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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  1. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 25 May, 2012, 15:57

    We have become a nation of whores.

    We support anything that provides a personal benefit regardless of the damage it does to our collective society.

    This summarizes why the nation continues in a tailspin.

    Thank you for the article, JS. I learned something new. That’s the only reason I come here.

    Reply this comment
  2. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 25 May, 2012, 16:26

    Btw, JS. I love that photo of the long-legged mac daddy.

    I believe that is his TRUE persona. I believe what we see on TV is a FALSE persona.

    And I base that judgment on a multitude of contradictory actions he has taken since being in office for the last 3.5 years. If you need a list let me know. 😀

    Reply this comment
  3. David
    David 25 May, 2012, 16:37

    But, of course, you left out a major cost of tobacco: the billions in health care costs it imposes on society. That’s an externalized cost, not paid at point of purchase by either the seller or the purchaser of tobacco. It is, however, imposed on somebody: namely, society at large (including non-smokers), which has to pay for it either in the cost of our own health insurance, or in taxes that provide health care for those with no other recourse. If tobacco were sold at the *real cost* it imposes, it would be much more than $7 a pack.

    Tobacco is unique: it is the only product legal in the United States which, *when used as intended* *will* *kill you*. Nothing compares to that: not guns, not alcohol. It is sold legally only because it has a specific exemption from food and drug laws. And it is sold with a massive public subsidy to its sellers, in the form of not requiring them to pay directly for the health care damage they do.

    That said, your black market argument is a good one, but to be persuasive it would need to be based on a study showing that the difference between $6 and $7 is the breakpoint where the black market accelerates drastically. If such evidence exists, I’d probably vote against 29. Otherwise, probably in favor.

    Reply this comment
  4. Donkey
    Donkey 25 May, 2012, 16:47

    Both OCO, John, and Katy are correct in recognizing that the education RAGWUS is just after another source of cash from the uninformed private sector taxpayers. The government unions and the dolts that adhere to their schemes have no shame when it comes to a new tax or benefit for themselves. Inherent in every one of the “Proposition” shakedowns we have seen in the last twenty years is no accountability for anyone and no oversite by a responsible outsider.

    When people that live off the labor of others have a better life than those that foot the bill, the annoited ones(RAGWUS feeders) become cocksure that they will no longer be confronted by the uninformed and weary taxpayer. I base this on the fact that for the last thirty years the RAGWUS of California has used every effort to legally lock out any taxpayer from criticizing a practice, policy, or rule, instituted by bureaucracies of LE, schools, FD’s, or the DMV. When a non-RAGWUS citizen does speak with force and principled conviction to these parasites they are quickly labled as fierce feral savages by the feeding class, which rapidly brings the costumed banditos of LE to put the resentful citizen back in his proper place. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  5. Eric Kent
    Eric Kent 25 May, 2012, 18:41

    Yep in other words when a seriously ticked off taxpayer gets sick and tired of being ripped off by the non productive law makers and politicians and speaks UP LOUDLY and EFFICIENTLY. The NON PRODUCTIVE THIEVES law makers, and politicians, call in the PIGS to put the resentful taxpayer back into his place. That is just about the truest statement I think I have ever read.

    Reply this comment
  6. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 25 May, 2012, 20:26

    “Tobacco is unique: it is the only product legal in the United States which, *when used as intended* *will* *kill you*”

    Baloney. Red meat is medically documented to clog the arteries leading to stroke or myocardial infactions, as well as certain forms of cancer. Candy bars, ice cream, pastries and sugar-laced drinks are documented to lead to diabetes in those with a predisposition for the disease. Obesity is the #1 killer in America. Obesity leads to a host of various diseases – many of which are terminal or require long term care like renal dialysis which is tremendously expensive. Tobacco doesn’t make people fat. But sugar-laced products do. Every time you eat a piece of cake, a candy bar, a bowl of ice cream, a regular soft drink, etc… maybe we should sock you with a 20% tax so that we can do more research on obesity and diabetes. How would that feel? I bet you would cry like a 2 year old and tell us how unfair it all is, wouldn’t you? 🙂

    I love you holier than thou folks who love to impose your will on others and lift discretionary money from their pockets because you know what it right for them!!! HAH! 😀

    Reply this comment
  7. Drewcifer
    Drewcifer 26 May, 2012, 07:46

    I especially love how they use taxes generated from cigarette sales to do things like fix up a park, Then ban smoking in it. Corporate America pumps more toxins into our “Clean air” everyday, Yet, A cigarette is poisoning us all??.. We Americans are stupid for putting up with what we do.. END THE TYRANNY NOW!

    Reply this comment
  8. johnnyb
    johnnyb 26 May, 2012, 09:09

    I’ve always been confused about the healthcare cost of smoking. I’ve heard that people generally cost the most to care for during the last 6 months of their lives. We all die of something. Do smokers cost any more during the last 6 months of their lives than people with breast cancer or liver cancer or prostate cancer or heart disease or diabetes? If smokers die younger, I would imagine they still cost the most the last 6 months. So, aren’t we saving the healthcare costs of the years they don’t live? We would eventually be billed for the 6 months somewhere down the line. If they die 10 or 15 years earlier, don’t we save all the healthcare costs of those lost years? Is it possible smoking actually saves us money by killing people earlier?

    Reply this comment
  9. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 26 May, 2012, 11:31

    johnnyb, you ask good questions. This is my take.

    Of the people who smoke maybe 10% get lung cancer. 90% don’t get lung cancer. Yet 41% of Americans will get cancer in their lifetimes and 21% will die from it. I think some people have a misconception that 50% of more of smokers die from lung cancer. That is due to propoganda that we are constantly fed.

    I am not pro-smoking. Is smoking bad for people? Sure it’s bad for them. But eating a jelly donut or sucking down a prime rib steak is bad for them too!

    I think you’re question might be “Do smokers cost our medical system more than non-smokers over a lifetime?” And the answer to that question is most likely “yes”. But then the smoker is charged more for his health insurance too, so he suffers some consequence.

    But the BIGGEST preventable medical condition that adds MOST cost onto our medical system is O-B-E-S-I-T-Y!!! And FAT PEOPLE in AMERICA are CODDLED!!!

    Do you see how our system always makes excuses for fat people? They blame it on childhood emotional trauma or bad glands or a slow metabolism or genetics!!! HOGWASH!!!

    Primarily obesity is a lack of discipline to push oneself away from the dinner table and to stop snacking inbetween meals!

    So if the government is so dead set on taxing smokers – why doesn’t it tax FAT PEOPLE – or make residents pay a surcharge for every 10 pounds that they are overweight??? BUT YOU WILL NEVER SEE THAT!!! WHY??? BECAUSE FAT PEOPLE ARE A PROTECTED SPECIES REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY COST OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EXTRA EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!!!!

    So to answer your question – the medical costs per capita in our last 6 months of life are probably pretty similiar. But smokers probably cost more over a lifetime.

    But good questions, johnnyb. I like people who think.

    Reply this comment
  10. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 26 May, 2012, 14:57

    David wrote, “Tobacco is unique: it is the only product legal in the United States which, *when used as intended* *will* *kill you*.”

    Not true. If you smoke one cigarette a day, it won’t affect you at all. My Mom smoked half of two cigarettes a day, something she really enjoyed, and lived to 87. Her lungs were as healthy as when she was 22.

    It’s a matter of degree. If you put a pinch of sugar in your morning coffee, it won’t kill you. But if you base your whole diet on sugar (and sugar-like foods such as high-fructose corn syrup), as many people do, you’ll get diabetes and might die.

    As to the medical costs of smoking, the evidence is that, for serious smokers — a couple of packs a day — death from cancer or lung ailments actually *reduces* overall health costs. Such people die 10 years younger, saving taxpayers the long-term costs of Medicare and Social Security. Here’s an MSNBC story on a Centers for Disease Control study:

    As to the black market, here’s a 2008 AP article on the situation then:

    A recent cig tax increase in Spain boosted black market smokes:

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  11. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 26 May, 2012, 15:25

    Thank you for that informative post, JS.

    People need to know that not all heavy smokers get lung cancer. Only a small minority of them do. They must have a predisposition for cancer in their genetic makeup first. Smoking aggravates that predisposition.

    And not all diabetics are fat people or those who eat too much sugar. Again, the genetic predisposition must come first. I know quite a few thin or people w/medium builds who are NOT overweight who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Does being overweight cause the disease to surface in those prone to it??? Absolutely. Is it better to watch one’s diet regardless? Absolutely!

    But brow beating smokers who mostly consist of those in lower economic classes is bald-faced bullying! You’ve heard all the latest propoganda about bullying in the schools and new laws popping up related to ‘bullying’? How about when the government bullies people who do not have the resources to defend themselves??? If not for the tobacco companies throwing millions of dollars into defeating Prop 29 – the victims of Prop 29 would get royally screwed without a doubt. Now, at least, they have a fighting chance. Last poll I saw had it winning by a small margin.

    Reply this comment
  12. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 27 May, 2012, 14:25

    Look what the long-legged mac daddy is doing now: Positioning the US taxpayer to backstop all derivative trading – not just domestically but overseas too!!! HAH! This is not another bank bailout – THESE ARE DERIVATIVE GONE BAD CASINO BETS BEING BAILED OUT BY YOU AND ME!!! There are already $1.2 QUADRILLION WORTH OF DERIVATIVES HELD IN VARIOUS FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS!!!

    This is the way they intend to bailout the huge public pension funds that carry alot of this derivative toxic debt on their balance sheets. This will debase your buying power by one-half!!!

    The long-legged mac daddy is about to pull another fast one on ya!!!!



    Reply this comment
  13. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 30 May, 2012, 08:26

    Funny that no one has commented on the link above.

    We are talking the systematic dismantling and destruction of the American middle class.

    They are eroding your buying power – and destroying your quality of life.

    And people are either not smart enough to understand that …… too scared to comment on it …… or have some sick personal interest in promoting it to fruition.

    Enjoy the ride. You are being taken to the cleaners!!! 😀

    Reply this comment
  14. Margarita
    Margarita 29 October, 2013, 11:01

    Thanks for finally writing about > UC San Fran

    Reply this comment

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