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Barbara Loe Fisher cries “McCarthyism!” over vaccines

Barbara Loe Fisher is back. This time, instead of Nazis and the Holocaust, she’s comparing vaccine mandates and bad press about antivaxers to McCarthyism and their “persecution” to that faced by anyone suspected of Communism in the early 1950s.

I’m back from NECSS, having given a talk about cancer quackery, social media, and fake news and taken part in two panels, one on the measles outbreaks (with Paul Offit on the panel!) and one about the marketing of pseudoscience in medicine. Overall, it was a fun time, but I’ve been home since Monday afternoon, and it’s time to get back to business. Fortunately, I didn’t haves to look far to find a—shall we say?—target rich bit of antivaccine nonsense to get me warmed up again and into the swing of things again before diving into more difficult topics. Leave it to the grand dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, to give me yet another gift of blogging material, and, Barbara being Barbara, it’s hilariously overwrought as usual, although, unlike last year’s rant, it isn’t as well-timed to coincide with the Fourth of July, the better to equate school vaccine mandates with incipient fascism (as she likes to do), this time around Fisher decries Freedom to dissent and the new blacklist in America. She published her little rant, of course, on Joe Mercola’s website, and, hilariously, has a little oval with a checkmark and the words “Fact Checked” underneath the title of the article. Even better, the button is a link, and if you click on the link, you’ll see three checks next to the words, “fact-checked,” “vetted,” and “verified,” followed by:

All Mercola articles are fact-checked, vetted and verified using Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists journalism standards. Because we hold ourselves to the highest level of excellence and take responsibility for our work, we also follow industry best practices as recommended by the American Copy Editors Society for editing, proofing, writing and content. We follow ethics principles recommended by the Associated Press Media Editors, and we even have adopted Associated Press style guidelines to distinguish our writing style from other health sites. Therefore, when it comes to the topics we cover, we fact check every claim we make, and clearly identify sources, vet the people we interview and write about, and verify all medical information with referenced, hyperlinked, medical literature sources. We do use news hooks gathered from mainstream print and broadcast media, but we don’t rush to print our version of the story in the name of a “scoop.” Instead, we take time to investigate the article topic and dig deeper than what you see in other health and news sites — including mainstream news media — asking ourselves: Are the quotes accurate? Is there a backstory the news source missed that we need to share with our readers? Is the article accurate and honest? To that end, we investigate the authors of medical and environmental studies headlined in the news so we can tell you what conflicts of interest they may have that could bias whatever it is they’re reporting. Because we also act as a watchdog over Big Industry and government, we take special care to look at the funding of studies and the lobbying behind legislation so we can expose questionable financial liaisons that ultimately affect your health and health care.

I included so much of the “fact-checked” claim because it was so damned hilarious to read. Of course, it all sounds so fantastic, but, as anyone who’s read antivaccine or quack websites (or conspiracy websites, of which these are a subset), it’s very easy to lie with verifiable facts. Facts are important, and getting them right is important, but the story being told is at least as important, and howe the facts are arranged determines the story. Let’s just say that it’s all well and good that articles are “fact checked,” but once you look at this screed you’ll find that it’s not nearly as big a deal as Mercola tries to make it sound.

In any case, here’s the video:

Fortunately, I didn’t have to watch any more of the video than I could stand, because, as usual, Fisher provided me with a helpful transcript, which I can quote and comment on as I wish. Even though it’s nearly two weeks after the Fourth of July, not surprisingly, Fisher tries to equate her antivax views with Freedom. What? You don’t like her antivax views? Then you must hate Freedom! That’s why she immediately invokes—what else?—the Declaration of Independence:

Every July 4 since our nation declared independence in 1776, Americans have celebrated this truth:

“… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”1

The Declaration of Independence rejected unjust laws imposed by a privileged ruling class. The guiding principles of the Declaration of Independence were codified into the Bill of Rights to limit the power of government and protect our unalienable natural rights.

This leads to an invocation of—of course!—the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, religion, the press, and assembly. I’m sure you can see where this is going, and go there it does as Fisher next invokes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights published in 1948, which invokes the same freedoms, as well as the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and freedom from arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. In typical Barbara Loe Fisher fashion, she really lays it on thick. I mean, Barbara Loe Fisher loves to lay it on thick. You won’t believe just how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly thick she likes to lay it on. I mean, you may think the nonsense is thick over at Age of Autism, but that’s just peanuts compared to Barbara Loe Fisher. Want to know what I mean? Are you sure about that? OK, I’ll give you just a little taste first, and see if you can stand the rest, which you can always read for yourself:

An unprecedented attack on civil liberties and the right to dissent is being led by a new privileged ruling class whose power is not derived from aristocratic titles, wealth and political influence linked to genetic heritage and ownership of land. The power of the new ruling class in America is derived from academic titles, wealth and political influence linked to corporatized government that seeks ownership of our physical bodies. The right to autonomy and protection of bodily integrity is the first human right.19,20 If you cannot voluntarily decide when and for what reason you are willing to risk your life or the life of your child, your unalienable right to life and liberty has been taken from you.

This is, of course, the thickest of thick bullshit. No one is “seeking ownership of our physical bodies” (at least not with respect to vaccines, although I might argue that the evangelical conservatives trying to eliminate reproductive health services like abortion and certain kinds of birth control could be argued to be trying to control women’s bodies). Moreover, notice how, as with most antivaxers, it is all about them and their rights over everything. The consideration that the child is an autonomous being with rights of his own who deserves protection from the state when the parents medically neglect him never even enters her head. Make no mistake, failure to vaccinate is medical neglect, as children have the right not to be unnecessarily exposed to potentially deadly vaccine-preventable diseases. Obviously, antivaxers don’t see it that way. Rather, they seem to see children as extensions of themselves whose rights are completely subsumed to theirs. It’s not for nothing that Senator Rand Paul, who is very antivaccine, his denials notwithstanding, said four years ago, “The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.”

Fisher is clearly trying to appeal beyond her antivax base, though, as she frames her argument as all about censorship and repealing of civil liberties that should concern everyone, “whether you do or do not agree that every liability free vaccine product sold by pharmaceutical companies is safe and effective, or that federal vaccine policy is anchored with sound science, or that mandatory vaccination laws without informed consent protections are moral.” Of course, that last bit is a typical antivaccine straw man, because the antivaccine version of “informed consent” is in reality misinformed consent, where the risks of vaccines are vastly exaggerated or made up altogether and the benefits downplayed or denied.

How, pray tell, are these nefarious fascistic vaccine zealots going to snuff out health freedom and send their jack-booted thugs to your home in the middle of the night in order to forcibly vaccinated their child? Oh, wait. They’re not doing anything of the sort. They’re just requiring that children need to be vaccinated before they can attend school unless they have a medical contraindication and that exemptions other than medical should no longer be permitted. They’re also trying to combat antivaccine misinformation on social media. You wouldn’t know this from Fisher, though, who’s amusingly histrionic:

The extraordinary efforts by industry, medical trade and government to delegitimize free speech about vaccination unless it conforms with government policy has given a green light to corporate-owned mainline media outlets to use name calling and other yellow journalism techniques to legitimize the stripping of civil liberties from public health laws. Today, any parent, doctor, research scientist, journalist, celebrity, politician, philanthropist or nongovernmental organization asking questions about the quality of vaccine science or the ethics of laws requiring use of a liability-free pharmaceutical product that can harm or fail to work, is immediately labeled as an “anti-vaxxer” and publicly defamed, humiliated, discredited and relentlessly targeted for personal and professional ruin. When the risks of vaccination turn out to be 100% for a child and parents describe what happened, their suffering is magnified when journalists gaslight them for witnessing in the public square. It is a shameful display of ignorance and prejudice against biologically vulnerable children and their parents who have been compelled to unequally bear the risks of vaccination for society, and are being demonized for advocating for safer vaccines and more scientifically informed and humane public health policies. Most of all, it is a dangerous assault on freedom of speech by a profession that should be pushing back on discrimination and the erosion of civil liberties, not actively condoning it.

I couldn’t resist looking at some of the references Fisher cited to back up this “assault on civil liberties.” (I deleted them from the quote above for ease of reading, but you can find them in the original article.) For instance, the bit about being “defamed” by journalists goes back to 2010 with Amy Wallace, who wrote an article about Paul Offit and the relentless attacks by antivaxers he had been enduring for years (and is still enduring). What Fisher failed to mention is that Wallace became the subject of a misogynistic attack by Generation Rescue founder J.B. Handley, in which he implied that she must have been under the effects of a date rape drug to have written such an article about Dr. Offit. See what I mean about “fact checking”? If you read Wallace’s article, you’ll find no defamation, and Fisher conveniently forgets to mention that antivaxers are far more nasty than science advocates ever get.

Another example are the references after being labeled “antivaxer.” It consists of a bunch of links to definitions of “antivaxer” and this cartoon:

Which is actually a pretty funny cartoon.

And so it goes. The part about being “humiliated” links to an article by Jinny Suh in Cosmopolitan entitled, People Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids Are Selfish. I find it rather amusing that a woman who’s repeatedly compared people like Paul Offit and other science and vaccine advocates to Nazis is so triggered by justified criticism of their belief in pseudoscience. She also cites a recent American Osteopathic Association survey that found that 45% of adults had “doubts” about vaccine safety. Of course, it’s not as bad as that, as the survey itself shows, where only 2% answered that they thought vaccines are unsafe and ineffective; 6% thought the risks of vaccines outweigh the benefits; and 9% were unsure, while overall 82% answered either that they thought vaccines were safe and effective (51%) or that the benefits of vaccination outweigh risks (31%). Those numbers of vaccine doubters are certainly reason for concern, but they’re nowhere near 45% of adults. So how did the AOA get that 45% figure? The survey asked, “Which of the following have caused you to doubt the safety of vaccines?” The answers included online articles, content on social media, past actions of big pharma, past actions of the government, and several other choices. If you total up all the things that made adults doubt the safety of vaccines, it added up to 45% of adults. See how that’s very different from saying that 45% of adults actually doubt vaccines?

Fisher is also unhappy at efforts to try to slow the spread of antivaccine misinformation on social media. She references the outbreak in the orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn, portraying the observations that the Jewish religion does not oppose vaccination (quite the opposite, in fact) as a lie pushed by pharmaceutical industry lobbyists:

Many of the lobbyists argued that no major religion has a tenet opposing vaccination, even though vaccine products were not being mandated by governments until long after the world’s major religions were founded. In addition, the U.S. Constitution prohibits our government from requiring citizens holding sincere personal spiritual or religious beliefs to identify with an organized religion or be a member of a certain church in order to receive equal protection under the law.

Many things have been invented since the world’s major religions were founded, and that’s never stopped them from telling their adherents what they can and can’t do with them. Moreover, these orthodox Jews do identify with an organized religion and specifically invoked it. Be that as it may, the question of whether there is a religious right to refuse vaccination was settled long ago by the Supreme Court in 1905 in Jacobson v. Massachusetts. That never stopped antivaxers from invoking “religious freedom” as their excuse not to vaccinate.

Fisher then goes on:

About 75% of the New York measles cases have been confirmed in unvaccinated persons with the majority living in orthodox Jewish communities holding sincere religious beliefs opposing the use of vaccines. About 97% of children attending kindergarten in New York have received two doses of MMR vaccine compared to more than 94% of school children nationally.

Well, yeah, Ms. Fisher. That’s how it works. Pockets of low MMR vaccine uptake in a sea of high uptake still leave the children living in those pockets vulnerable to the measles. She also uses a bit of misdirection, noting that adults with waning or low immunity have contributed to outbreaks. That was, in fact, true of the outbreak in the orthodox Jewish community in southeast Michigan. But guess what? That community, far from resisting vaccination, immediately cooperated with health authorities and set up vaccination drives. The rabbis and Jewish authorities told the Jews under their spiritual charge that it was their obligation to be vaccinated and, if feeling ill, to see their doctor, stay home from synagogue, and not risk exposing others. In any event, that little diversion doesn’t change the fact that fear of vaccines, stoked by antivaccine misinformation, is contributing to parents not vaccinating to the point where in some communities there are outbreaks.

Fisher, having used all the Nazi analogies she can over the last couple of years to describe vaccine mandates, decides to conclude by mixing it up a little bit:

The litmus test question is: “Are you or have you ever been anti-vaccine?” If you hesitate, qualify your answer, express doubt or admit to being currently or previously associated with a person or organization labeled as “anti-vaccine,” it is over. You are publicly condemned as an “anti-vaxxer” and a danger to society for infecting others with your opinions, values and beliefs. You are blacklisted and turned into a horrible warning for any person like you who is even thinking about speaking up. Often people recant or throw their friends and colleagues under the bus when threatened with excommunication from society for being labeled “anti-vaccine.” There was another dark era in American history during the mid-20th century, known as the “blacklist” or “McCarthy” era, when government officials operated in a climate of fear under a perceived state of emergency that was used to justify taking extreme measures in the name of protecting national security. Beginning in 1947 through 1954, federal legislators suspected there were “communist sympathizers” in government agencies and working in the fields of journalism and entertainment.

Yep, the current climate isn’t just like Nazi Germany to Fisher (a comparison she has used again and again). It’s also like McCarthyism, except with antivaxers rather than Communists. (Of course, it amuses me that she’s basically comparing herself to Communists or people suspected of being Communists.) In the end, though, all that matters to antivaxers is being able to claim the mantle of persecution in order to gain sympathy. They did it by abusing the Yellow Star of David; so I suppose claiming McCarthyism is dialing it down slightly for them.

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]

116 replies on “Barbara Loe Fisher cries “McCarthyism!” over vaccines”

I suppose there are similarities to McCarthyism. He never produced his evidence either.

His list of 205 Communists in the State Department was derived just as misleadingly as her 45% figure.

A. I’m wondering just who their fact checkers are.

B. I always feel that calling criticism harassment and defamation is an attempt to chill and intimidate critics, which is not quite in line with her expressed commitment to free speech. I know you said this.

C. Chances are her parents vaccinated and protected her. She’s not fighting for her bodily autonomy, but for the right to trick other parents into treating their children worse than her parents treated her. I know that’s not how she sees it, but there it is.

The references are things like whatever legitimate source says there are 960 (guessing!) deaths in VAERS but without explaining what VAERS is, or those crank papers in bottom feeder journals and even withdrawn papers. Any paper that supports the benefit—no matter how small—of vitamins or staying hydrated is promoted as the best approach to diseases. Of course anything that talks about incomplete immunity or bad batches is also on the list.

The articles get very repetitive because they never mention the vast richness of papers showing vaccines to be safe and effective under a huge variety of more interesting circumstances.

Orac, thanks for taking the trouble to check out some of those ‘references’ – I must admit that I’m just too lazy to have done it myself and your closer inspection has revealed an added layer of nonsense to their thinking, amusing on the surface, but profoundly depressing the more I think about it. Oh well, I think I’d better get on with something else to take my mind off it.

Many of the lobbyists argued that no major religion has a tenet opposing vaccination, even though vaccine products were not being mandated by governments until long after the world’s major religions were founded.

“The main established religions are happy with vaccination campaigns, but that’s because they are inadequate… let’s ignore them in favour of imaginary recently-invented religions, therefore OMG vaccination campaigns violate Freedom of Religion!!”

re facts; “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.’ -Mark Twain

re fascism: I recommend reading Madeleine Albright’s book, Fascism: A Warning, to discover what fascism is and isn’t. See Chapter 1.

I sense Babs may be getting fewer and fewer calls by the mainstream media and politicians for her opinion on all things vaccine.
I also sense she may also be getting fewer paid invites to speak at anti-vaccine festivals (protests, conferences, etc).
Indeed she and her NVIC have lately branched out in the woo to promote anti-GMO lunacy.
I guess the anti-vaccine pond wasn’t big enough for all the grifters so she needed to expand her grift to keep income up.
Any pol who confers with her should be called on the carpet for entertaining an anti-science crackpot.
(I also wonder why she doesn’t fully divulge her association with Merde-ola dotcom in the interests of transparency and full disclosure of conflicts of interest. Babs and her NVIC appear to be a wholly owned subsidiary of supplement sales empire – Merde-ola dotcom.)

If being stridently antivaccine leads to being ”excommunicated from society”, then how is it that Barbara (how Loe can she go?) Fisher is free to spread her gospel, and other antivax luminaries like RFK Jr. and James Lyons-Weiler travel the country to try to influence legislation (as they did in Ohio recently with a bill aimed at preventing hospitals and other employers from disciplining health care workers who jeopardize patient health by refusing vaccination)?

“It is a shameful display of ignorance and prejudice against biologically vulnerable children when their antivax parents force them to bear the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”

(fixed that for you, Barbara)

Now RFK, Jr. is going the lawsuit route. Merely spreading his misinformation wasn’t enough, I guess. But I always remember this shining example of integrity drove his wife to suicide over his affair(s?) while married.

I think you go too far to blame any suicide on a spouse. Infidelity is as old and as common as the hills and if every scorned spouse killed him or herself, well…..

Until her NVIC gets shut down on social media, her claims of persecution are just more BLF crying wolf. NVIC has been a long-time lynchpin for the coordination of anti-vaxxers in their political lobbying (sadly I have to use them to know what’s going on in my state since they publicize vaccine legislation better than pro-vax groups). Perhaps BLF’s current howling stems in part from supplanting by other anti-vaxxers getting better funding, such as Bigtree and RFK jr, as well as the solidification of “vaccine choice” non-profits in almost every state. NVIC isn’t the only game in town. And since Mercola is feeling the pinch of that Google algorithmic change, this post of hers on Mercola could be viewed as two aging groups trying to reassert their dominance.

Yep. I’m signed up for NVIC notifications in MN y state as well, so that I know when vaccine-related legislation is being introduced or considered.

To Babs and her ilk, persecution is what normal people would deem “people disagree with me and use facts to do it”.

It is like everything else in their worldview, only they have the TRUTH, everything else is a conspiracy. It is only amusing in watching the contortions they go through to keep their minds pure of any of those nasty facts.

re ” fact checked.. vetted… verified”

This is how woo-meisters/ anti-vaxxers ( actually redundant- anti-vaxxers ARE woo-meisters although I usually differentiate the two based on their sales) play to their entranced followers:
— they portray their material as realistic information
— they portray themselves as experts and scientists
— they cause followers to suspect ALL other sources, i.e. the reality-based ones, by drumming up conspiracies about how they are paid, corrupt, criminal isolating them from the real world

Lately, Null has introduced each installment of his anti-SBM/ Sceptic/ Wikipedia series by saying that all his material is vetted by lawyers and will stand in court so that followers may use it in their lawsuits. In addition, it was researched and written by experts like him and Richard Gale so it has to be true. This is preceded by a long list of frequently broadcast achievements by the woo-meister as researcher, professor, investigative journalist, innovator, humanitarian and all-around nice guy.

It’s so important for cults to keep their charges within the fold and re-educated on a schedule. You’ll notice that shows or articles appear nearly every day ( AoA, Mercola, NN, Green Med Info, PRN/ TMR has become the slacker of late) It’s to solidify whatever is “learned” there ( although I loathe call it learningde-educating is more like it). as is the emotional content.

Some of these groups use Twitter, Facebook or other social media to give their followers a boost at shorter intervals .Keeping them engaging is paramount. How things we know about learning, memory etc are used to manipulate/ deceive the unwary!

@ Denice,

Did you attend the North Korea University of Military Intelligence & Propaganda?

Here’s the real scoop:

Asks doctor ‘Is this safe?’
Adverse Event.
Tells doctor ‘That was not safe’.
6 ‘ Yes it was.’
‘I had a bad reaction’.
‘That’s not a reaction; that’s a coincidence’.
‘That vaccine caused this. Please help me. ‘
‘No it didn’t & I won’t see you unless you get two more of that one & three of this new one.’
‘This is all Wakefield’s fault’.
‘Who? My name is Bob.’
‘Time for that vaccine plus six more.’
‘I thought you said five more’.
‘That was before people like you caused an outbreak’
‘Then YOU should get vaccinated’
‘Mine doesn’t work as well unless you get six’.
‘Yeah, No’.

There it is; declassified so that you can identify your enemy & nuke ’em. I actually do live in Colorado Springs, btw; not a field in Arkansas.

For clarification; please don’t nuke the doctors. It’s not their fault they are more susceptible to indoctrination; that’s sort of the point of their education. Saying this as the great x’s 4,3, & 2 granddaughter, the granddaughter, the daughter & the niece of doctors. I’m sorta partial to them. Its the vaccines. Really.

Anti-vaxx rhetoric long dead,
Lingering faint and ghostly shreds,
..”Never fear!” said the troll,
..Lumbering onward so bold,
“Let’s drool it on another thread.”

No, I attended well-known – and ACCREDITED**- universities in the ‘western world’, acquiring degrees in Liberal Studies, Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychology ( focus on Developmental and Cognitive) and also received relevant training through those places/ institutes and work situations.
In addition, I have about 10 courses in bio/ physio ( mostly undergrad) and the equivalent of a minor in Statistical Analyses.(grad)

I am greatly indebted to sceptics like Drs Barett, Novella and Orac OBVIOUSLY

So I am not misled by rants from those who sell supplements- or their self-aggrandizing, pseudo-scientific “theories” – on the internet..

** unlike some people we know

With indoctrination you mean medical education, I guess. And epidemiological studies
Doctor’s vaccine do work, it is the patient who would get disease

Sounds like Christine doesn’t realise that Doctors know what an adverse reaction looks like. Also seems to be denying the mathematics of herd immunity too. Must be terrible to be such an unsung genius.

I don’t see much similarity between this alleged conversation and really, any conversation I’ve ever had with a real doctor. Good parody can involve exaggeration, but this one is making stuff up. The issue here is that you are not dealing with reality. Real doctors are not like this.

On the Harris Poll 45%, I immediately wondered if the survey’s respondents were asked to list just one reason, or something like, as it turns out, “Which of the following have caused you to doubt the safety of vaccines? Please select all that apply.”

So the number could be (and probably is) less than 45%, and I don’t see how that matches with 55%. I’d like to see the actual exact method there. If it is actually 45% that means 900 people, asked to “select all that apply”, instead selected only one. Every last one of them, no exceptions. Either no one followed directions or no one had more than one reason; that seems unlikely.

Whelp shows what I know, I thought osteopathy was an actual SMB and the AOA was an actual professional medical organisation. I walked into looking at this survey thinking it was unintentionally skewed, but now im pretty sure the method was “How do we get people to say what we want without legally lying”.

Come to think of it, using an analogy to Joe McCarthy is pretty weak stuff when antivaxers have previously compared opponents to Nazis and invoked Nuremberg laws.

They can’t use Trump because he’s still their hero (although his pro-measles vaccine comments have lessened enthusiasm for him).

Maybe their next dire insult to pro-immunization advocates will be to call them “Pelosian”.

Stanley Plotkin was so concerned about the waning immunity, he and his wife received two flu shots last season.

And? Everybody who knows anything about the influenza vaccine knows that “it’s” (Hi, I’m quadrivalent!) effectiveness wanes, although perhaps not on an annual basis. You’re putting the cart atop the horse yet again.

Considering research on a universal flu vaccine is already in the works, an EO from Trump seems a bit like stepping up to the podium to give the valedictorian’s speech after the high school graduation ceremony is over.

Because we hold ourselves to the highest level of excellence and take responsibility for our work, we also follow industry best practices as recommended by the American Copy Editors Society for editing, proofing, writing and content.

I wasn’t aware that ACES had any of these things — it’s basically a jobs site. No competent editor in my ambit would give them a first thought, much less a second.

We follow ethics principles recommended by the Associated Press Media Editors, and we even have adopted Associated Press style guidelines to distinguish our writing style from other health sites.

Oh, G-d, I get a headache just thinking about the AP Stylebook. It’s basically just a word list with an essay tacked on. The main problem is that it doesn’t have an index. One just has to root around in the thing to answer the simplest question. The only thing less useful I’ve been subjected to is the disaster produced by the American Chemical Society.

It’s always something with Barb and her friends. There is no controversy they wont hijack to their advantage. Watch, in the next few days, they’ll claim that “Go back to your country!” is just like “Go back to your vaccines!” or something.

Again, Anti-Vaxxers and their persecution complex… now they’re comparing themselves to suspected communists… how interesting.

They need to do that. They need to portray themselves as victims, otherwise nobody will listen to them. They have to claim their “information” is “surpressed”.

This comparison doesn’t surprise me at all. After all, we had the classic Holocaust references with the likes of Del Bigtree and the Yellow Star. How in the world could you think that this is okay!
And yesterday, you won’t believe it, Larry Cook posted a picture comparing the “persecution” of Anti-Vaxxers with the persecution of Anne Frank, a girl who died during the Nazi Regime.

I took a look at Barbara’s website NVIC again. I disgusts me. They present themselves as so official, the name alone sounds so official that I understand how parents can fall for it. It makes me sick. The name is just Orwellian as you once put it.

The irony being that Anne Frank died of typhus, a vaccine-preventable disease, that was endemic in the Nazi death camps

As was vaccine experimentation on human subjects. A ‘captive audience’; something many here strive for.

A lot of medical experiments, covering a lot of different medical questions, were done on people in the camps.
That you use this to attack vaccination speaks to the weakness of your arguments.

It’s worth noting that the estimated heritability (80%) in this new work doesn’t, of course, include de novo mutations that have been shown to substantially contribute to ASD. That is, this study does not suggest the fraction of the 20% of nonheritable ASD risk that is therefore “environmental.” De novo mutations could explain half of the nonheritable twenty percent, leaving the rest to include well-established causes of ASD such as maternal infection–but suggesting yet again that ASD is overwhelmingly of genetic origin.

Iossifov I, et al. The contribution of de novo coding mutations to autism spectrum disorder. Nature. 2014 Nov 13;515(7526):216-21.

@ brian,

I’m assuming that a prerequisite for the consensus of MIA would be the acceptance off ‘IA’?

Not sure how Zombie Mommy consumed the social-learning based synapses that start generating at age two but … ya know; braaaains … it’s always about brains with those zombies.

Iossifov I, et al. The contribution of de novo coding mutations to autism spectrum disorder. Nature. 2014 Nov 13;515(7526):216-21.

OK, nothing personal, but I would like to gently suggest that folks include DOIs or Pubmed links when citing.

I remember a polio epidemic when I was eleven, coming up to twelve years old. Children were not allowed school sports or Christmas parties. Most of us were hastily vaccinated. I only knew one child of my age who had polio; she suffered a slight malformation of the leg that was barely perceptible.

Many people needed an iron lung. Google that and see one thing that vaccination has saved us from.

So BLF sez: her opposition comes from “wealth and political influence linked to corporatized government that seeks ownership of our physical bodies.” Boom goes the irony meter! NVIC would be nowhere w/o the wealth and political influence of Claire Dwoskin, and anti-vaxers think THEY are absolute owners of their children’s bodies. Fisher must be trying to compete with Lindsay Graham, for the most McCarthyite politico falsely accusing their opponents of McCarthyism.

We might laugh, though, at her attempt to mobilize classical liberalism for antivax. I guess she didn’t get the memo from the Oregon GOP and the Trump worship on most antivax sites.


Pentagon Contractor Allegedly Threatened to Kill Congresswoman Over Vaccine Bill
Jackie Kucinich • Washington Bureau Chief .. Lachlan Markay • Reporter
A Pentagon cybersecurity contractor has been charged with threatening to kill a member of Congress over the introduction of a bill that would require public schools to vaccinate children, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Maryland. Darryl Albert Varnum of Westminster, Maryland called the congressperson—identified only as “congressperson #1”—on June 28, 2019, according to the complaint, and left a voicemail threatening to kill the member if the bill was introduced.

“I’m gonna kill your ass if you do that bill. I swear,” Varnum’s voicemail began. “I will fucking come down and kill your fucking ass. And you’re a Congressperson, that’s fine. I hope the fucking FBI, CIA and everybody else hears this shit… This is the United States of America, bitch. Get the fuck out,” the voicemail continued. “I’ll tell you what I’ll come down to Miami bitch. I’ll fuck you up. Like the Cubans don’t even know.”

Though the name of the member targeted is not listed in the complaint, The Daily Beast has learned that the Varnum’s death threat was directed at Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL). According to the complaint, the voicemail was left at the congresswoman’s Florida office. And Varnum’s tirade centered on The Vaccinate All Children Act, legislation introduced by Wilson in May. The bill would require all public schools to vaccinate all their students in order to receive any federal funding. It exempts from the requirement any student whose doctor certifies that a vaccination might endanger the child’s health.

On his Facebook page, Varnum compared The Vaccinate All Children Act to the Holocaust—a common trope used by vaccine skeptics. “I’m done with this bullshit. Time to step up or ship out,” he wrote. In a comment on that post, Varnum added, “All of our guns are next. Been trying for years!” The complaint notes that Varnum is a current employee of Sealing Technology. Law enforcement agents from the U.S. Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service advised that he currently works at the Defense Information Systems Agency as a part of a contract between Sealing and DISA.

According to the complaint, Varnum’s wife previously told police that he owns “numerous guns.” He has registered just one: a .45 caliber Ruger pistol. His wife’s statement came in the course of another law enforcement encounter in 2015. Carroll County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call from Varnum’s wife, who reported that her husband was having “behavioral issues.” When police arrived, an intoxicated Varnum had holed up in his garage with a rifle and a bottle of vodka, insisting that Taliban militants were en route to his house. Police said Varnum was “cooperative and non-violent” during that interaction, and he was transported to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. Neither DISA nor Sealing responded to questions about their knowledge of that 2015 encounter, or of his more recent arrest.

Just curious if using the name Bloefish would be considered an ad hominem attack or not.

@ Doritmi and Narad – From the article, “Researchers are ramping up efforts to figure out why some vaccines protect for mere weeks but others work for life. “We simply don’t know what the rules are to inducing long-lasting immunity,” says Plotkin. I don’t think the science is settled. Again, a statement like this does not instill confidence in a critical thinking person. If this is an unknown, then more information needs to be obtained. Is this the role of VAERS? If post marketing date is being collected, albeit poorly, then we (the general public) are still subjects of an experiment. Therefore, informed consent must apply.

You know this applies to wild infections as well, right?
Not knowing the exact mechanism that dictates that humans don’t build long-lasting immunity to pertussis doesn’t protect anyone from pertussis infection.

You sounds like you’re saying that until we understand every single aspect of an incredibly complex and changing system then we can’t make use of the parts we do understand and protect ourselves and instead people should just die of infectious diseases.

That’s like saying “until you can build a car from scratch, starting with iron ore, and re-derive every single physics principle involved, then you can’t drive a car”.

Then, informed consent is still applicable. We the general public and mainly children are still subjects of an experiment! This is why Nuremberg is brought up repeatedly! Have you heard of medical ethics?

Yes, Natalie, I have heard of medical ethics. You know what hasn’t heard of medical ethics? Bacteria. Viruses. Parasites.

You’re still going to get wild infections. You may or may not build long-lasting immunity to that infection, based on a lot of factors, some of which are not known, but clearly exist. Lots of people all over the world are trying to understand the factors that influence durable immune memory.

Nothing is perfect. There is no informed consent to life, to nature.

There are, of course, many studies of persistence of antibodies:
Persistence of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Antibodies in an MMR-Vaccinated Cohort: A 20-Year Follow-up
Irja Davidkin Sari Jokinen Mia Broman Pauli Leinikki Heikki Peltola
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 197, Issue 7, 1 April 2008, Pages 950–956,
Rubella 100% and measles 95 %. Live time immunity. Besides that, this is about efficiency, not safety.

If someone falsely believes they are protected when they are not, then it is a safety issue too.

Insights about vaccine durability from unusually successful inoculations are also sparking scrutiny of existing vaccine booster recommendations.
You did not cite that part. Surprise!

Too many unknowns.

Do you have the slightest idea how the device you’re using to make a fool of yourself works?

I don’t think the science is settled.

Please provide an example of “settled science.”

Again, a statement like this does not instill confidence in a critical thinking person.

What, did you go out and find one? Do they hang out shingles or something?

“Does it work, and if so, how well?” is a very different question than “how does it work?” and “why does it work?”

When the smallpox vaccine was developed, humans had yet to discover viruses. At that point, they could answer “how does it work?” in the sense that they knew how to make a vaccine, and how to use it to vaccinate people. They didn’t know what then happened inside the human body to protect people from smallpox, and the vaccine worked. Many vaccines are given to children too young to understand how they work, sometimes too young to understand what they’re being protected from, and that doesn’t make the vaccines less effective.

Our lives are full of things we don’t understand in detail: how does a jet airplane work? Starting from seeds, how would you produce a cotton shirt? Fortunately, I don’t have to grow my own cotton, or figure out for myself whether a given airplane is safe to fly. (I have a lot more confidence in the people who will make my next flu vaccine than in some of the companies that grow and distribute the food I eat.)

Immunity is complex and more than antibody response. Repeatedly and artificially triggering and tricking the immune system would explain the explosion of autoimmune diseases many suffer from today. It’s shameful our post marketing surveillance is so bad. Again, it appears those who need to know, don’t want to know.

Repeatedly and artificially triggering and tricking the immune system would explain the explosion of autoimmune diseases many suffer from today.

How? Oh, and what explosion? Details, details….

Narad: How dare you ask for facts? How McCarthyite of you!

P.S. I found this interesting quote on the internet attributed to a “Natalie White” (or maybe it was Abraham Lincoln) : “I can think of no more effective aid to health than vaccines; over the course of the last century, vaccines have improved the lives of millions of people.”

If you skip artificial stuff, you mean that adjuvants cause autoimmune diseases. You should cites studies here. Believing regardless of studies is actually faith.
You could do Google Scholar search “hpv vaccine post licensure”. 4500 hits. There are lots of post licensure monitoring.

Repeatedly and artificially triggering and tricking the immune system…

OK, now that the Cubs have melted down again and I’ve extracted a broken key from a lock (3 hours; I reek of WD-40), and given that you babble tirelessly about the immune system, I’m curious whether you can explain what a terminal center is without looking it up.

There is a second, pedagogical step, mind you.

Immunity is complex and more than antibody response. Repeatedly and artificially triggering and tricking the immune system would explain the explosion of autoimmune diseases many suffer from today.

It’s as if you don’t know what virulence factors are.

@Natalie White Assuredly, no children is subjected to an experiment (if you exclude autism biomed. Have you heard about a animal experiments and clinical trials ?

@Aarno – Post marketing surveillance indicates the experiment is ongoing, however, the process for gathering the info is flawed and ineffective by design.

“Repeatedly and artificially triggering the immune system” through vaccination has to cause autoimmune disorders in Natalie’s view (though we lack evidence to support such a connection).

But good evidence that “naturally” triggering the immune system through infections with EBV, mumps, rubella etc. is linked with development of autoimmune diseases is something Natalie is unaware of, or ignores.

By preventing infection through vaccination we are helping prevent autoimmune diseases as well.

SOME evidence suggests that bacterial and viral infections MAY play a part in the development of autoimmune diseases.” I stopped reading after that…don’t have the time for more nonsense.

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

She was advised of this the last time she trotted it out. For that matter, what does Jefferson have to do with anything? It’s just repeatedly blurting out an aphorism when all else has failed.

@ Andrew,

As much as I hate Snopes, I know how much ya’ll here like your predigested/regurgitated & sanctioned ‘facts’:

How does legislating morality being as futile as legislating what a person might swallow, NOT mean that legislating what a person swallows; is as futile as legislating morality?

Or has someone not allowed you to think that far ahead? Gawd, the lengths some will go to, just to discredit someone else.

Only seen in conversations about vaccines. Because the science is so strong n stuff.

@Christine K – “the lengths some will go to, just to discredit someone else” – Some may feel uncomfortable when inconsistencies in rhetoric from the sickophants are highlighted. An opportunity to discredit in any way equates in their mind a “win”. Anyway, personally, Jefferson seemed like another major a-hole, eg.. slave owner and child rapist. So, in hindsight, quoting him may have not been the best choice. Heh! Heh!

On a more interesting note, have you seen this? Worth your time…. it took me a few days…30 min or so segments as I could fit in.

I can attest that the very first quote by Plotkin has been trotted out by woo-meisters and anti-vaxxer- I’ve heard or read it many times.

I am always disturbed that some folks seem to care more about two fetuses legally aborted over fifty years ago than real living children and soon become babies in the present.

Plus, as mentioned in that article that they scream for a “vaxed versus unvaxed” study, but then condemn those very same studies done before the 1980s.

Essentially, that deposition was an elderly man being badgered by motivated lawyers who had a specific agenda. It had nothing to do with science.

Here is some reading you can do for free by just going to your local public library:
The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease by Meredith Wadman

By the way, what was the outcome of that lawsuit?

Judge ordered the child vaccinated. Mother missed deadline to appeal, requested extension, has filed an appeal long after the deadline.

I would add that Dr. Plotkin was not given the topics of the deposition in advance, to my knowledge, or prepared in any way.

So he was ambushed. Uh, huh… very “professional.” That makes his testimony even less valid. And it still has nothing to do with science.

Sure would like to read this but don’t want to pay for it.

You could always do the obvious, if you can figure it out. Haven’t I already given you a hint?

Found it yet? I’ll provide a copy (which I neither used my institutional credentials or paid to obtain) if you either admit that you don’t understand the world of journals access or grovel.

@Chris – they scream for a “vaxed versus unvaxed” study, but then condemn those very same studies done before the 1980s. Are you SERIOUS? Do I need to show the difference between in vaccination schedules from before the 80’s to now?

No, you do not. I know that there are now vaccines for an actual disease that sent my toddler to the hospital, and for another disease that caused the youngest to suffer dearly as a six month. And now as a graduate student, that child is more likely to get shingles due to stress.

I also know that two vaccines used in the 1980s are not on the schedule anymore. They were replaced by safer versions.

What you do need to show are the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the actual diseases.

Really do tell us why it is better for toddlers to get seizures from an actual disease, and for a baby to suffer through chicken pox. Why would anyone want to torture a baby with dozens of itchy open wounds on their body?

@Chris – My body, my choice. My child, my choice. A rash “like” chickenpox listed as a “side” affect. Hmm all these affects sound like symptoms of the disease. Oh yea, they are milder than the actual disease and you’re protected, until it no longer works. How long are you protected? The whitecoats don’t know and we’re told told to just get a booster. How long does the booster last? Unknown. Confidence meter at 0.

I included the schedules for comparison anyway.

So you are cool with children suffering seizures, fever, pain and possible long term effects because vaccines don’t last long enough. So both the Nirvana Fallacy and a bit of child hating sadism.

And you seem to be cool with those whose parents chose to let their kids suffer from full on infections that they pass them on to vulnerable populations, like babies, where the complications can be even more dire.

Next time just stick to PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that show any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the diseases.

If I received money from drug companies I wouldn’t need to counsel people, charge rent or carefully watch my investment income.
I never received any money or made any investments in these companies except for via mutual funds who do as they please without my input LIKE ALL mutual funds do. . In fact, their major foci have little to do with pharma.

Plus the article had an apple to oranges comparison of a vaccine given to children and the elderly versus a drug used only by men with a physical difficulty to perform.

A better comparison would have been comparing the cost of the vaccine with the costs of treating the number of pneumonia caused by those several pathogens. If my father had not been so stubborn he would still be alive. Yep, killed by pneumonia.

@Deni$e Walter$ [sic**] – Ring, ring – Pfizer is calling.

Yah. Of course, if anyone wants to see the actual prices, including historical data , which Fortune couldn’t be bothered to link to or so much as cite figures from,*** here is a handy-dandy set of tables from the CDC.

** Dumbass.
*** Perhaps you find better sources or learn to do your own fucking homework.

Oh, I know.
I find it telling when accomplished researchers , investigative reporters ** and expert truth tellers misspell, mispronounce and generally, malapropise their way around a topic as they “demolish” SBM or sceptics!

** who can forget, ” the great Italian artist, TITAN” ?
many more examples where that came from I fear
I’m here all week

…and now you pull the victim card….classic tactic! Simultaneously amusing and annoying. Ugh.

Yea, sure, ya betcha. Except unlike you and Christine, these stories get documented:

Oh, and this was a popular disease when my oldest was young. His younger brother did get the vaccine:

At a mommy/baby group I met a woman whose oldest child, same age as my oldest, died from Hib. I know another whose child was permanently disabled by it… again the same age as my oldest.

So, really, where is that PubMed indexed study reputable qualified researchers that show any American pediatric vaccine causing more harm than the disease. Or do you just really love it when kids get meningitis and seizures.

@Natalie White
You should do some Google Scholar searching
Persistence of Immunity to Live Attenuated Varicella Vaccine in Healthy Adults
Krow Ampofo, Lisa Saiman, Philip LaRussa, Sharon Steinberg, Paula Annunziato, Anne Gershon
Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 34, Issue 6, 15 March 2002, Pages 774–779,
Published: 15 March 2002
I am quite sure that white coats knew this.

@Aarno – Thanks for chiming in. “8 weeks to 11.8 years ” seems like quite a gap to me…maybe this is acceptable for others.

The paper said nothing like that. It said that 9% of vaccinees get a mild rash 8 months to 11.8 years after vaccination. Mild rash is not a disease and 91% is not 0%.
Another paper to ponder:
Long-term persistence of anti-HPV-16 and -18 antibodies induced by vaccination with the AS04-adjuvanted cervical cancer vaccine: Modeling of sustained antibody responses
Marie-Pierre David Koen Van Herck Karin Hardt Fabian Tibaldi Gary Dubin Dominique Descamps Pierre Van Damme
Gynecologic Oncology
Volume 115, Issue 3, Supplement, December 2009, Pages S1-S6

@Chris – “If my father had not been so stubborn he would still be alive. Yep, killed by pneumonia”. Would this qualify as anecdotal like your other stories? I think so.

No. Funny how you latch on to that, and not the several links I gave you to the harm from diseases. Here is another for you:

Also, you also seemed to have ignored the idiotic comparison made in that article. From a vaccine given to a good percentage of children and older adults to prevent a disease that is responsible for hundreds of thousands hospital visits, and almost fifty thousand death….. versus a pill for men who are trying to become human dildos.

So where are those PubMed indexed studies by that show any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule caused more harm than the disease. So how does the Hib vaccine compare against a kid actually getting Haemophilus influenzae type B? Show us the data.

By the way are you in Big Hospital supply providing ventilation equipment to keep people alive? Or do you just enjoy the idea of people dying as fluid fills their lungs or as the bacteria grows vegetation on heart valves?

@Narad – * You misspelled “chattel.” * Your word – not mine. A glimpse into a whitecoats inner world? It seems a certain amount of detachment would be requited – to dehumanize en masse….. in the name of science, the greater good, research funds, and the big prize, a patent $$$$ !

These poor children were subjects of an experiment and called “Guinea Pig Kids” by the BBC – very sad.

As for wanting to read – No thank you. I’ve changed my mind. I doubt if there is anything useful or informative in the article.

I don’t know where sourcewatch pulled that article from, but I will note that AZT was tested in a RDBCT in 1985 before those trials to see if it was effective in treating children with HIV/AIDS.

You probably can’t read either that or the pediatrics article without special access, but it doesn’t take long to read the abstract.

And if you’re willing to spend 9 hours watching the video where Plotkin was blindsided by hostile lawyers when he showed up to give a deposition, you should at least be willing to read a few paragraphs of what is, in essence, his reply and advice based on that experience.

Yeah, asking her to read something that goes against her convictions is apparently a form of torture. She has not bothered reading any of the links I provided on the actual harms of disease. Instead she leaps on anything that looks like an anecdote.

Though unlike Christine when I mention the diseases my kids got, it is not a “woe is me!” scenario. It is more “woe to kids suffering” because I hated seeing in pain. Because in the anti-vax world it is all about the parent, not about the kids. The kids are just possessions that need to be fixed.

I do not have much respect to any full grown adult who thinks a child, especially a baby, should get a vaccine preventable disease for “reasons.” There is no good reason to subject a child to a chicken pox party instead of two varicella vaccines.

@Narad – * You misspelled “chattel.” * Your word – not mine.

This is a nonresponse. “My child, my choice” is equivalent to declaring children to be property, viz., chattel. Complaining about having this pointed out, and moreover, sidestepping the point in this fashion, merely goes to demonstrating your incompetence or cowardice or plain-old bad faith when it comes to argumentation.

The sour-grapes routine over the Plotkin editorial was just precious, though.

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