Categories
Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Pseudoscience Skepticism/critical thinking

ICAN and Del Bigtree’s “victory” against the CDC: A huge nothingburger

Del Bigtree’s antivaccine group ICAN has claimed a huge “victory” over the CDC over the bogus antivax claim that vaccines cause autism. It’s really a huge nothingburger, a grifting fundraising tactic.

Given how this blog has so thoroughly been dominated by blogging about COVID-19 for nearly a year now, it almost seems quaint to address more typical antics of the antivaccine movement. However, given the prominence of the antivaccine movement that has come about as it’s made common cause with COVID-19 cranks and deniers to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the new COVID-19 vaccines, I thought it might be a useful exercise to look at the sort of thing antivaxxers have been doing, well, ever since I started paying attention to the antivaccine movement in a big way 16 years ago—and, of course, long before that. So it was that I started seeing links to an article by Del Bigtree’s antivaccine group the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), The CDC Finally Capitulated To ICAN’s Legal Demands and Removed the Claim that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism” From Its Website! On Twitter, Del Bigtree was making grandiose claims on ICAN’s Twitter feed to the point that, if you didn’t know better, you might think that ICAN had utterly defeated the CDC:

From the article:

ICAN, through its attorneys led by Aaron Siri, has been relentless in its legal demands and actions to compel the CDC to remove its blanket claim that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism” from its website. We are excited to report that the CDC has finally capitulated to those demands! It has removed this claim from its website!

You’d think that something major had happened; you’d be wrong. I will admit, though, that Bigtree’s choice of subheading titles did leave me chuckling heartily at his self-importance. I mean, “ICAN’s Pincer maneuver”? “ICAN drops the gauntlet”? “ICAN’s coup de grâce“? Seriously? Does Del know how ridiculous he sounds? As you will see, this is a total nothingburger that signifies nothing. Certainly it doesn’t signify that the CDC has suddenly “seen the light” and “conceded” that vaccines cause autism, as the antivaccine narrative over this ICAN suit tries so desperately to imply.

Enter Ginger Taylor

Meanwhile, the merry band of antivax cranks at that wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, Age of Autism (AoA), were ecstatic. Indeed, yesterday, Ginger Taylor posted a long article (for AoA), Starving The Hungry Lie: CDC Removes Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism from Site. When I saw the article, the first thing I noted was that, for what is perhaps the first time ever, I didn’t see Taylor include her degree (MS) after her name. Her penchant for always using a byline with her masters degree listed never ceased to amuse me. More relevant to antivaccine tactics, I also recalled her history, in particular how she used some really brain dead appeals to “religious freedom” to demonize vaccines aimed at orthodox Jews. Even though this occurred nearly a year before the pandemic, the reactions of antivaxxers were eerily prescient, as you’ll see. Basically, Rockland County temporarily banned all unvaccinated people from public gathering places, including synagogues, in order to combat the measles outbreak that was in full swing at the time. The resistance to this public health order for an infectious disease was very much like the “anti-lockdown” resistance that started very early on in the COVID-19 pandemic. Then there was the time when she got into it with an even bigger crank than her, Tim Bolen, and that’s not even plumbing the full depths of her antivaccine crankitude. Perhaps what tells you the most about Taylor is that she has in the past referred to provaccine advocates as belonging to a religion she dubbed “Vaccinianity.” Yes, the projection is epic.

In any event, I think I’ll examine Ms. Taylor’s post instead of Bigtree’s article because it’s more fun for me that way, given Taylor’s tendency towards being overwrought. (Oh, wait, Bigtree is even more overwrought, but dealing with Taylor lets me have some fun with AoA, which is why she won out by a hair in the race for my attention.)

Ms. Taylor begins:

Bowing to legal pressure from the three year campaign waged by the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), CDC quietly removed the false claim from their website on August 27th, 2020. They did it so quietly in fact, that neither anyone at ICAN, nor the dozens of vaccine watchdog organizations, nor the tens of thousands of Americans that have been decrying the false claim even noticed, until someone at ICAN checked the site again on January 20th, and found that The Hungry Lie was gone. A search of the Internet Archive shows the last day the fraud was posted was August 26th, and it was gone on August 27th.

ICAN deserves high praise for accomplishing the feat, the latest in a line of ongoing court victories. Their dogged legal team is led by Aaron Siri, the man who managed to get Dr. Stanley Plotkin, considered by the medical establishment to be the greatest living vaccinologist to admit that there is no research on the Pertussis vaccine and autism. Nor on any vaccine that is not the MMR.

Of course, one notes that neither Ginger Taylor nor any of her other antivaccine buddies at AoA won’t admit that even MMR (which has definitely been the most studied vaccine with respect to autism) doesn’t cause autism. It’s not true, though, that there is no research on whether “any vaccine that is not the MMR” causes autism. After all, there are scads of research about mercury-containing vaccines not causing autism. Be that as it may, hearing the term “hungry lie” was truly a blast from the antivaccine past from J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue and its president before Jenny McCarthy. He coined the term way back in 2010 and was quite pleased with himself for having done so. Basically, to antivaxxers, the “hungry lie” is the scientific statement that vaccines do not cause autism:

There is a very, very hungry lie, and the lie needs more food. Dr. Paul Offit is this lie’s public chef, but it also gets fed by the Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and many other parties who have a vested interest in protecting our current vaccine program. The problem with a lie as big as this one is that it never knows when it has had enough to eat, and it always needs more food.

It’s a simple lie, really. And, it’s being told with more and more frequency lately, which is really no surprise. Lies like this tend to get fatter and fatter and hungrier and hungrier before they explode, and many, many people need this lie to be true.

Like many lies, this one has evolved. The lie-tellers used to tell half-truths, but they seem to have abandoned the half-truths and just gone for the big, big lie. That’s how hungry a lie tends to get. Don’t feed me half-truths, the lie screams, feed me lies!

Sadly, J.B. Handley is blissfully unaware or unwilling to admit that the true “hungry lie” is the antivaccine lie that vaccines do cause autism. These days, though, the “hungry lie” about vaccines could be any number of antivaccine tropes designed to demonize vaccines, particularly COVID-19 vaccines. In this, antivaxxers have a body count. We don’t know how large yet, and we might never know because of how difficult it would be to make an estimate, but spreading antivaccine disinformation and making common cause with COVID-19 cranks to oppose public health interventions to slow the spread of a deadly virus definitely has a body count.

I’ll get back to Ginger Taylor in a moment, but what happened?

ICAN and Del Bigtree’s “victory”: A nothingburger to end all nothingburgers

Basically, Bigtree took a page out of his usual notebook in order to harass the CDC with dubious Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Dorit Reiss describes a bit of that tactic in her deconstruction of ICAN’s claims (here’s a link), and I’ve discussed before how ICAN wasted the CDC’s time early in the pandemic with its abusive FOIA lawsuit.

Bigtree’s description of ICAN’s activity is indeed histrionic, as the previously listed subheadings of his article indicate, and I really don’t have the time or desire to go through every “blow-by-blow” description of each legal action, because the end result is so inconsequential. Basically, even if you accept Bigtree’s explanation at face value (which you should never do), this is all that resulted, a change from this:

ICAN's "victory" (before)

To:

ICAN's "victory" (after)

The difference is really minimal. In the first, the heading is “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism” and in the newer version the heading is “Autism and Vaccines.” Both versions state very plainly that there “is no link between vaccines and autism,” which, scientifically, is accurate. Apparently, the change happened between August 26 and 27, 2020 and was done so quietly that no one noticed it until last week.

And that’s not. No, really, that’s all there is to this “victory.”

Not that that stops Bigtree from exulting in a most overblown fashion:

You may be wondering why we waited until now to announce this amazing news. Well, ICAN and its legal team have been so busy fighting on dozens of vaccine related fronts (mandatory MMR vaccines, flu shot requirements, improper COVID vaccine trials, etc.) that we only realized the CDC’s vaccine-autism claim had been removed when we recently turned back to that front! Like a Mayan temple hidden in plain sight for hundreds of years, ICAN only recently discovered the CDC’s silent capitulation.

And, of course, to Bigtree, this is only the beginning:

With the removal of the claim that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism,” it is ICAN’s sincere hope that our public health authorities have turned or will soon be turning the corner on this issue. That they will fund independent scientists to conduct the desperately needed studies of autism and the cumulative impact of the vaccines given during the first six months of life.

The cries of parents who know that vaccines caused their child’s autism should no longer be ignored. The science must be done. And ICAN will continue to fight to make sure that that it is done.

All over a small change in one heading of one part of the CDC website! That’s some powerful little change, isn’t it?

Or maybe not:

The CDC’s website does continue to claim that “Vaccine ingredients do not cause autism” and so ICAN’s fight continues! Our next step will be to force the CDC to admit whether or not they are also making this claim for aluminum adjuvants used in vaccines. And if so, to produce the studies to support this claim. (See ICAN’s white paper on aluminum adjuvants and autism here.)

Of course, whether one or more ingredients, like water used in vaccines, does not cause autism is not really the issue. The question is whether the vaccine, the product itself as formulated, causes autism. And we now know that the CDC finally understands that it can no longer claim that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.”

Except, if you look at the passage that’s there now, which I took screenshots of last night:

Vaccines do not cause autism

and

Vaccine ingredients do not cause autism

Oops! It looks as though the CDC is once again stating that vaccines do not cause autism. Perhaps Bigtree’s “victory” is even less than it seemed the other day. Indeed, Dorit Reiss observed:

There are two options here. First, ICAN did not read or did not understand the page; in other words, ICAN’s people are either incompetent or sloppy in checking facts before making statements. Second, ICAN knows that this is not a win or a meaningful change, but is willing to misrepresent it as one – whether to give its followers the appearance of doing something, or to justify asking for money, or to paint the CDC in a bad light, or for other reasons.

Either possibility makes ICAN a bad source for vaccines – whether the issue is inability or dishonesty. The second also suggests that they do not respect their followers since they assumed these followers would not notice such an obvious misrepresentation.

As I like to say, believers gonna believe, and grifters gonna grift, and when you look at the antivaccine movement you’ll find grifters and believers (with some overlap). Bigtree definitely falls into the grifter category. I strongly suspect that he is too intelligent not to realize what a nothingburger this change was even when it was there and is even a bigger nothingburger now that the text has been reverted back to “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism,” a change that appears to have happened yesterday. Notice, though, how Bigtree used the “victory” as a way to raise funds. Yes, grifters gonna grift.

And believers gonna believe

Meanwhile, believers gonna believe.

Knowing how all of ICAN’s abusive FOIA requests and lawsuits against the CDC have now resulted in basically zero change, Ginger’s lengthy “education” and “history” about the “hungry lie” come across as even more ridiculous than when I first saw them yesterday, even as she seems to realize that it might not be as big a deal as Bigtree sold it as. After all, at the very beginning she notes:

ICAN’s three year, Herculean accomplishment was met with joy, by the vaccine injury community, but also a bit of confusion. “But the page still says, “there is no link between vaccines and autism?” Thus I thought it was important to put their win into historical context.

“Herculean” is not the word I would have chosen to describe ICAN’s efforts. “Quixotic” and “deluded” are the words I’d have chosen. In any event, her “historical context” goes all the way back to the late 1930s and one of the first cases of autism described by Leo Kanner in 1943, a child named Richard M.:

The time line of Richard M, according to the paper, is thus:

November 1937 – Born

November 1938 – Vaccinated with Smallpox vaccine

September 1940 – Mother reports developmental regression beginning approximately two years previously, the autumn of 1938.

February 1941 – Referred to Hopkins for evaluation, and in 1943, becomes the third child to be described as autistic by Leo Kanner in his disorder defining paper, the first paper published on autism, 52 years before Wakefield.

In the 40s and 50s, the Freudians were in command of the narrative on childhood mental health, thus maternal rejection of the child was asserted as the source of the rare disorder, until Bernard Rimland, Ph. D. ended the supremacy of the unfounded and misogynistic theory, and began the era of medical investigation into the origins of autism in the 1960s.

Based on this vague timeline—when did the regression begin, before or after the smallpox vaccine?—Taylor’s off to the races. She picks on another case of a child in the 1970s who developed autism within a month after smallpox vaccination, and then she remembered an undergraduate course in 1988 in which someone speculated that autism might be caused by vaccines. During all of this, she’s attacking a straw man, namely the claim that everyone claims that the idea that vaccines cause autism originated with Andrew Wakefield. Of course it didn’t! Only the ignorant claim it did! Wakefield never had an original idea in his life, and he was recruited and paid £400,000 by a lawyer seeking to sue vaccine manufacturers to find evidence linking vaccines to autism.

He did, however, arguably birth the latest iteration of the antivaccine movement 23 years ago, when he first published his small case series in The Lancet, but the idea that the MMR vaccine (or other vaccines) cause autism did not originate with him. Indeed, around the same time across the pond here in the US, the US branch of the antivaccine movement was becoming convinced that the mercury in the thimerosal preservative in vaccines was The One True Cause of Autism. Heck, it was only a few years after Wakefield’s paper that J.B. Handley himself started Generation Rescue, which was originally based only on the idea that mercury in vaccines cause autism. Of course, thimerosal was removed from most childhood vaccines by 2002, and autism incidence and prevalence haven’t declined, even though that was over 18 years ago, a pretty firm falsification of the hypothesis that mercury in vaccines causes autism.

Once Taylor reaches the late 1990s and Andrew Wakefield, she regurgitates the usual antivax defenses of him, claiming that he never said vaccines cause autism in his original paper, which is a half-truth. Wakefield certainly implied a link, and in his public statements he was far less…circumspect. The rest of her history delves into familiar territory, cases and claims that I’ve been following since 2004. Truly, like her hero Andrew Wakefield, Ginger Taylor is also incapable of an original thought.

The bottom line, though, is that Del Bigtree and ICAN have tried to spin one of the most ridiculously silly nonvictories that I’ve ever seen from the antivaccine movement into some sort of massive victory in which the CDC has “capitulated” to ICAN. One can only shake one’s head, between chuckles, at the arrogance of ignorance involved, as one laughs at the gullibility of people like Ginger for believing Bigtree, all while expressing appropriate contempt for grifters like Bigtree who themselves clearly have such contempt for their marks.

ADDENDUM

Late last night, in an email I saw right before I went to bed, Del Bigtree and ICAN noticed that the CDC has put back the text whose removal ICAN had just declared to be such a victory. Let’s just say that hilarity ensued. I’ll cite the email in its near-entirety, because it didn’t (yet) appear to have a URL to link to. The things I do for my blogging, including subscribing to the ICAN email list:

The CDC, after removing the claim that “Vaccines do not cause autism” from its autism-vaccine webpage nearly six months ago, has just put back that claim in direct response to ICAN’s publicity about its removal! The science is clearly not there to support this claim. The CDC knows it. After capitulating to the removal of this claim for lack of science, in the end, the science did not matter.

This puts the nail in the coffin for any claim by the CDC that it follows the science. ICAN will be taking the CDC back to court to seek the removal of this unsupported claim.

This claim was first added to the CDC website in 2015. After relentless attacks pointing out that the science does not exist to support this claim, it was removed on August 27, 2020 without a whisper.

The removal followed ICAN’s lawsuit in which the CDC was forced to provide a list of the studies that the agency alleged support this claim. That list included twenty studies, not a single one of which involved any of the vaccines currently given to babies in the United States during the first six months of life.

Having been forced to face the fact that it cannot scientifically support its claim that vaccines do not cause autism, some individual or some group at the CDC did the right thing and removed this claim from the agency’s autism-vaccine webpage. That was six months ago.

A few days ago, ICAN broke the story of its removal, causing a public relations nightmare for the CDC. In response, the CDC, wasted no time putting its public image ahead of science by putting its unsupported claim that “vaccines do not cause autism” back on its website.

As long as the CDC makes this unsupported claim, the desperately needed research regarding vaccines and autism (and other neurological disorders) will never receive the serious funding it warrants. It may be only a few words on a webpage but those words have massive implications for the funding of vaccine-autism science.

The CDC does not appear to have any serious concern that its most recent data shows that 1 in 36 children born this year in the United States will develop autism. This is a true epidemic. Instead of listening to the 40% to 70% of parents with an autistic child that continue to blame vaccines for their child’s autism, typically pointing to vaccines given during the first six months of life, the CDC and public health authorities insult and demean these families by continuing to claim, without adequate support, that vaccines do not cause autism.

The CDC should stop waging this false media campaign against these parents and, instead, fund independent scientists to do the needed science! But it is plain this will never happen because it is not what drives the CDC. It would rather avoid the issue in order to protect its holy vaccine program and its public image. Shame on the CDC.

ICAN plans to take the CDC back to court to demand it remove the claim “vaccines do not cause autism” from its website. It will certainly be interesting to see how the CDC explains its whipsaw changes in position regarding vaccines and autism. Stay tuned.

Great. The CDC is trying combat the deadly COVID-19 pandemic (and, yes, it is deadly, Bigtree’s denial that it is notwithstanding), and Bigtree’s going to waste more of its time and resources with yet another frivolous legal action.

But, as I said, grifters gonna grift, because Bigtree finishes the email with—you guessed it—a fundraising appeal:

Stand for vaccine truth and help us keep winning with your tax-deductible gift of $20, $30, $50, $100, or more today!

Yes, grifters gonna grift, and the biggest antivaccine grifters will never let pass an opportunity to fleece the marks.

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]

243 replies on “ICAN and Del Bigtree’s “victory” against the CDC: A huge nothingburger”

I’m mildly surprised AoA can afford to keep the lights on. Have they ever filed a real 990, or are they still on the postcard plan?

Orac, would you please provide me with one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled scientific study (without any conflicts of interest) that clearly proves that the use of a vaccine has resulted in unequivocally eradicating a disease while at the same time has not had any controversial studies regarding its safety? I would be greatly in your debt, thank you.

This is a truly silly question. You can’t prove that a vaccine has eradicated a disease with a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial, only that the vaccine is safe and effective. To determine if a vaccine has eradicated a disease requires epidemiology.

Who told you that was an appropriate standard to assess vaccines? (It’s not). Someone may have misled you. Orac provided you one issue. To somewhat elaborate and somewhat add:

A. Science doesn’t work by “one study”. If anyone tells you that one study is the end all, be careful, because they’re likely Wong about other things, too. Science is about the totality of the evidence.

B. You won’t be using a placebo-controlled trial to look at disease trends. Because you wouldn’t be intentionally exposing people to a disease when there’s a shown preventive at hand.

C. Vaccines don’t have to eradicate a disease to be of immense value. Preventing deaths and harms is meaningful even if a disease is not fully eradicated.

D. Like everything, vaccines are a risk-benefit calculation. It’s not clear what you mean by no controversial studies about safety, but if you’re looking for zero risk, that’s not the standard. We do look for a high level of safety, but for example, routine vaccines carry a 1 in a million risk of anaphylaxis, but it’s low enough that they are still safe.

E. Conflicts of interests are relevant and important to know in examining a study, but wouldn’t negate data.

The funny thing is, as my addendum (just added) shows, ICAN is now using the fact that the CDC reverted the text back to what it was before as—you guessed it!—a fundraising pitch. Hilarity ensues, indeed.

“Instead of listening to the 40% to 70% of parents with an autistic child that continue to blame vaccines for their child’s autism….”

I don’t think that came out the way you wanted it to, John Bigbooté.

Email. Oof, don’t get me started.

You should pitch in a couple bucks just to see what description of extra doors are now opened up to you. If you do this, just know that I’m kind of Lovecraftian so I’ll probably just stand in the bunker and cringe. The gathered intelligence will be for the common good. Though, you will get melted. But you should do it. Take one for the team. Also, ask them about essential oils.

Simple. The Verstraeten study did not show what Brian Hooker tried to torture its data into showing. The conspiracy theory around this study is probably the first one I became aware of. Basically, it’s the same playbook. Unadjusted data suggested a correlation between thimerosal exposure from vaccines and the risk of autism, but appropriate statistical correction for confounders led to that apparent correlation disappearing. This is a very common thing in epidemiological studies, in which raw analyses turn up correlations that don’t stand up to correction for confounders. Antivaxxers have been using the playbook of preferring the uncorrected analyses and portraying the correction for confounders as an attempt to “cover up” the association for over 20 years. It’s the identical deceptive playbook that Hooker used to produce the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory in 2014 that resulted in the antivax propaganda film disguised as a documentary, VAXXED.

Thank you Orac and Dorit for your rapid replies. I’m a layman; I will try to read through that paper. I’

ve seen references to another Verstraeten study, with co-authors Davies, Gu, and DeStafano, that quote the excerpt below (I was unable to find the paper itself, however I did just a very quick search) – is this a mischaracterization of that study?

“Results: We identified 286 children with degenerative and 3702 with developmental neurologic disorders, and 310 with renal disorders. The relative risk (RR) of developing a neurologic development disorder was 1.8 ( 95% confidence intervals [CI] =1.1-2.8) when comparing the highest exposure group at 1 month of age (cumulative dose> 25 ug) to the unexposed group. Within this group we also found an elevated risk for the following disorders: autism (RR 7.6, 95% Cl = 1.8-31.5), non organic sleep disorders (RR 5.0, 95% Cl = 1.6-15.9}, and speech disorders (RR 2.1, 95% (1=1.1-4.0). For the neurologic degenerative and renal disorders group we found no significantly increased risk or a decreased risk.”

Thank you
David

Thank you Dorit for the Forbes articles (for some reason I’m unable to reply to that message, so I’m doing it here after your first message).
If you don’t mind me asking, what is your professional background? I’m a software engineer and completely outside my knowledge base.

I have a really great vid that shows the burger needs to have some protein in the middle. It’s probably going to take 8 hours to find it. Suffice it to say that it is an alien race with an edict to “not play with the protein”. The game, Prey, even featured Noory of Coast to Coast AM. Please stand by…

I mean, this depiction here is an obscene “sandwish” — “You take to pieces of bread and wish you had some meat” — Chuck Barry (I think)

I remember now. I remember 1978 when it was reintroduced to radio — I remember the new car I was in and the overpass we were under when I first heard it. How could I miss-attribute that? Bah, bah, bah {which, in my youth, I thought he was saying ‘balls’. I was just getting into the whole ‘beating off’ thing then and applying that context to pretty much everything}.

@ Dorit Reiss

There are two options here. First, […] ICAN’s people are either incompetent or sloppy in checking facts before making statements. Second, ICAN knows that this is not a win or a meaningful change, but is willing to misrepresent it as one.

These options are not mutually exclusive.

See Orac! Had you taken my suggestion and gone with this post earlier, you would’ve been ahead of Ms Taylor and that ‘wretched hive of antivaxx scum’, AoA. So, will you now consider clearing all your blogs with me first? Perhaps that decision is out of your hands and its ‘Management’ call.

Anyway, where are are we? So, Del threatened a further lawsuit if the CDC did not remove its misleading headline that ‘vaccines do not cause autism’ after ICAN’s lawsuit where the CDC failed to produce studies that any other vaccine other than MMR did not cause autism? We now have the CDC replacing that tag with ‘studies have not linked vaccines to autism’? A superficial change you say, Orac? Well — from the standpoint of not getting their ass roasted in court, I would say not superficial at all!

PS: I believe Narad comes from a legal background, so, outside of his walking thesaurus talent, maybe he can demonstrate some other use and speak to this.

A. ICAN’s earlier lawsuit was a FOIA lawsuit. All a FOIA lawsuit does, and all it can theoretically get, is existing government records. FOIA is not a tool to ask government questions – just to get existing records. The CDC should have, and initially did, respond with “you are not asking for existing government records.” If ICAN wanted the literature on vaccines and autism, FOIA is not how you get it.

But lawsuits against the government have to go through DOJ, and my reading is that the DOJ lawyer did not want to spend time on this meaningless suit. So the DOJ lawyer asked ICAN’s lawyers “if we get a list of studies, will you go away?” and they said yes, and some official in the CDC was told to put together a list, did it hastily, and sent it. It doesn’t mean much. That said, it does include several studies that do address ICAN’s claims.

I went through both aspects of this here. https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/ican-foia-lawsuit-misrepresenting-another-non-win-from-anti-vaccine-group/

B. I don’t see any claim ICAN can bring over this change in headline – note that the text has not changed, and the text did include language expressing vaccines do not cause autism. Then again, their lawyer – who has been paid over a million dollar in 2019 – may be persuaded to try and throw some baseless suit together. Doesn’t mean much.

C. I can’t speak for Orac, but from my experience – and something he said before, if I’m not mistaken – he seems to like to wait for the anti-vaccine reaction before addressing a topic, and then he can address that, too.

@Dorit

I don’t see any claim ICAN can bring over this change in headline

Flashing red-light and blaring sound. Bait and switch alert!! Bait and switch alert!!

Dorit, really, what are you missing that isn’t blatantly deliberate?! The issue is, despite the theatrics here of name-calling and insults, the ‘antivaxxers’ are correct: You guys have no scientific evidence that vaccines do not CAUSE autism, and should you be tested in court on this factual claim, you would likely lose! Saying that there is no studies LINKING vaccines to autism is not equivalent. There is also no scientific evidence that shooting yourself on the moon is linked to death.

Again, VCA denialism is just theatrics. Perhaps it would be amusing if it wasn’t responsible for sending a generation of kids to the gallows.

And asserting Vaccines Cause Autism is based on sound evidence?

Asks the man who say bullshitters are his greatest peeve, and as he indulges in his own bait and switch. Tell me Mister Straightshooter, can you honestly say that the CDC wouldn’t lose in court, having to defend their factual claim that vaccines do not cause autism?

A. There is no reasonable context in which the CDC would have to defend it in court, at present.

B. Yes, in the unlikely situation in which someone will bring a valid claim that involved this, the CDC would win, as the DOJ won the autism omnibus proceedings and other ASD cases in decisions that were not at all close.

Yes, in the unlikely situation in which someone will bring a valid claim that involved this, the CDC would win, as the DOJ won the autism omnibus proceedings and other ASD cases in decisions that were not at all close.

What precisely was the issue that was investigated in the DOJ omnibus proceedings, Dorit?

I mean, I’ve been working through this, and I guess they could try to shoehorn this under arbitrary and capricious, but that’s a very weird claim. Among other things, it’s not clear that changing the heading is agency action for the purpose of the APA – it doesn’t fit any rubric, and for another, the text hasn’t changed, and was very clear.

It looked at the theories the petitioners brought than to try and claim vaccines cause autism, MMR and thimerosal. Other cases since investigated other attempts. None went anywhere.

There just isn’t evidence behind the anti-vaccine desire to believe vaccines cause autism. That’s why they keep changing the theory, as each in turn is disproved.

@ Greg

“Asks the man who say bullshitters are his greatest peeve, and as he indulges in his own bait and switch.”

It’s not bait and switch. It simply highlights the fact that Vaccine Causes Autism cannot be supported by evidence. And it highlights that the “VCA denialist” (hilarious) slur is designed to shift away attention from the fact vaccins work to indulge in FUD.

The logic is the following: vaccines provide a benefit. So go for it. Monitor for anything than can go wrong in that process. If everything is under control, keep rolling.

What you want is not that vaccines be monitored but that we preemptively prove crazy claims such as “Vaccines do not cause morgellons”. Which would allow antivaxxers like to indulge in endless bait-and-switch to guarantee that vaccines never get a chance to be deployed. Won’t do that.

This burden of proof gambit is ridiculous. And you know it. The reader that stumbles on this comment may not know initially it. But he now knows what the rules of the little game you are playing are.

“Tell me Mister Straightshooter, can you honestly say that the CDC wouldn’t lose in court, having to defend their factual claim that vaccines do not cause autism?”

I do not know the US system enough to give an informed opinion on that. Quite confident that the CDC would be overall rather relaxed on the matter, though. Maybe moving around two letters, adding a comma or (gasp!) a word (or two?) would likely do the trick.

But nice try, Mister Blazkowicz! Keep on fraggin’ these nazi doctors while I’m asleep!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK8qEyPS3lE

The world depends on you.

I didn’t directly address the hyperbole, but it’s also remarkably ironic that the antivaccine activist is describing vaccines, that prevent tens of thousands of deaths a year and many disabilities, as sending children to the gallows.

I understand it’s a reflection of his ableism and an attempt to dehumanize and degrade autistics, but it’s still ironic, in context.

@F68

I do not know the US system enough to give an informed opinion on that

Well, with you being ‘unsure’, here is a contrast image, that I can almost feel, that I believe went down between the CDC and their lawyers in response to Del’s threat:

CDC: Why do we have to respond to this yahoo’s threat and change out claim that vaccines do not cause autism?

Lawyers (annoyed): Because it’s no longer just about bullshitting parents! Yes — we’ve done a good job at that, but now we would have to go to court and try to also bullshit a judge, and that won’t happen because we have no studies; we have crap.

CDC: But, won’t changing our statement amount to us telling everyone the same thing, that we are full of crap?

Lawyers (aggitated): Yes! But, that’s better than losing in court. We lose in court and we are opening ourselves to some serious legal and culpability ramifications. We would be a sea of hurting. Better not get there. Change the damn statement!

CDC: Ok, guess we have choice.

Lawyers: Yes, you don’t!

@Dorit

It looked at the theories the petitioners brought than to try and claim vaccines cause autism

Was that really one of the precise issues that was arbitrated, Dorit?

@ Greg

Sorry. I can’t manage to laugh out of a joke based on things that are so blatantly untrue and the product of your imagination. Some jokes are, and perhaps should be, private. I mean, I’ve also got jokes that make me laugh but do make many people laugh. Here’s one:

A sadist, a masochist, a serial killer, a necrophile, a zoophile and an arsonist are killing time in a public parc, bored to death. Suddenly, the zoophile says “Coming? Let’s catch a cat!” The sadist says “Yeah, let’s catch a cat and torture him!”. The serial killer says “Yeah, let’s catch a cat, torture him and kill him!” The necrophile says “Yeah, let’s catch a cat, torture him, kill him, and fuck him!” The arsonist says “Yeah, let’s catch a cat, torture him, kill him, fuck him and burn him”. And they all turn to the masochist who stays silent, and hence ask: “So, what do you think?”. And the masochist says… “Meow?”

See, Greg? There’s no basis in reality, so in the end, that jokes ends up not being fun…

There isn’t any outstanding lawsuit that would have triggered the initial change. As pointed out by Bob below, it’s unlikely to be related.

There have never actually been an ICAN lawsuit challenging that issue. The FOIA requests were not that. All they can do is ask for records.

Imaginary law doesn’t work any better than imaginary science in the real world.

Imaginary law doesn’t work any better than imaginary science in the real world.

I like that one. It sums up ICAN’s approach to the world completely. They are living in some alternative universe where they are scoring huge victories against the CDC. In the real world, they are just ignorant, unprincipled, tireless grifters.*

*I would have said failures (in the sense that all their stunts turn to failure), but the end game seems to be making Del rich and famous and so far that is not going too badly for a fairly minimalist measure of famous.

I’m surprised that Greg is claiming that there aren’t any studies showing no connection between vaccination and autism. That statement is so obviously and easily verified as wrong. Why doesn’t he stick to the conspiracy theory that there ARE studies but that they are all faked up by big Pharma and Bill Gates?

Or is that the fall back position? “Well yes, there are THOSE studies but they don’t count”.

PS: I believe Narad comes from a legal background

Not in a meaningful sense. And it’s been a very long time since I worked at Skadden Arps, anyway. I do seem to recall Marc Randazza’s finally managing to get his cite to The Big Lebowski right, though.

Every time I see a claim like this from ICAN about something big they think they did, I’m reminded of an old joke I read in Israel.

A mouse and an elephant were walking in a desert. The mouse looked back and said to the elephant: “Wow, look how much dust we are raising.”

Is there any evidence Del did anything at all, that the temporary change in the page heading was a response to the ICAN suit? I mean, if the CDC was responding to the suit, wouldn’t they have made some other changes down the page?

Didn’t Trump put some of “his people” into the communication team at the CDC to keep the lid on inconvenient COVID science getting out? The date of the change, from August last year, seems about right for when I remember hearing about that kind of thing. A change in just the headline strikes me as the kind of mischief Trumpers might do, all on their own.

Similarly, I”m skeptical to say the last of Del’s claim that CDC “has just put back that claim in direct response to ICAN’s publicity about its removal!” Isn’t it more likely that some personnel change with the arrival of the Biden administration led to a review of the website and any recent changes therein, followed by a reversion?

I don’t really agree with Orac that the headline change was a nothing. Not that much, mind you, but not a nothing. Maybe that’s just because i TA’ed a page editing class that involved headline writing back in the day I just reacted to seeing the change from a clear substantive statement to a nothing with “Uh oh, that’s not good…” So if ICAN was indeed responsible, even if the burger is Clara Pella small, that would not be good, too.

But, sheesh, dude can sure puff himself up. I’m kinda SMH that his audience doesn’t find that stuff laughable…

I agree that there’s no basis to think ICAN had much to do with the original change. I’m less sure about the second change back – that may have been a reaction to ICAN’s crowing. But it may also not have been.

To me, the fact that they left the text unchanged – the text that included “there is no link between vaccines and autism” and [this study] also contributes to the evidence that vaccines don’t cause ASD, saying essentially the same – suggests that it had nothing to do with ICAN and more to do with thinking about what is the correct headline.

It’s rain dance theory. They did a rain dance in August, and when there was a light drizzle in January it was obviously due to the rain dance. Apart from that brief drizzle their drought continues.

” I’m kinda SMH that his audience doesn’t find that stuff laughable…” sadmar

Your statement applies to much of the dreck which I hear/ read. As I’ve noted, so many egregious errors/ malapropisms/ mispronunciations abound at PRN ( bio, med, psych, general info, history, art) I don’t know how followers can accept anything else presented!

re Del, his background ain’t much. ( Orac, Merlan, fatherly.com) he studied television production in BC. No mention of any university training- if he had it, he would flaunt it. Even his name is partially bogus; his father is a white New Agey minister from Boulder but his mother is part Native ( Oneida or Mohawk) so he uses his maternal grandfather’s name.
I guess it sounds cool to him.
He made a very weird 7 minute film with his wife in a bathtub that he lists as one of his achievements.

As we see here at RI, the existence of data and evidence means nothing to alties: it’s all about heroes, saviours and quests

@denice: “As we see here at RI, the existence of data and evidence means nothing to alties: it’s all about heroes, saviours and quests”

As I have noted before, antivaxxers are the Mary Sues of their own personal reality. Non-achievers propped up by their narcissism and paranoia, desperate for power and control. Dismal people.

And simple marks for psychopathic grifters like Bigtree Wakefield, who are only too happy to provide them cheap easy ego strokes in exchange for real control and real money.

All of which would be pathetically comical were it not for the real children at the bottom of their orgy pile.

Someone must have thought that “hungry lie” was extraordinarily evocative. But it just illustrates how starved antivaxers are for attention.

Orac: “Once Taylor reaches the late 1990s and Andrew Wakefield, she regurgitates the usual antivax defenses of him, claiming that he never said vaccines cause autism in his original paper”

Antivaxers repeat this mantra as though it had meaning. In addition to what Wakefield’s sloppy and fraudulent paper said (and his press conference remarks afterward, he’s made his beliefs crystal clear since then.

“Do I believe vaccines cause autism? Yes I do.”

http://independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/andrew-wakefield-anti-vaxxer-trump-us-mmr-autism-link-lancet-fake-a8331826.html

Never underestimate the degree to which antivaxers continue to destroy their credibility in the public’s view by clinging to Wakefield.

re Ginger Taylor

For the past year or so, I read her Tweets** where she tirelessly spouted anti-vax, QAnon and Trumpisms, Recently, she said she was quitting because Twitter allowed some pedophile access. I wonder if she was tossed there for her unsubstantiated BS? I know Del, Null and Adams are out and the linkages for like-minded anti-vaxxers are cut. RFKjr however, persists with @ ChildrensHD..

Taylor has a degree in counselling IIRC. . .

** along with Kim Rossi 1111 and KatieWr31413491 which linked to other anti-vax luminaries who “enlighten” us with anti-vax wisdom

Taylor has a degree in counselling IIRC. . .

Now that my therapist has retired, I have elected to hire a cat.

Correction:

Del’s twitter may still function although nothing new, except about Mr Aaron, for over a month; @ HighWire Talk is still there.

@ Narad:

I am more inclined to take advice from one of my semi-feral black outdoors cats than from resident trolls, anti-vaxxers or woo-meisters: at least cats have the good sense to shut up
about material which they don’t understand.

But more frighteningly:
fantasy-based world views seem impermeable to real world information as we saw in large scale recent events at the US Capitol:
advocates believed that the election was fraudulent ( one poll: 29% NBC) and other nonsense. They doubt all legitimate sources as “corrupt” and swirl their fantasy system upwards to galactic proportions: as Dr Novella says, as they try to cover up the existing flaws in their conspiracy, the size of their confabulation grows to monstrous dimensions so that the whole world is somehow implicated
So what’s a sceptic to do?

I’ve always let my cats be indoor-outdoor, but this fellow is going to be stuck inside. And I forgot the shelter was closed on Wednesdays (actually, I forgot that it was Wednesday in the first place). I dandied the place right up — hiding box, the works. I know that this disappointment is only going to last for a day, but L-rd was I eager.

And I’m starting to come to accept dill.

I’m most fond of orange tabbys of what ever variety. But, as I’m sure you know, the cats do the human-choosing here.

“but this fellow is going to be stuck inside.”

Maybe avert the gaze of the brown florida panther, then, just to stay on the safe side.

I still have a red cat that stays with me, because his owner is not able to care for him. Last year she had an accident, which damaged her knee, which ment she had to stay for a time in rehabilitation. Now she is back home, but she is waiting for some operation on her hip, which is delayed, because of Covid-19.
The cat stays indoors and is named Ginger. I suggested the name, thinking of Ginger Baker.

So what’s a sceptic to do?

Driving them with a cattle prod to work in animal shelters springs to mind, but I’m obviously preoccupied. Maybe they’d get a little shit together after witnessing a wholesale culling due to infectious disease.

In other words, hard, emotionally trying work seems to put smirks right the f*ck away, but you already know that. I’d like to see Babs Fisher clean litter boxes for several hours a day.

Unfortunately a lot of this may come down to the old line about ‘Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.’ (Attributed variously to Aristotle and Jesuits)

Someone raised in an environment of ‘our people are trustworthy, never question them; their people are untrustworthy, never believe them’ may never actually break out of that unless they do it themselves, all you can do is leave the pieces out there for them to find as handholds for when they actually look outside themselves.

Aristotle renounced that claim on his deathbed, mumbling something about wanting pickles and special sauce with his hungry lie.

“29% of advocates believed that the election was fraudulent.”

Well that compares to 50% of Clinton voters who thought that the Russians actually tampered with the vote tallies to help Trump. Or that 87% of Clinton voters believed that the Russian’s hacked/broke into Democrat emails. Both of which are not true, even after spending 10’s of millions of dollars to investigate the claims

https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2016/12/27/belief-conspiracies-largely-depends-political-iden

Right
And acting on their mistaken beliefs, her armed supporters organised, stormed a federal building, threatened elected officials and demanded a reversal of the results.
OH wait… they didn’t.

First of all, before the 2016 election, Russian interference was suspected even by Mr Obama who warned Putin: it was enough to warrant investigations.
.
In 2020, the fraudulent election myth was immediately disputed by many courts, state officials and the media BEFORE the takeover; they proceeded without any real world information to support their actions.
Even today, homeland security issued an alert about home grown terrorists.. .

I am real sorry you memory is so short.

“Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy & #FollowTheFacts.”

https://twitter.com/SpeakerPelosi/status/864522009048494080

For three years all we were told was that the russians hack our votes.
Yes of course you didn’t remember

here is just a short list of anti trump protest.

Disruptj20
Women’s march
March for science
Native people march
People climate March

Remember Kathy Griffin? Yes that was peaceful.

The biggest joke of all was the March for Science.
We were down at Sanibel at a restaurant, There were 6 women all of whom had considerable amount wealth plus a lot of diamonds and gold jewelry sitting behind us. They were in their 60’s and discussing how they were going to get to the March for Science because one of the daughters was a college professor and they were going to pick her up in California in the private jet from Sanibel then fly to Washington. Two others were also taking personal jets to Washington to participate in the march. All three of the women were complaining that their husbands had to go along so they could write off the trips as business expenses.

Denice
Instead of citing Wikipedia, why don’t you use the real investigative report made to congress. You would actually see how the Russians just influenced the 2016 election, but did NOT change votes, you would also see that the Russians did NOT hack the democrat emails.

If you would actually take time to read the report, you would find in ‘Annex A” of the report (page 8), that the Russian government spent millions to aid “green groups” in order to get the US government to ban fracking (knowing that Trump would allow fracking). This ban on fracking in the US was done to aid the Russian oil giant to increase sales and the price of natural gas to Europe.

Well guess who just ban fracking in the US, which will only help the Russians, and everyone called Trump a puppet of Putin.

https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

@ Sophie Amsden

“Instead of citing Wikipedia”

I need a clarification: Are you claiming that Wikipedia did not here source its statement adequately? Or that it misrepresented its source? Clarification needed.

Clarification, instead of citing Wikipedia why didn’t, she just use original source material. It is freely available on line and has “Annexes” which show where the information was obtain and to what extent.
Can you use Wikipedia as source materials in research papers? I didn’t think so, but I can be convinced to the contrary. I have always considered it to be the lazy persons way to do post stuff on the internet.
https://www.researchgate.net/post/Can_we_use_Wikipedia_articles_as_references_in_a_research_paper

@ Sophie Amsden

“Clarification, instead of citing Wikipedia why didn’t, she just use original source material.”

Because it’s easier to cite Wikipedia, there is quite some context, and the source is just one click away.

Simple. Basic. Simple.

“what’s a sceptic to do?”

Serendipity? Earlier today the “what to do” about the growing ranks of right-wing extremist conspiracy crazies was put to former FBI agent Frank Figliuzi on MSNBC, and he gave a quick recap of a couple de-radicalization techniques that he cited as hard to pull off, but potentially productive. So thinking of your question, I was reminded that there are experts on cult deprogramming, de-radicalization of extremists, and related issues — in and out of the academy — and there’s no doubt a body of literature from high-credibility folks like Figliuzi that discusses what approaches to the conspiracy besotted are more likely or less likely to help. So I would suggest a skeptic should read up on the subject, glean what knowledge there might seem most valuable, and share it with like-minded peers. Alas, while this is the sort of project I might have undertaken myself in my younger and healthier days, at this point I must settle for dropping the thought here.

Rhetorical question.
I do listen to Mr F and writers concerned with cults.

Your input is truly valued. Perhaps you can observe the current crop of trolls here and draw some conclusions to share with us..
One recent observation:
they have trouble evaluating themselves and others they interact with:
they seek to inform a doctor about medical topics! a hedge fund guy about money!! an epidemiologist about pandemics!!! They are blind to expertise.
Being able to evaluate your own and others’ abilities is an important aspect of executive fxing which develops around adolescence and beyond
But it can fail..
Thus poorly educated woo-meisters, RFKjr and Del gather an appreciative audience who laud their every bad idea and brilliant statement..

Alas, while this is the sort of project I might have undertaken myself in my younger and healthier days, at this point I must settle for dropping the thought here.

I salute you, sir.

Also, what the fuck is going on? Obviously, your thumbs still work. Is it just the shame of Lindell (the “ex” crackhead) occupying the same and common physical land that now binds your self-heavily-moderated sharp tounge and wit?

@Tim

“What the f*** is going on? Obviously, your thumbs still work.”

True, but my head is another matter. Depression. Anxiety. Confusion. —> thrice weekly trips to the hospital for ECT (electro convulsive therapy). I got done with that a couple weeks ago, and find myself able to write a bit again now, which seems kinda therapeutic , keeping my mind off of thinking I ought to be dead.

Anyway, how do you get to drop F-bombs on RI??

Big orange tabby cats are the best. Mine passed away this summer, aged 14. I let her outside just a little when she was younger, but she almost got killed by what the vet surmised was a big unleashed dog that tried to bite her in half. So, inside ever ince. (I do have another cat, also all indoor…)

“True, but my head is another matter. Depression. Anxiety. Confusion.”

Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I know that can be rought because my mom is currently in that state. She had a bad fall a couple months back and, while awaiting the EMTs, she asks me to dig a couple Zanax out of her purse. “What??” — idiot doctor gave her zanax* for sleep but she apparently was taking them throughout the day and mostly stays in bed now {she describes it like the postpartum she had after my sister was born}. “Welp, frequent falling problem solved”, I’m thinking.

*I can’t even get Mirtazapine for sleep. No matter what they say never ever admit to any cannabis use around these parts, past or present. Them hick docs are quite puritanical and punative about that; “dirty pill-seeker, I’ll show him.”

She also gets a steroid shot along with hydrocodone for sciatic nerve pain. I’m hoping the shot doesn’t mess with the SARS vaccine of which she recieved her first dose last week.

“Anyway, how do you get to drop F-bombs on RI??”

One may, just most here don’t. I feel so ashamed. /s Well, sometimes I actually do; like now, for instance.

I own two cats (if you can really own a cat, dogs yes, cats no). Who are not allowed outside.

But thanks to you and others who allow your cats to run free outside and think it’s cool, Cats are responsible for 1.4 billion and 3.7 Billion bird deaths every year.

You let your cats run free outside guess who the biggest benefactor of that irresponsible behavior is……… coyotes, who prey on domestic animals. Have you ever seen a dog or cat that has been attacked by a coyote or hawk? The life expectancy of an outdoor cats is 2 to 5 years vs. an indoor cat of 12-15 years

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/15/wind-turbines-kill-fewer-birds-than-cell-towers-cats/15683843/

So you can forget the cartoons you grew up with a coyote can out run a roadrunner or your cat/dog.

Do you vaccinate your cats?
Do you de worm your cats?
Toxoplasmosis
Toxocariasis
Cryptospridiosis
to name just a few of the things outdoor cats can pass to humans

So you may want to take some advise from them or give them some, in your next chat.

“Cats are responsible for 1.4 billion and 3.7 Billion bird deaths every year.”

Cool. It’s Schrödinger’s and Heisenberg’s assassin cats {they’re really liquid, don’cha know? Makes them hard to pin down regarding concrete values}.

I watched in horror as the city sprayed detergent on a half million crows when it was 22F outside to kill them. Finally, the mayor could get some sleep; not that she bothered to provide funds for anyone to clean up the rot afterwards.

ICAN is basically the unfiltered flatus from Bigtree’s arse, which he apparently loves to sniff, proclaim and spread.

I hereby dare Bigboote to prove that his balls don’t smell like the Gorton’s Fisherman.

“Everyone likes their own brand, don’t they?” https://youtu.be/WqURlQkFJKU?t=1

Well, I did but then got it into my head early on that I could have coronavirus in my gut but had to breath it to screw the lungs. Although I don’t think that anymore, I still religiously avoid any kind of tester sampling — Like swallowing spiders in one’s sleep, I became similarly distressed at the idea and set up a fan so as not to unknowingly partake.

I don’t get this victory. But that would not be unusual, I don’t get most of the things Del Bigtree does. So changing the title of a webpage means the CDC has removed the claim “Vaccines do not cause autism” from its website, when the sub-heading on the same page clearly states “There is no link between vaccines and autism”. I mean is Del just marketing to the hard of thinking? It is like he is dusting off the Nigerian Prince scam for another run around – after all it is well known among scammers that it is easier to fleece the stupid of their hard-earned.

Perhaps I need to ask Greg to explain to me how this is a “Victory”.

Never mind. Pages show I and others have commented; I don’t know what is going on up in here anymore — CF crap, I guess.

No obligatory video; You get bupkis, you hateful, hateful webmaster.

The previous administration lied incessantly but I am not aware that any political opponent forced it to change its statements by means of a lawsuit. Why would the CDC be forced to change a defensible statement because some nonprofit organization asked for documents or even chose to disagree about some interpretation of a vast medical literature? My guess is that eventually these guys will find themselves defending against a vexatious litigant claim, assuming they are telling the truth about how many lawsuits they have filed on the identical subject matter. Perhaps the resident legal expert has a view on this question.

this is one of my personal favourite quote regarding antivaxxers-So you’ve observed that some people are born with autism. Good job, that’s step one. Next, you ask a question — “What caused it?”. You think that it’s vaccination. Now it’s time to test your theory. You know that some kids who’ve been vaccinated develop autism, but you haven’t controlled for all the other variables, such as diet, genetics, environment, chance mutations, related disabilites or simply the higher diagnosis rate due to greater awareness. Plus, you can’t explain why the 99% of people who have been vaccinated didn’t develop autism. OOPS! That’s a shitty theory! Go back to step one!
—Maddox, How to tell if you believe in bullshit

@Hasibul

Your entire spiel is also applicable to smoking and cancer, Covid-2 virus and Covid sickness, vaccination and drop in infectious diseases over time… Your point is?!

@ Greg

You wrote: “You guys have no scientific evidence that vaccines do not CAUSE autism, and should you be tested in court on this factual claim, you would likely lose!”

Thanks for PROVING you don’t understand the basics of science. No, we can’t “prove” vaccines don’t cause autism. First, “proof” is a logical construct. In science, we base decisions on probability, which in turn is based on the design of studies, I emphasize “studies”, plural. Ever heard of the law of gravity? Can you prove that somewhere on the planet Earth some strange confluence of cosmic forces result in nullifying the law of gravity? Well, I for one don’t suffer sleepless nights worry about this. There is one problem with current research, terminology. Statistical significance doesn’t mean “important”. Imagine a jar of marbles, 10 red, 90 whites. Blindfolded, pick two groups of 10 each. Hopefully, there will be 1 red and 9 white in each group; but in the real world, you could also get more red in one group than the other, even 10 red in one group. As you increase the size of the groups, then even if you had two groups of 50, one group could NEVER get more than 10 marbles, so still mainly white. Now translate the color of marbles into cofactors, other variables than could impact the result of a research study. Depending on the type of data, we have various curves, e.g., normal curve, binomial, etc. that tell us what the probability of a randomized two groups not being equal because of uncontrolled cofactors. When we run some research study, we hope that the two groups are alike except for the variable of interest, in this case, vaccines. So, if the result is a significance level of, say, 0.05, this means that only 5 percent of the time would the result be because of some other unknown/unmeasured factor(s) rather than the vaccine. However, if numerous studies with various designs on different populations by different researchers all get similar results, then the likelihood of some unknown uncontrolled factor differing and causing the results approaches zero; but never reaches zero. What are some of the uncontrolled factors? Genetic predisposition, unmeasured “damages” caused by previous infections, toxins, etc.

The point is, if research finds that vaccinated and non-vaccinated show no differences in ASD or other disorders, at some point, a scientific consensus based on numerous studies tells us that vaccines are not a causative factor.

As for jury trials, I suggest you read Marsha Angell’s book “Medicine on Trial” where one jury awarded a huge sum with NO scientific evidence. Juries can think that a corporation is wealthy and greedy (probably true) and feel sorry for someone and award accordingly.

Finally, if one were to use your approach to science, we would have to reject ALL science and base decisions, policy, etc. on whatever people believe at the moment, resulting in a return to the Middle Ages where I”m sure you would thrive.

I consider myself reasonably intelligent with a good education. However, if someone showed me a half dozen plans for building a bridge over a river and asked my opinion, I wouldn’t give one because I have NEVER studied structural engineering. I doubt you have even learned the basics of immunology, microbiology, infectious disease history and current status in the world, epidemiology or biostatistics; yet, you seem certain you know what you are talking about. As they say: “ignorance is bliss.”

@ Joel

“Finally, if one were to use your approach to science, we would have to reject ALL science and base decisions, policy, etc. on whatever people believe at the moment, resulting in a return to the Middle Ages where I”m sure you would thrive.”

Yep. Precisely.

@ Greg

Welcome to modernity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1qG9e7E9L8

@Joel

Lear, are you back again? What are you missing? Why are you writing me this book on epistemology and science. Oh yeah, I forgot you are an avid reader that loves books. Lear, instead of bothering me, isn’t there some juicy book on The French Reformation in your bookshelf that’s calling you? I am sure if you read it again for the fifteenth time, you will find some interesting details that you missed. Yeah JT — I am a real peasant that has an aversion to ‘intellectuals’ who love to read!

Lear, your ‘amazing’ scholarship notwithstanding, the discussion is a simple legal one. The CDC has made a factual claim that they have studies that shows that vaccines do not cause autism. If challenged in court, it would be up to them to prove that claim. From what they have provided to Del in the work-up motions, it appears they have no such studies to support their claim, and they would likely lose in court.

A. Openly not being interested in the evidence doesn’t help your case.

B. “The CDC made a scientific statement I disagree with” is not, again, a legal claim. You can’t just take the CDC to court over that. When your leaders tell you otherwise, they are misleading you.
The FOIA requests cannot demand that the CDC prove anything. Just that it provide government records. They can’t be used as “the CDC doesn’t have evidence,” and if Mr. Bigtree doesn’t understand that, his lawyer does, and likely told him.

@Dorit

“The CDC made a scientific statement I disagree with” is not, again, a legal claim. You can’t just take the CDC to court over that.

Dorit, it’s not just an ‘idle’ scientific statement comparable to saying the earth’s core is made of molten rock. It’s a statement pertaining to the safety of pharmaceuticals in their effort to encourage parents to accept those pharmaceuticals for their kids. If there is evidence that that statement is false or misleading then there is indeed grounds for a legal claim against the CDC.

“Our non-expert opinion is that the CDC’s statement is wrong” is not a legal claim of any kind. Even an expert opinion on that would not be.

If you go to court, you actually need to have a valid legal claim. The fact that your leaders don’t like what CDC says isn’t it. Courts don’t actually directly decide science. Or censor everything government says.

@ Greg

“I am a real peasant that has an aversion to ‘intellectuals’ who love to read!”

Do you wish to make a contest as to who’s more of a redneck between the mental bookworm that I am and the loon that you are?

OK.

Here we go.

I just love the lyrics.

@Dorit

Our non-expert opinion is that the CDC’s statement is wrong” is not a legal claim of any kind

Do you hold stocks in straws, Dorit? Seems you have quite an affinity for it and using it ‘creatively’.

Dorit, the issue is not whether the claim is ‘wrong’. I know you guys would love it if the case was about that. The issue is whether the CDC has evidence or proof to support the claim’, and, being a safety matter, that’s where the legality comes in.

@ Greg

“Dorit, the issue is not whether the claim is ‘wrong’. I know you guys would love it if the case was about that. The issue is whether the CDC has evidence or proof to support the claim’, and, being a safety matter, that’s where the legality comes in.”

OK. Since you are playing dumb, we’ll play dumb too.

The answer to your question “would the CDC lose?” is…

NO.

Fuck you very much for playing with us.

Next.

If there is evidence that that statement is false or misleading

Fine. Bring on your evidence in front of a court.
Oh. You people already did that. And lost.

“it’s not just an ‘idle’ scientific statement comparable to saying the earth’s core is made of molten rock.”

And here I thought the inner core was solid nickle/iron. And the outer core molten but same. “Rocks” would tend to be bouyant in that environment. Google “earth’s crust” or “mountains” or “boiling hot magma”.

I could have been told wrong; never been there.

Yesterday:

Tell me Mister Straightshooter, can you honestly say that the CDC wouldn’t lose in court, having to defend their factual claim that vaccines do not cause autism?”

I do not know the US system enough to give an informed opinion on that.

Today:

The answer to your question “would the CDC lose?” is…

NO.

Mister Straightshooter, what a difference a day made in helping you find certainty.

@Athaic

If there is evidence that that statement is false or misleading

Fine. Bring on your evidence in front of a court.

No, this time around the burden would be with you guys to ‘bring it!’.

@ Greg

“Mister Straightshooter, what a difference a day made in helping you find certainty.”

Well, it’s a fine trick, Mister Blazkowicz. It’s called cutting through the crap, simplifying, and making an overall evaluation. That’s not called certainty. But merely an assessment.

@ Greg

“No, this time around the burden would be with you guys to ‘bring it!’.”

That’s easy Greg. You just have to bring a book called “Of Miracles” by Hume before the judge. That evidence costs 5 bucks on an online bookstore.

Get a grip, buddy: you’re wrestling with the so-called induction problem by Hume. A civilized court will not make a ruling that flattens all science out of society by taking a stand on the induction problem and saying that “we have no proof that the Sun will rise up tomorrow” because we cannot inductively extrapolate our past knowledge to this new day! Anything may happen tomorrow!

Well… NO.

Vaccines do not cause autism, buddy.

@Joel: Admit it: we also have no scientific evidence that Gerg does not cause autism.

Therefore we should set the little scrote on fire and bury the ashes in a ditch—it’s the only way to be sure. Won’t somebody think of the kids!

@Joel: Admit it: we also have no scientific evidence that Gerg does not cause autism

Tbh, Has, I am surveying the chessboard, and I have to say Del really has you guys pinned. I am considering what moves you have.

You could in the next few months before you find yourselves in court fake some more science showing the other vaccines are not linked to autism. With the Danish database at your disposal, I have absolutely no doubts that should be easy for you guys. Any doubts I have pertains to why you haven’t already.

Still, producing such rushed studies would just be more confirmation that Del was right and you guys indeed have been lying to parents. Don’t know, Has, things are approaching checkmate.

@ Greg

“With the Danish database at your disposal, I have absolutely no doubts that should be easy for you guys.”

Hey, Greg… have you now worked what “survival analysis” means? You seemed a bit confused about that notion last time we discussed the Danish study.

@ Joel
Finally, if one were to use your approach to science, we would have to reject ALL science and base decisions, policy, etc. on whatever people believe at the moment, resulting in a return to the Middle Ages where I”m sure you would thrive.

Hey that’s unfair! Within the limits of the science they knew, most people in the Middle Ages were pretty logical. Venice instituted quarantine in the 14th C. In context, the anti-vaxers would have been seem as crazy then as now.

@ John Kane (@ Joel)

“Hey that’s unfair! Within the limits of the science they knew, most people in the Middle Ages were pretty logical.”

Aaaaaahhhh! One of my favourite topics. Not diving wholly into that in a mere comment, but, just for kicks, I’d advise anyone interested in medieval science to dive into the “On magic” text (page 103) by Giordano Bruno.

It’s a very nice synthesis of all that was controversial scientifically in that time, by someone that was what is the closest to a modern-day sceptic. Extremely enlightening. Shows you how much we managed to achieve since the 16th century.

The guy got burnt.

@ Greg

Start reading books. You might learn a little something. And it’s a rather easy read. If you want to play the redneck, nothing stops you from getting drunk while reading it. A Nascar race is a perfect place to read Bruno. (I’m more of a Shirley Muldowney fan, though… dragsters are fun).

I suspect Elvis might be too complex for Gerg.

I am flattered by the ‘personal’ interest, Narad!

From Big Deltree: “The CDC should stop waging this false media campaign against these parents and, instead, fund independent scientists to do the needed science!”

I gather what he means by “independent scientists”* is whoever he and the anti-vaccine mob choose, regardless of their actual credentials and expertise, especially if they have already published (no matter where or when). Of course, this stellar group will be headed by Andrew Wakefield.

Insert Inigo Montoya meme.

“fund independent scientists”

If they’re funded they’re not independent. If they’re not funded the “scientist” is often a grifter working to promote their grift. Real scientists have children to feed and prefer funded work.

If they’re funded they’re not independent.

The recursion factor of this demand is indeed impressive.

Step 1 – we don’t trust CDC science, they are all bought and paid for
Step 2 – the CDC should instead give cash to independent scientists
Step 3 – go to step 1

Especially when coming from people playing six-points-of-association/Stalinist trials.

I guess they started with the usual “we don’t trust industry or government science, a third party should do it”. Then someone pointed that this third party needs wages and resources, and a logic gap got fried somewhere.

@ rs

“Real scientists have children to feed and prefer funded work.”

M’kay… People who are disabled, broke and have been deemed outcasts by psychiatry cannot engage in research? They do not have any capacity? No credentials? Axiomatically? Oh well… please consider funding patients so that they can collaborate to sketch out their desires so that “real” scientists can take their wishes in consideration when engaging in research that patients want to be done.

I noticed one such organisation in the UK doing that kind of work, but can’t locate it on the net any more. PCORI is kind of a similar organisation in the US. Not sure funding is stellar over there…

Oh! BTW! Patients are not supposed to be Yes Men. They have the right to ask questions, even scientific questions, and disagree without being locked up, you know… That’s an idea to curtail the aggregate output of the industrialisation of disgruntled patients to whom conspiracy theories are taylored.

Did I mention that on psych support online chats you do find quite some people looking out for abuse victims to sell them the satanic pedocriminal QAnon Pizzagate nonsensical narrative? Oh well, I just did.

F68.10, who are you arguing with, or what did I say that you are arguing with? I fail to see any dispute.

@ rs

Yeah. I’m grumbling. That’s all. (I just think that your comment ends up being somewhat defensive as patients are kind of annoyed of not having a say in what counts for them. Specifically in psychiatry where I found that extremely extremely annoying).

In fact, it matters not a jot to the anti-vaxxers whether scientists are funded by companies, government, universities or not funded at all. What matters to anti-vaxxers is whether the outcome agrees with their opinion. For anti-vaxxers, an independent scientist is one who is already biased towards their conclusion.

If I were to publish a paper tomorrow claiming that vaccines caused autism, the anti-vaxxers would be all over it and any funding I may have had in the past from companies would be completely forgiven.

@Chris It does make it very easy to evaluate results, though, doesn’t it? I always like the H.L. Mencken quote. “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

@ Chris Preston
Indeed. Mr. Wakefield was hardly an independent ‘scientist’. He was paid by lawyers, seeking proof vaccines caused autism. Besides he had interests in seperate vaccines instead of the combined MMR vaccine.
But no anti-vaxxer is ever complaining about mr. Wakefield not being independent, because he ‘proved’ vaccines cause autism.

@F68.10, ““Real scientists have children to feed and prefer funded work.”

M’kay… People who are disabled, broke and have been deemed outcasts by psychiatry cannot engage in research? ”

Nope! What rs is saying is that “real scientists” want to get paid for their work, and that the time of the wealthy gentleman scientist is over, and that there is nothing wrong with expecting to be paid for your work.

IE, people doing research should be paid. Not that, if you aren’t getting paid you can’t do research. Just, you should also get paid.

(This is separate from the considerations of paying people to be in research, because then you get into thorny issues of agency and consent.)

Dorit: “Courts don’t actually directly decide science.”

Unless you’re in Italy, where cellphones cause cancer, vaccines cause autism and scientists can be convicted of the crime of not adequately foreseeing earthquakes.*

*all but one sentence in the earthquake case were eventually overturned on appeal, probably because of a Satanic conspiracy by Big Seismology. Some Italian prosecutors are very much into Satanic plots.

As far as I know, all those were in the context of specific cases. For example, the vaccines and autism statement was in the context of a tort case. Even in Italy, you can’t just sue because you think a statement was wrong.

Correct me if that’s not the case.

I expect to see Greg pipe up to “correct” you. He presumes he knows more about medicine than doctors and nurses, more about science than scientists, and now, more about law than law professors. Why, he’s a veritable Renaissance Man!

I expect to see Greg pipe up to “correct” you

And, indeed I will again, TBruce, and I challenge her to contest the precise point:

The issue is not that the claim that ‘vaccines do not cause autism’ is wrong, and even though it’s indeed a false claim. The issue is the CDC’s claim that they have scientific evidence that shows that vaccines do not cause autism. If they don’t, it’s at best a misleading claim, and it’s very much actionable.

The CDC does not need to have its own scientific evidence that vaccines do not cause autism, the scientific literature is full of this evidence. Everyone agrees that the evidence is vaccines do not cause autism, the only ones that don’t are those still trying to find their god in the gaps.

A. Note that he did not even address the actual point.
B. “I think what the government said is untrue” or “I think the government doesn’t have evidence for what it said” are not, in fact, actionable legal claims, unless made in the context of real legal claims.

Courts do not address everything. Here are some other things that are not actionable:
“The President wore a tan suit,” “I don’t want to have Italian for dinner,” “Orac banned me.”

@ Greg

“The issue is the CDC’s claim that they have scientific evidence that shows that vaccines do not cause autism.”

I have evidence that unicorns do not exist: I haven’t found any.

I have evidence that God does not exist: He never provided solid evidence.

Do you kind of get the gist of it?

@ F68.10

I have evidence that God does not exist: He never provided solid evidence.

There is a sketch by the late Raymond Devos on this topic. He starts juggling a few heavy balls, miss one on its way down, although the ball doesn’t miss his head, he starts seeing it as a sign from god…
(now, as to the title of this specific one-man show, no idea. The guy was prolific)

A. Note that he did not even address the actual point.
B. “I think what the government said is untrue” or “I think the government doesn’t have evidence for what it said” are not, in fact, actionable legal claims, unless made in the context of real legal claims.

Let’s address Dorit’s point, but first a little info that the lay lurkers might find pertinent: Historically, under the doctrine of ‘sovereign immunity’, citizens were not permitted to sue the King or the government, if you will. Over time, an exemption was made, and the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was introduced allowing private citizens to sue the government. Unlike suing private individuals, there are numerous exceptions and limitations of the FTCA and with each state having its own rules. A common rule is that you have to exercise due diligence in resolving the dispute before a claim can be brought. Likely, Del and ICAN’s numerous FOIA requests were their efforts to show due diligence.

Now, Dorit is arguing that you just can’t sue the government for a false statement unless it’s part of a claim. What does that mean? Does it mean that making row of the government not having scientific evidence that vaccines don’t cause autism would still require that the claimant establish a claim to show how she was harmed by that statement? Would that not switch the burden back onto ‘antivaxxers’ to prove that vaccines cause autism? Could provaxxers then do a happy dance?

Perhaps Dorit would like folks here to think this way, but that would involve not knowing the distinction between a legal and equitable claim. A legal claim is made for compensation for damages, where as an equitable claim can be seen as injunction claim that is made to avoid possible future damages.

Asking the CDC to remove it’s misleading statement that they have scientific evidence that vaccines do not cause autism would amount to an injunction, or an equitable claim. The rationale is, if in the future it’s shown that vaccines do cause autism, then the harm would’ve resulted from the CDC’s false statement encouraging parents to vaccinate. No legal claim needs to be established in pursuing this injunction.

A. ICAN’s suits so far have not been torts suit, though they did threaten to sue a journalist who criticized them in defamation.

B. Sovereign immunity applies to tort liability, but would not prevent an administrative claim. In other words, if they’re not suing for damages or an injunction claiming a civil wrong, your discussion is off topic.

For everyone: think of law as having separate regions of types of claims. Criminal law, administrative law, constitutional law, tort law. They can overlap, but don’t always. Generally, a claim to government to do different than what it’s doing would be brought under constitutional law, administrative law, or potentially a specific statutory scheme, not as a torts claim.

If ICAN wants the CDC to remove the statement, they need to fit their claim under one of the headings available in this area. I just don’t see any. The closest might be a claim that the CDC’s actions were arbitrary and capricious under administrative law, but there they would run into a problem that changing the headline does not fit the definition of agency action under the Administrative Procedures Act. So what are they going to claim in court? “We think the CDC are baddies” is not a legal claim.

Separate from that, they are going to have a standing problem.

Practically any torts claim they bring is not likely to be against CDC, even if we ignore the fact that the NCVIA would likely bar such a claim. And even there, yes, you would still have to bring a specific torts claim, and have a party, and there just aren’t many that would fit, even if we ignore the reality that the CDC’s text – which made it clear vaccines do not cause autism – hasn’t changed.

Oh, and by the way, the Federal Torts Claims Act – and practically all states torts claims act – has an exception for discretionary decisions that draw on policy. You can’t sue the government for those (which is why, for example, you cannot sue the FDA in torts for approving a product).

You can’t just make up law. It doesn’t work. Courts kick such cases out. Potentially, though rarely, with penalties for the lawyers trying such things. I would say that I think Aaron Siri is too smart to bring an obviously sanction-worthy claim, so maybe he’ll try for arbitrary and capricious and make a very weak claim knowingly to satisfy his clients.

I suppose that it’s fairly normal behaviour for Greg. Anti-vaxxers ignore people with vastly greater knowledge on the subject of vaccines so it makes sense that he would ignore a law professor on the subject of law as well.

@ Greg

“The rationale is, if in the future it’s shown that vaccines do cause autism, then the harm would’ve resulted from the CDC’s false statement encouraging parents to vaccinate.”

You’re completely throwing out of the windows the proven benefits of vaccination on the group level. No sensible government will allow that to be forfeited. If someone has been harmed (note the “if”…) then compensation might be in order. But that cannot be at the cost of watering down statements about vaccines and autism. No way.

Now some countries are more stupid than others. Granted. If ever a country pulls off such a trick as you sketch out, it will give an argument of the kind “the people are stupid, let’s strip them of what power they have on the matter” to elites. Avoid going down that road. You’ll regret it. You can only lose at that game in the end.

Elites love that gambit around here. It’s a vicious cycle that only strengthen authoritarianism.

Play Russian Roulette at your own risks.

@Dorit

Dorit, I shake my head that you guys are always accusing us of moving the goalposts. I responded to your post in which you were suggesting that Del could not sue because he didn’t have a legal claim by pointing out that pursuing an injunction he didn’t need a legal claim. Instead of acknowledging this, you moved on to ruminating about not seeing which court he could sue in. Let’s take things one step at a time: Do you agree Del could bring an injunction?

For everyone: think of law as having separate regions of types of claims. Criminal law, administrative law, constitutional law, tort law. They can overlap, but don’t always. Generally, a claim to government to do different than what it’s doing would be brought under constitutional law, administrative law, or potentially a specific statutory scheme, not as a torts claim.

Wait — but Del is not asking that the government change any specific law? A statement that ‘we have scientific proof that vaccines do not cause autism’ is not a law. Still, there is the potential of harm coming from that statement, so why wouldn’t the petition fall under a tort claim?

Oh, and by the way, the Federal Torts Claims Act – and practically all states torts claims act – has an exception for discretionary decisions that draw on policy.

Again, we are not dealing with a policy that Del is attempting to change such as suggesting the CDC should change its vaccination recommendation. We are dealing with just a specific statement that he is saying might lead to harm.

What is the tort? (Yes, it has to fall under a specific tort). I really do not see one that fits.

And the usual remedy in torts, with few exceptions (like nuisance, which does not fit), would be damages. Won’t work here.

Del would actually be more likely to be able to state an actual legal claim under administrative law – and even there it is extremely weak, probably touching on – or in the area of – frivolous lawsuit.

@Dangerous One

Courts don’t actually directly decide science.”

I am sure finding that a study on MMR and autism does not count as a study of DTaP would not amount to deciding the science. You?

@ Greg

“I am sure finding that a study on MMR and autism does not count as a study of DTaP would not amount to deciding the science. You?”

Yep. The same way that it would not be deciding the science when deciding that NASA does not have to modify its public statements because the Bible says that the Sun orbits the Earth. We can discount the Bible as sound science.

Sorry. (And BTW, wasn’t the issue with Wakefield one of fraud?)

There are cases where courts take positions on science. In child abuse cases around here, we have a battle between psychoanalysts and science-based psychiatrists (and parents) for supremacy of expertise in court. The games played by judges in this domain when dismissing an expert or not because of its ideological affiliation are starting to become more and more known in the public.

But I do not see how vaccines could be a remotely similar case.

Courts sometimes think they decide science. Science does have a nasty habit of going off in the direction of reality regardless of what courts want to think.

An injunction is a remedy. You don’t get any remedy without having a valid legal claim.

Reread my post carefully, and try to understand it.

An injunction is a remedy. You don’t get any remedy without having a valid legal claim.

And, I still think you are attempting to dodge that you were implying that harm hard to be committed to have a valid legal claim. The potential of harm and an equitable argument is a valid legal claim.

No, that was not my point at all. Aside from missing my point, you’re also wrong. Not every alleged harm is also a legal claim. You actually have to fit it into a legal claim. The issue is not whether it’s past or potential harm, but what’s the legal claim.

I get the impression you’re really having trouble understanding my explanations. Maybe you should take a little time to read through, try to figure them out, and then ask questions about what you don’t understand, rather than continue to make cringeworthy mistakes? It’s okay not to know things. Confidently making repeatedly wrong statements on the things you don’t know is different.

The issue is not whether it’s past or potential harm, but what’s the legal claim.

And the legal claim is the CDC is making false statements that may potentially cause harm, so an injunction against such statements is warranted.

PS: Not biting at your ‘you’re so confused’ gig.

But you are, at best, confused, since you are simply wrong, though it’s more likely that you are not willing to put in the work to learn.

What you are describing is not a legal claim, and does not fall under any tort. There is a tort of misrepresentation; it requires showing damages happened. It would also be unlikely to allow suing CDC under the federal Torts Claims Act, which as I said, exempts government discretionary actions – and exempts misrepresentation expressly. So that’s closed off.

There just isn’t a tort claim in what you said. The fact that you and your leaders don’t like the CDC’s headline – and note that the text did not change, and did and still does clearly state there is no link between vaccines and autism – isn’t a legal claim.

And the legal claim is the CDC is making false statements that may potentially cause harm, so an injunction against such statements is warranted.

Gerg, what would you say the finest accomplishment in your life would be?

I’ll wait, but I can guess.

Arguing with most anti-vaxxers is like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon doesn’t understand a thing about chess, struts around knocking over all the pieces, craps all over the chess board and then wants you to give it some bird seed after all that.

Greg has been shown the science and the law many times but still he persists but at least we can learn from Dorit
.
Here’s more SBM about vaccines and autism.
Jain et al ( 2015) looked at younger brothers of both boys with autism and without autism ( 95K Ss) including the unvaccinated :
she found that kids whose sibling didn’t have autism had autism at a rate of 1% whether they were vaccinated or not
AND kids whose sibling had autism also had autism at a rate of 7% whether they were vaccinated or not
Think about what this means:
if your older brother doesn’t have autism, you’ll have it a risk of 1% like the general population but
if your brother has autism, you’ll have a risk of 7%
in both groups, being vaccinated or not doesn’t change anything.
This can be drawn neatly in a box of rows and columns but that’s hard to do here.

OT:
@ Narad:
Did you get a cat?

Yes, I figured Greg won’t use the information but it might be helpful to others, and it’s helpful to me to work through it. I admit I’m curious what they will try and claim if they in fact sue. Mr. Bigtree may not understand or care about law, but they’re working with a law firm.

<

blockquote>OT:
@ Narad:
Did you get a cat?

<

blockquote>

Why, yes I did. I was terrified for a while that he had gotten into a hole in wall in the den that my late father made with his recliner, but that turned out into physically impossible based on the location of the studs. I nearly took a saw to the wall before realizing that. (It’s going to have to be fixed before I unload this place, in any event.)

I have no idea where he was hiding for the first 36 hours, but I spotted him under the bed last night. Once I figured out that lying on the floor would draw him out,* we had a fine time. But he’s back under the bed. The shelter was palatial, so new digs, new smells, etc.

Two- to four-year-old orange tabby, surrendered for a second time because “dogs don’t like him.” Absolute sweetheart.

Who doesn’t want to use the litter box.

*I first spotted him taking advantage of my dad’s bed.

I have no idea where he was hiding for the first 36 hours,

To quote Lilian Jackson Brown, look at places too high, too low or too narrow for a cat 🙂

When I adopted my rescue cat, a year and something ago, for three or four days my flat was haunted. There was just me by day, and by night something was loudly heating the kibbles.
OK, I roughly knew where he was, but I didn’t want to disturb him.

One frightening day, I couldn’t find him in his usual places, and I became convinced he jumped out of the window. Turned out, he just found a new hiding place.

Same pattern when I brought him at my parents’ place during vacations. At first, he would hide by day and navigate the house at night. Now, he is walking right under the nose of my parents’ other pets to go fetch a human to clean the litter box or refill the food plate.

I love cats, I really do. I also take care of other peoples cats (and other animals) when they are on vacation, or away for other reasons, like work. Last year was very quiet. Not much traveling, because of Covid-19.

Narad, he sounds like a great cat. Hurrah!
You and two other commenters here remarked on orange tabbies- aren’t most of them male?
My most incredible cats – the last two- were very large male, grey or brown tabbies;: cats look better with stripes,: the last one had an ornate, very distinct stripe- spot- splotch pattern and was superlative in many other ways. He is sorely missed.

re selling real estate.
I inherited commercial property as a student: my father helped me manage it until I could by myself; years later, when prices soared I sold it having great assistance from a RE agent but the tenant didn’t want to leave so that complicated things for 6 weeks When I first put the place on the market. on the first day, 3 buyers bid against each other to acquire it, adding additional money to the asking price- I hope you experience a similar pricing situation.
As I’ve mentioned previously, My best friend married into major developer/ real estate family- her husband was the only legit member of that family which he eventually wrote off- so I have many interesting tales about FL.. .

My childhood cat was lost for over a week when, one day, I walk out into the garage and heard a noise above me. From atop the central air main return, he fell into my arms in a near CATatonic state. Turns out, he had an abcess at the base of the tail and knew he was getting very sick.

Many years later, after his passing, as my parents were preparing for a move, I spotted a small rectangular cutout above some shelving. Peering in, there was a minefield of nails sticking below the subfloor in the narrow space; I found some of his hair on a nail.

I had a conundrum of how one cat kept getting outside in a trailor park with a hostile-to-cats owner. Was an interloper letting him out?? Perhaps, sometimes. But I was out back one day and there is Smiley squeezing through the small aluminum dryer vent.

Not to worry anyone too much, but I have a feeling they are perfectly capable of peeling up a vent and slipping into the ductwork — No worries, there is no way they could get past the heat exchanger into the fan; or… dun dun dun .. can they?

ps. His name was Pickles. Yes, like the fire cat; my favorite book then.

Mrs. Goodkind was kinda an entitled twat, though. What was wrong with living in the barrel??

ps. His name was Pickles. Yes, like the fire cat; my favorite book then.

That was the name of the cat I raised from a seed and buried with my bare hands in winter behind the Museum of Science and Industry. I mention this (again, probably) only because he was named at least a decade before I ever heard of the book.

I’m still a bit too emotionally fragile to start in on Francesco Marcuiliano’s I Can Pee on This. The real one will do. I would like to see him produce some waste, though.

@Denice: The exterminator opined that the place would go in a flash. My uncle Ed keeps badgering me to keep it as a rental property. With a $569 mortgage payment ($161 to principal), that might not be completely absurd, but I’m very, very wary of becoming a landlord 1100 miles away from the property, as well as taking real-estate advice from a well-meaning relative whose expertise is in successfully running a used-vehicle operation for decades.

I’m pretty sure “we had a fine time” and renal failure is more than 24 hours apart. He’s a’goin’ somewhere; Or just holding it in to be polite. As you know, perfumy-clumpy litter is right out. Check your slippers and socks; my cat used to accurately fill small-target thingys right in front of me (at the risk of being scolded) to let me know he needed medical attention. In this case, he’s peeing in some corner so as not to offend the local estabulatory [sic].

@ Denice

on orange tabbies- aren’t most of them male?

Now I learned something.

I knew about Calico cats being mostly female, and the occasional Calico cat being very likely infertile – the multi-color pattern is cool effect due to the random inactivation of one X chromosome in cells of mammal females.
So a male Calico cat has actually two X chromosomes.

But orange tabbies being mostly males… Now that’s another genetic mechanism. Or just the opposite one, something recessive linked to the X chromosome. Fascinating.

@ Athaic:

Orange comes from a gene that is on the X chromosome: males need only one but females need both- i.e. both parents being orange.. Orange cats are adopted more easily, black ones less so.
I prefer the other type of tabby: dark, grey or brown- they can be shadowy creatures that suggest to me their wild cousins, the big cats, skulking around amidst the grasses or forest undergrowth…

@ Narad:

You’ll probably make good money either way. Usually, I advise for people to wait a while before making major decisions after a death in the family but your situation may be different because you’d have to manage the property and pay a mortgage right away. Being an absent landlord is difficult unless you have enough income to pay someone to assist you. It’s down to what you really want: do you want to keep the property- maybe for yourself now or someday or do you want to be free of it?
I didn’t mind owning the place but after 20 years, the last set of tenants were problematic and values went through the roof so I just wanted to be free of it and cash in- I paid the taxes and invested the rest.. Taxes are steep if you don’t live there.
You know what’s best for you.

But, you could probably lend it out to Viacom to make some weekly, cheezy horror series flicks… Just sayin’

A side benefit of scepticism:
I look at anti-vaxxers’ miserable twitters/ websites but sometimes, there are valuable images:
today, Rob Schneider ( anti-vax comedian who will leave the California dictatorship soon) included a photo by a great photographer who surfs, rescues and exhibits his work
Huge waves at Half Moon Bay in January, he has a website, facebook, instagram.
So Schneider isn’t totally useless

No criticism needed. This addresses the different available remedies.

You still need to make a legal claim. Claims in equity are still a type of valid legal claim. For example, you can, as in the article, make a claim that a zoning decision can harm you later. The legal claim there would be a nuisance claim, and asking for an injunction is pretty usual in a nuisance suit. But you cannot ask for an injunction if the city went on an ad campaign saying “smoking is bad for you.” Because you would not have a specific legal claim. When tobacco companies tried to challenge a statement they didn’t like, they tried to shoehorn it into “because we are paying taxes, this is a violation of our freedom of speech.” That was rejected. https://www.jurist.org/news/2004/09/rj-reynolds-tobacco-co-v-shewry-9th/

You need a claim.

ICAN does not have a claim. Just disliking what CDC says, thinking it’s untrue, or wanting to show their followers they’re doing something are not valid legal claims.

For example, you can, as in the article, make a claim that a zoning decision can harm you later

Thank you! And how is that different from saying if down the road vaccines are shown to cause autism, the government lie could harm you? I am also reflecting on the fact that the government is essentially engaging in fraud (actually a crime for anyone else!), and technically an argument can be made of immediate harm.

Please also link the exact text from any state’s FTCA act that excuses the government for misrepresentation.

Because nuisance – the claim behind that – is an actual legal claim. They’re not claiming “we have an (baseless) claim for harm, so we deserve a remedy.” They actually fit it under a legal rubric: nuisance.

You have to come up with a legal claim. There isn’t one your leaders can use. The exception (to the federal torts claim act. Not a state one) is in 28 U.S.C. 2680 (h):
“The provisions of this chapter and section 1346(b) of this title shall not apply to—
(h)Any claim arising out of assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights.”

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/2680

@Dorit

The Springfield City Council decides to re-zone a parcel of residential land as commercial land. The neighbors, who own homes on the neighboring parcels, are not pleased by this decision. The neighbors can sue the City Council, and ask the court to issue a preliminary or permanent injunction to block the law from taking effect.

Where exactly in that text was ‘nuisance’ referenced as a claim?

While you may not know enough law to guess what the neighbors would sue for, I can figure it out (another option would be an administrative law arbitrary and capricious, or violation of statute, claim against the city, and that too can be an injunction. In fact, rereading the description, that is even more likely).

But at any rate, the case will be raising a legal claim, and it’s almost certain to be one of those. An injunction is a remedy that can be asked for if you have a valid legal claim. You can’t just go to court and say: “give me an injunction to force my wife to go to an Italian restaurant with me, because if we go to the Indian restaurant I get heartburn, and that’s harmful.” Or “the city decided to adopt a purple and mustard flag and that may hurt my eyes, so tell the city to adopt a different flag, court.” You actually really do need to have a valid legal claim.

While you may not know enough law to guess what the neighbors would sue for, I can figure it out (another option would be an administrative law arbitrary and capricious, or violation of statute, claim against the city, and that too can be an injunction. In fact, rereading the description, that is even more likely

You keep denying that they have a legal claim, yet here you’re suggesting the process is very fluid. I am sorry, I am still not seeing how a ‘rubik’ can’t be found for healthcare fraud.

I am sorry, I am still not seeing how a ‘rubik’ can’t be found for healthcare fraud.

If you’re looking for a puzzle cube that will help you with your bogus claim of “healthcare fraud”, you have a long search ahead of you. Probably about as long as a search for a healthcare fraud rubric that would meet your criteria.

CDC does not provide healthcare. Even putting aside the fact that you cannot sue the federal government for the tort of misrepresentation, if someone was suing for healthcare fraud CDC would be the wrong defendant.

So, it’s discretionary carrying out of policy that is exempted and not the policy themselves?

Anyway, it gets more hilarious by the minute; you guys are actually prepared to argue that you’re permitted to lie in order to prevent Del from getting you to stop lying. How is that not a win for Del?

The Court distinguished between decisions made at the planning and policy stage and those conducted at the lower, or “operational,” levels that implement the policy decisions, even if some judgment or discretion is exercised in carrying out such decisions.

https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Federal+Tort+Claims+Act#:~:text=Enacted%20in%201946%20the%20Federal%20Tort%20Claims%20Act,of%20the%20United%20States%20in%20federal%20court%20for.

“We guys” are not claiming anything. I’m pointing out that there’s no torts claim against the CDC that Del argued or can bring.

It’s not clear what you think he’s going to sue for. My starting point was to explain to you that there is no valid legal claim here, however much you want to imagine there is one.

Even if ICAN’s complaint was not, in the words of Orac, a “nothing burger” – and it is, because the text made it clear the CDC is stating that vaccines do not cause autism, even while – for whatever reasons (almost certainly unrelated to anything ICAN did) – the heading was changed – it’s unclear what kind of legal claim they’re imagining they can bring.

Sorry, by the way, everyone, for engaging in this lengthy discussion with him.

I wondered if it might help me understand better what they might try and claim, but I don’t think Greg knows enough to help push on that. Plus, it was mildly amusing.

Again, with the zoning example, why did you seize on ‘nuisance’ as a claim? That word was never mentioned

Because I know some law. Though I will say on re-reading, it’s more likely the claim would be an administrative law claim than nuisance. It really would depend what exactly the city members were complaining about.

The point is that the city people would have to bring a valid legal claim. So would your leaders. Your source addressed the remedies, but was not intending to imply that you don’t need to have a valid legal claim.

When you read that into it, you are misreading it. Equity, in this case, refers to a set of legal claims that do not fall under the common law. You see, in England, common law courts – the King’s courts – could only decide cases that fit under certain categories, under pre-existing writs, which generally only allowed payment of money from A to B. If anyone wanted a different remedy, they had to go to the King, which delegated the power to the chancellor, who eventually delegated the power to a set of chancellery courts, called equity courts. But it is still a set of courts that addresses legal claims and uses legal doctrines. You still have to make a claim.

Here is a deeper explanation of that distinction. Note that the main difference is remedies, and it is nowhere suggested that you don’t have to have a valid legal claim.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/equity

Sorry, by the way, everyone, for engaging in this lengthy discussion with him.

Turning Gerg into mincemeat demands no apology in my book.

@ Dorit

“Sorry, by the way, everyone, for engaging in this lengthy discussion with him.”

Speaking for myself, I see absolutely no problem with that. Quite the opposite.

Each of the claims and defenses must be carefully broken down into the necessary elements using the jury instructions, special verdicts, cases, statutes, other relevant statements of law, and the facts of your particular case.

Dorit’s expertise notwithstanding, I am still not seeing how medical fraud and involving breach of informed consent and with its potential to cause harm cannot fit into this latitude.

https://www.jameseducationcenter.com/articles/elements-of-proof-rubric/

Dorit, you also haven’t address the point that federal Tort exemptions for lying and misrepresentation only applies to federal employees and agents discretionarily carrying out policies, and not to the policies themselves.

CDC is not a doctor. As a public health agency, it doesn’t directly treat patients. So it cannot do medical fraud or deny informed consent. Certainly not by posting something on its website. Just doesn’t fit.

The exemption means you can’t sue the government in torts for that claim, period.

The exemption means you can’t sue the government in torts for that claim, period.

Really?! Let’s look at the Dalehite example in that article I linked about Tort exemptions…

In Dalehite, federal government workers in Texas were negligent in packing and shipping explosive material, and their negligence resulted in the death of 536 people. The Court ruled that the workers were following specifications prepared by superiors in Washington, D.C., who were exercising their discretion. Therefore, the discretionary function exception applied and the government was immune from suit. The Court distinguished between decisions made at the planning and policy stage and those conducted at the lower, or “operational,” levels that implement the policy decisions, even if some judgment or discretion is exercised in carrying out such decisions.

And, again we read that line…

The Court distinguished between decisions made at the planning and policy stage and those conducted at the lower, or “operational,” levels that implement the policy decisions, even if some judgment or discretion is exercised in carrying out such decisions.

So, who was exempt from negligence causing deaths? Was it the policy or the government itself, or was it government employees carrying out the policy? Clearly it was the employees and not the policy.

You’re using a negligence example. The exception is for misrepresentation. It means you cannot sue the federal government for misrepresentation.

Negligence isn’t broadly exempted.

The discretionary exception does apply to policy decisions and not other types, which means that you cannot sue for negligence in making policy, but can sue for other types of things. And sometimes, the line there can get fuzzy. That’s what that case is about.

But that’s irrelevant to the misrepresentation exception.

Law is very much about drawing lines, and you cannot use a case about negligence and the policy exception to try and challenge a point about misrepresentation, which is a separate exception.

The Court distinguished between decisions made at the planning and policy stage and those conducted at the lower, or “operational,” levels that implement the policy decisions, even if some judgment or discretion is exercised in carrying out such decisions.

Doesn’t have to be ‘medical’ fraud, Dorit, but just simply, fraud. Will you deny fraud as a valid legal claim?

You tried to use medical fraud.

Misrepresentation and fraud are the same intentional tort, and are an exception to the federal torts claims act.

You still don’t have a valid claim.

Misrepresentation and fraud are the same intentional tort, and are an exception to the federal torts claims act.

Thank you! So, with you being so confused about Del’s potential legal claim, it can be as simple as fraud. Your only hold-out now is to say that’s an ‘exception’ and when I”ve linked clear text saying it isn’t. I feel comfortable saying — checkmate! Thanks for your time; I will be moving on.

No, you haven’t. You linked to text saying that when the courts apply the discretionary exception to liability in negligence, they draw lines. That’s all.

It has nothing to do with the exception for misrepresentation. Here, again, are the exceptions. Note that the discretionary exception is section (a), and the intentional torts one (h). Different exceptions. Unrelated.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/2680

You are still mistaken.

Not true, Dorit! The article I linked yesterday makes clear that (28 U.S.C, 2680) applies to federal agents and and employees acting discretionary and negligently and their actions resulting in …..

… what you linked yesterday

. Not a state one) is in 28 U.S.C. 2680 (h):
“The provisions of this chapter and section 1346(b) of this title shall not apply to—
(h)Any claim arising out of assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights

Read the article again..

The most mportant and troublesome exception has been the FTCA discretionary function exception. Under this provision, the waiver of immunity does not apply to any claim “based upon the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of a federal agency or an employee of the Government, whether or not the discretion involved be abused” (28 U.S.C. § 2680[a])

Again, the policy specific or the government that drafted it are not exempt. Seriously — are we to believe that ‘negligence’ is exempt but the government can assault, commit battery, false arrest, malicious persecution and so on, but those are exempt?

Continued from the article….

The Court distinguished between decisions made at the planning and policy stage and those conducted at the lower, or “operational,” levels that implement the policy decisions, even if some judgment or discretion is exercised in carrying out such decisions.

Yes. This is about what are the limits of the discretionary policy exception to liability in negligence. It doesn’t negate the separate exception from liability for misrepresentation and other intentional torts.

Sovereign immunity means the government can only be sued in torts as far as it agreed to be sued. The federal government’s agreement to be sued is embedded in the federal torts claims act. That act allows suits against the government in negligence, but creates an exception for policy decisions.

That act does not allow suits for assault, battery, and misrepresentation.

What you want to believe or abstract logic is beyond the point. It won’t change the law. In practice, what this means is that government misrepresentation cannot be handled through the torts system, though in the appropriate cases you can bring an administrative law claim, or constitutional law claim. Neither of which I think your leaders have here. If there is no such valid claim, the only remedy is political, not legal.

Reality won’t change to for what you think it should be.

Dorit, again I don’t know what you are arguing about? The article makes clear that goverment is exempt when federal agents and employees act negligently in carrying out their policies. The policies per se, nor the government that drafts them are not exempt. Sorry – your appeal to authority insistance is not working!

The article talks about the limits of a specific exception to the general liability in negligence. That’s it. It has nothing to do with the misrepresentation exception.

Sorry – your appeal to authority insistance [sic] is not working!

Oh, kewl, there’s a rerun of Lawrence Welk on TV.

“there’s a rerun of Lawrence Welk on TV.”

That was what ran before Dr. Who, back in the day. Fuck those balloons and bubbles; Watching that made me allergic to latex and vaccine averse.

@ Greg

“…the government can assault, commit battery, false arrest, malicious persecution and so on…”

The cynic in me has trouble imagining a government that cannot assault, commit battery, false arrest and malicious persecution. I mean… these are foundational to any decently run civilisation. If it could not, there wouldn’t be anything to write about in the newspapers. It would be even sadder than the sad world we live in.

Making sense of Tort exemptions, here is an example…

The CDC is a goverment body tasked with the policy of conducting vaccine safety studies and making vaccine recommendations. The CDC cannot commit fraud and misrepresent in relation to the science and expect to be exempt under the Tort act. The CDC, however, can have its employees appeal to the public in a drive to increase vaccine uptakes. Exercising their duties, should those employees act discretionarily and lie or misrepresent the safety studies, then the CDC or the government cannot be held accountable under Tort.

No. You cannot sue the government for misrepresentation, because the federal torts claims act creates an explicit exception for it. It says you cannot sue for assault, misrepresentation, and other intentional torts.

Note that that has nothing to do with the fact that your opinion about whether this is misrepresentation is wrong. You cannot even bring the claim.

You just can’t imagine the law away. You can try and mobilize politically for changing it, but good luck with that.

I sue them for being ugly… Who is going to stand against that? ACLU? Electronic Freedom Foundation? Club dei Brutti? ITAR?

You served, whiney bitches.

addendum: excepting Dorit Reiss, she’s allowed to spout legal crap that makes my nipples harden without my flamethrower of derision directed her way. I really mean that; and I’m single… not that I’m in the market, but, still…

@ Greg

There are ca 20 international epidemiological studies that found NO relationship between vaccines and ASD. There are videos of children whose parents claimed the MMR caused their autism; but the videos, taken prior to the MMR showed clear indications of autism. And there are brain studies, autopsies of brains from ASD kids who died and MRIs of living ASD kids. Results show clearly that the size of brain, arrangement, etc could ONLY have developed in uterus. And finally, a recent study found strong evidence that it is the mother’s immune system attacking the fetus resulting in these brain changes. I could give 100s of references; but as I wrote earlier, one cannot prove the Null hypothesis. There could be 100s of studies done around the world, different designs, different researchers, different populations, all showing no causative association and they could not prove such an association doesn’t exist; but, at some point rational intelligent humans who understand science will accept the research. I doubt you would ever.

As for discussing legal lawsuits. While one can hope that juries and or judges, appointed or elected, would base decisions on science; such is often not the case. Consider that a significant minority of Americans believe in QAnon and Trump. I suggested a book by Marcia Angell “Medicine on Trial” that gives a true incidence of a jury literally putting a company out of business where the complainant displayed not anything remotely related. Quite simply, juries often, not always, decide to feel sympathy for someone suffering and their contempt for corporations. And another worthwhile book is by Robert Kagan “Adversarial Legalism” that documents how both criminal and civil justice in U.S. results quite often in poorer outcomes that those of other technologically advanced Western democracies.

Finally, this blog and its sister blog, Science-Based Medicine, focus on science, I repeat science, not legal issues. Despite what Dorit says, I believe, depending on State, that frivolous lawsuits have occurred and will continue to do so. Often, such suits result in a victory, not of the science; but who has the most resources. Monsanto has sued independent farmers who clean and reuse their own seeds, claiming winds blew Monsanto genetically modified seeds unto their properties. In every case, the farmers went bankrupt facing Monsanto’s large well-paid legal teams and signed a sealed agreement. They went bankrupt because on discovery Monsanto lawyers kept asking for more and more, including checking history going way back, etc.

HOWEVER, TO EVERYONE FOLLOWING THIS EXCHANGE, I BELIEVE THAT GREG IS JUST A SICK INDIVIDUAL IN NEED OF ATTENTION AND POSTING HIS COMMENTS SIMPLY TO GET A RISE OUT OF PEOPLE. I SUGGEST EVERYONE SIMPLY IGNORE HIM.

Oh, exactly as Greg portrayed, I do read a lot, though mainly focusing on epidemiology and health economics, since preteens became interested in criminal and later civil law when saw 1957 TV series “The Court of Last Resort” based on true stories of a group who managed to free people who had exhausted all their appeals, forerunner to the Innocent Projects and since I lived in Canada and Sweden, I’ve read up somewhat on their criminal and civil justice systems.

HOWEVER, TO EVERYONE FOLLOWING THIS EXCHANGE, I BELIEVE THAT GREG IS JUST A SICK INDIVIDUAL IN NEED OF ATTENTION AND POSTING HIS COMMENTS SIMPLY TO GET A RISE OUT OF PEOPLE. I SUGGEST EVERYONE SIMPLY IGNORE HIM.

‘Greg’ is an honest to god troll. Nuff said.

“Monsanto has sued independent farmers who clean and reuse their own seeds, claiming winds blew Monsanto genetically modified seeds unto their properties. In every case, the farmers went bankrupt facing Monsanto’s large well-paid legal teams”

Joel, this is utter nonsense, and you should know better.

There have been cases where farmers were found to have illegally taken advantage of the company’s patented technology and grown genetically modified crops without having entered into required licensing agreements.

One case involved an Indiana farmer who collected soybeans from a grain elevator (which could be expected to have a high percentage of the glyphosate-resistant GM trait) to replant on his land, insisting that Monsanto’s patent didn’t apply to his activities. Another, and perhaps the best known instance was that of Percy Schmeiser, who obtained seed after noticing that canola grown adjacent to an herbicide-sprayed roadside ditch was resistant to the herbicide. He was found to have collected seed from resistant canola and grown a large field of it – without paying the licensing fee.

http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2020/11/03/viewpoint-anti-monsanto-biopic-percy-tells-a-misleading-tale-about-about-gmos-and-seed-patents/

I haven’t heard of a single case where farmers who unwittingly had a small amount of GMO grain on their property due to “contamination” were sued/bankrupted by Monsanto. One doesn’t wind up with, say, 1,000 acres of genetically modified grain because “the wind did it”.

Dislike Monsanto (now part of Bayer) for whatever reasons you like, some of which are justifiable. Repeating bogus claims by anti-GMOers is not the way to go.

@ Dangerous Bacon

To me there is another issue I find most disgusting when it comes to seeds: it is forbidden around here to commercialise seeds that are not on a list of commercialisable seeds authorities have designed. Illegal to commercialise even small amounts to individuals. Things are slowly changing, but, honestly, I have trouble not finding that the anti-GMO folks have utterly unreasonable points.

I can’t defend GMOs in a context where laws dating back to the 1930s stops a farmer from commercializing his darn seeds to individual gardeners are in force.

These were indeed done to streamline industrialisation of agriculture in the 1930s. In 2021, that kind of law does not remotely make sense, and the only one who cares are anti-GMO folks. Too bad: they can rehash these points against Big AgroIndustry.

It’s hard to argue when you are on the side of Bad Faith.

“it is forbidden around here to commercialise seeds that are not on a list of commercialisable seeds authorities have designed”

Realizing that we have wandered considerably off topic: what does that even mean?

If you’re upset that plant hybrids can be patented (and have been for many, many decades), making it illegal for buyers to resell them without compensating the hybridizer, well, that’s too bad.

Farmers and gardeners are free to buy, save and even resell a zillion open-pollinated, non-patented varieties. Many have gravitated to hybrids, some patented, because of better yield, resistance to disease and other desirable traits. No one is forced to buy and grow them. No one compels U.S. farmers to grow GM sweet corn; they can instead grow “Country Gentleman” which has been around for well over a century.

Attacking GMOs on the grounds that Bayer and Syngenta have done bad things is like damning vaccines because Big Pharma has done bad things. Of course, there is considerable overlap between anti-GMOers and antivaxers, but it seems that a number of posters here don’t want to acknowledge that fact.

No one is forced to buy and grow them.

Ah, correct, but I would amend this by saying that the industries buying the harvests have an interest in getting big amounts of an uniform product. So there are strong incentives on farmers in growing the specific seeds these industries are more likely to purchase.
Technically, there are multiple varieties of crops on the market, but I wouldn’t say that farmers are fully free to choose, as they are caught between the seed seller and the harvest buyer. Who sometimes are the same entity.

@ Dangerous Bacon

You got me wrong. I’m not really upset about it as I do not care much. The fact is that growing your own plants in your garden, taking their seeds, selling them to a gardener. That’s illegal.

No patent involved. None. Not even Monsanto or whatever. That was (and still kind of still is) the law: any seeds to be sold must be on a list the government decides.

This is very hardly justifiable.

If you want to control what kind of seeds are commercialized to normalise the production of big farms so that you can control the quality of what is eaten, I may go for it.

But stopping individual gardeners from selling their pumpkin seeds to one another, nope… can’t find a way to justify that.

I do not care much personally about it. But if I start thinking about legal issues, I have to take into account the perspectives of people who care about it.

“Farmers and gardeners are free to buy, save and even resell a zillion open-pollinated, non-patented varieties.”

Not around here. That’s the point.

“Attacking GMOs on the grounds that Bayer and Syngenta have done bad things is like damning vaccines because Big Pharma has done bad things.”

I haven’t remotely touched upon GMO, Bayer or Syngenta or whatever. Sorry. Nice try.

The people who actively oppose this law tend to , though, but that, again, is another topic.

I haven’t heard of uniformity being a genetically modified trait. Crop uniformity is desirable for reasons including ease of harvest, which is why it’s long been a feature of conventional breeding.

“The fact is that growing your own plants in your garden, taking their seeds, selling them to a gardener. That’s illegal.”

It’s really illegal to do that in France? Never encountered such a law anywhere else, as a visit to eBay demonstrates. Of course, it’s difficult to see how such a regulation would have been tied to GMOs.

*anyone notice the irony involved in farmer attempts to game the system by concentrating and saving seed of GMO crops to replant without paying royalties? Weren’t we assured that a key reason for GMO crop development was to prevent farmers from saving seeds to replant? (note that it generally is counterproductive to save seeds grown from hybrid crops including the conventionally bred kind, since desirable traits are often diluted or lost in subsequent generations). That hasn’t stopped me from saving seed from hybrid eggplants and tomatoes to replant. Oops! I hope the gendarmes don’t come to my house.
**another point of resemblance between the antivax and anti-GMO movements is insistence on the idea that vaccines and genetically modified crops are unnecessary because we can save the day with Good Nutrition. No need for measles vaccination to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths annually, just feed the Third World masses. Likewise, we can avoid growing genetically modified golden rice when it’s so easy to get proper food and vitamins to those who need them to prevent blindness and death from vitamin A deficiency.

@ Dangerous Bacon

“It’s really illegal to do that in France? Never encountered such a law anywhere else, as a visit to eBay demonstrates. Of course, it’s difficult to see how such a regulation would have been tied to GMOs.”

It’s slowly (not) changing, but, simple answer: yes. It is. Regulated by the Official catalog of plant species and varieties. It dates back to 1932 in France, kind of went european later on and now is stuck in legal conundrums between french law and european law. Won’t go into details.

Of course in 1932 there were no GMOs around. Doesn’t change the fact that this 1932 policy has morphed over the years and in the end does get embroiled in the GMO controversy. People are honestly being fed up with this kind of regulatory nonsense which, from the start, was designed (not entirely stupidly in a 1930s context) to streamline and align corporate and national interests… in the 1930s… Which doesn’t change the fact that I can hardly support such regulations, which are fairly anti-liberal and corporo-statist in nature.

In the end, in day to day discussions, what you find is that GMO denialism is a facade for many such political issues. No point defending GMOs in front of people working in the countryside when they in the end do not care about the science but mostly are angry about such alignments of law and trade unions of Big Farms. (Big Farm is not merely a fantasy: it has a name around here: FNSEA, and I do not think highly of them…) These people in the end are angry about science denialism being instrumentalised to force feed them such regulations. I find it hard to disagree, and each time I say so, I get mistaken for one of their anti-GMO buddies.

Impossible to defend science in that context. It’s so politically skewed that there is no point getting down to the problem of science denialism. If these “anti-GMO” people get their political concerns squashed by sciency talk that just ignores them, it’s a NO-BRAINER that science won’t win in the public discourse. And that lesson very obviously hasn’t been learned yet.

I’m still puzzled by how regulations dating back to the 1930s and even earlier, whose stated purpose is to delineate and provide for standardization of plant varieties (thus preventing fraud in their sale and marketing, for instance through creating new names for established varieties) are a creation of Big Ag (Big Aigu in France?) and somehow demonstrate the evils of genetic engineering.

I suspect that such linkage is based on deficient logic similar to what occurs in the U.S., where true believers harp on perceived major evils in agriculture (such as dependence on relatively few crop strains, lack of seed-saving, overuse of pesticides and increases in large-scale corporate farming operations are attributable to the invention of GM crops, ignoring the reality that such trends were widespread long before anyone at Monsanto or Syngenta created their Demon Seeds in a laboratory.

I agree that those French restrictions on seed sales, particularly as they apply to home gardeners, sound unnecessarily onerous and silly.

“If these “anti-GMO” people get their political concerns squashed by sciency talk that just ignores them, it’s a NO-BRAINER that science won’t win in the public discourse.”

Substitute “antivaxers” for “anti-GMO people” and you’ve got a complaint we hear a fair bit of around here. Advocates of evidence-based medicine are supposed to listen earnestly and nod our heads in sympathy when antivaxers invoke government/corporate conspiracies to justify their views, instead of our focusing on the science and good medical practice.

Not going to happen.

@ Dangerous Bacon

Well, Big Ag doesn’t mean the same thing around here than it does where you live. There’s an ideology called corporatism, where basically guilds of people active in an area of business are considered the basic cog in state power. We had that under the monarchy. The revolution abolished it but it never really went away. Fascism resurrected the concept, and it went on to live as modern-day trade unions in France, which are not really marxistoid worker oriented organisations but kind of a leftover of this monarchist era and mentality. Which is vivid in rural areas that kind of always rejected the notion of the French Republic.

Forward to the 1930s, and you have peasantry organizing along these lines, hostile to the republic and compatible with fascist ideology. Forward to the 1950s and 1960s, and people start moving out of the countryside but this corporatist structure still lives on. And it starts aggregating bigger and bigger farms. That’s what Big Ag is nowadays here: the FNSEA, which is the umbrella organisation for this corporatism, which sucks in subsidies endlessly, and where organisations that try to split out of it mostly fail.

Some of these splinters, such as the Confederation Paysanne tend to be anti-globalists, anti-subsidies for FNSEA members, and anti-productivity. And whatever one thinks about that organisation, it means that in the political fight with the FNSEA, there is a massive amount of science-shaming going on for political gains from the FNSEA against these splinter groups. As they fight for the Ear of the King, the only way to get that Counsellor of the Prince position is to instrumentalise and push into hysteria any discussion about science. On both sides.

That’s how issues such as this 1932 law and GMOs get conflated into one and only one political issue: FNSEA (pro-science) or splinter groups (anti-science). It’s a black and white choice. And it’s the structure of French corporatism that imposes such a black and white grid on any such issue. As long as that grid is not removed, people have no choice: being pro or anti science is precisely the same as being pro-FNSEA or pro-splinter-group. And as rural areas control the Upper Chamber (The Senate)… well politicization of science is baked into the system. And pro-GMO and anti-GMO is a choice that comes with the full package.

I cannot stand a One-Party System. Hence I cannot side with the FNSEA. Hence I cannot side with the pro-GMO or pro-science people (and they are pro-science only as far as their interests are concerned… environmental issues and climate change? Forget it! It’s a conspiracy…) Hence I have to side with anti-GMO people if want the French countryside to be as nice and livable as the swiss one.

Tough luck: I can’t stand politically with the pro-“science” guys…

“Advocates of evidence-based medicine are supposed to listen earnestly and nod our heads in sympathy when antivaxers invoke government/corporate conspiracies to justify their views, instead of our focusing on the science and good medical practice.”

Yeah? Well the swiss countryside is “good practice”. The French one is not. I guess that closes any debate on the topic. And vitamin A and golden rice? As if people gave two tugs on a dingo’s dick about the ape creatures of the Indus Valley around here… What’s that got to do with supporting subsidies that the FNSEA is sucking out of Europe for the benefit of French Big Ag? You tell me…

I kind of lost the thread of your argument when the guilds and monarchy got dragged in.

Too many dots for me to connect, sorry. 😀

@ Dangerous Bacon

Very simple: Big Ag here is the FNSEA. It functions as a rehashing of a political phenomenon known as corporatism. Now known as Neo-corporatism nowadays. The de facto system under the monarchy which has morphed but survives nowadays.

What this means is that such a trade union of owners of big farms is embedded within the administrative structure of the state. It’s not like “Here’s the state and here is civil society”. FNSEA is to a large degree part of the state itself.

In the end, what this means is that either you belong to the FNSEA and the State is kind to you. Either you do not, and you’ll get economically clubbed to death. Which means you have to play the victim card: anti-globalisation, anti-GMO and such. Otherwise you do not get an audience in society.

This is written black on white in the litterature.

In the end, if you want privileges, pay lip service to “science”. Which is not science anymore but ends up being bullying.

I’ve always been pro-GMO since the first time I heard about them as a kid. But I perfectly see why people are against them here: they well know it’s part of package that in the end includes European subsidies to big French farms. Opaque subsidies. And in the end, smaller farms who want to go the other route than full automation full productivity full pesticides can only organise if they aggregate around a refusal of what they perceive (faulty logic, granted) as technological totalitarianism (and they have a point, more in that they are discriminated against: subsidies). And faulty logic guarantees that this will entail refusal of GMOs.

What you see in the media in anti-GMO. What you hear at the bar from these same people is that, honestly, they do not necessarily believe (nor even care) whether GMOs are good or bad. They are fighting a political war against people who use science to shame them in front of political authorities. The backlash is inevitable. There is no way science can win such a war in the hearts and minds of people if sciency rhetoric is used to unduly win political points.

No one gives a damn here whether GMOs really are good or bad. What they see is that as long as science says GMOs are not bad, they’ll be marginalized and discriminated in the political system that is rigged by FNSEA. As they cannot control the lawmaking process, they choose to fight the science. It’s easier, and it is quite straightforward to win points in the popular psyche by being a refuznik of what is perceived as ridiculous innovations if they cannot win points in the administrative sphere that decides regulations.

It’s a symptom of a democratic mismatch, where elites want to push science when most people simply want GMOs out of their way for aesthetic reasons more than any science-based reasons. They do not care about these in the end when political stakes are elsewhere.

What does the FNSEA think about ecological problems? They do not care. How surprising! Well, no, it’s not surprising: they only use the word “science” when it fits them. Like pesticides and GMOs. When you talk about the environment, or water management, suddenly they are science deniers…

It’s hypocrisy through and through. No one better than the other. The word “science” is a smokescreen. For everyone involved. And everyone knows it. Which is why no one cares about science in the end.

F68.10: Just to clarify on this fascinating tangent (seriously), the anti-GMO stance in Europe in general and France in particular only applies to crops and other foods, right?

Like, no one is protesting against insulin made in yeast or bacteria, right? Even though that’s clearly a genetically modified organism.

Ooohhh… I wonder how many heads would explode if someone GMO’d classic European grape root stock to be resistant to phylloxera, so they didn’t have to keep using North American root stock for the vineyards? Now that would be a battle worth getting out the popcorn for.

@ JustaTech

“Like, no one is protesting against insulin made in yeast or bacteria, right? Even though that’s clearly a genetically modified organism.”

Precisely. No one gives a f-ck.

“Ooohhh… I wonder how many heads would explode if someone GMO’d classic European grape root stock to be resistant to phylloxera, so they didn’t have to keep using North American root stock for the vineyards? Now that would be a battle worth getting out the popcorn for.”

Well, the most rabid anti-GMO elected officials are also the ones who b-tch around about the US not allowing imports of goose liver (foie gras)… so please do not ask me about anything pertaining to intellectual decency on this matter… please… (I beg you…)

@F68.10
Good to know, that’s what I figured. It’s crops/food that really get folks in a twist.

I really oughtn’t mock about the vineyards; my parents tried growing a vineyard when I was a kid and it was an utter disaster. First set of plants was frozen in transit and died. Second set was contaminated with nematoads. The third set was doing OK until we had the coldest winter in a generation, with endless ice storms that finished off all but one or two vines, which were promptly eaten by the deer.

@ JustaTech

“Good to know, that’s what I figured. It’s crops/food that really get folks in a twist.”

Indeed. In fact, the first time I heard about GMOs, it was in front of TV with my grandmother. Her family came from a seed trading background in French colonies. I didn’t mind GMOs I saw on TV, but she really was unnerved by this kind of innovations that seemed utterly useless to her.

Now, of course, as the topic of GMOs, chemicals and industry went viral over the last decades, everything gets more and more meshed up in the minds of people, and they just do not trust much anymore. Add screwups like Chernobyl (where authorities claimed the radioactive cloud stopped just as the border as if he needed a passport… a lie which was in fact not a lie…), or screwups like the HIV infected blood scandal (which had a very very heavy toll in France in terms of confidence towards the State as they covered it up… a lot) and confidence in science+government really is low. Add Old Europe traditionalism mingled with national identity crisis on top of that, and you’ve got loads of mental inertia piling up…

I’m trying to bring back some reason on the French net, but nowadays the mental equation is science = progress = progressivism = LGBT = BLM = America = capitalism = nazism. It’s really that dumb on the right wing… which is kind of why Raoult is a hero around here. And politicians to the right of Macron really do tend to pander to these syllogisms. To the point where the far right leader Marine Le Pen is alleged to have burst into anger stating something along the lines of “I’m the head of a political party, not of a psychiatric hospital!”… given the spread of these conspiracy theories even among the political class.

Oh, “bullying”. And “elites”!

A few more and you’ll have completed Antivax Bingo. Excuse me, anti-GMO bingo.

There are more than a few people with equally or even more convoluted reasons for rejecting sound science. They rank with denialists in imperviousness to facts and logic, and are ultimately not worth bothering with, except to point and laugh.

@ Dangerous Bacon

“A few more and you’ll have completed Antivax Bingo. Excuse me, anti-GMO bingo.”

I full well know that. The irony is that “bullying” by the “elites” means organizing massive popular farmer strikes in support of these “elites”. Isn’t that ironic? Isn’t that a tad different than lambasting bureaucrats? These are no “elites”: this is corporatism: ignoramus who represent – explicitly – vested interests and who pretend to speak in the name of science.

I have no patience for neo-corporatism, subsidizing farming, fighting against globalisation while pretending to shame other anti-globalisation splinter groups with sciency talk. I have no patience for what the FNSEA stands for when you go down to its base: far right, anti-immigrant, small-mindedness, hatred of people living in cities, complacency with religion and anti-democracy, subsidies-sucker. Your typical pro-science advocate isn’t it?

I do not endorse nonsense. Sorry.

You’re confusing a situation with which you’re familiar with a situation you’re not familiar with.

Why do you think Claude Allègre was a climate science denialist? Because he was “pro-science” in the sense that he did not believe technology could not come to terms with climate change. So he was pro-pollution, anti-environment, just as the FNSEA is. (Read my former links on the FNSEA system). He was a climate change denialist because he was pro-science, and that attitude is still very much vivid.

And Claude Allègre was as elite as you could possibly be in the French system.

The guy against which the current GMO controversy aggregates in France is Stéphane Foucart. Try to pinpoint whether or not a member of the Union Rationaliste is pro-science or anti-science. Good luck.

And yes: I do not like French elites at all. The news nowadays should be enough to clear up any contention that there really is an ongoing issue. You do not like Raoult, don’t you? How can you deny that he is “elite” in the French system? How can you deny that he is not a bully? Weirdly enough… I do not mind the swiss elites.

Try to fit all that in your black and white mental grid.

Bureaucramancy. Not even once.

I seem to recall some US seed/grain storing/stocking law existed way before gmo; the reasoning being that saving one’s own would harm interstate commerce of those who wish to sell you more the next season.

Interesting.
We have perhaps had some problems with referenda in the past. Especially the last one went terribly wrong, because those who wanted to vote ‘Yes’ often didn’t vote, because they didn’t want the referendum at all. So they stayed at home, in order to make the referendum invalid. Besides it was just an advisory referendum.

Perhaps a referendum about the lockdowns would be a disappointment for those who are against it. It might be a good idea, to try it.
I have to say though, that the rioting seems to have stopped. Yes, there are still demonstrations, but they don’t attract a lot of people.

@ Renate

“We have perhaps had some problems with referenda in the past.”

As you may have noted in the answer of prl, the swiss system is rather different: people bring up a project, the political class then tries to coalesce to oppose a governmental project. It’s not really referenda decided by the political class but a system that allows via petition to force the political class to address a topic they usually want more or less to keep to themselves or aren’t precisely interested in. It’s a change of political tempo, essentially. And as you know that the government is going to bring up a counter-project, you cannot ask people to vote on overly extreme things (like “ban all vaccinations!”: the governmental counter-project would have an easy win in the end).

If, say, RFK brought up “vaccine freedom” in such a petition, the government would bring up a counter-project that would attempt to address his concerns while attempting to divert votes away to RFK by pandering up to voters politically. But there would be no need to concede anything scientifically as long as you concede minor points politically. And social pressure would highlight RFK’s nonsense if such topic were on the table for a vote.

Which is precisely what happened with the gold standard for the swiss franc initiative. It got around 20% if I remember well. 20% of loons still leaves 80% of people who trust economic circles and experts not to fool them too much around.

With 10%-15% of vaccine hesitancy in the US, that would be a fair fight. With 30%-40% vaccine hesitancy in France, it ends up being a bit more acrobatic… All the more given that public authorities did not care much about the French level of vaccine hesitanty before mandating vaccinations for 11 diseases in 2018. It’s not a far stretch to claim that the French in the end have no say in such decisions. And it’s (extremely…) unlikely French authorities would care about asking them.

IMO, this is one of the reasons they are getting more and more angry and irrational on vaccines. Switzerland also has high mistrust of vaccines, and quite some whacko medical nonsense along the lines of the naturalistic fallacy. But they very obviously feel less bullied by their authorities (given that they can blackmail them with a referendum anytime).

On the other hand, the system is so extreme that they vote on which model of fighter jets they want to have and on whether or not they should entirely disband their army… (answer: no…) so that model very obviously can’t work everywhere. But still… the idea of backing things like vaccines by popular votes kind of closes the debate. At least for a while… And in a sense, it would deal with the main point antivaxxers endlessly bring up: their God-given right to own their own bodies. Referendums triggered by people would say “no: this is a democratic decision in a fair trial by combat”. Now behave well and suck it up: no government tyranny here but people’s direct decision.

@ Dangerous Bacon

“They rank with denialists in imperviousness to facts and logic, and are ultimately not worth bothering with, except to point and laugh.”

People in power are no laughing matter.

I’m not touching that nothingburger unless it’s a non-GMO nothingburger.

Yeah, well it’s not a nothingburger. If you want to put some social credit back onto science, people should be allowed to vote on whether they accept GMOs or not. They do in Switzerland. In France, European law coerced the French state to open its markets to GMOs. And that coercion is feeding nationalism. I do not find it fun that pushing science turns out, by different means, to bolster the far right. Not fun at all.

In Switzerland, they do vote on state powers to enforce lockdowns. (Recent news). In the Netherlands, they riot instead. In France, they ignore the State as much as they can.

Whether you want it or not, that makes all the difference.

They also vote for mandatory vaccinations or not for covid over there. Popular decision will be binding, whether it be on science deniers or science advocates because it’s backed up by a popular vote.

It’s way easier to defend science when decisional power rests in the ballot box. When it does not (as with FNSEA…) anti-science movements flourish.

If you want to really stop science denialism, it’s something you may want to consider… My 2 cents.

And no, this is not deciding science via the ballot box. Quite the opposite.

Referendums on a popular initiative to alter the Swiss Constitution, like this one on compulsory vaccination, don’t often get passed. This is because there must be a both an overall majority vote and a majority vote in a majority of cantons. It’s further complicated by the fact that the government may add a counter-proposal in the referendum.

According to the database at swissvotes.ch, only 25 of the 221 constitutional initiatives voted on have ever been accepted.

Just because someone can get the numbers up on a petition to force a referendum (100000 signatures), doesn’t mean there’s a good chance of success at having the change accepted.

http://www.swissvotes.ch/votes/?listmod=list

@ prl

“Just because someone can get the numbers up on a petition to force a referendum (100000 signatures), doesn’t mean there’s a good chance of success at having the change accepted.”

Precisely! And if it gets rejected, everyone shuts up…

That’s the point.

When the swiss started their referendum to bring back the gold standard, the important aspect of it was that people were discussing it way before it went to the ballot box (as you have to harass – gently… – people in the street to get the 100000 signatures…)

In the end, it got rejected. And everyone shuts up. They had their chance. Got rejected. End of the story.

In the end, they followed the experts. Which is precisely the point of the whole maneuver: the whackos had their say; got discussed; rejected; now we move on. (Bloody swiss franc based on gold?? As if it were not a refuge currency already!! Pure whackos…)

@F68.10 “Precisely! And if it gets rejected, everyone shuts up…”

No, not necessarily, and sometimes they don’t shut up for a good reason. The Swiss Referendum in 1959 to give women the vote in Federal elections was defeated with 67% (of men) voting against it. Women didn’t get to vote in Swiss Federal elections (and referendums) until after a second successful referendum in 1971.

@ prl

Yes… do not get me started on Appenzell… The system does make evolution of such topics slow. Granted. Doesn’t change the fact that it does build consensus and that conspiracy theories are overall countered by the level of local political involvement. Not fully, though, but people have a hard time denying they are given a voice… A really hard time. What they are left with is showcasing their small-mindedness when they have the opportunity.

Heck! I even went to political meetings led by Oskar Freysinger… for kinky kicks mostly. The guy is far right, very obviously, but it’s much easier to discuss with that far right than it is in France or with that Viking that stormed the Capitol. Had a good time drinking with him, by the way.

Comments are closed.