Tuesday, 18 November 2014

It's Not The Onion, It's California

You may have read recently that Berkeley in California voted overwhelmingly in favour of a tax on fizzy drinks. If not, Snowdon wrote an interesting summary of it here.

Well, following hot on the heels of some other transatlantic madness, you might like to know what kind of weirdo-packed place the Graun reader paradise of Berkeley really is. Here is film of a sombre event in one of the town's supermarkets where political activists held a funeral this month for a "unique individual" ... a pre-packaged supermarket chicken.


No, it's not The Onion. It's Berkeley.

H/T American Thinker via NorCal David G


Monday, 17 November 2014

Six Years Later ...

Today is the sixth anniversary of the evening when your humble host first asked "is this thing on" and began publishing what one early haughty detractor - to my great delight - once described as 'tabloid guff'.

Since that time in 2008, there have been 2,933 articles published here attracting 24,240 comments and 1,979,852 page views according to Sitemeter (or 2,909,702 if Google Analytics is to be believed!). Despite having to devote increasingly more time to my business - and subsequently less time on here - average daily page views are encouragingly up 5% on this time last year and April 2014 was the second most visited month in the history of the place.

Today is also noteworthy for me because I've just submitted a 21 page 11,000 word Puddlecote Inc tender submission for a potential £6 million of business over the next five years which has frazzled me for the past fortnight. This will, I hope, go some way to explaining the lack of content here recently. It is only a brief respite though, before I begin to tackle another hefty tender bid which will almost certainly lead to a few more article-free days in the next week or so.

Considering the above, and since today is also the start of Alcohol Awareness Week, I am very aware that a generous number of sherberts with a good friend of mine are definitely in order tonight.

Many thanks to all of the more than quarter of a million unique visitors who have passed this way since 2008, I shall raise a glass in your honour this evening, to be sure.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Youth E-Cig Use In USA: The One-Sided Equation

As I've observed in recent years, e-cigs are rudely ripping away the façade of respectability mendacious tobacco controllers have constructed around themselves. It really is incredibly fascinating to watch.

For over four decades now, a prime tactic of the global tobacco control industry Goliath has been deliberate cherry-picking of statistics in order to produce one-sided equations. From there, it is very simple to create a media-friendly sound bite to hoodwink policy-makers and most of the public.

The most obvious of these is the claim that tobacco use in the UK (the same method is used in every country) 'costs' the NHS £2.7bn to £5bn whilst ignoring the official documented fact that government receipts from tobacco - which are not hypothecated so apply to NHS funding just the same - have always massively dwarfed costs. Tobacco control simply pretend duty receipts don't go in the same pot.

Likewise, recently, it was loudly trumpeted by tobacco controllers everywhere that smoker prevalence in Australia had fallen "because of" plain packaging. It had fallen, yes, but only as one would expect from long term trends and certainly not directly as a result of plain packaging. At the same time, not a single one of them worldwide even murmured about the massive increase in daily youth smoking which occurred over the same time frame and was detailed in the very same statistical set they quoted from.

This left one journalist recently scratching his head as to how he'd been deceived into publishing a blatant falsehood in the Irish Journal (he didn't correct it though) and, even while beginning to write this very article, a tobacco controller - like a cat refusing to believe a mirror image is real - was similarly trying to avoid admitting the inconvenient 36% increase to me on Twitter.

The collection of anti-business sociologists, marketing wonks and ambulance chasers who comprise the tobacco control gravy train like to revel in the terms "expert" or - ha! - "scientist", but can you imagine a real scientist making calculations with one half of the equation missing? That spaceship wouldn't have landed on a comet, it would have more likely planted itself at high speed in the middle of Slough.

Y'see, what happens when you ignore half of the evidence is that you don't get a true indication of the full picture. But tobacco control know this very well when they deliberately tweet 'lies by omission' like this.

Of course, the 'public health' community piled in to re-tweet it, including such "experts" as anti-food hector Simon Capewell, an organisation which claims to spread "the truth about tobacco" and, naturally, geriatric ex-vandal turned Twitter troll Simon Chapman.


Worst of all though, was a re-tweet from someone who works at the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). Because, via Jacob Sullum at Reason, she appears to be woefully ignorant of her own organisation's research!
Yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released survey data that show cigarette smoking by teenagers continued to fall last year even as their use of electronic cigarettes continued to rise. Between 2011 and 2013, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, the prevalence of "current" (past-month) cigarette smoking among high school students fell from 15.8 percent to 12.7 percent, while the prevalence of current e-cigarette use tripled from 1.5 percent to 4.5 percent.
And this is what it looks like when you add the other side of the equation into a graph.


Now, why is it that tobacco controllers - who always love to talk about decreases in smoking amongst all cohorts but most especially youths - seem to want to completely ignore this dramatic, easily-discoverable decline? Do you sense an agenda here?

It is quite clear that e-cigs are a factor in that big decline in youth smoking in the USA, yet the pharma-compromised tobacco control industry are desperately trying to spin the opposite. Why?

It's really not about health, people, believe me.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Boisdales

I did say that I was going to write about the night of Forest's 35th anniversary party last week but - thanks to Puddlecote Inc still bogging me down at the moment - I've only now managed to get around to it a week later.

I was accompanied by vaping consumer advocate Twigolet (read her account of the evening here) and the genial Mr Snowdon but we didn't go straight there. Instead we'd arranged to meet up at an event chaired by Martin "Bubblegum" McPhee, a man so devoid of features you'd associate with good health that - naturally - he wants to tell you what to eat, drink and not vape or smoke.

It was a very amusing event, delivered in monotone by whey-faced drones and - customary for any public health "debate" - devoid of even a soupçon of differing opinion. It was clear from the outset that the only answer to the question of Can The War on Tobacco Be Won was going to be yes. The long history of disastrously failed prohibitions was put to one side in this particular echo chamber as they congratulated themselves on how fantastic the FCTC has been in destroying the tobacco industry since its inception in 1997.

It matters not to these people that - according to their own sources and those of others - tobacco sales globally have never been higher. They will continue to talk up their own self-importance because the event was held in front of about 100 aspiring young bansturbators who need to to be trained in how to earn money from the taxpayer by talking bollocks. One in particular seemed especially eager to be seen handing a metaphorical (toffee?) apple to his portly far left wing host.


McKee's colleague at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - and member of ASH's editorial board - Joy Townsend was then called upon to give her opinion on the tropical medicine required to defeat the Ebola crisis. Oh silly me, course not, she was banging her anti-smoking drum again instead.

Perhaps that's a bit harsh. I did feel for her somewhat because she was billed as an 'economist' despite her previous burblings proving that if she has ever learned any economics, she has abandoned it in favour of blind allegiance to pathetic anti-smoking dogma.

There seemed to be a genuine person in there somewhere when she spoke of how the tobacco industry in the 1960s recognised harm from tobacco and tried to research a "safe cigarette". She also sailed dangerously close to heresy by describing e-cigs as "looking like a safe cigarette" ... before blowing it all by claiming that "all the good people" in the tobacco industry - yes, every one of them, without exception - left when young girls still screamed at sight of the Beatles. I don't know how old Joy was when BAT set up its harm reduction labs at around that time but you'd think someone who considers themselves an "expert" would have been aware that they'd just celebrated their golden anniversary?

Shame really, because if she ditched her ideological nonsense she could actually make a difference.

Next up in this incestuous charade was another McKee sidekick and co-author of the now legendary "nicotine is a chemical weapon" paper. The capacity to shamefully exploit the atrocities of Anders Breivik to push anti-smoking extremism tells you all you need to know about Pascal Diethelm, but it was still a surprise when - after being billed by McKee as about to reveal "the truth" about the tobacco industry - he simply trundled out the codswallop that must rattle around his one-track obsessive head in quiet moments.

Apparently, anti-smoking NGOs do it all for the love and don't get paid a penny {splutter}, while those working in the tobacco industry earn a fortune and "have no morals whatsoever". None of them.


But Diethelm has a cunning plan, you see. All that is need for the "endgame" to succeed is to get those tobacco industry profits down so that people don't buy their shares any more. It's a doddle and the FCTC has been terrorising the tobacco industry since 1997 so it's only a matter of time. Allegedly.

Presumably, this is why BAT's share price - along with their competitors' which follow a similar graphic trajectory - has been dying on its arse since then, huh?


So let's see what a real 'expert' thinks about the link between successful tobacco control and tobacco share prices, shall we? How about, I dunno, Nanny McPhee?


Hmm, doesn't say much to the success of the FCTC in the past 17 years, does it?

All that was left was for McKee to round off proceedings by reminding everyone present that e-cigs don't work - despite no-one really broaching the subject in any depth - and for him to remind us, with a cheeky chuckle, that the next debate was about Ebola so would "obviously not be as well attended as tonight". Of course not. Why would anyone at the London School of Tropical Medicine be interested in a potential global pandemic, eh?

After witnessing such scintillating wisdom from people I'd not trust to run a car boot stall, myself and my companions parked the bubble gum we had been chewing in the nearest bin and travelled a couple of stops on the tube to an entirely different world where reality still exists and where choices of the public are still respected.


Arriving slightly late, we joined a throng of decidedly un-monotone guests and fantastic people bearing glorious trays like this.


It was then just the, err, simple task of finding the others we had heard were attending.

There we are by the bar, can you see?
Those we caught up with are too numerous to mention, but having a long overdue chat with good friend Tom Paine was a particular highlight of the evening for me, as was meeting Joe Jackson for the first time - someone whose music I used to buy as a teen and who now impresses me even more with his catalogue of resistance to deniers of freedom of choice.  I also had the pleasure of a lengthy chinwag with DK while Twigolet met up with the subject of an article from August, Peter Thurgood, and engaged him in good-natured banter.

The evening also saw an unofficial launch of new campaign group Action on Consumer Choice, as announced on the night by Simon Clark.
Consumers who want choice, are prepared to defend personal responsibility and act with consideration for others now have another voice they can call their own.
Who could argue with that? Personal freedom of choice is surely as basic a freedom as you can imagine.


Well, ASH can, of course.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said she doubted whether the ACC would be able to attract anything other than tobacco companies. “It would be crazy for food or drinks companies to jump into bed with the tobacco industry. It would wreck their reputations and completely undermine any arguments they want to make against future regulation.”
From her pre-emptive reaction we can assume that Arnott - you know, the one who claims her organisation doesn't attack smokers - doesn't believe there should be a campaign to defend freedom of choice to consume tobacco, alcohol, fast food and vaping. Or perhaps it's just the usual psychotic hatred of the tobacco industry blinding her to a perfectly reasonable concept.

Not only was her contribution to the Guardian's smear article an implicit acceptance that the 'domino theory' - which she publicly denies, remember - does, indeed, exist. It also read like a warning to other popular industries not to get involved or else they'll be treated poorly when PH comes for them too. It's like an organised criminal protection racket except it's being communicated by a state-funded fake charity against legal businesses - actually, it's not like a protection racket at all, it is one. You do what we say and we won't come for you next. a veiled threat that her and the like-minded bores we'd seen earlier at the LSHTM cannot wait to destroy any other popular industry which dares to defend the freedom of choice of its customers.

I digress, but I think you get the picture and I've already gone on too long. I can only finish by referring you to Twigolet's summation of the night, because it's nigh on perfect.
The comparison between the two events I attended yesterday could not be more extreme. At the first there were the ideological rantings of those who think it their place to control how we all live, what risks we take, how we balance risk against pleasure, and who are conceited enough to believe that their own war on the tobacco industry trumps all other interests. At the second were people who were happy to enjoy life to the full, and just want to be left alone to do so. I know whose company I prefer.
Quite. Never forget we're on the side of the angels here.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Us Versus Them

The Welsh Assembly recently held a public consultation on their 'public health' white paper, and the results are now in!

Well, they're officially called 'public' consultations but - as I've mentioned many times previously - these would be better described as public sector consultations. Most of the public don't know they are even happening but fake charities, state-funded bodies and quangos are paid from our taxes to write responses to them.

This one is no different, which you can see for yourself by reading the whole thing here. Except for one particular question, that is.


This is a result of 64.6% of the 525 answers having been submitted by the public. Novel, huh? What's more, it doesn't include another 279 which weren't received by the deadline - if they had, the percentage would have been 86% against the stupid proposal.

It should be the end of Drakeford's nonsense, shouldn't it? I mean, if you ask the public a question in a democracy and they overwhelmingly tell you to go boil your head, that's pretty final.

But just you watch them wriggle away from such an inconvenient statistic, because there are signs in the document that they're already working on it.


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Remind You Of Anyone?

I mentioned last week that content here would be sparse, and so it came to pass. I've also spent this weekend doing next to bugger all due to the prospect of another similar five days to come. I'm quite simply fried.

I did manage to get to Forest's 35th anniversary on Tuesday though and intend, at some point, to write about that and the tobacco control industry event - chaired by Martin McKee - which went beforehand. In the meantime, I heartily recommend you read this account from my companion on the night.

Anyhow, in between enjoying the rugby and a few 'easy watch' films this weekend, the boy little P was quick to point this out to me today. On further investigation, it looks like it's going viral on the basis that it's batshit crazy.


We talk here, don't we, about the 'church' of public health and its sometimes astonishingly contrived nonsense towards popular consumer products. Well, doesn't this barking religious nut remind you of ideological tobacco control industry fruitcakes and their absurd justifications for plain packaging?

Watch out in the video for the blank-minded smug look on the dafty's face when she thinks she's 'proved' her point. Remind you of every professional tobacco controller that you've ever seen, heard or read about as they peddle their extremist conspiracy theory bullshit, perchance? I'd say so.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Exploit Children, Keep Nose In Trough

A compelling case was made in the Lancashire Evening Post yesterday.
Young people from across Lancashire want to see the Government reject standardised tobacco packs, following an event on the dangers of counterfeiting. 
The event was organised by Imperial Tobacco, a business that works with public sector organisations to tackle the illicit trade. The event explored how removing branding and logos would be a boost to counterfeiters who have no qualms about enticing young boys and girls into a life time of addiction.
No-one at all can argue with that!

So here's a thought. Why doesn't a state-funded lobby group whose only purpose is to justify its pointless existence with daft ideas like plain packaging - despite the complete lack of evidence - do the same kind of indoctrination scam for cheap publicity? Like, say, Tobacco Free Futures perhaps? Yes it would be transparently ludicrous and show them up as a bunch of desperate charlatans, but it would get a headline from lazy, unquestioning journalistic failures in the local press, wouldn't it?

Oh ... hold on.