Why can’t we call Troy Davis supporters racists or anti-theists?

The recent blog about Troy Davis has taken quite a bit of heat–mostly from those in favor of abolishing the death penalty all together and mostly in regards to my comment that they can move elsewhere in the country. (Let’s remember the 10th amendment of state’s rights. No matter what, there should be NO FEDERAL LAW regarding the death penalty). I called those who ‘sometimes support the death penalty’ fair-weather fans and a few readers were outraged by this comment stating that they could like and not like whatever they wanted about America.

So let’s get to the point and pose a few questions to my opposition. Three more executions and near-executions have arisen since that of Troy Davis, including a white man who had his death sentence commuted to life without parole hours before his execution. The issue of race sparked again and those who were mad before Troy Davis’ execution were mad yet again, claiming that the State of Georgia was racist and should be ashamed.  Many supporters also stated that they were NOT supporting Troy Davis because he was black, but because this was a human rights issue-evident with the support of organizations like Amnesty International and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, among others.

Now, I’m guessing you haven’t heard about Youcef Nadarkhani, the pastor in Iran who may be executed any day now for being Christian and ‘abandoning Islam’. He could potentially die because he is practicing a religion that isn’t supported by Iran. If these Troy Davis supporters are for universal human rights, then this would fall into that category, no?

So I ask…Where are the human rights groups? Where are the anti-death penalty groups with their picket signs? Where are the t-shirts saying “I am Youcef Nadarkhani”? Where are these people who so vehemently opposed the death penalty “not because of race, but because of human rights issues”? Why are you fighters only fighting the race fight and not the religious fight?

Troy Davis & The Death Penalty: Race, Cost & Repercussions

The execution of Troy Davis on September 21st has fueled a lot of discussion on the death penalty in recent days. Of course there are the extremists who call for the abolition of the death penalty all together.  There are the moderates who believe that the death penalty needs some tweaking, like more appeal opportunities, longer death row time, etc.  And then there are the hooligans who think Troy Davis was only convicted because he was a black man who killed a white man.

In evaluating the death penalty, there are several aspects that one must take into consideration.  First and foremost, the death penalty is NOT a deterrent for crime.  It is a punishment for committing a crime.  The death penalty, like many other foundations of America, is based on Biblical values.  And in actuality, the death penalty has become so humane, that it is no longer feared.  Criminals are lucky that they aren’t executed in the same fashion by which they took a life.

Death row is often times considered to be a “second punishment” in addition to the actual execution.  But how is this any different from a life sentence? And isn’t it a bit hypocritical to say that jail time is punishment, when the same groups are extending the length of time in jail by appeals and stays and retrials?  Craig Haney, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz said, “People on death row live under the threat of death, which is of course an extraordinary psychological trauma, and they are denied most of the ways that people make life in prison more tolerable: meaningful social activity,
programming of any kind, activities,” but again, prison is a punishment so why must it be tolerable, or comfortable, or enjoyable? The conditions are pretty nice. All states offer television and a limited number of states offer educational training and group recreation time.

Some interesting facts about the death penalty, for those who are so against it:

  • On average, 13 years elapses between the time a death sentence is handed down
    and carried out. (1)
  • In Kentucky, more people on death row have died of natural causes than have been executed in the last 30 years. (1)
  • Almost all people facing the death penalty cannot afford their own attorney. The state must assign them two public defenders, and pay for the costs of the prosecution as well. (2)
  • The rate at which death penalties are handed down at sentencing has gone down dramatically over the last twelve years, with slow-downs occurring in almost every state that still allows the death penalty, including the southern region (4)

Dragging on the process of appeals is costly.  It costs $90,000 more annually to house a death row inmate than it does someone sentenced to life imprisonment.

Another misconception? African Americans make up the majority of death row. Wrong. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), 43.68% of inmates on death row are white, 41.77% are African American, 12.12% are Latino and the remaining 2.43% are categorized “other”.  Further, many believe that the South is more likely to sentence a black man to death row than a white man, but Alabama has equal numbers of both, and Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee have more white men on death row (3).

You don’t have to support the death penalty. You can certainly move to one of the 16 states that has banned it: Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia or Wisconsin. Or better yet, another country.

Sources
1. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hOcn1bXU7W_NbP0JN80LCNIVFa7A
2. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty#financialfacts
3. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/race-death-row-inmates-executed-1976
4. http://deathpenaltyfacts.org/facts-about-the-death-penalty/

Roswell isn’t “Wynn-ing”, Vote for Lee Fleck!

I have long opposed the Roswell City Council. Their mismanagement of the budget, disconcert for what constituents want and disgraceful vendetta against the Roswell Chicken Man have left a bitter taste in the mouths of citizens. Thankfully, two of the problems are up for re-election this November, Rich Dippolito -Post 1 and Becky Wynn – Post 2. Both have opposition and both opponents have the right idea.

I am supporting Lee Fleck who is running against Becky Wynn. Fleck, a self-proclaimed ‘City Council watch dog’ has lived in Roswell for over 25 years. He has raised his family here and wants to keep Roswell a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.

Fleck has a long list of accomplishments including, but not limited to:

  • Commissioning the first water bottling plant in a war zone for the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Being licensed by the Department of Homeland Security as a customs broker. He has helped the city implement the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlements (SAVE) Program, which requires foreign nationals receiving public benefits to verify their legal residency in the United States.
  • Introducing the Roswell Police Department to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secured Communities Program, a program that integrates all of the federal crime data bases to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, ICE and Interpol with the state Georgia Bureau of Investigation criminal data bases at the point of arrest and detention

Mr. Fleck believes he is a better fit for the job than Councilwoman Wynn who has voted each year for a budget in which expenditures exceed revenues on average by $8,000,000 annually.

Fleck is also against Councilwoman Wynn, and others, who by the end of 2012 will have use up the City’s savings and have planned two bonds totalling $57 million containing some gratuitous expenditures. According to public record, besides a $40 million bond referendum, an additional $17 million “revenue” bond to build a new water plant will be implemented AFTER the November election, the latter without say by the taxpayers. The burden to repay the bond will be placed solely on the taxpayers.

When elected, Fleck plans to:

  • implement a Zero-based balanced budget and establishing a citizens financial review board will result in lower taxes
    (and fees), greater efficiencies, and more value for tax dollars spent.
  • insure that the limited number of citizens who receive their water from the City of Roswell (and not Fulton County) will actually have the final say on the $17 million “revenue” bond that will be presented by the Council to build a new water plant;
  • call for a referendum of those 7,500 residents who will be saddled with a $30,000,000 long-term liability to sustain such a facility that will be financed with a 2 to 3% annual increase in water rates for the next 50 years;
  • propose publishing the City’s check registry on the city website to promote transparency so citizens can oversee expenditures and even make cost saving suggestions.
  • provide the infrastructure and incentives to attract high tech business in conjunction with the Comprehensive 2030 Plan

This election, we have an opportunity to make a difference. Because of the Sunday Sales referendum on the ballot this November, a higher turnout is expected. It’s time to take Becky Wynn off the social committee and elect someone who can help Roswell function at its’ highest potential TODAY.

Lee Fleck is running for Post 2 of the Roswell City Council. Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. For more information, visit http://www.fleckforroswellga.com/ or e-mail Lee at leefleck@fleckforroswell.com . He is also on Facebook.

Who the *bleep* should I vote for?

It seems as if every time there is an election, they say “This is the most important election of our time!”.  This time…it really is.  Unfortunately for Republicans, the picking pool isn’t looking so hot.  Each candidate carries their suitcase of baggage.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. Below are the reasons NOT to vote for each candidate.  It may seem negative and it may seem as if I’m suggesting you go against the entire party.  But that’s not the case.  I simply think you should be aware of what you’re giving up when you vote for a specific candidate.

*Some candidates may have more ‘negatives’ than others but the ones with fewer may be more severe.

Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Congresswoman

  • Supports Creationism WITH evolution in schools
  • Her husband’s alleged anti-homosexual therapy practices don’t appeal to independents and moderate
  • Has a record of flip-flopping in the House (Ex: She publicly opposed a cigarette tax increased proposed by Gov. Pawlenty-sticking to her promise of ‘no new taxes’.  She then voted in favor of it.)
  • Has vowed to single-handedly bring the price of gas down to $2/gallon
  • Claims to hate the EPA but has solicited them in 2007 & 2010 for funds on “behalf of her constituents”.
  • Used the word “retarded” while explaining an unverifiable story about the HPV vaccine.

Herman Cain, CEO Godfather Pizza

  • Supported TARP, claiming it was an investment for the American taxpayers.
  • Opposes a timetable withdrawal from Iraq
  • Believes illegal immigrants should be allowed to go through the citizenship process (But does oppose entitlements for them.)

Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House 

  • Resigned after Republican losses in midterm election
  • Had 84 ethics violations charged against him during his time as Speaker (83 were eventually dropped, but he is the only Speaker to ever have this happen)
  • Affairs with employees during the Lewinsky scandal (Normally, personal life should be left out, however, Gingrich was very instrumental in the impeachment process, so this makes him look like a hypocrite.)
  • Introduced HR 4170, a bill that would sentence drug traffickers to life imprisonment for the first offense and give the death penalty for multiple offenses. (Supporter of the death penalty or not- this would discredit the death penalty system because the punishment would not fit the crime.)
  • Self-proclaimed “Teddy Roosevelt Republican”– JOY!
  • Dedicated to conservation, although he does favor incentives over regulations and laws
  • Believes we should not continue to increase the rates of incarceration
  • Opposed to mass deportation of illegal immigrants and supports ‘open-ended’ visas for ‘high-value workers’.
  • Supports ideals of the UN, but admits it is corrupt.

John Huntsman, Former Governor of Utah, Former Ambassador to China

  • Supports civil unions but not same-sex marriage.
  • Supports reduction in greenhouse gases based on a belief of global warming
  • Supported a “driving privilege” card for illegal immigrants in Utah
  • Threatened to veto a measure repealing in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants (Numbers USA- a group which advocates less immigration gives Huntsman a D-)
  • Partial to China after serving as an ambassador to them, frequently suggests working more closely with them
  • McCain suggested he run.  More of the same?

Ron Paul, Texas Congressman 

  • Denounced the raid that killed Osama bin Laden claiming that we should have worked with Pakistani officials instead.
  • Claims he wants a defederalization of any market that the federal government currently interferes with, though he has earmarked funds to subsidize industries like Wild Shrimp and to aid in movie theater renovations in his district
  • Has voted against child predator laws claiming he has a “personal belief that the responsibility of raising kids, educating kids and training kids is up to the parents and not the state”.
  • Implicitly supports prostitution saying it doesn’t harm others
  • Opposes any definition of marriage by the government
  • Supports stem cell research
  • Does not believe in death penalty on the federal level
  • Some tag him as too extreme and therefore won’t listen to him (He warned of the current financial crisis in 05 & 06 but was ignored).  He is a strong proponent of small government and less agency intervention which terrifies a lot of people- especially those with their hands out.

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas

  • Favors in-state tuition for undocumented Texans
  • Mandated the HPV vaccine for young girls
  • Former democrat
  • Same-sex marriage stance is unclear.  When New York recently passed same-sex marriage laws, Perry stated they had the right to do it because of the 10th amendment.  He later clarified that he supports a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
  • Originally endorsed by Giuliani in 2008 election.

Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts 

  • Romney Care
  • Abortion stance has been inconsistent.  His wife used to donate to Planned Parenthood and in 1994, he stated “regardless of one’s beliefs about choice, you would hope it would be safe and legal”. In 2002, he vowed to up-hold pro-choice laws in Massachusetts but in 2007 said he was pro-choice because he was Governor of a liberal state but personally is pro-life.
  • Proposed a bill to reinstate the death penalty but only in cases with DNA evidence upholding the sentence.  He also wanted to change the verbiage “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “no doubt”.
  • Opposes teaching creationism in schools.
  • Supports No Child Left Behind
  • Supports a ban on assault weapons
  • Against same-sex marriage and civil unions but believes in domestic partnership benefits
  • Supported stem cell research (vowed to help President Bush ’embrace it’, but now denounces it)
  • Supported the auto industry bailout
  • Supports restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions–but only voluntary regulations
  • Favors increased immigration but opposes illegal immigrant rights
  • Would expand the role of federal government by creating organizations like the “Special Partnership Force” to battle terrorism
  • Endorsed by Pawlenty.

You MUST choose someone because ANY of the above are better than the default: O-blah-blah.

9/11 Disappointment

No matter what your beliefs about 9/11, you can’t deny the emotions that 9/11 evokes–thinking about those that died that day, how you felt, where you were, how our lives have changed since, the list could go on and on. We don’t think about these things on a daily basis, so on the 10th anniversary I was really hoping that people would reflect on everything we’ve lost-from people to freedoms.

But, things don’t always go how they should. To me the day felt like an endless campaign event. I attended the Alpharetta-Milton 9/11 Memorial and was completely disappointed to learn that the agenda for the memorial included a long list of speeches from politicians. Alpharetta Mayor Arthur Letchas and Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood spoke first. This was appropriate. As hosts of the events, they welcomed us and encouraged us to really reflect. But they were followed by a total of SIX political speeches!!

We opened with a heart wrenching recording from the 911 dispatch in New York, the color guard, Star-Spangled Banner, and a prayer. So far, so good. After a long line of speeches from Representatives, Commissioners, and the like, we were graced with Senator Albers dressed up like a firefighter. (Don’t worry, you would still be able to identify him. He had on his Alpharetta Volunteer Firefighter name tag, as well as a Senator name tag–a uniform code violation, mind you. Diplomatic immunity? I suppose.) His speech was solemn, followed by a radio call into the local dispatch and some sirens. Quite a show. I was wondering if he was going to shoot someone out of a cannon.

But the whole thing was entirely set up. It lacked genuineness. Each politician got up there, said what THEY were doing on 9/11, how things have changed for THEM since 9/11, what great Americans they are and then they thanked our public servicemen and women. Some of them read directly from press releases they had sent out earlier in the morning. It was a sham. A complete disappointment.

I thought on 9/11 we would be honoring the firefighters, the police officers, the Port Authority, the victims and the men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq–those we’ve lost and those who continue to serve. Thank those who protect us unconditionally every day.

I thought on 9/11 we would pray for our country and take pride in the foundations: liberty, freedom and vigilance.

I was wrong. All we got was a slew of politicians and a headache—At least it was free.

Cops taking a Scroll…

The Alpharetta-Milton Patch reported the crime blogger on August 30, 2011.  In it was your usual identity theft, car break-in’s and drug busts.  But I found one particular case that disturbed me.

Earlier in the week, two teens were pulled over in Milton on Cogburn Road because of broken tail light.  The officer smelled alcohol and marijuana coming from the car and subsequently charged the driver with DUI, possession of marijuana less than one ounce and brake light citations.  Clearly, these kids were up to no good, and clearly, they were headed to jail.  No one would argue that.  But then I read this: “Police read text messages on the driver’s phone that sound as if a drug deal was being made.”

Excuse me, but what gave the officer the right to scroll through this young man’s text messages?  How was the cell phone suddenly evidence in a DUI, possession and brake light case?

The text messages prompted the officer to do a SECOND search of both of the teens and found a scale, more marijuana and $655 in cash.  The officer then charged both teens with ‘Intent to distribute’.  I have a major problem with how all of this went down.  Sure, these teens were going to jail and all of the above mentioned items would have been confiscated when they were booked.  The fact that they were discovered by a search of the cell phone is absolutely incensing to me.  There is this thing given to us by the Constitution called ‘rights’ (they often pertain to privacy) and it’s absurd that a police officer can violate that, especially when it is irrelevant to the case.

My disbelief lead me to do some research.  Apparently not too long ago, a Georgia appellate court decision upheld a warrantless search of a cell phone found in an arrestees’ car (not on her person).  Various websites also stated that officers must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is occuring…was there more reasonable suspicion to lead to a cell phone search? I don’t think so.  And wouldn’t most agree that this law was instated (and upheld) on the premise of texting and driving? I also learned that many states are classifying cell phones as ‘containers’- how they think that adds up, I’m not sure.  Is my brain a ‘container’ as well? It holds information.

**Note: Had the phone needed a password for it to be unlocked, the teens could have invoked their 5th amendment right to silence and the officers would not have been able to search the phone without a warrant.

Alpharetta-Milton Patch Article http://alpharetta.patch.com/articles/milton-teens-face-drug-charges-parents-wrath

I Have a Dream, But It’s Not About Sharing.

Here’s one I bet you didn’t see coming…..

Did you know that you can’t find the complete “I Have a Dream Speech” by Martin Luther King Jr. anywhere? The rights belong to Mr. King and his family.

It seems that in 1963, Mr. King sued Twentieth Century Fox Records Company from selling a video of his “speech”. Then, in 1999, CBS lost a battle against the MLK Estate when a judge ruled that the oration was a “performance distributed to the news media and not the public, making it a “limited” as opposed to a “general” publication”. This meant the speech is not public domain and therefore, any use must be approved (read: purchased) by the MLK Jr. Estate.

REALLY? A Performance? Come on, people! Have you thought about the synonyms of performance? Act, appearance, behavior, play, show, stunt…the list goes on. And all of these seem to discredit the actual address. Why are we not remembering the address for what it was: a persuasive speech. And for what? To make a few bucks off of copyrights every time an organization wants to promote a significant piece of American history. Not to mention, it’s on a ridiculous technicality. It’s not as if you can’t find the transcript of the “performance” on the internet or in textbooks.

What an obnoxious concept: a supposed monumental address across America, to people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, etc….cannot be found in its’ entirety on the internet.

Go ahead….try to find it….You’ll think you’ve outsmarted the system when you go to YouTube and the first result is the 17 minute video, however, when you click on it, it says that it’s been removed due to copyright issues. What a tease. At least they let you know that it once was there, right?

Even MLK.net can’t use the video: http://www.mlkonline.net/video-i-have-a-dream-speech.html

License, un-check!

Last month, a new measure created by the Governor of New Mexico was instated requiring immigrants to re-register their license and provide proof of where they will continue to live in the state.  This Residency Verification Plan was an effort to crack down on immigration in New Mexico, one of three remaining where proof of citizenship is not required when applying for a driver’s license.  The state had issued notices to everyone that needs to schedule an “in-person interview” to supply documents showing proof of residency.  Of the 10,000 notices sent out, more than 30% have been returned as “undeliverable”.  In an effort to crack down on loopholes, the state had also planned to cancel any license’s for those no longer living in the state.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, however, challenged all aspects of the new program in court, forcing a district judge to freeze the program until it is resolved in court.  The MALDEF claims that the law discriminates against a certain group of people: foreign nationals.  They also claim that the Motor Vehicles Department has no reason to believe they’ve done anything wrong so they should not have to report.  Further, Marcela Diaz of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, (Pardon, of WHAT organization?) an immigrant rights group, said in a statement that the license verification program “is nothing more than a bullying tactic that intimidates and threatens people for no reason.”  Subsequently, this week, a federal judge denied Governor Susana Martinez and her administration the ability to verify the validity of immigrants licenses’ in the state.

So…notices are sent to the addresses provided on the license but many are “undeliverable” –yet, somehow, they still think there is no cause for concern? The proof is in the pudding.  The word ‘foreign’ should set off some alarms.  Yes, many foreigners live, work and contribute to America every year, after going through the proper channels.  But why wouldn’t we toughen the screening process for those who are native to this country? I simply don’t understand why obtaining a government ID does not require that you prove you are actually able to be governed under THIS government.

What Happened to Milton County?

If you were active in last July’s primary election for Senate District 56, you remember a key issue for all of the candidates: Milton County. For those of you who are not aware of the concept of Milton County, it would essentially cut Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Alpharetta, Roswell and part (maybe all) of Sandy Springs out of Fulton County to create a new Milton County.

Personally, I am not a proponent of Milton County, mostly because it would cut me out, but I do understand the want of those taxpayers in North Fulton to keep their money where they feel it can benefit them.

Over the course of the election season, it appeared that all 3 of the candidates (John Albers, David Belle Isle and Brandon Beach) fully supported the idea of Milton County. After the run-off, those who did not win the seat went on to pursue other important issues, while the Senator-elect was supposedly ‘getting right to work’.

During the election, Albers launched a massive campaign initiative called ‘The Contract for Milton County’ complete with it’s own website, Facebook page and poster-size copy that voters could sign. The Facebook page still exists (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105925269440670) and it has the link for the website, www.contractformiltoncounty.com, listed, but for some *odd* reason, the website is no longer up. Also available during the election was the VoteAlbers website, but that too is no longer available, you are simply directed to the Senator Albers webpage, which has no mention of Milton County except for a small paragraph stating, ‘Albers supports the recreation of Milton County to include the cities of Roswell, Sandy Springs, Mountain Park, Milton Alpharetta and Johns Creek. The residents of North Fulton have long endured an inequitable relationship with Fulton County government and will make Milton a reality’.

What I found rather interesting during my online search for resources regarding Milton County was a webpage started in April of 2009 called Milton County Rising. (www.miltoncountyrising or http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=69245732854#!/group.php?gid=69245732854&v=wall ). Mr. Albers didn’t create his ‘Contract for Milton County’ until early 2010. Oh the irony.

According to the Facebook page, over 1,500 people signed the contract in 5 days. Clearly this is something that the people of North Fulton wanted their elected official to work towards. I really thought Albers would fight harder for something the people wanted. Thankfully, Albers did propose and pass a bill requiring at least 3 feet of space between bikers and cars. You can see other things Mr. Albers tacked his name onto here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/Search.aspx. His bill made it nowhere. And to date, he’s proposed nothing during the special session.

So why hasn’t Mr. Albers delivered? Why isn’t he fighting for Milton County? And what happened to that poster-size copy of the contract? Maybe these are questions we need to ask when November 2012 rolls around.

http://votealbers.com/pdf/Albers_Promotes_Contract_For_Milton_County.pdf

On the Side of the Tobacco Industry

This past Tuesday, 4 of the largest tobacco companies filed a major suit against the federal government.  Why, you ask?

Apparently the federal government has issued new labels for cigarette companies to place on cigarette packages.  The companies are upset because they are REQUIRED to use the labels designated by the government.  They also claim that the new labels, which now include images, not just text, will be damaging to sales.

First things first.  I am not a proponent of smoking.  I think it’s a terrible habit and I am in favor of laws restricting people from smoking inside businesses, as it is clearly a detriment to those around them.  However, here is where I draw the line.  Who is the federal government to step in and mess with a private enterprise that is trying to make a profit? (And let’s not forget the amount of taxes this profit generates for the federal government.) “Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,” the companies wrote in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.. How despicable.

The images are anti-smoking advocacy graphics.  I’m not quite sure how this make sense.  You wouldn’t advertise Dell in a catalog of Apple Computers, just as you wouldn’t place an image of a bloody, dead person on a bike helmet.  So why is this appropriate? Take a look. Some of the images are quite graphic:

There are a total of 9 images that the government wants to implement over the course of the coming years.  This will be an added expense on behalf of the tobacco companies since they will have to pay to change the packaging, designs, etc. each time a new image is added.  The advertising technique must total 20% of the total advertising for the tobacco companies as well as include a Stop Smoking Hotline phone number.

I understand the tobacco companies make a ridiculous amount of money, have a history of being deceitful and are selling a detrimental good to the public.  But those issues are neither here nor there.  This completely stems from administration regulation. The federal government is essentially damaging sales of a company as they inappropriately raise the cost of doing business for tobacco companies.

When will it stop?