UC San Fran’ s hypocrisy on Prop. 29 campaign funding

May 25, 2012

By John Seiler

I love this part of the political campaign, just before the election, because the candidates and special interests get desperate and start slinging mud at one another. The late, great columnist Mike Royko said that “mud-slinging” is really “truth-slinging.”

Consider the University of California, San Francisco, which put up a list of endorsements of the anti-Proposition 29 campaign that have received bucks from Big Tobacco. It’s on the Web site of the school’s Center for Tobacco Research and Education. Thanks for the information, Stanton Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine.

The headline to the list reads, “Thousands of previously secret tobacco industry documents reveal links between Big Tobacco and No on 29 endorsers.”

But the good professor didn’t also point out that the University of California is going to get some of the tax money grabbed by Prop. 29, if it passes, for cancer research. Nor that the money will be taken from mainly poor folks and the lower-middle-class, about the only people who smoke any more. Aside, that is, from rich people like ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who get their Cubanos tax-free on the black market because of the embargo on Castroland. And except for the President of the United States.

Nor did the professor point out that another group would profit from Prop. 29, should it pass: Black marketeers and violent street gangs. Without taxes, cigarettes cost about a quarter a pack to produce, ship and stock. Throw in profits, and the cost would be about $1.50. But smokes at Vons, I noticed the other day, cost $5.50 a pack. Plus sales tax: so about $6 a pack. Dr. Glantz’s tax increase would boost that to $7 a pack.

That’s prime pickin’s for thieves and black marketeers.

The Pro-Prop. 29 forces are featuring ads with people whose relatives or friends died from lung cancer or some other tobacco-prelated ailment. Fair enough. Good mud/truth slinging.

Big Tobacco should retaliate by featuring the relatives and friends of those killed by gangs involved in cigarettes smuggling. Then end the ad with a shot of a gang car pumping bullets into a crowd of people. Final stentorian voice-over: “If Prop. 29 passes, the gangs will declare open warfare on the people of California. There will be glood in the streets. Yes, jobs will be created — for undertakers. Vote No on Prop. 29.”

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