Large Scale Bullying

There was a book that came out a few years ago – the Bully State – that I had on my list of books-to-read, but never got round to reading, perhaps because I was already fully persuaded. Today it came back to mind, and I surfed the web a bit in search of it, coming up with quite a lot of stuff. Like this:

Several additional assumptions drive both the Nuffield report’s recommendations and, subsequently, Western governments’ public health thinking. These assumptions are:

  • Most of the health care burden is driven by disease that results from lifestyle decisions.
  • Most of the health care burden is therefore, in theory, preventable.
  • The cost of most lifestyle-related disease is not recovered from the individuals with such diseases or from the industries whose products contribute to these diseases.
  • Individual autonomy cannot be the paramount value in health care.
  • Individual choice as a basis for health is ‘too simplistic’.
  • Individual freedoms may have to give way to the coercive power of the State.
  • Interventions, including coercive actions, to change behaviour may proceed in the absence of evidence of their effectiveness.
  • Individuals have a clear responsibility to refrain from lifestyle decisions that lead to disease and, consequently, treatment can be denied to those who refuse to change their behaviour.

The authors of the Nuffield Report term their approach an ‘ethic of stewardship’, which they (with straight faces) describe as a new liberal approach to health, individual responsibility, and the state. In truth, it is an extreme, and an extremely dangerous, form of nannying dressed up in stewardship clothing. It is really bullying rather than nannying, threatening people rather than merely nudging them in the appropriate direction.

As the noughties drew to a close, it was clear that state-sponsored lifestyle hectoring was out; state-sponsored coercion was in. The Nanny State had become the Bully State.

What triggered my renewed interest was the thought today that what was happening with anti-smoking zealotry wasn’t nannying or nudging. It was instead plain, simple bullying. Large scale bullying. And that it was exactly the same as school bullying, but on a very large scale. And instead of being conducted by noxious little boys in short trousers, it was being conducted by noxious full-grown adults in long trousers, many of them in positions of authority, and some with ‘Sir’ in front of their name.

It took me back to my school days, and my experience of bullying. In retrospect, it hardly seems like bullying now, because it entailed no physical violence at all. Instead, I was subjected to a fairly long campaign that was intended to reduce me to something almost entirely worthless. It was a campaign which was very successful until I decided to do something I’d never done before (and had never needed to do): fight back. After that, the bullying stopped almost as rapidly as it started, as I picked off my persecutors one by one.

Today, perhaps for the first time, I saw how antismoking zealotry was exactly the same as school bullying. It’s something that sets out to reduce, diminish, demonise, and exclude smokers. It sets out to make them feel worthless. And in this, it is just as successful with many smokers as my school persecutors were successful with me. A great deal of smokers do actually think that they’re just wretched addicts. And of course they don’t fight back.

The upside for the bullies is that, the more they reduce the self-esteem of those they bully, the higher the esteem in which they hold themselves, and in which they are held. Because nobody wants to be on the receiving end of bullying, and so almost everyone sides with the bullies, and perhaps even joins in the bullying. Nobody ever calls them out. And of course that encourages them to bully even more people.

And this applies also with antismoking bullies. They pick on smokers, and everyone else takes their side, and even joins in the bullying, and nobody calls them out. Just like it used to be, back at school. And so politicians avert their eyes, and so do the media, and so does every and every ‘pundit’. Millions of people (hundreds of millions of people, actually) are now routinely defamed, demonised, and denormalised – and nobody says a word about it! Nobody calls it out for the crime that it is.

And thus encouraged, the army of bullies (and it is an army) move on to bully millions of other people. Drinkers. Fat people. More or less anyone can be set up as a target; their all-purpose statistical weapon can be readily re-calibrated to find danger in absolutely anything, or anyone. Custard? Set the No-Safe-Level dial to 0.2. Water? Reduce the confidence level to 50%. It’s easy when you know how.

It’s got nothing to do with ‘health’. Nada. Nil. It’s all about the bullies gaining status and power and wealth at the expense of the bullied. For not only does it entail the diminution of the targets of bullying, but it also entails the confiscation of their assets – mostly through taxation -.

Why do most people not fight back against this bullying? Well, in part it’s because many of them have come to believe that they actually are as worthless as antismokers tell them they are. But also they won’t fight back for the exact same reason that initially I didn’t fight back against my bullies: they’re too nice – just like I was too nice, and too friendly (until I’d had enough, that is). Because if you’re going to fight back, you’re going to have to find something nasty in yourself, something that is prepared to smash an axe into someone’s head, and follow up with a dagger. It took me a long time to get to be not only as nasty as my persecutors, but actually far nastier. And most people don’t want to be like that. But until they do summon up the determination, the bullying is only going to get worse and worse.

Which is why, eventually, people will fight back. Because, encouraged by acquiescence, bullies will only bully more and more people, worse and worse, until it becomes intolerable, and more and more people realise: it’s either them or us, and decide that it must be them that must go.

And once the bullies meet real resistance, they will dissolve away rapidly. Because their power is entirely illusory. It’s a confidence trick. Tobacco Control has no real power at all. It commands no armies, and has little wealth of its own. Everything that it has is what has been granted to it by frightened governments and corporations and media, anxious to avoid being on the receiving end of its hectoring and bullying.

But once anyone stands up to them, and calls them out for the crimes they are committing in broad daylight, their power is negated. Because as soon as anyone successfully stands up to them, other people will see that it can be done, and start doing it themselves. And so the collapse of Tobacco Control will probably be very sudden. One day Deborah Arnott and Stanton Glantz will be welcomed in television studios, and their pronouncements dutifully heard and repeated. And the next day they’ll be persona non grata, and will have a hard time getting a hearing anywhere.

And when that happens, all the politicians and pundits and CEOs who never said a word while smokers were being excluded and demonised will all start saying how they’d always been quietly appalled by what was happening, but couldn’t speak out at the time because it was against the party manifesto line, or against editorial policy, or contrary to shareholders’ interests, or something. All concerned will have a good excuse for why they stood back and let this awful obscenity unfold, while they pretended not to notice that it was happening.

We may be not far of this final denouement. Antismoking bullying is enormously socially and economically damaging, and eventually becomes intolerable. Particularly when it is accompanied by political bullying of the sort we have just witnessed, of the EU against Cyprus. Or environmental bullying that has undermined our ability to provide sufficient gas or electricity. We are at breaking point.

I’m beginning to feel more and more confident that in a few years (and perhaps even a few months), we will have seen the back of the likes of Deborah Arnott and Stanton Glantz and ASH and Tobacco-Free Kids and smoke-free this and fat-free that. And it will be the end of Tobacco Control, and most likely the WHO, and the BMA, and the RCP. It will be like the end of a long, bad dream. It will be the end of a nightmare.

About Frank Davis

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42 Responses to Large Scale Bullying

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    I too feel very shortly something magnificently terrible is going to happen to TC around the globe. These fanatics have had to defend their claims and cannot! Ive got one right now stuck with reprinting advocacy claims and government propaganda yet as we all know cant produce one study proving direct harm via shs/ets…………..In fact its so bad the nazis in Louissiana now think they have to put into the law the ” no safe level claim” as that will somehow force people to believe its true by making it a law! Its just showing how desperate they are in their last gasps of life in a movement destined for the trash heap the day it was re-concieved in 1975!

  2. Reinhold says:

    until I decided to do something I’d never done before (and had never needed to do): fight back. After that, the bullying stopped almost as rapidly as it started

    Same here.
    When I was a child, the boys of the neighbourhood didn’t leave me alone until the day when I left Karl-Heinz and Sigi behind in the snow tinted red by the blood from their noses.
    I hated to treat them that way, but from that day on they stopped their bullying immediately and there was peace.

  3. lysistratatheoriginal says:

    Ah. Yes. Bullying.

    Our youngest was born with kidney failure. He ended up being very small (it affects your growth) and weak and being bullied verbally and physically in infant and junior school by the hard lads.
    After some years on dialysis, he got a transplant, aged 8. Part of the intensive post-transplant pharmaceutical regime was steroids.

    Return to playground. He fought and took each person who had bullied him out, one by one. Our son had no fear any more of pain (although he felt it), because he’d learned to override pain from being a baby. He was also stunning with words, because having been a little runt, words were all he had to fight with and he did that well. But suddenly, with steroids…

    The dinner ladies and the playground supervisors were superb. To a woman, they turned a blind eye. So did the headmistress. Once our son had wreaked vengeance on every one of his previous tormentors, he stopped.

    He’s now 28, about 5′ 6″, working as a chef in the Alps at the moment, but when he goes back to our locality in Yorkshire he still gets respect from all the local yobboes, and their younger mates, and indeed has made many good friendships with them, and helps them out when he can. Because he’s brighter than they are, and he can talk and write properly and understands the world better than them. Also, the women like him, because he listens to them and isn’t a jock.

    Like him, our day will come.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Fighting hell I spent 2 years as a kid living in the government projects where we were only one of 2 white families living there! You should here about the riot they had when my mom was dating a cop and he picked her up in the squad car………..about 300 of the blacks came out and started rocking the patrol car and throwing rocks thru our windows then they started destroying cars and road signs anything at all. Then the riot squad showed up with about 50 cops in gear……….plenty of busted heads and ambulance runs for hours as they drug the culprits out of their homes after they ran and ran and ran…………….Needless to say Ive got a few scars on my body from living there if you can call it that. Shootings and knifings were daily happenings. This was before they called them drive by shootings………Ever seen your sister nearly raped by 3 blacks in an alley after school! Thats where I got one scar from………if it werent for a friend they woulda had her!
    That was daily life for me for 2 years…… No I have no pitty for ghetto dwellers at all.
    Believe it or not some of my best friends today are black! They just arent ghetto black.

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  6. waltc says:

    This one, “The Nurse Ratched State”, from 1997, is a favorite of mine on the subject. I first read it in The Atlantic (magazine) which was also edited by Michael Kelly (who wrote the article). Kelly was terrific as a libertarian who early on saw the dangers of TC. Sadly, he was killed while covering the war in Iraq. A great loss;

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1997-06-27/news/1997178010_1_statism-human-behavior-social-engineering

  7. beobrigitte says:

    This sums it up:
    And once the bullies meet real resistance, they will dissolve away rapidly. Because their power is entirely illusory. It’s a confidence trick. Tobacco Control has no real power at all. It commands no armies, and has little wealth of its own. Everything that it has is what has been granted to it by frightened governments and corporations and media, anxious to avoid being on the receiving end of its hectoring and bullying.
    In time like this no government can afford to feed parasites, less even when they are as destructive as Tobacco Control. I most certainly object to my tax contribution being wasted on this society destroying club! I often walk past ‘rest’ homes and shudder to think that I, too, will become an inmate without the right to enjoy a simple cigarette.

    How much our current government is rattled by UKIP’s rise is becoming blatantly obvious. What Cameron and Clegg have forgotten, is SMOKERS ARE VOTERS.

    • smokervoter says:

      SMOKERS ARE VOTERS.

      Amen, Amen, Amen Beobrigitte. It’s really just as simple as that. When you’re getting pounded by the status quo you peruse the various parties and go with the one that treats you the best and sticks up for you. If that isn’t available, you start your own spoiler party and let the others fight for your votes.

      It’s not rocket science, currently only UKIP under Farage fits the bill. In the US historically it’s been the Republicans. It certainly isn’t the Democrats. I seriously doubt you’d find Stanton Glantz or his ilk at a Tea Party rally.

      What we need to do is to start leaving party affiliation hints in the comments on smoking articles with large readerships so the word starts spreading amongst smokers. It’ll also strike fear into the hearts of our political enemies. So far it seems to be a Forbidden Idea.

  8. Mr A says:

    I’ll say one thing for the Left – they know how to use language to obfuscate and further their goals – see the use of words like “progressive,” “liberal” etc which are often used to describe things that are anything but.

    The non-Left seems to miss this. The use of the term “Nanny State” being a case in point. Yes, it is a pejorative, yes it is used universally in a negative manner. But when you consider the thought-processes and actions it is often used to describe (for example the policy of denormalisation – the State deliberately painting a subsection of its populace as unclean, weak, almost sub-human,basically something you would have seen in early 30s Germany), it is far too cuddly and innocuous a phrase.

    I much prefer Bully State – far more descriptive.

  9. Rose says:

    I was too tall and too odd to be bullied, my accent was wrong for the area , but they couldn’t seem to find anything else to pick on, so I was mostly ignored.
    I always wondered what happened to the bullies after they left school, none of them stayed for the 6th form.

    But here they are again, I recognised them instantly in 2007 they are just so unoriginal, the tired old playground insults – you smell, you are stupid, you are poor, you are dirty, you make me sick, you are not normal.

    Somewhat surprising when it comes in the form of Government sponsored public information films, though.

    Smokers as malodourous
    Smokers as litterers
    Smokers as unattractive and undesirable housemates
    Smokers as undereducated and a social underclass
    Smokers as excessive users of public health services
    Smokers as employer liabilities
    http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/17/1/25

    There may be more in it for them than just the paycheck though.

    Bullies’ Brains Light Up With Pleasure as People Squirm

    “The brains of bullies—kids who start fights, tell lies, and break stuff with glee—may be wired to feel pleasure when watching others suffer pain, according to a new brain scanning study.

    The finding was unexpected, noted Benjamin Lahey, a psychologist at the University of Chicago and co-author of the study, which appears in the new issue of the journal Biological Psychology. Jean Decety, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, is lead author of the study.”

    The researchers had expected that the bullies would show no response when they witnessed pain in somebody else—that they experience a sort of emotional coldness that allows them to steal milk money with no remorse, for example.

    Previous research had shown that when nonbullies see other people in pain, the same areas of the brain light up that do when the nonbullies themselves experience pain—a sign of empathy, Lahey said.

    The new research showed these areas in the bullies’ brains were even more active than in the nonbullies.

    But the bullies’ empathetic response seemed to be warped by activity in the amygdala and ventral striatum, regions of the brain sometimes associated with reward and pleasure.

    “We think it means that they like seeing people in pain,” Lahey said.”
    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2008/11/081107-bully-brain.html

    Unexpected? You have got to be kidding.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I was too tall and too odd to be bullied, my accent was wrong for the area, but they couldn’t seem to find anything else to pick on, so I was mostly ignored.

      I was too small but too odd to be bullied, my accent was right for the area and as I was extremely lively (thank god no-one had invented Ritalin then – I would have missed most of my youth! ) they were simply too slow to find something to pick on. It was impossible to ignore me, though. I spend most time being somewhere on the fringes, being friends with others (one or two as lively as me) who, too, had a lot of questions and rarely got an answer, but plenty of ridicule for asking. We gave up at some point asking questions and with that ended up being mostly entertainers.
      Once the school bully picked on me and I just “snapped”. On getting home my mum only said: “Oh god!!!” And my dad asked what happened, so I told him, crying, that I made a fist and the next thing was that this lad had a bleeding nose. My dad just asked: ” you didn’t start it?” I replied: “No”. My dad said: “Good. Never start fights but when you end up in one, make sure your opponent hurts more than you do.”

      This simple advice took away most of my fear of fights – the school bully left me alone after getting ridiculed by his friends about a girl breaking his nose. (I still feel uncomfortable about that; his bleeding nose did scare the wits out of me, I ran home crying!!!)

      I, too, wonder what happened to the school bully. He has gone somewhere.

      I wish the government sponsored bullies would go there, too.

  10. Jay says:

    “I’m beginning to feel more and more confident that in a few years (and perhaps even a few months), we will have seen the back of the likes of Deborah Arnott and Stanton Glantz and ASH…”

    I really hope so, but I think it unlikely for a multitude of reasons. This would require everyone to get off their arse and do something to make it happen. It’s easier to sit at home, read blogs and the Daily Mail, and to bitch about stuff than it is to go out there and effect any kind of positive change and ultimately disrupt these anti-smoker fuckholes from hell. That, or wait for the EU to crumble entirely, or a war of some kind. Barring those things, we definitely need a new approach, something a bit more radical — it is time to take the fight to them directly and we need people who are willing to take on some amount of risk. Do you know anyone willing to do that? Because I certainly do not and I truly wish I did.

    • Frank Davis says:

      This would require everyone to get off their arse and do something to make it happen.

      Depends what “doing something” means. Do you have any suggestions?

      As I see it, smokers don’t get off their arses because a) they’ve absorbed much of the antismoking propaganda of the last 60 years, and believe most of it, and think the smoking is a bad thing, but carry on because they enjoy it, or b) they’re aware that they’re under an insidious form of attack, but can’t bring themselves to fight back, because they’re mostly nice, friendly people who want things to carry on being nice and friendly (even if there’s nothing nice and friendly about Tobacco Control).

      As I see it, we’re engaged in a ‘consciousness-raising’ exercise, alerting smokers to the fact that secondhand smoke is actually harmless, and that TC tells lots of lies, and that they need to be countered. In my view, what’s needed is an international smokers’ movement, a kind of army, that becomes increasingly vociferous and obstructive and dangerous as it grows. And I think that such a movement is gradually emerging, and is likely to snowball into something much larger than it is now. First you build an army, then you go to war. You can’t go to war without an army.

      • Jay says:

        I can’t disagree with that — it sums up the “problem” pretty well. I do have plenty of suggestions. Naturally, given their nature, these cannot be written here. Many, however, can be done from the relatively safety of one’s computer chair, if one were so inclined.

        In order to achieve the snowball effect, it requires just a few flakes of visionary/revolutionary snow to start.

  11. jaxthefirst says:

    I’ve long wondered – although it was, admittedly, becoming the target of anti-smoking bullying which truly focused my mind – whether there is more of an element of the bully in more people than is believed. The success of countless bullying “movements” down through history – the anti-smoking movement being just one of the latest – would seem to indicate that although not everyone has the uninhibitedness to exhibit it openly, the fact that so few people who are not the targets of bullying actually speak up on behalf of those who are would tend to indicate that they may well nevertheless be getting a sort of vicarious enjoyment out of seeing someone else being badly treated.

    This “non reaction” spans all spheres of life where bullying takes place, from the primary school playground right up to full-scale society-wide persecution and although no doubt those not reacting may justify their lack of action through excuses like: “I didn’t want to become a target myself,” or “I was concerned for the welfare of my family and my kids” or “I didn’t want to risk my job” or “It was none of my business,” how many of those excuses are just that – a means to give “non reactors” permission to go on enjoying the show whilst not taking any risks of the possibility of any backlash themselves? I think it’s a lot more than is acknowledged, and certainly a lot more than many people would admit about themselves. People who are genuinely not bullies will always do something about it because they find it so abhorrent – they’ll speak up, they’ll stand up to the bully themselves on behalf of the victim, or they’ll report them to the relevant authorities. But such people – as we smokers know only too well – are few and far between. Which is why I have come to believe, over the last few years, that there are far, far more bullies in our society than there are non-bullies by a very large margin.

    Perhaps we need to re-define our whole view of what bullying is, perhaps with a dual-classification system of something like “active bullies” and “passive bullies,” in order to shame non-reactors into the realisation of the part that they play in the bullying which has become so prevalent in our society today. Because to most people, the fact that they aren’t the ones actively throwing punches, or being insulting, or lobbying for persecutory laws, lets them off the hook and enables them to classify themselves, usually with no small measure of self-satisfaction, as non-bullies; when in truth, those who sit back and say nothing – whatever the reasons they give to justify their lack of action – are as culpable and guilty of bullying as are the active bullies themselves.

    • Rose says:

      “how many of those excuses are just that – a means to give “non reactors” permission to go on enjoying the show whilst not taking any risks of the possibility of any backlash themselves?”

      Jax

      If people are “enjoying the show” they will find a way to join in.
      Nice guys don’t even know where to start to oppose something so fundamentally alien to their nature, but given time, will.

      I’ve been very interested in this phenomenon myself and tend to agree with article that attempts to explain it.

      Why nasty guys rule and nice guys let them

      “The hawk and dove idea (which Maynard Smith in particular has discussed) begins with natural selection in its traditional, Tennysonian guise of nature, red in tooth and claw. It acknowledges that survival, followed by production of progeny, is the most basic game.

      It acknowledges, too, that if everyone behaves peaceably and nicely and co-operatively – like doves, at least in their mythological form – then the way is open for individuals who behave hawkishly. The doves toil, and make a pleasant society in a pleasant world; but then the hawks swagger in and take what the doves have created. The doves, being doves, do not fight back.

      An all-dove society is in many ways splendid. No individual is hurt or treated unjustly; and because the society wastes no time and energy in fighting, and in recovering from fights, what Jeremy Bentham called “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” is maximised. But, said Maynard Smith, the all-dove society is not robust. It is always liable to be invaded, not to say infected, by hawks. The hawks do not need to “invade” from outside. They arise from within – either by some genetic mutation that produces an aggressive variant, or (in creatures such as ourselves, with flexible behaviour and the ability to choose) because an individual opts to bash his or her fellows rather than play fair.

      Game theory also predicts, however, that the hawks will not wax fat for ever. For a time, they will do well – and so they will multiply. Indeed, they will do so well for a time that society will soon be overrun with hawks. Then, when the hawks try to swagger in and pinch whatever they want, they find themselves confronted not by compliant doves, but by other hawks: a bloody fight ensues, in which one of the hawks is very definitely the loser.

      All this is inevitable, said Maynard Smith. The “evolutionarily stable state” – the state of affairs that will come about if natural selection simply runs its course – is a society with a majority of doves, but a minority of hawks. But the dovish majority will always be ruled by the hawkish minority.”
      http://www.newstatesman.com/node/146043

      I’ve always been a dove, respectful of other peoples right to disagree with me and to generally get along, but at school as I got bigger and more confident I started to confront the bullies on other peoples behalf due to sheer moral outrage, but was surprised to find that I quite enjoyed it. Verbal retribution only of course, though by then I could have knocked them flat had I wanted to.

      As far as anti-tobacco goes, I am just so grateful that it wasn’t me.

      • Rose says:

        Talking of which.

        Another Study Concludes that Smoking Ban Reduced Heart Attacks While Data Show No Effect

        “At this point, it has become clear to me that there exists a strong investigator bias in favor of finding a significant effect of smoking bans on the reduction of heart attacks. So many studies have drawn conclusions that are simply not supported by the data that it is apparent that investigators want to find an effect.

        I “want” there to be an effect as well, since I’ve devoted much of my career to promoting workplace smoking bans. But we have to remain objective and use rigorous scientific methods. In the long run, I don’t think it serves us to lower the level of scientific analysis in order to be able to put out “favorable” findings. After all, our scientific integrity and the public’s trust of the quality of our science are the foundation upon which public health is built”
        http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/another-study-concludes-that-smoking.html

        But what the good doctor still doesn’t seem to grasp is that having “denormalised” 20% of the population and caused general mayhem to the pubs on his say so, politicians NEED “proof” that they were “right” to do it and fast, there’s no scientic credibilty about it, and plenty are happy to oblige.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Well, it could be a ‘popcorn’ thing. The attack on smokers appears as a form of entertainment to non-smokers, and they take a certain pleasure in the sufferings of others – schadenfreude is the German word for it, I think – which may be a function of not being part of it. The same may happen with an air crash or an earthquake, if you aren’t involved in it.

      And in our TV/video society, everything does seem like entertainment anyway, with the news not being much different from the soap opera before it. In such a society, people are watching from a distance, just like an audience in a theatre, and not part of what’s happening, cocooned in their homes.

    • Marvin says:

      @Jax…
      I think you are right, that there are far more bullies than is commonly thought.

      In my opinion it stems from being born and brought up in an authoritarian, nuclear family.
      In my own case, my father was a tyrant (and terryfying), he ruled the family with an iron fist. This was in the 50’s, so there were no womens refuges for my mother and her kids, we had to live with it.

      Then I started school, where the teachers were tyrants and frequently used violence against the kids.
      Then I started work, where the foreman was a tyrant, although the little shit was more annoying than frightening.
      For the first 16 years of my life all I knew was tyranny and violence.

      As I got older, stronger and more independant, I began to fight back rationally.
      I became a trade union militant, fighting the oppression in the workplace, which eventually got me blacklisted by the EEF in my area.
      Politically I joined a left wing party.

      Clearly this does not happen to everyone…
      People subjected to the same forces that I was subjected to, never manage to defeat the bully in themselves and continue to destroy everything they touch.
      Some of them even embrace it and become openly fascistic. But I learnt from fighting back, just how weak and cowardly they actually are.

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Cyprus bank accounts above 130,000 Euros are frozen and will lose 40% of their deposits in the bailout deal. Spain is next……….no doubt followed by Italy and Ireland,Portugal,Greece. Yet the Dow jumps ahead on news of a bail out. Meanwhile Moodys reports cyprus will still likely default and leave the EURO. Bloomberg news moments ago.

    • nisakiman says:

      Cyprus has been well and truly stitched up. The biggest problem there, and also here in Greece, is that there is this overriding orthodoxy that the country must remain in the Euro, regardless of social cost. Can you imagine the damage it will do to the economy to steal 40% of all substantial bank deposits? It will destroy Cyprus as a nation state. They are fools if they acquiesce to this insane deal. Better to default and be ejected from the Euro. At least then they stand a chance of surviving as a country, tough though it would be for a while.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    Looks like somebodys doing DAMAGE CONTROL

    Tobacco smugglers losing UK market share

    Traffickers’ share of cigarette market has slumped to 9% amid joint efforts by HMRC and UK Border Agency to disrupt supply
    In 2000, one in five of cigarettes smoked came from the black market. But by 2010-11 traffickers’ share of the cigarette market had fallen to 9%, according to the report on the illicit tobacco trade by the all parliamentary group on smoking and health.

    Over the same period, the share of the UK’s hand-rolled tobacco market originating with smugglers fell from 60% to 38%, an inquiry by the group of MPs and peers found.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/mar/25/tobacco-smugglers-losing-uk-market-share

    I gather the All Parlimentary group is a sock puppet group run by ASH behind the scenes maybe!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Their report highlights how the previously easy availability of black market tobacco in the UK was partly due to producers deliberately exporting more cigarettes than were wanted to other countries, knowing that many would be smuggled back into Britain.

      Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK’s policy director, said: “This report is further evidence that the tobacco industry should not be listened to when developing health policies aimed at reducing the devastating impact of smoking.”

      The Tobacco Manufacturers Association claimed that more recent data showed that “the level of cigarettes consumed that are not UK tax paid has risen from 17% in 2011 to 21% in 2012” and that figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility last week showed the government expected to receive £200m less in tobacco revenue in 2012-13.

      A spokesman for the association claimed the inquiry was biased because it had not given a fair hearing to the industry and did not mention firms’ contributions to reducing smuggling.

    • nisakiman says:

      It is of course bullshit, harley. From Simon Clark’s blog:

      HMRC data is only available to 2010/11, whereas more up-to-date information shows that the level of cigarettes consumed that are not UK tax paid has risen from 17% in 2011 to 21% in 2012. Additionally the impact on Government revenues is clear for all to see. Figures released by the Office for Budget Responsibility this week show a revised forecast for tobacco duty revenue in 2012/13, down by £200 million. This is evidence, not propaganda.

      The APPG are well aware of this, since the report with the above figures was submitted to them, but it suits their agenda to ignore this report and to use the out-of-date figures.

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    CYPRUS TO SEIZE CITIZENS’ CASH
    Deal calls for 40% seizure on accounts above 100,000 Euros…
    Russian nationals stand to lose billions…
    Furious: ‘Tantamount to theft’…
    Regulation, error wipe out all profits for UK banks…
    Spain Brings the Pain to Bank Investors…

    http://drudgereport.com/

  15. harleyrider1978 says:

    Big Five UK banks see profits for 2012 ‘wiped out’

    The major UK banks saw a 45% rise in core profits in 2012, but that hike was wiped out by a mix of regulation and their own mistakes, a KPMG report says.

    Its performance report looks at Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Standard Chartered.

    It says the banks’ combined core profits last year were £31.5bn.

    But this was eliminated by the “cost of past mistakes and increased creditworthiness of their own debt”, the audit firm’s report says.
    “Dire”

    This development meant that the major banks actually saw their statutory profits slump 40% on the previous year, at £11.7bn, KPMG added.

    The banks, it says, were hit by PPI costs of £7.4bn – up from £5.7bn in 2011.
    Continue reading the main story
    “Start Quote

    The necessary changes to address conduct and behavioural failings will have a significant cost”

    Bill Michael KPMG

    In addition, there were other fines and penalties from regulators and “redress provisions” of £4.7bn, and a £12.8bn accounting hit for losses caused by the revaluation of “own debt'”, “reflecting the credit markets’ more positive view on bank issuers and interest rate movements”.

    “Banks had a better performance year in 2012 but their improved core profits were eaten up by fines and other exceptional items, leaving them down on 2011,” said Bill Michael of KPMG.

    He added: “In terms of their reputations, 2012 was a dire year. This is why it is so important for them to address cultural and ethical perceptions and issues. Restoring customer trust is critical.”
    ‘Essential function’

    However the report does acknowledge the improvement in core performance from the banks, and says it is due to two main factors.

    Better credit performance has meant that impairment (bad loan) charges have continued to fall with continued low interest rates enabling the majority of customers to pay their mortgages and even reduce their credit exposures.

    And stronger investment banking results have meant that revenues were generally up, especially in rates businesses, helped in large part by more positive sentiment surrounding the future of the eurozone.

    But the report also points out that current events in Cyprus show that such sentiment can be transitory,

    “Overall, banks have made progress,” said Mr Michael. “They have strengthened their balance sheets and made strides to bolster their capital.

    “They are becoming better able to carry out their essential function of providing support to businesses and promoting economic growth. However, the necessary changes to address conduct and behavioural failings will have a significant cost.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21916653

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      One other note worthy mention here. U.S. businesses over valued their own net worths by 40% this past year. The Dow markets reflect these lies and also the input of 85 billion dollars a month in FED printed money pushing it up and up! A COLLOSAL failure is on the horizon as governments decide to steal the last vestige of cash! Their own citizens bank accounts!

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Government has right to ‘infringe on your freedom’

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday: Sometimes government does know best. And in those cases, Americans should just cede their rights.

    “I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom,” Mr. Bloomberg said, during an appearance on NBC. He made the statement during discussion of his soda ban — just shot down by the courts — and insistence that his fight to control sugary drink portion sizes in the city would go forth.

    SEE RELATED: N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg: ‘I think I have a responsibility … to try to make this country safer’

    “We think the judge was just clearly wrong on this,” he said, on NBC. “Our Department of Health has the legal ability to do this. … [They’re] not banning anything.”

    Mr. Bloomberg’s remaining months in office have included a firestorm of regulations and policy pushes on wide range of issues. Aside from the soda size ban and a well-publicized call for tighter gun control, another contentious policy he pushed: Nudging hospitals to lock up baby formula to force mothers to breast-feed newborns.

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/25/nyc-mayor-bloomberg-government-has-right-infringe-/#ixzz2OYkImCpT

  17. Marvin says:

    I too think the term “Nanny State” is the wrong term to use, it obscures the true nature of the state.
    It is fascism, pure and simple.
    Bullies are fascists.

    Like all bullies they are cowards…
    They are well shielded, behind the law, in council chambers, in parliament and in the media, this makes them very difficult to fight head on.
    Tobacco Control is not a mass movement and they know this is their weakness, therefore they are very careful not to instigate any direct action against smokers.
    They have no troops on the ground.

    They tried to correct this weakness, some time ago, with the “Ciggy Busters” incidents.
    Where a group of impressionable school students were encouraged by their fascist teacher, to “attack” and remove the cigarettes from the mouths of the unsuspecting, smoking public passing by. This caused outrage at the time and the very real threat of counter violence against them, this is what bullies fear the most, actually getting hurt. As far as I know this attempt to organise attacks on smokers, at street level, has not been repeated.
    The best they could muster for their brownshirts was a group of schoolkids!!!

  18. harleyrider1978 says:

    A week in junk science
    Science has become a political football to be controlled to stage-manage advocacy for a pre-set agenda. We can’t afford it to be

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/3037/a_week_in_junk_science

    • nisakiman says:

      Here’s one for you harley, if you can be bothered.

      http://www.goldengatexpress.org/2013/03/24/cigarette-butt-littering/

      It is one of those articles straight from the brainwashed babes of SF. It’s so full of errors I didn’t know where to start, so I didn’t.

      About the author:

      Elissa Torres is an A&E reporter and assistant art director at Golden Gate Xpress. She is a junior at SF State. She’s a lover of the San Francisco Giants, an avid condiment hater and germaphobe.

      Avid condiment hater? Germophobe? What the fuckitty fuck?

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        I just couldnt resist:

        Another Anti-Smoking Hoax Debunked. Those cigarette filters are 100% biodegradable.

        The cigarette butt menace was created to support outdoor smoking bans because many non-smokers will accept that secondhand smoke is not harmful in an outdoor setting.

        The anti-smoking zealots admit that the tobacco and paper in cigarette butts are biodegradable, but claim that the cellulose acetate cigarette filters are a plastic, like styrofoam and polystyrene, and will contaminate the earth forever. This is not true. Cellulose acetate is a wood product. It is completely degradable through biological, chemical, and photo chemical degradation mechanisms.

        Sorry, I don’t have a nice, easy to read MSM news article to give you. I have research papers from cellulose acetate manufacturers. Ann W., a commentor to a Dick Puddlecote article, put me onto this. http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2011 … found.html

        http://www.acetateweb.com/pdf/Environme … ilters.pdf
        “STUDY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION OF CIGARETTE FILTERS: A simulation of the Roadside or Parking Lot Environment.” Stephen K. Haynes, et al,\., Research Laboratories, Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport Tenn.

        “In recent years there has been increasing public awareness of items which may be discarded as litter with particular attention being given to cigarette filters. Some studies have concluded that when cigarette filters are introduced into the environment, they either do not degrade or degrade very slowly. Previous work in our laboratories has demonstrated that cigarette filters biodegrade readily in environments where mixed microbial populations can thrive. The purpose of this study was to examine the changes occurring in cigarette filters over time in an environment similar to that of a parking lot or roadside area. In this environment, exposure to sunlight, moisture and wind occur, but there is limited exposure to microbial attack … ”

        “CONCLUSIONS: Previous work has demonstrated that cigarette filters biodegrade readily in environments where mixed microbial populations can thrive. This work demonstrates that current commercial cigarette filters also degrade when exposed to an environment which is not optimal for microbial biodegradation.”

      • beobrigitte says:

        What is a condiment hater?
        What is a germaphobe?

        According to the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, San Diego State University public health researcher Richard Gersberg studied the effect of cigarette butts on marine life, and found that “chemicals from just one filtered cigarette butt had the ability to kill half the fish living in a 1-liter container of water.”

        How many fish can live (and survive) in a 1-liter container of water? We need to send the RSPCA round!!!

        For entertainment’s sake:
        These toxic cigarette butts find their way into sewers, oceans and streams through runoff or sometimes they are thrown into the ocean. Either way, the butts that aren’t properly disposed of find their way into one of our most precious resources: water.
        Has somebody got the heart to tell this poor woman that even acid rain finds it way into one of our most precious resources: water?

        Surely this article is satire, isn’t it?

  19. harleyrider1978 says:

    Irish Town Legalizes Drinking and Driving
    Law allows people to “to drive home from their nearest pub after having two or three drinks on little-used roads driving at very low speeds.”

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/weird/NATL-Irish-Town-Legalizes-Drinking-and-Driving-199867031.html

  20. melinoerealm says:

    ‘ David Goerlitz is a former actor and model from New York. Between 1982 and 1988 he was the ‘Winston Man’, appearing in 42 billboard advertisements – more than the Marlboro man. In 1988, he publicly denounced the tobacco industry and joined the emerging anti-smoking movement. He has spent the last 21 years working in schools as a public speaker, encouraging kids not to start smoking.

    There is no question that David remains passionately committed to tobacco prevention. He has been honoured by, amongst others, the World Health Organisation, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. He has met everybody who is anybody in the anti-smoking movement and, after two decades, knows the movement inside out.

    After 21 years in the anti-smoking movement, David Goerlitz speaks out against the extremism and corruption he sees all around him.
    In this explosive interview, he talks about how the tobacco control movement lost its way to become a “corrupt” and “greedy” institution dominated by extremists and “wackos”. ‘
    http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/david-goerlitz-winston-man.php

  21. Juan Hernando says:

    We are having a bullying problem at University of California, Davis. Since last year is a tobacco free campus. However, it has started a campaign on Facebook and instagram asking people to post photos of smokers on campus to shame them. And, after sending email to responsable in the university, it seems there is nothing we can do (I don´t smoke in campus, but I find horrible, fascist… the target they try to achieve)

  22. beobrigitte says:

    I don´t smoke in campus

    Why not? (Excuse the question if you are a non-smoker)

    If you want to annoy the anti-smokers, just ask the smokers to be proud.

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