The Invisible Bottom Layer Of Society

Events like Las Vegas are like stones thrown into a pond. They make waves. It was the same with the Bataclan massacre in Paris. Or 9/11. Or the JFK assassination. For days (and weeks, and years) people wonder what happened.

Radio talk show host Michael Savage has been comparing Las Vegas to 9/11 these last few days, citing the broken windows in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. But it actually reminds me more of the JFK assassination. Hidden shooters in high buildings firing rifles. Panic in the crowded streets below. Weird lone gunman who is now dead, of course. Multiple Zapruder films. Unsolved mystery.

There’ll probably be a Warren Commission that will find that it was all done by one single lone nut, Stephen Paddock. In fact, we already know that, don’t we?

I was wondering this morning whether these events are distractions to draw people’s eyes away from something else that’s happening. And one event that got buried by Las Vegas was the Catalan referendum that was being bloodily suppressed by the Madrid government on the same day. Arguably that was a much more significant event than what happened in Las Vegas.

I have a personal interest in Catalonia. I was a regular visitor to Barcelona from 2001 to 2010. There’s a little square near the city centre named after George Orwell, in which I’ve sat drinking beer and smoking and wondering what Orwell would have made of it. And on my very first visit there I noticed a lot of hand-written signs on walls. I even copied one into the notebook I carried round with me. VISCA CAtALUNYA, said one. TERRA LLIVRE. I showed it to mi amiga en Barcelona (who was Galician rather than Catalan), and she brushed it off saying that it was just a small minority of Catalans seeking independence from Spain.  Perhaps it was just an insignificant minority back then, but according to opinion polls a week or two back, 40% of Catalans now want independence.

I haven’t been back to Spain since 2010. And the main reason I haven’t been back was because on 2 January 2011 the Spanish government introduced a much harsher public smoking ban than the one that had applied up until then – probably in order to conform with the smoking ban enacted by the EU in 2009.

The UK 2007 smoking ban – and to a lesser extent the EU 2009 smoking ban, and Spanish 2011 smoking ban – have been the defining events in my life in recent years. They’ve flipped me from being a slightly left wing Lib Dem voter to a right wing UKIP voter with a deep distrust of top down control by big government of any kind. And they cost me all my former friends, some of whom I’d known for 40 years They’ve changed my attitudes to almost everything. It’s what happens when you’re “exiled to the outdoors”.

I almost bought a house in Spain, and I was wondering this morning how I’d be feeling if I had. And I was also wondering what I’d be feeling if I was a Spanish smoker, or even a Catalan smoker. And I thought that Catalan smokers have probably become as alienated from the Spanish government as I have become alienated from both the British government and the EU.

The Spanish are famous smokers. And mi amiga smoked almost as much as I did (it was one of the things I liked about her). Something like 30 – 40% of Spaniards smoke. And so I thought this morning that most likely 30 – 40% of Catalans have become estranged from both the Spanish government and the EU, just like 20% of Brits have become alienated from the British government and the EU. Catalans want independence from Spain just as much as I want independence from the EU.  And that’s why support for Catalan independence had grown from 5% to 40%

The exertion of heavy-handed top down control by the Spanish government, in trying to suppress the Catalonian referendum, has probably now swelled the ranks of the Catalan independence movement even further. And as the EU has swung behind the Spanish government, it’s probably boosted independence sentiment elsewhere. The Express has an article titled: Catalonia is NOT alone: Mapped – the other European regions desperate for independence.

There’s a growing revolt against top down control by big government under way all over the world. And I suspect that angry, alienated smokers are a big part of it. When, in 2009, the EU made about 150 million of its citizens into second class citizens with its 2009 European smoking ban, I thought it had signed its own death warrant.

I also thought that angry, alienated US smokers voted last year for Donald Trump rather than for antismoker-in-chief Hillary Clinton.

It always puzzles me that smoking bans, and smokers’ responses to them, simply don’t register at all in the mainstream media, or in public political discourse. They’re regarded as politically unimportant. Smokers have become invisible. And every attempt is being made to make them even more invisible. They’ve become the invisible bottom layer of the pyramid of society (right). They don’t count at all.

But actually they do count a lot. Because even though they never get any hearing, they’re still spending (or rather, not spending) money, and they’re still voting. If the politicians would descend to the invisible bottom layer of the ship of society, they would find that the bilges are full of sea water, and the ship is sinking. And that’s why the ship is canting over to one side at the top, which is something they have noticed. Smoking bans fragment society, and they also fragment nations. They set everybody against everyone else.

Is it entirely accidental that Stephen Paddick, the Las Vegas shooter who (is said to have) killed about 60 people and injured another 500, was also yet another vicious, intolerant antismoker like Hillary Clinton? Michael Savage hasn’t noticed that about him yet. Neither has Alex Jones. Neither has the mainstream media, nor the political class.

Will they ever?

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About Frank Davis

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26 Responses to The Invisible Bottom Layer Of Society

  1. garyk30 says:

    Will they ever?

    NO!!!!

  2. Lecroix says:

    I’m out, Frank. You really, really, really, don´t know what you are talking about when it comes to Spain.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You’re quite right about me not knowing much about Spain. But I have a much better idea about the smokers that the politicians continue to ignore both here in England and there in Spain.

      And this post was much more about smokers than it was about Spain. As an English smoker I have become deeply estranged from both my own British government (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat – it doesn’t really make much difference who they are) and the EU. And if I had been a Spanish smoker (like you) I would have become estranged from both the Spanish government and the EU. Same if I had been a Catalan smoker. Or a French smoker. Or a German smoker. In each case there must be estrangement from governments that had ceased to represent people like me. Isn’t it likely that smokers more or less everywhere are feeling less loyalty to their own governments? Wouldn’t that include Catalans? Or do you think, like the politicians, that smoking bans don’t matter? I think they matter a lot.

      Incidentally, I have no strong views in favour of either Catalonia or Spain. I think they’ve both behaved stupidly. I wish well to both, but I rather fear for what might happen if they both carry on as intemperately as they have been.

      • Lecroix says:

        I do not wish to enter a debate. I have made my decision. I just want to remind you that the State (politicians) and the Nation ( geography+history+people) are not the same thing. What’s happening in Spain is not a confrontation between the mighty EU and the “poor” catalans. I despise the current government and the EU both. This is simply a confrontation between the Spanish people (including a majority of Catalans) and NWO-backed thugs. They are a minority these thugs (but are backed by Soros and Qatar) , they have lied and abused the democratic system for decades now. Most of what you see in the news is a LIE. There’s been no “abuse”, there are no “900 injured”. I’m flabbergasted that after all these years of you learning to distrust the media, you are now swallowing what they dole out, in favor of the NWO.

        But, worst of all, as I wrote on Nigel Farage’s wall, by defending these illegitimate claims, in hope of debilitating the stronghold the EU has on the UK, you are only hurting the UK. Should the NWO succeed in breaking apart Spain, next they’ll come for you. Whales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, they all have legitimate claims. Real ones, not fabricated ones. And once every old nation has been turned into easily manageable microstates, a new supranational, fascist superstate will emerge, the likes of which the world has never seen. You wanna see the emergence of such a state? Keep supporting the NWO against Spain.

        Last, I wanna remind you again. This is not the Government of Spain against “brave separatist”. It’s the patriotic people of Spain (including a majority of catalans) against a minority of thugs, backed by the big bucks of those that brought us smoking bans. I don’t support the government, nor the EU. I support the historical reality of Spain and the great nations of the Western World, against their enemies.

        Should you wish to reconsider and see the light, you can contact me. Goodbye now.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Most of what you see in the news is a LIE. There’s been no “abuse”, there are no “900 injured”.

          Well, I’m not in Barcelona (and to the best of my knowledge, neither are you). Are you saying that the Spanish Civil Guard hasn’t been throwing people out of polling stations, and the scenes I’ve seen on video have all been a fabrication?

          I’m flabbergasted that after all these years of you learning to distrust the media, you are now swallowing what they dole out, in favor of the NWO.

          I distrust them on matters of interpretation, but not usually on matters of fact. I take it as a matter of fact, for example, that somebody killed 58 people in Las Vegas on Sunday.

          Should the NWO succeed in breaking apart Spain, next they’ll come for you. Whales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, they all have legitimate claims. Real ones, not fabricated ones. And once every old nation has been turned into easily manageable microstates, a new supranational, fascist superstate will emerge, the likes of which the world has never seen.

          I think the EU has been showing every sign of becoming just such a fascist superstate without fracturing all the old nations into microstates, although I agree that microstates are probably more manageable.

          This is not the Government of Spain against “brave separatist”.

          I didn’t say it was a “brave separatist”. Nor did I even imply it.

          I don’t support the government, nor the EU. I support the historical reality of Spain and the great nations of the Western World, against their enemies.

          So do I.

          And so I don’t know what you’re seemingly so angry with me about.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Most of what you see in the news is a LIE. There’s been no “abuse”, there are no “900 injured”. I’m flabbergasted that after all these years of you learning to distrust the media, you are now swallowing what they dole out, in favor of the NWO.
          Lecroix, I didn’t follow the media and am not well informed. So I thought I would start looking for photographs we, here in Britain, are told have been taken at some clashes with the police.
          https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Googlecatalonia+referendum+violence&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisvomN9tzWAhVCBsAKHVoCAUIQ_AUIDCgD&biw=1366&bih=662
          (I’m not sure if the link works since I picked the page)
          Would someone Spanish ideally living in the area, be able to confirm these are authentic pictures? (Not taken at other events?)
          Perhaps going back to checking brings more clarity?

          These days it really is difficult to believe ANYTHING (or too easy through conditioning). We have a selective media (may I recall the New Years eve in Cologne when the police reported an “uneventful” night whilst youtube begun to paint a different picture via mobile phone uploads from people being there) which has the habit to omit inconvenient truths at times and we all know it.
          On the other hand, there are a lot of conspiracy theories around. Youtube is filled with them, too.

          My personal favourite is the Hollow Earth one. In this hollow earth there is supposed to be another ?reptilian race living.
          Some person commented that this doesn’t make sense, there is no light there.
          Shortly afterwards there was a hollow earth update: There is now a miniature sun in this hollow earth.
          For people interested:

          Perhaps common sense is far more important than we know?

    • Jack Ketch says:

      The Catalan situation puzzled me somewhat until I caught the phrase ‘Direct Rule by Spain’ on the German news last night. Seems to me THAT was always the real goal of the separatists and I must say they have played it well so far…icons, martyrs and even an Evil King. The Catalans have written a cracking narrative and that narrative will result in Devo-uber max if not independence within a few years. Like them or loath them, as Mr.Punch says- “that’s the way to do it!” .
      Now if the National police could just manage to shoot someone photogenic …..

  3. Jack Ketch says:

    One hopes the colours used on the map do not correlate to the strength of secessionist feeling in the countries concerned because I would hesitate to colour Donbass and N.Ireland the same colour as Flanders or Occitania ….

    …or is like the Monopoly board -get the orange set , whack hotels on them and you’re almost certain to win?

  4. Clicky says:

  5. waltc says:

    I think the smoking bans were, for many of us, a kind of wake-up call, an alarm going off, our first awareness that government wasn’t our friend and could actually be our–if not enemy, opponent; the first time we began to seriously and personally question it–both its power and its veracity. From being a kind of taken-for-granted background noise, it became a looming everyday presence– a lesser, but nonetheless felt version of Orwell’s boot on the face. From there, we questioned more and more aspects of what it was doing in other areas and, with heightened awareness and greater focus turned over stones and began to examine what crawled out. Iow, the bans were just the starting gun, not the whole thing.

    We’ve learned a few more things about the shooter: He reserved hotel rooms in Boston and Chicago overlooking arenas with scheduled events, but never showed up, and it’s unclear whether he showed up at the Vegas hotel room overlooking the rock concert a few weeks ago. ( Ever making plot connections, I thought of the set up in Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” where a phony trail was established for a fictive spy thru a series of hotel reservations, though in this case he may just have been doing dry runs–seeing if his plans were feasible. That, or getting last minute cold feet.) Then, too, his mistress now reveals that he’d been screaming things like “No, please God” when alone in his bedroom, which leads to the possibility that, like Son of Sam, he was hearing voices that directed him to kill. But again, we may never know or will be debating “second shooters” and “grassy knolls” for the next fifty years.

    • Rose says:

      Walt, the Smoking Ban was certainly a wake up call for me and you describe what happened next to me perfectly.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I heard about the other hotels, and the “No, please God.” But he sounded like he stayed in lots of hotels the whole time.

      One thought I had today was: how would any gunman with an automatic weapon have known whether he was hitting the target, which was 400 yards away. He doesn’t appear to have been using tracer bullets (so as not to give away his position). Given the pauses between multiple rounds of fire, maybe he was using the telescopic sights (or night vision binoculars) to survey the scene to see what had changed, before selecting a new target.

      In one report he was aid to have hit (but not penetrated) aviation fuel tanks lying several hundred yards behind the concert. That sounded to me like he was spraying shots around pretty wildly

      • waltc says:

        As long as the rifle had that range, at that rate of rapid fire, he couldn’t miss hitting the crowd–like trying to hit the side of a barn as opposed to individual slats of wood. They did find telescopic sites (on site, as it were).The shots at the tank are confirmed tho as I speculated earlier, no way to know if intentional or stray.

        • Frank Davis says:

          he couldn’t miss

          I don’t agree. I think it was probably very easy to miss. And that’s why he hit the fuel tanks (which were, from memory, in the distance and off to the right).

      • Daniel says:

        If as the media has reported he was using a ‘bump stock’ he would not have been able to aim accurately anyway. I’m wondering how many people dies from gun shot wounds and how many were trampled.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Walt. Ditto what Rose (and you) said. Prior to the smoking ban (well, before the run-up of a few years prior to it, actually), I’d been mildly dismissive of politics. For sure there were some things I felt more strongly about than others, and the incompetence of elected representatives everywhere was irritating, but by and large I saw them generally well-meaning, if inept, group of people. Then the anti-smoking movement really got the bit between its teeth (and the PTB under their thumb), and I suddenly realised with a nasty jolt just how vicious and deliberately unfair a suitably-motivated State could be. And that piqued my interest in all sorts of other aspects of political misdoings. I saw with sudden clarity how the machinations of a bully state worked, began to understand how history had been riddled with corrupt, ideologically-minded, flawed dictators who had risen to positions of power seemingly without any real opposition from the people, and I understood at that point exactly how true all those old phrases (“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” “The public gets the government it deserves,” “All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing,” “Anyone who would forgo his freedoms for the sake of his security deserves neither.” ) actually were – and always had been.

      • how true all those old phrases […] actually were – and always had been.

        These are four true evergreens among political thoughts and unfortunately they do not seem bound to wilt any time soon. Even more unfortunately, another, rather more optimistic political quote, ending in “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time” (attributed to Lincoln, but most likely apocriphal) has been outdated in recent decades. As readers and commenters on defiant blogs such as Frank’s, Junican’s and DP’s, we all are witness to how such a cruel deception as anti-smoking, one that should have been kept within the confines of wacky dystopianim, became everyday reality for generations on end.

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    Finally some good news from California, Governor Brown vetoed a bill for a smoking ban at beaches and parks.

    “In his veto message, Brown suggested that the ban — which would have applied to cigarettes, cigars, marijuana and e-cigarettes — was overkill.

    “If people can’t even smoke on a deserted beach, where can they?” Brown wrote. “There must be some limits to the coercive power of government.”

    “Brown vetoes smoking ban at state beaches and parks” at
    http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Brown-vetoes-smoking-ban-at-state-beaches-and-12259757.php

    The comments are dominated by astroturf antismokers…

  7. Torquaymada says:

    Off topic but interesting to see Quentin Letts referencing smokers in his anti-establishment rant in today’s Daily Mail.

    A small thing on its own I suppose but, nevertheless, there it is.

  8. Rose says:

    Seymour: Tobacco tax leading to violent crime
    7 October 2017

    “A high school economics student could’ve predicted an increase on tobacco tax would lead to more robberies.
    That’s from Act Party leader David Seymour after at least 490 robberies or burglaries targeting cigarettes over a 13 month period.

    He said the next Government has to review the annual tobacco tax hike policy.
    “It has led to poverty amongst the poorest New Zealanders and people turning to violent crime to get tobacco.”

    Seymour believes his point on tobacco tax has been proved by the big jump in raids on dairies.
    Mr Seymour said it’s only to be expected, with the price of cigarettes going up ten percent year on year.

    “It has not led to a reduction in smoking, it has led to violence as people try to steal bricks of cigarettes that have been turned into $300 gold bars by tobacco taxes.”
    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/seymour-tobacco-tax-leading-to-violent-crime/

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