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Brainstorm 2002
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Press Release

Brainstorm 2002

© 2002 Copley News Service, 8/6/2002 Last week I attended a remarkable conference put on by Fortune magazine, "Brainstorm 2002," which I believe very well may come to supercede Devos as the most important world forum on globalization and how to help lift poor countries out of poverty by strengthening the world trading system and expanding liberal democracy. More than 200 of the world's most diverse thinkers and doers assembled in Aspen, Colo., to think about and discuss the world's problems, challenges and opportunities for integration, unification and democratization.

08/06/2002
Microsoft Demonstrates That It’s Ready to End the Antitrust Case
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Press Release

Microsoft Demonstrates That It’s Ready to End the Antitrust Case

Today’s decision by Microsoft Corporation to release portions of computer code that comprise its Windows operating system, demonstrates the company’s willingness to comply with the settlement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice and nine state attorneys general. CSE Vice President for Federal and State Affairs, Erick Gustafson, issued the following statement:

08/05/2002
County Commission Candidates Field Questions at forum
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County Commission Candidates Field Questions at forum

BY Mike Conley

Eight of the 11 people running for the McDowell County Board of Commissioners answered questions and explained their positions on such issues as education, stream buffers and developments on Lake James during a candidates forum held Tuesday evening. The candidates forum, held at the McDowell County Courthouse, was hosted by the Upper Catawba River Landowners Alliance (UCRLA) and the Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). This forum was held so local residents could meet the candidates for county commissioner and ask them questions about the issues facing the county. Approximately 35 people attended the forum held in the main courtroom. This year, three seats on the commission will be up for election. The primary election will be held Sept. 10, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 5. Former Commissioner Bill Wiseman, who is the alternate treasurer for the UCRLA, served as the moderator for the forum. He said the candidates who attended came at the invitation of the UCRLA and the CSE. "(The candidates) did not have to come," he said. "It was their privilege, their choice." Under the format for the forum, each candidate had three minutes to introduce himself to the audience and make an opening statement. Members of the audience also had an opportunity to ask a question directed to one of the candidates or all of the candidates. "We don't know what you will ask," Wiseman said to the audience. "They have not been screened. It must pertain to the issue and not be personal." Of the 11 candidates for county commissioner, three did not attend the forum. Incumbent Dean Buff, a Democrat seeking re-election to the board, could not attend because he is in the hospital with kidney stones. Challenger Virginia Williams, a Democrat, could not attend due to a prior engagement. Challenger Ocie Mayfield, a Republican, also did not attend. In his opening statement, challenger Bob Haskin, a Democrat, said he would like to change the county's programs for social services, if he is elected. Haskin said the judicial system should also be changed but added he did not want to make promises he could not keep. "I would have to wait and see what I can do," he said. Incumbent Bob Brackett, also a Democrat, said the current board has dealt with many complex and controversial matters such as the airpark, solid waste disposal and the proposed buffers for the Catawba River basin. "We have taken on a lot of things that were controversial," he said. Regarding the buffer issue, he said "We had folks who went to Raleigh and raised their voice." Incumbent Mike Thompson, a Republican who is also the board's chairman, said he first ran in 1998 on the platform of improving the county's infrastructure, providing more services for senior citizens, developing a water system for unserved areas and solving the solid waste disposal problem. "I feel like every vote I took was for the 41,000 to 42,000-plus people in this county," he said. Challenger David Walker, a Republican, said he believes in fiscally conservative principles. "I don't believe in giving money away," he said. "I believe people should be held accountable." Walker said he believes in strongly in the rights of property owners but the environment should be protected as well. Regarding the developments on Lake James, Walker said the lake should be available to the average citizen. "I am a conservative," said Republican challenger Mark Cauthen. "The buffer issue to me is a no-brainer. Anytime the government comes in and takes your land, with no compensation, I have a problem with it." He added the commissioners should be commended for turning the Lake James issue over to the county's Planning Board for more study and more regulations. Michael Lavender, a Republican challenger, said he is a lifelong resident of McDowell who has worked for 4 1/2 years at McDowell Technical Community College. He also works weekends investigating cases of child abuse and neglect for the Department of Social Services. "I have some qualities that will serve you well as a county commissioner," he said. "Once I form my opinion, it will stay that way." Dean Hughes, a Republican challenger, said he has been involved with the buffer issue and is a member of the UCRLA. "I am just a regular working guy," he said. "I consider myself a constitutional Republican." He said this means he supports a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Former Commissioner Larry Seagle, a Republican, said he commended all of the people who came to the forum. "I approach politics from a common sense perspective," he said. "There are far too many people making a good living on our tax money." When Seagle previously served on the board, he asked a series of questions to the county's school system about the administration and its use of public resources. "I found out real fast that the bureaucrats don't like to answer questions, even from a county commissioner," he said. During the question period, Doris Walston asked Seagle what he plans to do about education in the county. "One of the things I would like to do is follow the money trail," Seagle said, adding too much money is spent at the administrative level and not in the classroom. "Getting money to the pupil is primary," he said. Other commissioners were allowed to answer the question. "Our children are important in this county and we have got to make sure they have the best tools and equipment," Hughes said. Lavender said the county and the school system should seek more grants from private foundations in order to make up for less revenue from public sources. He said McDowell Tech is an important component of the local education system because it trains people for new jobs. Brenda Hollifield asked if the county could broadcast more public service programs on the local government channel including forums such as this. Brackett said he would support showing more public service programs if it does not involve additional labor for county employees. "As long as it is educational, I am in favor of it," he said. "I think this forum here is a perfect example of what should be on the government channel," Cauthen said. Shirley Washburn, president of the UCRLA, asked all the candidates if they believe McDowell should go along with the land use plan approved by Burke officials to regulate development on Lake James. "It will be interesting to see what the (McDowell) Planning Board comes up with," Cauthen said. "Maybe we can find some middle ground." Lavender said he supports placing a moratorium on new housing developments to allow the Planning Board to come up with new rules. Hughes said the rights of the property owners on the lake should be respected, too. "They own the land," he said. "It's a fine balance." Thompson said he wants rules that are defendable and effective. "Some of the things from Burke County, I agree with," he said. "Some I don't. Some are heavyhanded." "As long as they keep the lake clean, I don't think they ought to restrict people's property," Haskin said. Florence Hensley asked the candidates what they would do to bring new jobs to McDowell. Lavender said the county should bring back a full-time economic development director. Currently, County Manager Chuck Abernathy is also the director of the McDowell Economic Development Association. W.S. Johnson, a UCRLA member, asked all of the candidates to state their party affiliation and their position on the proposed buffers for the Catawba River basin. After stating their affiliations, all candidates said they are opposed to the proposed buffers. The candidates were also asked if they would support the videotaping of commission workshops and other public meetings. Thompson said the board would like to upgrade the video equipment used by the local channel. Hughes said he supports the videotaping and broadcast of commission workshops and the Planning Board meetings. "I proposed videotaping the School Board and that caused a lot of gnashing of teeth," Seagle said.

08/05/2002
House Committee on Ways and Means
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House Committee on Ways and Means

Christin Tinsworth is now director of communications for the House Committee on Ways and Means. Tinsworth, who became deputy communications director in June 2001, has also managed communications and press work for Reps. Anne Northrup (R-KY) and Dan Miller (R-FL) and Citizens for a Sound Economy.

08/05/2002
Appalled PGA Got Away
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Appalled PGA Got Away

I am appalled that our city drove away the PGA. It is profoundly embarrassing that we take great pride in remaining a backwater city. What makes this so irksome is that the issue appears to have little to do with the aquifer. If it did, there would be fervent demands that guidelines to prevent any development over the recharge zone - including housing - be written and strictly enforced. Building a few thousand houses in the same location will certainly do more harm than the PGA Village. It's a shame the issue couldn't have at least been put before the citizenry for a vote. Then we could have seen if the same passionate supporters who signed petitions at Fiesta would follow their convictions to the polls. There was no leadership from our mayor or council. Rather than take a stand for what they must have known could be adequately managed and would benefit our city, they let the "bread and circus" crowd call the shots. Other cities must be incredulous that we would thumb our nose at such an opportunity. Let's celebrate the victory with cascarones, beer and sausage-on-a-stick! Once again, we've succeeded in looking like complete rubes. Glenn Puckett 'Pikers,' indeed According to columnist Rick Casey, we in Council District 3 are "pikers" compared to the special interest contributors to Councilwoman Toni Moorhouse's coffers. I went to the city's Web site to see just what the situation is. I found that Moorhouse collected $59,355.91 from Jan. 1 through June 30. Of that, $700 came from District 3. The vast majority of these donations indeed came from North Side businesses, PACs, developers, lobbyists and others outside District 3. It is a shame South Side candidates have to depend on out-of-district monies (especially those large sums to Moorhouse from PGA lobbyists, engineers and developers). But is a greater shame when officials cannot vote in the interest of the electorate because they do not have the strength of conviction to stand up to these interests. It's all that money and perhaps promises that keep Moorhouse from truly representing her constituents in District 3. Christel Villarreal Too thin-skinned Carlos Guerra's column Thursday ("Why many Mexican-Americans are furious over Perry ad") defines one of the main reasons why we will never witness total racial harmony in this or any other country. Humans are just too thin-skinned. We take everything so personally. I would be willing to wager that under the same circumstances, Gov. Rick Perry would have run that ad even if his opponent were Anglo. Larry L. Martin Hold hands of any color The headline on Kathy Clay-Little's July 25 column said, "Black representation must be preserved." My question is, "Why?" American society increasingly considers U.S. citizens to be able to share their interests and talents whether their skin is black, white, red, green or purple. The same concept applies to men and women, except for capabilities based on anatomic structure. We should all be able to hold hands, smile and dance together. J.A. Mendelson Fluoride a bad choice I regret that San Antonio chose water fluorination over teaching children better eating and dental habits to prevent tooth decay. I raised four children in nonfluorinated areas and they all have near-perfect teeth. For the small amount of help it does for the teeth, fluoride is a far greater health risk. I don't think people are aware that it is an unnatural product and acts as a foreign agent to the human body. If a person cannot expel it, it may cause problems. Delores Dick Groups are different I read "Social studies texts in review" (July 17) and appreciate the reporter talking to all parties. The Texas Freedom Network (which has received thousands of dollars from the Texas State Teachers Association PAC) has a history of opposing citizen participation in the political process if they aren't controlling it. It supports the court decision to ban the Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms. They don't represent mainstream Texans. Citizens for a Sound Economy pushed for rejection of the environmental science textbooks last year, not the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The books presented only the view of radical environmentalists and were not based on sound science. We appreciate the work TPPF does but they do not represent CSE membership's position. It might be easy for board members who disagree with our positions to try to consider us one group - we are not. Our agreement that our schoolchildren deserve the best textbooks, TPPF's professional reviews and CSE's citizen reviews present a formidable challenge to the status quo. Peggy M. Venable, Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, Austin

08/05/2002
Microsoft Demonstrates That It's Ready to End the Antitrust Case
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Microsoft Demonstrates That It's Ready to End the Antitrust Case

Today's decision by Microsoft Corporation to release portions of computer code that comprise its Windows operating system, demonstrates the company's willingness to comply with the settlement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice and nine state attorneys general. CSE Vice President for Federal and State Affairs, Erick Gustafson, issued the following statement: "Microsoft's announcement to release previously undisclosed computer programming code of its successful Windows operating system, pursuant to the settlement reached in November of 2001, is an affirmative sign that the company is complying with the arrangement and is ready to move on from the 50 month old case. "Moreover, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a 'Microsoft Consent Decree Compliance Advisory' to solicit comments as to whether the third-party licenses Microsoft is scheduled to make available on August 6, 2002 comply with the decree. Since the DoJ's action will allow Microsoft's most fierce competitors -- AOL, Sun, Oracle and others -- to use this opportunity to further their own self-interests, it is imperative that real consumers have a voice as well. CSE expects many of its members and other interested parties to voice their opinion as they have throughout this case."

08/05/2002
Guidance on Reporting of Deposit Insurance Paid to Nonresident Aliens
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Press Release

Guidance on Reporting of Deposit Insurance Paid to Nonresident Aliens

08/02/2002
New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada
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New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada

A bi-partisan resolution (Sen. Con. Res. 135) introduced in the U. S. Senate late yesterday (Thursday) by Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Bob Graham (D-FL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jean Carnahan (D-MO) urges President Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The World Trade Organization (WTO) found on July 26 that the Department of Commerce action imposing preliminary countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned, and is in violation of WTO's rules. That announcement is expected to be officially made next month and could be followed by three months of appeals. A similar WTO challenge has been made by Canada on the preliminary antidumping duties and is expected to be known in August. Today's resolution asks the Administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and antidumping duties are legal under international trade rules. The duties are harming U.S. consumers, according to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas. "The final 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, may increase the average cost of a new home by more than $1,000," she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents more than 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed the duties in May after the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that there was a potential for a "threat" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian lumber imports. The ITC also concluded, however, that there was no evidence that Canadian lumber imports had harmed the U.S. industry at that time. The duties have been opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "The duties amount to a federally imposed 27 percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers," said Petniunas. "Consumers' interests should be a major factor considered by the Administration, and we appreciate the Senators urging President Bush to do so," Petniunas said. "These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing, and jobs within lumber consuming industries." Because there are not enough trees available to produce framing lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes, and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately 37 percent of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. "Since 1983, some of the large U.S. producers and landowners have periodically charged Canada with subsidizing its lumber industry, and they have consistently lost when Canada has appealed preliminary decisions," Petniunas said. "The July 26 WTO ruling that there is no illegal subsidy of lumber by Canada continues to show that the U.S. actions are not based on the facts. We believe the Commerce Department will continue to get failing grades from on-going WTO and NAFTA reviews of their actions over the past year." Similar resolutions were introduced last year and the year before urging free trade on Canadian lumber. H. Con. Res. 45 and S. Con. Res. 4 garnered more than 110 sponsors. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. "It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, in discussions about trade in lumber," said Sen. Nickles. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Freemont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

08/02/2002
New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada
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New Senate Bi-Partisan Resolution Urges President Bush To Promote Open Lumber Trade Between U.S. and Canada

- Introduction comes on the heels of WTO finding that the Commerce Department improperly ruled that Canadian lumber is subsidized - Consumer Representatives Applaud Senate action; Duties keep more than 300,000 U.S. families from home ownership - 27 Percent Duties Imposed in May by U.S. Government on Canadian Lumber are 'Federally imposed sales-tax on consumers, homebuyers' WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A bi-partisan resolution (Sen. Con. Res. 135) introduced in the U. S. Senate late yesterday (Thursday) by Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Bob Graham (D-FL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jean Carnahan (D-MO) urges President Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The World Trade Organization (WTO) found on July 26 that the Department of Commerce action imposing preliminary countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned, and is in violation of WTO's rules. That announcement is expected to be officially made next month and could be followed by three months of appeals. A similar WTO challenge has been made by Canada on the preliminary antidumping duties and is expected to be known in August. Today's resolution asks the Administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and antidumping duties are legal under international trade rules. The duties are harming U.S. consumers, according to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas. "The final 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, may increase the average cost of a new home by more than $1,000," she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents more than 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed the duties in May after the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that there was a potential for a "threat" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian lumber imports. The ITC also concluded, however, that there was no evidence that Canadian lumber imports had harmed the U.S. industry at that time. The duties have been opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "The duties amount to a federally imposed 27 percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers," said Petniunas. "Consumers' interests should be a major factor considered by the Administration, and we appreciate the Senators urging President Bush to do so," Petniunas said. "These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing, and jobs within lumber consuming industries." Because there are not enough trees available to produce framing lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes, and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately 37 percent of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. "Since 1983, some of the large U.S. producers and landowners have periodically charged Canada with subsidizing its lumber industry, and they have consistently lost when Canada has appealed preliminary decisions," Petniunas said. "The July 26 WTO ruling that there is no illegal subsidy of lumber by Canada continues to show that the U.S. actions are not based on the facts. We believe the Commerce Department will continue to get failing grades from on-going WTO and NAFTA reviews of their actions over the past year." Similar resolutions were introduced last year and the year before urging free trade on Canadian lumber. H. Con. Res. 45 and S. Con. Res. 4 garnered more than 110 sponsors. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. "It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, in discussions about trade in lumber," said Sen. Nickles. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Freemont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. Text of Sen. Con. Res. 135 follows: Initial Sponsors: Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Bob Graham (D-FL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jean Carnahan (D-MO) Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding housing affordability and urging fair and expeditious review by international trade tribunals to ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber. Whereas the United States and Canada have, since 1989, worked to eliminate tariff and nontariff barriers to trade; Whereas free trade has greatly benefited the United States and Canadian economies; Whereas the U.S. International Trade Commission only found the potential for a Threat of Injury (as opposed to actual injury) to domestic lumber producers but the Department of Commerce imposed a 27% duty on U.S. lumber consumers; Whereas trade restrictions on Canadian lumber exported to the U.S. market have been an exception to the general rule of bilateral free trade; Whereas the legitimate interests of consumers are often overlooked in trade disputes; Whereas the availability of affordable housing is important to American home buyers and the need for the availability of such housing, particularly in metropolitan cities across America, is growing faster than it can be met; Whereas imposition of special duties on U.S. consumers of softwood lumber, essential for construction of on-site and manufactured homes, jeopardizes housing affordability, and Whereas the United States has agreed to abide by dispute settlement procedures in the world trade organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement, providing for international review of national remedy actions; and, Whereas the World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Agreement dispute panels are reviewing findings by the ITC: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the U.S. Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that it is the sense of the Congress that -- 1) The Department of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative should work to assure that no delays occur in resolving the current disputes before the NAFTA and WTO panels, supporting a fair and expeditious review; 2) U.S. anti-dumping and countervail law is a rules-based system that should proceed to conclusion in WTO and NAFTA trade panels; 3) The President should continue discussions with the Government of Canada to promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber free of trade restraints that harm consumers; 4) The President should consult with all stakeholders, including consumers of lumber products in future discussions regarding any terms of trade in softwood lumber between the United States and Canada.

08/02/2002
Asbestos Litigation: Malignancy in the Courts?
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Press Release

Asbestos Litigation: Malignancy in the Courts?

Using asbestos lawsuits, ruthless trial lawyers are bleeding companies for all they're worth-even though these firms were not responsible for the harm caused. hese attorneys dig up obscure tort laws and use them to file lawsuits against companies that are only loosely connected to asbestos-related injuries. Those who were truly harmed by asbestos deserve compensation, but the current system is primarily serving attorneys and those who haven't really been hurt. And we all pay as businesses close and jobs disappear.

08/01/2002

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