Back before the pandemic, in 2018—a time that now seems like ancient history—I took note of a woman whom I referred to as a rising star in the antivaccine movement, because she was. At the time, I took notice of Jennifer Margulis mainly because, after having co-authored a book with antivax pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas and for a blog post that brought her to my attention entitled Medical Doctors Concerned We Are Giving America’s Children Too Many Vaccines Too Soon. It was a typical antivax assertion of the time, that vaccines were causing autism and all sorts of other health problems in children because we were giving too many of them to children at too young an age. (Of course, antivaxxers would never say how many and at what age they considered “safe.”) Her post was the “gateway” that led me to look at the sorts of antivaccine misinformation Margulis had been laying down on her website and elsewhere. After the pandemic hit (and totally predictably), Margulis pivoted effortlessly, as so many antivaxxers did, to anti-COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and grift. Of course, she has no clear expertise in medicine to speak of, as her PhD is in English, specifically 19th century American Literature, African-American Literature, and American Studies, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming prominent in the antivaccine movement.
It turns out that her history dated back before 2018. The first time I had ever written about her was in 2010, when she appeared in a documentary, The Vaccine War, about the antivaccine movement. In that documentary Margulis asked why we were still vaccinating against polio now that it was so rare in the US? She next came to my attention when she opposed SB 277, the California law passed in 2015 that banned nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, seeing “pharma shills” everywhere among the law’s supporters. By 2017, she was supporting Dr. Bob Sears, co-authoring the aforementioned antivax book with antivax pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas, and appearing in Ty and Charlene Bollinger’s The Truth About Vaccines. After that, she periodically showed up to speak at various antivax rallies, which brings us back to 2018, when I first referred to her as a rising star in the antivaccine movement.
While it is true that I detest antivaxxers, even so I wouldn’t wish what has happened to Margulis on my worst enemy—not even Mike Adams. It’s recounted on a GiveSendGo fundraising campaign by Ginger Taylor, whom you might recognize as one of the main bloggers over at the antivaccine blog Age of Autism, with the campaign entitled The Eyes of Jennifer Margulis:
For many years, those seeking insight into how to navigate this difficult health care landscape have been blessed by the compassionate, loving brilliance of Jennifer Margulis. Her books and her articles for the Epoch Times have been like a lighthouse in the storm for untold numbers of people struggling to find truth and healing. Now she is the one who needs our support as she begins her own journey to preserve her eyesight, her health, and her life.
You can read Jennifer’s cheerfully grieving piece on the prospect of facing Ocular Melanoma on her Substack. https://jennifermargulis.substack.com/p/n1 Please consider becoming a paid supporter of hers there as well.
As we know, alternative health interventions can be very expensive, and Jennifer (the family’s primary breadwinner) has stopped everything to change her life into one of total healing to beat this steep challenge. So let’s dig deep to make sure she has what she needs to heal totally.
Please pray for Jennifer that God would give her wisdom and understanding into how the condition arose and how to heal it, that any complication from the condition would be interrupted and reversed, for Jennifer to experience joy in this difficult time, and that she would feel God’s constant presence and love.
Again, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, and, whether Margulis or her antivax fans believe it or not, I feel for her. Ocular melanoma—also known as uveal melanoma—is a melanoma that arises in the eye. It’s a rare cancer, but treatable. Unfortunately, as you might imagine, all the treatments risk the loss of vision in the affected eye. Sometimes, if the cancer is large, the treatment involves enucleation (removal of the affected eye). For smaller cancers, there is the possibility of surgery on the eye to remove just the cancer or targeted radiotherapy, both of which pose a risk to the vision in that eye. There are also less common therapies, such as laser ablation, photodynamic therapy, and cryotherapy. As Cancer Research UK notes, this possibility is a something that really, really freaks people out—and understandably so—but enucleation is also associated with a more than acceptable quality of life. Like most cancers, the prognosis depends upon the stage, with metastatic disease having a dismal prognosis and more localized disease having a favorable prognosis, but, again, the price for that prognosis can be the loss of the affected eye.
Personally, I really hope that Margulis chooses conventional therapy. Yes, it will be horrible for her if she loses vision in that eye or has to lose the eye itself, but you know what? At least she’ll be alive and should, after an adjustment, be able to live a pretty normal life.
Given how much I used to write about cancer quackery, particularly Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplaston quackery, I was curious what sort of alternative cancer treatments she is seeking. Unfortunately, her article describing her learning about her diagnosis is on her Substack, and it’s one of her newsletters that are behind a paywall. She begins by noting her symptoms:
For a few months now I’ve had floaters in my eyes. They’ve been bothering me. So I did what I often do when I have a health problem: I ignored it, telling myself the problem would go away by itself.
But when the vision in my left eye started to get occluded, I suspected I had a more serious problem.
It takes a lot to get me to go to the doctor. But the floaters weren’t self-resolving and my vision was getting noticeably worse.
Reluctantly, I made an appointment to see an ophthalmologist. The eye doctor wanted to see me ASAP.
“I either have a brain tumor or I need surgery,” I said to my husband before I left.
I will note that surgery for floaters is rarely needed and usually done only as a last resort, with a less radical option being to disrupt the floaters with laser treatment. In any event, here’s what happened next:
The tech at the eye doctor’s had me do an eye test. My right eye got an A+. But when she asked me to read the largest letter on the screen with my left eye, I couldn’t even see that there was a letter on the screen. It was a black smear that may or may not have had straight lines.
Turns out it’s not good to be nearly blind in one eye.
The ophthalmologist believed I had a “detached retina,” which would likely require emergency surgery—laser if it were straightforward, non-laser if not—and that the procedure needed to be done immediately to keep the retina from detaching further. He referred me to a retinal specialist who wanted to see me right away.
On the one hand, it’s rather wonderful when medical doctors find you interesting. On the other, you don’t ever want to have anything going on with your health that actually interests a medical doctor. Believe me on this.
So my left eye and I drove to the retinal specialist. We may have cried the whole way. Crying is good for your eyes.
At that point in my day, the idea of taking a knife to my eyeball was terrifying.
Hence the crying.
Indeed it is. I’ll even take this opportunity to let you in on a little secret. I’m a surgeon. I trained as a general surgeon. I’ve resected large swaths of dead bowel, dived into bellies full of pus, drained huge abscesses, gotten drenched in bloody diarrhea, and had urine hit me in the face during a trauma code. Yet I find eye surgery seriously cringey and gross. I can’t do it. Eye trauma freaked me out back in the day when I was still doing trauma.
So I get it. I really do. The thought of having surgery on my eye, much less losing an eye, creeps me out.
Here’s an example of what I mean. I’ve been very nearsighted since I was in grade school and have required glasses with a strong prescription as long as I can remember. As a result, sometimes joke about looking forward to getting cataracts so that I can get my lenses replaced and not have to wear glasses with thick lenses anymore, but then I think of the surgery necessary and…let’s just say that I get it, even more so because losing the vision in one of my eyes would end my career as a surgeon. I empathize, again, whether Margulis—should she see this—and her fans believe me or not.
A reader sent me the text of the rest of her post, and this is what happened next:
After all the exams were completed and the husband had been dropped off by a dear friend (we only own one car), the doctor made his diagnosis.
“I think you have melanoma. In your eye,” he said. “I can’t be one hundred percent sure but that’s what it looks like to me. I see a greater than 10 millimeter tumor.”
I hadn’t seen that coming. Get it?
Apparently there’s a five in a million chance of this kind of cancer. For the past five years, my husband has been dealing with a life-threatening heart condition so rare it only affects one in a million people.
What are the odds? Wait. We know the answer to that question already.
I also get it. People never think things like this will happen to them. The rarer the disease the more disbelief they feel when they do, and Margulis clearly feels this disbelief:
Plus, I’m a writer who strives to open people’s eyes to injustice and hypocrisy, especially when it comes to how corporate greed and for-profit medicine put profits over people.
So what am I not seeing? What have I turned a blind eye to? Why a tumor in my eye?
It’s hard not to notice how Margulis does use a lot of sight and eye metaphors about her diagnosis and her having not realized how badly the vision in her eye had been affected until now. I can’t blame her, but I also can’t help but note that, since 2010 at least, her career has been about anything but “opening eyes.” She’s been an active spreader of antivaccine misinformation since at least 2010. None of this is to say that she deserves to have an ocular melanoma. No one does.
This brings me to the affinity between antivaccine beliefs and alternative medicine. The online fundraiser started by her friends is, thus far, relatively modest, only $10,000, but it’s already raised more than that, over $12,500. But what will it be for? It’s not yet clear, but this is what Margulis is thinking now:
If I go the allopathic medical route, first I need to confirm the diagnosis via an MRI. If it’s cancer and it hasn’t spread, my options are to have a radiation patch sewn onto the white of my eyeball and then radiate the heck out of my eye or the doctors may recommend that we try shrinking the tumor via proton beam therapy. Either way, according to the retinal specialist, even if they get the cancer, I risk losing my sight in that eye. And/or losing my eyeball. This kind of cancer can metastasize and spread, via the bloodstream, to the liver.
“Then it’s a whole different ballgame,” he said. Metastatic ocular cancer isn’t a walk in the park. Here I am, a woman who makes a living as a science writer, using clichés and mixing metaphors. It must be serious.
Let me just say once again that I really, really hope that Margulis chooses the “allopathic medical route.” (I know, I know. “Allopathic” is a derogatory term invented by the inventor of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, to contrast conventional medicine with his One Quackery To Rule Them All, with Hahnemann believing that, unlike homeopathy, “allopathy” only treated disease by opposing symptoms and that they offered nothing in terms of preventing illness or addressing the root causes of disease Margulis’ use of the term betrays her bias.) Her use of the term betrays her bias.
I also need to emphasize that Margulis does not yet know if she has ocular melanoma. In a followup post on Wednesday, she noted:
I don’t know yet if I have cancer in my eye. I don’t think you can safely biopsy the cells inside your eyeball but I am hoping that the ocular oncologist at the Casey Eye Center in Portland, Oregon will be able to confirm or refute the diagnosis when I see her next week.
In the same post, she speculates that a woman’s cervical cancer might have been cured by just “talking”—or maybe massive lifestyle changes—rather than hysterectomy, although she does concede the possibility that Pap smear results had been mixed up. Meanwhile, she invokes a very common alternative medicine view of cancer:
Louise Hay, the metaphysical thinker who wrote the international bestseller, You Can Heal Your Life, argued that cancer is a disease caused by deep resentment that literally eats away at your body.
Hay—herself a survivor of vaginal cancer—believed strongly that if you can clear the mental patterns that caused the cells to grow unchecked in the first place, you open up space to allow your body to heal.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve likened the alternative medicine view of cancer to The Secret, that New Age mystical idea that, if you only want something badly enough, the universe will manifest it to you. Her view is reminiscent of a lot of cancer quackery, such as German New Medicine and its bastard French offspring Biologie Totale, which state that cancer is a reaction to past psychic trauma that must be addressed before the cancer can be cured. Indeed, alternative medicine is rife with bogus concepts based on the idea that cancer is not a disease, referring to the “wisdom of cancer cells” and how your intention is able to go a long way, if not all the way, in curing cancer. Unfortunately, as I have said many times, the flip side of these beliefs is that if your cancer progresses to incurable then it must be your fault. Either you didn’t want healing enough or you did something wrong. Come to think of it, the same consideration applies to getting cancer in the first place. If you read Margulis’ writing, you’ll see that she is hinting at this concept herself, with all her self-questioning regarding why she probably has ocular melanoma.
She also cites someone with whom longtime readers of this blog might be familiar. After relating anecdotes of patients who “beat cancer,” she mentions Chris Wark:
When he was 26, Chris Wark was diagnosed with colon cancer. He had a golfball-sized tumor in his large intestine.
When the doctors removed the tumor they found it was malignant.
Wark had surgery (as did Hay), but he opted out of chemotherapy (as did Hay). His family and friends thought he was crazy. But Wark felt strongly that his cancer was a result of his stressful and unhealthy lifestyle. He believed, like Louise Hay, that he could find a gentler, less toxic way to heal.
I’ve discussed Chris Wark’s story in detail before. If you want the full version that explains the difference between adjuvant chemotherapy (used to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence after definitive surgery for the cancer) versus primary treatment with chemotherapy (in which chemotherapy is the primary treatment), read my ten-year-old post Chris beat cancer? He did indeed, but it wasn’t quackery that cured him. Basically, Wark was one of those fottunate patients with stage 3 colon cancer for whom surgery alone was curative. He could have reduced his risk of cancer recurrence significantly by accepting adjuvant chemotherapy, but he gambled. Fortunately for him, he didn’t lose that gamble. To put it succinctly, it was the surgery, not the quackery, that cured Chris Wark, and he was just lucky enough not to have been one of those patients who recur without chemotherapy.
In his book, Chris Beat Cancer, Wark describes five component to what he calls the beat-cancer mindset:
- Accept total responsibility for your health
- Be willing to do whatever it takes
- Take massive action
- Make plans for the future
- Enjoy your life and the process
“My intention is not to blame or shame you,” Wark explains, “but to empower you to take control of your situation and change your life.”
If you are “totally responsible” for your health, how is it possible not to feel personally responsible if your health declines? Of course, as a physician, I have encountered a lot of patients with breast cancer who were living what even the alt-med gurus would consider an exemplary life, a lifestyle full of what they would consider healthy foods and lots of exercise, who nonetheless developed cancer. Health exists on a continuum, and, while there is no doubt that exercise, weight control, and a healthy diet go a long way to reducing the risk of various diseases, they only go so far. Some people are just unfortunate and become ill anyway. Yet, the entire alt-med mindset is such that illness is often blamed on the person who is ill for not having lived a sufficiently “virtuous” (from a health standpoint) lifestyle.
It’s a viewpoint shared with the antivaccine movement. I often cite Del Bigtree’s rant in 2020 against people who lived what he deemed an “unhealthy” lifestyle that resulted in chronic illness that rendered them at high risk for serious disease and death from COVID-19, telling them in essence that they’d made their beds and now had to lie in them and not to expect him to change his lifestyle in order to protect them. (This was before there was a vaccine.) In the same rant, he encouraged those of us who are “healthy”—for whom, to him, COVID-19 was not a big deal—to “catch that cold” in order to produce herd immunity. A much earlier example was Bill Maher, who claimed that, because his lifestyle was so healthy, he wouldn’t catch influenza on a plane with people with the flu coughing, leading Bob Costas to mock him with an exasperated, “Oh, come on, Superman!“
Right now, Margulis is taking Wark’s “massive action”:
In the meantime, I’ve taken what Chris Beat Cancer calls “Massive Action” and spent three hours being evaluated by an integrative-minded alternative medical doctor who was able to squeeze me in.
[For those of you who are interested, this “Massive Action” so far has been: cutting out all processed sugar; converting to an all vegan all whole, real, fresh, organic diet for the time being; adding wild harvested flash frozen organic wheat grass to my cancer-beating smoothie (my friend Jane says I need to take 18 cubes a day. I’ve started with 6. Wheat grass is
grossnot my favorite “food,” god help me); taking amla powder (Indian gooseberry) and wild cranberry powder daily (fresh cranberries are better but it’s hard to find them this time of year); drinking green tea, matcha, dandelion root tea, and nettle tea instead of coffee (please pause your reading to observe a moment of silence for my delicious cup of morning Joe); eating a lot of fresh organic ginger and garlic (yes I smell like a cross between a pizza and a Japanese curry dish); cutting out all dairy and even alternative milks (because they’re processed); doing organic coffee enemas daily and castor oil packs at night; intermittent fasting; and being more committed to daily meditation and my other stress-relieving activities like journaling and long walks.]
None of this is going to cure her cancer or even make a dent in it, particularly the organic coffee enemas, which are a favorite form of cancer quackery associated with the Gerson protocol. None of this is likely to harm her (other than the coffee enemas, which can cause a number of complications and have a small chance of harming her), but none of it is likely to help her either.
At present, Margulis wishes:
My green eyes, which I got from my mom who got them from her mom, have always been one of my favorite features. The retinal specialist who diagnosed me with ocular melanoma made it sound like losing my sight and/or my entire left eyeball was among the best case scenarios in my future.
I hope a combination of evidence-based allopathic medicine and integrative healing will get my body back in balance and restore the occluded vision in my left eye. In the meantime, though, I’m just feeling grateful to still be alive.
The best-case scenario for Margulis, if it turns out that she does have ocular melanoma (which seems pretty likely from her account), is that she accepts everything that science-based medicine has to offer while also doing the quackery and then survives. As I often say in cases like this, while it will bother me that if this is what happens Margulis will almost certainly credit the quackery, not the science-based medicine, for her survival and is likely to become a cancer quackery evangelist just like Chris Wark, at least she will be alive. No one deserves a miserable death from cancer, which is the direction that I fear Margulis will be heading if she doesn’t accept treatment known to impact her survival rather than hoping that some sort of alternative medicine can save her.
Finally, we should view antivaccine views as part of a worldview. Quite often, besides the political dimension of the antivaccine movement these days, that worldview is New Age woo and beliefs that “natural is better,” all of which leads to an extreme distrust of “allopathic” medicine and the misguided belief that you can heal yourself if only you want healing badly enough. It’s one reason why I’ve noticed COVID-19 antivaxxers and ivermectin pushers start drifting into cancer quackery. Unfortunately, such beliefs do not protect against deadly vaccine-preventable diseases, and they do not cure cancer. I really hope that Margulis does not find that out for herself, but fear that she very well might. Rare cancers and a belief in alternative medicine do not mix.
112 replies on “Jennifer Margulis: The intersection between antivaccine beliefs and cancer quackery”
While biopsy is mostly considered unnecessary to confirm a diagnosis of ocular melanoma, it may provide valuable prognostic information (i.e. via genetic markers). Fine needle aspiration of the tumor is done under anesthesia (I’ve never seen such a specimen as a pathologist).
Whatever is done, I hope Ms. Margulis is one of the fortunate ones who avoid metastasis and for whom evidence-based treatment allows long-term survival.
I hope so too. I can’t imagine having some kind of surgery, or even something like a needle in my eye. It gives me the creeps. I went several times to the eyeclinic with my dad, because he needed some injections in his eye for some eyeproblem. Alas it didn’t really help.
But well, if she combines science based medicine with quackery I’m sure she will blame everything nasty on the science based medicine and all good things on the quackery.
Religious people perform the same mental gymnastics. If I get better, it’s the prayers; if I don’t, it’s the doctors and their “science.” Start with your conclusions and make everything conform to them.
I do hope she does well and follows the best-tested treatment path, even if it won’t be publicly credited later.
So much woo in one place! ( and a SB aside for Orac**)
— Orthorexia, a ‘perfect’ diet for preventing or curing various illnesses: vegan, organic, ‘pure’, unprocessed, including specific phytonutrients, GFCFSF etc is also a trend with anti-vaxxers who idealise food purity and living on farms*** PRN.live exists to spread the gospel of ‘perfect diets and perfect thoughts’ as well as victim blaming.
— magical thinking allows a person to believe that their own actions greatly control their fate. If you think wrong, you harm yourself. Good thoughts lead to good outcomes. Chance is eliminated from their thoughts.
— she calls herself a science writer?
— why is there a need for a funding campaign if she is a writer and has a Substack? ****
** 10 years ago, my cousin developed 2 rapidly progressing cataracts at a quite young age and received 2 different lens- one close, one far- within about a month. Believe it or not, she adapted to this and doesn’t need glasses at all.
*** many people in both of my parents’ families lived longer than average, amongst those I knew well ( two from each family), no one ate restricted diets – in fact, alties would scoff at what my father ate ( kosher deli, pizza, old school Chinese, cakes and pies). My aunt liked canned soups. My grandmother liked European packaged biscuits/ cookies. What they did have going for them was that not one was ever much overweight, smoked heavily, or drank much, if at all. Three of them really liked cheese.
**** I just learned than Celia Farber earns 42K USD from Substack annually
My dad lived to 92, so that is above average. Can’t say he supported a healthy diet. Well, he didn’t smoke and didn’t drink much. I tried to make him eat more vegetables, but never succeeded. He wasn’t overweight, and probably in the end more underweight. I don’t think that did much good for him at the end of his life. He had some light strokes and in the end a lunginfection killed him, not long before the covid vaccines were released. The time with the covid restrictions were a bit hard for him.
While I join you in hoping that she gets the evidence-based treatment and does well, I will say that promoting claims like the one you mentioned – you can heal cancer through life changes and it’s about resentment, as she covered, as you said, here: https://jennifermargulis.substack.com/p/how-my-friend-kent-helped-his-patient?utm_source=facebook&sd=pf&fbclid=IwAR2QPiJT5wmQSbwhk9AOEAuv14SmD538JcxBPLfhbm-BYxfLLMOoCSNypms
is troubling. She has a non-trivial following, and turning them away of seriously treating cancers can kill them. I hope she comes through, and wish she would stop setting others to be harmed.
As you point out, it fits well with anti-vaccine activism.
This for me is the real problem with people like Margulis, while I’d not wish her dead, I do fear her promotion of cancer quackery will probably kill her if she ditches evidenced based medicine, and while sad for her, is a result of her her choices (much as Steve Jobs died due to a belief in quackery).
However its those who she might influence to reject actual medicine for quackery I feel most for. I’ve had many patients who went the quack root first and either didn’t get any actual treatment, or got their treatment too late and paid the price. Many had similar stories about reading this or that article saying food had magic healing qualities or certain things used as enemas would save them. Articles written by the likes of Margulis.
Geez, that’s really pathetic Margulis promoting this story of a so-called third-year medical student telling a woman with cervical dysplasia that her boyfriend’s penis impacting her cervix during sex as being what’s causing her cervical dyslpasia. I’ll take things that never happened in real life for $500.
Speaking of $$$, I find it fascinating how quickly a crowdfunding was set up even though the diagnosis isn’t confirmed. It’s all about the grift with these people.
IKR? What’s the $12K for?
Probably for some expensive and ineffective zombie quack treatment, like the ones you’ve dismantled here so many times but which keep coming back.
Oh, I can guess:
probably for expensive altie treatments and supplements insurance wouldn’t pay for. A parallel situation perhaps in the case of Utrice Leid- a broadcaster ( Black and Caribbean politics) who has a GoFundMe. Supposedly she had several life threatening conditions ( Cancer, diabetes, BP, kidney failure) and couldn’t find a doctor ( ?) so her pal Gary Null is treating her at his resort-y home. There are videos about her improvements ( Utrice Leid 4 week protocol/ rumble ). She is 70 years old so I assume that she at least has some sort of governmental insurance coverage.
I made the mistake of reading Margulis’ account of the cervical cancer miracle cure.
In real life, a med student quizzing a patient with cervical cancer about her love life and theorizing about how cervical trauma during sex produces malignant cells, would at least get a verbal raking over the coals from the attending physician and remedial assignments, possibly more severe sanctions depending on what other messes he’d gotten into.
My guess is that the “medical student saying it was trauma” story was, if it happened at all, a gross misunderstanding. I can imagine a medical student saying that cervical cancer is caused by HPV and, especially if pushed, saying that HPV can be sexually transmitted. That might have been misunderstood by the patient as meaning that the physical act of sex was the cause, rather than the virus. Particularly if that fit the patient’s pre-existing beliefs better.
I cannot believe that I am saying this, but I am 100% agreeing with Orac’s judgment on her ocular melanoma, if that is what she has. Losing an eye is bad, but losing life is worse.
Cancer is a difficult problem.
By the way, I do not expect “cancer vaccines” to cure cancer either
I do not think that anyone here thinks that there will ever be such a thing as a cancer vaccine that will cure all cancer. There are vaccines that prevent you from contracting diseases that increase the changes of developing certain types of cancer, but I’d hardly call that a ‘cancer vaccine’. Of course the more knowledgeable posters here are free and welcome to correct me.
Or is you talking about cancer vaccines as part of some new fanfic idea you’re planning on writing? Because if that’s your idea I can help you workshop ideas if it’s going to be a horror story. I’m quite fond of Cronenberg-esque bodyhorror.
Actually, mRNA-based vaccines are a very active area of research right now and early results are promising.
One of them even targeted a glioma.
Aren’t most if not all of those direct cancer vaccines specifically created for each patient? While definitely interesting as a cancer cure, regular vaccines prevent as well, which doesn’t seem to be particularly viable here (unless there were a specific antigen, reliably expressed by cancer across different patients but absent in healthy tissue).
Are you thinking of CAR-T therapy?
@ Narad – No: https://www.science.org/content/blog-post/vaccine-pancreatic-cancer-treatment
“Here’s how the trial worked: patients had tumor tissue removed surgically, and the BioNTech team used these samples to come up with a “neoantigen” profile for each individual patients.”
I see, thanks. I learned something new.
On the other hand, my understanding is that human papillomavirus vaccines are well on their way to basically wiping out cervical cancer, which is a really bad one.
Actually, what is happening is the opposite and the cervical cancer diagnoses are up among younger people getting the HPV vaccine. There’s even a lawsuit about it.
Igor is wrong, as usual. HPV vaccination has been shown to not only drastically reduce the rate of precancerous cervical changes, but also cervical cancer.
Are you referring to the Gardasil suit filed by Wisner Baum (https://www.wisnerbaum.com/prescription-drugs/gardasil-lawsuit/)?
Did you notice that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is co-counsel (https://www.wisnerbaum.com/toxic-tort-law/robert-f-kennedy-jr-/)? Or that they cite a paper from 2013, or one from James Lyons Weiler as evidence of their case?
I am referring to mRNA vaccine companies talking about “personalized cancer vaccines” (look it up).
Those vaccines are not preventative, they are curative, they are designed to cure cancer by mimicking certain antigens on the cancer cells belonging to a specific patient, to make the immune system attack those cancer cells without attacking healthy cells.
No mRNA product was ever successful and I personally do not expect those to be successful either. I hope to end up being wrong. That said, cancer patients are already at risk of death, so excessive side effects are not as much of a problem.
It is astounding how effortlessly you both lie and demonstrate your ignorance.
True, cancer-treating vaccines haven’t worked well in the past (only cancer preventing– i.e. HPV/HBV). BUT.. new data look pretty good.
I wouldn’t discount them wholesale.
Personalized cancer vaccines are explaind here:
“Another promising approach to cancer immunotherapy involves the use of personalized vaccines designed to trigger de novo T cell responses against neoantigens, which are highly specific to tumours of individual patients, in order to amplify and broaden the endogenous repertoire of tumour-specific T cells. “
I suspect that you know even less about therapeutic vaccines than you do about preventative ones.
Igor, I know its a bit of a waste of time to point this out to you, but vaccines are preventative not curative. So while, for example, HPV vaccine prevents a huge number of cervical, head, neck and other cancers, once you are diagnosed the HPV vaccine won’t cure you.
No, but there is one vaccine that prevents some forms of cancer.
Hep B vaccine prevents neonatal Hep B. Neonatal Hep B often leads to liver cancer where then the only hope of survival is a liver transplant.
That I didn’t know. I could only think of the HPV vaccin. I learn a lot here.
There are early hints that the HPV vaccine might prevent some throat cancer, too (SCC.) I’d expect more on this soon.
…another worthless non-expert opinion.
‘Cancer is a difficult problem’ is as much of a understatement as any I’ve seen…
Why don’t you expect cancer vaccines to have any success?
Thank you to everyone who has replied to this thread! I knew about the HPV vaccine, but not the rest of what’s being done with mRNA vaccines. Very cool to learn about, even if I can only get the basics as I read the article.
1) Cancer is very hard to treat (as you said above)
2) Cancer cells are not alien to our bodies, they are our own cells that simply reproduce out of control and mutate extensively, so a variety of cancer cells exists – so as some may be killed off, some will remain and will multiply
3) All mRNA-induced immunity wanes quickly and subsequent shots do not restore it
4) mRNA shots eventually create IgG4 immune tolerance
So at best, mRNA personalized cancer vaccines will be like most chemotherapy, perhaps with fewer side effects. Buy a few months of life at some cost.
They are trying them with Keytruda also, so they do not work alone.
Again, citations needed.
Cancer cell are not only cells ‘that simply reproduce out of control’, but also cell that evade our own immune system (and therefore the therapeutic use of immune checkpoint antibodies, such as Keytruda).
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘a variety of cancer cells’: different types of cells or a large number of the same type of cell? With almost any treatment, there is a change that some cells remain. This is a bigger issue when tumors have metastasized, regardless of the therapeutic protocol. Activating the immune system to hunt the tumor cells seems like an effective way of identifying all of the cells.
Waning immunity is not only related to the vaccine technology used, but also to the characteristics of the target, such as it’s mutation rate. Viral immunity wanes for more traditional technologies are similar rates, as well as for traditional antibody-based treatments. But this is usually tested for new infections. I’m note sure how this will relate to cancer cells.
Any reduction in side effects should not be framed as insignificant. Many cancer therapeutics have devastating side effects, and finding new ways to lessen them has a immense effect on patents quality of life, as well as their desire to continue treatment.
Finally, many therapeutics are given in combination. Adding a immune checkpoint blocker to an immunotherapy seems logical, helping T-cells attack cancer cells, the but the only way we’ll will know is by actually conducting the study.
But if you want to make general statements, that you ‘know’ that mRNA based therapeutics will fail, no one can stop you.
Yes, “cancer vaccines” may turn out to be like chemotherapy (temporarily shrink tumors) but with fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy.
For many cancer patients, potential side effects like becoming infertile, are not a concern, and as you said, existing cancer treatments (chemo, radiation) have terrible side effects.
@Igor Chudov MRNA vaccines do not cause infertility. Prove that statement wrong.
I believe that Erbetux saved my life. Monoclonal antibodies are kind of a vaccine without a vaccine…
Wrong. Without googling or even thinking about it very hard I can envision about five or ten mRNA-produced signaling molecules or antibodies that would be really effective against cancers.
The best part? It won’t work for long. You didn’t mention that because you’re too ignorant to these mechanisms or you truly believe that they are permanent “gene therapy” (we know you do.)
“3) All mRNA-induced immunity wanes quickly and subsequent shots do not restore it”
Is that data from the huge number of mRNA vaccines on the schedule?
mRNA technology is not exactly new and they tried mRNA for decades, without success, before the Covid vaccine.
Check out the 2017 Statnews article on Moderna titled “Lavishly funded Moderna hits safety problems in bold bid to revolutionize medicine”
Quote ==> Yet Moderna could not make its therapy work, former employees and collaborators said. The safe dose was too weak, and repeat injections of a dose strong enough to be effective had troubling effects on the liver in animal studies.
The indefinite delay on the Crigler-Najjar project signals persistent and troubling safety concerns for any mRNA treatment that needs to be delivered in multiple doses, covering almost everything that isn’t a vaccine, former employees and collaborators said.
“mRNA technology is not exactly new and they tried mRNA for decades, without success, before the Covid vaccine”
Yes. I’m aware of that. Now, “All mRNA-induced immunity wanes quickly and subsequent shots do not restore it” is a statement that requires a mass of data to justify it. I assumed you knew of many other common diseases that have unsuccessful mRNA vaccines.
Assuming Wiikipedia has the timeline correct, the first human trials against an infectious agent was 2013. Ten years. Influenza, rabies, Zika virus, chikungunya virus……
Check meaning of immune tolerance. It means tolerance to self, by negative selection in thymus.
In addition, cancer cells have mutated proteins, which are different from self protein. T cell infiltration to tumors is a known phenomenon.
Personalized cancer vaccines target mutated proteins present in a specific cancer.
Off-topic, but economist Emily “Vaccine Amnesty” Osterapparently has hooked up with Michelle Obama in some sort of beverage scheme.
This is the lady from the Frontline episode about vaccines, right? I’ll have to read Orac’s full post later…
According to her Substack, Margulis has 19,000 subscribers.
One of her recent Substack articles was on the death of David Kirby, the antivaxer who authored Evidence of Harm. According to Margulis, Kirby had multiple medical problems including bleeding ulcers, a heavy smoking history and pneumonia. Margulis suggests that Kirby’s death was “iatrogenic”, immediately following up that statement by saying that since he “accepted the Covid-19 vaccine narrative and embraced wearing masks, it feels like a betrayal to many of his supporters”.
*according to Margulis’ article, Kirby said he had come down with Covid twice, gotten the J&J vaccine and then possibly developed Covid a third time.
Readers may find us heartless for being critical of someone who may be seriously ill but I think that adults can separate concern for her as a person who might suffer greatly and is probably very frightened while she waits from how her actions and writing might affect her followers who may forego treatment and instead opt for wishful thinking. To her credit, she did seek out SB medical evaluation and advice.
Orac once wrote about how Steve Jobs’ delay in seeking SB care might have affected his overall chances for survival. Writers who applaud alt med “victories”, perhaps seeking audience approval – who doesn’t like a miracle?- are indulging in a soft form of misinformation: they may not explicitly endorse woo BUT they seem to say ” What if?” it works.
Margulis has been mentioned frequently on anti-vax/ alt med sites and is admired by mothers critical of SB OBGYN and infant care. Because she presents herself as a ‘science writer’, her ideas carry more weight than general public opinion would. Concepts like The Secret are common in alt med: thinking the right thoughts, being ‘spiritual’, seeking ‘natural’ remedies all can become stalling tactics by scared people that could also be harmful to them in the long run.
They believe in a “just world” and that they, as “good” people, can’t possibly be destroyed by such a horrible disease.
She writes for the Epoch Times, eh? Wikipedia (via google) :
The Epoch Times is a far-right international multi-language newspaper and media company affiliated with the Falun Gong new religious movement.
Which has been graced by the prose stylings of one Jake Crosby, of course.
One of his listed articles is titled “Did Andrew Wakefield Out The CDC Whistleblower For Money?”
Every time my nut job, ne’er-do-well brother in law shares something to the group to “dunk” on us, it seems to come from there…
It would be interesting to come up with some sort of algorithm that could determine the body count of an antivaxxer like her and others.
It’s pretty clear Margulis has blood on her hands, but cancer is not retribution. I just hope she learns that that blood doesn’t wash off.
There have been a number of sites dedicated to tracking deaths and harm done by such thinking. The first I came across was ‘What’s the Harm?’ -http://whatstheharm.net/ sadly, who ever used to run it stopped updating quite some time ago.
More recently there has been things such as the Herman Cain Award on Reddit and Regretful Anti Vaxer, both dedicated to outspoken anti-covid mitigation people who died of covid.
I’ve been following the Herman Cain Award subreddit almost since its founding. Eye-opening and very disturbing. Most of those people were dreadful human beings. So much hate and bigotry (which seems to go hand-in-hand with science denial).
Melanoma may end up being treated with a vaccine, after all. On 16Apr (hot off the press, Kaiser 2023 Science, v380, Issue 6642) comes news that a personalized mRNA vaccine extended time to relapse in patients with cutaneous melanoma. The author didn’t mention applicability to ocular melanoma, but there’s always hope…
Hive mind — I had a bit of a lively discussion with an acupuncture believer of my distant acquaintance on another forum. She cited as an authority one Dr. Robert Becker, author of “The Body Electric: Eleoctromagnetism and the Foundation of Life”. I have a physics background; to me, the title exuded an overpowering aroma of crankery.
I went a-googling and didn’t find much that wasn’t adulatory. Can anyone point me to a more, uh, balanced discussion of this guy? He was an orthopedist, apparently, and while orthopedics is a noble calling, I wouldn’t think it provides a scientific background adequate for developing overarching theories of biology.
Wikipedia has an article about him. There is a comment saying that a fringe theory is explained without criticism. Lest assured, body electromagnetic field
is not behind regeneration, genes are involved.
A better article:
Here’s what I know. I broke my foot in October. The fracture due to a high energy trauma was bad and did not want to heal (non-union).
I was prescribed a “bone stimulator” device. That device supposedly emits ultrasound as well as electromagnetic waves.
Studies of its effectiveness had mostly negative results but the doctor insisted, so I used it.
So somehow, “electromagnetic waves” are thought of as useful for healing/bone union by the seller of these devices and my surgeon.
I became quite worried and, before I started using the stimulator, for about a week I used comfrey grass that I would boil and wrap around my foot with saran wrap. A controlled study of comfrey I read, did have a positive outcome.
In any case, healing started (per X rays) even before I started using the stimulator, but at this point I did not want to take chances and used both comfrey and the stimulator. I have a completely healed bone now although I have other foot issues.
You were referred directly to a surgeon after breaking your foot?
It seems to be part of the Igor performance of making stuff up.
About 4 months after I broke my foot, I was referred by the surgeon to buy a “bone stimulator”, due to non-union, yes.
That wasn’t the question, now was it?
Was that doctor who gave you that whack-ass device a Chiro?
In fairness, such devices do exist (PDF; e.g., here).
Maybe so but they are never used. I say that with confidence since, in my training, I had to go work with Ortho Surgeons and a Podiatrist. I also see foot fractures all the time.
Should have battered, fried and eaten the comfrey. Would have been more use.
There are actual bone growth factors:
Cell growth is regulated. If a random electric field would cause bone growth, you would be in real trouble.
He died in 2008. You’d think if his oh-so-amazing theory of electromagnetic regeneration to live longer than he did (he lived to 85, but honestly if any of these cranks truly have something that works, you’d hope they would still be dancing a jig at 120.
I don’t know anything about him but would think that if his ideas have been out there for decades** and NOTHING SB has come out of them yet, there’s probably nothing of value in them.
Woo does have some interesting ideas about electricity and magnetism though that you would never teach.
** compare various Asian mushrooms for cancer treatment. Not much.
Thanks to all y’all for your replies.
Historically, cranks have been strongly attracted to electromagnetism — even though, as a phenomenon, it’s understood in great depth and comprehensive detail. Tesla was one such figure – he was a brilliant technologist and showman who morphed into a crank. Since his death he’s become one of the patron saints of physics cranks — when someone starts babbling about suppressed “Tesla technology”, it’s a signal to back away slowly.
As a physicist, can you say that the whole Shari Tenpenny thing about vaccines making the body ‘magnetic’ is as wacky as I think it is when they demonstrate it by showing non-ferrous metal objects like keys sticking to body parts? Is there any known physics, not just of the body, involving a magnetic-like field that could attract brass, aluminum, stainless steel… anything. Or can we just blame Sir Ian McKellan for the X-Men movies where Magneto can do psychokinesis on metal of any composition.
Well, I’m a simple country astronomer, not a physicist. It is possible to attract SOME non-ferrous materials with extremely strong magnetic field gradients, such as you might get in a strong laboratory electromagnet, but the effect is much less than in ferromagnetism. Other materials are weakly repelled — indeed, the physicist Andre Geim won an “Ig-Nobel Prize” for floating a tiny frog in the throat of a very strong laboratory magnet.
The short answer is, no, the effects you describe can’t possibly be due to magnetism.
I mentioned a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the HPV vaccine (Gardasil).
It alleges that there is an increase in cervical cancer among young people vaccinated with this vaccine. You asked for a citation, here it is.
Doubtfully they would make up the cervical cancer increases up, it would not make economic sense in the context of a lawsuit.
Allegations of one party in a lawsuit are not proof of anything.
As a source, this just is not one. Note that it’s not even the core of the lawsuit, and hence, not one of the things they will have to prove.
If you have an actual source for your claim, we can look at it.
But the (rambling) press release mentions James Lyons-Weiler!
I will take a look and see if I can find the studies mentioned in the lawsuit.
Someone explained to me what the issue is: there are many more HPV viruses than the antigens targeted by Gardasil. Gardasil may be crowding out some viruses (which it targets) and the more aggressive ones take their place, leading to more cervical cancers.
I have never been a Gardasil-antivaxer. I am mostly a Covid-antivaxer. So I do not know nearly as much about Gardasil.
I have some reasons to stay away from the topic of Gardasil
And with this one sentence, you confirm how ignorant you are.
Gardasil targeted the most aggressive strains. The number of strains it targeted was also increased in later versions of the vaccine. The viruses Gardasil does not target are the less aggressive ones.
Beat me to it. Guardasil protects against the ones we KNOW are associated with serious cancers. This is dumb Dumb DUMB just on its face.
And yet your (self declared) lack of knowledge does not seem to keep you from making statements, backed by nothing more that a press release from a law firm. We know that your large audience expect that kind of ‘stuff’ from you to confirm their bias.
How can anyone take your claim to be a ‘critical thinker’, as being ‘evidence based’ or ‘open minded’ seriously?
I did not post a single post on Gardasil, what are you talking about.
Um, what? You literally posted a comment at May 15, 2023 at 9:01 pm, where you made reference to Gardasil. In fact, I responded directly to said comment. Are you serious?
Did you’re scientifically ignorant and you spew anti-vaccination crap for money make the list?
You might read this longitudinal cohort study.
Lifetime risk of cervical cancer is declining year by year. And the types which Gardasil targets have declined significantly. But there are a lot more types of HPV. And some of them were not targeted by the vaccine and still have high risk of cervical (or anal) cancer.
There is evidence that those types are increasing.
I suggest trying to be curious, Igor. Look for actual published research on a a subject and read it Don’t just spout something off from the top of your head.
Igor: “I have some reasons to stay away from the topic of Gardasil”
The chief one being your profound ignorance on the subject of Gardasil, human papilloma virus and HPV-induced cancers.
But when has such ignorance stopped you before?
==> Um, what? You literally posted a comment at May 15, 2023 at 9:01 pm,
I meant substack posts
We responded to the comments you made here. Are you implying that your comments on this blog should not be taken as seriously as your substak posts?
I read through it.
1) It IS the Wisner Baum suit mentioned by David.
2) Plaintiff ALLEGES that the vaccine caused her cervical cancer.
You’d be surprised at what some lawyers will say.
So you don’t have any evidence to support your assertion, just a bit of crap from a lawsuit. Wow.
Yet you make crap up all the time. Is the difference that your suckers go to your substack for their doses of the shit you spread? Maybe these lawyers should do the same.
That’s not a citation, you ignorant troll.
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.
A press release from a predatory law firm. Wisner Baum (formerly Baum Hedlund) have discovered a rich vein of income through hedge-fund funded lawsuits. They not only advertise for clients, but also work to poison the well by hosting all sorts of junk science on their website. Fancy citing Lyons-Weiler seriously? It would be like citing Senneff and Samsel (Baum Hedlund did that as well).
Some hedge funds have discovered that ROI can be spectacularly high through funding lawsuits against large entities in the US. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-15/hedge-funds-have-turned-lawsuit-bets-into-a-39-billion-industry
I know this reads like a massive ad hominem attack, but it illustrates how poor the evidence you use is. Not only is a press release of a lawsuit not evidence of anything other than someone has filed a lawsuit, your argument that it doesn’t make economic sense to launch this suit if not true* fails when outsiders are funding it.
*Particularly when their argument amounts to “Merck never tested for this”.
Do you know what the source is for those statistics?
This is a press release – not a ‘citation’.
@ Igor Chudov
You write: “Doubtfully they would make up the cervical cancer increases up, it would not make economic sense in the context of a lawsuit.”
I guess, in your immense stupid ignorance, you don’t know that the US is the most litigious society on the planet. In fact, in history books I read that in colonial times Americans would rather sue that eat breakfast. There is an old joke that if only one lawyer in a town he starves but if two they make a good living. Given the costs of trials and irrationality of juries, in some cases one side will settle even if they are not in the wrong. In fact, a lawyer several years ago in California was indicted because he would sue small businesses; e.g., ma and pa stores and they would pay because they couldn’t afford a lawyer, taking time off for court, etc. We have more lawyers per capita than any other nation.
In addition, many women aren’t getting pap smears, so what could be caught in a pre-cancerous stage progresses, often to advanced stages. [National Cancer Institute (2022 Feb 22). Rate of Overdue Cervical Cancer Screening Is Increasing.] So, the increases in cervical cancer are not because of vaccines; but because what was caught before advancing to cancer are now advancing.
It doesn’t cost a lawyer much to produce the documents and file for a lawsuit, so your stupid claim “it would not make economic sense” just one more example of your stupid ignorance, living in your own fantasy world.
YOU JUST KEEP MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF
Sounds a bit like a maffia operation. “I don’t offer protection from violence performed by people hired by me, but I don’t bring you to court, if you pay me.”
Not violenent, but still…
There are multiple lawyers filing lawsuits against businesses that fail to provide what they deem unsuitable handicapped access. Some of them make a good living from it. Unfortunately, some people have to close their businesses due to the high legal costs. One of those lawyers, Scott Johnson, is handicapped himself, filed many lawsuits—dozens in one week—and was recently convicted of federal tax fraud.
I had to laugh when you said, “It doesn’t cost much for a lawyer to produce the documents and file a lawsuit.” It may not cost the lawyer much, but their client has to pay a lot. Lawyers charge astonishing, per-hour fees.
The OP is like anti-vax nostalgia. Jen Marglis comes off as the ideal type of the mental image of an old-school anti-vaxer. PhD, but in the Humanities; nominally left/liberal political declarations about injustice, corporate greed, profits over people; residence in culturally progressive area on the West Coast, general New Age spiritualism, attendant ‘natural health’ New Agey woo cures home-brewed from the produce section at Whole Foods, complete with the obligatory wheat grass…
I imagined that other than Orac mentioning that she’s moved over into COVID antivax, I could have taken this post as having appeared on RI 15 years ago, except for one detail (admittedly, I could be wrong about this being a new thing…): that her articles are published in the Epoch Times.
Of course, I’m going to observe that the ideal type of a new-school antivaxer is quite different. But what actually interests me today is the mesh of differences and similarities between these types — including how they wind up in similar places from different directions. Specifically, per the granola-chruncher stereotype, we can see in Margulis’ antivax echos of hippy counter-culture — especially the specific articulation of “natural is better” coming out of the counter-culture “return to nature” of the commune movement, small-scale think-global, act-local action, Gaia celebration — all of which make ‘sense’ in the context of an understandable disquiet with industrial civilization in light of the nuclear threat, the Vietnam War, and the emergence of environmental catastrophes like Love Canal.
The MAGAs, of course, are coming from somewhere else entirely. Yet some of the tropes they employ are the same, and others are similar on the surface but with interesting key differences. Specifically, I’m thinking of the right-wing versions of medi-woo. As Orac has oft noted, here the “natural is better” is an expression of a mythos of human purity, as parodied in Dr. Strangelove’s General Ripper. There’s no critique of industrialization per se (though an unacknowledged angst spawned by that probably runs deep), but paranoid imaginings of government plots overseen by shadowy figures of pure Evil. (Consciously or not, this is all pretty Biblical.) The alternative to Big Pharma isn’t DIY, but alternative entreprenurial business like Big Supplement as sponsors of Alex Jones. They’re not buying wheat grass at the health food store, they’re buying veterinary ivermectin at Farm and Fleet.
I can’t tell from the OP is Margulis has embraced right-wing kookery now, or is just on Epoch Times because they’re willing to platform her. But here’s a bit of news Orac or Oracians may want to comment on (or not…)
Perhaps like me, you’ve caught some news of the ReAwaken America tour, a far right caravan featuring Eric and Lara Trump that recently caught heat after Rachel Maddow noted it was going to include two virulently anti-emitic speakers (essentially Neo-Nazis) speakers in it’s stop at Mar A Lago. Maddow noted in passing that while the central theme was Christian Nationalism (Mike Flynn is “star” attraction), a variety of other kooky speakers were in the mix, including antivaxers. But no more details on that were offered. I wondered who the antivax story there might be, so I checked on the web.
The tour organizer is a guy named Clay Clark, who I haven’t heard about before. but is apparently some sort of alt-right media figure hosting something called The Time Show, the website of which is hosting the page for the tour. There are two prominent banners near the top: “Find Jobs That Don’t Require the COVID-19 Vaccines” and “Request a COVID-19 Vaccine Religious Exemption”. A giant graphic under the heading “Discover The Truth. Reawaken America” frames “The Great Reawakening” exemplified by an illustration of a Bible and photos of a few participants in the tour vesus vs “The Great Reset” exemplified by a plain book cover bearing the title “COVID 19: The Great Reset” a snarling Cobra, and photos including George Soros, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerburg.
The list of featured speakers includes (are you ready?):
[alphabetically] Mike Adams, Ty and Charlene Bollinger, Rashid A. Buttar, Leila Centner, Simone Gold, Stella Immanuel, Shannon Kroner, Carrie Madej, Peter McCullough, Judy Mikovits , Christiane Northrup, Sheri Tenpenny, Andy Wakefeld, and Mikki Willis
Those are just the names I recognize. Digging down into the site suggests there may be an equal number of other speakers spreading COVID/antivax conspiracy/disinformation.
The anti-vax crew is mixed in with an all-star cast of election deniers, ultra-rightists, former Trump administration officials, and 16 people identified as “pastors” apparently not averse to appearing adjacent to neo-Nazis, including:
[again, alphabetically] Patrick Byrne, Alex Jones, Alan Keyes, Charlie Kirk, Mike Lindell, Greg Locke, Peter Navarro, Devin Nunes, Kash Patel, Ken Paxton, Sidney Powell, Jovan Pulitzer, Roger Stone, Phil Waldron, and former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker.
I’m guessing the vegan smoothie concession at these confabs won’t exactly be hopping, and if any Gaia worshippers show up in the crowd they might get burned at the stake.
I might further guess RFKJ is sad not to be on the speakers list, but Steve Bannon forbade his involvement to keep up the ruse he’s running for POTUS as a progressive Democrat, which a small army of trolls are claiming him to be in comment threads at the NYT and elsewhere.
I don’t know that much about antivaxers beyond what I’ve read here and at SBM, but based on such accounts and examples of old school movement antivaxers – RFKJ especially – I’ve come to consider these folks as having developed an obsessive focus on vaccines to the point of being a first principle, the furnace warming the ego becoming the sun around which every other concern can only revolve or be sucked in by its gravity and incinerated. But so much of the world refuses to acknowledge the HUGE SIGNIFICANCE of the vaccine crimes, it fuels a subcurrent of desperation amid the aggrieved righteousness, such that these folks will take pretty much any path, climb into bed with pretty much any body, to get their message a hearing, to find someone who seems to care, to see a nod of validation. As such, its not really a surprise that the old-school antivaxers now on the ReAwaken America tour are playing second-or-third-banana to Mike Flynn and Mike Lindell, having had their project completely swallowed by an alt-right movement uniting disparate strands of conspiracy-theory, reaction and hatred into a single mega-MAGA cult. But It’s disturbing, nevertheless.
Apparently after being exposed by Rachel Maddow, the Trump family got McKay and Ward booted from the Florida leg. It probably means little, because Greg Locke is just as anti-semitic.
That’s odd: with desantis leading the state you’d think the two of them would fit right in.
From my superficial digging into the ReAwaken America shows.
In the spring of 2021, Clay Clark began running a series of “Health and Freedom” events to push back against Covid-19 mitigation measures. A meeting with Mike Flynn gave him the idea to turn these into an ongoing nationwide tour. This also let him move up from selling $250 tickets to seminars for a copy of his book and tips on how to grow your business 10 times to selling $500 VIP tickets to shake hands with one of the Trumps.
(Check out the Wikipedia article.)
Clark had argued
Apparently, Flynn has become the face of the movement because he brings national media recognition and the Trump MAGA connections.
A lot of the attendees probably attend fundamentalist evangelical “Church of Jesus Christ Republican” where pastors like Greg Locke
Greg Locke and Jurgen Matthesius if the Awaken Church of San Marcos, California preach that “You can’t be a Christian and vote Democrat”.
In an interesting twist, the ReAwaken name evokes the Great Awakening in the 1700’s when Baptist and Methodist preachers traveled through the colonies and faced prosecution for preaching against the colony’s official religion. This was a key factor in establishing the First Amendment which Christian Nationalists do not understand and probably want to rewrite.
But thee tours are getting local push back from the Baptist Church, whish I cited above and local Methodist pastors like Rev. Melinda Teter Dodge.
Unfortunately, the loud media megaphone of the evangelicals drowns out the quiet pushback from local churches and their pastors.
A thorough audit of the ReAwaken America organization could be very interesting. The whole thing reeks of MLM-like grift.
You prompted me to do a little digging.
I have a long comment in moderation because I botched an href tag.
But the links work.
I hadn’t heard of Clay Clark either but I haven’t been to Tulsa in five years.
It seems he was anti-mask and anti-vaccine from early in the pandemic. There’s more in my other comment.
I’ve observed changes woo/ anti-vax has been through:
during the Financial Crisis ( 2008-9), politics became more central to their complaints, sounding more like libertarian/ small government advocates, opposing government “bailouts” and spending in general. I think that’s when they began to attract more right wing followers. Sometimes, it seemed that Null and Adams tried to be all things to all people- Back to Nature, Back to God’s Plan, Freedom!, Human Rights! etc. Adams has closely mimicked Alex Jones, for whom he substitutes on Info Wars. His current website/ show features alt right folk who espouse survivalism, farming, guns, Christian nationalism, family values, gold backed currency, de-centralisation, anti-mandates. anti-governmental agencies, anti-tax, anti-university, anti-experts etc
I venture that – at heart- anti-vax advocates reject human intervention- SBM, government- in their lives and view vaccination itself as an affront not dissimilar to rape, that destroys their purity and/ or physical health. Interestingly, it seems that older anti-vaxxers pick and choose whichever vilification they prefer and mix different elements together into an unsavoury stew of bad ideas.
Since Covid, it seems that rallies and paid events became more important and as you say, allow anti-vax as second string performers. RFK jr and Del BIgtree try to attract both ends of the spectrum ( and increase donations) by including freedom as a central theme and fear of big government/ corporate power. Del actually comes from a hippie-ish/ Christian family from Boulder, no less. Later this month, RFK jr’s rep, Kucinich, will appear with diverse scoffers at Occupy Peace 2023 in Kingston NY, led by “trends forecaster”, Gerald Celente. For a sample of individual mixing of themes see Katie Wright ( @katiewr31413491)- a rich NY liberal who has strayed.
OT but are woo-meisters cosplaying HCWs ever truly OT @ RI? I should think not.
Mike Adams has been “educating” his followers on how to treat pets’ injuries ( yesterday and today- complete with photos and video) with super glue, colloidal silver and TCM after his dog sustained a laceration and the “treated” wound re-opened.
He’s a multi-millionaire who can afford a veterinarian. He’s probably spiking dog food with Tumeric if I know Mikey. Poor dog.
If an adult wants to mess around with the flow of chi, that’s up to them. Anyone who treats an injured animal with It wants to feel the thick end of a rhinoceros horn, with their arse cheeks.
My thoughts exactly. I just saw a short film about someone beating someone with a live python and all I could think was: “Poor python”.
Jennifer Margulis is now “just asking question” as to whether her wearing contacts for 30 years caused her issues, citing to this article, blaming PFAs. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/09/contact-lenses-pfas-forever-chemicals?fbclid=IwAR2JksSMbLqLlTx_VQobre8IXdzWxo2PaHNpZFNAJjfTwWN0KV5D3nTFlMo
Because it always has to be some “toxin”, I guess?