Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics

Something I never thought I’d see: RFK Jr. is apparently running for President

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is apparently planning to challenge President Biden for the Democratic Presidential nomination. WTF is going on?

I’ve been writing about Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his antivaccine activities for a very long time now. Indeed, the few really longtime readers still left here know that my very first post for this blog that went viral was about RFK Jr. The year was 2005, and, to their eternal shame, both and Rolling Stone simultaneously published an article by RFK Jr. entitled Deadly Immunity, and my deconstruction of his version of his version of I like to call the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, which posited that in 2000 the CDC met in an Atlanta suburb to “cover up” the evidence that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was the cause of the “autism epidemic.” It was nonsense, of course, based on a misrepresentation of how in epidemiological studies seemingly “positive” associations disappear when confounders are properly taken into account.

In the intervening 18 years, I have written about RFK Jr. more times than I can remember because, unfortunately, he has consistently been a leader in the antivaccine movement, forming his antivaccine organization World Mercury Project, which was ultimately renamed Children’s Health Defense after it had become very clear nearly two decades after thimerosal was removed from vaccines that autism rates were not falling (quite the contrary, in fact), thus showing no association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. Along the way, his claims to be “fiercely pro-vaccine” notwithstanding, RFK Jr. demonstrated himself to be, in reality, fiercely antivaccine, whether he was likening vaccination to the Holocaust, trying to persuade Samoan officials that the MMR vaccine was dangerous (in the middle of a deadly measles outbreak!), claiming that today’s generation of children is the “sickest generation” (due to vaccines, of course!), or toadying up to President-Elect Donald Trump during the transition period to be chair of a “vaccine safety commission.” Indeed, a few years ago his own family even called him out for his antivaccine activism, while, predictably, RFK Jr. has, as so many antivaxxers have done, gone all-in on COVID-19 pseudoscience and conspiracy theories and become anti-mask, “anti-lockdown,” and pro-quack treatments for COVID-19.

All of this is why I almost spit up my iced tea on my computer when I came across this Tweet:

My first reaction to the story after “WTF?” was: Why is RFK Jr. running as a Democrat? Why is he planning on challenging President Biden. He isn’t really a Democrat, not any more, not really.. After all, since the pandemic, he’s been consorting with far right wing anti-mask, anti-“lockdown,” and antivaccine activists. His Children’s Health Defense “charity” even donated to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in 2021, likely because:

What would Kennedy and Children’s Health Defense see in RAGA? 24 Republican Attorneys General aggressively litigated against President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private employers, describing it as an “un-constitutional power grab.” The mandate was ultimately struck down last month by the Supreme Court. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed suit against Biden’s mandate for health care workers, which the Supreme Court upheld. 

Individual members of RAGA also appear open to Kennedy’s anti-vaccine propaganda. In December, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry invited Kennedy to appear at a hearing “on the state’s plan to require COVID-19 vaccines for K-12 students.” The hearing included “false allegations the health department will force poor and minority children to get vaccinated.” Kennedy used the hearing to “spread misinformation about the risks of the vaccine.”

Heck, RFK Jr. was even so thirsty for power that he leapt at the chance to begin toadying up to President-Elect Donald Trump, ostensibly to chair a commission that Trump wanted to create to study “vaccine safety” and links between vaccines and autism. (In retrospect since the pandemic, those seem like so much simpler times.) Of course, Trump being Trump, nothing ever came of it, although, again, RFK Jr. was so thirsty that he even sent an email to employees of the environmental group that he had founded, the Waterkeepers Alliance, to inform them that he would be leaving the group if the commission came to be. Personally, at the time I thought that he’d been played, a con man conned by an even more skilled con man, but the incident was an early indication of RFK Jr.’s willingness to align himself with right wing politics in the service of fear mongering about vaccines and eliminating all childhood vaccine mandates.

Of course, RFK Jr. has remained consistent in a number of ways since I first discovered him too. He has remained fiercely antivaccine, and he still loves to compare vaccines and autism to the Holocaust.

So let’s return to his embryonic Presidential campaign, as reported by the AP:

Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine activist and scion of one of the country’s most famous political families, is running for president. 

Kennedy filed a statement of candidacy Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. 

The 69-year-old’s campaign to challenge incumbent President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination is a long shot. Self-help author Marianne Williamson is also running in the Democratic race.

Marianne Williamson? Now there’s a blast from the past too. Williamson, of course, is also antivaccine, although of a much “softer” variety than RFK Jr. is, and has run for President in the past. The struggle for the Democratic nomination appears to be President Joe Biden versus two antivaxxers with a homeopathic chance of beating him.

But how did this come to be? I must admit that the news that RFK Jr. might run for President in 2024 did not come as a surprise to me, although I also must admit that I really never thought he’d actually do it. I remember seeing, as 2023 dawned, antivaxxers like Steve Kirsch urging RFK Jr. to run for President, saying he’d run, and then touting his exploratory committee late last month.

Now that news reports are saying that RFK Jr. will definitely run and is planning on formally announcing his candidacy later this month, antivaxxers are going wild. For example, Peter McCullough is exulting, although perhaps the most hilarious take that I’ve seen come from, as is often the case, Twitter:

Yes, but RFK Jr. has also much more lately been very loud and clear that he’s quite down with fascists, as long as they ally with him against vaccines, mask and vaccine mandates, and “lockdowns.” At this stage, he might as well be part of the Brownstone Institute.

For example:

Can I just say right here that I hated RFK Jr. long before it was cool to do so? He’s been antivax at least since the mid-2000s, and I’ve spilled considerable digital ink.

That being said, it’s true. RFK Jr. has been palling around with the very worst people on the right. As a result, it makes a lot of sense that Steve Bannon could be behind is candidacy, although I know for sure from reading the blurting of the antivax underground over the last three months or so that Bannon was far from the only person urging him to run. Steve Kirsch was, and so were a number of prominent figures among “new school” COVID-19 antivaxxers. I suspect that the large number of appeals from antivaxxers urging him to run for President finally stroked RFK Jr.’s ego enough that he went and did it.

Given how much of a fringe candidate RFK Jr. is, fortunately I find it difficult to believe that his candidacy will cause much in the way of the chaos reportedly desired by Steve Bannon, particularly given that he is running against and incumbent President, which makes him even more fringe. These days, he’s a far better fit for the Republican Party, although there he would face Donald Trump, probably Ron DeSantis, and likely several other Republicans promoting antivax messages. Unfortunately, he’s likely to garner more attention running as a Democrat. Fortunately, even now he’s still so far fringe that he’d be an unknown if not for his family name, which allows him to punch way above his weight and cause way more damage to public health than he should be able to.

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]

128 replies on “Something I never thought I’d see: RFK Jr. is apparently running for President”

The good news is, if he gets elected he’s unlikely to mandate experimental vaccines. May even consider him over a Trump nomination.

If he’s the same John I’m thinking of, he can’t notice anything, because he’s on the same drugs that RFK, Jr., says he quit.

Will his slogan be “Vote Kennedy, and I’ll work to give every child a chance to die from measles or diphtheria”?

It’s all about the grift. Running as a dem, he will be ignored by the dems. Then he can scream censorship, play the victim, and fundraise a lot more for his “campaign” than if he ran as a repub. Then after the campaign folds, he gets to keep the money raised, because I guess making over 500K a year as head of CHD, as well as being a Kennedy apparently just doesn’t satisfy his greed.

As someone who has been involved with the endorsement process (though only up to the state level — I don’t have the vacation time to be a national delegate), this. It’s a publicity stunt. He doesn’t have the base within the party to get anywhere. I’ve seen even qualified outside candidates with strong grassroots bases, come in, convinced they’re going to “take on the establishment” and when they fail, cry conspiracy, when the reality is that they or their campaign people tried to do things that were against the rules. I will 100% agree that the process is convoluted and complicated, but that’s not a conspiracy. It’s that they don’t listen when people try to explain. (I have bene the explainer many times).

Politics cause divisions. Everyone seems to be right in their own eyes. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. People are either for the Lord or against Him. People make decisions on who and what they love the most. Reminds me of when the crowd wanted Barabbas, a thief and murderer, released instead of Jesus the Christ. But everything was prophesied that Jesus (God in flesh) died for the sins of the world.

You think there is not politics in every religion?

Obviously there is, every system or institution made by people is riven with politics.

Oh and black and white thinking such as your assertion ‘with my god head or against my god head’ is far more of a problem, it had caused more conflict than anything else in human history.

Eh!. What kind of waffle was that. About the only relevant bit was the first sentence, the rest goes in the bin.

Today’s [4/7/2023] Non Sequitur comic seems to be relevant to the religious drivel in the above post.

The devil is speaking to a man while they are standing at the door to hell. The man is staring at a sign above the door: that sign reads


The Devil is saying

It’s the foundation that keeps this place working the way it does.

God so loved the world that He sent and sacrificed His Son so people would not go to hell and die in their sins.
We have many religions and religious beliefs to pick and choose from in the world, but salvation is only found in Jesus Christ.
Yes, Jesus is exclusive. He causes divisions.

Matthew 7:14
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Matthew 10:34
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Other religions say the same, but with a different person as the saviour, or that the saviour is still to come.
And even with the people who consider Jesus as their saviour there are lot of different ideas and divisions. Look at all the different Christian denominations.

You’ve made my point.

But there is only one who said He died for the sins of the world.
Yes, there are many different Jesus’s out there…Only One is the Christ. Some claim He is not God. Some claim we can become gods.
And again, yes, there are many denominations. Some start up their own churches according to their particular opinions and beliefs.
There are a lot of false teachers and false doctrine these days. There is only one truth. Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life.

Sorry pilgrim, I don’t believe in any deity, something like heaven or hell, or that Jesus died for our sins.

Which denomination of Christianity is the real one? Which one is the real Christ?

The Bible on vaccine “toxins”:

“Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him “unclean” by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him “unclean.”‘ (Mark 7:14-15)

In the Gospel of John 1:9, John says that Jesus Christ was the True Light who enlightens every man coming into the world. Every human being who comes into this world is enlightened by Christ, the Light, so that they are without excuse.

Proselytizing. Terrific. Just when I thought no one could post something dumber than some of the things I’ve seen here…

Religions are just political parties that claim divine inspiration.

At least politicians are able to compromise, at least in my country.
Explaining this to some voters seems a bit harder to do, so those voters vote for new parties who promise them that everything will go tfeir way, if they just vote for them, because they won’t compromise.

Other than wanting attention and cash it’s unclear to me what RFK jr believes in if anything.

Though he does hold his marks in contempt.

I read posts at The World Mercury Project noting in comments to some posts that I never saw any articles on the real mercury threat which was coal power plants.

And then continued with Children’s Health Defense noting that it gradually shifted from fairly politically neutral to far right. Hey , that’s where the easy fishing is.

On one of my weekly checks on the latest scams there was a post on his latest great legal victory, thanks for the cash and please send more. There was even a handy link to a pdf of the final court documents and a few lines above Kennedy’s signature was “dismissed with prejudice”.

How’s that for chutzpah? He knew he could provide the proof he lies his tushie off and his gullible followers would still send him money.

In my opinion, RFK, Jr. is not anti-vaccine, he’s simply a quasi-vaxxer. A quasi-vaxxer is an adult (18+ years of age) who gets some vaccinations, but not all the vaccines.

@ Orac,

RFK, Jr. is definitely an outspoken quasi-vaxxer which places him in the “Respectful Insolence” party.

Please provide a citation in the last 4 years where he explicitly supports specific vaccines.
AFAIK, he has never backed off from his mercury/thimerosol claims about autism which have clearly been disproved.

See my comment when it appears about charity money and politics.
I’m sure Prof Dorit can clarify the rules.

Rober Kennedy Jr’s charity paid lots of money to him. He of course can use this money.

I saw this last night. Boston CBS; Costa. For weeks. he’s been asking his followers on Twitter if he should run.
I wonder how his status running CHD – a registered charity– affects his run? Aren’t these entities supposed to be non-political in the US?
However, the alties I survey all have charities and are quite political as they insult elected officials and spokespeople non-stop and present crappy alternative programmes.

Although I don’t know much about Bannon’s early life ( armed forces, big money manager, then chaos agent?) Stone was profiled on television and I realised that he’s been in the right wing BS business for over 50 years! He’s 70 so he started as a university student and even worked for Nixon’s White House during Watergate! ( see Wikipedia) That’s quite a resume: Nixon and Trump “dirty tricks”.

I doubt that RFK jr will garner much support amongst Democrats because they, by-and-large- accept vaccination and public health measures as illustrated by higher vaccination rates and lower illness rates in Blue states, also, there has been a recent resurgence of support for progressive candidates in places like Orac’s Michigan and other swing states probably fueled by Republicans’ extreme positions on abortion, guns and LBTQ+ rights ( see De Santis this week). Similarly, how can Republicans support a fascist-friendly anti-vaxxer who also supports women’s rights, civil rights and queer people. He was recently photographed with his wife and her fellow actors in HOLLYWOOD.The Kennedy name doesn’t go far in those circles- except for Q.

By running as a Democrat he increases his grift-potential. I’d expect the anti-vax crowd on the Republican side are more likely to send their dollars to Trump or DeSantis, so the grift vein is pretty heavily mined over on that side of the aisle.

I don’t see Denice’s comments here, but the short answer is that his charity cannot endorse or support candidates, but he personally can be one.
If his charity gets involved on his behalf, that’s cause for complaining to the IRS.

It would not be the first time they violated the tax exempt rules if they do.

But they would have to actually do that. His running isn’t it.

Thanks for that.
If RFK jr ( and other alties) play fast and loose with language, data and information in general, why not also play fast and loose with laws?

That photo would have been much better with a watermelon or plate of shrimp (or even clams) on the chair.

I’m thinking that RFK is rather uncomfortable too. Arms straight down. Robotic expression. Does he need them but not like them? Or just think that the peasants will pay later for touching his august presence?

+1 to it being a cash grab primarily, got to wring every last drop out of the COVID19 wake before almost nobody cares. Everything else is probably subordinate to this goal.

He’s also an environmental activist, which predates his activism regarding vaccination. He’s a Kennedy, which is as close to Democrat royalty as we have in the US. It could be an interesting primary if he’s on the ballot. A lot of young people might prefer him to Biden due to his environmentalist credentials.

I’m sure almost all younger voters don’t give a crap about his “environmentalist credentials”. He hasn’t done anything “environmental” for years. He sucks up to the likes of Trump, Stone and Bannon. He also opposed offshore wind turbines because they “spoiled the view” from his waterfront estate.
I think the young voters today are smart enough to see right through this privileged bullshit artiste.

@ Dr Bruce:

I agree.
I doubt that young people will accept RFK jr who appeals to a largely suburban white middle class+ audience of parents who probably applaud also recent parental choice movements for educational material, vaccines, (anti-) trans rights that are de rigueur for Republicans these days.

I can’t see youngsters migrating to the suburbs and countryside** which those partisans idealise, leaving their beloved cities, tech, fashion, nightlife, diversity etc for family values– old style or new.

** the alties/ anti-vaxxers I survey ALL advocate simpler life styles in the country, farming, living naturally with pure foods, family roles ( a major dog whistle) rather than university education/ corporate careers.
I’m not a youngster but they support most of the same issues I do.

His family name should not be a reason to vote for him. Especially since many of his family have denounced his anti-vax views.

The nightmare ballot in 2024:

Donald Trump (R) ___
Robert Kennedy Jr (D)___
Where did I put my passport? (G) ___

G for “gone”, of course.

Saw this earlier and was surprised he wasn’t running for the GOP given its now the political wing of the AV cult.

Though I’m sure JFK jr is in it purely for the grist, its always about the grift with his sort.

In the AP article I read (which minced no words in calling him an anti-vaxxer) it reported that Steve Bannon called RFK Jr a “useful chaos agent”.
So grift for RFK Jr and a way for big conservative donors to mess with Dems. Lovely.

Unfortunately, I spent over an hour watching/ listening to @ highwire talk as I – fortunately- did other work as Del hosted Neil DeGrasse Tyson for a conversation ( 1:10 to 2:55 !) discussing science. Right.
Although NDGT does his usual informative, affable best, Del is not an ideal candidate for education and by the last 20 minutes or so, Del’s impermeable cognitive status becomes more and more apparent.

“Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is apparently planning to challenge President Biden for the Democratic Presidential nomination. WTF is going on?”

Run. just… Run. You will thank me later.

re what Orac said on Twitter:
yes, it was quite cringe-inducing. Over an hour plus 45 minutes.
And it got worse as it went on:
I think that NDGT vastly over-estimated what Del could assimilate including his comprehension of English.
By the end Del rants, feeling as if he “won” the “debate”.

What did the congressman say, ” It’s like talking to a dining room table”?
no, it was worse. Like talking to a hole in the wall? Or a black hole- which would have been better because it might have swallowed Del whole.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, Del had an abysmal education – home schooling 40+ years ago, no record of higher education. Only a television production course. To make matters worse, he works with RFK jr, Andy and other anti-vax/ alt med luminaries where he can learn their swill and MO.

We say that too but doesn’t dining room table make a better image?

Hmmmm. A brick wall implies impervious to reason, whilst a dining room table implies a functional object, out of its depth. ‘Black hole’ works, a pit, in which all logic is crushed into oblivion. 😀

Katie Wright ( @ katiewr31413491) thinks that NDGT displayed “arrogance” and had no response to Del. He was “desperate” etc.

I listened to the last 15 minutes of their interaction again and it seemed to me like Tyson was utterly disgusted with Del.
Orac is right. Appearing/ debating with cranks only lifts their profile but they can’t learn anything from you.
-btw- Tyson may have had a somewhat legit reason to talk with Del: he appeared in a film by Hamilton Kennedy that severely – rightly- criticised Del and RFK jr as anti-vaxxers.

Utah Phillips suggested talking with ideologues was like talking to a refrigerator – the light goes on, the light goes off, it’s not going to do anything that is not programmed into it.

I laughed when I saw this. I immediately wondered whether RFK Jr was going to claw the anti-vaxxers in Donald Trump’s base away to the Democrats, or was he going to crash and burn at the first hurdle.

I am plumping for the second.

It must be 10 years or more since RFK Jr did anything in the environment
Al area. Instead he is now known as a (the?) face of the anti-vaccine movement. He also strongly endorsed anti-COVID-19 measures during the pandemic. He has fallen in with the far right “Cancel Culture” crowd in suing most of the US Government. These are all attractive to the Trump base, not to Democrats.

Instead of campaign buttons, rfkjr should give out tin foil hats.


His push against the Covid vaccine has linked him with anti-democratic figures and groups. Kennedy has appeared at events pushing the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and with people who cheered or downplayed the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

A photo posted on Instagram showed Kennedy backstage at a July 2021 Reawaken America event with the Trump ally Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and anti-vaccine profiteer Charlene Bollinger. All three have promoted the lie about the 2020 election being stolen.

Bollinger has appeared with Kennedy at multiple events. She and her husband sponsored an anti-vaccine, pro-Trump rally near the Capitol on January 6. Bollinger celebrated the attack and her husband tried to enter the Capitol. Kennedy later appeared in a video for their Super Pac.

Kennedy has repeatedly invoked Nazis and the Holocaust when talking about measures aimed at mitigating the spread of Covid, such as mask requirements and vaccine mandates.

He has sometimes apologized for those comments, including when he suggested that people in 2022 had it worse than Anne Frank, the teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp after hiding with her family in Amsterdam for two years.

Kennedy has invoked his family’s legacy in his anti-vaccine work, including sometimes using images of JFK.

His sister Kerry Kennedy, who runs Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, an international rights group founded by their mother, Ethel, said her brother has at times removed content at her request.

She told the Associated Press in 2021 her brother is “completely wrong on this issue and very dangerous”.

I know. My point is it is getting attention, that it is a primary talking point about his “candidacy.” A Democrat who is in cahoots with January 6 insurrectionists doesn’t have much potential to win votes on any side.

I’m glad this article started with that photo, I’ve found it very persuasive with all but the most loyal members of AntiVa.

A Democrat who is in cahoots with January 6 insurrectionists doesn’t have much potential to win votes on any side.

The issue is whether those affiliations, and the others he has with equally disgusting people, will get the press they deserve. Remember that trump’s earlier crimes and generally sleazy past were all easy to find if you looked, but a press that gave his early campaign an essentially free pass and a very friendly set of social media platforms that allowed him to gin up the racists and white supremacists he needed for support, trying to get his past into the public mind was very difficult.

In a way it’s similar to how the equally incompetent and dishonest reagan got his candidacy off the ground: his “geniality” and actor-based ability to tell lies and spread racism with a friendly tone got him his passes. The fact that he had no effing clue what he was doing serving or what government is for ended up not mattering.

Our opinios of those two former Presidents and their press treatment appear to be congruent.

I’m a bit surprised at all the comments pegging RFKJ as a grifter. IMHO he’s clearly got a personality disorder. He’s in it for the martyrdom, not the money. And that’s what he’ll get from this “campaign”, a chance, as Chris Hickie says to play the victim on a bigger stage. He’s already getting headlines via the AP.

I have to also say the thought he would consider running as a Republican strikes me as clueless about both politics and psychological pathology. Republicans already have their anti-lockdown, anti-public-health heroes, led by Ron “Don’t Fauci My Florida” DeSantis. The only point of a quixotic candidate is to pose an alternative to something. (Williamson absolutely qualifies on that.) The only way RFKJ might be an alternative to DeSantis would be on stuff RFKJ doesn’t want to talk about these days. He’d just be a weak echo over there, which would do nothing to feed his desperate need for attention as
athe greatest warrior for some righteous cause.

Of course, though it’s means to an end not the end itself, he does also want to raise money for CHD, And the idea he’ll get any from Dems is silly. He’ll get his donations from the right-wing base exactly by running as a Dem. That crowd doesn’t pay to support policy positions; they toss money in the hat in response to theatrical displays of aggrieved aggression. Think Marjorie Taylor Greene. Putting his family name up against Biden maximizes his potential to create chaos. Roger Stone no doubt imagines this as his latest dirty trick. The crazies eat this stuff up. Of course, it’s all WTF all the way down. Remember, when GOP pols wear AR-15 lapel pins and send out Christmas cards with every family member, even the young-uns, brandishing assault rifles, their donations go UP.

I must again note that Orac’s conclusion that Marianne Williamson is antivax stems from a misinterpretation of her remarks on a panel with Bill Maher. If you follow the links back to the first discussion if that on RI, you can find my argument in the comments. It’s certainly not a part of her agenda, based on her last presidential “campaign”.

What she pushes is her own fairly unique mash-up of purposefully generic spirituality and progressive politics: reuniting the two strands of 60s youth movements: it’s all about “peace and love” but the hippies pursue an activist program instead of dropping out. The “all you need is love” thing is cloying IMHO, but her shtick is not to far from Corey Booker’s, and he’s considered a serious candidate. Williamson, of course, is not because she has no experience in government, and comes off as too far nutty. But, like I said, she’s offering herself as an alternative, not to win but to publicize her brand; spirituality without religion and social engagement without politics-as-usual. It’s woo, but generally benign, and if she’s included in any televised debate, she’s likely to say something on-point about policy along with the spirituality platitudes.

Williamson has a well-established antivax history including promoting a vaccine-autism connection on her radio show and referring to mandatory vaccination as “draconian” and Orwellian”.

She’s also named Jim Turner as her advisor on vaccination issues. Turner is identified by the Daily Beast as a long-time antivaxer and lawyer who’s filed multiple lawsuits against vaccine programs.

First, I shall apologize to Orac for saying, wrongly, that his “conclusion that Marianne Williamson is antivax stems from a misinterpretation of her remarks on a panel with Bill Maher.” As your cites demonstrate, there’s a good deal more history to Orac’s judgement than I allowed.

Additionally, I want to take a step back and address why I think any of this matters, which has little to do with Williamson per se, and more about pro-science, pro-vax rhetoric. But what I’ve now written in such an attempt is too long for a comment here. I think I’ll email it to Orac for his consideration on whether to post it, or whatever…

Although I had trouble trying to comment here….
we learned Friday, that a carefully selected judge had ruled against FDA approval for one of the drugs used in medical ( pharmaceutical) abortions and my first though was- how long will it take anti-vaxxers to find a judge to overrule FDA approval for vaccines?

I heard than news too. The vaccines didn’t really pass my mind, though I wonder about the mRNA-based vaccines.

Yes. Apparently he is the ONLY judge in that district!
It was based on “fast tracking” the initial approval, so presumably putting the drug through the “normal” approval process would negate that (?)

And it boggles the imagination to figure out how one district judge could block anything for the whole country.

Perhaps Junior will lose money on this unless he owns his own bus. Believe there’s already one alt reality candidate running, although she took a drubbing in the press recently from former campaign staffers. Apparently underneath all that love is some serious anger. However, these two are nothing compared to the Disney and science hating governor of Florida! Truly a scary candidate.

Since the modern Democrats would never nominate a smart and honest person to run for president (they need mindless placeholders like Biden ready to sign anything that the WEF/Bill Gates/Soros tells them to sign), I doubt that RFK will get the nomination.

However, I hope that RFK gets attention of Democratic-leaning antivaxxers, which is a good thing.

The biggest problem is that both Democrats and Republicans have seriously deteriorated and there are no smart people left in the Congress anymore. It is saddening to watch.

Very worried about my savings evaporating with all the money printing going on.

Republicans are only slightly better, I am depressed about what is happening

Republicans are only slightly better

Igor, if modern republicans are not dishonest enough, racist enough, bigoted enough, misogynistic enough, or scientifically ignorant enough, for you, you are truly a sad example of a human being.

(they need mindless placeholders like Biden ready to sign anything that the WEF/Bill Gates/Soros tells them to sign)

There’s really nothing so insanely bullshit that you won’t push it, is there? Is this the latest drivel making you money on substack?

The agenda you mentioned is called scientific consensus. WEF did not originate it.

Both Adams and Null describe the Russian economy as vibrant and the ruble as the next world currency. Russians don’t suffer from food shortages or inflation at the market- it’s great to live there!

Interesting how BS artistry spreads from health to politics and econmics so easily.

I see…I suppose Trump wouldn’t just sign off on anything the AEI or his other handlers told him to, huh? You think he came up with those SCOTUS nominees on his own?

Whatever else you want to say about Biden, at least he’s been in this game long enough to know when he is and is not being used as a tool.

@ Igor:

I’m sorry but I didn’t see your comment until now.
First of all, do you really accept CTs about Gates, Soros et al at face value?
Yes, they’re powerful but they don’t control as much of the world/ economy as many fear – of course, there are other major players but many are at odds with each other.**

How do you estimate intelligence independently of political views? Do you know that people do this and are trained in this as well as tests that can show this? I disagree and feel that there are many very intelligent people in congress including some I dislike and disagree with. You once called me ‘smart’ People judge intelligence on factors such as complexity, language use, abstraction amongst others. Aren’t educational achievements often a measure of intelligence? Of course, not totally value free but of some use. Many congress members have advanced degrees.

About investments:
aren’t certain investments unaffected by “money printing” as you call it?Diversification is always important – when growth funds are hit hard, other funds preserve value better. When inflation rises real estate can be a haven. Crises like 2008 eventually wane and business cycles on. If you manage investments you have to ride the roller coaster of ups and downs or else stick with safer guaranteed interest/ dividends only.

** Because I survey alt med etc I’ve learned that a large portion of their news or top stories involve fear mongering about health risks, crime risks, money risks, destruction of rights and values and the Future in general. Most of what I’ve been warned about has not come to pass: they raise scares about billionaires, corrupt politicians and AI that will destroy society so that people will read their stories and buy their stuff.

^Since the modern Democrats would never nominate a smart and honest person to run for president”

Ohh, the ‘modern’ democrat? What aboot the archaic ones? RFK is a tool and ‘everybody sais it’. Not going to happen. Dude is a peronie’s disease tool.

Of course you realize what you say makes you a freak right (Not the first time)? Those secret societies be all up in my freedom to chose is your message today (think it permeates more deeply for you). Throw in a splash of disgust for those who care for human progress and are in fact demonstrably educated.

It’s sad to watch you make claims that are demonstrably false and not pay any attention or concern.

You said Soros — L’ Chaim!

Now, you haven’t said nothing as crazy as MTG, but I know it will come based on this post.

Hope you feel good in your tin foil hat and coat.

He says:

“Kennedy, in turn, argues that his critics can’t point to a single erroneous statement he’s made.

“’Everything we post is vetted, it is sourced and cited to government databases or peer-reviewed publications,’ he said after he was suspended from Instagram.

“’When they use the term ‘vaccine misinformation,’ they are using it as a euphemism for any statement that departs from official government policies and pharmaceutical industry profit-making,” RFK Jr. added. “It has nothing to do with whether it’s true or false, it only has to do with what the political implications are.”

Junior’s book smearing Dr. Fauci promotes Robert Malone (the not-quite “inventor” of mRNA vaccines), the in vitro drugs ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and Peter Duesberg (the HIV denier). So yes, some easy to refute lies that he is spewing.

““’Everything we post is vetted, it is sourced and cited to government databases or peer-reviewed publications,’ he said after he was suspended from Instagram.”

That is hilarious, because they do not understand the data. First he was saying the mercury in vaccines caused autism five years after thimerosal was removed from pediatric vaccines in the USA.

The CHD website had an article of Peter Aaby’s 1980s studies in one of the poorest country in Africa for vaccines that are not used in the USA in the 21st century… apparently vaccines not used in the USA are proof the DTaP, Tdap and MMR vaccines are bad.

@ Chris:

Right, that’s exactly what people I survey- including RFK jr- say. It’s SCIENCE! Peer reviewed, vetted etc. From EXPERTS!
So they lie about that as well as everything else.

“Kennedy, in turn, argues that his critics can’t point to a single erroneous statement he’s made.”

Hmm, how about his claiming to be “fiercely pro-vaccine”?

Actually it is difficult name one Robert Kennedy Jr’s statement that is
not erroneous. Just check any of them.

On a vaguely related point in regards to anti-vaxxers getting more political power, yesterdays Texas decision to ban Mifepristone on very spurious grounds that it wasn’t tested properly (despite the testing phase lasting 4 years and being very thorough) and that it needed banning to protect women and girls (its very safe, according to the FDA, there are five deaths per million users of mifepristone. In comparison, a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found there were about 20 deaths per million users of penicillin, due to an allergic reaction to the commonly prescribed antibiotic).

So, how long before they go after vaccines, the Christian right have long hated the HPV vaccine pushing all manner of lies that it causes infertility or will turn your daughters’ into a sex maniacs. This one in particular looks like an easy target for those currently taking away womens’ bodily autonomy. Though it obviously won’t stop there, what with GOP states already making moves against childhood vaccines.

If they continue to install extremist activists judges and get them to do their bidding, it could be a very worrying time.

(been trying to post for days, but my nonce verification kept failing, not that I want to be verified as a nonce given what it means in England)

re my previous comments about DeGrasseTyson and Del

It seems that Orac’s friend described the interaction in great detail elsewhere.
I agree that NDGT didn’t research anti-vax talking points enough, taking a meta-view of the scientific method instead. Del has no truck with meta anything or conceptual overviews. He is limited linguistically AND he has an agenda promoting histrionic anti-vax fearmongering. Del’s history is also of significance – his lack of a reasonable education, attempts at a career in entertainment, work on The Doctors, VAXXED and association with RFK jr. Like other anti-vaxxers/ alt med proselytisers, he relies upon ‘zingers’- results of misleading studies or talking points – to shut off conversation. NDGT wasn’t familiar with these tropes OBVIOUSLY because his expertise lies in another field- astrophysics. Tyson effectively explained consensus and use of outlier experts.
So much more but Dr DG does it better.

Unfortunately, anti-vaxxers already crow about defeating a famous scientist. Another woo-meister always brags about how he ‘defeated medical experts in debates’. As if.

It’s early to speculate about RFK Jr.’s 2024 running mate, but an obvious choice to balance the ticket is the new Michigan G.O.P. chair, Kristina Karamo.

Karamo, in addition to other interesting* views, is heavily antivaccine. She refuses to have her children vaccinated and says she herself was only vaccinated once, as a child.**

“Karamo also suggested companies producing vaccines could not be trusted, adding that “the issue is that these vaccines have a bunch of additives and ingredients in there and they do a bunch of combo shots and we don’t know what’s in these shots they’re giving us. It’s just like, ‘Take it, shut up. Don’t ask questions.’”

“In addition, Karamo relayed a story about a woman who claimed a vaccine caused her son’s autism and said that autism was skyrocketing due to vaccine use.”

*Karamo believes in demonic possession, much like Frontline Doctor Stella Immanuel, who has called the Covid-19 vaccine “Luciferian” and called on people to pray away the vaccine’s effects.
**that one vaccine Karamo got as a child was enough to give Satan a foothold. Let us pray – not just for Karamo, but for the Republican Party as a whole.

Let us pray – not just for Karamo, but for the Republican Party as a whole.

That’s a very stupid comment — it’s far to late to have any hope for the republican party.

Dangerous Bacon:

I hope you don’t think my “stupid comment” was aimed at you: If so, rest assured it was not. I meant that there is, as it now stands, no hope for the republican party: it’s under the complete control of the extreme right, neo-nazis and all.

Speaking of prayer, Age of Autism is asking readers to “pray for Bobby’s safety” (one might suppose that Fauci Hit Squads are being formed in response to RFK Jr.’s candidacy).

While AoA piously informs us that as a non-profit it never endorses candidates, it seems to be gung-ho for Bobby, reprinting an appeal from a campaign site that asks for donations.

Anti-vaxers spread mis-information, chapter 142:

Yesterday, NBC reporter Brandy Zadrozny ( see Twitter, MSNBC etc) revealed her video of Tiffany Dover. If you forget who that is, she is the nurse who fainted after receiving the Covid vaccine in 2020 and then “disappeared” leading to anti-vaxxers/ alties reporting her death. The reporter had difficulty finding the nurse who we now learn was asked by her employer to go dark. Her family was harassed by anti-vaxxers and rumours were spread. She eventually left the hospital she worked at, took some time and now has come forward because she feels that vaccine-wary people may use misinformation about her to avoid vaccines. She worked with Covid patients and lost a family member to the illness. She also received boosters.

I’m sure that anti-vax conspiracy theorists will object and say that the woman in is the video is an actor, an android or a deepfake. She looks slightly different because she formerly had dark hair and now has blonde streaks.
Alties I survey made much of the story that a young nurse was vaccinated on camera and promptly died.
My SO’s relative states publicly that her ex husband/ daughter’s father is deceased: I usually remark- to myself -that he looks awfully good/ active for a dead person. Same for Tiffany Dover.

I’m sure that anti-vax conspiracy theorists will object and say that the woman in is the video is an actor…

Some do — I have in-laws in Memphis who firmly believe the woman is a “big pharma plant replacement”.

I use lack of liability of the vaccine producers for any problems to avoid vaccines.

That’s not a bad example of RFK Jr.’s dishonesty.

He has been claiming that manufacturers have “zero liability” while being an active part of (ill-founded) lawsuits against HPV vaccine – so he knows it’s not true.

In effect they have very little liability. Proving gross negligence is very hard. The rest of their obligation amounts to the fox guarding the henhouse with revolving door officials running the show.

Proving gross negligence is very hard.

The reason your lot find it hard is simple: you don’t have any evidence on your side: just false accusations and gross misunderstanding of studies.

The rest of their obligation amounts to the fox guarding the henhouse with revolving door officials running the show.

Back to the old standby conspiracy that you [and other deniers] are the only people with integrity and that anyone not supporting your false accusations is bought and paid for.

I see that JLB has switched from claiming “lack of liability” to “very little liability”.

Soon he’ll remind us of vaccine court payouts for injury (financed by vaccine makers) as proof not only that vaccines are Very Bad, but that manufacturers have no liability. Or very little liability. Or just not enough liability to force them to stop making vaccines, which is evidently what he wants.

You don’t need to show “gross negligence”. Showing negligence would do it.

Anti-vaccine activists do not actually have evidence of negligence, though.

And if you think showing a design defect for a licensed vaccine would be easy, you are mistaken there, too.

Yes when the compromised officials own the information they can bend it how they want- historic VAERs reports but nothing to see there because…


I use lack of liability

It’s pointed out that his statement is false.


In effect they have very little liability.

The owner of a bowling alley where john lives:

How the hell did these goalposts get put down on lanes 3 through 5?

If they were so safe the manufacturers wouldn’t need liability protections.

“If they were so safe the manufacturers wouldn’t need liability protections.”

Tell us you haven’t bothered learning anything about the history of the VICP without telling us you haven’t bothered learning anything about the history of the VICP.

However. Robert Kennedy Jr sues them. Do you think is giving bad legal advice ?

@john labarge VAERS reports are explained to you multiple times. You can start with mandatory reporting.

Interesting thing is that Robert Kennedy Jr sues them all he time and reports it in his rag.

[…] Before I go on, though, I should mention that we have met Dr. Madhava Setty before, specifically when he used ridiculous “logic” to attack a randomized clinical trial that found that ivermectin didn’t work against COVID-19. Setty is also listed as a senior science editor at The Defender, which is the publication of Children’s Health Defense, which is the website of one of the most influential leaders of the antivaccine movement, none other than Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is getting ready to run for President. […]

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