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April 04, 2008

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» Is Obama still smoking while hiding and denying it? from BeldarBlog
I've written very recently of my sympathy for Sen. Obama's difficulty in trying to quit his cigarette habit. It literally took a heart attack three years ago to get me to stop, and even so, the last time I had a craving for a cigarette was ... oh, abou... [Read More]

Comments

kim

What a tease.
=========


Elroy Jetson

Tom,
Why bother with the global warming piece? You'll only expose yourself as a flat-earther anyway.
It's almost noon eastern. Go have an old-fashioned 3-martini lunch.

PMII

I'm waiting for the "I don't smoke, the cigarette does"

WE don't really have to pick our next President from these 3 do we?

MayBee

Has no one yet tied cigarette smoke to global warming? Surely it can be done.

GMax

Isn't funny that the guys who most resemble the world is flat crowd is the one who want to claim the debate is over and there is a consensus, no further dissent will be tolerated?

Roakay Relroy.

Ranger

What is really funny about this is the only reason Obama has to quit is because Hollywood has spend 3 decades demonizing smokers, and using smoking as a "tell" for the "bad guy" in film and TV. Now they have a presidential hopeful they really want to win, but he smokes.

The really interesting part (to me at least) about this is what it says about Obama's personality. When confronted about doing something he knows he shouldn't be doing, his first instinct is to lie. Just like claiming the land deal with Rezko was totally happenstance, and claiming he never heard anything controversial at his church.

DebinNC

I wonder how the fat-acceptance crowd will react, knowing now BO's oft-repeated "bringing obesity down to 1980 levels will save 1 trillion in health costs" is coming from Marlboro Man?

Neo

Does he roll his own .. or does he buy them from the "evil" tobacco companies ?

.. wait a minute just one minute, it's all clear now. He became a Senator just to get better health care and make the taxpayer fund his bad health from this disgusting habit.

Doesn't he know about Al Gore's sister ?

Jane

Oooooh yeah - let's ask Obama about the health costs of smoking.

Neo

Or is he just trying to follow in the footsteps of Adams, Jackson, Grant, Arthur, Harrison, Cleveland, Harding, Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan ?

kim

Don't forget Clinton, who apparently sucks, or sucked, on unlighted cigars. Actually that is a good way to get the benefits of nicotine without the harm of the smoke. Never forget that nicotine is a drug with good effects, too. How many people are alive because truckdrivers smoke? How many people are alive because someone had a cigarette before offing their spouse?

OK, where's the joke about before and after and boffing?
========================

royf

Ranger
Hollyweird perhaps spent the last 3 decades demonizing smokers, I'm not sure I agree but will concede the point. But for sure they spent the 4 previous decades making cigarettes glamorous. I know early movies made a big impact on me and influenced my decisions made toward smoking.

Maybe I missed it but I don't remember the class action suits against the old Hollywood studios. Nor do I remember any remorse coming from them for their role in promoting smoking. They were paid to promote it and did so for many years after its harmful aspects were being exposed.

PrestoPundit

When my wife heard Barack's wife had asked him to quit smoking, and he'd done what she asked, by wife told me she was going to vote for Obama for President.

The fact that Obama had "quit smoking" was the only thing she knew about him.

Just for the record, I don't smoke.

DebinNC

Michelle's "I'm no Tammy Wynette" moment


"Michelle Obama says she agreed to help her husband run for president on one condition: That he finally quit smoking. For good.

"I hate it," she said on CBS' 60 Minutes, according to a transcript released Sunday. "That's why he doesn't do it anymore. I'm proud to say. I outed him -- I'm the one who outed him on the smoking. That was one of my prerequisites for, you know, entering this race, is that, you know, he couldn't be a smoking president."


Sue

How many people are alive because truckdrivers smoke?

Kim gets post of the day. And owes me a monitor and keyboard.

::grin::

Ranger

DebinNC,

So, he wasn't lying to a reporter, he was lying to his wife through his campaign staff and a reporter. The longer this goes on the more Barack and Michelle start looking like Bill and Hill from 16 years ago.

kim

Hey, Sue, the balance sheet shows you owe me about ten of each.

::smirk::
======================================

Sue

Kim,

Heh.

Danube of Thought

I don't see it as a lie. Merely a failure of will power, leadership and judgment.

I believe Elroy Jetson is on to something big. I am off to the gym, then a shower, then the prescribed 3-Martini lunch with a bunch of buddies of 40 years' standing.

MayBee

Here's Obama on Wednesday's http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23925495/page/4/>Hardball:

OBAMA: I fell off the wagon a couple times during the course of it, and then was able to get back on. But it is a struggle like everything else. And I think that it is important to just keep in mind, I have a nine-year-old daughter and a six-year-old daughter. And I want to give them away in their weddings and I want to see my grand kids, and I want to set a good example for all these young people here, and I want to make sure as president of the United States, everybody knows that I’m going to try to stay healthy. I need you guys to stay healthy, too, because we need to bring our health care costs down.

So it is of collective importance.

Anyway, what bugs me about Ed's deal is that it doesn't have to be either an outrage or left alone. Can't things be just discussed anymore?

Thomas Collins

I am not a big fan of B_O. However, I think we all should light up . . . er, lighten up, on this. :-)) My guess is that at least a few JOM posters are fans of cigar smoking Winston Churchill. If B_O wins and needs a Camel straight when he takes that 3 am call, I say that's OK with me!

Jane

That was one of my prerequisites for, you know, entering this race, is that, you know, he couldn't be a smoking president."

I guess Michele was a little premature saying she finally was proud of her country. This should set her back to her days of shame.

DebinNC

If this were McCain, we'd be seeing stories about his contributing to Wall Street's woes by bringing down the stock of Nicorette.

Porchlight

FWIW, I'm a kinda-ex-smoker - I pretty much only smoke at an evening social gathering, if even then. My husband smokes. Most of our mutual friends smoke or are ex-smokers.

Obama would be a lot more credible if from the beginning he had just said to any reporter needling him on this issue: "Yes, I smoke. I'm trying to quit, but it's hard. Get off my back." (In more Presidential language, of course.) A straightforward response to a personal question.

Instead, he makes a big self-congratulatory to-do about quitting, puts "Quit with Obama" on his website, and then hedges to reporters. And even when he finally admits it (like on Hardball, quoted above), he gets preachy and opportunistically tries to shift the conversation to a topic he likes better (health care). Exactly the lamest way to go about it. But it does tell me something about the kind of guy he is.

MayBee

exactly, porchlight.

RichatUF

MayBee-

Has no one yet tied cigarette smoke to global warming? Surely it can be done.

Some friday stupid:

OMG!!!. It appears that Gore covered this territory in a speech during Annan's retirement although the speech has gone down the memory hole.

Tough choice for BHO: funding S-CHIP or increasing his carbon footprint.

DebinNC

Is Obama house-trained?

"[Obama] told Ebony that his wife demands exacting standards. "I still forget stuff. As Michelle likes to say, 'You are a good man, but you are still a man'. "I leave my socks around. I'll hang my pants on the door. I leave newspapers laying around. But she lets me know when I'm not acting right. After 14 years, she's trained me reasonably well."

Even if most married men's experience is similar, is this "training" something we like our commander-in-chief to cheerfully admit? So far, his braving the wrath of 6ft tall Michelle to smoke is the one hint of masculinity I've seen in BO.

Brett

I can think of a greater failing than smoking: tyrannizing smokers.

Elliott

When will we hear that Obama started lighting up again having cracked under the strain of the Wright controversy? Culpability can attach to the VRWC yet.

Elliott

When will we hear that Obama started lighting up again having cracked under the strain of the Wright controversy? Culpability can attach to the VRWC yet.

capitano

Everybody lies about oral fixations.

Soylent Red

I wonder, if the Obamessiah ascends to his rightful position as POTUS if he will smoke in the White House.

It is a government building.

For all those many cold and lonely years I was relegated to freezing my ass off no less than 30 feet from the entrance to buildings, I would truly revel in photographs of Obamessiah pacing back and forth in the Rose Garden in sub-zero temperatures, feeding the monkey.

Oh and Ranger...

Smoking is not really a tell for the bad guy anymore. Obamessiah can still smoke, but in the role of Everyman or Flawed Hero. He's really more Miramax than MGM anyway.

MayBee

ha! Thanks Rich!
From one of the links you googled me:
[From FSU, not Al Gore]

For the same reasons, the cutting and burning of wood for curing tobacco adds to the greenhouse effect.

The smoke from cigarettes also contains greenhouse gases. Cigarette smoke contains carbon dioxide and methane. Smoking worldwide releases about 2.6 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide in the air every year. It also releases about 5.2 billion kilograms of methane every year. Tobacco growing, curing, and smoking all add to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Deforestation!
Global Warming!
National ill health!

A trifecta of badness.

clarice

I knoe exactly what TM is up to. Hsving heard my sob stories about Chantix he's trying to push Obama to use it and zombie out for the next three months while it works its anti-smoking magic.
You devil!

Charlie (Colorado)

Oh for Christ's sakes, guys. Relapse is part of recovery, and sure enough, denial is part of the way people deal with addiction. (You think it isn't always? How is it that people maintain the illusion that it isn't really going to hurt them until COPD or carcinoma comes to call.)

There's plenty of mendacity to point to with Obama; we don't need to get caught up in his smoking.

clarice

Man, I hate Buddhists. They are so full of Christian charity. (Smooches.Charlie)

Jane

There's plenty of mendacity to point to with Obama; we don't need to get caught up in his smoking.

I think most of us are just concerned with what he is doing to the planet. Oh and all the kids who will be denied health care when he eats more than his fair share of it.

It's for the children Charlie.

Ranger

Soylent Red,

Good point. I had overlooked the "Flawed Hero" aspect.

PeterUK

This is a very revealing story,if Michelle bosses Barack about,what will she do to the rest of you if her husband becomes POTUS? Hillary was bad enough,with Michelle you will get a STOPUS.

M. Simon

Inability to quit smoking is often a sign of some degree of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia and Tobacco

You know the "I hear voices people".

Mold schizophrenia is considered an adjunct to creativity.

M. Simon

Mild schizophrenia is considered an adjunct to creativity.

M. Simon

Relapse is part of recovery, and sure enough, denial is part of the way people deal with addiction.

That statement is totally bogus.

Do we consider insulin junkies are having a relapse when they go back to being drug fiends? People take drugs because they need them.

I can't wait until the drug war gets the global warming treatment. It is just as much a religion on the right as AGW is on the left.

M. Simon

And why are the Drug War folks keeping quiet about the latest scientific studies?

For the same reason "scientists" have cooked the AGW books. Follow the money. It all leads back to the DEA budget.

I'm going to say flat out that the whole idea of addiction is a hoax. There are no addicts. There are people who are genetically predisposed to cannibinoid or endorphin deficiencies. Those deficiencies are triggered by trauma.

And yes I have spent the last 8 years studying the science while the rest of you were listening to DEA handouts.

M. Simon

Any one want to discuss?

I have 8 years worth of scientific and medical ammunition. What have you got?

Sue

What have you got?

An addiction? You want it? I'll give it to you. ::grin::

Jeeze, Simon, I hope I'm misreading the tone of your posts. Otherwise, I'd say you need some of my drug of choice. The one that keeps truck drivers from killing people. Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette. Puff, puff, puff, your life away...

M. Simon

Sue,

I smoke cigarettes myself. I roll my own. I can't afford ready mades.

I'm just as intolerant of ignorance on the right as on the left. It must be the 15 years I spent with the Libertarians.

Is Addiction Real?

Addiction Is A Genetic Disease

Heroin

PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System

Sue

I smoke cigarettes myself.

So that means you don't want my addiction? ::sigh:: Lesson learned folks. Once you get it, you can't give it away.

M. Simon

And no Sue, you did not mistake my tone.

Let me put it to you this way. The "addiction disease" is right up there with AGW as a scam perpetrated on the public.

It is now official policy at the NIDA that addiction is a genetic disease. You know when they take a position against interest the evidence must be pretty sound. It is.

The deal is I figured it out from open sources about 4 years before the NIDA came around.

M. Simon

So if you can't quit odds are you are mildly schizophrenic. Welcome to the creativity club. Others should be so lucky.

M. Simon

What drives me nuts is that so few people (clarice are you listening dear?) are interested in the evidence.

The government is scamming the country out of $50bn a year in direct costs and it doesn't seem to be a hot topic.

Not on the left and not on the right.

Sue

odds are you are mildly schizophrenic

Mildly? My gawd man! How long have you posted with me? ::grin::

clarice

simon--just be lucky they haven't invented second hand drug problems--I waver on legalization, m simon. I think there are many rational reasons to legalize it--i.e., kill the market and with it the pushers. OTOH I am certain that legalizing it will hook the vulnerable into a lifetime of unproductive zombism.

I expect more research will show that people are born with predelictions to certain kinds of criminal behavior, esp, the most horrible sort. While I am sympathetic to their plight, I do not see how society can do more than segregate (jail) them at the moment. When something is invented that allows heroin addicts and pedophiles to live productive, law abiding lives, get back to me.

Larry

And if you puff, puff, puff yourself to death, tell St Peter at the golden gate that you hate to make him wait, but you gotta have another cigarette. I quit last June, after 49 years of 2+ packs per day, by using wellbutrin/zyban for about three months. The drug eliminates the craving. If it's an ok drug per your Dr., I highly recommend it.

M. Simon

legalizing it will hook the vulnerable into a lifetime of unproductive zombism

Clarice,

That is another propaganda myth. You can't get hooked on drugs unless you need them.

Which is why heroin was thought to be a wonder drug. The first ten people they tried it on did not get addicted.

The zombism you refer to is a direct consequence of the drug war. People with a regular supply of pure drugs do not get into the zombie mode. See the work of Dr. Marks in England.

Zombism is a direct result of people binging when supplies are irregular.

Edited slightly:
When something is invented that allows heroin addicts to live productive, law abiding lives, get back to me.

Regular supplies do that. Dr. Marks in England proved that. The DEA shut his research down. I wonder why.

==

See. I told you I was prepared.

M. Simon

Larry,

Welbutrin is from the methamphetamine family.

==

In any case each year 5% of heroin users quit when provided therapy. Of course without therapy 5% a year quit. The brain chemistry slowly reverts to its original untraumatized state over time.

Of course for some it never returns. They will need drugs for life.

BTW 70% of female heroin users have been sexually assaulted. Because of black market prices a significant number of those go into prostitution to meet their needs. I don't see how that helps.

Larry

What % of inmates are in for drug-related "crimes"? Cliche warning! Prohibition didn't work. The war on (some) drugs isn't working, either, for essentially the same reasons.

M. Simon

Larry,

It is hard to say.

I can tell you Mayor Daley the Younger said that he could reduce crime in Chicago by 85% if drugs were legal. A police Chief from one of Connecticut's major cities (I forget which) said the same thing.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

clarice

M.Simon,it's avery interesting article.

M. Simon

Clarice,

Dani is from the Philippines. She read some of my drug war stuff on line and asked me if I would post her mostly unedited copy.

We still correspond. I have fond memories of the country from my days in the Navy.

Charlie (Colorado)

M. Simon, jeeez, get a grip here. Yes, bupropion is structurally like an amphetamine. This tells us what exactly? Its mechanism of action is pretty different.

On the other, more general point --- you're telling us that there's no such thing as "addiction", there's just a genetic predisposition to a physiological condition of dependence upon certain substances, and that social experience and traumatic life experiences may make people more likely to develop that dependence.

It's a bit difficult for me to express just how dumb that sounds.

I mean, what's your point? That's like telling us there's no such thing as the common cold, but there is a condition characterized by upper respiratory symptoms subsequent to infection by a broad variety of picornaviruses and coronaviruses.

Then you object to the notion that "relapse is part of recovery" but instead tell us that people take these drugs because the "need them."

What?

Are you somehow under the impression that anyone thinks an addict isn't returning to their substance because the "need it"? Of course they need it! Their physiology, once they've become addicted, is such that their physical state gets unpleasantly out of normal limits when they don't get their substance: coffee hounds like me get headaches; tobacco users have headaches, anxiety, cravings; heroin users have all sorts of things, from yawning to priapism. That's happening because their bodies need the substance.

The problems come in from two things: first, that physiological need, in many substances, increases over time. Opiates in particular literally change the physiology of the user, so that amounts that would be toxic in the non-habitual user are needed to simply assuage the need in the habitual user. Second, while the substance may provide a relief of some physiological issue, a lot of the substances of concern, like tobacco, will kill you.

That's the essential difference between being a tobacco user and an insulin user: if you need insulin and don't get it, it will kill you. If you need tobacco, and get it, it will kill you.

Neo

cheesesteak snobbery

I can understand not wanting the Chez Whiz thing down at Geno's and Pat's Steak, but out on the "mainline" you have your cheese steak with parmazone (but never swiss) and some hot peppers.

M. Simon

Charlie,

Sure it sounds dumb. I got science on my side. What have you got?

Please Charlie, read the History of Addiction article and leave a comment there.

So let me ask you why are people who shoot up insulin not considered addicts and people who shoot up heroin are?

Suppose you need the heroin to make up for a deficiency. Are you then an addict? Is pain less real because the amygdala generates it vs a broken limb?

Fear memories, the amygdala, and the CB1 receptor


BTW I require way more vitamin C than the average person to maintain good health. Am I a vitamin C addict?

What we have done is take a group of people who have endorphin needs above what their bodies supply and labeled them addicts.

If you want to label addiction anything I would label it a deficiency disease.

BTW tobacco only shortens the life of about 1/3 of smokers. And even that number is disputed.


Soylent Red

I won't argue with your science Simon. I get the feeling, however, that you support some amount of decriminalization. That I can't support.

We already have an inordinate amount of pieces of sh_t wandering around. Drugs exacerbate that problem, in my experience. Having seen many, many adherents of the drug culture right up close, their physical needs/addictions/whatever are secondary in my mind to the lazy apathy at best, and soulless evil at worst, that seems to walk hand in hand with drug use.

If we were simply talking about making the means of self-medication available (by removing restrictions on prescriptions for legitimate pharmaceuticals), I could get behind it. Or if you could isolate users to a place where they wouldn't harm themselves or others with the self-medication of their choice.

But without exception, the most seriously evil f'ed up stuff I've ever seen has been drug-use related. There is no chemical imbalance argument for some of the crazy and horrible things that meth users, for instance, are known to do.

You may be right about the nature or existence of addiction, but as far as decriminalization goes...I don't know about that.

Charlie (Colorado)

M Simon, there was that time in medical school...

Charlie (Colorado)

(In order to maintain some connection here, I'm posting the comment I posted at Simon's blog.)

=====
Okay, I'll follow with the same point I made at JOM. The claim you're making here is that there is no such thing as "addition"; there's only a neurophysiological process, probably with both environmental and genetic components, that causes a large number of people to become dependent on a chemical in such a way that maintaining a normally comfortable physical state requires the repeated administration of some other chemical.

The thing is, "a neurophysiological process, probably with both environmental and genetic components, that causes a large number of people to become dependent on a chemical in such a way that maintaining a normally comfortable physical state requires the repeated administration of some other chemical" is pretty much the definition of "addiction".

You're putting yourself in the position of the apocryphal guy in Heinlein who devoted his life to proving that the Illiad and Odyssey weren't written by Homer, but by another Greek of the same name.

You ask how I distinguish this from an insulin-dependent diabetic? Two ways: first, we can clearly identify the physiological process that's being disturbed and how insulin restores it to some approximation of healthy function; second, people using insulin for diabetes mellitus have clear physiological benefits from it.

This came up in the context of tobacco dependence, and there's one really clear reason why being dependent on tobacco is different from being dependent on insulin: with insulin, if you don't take it, you'll very probably die of the effects of not taking it. With tobacco, if you keep taking it, you'll most probably die of the effects of taking it. The fact that this chemical dependence is so strong that people will continue smoking even when COPD is killing them is exactly the reason this dependence is defined as pathological --- and I'm speaking from personal experience here: my mother's COPD is severe enough that she is having trouble remaining fully conscious, but she just can't stop the cigarettes. As a result, she can't have the O2 in her apartment that she actually needs, because blowing up her apartment is even more dangerous than the COPD.

Now, does this mean I think the criminalization of opiates, amphetamines, cannabis, and increasingly tobacco is smart? It most certainly doesn't. Do I think the politicization of the word addiction is helpful? I absolutely do not. Are there people who can use opiates, tobacco, alcohol, etc, and not exhibit this dependence? You damn bet there are. Is understanding the physiological differences between those people and people who become dependent is important? Very.

This maneuver of insisting there's no such thing as "addiction", just some other syndrome with exactly the same symptoms, etiology, and prognosis, is, as I said, just dumb.

Or mendacious.
=========


kim

================
================

Charlie (Colorado)

Red, I think the place where M Simon has a point on his side, in his favor, is that it's real tough to point to any evidence that criminalization of substance dependency has any good effects, except perhaps for the people whose livelihood or political power depends on criminalization. His example of insulin is a good one in that respect: if I were insulin dependent diabetic, and I was told that I couldn't have insulin legally, it wouldn't stop me from trying to get it. The unpleasantness of coma-and-death, or if I managed my blood sugar well, of watching pieces become neuropathic and fall off --- assuming my eyesight stayed that long --- would be a pretty strong inducement.

The place where he's going astray here, beyond the mildly delusional notion that there is a syndrome with exactly the same symptoms, etiology and prognosis as addiction that isn't "addiction", lies in his apparent assertion that since these people need the physiological change caused by their substance, using that substance is therefore inherently normal and benign. It just ain't necessarily so. being a coffee addict --- which apparently means not just caffeine but some of the other alkaloids --- doesn't appear to have many bad physical consequences in most people, and may actually have good ones. Tea much the same way.

Alcohol addicts --- not just casual drinkers, but people who exhibit the whole range of addictive behaviors we call "alcoholism" --- not so much. Over time the physical consequences of alcohol are too great in high doses; the liver, heart, kidney, and neurological consequences are very damaging. Meth, even more so.

Understanding what's going on in addiction, and finding more benign treatments for whatever is underneath the self-medication, is needed, and the criminal model of prohibition doesn't help that.

Soylent Red

Charlie:

My point was that regardless of the underlying causality of drug use (be it "addiction" or "self-medication") the criminal model of prohibition is useful for the deterrence of abhorrent and anti-social behavior.

To use your insulin example, suppose there were two choices you could make in medicating your diabetes. Choice one was legal insulin. Choice two was another substance, call it Substance X, that was illegal.

Insulin has been tested, whereas Substance X has not, but both treat diabetes and are roughly the same price.

Moreover, suppose that Substance X was frequently impure, had no standard dosage, could kill you in the wrong dosage, destroyed other vital organs while doing its work, and would compel you to rob liquor stores and leave babies without food for days at a time.

Even considering everyone's lean toward the libertarian here, shouldn't such a substance be made illegal, on the argument that it produces negative health and social effects? Even while acknowledging its efficacy at treating diabetes?

The other hole I find in the self-medication theory is that there is an underlying assumption that people somehow know what will fix their particular deficiency. Like a heroin "addict" actually senses that heroin will feed his endorphine deficiency.

How then do we have cross-addiction between substances with dissimilar effects? If you've ever been to an AA meeting, you know those old alkies can consume the coffee and cigarettes, two substances with completely different physiological effects.

I'm interested in the science because I think addiction as a "disease" is complete BS and I think a large amount of people who are "addicted" find it an easy excuse to not get themselves together. Some people blame their parents, these people blame booze or whatever. Understanding all of this and not buying in to the handwringing self-help nonsense will go a lot farther toward finding cures and effective prophylaxis.

I just won't go so far as to advocate decriminalization. But I'm all for de-dramatization.

kim

The endorphins are supposed to be the reward for work; drugs short circuit the mechanism.
===================================

M. Simon

Kim,

Suppose you have an endorphin deficiency and are in pain all the time with work providing no relief. That is a deterrent to work.

As Dr. Marks showed in his experiments in England.

sophy

Please do not hesitate to have wakfu kamas . It is funny.

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