Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to the new level of cig smuggling

I doubt I could get 1000s of cartons for even 1 pound of weed in the streets. LOL

Exchanging coke for cartons...dat's an interesting idea though. Coke ain't my level though....but I do like the idea of using drugs as payment for 1000s of cartons only if I had room to stock dat many.

Cigs are still legal for now. But the politicians are doing a good job in making reselling cigs look like selling actual coke or weed.

http://online. SB12480468278516 3691.html

WASHINGTON -- States across the U.S. have been taking a harder line against an old problem -- cigarette smuggling -- as part of the widening search for solutions to their budget problems.

States including Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia this year have stepped up law-enforcement efforts with the aim of recouping taxes lost to bootleg cigarette sales.

Studies indicate states are losing about $5 billion annually in tax revenue because of illegal tobacco sales, said Phil Awe, who heads the tobacco-diversion division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"We do not want to have our tax laws ignored and lose tax revenue from legitimate sales of cigarettes," Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot said of the crackdown. He estimates that his state is losing "hundreds of thousands of dollars" annually.

The focus on cigarette smuggling is one of several initiatives gaining momentum as states hunt for new revenue to avoid cutting services or raising taxes. Some are contemplating revising current laws or creating new ones that could force out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes.

Others, such as Michigan, are looking at releasing some state inmates and closing prisons. Maryland is pushing several initiatives, including a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service that is helping the state collect back taxes from federal contractors.

In the case of cigarette schemes, authorities see more organized crime and international rings supplanting mom-and-pop operations. As a result, many local jurisdictions are joining with federal authorities to target trafficking.

"It's a big business and it's getting horribly bigger," said Paul Carey III, enforcement coordinator for the Northern Virginia Cigarette Tax Board, who said there is smuggling even among counties with varying tax rates within a single state.
Looking Back at Cigarette Smuggling

* Iranians Cancel Cigaret License of R.J. Reynolds (Jan. 15, 1980)
* Cigarette Bootlegging Threat Rising Due to Tax Disparities (Oct. 2, 1984)
* Cigarette Smuggling in China (July 31, 1990)
* They'd Walk a Mile for a Camel, If Only Anyone Would Let Them (Aug. 24, 1992)

The board, which conducts field inspections of retail stores to insure proper payment of taxes, said that in the past five months it has conducted seizures at 157 retailers in its 16 local jurisdictions, more than triple the total from the same time last year.

Mr. Carey said tobacco companies are working with authorities nationwide to assist investigators.

John Singleton, spokesman for Reynolds American Inc., said his company "works with the appropriate state and federal authorities" in investigating cigarette smuggling. "It's in our interest as a company to ensure our products stay in the legal supply chain."

He added that the company, maker of cigarette brands including Camel, Winston, Kool and Pall Mall, expects smuggling to increase because rising excise taxes are creating more incentive.

The excise taxes on cigarettes are levied by states and some localities. Smugglers arbitrage the differences between lower- and higher-tax jurisdictions. New York City smokers take among the steepest hits, with combined state and local taxes of $4.25 a pack. Crimes include smuggling cigarettes bought legally in lower-tax areas and reselling them elsewhere, stealing state tax stamps and manufacturing counterfeit cigarettes.

In one recent case, an undercover investigation by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance led to the arrests of 18 residents of Nassau and Queens counties. Investigators from the tax department posed as cigarette bootleggers and sold illegal, untaxed cigarettes to a network of store owners, including two 7-Eleven operators. The operation cost state and local governments $2.1 million in uncollected taxes.
[States Go to War on Cigarette Smuggling]

In a second New York case, ATF agents arrested two Queens residents who were trying to provide New York State/New York City tax stamps to an undercover agent in exchange for illegal cigarettes they allegedly planned to resell. In the course of the nine-month investigation, the two defendants bought nearly 32,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes. The loss of tax revenue for the city and state was at least $1.8 million.

In Fairfax County, Va., federal and local authorities arrested two men and charged them with conspiracy to distribute cocaine after the suspects exchanged one kilogram of cocaine with an undercover ATF agent in exchange for 3,000 cartons of cigarettes. The aim, according to federal documents filed in the case, was to move the cigarettes to Yonkers, N.Y., for resale.

"They were willing to trade cocaine for cigarettes. That tells you about the profit margin they saw on the cigarettes," said Edgar Domenech, who heads the ATF's Washington, D.C., field division. Mr. Domenech said a kilogram of cocaine can go for $30,000 on the street.

"People have smuggled cigarettes from North Carolina and Virginia up north in the past, but we haven't seen the volume we are seeing today where it's tracked by the trailer load," said Capt. Dennis Wilson, commander of the criminal-intelligen ce division for the Fairfax County police, who are working with the ATF.

The new health bill is unfair

This new health bill sounds like a new level of fascism for my right to use tobacco. Why the F should I pay more for premium health care when I'm cancer-free, asthma-free and average-looking unlike an obese nonsmoker with multiple cancers?

Oh yeah, it's all cause I'm a smoker. Well, I think it's wrong to assume dat all smokers think this new health bill is fair. I bet tons of smokers are peed off at the new discrimination against em behind this bill.

What's next? Stores charging me more for what I paid for cause I smoke? Just cause I smoke doesn't mean my rights shouldn't be snipped away every year!

Based on how much tobacco costs and how much the govt depends on tobacco taxes, smokers oughta get free premium health care 4-eva! Smokers oughta get some kinda benefits for filling politicians' wallets! >:(

Tobacco Use—Not Promiscuity or Drug Abuse—Will Be Only Vice Legally Punishable by Higher Insurance Premiums Under Senate Health Care Bill
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

Accompanied by congressmen and medical professionals, President Obama talks about health care reform, July 15, 2009, in the Rose Garden of the White House. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., acting chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is second from left. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
( - Under the terms of the health-care reform bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the legal use of tobacco products is the only vice for which insurance companies will be able to charge their customers higher premiums.
The summary of the bill published by the committee specifically states that premiums may be varied to account for tobacco use, but any other use of a person’s record of insurance claims, health status or medical history will be forbidden.
In other words, a person could have been admitted to hospitals three times for heroin overdoses, or been pregnant five times out of wedlock, or been treated for venereal diseases at least once per year for the past five years, but none of these factors could be used to charge that person a higher insurance premium.
If they smoked a pipe it would be a different story—depending, of course, on what was in the pipe. They could be charged a higher premium if it was tobacco—but apparently not if it was marijuana, hashish or crack cocaine.
“Health status underwriting and the imposition of pre-existing condition exclusions are prohibited in all individual and group employer markets,” says the committee’s summary. “Rates within a geographic region may only vary by family composition, the value of the benefits package, tobacco use, and age by a factor of not more than two to one. Guaranteed issue will be required for all insurers operating in the individual and group health insurance markets.”
The summary does not explain what “family composition” means, but whatever it is, it will in fact be permissible grounds for insurance companies to alter premiums, while other factors such as whether a person’s nose has decomposed from snorting too much cocaine or their liver has decomposed from excessive alcohol use will not be legal grounds for varying insurance premiums.
“Subtitle A will reform the individual and group health insurance markets in all 50 states to promote availability of coverage for all individuals and employer groups,” says the committee summary. “Under these new requirements, premium payments for insurance policies within each market will be permitted to vary only by family structure, geographic region, the actuarial value of benefits provided, tobacco use and age. Rates specifically will not be permitted to vary based on gender, class of business, or claims experience. Rating by age will be permitted to vary by no more than a factor of two to one.”
One section of the bill’s summary is entitled, “Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Health Status.” It says: “In issuing health insurance policies, insurers will not be permitted to establish terms of coverage based on any applicant’s health status, medical condition (including physical and mental illness), claims experience, prior receipt of health care, medical history, genetic information, evidence of insurability (such as being a victim of domestic violence), or disability.”
But tobacco use is a different story.

Nannyism is no better now that it was then:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

VT antis

Did an anti write this BS for an editorial?


Quotes from the page itself:

>>>>On July 1, Vermont's tax on cigarettes increased by 25 cents per pack. That means a pack-a-day smoker will now spend more than $2,360 on cigarettes in a year; a two-pack-a-day smoker will spend almost $4,720.

But how much would dat be for a 2ppd smoker if he/she bought cigs online instead? Neva mind the slim possiblity of a VT smoker stealing packs or cartons. I say "slim" cuse stealing smokes is more likely to happen around me than in VT.

I bet it would be less than 4,700+ bucks per year on cigs if the smoker even buys cigs in the black market.

>>>>Quitting eliminates or reduces all of the expenses that go along with smoking. Just imagine what you could do with those savings — pay off that credit card debt, plan a nice vacation, or get a new flat screen television!

Ummm... me has no credit card, I already have a relatively new HDTV, and sh!t, F**k a vacation! If I ever wanted to take a vacation in the tropics, I'd actually move there. I hate cold-A winter weather. I'm sure VT smokers know what I mean on winters.

"....quitting smoking now has immediate and long-term benefits."

Oh, you mean the "benefits" of getting asthma, lung cancer, increased weight, and seeing most ex-smokers turn into antis themselves?

I think I'll keep smoking to avoid those "long-term/immediate benefits." I'd hate to imagine myself talking and acting violently if I DID quit smoking. When I light up my first cig in a long time, I can think normally again, and I can talk like a good person again. Well, if I'm talking to and smoking with a sis, I think I'm talking normally to her without (for instance) hurting her for no reason.

I know I ain't alone on smokers who experience behavioral changes when they haven't smoked for hours. Imagine what dat would be like if smokers even stopped smoking for one week!