Monday, November 06, 2006

Times Blows Smoke on Indian Smokes

In today's NY Times the paper's Corey Kilgannon writes a long lachrymose article on the plight of the poor Indians on Long Island who will, if John Catsimatidis' lawsuit and the new governor have their way, have to compete fairly in the sale of cigarettes. Along the tear-strewn way Kilgannon manages to avoid any mention of the poor bodega owners in New York City who have lost over 55% of their business to the Indian-driven black market smuggling coming out of the East End of Long Island.

He also fails to mention that this black market activity has resulted in at last three deaths from territorial disputes among the black marketers. The business losses in New York City, losses that have impacted small Mom and Pop stores and not Catsimatidis' supermarket chain, have reached over $1 billion in the past three and one half years. Not to mention the fact that illegal sales of cigarettes have been diverted to finance terrorism.

The Times article also babbles incoherently about "Indian sovereignty," to the point of quoting the inane comment of one of the Indian retailers, "This is like New York taxing New Jersey." First of all, if the Indians were actually sovereign here the United States has every right to impose "import excise taxes" on product coming into the country. In reality, however, the issue of sovereignty has already been disposed of in a Supreme Court decision over ten years ago that ruled that any sovereignty the tribes had did not extend to sales of cigarettes to non-Indians.

All of which was left out in this tear jerker of a story that could have been written by a tribal press agent. The article also omitted the fact that the two tribes in question are not even recognized by the federal government as officially designated Indian tribes. In all of this long sob story you'd think that there would have been room to interview at least one store owner who had lost most of his business to these illegal operators. That apparently wasn't news that was fit to print.