Smoking monkeys

Interesting Forbes article on what would happen if the US tobacco firms lost the government’s $280 billion lawsuit. Short answer: the government would end up as Altria (once Philip Morris), Reynolds American and BAT USA’s controlling shareholder.

It might sound odd that, like much of Evil Socialist Europe [*] until recently, ‘free market’ America would end up with a state tobacco monopoly. Well, until you remember that the business-minded libertarianism of the people who refused to pay tax on tea has always jostled with the puritanism of the country’s original settlers (remember, these were the people who left Britain because it was illegal to be a religious fanatic here).

"It’s the fresh new morality crusade that also reduces the unpleasant taste of deficit…"

One thing I don’t understand. At the moment, Altria stands to lose not only its Philip Morris USA business, but also its international cig brands, Kraft Foods and its 20% stake in brewer SABMiller. But (like Reynolds, which sold its food business to, err, Kraft, and its foreign cigs business to Japan Tobacco), it has a duty to its shareholders to minimise non-tobacco assets ahead of any trial.

I can see a fire-sale could be a problem – perhaps it should instead split its stock into PM USA shares, PM International shares, Kraft shares, and SABMiller shares, so that the greedy Feds can’t steal all the shareholders’ money? Obviously you’d neeed to list PMI and Kraft abroad to stop retroactive asset-theft, but this shouldn’t be a major problem.

(via Vice Squad)

[*] Copyright Arnold Schwartzenegger, who knows what it’s like to live under communistical Social Democratic government.

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Shot by both sides

I seem to be getting flak from right-wing LGF fans and dogmatic lefties alike, which implies I must be doing something right (although yes, I know that doing something *terribly wrong* is also a logical possibility).

Actually, the LGF fans seem mostly to be criticising my site design and work ethic, both of which are shoddy, while the Marxists are mostly throwing playground insults. So I’m fairly happy with aw’ that.

Meanwhile, the latest news from Iraq is that freedom is thriving so much that elections will likely be suspended across 20-25% of the country. Score!

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Marching powder

Harry Hutton is absolutely right on the hypocrisy of coke-taking ‘lefties’. While there are many culprits for the appalling human rights situation in much of rural Latin America (and the War on Drugs has made this far worse), nonetheless every gramme of coke you buy puts money in the pockets of murdering warlords. Which is bad, and makes you bad.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to cannabis, most of which is grown in basement flats with curiously high electricity bills, or to E, which is entirely synthetic. Yet more reason to focus society’s drug consumption on that harmless duo, to the exclusion of The Nasty Shit.

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Thought Vampire

Michael Brooke has the right attitude to TV – if there’s nothing on, don’t watch it. In particular, don’t sit there all evening watching terrible crap…

I still haven’t replaced my exploded telly, partly because I’m moving to a shared house in three months and I’m not sure it’s worth buying one for that short a time, and partly because I’m lazy. Haven’t missed it either, although my DVD and DivX watching has increased dramatically (no bad thing).

Interesting ‘transatlantic cultural differences’ moment: when the Americans at LGF Watch Watch read the post about the 13-year-old TV, they assumed that I was ultra-poor. The idea that someone might *choose* not to buy a big TV if they could afford one was bizarre to them…

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Hate speech

I don’t approve of hate speech laws. Not even ones that would jail bastards like Jimmy Swaggart, who go on TV to say (paraphrase) ‘if any bloke eyes you up, kill him’.

So while it would give me great pleasure to see Mr Swaggart imprisoned and thoroughly humiliated, I’d be morally obliged to campaign for his fair treatment and release, which would be unnecessarily tedious and ironic.

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God takes revenge

All hurricane-related losses and injuries in Florida count as punishment by nature/God for stupidity: the area has been thwacked by hurricanes every autumn since long before its current inhabitants migrated there. If you don’t want extreme weather, move to Britain or somewhere equally dull; otherwise stop whining.

However, it appears that nature/God may be taking a more directly interventionist path than that: the hurricanes’ route this year coincides remarkably with the state’s electoral map…

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Cat Stevens: suicide bomber

The latest piece from the department of "we don’t just assume people are terrorists because they’re Muslims, honest": celebrity Muslim Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) has had his plane diverted and been refused entry to the US on ‘national security’ grounds.

Now, Mr Islam holds some fairly silly views, and the Americans are entitled to refuse to let him in their country. However, he’s very clearly not a terrorist (for example, he’s being put on a plane home, rather than a plane to Guantanamo Bay).

Throwing a full-scale terror alert, diverting a planeload of passengers to an airport 500 miles from their destination – and making them think they were in serious danger – is not a sensible way of dealing with a non-dangerous undesirable alien. Perhaps the Department of Transportation’s security systems need a little work…

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Sacre bleu

As an anti-freedom, anti-Western useful idiot, I feel obliged to point out that I don’t have a cabal of secret French advisors directing my posts.

On an unrelated matter, that Johnny Halliday is really something.

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