Donald Trump and the Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracy Theorists

Jan 12, 2017

By Laurie Garrett

Things are getting down and dirty now. And millions of lives are at stake. I cannot possibly state strongly enough how dangerous it is that President-elect Donald Trump has embraced the notion that vaccination is the cause of autism.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a celebrated vaccine skeptic, met with Trump on Jan. 10. Speaking to reporters outside Trump Tower in Manhattan after the meeting, Kennedy said he will chair a commission “on vaccine safety and scientific integrity” at Trump’s request, because, “we ought to be debating the science.”

(One news organization, the Guardian, later reported that the Trump team denies Kennedy will lead such a commission, but offered no other explanation for why the environmentalist was summoned to meet with the president-elect.)

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11 comments on “Donald Trump and the Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracy Theorists

  • @OP – Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a celebrated vaccine skeptic, met with Trump on Jan. 10. Speaking to reporters outside Trump Tower in Manhattan after the meeting, Kennedy said he will chair a commission “on vaccine safety and scientific integrity” at Trump’s request, because, “we ought to be debating the science.”

    Don’t scientifically illiterate conspiracy theorists love to “debate” and “investigate” settled science: – and with posturing airs of “authority” too!

    “We will examine this scientific research which we are too scientifically illiterate and uneducated to understand, and decide which bits of it we choose to designate correct or wrong! –
    and with no understanding of scientific methodology, we will also decide on the “integrity” of scientific processes in the peer-reviewed papers – checking them for compliance with our amateur pseudo-scientific preconceptions”

    If these buffoons were not being given political power, this farcical egotism would be a pure comedy show!
    Classic Dunning-Kruger – Too stupid and ignorant to recognise how stupid and ignorant they are!

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  • Would it be paranoid to suspect that the core drivers of the anti-vax lobby have the malicious intention of causing a reduction in the population by disease? After all, we’re overpopulated, and birth-control and abortion are immoral, so what’s to be done about it? (And of course, they’ll make sure their own crowd are fully vaccinated and protected in their gated communities against the coming plagues/pandemics/epidemics – whatever’s the right term).

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  • OHooligan The following line would seem to make that unlikely,”Vaccine-refusal rates are highest in American communities of wealth, such as Marin County, California. “.
    There is a danger of being the mirror image of the conspiracy theorists who claim that the CDC and the medical profession are conspiring to deliberately inflict autism of the children.

    Most conspiracy theories fall down because they require the supposed conspirators to have ridiculous levels of planning and effort, coupled with an ability to keep hundreds of people silent about the true agenda when past experiences show that keeping secrets like that is next to impossible.

    In reality people are more than capable of believing bull shit on mass, out of fear and ignorance without the need for shadowy provocators. For confirmation of this I offer the worlds religions and Trumps recent election.

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  • While there is still a huge problem of education on the need for vaccination in crowded populations, it seems the congress and senate have other priorities!

    The US House of Representatives has taken the first step toward demolishing President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, known as Obamacare.

    Republicans passed a budget measure to introduce a bill – which Democrats cannot block – to roll back the law.

    But members of both parties in Congress are concerned about a lack of replacement for Obamacare.

    The political showdown raises a big question mark over medical coverage for more than 20 million Americans.

    The measure passed in the House nearly on a party-line vote, 227-198, delivering a blow to President Obama’s legacy a week before he leaves office.

    It instructs four committees on Capitol Hill to draft repeal legislation by 27 January.

    The Senate passed the resolution by 51-48 on Thursday.

    So like the UK’s Brexiteers’ fairytales, there is a knee-jerk ideological urge for destruction of the existing system, – with no plan in place for a replacement!

    “By taking the first step toward repealing Obamacare, we are closer to giving Americans relief from the problems this law has caused,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement following the vote.

    Strangely there does not seem to be a plan to “fix the problems” of Americans paying twice as much for their healthcare services as other OECD countries!

    “This resolution gives us the tools we need for a step-by-step approach to fix these problems and put Americans back in control of their health care.

    Notable by its absence, is any reference to “which Americans” are being put in charge of Americans’ healthcare! A desperate individual bargaining with large monopolistic corporations, seems like an unequal contest!

    Obamacare has provided healthcare subsidies and medical coverage for millions who are not covered through work.

    It has banned insurers from refusing coverage to people who are already ill, and curbed medical charges to the sick and elderly.

    Good grief! A medical service which ACTUALLY provides services to the sick, rather than selectively taking insurance premiums from those who are fit and unlikely to claim!

    But the law has been rocked by rising premiums, large fees and national insurers exiting the marketplaces.

    That’s what happens when profiteers are unregulated and out of control!

    Egged on by Donald Trump, Republicans have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act but conservatives have not yet agreed on a new plan.

    Well no!
    That would be competent government! – Shudder the thought!
    Imagine having a new plan, evaluating its benefits, and seeing if it provides a better service, and better value service, for the citizens whose interests the politicians are supposed to be representing!
    Why would media fed American voters want to think about something like that? 🙂
    (Corporate Blasphemy??)

    The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said this month that repealing Obamacare would cost about $350bn (£286bn) over the next decade.

    Ah well!
    Republican America has to find ways of avoiding spending on providing actual healthcare to its citizens, so this is clearly another spending priority!

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  • …it seems the congress and senate have other priorities!

    The whole idea behind a government with checks and balances doesn’t work if all three branches are controlled by one party.

    The sucker-punch is the controlling party is a minority put in place as a result of gerrymandering and voter restriction laws (and–admittedly–severe apathy from the electorate).

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  • @OP – Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a celebrated vaccine skeptic

    The continued misuse of the term “sceptic” by the media, when discussing scientific or medical issues, gives conspiracy-theory-ignoramuses undeserved respect for their barmy views!

    A scientific sceptic is someone well educated and expert in a subject who is offering a competent opinion on a subject they have studied in depth using reputable research papers or articles or professionally run university courses.

    It does not refer to the fatuous opinions of ignorant conspiracy theorists who have consulted each other on their whimsical notions about subjects the cannot understand or have not studied, and then established a view based on their collective ignorance!

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a celebrated vaccine conspiracy theorist! – although I don’t know why anyone would wish to “celebrate” such stupidity!

    I suppose if he is paid to chair an “investigation”, this provides well paid employment for another of Trump’s pseudo-science muppets from US Tax-payers pockets!

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  • @Mr_DNA #3

    There is a danger of being the mirror image of the conspiracy theorists who claim that the CDC and the medical profession are conspiring to deliberately inflict autism of the children.

    Exactly. And a benefit, maybe, in talking those conspiracy theorists out of their anti-vax position. They’ve fallen for that other conspiracy, they’ve been duped, and they’ve been set on the path to their own destruction.

    I think this (tongue-in-cheek) line of argument should only be deployed as a last resort, when appeals to reason and evidence and the scientific method have failed. Oh, wait, that’s now, isn’t it?

    (ps I hope none of you thought I actually meant that I believed in such a conspiracy.)

    (and, yes, chemtrails would be a much better way to do it. Pass that info on to our Lizard Overlords, they might want to redeploy resources on this one.)

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  • alf1200 #4
    Jan 13, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    O’hooligan, I would have to consider “chemtrails” if I considered a conspiracy to reduce only the USA population.

    Don’t worry about it!
    The business-as-usual users of antibiotics in animal feed, miss-users of antibiotics in medical treatments, and unrestricted users of global transportation systems, have their own (lack of a) plan: – and the bugs don’t care if anyone believes in them or in evolution, or not!

    Bug resistant to all antibiotics kills woman

    A superbug that could not be treated with 26 different antibiotics has killed a woman in the US, officials report.

    The 70-year-old from Nevada had returned to the US in August with an infected swelling in her right hip after a long stay in India.

    She died in September.

    A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said the infection was “resistant to all available antimicrobial drugs”.

    The women had repeatedly needed hospital treatment in India after breaking her right leg. An infection got into the bone and then spread to her hip.

    She was seriously ill when she arrived in a US hospital – her immune system was going into overdrive in an attempt to fight the infection causing inflammation throughout her body.

    This escalated and ultimately she died from septic shock.

    Samples of the infection taken from the wound were sent to the CDC for testing.

    They showed she was infected with Klebsiella pneumoniae – which normally lives in the gut without causing disease.

    The analysis found the superbug was resistant to all 26 available antibiotics in the US including the “drug of last resort” – colistin.

    Global travel factor

    The CDC said: “[Infections] that are resistant to all antimicrobials are very uncommon.”

    But the case remains a warning of the dangers of what the CDC calls untreatable “nightmare bacteria”.

    Some scientists have argued we are on the cusp of the “post-antibiotic era” with cases like this in Nevada becoming more frequent.

    Dr David Brown, chief scientist at Antibiotic Research UK, said: “It is still quite unusual for a bacterial infection to be resistant to such a large number of antibiotics.

    “Fortunately it is an extreme case, but it may soon become all too common.

    “It happened because of her personal history of multiple hospitalisations in India, however, the ease of global travel does mean that such cases will increase.

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  • Meanwhile in countries where health issues are looked at objectively:-

    Brazil’s health ministry has ordered 11.5 million doses of yellow fever vaccine amid the largest outbreak of the disease in the country since 2000.
    Seventy cases – including 40 deaths – are confirmed, mostly in rural areas of the state of Minas Gerais. More than 300 cases are under investigation.

    Vaccinations are being recommended for people travelling to Minas and other areas with confirmed cases.

    Yellow fever is a potentially fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.

    Most of Brazil is considered at risk from yellow fever but the country has only seen a handful of cases in recent years.

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  • Following up on OHooligan’s conspiracy theory, clearly if you were a foreign power (such as the Russians) and you wanted to reduce the population of your enemy, then sponsoring and/or planting a few anti-vaxxers would be a reasonable long term strategy.

    Alas, I have to quote what I’ve always known as “Darwin’s Razor”, which paraphrases thus: when two explanations seem equally plausible, it’s always stupidity rather than conspiracy that is the correct one.

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