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Harlem Vaccine Forum: Is Al Sharpton antivaccine?

Rev. Al Sharpton is hosting the Harlem Vaccine Forum. Unfortunately, his “forum” looks like an antivaccine quackfest.

I’ve been blogging for nearly 15 years, and before that I spent several years on Usenet applying skepticism from topics ranging from Holocaust denial to alternative medicine to antivaccine misinformation. That means that I’ve been studying and dealing with antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience for nearly two decades. Yet, even after all this time, I still learn things I didn’t know before. Sometimes, they’re things that I think I should have known but, for whatever reason, didn’t. This is one of those times. After all this time, I had no idea that Rev. Al Sharpton is apparently either antivaccine or, at the very least, antivaccine-sympathetic. Indeed, I was only able to find one instance in 15 years of blogging in which I even mentioned Rev. Sharpton, and it had nothing to do with vaccines, as you will soon see with his Harlem Vaccine Forum.

Anyway, here’s what jogged me:

The Harlem Vaccine Forum? Apparently, this event was scheduled in September but postponed until October 19. According to someone named Curtis Cost, author of a book entitled Vaccines Are Dangerous: A Warning to the Global Community, whose blog is entitled—you guessed it!—Vaccines Are Dangerous. Cost announced the day before the original date for the forum:

My apologies to everyone who was planning on attending the Harlem Vaccine Forum this Saturday, September 14. I found out this afternoon that Mr. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke with Reverend Sharpton today and they both decided that they wanted to be part of this forum, but neither could attend this Saturday so it was decided to postpone the event for a few weeks. With Mr. Robert Kennedy and Reverend Sharpton along with the other great speakers and parents I will have lined up, it will be a very dynamic event with massive news media coverage. We are looking at October 19 for the new date. I should have confirmation on this date later today or early next week. I will post the new date and time on my website:

So let me get this straight. Rev. Sharpton spoke with RFK Jr., and both agreed that they wanted to appear at the Harlem Vaccine Forum alongside a lineup of antivaccine cranks, including Curtis Cost. First of all, I can’t believe that I had never heard of Curtis Cost before, given that he’s written a book called Vaccines Are Dangerous. Perusing his blog revealed photos of him with Andrew Wakefield and RFK, Jr.

Let’s look at the lineup of the Harlem Vaccine Forum. We’ll start with Curtis Cost, given that this will be educational for me. (After all, how many times have I written about Gary Null and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.?) First of all, all you need to know about Curtis Cost and vaccines is that he’s featured favorably on that repository of all quackery and cranks, He’s listed on the posters as “Professor,” but there’s no evidence that he’s actually a professor that I can find.

There’s even a link to an interview with him dated October 1995 by Susan Davis, who was described as an animal rights activist and anti-vivisectionist. Think about that. That’s nearly two and a half years before Andrew Wakefield dropped his turd of a case series in The Lancet, in which he tried to relate bowel dysfunction in autistic children to the MMR vaccine. What is instructive about this interview is just how many antivaccine tropes that Cost regurgitated are still in use today. For instance, here’s the “toxins gambit”:

All types of toxic chemicals and substances have been placed in vaccines. Kidneys from monkeys in the production of the polio vaccine, embryos/eggs in the measles vaccines, horse and pig blood, aborted fetus tissue, mercury which is a toxic metal, formaldehyde (proven to cause cancer), and many other substances, that any rational person would realize are revolting, disgusting and have very serious implications for the human body. People don’t know about these chemicals placed in vaccines. They need to know this. They have also developed genetically engineered vaccines, where they genetically alter viruses and create vaccines out of them. It’s bad enough to take a naturally occurring organism and place it into a person’s blood system. It’s absolute madness to alter naturally occurring viruses and place them in a person’s body, because they have no idea what the long term implications are. There is no way for them to know, unless they put these chemicals out, give them to millions of people, and watch the results. So, basically, the American public is being used as guinea pigs on a massive scale.

There’s also the “vaccines have no warranty” trope, which is a precursor to the claim that vaccine makers have no liability, and Cost tried to link vaccines to the same diseases and conditions that antivaxers try to attribute to vaccines today:

Some studies have linked vaccines to cancers and brain damage, to say nothing of the more subtle side effects such as arthritis, ear and eye problems. For a list of side effects, anyone can refer to the Physician’s Desk Reference and look up the various vaccines. It gives you a detailed list of side effects associated with vaccines: side effects such as autism, seizures, mental retardation, hyperactivity, dyslexia, convulsions, paralysis, sudden infant death syndrome, blindness, death, premature aging, multiple sclerosis, blood and skin disorders, allergies. These are documented. The medical establishment gets away with constantly saying that these side effects are small and that the chances of them happening are limited. In fact, doctors have gone so far as to not even tell parents which pharmaceutical company produced which particular vaccine, or the batch number of that vaccine, which by law they have to do. You have to realize that no doctor wants to be sued or put in the position where they are challenging the AMA.

Actually, Cost did mention a vaccine complication that I don’t recall having heard from another antivaxer before, namely premature aging. I suppose one might consider the claim that the flu vaccine causes Alzheimer’s disease (one of the earliest antivaccine claims I ever encountered) might sort of qualify as a variant of this one, but not really. In any case, I couldn’t help but be amused by Davis’ question asking Cost if he considers himself a pioneer. This was 24 years ago, and Cost was spouting antivaccine tropes still in use today. In that respect, he was a pioneer—the wrong kind of pioneer, but a pioneer. Indeed, his book, Vaccines Are Dangerous: A Warning to the Global Community is an revised and updated version published in 2010 of his previous book Vaccines Are Dangerous: A Warning to the Black Community, originally published in 1992. And, yes, there’s a movie. It just goes to show that antivax misinformation and pseudoscience never dies. It just mutates. Indeed, Curtis Cost was also promoting conspiracy theories in which vaccines are a plot to harm black people, a conspiracy theory that the Nation of Islam continues today, to be exploited by RFK Jr.

Next up, keeping with the idea of first looking at people about whom I’ve never written before (or of whom I’ve never heard before), let’s move on to Rev. Dr. Phil Valentine, who is also on the bill for the Harlem Vaccine Forum. He’s listed as a “doctor of hygienic sciences” and author. I also found Valentine’s blog, where he describes himself thusly:

Hygienic Scientist; Naturopath; Metaphysician; Clinical Hypnotherapist; Polymath, Lecturer; Free-Thinker… The founder, director and pastor of the Temple of the Healing Spirit; Self-Healing Education Center, The Institute for Self-Mastery; and The University of Kemetian Sciences. A certified member of the International Association of Counselors and Therapists (I.A.C.T.), he received his doctorate in Hygienic Health Science and Classical Naturopathy from The Life Science Institute of Texas, now merged to the Fit for Life Sciences Institute-College of Natural Health in Canada. A former member of the American Natural Hygienic Society, Valentine is currently a hygienic science and metaphysical health consultant to doctors and lay practitioners as far away as Azania (South Africa), Canada, Trinidad, Jamaica, England, Ghana, Japan and the Philippines.

Valentine’s website has that late 1990s design that we all used to cringe about. In it, I find gems like this:

Hygienic Science, also known as “The Life Sciences”, is the study of the oldest and purest form of the Nature Healing Sciences. It incorporates the dietary and healing philosophies inherited from our ancestral masters of Kemet. Studying the Hygienic approach to health, healing and wellness, students learn that present day systems promoting the practice and principles of “holistic health” (i.e.” Alternative Healing,” Herbology and “Integrative Medicine”) follow the same philosophy and protocols of treatment based therapies used by orthodox medicine, which is a system of heroic treatment we call “the practice of Poisonopathy”. Instead of using pharmaceutical drugs, “alternative” methods utilize herbal remedies, tonics and vitamins to medicate the body and mask symptoms. Entry level students learn the fundamental principles of Classical Naturopathy. They also learn how to recognize, respond to and assist in the healing processes initiated by the universal intelligence of the cell, addressing the true causes of dis-ease, removing the obstacles to healing, and imparting knowledge to empower the client to take personal responsibility for his or her health.

Reading this, I wondered: What could such a man possibly have to say about vaccines. After all, naturopaths are known to be overwhelmingly antivaccine, with few exceptions. Is this true of Rev. Dr. Phil Valentine? What do you think? All it took was for me to do a little Googling of Valentine’s name and the word “vaccines,” and I found antivaccine gems like this, “Vaccines That Kill”:

Then, over at Valentine’s Facebook page:

Nothing like comparing vaccines to genocide!

Then there’s this:

So Valentine believes that vaccines have “been scientifically proven DEADLY to the Creator’s Supreme Creation … The Human-Body Temple!” Yes, that’s pretty darned antivaccine.

Here he is referring to vaccines as “toxic vaccine cocktails”:

Let’s look at just one more. Here’s Rev. Dr. Phil Valentine on a podcast with Curtis Cost.

Here’s the description:

The first hour will feature two amazing nutrititional and health advocates, Curtis Cost and Dr. Phil Valentine. Curtis Cost in a world renowned author and lecturer. His message is the dangers of vaccines and the unaccountability of the pharmaceutic industry. Dr. Phil Valentine is a famous autthor, lecturer, health advocate, Spiritual Reader, Counselor, and Elder of impeccable knowledge, genius, and insights. He too will reveal the unknown diabolical agenda for mass genocide through the forced application of deadly vaccines.

You get the idea.

Others appearing at the Harlem Vaccine Forum whom I haven’t written about before include:

  • Mitchell Cohen, who’s an anti-Monsanto activist and writer, who wrote a book The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides, because, of course, there is considerable overlap between antivaccine and anti-GMO activists.
  • Rev. Walter Sotelo, who is listed as an advocate for religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates and has spoken at a number of antivaccine rallies in New York.
  • Dr. Shakira Moore, a “holistic” practitioner.

The rest of the speakers at the Harlem Vaccine Forum are antivaxers whom I’ve written about before multiple times, in some cases lots of times:

Indeed, Mary Holland recently laid down some antivaccine misinformation about the Harlem Vaccine Summit in a local newspaper, mainly invoking the “health freedom” and “parental rights.” Naturally, she’s claiming that the effects of the recent change in New York State law that eliminated religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates disproportionately affects African-Americans and other minority communities. Why? Because they tend to be less able to homeschool.

As I said when I started this post, I had no idea that Rev. Al Sharpton was antivaccine. I suppose it’s possible that he’s not antivaccine, but instead is susceptible to antivaccine misinformation because he buys into conspiracy theories in the African-American postulating that “they” (big pharma, The Man) are out to screw his people. However, it’s more likely that he’s antivaccine. Why do I say this? Because this is not the first time Al Sharpton has allied himself with antivaxers. He’s done it before. It’s also disturbing to see antivaxers take advantage of the distrust the African-American community has of Medicine and doctors. It’s an understandable distrust, given our history (e.g., the Tuskegee syphilis experiment), and it’s despicable of white, privileged antivaxers like RFK Jr., Gary Null, and Mary Holland to exploit that history to stoke great and loathing of vaccines in Harlem.

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]

117 replies on “Harlem Vaccine Forum: Is Al Sharpton antivaccine?”

I’ve had more than one black person tell me that blacks should never allow a doctor to give them a shot because doctors poison black people. Since many of these people were old enough to remember Tuskegee Syphilis, it’s hard to argue with them.

Sounds to me like you’re passing up a great opportunity to educate them on the harm caused by stereotypes. Then again, maybe all black doctors are “Oreos” and all East-Asian doctors are whatever cookie is yellow on the outside with a white filling.

The actions of a very small group of idiots do not represent the actions of even a double digit percentage of doctors. Much like not all Italians are in the mafia, all Chinese in the Triad, or all whites in the KKK.

The Asian ‘white on the inside’ slang term I’ve heard (from a Chinese woman who worked at Bakka-Phoenix, a local bookstore) was ‘banana’.

@Terrie: 6,000 doctors and administrators out of 1,100,000 doctors is very small. Even smaller if you want to consider it out of the US population of ~325,000,000. Even if every employee of the organization agreed with the plan. Not arguing it wasn’t wrong, but in perspective, it was a very small number of people doing it.

@Jenora: Guess that works. I also thought of a granny smith apple, due to some indigenous calling their “sell-out” compatriots apples.

Given that, in the US, people of color still suffer discrimination and have worse health outcomes than white people, it’s not just what the Public Health Service did years ago.
It’s the ongoing, systemic discrimination.

It’s more than even just the Tuskegee Experiment.

African Americans have been used as human guinea pigs since colonial times. Sometimes it was to do experiments to prove black inferiority. Sometimes it was because slaves weren’t in a position to complain or refuse, and their owners got a bargain if the slaved survived.

Read Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington. Her discussion of how Dr. Sims changed obstetrics will chill you to the bone.

I don’t blame black people for mistrusting modern medicine. They have every reason to, and “educating them” is more likely to be seen as condescending than helpful. The medical establishment has to earn their trust, and that’s going to take a long time given that systemic racism is still a major problem in health care today.

@Panacea: Yes, historically humans treated each other like shit if they weren’t part of the ruling tribe. And medicine does have a ways to go to achieve equality of outcomes in medicine. Realizing that the medical text books are heavily (or overwhelmingly) skewed to Caucasian examples and images is a start to correcting the problem. I don’t know if race trumps disease for enrolment in clinical studies, but you would think that it wouldn’t (Unless it’s a disease endemic to a specific race).

Racism is a problem in all societies, and we all have a long way to go to reach equality. Hell, we still don’t treat the female half of the population as truly equal to the male half, but we are improving that situation as well. The thinking that the medical profession is out to harm non-whites, is just as sloppy thinking as all men are rapists. In some cases, the stereotype is correct, but not in a majority or even a large percentage of cases. And as a member of a society composed of all races and genders, it’s our responsibility to fight against all discriminatory thinking and acts. Whether it’s coming from the majority or minority, it is wrong. And yes it may be perceived as condescending, but doesn’t make it any less necessary to move society forward.

People of all colors/shapes/etc have had horrible medical abuses done to them in “less enlightened” time. There was a teen about to enter medical school who was subjected to electroshock and disabled for life in the ‘60s, that was a CIA project. Parents tried to sue, you can guess how that went … well, they didn’t get Epstein’d, but they got zero justice. Many things happen with no publicity.

Now we merely mutilate teenagers (mostly affluent whites) whose parents, peers or cultural influences convince them that they’re really the opposite sex. Well, you might say the Kennedys got a head start when they put a daughter into an insane asylum because she had normal teen hormones. But even they did not stuff her with hormones and cut off parts of her body, as is done now.
20 years from now there will be some some very sad stories of what was once unimaginable child abuse.

Now we merely mutilate teenagers (mostly affluent whites) whose parents, peers or cultural influences convince them that they’re really the opposite sex.

Aha! “Being” transsexual is actually extrinsic. Or an epiphenomenon, or something. Thanks for clearing that up.

Do you really think so?
I have known several transgenders and no-one ever regretted the desision. And they had lot troubles, with their parents and other people who wanted them to accept the gender they were born with. So what makes you think there is some kind of peer-pressure at work, to convince them to take hormones and have some operations?
If people get problems after the treatment, this might be caused by negative reactions from the society and the people around them.

@Spectator – Well, you might say the Kennedys got a head start when they put a daughter into an insane asylum because she had normal teen hormones Normal teen hormones? There is more to the story. Dear old dad opted to have her lobotomized. Didn’t work out so well but she was easier to control!


Certainly humanity does not all fit one, two or any number of categories we may try craft to make sense of us. Some people do find that being surgically and hormonally altered leads to a better life, but they are few. Teenagers are flighty, they change quickly with time and are not renowned for fully understanding consequences. They’re also affected by peer pressure and the fads of the moment. So are us olds, but we’ve usually made enough goofs to be wary.

I don’t believe one’s teens are the right time to make a drastic, permanent alteration to oneself.

I think mostly transgendered teens just get medicines, like hormones and stuff to delay the onset of puberty and no operations, so nothing is irreversable.
When one starts early with treatment, the results might be better, then when one starts at a later age. The things that are associated with puberty, like the changing of the voice and hair at places where a woman wouldn’t want it, are very hard to reverse.
Of course things should be watched by people who are experts on that subject. I wouldn’t want people to start experimenting on their own.
Some 40 years ago one had to jump through lots of hoops to get treatment in The Netherlands. One had to prove to be able to live the live as the desired (sorry for other transgenders, if I offended anyone) gender, preferably before one started with hormones and before one would be operated one really had to live permanently as the prefered gender. And even before one could get treatment (which was covered by health insurance, except for the visits to the psychologist, who had to give permission to start with the treatment and to get the operations (now those visits are covered as well)) there was a lot of questioning, where one had to tell about your feelings and what kind of partner one would want. It was more or less expected one would want to function in a rather traditional way.
I still think people don’t start this kind of treatment lightly. I have known of several people who committed suicide or tried to commit suicide, because they couldn’t get the right treatment, or the discrimination and exclusion of society were to much for them to deal with.

@ Renate

What I’m hearing is that these are very difficult decisions, not to be undertaken lightly, although perhaps I hear that because it’s what I already think. Based on ordinary living, I believe that while a small number of people may be better off living as the sex opposite to what they were born as, that is a very small slice of the population.

Yet number of people who have other discontents, especially those whose families don’t function somewhere roughly within normal humanity (and there is such a thing) is much larger, and during the teen years a sharp pang of discontent happens at some time to just about everyone with a pulse. When anything becomes a means to be part of a club, special, recognized, or however fleetingly accepted it can be a honey trap for teens.

So I think this is a complex and difficult issue and should not be a “Let’s fix this!!” cause. How long have cross-sex hormones been available for? When was the first transgender surgery done? What percentage had their outcomes tracked 2 decades later? A few people may really need to do something drastic which hasn’t been done for 100,000 years of human history; their path is difficult and I offer my best wishes. I also fear that others are being directed down that road for reasons benefiting the advocates and not the subject. Brave new worlds usually turn out bloody.

I think treatments of transgenders more or less in the way they are treated now (at least with hormones and surgery) started probably in the seventies and perhaps even earlier. It started all a bit in a hush hush atmosphere, where it was perhaps mostly people who did things in shows and prostitution, because that were the only possibilties for them to make a living. I have a book on the history of transgendered people in The Netherlands. Not many people with regrets there. In the eighties, the time where I know most about it was a more regulated, though transgenders were still a supressed minority, who often had to suffer aggression and live with unemployment. Those with a job were often prostitutes or in shows, though I have known someone who worked as a hairdresser and someone else worked at the university in math. But she already had that job, before her treatment and it was not that easy to fire someone. Others, who had the change, while working in a job often had problems with acceptance by collegues and I know of one who had commited suicide, because of the lack of acceptance.
So if people get regrets, what are the reasons for that? Some might feel not really belonging to any gender. Other might experience lack of acceptance and perhaps have unrealistic ideas about how things will be after the treatment. Surgeons can’t work miracles.
So how many have really regrets? I don’t know. There are not that many I think, because it would be more well-known.
Those who are happy don’t always out themselves as being transgenders. Lots of them consider themselves as having the gender they are now having and don’t look back and consider being transgendered as something of the past.

Aside from the sheer ugliness of going in and trying to mislead people, the anti-vaccine activists know that any New Yorkers they convince not to protect their children will now lose the ability to send those children to school. So even if they think – and I think most of them do – that they are actually helping their victims by misleading them on vaccines, they go in knowing they are harming children by setting them up to lose educational opportunities. It’s a bad goal to work for.

So, after finishing with the Orthodox Jewish Community, anti-vaxxers are now targeting another group in New York for VPD outbreaks. Horrible.

No, as Orac pointed out, Anti-vaxxine conspiracies of the ‘Vaccines were created by Whitey & the Jew to sterilize the Black race’ type have been circulated for years prior to Wakefield.White anti-vax activity picked up in the 1980s with a fraudulent documentary called ‘Vaccine Roulette’

Remember the Energizer Bunny spoofing other ads (hair loss, vacations, car commercials,etc). I swear one of these days I am also expecting the Energizer Bunny to walk across one of these vaccines blogs. ‘It keeps going, and going, and going…..’

Anyway, speaking of Sharpton, did you see him bustin-the-moves at Harlem Week a month ago? Damn!- the Reverend has moves. I am so envious. Which I could dance like that.

Let’s try the link again, but shills if no luck you’ve gotta google it. I want to dance like that! Maybe Orac and I can approach him about lessons. But what if Orac shatters my expectation of a nerdy, middle-aged academic with two left feet and a Rap video of him ‘in de club’ surfaces?!

shills if no luck you’ve gotta google it

You really should have used the adhortative rather than the imperative.

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph, is for good people to do nothing.

Your attitude to science and logic is no better than that of a flat-earther or young earth creationist. At least they don’t actively try to harm people.

No, his attitude is much worse. He is throwing a grenade into public health, with the attitude that “the strong are immune to those little fragments”.

Since Orac is writing about the Rev. Dr. Phil Valentine, the least he can do is give him his proper name and titles:

“Dr. Phillip Valentine,DCN; DHS; DMpS whose living name is Hry Snw Djhwty Sa Khw-Ra Mhtp, holds the Title Hm Ntr-Nb Hr Ssht; Npw Ndjty Sbk is a Doctor of Classical Naturopathy-Hygienic Science and Grand Master of the KeMetaphysical Sciences.”

Dr. Valentine a.k.a. Hry Snw Djhwty Sa Khw-Ra Mht is also the author of the well-received book “The Wounded Womb”, based on 25 years of research into the degradation of women’s health and psychic well-being. It’s not cheap (purchase price is listed as $80-92 bucks online) but can we afford not to know this stuff?

I think you meant “vowels.”
I think that that is actually just a phonetic representation of actual words said by a mouth filled with marshmallows, dry cereal or cookies – or sawdust that has leaked down from the intracranial space.

It looks like an attempt to approximate ancient Egyptian words with the Latin alphabet, without resorting to the more familiar Greek approximations everyone knows. Ancient Egyptian of course was written in hieroglyphs, and since it’s a writing system that completely omits vowels (an abjad, like Arabic or Hebrew script), no one is really sure how it was actually pronounced. Presumably there were rules as to what vowels go where under what circumstances, as there appear to be for Hebrew and Arabic writing, but those were not preserved by the passage of time. That ‘Djhwty’ part I presume is the transliteration of the hieroglyphs for what was approximated in Greek as ‘Thoth’. The best that Egyptologists have been able to figure based on extensive philological study is that ‘Djhwty’ might have actually been pronounced something more like ‘Tehuti’.

I skimmed through A.H. Gardiner’s Egyptian Grammar once upon a time since I do have a bit of a fascination with ancient Egypt.

“It does not even remotely resemble Czech.”

I can only pronounce the Ř sound in Czech about one time in three. But I am not to blame for Google’s incomprehension.

Czech tongue twister: “Strč prst skrz krk”

Many ancient languages of Africa are written without vowels–as are others, it’s just that the people shown at Hry Snw Djhwty Sa Khw-Ra Mht seem to be African and claim some affinity with ancient Egyptian languages.

Harlem Vaccine Forum? Shouldn’t that be Harlem Anti-Vaccine Forum? They couldn’t object to that, because that is what they say they are. They are not asking for ‘safer’ vaccines, they describe vaccines as evil and dangerous, even as deadly and as a way to commit mass genocide. At least mr Valentine does think so. Perhaps some other speakers wouldn’t go that far, but I doubt they will tell mr. Valentine he is wrong.

Vaccines are guilty of “genocide.” Any remember the smallpox virus? Yep, vaccines eliminated it from the planet. No historical attempt at “genocide” has ever been as effective as the smallpox vaccine. How about polio? Well, currently not completely wiped off the planet; but getting there. As with smallpox and polio, measles’ only has a human reservoir, so vaccines could be “genocidal” for measles as well. As a Jew born shortly after World War II, I have known sole survivors of the Nazi genocide my entire life, so there are genocides and genocides. Eradicating disease-preventing organism is a “genocide” that I fully support.

Let’s make a monument for the poor smallpox virus.

I suppose the anti-vaxxers don’t want that to happen to other viruses. Viruses have rights to.

Even more awful if you imagine how she had to go about collecting, transporting and tossing the blood.

Last month, Null was bitching that the conference at the Apollo Theatre was cancelled.

Orac is correct, white privileged cranks try to con black people into accepting their nonsense because of minorities’ often justified reticence about standard medicine. Unfortunately, Null has a history of doing this that he himself actually documents: at PRN ( top of page), he displays a short film about how he “cured” hiv/aids in the 1980s-90s** using supplements and various woo: somehow he inveigled a few black journalists into letting him appear on their television shows and be interviewed by them in newspapers. He tries to convince listeners that he has links to the black community in the NY area: he has done health support groups at a few churches and even ( think of the children!) at a mostly black charter school in Newark. Other events.
He’s a white, barely educated hick from WV: I doubt that many black people would be entranced by that. RFK jr is another story
because of his family’s political history that many black people supported over the years.

** not so much these days, I wonder why?.

Holy crap! I spoke too soon: he has a article today ( about how Wikipedia shouldn’t be trusted about information concerning hiv retroviral meds.

Similarly, it’s interesting the anti-vax powers had Bigtree do the two prior anti-vax events in NY this year, but now have taken out their dumb thug (Bigtree) and replaced him with RFKjr for this event.

I would laugh a little at the idea that Sharpton cares about anything but money, but I’m too happy this morning. A girl I used to baby-sit when she was two (she’s now twenty-one) was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma a few months ago…and this morning she was able to announce that she is cancer-free thanks to 12 rounds of chemo in a Boston hospital!!


Sorry, forgot to say–this blog was a huge source of info and encouragement for me and our little group of friends and well-wishers (as well as being a place I’ve visited intermittently for a number of years now) as we followed her treatment, so thanks, Orac and everyone else!

Yay for your friend’s successful treatment! I’m glad that our gracious host was helpful to you.

What’s the title: How to evade public health law and impress people ?

With regard to premature aging: I didn’t know Sharpton’s age. From the posted picture, I overestimated by 15 years.

Al Sharpton is 65. I’m 77 and look better than that! I’m too old to have gotten the MMR, etc., but I did get the smallpox and polio vaccines as soon as possible, and made sure my daughters got them. too.

I just checked out JRK’s Wikipedia page. That man is certifiable! He’s against fluoride and WiFi? Good Lord, deliver us!

A while back, we speculated about how many Californians support vaccination/ vaccination laws, well, the LA Times with the assistance of UC Berkeley has a new one ( via the Skeptical Raptor blog)
80% of Californians support vaccine laws
90% of Democrats**, 82% of Independents, 73% of Republicans and 67% of Conservatives.
The Scaly Dinosaur ventures that that’s why it would be/ has been difficult for anti-vaxxers to drum up a referendum vote which requires over 600K signatures.

** which says a lot since the state is heavily blue

Actually, I did venture over to SR to comment on that poll. I was also hoping Orac would take it up, but I presume the Sharpton affair sidetracked him. Anyway…..

Interesting article on polling and asking leading questions….

That ‘Yes Minster’ video on leading questions was absolutely hilarious. In the same vein, with this current poll three questions were asked — ‘do you think Newsom is doing a good job’, ‘how concerned are you about the measles outbreak’, and, ‘how do you feel about the new vaccine exemption law’. The first two ‘setups’ would likely have evoked affirmative responses — ‘yes, I think Newsom is doing a good job’, and, ‘yes, I am concerned about the measles outbreak’. From there, most people that were likely aware that exemption law was inspired by the measles ‘hysteria’ and that Newsom signed it into law were effectively conditioned into remaining consistent and giving a favourable opinion of the new law. We’re talking Berkeley’s brainwashing at its finest!

Greg, what don’t you understand?
You think that polls aren’t to be believed**? Even from UC Berkeley? I think that they know more about polling than you do.
Well, how about how parents behave? Most parents vaccinate their kids; the exemption rate in California is around 4%.

AS the feathery dinosaur comments, anti-vaxxers can’t even get enough signatures to call for a referendum to get rid of the law: that’s 600K voters in a state of 40 millions.
Dr Pan easily wins election as do other vaccine supporters. The huge anti-vax uprising in Sacramento involved about 500.

Just because YOU don’t support vaccination doesn’t mean that MOST people agree with you.

** AND, within the 20% who don’t support vaccination laws, some could be Libertarians who don’t support laws in general or as SR notes, Republicans who oppose anything the Democrats agree with.

Greg, what don’t you understand?
You think that polls aren’t to be believed**? Even from UC Berkeley? I think that they know more about polling than you do.

C’mon Denice, I thought you were trained in psychology? Never mind psychology, even a smart chimp (opening for Narad) knows that asking leading questions will bias answers. Seriously, are we to think that asking the respondents what they thought about Newsom and the measles outbreak weren’t leading questions? Perhaps I should give them credit for not also showing smallpox infections and asking the respondents how they would feel about catching it. Let’s face it – Berkeley with the poll laid down a hot steaming pile of manure. Antivaxx support is tiny and insignificant? So why are you guys so afraid of asking straight questions?

A leading question** would bias how the respondent answered- such as ” The Governor is doing a good job, don’t you agree?” or ” Measles is a very concerning issue, do you agree?”

The statements quoted are relatively neutral: subjects can answer any way they choose. There is no way to be absolutely neutral if we speak a human language
unless we asked ” Newsom; is he good or bad”, “Measles: a problem or not a problem?” or ” vaccine law, love? hate?” ( varying the order of negatives vs positives)- which looks and sounds illiterate.

Greg, you just can’t accept that most people don’t share your beliefs. You probably wouldn’t accept any poll that shows most people aren’t anti-vaxxers.

** “How fast was the car going when it crashed into the other car?” See Loftus

OR we could just do a rating scale : e.g. Newsom’s job- rate 1 to 7 where 1 is worst, 7 is best

People just ADORE polls like that!

Greg, you just can’t accept that most people don’t share your beliefs.

I tend to doubt that any of this years-long, dumbass trolling amounts to expression of a belief. Remember the “person-years” debacle? It’s lonely attention-whoring.

@ Narad:

Yep, you’re right.
He, Christine, MJD and Natalie should get together and create an anti-SBM blog called….._________________

Any ideas, Narad and minions?

“It’s as though Gerg has never looked at 538.”

Even more amusing — it’s as though he thinks he understands something about statistics.

I forgot to mention…Not sure what Sharpton looks like now. My opinion only…the pic used for this piece is most unflattering and he looks unhealthy.

Natalie, you should be more careful about your ( so-called) news sources ( like WE, Fox, Natural News).

Have you ever actually been in the Bay Area? Funny, I go every year – SF, San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino counties- and I have yet to see human faeces in the street or encampments of the homeless.
True, SF, like most cities, has a homeless population, which is concentrated in the Tenderloin area ( note: there’s a reason it’s called “Tenderloin”- historically, more crime and prostitution): the mayor said that there are about 6K in a city of 700K +. that she is trying to help ( because SF has money)
How about red state cities? Have they eliminated homelessness yet?

see 247 : 3 days ago, ” 48 Major US Cities Struggle to Shelter Growing Homeless Population” by Thomas Frolich

I’m not sure if the writer of this article has an editor lol. Oh yeah this is just a blog. Personally I do believe if you would want people to read your literature seamlessly, you really need to find an editor who is qualified. Just my opinion.

Congratulations! You figured out that this is a blog! I’m impressed…not. And I don’t care about your opinion. Don’t like the blog? No one’s forcing you to read. Now piss off.

This might be a good time to ask yourself why so many people read, take seriously, and learn from this blog, then. Reading the post might help.

(I note you have pointed to no actual error – certainly no substantive error.


This might be a good time to ask yourself why so many people read, take seriously, and learn from this blog, then. Reading the post might help.

Dorit,I am a great example. I read, take these blogs seriously, and learn that you’re all lying, disgusting shills. Hang in there Damo on your similar quest for truth.

If I were on the fence about vaccinating my kids and read this, I would be even more hesitant. Orac: you proclaiming the 72 doses of 16 vaccines for children ages 0-17 to be safe, please show the studies proving that. Also, if vaccines protect kids, show us studies comparing the health outcomes of vaxxed vs unvaxxed kids. Read the vaccine insert, folks. Do your own research. Watch journal Del Bigtree’s Highwire. Looking forward to the Harlem Vaccine Forum.

@ Liz Baker:

I think that Orac and his followers already know lots about Del Bigtree and his Big Ideas because we watch HighWire, in fact, if you use the search fx at the upper left of this page, you’ll discover that Orac has written about Del 93 times: who Del is, his area of expertise, how he works, who pays him, his cohorts etc.
So have fun at the Harlem event where you’ll have the “pleasure” of watching Gary Null’s act: we also know lots about him as well ( use the search fx).

These people are mercenary businessmen whose MO involves getting innocents like you to mistrust science, medicine, the government, universities and professionals and instead, TRUST THEM: Orac delves into their schemes and business plans.
-btw- no one pays me to research and write about these people.

Liz Baker: “Also, if vaccines protect kids, show us studies comparing the health outcomes of vaxxed vs unvaxxed kids.”

Wow! Liz, we never thought of that! What an unoriginal idea! You are only the latest of those who do not know the science to tell us that in just twenty years. Did you know package inserts are actually not science? Perhaps, since you have all the standard responses that we have heard over the past couple of decades you can do something new and original:

Provide the PubMed indexed studies by qualified reputable researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric vaccine causes more harm than the diseases?

Or are measles, mumps, Hib, pertussis, tetanus, pneumonia, meningitis, etc all perfectly safe? If so, you are going to have prove that, though not the old tired “I had x-disease and I am fine” trope.

“I’m not sure if the writer of this article has an editor lol. Oh yeah this is just a blog.”

On the other hand he’s discovered punctuation. 🙂

A leading question** would bias how the respondent answered- such as ” The Governor is doing a good job, don’t you agree?” or ” Measles is a very concerning issue, do you agree?”

The statements quoted are relatively neutral: subjects can answer any way they choose.

Denice, please review the ‘Yes Minister’ video of some the leading questions that were asked in favour of bringing back National Service. They weren’t of the form of, ‘Youth unemployment is worrying don’t you agree?’, or ‘The rise in youth crime is worrying don’t you agree?’. The questions were, ‘Are you worried about youth unemployment’ or ‘Are you worried about he rise in youth crime’. Yes, the respondents could respond ‘any way they choose’, but the questions still were not ‘neutral’ in that the hypothetical respondents would likely respond in certain ways that put them on the path of agreeing with the targeted response — ‘Yes, I agree with bringing back National Service.’ The same can be said with this poll of asking respondents whether they thought Newsom was doing a good job or were concerned about the measles outbreak. Those two questions would likely evoke responses that were consistent with agreeing with vaccine mandates. Denice, let’s think about it another way, would you be cool if ‘antivaxxers’ were to do a similar poll and in which they ask respondents if they agree with abortion law that a woman’s body is her choice, and then they were to ask the respondents whether they agree with the state interfering with the doctor-patient relationship in regards to vaccine exemptions? Also Denice, if bias can be such a conundrum, why not strive to avoid it entirely by not asking ‘unrelated’ questions?

The statements you quote ARE also biased because they ask if there is “worry” bringing up the issue itself when subjects may not have even considered it.

Even the frequently quoted leading ? “How fast was the car going when it crashed in the other car?” cannot be made into totally neutral forms : did it “touch” ( biased towards low speed) or “hit” ( moderate speed?) or “smash” ( high speed).
Because of this thing called… “language” but I’m not here to teach you THAT

Polls are not perfect but that doesn’t mean that people can instead substitute their pet theories like you do to stand in for “public opinion”- also polls can sample more than one idea/ issue at a time, e.g. general political polls about candidates

AS I said previously, we have real world measures in addition to polls;
most people vaccinate their kids, exemption figures in the low single digits, vaccine supporters win elections
AND, most importantly, VPDS d not spread like wildfire as they did 50 years ago because of unvaccinated children being very prevalent.

-btw- I’m done with you. Go get a book or bother someone else.

Polls are not perfect but that doesn’t mean that people can instead substitute their pet theories like you do to stand in for “public opinion”- also polls can sample more than one idea/ issue at a time, e.g. general political polls about candidates

True – perhaps there is justification in sampling more that one idea/issue with political candidates, but what’s the sense in doing so with unrelated topics that may, nevertheless, bias results? Again – if you’re truly interested about how the public feel about the new vaccine exemption law, why not just ask about that and nothing else? Also, is it just my ‘pet theory’ that polls should avoid asking leading questions?

The statements you quote ARE also biased because they ask if there is “worry” bringing up the issue itself when subjects may not have even considered it

Here in trying to rebut me, Denice actually reinforces my point. Asking people whether they’re are concerned about measles outbreaks amounts to instilling fear in them when none may have existed — they hadn’t thought of it. All the more reasons not to ask the question if you sincerely want to find out how they really feel about vaccine exemptions law. Yet, the two latest polls did just that.

Usually less justifiable is excluding people who “don’t know”. Most questions ought to have a “don’t know” option (at least in the first instance, prior to a question forcing the issue if desired), and on topics that are complex, this can be the difference between a plurality and a majority endorsing a particular view

Indeed, having ‘led’ the respondents with their questions about Newsom and the Measles Outbreak, the Berkeley Gang motioned further to secure their majority by not offering a ‘don’t know’ option. ‘Somewhat agree’ was then the only refuge for those suffering the dissonance of agreeing with those two leading questions but who may have still had reservations about the new law.

@Deni₡e – Yes, I am familiar with the Bay Area. My shot was at BERKELEY not the entire Bay Area. You and the pack are great at misrepresenting what is said. I didn’t even mention SF. Please….READ the post AGAIN. I lived in the Sunset and worked in the Richmond District before moving to the East Bay and then commuted to SF. My son lives in Berkeley and rides the BART into SF for his work. He deals with crazies/homeless/drug addicts – EVERYDAY! So please.

He deals with crazies/homeless/drug addicts – EVERYDAY!

So, you call him a lot?

@ Natalie:

I read your comment: you rejected research from a university because the city has homeless people! You sound as if you listen to Fox etc who decry liberal cities and never mention other cities.
As 247 notes, 48 major US cities have problems with homelessness including red state ones.

-btw- misspelling my name reflects upon your abilities not mine. You’ve been told that none of us ( including Orac) earn any money from writing. Plus I have money already so I can work part time.

@Deni₡e – You asked, “Have you ever actually been in the Bay Area?”

I answered, Yes…lived, worked, etc..

You reply, “you rejected research from a university because the city has homeless people!”

What??!!! I made no comments about the freakin’ poll. You are again misrepresenting what I wrote. I was ripping on Berkeley in a reply to Greg. I then commented about SF after responding to your ASSumption I was unfamiliar with the Bay Area.

You said – “You’ve been told that none of us ( including Orac) earn any money from writing.”

I don’t believe everything I read especially from people who hide behind pseudonyms and online personalities. Do you? Surely you’re not that gullible. BTW – ORAC has ties to academia and works in the oncology business.

“has ties to academia and works in the oncology business”
Has ties to? He is a researcher and breast cancer surgeon! He is in academia and he is in oncology and has never implied otherwise?
Greg’s all talking about leading wording and here you are trying to imply a hidden or nefarious connection that Orac is blatant about!

Gosh, it’s like saying “Natalie’s name has ties to the letter N!”

At least now I understand why you’re always banging on about money; that’s all anyone in the Bay Area does is talk about how expensive everything is (and they’re not wrong).

show us studies comparing the health outcomes of vaxxed vs unvaxxed kids. Read the vaccine insert, folks. Do your own research. Watch journal Del Bigtree’s Highwire.

I’ll bet you think you’ve just presented some original material here. How would a study of unvaxxed v. vaxxed children look? What do vaccine inserts provide other than legalese? What research do you do Liz? Why should we watch some washed-up TV producer for vaccine science? What’s the matter, can’t read the primary literature for yourself?

@ JustaTech – “He is in academia and he is in oncology and has never implied otherwise?” I wasn’t implying anything nefarious about him. It’s obvious to you. It’s obvious to me. But maybe it is not obvious to Duhnice. He is not a good example because he has ties to the medical industry. He is part of the medical industry. His blog is written with his bias and that is ok b/c it’s his blog. I keep that in mind when reading it, don’t you?

Duhnice replied, “You’ve been told that none of us ( including Orac) earn any money from writing.” See the none of us part? She is speaking on behalf of everyone! How can she know who does and does not have industry ties? Orac isn’t the only one who uses a pseudonym….JustaTech!

Clear as mud? Carry on.

1) Denice has been a commentor here longer than me, which is way longer than you, so there is no reason to think that she doesn’t know what Orac does for a living, seeing as how it’s in the bio and mentioned regularly.

2) There’s nothing wrong with a pseudonym. In fact, in the early days of the Internet it was standard safe practice that everyone would use a pseudonym to keep themselves safe. My comments should speak for themselves without having to have my full formal name attached.

3) What do you have against expertise? Why is Orac “not a good example because he has ties to the medical industry” ? A good example of what? His “ties to the medical industry” are part of his expertise in specific areas of medicine and research. Why is that a bad thing?
I’m sure you have expertise in your area of work. That should make the things you have to say about that topic more valuable, not less. If I have questions about tax law, I want to talk to an accountant or a tax lawyer, not an MD. Why should being an expert in something to the point that you are able to make a living at it somehow disqualify you from speaking about your area of expertise?

1) Denice has been a commentor here longer than me, which is way longer than you, so there is no reason to think that she doesn’t know what Orac does for a living, seeing as how it’s in the bio and mentioned regularly.

Actually JT, you’re kinda sidestepping Natalie’s point. Denice is speaking for everyone by claiming none of you have industry ties. Again, how can she know this? Making the claim suggest otherwise. Even with the case of Orac, how does knowing what he does for a living prove that he is no way ‘incentivized’ for his staunch support of MSM.

Again, how can she know this?

Maybe Denice was talking about the people regularly posting here and has come to know us well over the 10+ years we have been posting our silly thoughts here?
It’s not like we don’t let things slip from time to time about our jobs and personal life.
Of course, all of this could be invented, and everything posted here is written by Bonnie Offit.

More realistically? Paid writers are more likely to be found in places with a lot of trafic, like the comment sections of newspapers. In specialized places like here, they will be losing their time, preaching to the choir.

how does knowing what he does for a living

By checking him IRL? It has been done quite a few times already by wanabe internet sleuths.
It’s not like his secret other blog is difficult to find, for a start.

But, well, you are right. Maybe it’s all lies. Maybe I’m a talking penguin with a bowtie, Denice is an undercover FBI agent, and our host really is a box of blinking lights.

It’s funny, I sense projection. Alt-med purveyors and other Alt-activists do have their main activity and revenue sources based almost solely on internet trafic around their little site. They are directly and indirectly paid by writing their posts. So of course, you people would believe that some random surgeon or professor is doing the same.

@ JustaTech

Why is Orac “not a good example because he has ties to the medical industry” ?

Now that I’m unpacking these comments, I’m realizing it’s a losing battle, because Natalie White and the troll are more-or-less unconsciously mixing two criticisms.
Both of them trot out regularly the Pharma Shill gambit – accusing us of being paid by Big [insert here name of some industry or of a medical sector].Very common, and It’s this criticism that Denice and I answered to.

The other form of criticism has some basis, it’s the, say, “fish in water” bias. We don’t work in a vacuum. By being a member of some work sector, we are likely to acquire some bias in favor of that sector. We may even had these biases beforehand, and these biases/preconceptions guided our career choices toward this sector.
It’s what Nathalie White is trying to say with “he is part of” X. Although it is eluding me what unfounded biases an oncologist may acquire about vaccines. That’s why I said they are fuzzy with their criticisms.
It’s also what a recently self-exiled poster was harping about, on how we were wearing blinders due to our academic education, and thus unable to notice stuff/consider other possibilities outside of our education.

That being said, now we can talk about motivated reasoning.
Maybe Orac, you, myself, have a tendency to take the side of the medical science because of our job-linked biases.
But I have the feeling that Nathalie White, etc. are overlooking their own biases when deciding whose opinion to accept and whose to ignore.
If only we humans tried to develop ways to try to minimize biases when considering a topic…

tl;dr: Nathalie White and others are ridding right into typical conspiracy theorist catch-22 talking points:
– as an expert is, logically, related to the professional fields connected to their expertise, they are a member of ‘Them’ and their independence of thoughts cannot be trusted
– a non-expert, of course, doesn’t know squat and could be ignored as well.
So, just trust the people who agree with you.

@ Athaic:

Actually, it’s Interpol.
Our identities and our educational backgrounds are irrelevant IF we can point to real world data and events that are reliably created ( research and news). If guys** here studied say, physics and computers or communications and women** studied engineering or law, it doesn’t matter if they can provide science based data. So what difference would a pseudonym make?

Contrarians show up presenting material that is generally far off the rails of general research. Over the years, a few groups internationally have sprung up denying research concerning hiv/ aids, global warming/ climate change as well as the efficacy of SBM and vaccines: usually these groups and their advocates rely upon material that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny as Orac as shown endlessly.There are partisans who deny that mental illness exists and/ or that it can be treated by meds: many of them follow Scientology or Natural Health dictates providing other solutions- including vitamins: many of these advocates also have something to sell or work for vested interests like supplement companies or BIg Oil ( see “Denying Aids”, etc). SBM doesn’t claim that meds are perfect or beyond criticism ( see Ben Goldacre’s books) but that they often HELP people, Orac frequently discusses over-diagnosis and over-treatment,

Anti-vaccine activists CANNOT show reliable, peer reviewed data to support their position. because there is none- worldwide. They have to dismiss research they don’t like or narrate histrionic anecdotes about “vaccine damaged” children. If Orac or someone else presents material showing no relationship between vaccines and autism based on hundreds of studies involving millions of children, they will attack the research, the researchers, the governments, universities or corporations involved or whosoever quotes the results.

Instead they rely upon people like Andy Wakefield, Gary Null, Mike Adams, Del Bigtree and RFK jr. who use shoddy research, anecdotes and conspiracy theories to explain the vaccine-autism ( faux) link. To believe them, not people like Orac, you must buy into an international, decades long conspiracy implicating thousands- even millions- of researchers, doctors, periodicals, universities, public health workers and journalists***. AND all of that research is publicly available for anyone to read.
But scoffers and denialists are not convinced by data and research because they may derive their sense of identity from their contrarianism.- they are invested in their beliefs. Thus there is NO way we can ever convince them to change- they’re a lost cause but people who are misinformed by them because their fears have been aroused by them are reachable.
** real people at RI
*** is there any university where you can study anti-vaccine talking points as science? Why are all vaccine courses about SBM worldwide? ( the only way you can study anti-vax is as denialism) So that makes all universities WRONG to them? Right, Del knows better.

Maybe Denice was talking about the people regularly posting here and has come to know us well over the 10+ years we have been posting our silly thoughts here?
It’s not like we don’t let things slip from time to time about our jobs and personal life.

C’mon drug dealers! There is knowing that your intimate spouse for over 10 years is not a pharma shill, and then there is being acquainted with someone’s commenting profile over the same period to conclude one or two checks from Merck or their affiliates has never been deposited in his account. The latter is simply not believable. And not only is Denice not just making the assertion for one person here, but everyone.

I am harping on this not just as a gotcha moment. I often call you guys lying, revolting shills; let it be known that this isn’t an idle insult but justified.

Not justified unless you can prove it. Personally I work with electrical and electronic control systems for production equipment.

I don’t really think you guys are shills. No one could be paid enough to sound that obtuse.

Although why you think big bad Pharma marketing depts give a shit about the miniscule portion of the population who believe in a world wide conspiracy involving Pharmaceutical companies, governments, educational establishments and nationalised health services, I find hard to understand. Remember social media? That’s where they would be focusing their attention. If they could be arsed.

See here, I’m torn. I could correct you, Greg, that Denice didn’t say that none of us have industry ties, she said that none of us make any money from writing here.

Or I could get into a long explanation of Sunshine Laws and the limitations on the things that may be given to Health Care Professionals by anyone in pharma or biopharma. And how the industry is more regulated that it used to be specifically around payments to doctors etc.

But you’ve made it abundantly clear that you don’t care. You don’t care about facts or laws. You don’t care about proof or evidence.
You do actively care about our feelings; specifically you care about trying to hurt our feelings.

You’re clearly not very smart, though, or at least not observant. When you call me a shill you don’t hurt my feelings or make me mad. At most, you give my eye muscles a work out as I roll my eyes at your baseless namecalling. You know why I don’t care? Because I’m not a shill. I’m not an astroturfer. I don’t advocate for children to be sick. And you calling me those things doesn’t make it true.

You, Greg, are boring.

I’m sure there’s a Monty Python sketch in this somewhere

“Are you a spy?”


“Ah ha, that’s exactly what a spy would say”.

“What….well….I am a spy then”

“Hah. Convicted by your own words”

That sounds like the infamous Russian/ Jewish joke ( courtesy of S. Freud c. 1900):

Two guys are on a train in Russia ( Belarus):
Man 1: where are you going?
Man 2: Minsk!
Later, the train arrives in Minsk and the second guy disembarks.
Man 1: ( yelling at him) You dirty liar! You said ‘Minsk’ because you wanted me to believe that you were going to Pinsk but you lied and then went to Minsk!

How ironic – over a 200 words prose to tell me he doesn’t care. Good for you Shill.

JT, why am I convinced you are a shill? Laugh if you must, but I believe in an ordered world, where almost always there are rational explanations for affairs. Now Jt, outside of the gullible masses that are blind to the vaccination holocaust there are two other classes of people who are well aware of what time of the day it is, but they too are dismissive. One are those who for various reasons (material concerns, fear, guilt) choose to look the other way and remain silent. The other don’t remain silent. They speak up but only to savage the vaccine injured victims. I need not mention that many here fits this bill.

Indeed ‘antivaxxers’ describe you guys as evil monsters, but, as I explained, I believe in rational explanations. JT, being extra incentivized to peddle your vice can be that only rational explanation. Shill..

No country in the world has a government that refuses to vaccinate. Not even ones who would dearly love to embarrass and surpass the US.

You think it’s rational that they are all working together to hide vast numbers of injuries from vaccines. You think it’s rational despite no one ever producing more of a smoking gun in decades than an argument about statistical procedures? You think that multiple countries have falsified data to show exaxtly the same result from multimillion subject data analysis. You think that your education is equivalent to years of specialist training in a narrow field.

You really need to work on your definition of rational.

Check vaccine court claims. Why would holocaust victims not file a claim ? You get your court fees, even if your claim is rejected. And in a case of table injury, you need prove only a temporal connection.

Hi Greg,
I have no idea if you’ll read this reply since it’s a few days later. You ask JT “why am I convinced you are a shill?”
Well, there is a completely rational explanation for it, but it’s one you probably would prefer to ignore.


NumberWang: “I don’t really think you guys are shills. No one could be paid enough to sound that obtuse.”

It’s certainly not impossible that Greg and Natalie are on the payroll of the Dwoskin Foundation*, SafeMinds, AoA or other antivaccine organizations, and receiving $$ from supplement dealers and additional suppliers of “cures” for autism. The haul from sales of “Vaxxed” and the “Vaxxed” tour must be ample enough to finance a small army of shills. Why would anyone spend as much time online slamming vaccination as Greg says he does (hours a day!) unless he’s being compensated for it?

But it doesn’t really matter to me if those two and other antivaxers are rolling in $hillbucks or not. What counts is the glaring absence of evidence and logic in their posts.

*it would seem that particular source of income has now dried up. 🙁

How can you say that, my dangerous friend!

Do you have any proof that these people are bought and paid for by Safe Minds, Andy, RFK jr, Del, NN, GN, Mercola or others? You are merely surmising that because someone agrees with a position they are being reimbursed for stating so publicly. You would need to show pay stubs, paid tickets to exotic locales, receipts for expensive dinners at exclusive restaurants, phone calls or videos of late night meet ups with exchanges of envelopes stuffed with cash. Anyone can claim that he or she knows something nefarious is going on because talk is cheap.

I could just as easily accuse YOU** yourself of being paid by Big Pharma, the CDC or by Orac & the Sceptics despite having no legitimate proof whatsoever, In fact, I could even write up an article about how you are in league with the convicted cancer doctor in Detroit and have it published at NN or that you are an experienced editor/ administrator at Wikipedia who writes terrible things about Deepak and other natural health advocates through PRN. But I have no secret tapes or confessions from insiders and I haven’t paid a lawyer to get damning, undeniable FOIA info on you from your workplace, so why should anyone believe me?

** this is only an example, I do not mean that DB is in any way, shape or form a paid minion of GSK, Merck or Orac et al. and I do not write for NN or PRN.

“paid tickets to exotic locales”

Ha, the Daily Mail (a distinguished and unimpeachable news source) reports that Andy Wakefield and Elle McPherson posted on Instagram from the south of France and were seen together in Miami (which is maybe not as exotic, but still seems that way from the vantage point of October in the Midwest).

Moreover, Polly Tommey reports that Wakefield has “swapped his dodgy jackets for linens”. Wardrobe updates don’t come cheap, ya know – who is actually paying Wakefield’s tailoring bill$? Inquiring minds, and all that.

Speaking of Andy:
a new book about his exploits The Doctor Who Fooled the World by Brian Deer, due 2020.

If you want to see some A-grade shilling (the really good stuff, not the inept “buy my hydrogen water machine” guy over on SBM), you should check out YouTube and Instagram. “Influencers” are basically full-times shills, to the point that everyone else has to say things like “not spons” (not sponsored) whenever they talk about a specific brand of whatever. Mostly the Instagram influencers (from what I’ve read, I don’t Instagram) promote clothes, makeup, diets, supplements, phones, headphones, and assorted other aspirational consumer goods.
And they can make a shocking amount of money if they have enough followers.

But if you want to be a successful shill you need to be sure to mention the product you are shilling for by name. Repeatedly. Preferably with pictures showing you using the product in a way that shows that you are cool. Wear the clothes at the hottest club. Drink the beverage on a beautiful beach (while showing off your model body). You know, advertising.

By those metrics we’re all terrible shills.

It’ll be fun to see reviews of Brian Deer’s book on online sellers’ sites like Amazon.

Given the continued existence of the Wakefield cult and Deer’s status among antivaxers as the Darth Vader of investigative reporting, AVers will be drooling (if not actually foaming at the mouth) in anticipation.

[…] Shockingly, the good news keeps coming. First, yesterday we learned that the Crown was going to appeal Justice Terry Clackson’s nonsensical decision that David and Collet Stephan acquitting them of culpability for the death of their son due to their not getting him medical care for his bacterial meningitis in a timely fashion and their decision instead to treat it with David Stephan’s Truehope supplements and other “natural” treatments. Yesterday, I also learned of even more good news. Two weeks ago, I took note of an antivaccine “forum” scheduled for this Saturday. The forum was called the Harlem Vaccine Forum. Scheduled to appear on October 19 in Harlem were Rev. Al Sharpton and antivaccine leader Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and a bevy of other antivaccine activists, ranging from the relatively well known (among skeptics) to ones I hadn’t heard of before. What I did not see was a single participant listed who could be characterized, even giving every benefit of the doubt, as pro-vaccine or even relatively neutral on vaccines. It was definitely an antivaccine crankfest. […]

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