Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That E-Cigarette

I admit it. I smoked for over 30 years. I enjoyed it. I knew it wasn’t good for me, but I did it anyway. I had no idea how bad they smelled, having been around it my whole life. I finally quit. How? I don’t really know why that time worked and the others didn’t.

But even after quitting, I found myself irritated by the anti-smoking crowd. I had no problem with a business that doesn’t allow smoking in it. I had no problem with people who didn’t want smoke in their homes. What I do have a problem with is people who take that choice away from me and others via the law. I also have a problem with “sin” taxes.

Before I quit there were places I didn’t eat because I couldn’t have a cigarette after dinner. After I quit, there were places that I didn’t eat because they did allow smoking. It never crossed my mind to be upset with either. The businesses made their choices and I made mine. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Now my irritation has grown to anger. Why? Because I chose to try e-cigarettes. I put on a lot of weight when I quit and now I’m taking it off. They have no smell. They’re not loaded with the carcinogens that were in regular cigarettes (and a lot of those were actually caused by government mandate, but that’s a whole different story). But they look like cigarettes and people are upset about it and are calling (and in many places already succeeding) to lump them with regular cigarettes in all the places that those are now banned.

It’s exactly the same mentality as the anti-gunners. I’m sure that at some time in the past someone might have been murdered with a bayonet on a gun instead of being shot, but having a bayonet lug for mounting for one is hardly a real world risk factor. Why then does having one turn a gun into a so called “assault weapon”? Because it looks scary to some people and, as we should all know by now, feeling bad matters as much, if not more, than any facts. Fantasy is more important than reality. Ban first, question later.

What’s next? The color chartreuse? It sure looks bad to me.

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The Constitution, A Government Of Laws, Not Of Men

In a comment about a Supreme Court ruling on a Constitution issue, I saw the often repeated but wrong statement: In the US, the majority rules.

My response:

Constitution of the United States of AmericaNO, No and no!! We are NOT an unlimited democracy and never have been. The majority does NOT automatically rule. We are a Constitutionally limited Republic.

If the power to do a thing has not been given to the government by the Constitution, then it doesn’t matter how many people do or don’t want it. The government does not have that power. If the majority want the government to have a power that it doesn’t currently have, then Congress and the people can change the Constitution itself. Until and unless that happens, the Supreme Court has no rightful power to rule other than what the Constitution says as those who wrote it intended it to mean.

If words don’t have meanings or you can twist the meanings of those words at will, then we become a government of men and not of law and we might as well just tear up the Constitution. It has no real significance other than as an antiquity that we like to pull out every once in a while to smile at. We will no longer be the United States of America, but just the State of America. Unfortunately, there are some people who want just that.

If you want to learn more about what the words were understood to mean when it was written, there’s a couple of books worth getting: Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Reported by James Madison and the two book set The Debate on the Constitution : Federalist and Antifederalist Speeches, Articles, and Letters During the Struggle over Ratification: Part One, September 1787-February 1788 and Part Two: January to August 1788 by Bernard Bailyn.

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Civil Forfeiture – Arresting Your Money (or House Or Car Or …)

Civil forfeiture, or civil asset forfeiture, is a legal action where your property is arrested and seized even if you aren’t. Get stopped on your way to buying a used car and having a couple of thousand dollars in cash on you? The cop can take the money, saying he thinks you’re really on your way to buy drugs and keep it, no proof needed.

It can cost thousands of dollars and years of work to get your property back if you even can. Most people wind up walking away. One airplane owner in Arizona had his plane confiscated because they said it was being used to transport drugs. He was never even arrested, much less convicted, of anything. Over $50,000 and years later he finally got his plane back … in the pieces they’d taken it apart into to search it.

Originally conceived as a way to cripple organized crime bosses so they couldn’t buy their way out of trouble when being prosecuted, it has morphed into the biggest crime ring of all, run by the police themselves. You see, they often get to keep that money or the proceeds from the sale of property to spend pretty much however they want. It’s off budget and un-accountable.

What brought all this to mind is a video I ran across on Cafe Hayek. Longish and hilarious, but well worth watching:

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BLM Has More Problems Than Just Cattle

Here’s the story. Wild horses run free on Federal land. Nobody owns them, they’re just another species on the land. But, being horses, they like to eat grasses and do other things that “hurt” the environment. Complaints that there weren’t enough taken were met with the explanation that BLM didn’t have enough money to do more.

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek found a way around that little money problem. Give it a read and see if you like his suggestion.

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Socialized Health Care Candy

Excellent post today at the Mises Institute making an excellent analogy between “free” sweets in socialized Yugoslavia, when he was there as a boy, and “free” emergency care in socialized heath care in other countries.

Here’s the link: Health Care and the Candy Store Called Socialism

 

In the US, if you wake up with a sore throat and call the doctor, they will usually be able to get you in to see him today. So you go in, pay your co-pay, see the doctor, and maybe get a prescription and told to call back if it isn’t cleared up in a few days. You’re happy, the doctor’s made money, the pharmacy’s made money and you get better in a few days. Problem solved.

If you call your doctor in most of the socialized health care countries, you might be able to get in sometime in the next month. So you don’t bother calling the doctor and the sore throat usually goes away in a few days anyway. No money spent, but you still get better.

US health care costs more with the same outcome. But since we’re not paying much directly out of our own pocket, we way overuse it. Sounds more like an over-insured problem to me, not the lack of available care. Insurance is for risk management, not every day or expected maintenance.

Let’s take a more serious example now. Say you’re in a friendly game of basketball and overextend an arm and get hit at the same time. Your shoulder hurts like hell and you can’t hardly move it. Either place, you go to the ER and get a cold pack and prescription for pain meds with instructions to call the doctor if it’s not better in a few days.

A few days go by and it’s not any better.

Here, we call the doctor and either get in that day or the next. The doctor sets you up for a CT scan that afternoon and finds a nasty rotator cuff tear. Two days later you’re in surgery and get it fixed. It costs you a good $500 or so all told, but you’re not hurting any more, the doctor’s happy, the hospital’s happy, big smiles all around.

Elsewhere, you call the doctor and get in a month or so down the road. Then you get scheduled for the CT scan, but the next opening isn’t for another 6 weeks. You get the scan and they find the same rotator cuff tear and put you on the waiting list for the surgery. That’s another few months. But hey, it didn’t cost you a penny and, long term, you have the same health outcome. The tear is fixed.

How much is all those months waiting in pain worth to you? You have to decide that for yourself. If you find yourself on Medicaid or one of the new “narrow” providers pool, you might be finding yourself in effectively socialized health care waiting lines already.

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