Meeting The Enemy

Independent:

Donald Trump was like a “drunk tourist” on his first trip abroad, which saw awkward handshakes with the French President, shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro and causing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare the end of the US alliance with Europe.

A US State Department official blasted the “arrogance” of the President as he flew from Saudi Arabia and Israel to Europe last week.

“When it comes to diplomacy, President Trump is a drunk tourist,” the unnamed official told The Daily Beast.

“Loud and tacky, shoving his way around the dance floor. He steps on others without realising it. It’s ineffectual.”

A bit puzzled by Trump’s choice of places to go on his first excursion outside the USA, I had the thought a few days ago that Trump wanted to meet his enemies.

Saudi Arabia, after all, is the seat of the Wahhabi Muslim sect which is driving a lot of Islamic terrorism. It’s where Osama bin Laden came from too. And if Trump is devoted to anything, it is to defeating Islamic terrorism. What better way to start than to visit the heart of the beast, and meet a few of the key players, face to face?

Israel is no friend of Trump’s either. I think the Israelis would have preferred Hillary. She was at least a known quantity. Trump is not.

And the commie Pope in the Vatican is another enemy of Trump’s. I think he told Americans not to vote for Trump. But as the principal Christian spokesman in the world, Trump probably saw him as a potential ally in his battle with Islamic terrorism.

Many of the EU leaders he met on his visit to Brussels were also enemies. Trump doesn’t like the EU, and the EU doesn’t like Trump. And it seems he did indeed tread on a lot of their toes. Perhaps that’s exactly what he wanted to do. He not only wanted to meet them, but he wanted them to meet him.

At the G7 conference in Sicily he probably met a few more enemies, and stood on a few more of their toes.

It seems to me to be a good idea to meet your enemies. If you were living in Britain in the 1930s, and you were worried about the possibility of another war, it would probably have been a good idea to meet Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin and the acolytes that surrounded them, in order to gain the measure of them.

I suppose that if I had wanted to meet my enemies, I’d have set out to meet Deborah Arnott and Stanton Glantz and Simon Chapman. But I’ve never had any interest in doing so. If nothing else, they’re all employees, paid to stay in the public eye. I may not know the names of my most powerful enemies, the shadowy people who employ them.

And I think that if I’d been living in Britain in the 1930s, and worried about another European war, I would have been more interested in discovering my friends than meeting my enemies. I would have been wondering how to build an army to meet the looming threat. I would have set out to talk to English people. And Scots and Welsh and Irish people. And Americans and Canadians and Australians and New Zealanders. I would have gone looking for allies everywhere in the world.  I would have set out to build communication networks.

I’m sure that Trump learned a lot about his enemies by meeting them face to face. But I wonder if he may not have been neglecting his friends. His administration is plagued with leakers, both inside the White House and outside. He needs a network of trusted friends around him. And he doesn’t seem to have that yet. And so his position is weak.

We smokers know well who (some of) our enemies are. We even know their faces. But it is not enough to know your enemy. You must also know your friends. You must set out to meet and talk with them, so as to find where you agree and where you differ, and build bonds of trust and confidence. For you may need them one day.

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About Frank Davis

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20 Responses to Meeting The Enemy

  1. Frank Davis says:

    Interesting afternoon. I had a phone call from someone who said he was a BT engineer who said that they believed I was under hacking attack, and they wanted to help prevent it happening. I said I had no way of knowing whether he actually was a BT engineer, and suggested that if he was, he should send me an email from BT. He said he couldn’t do that without alerting the hackers. But he said he could prove he was a BT engineer by telling me my BT ID number that was on my computer. He said he’d tell me what to do to find it. And the first instruction to me was to press and hold down the Windows key on my keyboard. I refused to do so, and then hung up.

    I then contacted BT, and they said it was a scam. If you hold down the windows key, and press R, control of my computer could have been passed to a hacker. They also said that BT would never contact me pro-actively unless I had reported a fault (which I hadn’t).

    Anyone had a similar experience? My usual response to these sort of calls is to say that the house owner is away in Norway, and I’m a friend of his who’s feeding the cat.

    • beobrigitte says:

      If you dial 1471 you will get an Australian/New Zealand number.

      The guy didn’t sound like he spoke from an Indian Call Center? There will be more calls. The next one will be from a female. Both will get VERY stroppy when you say: “NO”!
      I was threatened with being blacklisted by them last week. I just told the lady to go ahead with it. Whilst I put down the phone I could hear some screeching from her.

      A few days ago they phoned up again but recognized me and put the phone down on me. (!!)
      Spoilsports!!! I was going to politely say: “Oh, please hold for a minute” and put the receiver next to the phone to forget about it and go out to the farm for more veg.

      It is a scam and the first number (Australian) RdM identified as a KNOWN scam number.
      There might also be 0121 calls. (They are bought numbers)

      Hope this is useful.

      • Frank Davis says:

        1471 said it was a number beginning 003467, Not sure what that is. (Spain?)

        And yes he did sound like he was from an Indian call centre.

        • beobrigitte says:

          That’s Spain.

          I seriously doubt these people are in these countries. They dial out from the internet. I watched something about this a while ago how spammers do that on youtube.

      • RdM says:

        Yes, I wrote to Brigitte:

        “Hey I just had a scammer ph call this morning too;- I have caller ID though (I pay ~$4.50 or 4.95 a month for the service) on the landline and a little caller ID box to show the numbers although the present portable ph does too – and I was suspicious of the overseas number.

        I typed it in to Google – have a look yourself, a known scam number from Sydney Australia;- +61283107633
        I’m not sure if I have a service like “dialling 1471” here.?

        Just typing a number into google can retrieve interesting (or not) results.
        In this case, that number had lots of complaints about it, along those lines.

  2. James Higham says:

    Principal Church spokesman, not sure about the ‘Christian’.

  3. beobrigitte says:

    shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro
    I saw that on the news and I must admit it looked a little strange. One thing is sure, Trump does not give the impression of being a diplomat.

    and causing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare the end of the US alliance with Europe.
    I missed that completely! Are we in a huge, big Kinder garden?

  4. Vlad says:

    The affidavit, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, reveals that Woods was on four prescription drugs – Soloxex [sic], Vicodin, Torix and Vioxx

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4555450/Tiger-Woods-ASLEEP-wheel-DUI-arrest.html

    Sickness Industry hard at work…

  5. Vlad says:

    A 112-year-old woman claims the secret to a long life is smoking – after she’s puffed away on 30 cigarettes a day for the last 95 years. Batuli’s added advice on smoking is to avoid ‘commercially made’ cigarettes http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/woman-aged-112-says-secret-7246844

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    Now in Queensland the tobacco control lobby is calling for increasingly draconian bans to protect the children. See “Call for total ban on smoking in presence of children” at http://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/health/call-for-total-ban-on-smoking-in-presence-of-children/news-story/687bdaac5e69a83a50c5c666873a1c28

    As part of their World No Smoking Day message, the Cancer Council is calling for a ban on smoking near children. They invoke risks from both second hand smoke and third hand smoke as their rationale stating “Children deserve to be protected.”

    Since both second hand smoke and third hand smoke are constructions fabricated to justify smoking bans I agree children need to be protected, but not from smoke but rather from tobacco control lies.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      And of course the WHO has weighed in again too. Now they claim tobacco is an impediment to development and the environment in addition to the typical exaggerated health risks. They claim that tobacco cultivation leads to environmental devastation due to the use of agrochemicals and a loss of trees due to cigarette wrappers. I guess they forgot that nearly all agriculture uses agrochemicals these days (for all sorts of crops) and that trees used for paper are typically a renewable resources (since the trees cut are then replanted. But why should we expect reality in a propaganda piece. Of course no dissenting view in presented in the news covering the WHO report, See here: “Stronger Tobacco-control Measures Vital, WHO Warns” at http://www.voanews.com/a/stronger-tobacco-control-measures-vital-world-health-organization-says/3878184.html

      • Joe L. says:

        This is obviously sick and desperate antismoking propaganda created with the goal of converting any remaining environmentalists who are still ambivalent toward smoking into virulent antismokers.

        They’ve even created the new term “tobacco waste” (clearly worded with a purpose to conjure up imagery of “toxic waste”), along with a (surprise, surprise) newly-inflated and unsourced statistic of the number of “toxic chemicals” found in tobacco (also note the all-important mention of the now-archaic buzzphrase “greenhouse gases”):

        The report found that tobacco waste contains over 7,000 toxic chemicals that poison the environment, including human carcinogens, and that tobacco smoke contributes “thousands of tons of human carcinogens, toxicants and greenhouse gases to the environment.”

        In this article, they also try to brush off the fact that “smoking-related” deaths are on the rise, even though smoking rates have fallen, by counterintuitively​ blaming those deaths on “long-term” smokers. (How is that even supposed to make sense?):

        Despite effective tobacco control measures, WHO reports the number of people dying from smoking is increasing because those dying today have mostly been long-term smokers and it takes time for tobacco control policies to make an impact.

        There are at least three other ridiculous paragraphs worth quoting here, but I don’t feel like copy/pasting the entire article here.

        Tobacco Control is definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel now. I hope this is a sign that they are in their death throes and will implode soon.

        • smokingscot says:

          @ Joe L

          “I hope this is a sign that they are in their death throes and will implode soon.”

          Depends on what you mean by soon. Sadly, while I too would love to see the whole scam exposed and every one of them made to get a real job, I’m afraid that’s impossible for the foreseeable future.

          First off I checked Dr Vinayak Mohan Prasad, Programme Manager of their Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI). Lo and behold he was headhunted by the Bill and Mel Gates Foundation to administer their contribution to the WHO. In short the guy’s sponsored forever.

          http://www.who.int/tobacco/about/staff/prasad/en/

          Also included in the TFI is a Virginia Arnold who’s sponsored by the Bloomberg whatever and, believe it or not, has been employed in the WHO since 2000.

          http://www.who.int/tobacco/about/staff/arnold/en/

          So again I see a bottomless pit as the source of her funding.

          But the one that is of especial interest to me is Andrew Black. He’s actually employed by the UK Department of Health and came to public notoriety when he pledged £15 million of taxpayer money over 5 years to the WHO.

          Earlier this year he was “seconded” to the WHO (so we’ve “lent” him to the WHO – and we continue to pay his salary).

          However he crops up in Smoking Lamp’s link as:

          “Andrew Black of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat.”

          So, as FCTC is a movable feast and is usually amended every two years, then we can assume Andy Black will be working with TC in each of the signatory countries – and formulating policy for the next COP in Geneva in 2018.

          That means lots of travelling and hotels and meeting mover’s and shaker’s. In short he’ll cost a fortune, but we’re paying for him and his inevitable entourage.

          The report itself has virtually no merit and I note has hardly been mentioned in the British press. However it’s a neat subject for developing nations, where they can be seen to be doing the right thing.

          Dubai and most Emirates in the UAE sort of do something on the 31st. This year in Dubai they’ve told every outlet that sells tobacco to remove them from display and sale!

          http://www.channel4fm.com/trending/theuae/dubai-is-cigarette-free-for-one-day-only/

          I do believe we’re into gesture politics with things like the Dubai initiative, but that’s not the case with all these foundations, Bill and Mel’s thing is colossal – and they’ve added 14 multi-millionaires this year to take their total to 168 who have made the “Just Giving” Pledge.

          http://cyprus-mail.com/2017/05/30/easyjet-founder-pledges-leave-half-fortune-charity/

          So those are some of the reasons I plead misery guts on this one, however I do find it remarkable the lengths to which they stretch the credulity of sane persons in their pursuit of ever greater levels of funding.

          While I hope the new head of the WHO may tackle some of the pork barrel projects and get serious about impoverished developing nations needs, I regret that will not include tobacco. It’s too well funded – and is as it’s always intended to be – a cabal within the WHO. They need that “legitimacy”.

    • In a very real sense, Antismokers who abuse our love of our children for their own purposes are simply “secondhand child-abusers.” When that abuse includes frightening the children in order to have them run home and plead with mommy and daddy “Don’t make me an orphan!” because that is what they’ve been told to do during their school’s “No Tobacco Day” … at that point the Antismokers have literally, themselves, become full-blown child-abusers.

      It should not be tolerated… AT ALL!

      – MJM

  7. Clicky says:

  8. waltc says:

    I merely disagree that Israel would have preferred Hillary who, incidentally, once warmly hugged Mrs Atafat, but more relevantly represented a continuation of Obama’s policies, including his disrespect for Netanyahu and, again more relevantly Obama’s and Hillary’s support for the Iran nuke deal. Besides, I believe Netanyahu was more or less openly inclined to towardsTrump even during the campaign….If they didn’t out-Arab him, his meeting with the Sauds and reps of 50 middle east countries in an an effort to get them to stop feeding and start fighting their own extremists was, or at any rate might turn out to be, a great coup.

  9. Dirk says:

    Breakfast complete, I lean back in my chair at the new cafe I’m trying out and puff contentedly on my cigarette. The couple at the next table glance at me disapprovingly, despite the fact that I’m sitting in an open area, well downwind from them. One of the pair wrinkles his nose and ostentatiously fans the air in front of his frowning face, as if to signal that my smoke is destroying his sensitive olfactory system. “You smokers are so bloody selfish”, he yells. For reasons that will become clear, I find his reaction a little surprising, and decide to rev him up even more.
    So I take a deep drag, watching the tip of my cigarette glow cherry red as his face assumes the same hue, presumably due to his climbing blood pressure. Then, pretending that I have just noticed his negative reaction, I wave an apology, and stub the cigarette out in my right eye. I am supremely gratified as he knocks over a glass of water in shock. I take another quick puff and drop the apparently burning butt into my shirt pocket.
    I say ‘apparently burning’, because I am using an electronic cigarette, a rechargeable device with a red LED on its end that glows brightly when you draw on it. It has a cartridge containing ethylene glycol and some additives which are vaporised by a tiny heating element. The ‘smoke’ produced is not smoke at all, but water vapour. It has no odour and dissipates almost instantly. Its operating principle is the same as that in the nebulisers used by asthmatics. But it looks like a real cigarette and satisfies the behavioural addiction inherent in smoking without its downsides.
    In response to my cheap trick, the disapproving patron recoils and mutters darkly to his companion while giving me the fish eye. Obviously a person who takes great pleasure in being annoyed by everything, he switches the focus of his ire from my ‘smoking’ to me personally, snarling, “Bloody wanker!” at me as he leaves. Uncalled for, even if true.
    I am consumed with immature glee at having pricked his pomposity and making him lose face. To stifle my guffaws, I put my face in my hands and my elbows on the table’s edge. Unfortunately, I’m seated at a round table mounted on a pedestal – one of those awful designs with only three legs. My position midway between two of these legs gives my elbows perfect leverage to instantly tip the table towards me. Naturally, my glass of pineapple juice slides towards me and falls into my lap, saturating my crotch with yellow liquid.
    That’s right – I’m in Bali. I’d forgotten that karmic payback here can be immediate. Embarrassing that non-smoker chappie may not have been such a great idea after all. Now everybody who sees me in the next hour will shake their heads at the poor old duffer who has obviously forgotten to wear his incontinence pads. Maybe I could just sneak out with a newspaper over my lap …?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Nice little moral tale.

    • RdM says:

      That’s very funny ;=})

      Thanks!

      I only recall meeting friends at a “food hall”, upstairs with an outdoor balcony, where after each ordering or collecting individually, several of us smoked freely with abandon with a few beers… I started to notice concerned looks from a couple of tables away, this was totally outdoors, but wrote it off as brainwashed ignorance, however sad, didn’t engage.

      But my own first early e-cig lookalike, branded as an eHealth-Cigarette, came initially with 0% nicotine 10-pack cartridges, entirely useless except as a novelty with the red led tip, and I haven’t been able to find nicotine-containing gel it seems like, cartridges for it.

      Since then, I’ve tried a “Day 1 One” pen-like e-cig thing, quite cheap, bought 10 ml of 24mg fluid “tobacco flavour”, disliked the taste intensely, resented the cloggy humectant steam lasting for hours smelling in my throat and mouth (it also made me cough, if trying to take it into my lungs, which tobacco never does, or hardly ever! – so I rolled it around my mouth, like as with a pipe or cigar) – but nevertheless when out of the extremely expensive available tobacco here, as though in war time rations, I used it to supplement.

      Got a bit used to it, but determined to find a better flavour, I wanted a neutral no-flavour, but not available… I decided that menthol or mint were possibly the two best options.

      Trying mint now, it’s still not great… but better than the artificial ersatz tobacco flavour.
      I’ve used it when out of tobacco, but it doesn’t really satisfy at all.
      A bit like taking a caffeine pill (No-Doze?) with a glass of hot water, instead of a cup of richly aromatic coffee… I think I want all the other great ingredients in real tobacco…

      As I write, I’m smoking Manitou 100% Organic Virginia Leaf Tobacco, no additives.
      No water, no humectants, no preservatives, no flavourings.

      A few weeks ago, when I was really broke (no cash!) but still had the unsatisfying vape pen thing, I even tried smoking tea leaves, from a broken up tea bag, along with the nicotine vape pen thing, as a combination… I can’t say it was really satisfying, but interesting that the tea smoke was quite mild, gave a smoke feel, even if zero nicotine.

      It might get you through a few days, but hardly a war. [Or maybe it might… ]

      [I’m presently reading Philip Kerr, first time, Prague Fatale, 2011, one of several it seems in a series, hard boiled noir detective story in early 1940s Berlin, & Czechoslovakia, when cigarettes and food and alcohol were really rationed… (or available to the elite) ]

      Though the e-cig thing helped a bit, it wasn’t the same.
      Maybe I need the MOAI’s & etc. (or is that MAOI?)

      Of course, there are insane zealots who want to promote genetically modified tobacco low-zero nicotine cigarettes (never mind the tar content) along with NRT as a solution.

      To their problem of seeing people enjoying smoking…

      More on that later!

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