Monday, 26 April 2010 05:22

The PACT Act: The Calm before the Storm

Written by Larry Waters
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Larry WatersAs I write this, we are less than a week away from May 2010.  Swedish Snus users in America (or Amerika, as it has now become) are smiling, laughing, and enjoying our snus bravely.  Behind the frozen smiles, we frantically order mass quantities of our favorite snuses and discuss home snus making techniques before The PACT Act kicks in June 30th.  Or maybe it's July 1st.   Since the Presidential bill signing of PACT was kept so quiet, I'm really not sure when the 90 day period is over.

Meanwhile, FDA keeps making the rules up as they go concerning The Tobacco Act.  Uncertainty prevails.  While some huge Swedish Snus manufacturers seem paralyzed by lawyers and indecision, sleeping giants are awakening and may stomp into the US Market as early as this year or 2011.

Incensed over the positive 60 Minutes report on snus, the Anti-All-Tobacco Extremists are going ballistic.  NPR reported last week that snus is a gum that you chew!?.  And you should have heard the REALLY inaccurate statements they made after that!  Facts have never gotten in the Anti-Tobacco Zealots way before.  Now bald faced lies are only the starting point; smokeless tobacco, snus and especially Swedish snus must be stopped!  And taxed.  Eliminated but still generating that cash cow of tobacco tax money.  Forget logic; these are blind, raging zealots.

Internet-based Tobacco Retailers and Distributors are tangled in red tape, contradictions, and bureaucracy.  The US Customs division of Homeland Security never even heard of the PACT Act when asked, let alone how to implement it.  Same goes for US Post Masters.  A UPS Representative stated that they already don't deliver any tobacco products.

I find that troubling because our Snus Store has an account with UPS, has a nice team of UPS drivers who pick up our customer's orders, loads them onto UPS airplanes, and have more nice folks in brown shorts delivering them to legal tobacco consumers in the USA every business day.  So do thousands of other tobacco stores; both abroad and US based.  PACT is going to be a mess.

Come the beginning of July 2010, Sweden and the rest of Europe will start shutting down for holiday.  No help, advice, counsel, or possible action will be coming from there until mid to late August.  On the day tobacco freedom ends, Amerika's Swedish/Scandinavian snusers will be sitting back poolside, a year's supply of their favorite snuses safely in the freezer with another 4+ months of refrigerator stock.  They will glance at their netbooks and watch more of the US Constitution crumble into dust.

A Completely Unplanned Rant on Amerika 2010

What a great Independence Day we will have on July 4th!  For you non-Americans, that's the day we celebrate our liberty and freedom from taxation without representation.

We will look back proudly at how far we will have come in the 234 years since we declared our Independence:  FDA regulation and tampering with all tobacco products (except cigars).   BATF doing everything they can to stop the shipment of legal tobacco products (except cigars) via the Internet to law abiding adult consumers.  Narrow focus here; there are lots of non-tobacco related liberties being taken away by Washington in Amerika 2010.  Too many for people to keep up with, which is what Washington wants.

Back to snus and tobacco,  lets not forget taxation.  Government big and small raping the wallets of evil tobacco users in increasingly exponential amounts. Ironic how the American Revolution started because of unfair tea AND tobacco taxes.  

The Great Recession is still with us and not going anywhere good anytime soon, according to people who claim to understand these things. 

Banks and Financial Institutions which were too big to be allowed to fail are still too big to be allowed to fail.  Not the President's fault.  He marched right onto Wall Street and told that evil vipers nest of Bankers, Traders, and Brokers to just stop doing bad things!  They listened in silence looking at their watches, left immediately after Mr. Obama stopped talking, and went back to their offices or trading floors; looking for some other derivative to sell while they are betting on it failing.

The National Unemployment Rate hovers around 10% and here's more good news.  Despite the efforts of  President Obama, who has saved billions of jobs by his own count, economists now say the National Unemployment Rate will STAY around 10% for years to come.

We have Health Care Reform which was supposed to save us money, but now that the bills have become the law; Ooops, Health Care is really going to cost much MORE than it does now.  The jokes on us!  

Let's cut Medicare even more so that older Americans on a fixed income will die quicker.  This way, primarily young and healthy Americans who don't choose to purchase health insurance will be forced to...or fined thousands of dollars a year.  As far as the Insurance Industry is concerned, it's all good!

Social Security?  Most can't afford to live on it; especially with their Medicare costs going up under "health care reform".  Doesn't help that Bill Clinton and the then-Congress made the pittance paid out in Social Security subject to income tax for the first time since FDR created the program.

The US Government for the first time in history will have to dip into the the Social Security reserve funds starting this year.  That's about 6 years earlier than even the most pessimistic estimates a year ago.

Depending who you ask and whose numbers you use, we have a $12-$17 trillion dollar deficit staring us in the face.  By 2020, 100% of every tax dollar collected will go to servicing the National Debt.

No worries; we'll just issue more bonds and print more money. Treasury set a new record last year by issuing $500MM in debt.  This year, it's going to be $1.2 trillion. Let our kids and grand kids worry about how they are going to survive in Bankrupt Amerika.  The rest of us will be long dead thanks to Health Care Reform.

Is it any wonder Americans are scared and Second Amendment Rights are being reaffirmed in States across the nation?  Is it any wonder that while Democrat and Republican elected officials in Washington hate each other with viciousness unseen in earlier times; while the President of the United States denigrates the co-equal branch of government known as the Supreme Court...during the State of the Union address, no less; that every day seems to bring another Washington sex scandal, bribery scandal....

The American people are united in one thing:  polls indicate Americans overwhelmingly believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, Congress's approval rating is around 20%, and the President's approval rating is below 50% and sinking.

A Shining Snus City on a Hill

But despite all this I am not despondent.  The American people, thanks I'm surprised to say to the Mainstream Media as well as eMedia, have finally been able to wrap their heads around what trillion dollar deficits really mean.  Congress is up for grabs in this election cycle.  Hopefully, enough real, non-professional-politician Americans will get elected to accomplish just six things:

  1. enact term limits on Congress and the Senate.....and over-ride President Obama's inevitable veto.
  2. enact a true and binding balanced budget amendment with no creative accounting loop-holes, off the books funding, or lock boxes....and over-ride President Obama's inevitable veto.
  3. enact a law which requires that each Congressperson or Senator must have read a pending bill cover to cover (proctored) or they are not allowed to vote on it.  The President must do the same (proctored) or he can not sign or veto a bill which reaches his desk.....and over-ride President Obama's inevitable veto of this law and hissy fit when the Supreme Court upholds it.
  4. They should shrink the size and cost of Congress by eliminating all congressional committees, sub-committee's, and sub-sub-committees.  If the full Congress can't address every issue, then they have no business getting involved in the first place.  Doing less is good when it comes to Government.  Maybe we should base Congressional pay on the quality of the legislation they approve; not the quantity.
  5. They should also stick around long enough to ensure the President doesn't try an FDR and stuff the Supreme Court with political hacks and yes men/women.
  6. The nation of Iceland, the country that outlaws the USE of Swedish Snus and can't control it's own volcano's, should be declared a crime against humanity and nuked until it sinks into the ocean forever.  Russia could even help if they like.  I smell a nuclear arms reduction plan here, Mr. President!   OK, maybe this one is just an ear-mark I would like to see attached to one of the top five.  Just as a personal favor to the Swedish snus loving and international air-travelling public.

Stay away from my stash of Swedish Match Snus!After they accomplish the above, which should take no later than April 2011, they should throw themselves a big barbeque, have a great time, and go back to their Districts and States , work with and listen to their constituentes, and come back to Washington after New Years.

As for me, I will have enough glorious Swedish snus in the SnusCENTRAL Command Bunker to last into 2012 when hopefully all this PACT Act and Tobacco Act nonsense will all be straightened out.  If it's not, a Tobacco Black Market the size of which will make drug cartels look like chump change will be flourishing across America.  BATF, FBI, and the rest won't have the money or resources to even make a dent in black market tobacco.

If we can't even stop illegal drugs from pouring across our southern border, how in God's name will we seal our northern border with Canada?  From every one of the 48 continental United States, start walking north and you will reach Canada eventually.

Snus goes great with tea....or at a Tea Party.

The budget deficit aside, I have faith that Amerika can become America again.  The Ivory Tower Politicos and Social Engineers don't understand what the Tea Party phenomenon is all about.  They are not a political party.  They are not Libertarians operating other another name.  They can't objectively be dismissed simply as wackos or extremists....because they're not.

The Tea Party is a state of mind.  It's fear for America, our children, and our place in the 22nd century.  The Tea Party is people; working people, who wonder if they will have a job next week...or next year.  They understand the national debt and what trillions of dollars mean in real-world terms.  How much are their taxes going to keep increasing?  How much of Big Government's takeover of the private sector will negatively affect them and their families?

They are generally conservative in nature but are tired of being told companies, banks, and investment banks are "too big to fail" and must be bailed out with hundreds of billions of their tax the deficit keeps rising.  The are tired of companies like Bank of America taking billions in bail-out money....and then turning around a blowing $10MM on a Super Bowl party for their executives.

The latest bombshell on Goldman Sachs?  There are just no words to describe how incredibly evil and soulless their actions were.  America, public and private sector, is losing it's sense of right and wrong.  We have become a society where everyone is a victim, "rights" are created out of thin air, no one takes responsibility for their actions, and cynicism has replaced citizenship.

The dream of every generation of Americans; native born or first generation immigrants, has been that their children will have a higher standard of living and a better life than they did.  Tea Party people realize that for the first time in America's history, not only will their children probably not achieve that, but neither will their grand children or great grand children.  They get what is happening in America and it's scaring them to death as well it should.

Someone who self-identifies as a Tea Party member understands in their gut that not only is America going full blast in the wrong direction, but that this time it really may be too late to turn things around.  The feeling has been growing since 9/11 as we veered towards fascism, inexplicably attacked Iraq, and continued into the current administration where the tools of fascism are still in place, but the direction is now towards socialism.  Compare the America of April 2000 to the Amerika of April 2010.  In every way that matters, they are two separate countries; two alternate realities of the American Dream.

The Tea Party mindset also has access to enough media and are intelligent enough to understand that as grim as things look now,  most of these laws grossly expanding the reach of the Federal Government and their real consequences don't even start kicking in until after the mid-term elections...and the next Presidential election.  They know that as unsettling as events have been and how much bad legislation has been jammed through, life today is nothing compared to what it will be like in 2020.  Not in a good way either.

How the hell did an article on the PACT Act end up as this?

This was not the article I had planned to write.  Starting with the honest heading A Completely Unplanned Rant on Amerika 2010, this piece veered into territory I hadn't really written about in years.  I was a Reagan Republican.  I lived through the 1970's where between the bleeding scars of Vietnam on the American psyche, the Nixon debacle, and sitting there watching President Carter on TV tell me (and all Americans) that we were in a malaise of our own making; that we were responsible for the economic inflation and the social depression gripping the country at that time.

Ronald Reagan made us proud to be Americans again.  He out-bluffed the Soviet Union with the appropriately named Star Wars program and poured billions into a defense system we were technologically incapable of achieving 25 years ago.  Everyone knew it including the Soviets.  Reagan must have been a hell of a poker player.  He just kept pouring billions into SDI, said it would work, talked tough, and forced the Soviet Union into bankruptcy and the dustbin of history.  Worth the dollar cost?  Consider the alternative:  MAD.   Mutually Assured Destruction.  One error on a radar screen misinterpreted and the USA and USSR would have been radioactive slag.  It almost happened; that's why the Hot-line between the Kremlin and the White House came into being.  And has been used on more than one occasion.

I liked Ronald Reagan. He made mistakes but he was President; not God...unlike many politicians today, he understood that limitation.   I liked his optimism.  I like that he and Tip O'Neil, then Democrat Speaker of the House, could fight over legislation and policy all day long (and they did)....but then sit down at the end of the day, share drinks, and genuinely enjoy each others company.

Put Nancy Pelosi in a room alone with Bush 43 and only one would come out standing.  Bleeding but standing.  Barack Obama treats Senators and Supreme Court Justices like children to be lectured and scolded.  If the Republicans do take one or both Houses of Congress this year, you won't see the new Speaker or Majority Leader sitting down with this President informally both their choices.  That is what Washington has become.

Post Reagan came the 1990's:  Bush 41 coming off as annoyed he even had to campaign a second time thus losing.  Newt and the Contract with America.  Finally, after all these decades, the Republicans were in charge of both Houses of Congress and they would make everything right.  Unfortunately, the Republicans had been the minority party for so long they forgot how to lead.  We had our shot and failed.

The idiocy of the 2000 election with it's hanging chads; George W. Bush seemingly losing his mind after 9/11; over-extending our troops, creating the bloated Department of Homeland Security, pushing through police-state powers and with the Congress, spending like never before (the Obama administration, that is), all while the economy was reeling still from 9/11 and about to go into recession.  The final straw for me was the the last Presidential primary.  There wasn't one Republican let alone Democrat worthy of being the next President of the United States.  Were these people truly the best and brightest America had to offer?

No they weren't.  The media circus/reality TV show running for President has evolved into ran off the best, the moral, and the brightest.  All that was left were profession politicians:  thick skinned, always ready to compromise for expediency, pandering, shameless egotists fighting like animals for their ultimate prize:  the White House.  I finally became tired of voting against someone instead of for someone.  I was tired of holding my nose for the lesser of two evils.  I didn't vote for either McCain or Obama in the last election.  I just couldn't do it.  In hindsight, would I have voted for McCain?  Would he have prevented PACT and FDA control of tobacco?  I don't know.  Destroyed Health-care?  Probably not, but Medicare is broken...because it's government run.   When President Johnson signed Medicare into law, the CBO estimated the 20 year cost at $20BB!  Missing some zeros, aren't they?

At a minimum,  I believe McCain would have pursued these programs with much less zeal and pleasure than Obama did.  Mr. Obama is all about his legacy.  John McCain didn't seem to really care about that, plus he may be many things, but socialist is not one of them.  With what the country was facing in 2008, I just couldn't see him as President at that time and Sarah Palin as the heartbeat away....and I was tired of holding my nose.

When asked political affiliation after that, Cynical Conservative was and is my response.  I continue to vote, I work for local candidates I know and trust, but I stopped writing about politics in general; just politics as it relates to reduced harm tobacco.

I don't know where this article came from.  Maybe my disillusionment with what Washington has become has been festering away inside me like a boil needing to be lanced.  This article accomplished that.

I apologize for soaring so far off topic but in the end, I think this was something I just needed to write. A bit more personal than usual, but I'm OK with that.  Fortunately, I know the Editor of personally and he'll print pretty much anything I write.  If he doesn't, then I have serious mental health issues since "he" is "me".

In tribute to The Unloading Zone,



Read 3889 times Last modified on Saturday, 14 December 2013 00:25

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