Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

Antivax rhetoric from Dr. Lee Hieb in 2015: The Song Remains the Same

The names change, but the song remains the same. Such is antivax rhetoric during the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cue Dr. Lee Hieb from 2015, who very much resembles a familiar figure in 2022.

After my last post about an COVID-19 contrarian surgeon echoing old antivax and other science denial tropes about the “scientific priesthood,” which was even longer than my usual posts, I thought I’d slow things down and try something that I’ve been meaning to try for a while. I’ve repeated the refrain that there is nothing new under the sun in antivaccine rhetoric, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories. Antivax rhetoric about COVID-19 just seems new to most people because they never paid much attention to it before and are discovering it for the first time, much as I did in the late 1990s. (I will concede, however, that since the pandemic the antivax rhetoric has assaulted us in a more concentrated form than I’ve ever seen.)

While perusing the interwebs last night, I came across an article that got me to wondering if antivaxxers just repurpose old articles to COVID-19 vaccine resistance, so similar was the rhetoric. Originally, when I started writing this article, I thought that it might be interesting just to pull a few quotes from the article and see if you could tell whether the article was about COVID-19 vaccines or was older, but it quickly became apparent that I’d have to alter the text to hide time- and context-specific clues, which I could do, but decided not to. Instead, I thought I’d just discuss the article itself, which was written in 2015 by Lee Hieb, MD and published in WND entitled The feds’ plan to force vaccines on adults. See why it sounds so familiar? The title alone could have come from the last year or so, as could the tagline: Lee Hieb, M.D., declares, ‘Public health does not trump individual liberty.’ This article lead me to another article with similar rhetoric, How vaccine hysteria could spark totalitarian nightmare.

Before I start selecting choice quotes from this article, let’s just review the context of the times in which it was written, March 2015. Less than three months earlier, the Disneyland measles outbreak had shaken California and the US out of its complacency regarding antivaccine propaganda and how it feeds vaccine hesitancy. Ultimately, this led to the passage of SB 277 later that year, which eliminated nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. A few years later, right before the pandemic, SB 276 was passed to crack down on the cottage industry of fake medical exemptions that had developed in the wake of the passage of SB 277. At the time this article was written, SB 277 had recently been introduced into the legislature and debate was ramping up—as was antivaccine resistance. This article by Dr. Hieb was not about SB 277, but it did reflect the common antivax talking point that “they” are going to “force” adults to be vaccinated. (Again, remember that this was five years before the pandemic.)

As for Dr. Hieb, she is an orthopedic surgeon and former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Remember them? This is an organization that has been featured on this blog dating back to 2006, thanks to its rhetoric and conspiracy mongering. Think of AAPS as the John Birch Society for doctors disguised as a medical professional society, the better to give it a patina of seeming scientific respectability to the public and unwitting reporters when its members spew their pseudoscience. As I’ve noted over the years, the AAPS has consistently trafficked in the most vile antivaccine misinformation (e.g., that shaken baby syndrome is a “misdiagnosis” for vaccine injury and Andrew Wakefield’s claim a few months before the pandemic that the measles vaccine will result in a mass extinction of humans), anti-immigrant fear-mongering, climate science denial, blaming breast cancer on abortion using execrable “science,” and more. The AAPS views doctors as some sort of mythical brave mavericks outside the herd whose godlike total autonomy must never be infringed by the government or anything else and rejects even the concept of a scientific consensus about anything. (Donald Trump’s first Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, is a member of AAPS.) Earlier this year, it’s even sued to protect its “right” to promote antivaccine misinformation and, more recently, has predictably become a font of COVID-19 and antivaccine misinformation.

Dr. Hieb herself embodies all of the characteristics of the organization for which she is a past president, and that’s just in her WND output, which includes titles like Big Pharma’s vaccines: Naked profit over safety; Feds attempt to squash homeopathic medicine; and, of course, Government medicine is evil (which is really the core philosophy of the AAPS as reflected in the article, which has lots of references to Nazis and eugenics).

So it’s not at all surprising how, five years ago, Dr. Hieb decided that a rather benign government initiative, the Draft National Adult Immunization Plan, was a secret plan to institute forced vaccination. The plan was a draft then, in its final week for public comment, but the final document is hardly the fascist document advocating jack-booted thugs busting doors down to hold adults down and shoot them full of those evil vaccine toxins. (I exaggerate Dr. Hieb’s rhetoric, but not by much.) Just look at the NAIP’s goals:

Goal 1: Strengthen the adult immunization infrastructure
Goal 2: Improve access to adult vaccines
Goal 3: Increase community demand for adult immunizations
Goal 4: Foster innovation in adult vaccine development and vaccination-related technologies

Again, remember that this was 2015.

So what does Dr. Hieb have to say about this? Let’s see:

Is it just my sense of irony or is it a signal to fellow travelers that this is a “Five-year Plan”? Did they hire old Soviet central planners or come up with this all on their own? 

Where have we heard this sort of thing before, but a lot more recently? I wonder

Next up, some old antivaccine tropes:

Now, I have written several articles outlining my scientific concerns over vaccination. We can have an honest discussion over the science – although so far the critics of my papers have never done so, rather resorting to name-calling and wild pot shots. I still await any actual scientific refutation of my concerns. The closest came with one commentator who cited the falling deaths from childhood diseases, but he failed to examine the entire historical data, which show that over 90 percent of the fall in these diseases occurred before widespread vaccination was adopted. And he fails to note the other factors (Vitamin A and D levels, avoidance of anti-pyretic drugs) that may alter outcomes – it’s not just the vaccination rate.

Given that Dr. Hieb was just repeating the same old antivax tropes (especially the “vaccines didn’t save us” lie), I rather suspect that many had refuted her “concerns,” but that she never learned.

Next, Dr. Hieb sounds even more familiar in the age of COVID-19:

And I have made the point that the pro-forced vaccination crowd are generally also the pro Roe v. Wade crowd – and you can’t have both. You cannot scream for a “woman’s right to choose” when it applies to abortion but give her no right to choose what gets administered to her in a syringe.

Where have we heard this before, but far more recently? Oh, yes, I remember: From antivaxxers about COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Unlike a lot of antivaxxers, though, Dr. Hieb seems to recognize that this argument is a false equivalence. At least, she acknowledges the criticism, seemingly even (sort of) recognizing some validity to it, but she has a response:

The answer I received was this, “Dr. Hieb, you ignoramus” (OK, maybe he didn’t quite say it that way, but I could hear it between the lines), “you know that abortion is a private issue and vaccination is an issue of public health!”

Let me be clear. Public health does not trump individual liberty. End of story.

Dr. Hieb’s rhetoric, my friends, is the core of the antivaccine movement, a total opposition to the very concept of public health. I once wrote (in 2020, yet!) that the reason that antivaxxers so quickly teamed up with antimaskers and “lockdown resisters” during the pandemic was because they all share a common hostility to public health.

It’s also the reason why, increasingly, the politics of the antivaccine movement has shifted so far right over the last decade. It was a shift that I first perceived over a decade ago, going back to around the time that a political party formed by antivaxxers, The Canary Party, founded in 2011, started working with Tea Party-affiliated groups in California. Not long after, the Canary Party became known for sucking up to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), with one of its major financial backers Jennifer Larson contributing a lot of money to Issa’s campaign (indirectly, of course) in order to buy influence and win a hearing by his committee examining autism and focused on vaccines as one potential cause. Around the same time, at the right-wing Libertarian FreedomFest in 2012 I was privileged to watch a debate between Julian Whitaker and Steve Novella about vaccines. At the debate, vaccine pseudoscience flowed freely from Whitaker in a most embarrassing fashion, and I couldn’t help but note that FreedomFest that year featured two screenings of Leslie Manookian’s antivaccine propaganda pieceThe Greater Good and had featured antivaccine talks in previous years. I was there, too, and amazed at the merchandise and conspiracy theories being touted, although in retrospect, in the era years before the rise of QAnon, conspiracy theories about the gold standard and New World Order now seem almost quaint. As I’ve observed before, this movement rightward by the antivaccine movement appears to have been turbocharged in 2015 during the debate about SB 277 and then supercharged during the pandemic.

Predictably, Dr. Hieb then pivoted to argue that if you support “forced vaccination” then you have no argument against forced sterilization, an argument used by Tucker Carlson about COVID-19 vaccines. (Wanna bet? One could easily point out the wrongness of social Darwinism and eugenics, both from a scientific and ethical standpoint, compared to vaccines.) The real purpose of this pivot, of course, is to allow her to invoke Nazis and the Holocaust, forced sterilization of indigenous women, and, of course, “death panels,” which then allows her to invoke “freedom” against “tyranny”:

So, to the point. Like everything else that’s truly important, it is very simple: If you Americans do not stand against this, it’s over. What liberty do you have if the federal government can force you to have a medical procedure, can force you to surrender your very body to their control? Answer: none. Because there is nothing that cannot be justified on the basis of “the good of society.” The Jewish Holocaust, the Great Leap Forward, the killing of the Kulaks, American Eugenics, Tuskegee experimentation, the cold water experiments of Birkenau, Dachau and Auschwitz, all were justified at the time by their respective leaders as for the good of society. Even doctors start believing that they can determine who should die or be sterilized for the good of the whole society. And if you as a doctor have qualms, it is much easier to just throw up your hands and say you have no choice – it’s a government mandate.

The position paper of the Department of Health and Human Services refers repeatedly to consulting the multiple “stakeholders” involved in vaccination decisions: “synergies between state, local, territorial, and tribal governments; health care providers; advocacy groups; vaccine manufacturers; academia and research organizations; payers and health plans; employers; and the general public.” They even cite the military. But, who is the real stakeholder? It is you. There is no “general public” when it comes to decisions about your personal health. No one cares more about the risks versus benefits of vaccination than you do personally. To leave it to a group, to treat you as a member of a group for medical care, is not ethical medicine. It is the stuff of jails and forced labor camps and socialist hellholes – and apparently American academia and bureaucrats. It is time to say no. Although he was probably confused at the time, I’ll quote Al Sharpton: “Resists we much.”

I’ll give Dr. Hieb credit for cleverly using that quote from Al Sharpton, which simultaneously allows her to falsely claim the mantle of the civil rights movement (as antivaxxers have loved to do the last few years) while also mocking Sharpton for a flub that apparently resulted from a teleprompter glitch.

You can see from this WND article just how little antivax rhetoric changes, even from seven years ago. If you’re not convinced, this other article from the same year by Dr. Hieb is a veritable cornucopia of the same sorts of talking points that antivaxxers still use against COVID-19 vaccines, including the same appeals to “my body, my choice,” “freedom,” and the like, as well as:

If you believe absolutely in the benefit and protective value of vaccination, why does it matter what others do? Or don’t do? If you believe you need vaccination to be healthy and protected, then by all means vaccinate your child and yourself. Why should you even be concerned what your neighbor chooses to do for his child – if vaccination works? 

“If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?” (Yes, the argument above is just that silly, given that, as COVID-19 has painfully reminded us, no vaccine is 100% effective, not even the measles vaccine. (Measles outbreaks were the primary concern back then. How quaint that seems now!) The rest of the article includes claims that vaccines cause autism and sudden infant death syndrome, that the diseases vaccinated against are benign (a claim used to oppose vaccinating children against COVID-19 and even vaccine mandates in adults), and more. I’ve covered all these lies before; so I don’t feel a need to go over them again.

The reason I undertook this exercise was not because I felt like deconstructing a seven year old article, but just to remind people of the relative constancy of antivaccine messages. As a reminder, let’s return to the Brownstone Institute, the “spiritual child of the Great Barrington Declaration,” a document advocating a “let ‘er rip” approach to the pandemic, with “focused protection” supposedly keeping those vulnerable to severe disease and death from COVID-19 safe. Never mind that it’s impossible to keep the “vulnerable” safe when a potentially deadly highly transmissible respiratory virus is circulating among the “healthy,” making people like Dr. Hieb more akin to eugenicists than public health officials. So let’s just quote Jeffrey Tucker, founder of the Brownstone Institute, writing in August about vaccine mandates in New York City:

Now to the tender subject of New York City and its new city-wide mandate. It was imposed by executive order by the most unpopular mayor of that city in living memory. This man is literally despised, and New Yorkers are counting the days until he is gone and a new mayor takes his place. He has deployed a huge and draconian new order on one of the world’s great cities that could fundamentally change the entire experience. 

There is nothing democratic or consensual about any of this. It’s a pure act of executive despotism of the sort one would otherwise think would be ruled out by the whole pro-choice ethos of American culture. But when lockdowns came so too ended the presumption of liberty and rights for people, and thus began an era when sheer political will and power can override every presumption about what makes a sociopolitical order great. We literally threw out centuries of precedent and presumptions about liberty into the thrash. 

I can cite many more examples of this sort of rhetoric. When it comes to antivaccine rhetoric, the words might change, but the song remains the same. In fact, here’s the twist that I didn’t realize at first when going over that 2015 article. Dr. Lee Hieb is now better known as Dr. Lee Merritt (or, sometimes, Dr. Lee Hieb Merritt) and is a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, that premier COVID-19 minimizing, ivermectin-pushing group of antivaccine doctors who first achieved prominence by pushing hydroxychloroquine (and having a doctor among them who believes that dreaming about sex with demons can explain many gynecological problems) and have taken grifting to a new level. So not only does the core message never change, but often the people spreading the message don’t change either.

Same as it ever was. Again. Or the song remains the same. Take your pick.

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]

51 replies on “Antivax rhetoric from Dr. Lee Hieb in 2015: The Song Remains the Same”

Was this article partly inspired by Hieb’s continuing antivax activities in the age of Covid?

As Lee Hieb Merritt, she’s continuing to wave the banner of the Resistance, proclaiming that we are in the fourth stage of the DNA war against humanity. Don’t miss the Merritt Medical Hour for harrowing details.

NPR took note of her not long ago.

Ha! I didn’t realize that Dr. Lee Hieb and Dr Lee Merritt were the same person! It should have clicked, but for some reason it didn’t.

So I added a brief additional paragraph!

“The names change, but the song remains the same.” So what? Absent some contextual analysis of what this means or reveals, the observation is trivial all by itself.

“Dr. Hieb’s rhetoric, my friends, is the core of the antivaccine movement, a total opposition to the very concept of public health.” On one hand, to go even deeper back into “same-as-it-ever-was” than Orac does, you can look at the recent Jill LePore piece in The New Yorker I’ve been recommending to see how similar rhetoric connected to antivax sentiments 100 years ago. On the other hand, identifying this as core antivax rhetoric may be putting the cart before the horse. That is, it may be less opposition to vaccines that drives opposition to public health, but opposition to public health that fuels opposition to vaccines. To dive a bit deeper, I wonder if it’s fair to say antivax has always been so firmly tied to “health freedom” ideology, rejection of scientific expertise etc. I’ve hypothesized that hard-core movement antivaxers are so monomaniacally obsessed with the jabs that they don’t inhabit any stable political position, but will glom onto any social/cultural/political thing that will give them a hearing and which they can exploit. The paradigm case for that would be RFKJ, who started out framing anti-vax as a corporate-mercury-pollution issue in liberal venues like Rolling Stone and Salon, but now hangs out with 1/6 insurrectionists and other more-or-less open fascists. I don’t have the energy to go back and analyze antivax texts circa 2005, but was the rhetoric then (as opposed to the effect) really opposed to public health? Wasn’t it more presenting a kind of funhouse-mirror public health argument, portraying the rising autism diagnoses as an epidemic that can and should be forestalled by government intervention? If this is true, I’d guess – in part on the basis of the dynamic LePore describes – that this was an aberration from that longer correlation between anti-vax and anti-public health, but not one without significance, not that I’m sure exactly what that significance is at the moment.

To go back to my own “so what?” question: one analytical value you can glean from observing what stays the same is how that reveals what does change by comparison — which can help with the why of both. One thing I find a bit odd in the OP is that Orac does not indicate what WND stands for, and, more importantly, doesn’t put that publication into any kind of context. Now, if I had one word to describe WorldNetDaily, AAPS, Dr. Heib’s anti-vax stance, and her opposition to public health circa 2015, that would be “fringe” (you can add the ‘lunatic’ at your option.) This is expressed in Orac’s simile of AAPS as “the John Birch Society for doctors.” The Birchers having been largely considered politically irrelevant laughable paleo-loonies for four decades after their Cold War heyday in the late 50s – early 60s. But yesterday’s fringe is today’s still rising movement, and it has captured the base of one of our two major political parties. That is a huge difference. A member of America’s Frontline Doctors is the GOP appointed Surgeon General of Florida. Dr. Peter McCoullough presents his COVID contrarian campaign not through AAPS, but through official organs of the actual John Birch Society, and way too many people take him seriously. I haven’t seen any cites to WND among the COVID denialist/antivax/anti-public-health gang here lately – I don’t make an effort to survey them — but I’ve seen cites to The Epoch Times by the supposedly-non-kook Brownstone/GBD posse, and that’s just as bad if not worse. The anti-public-health rhetoric, masked in the niceties of legalistic procedural language, appeared at the Supreme Court as part of the OSHA workplace mandates case, as Justices complained about the government forcing workers “to undergo a medical procedure they do not want and cannot undo” and put them “to the choice of their jobs or an irreversible medical treatment,”

The NYT reported recently that Evangelical Christians have now blended church services and political rallies into “worship for a new kind of congregation: a right-wing political movement powered by divine purpose, whose adherents find spiritual sustenance in political action.” The themes the Times identifying as characteristic of these events: “political anger over vaccines and the 2020 election.” Honestly, back in 2015 I couldn’t have imagined anything like that was to come. Even considering the historical precedents discussed by LePore, I’m still shaking my head in a kind of disbelief. I’m shocked by the metastasizing fundamentalist fascism, but perhaps even more so, that antivax became one of it’s primary vehicles. But I do believe that’s what it is, a convenient vehicle, or in suspense movie lingo, a McGuffin. The opinions in the OSHA vaccine mandate decisions turned out to be vehicles for the Court’s conservatives to advance the so-called “major questions doctrine”, which, if fully implemented into future precedent, would eliminate the ability of federal agencies to enact any regulations in the service of the public good, without specific legislative authorization by Congress. Not just no vaccine mandates; no agency public health authority at all. Not that public health is the focus of this assault: it’s just one small part of an attack on public anything (except for defense and police, maybe), a radical laissez faire, a wet dream for Peter Thiel and his co-bros.

The structure of a water molecule in a puddle is the same as the structure of a water molecule in a flood. Or to go with a Zep analogy, “Candy Store Rock” at 80 db is just annoying, but while the song remains the same at 125 db that’ll permanently damage your hearing. Anyway, if I’m missing why it same-as-it-ever-was matters, please enlighten me.

I didn’t say what WND stands for because my readers know what it stands for. It’s widely known to be a wingnut conspiracy site dating back at least 15 years. They don’t refer to it as “World Nut Daily” for nothing. It’s not as though I haven’t been referencing it since 2006…for example:

BTW, the WND screed that I discussed in those two posts was by Vox Day (Theodore Beale, a white supremacist who was also known for claiming that rape within marriage is impossible because marriage is a permanent state of consent) in which he argued that we should be able to get rid of 12 million “illegal immigrants” because Hitler was able to rid the Reich of six million Jews in four years. I kid you not.

As for why “same as it ever was” is important, it’s because people don’t know that what’s going on now is the same as it ever was. That’s why. It needs to be said and repeated.

To quote The Clash:

My silence gazing at the ceiling
While roaming the single room
I thought the old man could help me
If he could explain the gloom
You really think it’s all new
You really think about it too
The old man scoffed as he spoke to me
I’ll tell you a thing or two

Finally, you haven’t exactly been above lecturing us about, in essence, how it’s all the “same as it ever was” many times over the years right here on this very blog.

As for your being shocked that antivax has become one of the primary vehicles for fascist tendencies, seriously? Why are you so surprised? It’s custom made for it, and the groundwork has been laid, a process that started at least 10-15 years ago. That very history you harp on going back before this WND article by 150 years should at least suggest to you why this was all possible. I won’t claim that I predicted how bad it would get or that I wasn’t surprised to some extent, but I was clearly less surprised by you about this development.

For me, “same as it ever was” is another way of saying current anti-vax claims are not about new information, just old ideology. Anti-vaxxers framing COVID vaccine as a new risk, something modern and scary is probably more frightening to the credulous, when in reality, anti-vaxxers are just a bunch of twits singing the same old song. I think the distinction is useful and weakens claims about “new” risks.

Indeed. Even more importantly, though, I like to emphasize that there is nothing new there for the benefit of my colleagues who never paid much attention to antivaccine or anti-public health misinformation before the pandemic. They really do think this is new and don’t realize that it isn’t and that it’s just recycling of the same old pseudoscience, misinformation, and rhetoric that’s been used going back decades, or even a couple of hundred years. Even the “vaccine will alter your DNA” dates back to the famous smallpox vaccine photo in which people injected with the cowpox-based inoculation started either turning into cows or sprouting cows out of their limbs.

“same as it ever was” In My case I see this as the same rhetoric but in this case the context is that some Governors are outright killing people with their rants over vaccine mandates and playing a cult leader that makes Jim Jones like nothing is the effect here.

The Difference here is that some of the anti-vax supporters will commit mass shootings and insurrections at state capitals this time and not just in Washington D.C.

They repeat the same old BS BUT to their audiences, they specifically incite fear about mRNA, spike proteins, the vaccines being “emergency use only”.
If listeners only have vague ideas about viruses and vaccines, it’s easy to engender fear about how DNA could be affected .
I think that some people may vaguely recall something about how retro-viruses work and imagine that any virus may act the same way.
AND the alties disseminating these stories may hint at that: only the other day I heard how Covid vaccines use part of the hiv virus in thier manufacture. And other misleading statements.

In other anti-vax news..

Del and other anti-vax luminaries are preparing for Defeat the Mandates in LA’s Grand Park in a few hours ( 12 noon their time). So far, I haven’t seen any news reports ( CBS LA) about preparations and anti-vax sites don’t have any video set up or announced yet as they had for Washington.
The dedicated website appears to be down. 100, 000 are expected, many with Coleman’s signs ( V is for Vaccines)

Yeah, sadly with the three hour time difference it’ll be too late in the EDT zone for me to write about it today.

But I learned that the will have a live video starting at 3pm EDT. More stuff I found: there may also a truckers convoy. Jenny McCarthy, Naomi Wolfe, Del and many other ( Kory, Malone) will appear.
I will look in periodically as I have nothing pressing for 2-3 hours.

The Highwire isn’t streaming ( yet?) but Defeat the Mandates leads to CHD Live which is.
Which means I’ll have to watch some. Oy vey.

MSNBC sent Brandy Zadrozny to comment: her remarks- it’s anti-vax; it looks bigger on social media than it really is; “OG Jenny” will appear; it’s in California where most mandates are OVER.
Take a look at the Live CHD, Oracians!

V is for Vaccines sounds to me something like a possible entry in a primary school “learn the alphabet chart”. I tried to Google it and even after excluding matches for Sputnik V, I wasn’t any the wiser. Vernon Coleman’s Wikipedia entry wasn’t helpful, either (but maybe it’s a different Coleman antivaxxer than Vernon).

I suspect I’m going to regret asking this, but what’s it referring to?

Joshua Coleman and Olivia Mikos has an organization specializing in making large, sleek signs in red, white and black for conferences with misleading anti-vaccine signs. They call it V for Vaccines. Here is their site.

Coleman blames vaccines for his son’s Transverse Myelitis.

Joshua Coleman is an anti-vax parent in California who blames his son’s disability on vaccines. He originally cosplayed as “V” from the film, V is for Vendetta, appears at events and sells signs that broadcast vaccine “truths” that you see at these rallies. His website is “V is for Vaccine”.

V, the character who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and was the protagonist of a memorable comic and forgettable movie?

A guess only.

Thanks for the explanation, Dorit. I still think “V for Vaccines” would make a great alphabet chart entry 😉

I had a look at the link you gave, but I didn’t go to their “basic vaccine sources” page.

@ Prof Dorit:

I watched intermittently over the first 5-6 hours: it was awe-inspiringly bad. We’ve seen and heard it all before.
— MSNBC’s Brandy Zadrozny commented twice realistically live. She showed how the crowd didn’t extend far back as was planned. ( Unfortunately, my expert in-house crowd size estimator** was otherwise engaged but I’m learning on my own)
— I didn’t see Jenny McCarthy.
I have a theory about her: she is mostly under-the-radar about her anti-vax ideas these days because she has a television show, satellite radio show, a cocktail brand and is associated with her husband’s family/ brand/ reality shows and wants to continue.
— I didn’t see RFK jr but assumed he was the closing act.
— Del never disappoints if you’re looking for crazy and loud
— a news report online said 1000 attended.

** he probably learned by attending live sports events since age 10 in stadiums.

A. I’m a bit jealous of having someone able to estimate crowd sizes in house, even if they’re not always on hand. 🙂

B. RFK jr. was not on the speakers roster and did not appear, though several others from CHD spoke. Not sure why.

C. Good to have input from Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins on this.

D. McCarthy (and several others) sent in a video that was played to the crowd.

So it sounds as though, compared to the first Defeat the Mandates in DC in January, the West Coast Defeat the Mandates rally was a relative bust.

On a related note as I just saw @ doritmi:

Ms Zadrozny spoke yesterday on camera about her new podcast which features the anti-vax lie about a nurse getting the Covid vaccine and DYING!
In reality, she fainted and explained that she had a history of fainting for minor reasons soon after this occurred.
NOW, I have heard various alties/ woo-meisters/ anti-vaxxers ( all the usual suspects) recount the story as ” she was vaccinated and DIED immediately ” and that it was on video.
It’s a story that fits their mindset and reinforces their dodgy beliefs so they retell it. Just as real as the tale that Covid vaccines make you magnetic.

RFK jr. was not on the speakers roster and did not appear, though several others from CHD spoke. Not sure why.

I think Junior has gone silent after the shit storm resulting from his disgusting comment that Anne Frank had it so much easier than antivaxers. Even his wife publicly tore a strip off his ass. I imagine things are still a little tense at home.

Same as it ever was…

Off topic:

Cancer research is stymied in the United States by USPTO 103 (Obviousness) rejections. Patent Examiner’s should not be allowed to inhibit patent-pending applications, for life threatening diseases (e.g., stage IV cancer), by combining multiple references to obviate claims.

@ Orac,

“Same as it ever was” can be applied to intellectual property and medical research. Small entities are helpless to move valuable research forward without intellectual property.

Solution: Eliminate the use of 103 (obviousness) rejections for patent-pending applications intended to ameliorate life threatening diseases.

Poor, MJD. Let us guess: the mean nasty patent office just told you to piss off. Although are you sure it was because your application was crap, and not just because you’re an inchoate boob that nobody can stand?

Obvious and oblivious; it really is a coin toss with you.

Odd that mjd only complains


Extra Irony: MJD is complaining about the US patent office, an overworked underresourced government institution world-infamous for automatically rubber-stamping every blindingly obvious trivial application tossed at it by kooks and grifters alike. Yet not only was MJD unable to clear even that comically low bar without face-planting like the fool amateur that he is, he now proudly parades his busted lip.

And still MJD thinks this is a good look for him. Wow. How is it possible to be that self-unaware and still pass as “sentient”? I might suggest MJD leaves his body to medical science to figure it out, but TBH I think they’ll have more luck asking geology.

As someone who recently had to wade through a number of patents trying to see if there was a germ of an idea there (no), good grief.

I haven’t read anything that poorly written in years, it’s like a freshman paper where the writer doesn’t really understand what they’re talking about so they pile on the big words and flim-flam in the hopes you don’t notice the total emptiness at the center where an idea should be.

And those were ones that had made it through the approval system! I can’t imagine what gets tossed out.

@ has, Idw56old, and Dangerous Bacon:

It is obvious for one skilled in the art of respectful insolence (RI) to take “has” (boob teaching) in view of “Idw56old” (BS teaching) and “Dangerous Bacon” (George Foreman teaching) to come up with the instant RI. Therefore, the RI is not convincing and rejected.

If you send me $5000, I’ll help you with your application to patent guanine.

MJD, you blithering bore. Have you considered a career peddling Amway products? That would be much more your level.

mjd: that bit of nonsensical word salad in your “response” is as ineffective as any “treatment” a quack like you would push.

Rational people should be thrilled that there are barriers in the way that keep you from getting your little scam stuff authorized — there’s no telling how many people you would be responsible for harming if you were to get your way.

Idw56old writes,

“— there’s no telling how many people you would be responsible for harming if you were to get your way.”

MJD says,

Taking the 103 rejection option away from Patent Examiners during prosecution of applications directed at disease prevention will harm people? Hmm, please elaborate.

@ Orac,

Thanks for allowing my RI-friendly comments to filter through auto-moderation.

Taking the 103 rejection option away from Patent Examiners during prosecution of applications directed at disease prevention will harm people?

The things you support are worthless at best, possibly detrimental to health. Anyone following your advice would likely be missing out on something that could help them.

Idw56old writes,

“Anyone following your advice would likely be missing out on something that could help them.”

MJD says,

The whole idea of acquiring intellectual property is to prove novelty, get funding, and test if the null hypothesis can be rejected. SBM rocks!

Idw56old writes,

“The things you support are worthless at best, possibly detrimental to health.”

Final comment from MJD,

I’m thankful that my kindergarten teacher was nothing like Idw56old; she convinced all of us that we’ll do great things. Best teacher ever!

mjd: since you once stated the percentage of women in the anti-vaccine movement could be determined from a picture of a few people at a protest, completely oblivious to the fact that there was no sampling done at all, your comment about “rejecting the null hypothesis” and expecting us to believe you understand what that means is laughable. Which book did you copy it from?

and “she convinced all of us that we’ll do great things. Best teacher ever!” — at yet you have failed completely, what with being an anti-vacc loon.

Ms Calhoun did get shafted: a legitimate business consultant or patent lawyer would have told her within the first minute that her idea isn’t novel, original, or patentable, and directed her towards appropriate learning materials for a first-timer setting up her own business. She was ignorant and naive, but that’s hardly uncommon or unusual. (Been there, done that, lost the shirt.)

Whether InventHelp’s amoral shakedown crosses the line into criminal fraud, or even civil suit-worthy malfeasance, the courts may decide at their leisure. But in the land of Goop and MLMs (which ought to be classed as Schedule 1 drugs, next to crystal meth) I expect they have generously paid lawyers to ensure they do not.

At least Ms Calhoun realizes she’s been worked over by professionals; a level of self-insight and self-correction that eludes MJD.

(Although I think she’s wasting her time even thinking of suing; that’s a good way to end up bankrupt years down the line, eternally mired in motions. Better to take the hard lesson, and go learn how to launch and run a business right.)

Hi Orac

Can you give some psychiatric insight into why so many doctors are such damnable charlatans. I thought that you had to be fairly bright to graduate from medical school.



As with any professional group that includes a small percentage of deluded bozos and scammers, it’s not so much about them as it is the rest of the group and how active they are in purging dangerous outliers.

Medicine, like other professions, has a ways to go in that respect.

In related news, Dr. Oz has been endorsed by Trump in the PA Senate race.

The trouble with being bright is that you start to think that understanding a few terms makes you competent enough to make accurate deductions, based on what you hear.

The trouble with being ignorant is that you have no idea of the complexities involved and that people are just ‘making it seem complicated’.

Hmmm. Quite similar effects.

What I find totally ironic is that the author and many of his readers think that government forced vaccinations is a conspiracy theory yet they support vaccine mandates by the government.

Aren’t by these the same by definition and isn’t this exactly what Dr. Lee Hieb is warning against? Sounds rather hypocritical on your part.

People have a God given right to bodily autonomy. Even if you don’t believe in God per se, don’t you even see how vaccine mandates could be perverted by the wrong people? What if it was the next Hitler with a state controlled media?

Maybe the obvious escapes some people. There is a difference between wise and knowledgeable.

Regardless, this is why we have a representative republic and not a democracy. It is to protect the minority rather than majority or mob rule.

I am curious if this author will now make me his obsession as he has Dr. Hieb. Have fun with that.

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