Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Blogging, CHICAGO BEARS, Government, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:37 am


Your government has just taken a gigantic step toward regulating your life in ways that today, can only dimly be understood.

The senate passed a bill yesterday giving the Food and Drug Administration the power to “limit nicotine in the cigarettes that kill nearly a half-million people a year, to drastically curtail ads that glorify tobacco and to ban flavored products aimed at spreading the habit to young people.”

Sounds great, eh? The New York Times thinks so:

After more than a decade of struggle — and countless smoking-related deaths — the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill on Thursday that gives the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products. The House approved a similar bill in April, also by an overwhelming margin. The days when this rogue industry could inflict its harmful products on Americans with impunity are drawing to a close.

This is an enormous victory for public health. For that, we owe thanks to tireless advocacy by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a nonprofit organization, and strong endorsements from medical groups.

A “rogue industry?” An “enormous victory for public health?” All this just to keep tobacco products out of the hands of our children?

Not exactly:

It still might not have passed without the decision by Philip Morris, the industry leader, to accept regulation. The company apparently believes it can thrive better under regulation than its competitors, who complain that it will now be much harder for them to introduce new products to challenge Philip Morris’s dominance.

The bill is not perfect. It will not allow the F.D.A. to ban cigarettes or nicotine — a concession made years ago to avoid drawing intense opposition from smokers and free-market advocates. But the agency will still have far-reaching powers.

Yes, the New York Times likes nothing better than granting any government agency “far reaching powers.” And cheering on the monopolistic practices of Philip Morris and their cynical acceptance of regulation so that they have a leg up on their competitors is truly public spirited legislation, don’t ya think?

It’s just too bad that the cowardly bastards didn’t have the guts to do what their weeping, wailing, emotionally charged rhetoric about the dangers of cigarettes to kids would lead one to believe they support; a total ban on the growing, manufacture, sale, and use of tobacco products. Even the Times admits they are cowards, terrified of facing the wrath of smokers and free market supporters. But if the product is that dangerous - and it is - by allowing this hypocrisy to continue, Congress and the feds are complicit in the deaths of half a million smokers a year, at least by their reasoning. If they can regulate the product in ways that almost no other product in America is regulated, they can certainly ban it. If nicotine is going to be classifed as a “dangerous drug,” then why not ban it the same way that crack cocaine or heroin is banned?

The fact is, the government cares more about the tax money they are getting from smokers than the citizens who are dying as a result of using the products. And every time they make a move like this and say “it’s for the kids” I am going to call them out on their hypocrisy.

It’s not about “the kids.” It’s about power; the power to regulate, control, and influence the lives of private citizens. And it’s only the beginning.

You might be nodding in satisfaction at the fact that the government can tax smokers who have freely chosen to light up into penury. Many of you may even find satisfaction in the way local municipalities have violated the property rights of smokers by banning smoking in their own condos or apartments. Perhaps many of you think nothing of banning smoking in one’s personal auto. And who cares if a municipality wants to ban smokers from lighting up in their own back yard?

Not my ox being gored, right? Wrong. What the Obama has in store for you smug, self righteous, anti-smoking zealots will make what the government has done to smokers pale in comparison.

Man, I am going to do a sack dance when the health Nazis Obama has hired start coming after you:

Don’t be fooled by the presidential burger runs. Obama and Congress are moving across several fronts to give government a central role in making America healthier — raising expectations among public health experts of a new era of activism unlike any before.

Any health care reform plan that Obama signs is almost certain to call for nutrition counseling, obesity screenings and wellness programs at workplaces and community centers. He wants more time in the school day for physical fitness, more nutritious school lunches and more bike paths, walking paths and grocery stores in underserved areas.

The president is filling top posts at Health and Human Services with officials who, in their previous jobs, outlawed trans fats, banned public smoking or required restaurants to provide a calorie count with that slice of banana cream pie.

Even Congress is getting into the act, giving serious consideration to taxing sugary drinks and alcohol to help pay for the overhaul.

To some, it smacks of a “nanny state on steroids” — but for others who fret that America is turning into one big Overeaters Anonymous meeting, Obama’s prescription is like a low-fat dream come true.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Obama is welcoming into his administration the exact same fanatics we have been calling “health Nazis” or “health nannies” for the last 25 years. He is enabling an assault on personal freedom the likes of which have never been seen in America.

Granting the FDA power to regulate tobacco companies is only the beginning. While HHS will handle the administration of the national health care program, the FDA will become the strong right arm of the government, clubbing the food industry into changing what we eat, and bullying consumers into eating “healthy.” Why? Because the government will see this as one of the primary ways to bring down the cost of health care. Cramming “healthy” food down the throats of citizens will be an easy way to reduce the use of health services - so the thinking goes.

How far will they go? Well, certainly taxing “inappropriate” food products will be first on the list. The government needs money obviously, and what better way to get it than to make a soda as expensive as cigarettes? How about $5 for a Twinkie?” Ice cream will be a luxury item. Gone from parties will be chips and dip, foie gras (already banned in Chicago restuarants), crackers and cheese. Otherwise, hostesses will have to take out a second mortgage just to get the money to fund their soirees.

After the taxes will come the minute examination of ingredients. Trans fat will be out, of course. Most preservatives will be a thing of the past (eat quickly). Food dyes? Uh-uh. A trip to the grocery store will become a regimented activity.

Exaggerations? I think mostly yes. At least in the near future. But who knows what justifications the government will use 10 years from now? Or 20? This is a classic slippery slope and to believe that people who have advocated the most draconian measures to control the lives of individuals when it comes to their idea of “health” won’t take advantage of the enormous power the Obama administration is granting them, is a pipe dream. Given the frightening deficits over the next 10 years, who knows how high the taxes will go on products the government deems aren’t “good for you?”

If nothing else, as bureaucrats, they will follow the long standing dictum that in order to continue to receive increases in funding, they have to prove they are needed. This leads to all sorts of bureaucratic mischief as we have seen in the past with other agencies, other departments.

Yes, it is petty and childish of me to look forward to the day when those who have approved of government restrictions on the individual freedom of smokers get their comeuppance. But if you would have been forced to put up with the crap I have had to just to enjoy a perfectly legal product that I choose to use, you might be a little more understanding.

Note: A word about the false premise that smokers drive up the cost of health care and therefore, increased taxes are necessary. Actuarial figures show that smokers live almost 20 years less than non smokers. Because of that, health care dollars spent on non smokers during their lifetime far exceed the amount spent during a smoker’s lifetime.

And if that were justification, why not tax and regulate alcohol the same way - a drug even more addictive than crack cocaine, heroin, or nicotine? The social problems caused by alcohol alone far exceed the amount of money that the state spends on the effects of smoking. Broken families, battered wives, child abuse, crime, homelessness - the list goes on and on. But the government will never tax alcohol as high as cigarettes because distributors are huge contributors to political campaigns of both parties.

This is about power and hypocrisy - not health or the kids.


  1. Lacking a religion, ideology, close friends, a workplace or anything more than the most minimal family, I’ve had to create my own culture.

    That culture has four sacred elements: unhealthy food, whiskey, cigars and over-muscled, gas-guzzling German cars. I’m under attack on all four fronts at once.

    This is basically an assault on my culture. My faith, even. I’m going to say it’s kind of a crime against humanity. If you consider me to be part of humanity.

    Next they’ll come after comfort-waist jeans. The bastards.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 6/12/2009 @ 9:47 am

  2. Foie gras is banned because of what has to e done to the duck in order to get foie gras, not because of its health impacts.

    True - although the practice of fattening up ducks until they explode is a thing of the past.


    Comment by Russell Miller — 6/12/2009 @ 10:29 am

  3. What to do you mean “taking a giant step?”

    Am I to suppose that Rick Moran runs stop signs, doesn’t pay taxes, harbors illegal immigrants, doesn’t care where the crap goes when he flushes his toilet, keeps his children out of school because he can’t be bothered, beats his basset hound . . . you get the idea.

    To argue that a carcinogen and killer of millions — including my father, who began smoking when he was 13 — should be free of the regulation that this long-overdue legislation calls for is somehow Orwellian is plain silly.

    And the bunch o’ hypocrites name calling is sillier still. Tobacco and alcohol are not comparables. And, of course, neither is marijuana.

    You offer no evidence whatsoever to dispute the fact that alcohol related disease and social problems causes states to spend several times what they spend on smokers thus making booze a much bigger drain on the taxpayer’s purse - one the the primary justifications for excessive taxes and over regulation. And where in God’s name do I argue that smoking should be free of regulation? You just made that up.

    And yes - anyone who looks with satisfaction on these actions without advocating a ban is a hypocrite.


    Comment by Shaun — 6/12/2009 @ 10:37 am

  4. Excellent post. I disagree with only one statement: the fact that smokers live 20 years less than non-smokers does not necessarily comport with less health costs for them. Many of those young, dead smokers spent the last 5 or 10 years of their lives having surgery after surgery, chemotherapy, oxygen tanks, angioplasty, etc. The added healthcare costs associated with their smoking is astronomically high compared to those of non-smokers that are even 20 years older (I admint that I have no references to back that up, only my own anecdotal evidence).

    This government intrusion into our lives is still a terrible thing, but I’d love to see you use it as an excuse to stop smoking. We all want you around for a while.

    And non-smokers die peacefully in their beds? One in three of those over 80 will get cancer. And you can live a long time these days with heart disease. Besides, even “healthy” people in their 70’s have many more health issues than people who are already dead and buried for 10 years.

    The closer one gets to the end of their lives, the more they cause us to spend health dollars to keep them alive.


    Comment by lionheart — 6/12/2009 @ 10:46 am

  5. I think we need to do what the inuit do. Or did back in the day. When people get old and can’t keep up, we park ‘em on an ice floe and wave good-bye. Of course with global warming this is tougher to pull off. So I think we can substitute freeway media strips.

    When you get to 75, we place you on a median strip of a busy freeway. (Or toll road.) If you can get across traffic from the media strip to safety, fine. If not . . .

    Imagine the savings.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 6/12/2009 @ 11:01 am

  6. media = median. WTF? Twice I misspelled it?

    Comment by michael reynolds — 6/12/2009 @ 11:02 am

  7. A quick aside — I see that you are rather strongly opposed to a tax on sugury foods. However, if we end up with a publicly financed health-care system — which looks increasingly likely — a tax on sugary foods seems the most sensible way to finance a portion of it. Much like my own insurer increases my premiums (private-sector equivalent of taxing me) because of my excess weight.

    Comment by James H — 6/12/2009 @ 12:56 pm

  8. (Government command)Take two steps forward!
    (Me) May I?
    (Government answer)Yes.
    (Me) But there is a cliff there!
    (Government command) Do as I say!

    Comment by mannning — 6/12/2009 @ 1:12 pm

  9. Soon all the government will allow us to consume is raw vegetables. No meat, no salt, no sugar. Vegan cuisine washed down with lukewarm water. Repeat 3x daily.

    Truly not my idea of a lifestyle.

    Comment by Wramblin' Wreck — 6/12/2009 @ 2:06 pm

  10. I willingly admit that I am daft on constitutional law. But where in the constitution is the federal government granted the power to regulate consumable goods? Alternatively, where in the constitution are the states forbidden that power?

    In the absence of either of these, doesn’t the 10th amendment allow the tobacco growing states to tell the federal government to shove it up their ass?

    Be nice, ye constitutional scholars… I’m just asking a question.

    Comment by lionheart — 6/12/2009 @ 3:00 pm

  11. Safety is something the government has been doing for some time now… like making all cars have seat belts, then making laws that say we have to wear them, and then installing airbags… Oh, and building codes, the FDA (Imagine what we’d be eating if there were no regulations. Only 6 insect legs per lb is the current limit.), OSHA, flame retardent PJs, etc.

    Of course Missouri is showing the rest of the country that they are truely two faced on this issue. Big campain reminding us daily to wear a seat belt, millions spent, meanwhile the Gov. signs a law making it OK to not wear a helment on a motorcycle if you are over 20 years of age.

    Comment by KenGirard — 6/12/2009 @ 3:38 pm

  12. Several studies have shown that smokers, on the average, cost the health care system less that non-smokers. The studies are hard to find though. Another thing that the anti-smoking zealots usually gloss over also is nursing home care. Up to 80% of the patients in nursing homes are on Medicaid. Medicaid is a health care cost. My Dad, a non-smoker, spent the last two years of his life in a nursing home and we managed to keep him on private pay but it wasn’t easy. The administrator of the home told me that he was one of the few in the home on private pay.

    A question I can’t get answered is this: For years we were told that a lot of children’s asthma was caused by their parents smoking around them. So we went from nearly 70% of the adults smoking to 20% of us smoking. And children’s asthma rates are going up, up, up. Seems like they should be going down.

    I know smoking is bad for the lungs. I know it stinks. I know it costs a lot. I know that I loved it and I will miss it until the end of my life.

    Comment by Gaia's Child — 6/12/2009 @ 6:08 pm

  13. Lionheart — start from Interstate Commerce clause and work your way from there.

    Comment by James H — 6/12/2009 @ 6:29 pm

  14. James H,

    Thanks for that informative tip. Boy did that shed light on the subject! Wow… I am enlightened!

    By the way, its called the “commerce clause” not the “interstate commerce clause”.

    Of course, my comment specifically mentioned tobacco growing states, not INTERSTATE commerce. While not being a constitutional scholar like you, I was well aware of the commerce clause, as well as the federal funding clause, as well as the forced participation clause: I got all of that off Wikipedia.

    And please don’t quote anything you read on Wiki about Wikard vs. Filburn: I’ve read it too. FDR’s liberal-packed Supreme Court had one of the best ass-reamings in the history of precedence in US vs. Lopez in 1995, which was described as “the most far reaching example of Commerce Clause authority over intrastate commerce”.

    The biggest mystery of all is Scalia’s concurrence with the majority in Gonzales vs. Raich in 2005. Rarely have Rehnquist and Thomas voted opposite of Scalia, and my tiny brain does not comprehend the logic that is usually so clear in Scalia’s writings.

    I think you’ve answered my question, James. Thanks for all that information. And thanks to you too, Wikipedia.

    Comment by lionheart — 6/12/2009 @ 7:50 pm

  15. James,

    You know, sometimes I am such an asshole. As soon as I hit the “submit comment” button, I realized that you were not being snarky, you were just suggesting I do a bit of research. So I am nasty, after asking everybody to be nice to me concerning my ignorance.

    I apologize for the tone of my last comment. You did not deserve that, and I am a true asshole.

    That’s the best apology I can offer, and I do it here publicly.

    Comment by lionheart — 6/12/2009 @ 7:56 pm

  16. Please call me when the Humanoids arrive.

    For those who don’t know what i’m referring to; the Humanoids were the creation of the late SF writer Jack Williamson.

    The Humanoids were robotic creations designed to improve human life; and instead enslaved humanity with the best intentions.

    For all the hyperbole in this post the sorry state of US health will be the same in ten years.

    I just saw that clip of Rush blaming America’s health crisis on all those folks who injure themselves while exercising.

    Baloney, indeed.

    Comment by Commie Stooge — 6/12/2009 @ 8:06 pm

  17. Lionheart:

    Apology accepted.

    Comment by James H — 6/12/2009 @ 8:17 pm

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