Hello! It’s Monday, May 28, 2012 and in addition to today being a national holiday honoring our fallen military men and women, Congress is NOT in session so they can’t do TOO much damage today…
Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ and @RepFredUpton STRIP the #BigTobacco bailout HR4134 from the highway bill. http://bit.ly/NewTax
It’s funny how we can move through society every day and see so many people with whom we will rarely interact. Think of walking through the mall, store to store and as you browse, your glance moves over, across, even through people, but in a matter of moments you won’t retain a single detail of their appearance. People essentially become faceless entities, there one moment and gone the next.
But even faceless people have an impact on our lives, and that’s not good news.
In fact, we’ve been talking about the Big Tobacco bailout, H.R.4134 for a few weeks now, and it occurs to me it is the faceless people who are driving our elected officials into smashing small business. Remember? It was a faceless staff member to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) who met with the faceless Big Tobacco lobbyists and inserted the bailout provision in the 2012 highway bill. It was faceless staff members with Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) who met with faceless Big Tobacco interests, took their bailout bill and introduced it as their own. It is at least SIXTY faceless lobbyists retained by the faceless executives at Altria and R.J.Reynolds who are canvassing Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to approve the Big Tobacco bailout. It is faceless staff members working out the details on a final 2012 highway bill so the 47 lawmakers on the conference committee can come in and approve it without their fingerprints on the actual bill.
How is it that so many faceless people are driving H.R.4134, the Big Tobacco bailout? More important, WHY are they remaining faceless?
These days, you can’t swing a gunny sack full of gophers on Capitol Hill without hitting a Hollywood celebrity lobbying Congress for something. U2 singer Bono lobbies for third world debt forgiveness, Bo Derek lobbies for an end to horse slaughter, Geena Davis fights against discrimination of women, Alec Baldwin fights for the arts, and the list goes on. They lend their public celebrity to these causes and would talk endlessly if given the chance.
But for H.R.4134, nothing. No public face. No celebrity. Just silence. Not even a peep about it on Rep. Diane Black’s website, where she regularly puts up news releases about everything under the sun including unicorns breaking wind and water buffalo skin cream. How very strange…
OR, maybe it’s not strange at all. You know who else remains faceless while doing their work? Bank robbers.
Maybe that’s why backers of H.R.4134 are remaining faceless. Maybe they feel they’re doing something sinister like robbing a bank. They see a bunch of cash, they want it for themselves, and they don’t care how they get it. Isn’t that what Big Tobacco is doing – robbing? Wouldn’t this headline make sense?
“Faceless Big Tobacco uses Congress as a weapon to crush small businesses.”
One more time for the easily distracted: Big Tobacco is using Congress to rewrite law for their own personal gain. Altria (maker of Marlboro) and others want Congress to reclassify any small business where you can buy your own tobacco blend and use a machine to roll it into a smoke. Big Tobacco wants that reclassification because they KNOW small businesses cannot afford the costs of taxes and regulation if they’re reclassified from “retailer” to “tobacco manufacturing facility.”
Every time I write about this, I am more and more amazed the main stream media hasn’t exposed this scandal. H.R.4134 is SO important to Big Tobacco, they spent MILLIONS of dollars hiring nearly 100 lobbyists for a period of JUST 20 DAYS to urge Congress to pass the bill. Who knows how much the Big Tobacco companies have spent SINCE reporting their first quarter activities. I bet it’s going to blow the top off the millions they spent in just the first 20 days of this action.
So here we are. The faces of working America fighting the faceless people behind the Big Tobacco bailout. We knew early on this was going to be a HUGE battle, and that’s why we must continue pressing day after day after day. Fortunately for us, there are faces we can ultimately hold responsible. No matter how many dollars faceless Big Tobacco throws at HR4134, no matter how many staff members write Big Tobacco’s bailout into the highway bill, we ultimately see the faces of Congress who have the final say. Max Baucus, Diane Black, John Mica, Barbara Boxer. The list goes on and on, and each of these senators and representatives is accountable to the people who elected them. So PRESS FORWARD my friends. Let’s keep talking on Twitter, Facebook, online news stories, email, phone calls, and flyers stapled to telephone polls. Just say NO to the Big Tobacco bailout. It’s unAmerican and a job killer!
Enjoy your Monday.