Nothing Is Inevitable

H/T Rose, and following on from yesterday’s Czech-related post:

Failure of smoking ban bill sparks coalition war of words
26-05-2016 13:06 | Ian Willoughby

The latest failed attempt to ban smoking in Czech pubs and restaurants has left the country’s government looking distinctly shaky. Since Wednesday’s lower house vote coalition partners ANO and the Social Democrats have each been blaming the other for the collapse of the much-discussed bill.

A motion to ban smoking in Czech pubs and restaurants fell eight votes short of approval in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday.

The bill originally prepared by the Social Democrat minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček, had been approved by the coalition. However, only 13 of ANO’s 47 deputies voted with the rest of the government in the lower house.

The Social Democrats immediately cried foul, with leader Bohuslav Sobotka accusing ANO of ensuring the country remained an “outdoor museum” of smoking. “It’s a disgrace!” tweeted Mr. Sobotka.

Minister Němeček echoed those sentiments on a Czech Television debate show.

“I regard today as a tragic day in the Chamber of Deputies as regards protecting the public from smoking. The Chamber killed a bill that was worked on for a very long time. It will take us a long time to get back to where we were.”

ANO representatives have shot back furiously. They say that the legislation rejected had undergone so many changes in the lower house – including allowing for smoking areas in pubs – that it actually ended up being a pro-smoking bill.

This is a (renewed) welcome vote for tolerance and consideration towards smokers.

The “museum” jibe presumably means that the Czech Republic will remain “behind the times”, “mired in the past”, etc, etc, having failed to “get with the program”. For most – if not all – of the antismoking politicians probably believe that the future is going be smoke-free, and any attempts to forestall this will only temporarily delay the inevitable.

But I hope that history will record that Czech lawmakers stood almost alone in Europe against a form of unnecessary and deeply divisive legislation that had already been driven through most other European parliaments. I think people are going to be asking one day “How did we get to do something so stupid, so mean, so nasty, so divisive? Were we all crazy?”

Unfortunately confident predictions of the future seem endemic these days. Some sort of utopian vision of the future (socialist, Green, carbon-neutral, smoke-free, etc.) comes to be regarded as inevitable, and everyone believes that history is going in that direction, almost like it’s rolling down a railroad track.

One recent example of this is Barack Obama saying:

“Mr. Trump is not succeeding me.”

And another is Nancy Pelosi saying:

“Donald Trump is not going to be President of the United States,” Pelosi said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “Take it to the bank, I guarantee it.”

No doubt both of them sincerely hope that Donald Trump will not be the next President of the United States, but wishing something will be true doesn’t actually make it true.

What they both really mean is that such an outcome is unthinkable or unimaginable, and they are unable to contemplate the possibility. And that’s really more a reflection of their own dogmatic thought processes than anything else.

For actually, as far as I can see, it’s an outcome that is becoming increasingly likely, given that Donald Trump has now not only acquired more than the 1,237 delegates needed to become the Republican nominee, but has also caught up with Hillary Clinton in US opinion polls.

Nothing is inevitable.

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About Frank Davis

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25 Responses to Nothing Is Inevitable

  1. hejno says:

    I just love the Czech Republic! Not the usual poodles crowding around EU with their tongues out panting to be the best boy in class- one of their presidents even denied the use of the EU flag outside the presidential residence 😊

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Good news from Czechia! Finally a major rejection of unwarranted smoking bans. Next we need to build support for reversing bans elsewhere but expect the antismoking cult to accelerate their propaganda campaign in case of their first major setback in recent memory.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Radio Prague – Failure of smoking ban bill sparks coalition war of words

    The latest failed attempt to ban smoking in Czech pubs and restaurants has left the country’s government looking distinctly shaky. Since Wednesday’s lower house vote…

    http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/failure-of-smoking-ban-bill-sparks-coalition-war-of-words

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The latest failed attempt to ban smoking in Czech pubs and restaurants has left the country’s government looking distinctly shaky. Since Wednesday’s lower house vote coalition partners ANO and the Social Democrats have each been blaming the other for the collapse of the much-discussed bill.A motion to ban smoking in Czech pubs and restaurants fell eight votes short of approval in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday.

      The bill originally prepared by the Social Democrat minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček, had been approved by the coalition. However, only 13 of ANO’s 47 deputies voted with the rest of the government in the lower house.

      The Social Democrats immediately cried foul, with leader Bohuslav Sobotka accusing ANO of ensuring the country remained an “outdoor museum” of smoking. “It’s a disgrace!” tweeted Mr. Sobotka.

      Minister Němeček echoed those sentiments on a Czech Television debate show.

      “I regard today as a tragic day in the Chamber of Deputies as regards protecting the public from smoking. The Chamber killed a bill that was worked on for a very long time. It will take us a long time to get back to where we were.”

      Svatopluk Němeček, photo: Filip Jandourek
      Svatopluk Němeček, photo: Filip Jandourek
      ANO representatives have shot back furiously. They say that the legislation rejected had undergone so many changes in the lower house – including allowing for smoking areas in pubs – that it actually ended up being a pro-smoking bill.

      ANO chief Andrej Babiš lashed out at the Social Democrats’ assertion that his party had served the tobacco lobby in Wednesday’s vote.

      “The prime minister is lying. It’s not true… It wasn’t the coalition bill. The vote was on a bill that was amended by the opposition MP Marek Benda. Why wasn’t Mr. Němeček against? You should ask him.”

      As the war of words escalated Mr. Babiš said that he was “disgusted” by the whole matter. The coalition won’t last much longer if things carry on like this, he said.

      Andrej Babiš, Bohuslav Sobotka, photo: CTK
      Andrej Babiš, Bohuslav Sobotka, photo: CTK
      The outcome of the vote was welcomed by many in the restaurant business, who feared a decline in customer numbers if the ban went through. President Miloš Zeman, frequently seen with a cigarette in his mouth, also greeted the news.

      Anti-smoking campaigner Dr. Eva Králíková says she is disappointed by the decision – but believes no law may be better than a bad one.

      “I was very much surprised by the Czech minister of health, who supported smoking parts in restaurants… In the end when the members of Parliament voted against the whole it’s maybe better than to have smoking corners or smoking spaces in restaurants.”

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    http://watchdog.org/266194/fda-e-cigarette-regs-animals/

    Animal rights group: FDA’s e-cigarette regulations will kill critters
    It gets more insane with each passing day I wonder how much the ecig companies paid PETA for this shit story

  5. waltc says:

    The New Jersey legislature (the state that Chris Christie is still governor of even as he now doubles as Trump’s aide de camp) just passed a ban on smoking in all state parks, beaches, camping grounds, forests and trails. The bill will now go to the Gov’s desk. He vetoed similar bill two yrs ago. Interesting to see, esp in light of his Trump association, what he’ll do now. Might be telling. It’s almost irrelevant to that point whether the legislature has the vires to override his veto–if he vetoes. Tangentially interesting, Atlantic City,–once New Jersey’s answer to Vegas and once home to a Trump casino– has gone bankrupt. The city itself. Bust. Nothing to do with the smoking ban, of course. Another questin currently before state pols is whether to bail it out.

    Barry–
    Just saw your q from yesterday. There may even be an amazon in Denmark that carries American titles but if not, Manhattan Roulette is definitely available in paperback in the UK and will ship. Thanks again for your interest
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Manhattan-Roulette-Walt-Cody/dp/0967507391

    • waltc says:

      “Votes” not vires.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Interesting to see, esp in light of his Trump association, what he’ll do now.

      Indeed it will, because – with Chris Christie widely tipped for a place in a Trump administration – it may provide some indication of what Trump’s attitude to smoking bans might be. Will it be the non-smoking teetotal Trump who emerges, or will it be the Atlantic City casino-owning Trump? I take some heart in the fact that he markets his own wine, even though he doesn’t drink any. And that he’s a climate sceptic. In due course we’ll see.

      And who’s Trump going to pick as VP? For what it’s worth (zilch), my own favourite is Newt Gingrich, about whom I now know much more after watching a lot of YouTube videos of him speaking.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Frank I think youd see a Trump presidency behind closed doors defunding and removing the Nazis from govmnt positions and even those who hide in the cracks as so called full time govmnt employees. Who think they have protection from removal. Simply put most of these Nazis in full time regular federal jobs were politically created just to put them in place during the Clinton years so that a republican couldn’t remove them. What Trump does is abolish the positions and depts.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I hope you’re right. But at the moment I’m far from sure just what a Trump presidency would bring. He has (as far as I know) not yet said anything about lifestyle medicine or smoking bans.

  6. Bemused says:

    From the BBC Scotland. Not fit to adopt, not fit to breed. How long before asked becomes forced?

    The report says that sometimes it may be better to delay pregnancy
    Health professionals should ask men and women every year if they are planning a pregnancy, a health expert has said.
    Dr Jonathan Sher said those who smoke, take drugs or are obese should be asked to consider delaying pregnancy.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Dr Jonathan Sher said those who smoke, take drugs or are obese should be asked to consider delaying pregnancy.

      I’m rather amused to observe how easily the good people from the BBC are impressed…
      With respect to smoking Dr. Jonathan Sher is a little (ca. 70 years) too late. I do wonder how Dr. Sher explains the existence of the baby-boomer generation that is living sooo much longer…..

  7. waltc says:

    The parallel between our politics and yours and why I think of June 23 as the start (or the end) of something promising for all of us.

    http://www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/george-will/article_9fb05494-04aa-583f-839d-840ba307cfee.html

    • Frank Davis says:

      Good article by George Will.

      June 23 is being touted as The Very Last Chance that Britons will ever have to escape from the EU. But even if the Remain camp manage to score a narrow victory, the possibility of a UK departure is now firmly back on the table for the first time in 40 years. And there are now growing Exit movements all over Europe, with the French Frexit under Marine Le Pen perhaps the strongest. If Britain isn’t the first to leave, there are plenty of other states that may do the honour. In the subsequent process of EU disintegration, a British exit may well be forced.

      Much of this may now be in the hands of Recep Erdogan in Turkey, who is rapidly turning into a dictator, and threatening to unleash a new wave of migrants into Europe. This would act to deepen European public disenchantment with the EU.

  8. garyk30 says:

    ensuring the country remained an “outdoor museum” of smoking.

    Sounds like little girls deciding what to wear based on what everyone else is wearing.
    Would seem that allowing folks to smoke is so ‘yesterday’ and not fashionable.

    I guess freedom is not a current style.

    • Joe L. says:

      Very true, Gary. Globalization is the “new black.” National sovereignty and individual liberties are “so last year.” The contemporary political landscape has been relegated to fashion. Like bell bottoms and beehives, this awful fad will end one day and be laughed at by future generations. The only question is how long must we endure it?

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    The British lung foundation (BLF) yesterday said the badly needed improvement in diagnoses and treatment of lung conditions was not yet happening because it was assumed the problem would improve with the decline of smoking.

    However, of the roughly 115,000 deaths that occur each year due to lung diseases, only around half are directly attributed

    The charity, which has recently concluded a three-year epidemiological study of lung conditions, said the death rate had barely changed in the last decade

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/26/lung-disease-sufferers-experiencing-systematic-neglect-warns-cha/

    • Roobeedoo2 says:

      Yeah, it’s being spun as ‘historic’ smoking rates by BLF:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36397054

      • nisakiman says:

        Well of course.

        Having spent the past thirty years telling everybody that all these respiratory diseases are caused by smoking, it’s going to be a tad difficult for them to admit that they were wrong, and that the relentless persecution of smokers is totally unjustified. So they’ll carry on with the ‘historic’ baloney until that can no longer be sustained, and then they’ll think of something else.

        Expect a full-on propaganda drive on the lingering (for decades) dangers of ‘third-hand smoke’ to begin in the not too distant future.

        The statistical realities are not being kind to them, so they’re going to have to do some serious spinning to keep the hate-fest going. And the gravy-train, of course. Gotta keep up the payments on that Range Rover Vogue somehow, doncha know.

    • beobrigitte says:

      The British lung foundation (BLF) yesterday said the badly needed improvement in diagnoses and treatment of lung conditions was not yet happening because it was assumed the problem would improve with the decline of smoking.

      It was assumed?
      Can we assume we all have been lied to by the “well-oiled” tobacco control club?

  10. garyk30 says:

    Tat chance the anti-smokers will change, they enjoy calling smokers ‘addicts’ and making smokers seem less human is their goal.

    WH Drug Czar: ‘Abuser and Addict’ Terms Stigmatize Drug Users
    (CNSNews.com) – White House drug czar Michael Botticelli said Thursday that using “terms like abuser and addict” to describe people with drug addictions makes it less likely that they will get treatment.
    Stigma breeds prejudice, discrimination. It alienates and isolates people.
    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/melanie-hunter/white-house-drug-czar-abuser-and-addict-terms-stigmatize-drug-users-make

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