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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