Help Catch the Joker. STOP the Big Tobacco Bailout

Beware the Jokers in Congress

Greetings fellow combatant against Big Tobacco! It’s Wednesday, May 2 and time for a little fun. Who was your favorite Joker? Jack Nicholson? The late Heath Ledger? The under appreciated gem of Hollywood Cesar Romero from the original Batman from TV series? In my opinion, they were all outstanding villains. They were dark, notorious, and you KNEW they were the bad guy. They wore the makeup of a bad guy. They told you they were bad. Their plots were always foiled in the end because Batman busted them.

Well, here in real world America, we also have Jokers. Except, they don’t wear (a lot of) makeup; they don’t TELL us they’re bad; and rarely are they held to account for their actions. So that’s the subject of today’s post. We will point to some Jokers in Congress and plead with them to come clean and STOP their bad actions.

Joker #1 – Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Illinois). 

Congressman Beefcake Schock makes the top of our Joker list because he’s using this week’s congressional recess to parade around his home town district telling people he is fighting the overly burdensome regime of Federal regulations. Yesterday, Schock stood in his Peoria office next to a stack of blank papers roughly 13 feet high and said something to the effect of, “Regulations bad. Me good.” Well, what Congressman Schock didn’t tell the two or three reporters in attendance is he actually supports heaping more needless regulations on small business. WHAT?!! Yes, Congressman Schock is a blood-signed supporter of H.R. 4134, the legislation that seeks to reclassify Mom & Pop tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes as a “manufacturer of tobacco products,” for the purposes of taxes and federal regulations. There’s no way Mom & Pop smoke shop can afford the cost of taxes and regulation schemed into this legislation, so Congressman Schock is a Joker because he wants to give more market share to Big Tobacco by CRUSHING small businesses and their employees.

Joker #2 – Congresswoman Diane Black (R-Tennessee).

Congresswoman Black is the person who introduced H.R. 4134 in the House of Representatives. The bill is definitely her baby, but there is no doubt she introduced it on behalf of Big Tobacco. WHAT? Well, Altria Group, INC Political Action Committee (ALTRIAPAC), owner of Big Tobacco industries, gave at least $10,000 to Rep. Black in the last two years. I imagine this nice, elderly, former nurse from Baltimore, Maryland didn’t blink an eye when the Big Tobacco executives asked if she’d do them a favor and shepherd their legislative provision into the halls of Congress. Shoot, she wouldn’t even have to work hard to gather cosponsors, they’d line up to take campaign contributions sign the bill if she’d only take a look at Altria’s campaign donations list ask. So, for trying to pull the wool over our eyes and blatantly siding with Big Tobacco over small business workers, Congresswoman Diane Black is a Joker.

Joker #3 – Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana)

Senator Baucus is a Joker because he also works on behalf of Big Tobacco’s executives. This is the fine gentleman whose staff decided the Federal highway bill was a FINE vehicle on which to attach Big Tobacco’s provision. I debated whether to make poor, jovial, Washington-insider-who-can’t-remember-where-Montana-is, Max Baucus a Joker, because I truly believe he had no idea until the last moment what was going on. I am told it was his staff who worked secretly with Big Tobacco to draft up the small business job killing amendment, gathered a cadre of other congressional members for support, and introduced it at the last minute under cover of darkness and a slew of other goings on. AND I am certain Max’s staff sold it to him as an angelic maneuver divined by a magical unicorn with absolutely NO connection to Big Tobacco. Yah, right. Senator Baucus is Joker #3 because he eventually had the final power to say yes or no when his job killing amendment came to the floor for a vote. Boo Max. Boo.

I know, I know. You’re saying, “But, George… There are a TON of other Jokers in Congress! Why not talk about them?!”

That’s correct, and that’s why we are having this conversation. You MUST talk to the other Jokers. Talk to ALL the Jokers. Talk to ALL responsible members of Congress who are trying to do the right thing. Let them KNOW we don’t like back room deals made on behalf of BIG TOBACCO! Tell them on the phone, on Twitter, on Facebook, in the comments section of online news stories, tell them in person if you can! Tell them NO SELLOUT TO BIG TOBACCO!

TODAY’S MESSAGE: Help catch the Joker! STOP the #BigTobacco bailout in the Highway bill.

Let’s focus on getting members of Congress ON THE RECORD as to where they stand on the Big Tobacco bailout. I’ve already heard from Congressman Lee Terry (R-Nebraska) on where he stands. During a Twitter town hall, Congressman Terry answered my question about the BigTobacco bailout and said he wanted a highway bill void of any tax hikes. I take the good Congressman at his word and appreciate his stance. Too many of his colleagues won’t take a stance and that’s what we have to change.

So go forth and catch the Jokers! Together we can STOP the BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT!

– GR

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2 thoughts on “Help Catch the Joker. STOP the Big Tobacco Bailout

  1. […] Joker#3 U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Joker#2 U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-MarylandT… have joined forces to put a provision in the pending 2012 transportation bill that will RAISE TAXES and heap NEW REGULATIONS on small, Mom & Pop tobacco shops where people can use machines to roll their own smokes. This single provision, which has NOTHING to do with transportation, reclassifies small, locally owned smoke shops as “tobacco manufacturing facilities.” When that happens, these shops will be forced to comply with a slew of new regulations and taxes, or shut down. Because the new taxes and regulations are so costly, hundreds and maybe thousands of jobs will be eliminated nationwide, including in the state of Illinois. […]

  2. Richard Moreland says:

    t’s not too late! Call the White House Comment Line @ 202-456-1111. Ask them to remove clause 100122 from the Highway Bill and explain how this is going to put thousands of people out of a job. Rolling your own is not only a better option for smokers, its also a constitutional right. Our store alone has gotten 63 people to stop smoking and 100% of our customers have slowed way down in the year we have been opened. The owner and most of our employees are nonsmokers. Our number one goal is too help people. Our cartons are half the price of factory cigarettes and they are 100% chemical free. What we are doing is a good thing, and they are trying to take that right away from us. Obama signs the bill Friday, we still have hope.

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