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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 25, 2007 2:02 AM. The previous post in this blog was Speaking of Whole Foods-Wild Oats.... The next post in this blog is A day late and a dollar short. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, October 25, 2007

If there was any doubt before, this seals it

As usual, I'll be quite glad when the election's over. This time around, it's the "porn" that we're getting in the mail about Measure 50 that's getting tiresome. In the last few days, we've gotten some Philip Morris money and some R.J. Reynolds money, both dumped like the contents of a stinking ashtray into our mailbox. Two different mailers. These guys will spare no expense to preserve their right to kill people through addiction.

The first "No on 50" missive was a letter in an envelope with a Salem return address traceable to the lobbyist who's putting together the anti- campaign -- not the first time. But it was signed by someone who identified herself as the owner of something called "Peppers Deli":

So what the heck is "Peppers Deli," and where the heck is it? No clue from the mailing itself, but our friends in the blogosphere are all over this. It's a little joint somewhere in beautiful downtown Lebanon, Oregon. No doubt equipped with video poker and an ample supply of cancer sticks. Here it is on Google Maps. Don't forget to stop in for a Slim Jim the next time you're down that way.

The bloggers also have Carolyn's home address in Keizer, but we're not going there.

Anyway, of all the hit pieces we've gotten from the tobacco companies about Measure 50, this one was actually the least misleading. Instead of the fake scare about the supposedly catastrophic assault on the state constitution, at least we got a reasonable version of that general argument, along with some others. They're totally unconvincing, of course, but Carolyn seems like a reasonable person.

That said, after being pounded by this Joe Camel propaganda for weeks now, I've never been more resolute about a ballot measure, and that's saying a lot. Smokes are bad, and we ought to tax them heavily and use the money for whatever the government needs it for. Kids' health insurance, fixing potholes, state troopers' pensions -- I could care less. Just do it.

If you got the same letter and you'd like to respond, here as a public service is Carolyn's contact information:

Peppers Three Inc. - 541-259-3899
2752 S Santiam Hwy.
Lebanon, OR 97355

Drop old "CC" a note, or give her a call. I'm sure she wants to hear from you.

Then yesterday comes another one. This one is right out of the Department of Redundancy Department, because we got pretty much the exact same thing, and blogged about it, a while back. But what I love about this one is the exquisite mindscrew that can come only from conscience-deprived minds like those who spout tobacco company p.r. Look hard at the image that's lurking behind the words on the cover of this flyer:

What the Dickens is that round thing in the back there, in the dim blue ink? Some sort of seal, as if it this document is being issued by some sort of official entity -- or any entity at all, other than the tobacco companies? What does it say around the outside of that circle? "Oregon Taxpayers to Stop the Measure 50 Tax Hike." Who is that, and who's paying for all their literature?

And check out the center of the "seal." What in the world is that? Some sort of courthouse, and what? Evergreen trees, because this is Oregon? And mountains? What is this supposed to be signifying? That there's some sort of court, or public agency, or church that's behind the "no on 50" movement?

Oh, and Abraham Lincoln -- he was in the last one, and here he is again!!!

What in blazes is this doing here? Did Lincoln smoke? Or is it just that he's the most respected lawyer in U.S. history? And a Republican?

People, in case you've you've never seen it before, this is the work of the devil. Save your soul and vote yes on 50.

Comments (19)

If you haven't already seen it there is a really good movie out called:

Thank You for smoking.

Its worth a rent, maybe to view if all the Election porn pays off.

The other one that is interesting is the one of Russel Crow's first movies, I can't remember the name but it is about the Chemistry major that outed the tobacco companies and the price he paid to be a whistle blower.

The R. Crowe movie was "The Insider" -- excellent. You might also be interested in a great book from the data dump that guy provided: "Ashes to Ashes." You really learn what truly execrable shits the tobacco folks are.

And I like how the people doing the mailer don't know what begging the question means.

It's a free country, the product is legal, the money WON'T go strictly for children's health care (in fact a majority of it won't go there). Give me a tax where the money will truly go to a worthy cause like that and I'll think about voting yes - until then it's just more money the government will waste. I don't smoke, but I'll be voting no.

It's a free country, the product is legal

it's a product who's only purpose is to cause damage to the health of its consumers--and *also* those nearby. the point is, it shouldn't *be* legal. thousands die from secondhand smoke each year--even the Surgeon General confirms this.

the money WON'T go strictly for children's health care (in fact a majority of it won't go there)

even if only *part* goes for children's health care, the hundreds dying each year from secondhand smoke deserve it. and why is taxing a product that's *proven* to kill and maim even bystanders a bad thing?

If you zoom into the google view, you can see that "Pepper's Deli" is part of a Chevron gas station. So CC is a cigarette retailer. Of course she doesn't want fewer buyers. But her letter doesn't bother to mention that, does it?

Why do we need M50 money?

This is very interesting,
From another blog:

"Remember the lawsuit brought against several tobacco companies by many states about ten years back?

Remember how that money was supposed to go to programs for preventing tobacco use?

Remember how that money was supposed to reimburse the states for expenses the states had incurred under their Medicaid programs for tobacco-related health care costs?

Oregon's share is $2,248,476,833.11. This year's yield from the trust is $80,381,983.32.

So, how much does Oregon spend a year on tobacco prevention? $3.45 million this year.

Where does the other $77 million - and the other $326 million in annual state tobacco revenues (that's $403,000,000.00 for the math impaired) go?

Why, straight into the general fund, where slightly more than half of it goes to the Oregon Health Plan and the rest is frittered away on legislator's pet projects having nothing to do with public health, let alone tobacco related illnesses.

Clearly, if the legislature wanted to add funding to the "Healthy Kids" program, there's already plenty of tobacco money to do it with."

Economist Bill Conerly's opinion column in todays Oregonian speaks well of the shortfalls in children's health care that will most likely happen if M50 passes. I would be interested in what fellow bloggers have to say after reading it.

I could care less about who funds the campaign pieces for pro or con M50. Screw the tobacco companies. I don't care anything about their campaign dribble. What's important is what the measure says, and what the long term fiscal impacts will be.

The huge shortfalls that will occur within 5-10 years are enough to make M50 a no vote for me. It's the camel's nose toward socialized medicine.

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's "free."

Another devil is people who worship their own money.


Vote "yes" if you want to, but don't get all preachy about how those of us who oppose new taxes are "devils".

Self-preservation is the most base human instinct. On the contrary, the most universal tenet of all governance is the ability/inevitability of a "government" to take money from its "citizens" and use it as they see fit. This has always been the case, regardless of governmental structure, composition, or time in history.

Now if we look a little closer, into more recent history, to identify how our current State government has done with managing their job of providing specifically health services, many of us wince at the results.

The costs of service are too high; there is little tangible accountability for individual bureaucrats in charge of providing these services; there is a regimented "one-size-fits-all" response to providing service; and finally, absolutely no room for the influence of "competition" to keep our State in "check" when it comes to their failings in these above listed areas.

So, accepting the fact that their (State of Oregon's) track record is not too shiny, why would anyone using common reasoning assume that giving them more money to spend on this new pet project will yield a different response?

Most individuals with any first-hand experience in managing a business or meeting a budget understand that every penny is important. As a tax-law professor, I assume you agree with this.

Hence; our (small business owners) objections to continually rising taxes and ever-expanding government programs like the "Healthy Kids Initiative".

It would be illogical to simply assume that when our State tries to write a product tax into our constitution under the guise of providing a service we all essentially want; taking care of little children; this will somehow be the success that bucks the trends of failed government social programs.

I find two huge problems with Measure 50 - well, three, actually:

1) As Ben noted, Oregon gets huge bucks from the tobacco settlement already, and that money goes to anything and everything except the intended purpose. Why anybody would believe that the state would behave in a manner that is completely contrary to their past behavior when confronted with a bucket of money is completely mystifying.

2) I oppose writing any tax measure into the Constitution.

3) Public input was nonexistent.

The election is the ultimate public input.

Cigs kill.

those of us who oppose new taxes are "devils".

I never said that. I said that the devil worships his own money. But if the shoe fits...

Cigs killed my mom. Cigs killed my dad. Cigs killed my grandfather. Cigs killed my wife's uncle. Point conceded.

The most cynical of tax increases is on a product that's addictive. The most cynical of tax increases is one that pretends it's "for the children". The most cynical of tax increases is one that argues it will put the screws on tobacco companies. The M50 tax will accomplish none of these things, and everyone knows it.

The tobacco companies won't pay one penny of this tax. Not one cent. Argue all you want about the evil of the tobacco companies. They won't be harmed by it. As you said, those addicted to cigs will pay the tax.

Want me to vote for a ballot measure? I'll vote for the ballot measure that makes the manufacture, sale, purchase, or possession of tobacco a felony. But vote for M50? No thanks.

I'll vote for the ballot measure that makes the manufacture, sale, purchase, or possession of tobacco a felony. But vote for M50? No thanks.

How silly.

Look, Jack, they think what they heard said on the radio, and saw said on TV, and they can parrot the propaganda word-for-word. They've been told what their opinion is, their minds are used up, don't bother them with the facts.

One justification for Measure 50 is to provide funds for anti-smoking education. As a previous post noted, little of the Big Tobacco settlement has been used for this. But since that's from an anti-50 source, I queried my state delegate for data: how much has been used for this out of the settlement pot. His response is really disheartening. Seems that folks in Salem voted for this thing without ever analyzing the background.

Here's his message to me:

We heard back from the good folks at the Oregon Department of Human Services, who answered that no tobacco settlement money had gone toward tobacco cessation programs. This raised some eyebrows for me, so I followed up to ask how much money we have received from the tobacco settlement, what parameters there were for spending that money, and how it has been spent. ....., my assistant, or I will get back to you with that information as it comes back to us.

M50 benefits low-income families and low-income smokers.

Did anyone see that study mentioned in the Portland Tribune the other day? Bottom line, Measure 50 would produce a net economic benefit of $163 million for low-income Oregonians.

Low income families will get $183 million in new health care, while low income smokers will spend $20 million more on cigarettes. Thus, the net effect is a positive $163 million.

I think this should put the argument about regressive taxation to rest. Measure 50 is a boon to low income families.

As to the other economic report mentioned in CC's (Pepper's Deli) letter, it was commissioned and paid for by big tobacco and payment records can be found on the Secretary of State's website. Unfortunately other newspapers have been citing this industry-generated report.

M50 benefits low-income families and low-income smokers.

Did anyone see that study mentioned in the Portland Tribune the other day? Bottom line, Measure 50 would produce a net economic benefit of $163 million for low-income Oregonians.

Low income families will get $183 million in new health care, while low income smokers will spend $20 million more on cigarettes. Thus, the net effect is a positive $163 million.

I think this should put the argument about regressive taxation to rest. Measure 50 is a boon to low income families.

As to the Economic report mentioned in CC's (Pepper's Deli) letter, it was commissioned and paid for by big tobacco and payment records can be found on the Secretary of State's website.


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