REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

Smugglers Blues.

POSTED BY: FREMDFIRMA
UPDATED: Friday, May 23, 2008 18:07
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Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:13 AM

FREMDFIRMA


Ok, first, Right up front, this is about tobacco smuggling, and if you wanna discuss that and how it relates to exploitive taxes and prohibition/legalisation issues, or other products facing the same problems, please by all means jump in...

But knowing this in advance, if you wanna come here and bash on folks who use tobacco, you WILL be flamed, as immediately and cruelly as possible.

Just gettin that clear right up front.

First, the story in question...

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Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:13 AM

FREMDFIRMA


ORIGINAL URL -
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080314/NEWS06/803140
411


STORY TEXT BELOW
=====================
Illegal tobacco sales cost Michigan millions
Residents go across borders to get out of $2-a-pack tax
BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF • FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU CHIEF • March 14, 2008

Big-time profiteers and small-time cheaters are smuggling 7 million cartons of cigarettes into the state annually to evade Michigan's high cigarette taxes, costing the state about $140 million a year.

And some metro Detroit retailers are selling cigarette packs with sophisticated counterfeit stamps to evade a 10-year-old law aimed at thwarting smuggling.

Michigan's $2-per-pack tax, the fourth-highest in the nation, helps fuel an illicit demand for cigarettes bought in other states with much lower taxes.

The chances of getting caught are slim.

Ann, a 65-year-old retiree from Coldwater, drives 20 minutes twice a month to a tobacco shop in Indiana, 1 mile south of the Michigan border, to buy three cartons of cigarettes to take back to Michigan, each time saving about $30.

"Every time I come, I wonder, is this going to be the time they get me?" said Ann, who would not give her last name, fearing legal reprisals.

And it's not just cigarettes pouring across state lines.

There are smuggled cigars, smokeless tobacco, molasses tobacco used in hookah water pipes, liquor and even bottles and cans redeemed illegally for Michigan's 10-cent deposit. Combined, it costs the state at least $200 million, according to revenue experts and police.

A bill to crack down on retailers who sell illegal cigarettes is pending in the Legislature.

But tougher laws need people to enforce them, and there is only a five-member State Police tobacco smuggling unit.

Many smokers drive to Ohio and Indiana to buy cheap cigarettes for themselves and family. Indiana's 99.5-cent-per-pack tax makes a carton of cigarettes at least $10 cheaper than in Michigan. Ohio's tax is $1.25 per pack.

At StateLine Discount Tobacco, a mile south into Indiana off I-69, half the customers come from Michigan, said clerk Brian Moeller. He sympathizes with them and says the government picks on tobacco taxes for money to solve its fiscal problems.

High volume a big problem
But police say that it's high-volume, organized smugglers that account for most illicit tobacco.

A truckload of 500 cartons shipped from North Carolina to Michigan could net a smuggler an $8,000 profit. North Carolina's tax is 35 cents per pack, and it doesn't require a tax stamp, which makes counterfeiting much easier.

Once in Michigan and sold to retailers, illegal cigarettes are difficult to track.

"We're busy. Very, very busy," said State Police Lt. Judy Anderson, head of the tobacco enforcement unit.

Last year, the state arrested 41 people, seized 4,700 cartons of cigarettes and $143,800 in other tobacco products, and collected $1.8 million in taxes and fines, according to the attorney general's office.

In one counterfeit stamp case, police seized 2,000 cartons smuggled from Kentucky into Michigan, worth $40,000 in taxes.

But it's a small dent in the overall illegal trade. Michigan's tax loss was pegged at $138 million, according to a confidential 2005 report by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.



Officers crack down
On the day a Free Press reporter and photographer tagged along with her, Anderson's unit confiscated about 80 cigarette cartons from a variety store on Detroit's west side. And many packs of cigarettes had counterfeit stamps -- a potential 10-year felony -- that were undetectable to an untrained eye.

The owner, who declined to comment, told detectives he was not guilty.

Earlier that day, the unit inspected two Detroit gas stations and found no illegal tobacco. One station owner said he has been approached by people offering to sell him illegal, cheap cigarettes out of vans or cars.

"I don't need trouble. For what, to save $1 or $2?" said Abdallah Hage-Hussein, though he would not divulge the identity of the sellers.

Hage-Hussein's store was ticketed for selling individual cigarettes to customers, a civil infraction.

Anderson said smugglers hurt legitimate businesses that lose customers to cheaper cigarettes sold by cheating competitors. She said her crew deters some smuggling and added, "Retailers know we're out there."

Lt. Marty Bugbee, head of the State Police criminal investigation section, said small busts and fines are merely a cost of business for organized smugglers. He said his tobacco team could use 20 more people.

"We could keep nipping at their ankles or take the head off the snake by pursuing it as a criminal enterprise, getting the people who are making a lot of money off it," Bugbee said.

Bills target smuggling
Legislation passed the Senate on Thursday that would punish retailers who sell illegal cigarettes. The proposed bills would allow the state to suspend retailers' sales tax licenses if they're found to violate tobacco laws.

The bills also would allow individuals to possess one carton of non-Michigan cigarettes without penalty. The bill now goes to the House.

Tobacco taxes bring the state $1 billion, though the amount has dropped slightly the past two years. About one in five Michigan adults smokes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Almost $450 million from tobacco taxes goes to public schools. The rest goes to state government, much of it to pay for Medicaid.

The $138 million in estimated lost taxes could mean an additional $86 per pupil for each public school district.

It's illegal, except for licensed wholesalers, to bring any amount of cigarettes or other tobacco from other states.

Not just in Michigan
But cigarette smuggling is international, too.

State Police recently arrested a 34-year-old Lansing woman suspected of importing 86 cartons of illegal cigarettes from Vietnam.

In November 2006, police arrested a 25-year-old Montreal man for plotting to smuggle 500 cases of hookah tobacco into Canada from St. Clair Shores. The moist tobacco was worth about $1 million in Canadian taxes, according to Canadian officials. The man was fined $7,500.

And in 2002, the ATF uncovered a smuggling operation between North Carolina and Michigan that funneled profits to the Hizballah terrorist group in Lebanon. A Dearborn Heights man pleaded guilty to racketeering.

But the flow of illegal cigarettes also is an invisible pipeline of ordinary people.

At Js Five Point Party Store in Dundee, manager Brenda Murray said it's common for locals to drive 15 minutes south to Ohio to buy cigarettes and pop.

Besides the lower cigarette tax, Ohio and Indiana do not charge deposits for soda and beer, unlike Michigan's 10-cent deposit.

Murray, 34, said even someone close to her buys about a carton of cigarettes in Ohio each week.

She said despite the competition from Ohio, cigarettes are a mainstay at the party store.

"If they need them, they buy them here, until they go to Ohio again," she said.

Contact CHRIS CHRISTOFF at 517-372-8660 or christoff@freepress.com.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:39 AM

FREMDFIRMA


Now, here's the rub - ok, prohibition did not work.

Part of the reason it did not, was that it was more or less an attempt by one group to force it's own moral/religious standards on a much larger group, kind of a slap in the face of democracy, if you ask me.

What a person does unto themself, is generally their own business, we'll leave aside the issue of getting tanked up and driving, cause that's a different issue and *does* affect others, and negatively so, yes.

Now, adding a tax on a product, while still both unfair and exploitive, seems to be a generally acceptable solution, so long as that tax is reasonable in comparison to the cost of a product.

When the tax becomes an all-out effort to create prohibiton via taxation, we're back to square one again, with the same incentives, lead-ins for organised crime and of course, smuggling.

Making it a flat tax nationwide wouldn't stop it neither, one rule of the ages is "commerce continues" in spite of taxes, blockades, wars and prohibition, it WILL continue, especially here since our Canadaian brethren are quite willing to assist us in the doing.

One additional reason not mentioned in this article, is that part of the utter lack of guilt by the commonfolk smugglers is the fact that those higher taxes were supposed to fix our healthcare problem, remember ?

But nope, those revenues got shovelled into the general slush of pork and pay raises, and they came back to the trough for more and more, aided and abetted by those who demonise tobacco use even when it has no direct affect on them any more than anyone elses bad habits do.

And so, gnashing it's teeth over tax revenues soon to become all but illusory, the Gov then begins to demonise and target other "bad habits", as we all know, aiming for soft drinks and fast food, but finally meeting resistance because those habits are shared by a larger section of the populace who doesn't care for them being demonised, but also that folks are finally realising what users of tobacco told them years ago....

"If you let em come for me, some day they'll come for you."

And they will, the power to tax is one of the things our founders tried to limit as much as possible because any time a government gets a bite, they'll come back for more like a ravenous pack of pirahna, and it's a well known fact that even a "temporary" tax is nothing but.
(See Also: Telephone Line Tax, inititally a temporary to fund a war in 1898 and only ended last year by concerted efforts.)

And then of course, when a tax is so heavy and exploitive measured against the cost of a product, more and more of the money gotten from it is lost in trying to enforce it, that being the the prelude to serious problems, and what we are seeing here.

Because if they cut that tax back to something more reasonable, they could also cut the funding required for enforcement efforts and wind up with a net profit - but that is not the way the State works, unfortunately, the only thing they know is force, and more force.

So instead of loosening their grip just a little bit, they'll squeeze and squeeze, until so much time, money and effort is sucked up in efforts to enforce and create legislation to increase penalties for non-compliance, that the whole idea becomes a resource sink, and they'll start having to rob other, more socially useful programs for this enforcement.

And all because some section of the populace wants to enforce its own moral/religious standards on another section using Government as the hammer to do it - and Government sees a cash cow in the form of Taxes, when they look at the potential victim.

Remember folks, it was those taxes and this same little game with them that started the American Revolution - historically we're a restive lot once a tax reaches an unfair proportion of a products cost.

So it MIGHT be worth your while, the next time some politico fronts the idea to tax a "bad habit" you don't even share - to hack him off at the knees before he takes a single step as a pure defensive measure.

And in the meantime, fuck em, let them LEARN this lesson, and learn it good, that prohibition via taxation is no less prohibition, and will be no more effective than it was back in the 1920s.

It's not immoral to look the other way for what shouldn't be a crime - in fact anyone believing in the free market understands that buying something somewhere else cheaper because it is, should not be illegal in the first damned place.

Oh, and just as an aside... Fremgirl has returned overseas, and oh boy, look what we got from those nice folks at the Irish Duty Free...

*Holds up a bottle of genuine irish pocheen*

And just a final thought for ya...

Do you really want all the violence, crime, idiocy, waste and destruction of a "War on Tobacco" to go with your "War on Drugs" ?

It will be no more effective, I guarantee it.

-SmugglerFrem

It cannot be said enough, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to endlessly repeat it

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Saturday, March 15, 2008 3:22 PM

KIRKULES


Quote:

Originally posted by Fremdfirma:
ORIGINAL URL -
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080314/NEWS06/803140
411


STORY TEXT BELOW
=====================

There are smuggled cigars,



I know that the taxes on cigars aren't as bad as those on cigarettes, but I'm all for smugged cigars anyway. Not only would it cut the government out of the loop, it would probably cut out a couple of middle men too. There comes a point when taxation rates just aren't reasonable, and it becomes inevitable that a black market springs up. It's a little hard for me to sympathize with cigarette smokers when I have to pay nearly $6 each of a good cigar. Even if I only smoke one a day that's about the cost of a two pack/day habit.

Those of you that complain about second hand cigarette smoke wouldn't last a second in the room with a few good Honduran or Nicaraguan cigars going.


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Saturday, March 15, 2008 11:51 PM

FREMDFIRMA


Yeah, there's also that our domestic cigar production sucks - and sure, you ain't gonna get a quality product from the big mass producers...

But look at micro-brews, for example, if it were not for all the freakin regs, bs, lawsuits and tax burden being a total barrier to entry for anything smaller than a mass producer - I am sure that american ingeniuty could produce comparable small lots on properly cared for native soil, cause at the root of it, we're all prettymuch descended from farmers when you think about it.

And we're good at it, americans know how to grow stuff, anything, anywhere, anyhow, which pisses off the DEA quite often no doubt, but for damn sure if we can spring even THOSE crops in a freakin basement, I bet we could make a decent showing in the Cigar world were it not for the fact that no one wants to stick their neck out when the Gov is standing there with an axe grinning.

One thing that especially rooks me is the idea of the State trying to tell me WHERE I can buy stuff, no matter what it is - I'll purchase where I damn well please, to deny us that, even on our home soil, is to deny everything related to free enterprise and competition in a single blow.

-Frem

It cannot be said enough, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to endlessly repeat it

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Sunday, March 16, 2008 12:02 PM

ANTIMASON


i agree. unless the US government owns our bodies, then a truly free society would leave it up to the individual to decide what he ingests or does to his body. how can you truly promote a free market otherwise? its for that reason that i think marijuana and other drugs should be decriminalized federally, and it ought to be up to the states and communities to decide. it seems to me that whenever something is prohibited, it is done deliberately to the benefit(profit) of others. but just as a matter of faith, God put everything here for our benefit, nothing that goes "into" us is itself "unclean"(but rather what comes from our hearts), and it is certainly not up to the authorities to legislate these types of social ethics.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008 4:30 PM

DEEPGIRL187


I don't smoke. That being said, I got no problem with folks smuggling cigarettes (and living in Michigan myself, not to mention living with a smoker, I know how much Uncle Sam is gouging people).

When I visited Kentucky a few years ago, I remember my grandparents buying a carton for seventeen to nineteen dollars, whereas here they would have paid thirty to forty, possibly more depending on the brand. That seem right to you?

ETA: Maybe with all these no-smoking-in-public laws, people will start going across state lines to smoke too. Stranger things have happened.

****************************************************

"This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at 30 paces, whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learned to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 12:28 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK


Frem... you know I'm in agreement with ya 100%. If it's a war they want to start with their taxes that's what they're going to have on their hands. As long as people were able to use their houses as ATMs to mitigate the ever increasing taxes and the hidden tax that is inflation, there wasn't any threat of a revolt.... but to continue to raise those taxes when the house party is long over and it costs 2 bucks for a dozen eggs, well now you're just asking for trouble.

Anybody in the Milwaukee or Chicago area that's selling smokes on the cheap, you've got a very loyal customer right here. And if anybody asks, they fell off a truck.

Quote:

Originally posted by Kirkules:
It's a little hard for me to sympathize with cigarette smokers when I have to pay nearly $6 each of a good cigar. Even if I only smoke one a day that's about the cost of a two pack/day habit.



Don't know where you smoke, but where I live in Cook Co., IL, it's over 7 bucks a pack in most stores.

Quote:

Originally posted by deepgirl187:
ETA: Maybe with all these no-smoking-in-public laws, people will start going across state lines to smoke too. Stranger things have happened.



It's already happened. A bunch of my friends already drive to Indiana to go to bars now after the statewide Illinois ban sometimes because the few bars still descreetly allow smoking aren't really worth going to for any other reason than that.

It begs the question, what's safer for them and for other people? Allowing the owners of the bars to allow/disallow smoking, or people like my friends that will drive home 30 to 45 minutes drunk instead of visiting the bar down the street?




"A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned." http://www.myspace.com/6ixstringjack

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 2:17 AM

CANTTAKESKY


I think tobacco is evil. (Duck) But then, a Big Mac is evil too. It's your body--put whatever you want in it.

I have NO idea why buying cartons in another state to bring home is even considered smuggling. It isn't illegal to OWN cigarettes from another state, is it? (Oh, I see, not YET.)

As far as counterfeiting stamps and reselling locally, ok that's smuggling. Are we allowed to endorse illegal activities in public? I thought that type of free speech was made illegal eons ago.

But anyway, if it weren't illegal to say so, I'm all for smuggling too. (If it's ok for me to say that.) If not, ahem, for the record, I'm against smuggling and breaking the law in any form. I urge you all to disband this illegal nonsense and rediscover your loyalty to your state.



--------------------------
Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.
--Henry David Thoreau


(Crap, my quotation is probably illegal as well.)

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 2:29 AM

CANTTAKESKY


On a more serious note, this is why taxation is evil. You can effectively make ANY product or activity illegal by simply placing a high enough tax on it.

I think the root problem is right there--the ability to tax--not the prohibition itself.

--------------------------
There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
--Bertrand Russell

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 2:43 AM

SERGEANTX


Think how much this party is going to start rocking if the "Fair Tax" is pushed through. 30% sales tax? Yehaawww!

Are we ready for the "War on Smugglers"?

SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 2:50 AM

HERO


Quote:

Originally posted by SergeantX:
Are we ready for the "War on Smugglers"?


I suggest an investment in the old Dukes of Hazzard TV show on DVD.

I'd imagine smuggling tobac'ee kinda like running 'shine.

And don't forget Flash! He's a killer.

H

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 4:38 AM

FREMDFIRMA


Bein that my immediate ancestors are originally from the mountains of west virgina, what my family *doesn't* know about runnin shine would fit in maybe a thimble with room to spare.

Consider what caused the Whiskey Rebellion in the first place - a lotta folk weren't happy about throwing out one tyrant George taxing our shit only to replace him with another closer to home, who did what ?

And where did that go ?
Prohibition, the adverse effects of which are still freakin haunting us.

And yet it's like we never learn nothin, during the same period as prohibition, you could buy opiates dirt cheap over the counter for toothache, and did we have such a horrible "drug problem" back then ?
Nope.

Force and Control are all a Government understands, instead of letting go they just squeeze and squeeze and squeeze some more, with historically inevitable results.

Ponder also, this - profit on common freight sucks ass, and there's a LOT of truckers out there feeling the crunch due to the price of diesel right now, many of them on the ragged edge of insolvency.

As I am fond of saying, if necessity is the mother of invention, desperation is surely the father - you back someone in a corner, they'll find a way out, and the more desperate they are, the less they care about how nicely they do it.

And one rule above all.
Commerce Continues.

And it will - if all the efforts of the entire federal alphabet squad have no significant affect on the amount of dope being shipped into this country (prolly in part cause a couple of them ARE doing the shipping, Ha!) then I highly doubt a mere state police force is gonna have much of an impact on tobacco.

Especially since in anticipation of this very sequence of events, we've been so damned successful at cockblocking their funding.

That's what the article above was really about, a way to end-run us blocking their funding and expansion, a whinge and a whine for more money and more cops, to take more of our money from us and tell us what to do.

Tell me, if they put it in such honest terms, would YOU vote for it, especially when we got more important shit to worry about like infrastructure ?

And let's not even get into the whole concept of the State trying to tell me WHERE I can buy my shit... keep goin with that thought, see where it ends...

State gets away with it, then your city slams a tax on say, soft drinks, $2.00 a can, and outlaws purchase thereof outside city limits, and if they works, maybe beef, yeah... and then goes around to your local merchants, makes a couple kickback deals...

"Welcome all ye, to the company store, where every time you pay, you owe a little more!"

Not on my watch, folks.

The devil's in the details folks, and there's a technological front to this too but discussin that bit just ain't gonna happen.

These jerks are standin there with their hand out, demanding money they intend for use to extort and punish YOU.

Know what paying Danegeld results in ?
Why, it results in paying Danegeld!
Of course.

Learn the lessons of History.

-Frem
It cannot be said enough, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to endlessly repeat it

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Friday, April 11, 2008 6:06 AM

FREMDFIRMA


And so, here it comes...

Higher cigarette taxes could promote smuggling
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-04-10-cigarette-taxes-smuggli
ng_N.htm?csp=34


And of course, here's how it's gonna go.

The harder they squeeze, the worse the smuggling is going to get, then they will go crying for bigger budget, more authority, to chase down those smugglers and hit them harder, which will cost more and more money, as more and more smuggling happens, causing more misery, more violence, more incarceration - and eventually instead of a pad to the budget, due to enforcement costs it will in the end produce nothing if not become a sinkhole drawing resources from other, more useful programs to enforce the squeeze, when maybe if they let off a little, this would never have been a problem.

Again, like holding a handful of sand, the harder you squeeze, the less you wind up holding.

Prohibition doesn't work, and prohibition via taxation is the same thing, and even less legal.

The Gov *WILL* lose this one, but the true cost is gonna land on us, the citizenry, with higher taxes, less freedom, and more social breakdown.

Put it together folks, we got truckers starving and scratching, unable to make ends meet, and rigs being repossessed left and right due to insane diesel prices - and on the other hand we have a huge market for affordable cigarettes.

It doesn't take a fucking genius to figure out where it's gonna go from here.

We don't draw a line and kick em back over it, soon enough we'll be smuggling soft drinks and beef, bet on it.

-Frem

It cannot be said enough, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to endlessly repeat it

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Friday, April 11, 2008 6:29 AM

CHRISISALL


We must never miss an opportunity to expand government agencies or their power.

Chrisisall, Director of the U.S. Department of Domestic Pet Flea Control Enforcement Bureau

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Friday, April 18, 2008 11:08 AM

FREMDFIRMA


Funny bit of relative business, of particular interest to Jack.

There's a local restaurant up the way here, now, given the small size, odd design, and age of the building, ventilation is about as good as it's ever gonna get without an expensive remodel of the whole building that they cannot afford.

Now, they've always been smoking, the design and layout makes it just about impossible to offer a non-smoking section, the place is just too small for that to be in any way effective.

So they went and asked the customers, and the employees, by open vote... smoking or non smoking, and would you be mortally offended if the vote went against your preference ?

Most folk didn't take offense and thought it was a grand idea, and even some of the smokers considered the building size and ventilation inadequate for a smoking restaurant.

In the end the vote was like 77% nonsmoking, and everyone, even those who voted the other way were cool with that - provisions have been made for smokers to have a torch outside without feeling like outcasts, and the interior has become a smoke free area by the mutual consent of the business and it's clientele without a single whit of government intervention or annoyance.

I am tempted to have lunch there this weekend - I am not fond of the food and avoid the place cause all the local cops eat there, but I think their actions deserve a gesture of respect nonetheless.

Yet, I bet if the city council had smacked that down as an edict, wouldn't NOBODY be pleased about it, would they ?

I think it oughta be left to the businesses themselves and their customers, cause in this case it was, and smoke free was a mutually accepted resolution.

-Frem

It cannot be said enough, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to endlessly repeat it

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Thursday, May 1, 2008 8:46 AM

FREMDFIRMA


More stuff.

http://www.creators.com/opinion/walter-williams/cigarette-smuggling.ht
ml

"In comes my hero the smuggler to the rescue. He's the guy who, in effect, tells us, "I know the government wants to interfere with your consumption of booze, tobacco, or tea, but I can get a deal for you." He might have to run clandestine operations, blackmail and corrupt public officials, but at least you get the item, if it has been prohibited, and for a lower price if it has been confiscatorily taxed."


Oh, and just so nobody thinks I was kidding ?
http://wcbstv.com/local/fast.food.tax.2.712510.html

New Jersey Lawmakers Consider Tax On Fast Food
'Sin' Tax Could Help Fund Struggling Hospitals

Christine Sloan WINDSOR, N.J. (CBS) ― The sputtering economy has caused an increase in prices of many staples including gasoline, rice, ice cream, even beer. Now some lawmakers in New Jersey are considering taking food taxes a step further and install a proverbial "sin" tax on fast food.

Yes, the idea of marking up your favorite fast food burger or pack of fries is actually being tossed around, and it's not settling well with many residents.

"They're taxing everything. Now you're gonna tax fast food? That's crazy," said Newark resident Miriam Robertson.

Added Livingston resident Tina Abrahamian: "No one wants to be taxed. I mean, it's a necessity to eat and people need to eat and with everything skyrocketing, that's the last thing we want to tax."

The thought of taxing a Big Mac or a Wendy's burger came up at a New Jersey Hospital Association meeting where Gov. Jon S. Corzine was asked if it could be an option to help fund struggling hospitals. At the meeting, he reportedly called it a "constructive suggestion."

A spokesperson for the governor, however, told CBS 2 on Wednesday:

"The governor is open to reasonable solutions to help solve our financing problems, but there are no plans for any fast food tax."

State Sen. Richard Codey has been quoted as saying a tax on fast food "is a tax on the poor." And plenty of residents agree.

"[It cost] $12.86 for [fries] and this little chicken wrap, and they want to tax that? You're serious?" asked Newark resident Saladine Fuller. "If they raise it, I'll stop buying it."

Still, some say taxing fast food isn't such a bad idea.

"I think this country has gone too much in the direction of fast and unhealthy food, and if people are taxed they may terminate that and turn toward more healthy foods," said West Orange resident Maureen Felix.

For now, the fast food tax is just an idea. Detroit lawmakers once toyed with it, but it never passed into law.


And as long as we can prevent it, Detroit will NOT be doing this.

And if you really think that money would actually ever find it's way into funding hospitals, ask yourself just where all the money from those prohibitive tobacco taxes went, considering the current state of our healthcare, yes ?

Consider us the brakes, if you would, on abuses and usurpations, but when brakes get old and worn down, they do tend to make a lot more noise, don't they ?

-F

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Monday, May 19, 2008 7:00 PM

FREMDFIRMA


Umm, this one was brought to my attention by someone who used it for rather creative purposes.

Tennessee: Cars Seized Over Packs of Cigarettes
http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/20/2010.asp

The guy who brought this up to me, see...

He had an old rusted out Ford Escort, we're talkin see through the floorboards junkheap - and most of those donate your car for tax break scams are just that, naught more than tax shelters or money laundries which in the end net YOU about diddly unless you make enough money to not need them in the first place.

No junkyard would haul it off for free neither, since there was nothing left worth the trouble, and he got sick of trying to keep the rattletrap running, when a rather convenient solution presented itself.

So he goes to one of these tobacco shops across the state line, comes out with two cartons, and a pack, waves the cartons laughingly at the observing officer and proceeds to drive away.

Shortly they pull him over and confiscate his car, which he has thoughtfully cleaned out of any personal items, and then attempt to arrest him when he kindly points out that he does NOT in fact have 21 packs of cigarettes on him, but rather 20 and 8/10's - and well, he IS smoking them himself you know.

To which the officers in question get all snarky about how they have his car and if he wants it back he will have to "play ball" and jump through their hoops, a statement met with rather substantial amusement by Greg, who wished them the very best of luck trying to do anything with it, and once the parties in question had exited the scene, filed a stolen vehicle report (since technically, it was!) which has for the moment munged up any attempt to auction the vehicle by the department - which is now stuck with a rusting eyesore leaking all over their impound lot that they cannot even for the moment legally dispose of.

Civil disobediance at it's finest, folks.

-F

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Friday, May 23, 2008 6:07 PM

FREMDFIRMA


Hot damn Jack, looks like you might get smacked with the triple whammy, first your booze, then your smokes, and now this travesty!

Porn Tax Considered As Solution To Budget Shortfall
http://www.kutv.com/content/news/watercooler/story.aspx?content_id=727
6089e-3b07-44e9-9ce4-2cd6e1c31b37


Man, you just can't get a break these days, can ya ?


-F

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