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Betting All On Hegemony; Risking All, To Stave Off Ruin

Betting All On Hegemony; Risking All, To Stave Off Ruin

Authored by Alastair Crooke,

The West is too dysfunctional and weak now to fight…



Betting All On Hegemony; Risking All, To Stave Off Ruin

Authored by Alastair Crooke,

The West is too dysfunctional and weak now to fight on all fronts. Yet there can be no retreat without some de-legitimising humiliation of the West.

Just occasionally, a window is opened onto the truth of how the ‘system’ works. Momentarily, it stands naked in its degeneracy. We avert our eyes, yet, it is a revelation (though it shouldn’t be). For, we see clearly how tawdry has been the attire which clothed it. ‘Liberalism’s’ seeming success – almost wholly an ephemeral PR production – serves only to make its underlying internal contradictions more obvious; more ‘in your face’ – much less credible.

This unravelling speaks to a failure to satisfactorily resolve liberal modernity’s inherent contradictions. Or, rather its unravelling derives from the choice to resolve a waning legitimacy, through an ever more totalistic and ideological reaching for hegemony.

One such window has been the sordid affair of the UK pandemic lockdowns – as revealed by a paper trail leak of 100,000 ministerial WhatsApp messages, managing the lockdown project.

What did they show (in the words here of pro-government leading political commentators)? An ugly picture of how a western Establishment interacts in adolescent sniping at each other, and in its utter disdain for the populace.

Janet Daley writing in The Telegraph:

“It [lockdown] wasn’t about science, it was about politics. That was obvious as soon as the government began talking about following The Science – as if it were a fixed body of revealed truth … they were engaged in a deliberately misleading campaign of public coercion. The programme was designed to frighten – not inform – and to make doubt or scepticism appear morally irresponsible – which is precisely the opposite of what science does”.

“The model for the monumental government programme in which sitting on a park bench, or meeting with extended family, became a criminal offence – was the nation at war. Horrifying levels of social isolation were deliberately designed to present the country as mobilised in a collective effort against a malign enemy. Much of this went way beyond what we generally regard as authoritarianism: even the East German Stasi did not forbid children from hugging their grandparents, or outlaw sexual relations between people who lived in different households. Every other consideration had to be relegated in a heroic national struggle against an invading army whose objective was to kill as many of us as possible. And this enemy was particularly insidious because it was invisible”.

Sherelle Jacobs:

“We have been granted a rare glimpse of Power’s true nature away from the media gaze: how, in private, it schemes, swears, sulks and derides. On full display are all its dismal paradoxes: its fierce megalomania and constant seeking of reassurance from political aides; its tendency to groupthink and relentless sniping.

“One feels a new cold solidarity with 1970s [Watergate] America in its horror at the “low-grade quality of mind” that characterised their political class. But perhaps the strongest parallel with Watergate is that … the state’s operations seem suffused with humdrum nihilism. It is there in the amused crusades to “scare the pants” off people. It is in the deadpan mocking of holidaymakers locked up in quarantine [hotels] (“hilarious”). It is in the remorseless dedication to “the narrative”.

“How zealously the state threw themselves into implementing draconian measures, once it had decided at HQ that lockdowns were the correct populist call. We have come to learn how Hancock (Health Minister) conspired to “sit on” scientists, who he denounced as “wacky” or “loudmouth” for defying the official lines. We must digest the knowledge that civil servants insisted the “fear/guilt factor” was “vital” in “ramping up the messaging” during the dubious third lockdown. Just as unedifying is the revelation that, in the run up to this lockdown, politicians seized on a new variant as a tool to “roll the pitch with”. Perhaps most galling is Patrick Vallance’s (Scientific Adviser) advice that the Government should “suck up the media’s miserable interpretation of scientific data” to then “overdeliver” in an atmosphere of cranked up fear”.

Fraser Nelson:

“We see the PM appallingly served and briefed. Almost suspiciously so. At one stage, he is so in the dark about Covid’s fatality rate that he misinterprets a figure by a factor of one hundred. [Yet] the most revealing moment came in June 2020, when the mild-mannered Business Secretary, argued for certain rules to be advisory rather than compulsory. At this stage, Covid circulation had plummeted – deaths had fallen by 93 per cent from the peak: “Why is she against controlling the virus”, the minister complains. She is motivated by pure Conservative ideology! The Cabinet Secretary retorts [i.e., she is libertarian].

“The Lockdown Files include thousands of attachments sent between ministers. When I first came across them, I hoped to find high-quality top-level secret briefings. Instead, ministers were sharing newspaper articles and graphs found on social media. The quality of this information was often poor, sometimes abysmal”.

The ‘Lockdown Files’ – as published in the UK by The Telegraph – expose a toxic culture where any minister or civil servant asking “awkward” questions knew they were liable to be briefed against, sidelined or ostracised. ‘Off the boil’ Members of Parliament thought to oppose lockdowns were placed on a secret Red List, and the then Health Secretary’s aide wrote, “these guys’ re-election hinges on us: We know what they want”.

But the Files reveal something even more chilling. What was the overall public response to the publication of the files?

Plainly said: It is that a majority of the people are so numbed and passive – and so in lockstep – as the state inches them through a series of repeating emergencies towards a new kind of authoritarianism, that they don’t fuss greatly, or even notice much.

To be clear, the Lockdown episode is iconic of this new schema of control effected through hegemony, ideology and tech. Autonomy for the individual – and his or her search for a life, lived with meaning – now is displaced by its opposite: The instinct to subjugate and dominate, and to impose order on an inchoate and seemingly threatening world.

The surveillance-based liberal managerial state has, as Arta Moeini has written, ballooned into “a totalistic and aspiring globe-spanning Leviathan”, fraudulently disguised in the feel-good casing of liberal democracy – the key liberational elements of which, having been long replaced by their antonyms, in an Orwellian inversion.

To be clear: All the excesses of state power that occurred in the UK during the pandemic were permitted within the realms of the Western political system. The state may at any time suspend the rule of law for what it deems the greater good. The pandemic merely exposed the workings in extremis of liberal democracy – channelling Carl Schmitt’s notion of a “state of exception” being the source-code to state ‘sovereignty’ over the populace.

In this ethical vacuum, and with the capsize of societal meaning, western politicians can only snipe coarsely at one-another, Lord of the Rings-style, whilst hoping to surf whatever ‘the narrative’ and the media ‘play’ of the day can ‘up their level’ in the power matrix. To be blunt, in its lack of any deeper guiding principle, it is purely sociopathic.

However, in pushing the pendulum of the liberal schema so hard over towards the hegemony extremity, it has caused the other end to the spectrum of the overall liberal schema to catch fire: The demand to respect individual autonomy and freedom of expression. This antithesis is particularly apparent in the U.S.

Liberalism was conceived during the early French Revolution as a project of systemic liberation from oppressive social hierarchies, religion and cultural norms of the past, so that a new order of liberated individualism could come into being. Rousseau saw it as a radical clean break from the past – a disembedding of the individual from family, church and cultural norms, so that he or she could better evolve as a unitary component to a redeemed universal governance.

This was the meaning to liberalism in its early phase. However, the subsequent Reign of Terror and mass executions under the Jacobins signaled the schizophrenic connection between ‘liberation’ and the desire to force compliance on society. The persistent appeal of violent revolution versus imposed (Utopian) ‘redemption of humanity marks the two oppositional poles to the western psyche which today is being ‘resolved’ through the tilt to ‘hegemony’.

This inherent tension between the radical liberation of the individual and a conformist ‘world order’ was to be resolved via ‘new universal values’: Diversity, gender and equity – plus restitution awarded to the victims for earlier discrimination suffered. This ‘liquid modernity’ was thought to be ‘globally neutral’ (in a way that Enlightenment values were not), and therefore could underpin the western-led World Order.

The contradiction inherent to this was too evident: The Rest of World sees the ‘liberal’ order as an-all-too obvious device to prolong western power. They refuse its ‘missionary’ underside (this aspect was never present outside the Judeo-Christian Sphere), and the claim that the West should determine what values (whether Enlightenment or Woke) by which we all must live.

The non-West observes rather, a weakened West and no longer feels the need to offer fealty to a global ‘overlord’. The meta cycle of enforced westification (from Petrine Russia, Turkey, Egypt – and Iran) is over.

Its mystique, its thrall is gone, and though lockdown compliance in the UK (and Europe) was indeed achieved through ‘project fear’, the success came at the expense of public trust. To be plain: the authority of Authority in the West increasingly is distrusted – at home, as overseas.

The crisis of liberalism’ contradictions and waning authority deepens.

Carl Schmitt’s other two mantras were firstly, to keep power: ‘Use it’ (or lose it); and secondly, configure an ‘enemy’ as polarising and as ‘dark’ as possible in order to keep power – and to keep the masses fearful and compliant.

Hence, we have seen Biden – lacking an alternative – resorting to radical Manichaeism to bolster Authority against his domestic opponents in the U.S. (ironically casting them as enemies of ‘democracy’), whilst using the Ukraine war as the tool by which to cast the West’s war on Russia too, as an epic struggle between the Light and Dark. These Manichean ideological source-codes for now, dominate western liberalism.

But the West has put itself into a trap: ‘Going Manichean’ puts the West into an ideological straight-jacket. It is a crisis of the West’s own making. Put bluntly, Manichaeism is the antithesis to any negotiated solution, or off-ramp. Carl Schmitt was clear on this point: the intent of conjuring up the blackest of enmities, precisely was to preclude (liberal) negotiation: How could ‘virtue’ strike a bargain with ‘evil’?

The West is too dysfunctional and weak now to fight on all fronts. Yet there can be no retreat (without some de-legitimising humiliation of the West).

The West has gambled all on its fear-led, ‘emergency-crisis’ managed ‘control’ system to save itself.

It’s hopes now are pinned on its ‘Beware! The big boss has gone angry-mad’ act; he might do anything’, which it hopes will cause the world to back-off.

But the Rest of World is not backing off – it is becoming more assertive. Fewer believe what the western Élites say; fewer still trust their competence. The West has recklessly ‘placed its bet’; it may lose all. Or, more dangerously, in a fit of anger, it may kick over others’ gaming tables.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/15/2023 - 03:30

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What Follows US Hegemony

What Follows US Hegemony

Authored by Vijay Prashad via,

On 24 February 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a…



What Follows US Hegemony

Authored by Vijay Prashad via,

On 24 February 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a twelve-point plan entitled ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’.

This ‘peace plan’, as it has been called, is anchored in the concept of sovereignty, building upon the well-established principles of the United Nations Charter (1945) and the Ten Principles from the Bandung Conference of African and Asian states held in 1955. The plan was released two days after China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi visited Moscow, where he met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s interest in the plan was confirmed by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov shortly after the visit: ‘Any attempt to produce a plan that would put the [Ukraine] conflict on a peace track deserves attention. We are considering the plan of our Chinese friends with great attention’.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the plan hours after it was made public, saying that he would like to meet China’s President Xi Jinping as soon as possible to discuss a potential peace process. France’s President Emmanuel Macron echoed this sentiment, saying that he would visit Beijing in early April. There are many interesting aspects of this plan, notably a call to end all hostilities near nuclear power plants and a pledge by China to help fund the reconstruction of Ukraine. But perhaps the most interesting feature is that a peace plan did not come from any country in the West, but from Beijing.

When I read ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’, I was reminded of ‘On the Pulse of Morning’, a poem published by Maya Angelou in 1993, the rubble of the Soviet Union before us, the terrible bombardment of Iraq by the United States still producing aftershocks, the tremors felt in Afghanistan and Bosnia. The title of this newsletter, ‘Birth Again the Dream of Global Peace and Mutual Respect’, sits at the heart of the poem. Angelou wrote alongside the rocks and the trees, those who outlive humans and watch us destroy the world. Two sections of the poem bear repeating:

Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sang and sings on.

History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

History cannot be forgotten, but it need not be repeated. That is the message of Angelou’s poem and the message of the study we released last week, Eight Contradictions of the Imperialist ‘Rules-Based Order’.

In October 2022, Cuba’s Centre for International Policy Research (CIPI) held its 7th Conference on Strategic Studies, which studied the shifts taking place in international relations, with an emphasis on the declining power of the Western states and the emergence of a new confidence in the developing world. There is no doubt that the United States and its allies continue to exercise immense power over the world through military force and control over financial systems. But with the economic rise of several developing countries, with China at their head, a qualitative change can be felt on the world stage. An example of this trend is the ongoing dispute amongst the G20 countries, many of which have refused to line up against Moscow despite pressure by the United States and its European allies to firmly condemn Russia for the war in Ukraine. This change in the geopolitical atmosphere requires precise analysis based on the facts.

To that end, our latest dossier, Sovereignty, Dignity, and Regionalism in the New International Order (March 2023), produced in collaboration with CIPI, brings together some of the thinking about the emergence of a new global dispensation that will follow the period of US hegemony.

The text opens with a foreword by CIPI’s director, José R. Cabañas Rodríguez, who makes the point that the world is already at war, namely a war imposed on much of the world (including Cuba) by the United States and its allies through blockades and economic policies such as sanctions that strangle the possibilities for development. As Greece’s former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said, coups these days ‘do not need tanks. They achieve the same result with banks’.

The US is attempting to maintain its position of ‘single master’ through an aggressive military and diplomatic push both in Ukraine and Taiwan, unconcerned about the great destabilisation this has inflicted upon the world. This approach was reflected in US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s admission that ‘We want to see Russia weakened’ and in US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s statement that ‘Ukraine today – it’s going to be Taiwan tomorrow’. It is a concern about this destabilisation and the declining fortunes of the West that has led most of the countries in the world to refuse to join efforts to isolate Russia.

As some of the larger developing countries, such as China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Indonesia, and South Africa, pivot away from reliance upon the United States and its Western allies, they have begun to discuss a new architecture for a new world order. What is quite clear is that most of these countries – despite great differences in the political traditions of their respective governments – now recognise that the United States ‘rules-based international order’ is no longer able to exercise the authority it once had. The actual movement of history shows that the world order is moving from one anchored by US hegemony to one that is far more regional in character. US policymakers, as part of their fearmongering, suggest that China wants to take over the world, along the grain of the ‘Thucydides Trap’ argument that when a new aspirant to hegemony appears on the scene, it tends to result in war between the emerging power and existing great power. However, this argument is not based on facts.

Rather than seek to generate additional poles of power – in the mould of the United States – and build a ‘multipolar’ world, developing countries are calling for a world order rooted in the UN Charter as well as strong regional trade and development systems. ‘This new internationalism can only be created – and a period of global Balkanisation avoided’, we write in our latest dossier, ‘by building upon a foundation of mutual respect and strength of regional trade systems, security organisations, and political formations’. Indicators of this new attitude are present in the discussions taking place in the Global South about the war in Ukraine and are reflected in the Chinese plan for peace.

Our dossier analyses at some length this moment of fragility for US power and its ‘rules-based international order’. We trace the revival of multilateralism and regionalism, which are key concepts of the emerging world order. The growth of regionalism is reflected in the creation of a host of vital regional bodies, from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), alongside increasing regional trade (with the BRICS bloc being a kind of ‘regionalism plus’ for our period). Meanwhile, the emphasis on returning to international institutions for global decision-making, as evidenced by the formation of the Group of Friends in Defence of the UN Charter, for example, illustrates the reinvigorated desire for multilateralism.

The United States remains a powerful country, but it has not come to terms with the immense changes taking place in the world order. It must temper its belief in its ‘manifest destiny’ and recognise that it is nothing more than another country amongst the 193 members states of the United Nations. The great powers – including the United States – will either find ways to accommodate and cooperate for the common good, or they will all collapse together.

At the start of the pandemic, the head of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged the countries of the world to be more collaborative and less confrontational, saying that ‘this is the time for solidarity, not stigma’ and repeating, in the years since, that nations must ‘work together across ideological divides to find common solutions to common problems’.

These wise words must be heeded.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/19/2023 - 23:30

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Spread & Containment

“True Stories… Could Fuel Hesitancy”: Stanford Project Worked To Censor Even True Stories On Social Media

"True Stories… Could Fuel Hesitancy": Stanford Project Worked To Censor Even True Stories On Social Media

Authored by Jonathan Turley,




"True Stories... Could Fuel Hesitancy": Stanford Project Worked To Censor Even True Stories On Social Media

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

While lost in the explosive news about Donald Trump’s expected arrest, journalist Matt Taibbi released new details on previously undisclosed censorship efforts on social media. The latest Twitter Files revealed a breathtaking effort from Stanford’s Virality Project to censor even true stories. After all, the project insisted “true stories … could fuel hesitancy” over taking the vaccine or other measures. The effort included suppressing stories that we now know are legitimate such as natural immunity defenses, the exaggerated value of masks, and questions over vaccine efficacy in preventing second illnesses. The work of the Virality Project to censor even true stories should result in the severance of any connection with Stanford University.

We have learned of an ever-expanding coalition of groups working with the government and social media to target and censor Americans, including government-funded organizations.

However, the new files are chilling in the details allegedly showing how the Virality Project labeled even true stories as “anti-vaccine” and, therefore, subject to censorship. These files would suggest that the Project eagerly worked to limit free speech and suppress alternative scientific viewpoints.

Taibbi describes the Virality Project as “a sweeping, cross-platform effort to monitor billions of social media posts by Stanford University, federal agencies, and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs.”

He added: “We’ve since learned the Virality Project in 2021 worked with government to launch a pan-industry monitoring plan for Covid-related content. At least six major Internet platforms were ‘onboarded’ to the same JIRA ticketing system, daily sending millions of items for review.”

According to Taibbi, it targeted anyone who did not robotically fall in line with the CDC and media narratives, including targeting postings that shared “Reports of vaccinated individuals contracting Covid-19 anyway,” research on “natural immunity,” suggesting Covid-19 “leaked from a lab,” and even “worrisome jokes.”

That included evidence that it “knowingly targeted true material and legitimate political opinion, while often being factually wrong itself.”

The Virality Project warned Twitter that “true stories … could fuel hesitancy,” including stories on “celebrity deaths after vaccine” and the closure of a central New York school due to reports of post-vaccine illness.

The Project is part of the Cyber Policy Center at Stanford and bills itself as “a joint initiative of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Stanford Law School, connects academia, the legal and tech industry and civil society with policymakers around the country to address the most pressing cyber policy concerns.”

The Center launched the Project as a “a global study aimed at understanding the disinformation dynamics specific to the COVID-19 crisis.”

As with many disinformation projects, it became a source of its own disinformation in the effort to suppress alternative views.

It is being funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and the Hewlett Foundation.

On its website, it proclaims: “At the Stanford Internet Observatory our mission is to study the misuse of the internet to cause harm, and to help create policy and technical mitigations to those harms.” It defines its mission to maintain the truth as it sees it:

“The global COVID-19 crisis has significantly shifted the landscape for mis- and disinformation as the pandemic has become the primary concern of almost every nation on the planet. This has perhaps never happened before; few topics have commanded and sustained attention at a global level simultaneously, or provided such a wealth of opportunities for governments, economically motivated actors, and domestic activists alike to spread malign narratives in service to their interests.”

What is even more disconcerting is that groups like the Virality Project worked against public health by suppressing such stories that are now considered legitimate from the efficacy of masks to the lab origin theory. It was declaring dissenting scientific views to be dangerous disinformation. Nothing could be more inimical to the academic mission. Yet, Stanford still heralds the work of the Project on its website.

There is nothing more inherently in conflict with academic values than censorship. Stanford’s association with this censorship effort is disgraceful and should be a matter for faculty action. This is a project that sought to censor true stories that undermined government or media narratives.

I am not hopeful that Stanford will sever its connection to the Project.  Censorship is now the rage on campuses and the Project is the perfect embodiment of this movement. Cloaking censorship efforts in self-righteous rhetoric, the Project sought to silence those who failed to adhere to a certain orthodoxy, including scientific and public health claims that were later found flawed or wrong. The Project itself is an example of what it called “media and social media capabilities – overt and covert – to spread particular narratives.”

Stanford should fulfill its pledge in creating the Virality Project in fighting disinformation by eliminating the Virality Project.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/19/2023 - 17:55

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Royal Caribbean Officially Makes Controversial Change

The cruise line has made a controversial change that some passengers will love while others will be angry.



The cruise line has made a controversial change that some passengers will love while others will be angry.

During the early days of the cruise industry's comeback from the covid pandemic, Royal Caribbean outlawed smoking in the casino. At the time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) required passengers to wear masks in public areas of the ship except when eating or drinking while stationary.

Smoking was, at first, a sort of loophole. People would smoke in the casino and remove their masks (or at least move them to the side) while playing slot machines. That basically meant that unlike drinking, where your mask could be moved and then replaced for a sip, smokers were essentially not wearing a mask.

DON'T MISS: Carnival Cruise Line Comments on a Possible (Very) Adult Change

Royal Caribbean (RCL) - Get Free Report closed that loop by fully outlawing smoking in its casinos while masks were still required. That was something that smokers weren't happy about, but probably understood given how large a role the CDC was playing in setting cruise ship rules.

Once the CDC stopped requiring masks (and regulating cruise ships at all), Royal Caribbean reverted to its pre-pandemic smoking policies. That meant that every casino on its ships had a smoking section. Technically, smoking is only allowed when actually playing a slot machine, but that's hard to enforce and the casinos quickly filled back up with smoke.

Now, the cruise line has officially made a long-rumored move that should make non-smokers really happy while angering a whole different group of the cruise line's passengers.

Image source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Oasis-Class Ships Getting Non-Smoking Area

Wonder of the Seas, the newest member of Royal Caribbean's Oasis class was originally built to sail out of China. It was moved to Florida due to the covid pandemic which created a sort of happy accident for non-smokers.

The ship was built with a secondary casino that was originally intended as a high rollers room. Once the ship was repurposed to sail from the United States, that smaller casino was shifted from an area designed to cater to big-money players into a non-smoking casino.

For months, it has been rumored that the cruise line would turn the "Jazz on 4" space -- the same location as the non-smoking "Golden Roon" on Wonder of the Seas -- into similar non-smoking casinos. Royal Caribbean never commented on those rumors, but it did warn passengers on some sailings that service in the Diamond Lounge, an area next to Jazz on 4 reserved for Diamond and higher members of the company's loyalty program, would be disrupted due to construction.

The results of that construction have been revealed on another Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas. Johnny Travalor shared pictures of the new casino in a Facebook group for fans of Royal Caribbean's casinos.

"The brand new non-smoking casino on Harmony officially opened today and I have been here since the opening playing, donating!" he shared.

That's not official confirmation that all Oasis-class ships will have Jazz on 4 turned into a non-smoking casino, but all signs point in that direction.

Royal Caribbean Makes Some Passengers Mad

No change on a cruise ship will make all passengers happy. Some Royal Caribbean gamblers have suggested that the non-smoking area, which is much smaller than the original casino, should be the smoking area.

"Maybe once they see the non-smokers are bursting at the seam in that space and the smoking casino isn’t as crowded they will reverse it," Barb Boyer Green shared.

"That should be the smoking room...seems like the non-smokers are being put in a closet," Maureen Ethier added.

Not all passengers, however, are upset because of the size of the non-smoking area. Some are lamenting the loss of Jazz on 4, which hosted live jazz music.

"I think this is an overall loss, with now an entertainment area being taken over on this ship. I always enjoyed the jazz club and this will do nothing for the smell of the ship, net loss for all passengers" Justin Rogers wrote.

"It was our fav such a sad day. It was our escape, great talent, romantic, not another venue like it. Such a shame," added Julia Doumad.

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