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Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/05/2013 20:38:05 MST Print View

"Isn't that how we ended up with Australia?"

ROTFL. Oh crap, now look at the mess I made on my keyboard!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/05/2013 20:39:54 MST Print View

"But what if some other guy can't protect himself from himself. And he's gone and procreated and passed this trait on to his children. And now we have a whole family of people that cannot protect themselves from themselves, causing all sorts of mayhem in the neighborhood, in our justice system, in our schools, in the society we all share."

Okay, seriously now. It's a difficult question, no doubt. But I do think that the vast majority of people can protect themselves, they simply choose not to. Jerry seems to want to give everyone a pass - it's not our fault that we're sooooo susceptible to the devious marketing from evil corporations. I simply can't buy that. We do make choices. Too often we choose ignorance. That's not acceptable if we all want to live in a decent society.

So the real question, to me, is where to locate the middle ground. Dean talks about governments trying to alter behavior through incentives and disincentives. I agree. It's the behavior part we need to think a bit more about. Really high taxes can change consumption behavior, but they don't really alter thinking behavior (cognitive behavior?). It's not consumption behavior we want to change directly, instead we want people to stop choosing ignorance. When we change that, we're on our way to changing consumption behavior the right way, as well as other negative behaviors. In tandem with that, we want to change behavior from eschewing personal responsibility to accepting personal responsibility.

So how to do that? Aye, there's the rub, eh? But I rarely hear the discussion focused on changing the way people think, only the way people act/consume. That's seems backward to me.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/05/2013 21:06:54 MST Print View

It used to be more socially acceptable to drive while drunk

or use tobacco

Whatever we did with them seemed to have worked

We should do that with obesity

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Corporations are Soylent Green! on 02/05/2013 21:47:06 MST Print View

but they don't really alter thinking behavior (cognitive behavior?).

However, PR and marketing do. What I would like to see is eduction on how PR and marketing work. Plus education into critical thinking e.g the trivium.

P.S. I do realise that some people believe they are not influenced by marketing.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/06/2013 07:11:18 MST Print View

"Dean talks about governments trying to alter behavior through incentives and disincentives. I agree. It's the behavior part we need to think a bit more about."

Well, the problem is that there are so many people who can't or won't take care of themselves and then you and I pay for it. Sorry- I'm opposed to that. I don't want to pay for the "disability" of some 5'8" 420-lb mollusc.

Especially the poor- hell, they're too busy surviving to even educate themselves well on political issues so that they can vote rationally, let alone learn about tobacco and high fructose corn syrup. That stuff is WAY down on their priorities list. (This is one good argument for a two-party system, that everyone would at least know basic principles of the parties and be able to vote their will. I don't buy many other arguments for two parties, though. Destroying the two-party system would resolve another 20% of what's wrong with the US...) We- well, me, at least- the wealthy, are much more informed on such issues and financially capable of caring for ourselves to a very high standard.

I'm rather annoyed when government fiat legislates on many issues, too. (I tend libertarian on social issues.) But I have no problem with simple incentives and disincentives. They're straightforward To implement, they work adequately, and they infringe on no-one's rights. Hell, as you all know I tend to the right on Second Amendment issues, and I'd have no problems with a tax on the firearms that particularly offend the hoplophobes- perhaps the same as is levied on fully-automatics weapons currently. (Believe me, there are LOTS of my fellow Second Amendment proponents whom I would prefer not to see armed with ARs...)

This all comes back to my "corporations are not people" argument. If we forbade corporations to purchase politicians I think that the sugar/corn/oil subsidies would go the way of the dodo, 40-oz fountain drinks would be banned, and sugar water would be taxed, all within the year. I think we'd all be better off, and that's really what it's about.

The "slippery slope" argument is not valid. It is an informal fallacy- a false argument, in logic terms. That applies to gun proponents just as much as to chocolate proponents. :) It is false because I said that we should tax sugar water, and doing so does not de facto lead to taxing chocolate. So, to answer your question- Yes, we can set a limit wherever we like- if that's sugar water but not chocolate, that can be done. It's not complex. Very few people chocoholic their way to obesity, anyway, so taxing it would be pretty pointless. Right now, sugar water and putting corn syrup in fecking EVERYTHING is the problem, so address it.

Edited by acrosome on 02/06/2013 11:00:28 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/06/2013 11:00:25 MST Print View

"Well, the problem is that there are so many people who can't or won't take care of themselves and then you and I pay for it. Sorry- I'm opposed to that. I don't want to pay for the "disability" of some 5'8" 420-lb mollusc."

We agree on many things, including this. We might (not sure) part ways on what to do about it. Again, I'm for personal responsibility - whether people want to take it or not. There should be disincentives for not taking it. Serious disincentives.

"Especially the poor- hell, they're too busy surviving to even educate themselves well on political issues so that they can vote rationally, let alone learn about tobacco and high fructose corn syrup."

Not sure I can completely agree on this. I've been poor. Dirt poor. Kicked out of my apartment onto the street poor (well, I didn't actually end up on the street, a friend took me in). It never stopped me from educating myself/being aware of a variety of things. I'm not sure I think there's a lack of access to good information, in fact I'm sure there isn't for the vast majority of Americans.

What many of the poor suffer from is lack of fairly easy access to decent 'food.' They don't have the means or time to travel to far away grocery stores, there are no farmers markets, etc. Instead, too many rely on fast food and 7-11, which are plentiful and nearby.

Additionally, our school lunch programs are, in far too many cases, a joke. Not altogether healthy. Not nearly resourced enough.

And, of course, there's the issue of far too many people having far too many children they simply can't afford, and shouldn't be having. But that discussion can get rather heated....

"This all comes back to my "corporations are not people" argument. If we forbade corporations to buy politicians I think that the sugar/corn/oil subsidies would go the way of the dodo, 40-oz fountain drinks would be banned, and sugar water would be taxed, all within the year. I think we'd all be better off."

We're in complete agreement here. Except for the drink ban. You can have my Big Gulp when you pry it out of my cold, plump fingers....

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/06/2013 11:17:06 MST Print View

@ "You can have my Big Gulp when you pry it out of my cold, plump fingers...."

Now there's a bumper sticker waiting to happen...

Yes, I think we do agree. Believe it or not I'm a "personal responsibility" guy, too. Moderate conservative, remember? Every time some meatstick tries a Twinkie defense my soul dies a little. But MODERATE- I'm no Tea Party wingnut. I believe that there are subjects on which the government can step in and benefit its citizenry.

So I'm talking about the poor collectively- "the poor" rather than "any poor person", as your argument from example would suggest. (You aren't a very good example, and no single example is going to be very convincing.) Why make it so damned profitable for ADM to destroy our health? We shouldn't be subsidizing corn syrup production, we should be TAXING it, fer Chrissakes! There's corn syrup in KETCHUP! Why? That's what I'm saying, and I stick to it.

I agree that access to healthy food is a problem for the poor. Again, it's a problem because most of them are a captive market and it is so damned profitable to sell them crappy food. When you can produce something for $0.08 and sell it for $5.69 that's a BIG incentive for a for-profit corporation. (And sugar and carbs are cheap.) So, make it not as profitable- damn the Big Gulps, and tax sugar water. Yes, it's the consumer who will pay those taxes but they will also buy a hell of a lot less of that stuff thus cutting into the bottom line of the sunsofbiches selling it. Maybe then real markets will come into being. Maybe. But maybe is better than "not a snowball's chance in hell as things stand now." Unless, of course, you want to legislate some sort of zoning for markets... :) *joke*

As I said, this is my populist streak showing.

Edited by acrosome on 02/06/2013 11:30:16 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/06/2013 11:37:28 MST Print View

I'm for personal responsibility

But I know obese people that have unsuccessfully tried really hard to do something about it

There didn't use to be so many obese people

Is it because the Soylent Green corporations have had very effective reasearch, product design, and marketing?

And is it so much harder for people to do something about obesity because of this?

Obese people definitely suffer the consequences - there's your personal responsibility

If we, including the government, could take some actions that resulted in reduced obesity it would be a good thing

Unless we go back to Nick's pre 1936 country where the government's sole function was the military : )

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/06/2013 12:26:08 MST Print View

First, to all you thin Big Gulp consumers, just because you are not obese does not mean that kinda of junk is good for you. It is not. Increasing the price of food that, however it is defined, is not good for you can help even skinny people.

And I don't see how having government involved in this process goes against the constitution. Treating addictions benefits all of society, so if increasing taxes or banning something requires government intervention, so be it. Yes, personal responsibility should be emphasised, but I am first and foremost a pragmatist, and this is never going to happen with those who are already on a path of abusing their bodies.

Second, I am seeing this public health crisis from my professional POV as an addiction researcher and geneticist. High sugar, high fat, high salt foods ARE clearly addictive. And its not just humans that have problems. Choose just about any animal model you want, and some genetic strains those animals basically become addicted to certain substances if they are allowed free access to them. So YOU have great willpower, can walk away from bad foods (or other stuff), and are not prone to obesity. Great for you! I am all for treating obesity like any other addiction. Part of treating addiction is to make the addictive substance less easily available, and part of it is about incentivising good choices and dis-incentivising bad ones. I am NOT in favour of locking up people because they have chosen to consume addictive substances, whether that be junk food or P. Treat the addiction, and its causes IMHO. The biggest cause of addiction in animal research is easy availability. To put it another way (ignoring animal models) alcohol abuse is just not a problem in Muslim countries. Ask yourself why...

As usual, I find myself mostly agreeing with Dean :)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 13:12:11 MST Print View

Not to mention that if as you say, you have excellent self-control and avoid food that is bad for you then this doesn't affect you. So why complain? It can only help people who lack the self-control or who have no other options than eating out of the corner bodega. And you still benefit from the extra tax revenue. Nothing is made illegal- everyone can still have their occasional sybaritic soda-pop, albeit at increased cost. No one is harmed, everyone benefits.

@ Jerry- I'm kind of a hard sell on the obese-people-as-victims argument. Very few people couldn't lose weight with enough self-control. VERY few. (I've done bariatrics, but nowadays I refuse to do it.) Many of them complain about a slow metabolism or their "glands", but it's bunk. If nothing else, I've never had someone who was referred to me for obesity actually have any endocrinological issues. Clearly it does happen but it's rare, and more to the point its easily medically treatable. (They are usually claiming hypothyroidism.) And then they can lose weight. Metabolisms do differ- the Vermont prison study is rather telling- but still, essentially anyone can lose weight. I have lost 15 pounds in one month- which is actually rather dangerous, not to mention uncomfortable, and I don't recommend it.

But it IS an issue, and I'd rather help them by making corn syrup more expensive than by cutting out most of their stomach and re-routing their intestines.

@ Lynn- Re: agreement. So, shall we talk about rescuing our own pets from burning buildings before humans that we don't know? I really never want to be in a lifeboat with you and your hamster... :)

Edited by acrosome on 02/06/2013 13:25:18 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 13:39:16 MST Print View

"@ Lynn- Re: agreement. So, shall we talk about rescuing our own pets from burning buildings before humans that we don't know? I really never want to be in a lifeboat with you and your hamster... :)"

Sorry to say, I don't remember that discussion very well. We do all have different attachments to people and pets. I would save a human over one of my cats or chickens, I would be in a dilemma when it came to my dogs.

I have always said that losing weight is not hard, but keeping it off is a bitch! Even lacking any measurable endocrine problems, the brain seems to be rewired by spending too much time overweight. Much like the brain of an addict becomes rewired. Now, if we could find a way to reset the brain of a once overweight person to that of a lifetime healthy weight, we will have made great strides in curbing our obesity epidemic. I think the best we can try to do is to prevent the next generation from becoming obese so that they don't end up with brains that think their normal bodyweight is obese. You can't realistically do this as long as parents are teaching their children to shovel junk in their mouths, and I don't know what the solution is here. There are precedents in this country of the evil government taking children away from parents who consistently make poor choices on behalf of their children, but the size of the problem is too big to take all of these 'abused' children away from neglectful parents...

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 13:42:20 MST Print View

"Not to mention that if as you say, you have excellent self-control and avoid food that is bad for you then this doesn't affect you. So why complain?"

Wait, is this just a generic 'you' or are you talking about me (in DeNiro, Taxi Driver speech, if you please). Because I certainly never said I have excellent self control (or even average self control). I also never said (Jason's post) that I'm immune from the effects of marketing (I buy Apple products, for crying out loud!).

We've already agreed on eliminating subsidies on corn growers and sugar growers and such (and big oil companies too, but I digress). As far as taxing the heck out of soft drinks and other nutritionally empty foods, go ahead. That part certainly doesn't effect me, I very, very (very) rarely drink a soda, I'm a coffee and water guy myself.

Of course, I also think you should pay more taxes, instead of getting tax breaks, for every child you have.

"@ Lynn- Re: agreement. So, shall we talk about rescuing our own pets from burning buildings before humans that we don't know? I really never want to be in a lifeboat with you and your hamster... :)"

Yeah, this is where Lynn and I are in agreement! I can't think of very many people I would save before my pup.....

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 13:46:44 MST Print View

"Now, if we could find a way to reset the brain of a once overweight person to that of a lifetime healthy weight, we will have made great strides in curbing our obesity epidemic."

I've just started reading a book called "The Gift Of Our Compulsions." While I'm not a big fan of most 'self-help' books, this one seems pretty fascinating so far, but I've just started.

From the book description: Everyone is compulsive to some degree. People may worry too much, work too hard, or overindulge in food or alcohol or drug use. Once a compulsion is admitted, the usual option is to try to control the behavior. But this effort typically ends with the problem returning, or a new one taking its place.

In this book based on three decades of research and teaching, Mary O'Malley has crafted a new approach, with simple exercises and techniques and an inspiring tone. People are compulsive for a reason, she says, and by observing the things they are compulsive about and engaging those compulsions, readers can begin to understand them and change their actions around them. The book's exercises help readers in the engagement process by teaching them to ask the right questions and shows why lasting healing comes from being curious rather than controlling, and self-acceptance comes through forgiveness, not shame.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 14:10:24 MST Print View

Hey Douglas, After I have saved my 'loved ones', you and your pup will be next on my to-do list ;)

I am also strictly a coffee (black, no sugar) and water person. I have my share of other compulsions though, but a tax on junk food would not cost me an extra cent. At least I can make good choices when it comes to food and drink (now).

I was a compulsive drinker of alcohol, and way too much of it. When I finally sought treatment, it was asking those right questions that helped me stop. the only reason I had for my compulsion, was that it felt good and helped me sleep. No, I did not have a disadvantaged childhood, I was not in an abusive relationship, I was under no economic hardship, and all the drinking was really doing was no doubt affecting my health and my relationships. When I realised how much better off I was than most other people with a drinking problem, I just stopped. Cold turkey. Never looked back. However, my relationship with food has been more rocky. This is entirely due to several rounds of extreme dieting for bodybuilding. The rebound weight gain (which IS inevitable) meant that after each round of dieting I was putting back more weight than I lost. And seriously, I NEVER had issues with weight before this. But my brain just went nuts. It compelled me, in the most frightening manner, to eat anything and everything I could get my hands on. 12 years on, I finally have more control of the situation, but it will always be a battle, for the rest of my life. I have seen first hand how bad 'diets' can be, and just telling someone to eat less and exercise more cannot always overcome this kind of compulsion. I have no endocrine problems, but as a menopausal overweight woman, I need less and less food to just maintain my current weight. That is hard!!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 14:18:39 MST Print View

"I have no endocrine problems, but as a menopausal overweight woman, I need less and less food to just maintain my current weight. That is hard!!"

Ah, so that's my trouble! Not only am I in touch with my feminine side, but she's menopausal and overweight! At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it...... Thanks for giving me my excuse for being overweight!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Down With CITIZENS UNITED!! on 02/06/2013 14:37:55 MST Print View

"So I'm talking about the poor collectively- "the poor" rather than "any poor person", as your argument from example would suggest."

I'll admit that I've never had to live in a homeless shelter. But my mom did send me to live in a homely shelter for a while.....

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 15:16:09 MST Print View

"Ah, so that's my trouble! Not only am I in touch with my feminine side, but she's menopausal and overweight! At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it...... Thanks for giving me my excuse for being overweight!"

That's not my excuse for being heavier than I would like, I got there by yo-yo dieting. But now that I wish to lose the weight, it is much harder than it used to be due to a changing menopausal metabolism. Its certainly not an excuse, just a reason why it's harder to lose weight than it used to be. I've dieted several times to below 8% BF, by merely cutting my calories by ~500 per day. So 2000 cals instead of 2500. Now I struggle to lose anything at 1400 cal per day. That's a BIG reduction in intake of yummy food compared to 'the good old days'. Not a lot of room in the calorie budget for junk food! However, I'm glad you are in touch with your feminine side. Probably explains why you might save your pup instead of some stranger...

My question is, why does it cost more to buy a head of broccoli in season than a big bottle of Coke?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 16:08:26 MST Print View

Doug didn't deserve a serious reply, but something equally sarcastic and un-sympathetic

Not that Doug is a bad person, just that good people sometimes do bad things : )

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 17:17:00 MST Print View

So are you saying I should leave Doug in the burning building and just rescue his dog?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So it doesn't affect you- why complain? on 02/06/2013 17:21:59 MST Print View

"So are you saying I should leave Doug in the burning building and just rescue his dog?"

From rescued dog to in the dog house. Story of my life....