David Cohen 
Member since Feb 8, 2012


Proud resident of zip code 94611. Biologist. Patent guy. Lefty, but not a Bolshevik.

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Recent Comments

Re: “Beverage-Industry Playbook Expands as 'Big Soda' Spends Large to Defeat Oakland and San Francisco Taxes

What about this so-called regressive tax aspect of Proposition HH?

The Big Soda campaign is pushing the line that the 1 cent/oz distributor tax is a regressive tax that unfairly burdens low income folks. Let’s talk about that.

How deeply has Big Soda really thought about the evils of regressive taxing, and based on these principled concerns, what actions have they taken to alleviate disproportionate burdens placed on low income communities that might speak to their bona fides? I obviously doubt that this is a sincere concern of Big Soda, but others, in good faith, may be giving this argument some weight; so let’s look more closely.

Surely the “regressive tax” concern rests on the theory that lower income communities consume and spend on Big Soda at rates that are higher (proportional to total expenses or to total income) than those of higher income communities. If that’s true, then doesn’t it also follow that the damaging effects on health (of which there is no doubt) would be disproportionately greater than the ill effects visited on higher income communities? Shouldn’t that, actually, be the real concern?

Proposition HH is designed to engage market forces to tamp down Big Soda consumption across the board (not to eliminate it), to use money collected, as channeled through the general fund, to run programs that encourage healthy patterns of food and beverage consumption, and to broadly raise awareness of the harm inflicted by massive Big Soda consumption. As Proposition HH has the intended societal impact, to the extent that the distributor tax is "regressive aspect", it will dissipate.

It’s all good. Vote Yes on HH.

Posted by David Cohen on 10/12/2016 at 12:10 PM

Re: “Soda Industry Spent $67 Million Fighting Sugar Taxes and Health Labels Since 2009

The product and political approach of Big Soda both have much in common with those of Big Tobacco. The playbook includes silence on the reality of the health-damaging effects of the product, distraction, deflection, and, of course, the ever-popular Big Lie.

Mr. O’Hara’s comment is insightful and relevant in that one of the memes that Big Soda has inserted by into the conversation is the canard that a soda tax is ineffective in achieving its goal of reducing sugary beverage consumption. Of course, big soda feels no need to be consistent in their arguments. Anything their strategists think may be effective will do just fine.

The particulars of the Big Soda campaign in Oakland feature wrapping themselves in the false flag of concern about the welfare of economically disadvantaged communities (who knew they cared about regressive taxes?). And then there’s the pushing of the recently manufactured “grocery tax” lie out of the mouths of recruited minority business owners (amazing how they all thought up the same argument!), with, of course, colorful contextual images of fresh fruit and so on.

Posted by David Cohen on 09/24/2016 at 8:44 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Loses in Court to Oakland

Follow the money. The "No on HH" campaign is paid for entirely by the American Beverage Association which is interested only in selling their addictive sugar water. They have no interest in public health. They have no interest in the welfare of minority communities. They are good at writing scripts that are read verbatim by store owners enticed to collaborate with them, beautifully photographed of course, showing fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, etc (anything other than soda). Vote YES on HH.

Posted by David Cohen on 09/09/2016 at 3:18 PM

Re: “Why Does the Berkeley City Council Care About a Dog Meat Festival in China?

I appreciate Kriss Worthington for putting this item on the agenda. It brings grotesque practices such as those described to the fore, and creates political pressure that may eventually be effective.

Posted by David Cohen on 07/20/2016 at 12:56 PM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Sorry, but it's Mr. Gammon who is out of whack. His thesis is incomprehensible. Let's simplify things. Maybe in his next column he could talk about how he would be thinking if the windows of his house were broken by these so-called protesters, exercising their rights. And just out of curiosity, let's pretend that he suddenly became the mayor. What would his policy look like?

40 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by David Cohen on 06/10/2015 at 9:31 PM

Re: “Broken Windows or Broken Lives?

It seems like the Express doesn't understand that their audience is already liberal and progressive in every way. They can't be outflanked from the left. They don't believe that protesters in Oakland are being repressed, that the first amendment is being trampled on. Sorry, this rhetoric is out of touch and presumptuous. The Express is headed toward irrelevancy in the political arena.

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by David Cohen on 06/03/2015 at 9:11 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

Sorry, but this is a ridiculous commentary from the generally sensible Mr. Gammon. As everyone knows, we have an indigenous population that likes to riot for sport. This represents an assault on everyone else, and advances no cause, since it's not motivated by cause. The first amendment and every opportunity to protest are well and thriving in Oakland. Nobody's rights have been trampled on. There is no collective punishment. Thank you, Libby Schaaf, for providing leadership. Mr. Gammon, consider what you might be saying if your store was trashed by the indigenous population that I mentioned. You're the one who just failed a test.

38 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by David Cohen on 05/27/2015 at 9:18 PM

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