In September 2009, John Dodson, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was assigned to the ATF’s Phoenix office. What he found there shocked him. The bureau was encouraging gun dealers to sell weapons in bulk to known straw buyers, who would funnel those guns to Mexican drug cartels. Known as Operation Fast and Furious, it ended with the death of at least one American law enforcement officer. Dodson became a congressional whistleblower, and the investigation into the operation is ongoing. In this exclusive excerpt from his new book, “The Unarmed Truth,” Dodson explains how tragically inept Fast and Furious was.
‘It’s like the underwear gnomes,” my ATF colleague Lee Casa told me one time as we recounted the latest bizarre goings-on in Phoenix.
“What?” I asked.
“You ever watch ‘South Park’? There’s this episode where all the boys get their underwear stolen by these underwear gnomes. They track them down to get it back and one of them asks why they are stealing everyone’s underwear. The gnomes break out this PowerPoint and reveal their master plan: Phase One: Collect underpants . . . Phase Two: ? . . . Phase Three: Profit.”
“We’re doing the same thing,” he explained. “We know Phase One is ‘Walk guns’ and Phase Three is ‘Take down a big cartel!’ ”
Both of us were laughing now; a more fitting and appropriate allegory could never be found. Casa concluded, “Just nobody can figure out what the f–k Phase Two is!”
I would say incompetence is the culprit here, but I cannot forget that part of the aim was to use weapons getting to cartels as an excuse for tighter gun control in America. You may recall several Democrats, like Hillary Clinton talking about how cartels were buying their gun in America. At the time I said that was an asinine charge, but, as it turns out, they were, and Holders’ Justice Department was making that happen.
Coming soon to a convenience store near you: Vuse, an electronic cigarette that delivers nicotine without the use of tobacco and is benefiting from the combined marketing power of R.J. Reynolds and state government regulators.
Reynolds is testing the Vuse brand e-cigarette in limited distribution and is expected to roll it out nationwide.
In anticipation of Reynolds’ first effort in the e-cigarette market, the company’s lobbyists are pushing laws at the state level that could add costs, paperwork and headaches onto smaller competitors that have largely served the e-cigarette market so far.
More worrisome is that the online activities of thousands of e-cigarette consumers, who are looking for a tar-free alternative to smoking, could be effectively outlawed.
In particular, a bill passed by the Oklahoma state Senate on March 6 could boost the price of e-cigarettes by restricting online sales and preventing retailers from selling to consumers without going through a wholesale middleman first.
“We really feel this is a push by Big Tobacco to gain some more control over the market,” said Rob Ragan, owner of VaporKings, a store with four locations in and around Tulsa selling e-cigarette kits and related accessories, also called vapor products. Ragan estimates that there are about 45 such stores throughout the state that would be affected by this legislation, SB 802.
One of history’s great thinkers saw our current problem’s coming
Foreign policy scholar Michael Ledeen warned that even small regulations on tobacco and guns slowly and quietly erode the freedoms granted American citizens in the nation’s founding documents.
“It’s exactly what Tocqueville forecast, exactly the way he forecast it,” Ledeen said. “Millions of tiny little regulations, and we’re not going to notice them when they come in one-by-one. We’re even going to welcome them, and then one day we’re going to wake and find that we’re all tied down, we can’t move at all.”
Wisdom, as this man and our Founders had is what is needed so desperately right now.
Buried deep in the transportation bill was an amendment which was added to the legislation which will change the definition of cigarette manufacturers to include those who own and operate roll your own cigarette machines, effectively shutting down these small businesses all across the country.
For those who do not know: Loose tobacco is taxed at a much lower rate than cigars and cigarettes and because of this many people have opted to save money by rolling their own cigarettes and this led to a boom in the roll your own cigarettes business. Entrepreneurs went into business for themselves by purchasing rolling machines which afforded smokers with the opportunity to roll many cigarettes in minutes while paying half the price for name brand cigarettes.
Needless to say, “big tobacco” wasn’t happy about small businesses moving in on their territory and they lobbied the government to crack down on these small businesses, and let’s face it, the government doesn’t really want people to quite smoking because quite frankly the government would lose too much money. The government simply wants the people to pay more to the government for theprivilege to keep smoking and because many people found a way to legally avoid paying taxes on cigarettes the government had to step in and do something about this.
So naturally the federal government was more than willing to partner with “big tobacco” to take down the little guy. The federal government and “big tobacco” are the winners here and the losers are the small business owners for they can no longer compete. And it mustn’t be forgotten that this bill was passed with bipartisan support, the Republicans are just as guilty as are the Democrats for putting tax revenues and special interests ahead of the people.
Absolutely despicable. there is no place in our republic for this. Of course this is what happens when bills become so massive no one can fairly be expected to know what is in them. We need some reform that disallows amendments, which have nothing at all to do with a bill, from being attached. We also need to end this practice of government using taxes to pick winners and losers, or to favor large businesses over small. Our Congress is out of control. They are no longer representatives, they are slave masters. This is nothing more than hiding legislation from the people. I will let Matt have the last word
So, this story has it all, intrusive government that causes people to lose their jobs, and closes businesses, with a heaping helping of crony capitalism.
This story reminds us just how deep in the pit of big government we are.
A fairly new addition to our blogroll, A Conservative Teacher dishes out fine posts like this one concerning the suckage of anti-smoking laws
n June 23, 2009 I wrote a post against attempts to regulate smoking, but apparently at that time I did not write a post stating my views on the local Michigan smoking ban. I did call in to some local radio shows then and express my view that the smoking ban would likely lead to less patrons visiting bars and resulting less tax revenue and more unemployment, but most of the radio hosts and other people in the state ignored that sort of advice, and so our Democratic Governor and Democratic Legislature went ahead and passed a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.
One year later the results are coming in, and like most attempts by Democrats to govern our society, the result is a society that is less richer, prosperous, and free (and although the data would be hard to come by, I would also contend that since smokers now are forced to smoke in their own homes now, there are more home fires caused by smoking and so more losses of life). And as business has fallen and sales of food and liquor have fallen due to this smoking ban, that has meant less revenue to the state to support police, fire, education, and libraries, all things that liberal Democrats pretend that they support.
From story Bar Owners Plan Smoking Ban Protest — With Taxes:
…the group Protect Private Property Right in Michigan is proposing some pretty drastic measures to get lawmakers to take a second look at it. They want bar owners to stop paying taxes completely until the smoking issue is brought back up. And some bar owners TV5 spoke with didn’t think that’s a bad idea…
“It’s hurt us. I don’t know anybody in the small bar industry that it’s helped,” said (Co-owner of the Red Horse in Saginaw Chris) Adams. Just down the street from the Red Horse, bar owner Jerry Baleck at Patty Flemings feels the same way.
“I’m against it. I think it’s private property here, and I should be allowed to say whether I want to smoke or not,” said Baleck.
That’s why a growing number of business owners are taking matters into their own hands. They love their bars and hate the smoking ban law, so some are trying to get Lansing’s attention where it hurts — right in the wallet. A group of Michigan bar owners said they’ll set up private escrow accounts and hold off on paying their taxes. “Maybe they ain’t got enough money to pay their taxes in the first place with the smoking ban,” said Baleck.
“If we’re not making money, why should we give them money?” said Adams. At least 200 bar owners have pledged to stop paying their taxes. It’s a drastic step and owners TV5’s Liz Gelardi spoke with aren’t sure if they’re ready to go that far. “I don’t know. I’d have to know the ins and outs and know all the particulars before I would jump in and do something so drastic,” said Adams. “But yeah, I probably will consider it.”
“Are you going to keep paying your taxes?” Gelardi asked Baleck. “Well, yeah, [I] don’t need no tax problems,” responded Baleck.
“Hopefully we can get more numbers,” said Adams. “Hopefully we can double that, you know, so we can get twice as many people together and make a statement to the state and tell them we’re tired of being pushed around.”
There you have it, these absurd actions by Nanny Statists do nothing positive for anyone, accpt the egos of the Nanny Statists of course!