Phillip Morris

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Esquire Magazine. Steven Jay Russell in the Slammer thinking about his 144-year sentence.

Photo: Esquire Magazine.
Steven Jay Russell in the Slammer thinking about his 144-year sentence.

Stuck In?The Slammer

In early 1998, an emaciated Texas inmate named Steven Jay Russell was granted a special parole ? one which put him in the custody of a hospice. Russell?s medical records spelled out the reason: he had HIV/AIDS, and wasn?t likely to survive much longer. ?Shortly thereafter, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice received a death certificate, alerting?them that Russell had died.

A few weeks later, Russell was arrested.

Steven Jay Russell was born in 1957, if you believe his birth certificate. There?s no actual reason to doubt the veracity of the document, but a faked birthday or year would hardly be the most audacious lie Russell has ever told. His first major one ? and his first known criminal one, for that matter ? occurred in the early 1990s, when he faked a slip-and-fall, hoping for a pay day.

His ruse was uncovered and he was convicted of fraud, sentenced to six months in prison. That sentence was too long for him, though, so he left. Russell?s boyfriend was dying of AIDS (really) and Russell wanted to be with him during his last days. Four weeks in his prison sentence, Russell impersonated a prison guard ? he had stolen some discarded street clothes and a walkie-talkie?to use?as a guard?s disguise?to elude suspicion and break free ? and walked out to freedom without much difficulty.

The guards thought I was an undercover police officer. It was such an adrenaline rush. Those first moments of freedom felt amazing.

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Told you plain packaging will extend beyond cigarettes, now it will be a trade weapon

I’ve been talking about it for ages, and commenters and other including politicians scoffed…Don’t be silly Cam, plain packaging legislation is for tobacco only.

Except it gives the antis a toehold and now we are seeing the results of that. On top of that tobacco producing countries can use it to conduct a trade war against our exporters.

New Zealand’s wine and dairy producers will be forced to export their products without branding in retaliation for Government’s introduction of plain packaging of cigarettes, tobacco firms are warning MPs.

A senior Indonesian official has been reported saying New Zealand exporters will pay a price for draconian law changes which will require tobacco producers to sell their products in plain packs with standardised fonts and colours.

Tobacco firms and lobbyists repeated the warning to a Parliamentary committee yesterday.

Emergency Committee for American Trade president Cal Cohen told MPs that plain packaging was likely to lead to restrictions of trademarks for other goods such as wine and dairy.

Tobacco giant Phillip Morris pointed to a letter by Indonesia’s former Minister of Trade Gita Wirjawan to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, in which he said plain packaging breached WTO rules and would have an impact on New Zealand exports.

Wine and dairy…ouchy…I wonder what Fonterra and all the exporters of dairy products think about that…especially those exporting branded baby formula to China.

What about sugar containing products…will they be the next victims in the war of business?

The former minister, now the Indonesian Director General for International Trade Co-operation, made a similar warning in a local news report: “If the cigarettes we export there are not allowed to have brands, then the wine they sell here shouldn’t also.”

New Zealand’s exports to Indonesia were worth nearly $900 million, half of which came from dairy. Food and beverages made up 70 per cent of total exports.

Trade Minister Tim Groser said New Zealand was “exercising its normal rights” through the plain packaging legislation.

He told the?Herald: “I’ve met numerous Indonesian officials since we initiated that action and no concern has been expressed to me personally.

“So I would be very surprised if I hear talk in the future of that.”

Be surprised Groser…it will happen. The health busybodies will move from tobacco to sugar, to alcohol to dairy…they will use the same tactics, the same denigration and on top of that use state funding and taxpayer money to do it all.

If tobacco producing countries retaliate they will use the very same arguments Groser is advancing…that?[insert country]?was “exercising its normal rights” through the plain packaging legislation against alcohol…which from a muslim country like Indonesia is perfectly defensible on religious grounds without any pesky scientific evidence, which is severely lacking in tobacco legislation.

Corporate New Zealand better gear up for a war with the state funded health busybodies, it is coming whether they like it or not and their silence against plain packaging simply emboldens them toa ttack harder.