In China, when a dissident has been taken by authorities, he is often forced to confess his sins and renounce his actions, while his family receives a bill for the bullet that is shot into his head.
We don't do that to individual malcontents in Eric Holder's America. We only do that to corporations:
The Justice Department wants the largest cigarette manufacturers to admit that they lied to the public about the dangers of smoking, forcing the industry to set up and pay for an advertising campaign of self-criticism for past behavior.
As part of a 12-year-old lawsuit against the tobacco industry, the government on Wednesday released 14 "corrective statements" that it says the companies should be required to make.
One "corrective" statement says: "A federal court is requiring tobacco companies to tell the truth about cigarette smoking. Here's the truth: ... Smoking kills 1,200 Americans. Every day."
Another of the government's proposed statements begins: "We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits."
Philip Morris USA, maker of Marlboro, the nation's top-selling cigarette brand, and its parent company, Altria Group Inc., said Wednesday they were prepared to fight if the Justice Department won't dial back its hard-hitting proposals.
Philip Morris said the Justice Department plan would compel an admission of wrongdoing under threat of contempt of court by a judge.
"Such a proposal is unprecedented in our legal system and would violate basic constitutional and statutory standards," the company statement said.
Oh please. This is Barack Obama and Eric Holder's America now. "Basic constitutional and statutory standards" ceased to exist on January 20th, 2009, despite a president who swore an oath to uphold them.
Glenn Reynolds like to preface a lot of his links to horrible economic news with "This is why they'd rather talk about Sarah Palin". I never really bought that premise, although I am starting to rethink it.
Cigarette manufactures are to American politicians what Jews have been to despots for centuries: Someone whom everyone already distrusts, who can easily be used as a scapegoat for the societal problems usually caused by said despots and politicians. And while you'll never entirely wipe them out - you never know when you'll need to blame them for some future misstep - you'll use the fear of such to extort money or property from them.
Just like Eric Holder is doing now. With the Middle East erupting, rioting breaking out in various American state capitals, Democratic lawmakers disrupting the democratic process, and a president who simply decides to ignore laws he doesn't like, Justice decides to make an example of...cigarette companies. In the style of the worst authoritarian regimes imaginable.
Would be laughable, if it weren't so terrifying. And of course, once a precedent has been set...who will be forced on TV next to "confess" their crimes?