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This is Independence?

Two hundred and thirty six years ago today, the people of this land had a vision to live with liberty from tyranny, independence from repression, and the ability to pursue prosperity unhindered by a brutal, egotistical regime bent on squeezing every last pound and six pence from its subjects. Things took awhile to get to the point of independence for Americans. The moment when the British began to realize things were getting out of control was when a shipment of tea to the colonies was instead dumped directly into Boston Harbor. The Sons of Liberty were protesting the British Empire’s taxation without representation and the tea monopoly held by the East India Company. Sound familiar?

Happy Independence Day! It’s Wednesday, July 4, 2012 and we are two days away from when President Obama is supposed to sign into law H.R.4348, the highway bill. Only, it’s not just a highway bill. It’s also a flood insurance bill, and a student loan interest rate bill, and a Big Tobacco bailout bill. We are asking the President of the United States to exercise his ability to include a signing statement along with HR4348 that makes VOID and NULL Section 100122, the provision that punishes one group of individuals for competing in the same marketplace as the Big Tobacco companies.

SECTION 100122 is unconstitutional under Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution because it singles out a single, law-abiding group and punitively forces their businesses to close because the bar for re-admission into the marketplace is arbitrarily set too high. SECTION 100122 will collect NO NEW TAXES because NO ONE, except for the Big Tobacco companies will be in the marketplace any longer.

OUR MISSION: Our mission is to be heard. If just one of the President’s senior advisors explains our case, we will have a real chance of getting them on our side. Twitter, Facebook, phone, petition. Call the White House and leave your comments (202)456-1111. Sign the online petition. Send the White House an email.

Today’s Twitter Message: @BarackObama HR4348 punishes me for working. Use signing statement to VOID SEC.100122. Jobs at stake! http://bit.ly/NewTax

Phone Message: I am asking President Obama to issue a signing statement with HR4348 making Section 100122 void because it is unconstitutional and it punishes me and my business. Thank you.

Facebook Message: Mr. President, you have regularly used your signing statement authority to void, append, nullify and add interpretation to provisions of legislation forced upon you by Congress. Section 100122 of the highway bill headed to your desk is a clear violation of Article I Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. As mentioned in this open letter to you yesterday, Congress certainly has the authority to regulate commerce, but it does not have the right to punish one group in order to arbitrarily grant monopolies to certain industries. Making the practices of small business competition illegal by virtue of setting the bar for entrance into the marketplace unnecessarily high is anti-competitive and a gross abuse of power. That is exactly what Congress engaged in by inserting language into the highway bill to arbitrarily and immediately reclassify small retail tobacco shops as “manufacturers” if they provide services allowing customers to roll their own tobacco cigarettes. This reclassification, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will force the immediate closure of more than 1,000 small businesses across the United States. THEREFORE, we respectfully request you use your signing statement powers to interpret Section 100122 as unconstitutional and unenforceable under your administration. Will you save my job and my freedom, Mr. President?

ONLINE FORM: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

PHONE CAMPAIGN: Call the White House to leave a comment (202) 456-1111

Tell the President: “When you sign the highway bill H.R. 4348, please issue a signing statement to make Section 100122 null and void. It’s nothing more than a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, it will close my business and people will lose their jobs immediately! I’m a retailer, not a manufacturer. This isn’t good government. Please tell Congress you can’t in good conscience interpret Section 100122 as a fair way to conduct government.”

BE STRONG, BE PERSISTENT: We are on the right side of this argument. Even the anchors at CNN realize we are getting the stick right up our nose by those protecting Big Tobacco’s bottom line. Why else would Big Tobacco spend millions lobbying for this crappy anti-competitive provision?!

I know you’re busy. I know you’re angry and feeling betrayed. Me too, but never let it be said we didn’t try. Get online and let them know we want our independence.

– GR

An Open Letter to the President

Today’s Message: @(InsertTwitterHandleHere) VOID SEC.100122 of the highway bill! It steals jobs and punishes competition! http://bit.ly/NewTax

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Dear President Obama,

We write to call your attention to an unconstitutional and economically harmful provision contained in the  recently approved 2012 highway bill (H.R.4348), and to ask you to bring relief to the thousands of small business owners and employees who will suffer immediately on its enactment.

Section 100122 of H.R.4348 amounts to an arbitrary punishment of one specific group of people, and therefore is in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting the legislative branch of our government from passing bills of attainder.

“Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils.  They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community.”  James MadisonFederalist Number 44, 1788.

Mr. President, Congress certainly has the authority to regulate commerce, but it does not have the right to arbitrarily grant monopolies to certain industries by making the practices of smaller competition illegal by virtue of setting the bar for entrance into the marketplace unnecessarily high. That is exactly what Congress did by inserting language arbitrarily and immediately reclassifying small retail tobacco shops as “manufacturers” if they provide services allowing customers to roll their own tobacco cigarettes. This reclassification, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will force the immediate closure of more than 1,000 small businesses across the United States.

THEREFORE, we respectfully request you use the signing statement powers you have exercised on several occasions to interpret Section 100122 as unconstitutional and unenforceable under your administration.

Mr. President, you might agree that Congress, in search of solutions to perceived problems, often times creates legislation that exacerbate a situation they intended to solve. This is certainly the case with Section 100122 and we plead with you to provide immediate relief. Indeed, such action by you would be appreciated by many in Congress, given their frequent rhetoric about creating jobs and improving the economy.

The offending section:

SEC. 100122. ROLL-YOUR-OWN CIGARETTE MACHINES.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (d) of section 5702 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new flush sentence: ‘‘Such term shall include any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use (including such consumer’s personal consumption or use under paragraph (1)) a machine capable of making cigarettes, cigars, or other tobacco products. A person making such a machine available for consumer use shall be deemed the person making the removal as defined by subsection (j) with respect to any tobacco products manufactured by such machine. A person who sells a machine directly to a consumer at retail for a consumer’s personal home use is not making a machine available for commercial purposes if such machine is not used at a retail premises and is designed to produce tobacco products only in personal use quantities.’’.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to articles removed after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Thank you.

Signed: George Renome and friends…

GOOD MORNING Warriors! It’s Monday, July 2, 2012 and we’re hanging on to our freedom to roll our own smokes by a thread. We are asking the President to undo Section 100122 of the highway bill because it’s an assault on one specific group. We are certainly not lawyers or constitutional scholars, but we do know when something has gone rotten.

Today’s Message: @(InsertTwitterHandleHere) VOID SEC.100122 of the highway bill! It steals jobs and punishes competition! http://bit.ly/NewTax

You have your daily message, you have your targets (below), you have your fingers on the keyboard, so let’s GO! Twitter, Facebook, phone, email, web forms, let’s go!

  • @whitehouse
  • @WHLive
  • @blog44
  • @BarackObama
  • @AskObama
  • @DavidAxelrod
  • @PressSec
  • @JesseCLee44
  • @macon44
  • @joncarson44
  • @pfeiffer44
  • @VP
  • @ks44
  • @vj44
  • @Brundage44
  • @DavidAgnew44
  • @ChrisLu44
  • @StevenVDC
  • @opengov

Fight well, with civility, and with your personal story. Too much to say on Twitter? Post it on Facebook!

http://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse

http://www.facebook.com/barackobama

– GR

More Time?

Behold the Phoenix! Rising slowly, majestically from the ashes.

I found the following on Facebook a few minutes ago and wanted to share! 

BEGIN QUOTED TEXT

URGENT UPDATE! Attention RYO Filling Station Owners/ Customers! Our legal team has learned that President Obama has signed an extension on the OLD Highway bill to ensure the road projects continue nationally. The NEW bill that eliminates legal operation of our industry has not been typed yet and isn’t ready to sign. What does this mean? We at RYO Machine will continue operating until Friday, July 6th and our retailers may do the same.
This is a welcome surprise to all of us. Keep watching this page for more updates.

END QUOTED TEXT

A brief reprieve caused by the enormous gears of our bureaucratic (and sometimes dishonest) government! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find something else to delay the bastards again in the next few days? Wouldn’t that be something… I’ll post any further updates I receive. Go roll!

– GR

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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Evil Big Tobacco’s Apprentice

Evil Wizard Voldemort aka Big Tobacco

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ and John Boehner: 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]

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: The 2012 transportation continues inside negotiations between the House and Senate. The leaders from each body are not revealing much except that they’re continuing to talk. The latest public development is the House of Representatives agreed to a non-binding resolution to include the Keystone Pipeline in the final bill. This is significant because that’s a major sticking point between the House and Senate. A majority of the House wants the pipeline in the bill; and Senate Democratic leaders do not. My thought: The enemy of our enemy is our friend. We’ll continue to bring updates.

PS – Don’t think I forgot about revealing our House heroes who are now championing our cause! I will when I can. They’re rounding up support from colleagues and if we expose them too soon, Voldemort the evil wizard and dark lord of lies Big Tobacco will swoop in and try to crush them.

Town Hall Meeting

You know what’s a lot of fun? Surprises. You know what members of the U.S. Congress don’t like when they hold a town hall in their home town? Surprises.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives begin a week-long recess today, meaning they can’t cause MUCH trouble while they’re outside of Washington. This means lawmakers will be back in their home town areas, holding events staged for the media like business tours, community club speeches, and perhaps the rare White Siberian Tiger of public events — the town hall meeting. PLEASE, if you find out about a town hall meeting, do the following:

  • Report it via comments here and Twitter/Facebook;
  • Attend the town hall if you can and plan to ask questions about the Big Tobacco bailout;
  • See if you can gather others sympathetic to our cause to attend with you; and
  • Report back what the lawmaker said.

I realize we all live busy lives, but if you can get a member to state their position publicly on how they feel about the Big Tobacco bailout – that’s gold. Whether they stick to their public word is a whole different story. But at least we can draw attention to their public words and treacherous private actions. In other words, the whole “say one thing and do another” plays well when we tell our story.

WHAT? Members of Congress sometimes SAY one thing and DO another? Yes. For instance, Congressman Lee Terry (R-Nebraska) pledged to me and all his constituents in a Twitter town hall that he would NOT raise taxes as part of the transportation bill. That was before his primary victory this last Tuesday over a crowded field of competitors. Then AFTER Tuesday’s results when he skated by to win the race, what did Terry do? He signed on to HR4134, the Big Tobacco bailout. Turncoat and traitor doesn’t even BEGIN to touch on the feelings we have for people of this ilk. So Congressman Terry, we hope you enjoy wallowing in Big Tobacco’s money and dirty bailout scheme. We will do everything we can to ensure the conservatives in your area know what you did. Maybe your signing onto HR4134 was a mistake. Maybe it was an oversight. Maybe a legislative assistant or your legislative director slid one by you by accident. Why don’t you tell us what happened? Otherwise, it looks like you misled us before the primary, and then paid off Big Tobacco immediately after you got your primary win. We can’t wait to review the Federal Election Commission reports…

Voldemort’s Apprentice Who Sold Out Small Business in Favor of a Big Tobacco Bailout: Rep. Lee Terry (R-Nebraska)

Please hit hard and keep up the noise! Have a great weekend and I’ll see you online at Twitter, Facebook and beyond!

 

– GR

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