Saturday, July 24, 2010

I didn't wake up happy at my hotel

It is hard for me to believe this story. What perplexes me even further, is that it was published by a mainstream media source. I simply cannot believe that they could take a story like this seriously. It has come to the point, unfortunately, that I don't believe anything that they say anymore. They have merely become a propaganda machine, one that pushed "weapons of mass destruction", one that ignored the impending and obvious housing bubble, along with the current recession. On the eve of a massive foreclosure crisis, they were telling us that American living quarters (houses)were larger than that of the previous generation, when we actually had a middle class. I often wondered how they could spew such things, when everything else in reality had seemed to directly contradict their "findings" and "studies". Now they bring us this: I didn't wake up happy at my hotel

Unbelievable. Literally.

Friday, July 23, 2010

CRA Calls Members To Action For Savannah, Georgia

Please Contact Mayor Otis S. Johnson And Savannah's City Council Members!

Here we go again, ad nauseam...Mayor Johnson and his council members want to expand their ban to supersede that of the state ban. Way to go for freedom, eh? Ugh. I am beyond tired of pious folks who think that they have the right to go around acting like little Mussolinis.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I Oppose Smoking Bans and the War on Smokers

1) Smoking bans are based on the premise of mob rule, which goes against everything that this country stands for. We live in a representative democracy. All citizens have equal rights under the law. Smokers have just as much of a right to smoky air as non-smokers have a right to smoke-free air. Smokers are a minority who take part in a legal activity; therefore, smokers have the right to assemble and the right to pursue happiness, even if that chosen activity is unpopular with the majority.

2) Smoking bans lead us down the slippery slope to servitude where elites collude with special interests whose sole purpose is the annihilation our ability to live according to our own free will. Additionally, social denormalization then can be used as a mechanism to profit off of our imperfections. If bureaucrats and politicians can act to protect smokers from themselves by imposing restrictions, there is no limit to their power of “coercion” in the name of behavior modification. Coming soon to a town near you: Outdoor Smoking Bans (Many towns in California), bans on smoking in your own home (ditto, CA. again), companies that refuse to hire smokers , hospitals that discharge smokers , the war on fat, the war on salt , the war on fast food chains , the war on cell phones (2nd hand radiation?), bans on loitering, aka, “sit laws” , the war on sugar and soda, the war on unpasteurized milk, etc… There is no end in sight to the list of possible things and activities that could be banned. This scares me because politicians love to ban things; it makes them look like they’re doing something productive whilst Rome burns all around them.

3) Smoking bans lead to prohibition and we all know how well the last one went.

4) Smoking bans set a bad precedent. Tobacco is a legal product; therefore, smoking is legal. If smokers can be prohibited from assembling with one another, then anyone can be penalized, should their way of life come under scrutiny by “experts” armed with “studies”. This means that politicians can push anyone around, even if they’re not doing anything illegal, whilst still making boatloads of money off of the very same people being restricted, which leads me to my next point…

5) Tobacco is taxed beyond what is fair; we smokers contribute more to society than we get back; therefore, we should be free of harassment by the ruling classes. Smokers are an asset to the economy in many ways. The myth that smokers are a financial burden upon society is incorrect and insulting. We fund parks, finance road construction, balance state budgets, and pay for the health insurance coverage of other people’s children (SCHIP), even though we may not have children ourselves; and to prove my point, here is an excerpt from the Heartland institute that sheds light on this issue: “Harvard Professor Kip Viscusi has repeatedly demonstrated that smokers already pay more in excise taxes than the social costs of their habits. Even before the MSA, “excise taxes on cigarettes equal or exceed the medical care costs associated with smoking.” For example, Illinois’ cigarette taxes, according to Viscusi, were $0.13 more per pack than the social costs of smoking before the settlement added $0.40 to the price of a pack of cigarettes, before the $0.40 a pack tax hike approved by the state legislature in 2002, and before Cook County’s $0.82 a pack boost in 2004.” ( Heartland Inst. ).

6) Smoking bans are anti-free market. Choice is taken away from private citizens, along with the option of more liberal solutions, such as separate rooms and/or sections with improved ventilation.

7) Smoking bans discriminate against veterans who fought for this country by denying them the right to smoke in their own clubs.

8) One ban always leads to more bans; power is very addictive and dangerous.

9) Smoking bans hurt the music business. It’s very difficult for an up and coming act to keep people in the club when ½ of the club is outside smoking. This increases the burden of trying to get exposure in the 1st place.

10) Smoking bans are socially divisive.

11) Smoking bans are funded by large pharmaceutical companies and “non-profits” that profit from the advertisements of Nicorette, Chantix, and other stop smoking "aids". For example, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (producer of Nicorette and Nicoderm) gave $99 million to the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association, $1.5 million to Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights. The RWJF owns 80 million plus shares of J&J stock. So there we have it, specials interests have a lot to gain from smoking bans. For more info, go here.

12) Smoking bans violate the property rights of small and large business owners. Bars and restaurants, unlike courts and police stations, are not public property. Owners of private establishments invest their own money and therefore, should have the choice of whether to make their venue smoking or non-smoking. A simple sign at the door to alert potential patrons of a said venue’s policy would be sufficient. Patrons are then allowed to make their own choice on whether or not to enter.

13) Smoking ban proponents assume that all people seek the homogenization of bar and restaurant culture. Nothing can be further from the truth. There will always be different demographics with different wants and needs; it’s human nature. This goes back to point # 6. …….and to my next point…

14) Smoking bans are bad for business; many bars, restaurants, and casinos suffer massive revenue loss, many even suffer closure; this means job loss for many; it also means that it is that much more difficult to obtain work in the hospitality industry in the first place. Several of my favorite hangs in my hometown Chicago that catered to my demographic closed soon after the Illinois ban went into effect. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis conducted a study of the economic impact of Illinois’ smoking ban upon casinos and found a loss of revenue in the 10s of millions annually. Over 6,000 pubs have closed in the U.K. (the reason why my last tour was cancelled) since their indoor ban went into effect and 39 continue to close every week. Many bars and restaurants have closed all across America as a result of smoking bans.

15) The war on smokers has increased hatred and crimes against smokers.

16) Smoking bans are not effective means to get people to quit smoking. In fact, they often have the opposite effect. Many places with newly instituted bans around the world have witnessed an increased uptake of the habit amongst many in the youth culture.

17) Smoking bans throw old people out into the rain and the cold. That is cruel and wrong. Everyone deserves a place to go. ……..and now for the biggest reason why I am opposed to smoking bans……………………………………,

18) Smoking bans are based on lies. The exaggerations of the risks of second hand smoke (SHS/ETS) have been so blown out of proportion that if we were to apply the same level of risk assessment to many of the things that we do in everyday life, we simply would not be able to leave our front door. Of the many studies conducted on ETS, eleven epidemiological studies were done in the United States on the connection between ETS and lung cancer, and of those eight found a positive risk, three found a negative risk but none of them were statistically significant (that is, none of the U.S. studies could make the statement that there was a causal relationship between second hand smoke and cancer). ( Your Doctor's Orders )

At the behest of Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Ca), the Congressional Research Service (CRS) spent two years examining reports and came up with the following conclusions regarding second hand smoke and lung cancer (Redhead and Rowberg, 1995):

(a) The statistical evidence does not appear to support a conclusion that there are substantial health effects of passive smoking.
(b) It is possible that very few or even no deaths can be attributed to second hand smoke.
(c) If there are any lung cancer deaths from second hand smoke, they are likely to be concentrated among those subjected to the highest exposure levels (e.g., spouses).
(d) The absolute risk, even to those with the greatest exposure levels, is uncertain.

In response to the EPA’s decision to classify second hand smoke as a class A carcinogen, Federal Judge William Osteen interviewed scientists for four years and thus declared in back in 1998,

“The Agency disregarded information and made findings based on selective information… [The EPA] deviated from its risk assessment guidelines; failed to disclose important (opposing) findings and reasons; and left significant questions without answers… Gathering all relevant information, researching and disseminating findings, were subordinate to EPA’s [goal of] demonstrating [that] ETS was a Group A carcinogen… In this case, the EPA publicly committed to a conclusion before research had begun; adjusted established procedure and scientific norms to validate the Agency’s public conclusion, and aggressively utilized the Act’s authority to disseminate findings to establish a de facto regulatory scheme…and to influence public opinion… While doing so, [the EPA] produced limited evidence, then claimed the weight of the Agency’s researched evidence demonstrated ETS causes cancer.” (Osteen, 1998)

The World Health Organization International Agency on Cancer published a report concluding that there was no statistically significant risk of lung cancer in non-smokers who lived or worked with smokers (Boffetta, et al, 1998).

In a study spanning 16 U.S. cities, the U.S. Department of Energy researchers placed monitors on nonsmoking bartenders and waiters who worked in smoke-filled bars and restaurants to measure the amount of environmental tobacco. The conclusion was that the monitors detected minuscule amounts of tobacco products. (Jenkins, et al, 1999) The harm that might come from such minuscule amounts of exposure was calculated as “none” to “improbable harm”.

In 1997, Acting Assistant Secretary of OSHA, Greg Watchman stated:

“Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000). It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” (Letter from Greg Watchman, 1997)

A study from the U.K. showed that the average London bartender inhaled the equivalent of six cigarettes annually (about one quarter of a pack). (Matthews and MacDonald, 1998)

A study that was published in the British Medical Journal by epidemiologist James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat (2003) concluded with a result that is quite the opposite of that which is propagandized by anti-smokers. Their study of 35,000 Californians showed that lifelong exposure to a husband or wife’s smoke produced no increased risk of coronary heart disease or lung cancer among the non-smoking spouses.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Mob Rules...Again

I just saw a post on Smoker's Club, courtesy of Dumpster McNuggets (Great pseudonym, btw)...There is an article with a poll (interested parties can vote here) that asks folks if they would like a full smoking ban instituted in Northern Kentucky. This is the problem that I have with people voting away the rights of others:

In the end, it shouldn't matter what the polling rate a free society anyway. If 60% of the people want a ban, what is the point when that very same percentage of the population quite obviously possesses within itself the right to patronize establishments that are already smoke free? The remaining 40% of us have just as much of a right to smoky air as the non-smokers have a right to smoke-free air. Being in the majority does not give you the special privilege of dictating your preferences upon others. We live in a Representative Democracy, and in Representative Democracies, even minorities have rights. That means that the majority does not have a right (ever) to tell the remaining 40% that they have no right to assemble amongst one another. People have 2 legs. The argument that "your right to smoke ends at my nose" is moot; to the contrary, your right to smoke-free air ends when you enter a privately owned smoking establishment that is owned and run by someone else. You have the right to simply walk away;go elsewhere.

This country was not built upon the premise of mob rule. If that's the road that we're going to go down, then no one is safe...or free. The fact that so many people don't get this basic concept is proof that we have undergone a major brain drain in this country, and that paves the road to darkness, resentment, and hate unfortunately. I would venture to guess that ignorance carries with it much more danger than 2nd hand smoke ever could.

Hospital's tobacco-free policy: Light up, get out

Thanks to Dee @ Smoker's Club for the tip-

It's not just smoking doctors and nurses that are being kicked out of "health" institutions,now they're throwing the patients out as well!

Hospital's tobacco-free policy: Light up, get out

"JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A southeast Michigan hospital has a message for cigarette-smoking patients who sneak out for a quick puff: Don't let the door hit you in the butt."

If I had a terminal illness and I wanted to go for a smoke, no one could stop me. Does this mean that they will kick out the elderly and the sick, because they are smokers?

There are no words that I can add here to describe my feelings of antipathy towards the anti-smokers without resorting to my usual truck-driver mouth....

When does the abuse end?

If second hand smoke was/is really so dangerous..

1) Why don't all smokers just drop dead? We do breathe in 1st AND 2nd hand smoke, right? If there really is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, more of us would would cease to exist immediately.

2) Then there is no such thing as the "dose makes the poison" for anything, because many of the same chemicals in cigarette smoke (nitric oxide, arsenic, for example) can be found virtually everywhere else, like in our soil , produce, meats (cooked and uncooked), water, etc.. There can be no selectivity, either everything that contains these constituents has a dose response relationship, or nothing does.

3) If environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is so lethal, then we must "ban" all other things that are of equal or higher danger, right? I am not about banning things of course... just trying to make comparisons for the sake of perspective.

Look out milk drinkers!

"Subjects reporting consumption of whole milk 3 or more times daily had a 2-fold increase in lung cancer risk compared to those who reported never drinking whole milk (RR = 2.14). "

A relative risk below a 3.0 is usually deemed to be insignificant. That is the reason that we don't ban milk. For some reason though, a relative risk as low as a 1.2, with a confidence rating below the standard 95% is risky, risky, risky when it comes to ETS. Never mind the many studies that have shown that there is a negative risk (ie., protective effect) for lung cancer associated with long-term exposure to ETS; anti-smokers just choose to ignore THOSE studies. Again, there can be no selectivity in science; the anti-smoking mafia doesn't seem to get (er, chooses not to) this concept.

4) If ETS is so lethal, then why weren't all non-smokers contracting lung cancer and heart disease back when half of the population smoked everywhere? How is it that ETS is MORE dangerous now, with a quarter of the population smoking, than it was when 1/2 of the population smoked on a regular basis?

5) If ETS is so scary, then how come I (nor any of my friends, or their friends' friends, or anyone in my family, both immediate and distant) have never met or known of ANYONE who has passed on as a result of ETS?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seeing Red

I am seeing red at the moment. I cannot believe what is going on in this country. Some people ask me from time to time: "What's with you and the cigarette issue?"

THIS is what's up with me and the "cigarette" issue:

Proposed ordinance in Denville targets smokers in outdoor public spaces

"Violators of a proposed smoking ban in parks and recreation areas would face a fine or community service and — in the case of a three-time offender – risk going to jail under a municipal ordinance introduced Tuesday night."

Risk going to JAIL(!)? Seriously? In our America? Are the people that are instituting such laws secret members of the Taliban and we just don't know it yet?

Never in my life have I ever felt so strongly about the need to "trim" the size of our government.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pot Shops on Shaky Ground

Quote from today's E-edition of the Los Angeles Times: "Responding to citizen complaints, a plainclothes team of narcotics officers makes Eagle Rock a focal point."

Narcotics officers conducted a raid on a local pot shop in Eagle Rock (a neighborhood of Los Angeles). According to the L.A. Times, the closure of many of L.A.'s pot shops is something that is high on our City Council's list of priorities. Many proponents of medical marijuana are angry and I understand their antipathy towards the members of the L.A. City Council. However, I am surprised that so many proponents of medical (and legalized) marijuana did not see this coming. Recently, council members voted (unanimously) to ban smoking tobacco outdoors. This was also high on their list of priorities.

In reading the comments section of this article, I feel as if I have had an epiphany....a great moment of realization: Some of the comments made by angry pot smokers sound vaguely similar to those made by tobacco smokers like, " I can't believe that they have raided a LEGAL operation"...etc........."Don't they see all of the empty store fronts everywhere?"....."We have a right to pursue happiness, don't we?"...."We have the right to exist without harassment, don't we?"..."We are in a recession, right?"..."How many teachers are we laying off to police pot smokers?"..." We are sick and tired of the morality police telling us what we can and cannot put into our own bodies. Each of us are autonomous in our own right."..."We are tired of all of the false propaganda (2nd hand smoke, anyone?...Reefer "madness"?) that has been directed towards a (largely) peaceful segment of the population" ....etc......

I totally agree.

However, the precedent was set with the abolition of property rights for bar and restaurant owners. The precedent was set when smokers (tobacco smokers) had their (our) right to assemble (and to do business) with a LEGAL product. The precedent was set when busybody non-smokers decided that they had a right to intrude upon private businesses with a smoking clientele, when they simply could have gone elsewhere.

A few years ago, I predicted that this would happen. If bars and restaurants can be shut down for serving tobacco smokers, no one is safe..even if their product of choice is legal.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Circular Argument of Anti-Smoking

So how many people are smoking nowadays anyway? Well, if one was to ask an anti-smoking activist, 2 answers would emerge....depending on the time of day or witch direction the winds of $$$ are blowing.

Their argument is a circular one: If so few people are smoking, then why the need to be "protected" from us? Why the need for smoking bans? Why not have one out of every 5 businesses serve a smoking clientele? The other 80% would be virtually unaffected. How did we all survive when everyone smoked everywhere?

Anti lies to suite its agenda. On one end, they have to say that the smoking rates are down in order to "prove" that their programs (aka bullying) have been effective. On the other end, they have to say that smoking is on the that they can extort more money from us for more failed programs. The numbers shift with these people daily.

The truth is that they have no idea how many people are smoking. One way to really find out the truth would be to lower cigarette taxes ; another way would be to get rid of that nasty FSC paper, then many of us would switch back from ryo.