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Part II - Tobacco Taxes and Tobacco Settlements

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The smoking affair... the road to oblivion for the democratic state

(4th edition - May 2008) by A.O. Kime
arrow for information on 'renting' this article, see Rent-a-Article

Tobacco and the failed states (part I) - (part II) - (part III)

There is always more than one way to express one’s disgust over a contemptuous issue… and the excessive taxes levied on cigarettes offers a wealth of ways. The matter reeks of wrongdoing; it is entirely discriminatory and the justification for it is not only veiled but clearly insane. It is insane, after all, to let political correctness ride herd over inalienable rights. It is a road to oblivion for the democratic state.

The exorbitant tax rate which the states have levied on cigarettes is shameful, despicable, cruel and unjust. It is the worst case of government trampling on the rights of citizens in the last 40 years. However, if to exclude racial discrimination, then it is the worst case since the ban on alcohol came into force in 1920 (‘prohibition’ lasted until 1933).

The tobacco affair is the brainchild of oblique omnipotence.
The tobacco affair is madness of historic proportions.

In addition, the conduct of most state governments concerning the disposition of both their windfall from the tobacco settlements, plus the additional revenue raised from subsequent taxes, continually piled atop one another, is steeped in unbridled deceitfulness… being not a case about health as they claim, but instead being a case of states balancing their budgets on the backs of smokers. By any measure… this is incredibly unfair.

It is unbridled deceitfulness because it is unchecked deceitfulness. America’s prosecutorial presence for oversight has been nonexistent. By any standard of justice, it reflects a failed state… and the failed states within America are now in the majority.

It is a crystal clear fact... tobacco taxes have nothing to do with getting people to stop smoking.

It began with deceitfulness.
It will end in despotism.

Within most states, only a small fraction of the tobacco tax revenue goes towards smoking prevention programs and virtually nothing to help smokers directly with smoking related illnesses… see tobaccofreekids.org (external website)

While it doesn’t equal the Tuskegee syphilis study, a dreadful medical experiment preformed by the Public Health Service on 400 poor black men in and around Tuskegee, Alabama from 1932-1972, it’s of the same callousness. The callousness which exists today may not be as openly wicked but state-sponsored callousness is an ominous signpost which points to Rome.

Human rights

These tobacco taxes are even more unjust than the taxes imposed by King George III on the American colonies which prompted the revolution. A taxman reaching across an ocean is not nearly as bad as one singling out a minority for punishment. Due to this unjust act of singling out a group to pay a disproportion share of taxes... we’re talking about human rights.

In a very real sense, any tax rate greater than the standard tax rate equates to tribute.

So too, it is as cruel as the benefits denied World War I veterans.
So too, it is as shameful as Teapot Dome and Watergate.
It is a despicable act.

Taking advantage of a person’s addiction is despicable... so too is placing an additional burden on retirees living on social security. Most older folks can't break their 40 or 50 year-old habit. Diverting the proceeds away from the suffering (as the awards were originally intended) is likewise despicable.

As for any non-smoker who might be unsympathetic to this, they should realize where this will lead. It will ultimately affect all Americans… it’s the tip of the iceberg in a tyrannical sea.

Imagine soon ten bucks for a can of beer and $200 for a bottle of vodka. It will happen. Like smokers, alcoholics will soon provide the states with millions more addicted, thus captive taxpayers. It would be another revenue bonanza for the states… now addicted themselves to this proposition. Yes, the states finally discovered their magic formula - tax the hell out of anything addictive. This will assuredly be followed by increased taxes on medications (more captives) and someday taxes for the air you breathe. Oxygen, after all, is addictive. Sex is addictive and for some… chocolate.

Who’s to blame? It isn't the state apparatus itself per se, it must follow the law, but laws created by self-serving legislators who go along to get along, or who sold out… the former describes a disgusting weakness in character, the latter being 'despicability' itself. In this case, it was the insurance companies they prostituted themselves for… the scourge of humanity. The legislative chambers have become the breeding grounds for despicability and now contain its purest forms. Traitorous lackeys they are, most all of them.

While children should always be discouraged from smoking… this is the roll of parents, not the state. As for adults, many, if not most, can’t quit anyway. It is highly addictive and the state knows this. They lie when they say otherwise… now financially dependent on smokers not quitting. If the legislators knew smokers would quit over exorbitant taxes after the first few months, they wouldn’t have chanced raising them. They want a consistent revenue source.

The rising crime rate over tobacco legislation

Witness also the rising crime rate over cigarettes… more robberies, more muggings, and increasingly worldwide… deaths. The states have merely created another environment in which violence can flourish… perpetually. As was the case during Prohibition and within America's current imbecilic drug war, we can now add innocent bystanders to the list of alcoholics, drug addicts and smokers who die prematurely. Except… gambling with death wasn’t quite the lifestyle these innocent bystanders had in mind.

Daily, from all around the world the reports of violence over tobacco come in… except, that is, from Mexico, Central and South America. South America is the only continent not caught up in this global madness. Why? It is a case of cultural differences (Spanishness). In this case, the commitment of the Spanish-speaking people to such personal liberties. Americans go play there for that very reason… to experience their more numerous and more liberal freedoms.

Simply put, the frenzied madness over tobacco isn’t entirely universal. While a few Asia-Pacific countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines) have adopted this anti-smoking craziness, along with a couple half-hearted Asian and African countries, this historic odyssey of a dysfunctional nature is occurring mainly within western societies. Except, the dysfunctional people fanning these flames shouldn’t be called Australians, Englishmen or Americans… they are, in effect, Inquisitionists. Inquisitionists are the type of people which comprised both the Spanish Inquisition and the mobs during the Salem witch hunts. Amongst themselves, they make illogical thought fashionable.

The Spanish-speaking people, on the other hand, apparently recall the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition and are determined not to repeat it. Whether it is church dogma or anti-smoking dogma, it’s all about the majority telling a minority what they must do. Except... majority rule seldom reflects justice (in reference to successful anti-tobacco voter initiatives).

Meanwhile, governments are taking advantage of this insanity and profiting. While serving the interests of these Inquisitionists, the justification for the state's attack on tobacco isn’t for the same reason. The states are motivated by money, not health concerns. With America having cleared the way, it’s now open season on the tobacco companies. It’s also about extorting an industry with deep pockets which is at odds with political correctness.

It is equally bereft of reason to tell substance abusers they aren’t permitted to gamble with their own life when it is perfectly legal for them to starve or freeze to death. Often the states will even standby and watch. One can even commit suicide without fear of prosecution.

The war on tobacco is craziness of epic and historic proportions.

In the end, it is the substance abuser who voluntarily takes the associated risks, gambles with their life expectancy… not so the innocents. The innocents, therefore, assuredly working hard towards a full and rewarding life, pay the dearest price. Their deaths are ultimately the fault of the legislators… it would be poetic justice if these traitorous lackeys were the bystanders instead.

On the other hand, it would be a slightly different matter if the states were spending 100% of their tobacco tax proceeds on educational campaigns about the dangers of smoking, and truly assisted those suffering from smoking related illnesses. They might then claim nobleness… but that isn’t the case. Not even close. The Texas House of Representatives was at odds with its Senate recently because it earmarked 5% of the tobacco money for tobacco prevention programs. The House didn’t want any going towards these programs… zero, nada, zilch.

The futility in counseling smokers

Some states, of course, would point out the fact they now have a host of counselors to help people stop smoking... except there are so few they couldn’t host a wedding party. Further, the success rate of counselors is no greater than that of witch doctors. Counseling, as a profession, is a state-sponsored but failed profession. Aside from hiring a few of these nonproductive people for show, the windfall from the tobacco settlements, plus the additional income from the excessive taxes on cigarettes, is purposed for bloated budgets instead.

Counseling certainly won’t help the dying, and seldom helps those who see an advanced age as a fate worse than an early death. Many people don’t wish to become, as they see it, 'old and decrepit'. After all, the quality of life usually diminishes with age. Education, however, can help young people make informed decisions. What they do thereafter is their business.

The states must absolutely forget trying to meddle in the personal affairs of adults… after all, even parents learn you can't dictate to grown children without alienating them. The states, therefore, are flirting with alienation. Further, like alcohol and drugs, cigarettes can’t be legislated away. Besides, death is inevitable for everyone… and the states certainly can’t guarantee a more pleasant death than dying from lung cancer. Yet, they should... if the states want to rearrange the causes of death, then a guarantee aught to come with the territory. Yet, curiously too… the states won’t advertise the fact you would then die from something else. So, if not from lung cancer, how else to die? Will the suffering be less?

While the hereditarily-vulnerable people run the greatest risk of getting lung cancer, even those smokers who aren't so vulnerable largely agree smoking isn't a good habit for a variety of reasons... mainly because it's unhealthy and messy. Nonetheless they enjoy smoking. They love the taste and smell of tobacco. It helps them relax. However, in the end, it doesn't matter how smoking weighs-in as a habit, whether bad or not-so-bad, the decision to smoke rightly belongs to the individual... not the state. As for smoking on the job, that decision rightly belongs to the employer.

While we all know smoking is largely unhealthy, as would be from slugging it out in a boxing ring, or from working in a Kentucky coal mine or from overeating, it isn't all bad. There exists a couple of health benefits.

Nicotine and sepsis

Aside from nicotine tempering one's anxiety due to stress, a natural remedy which eliminates the need to pop a bunch of pills which often cause dangerous side effects, invariably the case for 'engineered' medicines, it has been demonstrated that smokers are less likely to develop sepsis which accounts for 9.3% of the deaths in the U.S. annually. Sepsis is the third leading cause of death in developed countries and the first cause of death in intensive care units.

So, in effect, aren't the states telling its citizens “don't gamble with lung cancer but with sepsis instead”?

While nobody can ‘save’ lives, only try to extend one’s life-expectancy, as a doctor would, but when the state gets involved in this… it creates a danger to all liberties. For example, if a long and healthy life for its citizens is the goal of the states, then wouldn't it be inconsistent to allow skydiving, a life-threatening sport? What about waterskiing, mountain climbing and other sports which occasionally produce a death? What about the countless sports injuries? Consistent with this goal, these sports are in danger of being outlawed. After all, like the smoker, alcoholic and drug addict, sports enthusiasts also gamble with death. Meanwhile, joggers take their chances with getting mugged and a bag of candy could kill the obese. Even a lack of exercise is hazardous to your health... the Surgeon General issued a warning to that effect in 1996.

Yet, gambling with death is thrilling for many people, so much so it is practically a national pastime… evidenced by racecar drivers, daredevils and stunt pilots. Likewise, smokers gamble… knowing full well the risks. Never was there a smoker born who never knew the risks. "Live for today", many think, "for tomorrow may never come".

However, if legislators can emphatically state that sports are not in danger of being outlawed, then this is further proof smoking laws are not about health. While a counter argument might be; "the state is attacking smoking because it is the biggest health risk", the point is... if the state's health concerns are indeed sincere, then which pastime will be next? If true, then there MUST be something next. Except it isn't true, it's about money. The anti-smoking lobby just gave the states a great excuse, albeit the pretext, under which to exploit an addiction. Either way, whether it's about health or not, it spells big trouble. All pastimes are either in danger of being banned for health and safety reasons, or exploited because of their addictive and pleasing nature.

While everyone wants the safest possible car, and while much of the credit can go to the government for safer cars, which would include credit for the additional lives saved because of the mandated seatbelts, there must be a limit placed on this authority. It can’t be carte blanche otherwise all dangerous sports and activities are in peril. Smoking is just one such activity.

With this agenda, flirting with death will become outlawed.
With this agenda, those with anorexic nervosa will be force-fed.
With this agenda, the obese will be forced to exercise.

Without changes, you can make book on it happening.

Twenty years ago we smokers wouldn’t have believed what we’re seeing today. Myself, I started smoking in 1954 and don’t want to quit. I like smoking. Since I rarely drink anymore, normally just an occasional glass of wine, smoking is now the only ‘vice’ I have. I should be allowed to enjoy it without having to pay tribute. The state has no right to penalize me for it… only a failed state would sing that song.

Non-smokers who also sing that song will soon regret it.

Secondhand smoke and Pandora's box

So what about the dangers from secondhand smoke? It’s all baloney... these faulty studies were conducted by the biased anti-smoking lobbyists.. behind which lurk the insurance lobbyists. These 'studies' are now aptly being called advocacy science (external website). Even if it were true, those so easily affected, so fragile, shouldn’t be in public without a mask. After all, they’re more likely to catch their death of cold. That’s because people with head colds and the flu still freely mingle in public places… infecting nearly everyone nearby. Flu can be deadly to the elderly… not so a whiff of smoke. Being that the state ignores this is more evidence tobacco legislation is absolutely not about health.

These arguments will fall on the deaf ears in government however. Most legislators would consider them merely academic because they have no interest in making laws which are logical or just anymore… it’s all about raising revenue wherever they can. Nowadays, in looking for a quick-fix for a budget problem, they continually open Pandora's box. As a result, treachery often escapes.

America, being a nation of states having gone legislatively awry, now judiciously out-of-step by any measure, perhaps a needed king will soon rule America to straighten things out. Perhaps it's time for America to take her chances on a monarchy… after all; even a bad king could do no worse.

As was the case during the Civil War, the term ‘traitor’ will be in vogue once again.

Lawmakers hast diluted man's meaning of free,
added more water hence to weaken life's glee.
From tears of frustration in crying for hope,
grows a sour apple tree with a dangling rope.
A.O. Kime

A good king would destroy many undeserved reputations and legacies too… except for honorable men such as Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin… he having recently ordered the tobacco tax money subsequently collected by his treasury department for untaxed cigarettes purchased over the Internet returned to the purchaser. It was bureaucratic exuberance squashed.

Bravo, Governor Doyle!! It is indeed the duty of the retailer to either collect or account for state taxes! It was a step in the right direction. He needs now only assure his tobacco tax rate is reasonable.

UPDATE: It seems Doyle's sense of justice was short-lived. On January 24, 2007 he proposed a tax increase of $1.25 for a pack of cigarettes saying he would dedicate the funds to pay the cost of tobacco-related illness. Yeah, right.

Most state governments would be dissolved as well. Due to the deceit surrounding the tobacco settlements from the get-go, plus the diversion of this unprecedented windfall of revenue, clearly one for the history books, fashioned now into a forever-lasting symbol of greed, the king may only allow the state governments of Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee to survive… although as a result of further investigation some of these might be extinguished as well.

History has taught us how much kings hate insubordination and the states have been, after all, insubordinate. Our constitution says so. Out of 50, all but a few are now failed states. Strange cognizance... a king needed to save democracy.

Smokers... the disenfranchised minority

As was the case in many southern states before, during and after the Civil War, the state governments are once again violating civil liberties... this time by targeting smokers for punishment, a now disenfranchised minority. After all, a minority is a minority… race happens only to be one reason a ‘minority’ might exist. It is, therefore, once again time for the federals to exercise their jurisdictional powers as authorized by the 14th Amendment.

So to hell with states rights! We shouldn’t let the states fashion democracy into yet another form of despotism. The only reason this is occurring however is because accountability wasn't adequately addressed by our founding fathers. About treason unfortunately, the American Constitution only states this in Article III, Section 3:

Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Accordingly then, ‘adhering to their enemies’ (‘their’ meaning the ‘states’ as separate and independent) and ‘giving them aid and comfort’ are the only two ways one could be treasonous… nothing at all was put forth, unfortunately, about sabotaging the constitution and passing unconstitutional laws are nothing less than acts of sabotage. For any law later found unconstitutional by the courts, the responsible legislators must be seen as traitors and dealt with as such.

For upon thy house it always rains,
washes asunder all peaks to plains.
Lest fly an eagle, teeth of a wolf,
eateth will evil holes in thy roof.
A.O. Kime

Decisions shouldn’t depend on what other states or countries do about reining-in their madness either. The first needed step is for the state to reduce the exorbitant tobacco tax rate to a reasonable rate. A 'reasonable rate' would seemingly mean the standard rate plus an additional amount which ONLY covers the costs of tobacco-related programs (although the best choice is all expenditures come out of the general fund). Secondly, while seemingly apropos for government buildings, all these intrusive non-smoking laws aimed at private establishments should be nullified. They are a fundamentally wrong... their existence makes a mockery out of 'property rights'. Further, non-smoking regulations for bars and restaurants aren’t what the majority want anyway... period. If it were true, regulations wouldn’t have been necessary… profit-minded business owners would have quickly filled that need. It it were true, bars and restaurants wouldn't be failing because of it.

In that there is wickedness in majority rule, majority rule cannot be an alibi.
In that political correctness is akin to majority rule, it cannot be an alibi.
What then is the alibi of the states?
What were our legislators thinking?

While the exorbitant tax rate on cigarettes doesn’t equal the brutality of tyrants, except… punishing people for smoking would have been unthinkable even for Stalin. Only Puritans, religious zealots and do-gooders think otherwise. They, not tyrants, pose the greatest danger to personal freedoms.

Legislators just don't seem to understand the power of freedom anymore either. Little do they know it is medicine from the gods for much of what ails society. It may work slower but only because it works systemically. Unlike quick-fixes that are short-lived and have horrid side-effects, the medicinal properties of freedom will last forever. With legislators ignoring history is the main reason we have failed states.

Resorting to despotism

The power of freedom is often forgotten however, it isn't just a recent curiosity. Proof of this lies in the fact it doesn’t matter which political faction survives a conflict… the end result is always the same. All institutions resort to despotism eventually. Let the realities serve as testimony... freedoms always become diluted or disappear altogether. The political systems of mankind can't seem to advance beyond being a game of who gets to be boss. And, as usual, the tragedies only beset the citizens of these ideologies.

The remedy? A constitution with teeth.

The liberties which these so-called democratic states have taken, both literally and jurisdictionally, are proof of a failed system. Justice, once considered the foundation of democracy, has been replaced by avaricious expediency. Justice is now only the veneer... window-dressing.

Wandering aimlessly was man’s system of rules,
'twas legislated entire by shortsighted fools.
With freedoms forsaken, hence cast to the sea,
lost in avariciousness were veracity and thee.

Pity too thy pleasures, for going up in smoke,
sins torched by the state for wearing no yoke.
From judicial insanity and a reasoning absurd,
history will cuss tyranny for losing the herd.
A.O. Kime

Unless the states sooner redeem themselves, this audacious meddling into the private lives of its citizens, it will soon prove America the most domineering state since Spain was during the Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834). That does not mean 'oppressive' in a brutal sense however. There are countless other countries which deserve that title. Still, it is the enforcement of standards over morality and habits. While a brutally oppressive state is much worse, a domineering one will take much the joy out of living. Instead of killing its citizens... America saps their juices instead. This explains much of the substance abuse in America... it's a means of escape. Overall usage (substance abuse) is a barometer of the social ills and tighter controls only worsens them.

The role of the state is to administer the needs of its citizens regardless of their unique customs and habits. To make uniform and mother is not the role of the state… only small men, zealots, busybodies, communists and state employees would believe otherwise.

A.O. Kime

"A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes, will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished; and that the perfection of machinery to which it has sacrificed everything, will in the end avail it nothing, for want of the vital power which, in order that the machine might work more smoothly it has preferred to banish." John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

"Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs." --- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

"It is curious to me that while so many voices, pens, minds, in the press, lecture rooms, in our Congress, etc., are discussing intellectual topics, pecuniary dangers, legislative problems, the suffrage, tariff and labor questions, and the various business and benevolent needs of America, with propositions, remedies, often worth deep attention, there is one need, a hiatus the profoundest, that no eye seems to perceive, no voice to state. Our fundamental want today in the United States, with closest, amplest reference to present conditions, and to the future, is of a class, and the clear idea of a class, of native authors, literatures, far different, far higher in grade, than any yet known, sacerdotal, modern, fit to cope with our occasions, lands, permeating the whole mass of American mentality, taste, belief, breathing into it a new breath of life, giving it decision, affecting politics far more than the popular superficial suffrage, with results inside and underneath the elections of Presidents or Congresses-- radiating, begetting appropriate teachers, schools, manners, and as its grandest result, accomplishing (what neither the schools nor the churches and their clergy have hitherto accomplished, and without which this nation will no more stand, permanently, soundly, than a house will stand without a substratum), a religious and moral character beneath the political and productive and intellectual bases of the States. For know you not, dear, earnest reader, that the people of our land may all read and write, and may all possess the right to vote-- and yet the main things may be entirely lacking?" --- Walt Whitman (1819-1892) (from Democracy's Need)

Last modified: 04/30/16