Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Legislation As Corporate Sponsorship

Via SteveVape comes news that we kinda knew anyway, that bans don't really need to have anything to do with health.

Major U.S. and foreign airline associations unanimously endorsed a Transportation Department proposal to ban the use of electronic cigarettes on scheduled airline flights to, from and within the U.S.

In a letter to the DOT, the groups said all airlines already prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and would welcome a government ban.
Aren't private airlines entitled to set their own policies, I hear you say? Yes. Of course they are, but that's not the point of the article. Instead, airlines are petitioning government to ban something purely for their own self-interest. See here, for example.

For years, flight attendants have spoken out against electronic cigarettes, saying passengers have confronted attendants over electronic cigarettes because some air travelers argue that the federal tobacco ban does not apply to electronic cigarettes.
Of course it doesn't. Because there is not - and probably never will be - any damaging health effect ascribed to passive water vapour.

There's a distinct lack of bodies to prove the computer modelled devastation of secondhand smoke too, but considering the world and his equally bovine wife have been comprehensively duped by that con job, we'll leave it aside for now.

Suffice to say that here we have airlines calling for a ban so that their lives are made easier. Nothing whatsoever to do with health, just an easing of administration by way of government diktat to save poor airline staff from the onerous burden of doing their job.

Oh, don't get me wrong. They do at least hint towards health hysteria ...

The DOT proposed the ban in September fearing that electronic tobacco products, which are inhalers that come in the shape of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, pens or other objects, may introduce harmful vapors into aircraft cabins, even though they do not rely on combustion.
... it's just that there is quite literally zero evidence for any of it.

And how did such a destructively lazy and illiberal mindset become entrenched? I think you might have worked that particular conundrum out for yourself by now. It's, of course, because anti-nicotine bans have never been about health, merely the interests of one set of nicotine suppliers pitted against those who profit from an alternate delivery system.

E-cigs just happened to have wandered into the middle of a shit-storm and are being treated the same as traditional tobacco manufacturers. Pfizer et al don't look kindly on such impertinent competitors ... their shareholders would kick up such a darn fuss, so they would. Oddly enough, this kind of legislation is usually enthusiastically aided and abetted by lefty progressives who are too dumb to realise that they're boosting profits for aggressive global corporations.

Thanks to the fanatically insane tobacco control lobby, anything can now be subject to legislative banning without any scientific evidence required.

As precedents go, that's quite a biggie.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

I Hope You're Suitably Grateful For Not Being Mugged Again

While I'm on, I couldn't help but zero in on this quote from George Osborne in today's Autumn Statement.

As a result [of freezing fuel duty], Mr Osborne said the average family would save £144 a year on filling up their car.
This is the world of the gut-wrenchingly absurd politician. By not punishing us further, he is actually saving us money. D'you see?

How very fucking generous.

Thanks to This is Money for showing us how very much politicians have 'saved' us in the past decade.

They've been stealing your earnings for years - funding hare-brained schemes and disgustingly illiberal shite - but have now decided to keep their thieving fingers to themselves for a few months ...

... and we're meant to be grateful?

If they don't disgust you, why not? Serious question.

REAL Smoking Kids

Sadly, not being paid for this stuff (contrary to anti-tobacco opinion), real life (that is, really being paid) is obstructing things here somewhat.

However, thanks to incredibly gifted fellow jewel robber, David G, here is a follow up from yesterday's 'smoking kids' post. You might remember his genius from June 2010.

See, 21st century kids dressed up as 1920s adults by some artsy snapper isn't as interesting as real 1920s smoking pics. Here are two masterfully restored photographs from his collection. Descriptions are David G's.

"The first is of two young girls posing for the camera, playing dress-up, holding cigs."
"The second is technically a midget, but a Midget for Coolidge, during his presidential campaign in DC."
Well, I thought they were damned intriguing, anyway.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Won't Someone Please Photograph The Children ... Smoking!

Considering the prevailing global risk-phobic, kid-centric mindset, an artistic photographer looking for publicity could do worse than something like this, I suppose.

Being art, there's a deeper meaning, natch, as explained by

Titled “The beauty of an ugly addiction”, photographer Frieke Janssens confronts viewers with questions about the general smoking ban introduced in Belgium some months ago. Surrealistic, melancholic and theatrical but especially controversial pictures of smoking kids are used to visualise the contradiction of the unhealthy cigarette and the immense attraction of smoking.

The children, aged four to nine, are shameless posing while enjoying their cigarette or cigarillo. So why kids? By portraying adults as children all the attention went to the smoking. An adult would draw to much attention to the portrayed person. Thus these portraits evoke question such as: is the smoking ban the right way to get rid of an absurd addiction and are smokers treated like little kids who can’t make the difference between good and bad?
Well, there is that, yes.

Just to prove that no kids were harmed in the making of these images (though a couple of Belgian anti-smokers suffered instantaneous heart attacks), here's the 'making of' vid.

The full set is here.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ken Burns' Prohibition: You Might Want To Watch This

"If you want to make kids brush their teeth, make it illegal" - Pete Hamill
I've been lucky enough to have been gifted a copy - only available in or from America for now - of Ken Burns's epic video documenting of US Prohibition. Well, I say gifted, but the truth is that I was hinting at it for Christmas and Mrs P, knowing my frame of mind very well and sensing the urgency, went and bought it for me. Aww, ain't that nice?

At just under six hours, on three DVDs, this is a real opus. Yet packing, as it does, every aspect of 13 years of possibly the most stupid legislation ever conceived into three feature length episodes, it is eminently watchable.

Burns's tale begins in the early 1820s by describing an entirely different world from that we now know. A place where a bell rang twice a day for "grog time" whereby working men could take a break and drink beer. A time before divorce; before women's rights; and before abstinence was even considered a virtue. The puritans who landed in the new continent carried a massive cargo of beer barrels. The US was a country that loved booze.

Certain individuals withdrew from this life, choosing (and that is a very important consideration here) to abstain from alcohol. Their stance was so outlandish that the church of the time objected to it on the grounds that only organised religion should be making such decisions. As the film progresses, it's enlightening how such a ridiculous position could be turned on its head so dramatically, with a new arrogant public health 'church' emerging in its place.

The three DVDs deal with different time frames of the whole sorry story. The drive towards alcohol prohibition; the public reaction after it was ratified; and the hypocrisy and unintended consequences which made its repeal a no-brainer.

The first makes you almost sympathetic with the motives behind those who pushed for controls on alcohol. But what began as a mutual, and voluntary, step to self-prohibit consumption, turned into a drive to coerce everyone else in the country to do likewise. And therein lies the problem, one which we see on a daily basis even now.

Having watched all of this DVD - and admittedly with the benefit of hindsight (but then we all have the same luxury) - that subtle re-alignment of objective was where the prohibitionist movement doomed itself. It's sad that the modern equivalents can't see that their policies are treading the same failed path as others before them.

The first third concluded with prohibitionists in the ascendancy, and somehow jubilant that now a law had been signed off with a few signatures, that people would just stop drinking. Yes, naive in the extreme, but that's truly what they believed.

Of course, that was only the start. If anything, Prohibition just made the mainly rural Christian lobbyists' worst nightmares even worse. For example, the Ku Klux Klan were huge supporters of abstinence, yet Prohibition ushered in an era where blacks were welcomed into bars like never before, and black-led jazz became a cultural phenomenon.

With a wry grin at the thought of smokey-drinkies of today, we heard how one contemporary said at the time, "all that was needed was two bottles and a room" to circumvent the law, and with alcohol producers like Al Capone (and thousands like him) freed from taxation - while enforcement suffered from the starving of duty that alcohol provided - more drinking went on after the Volstead Act was passed, than before.

It also became intensely trendy, with women introduced to the joys of drinking more than any period before or since - something which must have appalled the Women's Christian Temperance Union who were instrumental in the implementation of such a hideous law.

The series also highlights how civil liberties were drastically eroded thanks to the self-centred ideology behind Prohibition. Wire taps were used for the first time to catch people selling products people wanted to buy; poisoning of alcohol was considered perfectly acceptable; and a blind eye was turned to the huge death toll which resulted from private stills and unscrupulous suppliers - and that's without taking into account the Hollywood obsession with gang violence founded thanks to single issue lunatics. Just as the modern prohibitionist movement is equally dismissive of the same damage caused by the criminalisation of ecstasy; the laughable EU ban on snus; the global moves to prohibit e-cigs; and counterfeit tobacco that their blinkered, societally-destructive policies have caused.

Similarities continue with the evident fact that it was the temperance movement's refusal to bend in the face of reasonable objection that eventually made their cause unsupportable. They'd gone too far, but refused to admit it. Herbert Hoover was so in the thrall of the Anti-Saloon League that he commissioned a study into Prohibition which found it to be flawed but ... we'll keep it anyway (they don't even admit flaws anymore). Such blindness to amendment was to lead to a landslide defeat at the next presidential election, but those of our time are equally sucked in by dogma.

Echoes of the past which are recognisable nowadays reverberate through all of the six hours. The constant calls for money by prohibitionists to pay for enforcement and education against human will; the derogation of respect for the law - all laws - which ensued; the contempt for politicians seen to be acting in self-interest; and the futility of thinking that just by banning something, that it will cease to exist.

Prohibition taught us that governments really aren't as powerful as they think they are, and nor are the lobbyists who think they can change human nature by the stroke of a pen. Yet here we are, nearly 80 years later, and they still don't get a lesson from history which should have defined a more proportionate response to the way people choose to live their lives.

Ken Burns has produced a great, and timely, piece which not only charts the history of Prohibition from early beginnings to ultimate humiliation, but also should send a warning to politicians that they need to tread lightly when attempting to stamp on personal freedoms.

Nothing sends that message more than when, the day after Franklin Roosevelt was elected - shown in glorious film by Burns - he laughed as he announced the repeal of a law which should never have been contemplated in the first place. "You're in quite a hurry!", he said, to wild applause. And, as the vote was passed by a huge margin on Capitol Hill, head of the WCTU Emma Boole wept while the celebrations from just about everyone else began.

For anyone who has read - or intends to - Chris Snowdon's The Art of Suppression, this documentary is a must-watch, following hand-in-glove as it does the same themes but with incredibly evocative historic pictures and film which brings the subject matter alive. I can not only highly recommend it, but I hope that it is soon made more easy for UK viewers to watch.

At the moment, you'll need a multi-region DVD player or PC as it is only available in Region 1 format, but if that's not a problem, the US Amazon site will happily supply you, as will many sellers on eBay.

For the full schadenfreude experience, watch with a bottle of Californian wine. I did.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Mind Boggles, To Be Sure

The [UNICEF] report on sexual health and behaviour [of Irish teenagers] found:

- 82 per cent had had full penetrative sex while 10 per cent said they didn’t know what type of sex they had had
Even after reading that three times, I'm still struggling to imagine the circumstances behind it.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

"Each New Train Has A Smoking Lounge"

How very civilised it is going to be travelling on Austrian trains from Salzburg to Vienna soon. The head of a prominent private train operator has unveiled a new service being rolled out from December.

It's all very posh, so it is. Free WiFi throughout, separate ladies and gents toilets, all in a rather fine polished shell.

Company Chairman Benedikt Weibel also unveiled one other customer service.

What other surprises has Western Railway in store for passengers?

[...] In addition, we have built a smoking lounge into every train, like in the airport.
So, just another day in tolerant Europe, where there are still allowances made for a quarter to a third of the population - and another reminder of how isolated the UK is in pursuing an appalling 'denormalisation' programme.

The arguably first class rolling stock is supplied by Bombardier, meaning the smoking lounges may well be made in Derby by workers who - if they smoke - are treated like second class citizens.

Quite ironic, I thought.

H/T Les Dissidents de Genève

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Cringe-Worthy Things Prohibitionists Do In Their Spare Time

Delingpole reckons he's found the most toe-curling righteous frivolity ever witnessed, in the recently released "Climategate 2.0" e-mails.

He warns you to "hold onto your stomachs real tight boys and girls" for a narcissistic re-working of The First Noel after Al Gore and the IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yeah, it's pretty horrific.

I've seen worse, though. Here's tobacco control Australia - smoke hater-in-Chief Simon Chapman front and centre - with their tongues musically massaging Health Minister Nicola Roxon's back passage.

(Warning: This is truly hideous, so the lyrics are transcribed below for the squeamish ... or those who may have just eaten)

[spoken] Is she really gonna do it?

Well there she is, let’s ask her.

Nicola, is that a plain packet you’re holding?


Gee, it must be great making health history

Let’s see, is it brand names only?


By the way, love the health warnings.

[sung] We saw her on our TV screens
The smartest Health Minister we’d ever seen
That’s why we fell for
The leader of the pack

David Crow* was always putting her down (down, down)
He said no evidence could be found (he said no evidence could be found)
But she knew that smoke was bad
And that the packet was just an ad
That’s why she became – the leader of the pack

One day the PM said “Find something new”
Her Task Force said “this’ll make em spew” (Her Task Force said-that-they-would-spew)
She stood there at the parliament door
And said “It ain’t been done before”
So I’m gonna be – the leader of the pack

[spoken] She sort of smiled and launched the packs
Crowie’s tears were beginning to show
As he walked away from his unforgettable press conference
Journalists begged him to keep the comedy coming
But whether he heard, we’ll never know

(Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!)

She felt so threatened, what could she do? (do, do, do)
When big tobacco said we’ll sue
But now the public all stop and stare
‘Cause Nicola had the guts to care
We’ll never forget her, the leader of the pack

The leader of the pack, the medals winner

The leader of the pack, Philip Morris’ ruined dinner

The leader of the pack, BAT heading for zero

The leader of the pack, public health hero

*of British American Tobacco
Sorry, James, your discovery may well be stomach-churning, but anti-smokers - as in every other line of activity they indulge in - have no equal in plumbing the depths of vomit-inducing obscenity.

Must try harder.

We Are The 88%

Bella Gerens recently wrote about the insidious nature of 'progressives' who seem hell-bent on changing the way humans like to live life ... whether we are happy about it or not.

It’s only when some group is trying to force its shit on everyone else that the twin charade of “engagement” and “consultation” is invoked. Seriously, whenever you hear that you’re about to be consulted or engaged with, abandon all hope, because it means some decision about you has been made without you and you’re now about to be told what it is.

This came immediately to mind on reading BUPA's most recent 'International Healthcare Study'. From page 20.

• The majority of respondents in seven of the 12 surveyed countries say that it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure that they keep well. However, in five countries, either a majority or sizeable minorities say that the government or the state should take most responsibility.

• The view that the government or state should take most responsibility for keeping people well is most strongly held in China (56%), followed by Brazil (52%), Hong Kong (44%), Thailand (43%) and Saudi Arabia (38%).

• Individuals’ responsibility for their own health is rated lowest in Brazil (40%) and China (40%), followed by Saudi Arabia (42%), Hong Kong (48%) and Thailand (49%).

In the UK, the overwhelming majority (88%) say that individuals should take most responsibility. Respondents in Mexico (83%), the US (82%), New Zealand (78%), Spain (77%) Australia (76%) and India (73%) rate this almost as highly.
Now, if you were to suggest to our politicians that they should emulate the policies of China, Brazil or Saudi Arabia towards their citizens, they'd probably laugh in your face. Maybe even give you a slap round the chops for being so stupid, or recommend that you talk to a shrink.

Yet, here we are with a vast majority of our country heavily opposed to the idea that government should dictate our choices for us - in common with other developed western democracies also mentioned - being hectored by politicians who are aspiring for the same obedience enjoyed by some of the most vile administrations in the known world.

Now, try to find some ideological reason to shoot the messenger if you like, but BUPA are in the health business and as much signed up to consensus attitudes on health choices as the Department of Health. The difference is that their business relies on listening to their customers, whereby government would prefer it if we kept our traps shut and didn't make too many waves.

88%! That's truly overwhelming, and not in the wishy-washy, '51% sort of think they might agree if asked questions couched in a way which suits the publicy-funded bodies who draft the questions' kind of way.

So here we have a situation whereby Westminster have decided that they'd like to run our lives for us, and claim popular support despite the fact that we'd - almost to a man/woman - prefer it if they just provided education and then left us alone.

Oh, they'll consult us first, naturally. But we know that's the equivalent of being told your kid really will take his/her plate out next time, honest. In other words, bollocks.

Decisions are made in SW1 and you're just an annoying irritance to be manipulated before they do what they want anyway. The 88% of us who wish they would just go hang themselves are little more than an irrelevance.

For politicians, that Chinese compliance rate is so to die for.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Canadian Parents Show Some Balls

There was quite a kerfuffle in the Canadian national press last week, all centred on just one school in Toronto

Students at an east-end Toronto school are being told to leave their soccer balls — and other hard balls — at home.

The principal of Earl Beatty Public School banned the balls this week after a parent recently suffered a concussion from being hit in the head with a soccer ball.

The principal, Alicia Fernandez, banned hard balls, claiming they're dangerous.

"Kids were coming in complaining of injury, or being scared," she said.

The ban went into effect two weeks ago.

Students can bring sponge or other soft balls to play with, but soccer balls, footballs, baseballs and even tennis balls are not allowed for safety reasons.
Quickly followed by the backlash.

All very encouraging, I thought, considering such policies are widespread back in the stiff upper-lipped UK ... including sponge balls as detailed here in May.

Time for a quick anecdote. In the early boy Puddlecote years, parents were required to wait until their offspring were taken into class before leaving the playground in the mornings. It was a sterile affair for the kids, they'd run around but weren't allowed to go near the climbing frame as a fully-trained teacher wasn't in attendance before 9am, and risk assessments said no. They'd get excited with their running, as kids do, at which point they'd routinely be told to stop by the one staff member on show because - and I know this as I asked - if they fell over, "there isn't a system in place to administer first aid outside of school hours".

On one occasion, one of the kids brought a tennis ball in with him. He launched it into the air and around two dozen kids gleefully cheered and started running around kicking it. The whole happy episode of childhood abandon and joy lasted less than a minute. The ball was grabbed by the teacher and the kid who brought it was admonished sternly.

"You know full well that balls aren't allowed in the playground!", she finger-wagged. Again, my curiosity was piqued and I politely enquired as to why. The reason was that it could hit another child and cause bruising or, more dangerously it would appear from the look on the face of the teacher concerned, one of those playing might tread on it and have a "nasty fall".

The next day, I mischievously brought in a yellow foam ball and threw it in front of the boy to see what happened. He kicked it and the kids naturally charged around after it in the same manner. That, too, was confiscated in double quick time. The justification this time? Well, with all that kicking going on towards a ball with no weight, one child may end up kicking another.
Now, if there was a media furore - as in Canada - over hysterical playground bans when they were first initiated; or a revolt amongst freedom-loving British parents, I can't say I noticed it. Did you?

We can see the reason for this by studying a picture of the country in the last century ...

... and comparing it to now.

Anaemic, and with no spine, see?

With an unwelcome spotlight having been pointed at their risk over-reaction, the Toronto school's ban is not likely to last long.

A spokeswoman with Toronto District School Board says the ban is a temporary measure and the principal will consult with parents and staff to find a solution.
Because that's what happens when you stand up to arrogant kneejerk statists, they back down pretty sharpish. Sadly, we now have a population so in thrall to risk phobic lobbyists and health & safety hysteria, that they've completely forgotten how to.

Monday, 21 November 2011

I Have A Dream

You know that the BMA have seriously cocked up when even Ben Goldacre decides he can't ignore their shoddy nonsense. He is the 'Bad Science' guy, after all, even if he quite enjoys bad science in anti-smoking matters.

Just the act of denouncing provable lies obviously made him feel quite dirty, mind, as he spent the rest of the day assuaging his guilt by whipping himself into a frenzy with numerous anti-British American Tobacco tweets such as this.

See, the United Dreams of Europe is a "British American Tobacco front group", according to Goldacre. How they can be a 'front group' when the about page openly states "since 1979 the independent non-profit Foundation for Future Studies – an initiative of British American Tobacco – has conducted scientific and statistical research into current attitudes and behaviour across a range of social and political strata", I just don't know. I always thought a 'front group' was something which hid the identity of those funding them.

Goldacre has a different idea about shadowy enterprises than me, I suppose. I would have said that an organisation which had been in operation since Goldacre was struggling to understand how Lego works - and has never hidden it - would be eminently transparent. But hey! What does a 'tabloid' blogger know about words and shit, eh?

Still, it's good that he pointed this site out, as my 'European Dream' is for righteous arseholes to wind their necks in and leave us the fuck alone to live how we see fit.

So I posted such a dream here.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Comments Of The Day

Oh dear. There appears to be a quite astonishingly deluded sap in comments at the Observer.

20 November 2011 1:47AM

People comparing car exhausts to smoking are wrong. Have you any idea how much cleaner car fumes are compared to twenty years ago? Suicide in the garage with a hosepipe attached to the exhaust is practically impossible now
Harmless, so it is.

I wouldn't mind it so much if cigarette smoke didn't kill people, and that's the problem. If your right to smoke infringes the health rights of others, the government rightly should act to stop it.
Whereas smelling smoke from someone else's cigarette is a bona fide death sentence.

Meanwhile, in the US, just living next door to a smoker is akin to enduring chemical warfare.

If I was being poisoned by chemical like cyanide, that is grounds of federal imprisonment, yet there is cyanide, carbon monoxide, etc., in second hand smoke that I am stuck breathing in my $3050 a month apartment
Yes, they are stupid beyond belief. The kind of person for whom licking windows is a strange compulsion. Yet they haven't formed these opinions themselves, they both have their roots in pronouncements from individuals in power who are supposed to be trusted.

"But let me give you one headline to remember - it would be safer to have your exhaust pipe on the inside of your car than smoke a cigarette, in terms of fine particulate matter released. And evidence suggests rolling down the window doesn't eliminate the problem." [Dr Douglas Noble, BMA public health committee, June 2011]
We're still waiting for Noble to illustrate his hypothesis with a practical experiment, but I can't see it coming anytime soon, can you?

While the pathetically small traces of hydrogen cyanide in secondhand smoke pale into insignificance when compared to industrial output - for which there are clearly defined acceptable levels - yet reality didn't stop the NHS peddling such mythical scaremongery on bus shelter ads in 2006.

So is it really that surprising that the weak-minded amongst us will start to believe that black is white; that the inconsequential is an imminent personal armageddon?

No, of course not.

What should worry us greatly, though, is that we are condemned to live under an administration consisting of idiots who believe such nonsense. Probably why there is a growing body abroad who view our once-proud country as a bit of an effete basket case.

"What a freaking nanny state. Going from the largest empire on earth, to the country that stood alone in WWII, to a country where the government oversees all."
I'd like to argue, really I would, but ...

Friday, 18 November 2011

Following The Template To The Letter

If you're looking for an illustration of the path of prohibitionists as they strive to emulate tobacco control, Balance North East is as stark as they come.

Best place to start is their 'about us' page.

We are aiming to inspire changes to the way people in the North East think about and drink alcohol. We aren’t saying no to alcohol and we still want people to enjoy themselves. But we do want to encourage people to reduce their consumption
I'm sure that if archives remain of ASH documents from the 80s and 90s, we could read the same understated, and reasonable theme.

The target for anti-smokers back then was merely to restrict advertising of tobacco to protect ... go on, guess. Wow, you're quick! No ask the audience required to conclude it's 'the children', eh?

Balance, naturally, want the same meagre concession (for now) as this publicly-funded video shows.

They were planning on having this televised, but it was rejected by the ASA.

Our advert is being shown online, rather than on TV, because the advertising watchdog ruled that it contravenes regulations which prevent organisations lobbying Government.
Aww, shame.

While we do not object to the judgement in principle, we do question whether it is correct that an advert which seeks to protect and improve public health is banned while the alcohol industry bypasses the regulations on a regular basis.
So they are bypassing regulations by releasing their film online, whilst simultaneously demonising the drinks industry as this big nasty, irresponsible conspiracy to get kids addicted to alcohol ... by bypassing regulations (and you just know that at some point they will hypocritically bleat about alcohol 'ads' on YouTube and Facebook).

Hmm, it's now widely accepted that tobacco companies are inherently evil and happy to inflict cancer on kids to improve their profits. How did that happen? Oh yes, I remember now. It was a decades long campaign by tobacco control to demonise the tobacco industry as this big nasty, irresponsible conspiracy to get kids addicted to nicotine.

Coincidence? Possibly. So who is this outfit run by?

Colin Shevills

A former communications consultant, he has extensive experience working in the field of public health. He previously helped to develop the brand for Fresh, Smoke Free North East and was instrumental in the successful launch of the office.
Getting uncanny, isn't it?

And what was their latest meeting about?

The author of the year’s most talked about book on alcohol is one of several exciting speakers lined up for our conference to mark the start of Alcohol Awareness Week.

Entitled ‘Enough is Enough – Calling Time on Second Hand Harm’, the conference will look at the damage which alcohol does to those around the drinker, from unborn children through to the wider community.
Inspired! Do you think they thought that up all on their own?

CAMRA, I'd start engaging with Forest sharpish if I were you, as it's not long before incessant propaganda dictates that you'll be widely viewed in the same contemptuous manner. You're toasting on a fork here.

Still, I might be over-reacting. This is just a local organisation, after all, as the 'about us' page points out.

Balance is the North East of England’s Alcohol Office - and the first of its kind in the UK.
That's all right then. I mean, there's no way other PCTs will see the swish website - designed with the obviously copious resources at their disposal - and covet the chance to spend taxpayer receipts on the same kind of thinly-veiled prohibitionism, is there?

And - do me a favour - even more unlikely that our incredibly wise Westminster overlords will sanction the spending of public cash on such illiberal stuff countrywide. It's not like we live in that shitty little puritan hell-hole off the north west coast of France or anything, is it?

Oh, hold on!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Things You Won't Read In 'Professional' Journalism

All day yesterday we saw arrogant journalists - who routinely condemn bloggers for not checking their facts - blithely publishing shit.

Today, seeing as comments sections were awash with the information - courtesy of the blogosphere - that the BMA had been caught with their professional pants down, comes a retraction and redraft of the original briefing document.

Headline: CORRECTION TO BMA briefing paper: Smoking in vehicles – press release issued on Tuesday 15 November 2011 (publication date – 16 November 2011)

Please note, there is an error in the BMA briefing paper: Smoking in vehicles. On page 4, in the 3rd paragraph, the following sentence is incorrect:

“Further studies demonstrate that the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle is 23 times greater than that of a smoky bar, even under realistic ventilation conditions”. a, 17, 18, 19

THIS SENTENCE HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH: "Further studies demonstrate that the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle could be up to 11 times greater than that of a smoky bar”.

We apologise for this error.
So who's going to break the news to this useless 'professional' prick at the Evening Standard?

It's The Dick Wot Won It!

Well, to be accurate, it was you lot piling in to nominate our esteemed mascot wot won him the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Readers' Choice award, but I couldn't resist aping the famous Sun headline. You can afford yourselves a pat on the back too, since Con Home have called it a "very good choice".

I thought the game was up once Dan Hannan suggested his massive readership vote elsewhere, to be honest, but fellow jewel robbers are obviously made of more determined stuff than Telegraph lurkers.

We like little victories like this at Puddlecote Towers - or "total triumph", as one of his parliamentary team described it by e-mail - so will naturally be changing our Phil's sidebar tribute to recognise this.

Rah rah, team!

That Long?

It's just occurred to me that this blog has been going for three years today.

In that time, 1,840 articles have been posted, eliciting 14,603 comments from just under 840,000 page views and 560,000 visits.

I read every comment here even if I sometimes don't have time to add to them, so I'd like to thank everyone who has popped by to read this tabloid junk since November 2008. It's always pleasing to see that people feel relaxed enough to create stimulating and lively comments threads here.

That's not to say lurkers aren't appreciated too, of course. If you've enjoyed enough here to make you want to return, that's enough for me. Still, if you have never commented before, why not break your cherry under this piece? It'll be good to 'meet' you, so to speak.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The BMA And BBC Will Be Lying To You Today +Updated+

You'd think, wouldn't you, that in these austere times we'd be reining in on fripperies like prohibitionists with nothing else to do but spout anti-social garbage courtesy of the public purse.

Obviously not.

Take Jim Wells, for example, a hideous DUP rep in the Northern Irish Assembly. While the global economy buckles, this guy's prime concern is that you should be criminalised for smoking in your own car. And he cites the smoking ban in pubs as proof that all is hunky-dory.

We have not needed squads of enforcement officers calling at pubs and restaurants throughout Northern Ireland to enforce the ban. There has been a 99% compliance rate, and it has been voluntary.
'Voluntary' in the sense that people voluntarily choose to avoid the crippling fines his sort have disgustingly imposed on private property owners. Not that he makes mention of that aspect, of course.

Still, in his warped mind, this makes banning smoking in private vehicles perfectly acceptable.

I do not see police officers routinely stopping cars on motorways or dual carriageways to see whether there has been smoking or whether there is ash in the ashtray. It is more likely that large numbers of people will realise that it is illegal and will stop, and there will be enormous health benefits as a result.
Course they will. Because people 'voluntarily' stopped smoking in bars once he said so, nothing at all to do with the owner of the premises being in fear of his livelihood for allowing it.

But even if smoking drivers do decide that this is a law that is a disgrace, entirely counter-productive, and very easy to contravene - which it is - Wells has that covered too.

Equally, if someone is stopped for some other reason, perhaps for using a mobile phone or driving too fast, and the officer notices that he or she has been smoking, it may be added to the schedule of offences.
Doesn't it just make your very being glow that this berk is happy for fines to be imposed by the police on the premise that the odour in the car was a bit tobacco-ey?

This is what passes for political wisdom these days, sadly. Irresponsible Unionists (remember that this is the norn-iron equivalent of conservatism) who are so hypnotised by health lobbyists that they abandon their previously held principles of choice and rights over personal property.

Aren't we lucky that it's just a provincial anomaly whereby the power of local arroganzas is magnified way beyond their limited intellect by way of devolution?

Not really, no. Because at least he was talking in a debate which qualified which cars would be included. The British Medical Association have far more sinister plans, and Westminster MPs are more than likely to adopt them at some point, the daft fuckers that they mostly are.

A review of compelling scientific evidence supporting a ban on smoking in motor vehicles is published today (Wednesday 16 November) in a new briefing paper1 from the BMA.

The BMA is calling on UK governments to introduce an extension to the current smoke-free legislation to include a ban on smoking in private vehicles.
Err, just to distinguish this from Wells's nonse, the BMA are talking about all private cars, whether others are in them or not.

Research compiled by the BMA shows that there is strong evidence that smoking in vehicles exposes non-smokers to very high levels of second-hand smoke. This is because of the restrictive internal environment in motor vehicles which exposes drivers and passengers to 23 times more toxins than a smoky bar. Children and other vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, are particularly at risk from these health dangers.
And they are doing so by citing - in their 'compelling' evidence - a study which has long since been destroyed as being ... how can I put this? Non-existent.

There is no evidence to support the claim that smoking in cars is 23 times more toxic than in other indoor environments, according to a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Ross MacKenzie and Becky Freeman, from the University of Sydney, have criticised the 'unsubstantiated' figure and plotted its path through both the mainstream press and scientific publications before become widely accepted as 'fact'.

Kim Barnhardt, of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, said: 'There is no evidence to support the fact that smoking in cars is 23 times more toxic than in other indoor environments.'
And as Chris Snowdon pointed out last night from the same report ...

We recommend that researchers and organizations stop using the 23 times more toxic factoid because there appears to be no evidence for it in the scientific literature.
Not that such unequivocal dismissal will stop the BBC pumping this shit all over the airwaves today.

I mean, why should an acclaimed body like the BMA, or a self-professed world leader in unbiased news gathering, be expected to report something that has a basis in truth, eh?

Consider today as yet another day in your life when people you were brought up to trust lied to you, shamelessly. Just the same as every other day since you were born, funny enough.

In defence of the BBC, it's only going to be low key, so you can listen to them talking about it on "Five Live Breakfast (7.10), the Today programme (7.30) and BBC Breakfast (8.10)", on BBC Radio Sussex at 9:40, BBC Lincoln at 7:30 and 8:30 with Pat Nurse, and BBC radio WM 9:30, with BBC Stoke bringing up the rear at 10:20 with Dave Atherton.

After that, they'll just shut it until the national lunchtime news and other assorted TV offerings.

Well, when lies are this good, can you blame the righteous Graunistas at the Beeb for grabbing it with both hands?

UPDATE: Nigel Farage has called the BMA out in typically direct fashion.

"That the BMA is prepared to either lie, or maybe even worse be incompetent is just clear evidence that they are not to be trusted in public."

"Nobody would encourage people to smoke, nor would anybody be wildly happy about, as they say, forcing children to breath your smoke. But have these pettifogging nincompoops ever heard of car windows?"
Click here for the full press release.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Astounding Gullibility Of A Stanford Professor

If you want a laugh, you may wish to have a read of this quite absurd article by some berk from Stanford University, on the banning of tobacco.

He's got it all figured out, so he has.

Mr. Proctor has called for regulators to do two things. First, because cigarettes are designed to create and maintain addiction, the amount of nicotine should be limited to a level at which they would cease to be addictive. Smokers who want to quit would then find it easier to do so.

Second, that we should bear history in mind. The first smokers did not inhale tobacco smoke; that became possible only in the 19th century, when a new way of curing tobacco made the smoke less alkaline. Regulators, therefore, should require that cigarette smoke be more alkaline, which would make it less easily inhaled, and so make it harder for cigarette smoke to reach the lungs.

If we want to save lives and improve health, nothing else that is readily achievable would be as effective as an international ban on the sale of cigarettes.
Now, I was going to fisk this quite vigorously, but since the little Ps kindly brought a cold home with them that, while not severe, has an irritating tendency to sap one's energy to that of a valium-soaked Jim Royle, I - consequentially - can't be arsed. Besides, I'm pretty sure you can pick holes in it without much help from me.

Suffice to say that said berk possesses an almost childlike belief in the realistic extent of state power.

For those who recognize the state’s right to ban recreational drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy, a ban on cigarettes should be easy to accept.
Well, firstly he is starting from an assumption that the state has such a right which is universally accepted (hmmm); and secondly, seeing as ecstasy has killed just about no-one, that's not too difficult a comparison. One might just as easily say that we should ban swords because they kill more people than soft boiled eggs.

I digress. So, as he brought up the subject of state proscription of recreational drugs, let's discuss the progress of this policy in Wales as detailed in two articles published today. Remember that cocaine was banned in 1920.

Home Office figures published this week figures reveal there were 6,029 seizures of illegal drugs across all categories from April 2010 to April this year, down from 6,245 for the same period 12 months previously.

And that figure was down from 6,720 during 2008/09.

Inspector Steve Clarke, who is with South Wales Police's territorial policing section, said: "We never lose sight of the effects that drugs have on our communities and we are using all means at our disposal to halt the cultivation, supply and sale of all illegal drugs to make our communities safer.

"Intelligence gathering and information from the public has paid dividends and led to many raids across South Wales, leading to significant hauls of drugs being seized."
Again, employing a state-is-perfect mentality, this is sold as a good story. Because the police, quite obviously, always find all drugs that are in circulation, don't they? Celebrations all round!

So, how is consumption faring with substances which haven't been legal for over 90 years?

"There has been an increase in the number of individuals testing positive for cocaine from around 10 per cent in April 2011, to 50 per cent in September — including those testing positive for both cocaine and heroin."

Councillor Stephen James said the increase in positive cocaine results was 'alarming'.

Fortunately, cocaine is easily created in a specialist lab, whereas tobacco requires the almost impossible requirements of a greenhouse and some seeds, so our berk doesn't foresee any problem with prohibition.

The other argument for the status quo is that a ban on tobacco might result in the same kind of fiasco as occurred during Prohibition in the U.S. That is, like the effort to ban alcohol, prohibiting the sale of tobacco would funnel billions of dollars into organized crime and fuel corruption in law-enforcement agencies, while doing little to reduce smoking.

But that may well be a false comparison. After all, many smokers would actually like to see cigarettes banned because, like Mr. Obama, they want to quit.
Don't laugh. This guy is a science historian, and published author, at a renowned university. You should be very scared.

Good grief with loud, dangly bells on!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Prohibitionists Still Kill

When it was revealed during Prohibition in the US that the poisoning of alcohol, to deter bootlegging, was resulting in thousands of deaths, anti-alcohol campaigner Wayne Wheeler was unmoved.

"If a man wishes to violate the Constitution of the United States, he should be free to commit suicide in his own way"
So implacable were those opposed to alcohol that this sentiment was echoed by Nebraska newspaper, the Omaha Bee, who dismissively asked:

"Must Uncle Sam guarantee safety first for souses?"
That such abhorrent disregard for human welfare - based solely on prejudice and bigotry - should come from lobbyists who, with a straight face, had campaigned on the issue of health, is jaw-dropping when viewed from our safety-obsessed modern era.

Or, it would be if their present day equivalents weren't doing exactly the same thing, as detailed by John Tierney in an excellent article on e-cigs at the New York Times.

But there’s a powerful group working against this innovation — and it’s not Big Tobacco. It’s a coalition of government officials and antismoking groups who have been warning about the dangers of e-cigarettes and trying to ban their sale.

The controversy is part of a long-running philosophical debate about public health policy, but with an odd role reversal. In the past, conservatives have leaned toward “abstinence only” policies for dealing with problems like teenage pregnancy and heroin addiction, while liberals have been open to “harm reduction” strategies like encouraging birth control and dispensing methadone.

When it comes to nicotine, though, the abstinence forces tend to be more liberal, including Democratic officials at the state and national level who have been trying to stop the sale of e-cigarettes and ban their use in smoke-free places. They’ve argued that smokers who want an alternative source of nicotine should use only thoroughly tested products like Nicorette gum and prescription patches — and use them only briefly, as a way to get off nicotine altogether.
Now, I'd disagree that there is any political ideology behind prohibitionists - they will jump on any populist cause to push their obsessive agenda. For example, in Chris Snowdon's latest book, he recounts how willing single issue prohibitionists were to stir up racism in pursuit of their cause.

Although blacks tended to prefer cocaine to opiates, both drugs were disproportionately used by whites. Wright and his fellow travellers nevertheless focused on alleged acts of rape and violence committed by “cocaine-crazed negroes”. According to Wright, cocaine was the “creator of criminals” which drove “the humbler negroes all over the country to abnormal crimes.” Evidence of these crimes was anecdotal at best and it was patently untrue to claim, as the New York Times did, that cocaine made blacks impervious to bullets, or that “most of the attacks upon white women in the South are the direct result of the cocaine-crazed Negro brain.” These tales were so similar to the contemporary scare about liquor-soaked blacks on the rampage in the Deep South that it is fair to assume that one set of prohibitionists was borrowing from the other.
In the modern era, we must presume (not with any certainty, mind) that even righteous lunatics would baulk at riding a racist tidal wave if it became the vogue, but Australia's prime anti-smoking advocate Simon Chapman - not overly religious as far as one can ascertain - was perfectly happy to whip up the anger of Muslims and Jews to instil hatred against tobacco. In fact, so ecstatic was he at the publicity generated that he couldn't wait to boast to the world about it.

But, that aside, Tierney's article is bang on the money. The attitude of those paid to oppose lifestyle choices is still so hideous that health has long since ceased to be anything more than a mask for spiteful campaigning. Only the prohibitionist goal remains.

In the case of e-cigs, Michael Siegel accurately describes the perverse mentality of these nasty individuals.

First, they appear to share an ideology by which it is impossible to acknowledge that anything good could come out of the use of something called a "cigarette" or by an action that looks just like "smoking." Even when abundant evidence suggests that such a product is helping thousands of ex-smokers to stay off of cigarettes and that the product is much safer than smoking, the ideology of these groups appears to blind them to the overall public health benefits of these products.

Second, nearly every one of the anti-smoking groups which opposes e-cigarettes and which called for their removal from the market has received money from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture competing smoking cessation drugs.
Considering that the incessant refrain from anti-smoking organisations is that smoking kills one in every two tobacco users, it must surely follow that for every two people who are denied access to e-cigs, tobacco control's own logic dictates that their policies will be directly responsible for the death of one of them unless they change their tune. Something which is far from evident at time of writing.

Stanton Glantz, for example - one of the world's most rabid anti-smokers, and arguably insane to boot - this week peddled some absurd crap about the e-cig industry being controlled by tobacco companies, and finished off by guiding smokers away from infinitely safer snus.

Just as US alcohol haters were quite relaxed about the deaths of 10,000 people as a result of their actions during Prohibition, so does another anti-smoking nutcase, John Banzhaf, potentially snuff out dozens of lives with every one of his many blinkered press releases designed to minimise e-cig use in favour of his dinosaur policy of using pharma products ... or dying.

Just as alcohol prohibitionists were happy to compete in the death stakes against the industry they accused of exactly the same, some still amongst us now - like the EU's Commissioner for Health John Dalli - are seriously endangering lives for no other reason than pure, unadulterated, ignorant spite against any non-medicinal solution to something they profess to care deeply about.

Aided and abetted, of course, by their legion of equally moronic, and disgusting, useful idiots.

We quite rightly look back in horror at the inhuman antics of historical prohibitionists, but the mentality hasn't changed in the past century. No lessons have been learned by those who are so single-minded that they see only an end-game, and not the death and illness their unimaginative and self-obsessed policies are causing.

They still kill without losing a second's sleep, and are just as unrepentant as they ever were.

The centuries old quest for prohibition isn't about health, nor has it ever been. It's still just a bunch of mentally unbalanced psychos adhering to unthinking, and largely unattainable, dogma without care for the deeply anti-social - and regularly lethal - consequences of their actions.

We know from history that prohibitionists long since passed went to their graves with much blood on their hands; their successors in the prohibition industry seem perfectly happy to carry on in the same vein.

Link Tank 12/11

... And relax.

Life sentence without possibility of parole for possession of child porn

School fizzy drink bans don't reduce consumption

Living rooms are the new smoking rooms

More dodgy stats, this time regarding provincial UK diets

"It's only a matter of time" before marijuana is legalised in America

Don’t expect the BBC to tell you, but Ukip is on the march

Gambler steals $850,000 to feed her habit - oh sorry, forgot to say she's a nun

Banned Star Trek episode finally airs in Germany 43 years late

Why Guinness bubbles go down instead of up

See, what we really need are body scanners for train travel, says brainwashed sap

The wrong kind of science

Emergency exits for pigs

Friday, 11 November 2011

Battle Lines Drawn For Business AND Individuals

Liberal Vision today carries a must-read article by Angela Harbutt detailing how threatening the Australian plain packaging legislation could prove to other businesses targeted by the health lobby.

It’s a tiny step from there to the decision that it’s the branding of the fizzy drink, bottle of booze, bar of chocolate, or burger that’s the problem – and stripping away the trademark, packaging design and strap line – is not just desirable but necessary.
Quite. The mimicking of tobacco control in attacking such products is regularly detailed on these pages, with each step which has successfully been implemented against tobacco now being pursued by those who are energised against alcohol, fatty foods, fizzy pop, sugar, salt, etc etc. And with each little victory, the focus moves onto the 'next logical step' in the tobacco control template.

Of course, anti-smokers have never been ones to sit still for a minute after achieving that one small law they urge is essential at any one time. The lightning swift diversion of UK bansturbatory resources following the Health Act 2006 - onto hiding tobacco displays, banning vending machines and smoking in cars, and also their own moves towards plain packaging - is testament to that.

So, another danger in allowing plain packaging to pass is that the insatiable anti-smoking lobby will move onto something even more absurd.

And we know what it is likely to be, since head Aussie smoke-hater Simon Chapman hinted at it earlier this year.

[...] over the weekend anti‑tobacco campaigner and University of Sydney academic Simon Chapman turned up the heat with a new proposal to make smoking history, through creating a consumer license to smoke.

Under the proposal, a license would give the smoker a right to a limited quota of tobacco supply, say 10 cigarettes a day or 20 cigarettes a day and so on. There is a fee payable to government to give the consumer the right to use tobacco. The more tobacco the license holder pre‑commits to smoke, the higher the license fee involved.

Under the licensing plan consumers would be asked to pass a test, 'not dissimilar to a driving test' Chapman stated, to qualify for a right to receive a license to legally purchase tobacco.

Based on the questionable notion that smokers lack an awareness of at least three decades of heavily publicised research about health problems that smoking causes, the government would see itself fit to decide for the smoker the amount of cigarettes he or she is allowed to smoke.
Well, you didn't think they were going to restrict their actions to just targeting businesses, did you?

Unabashed, someone claiming to be Chapman himself pops up in the comments to boast about his inspired idea in great detail.

• Gvt would announce and publicise a date after which purchase license would be needed – say 2 years hence (not talking about now .. obviously down the track)

• Current smokers: 1 year out, announcements about “apply now” with advice on processing time: 3m or so applications expected initially.

• All 18+ adults who wished to smoke could purchase a license on-line, after uploading a photo. There would be graduated options (say 1-10/day; 11-20; 20-40;40-60 cigs/day) each costing more as a disincentive to just go for the 40-60 (with thoughts of on-selling your surplus). Social Security & health card holders could get suitable discounts. With each year that goes by, households with computers approach 100%

• At any time, you could cash in the license permanently (no getting another one) – may act as an incentive to quit in future, particularly if the license cost say $100 starting prices (ie cost of about 5 packs of cigs).

• New smokers: those turning 18 and wanting to get first license to smoke would need to pass knowledge test. This could be done from home via computer, with large battery of test questions randomly rotated, to avoid easy selling of answer sheets. This could be regularly updated. Site would have knowledge test readings – at least as onerous as current 100pp driving test manual.

• At retail supply end: all retailers licensed, and equipped with smart card reader linked to national licensing database (which the industry would supply, just as they now supply all shelving). Manufacturers would be audited to ensure that all domestic sales were reconciled with licensed retailers. (ie: no domestic sales to unlicensed retailers); licensed smokers go to shops, ask for (say) “four packs of Winfield”: swipe technology immediately says “supply authorized” or “supply not authorized: only 2 packs able to be purchased today” (in the event that smoker had been smoking more than their pre-commitment number)
And in case you thought you might be exempt since you don't walk upside down ...

• Tourists: Set up license issuing desks at airports & ship terminals? (like now with the ubiquitous mobile phone & rent a car stands). Could be big business opportunity there…
... because not even free citizens of other countries can be allowed to dodge Australia's creeping totalitarianism.

Remember that anti-tobacco holds global conferences to share notes on their policies. If there comes a time when plain packaging is nodded through by our crashingly gullible Westminster representatives, all guns will be turned away from business, and onto ever more coercive measures to restrict personal consumption.

And, of course, just as with minimum alcohol pricing, once a level is set it will be regularly tweaked and made ever more restrictive with each passing year. Perhaps, even, as an annual ingredient of the Chancellor's budget speeches, as The Filthy Smoker pointed out a while ago.

And when they realise that it doesn't work, do you think they'll ditch it, or do you think they'll raise the minimum price to 60p, then 75p, then a pound, ad infinitum?
Likewise, if adopted, Chapman's plan won't work even if that was the intention. Instead, the cost of the licence will be ramped up to eye-watering levels, or the daily ration of fags limited year on year.

So, in the future when you've downed one of your 14 weekly units - complete with diseased liver decal on the glass - you used your government swipe card to purchase at the Dog and Duck, before blowing one of your four monthly ration coupons on a fish and chip supper on the way home, you can look back on the good old days when the target was merely big business.

The battle lines are drawn over intellectual property rights, but once that one is in the bag, the chances are that your own rights to what you freely choose to consume will be next on the agenda.

H/T The Aussie Informer

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Dear Smokers. Up Yours. Regards, Your Local Pub

Comments don't usually make blog material, but when they unveil previously unreported events, it's worth highlighting them.

For example, under the line at the Morning Advertiser's article, "PM brands smoking ban a success", comes this anecdote from a self-declared publican.

I know [most publicans support the smoking ban] because of the evidence I saw with my own eyes whilst at a debate in the House chaired by Greg Mulholland and attended by representatives of all political parties along with many many publicans.

The question was asked who would support a return of any kind to smoking in pubs and only one person put their hand up. When asked who want it to stay as it is the room was full of hands. Now I know this isn't everyone, but as a representative sample of publicans it was quite a gathering.
Now, the guy who wrote it tends to offer many a straw man in his defence of the ban in pubs and is generally oblivious to the confidence trick that has been played upon him but, if that is true (we can't tell as it appears to be a meeting not covered by Hansard), hearts will bleed with renewed anguish when reading articles about the desperate plight of the hospitality industry, eh?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Step Away From The Bacon

It seems that the tactic of anti-food campaigners using the tobacco control template has been quite the fashion of late. Of course, previous examples have just imitated the terminology set out by tobacco control finger-waggers.

That's not to say that alarmist puritans won't derive just as much satisfaction in producing imagery to align their particular taboo substance with cigarettes, though.

Yes. Believe it or not, bacon is now the new tobacco. Well, for this week, anyway. Who knows what it will be in a few days time?

One of Iowa’s signature meat products took a shot Monday when an advocacy group planned to put up a billboard on Douglas Avenue near Merle Hay Mall equating eating bacon with smoking.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, based in Washington, D.C., backed up its anti-bacon message with a salvo at Des Moines’ annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, which celebrates the newfound chicness of bacon.
You're probably there before me, as I've mentioned PCRM before as nothing more than a PETA-funded front group for veganism. That's to say, a bunch of top drawer nutters like Kerry. But then, they don't look at all out of place amongst some of the other arguably insane campaigners we regularly feature here. Quite the opposite, in fact, they just emphasise the anti-social nature of every self-righteous body which seeks to restrict the enjoyment of others on dubious - and increasingly far-fetched - health grounds.

Brooks Reynolds, the Des Moines insurance man who founded the Bacon Festival five years ago, took the billboard and its message in stride.

He invited Susan Levin, the physician group’s education director, to visit next February’s Bacon Festival, which will be themed “Baconpocalypse Now: I love the smell of bacon in the morning.”

Reynolds asked Levin to “enjoy the fruits of Iowans’ labor and to live a little.”

“The Bacon Festival is fun,” he said.
Brooks Reynolds quite clearly doesn't understand these people! 'Fun' is as attractive to them as genital warts or dog vomit salad is to the rest of us.

As of Monday afternoon, Levin and the Physicians Group had not responded to the invitation.
No. Because that would involve cracking their hideous, grey, humourless faces.

For some strange reason, I've developed a sudden hankering for a nice juicy gammon steak. So much so that if Harvester were capable of selling one, I'd even be tempted to pop up there.

Mascot Watch (15) - Plain Speaking Edition

See? Parliament can be fun, as our esteemed mascot proved on Monday.

Commenting in a short debate involving New Boy Nick [...] and Nanny Brokenshire on alcohol issues, our boy Phil was more direct than is often seen from the green benches.

May I urge the Minister to concentrate on tough penalties for people who get involved in alcohol-induced antisocial behaviour instead of introducing this rather soppy, wishy-washy, nanny-state nonsense of minimum pricing of alcohol?
Sadly, Westminster runs on a diet of soppy and wishy-washy, washed down with a large measure of Victorian vintage nanny-state nonsense these days. Nice to see Phil gallantly taking them to task, though.

Talking of diets, Bercow's closing remark hinting that Nick Soames wanted to talk about the food industry boggles the mind ... I do hope it was to ask for more all-you-can-eat buffets, rather than something proscriptive. If not, I'll start truly believing we have slipped into an alternate universe.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Consensus Gives Lunatics Wings

One reason why the term 'consensus' is so very sinister is that, when feeble-minded individuals see themselves as firmly in the comfort zone of a hive-minded group, they come out with execrable nonsense.

Take Cumbrian Councillor Bill Wearing, for example.

Mr Wearing, who represents Grange-over-Sands, said: “Smoking in playground areas is a problem. Play areas may be outdoors but they are enclosed by barriers or railings.

“If you are in an enclosed area, even outside, and there are three or four people smoking, it doesn’t take long before there is a secondary effect.”
Yes, he really said that.

Speaking out in favour of a 'voluntary ban' - a description which laughably bastardises the English language in itself - this no mark jerk-off has set himself up as being more knowledgeable than the entire sum of human discourse surrounding secondhand smoke.

Eschewing silly little things like, err, evidence, the idiot has created a health issue which has not only not been proven, but also barely been looked into. The reason being that even hardened anti-smoking liars epidemiologists have quickly learned that it is impossible to twist any data set into pretending that outdoor smoking is going to pose any problem whatsoever.

But, ensconced as he is in the current anything-is-OK-against-tobacco-as-we-all-agree mentality, he feels perfectly comfortable in spewing forth utter garbage.

Still, even by grandstanding as some kind of global scientific expert, he's not even close to the superiority complex exhibited by a bunch of anti-smoking clowns in the US.

They've re-written the word of God, so they have!

Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco (PANAT), a Rhode Island-based public health non-profit organization, announces the start of Project XI. “We’re taking our lead from the Rabbinical Council of America who in 2006 declared tobacco ‘non-kosher’.” stated Dr. Claude Curran, a founding member of PANAT. “The RCA had the insight and courage to bring the moral dimension to the tobacco addiction problem. We’re using their pronouncement to define The Eleventh Commandment—‘Don’t Smoke!’
If any further proof were needed that the medical profession have graduated from merely bit players in the theatre of life, into ministers in the new church of puritanism, that's it right there with sprinkles.

While life cries out for proper debate, scrutiny, and detached evidence in matters concerning how people live their lives, 'consensus' dictates that all we get is some ruddy-faced northern prick who thinks he's a Nobel Laureate, and doctors who feel qualified to dispense new religious scriptures.

In a world populated by moderately intelligent populations, such wibbling 'tards would be committed along with the geezer who thinks he's Napoleon. Sadly, we're not living in anything remotely resembling that, so we are forced to watch as insane shit-spouters with worrying delusions of grandeur are afforded respect for grinding freedoms into the dirt.

Good grief.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Now For Burgers And Coke

Hmm, let's see. What's the new tobacco today?

Well, it's fast food and fizzy drinks, as it happens. However, this time it's not just some obscure publicity-seeking crank offering up the nonsense.

A growing body of medical research at leading universities and government laboratories suggests that processed foods and sugary drinks made by the likes of PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) aren’t simply unhealthy. They can hijack the brain in ways that resemble addictions to cocaine, nicotine and other drugs.

“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”

Twenty-eight scientific studies and papers on food addiction have been published this year, according to a National Library of Medicine database. As the evidence expands, the science of addiction could become a game changer for the $1 trillion food and beverage industries.

If fatty foods and snacks and drinks sweetened with sugar and high fructose corn syrup are proven to be addictive, food companies may face the most drawn-out consumer safety battle since the anti-smoking movement took on the tobacco industry a generation ago.
This is worrying for the fact that one of the cornerstones of anti-smoking strategy - built up over decades - is that smokers are not making a free choice to enjoy cigarettes. They may think they enjoy them, but it's actually just an addiction.

This is the prime driving force behind the worldwide state and supranational quango attacks on tobacco. It's how governments square their claim of presiding over a free society with increasingly prohibitive legislation which is effectively 'banning' smoking by way of price, availability, denormalisation, and restrictions on where it can be consumed.

The weak case for cost to health services notwithstanding, the assertion that an individual is being forced, against their will, to smoke; that tobacco users all really, really want to give up - and if they don't, they just need more encouragement - is used daily against the free choice of smokers.

Now the template is being utilised to attack people who like to eat Big Macs and suck on a Diet Coke.

They don't just like such products, y'see, they are addicted to them.

“This could change the legal landscape,” said Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity and a proponent of anti-obesity regulation. “People knew for a long time cigarettes were killing people, but it was only later they learned about nicotine and the intentional manipulation of it.”
See what he did there? Calling down images of evil, omni-recognised demons within tobacco companies to help turn bovine minds against food and drink suppliers who have previously been very popular.

Because we have all been duped. That pleasure isn't real pleasure at all, it's just an illusion forced on us by greedy corporations.

Education, diets and drugs to treat obesity have proven largely ineffective and the new science of obesity may explain why, proponents say. Constant stimulation with tasty, calorie- laden foods may desensitize the brain’s circuitry, leading people to consume greater quantities of junk food to maintain a constant state of pleasure.
Education doesn't work. Again, this was a plank of anti-smoking propaganda. Smokers are unable to make decisions based on mere information or warnings, they're addicted and so bullying is the only option!

While anti-smokers have long compared (wrongly) nicotine with Heroin, anti-food campaigners have chosen the same strategy from the tobacco control template ... just using a different drug.

Binge-Eating Rats

The results produced the same brain pattern that occurs with escalating intake of cocaine, [Paul Kenny, the Scripps scientist heading the study] wrote.

“To see food do the same thing was mind-boggling,” Kenny later said in an interview.
Indeed, it's worse than that!

A 2007 French experiment stunned researchers when it showed that rats prefer water sweetened with saccharine or sugar to hits of cocaine
Is your belief in real life suspended yet? Don't worry, there'll be plenty more of this to come, if not.

Little wonder that the food industry is pushing hard on the idea that the best way to get a handle on obesity is through voluntary measures and by offering healthier choices. The same tactic worked for awhile, decades ago, for the tobacco industry, which deflected attention from the health risks and addictive nature of cigarettes with “low tar and nicotine” marketing.
Yes, it worked "for a while", until the incessant barrage of propaganda turned tobacco from a choice which comes with risk, into an almost nuclear substance which will kill people after the merest second or two of exposure.

And just to further prove that this idiocy has been unleashed thanks to the stable door being thrown open to shrill tobacco controllers, here's anti-smoking, arch-lunatic lawyer, John Banzhaf, chasing the potentially lucrative new ambulance (and he'll have plenty of clients, too).

Once free will is destroyed as a concept for perceived unhealthy foods and drink, governments feel perfectly justified in denormalising them for your own good.

Eye-watering taxes, product warnings, advertising bans, demonisation and display restrictions are all clearly on the horizon for the fast food industry. It really is only a matter of time.

Still, at least Aunt Gladys won't have to sniff a wisp of smoke when she has her monthly tea and scone at Wetherspoons, so who cares about the elimination of personal choices as a result, eh?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Blame Those Evil Fireworks

Lewes bonfire sees dozens injured in firework accidents

Ambulance workers treated 170 people, with 22 being taken to hospital, as more than 60,000 people took to the streets of Lewes for bonfire night.
Alternatively, 59,830 people (or 99.7%) had a great time without any problem whatsoever.

But then, how else can Nanny Beeb build a scare except by emblazoning a headline based on 0.3% of attendees.

This isn't entirely new behaviour by our 'man bites dog' media - extreme minority football and music concert violence in the 80s were similarly treated - but it goes a long way to explain why we now have a population cowed and quivering over even the most trivial of risks. Something that vested interest alarmists play on at every opportunity. I expect we'll be hearing the annual calls for banning fireworks in the coming days.

Especially in the aftermath of this.

Police probing the M5 crash which killed seven people have said a firework display next to the road is the "major line of inquiry".

Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, of Avon and Somerset Police, said he was focusing on the event held on Friday night.

He said "a bank of smoke" was across the M5 at the time of the crash.
Because this had nothing to do with it, obviously.

"I'd slowed right down and had veered into the central reservation and I think that saved our lives - the fog lifted and I saw utter carnage.

"The thing that made me realise how bad it was, was you could hear the thud of cars hitting into lorries.

"One car overtook us going at about 60 or 70 miles an hour and just crashed straight into a lorry."
It was a tragic incident, and I'm certainly not saying that every vehicle involved was being driven irresponsibly, but - in light of the police description of the conditions - it's clear from the above that at least some were. If visibility was so atrocious, how on earth could anyone judge that 60 or 70 was a suitable speed?

It will play right into the hands of those who constantly tell us that 'speed kills', but it should be a perfect example of why the likes of Longrider - who comments regularly on the issue of vehicular speed - has been correct all along on the matter, as he was again today.

[...] the speed limit was not a factor. It doesn’t matter whether the maximum is 70mph, 80mph or 180mph; in dense fog, the appropriate speed is that in which you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear.
Indeed. It could be just as easily argued that the reason many were driving at such speeds is that the state has decided that it is uniquely qualified to dictate the safe speed on every road in the country.

'Speed Kills' is the mantra which is employed to tell us that 20mph is the uppermost 'safe' speed on certain urban roads in clear daytime conditions, despite the fact that most consider it hysterically slow. When many know full well that it's safe for a vigilant driver to be travelling faster than that, and that a 20mph limit is there to eliminate all risk. Well, it surely follows that 70mph on a motorway is perfectly safe until the state says otherwise ... even if in dense fog and with smoke billowing across the carriageway! Doesn't it?

There seems to be a lack of recognition for personal responsibility at play here, in both cases. The Lewes article tends to read as if fireworks themselves are the problem, rather than people using them irresponsibly. While the M5 crash looks like being 'blamed' on a local fireworks display, despite evidence that some were driving appallingly in the conditions.

Still, fireworks are going to get it in the neck, and RoSPA are already banging on about speed itself - and not the state's incremental confiscation of self awareness and judgement - being to blame.

Contrary to Justine Greening's opinion ...

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said on Saturday it was too early to consider what measures could be taken to prevent similar accidents.
... shit sometimes happens, and the best solution is not always more laws or restrictions.

An educated public being encouraged to look after themselves, rather than rely on being spoon-fed one-size-fits-all 'safety' instructions from the state, will always be far more effective than kneejerk sticking plaster legislation.

Not that the average political mind will ever recognise that, of course.