Republicans Never Change.

In fairness, most political parties change reluctantly, the the republican track record in that regard is particularly dismal. In the midst of common repub refrains, such as “no one ever died from not having access to healthcare” and the more recent “health care systems shouldn’t help someone who “sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes.”

Mulvaney said he agreed with the idea in principle, but with one a very specific caveat: taxpayers shouldn’t help people who fall ill because of, ostensibly, their own actions.

“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes,” Mulvaney said. “Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel’s kid? I don’t think that it is.”

Mulvaney was attempting to defend the AHCA, which was narrowly approved by House of Representatives this month without a single Democratic vote. In its current form, the bill would essentially allow insurance companies to price people with pre-existing conditions out of the health insurance marketplace. Meanwhile, so-called “Trumpcare” includes a $880 billion cut to Medicaid, which stands to result in roughly 24 million Americans losing their health insurance because of premium increases.

There’s simply so much fucking wrong there. It’s all wrong. Naturally, republicans don’t give a shit about human nature, or the problems of poverty and a dirty marketplace, which allows for high food prices, food deserts, and the lure of cheap food which is not all that good for you. Republicans have never been fans of the big picture, nor do they care about indulging in such “bad” behaviour themselves, they always have a fucktonne of excuses for any hypocrisy on their part. It’s gosh darn wonderful all these aging, white, wealthy rethugs are so glowingly healthy. I expect that has a great deal to do with privilege, money, and of course, health care coverage. But you won’t find a rethug admitting to that.

There’s been this sense of nagging familiarity with the current effort to kill off a good portion of the uStates population (what a good way to kill off all those irresponsible poor people!), and it finally dawned on me: the righteousness of prohibition and the chemist’s war, in which the federal government spent a great deal of time coming up with ways to murder all those citizens who just wouldn’t stop drinking. They deserved it, oh yes they did! Naturally, those who had money weren’t as likely to be served up the poison concoctions, and there was more than a great deal of hypocrisy to go around. Herbert Hoover, who ran successfully at the time for office of president, had been pro-prohibition on his platform, even though it had been shown to be a mess, not only increasing the amount of people dead from alcohol, but successfully creating alcoholics out of novice drinkers, who prior to prohibition, may have simply had a beer or glass of wine. In prohibition, the only option was for the hard stuff. (Unless you were brewing beer at home, of course.) Hoover called prohibition a noble experiment. He didn’t believe in it though, as he often managed to wander into the Belgian Embassy on his way home, which, being foreign territory, he could enjoy fine, safe liquor.

The New York papers – those wet publications so despised by the Anti-Saloon League – promptly embraced Norris’s report as evidence of a government policy gone haywire. “Prohibition in this area is a complete failure,” the Herald Tribune’s editorial page declared, “enforcement a travesty, the public a victim of poisonous liquor.” Columnist Heywood Broun wrote in the New York World, “The Eighteenth is the only amendment which carries the death penalty.” And the Evening World described the federal government as a mass poisoner, noting that no administration had been more successful in “undermining the health of its own people.

I think we’re there again, with the stripping of healthcare.

The impact of Norris’s report ripped outward beyond his city. U.S. Senator James Reed of Missouri told the St. Louis Post that the New York medical examiner had convinced him that Prohibition supporters were uncivilized: “Only one possessing the instincts of a wild beast would desire to kill or make blind the man who takes a drink of liquor, even if he purchased it from one violating Prohibition statutes.” The St. Paul Pioneer Press called the government “an accessory to murder when it uses deadly denaturants.” Even the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which had supported the Eighteenth Amendment, said that sympathy for the cause did not mean “we wish to inflict punishment upon those who persist in violating Prohibition laws.”

And the Chicago Tribune put it like this:

Normally, no American government would engage in such business. It would not and does not set a trap gun loaded with nails to catch a counterfeiter. It would put “Rough on Rats” on a cheese sandwich even to catch a mail robber. It would not poison postage stamps to get a citizen known to be misusing the mails. It is only in the curious fanaticism of Prohibition that any means, however barbarous, are considered justified.

Dry newspapers found Norris less persuasive. Alcohol killed thousands of people long before Prohibition was enacted, they pointed out. “Must Uncle Sam guarantee safety first for souses?” asked Nebraska’s Omaha Bee. The Springfield Republican of Southern Illinois dismissed the whole outcry as “wet propaganda.” And the Pittsburgh Gazette Times pointedly raised a question that puzzled even opponents of the law: why would people persist in drinking white mule and Smoke, paint shop hooch and bathtub gin, when they must know that it could kill them? Didn’t the obstinate guzzler bear some responsibility? Wasn’t it possible that “the drinker himself is to blame for the ills that befall him as a result of his libations?” the Pittsburgh editors wrote plaintively.

The endless quest to point a finger at every person who does not manage to conduct themselves in the purest and most saintly manner. Again, human nature. We are there again, too. Not only is there a drive to remove access to health care, but with the rollback of anti-pollution regulations, people will, once again, become sicker, many of them with dangerous, chronic diseases, such as asthma, with children being most vulnerable. Then we have Sessions, who is determined to fuel the slavery industry of private prisons, and put even more people in prison for minor drug offenses. There was move towards sanity, with lightening of marijuana laws, and along with that, an increase in the economy, but Sessions doesn’t like that, oh no. Much better to be draconian assholes, yes. I wouldn’t be surprised if paraquat was brought back.

In early 1927, wet legislators in Congress tried to pass a law to halt the extra poisoning of industrial alcohol. They had failed, overwhelmed by dry legislators’ declarations that no one would be dead if people simply obeyed the law and tried to live in a morally upright fashion.

Why, doesn’t that sound familiar?

Norris, in response, argued that this imposition of one group’s personal beliefs on the rest of society could not be justified as moral. Further, he said, the experiment of the Eighteenth Amendment proved his point. Yes, the law had changed the old ways of life, the old style of drinking. But it had created another drinking lifestyle and another kind of immorality: “It has failed to reduce, moderate, or control heavy drinking. It has created a new social order of bootleggers, and its blunders have protected an infant industry until it is now so secure in the law and the profits as to be a real menace to our national security and integrity.

“And,” Norris concluded, “death follows at its heels.

We are there again, too. In particular, the awful stew of the current regime, if they get their way, will see an increase in ill health, imprisonment, and death, primarily among the poor, and women and children, and they are fine with that.

All quotes about the prohibition are from The Poisoner’s Handbook, by Deborah Blum.

UPDATE: Oh, and look at this – there’s a move to gut the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. Poisons and explosions for everyone!


  1. busterggi says

    A long time ago there was a man named Teddy Roosevelt who busted big business trusts, encouraged preservation of nature (though with some faults) and thought he was a Republican.

  2. says

    Yes, that’s true. Teddy also had some very fucked up ideas when it came to things like the ongoing genocide of my people. He’s not a hero to me.

    To address the larger point, no, it’s not a simple matter of dividing camps, and there are always outliers. In the time of prohibition, there were plenty of democrats who supported it. Coming back to current day, it’s republicans who are causing all the damage, including undoing Teddy’s preservations of nature.

  3. busterggi says

    Caine -- He also had a problem with empire-builiding but I still think he was better than what goes by the brand today.

  4. says

    no one would be dead if people simply obeyed the law and tried to live in a morally upright fashion.

    The blockhead(s) who uttered this nonsense should consider its implications. Because he (almost certainly he or a multiple of hes) in essence implies that appropriate punishment for minor transgression against the law is randomised summarily execution without trial and even on first offence or even when said transgression is of no real harm to anyone and merely offends someone’s personal moral sensibilities. Since statistically speaking everyone transgresses some minor law at some point in their life and absolutely everyone transgresses someone else’s sensibilities, he implies that this way of enforcing the law equals to randomly shooting people in the street on the basis that “everyone is guilty of something”. Further it has been shown multiple times throughout history and even in his time and in the specific case he tried to defend that death threat fails as a crime deterrent, it does in no form help to keep order and justice and is therefore a mere barbaric act of vengence that has no place in any functioning society governed by law.

    However since they uttered this nonsense in all sincerity, they very probably did not posess the mental faculties to consider said implications in full. And they certainly did not posess the moral faculties to do such.

  5. Kengi says

    And Republicans in the Senate have already said they want steeper and faster Medicaid cuts in their version of the bill. So much for the “more moderate” Senate. Yup. They never change.

  6. Some Old Programmer says

    The Repubs have always (at least as far back as my memory goes) had a keen sense for whom they despise and how to screw them over. I certainly remember AIDS in the ’80s under R.R., and the callous indifference (at best) displayed as many thousands died. It was made plain that those with HIV were somehow undeserving because they had sex wrong (gay & bi men) or weren’t from around these parts (Haitians); it sounds to me like recent statements are an echo of this animus.

  7. says

    Some Old Programmer:

    I certainly remember AIDS in the ’80s under R.R., and the callous indifference (at best) displayed as many thousands died. It was made plain that those with HIV were somehow undeserving because they had sex wrong (gay & bi men) or weren’t from around these parts (Haitians);

    Oh gods, I remember too. And Catsup being a vegetable. The animus against those with HIV is back, the regime has also targeted HIV/AIDS research, and that combined with the ongoing rethug hatred of all things queer is putting many of the strides made back once again. Making America Hate Again, yep.

Leave a Reply