Domestic Surveillance

Imagine how amused I am watching Captain Ed and alleged libertarian McQ get upset about this story:

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.

Agents have already been watching out-of-state stores that sell cigarettes near the Tennessee border to “get a feel where problem areas are,” Farr said.

I don’t understand why this is such a big deal- after all, you guys allow the state to do anything when they are trying to protect us, and the guy clearly says he is doing just that.

After all- if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about! AMIRITE?

46 replies
  1. 1
    over_educated says:

    But what if the terrorists are buying cigarrettes?!?!?!?!

  2. 2
    TR says:

    Suck it, Special Ed.

    You enabled the rise of the police state because it was easier than sacking up and stopping the pants-pissing that seems to be a hallmark of conservatism these days. You only have yourself and your yellow spine to blame.

  3. 3
    Mithras says:

    McQ doesn’t have a libertarian bone in his body. Jon and Dale have some libertarian instincts, but McQ is just a garden-variety Republican. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but…

  4. 4
    El Cruzado says:

    Oh, but this is the kind of curtailing of liberties that might inconvenience THEM. We cannot have any of that, can we?

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    Al Qaida and their sympathizer allies could be cigerrette running and turning a healthy profit off of black market, under-the-counter, un-taxed Malboros. What happens if an Islamic Extremist is using these funds to build a dirty bomb he plans to detonate in Nashville, potentially maiming and killing tens of thousands of people? Did Captain Ed ever think of that? Huh?

    You’re either with Jack Bauer on this or your with the terrorists. Pick a side, Ed.

  6. 6
    Quiddity says:

    Let’s not forget that the SCHIP expansion was to be paid for with an increase of $0.61 per pack tax on cigarettes. That’s $222 for a pack a day smoker.

    This taxing a pariah group (smokers) shows no courage or fairness. Is SCHIP and Tenessee and everything under the sun now to be paid through higher cigarette taxes? If you look at what states already tax, things are getting way out of control. $2.57/pack in New Jersey. Add to that the proposed higher $1.00/pack that SCHIP expansion would bring, and you are looking at taxes of up to $3.81/pack (there’s an additional 7% sales tax in New Jersey). At that rate, a pack a day smoker is shelling out $1,394 per year. Talk about a tax that can hurt a poor person!

  7. 7
    Ugh says:

    alleged libertarian McQ

    Heh.

  8. 8
    cleek says:

    Al Qaida and their sympathizer allies could be cigerrette running and turning a healthy profit off of black market, under-the-counter, un-taxed Malboros.

    old news

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    This taxing a pariah group (smokers) shows no courage or fairness. Is SCHIP and Tenessee and everything under the sun now to be paid through higher cigarette taxes?

    That’s a damn good question. What’s even more interesting is that as the cig tax goes up, the amount of smoking goes down. I suppose, in some ways, this is great. I’m not a big fan of smoking, myself. Republicans have finally found a medical incentives program that kinda-sorta works. Tax the living hell out of everyone who threatens his own well-being with personal habits.

    But the bountiful spring of free money from taxed cigs can’t go on forever. I think the more pressing question is – what will SCHIP and other cig-tax funded services do if smoker rates decline? Where is this money going to come from then?

    It’s a totally unsustainable system.

  10. 10
    Tim F. says:

    Omigosh, you mean to say that putting “terrorism” on the title of a bill isn’t enough to keep law enforcement from using the new powers on something like terrorism? Somebody inform Heritage and AEI!

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce.

    Are they using Predator drones for said surveillance? So we can find Cletus and his cousin/wife smuggling GPCs thru the Smokies but can’t find 50 bearded Brownies in white robes Jesus-sandeling it thru the mountains in northern Pakistan?

  12. 12
    Tim F. says:

    oops – “…something other than terrorism…”

  13. 13
    Ripley says:

    Al Qaida and their sympathizer allies could be cigarette running and turning a healthy profit off of black market, under-the-counter, un-taxed Malboros.

    I read that they’re also downloadng mp3s on KaZaa and selling mix CDs on New York street corners. Is there no end to their nefarious ways? God, they’re crafty bastards!

    Screw Homeland Security – only RIAA can save us now! (Wait… what were we talking about?)

  14. 14
    canuckistani says:

    What’s the problem? if they aren’t breaking the law, they have nothing to fear.

  15. 15
    LITBMueller says:

    Clearly, cigarette smokers are terrorists. They are “suiciders” that use second-hand smoke to harm large numbers of people.

    All those who support these Cigarette Terrorists are traitors! And the states that allow cigarette terrorists to obtain more weaponry and bring it across state borders are assisting cigarette terrorism and must be stopped!

    Either yer with us or against us, Captain Ed! We have to fight the ciggie terrorists over there so we can keep ’em from coming to Tennessee!!!!

  16. 16
    chopper says:

    Talk about a tax that can hurt a poor person!

    actually, its more a tax on idiots than poor people.

  17. 17
    rachel says:

    If the law is a bad law, then they should be able to ignore it. And taxes are bad. What the cops in Tennesee is doing is grossly unfair. :-(

    Bwaaah-haha!

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    I’m just curious. You’ve got illegal cigarettes being trucked across the border. Cigarettes that are taking jobs from honest, hard-working, native gas-stations and truck stops. Cigarettes that waited in line and paid their dues.

    How can Ed and McQ tolerate this illegal immigration? If anything, they should be supporting the crackdowns, punishing the cigarette runners who insist on violating the law, and building a wall between Tennessee and its neighbors that will keep the bad elements out of good communities.

    You know, I’ve heard out-of-state cigarettes are responsible for dozens of car accidents this year alone. And rapes. Some of those cigarettes even carry leprosy.

  19. 19
    RareSanity says:

    McQ is a Neal Boortz libertarian. That is they only disagree with the government policies that either affect them negatively or don’t negatively affect various brown people enough.

    Talk about a tax that can hurt a poor person!

    All taxes disproportionately affect poorer people.

    actually, its more a tax on idiots than poor people.

    No, actually it is a tax on someone’s choice in risky behavior. I don’t see a tax on riding racing motorcycles, “Xtreme Sports”, hang gliding, or sky diving.

    Be careful, one day someone might decide something you do is idiotic and start taxing to discourage you from doing it.

    The government has no business legislating what is and is not “idiotic”.

  20. 20
    rachel says:

    No, actually it is a tax on someone’s choice in risky behavior. I don’t see a tax on riding racing motorcycles, “Xtreme Sports”, hang gliding, or sky diving.

    That comes in the insurance premiums and hospital bills, not to mention the sales taxes. Those sports aren’t exactly the cheapest things you could be doing in your free time.

  21. 21
    Zifnab says:

    The government has no business legislating what is and is not “idiotic”.

    Not when they’ve already got a virtual monopoly on it.

  22. 22
    JoeTx says:

    Just legalize marijuna, think of the tax revenue possiblities and the net gain back from not funding the “War on Drugs” and housing all those non-violent offenders now in jail for minor possesion charges…

  23. 23
    Pb says:

    I don’t smoke, but aren’t there still a few loopholes out there for the unpatriotic tax-evading smoker? Like, buying them on Indian reservations?

  24. 24
    Jake says:

    Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce.

    Hey! Police State Tactics is a moonbat phrase. I call copyright infringement.

    what will SCHIP and other cig-tax funded services do if smoker rates decline? Where is this money going to come from then?

    Booze?

    Or maybe the amount of public funds that currently spent treating people who go a pack too far will be available for SCHIP.

  25. 25
    The Other Steve says:

    I think McQ meant to say he’s a Librarian.

    He has dyslexia and can’t spell right.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    No, actually it is a tax on someone’s choice in risky behavior. I don’t see a tax on riding racing motorcycles, “Xtreme Sports”, hang gliding, or sky diving.

    Do any of them involve giving cancer to other people, contributing to air pollution and regular littering of nondegradable butts on the ground?

  27. 27
    Tsulagi says:

    but aren’t there still a few loopholes out there for the unpatriotic tax-evading smoker? Like, buying them on Indian reservations?

    Not anymore online if they’re smart. Feds and states have taken tribes to court to divulge their customer lists and sales. Then some longtime customers get huge bills for past taxes.

    I don’t smoke anymore, but still know a few that do. A couple of them order their cigs online from Europe saving more than 50%. Even cheaper than reservation cigs. One guy has told me his Swiss made Marlboros taste better than domestic because Europe doesn’t allow as many chemicals in the formulation.

    Both the European buyers I know are Pubs. Of course had to ask them why they hate America and support frenchy Europe. Seems they hate taxes more. And they’re cheap bastards.

  28. 28
    John Cole says:

    Sort of on topic, but quitting smoking was the best thing I ever did. I simply can not tell you how much not smoking has improved my quality of life.

    I did get fat, but I am healthier, happier, and I would not go back to smoking ever.

  29. 29
    LITBMueller says:

    See, even John Cole has renounced cigarette terrorism. he’s sorta like the Gadaffi of ciggie terrorists… ;)

  30. 30
    RareSanity says:

    Do any of them involve giving cancer to other people, contributing to air pollution and regular littering of nondegradable butts on the ground?

    1.) Allow private establishments to decide their own smoking policy, you, then can decide whether or not to patronize that establishment. Do not use fascist tactics to force business to not allow smoking just because you want to go to that particular business. If the steak is that good, you’ll have to smell cigarette smoke. If your health is more important, find a non-smoking steakhouse.

    2.) Got any stats on how smoking adds to air pollution? Probably not much outside, and inside, well see number one.

    3.) Cite anyone caught littering by throwing a cigarette butt out their car window with hefty fines. Make them clean up highways. They can smoke, they just can’t infringe on anyone else. Hell I don’t care, just don’t try and tell them they can’t smoke.

    Here’s an idea to help…invent a biodegradable cigarette filter that companies can use at the same price or cheaper than the non biodegradable one used currently. You’ll help the environment and get rich…that’s a win-win.

  31. 31
    RareSanity says:

    RareSanity

  32. 32
    Dreggas says:

    Zifnab Says:

    This taxing a pariah group (smokers) shows no courage or fairness. Is SCHIP and Tenessee and everything under the sun now to be paid through higher cigarette taxes?

    That’s a damn good question. What’s even more interesting is that as the cig tax goes up, the amount of smoking goes down. I suppose, in some ways, this is great. I’m not a big fan of smoking, myself. Republicans have finally found a medical incentives program that kinda-sorta works. Tax the living hell out of everyone who threatens his own well-being with personal habits.

    But the bountiful spring of free money from taxed cigs can’t go on forever. I think the more pressing question is – what will SCHIP and other cig-tax funded services do if smoker rates decline? Where is this money going to come from then?

    The end result is the stupid prop 86 we had here in CA last year (which didn’t pass) it would have raised taxes on cigarettes (again) to back-fund a previous proposition that passed that raised taxes on cigarettes to provide health insurance for kids. Why did it need to BACK-FUND the program? Because when they raised the taxes before a ton of people quit, as a result sales were down and the funding for the insurance program was drying up. It’s Ass-backwards. You wanna tax something to pay for a program like this, tax toilet paper, everyone uses it.

    It’s a totally unsustainable system

    Tell that to the genius’ that keep proposing it because of the fact that it’s politically sexy.

  33. 33
    Dreggas says:

    Pb Says:

    I don’t smoke, but aren’t there still a few loopholes out there for the unpatriotic tax-evading smoker? Like, buying them on Indian reservations?

    Yep there are. It’s how I used to be able to get 2 cartons + of quality cigarettes for LESS than the cost of a carton of generics.

  34. 34
    Dreggas says:

    TenguPhule Says:

    Do any of them involve giving cancer to other people, contributing to air pollution and regular littering of nondegradable butts on the ground?

    Well if we want to talk about that, quit buying anything from the grocery store because the end result is a lot of non-biodegradable trash. Quit using electricity and every modern convenience because all have been shown to contribute to air pollution and cancer rates due to increased pollution. Also quit driving or taking the bus because even if the bus means “less pollution” it’s still polluting shit a LOT more than one person smoking.

    Not attacking here but there are far, far more dangerous things than one person smoking.

    Personally I am still struggling with the Nico-demon. I go back on the patch tomorrow but with being in the process of getting a divorce and such it’s been hard as hell to quit. I am quitting, not because I could give a rats ass about the health of the bastard who sat next to me while I was smoking (and knew full well I was smoking) but because I’m tired of it and want my life back (one less ball and chain on my ankle) and because of stupid ass bills like SCHIP (being funded by cigarette taxes) and ordinances like those in Beverly hills outlawing smoking everywhere but allowing people to drive hummers. Hypocrisy, whether stained yellow by nicotine, or black by car exhaust still stinks.

  35. 35
    Shygetz says:

    1.) Allow private establishments to decide their own smoking policy, you, then can decide whether or not to patronize that establishment.

    What about the employees? OSHA doesn’t allow employers to knowingly expose their employees to unnecessary risks. Should the waiters wear resparators? What about minors; can they only enter a smoking restaurant with a parent or guardian, who can then be charged with child endangerment?

    Or maybe the smokers can just step outside to smoke.

  36. 36
    ChristieS says:

    Hypocrisy, whether stained yellow by nicotine, or black by car exhaust still stinks.

    Q.O.T.D.

  37. 37
    Dreggas says:

    Shygetz Says:

    Or maybe the smokers can just step outside to smoke.

    Which if the non-smokers had their way they wouldn’t be allowed to do either. Hell restaurants and bars here in Cal put in smoking patios so people could smoke outside, but some places want to ban smoking even on the damn patio where, by the way, they don’t have to sit and the staff wouldn’t be put at such a “risk”.

    It’s nanny statism and it’s bullshit. I am quitting smoking yes but until I see every damn car on the road converted to a hybrid including big rigs that transport all those wonderful creature comforts that smokers and non-smokers take for granted, and until I see energy efficient lightbulbs in every home and every coal burning power plant converted to either hydro electric (fuck the fish) or wind (fuck the view) “clean” generation methods then fuck the nanny staters and their bs about cigarettes being the worst damn thing on the planet. You breathe far worse shit in a day than you’ll breathe from walking by me or anyone else with a cigarette in their hand.

  38. 38
    Tsulagi says:

    Or maybe the smokers can just step outside to smoke.

    Dreggas Says:

    Which if the non-smokers had their way they wouldn’t be allowed to do either….

    Wow, someone sounds a little cranky. What, no nicotine, subs talking back, no feet to worship, whip or sniff, etc.? LOL

    My sister lives in SoCal, still smokes occasionally, and told me in addition to bars smoking is even banned on some beaches like Santa Monica.

    I’m a non-smoker now, but I’m not a non-smoker Nazi. Bar owners should be able to allow or not allow smoking in their bars. If someone is a non-smoker and greatly offended by smoke, go to a non-smoking bar. Solution is not that difficult.

  39. 39
    here4tehbeer says:

    When I was a kid (a long, long time ago) I recall the trips from Central Ohio down to visit an Aunt and Uncle who lived in Newport, Kentucky (just across the border from Cincy). We’d take the car with the biggest trunk and would always clean it out before the trip. On the way back, we’d “make a stop at the beer dock” and that sucker would get packed to the lid with booze and smokes – since at the time there was a significant difference in liquor tax rates between KY and OH. At some point “revenuers” started watching the bigger liquor agents and pulling over loaded-down cars (and especially pick-up trucks) and busting these folks. Seems a Fifth or two is one thing – but a trunk full was/is rather frowned upon.

    They’ve been monitoring that border for probably 3 decades so this TN deal isn’t anything particularly new. And, since I’m giving up the smokes very soon (on my 50th), I’m not that concerned about this potential “sin” tax.

    Helluva bad time to be working late-shift at a convenience store though….

  40. 40
    Dreggas says:

    Tsulagi Says:

    Wow, someone sounds a little cranky. What, no nicotine, subs talking back, no feet to worship, whip or sniff, etc.? LOL

    My sister lives in SoCal, still smokes occasionally, and told me in addition to bars smoking is even banned on some beaches like Santa Monica.

    I’m a non-smoker now, but I’m not a non-smoker Nazi. Bar owners should be able to allow or not allow smoking in their bars. If someone is a non-smoker and greatly offended by smoke, go to a non-smoking bar. Solution is not that difficult.

    Actually I’m not very active in the scene ATM what with the divorce and all LOL. I am going on the patch again so it’s not really the nicotine withdrawal it’s the fact that people get all sanctimonious over this shit but still do worse and think their shit don’t stink. It’s ridiculous. I may be quitting but I could never be as bad as some people are when it comes to being against smoking. It really is totalitarian in their minds and because it’s easy to villify a minority they happily do so.

  41. 41
    TrishB says:

    here4tehbeer-
    Cinci to Newport is still a standard run in these parts. Now, I don’t have a loaded down car on the way back, but I do save some pretty decent money every few weeks. One of these Kentucky tax habits I’ll be giving up soon, the other, not so much. They can pry my cabernet out of my cold dead hands.

  42. 42
    TenguPhule says:

    It’s nanny statism and it’s bullshit.

    I’m allergic to tobacco smoke, and I don’t appreciate having to cough and hack my lungs out every time the wind shifts.

    If smokers could wear those selfcontained diver helmets to keep their smoke to themselves I’d have no problems with the habit, but since they’re threatening *my* life and crying freedom about it, fuck them.

  43. 43
    BIRDZILLA says:

    Here comes big brother sticking his big fat liberal nose into the privecy of our cars and homes what next?

  44. 44
    Nancy Irving says:

    Don’t I remember a case, a few years back, where a terrorist cell was funding its operations with contraband cigarettes?

    Those libertarians hate America!

  45. 45
    TenguPhule says:

    BIRDZILLA Says:

    Here comes big brother sticking his big fat liberal nose into the privecy of our cars and homes what next?

    Its not liberal, its not a nose and just for that you don’t get to have any lube.

    Bend over and suck it.

  46. 46
    Dreggas says:

    TenguPhule Says:

    I’m allergic to tobacco smoke, and I don’t appreciate having to cough and hack my lungs out every time the wind shifts.

    If smokers could wear those selfcontained diver helmets to keep their smoke to themselves I’d have no problems with the habit, but since they’re threatening my life and crying freedom about it, fuck them.

    Lot’s of people are allergic to cologne, perfume, car exhaust, pollen and many other things found daily in the air we breathe. Should we outlaw those too? Let’s also not forget anyone behind the wheel of a car is a threat to our lives why not ban those?

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