax us to pay for the drugs to treat these conditions, it will tell us to 'Work For Food'.

Thomas Collins

My father died in his mid-80s. He never ate salad, worked in a job in the immediate vicinity of asbestos for over 30 years, and loved his dropped eggs on toast with plenty of butter, and his fatty meats.

One aunt died in her early ninties. Loved her bacon and eggs.

Another aunt and uncle recently died in their early nineties. No whole grains, the uncle loved his pipe, plenty of sugary desserts.

A couple of uncles died in their seventies. Plenty of cigars and booze were a part of their diets.

Another uncle died in this seventies. Plenty of cigarettes and booze.

My pediatrician died in his eighties. After my physical exam, I would come into his main office to get weighed and pay the examination fee. He would be putting out a Camel nonfilter in his ashtray.

These folks came from a generation that loved Luckys and Camels, sugary desserts, not much of whole grain foods, and beer and whisky. The generation that took down the Emperor's Imperial Army and the Nazis.

All I can say to the food tyrants is this: shove it where the sun don't shine.

Thomas Collins

Meanwhile, while our Coastal elites obsess about the proper amount of organic produce to ingest, growing boys are being drugged for being boys. Want to worry about a problem of what we ingest? Worry about that.


It's all genetic, TC. Some people will be healthy and long-lived no matter what they eat, drink and smoke or how little they exercise. Some people will be on a low-sodium, meatless and fatless diet for their entire adult lives and still draw a losing hand.

The only thing you can do with diet and exercise is to *possibly* lessen the chances of your genetic predispositions catching up with you.

I would think this would be obvious to everyone by now but the "studies show" people keep chugging onward.


growing boys are being drugged for being boys.

No joke. The feminization of the culture leads to an expectation that boys should behave more like girls. When boys don't cooperate, adults are increasingly unable to deal. Teachers aren't prepared for it and neither are a lot of parents. No wonder boys are starting to drop out of school at a higher rate.

My nephew is homeschooled and has what would almost certainly be ADD or ADHD if his parents went for that kind of diagnosis. Instead what they do is let him play outside and ride his bike for 2-3 hours/day. Works like a charm.

Thomas Collins

Porchlight, your nephew sounds as if he is a normal energetic boy. I agree that probably would result in a ADD or ADHD diagnosis by the ninny nanny-staters running our school systems.

I guess the benefits of outdoor activities such as bike riding don't make it into the schools of education curricula.

Old Lurker

TC, will you adopt me?

Thomas Collins

Better talk to my three kids, Old Lurker, before signing on. :-))


They will have to pry the salt from my cold water-retaining bloated fingers.


my BP has been normal once I leave the stressful surroundings of a Doctor's surgery or hospital.


I have the same condition. The last time I was at the docs she was taking my bp while saying we needed health care reform - my usually low bp was thru the roof.

I told her to shut up about health care and take it again in 10 minutes - at which time it was perfectly normal.

Dance to the Muses.

Porchlight, your nephew may be a kinetic learner.


Tell Mayor Bloomberg to stop his initiative to reduce sodium and to leave health decisions to doctors and patients and food decisions to individuals.

Send the message:

No more public health policies based on a false premise.
No more nanny state alarmism and control.
No more experimenting with our lives.

Sign the petition at MyFoodMyChoice.org

Buford Gooch

The answer to all food questions is "Bacon".


Porchlight, your nephew may be a kinetic learner.

I don't know exactly what that is, kim, but it sounds a bit like some of the Waldorf theory his parents adhere to. You may be right. He's constantly in motion. He's 13 now, tall for his age, muscular and a really good BMX rider. And in his speech, his l's and r's still sound like w's. Funny how one sees progress in some areas and not in others.

Joseph Brown

I could be wrong, but didn't they pay Roman soldiers with salt?
The human body has to have a certain amount of salt.


Waldorf theory

Here we call adherents of said theory "Walnuts."

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