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Chronicle fumes: DOJ guts anti-smoking case

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 12, 2005 7:03 AM PDT
UP IN SMOKE: Justice Department decision guts anti-smoking case at the expense of public health.
(Chronicle login: semods4@yahoo.com; pw = speakeasy)

>> Attorneys for tobacco companies reacted with jubilation to Wednesday's decision by federal prosecutors to reduce requested penalties in a civil racketeering lawsuit from more than $100 billion to a tenth of that amount. For the Americans who would have benefited from an effective anti-smoking effort funded by the defendants, there was little to cheer about. <<

The Republicans say "thank you" to another big campaign contributing industry...

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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Perhaps history has shown the judges
by TONI H / June 12, 2005 7:23 AM PDT

that the dollars in settlement never reach the parties they were intended to help anyhow so why award it? The previous lawsuit money that was awarded before never got to the victims they were supposed to be helping.

As for the anti-smoking campaign it was supposed to pay for, that's bull and you know it. The tobacco companies are already advertising in those directions while the tax on the products gets larger and larger. The only deterrent is the price at this point....and without the taxes being charged at such high rates, there would be no funding for such things as stadiums, entertainment, and other goodies that the money winds up being used for. So the public is caught in a catch-22. Stop smoking because they can't afford it financially anymore and watch other local taxes and Federal taxes increase on other products or keep buying the product and paying anyhow.


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Toni, the money is intended to be used to offset
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 12, 2005 12:19 PM PDT

the extra health-care costs caused by smoking, and fund research to help overcome those effects. Unfortunately, many states aren't using the money that way. That also happens to break down along political lines. This lawsuit is based on the criminal conspiracy of tobacco companies to make their product more addictive, while publicly denying that addictive property (remembering all the tobacco comnpany CEOs perjuring themselves on that issue before a congressional committee, on national TV?)

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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This makes no sense, Dave
by TONI H / June 12, 2005 10:08 PM PDT

>>>>>Toni, the money is intended to be used to offset
the extra health-care costs caused by smoking, and fund research to help overcome those effects.>>>>>

If most of the people who smoke have health insurance to cover the costs for their treatment, where is this money supposed to be going? And what effects have to be overcome that research into it has to be funded?

I don't see anybody getting any of that money except attorneys and possibly hospitals to build new wings that have nothing to do with smoking and health-care.

Now you state that because the states aren't using the money appropriately and it seems to be broken down along party lines, please show statistical links that prove that the Republican states are the ones who are using the money inappropriately and not the Dems.

This lawsuit, according to you, began with the Clinton Administration and is being blocked by the Reps so they are to blame for the judges having pressure put on them to toss out the huge settlement. Were the CEO's perjuring themselves during a DEM administration or during the present one? I thought that that hearing was held during the FIRST lawsuit that actually completed with a large fine.....maybe I'm remembering wrong.

If you are stating that the tobacco companies are large contributors to the present administration (being Republican) could it be because they were ticked off at the Clinton administration (being Dem) since they were contributing to BOTH parties, according to you, on a regular basis for a long time?

There were TWO lawsuits.....the first was completed quite a while ago, and the fines imposed never got to the people those funds were supposed to be helping. This is a second lawsuit....and because the judges, who must read the papers and reports during this lawsuit regarding the first lawsuit, are aware of what happened with the funds from the first one have now decided that THIS fine is also going to go into the wrong hands so it was reduced considerably, according to you, MUST have all been pressured by the Republicans to back off.

What rubbish........You appear to be more upset over the fact that this decision came down during a Republican administration (but STARTED by a DEM) and that the DEM party didn't get any contributions anymore from the tobacco industry. If YOU were a CEO of a company and made contributions to both parties on a regular basis, and one of those parties tried to rake YOU financially...TWICE...., would YOU give that party any more money?


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One of the bluest states of all ...
by Evie / June 12, 2005 10:18 PM PDT

... New Jersey, has gone so far as to sell tobacco bonds!

N.J. travels tobacco road to raise cash

...when New Jersey went looking for $1.6 billion last week to stave off threatened budget cuts, it had to pay more than 7 percent on its latest bond issue.

That's because the Jersey bonds were backed not by taxpayers but by the state's chunk of future payments from the four-year-old, $206 billion legal settlement between the states and the big tobacco companies over the cost of treating millions of dying smokers.

Under terms of that deal, Pennsylvania was to get $11.3 billion, while New Jersey would get $7.5 billion, over 25 years, if the industry remains healthy enough to pay what it promised in the face of continued lawsuits and declining American cigarette consumption.

Pennsylvania and most of the other states have so far been content to collect a little of that money each year. By contrast, New Jersey has traded its right to collect that $7.5 billion, over time, for a total of $3.5 billion in up-front cash from the sale of tax-free "tobacco settlement bonds."

New Jersey leads a list of 13 states, most of them cash-strapped, along with four territories and a number of counties in New York and California, that have sold their share of future tobacco-settlement proceeds to investors, at a discount, in exchange for ready money....

Wonder what they'll do now! Although I suppose it's the investors that bought the bonds that are SOL.

Evie Happy

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Toni, it wasn't a decision
by Dan McC / June 13, 2005 1:36 AM PDT

that came down from a court it was a decision made by the administration to cut the damages they sought by 90%. It has a lot of people cheesed off, not just Dave, and not because of the party of the administration.


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How soon you forget....
by Edward ODaniel / June 12, 2005 7:36 AM PDT

I will refer to the "Important!! Please read message from the SE Mods" http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6130-0.html?forumID=50&threadID=105783&messageID=1209654

and specifically this portion of that message --

"Controversial and emotional topics must be discussed with civility, and void of violations of the TOS. This includes, but is not limited to politics, abortion, gun control, evolution, and religion. The same standards apply regardless of party affiliation, or lack thereof. Snide, demeaning, baiting comments are not acceptable, whether born of one?s individual political views or party spin. Name calling or insulting phrases will not be acceptable. Gone will be posts that are 99% excellent content, but 1% get-the-zinger-in. Gone will be repetitive posts, where one point is hammered to death. Gone will be leading and insulting posts, as will those designed to do nothing more than elicit heated responses. We appreciate your sending an alert when you see what you consider violations. As agents of CNet, we will review your alerts, and make a decision."

Since the mod who posted this "zinger" was the author of that "important message" (at least he referred to it as reason for deleting various posts PRIOR to it's being posted) it would behoove him to abide by his "rule".

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Not a "zinger," Ed -- established fact
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 12, 2005 12:23 PM PDT
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No Dave, a ZINGER!
by Edward ODaniel / June 13, 2005 4:50 AM PDT

The "established fact" was stated in a post that someone pulled.

In point of fact, your "comment" was intentional trolling.

Your "opensecrets.org" link should have told you to check further and you would have discovered that MOST businesses tend to contribute more heavily to BUSINESS FRIENDLY administrations and the Clinton Administration was most certainly NOT business friendly. It was not just Tobacco that altered its contributions.

One is forced to wonder about the failure of "opensecrets.org" to even bother mentioning that the Bush campaign would not take any of the Tobacco PACs although he did accept individual contributions. As the "Dallas Morning News" reported long ago, Bush and his campaign personnel stated rather clearly that "Individuals have the right to be involved in the political process, and Governor Bush is accepting contributions from individuals."

He didn't accept such monies his second campaign either and many Democrats did--Kerry himself accepted $14,500 in Tobacco contributions.

You often whine about "voting against their best interests" when it suits your purposes but hypocritically whine when business or individuals actually do vote in their best interests.

Yes Dave, your post contained the ZINGER and it wasn't nearly as small as "1%".

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Konkel, you continuously quote the...
by Jack Ammann / June 12, 2005 4:21 PM PDT

...Houston Chronical. I have lived in Texas, been acquainted with and have read the Houston Chronical for more years than YOU HAVE BEEN ALIVE. It is right up there with the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, ie, a flaming left wing radical news paper. AND that little note at the bottom left of the article says it all. I wonder why the Houston Chronical is going with such a promotional to offer the paper at HALF price for new subscribers...WHY???...because they are losing subscribers in droves. AND why are they losing subscribers???...BECAUSE IT'S A LEFT WING RAG.

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It's not illegal to smoke...
by null. / June 12, 2005 4:46 PM PDT

tobacco. If we do not like the laws we have we can change them, until then let's abide by them. It's a legal product quit treating it like it's not.

One last word - Incrementalism.

Don Erickson
California Republican and very proud of it.

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The suit was not
by Dan McC / June 13, 2005 1:45 AM PDT

about smoking, but the conspiracy to deceive the public. You might read up on the case. No aspect of a decision going either was will effect the availability of cigarettes.


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For the Americans who would have benefited from ...
by Evie / June 12, 2005 10:01 PM PDT
... an effective anti-smoking effort funded by the defendants

Since about one tenth is actually being used for anti-smoking campaigns, and the rest is being misspent by the states for unrelated pet projects, the reduction seems more than right!

Evie Happy
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