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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Michael McFadden's 2009 recap for smokers rights

(Posted with permission.)

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I also want to wish everyone, all "our glorious allies and comrades in the struggle" as Jeremy likes to say, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a wonderful and hopefully comfortably warm winter! :)

We've had a rough year in some ways: We lost one of the founders of the modern Free Choice movement, Gian Turci, to a brain hemorrhage, and also our Illinois State Coordinator for the Smokers' Club, Garnet Dawn, who died unexpectedly and peacefully in her sleep early in the year. We've also lost a number of significant smoking ban battles (e.g. the recent sudden loss of Michigan) but we've had victories too:

1) We beat the Antis to a bloody standstill in Indianapolis, a victory they had expected to walk away with in their pockets with barely a bat of an eyelash. Heh... they are NOT happy about it. One of their biggies, Tim Filler, sent out a note to a big private Anti mailing list trying to make hay out of the fact that I filled out a web form ten years ago at the RJR site and asked them if they had any sources of information for researchers. He simply ended up embarrassing himself though as Dr. Siegel took up our cause and blasted the Antis' tendency to fight with mud rather than with facts.

2) We got some surprising news from Atlantic City where the City Council seems to have promised to back off from pushing a full Casino ban for two years (now if we could just convince the casinos to back a campaign to liberate the state's bars.... ) The Antis have had increasing problems convincing legislators to ban casino smoking. The reality - as illustrated at:
is just too hard to ignore, and the politicians do NOT like losing tax money.

3) We had what superficially appears as a loss in St. Louis, but in a situation similar to Indianapolis the efforts of a few dedicated people gutted the efforts of the Antis. They got their ban through, but with bars exempted for a full five years. Hopefully we'll be seeing a very different landscape out there five years from now and the threatened ban will disappear in a puff of smoke. We've also seen small, but symbolically important, "Ban Failure" type victories, hospitals - http://www.cambridg e-news.co. uk/cn_news_ home/DisplayArti cle.asp?ID= 349896 and http://www.smokersc lubinc.com/ modules.php? name=News&file=article&sid=5089 - and schools (such as the PA State University's 14 campuses) backing away from previously imposed bans. We've even seen some victories in entire countries as the German courts seem to have ruled that a nationally imposed ban is invalid, as Croatia backed away from its temporary ban http://www.monsters andcritics. com/news/ health/news/ article_1505971. php/Croatia- softens-smoking- ban-after- just-five- months and as Wiel Maesson led the Dutch cafe owners on a national revolt that has returned tobacco to many of the smaller cafes throughout the Netherlands! Some local government bans in the US seem to have had their problems as well - such as

and a hard fought victory by Sheila Martin and friends in Hutchinson, Kansas where she managed to pull a unanimous vote against a total ban out of their City Council! Kansas is going to be a battlefield over the next few months, so if you know anyone there try to get them in touch with Sheila at: anono1955@yahoo. com

Several towns in Texas and elsewhere also voted down stricter bans. Dave Pickrell of Smokers Fighting Discrimination at: sfdsmoke@hal- pc.org is a good source for more information if you have friends in Texas. And Hawaii is continuing a very hard fight that has had the Antis scrambling like mad to hold on to the legal semblance of a ban while they seem to have largely just given up on enforcement when it comes to bars. More on that from Dave Crowley at: kawikc@aol.com Folks in Ohio have been digging steadily at various foundation stones of their state ban and their most recent excavation is showing some real promise: they examined the petition process used to get the ban vote on Ohio's ballot and discovered that at least 47 of the petitioners were convicted felons - a very big no-no for signature gatherers... 'specially since some of them seem to have been FORGERS! LOL! Sheeesh. More on Ohio from Pam Parker at transamgranny@ wideopenwest. com

There are many more good people and good fights going on out there and I feel kind of bad not mentioning them all, but I don't want anyone missing Christmas morning because they're still reading this email. Read the Club Newsletter every week and you'll keep up with what's happening. Visit the Club Forums and Forces Tavern and F2C and you'll be able to slide your activist tendrils just about anywhere you wish: all three organizations are going strong and sending Antis to cower in cold dark corners when their light is shining on them! The "Ban Failures section of the SmokersClub. com newsletter contains multiple examples of good news, and the weekly articles of the Old Ramblin' Man at: http://fightantismo kertyranny. blogspot. com/ are always worth reading and commenting on. Finally, you can keep your finger on the pulse on a daily basis if you send an email to Tom Laprade at snowbird@tbaytel. net for his daily digests of news stories and active comment boards and join CanadianSmokersRigh ts@yahoogroups. com for Gordon Finlay's choices as well! And if you're tooling around Canada fighting the Antis don't forget to look up Steve Hartwell at stevehartwell@ rogers.com and check in with Iro Cyr and Dan Romano at C.A.G.E. http://www.cagecana da.ca/

4) Newspapers seem to be increasingly reporting stories about bars ignoring bans in places like New York and Chicago, and this past year saw at least one, and possibly two court rulings against the involuntary servitude of unpaid, untrained bartenders as law-enforcement officers. http://toledoblade. com/apps/ pbcs.dll/ article?AID= /20091016/ NEWS24/910160365 /-1/NEWS and As bar owners become more aware of their responsibility to simply inform customers of the laws rather than having to act as agents of the State we may see the more blatantly unjust bans more widely ignored.

5) The passage of the SCHIP bill was a loss for us, but the playing field of "poor sick children" vs. "Evil Big Tobacco" was obviously unwinnable no matter what we did. The loss also had some arguable elements of victory: the 2,000% tax increase on one of the poorest minority groups in America, those forced to roll their own cigarettes from scraps of paper and shreds of tobacco, certainly must have served to wake some folks up; and Obama's outright lie about his taxation policies on national TV - http://pro-choicesm okingdoctor. blogspot. com/2009/ 07/obama- in-bare-faced- lie.html - probably added some folks to our side as well.

6) Following on from 5, I believe I have seen two trends on message boards out and around the net: more support from neutral nonsmokers who believe that things like outdoor bans have just gone too far, and an increasingly apparent level of the lowest sort of nastiness from the Antis, both in random message board postings and in organized productions like http://pro-choicesm okingdoctor. blogspot. com/2009/ 09/violence- against-smokers. html While that sort of thing certainly isn't pleasant to run across it DOES help show the wider public what the antismoking movement is made of and in the long run I believe it wins us support. Check out the rest of GasDoc's site while you're there and jump into his blog!

7) We had our first "International Conference Against Prohibition" (TICAP) in Brussels and are in the midst of planning a second one for March 2010. See http://antiprohibit ion.org/ticap_ pages.php? q=12 for some great videos! And be sure to sign the Brussels Declaration on Scientific Integrity at: http://brusselsdecl aration.org/ pages/home/
8) We also had a VERY noteworthy year in the birth of THREE brand new books on our side, the rebirth of an old one, and a much-needed and still slightly-in- progress brand new cover for one of my favorites... ;> ! I won't attempt to review them here in any depth but will briefly describe each one:

A) "Rampant Antismoking Signifies Grave Danger: Materialism Out of Control" by Vincent-Ricardo Di Pierri of Australia. This is a huge blockbuster of book that came out in 2003 but was out of print for several years until its recent resurrection in e-book format. Not a book for the faint-hearted or those looking for a quick, light read: Rampant is almost 600 pages long and packed solid! Rick has decided to make it freely available for download from his site at: http://www.rampant- antismoking. com/ and I would **HIGHLY** recommend downloading it and giving it a try. If you're like me you'll want a hardcopy eventually: 600 pages of online reading is a bit rough. :> If you want one though you'll have to send him an email and hope he gets enough demand to resurrect it: it's currently out of print!

B) "Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco" by Rich White of the UK. Rich White carefully and competently modernizes and extends with his own unique British twist the sort of arguments made in Lauren Colby's "In Defense Of Smokers" that the health risks of smoking for smokers themselves have been greatly overstated. Not everyone will agree with his conclusions, but he argues them well and states them clearly! http://smokescreens .org/

C) "The War On Smokers And The Rise Of The Nanny State" by Theodore King. Theodore King gives an educational and enjoyable overview of how we've gotten to where we are now and where we're headed. His voice and concern shows through, and there's enough information in the book to give a new reader to the field a solid background without feeling overwhelmed while also introducing a number of new details for even folks who've been in the battle for quite a while! http://www.iunivers e.com/Bookstore/ BookDetail. aspx?BookId= SKU-000110740 (also available as an e-book!)

D) "Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: A History of Antismoking" by Christoper Snowdon. Chris Snowdon may have titled his book "A History.." it goes far beyond that. Chris offers a detailed examination of the politics, science, AND the history of the antismoking movement, its tactics, and its claims. While I like all the three previous books noted here, Chris's has been my favorite in terms of being a natural complement to Brains. Our main arguments and approaches are similar, but the different perspectives offered by a historian and a psychologist (well, ok, I'm not a "psychologist" per se, but close enough for jazz) work well together and there's surprisingly little overlap of actual information. http://www.velvetgl oveironfist. com/index. php?page_ id=1

E) And finally, just another reminder: If you liked Brains and want to get a copy for a friend or a favorite bar I'd certainly recommend it, but don't buy another one for yourself thinking that the new cover means there's new material inside. It's the same old good, solid, well-written- by-a-handsome- and-charming- author Brains that it always was - just sporting a snazzier cover to attract the Amazonphiles! Best to order direct from Amazon unless you're getting multiple copies: http://www.amazon. com/Dissecting- Antismokers- Brains-Michael- McFadden/ dp/0974497908/ ref=sr_1_ 1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241953484&sr=8-1

Amazon's supersaver-guarante ed-by-Christmas- shipping ends on Wed. evening, but my general experience has been that Amazon delivers better than it promises: A Thursday order will likely go through just fine. (Provided Amazon gets the goldurn "Temporarily Out Of Stock" problem fixed... it was *supposed* to be fixed today!)

OK! That's all for now and to all a good night and very MerryHappy and HappyMerry Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter!

:)
Michael
Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
http://TheTruthIsAL ie.com

4 comments:

dumpstermcnuggets said...

Thanks for posting that, I always enjoy reading Michael McFadden's comments about the anti-smoking movement! Not to mention I actually didn't realize Croatia withdrew their countrywide ban at all, so good to hear that.

rosy said...

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Anonymous said...

Great website.
Thanks for the info.
Michael McFadden once again providing interesting information's.

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Michael J. McFadden said...

Unfortunately the page holding that referenced graph for Minnesota has been erased. It is reproduced with an update though on page 18 of the freely readable, downloadable, and printable "New Stiletto: Lies Behind The Smoking Bans" at:

http://encyclopedia.smokersclub.com/257.html

Apologies for the inconvenience, but the Stiletto has other good information as well.

:)
Michael