Mayor Bloomberg says Unhidden Cigarettes in Retail Stores encourage People to Start Smoking

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 24th, 2013

Week in Review

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg knows what’s best for New Yorkers.  Lucky for New Yorkers that they have Mayor Bloomberg to be their parent.  For apparently, without him, New Yorkers would be just too stupid for their own good (see New York mayor wants to ban stores from displaying cigarettes by Jonathan Allen posted 3/18/2013 on Reuters).

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday proposed requiring that cigarettes be hidden from view in retail stores as a means to reduce smoking in what he said would be the first law of its kind in the United States…

Bloomberg, a former smoker, is accustomed to industry opposition from previous measures to improve the health of New Yorkers, including bans on smoking in most offices, restaurants, bars, parks and on beaches.

Bloomberg has also taken steps to curtail the use of trans fats and salt in the city’s restaurants. Last week a court unexpectedly struck down his attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks, in part because it did not go through the City Council. The city is appealing that ruling.

“These laws would protect New Yorkers, especially young and impressionable New Yorkers, from pricing, discounts and exposure to in-store displays that promote tobacco products,” Bloomberg told a news conference at a city hospital.

“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity and they invite young people to experiment with tobacco. This is not a normal activity,” he said…

The proposal would also increase penalties on stores that illegally resell cigarettes smuggled in from states with lower tobacco taxes, which Bloomberg said cost the city $30 million in lost tax revenue every year.

Over the last 18 months, inspectors visiting 1,800 cigarette retailers found 46 percent were selling untaxed or unstamped tobacco products, city officials said. New York City cigarettes are the most expensive in the nation at around $12 or $13 a pack after federal, state and city taxes.

Cigarettes are a funny beast.  People like Mayor Bloomberg hate them and want to make it hard for people to smoke.  But he sure loves taxing them.  And when they find cheaper out-of-state cigarettes in stores what is his concern?  That these cheaper cigarettes will make it easier for poor people to smoke?  No.  It is the lost tax revenue to the city that these poor people aren’t paying.

People aren’t smoking because they see cigarettes for sale and say, “Hmmm, smoking looks irresistibly delightful.  I must try it.”  Kids smoke because their heroes in music, television and Hollywood smoke. They look cool smoking and these kids want to look cool like them.  And grown up.  For smoking is an acquired taste.  You have to work at it before you can stand the discomfort of smoking.  But kids do it.  Because they want to look older than they are.  And cool.  Like Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, etc., look on stage with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth as they play a low-slung guitar.  That gets them the ladies.  Like the suave movie hero that gets the ladies and ends up in bed with them.  Who both enjoy a satisfying after-sex smoke.  To be cool like womanizing Don Draper.  Who starts his day with a bourbon and a smoke.  And the cool and liberated women who work with him in the Sixties that smoke.  This is why kids start smoking.  To be like the people they want to be like.  Not because they can see cigarettes for sale.

So smoking is not a ‘normal’ activity.  Well, we don’t need smoking to sustain the human race.  For it serves no necessary biological function.  So, yes, smoking is not normal.  But neither is recreational sex.  Or male-to-male sexual contact.  Which provides no biological function whatsoever.  So one would assume Mayor Bloomberg finds male-to-male sexual contact not a normal activity.  Which can result in AIDS.  According to the CDC there were approximately 16,694 adults and adolescent-men who contracted AIDS in 2011 from male-to-male sexual contact.  In the previous year AIDS claimed 15,529 lives.  Is the mayor going to place restrictions on these activities, too?  After all, he has gone after cigarettes, trans fats, salt, sugary drinks.  What’s to stop him from entering the bedroom.  After all, it’s for New Yorkers’ own good.

Now there are those on the Left who support regulating Americans in their personal life.  Because they think average Americans may not be smart enough to know better.  But where does it end?  Something to think about now that the government will be picking up the tab for our health care thanks to Obamacare.  And we will have to do pretty much whatever they tell us to do if we want some of their health care services.  And to cut costs they may try to ban certain unhealthy lifestyle choices.  From smoking.  To excessive sexual activity that can result in sexually transmitted diseases.  After all they’re banning assault rifles that claimed 323 lives in 2011.  Why wouldn’t they try to ban something that kills more people.  Like male-to-male sexual contact.

When you allow the state to ban lifestyle choices it can start with smoking and sugary drinks.  But it can end with activity behind the bedroom door.  Such as the Left is always accusing the Right of wanting to do.  But it isn’t the Right trying to micromanage our private life.  All the hostility to cigarettes and the foods we enjoy is primarily from the Left.  From those in the nanny state.  So it’s just a matter of time before the Left starts regulating our sexual lives.  Which they will claim they have the right to do.  As Obamacare gives them that right.  Because the state will now be paying for the consequences of our lifestyle choices.

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Coca-Cola denies making People Obese and Objects to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 16 Ounce Limit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 9th, 2012

Week in Review

Coca-Cola strikes back.  Attacking New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on large sizes of sugary drinks.  They say the facts don’t support the mayor’s claim.  That their fattening drinks are not making people obese.  And they have a point.  For I have seen a lot of thin-challenged people order diet drinks.  To justify their indulgence in things that are not diet (see Coke says obesity grew as sugary drink consumption fell by Bruce Horovitz posted 6/8/2012 on USA Today).

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, is pushing back against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s provocative proposal a week ago to limit to 16 ounces the size of sugary drinks that could be sold at city restaurants, theaters and street carts.

“There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity,” says Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola’s president of sparkling beverages in North America, in an exclusive interview.

In fact, Bayne says, during the period from 1999 through 2010, when obesity was rising, sugar intake from beverages was decreasing. During that period, she says, sugars from soda consumption fell 39% even as the percentage of obese kids jumped 13% and obese adults climbed 7%.

Mayor Bloomberg was unavailable, but his deputy press secretary, Samantha Levine, says Coke’s numbers have more fizz than fact.

I remember having dinner with some friends one night.  One lady in our group enjoyed a Long Island iced tea before the appetizer.  She had another one with the appetizer.  And another one with her meal.  Which was a large cut of steak and a baked potato smothered in butter and sour cream.  With a side of shrimp scampi.  She ordered a soft drink to go with her meal.  A Diet Coke.  But despite this Diet Coke which was the only soft drink she drank she was a little on the heavy side.  And by ‘a little’ I mean she probably could be included in the above statistics.

Remember the salad bar craze?  People were going to eat healthy salads instead of fattening meals.  How many of us were next to someone at the salad bar as they loaded their plate with ham, pepperoni, bacon, boiled egg, cheese, etc.  While passing over the fresh vegetables?  Then topped off their salad with two or three helpings of a creamy salad dressing?  And washing it all down with a diet beverage?  I’m sure we’ve all seen this.  Someone eating a ‘healthy meal’ that had three times the fat than in your typical fast food combo meal.

This 16 ounce limit on sugary drinks will probably not stop people from having their Long Island iced teas or eating large helpings of a delicious meal.  So the danger is that when this sugary drink ban doesn’t work they’ll expand the ban to include other fattening things.  And keep expanding it until they see a reduction in the obesity rates.  To the point where restaurants may one day become the calorie police.  Perhaps allowing you to buy a baked potato with butter or sour cream but not both. 

Don’t think that can happen?  Well, they’re trying to make restaurants, theaters and street carts the sugary drinks police.  Something no one would have believed possible a decade earlier.

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Decriminalizing Drugs and Criminalizing McDonald’s Happy Meals and Parents

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 27th, 2010

The Left Pushes to Criminalize and Tax Unhealthy Food and Lifestyles

San Francisco passed legislation banning toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals.  Because they encourage an unhealthy lifestyle.  And if there’s one thing liberal busy bodies want is for us to live a healthy lifestyle.  So they’re not food Nazis.  They just care.  They want what’s best for us.  And whether we want it or not, we should listen to them.  Because it’s for our own good.

And speaking of food Nazis, Michelle Obama isn’t one.  She just wants to step in between our kids and their parents.  Because she knows best what our kids should eat.  And to stop what is a coordinated marketing/policy assault against these kids.  Keeping them from enjoying the healthy diet they could.  If only we could broom their parents aside.

Locked in their crosshairs are sugary drinks.  And as they propose to solve every problem, they propose to solve this problem with a tax (see Sarah Palin’s nightmare: What Michelle Obama dares not propose by Stephen Stromberg posted 12/27/2010 on The Washington Post).

But everyone should favor eliminating sugar subsidies. And corn subsidies, since high-fructose corn syrup is a ready substitute for sugar. They’re expensive for taxpayers, they encourage unhealthy eating, and the benefits generally go to wealthy agribusinesses that don’t need them. A model of obviously terrible federal policy. And, given how much sugary drinks contribute to obesity and, therefore, impose costs on society that their prices don’t reflect, modest soda taxes aren’t a bad idea, either. Something like a cent and ounce, which a group of doctors, researchers and policy advocates proposed last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

And it’ll be a windfall for the federal government.  Just like those sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol.  I mean, golly, if they outlawed tobacco and alcohol, the government would take a huge pay cut.  And when was the last time you heard about government getting by on less?  Try never.  So sugary drinks will stay.  Fear not.  They just want to tax the bejesus out of them.

But it’ll be for our own good.  Because they do care for us, don’t they?

You may not feel it, but if you pay taxes, you’re subsidizing others’ unhealthy lifestyles every day, either through direct subsidy of their ingredients or through higher medical bills, the costs of which are often socialized. These policies aren’t about making bad-for-you foods unnaturally expensive. Sugary drink taxes and other such things are about not making pancreas-busting foods deceptively cheap.

Gosh, they care.  It gives you a warm fuzzy to know how much they care for our good health.

The Left Pushes to Decriminalize Drugs and Subsidize Addiction

Meanwhile, the same people who want to take toys out of Happy Meals want to help put heroin in people’s veins.  The Left is all about a managed economy but believes in an ‘anything-goes’ social policy.  Grass, smack, crank, whatever.  If you want to get high, go for it.  The Left is always floating trial balloons for decriminalizing drugs.  They’ve done it in Portugal.  And some U.S. Officials are looking to do likewise (see On the Ground: When drugs are decriminalized by Barry Hatton, AP Lisbon, posted 12/27/2010 on Facebook).  Here’s what it’s like in Portugal.

On a recent fall day Americo Nave, a 39-year-old psychologist, and two other health workers drove their white van along the main cobbled street of Casal Ventoso, a neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal, that once was synonymous with drug delinquency and a no-go area for the authorities.

So how did they clean up this drug-infested neighborhood?

About a dozen addicts, mostly unkempt men aged 20 to 40, ambled up. They were orderly and respectful. They looked frail, more in need of a hospital bed than a prison cell.

To receive fresh needles, the addicts must first drop used ones into a plastic container on the ground. In return they get a bag containing needles, swabs, little dishes to cook up the injectable mixture, disinfectant, and a condom, all paid for by charities and taxpayers.

And how has it been working?  Well, according to one homeless skeletal heroin addict.

A 37-year-old man who gave his name only as Joao said he had been consuming heroin for the past 22 years. He recalled living rough in Casal Ventoso and picking up used, bloody needles from the sidewalk to inject himself. He contracted Hepatitis C. Now he comes regularly to the needle exchange and also gets help with food and health care.

“These teams … have helped a lot of people,” he said, struggling to concentrate as he drew deeply on a cigarette.

Yes, they’re helping people.  There’s nothing like a good heroin addiction subsidized by the state to make one feel loved.

Taxing Sugary Drinks, Fast Food and Heroin – What the Left Wants

Not everyone who eats at McDonald’s gets obese.  But most people who try heroin become addicts.  An obese person may live a normal life well into their 40s or 50s.  A heroin addict has no life.  Once addicted it’s just a slow death as the body’s organs slowly fail.  And yet the Left deems that Happy Meals are bad and want to criminalize them.  While at the same time they want to decriminalize heroin.  And subsidize addiction.

You know why they want to decriminalize drugs?  For the same reasons they tax tobacco and alcohol.  And want to tax sugary drinks.  They want the tax revenue.  To try and satiate their insatiable appetite to tax and spend.  And to micromanage our lives.  Not to keep us healthy.  If they wanted that they wouldn’t have rationed our healthcare by passing Obamacare.

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