Articles Archive 2004
December 14, 2004 - A Word To The Wise - A sea change occurred in Washington State this election as the dominant party suffered some surprising losses at the polls. A general malaise affected the voters who are uneasy about the economic prospects facing the state. Economic prospects that look increasingly dire, as a think tank releases a study that reveals Washington ranks 48th in economic export growth. Only California and Illinois are lower on the list. The cause? Government interference in personal economic business choiceis defeating the state's ability to run business and produce exports. Norman Kjono explains.
December 10, 2004 - This Just In: 'Sickly' Smokers Import Cigarettes Through Internet! - In responding to a reader's question about a New York State confiscating a duty free shipment of cigarettes Norman Kjono is astonished by the turn the conversation takes. Self-hate is never pretty but Norman offers some sound advice. On a positive note a reader confirms what we have always suspected; the general public isn't buying the wacky anti-tobacco propaganda.
November 24, 2004 - Anti-tobacco. The Kiss Of Death - On the surface it should have been a slam-dunk win for Christine Gregoire. As the attorney general of Washington, Gregoire certainly had the name recognition in the contest for governor. She is a Democrat while her opponent is a Republican in a state that has not elected a Republican as governor for over 20 years. Although attorneys general don't often bring home the bacon for the citizens, Gregoire, so she harped, had brought home a suckling pig in the form of the multi-billion tobacco settlement. Washington is a "blue" state that voted big time for the Democrat presidential contender. Gregoire should have won with a very comfortable margin.
So why is she not governor? Norman Kjono examines the election data and posits a plausible theory for Gregoire's dismal showing on November 2. Further, it appears that anti-tobacco is responsible for a net Democratic loss of three statewide offices, including attorney general.
November 19, 2004 - Introduction to "Sleeping With The Lights On" - On occasion we have referred to the anti-tobacco mentality as a mental disorder. Although it is faith-based its acolytes are compelled to impose it upon their neighbors. Unlike religious mania, however, anti-tobacco adherents dress up their belief with the trappings of science -- pseudo-science actually since on close examination the "science" dissolves into intangible vapors.
We present here a short explanation of what anti-tobacco has accomplished up to now preaching its mantra of contradictions, why such a bizarre ethos will fail and a glimpse into the minds of the unhappy people who have devoted their lives to a false god.
November 19, 2004 - Good News From Washington! - Another anti-tobacco attorney general appears headed for political oblivion. Back in those heady days in 1998 when big tobacco lay prone at the feet of the triumphant state attorneys general the future appeared bright indeed for those who had extracted billions of dollars from smokers.
That was then. Christine Gregoire, who trampled bystanders in her rush to hog the cameras, based her run for governor of Washington on her involvement in the settlement. The voters have spoken and they haven't been appreciative.
November 15, 2004 - Enjoy Nothing - We've become a nation of pill poppers. Not since those crazy days of the 1960's when housewives were popping uppers in the morning to lose weight then washing down valiums during the cocktail hour to calm down has the country been so enamored with over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Norman Kjono comments briefly about one more piece of the pharmacopeia regimen that will be hawked relentlessly on the nation's airwaves.
October 3, 2004 - Give Us A Break, Christine! - Christine Gregoire, the attorney general of Washington State, loudly trumpets her anti-tobacco bona fides. She thrust herself into every photo op connected with the tobacco settlement even though she was hardly a guiding light of that shakedown. She has bent over backwards to cater to local zealot who wants to prohibit smoking. In her homilies about public health she excoriates the tobacco industry for spreading death and destruction.
Gregoire is currently embroiled in the governor's race and is dashing around the country scooping up campaign contributions. She doesn't appear to be too fastidious as to where the money comes from and in a stunning development is even taking money from the evil cigarette manufacturers. What gives? Norman Kjono explains
September 21, 2004 - FORCES Reader Goes One Better! - As the war on obesity heats up and allegations of "addiction" are cast upon sugar and other foods, how long will it take for the pharmaceutical industry to develop food substitutes? Instead of eating what the anointed deplore, the addicts can march down to their local drug store and pick up wildly expensive eating cessation devices. Such products are hard to visualize but one reader, driven to distraction by the barrage of orders issuing from our betters, takes on the evil dairy industry. In so doing he caught the eye of Norman Kjono who segues from that into the craziness that seems to be afflicting the anti-smoking goons amongst us. Great talking points for all sorts of silliness are provided.
September 20, 2004 - "Farmer John", A Short Story - An important subtext of the "Anti" philosophy is often obscured by the more flamboyant results of the various behavior modification programs infecting modern society. Politicized science, economic losses, monetary transfer schemes and law suits most often gain the headlines scanting the intangible harm agendas inflict upon the social fabric of familial relationships, neighborliness and trust. In the war on smoking there are clearly "winners" and "losers." The winners are given license to scorn the smokers who, obviously through their own character defects, refuse to conform to the vision of the anointed. Where once there was a give-and-take equality among friends and neighbors who, without any government edicts, always managed to reach an equilibrium acceptable to all, there now reigns a mean-spirited class system where those who violate the artificially established "norms" are relegated to a second-class status. That everyone will eventually violate the constantly stringent "norms" will not result in a new commonality but will convert society into a huge chicken coop where those who are currently in favor will merrily peck away at those who have displeased the orthodox. Norman Kjono makes it simple to understand.
September 14, 2004 - Washington Candidates' For Governor Positions On Smoking Bans - The upcoming election provides an opportunity for all voters to query the candidates on their stand on the issues. In many localities smoking bans are in the forefront of concerns since they deal with property rights and tax receipts. Events have made Washington State a center of anti-tobacco activity and Norman Kjono examines the candidates.
September 10, 2004 - Dare We AGREE With The Seattle Times? - In a rare convergence of opinion we find ourselves agreeing with the doctrinaire Seattle Times which wrote some very nice things about Justice Richard B. Sanders of the Washington state Supreme Court. We know we part company with the anti-tobacco newspaper on one of Justice Sanders' most important dissents. Norman Kjono explains.
September 7, 2004 - In These Trying Times - Anti-tobacco has made Washington state a petri dish of special interest politicking that, instead of oozing out the usual smoking bans, threatens to turn into a bouquet of roses. What seemed a slam-dunk bid to establish prohibition turned into a great opportunity to reveal how deeply involved out-of-state corporate wish to be in issues best left to the residents of the state.
Norman Kjono discusses three issues that are of extreme importance to the tobacco control industry. This article contains an link to an OSHA document of August, 2001 that explains why the federal agency withdrew its proposed nationwide, euphemistically called an indoor air quality regulation. It also contains a document of Washington Supreme Court Justice Sanders' dissenting opinion when the state Supreme Court upheld the 1994 office building smoking ban.
August 9, 2004 - Toe-Licking Fetishes - It soon will be necessary to rent a Mac truck to pick up the list of laws governments everywhere are cranking out. If the national debt could be reduced by the amount of legislation our busy representatives generate, every country on earth would be in the black, rather than the usual bright red.
One man licked the toes of a sunbather in torpid Rotterdam and two lawmakers were on the scene immediately. By their vigilance an epidemic of toe sucking has been prevented and for that they deserve the accolades from Public Health bureaucracies across the globe.
August 9, 2004 - Dear. Ms. Jeffers: - She calls herself a dying breed, an independent restaurant and bar owner. After a smoking ban was railroaded through Minneapolis her self-description is not as far fetched as it appears. For the crime of opposing this ban and for knowing a bit about how these bans are promoted and the bilge upon which they are based, this productive citizen was insulted and even threatened for presenting her views at public hearings. And that bad treatment came from the elected officials!
We present her report.
July 28, 2004 - Inevitable? Think Again - “I noticed at the weekend Action on Smoking and Health describe a government ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants as 'inevitable'. It certainly might happen. But people also said a ban in Washington was inevitable, and these people helped defeat it - for now. The power of individuals to beat the 'inevitable' should not be underestimated.”
The good citizens of Washington, DC let their representatives know that prohibition was not acceptable in the nation's capitol. The politicians listened to the people and a California style smoking ban was thrown into the trashcan. Norman Kjono congratulates the real people in the District of Columbia who defeated a well-oiled machine of pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and points out that the same occurred when a smoking ban in Washington state died because citizens recognized the hazards of prohibition imposed by out-of-state front groups pimping for Big Pharma.
July 29, 2004 - Reasonable Minds DO Differ V: Signs Of The Times, The Good, The Bad , And The Ugly - To enthusiastic hosannas from the press, a sports bar in Glasgow has proudly followed every suggestion that the health activists have promoted. Not only does it prohibit smoking and serve only the healthiest of treats, but in a trend-setting coup it has decided a politically correct sports bar is no place for booze. Norman Kjono finds this development delightful and eagerly anticipates the rousing success this bar will have now that the hordes of health-conscious, nonsmokers flock to the welcoming venue. Anti-tobacco promises riches for pub proprietors once the smoke is cleared. If they aren't fibbing then an avalanche of pristine pubs will roll through the United Kingdom rending the need for a government-imposed smoking ban unecessary.
July 19, 2004 - States and Web Sites On The Take - A mysterious and, as of yet, untraceable "grass-roots effort" has popped up on the internet. It calls itself StatesOnTheTake.com and its eye catcher is a "dirty Big secret" that has been kept from the public. Perhaps this big dirty secret, in reality an old memo from The National Association of Attorneys’ General, is news to StatesOnTheTake but certainly not to FORCES. We have presented and discussed thoroughly each of the charges appearing in StatesOnTheTake website over the past several years. What this website reveals is not a secret but what apparently is a secret is who the heck is SatesOnTheTake? The "Who We Are" section doesn't answer that question and, since the issues raised are, as StatesOnTheTake says, very important it would be nice to know who and what is behind this web site.
As to the issue of states on the take, Kjono takes us on a brief tour of three National Association of Attorneys’ General committees and presents pointed questions for NAAG members to answer. We also give access to the incriminating NAAG memo that StatesOnTheTake offers the readers only after they complete a registration process.
July 15, 2004 - Scientific Outhouse Flatulence - An explosive accident in West Virginia has the tobacco-phobes in a dither. A brand new health hazard has been identified and anti-tobacco can't quite figure out how to exploit it without compromising their tasteful decorum. Norman Kjono shows them how to indulge their innate voyeurism and toilet fixation while keeping the high tone they always maintain while slapping their neighbors around.
July 13, 2004 - Well Said! - One of the most pernicious aspects of anti-tobacco's campaign to denigrate smokers has been the corrupting influence it often has upon elected and appointed officials. When one county in Washington violated state law by passing a smoking ban, the attorney general's office indicated that it would not provide any opinion as to whether the smoking ban law as defensible or not. Even for an attorney general as entwined with anti-tobacco as is Christine Gregoire, such a lapse in jurisprudence was startling. Norman Kjono comments on high-placed friends of special interests out to make a buck at the expense of law and order.
July 12, 2004 - Trollin' In Tacoma - The mainstream media, upset that an initiative to ban smoking in Washington state failed to garner requisite number of signatures to place in on the ballot, presented the story of a heroic anti-smoking signature-gatherer. Although the press would more usefully fulfill its function by writing about the out-of-state special interests that want to impose prohibition upon Washington state, Norman Kjono congratulations the anti-smoker drone as only he can.
July 9, 2004 - They’re Hollerin’ In Britain, Ireland, New York, Florida, And Kentucky, Too! - A whole lot of law breaking is going on these days. The laws being broken, however, are trivial in the extreme and have no business being in the law books. Citizens who take the law seriously have been scrupulously observing the smoking laws as the severity has progressed from innocuous to draconian. It some point they find they cannot uphold the punitive law without losing their lives. That point has been reached from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic coast of Europe. Norman Kjono explains what all the defiance means and postulates where it will end. Additionally he highlights the tricks anti-tobacco charlatans use to justify the smoking bans and to minimize the negative impacts prohibition brings to small business people. There comes a time when the piling on of injustice produces a counter shift that begins the long process of returning society to a healthy equilibrium. We may be seeing the signs of that right now.
July 7, 2004 - Dear Monica: Nonsmokers' Choice In Tacoma - With the illegal smoking ban in Pierce County, Washington overturned and the death of the initiative to ban smoking throughout the state, the disgruntled anti-smokers are in a funk. Distraught, one took pen to paper to express her agony in a tearful threnody. Incredibly she feels that her choices have now been nullified since during the illegal smoking ban she could choose to go anywhere and not be bothered by those filthy, ill-bred smokers. Norman Kjono sets dainty Monica straight and explains just what this issue is all about.
July 4, 2004 - Reasonable Minds DO Differ IV: I-890, Resistance Is NOT Futile - We reported that the initiative to ban smoking in Washington State will not be on the ballot this November. The ostensible reason is that the required number of signatures to qualify were not collected. Considering that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the pharmaceutical front group lavishing hundreds of thousands of dollars in one Washington county alone, could buy signatures with a handful of spare change, the lack of signatures is a bit of stretch. What derailed the tobacco control industry was its inability to react to the changing rules in the smoking ban controversy. Norman Kjono, who, according to many, is the man who changed the rules, explains what is happening in Washington state that transformed that state from one that embraced anti-tobacco legislation into an island of reason that is casting a very cold eye on the antics of mercantile special interests rampaging through communities pushing agendas that are inimical to our way of life. The steps that were taken to halt anti-tobacco progress in Washington can be applied to every community and state in this country.
June 21, 2004 - A Class Act - The Centers for Disease Control cluttered the print media and airwaves this week crowing about lowering the youth smoking rate to the "lowest level in at least a generation." So low that we've almost reduced youth smoking to the level it was at before anti-tobacco education hit the public school systems. So low, in fact, that it is hard to believe. Since believing impossible things is a great way to start the day, no science reporter has bothered to look closely at what the CDC is reporting. Norman Kjono did and observed some puzzling evidence. For starters the CDC is touting the higher cigarette taxes as the cause of the declining rate. Curiously that rate was declining in the late 1970's and early 1980's at about the same rate at a time that the tobacco industry was cutting the price of cigarettes. There is more and also one glaring omission. What happened to all those teenagers who were counted in the high rates of underage consumption a few years ago? The CDC doesn't say but it is likely that they moved on to become part of the higher percentage of adult smokers the CDC obliquely alludes to as it pats anti-tobacco on the back for swelling the ranks of smokers.
June 16, 2004 - Reasonable Minds DO Differ III - The health boards in Washington state are like drug addicts who cannot stop themselves from self-destructing. Rebuffed by the courts, slapped down by the legislature and held in growing contempt by the public, the frenzied anti-tobacco activists on the health boards flash them all the middle finger and rush forward to break the law again.
The Pierce county fanatics begat the King county fanatics who in turn inspire more rogue health boards to ignore the law and pass illegal smoking bans. Although their actions in the end are irrelevant once the courts overturn the latest smoking ban, the rampaging health boards are exposing a litigation gold mine as angry property owners, after enduring lost sales during the span of the illegal bans, seek to recover costs from the government that allowed the fanatics to throw mud in their playpens. Lawyers are smelling blood while financially strapped counties nervously contemplate class actions that could wipe them out. Norman Kjono chronicles the outrageous events occurring in a state that prides itself on its urbane civility.
June 14, 2004 - Dialogue - When the Washington State legislature refused to pass a law forbidding smoking in restaurants, bars and casinos, the pharmaceutical-funded anti-smoking organizations targeted Pierce county for a selective bit of anarchy. Working on a few members the anti-tobacco industry induced the health board to pass an illegal smoking ban. The ban was promptly overturned. At the same time, with seed money from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a foundation created with pharmaceutical money, an initiative was written to take the issue to the voters. Although vetted by the state's office of the attorney general, the initiative omitted the important fact that the so-called total smoking ban actually exempts Indian-run restaurants, bars and casinos. A judge then had to add that information into the voter information description.
With these set backs, anti-tobacco is unraveling in Washington but still has enough clout to pull the strings of various bureaucrats in health boards throughout the state. In King County (Seattle), one such puppet is vowing to ram through a smoking ban no matter what. A recent story in the King County Journal gave rise to a dialogue between an entertainment industry coalition member and the county health board member most responsible for the illegal Pierce county smoking ban.
Norman Kjono weighs in commenting on the state-wide smoking ban initiative, the aborted Pierce county ban, the curious epidemic of civil servants ignoring their oaths of office. Along the way it's worth noting that the days when smoking bans were imposed by fiats are over. When the public is paying attention to the issue anti-tobacco doesn't find it so easy to put one over on the public.
June 11, 2004 - Reasonable Minds DO Differ II - Money makes the world go around, even in the sacred realm of public health as events in Washington state demonstrate. The steps anti-tobacco took to enact an illegal smoking ban in Pierce county, aided by the cooperation of high public officials, were based upon mercantile considerations, as is the case with every smoking ban proposed and enacted anywhere in the country.
Norman Kjono traces the saga of the Pierce county ban, overturned by a court, reinstated by one judge then finally halted by a higher court pending resolution of the case. He describes the political grease applied to the prohibitionist machine and the predictable results ensuing when private property is usurped to satisfy the agenda of an out-of-state pharmaceutical front group. He notes the interest of legal firms smelling damages due to the financial losses suffered by restaurants, bars and casinos during the period the illegal ban was in force. Through it all it is quite clear that financial motives spawned the ban, financial motives halted the ban and financial motives may well turn Pierce county into anti-tobacco's Waterloo.
June 10, 2004 - Reasonable Minds DO Differ I - No one can deny that anti-tobacco industry runs a well-oiled political operation. Its string of successes in intimidating harassed politicians into ramming prohibition down the throat of the public is awesome. In Washington state, however, the string of luck appears to be running out. For the first time the mainstream press is digging beneath the deceptive press releases issued by anti-tobacco pressure groups extolling the purported health and economic benefits of smoking bans and is giving the citizens the information they need to make informed decisions.
When an anti-tobacco pressure group concocted a smoking ban initiative to present to the voters, reporters noted that anti-tobacco's claim that all workers would be protected from the evils of secondhand smoke was patently false. The press further reported that the supposed grassroots organization sponsoring the smoking ban initiative was funded with money dispensed by a pharmaceutical front group. Although most of the big city newspapers, as usual, have taken an editorial position favoring prohibition, they have given equal time to those who believe business owners and their customers are perfectly competent to establish smoking policies without government interference.
The latest development comes from Snohomish County where the board of health has endorsed the statewide initiative to ban smoking from all businesses except those run by tribal entities. The board's rationale is the usual mishmash of scientific frauds and economic fallacies chanted as a matter of faith. The press duly published the board's view and then published a rebuttal from the hospitality industry which demolished the board's support of the initiative.
Norman Kjon analyzes both and expands the discussion to include whether the Snohomish board of health has breached a state regulation the seems to prevent public agencies from politicking "for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition." As he notes, the courts may have to decide this issue and, as anti-tobacco is finding out in Washington state, the free ride may be ending.
May 17, 2004 - Expressed Pessimism, Emerging Hope - In Tacoma spirits are down ever since the renegade health department there enacted an illegal smoking ban. Bar and restaurant receipts are down, except in the Indian-run casinos that are not subject to the ban, and the residents wonder just what kind of community they inhabit where an elite sets policy based upon its intolerant value system. Their hopeless attitude may soon be reverse if the smoking ban goes the way of a decree to fluoridate water. What does a smoking ban have to do with fluoride? On the surface, nothing but in the crazy world of today's activist-dictated legislative onslaught upon the people, everything.
The same people who imposed the smoking ban on an unappreciative populace have had their hands severely slapped by a court who determined that they overstepped their roles by mandating that the water supply be fluoridated. The health board used the same techniques to bulldoze both regulations through and it appears that overstepping their authority is now coming to a welcome close.
May 14, 2004 - Tide Flats Testimony - This article is the second of two articles about the Washington state voter initiative to ban smoking everywhere except in Indian-run casinos, restaurants and bars. The first, published May 5, addressed the people and organizations behind the ban initiative. Today's article focuses on the testimony of tobacco control advocates in support of prohibition. We pay especial attention to the testimony of James Repace.
May 4, 2004 - The Scales Begin To Balance - Few people can argue that the treatment afforded the American Indians under the hands of the English, French, Spanish and Portuguese conquerors was anything less than deplorable. Decimated by exotic European diseases, thrown off their own land, enslaved and exploited, the original inhabitants of the New World watched helplessly as their civilizations were obliterated while they were relegated to second class status. Life has gotten better in the past century but their lot may get even better thanks to, of all things, the tobacco control industry.
In Washington, home of the nation's third highest cigarette tax, an enterprising tribe is manufacturing a cigarette factory that will crank out smokes that cost around $15 per carton. Such a price is less than half what many people are paying thanks to the confiscatory tobacco tax rates many states charge. Better still, the Indian brand is outside of the tobacco statement that the major cigarette manufacturers have used to jack up prices still higher. The anti-tobacco cabal entrenched in Washington state sometimes appears to be working directly for the Indian tribes. In addition to pricing other brands out of existence, the anti-smokers are working overtime to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and casinos that are not owned by tribal interests. If smoking is banned, the restaurants, bars and casinos run by the Indians will become the most popular places in the state. Norman Kjono pens a valentine on behalf of the Indians to the anti-smoking maniacs who enact laws to give the Native Americans a huge financial advantage.
April 30, 2004 - The Times Couldn't Have Said It Better - It's not a coincidence that anti-tobacco education and zero tolerance policies infected our public schools during the past decade. Each of these pathologies are merely prongs to compel obedience and to transfer personal control from individuals to a self-designated governing class whose ultimate goal is to turn self-confident, responsible individuals into helpless infants who yearn for the smothering but oh so comforting hands of an omnipotent super-being who makes all decisions. Norman Kjono takes a look at one outrage in Washington state and extrapolates its meaning onto the culture that, unfortunately, day by day becomes bleaker. His conclusions, however, are anything but bleak and the signs point to a pendulum that has swung about as far out of kilter as it can. Balance is going to return.
April 22, 2004 - Influence or Leadership - The past several months have not been kind to Christine Gregoire, affectionately known as Christine "Queen of Nicotine". Like many of the attorneys general who counted on using their participation in crafting the Tobacco Settlement as a springboard to higher office, Gregoire relentlessly hypes her anti-tobacco credentials, often to the detriment of her other duties. Now, as she is embroiled in a political campaign to become Washington State's next governor, she find herself embroiled in controversies that no politician enjoys. Her office recently cooperated with an anti-tobacco organization in writing a statewide ballot measure only to find the deceptive language overturned by a judge. Gregoire, on her own initiative, wrote a letter supporting the illegal smoking ban in Pierce County. And these are just the tobacco-related controversies flurrying about the besieged attorney general. Read Norman Kjono's analysis and break out a hankie. It couldn't be happening to a more deserving politician.
April 21, 2004 - Heads In The Sand - Breathe Easy Washington is the anti-tobacco front group set up by the American Lung Association to bypass the state legislature by writing, promoting and passing a voter initiative to ban smoking statewide. The techniques it uses to confuse the voters have been utilized in other locations successfully. This time around, however, the anti-tobacco operatives find themselves on the receiving end of intense public scrutiny. The Washington media has been outstanding in reporting the links between the smoking ban initiative and the out-of-state Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a pharmaceutical-funded organization that pours hundreds of millions of dollars into anti-smoking "activism." The news media is preventing Breathe Easy from spinning the smoking ban into something it isn't.
What the smoking ban isn't, despite Breathe Easy's propaganda, is a measure to "protect all workers in Washington state." The only businesses that will be forced to forbid smoking on their property are those enterprises that are owned by the average Washington resident and taxpayer. Enterprises owned by tribal entities will be exempt from the smoking ban. Care to guess what bars and restaurants in Tacoma, and elsewhere, will experience a huge jump in popularity should the voters approve Breathe Easy's smoking ban? Breathe Easy wanted to keep this huge competitive advantage quiet. The media didn't cooperate although the state Attorney General's office did capitulate to Breathe Easy's campaign of deception.
The man most responsible for placing anti-tobacco under a magnifying glass is a Seattle resident and long-time critic of the tobacco control industry. Norman Kjono is not letting the operatives get away with anything and they are mighty perturbed. He has painstakingly assembled the facts relating to the phony smoking ban initiative, educated the media and informed anti-tobacco that every move it makes will be examined and documented.
Breathe Easy is beside itself and recently demanded that Mr. Kjono cease communicating with it. Not so fast, says Kjono. Breathe Easy is attempting to purchase legislation that will negatively affect not only every Washington smoker but also the enterprises, excepting tribal businesses, that cater to the public. Breathe Easy damn well will accept correspondence from a concerned voter. Once it usurped the role of the elected officials it opened itself up to the same scrutiny afforded those who write laws after being chosen by the people. It's tough being in the limelight but that's what democracy is all about.
April 19, 2004 - One 'Small Win' For Opponents of I-890, One Giant Leap For Truth - When anti-tobacco was rebuffed by the Washington State legislature which refused to pass a statewide smoking ban it dug deep into its pockets and financed an end run around the people's elected representatives. Setting up a front group to write an voter initiative to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, anti-tobacco counted on its tried and true pattern to unfold predictably. The first step was to write the initiative and then write then distill the legalese into everyday English voters can understand. As always, anti-tobacco was very selective in the wording that it submitted to the Washington State attorney general office. For instance anti-tobacco neglected to include the rather important fact that its initiative, touted as as protecting all workers from secondhand smoke actually exempted every hospitality venue owned by the significant Native American tribal interests. Restaurants, bars and casinos operated by Washington residents will be forced to throw smokers into the streets while restaurants, bars and casinos operated by tribal interests will be free to welcome those smokers into their smoke-friendly establishments. The total smoking ban will not be as total as advertised.
Despite acknowledging the discrepancy between "total" and "partial", the state attorney general's office went along with anti-tobacco campaign of deception, leaving off all references to tribal property being exempt from the smoking ban. Norman Kjono had been asked by the attorney general's office to contribute to the collaborative process of writing up a ballot deion for the smoking ban. As the train of messages between him and the attorney general's office makes clear, keeping the initiative's authors honest was a losing proposition. Last Friday the FORCES position was vindicated when a judge ruled that the wording must include the important information that this so-called smoking ban specifically exempts tribal businesses. It's great being right but its even better that Washington voters, for a change, will have all the facts on this special interest power grab.
April 19, 2004 - Contradiction? - The papers last week were all agog when the received an anti-tobacco press release shrieking that lung cancer in woman has increased by 600% during the last 50 years. Most papers used this "story" as an excuse to sermonize in favor of increased funding for anti-smoking educational campaigns. As always the guardians of the truth refused to look beyond the special interest press release and put two and two together. First of all, smoking rates are far less than they were 50 years ago and that includes women. Second of all, blaming everything on tobacco has become the easiest way to pretend that something is being done when in reality attacking smoking has been turned into a smoke screen to obscure that its a dangerous world out there with many nasty things that result in ill health. Finally if newspapers and the health industry really wanted to reduce smoking rates they would demand that all anti-smoking educational campaigns be halted. After all, the smoking rate rose dramatically at the precise moment anti-tobacco campaigns were inflicted upon the public.
April 17, 2004 - Liberty Speaks In Tacoma! - April 15, 2004 was an exciting day in Tacoma! A standing-room-only crowd gathered on the waterfront deck of Luciano's Casino at 3327 Ruston Way to support the Entertainment Industry Coalition's Initiative 891. EIC's Executive Director Linda Matson provided thorough background information for television and newspaper reporters. In contrast with Breathe Easy Washington's I-890 chokehold on nontribal hospitality small businesses, the coalition's I-891 will preserve freedom of choice in all adult venues and prohibit local government such as the Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health from preempting state law.
A great start for the struggle to maintain freedom in Washington! Contrast this event with the tobacco control industry's overly ed press conference touting its statewide smoking ban. On the side of freedom are business people who labor long hard hours to eke out a living and on the other side a collection of bureaucratic hacks and highly paid anti-tobacco operatives. Guess which group the voters will find more appealing? Rather than leave that to chance, Norman Kjono continues his intense coverage of the tobacco frenzy that has gripped Washington State. His report on the launch of EIC's campaign to bring the truth to the voters is a must read and must print. The one page PDF describes the issue in a nutshell and provides the information to keep Washington free. Give it to friends, family members, acquaintances and everyone you meet. Get the word out and kneecap anti-tobacco.
April 13, 2004 - They're Hollerin' In Ruston - Anti-tobacco has ushered in an era of anarchy in Washington state. Rebuffed by the people's representatives, anti-tobacco has tried to pull an endrun past the legislature. First it egged on an activist health board in Pierce county to impose an illegal smoking ban. Overturned by a judge, anti-tobacco shopped the appeal to a sympathetic judge who reinstated the ban but didn't overrule the first decision to repeal the ban. Now the Pierce county health board is demanding that all cities in the county adher to an overturned smoking ban.
One city has decided to obey the state law which permits smoking in restaurants and bars and his now being threatened by the renegade health board. Norman Kjono makes sense of a confusing situation and praises law-abiding Ruston for bucking the lawless tide by following the law.
April 9, 2004 - I-890: Legal Conflicts For Tobacco Revenue Bond Holders - Recent events regarding the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health’s smoking ban in Pierce County and Initiative I-890 raise troubling questions about possible conflicts-of-interest regarding Washington’s attorney general and counsel for I-890. Those questions should be considered by counsel for investors who participated in Washington’s October 2002 $517 million tobacco settlement revenue bond offering. Including California’s recent offering, there are about $22 billion in tobacco settlement revenue bonds outstanding nationwide. Considering that Washington’s current I-890 statewide smoking ban is part of a larger and well-organized nationwide effort what is discussed in this commentary may also apply to states other than Washington.
April 7, 2004 - Breathless In Tacoma - Anti-smoking advocates fire back that business interests fighting the ban are secretly doing the tobacco industry's bidding.
"That's a crock," said Linda Matson, executive director of the Entertainment Industry Coalition. The Olympia-based lobbying group has fought the Pierce County ban and efforts to expand it, claiming that such policies will bankrupt many of the nontribal minicasinos and other entertainment businesses the group represents.
Though the group last year took $2,500 from Philip Morris USA's parent company, Matson said tobacco companies have rebuffed her requests to help fund her group's current efforts. On the other side, Washington BREATHE, a coalition of health groups that started airing the Koop ads in January, received $988,000 from the New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2002.
It's not often that one can read copy such as this in the mainstream press. As anti-tobacco continues its drive to ram prohibition down the throats of Washington state residents, the press is picking up interesting discrepancies between what the tobacco control industry preachers and what it practices. Rather than getting away with demonizing the opposition as tools of Big Tobacco, the people pushing the statewide smoking ban are revealed to be massively financed by out-of-state drug money. Norman Kjono explains why the Washington press is not giving anti-tobacco a free ride. We certainly appreciate the reports from Ken Vogel of the Tacoma News Tribune.
April 5, 2004 - April Fools Day: Choked Up In Washington - Washington state voters may be presented with an item in November that asks them whether smoking should be banned in all work places in the state. It was written, as always, by anti-tobacco special interests which, after be rebuffed by the legislature, are taking the law into their own hands. Although the initiative did receive the blessing from the state's office of the attorney general, a very important fact will be kept from the voters. Although it will be touted as a measure to ensure that all employees work in a smoke-free environment, a huge exception will be unmentioned in the initiative. Norman Kjono explains what that exception is and what its omission means to our democratic process.
March 25, 2004 - Tap Dancing At The Newspaper - Yesterday we reported that a Washington state newspaper corrected two mistakes in a editorial written in support of an initiative that would outlaw smoking in Washington's bars and restaurants. The editorialist had said that the initiative would "protect" all workers from secondhand smoke and that Philip Morris was a sponsor of a competing, less draconian smoking ban initiative. Since the burgeoning number of tribal casinos would be exempt from having to forbid smoking and Philip Morris had nothing to do with the competing initiative, it was a no-brainer for the newspaper to gracefully correct itself. The newspaper, after all, had been given bad information by the anti-tobacco special interest organization that is advocating the nearly total smoking ban. Deception from anti-tobacco is epidemic and now the newspaper realizes that it must pour through the anti-smoking press releases with a fine toothed comb and extract all the lies.
One would think then, that pointing out the same mistake to another newspaper would have the same results. Not quite. Although the editor does not dispute that his editorial contained two inaccurate facts, the paper sees not need to inform its readers that what they read about the smoking ban was incorrect. It's puzzling that an organization that depends upon a reputation of fair and accurate reporting for its survival is so cavalier about absolute untruths in its editorials.
March 24, 2004 - Paper Corrects Its Error - A March 18 editorial should have mentioned that proposed anti-smoking initiatives would not apply to businesses operated on tribal lands. Also, Phillip Morris is not a sponsor of one of the initiatives being advanced by a group representing mainly nontribal gambling businesses.
The remaining text, unfortunately but unsurprisingly, runs through the usual threadbare justifications to prohibit property owners from setting their own smoking policies. Most newspapers in the country are knee-jerk smoking ban proponents and have big problems allowing people to make their own decisions.
The King County Journal, however, is to be commended for correcting two inaccuracies in an editorial last week. Relying on information sent out by the American Lung Association front group that wrote an initiative to ban smoking in Washington state, the paper said that passing it would "protect" all employees from secondhand smoke and that a competing, although less severe initiative, was sponsored by Philip Morris. The real story is that smoking would continue to be permitted in tribal establishments should the ALA initiative be passed and Philip Morris has nothing to do with the competing initiative. The ALA just can't tell the truth and has snookered many papers into making the same error made by the King County Journal.
This editorial correction was made possible by a persistent and polite presentation of the facts. It may be considered trivial that one newspaper did correct one could be considered two irrelevant errors but Rome wasn't built in a day. One paper at least has had its eyes opened to the duplicity of anti-tobacco. The editors will remember to check all the assumptions made by people who have been given a pass for many years. Pointing out anti-tobacco's lies is always worthwhile.
March 19, 2004 - Like The Pop-Up That Never Goes Away, Smoking Ban Won’t Quit - A series four commentaries that will be published by Forces.org that focuses on the intense battle in the State of Washington launched by tobacco control advocates. As events unfold its becomes clear that we are experiencing the leading edge of a well-organized and richly funded effort by out-of-state special-interests to virtually mandate state law to suit the purposes of a private mercantile strategy. Washington’s experience therefore becomes a national story because it is the first opportunity to carefully examine a nationwide phenomenon that effects 50 million consumers, hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and the law in all 50 states.
The first commentary puts smoking ban issues context of current events in Washington, outlines several contradictions inherent in the tobacco control agenda to mandate lawful personal behavior associated with a legal product, and provides an understandable reason why such events are occurring at the present time. The second article in this series discusses tobacco control in terms of historical facts and regulatory agendas, including conclusions by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Congress, our federal courts, and Washington legal issues. The third publication will address who many of the people behind the smoking ban agenda are, what their background and activities show to be their purposes, and how they go about implementing their programs. Finally, the series addresses several measures that can and should be taken to challenge the tobacco control enterprise in the fourth work in the series.
March 18, 2004 - The Gangs That Can't Get Their Facts Straight - The legislative session in Washington is over, anti-tobacco activists failed to persuade legislators to impose a statewide smoking ban, and the die is now cast for aggressive media promotion of tobacco control’s agenda, until at least election day November 2004. Fresh out of a legislative session where they were summarily rebuffed by legislators, tobacco control operatives now seek to do an end run around legislative intent with a generously-funded and well-oiled initiative for a statewide smoking ban. In now-predictable style, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has come out smokin’ less than a week after the legislature adjourned. Today’s edition of The PI includes two pieces of work that should stun even the most jaded among us as preeminent examples of sheer chutzpah, delinquent thinking, and colossal gall. That such efforts are aided and abetted by the reported point-man for Washington Breathe, Tacoma City Council member Kevin Phelps, and therefore the front man for pharmaceutical nicotine, merely adds sour icing to an already-deflated anti-tobacco cake. The Tacoma News Tribune chimed in with its own promotional editorial, which is noteworthy for its misleading characterization of what the Breathe Easy Washington statewide smoking ban actually accomplishes.
It's become painfully clear that the Washington state smoking bans are based on information that is false and known to be false. The anti-tobacco industry takes deception to new heights yet is outdone in sheer cynicism by the old, worn-out publications that rake in the pharmaceutical advertising dollars without even pretending to cover the smoking ban issue competently. The bias is glaring.
March 17, 2004 - Common Sense Not As Uncommon As We Fear - Monday we posted a dialogue between Norman Kjono and a Washington state representative. The issue was the representative's blind acceptance of the preposterous notion that secondhand smoke is deadly to nonsmokers. Armed with facts countering that nonsense, Mr. Kjono attempted to lead the representative down the path of deductive reasoning. It's too early to tell whether he made a dent in the representative's fact-denying armor. Today we present a far more optimistic assessment of legislative acuity.
March 15, 2004 - Belief Without Proof Is Worthless - What to do when there is no public call for smoking bans? That's easy. Give a couple of million dollars to an anti-tobacco "charity" such as the American Lung Association to construct an appearance of grass-roots advocacy. The ALA graciously supplies an Internet conduit so that ban-happy Washington state citizens can contact friendly legislators. Norman Kjono made use of this feature to urge one representative to put his constituents' interests ahead of the financial concerns of the pharmaceutical industry.
When the canned response didn't address his concerns, Mr. Kjono kept at it until the representative expressed his belief that secondhand smoke is toxic to life. Legislation should have stronger foundations than sound-bite beliefs and, as Mr. Kjono points out, the representatives beliefs are not supported by Federal court rulings, scientific studies, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, environmental smoke exposure testing by federal agencies or by the Washington State regulatory hearings.
March 3, 2004 - For The Children? - One county in Washington state passed a new "zero tolerance" law that criminalizes minors who smoke. Until now the tobacco control industry has been shy in utilizing the heavy hand of the law on young people who are, according to the anti-smoking operatives, victims of the tobacco industry. Times change and with the changing times the ugly face of anti-tobacco becomes more clear.
Norman Kjono discusses the latest ramping up of the assault upon the American family by special interests who have no interest in the welfare of children but who do have a vested interest in undermining parental control.
March 2, 2004 - Sadly The Poor Will Be With Us Forever. Just Don't Take Any Of "Our" Cash! - Three years ago the caring compassionate voters of Washington state approved a measure that hiked the cigarette tax substantially. The voters were told that the money would be used to provide health care for the poor. The warm, fuzzy feelings that accrue to people when they spend other people's money on worthy causes may still be there but the health care is rapidly disappearing down the government sink hole.
The worthy poor are now being asked to cough up some of their own scarce cash to make up the deficits the legislature and the government caused when they diverted a chunk of the cigarette tax health care funds into the general fund to prop up the state's finances. There is one group of cigarette tax fund recipients, however, whose funding will not be touched. Norman Kjono explains how in these morally confused times the specially connected rich folk get to keep their "share" of the loot while those, in whose name the tax was supposedly passed, can go eat dirt.
February 18, 2004 - Profiles in Elitist Cowardice - The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tuesday February 17, 2004: “If you're easy to anger, you might have a brain especially susceptible to nicotine. Scientists using powerful scanners have documented nicotine triggering dramatic bursts of activity in certain brain areas - but only in people prone to anger and aggression, not more cheerful, relaxed types. Researchers made the discovery when studying people wearing nicotine patches. Intriguingly, the nicotine jazzed up the brains of not just smokers who are aggressive, but of nonsmokers, too - and at very low doses. It's the first biological evidence that people with certain personality traits are more likely to get hooked on smoking if they ever experiment with cigarettes. And it may help explain why it's so much easier for some people to kick the addiction than others, says psychiatrist Steven Potkin of the University of California, Irvine, who led the study. It's almost, he says, as if some people are born to smoke.”
As I read The PI’s crude attempt to once again negatively label persons who smoke -- now as people prone to anger and aggression – it occurred to me that the entire article is a stunning example of twisted thinking that apparently dominates tobacco control and its mainstream media support. The study reported obviously describes discernable side effects of “Smoke Free” nicotine patches, yet the negative behaviors observed are attributed to people who smoke cigarettes. The study should have been reported as documented evidence of normal people’s adverse reactions to substituting fake products for the real thing. (continues inside)
February 10, 2004 - Smoking Bans: The Ultimate Special-Interest Insider's Game - We are now a decade into the process of the same activists using the same junk science excuses and the same negative labels to promote the same ban policies that benefit the same special-interests who still pay considerable sums of money to the same activists. If that seems a bit circular it is, as is tobacco control policy. The foregoing merely illustrates the point that once people embrace the concept that negatively labeling, unfairly stereotyping, and stigmatizing one’s neighbors for bucks and influence is a legitimate way to make a living the only matters left open to question are how much they will make by doing so and how long they can get away with it. It also seems to me that after a decade of tobacco control consistently failing to produce results that it touts to achieve policy that it wants – notably including material and sustaining reductions in youth or adult smoking, as will be discussed -- we the people need to finally connect on what is being done to our public health policy and the integrity of our governing processes to benefit powerful and entrenched special-interests.
Perhaps politicians and the public were deceived by tobacco control back in the early 1990s because their pattern of conduct was not yet clear. It is, after all one thing to embrace an apparently noble and plausible goal, but another matter entirely if one continues to support programs that do not deliver the results promised while clearly benefiting special-interests that pay those who promote them. Today the pattern of conduct by special-interest health activists is transparently clear, so there is no credible excuse for continuing to support their self-serving policies. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" should be our watch words regarding tobacco control at this decade-long mile-post where we are experiencing a second aggressive push for another variation on the smoking ban theme.
February 5, 2004 - Ban Proponents Getting Nasty - Slapped down in Pierce County, the tobacco control industry moves to Whatcom County, near Seattle. This time it isn't going to waste its time and money imposing an illegal ban, as was tried in Pierce County. Instead the county council voted "unanimously" to demand that the state legislature enact total prohibition in Washington state.
The council members appear to believe that calling smokers nasty names is the way to get the state legislature's attention. We examine the phenomenon of elected officials denigrating their constituents all in the cause of putting over a fast one on the entire state. We also put the lie to the "unanimous" vote taken by the Whatcom County Council.
February 3, 2004 - Ridiculing Neighbors - If a major metropolitan daily denigrated a group based upon racial stereotypes or denigrated a group of people who adhered to a religious tenet the cries of outrage would be immediate and loud. When a metropolitan daily denigrates law-abiding people who choose to enjoy a lawful product it's business as usual as long as that product is tobacco. No slur or slander is considered too outrageous to bar from the pages of newspapers that consider themselves beacons of tolerance and enlightenment. What's even worse is that too many newspapers, as well as television and radio news organizations, mindlessly parrot assertions dished up by special interest groups who deliberately dissemble to further a financial agenda. A press that selectively reports major issues giving space to one side only is failing in its responsibility.
February 2, 2004 - Selective Outrage From A "Progressive" Anti-Smoker - Last week we commented upon the moral disconnect of a Seattle PI columnist who out of one side of her mouth preached the gospel of inclusion, tolerance and respect while from the other denigrated a huge minority of the population in highly bigoted terms. As is all too often the case, the demand for good behavior ends when the do-gooder finds a group of people that indulges in an activity displeasing to the self-appointed moral arbiters.
Following through with our policy of confronting blatant hypocrisy we asked for a response from the columnist who deplores cultural stereotyping while indulging in brutal and hurtful stereotyping herself.
January 29, 2004 - Columnist Susan Paynter: Fashionable, Trendy, Smoke Free, And a Politically Correct Bigot - Norman Kjono discusses the moral disconnect between lectures on tolerance and demonization of the politically incorrect smokers.
January 19, 2004 - Erecting A Smoking Ban While Violating The Law - In Washington State the lawlessness escalates as King County (Seattle) gears up to impose prohibition in violation of state law. What would prompt elected officials to violate their oaths? Sad to say, it's money. Millions of dollars have flowed into King County under the guise of "health". All the grateful officials must do is ban smoking and push pharmaceutical nicotine products.
King County is not alone in taking its marching orders from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Last month Pierce County decided that big bucks were more important than upholding state law. King County, along with many other Washington localities, is joining the assault upon law-abiding citizens and hardworking, taxpaying business people.
January 16, 2004 - The State Of Washington Should Follow Kentucky's Leadership - A perceptive legislator from Kentucky is finally recognizing the basic contradiction between anti-tobacco's words and its actions. If the anti-smokers were really concerned about the supposed death toll from tobacco they would concentrate all their efforts on prohibiting the manufacture and sale of tobacco products. Instead they chip away at property rights, target a group for demonization and collect huge sums of cash from tobacco taxes and the tobacco settlement. Senator Harris is telling them to put up or shut up. Either ban smoking and forgo the loot extracted from smokers or get the hell of the way and find honest employment.
January 14, 2004 - Buying Smoking Bans - Washington has become the 2004 “precedent-setting” test state for the anti-tobacco agenda. At virtual light speed citizens of Washington are now confronted with an expanded smoking ban in Pierce County that overrides current state exemptions for restaurants, taverns, bowling alleys, etc., the declared intention of other county officials to take the ban state-wide, Spokane County’s new policy that persons who currently work for the county or apply for new jobs with the county cannot smoke at work or at home (nonsmokers are the only permitted employees), and a direct challenge to current state preemption statutes that prohibit local government from passing smoking bans that are more stringent than state law.
Grant money, such as that from pharmaceutical Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is flowing into the state from special-interests to support promoting the smoking bans, and prospectively to pay for costs of counties defending the bans as well. Whether citizens of the state like it or not, it is clear that pharmaceutical special-interests will mandate our local affairs though a New Jersey private foundation. And it seems that there is an adequate supply of compliant politicians in Washington sufficient to enact that agenda, regardless of the expressed will of the people in that state, lead in large part by the state’s Attorney General and candidate for Governor Christine O. Gregoire.
Norman Kjono has kept his sharp eye on anti-tobacco's New Year thrust to user prohibition into Washington State. Late last year a health board in one county banned smoking everywhere despite an unambiguous state law that forbids such a smoking ban. When restaurants, bars and bowling alleys cried foul and took their grievances to court, the health board called an out-of-state anti-smoking pressure group and asked for money to defend the ban in court. At one time it was necessary to "connect the dots" to get a clear picture of how special interests are buying public policy. In Washington State today the dots are connected by the special interests themselves. It's obvious and it's ugly.
January 5, 2004 - Alaska Joins The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Strategy to Price-gouge Persons Who Smoke - The tobacco control industry has a vested interest in keeping the cigarette price high. The theory goes that when smokers cannot afford to buy cigarettes they will be ready to hook up to pharmaceutical cessation devices. In Alaska the government dances to the tobacco control's tune.