Monday, September 27, 1999

Week of 09/27/1999

Mister Pot, Meet Mister Kettle
Clinton’s Smoking Suit Reeks Of Hypocrisy

- by David Matthews 2

"Arrogance in persons of merit affronts us more than arrogance in those without merit: merit itself is an affront." - Friedrich Nietzsche

When President Clinton gave his State of the Union speech in January, he warned that the tobacco companies would soon be facing a new wave of lawsuits against them.

This past week, his agents made good on that warning, filing a multi-billion dollar civil lawsuit against the companies that produce 98% of all cigarettes in the United States. This suit comes on top of the estimated $246 billion that the tobacco companies will be shelling out to the states in separate settlements.

"For the past 45 years the companies that manufacture and sell tobacco have waged an intentional, coordinated campaign of fraud and deceit," said Attorney General Janet Reno, whose office is currently being investigated for possibly running an intentional, coordinated campaign of deceit concerning Waco, illegal campaign contributions, and possible security breaches in our nuclear laboratories.

President Clinton himself gave his own jab at the tobacco companies, saying that they "should answer to the taxpayers for their actions."

I have to wonder, though, when the President will answer to the taxpayers for his actions?

Let’s get brutally honest here.. this lawsuit absolutely reeks of government hypocrisy. It reeks so strongly it can almost be classified as toxic waste, if not for the fact that you would have to get that classification past yet another Clinton-run agency.

Bill Clinton dares to presume to lecture America about coordinated efforts of fraud and deceit? Oh hypocrisy, thy name is politics!

For years, forces loyal to Bill Clinton have waged their own deceptive efforts, defrauding the American people of money and the truth. From the issue of adultery (with Gennifer Flowers) to Waco to Whitewater to the Travel Office to sexual harassment (with Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey) to adultery again (with Monica Lewinsky) to campaign contributions, Clinton’s people have systematically presented false claims and allegations to the American people. Not one single one of them have yet to be held accountable to the taxpayers. Yes, Bill Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office. He still keeps his job and his pension.

And no, the White House was not without stain even before Clinton moved in. Richard Nixon’s tenure thirty years ago is perhaps the most remembered since it led to the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew, and later on the swearing in of Gerald Ford as the first president who was not elected by the electoral college. The Ronald Reagan Administration had hundreds of people brought up on various ethical and criminal charges, including Attorney General Ed Meese, who was investigated five times himself before resigning from office. But at least when Reagan said "I don’t remember" we could believe him, even before it was revealed he suffers from Alzheimer’s. Not so with the current White House resident, who needs to look at polls and focus groups to determine whether or not to even tell the truth!

But even aside the "ye without sin" hypocrisy, there are the other aspects of hypocrisy involved with tobacco and government. For starters there’s the fact that tobacco farms have for so long been subsidized by the federal government, and yet now that same government is suing the very companies that purchase and use that crop.

Or how about Vice President Al "I’m not Clinton" Gore? Oh yeah, he was all teary-eyed about having his sister die from cancer, yet a scant ten years ago was talking with pride about his mythical time on the family farm.. which also happened to grow tobacco!

Then there is the ultimate symbol of Clinton’s hypocrisy concerning tobacco.. those instances where he’s caught in public with a cigar in his mouth! His people swear up and down that he never smokes the cigars.. then again, these are the same people who said Clinton never lied to the taxpayers about the goings on with a certain intern.

Even members of the Justice Department have voiced their concerns in the past about the legality of such a lawsuit. In April of 1997, Reno reportedly told Senator Edward Kennedy that "the federal government does not have an independent cause of action" in regards to a federal lawsuit. Another member of the Department of Justice told the Bergen County Record that the federal government doesn’t have the authority to sue.

So why the sudden turn around?

The truth is, this whole issue is about money.. and lots of it! Billions of dollars that Bill Clinton would love to use for his own pet projects.

And, in fact, the federal government almost cost the states their share of those billions. When a settlement was first brokered collectively between the states and the tobacco companies, they had to go through both Congress and President Clinton. Congress tacked on so many restrictions and regulations on the bill that would have spelled certain doom to even the most solid of corporations. Then Clinton announced that they - the federal government - would have control over the money, to be dished out to the states as they - the federal government - would deem fit. That was the straw that broke Joe Camel’s back. The tobacco companies pulled out of the deal, and the lawsuit was back on.

So the states had to work with the tobacco companies individually instead of collectively. It took longer, but it also shut out the money-grubbing, tax-and-spending Gods of Mount Morality, as well as the master of big government himself - Bill Clinton. And you KNOW Bill Clinton doesn’t like to have money taken away from him. Much like the Sheriff of Nottingham, Clinton steals from the poor and keeps to himself.

But this suit also spells out a larger hypocrisy within the forces loyal to President Clinton.. and that’s the love-hate relationship the Clinton government has with business. Bill Clinton LOVES to preach about a healthy economy, and yet his government has been the most diligent in filing lawsuit after lawsuit against the very businesses that produce that healthy economy. From Microsoft to American Airlines to Visa and Master Card, the Department of Justice has made it clear that the forces of Bill Clinton are no friends to businesses. A point that was recently made clear by Bruce Josten of the United States Chamber of Commerce when he said to the New York Times that "No business can feel secure in the United States when the enormous power of the Justice Department can be unleashed against them for the purpose of raising revenue and scoring political points. This is nothing more than taxation through litigation."

And basically spells out the extent to which the Clinton government has degraded into.. no longer an Administration to be respected, even grudgingly, but rather a regime of the worst kind.. one that operates with complete impunity, knowing that they cannot be held responsible for their actions. Or perhaps best described by none other than Thomas Jefferson: "A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

One can only hope there will be a nation left when Bill Clinton leaves office in 2001.

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