Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

CCDH report shows that antivaxxers coordinate COVID-19 vaccine fear mongering

The Center for Countering Digital Hate has published a report showing antivaxxers have been coordinating their COVID-19 messages. None of the messages being spread about COVID-19 vaccines are a surprise to anyone who’s been following the antivaccine movement.

Earlier this week, I wrote about how an investigation by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) had revealed how antivaccine groups, including the most prominent ones like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense and Barbara Loe Fisher’s National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government through the Paycheck Protection Program. It turns out that that investigation by the Center was not its only one. Thanks to Scott Gavura, I learned that the CCDH also investigated a meeting by antivaxxers held virtually in October with the express purpose of developing strategies, a playbook if you will, to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the COVID-19 vaccines whose release through Emergency Use Authorization was imminent. In the US, those were primarily the vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, both of which were RNA-based vaccines. The result is a report by the CCDH called The Anti-Vaxx Playbook. The meeting was, unsurprisingly, hosted by the NVIC.

Regular readers will not be the least bit surprised at the tactics outlined in the playbook, nor will they be surprised that the NVIC conference was called the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination, with a theme given the Orwellian name Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century. Perusing the virtual conference website, I see that the NVIC had presented a veritable cornucopia of antivaccine disinformation, including antivaccine propaganda films disguised as documentaries, such as The Greater Good (reviewed by yours truly here) and Andrew Wakefield’s new epic designed to demonize the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and the Vaccine Court created by that act, 1986: The Act (reviewed here).

The keynote speakers at the conference were a veritable rogues’ gallery of antivaccine propagandists and grifters, all of whom I’ve written about at one time or another. The CCDH describes them thusly, although I’ve taken the liberty of adding links from this blog to previous discussions of their antivax grift:

  • Barbara Loe Fisher is the co-founder and president of the NVIC, which itself maintains a Facebook page with 209,000 followers.
  • Joseph Mercola is an “alternative medicine entrepreneur” and a funder of the NVIC.5 Social media accounts operated by Mercola and his wife have 3.6 million followers.
  • Del Bigtree is the founder of Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) and produces an online anti-vaccine news show called The HighWire with 343,000 followers.
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the founder of Children’s Health Defence, another leading anti-vaccine charity. Kennedy commands a social media following of 1.3 million.
  • Sherri Tenpenny operates a number of “alternative health” and anti-vaccine business ventures, supported by a network of social media accounts with 414,000 followers.
  • Andrew Wakefield is the disgraced physician who “stood to profit” from claims linking the MMR jab to autism.9 Wakefield has since been struck off the UK General Medical Council’s medical register on charges of serious professional misconduct and produces anti-vaccine films that have proved to be influential on social media.

Yes, these are all names very familiar to regular readers of the antivaccine movement. It’s thus not surprising that they featured so prominently in this meeting. Heck, these are the glitterati, the most antivax of the antivaxxers, the veritable leaders of the antivaccine movement, and they all came together to give fellow antivaxxers strategies and talking points preemptively in order to scare people into not accepting COVID-19 vaccines.

Given the players, regular readers won’t be surprised by the rhetoric used to promote the meeting (and, no doubt, extensively in the meeting itself). Just look at the titles of the talks, coming from the keynote speakers and a grand total of 50 speakers:

  • Aluminum Toxicity and Human Health
  • Redefining Vaccine Reactions to Erase Evidence Of Harm
  • From Masking to Mortality Rates: COVID-19 and What the Science Tells Us
  • The New Technologies Driving the Creation of COVID-10 Vaccines
  • The Top Five Reasons You Might Not want a COVID-19 Vaccine
  • From Anthrax Vaccine to COVID-19: What You Need to Know About One Company Making a Coronavirus Vaccine
  • Risks & Failures of HPV Vaccine for Cervical Cancer Prevention
  • Consensus is Not Science and Science, Never Settled
  • Manipulating Science to Endorse Policy and Market Products (Doctoring Data)
  • Using Human Fetal Cells to Make Vaccines
  • The Immune System, Vital Interference and Adverse Events
  • Why and How Vaccine Mandates Violate the Ethical and Legal Right to Informed Consent
  • Inflammation, Epigenetics and Autism: Lessons for COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Why the Microbiome Matters
  • What Veterinary Science Tells Us About Animal Vaccines
  • Electronic Health Care Records: Tracking You From Birth to Death
  • Battlefield America: Locking Down Civil Liberties in the Name of Public Health
  • Why Homeschooling Is Under Attack and What You Can Do
  • Respecting Life and Guarding Your Life and Your Soul
  • Rejecting the Culture of Death to Embrace the Sanctity of Life
  • The Role of Conscience for Martin Luther and the Protestant Religion
  • The Moral Right to Exercise the Certain Judgment of Conscience
  • The Shrinking Medical Vaccine Exemption Handcuffs Doctors & Increases Vaccine Risks
  • The Physician’s Duty to First, Do No Harm
  • When Public Policy Invalidates Professional Judgment
  • Since When Did it Become A Crime To Support the Immune System?
  • Censoring Freedom of Speech: If It Can Happen to Me, It Can Happen to Anyone
  • Vitalism and Chiropractic on the Front Lines
  • Grassroots Rising
  • How to Take Back Control of Your Health
  • Defending Life & Liberty In the Vaccine Culture War
  • Pharmaceutical Companies Must Be Held Legally Accountable for Vaccine Injuries & Deaths
  • What has Happened to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System?
  • Adult Vaccine Mandates: They’re Coming for You Next
  • Psychological Warfare During the COVID-19 Era
  • Under the Influence: The Vaccine Mandate Lobby Influencing State Legislatures
  • Knowledge is Power
  • Past is Prologue: What the History of the 1986 Act Reveals
  • Tyranny of the Experts: Who’s Fact Checking the Fact Checkers?
  • When Mother Are Silenced, Children Suffer
  • Doctors Guilty of Medical Atrocities: Aushwitz, Tuskeegee, Willowbrook and Beyond
  • US Vaccine Legislation and Vaccine Freedom of Choice Advocacy
  • Raising Healthy Families the 100 Year Lifestyle Way
  • The European experience with Mandatory Vaccination
  • Preserving Vaccine Choice in Canada
  • Vaccine Legislation and Grassroots Advocacy in Florida
  • The Challenge of Virginia’s Changing Vaccine Laws
  • A Victory and A Loss for Vaccine Informed Consent Rights in Colorado
  • Federal Vaccine Advisory Committees and Failure to Fulfill the 1986 Congressional Mandate
  • The European experience with Mandatory Vaccination
  • Preserving Vaccine Choice in Canada

All of these are very common sorts of tropes and topics that one might expect in an antivaccine conference. By way of background to give you an idea of how important this conference was to antivaxxers, just consider this. The NVIC had not held a conference like it since 2009. Indeed, its last conference was held during the last pandemic to hit the US, a pandemic that, as feared as it was at the time, ultimately pales in comparison to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of disease, devastation to the economy, and the sheer number of deaths. (I’m referring to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, of course.) It was a conference at which, for example, Peter Doshi (whom I wrote about last week) spoke. COVID-19 has been an opportunity for the antivaccine movement far greater than anything they’ve ever seen before, and back in 2009 social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like were up-and-coming. They were nowhere near the juggernauts of misinformation and disinformation that they are today.

Don’t believe me? Read what CCDH had to say about the content of the conference:

A number of speakers at the NVIC conference presented the Covid pandemic as an historic opportunity to popularise anti-vaccine sentiment. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told activists listening to the conference “All of the truths that we’ve been trying to broadcast for many, many years. There are people hearing it and the impact and those seeds are landing on very fertile ground.”

The disgraced physician Andrew Wakefield echoed these sentiments, saying “The population who are aware of these issues has grown dramatically in the face of coronavirus, Covid-19. It is now an issue for discussion by everyone.”

Other anti-vaxxers such as Sherri Tenpenny highlighted the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to build a wider movement with campaigners against masks and lockdowns: “We need everyone to get politically active, get behind this cause, get behind Hugs Over Masks, get behind MAD, Mothers Against Distancing, get behind the NVIC, the National Vaccine Information Center, get behind the things that we’re doing over at, and Courses for Mastery, and our boot camp course that open enrolment is coming up again, the end of September. All the things that we’re doing, we need all hands on deck. We need everybody to release their fear from their brains, get rid of their masks, go hug people and absolutely say no. Wake up your community.”

One thing about the CCDH report that struck me is how it delineates how, with respect to the antivaccine movement and COVID-19, everything old is new again. There is nothing in the report that describes a new tactic of antivaxxers that I’ve never seen before; at most, there are tactics and tropes that have been modified and updated for COVID-19. CCDH identified three main overarching messages coming from the meeting that the NVIC conference rebranded and updated for the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • COVID-19 is not dangerous. Antivaxxers have long claimed that the diseases being vaccinated against are not dangerous. Indeed, I once referred to this trope applied to measles as “The Brady Bunch gambit” because during the Disneyland measles outbreak, antivaxxers came up with the talking point that people didn’t think measles was a big deal 50 years ago, based on a 1969 episode of The Brady Bunch in which the entire family caught the measles and it was played for laughs. It is thus not surprising that antivaxxers have tried to argue that COVID-19 is harmless and that the pandemic is a “casedemic” caused by false positive PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. In this case, the two main talking points emphasized were: 1. COVID deaths are exaggerated (e.g., they’re falsely attributed to COVID and the death rate is no higher than seasonal flu, both of which are lies); and 2. COVID can be addressed without vaccines (e.g., “natural herd immunity” or various therapeutics, such as hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin). Again, as the CCDH reports shows, everything old is new again.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous. Again, the idea that vaccines are somehow dangerous (and ineffective) is the raison d’être of the antivaccine movement. After all, how long have I been writing about false claims that vaccines cause autism, sudden infant death syndrome (or just plain death), autoimmune disease, and a variety of other conditions? While it is an amazing feat of pharmacology and science that we have effective vaccines against COVID-19 after less than a year, that “newness” of the COVID-19 vaccines make them easy to spread fear about. The overarching antivaccine messages here include: 1. It’s too soon to tell if the vaccine is safe (i.e., to cast doubt on the long-term safety); 2. clinical trial participants have died or been seriously injured (i.e., coincidental adverse events portrayed as definitely caused by the vaccine, such as Bell’s palsy, syncope and death). Old antivax messages abound, too, such as the “toxins gambit,” and the old favorite about “fetal cells” used to make the vaccine and the claim that the vaccines will “permanently alter your DNA“; and others.
  • Vaccine advocates cannot be trusted. This message should also surprise no one. Antivaxxers have demonized pro-vaccine advocates for decades. Dr. Paul Offit, for instance, has been libeled as “Dr. Proffit,” the implication being that he’s only in it for the money. The same gambit has been aimed at every vaccine advocated that I know of, myself included. Similarly, the message that vaccine manufacturers and advocates are unaccountable because of the Vaccine Court has also been repurposed for COVID-10.

Some key passages cited include Del Bigtree’s “words of wisdom” on “Operation Warp Speed”:

Rushing the science is the most dangerous thing you can do. Yet that is the headline in every newspaper around the world referencing the Covid-19 vaccine. In fact, Donald Trump has discussed a warp speed approach that will attempt to get hundreds of millions of vaccines available to the public before they even get through the safety trials. This should be alarming to everybody

This is unsurprising. Of course, what Bigtree neglects to mention is that, for example, mRNA vaccines like the ones made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna built upon technology that had been under development for at least a decade. mRNA vaccines were viewed as promising because of how rapidly they could be developed and deployed, not requiring the culturing of huge quantities of virus stock to use as killed virus or to isolate protein from to make vaccine. Indeed, once you develop a good lipid nanoparticle delivery system, all it takes to develop a new vaccine is to insert a different mRNA into the system and test that. Moreover, scientists have been studying coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 since the first SARS epidemic in 2002; this is not new technology.

Then CCDH quotes RFK Jr. on big pharma:

Remember, these companies have nothing to lose. They’re playing with house money. The government is giving the money to do these experiments. In the Moderna case, they gave them the patent for the vaccine. And then they guarantee that they’re going to buy two billion doses even if the vaccine doesn’t work. The Company is going to make money no matter what. And if they injured people, they’re protected completely against liability. No matter how grievous your injury you cannot sue them. That company has zero incentive, number one, to make it safe, and number two, to do anything to make it safe. Because if it works, they’re going to get rich, if it doesn’t work, they’re going to get rich, either way

One more time, the Vaccine Court and the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are not “get out of jail free” laws for the vaccine industry. They are funded by a tax on vaccines, and it is, if anything, easier for parents to be compensated, given the wider leeway generally given for complainants’ expert witnesses and how all that is required is a plausible scientific explanation for an injury. Even better, win or lose, complainants get their reasonable legal costs covered by the Court.

Next up, Barbara Loe Fisher:

The World Health Organization, governments and politically powerful nongovernmental organizations partnering with industry and governments like the Gates Foundation have given the pharmaceutical industry tens of billions of dollars to develop and fast track experimental coronavirus vaccines to licensure and promote their universal use. At the same time, governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits whenever messenger RNA and DNA Covid-19 vaccines, which are being produced using technology never before licensed for humans, cause harm

One particularly fascinating aspect of the CCDH report is the story of how Bill Gates has become the all-purpose vaccine bogeyman in the era of COVID (more on that later). It is, of course, true that Bill Gates has been a frequent target of antivaccine conspiracy theories for a long time, ever since he and his wife founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund public health initiatives, in particular vaccination programs, but, if the CCDH report is accurate, COVID-19 has turned Bill Gates from a figure sometimes invoked as being a co-conspirator with a shadowy cabal of big pharma, government, and the World Health Organization to the Dark Lord Sauron, Lord Voldemort, and Darth Vader combined. It is, as CCDH states, a symbolic use of Bill Gates:

Anti-vaccine campaigners have collaborated with alternative health entrepreneurs and conspiracists to ensure that global health philanthropist Bill Gates has become a symbolic figure that represents all of their attacks on the trustworthiness of vaccine advocates.

These attacks are not aimed at influencing the ongoing debate over a Covid vaccine, in which the role of Bill Gates takes a back seat to more practical issues. The real utility of this campaign of vilification is to create a symbol and associated memes that aid the communication of interrelated beliefs about Covid, vaccines and conspiracies.

One factor in the rapid spread of the QAnon conspiracy theory was its ability to accommodate emerging conspiracy theories and symbolise them, as it proved to do with conspiracies around Covid-19.56 It was aided by a name, “QAnon”, and a set of symbols that were easily communicable and discoverable on social media. This allowed curious individuals to easily discover more QAnon content and provided a gateway through which existing conspiracy theorists could access a new audience.

Similarly, Bill Gates has come to represent a complex of anti-vaxxer talking points and conspiracy theories. Virtually every element of the online anti-vaxx movement has found ways of featuring him in their narratives, in a variety of contexts and tones. As a result, content featuring him is widespread, and the #billgates hashtag on Instagram allows users access to nearly 800,000 posts featuring anti-vaccine misinformation.57 Analysis performed by First Draft found that Bill Gates featured in 6 percent of social media posts about vaccines in their sample of 1,200.

The rest of the report points out how these three messages can be repackaged and customized for various audiences, such as alternative health advocates, grifters, young parents, conspiracy theorists, and the like. That might well be a topic for a second post, given that I had had something in mind related to this before I encountered the CCDH report. Personally, I’d rephrase the CCDH’s conclusions somewhat by representing the antivaccine cult as a conspiracy theory with protean forms that can be repackaged to appeal not just to alternative medicine grifters but to more reasonable people and understandably worried parents. (Again, that could well be a topic for another post.)

Indeed, it is useful to go back to an earlier CCDH report on the antivaccine movement and consider the four groups of antivaxxers identified:

  • Campaigners are full-time activists working to popularise anti-vaxx ideas. This includes professional anti-vaxxers who earn a living from their activism, grassroots activists who use Facebook pages to share anti-vaxx misinformation and non-profit organisations that push anti-vaxx narratives.
  • Entrepreneurs use their involvement in the anti-vaxx movement to promote a business. Typically entrepreneurs will employ a ‘marketing funnel’ leading users from freely accessible anti-vaxx content to paid-for products and services, from books to alternative medical treatments.
  • Conspiracists approach the issue of vaccines from an interest in conspiracy theories more generally. Unlike campaigners, they do not focus on the issue of vaccines or health full-time, but like entrepreneurs they sometimes use their involvement in the issue to promote a business.
  • Communities are people with an interest in anti-vaxx ideas who have formed groups in which to share and discuss those ideas. Communities are almost always Facebook groups or smaller Facebook pages, some of which are private. A minority of communities are run by entrepreneurs.

Personally, I have a better word for the “entrepreneurs” in the CCDH taxonomy: Grifters. I would also quibble with the part about how a minority of communities are run by entrepreneurs/grifters. This might be true on the surface, but if you look closer, there are often tight ties between the grifters and those running the Facebook groups, with the members of the groups being excellent marks to market the grifters’ wares to.

In the meantime, the CCDH report shows something that I and anyone who’s followed the antivaccine movement for any length of time is that it is organized and well-funded. Worse, it is very good at constructing compelling narratives based on simple points that can be customized to appeal to various groups. When COVID-19 first hit, a lot of people were surprised at how fast antivaxxers made common cause with COVID-19 deniers and cranks and then, ultimately, even with QAnon conspiracy theorists. They should not have been so surprised. The antivax ideology is rooted in what I like to call the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, namely that vaccines don’t work and cause harm, but “they” are keeping that hidden knowledge from you.

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]

139 replies on “CCDH report shows that antivaxxers coordinate COVID-19 vaccine fear mongering”

A. Bigtree is complaining the vaccines are rushed, but he jumped onto HCQ almost immediately and is still promoting it under the heading of “they’re hiding the cure” – with no or little evidence.

B. I have a quibble with the liability point here. COVID-19 vaccines are not under NVICP at present; they’re under CICP, which is much harder, and under the PREP act, that does mean almost no liability for the companies.
Where RFK jr. is misleading is presenting it as showing the vaccines are unsafe. These vaccines are heavily monitored, more than any before, and the companies actually have a lot riding on them. Especially Moderna – it’s a make or break for them.
The view that safety depend on liability is simply incorrect here, and using liability protections to scare people is manipulative.

C. Especially ironic about Bill Gate is the fact that, to my knowledge, he’s not directly involved in the mRNA vaccines development. Am I missing something? What does he have to do with them? At the least, the U.S. government is a lot more involved here.

I am not sure but I think Bill Gates has replaced Maurice Strong as one of the main New World Order overlords . If something happens to George Soros, competition for the title could be fierce. Given the current anti-China hysteria in the USA I propose Jack Ma.

Bill Gates makes a perfect symbol because of his previous actions and statements as the head of Microsoft. It appeals to people aged 40-50, who still remember early Windows version and all these computer system wars. And it does not matter that Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been doing a great job, Bill Gates is just someone people love to hate.
It’s similar, really, to using Monsanto’s business practices to vilify GMO.

Good gawd, Orac! I swear it’s comedy gold here at RI! Seriously, were you watching a WW2 documentary or a Star Wars flick for inspiration for this blog?

So, the evil antivaxx axis forces, with all the heavyweights in the movement, recently hosted an online meeting that was meant to exploit Covid vaccination fears to their advantage and bring down faith in vaccines once and for all? Was that really so, Orac? If so, even though I might not be a leader in the movement, surely I qualify as a loyal, committed foot-soldier; why didn’t anyone give me a heads-up about this final-solution?

Wait – let me check in with comrade, Natalie White: Natalie, did Chancellor Bigtree, Lord Kennedy, or even, His Excellency, Emperor Wakefield notify you of the meeting? I was left completely in the dark.

Orac, as sensational as the term is, there is essentially no ‘antivaxx movement’, and one is not even needed to destroy faith in vaccines. Vaccine injuries take care of that on their own.

Obligatory. #DNFTT

He’s pushing for Orac to ban him yet again. It’s not going to stop so long as he isn’t, so all the better to drive him over the cliff once more, IMHO.

Complicated, Gerg is not, among other character-associated lacunae.

Is that why we had several months of peace? I had hoped he’d just gone away on his own (or been sent to the poky).

“I qualify as a loyal, committed foot-soldier”

So loyal that you willingly rushed into the field of battle without their providing you with any weapons or ammunition. They left you to depend solely on your wits, and that was a tactical oversight.

“it’s comedy gold here at RI!”

We appreciate your contribution.

@ rs

“So loyal that you willingly rushed into the field of battle without their providing you with any weapons or ammunition.”

Greg is the reincarnation of Arnold von Winkelried: the guy who won over the Habsburgs by throwing himself bare-handed over the spears of its enemies to allow the swiss to break into the austrian’s lines. Admirable dedication to the cause!

Maybe he would have fit right into the Russian Army. I think there were times when there weren’t enough rifles to equip the soldiers, so the troops in follow-up waves were expected to equip themselves by taking rifles from their fallen comrades (only semi-ironic) as they advanced to the front.

Closer to Colonel Klink, although that was deliberate (mutatis mutandis John Banner).

@ Greg:

You’re quibbling about what movement means:
–there has been opposition to vaccines since Jenner’s day
— in 1998, Wakefield responded to a small group of mothers in the UK by putting forth his so-called theory, studying the phenomenon and planning a single vaccine
— inaccurate news reporting spread his myths and led to a drop in MMR uptake
— Wakefield was investigated by Brian Deer and later struck off

He sought out new fields to cultivate in the US where activists like BLF and alt med woo-meisters worked, enabled by television and careless reportage
this was prior to the growth of social media
He, alt med proselytisers and home grown mothers’ groups, spread the word via traditional media, blogs and books.
When social media evolved, they utilised it to further their campaign

Most of the people mentioned by Orac or me earn incomes through their participation in anti-vax ;
they sell books, films, supplements, quasi-medical services, foods, appear at conferences and run websites and charities.
Anti-vaxxers put adverts on Facebook: the largest accounts are RFKjr and Larry Cook of Stop Mandatory Vaccination.( Orac wrote about it- easy to find)

People who already entertain vague fears about vaccines find them amplified by anti-vax leaders and supplement salesmen who monetise fear, worry and doubt. They often collaborate with each other and support each other’s efforts ( like BLF and Mercola, Del and RFKjr).Many of those we mentioned live in estates which you can find on the internet..
Anti-vax is Big Money. .

@ Narad

To me, he closer to Sergeant Schultz. He wants to know nothing… Nothing!

Oh Boy… do I miss Hogan’s Heroes. The French version seems funnier to me: Sergeant Schultz is renamed Papa (i.e. Daddy) Schultz, and he has this grossly overstretched barbaric mixture of french and german accent. “Papa Schulz” is indeed the name of the show in french instead of “Hogan’s Heroes”, which is kind of a neat reversal of the stress on who’s the main protagonist. Making it even more hilarious than in english. It came very late on the screen, around there, though. 1987.

@ Greg:

Seriously, how can you deny that there is an anti-vaxx movement when diverse advocates spout identical talking points across different media which can easily be documented? The ideas change slightly over time, reflecting current issues like H1N1 or Covid, They gather together for conferences and protests targetting political bodies?
Most of the major players** benefit monetarily from their activities: they sell space for adverts on their websites, offer products to strengthen immunity thus abnegating the need for vaccines, act as lawyers, write books, create polemic films and have “charities’ that support their work, many being paid for their management of the group or its website

If you mean that there is no over-arching government-like body presiding over them, there doesn’t have to be: the internet itself serves as a consolidating force with social media being means of communication between members and has been for a long time FOR FREE!.
Do the K-pop stans have a governing body to unite them that dictates their beliefs, actions and choices: NO, but they consolidate through common ideas.

Actually, I’m less concerned with the followers who indeed also may be victims of
disinformational campaigns by leaders and serve to spread the talking points. These entrepreneurs ** benefit in popularity and profit as more believers sign on to the programming

**. Del, Andy, RFKjr, Tenpenny, Adams, Null, Mercola, Coleman, Cook, AoA, TMR etc.
***Nattrass calls their hiv/ aids denialist alternates “cultropreneurs” .

@ Greg

“Seriously, how can you deny that there is an anti-vaxx movement when diverse advocates spout identical talking points across different media which can easily be documented?” — Denice

Yep. 100%. You do not need to be a genius to observe that… Even a rabid madman like me can do it. You should be able to rise above über-psychotic level.

@Denice: He knows he’s lying. You know he’s lying. And he knows that you know he’s lying.

Gerg is indulging in what child psychologists refer to as attention-seeking behavior.

But then, Gerg never indulges in anything else.

Feed it a wafer thin mint and move on.

@ F68.10

Even a rabid madman like me

You are selling yourself short. Also, there are madmen and madmen.

There is a home for mentally-disabled people not far from where I live, I regularly meet some of them in the street or while shopping.
I am a bit afraid of them, because I don’t know how to interact with them.

OTOH, people like some of the repeat trolls here? Technically, all of them are fully cognizant and mentally autonomous.
In real life, I would be very afraid of them once I become aware of their monomania.
Because I would know I can not interact with them.

@ Athaic

Overall, there is little risk to be afraid of them. Just do not interact with them as regular trolls on RI… do not take them for fools either, but simply take care of what you say: people usually understand that you do not agree when you take care of adding “I’m sorry” when stating that you disagree.

The hardest is stopping a conversation with someone that does not want to stop. You occasionally have a tiny minority of them with semi-murderous instincts, but very much usually, you’re very likely not their target. Saying that you’re sorry if you’ve hurt one of them after a misplaced word usually thwarts agressivity.

The worst experience I had talking with one such people was a woman on the street. I tried a few nice words and offered some small amount of cash generously. She thought I was trying to trick her into grooming her for sex. It took less than one to two minutes to trigger that reaction. Much more painful to experience than witnessing my murderous “buddy” (he tried to stab a judge once…) picking up a fight with another alcooholic “buddy”.

Thinking of that experience with that woman, I do believe it would be time for psychiatrists to stop hiding behind diagnosis to avoid stacking up data on child sexual abuse. If you see what’s in the news in your country, you’ll obviously see what I mean. But I heard that it was “antipsychiatry” to believe that it would be a nice idea… (the accusation leveled at the Power Threat Meaning Framework, which, as imperfect as it may be, is the only option on the table at the moment that would enable such data to start being channeled into research… which would start putting an end to institutionalized cherry-picking.)

@ has:

Oh, I know.
It’s really for the lurkers and gives me a chance to invoke K-pop stans
but we can’t say enough about how anti-vax links up to business ops and how these grifters are irrevocably working together.

@ F68.10;

OT but images of Melania’s Birkin bag bounced off of your recent allusions to incest in my mind and I suddenly recalled:
Didn’t Serge Gainsbourg have a song about it with his daughter long ago? I found recordings: I knew of it but never heard it.
although the lyrics said, ” It will never happen”… STILL….
he had a 12 year old singing it..

@ Athaic:

Two or three anti-vaxx commenters here may have emotional issues and whilst I don’t think that they would harm anyone directly, it is more a question of not letting them obsess further about their bete noire by dueling with vaccination advocates and working on their talking points which they will use to entice innocent and unaware young parents
Research shows that arguing with them makes them more adamant about their position..

@ Denice Walter

Yep. Gainsbourg did write and perform Lemon Incest with his daughter. At the same time, the guy was such a provocateur (singing La Marseillaise in Reggae mode… and almost being beaten up for it) that it’s really hard to know what could be true or false in this story, and I do not believe it is exactly worthwhile to dig into it. Nonetheless, when he wrote and performed “One Man’s Woman Under The Body Of Others”… that leaves absolutely no doubt as to how licentious the man was.

My anglophilia somehow makes me think Tom Lehrer is much more fun…

But much more damning than Gainsbourg for french society are the reactions of viewers calling TV to protest the first public disclosing of incest on TV… in 1986. Staggering indeed.

In all honesty, the problem is not new, but sexual liberation in the 70s left the taboo completely untouched. And what we are witnessing with the recent Duhamel case is that the much needed untightening of sexual moral norms at the time (see Tom Lehrer) went so far as to be lenient towards pedophilia/criminality. All the more frightening as Duhamel was a constitutional law professor in the central academic institution of french power. I think it does raise serious issues as to how the notion of law is conceived: abuse has kind of been hiding behind legal positivism (the de facto historical legal doctrine in France) with little critical input coming from the jurisprudence system (whose hands are very much tied due to hypervocal and hysterical fears of a Government of the Judges; N.B.: no election system for judges at all and a fairly closed system of civil service for this profession). France is unfortunately not the country of Reinhold Zippelius, my Erlangen-Nuremberg legal rock star.

Nonetheless, what I am witnessing in blog discussions is that the taboo is still extremely strong, with people saying that the book incriminating Duhamel by her stepdaughter should more or less have been stopped from being published since (bullshit…) it substitutes a mediatic tribunal for the judicial system. (The two problems in this argument are 1. free speech issues, and I already told you about libel laws… 2. the judicial system failed, as it usually does, by dropping the case in 2011… which implies that a ban would entail uncriticisability of the legal system and is kind of the intellectual morass Finkielkraut kind of, knowingly or unknowingly, attempts to stick public opinion into by bickering on “consent”…).

Back to Gainsbourg: the problem with taboos such as incest is that, whether or not Gainsbourg did anything of the kind, breaking a taboo involves talking about it, no matter apologetically or not. Breaking a taboo is a question of momentum, and one has to appreciate the overall societal morality of such a song as Lemon Incest in this context… independently, unfortunately, of the morality of individual agents.

Ok, I see all you guys love my post, or, at least, it got you attention. I am flattered, but I also feel obliged to address this..

Seriously, how can you deny that there is an anti-vaxx movement when diverse advocates spout identical talking points across different media which can easily be documented?

Because Denice, that’s precisely what it is — a gigantic, worldwide, mainly social-media driven ‘movement’ of talking points. It’s essentially folks the world over just mainly bitching about vaccines. There is no concrete objective, no concrete plan to achieve those objectives, and, as you’ve conceded, no over-arching leadership to pursue such a plan.

Denice, sure there are the high profile figures targeted here that are joining in and amplifying the bitching. Yes, some may even be monetizing it. Still, whatever objectives or plans these ‘leaders’ have, they are largely clandestine and secretive. Yes, perhaps many of them do secretly desire to see the end of vaccines, but that’s precisely the point Denice — it’s all secretive!

Perhaps overtime the bitching will morph into something more constructive, but at the moment it’s not there. Also, don’t get me wrong, I take no joy in denying there is an antivaxx movement. As someone who sincerely see preventive medicine for healthy people as sacrilege, I would very much welcome a real antivaxx movement.

@ F68.10

In all honesty, the problem is not new, but sexual liberation in the 70s left the taboo completely untouched. And what we are witnessing with the recent Duhamel case is that the much needed untightening of sexual moral norms at the time (see Tom Lehrer) went so far as to be lenient towards pedophilia/criminality.

Yeah, this one is a complex can of worm.
People who are revulsed by it don’t want to talk about it – worse, don’t want to see it -, while people who are… fuzzy… about it don’t want too much light shed on it.

By and large, the hippies were mostly clear on pedophilia. It’s an abuse of power.
That didn’t stop the Catholic Church to try to blame on them the recent scandals of decades of covering priests thumping the altar boys. See, these priests were just following the hippies (they were not). Like that didn’t happen before the hippies started advocating for sexual liberation.

There were exception. Cohn-Bendit has a sulfurous reputation on this, because in one interview he dropped the topic of “a little girl lusting for” an adult. Can’t tell if he was trolling, wishing, or merely pointing out a big taboo, that young people do have emotions of their own.
OK, more bluntly, that children and teenagers do have a sexuality of their own. Still at best a delicate topic, if not outright taboo, in many countries, not just France.

Anyway, I feel too that we French seem at best confused on the topic, focusing on consent, but forgetting that the adult in the room has to be responsible for all present persons.
“Be the adult in the room”. I love this English expression.

@ Athaic

There are multiple cans of worms there. Indeed, it is appalling to see how this is being played endlessly as a catholicism vs. leftism (and free-masonry) in the popular psyche. The question of victims and incest per se is therefore still not effectively on the table, and we are playing over and over the same resentments dating back to the 18th and 19th century. Fuck me sideways.

The other issue, I think, is a question pertaining to the nature of freedom of speech. When you listen to Tom Lehrer, it is patent that in the 70s the notion of freedom of pleasure has been masquerading under the notion of freedom of speech. There is some validity to this masquerade, as we all know what censors want to do when it comes to sex. If you go back to the foundations of freedom of speech in the English speaking world, you also have to deal with the fact that Areopagitica, a philosophical foundation of freedom of speech, has been written by John Milton in a context where he was frustrated not to be able to wage the war of ideas on the topic of divorce. So sex has always been foundational to free speech issues.

On the other hand, when it comes to pornography, it is quite a stretch to claim that pornographic material is a vehicle of debate (it might provide material for debate, though). Hence, it is a dubious claim that smut should be defended on free speech grounds as the overall utility to public debate is debatable to say the least. That is patently obvious in Tom Lehrer’s song. So the 70s cracking of moral dogma on sexuality is to be lauded as free speech is necessary on sexual matters, as John Milton plainly showed. It nevertheless failed, at least in France, to enable rational discourse on morality as we were (and still are) embroiled with the authoritarian nature of catholicism on this topic around here.

With the advent of the Internet, the issue is now even more acute: on one hand, free speech enables situations such as Victor and Duhamel to come to light (which were previously covered using, among others, libel laws – and catholicism was fairly adamant about that point in the 19th century when the 1881 law of the press was adopted) thus criticizing what the 70s failed to acknowledge (though mostly did not endorse, as you pointed out). On the other, with the Internet, we see a terrifying explosion of child sexual abuse material stacking up in social networks databases and in the databases of authorities, and the issue of free speech has taken a much more darker turn entailing more than free speech but also privacy laws… So we now are in quite a deep mess because of our collective inability to taylor moral discourse on this matter on rational grounds.

BTW, you say that the left did not endorse abuse of powers. Overall, yes, that’s roughly true (though, you know… stalinists… maoists…). But they did not realize the extent of the problem. Not many people did, overall, anyway… (perhaps the Church with its mechanism of confession… who knows?…) But merely laying down the discussion in terms of abuse of power is also inadequate (and almost everyone does that mistake, feminists included). The problem is not that “consent does not exist” as feminists and incest activits frame the debate, at least around here. The problem is that consent can exist… but that does not make it moral anyhow, even if girls may eventually be happy and enjoy it at first. The damage can be long to come… and people shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind consent to deny the russian roulette aspect of incest. Behind more-complex-than-acknowledged issues of abuses of power lurks irresponsibility and moral ignorance. A genuine aspect of the taboo IMO.

@ F68.10

BTW, you say that the left did not endorse abuse of powers.

Eh, I said “hippies”. The “Left” is a lot bigger group. And as you pointed out, “abuse of power” is not something unknown to people with left-leaning opinions…
For some reasons, I have now the endoctrinement scene in the movie “L’aventure c’est l’aventure” playing in my mind’s eye.

Actually, IIRC, one thing which saved the bacon of De Gaulle & co in 68 was precisely that the blue collar unions, the hippies and the students failed to meet and stick together in their protests. There were some overlaps and exchanges between the different groups, but no long-lasting concordance of opinion or action.

The problem is that consent can exist… but that does not make it moral anyhow

Concisely put.

@ Athaic

“Concisely put”

Indeed. But there is another can of worms there: by focusing on the notion of the consent, given the structure of the law, you have two options: 1. saying that consent can exist and hence incest is more or less OK or 2. saying that consent cannot exist because minors lack free will. While option 2. seems to work around the question of consent, it also plays in the narrative that minors do not have free will (see Goldnadel) and in the end it also strips them of the ability to self-determine in the face of such a situation. And hence also stops them from stepping out of such situations. In such situations, we should be careful to guarantee kids the “free will” to step out of these abuse. We do not… not really…

That’s really why I think the debate about consent is toxic. People should call a spade a spade: consent can exist. And follow that fact to its logical conclusion: the law must drop the implicit idea that incest is kind of a contract, and not entirely invalid for that reason. Which also impacts the notion of consent for women in general, with the fear that judes can stripped their consent away from them… Which means that one must motivate what vitiates it as a contract: the incestuous character of the act per se, i.e. the ticking bomb power dynamics of father-daughter (for instance) relationships for incest.

This is important as this is the fundamentally flawed dynamic not only in incest but also in almost all cases of child abuse I’ve documented myself on. Abuses which are not only sexual in nature. Which means that until this aspect is not recognized for itself in the law, not only in the case of incest but also in the case of other forms of child abuse, child abuse will be more or less offered a free pass. Or more precisely a free get out of jail card. And even worse: non-recognition in positivist terms of abuse itself.

That recognition by the law also would allow recognition of the specifics of these situation, and in the end would shift the focus from punitive justice to proactive detection and protection of the child. As you can check <ahref=””>by reading the news, this is very obviously not the case and very obviously not where most people want to take the debate. They need a criminal. M’kay… but what about the victim? Don’t care: we got the criminal. Utterly wrong approach.

If you want to know why I feel I have a stake in these situations, just check the 3:349 France:UK ratio for the kind of abuse I have a stake in.

So, the evil antivaxx axis forces, with all the heavyweights in the movement, recently hosted an online meeting that was meant to exploit Covid vaccination fears to their advantage and bring down faith in vaccines once and for all?

I never said “once and for all.”?

If so, even though I might not be a leader in the movement, surely I qualify as a loyal, committed foot-soldier; why didn’t anyone give me a heads-up about this final-solution?… I was left completely in the dark.

I suppose you could be right, that there’s no anti-vaccination movement.
OTOH, you could be such an annoying doofus that no one, not even antivaxxers, could abide your presence. Take your pick.

Hi Greg. No memo yet from Antivax HQ. I’ll keep you posted. Lol.

What are your thoughts on CCDH? Center for Countering Digital Hate. Sounds really important. A Sisyphean task so the $$$$ flows forever.

Purpose – from wiki: “To disrupt the architecture of online hate and misinformation” aka sensoring dissenting/opposing views. Good luck with that! Another BS non-profit!!!

CHA-CHING! I need to get it on that racket.

Too much information?

Good day and good health to you!

@ Natalie White

“Sounds really important.”

Yep. It is. Dunno about CCDH itself, and I heavily dislike the word “hate”, but do bear in mind that the invention of the printing press brought 1. medical disinformation 2. heightened ethnic tensions 3. religious wars. Do you fancy all that with the advent of the net?

Natalie, CCDH is the sign of the times. Censorship is everywhere, and it’s very coordinated. I have argued that there is no antivaxx movement because ‘antivaxxers’ are not as coordinated. Provaxx is the real ‘movement’.

@ Greg

“Provaxx is the real ‘movement’.”

Nope. The real movement is pro-bullshit. And social networks need to curtail it among similarly damaging aspects of their business, such as roughly put, CSAM and Trump. They just cannot go around letting just anything be published. Nothing stops anyone from putting on a website on one’s own. Or promoting other search engines such as Yacy.

But you know what? People are lazy. That’s the real movement: laziness. They expect Google Facebook and others to walk down their line, when, in reality, Google Facebook and others are just trying to hold everything together… I mean, come on! Facebook has made every effort to be as lenient as it possibly could! It’s just that its patience cannot be stretched to the extent of tolerating CSAM and Trump anymore.

You’re just hitting the limits of free speech. Not legally (at least in the US) but on practical grounds.

I’m sorry I missed Rabbi Michoel Green’s presentation at NVIC’s conference, “Respecting Life and Guarding Your Soul”.

That’s a vaccination side effect they’ve never warned us about, at least I’ve never seen it listed in the package inserts. Could it be that viral and bacterial antigens targeted by vaccines share homology with genetic sequences in our souls?

Think about it – the new Covid-19 vaccines may well have been designed by atheistic scientists to bind to and deactivate our souls, rendering us helpless to ward off the demonic assaults of mainstream media, Bill Gates, the Democratic Party etc.

That’s worse than microchipping.

I’m sorry I missed Rabbi Michoel Green’s presentation at NVIC’s conference, “Respecting Life and Guarding Your Soul”.

Oh, dear, I hadn’t heard about this nut before. Running around pretending that he speaks for the diaspora (PDF) is bad enough, but trying to simultaneously play the Chabad and Jews for Jesus cards is not a sound hand.

@ Narad

If only that nut knew what I thought of his noahide laws…

@ Rabbi Michoel Green

Keep your religion to yourself, pal.

. . . I learned that the CCDH also investigated a meeting by antivaxxers held virtually in October with the express purpose of developing strategies, a playbook if you will, to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the COVID-19 vaccines . . .

It’s almost as though there were an actual conspiracy involving these people. Nahh, that’s just silly. If it were a real conspiracy, they would be allying with neo-Nazis and other such groups.

” If it were a real conspiracy, they would be allying with neo-Nazis and other such groups.”

From has’ link above:

The channel only recently pivoted to making, and calling for the spread of, anti-vaxxer rhetoric, apparently because they believe that they can co-opt that movement to destabilize America and take advantage of the ensuing chaos. That’s not a deep reading of CCN’s motives; the channel is open and explicit about its aim, and about the fact that it doesn’t necessarily want to bring anti-vaxxers into the neo-Nazi fold, just push them into ugly conflict with authorities that white nationalists can exploit. It’s also very clear about the fact that this scheme is just a part of a wider conviction, shared by many far-right groups, that the coming months are going to be a shitshow of pain and unrest in America, and that they must milk that misery for all it’s worth.

So maybe not all are allying but are still getting allied (and played)?

Orac: People are spreading lies that will lead to the death of children

Greg: Dead kids are funny! Hahahha! .(giggles until he wets himself).

Natalie White and Christine Kincaid – Dead kids are our favorite joke too.

@ Kinnison

Sorry, but I do not believe Christine Kincaid enjoys dead kids. Feel free to bash the other two, but please avoid that line on Christine Kincaid.

Christine doesn’t think her grief is funny, but she doesn’t care about anyone else’s. She also thinks her son’s disability voids his right to privacy and has splashed his identifying information all over the internet. Greg is annoying, but Christine is vile.

@Kinnison, I’d forgotten that’s also where she says “ASD trumps every other ‘special need’ out there.” Sheesh, her self-importance and selfishness really don’t know any bounds, do they?

@ Terrie

I know that. I just do not endorse bashing her this way. Even if I know and can’t say I agree with that.

@ Kennison

That’s what’s called delusion. That’s not called enjoying dead kids.

@ Both of you.

I do not intend to fight this over. You just know where I stand on that one.

It’s a funny thing ain’t it? When you realise that anti-vaxxers.are human too and that you might even like them…….if they just stopped with the infuriating lack of critical thinking and logic.

Like that one guy you meet at work and have a good laugh with. Until he starts telling racist jokes and you start planning an exit strategy.

@ NumberWang
Yes, in a way, that is funny. Or weird, or whatever. Especially with Covid-19, you soon might discover what weird ideas people you like, or offer help, have.

After the dead of my dad, I’ve been offered help from several neighbours, who are very friendly. On the other hand, they turn out to have some weird ideas, like a lady of the library in the appartmentbuilding, where I brought some old books, who at some point starting to tell all kinds of weird things about the Covid-19 vaccine, that it would alter your DNA and it would make it easier for government, or other organisations, to track you. At that point I left as quickly as possible.
A neighbour of my dad, whose cat stays with me, because she can’t take care of him at this moment, would take the vaccine, because her son wanted her to take it, but she never took the flu-vaccine.
And some other neighbour, who helps me with things, complained my dad’s appartment might be rented to refugees. This kind of talk makes me feel uncomfortable.

@ Renate

“This kind of talk makes me feel uncomfortable.”

Of course it should. Now, the trick is that 1. you should protect yourself from such talk infecting your mind 2. think everything over 3. engage civil conversation, not necessarily on your own. IMO, living in a democracy entails doing all these three things, as far as time and leisure allows. If we do not have these conversations, liberal democracy will die and will be replaced by shouting mobs. And, honestly, the Netherlands, a place where religious tolerance really did matter historically, is one of the last places on Earth where I want these ideas to die.

I will simply note that I have pointed out multiple times that the death of Christine’s daughter is a tragedy and she has my sympathy for it. However, that sympathy does not extend to giving her a pass on her behavior, which does include mocking other people’s tragedies, wishing harm unto others and dehumanizing her son.

@ Terrie

I agree with you. On most points. I question your modalities of action. That’s all.

After the dead of my dad, I’ve been offered help from several neighbours, who are very friendly. On the other hand, they turn out to have some weird ideas….

Oddly, I’m in the same boat — there is exactly no way I’d be able to handle dealing with my late father’s estate without the generosity (and humor; his remains are still in a dresser drawer) of the the next-door neighbors. Who are scared shitless of Joe Biden. And there are too many Blacks and women, etc.

And people wonder why I don’t want to stay in Florida.

@F, fair enough. I will admit I lost my temper and went too far last month when I posted my frustration at people like her pushing COVID misinformation due to the death of my cousin’s father in law on Christmas Day, and she basically responded with “Big fucking deal” about his death. After that, I took several days away from here to focus on helping my cousin (not easy when we’re both stringent about social distancing). Sadly, Zoom funerals aren’t nearly as comforting as in person ones.

@ Terrie

No problem, Terrie. I’m not making a personal judgement on you. I was just trying to get a point across. You’re free to accept it or reject it in the end. I do not expect people to justify themselves. It’s between them and them.

Florida notwithstanding, I’m adopting a cat. Shit, remember when things would turn to food talk at night and lilady would object to my objection to dill? Good times. I miss them. Trolls come and go (well, I guess Gerg is in an interstitial space with that), but… community. Antaeus. Krebiozen. The Revere(s). This isn’t going to work by itself.

I dunno, I just felt as though this needs to hold tight. Twattering is not going to do it. The constant deluge from out host and Prof. Reiss has caused me to turn back to just what cocktails my friends are making and what they’re cooking for themselves and their own. I know that I’m rambling, but I think there’s something to be salvaged.

Otherwise, the shop might as well close its doors for real. I don’t read SBM because the design is unreadable, but just quit pretending and leave it there if that’s what it takes.

“Florida notwithstanding, I’m adopting a cat.”

Welp, there goes the neighborhood.

With only scant apologies to the Charlie Daniels Band, here’s the NVIC conference theme song, as performed by The Refusers :

Paul Offit went down to Georgia
He was lookin’ for a soul to steal
He was in a fix ’cause he was out of tricks
He was willing to make a deal

Paul Thomas, gather up your memes and play your games real hard
‘Cause Offit’s loose in Georgia and Big Pharma deals the cards
And if you win pandemics will exact an awful toll
But if you lose Paul Offit gets your soul

[Verse 2]
Paul Offit pulled out his syringe and he said, “I’ll start this show.”
Toxins flew from his fingertips with an unearthly glow
He depressed the plunger and it made an evil hiss
And a band of vaxers joined in and it sounded something like this:

[Demonic violin piece]

When Paul Offit finished, Thomas said, “Well, you’re pretty good ol’ son
But sit down and I’ll Gish Gallop till the battle’s won

Pharma on the mountain, run, boys, run!
Orac’s in the house of the rising sun
Shills in the bread pan picking up dough
Dorit, does your vax work? No, child, no

@Dangerous Bacon–please don’t give that horrid cacaphony of chowderheads any ideas for a new “song”. It’s bad enough when a new one pops up on my feeds every 6 months or so.

Wait! Which is it? They pretend it’s gone away, in order to gain kudos or something? Or they make a big deal of it in order to ‘steal our guns and control our thoughts with microchips’?

As Orac notes (and I felt this way reading Scott Gavura’s coverage of this yesterday), AV leaders are applying tactics they’ve used in the past on other vaccines to discredit the COVID-19 vaccine. In the past their audience was parents, and mostly new parents, but now their audience is any adult in America. Yep, that’s a whole new market for FUD and profit. And as Denice notes most of the major AV players benefit monetarily from this. But I still suspect there are private, undisclosed backers of the American AV movement we do not yet know. I don’t think AV campaigners are that generous with their profits to plow them back into their movement, nor do I think adding in what they crowdsource covers their costs fully either. They were fully in it to win it before COVID-19 came along and they view this pandemic as an additional opportunity. Considerations include bankrolling by law firm(s) hoping to cash in if NVICP is repealed or quack medical groups (aka chiroquacks and naturoquacks) who want to grow into pediatric markets by convincing parents that vaccines are not needed for their children (which might pull some parents to them and away from pediatricians). Too bad they didn’t discuss any of that at this NVIC conference.

That list of talks at the NVIC conference; it’s a good think my hair’s braided up tight or it might have caught fire from the sheer stupidity.

“Consensus is Not Science and Science, Never Settled”
Do these people apply these inane statements to things like gravity, or Maxwell’s equations? Do they wander around shouting that “water does not freeze at 0C or 32F!”? Do they swear that internal combustion is impossible (while driving a car)?
Or do they, as I suspect, cherry pick the science they don’t want to be “settled” to be all the usual suspects (medicine, vaccines, climate change, evolution)?

As for “Why Homeschooling Is Under Attack and What You Can Do”, 1) more people are “homeschooling” now than ever before, thanks COVID. And 2) frankly, a lot of people who homeschool (not all, let’s not start) shouldn’t be allowed to home school past maybe the third grade because they did not learn enough in school themselves to teach a child what they need to function in society (literacy, numeracy, how to get along with people well enough to hold down a job).

Do they wander around shouting that “water does not freeze at 0C or 32F!”?

They might if they ever came across a very pure and very still puddle. I came across such a puddle when it was 5F outside once.. chucked a pebble into it and watched it flash-freeze to the ground.

Hand-Pumping an applesauce jar down with an old FoMoCo compressor is a hoot — closing the stopcock and walking around with a jar of boiling/freezing water in your hand == minds blown. Triple-point is da bomb.


Do they wander around shouting that “water does not freeze at 0C or 32F!”?

It’s more that they say the equivalent of “Those scientists can’t even agree on whether water freezes at 32 or zero degrees. Some of them even insist it’s 273 degrees! How then can we trust them on anything?”

Hank Aaron died in his sleep 2 1/2 weeks after receiving the first dose of the vaccine. This does not look like a vaccine reaction. A sudden unexpected natural death in an 86 year old person is far and away most likely due to vascular disease: myocardial infarction, stroke, ruptured aortic aneurysm, pulmonary embolism. Other possible but less likely causes would include undiagnosed cancer, epilepsy and GI hemorrhage.
I have encountered all of these causes of death in my autopsy practice. No vaccines implicated.

Hmm. Yes, yes, yes. Hmm. Any one of your suggested causes would not be unexpected in a man of such advanced age. True. But the one little nagging inconsistency with your hypothesis is that it doesn’t arouse any suspicion whatsoever. No; I believe, that upon more rigorous inspection, it will be determined that this man was.. dun dun dun… Murdered.

A mournful loss, all the same.

{or, at least, that is what the collective psyche will record after LionsGate gets ahold of it}

@ TBruce

What literature is there out there that double-checks statistically whether or not autopsy reports match reality? Just curious.

On this specific case, I do not see how an autopsy could confirm or infirm a vaccine reaction causing death.

I don’t know what you mean by “reality”. If anything, studies have shown significant errors in antemortem diagnoses, lab studies and imaging studies in a significant proportion of cases. Of course, the autopsy doesn’t always reveal a cause of death. The responsible pathologist then renders a diagnosis of “Cause of Death Undetermined”. This is uncommon but does occur.
In the case of sudden unexpected death 2 1/2 weeks after a vaccine, you would probably find evidence of the conditions I mentioned above, none of which are related to vaccines. Or it might be a case of undetermined cause of death. Could be vaccines, could be other things (cardiac rhythm disturbances, undiagnosed seizure disorder, a number of other things that can’t be diagnosed on autopsy). However, no approved vaccines as yet have been implicated in a statistical increase in sudden unexplained death.

Ohh, come on. It’s obvious the nurse was in on it. Inside Job!! She rigged part of the needle to break off, it migrated to his heart, and started perforating stuff in the slish-slosh of dry-rotted valves.

They got Larry King to; There is a serial killer out there somewhere going after old, aging celebrities (he was only 87 and in the hospital for just covid which we all know is fake news); “star-fucker”, If I remember unsolved mysteries correctly.

him/her/they/their must be stopped. When does it end? Where does it end? How does it end? It only started back up after Biden got into office. Somebody stop’em before they get Betty White! No, wait…

R.I.P, Mr. King. I watched you most nights when I didn’t even bother with “the news”.

F68.10: You’re right, and I apologize, to Christine and to the community as a whole. I’ll do better henceforth.

And that’s what makes a wiser commenter. I fell into that trap once, and when my error was explained to me, Kim Rossi was offered a mamesh apology, in case she might have been reading.

@ Kinnison

“You’re right…”

Of course I’m right !!! I’m paranoid !!!

(That was one of my favourite punchlines in psych wards…)

“…and I apologize…”

The protection of all beings is accomplished through examination of one’s own mistakes. — Śāntideva

(Apologies tend not to be my cup of tea, though, so I do not like expecting them from others: error recognition is enough for me).

Wow these people got together and had a public conference and discussed strategies and co-originated their events. These people must be witches, heretics or something, I bet they had a big cauldron and they cooked vials of unused vaccines in it. I bet they even exchanged email addresses with each other and god forbid, gave each other their cell phone numbers so they could talk about their heresies or maybe they would start a blog or a webpage where like minded people could go to celebrate their wicked ways and gather enough followers before the authorities could preform an electronic book burning aka: de-platform them.

I’m sure that Orac has already heard:
Bill Maher, last night, about defeating Covid ( paraphrase)
if only people would improve their immunity, eat right and lose weight

Why is what Maher said so different then what the CDC says

“Having obesity puts people at risk for many other serious chronic diseases and increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
“Obesity Worsens Outcomes from COVID-19”
“Eating a healthy diet”
“Physical activity can also help prevent diseases that increase a person’s chances of having severe illness from COVID-19 such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.Emerging research suggests it may also help boost immune function.”

While healthy people are effected/affected with covid the (age factor aside) vast majority of deaths are people who are over weight or have bad habits (alcohol, eating, tobacco etc.). Modern medicine can only help so much, people need to take care of the “terrain”.

@ scott allen

“Modern medicine can only help so much”

It can also kill. That’s why we put science as the icing on top of the cake. Kind of to avoid killing people. Nah? (And everything we had before “modern medicine” was kind of not up to the task anyway…)

“…people need to take care of the “terrain”.”

Or simply accept that silver bullets are only designed for werewolves

The main difference is that while SBM recognises the need for healthy diets, exercise and other personal care, it realises that medical interventions ( meds, vaccines, surgeries etc) are sometimes needed as well based on research.
Alt med/ natural/ health/ etc, largely dismiss the need for any medical intervention being nearly totally reliant upon diet, exercise, supplements, positive thinking etc ONLY very occasionally admitting that medical care is needed.

As one major woo-meister opines ( paraphrase)
If you break leg, get shot etc, emergency medicine is great. Regular medical care that treats chronic conditions fails totally
If you care well for yourself as they advise, there’s no reason to see a doctor unless if you fall off of a building.
The regenerative powers of natural foods, herbs, vitamins and phytonutrients are exaggerated and the danger of meds is highlighted without the converse of either.

And the point of a vaccination is to make the “terrain” inhospitable to a virus or bacterium.

Why is what Maher said so different then what the CDC says

Because the CDC isn’t an arrogant antivaxxer and a germ theory denier? Context is essential.

so you believe in the Marshall McLuhan theory that the medium is the message not the contents of the message itself.

@ scott allen

I’ve skimmed over the wikipedia page of Marshall McLuhan. I do not like his totalising tone, but yes, the medium matters very much.

Nonetheless, I do not believe that we need to dive into Marshall McLuhan to observe that spin does exist in Bill Maher’s positions. (And I overall quite like the guy, though I’m more right-wing than him).

Okay, let’s talk content, specifically what Maher did not say (as far as I know). Did he mention the importance of social distancing and use of masks? Did he support vaccination? Did he consider the extreme difficulty most obese people have in losing weight? Did he consider the difficulty people who live in “food deserts” have finding affordable healthy food?
If not, Maher’s advice is simplistic and facile. So yeah, he can get stuffed.
Of course, if he did mention all that, he can still get stuffed, on general principles.

so you believe in the Marshall McLuhan theory that the medium is the message not the contents of the message itself.

That is the dumbest motherf*cking self-defensive non sequitur that I have seen in all my natural-born days, spotts. You’re an embarrassment to gametes. Be careful — never know what might appear next.

Kids, do you see mommy or daddy in these photos? Maybe delay a decision based on your removed bedroom doors or how long they witheld your xbox or just threating to shoot you for watching antifauxnews:

Despite its disclaimers and limitations, Faces of the Riot represents the serious privacy dangers of pervasive facial recognition technology, says Evan Greer, the campaign director for digital civil liberties nonprofit Fight for the Future. “Whether it’s used by an individual or by the government, this technology has profound implications for human rights and freedom of expression,” says Greer, whose organization has fought for a legislative ban on facial recognition technologies. “I think it would be an enormous mistake if we come out of this moment by glorifying or lionizing a technology that, broadly speaking, disproportionately harms communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant communities, Muslim communities, activists… the very same people that the faces on this website stormed the Capitol for the purpose of silencing and disenfranchising.”
McDonald has previously both criticized the power of facial recognition technology and himself implemented facial recognition projects like ICEspy, a tool he launched in 2018 for identifying agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
But McDonald also points out that Faces of the Riot demonstrates just how accessible facial recognition technologies have become. “It shows how this tool that has been restricted only to people who have the most education, the most power, the most privilege is now in this more democratized state”

I guess, with the amature FOSS stuff that it would be harder to go after BLM/antifa/provacateur rioters because they weren’t plague rats.

Exactly….. if they can de-platform a powerful person like a sitting US president, which people who posted on this site were very happy to see and now this site is celebrating the de-platforming of sites which post false/misleading or contrary information, which sites will these people want to de-platform next, the leftist in Britain found out. What movies, actors,TV shows,businesses will be de-platformed because they disagree with uber rich people like Bezos, Buffett , Bloomburg, Steyer, Gates etc

Welcome to JAQing off Sunday! Today is the day for iconoclasts of all stripes to complain on every platform in existence that they’ve been deplatformed.

You’re damn right. I wholly expect that in the near future the VR assassins will come for me for being a heritic:

(1) For the pointings out for the purpose of corrupting random digital yutes on the internet that Mark Zuckerberg be “a meat-smoking, sickly-twisted, soulless lying sack of shit deserving of some rough FTC backdoor love.” — (see attached:

(2) wherein thou didst laugh at and like electronic graven images of Jack Dorsey and impugned his visage as “impossibly complex and tangled mess of paleo-beard which would be more suited as an appendage to Tanzania for use as a giant nesting sancuary for particularly shy birds.”

(3) You act towards the detriment of the normal workings of the Common Commerce by flagrant and flaunting, illicite, lascivious, and prodigious embraces of advertisment-impeding implements. You dirty, dirty whore.

(4) You don’t upgrade your browser but instead pass along a manipulated identification for the purpose of bypassing our gatekeeping demands that you accept the latest exploit we’ve developed for the protection and general well being of society as noted in charge #3. You, sir, are a liar.

So, I’m done for. In my defense, as to point #2, I wish to point out that Jack Dorsey’s beard is a threat to the very devices that these platforms rely on for their life-sucking activities in the first place:

Fully rendering it causes overheating, meltdown, and explosion of cheaper Belkin power supplies and Li-ion batteries; taking out the device as well as (sometimes) the user and his house.

Jack is like the evil video game henchman that, for some unexplained reason, just beams into a boss-fight out of nowhere and drops the play to 2 or 3 fps.

The fabric shader demands every last resource of even the most capable next-gen GPUs so that the whole thing just grinds to a hault before going nova.

{I’m leaving you, Jack. At least, Jimmy Wales knows how to manscape.}

@ Charles Bronski

“The social media bosses are not on our side.”

Exactly! That statement is accurate! They’re not on my side!… I’m on their side! Big, big difference!

So you’re on the side of multi trillion dollar international companies that want to own and control what you see and hear, and who would squish you like a worm if you crossed them, good for you, ask Kurt von Schleicher how well that works out.

@ charles bronski

“So you’re on the side of multi trillion dollar international companies”


“that want to own and control what you see and hear”

That’s not true. The biggest problem with these companies is not that power that seems to freak you out but the long and ongoing and unsolved privacy problem. The one free software activists kept raising more and more vocally since 2000. But, yeah, aside than that, I clearly am on the side of these companies, and 100% assert that government should have no right to curtail their activities in terms on free speech. Government might, however, break them up with an antitrust law. I’m fine with that.

“and who would squish you like a worm if you crossed them”

Nah… that’s not true. They are nice people. Sometimes, they screw up a bit, like Bhopal, but otherwise, I swear that they are nice people.

“good for you, ask Kurt von Schleicher how well that works out.”

Oh! Is that a lame nazi gambit again? That doesn’t work on gnomes of Zürich or Zug, pal.

they WILL turn on you as well

Got a time frame? Do you have self-carnal knowledge of Sophie? I don’t have all night.

about 15 seconds is about all it takes for you, as for Sophie, never met her/him/she/it/them.
Don’t like von Schleicher, try Leon Trotsky, useful idiots never understand until its too late

@ charles bronski

“Don’t like von Schleicher, try Leon Trotsky, useful idiots never understand until its too late”

Oh! Everyone understands that political murders and political violence happens.

But at the moment, any interference from government into free speech is political violence. And I’m not proud of the French situation. I want a first amendment.

This is rotten:

For weeks, Pfizer executives pushed officials at the Food and Drug Administration to change the wording of the vaccine’s so-called emergency use authorization so that it formally acknowledged that the vials contained six doses, not five.

The distinction was critical: Pfizer’s contract with the federal government requires that it be paid by the dose. And there were serious public health implications.

No more, “buy five, get one free” for some; Not everyone has the modified syringes to get that last drop out. Corporates gonna corporate, I guess.

I wasn’t able to find this for a while but I did now:

Lantian et al, 2017
People who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to
–be open to experience
–be distrustful
–exhibit low agreeability
–show Machiavellianism
They also are more likely to
–over-estimate the likelihood of co-occurring events
–attribute intentionality
–show lower analytical thinking
These beliefs make them feel special; they are more alienated and socially isolated and driven by people not facts

I know that there is a discussion at SBM about whether this constitutes mental illness ( I probably tend to disagree and label it more under “personality”) but I think that it does illustrate how impervious they can be to education which is extremely relevant..

But we can apply these to classical conspiracists like those we know only too well ..

@ Denice

“I know that there is a discussion at SBM about whether this constitutes mental illness ( I probably tend to disagree and label it more under “personality”)”

That would be a casus belli for me. You cannot solve this issue of conspiracy theories by going down the road of force. Labeling it mental illness opens the door to that as per the law, at least around here, and this is going down a very dangerous road. I already think the power of psychiatry is largely unchecked, and no matter what doctors may say, labeling it mental illness is already stating that these people can be stripped of their freedom of conscience. This is going really far and raising the stakes very significantly. And playing into the narratives of conspiracy theorists. You people should know better…

There does seem to be a tendency to say that people who are basically dicks are suffering from some psychological condition. Most people don’t like to give up a self obtained conclusion, even when confronted with evidence. All you need to do is add in a ‘nefarious forces want this knowledge hidden’ motif and the trap is set.


AS I said, I tend to disagree.
I think it is more a matter of personality and style, how a person uses information
( I don’t comment at SBM -btw-)
A few of the qualities illustrated in Lantian:
over estimating co-occurrence of events and attributing intent ( where none is shown)
sound like jumping to conclusions where there isn’t enough information

These differences do not necessarily mean mental illness but they can lead to acceptance of unrealistic beliefs
if someone falls down after a vaccine, it doesn’t mean that the vaccine caused the fall
if a person becomes ill after a vaccine, it doesn’t mean that the manufacturer intended that outcome.
These are mistaken notions but hardly the stuff of delusional thought that’s a whole ‘nother universe
Further, other characteristics hint at personality differences (distrustful, less analytical, less agreeability) not necessarily illness

The numbers of believers in particular conspiracies ( see SBM site, Novella, Wednesday last).tell me that these styles are fairly common and perhaps rather a concern of education more than psychiatry


I know that there is a discussion at SBM about whether this constitutes mental illness ( I probably tend to disagree and label it more under “personality”)

There is also the whole category of personality disorders (PDs ≠ mental illness); healthy individuals who simply lack the neural wiring that makes the rest of us into social animals. Paranoid and narcissistic personality types certainly fit into the conspiracist mold, while high-functioning psychopaths will be only too happy to exploit the situation for their own profit. And while it is awfully easy to armchair over-diagnose, the flipside is these are highly self-selecting subgroups so it’s perfectly possible for them to display far higher percentages of clinically-confirmable assholery than you’d expect to see in the general population. Plus, such traits are probably more of a sliding scale than a simple on/off.

Oh, and let’s not even get into social factors such as peer pressure, need to conform, desire to keep one’s head down, tribalism, and the madness of crowds in effecting all sorts of collaboratively genocidal delights throughout human history. Even nominally social and rational people can and will do the most horrific things under the right pressures.

I think that it does illustrate how impervious they can be to education which is extremely relevant.

Richard Feynman said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” Now take people that want to be fooled, and #PleasingLies against #UncomfortableTruths ain’t even a contest.

@ has:

Of course, exactly.
And if thousands of them gather together in the same place to respond to the same messaging- Voila!– January 6th in Washington, DC.
The only other time that building has been attacked was in a war over 200 years ago.

So what’s a sceptic to do?
Several days a week I listen to a high-powered woo-meister deny most of what SBM and news fact checkers dismiss as untrue, misguided or downright stupid.
Callers- who sound otherwise normal- thank him for his “work” and buy his over-priced products ( PRN). Another mixes his political claptrap with pseudo-scientific claptrap ( Adams) and a crusading lawyer champions the rights of those oppressed by vaccines ( RFKjr).

I can only venture that general education has failed if such large numbers are susceptible to such mindless BS.. And probably the older ones are a lost cause.
Orac and others have advocated for teaching critical thinking at all levels of education- including medical school. and a few news providers stress reality checks.

But I worry.

@ Denice

“Orac and others have advocated for teaching critical thinking at all levels of education- including medical school. and a few news providers stress reality checks.”

The government around here wanted to reform philosophy curriculum to bring back notions such as epistemology, metaphysics, and ontology. Trying to push it into some kind of analytic philosophy mold. Teachers’ Union protested as they said that this would eviscerate Marx and Freud from the curriculum. Project dropped.

Read that. Seriously.

There’s a new nugget of Covid-19 vaccine fearmongering from our good buddy James Lyons-Weiler, in an article posted today on his I’m-blinding-you-with-SCIENCE website. It discusses the reasons why we should be very, very afraid of DNA alterations stemming from vaccination.

“There is a non-zero probability that anyone receiving an mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 will experience changes in their DNA in cells “infected” by the encapsulated mRNA. There is also a non-zero probability that people who receive the mRNA vaccine will pass on those changes to some or all of their kids, a genuine concern for some people of faith.”*

Later in the article L-W goes from hyping “non-zero probability” of alteration of our precious bodily DNA to calling it “likely”. He notes the views of experts like Teresa Deisher and Christopher Shaw, not to mention himself (remember, L-W reads “thousands” of scientific articles a year, and is packed (IPAKed) full of Pure and Applied Knowledge).

Bottom line: it goes against God to get an mRNA vaccine against Covid-19.

Hope that’s cleared everything up for you.

*being a non-believer, I say bring it on, baby.

Lying-Weiner: “non-zero probability”

I mean, there’s a non-zero probability I could turn into a bowl of petunias, but am I going to lose sleep over it? Probably not.

Does that mean I could turn into a blue whale? As long as I’m in the ocean and not plummeting towards the surface of an alien planet, that might be OK.

@ Narad:

I hear you, brother.
I also miss past interactions ( lilady and Kreb) but I think that the current climate here is much too hostile to allow regulars to let their hair down although solidarity and mutual support exist, their expression may be inhibited or curtailed altogether I know I hold back, I’m sure that others do too. Some of it just makes me feel ill.

re Florida:
Although this isn’t exactly the place, I have insight/ stories as my best friend married a guy whose father was a housing developer/ real estate mogul in Broward who put up such incredibly shoddy condos that a hurricane promptly blew them away and got away scot free, his brother, 2nd in command, liked cocaine too much, eventually went to rehab, got mail order psych and divinity degrees, sold “fix your marriage tapes” on late night television and now develops resort living for retirees in central FL. Her husband quit the firm and family.
Other bizarre crap more recently from my SO’s family who live on a ( discounted) golf-centric “estate” amongst right wing throwbacks from the 1960s,Oh joy.
I don’t think that it’s a place for you. You, at the very least, need hipsters and universities nearby.

Before you sell, learn about your tax situation with the proceeds ( you’re good at law) be careful because you know, money.. Good luck. Get a cat. I only have outdoors ones now.

@ Denice

I think this also highlights the world-wide vulnerability to BS. I also noticed a website with a similar layout to RI that is a hive of crankery. My take is that it is a moment of truth, not on RI, but outside in wild wild world. There’s so much BS being thrown around that it’s time to takes gloves off with raving people and take the fight out in the open on almost any topic to drive some sanity back home. Almost anyone I talk to outside in plain air has become a conspiracy theorist. The (only) sanest person I’ve been talking to has been lamenting that authorities do not listen to civil society on most if not any topic. Almost everyone else wants a stronger state and a strong man that will crush the reptilians in power. Except young people more concerned about their sexual life than the virus. To me, the issue is now convincing lay people that rationality matters. For them, science has become synonymous with governmental authoritarianism. Most people do not seem to believe the virus is real. (“Have you seen it?” It’s that dumb). Which is weird as polls seem to show that they are fearful of the virus. It’s just not what you hear in the street.

The antivax playbook has changed very little over the years – centuries, even.

Here’s a cartoon that appeared as the frontispiece to William Rowley’s 1805 book, “Cow-pox inoculation no security against small-pox infection: with above 500 proofs of failure”. It shows infants being fed to a monster and excreted with horns, while four brave maverick antivaxers (including the author) approach, carrying Swords of Justice.

Maybe that’s what inspired the AoA photoshopped image of Paul Offit and other vaccination advocates preparing to dine on an infant at Thanksgiving.

The cartoon also anticipates the self-depiction of antivaxers as cartoon superheroes and wielders of divine retribution to the acclaim of the masses (note that the four swordsmen of justice have come from the “Temple of Fame”.

The guy pitchforking the corrupted ones has a foot on what looks like a big book with words on it. Also, there is something written around the jaws of the beast but I can’t begin to make them out.

34-36::enhance was unfruitful.

2/5: needs moar jpeg

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