Saturday, 18 October 2014

Mike Daube And His Funding Merry-Go-Round

Note to tobacco controllers: When you are instrumental in taking an appallingly prejudiced and stupid decision which makes global news and embarrasses your country - and you also lie about it - it's very likely to come back and smash your face in.

Last week, Australian anti-smoker obsessive Mike Daube was caught lying about the decision to ban the opera Carmen because it is set in a cigarette factory. To recap:
To cut a long story short, a state government body, Healthway - of which Mike Daube is a board member - forced the West Australian Opera to ditch a production of the 1875 composition because it is set in a cigarette factory. This prompted global hilarity at Aussie state censorship, but had Western Australia's Premier spitting blood about the embarrassment and the Australian Prime Minister chipping in with condemnation too.
Daube, being a tobacco controller, refused to show contrition for such an absurd outcome, and instead pretended it was nothing to do with him by blaming the opera company instead.

However, such was the absurdity of the decision and the embarrassment of Australian citizens, politicians and media, it didn't take long for someone to leak Healthway minutes which showed that Daube had openly lied to the media.
Leaked minutes of Healthway's April meeting show its arts advisory committee put forward three options to handle problems caused by a longstanding ban on funding performances that contained depictions of smoking. 
The minutes are directly at odds with versions of the funding row given by both Healthway and the WA Opera.  
But the minutes show the bid to water down the policy was vigorously opposed by anti-smoking campaigner Mike Daube.  
"Professor Daube stated there was no pressure for Healthway to change its current position," the minutes say.
Healthway have since been given a severe rap on the knuckles and told not to be so bloody stupid again. But the stink of Daube's actions must still be acrid to Australians because two different news sources have been researching his involvement with Healthway.

The West Australian looked into the funding handed out by the organisation, and the Australian has also run the story. It don't look good.
"TWO lobby groups run by anti-smoking activist Mike Daube have secured $2 million in ­taxpayer-funded grants from West Australian government agency Healthway since the Perth academic joined the board in 2010. 
The Australian Council on Smoking and Health, of which Professor Daube is president, has been one of the biggest recipients of Healthway’s grants over the past three years, receiving $225,000 in 2011, $231,000 in 2012 and $237,000 last year. 
Professor Daube’s campaigns at ACOSH include lobbying to ban smoking in people’s homes, mental health facilities and the nation’s prisons. Another group, the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA, of which Professor Daube is director, has received $1.28m in grants since 2010. 
Grants made to ACOSH and PHAIWA since Professor Daube joined the Healthway board total $1.97m, according to an examination of the agency’s annual reports.
Healthway insist that Daube was not involved in the actual committees awarding these funds, so I suppose his pet projects receiving huge sums of taxpayer cash from an organisation Daube is a board member of is just an uncanny coincidence.

As a side note, this whole palaver - which could have been avoided if Daube hadn't exercised such a psychotic error of judgement - has also highlighted the insane nature of 'public health' funding in Australia.
The grants were made to two PHAIWA programs that promote public health advocacy through “professional development” and “knowledge transfer”. 
Professor Daube established the institute in 2008 at Curtin University, where he is employed. It lists Healthway as its biggest sponsor. The institute focuses on reducing obesity and alcohol consumption and runs courses to train “emerging leaders” in how to become the “advocates of tomorrow” in areas such as lobbying governments.
Just think about that for a moment. Not only has Daube made himself a decades long career of receiving government money to use for lobbying the government - a stunning abuse of taxpayer funds in itself - he is also using government money to train others how to use government money to lobby government!

And Healthway, of which he is a board member, is the organisation awarding government money to Daube's organisation ... which uses government money to train others how to use government money to lobby government.

Is your mind boggled yet?

Mike Daube's similarly obsessive mates - as we have come to expect of the tobacco control industry - are desperately pretending that the truth didn't happen and that he's done nothing wrong, but they should really be listening to advice from WA Today.
Number one rule, do not lie to the media as it will only come back to bite you. 
Quite. In this case, to the tune of $2 million.

Link Tank 18/10

That's yer lot.

When nanny staters say ‘choice’, what they really mean is ‘less choice’

The smoking ban: Just another form of illiberal leftist social control

The perfect pub: is there one left in Britain?

WHO battles climate and sugar, misses Ebola

London's beer flood - 200 years ago this week

Rand Paul: "Most interesting man in politics"

Putin's war against McDonald's

Spreadable beer is a thing now

Nigerian capital bans car horns

Japan's fast food battle of the black burgers (pic)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A Glimpse Through The Blackout Curtain

This week is proving to be a defining one for the tobacco control industry. They appear to have taken a decision to go all out and prove me right in saying that their motivation has nothing whatsoever to do with health.

First we had proven liar and debate-phobic Lord Narzi proposing an evidence-free policy which is solely designed to bully smokers and incubate hatred towards them, now it seems the WHO are going down the same route with e-cigs.

Snowdon explains.
Apologies for the poor quality of the image. You can click to enlarge, but this is what it says (all strikes and underlines are in the original. ENDs are 'Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems', a daft term that only 'public health' people use for e-cigarettes):
(b) minimize as far as possible potential health risks to ENDS users and protecting non-users from exposure to their emissions;

3. The Parties are invited to consider banning or regulating ENDS including as tobacco products, medicinal products or consumer products [or other categories as appropriate] taking into account a high level of protection for human health with special attention to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women.

Urges Parties to consider banning or restricting advertising, promotion and sponsorship of ENDs.
Again, there is no credible evidence anywhere that e-cigs are harmful to bystanders, nor will there ever be. Likewise, there is no credible evidence or reasonable justification for banning e-cigs - in fact, the research so far conducted points in entirely the opposite direction. None of this puts off the COP6 movers and shakers though because, between the 24 of them, they trousered over $10 million in the past two years ... tax free (page 19).

This is just how tobacco control rolls. They increasingly don't deal in proper evidence and facts, just whatever affords them the greatest income. They don't care that outdoor smoking bans will have no positive effect on public health - they know that they won't - they just care that they have to be seen doing something or their funding gets canned.

With the WHO and e-cigs it is even more damning. They couldn't give a monkey's chuff if all the former smokers who have quit using e-cigs revert to tobacco, they merely see smokers quitting without their "help" as a danger to their future prosperity.

So they do what tobacco control has always done; simply repeat lies over and over until the shallow and ignorant in governments believe it's real. They are the adult equivalent of a kid throwing itself on a supermarket floor in tantrum and screaming until they get what they want.

I don't have intricate knowledge of the many deranged tobacco-hating delegations to this shameful gathering in Putin's backyard, but I can certainly comment on our own.

It's interesting to note that ASH (who helped Narzi to lie in 2009 remember?) went out of their way to say how "delighted" they were yesterday about a policy deliberately designed to attack smokers - which they should be appalled by considering their website claims they don't do such things - yet they've been silent on this issue today despite recently positioning themselves as the vaper's friend.

They regularly say bugger all about the rising tide of e-cig bans all over the country, let alone challenge the organisations proposing them or - God forbid - actively throw their weight behind vapers to get the bans rescinded. Today, their staff are in Moscow while this dangerous buffoonery is being played out but - since the public and press have been barred - we don't have a clue what ASH delegates said about it. They could have been nodding it all through enthusiastically and we'd be none the wiser - how convenient, eh?

So perhaps Debs Arnott holds no sway whatsoever with the FCTC; perhaps she has been overruled by the Department of Health's Andrew Black; or perhaps she's not really that bothered if laws start springing up all over the place banning or stupidly regulating e-cigs. The silence from Moscow and on ASH's media timelines certainly don't suggest her organisation is spitting blood about the FCTC putting forward such nonsensical proposals, does it?

If the final edit comes out anywhere close to what the picture above suggests, my guess is that ASH will say something along the lines of "well, we tried, but there was nothing we could do" ... and then just carry on as usual while vaping is systematically strangled. No big fuss, no stepping out of line and risking a customary tobacco control Mafia blackballing. Just sitting back taking the cash and hoping no-one will give them too much grief.

All just supposition until refuted (ha!) but I'll finish by just leaving this here.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Out Of The Woodwork

So, it seems that the London parks smoking ban suggested in a report commissioned by Boris isn't quite the slam dunk it first appeared.

But the period of time between the press release going out in the early hours and Boris's statement at lunchtime was open season for every irrational smoker-hating whacko, psychopath, and berserker to spew their bile on every possible platform. Lord Narzi and Sally Davies effectively signalled to thousands of society's most vile that hyperbolic hatred was officially sanctioned by the authorities.

Prime pick of a host of nasty screwballs calling in to a phone-in on Radio 5Live this morning was a doctor who revelled in the proposal because "if I tell a smoker not to smoke, he says he has as much right as me to use the park, but this law would entitle me to approach smokers and tell them to put their cigarette out".

A writer in the Metro considered he'd been given the green light to refer to smokers as "dis-gus-ting!".
It’s going to be welcomed by the silent majority of Londoners who scream in their heads ‘you’re dis-gus-ting!’ whenever anyone near them lights up. 
I know because I'm one of them. I think smoking is one of the most revolting things devised by humanity. 
It’s worse than that, though, because of the unpleasant knowledge that the stink of their revolting habit has passed through their tar-encrusted innards before washing all over you.
Meanwhile, over at the Mirror, Fleet Street Fox was penning similar stuff.
They stand outside pubs, puffing a fug to poison others trying to get through the door for a very important gin. 
They stand on street corners, exhaling wildly at passers-by. 
And they meander slowly along pavements leaving a trail of nasty nicotine to enter the unsuspecting nostrils of their fellow pedestrians. 
If smoking is your choice, then NOT smoking is mine. Keep it to yourself, you ill-mannered walking bonfire of suicidal stupidity.
Including bringing up a psycho anti-smoker favourite, the smoker-whacking snipers.
They are determinedly addicted and insensible to public health messages so the only effective method of stopping them lighting up in parks would need to involve snipers in trees, a method of removing their oxygen until they repent, or enabling vigilantes to set them alight and see how they like it. 
All of which, even a professor and a dame would have to admit, is a lot of effort when the rate of smoking is in a long-term steady decline and will probably sort itself out, if only because all the stupid people end up dead.
Everywhere on social media schizoids felt almost compelled to talk of "clouds of smoke" clogging up acres of parklands; that there is "nothing worse" than being near a smoker; that smokers were "killing children"; and, of course, that the ban doesn't go far enough ... smoking should be banned completely.

It's not that the state and their quangoes create these sick people, irrational smoke-haters have been around forever along with temperance fruitcakes, racists and anti-semites. It's just that civil society normally demands that they keep their odious, spittle-flecked bigotry to themselves. But when the state and/or its institutions legitimise these hateful views, we get Carrie Nations, Jewish businesses joyfully being vandalised and South Africans talking openly of their hatred of kaffirs.

It's an effect we've seen today, and one which ASH - who claim not to like smokers being attacked or condemned - say they are absolutely "delighted" about. Even Simon Chapman recognises that bans outdoors are "ethically unjustifiable", but ASH's ethics fly out of the window when an opportunity arises to express their joy in bullying others.

This is why it's becoming a mantra here now that we are most definitely on the side of the angels. What can be more civilised than respecting the preferences and life choices of others, and organising our own lives to fit in happily around them?

By contrast, ASH and their fellow professional finger-waggers only encourage the intolerant, anti-social and vile in society, while state bodies which listen to them pander to the most disgusting, base and grubby of human flaws.

Vote Tory, Get Labour

I take it that today's news means Boris has by extension placed himself in Room 101?

He is absolutely correct. The evidence of harm from secondhand smoke indoors is stratospherically exaggerated, so his gesture of lighting up a cigar as a signal of freedom was welcomed in the video's comments by all but a sparse few.

The evidence of harm from smoke in a huge open air park, though, is non-existent. So what's all this pony about, Boris?
Trafalgar and Parliament squares smoking ban call
Smoking could be banned in Trafalgar and Parliament squares as well as the city's parks if a report by London's Health Commission is implemented. 
The smoke free plan would see the mayor use his by-law powers over Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square and his influence over the Royal Parks, the board of which he appoints.
If it's not backed by evidence of harm to others, the only possible goal of this for the Mayor and his unelected report writers is to dictate to others how they should be living their lives. With fines and menaces.

Couple this with his other proposals - amongst a huge list - of pointless poor-bashing minimum alcohol pricing, mandatory and costly traffic light labelling of restaurant menus, and banning fast food outlets within 400 metres of schools - all without the inconvenience of having to be passed through a parliamentary vote - and the last vestiges of Boris's liberal credentials just flew down the khazi.

But get this! The a la carte menu of unelected lefty quangocrat policies (see Word doc download here) is being announced today at County Hall by Tory Boris and ... Labour peer Lord Darzi!

Vote Tory, Get Labour!

Labour and Conservative, bessie mates in ordering you about
Last mention of Lord Darzi on these pages was when he was caught deliberately lying to parliament - with eager help from ASH - about the cost of the tobacco display ban to convenience stores.

Other cheerleaders for this extremist manifesto are the incompetent and embarrassingly gullible Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies, and world-renowned public and democratic process-ignoring health fascist Michael Bloomberg.

In light of the recent big strides by UKIP, is this part of the big plan to regain credibility for professional politicians in the main three parties? By joining forces to declare war on what people freely choose to eat, drink and smoke?

They just don't get it, do they? No wonder the voting share for the entrenched - and on this evidence, allied - political establishment is going down faster than a nympho in a rugby club locker room.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Postcard From #COP6

If you've not been able to keep up with the breathless excitement emanating from the WHO's anti-smoking conference in Moscow, here are a few highlights.

Day 1: A quite fantastic opener with the public excluded in case anyone looks at the delegates in an unapproved manner.

Delegates to Moscow were really happy to be able to distract attention from their being in Russia despite planes being shot down, human rights being liquidated, widespread sanctions, and the US and Canada boycotting the event ... by welcoming North Korea's best anti-smokers after paying for their travel expenses to be there.

Margaret Chan so happy to take a break from that boring Ebola stuff.

Everyone attending is dead happy about the catering. A bit steep at more than $12 for a tea and $45 for breakfast, but it's very nice and, who cares! It's taxpayers who foot the bill.

Twitter feed switched off because there is too much comment from the public, but other means of using the hugely expensive internet access have been devised.

And so to bed ... at cost to others of £200+ per night. Party with those crazy guys from Kim Jong Il's delegation from 9pm till late.

Day 2: Some guy wrote an article which didn't love the FCTC, so the press, obviously, have to be forcibly ejected too.
Reporters were forcibly removed and restrained Tuesday at the World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on tobacco control in Moscow. 
Washington Times editorial writer Drew Johnson told The Daily Caller that he was physically escorted out of the meeting’s convention hall by a guard while another reporter was physically restrained from entering the room, even though WHO never formally voted to restrict the media from the event.
The North Korean party animals loved that bit, made them feel right at home.

Margaret Chan was enjoying herself too, escaping all the tiresome paperwork in Geneva ...
... in favour of a well-deserved break fluttering eyelashes at a real macho man.

With all those people barred who could have raised objections, we got our work done in double-quick time too!
All indications were that the global tobacco tax would not pass until Thursday or Friday, if at all. Without the public and the media there to watch, delegates ratified the tax almost immediately.
Just the way we like it.

Looking forward to day 3 now. Party in the Libyan Health Minister's room tonight, his fascinating anecdotes of working with Gaddafi are to die for.
Anyway, excited as I am, I must stop writing now Jane, me and Deborah from ASH have lots to do tomorrow.

Andrew Black

PS You'd love the guys from Bhutan, on a freebie but with some great ideas.

Losers Weepers

By way of update to Sunday's post on "weird" UKIP policies, my transatlantic fellow jewel robber NorCal David G took me to task for not remembering this (as usual, click to enlarge).

So, UKIP's "weird" policy of amending the smoking ban to something more reasonable and grounded in common sense was once considered by the Conservatives too, an admission in itself that the law was excessive. More fool them for discarding the idea.

What's more, Andy Burnham admitted that his constituents were still angry at their communities being ripped apart twelve months afterwards and did absolutely sod all about it (I note that he has never sued the Sun about the article).

I reckon most people would find it very 'weird' that politicians would ignore all the obvious protests being thrown their way and, instead, listen to a comparatively tiny clique of unaccountable, anti-social state-funded loudmouths.

If UKIP then come along and pick up the ball (and the accompanying millions of votes) that the other - obviously utterly detached from the public mood - parties have dropped, then there can hardly be complaints. Now can there?