Menacing, Tyrannical, and Fascist

Glenn Greenwald:

We learned recently from Paris that the Western world is deeply and passionately committed to free expression and ready to march and fight against attempts to suppress it. That’s a really good thing, since there are all sorts of severe suppression efforts underway in the West — perpetrated not by The Terrorists but by the Western politicians claiming to fight them.

One of the most alarming examples comes, not at all surprisingly, from the U.K. government, which is currently agitating for new counterterrorism powers, “including plans for extremism disruption orders designed to restrict those trying to radicalize young people.” Here are the powers which the British Freedom Fighters and Democracy Protectors are seeking:

They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organisations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.

It will also contain new powers to close premises including mosques where extremists seek to influence others. The powers of the Charity Commission to root out charities that misappropriate funds towards extremism and terrorism will also be strengthened.

In essence, advocating any ideas or working for any political outcomes regarded by British politicians as “extremist” will not only be a crime, but can be physically banned in advance. Basking in his election victory, Prime Minister David Cameron unleashed this Orwellian decree to explain why new Thought Police powers are needed: “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.’” It’s not enough for British subjects merely to “obey the law”; they must refrain from believing in or expressing ideas which Her Majesty’s Government dislikes.

If all that sounds menacing, tyrannical and even fascist to you — and really, how could it not? “extremism disruption orders” — you should really watch this video of Tory Home Secretary Theresa May trying to justify the bill in an interview on BBC this morning. When pressed on what “extremism” means — specifically, when something crosses the line from legitimate disagreement into criminal “extremism” — she evades the question completely, repeatedly invoking creepy slogans about the need to stop those who seek to “undermine Our British Values” and, instead, ensure “we are together as one society, One Nation” (I personally believe this was all more lyrical in its original German). Click here to watch the video [on YouTube] and see the face of Western authoritarianism, advocating powers in the name of Freedom that are its very antithesis.

I can’t help but think that the radicals who are trying to “divide society” are already well established in our midst, and on the government’s payroll. I’m thinking, of course, of the Tobacco Control Industry which successfully demanded the imposition of the draconian smoking bans that have already divided what was once a largely united society. And they have no tolerance whatsoever for smoking or for smokers. None.

And what’s David Cameron saying? “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.’” Clearly, just obeying the law is no longer good enough.

Anyway, for once I’m in  agreement with a left wing US journalist.

And the other bad news. H/T Joe L for this:

Beijing will ban smoking in restaurants, offices and on public transport from Monday, part of new curbs welcomed by anti-tobacco advocates, though how they will be enforced remains to be seen.

Health activists have pushed for years for stronger restrictions on smoking in China, the world’s largest tobacco consumer, which is considering further anti-smoking curbs nationwide.

Under the rules, anyone in China’s capital who violates the bans, which include smoking near schools and hospitals, must pay 200 yuan ($32.25). The current fine, seldom enforced, is just 10 yuan ($1.60).

Anyone who breaks the law three times will be named and shamed on a government website. And businesses can be fined up to 10,000 yuan ($1,600) for failing to stamp out smoking on their premises.

And H/T Nisakiman for this:

After years of debate, Austria’s government has announced plans to introduce a total smoking ban in cafes and restaurants by 2018.

Anti-smoking groups say that is too long to wait, but there have been protests by some restaurant owners, who say their business will suffer.


About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to Menacing, Tyrannical, and Fascist

  1. Some French bloke says:

    Two days ago, under your “Junk Science Primers” post, kin free directed to an interesting article called “Risk Factors—An Idea Whose Time Has Come—and Gone”:

    While a lot of comments, notably good ones from kin_free and magnetic, passed muster, mine apparently didn’t. This was in answer to a comment comprised of just these two sentences: “As a former Actuary, I find persuasive the fact that life insurance companies give substantial discounts to non-smokers. The companies have excellent data and a monetary motive to get its rates right.” We are thereby apprised of the fact that in the eyes of a dyed-in-the-wool zealot, the ultimate test of a scientific theory might, of all places, come from the realm of insurance! I guess that when all else fails, confirmation has got to come from somewhere…
    Here’s my very short, but indefinitely queued for approval, comment:
    Yeah, but given that “(life insurance companies give) substantial discounts to non-smokers” also translates to “substantial penalties for smokers”, we’re provided with another perspective to their “monetary motive”.
    Please download Vincent-Riccardo Di Pierri, PhD’s Rampant Antismoking Signifies Grave Danger: Materialism Out of Control and search for the term “insurance”:

    • caprizchka says:

      Interesting reading. Thanks.

    • Frank Davis says:

      The pdf file opened in my Chrome browser, which told me that there were 84 instances of the word “insurance” in it, but didn’t highlight any of them. So I’m none the wiser. What does he have to say about insurance?

      • Some French bloke says:

        What does he have to say about insurance?

        The Rampant anti-smoking pdf file doesn’t allow for copy and pasting, so I typed out these two excerpts:

        “The insurance company approach, generally, is akin to “drift-net fishing” or a “shotgun” approach to the identification of “targets”; it involves a high degree of false classifications. The critical point here is that, in addition to not being moral organizations, insurance companies are also not scientific disciplines. They are not attempting to understand the causes of particular phenomena, nor are they attempting to critically evaluate the application of particular statistical assumptions, e.g. homogeneity (uniformity) of group membership. They are simply jostling for a “gambling advantage,” i.e., economic opportunism.” (From page 17 of the pdf)

        “It is a reasonable assumption that the masses would be in uproar if it was intended that all public policy would be placed under the directorship of insurance companies. Most would be well aware that the insurance-company world view is far too flimsy for such a formidable task. It may come as a shock to many that contemporary health promotion is essentially based on an insurance-company worldview, devoid of any actual human meaningfulness. The only difference is that it currently has a fake seal of scientific authority via the misconduct of lifestyle epidemiology. Insurance companies could be given the reins of health promotion, which might already be considerably the case, and the cuµrrent system in many western nations would hardly skip a beat.” (From page 108)

  2. waltc says:

    Interesting,isn’t it, that insurance companies didn’t start charging smokers more till Anti-Smoking kicked in. Hard to believe their actuaries didn’t pick up this screaming disparity in death and disease between smokers and nonsmokers for the first 80 years of the 20th century, so obvious it was. Otoh, I’ve heard, but never checked out its truth, that beginning in the 80’s ,they were lobbied to jack up prices to smokers with a nod if not an actual nudge from the government–one of those offers that why the hell refuse ? And we know that under Obamacare, charging smokers double is written into the law and if the states don’t countermand it, they MUST charge them more.

    • nisakiman says:

      And we know that under Obamacare, charging smokers double is written into the law and if the states don’t countermand it, they MUST charge them more.

      Which has doubtless resulted in a rapid decline in (self-reported) smoking prevalence in the USA.

    • mikef317 says:

      From 1938, Raymond Pearl, Tobacco Smoking And Longevity.

      I vaguely recall that someone (I thought it was Pearl, but now I’m not sure) used actuary data (from the Metropolitan Life Insurance company?) to demonstrate that smokers die earlier than non-smokers. I think the same person had previously claimed a similar relationship with alcohol. This was long before the 1950’s. But obviously my memory isn’t working at peak capacity.

  3. Rose says:

    From 1986 a truly warped and self-serving view of cause and effect.

    Experts Say Smokers Should Pay Higher Auto Insurance Rates
    January 07, 1986

    ““People who are willing to risk their life by smoking are also going to be more willing to risk their life by speeding, not wearing seat belts and driving while drunk,“ said DiFranza, who is an expert in family and community medicine.

    “Smokers don`t wear seat belts as often as nonsmokers and get more traffic tickets,“ he said, referring to research he has not yet published.

    “Both of those (characteristics) would support the theory that smokers take more risks all around and often end up with more car accidents.“

    Tobacco manufacturers have argued in the past that making cigarette smokers pay higher insurance rates is a form of discrimination, and therefore should be illegal. DiFranza counters by saying it is only illegal to discriminate against traits or behavior that cannot be changed reasonably, such as race or sex.”

    Considering my life has been a model of caution and carefully calculated risk ( I knew the plant chemistry decades before had it pointed out to them in 1993 and saw it as a major flaw in their arguments ) don’t drink, have never had a traffic or parking ticket and have always worn a seat belt even before it was the law , reading this for the first time I was amazed at how wrong a person could be.

  4. jltrader says: anti sugar propaganda reminiscent of anti smoking

  5. beobrigitte says:

    I can’t help but think that the radicals who are trying to “divide society” are already well established in our midst, and on the government’s payroll.

    And they are VERY successful living comfortably off all OUR taxes paid. The only way to lose this cancer of society is by cutting off it’s money supply.
    The first step: NO tobacco tax to be wasted on the tobacco control industry.

    As I am writing this reply, I hear on BBC news “… smoking and sexually transmitted dieases … the overweight …”
    Now, THIS is getting even more interesting. Smoking and sexually transmitted diseases. I didn’t know that tobacco control advocates abstain from/indulge only in marital sex. (Ok, in the case of Theresa May it might be lack of opportunity)

    The healthists are getting lost in their own prohibition maze? Are they prepared to pay for the care of people who ‘live-10-years-longer’? Someone has to!!! And, what happens when I am amongst those? Because I am a smoker I will have to sit on street corners and beg just like Afghan women under Taliban rule?

    And, the Austrian smoking ban due to be dictated in 2018 does not come as a surprise for me. I KNEW the ugly anti-smoking industry was building it’s lair right in the middle of the Austrian government when e-cigs could only be bought in pharmacies with a free lecture about their “danger” (looking-like-smoking, that is!).
    The Austrians looked at me in disbelief – I really do hope they believe NOW what I told them about the british pubs. Next time I go there I shall take lots of pictures of what happened to local pubs since 2007.
    There are Austrians who do KNOW – they visit Bavaria.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I KNEW the ugly anti-smoking industry was building it’s lair right in the middle of the Austrian government… The Austrians looked at me in disbelief

      I assume they thought that It Could Never Happen Here. Just like I did back in 2004 when Sir Charles George called for public smoking bans. How wrong I was!

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