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ICAN’s deceptive legal war on state health departments over COVID-19 vaccine messaging

Antivaccine propagandist Del Bigtree’s ICAN is waging a legalistic war on state health departments’ efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccination based on attacking them for “false advertising.” This is largely an unforced error on the part of health departments, which now need to be very cautious over their wording promoting these vaccines.

Regular readers are no doubt familiar with the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), the legal and propaganda arm of Del Bigtree‘s antivaccine empire. It just so turns out that I’m on ICAN’s email list, because I’m on a lot of quack and antivaccine email lists, the better to monitor what the disinformation peddlers are doing every day in their relentless effort to degrade public health, resulting in unnecessary suffering and death, particularly now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. ICAN has one basic schtick, and almost everything it does is a variation of that schtick. Basically, ICAN exists to sue government entities or send legal threats based on dubious legal reasoning or highly legalistic parsing of language used by government agencies regarding vaccination. For instance, a couple of months ago, ICAN was bragging over a great “victory” it thought it had achieved over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in getting it (supposedly) to remove from its website statements that vaccines do not cause autism. Amusingly (to me and other vaccine advocates), this “victory,” when critically examined, turned out nothing of the sort, and even then it was short-lived. In another example of this technique, pre-pandemic this time, ICAN used abusive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain government documents that Bigtree distorted and cherrypicked to “question” the clinical trials that led to the approval of the MMR vaccine decades ago. Basically, the ICAN repertoire consists mainly of abusive FOIA requests that it uses to cherry pick and misrepresent the science used by the government to evaluate vaccines, lawsuits over the content of government websites and publications, and legal threats based on legalistic parsing of language. When these techniques work, ICAN loudly declares “victory” and claims that the government is lying about vaccine safety, after which it uses the “victory” to raise funds. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

This brings us to a recent ICAN email about the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS). Given that Michigan is my home state and I’ve lived and worked here for 13 years after a couple of decades away, I could not let this pass. Basically, no one, not even ICAN or Del Bigtree, promotes antivaccine propaganda and disinformation in my state without getting a taste of some Insolence, be it Respectful or not-so-Respectful (and, given that this is Del Bigtree, I’m opting for not-so-Respectful). I’ll start by quoting from ICAN’s email:

CAN achieved another victory in its ongoing campaign to ensure the government does not spread false information about vaccines. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services posted a graphic and accompanying message on its public Facebook page. The text falsely stated that “on the journey to FDA approval, each COVID-19 vaccine had to pass through the same thresholds of research & testing as every other vaccine.” It went on to include additional, incorrect information: “all three of the approved COVID-19 vaccines were proven to be safe and 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death in the clinical trials.” ICAN, through its attorneys, wrote to the Director and to the Chief Deputy of Health of MDHHS demanding they remove the false graphics and messaging regarding COVID-19 vaccines. They quickly complied within 48 hours and removed the relevant false messaging.

The text of the letter sent by ICAN to MDHSS is…something else. Yes, it is a letter, and it does contain text, but otherwise…wow. Unfortunately, it does take advantage of what I like to refer to as an “unforced error” on the part of MDHSS and other health departments that they really, really should know about and not do any more:

A. Michigan’s Social Media Posts Falsely Claim COVID-19 Vaccine Approved

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Facebook page includes the following graphic and messaging:

The MDHHS post attacked by ICAN

This graphic is accompanied by the language: “On the journey to FDA approval, each COVID-19 vaccine had to pass through the same thresholds of research & testing as every other vaccine. And it’s important to know that all three of the approved COVID-19 vaccines were proven to be safe and 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death in the clinical trials. Discover all the facts at Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.” https://www.facebook.com/michiganhhs/posts/10157742846626746 (emphasis added).

B. Michigan’s Department of Health Social Media Posts Violate Federal Law

This Facebook message violates federal law by falsely claiming that the FDA has approved each of the COVID-19 vaccines. There is no COVID-19 vaccine that has been “approved” by the FDA. The only three COVID-19 vaccines currently in use are authorized by the FDA pursuant to an emergency use authorization (“EUA”). The EUAs for these products expressly provide that they are not approved and that it is a violation of federal law to represent that they are approved.

The federal statute that authorizes the FDA to grant an emergency use authorization, Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3, states that “[t]he Secretary may establish conditions on advertisements and other promotional descriptive The Secretary, through the FDA’s authorizations for each of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently in use pursuant to the EUAs expressly provide that the vaccines are each “an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication” and require that “[a]ll promotional material relating to the COVID-19 Vaccine clearly and conspicuously … state that this product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA.” See https://www.fda.gov/media/144636/download (“All descriptive printed matter, advertising, and promotional material relating to the use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine clearly and conspicuously shall state that: This product has not been approved or licensed by FDA”) (emphasis added).1

And it is true. The three vaccines currently in use in the US, the vaccines by Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson, have not as yet received full FDA approval. They are being distributed under what is referred to as an “emergency use authorization,” which allows the FDA to approve the use of a medication or intervention on an emergency basis, as described on the FDA website:

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. Taking into consideration input from the FDA, manufacturers decide whether and when to submit an EUA request to FDA.

Of course, ICAN, being ICAN, and thus as antivaccine as it gets given that the organization was founded and is run by Del Bigtree, the producer of the antivaccine propaganda movie VAXXED, this is a highly slanted description of the situation. All three vaccines clearly met the threshold for an EUA. An objective look at the data used to support the EUAs for the vaccines clearly suggests that these vaccines will all eventually win full FDA approval. On the other hand, it was clearly an unforced error on the part of the MDHHSS to use the word “approved” to describe these vaccines. An EUA is not the same thing as FDA approval. State departments of health really, really need to be more careful with their pro-vaccine messaging. MDHHS could just as easily said that the vaccines were authorized by the FDA or had been authorized by the FDA for use under an EUA without being any less positive in its messaging about the COVID-19 vaccines. Imprecise and overenthusiastic language on government websites is catnip to ICAN, which exists primarily to exploit legalistic language in order to spread fear and uncertainty about vaccines.

But what about this next bit of ICAN’s letter:

This is not the only false or inaccurate statement in the messaging. Contrary to your post, the three COVID-19 Vaccines are still undergoing clinical trials, which are expected to continue for more than a year more, before they are ready for approval and licensure by the FDA. As such, it is incorrect to claim that these EUA authorized products “had to pass through the same thresholds of research & testing as every other vaccine.” To be clear, the Fact Sheets for Recipients for each of these vaccines unambiguously state that the vaccines “ha[ve] not undergone the same type of review as an FDA-approved or cleared product.” See https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download; https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download; and https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download.

These FDA documents, each of which is specific to one of the vaccines issued an EUA, contains a passage like this:

FDA may issue an EUA when certain criteria are met, which includes that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. In addition, the FDA decision is based on the totality of scientific evidence available showing that the product may be effective to prevent COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product. All of these criteria must be met to allow for the product to be used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICAN is clearly trying to imply that vaccines like this issued an EUA during a pandemic are not safe. Basically, was MDHHS a bit too enthusiastic when it said that EUA authorized products “had to pass through the same thresholds of research & testing as every other vaccine”? Yes. Was it wrong? Not exactly. All three of these vaccines actually did undergo the full range of pre-approval testing normally required by the FDA for full licensure and approval, up to and including phase 3 randomized clinical trials with tens of thousands of participants. It’s just that the post-trial monitoring normally required was not required for the EUA because of the gravity of the pandemic and the likelihood that delaying the distribution of the vaccines for a year could have resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Similarly, considering these vaccines to be still “experimental” is a legal, not a scientific description. Scientifically and medically, after a successful phase 3 clinical trial, these vaccines are no longer “experimental” (particularly in light of having been given to many tens of millions of people now with an excellent safety record), but legally they are, simply because that’s how federal law defines “experimental” with respect to treatments and preventatives not yet fully approved by the FDA. ICAN, being ICAN, is simply deceptively (and disingenuously) taking advantage of that distinction in order to fulfill its mission: Spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about vaccines, in this case the COVID-19 vaccines, which have been far more effective and safe than I had expected that they would be.

Next up:

Further, to claim that all three vaccines’ clinical trials have proven to be “100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death” is false. The FDA’s review memorandum on each of the vaccines lists as one of the “Unknown Benefits/Data Gaps” “effectiveness against mortality.” The FDA makes clear: “A larger number of individuals at high risk of COVID-19 and higher attack rates would be needed to confirm efficacy of the vaccine against mortality.” See https://www.fda.gov/media/144673/download; https://www.fda.gov/media/146338/download; and https://www.fda.gov/media/144416/download. Additionally, the FDA’s Review Memorandum for Moderna’s vaccine states: “There were no deaths due to COVID-19 at the time of the interim analysis to enable an assessment of vaccine efficacy against death due to COVID-19.” https://www.fda.gov/media/144673/download. It is also false to claim that these vaccines have been proven to prevent 100% of hospitalizations. In the Moderna trial, one participant in the mRNA-1273 group, a participant >65 years of age who had risk factors for severe COVID-19, was hospitalized due to oxygen saturation of 88% on room air 2 months after receiving the second dose of vaccine.” See https://www.fda.gov/media/144673/download. In the Janssen trial, in a post hoc analysis of all COVID-19 related hospitalizations starting 14 days after vaccination, including non-centrally confirmed cases, there were 2 cases in the vaccine group. See https://www.fda.gov/media/146338/download (emphasis added). Likewise, the Pfizer trial reported two serious cases of suspected but unconfirmed COVID-19, both in the vaccine group, where both vaccine recipients were hospitalized. See https://www.fda.gov/media/144416/download.

Again, this is an unforced error on the part of the MDHHS. All it had to do was to say, in essence, what, ironically, ICAN says in its letter, by adding to its statement that the vaccines were 100% effective in preventing death from COVID-19 a qualifier that says something like, “at the time of the interim analysis used to apply for the EUAs.” Alternatively, MDHHS could have simply said that clinical trials had demonstrated that the vaccines were “highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19,” a statement that is unequivocally true from a scientific standpoint to the point that even ICAN would have had a hard time contesting it using even its most tortured legalistic parsing of the language.

So MDHHS had little choice but to alter its messaging:

ICAN vs. MDHHS, round 2

Predictably, ICAN was still not satisfied and issued a second letter. Unsurprisingly, ICAN didn’t like that MDHHS left the part about the COVID-19 vaccines having to meet the same threshold as any other vaccine, a statement that is true scientifically but probably overstating the legal situation, but it also didn’t like this:

Additionally, the post states that the vaccines were “proven to be safe and effective.” In fact, the FDA has stated this is not the case: “Based on the safety and effectiveness data, and review of manufacturing information regarding product quality and consistency, it is reasonable to believe that Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be effective. Additionally, it is reasonable to conclude, based on the totality of the scientific evidence available, that the known and potential benefits of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine, for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.” https://www.fda.gov/media/144636/download.2 It is highly misleading for a health agency to state in unambiguous terms what the FDA has not yet proven or stated itself.

Again, this is legalese. Based on the massive phase 3 clinical trials used to justify the EUAs for the three COVID-19 vaccines, plus the experience of over 100 million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, from a scientific standpoint, it is unequivocally true that the vaccines have been demonstrated to be safe and effective. However, from a legal standpoint, you can’t say that the vaccines have been “proven safe and effective” if the vaccines have not been fully approved by the FDA. Again, ICAN is doing what it’s best at, using legal definitions instead of scientific definitions in order to imply that the MDHHS has been either lying or promoting incorrect information. ICAN’s purpose in this is clearly to undermine faith in government agencies charged with combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, another email from ICAN showed that it’s doing the same thing with other states, in this case New York. The letter ICAN is touting first mentions that ICAN had pulled the same schtick with New York, “thanking” the state for “removing prior ads which, inter alia, claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA.” Then there’s this:

A. NYSDOH’s Social Media Posts Falsely Claim No Serious Side Effects Have Been Reported

The New York State Department of Health’s Facebook page includes the following graphic:

ICAN vs NYSDOH

B. NYS’s Social Media Post Is False and Misleading

This graphic and its accompanying message falsely claim that “no serious vaccine side effects have been reported.” This is plainly false. In the vaccines’ clinical trials, there were serious adverse events documented following vaccination found by the trial investigators to not only be “linked” to the vaccines, but in fact related to the vaccines. For Pfizer’s vaccine, these include shoulder injury, ventricular arrhythmia, and lymphadenopathy. See https://www.fda.gov/media/144245/download at 41. For Moderna’s vaccine, these include intractable nausea and vomiting, facial swelling, rheumatoid arthritis, Dyspnea with exertion, peripheral edema, Autonomic dysfunction, and B-cell lymphocytic lymphoma. See https://www.fda.gov/media/144434/downloadat 43-44.

Post-authorization, there have been numerous serious adverse reactions related to the COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC, for example, has acknowledged that serious vaccine side effects related to the COVID-19 vaccines have been reported, including “[a]naphylaxis, an acute and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.” See https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/managing-anaphylaxis.html; see also https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/more-allergic-reactions-covid-vaccine-reported-overall-remain-rare-n1253007 (“Since the report was finalized Dec. 23, eight more cases of vaccine-related anaphylaxis were confirmed, the CDC said, bringing the total number so far to 29.”).

In fact, in the approximately two months since the EUAs were issued, the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (“VAERS”) has received just under 16,000 reports of adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination and over 3,000 reports of serious adverse events related to a COVID-19 vaccination through February 12, 2021. See attached. Based on the Code of Federal Regulations, a serious adverse event is defined as occurring if one of the following is reported: death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization, permanent disability, congenital anomaly, or birth defect. See https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr. Notably, it is established that this passive system collects a drastically low percentage of actual adverse events that occur, with one study finding that only 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported to VAERS. See https://digital.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/docs/publication/r18hs017045-lazarus-final-report-2011.pdf.

It was sloppy of the NYSDOH to say that “no” serious adverse events have been reported after COVID-19 vaccination. Of course, there have been. Vaccine advocates have been warning for months, since before any vaccine was approved, that antivaxxers would weaponize any and all adverse event reports and reports of death after the vaccines, whether coincidental or not. I’ve been writing repeatedly about how antivaxxers have been using reports to the VAERS database to falsely imply that the adverse events reported had been caused by the vaccines, all while pointing out that the actual rate of adverse events reported have been below the expected baseline rate, given the massive numbers of vaccines being administered. Of course, antivaxxers’ response to that observation is to cite the claim that because it is a passive reporting system “only 1%” of adverse events are ever reported to VAERS, a false claim that also ignores all the active reporting systems monitoring vaccine safety and the unprecedented attention by governments to the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

Unsurprisingly, ICAN also neglects to note that the frequency of the serious adverse events reported in the clinical trials were either not statistically different between the control and experimental groups or were clearly not due to the vaccine. Certainly the vaccines could cause mild to moderate adverse events, such as shoulder swelling, fever, etc., but these were not considered serious. More recently, a meeting of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the CDC found no concerning safety signals from the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

State departments of health really do need to be aware that there is an antivaccine organization like ICAN, sitting there like a vulture, waiting to swoop in on any imprecision or excess (or even not so excess) exuberance in language promoting COVID-19 vaccination with legal threats, no matter how legalistic the interpretation of the language used has to be to justify the threat. It’s the M.O. of ICAN. State health departments thus need to be especially careful with all their publications and social media posts about COVID-19 vaccines, lest they slip up and leave an opening for Del Bigtree and his fellow antivaccine activists to pounce, as Michigan and New York did.

I will conclude by noting another prominent part of the M.O. of ICAN by posting an image of what appears at the end of after every self-congratulatory email sent by the organization:

ICAN grift

That’s because, for ICAN and other antivaccine groups, it’s not just about spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about vaccines. It’s also about the grift. Always. Threatening to sue state departments of health is good for fundraising.

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]

32 replies on “ICAN’s deceptive legal war on state health departments over COVID-19 vaccine messaging”

A. In 2019 ICAN made over 3 million dollar. Over 600,000 went in salaries to its officers, over 1,200,000 to their law firm. Yes, they’re misusing a law firm to try and score meaningless points.

And help the pandemic along. Doing this in the middle of the pandemic makes things worse.

B. Proven safe and effective is a reasonable translation into lay terms of the data on the vaccines. In fact, the CDC says it. Departments should stick on that.

C. I would like to look more into the legal framework behind “experimental” before conceding that on legal grounds, too. I’m not sure it’s even legally correct at this point. I might reach out to some colleagues who work in that area.

That’s good, because I wasn’t entirely sure on this point. On the scientific meaning of “experimental,” I am quite sure, but, as they say, I’m not a lawyer.

Such an odius little man and organization. Would that these tactics were to be used against Boiron or any of the multitude of supplement manufacturers/distributors, to say nothing of their highly dubious advertising that persists with the help of the standard so-small-print-that-noone-notices disclaimer. There aren’t enough lawyers to take on the multitude of claims of the “alt med” industry.

I don’t want to sound too cynical, but these tactics are what environmental groups, immigration groups etc. have used for 40 years. The anti vaxxers have learned how to gum up the government using the tactics refined and perfected by the left from the 70’s on. The political left wanted the FOIA to expose the government, is now being used by the right. I am not into “tit for tat” but to decry this and call it deceptive does ring hollow.

I don’t think Dale big tree and his squad fit on a line of politically left to right. I do believe they fit on a line of good to evil, and solidly towards one end.

I am not into “tit for tat” but to decry this and call it deceptive does ring hollow.

You’re assuming that Orac represents the Left. Orac does his best to represent the truth; I’ve seen him go after the Left when they are wrong too. That this has become characterized as a “Left versus Right” battle is a travesty, because it isn’t.

I am not assuming anything. I realize most people who post to this site are not supporters of Trump, Ted Cruz, republicans etc., and seem to politicize the anti/pro vax issue and the political beliefs of each side.
I just pointed out that when Lyndon Johnson signed the first FOIA act it was dubbed the Ralph Nader law (a liberal), and was used by more left leaning groups to as i said “gum” up the works. Now that FOIA is used by someone on the other side of an issue to “gum” up the works it is called “deceptive” tactics. It not a left or right issue it is pure obstructionist tactics

“Politicize”? Seriously?

Although antivaccine beliefs are generally the pseudoscience and conspiracy theories that know no political boundaries, right here, right now, in 2021, it is incontrovertibly true that the loudest, most active, most dangerous antivaccine voices are all on the right. This is a shift from 10-15 years ago. Although I started noticing the shift of the antivaccine movement to the right a decade ago, what appears to have supercharged the rightward shift of antivaxxers is the alliance that antivaxxers formed with right wing small government activist groups in 2015 to oppose California SB 277, the law that eliminated nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates.Then came Trump.

No, it’s not “politicizing” anything to note that right now the most energy in the antivax movement is on the right and that as a result Republican candidates actively pander to antivaxxers in many states. Hell, the Ohio State House is crawling with antivax legislators, nearly all of them Republican.

I just pointed out that when Lyndon Johnson signed the first FOIA act it was dubbed the Ralph Nader law

By whom?

I never said the right was not using the FOIA, I just pointed out that the left leaning groups were the ones who were using the law when it was first enacted. the right learned from the left’s use of the law and now, we have an equally active right, that has learned how to harass/gum up the works with the FOIA and to call it “deceptive” was a political point of view.
The problem from my perspective is that FOIA only applies to the federal government (states have laws as well) However courts have ruled that FOIA doesn’t apply to private businesses nor businesses that are contracted by the federal government more and more the government and can avoid public scrutiny by out sourcing research etc. The DOJ (think private prisons), CDC, EPA, DOD, DOE etc. all use this same tactic to avoid turning over the original notes, papers etc.in operations or policy making.

“I feel bad for all these health departments, over worked, under staffed, terribly harassed during this pandemic, and now they have to be lawyer-level word smiths to avoid even more harassment by groups like ICAN.”

These people are finding out how the private sector feels (or even you feel) when a product is sold with 20 pages of legal disclaimers and warnings and a couple of paragraphs on how to actually use the product.

I just pointed out that the left leaning groups were the ones who were using the law

Were you going to get bit to that “Ralph Nader law” bit, Clunk?

@ Clint “These people are finding out how the private sector feels (or even you feel) when a product is sold with 20 pages of legal disclaimers and warnings and a couple of paragraphs on how to actually use the product.”

No?
Not in the slightest?

The vast majority of private sector employees have not been and will not be subject to death threats for doing their job. Public health employees have had armed protestors standing outside their homes, just for doing their job to keep everyone safe. That is so very far from the warnings in the instruction booklet for my electric tea kettle that I can’t see the relationship.

Also, corporations have lawyers. Health Departments do not have lawyers writing their social media outreach; they don’t have the budget.

My point to all this was that the anti vaxxers are just using legal tactics that have been employed in the past (usually by environmental, immigration groups, mostly aligned with the left). The legal professor could probably confirm this, but a tactic that is used by one side in court that works will soon be co-opted by the opposition/others (in other words, educating your opposition), my objection was to call it “deceptive”. You don’t think that government lawyers don’t train police, fire, street, sewer, electrical, etc PR personal into how to conduct press conferences, press releases, twitter, Facebook etc. Every City, County, State has a legal department that is assigned to monitor the release of information. The Michigan Department of Health should be embarrassed, for making provable false statements. This is not a left/right issue, it is a stupidity vs a truth issue.

This is getting away from my original post but….. people that post here do have a tendency to “pick the nits”
Public sector employees harassed at their homes, won’t dispute that, but they are protected by government lawyers as well as private sector employees but those government workers should try being a police officer, or military personnel, some of whom have been killed in their homes. And of course you should be a republican congress person and a fellow congress person tells a crowd to get in their face when they see them in public or a public restaurant that refuses them service.

Jeff Bezos spends over 2 million each year for security, Warren Buffet over 3.5 million or try being an oil executive or god forbid an NRA lobbyist who gets blood splattered on their house by a couple of university professors, the private sector spends billions of dollars on security.

On a side note Ralph Nader’s website claims that he worked with John Moss on the FOIA and worked with him to pass the 1974 version to enhance the FOIA. In a recent ruling the SCOUS ruled (7-2) in favor of a thing called “deliberative process privilege.” Which I said in my original post, the government will hide its research by out sourcing.

In a recent ruling the SCOUS ruled (7-2) in favor of a thing called “deliberative process privilege.” Which I said in my original post, the government will hide its research by out sourcing.

Nice non sequitur.

@ Clint:
“but those government workers should try being a police officer, or military personnel”

Police officers and military personnel are, by definition, government workers.

They are also trained to deal with people in potentially violent situations. Unlike the vast majority of people who work for local, city, state or federal government.

So no, it’s not the same at all. Again.

And I would like some evidence that “police, fire, street, sewer, electrical, etc PR personal” have been trained by lawyers on how to talk to the public.

“police, fire, street, sewer, electrical, etc PR personal” have been trained by lawyers on how to talk to the public.

Standard boilerplate: “Stop resisting”

As I recall, Nader wasn’t particularly happy with the FOIA calling it weak and ineffective. So one assumes it wasn’t he that labeled it Ralph Nader’s Law.

It was never referred to in that way. In fact, the original FOIA law was debated for more than 12 years before it was finally passed (just a year after Nader wrote “Unsafe at Any Speed), so no he didn’t have anything to do with the original passage of the bill.

See, this is the problem – making assumptions & posing everything as a “left wing / right wing” issue.

See, this is the problem – making assumptions & posing everything as a “left wing / right wing” issue Clint is a moron.

FTFY.

Does anyone else feel like ICAN’s logo/tagline there has a whiff of “To Serve Man”, except in reverse?
“Eradicate Man-Made Disease” feels like it’s 2 words longer than their actual desire.

(What’s a man-made disease? Are they different from woman-made diseases?)

I feel bad for all these health departments, over worked, under staffed, terribly harassed during this pandemic, and now they have to be lawyer-level word smiths to avoid even more harassment by groups like ICAN.

Since ICAN is closely following events in Michigan, no doubt it will trumpet the following news:

“While recent seven-day averages concerning COVID-19-related hospitalizations across the country have remained stable, health officials in Michigan have noted an “alarming” rise among unvaccinated individuals. In the first three weeks of March, officials tallied a 633% increase in hospitalizations among adults ages 30-39, and an increase of 800% among those ages 40-49…”

“The data showed a correlation between hospitalization rates and vaccination rates among older populations. Those aged 80 and over had both the highest vaccination rate hovering between 40 and 50%, and also saw the lowest hospitalization rates near 0%. Officials said the correlation shows the effectiveness of the vaccines.”

https://www.foxnews.com/health/alarming-rise-in-covid-19-related-hospitalizations-among-unvaccinated-adults-in-michigan-officials

Looks like the panic’s on in antivax-land over release of a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. The group says about two-thirds of antivax promotion on popular social media platforms comes from the “Disinformation Dozen”.

https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/544712-twelve-anti-vaxxers-are-responsible-for-two

This attention has caused much angst from the likes of Erin Elizabeth and Joe Mercola*, especially since execs from Twitter, Facebook and Google are getting more attention from Congress this week for enabling their activities. Deplatforming these people could cost them considerable $$$.

*Hilariously, Mercola responding on Twitter compares himself to Obi-wan Kenobi carrying on the good fight. Elan Sleazebaggano would be a much better fit.

I highly recommend CCDH.

I notice that de-platforming anti-vaxxers/ woo-meisters has been uneven because you can still find them on twitter or Facebook. I listened to Del via twitter yesterday and RFKjr remains.
But there is a degree of panic as the usual suspects try to shepherd followers towards gab, telegram, MeWe, etc. as well as hate for Wikipedia.

There was just a discussion on MSNBC about how the ‘Stop The Steal’ conspiracy theorists (including, presumably Q-anon, but much broader than that) have now latched onto anti-vax as the most promising path to continue being sufficiently anti-government. Then Peter Hotez came on, and remarked that anti-vax specifically (and anti-science generally) has been entwined with Republican politics for awhile, since the Tea Party (and, I’m sure, post SB277, though he didn’t mention that specifically). However, he said this has only increased, to the point where anti-vax is becoming something like core GOP ideology, including financial support from major GOP donors and think tanks. He didn’t name names, it being a brief TV interview and all, so I wonder which donors and lobbying groups are on his radar.

If you just look at the CCDH list-of-twelve, you might get the impression that there’s just a handful of now-familiar fringe woo-ists responsible for undermining vaccination campaigns, and none of them are all that connected to real political power. I fear the problem is much more serious than that suggests. Several states have now opened COVID vaccination to everyone 16 and over, not because all the older folks have gotten their shots but because those who haven’t have stopped coming in. Several epidemiologists on TV have now opined that we are indeed headed for a new COVID surge due to a combination of too-early opening, proliferation of variants, and vaccine hesitancy.

So f-ing depressing…

I tried to sign up to get in the queue today. Nope, not eligible. They don’t advertise that one may loiter around the sites and get the throwaways.. and they would rather throw them away anyways because beaurocracy. I have never once in my life gotten a car title or transferred one on the first attempt because, apparently, I don’t know how to sign my name correctly.

I would say “I weep for the state and my peeps”. You know what? Fuck them sideways with cypress swamp roots.

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