Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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June 2009

    My fellow Americans .......

    Doesn’t that sound grand? Maybe I’ll just start everything I say to more than a few people that way. I’m sure my words probably wouldn’t carry any more weight that they usually do, but at least I’ll sound important, like a president.
    One thing I would say to people if I were president is something that I’m sure a lot of you non-smokers wouldn’t like to hear, and that’s my bitching about the new tobacco tax (remember I’m writing this in April). So, if you have a major hang-up about us nasty old smokers and just don’t wanna hear about it, you might wanna turn the page or just skip down to the last four paragraphs.
    I first heard it was coming way back in January, but didn’t quite believe it could be true. To be fair, Obama couldn’t have started this crap. For this tax bill to have been written, voted on and passed before January means that it started long before he took office and well before he was even elected. But if I were him, I’d at least do what I could to protect a large segment of our populace from unfair persecution.
    Julie and I have been smoking home rolled cigarettes that we make with a nifty little machine for over a year now. Those who know me also know that I’m a chain smoker. Cigarettes began to cost us as much as a damned utility bill, so we started making our own. Our cost was about $13 for a pound of tobacco, which produces over two cartons of smokes. Now our cost is over $37 a pound, not counting tubes (pre-constructed rolling papers with attached filters). For those who don’t roll their own, a pack of store bought cigarettes are a dollar higher than they were a few months ago making most people pay over $50 a carton. To those of you who say, “Why dontcha just quit and stop bitching about it? You’d be better off anyway.” my reply is simply, “I’d rather not be forced to by the government I support and already pay other taxes to.” Like a lot of us, I don’t take to being manipulated. Even the cost for necessary medicinal staples like beer and liquor also went up because of this tax.
    We’ve heard that the new tax revenue will be applied to a worthwhile effort: Health care for children whose parents can’t afford it…. and nobody can complain about that not being worthwhile. But the fact is, I think there should be some other way to provide for this than to target smokers and drinkers just because we’re politically incorrect. THAT is just plain wrong! What’s next?
    Should we increase the sales/rental tax on the porn industry and give it to cancer research? How about rap music? A lot of people think rappers should be punished. I might agree with that (just kidding…sorta). We can give that money to the Let No Child Be Left Behind people. Should we put a huge tax on tattoos or body piercing? A lot of people don’t like tats and skin ornamentation. We’ll just give that tax money to United Way. Should the anti-gun people push for tripling a gun and/or ammunition tax? If they did and they were successful we can give those bucks to the ASPCA. Or, how bout this: We legalize crack just so we can tax the hell outta that, then give the revenue to a drug task force to stop people from smoking crack. Talk about a perfect bureaucracy! That would even create a few jobs that would literally pay for themselves.
    My obvious point is this: Taxes should never be wielded as a weapon in a crusade or as a punishment for unpopular practices. I mean, c’mon, grow some cajones and just go ahead and make smoking illegal like was done with the seat belt issue. But no politician in his right mind would ever do that and still expect to get re-elected with millions of us filthy nicotine-addicted voters holding our nicotine stained fingers on the voting buttons. In fact the only way the restriction on smoking in bars even passed was they successfully confused the public by some pretty crafty wording in how the bill was to be voted on, the sneaky little pukes.     When the colonists dressed up like Native Americans (see, even I can be PC sometimes) and threw bundles of tea into the Boston harbor, they were telling King George that they’d rather go without tea than to pay his exorbitant tax. The problem with that is, speaking for myself, I really don’t wanna stop smoking in protest. I’m addicted for chrisakes! Besides, all that would do is take away from the poor little kiddies’ health care anyway (note the sarcasm), since the stupid bastards can’t seem to figure out any other way to pay for it.
    I know most of you won’t understand this, but I actually LIKE smoking. I’ve never tried to quit. As a matter of fact, I’ve more or less quit going to bars just because of the smoking restrictions. Hell, that might even be a side benefit TO smoking, although that in turn targeted tavern owners (I’m sure Mad Mothers just loved the hell outta that). At a time when our financial state is in chaos and so many people are out of work, this new tax hinders two of the few simple comforts that already financially stressed out people have these days….to take a smoke break or to have a cold beer.
    Next they’ll figure out a way to lay a special tax on those who decide not to wear helmets or any other activity the power mongers decide they could selectively target and persecute. They’ve already occasionally withheld federal highway funds from states that don’t have a helmet law or haven’t complied with the 55 MPH speed limit. No matter how ya look at it, that is by anyone’s definition extortion (as in do this or we’ll break your knees). Maybe we should start referring to politicians as Godfathers.
    I wouldn’t even be surprised if pretty soon they figure out a way to tax love-making! But I suppose even the manipulative, yuppy do-gooders and politically correct holier-than-thou assholes wouldn’t stand for that because I guess even THEY have to succumb to their baser instincts every now and then, the anal retentive sombitches!! (Whew Bummer! Get down!).
    Now I’ll catch my breath, count to ten, stop ranting about that and jump off of this soapbox and onto another without any of the anger… One, two, three, four, five, six, uh seven, eight, nine, ten…..Okay.
    Later this month ABATE will be having our annual state party, the June Jam, on June 19th, 20th and 21st. As in the past few years it will be held at Hopedale, Ohio near Steubenville. For those of you who haven’t been to this location, it’s everything you could ever want. The grounds are huge and there’s even brick buildings that house a comfortable, complete bar with pool tables, a few real rest rooms and clean, hot showers. I didn’t make the Jam for a number of years due to various obligations, restrictions and legal issues, but I’ve been there for the past few, and it’s still the great fun that it used to be long ago.
    Last year Julie and I had just bought a gen-u-ine antique 1973 AMF/Harley Davidson golf cart. Now, I think I finally have a grip on it’s “oil/gas mix” problem, so at least we won’t be polluting the campground again (sorry about last year folks …LMAO).
    The good people from the MMF maintain the Motorcyclist’s Memorial there and it’s a pilgrimage for many people nationwide. Set in a tastefully landscaped place it’s a memorial to friends and loved ones who’ve taken their last ride. If you’ve never seen it, that alone is worth the trip.
    The June Jam is the single most productive fund-raiser for ABATE of Ohio and if there was any ONE thing you could do to support this very righteous organization, it’s to come and participate. So come play with us….and don’t forget: We handle our own security (wink). It’s a down-to-Earth, good old fashioned biker party…..a weekend of real freedom! What’s to even think about?


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