Monday, 15 March 2010

TICAP 2010 - Monday 15th March PM

17:08: Director of TICAP, John Gray, delivers the closing address and the 2nd TICAP conference is at a close.

17:00: Prior to the closing address, Maryetta Ables speaks a tribute to co-founder of TICAP, Gian Turci, who died last year.

TICAP Afternoon Panel

16:49: Michael McFadden sees alcohol taxation in the US increasing dramatically in the near future to keep pace with tobacco. He also sees a future legalisation of marijuana so that government can reap the taxation (note from DP: California are close to legalising the use of marijuana with a ballot option already approved).

16:45: Patrick Basham believes the UK should be "cautiously pessimistic" about government's attacks on alcohol as he sees the Conservative party intent on "maintaining a paternalistic approach".

16:40: Maryetta Ables clarifies the US position as Dr Chaouachi had mentioned that Forces were talking of taking anti-smokers to court. She said the groundwork had been done but there was a lack of funding. The charge would have been abuse of power in contravention of the Constitution.

16:37: Patrick Basham chips in by asking if the Conservative party in the UK, if they win this year's election, are brave enough to tackle state-funded NGOs and fake charities.

16:35: On lobbying, Gawain Towler points out that the reported moves to stop lobbying of the EU is not lobbying in general, but specifically lobbying by tobacco companies.

16:30: Dr Chaouachi restates his earlier view that there is so much fraudulent science relating to tobacco that it should be aggregated, and action be taken to bring those who produce it to trial.

Patrick Basham: "Smoking bans aren't about public health, they're about 'getting' tobacco companies"

16:13: Michael McFadden explains that the public are susceptible to anti-smoking fraud because they are very secure in their lives, which makes their health a very strong concern. So if the message, however untrue, that passive smoke is going to kill them is told often enough, they will believe it. Such worries can also lead to exaggerated - or even imagined - 'syndromes such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (which Chris Snowdon describes as being believed by hypochondriacs).

16:05: Patrick Basham fields a question from Chris Snowdon by opining that the welfare state is used by government as a club to beat smokers with. That we must dictate what others do because all of society pay for it. He says this is a false premise as it's clear that smokers cost society less money, not more.

16:00: Questions begin with Dr Chaouachi answering Frank Davis in the comments here. He cites the ban in Syria and predict that the ban wil be lifted there soon as it has caused social unrest and that there are huge protests against it. He said a ban in Iran was introduced and had to be lifted to. He believes tobacco control will meet strong resistance in muslim countries.

Coffee break, after which there will be questions from the floor. I'll put Frank Davis's question if possible.

15:37: McFadden finishes by encouraging all to continue getting the word out about prohibitionist methods and false science, using flyers, books, web sites and word of mouth.

15:33: While explaining ways to expose anti-smoking lies, McFadden recommends a newish book on the matter, The War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State by Theodore King.

15:22: McFadden runs through some of the most outrageous tobacco control 'scientific' conclusions and advises that anti-prohibitionists should continue to expose the lies. To highlight anti-smokers' lies on economic impact, he showed the devastating effect on gambling taxes in Minnesota (from figures provided by the state) where there have been all three scenarios (no ban, partial ban, total ban) between 2003 and 2008.

Michael McFadden

15:15: Michael McFadden begins by stating that anti-smoking organisations spent $800m last year on advertising to scare and denormalise. Thy even bought air time during the most expensive TV show for advertising, the Superbowl.

15:08: Chaouachi explains that junk science is in direct opposition to the teachings of the Koran, which states that "good science goes from cradle to the grave" and that anti-tobacco's demonstrably false science should be highlighted to muslims at every opportunity. He says the social lives of millions of muslims is being attacked on the basis of false research.

15:00: Chaouachi describes some of the studies on hookah, which he says are riddled with errors. He gives an example of an awful report from the University of East Anglia (of Climategate infamy) which refused to entertain criticism or critical peer review.

14:55: Conference are shown anti-hookah adverts (one from the World Health Organisation) featuring plumes of sidestream smoke. Chaouachi states that these are fraudulent as hookah pipes do not emit sidestream smoke.

14:50: Chaouachi highlights the huge differences between hookah and tobacco - distance of smoke, temperature, constituent chemicals, duration of smoke, and addictive nature or lack of it - and yet tobacco controllers still cannot distinguish between the two.

14:45: Chaouachi is giving delegates a history of hookah and its highly socio-cultural aspects.

Chaouachi: "Harm reduction is one thing, tobacco control is quite another"

14:40: Chaouachi starts by explaining that he was subject to pressure by a prominent tobacco controller not to attend today. He was threatened with his work no longer being treated as unbiased.

14:35: Dr Kamal Chaouachi begins a presentation on Hookah pipes and prohibitions on their use.

14:33: Goerlitz states that he never wanted to be an "anti-smoking zealot" and that he believes people should have choice to make their own decisions in life, rightly or wrongly.

David Goerlitz: "They [ASH] are doing things that are bordering on criminal behaviour"

14:27: After explaining how he went from being the Marlboro Winston Man to joining tobacco control, Goerlitz then asserts that anti-tobacco are corrupt and out of control. He states that their treatment of smokers is unfair and damaging. Prohibition doesn't work, he says. He describes laws against smokers as "fraudulent and corrupt".

David Goerlitz: "Tobacco control in 2010 is more corrupt than ever before"

14:20: David Goerlitz is recovering from a back operation and can't make the venue, but his presentation has been video recorded and is now being played to the delegates.

14:10: The conference reconvenes with an address from a Liberal Dutch parliamentarian (name to be added later as I didn't catch it). He explains the progressive intrusion on freedoms used by legislators. In essence, he argues that total prohibition is always the eventual goal for politicians as advocating moderation tends not to get the message across as they would like. Prohibitionists will use small steps to edge politicians closer to a situation where they are persuaded that prohibition is necessary.

TICAP 2010 - Monday 15th March

12:35: Break for lunch

12:31: Patrick Basham answers this question from the comments by saying that the 'ghettoisation' of lifestyles is perverse use of non-violent government funds. He states that not only would it be unacceptable if used against certain other sections of society, but the protagonists would also be on trial.

Maryetta Ables: "The one unifying factor in the tea party movement is that their government is not listening to them"

12:27 In answer to a question, Maryetta Ables gives a rundown of the US tea party movement.

12:20: Michael Marlow reminds us of the part media has to play. With reference to the poor standard of many studies which are repeated verbatim, he stresses the importance of 'embarrassing' the press into reporting correctly.

12:17: Gawain Towler stresses that Freedom of Information requests are the best way for individuals to put a spotlight on dubious, or manipulated, government activities

12:15: In answer to a question on how to encourage people to fight back, Patrick Basham suggests that things will most likely get worse before the public decide they have had enough.

Questions from the floor.

12:00: With further reference to Climategate (whether one is a climate sceptic or not), Towler concludes by stating that people are beginning to wake up and object to authoritarianism and sloppy science to enforce prohibitions.

11:55: Towler suggests that, as in the row over tamiflu over-supply, a way of fighting prohibition is by members of the public getting "noisy on the internet", and "complaining and making a fuss". He refers to the recent Nick Hogan case as an example of the effectiveness of individual action.

11:50: Towler discusses Dr Wolfgang Wodarg's criticism of the swine flu hysteria and its link to pharmaceutical companies.

11:43: Conference reconvenes with a short address from Gawain Towler, UKIP Press Officer.

Coffee break, after which the speakers will answer questions.

11:20: Ables explores the options open to businesses if they wish to object to prohibition. She finishes by highlighting a few web sites where the public can attempt to give citizen opinions to these large bodies.

11:10: Ables explains the intricate network of worldwide NGOs which communicate with each other and unite using globally sites such as IGC. She also describes the unaccountability of the EU via their EU-wide treaties.

11:05: Ables points out that although legislation is couched as being for, and by, the public, governments have learned how to circumvent "Joe Q Public".

11:00: Ables describes how the UN, the EU and the EU Economic and Social Committee are effectively one and the same, and all promising to abide by all treaties produced by the UN.

10:55: Maryetta Ables begins to speak.

10:52: Basham finishes with an optimistic view. He hopes that in a decade there may be a stronger opposition to public health bullying as coercion begins to be viewed as too severe. He declares metaphorically, "God is not dead, just drunk".

10:47: Basham describes the new bully state policy of denormalisation of alcohol, and public health's war on fun, generally.

Basham: "Abandonment of health autonomy endangers other freedoms also"

10:42: Basham describes the habit of public health advocates of dismissing studies funded by those they mistrust as 'lazy' (not analysing the data behind conclusions). He points to US government-funded studies on alcohol which ignored results showing a benefit to moderate drinking, highlighting bias on both sides of the debate.

Dr Patrick Basham

10:35: Basham states that evidence shows that the deluge of health warnings confuse rather than educate. He says packaging should come with a label stating "Danger: Bureaucrats at work".

Basham: "State coercion is 'in', the nanny state has become the bully state"

10:30: Basham describes the 'Nuffield Report' which called for 'more invasive' measures on public health, and dismissed individual personal responsibility.

10:27: Dr Patrick Basham begins his speech.

10:25: Marlow closes by describing proven unfortunate consequences for public health caused by smoking bans. Such as increases in drink driving, damage to health due to more intense smoking, claims of reduced heart attacks leads to less concern about other causal factors, reduction in provision of air filtration, and production of junk science leading to public scepticism in all areas of public health.

10:15: Marlow: Public health studies on hospitality businesses 'misrepresent evidence' by funding their own studies (leading to inherent bias), dismissing or ignoring contrary evidence and using flawed methodology.

10:05: Marlow points to Deborah Arnott's statement on the jailing of Nick Hogan as proof that bans harm hospitality businesses. The fact that Arnott pointed to bars having to change their way of doing business is economic proof that damage has been inflicted.

09:55: Marlow argues that the idea of smoking bans causing no damage to the hospital industry is not supported by economic studies. He explains Coase Theorem on the reciprocal nature of externalities, and that bar owners will naturally direct resources toward their highest-valued customers and a free market results. He then goes on to point out that although tobacco control demand prohibition, the market was adjusting to the needs of all of its customers anyway.

09:50: Michael Marlow begins his powerpoint presentation

TICAP Top Table

09:40: Wiel Maessen gives the opening address

09:00: Delegates are arriving and enjoying a cup of coffee prior to the conference. Updated schedule:

09:45 - Michael Marlow The economic inpact of smoking bans in hospitality venues
10:10 - Patrick Basham The campaign to call time on alcohol freedom
10:35 - Maryeta Ables Civil society and prohibition
11:00 - Coffee break
11:15 - Gawain Towler
11:30 - Questions
12:30 - Lunch Break
14:15 - David Goerlitz The anti-smoking movement and global corruption
14:40 - Kamal Chouachi Prohibition through the hookah looking glass
15:05 - Michael McFadden Fighting prohibitions: Tools, tactics and strategies
15:30 - Coffee break
15:45 - Questions
17:00 - Closing address