The Champagne Tower of Tobacco Control

I got an email a few days back, saying Please Post this. There was a link attached. Here’s the email:

The Champagne Tower of Tobacco Control is now being funded

Jim Pepper, City Councilman, Ofalun, Mo.

Bryan Falkner, City Mayor, St Joseph Mo., who can tell you about the threats.

Dave, Live Free Springfield, who got steamrollered by pro ban. He didn’t even know about the federal money.

Bill Hannegan, St Louis, still fighting bans there. More knowledgable than most about the funding.

I have the links to the CPPW grants that the City took. with federal Social Innovations funding. (The CPPW handout period is over, and now the “charities” are funded to illegally lobby with the SIF money.) You are required to be a 501c3 to get the bucks.

THe government is STILL handing out worthless patches and gums, and no one will file a Whistleblower complaint. (I don’t know how to!)

RWJF is still funding to promote Obamacare.

Elected officials are still rolling in J&J dough and no one from wither party will expose J&J or stop RWJF.

I can’t really figure out if the media has been bought off or is just too chicken shit or too lazy to report all this.

The little guys are still fighting back though! What else can we do? Just take it? Pretty sad when you have to hope for a miracle, and the miracle is only simple truth. That should be a given.

Bars are closing due to smoking bans. Pro ban knows the little bars have no money, hence, no powerful friends or lobbyists. Papers keep printing pro ban garbage on the front page, and our studies refuting their claims as “opinions”. They keep saying that ;

Business is great after bans.

Heart attacks drop after bans.

Children, who by the way, do NOT go to bars, are not having asthma attacks after a ban!

Puppies and kittens are saved after smoking bans.

People are having conventions in towns who pass smoking bans! (No bans in local casinos!)

A town with a smoking ban has no smoking! (Smoking at home alone doesn’t count!)

The Republicans are all in a tither about the IRS’ ball busting on the 501c4’s, and don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about the plainly visible illegal lobbying by the 501c3’s.

My country is NOT the land of liberty anymore. We do NOT have the right to the pursuit of happiness. We do NOT have property rights. The press is NOT free, it’s owned by the highest bidders. (E cigs don’t have enough money yet to stop the patch and gum liars.) Justice is for the rich.

All is not hopeless. At least the snow has melted in Kansas, and I can be pissed and disillusioned without freezing my tail off.

Hope you’re doing fine.

Sheila in Kansas. Still hopeful.

Harley will know what it all means. But for me it’s a glimpse into what looks like a losing battle being fought with Tobacco Control in the state of Missouri, where elected officials are being bought with J&J (Johnson & Johnson) and RWJF (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)  and CPPW (Communities Putting Prevention to Work ) and SIF (Social Innovation Fund) money. And there are unspecified ‘threats’ being made as well. And of course the media are either silent or printing pro-ban garbage on the front page.

What can I do about it? Not much, living in England a quarter of the way round the world. But I can at least post the email on my blog. Maybe some of my American friends may have some suggestions. They may know how to file whistleblower complaints. And I’ve got a couple of email addresses if they want them, including for Sheila in Kansas.

I suppose that if you have enough money, you can buy US states and their governors and mayors and mass media. And Tobacco Control certainly seems to have the kind of money to do it. Which says to me that Tobacco Control is going to have to keep paying to have the bans stay in place. Because the bought officials and media probably have little or no ideological commitment to antismoking: they just want the cash. And they’re going to need steady injections of cash thereafter to stay bought. They’ll wanting a holiday in the Bahamas not just this year, but next year, and the year after that. If the money ever dries up, everything will change. How long can Tobacco Control keep buying them?

I’d guess that it’s probably how Bloomberg worked in NYC. He had a hell of a lot of money of his own, after all. He could probably just buy whatever he wanted.

But above all this little snaphot of a fight going on in Missouri brings home to me how the politics of the struggle against Tobacco Control is a global struggle, not just a Missouri struggle, or a US struggle – and all of us smokers, all over the world, are fighting the same fight against the same enemy. And now the vapers are too. All of us little guys without the kind of money needed to buy back their state or their country.

And these days I feel more kinship with smokers in the USA, or Germany, or Spain, or Russia (where a full smoking ban comes into effect in June) than I do with many of my own fellow-countrymen (particularly politicians), a lot of whom seem to also have been either bought by Tobacco Control or had their minds completely warped by them.

Smokers are my people.

Because my identity these days seems to increasingly just be: smoker. And left wing or right wing, and even English or Scottish or Irish, seems to gradually be ceasing to matter. And I’m on the side of smokers everywhere.  And against antismokers everywhere. It’s gradually become all that really matters.

I could never have guessed, 10 years ago, that such a thing could – and would – happen.

About Frank Davis

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38 Responses to The Champagne Tower of Tobacco Control

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    CDC – Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program Home

    Oct 25, 2013 · Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is a locally driven initiative supporting 50 communities to tackle obesity and tobacco use–two leading …

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Social Innovation Fund | Corporation for National and … › Programs

      The Stanford Social Innovation Review and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations profiles SIF Director, Michael Smith and two SIF grantmakers in their Spring 2014 issue.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Thanks. I’ve updated the post with that info.

        • Harleyrider1978 says:

          Frank what Ive done over the last years is compile the best arguments and stories I can gather from all sources to use in fighting the enemy. Much of it belongs to all of us in the fight. But to win we must use all we have and when its combined in one source at a single touch to post,they haven’t got a chance and they run for cover everytime.

          Just to let everybody know their contributions thru the years and others worldwide are used on a daily basis to defeat our common foe……………Good recall is also sweet!

          The funny thing with TC is they always use the same arguments over and over again sometimes with a new twist but always the same. They’ve gotton to where they wont even get specific but simply make a blanket claim for which we shoot down in flames……..

          Weve made them scared,they run for cover and will not even fight back much any more anywhere. They totally depend on the CASH,the bought for media blitzes and hoping they’re politicians are in power to make it happen for them. Thye fake public polls and support it matters not to them. Its all a complete sham beginning to end.

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    This explains better,but in Missourri there never was any functional anti-smoking foundation at all ever. What happened was the Nazis in my Aunts town of Kansas City Kansas financed an outreach program into Mo. to get the ball rolling back in 2008 if I remember right. Ive tangled with all those folks on the Kansas city star paper online and left them looking like Fools literally. Even one of the editors got into with me before banning me outright………

    Federal Support for Anti-Tobacco Advocacy Raises Legal Questions

    Grant money supports efforts to enact anti-smoking laws in possible violation of federal law

    Among grant recipients is the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH), a large nonprofit “dedicated to improving the health of the uninsured and underserved” in the Show-Me State.

    MFH received nearly $3 million from 2010 to 2012 for its Social Innovation Missouri program, which was created to administer CNCS funds, and helped built coalitions to enact additional restrictions on tobacco use in the state.

    It has been a powerful force in that effort, its allies say.

    “The Missouri Foundation for Health was seen as a leader in the tobacco prevention and cessation initiative, education, and working with smoke free coalitions,” wrote the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City in 2012.

    The foundation’s and its allies’ work produced tangible results. Missouri still does not have a state-wide indoor smoking ban, but a number of municipalities have instituted such bans since MFH received its federal grant.

    While MFH was also aiming for statewide policy changes, legislative victories in general are major benchmarks of the success of its Social Innovation Missouri (SIM) program.

    “Measurable outcomes of SIM include … increased healthy policy changes in targeted communities,” according to MFH’s page on the Social Innovation Fund website.

    “The intent [of Social Innovation Missouri] is to increase access and support, and encourage tobacco-free policy implementation and tobacco control by engaging the community and fostering policy change in the target population,” the group wrote.

    MFH is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, meaning it can engage in lobbying activities. However, federal law prohibits lobbying organizations from receiving federal funds.

    MFH has not reported any lobbying expenditures in the past 10 years, but observers say other laws preclude the type of policy advocacy in which MFH and its subgrantees are engaged.

    MFH and all other Social Innovation Fund grantees were required to certify in writing “that no funds received from CNCS have been or will be paid, by or on behalf of the applicant, to any person or agent acting for the applicant, related to activity designed to influence the enactment of legislation, appropriations, administrative action, proposed or pending before the Congress or any State government, State legislature or local legislature or legislative body.”

    That language mirrors regulations at CNCS and guidance issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget on the use of federal grants for lobbying or advocacy work.

    OMB prohibits the use of such funds for “any attempt to influence the introduction of Federal or State legislation; or the enactment or modification of any pending Federal or State legislation through communication with any member or employee of the Congress or State legislature.”

    CNCS general counsel Frank Trinity reminded agency employees in 2007 that they and CNCS grantees “may not attempt to influence legislation…if they are doing so while charging time to a Corporation-supported program…or otherwise performing activities supported by the Corporation.”

    Despite these prohibitions, MFH frequently promoted policy advocacy as integral to its Social Innovation Missouri program.

    A major goal of the program, according to an MFH solicitation for subgrantees, was “modifying policy language and assisting in navigating bureaucratic hurdles to policy change.”

    Subgrantee applicants, the solicitation said, should propose strategies for “advocating for healthy policies so people are encouraged to make healthy choices.”

    “Lasting policy changes also have a significant impact on tobacco use and obesity prevention, and are critical components of program,” MFH wrote.

    The solicitation was careful to note prohibitions on policy advocacy.

    “These funds cannot be used for lobbying activities,” the solicitation noted. Other language in the solicitation suggested there may be some wiggle room on that prohibition: “Rules governing lobbying and advocacy are complex and subject to interpretation.”

    The Missouri Foundation for Health did not respond to requests for comment on allegations that it violated those restrictions.

    A key guide of MFH’s activities was created by the group Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, which MFH lists as a “collaborating partner.”

    ANR’s 501(c)(4) activist arm calls itself “the leading national lobbying organization dedicated to nonsmokers’ rights” and says it “pursues an action-oriented program of policy and legislation.”

    MFH worked with its 501(c)(3) division, the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, contributing $270,000 to the group from 2010 through 2012, according to annual 990 filings.

    As part of its support for Social Innovation Missouri, ANR and MFH collaborating partner Trailnet created a “coalition core competencies checklist” laying out all the elements of a successful anti-tobacco coalition.

    The checklist features an entire section devoted to “policy advocacy.” Subsections include “campaign planning and strategy,” “understanding of protocol and timing for approaching elected officials,” “creating a policy implementation plan and supporting the policy implementation process,” and “preparing decision-makers for opposition talking points and strategies—neutralizing the opposition’s impact.”

    The checklist also featured a single item on restrictions on federally funded policy advocacy: “Understanding definition of ‘lobbying’ and how it relates to your campaign activities.”

    MFH explicitly directed its subgrantees to push for the enactment of state and local laws restricting the sale or public use of tobacco products.

    “SIM grantees and partners are expected to participate in local and statewide policy advocacy activities that affect their programming goals,” MFH wrote in its solicitation.

    Those activities include “promoting program efforts to local media and policymakers.”

    The solicitation mentioned “community smoke-free policies” and tax increases on tobacco sales as worthwhile legislative objectives for subgrantees.

    Dan Epstein, executive director of the government watchdog group Cause of Action, said his group investigated similar allegations of federally funded lobbying efforts financed by Obamacare and the 2009 stimulus bill.

    COA dug into Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants through its stimulus-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.

    Ostensibly a “preventative health” project, CPPW “laundered money through so-called stealth lobbying coalitions, formed to skirt prohibitions on lobbying by non-profits, in order to promote local laws banning otherwise legal consumer products such as sodas, e-cigarettes, and fast food,” COA wrote in a report on the program.

    “We already uncovered multiple organizations around the country that illegally lobbied with federal taxpayer dollars under the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program,” Epstein wrote in an email.

    “We also know that entities in Missouri that received CPPW money have been offered federal funds by MFH efforts, so it is no surprise that the unchecked grant money going to MFH could now be used to violate the law again,” he said.

    CDC, the report said, “permitted and even encouraged CPPW grantees to violate federal law and use CPPW funds to lobby state and local governments.”

    Revelations about federal funding for anti-tobacco lobbying caught the attention of members of Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general.

    CDC literature on the CPPW program “appear[s] to authorize, or even encourage, grantees to use grant funds for impermissible lobbying,” wrote inspector general Daniel Levinson.

    Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to express her concern that “grantees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), under the direction of official CDC guidance, appear to have used federal funds in attempts to change state and local policies and laws.”

    “In response to CDC guidance, several grantees as recently as 2010 have engaged in strategies that, absent an expressed authorization by Congress, appear to violate federal law regarding influencing state and local governments to adopt laws and policies,” Collins wrote.

    It is not clear whether CNCS was aware of or concerned about MFH grant language that seemed to encourage subgrantees to engage in policy advocacy. The agency did not respond to a request for comment.

    Missouri political observers say MFH’s work is just the most recent use of federal funds for anti-tobacco lobbying in the state.

    “In Missouri, many political subdivisions use tax money directly and indirectly to influence the outcome of legislation,” said Carl Bearden, executive director of United for Missouri, a free market group in the state.

    “A large majority of the time they are taking positions contrary to the best interest of taxpayers but not the entity itself.”

    Bearden said he was not familiar with MFH’s work, but “the use of Social Innovation Fund dollars to support state and local laws against tobacco would certainly be an egregious use of those funds. A use that should be stopped immediately and those responsible be held accountable for it.”

    St. Joseph, Mo., is the latest battleground in the state’s tobacco policy debates, and opponents of a proposed indoor smoking ban say they have seen impact of federally funded lobbying efforts in that city.

    “Of special concern is the upcoming smoking ban election in St. Joseph,” said Bill Hannegan, director of Keep St. Louis Free, a group that opposes smoking bans, of a proposed ballot initiative to ban smoking in indoor public establishments.

    “The illegal use of federal funds there could sway an otherwise close election,” Hannegan said of the April 8 referendum.

    One of the groups fighting for that referendum, Clean Air St. Joe, received funds from Social Innovation Missouri, a CASJ spokeswoman told the St. Joseph News-Press.

    CASJ is currently asking supporters to contact members of the St. Joseph city council “to remind them only a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance that includes all bars, restaurants and indoor workplaces will protect the health of all workers.”

    CASJ works closely with the Heartland Foundation, which is also a SIM subgrantee.

    Previous attempts to expose and correct the use of federal funds for policy advocacy have been unsuccessful, said St. Joseph Telegraph editor Mike Bozarth, a former member of the city council.

    “Money and time provide obstacles,” he said of efforts to stem the tide of federal lobbying money.

    “I told local anti-ban folks they needed money and lawyers to sue over it,” Bozarth said of previous efforts to institute smoking bans with federal assistance. “I don’t see how these violations are allowed to stand. But again, it takes money for lawyers to challenge them.”

    Epstein said he does not expect the Obama administration to address these apparent violations without prodding.

    “As the IRS targeting scandal reveals, this administration is clearly more concerned about private money going to nonprofit organizations, which have not violated any laws, than organizations who push administration policies while violating federal law with taxpayer dollars,” Epstein wrote.

    “The hypocrisy is blatant and taxpayers should demand accountability for these types of violations.”

  3. Harleyrider1978 says:

    In Mississippi small towns can get 2500 bucks and up if they pass a ban. The amount of the Bribe depends on the population. The silly Nazis actually quoted that price in a story in Mississppi that’s how I found out.

    ince obviously you don’t realize what’s been happening, the CDC and other federal agencies have been dooling out grant money to city, county, and other local governments that adopt smoking bans, not to mention to anti-smoking coalitions who push for stricter smoking bans. It’s been happening in both the Saint Louis area, plus also in the Myrtle Beach area. I’ll note that these aren’t the only 2 areas of the country where these ban grants have been given to a smoking ban coalition.

    Articles proving it’s been happening(wasteful grant money being given to anti groups pushing for smoking bans, plus waving financial grants to communities that ultimately decide to ban smoking) in both parts of the country(grant money going to both Tobacco-Free Saint Louis in the Saint Louis area, and Smoke-Free Horry in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area):

    Smoke Free Florence used federal dollars for lobbying

    FLORENCE, S.C. – A government report confirms that Smoke Free Florence, the organization behind implementing the city’s controversial smoking ordinance in 2011, illegally used funds to lobby local elected officials.

    Though disciplinary action was taken, a government watchdog group is demanding the county be barred from receiving federal dollars as a result of the violation.

    It began in April of this year when Cause of Action (CoA), an advocacy group located in Washington, D.C., accused Smoke Free Florence of misusing monies from a $6 million grant used in an anti-smoking campaign that assisted with passage of a new smoking ordinance in the county’s largest municipality.

    The report, which included roughly 19 months of research, concluded that Smoke Free Florence misused grant monies from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The monies were managed through the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and facilitated through the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Circle Park Behavioral Center in Florence.

    A separate report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office confirmed funds were improperly used, but only had DHEC repay $247.79 in funds deemed misused and required some staff members to attend additional ethics training.

    Dan Epstein, CoA executive director, said that isn’t enough, not by a long shot.

    “Ultimately, what needs to be happening on behalf of the taxpayers is (that) Florence County, South Carolina, can never receive another federal dollar ever again until it shows it has proof of concepts for ensuring that federal funds aren’t misused,” he said.

    Epstein and the CoA report point to documentation – personal emails and meeting minutes for the most part – that it obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests that show DHEC staff lobbying members of the Florence City Council to support a smoking ordinance. It shows that they attempted to manipulate meeting minutes to, Epstein said, mask their involvement in influencing the passage of the ordinance.

    At the heart of the CoA report lie a series of emails among Smoke Free coalition volunteers and DHEC employees attempting to sway the votes of two Florence city councilmen, Glynn Willis and Buddy Brand, to support the ordinance. One email from Lori Phillips, a DHEC employee, recounts a conversation between herself and Florence City Councilwoman Octavia Williams-Blake – a Democrat and the smoking ordinance’s chief proponent – in which she said possible political ramifications and re-election implications for the two Republican councilmembers was keeping them from supporting the measure.

    “I asked Octavia what we could do to help make up Glynn and Buddy’s minds,” Phillips wrote in the email. “She said that the arguments about this being non-Republican hit home with them and they are about getting re-elected. She said they need to know that a large section of the residents in the City of Florence want this. I shared that we will have poll results to back this up.”

    Other emails discuss political strategy and show Phillips, as well as other DHEC employees, strategizing ways to convince Willis and Brand. The two councilmen later faced criticism from the Florence County’s Republican Party for their eventual support of the ordinance.

    What’s more, the report show that Phillips, as well as another DHEC consultant, Ian Hamilton, advocated minutes of Smoke Free Florence meetings be changed and that certain details about DHEC’s involvement be removed. Officials with Circle Park Behavioral Center, who served as a fiscal agent to disperse the grant funds from DHEC to implement the coalition program itself, confirmed that they had issued a complaint to DHEC regarding this incident. They said that the meeting minutes were not altered.

    Williams-Blake said she wasn’t surprised that a group like CoA had filed a report related to the smoking ordinance. The source of much controversy communitywide, stemming mostly from conservative activists claiming the move violated civil liberties, Florence’s smoking ordinance debate was always a hot-button issue.

    With regards to her interaction with Phillips and other members of the coalition, Williams-Blake acknowledged that she was contacted by the group several times to discuss the ordinance.

    “It was always sort of talking about where we were at in the process of voting or did I think it was going to pass,” she said.

    Shortly after the CoA report was issued, the CDC launched its own investigation into Florence County and others named in the report. They concluded that lobbying had in fact occurred in violation of the CDC’s lobbying guidelines, resulting in DHEC refunding the $247.79 related to “planning activities,” according a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Staff members were also required to receive additional training on lobbying restrictions under the CDC’s guidelines.

    “At the time of the event discussed, DHEC responded to the CDC’s inquiry, and DHEC agreed to follow CDC’s recommended remedies,” a statement issued by DHEC said. “CDC requested two remedies, both of which were completed, with follow-up sent to CDC in June of 2011. Furthermore, DHEC prohibits lobbying activity by employees in their official capacity.”

    A CoA spokesperson said the CDC’s actions “missed the mark” and that harsher action should be taken.

    As of Friday, Florence County is still receiving some federal dollars for select grants but other federal dollars are run through the state, according to County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith Jr.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Im hoping one day Federal Indictments will come down against all these Nazis breaking federal laws on grants and lobbying. Sebelius and Friedeman both have been warned by the IG Inspector Generals office to cease and desist from any more illegal grant usage as they are condong its illegal use.

  4. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Illegal use of CDC grant money in St. Louis County

    Dear Senator Collins,

    On May 1st 2012, you issued the following request to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

    “Please document each instance from fiscal year 2007 to fiscal year 2011 where CDC awardees used federal funds to pay for lobbying activities. The activities to be reported include those which are listed in 18 U.S.C § 1913 and include: any advertisement, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device (such as emails, websites, videos, audio, or other electronic communications), intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government (including local and state governments), to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation. The information should be documented and provided in a word-searchable format that includes the name of the awardee, total amount of the award, date the award was granted, the stated purpose of the award, a list of all activities in the aforementioned list that the awardee carried out with federal funds, and an indication of whether or not the desired outcomes in state or local policy or legislative changes took place.”

    Senator Collins, I am writing to inform you of one clear instance where a CDC awardee “used federal funds to pay for lobbying activities.” In 2010, the St. Louis County Department of Health, along with St. Louis University and its 501c3 Tobacco Free St. Louis, used a substantial portion of a $7,593,110 2010 CDC grant to lobby the St. Louis County Council and other St. Louis municipalities in order to alter existing legislation and impose new ordinances. Indeed the grant award summary lists these legislative changes among the objectives of the grant:

    “Strengthen the clean indoor air bill recently passed by the citizens of St. Louis County. Increase the number of comprehensive ordinances in municipalitites and educational settings. Enact a minimum pricing retailer law.”


    Please find attached a contract in which St. Louis University agrees to lobby for these legislative changes through its group Tobacco Free St. Louis in exchange for $545,000 of federal grant money from the St. Louis County Department of Health.

    Furthermore, a substantial portion of a multi-million dollar ad campaign paid for by the CDC grant was used to pressure the St. Louis County Council to remove voter-approved exemptions from the current St. Louis County Clean Air Ordinance. One such ad, paid for by the CDC grant has been widely aired on many local radio stations and directly implores the St. Louis County Council to remove all exemptions. This ad is also featured on the Tobacco Free St. Louis website under the heading Unfinished Business along with contact information of St. Louis County Councilmen.

  5. Harleyrider1978 says:

    In Springfield Mo. this story ran but has since been yanked after I started using it all over when it came to ban damage………Funny how stories just up and disappear ehh!

    Springfield Business Journal: Smoking Ban Taking a Toll

    Lauren Matter


    8:59 p.m. CDT, October 2, 2011
    Four months into Springfield’s city wide smoking ban, some businesses are seeing a decline in revenue.

    The owner of one Springfield bar, Tailgaters Pub and Eatery on South Scenic Avenue, says they have been losing $1,000 a week since the ban went into effect and had no choice but to close the first weekend of October.

    Other pubs and restaurants are seeing a revenue decline as well.

    The numbers range from 25% to a 45% drop in the amount of money they’re bringing in now compared to before the ban.

    Owners say it’s difficult to manage cash flow and employment levels, yet owners say they haven’t laid anyone off since the ban went into effect.,0,5160335.story

  6. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Anyhow I could fill volumes but the above is enough to get everybody kind up to snuff on Mo.

    The Nazis are working St Joseph Mo over left and right for an upcoming vote on a ban there. Ive nailed em hard these last 2 weeks on that one…..There were other comments on this story from our people fighting back but were removed,right now it shws me 6 comments I posted but they may have been pulled too and only I can see them. Its a deception these editors use on these smokefree stories all the time.

    March 12, 2014

    Restaurant owners join list of smoke-free establishments

    By Andra Bryan Stefanoni

    A few years ago, Joplin restaurant owner Mike Pawlus was on the fence.

    “We wanted to go to no-smoking, but wanted the city to make the call,” said Pawlus, referring to an issue before the Joplin City Council in 2010.

    The ban ultimately did not fly. Likewise, the Webb City council rejected a similar effort at about the same time, as did the Carthage council.

    “We thought maybe it would surface again, but it didn’t,” Pawlus said. “We finally had to pull the trigger.”

    Pawlus, who owns The Kitchen Pass restaurant and bar, went entirely smoke-free there on Feb. 1. Previously, patrons could smoke in the bar. Wilder’s Steak House, which Pawlus also owns, has been smoke-free for five years.

    In February, Club 609 owner Linda Williams extended the daytime smoke-free hours through 10 p.m. On Monday, Joplin restaurant owner Steve Shaffer followed suit at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant on West Seventh Street.

    The moves came on the heels of the nation’s 32nd annual report on tobacco, released in January by acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak. It links several major illnesses to smoking, including arthritis, diabetes and birth defects.

    Pawlus said he believes there is growing momentum for a no-smoking movement to take hold in the area.

    “We’re excited about it,” he said of The Kitchen Pass’ new status. “We tied it into a complete remodel. We noticed a few bar patrons who left, but they are beginning to filter back in. And we are seeing a lot of new faces come in who said they’d never been in because of the smoke. It’s always hard to change something after 28 years, but overall, I think it’s been very positive.

    “It just feels better.”

    Patron Danny Felker, who was eating lunch with his son, Andrew, said they are non-smokers, so the new ban didn’t affect them negatively. But the elder Felker noted that he does have a few friends who smoke with whom he can’t eat lunch there any longer.

    Patron Lee Snider, who was eating lunch at the bar in The Kitchen Pass on Tuesday, said he was “100 percent for it.”

    “I really like the transition,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t want smokers. We just don’t want them smoking while we’re eating.”

    Steve Shaffer, whose parents opened the original Granny Shaffer’s Family Restaurant in 1985, said he’s had a favorable reaction since making his location on West Seventh smoke-free on Monday.

    He’s been in business there since 2003 — a family friend owns the other two locations — and he contemplated making it smoke-free then.

    “But at the time I thought the city or state might step up and deal with this like Kansas did,” he said.

    The Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act went into effect on July 1, 2010. At the time, the Pittsburg (Kan.) City Commission had struggled with whether to adopt a local ordinance. Opponents worried about the potential for restaurants and bars to lose customers. In the past three years, two bars have opened in downtown Pittsburg, and none of the others have closed.

    Shaffer said he was a recreational smoker when he was younger, but he hasn’t smoked since 1988. He said he believes the problem with having a smoking area in a restaurant is that “you can’t really keep it from drifting — you can’t really keep it separate.”

    “Economically, it just keeps making more and more sense,” Shaffer said Tuesday. “More and more customers want smoke-free. I’m sure I’ll lose a few of my regulars, but on the second full day of this it seems a lot more positive than negative. I think my worries of losing customer base are probably not going to be founded.

    “Smokers are just going outside, which I think a lot have started doing in their own homes.”

    Shaffer said the ban also has had a positive impact on the wait staff.

    “Two of them decided to quit smoking,” he said.

    Shaffer’s wife, Renee, has hyperactive airway disease that is triggered by smoke, and smells of plastic, asphalt and other odors.

    “She had to be careful if she wanted to come into the restaurant,” he said. “She uses an inhaler.”

    Missouri has a national reputation for having the most freedom when it comes to tobacco use. Attempts in the Missouri General Assembly to pass some form of statewide smoking ban have failed every year since 2008.

    In January 2011 and January 2013, the Missouri House voted to continue allowing smoking in its half of the Missouri Capitol.

    Missouri also has the ninth highest smoking rate in the nation, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, with 25 percent of adults and more than 18 percent of high school students who smoke. One of every six pregnant women smokes — a rate 64 percent higher than the national average.

    According to statistics from the department, nearly 10,000 Missourians die every year of tobacco-related illnesses, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, and more than 1,100 additional deaths are caused each year by exposure to secondhand smoke.

    Tobacco use also has economic costs, the department noted: About $2 billion is spent each year in Missouri to treat smoking-related illnesses.

    But in recent years, Missouri also has begun earning a reputation for smoke-free air. In the past two years, voters or city councils have approved smoke-free measures in Columbia, Kansas City, Liberty, Kirkwood, St. Louis County, Ballwin, Springfield and Sedalia, among others.

    In total, 36 Missouri cities have some form of smoke-free ordinance, ranging from 100 percent smoke-free non-hospitality workplaces to 100 percent smoke-free restaurants to 100 percent smoke-free free-standing bars.

    Last month, a committee of residents in Mexico, Mo., began work in hopes of getting an ordinance adopted there. Work also is under way in St. Joseph, although that effort has met opposition from Stand Up St. Joe — a group of local bar, restaurant and other business owners against a ban. Voters there are to weigh in at the polls in April.

    Kennett voters also will weigh in on a proposed citywide smoking ban on April 8 after the City Council there approved an ordinance calling for a special advisory election. It is designed to gauge the desire of voters on the issue.

    “I just think it makes it much more of a family atmosphere,” Shaffer said. “I hope others in the area follow suit.”

    Health studies

    SEVERAL STUDIES, including one from the Institute of Medicine, suggest a decline of between 14 and 17 percent in hospital admissions for heart attacks within the first year in communities that adopt ordinances on smoking.

  7. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Im done! Whew!

  8. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Federal Grants May Have Illegally Funded Lobbying Activities

    Federal funds may have illegally supported state and local lobbying efforts as part of a “prevention and wellness” program by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to HHS’s Inspector General.

    The IG noted that possibility in a letter to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who first raised concerns about the program. “Grantees may have violated a series of anti-lobbying statutes,” the IG found. Statements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which administered the program, “appear to authorize, or even encourage, grantees to use grant funds for impermissible lobbying,” the IG added.

    The CDC program awards grants to states to reduce smoking and obesity. Those grants cannot be used to lobby state or local legislatures, but the IG’s office found “numerous examples of activities that, on their face, may violate anti-lobbying provisions.”

    The IG notes that while state and local efforts may have included lobbying, federal funds did not necessarily go towards those specific activities. But descriptions of some of the state and local activities at issue suggest at least an intention to misuse federal funds (if unwittingly).

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      …..write (or sign ghost written) letters to the editor, etc. (pages 31 & 33)

      …..submit at least two letters to the editor each month during the campaign, under the names of different authors”. (page 33)

      …….Nothing can ruin a campaign faster than public disclosure of financial wrongdoing (intentional or unintentional) ? something your opponents would love to expose if given the opportunity. (page 34)

  9. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Juliette Tworsey

    ..Up to 10 years in prison for smoking tobacco!!! …Good thing we have the WHO to support such cruelty and despotism! I am having a hard time believing what I just read…total madness. Good lord!

  10. carol2000 says:

    That “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” = Recovery Act & ACA money. See this page:
    A couple of years ago I downloaded “2010 Funding Profile Detailed Data Download.xls”, an Excel spread sheet. They’ve got 2011 and 2012 now too.

  11. waltc says:

    I believe the federal grant money for anti tobacco is part of the Obamacare act and the act itself would have to be repealed to cut off the spigot. I also believe I read that this money is on auto pilot in perpetuity and can’t be decreased or cut off by congress.

    Q: Harley: Who wrote that letter to Collins? You should say as in give him/her credit, and also for our information.. Was it Hannegan? (That lapse aside, you’re a terrific source of info.)

    As for what can be done (or at least tried)

    My only suggestion would be that all this stuff you and they have collected should be sent not only to Collins but to any likely congressman or senator from any state, and/or to all members of any appropriate congressional or senate committee. Libertarians and Republicans who vocally hate Obamacare are likely the best targets, (we know who they are) but the info should go to all. Keep in mind that they’re pressed for time and the first readers in any of those offices are aides who may or may not pass the stuff along, so along with the backup, they’d need a succinct covering letter that makes clear the complaint (fed funds used for lobbying) and bullet-points the specifics included in the backup material, labeled as Exhibit A, B, etc. That letter would require a very good writer or a lawyer, provided the lawyer’s a good writer. Not all of them are, God knows.

    Beyond that, interested people should get together and arrange for a personal meeting with their own US congressmen and senators when those guys are in-state, and to whatever extent it might have political meaning, with their state reps. too., Present the subject , not under the rubric of smoking per se, but of illegal lobbying with taxpayer funds.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Hannegan wrote as far as I know that’s why I linked it back to his blog.

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        Unfortunatley Walt while we can do all you say,these folks basically have Obamas Protection. Meaning a Presidential Pardon in the end. I believe the ACA anti-smoking money was cut off by congress 2 years ago. Not sure but I did read it somewhere.

        • Harleyrider1978 says:

          It was 2 senators in Washington who brought about the investigation one from Maine I know of…………That led to the IG noting wrong doing in the grant departments.

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        Maine CDC officials say they were told to destroy documents
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        By Sun Journal and BDN staff, Special to the BDN

        Posted March 14, 2014, at 11:22 a.m.
        Last modified March 14, 2014, at 6:48 p.m.

        AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Center for Disease Control officials at the heart of a document-shredding probe told lawmakers Friday morning that they were ordered to destroy documents as a method of “version control.”

        CDC Division Director Deborah Wigand told members of the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee that CDC workers were asked to destroy documents related to the distribution of funds in the Healthy Maine Partnership program.

        In response to questions from committee members, she said that senior program manager Andrew Finch told her that he was asked to destroy documents and was uncomfortable with that.

        She said she told Finch to do what he was comfortable doing.

        Wigand repeatedly denied remembering that she was asked to destroy documents. She also denied asking anyone to destroy documents.

        Wigand also said she didn’t think destroying the documents was an attempt at concealment but “version control.”

        Wigand testified that Deputy Director Christine Zukas gave the order to destroy documents.

        Finch testified that Zukas asked him to “purge my files for all the working documents.”

        CDC staff were answering questions in open session after the Government Oversight Committee voted 7-3 Friday to keep the questioning in open session.

        The committee subpoenaed Zukas, Wigand, Finch, CDC Director Sheila Pinette and Office of Minority Health and Health Equity Director Lisa Sockabasin to appear before it and answer questions under oath after the five officials declined an earlier invitation.

        The oversight committee is the only legislative committee that can subpoena witnesses. If CDC officials had refused to appear, the committee could have gone to Superior Court to compel them to obey.

        Sharon Leahy-Lind, the former CDC division director whose document-shredding allegations led to the investigation, also was subpoenaed to appear Friday. She was the only one who did not ask to testify behind closed doors.

        Leahy-Lind testified Friday that she was involved in developing criteria to rank Healthy Maine Partnerships. She was not aware of any weighting of criteria.

        But Leahy-Lind said she was surprised to see that Bangor’s HMP was the lead agency for the Penquis region. When she asked why, she said Pinette told her it was political. “Shawn Yardley [director of Bangor’s Department of Health and Community Services] has been a wonderful partner” was the answer she was given.

        “It’s become clear to me there’s been a manipulation of data … with respect to outcome of leads,” Leahy-Lind testified Friday.

        Leahy-Lind said later she was told by Zukas to destroy any HMP working documents and to tell Andrew Finch to destroy his documents. “I was told to shred all documentation related to the HMPs. All of my files.” She said she refused.

        In another encounter, Leahy-Lind said Zukas grabbed her by the arm and demanded to destroy the documents.

        In a later meeting, Leahy-Lind says Zukas told her not to communicate any more by email. She was to use instant messaging on her Blackberry because those messages were not subject to FOAA.

        Office of Minority Health and Health Equity Director Lisa Sockabasin testified she knows little about and remembers little about Healthy Maine Partnership meetings and discussions because HMPs were not her responsibility. She also said she was never told to destroy documents.

        Sockabasin denied there was “an air of secrecy.” She said she did not use Blackberry instant messaging to communicate. When asked if she was instructed to avoid emails to skirt FOAA, she responded, “Absolutely not.”

        Sockabasin said she does recall Leahy-Lind telling her that she was told to “shred” documents. But Sockabasin understood the issue was “version control.”

        CDC Deputy Director Zukas said the decision process at the CDC is a collaborative process. Many people help make decisions. But she said she was not involved in the scoring of HMPs.

        Zukas said the practice was to keep the final version of documents. She said she saw confusion over the different versions of documents so she ordered the previous versions destroyed.

        Zukas said she “directed” Leahy-Lind to get rid of the working documents. But she denies it was an order.

        Zukas said she did get rid of a document that showed an earlier ranking that did not have the Bangor HMP as a lead agency. “I either put it in the shredder or I put it in my recycle bin,” Zukas said.

        Zukas denies she ever was physical with Leahy-Lind or anyone else at CDC.

        The allegations of document destruction came to light last spring when Leahy-Lind, then-director for the CDC’s Division of Local Public Health, filed a complaint of harassment with the Maine Human Rights Commission. She since has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit.

        She has said her bosses at the CDC told her to shred public documents related to grant funding for the state’s Healthy Maine Partnerships program. When she refused, she said, she faced harassment and retaliation. She since has left her job at the CDC.

        A CDC office manager has echoed Leahy-Lind’s allegations and is seeking to be added as a plaintiff to her suit.

        At the oversight committee’s behest, the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability investigated the CDC over several months. Its December report noted a host of problems, including supervisors who ordered the destruction of public documents, workers who created documents specifically to fulfill a Sun Journal Freedom of Access Act request, funding criteria that was changed during the selection process, Healthy Maine Partnerships funding scores that were changed just before the final selection, a tribal Healthy Maine Partnerships contract that the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability couldn’t discern who was responsible for developing, reviewing or approving, and a critical Healthy Maine Partnerships scoring sheet that has vanished.

        The investigation also found that money may have gone where it shouldn’t have.

        Lawyers from the Maine attorney general’s office had been defending Pinette and the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, in Leahy-Lind’s suit. The AG’s office withdrew that representation in January, citing “a recent and unexpected development.”

        The state since has hired private lawyers for DHHS and Pinette. The new lawyers asked the oversight committee to suspend its document-shredding probe or at least stop seeking testimony from any CDC employee who is party to or may be called as a witness in the lawsuit.

        The committee refused.

        Members of the committee say they hope to determine why public records were ordered destroyed and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again.

    • carol2000 says:

      The link I posted (just before yours) shows where you can download the details, in an Excel spread sheet.

  12. Rose says:

    Strategic Thinking on State Tobacco Tax Increases

    “For the most part, this unprecedented success can be attributed to state fiscal crises resulting from the downturn in the national economy.
    State policymakers were desperate to find new revenues to plug growing deficits in state budgets.
    In many states, public health advocates were ready and able to partner with policymakers in
    developing tobacco tax strategies that advanced public health goals and filled budget holes.”

    “This document is designed to assist public health advocates in recognizing and weighing the strategic decisions that must be made before beginning a campaign to increase tobacco taxes at the state level.”

    “After answering the questions above and examining polling data,choose the highest increase that is politically viable”

    “From a strictly economic standpoint, tobacco taxes fall under this definition because the same amount of tax is charged to all individuals regardless of income.
    This means the tax is a greater percentage of the income of low-income persons than those with more income.

    Critics charge that regressive taxes are easiest to raise because they place the heaviest burden on those without a political voice”

    Click to access SLSTobaccoTax.pdf

    Blue Print For Success – Countdown 2000 – Ten Years to a Tobacco Free America
    (Sept. 11, 1990)

    “P 30-31; Any comprehensive Clean Indoor Air statute must not contain provisions that provide civil rights protection for smokers against employment discrimination.

    “Hundreds of smoking-control laws across the country stipulate that in cases of dispute between a smoker and nonsmoker, the nonsmokers’s wishes prevail.
    Anti-discrimination laws would serve to negate such stipulations. In addition, an anti-discrimination law would give a smoker the power to bring suit against both the employer and the nonsmoker with whom there is a grievance.”

  13. Rose says:

    Meanwhile, giving women Green Tobacco Sickness whilst pregnant is not working out too well.

    Nicotine patches in pregnant smokers: randomised, placebo controlled, multicentre trial of efficacy

    The nicotine patch did not increase either smoking cessation rates or birth weights despite adjustment of nicotine dose to match levels attained when smoking, and higher than usual doses.”

    The current study shows that the nicotine patch may increase diastolic blood pressure at the end of pregnancy, which may potentially lead to unfavourable pregnancy outcomes.”

    Co-inventor of the nicotine patch

    “We put the tobacco on our skin and waited to see what would happen,” Jarvik recalled. “Our heart rates increased, adrenaline began pumping,…”
    http: //

    At least they don’t make washing machines based on ideology and popular belief, we’d be constantly flooded.

    Smokers show lower risk of pregnancy complication – 2010

    “Preeclampsia is a syndrome marked by a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy and a buildup of protein in the urine. Left untreated, it can develop into a life-threatening condition called eclampsia, which can cause seizures or coma.
    A number of studies have linked smoking to a reduced risk of preeclampsia, but the reasons for the connection have not been clear.

    In contrast, there was no protective effect seen among pregnant women who used “snus” — a type of smokeless tobacco popular in Sweden.

    Because both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco contain nicotine, the findings suggest that nicotine is not the reason for the lower preeclampsia risk, Wikstrom told Reuters Health in an email.

    Instead, she said, a byproduct of burning tobacco — possibly carbon monoxide — may be at work.
    http: //

    Carbon monoxide could hold promise of effective preeclampsia treatment, prevention – 2013

    “Preeclampsia (PE) is a high blood pressure disorder that occurs during pregnancy and which can cause illness or death for the fetus and mother-to-be. There is currently no cure except to deliver the fetus, perhaps prematurely, or remove the placenta, a key organ that binds the pair. Women who smoke during pregnancy have been found to have as much as a 33 percent lower rate of preeclampsia for reasons that are unclear.”
    http: //

    “Research has found that, compared with that of healthy pregnant women, the breath of women who are diagnosed with PE contains significantly lower levels of carbon monoxide (CO), one of the combustible elements in cigarettes and which is not present in smokeless tobacco. Although toxic at high levels, low levels of CO are produced naturally by the body and have positive effects.”

    Fury at smoking breath test for all mothers-to-be as it is revealed one in three still light up during pregnancy – 2013

    “Women with high carbon monoxide readings to be given advice on quitting”
    http: //

    • “At least they don’t make washing machines based on ideology and popular belief, we’d be constantly flooded.”

      Excellent point Rose.

      I’m not clear on that “one in three” statistic though. The article seems to claim one in five? Although I *do* think I’ve run across claims indicating that one in three pregnant smokers lie about their smoking??? Would that be it?

      Of course the Antissmokers could “fix” that with a proper schedule of punishments for malfunctioning baby incubators. Superficial electric shocks across the surface of the chest area via electrodes snapped on any convenient flaps of chest skin could serve as a strong negative conditioner for pregnant smoking while posting little or no risk to the fetus. With wireless technology and reporting, the shocks could even be administered remotely upon registration of physiological changes indicating that smoking might be taking place. False positives from excitement or over-vigorous sexual activity would be somewhat annoying to nonsmoking incubators, but there’d be no permanent harm, and over-vigorous sex is probably detrimental to the fetus anyway.

      See? These problems are easy to fix once you adopt the right mindset.

      – MJM

  14. jaxthefirst says:

    Sorry for being a bit dim here, but can anyone on here define for me exactly what constitutes “illegal lobbying” activities? I know what the dictionary definition of lobbying is, i.e. informing/encouraging one’s representative that one would like to see a certain policy enacted or proposed, or a certain piece of legislation passed (or amended), or a certain matter raised for discussion; but isn’t that what we are all supposed to do in a democracy if we want a change of some kind?

    So at what point does it become “illegal” or “nor permitted?” Is it illegal if the lobbying is done by a single-interest group, such as ASH or any of the aforementioned groups in the US? Is lobbying only “permitted” if it’s done by an individual or, if several individuals are members of groups, then they are expected to each lobby their own representative individually? So that if, say, there’s some organisation against something like hunting (like the League Against Cruel Sports here in the UK), the group isn’t allowed to send general lobbying material to all MPs (or have direct contact with them in order to lobby them “on behalf of” the group), although each member of the League could write, as an individual, to their own MPs asking them to consider whatever policy they want to see enacted?

    Or does it become illegal if money changes hands on the proviso that a representative votes in a certain way? But surely that wouldn’t be “illegal lobbying” as such, but would fall into the wider bracket of straightforward bribery?

    And how can monies passed on to these single-issue groups be defined as having been used for lobbying purposes, unless all of it has been used in this way? If, say, an anti-smoking group has an income of £10,000, of which a Health Authority has put up £5,000, and the rest comes from other sources, and they use £5,000 on a poster campaign and the other £5,000 on political lobbying, then how can anyone prove that the “lobbying” money was the £5,000 of public funds that they received? Wouldn’t they just say that the £5,000 they used for lobbying was in fact the other £5,000 and the public funds were only used for the poster campaign?

    Can any legal eagles on here explain this to me in simple words of no more than one syllable …?? ;)

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think it’s that it’s not right to use tax funds to push a cause that calls for more tax, ‘cos that way stuff ends up going round and round in… Damn!

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        Federal law prohibits grant recipients from using federal grant funds to influence “an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation.” [The CDC] clarifies that the law applies “specifically to lobbying related to any proposed, pending, or future federal, state, or local tax increase, or any proposed, pending, or future requirement or restriction on any legal consumer product.”

      • junican says:

        I am not sure, but I think that the grant money, or part of it, would need to be spent on the actual lobbying. How deeply this would go is hard to know, but I would certainly say that paying fees of a publicity company would count as paying for lobbying. It may also be that actually paying an employee to do the lobbying would also count. But what about paying the expenses of people who attend meetings? Those are the grey areas.

        • Harley and Junican are correct re US lobbying: using tax funds for it (for any purpose, not just tax increase votes) is illegal, but at the same time it’s circumvented by widespread lawbreaking with little in the way of penalties.

          – MJM

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Illicit Lobbying
      Report: Local health departments illegally used federal stimulus money to lobby

      Report: Local health departments illegally used federal stimulus money to lobby for greater taxes and restrictions on tobacco and unhealthy foods, according to a report released Tuesday by a nonprofit watchdog group.

      The stimulus-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program disbursed about $373 million. “[Cause of Action’s] investigation revealed that CPPW money went to support lobbyists and public relations companies who used taxpayer dollars to push laws and agendas that would lead to tax increases on tobacco and high calorie products… transform[ing] the CPPW program into a conduit for lobbying for higher taxes and bans on otherwise legal consumer products.”

      Federal law prohibits grant recipients from using federal grant funds to influence “an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation.” [The CDC] clarifies that the law applies “specifically to lobbying related to any proposed, pending, or future federal, state, or local tax increase, or any proposed, pending, or future requirement or restriction on any legal consumer product.”

      Cause of Action executive director Dan Epstein … said specific CPPW grantees may have “committed not just violations [of lobbying prohibitions], but fraud.”

      According to internal communications … DHEC officials altered meeting minutes in order to hide the involvement of officials involved in grant fund disbursements … “The DHEC stated outright that the purpose of altering the minutes was to hide the fact that its CPPW program coordinator had directed illegal lobbying in the pursuit of smoke-free ordinances,” according to the Cause of Action report.

  15. Pingback: The Champagne Tower of Tobacco Control | Frank ...

  16. mikef317 says:

    Since I’m American….

    Our tax code encourages “charitable” donations. (Charity defined [by me] as an organization that does “good deeds.”) Charities register with the government – the 501(c) sections of the tax code. (The UK probably has something similar.) A donation to a charity reduces your TAXABLE income. In effect, the government subsidizes these organizations. I donate to the local classical music station – , which, if you like Mozart, is quite good, and available worldwide. (Mozart is a worthy cause; if you prefer Paul McCartney, you don’t get a tax deduction.)

    One thing charities are NOT supposed to do (laugh) is lobby the government for more money or for laws that support their goals.

    But – the government is giving away money so someone is sure to find a loophole.

    The charity law, as written, prohibits lobbying. However, in 1959, the IRS issued a regulation stipulating that if an organization spends 51% of its funds on good deeds, it can spend the other 49% on lobbying. (Screwball bureaucrats.) So now we have lots of “charities” using tax dollars to lobby for their political agenda. And more tax dollars.

    The above is the recent IRS “scandal” where some groups got their expenditures questioned. Republicans foolishly bash Obama for targeting conservatives, but liberal organizations were also audited. The 51 / 49 regulation is wrong, and has been since 1959, and if the IRS ever gets around to enforcing the law as written, there will be a lot of VERY irritated “charities.” (Great!)


    Walt C quote. “I believe the federal grant money for anti-tobacco is part of the Obamacare act and the act itself would have to be repealed to cut off the spigot. I also believe I read that this money is on auto pilot in perpetuity and can’t be decreased or cut off by congress.”

    I also think the anti-tobacco money is part of Obamacare. I don’t want to get into a long comment exchange on this, but….

    I don’t see where the entire act would have to be repealed. Congress tweaks laws all the time; e.g., the tax code.

    In perpetuity…can’t be cut off by congress. This sounds weird to me. Maybe a constitutional amendment could do it, but from what I know ANY law or policy enacted by one congress / president can ALWAYS be modified by the same or a future congress / president.


    I doubt that existing laws will be repealed, but you might stop new laws from being enacted. Some points to consider:

    1) DON’T make the main argument about tobacco. Like it or not, fair or not, you’ll lose. Most Americans think that battling tobacco is a good cause.

    2) DO mention tobacco but broaden the argument to other issues where you have some chance of obtaining support. “I got interested in this because of smoking, but now I see the same problem with gun laws, health policy, education, immigration, etc., etc.”

    3) When dealing with a politician, ALWAYS mention that some political opponent is using tax dollars to their advantage.

    4) ALWAYS emphasize the main point – tax dollars should NEVER be used for lobbying.

    • waltc says:

      I meant it’s not part of the general budget OR the tax code or anything congress can deal with separately. Whether or not they could “enter” (as it were) the Obamacare act and remove that piece is almost moot anyway since at this point, first, the Democrats in the senate won’t let the legislature slice and dice it (ie, bring up any amending bill) and second, it would be damn hard for any legislator to go against this expenditure w/o instantly being tagged as “pro lung cancer, pro obesity and against The Children.”

    • carol2000 says:

      1) DON’T make the main argument about tobacco. Like it or not, fair or not, you’ll lose. Most Americans think that battling tobacco is a good cause.

      2) DO mention tobacco but broaden the argument to other issues where you have some chance of obtaining support. “I got interested in this because of smoking, but now I see the same problem with gun laws, health policy, education, immigration, etc., etc.”
      That’s the blueprint for failure. That’s the same “brilliant strategy” that’s made it so easy for them to get away with everything. It’s the same cowardly equivocation that our so-called “defenders” have been using all along. It’s exactly what the anti-smokers want, namely to define our position as nothing more substantial than whining about nannyism and slippery slopes.

      Because it lets them get away with their SCIENTIFIC FRAUD, of falsely blaming peoples’ lifestyles for diseases that are really caused by infection.

      And if you believe otherwise, it’s because your brain has been “pwned” by the health fascists, because you’ve been content to get all your tainted “information” from their mass media propaganda machine, because you haven’t bothered to search for answers outside of the shallow prattlings of the ignorant herds.

  17. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Maine CDC Staffer: Mayhew Signed Off on Document Shredding
    03/14/2014 Reported By: A.J. Higgins

    Maine Center for Disease Control staffers told members of the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee today that they were ordered two years ago to shred documents related to the selection of regional programs competing for $4.7 million in public health grants. And according to the center’s director and deputy director, state Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew signed off on the decision. Committee members say Mayhew may have to explain her role in the destruction of those documents. A.J. Higgins has more.

    Related Media
    Maine CDC Staffer: Mayhew Signed Off on Document S Listen

    The key players in the investigation into the destruction of public documents by staffers at the Maine Center for Disease Control met with members of the Government Oversight Committee for more than six hours – and not by choice. All of the state employees had been subpoenaed.

    After an attempt to bar the public from hearing their testimony failed, the panel of lawmakers that oversees the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability finally had their chance to question the staff members.

    Committee co-chair Sen. Emily Cain wanted to know who gave CDC Deputy Director Christine Zukas the idea that she should order her employees to destroy documents that led to a reselection of which regional health care program should receive millions of dollars in funding.

    Zukas said after meeting with state Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, she concluded that Mayhew agreed that the documents should be destroyed.

    “When the commissioner basically agreed, that was the reason why I made that phone call,” Zukas said. “Because, to me, that was the direction we were to take.”

    Cain says that it many ways, the day’s testimony revealed more questions than answers. “It’s possible that we may want to speak with any of these individuals again – or the commissioner,” she said.

    One of the more troubling aspects of the day’s testimony came from several key CDC employees involved a decision that was made to re-score some of the grant applications, which resulted in the Bangor Department of Health and Community Services receiving a higher score than it had in the original evaluation process.

    Sharon Leahy-Lind, a former CDC division director who claims she was ordered to shred the documents by her supervisors has filed suit against the agency under the federal Whistleblower Protection Act. Leahy-Lind was involved in the grant selection process and said she found it odd that Bangor had suddenly moved to the top of the scoring process after formerly placing second.

    Leahy-Lind told the committee that she questioned CDC Director Dr. Sheila Pinette about the change. “So I said, ‘How did Bangor Public Health get to be the lead?’ That wasn’t what I had seen or what we discussed at the last meeting. And Dr. Pinette said, ‘Oh, that’s political,'” Leahy-Lind said.

    Under questioning from committee co-chair Sen. Roger Katz, Dr. Pinette denied any involvement in the decision that rescored Bangor’s rating.

    Roger Katz: “And you feel that you played no role in the fact that that winner got changed – is that your testimony today?”

    Dr. Sheila Pinette: “I don’t believe that I told them that they had to be the lead, no.”

    Following the hearing, Sen. Emily Cain said the committee would have to review the original OPEGA investigation into the document-shredding incident and weigh its next move.

    “This was a lot of information we got today, we have got to digest it. We’ve got to have our staff and our legal counsel digest it,” Cain said. “And we need to go back and see, does it changes any of the recommendations in the report? Does it make us strengthen them? Do we need to recommend legislation, and do we need to talk to additional people?” Cain said.

    And after months of conflicting information, Cain said that the committee was able to finally learn that the documents in question were in fact destroyed by CDC Deputy Director Christine Zukas, who said she either shredded them or tossed them into a recycling bin.

  18. Pingback: Desperados. | underdogs bite upwards

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