Archive | September 2014

Defund the Incestuous Nannies!

I support the defunding of nannying Public Health NGOs.

The pernicious, insidious, and sometimes untruthful statements made by some NGOs is a veritable blot on the landscape of “Public Health”. Not all of them lie all the time, some rarely do, but when they do lie, it does tend to be at an important point in the history of their particular bete noir.

What you may not realise is that most of the NGOs are partially funded by you, and much of the money they get is used to lobby at all levels of government for regulations which, they insist, are essential to the well-being of the Nation. How do they get their funds from you? Usually as part of your taxes to either national or local government, from where their friends (the lobbyists) take a nice deep dip into the public trough.

I would ask you to consider, that, in a time of Austerity (according to many politicians), if it is right that government at all levels should continue to pay people  to lobby the governments that are paying them.

What are they lobbying for? – More restrictions and regulations which may affect you or someone in your family!

I wish to see an end to this incestuous habit, which is is using up scarce monies which could be better used elsewhere. I would like to see it become law that any body, be it any charity or any NGO, who receives public funding is not to be permitted to lobby their Public funding source. I would mandate a straight choice, either continue lobbying (or paying for lobbyists), or receive public funds, but never both!



I support the #Octabber resistance.

Here we are again. Now in it’s third year, Stoptober, Nanny’s do as we say October campaign is back again in a bid to force us all into the perfect size 10, non drinking, non smoking, tofu-eating, water-supping perfect human specimens to, presumably, ensure we can become 150 year old burdens on society. However, this year on Twitter, it seems to be targeting all sorts of undesirables from smokers, to drinkers to the overweight – and jumping on the bandwagon a month in advance is the long-running Movember and new Govember campaigns, for those who like to grow moustaches and goatee beards.

Nothing has changed for Tabbers and we are here again to say we love our tabs and we’re not quitting despite the Govt repeating this campaign aimed at trying to force a change of behaviour via a community push in a sort of “You’re either with us or against us” kind of way.

However, #Octabber is about much more than just a statement from informed adult consumers who want to be left alone in peace without harassment to enjoy a legal product of choice. We resent the waste of tax payers cash on such silly gimmicks which do not have the effect the professional healthists brag about. Thousands/millions (insert outrageous stat for effect) of smokers do not quit during the month and you only have to check out the #Stoptober hash tag to see that it’s mostly health professionals, local authorities, alleged charities, and other tax funded, Big Pharma and corporate funded organisations that are getting excited about it. After all, their jobs depend on coming up with such propaganda and they are as dependant upon smokers for their living as the tobacco companies.

Despite the ever increasing hate campaign, marginalisation and stigmatisation of smokers, calls to ban them from outdoor public places, that they have every right to use, moves to remove yet more private property rights with car bans and home bans on the horizon, it seems we are still increasing in numbers with new figures that show one in five people still smoke.

More of this article can be found at

Welsh Assembly Petition Handover Briefing

Welsh Assembly Petition Handover Briefing.

According to ASH Wales there are 100,000 e-cigarette users (vapers) in Wales. All of these people are now smoking significantly fewer or no tobacco cigarettes as a direct result. As e-cigarette sales rise tobacco sales fall. Recently publish figures from the Welsh Health Survey show that smoking rates have fallen in Wales by two per cent.

In June 2014 Simon Thurlow, a representative of the Save E-cigs campaign in Wales, launched a Welsh Assembly petition opposing the Welsh Government’s proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places. This petition has been signed by e-cigarette users from across Wales.

The petition:

On Wednesday the 1st of October Save E-cigs will formally deliver this petition to the Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee at 13:00. The petition will be delivered by another Save E-cigs representative in Wales, Rhydian Mann. Rhydian will then address the members of the committee setting out why this proposal, if implemented, would not just be bad for vapers, be bad for public health in Wales, but also impractical to implement.

Why should smoking be banned in all public places?

Answer by Michael J. McFadden:

Because it would help ensure that smokers smoked in their own homes around their spouses and children?

Actually, I believe the "official answer" or "accepted line" on this question has to do with "Denormalizing Smoking."  If smokers can be sent off to ghettos or forced to stay in their own homes while smoking it is thought that their "contagion by example" will be better contained, plus it will make their numbers appear smaller — thereby making it easier to target them with discriminatory legislation.


Why should smoking be banned in all public places?

If your roommate smokes, and you can smell the smoke later, is that harmful smoke you are inhaling or is that just the odor of smoke?

Answer by Michael J. McFadden:

In terms of "how harmful" it is, you will find people out there who will tell you that *any* exposure is *very* harmful — but they will have a very hard time supporting that statement if you ask them for studies and figures.   The main basis justifying smoking bans in the U.S. (which is one of the places where the ban movement most strongly started) was the EPA Report of 1992 that claimed a 19% increase in lung cancer among workers "exposed to smoke."

That sounds pretty serious, right?

BUT… when you look at the number more closely (which most people never do of course, since it's not part of the glitzy news story or antismoking literature they're seeing) things begin to look different.   Lung cancer in nonsmokers is a pretty rare disease: only about 0.4% of non-exposed nonsmokers will ever get it: about one out of every 250 people.  A 19% increase would mean one extra case of lung cancer for every thousand people who had forty years of constant daily work exposure:  One lung cancer for every 40,000 worker-years of exposure.  When you look at it that way it doesn't sound nearly as frightening as just talking about a 19% increase, right?

Of course that's a very different kind of exposure than the one you're asking about.  How different?  Well, you're talking about "smelling the smoke later" which would indicate that you're not even around when they are smoking, and you don't mention seeing the smoke hanging in the air or clouds of it being constant around you for eight hours a day (as in one of those old poorly ventilated workplaces of the 1940s through 1970s).  So, it would probably be fair to guess that, at most, you're getting about one-tenth or maybe even only one-one-hundredth of that old working-lifetime dose.  That would mean that, on the average, you'd have to live with that roommate for between 400,000 and 4,000,000 (four million) roommate-years to get lung cancer.

The real risk might even be much smaller: the EPA Report was not able to validate its figures at the standard statistically acceptable level of 95% so they argued their case based on a 90% confidence interval instead.   When the tobacco companies disputed the report a federal judge who had previously ruled *against* the tobacco companies in a similarly important case involving the FDA took several years to examine the evidence.  That judge (William Osteen)  threw their findings out as being insufficiently supported on several different grounds.  If the EPA had actually tried to make a binding regulation based on their findings it would have been ruled invalid, but since they simply issued a "report" rather than try to make a ruling, the judge's decision had no real effect and was dismissed on appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

I don't know the figures on what the chances are of being knifed to death by a roommate in a given year, but my guess is they're they're a good deal higher than the chances of you getting cancer from them smoking when you're not around.


If your roommate smokes, and you can smell the smoke later, is that harmful smoke you are inhaling or is that just the odor of smoke?

Dear Public Health: the public despises you, so you are probably doing it wrong (part 2)

Posted on 21 September 2014 by Carl V Phillips…

This is the logical and inevitable (through predictable subconscious processes) extension of the underlying public health pseudo-ethic: The longevity and purity of bodies is the only goal that matters. Sometimes the annoying actors who occupy those bodies want to do things that are contrary to the goal, at which point they need to be forced, cajoled, or tricked into doing the right thing (compare: insects sometimes want to eat the crops, and they need to be manipulated into not doing it). But now some of those people are not merely quietly taking bad actions; they are actively speaking up against the public health goal and those who pursue it. As such, they are no longer just automata who need to be reprogrammed (without sympathy for their preferences, but also with no more personal hatred than one directs at the weather). By speaking up, the public have become the active enemies of the goal of public health.
Public health professionals — and this is not just the extremists but most everyone who exists in that culture — are so narrow-minded that even this obvious contradiction is not enough to make them realize the fundamental flaw in their worldview.
So the actual people who make up the public go from being ignored by “public health” to being genuinely hated. And with that, the temperance nuts find their home, not so much because they destroyed public health, but because public health made its way to them. They always hated people, thinking of them as sinners who needed to be controlled. The rest of public health joined them in this hatred when the public started rebelling against their pseudo-ethic and the grandee opinion leaders in the field redoubled their defense of it because they are not capable of seeing its absurdity.

It is easy to despise “public health” for what they do. But it is a different matter if you can understand what it looks like from the inside and how they got there. Once you understand that, you can still despise them for what they do, but you might want to consider despising them even more for how they got there.

Dear Public Health: the public despises you, so you are probably doing it wrong (part 1)

Posted on 21 September 2014 by Carl V Phillips…

Back to the present, we have a compelling illustration of the descent of “public health” and its abandoning the pretense of caring about people in the John Ashton scandal. For those who do not know, he is the head of a British organization that fancies itself The Faculty of Public Health and claims to represent public health (so take that as your starting point, even though it is really more a political think-tank like any other). He recent went off like a drunken adolescent on Twitter, personally attacking people who questioned or expressed disagreement with his extremist anti-ecig positions. He then pushed a fabricated story into the press in which he claimed that he was merely retaliating for nasty things that were said about him, though it turns out those were all said after his tirade. His attacks were of a tone that might even cost an NFL player his job, let alone a professional who is supposedly working in the public interest. Surprisingly, the FPH suspended Ashton from his duties and claimed to be conducting an investigation. Not so surprisingly, a week later, they proudly announced he was returning to his duties. No one ever apologized.
(For more on the story in case you are not familiar, follow back the links fromDick Puddlecote and Clive Bates, and see in particular Lorien Jollye who led the charge about it.)

…. Our observation was that in economics we often lean on the convenient myth that people’s goal is to maximize their lifecycle welfare, and that social policies should be based on that. It is easy to demonstrate that this is an oversimplification of behavior, and to argue from an ethical standpoint that there should be some departures from this in policy. But at least our simplified fiction is basically sound, both practically and ethically: Trying to maximize their welfare is roughly what people do, and there is an obviously defensible case to be made that trying to assist with such maximization is an important ethical goal — if not the ethical goal — of public policy.
We observed how sharply this contrasted with the implicit objective function in almost every public health policy discussion, which is basically “maximize longevity at any expense, and everything else be damned.” The economists who study medical care at least interject into this the caveat that some financial expenditures are too much to pay for the tiny bit of extra longevity they provide. But to the public health people, all other costs and benefits are trumped by the one objective.

See the rest of his post at the link above