Sunday, December 8, 2013

Signs Of A Broken Society Part Three

Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools are Often Destructive, Fueling a School to Prison Pipeline

In 2011, a 13-year-old student in Albuquerque, New Mexico burped audibly in class (perhaps the school lunch didn’t agree with him). His instructor summoned the school resource officer, one of a new generation ofpolice officers and specially trained go-betweens stationed in school environments, and the student found himself booked into a juvenile detention facility. He had fallen victim to his school’s zero-tolerance policy, a framework used across the nation to crack down fast and hard on unwanted behaviors, but one that has resulted in what critics are calling a school-to-prison pipeline, as students are fast-tracked to juvenile courts for offenses like writing their names on desks.
It’s a pipeline that consumes some students more than others; students of color and disabled students are being suspended, expelled, and sent into the justice system at much higher rates than their white, nondisabled counterparts. 
Orwell foresaw a dystopian society controlled by a "Big Brother" power structure that closely keeps track of individuals so the ruling party's authorities can pounce on those who stray from what is considered proper behavior, using data in a registry to crush anyone who opposes the police state.
Supporters of HB 150 point out that people who are arrested, but not convicted, must be fingerprinted, and DNA samples are the same thing, on principle. That, unfortunately, is not very comforting to those of us familiar with what happened in western New York some years ago.
Troopers there were accused of planting fingerprint evidence as a way to win criminal convictions in dozens of cases. Several, including a lieutenant who ran a criminal identification unit, were charged with crimes and some went to prison.
Planting fingerprint evidence is difficult, but a few years ago, scientists in Israel conducted a study demonstrating that planting DNA evidence would be easy. "You can just engineer a crime scene," said one scientist. All you need is a DNA sample.

Government snooping of libraries has a long history. Under the Patriot Act, for example, the FBI has the power to compel libraries to hand over user data.
But the activities of the NSA seem to go far beyond traditional police work, reflecting an “almost ravenous hunger” for collecting information, according to Lynne Bradley, director of the ALA’s Office of Government Relations.
Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the NSA has been collecting vast troves of “metadata” on Internet activity and phone calls that shows when communications were made, who was involved and how long it lasted.
That’s especially troubling to the ALA, as “libraries are all about metadata,” Inouye said.
The records that libraries keep — when a user logs on to a library computer, what websites they visit, when books are borrowed and returned — seem to fit the mold of what the NSA is seeking.
“We’re talking about the information patterns of people. If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is,” Inouye said.
While no libraries are known to have received NSA requests, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been tapped for data.
Just like Internet companies, libraries are prohibited from revealing NSA requests. The ALA is concerned that local libraries are being forced to keep quiet about government snooping.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” Bradley said.
In Iceland, the citizens took to the streets by the thousands, banging pots and pans in what is known as the “pots and pans revolution,” leading to the arrest and prosecution of many unscrupulous bankers responsible for the economic collapse. Icelandic citizens also refused to pay for the sins of the bankers and rejected any measures of taxation to bail them out. In the U.S., the government bailed out the banks and arrested no one.
The pots and pans revolution in Iceland was not covered by mainstream U.S. media. In fact, any information about this revolution is found only on international newspapers, blogs and online documentaries, not on mainstream front-page articles as would be expected from news organizations covering a story of this magnitude. The New York Times published a small handful of piecemeal stories, blogs and opinion pieces, but mostly glossed over the main narrative by saying the 2008 financial collapse in Iceland caused “mayhem far beyond the country’s borders” rather than pointing out that Icelanders took to the streets with pots and pans and forced their entire government to resign.
Habitual cigarette smokers could face backlash from potential employers if the Indiana Chamber achieves one of its goals for the upcoming session.
The Chamber is seeking repeal of Indiana’s 1991 “smoker’s bill of rights” which says employers can’t refuse to hire smokers and can’t charge them higher premiums for health insurance.
Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar says the law went too far in its protection of smokers.
“Right now smoking is just as much of a protected class for hiring purposes in Indiana as race, religion, and all of the things that fell under the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Brinegar said.
Your phone could be on Airplane mode. And you could hold it for only two seconds. And you would be breaking the law.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario over the weekend ruled that it is illegal to hold a cellphone while driving regardless of whether it is transmitting or how long it is in a driver's hand.
The decision came following two rulings where drivers attemped to avoid punishment through current loopholes of laws. Quoth The Globe and Mail:
In one case, Khojasteh Kazemi argued that she had just picked up her cellphone, which had fallen off the seat to the floor of her car when she stopped at a red light, when a police officer spotted her holding it. A lower court judge dismissed Kazemi’s charge, ruling that there must be some “sustained physical holding” in order to convict, but the Appeal Court overturned that finding.

The Ultimate “Child Protection” — State Forcibly Sedates Mom, Performs Cesarean, Takes Baby

She called the police, who arrived at her room when she was on the phone to her mother. The police asked to speak to the grandmother, who explained that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication to calm her down.
The police told the mother that they were taking her to hospital to “make sure that the baby was OK”. On arrival, she was startled to see that it was a psychiatric hospital, and said she wanted to go back to her hotel. She was restrained by orderlies, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and told that she must stay in the hospital.
By now Essex social services were involved, and five weeks later she was told she could not have breakfast that day. When no explanation was forthcoming, she volubly protested. She was strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken into care by social workers. 

Bloomberg’s “Nanny State”: Refuting opposition to the “new” public health

The bottom line is that elected officials should be held accountable for the health of their inhabitants. Those who disrupt the status quo, such as Bloomberg, have thus far shouldered the burden of accountability, facing fierce criticism and industry backed judicial challenges. But the vast majority of public officials have stood by and done nothing amidst skyrocketing obesity rates. It is time for the political class to be held accountable not for trying to make the population healthier and safer, but for failing to act in the face of manifest suffering.

London's biggest university bans student protests

The University of London - a body representing London universities including University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Birkbeck and the London School of Economics - has banned protests on its campus for the next six months.

Students who hold sit-in protests in an area in Holborn, central London, including the Senate House, the student union building, and the buildings of SOAS and Birkbeck, can be imprisoned.
The president of the University of London student union, Michael Chessum, told Channel 4 News it was a "draconian" reaction and "a sign that the university had lost the argument".
The court order obtained on the 4 December by the University of London bans "occupational protest" in the area for the next six months. Anyone breaching the order can be charged with contempt of court.
The attractive and understated Montecristo cigar band​—​in a rich walnut brown​—​has also disappeared. It’s been covered with a paper collar of requisite plainness. This is nearly an inch wide, deprives me of a third of my smoke, and any attempt to remove it tears the wrapper leaf and destroys the cigar.
Each of these strips of paper has been fastened by hand with scotch tape. Mindless, useless, idiotic work is typical of many government jobs, but this seems to exceed even the typical work done in the Australian parliament.
And the Australian parliament is, no doubt, working very hard indeed. There’s no end to the work to be done once moral philosophy has become so perverted that something like “plain packaging” is considered a public benefit.
Beer is certainly next, with pictures of drunken fistfights, snoring bums, and huge, gin-blossomed noses on every can. Airplane crashes kill a lot of people. No plane should be allowed to land in Australia unless it’s painted drab dark brown and bears an image of fiery carnage along its fuselage. Cars kill even more. Perhaps a banner showing lethal wrecks could be pasted across the inside of every car’s windshield. And there’s food. Make all food drab dark brown (something of a historical tradition in Australian cooking anyway) and deck the labels with naked fat men.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

True Faith/Anthem The Tobacco Control Cult

  On “public health” activists and true belief

Contrast that with “public health” causes, where none of the activists are willing to give up their comfort or take any risks.  The closest they come to doing anything other than chattering and trying to use personally-risk-free force (government) to impose their will on people is occasionally vandalizing a piece of outdoor advertising.  If they were to chain themselves to their handiwork and call the press and police to come see them, I might have some respect for such actions.  But as practiced it is just adolescent vandalism, hiding in the shadows so they can brag about it to their friends and pretend they are similar to truly dedicated activists for important causes.

NYC eyes electronic cigarette ban in public spaces

" He added that the city's measures to ban smoking from outdoor public areas under Mayor Michael Bloomberg were more about public acceptance of smoking than science.
"Those second set of measures were more about sociology and denormalizing than they were hard medical science," Gennaro said on "Squawk on the Street." "We thought it was important to make sure smoking was completely denormalized."
But there’s a second strand to this anti-smoking legislation which makes me take a step back and question whether the politicians are really concerned about our health (something, incidentally, I think adults should be able to decide for themselves) or for their political positions.It is when the plans for anti-smoking campaigns sink to the levels of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive that I am once again reminded about how easy it is for politicians and political establishments to become cozy with big businesses.
This can be seen clearly with this latest piece of proposed legislation which will limit people’s access to e-cigarettes. Of course the EU won’t come straight out and say that it wants to “ban” e-cigarettes – merely turn them into pharmaceutical products. This means they will only be available in chemists, instead of over the counter where people go to if they will buy real cigarettes. We already know from government reports about impulse buying at counters. That’s why supermarkets are supposed to remove all chocolate and sweets from around the queuing area and replace them with carrots or Brussels sprouts and all manner of items children are never going to reach for, unless it’s to bash a sibling over the head with.
End of letter
 I am absolutely certain that MEPs are clever enough to realize the games played behind the back of vapers and smokers. We are dedicated in our efforts to reveal the truth concerning this sensitive public health issue, without hiding any facts, whether positive or negative for e-cigarettes. This is how we have proceeded so far, and this is how we will continue.
In case the news media ask for the name of the pharma company and the PR firm, i have no problem giving them all details.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the cultural shift away from smoking as socially acceptable has been a key effect of the smoke-free ban. He said the indoor smoking ban has been the single most effective policy at cutting smoking in the city. Now indoor e-cigarette use is complicating enforcement of that ban, Farley said.
He said allowing use of e-cigarettes in restaurants and other public places is challenging enforcement of that law because now waiters and business owners have to make sure customers are using an e-cigarette and not lighting up a combustible cigarette.
Further, allowing e-cigarettes to become socially acceptable by allowing their use in restaurants and public places could affect social acceptance of conventional cigarettes, “undermining the enormous progress of tobacco control over the last decades,” Farley said
But the continuation of Hammond’s work, with its demonstrated faulty methodology, was used by the Australian authors to deduce that smoking causes premature death to the extent of 17,800 per year in Australia. Their conclusions should be compared with the results of a survey by the Australian Statistician in 1991 of 22,200 households, chosen at random. This showed "long term conditions", including cancer and heart disease, to be more common in non-smokers than smokers.

It is good that the court dismissed the allegations, but the Zealots will be back using some obscure complexity in the law, as has been the case here. The idea of equating ecigs with actual tobacco is really silly, which is the foundation for the court judgement. But note below the weirdness of TC thinking.
Data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recently showed the number of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.
Mr Slevin said the Tobacco Products Control Act was due for a review and could help ban e-cigarettes as well as address issues such as the need to reduce the number of licensed tobacco retailers. This incident of a failed attempt to prosecute points to the fact that the current provisions are not adequate,” he said.

Annual cigarette production in the world's most populous country has jumped 50 percent across the decade, with about 2.175 trillion cigarettes produced in the 12 months to October, showed "Tobacco Control in China from a Civil Society Perspective 2013" on Tuesday, Xinhua reports.

 I watched.

All I saw, was some shrieking blonde yelling everyone down with all the old anti smoking drivel we hear over and over again. There was hardly a moment for proper discussion about anything sensible. No time for smokers allowed. The shrieking blonde turns out to be Andrea Crossfield Director of Tobacco Free FuturesI live in the Northwest and I've never heard of her! The interviewer should have put her in place - but of course he didn't.

 There is a crack in everything,that's how the light gets in.........

Friday, October 11, 2013

Original Fire (Tobacco Today)

N.Y. State Parks Outdoor Smoking Ban Is Blocked by Court

The organization New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment sued in April to block the actions.
“This is putting the prohibitionists on notice that despite their ugly war being waged on adults who choose to smoke, they are not entitled to a free-for-all in governing when it comes to this segment of society,” Audrey Silk, founder of the group, said today in a statement.
New York City banned smoking in almost all workplaces and indoor recreational venues in March 2003, and the state Legislature followed with a similar ban four months later.

Debbie said she was astonished when questioned about the Alice in Wonderland inspired display. She said: "He told me he'd come in to investigate because there had been a complaint that the shisha pipe was contravening UK smoking in the workplace regulations.
"I said, 'but it's a wooden caterpillar', and he said 'yes, but it's smoking', and I said 'no, it's not'. 
"I really thought someone was winding me up, I wasn't taking it seriously. 
"It's not even a real shisha pipe, it's an ornament, it doesn't work. 
"But he didn't have a problem with the shisha pipe, it was the caterpillar smoking on business premises. 
"I said to him, even if it was a real caterpillar the chances of it lighting the pipe were pretty thin, but the fact that it's a wooden caterpillar renders it impossible." 
Debbie said she refused to let the officer investigate further, and told him to leave the shop in Bolton Street, Blackburn. 
She said: "I wouldn't let him investigate, I said to him 'if you haven't got better things to do, I certainly have, you need to leave, I don't believe it needs further investigating'. 
"He said there was a real problem in Blackburn with shisha. I don't know if that's with caterpillars smoking it. 
Council members Dennis Alemian, Harold Reeves, Richard Levola, Brian Gosper and Jonathan Cesolini voted against the proposal, with Joyce Ricci, John Hallbergh Jr. and John Sarantopoulos supporting the measure. Council member Ed Grandelski was absent. Many of the council members who opposed the proposal called the changes too far-reaching.
Despite the month long ban on smoking at Ridgefield High School, many students continued to puff away, the Oct. 6, 1988 Press reported.
A number of students argued that the policy was unfair and that the school was being hypocritical for allowing its employees to light up. “People are going to smoke, no matter what the rule is,” said sophomore Roger Metz who said he had been a smoker for three years.
“I’m 18 years old. I have a legal right to buy the things,” said senior Jon Valen. “It’s my choice if I want to smoke ’em or not.”
An unpublished report produced by the U.K. government, which was leaked to The Guardian in 1980, estimated that a public anti-smoking campaign would cause a substantial fall in tax revenues and a substantial rise in pension outlays (Phillips, 1980; Temple, 2010). A report produced by Arthur D. Little for the Czech government in 2001, which was commissioned by Philip Morris, estimated that smoking has a moderate positive impact on public finances in the Czech Republic (Philip Morris, 2000; Tiihonen et al., 2012). Given that the report was commissioned by a tobacco company, its findings should obviously be interpreted with a fair amount of scepticism. Yang et al. (2011) estimate that smoking confers net costs on the Chinese economy, yet they do not attempt to quantify any of the potential benefits of smoking. Finally, Tiihonen et al. estimate that, in Finland, the average smoker’s fiscal contribution is around €133,000 greater than the average non-smoker’s.
In conclusion, the weight of the evidence suggests that smoking is a positive fiscal externality. Smokers pay less in income taxes than non-smokers, yet pay considerably more in consumption taxes. Their lifetime healthcare costs are probably slightly lower than those of non-smokers. And they take far less from the pension system than non-smokers, relative to what they pay in
If the Health Evangelism is to be stopped, then it is obvious that one cannot rely upon the Government. The Gov is powerless. What might work is an amalgamation of the interests of Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol and Big Food. In fact, of course, that amalgamation might already be in place. If it is not, then it ought to be. In fact, I remember seeing a Zealot claiming that Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol were already colluding. Needless to say, the Zealot did not explain why the entities Big T and Big A should NOT collaborate. In fact, they ought to have been collaborating for the last four decades. If Big A had any sense, it would be producing ‘studies’ showing the lack of harm for SHS and Fast Food. Big Alcohol is acting like an infant, shaking and shuddering and waiting for Big Nanny to give it a good hiding. If Big Alcohol had any sense, it would commission ‘meta studies’ with the objective of showing that SHS is harmless. In other words, it would be defending itself by proxy.
It is all-right to say that Big A and Big F did not see what was on the horizon. But there is no excuse now. Both, surely, must be aware. Both must surely have seen the drip, drip tactics of the Zealots.
It is beyond my comprehension that a combination of Big T, Big A and Big F have not produced their own free newspaper, and produced their own blog-site. Both should, a) demolish the quack surveys and studies, b) replace the idea of QUADRUPLE minuscule danger with negligible REAL danger, and c) find out how much money is changing hands in bribes in the UN and the WHO and the EU. IT MUST BE SO, since there are no ‘commercial imperative’ checks.

Now the state is paying up around $170 million to these companies.
It has to do with the Master Settlement Agreement. In 1998, those big tobacco companies entered into this agreement with states which called for the companies to reimburse the state for medical treatment for smokers.
In return, the states couldn’t sue them.
Pennsylvania would get around $300 million a year from the agreement with funds going to research and anti-smoking programs.
But the tobacco companies are saying the state didn’t properly collect payments on the state's 2003 sales of tobacco products.
The cut means smoking cessation programs, like the one at Wellspan’s Gettysburg Hospital, will cut more than 50 percent of their anti-smoking efforts.
“It was a tremendous shock. We were told all along we would have ongoing funding through June 30, 2014,” said Kevin Alvarnaz, director of community health.
Six states are being hit with a similar ruling. The state’s Attorney General’s Office is fighting it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Amnesia (How Did We Get Here?) Or Another Look At The Tobacco Control Industry's Playbook E cig Edition Part One

E-cigarette Success Could Hurt Tobacco Settlement ABS

 The annual MSA payment is determined based on inflation and the amount of traditional tobacco products shipped within the U.S. E-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products are excluded from the shipment amount. We would expect this shift to stress tobacco settlement ABS, not tobacco manufacturers, as the largest three are expanding into the e-cigarette market.
Any sizable shift in consumer behavior away from traditional tobacco products in favor of e-cigarettes could lead to a decline in traditional tobacco shipments and thus reduce the MSA payments received by tobacco settlements trusts. In recent years, high shipment declines due to the increases in the federal excise tax and some state taxes have put stress on the cash flows to tobacco settlement bonds, and we would expect a shift in market share to further exacerbate the strain on the payment streams. Since Fitch's approach to rating tobacco settlement bonds is based on the amount of MSA payment decline the bond could withstand, a smaller payment amount could cause downgrades across the sector.

They are marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes. Local law enforcement has a warning about how electronic cigarettes are being used and abused.
Some believe E-cigarettes could be part of South Florida's next big drug problem. Go on YouTube and you will be able to find exactly what many in law enforcement are worried about. 

"There's no telling how far this will go," said Lantana Police Officer Nelson Berrios, who is among those concerned about potential misuse of electronic cigarettes. 

Some say E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to typical cigarettes. Berrios says that would only be true if the E-cigarette is used the way it was intended. "Parents might see it as a safe product where we don't know what they're going to be smoking out of it," he said. "This is going to become a growing trend." 
Corrections & Amplifications
This article has been changed from its original version to reflect that the Food and Drug Administration did not initiate the idea of a proposed ban on online sales of e-cigarettes. It also clarifies that the FDA did not make nonpublic information available in its discussions with e-cigarette makers.
ASH is a small political lobby group. None of its staff are scientists or have any relevant experience in toxicology. I can see no reason why the MHRA would seek the advice of a private interest group to this extent, nor why it should be arranging its press conferences. 

At the very least, there are questions for the MHRA to answer about why they were sharing confidential information with an outside lobby group like ASH. Who is pulling the strings at this organisation? 
In New York City, mayor Michael Bloomberg is seeking to regulate the tobacco-less e-cigarettes.

According to a Professor at the Boston University of Public Health, as noted in the story, the move would be a “de facto ban” on electronic cigarettes. He believes it would encourage users to return to traditional cigarettes, resulting in a “public health disaster.”
And, if he’s right, they’ll pay a bit more for a pack of smokes. Gothamist reports the Bloomberg administration is seeking a $10.50 price floor per pack.
In taking any action, the FDA must assume people do not want to become addicts to nicotine. Government already takes that approach inherently with increasing restrictions on the sale and use of tobacco products. The result has been a welcome decline in public smoking and smoking in general. People tempted to take up smoking now face difficult choices – in costs, inconvenience, and social stigma.
 Here we have a junior minister single-handedly deciding the fate of a controversial piece of legislation that will affect hundreds of millions of people.

In her own mind, the fact that the EU vote was finely poised made it imperative for her to cast the deciding vote without bothering with parliamentary scrutiny or democratic mandates. In fact, it makes her behaviour all the more scandalous. She made herself judge, jury and executioner despite not even understanding what she was voting for (see video below).

From past experience, the Risk-Monger knows that this type of activist legislation against benign developments doesn’t just happen. There is some serious, and seriously unethical, lobbying going on with people passionately driven by personal agendas. This cannot simply be the pharma industry worried about the loss of sales from anti-smoking products presently marketed (although bashing big pharma seems to be the flavour of the month). Although blogs and comment files are full of testimonials of grateful ex-smokers who have been able to quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, I see a trend of health gurus (those leading the “denormalisation of smoking” drives) teaming up with ex-smokers who lead or volunteer at local anti-smoking organisations to campaign against the threat of nicotine addiction.

CDC apparently did not actually measure e-cigarette use.  They could have, of course.  Presumably they knew that the results would contradict the alarmist prohibitionist message they wanted to deliver, and so avoided the truth intentionally.  Actual use is clearly trivial.  If you actually wade though their breathless rhetoric to find information, you learn that 2.8% of high school students reporting trying an e-cigarette in the last month.  How many are actually using them?  If it is even as high as 1/10th of that, we are talking 0.3%.  But, hey, if you report something like that people will not be worried.  And worrying people is the goal.  So stick with “doubled!!!!!”.
Identifying the other important lies requires a bit of knowledge rather just the level of math that we can hope every subject of the studies learned many years ago.  (Am I being too optimistic about the quality of our schools?  Perhaps.  But that is off-topic.)  It turns out that almost all the e-cigarette triers had also tried cigarettes and indeed that almost 80% of them were “current smokers” (which, given CDC’s misuse of terms may be an overstatement of how much they actually smoke, though we do know that — unlike with e-cigarette trying (“hey, what is that? can I try a puff?”) — a large portion of those who puff a cigarette in a month are genuinely current smokers).  So this means that it is quite conceivable that most of those kids who tried an e-cigarette were pursuing THR!  That is, they consider themselves to be hooked on smoking and are seeking a low-risk alternative.  But we can’t have that, can we?
This is just part of what brings us here today.

It fits together like a jigsaw, doesn't it? Just as Dr Siegel predicted.

It doesn't matter that kids using e-cigs is not a significant danger to worry about anyway (recommended read), nor that the e-cig industry is being more responsible and scrupulous than those who pretend they hold the moral high ground. The job is done; a smear story has been manufactured; and is working exactly as planned - just as the tobacco control industry has been doing successfully for decades.

About health, is it? Think again.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Interventions Cover Bigger Problems (Who's Life Is It Anyway?)

The Other Side Of Anti-Tobacco Campaign: A Good Distraction From Terrible Realities

A friend once said that when he was in medical school, the common practice was if you cannot remember anything about the causes of some diseases, just write “smoking and drinking.” That reveals the degree of mystification around the use of tobacco products, even among those who are supposed to know better. One problem with mystification is that it is often counter-productive. When young people eventually find out that the claims made against tobacco are both unreasonable and unsubstantiated, nothing will be able to hold them back when they venture into its use.


I’ll let other people shout about the bans, the restrictions, the plain packaging and warnings that are definitely coming to an Electrofag near you very soon. Frankly, I’m sick of warning those who have sided with the Puritans that they can expect a knife in the back at any moment. There are many drinkers’ groups out there who are delighted to see their remaining pubs turned into restaurants and kindergartens as long as there are no smokers (and soon no vapers) around, and they won’t believe that there are plans to have all the booze stored out of sight, with unmarked hand pumps. Even when presented with the declaration of intent at the start of another rigged study, they’ll just laugh it off.
If you are an antismoking vaper, read those Mail comments again and be honest with yourselves.
As a consequence, immature behaviour is more likely to be amplified among teens than tempered by the presence of older people. It also means that the let-it-all-hang-out, therapeutic norms that young people have been schooled in are less likely to be challenged, as they would be in a more public environment. Far more worrying is that, cut adrift from older members of the same community, young people are less likely to develop ties to the areas they live in. In the wake of the 2011 riots, there was the familiar call for more ‘youth centres’ for young people to go to. A far better alternative would be to encourage young people to drink alcohol in pubs, a state of affairs that is unlikely to develop when beer tax has made a pint so unaffordable in recent years.

A non-smoking cleaner who stole almost $15,000 worth of tobacco from a cigarette factory said he planned to give it away to people who couldn't afford smokes.
"You seem to have thought of yourself as a sort of Robin Hood," Judge Bill Hastings told Mafutaga Ulimasao, 52, yesterday in Hutt Valley District Court.
Judge Hastings said he accepted Ulimasao may have had good intentions. "But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions."
He said he considered anyone who may have been given free cigarettes by Ulimasao a victim.
"Because of your actions they have smoked more tobacco than they would have, and there's a risk they could become a burden to the health system."

Nothing specific here but go read the comments.

If you are a parent, you may soon receive a letter from the school your child attends informing you they believe your child is overweight. CBS News in Los Angeles is reporting yesterday that schools in that county are sending parents so-called “fat letters” claiming their children weight too much.
The CBS article reports, “Lauren Schmitt, a registered dietitian, starts the school year by checking out the weight of hundreds of preschoolers in the San Fernando Valley. “We look at growth charts and percentiles. And when a child is at 95 percent of their…we can look at weight for age or weight for height…that child would be considered obese,” she said.”
The story reports that the students called the correspondences, “fat letters.”

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Anna Sobury Collection

The past history of the Tobacco Products Directive is interesting stuff.Authored by a man who was eventually sacked for being a corrupt official and soliciting bribes,it was nonetheless picked up ...

What's shocking from here in America is that such vast corruption in connection with this is ongoing and not being reported on by the mainstream media.

One would think that they aren't reporting it because it's just a tobacco issue and they think no one is watching.

Plenty of people are watching,I expect this is just the tip of the Anna Sobury/Andrew Black iceberg.

House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee

Ms Soubry refers to article 24 (plain packaging) and then says "...I would have thought you would have commended us for doing all that we could to ensure greater sovereignty for this parliament..." Clearly she believes that the other articles in the draft directive are completely irrelevant or she does not understand what she has done. She says "...some of us believe that these public health measures are very important..."  It would be nice if she considered the whole directive rather than just article 24.
Mr Philips: "The draft directive had been deposited in December 2012 wrote this committee in January 2013... and then there is no correspondence at all from you or the department until June 2013, despite this committee having raised a series of questions a report to the house and despite the fact that you must have known that matters were progressing..."

Ms Soubry replied "...I don't think it's as simple as that..." [Andrew Black then intervenes]

Mr Philips: "... why did the write round [to the government departments] take so long that this committee heard nothing for 6 months?..." 
It beggars belief that a junior member of government has done this without, it seems, any consultation with stakeholders, ministers in other government departments, or the very committee that was set up to scrutinise EU Directives.
One member of the Scrutiny Committee criticised her for asking for a scrutiny waiver and accused her of failing to keep the Committee informed.
Another pointed out that the Committee was charged with carrying out scrutiny and when that opportunity was denied they could not carry out that work.
A third said it was “remarkable” that the Minister did not seem to know that nothing had happened between January and June in terms of the European Scrutiny Committee’s position.
Soubry said she took full responsibility for the decision she took, and she was sorry that things were not done in the way that they should have been.
Then ask yourself this - where is the outrage from Labour? Yesterday at PMQs, Labour MP after Labour MP rose to condemn what they imagined was a case of one individual interfering in government business.

On the same afternoon, though, a Tory minister was excluding parliament entirely and committing the country to EU laws on the say-so of, well, herself and herself alone.

If Labour are going to allow such sleazy actions from a Conservative - and you know how they love to attack Conservatives - without so much as a murmur of criticism, you have to wonder which industry's lobbyists might be pulling theirstrings, eh?
Be amazed that Anna Soubry makes "no apology" for her actions against the British people (except for an apology to the committee itself), for deciding that only she could save us all from ourselves. Be astounded that Andrew Black says his wilful failure to answer the committee's questions for over SIX MONTHS is merely a "learning point." Be gobsmacked over the fact that Soubry didn't have to do anything at all -- the UK could have abstained -- but Irish Health Minister James Reilly and Andrew Black had convinced Soubry that something had to done right away, because if they didn't act then you couldn't trust the Lithuanians to do anything when they assume the European presidency.

And they did all of that simply because they just had to have plain packaging in the UK. Because they couldn't afford to let MPs have a debate on it. What they truly did was agree to ban menthol cigarettes, without giving MPs and tobacco consumers a voice in the matter, and at the same time agreed to completely shaft vapers by effectively banning e-cigs by regulating them as medical devices, without giving MPs and the British public a voice in the matter.
Not only did she give a national position on the Tobacco Products Directive without UK Members of Parliament being able to debate them, but she failed for the preceding six months to keep the committee advised of progress. She thereby contributed significantly to the fact that time ran out for proper scrutiny and debate.

This is open and unembarrassed abuse of process – Soubry says she feels the committee ought to be grateful to her setting out to create conditions whereby the UK government will be able to come back and introduce plain packaging. She somehow attempts to make the case that her abuse of the parliamentary process was designed to protect Westminster's sovereignty.

Will the UK opposition start asking pointed questions? 
 This leaves us in the position of a rush to judgement over the TPD, before the end of the Irish presidency, without proper debate in the UK. This has resulted in a swathe of horse-trading between health ministers from member states, including those from Sweden who have accepted TPD endorsement in order to retain SNUS flavourings in Sweden (for example).
The UK government, via Anna Soubry, have taken part in those discussions while in breach of scrutiny procedure and without recourse for parliament to debate and discuss the meat of the TPD.

We need to withdraw and step back from any agreements made by Anna Soubry until such a time as scrutiny requirements have been met and MPs have had the opportunity to discuss and debate the TPD in parliament. Voices have failed to be heard.
Failure to do this will result in MPs being denied from representing their constituents.