Antivaccine activism endangers children. Of that there is no longer any doubt. As vaccination rates fall, the risk of outbreaks of dangerous vaccine-preventable infectious diseases among children rise. In the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak earlier this year, several states introduced measures to restrict nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine requirements. The record in passing such measures has been mixed, at best, but California went one better in an act that was completely unexpected to me. Basically Senator Richard Pan, who also happens to be a pediatrician, introduced SB 277, a bill, that if passed and signed into law, would eliminate nonmedical vaccine exemptions in the state of California. It’s gotten a lot farther than I thought it would, actually having passed the California Senate, and not by a little, either.

Sure, there was some watering down. It’s politics. For instance, the authors were forced to agree to limit the number of required vaccines to ten in order to address the pseudoscientific “concerns” of “too many, too soon.” They also had to remove a requirement for schools to notify parents of their immunization rates, which is bad, but not fatal. Worse, they agreed in principle to adding a clause that would “grandfather in” public and private school students whose parents have already claimed personal belief exemptions. (Remember, medical exemptions fall under two categories, religious, in which parents claim vaccination is against their religion, or personal belief exemptions, in which parents claim vaccinating their children against infectious disease somehow violates deeply held personal beliefs. I like to call the latter the “magic man” exemption and the latter the “I don’t wanna because vaccines are icky” exemption.) Then, there’s Governor Jerry Brown, who betrayed California children by completely sabotaging the last attempt by California legislators to tighten up the requirements when he added a signing statement basically adding a religious exemption that wasn’t in the actual text of the law to the requirement that parents be counseled by a physician or other listed health care professional before an exemption would be granted. Disappointingly, the California Department of Public Health went along. Apparently, he might refuse to sign the bill if a religious exemption is not permitted.

As the momentum for the passage of SB 277 built, predictably, as they did for the AB 2109 (the aforementioned bill that Governor Brown neutered), the antivaccine movement has been becoming more and more outraged. Even more predictably, the Mike Adams, a.k.a. the “Health Ranger,” has posted rants about a “medical police state” and how there will be a “wave of medical police state refugees fleeing California if SB 277 signed into law” and Governor Brown will be declaring medical genocide against children if he signs the law. He even includes, as he has done in the past, historical pictures of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. With this sort of hyperbole, it’s not surprising that the California Chiropractic Association has been encouraging antivaccine activists to stalk lobbyists advocating for SB 277.

Mike Adams is, of course, the lunatic fringe of the antivaccine movement. His hyperbole-filled rants tend only to fire up other members of the lunatic fringe. However, the arguments he uses filter up through the antivaccine crankosphere, where they are picked up by antivaccine advocates who are just as much believers in pseudoscience but, in marked contrast to Mike Adams, are also much better able (or willing) to control their—shall we say?—loonier tendencies. I’m looking at you, Barbara Loe Fisher, who happens to be the grand dame of the antivaccine movement and founder of the oldest modern antivaccine organization, the Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). Indeed, earlier this week she posted an article entitled Blackmail and the Medical Vaccine Exemption, complete with video:

She begins with the “special snowflake” argument:

Vaccine risks for you or your child can range from zero to 100 percent depending upon the genes you were born with; your microbiome DNA; the environment you live in; your age and health at the time of vaccination, and the type and how many vaccines you get. 1 2

Vaccines are not safe or effective for everyone because we are not all the same and we do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products like vaccines. 3 4

Our response to infectious diseases and the risk for complications can also vary, depending upon our genes, environment, and age and health at the time of infection. 5 That is why malnourished, vitamin deficient children living in impoverished environments, for example, are at higher risk for complications from gastrointestinal, respiratory and other childhood infections. 6 7 8

One can’t help but note that the references to which she links are mostly speculative and mostly about differences in response to vaccines rather than adverse events. One also can’t help but note the subtext, a subtext that is often to be found in appeals by antivaccine activists to differences in genetics and their mentioning children in Third World countries suffering more complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. I’m referring to the attitude, sometimes implied, sometimes explicitly stated, that such diseases are no longer a threat to our affluent, white, highly privileged children any more because we’re wealthier, healthier, and better than those poor brown bastards who die from the measles in Africa. Let those poor savages be vaccinated because they live in squalor and malnutrition! We don’t need it here (‘Murica!) because (or so ignoramuses like Barbara Loe Fisher argue) measles is not harmful to us. In fact, to them it’s a harmless childhood disease that everyone got and did well with (except for those poor kids who got pneumonia, encephalitis, or subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE). Oh, and “natural” immunity is supposedly better. Never mind that the child has to suffer through the disease to get it and that even natural immunity wanes. Again, natural does not necessarily mean better. Indeed, in the case of the measles, acquiring natural immunity appears to require surviving more than two years of subsequent immune system suppression that results in more deaths from other infectious diseases, an issue that the measles vaccine prevents. In the case of measles, at least, natural immunity may well not be better.

Same as it ever was.

In any case, although Barbara Loe Fisher doesn’t explicitly say this, the attitude is there, and she’s made the sorts of arguments I’ve mentioned before. What she concentrates on here is what I like to call the “special snowflake” argument. It’s the invocation of genetic diversity and variability as an excuse not to vaccinate or to claim that vaccines are incredibly dangerous based on unknown genetic variations, biological differences, or in—the latest buzzword in antivaccine circles—the microbiome. She cites a lot of references, but for the most part they tend to be speculative or, as is the case in most antivaccine tracts, don’t actually support her claims (except perhaps peripherally in some cases).

From there the tropes, misinformation, and pseudoscience fly fast and furious. The claim that the courts have ruled vaccines “unavoidably unsafe” (not quite) to shield pharmaceutical companies from liability? Yep, it’s there. This is a claim that the courts have somehow taken away parents’ rights because it requires them to go through the Vaccine Court to seek compensation for vaccine injuries. Basically, claimants have to go through the Vaccine Court if “injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.” What if the vaccine was not “properly prepared”? What if it was not accompanied by “proper directions and warnings”? Presumably, if that were the case, parents could still bypass the Vaccine Court and sue directly in state or federal court. So is the usual trotting out of the figure of $3 billion in compensation awarded by the vaccine court since 1988, which should actually tell you that the court is not such a huge barrier to compensation but to antivaccinationists is evidence of the sheer evil of vaccines.

She goes on to refer to complain:

This cruel utilitarian rationale, also known as “the ends justifies the means,” has been used by public health officials and medical trade groups to narrow the medical vaccine exemption so that, today, almost no medical condition qualifies as an “official” reason (contraindication) for a doctor to grant someone a medical exemption to vaccination. At the same time, there are no good biological mechanism studies or large clinical trials validating the safety of severely restricting the medical vaccine exemption. But, then, there is no independent oversight on the quality and quantity of the science used to make vaccine policies and laws in the U.S. either.

Basically, the Centers for Disease Control now tells doctors that a medical vaccine exemption should only be granted if you are one of the estimated 320,000 children and adults annually receiving chemotherapy; or one of the estimated 47,000 Americans who have had a recent organ or blood cell transplant; or your child is one of the 40 to 100 children born every year with Severe Combined Immune Deficiency, known as SCID.

Once you are done with chemo, no medical vaccine exemption for you. Once you have recovered from your organ or blood cell transplant, no medical vaccine exemption for you. And if you are immunosuppressed but don’t have SCID, the rarest and most severe of all immunodeficiency disorders, in most cases no medical exemption for you.

I could counter that Barbara Loe Fisher and many antivaccinationists advocate a cruel, selfish rationale known as, “I’m perfectly happy to sponge off the herd immunity without having my special snowflake take even the infinitesimally small risk of being vaccinated to contribute.” As for medical exemptions, here are the usual reasons:

  • The child’s immune status is compromised by a permanent or temporary condition. For example, the child might have a congenital condition leading to an impaired immune system. Or, the child might take medications, such as chemotherapy or steroids, that impair the immune system. In either case, vaccination could be harmful to the child’s health.
  • The child has a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine component.
  • The child has had a prior serious adverse event related to vaccination.

In fact, West Virginia, one of the two current states that don’t allow non-medical exemptions, uses exactly those criteria for granting medical exemptions. The problem, of course, is that what antivaccinationists claim to be a vaccine-related adverse event usually is not. For instance, autism is not caused by vaccines. It’s just not; evidence is overwhelming that it is not. Yet antivaccinationists will argue that if they have an autistic child that’s a vaccine reaction and should serve as a reason for a medical exemption. Barbara Loe Fisher’s rant basically encompasses how the antivaccine view of what constitute reasons for medical exemptions and real, science-based reasons for legitimate medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates are related only by coincidence, if even that.

But why, why is the evil medical-government-pharmaceutical cabal insisting on eliminating non-medical exemptions? It couldn’t possibly be because it’s good for children (which it is) and because unvaccinated children pose a risk (they do), of course. It has to be…a conspiracy:

Now public health and medical trade groups are pressuring legislators to pass laws that would not only eliminate non-medical religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions for children to attend school, 77 but also would require children to get every one of the 69 doses of 16 federally recommended vaccines – unless a parent can get a medical vaccine exemption from a doctor. 78 This vaccine dragnet, which is already being applied to health care workers, is also pulling in childcare workers and teachers as proposed new vaccine laws threaten them with loss of employment if they cannot find a doctor to write a medical vaccine exemption.

Zealously pursuing a 99.99 percent vaccination rate and using very small groups of immune compromised individuals as an excuse to eliminate all non-medical vaccine exemptions, liability free doctors want permission from lawmakers to blackmail virtually every American into playing vaccine roulette. And they want to do this in the absence of sound vaccine safety science, even for those potentially at higher risk for suffering vaccine harm.

Philosopher and human rights advocate Elie Wiesel has said “When you take an idea or a concept and turn it into an abstraction, that opens the way to take human beings and turn them, also, into abstractions. When human beings become abstractions, what is left?”

Nice touch, that Elie Wiesel quote! By citing Wiesel’s famous quote about Nazi-sim, Barbara Loe Fisher can invoke the Holocaust without actually using the words, “Hitler,” “Nazi,” or “Holocaust,” because it was originally published in the foreword to a book about the horrors of Nazi medical experiments. Using the quote is a wonder of plausible deniability. In fact, that particular quote seems to be a favorite among antivaccinationists. Just Google it. Many of the hits that come up are in antivaccine articles. Indeed, Barbara Loe Fisher has been using this quote for at least five years now, probably for a lot longer. It’s a way to liken vaccine mandates to the Holocaust without being as offensively blatant as, say, Heather Barajas.

Barbara Loe Fisher concludes by whistling up a storm of antivaccine dog whistles, just like one of our favorite antivaccine pediatricians, “Dr. Bob” Sears, has been doing ever since the Disneyland measles outbreak concerned his patients’s parents enough to start besieging his office with phone calls asking what to do. She invokes “freedom.” She invokes “conscience.” She refers to being forced to play “vaccine roulette” and likens vaccination to “cruel and inhuman” punishment.

I’m heartened, however, that SB 277 has gotten this far in the face of this sort of rhetoric. As full of pseudoscientific appeals to emotion and American values like freedom as Fisher’s rhetoric is, SB 277 has passed the California Senate, and that is a big deal. Its chance of becoming law has gone from low to quite good. Maybe there is hope after all.

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    May 22, 2015

    Ms. Fisher is a clever one. The statements she makes in the first quoted paragraph are true, but they do not support her position. First, the risk to most people of vaccination is at a background level (a few per hundred thousand or less, depending on the vaccine), but there are some people for which the risk really is higher. Of course, anybody who falls into the latter group is a candidate for a medical exemption. Likewise, in some people (up to a few percent of the total, again depending on the vaccine) the vaccine doesn’t take. But that’s not an argument against vaccination, because we don’t know how to identify in advance the people for whom the vaccines won’t take. So we vaccinate everybody (except where medically contraindicated) to provide herd immunity as a backup. Finally, it’s true that diseases will generally hit you harder if you weren’t healthy to begin with. But again, that doesn’t mean it’s not serious for a previously healthy child to get one of these diseases. Ask anybody who is old enough to remember the 1950s.

    I also noticed that all of the links in that paragraph go to places on the NVIC site (I didn’t actually follow any, because I don’t want to give them the clicks). So I don’t know whether the alleged supporting evidence is actually true–I suspect most is not, but some of it might be coincidentally true.

  2. #2 Orac
    May 22, 2015

    Her method of references is messed up. They all go to the same article on the NVIC website, where the “real” references are, but they don’t autoscroll down to the actual references. I didn’t realize this until I was mostly done and didn’t want to go back and redo everything by, say, going to the version of the post on the NVIC website.

  3. #3 Chris
    May 22, 2015

    In regards to the “special snowflake” argument: I never understood that if someone could have a serious reaction to the vaccine, why they would not do worse with the actual disease?

    I have noticed that the citations on NVIC articles are poorly done, and often never updated. When they finally updated their “whooping cough/pertussis” page from DTP to DTaP, they left all the old references pertaining to DTP and were very selective for DTaP.

    It has been a long since I looked at that particular page, but I remember the book Fisher wrote with a Russian translator, Shot in the Dark, was still prominent in the list of references.

  4. #4 Chris
    May 22, 2015

    Just to be clear the “Russian translator” was Harris Coulter. His PhD was in Russian studies.

  5. #5 MarkN
    May 22, 2015

    #3 — they would do worse, and either way they’d be hosed. So, they need to rely upon herd protection. Granted, you may have been rhetorical in the statement.

    One thing that I’ve scratched my head on is the French case where the mom is saying they have a medical concern of predisposition for all the kids, but they have to rely upon religious exemption to protect that medical concern.

  6. #6 justthestats
    May 22, 2015

    When you take an idea or a concept and turn it into an abstraction, that opens the way to take human beings and turn them, also, into abstractions. When human beings become abstractions, what is left?

    Aren’t ideas and concepts already abstractions?

  7. #7 Chris Hickie
    May 22, 2015

    Here’s a big thank you to “Drs” Sears and Gordon–for without their intentional selfishly-driven damage to vaccination rates and public health in California, SB277 would never have happened.

    Pat yourselves on the back, Bob and Jay–and keep up your miserable whining.

  8. #8 Orac
    May 22, 2015

    @justthestats:

    Yeah, I agree. That wasn’t one of Elie Wiesel’s more profound statements. It doesn’t quite even make sense.

  9. #9 kruuth
    Uurth
    May 22, 2015

    Kind of OT but does anyone have the link for the minutes of that court case a few years back where some lady was trying to explain her “religion” to the court about why it said she couldn’t vaccinate?

  10. #10 kruuth
    May 22, 2015

    Thank god for legislators like Dr Pan who actually understand the underlying science behind some of this stuff.

    I actually got measles when I was in high school despite having the vaccine and it was absolutely awful. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I wound up severely dehydrated because of the diarrhea that I got, and couldn’t move because the ear infection I got messed with my equilibrium something awful. I thought I was just going to get a little fever or something but it floored me.

  11. #11 MI Dawn
    May 22, 2015

    @kruuth: this is where I really miss lilady. She could give you that information really quickly. All I can do is tell you to search for mentions of Patricia Flynn (I think that was the lawyer) and New York mother. (I’m also at work so kinda restricted in what I can google.)

  12. #12 Sarah A
    May 22, 2015

    …there will be a “wave of medical police state refugees fleeing California if SB 277 signed into law”

    Right, just like we saw in Mississippi and West Virginia after they got rid of their non-medical exemptions and kids started dropping like flies due to vaccine injuries. I remember the parents rioting in the streets, the looting, the National Guard parachuting in to check kids’ vaccination records on the school steps… oh, wait – none of that ever happened. Never mind.

    One of the things that makes me so angry about antivaxxers using the whole “there could be vaccine-injury-susceptible sub-groups” argument is that, if we got rid of non-medical exemptions altogether, we could probably expand medical exemptions somewhat and still maintain herd immunity. Take mitochondrial disorders, for example. These kids are at higher-than-average risk of suffering serious adverse reactions to vaccines, but vaccination is still recommended because the risk from actually getting the disease is so much higher. But if everyone else was vaccinated, it might be possible for these children to avoid both the risk of disease and the much smaller (but higher than average) risk due to the vaccine. Antivaxxers like to pretend that they are the ones standing up for children like these, when in fact they are the ones making their lives just that little bit harder.

  13. #13 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 22, 2015

    there will be a “wave of medical police state refugees fleeing California if SB 277 signed into law”

    Given the drought in the Western US and the traffic in the larger California cities, perhaps that’s the plan

  14. #14 LIz Ditz
    United States
    May 22, 2015

    As I think our host is aware, I have been quite active in advocating for this bill, traveling to Sacramento to go to the hearings, making calls to volunteers and to elected representatives, writing letters & etc.

    There are a few misunderstandings in the narrative abou the bill.

    Sure, there was some watering down. It’s politics. For instance, the authors were forced to agree to limit the number of required vaccines to ten

    Not quite correct. The bill did not change the language about diseases prevented — that same list of 10 applied to AB2109 as well.

    Furthermore, vaccination against one of the diseases on the list, Hib, is not required for kindergarten entry, just daycare/preschool.

    They also had to remove a requirement for schools to notify parents of their immunization rates, which is bad, but not fatal.

    California already has this data available at the school level, with immunization rates by vaccine. This is something PTAs could do,

    The “grandfathered in” isn’t exactly right either. The way the law worked previously is that children’s immunization records are checked* at three points: at school entry, whenever a child changes school districts, and before entering 7th grade. As I understand it, the “grandfathering” just made clear that schools would not have to recheck all students’ immunization records.

    —-
    *I’m leaving out childcare/preschool here.

  15. #15 CanonicalRabbit
    PNW, USA
    May 22, 2015

    …we are not all the same and we do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products like vaccines.

    It could also be stated, “…we are not all the same and we do not all respond the same way to childhood diseases. You may remember measles as no big thing while another child dies of measles encephalitis. Chickenpox was just itchy for you while it can cause sepsis and death in others.”

  16. #16 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    May 22, 2015

    One of the things that makes me so angry about antivaxxers using the whole “there could be vaccine-injury-susceptible sub-groups” argument is that, if we got rid of non-medical exemptions altogether, we could probably expand medical exemptions somewhat and still maintain herd immunity.

    The thing about the AVers that makes me the angriest is that they sabatoge the best way to do away with several vaccines. Measles, mumps, and rubella, for example, all have no nonhuman reservoir, and if we treat them like smallpox, we could do away with the MMR that they hate so much.

    Of course, they would have to admit that such a program would actually work, and they wouldn’t be antivaxxers then.

  17. #17 JP
    May 22, 2015

    @Orac and justthestats:

    Yeah, I agree. That wasn’t one of Elie Wiesel’s more profound statements. It doesn’t quite even make sense.

    I imagine it might make more sense in context; it might even be a mangled or mis-transcribed quote in the first place. I am only finding it as an epigraph, all by its lonesome, in a book about Nazi doctors, and then spread all over a bunch of anti-vax websites.

  18. #18 JP
    May 22, 2015

    ^Oh, I found it. Gotta run, though.

  19. #20 Annie
    May 22, 2015

    Stenzler is now claiming that his statement about following them “all day long” was taken out of context and is threatening legal action against the CMA.

    “However, Stenzler said he did no such thing and that his words in the video were taken out of context.

    “We were talking about following the money trail, which is very common in politics,” he explained.

    He is now planning legal action of his own.

    “The CMA had no right coming after me or publishing my name and getting it out there like that and they will have to deal with the ramifications of that potentially,” Stenzler said.”

    http://www.news10.net/story/news/local/california/2015/05/20/chiropractor-accused-of-encouraging-vaccine-bill-opponents-to-stalk-lobbyist/27687037/

  20. #21 Roger Kulp
    May 22, 2015

    Sarah A @12

    I agree completely with what you said about mitochondrial disorders.I say this as someone with probable mito,still waiting for the final gene test results,and who has had multiple acute autistic regressions,as well as other permanent disabilities as a result of acute infection.I was lucky enough to have been vaccinated against most childhood diseases,except Chicken Pox.I spent two weeks in the hospital from that as a child,and nearly died of heart complications.I was autistic as a baby,but my mito really didn’t kick in until the preteen years

    The trouble is getting a proper diagnosis of mitochondrial disease.It can take years.Often you have to work your way up the ladder of tests that are more specialized,and more expensive until you finally get a diagnosis.In the mean time you are open to any and all infection.

    Many parents do not want to,or do not know how to seek out an underlying diagnosis or cause for their child.Those of you who are at the AVWOS Facebook group saw the very emotional post the other day from a parent whose child had cerebral palsy,autism,and epilepsy.The parent said this was due to lyme induced by vaccines.This is what we are up against.Cerebral Palsy,we are learning,is mostly genetic,and autism and epilepsy are common features.

    There is a lot of controversy in the mito community as to whether people with mito should be vaccinated or not.I side with most mito specialists when I say that if a patient is well maintained on a good mito cocktail,they ought to be vaccinated.Especially now that the antivaxers are doing their best to eradicate herd immunity.Wild infections are far more dangerous.

    But as we all know the antivaxers really don’t care about medically compromised children,it is all about their own special snowflakes,and the hell with anyone else.

    Dr. Richard Pan is a true hero.We need to do all we can to celebrate,support and honor this brave man.I truly hope he and his family have full police protection.

  21. #22 Narad
    May 22, 2015

    Stenzler is now claiming that his statement about following them “all day long” was taken out of context and is threatening legal action against the CMA.

    I guess they didn’t cover much law at Life University. Or the Streisand effect.

  22. #23 JP
    May 22, 2015

    He’s referring to how children were educated in Nazi Germany. I’m not sure it makes much more sense even in context.

    Yeah, I had a chance to look it over just now, and it really doesn’t make that much sense. I was hoping it might, or that I might at least be able to figure out what he meant. I guess maybe if you take a nonsense idea, like “Race,” and apply it to society in an overarching, “abstract” way, it can lead to Very Bad Things. That’s about as much sense as I can make of it, though.

  23. #24 herr doktor bimler
    May 22, 2015

    today, almost no medical condition qualifies as an “official” reason (contraindication) for a doctor to grant someone a medical exemption to vaccination.

    Sounds like Fisher buys into the idea that medical exemptions used to be widely recommended but the criteria were secretly tightened overnight.

  24. #25 Denice Walter
    May 22, 2015

    re Mikey and the refugees from California. Heh

    Both he and the other wanker have a ‘thing’ against the fair Golden State-
    I venture that it may reflect their own libertarian politics, backwards ideation and envy of its inhabitants’ lifestyle

    – the fact that CA is known for its New Agey proselytisers, “tree huggers” and assorted back-to-nature crunchy types AND still has a strong liberal political base.
    – these fellows advocate small government and less regulation as well as lower tax rates for rich people- it’s not gonna happen in CA
    – they both love myths of old timey farmers in the midwest and south ( their countries of origin are, respectively Kansas and WV) and have recommended a movement towards those places as well as Texas ( Mikey’s outside Austin and Null has bought land and set up businesses/ charities in Mineola, TX)
    – the sophisticated left coast mentality and its universities are beyond these guys- possibly frightening to them

    In short, they’ve been predicting devastation for MOST sophisticated liberal places in the US ( NY/ NJ/ CN are also on the hate list)
    – economic and ecological disaster are on the way- Get out now while you still can, they bleat.
    There’ll be no water. The oceans will rise. Radiation is leaking from Fukushima.The Pacific is filled with garbage. Taxes are increasing. Too many liberals and criminals. Earthquakes and tsunamis. Stock markets will crash. Gangs will rule LA and LI!
    Your property will be valued at nada. Soon.! Police State!
    N-zis in Petaluma!

    I guess they’re jealous.

  25. #26 Eddie Unwind
    May 22, 2015

    PS: Immunotopia.

  26. #27 Eddie Unwind
    May 22, 2015

    PS: Immunotopia

  27. #29 LIz Ditz
    United States
    May 22, 2015

    Good news! SB792 was heard on the Senate Floor today and the vote was 34-3. Woohoo! The relevant language:

    SECTION 1. Section 1596.7995 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

    1596.7995. (a) Commencing September 1, 2016, a person shall not be employed at a day care center if he or she has not been immunized according to the schedule for routine adult immunizations, as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, with the exception of immunization against human papillomavirus (HPV).
    (b) A person is exempt from the requirements of this section only under any of the following circumstances:
    (1) The person submits a written statement from a licensed physician declaring that because of the person’s physical condition or medical circumstances, immunization is not safe. The statement shall indicate the probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances that contraindicate immunization.
    (2) The person submits a written statement from a licensed physician providing that the person has evidence of current immunity to the diseases included on the immunization schedule described in subdivision (a).
    (3) The person submits a written declaration that he or she has declined the influenza vaccination. This exemption applies only to the influenza vaccine.

    Whoo hoo.

  28. #30 capnkrunch
    May 22, 2015

    Fisher said:

    …using very small groups of immune compromised individuals as an excuse to eliminate all non-medical vaccine exemptions…

    How selfish.

  29. #31 CanonicalRabbit
    PNW, USA
    May 22, 2015

    @ Liz Ditz #28 Now that’s some good news. Thanks for sharing it!

  30. #32 ChrisP
    Australia
    May 22, 2015

    I thought Eddie had announced a flounce in recent times.

    He obviously thinks he is Dame Edna.

  31. #33 capnkrunch
    May 22, 2015

    To clarify my comment #30, I obviously meant how selfish of doctors and public health officials to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

  32. #34 Robert L Bell
    May 23, 2015

    The Almighty MicroBiome! Cause of and Cure for our every Ill! Ban all GMOs now, before the Roundup drenches disrupt your gut bacteria to cause Parkinson’s and Autism and Celiac disease! Simultaneously!

    Good God, I can not stand these people and their hunger for speculative nonsense.

  33. #35 Cate K
    UK
    May 23, 2015

    I simply do not understand these people. I’ve read Mike Adams’ ‘articles’ and they can’t even stick to any sensible discussion of risk but leap to accusations of sterilisation programmes. That alone should suggest to his followers that there is no real hazard associated with vaccination.

    I recently met a woman who’d had measles as a baby which had caused encephalitis leading to brain damage and from the age of twenty she’d had epileptic seizures every day until a vagus nerve stimulator was fitted around 30 years later. Obviously this is just one case but why on earth would you want to expose your child to a risk of an outcome like that?

  34. #36 ChrisP
    May 23, 2015

    In other news, our new flouncing friend Eddie has lobbed at AoA where he is busy stroking John Stone’s ego.

    Performance art at its best.

  35. #37 darwy
    Left of center, 3 boards out
    May 23, 2015

    I’ve seen folks on twitter protesting SB277 claiming they can’t get a medical exemption for their special snowflake with MTHFR problems.

    I’ve been blocked by a bunch, simply for pointing out that MTHFR has fuck-all to do with vaccines.

  36. #38 Lancelot Link
    California, of course
    May 23, 2015

    a “wave of medical police state refugees fleeing California if SB 277 signed into law”
    Well, that IS good news!

  37. #39 CanonicalRabbit
    PNW, USA
    May 23, 2015

    @Lancelot Link #38 No, no it’s not. They seem to head upstream like the salmon and we already have more than enough Californian “refugees” as it is. Let them stay in California. It’ll be much easier to handle epidemics if you already know where they’re going to start, anyway.

  38. #40 JP
    May 23, 2015

    They seem to head upstream like the salmon and we already have more than enough Californian “refugees” as it is. Let them stay in California.

    No kidding, right? We used to joke about putting a sign at the California/Oregon border that would read “Welcome to Oregon. Don’t forget to go home!”

  39. #41 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    May 23, 2015

    We used to joke about putting a sign at the California/Oregon border that would read “Welcome to Oregon. Don’t forget to go home!”

    Back when I lived in Boise (and many Californians were moving in), there were bumper sticks that read ‘Don’t Californicate Idaho’.

  40. #42 JP
    May 23, 2015

    I should note that I have some friends, perfectly fine people, who moved from California to Oregon or Washington at some point, but as a native of the PNW, I am contractually obligated to have certain opinions about the phenomenon as a whole.

  41. #43 Denice Walter
    May 23, 2015

    @ JP:

    Hilariously, Mikey seems to think that CA refugees will land in Austin with their new-fangled, hippy values and crowd out decent, gun-totting folk like him ( as he said in a recent post)- well, they’d better CHANGE!.
    His Texan Pride posts are amongst his weirdest, e.g. a battle between motorcycle gangs didn’t harm any bystanders- so what’s the BIG DEAL!
    He supposedly assists police with gun skills or suchlike..
    Right, people like Mike are armed.

  42. #44 Denice Walter
    May 23, 2015

    In other anti-vax drivel… er…NEWS

    It appears that Dan O ( AoA) believes that comparing anti-vaxxers to AGW denialists is a totally inappropriate analogy made by clueless sceptics –
    the correct comparison is to those who doubted information about WMDs’ presence prior to the Iraq war- which was CORRECT.

  43. #45 JP
    May 23, 2015

    Right, people like Mike are armed.

    Oh good G-d. (Really, though, the people who are most into guns are often the people who the last ones you’d want to have them, though, aren’t they?)

    Hilariously, Mikey seems to think that CA refugees will land in Austin with their new-fangled, hippy values and crowd out decent, gun-totting folk like him ( as he said in a recent post)- well, they’d better CHANGE!.

    The bad blood toward Californian “immigrants” in the NW is not so much about their liberal, hippy values – the NW already has those in spades, though maybe in a different way – but moreso their petite-bourgeois yuppie snootiness, and the way the drive up the prices of, well, everything.

  44. #46 Denice Walter
    May 23, 2015

    Mikey is not a native himself: he’s from Kansas but has lived in various places – Taiwan, Arizona, Ecuador ( attempting to found an expat *colonia* which failed) – he left Arizona 3 or 4 years ago to a ranch outside Austin. Supposedly NN itself is headquartered in Cedar Creek IIRC.

  45. #47 CanonicalRabbit
    PNW, USA
    May 23, 2015

    @JP I’ve been meaning to talk to you guys about that. A big ol’ fence at the southern border would help both our states out. What if Washington went halfsies with you? 🙂

    And yes, there’s lots of perfectly nice people here from elsewhere…even California. The ones who like what they see and want to be part of it are terrific. The ones that move in, want sidewalks, sewers, street lights installed in rural areas, kill everyone with taxes and the loss of property for easements, who then look at what they’ve wrought and promptly move because “We wanted to live in the country!” to start the whole process again? They can stay away. Far, far, no, no, farther yet, away.

  46. #48 palindrom
    May 23, 2015

    The Guardian has a story about

    lobbyists pushing the bill being stalked and threatened by anti-vaxxers.

    Here’s hoping that link came through all right – no previews!

  47. #50 shay
    May 23, 2015

    (Really, though, the people who are most into guns are often the people who the last ones you’d want to have them, though, aren’t they?)

    I must confess that the photo on my gun permit looks like someone that you would never allow within ten miles of a weapon.

    (I was having an exceptionally bad hair day).

  48. #51 JP
    May 23, 2015

    I must confess that the photo on my gun permit looks like someone that you would never allow within ten miles of a weapon.

    (I was having an exceptionally bad hair day).

    If I were to have a gun permit, I suppose one could certainly say the same thing about me, although bad hair days, in the conventional sense, would not enter into the picture.

  49. #52 brian
    May 23, 2015

    We used to joke about putting a sign at the California/Oregon border that would read “Welcome to Oregon. Don’t forget to go home!”

    I was born in California due to the migration of the topsoil from my grandparents’ farm in eastern Colorado. My family wasn’t made very welcome in their new home, just as I suppose you would not welcome me. Same as it ever was.

  50. #53 JP
    May 23, 2015

    @JP I’ve been meaning to talk to you guys about that. A big ol’ fence at the southern border would help both our states out. What if Washington went halfsies with you?

    If it weren’t so reminiscent of the other fence idea, I might be willing to throw some money at it myself, even though I live in Michigan for the time being.

    Gentrification is a funny thing – it’s been creeping its way all the way from Portland up through the Columbia River Gorge to my hometown – well, the town I went to school in, anyway. My friend Bart and I were back there visiting over the winter, and he related how he’d mentioned where he was from, and somebody asked, “Oh, that cute little artsy town?” That is certainly not how it could have been described when we were living there, but one of the many little culture shocks I experienced recently was a freaking steampunk themed pizza place on the main street downtown. I remember when that place used to be Miller’s Sport, where one could procure guns, ammunition, medical supplies, and alcohol. I mean, the 90s there, after the collapse of the timber industry, is not a time one should feel nostalgic about, but I don’t feel too great about the, well… emasculation or something of the place lately.

  51. #54 JP
    May 23, 2015

    I was born in California due to the migration of the topsoil from my grandparents’ farm in eastern Colorado. My family wasn’t made very welcome in their new home, just as I suppose you would not welcome me. Same as it ever was.

    Really, you’d probably have been fine in the place where I grew up. The sign idea was a joke, but it referred to the general socio-economic trend that’s been happening in California, and is now spreading northward, not necessarily specific people.

  52. #55 JP
    May 23, 2015

    In any case, to make a brief attempt to bring things back OT before I head off to a Eurovision party, bravo for California when it comes to SB 277. If something like that could spread northward, I’d be very happy to see it.

  53. #56 herr doktor bimler
    May 23, 2015

    lobbyists pushing the bill being stalked and threatened by anti-vaxxers.
    I was shocked to learn that the REAL victim is the antivaxxer:

    Stenzler added that since media coverage of the police reports has expanded, he has also begun receiving internet threats, including one on Thursday warning: “I know where you live.”

    Stenzler said he has contacted his lawyer and is considering filing a police complaint about the threats. He added that in addition to the police complaint filed by the CMA, the organization sent Stenzler a “cease-and-desist” letter.

    “This has gotten really out of hand. It is very regretful,” he said. “What the CMA has done is not only divert attention away from a very important bill … but now they are putting me in harm’s way and my family.”

  54. #57 shay
    sipping lemonade and watching a beautiful day slip down over the horizon
    May 23, 2015

    Stenzler’s a chiropractor AND a Scientologist? Double whammy of science denial.

    Triple whammy, counting the anti-vaxx stance.

  55. #58 Old Rockin' Dave
    In the furorebunker...
    May 23, 2015

    Elie Wiesel speaks Romanian, Hebrew, Yiddish, French, English, and who-knows-what. Since English was a late starter for him, I doubt very much that he has done any significant portion of his writing in English. I know he wrote “Night” in French. It’s possible that the quote in question was shredded in translation.
    On another note, I see Eddie Breakwind has stopped here on his farewell tour, even adding a second show for all his legion of fan*, just as I predicted**. If we can’t take him at his word when he says he’s leaving***, I don’t think that we can trust anything else he says.

    *Singular intended, but even one is somewhat doubtful.
    **”Autism One: As quacky as it ever was”, May 19,Comment #168.
    ***”Autism One: As quacky as it ever was”, May 19, Comment #141

  56. #59 shay
    May 23, 2015

    Dave — I’m sure he has a fan. Of the circular variety.

  57. #60 Emma Crew
    near Seattle
    May 23, 2015

    As a 20-year CA transplant, I somewhat resemble yay remark, though I try hard to not be part of the problem. The influx-caused traffic around Seattle is now the nightmare, it took me a solid hour to go 8 miles the other day. As a friend who grew up in Los Angeles (but has lived here over 30 years) says, Seattle Traffic is now WORSE than LA traffic, because at least folks in LA know how to drive.

    I am super pleased at how the CA bill is going, especially given that ours up here died in committee. My 8 year old actually rejected the idea of a Disneyland trip a couple of months ago because he was afraid of measles (despite full vaccination).

  58. #61 Roger Kulp
    May 23, 2015

    Dawry@ 37

    I know all about autism and MTHFR.I am a compound heterozygote for MTHFR.When this was found in me,my homocysteine and methylmalonic acid levels were well within range for a diagnosis of Severe MTHFR Deficiency.I was also found to have severe megaloblastic anemia.My mother had this as well.

    There are stillbirths,clotting disorders,mental illness,female infertility and reproductive diseases,and most likely undiagnosed autism in our family going back generations.

    Severe MTHFR Deficiency is supposed to be very rare,but I am convinced it is underdiagnosed.As with genetic mitochondrial disease,there is a subgroup of those with autism who have this condition.But they have not received quite the attention mitochondrial disease has.

    I know from the time I have spent in online discussion groups,that there is quite a range of severity MTHFR can take,and our family has been hit especially hard by it.

    Countless woo-meisters have jumped upon MTHFR and twisted it with pseudo science and half truths,mostly as a way to sell supplements that could never treat the severe deficiency.A lot of uneducated parents who have not taken the time to research the medical literature,and connect it to their child’s test results,and their own family history.

    It goes back to what I said upthread.Autism and the conditions that go with it,are usually inborn (from environmental damage in the womb or spontaneous de novo mutations) or genetic (connected to family histories),but to a certain group of parents,it will always be about vaccines.

  59. #62 JP
    May 23, 2015

    The influx-caused traffic around Seattle is now the nightmare, it took me a solid hour to go 8 miles the other day.

    In terms of silver linings, I can partially credit the forging of a lasting friendship to Seattle traffic. My buddy Michael went to college when he realized that print journalism was going down the toilet, and that the job was killing him (and his marriage) anyway. He did the last two years at Evergreen, and in order to avoid commuting from Seattle on the regular, he stayed in Oly during the week, which meant that at some point, having identified friendship material in each other, we started hanging out some evenings. Even on Fridays, we got out of class at 4, and he figured it wasn’t worth driving back to Seattle until 7 or 8 in any case, so we’d get a couple beers. (This was the second half of my last year of school, so I was finally old enough.)

    I can’t say that it helped his marriage any, but he and I are still friends.

    I am super pleased at how the CA bill is going, especially given that ours up here died in committee.

    Yeah, what with the NW mindset – i.e., between the hippies and the descendants of pioneers – I don’t really see much hope for a similar accomplishment in Washington (or Oregon) any time soon.

  60. #63 Ashley Gomez
    May 25, 2015

    This isn’t a vaccine issue. It’s a freedom issue. Why should the government have any say whatsoever regarding what gets injected into my child? They shouldn’t.
    My husband didn’t serve 4 tours to Iraq and Afghanistan to have his parental rights be taken away. That’s absurd.

  61. #64 palindrom
    May 25, 2015

    Ms. Gomez, as I understand it, most of these measures restrict access to free public education for children who are unvaccinated, the reason being that such children can be a danger to other children, especially the immunocompromised.

    Under such measures, if you’d like to send your children to a Waldorf school or some such, you’d be perfectly free to do so.

    Your husbands sacrifices, as noble as they are, don’t excuse you from other obligations of citizenship.

  62. #65 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    May 25, 2015

    @Ashley Gomez:

    Why should the government have any say whatsoever regarding what gets injected into my child?

    Because those injections stop your child from becoming infectious and passing on diseases, especially to those who are too young to be vaccinated or who are immunosuppressed.
    We’re all banned from driving drunk and driving without a license. The laws are there to protect others and ourselves from foolish decisions. In the same way, vaccine laws protect everyone.

  63. #66 LIz Ditz
    United States
    May 25, 2015

    Actually, palindrome, the bill applies to public and private schools (like Waldorf) equally.

    120335. (a) As used in this chapter, “governing authority” means the governing board of each school district or the authority of each other private or public institution responsible for the operation and control of the institution or the principal or administrator of each school or institution.
    (b) The governing authority shall not unconditionally admit any person as a pupil of any private or public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center, unless, prior to his or her first admission to that institution, he or she has been fully immunized.

    The only exemption is:

    (11)
    (f) This section does not apply to a pupil in a home-based private school or a pupil who is enrolled in an independent study program pursuant to Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 51745) of Chapter 5 of Part 28 of the Education Code.

    It remains to be seen which of the charter schools that serve home-schooling families will be affected. It’s confusing.

    Many upset parents, like Ms. Gomez, are asserting that parents have absolute rights over their children’s bodies. The law disagrees in many particulars.

  64. #67 JP
    May 25, 2015

    the bill applies to public and private schools (like Waldorf) equally.

    That is very good news. I imagine the Steinerites will not be happy.

  65. #68 LIz Ditz
    Great State of California
    May 25, 2015

    As an aside, I will be quite interested to see how the Waldorf schools, private and public*, handle this issue. The official position is that Waldorf does not have an opinion on vaccination, while Steiner wrote quite a bit on the value of infectious disease to “mature” the child’s etherial body. Or something.

    Some private Evangelical schools also have very high vaccine refusal rates. I am not sure why. It may be beliefs such as “immunization is a violation of God’s will” or “immunizations are not Biblical”. Certainly many witnesses at the various SB277 hearings I attended or watched referred to “violating their religious beliefs”. The odious Senator Joel Anderson made much of “aborted fetal cells” in his statements in opposition.

    ——-
    *Yes, there are public Waldorf schools, charter schools formed to teach in the “Waldorf manner”. Since I regard anthroposophy as a religion, I find them a violation of the separation of church and state, just as I would charter schools founded to teach any other religion.

  66. #69 Denice Walter
    May 25, 2015

    @ Liz:

    It would be interesting – if the bill passes- to see how many parents would either start private schools in their homes or enroll their children in independent studies
    ( as you describe above).

  67. #70 KayMarie
    May 25, 2015

    @Ashley Gomez

    Since when does freedom to choose mean you must be free from all the consequences of that choice?

    See it comes down to do we ask parents who have children who need to be protected from dangerous illnesses through no fault of their own to take on home schooling on top of everything else they have to deal with…

    or

    do we put the burden on those who choose not to participate in one part of the social contract where we do things for the benefit of the health of others, you know like employees have to wash their hands after using the toilet and before they touch your food.

    I mean why should you have to hook your toilet up to a sanitary system and pay those costs of protecting the public health of all those other people you share a country with when you could just dump your waste in a stream that takes it away from you so your family doesn’t have to worry. Who cares if other people sicken and die because you have your freedom even if you end up taking it away from others.

  68. #71 palindrom
    May 25, 2015

    LIz @66 — Thanks for the clarification — I hadn’t known that!

    Over at the guardian, I think, I encountered some commenter who asked who the children “belong” to — the parents, or the government.

    I pointed out that they don’t belong to anybody, but that the state surely has the obligation to step in when parents show themselves to be incompetent. If someone isn’t feeding their kid and keeps them in a box, or something, every decent person would demand the state to step in.

  69. #72 JP
    May 25, 2015

    As an aside, I will be quite interested to see how the Waldorf schools, private and public*, handle this issue.

    They will probably come up with some solution that involves lying. That’s how they got around that whole pesky little church/state problem: even in private Waldorf schools, the faculty and staff lie and say that the schools are not religious schools, that they are merely “inspired” by some of Steiner’s “pedagogical” writings. They turn this up a notch when it comes to the charter schools, by, for instance, changing the names of the festivals, so it’s not Michaelmas, it’s the Harvest Festival, etc.

    The official position is that Waldorf does not have an opinion on vaccination, while Steiner wrote quite a bit on the value of infectious disease to “mature” the child’s etherial body. Or something.

    To wit:

    Now it will be clear why in our period the protection of vaccination appeared. We also understand why, among the best minds of our period, there exists a kind of aversion to vaccination. This aversion corresponds to something within, and is the external expression of an inner reality. So if on the one hand we destroy the physical expression of a previous fault, we should, on the other hand, undertake the duty of transforming the materialistic character of such a person by means of a corresponding spiritual education. This would constitute the indispensable counterpart without which we are performing only half our task. We are merely accomplishing something to which the person in question will himself have to produce a counterpart in a later incarnation. If we destroy the susceptibility to smallpox, we are concentrating only on the external side of karmic activity. If on the one side we go in for hygiene, it is necessary that on the other we should feel it our duty to contribute to the person whose organism has been so transformed, something also for the good of his soul. Vaccination will not be harmful if, subsequent to vaccination, the person receives a spiritual education. If we concentrate upon one side only and lay no emphasis upon the other, we weigh down the balance unevenly. This is really what is felt in those circles which maintain that where hygienic measures go too far, only weak natures will be propagated. This of course is not justifiable, but we see how essential it is that we should not undertake one task without the other.

    (Original here.

  70. #73 LIz Ditz
    Great State of California
    May 25, 2015

    The difference between the opposition to SB277 and SB792 (all daycare workers to show evidence of immunity) has been striking. No protests (except for the one day when a SB277 hearing and an SB792 hearing coincided), relatively little in the media, and a pretty scanty opposition list:

    OPPOSITION: (Verified 5/18/15)
    AWAKE California (seems only to be a twitter account? With 237 followers?)
    California Chiropractic Association
    (naturally)
    California Right to Life Committee, Inc. (those “aborted fetal cells)
    Educate. Advocate. (San Bernadino and Riverside county lay disability advocacy organization.)

    I was curious about the various early-childhood-education organizations and their stance on the bill.

    First 5 California is in favor (umbrella organization of state-funded birth to age 5 program).

    It’s not even on the list of bills monitored by the California Association for the Education of Young Children, which I find quite curious.

    There’s another assocation, PACE (Professional Association for Childhood Education) but it too is silent on the bill.

  71. #74 Renate
    May 25, 2015

    @ Liz Ditz
    I think the religious resoning behind refusing vaccinations is, that it some kind of distrust in God. In the Netherlands, they also refuse any kind of insurance, because that would mean one doubted God knows best.

  72. #75 palindrom
    May 25, 2015

    JP @72 — My head hurts after reading all that Steiner. I blame you!

    Well, not really, but I do wonder how many trendy alternate types who send their kids to Waldorf schools understand how thoroughly he relied on the ancient intellectual tactic of Making Stuff Up. He puts Freud to shame!

  73. #76 herr doktor bimler
    May 25, 2015

    how thoroughly [Steiner] relied on the ancient intellectual tactic of Making Stuff Up.

    Steiner had the advantage of coming from an intellectual milieu devoted to Making Stuff Up. He started as a Theosophist, IIRC, peddling Blavatsky’s line of fraudulence, before realising that he would do better as a freelance charlatan.

    Slightly previously, the Golden Dawn people had blended together Freemasonry and the Rosicrucian writings from the Renaissance and alchemy and so on, and wrapped the whole hermetic revival in their own made-up Ancient Initiation Ceremonies. That was a time, I think, when making up Ancient Traditions became intellectually respectable. Without the Golden Dawn, no “Wicca revival”. But I digress. Anyway, Aleister Crowley went rogue from the Golden Dawn and founded the O.T.O. around his own ancient traditions. German branches opened, and Steiner stole a lot of his material from the O.T.O.

    What I’m saying is that he does not get credit for originality.

  74. #77 ChrisP
    May 25, 2015

    Steiner certainly copied from earlier made up ancient traditions. These were in fact quite common across western Europe in the 19th century, but Germany seemed to be particularly imbued with these and Steiner copied liberally.

    Anthroposophy has some quite racist undertones to it, but the acolytes try to keep that quite. Steiner was quite a prolific inventor having made up a religion, a system of education, a system of medicine and a system of agriculture.

  75. #78 shay
    May 25, 2015

    My husband didn’t serve 4 tours to Iraq and Afghanistan to have his parental rights be taken away. That’s absurd.

    Your husband’s military service has since boot camp been predicated on the survival of the group over the individual. He’s also been, himself, vaccinated against everything that the DOD can think of.

    Is he the one kicking, or you?

  76. #79 Old Rockin' Dave
    ...walking in the park, goosing statues in the dark...
    May 25, 2015

    “This isn’t a vaccine issue. It’s a freedom issue. Why should the government have any say whatsoever regarding what gets injected into my child? They shouldn’t.”
    Actually, the government rightly has a say about what you do with your child. You are expected to feed, clothe, and house your child, or to get the necessary help to do so. Just as much a part of that, and just as fundamental is the safeguarding of your child’s health, and that includes vaccination for all children old enough and not immunocompromised. While everyone points out that vaccination levels have to be high enough to maintain herd immunity, vaccination protects your child against many diseases known to put children and others at risk for serious complications.
    As for your say in what gets injected into your child, try injecting your child with heroin sometime and see what government has to say about it.

  77. #80 JP
    May 25, 2015

    @palindrom:

    Well, not really, but I do wonder how many trendy alternate types who send their kids to Waldorf schools understand how thoroughly he relied on the ancient intellectual tactic of Making Stuff Up. He puts Freud to shame!

    Freud always struck as basically a poet who for some reason really, really wanted his poetry to be science, and ended up with neither.

    As an artist in various senses, I am hardly averse to a little bit of Making Stuff Up myself. Academic work, though, even in the humanities, does need to be grounded in actual, y’know, facts and texts and whatnot.

    I have met some Waldorf parents who had actually read Steiner and were pretty much dyed-in-the-wool Anthroposophists, but a lot of them really have pretty much no idea what the schools are really based on, or even how they are actually run.

    I actually worked at a private Waldorf school for a year in the after school care – I was not directly responsible for the correct incarnation of souls or whatever, so I guess they didn’t mind hiring a heathen for that particular position. I learned quite a bit over the year, and had some interesting conversations. You see, true Anthroposophists do not think the Steiner was Making Stuff Up, but rather that he was an honest-to-G-d clairvoyant master. I brought up, to several people – I’ve always been kind of a shit-stirrer, see – some racist remarks that I had noticed while thumbing through some volumes of Steiner’s, uh, thought. They would attempt to justify them by claiming that he was “a man of his times,” but I figure, and I said as much, that someone can either be a clairvoyant, practically all-knowing, enlightened master or a man of his times. You really cannot have it both ways.

  78. #81 JP
    May 25, 2015

    ^Comment of mine in moderation. Me and my four-letter words.

  79. #82 JP
    May 25, 2015

    Freud anecdote: A good friend of mine went through a phase of reading a lot of Freud in college. He used to draw little smiley faces in the margins when Freud was being an a**hole. One of the assertions that got marked was when F. wrote that the only art that women are any good at is weaving, because it stems from a desire to weave their pubic hairs into a phallus.

  80. #83 palindrom
    May 26, 2015

    JP @82 — That’s hilarious. And to think he was actually taken seriously for decades!

    About a decade-and-a-half ago, Frederic Crews wrote several articles in The New York Review of Books that basically demolished Freud. They’re very good articles, and I’m pretty sure you can get them online for free.

    If other readers are unaware of NYRB, it’s sort of the house organ of the American intellectual class, with some great articles covering a wide range of topics (e.g. Jerome Groopman on medical issues).

    Incidentally, in a classic Simpsons episode, Sideshow Bob tries to frame Krusty the Clown by robbing the Kwik-E-Mart in Krusty’s costume. Earlier in the episode, Bart has tumbled to the secret that Krusty can’t read; he foils Bob’s plot by pointing out that in the surveillance video, the perpetrator is seen browsing through the Springfield Review of Books before he sticks up the store. The cover is rendered exactly in the style of NYRB.

    Basically, there is nothing in American life that is not reflected somewhere in The Simpsons.

  81. #84 palindrom
    May 26, 2015

    Ah, originality: from the garden interview scene in This is Spinal Tap:

    Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest): “And then, we looked at each other and said…”
    David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean): “Said, look, why not?”
    Nigel: “…we might as well join up. You know?”
    David: “So, we became the Originals.”
    Nigel: “Right.”
    David: “And, uh, we had to change our name, actually.”
    Nigel: “Well, there was another group, in the east end, called the Originals and we had to rename ourselves.”
    David: “the New Originals.”
    Nigel: “the New Originals.”
    David: “Yeah.”
    Nigel: “And they became…”
    David: “…the Regulars.
    They changed their name back to the Regulars. And we thought we could
    go back to the Originals, but what’s the point?”

  82. #85 palindrom
    May 26, 2015

    Ah, the banner ad from EasyHealthOptions.com is up again — it features a headline “Should Parents be Forced to Vaccinate Their Kids?”, and a picture of a little boy in a diaper lying down, about to be stuck with a needle in the buttock — through the diaper!

  83. #86 kit kat
    May 26, 2015

    What really struck about the third floor vote in the senate on the bill was when Senator Allen went ahead and told Senator Anderson what his beliefs are as a Catholic.

  84. #87 kit kat
    May 26, 2015

    i am pretty sure somewhere in the history of the our nation’s inception some people had said that it wasn’t the governments place to do that.

  85. #88 shay
    May 26, 2015

    Yes, but religious freedom! Or something.

  86. #89 herr doktor bimler
    May 26, 2015

    Frederic Crews wrote several articles in The New York Review of Books that basically demolished Freud. They’re very good articles

    Crews had worshipped at the Church of Freud himself — attracted by the poetry and mythopoeia rather than by the science — and his essays had that real ‘angry apostate’ quality.

  87. #90 RobRN
    May 26, 2015

    Yes, there’s a public Waldorf charter school in Portland (OR).

  88. #91 MrrKAT, Finland, EU
    Finland, EU
    May 27, 2015

    Our new government is gonna have new “vaccine critical” minister of health and social services. Last year she said that booze should be cheaper and milk shops should have right to sell liquour. She belongs to populistic Finns Party that declared itself to be “vaccine critical party”. There was an election here last month and that party became 3rd largest.

  89. #92 LIz Ditz
    Great State of California
    May 27, 2015

    MrrKAT, one of the SB277 opposition posted a link to an article in Finnish about the health minister. Google translate was not particularly helpful — is she critical of all vaccines? Or just HepB?

  90. #93 Narad
    May 27, 2015

    In other news, Cynthia Parker may have a reason coming up to claim that HSV-1 protects against melanoma.

  91. #94 Denice Walter
    May 27, 2015

    In other anti-vax fol de rol:

    It seems that the TMs, through the literary efforts of one Lisa Goes
    (aka the Rev), have issued their own manifesto ( that word – unless Marx or Socialist is attached- usually conjures up images of cabins in the wilderness and interminable, incoherent ranting- but that’s just me. There are no cabins here however) which acknowledges that their detractors refer to them as the ‘Drinking Moms’.
    I guess she reads RI.

    Indeed their goal moves beyond its initial purview as ‘social outreach’ to become a “social thought movement”. Yes, they list people, films and organisations they support as she warns about in-fighting and other negativity;
    she dares discuss the late Alex S, who despite being helped by their “core team of seven”, died nevertheless.

    Unfortunately, I read this ..um… material after listening to Zen Honeycutt ( Moms Across America) with Toni Bark ( @ Fearless Parent prn.fm) ..
    thus I am about done for the night.
    What I do for scepticism.

  92. #95 Narad
    May 28, 2015

    In other news, our new flouncing friend Eddie has lobbed at AoA where he is busy stroking John Stone’s ego.

    Apparently not having his greatness immediately recognized there, he’s moved to Jake’s.

  93. #96 MrrKAT, Finland, EU
    Finland, EU
    May 28, 2015

    LIz Ditz, our new minister of health and social affairs Jaana Mantyla seems to be still quite moderate any way at the moment. I just checked and found in FB her announcement that “we support (national) vaccination program”. She wrote that after she had caused quite fuzz announcing to be “vaccine critical”. She had also previously criticized HPV-vaccination that girls under 15 yrs old should not allowed to decide alone without asking parents.

  94. #97 MrrKAT, Finland, EU
    May 28, 2015

    But in addition to this our minister Mantylä (or Mäntylä) has mainly education of practical nurse only, and flu vaccination rates of our nurses has been surprising low only 40% (!).
    Collegiate feelings may become a hindrance if our NIH tries to force to raise vaccination rates of our nurses.

  95. #98 LIz Ditz
    United States
    May 28, 2015

    Thank you MrrKat for clarification. Yes, getting nurses’ influenza uptake to rise has been difficult here too.

  96. #99 LIz Ditz
    Great State of California
    May 28, 2015

    Good news, people! SB277 has been referred to committee by the Assembly Rules Committee. It will be heard in the Health Committee, and only the Health Committee sometime after June 8th (no date yet set). As always, Californians are urged to take action: call the Members of the Health Committee. Here’s the list:

    http://www.vaccinatecalifornia.org/what_can_you_do

    The opposition is rather vexed, as they had been lobbying the Assembly Rules Committee to refer it to Health, Education, Judiciary, and Appropriations.

  97. #100 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 28, 2015

    That’s great news, Liz!

  98. #101 Narad
    May 28, 2015

    The opposition is rather vexed

    Laura Hayes’ “open letter” is comedy gold. It’s got everything – including her delusion about peanut-oil adjuvants – except the monkey pus.

  99. #102 ChrisP
    May 29, 2015

    Over at AoA, Adriana Gamondes is up to number 10 in her State of Plague series. I admit to having read only snippets of numbers 1 to 9, and indeed did the same to no 10 for self preservation. I can’t ever remember reading something that was so erm … unstructured, barely comprehensible and downright crazy. Not even in first year (that is Freshmen for you lot) essays.

    I did learn, though I really should check other sources, that Mary Holland pulled that completely obnoxious vaccination is rape argument when ‘testifying’ before the California Senate Judicial Committee.

    The fact that committee members objected to Holland’s analogy is evidence according to Gamondes that … well I don’t quite know what.

    I got lost with the connections around about here, but it had something to do with Henry Kissinger, wife beating, the Trans Pacific Partnership and the War in Iraq. Aparently a secret biotech industry PR front group called skeptics is orchistrating all this.

    Having skipped to the end of the article, I find John Stone describing it as a summing up. John if that is a summing up it has to be the most unsuccessful one ever. It bears much greater resemblence to something my cat wou look d throw up.

  100. #103 Denice Walter
    May 29, 2015

    @ ChrisP:

    I waded through her dripping morass of an essay and learned that she is a victim** of assault so I suppose we shouldn’t be very harsh on her- not that I think her meanderings have any merit other than as fan fiction for lord-knows-what. Being a victim doesn’t make your fantasies true.

    Interestingly she now adds corrupt cognitive scientists into the mix and child-porn-using sceptical magicians as well. .
    That latter jab sounds suspiciously like Bolen as a source.

    ** earlier on, didn’t I suggest that she had ‘problems’? Now, I know what at least some of them are.

  101. #104 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 29, 2015

    @ChrisP

    Holland did, indeed, use the rape analogy before the Senate Judiciary (IIRC) Committee. She was very quickly called out for that.

    In somewhat related news, Vermont just did away with philosophical exemptions, though they kept religious exemptions in: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/2015/05/28/shumlin-vaccine-philosophical-exemption/28079499/

  102. #105 Narad
    May 29, 2015

    It appears that Hayes still had some frothing left over from her previous entry. This one is even sadder, being nothing more than a rehash of the I-want-to-get-“fired”-by-my-pediatrician “liability form” that’s been making the rounds for years.

  103. #106 Barefoot
    The Beach
    June 6, 2015

    Re #104 Todd, somewhat OT/ Vermont law passes

    What I find interesting is that the GOv who signed was originally opposed then nuetral and at the end of the day, saigns.

    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/2015/05/07/chen-says-shumlin-now-neutral-vaccines/70956058/

    “The owl of Minerva only flaps her wings at dusk.”

  104. […] to school vaccine mandates. Every time SB 277 advances further in the process towards becoming law, antivaccinationists lose it. Through it all, they’ve been likening the vaccine program to the Holocaust and themselves to […]

  105. […] they failed to prevent SB 277 from passing the Senate three weeks ago, they lost it. Now the bill is in the Assembly, and they failed to prevent it from passing its major committee […]

  106. […] the largest state in the union only the third state that only allows medical exemptions. Since its passage by the California Senate last month and its clearing the Assembly Health Committee last week on a 12-6 vote, SB 277 has taken on the […]

  107. […] California Assembly that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. It was passed by the Senate last month, and a couple of weeks ago it cleared its first hurdle in the Assembly, having been […]

  108. […] to compromise herd immunity and allow outbreaks to occur, has really brought out the crazy in antivaccinationists. With the vote in the California Assembly that could send SB 277 to Governor Jerry Brown’s […]

  109. #112 Sia
    August 10, 2015

    You know, there’s something I don’t understand about the anti-vaxxers.

    Well, there a lot of things I don’t understand about them but there is something I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t understand about them.

    I do not understand why people who think that:

    1)That vaccines are poisonous
    2)All the evidence to the contrary is part of the Pharma Shill conspiracy

    would:

    3)want their kids to go to school, given that:

    4)The school will undoubtedly have a curriculum based on actual science but since they think it’s all biased:

    5)Why would they want their kid to go to a school, that by their standards, is spreading misinformation?

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