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The Artful Dodger Made Me Do It

by EricC Sun Jan 28th, 2007 at 08:16:27 PM EST

From reading Drew Jones' recent diary, "Thank You For Smoking", it is amazing to me that any nation's government would have the audacity to tax a product 600-700%, allow its citizens to buy the product, then congratulate itself that all the tax money that it was collecting was really making its citzens healthier.

Hell of a taxation argument.It would take H.L. Mencken,Willie Sutton, and Groucho Marx to sort it all out. Baroness Thatcher and John Major are undoubtedly chuckling up their sleeves at putting another regressive tax forward, while Trots Tony has probably convinced himself that he has saved the proletarian vanguard of New Labor from a fate worse than taxation.

Most Americans looking at such a taxation scheme would not quite know what to make of it. My father, a jurist and lawyer long deceased, once said (paraphrasing) that legislation attempting to regulate, criminalize, or prohibit normal human desires and appetites was a losing proposition. He was reflecting on the Prohibition experiment in the U.S.

Most Americans today, fortunately, are very cynical of govermnent motives, and almost reflexively oppose new or additional taxation. We also have a well-developed history of ignoring unpopular laws/taxation.

The tactics for ameliorating the effects of excessive or prohibitory taxation were old when Ninevah, Ur, and Babylon were young. They perhaps antedate the philosoper's discovery of the world's oldest profession by a few years. And they work well.

The United States was founded in a revolt against British taxation, and many of the New England fortunes of the pre-Revolutionary period had been built primarily on running untaxed rum into the region past the British tax men.There is a book out on the subject simply titled Rum.

Then in 1794, came the Whiskey Rebellion. The Wiki article on the whiskey rebellion is a bit better, as it points out that one of the reasons that the revolt had such depth was that it was impossible with the roads of the time to get ear corn(a very bulky product) to market other than by distilling it.

The subject, however, is cigarettes.

I will present a map of the States here, and simply note that there is a considerable amount of interstate bootlegging, smuggling, and arbitrage occurring.

I'm sure that the George Morans, Meyer Lanskys, and John Merriweathers in the room can sort out the transportation/distribution and aribtrage potential here.

Next week, I'll try to explore the potentialities inherent in a pack of Marlboros selling for $10.58 a pack in UK.

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Goodbye Cruel, Modern World

by EricC Tue Dec 19th, 2006 at 08:17:39 PM EST

     I write this diary, to protest the shallow level of analysis that often appears in the comments to ET diaries, as in this Diary here.

"rg, what I think you are attempting here is an entirely new art form that merges Burroughsian extremes of random deconstruction, a dash of Kurt Schwitterianism collage, the CopyPaste basis of future society (The Cloners are already at work on CopyPasting humans), and the self-reflective nature of contemporary lexographic art which examines the definitions of all art that has gone before in a kinda sorta appendicial, footnotey kinda way."

     Actually, I think this was a brilliant example of an older form of criticism and analysis, of the paleo-destructionist school, which often appears superficially similar to prehistoric stream of consciousness, even to the most knowledgeable students of the genres. It is not surprising that a dilettantish slacker such as Mr. Triloquist , who obviously has never cracked a tablet in the Journal of Paleolithic Studies, would see a Burroughs influence where there is none.

     However, we are all postmodern simians now, and RG, I think, faces a steep learning curve. The climb is not insuperable; no oxygen needed; and perhaps a little paint thinner or PVC glue will make the journey easier.

     I embarked on this pilgrimage yesterday. I ordered Postmodern  Pooh from Abe Books.

     I have downloaded Beginning Conversational Crit from Rosetta Stone, and have been reading   elsewhere for clues in grammar, syntax, and acceptable argumentive forms:

     Unfortunately, after the first of the year I will be unable to visit ET very much. I have been accepted into the graduate program at the Rae Dawn Chong Institute of Feminist Studies. I plan to specialize in historical and cultural anthropology with emphasis on Pre-Cro-Magnon Civilizations.

     The implications of some of the Institute's recent monographs are revolutionary, as you can see.

     I will be posting a wish list on my website (screwyouguysimgoinghome.com) before Christmas. Hope you will contribute. Pates, meat pies, chicarrones and passable burgundies always appreciated, but money is really sweet.

     In the absense of workhouses, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

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