Gut Rumbles

August 03, 2007

Typical political bullshit

Originally published March 15, 2002

I really didn't believe President Bush would pursue this idiotic idea because it was so perfectly Clintonian, but Bush appears eager to throw the full might of the federal government behind it. The nanny state is alive and well in the Bush White House.

I smoke cigarettes. I know my nasty habit does terrible harm to my health, probably trims years from my life, and makes the last breath from my lungs when I die smell like Marlboro Menthol Light 100s to a non-smoker, which is worse than me killing myself slowly. I may irritate delicate nostrils when I expire and offend somebody.

Well, SCREW THEM, and I hope I offend a lot of people by writing that statement. I LIKE cigarettes. I am fully aware of all the risks to my health, and I accept them. If I am diagnosed with lung cancer tomorrow, I will throw rocks at any lawyer who shows up at my door to sue a tobacco company on my behalf and make me a quadzillionaire if I only will say how those evil merchants of death fooled me, lied to me and made me ignorant as a dirt clod for thirty years. Nobody fooled me. Nobody lied to me. I am not ignorant. I am a free man and I made a choice. It may be a choice others disagree with, but it's not THEIR choice. It's MINE. And I will live (or die) with it. And I AM OFFENDED when any self-appointed nanny wants to take that natural right away from me.

Because I believe that way, my government feels compelled to treat me, and everyone like me, as a child in need of a strong Uncle Sam to steer him right. We have mullahs in this country. Some work for special-interest groups, but a lot of them are attorneys, politicians and regulators who OBEY the special interest groups. If this obnoxious lawsuit succeeds, tobacco companies will cave and do whatever the government dictates and smokers such as myself will pay the price. The world immediately will become a better place because there will be less smoke-- and less freedom, too.

The idea of discouraging youth smoking by making half a cigarette pack contain a health alert has to be a brain-fart cut by someone who never raised a teenager. Put a skull and crossbones on one side of the pack and a color picture of a cancerous lung on the other, and teenagers who DON'T SMOKE will want to carry that full-fledged, flip-the-bird token of defiance in their shirt pockets for all their friends to see.

Besides, the original states' Attorney's General extortion racket, excuse me..."lawsuit," against Big Tobacco reaped billions of dollars that were supposed to be used to pay for all those increased healthcare costs smokers inflict on society (we never speak of the non-smoker with Alzheimer's who lives to be 95 and all the costs THAT person generates while smokers have the good grace to die young and leave the "Social Security Trust Fund" richer for the contributions they made and never collected) and to discourage teenage smokers. That was the moral high ground from which a bunch a crafty crooks cold-bloodedly fleeced a legitimate business. Once they had the money, they abandoned the high ground and went straight to the gutter. A few attorneys became overnight billionaires for very little work. States took their windfalls and spent it like kids in a candy store. Healthcare costs and anti-smoking programs, the justifications for the suits to begin with, went right out the window when the money arrived.

Now we discover that some of the states so devestated by Big Tobacco took their extortion money and invested in tobacco companies. All the better to discourage teenage smoking, no doubt.

This entire affair is obscene and it's not over yet.

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