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Friday, 31 August 2012

Not Just a Lifestyle Choice - It's a Career Now

Last I checked, which was right now, I am not being paid to smoke. I have never been paid to smoke. Not that I would mind if someone said to me, "We would like to pay you for being a smoker."  To which my response would be, "Awesome."

Alas, that imaginary conversation and job offer will never happen.  Even so, the Root of All Evil considers smoking a career (emphasis added unnecessarily, I admit):

"Smokers tend to be pretty loyal and stick with brands through their smoking career."

I didn't realise that smoking was a career choice.  Perhaps the Root of All Evil is advocating for yet another way to tax smokers.  See, if smoking is a job, we would have to pay even more tax to our nanny state governments to harass, denormalise and demonise us.  In the UK, the duty on tobacco is around "£5.83 for a packet of cigarettes and £10.81 for a 50g pouch of tobacco" according to this article on the illicit trade.

Anyway, do read the rest of the article. You will see that not even plain packaging is enough to stop Big Tobacco from tempting the kiddies. "Product Innovation" will be next up against the wall. This means that not only will Australia's government use a cigarette packet to promote its anti-smoking propaganda, but it will now also actively seek to dictate what a cigarette can taste like

For the children, of course.

Because the health nazis truly believe that your kids are imbeciles, and so are their parents, and only the government under their technocratic advisement can save us all. Am I right?

And for some good news in the battle for common sense down under, just an update on a post I did when I first started this blog about a smoke drift petition in Oz.  In five months, the petition has managed only 15 signatures. I'm pleasantly surprised by that. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Plain Packs: A How To Demonise Smokers Guide

In June, at the 2012 UK National Smoking Cessation Conference (UKNSCC), Linda Bauld gave a presentation about the "evidence" of plain packaging.  Her presentation centred on the review that she and others in the tobacco control industry gave to the Department of Health in support of the plain packaging consultation here in the UK.

Lest I be accused of taking quotes of context, I would encourage you to listen to the entire presentation here and you can come to your own objective conclusions about it. There is also a low-resolution slide show that you can follow along with.  The audio portion of the presentation is roughly 18 minutes in length.

First of all, Bauld admits there is no real evidence of plain packaging working to reduce smoking uptake or quit rates because it's never been done before.  (Note: The Root of All Evil tweeted the same thing once.)  There are no controlled or before and after studies and the vast majority of studies are surveys, the quality of which are "variable."  That's comforting.

The tobacco control industry's surveys do indicate that plain packs will stigmatise current smokers. The idea here is to weaken and ultimately remove any brand identity a smoker might have, whilst fostering the notion that there are no differences in quality between various brands.  Because to the anti-smoking zealots, all cigarettes are exactly the same.

So if the hate campaign's goal is to demonise and stigmatise smokers further to force them to change their behaviour to the state-sanctioned variety, then they believe that plain packs will likely contribute to that end.  What does Linda Bauld say about this?
  • [Plain Packs] seen as having a less desirable smoker identity associated with them. The type of person that might use a plain pack might be older, less popular and less attractive, etc.
Translation: Let's make adult smokers unpopular and ugly by implementing plain packs.
  • They felt more embarrassed pulling out the plain packs.
Translation: Let's make our ugly and unpopular smokers feel even more like outcasts in society and amongst their peers and friends.

So, I suppose that's the tobacco control industry's plan and theory: Attack and remove consumer choice to force behavioural change to the nanny state's idealised groupthink model of perfect health and living forever by denormalising human beings, all before tobacco controllers implement outright prohibition of tobacco.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Big Lottery Fund Grants Hard At Work

Back in May of this year, Dick Puddlecote broke the story that ASH Wales received the largest award in Wales from the Big Lottery Fund.  I thought I'd update DP's post and let you know how that £864,881 is being spent. Ready for this?

ASH Wales created two social media accounts on both Facebook and Twitter called "The Filter."  It's mission is to denormalise you to tell the truth.  That's what they say anyway, here on the about page on Facebook
We are here to tell people in Wales the truth about tobacco. We are a part of ASH Wales that is funded by Big Lottery.
Before we see how well they tell the truth, particularly the whole truth, some quick maths on the actual costs of this new Big Lottery Fund venture:

Cost of creating a Facebook page:  £0.00  (Free)

Cost of creating a Twitter account:  £0.00  (Free)

Hiring some hateful dolt a Social Media Expert Officer (Word document) under a three-year contract to denormalise smokers and misinform the public to tweet and update facebook for a 37.5 hours per week:  (salary £28,000 to £30,000 per annum) = £84,000 to £90,000 - this is not inclusive of National Insurance contributions and other taxes.

Cost of a new shiny trade marked PC or Mac that that attracts children more than cigarettes ever would and other items required for denormalising smokers on-line:  £1,000 (estimated based on current market prices).

So, not including tax and national insurance payments and everything else an employer must give to our nanny state government, we're looking at about £85,000 to £91,000, roughly about 10% of the grant received.  Kind of makes you wonder where the rest of that money is going.  Doesn't it?  Actually, I really don't want to know...

OK, let's go back to the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  I saw this Twitter conversation the other day.

So here we have a tweet conversation between The Filter and Daniel Clayton that claims a cigarette contains something from a beaver's arse.  The Filter also said it's "morbidly fascinating" but worse than ambergris because "it's smoked." Dickheads.

But is it true? Do cigarettes contain beaver arse juice and what is this beavery-arse substance?

The substance they refer to is called "castoreum."  It is extracted from a beaver's castor sac, which lies in very close proximity to the beaver's anal glands. These are the sacs that beavers use for scent marking. Castoreum doesn't come from the anal glands, and the castor sacs are not actually glands, they are sacs. So, prima facie the tweet is already untrue, but we know that nobody working at ASH is a scientist or biologist, certainly not the dolts they hire for their social media campaigns.  They obviously found a site that called them anal glands incorrectly and ran with it, because that has a greater shock value.

Should we forgive them their error?  No. We should not cut these bastards any slack.  If they claim their mission is to tell the truth, then their statements should be factual.  Of course, we know that ASH has never cared for actual facts, so no surprise here.

Next, do cigarettes contain castoreum?  Well, some brands of cigarettes may contain castoreum. But certainly not all brands of cigarettes; it depends on how the tobacco is cured and treated. So it's not a fair claim to say that every cigarette has castoreum (let alone calling it anal gland juice). Here's what Wired magazine had to say about it:
Commonly found in the secretions of a beaver's castor glands (located near the animal's genitals), this substance when processed gives your cigarette a sweet odor and smoky flavor. In 1991, Phillip Morris used just 8 pounds of the pungent stuff to make 400 billion cigarettes — proving that a little genital secretion goes a long way.
All we know from this is that at the very least, Philip Morris uses castoreum in at least some of their cigarettes.  Which brands?  Who knows...but The Filter wants you to think that all cigarettes contain this, and that's not true.

So, you might be thinking castoreum is gross, and I could understand that.  But wait, there's more to this. The whole truth is that castoreum is used in lots of every day foods, beverages and products out there. You have very likely consumed it. Perhaps often. It is considered a safe food additive, and it is usually called "Natural Flavouring." (It is natural, after all.)  For instance, one might find castoreum in:

Alcoholic and non-alcholic beverages
Puddings (the American variety of pudding, I imagine)
Vanilla flavourings (ice cream)
Raspberry flavourings

And more... Get the point? Chances are you have eaten beaver secretions at some point in your life. You probably even like it.

Perfumers also use castoreum in their perfumes and colognes. Or it might be added to soaps and shampoos.

And guess who else uses castoreum in their products?  Big Pharma does.  That's right, it's used in medicines and other pharmaceutical products. I have no idea which ones, but wouldn't it be funny if it turned up in NRT gum?  Because castoreum is used in some chewing gums (again, no idea which ones).

Of course, ASH Wales's The Filter won't tell you these things. They put it out there to gross you out, a campaign of hateful misinformation by omission, and they didn't tell you the whole truth. In fact, they embellished it, and not content with misinforming the public the first time around, they feel the need to reiterate it again today.

They know most people are too lazy to look up information for themselves. They know most people will read it and think it's totally true without verifying it for themselves. The tobacco control relies on people's laziness and stupidity and unwillingness to confirm if something is a fact.  "Oh, I heard it from a friend who knows somebody who met this guy who saw it on a website, so it must be true."  That's the level of interest people have in finding out the truth.

But we humans, we're strange creatures. We ingest and consume lots of weird foods and organic substances.  For instance, billions of humans consume this glandular secretion, which contains amino acids, citrate, enzymes, flavins, fructose phosphorylcholine, prostaglandins, vitamin C, acid phosphatase, citric acid, fibrinolysin, proteolytic enzymes, zinc, galactose, mucus, and sialic acid among other things.

What about ... Haggis?  Black Pudding? People love these. It's fucking disgusting to me, but others love it.  Here's a tasty link (warning, click at own risk -- nasty foods):

Here's another list to ten "strange" British foods:

Not satisfied?  Then try following these links graciously provided for your reading pleasure by Stumpy Bear.  (Warning: Maybe wait until after you've eaten dinner. Your call.)

I mean, on this planet, everything is fair game for consumption and or use at some point.  Animal by-products are used for so many useful things -- nothing is ever wasted.  Even torturing single-celled organisms to get their by-products is fair game, and people actually eat it on toast for fuck's sake. Yuck.  Yes, it's Marmite. 

And just to close this post, you do know what goes into medications for athlete's foot. Don't you? It's called urea. Sometimes it's synthetic, sometimes not, but urea is ... urine. That's right. Piss. You can piss on your feet and treat your fungal infection.

Seriously, you can piss on your feet and cure infections (or ease jelly fish stings, I'm told). How awesome is that?

I guess other people's pee will work too (if you're into that sort of thing), but I really don't know...  The point here is that your pee can save you money, and it just might help save the NHS. I can imagine the NHS campaign slogan:

Don't Flush Your Money Down the Toilet. Wee For Our Children's Future.

ASH Wales, however, just takes our money and uses it to misinform people and demonise smokers.  Indeed, the entire tobacco control industry makes their living doing this. Fucking money-flushing pissheads, all of them.

There are much, much worse things than trace amounts of castoreum. Just sayin'.

Monday, 27 August 2012

People Are Mobile Billboards Too

The following from Australia's face-stomper Nicola Roxon and her evil sidekick Tanya Plibersek has been quoted endlessly in the press the past few weeks:
"No longer when a smoker pulls out a packet of cigarettes will that packet be a mobile billboard."
So if these nannying tyrant hags from hell consider a packet of cigarettes as a mobile billboard, then how do you think they view actual living smokers?  If you are a smoker, forced to stand outside, are you not a walking, talking advertisement for smoking to these people?  Are you not infecting the children with your evil smoking habit? 

And if they do believe these things, and it seems likely that they do to even a casual observer, what do you think they will do next?

Speaking of evil nannying tyrants, the Root of All Evil appeared on Australian television to discuss banning sales of cigarettes to anyone born in the year 2000 or later.  I tweeted this video earlier today, but I think it's worth adding it to this post.  At least there's a sensible, alternative viewpoint presented by a liberty-loving chap named James Paterson (and good work, James!). But note how the Root of All Evil keeps calling this guy big tobacco's errand boy, and even justifies prohibition as a good thing for health.  What a dickhead.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Champions of Common Sense

On this blog we often highlight those in Parliament who are actively seeking to destroy our civil liberties, our freedoms, and our economy by their support for plain packs.  In this post, however, we list the Parliamentarians who oppose plain packs.  The majority of the list below is taken from the open letter that dozens of MPs signed in June 2012 -- these do not have links following their names.  All other additional MPs will have links to the articles, web sites or tweets confirming their opposition to plain packs.

This page will be updated frequently without notice. It is perma-linked under Common Sense Champions in the menu bar above.  Please feel free to leave a comment with links to any MPs who do not yet appear on the list.  Thanks!

Copyright Notice: Although the contents of this list are taken from statements or signed letters in the public domain, this list is NOT in the public domain. I researched it (or others kindly provided links); I created it, and I own it. Therefore, any person, organisation or governmental entity who works on behalf of the tobacco control industry at large (including but certainly not limited to universities, the mainstream press and media, the NHS, BHF, CRUK and ASH) and any person, organisation or entity (including the entire country of Australia) who supports plain packs, must NOT use this list for any purpose, including but not limited to copying this list, modifying it, linking to it via any other web site or internet service (e.g. Twitter), printing it, nor may you link to this page or reference it in your evil wiki of shame (Tobacco Tactics) or do anything at all with it without my express permission to do so.

In other words, make your own damn list, tobacco control industry.  You get paid with taxpayer money to promote your hateful, hurtful agendas against smokers.  I, on the other hand, do not receive any funds from anyone. Seriously, I don't.

Disclaimer:  Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy. If you see an error, please contact me or leave a message so that it may be corrected.  This blog does not endorse any politician appearing on this page, their views, nor endorse any of their parties. We list them here only to provide information.

Champions of Common Sense

The following MPs have openly opposed plain packs by signing the open letter:
  • Ian Paisley - North Antrim
  • Graham Brady - Altrincham and Sale West
  • Brian Binley  - Northampton South
  • Therese Coffey  - Suffolk Coastal
  • Kate Hoey - Vauxhall
  • Greg Knight - East Yorkshire
  • Jackie Doyle-Price - Thurrock
  • Stephen Metcalfe - South Basildon and East Thurrock
  • Mark Pawsey  - Rugby
  • Charlie Elphicke - Dover
  • Laurence Robertson - Tewkesbury
  • Gerry Sutcliffe - Bradford South
  • Paul Goggins - Wythenshawe and Sale East
  • Christopher Chope - Christchurch
  • Steven J. Baker - Wycombe
  • Mary T. Glindon - North Tyneside
  • Stephen Hepburn - Jarrow
  • Ketih Vaz - Leicester East
  • John Robertson - Glasgow North West
  • Gordon Henderson - Sittingbourne and Sheppey
  • David Hamilton - Midlothian
  • Bob Stewart - Beckenham
  • Jeffrey M. Donaldson - Lagan Valley
  • Mark Spencer - Sherwood
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg - North East Somerset
  • John Cryer - Leyton and Wanstead
  • Karl McCartney - Lincoln
  • David Nuttal - Bury North
  • Philip Davies - Shipley
  • Alun Cairns - Vale of Glamorgan
  • Guto Bebb - Aberconwy
  • Michael Fallon - Sevenoaks
  • Mike Freer - Finchley and Golders Green
  • Ronnie Campbell - Tynemouth
  • Jim Sheridan - Paisley and Renfrewshire North
  • Peter Hain - Neath
  • John Thurso - Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
  • Richard G. Drax - South Dorset
  • Nigel Mills - Amber Valley
  • Roger Godsiff - Birmingham, Hall Green
  • Ian Liddell-Grainger - Bridgwater and West Somerset
  • Robin Walker - Worcester
  • Neil Parish - Tiverton and Honiton
  • Robert Walter - North Dorset
  • Peter Bone - Wellingborough
  • Douglas Carswell - Clacton
  • Grahame M. Morris - Easington
  • Philip Hollobone - Kettering
  • Simon Hart - Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire
  • Anne Main - St Albans
  • Paul Uppal - Wolverhampton South West
Additional MPs opposing plain packaging are:
  • Mark Field - Cities of London and Westminster
  • Priti Patel - Witham
h/t Pat Nurse

Additional MPs who signed the open letter, as indicated in a Department of Health FOI (link forthcoming)
  • David Amess - Southend West
  • Richard Bacon - South Norfolk
  • Angie Bray - Ealing Central and Acton
  • Julian Brazier - Canterbury
  • Conor Burns - Bournemouth West
  • David Davies - Monmouth
  • Mark Field - Cities of London and Westminster
  • George Galloway - Bradford West
  • Robert Halfon - Harlow
  • Gerald Howarth - Aldershot
  • Gareth Johnson - Dartford
  • Jack Lopresti - Filton and Bradley Stoke
  • Jonathan Lord - Woking
  • Khalid Mahmood - "Birmingham, Perry Barr"
  • Anne McIntosh - Thirsk and Malton
  • Priti Patel - Witham
  • Virendra Sharma - "Ealing, Southall"
  • Charles Walker - Broxbourne
  • Angela Watkinson - Hornchurch and Upminster
  • John Whittingdale - Maldon
  • Sammy Wilson - East Antrim

page udpated 6 May 2013

If It Helps Just One Person It's Worth It

How many times have you heard the expression "If it helps just one person it will be worth it"?  Hundreds? Thousands of times, perhaps?

It's certainly in my top ten list of bullshit phrases used by nannying tyrants to justify acts or legislation that are a detriment to a greater percentage of the population. 

From our least favourite country in the world comes this article in the Townsvillle Bulletin titled "Doubt about Plain Packs."  And you guessed it, a rather stout (er...well, he is quite large, to be fair) MP named Ewen Jones said:
"If [plain packaging of cigarettes] stops one person from smoking, it will be worth it."
The article also has him saying (emphasis added) "any act to eradicate smoking was a positive move."

Any act?  Any act at all?  Really, now.  OK.

So, if the nannying tyrants want to -- oh, I dunno, er... tattoo smokers with a serial number as part of a smokers' licensing programme, that's a positive move too?  Must be, since you, Mr Jones, said any act is a positive move.

Why stop there, Mr Jones? Why not just cut off smokers' hands?  If you don't have hands, that would be quite a deterrent in lighting up. Right? 

Any act, you say?  But you also said the word "eradicate."  Any act to eradicate smoking. That's an interesting choice of wording.  Eradicate.  Hmm.

Here's a tip. People smoke. People smoked before there were tobacco companies, and people will continue to smoke regardless of any legislation.  Criminalising cannabis has had zero effect on stopping people from smoking it. Zero.  Criminalising alcohol during the prohibition era didn't stop people from drinking. These things only made common citizens criminals. 

Perhaps, Mr Jones, you might want to rethink that "any act" thing. It's so close to the rhetoric of the National Socialist party in Germany way back in the 30s and 40s that it's quite alarming to hear it used these days. Because in fact, if you can justify any act in support of your cause, you're an extremist. And if there's one thing we all know about the tobacco control industry, they are all extremists and willing to justify any act in support of "The Public's Health."  No lie too big, no grant too small, no harmful act unjustified.

How far are you willing to go, Mr Jones?

In fairness, it's kind of nice that you recognised that plain packs will be a detriment to businesses and that you "felt" for them.  If you really felt for them, you'd realise that you're trying to put them out business. Here's what one of them had to say:
[Retailer Rob Mitchell] said 50 per cent of daily sales were made from cigarette purchases and if smokers were deterred it could be the death of their business. "If it does have an impact, it will ruin small businesses and it will be the end of us," he said.
So if we're just going to save one person with plain packs, i.e. just get one person to quit smoking, it's worth putting hundreds of retailers out of business, as well as trying to destroy an industry that provides billions of tax to the government's coffers.  Thousands of lives destroyed to save only one life by getting that person to quit smoking?

Yeah, that's worth it.

I'm still waiting to hear from the tobacco control industry on my pledge to quit smoking. How much is one life worth?  I guess I should live in Australia, because Mr Jones honestly believes that getting one person to quit smoking by destroying the local economy is worth it, I figure he'd be willing to stump up the cash I requested.

I suspect I'll be waiting forever.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Plain Packs Protects Still Lying?

A few weeks back, Plain Packs Protect (a taxpayer-funded organisation) was caught out attempting to deceive the public by listing Andrew Lansley as a plain packs supporter. They weren't actually deceiving anyone; Lansley does support plain packs, but as he was heading the so-called public consultation with an "open mind," he shouldn't have had any public opinion on the matter. After being called out, Plain Packs Protect removed Lansley and his comments from their supporters page, and added a disclaimer that reads:
These comments have been taken from the public domain and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of the Plain Packs Protect campaign.
A bit of arse covering, to say the least.  But is the disclaimer true?

Turns out, no, it's not true.   Why do I say that?  Because this supporter's comment isn't in the public domain:

We're going to (more or less) gloss over the fact that Plain Packs Protects are utter morons and cannot even get Annette Brooke's name correct, and we're going to focus only the quoted statement:
"Fancy packaging can only have one aim, to gain more custom. I am pleased to join the tens of thousands of people who have already signed up to support plain packs. It is vital to protect our children and young people."
So is this MP's comment actually in the public domain?  If it were in the public domain, it would certainly turn up in a search on Google.  But it doesn't.  I tried searching on various parts of the quoted statement, perhaps I mis-searched, but it seems it only appears on the Plain Packs Protect website:

Two distinct searches come up with only one web site hit. That hit is only the Plain Packs Protect web site. What's going on here?

So, how did Plain Packs Protect come to get that statement from Annette Brook MP if it's not in the public domain?

It seems to us that Plain Packs Protect are lying charlatans, but we don't know and of course we cannot know for sure how they came to that quote. Perhaps it was in print, in some obscure magazine or newspaper that hardly anyone reads. I find it unlikely, but for the tobacco control industry, unlikely = probability = certainty in their world view.

Now, there are other quotes on the supporters page for Plain Packs Protect. I haven't checked them all. I wonder, how many more won't turn up in a basic Google search?

Which makes you wonder... well, it makes me wonder.  I wonder: Is the Plain Packs Protect web site deliberately trying to deceive the public, or are they total fucking morons?  Could it be both?

I'm done wondering. As always, you decide.


Sometimes change is good. So come the 1st of September, in honour of CRUK's morons in paper bags, I will be changing the blog's name to:

That Hitler Blog

Nah, I'm joking.

But I will be changing the name by removing the "Citizens United against" bit.  From the 1st, this blog's name will be "Nannying Tyrants."  I know some of you will be disappointed, as you quite like the acronym.  I like it too. I think it's funny. However, the name change was always part of the plan (thus the URL as

If I'm on your blog roll as Citizens United against Nannying Tyrants, you may wish to update it to only Nannying Tyrants.  I think most of you have me down as Nannying Tyrants anyway. Or you can leave it as is. I don't mind.

One thing that will never change here is NO ADVERTISING. There will be no adverts and no promotions of others' products. I will never try to sell you anything here on this blog. Also, I will never ask you to donate money to me, nor will I take any business's money to write anything. I am nobody's stooge. I'm a not part of any "front groups." I am definitely not a "front individual."  I write this blog as a private, independent and liberty-minded person who is really fucking tired of the nanny state and its agents of hate interfering with my life.

Also, I really need your help in keeping the Sheep Minions page updated and current.  If you're aware of any British MP who is openly supporting plain packaging and they aren't already on this page, please leave me a comment with a link to the web page or twitter comment with that statement, or feel free to contact me privately.  I also plan to start an plain packs opposition page per Pat Nurse's recommendation, so if you know of any MPs who have said they won't support plain packs, please leave a link to the page.

So, that's about it really.  For my fellow gamer friends and readers who like on-line shooters, I leave you with this image, courtesy of

There is humour to be found in just about everything.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

On Growing Up and Propaganda

One thing I can remember very clearly about growing up was the ever-present threat of thermonuclear war.  The commies, we were told at every opportunity, had "the Nuke" and they wanted to destroy us all. We had nukes, too, but we'd only ever use them in self defence -- at least, that's what the adults said. We were the good guys. Them Russians, they were the bad guys and they were out to get us because we had freedom and they didn't.  Classic propaganda.  Sometimes I would go to bed wondering if I would be vapourised in my sleep.  If you lived in a big city, you were lucky, because you would be incinerated instantly. But if you lived just far enough away from a blast to survive it, you would turn into a radioactive zombie, or something like that.  I saw it in a film, I think. Good times.

In school, we did nuke drills every so often.  I think they were called "emergency drills." I suppose that was a little less frightening to us squiddies. The teacher would give us an urgent command, and we'd all scramble to get into a tuck position under our desks.  I remember even then wondering how the hell my desk was going to save me from a nuclear blast. It might protect me from a chunk of spit-ball plastered ceiling crashing down, but a nuclear explosion?  Heh, some desk. But the important thing was don't look into the light, Carol Anne.

There were other dangers to worry about, too.  Like, strangers. Don't talk to them. Don't accept their candied bribes. Don't ever get into their car or van, even if they say they are a family friend, or your mum is in hospital dying after being run over by a train. If you see a strange man (and it was always, always, always a strange man, never a woman) and he wants to talk to you, run away as fast as your little legs will take you and scream for help. Don't look back. Just run.

Oh, and there were drugs. Drugs were bad. Some drugs, the adults told us in hushed tones, were laced with another even worser drug called PCP, and if you took any drugs laced with PCP you would go crazy and rip out your eyeballs, or bite off the nose of a police officer who would then have to shoot you in the face, or you would jump off a really tall building because you thought you could fly, but you couldn't fly and you would die a horrible squishy death, and your family would be really, really sad because you were squished dead because you took drugs.

So we had Nukes, Strangers and Drugs to be worried about. And, from what I recall of my childhood, that was pretty much it. Except for that pesky hole in the ozone layer, which would grow bigger and expand and spread all over the world and we'd all be cooked to death by the sun, unless of course another ice age hit, which was predicted often, and then if that happened we'd all freeze or starve to death whilst simultaneously being cooked by sun and possibly being attacked by radioactive zombie strangers on PCP.  (Also, thinking about it, we were told to stay away from Ouija boards, because you would get possessed by evil spirits and be lost forever in limbo. But that was the crazy lady down the street who said that, and she had like 13 cats, so it probably doesn't count.)

If you could bypass all three -- or five -- of these things during your childhood, you won the childhood game. You would grow up to be an adult, who then could do anything they wanted to do in life, like be a fireman or a doctor or a film star.  You could be rich and famous if you did well in school first anyway.

Well, that was the 70s and 80s for you. I suppose it was similar for kids growing up in the 50s and 60s, but I didn't grow up then so I don't know. But anyway, I guess we had it pretty easy. We only had three to five things to really worry about.  Kids today have to worry about many more things than I did.

No, that's not right.  It's everyone else, a few generations of overprotective adults who are worrying about what could happen to the kids, and it's not even their kids they are worried for.

Anyway, when I was young it seemed to me that adults (our parents) couldn't wait to get rid of us each morning, particularly during summer, but wintertime was fair game too. Eat some breakfast, and then go out and play by 8:30 a.m.  Be home by 12 for lunch, they'd say.  After lunch, it was back outside until about 5 or 6, and then we'd have dinner, and maybe go out some more, and then if we were lucky (and quiet!) we could watch a half-hour of the telly before bed.

So we played outside, a lot.  Even if we didn't want to play, we went outside. By ourselves. Unsupervised, for the most part. And played. Or did something for hours at a time. When we exhausted all of the games we had learnt and got bored of them, we invented new games and played them until those go boring. Nobody got kidnapped by candy-wielding strangers.  Nobody died. We rode bikes and climbed trees. We played hide-and-seek. Sometimes we got hurt -- a skinned knee, a broken arm at the worst.  Sometimes we fought with other kids. Sometimes we did something stupid or wrong and got punished. Spankings, even. My grandmother had a proper paddle. She was not shy about using it if we acted up. But that was just childhood. Ultimately, sore-bottomed and scarred by our unsupervised outdoor adventures, we won the childhood game and survived it all.

And you have to wonder, how the hell did we survive childhood at all?  We didn't have endless laws and adults trying to save us from harm every second of the day.

We didn't wear helmets when riding our bikes.

Seat belts or child seats in a car? Please.

Laws to save us hapless kids from second-hand smoke?  Nope.

Ah, yes. Smoking. What about it? As you might have already guessed the adults in our life told us not to smoke.  Smoking, they said all the time, was bad for you.  We believed them. Honestly, we believed them. We even believed the PCP and radioactive zombies from Russia things, although we may have mixed up the details here and there. Smoking would harm our lungs amongst other dangers to the body, and -- my favourite -- would stunt your growth. So long as we lived under their roof, we lived by their rules. No smoking. When you're an adult, they said, you can do what you like to yourself.  Until then NO SMOKING.

In our teens we smoked anyway. Sometimes we got caught.  "What were you thinking?" they asked us. Well, we were thinking we wouldn't get caught.  We knew it was wrong for us to smoke, being kids and all.  Smoking was for adults. We knew. And really, because we desperately wanted the childhood game to be finished, and specifically because they told us not to do it, we did it anyway.  We were not seduced to smoke by advertising of any kind, of which there was plenty about. We were not seduced by pack designs or what we saw in films, or even what our favourite musicians did. We smoked because we wanted to be rebellious, to do something we were not allowed to do, and of course to be grown up. We smoked because they told us not to smoke, or because our friends were smoking. Risks be damned, we will do what we like.

And we drank booze now and then-- beer or spirits.  Some of us did drugs, too. When the "drug awareness" campaigns of the 80s came to our school to teach us about the harmful effects of cannabis ("you'll feel light-headed and dizzy if you smoke cannabis," one ex-cop told us) and other drugs, we listened intently to their propaganda and said, "Aw, hell yeah, that sounds cool." Yep. By telling us not to do it, by saying it was illegal and we'd go to jail, we showed them and did it anyway.  That's what kids do sometimes. I'm not advocating that kids should rebel or do what they please. I'm just saying, kids will be kids.

We got jobs in our teens, too. Actually, my very first job was the summer when I was twelve. I washed dishes part-time in a restaurant. It was a shitty job. But they paid me to do it. The following summer, I got a job in a supermarket. I continued to work in a supermarket until I was sixteen.  I also had side jobs, doing gardening stuff, mowing grass, pulling weeds. If it snowed, we shovelled drives to make a few pennies. We would wash cars, or windows. I once even helped to fell a few trees and got to use a chain saw. I was only 14 for that one. Good fun. I wasn't exploited by these people. We wanted to work, so that we could make money, so that we could do stuff, and buy stuff. It was legal, too.

And I survived all of that somehow.

Looking back, I made it through childhood because my family was looking out for me. And at times the neighbours were looking out for all of us even if we kids didn't realise they were doing it. We were a community. We were self-regulating, self-protecting. We didn't need excessive laws to protect the children of my era.  We, the community, the street I lived on, and the neighbouring streets too, and the crazy cat lady along with the other parents who had children... we all had each other. We all relied on each other to make sure that everyone would survive, both kids and adults. And I mean that in the literal sense. My community wasn't wealthy either. We were relatively poor. Not destitute. Just struggling to get by most of the time. We relied on everyone, but we never relied on the government to solve our problems. It was an unspoken responsibility to look after others. A duty, perhaps. That was my community, in a small city even.  What was yours like?  What is yours like now?

So now it's the adults who are ruining everything for other adults and using the children as the excuse to do it, because we must have forgotten how to be a community and self-regulating.  Thing is, adults can no longer do what they like. My parents lied to me, but I'll forgive them. They probably didn't know it would come to this horrible nanny state filled with the hateful clones of Simon Chapman in every corner of the world.

Now we have adults telling adults how much to eat, drink, not to smoke. Adults pass laws that affect other adults because of the children.  Adults are no longer adults. We're still children in the eyes of nannying busybodies, who think by dint of being elected that they have a right to dictate our lives.  They don't, but we have let them do it anyway.

We seem to be living in a perpetual state of fear of every probability, no matter how remote the chances. There's always something bad around the corner, just waiting to hurt us. The media tells us this every day.  You could die from this, or that. And because that's how we think, because people are afraid of remote possibilities, we all forget to live. And if we're not living our lives, neither are our children living their lives.

So if you really want to protect children, then perhaps people need to stop protecting them so much. Otherwise, your kids will never grow up. And they will have only propaganda to rely on to keep them safe. Which is no comfort at all.

Still, I think the kids are all right, probably.  Maybe.  Are they? You tell me.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Don't Say Plain Packs Don't Work?

There's a new anti-nanny state, libertarian blog on these here interwebs.  Unlike the wild west of America, there's always room for another sheriff blogger in this town.  The blog is Hell Nanny.

The very first post is about plain packs and I find it quite interesting, because a) I think Virginia has made a valid point in that saying "there is no evidence" isn't working particularly well for opponents of plain packs (although in the comments Carl Phillips points out that evidence-based arguments are still necessary), and b) that we need to focus on fighting the culture of nanny statism if we're ever going to get anywhere. For example:
Arguing that there's no evidence that plain packs/hidden tobacco displays/smoking bans in public places will lead to fewer people taking up smoking or more people quitting smoking is playing into their hands as it accepts that this is necessarily a good thing, again without communicating the real danger - that we're stepping closer and closer to having our lives micro-managed and our personal choices removed.
Also, Virginia uses the term "nannying tyrants" to describe the health nazis out there who are ruining our lives and happiness and stealing our freedoms, so that use pleases me greatly for obvious reasons.

So, why not have a read for yourself and draw your own conclusions?  Do you agree? Disagree?  Comment over there and let Virginia know. Bloggers typically love real comments from people who aren't trolling. 

And for Hell Nanny, here's your welcome badge to the wide world of anti-nanny blogging. We wish you the very best!

Anti-Nanny Deputy Sheriff Badge
Yeah, I know it's lame. If I had any photoshop skills, I'd have edited it, but I don't.

Monday, 20 August 2012

In an Alternate Reality or Parallel Universe

I'm a bit of a sci-fi geek, I admit.  Enough so that I don't even call it "sci-fi" but rather "science fiction."  I'm a science fiction snob, I suppose. 

Nevertheless, personal shortcomings aside, I'd like to believe that there are alternate realities or parallel universes.  For instance, in an alternate reality, there are no smoking bans, and there is no one trying to inflict plain packs on a gullible, misinformed population. People are free to do what they like. Somewhere in another existence separate from our own, we are not being denormalised by nannying tyrant arsewipes who think they know what's best for everyone on the planet.

This is our not world, though. In our world there are arsewipes aplenty. 

But what if ... what if in another realm, an alternate reality, a parallel universe where all things are as they should be... what if one particular arsewipe actually tweeted this about himself*:

*This is not real and was not tweeted in our world -- it's a spoof. But what if it had been tweeted in alternate reality?
I want to believe.

Friday, 17 August 2012

So What Should Tobacco Companies Do?

There's quite a bit of chatter about what tobacco companies should do in Australia in the wake of the plain packs ruling.  While the sentiment of completely withdrawing from the Australian market is interesting in the "give-them-all-two-fingers" sense, it's really not a good idea for many reasons.

First, it's no way to run a business.  Every business makes money by selling it products at a profit. If you do not sell your products, you go out of business.

Second, companies have legal obligations to their shareholders and stakeholders.  If a company spitefully withdraws from a market where it can still legally sell its products, it will be sued by its own shareholders.

Third, withdrawing from the market is exactly what the tobacco control industry wants to happen. Remember, this is their plan -- it has been their plan since the 19th century, perhaps earlier. The complete abolition and prohibition of tobacco is what they want. Why the hell would anyone ever give them the satisfaction of that happening?

While I understand and can sympathise with how some of you feel, tobacco companies are not going to voluntarily withdraw from a market. Ever. Best to push it out of your mind...

So what should tobacco companies do?  Lawsuits. Hundreds of them, perhaps thousands. So many different lawsuits that the costs to the government are enormous.  Will tobacco companies actually do it, though? Well, they will need to part with a good portion of their profits in the short term.

The first and obvious thing to do is to sue the Australian government for the costs of all their intellectual property or trade marks in class 34 (this is the tobacco goods class) that incorporates some kind of design or stylised element. Word marks must be excluded, since you can still use a word trade mark on the pack.  But the other trade marks that tobacco companies registered with the Australian IP office that tobacco companies can no longer use, these are the ones they should sue for costs.  For instance, costs should be recouped for:
  • Legal fees during the pre-registration phase (application examination, i.e. prosecution costs)
  • Registration fees
  • Renewal fees
A quick check of the Australian IPO indicates there are well over 3000 registered and pending trade marks in class 34.  Many of these are word marks, but many are also stylised designs of an entire pack. That's a lot of money we're talking about. And that's only the class 34 stuff. Other marks are also registered in other classes, like 16 (packaging) or various technology classes. Big money.  If the government first grants you a right to use a trade mark on particular goods, and you jump through all of the hoops to do that,  and then the gov't takes that right away, the government must compensate you. And it should be noted that companies all over the world register their marks with the Australian IPO.  At a stroke, the Australian government has appropriated the private property of companies worldwide and has essentially negated all international trade laws with those companies in other countries. Not suing the government would be foolish.

Coinciding with trade marks, costs should also be recouped for any patents and designs registered with the Australian IPO that can no longer be used.  Tobacco companies hold a variety of patents and designs, say for a particular packaging layout.  Patent prosecutions are incredibly expensive, and the annual renewal fees for granted patents are also expensive.  Attempts at getting all of these costs recouped are paramount.

Next, tobacco companies need to go on the attack, and for once they need to begin to work together rather than fighting each other all the time. (Yes, you're competitors trying to sell more than the others, but for now you need to set that aside and work towards the long term goals. If you win, then you can go back to being nasty to each other.)

The last three decades have seen big tobacco companies accept pretty much all negative legislation against tobacco products because they decided that in the end it would not hurt their profits.  The big companies realised that excessive legislation as well as excessive taxes would help them trounce the smaller companies and put the little guys out of business. If it doesn't hurt your market share, why fight it?  For instance, display bans benefit the big companies with established, popular brands. People are still going to buy the brands they already use. They will be less likely to try other brands.  But this attitude needs to change right now if the big tobacco companies want to survive the onslaught against their brands.

So, how to attack? What are the fronts?

The first front is taxes.  Tobacco companies must aggressively sue to reduce the taxation or duty imposed on tobacco products. Plain packs + high taxes will increase the counterfeit and illicit markets substantially. Therefore, a marked reduction of the duty on tobacco will help to reduce the incentives for counterfeiters and help to protect your market share from criminals (and protect consumers, by the way).

The second front is the right to fair representation in governments. The FCTC aims to exclude tobacco companies from any meaningful dialogue with government.  I would go as far as saying that not only is this clause of the FCTC illegal, but it violates the principles of a representative democracy, fairness and the right to representation.  Every person, indeed every organisation who pays taxes has a right to be heard.  So, tobacco companies must sue to re-establish their rights to be represented in government. They must attempt to abolish the FCTC (which is not legally binding anyway, but that's another matter for a later time) or convince governments to abandon it.

The third front is trade sanctions against Australia.  Concerted efforts must be made to convince governments (or politicians) around the world to enact legislation to increase the duties on all Australian exports to make Australia less competitive, to really hurt them fiscally. In effect, we should treat Australia as a communist regime, as we do with North Korea. We should not even trade with Australia. That won't happen, but we can try to make every Australian exporter suffer by increasing their costs because of the actions of their government. If the exporters suffer, they themselves will take action against their government. 

Organising grass-roots boycotts of all Australian goods, or as a suitable holiday destination, is another tactic that should be employed. Basically, make Australia a pariah country.  If that can happen, then other countries will be unlikely to follow with plain packaging laws.  It won't be nice, it won't be pretty, but it needs to happen.

The fourth front is the media.  The mainstream media, in my opinion, is the greatest enemy of all. If it weren't for media collaboration, the tobacco control industry would be nowhere.  The tobacco control industry has used the media to great effect to perpetuate untruths and lies, to stigmatise consumers, and it has far too much influence over editorial decisions.  There are a number of reasons why this is so, but this needs to change. Tobacco companies need to work a lot harder than they have been in getting the media to at least present a fair viewpoint that isn't dominated by tobacco control.  Tobacco companies should have their fair say. Buy editorial space if you have to.  If the media refuse to work with you, find a novel point of law and sue their asses. Likewise, if a health columnist knowingly cites dodgy stats, demand a retraction, or sue both the paper and the reporter.  Will you win all the time? No. But you can make life very difficult for them if you're willing to go the extra mile here.

The fifth front is the retailers. Tobacco companies must now, more than ever, give greater incentives to retailers who sell tobacco products. Not just in Australia, but everywhere. The absolute bare minimum margin for a tobacco retailer must be 10%.

The sixth front is lawsuits against the so-called charities and anti-smoking organisations, and dickheads like Chapman and Glantz. For years these charities and their figureheads have got away with saying anything they like without repercussions.  That has to change.  Now I'm mindful that some companies may not want to deal with the discovery process because they've been burned by it in the past.  But if that's case, then get your house in order first. Many of their websites often infringe on your intellectual property and unfairly use your brands. Do something about it. Make their lives very difficult.

The seventh front is better dialogue with the consumers who actually buy tobacco products.  Prohibitive legislation aside, tobacco companies are doing a terrible job at communicating with those who legally buy tobacco products. Find a way to engage with us, and we'll continue to buy your goods. In other words,we are sick and tired of being marginalised in the debate. We are weary of being denormalised and treated as a sub-human species by the tobacco control industry and its stooges in the media. This must change, and it has to change right now.

One final front is to be more proactive in other countries that are likely to consider plain packaging laws. Tobacco companies need to work very hard right now with alcohol, fast food, and soft-drink companies to ensure laws are passed to prevent the appropriation of everyone's brands in the future.

So will tobacco companies do all of the above? Probably not.  But they should at least try.  They might do some of these things anyway, like the IP costs stuff. And the list above is not exhaustive. There are more fronts, more avenues, and tobacco companies need to seek out all of them and utilise all of them. Yes, these things will eat into your profit margins big time for the short term. But the long term view is what you now need to think about. Oh, and you're going to want to hire much better lawyers, solicitors, legal counsel, advocates, etc. You're going to need them. Spend the money.

I can only show you the door, Big T.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Super Twat of the Month - August 2012


Each month this blog will choose one person or an organisation to be our Super Twat of the Month.  Our STOTM will normally be a public figure who is an anti-smoker activist and/or someone who is trashing (or attempting to trash) our civil liberties in support of a Nanny or Surveillance State.  If this blog had to have only one motto, it would be "Educate, Don't Legislate."  STOTMs want to legislate your lifestyles away. The people we choose to be STOTMs often claim to be in support of civil liberties, but in reality they only want liberties to be applied to the causes or groups of people they identify with.  Here we call them out for their hypocrisy.  We are not so naive that we believe this blog will have any impact on their decisions, but we can hope.

Whoa! Stop the Presses!

This month we're going to break from our usual format, in which we list both good and bad things about our chosen Super Twat of the Month. In fact, we're breaking all the rules and we're not even going to choose a person or an organisation.  No, this month is very special.  This month we choose an entire fucking country. Yes, that country.

Super Twat of the Month - August 2012

August's Super Twat is Australia.

The Blunder Down Under

Quite frankly, we've written so much about Australia that we're sick and tired of it.  So we're going to keep this relatively short.  Australia, you suck!  You are a nation of nannied pussies.* You are now the shittiest country in the world. North Korea is 1000 times better than you.

(*We exclude all persons who believe that plain packs are a bad idea and/or fought against plain packs. We also exclude certain individuals who haven't fallen for that whole man-made global warming scam.)

Your government is run by fascist criminals pretending to be otherwise, pretending to act in your best interest, screwing you over at every opportunity without the courtesy of a reach-around.  The justices of your high court who ruled in favour of plain packs are a disgrace to freedom, as well as consumers' and traders' rights.They have dishonoured each and every one of you.

They have all colluded against you and now have drawn a line in the sand. And do tell: who amongst the nannied citizenry of Australia will be brave enough to cross it? Anyone?  Anyone at all?


That's what we thought.

We know what you're thinking, citizens of Australia. You're thinking it's unfair to judge an entire country based on its government, high court, and a limited constitutional ruling on plain packaging on tobacco products.  To which we say, "fuck off and go hump a koala, pussies."  You are about to find out that it was never just about cigarettes.

In a short amount of time, you will see the super nannies demanding plain packaging for lots of stuff.  You let them open the floodgates. Now you're going to have to deal with it.  You deserve everything that is coming your way. We hope that while you're reading your unduly excessive carbon tax bills that you choke on your plain packaged fast food, alcohol, fizzy drinks, and anything else that your evil fucking government decides is unhealthy for you.

Perhaps at the next general election you'll take steps to get rid of your current government.  We hope you do, but until then, until you fight to take back your country, you can all go piss up a rope.

Congratulations, Australia, you are are Super Twat of the Month. All of you.

PS: You could also do something about The University of Sydney, at which certain "educators" are brainwashing your children and ultimately breeding hateful fuckwits daily. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

It Was Only Supposed to be a Week Off or So

Well, if you were wondering where I've been for the past three weeks, I haven't been abducted by tobacco control industry aliens or anything.  At least I don't remember that happening.  I had meant to take a brief holiday from blogging and tweeting for about a week.  I had a few things going on and I had committed myself to working on some stuff for a musicians' site (which I am still doing). 

But then the olympics started, and despite all the hoo-hah about the heavy-handed commercialism, I was utterly enthralled by the events and olympic athletes. And so a week passed, and then another... and another...

But the games are over, and so semi-regular blogging shall return shortly.  I apologise for the absence.

I do note that high court challenge by the opponents of plain packs in Oz has failed.  This is not surprising at all.  In a most consistent manner, Australia's high court has been doing its damnedest to destroy its country by aiding and abetting the current shitbags in government.  We'll have to see what their next general election brings for Oz. If another party takes control, will it be more of the same or worse (like here in the UK)? 

Watch out for tobacco control industry aliens. If you see a satellite dish out coming out of your arse, then they've got to you.