Monday, April 2, 2007

The Sky is Falling

~To keep up awareness over a non-issue, the National Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association (WSWA) does the “Chicken Little” sky-is-falling dance every so often. They keep trying to persuade gullible government bureaucrats and the often equally gullible news media, not to mention we gullible consumers, that a mass exodus of wines from out-of-state retailers are being shipped into our individual states—to college students.
~I suspect the organization spends a lot of money to keep this hoax up. In fact, I don’t suspect they spend the money; I’m convinced that they do. The stories all sound so familiar and the press release that WSWA sends out almost within minutes of an event seems all too coincidental to this justified cynic.
~The latest WSWA charade came a few weeks ago when a newspaper in Iowa reported its sting operation to get out-of-state retailers to ship wine to a college-age person. The story didn’t seem to mention how many retailers had been stung, but it did talk about the one that got bitten bad and managed to ship wine into the always liberal-minded state of Iowa, where it is a felony to ship wine into the state, but take a glance at Iowa’s gun laws—the disgusting stupidity of the situation makes me want to throw up.
~In any event, Iowa’s alcohol distribution network must be strong to get a newspaper to provide a sting operation for them. The newspaper publisher should be ashamed of him or herself. Here’s why.
~Whether the newspaper was duped into performing the sting or whether it really believes in the alcohol distributor’s hype, the fact is that the only time we ever see a story in newspapers about online sales of alcohol across state lines to college-age students or minors it turns out to be a sting. Why is that?
The first answer to the question is easy to explain: the event doesn’t much happen unless it is provoked. You have to wonder how many college students are willing to order wine or beer online and wait a week or so for the shipment, especially when the party is that night—which leads to the second answer to the “why a sting” question.
Most college-age or underage kids get their illicit alcohol from what is commonly known as a bricks and mortar retail outlet: a store. The store is of course within the state in which the sale takes place, and that would include Iowa (unless the state has made it legal to buy from a store all the guns you want, but not all the wine you’d like to own).
The WSWA doesn’t much care to send out press releases about store sales to college-age or minor kids for a simple reason: the out-of-state retailer did not buy the alcohol from them, so that shop could go to hell in their view; the bricks and mortar store, however, is the local WSWA member’s customer; why would they want to out it in a press release about illegal alcohol sales?
~I do get weary of this situation. But I also know that if the WSWA is allowed to fund politicians, newspapers, and maybe even law enforcement, which in the Northeast displays a true jones for doing sting operations, the public will continue to get the press release version of the story, which brings up another issue.
~You know that old saw about believing only what you see? I can’t think of a better motto for living in today’s so-called information age. We have online journalists who don't know how to check a fact or that they are supposed to check facts before telling a story, we have mainstream media outlets trying to compete with online bloviators and so they rely on press releases and don’t much check their facts either, and we have ideological self-interest groups acting as newscasters.
~Hell, under such circumstances as we have today, we shouldn’t believe in what we see, we should poke what we see to make sure it isn’t a mirage, like a WSWA press release, which isn’t so much a mirage as it is a pack of lies.
If you are wondering how this ridiculous situation came about, look again into the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, Section 2, which blatantly and in violation of a constitutional issue of commerce, gives the states the right to block traffic of alcohol across their borders; look also to the Supreme Court’s recent decision about shipping wine across state lines.
In the supposedly democratic United States of America alcohol is the only commercial product that is not allowed free commercial traffic across state lines—not unless someone pays the piper for the privilege, and the piper is a member either of the WSWA or (pick a political office).

21st Amend, Supremes, The Sting,

WSWA, Notice how the WSWA explodes the issue into a national tragedy.

Copyright, Thomas Pellechia
April, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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