Rand Paul, other right-wingers: Cigarette taxes caused Eric Garner’s death …. Oh my freaking God …

rand paul


This makes my head hurt. It really does.

Republican Libertarian weasel Rand Paul was one of several Republicans jumping on this bullshit bandwagon that somehow cigarette taxes caused Eric Garner’s death. Wow, just motherloving wow….

Eric Garner is the black guy killed by a New York City policeman in a chokehold several months ago. The lack of indictment by a grand jury, despite some fairly glaring video evidence, is sparking protests around the country.

Rand Paul sometimes acts like he’s actually a sane, relatively moderate Republican, but every once in a while, keeps betraying his right-wing nuttiness (Remember when he literally ran away from a couple of immigrants who wanted to talk to him? I mean he burned rubber!)

eric garner
Eric Garner

Now, where do Paul and other Libertarian idiots get the idea that cigarette taxes killed Eric Garner — not a cop who was violating his own department’s policy that forbids chokeholds? Because Garner was accosted by police to begin with for selling black market untaxed cigarettes on the street.

Yup. It wasn’t an out-of-control cop violating his department’s policies … it was nanny state cigarette taxes.

Rand Paul said:

“I do blame the politician,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, explained on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “We put our police in a dangerous situation with bad laws.”

“I think it’s also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes,” Paul said. “So they’ve driven cigarettes underground so as not to make them so expensive.”

Jon Stewart savaged Paul’s insane logic on the Daily Show (I couldn’t have said this better, actually.)

But Stewart compared Paul’s reasoning to saying that government parking regulations caused the Hindenburg disaster in 1937.

“Honestly, Eric Garner could have been out there with mixtapes or squeegees or a snocone, and the same kind of shit could have happened” Stewart argued. “For the second time in 10 days, a grand jury — which at least in federal cases has a 99 percent indictment rate — failed to indict an officer who caused the death of an unarmed citizen.”

Right-wing weasels Ann Coulter and Dana Loesch also chimed in on Twitter:

Ann Coulter @AnnCoulter

Eric Holder: How about a blue ribbon commission on why the govt has to get every last penny in taxes from the sale of cigarettes.

Dana Loesch         @DLoesch

If Bloomberg’s stringent cig excise tax law wasn’t a contributing factor in Garner’s death then why, pray tell, were police there?

Dana Loesch         @DLoesch

Understanding cause and effect, like passing a law that requires more stringent enforcement of a dumb law, is awesome re #Garner.

Dana Loesch likes to show off her guns. Wow, you own lotsa guns. Whatever.

Jesus, trying to turn a tragedy involving police brutality into a debate about cigarette taxes?

I try to keep the Lounge non-partisan, but sometimes the right-wing mindset just blows my mind. I feel like these people are beyond reason. They dumped reason by the side of the road hundreds of miles ago and long ago drove off into lala lands.

Stewart hit the nail on the head, doesn’t matter what Garner was doing, he could have been selling bootleg CDs, dope, whatever, police had no right to KILL him. He was unarmed and was begging them to stop choking him, gasping, “I can’t breathe…” and again for the umpteenth time chokeholds are AGAINST NEW YORK CITY POLICE POLICY.

OK, all that being said … and I hate to even go here after this right-wing lunacy, there actually IS a problem with cigarette taxes creating a black market cigarette trade. The problem isn’t that taxes are too high necessarily, it’s that every state has it’s own taxing rate. Some states like North Carolina, are extremely low, while other states, such as New York, are extremely high. So the uneven tax rates create a demand for people to bring truckloads of cigarettes from South Carolina to New York and sell them on the street for $2 or $3 a pack less than cigarettes from New York City stores.

Yes, a black market problem exists. The solution to that problem is a uniform cigarette tax across the country. In any case, none of this has anything to do with Eric Garner’s death. It’s just political jerks trying to change the narrative and make it about liberals, Michael Bloomberg, Barack Obama, whatever. I really thought I had seen everything from the right-wing … but this is right up there as the most despicable attempt I’ve seen to try to derail the real issue — that black lives are seen as cheap and disposable by too many cops in America.