The time has come…

April 30, 2011

The time has come, the Walrus said….It is time for smokers of the world to step to the plate and come out swinging. I have an idea for a plan that I think would work. I will try to be brief so that those who might be able to give this idea some legs can step into the batter’s box. I am not the one to lead this or be a spokesman because I am not nor wish to be the “main man.” But, there are those out there who could champion this with the muscle and vigor it will require. To begin the process, I will forward this link to those spokesmen I have been following on a daily basis for the last several years.

This idea will require a merging of a number of individuals and groups, who may differ on some issues but who all see the hypocrisy and folly in the present “state of the nation”.
To name a few of the people and groups of power, the list should include FORCES, The Smoker’s Club. Reason Magazine, Rush Limbaugh, John Stossel, John Boehner, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Frank Davis, Michael McFadden, Leg-Iron, Dick Puddlecote, Michael Siegel, Rich White and Jacob Sullom. I’m sure that I’ve failed to mention many who carry clout. It will take clout and money and organization to do battle with the anti- Tobacco zealots.

Simply, I propose an offensive which concentrates on TWO issues. The first is what the outcome would be if Tobacco is banned. It is my contention that most non-smokers have little if any understanding of how Tobacco prohibtion would effect them. In addition to the Master Settlement payments being made by the Tobacco companies, the Taxes collected at the State and Federal levels are enormous and greatly assist government to keep their heads above water without rasing other taxes. Imagine the impact if this steady stream of revenue no longer existed. Given the rugged financial times we are in, this loss of funds would lead to major chaos. This message needs to be hammered in to a public which has little idea of how 2 + 2 equals 4. Just one example is how the Obama Tax Increase on Tobacco funds children’s health programs. It must be stated loud and clear and often through major media sources what would happen if Tobacco was banned.

The second major point is how the pseudo science of SHS has led to major bans at the state and federal levels. The goal here is to RESTORE reason and individual freedom to the landscape. You all know how the research on SHS has been cherry picked and how Big Pharma money has infected the perception of what is really true. Again, loud and clear, this propoganda needs to be brought to light especially the major studies showing that SHS is an illusion.
This is no time, however, to address or question the actual impact of smoking on a smoker’s health. I know there is disagreement on this topic but it is NOT an issue that should be addressed at all at this time. It only confuses the end goal.

And, the end goal, in my opinion, is restore reason and freedom. We need to give the people who run businesses the right to decide whether they will allow smoking or not rise or fall without the intervention of any goverment intereference. Since all of these bans are essentially based on the lies and half truths and propoganda spread about SHS, a presendential declaration, that all these bans whether local or federal are unconstitional, is needed and that it is up to the individual business to decide want they want to do. Not just Americans, but people of the World, are sick of nanny government. Properly presented, it should be universally popular.

Well, there you are. Brief. Does it raise questions about how to implement it? You bet. But, that Tobacco is ESSENTIAL to economy and that it is not government’s job to tread on freedoms are strong messages.

The Media and the News

August 1, 2008

The thing about getting older is not so much that you necessarily get wiser but that certainly you have experienced more things than younger people in society. I’d like to relate to you a true story that happened back in the late 1970s. It says a whole lot about the modern media.

We were on vacation staying at one of those trendy motels that had a domed pool area so popular back then. Our kids loved it, of course, and looked forward each day to getting back to the pool after visiting the local sites. One afternoon while my wife supervised the girls at the pool, I went back to our poolside room, flipped on the TV and was going to try to close my eyes for a few minutes. The local news was on and lo and behold if there reporting the news wasn’t my old college buddy. It had been about 10 years since we were last in touch. With some prodding from my wife, I later called him and he said he’d drop by the next afternoon.

Sure enough, a little after noon  he met us at poolside and asked if we and the girls would like a quick tour of the TV station. We learned all kinds of “secrets” about the inner workings of a television news room including how they cue commercials and how the weatherman works with that map behind him. Later we all got together at my friend’s house and had dinner and drinks with his wife. It was a grand reunion.

While sipping Martinis on his deck, we talked a little about how he had arrived at his position as News Director of this medium market affiliate of one of the national networks. The two of us had worked together at the small college we attended for both the newspaper and radio station so I was somewhat familiar with the important routines his job required. In that regard, I asked how he chose what news to air. And that is the point that I wish to make here.

How many of you have ever considered how a TV newscast decides what to include? As my friend pointed out, there is almost always enough “news” to fill hours of broadcast time. The reality is, as my buddy reminded me, that after you subtracted commercial time, weather time and sports time, you were left with about 12-15 minutes of news time. So how does he decide? Simple. He includes what he (and a few of his colleagues) choose to include. It’s what THEY think is important. As a result, many things that may be important to you and me never make it on the air.

So what, you might say. If it isn’t on the TV news, you point out, I can always read it in the newspaper. They are not time restricted. Right? Right but wrong. They are not time restricted but they are space restricted. And so, unfortunately, the same process occurs: Include what somebody deems important and exclude those things that are unimportant OR, even worse, issues or events that don’t fit in with the CHOOSERS personal opinions and biases. My friends, this happens all the time.

To some extent the Internet is a safeguard against this Bias. The only problem is one must know ahead of time what one is looking for. Yes, somewhere out there on the Net you can find almost anything and get both sides of almost any issue. But remember that the Website headlines are chosen with the same biases.

In a Democracy, having all the facts, whether you agree with them or not, is crucial. When this does not happen you can get half-truths and politically correct decisions.You think not?  Think again. We’ve all heard stories of advertisers who pull their financial backing because they don’t like the content of a television series or a movie. Perhaps it is not conservative enough for them or liberal enough. Ever wonder why all these newscasts have a Medical watch segment? Could it be that the pharmaceutical industry is one of their biggest advertisers? You know, all those commercials about erection problems and smoking cessation products and going to the bathroom too frequently.

Bias and the news is not something new, but the culture we live in is. We live in a very fast paced world. People no longer have the time nor the patience to disseminate all sides of an issue. They respond to sound bites and emotional appeal. Bias, therefore, has more clout than it used to. People form strong opinions based on what the news media chooses to tell them. By using words like suggests, points to and resembles, the media can take a half truth and make it sound like the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Here’s the scary thing. This kind of selective and suggestive behavior can result in terrible consequences. Think not? Ask the Jews In Europe during the 1930s and 40s. Nazi propaganda nearly wiped them out. Ask the Blacks in the South who for a hundred years were segregated and vilified because there very physical and mental abilities were considered almost sub-human. Ask the women who were burned at the stake as witches in New England in early America. Half truths and bias can have devastating effects.

With a few exceptions, the presentation of news by the mass media is slanted. I have no problem with people giving us their opinions as long as they tell us that’s what they are doing. When it comes to facts, however, that’s just what we ought to get, not comments that suggest or point to or resemble something. Hitler believed deeply about many things and felt it his duty to make everyone think the same way. This type of arrogance, the “I’m smarter than you so we need to do it this way” type people, are one of the great dangers we face in today’s high-speed world.

Just think how this applies to the news on Global Warming, Smoking Bans, the Global Economy, Education, etc. Are you getting the real news or are you getting somebody’s version of it?

$500,000,000

July 30, 2008

Back in the early 1980s, my wife and and I and our two young daughters, while on vacation in northern Wisconsin, came across a small animal sanctuary of sorts. It had a petting farm, a small zoo and acres of forest for deer to roam. The kids loved it and so did we.

We were all taking a break sitting on some log benches, petting and feeding some lovable baby goats when an older gent, dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt, stopped to talk us. “Are you having a good time?” he asked us as he patted the head of one of the small goats. One thing led to another and eventually he sat down and began to tell us the most amazing story.

The story began in the 1950s. He was working as a highly respected and sought after hunting and fishing guide in the wilds of northern Wisconsin. Among other notables, Dwight Eisenhower and Gypsy Rose Lee were among his most famous clients.  In the 1960s, his wife was diagnosed  with an incurable blood disease. Together, with their children, they elected to purchase this  wooded acreage along the river that they had both come to love. He built them the house that was now being used as the refreshment and souvenir shop and they waited for the inevitable.

Meanwhile, along the highway that fronted their property, a young deer  that was crossing the road had been injured . The DNR agent who was called to the scene, realizing that the animal would require some special attention, contacted the nearby former guide of legend. So, here on the banks of the river the young deer and the loving wife were being cared for and watched over.

This, the man told us, was the beginning of what now, years later, we were looking at. He asked us if we would like to take a walk so he could show us something. Minutes later, in a small clearing in the woods, we stopped in front of two headstones. One was for his wife, the other for the deer he had taken in. We were all speechless and more than a little teary eyed. As we walked back to the main area, he told us that all the animals we saw  were, like the first young deer, brought to him injured or abandoned. He and his children had decided to make it their life’s work caring for these many unfortunate creatures.

This story took place in 1981. My daughters were 14 and 11 at the time. To this day my youngest daughter would like nothing better than to provide sanctuary to abandoned and abused animals. If we were to hit the lottery or inherit millions from some unknown relative, my wife and I both totally agree that, like the old man in Wisconsin, we would buy up a lot of land and take in these less fortunate creatures.

There ae a number of great “causes” out there that are most very worthy of ones time and money if it is at all possible.  The majority of us do not have either luxury . The average Joe and Jane are hard pressed to make ends meet. Putting food on the table, making ends meet and raising your kids to be good citizens is about all that most people can handle. For those of us with a few extra dollars in our pockets, we try to give some modest amounts to those less fortunate.

Who are these less fortunate? In our case, because of our love for animals, we choose to donate what we can to BEST FRIENDS and to GUIDING EYES FOR THE BLIND. There are hundreds of other worthy causes one could choose that are dedicated to helping those in need. Famine, food pantries, the homeless, disaster relief, the Red Cross, adequate housing, clubs for inner city kids–the list is endless.

Which roundabout brings me to my point and the $500 million. It’s been recently reported that Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates have together donated $500 million to stop the spread of tobacco into developing nations. Would someone please clue me in as to what this is all about? Of all the problems in the world, these two incredible crack pots choose smoking? What about Aids? What about Famine?  What about Genocide? What about the infrastructure, i. e,, bridges, roads,etc, that are falling apart?

I would love the opportunity to sit down with these two guys and ask them a series of questions that they could not ignore and agree to try to answer. Here are just a few of these questions. I’ll gladly sit down with the entire list with them and their experts as long as I can include my experts and as long as they would agree to publish the transcript of our meetings. The whole world needs to be made aware of their responses. If smoking and tobacco are truly the scourge of humanity then they should relish this opportunity.

1)  Give me the names, addresses and paperwork of the 400,000 + who die each year from smoking. 2)  Give me the names, addresses and paperwork of anybody they can prove died from second-hand smoke. 3)  Exactly how does smoking cause cancer or heart disease?  4) Why is it that 9 out of 10 lifetime smokers live to be at least 75? 5)  What role does the pharmaceutical industry play in the hysteria over smoking?  6)  Exactly how does children being exposed to smoking differ from their being exposed to violence and alcohol?

That’s enough for a start but there are many, many more questions. These are questions that should be being asked by the news media, the ones who allegedly are bringing us the truth. That, in itself, is why this meeting would need to be publicized because, on their own, the mass media has decided to ignore all these questions.

I’m hoping that Messrs. Bloomberg and Gates read this and respond and I’m hoping that others are as upset at their wasted  “charitable” efforts as I am. Especially upset ought to be the mass of humanity in Africa , one of the areas designated at the top of their list for these moneys, who are dying by the millions from Aids, famine and political genocide while these two yokels are worried about whether they smoke or not!

The Conundrum

February 20, 2008

Webster defines a conundrum as a paradoxical, insoluble or difficult problem. This is the state of mind of an ever-growing number of restauranteurs and bar owners. They are being told by local and/or state authorities that smoking will not be allowed on their premises because second-hand smoke is a health hazard to their non smoking patrons. If you can assume that 20-some% of all restaurant goers are smokers then these entrepreneurs are looking at real trouble. How do they make up for this loss of income and stay in business? This is the conundrum.

Let’s try to use some logic here.

1) Without any local, state or Federal governments doing anything, a large number of restaurants and restaurants with bars do NOT allow smoking. No outside agency stepped in and made a ruling either way. People in these communities know (or can easily find out) which businesses these are. And by people, I mean both smokers and non-smokers. In my county where I live, this includes restaurants of all kinds from the very elegant to the very mom and pop type.

2) Those that allow smoking , in 99 out of 100 cases, have both smoking and non-smoking sections. So, if a non-smoker goes there, they know there are likely to be folks smoking over in the smoking section. In any particular restaurant, if this bothers them, they need not visit this establishment. If enough of them don’t go there then the place will either change their policy or likely go out of business.

3) On the other hand, if the owner is told people cannot smoke anywhere in his place, then  the owner must make up for the lost business. If  the 20-some % percent of the smokers are lost and don’t come back, how does this guy stay in business. You certainly can’t force smokers to go eat at a  place where they are not welcome. You certainly can’t force non-smokers who never ate there to now go there. What is one to do?

4) The facts are, for those who really care enough to check it out, that businesses like these in States and locales where bans have been instituted, are closing in record numbers or are suffering financial losses they can hardly bear. It’s one thing for a restaurant or bar to go under because of poor management. It’s quite another to set up rules, totally unnecessary rules, that force them under.

5) The real tragedy is that all this is  based on very, very questionable science. So questionable that, if you’ll pardon the pun. it can’t pass the smell test. In our society  where economists and politicians agree, that the small business man is the bulwark of our society, why would we institute 100% bans and put folks out of work? Aren’t we shipping enough of our jobs overseas now?

6) Prohibition of alcohol was a total failure and created more social strife that it was intended to solve. It took us close to 15 years to resolve this conflict. If we were students of history, you would have thought we would have learned this lesson. Look, everybody is going to die. Nine out of ten long-term smokers live to be at least 75. The oldest recorded living person was a 124 year old French lady who smoked for over a 100 years. Despite what the former Surgeon General might lead you to believe, people are not dropping like flies  every time they get a whiff of tobacco smoke. In the meantime,   as we are famous for, we are splitting society up and creating social divisions based on political rather than scientific correctness. How absurd.

In summary, why are we doing this? Why are the politicians bending to the will of these anti-smoking fanatics? Well, we all know the answer to that.  But the failure of the news media (most of whom I would think are non-smokers) is a real travesty. Their bias does not allow them to present all sides of an issue. For example, has anyone read or heard about the most recent study that shows no relationship between pregnant mothers who smoke and problems with childbirth? I’m sure you haven’t and yet probably 50% of the Baby Boomer generation were likely the off shoots of smoking mothers. Hmm…interesting, huh?

Finally, is there no compromise left in our society? Is it all or none? I can understand where why some people are bothered by the smell of smoke. Fine, let the free market give them places where they can go to eat and drink BUT , lest they be called very selfish people, let the free market allow a few places for us smokers.

The End of Time

February 13, 2008

It was the Spring of 1960. There we were on our Senior Trip In New York City. Like most “hicks” from Indiana, we were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. As we were walking through Times Square gaping at the tall buildings , we came across a small crowd gathered around a  ragtag guy on a soap box. “The end is near,” he warned us all. “If we do not change our evil ways, we are doomed!”

Every generation boasts such portentors of gloom and doom. They all begin by saying “if we don’t change our evil ways….” So who’s to know if and when we really might be staring Armageddon straight in the face? We are presently in the midst of several such purveyors of the end of time as we know it–from the forebodings of the Global Warming alarmists to the warnings of the Mayan Calender/Nostradamus followers. If they are correct then all other problems have little meaning. But let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that we will make it past December 2012 and continue on our historical path. It is this path that concerns me. It concerns me as a card-carrying , dues paid up member of the Great American Experiment and Western Civilization as we know it. It is on these great issues that, I believe, we need to worry about the end being near.

Where to even begin? Education? Anyone who does not think that we are wallowing in the dumbing of  America must be living in a cave somewhere. In all but a few schools, test scores are plummeting. Kids are graduating who can’t read a book, write a sentence or add up a column of figures. Their parents, or in many cases, their parent blame the schools. Teachers, who ought to be the most revered class in any society, are underpayed and underappreciated. Educators tremble in fear of lawyers and legislators and simply learn to keep their finger in the dike. Meanwhile our jobs, what is left of them, are being filled by incompetents or shipped off to China and India.

Government? Talk about treading water, these guys are going nowhere fast. They are motivated by greed and reelection. That politicians should be driven by what is politically correct should come as no surprise, but sitting by while our infrastructure is decomposing is actually irresponsible and bordering on the criminal.

The Arts? Even using the term “the Arts” to describe the proliferation of trash in the cinema, television and music industries is a joke. These people cater to the absolute lowest of their audiences’ basest needs. Oh, there are few exceptions but for the most part the smut peddlers are in control spreading violence and sex across our air waves all for the sake of the almighty buck. Parents who really care, meanwhile, are trying to play traffic cop with their kids who are inundated with this junk 24/7.

Sports? Intercollegiate athletics? What a joke. The student/athlete? Give me a break. Let’s see—-steroids, graduation rates, recruiting, arrests, dog fighting–the list could go on ad infinitum. The role of television in all this is obvious.. The money that is paid many of these gorillas who can barely read or write is appalling. Role models? You’ve got to be kidding. Remember Rome in its waning days? The pomp and pageantry of the Colosseum and the games was a sedative for the unruly masses. Sound familiar?

Family? Now, there’s a good one. In the county I live, it was recently announced that more than 50% of the births are to single mothers. That’s unbelievable. I, of course, lay the blame on “The Arts” and political correctness. While we are fiddling over such silliness as smoking bans and no kids left behind and whether gays should be able to marry, Rome is  burning to the ground. Add to this the divorce rate and the Family is in deep dog poo.

Then there is my all time favorite—Mass media. By mass media, I mean the people who bring us the news. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to once again watch the 70’s movie, winner of numerous awards, NETWORK. Talk about prophetic, this movie foresaw where we are at now. Back in the early 70’s, in the wake of the volatile upheavals of the late 60’s,  the tremendous impact of the news media was just gaining momentum. Rather than just reporting the news, the era of investigative reporting was in full swing. The movie NETWORK warned us that this phenomenon was being fueled by ratings and money and that any story that brought in cash was good. The mad prophet, played by Peter Finch, even told us to turn off our sets, start reading and thinking again and not be the lemmings of the latest Pied Piper. Obviously, this warning fell on a lot of deaf ears.  Today, more than ever, we live by the Gospels according to TV. The communicators of the news, whether it be local, national or cable, are viewed as the great teachers of the Truth. Forget that they have their own biases and for the most part are hired because they look pretty and sound good. If they say the sky is falling, most people believe them.

Here’s my point. More than anyone else, these people have the most responsible positions in our society. They must be the tellers of the truth. In cases where the truth is not that self-evident, they must present all sides of the issue. This is so critical that I can’t begin to emphasize it enough. The real tragedy is that this seldom takes place. All too often, they give us their views of the truth. We all have our biases and our differing points of view whether we have IQs of 50 or 200. The thing about reaching wise decisions is knowing and weighing all the facts. But this does not fuel ratings and make money, sensationalism does. As Shakespeare so aptly put, therein lies the rub.

Up in Smoke?

January 14, 2008

A lot of non-smokers argue that smokers are just throwing away money that they could be using for other more important things or that they could be saving. These are the same people who are buying coffee at Starbucks and bottled water. Rather than brew their own cup of Joe and turn on their faucet, they choose to spend $4 or 5$ a day on these luxuries. I say good for them. If that makes them happy then fine.

I. on the other hand, choose to “waste” my money on a pack of cigarettes. And, whats more, I choose to roll my own cigarettes. This costs me roughly a $1 a day. So, I ask you, who’s throwing their money away!

The crux of this, of course, is what is the “in” thing to do. What is politically correct? Are we worried about the exploitation of the coffee bean pickers in South America? Are we concerned about the millions of plastic bottles whose disposal wreaks havoc on the environment? No, not really. You see the elitist trend setters have decided these things are ok but the smell of ANY cigarette smoke, whether it be in a city park or in the smoking section of a restaurant, is plain no good.

And, don’t kid yourself, it is this smell, this OOH, I smell smoke, that is what it’s all about. It’s not really about health. AFTERALL, 9 out of 10 lifetime smokers live to be 75. The vast majority of regular smokers never get cancer and plenty of non-smokers do. Medicine Men tell you that if you quit smoking your lungs will recover in a few years so how can non-smokers who are “subjected” to second-hand smoke be at much risk? The arguments go on and on.

No, the real problem is the smell. You hear things like “My hair smells from it!” Or, “My clothes smell from it!” Or, “it leaves a film on the walls.” And so on, ad nauseam. I guess these folks never want to wash their hair or dry clean their clothes or spring clean or repaint their walls. It’s much to do about nothing. It’s intolerance. It’s being politically correct. It’s pure manure!

Tyranny of the Majority

January 3, 2008

I recently turned 65 years old and have just retired.  If I must say, I’ve been a pretty good and decent guy. Nothing spectacular but certainly steady. I’ve been married to the same woman for 43 years and raised and educated two charming daughters one who is now a Teacher and the other a Lawyer.

I’m a good neighbor. During the winter I always do my neighbors’ snow removal and am always available if they need help in an emergency. I contribute to several organizations who help animals in need and besides caring for pets of our own, have taken in a number of strays who found their way to our doorstep. My eyes always moisten when John Wayne gets his silver watch and when Kevin Costner asks his Dad to play a game of catch.

I’m well read and well educated. I stand for the Flag and sing the National Anthem. I didn’t dodge the draft. I’ve never been jailed for a crime. I’ve never knowingly done anything to hurt another human being. I’m tolerant. I’ve had close friendships with people of other races and religions. I believe in a merciful God.

And, yet, in the world we live in today, I am quickly becoming an outcast –a moral degenerate of sorts. You see, I am a smoker! In a way, I’m much like the so called Witches in Salem, the freed blacks in the Confederate South and the Jews in Hitler’s Germany. I’m being ostracized, penalized and being blamed for everything under the sun. If you’ve got a health problem, it would appear that it’s likely my doing.

Now, I’ve spent a good deal of time over the last 10 years or so looking into and studying this whole issue of second hand smoke. For those of you who are not my age, let me just say that the landscape has really changed in the last 50 years since I began smoking. It seemed back then that almost everybody smoked. Doctors and nurses smoked, the President smoked, people on TV and in movies smoked, pregnant women smoked and ,when they were in Delivery, everybody in the waiting room smoked. Cigarette companies passed out free samples of Cigarettes on College campuses where students smoked on campus, in their Dorms, in the dining halls and coffee shops and, in many cases, even in classrooms.

When meeting someone, even for the first time, you offered them a cigarette. Having a Cigarette with a cup of coffee or a drink was part of the social scene. Amazingly during all that time, I never saw anybody keel over and die from second hand smoke. Over all these years, to tell you the truth, I know of noone under the age of 75 who, you might say, died because of cigarettes. ALL of the younger people whose funerals I attended died from accidents, many I’m sorry to say, the result of Alchohol.

When did this all change? How did we reach the point we have reached today. First a bit of an aside. I know a whole bunch of people who smoked for years who, it appears, suddenly got smart. They not only quit smoking but they now rail against it like a revival preacher. These same people smoked in their homes, in the car, at parties and at restaurants. It was the “in” thing. Now, it is “out”—not just out, but so far out that they wouldn’t be caught dead doing it.  Did they quit because they of health reasons? I doubt it. After all, it was in the early 60’s that the warnings first came out. I can’t believe that it took them over 30 years to have an insightful moment.

What happened was the snowball effect. The mass media got a hold of the idea, saw that it had legs and began to run with it. Some guys at the CDC, using only a computer program, said that over 400,000 were dieing from smoking. Who were these people? Don’t ask because they can’t tell you. But every night on the Health section of the news you could count on some new findings warning of the dangers of smoking. Being politically correct meant not smoking, especially among the Intelligentsia. “Ooh, is that smoke I smell?”

Now, here’s where it really gets interesting. Enter the Pharmaceutical Industry and its aids to quit smoking. Did you ever price these nicotine replacements? Multiply this by 60 million people and you have to ask yourself to follow the money. If you were a pharmaceutical big wig you’d almost do anything to get a hold of this revenue stream EVEN IF IT DOESN’T WORK. As a matter of fact, that’s the Golden Goose. What you really want is for these nicotine feigns to keep trying to quit and keep coming back to your product.

Let’s follow the money some more. All these Save the Children, Save Yourselves and Smoke Free groups—-where do they get their money? What about the so called researchers who ask loaded questions, add up rows of statistics, move the numbers around and come out with whatever they want to prove–definitively, of course. Where do they get their money? Who pays all the bills here and if you’re one of those on the take you might want to make sure that your message is as damming as possible.

Where does common sense fit into all of this? What is behind the bans in public places? Why is this phenomema sweeping around the world? What is epidemiological research and what weight should we give it? Given our present state of the nation, is this the big fish we should be frying. I’ll address each of these issues in future postings and will continue to ask the hard questions of our times.

Smoking

December 27, 2007

WE MUST PROTECT THE CHILDREN. That certainly is one of the loudest battle cry’s of our time. And yet, in this Contrarian’s view, we are not only doing a terrible job of it but are wasting our time and energy on silly, hysterical driven issues. What are the five biggest killers of people under the age of 45? From listening to and reading the Mass Media you’d have to think that it certainly must include Smoking, Second hand Smoke and Iraq. Right? Wrong! For both men and women under 45, the major causes of death are Alcohol, Suicide, Automobiles and HIV. For women, add breast cancer and you have the top 5. What are we doing about these issues? Not a whole lot. I cited Alcohol first because it can play a huge role in Suicide and Automobile related deaths. Alcohol is not only terribly addictive but, even in small amounts, is mind altering and physically impairing. So, you have to ask yourself what are we doing about this? Not much. Fast cars, hot chicks and cold beer dominate our advertising. Tobacco is not allowed on our air waves and if the anti-smoking zealots get their way, they’ll soon be out of the movies. And, yet, name me one person you know under the age of 10 or 15 or 20 or 25 or 30 or 35 …..whom you know died from either smoking a cigarette or breathing second-hand smoke? I want names and dates not silly junk science extrapolations. I visited a relative with a 2-year-old son. He speaks few words but when asked what his daddy’s favorite drink is, he answers “BEER” to the delight of most of the adults. Several of the visitors were happily swilling down a beer but I was told to leave the yard and go out of sight to smoke my cigarette. Of course, I did but why? In the great scheme of things, if we are really interested in the WELFARE OF OUR CHILDREN it is Alcohol not Smoking that we should be concerned about. Why are these adults drinking in front of this child? Or, doesn’t learned behavior apply here? Dummy that I am, I’m missing several points. We tried the Alcohol thing back in the 1920’s and that, of course, didn’t work unless you count that, through the illegal bootlegging business, Joe Kennedy made enough money to buy a Presidential election for his son. And besides, Beer, especially from fancy micro breweries is really in. And speaking of the Kennedy’s, Mr. Morality himself, heads up the Senate Committee, who are zeroing in on Tobacco. Ask the Warden how many of his inmates are there because of a smoking problem. As you are driving down a 2 lane road on a Saturday at midnite, ask yourself if you’d rather have a smoker or a boozer coming at you the other way. If you are in a tense marriage, as a wife, would you rather your husband be a binge drinker or smoker. Meanwhile, in Iraq we have lost some 3600 of our finest. During this same time period, in the city of Chicago alone, there have been about the same number of Homicides. And if you look closely, you can bet the ranch that Drugs and Alcohol (not smoking) were involved in almost all of these. Shame on our Mass Media for not telling us of all these facts. Instead, they lead us like lemmings to the politically correct solution to all our problems So, what are we going to do about this? We need the help of the Media above everything else. They need to get past political correctness and get to the facts. Some young warrior-type investigative journalist needs to get working on this right away. The Bandwagon Effect is taking over and unless something is done to correct it, social unrest will surely follow  This is a Republic we supposedly live in not a Fascist State. In a Republic the minorities are worked with not trampled. Every estimate agrees that the number of smokers in the USA is at least 20%——THAT’S  OVER 60 MILLION AMERICANS! There’s certainly got to be a way to give them some rights and tax relief. The Antis need Second Hand Smoke to be a huge issue. It needs to be a killer for them. If it isn’t then their House of Cards collapses. The campaign has switched from the bad guys being the Tobacco companies to the bad guys being the Smokers. The slogan has switched from what Tobacco does to Smokers to what Smokers do to non-smokers. Without this change of direction, there would ultimately be no reason to restrict smoking and eventually ban it. So the question for the gutsy reporter then is 1) whether Second Hand Smoke is really dangerous; 2) when it comes to our kids, is smoking the greatest danger? And 3) Is the public being told the Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the Truth?    

giant snowball

December 26, 2007

 The Anti-Smoking snowball has not only left the top of the hill but has gained so much momentum that there appears to be no stopping it. I have to tell you that I am amazed by this. Kudos need to go to those zealots that have tirelessly spun this program to where it is today. Forget the science and forget the logic. The propaganda has become the accepted truth.

 

Smokers today are the Blacks in the South in the first half of the 1900s.

 

Smokers are the Jews in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

 

Think about those two statements carefully.

 

In both these cases, a large cross-section of a population was blamed for societies problems. Blacks were not allowed to go to the same schools,use the same washrooms, eat at the same restaurants, etc. Intermingling was opposed by the intelligentsia.

The intelligentsia also meekly accepted Hitler’s views of the Jewish community thus supporting, unintentional as it may have been, the resulting Holocaust. Smoking? Studies will likely show that the Bridge disaster is the fault of Second Hand Smoke!

 

Social Movements have had a tremendous impact on American history. Just in the last 60 years alone, Black civil rights, Womens rights and Gay Rights have seen radical changes because of the efforts of their supporters.  Ensuing Legislative action at local, state and national levels has altered the landscape significantly.

 

How does this happen? What are the forces and factors that come in to play? MASS MEDIA is what it is all about. Whether you are Adolph Hitler, Martin Luther King, Gloria Steinham or Stanton Glantz, getting your message out there as loud as you can and as often as you can, is what it is all about. Just keep hammering your point over and over and over and get the coverage.

 

A little story about the Media. 30 years ago an old college buddy of mine was the news director of a ABC affiliate television station in northern Wisconsin. I asked him what formula he used to decide what items to include in the evening newscast and which to leave out because of the time restriction. Simple he said. He put in what HE thought was important. So, the news you see and hear has to be biased. It can’t be helped.

 

That brings us back to Smoking. Right now there can be nothing more disgusting to the majority of people. I’m not just talking about non-smokers. Many guilt ridden Smokers will tell you the same thing about their habit. It’s disgusting. I’ll bet you there are a ton of “closet” smokers out there who don’t want any of their friends and associates to know they Smoke. Sounds a bit like being a Lesbian or a Gay 25 years ago. Of course, now, being Gay is kinda’ the IN thing. They went from being Social Outcasts hiding in the closet to having their own TV programs and bragging about their lifestyle. They, as couples, demand the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. They march and protest and get prime time news coverage. In the last 20 years, they have gone from a disgusting fringe group to part of mainstream society. Tell people something enough times and they will soon tolerate it.

 

In the meantime, Smokers have, during the same time period, gone from the mainstream into the Closet. It went from the concern over what effect tobacco has on the Smoker to what effect Second-Hand Smoke has on those who don’t smoke. Especially the KIDS.The campaign has been brilliantly orchestrated by the Anti-Smoking Movement. The slippery slope they said would not happen, that they were not interested in 20 years ago, has become the GIANT SNOWBALL!  Soon they will be seeking legislation to prohibit Tobacco altogether.

 

Right now you can say anything you want about Smoking. It makes no difference if it’s based on science and facts or not. Anything works. The propaganda machine has worked to perfection. And yet, the facts are that no link has really been found between smoking and ANY disease. And, no research has shown the Second Hand Smoke has ANY impact whatsoever on anybody.

 

Here are some serious questions that need answered and the answers broadcast loudly to the public; They include;

 

—-If smoking causes lung cancer, how come the majority of smokers never get lung cancer? How come people who have never smoked do?

—-How come the Media is such a shill for the Anti-smoking bloc? How come you never ever hear about those studies which show that Second Hand Smoke is not a concern? Or that there may be actual beneficial effects from smoking? Tell me, Mass Media, why so much Bias?

—-Name me one KID, by name, who has died from Smoking or Second Hand Smoke? Then name the KIDS who have died as the result of Swimming Accidents, Automobile Accidents, Alcohol Abuse and so on? Tell the people the Truth!

—-How many convicts are or have been incarcerated because of their Nicotine “addiction”? How many because of Alcohol and Drugs?

—-Lock yourself in a Garage with 40 people who each smoke cigarettes, say 2 an hour, for 8 hours. Then “clear” the air and lock yourself in the same garage for 15 minutes with your car running. Let me know what happens?

—-Where is all the money coming from that is being spent on the Anti-Smoking Crusade? Always remember to follow the money.

 

I’ve got a hundred more but just getting the TRUTH on these questions will be a huge start.

 

Look, I’m not talking about an Oliver Stone type conspiracy here. What this is, frankly, is the intelligentsia deciding that the end justifies the means coupled with quite a bit of financial backing for the Anti’s from the Pharmaceutical Industry who would love nothing more than to take over the Nicotine business for all the terminally “addicted”. Lots of bucks involved here. There are at least 80 million smokers in the USA. That’s a lot of gum and patches.

 

So there you are at the New York Times or Newsweek Magazine or CNN hanging out with your colleagues—-odds are few of them smoke, if any. If you are a Smoker, you are doing your best to hide it. One thing for sure, among this Intelligentsia who “know”” everything, you are NOT going to champion SMOKING or anything that might show it in a good light. You’ll be told it’s disgusting. You’ll be told you’re stupid. You’ll be told someone of your ilk should know better. Whereas 40 to 50 years ago, the peer pressure might have started you smoking, today the peer pressure among the Intelligentsia might make you want to quit.

 

Blacks are about 12% of the population. Hispanics are about 14% of the population. Jews are about 2% of the population. Gays are about 1% to 10% of the population. SMOKERS ARE AT LEAST 20% OF THE POPULATION. That’s quite a voting bloc, huh?

I’m predicting that what’s going to happen here will go something like this………………..States and Governments will continue to raise Taxes on Cigarettes; Smokers will begin more and more to buy Black Market Smokes; State and local authorities will continue to Ban Smoking in more and more places; More lawsuits will be filed; More Fines will be levied; More Violent interactions will occur;Smokers will find a spokesman of the Steinham, King, Heston ilk; the actual facts and truths will be discussed; money trails will be exposed;and so on.

 

Meanwhile, more important things will, as usual, be ignored. Things like Education, our Infrastructure, the Threats of Terrorism, Jobs for the American Workers, the collapse of our Culture, etc. As long as those with a cause, almost any cause can get their minute or so on Prime Time and as long as the Intelligentsia is allowed to get away with their Biased reporting, we will continue to flounder and wonder why America has lost its greatness. From my viewpoint, the most intolerant group in America are these Intelligentsia who think they know everything and have all the answers.. Those below them on the Social Strata, in their minds, don’t know what’s good for them so they need to be told how to live their lives. So much for the land of personal liberty.

 

 

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