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The GOP has become the party of antivaxers, 2019 edition

Antivaccine beliefs occur at the same prevalence on the left and right, only the GOP promotes policies to make opting out of vaccines easier. All over the country, Republican politicians are opposing making school vaccine mandates stricter, proposing laws to loosen vaccination requirements, and falling for antivaccine pseudoscience.

So I’m reaching the end of my first week back, and so far my first two posts have been vaccine-related, first about some rather credulous reporting on Del Bigtree, antivaccine rising star and producer of that antivaccine propaganda film disguised as a documentary, VAXXED, and then about what’s been going on with measles outbreaks among the Orthodox Jewish community in my neck of the woods. I had hoped to finish this abbreviated week with fewer posts than pre-repair with something other than vaccines. However, I think there’s still one more thing left over from my down time after repairs that cries out for a touch of Insolence, Respectful and not-so-Respectful. Basically, it’s a theme that I’ve been developing over the last several years, dating back to the early stages of the primary season for the 2016 election, when Republican Senator Rand Paul and NJ Governor Chris Christie both pandered to antivaxers. At the time, which was four years ago, I asked: Is the Republican Party becoming the party of antivaxers? Last year, during the midterm elections, I answered that question with a resounding yes. The Republican Party has become the antivaccine party, noting that a GOP candidate for Congress in my district held an antivaccine crankfest about “vaccine choice” and that the GOP had multiple antivaccine candidates running for various offices, including governor of Oklahoma.

A lot of people reacted rather…poorly…to my assertion that the GOP has started pandering to antivaxers. Indeed, I’ve pointed out a number of times that, although antivaccine beliefs are present at roughly the same prevalence on the right and the left, today, in 2019, the loudest and most dangerous voices in the antivaccine movement are on the right, and the only party actively pandering to antivaxers is the Republican Party, a.k.a., the GOP. On multiple occasions since 2015, I’ve noted how antivaxers have been courting conservatives by wrapping their message and, in particular, their opposition to school vaccine mandates, in the language of “freedom” and “parental rights.” Unfortunately, that language can seduce even GOP politicians who are not antivaccine, and GOP politicians who are antivaccine, such as Sen. Rand Paul, go wild. (Remember Sen. Paul’s assertion that the “state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom” how “vaccine freedom candidates” primaried pro-vaccine Republicans last year?) While I was gone, there was still more evidence of this pandering, even in the midst of a measles outbreak, so much so that even the mainstream media is noticing, with Politico publishing an article by Arthur Allen entitled, Republicans reject Democratic attempts to tighten vaccine laws:

Most Republicans are rejecting Democrat-led state bills to tighten childhood immunization laws in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in two decades, alarming public health experts who fear the nation could become as divided over vaccines as it is over global warming.

Democrats in six states — Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey, Washington, New York and Maine — have authored or co-sponsored bills to make it harder for parents to avoid vaccinating their school-age children, and mostly faced GOP opposition. Meanwhile in West Virginia and Mississippi, states with some of the nation’s strictest vaccination laws, Republican lawmakers have introduced measures to expand vaccine exemptions, although it’s not yet clear how much traction they have.

Whenever I see someone get worked up over my observation that the most dangerous antivaccine voices are all on the right these days, I challenge them to name prominent, influential antivaxers on the left other than Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who, despite his environmental record, is basically a fringe figure among Democrats because of his having embraced antivaccine pseudoscience 15 years ago. Yes, I’ve come across the occasional Democrat supporting “vaccine freedom” bills, but overwhelmingly it is Republican politicians who oppose bills strengthening school vaccine mandates and propose bills to weaken those mandates. Indeed, in my very own state, my state Senator Patrick Colbeck and state Representative Jeff Noble cosponsored a bill that would have stripped the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services of the power to do what it is currently doing, requiring parents requesting religious and philosophical exemptions to school vaccine mandates to travel to their county health office for an educational program about vaccines. Indeed, their plan would have eliminated that program, and they sponsored such a bill not once, but twice, both sets of bills fortunately never making it out of committee. They also co-sponsored a dubious “informed consent” (actually, fear mongering misinformed consent) about “fetal cells” in vaccines. Fortunately, both legislators are now out of office. Sen. Colbeck was out because of term limits (although he did unsuccessfully run for the Republican nomination for Governor), and Rep. Noble was voted out resoundingly.

Now, here’s the thing. Most GOP legislators and politicians are not, strictly speaking, antivaccine themselves. However, they are susceptible to antivaccine pseudoscience because antivaxers appealing to “freedom” and “parental rights” to urge them to oppose school vaccine mandates. Some, like my former state senator, do hold a lot of antivaccine beliefs. Also of note, every “vaccine choice” (translation: antivaccine) political action committee I’ve examined is very much right wing and lobby and support GOP candidates; e.g., the PACS in Michigan and Texas.

Allen notes:

Democrats present bills tightening the loopholes as science-based and necessary to fight disease, while sometimes demeaning their foes as misguided or selfish “anti-vaxxers.“ Republicans portray themselves as equally enthusiastic about the life-saving virtues of vaccines, but many are loath to diminish the right of parental control over their children’s bodies, and yield that power to the government.

Of course there are vaccine skeptics on the left, too, Robert Kennedy Jr. being the most prominent example. But to date, their influence isn’t as strong in state legislatures.

Ugh. Before I move on, can I just say: Arthur, Arthur, Arthur. “Vaccine skeptics”? No, no, no, no, no! They are not vaccine “skeptics.” They are vaccine denialists or vaccine averse. Their “skepticism” is not rooted in science, but rather in pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. That’s just my pet peeve.

I can’t help but point out here, though, that, as “pro-vaccine” as these GOP claim to be, they’re quite often not so “pro-vaccine” that they recognize the pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and antivaccine misinformation being fed them by antivaxers to persuade them to oppose tightening school vaccine mandates and to support loosening them.

Antivaxers are gaining influence on right wing media, as well, as Allen notes:

In Texas, the Tea Party and related groups created an anti-vax PAC in 2015. It hasn’t yet gotten its chosen candidates elected, but the very existence of a vaccine-oriented political action committee shows the political salience is growing. Influential voices on the right, including Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones, have all raised suspicions about vaccines.

“There’s a credulity gap between the parties in regard to science that wasn’t there 25 years ago,” Berinsky said. And Trump could easily inflame the vaccine skepticism, should he weigh in. For a large share of the highly polarized U.S. population, “at the end of the day it’s not the arguments people are making, but who is making them,” Berinksy said.

Indeed there is a credulity gap. As Allen points out elsewhere in this article, there are Democrats (e.g., in New York) opposing tightening school vaccine mandates, but overall, Republicans are much more receptive to loosening such mandates as an issue of freedom. Indeed, I can’t help but go back to something that my former Representation Jeff Noble said at the antivaccine crankfest he attended last year. During the Q&A, he mentioned that the Republicans on the Health Policy Committee were the only ones “receptive to vaccine choice initiatives,”” while the Democrats would not even consider them and wanted to “shove vaccines down your throat (or arm).”

Elsewhere, in Texas, GOP politicians have shown their willingness to introduce bills based on pseudoscience and antivaccine misinformation. For instance, the right wing Tenth Amendment Center is touting Texas Senate Bill 2350 (SB2350). The bill, introduced by Sen. Bob Hall (R), is based on a number of antivaccine tropes. Here is its text:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT
relating to the prohibited administration of certain vaccinations.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter A, Chapter 161, Health and Safety
Code, is amended by adding Section 161.0045 to read as follows:
Sec. 161.0045. ADMINISTRATION OF CERTAIN VACCINES
PROHIBITED. A health care provider may administer a vaccine only
if:


(1) the study relied on by the United States Food and Drug Administration for approval of the vaccine evaluated the safety of the vaccine against a control group that received:


(A) a placebo; or
(B) another vaccine or other substance approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration based on a study that evaluated the safety of that vaccine or substance against a control group that received a placebo for that study;


(2) the study relied on by the United States Food and Drug Administration for approval of the vaccine evaluated the safety of the vaccine for a sufficient time to identify potential autoimmune, neurological, or chronic health conditions that may arise on or after the first anniversary of the date the vaccine is administered;


(3) the vaccine has been evaluated for the vaccine’s potential to:
(A) cause cancer;
(B) mutate genes;
(C) affect fertility or cause infertility; and
(D) cause autism spectrum disorder;


(4) the department has posted on the department’s Internet website a disclosure of any known injuries or diseases caused by the vaccine and the rate at which the injuries or diseases have occurred; and


(5) the chemical, pharmacological, therapeutic, and adverse effects of the vaccine and the rate of injury of the vaccine when administered with other vaccines have been studied and verified.


SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.

Section 1 is rather silly in that it presumes to tell the FDA what criteria it should use to approve the use of a new vaccine as safe and effective. Basically, new vaccines for diseases not previously covered by vaccines already are tested against placebo control. I suppose I should be grateful that Sen. Hall didn’t insist on only a saline placebo, thus parroting a common antivaccine lie that some vaccines have never been tested against placebo controls, as though it should be up to politicians and antivaxers, and not scientists, to determine what a valid placebo control should be. Also, new vaccines for disease with existing vaccines already are tested against the old vaccine. Section one is thus pointless.

Sections two and three are further full of nonsense. For example, we have a wealth of epidemiological data that vaccines are not connected to the diseases that antivaxers claim them to be connected to, including infertility and autism. Similarly, post-marketing surveillance has confirmed the safety of vaccines. We also know that existing vaccines don’t cause cancer, although this is a myth spread by antivaxers about the polio vaccine. We also know that vaccinations recommended during pregnancy are safe. Basically, SB 2350 is an utterly unnecessary law designed to pander to antivaxers and cause trouble based on antivaccine tropes, or, as the antivaxers at Age of Autism put it, “to reject the federal narrative.” Interestingly, the conservative website Tenth Amendment Center basically touts any law based on antivaccine pseudoscience or expanding non-medical exemptions as “rejecting the federal narrative,” stating that SB 2350, for instance, would “would bolster these requirements and make enforcement of any federal vaccine mandates more difficult.”

I’ve warned about the politicization of school vaccine mandates on numerous occasions before because, unfortunately, the alliance between antivaxers and right wing small government GOP politicians and conservative interest groups have politicized them in a way that they’ve never been politicized before. So I agree with Allen when he warns about it but am less thrilled with Brendan Nyhan’s statement quoted by Allen:

Experts differ on the gravity of the political polarization. Dan Salmon, a vaccinologist at Johns Hopkins’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, notes that the only vaccine bills that have passed in legislatures in recent years — notably a 2015 law eliminating philosophical exemptions in California — have tightened, rather than loosened restrictions.

“I don’t think this is a partisan issue,” Salmon insists.

But research by Neal Goldstein of Drexel University’s public health school suggests the issue of vaccine mandates has indeed entered a hyper-partisan landscape. As a result, he said, it may be wise to avoid legislation when possible to avoid opening more wounds.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, said, “My concern is that tightening requirements through the political process risks politicizing an issue that we can’t allow to be politicized if we’re going to maintain public health.”

Here’s a hint. The issue of school vaccine mandates is already polarized. It would be much better for public health if it weren’t, but that ship has already sailed. It is polarized. What matters now is to protect existing mandates always and to expand them where politically possible.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

41 replies on “The GOP has become the party of antivaxers, 2019 edition”

“It should be up to politicians and antivaxers, and not scientists, to determine what a valid placebo control should be.”

Yes.

I, however, know of cases where the government has to step up, and forcefully explain to academics what is and what is not science.

I’m referring to one of my pet peeves: the autism “debate” in France.

http://m.en.rfi.fr/france/20190402-dominance-psycho-analysts-delayed-effective-treatment-autism-france

Very much happy that some issues eventually end up being “politicized”…

I am glad for my state (AZ) that in late Februarly Governor Ducey–a Republican–publicly stated he would veto the anti-vax bills voted through committee by Republican legislators earlier that week. He didn’t mince words when he said :

“I’m pro vaccination. I’m anti-measles,” Ducey told reporters.

Ducey said vaccines are good for children and helpful for public health.

“I’m not going to sign any law that doesn’t’ promote or extend vaccinations in the state of Arizona,” the Republican governor said. “We want to see more of our kids being vaccinated rather than fewer.”

But yes, I agree, outside of RFK Jr, it’s pretty much Republicans giving AVers traction.

GOP? Nearly as bad as GOOP? Maybe worse?

Amongst those I survey, the libertarian and rightist proponents have come out as highly anti-vax:
— Mike Adams believe in guns, freedom and freedom from vaccines.
— Jake Crosby continues upon his own Trumpy hobby horse
— Ginger Taylor, substitute editor for AoA this week, argues against vaccines being religious freedom from aborted tissue, porcine products and beef products ( offensive to Christians, Moslems and Hindus- no mention of Jewish people though)
— Gary Null, a progressive libertarian (?), argues against police state vaccination tactics
— Even Kim Rossi, usually semi-left, seems to jump aboard ( twitter @ KImRossi1111; Apr 8) mocking nj.com citing the least vaccinated schools ( seem to be predominately in poor cities, yuppie/ bohemian enclaves and rural red zones)

Interestingly, all the states listed above looking at laws similar to California’s tightening of restrictions- are solidly blue.

I do feel obligated form a sense of fairness to point out that the (very limited) bill in Washington state was primarily sponsored by a Republican, and this is not the first time he’s put this kind of bill forward. (He represents Vancouver, where the current outbreak is centered.)

So some people are sensible and willing to work with others to get things done. Sadly, plenty of others aren’t.
And annoyingly the bill in Washington only removes philosophical exemptions from the MMR. So, there are still religious exemptions and both religious and philosophical exemptions for all the other school vaccines. Baby steps, baby steps.

For etrangers:

Even though there are red and blue states, even within them, there are red and blue areas. IN GENERAL, rural vs urban, inland vs coastal ( including lakes), less educated vs more, older vs younger, whiter vs diverse, male vs female respectively. Harder to explain economic differences in a few words. Trust me

Orac, I used to live in Bob Hall’s Texas Senate district. He is a fucking loon among fucking loons.

Those so-called requirements written by the Texass legislator are cribbed straight out of Bigtree’s and RFK Jr.’s playbook. I agree, based upon my own observations though, that there has been an ant-vaxx shift toward and within the GOP. Although there are still a likely equal number of liberal anti-vaxxers, they are one-issue voters and seem to have glommed onto GOP politicians in order to advance their singular agenda.

One of the Republican legislators in AZ who introduced three ridiculous anti-vax bills this year wrote an op-ed as to why he’s anti-vax starting with some of the most ridiculous nonsense I’ve seen :

“Shut your mouth.”

That’s what a pediatrician said to me when I simply questioned where Vitamin K is mandated for my newborn baby. It turns out this is a recommendation and not mandated by law, rule or hospital policy. I simply wanted to know why this injection given to my baby on his day of delivery includes aluminum, and if there are any safety studies regarding the injection.

Sorry, pediatricians don’t tell parents to “shut your mouth”, so I call BS on this claim. And there’s no aluminum at all in the vitamin K shot. There is aluminum in the hepatitis B vaccine, but I’d expect someone writing anti-vaccine legislation to have the ability to distinguish between the two.

The other Republican AZ legislator who introduced anti-vax legislation this year in AZ claims she did this because “…It’s about better serving patients”. Her op-ed is completely muddled and makes the sorry mistake of thinking a SIDS death was caused by vaccines.

Of course, there’s another AZ Republican legislator supporting this anti-vax legislation who says vaccines are “Communist” and also like Holocaust tattoos. That’s a special kind of crazy that makes you wonder how that person got elected (and hopefully get unseated in 2020).

“Sorry, pediatricians don’t tell parents to “shut your mouth”

Well, they should do so more often. The pediatrician of my daughter indeed told me to shut up: she was asking questions to my daughter and I was replying in her stead. I’m glad she told me to shut up: she was offering an opportunity for my child to have her say independently of her parents (me in this case). Had me and my siblings been offered the same opportunities, we would not have suffered the way we did…

Thanks to my daughter’s pediatrician for telling me to shut up.

@ F68.10:

I’ve wanted to say this for a long time:
although I don’t know exactly what happened to you ( and don’t need to know), I’m very sorry. I think that you have much to offer here and elsewhere.

Although I am a strong supporter of SBM, I do know of several horror stories ( mostly involving the treatment of women, decades ago) I know that no system is perfect and that individuals with issues within it can do a great deal of damage:
here is a more recent example ( not client related/ a friend’s relative) : a young man had symptoms of schizophrenia and came from a family with many people with this illness- his mother chose her own doctor to treat him with anti-psychotic meds. However, none of the meds worked well and he continued to suffer. Rather than have him go to a hospital for treatment for recalcitrant symptoms and special meds, the doctor ( and mother) allowed him to languish in this manner for 5 or 6 years. In the meantime, the meds caused weight gain and he developed high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes ( this is a guy aged 25). The mother’s influence kept him from appropriate treatment even though he suffered more and more. A relative, seeing him, called the police for help. Eventually, he improved after a short hospital stay, counselling and new meds. The mother discouraged other suggested treatments ( day hospital, job coaching) but the new meds required visits to a facility for blood tests and minor counselling. He’s better off than he was ( no longer delusional with hallucinations ) but has developed quite a few health problems. He has some abilities and is able to interact well with people. It’s a shame. This is in a city with excellent medical/ psychological care available.

The worst situations can occur when the patient cannot be a strong self-advocate and has no one else to really fight for them.

All I’m willing to say in reply to your post, Denice, is the following: I believe woo meisters and pseudoscience are the biggest ennemies of people who wish to criticize medicine or the medical care they received. So much attention is diverted from real issues because of them… and they tend to install the equation anti-medicine = anti-science in the mind of healthcare providers that it ultimately is a huge disservice to patient advocacy.

To some extent, Orac fell for it when equating “antipsychiatry” with scientology (I’m oversimplifying). And it ends up being a huge pain when attempting to defend your rights as a patient. In the end, I’m not surprised that then en result is that disgruntled patients end up rejecting SBM… I almost fell for it.

As to my personal issue, it’s really a complicated one to expand on publicly. I’m only willing to approach it indirectly. Hence what may be perceived to some extent as double talk in my posts, or more precisely: I’m trying to give my posts a multilayered and purposefully obliquely ambiguous meaning.

My impression is that most Republican leaders on the national level support immunization, as shown in this story:

http://politico.com/story/2015/02/vaccines-autism-tim-murphy-114861

On the other hand, the following is from the 2018 Texas G.O.P. platform:

“Healthcare Decisions: Healthcare decisions, including routine preventative care such as immunizations, should be between a patient and healthcare professional and should be protected from government intrusion. Texas public schools have a duty to inform parents they can opt out of CDC recommended vaccinations for their children. Abortion is not healthcare. Government has no right to mandate specific medical procedures or methods of healthcare.”

On the state level, where most of the day-to-day decisions are made, there are too many Republican legislators enabling antivaccine idiocy.

Not surprising how they are so adamant Abortion is not a medical issue, when clearly it is. They are all for the state controlling a woman’s body, even going so far as to mandate medical rape with an invasive and totally unnecessary ultrasound probe, of those seeking termination.

Still hypocrisy is one of the rights hallmarks on these issues.

Another G.O.P. classic, from the state of Washington. During debate on the just-passed bill to remove the personal belief exemption for MMR vaccination, we had this:

“…state Sen. Lynda Wilson, who also represents a portion of Clark County, said it should be up to parents whether to have their children vaccinated. “Science is not settled,” she said in floor debate on Wednesday.”

http://npr.org/2019/04/18/714713364/washington-state-senate-passes-bill-removing-exemption-for-measles-vaccine

News item, and hopefully this won’t be seen as a digression:

“A group calling itself Genesis II Church of Health and Healing plans to convene at a hotel resort in Washington state on Saturday to promote a “miracle cure” that claims to cure 95% of all diseases in the world by making adults and children, including infants, drink industrial bleach.”

The rest of the story is here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/19/church-group-to-hold-washington-event-despite-fda-warnings-against-miracle-cure

Reading the rest of that, it’s clear that the “Genesis II Church of Health” is a transparent scam for unlicensed practice of medicine, and consumer health fraud, not to mention child abuse and endangerment. How is it that the relevant authorities, notably FDA, haven’t pounced on this operation and prosecuted?

Re. partisan politics:

We should of course make every effort to work across the aisle on these issues,. If vax refusal spread to the approx. 20 – 25% of the electorate who are hardcore Trump supporters, that would destroy decades’ worth of advances in public health. Preventable outbreaks would rage across the country, and Democrats and Republicans and all of their kids alike, would end up in the hospital or worse.

Antivaxers have managed to co-opt the GOP rhetoric about “freedom” and “rights,” so one of our strategies should be to expose the deliberately misleading use of language to hook unsuspecting voters and politicians.

Tactic: campaign ad featuring both Democratic and Republican candidate for whatever office. They take turns speaking, to give a simple and straightforward message to urge parents to immunize their kids, and saying that whoever wins in November will stand up for public health and universal immunization.

Oh my God.

These people actually went to Uganda to peddle a fake malaria cure. They even filmed it.

I always fail to understand how people complaning about toxins in vaccines, or other things and who are often in favor of anything natural and fearing anything that is not natural, can use this stuff to ‘cure’ themselves, their children, or others.
MMS is:
A) Poisonous
B) Not natural, but chemical
C) Not able to cure anything
D) Harmfull

Trumpism and hard-core antivax are both forms of denialism, and are both basically cults. That doesn’t mean they necessarily go together – I don’t buy ‘crank magnetism’ as a thing. The thing is, either can serve as a ’cause’, providing the function of addressing deep subconscious anxieties, insecurtities, etc. That is, each can fill that empty space by iotself. But they have common mythic elements that serve as complements. I’m talking about something deeper than the ideological connections Orac notes, like the ‘parental freedom’ stuff. More like how Trump’s American carnage fits with the apocalyptic vision of the great government/pharma conspiracy to ‘injure the children’. Both of which hearken back to fantasies of an idealized past: back to natural and MAGA, respectively.

It is my impression sitting on the outside that it is not Republicans as a whole who have embraced anti-vaccine nonsense. Instead the Republican Party has, since the advent of the Tea Party, become increasingly infiltrated by cranks. Few in the party seem willing to stand up and point out the problem with the party pandering to cranks. It looks and feels like a desparate move to take support from wherever it can be obtained. The resulting outcome was a hostile takeover of the Republican Party by Trump.

This is emboldening cranks around the world to follow the same pathway. It is not like we don’t have our own share of political cranks, but when they have to create single issue parties to push their crankery, they can be fairly easily sidelined. For us it is when a major political party adopts crankery that the danger occurs. The Republican Party in the US has demonstrated that the political right, rather than the left is now the place to push crankery.

Chris: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. The Republican party suffered a crank infestation via the “Tea Party,” and the rest followed.

Gerrymandering also produces crank infestations. Certain Congressional districts have been gerrymandered as Republican strongholds with no realistic competition from Democrats. That gives extremists an advantage in the primaries. The extremists nominate extremist candidates, who then go on to win because “at least he’s not a Democrat.”

Also, the rise of positive feedbacks. Pre-internet, social interaction was largely geographically-based and had a healthy mix of positive and negative feedback mechanisms in the community. The negative feedbacks kept cranks in check. Post-internet, social interaction is split from geography and far more prone to self-reinforced “communities of interest” where unchecked positive feedbacks occur. That mechanism strengthens cranks and enables them to multiply and gain leverage.

Perfect storm.

How to get Republicans to get their shots: plant the story that Democrats are spreading anti-vax stuff to facilitate a measles epidemic next October, so Republicans will be too sick or too busy with sick kids, to be able to vote in November. I’m only half-sarcastic about that;-)

I’m amazed that, after a few years in office, Trump still hasn’t found any evidence of secret conspiracies to kill all children. Do you think he’s been paid off?

It was only a matter of time before the radical right embraced the antivax agenda, and for the same reason they’ve embraced climate denial: because both issues would require government intervention. That’s all it takes to set off alarm bells on the right and pronounce that all scientific evidence MUST be corrupt and dishonest. Government action is anathema to them, so the science just has to be wrong.

Copyleft: I don’t think ‘government intervention ‘ is the whole reason. The whole anti-vax thing provides them with more things they can scapegoat immigrants for, despite the fact that little Juan, Dolores and Maria probably all HAD their vaccines, and it enables them to be cruel to autistic kids. I mean cruelty is kinda the whole point of the Republicans and the evangelicals. It’s kind of odd that the Republicans are gung ho about producing children, but very, very, meh when it comes to keeping them alive.

By the way, I watched “The Killer that Stalked New York,” a 1947 noir film about a woman infected with smallpox. To modern eyes, the film is pretty bizarre.

Re: Texas Senate Bill 2350…can a state even pass legislation that tells a Federal agency what to do?

Brian: President Donald Trump is urging Americans to get vaccinations to prevent the spread of measles.

Wow. I swear he’s going for the world record of double talking. I may not respect any anti-vaxxer but at least they believe what they say. I’m actually surprised at this, since DT is so in favor of cruelty. Maybe he feels kids with measles don’t suffer?

LOL – President Trump just issued a statement encouraging everyone to get the MMR – The anti-vaxx blogosphere is already reacting!

More on anti-vax:

Rita Palma ( see My Kids, My Choice website) is promoting a rally to oppose NY state’s plan to end non-medical exemptions ( via the Gary Null Show today, last 10 minutes) on May 14 on the steps of the capitol, Albany. She says that the numbers being quoted are deceptive because they’re from the whole year ( uh… more likely since Jan 1)) when Rockland only has 3 or 4 cases NOW.
RFK jr, Bigtree and Dr Pavlevsky will attend.

This may be the same group who opposed required flu vax for nurses 10 years ago

RFK is at least reliable. If it’s bad for the USA, he’s on it. He ran a false accusation against a totally innocent, but un-connected individual to run cover for his cousin Skakel’s killing of Martha Moxely.

President Trump has recommended that all Americans get the measles vax. I believe this will reach people who’ve been influenced by social media misinformation but who are not fully nuts. He knows it’ll cost him some Libertarian and a few more from the anti-everything, yelling at clouds crowd, so he’s doing a service with this announcement.

Perhaps our host would like to rethink making a partisan issue of this. I believe the AV types are an opportunistic infection, and will quite happily and rapidly hop between parties.

Nope. I was pleasantly surprised by Trump’s statement given his past antivax statements, but it doesn’t change the overall dynamic described in this post. Also, if it’s not I making this a partisan issue. I merely comment on what, alas, has already happened.

I am also surprised by this. I wonder how much it was his decision or perhaps due to advisers** telling him that because of the spread of measles in various US locales he’d better speak up so that he might not ( in the future) be blamed for deaths or disabilities children suffered because of the illness. That would look bad for 2020.

I venture that Trump is mostly – but not entirely- immune from sane influences but there have been several instances in the past when he had to step off the crazy train and correct his remarks.

Jake Crosby ( Autism Investigates) is not pleased.

** Ivanka or Melania perhaps

Should there be any doubt: https://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Anti-vaxxer-film-screened-by-Republicans-as-13799377.php

A film that promises to shatter the “myth” that vaccines are safe and effective is on the bill for “movie night” Friday at a meeting of Pierce County Republicans in Gig Harbor.

“Join us as we expose the biggest public health experiment . . . ever” says promotion for the showing of “Vaccines Revealed”, which features featuring Robert Kennedy Jr., and two dozen leading “anti-vaxxers.”

The movie night at Cottesmore Cafe in Gig Harbor follows on the heels of intense, almost unanimous Republican opposition to a vaccination bill that has just passed the Washington Legislature.

Those of you disappointed that Wayne McRoy’s revelations about vaccination have so far been mostly confined to podcasts and youtube videos, rejoice! Wayne has a new book out called “The Autism Epidemic: Transhumanism’s Dirty Little Secret”.

It’s pretty complex, involving Freemasons, Baphomet and transgenderism (or so I gleaned from the excerpts available on Amazon), but it boils down to the NWO using autism to change our genes. And vaccination is apparently the key.

Better buy your copy before Congress, Bill Gates and the social media giants censor it into oblivion.

https://thedailycoin.org/2019/04/26/transhumanisms-dirty-little-secret-video-sgt/

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