July 11, 2016

Trump "has boasted of his friendships with many gay people, saying 'I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay.'"

"He has supported AIDS charities for years, and welcomed gay couples at his Palm Beach club when doing so was considered remarkable. And he has recently started insisting that he would be a better friend to the gay community than Mrs. Clinton, even though he opposes legal rights like marriage. But as he tries to convince social conservatives that he is not acting as a moderate, Mr. Trump has been largely hands-off with the platform.... The Republican platform committee has long been dominated by some of the party’s most stalwart activists. And some of them have hardly been shy about their views. There is Cynthia Dunbar of Virginia, who has compared the gay rights movement to Nazism. Hardy Billington, a committee member from Missouri, placed an ad in a local paper asserting that homosexuality kills people at two to three times the rate of smoking. And Mary Frances Forrester of North Carolina has claimed that the 'homosexual agenda is trying to change the course of Western civilization.'"

From "Donald Trump Keeps Distance in G.O.P. Platform Fight on Gay Rights," by Jeremy W. Peters in the NYT.

It's usually Donald Trump who's portrayed as weird and out of the mainstream and, for this reason, does not really belong in the Republican Party. With this issue, he's the one who's normal and mainstream, and it's the party that looks embarrassingly out of it.

72 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I wonder how people get on the Committee to write the Platform.

Being fabulous is so obviously not one of the criteria.

mikee said...

Log Cabin Republicans. Pink Pistols.

The Christian fundamentalists have severe views about homosexuality, but nothing compared with the moderate Muslims, and the Republican Party is rather more concerned about use of state power to foment ever more Balkanization of the population over social issues, but overall the Republicans have a bigger door in their tent than the Democrats, who demand Blacks stay on the plantation, Hispanics disregard Catholic doctrine, and LGBTQI persons espouse only leftist progressive statist views.

When the Democrats have specific subgroups of their party who aren't Leftists, and are not criticized for it, let me know.

Rick said...

So the craziest Republican is The Party. The craziest Democrat just killed 5 people and shot 9 more. Are Democrats "out of the mainstream"? Or is killing people for political reasons mainstream now?

Terry said...

Hardy Billington, a committee member from Missouri, placed an ad in a local paper asserting that homosexuality kills people at two to three times the rate of smoking. And Mary Frances Forrester of North Carolina has claimed that the 'homosexual agenda is trying to change the course of Western civilization.'"

Aren't both of these claims arguably true?
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
On January 20, a federal appeals court heard arguments in the highly publicized case of Kimberly Jean “Kim” Davis, county clerk of Rowan County (population 23,000) in mountainous northeastern Kentucky. There were many legal issues at stake—discrimination, sexual equality, religious liberty—but the whole affair had another component, rarely noted in popular accounts: Society’s winners, those who believe themselves on the right side of progress and have the success to prove it, think little of humiliating and attempting to ruin those who are less fortunate and cling to old beliefs.
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/06/punching-down

66 said...

Dear Ann, I have no doubt that I could find a few statements that you have made and use them out of context to make you look weird and out of the mainstream. Why do you use your blog to further that kind of attack against people whose views on homosexuality are, I'm sure, largely unknown to you?

Hagar said...

The "gay rights movement" does for gays what "black lives matter" does for blacks.

MikeR said...

"With this issue, he's the one who's normal and mainstream, and it's the party that looks embarrassingly out of it." Yeah, because the views of the Elite, including Professor Althouse, are automatically "with it", and the strongly held views and feelings of something like half of Americans are things that people like Trump should discount.

Lyle Smith said...

I am with Donald, but it is true that AIDS flowered in the gay community in large part because of the choices of gay men, and the LGBT rights movement does have its bullying, totalitarian moments (lesbian mayor of Houston, TX subpoening the speeches of local ministers and people talking about piling bibles up and burning them).

rhhardin said...

There's social conservatives, and there's freedom-of-association conservatives.

You have to accept gays together as married or you'll be put in jail, isn't a reasonable position.

Amused tolerance for gays is a fine position. Leave it at that. Go for civil unions.

Brando said...

It is impossible for a guy who says "fabulous" as much as Trump does to not have a lot of gay friends.

Karen of Texas said...

"It's usually Donald Trump who's portrayed as weird and out of the mainstream and, for this reason, does not really belong in the Republican Party. With this issue, he's the one who's normal and mainstream, and it's the party that looks embarrassingly out of it."

Donald doesn't approve of legalized gay marriage but has lots of fabulous, gay friends. I suspect this may be the view of many who make up the Republican party - and even some who call themselves Democrats. So you're saying his "gay friends but against gay marriage" is normal and mainstream? Who'd have thought it of you, Professor?

Bob Boyd said...

NYT: Trump's Horrible!

Gay Community: Um, some of us kind of like Trump.

NYT: Even if Trump was something less than horrible, which he isn't, there are these platform Committee members....horrible!

Gay Community: Who's going to have more influence on the Republican Party re gays going forward, President Trump or some platform committee member no one ever heard of?

NYT: But...but...D good, R bad!

Oso Negro said...

Homosexuality is a sexual deviancy, whether it is chic to say so or not. We could have mainstreamed any other sexual deviancy in the past 40 years, but this was the one we picked. But saying it is mainstream and normal does not make it so. "Queer" stands in opposition to "normal".

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

From a Reddit thread over the weekend entitled "What statistically proven fact does no one want to hear?" Someone had responded that men having sex with men is, statistically, shockingly dangerous behavior, and someone else responded with:

ugh, this one. I'm gay, and also a scientist. I dedicated years of my life to studying HIV, and I completely support the ban on MSM donating blood. I've lost friends over it.

The truth is that the homosexual community is in denial about HIV. 1 in 120 citizens of Toronto are currently HIV positive. The lambda study was really eye-opening. It surveyed people, asked them if they were HIV positive or negative, then did a blood test to see their actual status. It turns out that 23.8% (almost 1 in 4) of the MSM surveyed in Toronto were HIV positive. Out of those, only 73% knew they were positive, 16% believed they were negative, and 11% said they didn't know their status.

It's not homophobic to talk about facts. It's time that we start dealing with this issue.

Edit:
Some further information about the study!

2,438 MSM (men who have sex with men) men in Toronto and Ottawa were surveyed. 60% of these men had post-secondary education, and the average income was $45,000 a year.

They mentioned that
>"In Toronto, the rate of new infections was estimated at 5.1% per year: in other words, out of every 100 HIV-negative gay/bi men in Toronto, 5.1 are likely to become infected with HIV over a one-year period. In Ottawa, the new infection rate was 3.5% per year".

This has since gone down slightly though.

They also mentioned that
>Use of condoms with casual (i.e., one-time) partners varied widely. Nearly half of the participants reported using condoms every time they had anal sex with onetime
partners: 46.5% for insertive sex (topping) and 49.0% for receptive (bottoming).
Many more used condoms “most of the time” or “almost every time”: 24.8%
(top) and 20.6% (bottom). Another 18.5% (top) and 19.8% (bottom) used them
“sometimes” or “rarely.” Just over 10% said that they had never used condoms
with one-time partners in the past six months.
Overall, more than 30% of the men who had one-time partners in the past six
months had had unprotected anal sex with them. Nearly one in five HIV-negative
men (19.1%) did not use a condom for anal sex with one-time partners whose
HIV status they did not know.


Lauderdale Vet said...

Why do we need government's permission to marry anyway?

Civil Unions for everyone. Recognize church marriages as a flavor of civil union.

Let the churches and synagogues and mosques sanctify.

Left the government certify.

Michael K said...

"Amused tolerance for gays is a fine position. Leave it at that. Go for civil unions."

This will get you prison in a Hillary! administration.

Tolerance will not be tolerated,

I think a lot of gays and fundamentalist Christians are willing to accept some of his ideas because they agree that the other issues, not the social ones, are what are killing us.

Caroline Walker said...

I think the Donald is formed by a big libertarian streak. He may sound like an lgbt ally, but I'll wager its in the same sense that most reasonable folks are.... You're welcome to live as you wish, to designate whomever you like as next of kin; you can call this arrangement whatever you like but it isn't marriage. I don't think the human rights campaign will have a bureau in the Oval Office as they do now. The lavender fascism will get some push back.

Freder Frederson said...

You have to accept gays together as married or you'll be put in jail, isn't a reasonable position.

Who exactly has been threatened with jail for not accepting gay marriage? At most some business owners have faced civil penalties for refusing to treat all their customers equally (and making a big show of it). That has been the norm in civil rights law, even for private businesses, for over fifty years.

Bay Area Guy said...

The CDC's largest survey on sexual orientation in the US found that about 2.5% of people are gay or bisexual.

Let's do 2 things: (1) treat this small minority with dignity and respect, but (2) not exaggerate or inflate the importance of their political and/or cultural issues.

I care about gay people, but can't stand the LBGBT movement.

tim maguire said...

Gay rights isn't a left-right or religious-secular issue, it is a young-old issue. And every couple years, the dividing line between thinking gay marriage is fine and thinking it's a disaster moves up a year. So the ultimate victory of rights supporters is demographically inevitable.

Republicans and Democrats divide roughly the same on this issue--that is, the opinion of the average Republican is no different than that of the average Democrat--with two differences. First, the Democrat supporters have more sway in their party because their party is more beholden to special interests in general. Second, Republican supporters are more inclined to wait until they are a voting majority, and then vote it in democratically.

Freder Frederson said...

Aren't both of these claims arguably true?

Certainly not the cigarette claim. 480000 people die from cigarettes in the U.S. every year (one in five of all deaths). It took almost twenty years for that many people to die of AIDS and that was at the height of the U.S. epidemic. She is fudging her numbers with worldwide deaths from AIDS, which in Africa, the hardest hit continent, is spread mainly through heterosexual contact.

khesanh0802 said...

@Bay Area Guy That's a number I have been wondering about for a long time. Your solutions are to be recommended. I have been puzzled by the big noise, and action, over LGBT this and that since they are such a small part of the population.

I, like Ann have a gay son, I also have in-laws who are firmly convinced that he is living in sin- and I see their point. Me, I am just puzzled by how it came about. The son is "married" and they have kids. They are good parents and if you met either of the partners on the street you would not guess they are gay.

I think the Republican party needs to tame some of the rhetoric about gays, because I believe the majority of those who lean R are of the live and let live school. Though I must say that having LGBT issues shoved in my face daily arouses a negative reaction.

Terry said...

Frederson, without viewing the exact claim Billington made, it is hard to say what calculation she was making. She did not say death by aids, according to Althouse's article. She said death from homosexuality. Homosexuality is associated with a number of pathologies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Hagar said: The "gay rights movement" does for gays what "black lives matter" does for blacks.

Annoy, irritate and distance people who otherwise didn't have any animus towards either group and who in most cases have been tolerant or didn't even care much one way or the other about the groups?

Are counterproductive to achieving the movement's goals?

Freder Frederson said...

Frederson, without viewing the exact claim Billington made, it is hard to say what calculation she was making. She did not say death by aids, according to Althouse's article. She said death from homosexuality. Homosexuality is associated with a number of pathologies.

Her "stats" are bullshit. 1 in 5 (20%) American deaths are caused by smoking. That would mean that 40% - 60% of all American deaths are from "homosexuality". Look at the stats. She, and her numbers, are full of shit.

Paul Snively said...

What rhharding said at 7:43 and Lauderdale Vet said at 8:21. We insist on making everything a matter of politics, often at the most encompassing level (Federal) possible, and then wring our hands because, gosh, this leads to political conflict. Most people in most places are perfectly happy to tolerate differences, granted that arriving at a pattern of toleration that works for everyone concerned may take both time and compromise on all sides. Politicizing social issues just turns them into festering wounds, e.g. abortion and, to a lesser extent, the death penalty. Let free people figure out for themselves what the "right answers" are.

FullMoon said...

Freder Frederson said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Aren't both of these claims arguably true?

Certainly not the cigarette claim. 480000 people die from cigarettes in the U.S. every year (one in five of all deaths)
.

One in five deaths? Twenty percent of ALL deaths. Think about that statement. Fairly stupid. If that is true, why are cigarettes legal.

Freder Frederson said...

One in five deaths? Twenty percent of ALL deaths. Think about that statement. Fairly stupid. If that is true, why are cigarettes legal.

Good question. But look at the stats. Half of all deaths are from heart disease, cancer, stroke and respiratory disease, all of which can be caused or exacerbated by smoking.

Terry said...

So, Frederson, you know her claim is bullshit without knowing exactly what she claimed. Sounds like bigotry to me.
I can find no reference to this other than the short mention in the article. Gay people do tend to smoke more than hetero people, so maybe she was including that stat, somehow.

eric said...

Heart disease,cancer, strokes and respiratory disease didn't exist before there was smoking. And doesn't exist among non smokers.

boycat said...

As Glenn Reynolds at Insty put it just this morning, "Remember: Every 4 years the GOP nominee is literally Hitler. A few years later — sometimes, as in Mitt Romney’s case, as few as 4 years after he was accused of giving a woman cancer — that formerly-Hitler nominee becomes the standard of once-great GOP nominees to which the current nominee fall short."

So just give Trump a few years and he'll be golden.

Terry said...

Blogger Paul Snively said...
Let free people figure out for themselves what the "right answers" are.
7/11/16, 9:39 AM

But they will come up with the wrong answers! They may decide that homosexuality is a sin or that they just don't like Black people! Unless they are Black themselves. Then it would be okay.

FullMoon said...


Blogger Freder Frederson said...

One in five deaths? Twenty percent of ALL deaths. Think about that statement. Fairly stupid. If that is true, why are cigarettes legal.

Good question. But look at the stats. Half of all deaths are from heart disease, cancer, stroke and respiratory disease, all of which can be caused or exacerbated by smoking.


Can be caused by? Not exactly the same as "are caused by, is it.? These fantastic numbers are a stretch by anti-smoking lobby. If a car full of people die in an accident while the driver is smoking a cigarette, those deaths will be added to the statistic.I will go out on a limb and suggest most deaths are caused by old age.

Terry said...

If the lifespan of the average homosexual non-smoker was the same as the lifespan of the average heterosexual smoker, couldn't you say that being homosexual is as dangerous as smoking?

Terry said...

Homosexuality: as dangerous -- and as exciting! -- as race car driving.

Michael K said...

"Who exactly has been threatened with jail for not accepting gay marriage?"

Not here yet but it is coming if Hillary is elected.

An American evangelist said he was arrested and interrogated about his Christian faith after he was caught on a London sidewalk preaching that homosexuality is a sin.

Tony Miano, a retired deputy sheriff and former chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept., was charged with “using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult.”

Miano had been preaching on a London street corner during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships with a ministry group called Sports Fan Outreach International.


“I never used any gay slurs,” he said. “You would never hear me using slang or discriminatory language against homosexuals or any other group. That would be contrary to my faith.”


And Canada has other examples.

And Sweden is another example.

It's coming.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

From a pro-choice perspective, selective exclusion seems normal. After normalizing the "final solution", Planned Parenthood, and politically correct classes in the transgender spectrum disorder (e.g. homosexual orientation), liberalism has paradoxically set limits on progress.

Terry said...

Perhaps, as we progress and evolve further, we will discover that homosexuality is a bad thing.

JAORE said...

FF, based on your comment above (i.e. can = does) and a number of prior comments, you appear to fall into the category of people who do not understand statistics even in a rudimentary fashion; conflate correlation with causation and are bad at math.

You would have a promising career in journalism.

Static Ping said...

Golly, I wonder what Obama's and the Clintons' views on such things was only a few years ago. Ah, the joys of short memories.

mockturtle said...

Clearly, Trump promotes tolerance and inclusion, contrary to what the media would have us believe. He is certainly not anti-immigrant, as we have so often been told--just insistent that immigration be LEGAL. He has erected the 'big tent' that the GOP always claimed to want and they don't like it.

walter said...

and we all known how strictly adhered to the Republican party platform is...

walter said...

But it's easier on Trump to burn time on this issue as opposed to him having stated "I know Hillary and I think she'd make a great president or vice-president."

MikeR said...

Wow - someone wrote that one in five deaths are caused by smoking, without stopping to think that the claim was way impossible?
Take this as a teachable moment.

Chuck said...

Is that it, with you and Trump, Professor Althouse?

I have long suspected, Professor, that you have been soft on Trump because you privately viewed him as being soft on social conservative and culture war issues.

And in all fairness to you, I think that you were perfectly entitled to draw that conclusion from Trump's history. It is the same conclusion that I drew, from the beginnings of the Trump campaign.

I think Trump cares about Trump. And what we get to know about Trump, is only what Trump wants us to know. Anything to counter the Trump narrative will be dealt with in a punishing fashion by Trump.

The culture wars are something that Trump only wants to deal with on Trump's terms. He is the candidate of border wars, and not culture wars, as I pointed out from a recent Reason cover story.

Trump doesn't care about platforms, and less about platform committees. Platform, schmatform.

I suspect, Althouse, that you've gotten significant private joy out of the Trump ascendancy, for precisely the reason raised in this post. That Trump is going to quietly "roll" social conservatives in the Republican Party. Forever, you hope. And what better way to kill social conservatism, than to do it by way of a Republican primary campaign?

I have asked most of these questions before; never with any reply from Professor Althouse. I have also asked why social conservatives and the Religious Right haven't worked overtime to kill the Trump campaign. I don't understand; it has been clear to me all along, that Trump was a major threat to social conservatism. That, in addition to asking why anyone would ever believe that Donald Trump would self-fund a campaign of $50 million or $500 million or $1 billion. And in addition to asking why anyone would ever think that Trump would win a general election.

As long as I've gone this far in "suspecting" you, Professor Althouse; I suspect that you don't much care who wins in November, and that on balance you might prefer that Hillary Clinton, and not Trump, pick the next three associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, but that more than anything, the victory you seek is the one you see Trump gaining: the death, from within the Republican Party, of any vesitges of opposition, to the national normalization of homosexuality in all legal and social contexts.

mockturtle said...

I have also asked why social conservatives and the Religious Right haven't worked overtime to kill the Trump campaign. I don't understand; it has been clear to me all along, that Trump was a major threat to social conservatism.

Some of us don't believe that social issues, like gay rights, should be federally mandated, either for or against. Abortion is another matter, as it involves the killing of an innocent human being.

Unknown said...

Ultimately, Chuck, the answer is this: LGBT "rights" and their agenda, are doomed. Why? Because truth will out, and homosexuality is something that has no benefits but a heck of a lot of very, very, significant downsides.

Gay sex, bluntly, will kill you. There's plenty of studies out there. The average lifespan of a homosexual male is about the same as a heroin addict. That's before you consider AIDS; which only makes the lifespan issue worse. Very, very few homosexual males live over 80 or so.

But even setting aside the horrors of the actual practice, the main reason LGBT issues are doomed is because they are being played for fools by the left. Given the choice between gays and Muslims, we've already seen how its Muslims that win. Once cowering to Islam is official Democrat policy, the gays will be on their own; and I'm not sure how much political capital Christians will be willing to burn to help them. Not after all the targeting of Christians the LGBT's are currently doing.

Remember, the Nazi's killed gays in the camps. The LGBT types lecture us endlessly on how bad they had it back then. But before that, they were highly favored politically by the Nazi party... Ernest Rohm, for instance, was very very high up. Until it became politically convenient to no longer be gay friendly, that is.

History is repeating itself.

-- Vance

Freder Frederson said...

Can be caused by? Not exactly the same as "are caused by, is it.?

For all your bellyaching that there is no way that smoking is the cause of 1/5 of all deaths in the U.S., please provide a study (not some stupid CATO article that says these people would have died anyway even if they didn't smoke) that has a "more reasonable" estimate of the death toll from smoking (as far as you are concerned). Hell, I don't even care if the study was funded by Phillip Morris.

Chuck said...

Some of us don't believe that social issues, like gay rights, should be federally mandated, either for or against. Abortion is another matter, as it involves the killing of an innocent human being.


Then you should have been profoundly offended by Lawrence v Texas and Hodges v Obergefell. Both of which federalized areas of the law which had been governed by the several states since before 1776.

Obergefell didn't merely involve a group of federal judges overturning a state statute on supposed 14th Amendment grounds; that decision involved a small group of federal judges substituting their views for what had been contained in the state constitutions of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Where legislative supermajorities and wide majorities of statewide electorates had decided on legal definitions of marriage.

And you also have an issue with Justices Thomas and Scalia, who wrote that they viewed the Texas anti-sodomy law in Lawrence as an "uncommonly silly" law, but they'd no sooner decide that federal law proscribed such a law, than they would presume that federal law required such a law.

So, mockturtle, I don't know what sort of point you were trying to make, but it sure doesn't come close to working with me. You might want to try it on Professor Althouse, who sneered at the social conservatives, "You lost," after the U.S. v Windsor decision on DOMA.


MadisonMan said...

Gay sex, bluntly, will kill you. There's plenty of studies out there. The average lifespan of a homosexual male is about the same as a heroin addict. That's before you consider AIDS; which only makes the lifespan issue worse. Very, very few homosexual males live over 80 or so.

Lesbians ignored, as per usual.

mockturtle said...

Chuckles, try to imagine how little I care about scoring points with you. :-) There are conservatives, myself included, who would like to see the states retrieve their Constitutional rights from the overreach of the feds.

Chuck said...

mockturtle said...
Chuckles, try to imagine how little I care about scoring points with you. :-) There are conservatives, myself included, who would like to see the states retrieve their Constitutional rights from the overreach of the feds.


And that aspect of federalism, was precisely the point of the dissents in Lawrence and Obergefell. The ones I cited. Authored by the justices who are so profoundly admired by conservatives.

You seem to really want to find some way to disagree with me, even when I am making your own point better and more carefully than you are.


Oso Negro said...

Blogger MadisonMan said...
Gay sex, bluntly, will kill you. There's plenty of studies out there. The average lifespan of a homosexual male is about the same as a heroin addict. That's before you consider AIDS; which only makes the lifespan issue worse. Very, very few homosexual males live over 80 or so.

Lesbians ignored, as per usual.


Lesbian sex bores you to death.

FullMoon said...

nknown said...


Gay sex, bluntly, will kill you. There's plenty of studies out there. The average lifespan of a homosexual male is about the same as a heroin addict. That's before you consider AIDS; which only makes the lifespan issue worse. Very, very few homosexual males live over 80 or so.


Straight, and not an addict. If I start doing heroin now, can I expect to extend my years to over 80, or so? Anticipating death in early to mid seventies now. Current average lifespan for white males is 76 years.

BTW, any heroin dealers here in SF bay area can give fellow commenter a good deal?

FullMoon said...


Blogger Freder Frederson said...

Can be caused by? Not exactly the same as "are caused by, is it.?

For all your bellyaching that there is no way that smoking is the cause of 1/5 of all deaths in the U.S., please provide a study (not some stupid CATO article that says these people would have died anyway even if they didn't smoke) that has a "more reasonable" estimate of the death toll from smoking (as far as you are concerned). Hell, I don't even care if the study was funded by Phillip Morris
.

Pretty sure I saw a study that claims most people who have died did not smoke cigarettes. Apparently, many people died before cigs were invented.

FullMoon said...

Pilot who dropped bomb on Hiroshima sMoked Lucky Strikes.


"THOUSANDS DIE DUE TO CIGARETTES"

Unknown said...

How does this sound reasonable?

http://www.hrc.org/2016RepublicanFacts/donald-trump

Donald Trump: Opposes Nationwide Marriage Equality

Donald Trump has been a consistent opponent of marriage equality. While he once said he supported protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace by adding sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, more recently he expressed support for the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would expose LGBT people to more discrimination.

Marriage : Trump has been a consistent opponent of marriage equality. He said that he opposed it because he was a “traditional” guy, choosing to support domestic partnership benefits instead. Trump later reversed himself and said he also opposed civil unions. Despite a brief flirtation with “evolving” in 2013, Trump has consistently maintained his opposition to marriage equality, sometimes by citing polling and making an analogy to his dislike of long golf putters. After the Supreme Court ruling, Trump said the court had made its decision and, although he disagreed with the ruling, he did not support a constitutional amendment that would allow states to re-ban marriage equality. He later said he would appoint Supreme Court judges who would be committed to overturning the ruling.

Static Ping said...

Freder Frederson said...
For all your bellyaching that there is no way that smoking is the cause of 1/5 of all deaths in the U.S., please provide a study... that has a "more reasonable" estimate of the death toll from smoking....


That's not really how it is supposed to work. If you are going to make factual statements, you should really know if your facts are true or not. Nonetheless, according to the CDC you are correct:

Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.

The actual number is actually a bit less than 20%, but not by much.

Now, whether I believe these numbers or not I do not know. The 20% number tracks too close to the actual number of current smokers (17%) for my taste. It can be rather difficult to pinpoint the cause of a disease, so this may simply be a count of all the people who smoked and died of some disease tied to smoking. Or it may be a count of all people who died who smoked, which would be useless. Or this may be an estimate which makes the number even more useless. I haven't dug into it. One can certainly argue that smoking shortens lives and I would agree with that argument, but not everyone who smokes dies of smoking. One can also argue that government agencies are motivated to exaggerate health threats to increase funding, which I also agree. The thing is few people care since they know smoking is dangerous and has been scientifically proven to be dangerous.

mockturtle said...

Ernest Rohm, for instance, was very very high up. Until it became politically convenient to no longer be gay friendly, that is.

As I understand it, Rohm's assassination was due to pressure on Hitler regarding the SA and its role and the homosexual activity angle was just a cover. Hitler had no beef whatever with Rohm's sexual bent.

John Henry said...

I know it is CDC putting out the 20% of all smokers die etc claim. I just glanced at it on the CDC site and it looks like it may be bogus. (Maybe, maybe not, I've not looked closely). What makes it suspicious is that they claim 42,000 annual deaths from second hand smoke which is a bogus claim.

Perhaps they attribute all deaths to people who smoke to smoking. That is kind of like the case where a man with AIDS was run down by a car and his death was called "AIDS related". The numbers work work out that way. 20-25% of all people smoke, 20-25% of all deaths would be smokers. Not necessarily smoking related, though.

It's kind of like the bogus claim that smoking "causes" lung cancer. It does not except for certain bizarre definitions of "causes".

more than 90% of smokers do not get lung cancer.

I believe the figure is a bit more than 9% for smokers. The figure for non-smokers is a bit more than 4%.

Seems to me that a <10% chance of something is far from a cause and probably not something I would worry overmuch about. Whaddya? Wanna live forever?

I used to be a smoker but quit in 1971.

John Henry

MikeR said...

"Now, whether I believe these numbers or not I do not know. The 20% number tracks too close to the actual number of current smokers (17%) for my taste[Italics mine]. It can be rather difficult to pinpoint the cause of a disease, so this may simply be a count of all the people who smoked and died of some disease tied to smoking. Or it may be a count of all people who died who smoked, which would be useless."
Again, this number is wrong. It must be wrong. If the CDC lists it, that should reduce anyone's respect for the CDC. This is the kind of bad number-handling that gives statistics a bad name.

Michael K said...

"including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure."

This number is clearly bullshit and more evidence of the politicization of epidemiology.

The original study was of Japanese wives, who were nonsmokers living in 500 square foot apartments with heavy smoking husbands.

The extrapolation has been political ever since.

John Henry said...

Michael K,

The CDC or perhaps the NIH or another similar agency has tried to prove that second hand smoke causes health issues. I agree with you that the claims are bogus.

The study "proving" this that I am most familiar with was actually a "meta-study". They took 27 studies, none of which found any statistically significant health issues related to 2nd hand smoke.

Somehow, after concatenating all 27 studies, they found that the meta-study showed that there were statistically significant health issues.

No doubt the meta-study was peer reviewed!

Torture the data long enough and it will confess to whatever you want it to confess to.

John Henry

Michael said...

Trump has gay friends. Of course he does, he owns hotels and clubs that have to be designed and decorated and he lives on the island of Manhattan. His statement employs the most excellent "fabulous friends." Excellent.

Jon Ericson said...

Hi, Just a technical note.
There are at least two "Unknowns" still commenting after last night's purge.
At least one of them is rational.
Could the rational one(s) please indicate this somehow, like signing "Joe Blow" at the bottom of his/her comment?
Just tossing that out there for the rational "Unknowns".
I realize there may be a technical reason for some commenters to be stuck with the name "Unknown".
I see Vance is ahead of me on this. A Rational Man indeed!

Anthony said...

For decades, Democrats have been telling us Republicans to nominate a moderate, by which they mean a social-issues moderate. Now that we have, the Democrat hotels of outrage are even louder than usual.

jr565 said...

Trump was probably pro gay marraige before either Barack OR Hillary.

Unknown said...

Good news for the NeverTrumpers.

http://www.redstate.com/absentee/2016/07/11/breaking-va-never-trump-delegate-bound-vote-trump-law-says-judge/

"BREAKING: VA ‘Never Trump’ Delegates NOT BOUND To Vote Trump By Law, Says Judge

Today the court ruled in favor of Carroll "Beau" Correll in his lawsuit alleging that Virginia law binding delegates is unconstitutional."

mockturtle said...

There are at least two "Unknowns" still commenting after last night's purge.
At least one of them is rational.


Maybe Unknown is the same person but has a split--or even multiple--personality. ;-)

Michael K said...

"Torture the data long enough and it will confess to whatever you want it to confess to.


Long ago, when I was still doing marine biology, a Phd candidate told me the rules.

First, you find a place you want to go. Then, you become an expert on something that is only found there.

He spent many hours SCUBA diving in Truk Lagoon. He became the world expert on venomous sea animals.

I can't remember his name but he had a marvelous career.

Terry said...

Blogger John Henry said...
Michael K,

Somehow, after concatenating all 27 studies, they found that the meta-study showed that there were statistically significant health issues.


For some reason I no longer remember, I once had to spend a lot of time studying a Canadian research paper that explored the link between left-handedness and lesbianism. It was a meta study, and the author was honest enough to spend some time exploring the problem with trying to reach a conclusion with a meta study. The author noted that she was using three surveys taken over a thirty year period, and that the individual surveys used different methods of determining who was a lesbian and who was left handed (I was surprised to learn that biometric determinations of 'handedness' often contradict what people self report).
Anyway, the author was brave enough to admit that, depending on how she weighted the different surveys, lesbians were either no more likely than heterosexual women to be left handed, or had a 90% greater chance of being left handed than a heterosexual woman (e.g., 3.8% of lesbians would be left handed, compared to 2% of heterosexual women).