The Endless Demonisation of Industry

I regularly compare Tobacco Control and global warming alarmism. So do other people:

Dismissal of well-established climate science has parallels to decades of debate over tobacco use and its effects on health. Tobacco companies long denied any causal relation between smoking and disease even when their own studies showed the opposite to be true.

Similarly, some fossil fuel companies for decades publicly rejected established climate science and the role of burning fossil fuels in anthropogenic climate change while their internal studies confirmed both.

The tobacco companies eventually paid a steep price for their actions. In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against them, charging that they “engaged in and executed” a “massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes,” in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.

Specifically, the lawsuit said the companies engaged in a conspiracy to launch a public relations campaign challenging scientific evidence that demonstrated the health risks of smoking at the same time that their own research confirmed smoking’s danger.
The tobacco companies lost the suit. The federal courts found them in violation of RICO, in particular for fraudulently covering up scientific evidence of health risks linked to smoking. The courts rejected the tobacco companies’ argument that their statements were protected under the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.

Is there a parallel to current controversies over climate change science? Some members of Congress say there is. Members of Congress have asked the Justice Department to pursue charges under RICO against major fossil fuel companies for knowingly deceiving the public — and investors — about the dangers of climate change when their own studies showed the reality of the threat. Under questioning by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Attorney General Loretta Lynch revealed she has referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for study.

In addition, in late March, more than a dozen state attorneys general meeting in New York also said they would “aggressively” investigate whether fossil fuel companies misled the public and investors about the risks of climate change. Several state attorneys general already have initiated such investigations under consumer and investor protection laws.

In this case, the claim is that Big Oil is just as evil and mendacious as Big Tobacco.

But these days I think Big Tobacco has been just as much demonised as smokers now are. In fact, Big Tobacco was being demonised a long time before smokers.

Yet I think Big Tobacco is simply a bunch of companies selling a product that people want to buy: tobacco. And they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. And Big Oil is another bunch of companies selling another product that people want to buy: petroleum.

And now the demonisation process is being extended to other companies that also sell products that people want to buy. Big Alcohol. Big Sugar. Big Salt. Big Food. Any sort of industry that makes anything that people want to buy is a potential target for the demonisers. I often wonder when they’ll start on Big Coffee and Big Tea.

We’ll end up being told that every industry is just a racket making profits selling death to their customers. Everything should carry a health warning, and be sold in plain packaging from behind shutters. All industries will end up demonised. And so will their customers.

The demonisers have no product that anyone wants to buy. All they have is hate and fear. They are purely parasitic on the industries they demonise. And they’re slowly throttling the global economy, as they tell people to stop buying everything. Is it any surprise we’re living in a deepening global depression?

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About Frank Davis

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37 Responses to The Endless Demonisation of Industry

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    I agree that the public health racket is predatory. I wonder just how true their claims about the health risks of s,king (tobacco), alcohol, sugars, etc. are. After all they claim smoking is tied to diabetes but smoking rates have declined and during the same timeframe the rate of diabetes has skyrocketed. As smoking bans are increasingly tightened, they have added the campaigns against alcohol and sugar, almost as if they are diversifying to stay in business. Something has to give. I’d be glad to see smoking bans fall soon and then let the rest of the Ponzi scheme unravel…

    • waltc says:

      There are studies –Rose likely has them at hand–showing that quitting smoking leads to diabetes, irrespective of weight gain

      • jaxthefirst says:

        And, talking about weight gain (irrespective of diabetes link or otherwise), whenever the latest horror-story erupts about the “obesity epidemic,” the elephant in the room – i.e. the fact that obesity rates have risen in almost exact correlation to the number of smokers declining – is conveniently overlooked in favour of other, more “palatable” causes like alcohol/sugar etc. It’s a racket, all right!

      • Frank Davis says:

        My father developed Type 2 diabetes after he stopped smoking. He didn’t put on any weight though – he was already quite heavy.

        • nisakiman says:

          I think most ex-smokers I know have developed Type 2 diabetes since quitting. Has there been any research in to the mechanisms behind this? Or is it one of those subjects which TC quietly brushes under the carpet, like the increased risk of LC after quitting?

        • Roobeedoo2 says:

          Why would they? There are no downsides to quitting smoking, according to TC. Plus, it leaves future career options open to them in Sugar Control for when tobacco is finally banned.

      • Rose says:

        “Quitters face an almost doubled risk of developing diabetes in their first three smoke-free years.
        Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, studied 10,892 adult smokers, none of whom had diabetes at the start of the study.

        “Extra weight put on by new quitters explains around a third of the increased risk, the researchers said. A further third of the excess risk is accounted for by systemic inflammation, as assessed by increased leukocyte counts

        However, after adjusting for this weight gain and inflammation, new quitters were still at higher risk compared with participants who continued smoking.”

        “Patients should, however, be made aware of the risk and advised to consider countermeasures, particularly for heavy smokers, they said.”
        http://www.gponline.com/News/article/976970/Behind-Headlines-diabetes-linked-quitting-smoking/

        Increased Bodyweight After Stopping Smoking May Be Due to Changes in Insulin Secretion

        “ScienceDaily (May 7, 2012) — Fear of putting on weight is one of the major reasons why smokers do not give up their habit.

        The reasons for this weight gain are believed to be in part due to metabolic changes in the body, but until now precise details of these changes were not known.”
        http: //www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507210042.htm

        So what important ingredient in tobacco smoke goes missing when you give up smoking that might lead to this systemic inflammation?

        My guess

        Harvard and U. Pittsburgh researchers explain carbon monoxide’s anti-inflammatory effects
        30-Mar-2007

        “In a study appearing in the April 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists from Harvard University and the University of Pittsburgh have shown for the first time that the anti-inflammatory effects of carbon monoxide originate within cells’ own molecular engines, mitochondria.

        Specifically, mitochondria react to low levels of carbon monoxide by releasing chemical signals that reduce or shut down the body’s inflammatory response, raising the possibility for the development of new anti-inflammatory therapies, one of which may be low levels of inhaled carbon monoxide.”
        http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-03/foas-hau031307.php

        But it seems that no one has researched that angle yet.

        • ::Pinning AMAZING RESEARCHER Medal on Rose::

          :)
          MJM

        • Rose says:

          The protective effects of CO have been studied in Ulcerative Colitis.

          Here’s one from Japan.

          The Therapeutic Potential of Carbon Monoxide for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
          January 2015

          “Therapeutic Effects of CO in IBD

          “Numerous previous studies have shown that individuals who smoke are more likely to be protected against the development of UC and are less likely to require colectomies [33]. In CD, smoking is positively correlated with the development of intestinal inflammation. Interestingly, some studies have established a higher rate of ileal complication and a lower prevalence of colonic complication in CD patients who are smokers [34]. These findings suggest that smoking may provide a protective effect to the large intestine. The detailed mechanisms by which smoking exerts these effects remain unclear, but CO, which is one of the components of cigarette smoke, reportedly ameliorates intestinal inflammation. Therefore, CO may be a potent therapeutic molecule in intestinal inflammation.

          Potent therapeutic efficacies of CO have been demonstrated in experimental models of several conditions, including lung injuries [35], heart, hepatic and renal I-R injuries [19,36,37], as well as inflammation, including arthritis [38], supporting the new paradigm that CO at low concentrations functions as a signaling molecule that exerts significant cytoprotection and anti-inflammatory actions. Similar to what has been observed for the therapeutic effects of CO against various diseases, CO has been reported to mediate potent cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects in in vivo colitis models ”
          https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/368765

        • Some French bloke says:

          Rose, here is something from a document you linked to three years ago:
          June 2012 “There is a growing body of evidence to show that smoking is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
          Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this link.”
          http://ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_128.pdf

          Could it be that ASH simply forgot to insert the word “quitting” before the word “smoking”?

        • Rose says:

          Well it’s all smoking isn’t it, SFB, you don’t expect them to be specific.

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    After tobacco companies got attacked it should have been the alarm bell to all businesses that nobody is safe so for 40 years they sat back and allowed Big T get Royally shafted now comes their turn in the barrel!

    • Oh, I’m quite sure that corporations all over the country pumped all kinds of money into shred and burn operations on their internal memos and unsavory pieces of research after that. We’re unlikely to ever see another Big Baddy caught with their pants down that way again.

      What’s notable about the Big T docs is the way the Antis make all the fuss about “The docs PROVE they were marketing to children!” I believe that out of something like 23 million pages there were only about a dozen that mentioned teens or “young adults” or “pre-smokers” (not even sure if that last one was actually there or was just an Anti invention), and there was ONE page where the context seemed to make it pretty clear they were talking about 18 year olds but there was a typo and it stated 13 year olds.

      A dozen pages out of 23 MILLION (If I’m remembering those numbers accurately: I *think* I am but can’t find a record of it at the moment.) I’ll bet Hillary will eventually try to brush off her classified docs etc as “innocent isolated accidents” although the ratio will literally be on the order of 1,000 times higher!

      – MJM

  3. “the Justice Department to pursue charges under RICO against major fossil fuel companies for knowingly deceiving … the public.”

    Well I guess they’ll have to find them guilty and punish them the same way they punished Big Tobacco! Force the fossil fuel companies to add a 50% “tax” (surcharge) to the base product price of the gasoline and heating gas/oil products with the money going to the government! The companies and stockholders won’t have to pay anything, just the nasty people gas guzzlers! And the surcharge will also have the wonderful side effect of convincing more folks to walk, bicycle, and shiver in their homes during the winter!

    – MJM

    • Lepercolonist says:

      Nailed it.

      • Leper, here’s a similar post I made recently to a daily post story about a UK hospital claiming its helplessness in enforcing a ban on its grounds:

        ==

        The only true law is one that treats its subjects on a Level Playing Field. If a pub said it “couldn’t enforce” its smoking ban I believe it would be closed down, true? So the hospital should be closed down.

        Alternatively pubs can simply follow the lead of the hospital, particularly since they are more likely to have to deal with aggressive responses, and declare “they are ‘powerless’ to stop people from smoking.” After all, the average pub doesn’t even have a paid security staff… while the hospital clearly does.

        And if enough smokers resist and new jails have to be built to house and feed them, the nonsmoking taxpayers will be happy to pay extra taxes for it, right? After all, it’s an important issue. Perhaps money could be taken from the Orphans’ Fund?

        Close down pubs and hospitals that refuse to enforce a ban…. or leave them both alone.

        – MJM

        • prog says:

          Only if it was illegal to smoke outside on ‘public’ premises. Don’t think anyone has been fined for smoking in hospital grounds in the UK. Basically no law is bring broken, though the public is intimidated to believe hospitals are above the law, so to speak. The problem is that if folks don’t know their rights, they have none ie simply yield to authoritarian jobsworths (which I guess most do when confronted by the fascists on hospital grounds).

        • You may have a point Prog. The phrasing in the article seemed to suggest that it *might* be an externally imposed regulation, but I may have just added that out of my own eyegoggles.

          :>
          MJM

    • garyk30 says:

      I am not certain that AGW people would want to have to ‘prove’ their claims in a court of law. :)

    • smokingscot says:

      @ MJM

      Well if they do go after the oil majors, it’s going to seriously drive up the cost of “policing the world” and of course things like the mutual arms exercises your military has with South Korea and even Japan.

      Oh and a half decent “military intervention” such as we’ve seen in Syria will become prohibitively expensive.

      Took a look at one of the most economical fighter aircraft America uses. The F22 Raptor (like it by the way). It goes through 11900 kgs of jet fuel in just 1850 miles. So 6.5 ltr of fuel for each mile (roughly 1.5 gallons).

      http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104506/f-22-raptor.aspx

      I’d probably get far too depressed to look at the fuel consumption of a B 52 bomber, or a tank, an aircraft carrier or even a Humvee.

      Then Mike your military wallahs will sit down and take a long hard look at what might happen if this “big oil” thing grows legs, because you can bet your boots Russia, China, Saudi and so on wouldn’t let this sort of thing get past first base.

      America brought to its knees by academics. Maybe, just maybe.

      • nisakiman says:

        Back in the 70s I drove an American truck, a Kenworth, with a 12 litre (about – it was in cubic inch) V8, 2 stroke supercharged turbo diesel. I did long haul work in Australia, and got about 4 mpg. That was considered fairly normal for that kind of rig in those days. The European trucks were getting double the mileage from a gallon, but the US manufacturers didn’t seem to worry about mpg, more about performance. I don’t think the mindset has changed in the US military.

  4. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on CraigM350 and commented:
    I’m quite fine with the demonisation of Big Green :D

    • waltc says:

      Are you also fine with criminalizing free speech? and any solid science that counters the government approved line? (Hello, Galileo.) Man-made global warming is not proven empirical fact. It’s a theoretical politicized projection based on a possibly faulty presumption with a lot of counter-evidence. Shall I also presume, under the same principle, that you’re fine with criminalizing all of us here as racketeers for disputing the “settled science” of secondhand smoke?

  5. Tony says:

    Wow! That’s a seriously mixed up article you’ve quoted there. As is usual for these activists they have conflated the MSA(1998) with RICO(2006) and completely misrepresented both.
    I have no special inside knowledge on this but my understanding follows here:

    First of, the ‘Master Settlement Agreement’ (MSA). This was not a court case as such but an agreement, and an extremely corrupt one at that, between the biggest 4 tobacco companies and the Atourneys General of 46 American States. The other states made similar arrangements. In gross violation of the American constitution BTW.

    Background:

    Many senior tobacco executives were forced to give evidence in court prior to the mid 1990s and they all followed the company line saying that: ‘they did not believe that smoking had been shown to cause lung cancer’. The anti-smokers lost all of these cases although some were won initially and then overturned on appeal.

    However many of the executives would have had little or no knowledge of the science and indeed may have been fairly recently head hunted from a completely different company. Hence they tended to believe the propaganda and occasionally said so in private internal memos.

    Then, in the 1990s, BATs archive became public. Apparently thousands of documents were stolen and passed to the anti-smokers. A court case ruled that they had therefore entered the public domain and so could be used as evidence in court. The stolen documents contained some of these private memos which proved that the executives had lied about their belief in court.

    The MSA:

    By entering the MSA, they were able to protect themselves from the charge of perjury.
    Specifically, they gained immunity from prosecution and did not have to pay any fines or damages at all. In return, they arranged for the companies that they worked for (basically ran) to agree with everything that the anti-smokers claimed. And for the companies to pay vast sums of money into State coffers, ostensibly to pay for medical costs (non-existent) and anti-smoking crusades (considerable). Several hundred BILLION dollars.

    They were also able to force current and potential rivals to pay too. This meant that the entire cost could and was, passed on directly to their customers. No impact on company profit or stock market value.

    As most people here are already aware, there weren’t really any suppressed tobacco company science documents. The internal memos were the only secret information that the anti-smokers found.

    RICO was basically window dressing that followed on from the MSA. No fines or other penalties were levied, presumably because immunity had already been agreed. But getting a RICO conviction was great PR for the anti-smokers.

    • Tony, *VERY* well laid out and explained!

      :)
      MJM

    • Frank Davis says:

      there weren’t really any suppressed tobacco company science documents.

      I thought that might be the case. I couldn’t think of any studies by Big Tobacco.

      And if there had been any, wouldn’t they have been dismissed as tainted?

      • Rose says:

        I used tobacco company R&D documents from the 40’s when I finally realised I was looking for what used to be called nicotinic acid, but I used a cut off date of 1960, before the RCP report on smoking, I expected that they would go on the defensive after that.

      • Some French bloke says:

        “Heavy smokers with low mortality; a 14 1/4-year test of the cigarette hypothesis of lung cancer causation” is a survey cuctedond in the late 1940’s and throughout the 50’s: a test, therefore not a “study” – no interpretation, no conclusion, just facts, that is, just medical and mortality records. In a sane world, and considering the evidence of smoking’s protective effect against neurodegenerative conditions and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, among others, Tobacco Companies would have been indicted for not having publicised the absence of harm from smoking sooner.
        https://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=thdn0142

    • garyk30 says:

      ” No impact on company profit or stock market value.”

      Actually, stock prices rose rather nicely.

      TC says ‘Big Tobacco companies’ were charged; but, charges were against some execs of the companies and, as said, no penalties were imposed.

    • Some French bloke says:

      Tony, seconding – and elaborating upon – MJM’s opinion, you somehow managed to make some very troubled waters considerably more limpid. Thanks! Your point about how some gullible execs got framed the way you describe it, and Gary’s point just above, on how the charges didn’t translate to sanctions anyway, hadn’t been made yet (or haven’t been often enough). So the shockwaves of global demonisation have left the ‘upper crust’ virtually unscathed. But there’s also bound to be far more cynical types out there, and those less gullible big-wheels in “The Industry” have got to be the biggest offenders in the vast Ponzi scheme Smoking Lamp is refering to in the first comment.

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