The 280th Day

I remain unconvinced that Theresa May actually is going to invoke Article 50 next Wednesday, 29 March 2017, and thereby start the process whereby Britain leaves the EU.

Her reason for not invoking it right now was recently given as: her wish not to spoil the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, on 25 March 1957. How very thoughtful of her.

But on the 31th of March, new provisions come into effect across the EU, whereby member states will only be able to leave the EU with the permission of several other member states. All the member states of the EU are about to become locked into it. Nobody will be allowed to leave (I’ve haven’t yet  now managed to find Rose’s link again).

So my reading of it is that all Theresa May has to do, having delayed invoking Article 50 for 279 days since the Brexit vote of 23 June 2016, is to delay just one more day, and – bingo – the new provisions come into effect on Thursday 30 March, the 280th day, and Brexit will require the permission of other EU countries before it can come into effect.

And it shouldn’t be too difficult to arrange for a single day’s delay. Somebody could forget to bring their pen. An official car could have a blow-out. There’ll be snow on the ground, or else that old staple of British Rail, “leaves on the tracks.”

I have a lot of reasons for suspecting that this might happen. First and foremost among these is that, up until the Brexit vote, Theresa May had been a Remainer. But somehow or other, almost overnight after the vote, she changed her tune, and declared that “Brexit is Brexit.” But did she really change her mind? Why should she have?

For another reason for suspecting that something like this will happen is that the political class in the UK has been more or less wedded to Europe for the past 40 years. In fact, the political class across the whole of Europe has been, and remains, wedded to the idea of the EU for even longer. It’s the ordinary people of England, particularly those outside the cities, who never signed up to the EU “project”. And when have the ordinary people of England ever really mattered to the British government? When have the people ever had a say in affairs of state – particularly ones this important? When, for that matter, have any of the peoples of Europe ever had a say in matters of state policy?

It would of course be a huge betrayal of faith if Article 50 isn’t invoked next Wednesday. Theresa May would have double-crossed the British people. But it won’t be the first time that they’ve been double-crossed in recent years.

After all, the UK Labour government double-crossed the British people by introducing a complete and comprehensive public smoking ban on 1 July 2007, after promising in their manifesto that they would only impose a ban in pubs that sold food as well as alcohol. That manifesto promise went out the window after Labour were re-elected, and the 20% – 25% of the UK population that were smokers were thrown under the bus. They’ve been completely ignored ever since. And if the British government can ignore 25% of the British population, what’s to stop them ignoring an additional 25% or so? If you can ignore 25% of the population, why not 50%? Or, in the case of the EU referendum, 52%? In fact, why not simply ignore everybody? And we’d then be back with something like either an absolute monarchy, or – more likely – an oligarchy.

The EU “project” is one in search of political power and influence. A century ago, more or less the whole world was run by Europe. Many European states had overseas colonies or empires. Britain’s Royal Navy ruled the waves. That world was shattered first by WW1 and then again by WW2. And ever since Europe has never enjoyed the status it once had. It’s been instead just a buffer zone between the USA and the USSR, and a shadow of its former self. So the EU “project” is really one of recovering Europe’s lost status and power and influence. To achieve this, the lost overseas empires are being replaced by a single European empire, which will be able to bang its shoe on the table in the UN, and be heard once again.

The EU has been slowly and patiently pieced together for over 60 years. That’s why they’re having a big 60th anniversary celebration right now. The departure of the UK from the “project” is a catastrophe for it. It more or less torpedoes it completely. Are they going to allow that to happen? Are they going to roll over and accept the death of this dream? Of course not. Particularly when the European political class is fully on board with that dream. Referendums have been ignored before, many times. And this one must be ignored too. Silly ordinary people can’t be allowed to capsize a project of such global importance.

It’s no different in the USA, where silly ordinary Americans had the temerity to vote for that silliest and most ordinary of Americans, Donald Trump, as their 45th President. Is the US “Deep State” – i.e. the entrenched US political establishment – going to allow this maverick to ride roughshod over all their plans? Of course not. They’re going to thwart him at every opportunity they get. They’ve already managed to stifle his attempts to stop Muslim terrorists entering the USA at will. They’ll probably also manage to stop him building his Wall as well. And just yesterday they managed to stifle his plans for replacing Obamacare. Donald Trump may well have become President, but it increasingly looks like he may not be able to preside over very much more than his own desk in the Oval Office of the White House.

For the political class of both the USA and Europe have no interest whatsoever in what silly ordinary people want. Nothing is clearer and sharper about this division than in the matter of immigration. Ordinary people want to preserve their own cultures and languages and national identities. But the political classes want to destroy those cultures and languages and identities. That’s why they want, like Angela Merkel, to import millions of Muslim migrants and terrorists into Europe. For an essential part of the “project” is the destruction of national identities and national cultures and national languages. What better way to do that than to flood Europe with millions of people from a completely different culture? Even the terrorists are welcome, as part of this process. Because the terrorists can be used to demoralise the people. And the rapists are welcome too. What better way for a people to be reduced to subjection than to have their women raped en masse? And for the rapists to then be protected by the state? And for prominent politicians to tell people to “get used to it”? If there’s rapine and murder all over Europe right now, it’s because those in authority want rapine and murder. Because they want to suppress national identity and national culture and national language, and create a docile society of obedient serfs. Rape and murder have always been political weapons: prior to her revolt in 60 AD against the Roman occupation of Britain, Boudicca was flogged, and her daughters raped.

Anyway I won’t be very surprised if there’s some hiccup, and Theresa May won’t actually invoke Article 50 next Wednesday. And the very next day, on the 280th day after the Brexit vote, it will become impossible for her to invoke Article 50. If this happens there’ll be something like an insurrection in England, much like there was after the Brexit vote, and the election of Donald Trump. The Remainers will be jubilant, of course. And the political divisions in England will deepen sharply. But they’ll also deepen everywhere else in Europe. Although I think they were going to deepen anyway. And they were going to deepen anyway because the aspirations of ordinary people are now more or less completely opposite to those of the ruling European political classes. They are, in fact, almost perfectly contradictory. For, Brexit or no Brexit, Europe is heading for a civil war that will pit all the peoples of Europe against their ruling classes, as the contradictions become intolerable. It’ll be a Spanish Civil War, but on a European scale.

Of course, Theresa May actually invoke Article 50 next Wednesday. I’ve just been setting out what seem to me to be a few good reasons why she may not.

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On The Banks Of The Volga

H/T MJM for this shocking video that I hadn’t seen before:

It really demonstrates just how murderous Tobacco Control really is. I keep the Wall Of Hate (also the work of MJM) in my right hand margin. But the Wall Of Hate is just the spewings of hatred of smokers and smoking by antismoking footsoldiers, gleaned from comments under various news articles. This video, however, is an expensive production. It’s a 25-second piece of murderous artwork. It would have had to have been put together as carefully as a high quality TV ad. It’s got some high quality special effects (assuming that they didn’t actually kill off a two or three dozen smokers while shooting it). In short, there’s a lot of care and attention and money that has gone into making it. So this isn’t coming from a few footsoldiers: it’s coming from the top. It’s coming from high up in the TC command chain.

And yet it’s a spectacular example of TC shooting itself in its own foot. Because it demonstrates what TC would like to see happen to smokers. It would like to see them dropped from a great height, in exactly the same way that their like-minded compatriots in the Islamic State throw homosexuals off  high buildings.

It reminded me of another example of a spectacular own goal, this time by climate change alarmists, the 10:10 No Pressure video. The following isn’t the original, which was rapidly withdrawn more or less as soon as it appeared. But in some ways it’s even better, because it’s a news report that shows the murderous video in the background while it’s being discussed in the foreground.

Which brings me back to Emily Wieja’s mentioning, during my conversation with her, how smokers had been suffering defeats in the war that’s being waged on them. She was quite right: smokers have been suffering one defeat after another. Living the life of a smoker seems to be one of being in perpetual retreat. They’re always trudging backwards away from their last defeat, dispirited and forlorn.

But I was thinking this morning that the defeats inflicted upon smokers have been dwindling in strength. Here in the UK, the public smoking ban was far and away the most spectacular of the defeats inflicted on smokers. It was blitzkrieg. Smokers were routed.

But since then, the attacks mounted by the enemy haven’t quite had quite the same power and depth and penetration as that first blitzkrieg campaign of theirs. What have they managed to further gain? Not much, really. They’ve forced cigarettes to be hidden behind shutters. And they’ve forced tobacco products into “plain packaging”. They’ve got partial vehicle smoking bans. They’ve introduced smoking bans in prisons and psychiatric units and hospital grounds. Here and there they’ve even managed to get an outdoor ban or two.

Smokers have continued to be defeated. But none of the new defeats have been quite as severe as the first and most catastrophic defeat.

Why’s that? I think that it’s maybe that Tobacco Control expected a quick victory over smokers, and their surrender en masse. I think they thought that they’d have won the war on smoking by now, and that hardly anybody in Britain would still be smoking now.

But the defeated smokers just retreated – and carried on smoking. They had been defeated, but they didn’t surrender like they were expected to. The Quit Smoking hotlines that had been set up to receive all the surrendering smokers weren’t swamped with calls.

And so Tobacco Control has had to improvise new lines of attack. They’ve had to mount all these various new campaigns – plain packaging, car smoking bans, prison smoking bans, and so on. But they’re all much, much weaker campaigns than the first blitzkrieg assault.

If there’s a direct military analogy for this, it might best be found in Hitler’s war on Russia. That also began, on 22 June 1941, with a blitzkrieg war. And it completely shattered the Russian army more or less everywhere. The Russian army was in headlong retreat, millions of men trudging slowly on foot eastwards, pursued by the mechanised German army. It was a headlong retreat that only slowed and stopped at the gates of Moscow, when first the rains of the approaching winter made the roads into impassable mud, and the first snows froze the oil in the German panzers (and many German soldiers as well). Russia was saved by General Winter, as it had been saved many times before. Hitler had expected to win a quick victory. So much so that he hadn’t even bothered to provided the German army with winter clothing,. Nevertheless, when the snows thawed and the roads hardened in the spring of 1942, the German army renewed its offensive, with equally devastating effect as before. But this time its attack was directed primarily towards the south, along about half of the front line. And it wasn’t as strong an attack as in 1941 before. And it fairly rapidly ran out of momentum in the face of stiffening Russian resistance. The Germans never reached Baku, whose oil they wanted. Instead they got bogged down in Stalingrad, on the banks of the Volga.

And that’s about where we are now in the current Nazi war on smoking. The antismoking war machine is still very, very powerful. It can still easily defeat smokers wherever it encounters them. And smokers are still retreating. But they’re retreating a bit more slowly than they did in the past.

Furthermore, much like in WW2, smokers have been deploying a surprising new weapon – the e-cigarette (perhaps akin to the T-34 Russian tank?) – that has caught the Nazis in Tobacco Control completely by surprise. They don’t know how to deal with it, much like the Germans with the T-34 tank. They lost the initiative.

In fact, there are signs that Tobacco Control may be in deepening disarray. They expected a quick victory, but they didn’t get the wholesale surrender of smokers that they wanted. And so they’ve had to improvise new campaigns. and the new campaigns are much weaker. In fact, they’re arguably almost completely ineffective. Who really cares if tobacco products are kept concealed behind shutters? Who really cares if they come in plain packaging? And in picking on prisoners and psychiatric patients and hospital patients, aren’t they picking on the very weakest of their enemies, and thereby demonstrating their own dwindling strength? And isn’t the video I showed at the top an example of an atrocity of the sort that only ever discredits its practitioner? TC has begun to score some own goals against itself.

If the Nazi war on smoking continues to follow in the footsteps of the Nazi war on Russia, Tobacco Control is on the brink of its own defeat at Stalingrad. What might such a defeat look like? Well, a really big defeat for TC would be if some country that had enacted comprehensive smoking bans simply tore them all up, and returned to the status quo ante. And as TC gets weaker, and loses funding (Donald Trump is threatening to slash US contributions to the UN by 50%), I think it’s quite likely that some country or other will do exactly that. It’ll probably be some country – maybe in eastern Europe – where there are lots of smokers, and where smoking bans have only recently been enacted. And when that happens, the dam will have broken, and other countries will start to follow suit.

Of course, it may be that the war will not follow in the footsteps quite that way. It may be that TC is planning a huge new blitzkrieg. But there seems to be little sign of one on the horizon. TC has lost a lot of its early momentum. It has also lost its former clarity of purpose. And it’s also facing slowly mounting resistance, all over the world. The whole face of the war is beginning to change. And some antismokers may even be beginning to wonder whether they might actually be losing the war.

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Sitting On Emily’s Knee

Well, here it is. The interview. Although everyone seems to have seen it already.

It actually seems much more polished than it did at the time. I thought I was mumbling, and not finishing my sentences. But in the video I was actually talking tolerably well. Apart from the smacking sound which seemed to be coming from my lips smacking together after I stopped talking. Or perhaps it was coming from my loose denture. I do have a denture. And it is a bit loose. So maybe that’s what I actually sound like in real life. Mr Smacky. You know, that guy who sits outside in summer with a beer and a cigarette, and whose lips smack together like clapping hands whenever he says anything.

But I think it was probably actually a consequence of my lapel microphone, clipped to my gown, being a bit too close to my mouth. Because I could hear myself breathe from time to time. Or exhale. Make that Mr Smacky, who sits outside in summer with a beer and a cigarette, breathing heavily, and whose lips smack together like clapping hands whenever he says anything.

And then I’m also looking sideways. But that’s because I had my eyes on Emily on my computer screen. But then, I’ve noticed that when I talk to people, I very seldom look directly at them. I look off to the side. Or down. I usually only look at people when they are speaking. And then I look at their mouths as they speak.

And my view of Emily was pretty much the intimate view I’d have got if I’d been sitting on her knee. Because she had the webcam that I could see out of down below her to her left, at about knee level. In fact, after the show, I thought it reminded me of sitting on my mother’s knee, over sixty years ago. And my mother would be looking down at me and telling me that if I didn’t eat my greens, I’d grow up to be a little old man called Mr Smacky, whose lips would smack together like clapping hands whenever he said anything. And, of course, I didn’t eat my greens, and so here I am. I should’ve listened to my mother.

But if I personally didn’t look too much at my computer’s webcam, Emily spent a lot of time looking down at hers. In fact, if you watch her carefully on the YouTube video, you’ll see that she doesn’t keep her eyes on the studio camera all the time. She actually spends a lot of the time looking down at me, Mr Smacky, sitting out of sight on her left knee.

I think the trick that she’s learned, and I haven’t, is to fix your eyes on your own webcam when the other person is speaking. Because that way you look like you’re paying attention to them when they’re speaking. Or maybe it’s the other way round.

Anyway I think Emily should maybe have her own show called Sitting On Emily’s Knee. And she should invite all us Brits over to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to sit on her knee and talk to her. Dick Puddlecote. Chris Snowdon. Legiron. Junican. And maybe also Grandad in Ireland. And Klaus K in Denmark, and Wiel Maessen in Holland. Anyone who’s got a webcam and microphone. And most laptop computers have them these days. She said that they sometimes have difficulty finding people to come on their show. But now that they’re Skype-enabled, the whole world has opened up to them. In fact, the rest of America too. Maybe we’d also be able to see Michael McFadden and Walt and lots of others. I for one would watch avidly. Then Emily could probably become as famous as, say, Megyn Kelly or somebody.

It’s also prompted me to think about using Skype more. I hardly ever do. A few years back, I used to get together online occasionally with GaryK, Brigitte, Nisakiman, and the late Lysistrata. That was quite fun, but was plagued with feedback problems. GaryK had a paid account with Skype, which I don’t. Perhaps I should get one, and invite people to After Hours with Frank Davis. Or maybe Sitting On Mr Smacky’s Knee…

I’ll think about it.

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“What Can Smokers Do To Fight Back?”

Tobacco Control always presents itself as being on the side of the angels. They see themselves as knights in shining armour, riding out from their hilltop castle to fight and kill the smoke-belching dragon of tobacco.

But the way I see them, they’re actually just plain evil. They do far more harm than good. In fact, I’m not even sure they do any good at all. They don’t really have an idea of “good”, except a highly restricted concept of “health”, which boils down to “longevity”. For them, the good life is the long life. Nothing more, nothing less. Anything else – happiness, freedom, wealth, community, truth, honour, or whatever else you might care to mention that might have something faintly “good” about it – simply doesn’t count.

But if they have a diminutive, abbreviated idea of “good”, they have a vast and elaborate concept of “evil”, in the form of the tobacco plant, and its attendant Tobacco Company distributors, and its countless millions of devotees (or “addicts”, as TC prefers to describe them).

And they are far more concerned with stamping out evil than they are in doing any positive good. For they only ever measure their success in terms of numbers of “addicts” who they have managed to get to stop smoking.

I think one of the most important tasks in fighting Tobacco Control is to drive them off the moral high ground.

Of relevance to this was something I came across yesterday

“Perpetual repetition.” “Unqualified environmental groups.” “Sensational headlines.” This is what mass movements are all about. From his book, The True Believer, here is Eric Hoffer on mass movements:

“Hatred is the most assessable and comprehensive of all the unifying agents.… Mass movements can rise and spread without the belief in God but never without the belief in evil.”

…There are two things necessary for a mass movement to succeed: true believers and a well-defined enemy. The enemy of the climate change mass movement is fossil fuels and the Industrial Age, with the “deniers” being the enablers of planetary destruction.

…Here is Hoffer’s warning on the role of the true believer: “where mass movements can either persuade or coerce, it usually chooses the latter.”

It’s about climate change, but as is very often the case with climate change, the logic transposes easily to Tobacco Control. And in fact I think this is because climate change activism is the bastard offspring of antismoking activism, right the way down to the trace amounts of dangerous gases. It’s the Tobacco Control playbook with “tobacco smoke” crossed out and replaced with “carbon dioxide”, and “premature death” replaced with “catastrophic global warming”, and “Big Tobacco” replaced with “Big Oil”.

But the main thing I noticed about Hoffer’s mass movements was that he had seen that they all have a greater belief in something evil than they ever do in something good – much as I had imagined in The Sistine Chapel of Tobacco Control, whose walls were covered with a Hieronymus Bosch vision of hell, with a dwindled, distant heaven relegated to a corner.

Not irrelevant to all this is my upcoming half hour TV interview tonight. I’m going to be live on air in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’ll be my first time on live TV anywhere.

I usually turn down invitations to appear on TV or radio whenever I get them, which is hardly ever. But this time the invite was from some fellow smokers who have a weekly slot on a local TV station. So it’s going to be one smoker interviewing another smoker. And I will be actually smoking.

I’m expecting the interview to be more like a half hour friendly chat. But some questions have been lined up in case the conversation dries up. Including this one:

“What can smokers do to fight back?”

And that’s a tough question. It’s one I ask myself every day: what can I do to fight back? And I fight back, in my way, by writing this blog. And by thinking about how to fight back, every day.

I think that the first thing that people can do to fight back is to recognise that they’re in a war. I think most smokers don’t really see themselves as being caught up in a war. I don’t think many of them even identify Tobacco Control as their enemy.

But, going back to my blog, I don’t see my task in writing it as being one of attacking the enemy, but instead much more one of reaching out to smoking friends. I’m much more interested in talking to smokers than antismokers. Because I think that if one is to fight Tobacco Control one must first raise an army. And that must be an army of like-minded friends or companions. They might not agree about absolutely everything, but they will be agreed about a number of core concerns.

And also, I’m interested in reaching out to smokers all over the world. Because the war on smoking is a global war. That’s why I’m always very pleased to make contact with people in Europe and America and Canada and Australia and New Zealand and Russia. Because there needs to be a global army, made up of English and French and German and Russian and American and Canadian and Australian smokers (or smoking sympathisers). And also Indian and African and Chinese and Brazilian smokers.

And I think that such an army won’t need to be “organised” in some formal sense. I think it’s self-organising. I think that such armies only appear when enough people believe that they’re going to have to fight – i.e. when they recognise that they’re in a war, whether they like it or not. And the harder that Tobacco Control presses down on smokers, the more of them are going to realise they’re in a war.

For example, at the outset of WW1, the British army was a small professional army. But when there was a call for volunteers, they stepped forwards in droves. Why? Because a lot of them had realised they were in a war, and were going to have to fight. If that hadn’t been the case, the call for volunteers would have fallen on deaf ears, and the recruiting offices would have been empty. The army, in a sense, already existed before it was called upon. And it was made up of people who’d been talking to their friends and companions, in pubs, or restaurants, or family gatherings. It self-organised as a dispersed population of like-minded people, each of whom had separately come to their own separate conclusions. Their subsequent “organisation” in the British Army was really all about training them and dispatching  them to France. And this is probably how it is in every war, wherever it’s being fought.

Anyway… you should eventually be able to see the programme. It’s going to be posted up on YouTube


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Do Not Resuscitate

A passage in a comment by Rhys last night came as a bit of a jolt.

I hope Britain is better than Canada, because here paramedics won’t come into your house if you smoke.

I hope so too. But I won’t be too surprised if the UK ambulance service is now under strict instruction not to enter any building in which smokers live. Or any car in which there’s anyone smoking.

I can well imagine some grimy paramedic reporting their experience to the TV cameras: “Well, we got to the car in the middle of the blazing motorway pile-up, and we were about to jemmy open the door, when we noticed that the driver had a cigarette in his mouth. So I had to call off the lads, and pull them back the required 20 metres. We could only watch helplessly as the flames consumed him. It was horrible to watch. Horrible.”

If paramedics can’t enter smokers’ homes, it is a death sentence on smokers. Same if firemen can’t.  Smokers may as well have “Do Not Resuscitate” signs written on them in capital letters.

And this was, I saw at once, how the coming smoker holocaust was going to be conducted. There weren’t going to be gas chambers for smokers. The Nazi experience has shown Tobacco Control that people respond with shock and horror to large scale mass murder committed in one particular place in a very short period of time. So instead they’re going for a long term, slow motion holocaust in which smokers are gradually eliminated, one by one, here, there, and everywhere. It’ll be a holocaust that won’t even be noticed.

After all, we only ever notice motorway pile-ups or air crashes or earthquakes because they result in the simultaneous deaths of large numbers of people in one particular location. Many more people die every day than in all these separate disasters put together. But we don’t notice because it’s happening to lots of separate individual people, in lots of different places, and for lots of different reasons.

The Tobacco Control holocaust – which is actually already well under way – is being conducted simply by increasing the likelihood that smokers die prematurely. And they do that through isolation, exclusion, refusal of medical treatment, jobs, housing, etc, etc. By simply making life more difficult for smokers, in innumerable different ways, they are fractionally increasing the mortality rates of smokers, and ensuring that their numbers dwindle proportionately more rapidly than other more favoured social groups.

And, because they have taught everyone that “Smokers Die Younger”, the sudden death of any smoker is not seen as at all remarkable. They were killing themselves anyway, the poor saps. Nobody notices that the smokers are actually being killed off by Tobacco Control, rather than killing themselves. But it’s probably almost impossible to prove it.

It’s a slow motion holocaust that is conducted over several decades. Tobacco Control is very patient. All it wants to do is to gradually whittle down the numbers of smokers, while never drawing attention to its own responsibility for their deaths, since all the blame for that is being loaded onto the smokers themselves.

One might say that in Nazi Germany there was a similar long term, slow motion holocaust under way long before there were any death camps or gas chambers, or any plans for any. Life was simply made very difficult for Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other disapproved social groups. And probably a lot of them died prematurely as a result of it, as they lost their homes, their jobs, their friends, without a single Nazi actually ever raising a finger against them. What we now call the Holocaust was what happened only in the last few years of the Nazi era. And it probably only happened because the Nazis could, after 1941 or 1942, see that they were losing WW2, and felt that they needed to hurry things up, because this was their last chance. And if WW2 hadn’t broken out, there probably would never have been any death camps or gas chambers, because the gradual attrition of Jews through hands-off, non-violent means would have resulted in 6 million Jews dying “prematurely” over a longer period over a far wider area – something that nobody would probably have noticed.

The difference today from the Nazi era lies not the eugenic thinking underlying the antismoking campaign, but in the far larger numbers of people involved. If in eastern Europe there were only 6 million Jews, then it today’s circumstance there are about 1.5 billion smokers worldwide. So the smoker holocaust will be at least 250 times greater than the Jewish holocaust.

And another difference is that this time there will be nowhere to run. Jews in Nazi Germany were able to flee to adjoining countries, and many of them did. But since Tobacco Control is engaging in global mass murder, smokers will have nowhere to run.

And they’re quite likely to be accompanied by drinkers, fat people, climate change denialists, and any number of other disapproved social groups, all in the noble goal of reducing the Earth’s human population to a “sustainable” level.


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The Hermit On The Hill

Something I came across last week:

Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, has said many times in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It is isolation.

I keep reading statements along these lines. I live the life of a hermit these days, pretty much. I’m an exile in my own country. Whole days can go by without me actually saying a word to anyone at all. Although I’m of course writing and reading stuff here every day, so I never feel isolated. And in some ways isolation is a good thing: you can think about stuff without being interrupted. No wonder the hermit on the hill was often a wise man as well. So where’s the danger in isolation?

Well, in my case, there are some pretty obvious dangers. And they are that if I get sick or have an accident or a heart attack, there won’t be anyone to find me. When my father fell and broke a hip in the garden one night, my mother fairly rapidly found him. Same a few years later when he had a stroke, and fell down again, and my mother found him once again. She saved his life twice. I often think these days that the principal virtue of marriage is that, at its very simplest, it provides someone to keep an eye out for these sorts of things, and to provide a helping hand. But I never got married.

And sometimes people need a helping hand. I still remember the occasion when I came off a motorbike and cracked an elbow. It mended pretty rapidly, but for a month or two all sorts of simple tasks became next to impossible. I remember, for example, cutting slices off a loaf of bread by holding down the loaf with one foot.

I’m a hermit not by choice, but by social exclusion. Tobacco Control works through social exclusion. The smokers are exiled to the outdoors by the Deborah Arnotts in Tobacco Control. Or they are fired from their jobs, or evicted from their homes. They are ostracised. To be ostracised is to be excluded from a society or group. And we are witnessing the mass ostracism of smokers all over the world. I’m just one of countless numbers of hermits.

The whole Tobacco Control modus operandi is to exclude smokers from public life, make pariahs and outcasts of them. They can only rejoin society when they have stopped smoking. Or stopped doing whatever else the controllers disapprove of. For the same methods are being used to exclude and marginalise drinkers and fat people. Shape up, fatty, or stay outside. Even words are being excluded. There are some things that can’t be said. If you don’t use the approved correct words to express the agreed consensus opinion, you don’t have any right to be heard: you’ll have to stand outside too, along with the smokers and fatties.

I’m still astonished that there are politicians and public servants who have little or no compunction in advocating and introducing such exclusions upon large numbers of their fellow citizens. And I’m still astonished that we have a press and mass news media that hasn’t been shouting from the rooftops about it. There is instead dead silence. They are, I think, forbidden to mention it. Smokers and smoking have become unmentionable.

And the method of exclusion is essentially murderous. The excluded smokers may fall off balconies or out of windows, or die of exposure outside, and this is fully intended. It’s not an “unintended consequence.” It’s something that was quite obviously going to happen. And so it was intended.

For Tobacco Control is engaged in a global eugenic public health programme, to rid the world of smoking, and therefore of smokers. Eugenics works through mass murder: if you want to create a world of perfectly white cats, you must kill all the black ones. And Tobacco Control has set out to “improve” the world by getting rid of all the undesirables in it: the smokers and drinkers and fat people and the politically incorrect. And if some of these undesirables die in the process, well, that’s what they were supposed to do. You can’t make omelettes without breaking a few eggs.

It’s essentially no different from the Nazi eugenic public health programme to rid the world of Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals and anyone else who didn’t fit into their plans for a world of perfectly white cats. Those people were regarded as vermin just like smokers are regarded as vermin today. Did anyone in the German press and radio raise the alarm about it? Of course they didn’t. They turned a blind eye just like the press and mainstream media do today.

And why should it be any different? In what substantive way has human thought advanced since the Nazi era? There is very much the same mindset today as there was 100 years ago, in most respects. Yes, we have TVs and computers and mobile phones and all sorts of technology the Nazis never knew. But the Nazi eugenic mentality remains. The old Nazis just took off their black uniforms, and put on suits, and carried on where they left off. And there were lots of them in Britain and America and everywhere else. And, guess what, there still are.

Which reminds me of something else I read recently:

We no longer have a moral compass. Before, Christianity provided this role, keeping us united over centuries. Now we can no longer distinguish between good and evil, and ultimately this is what this struggle comes down to.

When there’s no moral compass, who’s to say what’s right and wrong? And isn’t it likely that what used to be regarded as wrong becomes right, and what used to be regarded as right becomes wrong? Do you think that the Nazi guards pushing Jews into gas chambers thought they were doing something wrong? Of course they didn’t. They thought they were doing something right. And they were surrounded by people who also thought it was the right thing to do. It must’ve been a big shock for them when the allied armies showed up and told them they’d been doing something very, very wrong, and hanged quite a lot of them.

It’s the same with Tobacco Control today. Does Deborah Arnott think she’s doing something wrong? No, of course she doesn’t. She thinks she’s doing something right. And she’s surrounded by lots of people who keep telling her that she’s doing the right thing. They all meet up for conferences which are as much about building up and re-enforcing their morale as they are for making new plans for the Final Solution to the Smoking Problem. The conferences are bonding sessions during which their vision of a smoke-free world is re-iterated and amplified and detailed, so that they can all go away afterwards with renewed confidence and determination. It’s going to be a big shock for them when they find out that they were doing something evil.

The problem isn’t Deborah Arnott. The real problem is the moral vacuum in which the likes of her and Stanton Glantz and all the rest of them can grow and flourish.



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A Russian Defeat for Tobacco Control

After not being able to access my blog a few days ago, regular reader Dmitri Kossyrev suggested that he might write a guest piece about the recent defeat (yes, defeat!) suffered by the Russian branch of Tobacco Control. Of particular interest to me in his piece was the mention of the Tobacco Control conference in Moscow, which I’ve covered before.

Dmitri has made guest appearances on my blog before (here, writing about Donald Trump, and here about the Russian smoking ban), when I introduced him as a Russian journalist, sinologist, and smoking activist. I neglected to mention that he is also one of the most prominent thriller/crime writers in Russia today, with a string of books to his name, but only one in an English translation: The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas.

My Baby Shot Me Down 

by Dmitri Kossyrev

Several things have happened to the Russian Health Ministry’s anti-smoking campaign, and all of them are good.

First, they had a Concept. A glorious Concept of fighting smoking until the year 2022, and maybe onwards. The Ministry distributed that concept paper to other governmental departments and the general public last autumn, and waited for a response, calling it “a public discussion”.

You all know what was in the plan: Plain packaging, by the year so-and-so. Raising excise tax on cigarettes and e-cigs “to the EU level”, by the year so-and- so. Introducing further bans in open air places, by the year so-and- so. And, finally, there had to be a prohibition on anyone born after the year 2015 from buying any tobacco at all.

The end result is zero. The Concept has been edited by the Ministry after the “public discussion” and published in its revised form. It became a general and empty declaration of intent, since every concrete figure, especially all these mentions of the year so-and-so, had been edited out. Any experienced bureaucrat, and the general public too, knows very well what it means: It means precisely nothing at all.

So what went… right? I’d be happy to say that “we did it” – that is, the Russian Movement for Smoker’s Rights. Our leaders, comprising People’s Artists and other celebrities, did write letters to the President and the Prime Minister. And people like me did write columns (I do it weekly) and participated in fierce debates on  TV and radio.

But it was not us. Or not only us. True, I’ve seen publications in national leading newspapers about the scam of passive smoking, containing the facts, or passages taken from my columns. And then there were other writers who did the same, completely on their own.

But TC had been expecting all that. They were carefully arranging debates without opposition, parliamentary hearings without all the proper speakers.

All very familiar. But they failed.

First was that initiative about the people born after 2015. I’ve told my audience, many times, that it was only a decoy. That idea was to raise real hell, as in “How about the Constitution?” and “Are they totally crazy?”. Then TC was supposed to accept the public verdict, taking this decoy out of their Concept, while keeping the rest of the ugly stuff there: See, we made a compromise.

But the rest of the stuff went, too.

Second, when one office suggests some new legislation, it has to submit it to other offices and wait for their official response. And they’ve got it. Ministries of Industry and Economy wrote that plain packaging is mad, because it opens the door to fakes. Raising taxes to the EU level opens the door to smuggling of cigarettes to Russia from the Eurasian Union. The police, reportedly, giggled about the real (and very predictable) impact of that 2015 idea.

Third, there was a case with the so-called “Young Lions” movement, harassing people in public places and dousing their cigarettes with water pistols. It caused public outrage and prodded top politicians into statements like: “Boys, you can’t do that”.

Fourth, while the Health Ministry was murmuring “My baby shot me down”, yet another office, the Ministry of Finance, lunged at it. It has started a corruption investigation into the matter of 20 million US dollars for a mansion in Moscow meant for the WHO anti-smokers. And yet another investigation started on the maybe 18 million euros (at the current rates), spent by the same Ministry in 2014 on the Framework Convention gala in Moscow. It’s public money, the finance people reportedly said. Why so much – and where are the results of the past 5 years of frenetic anti-tobacco activity? And don’t give us that fake data about everybody giving it up.

All these things happened almost at the same time.

The bad guys will of course regroup and re-launch their attack. But still a little victory is always good for you. Helps you to prepare for a counter-attack.

In the meantime I can’t help spreading a bit of Russian propaganda. I don’t know if we are a free country (I don’t believe such countries exist). Our civil society may not believe in free media and the benefits of rallies and demonstrations. Do you? In our case it was the top bureaucracy that has checked the onslaught of the crazies. It was the people who were coming to members of our organization and quietly asking: how to stop that madness? So, we are a country where bureaucracy matters a lot.

But, still, I’ve enjoyed access to top TV and radio programs, where the hosts, sometimes, have been openly on my side (or have been telling me that secretly). Do you? And in general the public mood has been (and still is) if not for smoking, then against the ugly methods of fighting it.

So, I just cannot help thinking that sometimes it’s good to be Russian. That is, if you know how to ignore the testing climate.

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