Respectful Insolence

Michelle Bachmann’s anti-vaccine nuttiness

A few days ago, Michelle Bachmann laid down napalm grade burning stupid about the HPV vaccine. Today, Funny or Die sums it up perfectly.

The not unexpected thing is, instead of retreating under criticism, Bachmann appears to be doubling down on her anti-vaccine silliness.

Comments

  1. #1 anarchic teapot
    September 17, 2011

    Brilliant!

  2. #2 reasonablehank
    September 17, 2011

    On Thursday 15 September, Meryl Dorey noted:

    “I don’t have much time for Bachmann, but anyone who can get people talking about the downside of vaccination and the importance of individual choice is doing a great job!”

    and, in reply to a commenter who has since felt the banhammer:

    “As if they take us seriously now? You are right – she is a right-wing fanatic. But all day long, every single American network has been reporting this non-stop. It has got to make people start thinking. Since the media REFUSES to cover this issue unless it is positive for vaccines, it is good to at least have someone asking the questions…

    MD

    PS – Is there any reporting of Michelle Bachmann’s comments in Australia?”

    Why, yes; the Australian media has indeed covered Bachmann, including the quote, “preposterously ill-informed” and “profoundly irresponsible”:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/bachmann-caned-for-vaccine-claim-20110915-1kbyi.html

    On behalf of Stop the Australian Vaccination Network, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Ms Bachmann, and Meryl Dorey, for publicly stating their beliefs.

  3. #3 Ajax
    September 17, 2011

    Love it. :) But I’m too busy raising awareness over the near extinction of smallpox to worry about it.

  4. #4 JAS
    September 17, 2011

    all the way from Oz, I need to comment that this woman with her high profile position is VERY dangerous to be spruiking such nonsense – I too agree with the individual’s right of choice – and as long as that choice is ‘informed’ the said individual will have to live by their decisions – personallyI believe in vaccination, but for her to be holding her audience to ransom with her ill-informed statements is unconscionable – shame lady, shame.

  5. #5 Kevin B
    September 17, 2011

    I am an immigrant, and have been in the States for 30 years. Yet I am constantly amazed at the lack of critical thinking of a large part of the American public. Only in this country can ignorant clowns like Bachmann, Glenn Beck or Donald Trump have an audience…

  6. #6 MikeMa
    September 17, 2011

    Bachmann’s brain cavity is too full of religious dogma, hypocrisy and crazy eye juice. Burning stupid leaking out is often the result. Sure wish her god would talk to smart, sane people once in a while.

  7. #7 Denice Walter
    September 17, 2011

    Last evening, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and guests Jonathan Alter and Dr Zeke Emanuel articulately and puissantly critiqued Bachmann and anti-vax in general.

    And- Surprise!- Maher even managed to get in a few jabs at her anti-HPV vax purity campaign sans the usual alt med apologia. Guess Pharma even got to Superman.

  8. #8 Reuben
    September 17, 2011

    Wait. What? Maher criticized Bachmann on vaccines? What about his little rant about “Western Medicine” a few months ago? No, I believe he’s criticizing her because she’s on the opposite political spectrum from him, not because she swallowed the anti-vax bait hook, line, and sinker.

  9. #9 Orac
    September 17, 2011

    Exactly. Maher’s a contrarian. When anti-science goes against his political views (i.e., the HPV vaccine, AGW denialism, and the like), he’s all over it, making fun of someone like Michelle Bachmann and superficially appearing to be a defender of science. When the antiscience agrees with his views on “Western medicine” and “toxins” and the like, then he’s as antiscience as the most militant antivaxer.

    Bill Maher is not an ally of science. He’s an ally of any science that jibes with his own personal ideology. That perfectly explains how he can be so antivax when it comes to the flu vaccine and other vaccines but so provax when it comes to the HPV vaccine.

  10. #10 DW
    September 17, 2011

    Maher actually said stuff like ” what science says” to diss MB- I was absolutely shrieking- but I can understand his stance about flu vs HPV – flu doesn’t interfere with libertinism.

  11. #11 kittywhumpus
    September 17, 2011

    It was only a matter of time. She was running out of subjects to lie about.

  12. #12 lilady
    September 17, 2011

    Bachmann was coached by her advisers before the debate…all the candidates involved in a public debate go through that process.

    Different with Bachmann however, is the fact that she is a loose cannon and couldn’t resist adding that comment about the link between HPV vaccine and adolescence-onset mental retardation.

    She also is consistent with her craziness as evidenced by the “double-downing” of the woo the following day.

    I was hoping that she would hang on a bit longer as a contender…merely for the comic relief value. I am so disappointed that she “blew it”.

  13. #13 A-nonymous
    September 17, 2011

    Ya, it’s really hilarious that one of the side effects of vaccines can include brain inflammation, leading to seizures, mental retardation etc. Really. Hilarious.

  14. #14 Chris
    September 18, 2011

    Yeah, sure, A-nonymous… and where is it shown that it is caused by Gardasil? And how many in the 35 million of doses administered? Do you have anything more scientific than a second hand story?

    So, exactly which vaccines cause more seizures than the diseases?

  15. #15 herr doktor bimler
    September 18, 2011

    I was under the impression that the state represented by Bachmann follows much the same vaccine schedule as the rest of the US, without provoking her concerns about parental choice and imaginary side-effects. That is, her concerns are specific to a single vaccine — one she can link to her political rival.
    High principles!

  16. #16 lilady
    September 18, 2011

    Let me re-phrase Chris’ question (so that a-anonymous will have a wider field to investigate):

    Which of the billions of doses of vaccine that have been administered world wide in the past 10, 20, 30 years cause seizures? Be specific now, about “which” vaccine(s) in particular and provide us with citations from peer reviewed journals that back up your statements.

    What is hilarious is a-anonymous’ posting.

  17. #17 lilady
    September 18, 2011

    Actually, Bachmann has “tripled-down” with the crazy anecdotal story of adolescent-onset mental retardation. She appeared on the Jay Leno Show Friday night. I located the video on “Fox Nation”..of all places.

    Jay Leno Grills Michele Bachmann About Texas HPV Vaccine Issue

    When she is talking about injecting the vaccine watch where she points to.

    The comments beneath are a riot…obviously “not moderated” by this right wing media outlet.

  18. #18 Chris
    September 18, 2011

    herr doctor bimler, she is from the state that has had a large number of measles outbreaks lately:
    http://silencedbyageofautism.blogspot.com/2011/08/third-case-identified-in-latest-measles.html

  19. #19 A-nonymous
    September 18, 2011

    Ya, Chris and Lilady. You are so right on. No one has ever suffered an adverse event that includes encephalopathy and resulting mental retardation. Oh yes, and this has never been paid out for in vaccine court. Keep classy!

  20. #20 Narad
    September 18, 2011

    High principles!

    One might recall that Bachmann’s opposition to the Census went dark rather abruptly after it was observed that her district would probably be first on the chopping block if the state lost a seat.

  21. #21 Dangerous Bacon
    September 18, 2011

    I’d appreciate it if A-nonymous could point us to the vaccine court decision that resulted in a payout for “mental retardation” developed by a 12-year-old girl who received Gardasil immunization.

    Otherwise, A-nonymous is just engaging in inaccurate and pointless innuendo, which is not very classy.

  22. #22 Chris
    September 18, 2011

    A-nonymous:

    No one has ever suffered an adverse event that includes encephalopathy and resulting mental retardation.

    Point out exactly which comment I said that in. Do it, or we will assume you pulled it out of thin air.

    Try actually answering the questions I wrote:

    Yeah, sure, A-nonymous… and where is it shown that it is caused by Gardasil? And how many in the 35 million of doses administered? Do you have anything more scientific than a second hand story?

    And here is the real question you need to answer:

    So, exactly which vaccines cause more seizures than the diseases?

    Why are you willing to take a one in a thousand chance of encephalitis with measles over the one in over a million chance with the MMR vaccine? Really, why? Is your grasp of basic fractions so tenuous that you think 1/1000 is a smaller number than 1/1000000 because it has fewer zeros?

    Tell us exactly why the very few vaccine court payouts overshadow the hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines given? And could you point to the vaccine court payout on Gardasil?

  23. #23 Julian Frost
    September 18, 2011

    I LOL’d at the Jenny McCarthy Gag. Hilarious!

  24. #24 Denice Walter
    September 18, 2011

    While we’re on the topic of Bachmannesque religiosity and anti-vax:

    @ AoA today, Kent Heckenlively writes about “Faith” and-

    “I call it nothing less than wickedness when the medical community refuses to perform a study of the neurological health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children…
    it is nothing less than wickedness when those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME are told that they are not physically ill, but suffer only from a mental illness…
    I fear more wickedness to come.”

    Wow! Perhaps the animosity hurled upon us, as supporters of SBM, is fuelled by sentiments such as the above, including blurring the line between the two distinct concepts of “science” and “atheism”. I run across this on the sites of web woo-meisters, often thinly disguised as “spiritual” alt med vs SBM.

    As an “out”(family tradition) atheist, I am often treated to the equation of “religious” = “good”, highly familiar to parole boards reviewing the newly converted and political reporters hearing yet another declaration of faith prior to election day- as though saying the Word suddenly makes all else you say instantly agreeable to others.

    People are often surprised when I identify myself ( sometimes more mildly as an “unbeliever”): what are they expecting- Helena Bonham Carter straight out of a Harry Potter film? (altho’ I do like some of her costumes).

  25. #25 brian
    September 18, 2011

    A-nonymous wrote:

    No one has ever suffered an adverse event that includes encephalopathy and resulting mental retardation. Oh yes, and this has never been paid out for in vaccine court.

    Why does the fact that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program “paid out” in cases involving encephalopathy impress you? Those cases were compensated before the evidence was available to show that such allegedly vaccine-injured children likely were not injured by vaccines at all, but instead had genetically determined epilepsy syndromes.

    So far nineteen children with allegedly vaccine-associated encephalopathy have been analyzed by two different groups of researchers for mutations in the SCN1A gene. Sixteen of nineteen children had mutations within that single gene, while the other three children had different defined epilepsy syndromes.

    Children with such mutations develop the epilepsy syndromes (which often includes encephalopathy and the development of autistic traits) after a period of apparently normal development, whether or not the first seizure happens to follow vaccination. Rats and mice with these same mutations develop seizure disorders following a period of apparently normal development–without being vaccinated.

    The cases that you mentioned were included in the recent nonscientific review published by authors associated with the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy. Clearly, those authors, like you, were ignorant of the scientific evidence that has accumulated since those cases were decided. The evidence no longer supports compensation in these types of cases, and the fact that such cases were compensated in the past provides no evidence to support the claim that the government has somehow been compensating children for vaccine-induced autism.

  26. #26 TBruce
    September 18, 2011

    including blurring the line between the two distinct concepts of “science” and “atheism”.

    You know who else blurred the line? (Hint: not Hitler.)

  27. #27 marcia
    September 18, 2011

    Colbert on the medical journal that shows a direct link between the HPV vaccine and mental retardation.

    at the 3 minute mark:
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/396674/september-14-2011/rick-perry-s-hpv-vaccine-mandate

  28. #28 herr doktor bimler
    September 18, 2011

    it is nothing less than wickedness when those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME are told that they are not physically ill, but suffer only from a mental illness…

    Heckenlively is searching for allies among the CFS/ME activists, and trying to co-opt them to his own crusade? They don’t strike me as having much in common.

  29. #29 lilady
    September 18, 2011

    @ Denice Walter: Hell, you don’t have to be an atheist or “unbeliever” to find Heckenlively’s comments and the comments of the so-called Christian woo meisters to be disingenuous and insulting.

    I also find it insulting that the woo meisters think they are the only “true” Americans and others who don’t lap up their woo are subversive Nazis or Communists or the very worst insult…that we are socialists. At times I wonder if my religion has been hijacked by these loonies.

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    September 18, 2011

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    They don’t? After all, Kent’s AoA compadre, Blaxill is amongst the founders of the Canary Party ( canaryparty.org) which links ALS, Alzheimer’s, ASDs, allergies, asthma, bipolar, cancer, Crohn’s, CFS, IBS, etc etc etc. which are attributed to the toxic environment and medical corruption ( a/k/a vaccine injury).

    @ lilady:

    Psychologists have a name for people like those woo-meisters… but I like solipcistic idiot ratbags better.

  31. #31 herr doktor bimler
    September 18, 2011

    the founders of the Canary Party ( canaryparty.org) which links ALS, Alzheimer’s, ASDs, allergies, asthma, bipolar, cancer, Crohn’s, CFS, IBS,

    Well yes, I can see why the vaccine-injury crowd would try to coopt CFS into a coalition. It hard, though, to imagine them succeeding. My impression of the CFS lobbyists* is that they would see an attempt to bundle them up with all those other patient groups as a way of minimising their grievance, and would not react well. There is little willingness to accept someone else’s theories of the etiology of CFS, or to relinquish their own theories.

    * Impression is based on some of ERV’s commenters whenever she blogs about XMRV, who are *not* a representative sample.

  32. #32 Reuben
    September 18, 2011

    The more I read the Canary Party’s (read: Ginger Taylor’s) “position paper”, the more I think I should use it to teach my students about biases and how perception is not reality. I mean, it’s a joke. They blame vaccines for all sorts of things because – brace yourselves – most of the people who had those things are vaccinated.

    No shit!

    I’m going to start my own party, the “Cannery Party” because most people who suffer from those afflictions have eaten food out of a can at one point in their lives. Who’s with me?

  33. #33 Denice Walter
    September 18, 2011

    @ Reuben:

    I like that! And I’ve been to Cannery Row!

  34. #34 Sid Offit
    September 18, 2011

    You’re now a tool for TV’s Whitney? Good move. Yes and do cut that cancer research. It’s been a financial black hole since Oracian favorite Dick Nixon declared war on the disease. But then what would you do with all the spare time you’d have if you couldn’t file for NIH grants?

    Choice? You mean vaccine choice. I don’t think women should have a choice when it come to raising their children.

  35. #35 Chris
    September 18, 2011

    Yoo hoo! A-nonymous! Come on! Answer my very simple question!

    Please, which vaccine on the present pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease (or diseases) it is for?

    Surely you have that answer, with supporting scientific documentation. Show us you know something about relative risk.

  36. #36 lilady
    September 19, 2011

    Offal is that rambling rant supposed to have meaning? You better lay off the hooch/and or other substances and think about cutting back on any psychotropics that are prescribed for you.

    If you are not sniffing snorting or ingesting any of the substance listed above, you are in real trouble…but eminently qualified to join Heckenlively as a guest journalist.

  37. #37 dt
    September 19, 2011

    Info:

    Some vaccines do result in seizures. This may happen in infants because they induce fever as part of the host’s immune response to the vaccine, and high fever might result in a febrile convulsion. For instance it may happen after MMR, usually about a week to 10 days following vaccination. The combined MMRV vaccine was shown to have a higher rate of these seizures than MMR alone, hence advice that health care providers should be cautious when choosing this vaccine. These types of febrile seizures are usually entirely harmless. Worrying for the parents, but with no adverse effect on the child. They aslo occur way less often after a vaccine than after the natural infection, which tends to induce fever in every case, increasing the risks proportionately.

    Vaccines can rarely cause brain damage/encephalopathy. DTwP was linked with this in anything between 0 and 10 times per 10 million vaccinations, but the link was a correlation and not necessarily directly causal (refs IOM, NCES). MMR can rarely cause a type of encephalopathy too, but less than one per million doses. (PS measles causes encephalopathy in one per thousand cases, more than a thousand times more often). This encephalopathy could result in seizures.

    None of this means the vaccines are not helpful or do not have a fantastic benefit/risk ratio – they do.

    I am unaware of any confirmed reports of Gardasil causing encephalopathy/encephalitis. Girls might collapse or faint after it, but that is not a seizure.

  38. #38 dt
    September 19, 2011
  39. #39 brian
    September 19, 2011

    Bachmann has a long and colorful history of making wildly unsubstantiated statements, including that people in Japan can’t criticize their health care system because they know that if they do, they would be “put on a list, and they wouldn’t get health care. They wouldn’t get in, they wouldn’t get seen, and so people are afraid, they’re afraid to speak back to government.” That was Palin.

    TPM has a thorough catalog:

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/through-the-looking-glass-bachmanns-long-history-of-strange-statements.php?ref=fpblg

    OTOH, she wasn’t the one who said this:

    “[It was Paul Revere] who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.”

  40. #40 brian
    September 19, 2011

    Oops. The “That was Palin” statement belongs at the end of the final paragraph, not the first.

  41. #41 Nate
    September 19, 2011

    Orac (and friends); I’m hoping someone can help me out here. My brother (usually a skeptic himself) posted this to fb this weekend, with the comment: “Someone in immunology explain to me why this is not a bad thing, ’cause it sounds like Merck, twenty years ago, ignoring good science and putting a fx of a lot of people at risk for their profits.”
    http://www.naturalnews.com/033584_Dr_Maurice_Hilleman_SV40.html

    I told him I’d do some research this week, but that he should beware of believing *anything* he reads from Mike Adams or on his site. But I can’t find anything that addresses this story–only other sites that repeat it. Does anyone know anything about this story? Thanks.

  42. #42 Wow
    September 19, 2011

    Nate, it takes almost no effort to make complicated bad ideas and theories.

    It takes far far more effort to refute them accurately and it won’t change a damn thing either.

    See, for example, http://www.altenergyaction.org/Monckton.html

    Has it changed anything?

    Nope.

    Ask instead why your brother isn’t skeptical of that report.

    There are a million kooks bashing out any old crap. There aren’t many people with the knowledge to refute and they may not even know this current one exists.

    If a kook shits on the internets and nobody notices, there’s nothing proved by finding a lump on your shoe that it’s chocolate pudding.

  43. #43 Chris
    September 19, 2011

    Nate, get a copy of Offit’s biography on Hilleman, Vaccinated, and start reading at page 95. He was the one that actually discovered the virus (Simian Virus 40), and did extensive studies on it. While it did cause tumors in hamsters there is no evidence that it caused cancer in humans. (you can check the book and the references at the back of book by using the “Search inside” feature on Amazon)

    The problem was found in the early 1960s, and the contamination removed. It has not been a problem for fifty years. It is even more a necromancer than the “mercury in vaccines” bit.

  44. #44 Denice Walter
    September 19, 2011

    @ Nate:

    I’ve been hearing this for years via Gary Null, educate-yourself.org, health freedom usa, infowars…

    I’m not an immunologist, so I’ll give my own take on it:

    woo-meisters need to frighten people away from SBM, pharma, govermental information and agencies in order to drive up sales of their own whimsy-based medicine products and boost their own egos by over-ruling experts and scientific consensus.

    We can oppose woo through showing the real research and revealing woo-meisters’ MOs.

  45. #45 Nate
    September 19, 2011

    Thanks;
    Yes, I had just referred him to Offit’s book–didn’t have a page #, but I figured Offit would probably have covered anything that needed to be covered in that area. Also, he’s a good writer so always worth reading. @Chris, I’m going upstairs in our library to pull the book from the shelf. I need something new to read anyway, and history of public health title is a good bet.

    I also pointed out that Adams is like the WorldNetDaily of the anti-vaxxers. And that HIV didn’t originate in the polio vaccine, but b/c of bushmeat consumption. Etc.

    What’s interesting is that if you read the transcript, it’s not that damning. He pretty much says that he was aware there might be some wild viruses, and so he pointed out that this might be a problem, but not everyone agreed with him. If you listen, then it becomes more damning, b/c of the laughter. But even some of the commenters think that the laughter could have been dubbed in.

  46. #46 Phoenix Woman
    September 19, 2011

    Chris @ 35:

    Yoo hoo! A-nonymous! Come on! Answer my very simple question!

    Please, which vaccine on the present pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease (or diseases) it is for?

    Surely you have that answer, with supporting scientific documentation. Show us you know something about relative risk.

    He can’t hear you, Chris; he’s donned his “Sid Offit” suit.

  47. #47 Krebiozen
    September 19, 2011

    Nate,

    I wonder if that laughter, or some of it, was dubbed on too. Len Horowitz is, in my opinion, a raving lunatic (what IS it with dentists?), who spreads some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories about HIV/AIDS I have ever come across.

    As Dr. Hillman point out in that interview, the science in those days was very crude. It is easy to forget that tens of thousands of children were suffering from paralytic polio every year in the US alone at that time. The unknown long-term effects of monkey viruses that clearly had no short-term effects must have seems a small problem in comparison. It is also easy to forget that we are exposed to animal viruses all the time, from our pets and from food we eat etc. but we don’t generally worry that they are going to give us cancer.

    As it happens, SV40 doesn’t seem to have caused an epidemic of cancer. There’s an article about the possible role of SV40 in human cancer here.

    It concludes:

    Although many people may have been exposed to SV40 through their inoculation with the polio vaccine, there is inadequate evidence at this time to suggest widespread SV40 infection in the population or increased tumor incidence among those individuals who received contaminated vaccine. Recent studies suggest that flawed detection methodology may account for most, if not all, positive correlations of SV40 in human tumors to date. Advances in serologic methods through the use of VLP assays specific to SV40, BKV, and JCV, as well as improved PCR primer design to reduce false-positive results attributed to laboratory contamination of SV40 DNA, have provided significant insights into the question of SV40 and human cancer. Taken together, the studies conducted to date have failed to provide convincing evidence implicating SV40 as a human pathogen.

  48. #48 nate
    September 19, 2011

    Chris and Krebiozen, the context is clearly key here. I now have the Offit book in hand, and it paints a much clearer picture of what the problems and concerns were, along w/ the reaction of Sabin, Merck, etc. The brief transcript & recording provided by Adams et al are way too easy to misconstrue (if one were determined to do so).

    Of course, the word of Paul Offit isn’t going to convince anyone in that crowd, but hopefully no one in my family is that far gone…

  49. #49 Chris
    September 19, 2011

    Of course, nate, you can just use the bibliography that is listed on the notes for those pages.

  50. #50 nate
    September 19, 2011

    True, although seeing as this is family I’ll probably tell him that I gave him a good reference and now he can do his own damned research. :)

    I started the book at lunch, though, and was sucked in within a page…

  51. #51 Chris
    September 19, 2011

    It is a good book. I typically don’t read in moving vehicles because it makes me car sick. But I had to go downtown on the bus a few times for a reason that I have forgotten, and I actually continued reading the that book on the bus.

  52. #52 Composer99
    September 23, 2011

    Doubling down on the stupid seems to be a common feature of the Tea Party crowd, isn’t it? And an extraordinarily unprincipled attention to self-promotion, even by the often-low standards of elected politicians.

  53. #53 lawrence smith
    September 25, 2011

    If our medical system is doing such a dismal job dealing with cancer why are we so defensive on supporting it.
    Rates are climbing and after many years no cures.
    I have witnessed individuals rid themselves of terminal cancer by accepting responsibility through diet and well being. It is every bit as credible as saying that gassing someone with chemicals actually did anything but destroy their immune systems. This system is driven by big money.
    Can you afford not to listen to alternatives when the existing is not working.
    Unless we can do better than mock those who propose altnernative actions that include excepting responsibility for your health you are putting limits on who may live or die.. Wake up because the next one sick may be you.

  54. #54 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    September 25, 2011

    lawrence smith – citation needed. You’ve made a number of statements unsupported by fact:
    1. Rates are climbing and after many years no cures.
    2. I have witnessed individuals rid themselves of terminal cancer by accepting responsibility through diet and well being.
    3. our medical system is doing such a dismal job dealing with cancer

  55. #55 LW
    September 25, 2011

    Chemo is delivered by gassing people? I thought it was injected or ingested. Learn something new every day …

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