On The Side Of Devils

H/T Harley for a mention of Individual rights advocacy in tobacco control policies: an assessment and recommendation by J E Katz in BMJ’s 2005 Tobacco Control section.

I’ve spent the evening reading it and jotting notes.

I had expected Dr James E. Katz of Rutgers University to be a Professor of Ethics or Moral Philosophy. He was no such thing, however. James E. Katz, PhD is a communication scholar with an expertise in new media, (especially concerning the Internet, social media, and mobile phone). The PhD was in Sociology. It’s rather wonderful the way that Tobacco Control can summon up multi-skilled experts-in-everything more or less ex nihilo (Stanton Glantz’s ascension from mechanical engineer to Professor of Medicine is another notable example).

And, whether he’s formally affiliated or not, James E. Katz is very much cast in the Tobacco Control mindset. Within a handful of sentences at the start of his article he is warning against “inadvertently assist[ing] the tobacco industry.” And deep in the text later on he sees Tobacco Control advocates as “on the side of angels” in the Manichaean conflict with satanic Big Tobacco. And to top it all, Stanton Glantz himself gets an acknowledgement in the footnotes.

Katz’ concern with rights is purely tactical. He thinks that Big Tobacco has cornered the market in ‘rights’, and believes their stranglehold needs to be broken.  Too many people associate ‘rights’ only with smokers, and not enough with non-smokers.

I point this out because Katz is actually completely unconcerned with morality, with what’s right and wrong. He doesn’t anguish over the rights of smokers. For him, the modern doctrine of rights is simply another piece of artillery to be utilised against the ubiquitous “Industry”. The enemy has got this sort of artillery, and so we must have some too.

He discusses the tactical and strategic advantages of playing the rights card. It will, he says, “counter the public perception that fails to see tobacco control advocates as favouring individual rights”.  He also asserts that “tobacco control advocates would be well advised to counter directly whatever the industry views as being to its own advantage.” And opines that “formulating policy based on individual rights appeals to the highest ethical standards.” If Tobacco Control can cloak themselves in the language of rights, they will look good. Furthermore, if “ETS is an individual rights violation, the need for corrective action becomes clear”. And it’s a psychological weapon:

…a non-smokers’ rights position denies the tobacco industry a prized psychological weapon: the “individual rights of smokers” argument.

He also warns of ways in which the weapon might backfire. “Stirring up the rights issue may be fomenting opposition to improvements in tobacco control policy.” And “Some people fear that success on the ETS front will create a metaphorical slippery slope leading to new attacks on other behaviours.”

As for the rights in question, he defines them as the rights to life, liberty, and property. And he very rapidly ranks these in ascending order from the right to property at the bottom, through the right to liberty, all the way up to the right to life, which is the most important right of all.

“No rights are unlimited, and the polity and courts must at times give priority to some rights over others. For instance, as important as liberty is, it usually is considered secondary to the right of life. Property rights, especially those pertaining to commercial property, are by no means absolute, and for the purposes of this paper are considered subsidiary to the right to liberty.”

This is the justification for the suppression of the right to liberty and property rights beneath the all-important right to life.

“It is, therefore, the case that smokers contravene the individual rights of those around them, especially since the tobacco smoke is disturbing the status quo ante—that is, in the classic argument, the right to be free from assault by other people’s tobacco use trumps the right to consume tobacco products.”

And, needless to say, he regards tobacco smoke as a genuine threat to the life of non-smokers, even if most studies deny it.

Reflecting upon the article, it seemed to me that the moral core of it does not lie in any doctrine of rights, but rather in a Manichaean struggle between Good and Evil, with Tobacco Control advocates “on the side of angels”, of course. The same Manichaean vision occurs repeatedly in the Tobacco Control literature, with “the tobacco industry” or “the industry” or sometimes just “industry” cast in something like the role of Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor in  J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. “The industry” is ubiquitous, resourceful, and fiendishly cunning. It also perhaps possesses magical powers.

This always strikes me as a kind of vast delusion. For in my view, the tobacco industry is simply an agricultural business that sells tobacco in much the same way as other agricultural businesses sell beans or potatoes. And if tobacco companies can be labelled (and perhaps libelled) as something not far off the Root of All Evil, what’s to stop potato farmers and lettuce growers being tarred with the same brush?

For I have never heard “the industry” advancing any rights-based arguments. If only because, in the UK at least, “the industry” has been more or less completely muzzled by removing its right to advertise its products. “The industry” is, as far as I can see, lying trussed and tied under the foot of all-conquering Tobacco Control, which now feasts on its blood (by means, for example, of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement).

And this is a dangerous game for Tobacco Control to play. For what happens when they cease to be regarded as “on the side of angels”, but instead themselves come to be seen to be wearing the mask of Sauron?

“The epithet “Health Nazi” was invented by the tobacco industry to discredit efforts to encourage public health. Reprehensible as the term is, it serves its purpose; it readily allows the portrayal of those concerned about health to be seen not as well intentioned humanitarians, but just the opposite: rights and life destroying monsters.”

There are other caveats. If we accept that “Non-smokers’ rights to be free of harmful interference trumps the right of others to be at liberty to smoke,” then must we not next accept that people’s rights to be free of obnoxious odours trumps the sight of others to eat newly baked bread or fried bacon or garlic in restaurants and public places? And do not the rights of silent people to be free of noise and laughter also trump the rights of others to talk and laugh in restaurants and public places? All these behaviours can be framed as “harmful interference”, and half a dozen academic studies to prove it rustled up over a weekend.

And when he writes that “…the argument is saying not that smoking itself is forbidden but only smoking around others,” how near to others do you have to be to be ‘around’ them? 10 yards? 100 yards? A mile? 100 miles?

There is of course the vexed question of the reality or existence of these ‘rights’. And in this respect it might be remarked that the ‘right to clean air’ is an entirely new right which has only made its appearance over the past 60 or so years. Such a right would have seemed senseless in the Victorian era when not only did many people smoke, but so also did their coal fires and chimneys and stoves and gaslights and candles, as well as their steam locomotives and ships and factories. The world within living memory was a predominantly smoky world. And it was just as smoky in antiquity. A “smoke-free” world is not so much a right as a modern luxury. For there was no conceivable ‘right’ to it until recently.

And might we not adjust one sentence from the text, with the addition of the word ‘control’, to learn that:

“The tobacco control industry has thus created an artificial world in which people’s ordinary construction of relationships and meanings is distorted, making it difficult for people to make rational, informed decisions about tobacco and health.”


About Frank Davis

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52 Responses to On The Side Of Devils

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    “Some people fear that success on the ETS front will create a metaphorical slippery slope leading to new attacks on other behaviours.”

    And if tobacco companies can be labelled (and perhaps libelled) as something not far off the Root of All Evil, what’s to stop potato farmers and lettuce growers being tarred with the same brush

    That’s it,tobacco control in all forms was not created to simply attack smokers but a blueprint for attacking everything including the destruction of liberty and freedom. It was especially created to undermine and redefine not only property rights but individual rights.

    Ive always said if we destroy tobacco control we do indeed save everything else!

  2. jaxthefirst says:

    The only thing which will change the public’s perception of Tobacco Control is for Tobacco Control itself to change – to become more compromising, less strident and less arrogant in its attitude that it is always and without fail 100% “on the side of the angels,” to steal this man’s own words (which in and of themselves speak volumes). Sadly for him, change and compromise are the two things which Tobacco Control is completely and utterly incapable of. Back off? Never! Admit their policies have negatively impacted anyone, ever? Certainly not! Allow open and fair debate against their proposals? Not in a million years! Even the suggestions he makes are for more of the same as Tobacco Control has been dishing out for decades, so how on earth does he think that the public’s perception of them is going to change if they simply go on doing the same thing, hammering out the same messages, and demanding the same (or more) restrictions ad infinitum? Isn’t that supposed to be one of the definitions of mental illness: to go on repeating the same actions, time and time again, but somehow expecting to get a different result? “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten” and all that …

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Jax one thing I forgot to state was these movements eventually lose all political will and become political embarrassments………….The MSM is finally starting to push back a bit and theres been aton of stories lik the one below this week and last destroying the movement itself. Me Im like ready for open warfare………….But that’s me and I don’t condone it except in extreme cases and its not to far from here to Insanilly extreme.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    The fatal flaw in the anti-tobacco lobby’s thesis

    by Leon Louw, 10 December 2014, 07:00

    SMOKING may be the greatest cause of health disinformation, with liquor second, followed by sugar, salt, junk food, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, alternative or complementary healthcare and traditional healing.

    Health fanaticism has become so tyrannical that critics are muzzled. Lies repeated often enough acquire the appearance of truth. Unlike health despots, people who value facts and freedom should encourage what they regard as healthy living as resolutely as they defend the rights of those who disagree. To that end, this column addresses two of the most egregious myths: that smokers increase healthcare costs and that smoking has no benefits. Future columns will address other vilified liberties.

    Disparate victims, such as obese smokers, on the one hand, and adherents of alternative new age health, on the other, should unite against their common enemy, discriminatory taxes and controls.

    Ideally all consumers should unite in defence of their rights. Health laws never control products. All controls are people controls. No one restrains unruly cigarettes or gingko. They stop suppliers satisfying consumers who smoke, visit sangomas, eat koeksisters or drink wine. Governments are free to inform and encourage healthy habits without eroding liberty.

    Their seductive excuse, which shows why socialism and freedom are incompatible, is that unhealthy choices supposedly impose benefitless costs. This myth is so tyrannical that I was implored to remove its refutation from a conference paper. Nicotine Nazis claim treating tobacco-related disease occurs at the expense of nonsmokers. If true, that would not justify eroding freedom, just as the cost of AIDS does not justify criminalising unsafe sex.

    Disinformation aside, “tobacco taxes” — actually discriminatory taxes against a victimised minority — raise more revenue than tobacco-related healthcare costs. Only marginal increases above what would otherwise have been spent can be attributed to tobacco. The great taboo, however, is the necessary implication of antismoker propaganda.

    In the unlikely event of there being no exaggeration — there are compelling scientific arguments to the contrary — smokers die 10 to 25 years younger than nonsmokers. This is where niconazis are hoist by their own petard, yet no one exposes their lie, here or in other contexts.

    If smokers and others die as prematurely as propaganda suggests, they are generous social benefactors. Healthcare costs rise dramatically with age, far beyond anything associated with tobacco or anything else targeted by health Nazis. Costs double from childhood to 25, then again by 55, and 10-fold by 75, after which they rise exponentially. According to “social cost” propaganda, unhealthy lifestyles advance death to 70 or so, saving not just the exaggerated cost of treating geriatrics, but ending lives when productive years end and a drain on welfare budgets starts. The degree to which unhealthy lifestyles subsidise longevity, if propaganda is believed, is astounding; thousands of dollars in poor countries and millions in rich ones.

    The second prevailing myth is one of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s mantras, that “smoking has no benefits”. The benefits are substantial and obvious, as he, a reformed smoker, should know. Asked why they smoke, smokers readily say it improves concentration, combats fatigue, overcomes inhibition, alleviates depression, promotes camaraderie and so on. By far the greatest benefit, so conclusively vindicating that denial is unconscionable, is that they enjoy it; it is lekker.

    Calling discriminatory liquor, tobacco, sugar, salt or gambling taxes “sin tax” is sinfully anticonsumer. Since “sin” has low flexibility of demand, they are, in any event, taxes against healthy high-flexibility alternatives, such as vegetables, gym fees and bicycles.

    Disclaimer: In anticipation of ad hominem responses, I am exemplary by official criteria: never smoked or gambled; been teetotal most of my life; avoid salt, sugar, junk food and refined carbs; take no alternative or traditional medicines; exercise regularly, and am fit and strong.

    • Louw is executive director of the Free Market Foundation.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Essentially the Tobacco Control case is about power. Rights and liberties are irrelevant (rights being absolute and liberties relative). The fact that they use fake data, propaganda, and quell dissent makes it clear that individual liberty is not an issue for them. It is solely a contest for power. Winning at all costs matters. The quest for social control and their own tactics are totalitarian in every sense of the concept.

    I’d almost suggest Dr. Katz review Hannah Arendt’s “On the Origins of Totalitarianism” but I’m afraid the site of her smoking a cigarette in the picture on the jacket cover would probably offend him (as well as dispose of the notion that educated people don’t smoke). [Ardent was one of the most significant political theorists of the 20th century, refugee from Nazi Germany, and an ardent smoker.]

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Correction to para. 2, line 4: ARENDT [Arendt was one of the most significant political theorists of the 20th century, refugee from Nazi Germany, and an ardent smoker.]

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Even the Grinch got ripped off for XMAS………..Nov retail sales at 3% Black Friday sales down 7.5 Billion this year. Xmas in America has been Cancelled basically this year. But its a far bigger sign of what wrong everywhere. Incomes at all time lows government taxes at all time highs.

    Recovery that never was,they just postponed it until they destroyed what was left.

  7. waltc says:

    Dr Katz can only claim to defend individual rights by denying that smokers are individuals. . In fact, by denying ALL individuality and casting what used to be thought of as individuals as merely part of a group (smokerS and nonsmokerS / devils and angels). By Katz’s formulation even the nonsmokers aren’t actually individuals since he attributes both group rights and attitudes to them –as though all nonsmokers feel the same way . Also I think the term Nicotine Nazi wan’t coined by BT but by journalist Sid Zion.

  8. waltc says:

    Napolitano wasn’t fired. He’s still there, tho I can’t say for sure he wasn’t on a hiatus. According to an interview with Imus on the radio, they made him dye his hair which is now a bizarre shoe polish brown as it has been for about sux months so that video, tho wonderful, isn’t new.

  9. Lepercolonist says:

    “And to top it all, Stanton Glantz himself gets an acknowledgement in the footnotes.”

    Enough said. Anytime I see that fraudster’s name, a sickening feeling develops in my stomach. Glantz and Katz are a good fit for the NKVD.

    I am currently reading: ‘The Improbability Principle’ by David J. Hand. He is an emeritus professor of mathematics at Imperial College London.


    “ Investigating patterns often yields evidence that explains them, showing that we did attribute the causes correctly. Early epidemiological work detected a connection between smoking and lung cancer, and later biological investigation showed there was indeed a causal relationship.”

    What biological investigation is he referring to ? All the failed lab experiments to induce lung cancer on animals ?

  10. Joe Jackson says:

    I’ve always said that the perceived ‘rights’ of smokers and nonsmokers cancel each other out, and this shouldn’t be a debate about ‘rights’ at all. I always deny being an advocate for ‘smokers’ rights’, I don’t believe there is any such thing; I’m an advocate of rationalism. I think that when anyone tries to engage us in a debate about ‘rights’ we should refuse to play that game. Or maybe, agree that smokers might theoretically have no ‘right’ to expose anyone to their SHS if it were indeed killing them, but the real point is: is it killing them or not? And of course it’s not. The argument has to be brought back to that (dragged back kicking and screaming if necessary) at every opportunity. ‘Nonsmokers’ rights’ advocates are trying to build a self-righteous moral argument on extremely shaky foundations – the focus should be on the foundations, not the ‘argument’.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Joe in America there is a right to smoke per sey

      Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

    • beobrigitte says:

      I think that when anyone tries to engage us in a debate about ‘rights’ we should refuse to play that game.
      I do agree; I am defending something unnecessary but enjoyable for me – and I am all in favour of separating the smoker/non-smoker areas more effectively. There are many ways of doing this. Some people do hate the smell of smoke as much as I hate the smell of cooking/cooked lamb.
      However, there are many people who do like the smell and the meat, so I just put up with it when visiting e.g. a pub for a carvery dinner. My house, however, remains a lamb-free zone.

      Or maybe, agree that smokers might theoretically have no ‘right’ to expose anyone to their SHS if it were indeed killing them, but the real point is: is it killing them or not? And of course it’s not.
      We all KNOW that Passive Smoke does not kill – and there are questions to be asked about active smoking. (The generation due to retire-but-has-to-work-beyond-the-age-of-60 is very much ALIVE and obviously well enough to be in work.)

      Nevertheless, the anti-smoking zealots have come up with an idea to “prove” that passive smoke “kills”: to state on deathy certificates that smoking/passive smoking “could have contributed” to the patient’s death. Since “smoking related” diseases cover all old people’s diseases, work out what is going to happen.

      Nonsmokers’ rights’ advocates are trying to build a self-righteous moral argument on extremely shaky foundations – the focus should be on the foundations, not the ‘argument’.
      Although I dare say that you are talking about ANTI-SMOKERS’ “rights” rather than non-smokers’, I agree, the focus should be on the weak foundations. And the people who, according to the anti-smoking zealots, should have died long ago.

  11. magnetic01 says:

    Reflecting upon the article, it seemed to me that the moral core of it does not lie in any doctrine of rights, but rather in a Manichaean struggle between Good and Evil, with Tobacco Control advocates “on the side of angels”, of course.

    From Simon Chapman’s “The Lung Goodbye” (1983) [how to do propaganda]:
    “Such a list could be added to considerably, but most entries would be characterized by being somehow cast in a mythological good versus evil battle in an arena observed by mass numbers of people. The good (health/clean air/children) versus evil (cancer/uncaring, callous industry) dimension is the ineluctable bottom line in the whole issue and a rich reservoir for spawning a great deal of useful social drama, metaphor, and symbolic politics that is the stuff of ‘news value’ and which is almost always to the detriment of the industry.” p.11
    “It is vital to reflect on the vastness of information, social issues and news to which people are exposed and over which they are often urged to take up a position. The smoking debate is just one issue pressing for attention – amongst thousands, and like almost any other issue, tends to attract media attention when its issues can be subsumed under some more fundamental mythological context.
    Following, are some examples, by no means exhaustive, of angles and themes on smoking that seem to have news value:
    * the mouse that roared, or David and Goliath – when little public interest groups or individuals go into battle with the tobacco industry. (When MOP UP in Sydney challenged the largest cigarette advertising campaign in Australia – and won – one newspaper captured the spirit of the challenge with the headline “MOP UP’S SLINGSHOT CUTS DOWN THE ADVERTISING OGRE”)” p.13

    Direct link to PDF

    This entire “Us vs them” framework was also contrived by the fanatics decades ago. Having cast themselves in the role of the “mythological good” (natch), the zealots are always right. Anyone who dares disagree with them is always wrong and part of some “evil” tobacco industry “conspiracy”. It’s all for manipulative, “theatrical” effect – although there are some in the antismoking movement that believe they are “god-like” – and has been quite successfully used for the last three decades on an essentially superficial/gullible political class, media, and public. Disagree with the fanatics and you’ll be accused of being an emissary of the “evil” tobacco industry, a promoter of cancer, and a child corrupter/killer. The zealots and their financial partners (government and Pharma) must have regular belly laughs at how all too easy the brainwashing has been and on a global scale.

    The prohibitionists cannot conceive that they could be wrong about anything or that any of their conduct can have detrimental consequences. Important to note is that any questioning of antismoking claims is always reframed into this “good vs evil” scenario. Through relentless propaganda the public is manipulated to take a side – you’re either with the good antismokers or you’re with the “evil” tobacco industry. They’re the only choices in the antismoking fantasy world.

    Questioning of nicotine addiction? That’s lies peddled by the “evil” tobacco industry. Extortionate taxes promote a contraband market? That’s lies peddled by the “evil” tobacco industry. Question disease causation claims? That’s lies peddled by the “evil” tobacco industry. Question that smokers are a “drain” on society? That’s another lie peddled by the “evil” tobacco industry. Even the idea of “Health Nazi” is a lie peddled by the “evil” tobacco industry. Even the idea of “individual rights” is a lie peddled by the “evil” tobacco industry. Any questioning of antismoking is reframed as the inventions of the “evil” tobacco industry to thwart the “wonderful” work of Tobacco Control.

    The history of antismoking is that a small group of moralizing zealots/fanatics/extremists hold a fixed, baseless belief set. The really dangerous minds have in the past come from religious and medical groups in which case they abuse their authority to pursue prohibition. To rationalize the baseless, the zealots concoct an elaborate web of deranged claims that set them as the “righteous” battling “evil”. It’s a terrible fantasy world.

    The antismoking credo:
    People agree with antismoking because antismokers are right;
    People disagree with antismoking because antismokers are right.

    Antismokers have no grasp of history; they are scientifically incompetent; they are statistically incompetent; they are argumentatively incompetent; they have no grasp of human nature, least of all their own considerable foibles. Antismokers are neurotic, megalomaniacal, pathological liars, greedy, and many suffering a “god complex” (delusions of benevolence and omniscience).

  12. magnetic01 says:

    And in this respect it might be remarked that the ‘right to clean air’ is an entirely new right which has only made its appearance over the past 60 or so years.

    The antismokers have been advancing the “right to clean air” for centuries. “Clean air” is just one of numerous myths advanced by antismoking nut cases. The Katz article is an extension of a 1980 article considering nonsmokers’ antismokers’ rights. See comments by magnetic01:

    And when he writes that “…the argument is saying not that smoking itself is forbidden but only smoking around others,” how near to others do you have to be to be ‘around’ them? 10 yards? 100 yards? A mile? 100 miles?

    Katz is proposing “selective prohibition”… the Godber position. That’s where smoking is banned in all places, indoor and out, that is accessible to the public (see link above). In this instance smoking is “tolerated” when occurring in private [homes] between consenting adults. “We’re not wanting to ban the sale of tobacco”, squeal these antismokers. It’s just that smoking would be banned in pretty well all the places that people typically smoke. Then there are the full prohibitionists that want tobacco-use entirely eradicated from the planet. Both have no coherent basis. Whatever these antismoking nut cases are reading into smoking it has nothing to do with the physical properties/propensities of tobacco smoke. Whatever they’ve made of smoking, they don’t approve of it; they hate it. For these nut cases, smoking is on a par with sexual acts that should at the very least be banned from public view. The antismokers have contrived smoking into a “moral” issue. It never dawns on antismokers, particularly when they’re on a roll, that their perception is deranged.

    There’s, of course, the constant ranting and raving of nonsmokers antismokers being the “innocent victims” of tobacco smoke “assault”. The assault does not come by smoke but by antismokers own neurotic, bigoted beliefs. There’s every reason to believe that antismokers are neurotic, e.g., anxiety disorders (“contamination” phobias), hypochondria, phobia. Antismokers (capnophobics) are way, way, WAY worse than germophobes. There are even anecdotal accounts of antismokers so conditioned (brainwashed) into aversion and superiority that they will even hyper-react to “phantom smoke”. From an informal experiment conducted years ago by a journalist (that’s what we have to work with in the absence of formal studies).

    From the book Rampant Antismoking Signifies Grave Danger, p.399-400.

    Pat Michaels, a journalist for the California Newport News, reported on an informal experiment he conducted:

    Anti-cigarette smoking has reached a fanaticism bordering on hysteria. It could be dangerous to your health. To prove that point, this fearless reporter used one of those smokeless cigarettes made of plastic that look like a real cigarette. They can’t be lit, though, and are normally supposed to hold some kind of inhalant to discourage smoking.

    My first stop was at the Newport Harbour Elks Lodge and a seat at the piano bar in the smoking section. A lady at a nearby table kept getting up and opening a window that blew blasts of cold air on me. After I’d closed the window three times, and the woman had opened it an equal number, she said to me: “I’ll make you a deal; if you stop smoking, I won’t open the window anymore”. I told her I hadn’t smoked in 20 years and my “cigarette” couldn’t smoke. I also pointed out she was seated in the smoking section of the room reserved for smokers. “I don’t care”, she screamed, ignoring my statement, “It’s my table, I’m sitting at it, and you are making it impossible to enjoy my dinner”….

    I went to Bandera in Corona del Mar. A waitress greeted me at Bandera’s door and immediately noticed my ‘cigarette’. “You’re not coming in here with that”, she said firmly. I told her it wasn‘t a cigarette. She claimed she knew it was a cigarette when she saw one and wasn‘t about to examine “that dirty thing”….. At ‘Marie Callender’s’ a woman in the next booth complained to the management she couldn‘t breathe because of my ‘cigarette’ and wanted me thrown out of there too…….(in Oakley, 1999, Ch.7, p.28).

    When they are allowed to peddle their mental dysfunction as “superior”, antismokers’ claims become progressively more absurd and hysterical, and their demands progressively more draconian and inhumane.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    Boehner Ally Admits Omnibus Bill Was Crafted in Literal Cigar Smoke-Filled Back Room

    The 1,603-page omnibus spending bill–or at least part of it–was, according to one of Speaker John Boehner’s top allies, actually negotiated in a literal cigar…

    • smokervoter says:

      I went thru and selectively grabbed some pertinent comments from this article. The dynamics of the Tory/UKIP battle for voters is going on over here as well. Three guesses on which faction of the Republicans I stand with. I’d rather rub elbows with reasonable, classically liberal Dems than the likes of Dave Levine or CommonSense033.

      PS. I hope the formatting doesn’t come out as an unreadable disaster. Here goes nothing…


      TheLineIsDrawn • 2 days ago

      I imagine them goobering among themselves in the smoke-filled backroom about “the stupidity of the American voter.”

      Pass the bill to find out what is in it!

      Therealpatriot2013jrd in reply to TheLineIsDrawn • a day ago

      Ha…..imagine what our congress would do to America, if they weren’t being loyal, honest, truthful, ”voter representun” patriotic servants of the American people……
      sarcasm,….but still have to puke now.

      SAM ADAMS in reply to Therealpatriot2013jrd • a day ago

      Imagine if the conservatives in the new congress decided to switch parties to independent and make the RINO’S beg them to caucus with them. That might be the RIGHT move here. UKIP seems to be making progress in the UK. It might be time for the conservatives to start USIP!

      Dave Levine in reply to SAM ADAMS • a day ago

      The UKIP is a libertarian, pro-illicit drug party. That ain’t gonna fly with Conservatives!

      SAM ADAMS in reply to Dave Levine • a day ago

      Younger conservatives are more libertarian and pro legalization than you know!The criminalization of drugs has been a disaster!

      hidad in reply to TheLineIsDrawn • a day ago

      Gruber was a special guest at this meeting I’m sure. ENOUGH OF THIS ‘MALE BOVINE BARNYARD MUFFINS’ STUFF FROM THE RINOS! A brand new political party is emerging that will put them on the sidelines….permanently. The all new American Party will make the GOP IRRELEVANT by sapping all it’s conservative members. There won’t be a ‘third’ party because the GOP will disappear just like the ‘Whigs’ of the 1860’s.

      Dave Levine in reply to hidad • a day ago

      Hopefully, hidad, it’ll be called “The Law and Order Party” because that’s THE most important issue in America as we slide into anarchy.

      Bob Jackson • 2 days ago

      So the same clowns that made it ILLEGAL for us to smoke at work, sit in the back room smoking cigars discussing how much of OUR money they would like to spend this year?

      Let me guess, just like ObamaCare, Congress exempted themselves, how nice for them…again. These people do NOT represent us, they ONLY represent their own interests! That much is becoming crystal clear!

      Keith Terceira in reply to GatorJim123 • a day ago

      Guess tobacco is only bad when it’s smoked by us peons !

      GatorJim123 in reply to Keith Terceira • a day ago

      How true, KT.

      Keith Terceira • a day ago

      I think it’s time that Republican voters begin looking to the Libertarian party for candidates. Time to send a message to the GOP…
      “You are not so Grand without voters ”

      HK21E in reply to Keith Terceira • a day ago

      I like the Constitution party platform better than the LP but the differences are not irreconcilable like they are with the two current parties. Time to dump Rs and Ds forever. They are poison.

      Keith Terceira in reply to HK21E • a day ago

      I’ve been a loyal GOP member for 38 years but enough is enough for me personally. I’ll look at Constitution Party but when throwing support another way, I would like to vote with a party that has a framework in place, so votes aren’t a total waste.

      RegularRon • a day ago

      Demonizing Cigar smokers now Breitbart?

      maxedgar in reply to RegularRon • a day ago

      Only the cigar smokers that voted that other smokers can’t smoke in federal buildings; restaurants; other public buildings but ignore these laws themselves. Unless they were at someone’s home they were breaking laws others must follow.

      RegularRon maxedgar • a day ago

      HA..Welcome to American Politicians.

      CommonSense033 in reply to RegularRon • a day ago

      One, it’s symbolic of the old world of backroom deals to screw the little guy, made over cigars and brandy.

      Two, I honestly haven’t ever met a cigar smoker who wasn’t an overbearing bloviator.

      Three, cigars are the most vile stench from any tobacco product that exists.

      RegularRon in reply to CommonSense033 • a day ago

      One..I was being sarcastic. Two. I’m a cigar smoker, who does only by myself. Enjoy one while reading. Three. Your opinion doesn’t mean a thing to me.

      CommonSense033 in reply to RegularRon • a day ago

      Nor does yours to me.

      The funny thing about cigar smokers is that also don’t realize that all their clothes and possessions REEK.

      RegularRon in reply to CommonSense033 • a day ago

      That smell you don’t like? That’s the smell of Free-Dumb! Go preacher your BS over at Daily Kos where someone might care

      American 57 • a day ago

      I’ve said this so many times, it’s time to get rid of the backroom cigar chomping Rinos and bring in real conservatives who care about the American people and America as a whole.

      blucord124 in reply to American 57 • a day ago

      I’m a real conservative and I love whiskey and cigars. The difference is I have the balls to smoke them in front of people while actually saying what I think instead of finding a backroom somewhere. Oh, and I drink whiskey while reading the constitution and declaration.

      • smokervoter says:

        What might (and a that’s big might) work as an American kingmaker party.

        Rand Paul as the head of a USIP party. I love the sip part of that name and all the anti-prohibitionist implications it would carry. And maybe the much maligned John Boehner, free of the Chamber of Commerce/Establishment Republican yoke, would make a good running mate. Like Nigel, he smokes and enjoys his Merlot.

        I’m trying to think of a classically liberal Democrat would might balance the ticket, and I’m sure there exists one, but I’m drawing a blank right now. Help me out here, someone.

        I think that just as the UKIP are drawing some Labour support, USIP would bring in some classically liberal Democrats.

  14. magnetic01 says:

    We can also evaluate the “slippery slope” since 2005. The salami-slice prohibition has been allowed to proceed on the basis of SHS “danger”. But we now have numerous instances where even smokeless tobacco (e.g., snus, chewing) is banned from large outdoor areas (e.g., university campuses). Using tobacco control as the foundational template, there is now a queue of prohibitionists attempting to turn their pet peeve into the “new tobacco”. This in the face of the constant claim by Tobacco Control that tobacco was a “unique product” and that claims of a “slippery slope” to other products were just another lie by the “evil” tobacco industry. Tenuous as connections are, it all has to do with the physical state. It is all being led by medically-monopolized Public Health (the current antismoking crusade is from the very top (WHO), down). It’s the behavioral dimension of eugenics – anti-tobacco, anti-alcohol, dietary prescriptions/proscriptions, physical exercise. Post the eugenics catastrophe of early last century, the medically-aligned should never have been allowed to monopolize Public Health, at least nowhere beyond infectious diseases. Yet here we are again.

  15. magnetic01 says:

    Another telling grilling of Gruber:

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    The right of self determination

  17. carol2000 says:

    This is ancient old stuff. The anti-smokers have been claiming their supposed right to clean air from the very beginning. It boils down to this: The government has no right to deprive us of our liberties without some compelling justification. There is no compelling justification for smoking bans, and the anti-smoking demagogues know it. So they committed scientific fraud to concoct phony dangers from secondhand smoke. These phony dangers are of course based on the same types of deliberate fraud that they use against active smoking (which the Anti-Smoker Approved Fake Opponents refuse to attack). And that’s why they’ve gotten away with it.

  18. smokingscot says:

    O/T (to lighten the mood somewhat)

    67 year old gets stranded at sea for 12 days and the first thing he asks for – a cigarette!

    Perfectly understandable!


  19. garyk30 says:

    ‘Rights’, an interesting concept.

    ‘Rights’ do not just exist, they must originate/be given with or be given from some higher authority.

    Govt ‘Rights’ are those that the people chose to give to the govt.
    The US Constitution does not enumerate the ‘Rights’ of the people, it does spell out the ‘Rights’ that are given to the govt by the people.

    Peoples’ ‘Rights’ come from a different source; either Natural or God given, as you wish.

    It is to our shame that, in America, many believe that the Govt is the only source of our ‘Rights’.

  20. harleyrider1978 says:

    Gambian tobacco scam diplomats jailed

    A group of Gambian diplomats who turned an embassy into a “warehouse” selling tax-free tobacco have been jailed.


    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The Crown Prosecution Service released images of tobacco seized from the Gambian Diplomatic Mission
      Continue reading the main story
      Related Stories
      Diplomats guilty of tobacco fraud

      A group of Gambian diplomats who turned an embassy into a “warehouse” selling tax-free tobacco have been jailed.

      Over three years, staff at the Gambian Diplomatic Mission ordered more than half a million 50g pouches of tobacco.

      It should only have been for personal use or for the Gambian High Commission but the seven staff, who did not smoke, sold much of it – cheating the UK out of £4.8m in VAT and excise duty.

      The seven staff were jailed for at least three years each on Wednesday.

      Deputy head of the mission Yusupha Bojang, 54, was jailed for seven years.

      Bojang was the ringleader and was seen as a “father figure” by the others, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said.

      Southwark Crown Court heard the group, some of whom ordered tobacco worth more than their annual salaries, became so bold that the embassy in Kensington had long queues of customers.

      “The fraudulent ordering was so blatant that the only conclusion one can reach is that you were sure you would not be caught,” the judge said.

      “The quantities of tobacco ordered meant that at times the mission must have looked like a wholesale warehouse.”

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        What can ya say it makes a mockery out of tobacco control and the stupid government

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY is about to be used…………………

          The group cheated the UK out of £4.8m in VAT and excise duty
          The seven workers included four diplomats, but the Gambian government waived their diplomatic immunity to allow prosecution.

          The judge told the diplomats: “You were each sent to London to represent your country and you were certainly expected, as diplomats, to maintain the highest possible standards of integrity and honesty.

          “Second, the UK was entitled to expect that you would respect and comply with the laws of this country. You have breached that trust as well.”

          All seven embassy workers were earlier found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the revenue.

          Bojang was jailed for seven years; first secretary Gaston Sambou, 48, was jailed for six years; finance attache Ebrima John, 38, was jailed for six years; and welfare officer Georgina Gomez, 29, jailed for five years.

          Embassy workers Veerahia Ramarajaha, 54, Audrey Leeward, 49, and Hasaintu Noah, 60, were jailed for three years each. Ramarajaha was also convicted of dealing, harbouring, concealing or carrying dutiable goods.

          All seven will face deportation once they have served their prison sentences – though Bojang’s lawyer Dean Armstrong suggested they could face “serious consequences” if they were sent back to Gambia.

          He said the government there “gives tough penalties to those who transgress”.

  21. harleyrider1978 says:

    He said the government there “gives tough penalties to those who transgress”.

    To those who get caught because back home some big politicians lost some bribe money!

  22. Smoking Lamp says:

    This thread provides really good insight into the lies and propaganda used to propel the anti-tobacco agenda. The evidence that tobacco control is a conspiracy and that it drives its agenda through fear is ample. Unfortunately knowledge of this deception is suppressed. Just today another public outdoor smoking ban got enacted in the US. This time its Providence, RI. Here is what the AP said about it:

    Smoking banned in Providence parks

    Mayor Angel Taveras announced Friday he has signed an ordinance approved by the City Council banning the use and sale of all tobacco products in Providence parks.

    The ban goes into effect after 90 days, on March 11.

    The mayor’s office says nearly 1,000 municipalities have smoke-free parks, including Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

    Taveras says the ordinance is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to reduce tobacco use among youths, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke for all Providence residents and visitors, and further transform city parks.

    Council President Michael A. Solomon and Majority Leader Seth Yurdin introduced the ordinance in July. It establishes a $50 fine for violations.


    Now reducing exposure to SHS outdoors is nonsense. I wonder what they want to transform the parks into? Perhaps a Gulag?

    It seems to me “fear” is the mechanism that allows people to be led by this propaganda. Politicians fear losing elections, people fear they will become sick and die, etc. Every new health issue is framed as the new greatest threat (some may be, but how many simultaneous threats can you focus on).

    The university campus bans in the US are another concern. They are made to appear as if they are locally driven, grass roots affairs. Actually they are driven by top down grant requirements. If the schools don’t enact the bans they lose federal grant money. So much for federalism, academic freedom, etc.

    The only way to counter this is by getting the real story out. The question is how do you get it out.

  23. beobrigitte says:

    The only way to counter this is by getting the real story out. The question is how do you get it out.

    Simples. By us all still being HERE and ALIVE. And kickin’. So much that we work many year beyond our pension age.

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