More About the Weird Happenings in the USA

In a comment on my post of the 10th about happenings in the USA, Rose gave me a link which I have followed up. There are some really weird things going on.

What we are talking about is a court decision many years ago that tobacco companies had been guilt of infringing American law re ‘racketeering’. The actual battle began about fifteen years ago, but a reasonably definitive decision was only arrived at in 2006. Even then, further appeals were made and rejected.

In brief, it appears that Judge Kessler demanded that Tobacco Companies (hereafter TobCoM) publish ‘corrective statements’ which in effect force them to admit that they knowingly lied and cheated about tobacco harm. Naturally, TobCoMs have fought hard and long to avoid having to condemn themselves, but they did lose appeals against these demands. Now, it seems that the TobCoMs have reached agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice – ” The U.S. Department of Justice and lawyers for the tobacco companies told a federal court that they have reached agreement on the details of how they would implement the “corrective statements

I have bolded the phrase ‘told a federal court’ for a reason. The reason is in this sentence which I have taken from a statement by the American Cancer Society Action Network:

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has rejected two previous industry appeals of Judge Kessler’s landmark 2006 decision, and we expect the appellate court would do so again.  Today’s agreement ensures that when all potential appeals are exhausted, the corrective statements will be ready to run without further delay.” 

The bold bit [my bold] indicates that the appeal process was not necessarily concluded. That is, TobCoMs could have take the matter to an even higher appeal court. In fact, what they have done, is come to an agreement, with the U S Dept of Justice, regarding the form of the ‘corrective statements’, rather than take the matter further up the legal tree.

——-

Rose pointed out the uncanny resemblance of the ACSAN’s stated ‘corrective statements’ to those of Dr Siegel’s suggested ‘corrective statements’ of 2012 which you can find here:

http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/dc-district-court-approves-corrective.html

(Note that Siegel, in that post, also pointed out the similarity of claims by Big Pharm concerning Chantix and stuff, and demanded similar ‘corrective statements from Big Pharm)

========

Now. I have not seen anything which reveals THE ACTUAL agreement between TobCoMs and the Dept of Justice. What I have seen is this:

http://www.acscan.org/content/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Text-of-corrective-statements-Jan-2014.pdf

Here is a quote:

Text of Corrective Statements. 

Adverse Health Effects of Smoking. 
A Federal Court has ruled that Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Altria
deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking, and has ordered
those companies to make this statement.
Here is the truth:
• Smoking kills, on average, 1200 Americans. Every day.
• More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes,
and alcohol, combined.
• Smoking causes heart disease, emphysema, acute myeloid leukemia, and cancer of the mouth,
esophagus, larynx, lung, stomach, kidney, bladder, and pancreas.
• Smoking also causes reduced fertility, low birth weight in newborns, and cancer of the cervix.

Now, I ask you, is it likely that the above would be an ACTUAL ‘corrective statement’ to be printed on a fag packet or on an insert? NO IT IS NOT! The above is PROPAGANDA! The Judge’s Opinion does not say that the statements above are true. You can read the Judges Opinion here:

https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?1999cv2496-5993

Here is one specific quote from the decision:

“On May 22, 2009, the Court of Appeals affirmed this Court’s judgement of liability and affirmed major provisions in its Remedial Order.2 United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 566 F.3d 1095, 1150 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (“Affirmance Opinion”). The Court of Appeals specifically affirmed many of the individual Findings of Fact discussed above, including that Defendants made false and misleading statements: (1) denying the addictive properties of nicotine; (2) suggesting that “light” and “low tar” cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes; and (3) denying the health hazards of secondhand smoke.”

[One can only laugh at the last one about SHS. If that is the standard of ‘science’ as seen by that court, God Help America]

Does anything in that quote justify the Cancer Society ‘corrective statement’? I think that not.

But I would urge readers to read this PROPAGANDA statement from ACSCAN:

http://www.acscan.org/content/media-center/legal-agreement-moves-tobacco-companies-closer-to-finally-telling-the-truth-to-the-american-people/

It is a masterpiece of verbal sleight-of-hand.

Finally, I found a series of ‘mock-up’s of ‘corrective statements’. Here is the URL:

http://acscan.org/pdf/tobacco/ads/ex-d-online-newspaper-ads.pdf

Note that this mock-up has originated from ASCAN. Here is the heading:

Exhibit D

Online newspaper exemplars.

A Federal Court has ruled that Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Altria deliberately deceived the American public about designing cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine, and has ordered those companies to make this statement. 

 

Here is the truth:
• Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Altria intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.
• Cigarette companies control the impact and delivery of nicotine in many ways, including designing filters and selecting cigarette paper to maximize the ingestion of nicotine, adding ammonia to make the cigarette taste
less harsh, and controlling the physical and chemical make-up of the tobacco blend.
• When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that’s why quitting is so hard.”

If you read the link, you will see that the two paras above are in boxes side-by-side.

The question is, “Who made these mock-ups?” There is nothing in the text which says that the mock-ups were originated by the agreement between TobCoMs and The Dept of Justice.

============

I may finish up with egg on my face, but I rather suspect that the Americans will finish up with warnings similar to those on our fag packets – generalisations which can be neither proved nor disproved.

I do not know what UK fag packets are obliged to display! So I’ll quote the Spanish packet which I have in front of me:

On the front:

“Fumar prejudica gravemente su salud y la de los que estan a su alrededor”

(For readers not familiar with the propaganda, that means, “Smoking will kill you and everyone within a mile of you“)

On the back is a picture which shows what appears to be a depiction of ‘drawing and quartering’. That is, a picture of a couple of people ripping the guts out of a corpse. Considering the goriness of the pic, the slogan is less than horrifying. It says:

Fumar obstruye las arterias y provoca cardiopatias y accidentes cerebrovasculares” Loosely translated in conjunction with the pic, that means “Smoking demands the ripping out of arteries and the heart, and decapitation.

My translation may not be accurate, but it is not dissimilar to the accuracy of the claims from the Zealots described above. Let us back-track to an early quote above:

• Smoking kills, on average, 1200 Americans. Every day. 
• More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, 
and alcohol, combined. 
• Smoking causes heart disease, emphysema, acute myeloid leukemia, and cancer of the mouth, 
esophagus, larynx, lung, stomach, kidney, bladder, and pancreas. 
• Smoking also causes reduced fertility, low birth weight in newborns, and cancer of the cervix.

RIGHT. AND JEWS ARE BENT-NOSED, SCURRYING VERMIN, CARRIERS OF DISEASE AND KILLERS OF ARIAN BABIES. BLACKS ARE SUB-HUMAN, BARELY ARTICULATE MONKEYS, ONLY RECENTLY DESCENDED FROM THE TREES. POOR PEOPLE (ESPECIALLY GEORDIES, JOCKS AND SCOUSERS) ARE SCUM. SMOKERS ARE DISGUSTING, FILTHY, STINKING ADDICTS, WORSE THAN HEROIN ADDICTS, COCAINE ADDICTS AND ALCOHOLICS. AND THIS IS SO BECAUSE OF TOBACCO COMPANIES. AND THAT IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

Judge Kessler said so and, unlike Judge Nimmo Smith in the McTear Case, she/he did not require actual proof “on the balance of probabilities” or in any other form. She/he ASSUMED that the marketing efforts of tobacco companies in the distant past were deliberately designed to gain profit from KILLING PEOPLE. Can we think about this in the context of alcohol adverts NOW, and how these adverts might be viewed in, say, thirty years time? Because some people become alcoholics, will brewers be hauled before courts on the grounds that they KNEW that alcohol causes people to become alcoholics?

Erm… Is there not a plainly obvious logical fault in the last few words of the last sentence? Is it not obvious that alcohol, in itself, does NOT cause people to become alcoholics? Is it not also obvious that nicotine, in itself, does NOT cause people to become nicoholics? In any case, what is a ‘nicoholic’?

——–

The more that you read about these cases, the more that you realise that American Judges are perverse, altruistic, opinionated and divorced from reality. That is amply illustrated by the sentence, “denying the health hazards of secondhand smoke” A judge who accepts SHS must be so ignorant, as a judge, as to not know the outcome of the McTear Case.

It is true that the USA is not connected to UK ‘precedence’,  but I have seen quotes from Legal Cases where ‘precedents’ from the USA have been quoted. I do not mean as ‘definitive’ precedents. I mean only as ‘indicative’ precedents.

=====

As I see it, it is not JUSTICE to CONDEMN a person or organisation for defending himself.

====

Whatever. Anyone with any sense will laugh at this monstrosity. The reason is that free individuals need neither tobacco companies nor tobacco control.

 

 

 

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11 Responses to “More About the Weird Happenings in the USA”

  1. Rose Says:

    I rather suspect that the Americans will finish up with warnings similar to those on our fag packets – generalisations which can be neither proved nor disproved

    We are going to have to wait a while to find out though, the tobacco companies only agreed last friday.

    “The court must approve the agreement, and the parties are discussing whether retailers will be required to post large displays with the industry’s admissions.”

    “Several public health groups, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association, intervened in the case.

    In a statement Friday, they said the statements are “necessary reminders that tobacco’s devastating toll over the past 50-plus years is no accident. It stems directly from the tobacco industry’s deceptive and even illegal practices.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/deal-reached-on-tobacco-firm-corrective-statements/2014/01/10/bc960eca-7a47-11e3-8963-b4b654bcc9b2_story.html

    So we will see what happens, after all, rather than relying on newspaper reports, you have real live Americans visiting your blog and hopefully, if or when it happens they will be kind enough to tell us first hand what’s written in or on their cigarette packets.

    • Junican Says:

      What is weird, Rose, is that the time delay has rendered the whole thing very ‘passée’. So tobacco companies took advantage of the laxity in advertising law. Has anything changed? Adverts sail very close to the wind as regards ‘truthfulness’. They do not quite lie, but exaggerate the importance of effects.
      I’m sure that our American friends will let us know in due course. As you say, it is not unlikely to be years before anything happens. I suppose that there is no point in speculating further.

      • Rose Says:

        Junican, it was that very ‘passé feel to the statements that made me think of John Banzhaf
        He’s been at this for a very long time.

  2. smokingscot Says:

    Shades of the medieval, mixed in with a splice of religious fervour, a dash of bigotry, a spoonful of vindictiveness and truck loads of cash.

    Someone’ll come up with the tee shirt. And I do not extract the Michael:

    http://www.zazzle.com/colorful_vintage_public_humiliation_tee_t_shirt-235246426811639234

  3. Rose Says:

    Well lookee here, MJM, see anyone familiar?

    It’s amazing what a moment’s idle googling will get you, I was thinking along the lines of frivolous law suits and one name comes to mind.

    Apparently speaking in the third person, perhaps he thought he wasn’t getting enough credit.

    Why Cigarette Companies Must Now Publicly Confess to Lying – 2012

    Nov. 28, 2012 – WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 28, 2012): “A federal judge yesterday ordered the major cigarette manufacturers to publish statements confessing to the public how they lied about a variety of issues in the past – including, for example, the addictive effects of nicotine – in a major law suit which was triggered by a lengthy legal memorandum submitted to the government by a law professor.

    Moreover, in an interesting coincidence, the remedy chosen here by the judge – requiring so-called corrective statements – was first developed and obtained legal approval in a deceptive advertising proceeding before the FTC initiated by the same law professor.

    The lengthy memorandum outlining the legal theories under which the federal government could sue the major tobacco companies, using a federal statute charging them with being racketeers [RICO], originated with public interest law professor John Banzhaf.”

    http://www.prlog.org/12032414-why-cigarette-companies-must-now-publicly-confess-to-lying.html

    Now read on.

    He may not be well known in the UK, but I think we may have got to the root of it.

    • Junican Says:

      I wonder if tobacco companies misread the situation right from the start of the original case? They might have regarded Banzaf as some two-bit lawyer and completely underestimated his cleverness (or that of his backers).
      If ‘racketeering’ applies to tobacco companies, it also applies to Big Pharm. As we have seen recently, Big Pharm has bought off complainants about the effects of chantix but still advertise it. Is that also not racketeering? Claims about patches and gum? Racketeering? What is not?

    • beobrigitte Says:

      The lengthy memorandum outlining the legal theories under which the federal government could sue the major tobacco companies, using a federal statute charging them with being racketeers [RICO], originated with public interest law professor John Banzhaf.”

      So, a public interest law professor, no scientific background and expertise with respect to smoking, founds this plague of public money leech ASH….

      JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
      Professor of Public Interest Law
      George Washington University Law School,
      FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
      Fellow, World Technology Network,
      Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

      With respect to corrective statements:
      I am looking forward to those from the advertising industry as well as the BBC, the climate change brigade, Big Pharm etc. etc. etc.

      But most of all, I am looking forward to the corrective statements issued by ASH!!!!

      In the meantime I hope Big Tobacco will make use of a long denied advertising space.

      • Junican Says:

        I suppose that it might happen one day, but I doubt it. The Zealots spread the blame around too much. In any case, organisations such as ASH have no money, nor do the academics who favour global heating.
        What our political parties must realise is that “Government By Expert” is not acceptable.

    • Rose Says:

      If you have ever wondered why commonsense seems to have been legislated out of existance and organisations once designed to help people began to terrorise them …

      1967

      “A demonstration of the value of conflict and surprise in capturing headlines occurred when a young lawyer, Joseph F. Banzhaf, 111, who was an invitee to the Conference, brought a fiery attack on health agencies into the pressroom on the morning before he delivered it in one of the work groups.

      Reporters and TV cameramen were fascinated as he flailed at the health agencies and the National Interagency Council. Banzhaf had been the plaintiff whose letter to the Federal Communications Commission became the occasion for the ruling that the fairness doctrine be extended to advertising,

      He attacked the health agencies because they did not follow his advice to go to court on behalf of the FCC.
      Health groups argued that their business was education, research, service to patients, not law suits; but the independent young lawyer casting his adjectival rocks at the large health agencies had the headlines that day”.
      – Page 3
      http: //tobaccodocuments.org/atc/60272395.html

      One year before.

      The Fairness Doctrine

      “In late 1966 he asked a local television station, WCBS-TV, to provide air time for announcements against smoking. After the station refused, so Banzhaf filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC’s fairness doctrine required broadcasters to provide free air time to opposing views of matters of public controversy. In his complaint, Banzhaf argued that tobacco advertisements were broadcasting only pro-smoking messages; he argued that, as a public service, the broadcasters should be required to show an equal number of anti-smoking messages.”
      Wikipedia

      3rd World Conference on Smoking and Health – 1975

      “Banzhaf of ASH helped himself to the newsroom to denounce ACS and other voluntary health organizations for not prohibiting smoking among their own staffs.

      1983
      John Banzhaf, the head of ASH, urged the antismoking movement to engage the industry in an “economic battle”.
      The tactics suggested by Banzhaf included seeking higher taxes and higher medical billings for smokers, and encouraging increased litigation against tobacco companies by victims of smoking related fires and “smoking-asbestos diseases”.
      http: //www2.tobaccodocuments.org/product_design/87779408-9413.html

      Why you can no longer smoke in a plane.

      “John Banzhaf, 1984: “What we are talking about here is not a prohibition of smoking on airplanes. Rather it is in the nature of a compromise… We are asking for a ban only on flights of two hours or less because we feel this is a reasonable compromise based upon the needs of the smoker and the requirements of the smoker and social justice.”

      In 1988, bowing to the request for a ‘reasonable compromise’, the House of Representatives voted for a bill to ban smoking on flights of up to two hours by the narrow margin of 198 votes to 193. With it ended any further talk of a ‘reasonable compromise.’ The anti-smoking lobby immediately complained about the inherent inconsistency of the legislation and talked about the “loophole” that exempted longer flights. In 1990, the ban was extended to all flights.”
      http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/john_banzhaf_smoking.php

      And on and on.

      John Banzhaf: In His Own Litigious Words

      “Say what you will about John Banzhaf, George Washington University law professor and leader of the litigious anti-food crusade, at least he makes no attempt to conceal his scurrilous designs. On the contrary, this litigating busy body has clearly articulated his utopian vision: an America in which everyone’s stomach is empty and every lawyer’s wallet is full.

      The notorious professor has apparently reached the conclusion that any profitable industry — excluding the litigation business, of course — must be bled dry. Fast food is his current target. And he has vowed to slay this monster in the name of “public health.”
      http://www.cfif.org/htdocs/legislative_issues/federal_issues/hot_issues_in_congress/legal_reform/john_banzha.html

      Lawyers see obese U.S. ripe for fat lawsuits – 2004

      ” A panel of four lawyers argued that the fat lawsuit movement, which started after a U.S. surgeon general’s report in 2001 classified obesity as an epidemic, would need to extend beyond the obvious targets like restaurants, fast-food chains and food manufacturers to bring about substantial policy changes like tobacco lawsuits did.

      George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf III, said the fat suits were still the group’s best weapon in using legal action to combat the U.S. obesity problem.”

      “Movements start with legal action,” Mr. Banzhaf said, noting that the obesity lawsuit drive had achieved more in the last few years than the first tobacco lawsuits. The tobacco suits eventually resulted in four major tobacco companies reaching a historic $246 billion legal settlement in 1998, three decades after the first suits were filed.

      “We must remember that the anti-tobacco movement did not just sue the tobacco companies. We sued lots of people,” Mr. Banzhaf said. He advised his colleagues to consider suits against doctors who do not warn obese patients about their health risks.

      Even parents of morbidly obese children, where it could be shown the parents did not try to protect their children from related health risks, could be fair game in custody disputes, he said. Those suits would follow the lead of ones where parents who smoked around their children lost partial or full custody.”
      http: //www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/sep/20/20040920-123841-7706r/?page=all

      When a storm hits America it hits us a few weeks later.

      Obesity Doomsday: Report Calls for Hard-Hitting Anti-Fat Campaigns
      January 13, 2014

      “An obesity doomsday is upon us, experts have warned, with over half the British population expected to be obese by 2050.

      The National Obesity Forum has warned a landmark 2007 report into obesity underestimates the scale of the crisis and that much more extreme measures need to be taken to prevent this scenario from happening.”

      “”We’ve seen hard hitting campaigns against smoking and it’s time to back up the work that’s already being done with a similar approach for obesity.”
      http: //www.ibtimes.co.uk/obesity-doomsday-report-calls-hard-hitting-anti-fat-campaigns-1432030

      • Rose Says:

        It does seem extremely perverse and insensitive for The National Obesity Forum to demand these “hard hitting campaigns” at a time when thousands of people across the country have had to resort to using food banks.

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