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Anne Frank: RFK Jr. now versus RFK Jr. in 2015

At the Defeat the Mandates rally on Sunday, RFK Jr. invoked Anne Frank in an antivaccine speech. Then he apologized. Shorter RFK Jr.: “Oops, I did it again!” Why is anyone surprised? This has always been RFK Jr.’s MO.

Since writing my “preview” last Friday of the antivaccine “Defeat the Mandates” rally held on Sunday, I have been debating whether or not to write a followup post. The reason was that I just didn’t know if there was anything much to say, given that the rally went pretty much as I had predicted, with a stacked bill of antivaccine cranks old (e.g., Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Del Bigtree) and new (e.g., Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Peter McCullough, and Steve Kirsch), antimaskers, and COVID-19 minimizers spewing a litany of common anti-“lockdown,” antimask, and antivaccine propaganda, all couched in rhetoric of “freedom” and “resistance to tyranny,” just as expected and the same as it ever was for antivaxxers. I was originally not going to write further about this, but leave it to RFK Jr. to give me a reason when he sullied the memory of Anne Frank:

“Antivaxxers today have it worse than Anne Frank did during the Holocaust” is a hell of a take, and one that even one as jaded as I to antivaxxers’s offensive Holocaust analogies did not predict.

Given that tomorrow is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I decided to respond. As I thought at the time, saying that antivaxxers today have it worse than Anne Frank because 5G, satellites, and Bill Gates mean that you can’t hide in a secret annex for two years before being captured by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz is a hell of a take, one that surprised and shocked even vaccine advocates as jaded as I have become to offensive Holocaust analogies by antivaxxers after having heard and read them going back nearly two decades.

Is what RFK Jr. said any better in context? No, it is not:

What we’re seeing today. What we’re seeing today is what I call turnkey totalitarianism. They are putting in place all of these technological mechanisms for control we’ve never seen before. It’s been the ambition of every totalitarian state from the beginning of mankind to control every aspect of the behavior of conduct, of thought, and to obliterate dissent. None of them have been able to do it. They didn’t have the technological capacity. Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did. I visited in 1962, East Germany with my father, and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped. So it was possible. Many died doing it, but it was possible.

So RFK Jr. thinks that the “turnkey totalitarianism” of the vaccine surveillance state is even worse than Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, because at least you could hide in an attic in Amsterdam for two years from the Nazis or escape to Switzerland and you could escape the Soviet Union by risking your life to climb the Berlin Wall. Nope, that is not really better, and I say this after having visited the Anne Frank house in 2017 and been amazed at how a group of people could stay hidden for two years in what Frank called the “secret annex.” I’m also puzzled. East Germany was under Soviet control in 1962. People who escaped Soviet control would have been in West Germany; yet RFK Jr. said he and his father had visited East Germany. Did he meet people who had escaped to West Germany and then somehow been captured and brought back? So confusing. RFK Jr.’s remarks remind me of this clip, which I like to post whenever Del Bigtree is on a roll with bad historical analogies:

“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!”

Speaking of Del Bigtree, not satisfied with his misappropriation of the Yellow Star of David, during his speech at the rally, he went beyond the common “Nuremberg gambit” beloved of antivaxxers, who fantasize about trying vaccine advocates, scientists, and doctors at a “Nuremberg-style” tribunal for their “crimes against humanity.” Del Bigtree, with big fascist energy, wants to go after the press:

Attacking the “lügenpresse” (“lying press,” as Adolf Hitler liked to call the press) has been a favorite fascist message and tactic going back as long as there’s been such a thing as fascism.

I very much got a feeling of déjà vu over the whole affair, even as the press published stories of outrage that RFK Jr. would invoke the memory of Anne Frank in this way, while the social media and press offices of important Holocaust museums responded:

Let’s get back to RFK Jr., though. If there’s one thing that he did by invoking Anne Frank and the Holocaust, it was to remind everyone that he’s done this before. Indeed, even as RFK Jr. apologized for sullying the memory of Anne Frank by invoking her name to spread an antivaccine message, I remember that we’ve been here before:

He should have entitled this apology, “Oops, I did it again!”

Even RFK Jr.’s wife Cheryl Hines threw him under the bus:

My message to Cheryl Hines is simple: This is the sort of thing that RFK Jr. has been saying for years. This is the man you married. After a certain point, by remaining married to him and staying silent about his antivaccine activism, you become complicit. That point came a long time ago, I suspect.

The most appropriate reaction to RFK Jr.’s insincere “apology” for invoking the name of Anne Frank is:

Here’s what I mean. Let’s take a journey back to 2015, nearly five years before the pandemic, when RFK Jr. made the news for this:

But some parents fear information about the hazards of vaccines has been suppressed, largely because of what they call the pharmaceutical industry’s influence over health officials. Many parents believe their children have been damaged by vaccines. When Kennedy asked the crowd of a few hundred viewers how many parents had a child injured by vaccines, numerous hands went up.

“They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy said. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

Because autism (caused by vaccines, of course, in RFK Jr.’s warped world view) was just like the Holocaust. To complete the feeling of “déjà vu all over again,” RFK Jr. was even forced to apologize for these remarks:

“I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word holocaust to describe the autism epidemic,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families.”

Or, as I put it at the time as I described RFK Jr.’s apology as a “notpology,” the “vaccine-induced autism epidemic” is as bad as the Holocaust, but I won’t use the word anymore because it offends people who know what a real Holocaust is. I also add right now: As if this makes it better? RFK Jr. viewed what he considered to be “vaccine-induced autism” to be so horrible that, as he “struggled to find an expression,” an analogy, to describe it, he latched onto comparing vaccines and autism to the systematic persecution and genocide of six million Jews, apparently thinking this to be an appropriate analogy! Then he only “apologized” because the blowback for his offensive words was so severe, rather the same way that he’s doing now. Déjà vu all over again indeed. If you’ll excuse my language, invoking Anne Frank and her hiding from the Nazis in a cramped attic is just the nasty cherry on the shit pie of offensive Holocaust misappropriation.

If you want to just how insincere RFK Jr. is when he “apologizes” for his Holocaust analogies after they make a stink, let’s travel back two more years, to 2013. Nearly nine years ago, the yearly antivaccine quackfest known as Autism One in Chicago, as tiny as it was compared to the estimated 10,000 or so attendees (not the 30,000+ attendees that RFK Jr. has claimed) at the “Defeat the Mandates” rally, was the biggest antivax game in town. That was the first time that I noticed RFK Jr. making Holocaust analogies about autism and vaccines, learning about it from a blog post over at the antivaccine blog Age of Autism by the blog editor Dan Olmsted entitled RFK Jr., Nazi Death Camps and the Battle For Our Future. The link to the article is no longer there, but I did quote from it extensively in a contemporaneous blog post in which I sarcastically asked antivaxxers if they could please knock it off with the autism-Holocaust analogies, already.

Each of us will have our highlights from last weekend’s extraordinary Autism One gathering in Chicago, but for me it was Bobby Kennedy Jr. saying, “To my mind this is like the Nazi death camps.”

“This” is the imprisonment of so many of our children in the grip of autism. Talk about cutting through the neurodiverse claptrap! When Bobby Kennedy says something, it gives “cover,” in a sense, for others to use the same kind of language and frame the debate in the same kind of way. (Language that reminds me of David Kirby’s phrase, “the shuttered hell” of autism, in Evidence of Harm.)

Those who can advocate for themselves should do so. Move right along, please. Those who cannot have advocates like their parents and RFK Jr. who are sick of mincing words.

Amusingly, this was RFK Jr. speaking his mind in what he viewed as a “safe space,” an antivaccine quackfest in which the audience was guaranteed to be friendly given that reporters and vaccine advocates who tried to attend were, consistent with antivaxxers’ frequent laments about “lack of debate” and “free speech,” routinely ushered out of the conference by security if they were discovered. Consistent with the antivax fantasy of “Nuremberg-style tribunals” to punish vaccine advocates, RFK Jr. also called for Dr. Paul Offit to be thrown in jail, even as he winked at his audience over Nuremberg by denying that he meant Nuremberg:

The enablers may not belong in Nuremburg, but they do belong in jail, Bobby said. “I would do a lot to see Paul Offit and all these good people behind bars,” he said, after listing Offit’s litany of lies and profit. Just to make sure people got the point, he returned to it in his speech. “Is it hyperbole to say they should be in jail? They should be in jail and the key should be thrown away.”

No wonder antivaxxers liked Donald Trump and his “Lock her up!” chants so much!

Now here’s what I mean by RFK Jr.’s hypocrisy. This time around, he didn’t apologize. Rather, sometime soon after, Olmsted’s article disappeared from AoA, and the site’s file apparently was apparently modified so that the almighty Wayback Machine at Archive.org could no longer keep the article archived after it had been deleted. I can’t prove that this is what happened, and I kick myself more and more as time goes on for not having saved screenshots of the article, but my guess is that RFK Jr. had a little talk with Dan Olmsted to get him to remove that article. Consistent with this hypothesis of mine, only a couple of weeks later RFK Jr. refused to provide Laura Helmuth a transcript or video (and you know that antivaxxers videotaped everything) of the speech he’d given to Autism One.

Fast forward almost nine years, and let’s see what’s on RFK Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense website today. Oh, look, it’s an article by a Holocaust survivor named Vera Sharav entitled Holocaust Survivor: Never Again Is Now. Unless We All Resist, and it was published the same day that RFK Jr. “apologized” for his Anne Frank remarks at the Defeat the Mandates rally, with the tagline:

In a speech delivered Sunday in Brussels, Holocaust survivor Vera Sharav described the striking parallels between what she witnessed as a child in Nazi Germany, and COVID policies being enacted today by governments around the globe.

Also:

Holocaust survivor Vera Sharav was scheduled to deliver her remarks below on Sunday in Brussels at a rally protesting COVID mandates. After the rally was abruptly canceled because police threatened protesters, Sharav and other rally speakers gave their speeches at a restaurant.

“Help, help, I’m being repressed!” I can’t resist repeating about RFK Jr., not Sharav:

I really, really, really hate to be put in the position of taking a Holocaust survivor like Vera Sharav to task, but her speech is so full of false analogies, fear mongering about vaccines and COVID-19 restrictions, and conspiracy theories, that she leaves me no choice. So let’s see what Sharav had to say:

Today, survivors are shaken by the fear-mongering, and divisive, discriminatory measures against a minority. Horrifying scenes include police in black uniforms brutally attacking demonstrators in European cities, in Australia, and, yes, in Israel. These are painful reminders of the prelude to the Holocaust in which the Nazis:

  • Used the psychological weapons of fear and propaganda to impose a genocidal regime.
  • Demonized Jews as the spreaders of disease and the cause of their misery.
  • Systematically obliterated moral norms and values.
  • Destroyed their social conscience in the name of public health.

Today’s predators are also using fear and propaganda to maintain a state of anxiety and helplessness. The objective — then and now — is identical — to condition people to become obedient and to follow directives without question.

The global assault on our freedoms and our right to self-determination is facilitated by the weaponization of medicine. Then and now, the medical establishment has provided a veneer of legitimacy to mass medical murder.

“Identical”? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Casedemic and The Princess Bride
I know, I know. I use this meme more than I should.

Sharav’s remarks get worse, though, so much worse:

The modern-day Nazis’ objective is global population reduction. The global oligarchs are determined to gain absolute control of the world’s resources — natural, financial and human.

Bill Gates, a lifelong eugenicist and major stakeholder in the vaccine industry, declared the COVID vaccine the “final solution.”

COVID injections use an experimental, gene transfer technology. Its testing on the global population is in gross violation of the foremost human right to “voluntary, informed consent.”

Those who refuse to be injected are vilified as spreaders of a deadly virus. They are subjected to increasingly harsh penalties and discrimination. Germany, Austria and Italy are once again swept up by an orgy of fascist hate-mongering. This time the unvaccinated are being targeted.

The claimed rationale for vaccine mandates was to protect people from getting and transmitting infection. However, the incontrovertible evidence shows that COVID injections do not prevent infection or its transmission and they do not provide immunity.

These are, to put it mildly, common antivaccine tropes, complete with Bill Gates and Pharma conspiracy theories. Again, it is not true that the vaccines do not provide immunity. They do. Admittedly, it is true that the immunity provided by existing vaccines against the Omicron variant is considerably less than it was than for the original SARS-CoV-2 strain against which the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were designed, both vaccines are still highly effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization due to Omicron. (Also, guess what? “Natural immunity” is no better against the Omicron variant, as evidenced by the number of reinfections with Omicron.) Moreover, it is not true that the vaccines “do not prevent transmission.” They do. It’s just that they are not nearly 100% effective at preventing transmission.

As virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen put it in response to the same argument:

And:

And:

So Vera Sharav is spreading antivaccine misinformation and misusing her moral authority as a Holocaust survivor who suffered horrifically to spin vaccines and public health measures against COVID-19 as being akin to a new Holocaust. I’ve been meaning to write about her for a long time, given that she has gone from being a reasonable critic of overreach and ethical lapses in human experimentation to what can only be described now as a full-bore antivaccine crank, given her speech above and many other things she’s written and said. she founded a group called the Alliance for Human Research Protection, which, under the guise of promoting “informed consent” (sound familiar?) promotes all manner of anti-pharma and antivaccine misinformation, complete with invocations of the Nuremberg Code favored by antivaxxers and another “stacked bill” of antivaccine quacks on her advisory board, including Drs. Christopher Exley, David Brownstein, Christiane Northrup, Alvin Moss, Antonietta Gatti, Elizabeth Mumper, James Lyons-Weiler, Kenneth Stoller, Paul Thomas, Richard Moskowitz, Sin Hang Lee (what a blast from the past!), Stephanie Seneff, Christopher Shaw, James Meehan, and more. (What, where’s Joe Mercola?) No wonder RFK Jr. deployed her to deflect from his offensive invocation of Anne Frank.

I will definitely have to revisit Vera Sharav in more detail, but now is not the time, given that that’s not what this post is about. What it is about is RFK Jr.’s hypocrisy, as demonstrated by his history of repeatedly using Holocaust analogies to demonize vaccines and vaccine mandates, to be followed by obvious “notpologies” when the blowback gets too fierce, as it did in 2015 and this week. I’ll conclude with what is perhaps the best response to the misuse of Anne Frank to promote antivaccine disinformation and then his obvious notpology:

This is who RFK Jr. is. This is who he’s been at least since 2005, when he first announced himself to be an antivaccine conspiracy theorist. This is who he will likely always be, an antivaccine crank and conspiracy theorist who routinely misuses Holocaust analogies and only “apologizes” for doing so when the heat gets too intense.

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]

76 replies on “Anne Frank: RFK Jr. now versus RFK Jr. in 2015”

I also rolled my eyes at his completely off topic insertion of his father into his comments. Though it’s consistent with other comments he’s made. The man loves to name drop. He seems to think being related to important people makes him important. He is, perhaps, smarter than Trump, but there’s a similar desperate insecurity that bleeds through.

I have a fear on this political rally. This will end in random hospital mass shootings in the USA. The more anti-vaxxers escalate their rants the more hospitals and their supporters will get killed.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/24/california-school-covid-vaccine-mandate-proposal-00001261

I do not think people in other parts of the USA understand that the modern COVID-19 mandates have their origins in California when State Senator Richard Pan made the current vaccine mandate California Students initally to stop measles and now COVID-19. Originally Disney was going to face backlash for the measles outbreak in 2014-2015 timeframe. I live in Sacramento where all the vaccine conspiracies originated from we can end up with deaths at Sacramento area hospitals because they did the Door-to Door service to address low vaccination rates in the city and it got framed as Nazi Germany for some reason. I like to know the name of the concentration camp in Sacramento.

A few things…

I heard much of the rally live via @ highwire talk including RFK jr’s appearance.
–he claims he is being censored whilst he confabulates and postures for over 30 minutes in a very public place with cameras fixed on him. He is despicable to compare his fantasy system to the Holocaust.
— even his wife has denounced his speech
— he and Del cavalierly invoke horrors purely to get attention, followers and contributions to their “charities”.
— I didn’t know that AoA had “disappeared” his earlier rants
— I’m glad that several reporters ( Collins, Zadrozny, MSNBC hosts) are quite vocal about him.
— Orac mentions about how scoffers declare that “vaccines don’t work” meaning that they don’t work perfectly because they usually think in primitive, black and white, all or nothing, terms. We need to show exactly how much they prevent/ reduce transmission, serious illness, hospitalisation and death with real numbers so they can’t continue to lie this way.
— Del is a wanker looking for a stage, microphone and audience

The antivax movement is inherently ableist. Just look at the “autism moms” who come here to comment. For every comment they make about the impact of autism on their child, they make about 20 on how hard it makes their own life. It’s sickening to think of their children having to hear those comments.

Indeed. And in the age of COVID-19, antivaxxers love to point out that the elderly and those with chronic health conditions are much more likely to become severely ill and die, as if they don’t matter because the young and healthy are much less likely to suffer.

Without defending them, I would say that as a society, we need to offer them and their children all the support we can, especially the most severely affected. It’s hard to say how much they are drawn to anti-vax sentiments due to lack of support–medical, personal, financial. I don’t mean to oversimplify, but I had a kid with a neurological issue and I fell into some woo for a while out of sheer desperation. I also delayed the chicken pox vaccine because I thought it was not a serious illness (I was persuaded easily enough by my doctor).

@brainmatterz, Commenters here offered them suggestions on how to get additional support and services and were roundly rejected. Plus that doesn’t explain the horrific way they would talk about their kids, trying to use them to disgust and frighten people.

And yet my level 2 autistic adult child is a very good house sitter. They hated family trips, and high school with the help of notes was why we could take the younger siblings to Europe. We were able to check in with email, and grandma was nearby.

These autistic people are capable of more than the ableist understand. They just need a chance.

It will be even more sickening for the young people on the high functioning level of the Autism Spector (Asperger’s Syndrome) to have to read your words of wisdom! It’s one thing for you to impose your opinions on all who are trying to engage in a discussion and study of this critical issue, but insulting the parents and families who are struggling with day-to-day challenges in providing care for their disabled children.is despicable..

I was an Army brat, and when I was in second grade my father was a captain. At that point he gave the talk he gave to each of his kids: “You will be going to school with lots of kids, and I want you to remember this: you do not have my military rank. You are not to mention it in any way, as it is not your accomplishment. Do you understand?”

And of course I said: “Yes, sir!.”

For sheer drooling lunacy, you might want to see this offering from the UK: thelightpaper.co.uk – especiallly the article by Dr (?) Vernon Coleman claiming that vaccines are neither safe nor effective.

Vernon Coleman (yes, he apparently is/was a physician) has been blithering about vaccines and other obsessions in a series of books over the years, sometimes self-published. His masterwork, about transvestites, was titled “Men In Bras, Panties And Dresses” (undoubtedly a sober academic opus).

He should follow the advice expressed in the title of one of his published diaries, “Bugger Off And Leave Me Alone”.

I’m surprised RFKJ didn’t proclaim that the chip shortage affecting the manufacturing of electronics, cars, and other consumer goods isn’t really a pandemic-related supply chain problem, but due to Bill Gates directing all semi-conductor production into the 5G chips going into the vaccines. [/s]

Someone should remind RFK that, if he wanted to hide in an attic, he could wrap himself up in a couple of space blankets and a Faraday cage. I’m not sure anyone would bother looking for him but the 5G satellites would be useless if they tried.

Fun fact! Two of the typhus vaccines developed were used (directly an indirectly) to protect Jews and political dissidents during WWII.

One researcher, Rudolf Weigl, specifically hired people at risk of being rounded up by Nazis, often people who had been fired for who they were, to be employed as “lice feeders” (exactly as disgusting as it sounds) to give these people pay and a safe place to talk.

Ludwik Fleck was imprisoned at several concentration camps, and at Buchenwald made not one but two typhus vaccines: one that worked that was given to the other inmates, and one that did not work that was given to the SS.

Which just adds another layer of wrong and offensive to RFK jr’s statement.

I wonder how followers of these guys ( or of other altie loons) are able to twist their thought processes into knots in order to reconcile these leaders’ production of such offensive statements ( or incredibly stupid mis-information as the case might be) alongside their brave maverick-y, heroic stylings. If someone inspires you then talks nonsense, can you stay very inspired?

Consistent with Orac’s earlier post on how the Defeat the Mandates rally echoed the Green Our Vaccines rallies of the past in striving for a counter-cultural at-least-apolitical-if-not-even Left/liberal vibe, e.g. the Woodstack-esque poster graphic: Anna Merlan reported than while the event was funded by folks associated with America’s Frontline Doctors — a group clearly dominated by right-wing nutters (c.f. Joseph Ladapo as DeSantis lackey, and Peter McCullough’s multiple appearances in official Bircher media outlets…) the individual they hired to do the PR for the event was “Trevor FitzGibbon, a one-time state-level communications director for Barack Obama whose former firm, a powerhouse in progressive media, loudly shut down in 2015 amidst a storm of accusations of sexual harassment and assault against him.” The selection of speakers — only one I can readily identify with conservative causes generally, and 9 (out of 34) African-Americans — also seems designed to separate anti-vax from the right-ist movement, or to build out to a more ‘bi-partisan’ force. MSNBC’s Ben Collins’ takeaway from listening to the speeches was that antivax is “a gigantic, one-issue political movement that will eventually coalesce behind one candidate and make extreme demands before 2024.”

But I think Ben may have misunderstood the flack for the facts. WaPo reported the assembled crowd was composed mostly of folks sporting some sort of MAGA gear. I contend the old-school single-issue obsessive antivaxers like RFKJ and Del are fairly small minority among the current anti-vax wave — which is very much an other-issue thing, a badge of Alt-right identity. Another WaPo piece notes COVID anti-vax is a central theme of Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, right alongside Big Lie election denial.

Anti-vaccine outrage is “beyond totemic” for Trump’s base, said Bannon, who told The Post he is unvaccinated. “It’s almost defining.”

The Time article sirhcton linked above notes:

The yellow Gadsden flags adopted by the Tea Party a decade ago mixed with Trump 2020 placards, “Stop the Steal” signs and “F— Joe Biden” flags. A group of men wearing the insignia of the far-right Proud Boys lingered on the edges of the crowd… Fresh anger mixed with repackaged old grievances. Only a handful of the three-dozen rally-goers who spoke to TIME said their anti-vaccine stance predated COVID-19, but it was clear that it had become a defining marker of their political identity. Most cast their attendance as a fight against something larger—a way to channel their frustration with the government response to the pandemic, or an outlet for leftover resentment from the 2020 election.

The Time article is titled “How the Anti-Vax Movement Is Taking Over the Right”. I think that’s mainly backwards, that the right is taking over the Anti-Vax movement (on essentially instrumental terms) and expanding it exponentially.

Sadly, IMHO, the presence of RFKJ leads some media pundits and other public figures to a both-sidesism false-equivalence both of antivax=holocaust rhetoric and antivax and antisemitism. Appearing on the Nicole Wallace show, in a discussion of the number of MTG-ish anti-semites running for office as Republicans, ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt pivoted, after a while, to claiming “anti-semitism has been weaponized by both sides for political gain” citing RFKJ’s Anne Frank comment,. Then, after saying GOP leadership needs to tell their members that (MTG, Nick Fuentes) antisemitic rhetoric is not OK, “we need leaders on the progressive side to tell RFK Junior it’s not OK.” SMH. Like RFKJ would listen to, who… Bernie? AOC? Greenblatt said RFKJ is “no MAGA member”… Really? Greenblatt is obviously mis-informed about RFKJ’s activities over the last 6 years — including the fact that Junior has taken no substantive policy positions whatsoever, progressive or even otherwise, on any issue other than vaccines in well over a decade — and just making assumptions based on the guys surname.

I don’t know if RFKJ and Del and the rest think they can reclaim leadership of the AV movement from the likes of Bannon, MTG and Tucker Carlson, or truly make is spread across ideological lines, but as Del’s ‘we’re going to send the press to jail’ shtick shows, they’ve already been sucked into the right-wing-nutter-violence wing of conspiracy theory (Bill Gates! 5G!) and the only question now is whether they’re converts or just useful idiots, not that it matters.

For once, I agree with most of what you said, particularly how the right is absorbing the antivaccine movement, although I will say that it started out with the antivax movement appealing to the right using the language of “freedom,” “parental rights,” and opposition to big government to attract them.

That quibble aside, I also think you’ll be interested in my next post, which probably won’t be ready by tomorrow but should be done by Friday morning. I’ll say no more, other than that it’s along the lines of what you’ve been saying but my own take. It’s been something I’ve been meaning to write for a while but too overtly political for my not-so-secret other blog.

I must correct myself: it was Health Choice not Health Freedom. First, a few AoA stalwarts, Blaxill, Larson, Taylor, created a political party/ group to address vaccine and other environmental “damage” to children, who were becoming “ill” at a greater rate- besides autism, they included allergies, asthma, childhood cancer and many other conditions. They tried to increase public awareness and badger congress and other officials. A while later, they changed the name to Health Choice. There are still some of their announcements on AoA and other sites. I think that they faded away.
It was an early attempt by anti-vaxxers to reach political channels and a wider audience.

@ Orac

It’s not a quibble because I don’t disagree. It’s absolutely true, as you have well documented here over the years, that the old-school AV movement began soliciting the right long before the pandemic, especially after, e.g. the CA D’s passed SB277 post the Disneyland outbreak. Speaking of the hard core movement antivaxers, not just the merely vax hesitant, a number of us have long likened them to a cult. But another way of saying this is that for these folks antivax has become a defining identity verging on, if not becoming, a form of monomania.

Again, before the pandemic, and even before some of the stirrings of antivax on the right e.g. in Texas, I chafed at the stereotype of antivaxers as mainly a “liberal” hippy-dippy granola crunchy thing, pointing out that there was as much if not more antivax activity in mostly-Republican-voting Orange County (home of Dr. Bob, among others) as in mostly-Democrat-voting Marin County. You had long said antivax spans the political spectrum. But I think it might have been more accurate to say that this ‘Antivax Classic’ was so singleminded and obsessive, so much a first principle, it was off the political spectrum. Any political rhetoric it might appear to employ is just instrumental, dressing up (consciously or not) in whatever costume they may imagine advances their cause. I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that in the first big heyday of antivax ~2005-ish (?) that tilted more liberal than conservative — being a ‘save the children from the evil corporations’ kind of thing.

Well it turned out that didn’t really get them very far, and they remained essentially a lunatic fringe, especially after Disneyland, but then they started to catch some traction with that “health freedom,” “parental rights,” crowd — the rhetorical clothing of the OC proving to be more exportable than the rhetorical clothing of NoCal. So now, RFKJ, the erstwhile environmental lawyer is sharing memes with Marjorie Taylor Greene and other neo-fascists.

I’m sure that from RFKJ or Del’s POV this is all great, and they feel they’ve hit the jackpot in spreading to the audiences of Tucker and Rogan etc. If they have been swept up by the alt-right Trump train, as I suggest above, they had their thumbs out and they’re moving where they wanted to go. If they’re serving as bait for the end of democracy I think they could care less, as long as they gain ground in the fatwa against the jabs.

Something I haven’t written before that may resonate with you: I don’t see how this evil genie gets put back into the bottle, at least all the way. Once you have “No Mandates! No Masks! Parental Choice!” as mantras, how do you sustain childhood vaccine requirements for elementary schools, at least in heavily rural and/or Southern states with Trumpy governors and/or legislatures? i think we may be headed for some bad mojo in that direction.

As i already noted at SBM, a study by Swiss (!) researchers found a causal relationship between exposure to Fox News and COVID vaccine hesitancy. They assert their methodology effectively controls for “differences in partisanship, to local health policies, or to local COVID-19 infections or death rates.” I haven’t dived in to do my own assessment of the method and claim, but the paper is available online:
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3890340

The researchers also note: “We also show that there is no historical effect of Fox News on flu vaccination rates, suggesting that the effect is COVID-19-specific and not driven by general skepticism toward vaccines.” Which goes to what I’ve written here before about the new anti-vax not being same-as-it-ever-was because despite the similarities in content it’s new communicators, a new audience, a new (more overtly political) context, etc. It also might seem to suggest, though that the new antivax might not expand beyond the pandemic. As I noted above, I’m not optimistic. I wonder if that finding might reflect the moment of the research surveys (March 2021), and if they surveyed again the might find the Foxy antivax spreading beyond the COVID specific…

A version of jumping the shark? When irrational zealots quit trying to appeal to “reasonable people”–if they ever did–and are only interested in ginning up fervor among those they consider to be the righteous?

[…] Kennedy, in my opinion, has probably done more to sow distrust in vaccines, including routine childhood vaccinations that have saved millions of lives, than just about any other person living today. (The despicable Barbara Loe Fisher and Andrew Wakefield are his chief competitors for the all-time record.) The pandemic has presented him a golden opportunity to traffic in lies and distortions about COVID and COVID vaccines, and he’s made the most of it, earning himself a spot (along with Mercola) among the Disinformation Dozen as a major source of COVID misinformation. Just this past Sunday, Kennedy (employing a common anti-vaccine trope) compared vaccine mandates to laws in Hitler’s Germany and invoked the name of Anne Frank. This “moral and intellectual decay” was rightly called out by the Auschwitz Memorial, among many others. Kennedy later “apologized”. […]

That’s the one. It was very hard to find yesterday and today ( although I did eventually find it yesterday), I wonder if they’re trying to hide it?

The Folly of Pandemic Censorship

“this same Center for Countering Digital Hate two years ago tried to pull the same stunt with The Federalist, using NBC to ask Google to crack down on them.The piece NBC ended up writing boasting of the success of its “Verification Unit” in getting the site demonetized, entitled, “Google bans two websites from its ad platform over protest articles,” turned out to itself be misinformation. The Federalist was never banned, only warned, and the issue was its comments section, not its articles. Google had to issue a statement: The Federalist was never demonetized.”

“Even in a society with fairly robust protections, as ours once was, the most dangerous misinformation is always, without exception, official.
Whether it’s WMDs or the Gulf of Tonkin fiasco or the missile gap or the red scare or the twenty-year occupation of Afghanistan, the worst real-world disasters always turn out to be driven or enabled by official falsehoods.”

Disinformation is still disinformation no matter which side its on.

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-folly-of-pandemic-censorship

Medical disinformation will killl people. Not accepting drug therapy for HIV infection is an exmaple

Oh well. Let’s only concentrate on the big government misinformation then? No point in combatting the scam artists spreading misinformation in the name of fame and profit eh?

Taibbi is just spectacularly wrong there. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the histories of journalism, advertising, PR etc. can easily come up with numerous exceptions to “the most dangerous misinformation is always official”. Let’s see, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”, the Tobacco Institute, climate-change-denialism — can’t get more “the worst real-world disaster” than that…

@ Everyone

I’m not a lawyer; but isn’t it free speech for Elizabeth Warren to express her concerns about what Amazon is marketing? She is not advocating some government action and if Amazon were to go along, it is a private company and, according to my understanding, is NOT bound by 1st Amendment’s free speech. Any comments from someone with legal training?

If I am correct then the lawsuit, given Kennedy is a “lawyer” is intended as propaganda, “fight the good fight”, not to actually succeed.

I couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition of vaccine, Bill Gates and 5G. Is RFK Jr. so far gone that he thinks there are microchips in the syringe?

Yes, he’s already gone there. Well, almost.

From a Forbes article, August 2020:

“(RFK Jr.) posted to his Instagram account a photo of Gates with the wild words “The digitalized economy? We get rid of cash and coins. We give you a chip. We put all your money in your chip. If you refuse a vaccine, we turn off the chip and you starve!”

are you all happy now. you kept no one safe but sacrificed a whole generation of children.

reliefweb.int/report/world/covid-19-scale-education-loss-nearly-insurmountable-warns-unicef

politico.com/newsletters/weekly-education/2021/12/06/this-is-a-disaster-severity-of-learning-lost-to-the-pandemic-comes-into-focus-799278

and anyone who questions Mr. Science

msn.com/en-us/news/politics/emails-reveal-how-fauci-head-of-nih-colluded-to-try-to-smear-experts/ar-AARX837

Trouble is even the people on the left in media are starting to realize they have been mislead.

theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/kids-masks-schools-weak-science/621133/

sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Should-kids-wear-masks-in-schools-Maybe-not-16811908.php

nytimes.com/2021/12/20/opinion/omicron-schools-do-not-close.html

will you own up to the error

nymag.com/intelligencer/article/progressives-must-reckon-with-the-school-closing-catastrophe.html

peeps

I am fully vaccinated .

My post was about school closing and remote learning, you twit !!!!

The Dans just dropped all covid restrictions as have the Brits, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.

Actually Fauci’s emails just shows that he was organising people opposing Great Barrington Declaration. He has right to act on his opinions, do you think? Why do you think that nobody has right to oppose Great Barrington Declaration ?
Cite the original papers, not journos.

“Sacrificed a generation” – I’m sorry, all those children look very alive to me.

And, as I have said to many, many people recently who seem to not be getting it: schools are closing now because there are not enough healthy adults to provide the students with even basic supervision, let alone an education.

Do you really think that children and teens should just be stuffed inside schools with no adults? What option other than remote learning is there when there are no teachers? That is why high school students have been going on strike: they want safe schools so they can learn, even if that means a temporary return to remote learning.

And what’s a bigger impediment to learning and development: missing a month of school or having a student’s primary caregiver die? Because that’s already happened to a million American children.

Aarno

you didn’t even open the articles up did you, all the article had links embedded in them to studies,

This article was written by an infectious disease scientist (who’s research is on the flu and covid), a veterinarian (and a faculty member at OHSU school of public health) and an emergency medicine doctor

theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/kids-masks-schools-weak-science/621133/

@ Anthony

The Atlantic Monthly article on kids and masks said weak, that is, risk of transmission less, not zero.If a kid in school picks up virus, could still, less but not zero risk, give it to others. And many schools could have spent funds to improve ventilation, require masks as extra precaution, and split school days, that is fewer students per classroom, so could have maintain some distance. There were and are measures that could have reduced the problems you point out. However, just one example. At beginning of pandemic there was a school strike of teachers in Israel. Lasted two weeks. During that time few cases of COVID. When schools re-opened, cases began exploding and Israel imposed some of the most restrictive mitigation actions and has had one of the absolute lowest per capita COVID death rates. Unfortunately, our responses due to politics, underfunding, not being one nation, Federal, State, Municipal, etc. made appropriate coordinated actions difficult. So, could we have done better. Absolutely; but if we hadn’t closed schools, given all the other mistakes, etc. our death rates could have been much higher. I wonder how a kid would feel if he went to school, infected a loved one, especially before vaccines, and loved one died???

And politics. One recent report found per capita COVID deaths twice as high on average in Republican states as Democratic states. Wonder why???

You write: “The Dans just dropped all covid restrictions as have the Brits, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.”

And along with us, the Brits have had among the highest per capita hospitalizations and deaths. Don’t know about Scotland; but Netherlands experienced surge. So, yep, good choices???

This report’s Figure 4 gives recent estimated numbers of people living in private households testing positive for COVID in the separate UK countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (I think that the statistic is for the total number positive at the time, not for the number of new infections).
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-ons-infection-survey-headline-results-28-january-2022/

England peaked highest (~6.5%), but the rest were not enormously lower (~5.5-6.0%). England, Scotland and Wales peaked at about the same time; Northern Island, a bit later.

I’m not sure what level of autonomy the self-governing parts of the UK have over health, and in particular COVID, policy.

The report doesn’t have any hospitalisation data.

A thought occurred to me:
anti-vaxxers are becoming prevalent within more conservative parties and locales which can be rapidity ascertained by maps and surveys.
At the same time, people who vote or identify this way are more likely to be older and more endangered by viruses in general. I assume that many older conservatives in conservative areas have got vaccinated already because they fear getting sick or dying from Covid. Could this not be a wedge between different age cohorts/ factions in their party?

Of course, a few of their leaders differentiate and state that some people may need the vaccine ( elderly, chronically ill) but leave the children alone however many of the people that proselytise against vaccines like Kennedy make statements that cast suspicion on all vaccines ( injury, death, pharma malfeasance, untrustworthy studies). Could this have been a factor in lessened support for the ex-president? This may be why new anti-vax politicians focus so much on the children : how they are being damaged by school closures, how suicides are higher amongst them, how vaccines kill more of them than Covid does, about long term consequences and on, how work / social mandates affect younger adults.

As it happens, a classmate of mine had an uncle who was a maintenance officer in the 3rd Army in World War II. He had taken some pictures in March 1945 when they reached the Rhineland. Later he dug them out and used them for a slide show to present to students. She shared those slides on Facebook. I thought I would quote just a few of his captions.

As we looked around, the doors on the building were closed. When I kicked the doors open, I found bodies stacked clear to the ceiling in what looked like a tool shed. Lime was thrown on the bodies to keep down the stench. Around back was a large trench of dead bodies. The bulldozer that had been used to dig the ditch was still there. The trench was full of water with some of the bodies visible above the water. Also, outside on cement blocks, two railroad rails were mounted above the ground. Dead bodies were stacked on the rails and a fire was built underneath to cremate the bodies.

..

This it the head of a Jewish doctor that had been killed for human study.

On the way from the crematorium to the barracks, I saw some of the prisoners that were still alive and had been freed. They had no food and no place to go, except to wait for help to arrive. They needed special diets to survive because real food was too much for their starving bodies to handle.

Tell me again how vaccinating someone to protect them from hospitalization and death is just like that.

[…] A long time ago, in a time so distant that it now seems like ancient history, I wrote a post entitled Why are antivaccinationists so at home with Libertarianism? (Actually, it was only a little over eight years ago.) The springboard (if you will) for my musings (such as they were) about the affinity between libertarians and antivaxxers was an article on an antivaccine blog that had noted a libertarian backlash against a stand by Ronald Bailey over at the online home of libertarian propaganda Reason entitled Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk, which was subtitled, A pragmatic argument for coercive vaccination. It was an uncommon example of the magazine actually living up to its name in that it recognized that individual rights are not limitless and those “who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children are free-riding off herd immunity. He even cited Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins,” calling that principle “particularly salient in the case of whooping cough shots.” At the time, I concluded that Bailey was likely “fighting a losing battle” because libertarians are “all too prone to denying science when it inconveniently clashes with their worship of the free market and individual freedom above all.” With the rightward shift of the antivaccine movement in the intervening time, I now find myself asking the same question about fascism, particularly after after seeing fascists at the antivaccine “Defeat the Mandates” march last Sunday, the one where Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. invoked Anne Frank and the Holocaust. […]

As to Israel, one of the highest vaccinated countries to have completed the 3rd vaccination and over 40% of the population has had their 4th

Israel ranks 66th in the world for fully vaccinated (two shots in Israel’s case), with about 65% of the population fully vaccinated. The first booster proportion is inevitably no more than that.

https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations#

I don’t know of any good comparison sources for the rate of booster shots. But according to this (US) ABC report, as of 14 Jan, 500 thousandIsraelis had received a second booster. Israel’s population is about 9.3 million, so that makes it about 5.3% with a second booster as of that date.
https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israel-500k-received-4th-vaccine-dose-82261948

Unless the Israeli policy has changed and they’ve has an extraordinarily fast rollout of 4th boosters since 14 Jan, the 40% claim seems unlikely to me. Last I read of the program, they are only administering 4th boosters to specific at-risk groups.

they are experiencing one of the highest case loads and deaths per 100,000 in the world.

Israel ranks 10th highest in the world for total number of cases per million and 88th highest for total deaths per million.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

“Unfortunately, our responses due to politics, underfunding, not being one nation, Federal, State, Municipal, etc. made appropriate coordinated actions difficult.”

Isn’t that what Biden said to do, “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level.” And just the Federal government has spent 4 TRILLION dollars on Covid, if that’s under funding what is your dollar amount of enough funding

“Absolutely; but if we hadn’t closed schools, given all the other mistakes, etc. our death rates could have been much higher.”

Please cite your double blind research that proves that point, or is that a guess.

As to Israel, one of the highest vaccinated countries to have completed the 3rd vaccination and over 40% of the population has had their 4th, they are experiencing one of the highest case loads and deaths per 100,000 in the world.

worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/israel/

“And politics. One recent report found per capita COVID deaths twice as high on average in Republican states as Democratic states. Wonder why???”

And just what does your statement about republican vs democrat states have anything to do with covid.

New Mexico has some of the most stringent policies, school closures, voted democrat, high vaccination rate and still 6,317 deaths, but a state like Nebraska with a similar population and population density voted republican with few restriction, schools open has had 3,604 deaths.
Don’t iike those states try Florida little restriction, schools open, 64,000 deaths, New York with vaccine passport, school closed, 64,000 deaths. And on top of that Florida has over 3 million more people than New York.

Did you even bother to read the UN report, this nation and it closing schools has and will do more damage than covid will do, right now over 1 MILLION kids have dropped out of the US school systems, those kids were in school learning, but after may of 2020 they didn’t return and may never return, the kids that suffered the most are the poor and minority kids You post about your education, well think about this, college enrollment dropped by 500,000 kids in the fall of 2021 follow a drop of over 300,000 for the fall of 2020, so a total of 800,000 kids won’t go to college, who knows what the future enrollment will be, this will haunt the world for generations to come.

npr.org/2021/10/26/1048955023/college-enrollment-down-pandemic-economy

You don’t have children so the only thing you focus on is the virus and the loss of education and potential for the future has no meaning for you, you insistence in closing school and lock downs etc. will have detrimental effects long after you are dead but those kids kept you and others like you safe.

@ Anthony “Please cite your double blind research that proves that point, or is that a guess.”

Your proposed “study” is impossible (how would you blind any of those people?), immoral and completely unethical. Even the most monstrous people to ever engage in medicalized torture weren’t stupid enough to do the “study” you’ve proposed.

Anthony: “I am fully vaccinated.”

So, do you recommend Covid-19 vaccination? Do you support the use of other vaccines?

@ Anthony

You write: “As to Israel, one of the highest vaccinated countries to have completed the 3rd vaccination and over 40% of the population has had their 4th, they are experiencing one of the highest case loads and deaths per 100,000 in the world. worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/israel/ “

First, case load doesn’t mean hospitalizations, etc. It simply means tests, e.g. nasopharyngeal swabs or inside mouth cheek find virus. Well, every single day our bodies are covered with microbes, some even get into nasal passages, etc. I don’t expect any vaccine to prevent this; but to prevent from actually entering body, serious illness, etc. If you understood even the basics of immunology you would know that our immune system is always dealing with intruders; but in most cases we don’t even know it because they are nipped in the bud, so finding some virus in quick test, no big deal.

Second, I found, went to: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus/country/israel, scrolled down to “Israel: Cumulative confirmed deaths: how do they compare to other countries?” Then clicked on Table and finally at bottom of Table pulled ball to Jan 27, 2022. And guess what I found?

Israel deaths per million: 920
U.S. deaths per million : 2, 638
South Korea per million : 130

You write: “And just the Federal government has spent 4 TRILLION dollars on Covid, if that’s under funding what is your dollar amount of enough funding”

The first CARE package gave large amounts to various corporations and businesses with goal of them retaining workers. Some did; but others bought back stocks which upped value of stocks, so stock market soared while millions of Americans out of work. And other monies dispersed to various State health agencies were used appropriately and not so. No coordinate program. Now monies going out to individuals and families. NO COORDINATED PROGRAM AND MUCH OF THE FUNDING SHOULD HAVE BEEN PART OF EARLY EFFORT TO CONTAIN THE VIRUS NOT AFTER THE FACT!

You write: ““And politics. One recent report found per capita COVID deaths twice as high on average in Republican states as Democratic states. Wonder why???”

Duh! Many Republican states opened up too soon, didn’t mandate masks, physical distancing, didn’t close bars, etc. What a stupid question. Remember that States like California among highest with minorities and poverty; yet among lowest death rates. You give some individual states; but not the overall picture. Yep, some Republican states had low death rates. Could be a number of factors, including that despite government not mandating, some states found many of citizens on their own wore masks, practiced physical distancing, limited number of people at social gatherings, and some restaurants outdoor dining, etc. Typical of some commenters that you find exceptions. Well, ever heard the old saying: The exception proves the rule?

You write: “You don’t have children so the only thing you focus on is the virus and the loss of education and potential for the future has no meaning for you, you insistence in closing school and lock downs etc. will have detrimental effects long after you are dead but those kids kept you and others like you safe.”

Well, since research has found, though fewer young dying from covid, many suffering from long covid. And those kids could have, especially before the vaccines, easily asymptomatically infected parents, family friends, grandparents, etc. Wonder how they would feel if they lost one or more to covid? Maybe you have kids who don’t care about you; but most kids do. Once vaccine came out, then more effort should have been put into opening schools; e.g., monies for improved ventilation, staggering school hours, so smaller classes allowing for some physical distancing, and requiring masks. Unfortunately, because of our dysfunctional political system, some efforts were made, some just opened prematurely, etc. And extremely important for reopening is number of vaccinated.

As for masks, check out: Kiera Butler (2022 Jan 28). These Doctors Wanted to Get Schools Back to Normal. Their Botched Effort May Backfire. Mother Jones: “Among the other misrepresentations and poorly supported arguments, the group made an unfair comparison of Covid and flu death rates in kids, misinterpreted the conclusions of a metaanalysis of the prevalence of long Covid in children, and blamed school closures alone (ignoring the effects of the pandemic itself) on kids’ mental health problems.”

Note. more and more data is showing kids suffering from long covid and no one knows if this is self-limiting after a number of months or . . . could become chronic???

And just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I don’t care. Going back to 1967, I saw newsreels of Biafran war and saw kids with bloated bellies and dead. I started crying. I didn’t see African children, black children, etc. I saw precious innocent children. And most of my friends have children and now grandchildren. When younger I knew when in college and grad school single mothers who had few opportunities to get out, so I babysat their children, etc. I care about kids. I care about old folks. I care about people in general. Not only was I against the Vietnam War and involved in numerous protests, but specifically the loss of innocent lives, men, women, and CHILDREN. Same with our criminal attack on Iraq, blowing up power stations, water treatment facilities, etc. All war crimes and led to up to an estimated 200,000 civilian casualties, many children. And on and on it goes.

You are just one more ASSHOLE who can’t keep a civil discourse but assume facts not in evidence and attack me.

@ Anthony

You write: “Absolutely; but if we hadn’t closed schools, given all the other mistakes, etc. our death rates could have been much higher.”
Please cite your double blind research that proves that point, or is that a guess.

Double blind research. Wow! Have you decided to compete with some of the others for dummest of the dum.

How in hell could you conduct a double blind research on schools. First, it would be obvious to anyone which schools were closed and which opened. Second, how would you randomize between schools to ensure equal on all variables except open or closed? But, the first is so obvious I wonder if you are suffering some mental disorder.

There are research designs called Quasi-Experimental, each with different weakness; but some combination can give valid data; but given just how uncoordinated, both where schools closed, and various timings, I would have to think long and hard to come up with any valid evaluation design, if possible at all. And, given what we knew early on, who in hell would want decision to keep open or close schools to apply to their children?

When I cite journos I get this.
Aarno Syvänen
says:
January 28, 2022 at 9:01 am
“Cite the original papers, not journos.”

why do you get to cite a journo with not a peep out of the group think crowd.

JustaTech
says:
January 28, 2022 at 4:55 pm

“Your proposed “study” is impossible (how would you blind any of those people?), immoral and completely unethical.” (and you claimed I was stupid).

When I questioned Joel once I got the “double blind study” in his attempt to show that was I wrong or that the study wasn’t conducted as he would have. I just copied and pasted from his post wanting a ‘double blind study”.

Dangerous Bacon
says:
January 28, 2022 at 5:05 pm
“Do you support the use of other vaccines?”

I will put my yellow card against yours any day.

And finally to Joel.

“First, case load doesn’t mean hospitalizations, etc.”

That isn’t what you claimed 14 months ago.

Do you even read what you write. I was quoting you, when I posted the rep vs dem

You write: ““And politics. One recent report found per capita COVID deaths twice as high on average in Republican states as Democratic states. Wonder why???”

top 10 states deaths per 100,000 population.
7 went for Biden
3 went for Trump.

I will defer to Aarnos post at the beginning of my post when you cited Mother Jones

“As for masks, check out: Kiera Butler (2022 Jan 28). These Doctors Wanted to Get Schools Back to Normal. Their Botched Effort May Backfire. Mother Jones:”

and you were the one to claim::

“Absolutely; but if we hadn’t closed schools, given all the other mistakes, etc. our death rates could have been much higher.”

So all I asked for was a study to back up your claim “our death rates could have been much higher” and use your demand for a “double blind study” to back up what you claimed.

Then you post well it can’t be done.

“There are research designs called Quasi-Experimental, each with different weakness; but some combination can give valid data; but given just how uncoordinated, both where schools closed, and various timings, I would have to think long and hard to come up with any valid evaluation design, if possible at all.”

Your post of republican vs democrat states actually comes from the New York Times but in your own words is not scientific as states are not one political view point, would you really compare upstate New York with New York city? You as a immunologist should really know this but you are disingenuous and very unscientific and impossible to prove your hypothesis, as you would need to know how the person voted against other factors. Again you just read a talking point.

Again, to my original post, over 1 million kids dropped out of our educational system, they never did remote learning, never signed back up for classes, never completed their education. All because people like you demanded we shut down, and that’s just in the united states.

On top of that over a million young adults NEVER enrolled for college, and that is just incoming freshman, graduate level classes are about 4% not enrolling to complete their advanced degree, How self centered can you be.

You sit isolated in your house and read your sterile papers and yet you claim to care, but the bottom line is, you have no stake in the future, you yourself said you only have at best 10 years. Most of the people you want to lock/mask/jab up have generations ahead of them. You are handicapping the youth of THE WORLD to be given chances you took for granted in your youth all because you’re afraid of of a 1% chance of dying early, you have no shame. 2525

Cannot you find a paper about masks ? Reading them actually get you out from the peep of your groupthink.
Infectivity of current variants is higer than original ones. This is how evolution works. Booster shots still prevent transmission:
Wald A. Booster Vaccination to Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Transmission and Infection. JAMA. 2022;327(4):327–328. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.23726
Sterile papers is funny. There better ways to analyse scientific litterature.

Anthony: “Dangerous Bacon
says:
January 28, 2022 at 5:05 pm
“Do you support the use of other vaccines?”

I will put my yellow card against yours any day.”

What’s that supposed to mean?

Once again: do you support the use of Covid-19 and other vaccines? Yes or no?

Amazing, the contortions people go through to avoid answering a simple question.

@ Anthony

You write: “When I questioned Joel once I got the “double blind study” in his attempt to show that was I wrong or that the study wasn’t conducted as he would have. I just copied and pasted from his post wanting a ‘double blind study”. . . So all I asked for was a study to back up your claim “our death rates could have been much higher” and use your demand for a “double blind study” to back up what you claimed.”

NOPE. I never mentioned double-blind study until responding to your comment. Just how STUPID and/or DISHONEST are you?

You write: “Your post of republican vs democrat states actually comes from the New York Times but in your own words is not scientific as states are not one political view point, would you really compare upstate New York with New York city?”

Yep, was in New York Times; but can find numerous reports showing where the highest rates of deaths are. You are correct about one thing; i.e., major cities with other parts of States; however, rural, smaller areas tend to be Republican and reports, not just in New York Times, show higher rates on per capita basis.

You write: “You as a immunologist should really know this but you are disingenuous and very unscientific and impossible to prove your hypothesis, as you would need to know how the person voted against other factors. Again you just read a talking point.”

NOPE. If you know which party won election and then follow policies, e.g. closing of schools, reopening too soon, mandating masks, not mandating masks, closing bars, not closing bars, etc. you need not know what individual’s vote was. JUST HOW STUPID ARE YOU?

No comment on your being WRONG about Israel being among highest deaths? No, of course not. Wouldn’t expect it of a moronic dishonest person like you.

And I explained how we could have handled the pandemic differently so that schools, at least many, could have stayed open. If we had done better job of testing, tracing, etc. we would have known which areas had high rates, temporarily closed schools while improving ventilation, staggered hours to allow fewer students for physical distancing, masks, etc; but we didn’t; and gave lots of money to corporations in hopes they would keep workers on, some did; but many used to buy back stocks, driving up stock values. Interesting how during pandemic with so many people out of work that stock market soared.

You write: “You sit isolated in your house and read your sterile papers and yet you claim to care, but the bottom line is, you have no stake in the future, you yourself said you only have at best 10 years. Most of the people you want to lock/mask/jab up have generations ahead of them. You are handicapping the youth of THE WORLD to be given chances you took for granted in your youth all because you’re afraid of of a 1% chance of dying early, you have no shame. 2525”

Well, before the pandemic I donated blood for over 45 years, about 3 – 4 times per year, whole blood. Since the pandemic I have donated plasma and platelets every four weeks and every eighth week red blood cells as well. And did this from outset, which at my age increased my risk because for a few days would have even less protection and even after getting vaccinated, still following donation at increased risk for a few days. I also have phoned several food banks several times since pandemic began and offered to come in; but they asked my age and told me no. I intend to phone again. And I actually walk my dog a mile twice daily through the neighborhood and shop twice monthly, mainly Costco and Trader Joe’s. So, why would I donate blood, increase risk, if I didn’t care about others? Have you donated blood during the pandemic? And why would I volunteer to help at food banks? I get nothing for donating blood, except an occasional t-shirt. Sometimes they do offer us, for instance, $50 gift cards for Amazon or we can donate back for them buying equipment, etc. I always donate back. And, though many of my close friends are now gone, I watched their kids grow up, know they now are parents and care deeply about them.

And one other thing. I was raised to believe we have a responsibility to leave a better world to the next generation, something we haven’t done; e.g., climate change will make life miserable for them. Plastics in ocean getting into foods, air, etc. now found even in babies. And on and on it goes, so the pandemic and our mishandling of it just in a long line poor policies.

YOU JUST KEEP ON CLAIMING I DON’T CARE BECAUSE YOU ARE A LYING DISHONEST MORONIC ASSHOLE!

As to Israel

“91% of peak and rising”
graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/israel/

I made a statement backed up by NPR about 1 million children who have dropped out of school and another 1 million didn’t go to college and anther 15,000 that quit their graduate work all to keep you safe and still you claim to care about the future and children and of course you didn’t respond to that which is a huge injustice to not only this generation by future generations, all will see their incomes go down because of lost earning potential, future discoveries that won’t be made, more drug and alcohol abuse, and shortened life span. But you won’t be around to witness the fruits of you misguided/short sided policies.

You still have produced no scientific proof that people who voted republican are more likely to get/die from covid. I could produce a similiar statement about people who vote democratic and increase in crime or violence, but I believe things are not black and white as you claim.

And yes we have plastic pollution on the land and in the ocean. Why????

1.6 BILLION plastic mask were dumped in the ocean in 2020 and that number is expected to double when 2021 numbers come in. Because of US environmental law added to the law of unintended consequence. the US ships millions of tons of plastic waste to foreign countries (because it would be to problematic to dispose of in the US), who in turn just dump that plastic waste in the ocean. The number 1 (by weight) that is disposed of in this way, mask/ppe.

1.6 BILLION plastic mask were dumped in the ocean in 2020 and that number is expected to double when 2021 numbers come in.

To be frank, I stopped caring about the environment somewhere around 2021.
Because our governments and most of my fellow citizens don’t.
Well, not seriously. It’s all about pretense and giving oneself good conscience. Cosmetic measures and guilt-triping people over small things.
Using half-tanks instead of the full WC tank to wash out our pee may be slightly reducing our water consumption, and it’s not by itself a bad idea, but on the grand scale of things… It’s nothing.

In the past two decades, what have we, the Westerners, done collectively about climate change, or just about water pollution?
We are still dumping plastic garbage – and now, yes, masks as wells – by trillions of tons.

I’m using cloth masks. Very carefully washing them and re-using them.
Except I lost count of how many times I washed my current set. Maybe it’s time to go buy a new set.

You really trust journos, do you ? It iuua not very trusted profession.
As for 1.6 bullion plastc masks, you don not refer even to a journo.

@ Anthony

You write: “As to Israel “91% of peak and rising”
graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/israel/”

But you wrote earlier: ““As to Israel, one of the highest vaccinated countries to have completed the 3rd vaccination and over 40% of the population has had their 4th, they are experiencing one of the highest case loads and deaths per 100,000 in the world. worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/israel/ “

I responded with: “Israel deaths per million: 920
U.S. deaths per million : 2, 638
South Korea per million : 130

So, you ABSOLUTE MORON, the Reuters link you give:
“There have been 2,683,443 infections and 8,556 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began.”

So, Israel’s population is: 9,408,100
divide 8,556/9,408,100 = 909 deaths per million

As for number infected, means little to nothing. As I explained, we are assaulted daily by thousands of microbes. Our immune systems either block totally or eliminate before they can cause any problems, even mild fevers, etc. Israel does far more testing than we do. Nasopharyngeal swabs or inside cheek. Finding viruses means nothing. Only a few will go on to any illness because the vaccines are doing their jobs. But thanks for finding stats that per million deaths in Israel even lower than I found. And for continuing to prove just how dishonest you are by ignoring what I wrote.

You write: “I made a statement backed up by NPR about 1 million children who have dropped out of school and another 1 million didn’t go to college and anther 15,000 that quit their graduate work all to keep you safe and still you claim to care about the future and children and of course you didn’t respond to that which is a huge injustice to not only this generation by future generations, all will see their incomes go down because of lost earning potential, future discoveries that won’t be made, more drug and alcohol abuse, and shortened life span. But you won’t be around to witness the fruits of you misguided/short sided policies.”

First, studies have shown incomes have been going down for decades and the middle class is shrinking. Read Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the 21st Century or find a 2-hr documentary on Amazon or elsewhere by him entitled Capital. In the latter part of 19th Century, 1% of population controlled most of wealth and we are back there. When I was young the financial sector was 10% of our economy and it was there to support rest of economy; but now 20% of economy; with 85% of financial transactions within financial sector; e.g., buying and selling stock and properties. This was getting worse and worse long before the pandemic. As for shortened life expectancy, that also has been developing over decades, caused by a number of factors, including toxins in the air, water, and food, fast food diets, etc. As for drug abuse, the main cause was increasing opioid use which had little to do with pandemic; but illegal sales, some out of store fronts, of opioids. Have you not read about the lawsuits against company and indictments, etc.?

As for: “you won’t be around to witness the fruits of you misguided/short sided policies”

As I explained and you in your immense IGNORANCE AND DISHONESTY ignore, we could have handled the pandemic much better, including early testing, contact tracing, etc. so we knew where high levels were and where not and implemented appropriate, possibly, short-term measures. And we could have spend monies to improve ventilation in schools, stagger hours so could practice physical distancing, and require masks, etc. YOU ARE A DISHONEST ASSHOLE, CONTINUOUSLY IGNORING WHAT I WRITE. I didn’t and don’t agree with how it was handled. And you are ignorant about trends that were already occurring.

You write: “You still have produced no scientific proof that people who voted republican are more likely to get/die from covid. I could produce a similiar statement about people who vote democratic and increase in crime or violence, but I believe things are not black and white as you claim.”

“Scientific proof???” Numerous reports show states where Republican control governorship and/or legislature have had and continue to have higher death rates. Numerous reports. Doesn’t matter even if Democrats had higher votes if they were NOT counted, etc.

You write: “1.6 BILLION plastic mask were dumped in the ocean in 2020 and that number is expected to double when 2021 numbers come in. Because of US environmental law added to the law of unintended consequence. the US ships millions of tons of plastic waste to foreign countries (because it would be to problematic to dispose of in the US), who in turn just dump that plastic waste in the ocean. The number 1 (by weight) that is disposed of in this way, mask/ppe.”

I agree about the masks being dumped in the ocean. One more example of our stupid short-term politics and planning. They could have been collected and properly disposed of. And you are absolutely correct that we allow companies to send to China or to claim they have disposed of properly but they don’t. And this has been going on for decades; however, it wasn’t and isn’t a question of using masks vs not. Overwhelming evidence shows masks reduce transmission and prevent hospitalizations, long covid, and deaths. So it is question of better policies for mask disposal.

Did you know that our drinking water has antibiotics and other medicines in it, not good. Instead of properly disposing of, people often throw down drain or in toilet. Some studies indicate helping development of antibiotic resistant infections. So, should we stop with antibiotics and other medicines?

By the way ASSHOLE, I explained how I am regular blood donor, have volunteered for food banks. Add to this that when younger I volunteered at food kitchens AND I have left my modest possessions, house, etc. to Doctors Without Borders, an organization I have been in support of most of my life. And you keep claiming I don’t care about the future generations. Based on your sick dishonest reading of what I write.

I explained that I was raised that we leave a better world to the next generation, which we aren’t, starting long before the pandemic, including climate change, plastics way more than just masks, economic changes that benefit the 1%, etc. and I oppose these. By the way, while I don’t have my own children and you apparently do, how much do you care about other children besides your own. Have you ever donated blood.

Just an anecdote about my later father. When working he used to go to a non-profit children’s home for handicapped kids once a month on Sundays to read, play with them; but more importantly, do repairs for free. During World War II he was a fighter plane mechanic and quite good at repairing things, plumbing, electricity, woodwork, he even paid for any materials and he only had a lower middle class income. After retiring he became volunteer driving meals-on-wheels, and also driving seniors to doctor and dentist appointment, up to year before he died.

Rabbi Hillel, who lived before Jesus said: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”

So, I have never been a materialist. Having a roof over my head, decent vegan food, and access to health care has been all I need. Never interested in clothes, cars, etc. so have saved enough for retirement; but always giving to charities. Don’t even own a TV; but watch PBS passport and Netflix on 21 1/2 inch computer monitor. My car is 25 years old, less than 80,000 miles. When working always found apartment walking or bicycling distance so used car mainly for weekend shopping, etc. So, following Rabbi Hillel, I first am for myself; but this means minimal, not materialistic life-style. However, I do own lots of books, many purchased for a dollar at local library book sales. Estates donate books to libraries to sell and TV stations and newspapers donate books sent to them for review. I own about 3,500 books; but have given back to library probably around 500.

JUST KEEP TWISTING AND IGNORING WHAT I WRITE. IT’S WHAT ASSHOLES LIKE YOU DO! ! !

@ Anthony

One question: if we had done nothing, no school closings, no masks, no physical distancing, no closing of bars and the like and we really did suffer over 2 million deaths and many more cases of long covid, plus total burn out of hospital staff, many leaving profession, putting all of us at risk for other health problems, would that have been all right with you???

@ Anthony

You write: “You still have produced no scientific proof that people who voted republican are more likely to get/die from covid.”

I didn’t claim people who voted Republican more likely to die from covid. I stated and the data supports me that death rates for covid are up to double in Republican states as compared to democrat states. And maybe within some of those states those who voted democrat are dying more. The point is that, due to gerrymandering, voter suppression, etc. those states with Republican majorities in legislatures and/or Republican governors have had and continue to have different policies regarding covid than states where democrats majority in legislature and/or governor. Simply Republican states less school closures, shorter school closures, less mandatory masks, physical distancing, closing bars, restricting size of social gatherings and requiring vaccinations by some. So, maybe Republican live in less crowded neighborhoods, suburbs, etc. and it is poor minorities who are most dying; but partly because of Republican policies towards covid. Just one more example of your dishonesty and stupidity, claiming I said more Republicans dying.

And I’m wondering if you even understand simple arithmetic. I gave Israel’s dying per million from covid, you linked to a website that gave total number of deaths; but didn’t bother looking up Israel’s population and doing the math. And, of course, you don’t admit you were wrong.

You claim I don’t care about people; yet, I am regular blood donor, even at 75 every 4 weeks, offered to help at Food Bank, in past volunteered at soup kitchens, etc. and told of my father’s helping others. Yet, you don’t apologize for accusing me and haven’t said if you ever have been a blood donor or what you are doing during the pandemic. I am so isolated that i walk my dog mile twice daily and go to blood bank monthly. At blood bank I lie on chair with needle in my arm for about 1 hr 20 minutes; but in room at least 1 1/2 hours. Around 8 others also donating blood close by and, of course, the lab techs, so for an 1 1/2 I am in close contact with dozen other people, any who could be asymptomatic carrier of covid. And plasma contains antibodies, so for a few days, above and beyond my age, I have fewer antibodies; but continue to walk my dog in the neighborhood. So ASSHOLE, as with everything else you write, completely wrong about me “safely” isolating, about me not caring about others. After 9/11 I was prepared to get smallpox vaccine and volunteer for whatever was needed; but nothing happened.

And you show your ignorance of economic trends that preceded pandemic, that much of monies given to corporations were used to buy back stocks, in fact, Trump lowered taxes on corporations and super wealthy, didn’t help economy; but increased substantially national debt and corporations and super wealthy used to buy back stocks which upped the value of stocks. And you ignore that life-expectancy was reducing significantly before the pandemic.

And on and on its goes.

So calling you and ASSHOLE is an appropriate choice of words.

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