Tag Archives: Rep. DIane Black

Something Died Today

A piece of free enterprise died today.

Well, they did it. Today, both houses of Congress passed the highway bill containing the poison pill for people who like to roll their own smokes. Effective Saturday night at midnight, this piece of the American Dream is foreclosed upon. Thank you Big Tobacco, for helping open our eyes to the ways of Washington, the ways of corrupt government, and what it takes to buy a monopoly.

To those who’ve faithfully followed this issue and done so much great work to fight this Big Tobacco favor, I encourage you to keep fighting. Keep hope alive, and think about running for public office! You’ve seen first hand how people get screwed over by the Federal government. Make a difference and get involved in local, state, federal politics and make a difference!

As I have said to so many of you, we are on the right side of this matter. Every freedom is worth defending. We will encounter roadblocks, but with strength and persistence, we can overcome them. This is a significant setback and will cause hardship for many. But believe in and keep looking for a solution.

I will send along any updates I receive, and if you hear something good just comment here or email me: g.renome5 (AT) gmail.com

See you online.

- GR

 

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Freedom to Roll in Jeopardy

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ No sellouts! Strip it, forget it. STOP the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill http://bit.ly/NewTax

Good morning and Happy Friday, June 22, 2012, and unfortunately, we’re back in the danger zone. As reported in several news publications, comments made yesterday by House and Senate negotiators, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), indicate there might be progress on getting the big burrito 2012 highway bill in front of lawmakers and approved. With those two lawmakers at the helm of drafting a final bill, I have LOW confidence we won’t be sold down the river. Why so little confidence? Because neither of these two have been vocal AT ALL about where they stand on the Big Tobacco bailout. Sen. Boxer doesn’t exactly have a stellar record of opposing Federal taxes and regulations or standing up for small business, and Rep. Mica is an old school member of Congress, ready to trade his horse, grandmother and best marbles if he can score a deal benefiting his own interests.

Congress will sell us out if they think they can get away with it.

WHAT CAN WE DO: If there’s a bill to come from this “progress” it must still get approval from the House/Senate conference committee of 47, AND then get approval from both the full House and the Senate. Our aim remains to expose the Big Tobacco bailout and get it stripped from the bill. First things first so let’s stay in front of the conferees. Who’s to say the bill written by Mica/Boxer is worth anything more than the paper it’s spilled on? The conference committee will have an opportunity to dissect the agreement and debate and vote on its provisions. STAY TUNED because in these last days and hours before June 30, anything can happen and it can happen quickly.

WHAT IS THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT: It’s an anti-competitive, anti-free enterprise provision slipped into what became the Senate-approved highway bill. The language essentially reclassifies small tobacco retail shops as “manufacturers” if they provide customers the ability to roll their own smokes. If that reclassification occurs, “retailers” magically turned into “manufacturers” will suffer huge new taxes and regulations and will likely close shop. The Congressional Budget Office is convinced the provision will result in the closure of more than 1,000 small tobacco shops nationwide. But, Sen. Max Baucus’s staff conned some Democrats and Republicans to introduce the eight line provision as part of a larger amendment to the highway bill and poof! There was a vote and now we’re working to strip it out. A number of House lawmakers led by Rep. Steve LaTourette object to the Big Tobacco bailout. Rep. LaTourette sent word to all of his colleagues asking them to get rid of the bailout language, so we’re cautiously optimistic he’s shed a good deal of light on our cause.

WHERE AM I MOST EFFECTIVE:  Warrior, you are effective when your voice is heard. Pick up your megaphone and get on the Twitter and Facebook and speak your mind. We have made a great deal of progress educating lawmakers, and now is the time to get louder. I’ve included some of the usual suspects below AND added some of the senators, just so they know they’ll pay a penalty for trading our freedom to roll.

EFFECT CHANGE: From the start, we have been all about changing the behavior of those members in Congress who would sell us out for chump change from Big Tobacco. Let your local lawmakers (and a few others) know we are in the danger zone and we require their commitment to help. Ask @RepJustinAmash why he won’t tell us his position on HR4134, ask @DocHastings where he stands on the #BigTobacco bailout, ask @MarshaBlackburn if the botox has worn off and whether she’s ready to strip it and forget it. Ask, ask, ask because we must engage, engage, engage.

YOU ARE THE BEST: You are. Go nuclear on the clowns opposing us. Be good to our supporters. Question those who’ve not weighed in. Recruit a friend. See you online.

- GR

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

Democrats

Senate Democrat conferees (and their Twitter handles):

  • Barbara Boxer (CA) @SenatorBoxer
  • Max Baucus (MT) (Not on Twitter)
  • Jay Rockefeller (WV) @SenRockefeller
  • Tim Johnson (SD) @SenJohnsonSD
  • Chuck Schumer (NY) @ChuckSchumer
  • Bill Nelson (FL) @SenBillNelson
  • Bob Menendez (NJ) @SenatorMenendez
  • Dick Durbin (IL) @SenatorDurbin

Senate Republican conferees (and their Twitter handles):

  • James Inhofe (OK) @JimInhofe
  • David Vitter (LA) @DavidVitter
  • Richard Shelby (AL) @SenShelbyPress
  • Orrin Hatch (UT) @OrrinHatch
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) @KayBaileyHutch
  • John Hoeven (ND) @SenJohnHoeven
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Contempt

Contempt sounds like a pretty nasty word. Without looking it up in the dictionary, I’m not really sure what it means, but I think it means something about not having respect for the other party involved in whatever the argument is about.

Wholly unrelated to the Big Tobacco bailout, a U.S. House committee voted yesterday to find U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. I remember watching the film where Larry Flynt was found in contempt of court for throwing oranges at the judge. Personally, I often hold the paper boy in contempt when he throws my newspaper at the screen door or into the bushes. Contempt seems like it isn’t a good thing for those who are the target. In fact, I’m thinking contempt is the perfect word in which to hold Big Tobacco for its 2012 attack on free enterprise.

Good morning and happy Thursday, June 21, 2012. Today is the summer solctice, meaning it is the longest sunshine day of the year (for North America at least) and for the rest of this summer the days are going to get shorter. What’s also getting shorter is the amount of time Congress will be able to find a vehicle to move the Big Tobacco bailout. The less time they have to sneak something in, the more desperate Big Tobacco gets.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ Please don’t sacrifice #jobs for a #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill! http://bit.ly/NewTax.com

OUR MISSION: We are most effective when we approach our targets from various avenues. That means when you’re having too much fun on Twitter, put it aside and head over to Facebook. I know some members have blocked some of us from posting on their sites, but that’s okay because we can send them messages other ways. One of my favorite methods is to ask their colleagues to pass along our message. For instance, “Rep Blackburn, your colleague Rep. Diane Black has blocked me from her Facebook page so can you tell her to please stop doing favors for Big Tobacco and get rid of H.R.4134? Thanks!”

I can’t tell you how great it is to see so many people so passionate about fighting for jobs, prosperity and freedoms. Tell me this: Which freedoms shall we forgo for the sake of Big Tobacco’s greed? Which freedoms are too small to defend? Which of us will lay down something mankind has been doing for centuries, just so the Big Tobacco companies can squeeze a little more profit? None of us. Go out and make some NOISE!

-GR

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Who Needs Approval?

Looking at the big picture, it really is no wonder the Congress as a whole has an approval rating somewhere between spilled milk and a three-day old fish that’s been sitting in your sun porch. The people we’ve sent to Washington to be our voices tell us one thing at home, but then do an entirely different thing when they get to Washington. Such activity isn’t new, but it is more readily known now due to the Internet’s instant access to information. Also, this type of betrayal has given great rise to groups like the Tea Party, the Occupy movement, and No Labels. But even those groups have been infiltrated by the double-talkers.Good morning and happy Saturday, June 16, 2012. Did you know there are roughly 340 million new Tweets created every day? That’s why we’re here and that’s why we have to be persistent. Our mission is to keep popping up and keep exposing the Big Tobacco bailout hidden in the highway bill, and to expose HR4134 as a dirty Big Tobacco bailout.

The places we’re talking and the amount of talking we’re doing is making a big difference. It’s kind of like standing across the street from your favorite member of Congress’s office and shouting. Sometimes the congressman hears us; sometimes his constituents passing by hear us; pretty much all the time the congressman’s staff hears us. Good stuff, right? It’s Father’s Day weekend so I’ll be brief so you can get outside and clean off the bar-b-que.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: Both the House and the Senate are in session next week and there will be a push to get some kind of compromise highway bill through. The Senate continues to pretend they’re royalty and won’t negotiate with the House. The House continues pretending they’re drunk commoners set on buying that stallion next door for a bag of doody. Both sides still seem far apart, and neither side will commit to telling us they’re getting rid of the Big Tobacco bailout provision. All sides seem resigned to a clean extension of the current program while they work out a bigger bill, so keep your eyes on this because I’m sure Big Tobacco’s lobbyists still have some tricks up their sleeve.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) drinking at Big Tobacco’s campaign trough at both the State and Federal levels.

A Ugandan water buffalo taking a swim.

By the way, I was contacted by the Water Buffalo Preservation Society of Uganda yesterday, and they’re none too happy with my continued posting of pictures of water buffalos next to pictures of U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee). I’m not really sure what their beef is, so for the time being I’m going to ignore them.

OUR MISSION: Continue the open dialogue with your local members of Congress, members of the highway bill conference committee, and House and Senate leadership. What’s also effective is “replying” to those members who post new stuff to Facebook and Twitter. My rule is, if they’re posting, they’re listening and we have something to say. So let’s go get them troops and PLEASE be careful. The weekends are notorious for throwing people into Twitter jail. Follow the “4-4-4″ rule with your “@LawmakerXYZ” practice and you’ll be fine. (Retweet as MUCH as you want because it’s not registering as spam in the Twitterverse).

-GR

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Anatomy of a Big Tobacco Sellout

U.S. Rep. Diane Black sold out to Big Tobacco. She says one thing, but does another to help crush small business.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ Tell Congress to STOP HR4134 & the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill! http://bit.ly/NewTax

As I tinkered around the house this weekend, I got to thinking about how difficult it is for people to change their behavior. After all, that’s what this blog and our efforts are about. We seek to change the behavior of members of Congress who will otherwise support a Big Tobacco bailout and crush small businesses through anti-competititve taxes and regulation. People have all kinds of reasons for not changing their behavior. Sometimes, they misinterpret change as a sign of weakness. Certainly, members of Congress don’t want to be seen as weak, wrong, confused or desperate. I bet, if given the chance to change their behavior on the Big Tobacco bailout without having to admit they were wrong, we’d see half to three-quarters of the sponsors of H.R.4134 drop that bill faster than a cold beer turns warm in the middle of August.

Good morning! It’s Monday, June 11, 2012 and we are taking a look today at one member of Congress’s sellout to the Big Tobacco companies. I know that sounds a little harsh, but there’s no other way to describe it. Read on and see if you agree.

U.S. Representative Diane Black: Born January 16, 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland. Thirty-four years later she moved out of Maryland and moved in to Tennessee where she continued her career as nurse-turned-bureaucrat and served in the state legislature for a few years before eyeing an open seat in the U.S. Congress. Ms. Black was elected in 2010, moved back to the Baltimore area, and started service in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 2011.

Ms. Black was born in Baltimore, Maryland and lived in the shadow of the nation’s capital city for 34 years. Elected to Congress, she’s now happily living back in Washington, DC.

What can we tell about Ms. Black and how she serves her Tennessee constituents? Well, all we really have is her WORDS and her ACTIONS. So, let’s look at her website.

EXHIBIT A: On her official, congressional website Ms. Black has written the words:

“America’s success does not stem from Washington programs, but from free enterprise and our entrepreneurial spirit. The real way to grow the economy is to get government out of the way, and let the real job creators, American small businesses, create jobs. The federal government needs to support entrepreneurs by eliminating burdensome regulations and discriminatory taxes that are holding businesses back.” – U.S. Rep. Diane Black.

Well, that’s interesting. Pretty much a red, white and blue flag of poetic praise for small business, right? Curious, though, that there’s no mention of the Big Tobacco bailout H.R.4134 she introduced on behalf of the largest cigarette-making companies. That whole “let’s crush the small businesses where you can roll your own smokes” seems counter to the above paragraph. Maybe it’s an oversight?
EXHIBIT B: More words from Ms. Black’s website talks about her views on Federal legislation:
“One of the most important aspects of Congress is developing, making, and monitoring laws. New laws are created every week. As a Member of Congress, I am actively involved in sponsoring and drafting legislation about issues that are important to you.” – U.S. Rep. Diane Black.

Another interesting statement. We can overlook the ignorant inaccuracy of “new laws are created every week” (they’re not), but we can’t overlook that part about “drafting legislation about issues that are important to you.” Since when did it become important to the people of Robertson and Sumner counties that the U.S. government crush small businesses in order to give Big Tobacco companies more profit?

EXHIBIT C: This comes directly from her bill, her legislation H.R.4134 which will reclassify small tobacco shops from “retailer” to “manufacturer” in order to subject them to impossibly onerous taxes and regulations.

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED (H.R.4134) “Amends the Internal Revenue Code to include within the definition of “manufacturer of tobacco products,” for excise tax purposes, any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use a machine capable of producing tobacco products.”

What?!! HOW is amending U.S. Tax Code supposed to HELP small businesses?!

Even this water buffalo knows to hang his head low over HR4134, the Big Tobacco bailout sponsored by Rep. Diane Black.

Coming full circle to what we said about “changing behavior” being hard for some people. Ms. Black was born in Baltimore, Maryland and lived in an area populated by more government bureaucrats per square mile than any other place in the nation for 34 YEARS. She knows government like the back of her hand. She has bureaucracy running through her veins. And even though she TALKS about getting “government out of the way” of the REAL job creators, small business, she’s first in line with ACTION introducing MORE TAXES AND MORE REGULATIONS on SMALL BUSINESS. That’s what her bill, H.R.4134 is. And the ONLY BENEFACTOR from this legislation is the Big Tobacco companies. I know this because the Congressional Budget Office said so. If Ms. Black successfully shuts down small tobacco shops where you can blend and roll your own smokes, Big Tobacco thinks it will pick up all those sales. Never mind Big Tobacco already has 99% market share. They want more.

Another clear indicator of Ms. Black’s sellout to Big Tobacco: Money. Big Tobacco has A LOT OF MONEY invested in members of Congress.

EXHIBIT D: Altria (maker of Marlboro cigarettes) gave Ms. Black a few thousand dollars for her campaign. R.J.Reynolds (another cigarette maker) gave her a few thousand campaign dollars, too. IN FACT, both Altria and Reynolds gave THOUSANDS of dollars in cash to Ms. Black’s campaign within mere DAYS of her introducing H.R. 4134. Coincidence?

A further indicator of Ms. Black’s sellout to Big Tobacco: More money.

EXHIBIT E: Big Tobacco spent MILLIONS OF DOLLARS lobbying for H.R.4134 this year. Remember, Ms. Black’s bill wasn’t even introduced until March 5, 2012. But between March 5 and March 31, 2012 the public records show Big Tobacco spent more than $3 million dollars lobbying for H.R.4134! That’s UNHEARD OF on Capitol Hill, unless there is some sort of coordinated effort by the Big Tobacco companies and Ms. Black’s office. It just doesn’t happen that way (on the up-and-up, anyway). We’ve alerted Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) about this anomaly and asked them to look into it.

Last indication of Ms. Black’s sellout: H.R.4134 is a BIG effort by Ms. Black. It’s SO BIG, she has already gathered 74 cosponsors for her bill. AND ALL OF THEM have taken Big Tobacco money in one form or another. Most have taken the money directly from Big Tobacco, but some have taken it through a third-party political action committee. That basically means the money was “washed” of tobacco before it was contributed. Sneaky, right?

EXHIBIT F: Silence. Even though this is a BIG effort by Rep. Diane Black, there is not ONE WORD about it on her website. Check it out for yourself. Go to her website by clicking here, and in the “search” box, enter “4134” or “tobacco” or “roll your own.” Nothing related to her bill comes up! As I’ve said before, members of Congress issue a press release when a unicorn breaks wind, so WHY wouldn’t Rep. Diane Black talk about her PREMIER effort to shut down small businesses? Is she HIDING something?

Well, Ms. Black, you can’t hide a Big Tobacco bailout, and you can’t hide your selling out to Big Tobacco, either.

So there you have it, the anatomy of a Big Tobacco sellout. It’s not pretty, is it?

Ms. Black talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

Our Mission: Inform, educate, infiltrate, communicate and decimate. We are making a difference because we have people ALL ACROSS our great nation taking part in this effort and persistently making noise. U.S. House members are in their hometowns this week, talking with community groups, touring companies, making hay on the local television and radio. So talk to them! Talk with your local member. Ask them to REJECT the Big Tobacco bailout. Tell them to strip it from the highway bill AND THEN ask them to oppose H.R.4134. It’s a dirty, no-good, big tobacco bailout and it’s NOT good government.

Bravo Tango Whiskey: What do you think? Too harsh? Let me know and I’ll see you ONLINE!

-GR

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Hey Big Tobacco, Fuggedaboutit.

“Small Tobacco Shops… I am your father!”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… a great adventure took placef

Good morning and happy Saturday, June 9, 2012! I think I’ll make a batch of beer this afternoon. Hopefully, Big Tobacco won’t ask Congress to reclassify me as a manufacturer and tax and regulate me out of business.

The Golden Rule: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” Darth Vader should have followed that rule. He would have had a MUCH better time of it. Though as we saw in the “last” Star Wars film, he eventually did come around (I actually felt sorry for the guy!).

Anyway, I mention this to illustrate the HUGE decision members of Congress are facing in dealing with the highway bill and the Big Tobacco bailout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT: In the Senate’s version of the highway bill there’s a provision to “reclassify” small tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes as “manufacturers” as opposed to their current designation as “retailers.” This “reclassification” will immediately subject about 1,000 small businesses across the US to HUGE new taxes and regulations, effectively (according to the Congressional Budget Office) putting all 1,000 OUT of business. It’s called the “Big Tobacco” bailout because they have spent MILLIONS of dollars this year putting more than 100 lobbyists on Capitol Hill telling members of Congress to pass this provision. Hell, Big Tobacco wrote the damn thing!

WHAT WE’RE DOING: We are asking members of Congress to STRIP that provision OUT of the highway bill. It doesn’t belong there. It’s not fair. It’s a provision that hasn’t had a single public hearing or one minute of testimony from anyone who would be impacted.  We are also asking U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee) to withdraw her legislation, H.R.4134, that is identical in nature. Her bill is a Big Tobacco bailout and has NOTHING to do with free enterprise or closing so-called tax loopholes.

“Sorry Pop, I gotta kick your tail.”

WHO ARE WE: I’m a freedom-loving guy who likes to roll his own smokes. I have friends who either own a small business or work at one where tobacco can be blended and rolled into custom smokes. Together, we are working to expose the Big Tobacco bailout for exactly what it is – a sellout. It’s a sellout by members of Congress who’ve taken thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Big Tobacco, and now they’re repaying the favor with special legislation.

Oh sure, there are some members who will plead ignorance on the sellout. That’s why we’re active. We are telling members and their offices, “HEY LOOK, there’s a Big Tobacco bailout in the highway bill and YOU need to STOP it.”

THE GOLDEN RULE: Some members of Congress don’t have any direct interest in protecting people’s ability to roll their own smokes. They don’t smoke, or they don’t really understand the issue, or they don’t care if 1,000 small businesses are forced out by a “reclassification” as long as Big Tobacco is happy. Our issue isn’t big or sexy enough for a star celebrity or newspaper writer to champion our cause; we’re not able to shower congresspeople with cash and rich dinners (like Big Tobacco); and face it, we don’t have a history of mixing in other people’s business. We’ve been doing our jobs, minding our own business, living the Golden Rule and scratching it out the best we can.

So along comes Big Tobacco to smash small tobacco shops. They don’t like it when we roll our own because… THEY DON’T MAKE MONEY OFF US! Who will help us? Thankfully, U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette is fighting for us. Others are lining up, too and we’re hearing of more support every day. This is good. These folks don’t have anything to gain by fighting Big Tobacco, but they’re doing it anyway because there are foundational issues at stake. Free enterprise. Fair competition. Unencumbered commerce. And rejecting corruption. Thank you Steve LaTourette and all others standing strong with us. We appreciate what you’re doing.

What LaTourette and others are doing is living by the Golden Rule. They’re also fighting for those who don’t have the power to protect themselves in the corridors of Congress. I’ve said it a bunch on Twitter, and I’ll say it here: If Big Tobacco succeeds in crushing small tobacco shops, they will go after other areas. No interest is safe from the clutches of Big Tobacco’s greed.

Here’s where we win: We have spirit, Big Tobacco only offers cash. We’re loyal, Big Tobacco will slit your throat if it helps their bottom line. Congress, you have to wake up and fight this one. It’s dirty government of the highest magnitude.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: #LawmakerXYZ Tell Congress STOP the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill B4 it’s too late. http://bit.ly/NewTax

Feel like talking? Call your member directly: http://congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt

Tweet your member. Facebook your member. Here’s a good list of target members. For your member of Congress, visit their official and/or campaign sites and look for the Twitter and Facebook badges.

Republicans

Democrats

Have a great weekend, thanks for stopping by TaxTracker, and let’s fight online for VICTORY!

-GR

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Farming It Out

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ Please strip the #BigTobacco bailout from the highway bill. HR4134 is a tax increasing job killer. http://bit.ly/NewTax

I love farms. I was raised on a farm. It wasn’t my family’s farm, but we had all the fun of tending to the livestock and weeding fields. We worked on the farm because the owner was an elderly man who had two grown daughters who went off to college, so he needed my family’s help. We weren’t decision makers, we were just kind of hired hands helping out with labor when the farmer needed it. We were fortunate because we enjoyed the farm, without having to bear the major responsibilities. The farmer easily could have “farmed out” his land to other farmers or even a big company.

These days, “farm it out” is a lot closer in meaning to “outsourcing.” If you have work to be done and there’s someone else who can do it cheaper, you outsource. For instance, human labor in China is a lot cheaper  than it is in the United States. That’s why everything you pick up and turn over has a “Made in China” stamp on it. To me, that’s not really an encouraging trend. I’d rather we still had more manufacturing here in the USA, but because the big companies figured out they can make more profit by shipping work overseas, they “farm it out.”

Congress is kind of the same. Thankfully, they haven’t farmed out work to the Chinese (yet), but the elected members DO farm out a lot of work to their staff. Answering phones, answering letters and emails from constituents, talking with lobbyists… you name it, and a Congressman has a staff member who will do it. That’s understandable. You want your elected lawmaker to be engaged where there are truly tough decisions to be made. You want her at the table when they’re hammering out tax rate questions, examining the principles behind initiating more or fewer regulations, and trying to foresee any unintended consequences. You and me, we want our elected officials thoroughly ENGAGED when our livelihoods are under attack by special interests like Big Tobacco, right?

Unfortunately, some members of Congress are too comfortable with “farming out” their work, even when we’re down to the brass tacks.

At a blog called “DC Streets”, is the account of SEVEN members of Congress showing up at meetings where the “final” version of the 2012 highway bill is being worked out. WHAT? Actual MEMBERS OF CONGRESS showing up at meetings where legislation is being WRITTEN and AGREED UPON?!! Crazy, right? Well I guess it’s news because so often these days, members of Congress “farm out” work they’re supposed to be doing. There are FORTY SEVEN members of Congress on the highway bill conference committee, and only SEVEN are showing up to the meetings where differences are being debated. That doesn’t seem right, does it? The funny thing is the blogger writing the piece characterized the seven lawmakers as an “obstacle” to reaching agreement. Wow.

When I go to my local community meeting to hear Candidate X and Candidate Y tell me why they’re the best person to represent me in Congress, they didn’t tell me they’d let their staff make the important decisions, did they?

OUR MISSION: In the coming day or so, I will post a video news story displaying reaction to Congress’s most recent efforts. Let’s promote that video high and low and show members of Congress WE ARE REAL PEOPLE, with real JOBS depending on their doing the right thing. We must STOP the Big Tobacco bailout in the highway bill; we must STOP H.R.4134 – the bill that reclassifies mom & pop smoke shops as “manufacturing facilities”, and we must STOP this ongoing attack on small business enterprises! Between Sen. Durbin’s tax increase, Rep. Black’s tax and regulation increase, Sen. Baucus’s middle of the night antics, and Big Tobacco spending MILLIONS on 60 lobbyists in less than a month, we are under ASSAULT! But we can win. Keep the pressure on. Let’s get to it. We’re still hitting ALL our members of Congress because the more pressure they feel, the less likely they’ll move their scum legislation forward. See you online.

-GR

 

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A Proposition for Big Tobacco

Roll your own? Then you had better pay attention.

Dear Big Tobacco,

I know you’re upset with us. You call us the locust on your cash crop. You stomp on us like we’re ants at your picnic. You try to diminish our truth with cartons of cash and checks made out to congressmen and lobbyists. But, we’re still here, and that’s because we are committed to exposing you, your corruption, your poisonous plan to use Congress to eliminate competition, and those who are part of your evil effort. You will NOT succeed in squashing our freedom to roll our own smokes. So I have a proposition for you. Let’s live and let live.

If you, Big Tobacco, STOP ALL EFFORTS to outlaw our ability to blend our own tobacco and roll our own smokes, we will stop our crusade against you.

That means you STOP trying to pass H.R.4134, it means you STOP trying to keep that same legislative language in the 2012 highway bill, it means you leave us alone and just accept that some people are going to roll their own. Don’t use Congress to strengthen your monopoly. It’s un-American. It’s anticompetitive. It’s unethical and immoral.

So if you’re ready to accept our terms, please say so. Otherwise we will continue our crusade, sparing none and leaving burned wheat stubble in our wake.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ and Diane Black, STOP the #BigTobacco bailout HR4134 in the highway bill. It’s a sellout. http://bit.ly/NewTax

We don’t want to name names, okay? We don’t want to have to expose who you have working for you, who also used to work for Jack Abramoff…

Convicted felon and former lobbyist with ties to bribery, gambling, and Big Tobacco, Jack Abramoff

Yesterday, we exposed the fact that Altria (maker of Marlboro) spent more than $2.5 million in the first three months of 2012 on its effort to pass H.R.4134 ***EVEN THOUGH*** the bill was only introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) in Congress on March 5, 2012. In the U.S. Senate’s lobbyist disclosure database, there are NO FEWER THAN FIFTEEN separate filings where H.R.4134 is the issue to be lobbied for Altria in the first quarter of 2012.

NEWS REPORTERS AND EDITORS, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION: More than a DOZEN D.C. lobby firms were hired by Altria to push H.R.4134 in the first quarter of 2012. That’s JUST Altria’s hiring! What about Reynolds? What about the other Big Tobacco players? NOW, ask yourself WHY does Big Tobacco CARE SO MUCH about reclassifying small Mom & Pop tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes from “retailers” to “manufacturers”? Why did they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying outside lobby services? It’s because Big Tobacco wants to CRUSH their competition. Small businesses where you can currently roll your own smoke can’t possibly afford the HUGE taxes and regulations a “manufacturer” classification brings. Ask the GSA on this last point because that’s what their recent examination assumes — the CLOSURE of small business if they’re reclassified as “manufacturers.”

OUR MISSION: Continue to expose the Big Tobacco bailout H.R.4134 and the 2012 highway bill. Facebook, Twitter, phone calls, emails, mental telepathy. Keeping constant pressure on lawmakers makes them sick about cuddling up with Big Tobacco. So lay it out there, leave nothing on the field, and keep up the fight for our right to roll our own!

-GR

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News Release for Rep. Diane Black

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ and Eric Cantor: What’s dirtier than a #BigTobacco bailout? Nothing. http://bit.ly/NewTax

[We’re keeping this message all weekend to make sure it rings LOUD and CLEAR. By the way yesterday I noticed some of you were adding Boehner’s Twitter handle (you guys are SO good!). Truth is, I purposely left it off. Trust me, there’s reason behind my madness.]

Ahh, the dime. Isn’t it pretty? It’s a coin that is the birth of many classic phrases such as, “I’ll drop a dime on you” or “You won’t nickel and dime me” or “Hey Carlos, put down that machine gun and grab me a dime bag.” My personal favorite is, “If I had a dime for every Congressman who told me they were going to help me, I’d be a rich man.”

Good Morning! It’s Sunday, May 20, 2012 and it’s nearly 70 degrees already in Dubuque, Iowa. Thunderstorms coming later, but then a beautiful week ahead. I raise the “dime” issue because it’s true. If you and I had a dime for every time Congress told us one thing, then did another, we’d be filthy rich. We’d be Warren Buffet Rich. We would be “can’t spend it all in ten lifetimes” rich! In other words, members of Congress often times say one thing, but do another.

For instance, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee), SAYS she wants to help small business, but then she DOES something else. She has introduced a bill to force the US Government to reclassify small business tobacco “retailers” as “manufacturers.” WHY does she want to do this? Well, she won’t SAY publicly. That’s kind of funny, because she issues a press release every time a water buffalo breaks wind, but she won’t issue a single public statement about why she wants to force higher taxes and regulation on Mom & Pop smoke shops. See for yourself! Click here for her website. Look there and see propaganda about her announcing the winners of a congressional art competition, stuff about how she’s “holding Congress accountable to taxpayers” (pure crap), “encouraging small business growth and job creation” (the exact opposite of what her bill HR4134 does), town hall meetings, job fairs, manure, rocky mountain oysters, and chicken lips. BUT, there’s NOTHING about her bill, HR4134 – the Big Tobacco Bailout that she’s pushing for Altria, R.J.Reynolds and other Big Tobacco interests.

It’s just so odd. Rep. Diane Black can’t wait to tell you about the sunrise and how she made it possible, but she won’t utter a PEEP about her Big Tobacco, tax raising, job killing, grave robbing legislation! YOU DON’T THINK SHE’S HIDING IT, DO YOU?!!

I did a little search on her website for the word “tobacco.” Only one reference was found, relating to how she wanted to take away a presidential slush fund because it was only being used by states to raise taxes on tobacco products, i.e., Marlboro, Camel, Winston, Salem, etc. SO… Rep Diane Black, do you care to explain? WHY are you hiding your big legislative push? You have NO OTHER BILL IN ANY CONGRESS that has gained the number of cosponsors that you currently have on HR 4134, so why are you hiding it from your voters? Why not put it front and center on your website, your $40,000 direct mail pieces, your Big Tobacco sponsored campaign commercials and signs?

Dr. Jekyll

Ms. Hyde

 

OK, maybe your press secretary is busy. Or maybe your chief of staff and legislative director think they’re press experts because they watched West Wing. I’ll help you out with a draft press release you can post on your site. Please submit your edits so I can learn from you. Here’s the draft:

BLACK INTRODUCES TAX INCREASE ON SMALL TOBACCO SHOPS TO “KILL” JOBS & COMPETITION

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee) introduced H.R.4134, a bill to simply reclassify small tobacco shops where you can roll your own cigarettes as bonafide “tobacco manufacturing facilities” so these small businesses can either pay and follow the same taxes and regulations as the Big Tobacco manufacturers, or just go out of business. This special and filthy favor to Big Tobacco currently has the backing of dozens of lawmakers who, not coincidentally, have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Big Tobacco.

“Golly, I’m just a former nurse, small business owner, and former minority-status teacher from Baltimore, Maryland who lived in the Washington, D.C. mentality for most of my working life. Then, I struck gold with a husband who suddenly became very wealthy. When we moved to Tennessee I became so bored, I decided to buy a seat in Congress so I could get back to Washington. And that’s what I did. In fact, I just forgave the million dollars I loaned myself for my campaign, because I know if I can get this bill, H.R.4134, through the House of Representatives, Big Tobacco will refill my campaign cash drawer! I hope I can get ALL of Big Tobacco’s cash-only members of Congress to sign my bill and together, we can slip this into law before I’m exposed,” said Representative Black, a long-time bureaucrat who sides with conservatives in order to conceal her true identity.

Eliminating Big Tobacco’s competition by heaping taxes and regulation on small Mom & Pop tobacco shops is something Representative Black hadn’t even though of before Big Tobacco contacted her legislative staff (one of whom has VERY close ties to Big Tobacco players, wink, wink). But once Black understood the cash involved, she decided siding with Big Tobacco instead of small business and jobs was the best course for her personal gain. After voting to CRUSH small business tobacco shops because you can roll your own smokes there, Representative Black will introduce legislation to open year-round hunting season on unicorns, abolish high-definition cameras in Congress, and make it a Federal offense to sing in the rain.

###

Okay, Rep. Black, there’s my draft. It’s the best I can do without your input. We’ll wait to see your changes before sending it out.

TWITTER FACEBOOK ARMY: Your mission is to continue talking to your local members of Congress via all the channels we’ve been using. Anecdotally, more than a few members of Congress are hearing us and tell us they know what Rep Black is doing is sinister and evil. They won’t be signing onto her bill, and in fact, they’re trying to convince some who have to jump off that crazy train. Have a great Sunday, friends and we’ll see you online!

-GR

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Hey Big Tobacco: What Is H.R.4134 and how did you get Rep. Diane Black to back it?

It’s Sunday, April 29 and I thought today would be a good day to revisit H.R.4134, Big Tobacco’s bill introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee). In a nutshell, (Help! I’m trapped in a nutshell), H.R.4134 is special legislation designed to do ONE thing and one thing ONLY: Reclaim Big Tobacco’s monopoly on cigarette sales. More on that in a moment.

Today’s Message

Congress: BREAK BigTobacco’s monopoly. PROTECT the right to roll our own!  MORE: http://bit.ly/NewTax

We know H.R.4134 is a new tax, but HOW is it a new tax? Here’s a summary of H.R. 4134: [The bill] Amends the Internal Revenue Code to include within the definition of “manufacturer of tobacco products,” for excise tax purposes, any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use a machine capable of producing tobacco products.

What does that mean? Well, remember that little plastic machine we used to use to roll our own cigarettes? This thing:

Under H.R.4134, if a tobacco shop owner lets me use THIS device (or updated devices that work a lot faster) in his place of business, he will now be classified as a “manufacturer of tobacco products” and subject to all kinds of NEW FEDERAL TAXES and REGULATIONS. In fact, they’ll be subject to the SAME taxes and regulations as Big Tobacco!!

Why would Big Tobacco want to do this? Because they LOSE MONEY every time one of us rolls our own smoke.

Stated again: As long as we have the ability to roll our own smokes, we are free from having to buy big tobacco’s crappy and tasteless product. BUT, if Big Tobacco takes away that ability, they assume they will recapture us as their customers.

Big Tobacco doesn’t get a cut of my money, because they choose not to sell the individual components of a cigarette. Hey, if Big Tobacco got into the market of individual components and made a quality product, I’d give them a try. BUT, they don’t. So bug off.

If I buy my own tobacco (a tasty blend of spices and pear), my favorite rolling paper (slow burn rate), my preferred filters, and then use a tobacco shop’s rolling machine, so what? Well, greed is as quick and powerful as it is evil. And that’s why Big Tobacco is having Congress slip a back-handed provision in the new highway bill. That provision is identical to H.R.4134 and if this legislative language is passed and signed into law, small smoke shops will be RUN OUT of business, and you and me will no longer have the freedom to roll our own smokes!

It used to be I could care less about Big Tobacco. They sell their smokes to most of the smoking population and make big profits using foreign workers, foreign supplies, etc. But now their greed has crossed the line. They want to capture every penny they can from hard working Americans by FORBIDDING us from rolling our own smokes and ELIMINATING our ability to choose what I smoke. Really, Big Tobacco? You really need that new luxury yacht that badly?

SO what can you do? Together, we can expose Big Tobacco’s plan, tell every member of Congress to STOP the Big Tobacco Bailout. It’s wrong, it’s a job-killer because it will force small mom & pop establishments OUT of business, it will raise taxes, it will increase regulations, and it will force ALL of us to give up our personal preferences and go back to buying the red and white pack, or the green pack, or the auburn yellow pack. Crappy tasting stuff sucks.

WHO is responsible for H.R.4134 besides Rep Diane Black (R-Tennessee)? Here’s the list. Our job is to STOP its growth and convince these members to STOP these members from continuing to support its evil provisions. Is your local congressman on this list? Reach out to their office and tell them to STOP supporting these Big Tobacco provisions! Use Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, letters, faxes, telegram, carrier pigeon. Use every friend and family member, too. Katie, bar the door because if they win on this, there’s no telling where Big Tobacco will greedily strike next.

Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] – 3/7/2012
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 3/8/2012
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] – 3/16/2012
Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] – 3/20/2012
Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – 3/21/2012
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 3/21/2012
Rep Schrader, Kurt [OR-5] – 3/22/2012
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 3/26/2012
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] – 3/26/2012
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 3/27/2012
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 3/27/2012
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 3/27/2012
Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21] – 3/27/2012
Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25] – 3/28/2012
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] – 3/28/2012
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] – 3/28/2012
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] – 3/28/2012
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 3/29/2012
Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] – 3/29/2012
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 3/29/2012
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 3/30/2012
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. “Gerry” [VA-11] – 4/16/2012
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] – 4/16/2012
Rep Walden, Greg [OR-2] – 4/16/2012
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] – 4/16/2012
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] – 4/16/2012
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 4/16/2012
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 4/16/2012
Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] – 4/16/2012
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 4/16/2012
Rep Canseco, Francisco “Quico” [TX-23] – 4/16/2012
Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 4/17/2012
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] – 4/18/2012
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] – 4/18/2012
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] – 4/18/2012
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] – 4/18/2012
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 4/18/2012
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] – 4/18/2012
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] – 4/18/2012
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] – 4/19/2012
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 4/19/2012
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 4/19/2012
Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12] – 4/19/2012
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] – 4/19/2012
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] – 4/24/2012
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] – 4/24/2012
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 4/24/2012
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] – 4/24/2012
Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] – 4/24/2012
Rep Scott, David [GA-13] – 4/24/2012
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 4/24/2012
Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] – 4/24/2012
Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 4/24/2012
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] – 4/24/2012
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 4/25/2012
Rep Hanabusa, Colleen W. [HI-1] – 4/25/2012

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