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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Snake oil salesmen and politicians

When Chinese railroad laborers in the 19th century used snake oil they consider it  a legitimate and p useful product. The story goes that the laborers brought over with them oil from the Chinese water snake which they believed to be useful to relieve muscle and joint aches and pain from long hard days laying track on he US railroads making their way to the west coast.History provides us no record of randomized clinical trials.

A business man named Clark Stanley began to peddle what he purported to be rattlesnake oil said to have marvelous medical purposes. Following the passage of the  1906 Federal Food and Drug act a suite was brought against  Mr. Stanley for "misbranding", as the ointment did not actually contain any snake oil. Whether it had any therapeutic value was apparently not at issue. So originally the term snake oil had no negative connotation but later became another word for con job or flim flam or mildly put -deceptive advertising.

Dr. Roy Poses of the blog Health Care Renewal expounds on the exploits of a modern , until now, unsuccessful politician  currently leading the Republican race for president which involved a multi level market scheme for selling vitamin tablets that were purportedly  customized to the individual customer based on a urine test. Ultimately the higher links in the multi level apparently could not  pay their bills and  the Trump Network's contract with the vitamin company lapsed and the Trump Marketing engine moved on to better pickings.

(the article that apparently was first on this story was the NY magazine in 2011)

The term snake oil salesmen morphed into a synonym for hucksters or con men or film-flame artist -terms that are not uncommonly used to describe politicians.


If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner. H. L. Men
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_l_mencken_2.html
If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner. H. L. Men
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_l_mencken_2.html

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.   H.L. Mencken


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your title line is redundant.Politicians and snake oil salesmen are synonyms.