Decay

I woke this morning with the thought that Tobacco Control (and Public Health in general) now focuses its attention on trivia. Tobacco and alcohol, sugar and salt, are really utterly trivial concerns. These people are all so very, very small-minded. Last year, the WHO ignored the Ebola epidemic while it had a week-long conference on smoking in Moscow.

It seems to be the outcome of a slow process of decay. Fifty or one hundred years ago, medicine looked set to become a genuine science. But since then it has gradually decayed into superstition and credulity, with tobacco and alcohol being demonised by a new priesthood of witch doctors. The science has gone, and all that’s left is irrational belief in hobgoblins of one sort or other.

Next we’ll probably be told to wear amulets to ward off secondhand tobacco smoke. They’ll be strings of coloured mothballs, manufactured by Big Pharma, and effective for 30 days before needing replacement.

Unfortunately the process of decay seems to be ubiquitous. I read today:

In a 45-minute speech, Obama called for reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, reviewing the use of the solitary confinement and banning of Confederate and Tea Party Flags on public property, among other things.

I’m not an American, but banning of Confederate and Tea Party Flags on public property struck me as being exactly like the exorcism of a smoking ban, and another example of petty, blinkered, spiteful small-mindedness. Banning the Flag of St George would be the English equivalent. What is it supposed to achieve?

Here in Britain, the Labour party seems to be imploding. Their last disastrous leader walked away from the job, and hasn’t been seen since, and they’re now trying to find a new disastrous leader. The current front-runner is a leftie called Jeremy Corbyn, whom all concerned believe will be a truly monumental disaster. So I suppose they’ll elect him.

The Lib-Dems face the same problem. But I’m not even sure if the party still exists.

Not that the Conservatives are any better. The largest idea that David Cameron ever managed to dream up was something called the Big Society, which sounded like it had all of ten minutes of thought devoted to it, and seems to be a variant of Lyndon Johnson’s inclusive-big-tent Great Society. But they obviously couldn’t use that name, so they came up with the Big Society instead. However, since smokers clearly aren’t included in the Big Society, it might better have been called the Fairly Big Society or the Biggish Society. 

The EU also demonstrates the same symptoms of advanced decay. It seemed once to have produced a few statesmen – Jacques Delors, Romano Prodi? – who had real hopes and dreams for Europe. But now the dream has become a nightmare.

Nobody thinks big. Nobody has grand, sweeping visions.

A century ago, Britain had a few philosophers (e.g. Bertrand Russell). I don’t think we’ve got any now. I’m not even sure that we even have any intellectuals either.

But we’ve got hordes of tiny-minded people intent on banning smoking everywhere. And Russell Brand.

The philosophers thought about grand themes like Truth and Reason and Justice. Our modern midgets think about tobacco and alcohol and sugar instead. And carbon dioxide. And in fact, they don’t actually ‘think’ about them at all, but merely peddle scaremongering lies.

The same is true in art. That also exhibits the same symptoms of terminal decline. Nobody knows how to paint or draw. Last I heard, our greatest artists’ best-known works consisted of an unmade bed and a pickled shark.

Next up, economic collapse and social disintegration?

But then, maybe out of the decay there will eventually spring new growth.

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33 Responses to Decay

  1. Some other Tom says:

    This will be a long and circuitous reply…

    A number of years ago when I was in architecture school, I came across a book called ‘learning from las Vegas’ It was a study of the old Las Vegas and how it would influence design on Main Street USA. It did; it became the precursor and the aesthetic of strip mall development.

    I always wonder about learning from Las Vegas now, because it isn’t the same ‘strip’ it was with anonymous box buildings for casinos with large signs… Now there are perfect replicas of the Parisian skyline, New York, Italy… Scaled down to fit a large city block…

    That has trickled down to Main Street, and everywhere in the arts. Our current technology has no aesthetic, unlike every other era in history. Internet and cellphones make time and place meaningless and as a result we have ‘retro’ Mini Coopers, VW Beetles, mustangs, dodges…

    Lies are easy to create in the vacuum of hard reality. And we do live in a vacuum of hard reality. Science, we are told, is beyond the grasp of the average human to comprehend, and now it has become intertwined with political agendas on worldwide scales.

    I don’t know that our age lacks intellectuals; I think you are one of them. I think there are many out there, but like every age they aren’t in the mainstream. Perhaps with all that is available today to communicate it is alarming that intellectuals aren’t better known.

    But seeking real truth takes time and diligence and a willingness to have all the constructs you’ve believed prior to shatter. It’s not something most people seek in life.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Theres a federal law that protects all war monuments and historical places besides state laws that do the same thing once set in place they cannot be touched. Right now even the governor of S.C. is being sued under those laws for the state capitol removal of the flag.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Even up the road at the army surplus store the woman put out front a big sign brand new we have 3000 rebel flags in stock now…………….Its a whirl wind of sales. Seems Obama isn’t just the best gun salesman in the world he is also the best confederate flag salesman too.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Florida Man Ordered by City to Keep BBQ Smell From Leaving His Property

    “You’re allowed to have it smell on your property, so that doesn’t count, but when I’m on the street, that’s when it counts”

    http://www.infowars.com/florida-man-ordered-by-city-to-keep-bbq-smell-from-leaving-his-property/

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/backyard-burger-and-wiener-roasts-targeted-by-epa/article/2561474

    Backyard burger and wiener roasts targeted by EPA

    The Environmental Protection Agency has its eyes on pollution from backyard barbecues.

    The agency announced that it is funding a University of California project to limit emissions resulting in grease drippings with a special tray to catch them and a “catalytic” filtration system.

    The $15,000 project has the “potential for global application,” said the school.

    The school said that the technology they will study with the EPA grant is intended to reduce air pollution and cut the health hazards to BBQ “pit masters” from propane-fueled cookers.

    Charged with keeping America’s air, water and soil clean, the EPA has been increasingly looking at homeowners, especially their use of pollution emitting tools like lawn mowers.

    The school is proposing two fixes to reduce emissions from barbecues. First, they want to cut back on grease flare-ups. The idea: “A slotted and corrugated tray is inserted immediately prior to meat flipping, and removed immediately after. This short contact time prevents the tray from over-heating and volatilizing the collected grease. This collected grease will then drip off into a collection tray and can be used at the pit master’s discretion.”

    But, total capture isn’t “practical,” so a filter and fan are proposed for installation. “The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank,” said the project write-up.

    The grant is part of the EPA’s “National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2014).”

    The EPA also said that it does not regulate backyard barbecues. Research conducted by the University of California Riverside is part of the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) program, which is a student design competition for sustainability.

    If it can be fucked with OBAMA IS BEHIND IT

    • nisakiman says:

      What utter bullshit. Christ, Harley, can’t they keep their noses out of anything? Fucking BBQ drip trays being pushed in and pulled out every time you flip a burger? What a bloody farce. I BBQ over Olive wood charcoal, and it’s the fat dripping onto the hot coals which smokes the meat as it cooks, imparting that unique BBQ flavour.

      But, total capture isn’t “practical,” so a filter and fan are proposed for installation. “The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank,”

      Ye Gods, somebody give these people something to do before they cause any real damage with their uncontrolled brain-farts..

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Basically they want an EPA approved afterburner chimney stack for your grill like they demand be used on restaraunts. Problem is they don’t work! They still release chemicals by the truck loads into the atmosphere. But then again none of it harms anyone to begin with.

  5. magnetic01 says:

    1.
    Apologies for the OT.

    I’ve been keeping tabs on the Sandra Bland story. She was the one recently pulled over by a cop in Texas. She was arrested and died in jail 3 days later, seemingly by suicide. There’s video footage (dash cam from police car) of the entire encounter leading to the arrest:
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/23/sandra-bland-dashcam-video-analysis
    [the article at this link, written about a week after her death, makes some interesting points]

    There are quite a few American states where policing has very serious problems. Some of these problems were seen in this footage. From what I saw, the officer quite literally flipped his lid; he went into a rage. What’s really been shocking is numerous comments on articles of the story that are just snide, vile, obnoxious. They claim she should have just done what she was told; she was a belligerent woman that got what she deserved.

    With a mentality like that it’s no surprise that America has an ongoing serious problem with policing, amongst many other problems. We’re not dealing with the Getsapo in Nazi Germany. These are professional police officers who are public servants paid by the taxpayer. As long as you pose no physical threat, a person dealing with a police officer is allowed to get angry, annoyed, irritated, etc – maybe for good reason. These are not an offence; they are part of the right to free speech. A professional police officer is supposed to let these sorts of reaction just flow on by like water off a duck’s back; it’s part of the required skill set. The officer doesn’t have to agree with what he’s hearing and he has the final word on whether a warning/fine is issued. Those dealing with officers are allowed to ask questions. If an officer makes a demand where you pose no physical threat, you are allowed to ask why, fully expecting them to answer so that both parties understand the situation. If you are placed under arrest, you are allowed to ask why, fully expecting an answer. And, you are allowed to smoke in your car.

    Bear in mind that the woman in question was a civil rights activist in her late-20s. She was more aware than most of police harassment/brutality and her rights as well. She was probably apprehensive about the traffic stop from the get go. She was stopped for a traffic infringement – failing to signal when changing lanes. She seemed to believe she was hard done by. The cop approached from behind with speed. She thought he was trying to get through, so she changed lanes – without indicating. Yet she was stopped for that move considered by the cop as an infringement. The infringement was minor, calling for a warning or a fine. The cop had already finished the paperwork and approached her car to complete the traffic stop. All he had to do was give her the paperwork (possibly a signature) through the open driver-side window. But that’s not what happened. It got seriously out of control very quickly.

    You would never know from the cop’s police report what actually happened:
    http://3chicspolitico.com/2015/07/21/breaking-sandra-bland-police-report-released/

    While in jail Bland made a number of phone calls. In one call she explained that she was “at a loss”; she still couldn’t understand what happened, how it went from a minor traffic infringement to being arrested.

    Below is what I think I saw in the video where the officer comes to her car to complete the stop. Take a look and see what you think; am I missing something?

  6. magnetic01 says:

    2.
    Encinia had already written up the paper work. He was returning to Bland’s car to complete the stop. He could have put the paperwork through the open window and that would have been it. Instead he initiates an exchange – “You seem irritated”. She responds that she is irritated and explains why. He dismisses her with a sarcastic, “have you finished”. Even at that point he could have said something like sorry you feel that way or nothing at all, handed her the paper work, and that would have been it. No. Encinia was already out of control. He already knows that she’s irritated and annoyed and now he’s going to provoke her. He’s now playing power games with her. “Could you put your cigarette out, please”. At this point in the stop, which is almost complete, he has no basis for making this demand. Bland doesn’t actually refuse. Rather, she asks why she needs to put out her cigarette since she is in her own car. That’s a reasonable question. He doesn’t answer. He is in no condition to answer. He’s out of control; he’s in a rage. At this point he is not an officer. He is acting like a thug utterly intent on bullying this woman into physical submission. He’s already onto the next baseless demand. Reaching for the door handle, he demands that she get out of the car. Now Bland is really worried. To that point it was just a few minor verbal exchanges. Now she really wants to know why she needs to get out of the car. Again, he has no answer. He can’t answer; he’s in a rage. He’s already on to the next step. He flings the door open threatening to drag her out. She is not combative. She is leaning away from him across the front seats. She’s terrified of him, and understandably so. He further escalates the situation, drawing his taser and threatening to tase her. His demands only make her more terrified.

    We need to look at this from Bland’s perspective. She’s an activist. She’s familiar with police harassment/brutality and it’s unfolding before her eyes. She’s terrified. If she stays in the car she’s going to get tased. She’ll be incapacitated and in pain. So she steps out of the car and is at the complete physical mercy of someone out of control. There is only him and her out there. She’s a woman. He’s an armed man in a rage. We’ve watched the video. We know how it ends. But for Bland stepping out of the car, she had no idea where this volatile situation was heading. She then does what terrified, alone people under threat do. She makes a lot of noise, speaking frequently and loudly, hoping that the commotion will attract the attention of passers-by, and that one might stop to bear witness, as one later did.

    Encinia says she’s under arrest on numerous occasions but provides no reason. He wants to cuff her. She moves away repeatedly. She’s stretching, playing for time. Remember, she’s alone out there with this volatile man. If she allows herself to be cuffed, hands behind back, she’ll be further incapacitated and who knew how long they would be alone. Remember, we know from the video how the situation ends. Bland didn’t. It seems that she allowed herself to be cuffed when a passer-by did stop and act as a witness (and provided additional video).

    The repugnant situation was entirely, completely created by Encinia who not only lost control of the situation but of himself. He has power issues, ego issues, rage issues. His conduct was abominable. He’s the very sort of person that you wouldn’t want on a police force. Questions need to be asked as to how a volatile mentality can be wearing a police uniform. And there seem to be quite a few of them around the country. Encinia should be facing criminal charges for utterly and needlessly terrorizing this woman into submission, worse while wearing a police uniform.

  7. waltc says:

    I agree w your (Magnetico’s) interpretation. I also think, given some of her background she might well have committed suicide from a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness in an arbitrary Wonderland that totally lacks logic.

    On topic: I am first of all amazed and appalled that his ban includes the Tea Party flag. I didn’t know they had a flag but the Tea Party is a legitimate current political movement. Nor, despite efforts to tar it (as UKIP was tarred) is the party in any way racist so there’s no connection w the confederacy and no reason to pair the two. . Banning it seems to be in direct conflict with the first amendment. But then every aspect of the first amendment, like so much of the constitution, is being blithely nullified,

    We’ve also degenerated into putting symbol over substance. The confederate flag has nothing to do with black grievances, many, but not all of which, are legitimate. Pulling down a flag does zip to improve schools, or civilize public housing, or create jobs. Then too we’ve become captive to slogan over substance. “Black lives matter” is such a mandatory chant that two public figures who dared to add a coda that “all lives matter” have felt forced to apologize.

    Finally, the tiny minds seem intent on parcing everything into its components and regulating the components. Thus they want to regulate sugar, fat, and tobacco for the health of the human heart with no concern for…the human heart. Then too they parse sex into incremntal moves and want–at least on campuses–to regulate the moves with no considertion of what sex itself is about; no understanding of lust, passion, love or the ephemeral pleasures of a good sweaty f**k.

    I also agree with Tom.. Suddenly there seem to be parallel universes: the universe of words and the tangible one. And increasingly people put their trust in the manufactured construct of words, even when it doesn’t compute with the world of fact. (And, yes, you can apply that to the newly rampant belief that shs kills.)

    • Joe L. says:

      I also wasn’t aware the Tea Party had a flag, Walt. After a bit of research, I can only assume the call to ban the flag was due to this:

      La. gunman was a Tea Partier who hated Obama, admired Hitler and wanted women to shut up in church

      Apparently the gunman in the latest mass shooting in Louisiana had an “affiliation” with the Tea Party, much like the nutjob responsible for the South Carolina church shootings had an “affiliation” with the Confederacy. Both of these connections are extremely weak. The latter posed for pictures holding a gun and waving a tiny Confederate flag, while the former, as quoted in the above article, “signed up for an account with Tea Party Nation in June 2013, but he was not an active commenter.” That’s it. No actual affiliation whatsoever.

      So the demand to ban the Confederate flag was supposedly due to the racist nature of that incident, but what’s the motive to ban the Tea Party flag? The thing that struck me is the Tea Party flag is an exact replica of the Gadsden flag, which was used during the Revolutionary War and has been a symbol of libertarianism.

      Thus, it seems very transparent now that these flag bans have absolutely nothing to do with removing supposed symbols of racism and oppression, but are actually part of a larger plan to prevent rebellion by stifling liberty. I believe we have been watching this plan unfold on many different fronts as of late, many of which have been addressed right here on Frank’s blog.

      Food for thought: I wonder what the reaction would be like if the next mass murderer wore a stars-and-stripes jumpsuit and waved a giant American flag. I highly doubt anyone would even consider banning “Old Glory,” but it would be the only logical thing to do, given this precedent.

  8. Rose says:

    Fifty or one hundred years ago, medicine looked set to become a genuine science. But since then it has gradually decayed into superstition and credulity, with tobacco and alcohol being demonised by a new priesthood of witch doctors. The science has gone, and all that’s left is irrational belief in hobgoblins of one sort or other

    That’s what you get with a monopoly.

    “‘Monopoly’ A situation in which a single company or group owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service. By definition, monopoly is characterized by an absence of competition, which often results in high prices and inferior products.”

    “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields.”
    http: //www.greatamericandocuments.com/speeches/eisenhower-farewell.html

    Disease mongering
    2002

    “There’s a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they’re sick. Some forms of medicalising ordinary life may now be better described as disease mongering: widening the boundaries of treatable illness in order to expand markets for those who sell and deliver treatments.

    Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers. The social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease.

    Whereas some aspects of medicalisation are the subject of ongoing debate, the mechanics of corporate backed disease mongering, and its impact on public consciousness, medical practice, human health, and national budgets, have attracted limited critical scrutiny.

    Within many disease categories informal alliances have emerged, comprising drug company staff, doctors, and consumer groups.

    Ostensibly engaged in raising public awareness about underdiagnosed and undertreated problems, these alliances tend to promote a view of their particular condition as widespread, serious, and treatable.

    Because these “disease awareness” campaigns are commonly linked to companies’ marketing strategies, they operate to expand markets for new pharmaceutical products.”
    http://www.bmj.com/content/324/7342/886.1

    Case in point –

    Sir Richard Sykes, Chairman, Glaxo Wellcome plc.

    “As a company, our commitment is to fighting disease. Tobacco dependence is in every sense of the word a disease with major but reversible health implications. Together, we can defeat this disease.”
    http: //web.archive.org/web/20130530064615/http://www.who.int/inf-pr-1999/en/pr99-04.html

    However

    Doctors may have to declare links to drug companies
    24 Jul 2015

    “Doctors and health officials could be ordered to declare any financial ties to pharmaceutical companies under plans being considered by ministers.

    NHS England said an investigation by The Telegraph into senior staff receiving money from drugs firms raised the question of whether the Government should legislate for full disclosure of payments made to health professionals. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, is understood to be considering a new law.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11760922/Doctors-may-have-to-declare-links-to-drug-companies.html

    Doctors and health officials + the organisations/charities they work with or for please.

    • Watch Burn a Debt says:

      Leonard: You don’t go into science for the money.
      Bernadette: Speak for yourself. Last month my company both invented and cured restless eye syndrome. Ka-ching, ya blinky chumps!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Anti-smoking experts paid by Big Pharma

      Posted on November 8, 2014 by Frank Davis

      Another article by Klaus K:

      November, 2014: Original Danish article Klaus K blog: Anti-ryge eksperter var betalt af Big Pharma

      ¤ Surgeon General editors received pharma money for decades

      ¤ Top experts must leave advisory panel: Massive conflicts of interest

      ¤ Judge: Close ties with Glaxo & Pfizer make their advice “suspect”

      By Klaus K, researcher

      – PHARMA CORRUPTION:

      A court case in Washington DC has revealed massive conflicts of interest with three prominent anti-tobacco experts who were on the payroll of the pharmaceutical industry, while they were designated by the US government as scientific editors of the official “Surgeon General” reports on tobacco. These include the report “Nicotine Addiction” in 1988, and the report on secondhand smoke in 2006.

      For decades the three experts received money from the pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, which casts serious doubt on the work of the experts. The two drug companies achieved significant economic benefits from of the experts’ conclusions in the reports.
      Surgeon General 2006 on passive smoking: The senior scientific editor had close financial ties to giants Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline
      Surgeon General 2006 on passive smoking: The senior scientific editor had close financial ties to giants Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline

      This is particularly the case with the conclusions of the Surgeon 2006 report on passive smoking which had the prominent anti-tobacco expert, Dr. Jonathan Samet as “senior scientific editor”.

      His final conclusion in the report was that passive smoking poses a mortal threat, which could only be countered with a total smoking ban, but this conclusion is disputed by many researchers in the field.

      The report, however, led to the introduction of the smoking ban in most of the Western world, and subsequently Pfizer & Glaxo earned billions in sales of nicotine replacements and smoking cessation products for smokers who, due to the bans, were forced to refrain from smoking at work and in the hospitality industry.

      The three experts’ financial ties to the pharmaceutical giants were revealed in the legal documents from a judgment concerning the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in a federal lawsuit. The judgment was delivered in July 2014 by a US District Court in Washington, discussed here, here and here, (judgment transcript is here).

      Judge: Untrustworthy
      tobacco report must be
      removed from FDA registry

      The case was brought by two tobacco companies, Lorillard and Reynolds, against the FDA in 2011. The companies complained to the court that three leading anti-tobacco experts, Jonathan Samet, Neal Benowitz and Jack Henningfield were designated as tobacco advisers to the FDA in the expert advisory committee TPSAC – with Jonathan Samet as President – despite the fact that they all had longstanding financial ties to Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.

      Their argument was that the pharmaceutical companies are competitors to tobacco companies because of their role as producers of smoking cessation products or nicotine substitutes like. Nicorette.

      The argument was accepted by the judge. The judgment orders the FDA to remove the three experts from TPSAC because of their extensive conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical companies, and because they all acted as the government’s expert witnesses in lawsuits against the tobacco industry. Benowitz and Henningfield did however leave TPSAC before the judgment was handed down.

      The decision also prohibits the FDA from using a scientific report from 2010, which the three experts are responsible for. The report includes their recommendation to the FDA for a ban on menthol cigarettes in the United States. That report must be removed from the FDA’s registry, states the decision.

      The details of Jonathan Samet’s financial relationships with Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are referenced in the judgment printout and on the smoking cessation expert, professor Michael Siegel’s website:

      Dr. Samet: During the last decade, Dr. Samet has received grant support for research and writing from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on at least six occasions, including in 2010. In addition, he formerly led the Institute for Global Tobacco Control, which is funded by GSK and Pfizer. Moreover, until 2009, Dr. Samet received regular honoraria from Pfizer for his service on the Pfizer Global Tobacco Advisory Board.

      Jonathan Samet, Neal Benowitz and Jack Henningfield are dedicated anti-tobacco activists who for decades have fought for “a tobacco-free world”. According to the judgment transcript and other court documents, they have had close financial relations with the pharmaceutical giants for nearly as long. In the case of Benowitz and Henningfield for over 30 years.

      To Pfizer & Glaxo it must have been a scoop to have these three experts located in TPSAC, where they have recommended tobacco bans and restrictions since 2010.

      According to Judge Richard Leon, their recommendations however, must be considered “suspect” and “at worst unreliable” because of their long-standing financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies. They cannot be assumed to be objective in tobacco issues, and they must be removed from TPSAC, because their strong ties to the smoking cessation producers are a violation of the rules for expert selections for the committee, according to the decision.

      Was the claim of “no safe level”
      made to force
      smoking bans on the EU?

      These massive conflicts of interest obviously raises doubts about the reliability of other scientific reports they have been responsible for over the years. This is especially the case regarding the reports which have recommended smoking bans because of the assumed risk of passive smoking – for smoking bans have led to strong economic benefits for the drug companies, the three experts received money from.
      Jonathan Samet, senior scientific editor of the Surgeon General’s report in 2006: “There is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. Period.”
      Jonathan Samet, senior scientific editor of the Surgeon General’s report in 2006: “There is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. Period.”

      While most authorities around the world have been vocal about the mortal dangers of secondhand smoke because of Samet’s conclusions, there is no consensus in the scientific community that passive smoking poses a risk of death. It is probably not possible, because the amount of smoke ingested by a normal passive smoker who lives and works with smokers, is only about one thousandth (0.1%) of the amount of smoke a smoker inhales. This is equivalent to the consumption of 6-10 cigarettes per year.

      “Only a few scientists believe that secondhand smoke poses a risk of death,” writes epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat, who has himself conducted studies in passive smoking, in his book, “Hyping Health Risks”. By far the largest number of studies have not been able to confirm that passive smoking is associated with cancer, even after many decades of exposure. Neither have the latest studies.

      However, despite remarkably weak evidence, Jonathan Samet recommended banning smoking everywhere in the world in the Surgeon General’s 2006 report. “The debate is over,” he said after its publication, and: “There’s no safe level of secondhand smoke. Period.”

      This nonsensical claim – which rather sounds like the words of an activist than those of a scientist – was repeatedly advocated by Jonathan Samet, despite criticism from other scientists. The figures in the 727-page report contain no basis for the claim. Rather, the report is ripe with large uncertainties – for example the report cannot detect correlation between severe disease and passive smoking in European workplaces.

      But as the scientific editor of the Surgeon General’s report claimed that there is no “safe level” of secondhand smoke, it was certainly the reason why many European governments imposed complete bans on smoking in the 00s. And that must have pleased Samet’s pharmaceutical sponsors – as soon as the comprehensive smoking bans were introduced, the sales of nicotine and smoking cessation products from Glaxo & Pfizer exploded.

      Jonathan Samet’s ties with the two companies thus make his claim about “no safe level” look like something that is not only “suspect” or “untrustworthy” as Judge Leon puts it – it can rather be seen as blackmail of the European politicians to force them to introduce smoking bans. To the delight of Samet’s pharmaceutical connections.

      Independent experts
      don’t believe in death
      from passive smoking

      Jonathan Samet was also the scientific editor of the EPA report in 1992- the first report that called secondhand smoke carcinogenic, which led to many smoking bans in workplaces in the United States. In 1995, the EPA report, however, was rejected by a congressional independent research group, which held the report’s evidence non-existent and its conclusions implausible.

      The EPA report was also invalidated in 1998 by a legal decision in North Carolina in a lawsuit brought by the tobacco industry. The judge found that Jonathan Samet and his co-authors had conducted “junk science” – they had used unreliable studies, they used scientifically dishonest methods, they omitted studies with negative results for their claim to hold, and they had no evidence to declare secondhand smoke a carcinogen, according to the decision.

      Jonathan Samet however, continued the crusade against tobacco as chairman of the working group of the WHO’s cancer arm IARC, which first in 2002 and later in 2004 labelled secondhand smoke carcinogic in a 1452 page report, Monograph 83. This report provides the scientific basis for WHO’s anti-tobacco treaty Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Denmark and many countries have signed. Denmark committed itself to introducing smoking bans in private companies within a five-year period and to raise taxes on cigarettes regularly.

      In the treaty’s Danish translation it appears in clause 8 – in Orwellian terms – that secondhand smoke is deadly:

      The parties recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability.

      However, this unscientific claim is unsustainable. According to all available evidence, it is highly unlikely that passive smoking could have caused death and disability – but of course it can cause irritation, odor and headaches at large exposures, as everyone knows. Also, it can provoke asthma attacks in some asthmatics.

      In 2010 the IARC monograph was characterized as “anything but a scientific report” and “without proof of being able to call secondhand smoke a disease risk” by the then President of the largest medical faculty in France, pulmonary specialist Dr. Philippe Even. “The smoking laws are based on a lie,” he said in an interview with Le Parisien.

      The year before Philippe Even’s colleague, professor Robert Molimard, published an equally harsh criticism of another report, the EU 2006 report, “Lifting the Smoke Screen”, which estimated a number of deaths from passive smoking in the EU countries. Molimard denied the existence of passive smoking-induced deaths, and characterized the report as “a huge manipulation” in a scientific article. The report was conducted by public health organizations for the European Commission, but it was funded by Pfizer and Glaxo.

      Many other independent doctors and experts have to varying degrees expressed the same criticism – that passive smoking does not pose a serious public health risk – but they have only sporadically been in the news media.

      An exception is the American epidemiologist James Enstrom, who in a sharp, detailed criticism of the anti-tobacco lobby’s activism compares Jonathan Samet’s work with the Soviet scientist Trofim Lysenko’s unscientific methods during the Cold War, which today are regarded the main reason for the Soviet Union lagging behind the United States in agricultural and food industry productivity.

      Researcher documents
      fudging of evidence
      in WHO report

      The main point of James Enstrom’s criticism is his defense against a series of personal attacks he suffered from Jonathan Samet and other members of the anti-tobacco lobby when in 2003 he published his and Geoffrey Kabat’s thorough and today world-renowned study of 35,000 California never-smokers death risk of passive smoking. They found no association between 40-year passive smoking and deaths by lung cancer, heart disease, or COPD.

      This large study was omitted by Jonathan Samet from the Surgeon General’s report without explanation.

      In his criticism James Enstrom documents several serious scientific errors in Samet’s work, both in the Surgeon General’s report and in the IARC Monograph 83, where Enstrom demonstrates that someone has cheated with the evidence of a large American passive smoking-study from 1997 by the Mexican researcher Victor Cardenas.

      The study is a rewrite of Cardenas’ doctoral dissertation in 1995, which cleared passive smoking association with lung cancer. The figures showed more lung cancer cases in the group of former passive smokers – and very few lung cancers among current passive smokers. Enstrom demonstrates however, that the figures for these two groups have been merged together in the 1997-study and in the IARC report – without explanation – thus creating false evidence that there is a dose-link between passive smoking and lung cancer in the study.

      This false documentation is part of the shaky basis for the IARC report’s conclusion that passive smoking causes lung cancer (page 1236). Such a fudge that changes the conclusion of a study, is a serious violation of scientific conduct. It is called bias in situ in scientific language – a layman would call it fraud. It is impossible to trace, and succeeded only by chance, because James Enstrom knew of Cardenas’ doctoral thesis, he writes.

      James Enstrom also documents that Jonathan Samet has left out several negative studies of the Surgeon General’s 2006 report on erroneous and unreliable basis, which has resulted in falsely elevated results for the risk of heart disease by passive smoking. Instead, he published his and Geoffrey Kabat’s meta-analysis, which shows that there is no link between passive smoking and deaths by heart disease in the United States, when all studies are considered.

      It certainly cannot have spoiled Jonathan Samet’s relationship with Glaxo and Pfizer that he managed to get James Enstrom parked on a siding, as epidemiologist Carl V. Phillips has described in the article: “Warning: Anti-tobacco activism may be hazardous to epidemiologic science”.

      The article makes no mention of Jonathan Samet’s relationship with the pharmaceutical industry – but it appears that Samet urged attendees at a scientific congress to boycott James Enstrom’s session at the congress, “Re-assessment of the long-term mortality risks of active and passive smoking” on the grounds that James Enstrom had received funding for a part of his study from the tobacco industry.

      Among Jonathan Samet’s other conflicts of interest are the fact that for years he was chairman of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control, which is funded by Glaxo and Pfizer. At the same time he was chairman of the WHO Collaborating Centre for monitoring global tobacco control.

      Created false nicotine theory
      to manipulate smokers
      into thinking they are addicted
      Surgeon General’s report 1988,
      Surgeon General’s report 1988, “Nicotine Addiction”: The chief scientific editors had strong financial ties to Pfizer and Glaxo

      The two other anti-tobacco experts, Neal Benowitz and Jack Henningfield were the jointly responsible scientific editors of the 639-page official Surgeon General’s Report: “Nicotine Addiction” in 1988.

      According to the court documents the two experts both had solid economic cooperation on smoking cessation products with many pharmaceutical companies since the 1980s – Neal Benowitz as a professional consultant for several pharmaceutical companies that produce smoking cessation products, while Jack Henningfield earned most of his income from his own business companies which have had long-standing partnerships with Glaxo and Pfizer.

      Neal Benowitz’s financial ties to the pharmaceutical smoking cessation producers go back to the introduction of nicotine replacement on the market in the 1980s, according to the files:

      Since the 1980’s Dr. Benowitz has consulted for numerous pharmaceutical companies about the design of the NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) and other smoking-cessation drugs.

      He consulted for affiliates of Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline as to such products, even while serving on the TPSAC. Among the companies for which he has consulted are GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, and Aradigm Corp.

      Jack Henningfield’s relationship is even closer because he owns a patent on a nicotine replacement product and is part owner of a nicotine-consulting company that has GlaxoSmithKline as a major customer, according to the files:

      “Dr. Henningfield derives most of his income from Pinney Associates, a firm that currently provides to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on an exclusive basis consulting services regarding smoking-cessation products. Through his association with Pinney Associates, Dr. Henningfield advises GSK specifically on the development of nicotine-replacement therapies and treatments for tobacco dependence.

      Pinney Associates has received on average more than $2 million per year in revenue from pharmaceutical companies, more than half of which relates to smoking-cessation products. In addition, during the last decade, Dr. Henningfield has received grant support for research and writing from GSK on at least eight occasions.

      Dr. Henningfield is also a partner in a company that holds patents for a nicotine replacement-therapy product. Thus Dr. Henningfield has a financial interest in bringing about regulatory policies that will drive current smokers to use nicotine-replacement-therapy products.

      Benowitz’ and Henningfield’s conclusion in the report “Nicotine Addiction” in 1988 was that nicotine is addictive, and that it is stronger than the addiction of heroin and cocaine. This most surprising finding was an extremely important tool for the pharmaceutical giants’ marketing and sale of nicotine-replacement product Nicorette, which had at the time just come on the market.

      For the first time in history smokers were labelled as “addicts” – as people with no willpower – unable to give up cigarettes without pharmaceutical nicotine products. The effect of Nicorette products on smokers was likened to the methadone effect on injecting drug abusers in the report.

      There is no doubt that Benowitz ‘and Henningfield’s report on nicotine addiction was valuable for Nicorette producers. Apart from a few critical sections the report appears unilaterally as a kind of scientific advertising publication for Nicorette and other pharmaceutical nicotine products – endorsed by the US government Surgeon General.

      The pharmaceutical giants’ underlying business case for the nicotine addiction theory was that if you could manipulate the world’s smokers to believe that they were addicted to nicotine, they would find it much harder to quit smoking cold turkey. That would create a major new market for Nicorette – a market which was increased later on when smoking bans forced smokers to do without cigarettes.

      The report also had a side effect that it gave the tobacco an even worse reputation than it already had – not only smoking but all tobacco, also the smokeless tobacco, snus. The pharmaceutical giants in other words demonized their competitors’ products to the advantage of their own product with a false theory in a scientific government report.

      This not very “healthy” or sympathetic business strategy is not unknown in the pharmaceutical industry. A lot of energy is used to classify still more people as diseased, by making the experts expand the boundaries within what shall be called “a disease” – this is what was achieved with the 1988-report when all smokers were classified as addicts. The purpose of this is clear: to increase the number of customers to sell more drugs.

      Eleven years later the pharmaceutical giants classified half a billion smokers as diseased. That happened in 1999, where a strange collaboration with WHO and its medically-educated general director Gro Harlem Brundtland was published, allegedly to “help” European and Central Asian smokers to stop smoking. In that way the pharmaceutical companies morphed the WHO into their dedicated world-wide Nicorette agent.

      And just two days later the WHO announced that work on the text of the anti-tobacco treaty had started. The treaty which laid the legal ground under the smoking bans, which since have spread across the globe.

      Received “outstanding award”
      for false theory of
      nicotine addiction

      According to Danish medical expert, professor Peter Gøtzsche, the pharmaceutical industry is a manipulative mafia who commit organized crime. “The pharmaceutical industry does not live by selling drugs, but by selling lies about drugs,” in his book from 2013 about the pharmaceutical industry: “Deadly Medicine & Organized Crime”.

      Perhaps therefore it is not surprising that the addiction theory of nicotine is false, just like the mortal theory of passive smoking.

      The addiction theory of nicotine has been laid to rest by virtually every nicotine researcher since it was demonstrated that smokers prefer nicotine-free cigarettes over Nicorette in trials. Mice and rats have never been interested in nicotine, and the researcher who originally had his name linked to the nicotine addiction theory – the Swedish medical researcher Karl Fagerström – today recognizes that nicotine is not an addictive factor in smoking.

      The French smoking cessation specialist, Robert Molimard, wrote in the 2013 article, “The Myth of Nicotine Addiction” on the nicotine report that there has never been any proof that one can become addicted to nicotine, and the report therefore does not demonstrate that, contrary to the claim in the title – yet the chapter “Treatment” is dedicated to the companies’ Nicorette gum, which had just come on the market:

      “In this huge book with 3,200 references, we would look in vain for a single article showing that man can be dependent on nicotine only. On the other hand, the “Treatment” chapter focuses immediately on the “Nicotine replacement therapy”. But then we did not have any hindsight about the efficiency of this new treatment, because the FDA had just approved the marketing of the 2 mg gum.”

      But thanks to Benowitz and Henningfield the pharmaceutical giants managed to spread the false message of nicotine addiction thoroughly all over the world. As the Israeli nicotine researchers Hanan Frenk and Reuven Dar notes, “Nicotine Addiction” is virtually the only reference used when academics and journalists write about nicotine. This despite the fact that the report and its conclusion is “remarkably misleading and flawed,” they write in their sharp criticism.

      According to his resumé Jack Henningfield in 1998 received an “Outstanding Service Award” from the US government for his work completing this report and its false theory of nicotine addiction.

      Pfizer ex-boss:
      This is how we make
      the experts beholden to us

      From the documents submitted with the case it also appears that Jack Henningfield has helped to develop the WHO anti-tobacco treaty, which means that the treaty which specifically requires Denmark to introduce a smoking ban, was written with the assistance of an expert, who as well as having close ties to the pharma giants, also personally benefits financially from the smoking bans.

      A look at Jack Henningfield’s impressive long resumé also reveals that his choice of words looks more like the words of an activist rather than a scientist. Just as unscientific as Jonathan Samet’s opinion on secondhand smoke, Henningfield writes in a local newspaper about the passage of an outdoor smoking ban in his home district: “No smoking means no smoking, period.”

      It is known that large companies in the polluting industries associate long-term financial ties to academics like Samet, Benowitz and Henningfield, who speak for the interests of the corporations. This can be unproblematic if the financial relations and possible conflicts of interest are shown openly. However that is certainly not always the case.

      In the pharmaceutical industry however, the method is used more cunningly against doctors, experts, universities and patient groups to control them. The former vice CEO and whistleblower from Pfizer, Dr. Peter Rost, has explained in several interviews how a pharmaceutical corporation provides years of funding to specific experts and institutions in order to make them dependent on the corporation:

      “You give them grants, you establish friendships, you make sure they become beholden to you, you start programs with them, which they can make a profit from. But they are not going to continue to get money, unless they are saying what you want them to say,” says Peter Rost.

      “Everybody knows that this is how things work. They know it and you know it – it’s only maybe the public that does not know it.”

      “That’s how you influence the medical establishment. Simply, with money.”

      The pharma industry goal:
      A world-wide
      nicotine monopoly

      There is no longer any doubt about the pharmaceutical intent of the attacks on tobacco: They want the world monopoly on nicotine. Therefore the corporations create long-term financial relationships with doctors, experts and anti-tobacco activists, who they believe can be used to achieve this goal.

      The attack on tobacco dates back to the introduction of Nicorette in the 1980s, if not earlier. But it has been done partially hidden from the public due to the successful pharmaceutical strategy of parading “health” and clean white medical gowns in front of them in order to control the media.

      The goal is no longer hidden however: When the TPSAC Committee was founded in 2010 with a total of four pharma-sponsored experts, GlaxoSmithKline immediately went to the FDA and urged them to remove all tobacco industry smokeless products from the US market – including the Swedish snus. This probably led to the suit that the two tobacco companies filed against the FDA.

      It is also clear that the pharmaceutical giants are puppet-masters of the opposition to another competing nicotine product: The harmless nicotine E-cigarette, which has been banned in many places, also in Denmark. The E-cigarette has been a threat to the pharmaceutical nicotine profits, since it succeeded in taking half of the Nicorette market in 2012. It only made matters worse for the pharma corporations when the tobacco industry began to buy E-cigarette companies.

      The most significant cause of these strange E-cigarette bans is the fact that the leading experts, who have called the authorities to ban E-cigarettes, in many cases, have received generous donations from Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and other pharmaceutical companies in the nicotine market.

      It was also Big Pharma’s very successful media and lobbying campaigns that led the EU Commission to make very restrictive rules for the sale of e-cigarettes, and to continue the senseless European ban on snus in the so-called EU tobacco products directive.

      French doctor: Big Pharma
      has infiltrated our government
      and health care system

      How does the pharmaceutical industry make so many experts and authorities jump and dance for them? The clear answer is money. And specifically: The activists, they use the money on in order to achieve their objectives.

      Nobody likes to be greeted with activism, when a question needs an answer. Not even journalists – they will let the activist speak without asking probing questions, just to get peace of mind. And therefore, any opposing views will not find their way into the media – because as soon as they are published, the journalist immediately will have the activists on the phone again.

      To understand all the events of the pharmaceutical giants’ war to obtain nicotine-monopoly, one can turn to the words of Dr. Philippe Even, who has given this characterization of the pharmaceutical industry in The Guardian:

      “The pharmaceutical industry is the most lucrative, the most cynical and the least ethical of all the industries,” he said. “It is like an octopus with tentacles that has infiltrated all the decision making bodies, world health organisations, governments, parliaments, high administrations in health and hospitals and the medical profession.”

      “It has done this with the connivance, and occasionally the corruption of the medical profession. I am not just talking about medicines but the whole of medicine. It is the pharmaceutical industry that now outlines the entire medical landscape in our country.”

      This is roughly how it looks like in the US, and also in Denmark. The Western world has become a medicalised society that is guided by the pharmaceutical giants interests.

      Therefore, we have a smoking ban – therefore we have “health taxes” – that’s why we have a “health epidemic” – and that’s why we have so many diseases:

      Significantly more disease in Denmark after smoking legislation and health paternalism

      After all disease is what the pharmaceutical industry feeds on …

      * Translated by Klaus K with assistance from Frank Davis

      https://cfrankdavis.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/anti-smoking-experts-paid-by-big-pharma/#comment-107469

      • Rose says:

        They seem to have been rather cavalier about conflicts of interest from the start, Harley.

        Leading scientists leap to the defence of ‘corrupt’ Doll
        2006

        “Some of Britain’s most senior scientists have angrily denounced suggestions that Sir Richard Doll, who proved the link between smoking and lung cancer, had deliberately failed to disclose financial dealings with the chemicals industry.

        The scientists said that tens of millions of people owed their lives and health to studies pioneered by Sir Richard. “It is with dismay that we now hear allegations against him that he cannot rebut for himself,” the scientists say in an open letter.

        Sir Richard, who died last year aged 92, had received consultancy fees of $1,500 a day from Monsanto during the 1980s and several thousand pounds from the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Dow Chemicals and ICI. Although friends and colleagues insist that Sir Richard made no secret of his private consultancies, his close links with the chemicals industry were not widely known.

        However, unlike today, there were no rules then about declaring financial interests. Colleagues of Sir Richard point out that it is only in recent years that scientists have been required to disclose financial interests. In any case, they argue, Sir Richard donated his fees to charity.

        They also point out that the news of his dealings with the chemicals industry came from his own papers which he had donated to a museum of medical history.”
        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/leading-scientists-leap-to-the-defence-of-corrupt-doll-427708.html

        Renowned cancer scientist was paid by chemical firm for 20 years

        A world-famous British scientist failed to disclose that he held a paid consultancy with a chemical company for more than 20 years while investigating cancer risks in the industry, the Guardian can reveal.

        Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist who established that smoking causes lung cancer, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from Monsanto, then a major chemical company and now better known for its GM crops business.

        While he was being paid by Monsanto, Sir Richard wrote to a royal Australian commission investigating the potential cancer-causing properties of Agent Orange, made by Monsanto and used by the US in the Vietnam war. Sir Richard said there was no evidence that the chemical caused cancer.

        Documents seen by the Guardian reveal that Sir Richard was also paid a £15,000 fee by the Chemical Manufacturers Association and two other major companies, Dow Chemicals and ICI, for a review that largely cleared vinyl chloride, used in plastics, of any link with cancers apart from liver cancer – a conclusion with which the World Health Organisation disagrees. Sir Richard’s review was used by the manufacturers’ trade association to defend the chemical for more than a decade.

        The revelations will dismay scientists and other admirers of Sir Richard’s pioneering work and fuel a rift between the majority who support his view that the evidence shows cancer is a product of modern lifestyles and those environmentalists who argue that chemicals and pollution must be to blame for soaring cancer rates.”
        http://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/dec/08/smoking.frontpagenews

    • Frank Davis says:

      Tobacco dependence is in every sense of the word a disease with major but reversible health implications.

      How disgusting, to in effect declare that smoking is itself a disease. There are ‘major health implications’ for any number of other activities. e.g. hang gliding, in the form of broken bones. Are we to be told that an addiction to hang gliding is itself a disease? This is a redefinition of the nature of disease.

  9. roobeedoo2 says:

    I thought this was an interesting of work by youngsters:

    Unfortunately their tutor steered them wrong because he believes smoking is harmful.

  10. mikef317 says:

    Magnetic01, I believe you’re Australian. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) Whatever, as an American, let me offer comments to your comments on U. S. police.

    You might find Radley Balko’s Washington Post blog of interest. He has addressed this issue for years. (The Post limits non-subscriber access, so browse selectively.)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/

    Balko has also written a book. The link below is to Amazon U. S. There are several hundred comments. This is about SWAT teams. In Detroit (a very poor city) if a homeowner cannot pay gas, electric or other utility bills, they will be issued a summons – delivered by a SWAT team – cops armed with military grade weapons, breaking down the door at any ungodly hour they choose, and maybe (or likely) shooting the homeowner’s dog (threatening the police!) if the dog dares to bark at them. (No police officer was hurt in the issuance of the summons. Nice to know.)

    http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Warrior-Cop-Militarization-Americas/dp/1610394577/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1437805826&sr=1-1&keywords=Radley+Balko

    ===================

    If I had a week or two to write ten pages about police issues, I could, but I don’t have the time. However, a few points.

    1) Some cops, particularly in poor neighborhoods of large cities, think they are patrolling “enemy territory.” Any person walking down the street is a potential robber, rapist, serial killer, or Arab terrorist. These people shouldn’t be cops.

    2) Too many cops think they are THE LAW. Any order they give must be obeyed. Hell no – cops are as much subject to the law as are all American citizens.

    3) The issue of what police can or cannot order a citizen to do is horrifically complicated. There are Supreme Court decisions, but there are also 50 state laws and thousands of city / municipality laws. In general, if a cop says “you are under arrest,” no matter how egregious the reasoning, the “law” will almost always support the police. Your best (only?) option is to comply with the cop’s orders and then sue for false arrest (assuming you can afford a lawsuit).

    4) BEFORE the cop says “you are under arrest,” do you have to do what you’re told? This gets dicey, depending on the jurisdiction and the particular cop. You can question and object, but the cop has a gun, and a taser, and a nightstick, and pepper spray, and probably other cops in abeyance, and may not be persuaded by your interpretation of the Constitution. At least at the start, the “law” will almost always side with the cops. (Get out of “criminal” law and file a “civil” [non-criminal] lawsuit – again, if you can afford it.)

    5) When their “authority” is challenged, some (but not all) cops go ballistic. This often ends in serious physical harm (or death) to “suspects” (or “enemy combatants” who refuse to obey “lawful orders”). Again, these people shouldn’t be cops, but they are the cops you see on videos. (What percent of all cops I don’t know. I’d like to think a minority but I suspect they’re not.)

    6) Yearly, U. S. cities pay hundreds of millions of dollars to citizens who bring civil lawsuits against wrongful police actions. Taxpayers foot the bill. Cops rarely get fired or even disciplined for misconduct. Police unions (big players in local politics) will defend just about any action.

    7) Cops are too prone to envision the worst case situation. Given a woman smoking a cigarette, might she thrust the lit end into the cop’s eye? Is the officer in danger of grievous bodily harm? The woman probably also has long fingernails that could do considerable damage – should she get a manicure? Hell, as opposed to big, husky (mostly male) cops, I’m a skinny guy, and I don’t scare so easily.

    8) Is any person a potential threat to a cop’s life and physical well-being? Some are. Most are not. Are cops (patrolling enemy territory) always on a razor’s edge, ready to hit the panic button? All too many are. And these people shouldn’t be cops.

    9) Too damn many unarmed (probably mentally ill) people are killed by police. Too many are arrested with excessive force. The issue has attracted the attention of the American public. It is on nightly TV news. It is addressed in editorial columns in print media. It has (most importantly) reached the desk of the President.

    ===================

    Americans are kind of crazy. Sometimes we act on the ideals we preach. We have a police problem. It has gone unaddressed for decades. But now average citizens are debating the issue. Many will say that people should always obey the cops, no questions asked. But many more will seek a rational accommodation – enforce the law, but do it with an eye to reason and justice. A crazy ideal to be sure, but an American ideal. Perhaps even an Australian and English ideal (although I don’t think either country has the police problem that America has).

    Only fools predict the future, but given five or ten years, I predict that Americans are crazy enough to reform our police. Maybe I’ll live long enough to see it.

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Weve done got that damn stomach crap going around here again with tiredeness and feverish feeling……………ugh

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering

    Communities set up local currencies and exchange networks in attempt to beat the economic crisis

    By Helena Smith
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/02/euro-greece-barter-poverty-crisis?CMP=share_btn_fb

  13. Clicky says:

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    Europe braces itself for a revolutionary Leftist backlash after Greece

    Athens’ ritual humiliation was a cautionary tale for Leftists in the Mediterranean but it won’t be enough to kill them off just yet

    A former Polish prime minister and a politician not prone to hyperbole, Tusk’s comments revealed Brussels’ fears of a bubbling rebellion across the continent.

    “When impatience becomes not an individual but a social experience of feeling, this is the introduction for revolutions” said Tusk.

    “I am really afraid of this ideological or political contagion.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11758853/Why-Greeces-ritual-humiliation-wont-kill-off-Europes-revolutionary-Left.html

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