Bush Justice Department Mauls Big Tobacco
By Jim Scanlon
In an unusual attack on Tobacco Corporations, the US Justice Department filed a civil suit charging a criminal conspiracy by several big name US corporations to defraud American consumers. The suit is an effort to recover $289 billion spent in providing medical treatment to people with smoking related illnesses.
Quite naturally representatives of the tobacco industry questioned the legality of law suit stating that the governments chances of winning are comparable to those of Iraq's repelling the Anglo American invasion of Mesopotamia.
Whatever the merits of the case, the stock market prices of the affected companies fell significantly adding to the troubles of companies burdened by increased, and increasing governmental regulation and taxation as well as consumers switching to cheaper brands and having less money to spend due to a stagnant economy.
The Ashcroft Justice Department has come under severe criticism for violations the US Constitution and civil rights violations. This action should be looked on favorably by many of the department's critics.
In a separate, bizarre event, a North Carolina tobacco farmer who was allegedly about to lose his farm drove his tractor into a pond near the White House as a protest threatening to explode a bomb. After a two day stand off which paralyzed central Washington, he surrendered. No bomb was found.
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