Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
An excellent read that has come our way from our cousin Michael in the US of A. He has drawn our attention to the following New York Times editorial and furnished us with his as yet unpublished response and his commentary. So read on for this three parter!
Part I - NYT Editorial
Roll Your Own Tax Rate
There are no records kept on how fast loopholes can be uncovered in new federal law, but the roll-your-own tobacco industry is making a breathtaking run for this year’s shabby laurels. No sooner had President Obama signed the new children’s health insurance law last spring than the industry pried open a lucrative escape from the 20-fold tax increase levied on roll-your-own cigarettes to help support the program.
Companies simply remarketed roll-your-own as “pipe tobacco,” which is taxed at one-tenth the rate and is not subject to any definitive distinction under the law. The result is that roll-your-own companies, while a small part of the cigarette industry, quintupled their output of pipe tobacco in just five months to 1.7 million pounds — enough to roll 42 million packs of cigarettes.
The evasion could cost the government more than $30 million a month in revenues, according to the Associated Press. But the potential cost to the public is far greater, since studies show higher cigarette taxes have proved to be an effective way to discourage children from smoking.
The new fear is that the gimmickry of rolling your own and using flavored (“pipe”) tobacco — now banned in packaged cigarettes — could prove irresistible for youngsters experimenting with life. And with death.
Obviously the new law is in urgent need of a no- nonsense amendment to bring roll-your-own under proper federal controls and full taxation. The companies plead they merely found a way to save their industry from taxes so prohibitive as to force them to close. That’s not a bad idea, given the public health findings about lethal smoking. But the companies’ gambit — the pretense of marketing pipe tobacco — is an outright deception.
Retailers are winking as they peddle pipe tobacco along with cigarette papers. This is not what President Obama and Congress had in mind in acting to bolster the health of young people. What’s the record for shutting a loophole?
Part II - Michael's Response
Your Nov. 21st Editorial about roll-your-own pipe tobacco being sold for cigarettes absolutely reeks of hypocrisy.
You speak of $30 million a month being "lost" while never mentioning that smokers are still paying well over a hundred times that amount each month in taxes. You speak of children being attracted to the "gimmickry" of rolling shreds of tobacco after all your years of editorializing about Big Tobacco's brand advertising being the cause of children smoking. You play the save the children card again by emphasizing "flavored tobacco - now banned in packaged cigarettes" while never mentioning that none of those cigarettes were coming from Big Tobacco or noting that the one major flavoring those companies actually do use, menthol, was given a built in exemption all of its own.
You end by asking "What's the record for shutting a loophole?" How about asking "What's the record for the largest single tax increase upon a minority group?" Does RYO tobacco's 2,130% increase upon the poorest segment of American smokers sound like the right answer?
Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
Part III - Michael's Commentary
While I didn't have room to get into it in the letter, the "children card" was particularly annoying since they play on the image of "children attracted to gimmickry" thereby conjuring the image of a child between 6 and perhaps 10 or 12 years old.
In reality of course only about 1 child in a hundred would ever actually buy cigarettes at such an age: any smoking that goes on in that age range is almost universally the result of swiping them from a relative's pack or being given them by an older friend. And in further reality, probably 1 in a thousand of those 1 in a hundred would think of walking into a tobacco shop or going on the internet with a credit card and buying a pound of rolling "pipe" tobacco. And of those who indeed might do so, raising the price of such a pound from $25 to $50 would probably deter about 1 in 10 of those who displayed that much determination to begin with. We are now talking about one child in a million.
Of that one in a million how many do you think would be making such a well-thought-out purchase simply because they were attracted to the "gimmickry" of rolling their own? Maybe one in a hundred?
So we're talking about a 2,000% tax increase on five million or so pipe smokers in order to prevent the purchase of a pound of tobacco by roughly one such "child" in a population of a hundred million children.
Since there are only about 50 million such children at most in the US population, there's just about a fifty-fifty chance that even a single such incident would happen in a given year... but meanwhile those five million pipe smokers will all be paying a couple of hundred dollars extra for their enjoyment... close to one billion dollars overall to theoretically prevent one-half of a single "child" from trying smoking a few years earlier than he or she otherwise probably would anyway.
That's one of the reasons I devoted a whole subsection of Brains to the "Saving the Children" propaganda trick: it's a powerful card that's been played by such notables as Attila the Hun (We'll spare the children if you surrender!) to Adolph Hitler (The Jews are drinking the blood of Christian babies!) to Saddam Hussein (As he smilingly patted the little American child-hostage on the head for the TV cameras) to George Bush Sr. (As he lamented how the Iraqi soldiers were dumping premature Kuwaiti babies on hospital floors while stealing incubators.) Our biologically hard-wired love for our children makes us extremely vulnerable to the abuse of that love by those who would manipulate us for their own benefit and aims.
And now it's being used against pipe smokers.... not just in terms of this tax, but also in terms of the U.S. PACT act that will stop you from ever again ordering pipe tobacco through the mail or delivery services. Oh, and peripherally in the Health Insurance Plan in Congress that actually DOES seem to specify that you're quite fine with your pipe as long as you just smoke crack or meth in it... but your monthly premium will double if you dare fire up a bowl of cherry-flavored baccy!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
The book delves into the interests of the pharmaceutical industry and the cancer research organizations to determine whether they have vested interests in the ostracisation of smokers and, if so, where those interests lay. Including extracts from a variety of Surgeon General Reports and an anti-smoking magazine from 1917, ‘Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco’ leaves no stone unturned and provides an encyclopedic view into one of the largest issues in society today. With global smoking bans now in place and the World Health Organisation declaring a global war against tobacco smoking, the book is timely and relevant. With over a billion smokers worldwide there is potential for this book to be a milestone in recent history. It is available for purchase through the author’s website: http://www.smokescreens.org/
About the author:
Richard White is an independent researcher with no ties or affiliations with either the tobacco or medical industries. ‘Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco’ is his first book and has garnered attention worldwide with numerous people pre-ordering a copy. He runs a website and newsletter relating to the book and its content, which receives thousands of hits a month and people from various countries around the world are signed up to the newsletter. He has a BA (Hons) degree from Canterbury Christ Church University and now runs his own business offering literary services.
Posted by Gasdoc at 1:43 pm
Saturday, November 07, 2009
I recently ran across an internet discussion where an Antismoker was seriously putting forth an argument that I'd thought had been put out to pasture a long time ago. About five years ago some Antismokers in Italy produced a study purporting to show that cigarettes were far more "polluting" than modern diesel cars.
Basically they claimed that smoking three cigarettes in a sealed garage produced more air pollution than running a car for a half hour in that same garage.
The trick here is that they basically tested for a particular element (FPM 2.5) that's given off by cigarettes in much greater relative quantities than by diesel fuel. If they'd picked a different element (or even a normal car!) to measure then the car would have come out as the villain.
What they did is kind of like saying "Chlorine is poisonous, and this teaspoon of chlorinated tap water is giving off more chlorine than this entire bottle of ammonia!" and then concluding that drinking a teaspoon of tap water would be more "deadly" than drinking an entire bottle of of ammonia.
It's a shell game - a bait-and-switch sort of argument.
I've thought about this study for a bit over the years and have recently come up with a new study to propose. We lock those researchers along with some volunteer Antismokers in that sealed garage for an hour with the car running while GasDoc, Blad Tolstoy and I am locked in a different garage with three or four smokers (all of us playing a wild game of poker... if the other three were female we could get really creative at that!) At the end of the hour we open both garages.
Study result: the world will be a better place.
Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers Brains"
Sunday, October 04, 2009
A reduction in pubic smoking has apparently reaped benefits for those less inclined to ignite their groins. Stanton Glantz, our nemesis, has published fascinating data indicating that the decline in pelvic grinding reduces the risk of heart disease. It has long been suspected that the dangers of environmental pubic friction were sinister enough to warrant a ban on pubic smoking. Hopefully this ground breaking study will soon bring to an end that only too common and distressing sight of the sufferer pouring their lager down their trousers to quench the pain from their flaming sexual organs.
To read this seminal work follow the link below:
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The American Medical Association has weighed in on the new Healthcare Reform Proposals:
The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves...
The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.
The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.
Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.
The Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, “Oh, Grow up!”
The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.
Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.
The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter.."
The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.
The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.
In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the A******s in Washington.
Monday, September 21, 2009
By Blad Tolstoy
I am pleased to announce two items of excellent news for the readers of this blog.
First of all, our colleagues in Australia are organising a smokers rights conference in Bali for July 2010. This sounds like a most charming location for such an event and we are informing our readers in good time in case anyone wishes to save up to go.
Secondly, for those who may have wondered what happened to TICAP, the site is back in place. TICAP, like F2C and Forces International, shared the same server. The building in which the server was located burnt down, so all three sites had to be relocated with a new server. This is now completed and all aspects of TICAP's site will return to normal over the next few days.
However, please take a look at this page:
Here, readers will discover the first simple announcement for the next TICAP conference which will take place in The Hague, Holland, on March 15th, 2010. Please keep an eye on this page as the details will be added to and developed over the next few weeks. The Hague is the home of the Global Court of Justice and it was considered to be a most appropriate location for what will be a prestigious and exciting event.
We hope to see you all there!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
They didn't publish it so I will!
In your leading article "National Health Service? - Health policy has done less to counteract health inequalities than was always hoped" on the 14th September 2009 the writer briefly examined the original aims of and subsequent developments in the NHS and public health policy. I would take issue with some of the basic tenets offered in the discussion.
First, I detect some confusion of the boundaries between Public Health Medicine, Health Policy and the NHS. Indeed, the blurring of these boundaries is to blame for the administrative and financial mesh throttling the NHS. Public Health Medicine is the prerogative of busy-body, do-gooder, meddling, paternalistic nannies and is of no proven benefit. This has led to the government using NHS resources to service its various poorly supported efforts to tell the public how to live their lives. These “initiatives” are often informed by bigoted lobbyists such as ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), who are also succoured with public money, and by the pharmaceutical industry, whose only interest is to sell drugs. Health Policy is the random thoughts of the ignorant, garnered to win votes, proven beyond doubt to have failed. The author seems to treat the terms NHS and Health Policy as synonymous. Far from this I would suggest that Health Policy has been the main downfall of the NHS. The service continues to be the jewel in the crown despite policy repeatedly being the poor relative. The service is a tangible physical entity whereas the policy is wishy-washy propaganda. I have worked exclusively in the NHS as both a general practitioner and a hospital doctor for 29 years. As a constituent part of the service I have witnessed serial offences of health policy crime committed by sequential and recidivist governments. The heart of each crime is the position that the NHS occupies as a political football.
Second, in dissecting the title "National Health Service", the author neglects to allow for changes in the meaning of words over the time period involved and for the perversion of the term "health". Equally scant regard is given to the modern usage of the word "service" with its associated categorical inventions of "client", "user" and "service provider". Bevan's idealistic aims may have been optimistic but were informed by the state of medical knowledge of the time and entirely pure. Whatever the current meaning of the words in its title and whatever people think it should do, the NHS is and has always been a deliverer of advice and management for illness and disease - nothing more and nothing less. This service has been run by the highest quality medical professionals and been highly integrated with academic medicine. The gradual and systemic erosion of these two facts has, in my opinion gravely contributed to its downfall.
Third, the author alludes to the excesses of human consumption or behaviour being in someway contributory to the state of the NHS. Why then are we living so long? Is it not an irony that the aim of Public Health Medicine has shot the NHS in the foot? Simply old people get ill more. Furthermore and without rare intellect can you not see that cancer, heart disease and stroke are diseases of the elderly? Seriously, the NHS will thrive if fat, drunken, lazy smokers die quickly. Incidentally, this would solve the pension’s crisis and maintain tax revenue superbly - especially in the case of smokers. Drinkers you're next! Health economics produces fallacial statistics daily, merely in an attempt to disguise propaganda or erroneously provide back up for unsupportable health policy. The best example of this is that supporting the denormalisation of smokers. Paradoxically, however, with scrutiny, it is obvious that the complete financial picture surrounding tobacco shows the NHS to be in debt to smokers and to tobacco to the sum of several billion pounds sterling.
Furthermore, the metaphorical battle that has been and still is fought is not against human excess, but rather against the relentless advance and therefore cost of medical science. The other melee is going on, on the touchline, against rampaging public expectation. Demand is simply outstripping supply. This latter tussle is fuelled by irresponsible media hype over "health" matters and scandalous big pharma. A very good example being the phenomenally costly peddling and supply of nicotine replacement therapy, proven beyond doubt now to be of little or no value.
Fourth, as is always the case, no mention or consideration of the cost or status of mental illness is pursued. I feel sure that the pressure on the NHS is made all the greater by the neuroses occurring in the vulnerable public due to “health mongering” and scare tactics. By health mongering I refer to the propensity to infer that in some way I will be in danger if I do not exercise 30 minutes a day and eat five portions of fruit and vegetables, or avoid the sun for fear of cancer and soak in the sun for fear of vitamin D deficiency. I could go on. By scare tactics I specifically refer to the WHO inspired campaign to make people believe they are in some kind of peril from smokers being in their vicinity! Now, I can add the current TV advertisement campaign of pathetic children attempting to tug the hard heart strings of their smoking parents. Whatever next?
Lastly, death is never "premature", but always inevitable. Poverty is associated with lower life expectancy. Poverty has decreased so life expectancy has increased. This is not in anyway related to the NHS, Public Health Medicine or Health Policy. It is due to the improvement in the infrastructure of civilisation. Simply look at third world countries and compare infant or perinatal mortality or life expectancy.
It would seem wise and fair for me now to outline some constructive suggestions. The National Health Service needs radical, root and branch reform not piecemeal initiatives. An independent body should examine the whole organisation and subject it to stringent system analysis. Simply put it should be decided what its outcomes should be and what system is needed to complete these outcomes. It should then be disbanded and started again.
It should be independent from government but funded partly by public money. All other funding options should be considered. It should be intimately linked with academic medicine. It should be separated absolutely from public health medicine and public health “campaigns”. NHS money should only fund illness advice and management. Its biggest areas of deficit currently are communication globally, administration, management and its complex funding.
A metaphorical or analogous image which may serve to illustrate my opinion of the situation is that of a marionette puppet, some of whose strings have become entangled with several other puppets’ strings, some have been broken and knotted together and some have been left dangling. The NHS needs to be cut down and restrung. The other marionettes are Public Health Medicine, Health Policy, countless QWANGOS and committees, silly lobbyists and some charities.
Posted by Gasdoc at 8:51 pm
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to amend the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill by removing the proposals relating to the ban on the display of tobacco in shops.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
This is covered well in these two articles on our friends blogs. As a sign of our support we would draw it to your attention. I want one closer to home!!!
The Jolly Brewer Smokin' Festival - Phil Johnson
Encouraging Signs of Support at Smoker's Festival - Patsy Nurse
Monday, August 31, 2009
By Blad Tolstoy
Well, we told you so. Yes, read all about it, the whole sorry story about the massive increase in cigarette smuggling going on in the UK.
The whole thing is presented here, the smuggled and counterfeit tobacco market is booming:
Cost to UK from cigarette smuggling - Daily Telegraph
Will they be able to control it? Not on your nelly. The war against drugs has failed, so what do they expect will happen with a product millions of times more popular?
Prohibition and excessive taxation always opens doors for criminals.
When will the politicians learn the lessons? The war against smokers is now a guaranteed failure.
Am I pleased? From one perspective, yes, in that it's satisfying to be proved right (yet again). From another perspective, no, why would anyone wish to encourage the growth of criminal markets and what about safeguarding young people from mixing with criminals?
Anyway read on...
By Blad Tolstoy
I should like to draw your attention to this letter by John Wesdorp Dip CAH PNLP (that means he's a hypnotherapist and no big deal) who wants all the supermarkets to stop selling tobacco products to save the poor "addicts" from themselves.
Abolish the Sale of tobacco products in Supermarkets - Usprwire
Note the commonly quoted figures, repeated ad nauseam and unsubstantiated by fact, which Wesdorp (self confessed antismoking activist) repeats:
"Every day, over 40,000 young people around the world start smoking. One third of those will eventually die (at what age please) from the effects a smoking related disease as a result of taking up the smoking habit. Those young people are persuaded by multi-billion pound tobacco marketing campaigns that specifically targets adolescents by making smoking look rebellious or even by portraying smoking as hip and a fashion statement."
Here is a right old piece of subterfuge as it implies that children will die as children when most smokers die over the age of 75. We all know this one don't we? It's one of the oldest cons in the book.
And, how about:
"The commercial sale of tobacco products is a remnant of the 20th century when an estimated 200,000,000 (200 million) people died prematurely as a direct result of smoking tobacco products. This number of deaths exceeds the total of all those killed in two world wars, the holocaust, plus all other wars, insurgences, invasions and other military activities. Those deaths from smoking occurred in all ranks of society and tragically included many prominent and talented people in the business community, politics, show business and public life."
Given that no-one really knows how many people die or do not die from smoking, then these figures are sheer fiction of an unprecedented scale. The fact is that smoking has never been proved to be uniquely responsible for anyone's death, hence it is impossible to generate any reliable figures on deaths at all. No, no-one is saying that smoking cannot kill you, but if you have no solid proof that it uniquely responsible for anyone's death, then its a simple logical point that no-one can possibly know how many people die from it.
Wesdorp has also been written about here too:
Offers Smokers Help That Does Not Work
Here, he makes the claim that 70% of British smokers desperately want to give up. This again, is straight out of the ASH handbook. How does he know how many smokers want to give up? How does ASH know? How can anybody possibly know? In fact, the reverse is now happening for, as opposed to wanting to give up, more and more smokers, fed up with the nagging, harassment and intrusions by self-appointed health dictators like Wesdorp and ASH are digging in their heels with even greater determination.
But of course, the nub of the issue is that Wesdorp is "Managing Director" of No Smoking Again, an organisation which is not listed as a company at Companies House and therefore the title "Managing Director" maybe more than a little pretentious. It may be the case, of course, that the name Wesdorp uses is just a company trading name and his "company" is actually listed by another name. However, if not, then he will be guilty of trying to make himself sound more important than he is.
Check it out for yourselves:
But, more to the point, Wesdorp peddles hypnotherapy to stop you smoking.
No Smoking Again - Wesdorp Hypnotherapy!
This is the most successful method for stopping he says. Again, how does he know? In fact, whereas Wesdorp is correct to outline the very low success rate of nicotine replacement therapy, the most successful method for giving up is cold turkey, way and ahead on medical figures (see, for example: http://www.whyquit.com/)
As it happens, this writer tried hypnotherapy many years ago and found it absolutely useless.
If the supermarkets have any sense, they'll ignore Wesdorp because if they don't sell tobacco products then the smugglers will, and all Wesdorp will have done is further assisted the creation of a burgeoning criminal market.
Revealed 2bn cost to UK from cigarette smuggling - The Telegraph
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
by Blad Tolstoy
You know, I used to like Liverpool - a lot, but not any more.
Yes, I remember when I first became acquainted with that city at the beginning of the 1970s. People told me that if you asked someone the way to anywhere they'd almost take you there they were so friendly. And they were, I tried it and was duly impressed.
Since then, I have noted all the character stripping changes but still enjoyed the city very much until recent years. I recall all those Sunday visits to The Tate in Albert Dock to take in the interactive art exhibitions and all the excellent selections of work by artists from the last 100 odd years. My trips were usually completed by a visit to the Tate eaterie where I would end my repasts with an appreciative cigarette. What splendid afternoons they were.
As this century progressed I became aware that something was changing. The noises coming from the City Council became more politically correct and strident. Then came the announcements concerning smoking bans, I remember them first in about 2003-04. Yes, Liverpool was to become a "modern" smokefree city, leading the way in the UK in stamping out the ghastly habit, or so a progression of snotty wac zealots announced.
Well, we know that a smoking ban has since been implemented and, contrary to the promises of the zealots, it has still not bedded in and sits uncomfortably on the broken back of our pub industry. However, this is not enough damage for Liverpool City Council, which now wants to ban anyone under the age of 18 from seeing films with smoking in them - just in case they become corrupted.
One can be forgiven for taking a sharp intake of breath at this gob-smacking stupidity. If anyone wanted to find a way to make smoking even more attractive to minors well, this is it. If you want to make smoking more glamourous, just keep banning it. Moreover, how will stopping under 18s from seeing films in the cinema stop them from seeing CDs and videos? Puleease, get real you idiots!
Lastly, I ask myself, is this the beginning of yet another New Age Industry? Will Liverpool become the centre for film airbrushing? Will Humphrey Bogart have his fag replaced with a stick of rock? Will Audrey Hepburn suck a banana? Who knows? Perhaps they'll just have to make do with a slug clone.
We have not plugged Christopher Snowdon's book yet. It has been widely publicised by Forest, so it is possible that some of you have already read it. It can be communicated to our readers that Uncle Bald has read it and gives it a 5 star rating!
The "Dark Market" is a full expose of the campaign by ASH and Co to promote the removal of cigarette displays in shops. Snowdon got hold of all the e-mails between ASH, the DofH, Cancer Research UK and their consultants in Canada using the Freedom of Information Act.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
In these hard times, many of you may be thinking of rolling your own cigarettes. I've tried it and sadly tired of the fiddliness involved. It seemed like I had sprouted a couple of extra thumbs. I'm having another go and I found a charming and humorous website with some hints and tips for the beginner. It truely is an art and I don't might admitting that I would love to master the one handed roll-up. So all those who have tried and failed and all those who fancy a go here's a link to some wise words.
Cigarette rolling instructions.
Perhaps we should trade our experiences. I personally find the trickiest bit getting the edge of the paper to tuck in prior to forming the tube. I think my thumbs are too big. I have got a rolling machine, which I can use a filter in, but the filter is just too small for the size tube the machine makes. Hey Ho!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Posted by Gasdoc at 8:05 pm
I've just discovered Professor Jeremy Richards a professor of history from the US of A. He kindly directed me to an article he wrote in August 2008 for the Heartland Institute. In it he sumarises the history of smoking bans and profers us his quite optimistic vision for the future.
Here is the link to this superb article...
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Fri Jul 31, 11:41 AM
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A restaurant owner in southwest Turkey was shot dead after he tried to prevent his customers from smoking to comply with a new law on the use of tobacco indoors, Hurriyet daily said on Thursday.
A fight broke out after Hidir Karayigit, 46, ordered a group of customers to extinguish their cigarettes when they began smoking at his "meyhane," a traditional restaurant that serves alcohol, in the town of Saruhanli, Hurriyet said.
One of the customers shot Karayigit four times after he took away the group's cigarettes, said witness Hamza Havutcu, Karayigit's business partner who was also shot and wounded.
Turkey's government on July 19 introduced a nationwide ban on indoor smoking, including bars and restaurants, despite the fact that half of Turks aged between the ages of 15 and 49 smoke; one of the highest rates in the world.
"I'm deeply saddened that the first smoking-ban murder occurred in our town," Saruhanli Mayor Veli Yalcin told Hurriyet. "They either shouldn't have outlawed smoking or they should have outlawed alcohol along with smoking."
(Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Jon Hemming)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
by Blad Tolstoy
For those of you who have not yet visited Salon, may I recommend a quick trip:
This is a really nice news and views site with lots of topical stuff all presented in a very classy style. Also part of Salon is it's movies page at:
Thursday, July 23, 2009
by Michael J. McFadden
"Sent to the Washington Times on July 21st, 2009"
Dear Editor, A Lie We Can't Ignore...
Breaking campaign promises is something many politicians do, and they are used to getting away with it even when they are broken blatantly and without apologies.
Being caught in a public lie is something else entirely.
President Obama clearly, without ANY doubt or quibbling whatsoever, blatantly lied to the cameras on July 21st on the Today Show and NO ONE seems to be raising the issue.
Obama said, and I quote exactly as you can see 5 minutes into the original clip of the Today Show interview with Meredith Vieira:
"The only tax change I've made in the 6 months I've been here is to cut people's taxes."
He said that - despite the clear and recorded fact that he raised cigarette pack taxes by 150% and raised the tax on one of the poorest well-defined minority groups in the country, smokers so poor they roll their own from shreds of tobacco and scraps of paper, by OVER TWO THOUSAND PERCENT (from $1/lb to $24/lb).
He stated a lie, a lie that at least 40 million Americans (smokers) knew full well was a lie, and Meredith didn't even wince, much less even TRY to pretend to be a journalist and ask him about it.
While there have been some rumblings on the internet about it I don't believe there has been even a single mention of it ANYWHERE in the mainstream media.
He **LIED** - no waffling, no minor prevarication, no slight mis-slip-of-the-tongue, he LIED just as blatantly and directly as if Bush had been interviewed about terrorism and said "We have no one imprisoned at Guantanamo."
The amazing thing is that no one seems to be calling him on it. Smokers seem to have been now officially relegated to the status of unpersons, of vermin that do not even need to be acknowledged to exist as citizens of America despite paying taxes to support the children nonsmokers don't love enough to support themselves.
I have news for Mr. Obama. We are NOT unpersons. We are NOT vermin. We are Americans and we will NOT tolerate being erased.
Michael J. McFadden
Author of Dissecting Antismokers' Brains
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
by Blad Tolstoy
A woman who left four of her children plating in a park unattended whilst she took the fifth to a shop has been given a criminal record.
The reason for this occurrence was that the fifth child – a toddler – had petulantly demanded an ice cream whilst the family were enjoying some recreational time. In order to cope with a difficult situation, the mother left her four other children under the care of her nine year old, a responsible youngster, while she quickly popped to the shop for a few moments with her youngest.
On returning from the shop she found police officers talking to her other children. In response to the their concerns, the mother explained what had happened and all seemed to be well. She was also pleased that the police had acted so vigilantly.
A short while later, the same mother applied for a voluntary job as a Sunday school teacher with her local church. Imagine her surprise when she discovered that the “incident” in the park had been logged with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and that she had been labelled a risk to children. Consequently, she did not get the job.
Jane Clift, a former care worker from Slough, was threatened by a drunk whom she saw trampling flower beds in a local park. The police advised her to inform the local council which was campaigning for people to report anti-social incidents.
After several phone calls and a letter of complaint, because Miss Clift felt her case was not being taken seriously, she was horrified to receive a letter from the council telling her that she’d been placed on the register for potentially violent persons and classed as “medium level of threat” – the same as a sex offender. This information was then passed on to local organisations such as libraries, hospitals and schools and Miss Clift acquired “pariah” status.
It took her four years to clear her name. Last month a jury awarded her £12,000 in libel damages after finding that what had been recorded by Slough council about her “was not true”.
For these two cases, see:
A doctor who left his eight year-old son in his car whilst he went to the bank has been placed on the police and social services register.
The doctor had to go to the bank in Newton Abbot, Devon. He was accompanied in the car by his son and his father asked him if he wanted to come into the bank with him. The son declined the offer, preferring instead to stay in the car and play with his computer.
When the father returned some twenty minutes later, he was confronted by two police officers who asked him why he had left his child in the car whilst the son was hot.
In response, the father vainly tried to explain that the rooftop window was open and that his son was committed to playing with his computer and, moreover, he was capable of opening the door if needed.
The police nevertheless recorded all the details of the event plus all the details of the doctor’s family, including his other children, and informed him that they would be recorded on the police and social services register until all his children reached the age of eighteen.
Whilst everyone is concerned with the welfare of children and vulnerable adults this “checking” system goes far to far. In fact, what it means is that all adults who have any contact at all with children, particularly parents, are at risk. They are at risk because to have their names placed on the CRB register, or any similar registers, will ruin their lives and reputations forever.
Whilst many people would be content to have the names of proven sex or violent offenders placed on such registers, the fact that even the innocent can end up there is both shocking and disturbing.
In today’s radio version of Question Time (18/7/09) with Jonathan Dimbleby, the question was asked if it was only a matter of time before everyone who had any contact with children required a CRB check. Enter Harriet Harman to defend the government.
Harman is said to be a “blue stocking” but I have never found any of her comments at any time to particularly enlightening. Harman’s response to this question was emotive and undiscerning as she found no problem at all with the system in place.
The fact that it produces serious miscarriages of justice and deformations of character plainly does not concern her and she was content to play to emotional blackmail with the “it’s for the children” card.
Over the past five years, according to figures obtained form the Home Office by the Conservatives, a total of 12,225 disputes over inaccurate CRB checks have been upheld. This is because there are no real safeguards to challenge such records at the moment because of the way the law stands. In other words, once on the register you have no easy way to clear your name.
Worse still, is that the system depends on “soft” data. This includes police suspicions and subjective assessments and incidents when someone has been questioned and released. Similarly, even unsubstantiated information provided by informants in the community whose names are kept confidential is also taken into consideration. Subsequently, as was asked in the Daily Telegraph: how many people are wandering about unaware of any information that may have been stored about them?
As I consider these facts, I notice that where I live the children play in the street. They also sometimes wander unaccompanied to nearby common land. Under the circumstances described in the three abovementioned cases, this means all their parents could be liable to find themselves placed on the CRB register. Furthermore, if an innocent parent is placed on the register and, as a result of which, they find their job prospects destroyed, how are they then going to be able to work to sustain their families? Also, as the stigma from such an event will also rub off on the children, how is that for their good?
One of the other many negative effects of this policy is that it has certainly reduced the number of people wishing to work with children and vulnerable adults in the voluntary sector.
For a more detailed outline of some of the points of concern see Prof. Frank Furedi’s article at Civitas:
and also his book, co-written with Jennie Barlow:
“Licence to Hug”
Penultimately, let me reiterate, whilst it is very important that children are protected from paedophiles and others who would wish them harm, it is also important that miscarriages of justice are not tolerated either. Yes, there are those who will argue that miscarriages of justice are inevitable, and maybe so, but that does not mean they should be considered an acceptable way of dealing with a problem. Moreover, one miscarriage of justice is bad enough but for there to be at least a possible 12,225 is unforgivable.
The end does not justify the means and it makes a mockery of our law and any notion of justice. Lastly, for those who use the argument that we have nothing to fear if we are innocent, let me say: keep your mendacious platitudes. The underlying implication of the current CRB system is that even the innocent can be criminalised and of that we have much to fear.
Monday, July 13, 2009
by Blad Tolstoy
Newsmax reports that the Pentagon may try to ban smoking in the American military. More shades of Hitler, some of you may say, given that 'orrible Adolf tried the same stunt with the Germans back in the time of the 3rd Reich.
Just as Adolf failed then, and for similar reasons, we doubt this policy has a chance of working in America either, despite the fact that antis like Joe Cherner have tried persuading soldiers to quit and placing pressure on the US military to ban smoking as well.
In the past, it has always amused me considerably, to listen to antis prescribe that soldiers comforts parcels should contain "better"substitutes for tobacco such as soft sweets - "sucking, for the purpose of" - as they might say in the army.
There is an obvious silliness here, in that, for soldiers facing possible death, the idea that smoking could be bad for their health is laughable. Moreover, if any antis received call-up papers for a military conflict, they would probably be found in the local department store changing their underwear.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
by Blad Tolstoy
It is frequently said that the nanny state encourages adults to behave like children. Nowhere is this proposal manifest more clearly than by some of the comments of antis who talk as though the entire world should revolve around them - even though they plainly do not go to the entire world as is proven by the unmitigated economic disaster which is the smoking ban.
Yes, you all know how the story goes, than when smokers were cleared out from the hospitality venues they would be replaced by hordes of non-smokers. We knew, beforehand, that this would not happen, as we only needed to take note of the damaging effects of smoking bans in other countries, particularly parts of America, where such bans had already been implemented.
However, now, even in thickie UK, more and more commentators are speaking out about the damage to our pubs, clubs, bingo halls and even restaurants.
There is now a significant movement to have the ban amended by proposals allowing establishments over a certain size to be able to choose to have strictly partitioned (separated by walls and sealed from each other) smoking and non-smoking areas; and establishments below that certain size to be able to choose whether to be all non smoking or smoking throughout. This is in line with policy already adopted successfully by many continental European countries.
The response of many antis to these proposals is almost solipsistic and they regale us with comments about: "the most wonderful law that New Labour has enacted" and, "why should I have to immerse myself in your filthy smoke?" In a nutshell, they choose to completely ignore the fact that the proposals present an opportunity to be fair to all and that they won't have to be "immersed" in anyone's smoke at all if they choose not to be.
When attempts are made to explain this to these people (if I may call them that), the spectre of "deadly" second-hand-smoke (SHS) is immediately raised with the hysteria of a religious zealot screaming "heresy". The SHS issue is easily demolished by those favouring choice (both smokers and non-smokers), with a whole barrage of arguments and evidenced scientific data which leaves the average anti in a state of confusion as their comfort blanket of sticky sound bites and mendacious propaganda is ripped apart.
Desperately, seeking to clutch at some straw, the average anti then reverts to what I have chosen to call Violet Elizabeth Bott syndrome. Here are instances from "LucyQ" responding to an article by brain sodomised Guardian journalist, David Cronin.
(Pardon? Aside from the lack of punctuation indicating a certain immaturity, does she mean the Nile?)
(Aha, I see)
"Smokers are the only addicts that are empowered to bully others wherever and whenever. If nicotine is your drug ofchoice why don't you use it in liquid form and push a needle in your veins?"
(That's it, LucyQ, you just stick it to 'em)
"You thmokerth are nathty, thtinky and horrid. Yeth, nathty, an' thmelly. I hate you, why don't you juth die? You'readdicth. I could thcweam and thcweam and juth thcweam."
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
By Blad Tolstoy
Hi-di-hi bloggers and bloggettes!
As most of you are now aware, the EU now wants to extend smoking bans to outdoors. See:
Yes, quite drunk with power, our "friends" in the wonderful EU want to flex their muscles further against those easy soft targets - the smokers - by trying to make their lives just that little bit more uncomfortable in the great crusade towards perfect health for everybody (uh-huh, dream on) whether they want it or not.
Aside from the fact that many countries in the continental Europe have already reached more sensible accommodations than Britain's Nu-Labour idiots have achieved, we await with baited breath to see how unsuccessful this next 3rd Reich manoeuvre will be as the vanity of some of our political class attempts to puff itself up even further. The Greeks had a word for this: hubris.
But, I digress, for you may be interested to see what Androulla Vassiliou - a Brussels Commissioner who is pushing this agenda - looks like. Sooo, heeeeeeeerrrre's Johnny:
Indeed, stunning, a sour looking fanatic with enough vinegar in her face to run a chip shop. But, as many of you will notice straight away, she bears a striking resemblance to Hyacinth Bucket from the TV series "Keeping Up Appearances". Basically, what we have here is the face of arrogant, humourless stupidity, although to be fair to Hyacinth from the TV series, at least she is funny. This iron-corset, on the other hand, looks about as much fun as drinking battery acid.
Isn't it interesting how this woman and that other notorious anti from the EU parliament, Avril Doyle, bear such a striking resemblance to each other? Check it out:
Clock the hair in both cases, - stiff and nasty, except where Vassilou looks stupid, Doyle looks even more arrogant and much more self-assured. As the late Gian Turci once named her: "Nurse Ratchet."
Now I ask you folks, do you want to live in a world controlled by people like these? Not me, I think they should both be banned from decent society on the grounds of pubic, sorry, public health!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
What has Gasdoc been doing all this time? Principally, attempting to get certified insane, and making a pretty fair stab at it! However, during his enforced absence from work, he has been devoting an inordinate amount of time developing something called a Yahoo Widget.
Posted by Gasdoc at 5:08 pm
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Posted by Gasdoc at 5:46 pm
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
By Blad Tolstoy
Now that the worst Prime Minister in living memory (and perhaps ever) has seen his party beaten into third place in theEuropean elections what can we expect of Gordon Brown next?
Well, some of you may be interested to read this article from to-day's Daily Telegraph (9/6/09) entitled:
"European elections 2009: Europe's centre-right declares war on Conservatives"
This article outlines the fact that pressure is being placed upon Gordon Brown by EU governments to hold off an early election for fear of a Conservative win and David Cameron holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
"No one wants an election in Britain, not because of any special affection for Gordon Brown but because an early election would threaten the Lisbon Treaty. That cannot happen," said a European diplomat.
Well, we have news for him. The majority of the British people want a referendum and it should not be up to some anti-democratic dictators in the EU to decide we don't. However, this will be yet another test for Brown. Who does he consider first? The people he is supposed to serve of the EU?
Don't hold your breaths. Brown's desire to survive and the desires of his EU masters match perfectly. The British people will take second place.
Lastly, if you want further evidence of how despotic the EU intends to become, it is now their desire to make voters vote for political groupings rather than individual parties. This is to prevent smaller unallied parties getting a look in. Moreover, such a proposal is supported by Britain's Liberal Democrats and is a further intention to damage the democratic process.
This raises two issues. Firstly, what on earth is liberal about the Liberal Democrat Party? Secondly, if the aim is to increase voter apathy, this will achieve it as even more of the people of Europe become disenfranchised.
"European elections 2009: EU voting system could axe political parties"
Yes, it all stinks!
Posted by Gasdoc at 7:23 pm
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
1. The Standard
2. My Car Won't Start
3. The Old Banger
4. The Complete Prat
5. The Female Chipmunk
6. The Big Noise
7. Can We Leave, Darling?
8. Oh, It's So Dreadfully Smokey In Here, Cedric!
Posted by Gasdoc at 2:34 pm