Tag: Michael Bloomberg

The Soda Setback

On Monday, a New York judge struck down Michael Bloomberg’s latest nanny bullshit:

On Monday, Judge Tingling struck down the soda ban in a sweeping opinion that does everything but hand Mayor Poppins his umbrella and carpetbag. This wasn’t just a temporary restraining order putting the regulation on hold for a few weeks. The judge struck down the ban permanently both on the merits (“fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences”) and as overstepping the rightful legal powers of the New York City Department of Health — meaning that the board cannot go back and reissue the regulations on its own authority even if it should develop a better factual basis for them.

You should real Walter Olsen’s entire op-ed, which is both informative and as delicious as a super-size Mountain Dew flavored with the tears of Nanny Staters. This wasn’t just about big sodas and big waistlines. The Department of Public Health was asserting near-dictatorial power over the behavior of millions of New Yorkers, expanding powers that are intended for emergencies into every-day business (Hmm. That doesn’t sound familiar at all).

Of course, like all movements, the Nanny State can thrive without God, but not without a devil. If you can’t get what you want, you must demonize someone — someone rich and corporate preferably. NPR kicked it off by saying the judge “sided with the beverage industry” even thought the judge actually sided with the law, not the industry. And today you have this amazingly wrong-headed article from Ben Smith which attempts to argue that the soda industry is like the cigarette industry with the evil subprime mortgage industry thrown in for good measure. Seriously. After noting that some of the opposition came from minority groups, he goes down this road:

There are politicians, and causes, who have no trouble raising money. The politicos who represent Manhattan, mostly; causes, like rolling back the unionization of education, popular with people who work in finance. Politicians who represent poor neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx, however, struggle to fundraise; and organizations aiming to speak for poor communities are often struggling to keep the lights on. And so it was, for instance, that Brooklyn Rep. Ed Towns used to be known on Capitol Hill as the “Marlboro Man” — the industry’s staunchest ally in Congress.

This is a dynamic that many industries who prey on the urban poor capitalize on. The subprime mortgage industry, in particular, generously funded local advocates, who made the case for them (remember this argument?) that to bar what critics called “predatory” interest rates was to discriminate against people with bad credit.

Wow. That is one of the richest veins of bullshit I’ve ever seen. Never mind that cigarettes are fundamentally different from soda (no one ever died of second-hand Mr. Pibb or complained about the constant smell of Cherry Coke on their clothes). Never mind that whole fact-free diversion into the subprime market. Never mind that people in poverty often like the few vices they can afford. No, it’s Cigarettes! Subprime! Soda! 11!!!

This isn’t an industry shill thing, no matter what anyone says. This was about Bloomberg trying to impose rules outside of the normal process. This was about New York becoming a national punchline for the Nanny State. And, yes, this was about that thick stripe of anarchism that runs down the back of every American and makes them, every now and then, turn to their government and say those most American of words: “Mind your own fucking business.”

Bloomberg Call for Chaos

Uber Nanny Stater Michael Bloomberg was the first to politicize the tragedy in Aurora. It makes sense that Bloomberg would be in favor of gun control: petty men who want to control every aspect of their citizens’ lives hate the idea of an armed citizenry. But now he’s taken it a step further into douchebaggery:

Mayor Bloomberg opened a new front in the war over firearms when he went on TV to call on cops nationwide to walk off the job until politicians tighten gun-control laws.

“I don’t understand why the police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say, ‘We’re going to go on strike. We’re not going to protect you. Unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe,’” Bloomberg said on CNN Monday night.

It appears that even Bloomberg and his power-worshipping sycophants have realized how stupid this sounded. They’re now saying he was just “making a point”. Making a point? By calling on cops to do something that would endanger the public and is, in many places, illegal?

But that “defense” is revealing about the real intention behind the rhetoric. Having failed to get the public panicky about guns with their standard “you could get shot at any moment” rhetoric, the anti-gun crowd are falling back on the “War on Cops” rhetoric that politicians generally and Bloomberg specifically have used to defend … everything. Most recently, this was used to defend NYC’s ridiculous and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policy that has resulted in more black men being frisked than there are black men and an insane number of marijuana busts.

Mike Riggs, Ken White and Radley Balko take the “War on Cops” talking point apart. Money quote:

In 2008, ten times more civilians regular people were killed by cops than cops were killed by perps.

In 2011, 72 cops were shot and killed in the entire U.S.; in L.A. County alone, cops shot and killed 54 suspects the same year–22 percent of those people were unarmed.

As Scott Reeder reported at Reason this morning, “Farmers, ranchers, commercial fishermen, loggers, garbage collectors, truck drivers, construction workers, pilots, steel workers, roofers, and others are far more likely to face death on the jobs than police or firefighters, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

And as Choire Sicha wrote earlier this year, “2008 was the ten-year low for police officers being killed, and 2012 is, so far, year-to-date, down 49% from last year.”

But as much as I like the work of Mike, Ken and Radley and would like to have their babies, I think they are missing the key point here: Bloomberg isn’t really running on the War on Cops theme. He’s using it as a shield for his own Nanny State ambitions. Bloomberg is in favor of strict gun control. But he can’t just say, “I don’t like the idea of you idiot plebs having guns”. So he has to hide behind the cops.

And I don’t think his strike rhetoric was rhetorical. In the aftermath of Aurora, the anti-gun crowd are wondering just why events like this don’t start a “conversation” about gun control (“conversation” being Liberalspeak for “everyone agreeing with us”). I’m actually encouraged that the American people are not panicking about an isolated incidence of horrific violence (gun crime and murders are down — way down off their peak). It shows a lot more maturity than I’ve come to expect.

But the failure to panic isn’t sitting well with people like Bloomberg who are always hoping a tragedy will propel their ideas into law and themselves into power. Perhaps, they hope, a larger convulsion — such as cops going on strike — would galvanize the public to support their agenda.

Politicians — especially power-hungry politician like Bloomberg — rely on fear and hysteria to maintain and expand their power. But after a decade of being constantly terrorized about everything from terrorists to playgrounds, I think the American people are getting terrified out. Maybe … unlikely, I admit, but just maybe … the public is developing some much-needed cynicism about politicians and a desperately-needed resistance to their constant attempts to frighten us into surrendering more of our freedom.

The idea; the faintest possibility of an American public slightly less terrified by political hobgoblins scares people like Bloomberg. And so … he calls on the police to create a real danger to the American public.

Nannying the Nannies

This is awesome:

In an act of solidarity, Michigan bar and restaurant owners have banned state lawmakers from their property.

Effective September 1, the group Private Property Rights in Michigan said in a release Monday that lawmakers will be persona non grata in over 500 Michigan licensed establishments, across the state.

PPRM said it believes, however, even more will take part.

The group says bar owners and workers have grown frustrated with the Ron Davis law; also known as the private property tobacco use ban. PPRM claims the ban has collectively cost the state an estimated $200 million dollars in lost revenue through losses in jobs, taxes, business closings and to the state lottery.

I’m sure there will be lawsuits over this. But God DAMN, it’s nice when the people fight back. We’ve gotten so used to being pushed around by these damned nannies we’ve forgotten how much power we have (note to NYC establishments: please ban Michael Bloomberg from … everywhere).

I don’t like smoke in restaurants myself. And I like smoke-free bars. But here’s the thing: I’ll enforce that by choosing where I take my business. I do not have the right to force business owners to acquiesce to my personal preferences.

Keep up the fight, Michigan! We’re all counting on you to push back against these jerks.