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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Smokers and Politics' LiveJournal:

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Sunday, December 19th, 2004
3:55 pm
Newest of the New...
I came looking for a community to join because the new "Pravda"... No, I mean, "Truth" commercials annoyed me enough to prompt a 2100+ word Op Ed essay... I guess that's as good as introduction as any, huh?

Huge Boring Essay In HereCollapse )
Sunday, November 24th, 2002
10:27 am
In the war on tobacco, money goes up in smoke by Dave Barry
In these troubled times, it's nice to know that there is one thing that can always bring a smile to our faces, and maybe even cause us to laugh so hard that we cry.

I am referring, of course, to the War On Tobacco. Rarely in the annals of government - and I do not mean to suggest anything juvenile by the phrase "annals of government" - will you find a program so consistently hilareous as the campaign against the Evil Weed.

Before we get to the latest wacky hijinks, let's review how the War On Tobacco works. The underlying principle, of course, is: Tobacco Is Bad. It kills many people, and it causes many others to smell like ashtrays in a poorly janitored bus station.

So a while ago, politicians from a bunch of states were scratching their heads, trying to figure out what to do about the tobacco problem. One option, of course, was to say: "Hey, if people want to be stupid, it's none of our business." But of course that was out of the question. Politcians believe EVERYTHING is their business, which is why- to pick one of many examples- most states have elaborate regulations governing who may,and who may not, give manicures.

Another option was to simply make selling cigarettes illegal, just like other evil activities, such as selling heroin, or giving unlicensed manicures, or operating lotteries (except, of course, for lotteries operated by states). But the politicians immediately saw a major flaw with this approach: It did not provide any way for money to be funneled to politicians.

And so they went to option three, which was to file lawsuits against the tobacco companies. The underlying moral principe of these lawsuits was: "You are knowingly selling a product that kills tens of thousands of our citizens each year. We want a piece of that action!"

The anti-tobacco lawsuits resulted in a humongous jackpot settlement under which the tobacco companies are raising this money by mowing lawns.

Ha ha! Seriously, they are raising the money by selling cigarettes as fast as they can. So EVERYBODY wins in the War On Tobacco.

  • The smokers get to keep smoking tobacco

  • The tobacco companies get to keep selling tobacco

  • The politicians (and, of course, their lawyers) get a big old ton of money, as physical proof of how much they are opposed to tobacco

Originally, the states claimed that they would use the tobacco-lawsuit money to... well, to do something about tobacco. But that of course makes no economic sense: To actually stop smokers from smoking would be to kill the gose that is coughing up the golden loogies.

So the states, according to the General Accounting Office, are using less than a tenth of the tobacco-settlement money on anti-smoking programs. Meanwhile, they are spending bales of it on all kinds of unrelated projects, such as highways, bridges and museums. Officials of Niagara County, New York spent $700,000 of thier anti-tobacco money to buy a sprinkler system for a golf course. Maybe they were thinking that a golfer, while teeing off, would get sprayed in the eyes, causing him to hit the ball into a foursome of tobacco executives. Take that merchants of death!

But as comical as all this is, it is not the zaniest development in the War On Tobacco. For that, we must look to North Carolina. According to an article by Liz Chandler in the Charlotte Observer, North Carolina officials have so far given $41 million of their tobacco settlement to - I swear I am not making any of this up - tobacco growers. Yes! The state gave this money - which, you may recall, was taken from tobacco companies to punish them for selling tobacco, which is evil- to these growers so they can buy machinery that will make them more competitive producers of... tobacco! This is like using the War On Terrorism funds to buy flying lessons for Al Qaida.

So that's your update on the Wacky, Wonderful War On Tobacco. It is now essentially a partnership between politicians and tobacco companies to make money by selling cigarettes. It's only a matter of time before some shrewd state cuts out the middleman and starts funding the War on Tobacco by making cigarettes and selling them directly to the public ("Smoke New Jerseys- They taste as great as their name!")

    No wait that would be completely insane.
    I give them two years.
    Monday, November 11th, 2002
    3:20 pm
    State Tobacco Money

    Go to the above url, at the bottom of the page click your state and find out where your money is going....
    3:19 pm
    What Happens With COPD

    Asthma is not caused by smoking.

    The reason asthma develops in one person and not another is not well known. Asthma tends to run in families, but not always.

    People with asthma have extra-sensitive airways that overreact to certain environmental elements such as:

    animal secretions
    house dust mites
    cold air, etc.
    When the airways are exposed to these stimuli, the linings of the airways react by becoming inflamed and swollen. They become "twitchy," meaning that the muscles surrounding the airways tighten and cause the airways to narrow.

    Asthma is characterized by episodes of shortness of breath (SOB), tightness in the chest, wheezing and cough, or a combination of the above.

    "Pure" asthma can be treated effectively because the changes to the airways can be reversed in most instances. However, if there is a component of emphysema or chronic bronchitis to the asthma condition, the changes cannot be reversed.

    For more information about asthma, please refer to the Canadian Lung Association Asthma Resource Center.
    2:44 pm
    Some interesting varied information
    Chlamydia Pneumoniae is a pathogen that lives inside cells, can 'hide' dormant for decades,
    is finally being publically discussed as a possible very major cause/factor in many diseases,
    all the same diseases the antis blame allegedly on tobacco. Jack Jackson of Lindsay, Ontario
    has been trying to warn people of it for quite a few years, and suspects that certain 'officials'
    have well known it's pathogenic capabilities ever since it was identified over 20 years ago.
    He suspects certain 'officials' have deliberately assisted it's dissemination around the world.
    - Common foods we bake, roast, and fry, contain an alleged carcinogen. Butt, apparently so also
    do breakfast cereals, hamburger, minced chicken, potato chips, french fries, pizza, fried fish,
    bread, crackers, powdered chocolate, and coffee.
    - 20 Per Cent of all the food we eat today contains Banned Pesticides
    We each consume 60-70 hits daily of toxic chemicals such as DDT, dieldrin and dioxin, according
    to the study published in October of the U.S. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
    - Toronto's Police Drug Squad is battling another war, a war of lawsuits against them
    by former drug suspects claiming members of the squad perpetrated wrongful arrests,
    severe unprovoked beatings, warrant-less searches, and millions in stolen and damaged property.
    Is this what smokers can expect when Tobacco is Criminalized ?What of the rest of society ?
    Are we 'back to the future' a.k.a. nazi germany ? Sure looks like the 'pig' thing to me.
    If it looks like a pig, smells like a pig, snorts like a pig, and eats like a pig, chances are - it is a pig.
    - Owen Sound Sun Times online Poll
    'Should Seniors have a smoking area indoors at seniors' homes ?' 76 % so far vote YES.
    - A growing number of schools across Canada are administering urine tests to students
    to find out if they are using - not marijuana, not crack, not cocaine, not ecstasy - TOBACCO
    Very soon 'they' will also start testing for Hostess Twinkies.
    - Oct 10/02 - A 57 year old 40-year smoky bar & restaurant waitress, Heather Crowe, has taken
    Workers Compensation Board to court, and won. The Ottawa Court ordered WCB to pay up
    for the waitress allegedly contracting Lung Cancer from Work Related Causes. Her lawyer,
    Phil Hunt, says that it was the Workplace Safety and Insurance group that declared
    2 doctors have certified Crowe got her Lung Cancer from SHS. This is Truly a Miracle !
    These 2 doctors have finally done what 1,000s of other doctors and scientists over 60 years
    and Billions of Research Dollars have failed so far to do. They say they've proved SHS kills.
    Never mind that far more than 2 doctors have said otherwise.
    examples - Not 1 Illness nor Death and, No Links Proven to SHS
    Never mind that the Court which ordered WCB to pay up did Not say SHS was the Sole Cause.
    Never mind that the Court said she had Lung Cancer from Many Work Related Factors,
    & Never Mind that the Court said SHS May have been A Contributing Factor - NOT Sole Cause.
    The Anti-Smokers are claiming that Ms Crowe's compensation is Solely for SHS.
    The Antis know this, which means they are Knowingly Perpetrating Fraud on the Public.
    They are disseminating False Information which will result in more funding to them,
    and that is a very serious crime, and like ENRON, they should go to jail for it.
    Also, explain, pray tell, why the WCB of British Columbia was so Gun-Ho a couple of years ago
    to have SHS declared a killer, and then backed off. Would it be because they realized that
    setting such a precedent would result in millions of Compensation Awards amounting to
    Billions and Billions and Billions of Dollars in Payouts, and thus bankrupt not only their
    organization, but also the entire Economy ??? Is that why WCB fought this Waitress ?
    The Campaign to have Smoking in your own Home made illegal has gotten a huge boost.
    Smokes could soon be $ 200 a puff. We'll still be allowed to buy 'em, - just not smoke 'em.
    Ms Crowe will be the focus of a new barrage of Anti-Smoking Ads, and a Clarion-Call
    for society to make Tobacco illegal. After that, will come Campaigns to Ban comfort food,
    ban barbeques, ban beer, ban pizza, ban cars, ban airplanes, ban breast feeding.
    So, WHO thinks to gain from this court decision ? Most definitely the lawyers. The Gov't,
    because they can now claim alleged justification for $ 200 in taxes on every single cigarette.
    The insurance companies because they can now claim alleged justification for skyhigh rates.
    Psychiatrists and Drug Therapy 'Experts', their Clinics, & a host of others desperate for money.
    Organized Crime and Thugs will Love hi-tax and illegal smokes.
    The Anti-Smokers, who are the ones who preyed on Heather Crowe during her most vulnerable time-period thru her understandable fears and anger of death by Lung Cancer, to file her Claim and helped her take it to court, will love the extra money they'll soon be able to get their slippery hands on, seeing as they cannot account for 98 % of what they spent of what they got last year.
    And of course, Heather Crowe, and her descendants.
    I feel for Ms Crowe, I really do.
    Lung Cancer is very scary. You'll very likely die from it. And if not it, you'll die from something
    one day anyways - everyone does.
    What have you got to lose?
    If it were me, I'd want to find some way, any means, to get my hands on lots of money.
    Not just for me, butt, for my family, my kids. I'd feel like -
    well, what does the truth matter anymore anyways ?
    - The story persisted for decades, and denied every time it was printed, butt, the truth is official,
    recently released that the U.S. conducted wide-spread experimentation on public populace
    in the U.S., Canada, and Britain, -- think agent orange - invented in Canada --
    to test the effectiveness of chemical and biological weapons and develop counter-defenses.
    Well well, eh, methinks perhaps this might explain many unexplainable illnesses and deaths ?
    - A group of Canadian Scientific Experts, advisory committee to Health Canada, recently
    recommended, urged, immediate cessation of widespread antibiotic use on farms
    in order to curb the development of SuperBugs crossing over in to human population.
    Well, DUH, we knew that over 30 years ago !!! -- I personally remember 1st outcry in 1973.
    The horses, pigs, and chickens, are out of the barn, guys, and stampeding us humans dead.
    Butt, this report does serve a good purpose anyways. It reveals the caliber of Experts currently
    advising Health Canada which bases it's agendae on. DUH Science.
    - Auditor-General of Canada releases Report rating the Federal Gov't an F in handling
    the affairs and finances of the country. It singled out Health Canada too, saying the current,
    like previous Ministers of Health, is abdicating her responsibilities of Health Care, and Health
    Canada incapable of tracking disease patterns and enabling treatment & prevention programs,
    thus costing at least $ 50 billion in un-necessary illnesses and premature deaths.
    So, Health Canada, responsible for the draconian Anti-Smoking Campaign, gets an F for Failure,
    so, why should we believe anything from the Failure behind the Anti-Smoking Campaign.
    - In the early to mid 90's, the last time the taxes on tobacco were 'legally' skyjacked, there was an
    explosion of tobacco related organized and unorganized crimes committed.
    This time the antis said there would Not be any. We said there would, and we are right, - again.
    Thieves did Lumsden Brothers Warehouse in Burlington this week and made off with
    $ 35,000 worth of cigarettes. Bet your taxes this is just tip of a very big iceberg already.
    Anybody know where these smokes are selling ? - I want some, thanks.
    - Seniors, some 80 + in years, and World War Vets, who've been smoking for more than 50 years
    have been ordered to butt out in a privately owned retirement residence in Owen Sound, which
    enacted a tough anti-smoking bylaw Sept 1st., and the manager has been charged
    with 6 violations so far, citing 3 cases of smoking, and 3 cases of smoking paraphernalia.
    Those who won't butt out, will be turfed out in to the snow this winter to have their puffs.
    After a long life building and defending Canada, why is this to be the way they will end.
    What kind of people are capable of doing this to our Senior Citizens ?
    2:40 pm
    Smoking out 10 reasons
    By KERRY DIOTTE -- Edmonton Sun
    By now, most people will know that a majority of city council members are determined to ban smoking in restaurants, bars, casinos and bingo halls.

    The biggest push toward that came this past week following a one-day public hearing to get feedback on the city's current smoking bylaw.

    After that hearing, Coun. Jane Batty successfully sponsored a motion asking bureaucrats to come up with "recommendations and a time frame" for the prohibition of smoking "in indoor public spaces." Such "spaces" include restaurants, bars, lounges, bingo halls and casinos.

    It's thought that as early as January city council could pass what would be one of Canada's toughest anti-smoking laws. I think this is wrong - terribly wrong. In fact I'll give city council 10 good reasons why it should not change the current bylaw:

    1) The way democracy is supposed to work is politicians stand up before elections, make a promise to do something, then carry it out if elected. (OK, politicians don't often keep election promises, but that's a whole other issue.)

    Virtually none of the council members campaigned in the last election on a platform of banning public smoking everywhere. Batty, the councillor who proposes the ban, did not campaign on this. Voters have a right to know where politicians stand on such major issues before elections. But these politicians hid their secret agendas.

    2) There has been no public outcry for a further toughening of our smoking bylaw. Indeed, a poll in April by the independent company Criterion Research found that about 60% of Albertans believe hospitality establishment operators should decide themselves whether or not to allow smoking in their businesses.

    3) A wide-scale smoking ban does hurt business. There is no denying that when you look at the endless statistics supplied by the hospitality industry. And logically speaking, why would hospitality reps bother to fight so hard to stop smoking bans if those laws did not hurt business?

    4) Smoking bans are an unreasonable intrusion into private enterprise. Restaurants, bars and the like are not truly public spaces. They are private property where the public is invited by the owner. If you don't like smoky places, patronize businesses that are smoke-free.

    5) Tobacco is still a legal product in Canada from which the federal government earns billions of dollars in taxation. How hypocritical is it when one level of government sells a product to the public and another level of government bans its use?

    6) Adults in Canada are supposedly guaranteed freedom of choice under our laws and Constitution. Smoking is unhealthy and all adults know this but still partake in the vice. It is their choice just as it is the choice of overeaters to wolf down unhealthy amounts of greasy fast food, thus risking heart disease.

    A city council should not undermine such a basic, sacred right such as a person's freedom to choose.

    7) City council has numerous better things to do other than waste months on bylaws that ban things in our society.

    Obviously, they should have better things to do such as finding ways to cut taxes, delivering good core services and pushing to see the city run efficiently.

    They have lost sight of their primary duties.

    8) Passing a tougher smoking bylaw will actually increase city hall's already sizable bureaucracy.

    It is inevitable that, if a total smoking ban passes, we will need more bylaw control officers to be hired, more support staff and more managers to supervise.

    Is that what we want? A fatter civic bureaucracy?

    9) We should not pass a total public smoking ban because the public has not been suitably consulted.

    Sure, a day of council public hearings was conducted this past week on the general topic of giving feedback on Edmonton's current smoking law.

    After those hearings Coun. Batty sneakily introduced a motion calling for administration to give a time frame for a total ban.

    Had more members of the public known this was the direction city council was headed, we likely would have had people scrambling in far bigger numbers to address the hearing. To me, the way our politicians have gone about this total ban was plainly sneaky.

    10) City council's own administration has concluded our present smoking bylaw is working.

    That bylaw sees restaurants allowed to offer some seats for smokers so long as they ban anyone under age 18.

    To me, that is still a needless intrusion into the free market, but it is far better than what is now being proposed.

    So what can be done to stop city council from this meddlesome madness?

    Two words: Public pressure. Politicians are inherently big chickens when faced with an angry public. If the majority of Albertans believe entrepreneurs should be able to set their own smoking rules - especially in restaurants, bars, bingo halls and casinos, these people have to speak up. If we believe in democracy each and every one of us has to speak up.

    If you believe a total smoking ban is wrong, let the politicians know.

    Call them. E-mail them. Fax them. Demand a meeting with them.

    If you are in the hospitality industry let council members know you will not contribute to their next election campaign.

    Let council members know you will contribute to the campaigns of those who run against them in the next election. Start an official petition.

    I'm sure the folks at the city's Citizen Action Centre - 496-8200 - can tell you how to go about that. You can reach any city councillor by e-mailing them using their first and last names combined with the general civic e-mail address.

    For instance, Batty's e-mail would be jane.batty@edmonton.ca and Mayor Bill Smith's e-mail is bill.smith@edmonton.ca.

    You can e-mail all councillors at councillors@edmonton.ca. The Citizen Action Centre, at 496-8200, will also record all comments and forward them to the politicians.

    There is no absolute way to tell who is in favour of a wide ban but from previous meetings, these are the council members who would likely support such a law:

    Allan Bolstad, Janice Melnychuk, Michael Phair, Bryan Anderson, Dave Thiele, Batty and Smith.
    Thursday, October 17th, 2002
    10:19 am
    "The Nazi War on Cancer"
    Following is an excerpt from "The Nazi War on Cancer" by Robert Proctor, Professor of the History of Science at Pennsylvania State University (pp198-199):

    "Armed with the requisite scientific expertise and political power, Nazi authorities moved to limit smoking through a combination of propaganda, public relations, and official decrees. The Ministry of Science and Education ordered elementary schools to discuss the dangers of tobacco, and the Reich Health Office - on maternal health or vaccination, for example were declared "smoke-free", and the Reich stand der Duetschen Handwerks, the now -Nazified craft-guild, advised its members against smoking while at work.
    A Bureau against the hazards of Alcohol and Tobacco was established in June 1939. Fifteen thousand people attended a March 5-7, 1939 congress in Frankfurt on the hazards of tobacco and alcohol, at which Reich Health Office president Hans Reiter and other Nazi luminaries -including Leonardo Conti, Robert Ley, and Ferdinand Sauerbruch standing in for Gerhard Wagner - attacked both vices as reproductive poisons and drains on the German economy."

    This book may be worth buying...

    Current Mood: sick
    10:14 am
    Chilly Days For Smokers
    By Jim Algie
    Wednesday, October 09, 2002 - 08:00

    Local news - The Lee Manor residents who smoke really smoke.
    It’s more than just a sociable puff after supper. Ron Hutton talks about his 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. cigarettes.
    After decades of smoking, Bruce Button, 79, describes the pleasures of his well-charred pipe as the only ones remaining. He always has his straight-stemmed pipe with him, either slipped into a vest pocket or wedged in his mouth.

    “What would we do if we didn’t have that?” Button said recently from his wheelchair near Lee Manor where he has lived for hree years. “You can’t go around drinking beer. Beer costs too much money.”

    Button’s habit is to light his pipe every two hours or so. He can’t remember when he started or why.

    Since a Grey County ban on smoking took effect Sept. 3 and shut down a third-floor lounge in the building, Button and a group of as many as 11 other residents have begun heading outside to smoke.

    The Residents’ council president, Hutton appealed recently to county officials either to change the new bylaw allowing the use of an existing smoking lounge or address a variety of safety issues for outdoor smokers as winter approaches.

    In response to the law, officials replaced a raised garden bed with stone dust and gravel as a base for the new smoking area. It conforms to the rules which prohibit tobacco smoke within 30 metres of the building.

    Button was among a group of four smokers clustered in a court yard outside the back entrance. He said he’ll be there in his wheelchair even when the snow flies.

    Some of the smokers wore light jackets. A few wore caps against the cool temperature and pale autumn sun.

    A pine tree provides the only shelter. From individuals in the group come the occasional syrupy coughs of long-term smokers.

    Hutton, 62, had a pack of Rothmans tucked between the seat pad and left arm of his wheelchair. The retired practical nurse who grew up and worked in Owen Sound, is slight and drawn. He has multiple sclerosis and is younger than most Lee Manor residents.

    The nerve condition affects muscle control and forced Hutton’s early retirement eight years ago.

    Initially, he managed with a walker in an apartment of his own. The progressive illness eventually put him in a wheelchair and led him to a nursing home.

    Hutton has smoked for 29 years and is not about to quit. If there were any hope of a change in his multiple sclerosis, he would consider quitting.

    As it is, the cigarettes calm him. He thinks of it as medication.

    “I could be on the patch but I don’t want it,” Hutton said. “I don’t want any drugs other than my cigarettes. It’s the nicotine that keeps me stable.”

    “Harry, who sits over here, he and I are often here sometimes at two o’clock in the morning,” Hutton said, gesturing towards a man sitting nearby.

    “We’ve been caught in the rain. We’ve been soaked. We sit under the tree for a bit of shelter.”

    Hutton’s demands to administrators list 13 points in all.

    They include a ramp for wheelchair access to the back patio, shelter from the elements, a call bell to alert staff to problems as well as improved lighting and grading to eliminate potential tripping hazards from uneven ground and paving in the area. Staff lock the doors at 9 p.m., making it hard for some residents to get back in after leaving to smoke.

    As it is, Hutton must accept that when he goes out after 9 p.m., he’ll have to work his way around the building in his wheelchair to the front door to be re-admitted. These days, the process takes about 20 minutes. Winter will make it worse.

    “We’ll still struggle to get out,” Hutton said. “If we can’t get out of the building, we’ll have to have somebody to take us.”
    10:12 am
    Learn From Prohibition
    16 October 2002 - USA Today

    Until 1993, the best argument presented in favor of increased government regulation of smoking was that tobacco-related illnesses were costing taxpayers hundreds of millions annually. Researchers found, however, that smokers' lives tend to be shortened through diseases that kill quickly, actually reducing the greater costs associated with lingering illnesses. One researcher proposed sardonically that tobacco use be subsidized if the goal is to reduce health-care costs.

    In 1993, though, the Environmental Protection Agency adopted the melodramatic stand that secondhand smoke is a kind of negligent homicide, killing as many as 3,000 Americans annually. This argument, too, was quickly discredited by legitimate researchers, as well as the courts, because of inexcusable, purposeful flaws in the EPA's methodology. There is, in fact, no evidence of any significant increase in illness from the occasional inhalation of other people's smoke.

    Though the media did, to their credit, cover the debunking of the secondhand-smoke ploy, the public has simply never caught on. I suspect this is due, in large part, to the fact that many of us wish there were a legitimate reason to ban unpleasant tobacco fumes, raw garlic breath, cheap perfume and unwashed body odor. Personally, I'd probably include rap music and Dell commercials.

    Unpleasantness, however, isn't a sufficient justification for dismantling the principles of individual and property rights that America was founded on. And the case simply has not been made that the federal regulation of tobacco is necessary or advisable.

    Smoking is already banned or severely restricted in most work and public places. Restaurants that don't have non-smoking sections are rarer than those that ban it outright. People who don't want to work or be around smoke have all the options they need to avoid even minuscule health risks.

    Efforts to legally control and deter tobacco use continue, however, with dire consequences. Not only have there been murders of smokers by anti-tobacco zealots, the ban on ads for less-harmful cigarettes is preventing the development of safer products that could save many smokers' lives. Worse, high tobacco taxes to discourage smoking have proved, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a boon to large-scale organized crime now entrenched in the business of cigarette smuggling.

    We should have learned from Prohibition how foolish it is to hand huge chunks of our economy to black marketers who will not hesitate to use the money and distribution channels for other, more serious crimes.

    It seems richly ironic that links have been discovered between tobacco smugglers and Islamic terrorists. The authoritarian Taliban-style regimes they support provide a perfect model, after all, for those who would take our moral and health choices away from us.

    As Edmund Burke said, ''The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away for expedience.'' What's next, I wonder.

    Patrick Cox is a columnist for The Villages Daily Sun and The Sumter Sun in Florida.

    Current Mood: sick
    10:03 am
    By Matt L. Ottinger

    Please allow me to preface this commentary by stating that I am not a smoker. Personally, I find cigarette smoke to be rather nauseating. However, if I turn on my television and see one more pretentious environmental studies student at Self Righteous State University opining about how I should live my life, I may just force myself to start smoking.

    You’ve undoubtedly seen the commercials -- body bags stacked by the hundreds outside of a tobacco company building; the plastic baby left in a carriage with an index card conveying the atrocities of secondhand smoke; and even those cunning lads attempting to send arsenic and cyanide through the mail via a cigar box filled with cigarettes. These public service announcements have been brought to us courtesy of the TheTruth.com, a group of benevolent activists dedicated to educating youngsters about the harmful effects of smoking.

    Many moralists and anti-smoking crusaders have praised the ads for being thought-provoking and clever, which admittedly they are. But the key issue is not the quality of the ads, but how they are funded, the underlying messages they are sending, and if they are really necessary.

    In order to thoroughly understand the concept of TheTruth.com, one must first understand its origin. TheTruth.com is the main benefactor of the American Legacy Foundation, and both are ultimately the ornery offspring of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). The MSA is the result of the four-year lawsuit that began in 1994 filed by the state Attorneys General against “big tobacco.” As a result of this lawsuit, the seven largest tobacco companies were scornfully summoned to deliver $206 billion to various state governments over the next 25 years which would be used toward tobacco control and to educate young people about the dangers of smoking. In order to do this more efficiently, The Truth.com was contrived to infect youngsters with the knowledge to “make their own decisions” about smoking.

    These ads have malignantly spread to my home state of Indiana in the form of Whitelies.tv, which has been funded by the Indiana Tobacco Cessation & Prevention organization coincidentally also via the MSA. The spots feature youngsters sardonically describing how they hope to die from lung cancer, heart disease, or anything else “big tobacco” may force on them. Again, while the sentiment of preventing children from the dangers of cancer is admirable, its origin is anything but. Since the ITCP Web site explicitly lists one of its primary goals as “changing the cultural perception and social acceptability of tobacco use in Indiana,” civil libertarians can not help but question this type of social persuasion espoused by the state and federal governments.

    Many concerned parents and supporters of these ads argue that their children need to be educated about the dangers of smoking, and rightfully so. Smoking is very dangerous. Contrary to what anyone in the tobacco industry may profess, it does cause cancer, heart disease, and a whole gamut of other health problems. What parents should be concerned with, however, is who is doing the educating. Why does the government need to fund an array of objectionable agencies to tell their children something they can do themselves at home for free?

    Some also argue that the government is not funding these ads, but the tobacco companies are via the MSA. However, even if that is the case, it will not be for long. According to Mark Schmidt, Director of Programs at the National Taxpayers Union, the rush to fund new programs with tobacco money could actually increase the burden on taxpayers forced to underwrite programs that survive long after the settlement dollars are spent.

    “The rationale is clear,” Schmidt said. “Have you ever heard of a government program being abolished? It's also a collective action problem. As soon as a program receives government funding, yet another special interest group arises to demand continued funding of their pet program.”

    What’s more, even if this money was to be solely funded by “big tobacco,” are there not better ways to spend it? Every time one of these superfluous public service debaucheries invades the television, one has to wonder if there could be a more appropriate way to spend this money. How about supplying public schools with proper supplies so already underpaid teachers don’t have to shell out their own money just for their students to have proper utensils? Just a thought.

    Another argument often made is that tobacco needs to be a paramount issue due to the economic strain it puts on other members of society. According to the “whitelies” website, tobacco related medical expenditures result in over $1.6 billion a year in Indiana, which comes out to about $275 for every person in the state. This is undoubtedly true -- those who do not smoke are indeed being punished by the plight and ill-health of those that do. That, however, just exploits the inevitable drawbacks of living in a society in which an entire citizenry is punished for the hazardous behavior of the minority.

    The problem with these ads is that not only are they redundant -- we get it, smoking kills -- but they are ultimately helping to destroy the notion of individual responsibility that is inherent to the necessary functions of a free society. By saying, “hey kids, you’re being victimized because you can’t think for yourself so let big brother tell you what’s good for you and protect you from those capitalist monsters,” you create a society of victims who will endlessly be forced to rely on the government’s ideals, not to mention its subsidies, instead of their own ingenuity. Most economists will tell you that can never end well.

    What’s more, one must really consider whether or not they are effective. How often have you heard a sixteen year old say the following? “Gee, I’d like to smoke a cigarette but that commercial with the kid in the rat suit really hit home with me. I think I’ll stick to clean living from now on. Thanks Truth.com.”

    Thanks indeed for telling Americans what we already know -- smoking is bad. Despite all of the well-intentioned preaching and finger-pointing, TheTruth.com and its patronizing brethren are nothing more than an inane waste of resources, time, and an insult to the collective intelligence of society and the potential victims they purport to save.

    You’ve just been infected with THE TRUTH.

    Matt L. Ottinger is the marketing communications intern at the Hudson Institute.

    I don't agree with his views on smoking, but man I hate those friggin commercials!

    Current Mood: sick
    Thursday, October 10th, 2002
    12:26 pm
    Mike's blowing 2nd Hand Smoke

    If secondhand smoke really were the killer Mike Bloomberg insists it is, he wouldn't be mayor of New York now - he'd be pushing up daisies on the outskirts of Beantown, his hometown.
    Not only did he catch other people's butts during his 60 years in this vale of tearing eyes, he was a cigarette junkie for half his life. Unlike Bill Clinton, Mike inhaled - not cigars, not pot, but real cigs.

    And yet tomorrow in City Hall he will be the lead witness in his effort to persuade the City Council to prohibit smoking almost everywhere in the city. Mayor Bloomberg wants to turn us into Los Angeles East on the grounds of protecting bartenders and waiters from the evils of secondhand smoke.

    I've never met a bartender or waiter who had any trouble with it, and I've covered bars from here to Cairo, and then some. There are two barmen in Gallagher's on Broadway who just made 85 - and they don't even cough.

    But Bloomberg says it's so, and he cites studies that say bartenders and waiters inhale half a pack a day. Nobody has been able to find these studies, but every day Bloomberg repeats the claim on commercials paid for by the city Health Department. It's brainwashing, to be sure.

    What we know from a true scientific study conducted in the United Kingdom recently is that bartenders and waiters inhale about six cigarettes a year - not half a pack a day.

    There is plenty more to put the lie to this secondhand smoke madness that threatens to wipe out smoking at beaches and parks and already has done so in Yankee and Shea stadiums and the race tracks. Even God can't ventilate the outdoors, say the anti-smoke fascists. And they are winning.

    Tomorrow the world?

    If New York goes, yeah - you don't have to be a paranoid smoker to catch the strategy. In Nassau County on Monday, the Legislature became the first in the state to ban the weed in all bars, restaurants and bingo halls. "We're going to steamroll this downstate," said Jeffrey Toback, a Nassau legislator.

    He's got Mayor Mike as pulling guard, but what Mike doesn't have is the science. Indeed, it goes the other way: For maybe the first time in history, the negative comes out a winner.

    The U.S. Energy Department conducted a six-year study during the 1990s in 17 cities. Nonsmoking bartenders and waiters were wired up to determine whether secondhand smoke was a danger to their health. The result across the board: nothing, nada. The amount of smoke inhalation was way below what is considered dangerous.

    And late last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration decided to drop plans for setting up federal rules for indoor smoking. OSHA said it was because there is no substantial evidence that secondhand smoke is harmful.

    Big stuff, but I'll bet you didn't know about it, given the way the anti-smoking crowd has done the public relations job of the century to convince us all that we will die if the smokers are allowed to live.

    The City Council has seemed until now uninterested in the health issue, even though it is about to inflict Prohibition Redux on our city based on health.

    "It's crazy," former Mayor Rudy Giuliani told me the other day. I asked him if he'd oppose the bill. "I promise," he said. Maybe that's our shot against Mike, the CEO Rudy elected.
    12:24 pm
    "By: JUDY PACK, Citizen staff October 04, 2002

    Four of five South Houston city council members voted Tuesday night to repeal a city ordinance pertaining to smoking in buildings owned by, or under the control of, the city of South Houston.
    Smokers are not, however, lighting up just anywhere and have been directed to one designated building owned by the city to smoke should they desire to do so.
    Eloise Smith, South Houston mayor, explained that the ordinance was repealed in an attempt to provide smokers an area that would protect them from being required to stand outside in the elements.
    "People who smoke have rights, too," Smith said. "The old ordinance specified no smoking in any city building. We have a more in-depth ordinance now that will allow smoking in the old fire station behind City Hall."

    The building housing the police department also has a covered area that allows for investigators to step outside with the person being questioned to smoke, she said. The officers had assured her that the covered area was sufficient for the needs of smokers.

    "As the mayor and council of the city, I must represent the rights of all people," she said.

    The ordinance, Smith said, still prevents smoking in any building except for the old fire station building. Several people employed at City Hall building routinely step outside to smoke, she said, and she had often seen them standing under umbrellas when it was raining.

    If the ladies who step outside to smoke still desire to stand under umbrellas to smoke, that is their choice, Smith said. However, providing a building for anyone to use for smoking purposes would prevent employees and other visitors to city properties from breaking the law.

    "If a nonsmoker comes inside the old fire station and states that the cigarette smoke bothers that person, then they all must put out their cigarettes," Smith said.

    Smith said employees taking time to step out of the building to smoke did so during designated break periods provided by law, and productivity of employees was not an issue.

    The city of South Houston is a small community, she said, and doesn't want to see anyone being cited for a misdemeanor offense. The employees and visitors to the city-owned properties are a close-knit group of people whose individual rights are all important to city leaders, she said."

    While an admirable attempt at fairness so that they can't be called in foul, they completely ruined it by saying that if a nonsmoker enters the old firestation (now a designated SMOKING area) and complains, then the smokers still have to put out their cigarettes.

    Umm..close, but no cigar..or cigarette...
    Thursday, October 3rd, 2002
    1:05 pm
    Not 1 Death or Sickness
    Below is English Translation of the Explanation/Statement by
    Dr. Simoncini, MD, Head of FORCES Italiana

    To understand it fully, one does not have to be a physician. All the diseases attributed to smoking are also present in non smokers. It means, in other words, that they are multifactorial, that is, the result of the interaction of tens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of factors, either known or suspected contributors – of which smoking can be one.
    Now, follow this:
    if I have 2 factors, the way they can possibly combine is 22 – 1 = 3; three factors, 23 – 1 = 7; ten factors, 210 – 1 = 1,023. Among the factors are genetic makeup, environment, diet, amount of tobacco in function of the specific health condition of that life period, stress, and so on, and so on. Cardiovascular disease has over 300 known factors interacting; lung cancer over 40. Never mind calculating 2 300 – 1! Now, to sort them out, there is a primitive tool that really works poorly, called multifactorial epidemiology; its job is to try to isolate the cause, which is impossible.

    Since the antis are stating with great certainty that primary smoke "causes," or passive smoke "causes"… The question asks, simply, to find one human being where tobacco can be proven to be the sole cause (etios) of his/her disease (pathos; etiopathology = the cause of the disease), that is, to be sure that tobacco did it. Monocausality is the only way to be sure. Since the only possible answer is "no," the question that follows is: "Then, if you cannot even prove your claims for ONE among the millions you claim die (or are sick) from smoking, how can you be sure that tobacco does it?".

    The con work of the antismokers is on the ignorance of people. Epidemiology has defeated many diseases: small pox, TB (almost) etc, and it has helped to keep track of stuff like Ebola and AIDS. But those diseases are MONOFACTORIAL: one cause, one effect. People do not know that ALL "tobacco-related diseases" are multifactorial in the extreme, and believe that the same epidemiology that has worked for small pox is at work for smoking. This is not to say that smoking does not cause disease: it probably does; we just cannot say how much. It follows that all the figures we hear are fantasy and wild guess game, right?

    True, medicine cannot be an exact science – and no one expects it to be. But, given the size of the claims, one would expect that one case in, say, 10 millions could be certified simply by random chance! But it is not so, and if you really think about the little formula above, you can see why. Imagine a roulette with 300 numbers: what are your chances to hit the zero? (try asthma: thousands of continuously changing co-factors, and they blame passive smoke!) That is why the porno-pictures you see on your packs are real, but the chance that that stroke you see in the picture, for example, is actually caused by smoking are infinitesimal – although, technically, the possibility that it is due to smoking is real.

    And this is for DIRECT smoking; in passive smoke, well, the possibility of isolating a monofactorial etipathology is probably one in more than all the stars in the cosmos, which are more than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth.

    I hope I have been exhaustive enough. If there are further questions, do not hesitate to ask; if I don’t have the answer, I will find it; and if there is no answer, differently than the antismokers, I’ll say that "I don’t know!"

    Current Mood: contemplative
    1:00 pm
    Europe's smoking laws beat our anti-tobacco puritanism
    The Gazette

    Wednesday, September 25, 2002

    Janet Bagnall's Sept. 20 column "Blood money" reflects very well the current Canadian anti-tobacco puritanism, which is far more dangerous to our democracy than smoking. Fortunately, it represents the view of a small minority of Canadians.

    As far as Ms. Bagnall's statistics are concerned, one can make anything out of them. For example, what are "smoking-related diseases"? As far as I know, there is only one: lung cancer. Heart attacks, strokes, etc. might be caused much more by what we eat than what we smoke, and they usually occur at an earlier age.

    It is interesting that when a court action was recently launched in the U.S. against junk-food suppliers, such as McDonald's, The Gazette wrote an editorial saying that it was a ludicrous thing to do and that every individual has the right to choose what he or she eats. And McDonald's, as far as I know, makes all kinds of donations to hospitals, public events, and so on. Shouldn't we reject that money as well and shun the executives of the junk-food companies?

    Furthermore, Ms. Bagnall's statistics are misleading because people who die from smoking are mostly older people, whereas those who die from AIDS, suicides and the like are mostly young people whose most productive years would still be in front of them. It's like comparing apples and oranges. But even if we accept that 45,000 old people die annually in Canada prematurely, because they smoked, we should remember that about the same number of people die every day in the world from malnutrition, and these are mostly children.

    Those who smoke know very well that they will shorten their lives by about 10 years, and if they still want to do it, it is no business of Ms. Bagnall to ridicule them or those who supply the products they use. We should be grateful to the smokers since they pay a huge amount of taxes to indulge in smoking, which reduces the taxes for the rest of society, and they die younger, which saves society the cost of long-term care.

    Canada already has the most stringent anti-tobacco laws in the world. Europe, Asia and South America have a much more relaxed attitude toward smoking. I was recently in Portugal for a few days, and virtually everyone smokes on the streets, in restaurants and in the hotels of Lisbon. The same is true in most of Europe, because, when it comes to these small individual choices, Europe has learned to be much more reasonable than North America. Many Europeans simply laugh at our anti-tobacco laws, pointing out that our government is not shy in collecting huge taxes on tobacco products.

    I don't smoke cigarettes myself, but so long as they are legal, I think that those who do and those who produce them should not be constantly harassed.

    George Primak

    Current Mood: contemplative
    Saturday, September 28th, 2002
    11:15 pm
    Bits and pieces
    Zero-tolerance is the goal for all things antis don't like. Anti-smoking was just the beginning of anti-everything. That is not democracy.
    Stephen Hartwell

    The citizens of Alamogordo, New Mexico narrowly voted down Ordinance 1156 which would have banned smoking in public places.

    Allegations that a high school teacher made a 13-year-old boy eat a cigarette after he was caught smoking are being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police and the local school board.

    A California judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed against major U.S. cigarette manufacturers… "This is a common-sense decision recognizing that our advertising is lawful and protected by the First Amendment," Daniel Donahue, deputy general counsel at R.J. Reynolds

    "After the bell, RJR (RJR) announced that it has been held not liable in the case of retired flight attendant Suzette Janoff, who attempted to pin the blame for her chronic sinusitis and other ailments on occupational exposure to secondhand smoke."

    Current Mood: tired
    11:01 pm
    State Addicted to Tobacco Taxes
    by Robert A. Levy
    September 19, 2002

    Arizona’s politicians can’t make up their minds about tobacco.

    When Arizona sued the cigarette makers in 1996, the state minced no words in describing the pernicious effects of smoking: “Tobacco products are not only addictive, they are abnormally dangerous and unfit for human use. Tobacco products kill, maim, and injure virtually all who use them.” Reading that, any rational person would have to conclude that the state would criminalize cigarettes. Evidently, consistency and logic take a back seat when big bucks are at stake.

    Instead, the “cash-cow” coalition signed a national settlement that protected the profits of the tobacco giants so they can be milked periodically to replenish depleted state coffers. Now that same coalition is promoting Proposition 303, a statewide referendum on the November ballot to increase Arizona’s cigarette tax from 58 cents to $1.18 per pack - the nation’s fifth highest rate. The goal of 303 is to pay for a laundry list of programs, like expanded health insurance and funding for trauma centers [see "Invest a 'yes' vote in Prop. 303," Editorial, September 17]. Those programs, desirable or not, are mostly unrelated to tobacco prevention.

    If taxpayers want more health insurance and trauma centers, let all the taxpayers--not just smokers--foot the bill. Indeed, cigarette surcharges are brutally regressive. They represent a wealth transfer from generally poor smokers to more affluent non-smokers. Roughly 60 percent of tobacco taxes are paid by smokers with annual incomes under $40,000.

    Furthermore, federal and state cigarette taxes already generate far more than smoking-related costs paid out of the public purse. The contrast between tax receipts and public costs is mind-boggling. In 1995, Arizona’s excise taxes were 58 cents per pack. According to Harvard economist Kip Viscusi, the state spent 1.12 cents per pack on tobacco-related medical care, and lost 1.55 cents per pack in payroll taxes due to smokers’ early mortality. Thus, the 58 cents per pack excise tax was more than 20 times the combined tobacco-related cost to the state of 2.67 cents. In short, smokers have more than paid their way.

    That’s not all. If Proposition 303 passes, the unavoidable consequence will be a flourishing and pervasive black market that spawns illegal dealings dominated by criminal gangs. And who knows where that black market money may end up? In 2000, federal agents arrested 18 Hizbollah guerrillas in North Carolina and Michigan for trafficking in contraband cigarettes to raise funds for Islamic terrorists.

    Of course, Tempe property owners already know what it’s like to be “Propositioned” by the anti-smoking crowd. In May, Tempe voters enacted Proposition 200, which banned smoking in so-called public places, like private restaurants, bars, billiard halls, and bowling alleys. The ban made Tempe’s smokers second-class citizens, despite considerable dispute within the scientific community regarding the link between Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and adverse health effects.

    In an important respect the scientific debate over ETS is beside the point. The real issue is property rights. On private property, only the owner has the right to say how that property is used, providing he respects the valid rights of others.

    Smokers have no legitimate right to light up in my restaurant. Nor do non-smokers have a legitimate right to prevent smokers from lighting up in my restaurant. If I choose to permit smoking, or to prohibit smoking - for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all - that’s my business. Smokers or non-smokers who disagree with my decision may go elsewhere.

    Prior to Proposition 200, some restaurants in Tempe voluntarily opted for a smoke-free environment, and others offered both smoking and non-smoking sections. Mostly, customers relied on common courtesy and mutual respect to resolve disputes. But thanks to the ban, government has poisoned the atmosphere far more than secondhand smoke ever did. Meanwhile, some Tempe businesses complain that their revenue has dropped by as much as 20 percent.

    However unpopular the tobacco industry, however repugnant that some people may become addicted to smoking, there are countervailing values that sustain a free society. When government makes unwanted choices for individuals about their recreation, lifestyle, and health, that’s paternalism at its worst. If Arizona voters cherish private property and personal liberty, their choices are straightforward: Defeat Proposition 303. Repeal Proposition 200.

    Robert A. Levy is senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute. He is the author of a Goldwater Institute policy paper on tobacco issues, to be released in early October.

    Current Mood: sleepy
    Thursday, September 19th, 2002
    9:39 pm
    Anti-Smoking Atrocities
    In Boston a woman was fired on day one because the boss suspected she might have smoked on her break outside. EEOC said discrimination against smokers wasn't discrimination.

    In a case involving employees right to smoke on their own time, a high court in Florida ruled that a smoker can have "no legitimate expectation of the right to privacy."

    Employees must sign an oath, not only that they do not presently smoke but have not smoked in the previous 12 months in order to be employed by the city of North Miami.

    Employees hired by CNN must sign an oath that they do not smoke and will not smoke at all (at home, on vacation, etc.) while they work for Ted Turner.

    The same at Lockheed at its various plants. where "anyone found by a fellow worker to be smoking in a bar, restaurant or elsewhere could be fired."

    A worker in Indiana was fired after nicotine was found in her urine.

    In MD a disgruntled clerk reported the president of a university for smoking in her own private bathroom in her own private office, resulting in an OSHA fine of $1300.

    In Canada a reformed smoker attacked his wife of 30 years, with a 12 in kitchen knife, repeatedly stabbing her in the neck after finding out that she had broken her promise to give up smoking. He continued the assault as she tried to fight him off.

    In Texas a high school student who went searching for her cat in her own yard was stopped by a police officer who said he saw her smoking. He told her to empty her pockets, which she did. Finding nothing, he got down on his hands and knees, and he dug around on the grass with a flashlight. Still finding nothing he told the girl she was a minor in possession of tobacco and gave her a ticket.

    Police say she broke a law - even though they never found any evidence. In court the girl and her outraged family were told no evidence was needed. The judge found Lisa guilty of possessing tobacco. The officer’s testimony was enough evidence.

    In Wisconsin a girl committed suicide after being caught with tobacco in her backpack at school.

    These cases represent only the tip of the iceberg. Even more disheartening and frightening is that the list allotted to tobacco is only the beginning. Now that the same nazi tactics are spreading into other areas -- firearms, obesity and foods so far with more to come -- individual liberty, freedom of choice and democratic principles in general are being eroded at an alarming rate.

    Unless the general public wakes up to the fact that what is going on is not a matter of principles, of public health or safety but power, control and big money and puts a stop to it America as we know it will be a thing of the past.

    Government in collusion with big corporations and greedy lawyers will have killed it.

    Current Mood: angry
    Sunday, September 15th, 2002
    11:23 pm
    Allow myself to introduce... myself
    Was browsing community_promo and found this community. To give yous a bit of background on me, I started smoking at 16 (Marlboro reds, Djarum Black (cloves) and an occasional pipe), and did so continuously until about 4 months ago (8 years). I pride myself on A. having quit. B. having done so on my terms. Not because of the prices, or the laws, but because I decided that it was time for me to quit (mostly because I got back into martial arts and it was getting in the way of my training). Regardless. I'm still very much pissed at what this country is doing, and still am, and will always be, on the smokers side of the war. Well... that about covers it. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

    Current Mood: bitchy
    9:20 am
    addiction cont.
    Prior to the change in terminology, smoking was considered a 'habit'.
    Smokers do not share with other 'addicts' the loss of rational
    thought, as
    do alcoholics, heavy drug users, etc. We can drive cars and operate
    machinery without jeopardizing the lives of others (ETS aside). We
    carry on meaningful conversations that other people understand. So to
    us as addicts is really not fair. Not fair that the 'antis' who have
    cunningly changed the interpretation; are getting away with political
    murder; not fair that the entire population has bought into their new
    interpretation with a resultant mass of people believing that smokers
    are no
    better, and perhaps worse, than common criminals. The items omitted
    from the
    old description of addiction ("intoxication, life-threatening
    the need for an increasing amount of the addictive substance, and the
    inability to function properly in society") have made a dramatic
    in how society views us smokers. By eliminating the foregoing
    the 'antis' were able to 'accommodate', include and
    consequently 'accuse'
    smokers of being 'addicts'.

    This may possibly have been the most successful step they took in
    the views of the nation, on smoking.


    Current Mood: groggy
    9:19 am
    more on addiction
    those who accept the derogatory term "addict" must also
    accept the even worse term "junkie." Now tell me how someone who
    accepts that designation will ever get respect or how that person can
    ever demand the same "rights" others expect and deserve. Junkies are
    second-class citizens and can be vilified at will.

    No, calling me an addict is an insult and one that will be met with
    extreme anger. The following story shows what can happen to those who
    willingly accept vilification (I know, I know..."It can't happen

    >>The City Without Drugs center in Yekaterinburg chains its patients
    to beds and whips them senseless with belts – delivering 300 or so
    lashes per session. "On the first day we beat them with belts until
    their buttocks turn blue," boasted a founder of the treatment
    center. "Every week we have to buy a new belt because they go too
    soft, but we have been impressed with the quality of Gucci belts."

    "Drug addicts are animals who have lost all sense of values," he went
    on to say. "This way, the next time they think about getting a fix
    they remember the pain of the thrashing rather than the rush of the
    drugs. It's very effective. You cannot solve this with mild manners –
    you need tough measures." <<<

    If even our own accept this manufactured "victimhood," how on earth
    will we ever be able to overcome the general public's perception of
    us as not worthy of freedom to make our own choices?

    This makes me very sad.

    A very depressed Spinn

    Current Mood: groggy
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