Antivaccine nonsense Autism Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery

“Levi Quackenboss” lays down her “rules of antivaxxing”

Orac’s old “friend,” antivaxer Levi Quackenboss, has laid down the “rules of antivaxxing.” Orac is amused and deconstructs her rules. Can you say “projection”? Sure, I knew you could

As was the case yesterday, every so often I like to write about something that no one else is likely to write about, all because something odd caught my eye. Back in the day, I used to have a regular feature, Your Friday Dose of Woo, that picked up on the weird, the funny, the odd bits of woo that bubbled up. That feature used to be a regular, but now only shows up every now and then, my having chafed under the pressure to have to find new amusing woo every single week. These days, I go beyond Your Friday Dose of Woo to look at oddities I find that might not actually be that funny but do give an insight into one of the regular topics of this blog. In this case, it’s the antivaccine movement. Did you know that the antivaxer Levi Quackenboss—a.k.a (probably) Robyn Ross—has a podcast, Safe & Effective? You remember Levi Quackenboss, don’t you? She’s the one who doxxed and then got into an online exchange with a 12-year-old boy over vaccines and lost badly. She also revealed that then-candidate Donald Trump had met with antivaccine “hero” Andrew Wakefield during the 2016 campaign. Last week, she was posting the “Rules of Antivaxxing”:

First off, all I can say to Quackenboss: Stay classy, Robyn. Stay classy. The next two rules of antivaxxing are rather revealing:

Her second rule of antivaxxing is just plain silly. By her logic, then we shouldn’t elect people with children to pass laws that govern childless adults either. This is a society, ostensibly a democratically governed country (although that is increasingly in doubt), and we are all one country. I’m sure Quackenboss/Ross thinks she and her fellow parents are somehow special and should have special rights. This all feeds back to what I’ve been saying about antivaxers all along. It’s all about the vaccines—always, always, always—yes, but it’s not so much about the children after that. That’s what antivaxers want you to believe, but this second rule of antivaxxing gives the game away. It’s about the Quackenboss. It’s about the parents. They think they’re special and be treated differently when it comes to government and laws.

You can see some of this in the third rule of antivaxxing, but, far more, you see a bitterness and hatred towards anyone who seeks to protect children and maintain public health by encouraging vaccination, to the point where she doesn’t think they should be in charge of anything. Now, it would be one thing to say just that because you disagree with them. Hell, personally, I don’t think that President Trump should be in charge of “jack shit.” However, she goes beyond that and calls them “vaccine-injured,” as though that were an insult. It goes beyond that, though. Remember what “vaccine-injured” means to antivaxers. It doesn’t mean the same thing to them as it does to, say, physicians, who do recognize the rare instance of true injury due to vaccines. No, to antivaxers “vaccine-injured” means autistic. Basically, here Quackenboss is using “autistic” as an insult and aiming it at two respected academics, Dr. Peter Hotez and Dorit Reiss. This is emblematic of the attitude of antivaxers towards children with autism. They view them as less than human, as “vaccine-injured.”

The fourth and fifth rules of antivaxxing are also telling, in essence evidence that confirms and expands upon what I just observed above:

So, Quackenboss views vaccines as “erasing normal, healthy people from history” (translation: children before their autism diagnosis) and replacing them with the “quirky, angsty, depressed, attention-deficient New Normal” (translation: autistic people), does she? Well, of course she does! That’s the whole “antivaxxing” narrative! The common story among antivaxers is that the parents’ child was perfectly normal before vaccines, but “stolen” (or, in this case, “erased”) after vaccines. Of course, it goes beyond that, as the fifth rule of antivaxxing makes clear. To her I respond, simply: “Infertility, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, food allergies, asthma, type 1 diabetes, autism, autoimmune disease” are not vaccine injuries. That’s just science. I don’t care if you don’t like it. Unfortunately, it has to be said, though, because fear mongering antivaxers with terminal Dunning-Kruger (like Quackenboss) keep selling a narrative that vaccines are dangerous poisons that will “erase” parents’ “normal healthy children” from history, when in fact vaccines are the single greatest invention in medicine conceived by the human mind and have arguably saved more lives than every other medical intervention combined. They are incredibly safe and very effective and do not cause autism.

The sixth and seventh rules of antivaxxing straight up made me laugh:

Good luck with that. Antivaxers are, at best, fringe in their beliefs, and they are certainly fringe candidates. True, I have lamented how a certain political party has taken to pandering to antivaxers, even to the point of having political candidates and legislators (and even a President) running for office and being elected, but even now antivaxers are fringe. True, they’ve been claiming that they’ll be vindicated and eventually take power ever since before I started blogging, but there’s not a lot in the way of signs that that will actually happen, except in small measures, such as when I had an antivaccine state senator and a state representative sympathetic to antivaccine beliefs, if not outright antivaccine himself. No, I’m not being complacent. The increasing embrace of antivaccine views by primarily Republican candidates, fueled by their perceived need to pander to their base, does worry me, but I do not (yet) foresee a time when Quackenboss’s rules of antivaxxing will come to fruition.

The eighth and ninth rules of antivaxxing just made me laugh:

The eighth rule is, quite simply, fantasy. There’s no evidence that vaccinating in school clinics is dangerous, and school clinics are an effective way to increase vaccine uptake, and it’s delusional to think that antivaxers are going to mobilize parents to the point that they become a political movement that will “get the shot clinics out of the schools.” It’s not going to happen.

The ninth rule of antivaxxing harkens way back to Jenny McCarthy’s “mother warriors” schtick, the idea that mothers of autistic children who think vaccines caused the autism are “warriors” who will stop at nothing to fight for their children. While no one denies that mothers fight for their children, it’s rather toxic to say that mothers like this have to be warriors in that it implies, by contrast, that mothers who don’t think vaccines caused their children’s autism and are therefore not fighting are not “warriors” and are somehow lesser parents. At least, that’s the not-so-subtle implication I’ve always gotten from the “mother warriors” narrative. Worse, I have no doubt that Quackenboss and antivaxers want to indoctrinate their children into their evidence-denying cult to grow up to be just like them when it comes to belief in pseudoscience and conspiracy theories and extreme distrust of authority of any kind.

The tenth rule of antivaxxing is, unfortunately, not inaccurate. Antivaccine activists like Quackenboss are fanatics. They never shut up:

Rule eleven of antivaxxing is unsurprising:

Yes, being litigious and issuing dubious legal threats designed to do nothing more than bully are signature moves of antivaxers like Quackenboss. Indeed, I expect that a future rule of antivaxxing will be that you always, always harass pro-science public health advocates who defend vaccines through their jobs by contacting their bosses. That, too, is a signature antivaccine move. I do encourage you to read Dorit Reiss’s treatment of the Evee Gayle Clobes case, though. It’s a case antivaxers are trumpeting as an example of vaccines causing sudden infant death syndrome, when it is anything but.

Finally (at least as of around 11:30 PM last night), there’s the twelfth rule of antivaxxing:

I found this last “rule” of antivaxxing particularly hilarious, even by antivaccine standards. Why? If there’s anything that antivaxers are good at, it’s making assertions without backing them up with citations to the peer-reviewed evidence and then telling anyone questioning them to “look it up” or “Google it.” When Quackenboss says something like this, it’s projection at its most blatant, as is frequently the case when antivaxers write about…just about anything having to do with science, vaccines, and science advocates.

I must say, I hope that rule twelve isn’t the last “rule of antivaxxing” that I see from Quackenboss. The entertainment so far has been epic. Yes, Ms. Ross, if you read this, I want you to know: I am laughing at you. Also, I’m happy to see that Ms. Ross has dropped the “we are not antivaccine” act and let her antivaccine freak flag fly.

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]

73 replies on ““Levi Quackenboss” lays down her “rules of antivaxxing””

Six and seven are worrisome. This kind of speech, i.e. taking someone out, can be interpreted a couple of ways, one of which could lead to violence. I’m all for free speech but I’m also for being held accountable for said speech. I don’t give it much thought but my wife works for one of the largest vaccine manufacturers and I remember the damage that two angry men with a Ryder truck caused.

I should have said: I don’t give it much thought until I read angry rhetoric, like Ms. Quackenboss’ “rules.”

Six is a weird one. So she wants everyone, who is old enough to remember the horrors of polio out of the government, especially when they are in favour of vaccines?

And if they are younger and are pro-vacccine? She has a weird way of thinking about democraty. Only the people who agree with her are allowed to be in the government. But would all those ‘warrior’ mothers have the time to take up that work? Or are they busy ‘fighting’ for their children, while making them feel worthless?

Yes, six is a weird one.

FWIW, my wife thinks I’m making a big leap and I’ll concede on six but seven? I don’t know.

A. So is it fair to see Quackenboss thinks we should be calling a spade a poodle?

B. The comment about unvaccinated children ruling the world compared to the vaccinated is especially ironic since the vast majority of these antivaccine parents were vaccinated. Their parents could protect them from less diseases than we can protect our kids, true, but they were vaccinated. As were most adults.
And they still think they can “win”.

C. I don’t think they actually want their kids to be warriors. They want their kids to be obedient. Maybe carry their water as they fight. What she really means is she wants their kids to be raised to obediently repeat what she believes and hold up signs the parents wrote in rallies.

If and when their kids actually stand up for themselves they react badly. Case in point: she’s one of the admins, likely the dominant one, on the Facebook page Hear This Well. Go see what they write about Ethan Lindenberger.

I had never visited the Hear this Well until today. It is quite the cesspool. The whole talk of a future ruling class of unvaccinated overlords is disturbing on so many levels. This bizarre and dystopian vision isn’t that far removed from a delusional lebensborn fantasy.

The primary focus of my anti-Vaxxer browsing are the big e-commerce websites that peddle supplements to these warriors. But they are almost silent. Historically, they used vaccine conspiracies to prove the veracity of alternative medicine- specifically their brand.

I’m sure these thought leaders are still true believers but at the end of the day they were selling products and not a cause. It was always about basic content marketing. The Natural health websites were the ones with the reach and resources to flood the world with misinformation that at least had the veneer of legitimacy.

But it seems these giants have all abandoned ship as the hits they are taking from Facebook, Youtube and Google Algorithms far outweighs the benefit of virtue signaling to a tiny minority of the population.

I’m not certain why Natural News isn’t still trying to lead the antivaxxer train as they have been hit hard already and their content is more radical now than it was in the antivaccine salad days at the beginning of the decade.

A sign of what a losing hand the “vaccine safety advocates” actually hold? Even in the world of supplement slinging, you risk losing a lot of customers if you are fervently anti-vaccine.

NN has attempted to create a walled garden and it is telling that they haven’t made any real effort, although this may change as the limited size and resources of AoA and others makes them easy to push aside.

What is left is a rump of unhinged bloggers and the authors/documentarians who does not have to worry about long term website traffic and repeat customers.

The general tone on “hear this well” is not that of a side that is winning. They are begging their members to run for office and have shed the mask of civility.

I am curious about when they got their 30k likes and if they paid to boost content in the past. In any event, the couple dozen likes they get for their most fervent posts and the 100 likes they get for more newsworthy shares is not particularly impressive.

Vaccine opponents have only a fraction of the reach they did a few years back. Social media played a huge role in giving the anti-vaccine folks the platform to spread their message. It will only take one more bad outbreak for the spigot to be shut off entirely.

there is a cadre of riled up citizens who continue to man the ramparts. Most are keyboard warriors and hopefully there are no dangerous individuals who got swept up by the hackneyed, redundant articles and dark visions presented charlatans looking to cash in on their paranoia.

Quackenbush = vulgar anti-vaxxer tantruming like a 2 year-old while continuing to push the violence anti-vaxxers claim they are not promoting.

What happened to rule #10? I didn’t see it.

Rule #13: Be as foul-mouthed and nasty as possible.
Rule #14: Lament the lack of civility in the ”vaccine debate”.

Here’s #10 (perhaps the dumbest of all) (from a 9/13 Twit by quackenbush):

Tenth rule of anti-vaxxing is that we never, ever shut up. We will always speak our truth to parents, pregnant women, hand out books, put up billboards, insert pamphlets into diaper boxes, educate legislators, and testify at hearings.


They never do shut up
They never speak any truth (except that they don’t ever shut up)
They are doing quite well at stopping themselves. We could just sit back and watch if it weren’t for their violence.

And as you note in your quote, they frame it as Our Truth. Not The Science or The Facts, for good reason. Our Truth is a religious thing that cannot be swayed by reality.

I think she comes from a breed who is so inarticulate as to confuse profane with emphatic loquacity. She reached the top end of her volume scale and couldn’t think of a way to make it more. Her form of “11” is to spackle vulgarity everywhere. This is part of why she thinks “debate” means “visit genocide upon the entire category of people who disagree with me.” She doesn’t actually say that, but she clearly thinks from her “rules” that unleashing a cultural revolution and a great leap forward and enshrining a one party system is a good idea. As far as I can tell, that is by definition the thinking of a fanatic.

In the past, natural health advocates like those I survey used to promise followers that it was “only a matter of time” before the entire superstructure of SBM was over turned and supplanted by their own system in Paradigm Shift. I don’t hear that much these days: they tend to present themselves as an enlightened and oppressed minority who have the truth when everyone else are deluded, bought and paid for or not too bright.
I’m not sure which meme has the most cache: an enveloping wave of transformation or a few superior beings.

Maybe the “our children will rule the earth” is a combination. We are an oppressed minority, but we will eventually win because our children will be the dominant ones.

As Orac said, like Aragorn confronting all the forces of Sauron at the Black Gate. The lone warrior on the white horse fighting on to the very end… Somehow, they will prevail, or so they need to think.

An intrepid little anti-vaxxer will then toss the One Pharma Ring to Rule Them All into the giant volcano of thimerosol and the overwhelming pro-vaxx foes will shatter in dismay and flee, and everyone will live their VPD shortened lives happily ever after.

What Dorit said may be really true.

What’s always bothered me is their obsession with children and babies – talking about their “perfection”, their beauty, brilliance, precocity: being the ne plus ultra of humanity: Golden Children.
I wonder if this is because they need to LIVE THROUGH their children- to have them accomplish what they didn’t- become the best, the greatest, famous. Then if there is a dx, their hopes are dashed.

Could they possibly- despite all of the talk about feminism- be to some extent following an older set of beliefs about women’s roles? They will accomplish only through the actions of someone else and then be able to vicariously reap the benefits by being related to such a wonder; being a mother is the highest value they tell us constantly because they may not perceive other viable alternatives.

@Denice: I think for that to be true, they have to be living in a very weird bubble. In her fourth rule, Quackenboss specifically targets what is mostly relatively minor, manageable quirkiness in human beings as if it’s truly life destroying. Antivaxxers love to quote the autism number as “1 in 60” and growing in epidemic proportions, but this has to implicitly include people like me and others around here who are very functional (even more functional in some ways than average people). The way she words rule 4 makes it exceptionally petty… stating pretty unambiguously that any dysfunction that’s actually present is relatively nonsensical. Does she really believe this “quirkiest generation” BS? Does she really believe that “depression,” for example, is restricted solely to people who are autistic or that it’s undefeatable? What about the flip-side, that some of these children can learn incomparable, superpower-like intensity when they work or have phenomenal, tunnel-vision focus on things that capture them?

I know that some autists, like Peter Hotez’s daughter, are very dependent on help for their whole lives… but the actual frequency of such cases is not 1 in 60. A lot of the “1 in 60” number of people on the spectrum learn how to deal with their peculiarities and go on to be normal or even high achieving. Why can’t people like Quackenboss learn to live vicariously through the children who go on to do that? Supposing they do deal with an autistic like Hotez’s daughter, does this mean that they’re unaware that other people exist who are not trapped that way, yet fall under the same diagnostic classification?

I take it kind of personally: she treats something that became an albatross in my life when I was in fourth grade as if it should have prevented me from becoming what I am.

@ foolish physicist:

As if NT people aren’t quirky!
Sure, she- and others we know- are extremely insulting to people with ASDs especially those who are not entirely dependent by trying to insinuate that you are all somehow “damaged”. She does sound somewhat confused: who are those RULING kids anyway, the unvaccinated perfectos or people with AS!

-btw- I find at RI that many of the people who self-identify as being on the spectrum ( you, Alain, Julian, maybe Arno, not sure about that last one) are amongst the easiest for me to understand and with whom I usually agree and, YES,
I test out as being very not ASD on the ASQ. Many here at RI may fall somewhere between but that isn’t what’s important: knowledge, self-expression, skill, personality and good will are.

The fourth rule made me angriest. “Fourth rule of anti-vaxxing is that we don’t let normal, healthy people be erased from history and replaced with the quirky, angsty, depressed, attention-deficient New Normal. Our kids will RULE this country in two decades.” What contempt Quackenboss shows for anyone not “normal, healthy,” whatever that means (I agree it probably means autism). It’s horribly cruel to dismiss those who have disabilities and differences as inferior beings, even aside from the laughable assertion that vaccines are “turning” kids.

I’m not sure I fall in the categry miss Quackenboss considers normal and healthy, and perhaps I doubt I would like to be considered normal by her and her kind, because I get the impression, the only people she considers normal are anti-vaxxers like herself.

quirky, angsty, depressed, attention-deficient

That can describe almost every kid between the ages of 12 to 21 or thereabouts. Even the neurotypical ones.

(Speaking from experience.)

It can describe a lot of adults to. I take great pride in my quirkiness and address my ADHD with the appropriate medical experts. Angst and (at least some) depression afflict most at one time or another, so what ever is she on about?

Normal healthy people are only improved by measles! Kids left with some lasting disability…well, they’re just not up to snuff. Probably bad epigenetics, or something. (Since this is the internet, please note that I am being sarcastic.)

A few posts back there was an antivaxxer who thought was hilarious that blindness and death were symptoms of measles.

As one of the myriad of people around here who was diagnosed onto the spectrum, that thinking horrifies me. I never was normal and I’m kind of happy these days with who I am. Eventually these kids grow up.

They loved their autistic children before they discovered they where autistic and they will love them again when they are ‘cured’.

Bingo. And that means, of course, that they never really loved their children–they loved a phantom, an ideal of what they should be. I do not at all mean to downplay the immense effort and resources needed to raise a child with some kind of special need, but children are people, not products–you love them for who they are, not for how they conform to some kind of manufacturing standard.

I’ve been a problematic child myself, remembering visits to psychologists and other people to support parents with a child that was different, from before I was 10. Have had some kind of diagnosis, I can’t find anywhere on the internet and some years ago someone thought I had some form of autism and want me tested for it, which I refused, because I didn’t want to be categorised. I doubt I’m autistic. I’m just not always good with people, have not many friends, can get bad-tempered if things don’t go the way I want them. My parents have learned to deal with it and have always supported me, even when in every vacation there was some moment when things rubbed me the wrong way.

These people are seriously deranged. It’s only a matter of time before we seem more violent escalations as they continue to lose in the Legislatures & the Courts (and in the Court of Public Opinion as well – since normal people don’t take them seriously).

I do worry for the safety of the more public vaccine advocates.

I mean, I know there’s so much to go over here and it’s weird to fixate on this, but Type 1 diabetes? Diabetes was known as long ago as about 1500 BCE! That was just a little earlier than the first vaccine – late 1700s CE?

but Type 1 diabetes?

Any disease, especially all autoimmune diseases, and the kitchen sink.

Rule 0 ot antivaxing nuttery: It’s the vaccines. Always, or at worse foremost the vaccines. Including vit K injection.

So…i’m a type-1 Diabetic. Fully immunized. Except…my diagnosis for T1 DM came BEFORE my polio series. So did most of the others.

Nope. Don’t wanna buy it. Sorry you can’t just give this dreck to random people for free..oh, you’re trying that now?

–Some anti-vaxxers attempt to transform their children into fellow travellers, most notably Cathy Jameson of AoA/ TMR ( although the latter is mostly silent these days): she writes about how her daughter debated vaccine advocates at her secondary school and even has submitted samples of her writing, such as an essay for college admission detailing her belief in “vaccine damage”. Another TM ( I forget which) also had a Warrior Daughter she was teaching to “fight the power”..” Our kids will RULE this country in two decades” ? if she means their mommy network kaffeklatsch internet groups, SURE!

— re Johnny Polo’s comment:
Mike has certainly lightened up on anti-vax ( although there is a post about the “false flag” blood tosser) he is focusing on terraforming, alien influence ( not THOSE aliens, extra-terrestrial aliens) and Alex Jones imitations. HOWEVER Null continues
featuring anti-vax material/ proselytisers ( Tenpenny) and calls for action ( protests, strikes, marches, aggravating legislators) and promises a new “protocol” to counteract the deleterious effects of vaccines( Probably green juices and a vegan diet accompanied by journal writing) But his greatest bete noire is Wikipedia and its supporters ( sceptics and generally literate people).
Finally, about 30K likes: I’ve never seen more than about 50K anywhere although I’ve heard ( probably here) that one Facebook page has 100K+. I’ve always imagined that to get even the lower numbers we see ( AoA, TMR, individuals, Del) they have to get every family member to sign on and most likely, dogs and cats.

Lastly, I also worry about the potential for violence against well-known vaccine supporters.

Rule eleven of antivaxxing is unsurprising incoherent.

FTFY. I mean, “You don’t want a cease letter [sic]. You want to file suit against Dorit and her university and get deep into discovery and refuse to settle.”

WTF? There’s nothing to sue about. Robyn is on the bottle or something. Maybe jimson weed.

Oh, antivaxxers should definitely admit that they’re suing only to cause trouble for their victims. Judges love that.

I am amused that Robyn has a Patreon account.

Well isn’t she special to think she creates monetisable content. Although no doubt there are a couple of rubes to ante up.

Looking ahead to what may become a regular feature of this blog:

Fifteenth Rule of anti-vaxxing is that we never let wealthy anti-vaxxers like RFK Jr (estimated net worth of 50 million USD ( spend their money on determining the mechanism of autism. It HAS to be vaccines!!

Sixteenth Rule of anti-vaxxing is we don’t waste precious time tediously proving vaccine injury; jump straight to grift therapy. It cured so many via the Geiers with Lupon, Jenny McCarthy’s supplements, Andy’s therapies while at Thoughtful House…

Seventeenth Rule of anti-vaxxing is that we won’t allow regulation of the market for fictitious vaccine exemptions. It’s unAmerican, and bad for the economy.

Eighteenth Rule of anti-vaxxing is that no vaccine story can ever be positive. To be true and accurate, the vaccine story MUST be negative.

Nineteenth Rule of anti-vaxxing is that we are close to winning!! This means the incidence of infertility, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, food allergies, asthma, type 1 diabetes, autism, and autoimmune diseases are falling as our numbers grow. VPDs will make our children stronger (the ones that survive).

Twentieth Rule of anti-vaxxing is that this is ‘Merica you vaccinating idiot! Italy, France, Poland, and the Ukraine are foreign countries. They are getting measles because they don’t have our high levels of sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, and uncontaminated water and NOT because more of them are becoming unvaccinated.

Twenty-first Rule of anti-vaxxing is that we never heard a conspiracy theory we didn’t like and can link them all to the evils of vaccines.

Twenty-second Rule of anti-vaxxing is that we’re all proud to get our medical advice from film school attendees (Del), media consultants (Babs), unlicensed physicians (Andy), and pediatricians whose licenses are revoked though due to a plea deal can keep a license while on probation (Dr Bob). Gee, thanks for the advice Dr Bob, but we don’t have to hide in the herd anymore: our neighbours will intentionally not vaccinate their kids because measles is too much fun (just ask Del and Andy)!!

Heidi:It’s horribly cruel to dismiss those who have disabilities and differences as inferior beings, even aside from the laughable assertion that vaccines are “turning” kids.

I think the cruelty is the point, really.Most of the women were at the top of their high school social ladder, were heading toward the executive suite, and consequently tend to think that empathy is for losers. (Most Americans do, but that’s another thing for another day.) They resent being tied down at their homes because of what the neighbors would think if they got actual help or made their husbands help.

Frankly, if I got to pick two changes to the US system, they would be abolishing the electoral college, and changing the voting age. Instead of eighteen-death, it would be sixteen to seventy-five, though at seventy-five, you have to make a case for your vote in writing or verbally. It’d get rid of a lot of ‘burn-the-world’ types, and if we had fewer old politicians, we’d have less guns and something might be done about global warming. Also, Puerto Rico needs to be a state.

PGP, I hang out on left-leaning sites, and the “burn the world” types I’ve run into have been in their 20’s and 30’s, not the alter kocker types. 90+% are alt-right, Randians, or Libertarians, but there are some on the left who were more than happy that Trump got elected because they were looking for the inevitable revolution that would bring everything down.

By the way, my 90-year-old progressive, FDR democrat mother would like some words with you about the upper age limit for voting.

My dad would as well. And I doubt mr. Trump would have been a better president if he was 50 or something like that.

Indeed. When Trump was 50, that was the late 1990s, the height of his casino scamming. Granted, he was a whole lot less incomprehensible then (he could actually string sentences together into coherent thoughts, in marked contrast to his verbal abilities now), but he was still a con man. He’s been a con man since the 1970s.

There’s a reason they call themselves the Proud Boys. Also White Nationalists and Gun Huggers run young.
Liberal New Yorkers and Californians include many who were student radicals, hippies, Black radicals and environmentalists for decades not just the youngsters. Trump could not win his hometown because of opposition by many of these groups ( they were also present at anti-war rallies against W). Many senators and congress people who oppose him are over 75 ( see Pelosi, Schumer, Bernie, Leahy, Feinstein etc) I’ve had kickass liberals represent me who were over 80.
Many righties are YOUNG or middle aged ( see Cruz, Rubio, Ernst, Scott of FL, new Supreme Court appointees)
If you divide only by age, you’ll lose good devoted liberals and progressives with sterling records**.
PR and DC should be states.

** also, subtracting rights is a lot different from adding rights

re Trump**

He’s always been an attention whore and scam artist BUT if you listen to his speech from 15-20 years ago, his abilities were so much stronger:
–he could create more complex. meaningful sentences with a greater variety of word choices spontaneously
–he could be funny and friendly to interviewers
–he didn’t hesitate and repeat as he does now
–his facial expressions were more subtle

I doubt he was ever the sharpest tool in the proverbial shed but he was definitely sharper than he is now.
People should never forget that the people who know him best ( NYC) rejected him soundly in all boroughs except SI ( which is to be expected), also the Lower Hudson Valley ( near NYC) and NJ. They remember various scandals involving casinos, women and unfair business activities.

** at my university, people used to leave free newspapers, the best and the worst, so I read lots about him since the late 1970s as well as seeing him on television news ( I never watched the reality show)

@Denice Walter

I thought they called themselves the Proud Boys because they refuse to grow up.

Emjay, Renate: While there are exceptions, I feel like most conservative voters are older and you know, grouchy. They hate everything Fox News tells them to hate and there’s no getting through. I do agree with Renate that Trump was a turd at every age.
That isn’t to say that I let the younger voters off the hook, though. Sadly, most of my generation are Nazis through and through, and the few that aren’t have given up on democracy. And young white dudes are frankly starting to scare me; they’re always looking for an excuse for a mantrum, and are very, very, violent.


I think that you need to get out into more liberal areas and meet hipsters & similar guys: these white dudes are definitely not Nazis- in fact many date Black or Asian women, hang out with Indians, Hispanics, wear man buns., tattoos, earrings, go to art galleries and cafes, work with food or tech, NO ONE carries a gun ( it’s probably the weed). They also seem to be very deferential to older people- no problem at all. The women are fine too- they wear leggings and have many tattoos.
When I see these white power groups on television hating immigrants/ others. I can’t believe it. It’s not what I know.

I must live in a lefty, multicultural, gay friendly paradise**.I’ve read people on travel forums asking if interracial couples are “tolerated” in
various locales ( AZ, GA, SC) whilst the mayor of NYC is married to a Black woman. It wasn’t an issue.

** despite having Dr Oz around

wear man buns

I’m surprised it’s taken so long for them to take off; I was sporting one in the late ’90s, until my giant barrette from the Eugene Saturday Market came apart.

@ Narad:
I knew it!
-btw- you can re-create a reasonable samurai hair loop bun with hanging end with an elastic.

Get out more.

Your worldview is incredibly narrow, and you don’t even seem to understand that. Even after all these years of your commenting here.

Maybe my worldview is different because I live in a liberal wonderland. Oh, wait, I live in So Cal. It isn’t exactly a bastion of socialistic idealism. But here we do have the full spectrum of viewpoints: from church ladies to marijuana vendors to military to scientists. We have both Bob Sears and the Salk Institute. But perhaps this brings us perspective.

One of my kids would probably agree with you that voting age should be lowered, as that kid strongly resents having to wait a few more years. On the other hand, that same kid would would recognize your suggestion to impose an upper age limit as discriminatory, and call bs on you.

When you view others through the same discriminatory framework you accuse them of using everyone loses.

Try having some faith in your fellow humans.

”People should never forget that the people who know him best ( NYC) rejected him soundly in all boroughs except SI ( which is to be expected)”

Remember though that Staten Island went for Obama in 2012.

The borough has voted for Democratic Presidential candidates several times in recent years. When the party nominates a weak candidate, the going gets a lot harder.*

*speaking as a native Islander who went door-to-door for McGovern in ’72.

The idea that learning disabilities are vaccine injuries is laughable. I’d love to know how vaccines caused dyslexia in myself (GenX), my father (Baby Boomer), and my grandfather (Greatest/GI Generation). There is literally zero overlap in the childhood vaccines my grandfather received and those I did. Heck, other than smallpox, I doubt my grandfather had any childhood vaccines. They didn’t exist until he was at least 10!

In other anti-vax news…

AoA, today
Kim Rossi includes a PSA created by Sandy Hook Promise which was founded by parents of children slaughtered by a gun man at an elementary school in CT so..

Twenty-Fifth Rule of Anti-Vaxxing
Compare ASDs to horrendous tragedies like the Holocaust, Slavery and assault rifle shootings of 6 year olds and their educators

” I wonder if Sandy Hook Promise would be open to hear about vaccine injury? ” she asks.
It is an open thread, ” Deniers need not comment. I can show you the graves”
( which graves, those of the murdered school children? )

In semi-related news:

A cancer researcher at Stony Brook University has been charged with stealing $200,000 in research funds, allegedly diverting the money for personal use (including paying off his home mortgage).

Wonder if this means that alties will now insist that all cancer research can now be disregarded, since this guy was at least a secondary author of numerous published studies.*

*yes, this is a reference to the alleged embezzlement of research funds by Poul Thorsen, which antivaxers claim invalidates research showing that vaccines don’t cause autism.

The ninth rule is auite revealing about Quackenboss’s world view. Children are to be controlled and made to think exactly like the parents.

AND we can demonstrate this easily:
Today’s AoA ( Best of..)
Jameson recounts how her daughter** argued with a doctor who wanted her to get vaccines; later, she discussed how she could do better next time by citing CDC material.
Similar stuff has appeared at TMR.***

** the one who debated vaccines’ safety and efficacy in secondary school and wrote about her beliefs for an essay for college admissions. ( so age 17 or so, no university education)
*** I’m forever grateful that my mother never taught me stupid crap – only fashion and politics.

Thanks for the heads up, I wasn’t aware of Levi Quackenboss, but I can see why she’s ruffling your feathers.

Your pharma funded damage limitation blog is such a valuable source of information about what Big Pharma sees as a real threat to their pseudoscience.

I expect the irony that you are actually providing valuable sources of information to the very people you denigrate, has probably escaped you.

Box of Salt:Try having some faith in your fellow humans.

The fellow humans that are burning down the Amazon? The old gray-hairs in the UN who talk and talk about global warming and never do anything? The gray hairs in Congress who hear all about global warming and gun violence and never do anything? The judges in Alberta who are just fine with parents killing kids? Ditto the entire legislative body of Idaho, who also like child marriage?
The Catholic priests who ignore the screaming of children, women and even men? Whitefish Montana? Steubenville? Yeah, no, I’ll keep being a cynic

DW:I do live in a fairly liberal place, but I am always aware that the public persona isn’t who people are, and that my city, yours and box of salt’s are HUGE outliers. People like being awful. Heck, most people would still cheer Trump on if he was shooting small children on the White House Lawn.

@ PGP:

Oh, I know! Even here: there is a guy who owns an auto repair shop nearby which also sells used vehicles: on various cars’ windshields, he had lettering outlining Fox News headlines ( re Hillary should be in jail complete with a jailbird dummy inside it!, No global warming but “cow gas” etc) it probably scared away customers but perhaps 30-40 % voted for Orange Julius in towns around here. He did take the lettering off after 2 years or so.

Then we have the hinterlands: the red parts of blue states. I ate in a rustic restaurant on Kentucky Derby day and told my companion that probably 80% of the people in the pub/ restaurant voted for Trump ( maybe not the wait staff). I know a Jewish guy who didn’t like to visit his (Serbian immigrant) friend’s house in Orange County, NY ( as in ” Orange County Choppers”) because he said that there were White Power people and Neo-Nazis there ( he’s not paranoid either)

Even though congress people are thinking about impeachment, with all of the bad news about him, I still think that that creature will garner support, maybe enough to win. I wish that it wasn’t so.

Yeah, overall Michigan is blue (sometimes purplish), but up north and the western part of the state (other than Kalamazoo) might as well be Alabama.

In additional BS news ( ATTN:. Orac):

PRN continues its tilting at wind… civic duty by writing another letter to the board of Wikipedia ( since writing to Wales 3 times didn’t work) and presenting an article, “Wikipedia Misinformation etc” demanding the taking down of Null’s bio which is biased, inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, prejudicial etc.; the shriveled old woo-meister and his team of lawyers will be initiating suits against various persons associated with Wikipedia based on revealed “internal communications amongst editors” calling Null ‘batshit’ and continuing to protect material originated by Dr Barrett. More letters and articles investigating sceptics’ and board members’ backgrounds will be forthcoming. ( read aloud and written)

Quiver and shake,in your Ferragamos/ Louboutins, Sceptics and Wiki Overlords!

Well, Null’s lawyer still hasn’t gotten his requested FOIA emails of mine. WSU appears to be taking its time, which is fine work me.

He seems to be focused upon internal messaging at Wikipedia amongst editors: there are four people in his
sites: they spread stories that his education is bogus and his science is batshit: publishing libel and slander ( heh)
NONE of them are experts in medicine, sez he. ( Heh heh) SRSLY.

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