Tag Archives: soda

Vermont AG Proposes Soda Tax; Turns Blind Eye to Maple Syrup

Vermont Public Radio reports the state’s Attorney General Bill Sorrell wants the Legislature to enact a “one cent per ounce excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages.” He blames soda for the state’s rising obesity rates, despite Vermont maple syrup having nearly the same calorie count as sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Mom always said, "Everything in moderation." Mr. Sorrell, nobody's asking you to be their mother.

Mom always said, "Everything in moderation." Mr. Sorrell, nobody's asking you to be their mother.

How about taxing “the official flavor of Vermont,” Mr. Sorrell? Whether he wants to admit it or not, the sugar found in pure maple syrup is no healthier than white sugar, according to the Cornell Sugar Maple Research & Extension Program:

The sugar in maple syrup is sucrose and invert sugar. White sugar is sucrose, whereas invert sugar is a breakdown product of sucrose. There is no evidence that maple syrup is healthier than white sugar.

In fact, white table sugar contains 49 calories per tablespoon and pure maple syrup contains 52 calories per tablespoon, one calorie less than high fructose corn syrup that is found in most of the sugar sweetened beverages Mr. Sorrell proposes taxing.

Here’s how we see it, Mr. Sorrell: Your state consistently leads the U.S. in the production of maple syrup with 890,000 gallons produced in 2010 alone. That makes Vermont a contributor to the so-called obesity epidemic when millions of consumers nationwide smother steaming hot plates of pancakes with with your state’s pure maple syrup.

In the spirit of fairness, what are your thoughts about asking state legislators nationwide to enact sin taxes on Vermont maple syrup, Mr. Sorrell? All is fair in love and anti-obesity crusades, isn’t that right?

Contact Attorney General Bill Sorrell and ask him why he’s such a huge hypocrite:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1647753286 (Click “Send Bill a Message” below his profile picture.)
Email: atginfo@atg.state.vt.us
Tel: (802) 828-5507

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Taxpayers Choking on Big Govt’s “Whoppers with Sleaze”

Overlawyered.com’s Walter Olsen hits another one out of the ballpark today with his commentary in The Washington Times spotlighting the “growing aggressiveness of ‘public health’ officialdom in pushing scare campaigns about everyday consumption risks:”

The Puritans held that reminders of mortality had an edifying effect on the living, which is why they sometimes would illustrate even literature for young children with drawings of death’s-heads and skeletons. Something of the same spirit seems to animate our ever-advancing movement for mandatory public health. The Food and Drug Administration has just floated the idea of requiring cigarette packs to carry rotating pictures that would include corpses – yes, actual corpses – as well as close-ups of grotesque medical disorders that can afflict smokers.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s superactivist Health Department has begun public ad campaigns about the health risks of everyday foods, including a controversial YouTube video portraying soda drinkers as pouring globs of shimmery yellow fat into their open mouths and – just out – an ad showing an innocent-looking can of chicken-with-rice soup as bursting with dangerous salt. Whether or not you live in New York, you’re likely to be seeing more of this sort of thing because the mayor’s crew tends to set the pace for activist public-health efforts nationwide; the Obama administration, for example, picked Bloomberg lieutenant Thomas R. Frieden to head the influential Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why should government use our own tax dollars to propagandize and hector us about the risks of salted snacks, chocolate milk or the other temptations of today’s supermarket aisle? The Bloomberg-Obama camp seems to feel that government dietary advice is superior to other sources of information we might draw on because (1) it’s more objective, independent and pure of motive and (2) it can draw on better science …

Read the rest of Olsen’s commentary and share your comments on his blog.

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NSLF’s Top 10 Least Wanted State and Local Bureaucrats

Editor’s Note: Candidates appear in no particular order.

Does trampling on citizens' rights and liberties count as "torture," Eric?

Does trampling on citizens' rights and liberties count as "torture," Eric?

1. Eric Mar | San Francisco Supervisor (D)* – Leading the city’s now infamous assault on children’s beloved Happy Meal toys, incumbent Supervisor Mar has also been busy in recent months trying to regulate citizen’s intake of soft drinks. “I’m proud that we protect the public’s health,” Mar says, even if he uses shoddy data to force his radical anti-choice agenda down the throats of citizens both young and old. When Mar’s not telling citizens what they can’t eat and drink, he can be seen pressuring pet stores to quit selling dogs and cats. *Mar’s not running for office right now, but it looks like he has his eyes on becoming the city’s next mayor. Don’t forget about him. And, trust us, we won’t let you.

Proud to be a jackass legislating in her own special interests.

Proud to be a jackass legislating in her own special interests.

2. Rep. Eileen Cody | Wash. State House (D-Seattle) – Washington State’s longest serving legislator is also its most predictable anti-tobacco foe, stopping at nothing to ensure smokers quit offending her. Earlier this year, Cody sponsored HB 2493 in a last ditch effort to tax cigarettes in to oblivion. “I really don’t care,” Cody said, about the potential for the state to actually lose tobacco sin tax revenue because cigarettes would no longer be affordable for most Washingtonians to purchase; her top priority, she proudly proclaims, is to “force people to quit smoking.”

Don't be fooled by Martin's 'family friendly' marketing schtick.

Don't be fooled by Martin's 'family friendly' marketing schtick.

3. Grier Martin | N.C. House (D-34) — Earlier this year, Martin was influential in passing a statewide ban on chocolate milk and juice products at child care facilities. Ironically, he says parents “can cram [their kids] with ice cream, sweets, 50-percent-fat milk, anything they want” after they get home from day care, perhaps as a symbol of goodwill between the nanny state and parents. Here’s our warning to concerned voters: Don’t accept candy from strangers and don’t think for a moment that Martin isn’t interested in ultimately controlling every aspect of your children’s lives from the cradle to the grave.

No tax is too sweeping or absurd for Basnight and Hackney.

No tax is too sweeping or absurd for Basnight and Hackney.

4 & 5. Marc Basnight | N.C. Senate (D) and Joe Hackney Speaker | N.C. House of Representatives (D)These two big government bureaucrats colluded in 2008 to propose a revenue-generating scheme that would monetarily penalize motorists for driving too much. Family vacations and weekend getaways, if vehicles’ owners were already over the limit, would warrant a “Vehicle Miles Traveled” tax to compensate the state for needlessly clogging roadways.

"Please tell Michelle I love her recipe for controlling citizens' diets."

"Please tell Michelle I love her recipe for controlling citizens' diets."

6. Dean Florez | Calif. Senate Majority Leader (D) – Florez has a knack for citing alarming nationwide statistics to boost the credibility of his statewide anti-soda crusade. Perhaps, that’s because he is a puppet of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), who Florez even admits are the soda tax bill’s “sponsors.” While the CCPHA describes itself as a “nonpartisan” public health organization, its Board of Directors includes The Huffington Post’s Joel Epstein, a partisan journalist who makes no efforts to inform readers of his affiliation with the organization he advises in its ongoing war against consumers and the beverage industry. One thing is certain: Neither Florez nor his CCPHA cronies trust citizens to make the ‘right’ choices when it comes to the food and beverages they consume.

'Reality' is a lost concept in Hieftje's big head.

'Reality' is a lost concept in Hieftje's big head.

7. John Hieftje | Mayor, Ann Arbor, Mich. (D) – DailyKos.com, the virtual mouthpiece of the radical Left, calls Ann Arbor “one of the most liberal cities in the U.S.” And, by their account, “Mayor John Hieftje is doing a good job,” so that should be reason enough to include him on our “Least Wanted” list. According to his campaign website, Hieftje boasts, “I led City Council in setting the policy for the complete re-organization of the City bureaucracy, now saving taxpayers over $15 million per year.” As A2Politico.com’s Margaret Wong points out, Hieftje reduced staff, but wages increased. “We’re paying more for less,” Wong reveals. “We’re getting less for more.”

Squeaky clean good looks can be deceiving.

Squeaky clean good looks can be deceiving.

8. Greg Fischer | Mayoral Candidate, Louisville, Ky. (D) – When Greg Fischer announced in late September that he would make his administration “the most open, honest and transparent in the nation,” he probably wasn’t expecting anyone to take him to task on that promise before he got elected. A few short weeks later, citizen watchdogs and even the local media were raising concerns about an emerging ‘pay-to-play’ scandal in which Fischer allegedly offered “a position of influence in city government” in exchange for the endorsement of a third party opponent who quit the race.

Vince wants big government to raise D.C.'s kids until they're completely dependent adults.

Vince wants big government to raise D.C.'s kids until they're completely dependent adults.

9. Vince Gray | Mayoral Candidate, Washington, D.C. (D)According to Gray’s campaign website, “We need a mayor who will focus on the entire birth-to-24 education process.” If you think that sounds like another big government cradle-to-the-grave entitlement program, you’re right! Gray’s education plan includes all of the trendy code words you’ve come to expect from “community organizers” like President Obama and ‘progressive’ leaders like House Speaker Pelosi who think they can solve all of our problems, even if we don’t want their help! Want a “community buy-in” with “community as a part of the solution” to your child’s educational pursuits? How about making learning “sustainable?” Let’s not forget that everyone’s going to be “valued and empowered!” And, top it all off with some “accountability” and Gray claims there’ll be no more “bureaucracy” in D.C. Public Schools. But first, you must elect Gray so you can see what’s really in his education plan.

Mahan is a 'go along to get along' big government bureaucrat who can't be trusted to legislate in the people's best interests.

Mahan is a 'go along to get along' big government bureaucrat who can't be trusted to legislate in the people's best interests.

10. Patricia Mahan | Mayor, City of Santa Clara, Calif. (D) – Mayor Mahan has remained silent on Santa Clara County’s recently enacted ordinance banning toys in children’s Happy Meals, but the fact remains that parents residing in her city remain affected by the county’s nanny state crackdown on their freedom to determine what their children consume. According to the City of Santa Clara’s website, “Santa Clara is a family oriented and business friendly city, with an award-winning ethics program and a commitment to fostering public trust.” If Mahan won’t stick-up for families and businesses that are being treated unfairly in her city, then she must support nanny state bureaucrats like Supervisor Ken Yeager who feel entitled to dictate how and what parents feed their own children.

Don’t see a candidate listed? Spotlight the offender of freedom and liberty on our Facebook page’s Wall or Twitter page.

View NSLF’s additional “Top 10 Least Wanted” lists:

1. U.S. Senate (Oct. 27)
2. Governor (Oct. 28)
3. U.S. House (Oct. 29)

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Bloomberg Targets Thirsty Poor People

Tyranny meets freedom.

Tyranny meets freedom

The Big Apple’s Nanny-in-Chief is at it again, this time, targeting poor people on food stamps who quench their thirsts with soda and sports drinks. Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg sought the federal government’s blessing to prohibit New York City’s 1.7 million food stamps recipients from using them to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages.

“In spite of the great gains we’ve made over the past eight years in making our communities healthier, there are still two areas where we’re losing ground – obesity and diabetes,” Bloomberg said in a press statement. “This initiative will give New York families more money to spend on foods and drinks that provide real nourishment.”

If Bloomberg is seriously concerned about ensuring the health of all “New York families,” he wouldn’t limit his targets to 1.7 million of the city’s more than 8 million residents. Quite simply, Bloomberg thinks he has the power to determine what welfare recipients consume because he and his fellow nanny state bureaucrats can cut them off of ‘life support’ if they don’t abide by their draconian rules.

Do you find merit in Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to dictate what food stamps recipients eat and drink? Or, do you think they should be free to purchase whatever food and beverages (non-alcoholic) they want, and if they run out, well, that’s their problem and lesson to learn?

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US Medical Journal Reports Obesity ‘Crisis’ Is Fattening Big Government

Sin taxes: The choice of a new generation of fascist dictators.

Sin taxes: The choice of a new generation of fascist dictators.

A new report appearing in an American medical journal says the federal government is exploiting the nation’s so-called obesity ‘crisis’ to “extract more money from taxpayers and to expand government.” Additionally, the article’s authors note that nanny state bureaucrats have already failed in their attempts to meet self-imposed goals for reducing obesity, perhaps, because they are targeting food sources that pose no proven risk to Americans’ waistlines.

Michael L. Marlow, Ph.D. and Alden F. Shiers, Ph.D., both economists at California Polytechnic State University, write in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons that the federal government has erred in its decision to use “sin taxes” as its weapon of choice to win the war on obesity. The primary target of these sin taxes is sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), despite empirical studies that do not show a clear, if at all existent, link between SSBs and obesity, the authors state:

It is sheer folly to single out a specific food or beverage as the “cause of obesity” when common sense indicates that obesity is a product of genetics, hormones, food choice, exercise or lack thereof, and the basic equation: Calories consumed minus calories expended = weight gain or weight loss. If one eliminates soda pop from his diet, while consuming 10,000 calories per day and expending 1,000 calories per day in exercise, that individual will gain weight. Moreover, if government interventions somehow reduce soda consumption, it is likely that substitution will take place, such as eating more food or simply adding more sugar to home-brewed iced tea. Effects on weight are thus ambiguous at best.

Powering forward despite any solid or convincing empirical data to support their crusade against SSBs, many states are jumping on-board the “sin tax” bandwagon with the expectation that they can alter Americans’ eating and drinking habits by pricing soft drinks and junk food out of reach of cost-conscious consumers, namely low-income minorities that are the primary targets of nanny state anti-obesity initiatives. Those who can afford to pay more for so-called ‘unhealthy’ food and beverages, essentially, will be counted on to generate tax revenues that create and fund big government “public health” programs charged with telling citizens how and what to eat.

Marlow and Shiers oppose efforts by government officials to demonize sugar-sweetened beverages because empirical studies consistently fail to establish a relationship between SSBs and obesity. Any relationship that has been established between SSBs and obesity, they note, indicates a “correlation rather than a causation.” Despite this non-existent ’cause and effect’ relationship, the First Lady, Surgeon General and federal officials continue to demonize SSBs as the primary factor responsible for fueling the so-called obesity ‘epidemic.’

Keep in mind, when President George W. Bush said he knew that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and used that premise as a launching point to liberate Iraq, he landed himself in a heap of trouble for making policy decisions based on what critics decried was an erroneous assumption and extreme error in judgment. Lucky for the First Lady and her fellow big government anti-obesity crusaders, the harshest critics of President Bush are their biggest fans and supporters, so they should have no problem pulling our nation in to another costly battle against a ‘self-created’ enemy threat.

Data proving the effectiveness of SSB sin taxes on trimming Americans’ waistlines is “very scarce,” the authors note, just like evidence of WMDs in Iraq. One recent study, they note, “found that tax hikes on soda lowered adult BMI, but the magnitude of the effect was trivial. A one-percentage-point increase in the tax rate led to a decrease of only 0.003 BMI points. A childhood longitudinal study of young schoolchildren found no relationship between soda taxes and weight gain.”

“The idea of funneling ‘sin tax’ revenues into government programs to discourage unhealthy behavior has been tried with tobacco taxes,” reminisce the authors. “Roughly 10 percent of tobacco tax revenue flows into smoking-control programs—which are not very effective—and the rest is used for unrelated government programs.”

Nanny state bureaucrats are pitching their war on obesity as a mission of compassion to save American citizens from a threat they are being led to believe has rendered them helpless to combat without the helping hand of big government. Doctors and citizens alike “should be skeptical” of another round of big government intervention efforts as two recent federal initiatives to trim Americans’ waistlines failed to achieve their goals.

In November of 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “established ‘Healthy People’ goals of 15% or less for adult obesity and 5% for children and adolescents by 2010,” cite Marlow and Shiers. “Neither goal has been met.”

A decade later, Americans faced with high unemployment and a lousy economy are being conned in to believing that paying more taxes on sinful indulgences like Coca-Cola and Gatorade will prove to be the nail in the coffin for the obesity ‘epidemic’ that plagues them. Marlow and Shiers find that scenario hard for Americans to swallow, and even more difficult for the federal government to pull-off.

“We predict government intervention will make obesity worse as it crowds out market-based solutions that effectively tie weight loss to personal responsibility, higher wages, and lower insurance premiums,” conclude Marlow and Shiers. “The main effect of the campaign will be to extract more money from taxpayers and to expand government.”

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Left Coast Liberals Create Health Care ‘Crisis’ for Pets

Treating pets like humans is what the radical animal 'rights' crowd does best.

Treating pets like humans is what the radical animal 'rights' crowd does best.

Taking a few pages from the Obama playbook for giving people what they don’t want or need and making them feel like they’ll die without it, a California Democrat is pitching health care reform for pets. Animal ‘rights’ groups supporting the initiative say millions of cats and dogs are running-up billions of dollars in health care bills at veterinarians’ offices nationwide, and only 1 percent of their owners have health insurance.

California pet owners who already have insurance are complaining that their providers are corrupt and need the helping hand of big government to step-in and reform the greedy industry. Can you say, “Crisis!?!?”

Democratic state Assemblyman Dave Jones, who is running for state insurance commissioner in the November election, said some of the same practices being corrected by the recently enacted federal health care overhaul are used by pet insurance companies, including denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Jones has introduced a bill that would make pet insurers post detailed information on their websites so consumers can see exactly what is covered and what is not. They could then compare options, just as if they were buying insurance for themselves in a post-health reform world.

Think this is crazy and doesn’t stand a chance of becoming law? Jones’ bill has already passed the state Assembly and a Senate insurance committee. The only thing preventing this absurdity from becoming a reality is an upcoming hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the world’s most prominent radical animal ‘rights’ group, and the mainstream American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) claim to be working on behalf of pet owners to get the petcare legislation passed. Both groups lobbied for the removal of the provision in the petcare bill that would ban insurers from denying health care to pets with pre-existing conditions, citing concerns that it would drive-up costs for insurers and members.

Coincidentally, the ASPCA sells health care insurance plans for pets, so it stands to benefit from state lawmakers ‘encouraging’ pet owners to purchase petcare plans. And, the organization’s petcare website notes, “The ASPCA also benefits from every plan that’s purchased. That means, you’ll be making a difference in the lives of animals across the country by protecting your pet at home.”

The ASPCA receives “up to 10% of the purchase price” for every petcare plan purchased, so making sure the California petcare bill becomes law will be “making a difference” in its operating budget, too.

It comes as no surprise that big government bureaucrats in bankrupt California are applying their time and resources to fixing a problem that has little impact on the overall economic recovery of the state and its taxpaying citizens. The state’s current unemployment rate is at 12.3 percent, yet state and local lawmakers continue prefer to consume their efforts with issues that have no potential to put citizens back to work.

Banning toys in Happy Meals, promoting an “official” pot brownie recipe, prohibiting citizens from buying pets, a plastic bag ban, a soda tax, and restrictions on soft drink sales are just a few of the recent efforts made by California lawmakers that have absolutely no potential to help the state and its unemployed citizens recover from economic devastation.

It’s time to stop watching from the sidelines and start fighting big government on the front lines. Join the revolution today! The Nanny State Liberation Front wants you!

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On the Front Lines

July 9, 2010

Words of wisdom from Ben FranklinJudge Schools Cop for Violating Citizen’s 1st and 2nd Amendment Rights
Reason.com; July 9, 2010
“[T]he First Amendment protects the sole individual who may be a gadfly, kook, weirdo, nut job, whacko, and spook, with the same force of protection as folks with more majoritarian and popular views,” U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett disciplined Osceola County, Iowa, Sheriff Douglas Weber for violating a citizen’s right to freedom of speech by denying him a carry permit based on his “weird” political activism.

Governor Gives Blessing to Churchgoers Packing Heat
FOXNews.com; July 8, 2010
“Gov. Bobby Jindal gave his blessing this week to churches, synagogues and mosques to allow concealed handguns on their premises, overturning a state ban.”

Smokers Face Discriminatory Hiring Ban at Hospital
CNN; July 8, 2010
“From personal experience as a physician, some of the best nurses happen to be smokers … Are you willing to hire staff that is not the best qualified simply because you’re trying to make this point about how bad smoking is,” asked Dr. Michael Siegel, a Boston University professor of public health.

Soda Tax Losing Steam Nationally
Stateline.org via NewJerseyNewsRoom.com; July 8, 2010
Pro-soda tax Stateline.org cries us a river over the beverage industry fighting back against nanny staters trying to legislate what Americans can drink.

Pennsylvania Profits at Nanny State Neighbor’s Expense
UnitedLiberty.org; July 8, 2010
“In order to shore up budget shortfalls and put off making tough choices caused by their own fiscal impropriety, many states are looking at increasing ‘sin taxes,’ such as the cigarette tax. The problem is that when a state is close to a state with a lower tax, people will travel to buy their smokes.”

Kids Shun Vegan Meals Promoted by Anti-Meat Activist Group
Sun Sentinel (Fla.); July 6, 2010
“[O]n a typical day, only about 16,000 of the 160,000 students buying a school lunch will choose vegan fare, even though it generally costs the same as more traditional foods or about 15 cents more. The poor showing flies in the face of a newly-released study of student lunch preferences conducted in Broward schools by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.”

Big Necks Seen as Big Problems for Kids
WebMd.com; July 6, 2010
“The researchers conclude that neck circumference can be used as a reliable tool to identify youngsters with high body mass indexes.” Looking at the kids’ bulging bellies just isn’t enough, so subjecting them to another humiliating measuring method should drive the point home.

City Uses $25 Million in Stimulus Funds to Fight Obesity ‘Epidemic’
Philadelphia Inquirer; July 5, 2010
The City of Brotherly Love is using its piece of the stimulus pie to take a bite out of obesity instead of putting unemployed residents back to work. The Philadelphia jobless rate as of April is 11 percent, but the bigger concern for the city’s nanny state bureaucrats is making sure inner-city kids don’t get fat.

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