Sunday, December 21, 2014

In the Free Market Everything Has a Price

Some are just cheaper than others.

Eli has shown before that tobacco is really the original sin, responsible for much seemingly unrelated evil in the world, created in an effort to distract others from the problems associated with smoking.

Jules' Klimaatblog has dredged another piece of reality out of the tobacco archive which he modestly calls (Ab)using Libertarians as Useful Idiots.  Eli holds there is useful debate about one of the last two words. The memo is from the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco aka FOREST, an astroturf group, still going today, set up in 1978 by the tobacco lobby to oppose tobacco regulation.  The memo is from 1996, when tobacco regulations started to bite.  They saw trouble on the horizon from the younger generation who were growing up knowing that smoking was dangerous, but

The world still abounds with reactionaries, and in many ways, the 'fogey' strand of public opinion is probably destined to become even more prominent in the next few years, as the baby boom becomes irretrievably middle aged and gives up trying to pretend oterhwise.  The spinsterish attck on smoking and the 'wicked uncle' defenders of it (and of sedentary self indulgence generall) are both likely to gain in prominence and to quarrel with one another ever more publically.  Already the health and fitness craze has abated considerably
But there was hope
However we do not believe that the industry should despair, that the struggle for the right to smoke is destined for eventual defeat.  There is one major opportunity that FOREST has neglected in recent years, and this is the intellectual (as opposed to fogey/reationary) defense of individual liberty that has been dragged into public prominence on the coat tails of the classicla liberal or libertarian critique of the welfare state.  However in the last few years the obvious commonality of interest between FOREST and the youth wing of the libertarian/classical liberal revival has not resulted in an great active cooperation in this area
A situation they sent out to change by coopting the young libertarian wing of the Conservative Party in the UK.  Why, because politics was their only way out
What other argument is there?  Although we can and do vigorously refute the passive smoking hysteria, the primary health argument has been lost.  There is no way any feasible public case can be argued in medical terms.  While there are clearly perceivable psychological benefits from smoking, the evidence of risk to personal health is difficult to challenge.  Further, since the general population recognize these dangers our argument that smokers do exercise and "informed choice" is much stronger.
Moreover the freedom case also proactively strengthens us if the worst should happen:  if it were conclusively, scientifically demonstrated that passive smoking constituted a major health threat in normal social circumstances.  The libertarian case already argues, to use the jargon of the economists, that "externalities" are best "internalized" by the voluntary means of property rights.  In other words it would be up to individual property owners to establish smoking rules on their own property, not for the state to set down an absolute law applicable to all places.
 Permayhap bunnies recognize the similarity to how libertarians have been coopted by fossil fuel interests.  Perhaps they might recognize the same on two recent discussion threads, one at ATTP, and the other at the Good Bishops.  Perhaps.



Would Eli please, please direct me to a actual cigarette ad featuring Fred Seitz,? Or any research by him having anything to do with tobacco ?

Nothing of the sort was done on his watch and deliberately blurring the distinction between primary source historiography and talking head cutaway cut and paste a la Oreskes is best left to the Heartland flacks.

If he burrows through the bottom of Naomi's footnote warren ( the current Ecosyn link is not to the original Lion Cohen Science Cop rants that go uncreditied in Metchants of Doubt as the Vanity Fair piece that was likewise quarried but left unmentioned as an embarassment to the scholarly apparatus ) the book draws upon , he will find hinself munching on a dry as dust Reynolds memo whose paragraphs must be presented whole, not selectively quoted to get to the money quote:

'" In evaluating and monitoring the special projects that we fund -- particularly the sole-sponsorship programs -- R.J. Reynolds Industries has secured the services of a permanent consultant -- Dr. Frederick Seitz, former president of Rockefeller University. Dr. Seitz is with us today and has agreed to describe these various R-J-R sponsored programs for you. To assist Dr. Seitz in his work, the company has also sought. the advice of Dr. James A. Shannon, former head of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Maclyn McCarty, a former vice --president at Rockefeller University. The purpose of the R.J. Reynolds Industries "biomedical research program" is to focus on the support of basic and applied scientific research regarding human, degenerative diseases.

I want to emphasize that during the process of selection and funding, R.J. Reynolds Industries itakes no part~ in the creation or performance of any research.

Dr. Seitz has a distinguished backgroundland is well-suited to his vital role as our consultant. He is currently a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board, "

The "special project " RJR subsidized was a no strings attached 5 million a year grant to Rockefeeller university to do whatever cutting edge biomedical research its ex-president recommended and its faculty approved--specifically excluding work on tobacco and health.

That was years after tobacco ads disappeared from TV, and the university grant was an act of public penance by the legally chastised tobacco industry. Rock U got the moolah , and its retired President got 1% for overseeing the program whose funding he negotiated. The end result, of the 45 million buck 9 year effort was , fairly famously , the Nobel in medicine for the discovery of prions, which have exactly nothing to do with tobacco.

The short form of the story that some RJR directors were also on the Rock U board and one of them asked Fred if they'd be interested in some serious giving.

Too bad they didn't keep ithe money and save a lot of lives by inventing vaping a generation earlier.

Anonymous said...

­> Would Eli please, please direct me to a actual cigarette ad featuring Fred Seitz,? Or any research by him having anything to do with tobacco ?

What would be the point of these rhetorical questions since the word "Seitz" does not even appear in the post?

Hank Roberts said...

It's those scurrilous notorious fonts of misinformation out there misleading Google into suggesting such a connection, e.g. from the first two Search Results for: Seitz tobacco
Seitz was also the founding chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, a tobacco industry consultant and a prominent skeptic on the issue of global warming.
Mar 6, 2008 - From 1978 to 1988, Dr. Seitz was a member of the medical research committee of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. His work for the ...

This sort of stuff from Google gives the overwhelming impression that his fingerprints, if not his name, were on tobacco documents.

Has anyone asked Google to remove references to him?

Hank Roberts said...

PS, this is probably the claim that needs to be fact-checked, it appears a number of places without the illustration needed:
* Frederick Seitz,(1911- ) Chairman. Tobacco shill once had his likeness used for an RJ Reynold Tobacco ad campaign "9 out of 10 Doctors prefer Camels"

Later in the text that follows this citation appears, but it's not clear which claims it's said to support:

I recall the Tobacco Archive has been collecting tobacco ads going way back; perhaps they have an index or image recognition tools would be useful in searching for that one face among the many, or there's some other record to be found. Or not, of course.


Hank, my 'cutaway "complaint pertains to films referring to Oreskes & Conway while anachronistically juxtaposing 60's cigarette commericals, an unrelated picuture of Fred Seitz, and a voiceover about the Marshall institute, implying it was somehow responsible for cigarette ads that dissapeared from TV a decade before its foundation.

I suspect you are referring to the photo caption on the original Ecosyn website that started the myth-- show me the picture or back off from being an echo chamber;

IMHO Eli was being kind in referring to its source as as a 'red meat' site , since the political rhetoric of " Lion Cohen Science Cop" rivals Mark Steyn on a bad hair day

Track it down and you'll see it's as florid as this post's lede illo.

What's that thing Eli's thin friend is smoking by the way ?

It's doesn't look like a Chesterfield.

Fernando Leanme said...

I don't get any of this. What's the deal with the tobacco issue? I thought that was settled a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of no strings attached:

> TASSC's headed notepaper names an advisory board of eight people. Three of them are listed by as working for organisations taking money from Exxon. One of them is Frederick Seitz, the man who wrote the Oregon Petition, and who chairs the Science and Environmental Policy Project. In 1979, Seitz became a permanent consultant to the tobacco company RJ Reynolds. He worked for the firm until at least 1987, for an annual fee of $65,000. He was in charge of deciding which medical research projects the company should fund, and handed out millions of dollars a year to American universities. The purpose of this funding, a memo from the chairman of RJ Reynolds shows, was to "refute the criticisms against cigarettes". An undated note in the Philip Morris archive shows that it was planning a "Seitz symposium" with the help of TASSC, in which Frederick Seitz would speak to "40-60 regulators".

Where are this memo and this note, and should this be considered as native advertizing?

EliRabett said...

Russell asks:

"What's that thing Eli's thin friend is smoking by the way ?"

Eli answers:

Death rolls his own.

JohnMashey said...


The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library at UCSF, with 80M+ pages of documents from the tobacco companies is the key source.

Try this search TASSC Seitz.
The first hit is the advisory board, a dandy group including Bruce Ames, Michael Fumento, and Seitz.

Try search for refute the criticisms against cigarettes seitz
The first hit is this.

All this was "distraction research" of various sorts, see Chapter 16 in Golden Holocaust.


Very distrscting indeed John, as not a dime spent at Rockefeller went into anything tobacco-related--

What RJR PR flacks imagned their their paper dream team doing oesn't signify -- paralegal Michael Fumento never published a science paper in his life.

Show me a single research paper citation or a talking head reciting a script or face the fact that guilt by association happens -- as does the sociology of science ( including the delegation of authorship and authority by octagenarian retirees) and the history of advertising-- subjects Oreskes neglects along with primary sources.

David B. Benson said...

I'm going out for a smoke.

Jim Eager said...

Fernando, are you really that clueless, or are you just pulling our leg?

Anonymous said...

> Show me a single research paper citation or a talking head reciting a script or face the fact that guilt by association happens [...]

If I do, do I win a pony?

Anonymous said...

eli, I looked at Seitz (Fred) recently as well.

Is there any evidence in the document archive, or otherwise, that Fred Seitz was getting himself involved in topics like tobacco and lung cancer, and not second-hand smoke exposure?

Anonymous said...

> As Alan Blum, editor of the New York State Journal of Medicine, explained in his 1983 assessment of cigarette advertisements that had appeared in the journal from 1927 to 1953, Philip Morris—armed with papers written by researchers that the company had sponsored—attempted to use “clinical proof” to establish the superiority of their brand.11 Specifically, Columbia University pharmacologist Michael Mulinos and physiologist Frederick Flinn produced findings (on the basis of the injection of diethylene-glycol into the eyes of rabbits) that became the centerpiece of the Philip Morris claim that diethylene-glycol was less irritating, although other researchers not sponsored by Philip Morris disputed these findings.

Hank Roberts said...

> the photo caption on the
> original Ecosyn website ...
> -- show me the picture

Er, can you show me the picture? Give a link or cite? I'm new to this claim about Seitz having his image in an ad -- that's why I was asking where you heard of it.

I looked through a lot of the '9 out of 10 doctors' images at the Tobacco Archive and a handful of them could be Seitz, but when you look at anyone's face over decades, some of the iterations will resemble other people.

I was gonna say, all anyone really needs to find is a cancelled check or a model release form in his name to prove something.

Proving it didn't happen is probably only doable by tracking down the origin of the story and showing it began with a lie.

Trust me on this one, I know liberals lie as much as conservatives about things they dearly hold must be true. Radicals and reactionaries lie even more. Moderates lie a fair amount of the time too. Lying isn't even limited to humans!


Hank- a search term correction for the two
conspiracy websites Oreskes draws upon without credit :

'BushHitler' and 'Ecosyn'

Their anonymous attacks turn out to be pseudonymous productions of a wannabe Sandinista and poet turned cab driver calling himself
’Lion Kurtz,Science Cop.’ ,

not Lion Cohen as given earlier.

Anonymous said...

In which we show that RR are just footnotes to RR:


Anonymous said...

Seeking joint news release, meetings with editorial boards, securing scientific clearance:

> On a selective basis, seek joint news releases on major discoveries or breakthroughs through liaison and coordination with researchers through the Advisory Pa-nel (Dr. Seitz). •- On a selected basis, schedule Dr. Seitz (and other Advisory Panel members) for meetings with daily newspaper editorial boards, science and medical editors to explain need for private support of biomedical research using RJR program as an example of what can be done. • Securing of legal (inside counsel) and scientific (Dr. Seitz) clearance of all materials intended for publication inside or outside the company regarding corporate support for biomedical research.

No photo, yet, though.

If the pony could be pink, that would be nice.



Having put its PR foot in its R&D mouth , RJR turns to peer review -- oh, the humanity !

Here's www. BushHitler 's spin on it :

"There are detailed connections between the eugenists of yore, and the modern Destroyers of Science through hoaxes and frauds. Gordon Gray was from the famous RJ Reynolds Gray-eugenics clan, became the first head of America's psycological warfare organization after WWII under President Truman in 1954. This was the same moment in time that the "Enterprise" of Tobacco Conspiracy began including Gray's RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. Psyops were used successfully for more than 50 years to promote deadly serial killing tobacco products and to hid or falsify science. Gordon Gray sat on Koch's Board for the "Reason Foundation" until his death. His son C. Boydon Gray sits on boards of several of the Kochtopus Empire of Think Tanks."


W, a pink pony would be a great improvement on the red herring you've just dished, but I think you'll agree that eight figure grants to research universities come with some paperwork

Readers < a href="">who go to the source</a: will discover the document is not about tobacco research at RJR, or substituting physicists for physicians in the extinct genre of TV cigarette ads, but governing five million bucks a year in biomedical research grants to Rockefeller University : the document title you neglect to quote is

Enclosure 1-
Proceedures for Managing and Progress Monitoring of R.J. Reynolds Industries Support of Biomedical Research Management -

The following procedures govern the commitment of funds to biomedical research and the role of various individuals an authorities in considering requests and granting approvals:

• Requests for funding support will be referred to Dr. Frederick Seitz.

• Dr. Seitz and other members of his advisory panel will review fund requests and prepare recommend-ations based on these criteria:
* Project viability
* Researcher's qualifications
* Adequacy of facilities
* Consistency with overall program objective

• Prior to presentation to the Contributions Committee for disposition, Dr. Seitz will informally discuss recommendations with Mr. H.C. Roemer, general co-unsel. His comments will be appended to the written evaluations and recommendations presented to the Contributions Committee.

Mr. Roemer would be free, of course, to cons.ult outside counsel, such as Ed Jacob, as he deems necessary or desirable.

• Twice each year, at the 2nd and 4th quarter meetings of the Contributions Committee, Dr. Seitz or a member of his panel wili present funding requests and the panel's recommendations.

• Research targets of opportunity may be presented to the Committee at other times with the permission of the chairman.

Dr. Seitz's presentation of each new request to the Committee will include

* Assessment of scientific merit

* Recommended budget

* Time f rame -of the project

* Recommendation for or against approval

• Contribution Committee gives approval or disapproves. ....

IThe stuff linked goes on in much the same vein as NIH boilerplate grant reporting, and no surprise, includes having the grantees sign off on press releases-

All of which is mighty inconvenient to the history rewrite Oreskes is attempting .


Sorry i miffed the link W- See if this works

Hank Roberts said...

Well, "here's a whole lot of money you can spend on anything except X" is a familiar tactic -- uses up the resource of available time and grad students who will go where the money flows. Many scientists and schools fall for it.

Hank Roberts said...

For reference: the tobacco ad collection, featuring "doctors" is at

That's as close as the UC Library Reference Desk came; they also recommend these sources:
.... while a search on the name Frederick Seitz did not come up in conjunction with specific ads, I did find a biography/resume of Dr. Seitz as well as a memo detailing his involvement in the genesis of CIAR, the Center for Indoor Air Research, which was the tobacco industry's attempt to produce their own "credible" research surrounding secondhand smoke (copy and paste the Bookmark URL to access the document).

Author: SEITZ,F
Corporate Author:
Date: 19851100
Bates: 87697430-87697434
Collection: Lorillard

Corporate Author:
Date: 19871021
Bates: 87697425-87697426
Collection: Lorillard

So all we need is an image recognition/face recognition tool, I suppose -- feed it all the available pictures of Seitz and all the "doctors" in the tobacco ads. There's a M.A. thesis there for some youngster, I suppose.


And why do you imagine a document from 1987 would connect the face of a physicist born in 1911 to the talking head of physician in a cigarette commercial?

This is an anachronistic fantasy - the last TV gigarette ads aired in 1970

Please read what I noted at the inception of this exchange , Hank-- the Marshal institute was founded 13 years after tobacco ads went off the air, and if you carefully read what I linked you will see the documents discuss two sepatate reynolds programs , one internal and the other external-- and firewalled against corporate interference .

Oreskes & Conway'sselective citation and polemic abuse of these documents and memos rivals what the denialati did with the Climategate e-mails