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I honestly thought it was fake news: Just after Kevin McCarthy became House speaker, giving away his power to right-wing antagonists the first week in January, I read about Congress members smoking on the GOP side of the aisle. Just a projection from my liberal allies of Republicans’ intent to erode public health, I assumed. Funny GIF to come.

But it was true. Representative Tom Cole was smoking cigars in his office. Others were reportedly smoking cigarettes in other places.

I thought it had to be illegal. It’s true that the District of Columbia makes all public buildings smoke-free, and a Bill Clinton executive order prohibits smoking in federal buildings that are under the authority of the Executive Branch. But House lawmakers’ private offices aren’t governed by those rules, and the Capitol is one of the few “office buildings” where smoking is still allowed inside.

Gross, if true.

Well, it is true; under McCarthy, smoking is allowed not just in members’ offices but in public areas too. Now comes more carcinogenic propaganda from right-wing losers.

Last week, Fox’s Tucker Carlson began preaching a return to smoking as a return to American values. Tobacco is so much more American than increasingly legal and available weed, he told his stoned-on-lies audience. “Nicotine frees your mind and [THC] makes you compliant and passive,” said Carlson.

He wrapped his rant in his classic attack on Covid precautions.

“They don’t care about your health: they closed the gyms during Covid! Anyone who closed gyms during a pandemic that kills people who are fat doesn’t care about your health at all. They hate nicotine, they love THC…. They hate it—it’s a real threat to them!”

I’ve always assumed Carlson got the Covid vaccine(s) and boosters. I know he and other Fox hosts worked from home during most of the pandemic, while railing against government efforts to prevent its spread among the rest of us. I also know he doesn’t smoke tobacco. (No idea about weed.) But he decries such public health measures to his audience.

We have already learned that death rates are higher in red counties than in blue ones. So-called “deaths of despair”—suicide, drug overdoses, alcohol-related maladies—are on the rise in the reddest congressional districts, especially among white men. Gun violence is higher there, too, So are Covid deaths and disabilities, thanks in part to conservatives preaching against vaccines and safety measures like masks. Even more remarkable, a New York Times analysis late last year found that the House districts represented by members who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021, saw their white population drop more than those of other House Republicans’ districts.




https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/kevin-mccarthy-speaker-gt-img.jpg

#Republicans #Kill #Voters

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