All So Blatant

Two remarks I read today. First:

Sir Peter Westmacott, the British Ambassador to Washington, broke new diplomatic ground in his interview with MSNBC TV on 28 July. Asked directly to eschew diplomatic language and give three words describing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin he opted for boldness: “Thuggish, dishonest and reckless”.

This is the guy who’s supposed to be Britain’s top ‘diplomat’ in Washington. And he’s just dispensed with diplomacy. Which probably means that it’s no longer really needed.

Second:

One person close to Mr Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine.

“There is a war coming in Europe,” he said. “Do you really think this matters?”

Advertisements

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to All So Blatant

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Tobacco tax law cost U.S. billions in revenue: report

    (Reuters) – A 2009 law that raised federal taxes to discourage smoking cost the U.S. government billions of dollars in lost revenue as manufacturers relabeled products and consumers shifted to cheaper pipe tobacco and large cigars, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Tuesday.

    The GAO estimated $2.6 billion to $3.7 billion in lost revenue from April 2009 to February 2014 as manufacturers exploited loopholes in the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act which raised taxes for smoking-tobacco products.

    “Each of the three tobacco manufacturers that agreed to speak with us explained that their companies switched from selling higher-taxed roll-your-own tobacco to lower-taxed pipe tobacco to stay competitive,” the congressional watchdog agency said in the report, which was the focus of a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

    At the hearing, Liggett Vector Brands LLC Chief Executive Ronald Bernstein urged lawmakers to take action against abuses by manufacturers.

    He held up two seemingly identical, but differently labeled non-Liggett bags of tobacco. Showing a third sample, he pointed out that a label saying “all-natural pipe tobacco” covered up a statement that the bag “makes approximately 500 cigarettes.”

    “Everyone knows this is cigarette tobacco,” Bernstein said. “The manufacturer knows. The consumer knows. And I know. I know because I tried smoking it in a pipe and it was not a pleasant experience.”

    Some manufacturers also add a few ounces of tobacco to small cigars so they qualify as the larger product. Others even mix in clay or kitty litter to increase the weight, Michael Tynan, policy officer at the Oregon Public Health Division, told the hearing.

    The GAO said the tobacco market shifted accordingly. Yearly sales of pipe tobacco rose more than eight-fold from fiscal 2008 to 2013, while sales of roll-your-own tobacco declined almost six-fold.

    Over the same period, large cigar sales doubled, while small cigar sales dropped to just 700 million from 5.7 billion.

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, who convened the hearing, criticized the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which is responsible for collecting tobacco taxes and cracking down on evasion, for “footdragging.”

    In recent years, the agency has pushed to apply “advanced investigative techniques to uncover illicit trade and fraudulent activity,” including deploying about 125 auditors and investigators, the TTB wrote in its Senate testimony.

    Responding to a push to better differentiate between roll-your-own and pipe tobacco, the agency published an “advanced notice of proposed rule making” in 2010 and 2011. But no rule had yet been issued, the GAO wrote.

    In 2015, the TTB will issue a proposed regulation cracking down on the illegal activities, TTB Administrator John Manfreda said on Tuesday.

    But Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said it was not enough. He said the problem reminded him of “the old marquee at the movie house that says: ‘Coming soon,’ and it never gets there.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/30/us-usa-tax-tobacco-idUSKBN0FZ04U20140730

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Well the progressives gave us a stock market crash followed by a depression like last time all that was missing was a nice sweet WW3………………They those Progressives do tend to deliver on their Historical promises after they fucked everything up all over the world. Then after its all over there they will be standing ready to pick up the pieces and build another fucking Progressive foundation for the next century of failure again………………..

    • Tom says:

      And Prohibition. They gave us that too, vis-a-vis the smoking bans. New cycle, same difference.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Actually Tom in America tobacco prohibition ended just 2 years before the Volstead act became law in 1919 and there were still states with smoking bans and outright tobacco prohibition for simple poccession!

        Hate to keep reposting this but here we go:

        Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

        1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

        1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

        1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

        1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

        1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

        1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

        The last state to repeal the Indoor ban was UTAH in 1923 after they became the laughing stock of the country for it and arresting politicians and businessmen over it by the local sherriff!

  3. c777 says:

    There certainly is a war coming, I think the EU and the US have totally underestimated the strength of Russian opinion on this.
    As for isolating Russia I don’t think that’s going to work.
    India and China will do no such thing, so it is the EU and the US against Russia.
    And Russia are playing at home as they say, a force multiplier.
    And this analysis below appears a far more realistic view than I am hearing from Brussels or Washington, or the jingoistic or pseudo intellectual garbage spewed by the complicit western media.

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/europes-nightmare-coming-true-america-vs-russiaagain-10971

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      How long do you think the Russians will play the Euro – Obama led anti-smoking game if all this is true………….That’s a key factor to me that would prove whether the Ukrainian mess is just a bunch of hoopla on its face or if the thing is a real threat to go sky high into actual war. I seem to recall that nearly before every war public sentiment and attack against everything the other guy is for is basically denied and destroyed!

      Like the anti-german sentiment in America against the Kaiser and german businesses in America at the time. The imprisonment of Japanese in America in internment camps……..

      The list is a long one and I suspect the first thing the Russians would throw out/ Abandon is any EU-American led bullshit propaganda and laws!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Smoking gun: Mum’s battle with cigs as stats show how second-hand smoke is really harming kids

    WE all know the dangers of smoking – but most of us are unaware of the terrifying effects our smoking will have on our children.

    Not only are we putting our children’s health at serious risk by lighting up in front of them but we’re influencing their future.

    New statistics have revealed kids who grow up in a house full of smokers are three times more likely to become smokers.

    And, by then, the toxic fumes from your smoking habit could well have damaged your child’s health.

    The harmful compounds of second-hand smoke linger for five hours and that smoke contains 4000 toxic chemicals including lead, cyanide and arsenic. And 60 of these chemicals can cause cancer.

    Every year 9500 children in the UK are admitted to hospital because of the effects of second-hand smoke.

    And it’s responsible for causing 20,000 chest infections in children, 22,000 new cases of wheeze and asthma, plus 200 cases of bacterial meningitis and 40 cot deaths.

    A new Scottish Government campaign has been launched called Take it Right Outside, to make people aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke.

    Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said: “As we move towards creating a tobacco-free generation, we want to give every child the chance to grow up in a smoke-free environment.”

    Dr James Cant, head of British Lung Foundation Scotland, added: “Kids who are exposed are at greater risk of diseases from glue ear to asthma, meningitis and cot death.” Annette Green, 57, came from a family of heavy smokers and says it was glamorous and attractive to smoke in the 70s.

    She knew nothing of the dangers of lighting up – or the effect smoking could have on her family.

    Annette, who lives in Edinburgh with her husband Richard, 60, and two of her grandchildren, Quintin, six, and Preston, four, said: “In those days everyone smoked, my parents smoked. It’s just seemed normal and the done thing.

    “I grew up thinking, ‘That’s what I’ll do when I’m older, I’ll smoke’.”

    Annette took up the habit at 14.

    She went on: “Mum was angry when she found out but I told her she couldn’t judge me when she smoked herself.

    “To be honest, it was glamorous back then. The message was it was very acceptable to smoke.”

    Annette was horrified when she found out the effect smoking was having on families.

    She said: “The statistics shocked and terrified me. To be honest, I’m thinking about what it’s doing to me. I want to live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up.

    “To be honest, every time I take a draw now I’m thinking about that.

    “I’ve gone to the doctor about trying to quit and I’m planning to go to a cessation group.

    “I was even thinking of trying e-cigarettes. I’d love to be able to do it myself.”

    Annette has smoked seven cigs a day since she started and is worried about the affect it has had on both her and her family. She added: “Both my sons, Andrew, 35, and Sean, 38, smoke and I’m ashamed to say I think they grew up thinking the same as me – their mum smoked so it was normal and acceptable.

    “I have my grandchildren living with me and there’s no way I want them growing up thinking it’s acceptable to smoke or do damage to their health. I never, ever smoke in the house.”

    She added: “My husband used to smoke but he had a quadruple heart bypass and had to stop.

    “I think smoking had a part to play in that.

    “When we smoke, we’re pumping toxins into our body, it’s like a drug.”

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/health-fitness/smoking-gun-mums-battle-cigs-3934850

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Plain packaging is a losing strategy in the fight against smoking

    In the half-century since the landmark Surgeon General’s Report in the United States that first linked tobacco use to cancer, public-health advocates have made great strides in convincing people to kick the smoking habit–or never pick it up in the first place. The multimedia campaign against smoking continues to rack up successes today, but the proposal to make cigarettes less appealing by requiring that they be sold in plain brown packs free of logos, colours, or other branding sets a dangerous precedent that could extend far beyond anti-smoking efforts, while doing little to actually reduce smoking.

    Australia became the first country in the world to mandate plain packaging in 2012, requiring all cigarettes regardless of brand to be sold in identical brown boxes with the brand name written in plain font on the front. The thinking, of course, was that “ugly” packs would be less attractive than colourful, distinctive packs cigarettes and less effective at recruiting new smokers, leading to a swift decline in sales.

    Australia was wrong, however–cigarette sales may have even increased by 60m units during the law’s first year in effect, which came at the tail end of a three-year period where smoking rates declined in the wake of five cigarette tax hikes. Economists Ashok Kaul and Michael Wolf found that the plain packaging did nothing to deter either adults or adolescents from smoking. At the same time, the segments of the black market for cigarettes rose by over 150 per cent (with smokers willing to pay top dollar for the now-illicit branded packs)–with the government losing as much as £600m in tax revenue.

    Yet another important issue is at stake. By denying cigarette makers the right to use their own trademark on their products, Australia violated both international trade agreements and the basic rights of businesses to their established brands.

    Logos and other forms of branding are valuable forms of property– the once-bitten Apple, the Vodafone speechmark, the yellow Shell, and the McDonald’s Golden Arches, among others, are recognized worldwide and are integral parts of multi-billion pound enterprises. The red script on a Coca-Cola bottle means the same thing in London, New York, and Shanghai, and tells consumers what they are getting is what they think it is. Financial consulting firm Accenture spent nearly £60m rebranding itself with a new logo in 2001, and businesses large and small sustain an entire marketing industry by investing in their product’s outward face and building their brand.

    Cigarette companies are no different, and the packs you see behind the counter at the drugstore are the results of many years of research, development, testing, and adaptation to the market. Like any other businesses, cigarette makers have spent millions on branding–but because they make cigarettes, stripping them of the right to use their logos is somehow acceptable while banning BP from using the Sunflower or British Airways from putting the flag on its tail fins is incomprehensible.

    Why does the government have a right to select what companies get to use logos and others do not? So long as cigarettes are a legal product (which they will be, assuming the crown doesn’t want to lose the £12.3bn cigarette taxes generated last year), their makers have the right to sell them as any other manufacturer would sell any other product–in distinctive packaging. By selectively prohibiting one set of companies from using logos, the state would give itself legal precedent to strip these rights from other companies at will.

    Furthermore, if plain packaging legislation were to pass and be challenged by the tobacco industry, the court might even have to create a reparation scheme to compensate cigarette makers for depriving them of their trademark rights. And, according to some experts, that could easily run the Government between £4 and £5bn.

    I personally do not like smoking and I am happy that fewer people smoke. The teenage smoking rate–which is the critical statistic for anti-smoking advocates, since nearly all smokers begin before age 20–is on the decline, and I think that is a good thing. But plain packaging mandates have been of no measurable help in Australia, and there’s no reason for us to start playing the dangerous game where government starts censoring the use of of logos.

    http://www.cityam.com/1406723888/plain-packaging-losing-strategy-fight-against-smoking

    Good luck if you can get a comment in……………..

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Americans Favor Ban on Smoking in Public, but Not Total Ban

    July 30, 2014 ·

    A majority of Americans, 56%, are in favor of making smoking in public places illegal. This is in line with what Gallup has measured since 2011. By contrast, until 2008, Gallup found most Americans were opposed to a ban on smoking in public places, with as few as 31% in favor of such a ban in 2003

    http://opiniontoday.com/2014/07/30/americans-favor-ban-on-smoking-in-public-but-not-total-ban/#comment-456

    jack schitt says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    July 30, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Its highly unlikely such hatred exists in the US against a minority of people. The largest sub- group of smokers in that roughly 20-25% of smoking americans is the LGBT community. The next heaviest group of smokers is the Black Community then the whites…………

    Id ask Gallup if they also asked these same so called respondents polled if they also were in favor of JIM CROWE LAWS or even Hitlers Nuremberg laws!

    The Führer thanks you from the grave in your anti-smoking polling efforts:

    Hitler’s Anti-Tobacco Campaign

    One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel — upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast — liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase “passive smoking” (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus (“Tobacco and the Organism”), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.
    ck schitt says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    July 30, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Its highly unlikely such hatred exists in the US against a minority of people. The largest sub- group of smokers in that roughly 20-25% of smoking americans is the LGBT community. The next heaviest group of smokers is the Black Community then the whites…………

    Id ask Gallup if they also asked these same so called respondents polled if they also were in favor of JIM CROWE LAWS or even Hitlers Nuremberg laws!

    The Führer thanks you from the grave in your anti-smoking polling efforts:

    Hitler’s Anti-Tobacco Campaign

    One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel — upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast — liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase “passive smoking” (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus (“Tobacco and the Organism”), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      I gather the Nazis pushed for this poll to have more propaganda to back their beach and parks and now whole swaths of towns and city smoking bans they are pushing………..Gallup delivers for anti-smoking and seems to always have!

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    The nannystate seems to be Hyper-Warp drive lately…………….

    Alcohol abuse in pregnancy could become a crime, legal papers claim

    Advice groups bid to combat ruling they believe could undermine pregnant women’s freedom to make decisions for themselves

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jul/26/pregnancy-mother-forced-pay-child-damages-drinking

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Seems the state somehow thinks they own the people,their children,their lives,the food they eat,the beverages they consume down to the money and wealth we even accumulate. I gather they think they even own our bodies………………

      Last time I checked the people individually and wholly owned the government!

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Is it anti-social to use barbecues in parks?By Jon Kelly

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28230370

  9. beobrigitte says:

    This is the guy who’s supposed to be Britain’s top ‘diplomat’ in Washington. And he’s just dispensed with diplomacy. Which probably means that it’s no longer really needed.

    Who needs enemies with a diplomat like that?

    Asked directly to eschew diplomatic language and give three words describing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin he opted for boldness: “Thuggish, dishonest and reckless”.

    Our lobby groups run governments aren’t?

    Talking of lobby groups; was it difficult for the anti-smokers to invade Russia? Putin himself has been taken in by the “god-of-health-whose-themple-is-our-body” blabb. Will he get angry when he sees the truth?

    If there is really a war coming to Europe will the war on smokers matter?

  10. garyk30 says:

    “SHS causes 200 cases of bacterial meningitis”?

    Common temp used in sterilization devices to kill bacteria/viruses/microbes is 250 degrees F.

    The temp at the lit end of a cig varies from 1100-1300 degrees F.

    Cig smoke and the air you inhale from a cig are sterile and there are no little critters that are alive in it.

    When you inhale on a cig, it is probably the cleanest air that you ever breathe.

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Some Iowans blowing smoke about tobacco use

    The Affordable Care Act’s architects may have found a way to make Iowa’s smoking-rate statistics drop by more than half: Tell people that if they admit to tobacco use, they’ll have to pay substantially more for health insurance.

    In anonymous national surveys, 18 percent of Iowa adults say they smoke regularly. But when the state’s dominant health insurance company used new federally required language to ask applicants whether they regularly use tobacco, only 7 percent ‘fessed up.

    Tobacco use is one of the few things for which health insurers are still allowed to charge extra. Starting this year, the federal Affordable Care Act barred carriers from imposing higher premiums for most other factors, such as gender or pre-existing health problems. The law allows insurers to charge up to 50 percent more for individual insurance policies sold to people who say they’re regular tobacco users. But the law defines tobacco use in a way that provides lots of wiggle room.

    The issue mainly affects people who buy their own coverage instead of obtaining it through their employers or a government program.

    Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which sells more than three-quarters of the individual health insurance policies in Iowa, is charging about 15 percent extra to admitted tobacco users. But even that amount appears to be inducing some applicants to blow smoke about their habits.

    Wellmark competitor CoOportunity Health imposes a 49 percent smokers’ surcharge on its individual insurance policies. Just 5 percent of its applicants have been answering yes to the tobacco-use question.

    There are several possible explanations for these figures, but widespread dishonesty appears to be one of the strongest.

    West Des Moines insurance broker Jesse Patton said he has had customers admit they’re smokers, then change their stories once they see how much more their premiums would cost. “They’re like, ‘You know what, Jesse? Come to think of it …,’ ” Patton recalled. Then they tell him they don’t smoke or chew tobacco all that often.

    Patton, president of the Iowa Association of Health Underwriters, said he’s warned customers that lying on an insurance application could be considered fraud. But the customers seem to understand that the insurers would be hard-pressed to prove such a case, he said.

    Part of the problem is the way the federal law worded the question that insurers are allowed to ask, Patton said. The question isn’t whether applicants use tobacco at all; it’s whether applicants have used tobacco on average at least four times a week in the past six months. Patton said it’s far too easy to fudge an answer to that question. Four or more times a week? On average? Who’s counting?

    David Brown, Wellmark’s executive vice president, said his company tried to set its tobacco-use surcharge at a reasonable level. “Obviously, smokers are more expensive to care for, but if you price it too high, you’re just encouraging people to lie,” he said.

    Brown said the 7 percent of Wellmark applicants who identified themselves as regular tobacco users was “in the ballpark” of what the company expected. The insurer has little ability or inclination to double-check whether applicants were truthful, he said.

    “We don’t have drones,” he joked.

    Cliff Gold, chief operating officer of CoOportunity Health, said several factors muddy the statistics.

    For example, he said, his company asks whether each person who would be covered by a new insurance policy uses tobacco. If applicants are shopping for family policies, they are asked whether their children smoke or chew tobacco, he said. Even if the parents were trying to be truthful, many of them probably wouldn’t know if their teenage or young-adult offspring were smoking on the sly, he said.

    Gold agreed with Patton that the federally-specified question is poorly worded. “It’s virtually impossible to police it,” he said. Even if an insurer could demand a blood test for nicotine, a customer whose test came back positive could just say he smoked less than four times per week, he said.

    Given how easy it would be to lie on the tobacco question, Gold said, “I’m actually amazed at the number of people who have owned up.”

    He noted that confessed smokers can still qualify for the lower, non-smoker premiums if they make an effort to quit. For CoOportunity customers, that means agreeing to watch online videos and then take a quiz about them. If they’re still smoking when it’s time to re-enroll, they could agree to watch the videos again.

    Even though it’s relatively easy to avoid, the insurance-premium surcharge amounts to one more thing nudging smokers toward quitting, he said. That could help save money and lives taken by cancer, heart disease and other ailments caused by smoking.

    The other major carrier selling individual health insurance policies in Iowa, Coventry Health Care, declined to say how many of its applicants have admitted being regular smokers.

    Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said he’s warned Iowans to answer truthfully on their health insurance applications. The Affordable Care Act has tightened rules on when insurance carriers can rescind policies, but the companies are still allowed to cancel coverage if they find out people lied when filling out the forms, Gerhart said. Such an action is unlikely, but not impossible, he said. And if it happened, a consumer could face devastating medical bills.

    Gerhart agrees with other critics that the smoking question is poorly worded, giving consumers too much leeway to fudge. He recommends that instead of lying, smokers take advantage of the rule that lets them qualify for the non-smokers’ insurance premiums if they agree to participate in smoking-cessation services. “That would be a much better thing to do,” he said, “and a much healthier thing to do.”

    Cost of tobacco use on insurance

    Here are examples of how much more applicants would have to pay for health insurance if they admitted to being regular users of tobacco:

    A 50-year-old Des Moines man who answered no on the tobacco-use question would be charged monthly premiums of $248 to $502 for CoOportunity Health policies, depending on which plan he picked. If he answered yes on the tobacco-use question, his premiums would be from $371 to $752.

    If the man wanted to buy a policy from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, his monthly premiums would range from $265 to $504 if he answered no on the tobacco-use question and from $304 to $579 if he answered yes.

    If the man chose Coventry Health Care as his carrier and answered no on the tobacco-use question, his premiums would range from $208 to $360. If he answered yes on the question, his premiums would range from $250 to $432.

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2014/07/30/iowa-adults-smoking-tobacco-dishonest-poll-affordable-care-act-health-insurnace/13349395/

    So you think CDC can actually provide real polling data of how many people actually smoke!

    ROFLMAO

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s