A couple of news items landed in my inbox recently that aren’t directly related, but they’re both examples of the Vision of The Anointed at work.

I gave a brief summary of The Vision of The Anointed (as described by economist Thomas Sowell in a book by that name) in a speech I called Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds.  If you haven’t seen it, here’s a recap of how The Anointed (who are nearly always members of the intellectual class) operate:

  • The Anointed identify a problem in society
  • The Anointed propose a Grand Plan to fix the problem
  • Because they are so supremely confident in their ideas, The Anointed don’t bother with proof or evidence that the Grand Plan will actually work
  • If possible, The Anointed will impose the Grand Plan on other people (for their own good, of course)
  • The Anointed assume anyone who opposes the Grand Plan is either evil or stupid
  • If the Grand Plan fails, The Anointed will never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was wrong

The first news item that reminded me of The Anointed was about an (ahem) study that pinpoints the reason we have an obesity problem in modern America.  Here are some quotes:

A new report puts some of the blame for Americans’ expanding waistlines on the growth of new Wal-Mart supercenters in the US.

Big box retailers, and Wal-Mart in particular, have made cheap, bulk-size junk foods more readily available, and Americans are eating more as a result, argues the report, which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“We live in an environment with increasingly cheap and readily available junk food,” Charles Courtemanche, an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University and one of the report’s co-authors, told the Washington Post. “We buy in bulk. We tend to have more food around. It takes more and more discipline and self-control to not let that influence your weight.”

Well, there you have it.  People are fat because there’s more food around.  I remember asking my grandparents when I was a wee child, “Grandma, Grandpa … why aren’t you fat?”  And my grandpa plopped me on his knee and rubbed my head and said, “Well, we would be if we could.  But if you go look over there in the pantry, you’ll see we’re down to a few slices of bread and some carrots.  It happens all the time because there’s no Wal-Mart nearby and we can only afford to eat just as much as we should.”

The researchers found higher rates of obesity in areas dense with supercenters, which have a larger selection of food and also offer other services, such as auto repair. Just one additional supercenter per 100,000 residents increases average body mass index in the area by 0.24 units and the obesity rate by 2.3% points, they found.

Riiiight.  And since correlation proves causation, that means Wal-Mart is making people fat.  It couldn’t be, say, the fact that low-income people are more likely to be fat for all kinds of reasons, and that Wal-Mart super-centers are built where their most loyal customers live.

Notice how nobody who blames obesity on lower food prices can explain why the wealthiest Americans also have the lowest rates of obesity?  If it’s all about affordability, then wealthy people should be the fattest – they can eat whatever they want and as much as they want.  But no, it’s only if we’re talking about poor people that we blame affordability – and thus Wal-Mart.

“These estimates imply that the proliferation of Wal-Mart Supercenters explains 10.5% of the rise in obesity since the late 1980s,” researchers wrote.

Uh-huh.  And I’ll bet you all had no idea what to blame for obesity, then just stumbled across this data during a wide-open search for truth, then came to your astonishing conclusions.

Of course that’s not what happened.  These bozos with PhDs went looking for a reason to blame Wal-Mart and – ta-da! – they found it.  Intellectuals blaming Wal-Mart for the ills of society … now that is a shock.

In case you haven’t noticed, The Anointed are contemptuous of Wal-Mart and the people who shop there.  This article in the Atlantic, written by a Brit, describes the snobbery rather nicely:

As a young man I aspired to live and work in the US because I wanted to be part of a thriving classless society. Of course that was naive. America is not a classless society. I’m not talking about the 1% and the 99%, and I’m not talking about mainstream America and the underclass (shocking though that gulf is). I’m talking about elite disdain for a much larger segment of the country. It’s a cultural thing: American snobbery.

Many of my American friends have an irrationally intense loathing of Wal-Mart, as though delivering bargains to the masses isn’t quite proper.

In America elite and demotic cultures aren’t merging, they are moving farther apart. The elite is ever more confident of its cultural superiority, and the demos, being American, refuses to be condescended to. I don’t think it’s economic pressure that causes much of the country to cling bitterly to guns and their religion, as Obama put it so memorably. It’s a quintessentially American refusal to be looked down on.

[The elite] may use a self-conscious rhetoric of non-judgmentalism – words like ‘inappropriate’ and ‘challenging’, or phrases such as ‘people in need of support’ and ‘people with issues’ – but they have no inhibitions about instructing others about what food they should eat, how they should bring up their children, or what forms of behaviour are healthy.

Well said, my British friend.  You just described The Anointed.

Here are some similar thoughts from an essay in The National Review:

A few weeks ago, I was very much amused by the sight of anti-Wal-Mart protests in Manhattan — where there is no Wal-Mart, and where, if Bill de Blasio et al. have their way, there never will be. Why? Because we’re too enlightened to let our poor neighbors pay lower prices. The head-clutchingly expensive shops up on Fifth and Madison avenues? No protests.

Ironically, the anti-Wal-Mart crusaders want to make life worse for people who are literally counting pennies as they shop for necessities. Study after study has shown that Wal-Mart has meaningfully reduced prices: 3.1 percent overall, by one estimate — with a whopping 9.1 percent cut to the price of groceries. That comes to about $2,300 a year per household, savings that accrue overwhelmingly to people of modest incomes, not to celebrity activists and Ivy League social-justice crusaders.

And here’s a quote from Member of The Anointed Bill Maher explaining how Wal-Mart shoppers choose to vote:

Republicans need to stop saying Barack Obama is an elitist, or looks down on rural people, and just admit you don’t like him because of something he can’t help, something that’s a result of the way he was born. Admit it, you’re not voting for him because he’s smarter than you.

Uh, no, Bill, that’s not quite it.  It’s more along the lines of something Milton Friedman once said:  it’s not intelligent people who are the problem.  The problem is people who are so impressed with their own intelligence, they feel qualified to tell others how to live.

Barack Obama can’t help it if he’s a magna cum laude Harvard grad and you’re a Wal-Mart shopper who resurfaces driveways with your brother-in-law.

Ahh, Bill, so that’s the reason.  Wal-Mart shoppers resent smart people with Ivy League degrees.  Strangely, many of those Wal-Mart shoppers later voted for Mitt Romney, who earned both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard.

Brilliant argument.  Maher chides Republicans for saying Obama is an elitist who looks down on rural people, then makes it perfectly obvious that he, an Obama enthusiast, is an elitist who looks down on rural people.  (I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean Wal-Mart shopper as a compliment.)

Gee, Bill, I would think someone with your towering intellect would recognize how thoroughly you just undermined your own argument.   Of course The Anointed look down on rural people and Wal-Mart shoppers.  And despite what you and your fellow left-wing snots think, the rural Wal-Mart shoppers are smart enough to know it.

That sneering attitude towards “Wal-Mart shoppers” is the reason I can’t stand Bill Maher.  He’s a left-wing snot, and his live audience is full of left-wing snots who whoop and cheer at his snotty comments as a form of congratulating themselves for what they see as their superiority to people who shop at Wal-Mart and resurface driveways.

Even though I spent a chunk of my life as a comedian, I’ll be the first to say that if all the comedians disappeared, life would be less entertaining, but we’d be fine.  If all the magna cum laude graduates from Harvard Law School disappeared, we’d also be fine, if not better off.  But if all the people who know how to resurface driveways or otherwise build and repair stuff disappeared, we’d be screwed.

Anyway, you get the point.  The Anointed view Wal-Mart shoppers as idiots.  And since they’re idiots, the Wal-Mart shoppers are stuffing themselves and getting fat because – thanks to the low prices offered by the evil Wal-Mart – they can now afford to stuff themselves.  I mean, it’s not as if any of them have actually tried to lose weight or anything.

So The Anointed see all these stupid Wal-Mart shoppers getting fat, which means The Anointed must come up with a Grand Plan to fix the problem – and of course, as The Anointed, they aren’t expected to provide any evidence that the plan would work.

The plan that came out in the media recently was proposed in 2010 by none other than Jonathan Gruber.  If the name isn’t familiar, it should be.  Gruber was once called “the architect” of ObamaCare by Democrats … until he embarrassed himself and the party by getting himself caught on video telling the truth about what it took to pass ObamaCare:

Yup, “the architect” was justifying lying to the public about what ObamaCare would actually do.  The voters are stupid, ya see — one of the only two reasons anyone resists a Grand Plan proposed by The Anointed — so you have to lie to them to get a bill passed that’s really for their own good.

Gruber’s statements so perfectly captured the attitude of The Anointed, The Anointed in the Obama administration immediately tried to disown him.

Meanwhile, Bill Maher renewed his credentials as a member of The Anointed by agreeing with Gruber:

On Friday, Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, brought up Jonathan Gruber, the economist who was an advisor and main architect on Obamacare and got caught crediting the “stupidity” of Americans to get the bill passed. Maher joked they were “soulmates” and likened his fellow Americans to dogs, and didn’t understand why anything Gruber said about the average American’s stupidity was considered controversial.

Maher’s audience applauded wildly, as they always do for their hero.

By the way, the subtitle of Sowell’s book is Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.  When Bill Maher agrees that you have to lie to the stupid voters to do what’s best for them and his audience of left-wing snots hoots and cheers in response, that’s a fine example of self-congratulation.  They were probably high-fiving each other for not being stupid voters … you know, the kind who shop at Wal-Mart and resurface driveways and don’t understand that we need The Anointed to make important decisions for us … such as what kind of health insurance we’ll be allowed to buy.

That’s the attitude.  Now here’s the kind of Grand Plan the attitude produces:

Jonathan Gruber, long credited as the architect of ObamaCare, once discussed the necessity of taxing fat people by body weight in order to fight obesity.

“Ultimately, what may be needed to address the obesity problem are direct taxes on body weight,” Gruber wrote in an essay for the National Institute for Health Care Management in April 2010, just months after helping design ObamaCare with the president in the Oval Office and during the period in which he was under contract as an Obama administration consultant.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least twice:  whenever The Anointed come up with a Grand Plan to fix a problem, it somehow always requires confiscating other people’s money or limiting their freedom to make their own decisions — or both, for a REALLY Grand Plan.

So there’s the mind of The Anointed at work:  people are fat because Wal-Mart has made food too cheap.  All those people who resurface driveways with their brother-in-law are overeating because they can afford to … and because they’re stupid and have no discipline.  But if The Anointed impose direct taxes on bodyweight, the stupid driveway resurfacers will say to themselves, “Well, heck, I can’t afford those taxes!  I’d better stop eating so much of this cheap Wal-Mart food and lose some weight.”

And then once again, The Anointed will have fixed society’s problems.  All hail The Anointed.

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158 Responses to “The Anointed Know Why You’re Fat And What To Do About It”
  1. Excellent. Better than excellent. You basically nailed it.

    But… You left out the 7th bullet point…

    * The Grand Plan almost always fails. Which, of course only proves that we didn’t do enough of it.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      That was in the speech, yes, but I left it out of the very brief summary.

      • JillOz says:

        Tom, I know you do principally diet here but I’d really like it if you discussed fat, obesity and weight-loss as related to stress and the taking of steroidal drugs that prevent weight loss and often make people gain weight. I reckon those are factors seldom discussed in obesity issues.

        And I’ll take a side order of sweet potato fries to go. 😉

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Chareva’s sweet potato fries are awesome because she fries them in bacon grease. But as yet, we have no plans to install a drive-up window.

  2. Barbara King says:

    I’m not “poor” but I do occasionally shop at Walmart; because of their high volume turnover, their produce is the freshest of all the stores in my area. As a bonus I save money. Funny, I’ve yet to be seduced by their volumes of “cheap bulk-sized junk food”. I’m wondering why the anointed don’t go after Costco, they too have “cheap bulk-sized junk food”… oh wait, the founder votes Democrat.

  3. KevinF says:

    Reminds me of a demographic experiment I did a few years ago one day when I was deep in annoyance about my arrogant liberal co-workers who hated Wal-Mart. I asked myself, which store better serves the community? Wal-Mart, or Whole Foods?

    Hanging around Wal-Mart I readily noticed very equal demographics, about 1/3 black, 1/3 Hispanic, and 1/3 white people who looked suspiciously not-affluent. (As well I could guess such ethnicity and status by eyesight alone, admittedly totally unreliable but I had to make do.) Seemed Wal-Mart was literally serving those very sorts of people my liberal friends all cared so much about (meaning the black and the brown, not the poor-white).

    Then I went to Whole Foods. What did I see? White white white. It was like a Finnish albino convention in a snowstorm with polar bears. Lots of honkies. Some aging hippies. And a few suspiciously professional-looking Asians (as well as one can guess such things by looking, surely not very well but there you go). No Hispanic-looking folks, no African-Americans. I’ve often pondered the meaning of all this. I think the answer is that rich white people are easily separated from their money.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Yup, lots of people loyal to the party that claims to care about “the little guy” actually think the little guy is fat buffoon who resurfaces driveways with his bother-in-law.

    • Firebird says:

      I noticed that a lot of those white folk in Whole Paycheck looked like emaciated hippy leftovers from the 1960s that live on bean sprouts and wheatgrass…the holier than thou vegan with long stringy hair and dark circled under their eyes.

    • AuntieM says:

      “It was like a Finnish albino convention in a snowstorm with polar bears” is the best thing I’ve read in ages. Thanks for the laugh!!

  4. As a Tennessean living in SoCal, I have this conversation about six times a week.
    Person: I mean, why is the right so angry and close-minded? If it wasn’t for those ignorant rednecks, we could change this country.
    Me: Your second sentence answered your first.
    Person: (blank stare)

    See, inclusion is great. So is empathy. So is trying to understand those less fortunate than you. Unless they are your fellow Americans, in which case to hell with them, it seems.

    • This was supposed to read as a criticism of the Anointed, but writing on my phone is not my forte, it seems.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      When I lived in and near Hollywood, I was struck by how many people managed to combine ignorance with arrogance. The prevailing attitude seemed to be “We don’t have to actually know what the @#$% we’re talking about as long as we’re sufficiently smug about what we think we know.”

      One of few times I punished myself by watching Maher’s show, he stated confidently that “fascism means corporations run the government.” That towering intellect again! Fascism means the government controls almost everything, including the economy. There’s a reason Hitler and Mussolini both had the word “socialist” in the name they chose for their parties.

      But being Maher, he was of course smug in what he thought he knew, as were the sheep in his audience who hooted and cheered.

      • Joseph Shaughnessy says:

        Actually, by the original definition, Maher was correct. From Merriam Webster – a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
        From Wikipedia – under Fascist Corporatism – Italian Fascism involved a corporatist political system in which economy was collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at the national level.[35] This non-elected form of state officializing of every interest into the state was professed to reduce the marginalization of singular interests (as would allegedly happen by the unilateral end condition inherent in the democratic voting process). Corporatism would instead better recognize or “incorporate” every divergent interest into the state organically, according to its supporters, thus being the inspiration for their use of the term totalitarian, perceivable to them as not meaning a coercive system but described distinctly as without coercion in the 1932 Doctrine of Fascism… (for more, refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism#Fascist_corporatism )

        Nowadays, conservative call liberals Nazis and Fascists and liberals call them the very same names right back. Fascism is complex and interesting and can be manifested either with a right wing or left wing slant. It is almost always undemocratic and/or anti-democracy. Your “Anointed” would find a home in Fascism, but so would many right wing zealots and Fox “News” personalities who also know what’s best for all of us. Both sides consider themselves smarter than other people (whether college educated or school of hard knocks) and also patriots. In any event, one of the original names for Italian Fascists was Corporatists.

        As for myself, I have a favorite T-shirt that says Skeptical Optimist.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          So given the wiki definition of corporatist fascism, ObamaCare would pretty much fit.

          • Joseph Shaughnessy says:

            It would if it were arrived at undemocratically – by fiat, rather than act of congress and presidential signature. Obama may be one of your anointed, but he was not appointed, he was elected, as were the congress people who passed the law.

            As the old saying goes, Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest.

            • Tom Naughton says:

              We did arrive at it undemocratically. He lied — over and over and over — about what the bill would do. If he had told the truth and said, “Most of you who prefer high deductibles and low premiums won’t be able to keep your existing policies,” no way the bill would have passed. Congressional phones would have been ringing non-stop and too many members of Congress would have been afraid to vote against the wishes of angry constituents. That’s why the Democrats got their asses kicked in the mid-term elections; the voters couldn’t vote Obama out of office, but they could dump people who passed a law based on a lie.

              As far as I’m concerned, when the president and several members of Congress flat-out lie about a bill’s provisions before passing it, the law was not democratic and is illegitimate — same as a contract in which one party lies about what he’ll deliver.

              After the bill was passed, His Highness granted exemptions to politically connected groups who don’t want ObamaCare to apply to them (equal protection under the law, anyone?), then later waved his magic scepter and declared that some aspects of the law wouldn’t kick in until after the mid-term elections. He has no constitutional authority to just willy-nilly decide the date a law takes effect is no longer the date a law takes effect just because he wants to protect his party before an election. That’s ruling by fiat.

  5. Sara B. says:

    Junk food couldn’t be sold for such low prices if the government would stop subsidizing its production. I’m surprised (not really) that the Anointed haven’t figured out that side of the equation. No need to tax fat people, just allow the market for the product to reflect the real cost without government manipulation.

  6. Jason B. says:

    “But if all the people who know how to resurface driveways or otherwise build and repair stuff disappeared, we’d be screwed.”

    This is exactly the cause that Mike Rowe (of “Dirty Jobs” fame) has been stumping for for years now.

    Found this article:
    http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/03/03/mike-rowe-dirty-jobs/

    At first I thought this was a bit of a tangent from the OP. But I noticed this quote and it seems it might be 100% on target:

    “What’s more, Americans’ views on education — that everyone should pursue a four-year college degree — further stigmatize blue-collar work. But Rowe says education isn’t only found in ivy-covered halls. It’s also found in the everyday lives and occupations of the nation’s laborers.”

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’ve read some interviews with him, and I agree wholeheartedly. The idea that everyone should go to college is stupid — especially if going to college means graduating with a worthless degree and $100,000 in debt.

      • JillOz says:

        Well, I didn’t go to college in America, but I have found my degree pretty useful. It enriched my language and writing skills and enabled me to do research and perceive (much of the time) when I’m being spun. On certain issues, anyway.
        I use its legacy every day. It taught me the value of deadlines too! Who’d have thunk it!;)

        I need other skills for other things but hopefully it’s not too late.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Not trying to say all degrees are useless, of course. But leaving college $100,000 in debt with a degree that will never earn you the extra $100,000 plus interest is a bad bargain.

          • Bret says:

            Look on the bright side. When they graduate, they can go work in government and get “student loan forgiveness.” Yet another nut-kicking tax on the honest work of free trade, and one that attempts to brainwash the next generation into working for government.

            Don’t worry. When we run out of money for all this, we’ll just print more.

            • Tom Naughton says:

              Good lord, I wasn’t aware of that boondoggle.

              • Bret says:

                My dear Tom, it’ll make your blood boil.

                https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service

                http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2014/06/19/here-comes-the-student-loan-forgiveness/

                So, the tax payers “lend” (lots of) money to college students, and then “forgive” much of it, simply for working for government.

                Imagine the economic consequences of that…

                • Tom Naughton says:

                  Good grief, what a scam — especially the program described in Forbes. (The first at least requires 120 payments before “forgiveness.”) The more politicians try to “forgive” or reduce the payments on student loans, the more the cost of college will continue to rise. It’s just like when anyone who could hold a pen to sign the papers could get a mortgage. All that accomplished was to flood the housing market with dollars, which jacked up the price of a house. If every kid coming out of high school can count on a low percent-of-disposable-income payment on a student loan, the number of loans taken out will skyrocket, and then the cost of college will skyrocket.

                  Pure idiocy. The government solution to the high cost of college is to propose programs that will raise the cost of college.

              • Jean says:

                I got student loan forgiveness (which was less than $10,000 for me) when I joined the Army in 1986, but they haven’t offered that option for several years now. I’m not aware of any other government jobs that have that provision now. I also had to take that in lieu of the Montgomery G.I. Bill.

  7. Honeypig says:

    Well, before we go painting Wal-Mart as the savior of the poor, let’s remember the class actions about unpaid overtime, denying employees rest breaks and tampering w/time sheets, among other problems: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/walmart-overtime-labor-department-settlement_n_1470543.html

    Yes, they may have cheap stuff at their stores, but what’s the real cost? I haven’t seen anything so far to make me think Wal-Mart is any kind of hero…

    • Tom Naughton says:

      More than 4,000 workers, all vision center managers or asset protection coordinators, will receive money from the settlement.

      While all U.S. workers are legally entitled to overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week, certain salaried managerial employees in “executive, administrative or professional” roles, are exempt from this provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Prior to 2007, Walmart considered its vision center managers and asset protection coordinators exempt, a policy the Department of Labor now calls a “misclassification.”

      Vision center managers and asset protection managers aren’t exactly the hourly checkout lady, so let’s not portray this as Wal-Mart abusing minimum-wage employees. Sounds as if Wal-Mart classified those managers as exempt until 2007, and in 2012 the Justice Department decided they never should have been classified as exempt.

      • Honeypig says:

        I guess you didn’t read far enough to see this part: “In a separate case in Massachusetts in 2009, the company paid $40 million — the largest wage and hour class-action settlement in the state’s history — to settle a suit that accused it of refusing to pay overtime, denying employees rest breaks and tampering with time sheets.

        And in 2007, through another Department of Labor settlement, Walmart paid $33.5 million in back wages to 86,680 workers, many of them managers who were denied overtime.

        Employees at Walmart’s warehouses have also filed lawsuits, claiming their wages were stolen. In California and Illinois, workers allege that Walmart’s warehouse operators, who have exclusive contracts with the retailer, paid them for fewer hours than they worked.”

        I don’t shop there, and it’s not b/c I’m one of “The Anointed”, it’s b/c I feel they treat their workers like crap. Voting w/my $$.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          If they’re tampering with timesheets, then heck yes, that’s a violation of an agreement. Sue and get what they owe you.

          In the case of “managers who were denied overtime,” that would depend. Did they take the job as salaried employees who are exempt from overtime? Were they promised overtime and then denied it? If so, yes, an agreement was violated. But if they knew they were exempt and were never promised overtime, what agreement was violated?

          As for the stolen-wages case, it says specifically that the beef was with warehouse operators who have contracts with Wal-Mart, not with Wal-Mart itself.

          An NYT article about the 2007 case also says this:

          Steven J. Mandel, associate solicitor in the department’s Fair Labor Standards Division, praised Wal-Mart for bringing the overtime problem to the government’s attention. He said the settlement was one of the largest ever reached by the department under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to pay an overtime premium to employees who work more than 40 hours a week, except for some salaried employees like top managers.

          Wal-Mart officials said that yesterday’s developments showed that the company had made major improvements in wage compliance. They noted that not only had Wal-Mart alerted the Labor Department to the overtime problems after finding them in an internal audit, but that Wal-Mart had already corrected all the calculations.

          • PJ (RightNOW) says:

            The important thing to understand is that every major employer has these sorts of things in their overhead because companies are run by humans at ground level, and humans tend to do things, despite training to be better than that, like lean on their employees to not take breaks when it’s inconvenient, or not stay clocked in for overtime the supervisor has to explain above them, and so on. Such things are rarely if ever ‘administrative mandates from the top’ they are simply ‘imperfect behavior of humans near but not at the bottom’ in most cases. They do not, in themselves, make any company good or evil. They do not reflect official policies. What they reflect is that the larger the company, the more that attorneys know there is likely some serious money to be made in finding, collecting and pursuing these sorts of things. And that’s not bad, if they do wrong, let them pay. But using this as leverage for why Walmart is evil is over-interpretive, seriously.

            • Tom Naughton says:

              All good points.

              • J says:

                There are a lot of people who do not shop at Walmart for “ethical” reasons…

                I can only assume that these same people are righteous enough to not buy anything from ANY company that uses sweatshops or similar work environments to make their clothing and/or products …or are they?

                • Elle says:

                  I pay $5 a dozen for pastured chicken eggs (I know, I know, but finding a farmer with yardbirds is not an option at the moment). I don’t shop at Walmart for ethical reasons. And yes, I try not to buy ANY products that use sweatshops or similar environments. You think I’m gonna care more about chickens than I do about people?

                  There is a sense of irony about getting on your high horse and calling people you don’t agree with but don’t know anything about ignorant hypocrites when the bulk of the post is calling out that behavior.

                  • J says:

                    Some people do appear to care more about animals than people..ALF..PETA..some vegans..etc.

                    ..And some can afford to pay 2-3 times as much for eggs and for stuff (assumedly) made in the eye-rolling, good ol’ US of A…
                    But the majority cant, and/or understand that theres no room for political philosophizing over ethical and moral matters when simply trying to find out how to get the next meal in order to avoid starvation …survival seems to become more important than anyone’s silly notion of “I’m better than you because I” mentality..

                    • Elle says:

                      Mmm, looking back I didn’t make my point very well.

                      This: “There are a lot of people who do not shop at Walmart for “ethical” reasons…I can only assume that these same people are righteous enough to not buy anything from ANY company that uses sweatshops…or are they?”

                      Sounds an awful lot like this: “Barack Obama can’t help it if he’s a magna cum laude Harvard grad and you’re a Wal-Mart shopper who resurfaces driveways with your brother-in-law.”

                      Elitism swings both ways and it’s just as ugly.

                    • J says:

                      “Elitism swings both ways and it’s just as ugly.”

                      And sometimes it disguises itself as innocent benevolence..so gimme a break lol. Some always have to single out [an] “evil corporation(s)”..they always need a battle, which is mainly driven by popular propaganda…kinda like kids who decide to single out and pick on someone on the playground…I suppose it gives certain adults a sense of purpose..yet theyre too privileged or lazy to focus that energy on substantive problems that affect humanity..like death, disease and hunger…So again..gimme a break. And just to be clear, I could care less whether people shop at Walmart or not..just as long as they dont look down their nose at people ..and that, ultimately, was my point (and intention when demonstrating, as you pointed out, that elitism swings both ways..)

  8. Nads says:

    It’s a wonder they don’t use it as an excuse to cut welfare and minimum wage. If they can’t afford to eat as much they won’t get as fat. Geez.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Naw, by taxing body weight, they’re only screwing the low-income people they believe are getting fat on purpose.

  9. Apicius says:

    Looks like Walmart helps keep prices at competitive ranges. They started stocking their shelves with organic foods (dairy, meat, fruits, veg) and it provided Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) with a serious competitor to start fearing. Why go to Whole Paycheck for organic food, when you can get it at much lower prices at Walmart? I certainly have no shame in abandoning Whole Foods and going to Walmart instead. I see no value in paying extra 2 or 3 dollars for a bag of organic spinach at Whole Foods.

    • Jennifer Snow says:

      Here in Ohio, I shop almost exclusively at Meijer because there’s one so close to my house I can basically fall out the door and go shopping. Meijer is a localish superstore that’s ever so slightly more upscale than Wal-Mart. But they have pretty much everything for a Paleo/low-carb/organic/whatever lifestyle, much if it in very inexpensive but high-quality store brand form. The only thing they DON’T have is raw milk, but that’s because it’s illegal here. And they’re always getting in NEW stuff, too–a couple of years ago I complained mildly because they didn’t have any full-fat yogurt. Now they carry 6 brands.

    • Bret says:

      I agree, Apicius. I have no complaint about Whole Foods, which is after all merely serving specialized food products to willing customers at mutually agreeable prices. But if Wal-Mart is selling the same stuff for cheaper, then there’s no question in my mind.

      Capitalism is about competition, and this is a fine example. People can choose to pay higher prices if they want to, but they are wasting their money.

  10. js290 says:

    “Name one ecosystem that is better off for having agriculture moved into it?” Toby Hemenway

    http://bit.ly/1pnapoW

    If we accept that entities like Wal-Mart are inevitable results of civilization based on annual agriculture, then in one sense Wal-Mart does cause the diseases of civilization. Of course, the anointed ones you refer to have not rejected agriculture nor civilization. So, similar to the CICO crowd, they’re beating on the effects and not the actual causes.

    Similarly, I sat in on some lectures at the local university to see what’s being taught in liberal arts schools these days. The policy wonks talking about climate and Paris2015 are some scary mofos.

    • Onlooker says:

      Yeah, I shudder to think about the climate propaganda that’s being heaped upon the young these days (along with many other areas, of course, like nutrition).

      And of course much lip service is paid to the need to teach critical thinking. But nothing of the sort is actually done, with teeny exceptions which don’t last long, like the gifted class teacher who actually does so but who’s position is soon terminated (yes, I’ve seen this).

      The last thing they want is actual critical thinking going on amongst the young. That’s society-wide, of course, as the two most powerful entities, govt and religion, can’t abide such a thing, for obvious reasons.

      • JillOz says:

        Heaped on the young, but paid for by everybody!!

        Thus far climate ‘compliance” has been more or less voluntary. IN Paris they want to make it BINDING. That means legally binding, as in if you don’t comply you are sued for diddling the earth or whatever and you PAY.

        The earth is a legal entity now.

  11. Mirva says:

    http://time.com/3704528/puerto-rico-obese-children-parents-fine/

    Problemsolving a’la Puerto Rico. A fine surely removes obesity

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Oh. My. God.

      • Desmond says:

        They would only be fined after receiving diet advice. Wonder what that will be? More beans, rice, and mofongo? Maybe more papaya and mango? I presume the kids coming off the Disney cruise ships will be exempt… don’t want to drive the tourists away.

  12. Tammy says:

    Tom, you are wonderful! Can you see me dancing around my house, eating a piece of bacon from Wal-Mart, celebrating your wisdom? I love that you tell the truth without fear. I shop at Wal-Mart because the prices are normally good, and they have almost everything I need. I also go to other stores, but if the produce is ugly and also over priced because it’s labeled “Organic”, (Kroger) I don’t buy it. Just like I wouldn’t buy it if it was nasty anyplace else. Even though I shop at WM, I am capable of critical thinking and I employ that skill on a regular basis. I’m also able to pass up all the “healthy whole grains” and other food garbage in EVERY store, no matter how the Anointed Ones feel about that.
    LOVE YOU TOM !!!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Thank you, Tammy.

      Hey, you don’t resurface driveways, do you? Because Bill Maher assumes people who do are idiots.

  13. tony says:

    You left out the 8th bullet point…

    * We know the Grand Plan was a colossal failure. However, we had good intentions.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      That’s actually an earlier bullet point in the full speech. If the intention is good, it means the plan is good.

    • Jennifer Snow says:

      It’s not just that–the Annointed are so sure they know everything that if the Grand Plan fails, it can ONLY be a result of malice/stupidity/non-adherence. The PLAN was perfect. It’s just these idiots screwed it up.

  14. David says:

    So are we going to reach a tipping point? What do you think is going to happen?

  15. Janet says:

    Hey tom. Are your kids inoculated. Hope so.

  16. Janet says:

    I see just as much bloviating and self righteousness around here too folks See much of what is above me. i am laughing. My sister needs insurance. Rheumatoid arthritis and 2 kinds of leukemia at the same time. These are held at bay because she can afford to be treated because she has insurance. She lost a couple of jobs after the GOP Great Recession began. Every time a horrendous evil stress to find a job with insurance. Now, she would at least be able to get insurance and get treatment if she lost another job thru the ACA Do you folks even know what it is? Jeeze.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      My current plan (which His Highness promised I could keep — @#$%ing lying piece of @#$% that he is), costs about $5,000 per year for a family of four. High deductible, low premiums. Works perfectly for us because we’re rarely sick. The family annual deductible is $10,000 per year, but only $2,000 for injuries as opposed to illnesses. That’s why my knee surgery two years ago ended up being $2,000 out of pocket.

      The plan His Highness wants to order me to buy would cost $10,000 more per year in premiums and raise the family deductible to $20,000. Just paying the extra premiums would require reducing contributions to my retirement, or to my daughters’ college funds, or both. So either I don’t retire as comfortably or my daughters get to leave college in debt.

      Now suppose I have another knee injury and need a similar surgery. Previous plan: $5,000 per year premiums, $2,000 deductible = $7,000 combined for the year. ObamaCare: $15,000 in premiums, $20,000 deductible (for what was a $20,000 surgery) = $35,000 combined for the year. Plus that extra $10,000 per year in premiums year in and year out.

      Janet, people like me are going to get royally screwed by ObamaCare. Look at the numbers. Do you really want to tell me you’re fine with that, since your sister is better off? Is screwing me to help your sister the proper function of government in your mind? Do you think perhaps it would have been better to deal with the uninsured problem separately, as opposed to coming up with a new Grand Plan that outlaws the affordable plans many of us preferred and causes people like me to decide we’ll live without insurance instead of allowing His Highness to screw us?

      And finances aside, are you REALLY agreeing that it’s okay to get a bill passed by lying over and over to the public (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan!”) if the result is that your sister is better off? The ends justifies the means in that case, does it?

    • Rae Ford says:

      GOP Great recession?! Are you kidding me?! I hate to burst your liberal-leaning bubble, but this recession has its roots in the Carter administration and was later given another boost while Clinton was in office with legislation being pushed through that allowed people to overextend themselves on loans while purchasing homes. Throw in the fact that Clinton EMPTIED our natural gas reserves and sprinkle on the liberal media falsely reporting a crashing economy prematurely thus causing people to stop spending money and you get a very democrat driven recession.

  17. Arturo says:

    Assuming a fat tax were really crammed down our throats, would it be reasonable to assume that, like cholesterol, the definition of obesity would magically be “recalibrated” to encompass anyone with a BMI of 20-24? That way almost everyone could have an opportunity to pay.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Once the government starts taxing body weight, they will of course always be looking for ways to increase the revenue from the tax. The government appetite for other people’s money has no bounds.

  18. Danny says:

    “Study after study has shown that Wal-Mart has meaningfully reduced prices: 3.1 percent overall, by one estimate — with a whopping 9.1 percent cut to the price of groceries. That comes to about $2,300 a year per household, savings that accrue overwhelmingly to people of modest incomes, not to celebrity activists and Ivy League social-justice crusaders.”

    And how does the presence of Wal-Mart affect the employees of companies that can’t compete? Think there’s no chance that a huge company can replace companies that paid their employees better? Not that Wal-Mart has to do anything wrong to have that effect, but I’ve always seen protests as hoping to preserve the jobs that would be lost. I don’t imagine Wal-Mart puts as much into a community as the businesses it replaces.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Welcome to the world of competition. Successful businesses often displace previous providers. There’s no way around that. The auto industry caused unemployment among horse-and-buggy makers. The internet caused unemployment in the newspaper industry, etc.

      But you have to keep in mind that economics is always about the alternative use of resources, including money. If I’m a low-income person and Wal-Mart reduces my annual food bill by $2300, that’s $2300 I can now spend elsewhere, thus supporting employment in the other businesses that receive my $2300. Meanwhile, I have just as much food as before, but I also have whatever I bought with the $2300, so I’m less poor than before.

      • Danny says:

        That’s $2,300 you’ll likely spend at Wal-Mart. $2,300 not going towards a local business with local interests, that sponsors local youth teams, buys advertising in the local paper, and whose owners very well may spend almost all of their money locally. A smaller percentage of that $2,300 will stay local if it goes to Wal-Mart, so it’s not hard to see a scenario where Wal-Mart succeeds at the expense of the community it “serves.”

        Like I said, I don’t think Wal-Mart (or any business) has to do anything wrong to have a negative effect on a community. Of course they’re simply out-competing. But that doesn’t mean anyone trying to avoid those negative effects automatically thinks they know what’s better for others than those people themselves.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          I sincerely doubt the people who save $2300 per year do all their annual spending at Wal-Mart. And I don’t think we should applaud if low-income people have to spend more of their limited incomes for necessities for the sake of supporting local businesses. You don’t make the poor better off by raising the cost of living or preventing it from dropping.

          • Danny says:

            And you don’t make them better off by having a business roll into town that provides the same or better services at such efficiency that many jobs are made obsolete. Wal-Mart can do far more of its business more efficiently, which means fewer jobs in a small community.

            It’s also not just the $2,300 going to Wal-Mart but the entire ~$20,000 that is being spent annually going to a business with fewer local interests. Admittedly, you can’t fault any individual decision that results in this outcome. But you’re still trying really hard to fault someone who sees its potential before it happens and judging them for it.

            • Tom Naughton says:

              Yes, you absolutely, positively make low-income people better off by bringing them the same goods at lower prices.

              Like I said before, every advance in efficiency makes some existing jobs obsolete. Are you concerned that electronic telephone switches made all those telephone-operator jobs obsolete? Are you concerned that cheap digital TVs (with awesome hi-def resolution) made TV repairmen obsolete? Wealth is a direct function of productivity and productivity is a direct function of efficiency. Higher efficiency means new ways of doing the same work or delivering the same goods and services — better, faster, cheaper — and it will inevitably make some jobs obsolete.

              In economics, it’s called “creative destruction.” You can’t have a more productive economy and thus a higher standard of living without it.

              http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/CreativeDestruction.html

          • Jennifer Snow says:

            “Local business” is very frequently a euphemism for “inefficient, poorly-run business that doesn’t stock what people actually want to buy”.

            And why the heck aren’t these people bitching about Amazon.com? If ANY company is stealing business away from “locals” without “giving back” anything to the “local” community, it’s online retailers, who don’t even have EMPLOYEES in your area.

            It’s all a load of hogwash by people who have no clue how trade actually works. If it were TRUE that prices going down DECREASED employment opportunities, the Industrial Revolution and every single advance since then would have made us progressively poorer and poorer as fewer and fewer opportunities for employment existed. We would all be, according to this theory, starving to death in the streets because machines were doing all the work. Is this what’s happened? No, there are something like 5 times as many people in the world as there were then, yet somehow we’re ALL RICHER even though EVERYTHING is cheaper and easier and faster and more convenient. How the heck did that happen? Shouldn’t all the jobs have vanished by now?

            Once you learn the answer to that question, you realize what idiocy worrying about “local” anything is–or anything other than the simple equation “if goods get cheaper, I am richer”. Yeah, you might go through some periods of transition where you can’t sit on your laurels and camp in a familiar job mindlessly repeating the same tasks until you retire, but whatever.

            • Tom Naughton says:

              Yeah, I’m afraid some people still have the mind-set of the Luddites.

            • Miriam says:

              ***“Local business” is very frequently a euphemism for “inefficient, poorly-run business that doesn’t stock what people actually want to buy”.***

              The nearby town where I do most of my grocery shopping has a Wal-Mart, Stop N Shop, Price Chopper and a local supermarket. Because I do like to support local business, I checked out the local store. Dingy, poor selection, unhelpful employees and high prices. C’mon, you gotta offer me SOME reason to come here instead of the big chains. Small businesses CAN compete with the big chains but they have to offer something that’s better, whether it’s products that the big chains don’t stock, better service, more pleasant experience or whatever.

              • Miriam says:

                On the other hand, the local IGA in a different town has it’s own butcher, a well-stocked meat department, decent prices, friendly and helpful staff, and it’s nice, clean and bright. I’ll be going back there.

  19. Justin says:

    I only prefer shopping at a place like Target rather than Walmart due to a couple convenience factors, namely the tidyness of the items on shelves and the length of checkout lines. For me, its only personal preference, and not because I think one is holier than the other.

    • Firebird says:

      I refuse to shop at Target because when Elton John re-recorded “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to Princess Diana, Target refused to turn over proceeds from the sales to charity, which was John’s intention when he recorded the song.

      • Tom Naughton says:

        I’d side with Target on that one. Elton John is free to donate all his royalties (which would be considerable) to charity, and he’s free to prohibit stores from selling the recording if they don’t participate in the charity drive. But if wants to dictate to stores that they take up shelf space for a charity recording (thus limiting the shelf space for recordings on which they’d make money), that’s another matter.

      • Lisa says:

        Elton John, a prolific songwriter and self-proclaimed great friend of Diana, couldn’t even write a song just for her. Instead he changed a few words of the song he wrote about Marilyn Monroe?

  20. Jean says:

    I live in a small town with a Walmart and a few other great local businesses. When it’s time to buy groceries, Walmart beats the price of its only food competitor, Safeway, by far, on the same exact items. They now carry Kerrygold butter at a competitive price to my other alternative, the military commissary. They also have some good hiring policies for veterans. I’m on board.

  21. Boundless says:

    re: … The Anointed will never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was wrong

    They just might. Rumors are swirling:
    http://reason.com/blog/2015/02/10/cholesterol-warning-may-be-ditched

    Professional journals are also running some really surprising articles lately:

    Diabetes:
    http://www.touchendocrinology.com/sites/www.touchendocrinology.com/files/OsamaHamdy.pdf

    Fat:
    http://openheart.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000196.full

    Statins:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25655639

    That last one is severely pay-walled. Someone doesn’t want the unwashed masses reading it.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      They’re ready to admit they were wrong to scare people away from the cholesterol in, say, eggs. But they’re accusing saturated fat of crimes it didn’t commit. One step at at time, I guess.

      • Boundless says:

        re: One step at at time …

        Don’t overlook the huge threat of liability. Defective government policy, parroted by corrupt professional and ailment cheerleader associations everywhere, has caused the premature deaths of 100s of millions of people. Governments may have sovereign immunity, but the Consensus Quack Society and American Affliction Association may not.

        I’m fully expecting their strategy to be Planckian:
        “mistakes were made, but not by anyone still alive”

        This could take a very long time.
        The crowds need to save themselves, rather than wait.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Yup, by the time the government folks catch up, most people who care about their health will have been ignoring them for years.

      • Firebird says:

        Yep. The empty headed registered nurse on our local news cast, who if I had a dollar for everytime she said, “As a nurse I can tell you…” would make me fantastically wealthy, stated that while eggs are okay, we should still avoid foods that are high in saturated fat like cheese and bacon. I guess she never looked at the saturated fat content in eggs, or that bacon has as much monounsaturated fat as olive oil.

  22. Firebird says:

    When Bill Maher sits at his anchor desk and proclaims aloud that he is smarter than all Americans and proclaims that most of us are stupid, I think he does it to convince himself that he is smart. A smart person wouldn’t need to tell others how smart he is.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      And that’s why is audience hoots and cheers — to prove they’re equally smart.

      • J says:

        Mr Maher is just a person pompously pushing agendas under the guise of a comedian…anyone who doesnt see that does not strike me as particularly smart..

        PS. He comes off as a jerk..

  23. Wenchypoo says:

    One week, the obesity devil was Wallyworld–the next week, it was Costco. Before Wally, the scapegoat was fast food. Wait a while, and the dollar stores will be the next victims. This is called “the media trying like hell to stay relevant.”

    We want to blame anyone and everyone excerpt ourselves.

    Obesity blame lies squarely on the person who owns the body–they didn’t know how certain foods affected them, weren’t aware enough to care, and aren’t interested in doing much about it because much of it lies outside their personal comfort zone. Who makes the food purchasing decisions? Who fills the shopping cart, then drags it all home? Who isn’t paying attention to all the tons of recent info on the web and in books dealing with obesity and what to do about it? Who isn’t looking for alternative means when the conventional ones aren’t working for them?

    It’s much easier to bitch, complain, and make excuses for it than it is to actually DO something. Some people have finally gotten in the health driver’s seat, but many have not–it’s just too much work, so they’re going to wait for that magic pill to come out. They want to be able to lose 50 lbs. right there in the basement while doing laundry, even though it took a few years to put the weight ON int he first place!

  24. Desmond says:

    We have had people protesting a pending Walmart near my neck of the woods (well, neck of the city, actually). Many are snobs, but I think most just care about the potential traffic and maybe closure of the adjacent bowling alley. The funny thing is that it is moving into an old existing shopping center called “Suburban Plaza.” You would think that if Walmart would fit in anywhere, it would be at a place called Suburban Plaza.

    They also complain about what they perceive will be a “poor selection” of groceries. I just tell them: if you are willing to buy it, Walmart will start to sell it.

  25. Don in Arkansas says:

    But the Anointed must be right, Tom. I live in Arkansas where, according to the last figures 34.6% of adults were obese. Arkansas is also the corporate headquarters of Walmart. Correlation does prove causation, doesn’t it?

  26. Wenchypoo says:

    “The Anointed identify a problem in society

    The Anointed propose a Grand Plan to fix the problem

    Because they are so supremely confident in their ideas, The Anointed don’t bother with proof or evidence that the Grand Plan will actually work

    If possible, The Anointed will impose the Grand Plan on other people (for their own good, of course)

    The Anointed assume anyone who opposes the Grand Plan is either evil or stupid
    If the Grand Plan fails, The Anointed will never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was wrong”

    Welcome to the world of bureaucracy–the bureaucrats (and wannabes) LOVE to dictate to the rest of us, while they sit in their ivory towers munching on Oysters Rockefeller (and a whole assortment of foods we ALL should be eating, but cannot afford to–examine past White House dinner menus), sipping champagne, and basically practicing their “better than you” lifestyles.

    The only common denominator here is that we both put our pants on one leg at a time, and at some point, we’ll both die. They want us to die off faster, so this place will become Planet Ivory tower, and they can spend their days expounding theories at one another, and absolutely NOTHING will ever get done–there will be nobody left to do it (to keep them from having to dirty their own hands). The “slaves” will all be dead.

    Think Roman or Egyptian society. Everybody wants their own pyramid or Colosseum, but there’s no skilled labor left to do build them.

  27. lemoutongris says:

    Blaming WM for obesity is ludicrous. In large cities like DC, this is the large chain where you can get the cheapest produce (I was able to find a wholesaler that’s even cheaper, but it’s not accessible for everyone).

    Of course, no one, especially not the annointed ones, will ever question agriculture subsidies which make corn and wheat dirt cheap…

  28. @Sara

    “Junk food couldn’t be sold for such low prices if the government would stop subsidizing its production. .. just allow the market for the product to reflect the real cost without government manipulation”

    @Nads

    “It’s a wonder they don’t use it as an excuse to cut welfare and minimum wage. If they can’t afford to eat as much they won’t get as fat. Geez.”

    Um, subsidized commodity production, welfare, and minimum wage laws are in fact examples of previous Grand Plans. Which is why we’re still being told we haven’t done enough and just need to do them more robustly.

    The minimum wage is really funny for us economics nerds, as its predecessors’ original intention — and lasting effect — is to prevent blacks from taking white workers’ jobs. So, in this particular case, The Annointeds’ utter lack of capacity to comprehend economic principles that may conflict with their world view ends up creating a Grand Plan that any Grand Wizard would be proud to take credit for.

    Well, not like “ha! ha!” funny.

    Cheers

  29. Bubbles says:

    And The Anointed are even LESS likely to admit that “The Problem” was never actually a problem to begin with (or was a symptom of something else)…

    I despise Bill Maher and Jon Stewart for about the same reason as you… they just sit there smugly laughing about how intelligent they are (and by implication, everybody who agrees with them politically) and how evil and stupid everyone else is. And now that Stewart is leaving, people are falling all over themselves about how Revolutionary and Important he was, when all he did was sit there giggling at Fox News clips and giving political liberals the “political criticism” equivalent of deep loving kisses on the mouth. Self-congratulatory politics indeed.

  30. Jim says:

    I am an Ivy League grad and I shop at Wal-Mart!

  31. Ed says:

    Bill Maher states over and over that he is a Libertarian. Every time he opens his mouth he demonstrates that he doesn’t even understand what a Libertarian is.

    On another note, since going LCHF (thanks Tom) I have lost more than 40 pounds. If they ever pass a tax on weight I expect a large tax refund.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      That’s yet another reason I don’t like Bill Maher. He calls himself a libertarian because (I guess) he think it makes him sound more independent-minded than just calling himself a liberal Democrat. But his beliefs don’t come anywhere close to libertarian beliefs on most issues.

      It honked me off one time when an acquaintance asked how I lean politically. When I said “libertarian,” he replied, “Oh, like Bill Maher!” Grrrrrr…

      If Maher starts rooting for Rand Paul to run for president on his show, I’ll believe he’s a libertarian — maybe.

      • Firebird says:

        He’d routinely diss Ron Paul as a whack job. You cannot be Libertarian and do that! In my world, I’d take Ron over his son Rand any day. Rand is a little bit too the right for my liking. Not Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin, but some things that comes out of his mouth make me want to bang my head on the desk.

  32. PJ (RightNOW) says:

    I grew up in southern coastal California, in a tiny little town that is pretty much now owned by the invading hordes of celebrities and stockbrokers. Now I live on the flat edge of the Ozarks in NE OK. I’ve also lived in Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Connecticut.

    I went back to CA a few years ago briefly, to the more mid-Northern bay-area part, and every day, at least a dozen times, people made angry-snarky-insulting-arrogant-insult jokes about ‘neocons’ and ‘conservatives’ and ‘flyover territory’ (with a few occasional outings to ‘Fox’ and ‘Rush’). Seriously, if blacks got this much prejudice in Georgia in the 50s I’d be surprised, not that it wasn’t worse in many ways obviously, but I wouldn’t think the average person felt the need to “live and breathe an obsession with the subject” like seemed to be going on.

    I am not easily offended, and I consider myself a California girl so I actually didn’t take it personally, but I noticed it because of where I live now and because I live in an area where, oddly, people do not obsess so much on rabid anger that you can’t have a single conversation without maligning some entire class of people (most of whom you’ve never met). It was so weird. I mean had I been at some kind of “political rally” and run into this I would think well, they’re all people who go to political rallies so I guess they’re a little obsessed, and I wouldn’t have thought much of it in that case. But these were ordinary people all over the place.

    It reminded me of studying pre/WWII Germany in high school and how it was considered a “solidarity psychological group bonding” of the people that they could all focus on and hate the same people (the jews, mainly but not only). I actually started laughing at one point when I realized that while something (media? I don’t know) might have successfully made everybody’s who’s not on the coastline or liberal the enemy, that this is a hilarious mass group to choose for your prejudice, because there’s MORE OF THEM. I mean that’s gotta complicate things, although surely it makes it easy to always have someone available to mock.

    It’s like being prejudiced against people who are overweight. So when the majority of the culture IS overweight, how does THAT make sense?

    Anyway, I was “agog” level confused and horrified by it. And the great irony was that they were all SO CONVINCED that EVERYONE believed this — apparently their media says so?? — that it never even occurred to them that they were being horrifically prejudiced, that they were behaving like total morons frankly (and I *liked* many of these people personally, which was worse), or that it might not be appropriate to spout these things openly everywhere, to everyone — including to someone they were actually trying to be NICE to (me) who just finished telling you they are from the midwest, hello?

    This went on with people ranging from clerks to physicists. It was so pervasive that I felt like I had fallen into some kind of surreal alternate reality. Maybe SF is its own world, because I don’t recall my much-more-southern world being anything like that. A tiny bit… but I left in early ’95.

    It poisons everything. I work for a big corp that has offices across the country and people even make insulting jokes and references in business meetings (talking about customers who happen to be in the group they’re insulting). I try to help my voice ice up before saying, “I’m calling in from Oklahoma.” And wait for the hilarious pause-of-horror after which everyone rushes to tell me, “Oh but not you of course! Not you! You’re cool, you’re cool!” hahahaha yeah. Right.

    Cultural prejudice will always exist to some degree, but the challenge of civilization is to learn to recognize it and do what we can to ensure that neither ours nor anybody else’s ruins the lives of either friend or foe through that ignorance; it is injust. It doesn’t matter if it is about race or religion or country of origin or one’s choice of clothing or gender or sex-with-noodles or whatever it is that seems to set people apart from others. We’re just a bunch of bipeds trying to get by, raise the kids, and resurface driveways for a living. This doesn’t seem difficult to understand. But apparently the more intelligent someone thinks they are, the more impossible it is for them to actually understand the most basic fundamentals of life, like that it has to be lived in the middle of a whole lot of other people. Well I guess if all your people are indoctrinated by the same media-cult the situation changes. Or if you happen to have tons of money, the situation changes.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Sounds very much like my experiences in L.A. I live in the south now, in one of most reliably conservative counties in the country, and I never hear people here spew the kind of venom about liberals that I heard liberals spew about conservatives in L.A. But they’re all about tolerance out there, ya know. Yup, they tolerate liberal whites, liberal blacks, liberal Asians, liberal Hispanics, liberal Jews, liberal Christians, you name it.

  33. PJ (RightNOW) says:

    Oh and by the way. The city I live in now was ‘taken over’ by Walmart, which came in and many other stores went out of business. I considered that sad. Except that, of course, Walmart’s prices are actually better on most (not all) things. And except that, of course, a city of people get the stores they deserve, think about it: if we really all desperately wanted Fred’s Grocer to stay in business, we should have shopped there.

    We did shop at Marvin’s, and his little grocery is now 3x the size and half a block away than before Walmart came in.

    The local Ace Hardware survived by actually employing more people, you are nearly accosted when you enter the store by multiple overly helpful people, because their manager felt like that was what SWM (where you’re lucky to find someone to help you after hiking all over the place) couldn’t do better.

    You know what likely affected businesses just as much? Chain foods. Pizza Hut and Dominoes and a Walgreen’s pharmacy-grocer-misc.store. Mom&Pop diners, gone. Why don’t we blame them?

    Everybody votes with their wallet, no matter what they say on their signs. When Walmart succeeds it’s because THE PEOPLE VOTED. Nobody forces people to shop at Walmart.

    Stores don’t go out of business when Walmart is freshly new. They go out of business over the next 1-3 years because people realize that they prefer many things SWM offers and they shop there instead of at Fred’s.

    Protesting against the building of a given brand store, IF you are a LOCAL, I totally respect — wave your signs, SHOP AT FREDS IN BUSINESS FOR 72 YEARS!, I am totally for that, that is ‘competition’ at the grassroots. But anybody ELSE protesting is ridiculous — what’s it to them where other people shop?!

    Oh it’s ok they go to whole paycheck for their overpriced food but I’m not allowed to get cheap chicken thighs to share with my spoiled cats? Because hey, I shop at Marvin’s too, just to support it, even when it costs more, because I recognize my place of responsibility for keeping it because it has other qualities I want, like a big gluten-free section, and occasional bulk buys, and it isn’t the size of Montana to walk through, and it’s closer to me, and managers I can talk to and get them to order offbeat stuff for me.

    (As for the previously-employed-elsewhere, maybe some of them now work at Walmart, I don’t know. They likely weren’t making any more money to stock shelves at Fred’s Grocer or John’s Hardware store than they would be at Walmart. And there’s many car places in town so I don’t think they hurt that biz much.)

    The rest of my paycheck that isn’t spent on bills, local stores etc., goes to amazon.com. Literally. I buy food there, supplements there, books and movies and music there, most of my holiday and gift shopping, I have prime shipping and kindle unlimited and a new “echo” I keep talking to (she cannot tell me the future, alas — I asked) and 2 Fires and Fire TV and S3 storage and Cloudfront for my web — Amazon almost owns my soul. Google owns all my media. I’m pretty sure Amazon’s dent in my paycheck is hurting my city much more than Walmart’s (and PS how do you know the people who own the smaller places live in your city? Many don’t). And I’m pretty sure Google doing everything free I had to pay for before they came along matters somewhere too.

    My late uncle resurfaced driveways and parking lots. Ah, the fresh smell of asphalt in the morning, heh. He was a hard workin’ man, a California boy who ended up in Cour d’Alene ID, and I would happily take that one of him over of any number of pompous arrogant elitists. How sad and insecure and foppish they are. I’d like to drop them into a military regiment and let real life and having to live up close and personal with a whole lot of “perfectly ordinary” men of every color and background educate ’em about “reality.” Because apparently the ivory tower of celebrity money and media and maybe just certain areas of the country are a whole surreal Stepford-Human-Zone, depriving people of character development, unless cartoon characters count.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Well said. And I agree that Amazon has probably killed more local businesses than Wal-Mart by a long shot. But Amazon is cool, and Bill Maher’s fans probably buy from Amazon, so it’s okay. Oh, and you don’t have to see people who resurface driveways when you shop on Amazon.

      • Kathy in Texas says:

        Had me at sex-with-noodles(LOL at the visual) and cheap chicken thighs to share with my spoiled cats(speaks to my heart).

        Actually, this has been/is a great thread. I love the ones with lots of comments.

  34. flies says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/10/feds-poised-to-withdraw-longstanding-warnings-about-dietary-cholesterol/

    According to this, the government no longer sees cholesterol as an enemy, but saturated fat is still bad for your health. is that a big or small improvement?

    • Tom Naughton says:

      It’s what I expected: when they do realize how wrong the dietary advice has been, they’ll have to back away from it one step at a time.

  35. Pam says:

    I don’t know how accurate this story is — it was told to me by a dear elderly lady whose husband was a minister at the church the Waltons attended in Chicago and was a great admirer of the Waltons. Anyway, Mrs. Walton, who dressed simply and gave generously to the church, once approached another lady wearing a showy and expensive new hat and told her that although she claimed she couldn’t give much money to the church, if she hadn’t wasted her money on such a fancy new hat, she would have a lot more money to give to the church!

  36. Barbara says:

    On television this morning they were talking about how the star basketball players are more injured then they were in the past. A lot of these players have gone vegetarian or semi-vegetarian. Do you feel this “break down” a part of the “science” of the anointed?

    • Tom Naughton says:

      No idea on that one. Basketball seems to have become a full-contact sport. I expect them to start wearing helmets and shoulder pads any year now.

      • tony says:

        I’ve watched professional basketball for decades and it’s always been a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Just seems to me that there’s a lot more banging into each other now than when I was a kid. That could just be me getting cranky about it in my old age. I rarely watch professional basketball anymore because half the game consists of someone standing there shooting free-throws after a foul.

  37. tony says:

    Although WM may have lower prices, it may not be economically advantageous to shop there.

    You need to factor in the miles’ cost of transportation, which can be easily calculated by adding the cost of your car net of estimated trade-in value, cost of gasoline, maintenance and repair and dividing the sum of these items by the expected miles you plan ride your car before you trade it in.

    In addition, you also need to factor in the cost of time spent going to, shopping at and returning from WM. For example, Tom may charge $200 an hour for his services and if he is going to spend one hour in a round shopping trip to WM to save $50, he would come out behind.

    On the other hand, if you are like my wife who loves to troll thru WM, even though she may not buy a lot, you could say that these costs are for entertainment.

    Bottom line: Nobody has ever forced me to shop at WM. I should be able to go there if I want regardless of the nonsense spouted by that cabal of crypto-marxist/leninist “protesters.”

    • Firebird says:

      There are three Wal-Marts 1-4 miles from where I live…no problems in transportation and there is a Sam’s Club gas station at one of them that offers the cheapest gas in the area!

  38. gollum says:

    A I have never been in a Walmart, or in the States for that matter. Certainly they do stock Mr. Carbagel and Krusty Flakes, now with 20% more fructose. Aisles of it?

    B I don’t know about the Anointed, but when someone Important needs to lose fat, they do know. Not by a balanced diet of whole crabs. Look up female UK MP-to-be (thus, the need for fat loss?) diet. I believe it was something like Eggs. More eggs. Meat. Whisky (oddly only on meat days?!). This was in the 70s. Proles left to suffer for further decades.

  39. Babs says:

    Tom you may have talked about this already, but it has crossed my mind recently that the reason we need all the cheap grains and garbage is that without it we would actually have mass starvation. There really probably is an overpopulation problem. No cheap grains may mean starvation.

  40. Babs says:

    Follow-up to previous comment: For example, rarely can you buy any kind of beef for under $3 a lb. Even pork I feel like it’s a bargain to get it for $2.99/lb. Luckily chicken is always reasonable and my tikes enjoy that more than anything (except meatloaf). Of course these prices are supermarket, not grass-fed.

    I should add my husband is an engineer and I am part-time earning probably at the 60th percentile what women my age could earn.

    What I am saying is with 2 small children and parents with the most ideal earning potential you could hope for, our grocery budget eating meats and very little pasta and processed grain is huge. If we earned any less it would be a situaton of pick your poison (starve or eat the grains). And that may be where many people are at.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      The people who developed semi-dwarf wheat were, in fact, trying to prevent worldwide starvation. Semi-dwarf produces 10 times the yield per acre. Their intentions were noble. The wheat they produced is cheap, and given a choice between eating the stuff or starving to death, I’d take their wheat.

  41. Dan says:

    “If the Grand Plan fails, The Anointed will never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was wrong”

    As pointed out by many before, certainly Friedman..Grand Plans don’t fail because they are wrong, they fail because they aren’t Grand enough in funding and/or enforcement. This is always true and these are the only possible sources of failure for any Grand Plan.

    If anyone needs to verify this, see education.

  42. Bret says:

    If possible, The Anointed will impose the Grand Plan on other people (for their own good, of course)

    Speaking of which, I have just finished Jacob Sullum’s For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health — threw it on the list three years ago when I first saw Fat Head, but just got around to it now — and it was AWESOME. I always enjoyed Sullum’s thoughtful and logical opinions, both on screen and in print at Reason, but that book showed me he is also a voracious and skilled researcher, much like Gary Taubes.

    As both Sowell and Sullum articulated, political action done for the citizens’ own good is indeed one of the most sinister forms of tyranny. What disgusts me immensely is just how many people seem to welcome such disasters of economics and of liberty. These seemingly innumerable cheerleaders are clearly conflating the goals of these policies with their actual consequences, and are sorrily ignorant of the latter in any case.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Sullum doesn’t smoke, but defends the rights of smokers to smoke. He doesn’t eat junk food, but defends the rights of people to eat all the junk they choose. I like the way he thinks.

  43. Nick says:

    Tom, Walmart is evil don’t ya know?

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