Opposition To Smoking Bans Heats Up V
By Norman E. Kjono, February 27, 2007
I provided an example of bar owners who are standing up for themselves and many of their patrons in my last commentary for this series, Opposition to Smoking Bans Heats Up IV. This commentary discusses those small, independent hospitality business owners who do not do so. Some hospitality business owners may believe that a smoking ban is good for business and others would take an opposing view. But both proponents and opponents of bans have a greater long-term interest in preserving their choices as to how they manage their businesses in an open and free competitive market. What seems to be good for the immediate, short-term smoking ban goose may well cook proponents' gander on other special-interest agendas. Looking at these issues from that broader view presents some interesting conclusions. Indeed, those who stand to duty to oppose the bans may have the most valid position and the best approach to preserving competitive opportunities for all small businesses.
From MSNBC News, February 23, 2007, "Gun Remark Makes Outdoorsman Outcast," by Blain Harden with WashingtonPost.com:
SEATTLE - Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. . . . he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West. Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs. . . . The reaction -- from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association -- has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo's career appears to be over. . . . Zumbo's fall highlights a fundamental concern of the NRA . . . They do not want American gun owners to make a distinction between assault weapons and traditional hunting guns such as shotguns and rifles. If they did, a rift could emerge between hunters, who tend to have the most money for political contributions to gun rights causes, and assault-weapon owners, who tend to have lots of passion but less cash. The NRA appeared to be saying as much in its statement Thursday, when it emphasized that the Zumbo affair shows there is "no chance" that a "divide and conquer propaganda strategy" could ever succeed." (Underline added.)
How many cities, counties and states would ban guns today if Remington or Smith & Wesson published on its Web site that it supported gun bans, the National Rifle Association (NRA) aggressively worked toward a stated goal to eliminate gun use, and gun owners behaved as hapless, passive victims? I suspect that today there would be few states or counties in this great nation where gun ownership is still legal.
What would the "statistics" about gun use and gun owners be today if Remington or Smith & Wesson stood passive about false statements concerning gun owners killing their co-workers and family members, the NRA stated on its Web site that the views of those who make such claims should be considered in public policy, and gun owners apologized for the risk that they allegedly impose on society? The evidence strongly suggests that news reporters would cavalierly write without critical thought that gun oil is a "known human carcinogen," even 30 seconds of exposure to gun smoke can cause cardiac arrest, and that millions die each year from causes allegedly related to gun use-including cancer, pulmonary disease and coronary problems.
What would state tax revenues from the sale of guns and manufactured ammunition be today if every gun owner regarded themselves as enduring an addiction to a lethal habit rather than lawfully enjoying use of a legal product, taxes on ammunition were increased by 400 percent-plus, and state governments managed publicity campaigns to negatively label gun owners as killers and to unfavorably stereotype them as irresponsible pariahs who are dangerous to society? Try virtual zero.
What freedom and liberty would Americans enjoy today if the above were scenario were the case? Many believe that absent the right of citizens to bear arms we would have been living in a totalitarian dictatorship for the past 200-plus years. At the least, many would say that it is probable we would have endured more than one civil war in our nation's history.
Philip Morris supports smoking bans and FDA regulation of Tobacco. It negotiated a Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with state attorneys general in 1998 to buy off its liability with a 45 cents per pack increase in the cost of cigarettes paid by its customers, then piled on 60 cents more in price increases to pump its profits further. A product of that settlement, the American Legacy Foundation, routinely promotes campaigns that convey the message that citizens do not have a right to lawfully consume legal tobacco products. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has applied more than $446 million in special-interest grants to increase the cost of tobacco products, expand prohibitions on the use of tobacco, and to unfavorably stereotype those who lawfully consume legal cigarettes.
If Remington or Smith & Wesson and the National Rifle Association conducted themselves as Philip Morris, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Legacy Foundation do citizens would not have a right to purchase and enjoy the use of firearms today.
The preceding illustrate why the current frenzy of tax, increase consumers costs, and ban mandates sweeping through our nation is of compelling importance to all citizens, regardless of whether they choose to smoke. We examine these issues below by taking a look at beer in Oregon. Before doing so it is important to consider a flip side of the opposition coin. We then progress to discussing what approached will work.
The Flipside To An Important Issue
There is a flip side to opposing smoking bans. How does one contend with those who refuse to engage the battle opposition despite the fact that their interests are at stake, too? How do we respond to mainstream media continuing to publish sound bites from tobacco control as if those long-debunked "facts" crafted more than a decade ago still have any credible merit?
Two E-Mails from readers who are also long-standing, credible opponents of smoking bans illustrate the point. I have left these anonymous, however they are verbatim quotes from those I communicate with on a regular basis:
"Have you asked any bar owners why they do not fight for themselves? I feel that we have done what we could for them - we have given them six years of smoking in the businesses that they would not have had if we had not worked against the past three sessions smoking ban bills. I do not understand anyone who would not fight for thier businesses. I don't understand smokers who will spend hours complaining about their lost rights on a bulletin board, but can't be bothered to write a letter, or get a big group of their friends and family to write letters to their elected representatives when these issues come up."
"This is a survival issue for thousands Of people in . . . The tobacco control addicts are spewing their lies all over the place. I believe it's time the media recognized that they have an obligation to make sure the truth is told. We have the evidence that blows great big hole in the claims that second hand smoke is a health risk I won't go into what it says here but, I think you owe it to the concepts of freedom, liberty and justice to review this evidence and publish it in you papers so people can get the truth. I am in contact with people who have compiled this evidence from the National Cancer Institute, OSHA, DOT, the Cato Institute, District Courts etc, etc and etc. If you believe that truth should prevail over lies and that people have a right to know what is and isn't so. Consider this. It just might get you a Pulitzer. It's time the media stood up to deception and outright lies."
Frustration on the part of those who wrote the above E-Mails is apparent. The above comments are poignant at the present time. Small, independent bar and tavern owners in many states are fighting for their livelihood against well-entrenched and richly-endowed special-interest advocates funded in large part by pharmaceutical nicotine special-interests. Bar owners are standing up in Washington, Colorado, Hawaii and Ohio.
Those few bar owners are standing up for themselves in states where many advocating their demise live on taxpayer funded salaries, are supported by premium health plans at taxpayers expense, and look forward to taxpayer-financed pensions. Add to that $446 million more in pharmaceutical nicotine grants, such as those from the multi-billion-dollar Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey, and you transcend a mere David vs. Goliath situation. As a few good people stand to the good fight, mainstream media continues tobacco control dogma unabated, as if OSHA, our federal courts, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and many other authoritative, credible sources that have shown tobacco control claims to be false never wrote a word.
It's not a fair fight. In fact it's really no fight at all. What can a few bar owners realistically do when confronted with legislators determined to ram through legislation that is aggressively supported by the biggest of Big Tobacco, the biggest of Big Drugs, the biggest of Big Health foundations, and a professional Social Marketing infrastructure? After all, there's big business campaign contributions, next year's grants, pumping the health budget, nicotine market share, and professional activist's livelihoods at stake here. How do the legitimate interests of a few local bar owners stack up against those vested-interests in the halls of state legislatures? I suspect that such relatively paltry interests are not even considered as an afterthought. But that inconsequential afterthought to Social Marketing advocates is what defines the essence of America: diligent enterprise, a willingness to confront risk in pursuit of the liberty to manage one's interests as they see fit, and enduring commitment to a positive work ethic.
The answers to the questions posed on the first page of this commentary are that one cannot help those who refuse to help themselves; those whose paycheck and career prospects are dependent on enacting a pre-programmed special-interest agenda without variation will continue to do so, regardless of facts that emerge; one need not consume valuable time and resources in vain attempt to stop mainstream media from doing what has to date successfully increased pharmaceutical advertising revenues; and that time spent attempting to persuade legislators who have their eye fixated on big business campaign donations would be more productively spent whistling at the moon.
As it turns out, valid hope emerges from what some would say is a lost cause. We have reached the point where the conflicts-of-interest are so transparent, the money trail is so clearly marked, the "scientific" conclusions have escalated to such bizarre claims, and the harm imposed on others so consistently egregious that earnest opposition becomes a compelling mandate for responsible Americans.
Effective opposition by individual groups against the seemingly-overwhelming power of a special-interest throne is also something that we colonists demonstrated a unique aptitude for about 230 years ago. In short, once again the fight has sufficiently matured to become interesting. I suspect that when the dust settles British GlaxoSmithKline-distributor of NicoDerm CQ patches, Nicorette gum, and Commit lozenges-will be sent hauling its butt out of our American affairs just like King George III. We created a new nation by doing that two centuries ago. It seems to me that patriots who value our dignity as a people have an opportunity to perform a much-needed regulatory overhaul on our national interests. That is accomplished by opposing special-interest taxes and ban mandates today.
Politics as Usual
What would the career prospects be for a politician who advocated a statewide ban on the use of guns-including working on them in one's home-because gun oil and gun smoke are "known" to be lethally dangerous carcinogens that seep into adjoining residences? I suspect that any politician foolish enough to support such policy, or who was sufficiently opportunistic to make such claims, would be too busy fighting a voter recall to have time for planning their next campaign.
Politics is a game that rewards those who follow the path of least resistance, is skillfully played by opportunists who believe expedience in legislating an agenda trumps honest facts, and rewards organized groups most accomplished at sucking up to current powers that be.
As played in today's cultural environment, politics as usual is the antithesis of American values. When did we the people begin to believe that sacrificing our neighbor's small business interests on the altar of monopolistic expedience was acceptable? Have we passed the point of no return to where hundreds of shop owners and thousands of their employees in any state are expendable to advance the interests of a few professional activists and their multinational sponsors? Is eliminating small business owners from a free an open market acceptable collateral damage? Are the War on Tobacco and the War on Obesity in truth the merely lowest form of gutter politics that now emerges as a War on the People, the legal products they lawfully choose to consume, plus basic values of fairness and good faith endeavor?
Don't blame "them." That is the quality of government that the people of any nation earn by their own inaction and lack of commitment to demanding accountability of their elected representatives. The problem is not opportunistic weasels who slink about the halls of power while spewing new taxes and mandates for others as if they were doing something important. The problem is not lobbyists and private foundations who stoke the passions of special-interest zealots and provide political access, grants, or support infrastructure for them to vent their personal-preference spleen. The bottom line for the current threat to the quality of our government is drawn squarely under we the people who accept such political tomfoolery in the name of business as usual.
Accordingly, the primary focus of this commentary is on we the people rather than they the advocates. What we the people decide cannot work and will not be tolerated cannot and will not continue. I begin with a few words from the only President of the United States who was elected to four terms in office:
Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt
"Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt denounced Prohibition as 'a damnable affliction,' and declared, 'We have...reached the point as a Nation where we must take action to save the Constitution from the Court' of 'Nine Old Men.' Roosevelt, America's most-loved president, said: 'Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts.... Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.... Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.... They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.... The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism, ownership of the government by the individual, by a group, or any controlling private power." (Underline added.)
Dare we oh-so-politely observe that a person who smoked cigarettes lead us out of the depression, ended prohibition, and won a world war?
What chance does the current tax, ban and mandate "generation of self-seekers" have against Roosevelt's commitment and ability? What shred of credibility does the current generation of self-serving, grant-funded activists retain when negatively labeling historical figures such as Roosevelt, Churchill and Edward R. Murrow as social pariahs? What value do those grant junkies add to our American culture when they advocate those who put their lives on the line to protect the junkies' liberty today-just like those who landed at Normandy and on Iwo Jima six decades ago-should be banned, shunned and demeaned as citizens of lesser worth than a grant dollar when they return home to the shores of this great land?
A Stellar Example From Oregon
Consider, for example, House Bill 2535, sponsored by Representative Dingfelder and Senator Morrisette, currently before the Oregon legislature. That bill would impose a $32 "beer cost recovery fee" per 31 gallon barrel of beer. Proponents claim this is not a tax, it is merely a "fee" charged to allegedly help the state recover the costs imposed by alcohol abuse and to protect children as young as 8th graders from abusing alcohol. The "Whereas" statements of the bill are smothered in "statistics" and "conclusions" that support a compelling need to "Save the Children" from alcohol abuse.
$32 per $31 barrel of beer is $1.03 per gallon. There are 8 16 oz. glasses of beer in one gallon. That equals 12.9 cents per draft in new costs that bar owners must pass on to their beer customers to breakeven.
Oregon's HB 2535 is precisely modeled after the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). The alleged purpose of the MSA was for states to recover costs of treating smoking related illness, the alleged purpose of HB 2535 is for the state to recover costs of alcohol abuse. The MSA was supported by a host of studies-on-demand that "proved" the costs of smoking to society, HB 2535 includes reference to many studies and opinions that "prove" the costs of alcohol abuse to the State of Oregon. The focus of the MSA was to "Save the Children" from tobacco use, the focus of HB 2535 is to "Save the Children" from alcohol abuse. And the MSA added 45 cents in costs charged by manufacturers for cigarettes but not cigars-not a tax, mind you-to fund payments to states, where HB 2535 imposes a "malt beverage cost recovery fee"-not a tax, mind you-of about 13 cents per draft beer but not wine or hard liquor to fund payments to the State of Oregon.
Oregon's HB 2535 is a stellar example of how public policy and legal theory that has been successfully applied to tobacco will predictably expand as to both its scope and its application to other products. As to scope, consider that Oregon's Senate Bill 488 expands Washington's prohibition on smoking of 25 feet from any building entrance to now 75 feet. If that 75 foot distance has bona fide merit are we to believe that nonsmokers in other states with a mere 15 foot prohibition are in mortal danger of instant cardiac arrest from secondhand smoke? Many who sniffed, "I don't care about cigarette costs, I don't smoke" can now suck down the true costs of that thinking as they push an extra 13 cents across the bar for a draft. Those who don't care about the costs of smokes or beer because, after all, they don't smoke or drink should haul their petite buns up on a scale; according to federal Body Mass Index standards one-third of them are obese and another third are seriously overweight. Professional activists financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in its War on Obesity have a revenue-generating answer for that, too: "Healthy Lifestyle" mandates enforced by increased health insurance costs for the obese.
Never let it be said that once zealous activists have found an axe that grinds well they will not let the sparks fly until it, and everyone to whom it is applied, are ground to dust. The "cost recovery fee" approach is the public tax policy RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) of choice employed by special-interest activists in their War on Tobacco-the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's self-declared "Assault on Smoking." As illustrated by HB 2535, that weapon be employed against all other legal products that professional advocacy groups deem to be appropriate "Targets."
That Oregon beer tax legislation is directly aimed at independent local taverns and bars. What establishments are the largest purchasers of beer in barrels as a group? Moreover, the tax burden of this bill falls most heavily on working class folks who stop by their local tavern for a beer after work. Who does the Oregon beer tax hit the most: a waitperson or construction worker visiting their local tavern or a "young upwardly mobile professional person" who enjoys a martini or glass of wine at their favorite upscale lounge? Based on legislation in Colorado and Washington, the odds are very high that the upscale lounge will exempt from statewide smoking bans as a "Cigar Bar" (cigarettes prohibited in cigar bars due to the dangers of secondhand smoke in Colorado, thank you.) Odds also are that the cigar enjoyed is preferentially taxed; Washington reduce the taxes on Other Tobacco Products in 2005, while increasing taxes on cigarettes, thane added a cap in the tax for cigars. When did we as a people approve of using public policy a political weapon that defines tax exemptions and enjoyable lifestyles for the upwardly mobile, while mandating higher costs and reduced choices for the general public?
Public Policy Implications
The social, public policy and cultural environment implications of Oregon's HB 2535 are huge when coupled with cigar bar exemption and preferential taxation for Other Tobacco Products. By taking a broader view of that bill through the lens of tobacco control advocacy and the latest trend in cigar bar exemptions we arrive at simple, yet stunning, conclusions.
1. Joe Everyman can just learn to live with paying more for a beer at his local tavern while being required to step outside to smoke a cigarette, but John Jerkwater III, Esq. enjoys a Cognac with his cigar in the comforts of his upscale club lounge, while savoring the special privilege of being immune from sharing the cost burden of recovering alleged state burdens due to alcohol abuse. Perhaps public policy discussed in this commentary comes from fat cats huddling behind closed doors drunk as a loon on hard liquor and the power to exempt themselves from mandates for the common man.
2. Opportunistic politicians play the weeping ballad of "Save the Children" on agenda violins bought with special-interest donations, be the issue anti-tobacco, anti-obesity, or anti-beer. Pretty soon we'll be saving more children than the census bureau reports exist in the USA. Whatever happened to parents saying put the smoke out, Johnny, and while you're at it chill out with Grandma's medicinal elderberry wine then go outside and join the soccer game your friends are playing?
3. Harry's Sports Bar can be encumbered with higher costs for beer, revenue losses due to smoking bans, and soon mandates about what snacks patrons are to be allowed, while upscale patrons of Houte Maison lounge swill lower-taxed martinis and smoke ban-exempt cigars as they divvy up next year's menu for restaurants. Will they next decide in Oregon that any cigarette smoker who has the temerity to come within 75 feet of a cigar smoker is subject a fine for public health reasons?
Perversely, if what tobacco control claims about the benefits of smoking bans is true, Pristine Clean nonsmokers who allegedly flock to local taverns because their hair will no longer stink once smoking has been banned will bear the greatest burden of this new tax. We observe the Agenda-Afflicted sticking it to their own supporters. Which puts the Pristine Clean who aggressively support anti-tobacco among the dumbest of species on planet Earth. Good for them, they've richly earned their dubious distinction. Smokers are intelligent enough to haul it out of places where the tax applies and enjoy a beer at home (for now, until a beer ban applies there, too.) But where does that leave small, independent bar owners?
So much for smoking bans increasing bar and tavern revenues as so stridently-and falsely-proclaimed by tobacco control advocates. It's simply amazing how dumb folks can become when they buy into special-interest agendas. That phenomenon creates legions of Pristine Clean who scurry about the state proclaiming "We Won! Now we get to go to places that charge us higher taxes those filthy smokers don't have to pay!"
Revenues that Oregon bar and tavern owners would allegedly gain from a statewide smoking ban they will lose because of lost beer sales due to new taxes. Considering that small, independent bars and taverns consistently lose customers and revenue when smoking bans are passed, and will lose more sales with increased beer taxes, it is apparent that the Oregon legislature has declared a war of attrition on neighborhood bars and taverns. The fact that bars and taverns will lose beer sales due to the tax must be true because the Oregon legislature said so when it wrote into the bill "Whereas alcohol abuse and alcoholism cost each Oregonian an estimated $683 annually." How is the state to save the costs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism if the sale of products to which this statute applies to-beer-do not decline?
Several comments about the proposed Oregon beer cost recovery fee legislation were posted to the Web site Bojack.org A few samples are:
"Whereas four out of five Oregonians polled are in favor of increasing an alcohol tax What? Are they serious? When was that poll taken? And where? At a MADD meeting? What a bunch of BS.
Posted by Jon | February 24, 2007 12:13 AM
C'mon Jack. We already have a beer tax. And they dont want to be accused of "raising taxes."
Just remember, calling it a "fee" lets the progressives keep saying we are one of the "lowest taxed states".
Posted by Jon | February 24, 2007 12:18 AM
Makes me laugh reading all the support for a cigarette tax and whining about a beer tax. I guess it just depends on what you've chosen to indulge in. It coudn't be that so many people think it is ok to tax someone else's vices as long as their own are left alone. Could it? Cut spending! Cut taxes!
Posted by Deb | February 24, 2007 12:46 AM
Well now....this cold be trouble. Mess with smokers...yeah OK whatever, there are scum anyway right? Mess with Beer drinkers and we could have a problem. As soon as I read this I had to check and see how many barrels Deshutes sells, which is my favorite. Seems they sell 160,000 a year, a bit over the 125,000 number. Looks like I'll be paying....Their recent Newsletter does a thorough debunking.
Readers posted laudable comments to that Web site. But how many of them took the time to find out who their elected representatives are and send an E-Mail opposing the "recovery fee" tax on beer? How many went to the Oregon legislature Web site, find the beer tax bill, and print out a copy of sponsors for that bill? How many voters who oppose that beer tax will have a clue as to the names of the bill sponsors when they cast their votes in the next election? How many of them will take the time to follow the public hearing schedule for the bill, then go to the hearing to say just four words "I oppose this tax"?
Whining about intrusive or unresponsive government may have its therapeutic value but votes determine the quality of government that we contend with. Those who say "that's what we elect them to do, look out for our interests, why should we do their job, too" have a valid point as far as it goes. The response to that position is "Because you are observing what you get when legislators are allowed to play with public policy in the absence of adult voter supervision.
Those who say "Well, I don't it doesn't effect me because I don't drink beer" completely miss the point of Democratic governance. A Democracy is we the people. When the people create a vacuum through inaction the void is inevitably filled by special-interests. Those special interests are, by definition, concerned about and paying to support what's in it for them. They are not at all concerned with how their legislation affects others. Indeed, many special-interests such as anti-tobacco and anti-obesity are created for the express and stated purpose of adversely affecting others so they can benefit. Beyond which, we cannot escape the fundamental truth what we allow to be done to others-our neighbors, members of our own communities-inevitable affects everyone because what goes around comes around, energy always balances. Measure how you will be treated next year by what you allow to be done to your neighbors today.
Some are even foolish enough to support "Whereas" statements in the Oregon beer tax bill with the trite, childish comment that "It's the truth and it's an outrage!" Well, good for you. Go ahead and be outraged. We're quite impressed, really. Now when are you going to get something constructive and meaningful done about youth alcohol abuse other than lining your own pockets with adult beer drinkers' money and decreasing revenue to mom and pop hospitality businesses in your neighborhood? Since when was your personal outrage a legitimate basis for public law that imposes new taxes on millions of your fellow citizens? Why should they be required to pay the piper for the intolerance tune that you choose to call?
Why Supporting Bar and Tavern Owners Who Oppose Smoking Bans Matters
This section is written for small, independent bars and their patrons, many of whom also choose to use tobacco products while enjoying a drink. It is also written for small, independent taverns and restaurants that serve food. At this point, Pristine Clean with a fixation on hair can stop reading. It will only go downhill from here for them.
The following should be read as response to the question "Why should I support public protest and legislative action against smoking bans?"
1. Because a war of attrition has been declared on you, your business and many of your patrons by out-of-state special-interests who seek to advance their agenda at your expense.
a.) As cigarette smoking bans expand for bars so do exemptions for cigar bars.
b.) As beer taxes expand in some states so do exemptions for other alcoholic beverages.
c.) As the War on Tobacco, the War on Beer, and the War on Food expand, so on the restrictions on small, independent bars, taverns and restaurants.
d.) By stopping the War on Tobacco today you also stop the same activists, with funding from many of the same sources, from applying the same agenda model in other areas that will hurt your business in the future. You can be assured they will not quit until you are out of business. What are you waiting for to place an equal commitment behind protecting your legitimate small business interests?
2. Because restaurant associations in most states, whose members are by and large chain restaurants with liquor service and bars, have abandoned you.
a.) Every beer not sold in your bar that allows smoking is a beer that can be sold in a franchise chain's "Smoke Free" lounge.
b.) Every meal not sold in your tavern that allows smoking is a meal that can be served in a franchise chain's "Smoke Free" dining area.
c.) Restaurant associations consistently refuse to oppose smoking bans. When are you going to fill that vacuum?
3. Because your legitimate interests are not even on the radar of legislators fixated on campaign donations from Fortune 500 lobbyist groups and the same politicians seek to justify their positions that will hurt you with Social Marketing dogma funded by multi-billion-dollar private foundations.
a.) Many people from small, independent bars, taverns and restaurants who attend public hearings about smoking bans are virtually ignored, often insulted by professional activists.
b.) You may not have the money of a Fortune 500 restaurant chain but you do have your voice. Demand that your local interests at the least be equally considered as those represented by lobbyists for large franchise chains.
c.) Demand that legislators present proofs of the Social Marketing sound bites they proclaim. Then present countering evidence and demand that they respond to your information. Vote out of office those who cannot or will not do so.
4. Because those who are standing to duty to oppose the bans merit you support.
a.) By standing up for themselves they are also standing up for you.
b.) Your rights and business interests are best protected by you, not by leaving it to someone else.
c.) The most dangerous German 70 years ago was not the guy with the gun. The most dangerous person then and today is an opportunist who remains silent and seeks self-serving advantage while others stand to duty for everyone.
5. Because the current tax and ban agenda, and the "level playing field" mantra that comes with it are as Un-American as Joe McCarthy's witch hunt.
a.) Any small business owner who believes that a legitimate way to preserve his interests is to limit his fellow trade members opportunity and choices needs to check personal priorities. What prevents another bar or tavern owner from limiting your choices in the future over new mandates about what food can be serves, hours of operation, etc.? Opposing sides of this issue may believe they have diverse interests. It must be said, however, that in the longer view both sides have a greater interest in preserving their choices as to how they manage their separate and competitive establishments.
b.) Edward R. Murrow shut down Joe McCarthy, while enjoying a smoke. you can shut down the mandate muggers, too.
c.) McCarthy once claimed to hold up a list of 205 known communists during a radio broadcast. Like McCarthy's list that did not exist and was immediately repudiated by the U.S. State Department, tobacco control's list of health risks of tobacco smoke does not exist as represented and has been repudiated by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
d.) Since when was lying about "proofs" and other people the legitimate basis for any American policy?
6. Because you have a civic duty to grow some cahones, to stand up for yourself and those around you by actively participating in this process we call Democracy.
a.) You are part of "we the people," too. What you allow to be done to other people will predictably happen to you.
b.) This great nation was created and built by those who put themselves on the line, often in harms way, to preserve an ideal: that there is a place for everyone and they have the inalienable right to establish their place in our society through free enterprise and unfettered by demands of mandate muggers.
c.) So what do you possibly stand to gain by standing silent when multi-billion-dollar special-interests have already declared a host of wars-tobacco, alcohol, food and obesity, to name a few-on your business?
If you are a small, independent bar or tavern owner who still cannot make up their mind remember that nobody can help anyone who refuses to help themselves. Then remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He kicked "Smoke Free" Adolph Hitler's ass, while enjoying a smoke. He did so when he couldn't even walk due to polio. How much more than that do you have to work with?
If you are a regular patron of a local bar or tavern who also smokes ask the bartender or waitperson if that establishment is standing to duty for you as their customer. If they do not, ask why. If your local pub does participate in opposition to bans hand a extra buck to the bartender and say thanks for his service. On the way out the door look for the "Stop the Bans" jar on a counter. Drop a $5 bill in that jar on the way out. When you get home take a few minutes and look up who your state representatives are. Pick a senator and two representatives, then send them an E-Mail that simply says you oppose smoking bans for local neighborhood bars, taverns and restaurants. Perhaps add to your message that the choice is properly that of the business owner and not government or special-interests. As you go about your daily business look for establishments that display a "Stop the Bans" sign. Patronize those small businesses and shun those who do not display the sign. Those simple, one-time efforts on your part are how you also participate in this thing we call Democracy. Such efforts by a few thousand bar patrons in each state can turn the tide. Those who fail to do so earn the same response as bar owners who can't make up their mind: "Nobody can help anyone who refuses to stand up for their own interests."
Finally, don't be concerned about mainstream media repeating Social Marketing sound bites without critical thought. If you have read this you understand the sound bites are not true and that there are alternative sources where you can get up to speed on the facts. See my February 19, 2007 comentary:
February 19, 2007 - Dear Mr. Fancher - The editor at large for The Seattle Times released a cri du coeur lamenting the potential demise of the antique media, including his newspaper. His heartfelt threnody included shrinking newspaper readership and declining profit margins. Less than half of the public regularly reads a newspaper, Mr. Editor laments. Those swept into a paroxysm of grief over the pending annihilation of organs such as The Seattle Times would be well served to examine the record of this paper's embrace of anti-tobacco junk science, strident advocacy for higher and higher tobacco taxes and its relentless demonization of people who choose lawfully to consume a legal product. This paper, as well as most others, have chosen to promote demonstrable lies about tobacco. Why should it be given credence about any other issue before the public? Norman Kjono offers a eulogy for an organization that long ago shirked its responsibilities to inform.
Norman E. Kjono