Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina… I’ll be okay

Today’s Message: #BigTobacco makes billions. They don’t need the highway bill bailout. Tell Congress STOP the bailout!

Yes. I feel SAD this morning because I just learned a HORRIBLE and VERY DISTURBING fact. Big Tobacco company Altria (they make Marlboro cigarettes) released their earnings report recently. Sadly, their 2012 first quarter profits only went up 3.8% AND Altria reported a net income of $973 million for the three month period. That’s up only $36 million from the previous year’s numbers! OH NO!! THIS SINGLE BIG TOBACCO COMPANY IS ONLY ON TRACK TO MAKING $4 BILLION IN 2012!! HOW CAN THEY SURVIVE?!!

According to this Bloomberg report, Altria (Big Tobacco’s biggest) made their nearly $1 billion in a 90-day period by introducing a new variety of smokes called “Marlboro Black.”

Personally, I’ve tasted this new variety and I refer to it as “Marlboro Crap” because it tastes like every other smoke they’ve ever made AND if I wanted the smell of burning tires on me, I’d climb the fence at the local junkyard, fight off the vicious dogs, find an old tire, rub two sticks together for an hour and burn the thing! And THAT would be a more pleasant experience than lighting up a Marlboro Black.

Which is why I roll my own smokes. As regular readers know, I like to blend my own tobacco and roll something that tastes a little like that spicy pear dessert your mom made that one time. Call it what you will, I like it. BUT, Big Tobacco wants to take that away. They don’t want you or me to have the option to roll our own. Apparently, making a BILLION dollars every 90 days isn’t enough for Big Tobacco. They want MORE. They want more MONEY, more MARKET SHARE, more PROFITS. But how can they achieve this goal? Any guesses?

You got it! Big Tobacco thinks they can squeeze out more profits by using Congress to crush any and all competition, no matter how small. See the picture above? That’s the U.S. Capitol. It’s what we built a couple hundred years ago to house the people we send to Congress (pretty, isn’t it?). It’s a worldwide symbol of democracy, freedom, and liberty. Inside, as Abraham Lincoln said, is “…government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Except in some instances, government doesn’t work that way. More on that in a moment. Let’s talk about U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee).


Doesn’t she look nice? We’re certain she’s as precious as a gemstone in a pasture of water buffalo. Except, HER AIM IS TO END our ability to roll our own smokes. She has taken direction from Big Tobacco aim at Mom & Pop smoke shops where you can buy your own blend of tobacco and use a machine to roll your own smokes. If my local smoke shop lets me roll my own smokes, Rep. Black wants that shop reclassified in the eyes of the IRS and ATF as a “TOBACCO MANUFACTURING FACILITY.” Call me silly, but these two operations don’t really look alike:


They don’t look alike. They are nowhere NEAR similar! So why is U.S. Rep. Diane Black doing this? Because the reclassification will shut down every last one of these small smoke shops, because they simply cannot afford the tremendous increase in taxes and regulations.

WAIT! Rep. Black, an avowed conservative Republican is working to INCREASE TAXES AND REGULATION ON SMALL BUSINESS?! Yes.

If you’re curious who backs Rep. Black, take a look at her Federal Election Commission reports sometime. You’ll see THOUSANDS of dollars in U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s campaign pockets coming from Altria (Big Tobacco) and Reynolds American (Big Tobacco). There’s probably other Big Tobacco money in there, too but it’s hidden behind individual contributors who didn’t list their employer when they gave her their filthy wads of greedy cash.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: Right now, members of Congress are working on the 2012 Federal transportation reauthorization bill. The danger is that these members of Congress might agree to keep the provision IDENTICAL to Rep. Diane Black’s legislation in the bill. If they do this, Big Tobacco will have CRUSHED the freedom to roll your own.



  • Incorporate #BigTobacco into your tweet so people know exactly who we’re fighting.
  • Include this link to this blog where people can learn about the effort.
  • Tweet to your state’s congressional delegation.
  • Example: @RepDianeBlack Congress must STOP the #BigTobacco bailout!


  • Ask through posts where your congressman stands on the BigTobacco bailout. When posting, be civil, brief and direct.
  • Engage your local lawmakers; urge them and fans to visit
  • Encourage lawmakers to state their position on the #BigTobacco bailout contained in the highway bill.
  • Example: Mr. John Mica, will you strike the Big Tobacco bailout from the 2012 highway bill? If it stays in there, businesses will close and I stand to lose my job. Please tell us where you stand on this special carve out legislation that only benefits Big Tobacco and lets them tighten their monopoly.


  • Congress is still in recess and members are making news locally talking about jobs, the economy, elections and their own efforts and initiatives. Take a look online to see what they’re saying and weigh in on the comments section at the bottom of the story.


  • Call your congressman’s office and ask to speak to the person handling the highway bill. Most times you will be sent to voice mail and that’s okay. Just leave a message and a phone number. If you get a real person, tell them there’s a Big Tobacco bailout in the Senate version of the highway bill and you would like to know where their congressman stands on pulling it out of the final bill. The provision in question reclassifies small smoke shops as “tobacco manufacturing facilities” which will effectively CLOSE these small shops due to too much tax and regulation.

Useful Links:

Ok, enough. Sorry for rambling, but we have to shift the tide and we have to do it NOW. Congress is hammering out the highway bill RIGHT NOW and next week might be too late! – GR

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