Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Music Skepticism/critical thinking

About Eric Clapton’s adverse reaction to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Last week Italian architect and film producer Robin Monotti Graziadei posted to his Telegram channel a report from Eric Clapton that he had had a bad reaction to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Can we tell what really happened? And why is Clapton saying he “should never have gone near the needle”?

Those who know me know that, as a young Boomer born at the tail end of the Baby Boom, my musical tastes growing up were pretty typical for a young male who came of age in the late 1970s and 1980s. I’m talking classic rock. Lots of classic rock. True, starting in the 1980s my musical tastes diversified considerably (a process that’s really accelerated, oddly enough, over the last several years), but I never lost the love I had for those classic rock gods of the late 1960s and into the 1970s. High up in the pantheon of those classic guitar gods of that era is, of course, Eric Clapton. That’s why I became interested when I started seeing Tweets like this popping up last week:

And here is the Tweet that seemed to have started the cascade:

And here is the entire Telegram post.

I started to write about this last week on Thursday night for Friday, but during a final editing session early Friday morning the Gutenberg editor in WordPress inexplicably ate all the verbiage that had been added to the post after a custom HTML embed. (You don’t need to know what this means, but any bloggers out there who use WordPress and Gutenberg likely will.) In an instant, about two-thirds to three-quarters of my post was gone, and none of my tricks could get it back. Because I was doing my final edits early in the morning, I didn’t have time even to try to reconstruct the lost Insolence; so I didn’t even try and banged out a quick explanation instead that castigated myself for using WordPress to directly enter a post rather than my previous practice of composing all posts offline in an HTML editor first. At the time, I said that I might get back to this post over the weekend, but I figured this was one of those “celebrity spews antivax nonsense” on Twitter that would disappear before I even got to it. And so it seemed at first, that is, until I started seeing news stories about Clapton’s reported vaccine reaction in Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times and posts on antivaccine websites, like Age of Autism and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s The Defender. So I reluctantly decided, WTF? I’ll try to reconstruct the post in a different way, looking at the additional coverage, before moving on to different topics later this week.

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton

My first question was simple. Who is Robin Monotti Graziadei? I had never heard of him before and so had to look into him. A perusal of his website shows that he’s very much into COVID-19 denial and quackery, including promoting something he calls the Monotti protocol for keeping society open. Naturally, it includes lots of vitamins, Vladimir Zelenko’s quackery, hydroxychloroquine, and a number of unproven and disproven treatments for COVID-19. Equally unsurprisingly, the only mention of COVID-19 vaccines is to falsely call them “experimental gene therapy” and tout “natural immunity” as superior to vaccine-induced immunity, concluding:

The Monotti Protocol is a clear and simple, yet highly effective way to safeguard society from untested and socially destructive pandemic solutions.

Following that sentence, amusingly, is a Quack Miranda warning.

Note that the link he shared is from his Telegram channel. Telegram, as many of you know, is where most of the antivaxxers, COVID-19 cranks and conspiracy theorists, and others who were deplatformed on the big social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have gone. The post is, according to Monotti, from Eric Clapton himself describing a seemingly horrific reaction to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. I noticed two things about the post right off. First, it took Clapton until over a third of the way into the post before he even started to describe his vaccine reaction. No, really. Second, his description of his reaction was rather vague.

First things first. Clapton starts out by citing some people who have featured in this blog before:

With the arrival of C-19 I hoped that C Henegan, S Gupta and Jay B would lead the way, but when imperial college stepped up with their jailers key, I knew we were in deep trouble…

Two of these people are clearly two of the three scientists who promoted the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), namely Sunetra Gupta and Jay Bhattacharya. The third signatory to the GBD was Martin Kulldorff, who’s been all over Twitter spewing hot takes on COVID-19 minimizing the severity of the pandemic, while Carl Heneghan (the other person mentioned by Clapton) is what I like to refer to as a GBD-adjacent scientist in that he clearly supports the GBD and is making the same sorts of bad arguments. I really should do a post on him someday, but in the meantime let me just say that Heneghan seems to have gone the way of the once-respected John Ioannidis in taking a rather exaggerated and biased version of evidence-based medicine to come to his conclusions.

As for the GBD itself, it basically proposed “reopening” society to let COVID-19 rip through the young and healthy (to whom, Gupta and company argued, it is an insignificant danger) while using what was referred to as “focused protection” in order to “protect” those at highest risk of hospitalization, severe complications, and death from COVID-19, namely the elderly and those with chronic health conditions. I referred to the GBD as “eugenics-adjacent” because not only was it vague to the point of saying nothing about how society can protect just the elderly and those at high risk from coronavirus, but it ignored the simple fact that it is impossible to protect those at high risk if the virus is spreading widely at a rapid rate through the general population. The GBD, as I also discussed, an excellent example of “magnified minority,” a tactic long used by cranks the world over to make it appear that a given type of pseudoscience or science denial (e.g., creationism, HIV/AIDS denial) have far more support among scientists than they actually do. Finally, the GBD was an excellent example of the fruits of an astroturf campaign, given that it was organized and promoted by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), a right wing think tank, which was also prone to rather exaggerated similes about its own importance, likening anti-“lockdown” protesters to abolitionists who fought slavery.

When used to describe campaigns to influence policy, “astroturf” is to “grassroots” as “astroturf” is to grass; it’s fake. Basically, “astroturf” refers to behind-the-scenes campaigns by wealthy and powerful ideological players to influence public policy while trying to disguise their efforts as genuine grassroots. Unfortunately, the astroturf campaign by AIER and many other right wing opponents to “lockdowns,” of which the GBD was but one propaganda document designed to make it look as though there were a lot of scientists who also opposed “lockdowns,” was very successful in influencing policy in the UK and the US, among other countries.

As for others who inspired him, Clapton mentioned Desmond Swayne, an MP who’s very influential in the COVID-19 denial movement in the UK, and Lord Jonathan Sumption, a former British Supreme Court Justice and anti-lockdown campaigner who once stated that children’s lives were worth more as a rationale against lockdowns.

Clapton also mentions:

On YouTube I found Hugotalks and Talk Radio… that was all….

Then I was directed to Van M, that’s when I found my voice, and even though I was singing his words, they echoed in my heart…

I recorded “stand and deliver” in 2020, and was immediately regaled with contempt and scorn…

HugoTalks is the name of a video podcast. I perused its website and some of its videos, as well as Hugo’s Twitter feed, and, wow. HugoTalks is ridiculous, even by the standards of COVID-19 conspiracy theorist media. As for Van M., obviously that’s Van Morrison, who wrote Stand and Deliver, an anti-lockdown song performed by Eric Clapton. Here’s a taste of some of the lyrics:

Do you wanna be a free man
Or do you wanna be a slave?
Do you wanna be a free man
Or do you wanna be a slave?
Do you wanna wear these chains
Until you’re lying in the grave?

As others have pointed out, there’s nothing like rich old white men like Eric Clapton and Van Morrison likening public health interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and thereby save many lives to “slavery.” I like what Diamond Rodrigue said about this line, “It’s likely that the closest these guys have felt to being constrained in any way is through a bad record deal.” In fairness, being a fan I can’t help but note that Clapton has indeed dealt with hardship in his life, from his battle with addiction in the 1960s and 1970s to the tragic accidental death of his son in the 1990s, which led to his recording Tears in Heaven. Being poor hasn’t been one of these hardships, at least not for a very long time, nor has being “enslaved” ever been one. Basically, if there’s anyone who could weather the pandemic in relative comfort in 2020 and 2021, it’s Eric Clapton.

The rest of the song invokes the Magna Carta, the Bill or Rights, and the US Constitution (because of course it does), while portraying lockdowns and mask requirements as “tyranny.” It even goes so far as to have this line:

If there’s nothing you can say there may be nothing you can do. Dick Turpin wore a mask too.

Dick Turpin was an 18th century highwayman and killer whose exploits were romanticized. I could also point out that doctors and nurses wear masks, too. Maybe he thinks we’re highway robbers too? In any event, this is the single dumbest song that Eric Clapton has ever recorded, and arguably the dumbest song that Van Morrison has ever written, with the possible exception of the other anti-lockdown songs he’s written. Of course, as great as they might have been 50 years ago, Clapton and Morrison are strictly oldies acts now. They don’t sell much in the. way of new music, either streamed or on CD, and likely their main source of income is doing concerts for aging Baby Boomers. Don’t get me wrong. I really feel for performers whose livelihoods have been devastated by the pandemic; the difference is that most of them aren’t wealthy old rock heroes, who can afford to ride the pandemic out in comfort, as Clapton can in his Ewhurst Italian-style villa called “Hurtwood Edge” with his net worth of $250 million. (Van Morrison is reportedly worth $90 million.)

But enough about Clapton’s COVID-19 conspiracy mongering and denial! What was his reported reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine? When he finally gets around to discussing it, he just writes:

In February this year, before I learned about the nature of the vaccines, (and being 76 with ephezyma) I was in the avant garde. I took the first jab of AZ and straight away had severe reactions which lasted ten days, I recovered eventually and was told it would be twelve weeks before the second one…

What were these “severe reactions” after Clapton received his first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine? Who knows? Clapton doesn’t say. He really did require the vaccine, though, given his age and his comorbidities.

Clapton then says of his second dose:

About six weeks later I was offered and took the second AZ shot, but with a little more knowledge of the dangers. Needless to say the reactions were disastrous, my hands and feet were either frozen, numb or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks, I feared I would never play again, (I suffer with peripheral neuropathy and should never have gone near the needle.) But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone….

I can’t resist being a bit of a contrarian here. If, as Clapton claims, his reaction to the first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in February was so severe, then why did he accept the second dose? If his reaction were indeed out of the ordinary, I would have expected that his physician would likely suggest that he forego the second dose. Most physicians, I suspect, would. Apparently this didn’t happen, though.

But what about what Clapton reports? One thing that I should mention here that might put his reports of numbness and burning into perspective is that Clapton has a severe peripheral neuropathy, which he first discussed publicly five years ago in an interview published in Classic Rock Magazine:

“I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year,” reveals Clapton, now aged 71. “It started with lower back pain and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy, which is where you feel like you have electric shocks going down your leg. And I’ve had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old.”

It’s a condition that might have been provoked or exacerbated by Clapton’s history of alcohol abuse, but might also have just developed with age. Two years earlier, even before revealing his peripheral neuropathy, Clapton said in an interview that he might have to retire from touring due to health issues, referring to life on the road as “unbearable and unapproachable,” referring to “odd ailments” that might lead to his being forced to stop playing guitar altogether. The bottom line is that Clapton has had a number of significant health issues dating back a number of years and has been saying on and of since at least to 2013 that he might have to retire “for health reasons.”

So what does this suggest? It might well be that the inflammatory reaction that some people experience when they receive the COVID-19 vaccine exacerbated his peripheral neuropathy. Certainly, his vague description of his symptoms after the second dose are consistent with this. There’s even some evidence that vaccination against COVID-19 can increase the chance of a temporary flareup of peripheral neuropathy, but the vaccine is still recommended.

From Rolling Stone, whose article is appropriately titled Eric Clapton’s Anti-Vaccine Diatribe Blames ‘Propaganda’ for ‘Disastrous’ Experience:

As the New York Times noted, short-term side effects such as “fatigue, headache, muscle aches and fever” are common after the second shot, but that those primarily went away after a day or two. (Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel, said that vaccine trials was 95 percent effective, irrespective of if someone experienced side effects or not.) For the AstraZeneca shot that Clapton took, fatigue, chills, headache, and joint pain are “very common,” according to the MHRA. These reactions are the standard immune response of the body to the vaccines.

There, I’ve devoted proportionally, probably the same amount of verbiage relative to the total post to discussing Eric Clapton’s actual symptoms as he did in Telegram post. Don’t get me wrong. I feel for anyone who suffers side effects after getting vaccinated, even as I point out that the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19 far outweigh the risks of the vaccine, which are quite low. Indeed, after spending maybe one quarter of the post discussing his actual symptoms, Clapton goes back into conspiracy mode:

Then I met a member of this group, who counselled me to be careful and to have a look at what goes on with you guys…

I felt like a veil had been lifted, that I was no longer alone, that it was okay, in fact essential, to hold on to my intuition and follow my heart…

I continue to tread the path of passive rebellion and try to tow the line in order to be able to actively love my family, but it’s hard to bite my tongue with what I now know…

Because why? Is “someone” going to do something if Clapton speaks out? Whatever the reason, after quoting another of Van Morrisson’s anti-lockdown songs, Clapton concludes:

I’ve been a rebel all my life, against tyranny and arrogant authority, which is what we have now, but I also crave fellowship, compassion and love, and that I find here…

I believe with these things we can prevail

Sadly, Clapton hasn’t been a “rebel” since at least the 1970s, if not the 1960s. Right now, he’s an aging rocker living, as so many aging rockers do, on a country estate in England, not too far from London.

If there’s one thing about the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that it’s revealed just how many of the heroes of the Baby Boom generation, such as performers who transformed music during the 1960s, have turned into contrarians and conspiracy theorists in their old age. I haven’t even mentioned Clapton’s history of racist and xenophobic statements. True, he ultimately apologized for them, but one wonders if he’ll ever apologize for Stand and Deliver, and his other attempts to promote COVID-19 disinformation. I’m going to have trouble listening to Layla or Derek & The Dominos’ In Concert in the same way again.

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]

71 replies on “About Eric Clapton’s adverse reaction to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine”

I like what Diamond Rodrigue said about this line, “It’s likely that the closest these guys have felt to being constrained in any way is through a bad record deal.”

As the Belfast Cowboy was. I’m particularly fond of Ring Worm.

And if his doctor felt his reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine made that one unsafe, but that his risk factors still made protecting against COVID crucial, they could have recommended one of the other vaccines. Which they didn’t. Which also raises questions about the claims.

I mean, it sounds scary, but as you point out, such a passing response v. COVID-19, in his age and condition…

Oh, and has anyone told these people yet they have been enslaved for years? The evil government expects them to drive on a specific side of the street, limit driving speed, stop at stop signs and all other manner of things. It’s exactly the same as slavery.
That’s sarcasm, for antivaccine readers.

In any event, this is the single dumbest song that Eric Clapton has ever recorded

I would have voted for Wonderful Tonight, but I will defer to your expert opinion.

re Telegram and other alternatives

Amongst anti-vaxxers/ alt med purveyors I survey, there seem to be many options as they are tossed off of standard social media – MeWe, BitChute, Parler,, Gab, Mikey’s Brighteon etc. I can’t help but wonder if it might take a while for this to sort out in the meantime they may lose valuable followers. GOOD! Some of the usual suspects’ websites list a crapload of options.

I notice that RFKjr and Del are still on twitter**,/ RFK jr in Facebook with “warnings” about misinformation,

** at least two accounts each,- personal and org

I’m out of the loop. But, back in the day, Telegram was an encrypted messenger app And not some social network.

A quick glance says one may make a ‘channel’ and ‘post’ but no others are able to comment but through private messaging {which supports self-destructing messages; good luck against a camera (though, they did try with wonky refresh rates across a screen)}.

I’m sure I’m wrong but my first impression was “did this guy publish a private communication??”

Pretty funny thing, today I watched a documentairy on a German musician I admire, who has had one hit in The Netherlands in the early 80s (in Germany he is far more well-known as one of the people who started singing in the dialect of his hometown). In this documentary (made because he was celebrating his 70th birthday this year), which was shot when Covid-19 has hit Europe, he complains about people spreading all kinds of weird things about Covid-19 and teaming up with right-wing extremist groups. He also stated he was looking forward to getting the vaccine. So not all aging rockers are lost.

As a Netherlander, are you familiar with Wally Tax and the Outsiders, whose song “Touch” is a garage rock cult classic here in the US?

I’m not sure how one might access this interview (not to mention the extreme risk to irony meters and brain cells), but the Lyin’ Whiner is touting “1/2 LOADED EPISODE!!! My co-author, Dr. Paul Thomas, interviews Dr. Wakefield on the persecution of ethical physicians”.

I’d have to be completely loaded to endure that.

I very rarely drink any more; so the requirement you suggest (to be totally loaded) to watch the episode means that it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll watch it, although I bet I’ve watched worse sober…

It does seem that Clapton’s description of his symptoms has been influenced by the COVID-19 conspiratorial views of the company he has been keeping. After my first AZ vaccination I had a sore shoulder (surprisingly it got worse on days 3 and 4) and some mild joint pain. I didn’t blow that up into a major life crisis, even though the joint pain played havoc with my existing arthritis.

Clapton’s symptoms are exactly what someone with peripheral neuropathy would get, irrespective of the vaccine. The vaccine may have caused them to flare up, but so might something else.

The day after my first dose of AZ vaccine I woke up with a moderate hangover, that’s the best way to describe how I felt, as well as a slight fever. Following the second dose I just felt a bit unwell, which is actually quite typical for this vaccine – side effects tend to be milder after the second dose.

There’s always a sheeple narrative going on with anti-vaxxers. Only fools believe the propaganda of the evil media/corporation/government etc etc.

Where anti-vaxxers go wrong is in assuming that we are unaware of this. We know that media sources are often politically biassed, that corporations and governments are going to slant everything to make themselves look good.

Where they go wrong is their blind assumption that their own narrative or spokespeople are any better. Funny how the ‘Pharma shills’ are somehow worse than the multimillionaires using the anti-vax message to sell mediocre supplements, over-rated lifestyle choices and fake electromagnetic energy modulators.

You are so correct.
So much of the crap I survey ( and some trolls here) act as though they are informing us!

I often find it amusing that the informant tosses out insults that can be equally applied to himself ( and it’s usually him but not 100% of the time)
woo-fraught exposes “teach” us about the lying scoundrels of pharma whilst they lie themselves and about corporate miscreants bask in vast wealth as they themselves live on 50 acre estates funded by their own corporations.

Their latest attacks state that SBM/ sceptics are not using critical thinking skills and twist the facts whereas they themselves use “peer review” (sic) research and Science ( with a Big S) like Lyons- Weiler, RFK jr, PRN, NN etc Let the Science Speak., .

“I often find it amusing that the informant tosses out insults that (are far more appropriately) applied to himself”


So Clapton took the vaccine, gets side effects which make him panic because he thought he might not be able to do what he loves….
and this guy attacks him because Clapton is rich…old…racist (that’s the go to) and by the way here’s a quote about how great vaccines are.

Very scientific…

I really hope I don’t get that whiny in my old age.

And everyone who knows anything knows that Frank Zappa is god.

Orace writes, “If his reaction were indeed out of the ordinary, I would have expected that his physician would likely suggest that he forego the second dose. Most physicians, I suspect, would. Apparently this didn’t happen, though.”

Then he writes, “There’s even some evidence that vaccination against COVID-19 can increase the chance of a temporary flareup of peripheral neuropathy, but the vaccine is still recommended.” BUT THE VACCINE IS STILL RECOMMENDED.

So… his doctor probably recommended the 2nd shot? Too bad Mr. Clapton listened to his doctor. Caveat emptor ya’ll.

@ cuckoo4cocopuffs

You write: “So… his doctor probably recommended the 2nd shot? Too bad Mr. Clapton listened to his doctor. Caveat emptor ya’ll.”

First, there is extensive research that a large percentage of adverse events experienced after a vaccine are placebo effects, simply people’s only psyche (Witkowsky, 2021). However, as Orac points out, Clapton has had peripheral neuropathy for at least 5 years. And the vaccine may have caused a temporary flare-up. However, as usual, you miss the elephants in the room, namely: 1. at 76 with several comorbidities Clapton is at extreme risk for serious to fatal COVID-19 and 2. Italy has had some of the highest case levels. So, the majority of rational people, you, of course excluded, would accept a temporary flare-up versus severe COVID symptoms and potentially death.

Though not the same thing, women with one of the two breast cancer genes (BRCA-1, BRCA-2) have opted for preventive mastectomies, not a pleasant experience. And I could probably come up with other unpleasant preventive interventions.


Tomasz Witkowski (2021 May 7). Mr Hyde – The Dark Side of Placebo Effect. Science-Based Medicine.

Joel writes,

“First, there is extensive research that a large percentage of adverse events experienced after a vaccine are placebo effects, simply people’s only psyche (Witkowsky, 2021). ”

MJD says,

In continuation, one adverse event experienced after a vaccination can produce future discomfort to any vaccine through learned aversion.

Q. Is learned aversion the real culprit to said vaccination placebo-effect.

A helpless near death experience after a penicillin shot, at 12 years old, still lingers in the mind of this respectfully-insolent vaccine safety advocate.

If i was writing this as fiction, and trying to come up with Dickensian names for the people and places in the tale, I doubt I could match “Desmond Swayne”, “Lord Jonathan Sumption”, and “Hurtwood Edge”…

The EC quotes at the end of the OP is as archetypal an succinct a statement of CT psychology as anything I’ve ever seen:

I felt like a veil had been lifted, that I was no longer alone, that it was okay, in fact essential, to hold on to my intuition and follow my heart…it’s hard to bite my tongue with what I now know… I’ve been a rebel all my life, but I also crave fellowship, compassion and love, and that I find here…I believe with these things we can prevail.

It’s not just that Clapton is no Joe Strummer, he’s one of the least rebellious rock stars ever going back to the beginning of his career. His most notable political moment was a drunken racist rant in 1976 — “Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white.” (the last being the slogan of the neo-fascist National Front — which helped fuel the formation of Rock Against Racism in response. The only sort of “tyranny and arrogant authority” he’s opposed lately is a fox hunting ban, because according to his spokesperson “he disagrees with the state’s interference with people’s private pursuits.”

Yet, he feels the need to cast himself as a rebel, and it’s oh so lonely a burden to carry. Hey, even wealthy conservatives can experience an alienated angst and sense of isolation. How better for a psyche to account for that than by imagining it as the consequence of rare righteousness? I think the cloud of such angst is probably the actual veil that gets lifted by the ‘fellowship and compassion” people find in their CT subcultures, the “we’ that will ultimately prevail against the nebulous forces that cause ‘our” troubles. One of the central takeaways from the MIT paper on anti-maskers discussed over at SBM on Monday is that science advocates too often treat woo as an individual problem, failing to understand the social, subcultural dynamics of the phenomena, which cripples their attempts to counter it. The dialectic of neediness-and-acceptance in Clapton’s language certainly fits in with such an analysis.

… He opposed a fox hunting ban

Well, that certainly settles what class in England he most sympathizes with. And it isn’t any of the ones normally thought of as rebels.

I know that’s probably the least important point of your comment, but as someone who never really paid attention to Clapton’s politics before, that in itself encapsulates what his politics are. He may gussy it up as ‘state overreach’, but it’s still the fundamental ‘you can’t tell me what to do!’ attitude of far too many privileged folks who have just found out that their privilege has limits.

All this time I thought that everyone would disapprove of my desire to start a ‘hunt a human’ club. Now it turns out Eric Clapton would have supported me. So many years wasted.

Meanwhile: WaPo reports “House Republicans are refusing both vaccines and masks”.

“GOP members are demanding a removal of the mask mandate in the House chamber even as many refuse to get vaccinated.” But wait, it gets better [i.e. worse]. About a dozen GOP members intentionally broke the House mask mandate, and had a group photo taken on the steps of the Capitol, which they are now using (of course) in fundraising. Among those involved in this stunt were Boebert, Cawthorne, Greene, Gohmert, Good, Massie, Mast, (Mary) Miller, Miller-Meeks (a physician), Norman, Roy. and Van Duyn.

A Politico reporter had Tweeted: “Around 8 or so Republicans are refusing to wear masks & standing by the well of the chamber. A Dem member went over and confronted a few them. Rep. Thomas Massie shouted back: ‘I can’t hear you’ with your mask on.”

Rep. Brian Mast, who received a $500 fine for a second offense of the mask policy called it the “best $500 I ever spent.”

Freedom, y’all…

Gohmert. He ain’t getting fooled again. He learned his lesson: “…so as much as I touch my mask ( a blue bandana) I probably put some germs on there and sucked ’em in…”

@ Sadmar

I assume that most, if not all, on the list have NOT been vaccinated? What a shame if any of them sicken from COVID. ? Or much worse, asymptomatic give it to an innocent third party.

That production has been exclusively for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which maintains control over the production and distribution of research-grade cannabis in the United States.

Over the years, the Mississippi weed farm has earned a notorious reputation for growing some of the worst cannabis in the world. Leafly’s Ben Adlin documented the shockingly poor quality in this 2017 article:

Since 1968:

— Hi, Bob. Who pissed in your slim-fast?

— We’re supposed to quantify and document the harms of these phytochemicals and turpines. But I can’t find any. The molecules, I mean.

— Did you spray it with Raid?

— We’re out and the stipend is small.

— Well, we got the grant. Can’t we do something else about the cellulose?

I shot the doctor, but I did not shoot Astra Zeneca
I shot the doctor, but I did not shoot Astra Zeneca

All around in my home town
They’re trying to track me down
They say they want to bring me neuropathy
For the shooting of Astra Zeneca
For giving aid to COVID-19, but I say

I shot the doctor, but I swear it was in self-defense
I shot the doctor, and they say it is an anti-vax offense

Doctor John Brown always hated me
For what I don’t know
Every time that I plant a virus
He said, “Jab it before it spreads”
He said, “Jab it before it spreads”, I say

I shot the doctor, but I swear it was in self-defense
I shot the doctor, but I swear it was in self-defense

Freedumb came my way one day
And I started out of town
All of a sudden I see Doctor John Brown
Aiming his syringe at me
So I shot, I shot him down, I say

I shot the doctor, but I did not shoot Astra Zeneca
I shot the doctor, but I did not shoot Astra Zeneca

Neuropathy got the better of me
And what is to be must be
Every day the old rocker goes to tweet
But one day the rocker will eat crow
Yes, one day the rocker will eat crow, but I say

I shot the doctor, but I did not shoot Astra Zeneca, oh no
I shot the doctor, but I did not shoot Astra Zeneca, oh no

If you wanna go out, you’ve got to get that shot. Vaccine.
Wanna ditch those masks, well then here’s your task. Vaccine
Don’t deny. Don’t defy. Just apply. Vaccine.

Before you call a cab, you’ve got to get that jab. Vaccine
Don’t you be no fool, get those kids in school. Vaccine
Edify. Qualify. On the fly. Vaccine.

Get two pricks here’s why. You won’t get sick and die. Vaccine
The side effects you’ll feel, won’t be no big deal. Vaccine.
Don’t deny. Don’t defy. Just apply. Vaccine.

You must do this more frequently!

I usually give up after a line or two so I don’t share them

On the other hand:

Neil Young

“In a selfless effort, people around the world are behaving as if they each have the virus. To stop human to the human to human spread, people are staying at home. To protect their fellow man from the virus’ toxic spread, people are wearing masks when they have to venture out in public to buy food or medical supplies. Never before in human history has our planet come together in this way, utilizing modern communications to ensure everyone understands that responsibility to our fellow man and the continuing life of Humanity depends on each persons actions. Only selfless human behavior can stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus at this point. Ignore the actions of world leaders who are too vain to wear masks. They are not leading. Putting your own vanity away for the good of your fellow man, wear a mask in public to stop the spread. You may have the disease and not know it. There are still no meaningful amounts of testing in many countries. Sometimes there are no symptoms. You must act as if you have the virus. You could have it. Stop the Spread. Break the Chain.Love,be well”.

Shut it Down:

“Have to shut the whole system down
That’s the only way we can all be free”

(Play it LOUD)

Some heroes don’t disappoint.

Unfortunately, Neil Young is into another form of conspiracy mongering. He’s into anti-GMO and anti-pharma conspiracy mongering.

“Neil Young is … into anti-GMO and anti-pharma”

Another hero bites the dust 🙁

Admire your heros for what they create and not for their viewpoints on other subjects.

@ BillyJoe

I’m enough of a rock fan to have some musical heroes. And some of that appreciation stems in part from political idea they’ve expressed through music at one time or another. But I came to understand pretty early that rockers are a humanly flawed lot, and there’s just no point in expecting consistency in either aesthetic or ethic. So I’ll argue the stance to take toward rock heroes is to celebrate those things that are worthy of admiration, because they are so rare, and give some tolerance for the flaws because they are so common. IOW, I’m not going to let the existence of Starship blot out the greatness of the Airplane,

I’ve always liked Neil Young a lot as a cultural figure (the music is uneven…) But I’ve never considered him a ‘hero’, and in a way I mean that as a compliment. I don’t think he’s never courted a “hero’ profile, and I think most of his fans understand him as a curmudgeon. Meaning that while they like his music, and appreciate his vibe of being (as one scribe put it) “perpetually pissed-off”, they don’t take everything his says as gospel… He’s sort of a gadfly, who provokes and prods in a way that raises questions and is more suited to starting discussions than ending them, more likely to engender critical thinking than blind allegiance.

That said, i wasn’t familiar with Young’s take on GMOs so I did a quick Google. He’s less anti-GMO than anti-Monsanto, which probably stretches back to the ‘Farm Aid’ era of the 80s, with his support for family farmers, and opposition to industrial agriculture. And what set him off to record The Monsanto Years in 2015 was Monsanto’s successful campaign to quash GMO labeling legislation. Advocating transparency for consumer products is hardly some anti-science sin, and it’s embarrassing that science advocates ever backed Monsanto on this… or pretty much any of their other corporate practices. The album was generally panned for lack of aesthetic merit, but a review from Pitchfork said of it’s theme:

Neil revisits an old pet cause: the plight of the American farmer. But 30 years after he co-founded Farm Aid to save cash-strapped field workers from foreclosure, the terms of war have changed. The Monsanto Years fixes its crosshairs on the GMO-pimping agribusiness behemoth that has a stranglehold on the world’s seed (and, by extension, food) supply, forcing farmers to comply their strict terms or be litigated into destitution.

Now, I have no problem with that sentiment whatsoever. Here are the lyrics to one of the featured anti-Monsanto songs, “A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop”

If you don’t like to rock Starbucks a coffee shop
Well you better change your station ’cause that ain’t all that we got
Yeah, I want a cup of coffee but I don’t want a GMO
I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto
(Let our farmers grow) what they want to grow
From the fields of Nebraska to the banks of the Ohio
The farmers won’t be free to grow what they want to grow
If corporate control takes over the American farm
With fascist politicians and chemical giants walking arm in arm
(Let our farmers grow) what they want to grow
When the people of Vermont wanted to label food with GMOs
So that they could find out what was in what the farmer grows
Monsanto and Starbucks through the Grocery Manufacturers (Alliance)
They sued the state of Vermont to overturn the people’s will
Mon-san-to (and Starbucks)
Mothers want to know what they feed their children
(Let our farmers grow) what they want to grow

The majority of the albums lyrics continue in that vein — focusing on Monsanto’s control of seeds through litigation. The title song does specifically refer to RoundUp as “poison”… Hmm, well, I’m not going to label that “conspiracy mongering” so much as a statement of fact consistent with the warning labels on containers for sale at Home Depot. However, and this comes as no surprise to me, there is one line in another track, “People Want To Hear About Love” that goes way over the top into conspiracy land. Here it is in context:

Don’t talk about the Chevron millions going to the pipeline politicians
People want to hear about love
Don’t talk about the beautiful fish in the deep blue sea, dyin’
People want to hear about love
Don’t talk about the corporations hijacking all your rights
Don’t mention world poverty talk about global love
People want to hear about love
Don’t say that ‘Citizens United’ has killed democracy
People want to hear about love
Don’t say pesticides are causing autistic children
People want to hear about love
Don’t say people don’t vote because they don’t trust the candidates
People want to hear about love

Those lyrics could be taken as a synecdoche of Young’s politics throughout his career, mostly right-on crankiness, with a few detours down unfortunate paths — he flirted with Reaganism in the early 80s, and Islamaphobic jingoism after 9/11. I bracketed those things then, and i”ill bracket his occasional linking of GMOs to disease now. For one thing, he’s been very outspoken about climate change, and we absolutely need more of that, as well as more support for COVID mitigation efforts.

And while we’re on the subject of conspiracy, it’s worth noting that Monsanto responded to The Monsanto Years by surveilling Young and mounting a stealthy PR campaign against him, which appears have been largely successful as painting him as a GMO-health-conspiracy-theorist first and foremost, drawing attention from his critiques of their strong-arm corporate tactics.

I haven’t checked up on anything Young may have said about the pharmas, but I’ll observe that there might be a lot less conspiracy mongering about the pharmas and Monsanto if they stopped acting like greedy s***heads so much of the time.

I could also point out that Young sold audio snake oil too in the form of his Ponos player and its 192 kbps audio that basically no one’s ears can distinguish from CD quality…?

Yeah, I want a cup of coffee but I don’t want a GMO

There aren’t any GMO coffee beans on the market, as opposed to coffee proudly labeling itself as GMO-free.

Dude, that kind of “a dick move” is what piracy is for. Get a load of Gene Simmons. The prick.

Gimmie 24 bit flac, or at least, 320 kbps if it’s on a phone or something. I’m still very sad that analog did not advance like digital so that I may have some little tiny vinal spun up in my pocket.

I’ve been exposed to bookoos of loud noises in my life. If I were to visit One Thousand Strings, I could probably make out about a hundred of them. But I found ways, dammit! I wanty the good stuff.k

I want to hear the flaws, the keyboard punch, the flubs, the beard scratch, the dimensions of the room from what can be gleaned of the aforementioned stuff thereof. It is history, dammit; Stop this DMCA shit. NOW.

@ Orac

I had NY’s strange takes on digital audio in mind in observing he’s long been the sort of cranky curmudgeon one must always take with a grain of salt. i just didn’t think it fit the topic at hand enough to mention it. But i got a giggle seeing you did.

@ Narad
As I noted above, NY’s beef was primarily with Monsanto’s corporate practices, specifically it’s efforts to overturn a GMO labeling statute in Vermont. Monsanto was joined in it’s litigation by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, of which Starbucks is a member. Young stated he singled out Starbucks because he believed they might be subject to persuasion from customer complaints about being in an organization opposed to product transparency. From Rolling Stone:

“I used to line up and get my latte everyday, but yesterday was my last one,” Young wrote. “Starbucks has teamed up with Monsanto to sue Vermont, and stop accurate food labeling.”
“Monsanto might not care what we think — but as a public-facing company, Starbucks does,” Young wrote. “If we can generate enough attention, we can push Starbucks to withdraw its support for the lawsuit, and then pressure other companies to do the same… There’s much more at stake here than just whether GMO foods will be labeled in a single U.S. state. Vermont is the very first state in the U.S. to require labeling. Dozens of other states have said that they will follow this path — in order to encourage this, we need to ensure that Vermont’s law stands strong.”
Young closed his note by directing fans to the website of the organization SumOfUs to donate or sign a petition, and asking them to “pressure and call out members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.”

I only know a few Boomers (I’m Gen X & my folks are in their 80s) but even the non-rich ones demonstrate this same smugness; it drives me up a wall. Their peer group consensus is “thinking for myself.” But yes I know #NotAllBoomers

Neither Clapton nor Neil Young qualify as “Boomers”. Both were born in 1945, and the generational definition (stupid as it is) covers those born between 1946 and 1964.

Perhaps I’m speaking too soon..
but has anyone else noticed that our contingent of resident trolls has been quiet of late?
No long haranguing arguments with SB commenters; no pharma plot recitatives; no “instruction*: into the arcane secrets of woo. or deeply personal testimonies
Is there a convention going on or something?.

Probably too much to hope that certain martyrs finally learned some boundaries and have some respect for their children.

“Is there a convention going on or something?”

Greg’s here and notes “It’s the first day of Shill University” so he’s probably in your class, in disguise, spying for Varsity Troll because he lost a bet. ?

…illustrates that source control alone is more effective than wearer protection alone, but that universal masking is the most effective. This is because masks are more effective in removing larger particles and freshly generated respiratory particles are usually largest at the source, shrinking upon evaporation in indoor air. Note that Fig. 3 accounts only for airborne transmission of viruses. When considering other forms of transmission, the relative importance of source control can be even higher.
The nonlinear dependence of mask efficacy on airborne virus concentration, i.e., the higher mask efficacy at lower virus abundance, also highlights the importance of combining masks with other preventive measures. Effective ventilation and social distancing will reduce ambient virus concentrations and increase the effectiveness of face masks in containing the virus transmission. Moreover, high compliance and correct use of masks is important to ensure the effectiveness of universal masking in reducing the reproduction number.

But, oh well. WTF, Biden? What happened to July? Why not just one more month? I know it’s pretty much open everywhere anyways but it gives the wrong message and now the masks are completely coming off in situations where they probably should not. The country is doing pretty good but it just stands to reason that the masks should not have been dropped until more are protected. We could have done better.

We should thank Greg for pointing out the unique fiduciary fickleness of “honor” in the United States and just encourage everyone to get their shots as quickly as possible. I got mine; “full” in one week. I feel bad for those who want and can’t get. I feel mad at those who won’t.

“deeply personal testimonies”

I see Joel is still posting here so the deeply personal testimonies about his fantasy about his blond hair female teachers and the women he sent away (to explain his being single and childless) will still continue

@ Michael J. Dochniak (MJD)

You write: “A helpless near death experience after a penicillin shot, at 12 years old, still lingers in the mind of this respectfully-insolent vaccine safety advocate.”

Yep, penicillin does cause problems, serious problems, for some; but if one has a serious bacterial infection, e.g., septicemia, and the only antibiotic available is penicillin, what would you do? Most problems with penicillin were early in its usage, long before clinical trials were required. However, there is always a risk; but penicillin still safer than many of the newer antibiotics; but because of mainly usage of antibiotics as growth enhancers in feed stock a rapid rise in resistance now calls for newer more dangerous antibiotics; but, again, if, for instance, septicemia, what choice does one have? And today the FDA requirements for approval of a vaccine are far more stringent than for any other pharmaceutical or medical device, the post-marketing surveillance is far better (VAERS, Vaccine Safety Datalink, and several others in this nation and similar in many other nations) AND the FDA has authority to immediately stop usage of a vaccine. It does NOT have such authority with anything else. In fact, despite deaths and serious adverse events it has taken FDA up to 10 years to get a pharmaceutical off the market, again, not vaccines.

And we understand how vaccines work, sort of like war-games, that is, everything as real as possible except no live ammunition. Vaccines expose us to aspects of a microbe without ability of microbe to do damage. As for the other ingredients in some vaccines, minuscule, many already in environment, e.g., aluminum, and toxicity studies, many, have found such small amounts harmless and leave body in short notice.

I love it when “vaccine safety advocates” come up with anecdotes don’t even directly apply.

Also, only about 10% of those who say they are allergic to penicillin are actually allergic to penicillin when tested. And about 80% of those who are actually allergic to penicillin lose their allergy to penicillin after 10 years. So Michael Dochniac should get a penicillin allergy test.

in other anti-vax news…

( ny abc7, nj channel 12, patch).
Hundreds protested Rutgers’ plans to require Covid vaccination for students in September today however many of the participants were far beyond college age ( parents? activists?). A poll showed that students were very supportive of vaccination except for self identified Republicans


Guy who stole all his licks from Black blues musicians says he’s a rebel? As if.

If you read the personals in the Chicago Reader in the early-mid 70’s (when I was but a tween), “EC is god” meant Eric Carmen of the Raspberries.

“EC is god”

That meant that error correcting memory on space hardware was da bomb. You people are long haired hippy freaks {which may now apply due to the burger meister empoyment crunch}.

Cultural appropriation. Calling knotted-ball here, set them straight. Or BIPoC-bitch or whatever it is you do. This is an outrage that shall not pass. Fly, you fools…

@ Sophie Amsden

You write: “deeply personal testimonies”
I see Joel is still posting here so the deeply personal testimonies about his fantasy about his blond hair female teachers and the women he sent away (to explain his being single and childless) will still continue

Stupid and dishonest as usual. I NEVER mentioned blond hair female teachers and you ignore that I was responding to one of your fellow dishonest commenters several Orac articles ago, “The Centner Academy: A private school run by wealthy COVID-19 conspiracy theorists”

@ Charles Bronski
You write: “In his own self reflection he admitted, he has not done much in his life and he has self quarantined/isolated himself from the rest of the world for the past year. This self imposed confinement has probably degraded his mental (much the same a prisoner who is locked in solitary confinement) abilities and increase his sadness, bitterness and now regrets some of his decisions and chooses to take out these issues on this website on those who might even slightly disagree with him”

I probably should NOT have responded; but he is just so dishonest and as you, doesn’t actually address my refutations of his bogus claims, just fantasized opinions of my mental state, so I responded. So, once again, you avoid any addressing of just how clearly I show that what you write about COVID pandemic and/or vaccine is just plain STUPID.

So, suddenly popping up and once more with an ad hominem critique of me, ignoring the context of what I wrote, gettin it wrong, NOPE, no fantasies of blond haired female teachers, just shows once more just how STUPID, DISHONEST an ASSHOLE you are.

By the way, 40 years later and I am still friends with woman I ended relationship with. She now lives in Canada, has become Canadian citizen, and having followed events in U.S. is quite grateful she didn’t end up in this country.

Keep popping up and making an absolute FOOL of yourself! ! !

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