A newsfilter post on DOJ vs Big Tobacco.
June 8, 2005 9:25 AM   Subscribe

"It's clear the government hasn't thought through what it's doing." The war? No, he's talking about the DOJ tobacco trial, which is wrapping up with government lawyers suddenly and inexplicably dropping the penalty against Big Tobacco companies from $130bn to just $8bn. A far cry from the $280bn originally sought. More inside.
posted by brownpau (20 comments total)
posted by brownpau at 9:26 AM on June 8, 2005

The thing that makes that quote funny is that it comes from one of Altria's lawyers. That's like OJ mouthing off at the jurors after the verdict.

"Were you guys here during all that DNA stuff?"
posted by iron chef morimoto at 9:39 AM on June 8, 2005

$8bn. A far cry from the $280bn originally sought.

Let's see, down $272bn over an eight month trial... figuring 21 working days per month, 8 hours per day... that's a reduction rate of over 200 Million dollars per hour. No wonder them lawyer guys get paid so good... I wonder how much cigarette smoke will have to inhaled to pay for them.
posted by scheptech at 10:04 AM on June 8, 2005


Function: adjective
Pronunciation: "i-nik-'spli-k&-b&l,"

occuring as the result of a campaign contribution.

- in·ex·pli·ca·bil·i·ty /"i-nik-"spli-k&-'bi-l&-tE, (")i-"nek-(")spli-/ noun
- in·ex·pli·ca·ble·ness /"i-nik-'spli-k&-b&l-n&s, (")i-'nek-(")spli-/ noun
- in·ex·pli·ca·bly /-blE/ adverb

Mr. Montoya, white courtesy phone, please.
posted by eriko at 10:27 AM on June 8, 2005

So, within 48 hours of the Supreme Court ruling that the government has the right to prosecute people with cancer for smoking pot, the government has responded by essentially negating punitive action against the world's largest covert purveyor of carcinogenic substances.

I'm not even sure what kind of emotional response I have to that- I'm not really angry, and I'm not really sad. It's almost just a bizarre kind of awe at the sheer sadomasochism of it all.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:27 AM on June 8, 2005

A lot of my (state sponsored) pension is in tobacco stocks. . what a mixed bag for me. . .
posted by Danf at 10:29 AM on June 8, 2005

This doesnt affect the state's settlements right? My state funds a scholarship program with their part of the settlement money so I sure hope that doesn't get cut off.
posted by SirOmega at 10:37 AM on June 8, 2005

The more I look at what the US government is doing, the more I have to see the current administration as people who decide to scuttle a ship at high seas.

The main difference is, that when people scuttle a ship it's usually for an easily identifiable reason.
posted by clevershark at 10:39 AM on June 8, 2005

$8bn $10bn.
posted by brownpau at 10:48 AM on June 8, 2005

It's amusing how the current government seems unable to make many high profile trails actually, you know, stick. The Anderson verdict the other week, now this... Hell Martha should have fought.
posted by edgeways at 12:03 PM on June 8, 2005

Hell Martha should have fought.

It would not have mattered. Martha had the unfortunate disadvantage of not being a white male republican.
posted by Mr_Zero at 1:25 PM on June 8, 2005

My favorite decision the past few days was when the US Supreme Court overturned the Arthur Andersen conviction.

Andersen ex-employees rejoiced. They said they felt "vindicated". As if Enron's fraud did not happen on Andersen's watch, as if Andersen's auditors were not negligent.
posted by surplus at 2:17 PM on June 8, 2005

Some more news on the subject

Looks like there is a huge conflict of interest here.
posted by futureproof at 2:33 PM on June 8, 2005

Well, I for one am sure that once it becomes clear that there is a political motivation/conflict of interest behind this change, once people discover that one of the head US Attorneys for the case once filed briefs for R.J.Reynolds Tobacco Co.,, that this settlement won't go through as planned.


Uh, anybody buy that?

What a shame that our government blows goats. Whenever people ask, "Why is money such a big deal?" answer: "This is why."

Unfortunately, I just don't see the US being a democracy in any shape or form by the end of this century, if not sooner.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:59 PM on June 8, 2005

I'm thinking sooner.
posted by futureproof at 3:33 PM on June 8, 2005

It's a democratic republic, not a democracy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:54 PM on June 8, 2005

Hello, let me briefly introduce me

I really am an ex-smoker, I quitted in december :) ! Really, it's possible and it's not even really or seriously hard. Ok it wasn't for me but I was an heavy smoker and I'm no Superman.

I smoked more or less one pack of cig per day for the last 10 years, that makes (average) $4*365*10=$15000 I wilfully gave the tobacco companies to increase enormously my chance of getting some deadly lung cancer.

Stop Giving Money to them ; same goes to alcohol producers if you are into alcohol , same will have to apply to gasoline pretty soon..same will have to apply to electricty a little later.

But lets start from tobacco. Each and every consumer you take away from tobacco companies make an HUGE damage..just 10 people make $150K minor income in 10 years..and you only need 100 people to have the same effect in one year.

Expecially ex-smokers have motives to attack tobacco companies : they didn't really care about the effects of their products ..so neither should we care about the effects of counter propaganda on them ; if we can't get back our money, lets move it into other hands.
posted by elpapacito at 4:33 PM on June 8, 2005

elpapacito: Congrads! I too quit in December. From 2 packs a day to quitting cold turkey - I haven't had one cigarette since.

Personally, I don't hold the companies responsible for my previous addiction. I don't care if the tobacco companies are fined or not. HOWEVER, I do care a great deal about the conflicts of interest that seem to be so casually ignored by our government.
posted by Bort at 4:52 PM on June 8, 2005

I'm a smoker and a self-professed dumbass. I don't feel tobacco companies owe me anything; I willfully purchase and consume their products. I did so from the very start of my habit / addiction.

If nothing else, I'd like to see tobacco companies be forced to fund a cure to nicotine addicition; so that anyone who wants to quit can do so. Not all of us have the iron will required to fight an addiction to a legal, easily accessible substance.

Go ahead, sell us our poison. But make sure we've got something to help us stop using the stuff if we so choose.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:55 PM on June 8, 2005

Actually I've always thought that forcing Phillip Morris (and all the other big tobacco companies) to pay for anti-smoking advertisements was pretty strange. Right? I mean, they're still out there producing/selling/lying about cigarettes 24 hours a day. All over the world. It doesn't make any sense for a company to produce a product and also help people stop using it.

If Phillip Morris (and others) actually believed in the commercials they're paying for and the guides to quitting on their web site, wouldn't they just stop making tobacco products? Wouldn't that be a far more efficient way for them to help people quit?

All of that aside, this whole story is ... just like most of the other stories I read about our gov't.
posted by pkingdesign at 12:16 AM on June 9, 2005

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