Monday, President Obama signed over unprecedented regulatory powers to the Food & Drug Administration over the tobacco industry. The "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act", the toughest law against the product currently, allows the FDA greater powers in not just the production of tobacco based products, as well as regulating the nicotine in the cigarettes and the other ingredients that go into making a cigarette,
The bill, rejected by former President Bush, called for reduced levels of nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco based products (such as cigars and dip) as well as banning any forms of "flavored tobacco" which might be used to target kids (such as menthol cigarettes and fruit flavored blunt wraps). It also calls for the FDA to not only regulate the ingredients that go into the products and for the cigarette companies to not only list the ingredients on the package, but for the packages to bear a larger, more graphic warning label.
For whatever reason, and I really have no idea exactly what that reason is, this nation is intent on taxing the tobacco industry to death. If smoking is really as bad as some of these laws make it out to be (and there is little argument from anyone that smoking is, in fact bad for the primary user... everyone else is kind of up in the air), THEN MAKE THE FUCKING THING ILLEGAL. Not like this government is opposed to arbitrarily pronouncing something as taboo and getting thier way.
But instead of just outlawing it outright (which would tip thier controlling hand a little more than they would like to just yet), they nickel and dime the user to death (a similar policy they look to adopt to make us all conform to thier knee jerk reaction to changes in our climate... the password is : taxed by the quarter mile), hoping to eventually bankrupt the industry, snapping it's back under the weight of heavy tax responsibilities coupled with drastic drops in users (remember, they do sell these taxes as "incentives to make people stop smoking", which makes it easier to pass 'cause only a heartless monster would vote to keep people smoking...).
And that is fine, all's fair in love and war is it not?
And after all, is not the taking of power from one person by another nothing more than just a small war? Sure no bullets are being fired. It is a war of words. A little stoke of paranoia here, a little squirt of cancer there. Get Oprah to have some expert on to talk about how being a room that someone once upon a time smoked in might be maybe linked to the chances of your kid not being able to read as good as the other kids at first. Unleash an army of concerned mothers out into the world and they will letter write you into power.
Princess Amidala was right, in a way. The Death of Democracy does sound like the thunderous applause of useful idiots. Only it is not the cheers of the useful idiots in a government chamber. It is the hoots and howls of a theater full of amped up yentas in Chicago, just waiting for thier marching orders.