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Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics

A Senate committee calls science denialist crank Dr. Jane Orient to testify on COVID-19 vaccines

Dr. Jane Orient is Executive Director of the antivax, COVID-19 minimizing, conspiracy mongering fake medical professional association Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Why has she been invited to testify before a Senate committee about COVID-19 vaccines?

If you follow me on Twitter at all, you’ll know that over the last few days I’ve been asking why there are so many horrible people with horrible anti-science and antivaccine views in health care. What led me to ask this question over and over again are examples of physicians saying they never wear masks around their patients as they deny the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and a nurse posting Tik Tok videos making fun of the shocked reaction they imagine from their colleagues upon their learning that outside of work she doesn’t follow COVID-19 safety guidelines or even wear a mask in public. Of course, my interpretation is that there have always been this many horrible people in medicine and that the pandemic has brought them out of the woodwork and shined a light on them as never before. After all, I’ve been covering such quacks for nearly 16 years, including antivax pediatricians, cancer quacks, and quacks pushing unproven and ineffective treatments against COVID-19 even as others deny that the disease is anything to worry about, as at least one of them has a history of claiming that cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches. This brings me to someone whom I’ve discussed before, Dr. Jane Orient, who, I learned last night, has been invited to testify before an important Senate committee.

There is only one appropriate reaction to this story:

OK, maybe there’s another:

Godzilla facepalm

You get the idea.

Let’s see what the New York Times has to say:

A doctor who is skeptical of coronavirus vaccines and promotes the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment will be the lead witness at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday, prompting criticism from Democrats who say Republicans should not give a platform to someone who spreads conspiracy theories.

Dr. Jane M. Orient is the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group that opposes government involvement in medicine and views federal vaccine mandates as a violation of human rights.

“A public health threat is the rationale for the policy on mandatory vaccines. But how much of a threat is required to justify forcing people to accept government-imposed risks?” Dr. Orient wrote in a statement to the Senate last year, calling vaccine mandates “a serious intrusion into individual liberty, autonomy and parental decisions.”

Let me just mention a pet peeve of mine here first. Actually, let me mention two pet peeves. First, the headline of the article very much grates on me, because Dr. Orient is not a scientist. Most physicians are not scientists, but she in particular is most definitely not a scientist. I am happy to note that the headline has apparently been changed to describe her as an “antivaccine doctor,” which is far more accurate, but you can see in the preview of the Tweet that I posted that the original headline called her an “antivaccine scientist” (which is why I cleverly posted that Tweet instead of just linking to the article). Second, the reporter, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, used the word “skeptical” to describe Dr. Orient. As I will show and discuss, Dr. Orient is not a “skeptic.” She is not “skeptical” of coronavirus vaccines or any vaccine for that matter. She is an antivaxxer. In fact, she is more than that. She is an ideologically motivated science denialist who denies climate science, for example, and as well as public health interventions for COVID-19.

To understand why I say these things about Dr. Orient, you need to know that she is the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a right-wing, science denying, conspiracy mongering organization that masquerades as a professional medical society. Quite simply, the AAPS is a science denialist organization that uses its disguise as a legitimate medical professional society to give itself enough of a veneer of medical and scientific credibility that it all too often can slip its crank viewpoints and science denial into mainstream news outlets as though these views were coming from a legitimate reputable medical source. Indeed, I’ve been writing about the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since I first discovered this far right wing/libertarian crank organization disguised as a legitimate medical society and its crank journal, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS) in 2006.

At the time, I noted that the group was pretty much a fusion of a John Birch Society-like right wing group with a medical society and that it traffics in the most vile antivaccine misinformation (e.g., from the claim that shaken baby syndrome is a “misdiagnosis” for vaccine injury that I discussed the first time I found the group to Andrew Wakefield’s claim a year ago that the measles vaccine will result in a mass extinction of humans), anti-immigrant fear-mongering, climate science denial, HIV/AIDS denialism, blaming breast cancer on abortion using execrable “science,” and more. The AAPS views doctors as some sort of mythical brave mavericks outside the “herd” (of sheeple, apparently) whose godlike total autonomy must never be infringed by the government, having gone on record about Medicare as stating that “the effect of the law is evil and participation in carrying out its provisions is, in our opinion, immoral.” Basically AAPS rejects any government involvement in medicine, be it Medicare and Medicaid or even state medical boards, as an unacceptable impingement on the absolute autonomy of physicians. It rejects even the concept of a scientific consensus about anything, while rejecting evidence-based guidelines as—you guessed it!—an unacceptable affront to the godlike autonomy of physicians. It last hit the news in a big way four years ago, when it was reported that Donald Trump’s pick to be his first Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, was a member of AAPS. More recently, right before the pandemic overwhelmed all other news, it even sued to protect its “right” to promote antivaccine misinformation.

Let me repeat: Dr. Orient has been the Executive Director for AAPS for a long time now. She is very much a “thought leader” in the organization (if you can call her that).

But what about Dr. Jane Orient herself? She’s featured on this blog on a number of occasions, such as when during the 2016 election cycle she promoted the myth being spread at the time by a number of pro-Trump sources that Hillary Clinton had Parkinson’s disease and peddled antivaccine conspiracy theories around Zika virus. She’s also on record as denying the very concept of a scientific consensus about anything. Since the pandemic hit, she and AAPS have hopped aboard the COVID-19 denying quackery grift train, with Dr. Orient denying that masks work to slow the spread of the disease while embracing unproven Trump-promoted “cures” like hydroxychloroquine and seeking to blame the rapid spread of COVID-19 on illegal immigrants. (Unsurprisingly, Dr. Orient is very much pro-Trump.)

Of course, antivaxxers gonna antivax by spreading antivaccine disinformation, all while denying they are antivax, and Dr. Orient is no different:

In a phone interview on Sunday, Dr. Orient, an internist who received her medical degree from Columbia University in New York, resisted being cast as an “anti-vaxxer” and said she would not get a coronavirus vaccine because she had an autoimmune condition. She added that she opposed the government’s push for all Americans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, noting that both vaccine candidates — one made by the Pfizer and the other by Moderna — use a new scientific method.

“It seems to me reckless to be pushing people to take risks when you don’t know what the risks are,” Dr. Orient said, adding: “People’s rights should be respected. Where is ‘my body, my choice’ when it comes to this?”

Ah, yes, the “I’m not ‘antivaccine’; I’m…” gambit, in this case, “I’m not ‘antivaccine’; I’m ‘pro-freedom’!” Then, of course, Dr. Orient is claiming she has an autoimmune condition and citing it as a reason why she won’t accept a COVID-19 vaccine for herself, when most autoimmune conditions are not contraindication to vaccination. Indeed, most such conditions make vaccination even more imperative, if there is immune compromise associated with the condition.

If you want evidence of how far down the rabbit hole of COVID-19 and antivaccine conspiracy theories and pseudoscience the Republican Party has gone, look no further than the invitation by Senator Ron Johnson, Chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the Senate, of Dr. Jane Orient to testify on—of all topics!—COVID-19 vaccines and hydroxychloroquine tomorrow. I can only picture the incredible eyeballs that my own senator, Senator Gary Peters, who happens to be the ranking Democratic member of the committee, has likely been engaged in since he learned of Dr. Orient’s invitation to testify.

This sort of tactic by science denialists is, of course, nothing new. The antivaccine movement has been managing to get sympathetic members of Congress to do this sort of thing for years, inviting fake antivaccine “experts” and antivax doctors to testify before various Congressional committees, while inviting CDC officials to testify, all for the purpose of being harangued about nonexistent “risks” of vaccination, such as autism. Who here remembers Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), who, as a believer in the discredited idea that thimerosal in childhood vaccines caused autism, used his position as the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the late 1990s and early 2000s to do just that?

Given how thoroughly President Trump and his conspiracy mongering have completely infested and taken over the Republican Party, it is, sadly, no surprise that Sen. Johnson would invite a crank like Dr. Orient as the lead “expert” witness to testify before his committee about COVID-19 vaccines. Sadly, what he has provided is yet another platform for antivaccine and COVID-19 cranks and conspiracy theorists to spread their disinformation, quackery, and pandemic denial to a large audience. I only hope that reporters covering this hearing don’t go all “both sides” and “false balance” when reporting the scientifically unsupportable nonsense that Dr. Orient will no doubt spew in abundance before the committee. I hope even more that Senators who support science, be they Democrats or Republicans (although, let’s face it, in this case in the waning days of Donald Trump’s Presidency, it will, sadly, almost certainly be just Democrats), will grill her thoroughly when the time comes to ask questions.

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]

67 replies on “A Senate committee calls science denialist crank Dr. Jane Orient to testify on COVID-19 vaccines”

Orient practices (consulting only of course, she’s much too good to practive primary care you know) in Tucson where I had my pediatric practice from 2004-2015. In 2008 there as a 21-patient measles outbreak in Tucson. A local TV station covering the outbreak ended its story with a local pediatric infectious disease doctor urging parents to vaccinate their children, followed by Orient telling parents not to vaccinate their children. It was unforgiveable.

Also let’s AAPS had Wakefield as a speaker at the 2011 annual meeting: https://youtu.be/l67fWVrw8xU

I’m so damn tired of these anti-vax, anti-public health physicians.

This is the committee that includes Senator Dr. Paul Rand, who has been anti-vaccine for a long time and has recently been making comments denying Covid-19. Apparently, though, he’s not the one who invited her.

I doubt this Doctor would be invited to our parliament here in the UK. We do have a right wing PM and government but they are very pro vaccine and dont seem to have the same baggage right wingers have in America. Conspiracy theories, anti mask, hydroxychloroquine plus a pinch of zinc, none of that nonsense.

Fergus, there are two primary ways someone from outside Parliament can get to speak in Parliament. One is being summoned to answer to a Parliamentary Select committee, which is the equivalent of what Dr Orient is being invited to do by Sen. Johnson: that would indeed be highly unlikely for someone so far out of the mainstream. The other is being invited by any MP or peer to speak to an audience of Parliamentarians and/or guests in one of the many rooms bookable for events in the Palace of Westminster. Sadly this is entirely possible, as several of our duly elected/unelected fruitcakes and loons have demonstrated over the years.

I must say, I do love Oracs blog for pointing out who the cutting edge of science and medicine are and who I should be following for advice.

I do love how Orac’s blog attracts mindless prats such as yourself who obligingly and publicly humiliate themselves for my entertainment. It never fails to bring a smile to my face (and occasionally a poem to my fingertips). Since laughter is the best medicine I am in excellent health thanks to you and your cohort.

I like ‘pratt’.
Lately I’ve been defaulting to Italian** because I’ve got tired of loon,scoffer,, wacko, “faker”,,SFB, scammer etc

** don’t ask,

“Mindless prat” is from one of my favorite books. That’s why I chose it. The world needs more Douglas Adams.

PRATT is also a well-known abbreviation for “Point Refuted A Thousand Times”. Which is something a lot of these prats love to do when they argue.

@rs: Well, March 8 this year was the 42nd anniversary of HHGTTG. And then the World Health Organisation began advising people to regularly sanitise their telephones. And of course, Douglas Adams still has the best advice for the year: “Don’t panic!” Which we should write in large, friendly letters where we can easily see it.

It was merely a thinly veiled suggestion that norcal was garbage that needed to be swept up. I guess I inadverntenly got the syntax correct and some ‘is it code’ filter did not like that.

Her presence was quite memorable. I was new to this teh interwebs, and she was definitely wacka doodle. That was when I still had a Compuserve account with a phone modem.

Fergus: “I doubt this Doctor would be invited to our parliament here in the UK. We do have a right wing PM and government but they are very pro vaccine and dont seem to have the same baggage right wingers have in America.”

Well, maybe not. But you once had Vernon Coleman (antivax loon and all-purpose medical nitwit) invited to address Parliament, and he makes Jane Orient look like the sober voice of reason.

Coleman and a couple of like-minded antivaxers/conspiracy theorists (the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and David Icke) were on the speakers’ schedule at a recent big Covidiot rally in London.

http://irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/thousands-of-covid-19-sceptics-and-anti-vaxxers-protest-in-london-1.4342128

Thankfully the Brits don’t have a major political party with numerous members supporting or enabling antivaccine sentiment and/or pseudoscientific nonsense. Still, polling shows only about 42% of U.K. residents saying they’ll definitely get vaccinated against Covid-19, which indicates there’s work to do.

Yep. All true. I wonder if your high profile celebrity antivaxxers actually have a big say in this? They probably have more influence than the Orients of this world. Doesnt help that she is given such a platform though.

I’ve got some questions about this bit about the AAPS: “the absolute autonomy of physicians”.

How absolute are they talking? Like, do they have any internal standard of conduct, like “no sexual relations with your patients” or “no operating under the influence”?
Or are they fully out there with “I can do whatever I want because I have an MD”? Because that would really fit with their 19th century approach to life.

None of that. They are so libertarian to believe they can do whatever it is they like. But they definitely want to be able to tell everyone else what they can do.

Charles Pierce also wrote about this today at Esquire, and added this delicious tidbit from an Atlantic article:

“In 2008, an article on AAPS’s website suggested that President Barack Obama was covertly hypnotizing people with his speeches, and that this might explain why Jews voted for him.”

I remember that one now. It seems there is no conspiracy theory they won’t indulge in.

They are like one of those joke institutions, like Lyons-Weiler’s institute of Pure and Applied Knowledge. Back when I was at University, one summer holidays at the beach we decided to create an Institute of Applied Apathy. I regret a little that we never formalised it.

A racist two-fer! Woo-hoo! I’m just surprised the article’s writer didn’t manage to work illegal immigrants into the piece.

What can you expect from an association that’s the medical spin-off of the John Birch Society?

The GOP has become the anti-science party so while disappointing, not shocking. I can only hope that some on the committee will have done their homework and expose Orient for the crank she is.

I saw it briefly on television but was able to find it-
National Geographic : a new NG/ Morning Consult poll shows that 69% of men and 51% of women would accept a new Covid vaccine; Democrats more than Republicans Details..
The difference is alarming: why are women so……?
( fill in the blank) I’d rather not.

Medicine can be very patriarchal, and some doctors can be very dismissive of women’s medical issues, dismissing them as hormonal or anxiety. I suspect that may play a part in it.

@ Terrie:

While I suspect that that’s a part of it, there might be something else going on.

It might be fun to discuss priorities for vaccination. Medical care providers, certainly, essential workers, anyone exposed everyday. There is some dispute concerning the advisability of the innoculation of elderly inhabitants of congregate communities like nursing homes, since their immune systems may not mount an adequate response, but the people who work in such facilities should certainly be prioritized.

I’m 69, borderline elderly, but it’s like the joke about what violists use for birth control (their personalities). I’m pretty low-risk, all things considered. i can wait.

It has occasionally been suggested that potential super-spreaders should go to the front of the line, kids old enough to engage in the search for a mate and to young to exhibit common sense (roughly those between 16 and 25). There is considerable overlap between this population and those engaged in work with the public.

The formula for priority should include both the risk of infection (low for the young, high for the elderly) and the likelihood of propagation (nearly the reverse).

While I’m here, let me complain about the lack of consensus about the risks to children and the safety of schools. I’m in a pod with my brother’s family, and I was relieved when my nephew’s school did not return to physical attendance. He was disappointed. Weekly tests were promised, but their inadequacy is obvious.

I looked at the NYT tool for figuring out how many people are ahead of you in line for a COVID vaccine in your county.
Currently I’m behind health care workers, nursing home residents, first responders, people with health risks, other elderly, essential workers, teachers, homeless, prisoners, young adults, children (if approved), other essential workers, and everyone who doesn’t fall into one of those categories who is older than me.

Which looks exactly right to me from a public health perspective.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Monday raided the home of a former Department of Health data analyst who has been running an alternative web site to the state’s COVID dashboard, alleging that she may have broken into a state email system and sent an unauthorized message to employees.
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“This was a threat,” Jones said in an interview with the Herald/Times at her home Monday night. “It is one thing to point a gun six inches away from my face and threaten me. It is another to point it at my 2-year-old’s face.”
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Jones was fired in May after she complained in an email to users of a state data portal that the state was manipulating data.
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“Hacking is not something I ever thought they would accuse me of because I have never displayed any capability of doing that,” she said. “I’ve never taken any computer courses or anything like that. I do statistics in a software program designed basically to do all that stuff for you by clicking stuff.”
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“If I was really that skilled that I could hack a system, and I was going to make people feel bad about this, I at least would have the number of deaths right, because it didn’t include any of the non-residents.”
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“The most damning stuff that they are going to get from that equipment is the information about all of the employees from the state who have talked to me over the last six months,” Jones said. “And, the fact that I promised them I would never tell anybody who they were, or where they worked and I have failed to protect them, really f—–g pissed me off.”

Jones had attracted national attention for her work creating the dashboard, which had been singled out for praise last spring by Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. After she was removed for what the governor’s office called “insubordination,’’ Jones created a competing dashboard. Her version draws upon state data but offers an expanded menu of metrics, including data the state was not making public at the time — such as hospital bed availability by facility, a key number, especially now as the number of confirmed cases soars.
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“They took my phone and the computer I use every day to post the case numbers in Florida, and school cases for the entire country,’’ she said. “They took evidence of corruption at the state level. They claimed it was about a security breach. This was DeSantis. He sent the gestapo.”
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The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article247680010.html

She did a bad, bad thing.

I’m in Florida and closely followed this saga. I came to rely on her alternative dashboard. I know two ICU nurses here who confirmed that at their level they were subjected to harassment at their HCA hospital for telling families that the official state figures were not accurate and that they were not allowed to give anyone specifics about how many beds were occupied by COVID patients nor which of the three hospitals here had the most hospitalized COVID patients, etc. Dr. Jones’ dashboard clarified all that for the public.

De Santis is the corrupt posterior-licker of Donald Trump par excellence, second only to Matt Gaetz, who is unfortunately my congressional rep. Daddy bought him his seat in Congress as everyone here knows very well. This is someone who posted about the post-WWII Marshall Plan as first “the martial plan” and then the “marital plan.” I kid you not. That wasn’t an auto-complete error. This guy might as well apply for a marriage license with Drumpf–after Melania’s contract expires, of course. Retchworthy toadies.

Regarding gender-based differences on vaccine acceptance: while there is at least some evidence that women are more prone to anti-vaccination attitudes, when it comes to Covid-19, a survey of opinion in eight countries found that women were more likely to take Covid-19 seriously as a health threat and participate in measures to mitigate it.

https://www.pnas.org/content/117/44/27285.short?rss=1

So that poll about women being significantly less likely to say they’ll be vaccinated against Covid-19 is hard to explain on the basis of generalized suspicion of “patriarchal” medicine.

I don’t say it’s “the” factor, but simply one among many that might influence the issue. I’m skeptical that such differences can ever be explained by a single thing. Social behavior simply isn’t that cut and dry.

Plus, with a singe poll, there’s always the simple factor of outliers in your sample.

@ DB:

I agree. I can’t figure it out.
Also, women were more likely to vote Democratic who are more acceptant of the vaccine- could it be that at least some of this is because at the present time they mistrust Trump’s rush for this particular vaccine?.
Or could it be that anti-vax/ alt med propaganda has affected a significant portion of women because they fear for their children? A great deal of alt med stuff is aimed at women ( see Goop, social media BS, natural health/ beauty)
I’d like to see more figures. I’ve seen anti-vax beliefs in polls vary dependent upon how the question was asked but never is it so different based on sex.

-btw- Today is Vaccine Day. Maybe we’ll see Boris get a jab soon..

There’s been another shocking death.

As reported on Health Nut News and the website deaddeath.com (unimpeachable sources both), Brandy Vaughan who led two antivaccine groups, Learn The Risk and Council On Vaccine Safety was “found dead” today.

Vaughan reportedly had feared she was being poisoned and that her website had been sabotaged. She declared on social media that she was not depressed, was not on any daily pharmaceutical drug and that if anything happened to her, it was foul play and that a group of her friends would start a Go Fund Me campaign to hire private investigators to look into her death, and to send out press releases to every journalist in the country.

In 2018, Learn The Risk bought billboard space in several states to spread word of vaccine dangers, citing among other things the SIDS death of the child of martial artist Nick Catone as actually being due to vaccination.

I know that all of you will kick in $$ to have this mysterious holistic death investigated and the guilty pHARMa parties brought to heel.

In between watching starship SN8 sputter out, I though I heard that the dems largely did not participate in the farce. Before this site, I had never heard of AAPS but I guess the word is getting around.

…The fact that the AAPS is ignoring the growing bodies of evidence about pandemic treatment and control, however, suggests that information has nothing to do with the group’s perspective. But it doesn’t take much looking to figure out that the group’s perspective is consistently driven by ideology, which then causes it to take positions that fly in the face of mountains of evidence.
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… Something similar happened with HIV/AIDS, where the group objected to the government’s involvement in programs to limit the spread of the disease and do the research that enabled the development of treatments.
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…Unsurprisingly, Jane Orient of the AAPS is also active in the Heartland Institute, the US’ leading climate denialist organization.
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…So it’s not surprising that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was once a member of the group and had courted its members during his first run for Congress. And Tom Price, the former head of the Department of Health and Human Services, the government arm that has funded much of the research that the AAPS refuses to believe, was a member of the group while he was up for confirmation to that position.

The AAPS has returned the support, attacking conservatives’ political opponents. Its website still hosts a piece that suggests former President Barack Obama generated his support due to his ability to use his speeches to perform “hypnotic induction” on his audiences. And in its response to the 2020 presidential election, the organization published an op-ed that echoed Trump’s talking points both before and after the election:

“”One is hard-pressed to deny that Joe Biden is a weak, corrupt, pathologically lying, creepy dirty old man who has lived off the government teat for 50 years. And he allegedly won the 2020 presidential election. Are Americans that ignorant? Or has Joseph Stalin’s political philosophy that has been simmering in America for years finally come to fruition?

As an added bonus, the piece once again repeats the false claim that hydroxychloroquine has produced positive results when used to treat COVID-19. The organization freely mixes its derangements.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/12/senate-invites-fringe-unscientific-medical-group-to-testify-about-covid/

In other Covid denialism/ anti-vax news…

Natural News/ Brighteon, yesterday:
Mike’s latest video instructs ‘patriots’ to oppose leftists who are about to impose masks, vaccines and shutdowns the only way possible to stop them which is “to kill them” ( 3 minutes in) in the wake of the ‘stolen’ election. It will be a civil war for freedom, religion and gun rights .. he goes on for an hour or so, I’ll listen eventually but I thought that the beginning was worth mentioning.
He, Del, ,Cook, Null and other loons then wonder why they are being banned by Facebook and other social media.
I imagine that their desperation reflects an ongoing loss in sales and/ or contributions to their “charities’ due to the pandemic/ recession..

This of course is a felony and meets a couple of criteria for violation of the Constitution. Let’s hope the social media/network toadies who fail to control fake accounts have sense enough to contact the FBI about these lunatics. Domestic terrorism pure and simple, too.

Notice that Mike said this on his own video channel, Brighteon and his own website He has been tossed off of Facebook, etc. Not the first time he’s advocated violence, rebellion, armed uprising

In a way it doesn’t make any sense for some Trump goon to invite a deranged fanatic to appear. The Guardian’s and other outlets’ headlines clearly identify her as an anti-science nut. Are they 1) just trying to distract from other criminalities (uh, a big YES), 2) solidifying their nutjob base for future purposes, 3) still trying to “own the libs” who actually understand the concept of protecting public health, or 4) dogwhistling other quacks and medical frauds to let them know anything goes and there are no longer any controls or penalties for anti-science ridiculousness? Other potentially infinite explanations also exist. This bonehead move is so blatant that there must be some other agenda.

How do these people get through medical training anyway without being outed? I have a vet who is a secret homeopath, and I was kicked out of their practice for confronting her about it. Her response was that she is a “certified homeopath with 20 years of experience.” And I am a certified tooth fairy with 60 years of experience. This person somehow managed to earn a DVM and work as a veterinarian..

Is there no way to freeze out a student or resident who shows signs of being anti-science or anti-medicine?! Is it inertia, not wanting to throw away a big training investment? How do these cranks and charlatans get through legitimate training?!?

When I was getting my Master’s of Public Health from Respected State U, one of my classmates was a chiropractor and another was an MD who was also an acupuncturist (and that seemed to be her focus, she didn’t like being a clinic doc).

This being a program full of group work where getting along with your classmates was essential, I never said anything to either of them (though I think the chiro picked up on my feelings), but I did speak to the dean to make sure that this was a serious, science and evidence based program, because if it wasn’t I couldn’t stay. He promised it was a serious science-based program, and with the exception of those two, it was. The profs were top-notch.

I never understood why either of those people were getting an MPH, since neither seemed into the whole “prevention on a population scale” thing.

“How do these people get through medical training anyway without being outed?” There are a surprising number of people who get through medical school and never practice. So I don’t think there is a lot of screening for a lot of what we expect of people coming out of medical school, like wanting to practice medicine, or having some empathy to patients, so on some level I’m not surprised that some just aren’t into science.
I had a colleague at a cancer research institute who had a PhD in immunology and had been doing serious research for probably 10 years after school who suddenly decided that he was moving to Portland to study Chinese medicine and become a therapist. On his last day we’re walking to his good bye party and he’s going on and on and on about how “Western medicine can’t solve the root of any problem”. Finally I stopped him and gestured at the huge cancer research institute we were walking past – “Can’t solve the root of any problem like a bone marrow transplant can’t cure cancer?”
“Well, uh, what I mean is, like quality of life stuff…”

Then again he might not be a fair example, as I heard afterward he’d had pretty much his entire life collapse right before the whole “move to Portland” thing, so it might have just been a sign of a major break.

Political appeal here: I spent thirty years in academic medicine seeing the deficiencies in training that can somewhat identify but not stop these quacks from advancing further. When that much money is invested in someone, they can royally screw up with their major failures obfuscated or completely covered up, and then they go on their merry way because no one wants to take the hit for stopping a quack from going on to endanger the public, and too much $$ has already been invested in their training. I saw this happen dozens of times. Could write a book and may eventually do that. Licensed docs at all levels, not just inexperienced juniors.

There needs to be a uniform mechanism for identifying potentially quacky people who got through conventional training but are potentially a threat when they get licensed. How to do that on a national level because state boards in the US are so ineffectual? I have no solutions. This clearly nutty person who thinks she is some kind of MDeity should have been stripped of her license to provide direct patient care, but unfortunately she thinks she is such a gift from her deity that she is now a “consultant.” I think she is an utter nut who should be silenced–now.

As I see it, the real problem is toothless oversight of quacks who somehow get licensed and the utter failure of state med boards in the US. In my experience, I oversaw the effort at my university to keep incompetent practitioners restricted until they understood they did not belong in medicine and could be discreetly forced out. Many, many cases to recount about that…..

I know you are all eager for the latest updates on Brandy Vaughan, so here you go, from a major media source (heavy.com):

“The cause of death is pending toxicology but appears natural,” Raquel Zick, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, told Heavy. She said she could not be more specific about the nature of the natural cause of death. We also asked if suicide was ruled out, and Zick responded, “Suicide is not a natural cause of death.””

http://heavy.com/news/brandy-vaughan-dead/

There is a YouTube video in which Vaughan details what happened after she made an appearance to oppose SB277. Evidently person(s) unknown entered her house using her spare key which she had carefully hidden outdoors, inactivated her home security panel by inputting a code only she knew, but then allowed sensor alerts to trigger inside the home (sort of confusing), left objects out in places she hadn’t put them*, bugged the house, may have been watching her etc.

*I have often found things in places I hadn’t put them, but never really thought about the ramifications before.

“I have often found things in places I hadn’t put them”

Ahh; A cat person. Thought as much.

“ramifications”

If you drop dead in there for a couple days, they will eat your face.

Nowhere near as dramatic as a conspiracy involving poltergeists. Why go for the obvious explanation.

I’m surprised Sen. Johnson didn’t call Bill Sardi to testify before the committee, as he has the answer to defeating Covid-19.

Sardi (an antivaxer who sells supplement pills and promotes other forms of woo) has a new article up on his resveratrol “news” site which says 1) viruses can’t be grown in a “lab dish” because they can only replicate in living cells, and 2) resveratrol inhibits Covid-19 replication* by 98% in a lab dish.

Got that? If so, please explain it to me.

Oh, and Sardi says you can beat PCR testing for Covid when those nasty health authorities force it on you, and thus avoid quarantine – if you take resveratrol, zinc and garlic. You see, those things are active against polymerase enzyme, so you won’t get a positive test.

Thankfully this is nonsense. Nice though that Bill is content with the idea of infected people parading around thanks to false negative tests, sickening others.

*Bill apparently doesn’t know the difference between Covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2.

Oh, and Sardi says you can beat PCR testing for Covid when those nasty health authorities force it on you, and thus avoid quarantine – if you take resveratrol, zinc and garlic.

Perhaps Bill is relying on the garlic, because he thinks the testers are vampires?

Ignorance is no barrier to grifters. It likely helps.

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