I’ve frequently said that a tendency towards pseudoscience knows no political boundary. For example, antivaccine views, contrary to common belief, are not detectably more prevalent on the left than on the right, as I’ve discussed on more than one occasion. It’s just that for so many years, antivaccine beliefs were associated in the media with crunchy, back-to-nature lefties, and still are to some extent. (I’m talking to you Jill Stein.) However, last year the battle over SB 277, the new California law that eliminates nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, and the Republican presidential primaries helped illustrate the antivaccine views on the right, particularly the libertarian-leaning right. There were even three candidates for the Republican nomination who either pandered to antivaccine voters (Chris Christie) or outright espoused antivaccine views (Rand Paul and Donald Trump). One of them, Donald Trump, as we all know this week, is the Republican nominee for President, and he’s the most rabidly antivaccine of any politician I’ve seen, Republican or Democrat, with a long, sordid history of spewing antivaccine pseudoscience.

I must admit, though, that the election this year is making me wonder. The Republican Party and its nominee have embraced a slate of pseudoscience and quackery that goes beyond anything I can recall seeing before. I was reminded of this, to the point of thinking it a worthwhile blogging topic, by a story I saw yesterday about one of the speakers last night, Michelle Van Etten, who was portrayed as someone who “peddles pills that make Alex Jones ‘crazed.’” Now that’s saying something:

Michelle Van Etten was presented by the RNC in a Sunday evening press release as a “small business owner” who “employs over 100,000 people.” That’s roughly 1.5 times the number of employees Apple employs in the United States, making it a highly unlikely claim. For such a supposedly large employer, she has flown under the radar—until the announcement of her speech at the convention, there was no record of her business work in the press.

Van Etten is involved in selling products that claim to improve health and even fight cancer, all based on dubious science. And as you peel the story back, every single layer is fascinating: there’s Alex Jones hysteria, pyramid-scheme-style marketing, and questionable Clemson University research.

“The whole basis of the products and the claims are pseudoscience,” said Janet Helm, a nutritionist and registered dietitian who writes frequently about diet myths, nutrition trends, and misinformation.

It turns out that Van Etten works for a company called Youngevity as Senior Vice Chairman Marketing Director. It’s a company founded by a naturopath and veterinarian named Joel D. Wallach best known for his widely distributed audio tape “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie.” Basically, after seemingly having a reasonable career in research, he came to the conclusion that all diseases are due to deficiencies in trace minerals, hence his supplement company. In the early 1980s, he branded himself as a “Manner Metabolic Physician,” and treated cancer patients with laetrile, one of the favorite forms of cancer quackery back then. He also worked with Kurt Donsbach at his notorious quack hospital in Tijuana, and used chelation therapy. Hilariously, Wallach touts himself as a Nobel Prize nominees, which sounds impressive but is not, particularly given that he was nominated by the Association of Eclectic Physicians. (Eclectic medicine was a branch of medicine in the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century that advocated the use of botanical medicines and physical therapy.)

The whole Youngevity website is littered with red flags for quackery. For example:

Our Plant Derived Minerals™ are extracted from humic shale, which is a layer of earth formed from ancient, mineral-laden plants. Humic shale is superior to other commonly-used supplement sources such as bentonite (ground up clay) or dried sea beds (ground up rocks).

As in plants, Plant Derived Minerals™ have a natural negative electrical charge that has two important benefits. First, it may enhance the transport and bioavailability of other nutrients, and second, it may support the body’s natural detoxification of toxins and heavy metals.

Yep, any time you see the terms “toxins,” “detoxification,” and “heavy metals” on a website of a company formed by a naturopath, it’s a pretty good indication that there is no good science there. I could go on, but there’s more to cover; so I need to move on. I might come back to the Youngevity website in the future.

So what? you say. It’s just one speaker and not a star speaker at that, someone pretty much nobody’s heard of (certainly I had never heard of her before) whose presence on the main stage, given that, was actually rather puzzling. So how about the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Mike Pence? It turns out that Mike Pence doesn’t believe that smoking causes cancer, or at least has been paid to say repeatedly that cigarettes, although “not good for you,” don’t kill:

Over his political career Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) has consistently carried the tobacco industry’s water, denying the dangers of cigarettes, opposing government regulation, and slashing smoking cessation efforts. In return, they rewarded him with more than $100,000 in campaign donations.

In 2000, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), then running for an open U.S. House seat, came out against a proposed settlement between government and the tobacco industry, calling it “big government.” In a shocking editorial, he wrote: “Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” Pence acknowledged that smoking is not “good for you,” but claimed that two-thirds of smokers do not die from smoking related illness and “9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.” He warned of a slippery-slope in which government would soon seek to discourage fatty foods, caffeine, and SUVs.

In a debate that September, his Democratic opponent pressed him on the suggestion that smoking does not cause cancer and noted his contributions from tobacco companies. According to the Indianapolis Star’s coverage of the exchange, “Pence clarified that he wrote that there was no causal link medically identifying smoking as causing lung cancer.” While cigarette manufacturers might have been still claiming that there was not causal link between smoking and lung cancer, medical science had settled the question years earlier. A landmark report by the U.S. Surgeon General had documented the link — in 1964.

The original editorial is still available, thanks to the almighty Wayback Machine.

Actually, the link between smoking and cancer was strongly suspected at least a decade before that—actually for more than two decades before that if you take into account little known studies done in Nazi Germany that were the first to find the link between smoking and lung cancer. But let’s look at two of the things he said. First, he said that nine out of ten smokers don’t get lung cancer. That’s true, but a stupid thing to say. According to the American Lung Association, citing scientific data, male smokers are 23 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers, while women who smoke are 13 times more likely to get lung cancer than women who do not. Smoking contributes to 80% of lung cancer deaths in men and 90% of lung cancer deaths in women. In other words, If roughly 90% of smokers do not get lung cancer, at least 99% of nonsmokers do not get lung cancer. As for his claim that 2/3 of smokers do not die of smoking-related illness, that’s even dumber, because the converse is that 1/3 of smokers do die of smoking-attributable diseases, the vast majority of whom would not die of those causes if they didn’t smoke. That’s a huge number of deaths among smokers caused by or contributed to by their addiction! It’s widely accepted in the medical and public health community that eliminating smoking would prevent more cancers and more death than any other single preventative intervention, with the possible exception of vaccines. Seriously, a man this innumerate should not be Vice President.

But it goes beyond that, of course. Mike Pence doesn’t accept evolution, doesn’t accept the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding human-caused climate change, has stated that condoms are “poor protection” against sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), and believes that “morning after” pills are very dangerous.

Of course, Donald Trump himself is very much anti-science in more than one area. I’ve documented in depth his many, many antivaccine utterances. He’s a die-hard believer in the long-debunked idea that vaccines cause autism. He has called climate change a “Chinese hoax.”

All of this pales in comparison to the Republican platform, which features gems like:

Information concerning a changing climate, especially projections into the long-range future, must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data. We will enforce that standard throughout the executive branch, among civil servants and presidential appointees alike. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy. We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly. We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments of their signatories; no such agreement can be binding upon the United States until it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate.

And:

America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy.

It also opposes embryonic stem cell research and states:

America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.

As regular readers know, my philosophy with respect to health care and religion is that patients deserve science-baed medicine. If your religion prevents you from administering any science-based treatment, you need to find a different profession, instead of imposing your religion on patients who might not believe the same things you do.

I understand that Democrats aren’t without their antiscience contingent. For example, Hillary Clinton has embraced Mark Hyman and the quackery that is “functional medicine,” and Bernie Sanders likes the pseudoscience “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) to the point of trying to promote CAM programs in the VA. I also understand that Rublicans aren’t entirely wrong. For example, their platform opposes GMO labeling laws. (Of course, one could argue that they are correct on this, but for the wrong reason.) Of course, the Republican Party and many Republican politicians held views that were in stark conflict with science before. This is nothing new, but it’s gotten much worse this cycle. Even so, the differences this year between the two parties on science are so striking that, compared to the 2016 Republican Party, the 2016 Democratic Party could well be made up of Nobel Laureates in comparison to the Republican Party.

Comments

  1. #1 Dorit Reiss
    July 21, 2016

    The Vice President’s views make this duo even more frightening.

  2. #2 has
    July 21, 2016

    So the Party of Lincoln Nixon Dubya Drumpf has now officially declared itself an MLM scam? Color me all shades of surprised.

    “If you have one bucket that contains 2 gallons and another bucket that contains 7 gallons, how many buckets do you have?”

  3. #3 Helianthus
    July 21, 2016

    a “small business owner” who “employs over 100,000 people.”

    “small business”? Truly, in America everything is bigger.
    For us, small is under 50 employees. And during government-business negotiations on hiring laws and other regulations, they tend to be forgotten…

    Plant Derived Minerals™ have a natural negative electrical charge

    I’m going to be charitable and assume these minerals come with the appropriate number of counter-ions.
    The other possibility is that these supplements come in the form of a charged plasma, with the stripped cations stocked somewhere else. I’ll admit, that would be radical, as treatments go.

    Eclectic medicine was a branch of medicine […] advocated the use of botanical medicines and physical therapy.

    Early-days naturopaths, then.
    And already at the task of stealing stuff from mainstream medicine and calling it “alternative”.

    “9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.”

    Reversing this metric, it means about one in ten are getting lung cancer. That’s a lot more than in the non-smoker population.
    (**re-reading** – oh, Orac covered it already. But it’s just something so dumb to say…)

    If antivaxers overlook this blatant example of tobacco science and flock to these guys…
    Who am I kidding? Of course they will.

    We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.

    OK. This cannot be more clearly stated.
    It’s not a surprise, but the Republican party line is clearly about personal opinions trumping science.

    The part about parental choice over their children medical care is also oddly specific. It could be just general whistle noise to attract the libertarians and other conservatives, without much desire to change anything (political promises and all that).
    But, given the antivax/antiscience history of Trump and consorts, it looks like medical freedom movement is more mainstream than I was fearing.
    On second thoughts, I wonder how much of this sentence is aimed at the healing-by-prayer crowd.

    Either way, if these guys win, I fear the Americans are going to see more children dying because their numbskull parents decided they know better than “overeducated” scientists.

  4. #4 Helianthus
    July 21, 2016

    Just to add:

    He warned of a slippery-slope in which government would soon seek to discourage fatty foods, caffeine, and SUVs.

    Frankly…
    He said this as if this was a bad thing.

    Also, highly hypocritical from someone who wish the government to discourage plenty of other things.

  5. #5 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    July 21, 2016

    has@2: Well, you have at least 2 buckets and you could have any additional number. I get that the joke involves adding the gallons instead of the buckets, but there is also that ambiguity involving saying that you have 2 buckets but not saying they are the only buckets. It’s like saying “if” without also saying “and only if.”

  6. #6 herr doktor bimler
    July 21, 2016

    has@2: Well, you have at least 2 buckets

    You are probably a walrus.

  7. #7 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 21, 2016

    It’s become very fashionable these days to call someone a hypocrite based on a straw man argument.

  8. #8 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    July 21, 2016

    America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession.

    I have to thank the GOP for being so supportive of this. I mean, the reason I left healthcare was because I had to choose between my religious beliefs that every person should have a vital organ removed as a sacrifice and those pesky healthcare requirements to not do any medically unnecessary procedures. If Trump wins, I feel much more empowered to return to the medical profession and once more begin harvesting and sacrificing vital organs from my patients.

    [/sarcasm – also, for the humor impaired, I’ve never been in the medical profession, nor do I hold any beliefs that vital organs should be harvested and sacrificed.]

  9. #9 Chris Hickie
    July 21, 2016

    The level of science literacy in the US is appalling. The idiocracy is here.

  10. #10 MI Dawn
    July 21, 2016

    @helianthus:

    He warned of a slippery-slope in which government would soon seek to discourage fatty foods, caffeine, and SUVs.

    Frankly…
    He said this as if this was a bad thing.

    You’ll take my caffeine when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. 🙂

    (Actually, I can take it or leave it. I just prefer my mornings WITH it.)

  11. #11 MI Dawn
    July 21, 2016

    Ooopss…and apologies to Helianthus. Darn shift key.

  12. #12 darwinslapdog
    The Beagle
    July 21, 2016

    I also understand that Rublicans aren’t entirely wrong. For example, their platform opposes GMO labeling laws.

    I seriously doubt that the GOP opposes GMO labeling for scientific reasons. More like they think it’s a gubmint intrusion.

  13. #13 Helianthus
    July 21, 2016

    @ Mephistopheles O’Brien

    Sorry.
    I was aiming for the “government shouldn’t take away your guns, fatty food and cars from you, but it should tell you who you can marry and when women could have an abortion” dichotomy.
    Among other things.

    Actually, I admit Mike Pence’s is more about all the things the government shouldn’t do. Seems it could be summarized as not listening to scientists.
    OK, I caught myself in double negatives and got carried away.

  14. #14 I am Still Here
    July 21, 2016

    If the minerals are gotten from shale, how can they be “plant-derived”? I mean shale is rock and not a plant, or am I thinking about this too deeply?

  15. #15 palindrom
    July 21, 2016

    darwinslapdog @12 — In general, the Republicans have aggressively fought government regulation of all kinds when it encroaches on the ability of businesses to make money. You can build that nitrate fertilizer plant wherever you want!

  16. #16 Eric Lund
    July 21, 2016

    palindrom@14: The quip that I have heard is that Republicans want to keep government out of boardrooms and put it in bedrooms.

    Gov. Pence is a poster child for this phenomenon. I understand that he recently signed a highly restrictive abortion law, which hasn’t taken effect yet due to a federal court injunction. One of the requirements of this law is that women must hold funerals for aborted or miscarried fetuses. How is this provision enforceable without massively violating HIPAA?

    If this were a healthy society, we could afford to laugh at Republicans, as the Onion did last month. But too often the Onion has trouble keeping up with reality, and this is one of those times. Trump/Pence have a nonzero chance of winning this election.

  17. #17 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 21, 2016

    # 3 Heliantus

    Canadian Definition of Small, Medium & Large Employers from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/eng/home

    Small: 1-99 employees; Medium: 100‑499 employees; Large: 500 employees and more

    The Canadian Government at least gives lip-service to SMEs when talking about the economy and encouraging job creation.

    I had a very cursory look at the GOP Platform yesterday. Other than looking like it was written by a bunch of bats…-crazy ultra-right-wing nut cases who seem to have no idea of history, the Bible, or the US constitution (or much of anything else that reflects reality) it’s not bad. The 2014 Texas Republican policy document was just as crazy and delusional. What´s that line The lunatics are running the asylum ?

    P.S If you look at the Platform document, have a look at the American Exceptionalism section.

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    July 21, 2016

    Over the past several months in my travels around Woo-topia ™, I’ve noticed that quite a few of the woo-entranced support or admire Trump.

    I imagine they find the pseudoscience attractive as well as the shrill idiocy and overactive posturing.

    Jake, MPH is certainly a fanboi.
    Mikey has said nice things about the Donald.**
    A few anti-vaxxers have come out because of their agreement. But not Dan Olmsted.

    Gary Null advocates for third party choices especially the aforementioned Jill Stein, a doctor: both she and Gary Johnson have appeared on his show over the years as has Nader.***

    ** now there are TWO Donalds– *pere et fils*-
    Yiiiiiiii

    *** Think of a homonym quick

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    July 21, 2016

    @ Eric Lund:

    People must hold FUNERALS?

    Holy crap, you don’t have to do that for PEOPLE who die.

  20. #20 Dangerous Bacon
    July 21, 2016

    About the best thing you can say regarding Pence is that Trump could’ve picked a true antivax loon to be his running mate. Pence is on record supporting vaccination (in the wake of the hoohah surrounding Rand Paul’s antivax revelations). On the other hand, Pence was involved in watering down Indiana legislation to encourage (not mandate) HPV vaccination.

  21. #21 Politicalguineapig
    July 21, 2016

    MIDawn: You’ll take my caffeine when you pry it from my cold, dead hands

    Seconded. I have no idea how Mormons live.

    jkrideau: Other than looking like it was written by a bunch of bats…-crazy ultra-right-wing nut cases who seem to have no idea of history, the Bible, or the US constitution (or much of anything else that reflects reality) it’s not bad.

    Did you not notice the part where they support reparative therapy, or plan to sell off the national parks? Trust me, it’s bad all the way down. And of course, Americans are just fine with no national parks, no voting rights for anyone but white men, and no contraception ever. We ought to start making academic tests mandatory for every office seeker. Otherwise, we get this.

  22. #22 Denice Walter
    July 21, 2016

    @ PGP:

    Fortunately, the US isn’t the same as the people at the convention.

    Unfortunately, they’re more likely to vote.

    The population has shifted a great deal since 1960 or even 2000. Why do you think that they want to restrict voting rights?

  23. #23 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 21, 2016

    # 20 Politicalguineapig
    Did you not notice …?

    Sorry, I come from Eastern Ontario, Canada and also have been accused of having a dry wit. The Other than… ,around here, is about as condemnatory as one can get. without resorting to physical violence.

    I believe I noticed all those things you mentioned plus a few other things, some of which, to a non-USAian, look to be stark raving mad.

    What seemed like a proposal to destroy/cripple Medicare was, shall we say, interesting

  24. #24 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 21, 2016

    # 21 Denise Walter
    Why do you think that they want to restrict voting rights?
    Demographics. White Americans are about 48% of the population and if you remove groups like Catholics, who I believe tend to vote Democrat the natural GOP base is sinking fast into the quicksand. Pity.

  25. #25 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 21, 2016

    Totally OT but John Ioannidis has a new paper out Evidence-Base Medicine Has Been Hijacked: A Report to David Sackett .

    http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(16)00147-5/abstract

    An extract from the absract

    As EBM became more influential, R it was also hijacked to serve agendas different from what it originally aimed for. Influential C randomized trials are Slargely done by and for the benefit of the industry. Meta-analyses and guidelines have become a U factory, mostly also serving vested interests. National and federal research funds are funneled N almost exclusively to research with little relevance to health outcomes. We have supported the A growth of principal investigators who excel M primarily as managers absorbing more money. Diagnosis and prognosis research and efforts to individualize treatment have fueled recurrent spurious promises. Risk factor epidemiology D has excelled in salami-sliced data-dredged papers with gift authorship and has E become adept to dictating policy from spurious evidence.

  26. #27 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 21, 2016

    #26 Orac
    Apologies, I thought I had kept up with all your posts in the last couple of years but I did not see the paper in my biblio list where I would have put it so I obviously missed the post.

  27. #28 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    July 21, 2016

    I remember: Ask not what your country can do for you and I have a Dream.

    Where have the great people in this country gone?

  28. #29 JP
    Halfway House! Yakima, WA.
    July 21, 2016

    Just checking in to let everyone know I’m still alive. Send me an email if you’d like an update (it’s all kind of sensitive):

    jparsons@sdf.org

  29. #30 Gilbert
    July 21, 2016

    Yea, Rich Bly #28; That was a good speech.

    Ask not what your country can do for you

    — Melania Trump

    I have a dream.

    — Melania Trump

    You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

    — Melania Trump

  30. #31 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    July 21, 2016

    Gilbert,

    Which writer stole those quotes for Melania Rump?

  31. #32 capnkrunch
    July 21, 2016

    PGP@20

    Did you not notice the part where they support reparative therapy, or plan to sell off the national parks?

    Almost certain that was sarcasm.

    I didn’t realize that there were still tobacco apologists around. How can an elected official ever be reelected after saying that kind of bull?

    Another thing Republicans ignore the science on is gun control.

    Even if they were anti-science I could never support the anti-civil rights party. I don’t understand how people do*.

    *Actually I understand the appeal quite well. I’m not angry with my country, just disappointed.

  32. #33 capnkrunch
    July 21, 2016

    And I now see that jrkrideau already responded to PGP. This is what happens when I write a comment then let it sit for a couple hours before posting.

  33. #34 capnkrunch
    July 21, 2016

    JP! Glad to hear you are safe.

  34. #35 Eric Lund
    July 21, 2016

    @Rich Bly: There was a blink-and-you-missed-it Twitter fad after it was discovered that the current Mrs. Trump’s speech Monday night plagiarized from the speech Mrs. Obama gave at the DNC in 2008. People would jokingly attribute famous quotes, sayings, song lyrics, etc., to Mrs. Trump.

  35. #36 Gilbert
    July 21, 2016

    Rich Bly,

    “Stole”? I hope you’re not implying anything unsavory has been going on. JFK, MLK, and John Lennon all borrowed those most powerful words of Melania in one great heave of awe and retrocausality.
    ===================

    If the minerals are gotten from shale, how can they be “plant-derived”?

    I am Still Here #14, shale is a sedimentary rock and some of that sediment was mud, plants, and fossils (that were put there by Satan because there were no real animal remains from that far back) —

    Shales and mudrocks contain roughly 95 percent of the organic matter in all sedimentary rocks. However, this amounts to less than one percent by mass in an average shale.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale#Composition_and_color

  36. #37 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    July 21, 2016

    Eric,

    I don’t follow twitter or face book (I have better uses for my time) so I missed that fad.

  37. #38 Eric Lund
    July 21, 2016

    How can an elected official ever be reelected after saying that kind of bull?

    By running as a Republican in a red state. A longstanding joke asserts that, if a Republican politician were to claim that the Earth is flat, the story headline would be something like “Opinions Differ Regarding Shape of Earth”.

    Another thing Republicans ignore the science on is gun control.

    It’s worse than that. The CDC is prohibited from funding studies on the subject of gun violence. Never mind the obvious health hazards of being struck by high-velocity lead projectiles. It’s easier to ignore evidence that has never been examined.

  38. #39 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 21, 2016

    HI JP, so glad you are okay and thanks for checking in. Been thinking of you.

  39. #40 Politicalguineapig
    July 21, 2016

    Rich Bly:Where have the great people in this country gone?

    The US killed them.

    jkrideau: Sorry. Sarcasm translates poorly on the net.

    Hi, JP.

  40. #41 brook
    July 21, 2016

    Hi JP, thanks for checking in

  41. #42 viggen
    July 21, 2016

    @has:

    So the Party of Lincoln Nixon Dubya Drumpf has now officially declared itself an MLM scam? Color me all shades of surprised.

    And the second comment here started with an ad hominem. Wonderful. And you wonder why I hate democrats. All smug pseudo-intellectual superiority until you open with the ad hominem. You could have all kinds of agreement from the likes of me if you didn’t automatically show yourself to be part of what drags the level of the discourse down. You wonder the reason why there’s a reflexive push against intellectuals: look no further, you are it!

  42. #43 Fendlesworth
    July 21, 2016

    Our Plant Derived Minerals™ are extracted from humic shale, which is a layer of earth formed from ancient, mineral-laden plants

    OMG. Did David Wolfe write this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnhr-1V7MiI

    [00:04] Wolfe: Chocolate lines up planetarily with the sun; chocolate is an octave of sun energy.

  43. #44 Denice Walter
    July 21, 2016

    @ JP:

    I’m glad to hear you’re still amongst us.

  44. #45 MI Dawn
    July 21, 2016

    Hi, JP. Thanks for the check in. Can’t email but am very glad to know you are able to check in on occasion.

    Again…has anyone heard from Krebiozen? With all that’s going on in Europe, I’m getting concerned.

  45. #46 Denice Walter
    July 21, 2016

    @ MI Dawn:

    I wonder about him too.

    He IS not anywhere near Nice though.

  46. #47 Emma Crew
    July 21, 2016

    Yay, JP! ❤️

  47. #48 sadmar
    Not watching ESPN
    July 21, 2016

    Minor note: And let’s not forget that vocal Trump-ian Tom Brady (yes, the cheating, lying NFL star) is BFF and business partner with a man named Alejandro Guerrero, a quack who posed as a ‘Dr.’ on infomercials shilling his scam nutritional supplement Supreme Greens as a remedy for cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease… and, well, just tell us what ailment you might have?

    It was after the feds and lawsuits put the squeeze on Super Greens that Guerrero hooked up Brady, who served as one of the key spokesmen for the quack’s new scam. A supposed preventative and remedy for concussions (yes, the claim is concussions can be cured with vitamins…)

    Guerrero dropped that scam after another warning from the Feds. Which was when he actually went into business with Brady as partners in ‘TB12’: a ‘lifestyle program’ based on something called “the acid-alkaline theory of disease” which is about “re-educating muscles” and “prehab” with, as Brady told Sports Illustrated:

    the 80-20 theory—80 percent alkaline, 20 percent acidic… to maintain balance and harmony through my metabolic system.

    TB12 seems to be a safer way to market quackery. Instead of selling snake oil pills to the masses with specific bogus claims, now the scam is to fold the pills into a pricey lifestyle program for pro athletes, wanna-bes, and other upscale clients where only vague claims of ‘wellness’ and ‘performance’ are presented publicly. It’s basically the same mystique that was used by Balco, except the TB12 program won’t actually include steroids, other banned substances, or anything beyond One-A-Day+Placebo+Con+probably some legit diet/exercise.

    If this promotion of access-to-secret-inside-methods-of-super-successful-celebrity sounds a little bit like Trump University, like some other Donald ventures it’s not necessarily intended to succeed through actual sales. Various financial interests associated with the Patriots are investors in TB12, and it may serve as a way for Robert Kraft to funnel money to Brady circumventing the NFL’s salary cap. By all appearances, though, Brady actually believes Guerrero’s woo has been crucial to his triumphs on the field and off…

  48. #49 JustaTech
    July 21, 2016

    Hi JP! Internet Hugs!

  49. #50 JustaTech
    July 21, 2016

    viggen @42: Well, the speaker mentioned in the OP (Michelle Van Etten) does seem to run an MLM, so it’s not a total non-sequitur.

    Separately, Michelle Van Etten needs to stop selling *anything* that makes Alex Jones more crazy. I read elsewhere his description of how these pills make him feel and my first thought was “oh, meth!”

  50. #51 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    July 21, 2016

    Hey JP,

    Be careful of to much sun there in Yakima. If you were farther east l could tell some good places to go or do but I don’t know Yakima very well.

    Rich

  51. #52 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    July 21, 2016

    I just saw this and thought it was interesting:
    “Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald,” a study by University of Pennsylvania political science Professor Diana Mutz for PS: Political Science and Politics, revealed an interesting trend among Potter fans. The more a reader was exposed to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, the more likely they were to have a negative opinion of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

  52. #53 Gilbert
    July 21, 2016

    You scoff, Eric Lund #35

    While physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior because there are far too many equations to solve. I’m no better than anyone else at understanding what makes people tick, particularly women.

    –Melania Trump

  53. #54 herr doktor bimler
    July 21, 2016

    I don’t know Yakima very well.

    I do know that it’s a hop-growing region (some NZ brewers use Yakima hops).
    Hi JP!

    The more a reader was exposed to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, the more likely they were to have a negative opinion of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

    I can see some potential confounds there. It does require some openness to new ideas to enter Rowling’s world, and “openness to new ideas” is hardly compatible with becoming a Stormtrumper.

  54. #55 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    July 21, 2016

    HDB,

    Hops and believe some good micro-breweries. Also, I try to get over there in august to get some fresh peaches and other fruit.

  55. #56 Chris
    July 21, 2016

    JP, glad to hear you are okay. There should be some good local fruit and veg there in the valley. Go get some cherries and apricots.

  56. #57 BA
    Bunker near Foxboro
    July 21, 2016

    @Sadmar During TB12’s upcoming DeflateGate suspension he will likely be able to go to his property at Patriot Place but can have no contact with the team (about 100 yds away). I’m sure there is a tunnel.

  57. #58 mho
    July 21, 2016

    The Republican platform incorporates “Right to Try,” and lays it open for what it is: co-opting our pity for the terminally ill in service of an agenda to deregulate medical research.

    We pledge to restore the FDA to its position as the premier scientific health agency, focused on both promoting and protecting the public health in equal measure, so we can ensure that Americans live longer, healthier lives, that the United States remains the world leader in life sciences and medical innovation, that millions of high-paying, cutting-edge device and drug jobs stay in the United States, that U.S. patients benefit first
    and most from new devices and drugs, and that the FDA no longer wastes U.S. taxpayer and innovators’ resources through bureaucratic red tape and legal uncertainty. We commend those states that have passed Right to Try legislation, allowing terminally ill patients the right to try investigational medicines not yet approved by the FDA. We urge Congress to pass federal legislation to give all Americans with terminal illnesses the right to try.

  58. #59 Orac
    July 21, 2016

    Yeah, I probably should have added that. Maybe I will later. 🙂

  59. #60 mho
    July 21, 2016

    [Ginal Is Colorado’s right to try sponsor, the quote is from her partisan hometown paper The Coloradoan]The email, sent to Ginal, states, “together, we have protected this fundamental right for a majority of Americans in just two years. Patients are being treated and lives are being saved. And we will not stop until every American is free to try to save his or her life without begging the government for permission.”

    I’d like to know, which patients are being treated and where?

  60. #61 Narad
    July 21, 2016

    Off-topic per se, but does anyone know who was shrieking “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around 7:15 CDT during the RNC broadcast? (Falwell?)

    It just really reminded me of the Paul Stanley stage-banter collection.

  61. #62 Alain
    July 22, 2016

    Speaking about hops, I’m working on a multimillion business plan to start an ambitious business around hops culture, processing and beer fabrication to be started in 10 years maximum.

    More later if there is any interest.

    Al

  62. #63 Militant Agnostic
    On the 49th parallel building a wall.
    July 22, 2016

    @DW @19 (regarding mandatory fetus funerals)

    Holy crap, you don’t have to do that for PEOPLE who die.

    Makes perfect sense in the Religious Right context. Fetuses outrank actual live people. Look at their indifference to child poverty. Being born is analogous to what happens when buy a new car and drive it off the lot except the loss in value is much greater.

  63. #64 herr doktor bimler
    July 22, 2016

    One of the requirements of this law is that women must hold funerals for aborted or miscarried fetuses. How is this provision enforceable without massively violating HIPAA?

    There is that figure that ~30% of fertilised and implanted blastocytes miscarry naturally. That is, a non-trivial number of delayed or unusually heavy periods contain a Snowflake Baby. Best give the tampon a decent christian burial just in case, or post it to Mike Pence.

  64. #65 Narad
    July 22, 2016

    One of the requirements of this law is that women must hold funerals for aborted or miscarried fetuses. How is this provision enforceable without massively violating HIPAA?

    It’s time to play…. Read The Law!

    Or, more to the point, Consult The Order!

    I’m just skimming the latter, but the bit about disposition of remains is described as “a much closer call [that] present[s] difficult legal questions about which there are few clear answers.” I’m not seeing a role for HIPAA. In fact, there seems to be little difference from current law – the shift seems to be hair-splitting about what can be handled as any other leftover surgical tissue.

    In short, a sanitation issue comparable to the extant law regarding disposition of regular corpses. This simply imposes an economic burden upon abortion providers for compliance.

    As for the enforcement part, it’s always a pain in the ass to read redlined copy, but it seems to comprise a misdemeanor charge against the provider. A woman already has the ability to personally arrange for the disposition of remains in a medical context, and I’m guessing that this doesn’t include whimsically taking home a stillborn fetus as a memento.*

    * Where placentas figure into this is anybody’s guess.

  65. #66 Narad
    July 22, 2016

    ^ But, yah, Indiana.* Purvi Patel’s freakish sentencing was today… remanded.

    I’m done with this sidetracking, promise.

    * Something something R. Dean Taylor something.

  66. #67 sadmar
    July 22, 2016

    ^ R. Dean Taylor references may be OT, but they’re awesome. A Canadian who recorded for Motown, but was mainly employed there as a songwriter and producer, most notably for ‘Love Child’ by Diana Ross and the Supremes, so, yeah… Mike Pence.

  67. #68 Marry Me, Mindy
    July 22, 2016

    a “small business owner” who “employs over 100,000 people.”

    For reference, Disney World in Orlando employs 60 000. That includes all the characters, all the countries in Epcot, all the animal keepers at Animal Kingdom, all the food vendors at all the parks, the people who drive the buses to and from the airport and through the parks, and all the workers at the various resorts. It’s MASSIVE, and it employs 60K.

    Are they suggesting that Disney World is a “small business”?

  68. #69 sadmar
    July 23, 2016

    I understand that Democrats aren’t without their antiscience contingent. For example, Hillary Clinton has embraced Mark Hyman and the quackery that is “functional medicine,” and Bernie Sanders likes the pseudoscience “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) to the point of trying to promote CAM programs in the VA.

    Eeek! False balance!

    Neither Bernie nor Hilary are “antiscience”. On the contrary, Sanders is vocally pro-science on the whole. For that matter, so was Tom Harkin. It would be fair to say, ‘I understand some prominent Democrats have taken poor positions on CAM,’ and also note that a few gave too much credence to anti-vax (n>0) in the past, what with Jerry Brown weakening AB2109, and HRC giving sops to Claire Dwoskin. But Brown vetoed right-to-try, signed SB277 enthusiastically, and HRC came out strongly pro-vax with her Grandma tweet…

    Here’s the difference: the wingnut GOP, the Club-For-Growthers, and the pyramid scheming Trumpers are all into magical thinking down to their cores. They’re also Machiavellian-cum-Orwellian-cum-Rove-ian BSers who will say anything that serves their agendas regardless of the facts at hand. They just ‘know’ they’re ‘right’. On the other hand, while as a non-scientist lay-person I can still see through Mark Hyman (who I despise) preety easily, I can recognize he talks a pretty good game, and certainly has institutional cred indicating a lot of medical professionals don’t consider him beyond the pale. So it doesn’t surprise me otherwise reasonable politicians fall for his schtick. And look at what Harkin did from the other side of things. He was convinced there was some efficacy in CAM, but he didn’t buy any of the magic explanations (or at least didn’t consider them as justifications for policy). So he sponsors OAM/NCCAM/NCCIH because he thinks there has to be some non-magical mechanism at work in CAM that can be uncovered and verified by scientific research. Being wrong in that is a far cry from advancing Michelle Van Etten as an exemplary citizen.

    “Compared to the 2016 Republican Party, the worst Democrats on science issues look like Nobel Laureates in comparison.” FTFY 😉

  69. #70 Orac
    July 23, 2016

    I sort of agree with you on Clinton, although I am worried that she might appoint Mark Hyman to some advisory role or even a real post involving health policy, but Bernie? Not so much, Have you checked out Bernie Sanders’ statements regarding GMOs? He’s as off the rails on that topic as Jill Stein. When it comes to alternative medicine, Bernie is completely in the pseudoscience camp, buying into traditional Chinese medicine, etc., to the point that he used his power to sponsor and promote bills to require the VA to offer CAM services.

    As for Tom Harkin, I’ve frequently noted that he was widely viewed as a friend of the NIH, supporting increased research funding. This was true. However, when it comes to CAM, his forming the Office of Alternative Medicine, which became NCCAM, which became NCCIH, you clearly don’t know much in the way of details. Basically, Harkin was a true believer that bee pollen had cured his allergies and had a lot of connections with quacks; so he decided he wanted to prove the quackery he believed in worked.

    Now here’s the thing. You can say Harkin wanted to investigate these thing and find scientific mechanisms, and certainly that was his stated rationale for forming OAM, but his actions later belied that and showed rather clearly that what he really wanted was to “prove” that CAM works or at least put the patina of science on the pseudoscience of CAM. For instance, the first OAM director resigned under Harkin’s pressure, having objected to Harkin’s OAM Council nominees who represented cancer scams such as Laetrile and Tijuana cancer clinics. Another influential Harkin collaborator and constituent was a travel agent for a Bahamas cancer clinic In 1998, when then NIH Harold Varmus tried to rein in OAM and impose scientific rigor on it, Harkin got a bill passed that elevated OAM to an autonomous center, largely outside the NIH director’s control. That’s how OAM became NCCAM. Afterward, NCCAM’s budget skyrocketed, and the NCCAM Council, which oversees what the NCCAM director does, has had naturopaths, homeopaths, and all manner of quacks on it.

    Perhaps the best example of Harkin’s true attitude occurred in 2009. By that point, NCCAM hadn’t shown any CAM modalities to be effective, but had shown that a lot of them don’t work. Harkin was displeased, and said so:

    One of the purposes of this center was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say publicly that it has fallen short. It think quite frankly that in this center and in the office previously before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things rather than seeking out and approving.

    This is, of course, a massive misunderstanding of science and basically close to an antiscience attitude. Hypothesis testing in science often involves trying to disprove hypotheses, not trying to prove them. CAM just didn’t stand up to that testing, the same way conventional medicine does. Basically, Harkin was engaging in special pleading. This is what I said about it at the time:

    Note what Harkin first says here. He doesn’t say that the purpose of NCCAM was to investigate alternative approaches and determine if they work or not. Rather, he says that the purpose of NCCAM was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. That’s why he’s so disappointed that the vast majority of the studies coming out of NCCAM are actually negative. Moreover, he doesn’t understand science. Hypothesis testing involves designing experiments or clinical trials that can be falsified; i.e., “disproved.” That’s how the scientific method works. But Tom Harkin does not want NCCAM to work by the scientific method. Not really. Or, at least, he said he did in the beginning until the studies performed by believers even under conditions most optimized to produce “positive results” have failed to do so.

    Yep.

  70. #71 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 23, 2016

    #64 herr doktor bimler

    Best give the tampon a decent christian burial just in case….

    I would not have put it exactly that way but I had wondered why religious organizations who opposed abortion did not mandate funerals for miscarriages.

  71. #72 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 23, 2016

    #66 Narad

    ^ But, yah, Indiana.* Purvi Patel’s freakish sentencing was today… remanded.

    Jebuss, that’s not a joke? Given the choice between Inidana and Saudi Arabia, Jeddah here I come.

  72. #73 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 23, 2016

    Michelle Van Etten was presented by the RNC in a Sunday evening press release as a “small business owner” who “employs over 100,000 people.”

    According to http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/07/20/woman-speaking-at-rnc-admits-she-doesnt-employ-100000-people/ she is an independent retailer and doesn’t directly employ anyone. It is possible that as many as 100,000 people make money off of “Youngevity” sales, but they aren’t employees in any conventional sense of the term.

  73. #74 Politicalguineapig
    July 23, 2016

    jkrideau: Given the choice between Inidana and Saudi Arabia, Jeddah here I come.

    I’d hold off on moving for a few more years. They haven’t outlawed bicycling by women in Indiana yet.

  74. #75 Joseph Hertzlinger
    Planet Earth (for now)
    July 24, 2016

    “If your religion prevents you from administering any science-based treatment, you need to find a different profession, instead of imposing your religion on patients who might not believe the same things you do.”

    What if your religion prohibits any involvement with capital punishment and you live in a society in which executed criminals are put into the organ banks? (Yes. I am a science-fiction fan.)

  75. #76 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    July 24, 2016

    What if your religion prohibits any involvement with capital punishment and you live in a society in which executed criminals are put into the organ banks? (Yes. I am a science-fiction fan.)

    Unfortunately, that’s actually happening in Mainland China. Executed criminals have their organs harvested.

  76. #77 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    July 25, 2016

    Well… from a purely pragmatic point of view… they’re no longer using those organs, and we all know how long organ donation waiting lists are.

    Quite frankly, if you are for the barbarity that is capital punishment, you might as well go the whole grisly hog and harvest their organs, too.

    Just to be clear: I personally do not. Far from it.

  77. #78 sadmar
    July 25, 2016

    Orac:
    Oh, i know Harkin was so sure about some of the CAM stuff he wasn’t open to the possibility it would be dis-proved. He was, ‘if you didn’t get it validated, you must have done it wrong, so go back and try it again’, right? I’m just saying he thought there needed to be scientific proof to make it legitimate for social policy. If he was trying to game the science, at least he thought science matters. Compare to, say, Jason Chaffetz: The R’s are just ‘we don’t need no stinking science messing with our health freedom!’ Defund NIH. Eliminate the FDA. Let the market do it.

    Honestly, I haven’t dug for any of Sanders stuff on the VA or GMOs. I just took in what he was talking about during the campaign. And he regularly made arguments for science and from science on AGW, creationism, etc. etc.

    I’m more worried about Clinton, by far. Bernie’s WYSIWYG. Hilary’s a mask. Her conversion on vaccines doesn’t at all convince me she wouldn’t put Hyman in some official position, and that would be truly disturbing. But we’re making comparisons, right? Trump has apparently/allegedly cut a deal to appoint Ben Carson Surgeon General (or worse, maybe) if he’s elected… 🙁

  78. #79 JP
    July 25, 2016

    JP, glad to hear you are okay.

    Mneh, okay might not be the right word, but yeah, I’m amongst the living.

    I can’t tell you much about the fruit, since I’m not within walking distance of anywhere that sells it, but my mom did stop somewhere and picked up some peaches that were evidently wildly underpriced.

    There’s not much in the neighborhood, though. There is a public library, which is great, though I almost got mauled by a German Shepherd trying to find it. And somebody got shot recently walking to a bodega about a block away.

    Technically things could be worse though, I could be in the Eastern State Hospital or something, so hey! small victories.

  79. #80 JP
    July 25, 2016

    ^ Which isn’t to say that I assaulted anybody or anything – that’s not how I landed here – but it turns out that a routine suicide attempt in Washington State can land you in this business, which sucks.

    Which reminds me that I need to figure out what day the “lawyers at the library” thing happens, I could use some legal representation.

  80. #81 Pheobe C
    July 25, 2016

    @ Sadmar

    Nice Icon. Do you represent the Lollipop Guild?

  81. #82 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    July 25, 2016

    JP,

    You might call the Recovery Hotline at 866-789-1511 (WADSHS), they may be able to recommend legal help. I’ll ask some of our BH people if they have any ideas for you.

    Rich

  82. #83 Gilbert
    July 25, 2016

    Say it with me, JP #79 — Bo-De-Gas

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIncGi-Ne2Q

  83. #84 Ryan
    July 26, 2016

    This is the first election I’ve lived through that genuinely frightens me.

  84. #85 Pheobe C
    July 26, 2016

    @Ryan

    Agreed. I will take a third party please, even if the third party is a noose or fatal dose of arsenic.

  85. #86 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    July 28, 2016

    I’ve always been fond of Vermin Supreme myself.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermin_Supreme

  86. #87 Narad
    July 28, 2016

    This is the first election I’ve lived through that genuinely frightens me.

    Meh.

  87. #88 sadmar
    July 28, 2016

    Phoebe C.:
    Neither I nor my avatar have any relation with The Lollipop Guild. We are parables of anarcho-nihilist revolution. We aim to destroy and defile all lollipops and all guilds.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzIUb1LAUTY
    Auch Zwerge Haben Klein Angefangen by Werner Herzog. One of my favorite films. Hombre (pictured) is my hero.

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    sri lanka
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