Well, I’m back.
Yes, late last night, I re-entered returned home from vacation in Mexico before our new President-Elect has a chance to build his wall. I was so exhausted that I had no time to write anything and remain so. At least I wasn’t stupid enough to go back to work today and instead took the whole week off. Like most of you, I’m still processing he cluster—oh, wait, no major profanity here—that was the US election, whose results definitely put a damper on the trip home.
In particular, I fear for what the new administration will do to science in this country, and might write about that in the near future. In the meantime, I’m recycling and partially updating a post I wrote six months ago, when Donald Trump first cinched the Republican nomination. I'm doing this to remind you that this is our new President-Elect, people. I hope those of you who voted for Trump are proud of yourselves.
I haven’t written anything about Donald Trump and vaccines in a while, although I did express amusement when Donald Trump appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to tout how healthy he supposedly is and when Deepak Chopra, of all people, castigated Trump for not being evidence-based. More importantly, I expressed dismay that disgraced antivaccine quack Andrew Wakefield reportedly met with Donald Trump and found a receptive ear.
Trump, it turns out, has a history of making wildly ridiculous antivaccine statements dating back at least to 2007. That was when I first discovered him and referred to him as the latest celebrity antivaccinationist drinking the Kool Aid of vaccine pseudoscience. A few years later, I noted his risibly nonsensical claim that a “monster shot” causes autism. Truly, Donald Trump’s history of making idiotic antivaccine statements is long and sordid. Of course, Donald Trump’s history of making idiotic statements about a great many subjects is long and sordid, but antivaccine pseudoscience is what I know better than domestic or foreign policy.
Of course, I don’t recall having heard anything from Trump in a while on the vaccine-autism front, at least not since September last year. But his antivaccine lunacy is definitely part of his persona, so much so that when I started to type “Donald Trump vaccines autism” the first entry on the search was a Natural News link from 2012. In any case, I get the feeling that Trump’s antivaccine views were too crazy even for most of Trump’s supporters, hence his relative silence these last eight months. Sure, he can spout off about how he wants to build a wall on the Mexican border and have Mexico pay for it and numerous other proposals even more ludicrous than that, but in the last few months leading up to the election he’d apparently toned down the antivaccine nonsense, with rare exceptions.
Still, now that Trump is President-Elect, after his inauguration he can do great damage to public health. Sure, school vaccine mandates are a state issue, but the guidelines upon which they are based are developed by the CDC. Over the last couple of decades, there have been various antivaccine legislators who have brought CDC officials before Congressional committees to demand “answers” about the link between vaccines and autism. Just imagine how much trouble President Trump can cause, with his power to appoint a Secretary of HHS. Consider this. Politico is reporting that one of Trump’s top candidates for HHS Secretary is Ben Carson, who has a dodgy history of making antivaccine statements himself. (He’s also apparently being considered for Secretary of Education, which is just as scary, but a topic for another day.)
I was reminded of this again by a video in a story a few months ago featuring Elizabeth Emken.
The reason this is relevant is that Emken used to be the Executive Director of Autism Speaks, an “autism advocacy” group that used to be very much into antivaccine pseudoscience. Indeed, after much foot dragging, it wasn’t until 2015 that Autism Speaks finally grudgingly admitted that there is no good evidence linking vaccines to autism after a large study was published showing no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism and a meta-analysis involving over a million children similarly failed to find a link. It’s not for nothing that Autism Speaks has been quite appropriately accused of speaking up too late on vaccines.
That tension, and the weasel words that characterized it among many autism advocacy groups, fairly drips from Emken’s response to a question about Donald Trump’s beliefs about vaccines, complete with an example of a quote by Donald Trump about having heard of children getting sick and becoming autistic after vaccination. Here’s the video:
Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman + ex-@AutismSpeaks exec @ElizabethEmken on Trump linking vaccines to autism: https://t.co/EwZKC488Q8
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) May 2, 2016
Donald Trump spokeswoman Elizabeth Emken, a former executive with the leading advocacy group Autism Speaks, was put in a difficult position Monday when asked about the frontrunner’s earlier statements linking vaccines and autism.
Asked on CNN about Trump suggesting a scientific link exists between childhood vaccines and autism during a fall 2015 presidential debate, Emken sidestepped a direct rebuke of Trump’s claims.
“The position of Autism Speaks has been for quite awhile that we need to find out what's happening,” she replied. “We know there's a genetic component and there's an environmental trigger and until we get to the bottom of what's happening, no one knows what causes autism. Anyone that tells you what does or what doesn't cause autism is simply not basing that on facts."
I see now why Emkin was chosen to be Trump’s spokeswoman. The above is basically one massive appeal to ignorance, the implication that, because we don’t know what causes autism that some environmental factor—cough, cough, vaccines—must be causing autism. Don’t believe me? Check out what she says next:
“We don’t know, we need to keep looking,” Emken continued, saying she hadn’t discussed the issue with the GOP frontrunner. “But the bottom line is, look, vaccines are the most successful health program in the history of the world, so I don’t believe that’s at all what he was saying.”
This is, of course, a bald-faced lie; that is, unless Emken is not . Let’s take a look at the sort of things Donald Trump has said about vaccines over the years just on Twitter. Truly, the burning stupid flowing from that one Twitter account is not unlike a flow of ash from Mount Vesuvius engulfing Pompeii. Here is but a sampling:
Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2012
If I were President I would push for proper vaccinations but would not allow one time massive shots that a small child cannot take - AUTISM.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2014
Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2014
No more massive injections. Tiny children are not horses—one vaccine at a time, over time.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2014
I am being proven right about massive vaccinations—the doctors lied. Save our children & their future.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2014
"@OnlineOnTheAir: My friend's son, immediate #autism after #vaccines 10 yrs ago. So sad. Keep up good work Nay-sayers will understand soon."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2014
I'm not against vaccinations for your children, I'm against them in 1 massive dose.Spread them out over a period of time & autism will drop!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2014
So many people who have children with autism have thanked me—amazing response. They know far better than fudged up reports!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2014
"@P01YN0NYM0U55: @jamandatrtl #vaccines #Shills insist #Autism starts in utero or genetic, but parents insist sudden onset after #vaccine"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2014
You get the idea. That’s some hard core antivaccine quackery. Trump’s meaning is very, very clear, Emken’s attempts to deny it notwithstanding.
But, hey, if that’s not enough for you, let’s review a bit more of what Trump has said on the topic over the years. I apologize to long time readers, who have probably seen many of these quotes before in various posts I’ve written over the years, but, now, with Trump on the verge of becoming the Republican nominee and Ted Cruz’s chances to stop him are fading, I feel the need to revisit these. Not that Cruz is any less scary than Trump, but he isn’t, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, antivaccine.
The first time I learned of Donald Trump's antivaccine proclivities was way back in 2007. What was he saying back then? This:
"When I was growing up, autism wasn't really a factor," Trump said. "And now all of a sudden, it's an epidemic. Everybody has their theory. My theory, and I study it because I have young children, my theory is the shots. We've giving these massive injections at one time, and I really think it does something to the children."
He made the comments following a press conference at his Mar-A-Lago estate announcing a fundraising and lobbying push by Autism Speaks to get the brain disorder covered under private insurance policies.
"When a little baby that weighs 20 pounds and 30 pounds gets pumped with 10 and 20 shots at one time, with one injection that's a giant injection, I personally think that has something to do with it. Now there's a group that agrees with that and there's a group that doesn't agree with that."
Referring to his and his wife Melania's 22-month-old son Baron, Trump continued: "What we've done with Baron, we've taken him on a very slow process. He gets one shot at a time then we wait a few months and give him another shot, the old-fashioned way. But today they pump the children with so much at a very young age. We do it on a very, very conservative level."
So, yes, back in 2007, Trump was already parroting the antivaccine pseudoscience that at that time I had been deconstructing for seven years and blogging about for nearly three. It was a performance—and, let's face it, everything Trump does in public is performance art, if you can call it that—that was brilliantly parodied at Autism News Beat as The art of the schlemiel. In any case, I'm hard pressed to come up with any time when a baby gets 10 or 20 shots at a time, and that's even assuming that Trump was ignorantly conflating the number of diseases vaccinated against in combination vaccines with "shots."
Four years later, Trump was still at it. On Fox and Friends, he repeated once again that he had a "theory" about vaccines, and that was:
Business mogul Donald Trump chose the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day to reveal that he “strongly” believes that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are linked to exposure to vaccines.
In a Monday interview on Fox News, the reality star explained that a series of casual observations had led him to the conclusion that “monster” vaccinations cause autism.
“I’ve gotten to be pretty familiar with the subject,” Trump said. “You know, I have a theory — and it’s a theory that some people believe in — and that’s the vaccinations. We never had anything like this. This is now an epidemic. It’s way, way up over the past 10 years. It’s way up over the past two years. And, you know, when you take a little baby that weighs like 12 pounds into a doctor’s office and they pump them with many, many simultaneous vaccinations — I’m all for vaccinations, but I think when you add all of these vaccinations together and then two months later the baby is so different then lots of different things have happened. I really — I’ve known cases.”
The video can still be viewed here. Tellingly, when he was challenged on this by Gretchen Carlson, who noted that "the studies have said that there is no link" and that there hadn't been any mercury in vaccines for years, Trump would have none of it:
“It’s also very controversial to even say,” Trump acknowledged. “But I couldn’t care less. I’ve seen people where they have a perfectly healthy child, and they go for the vaccinations and a month later the child is no longer healthy.”
Don't trust those pointy-headed expert scientists. They've only been spending their entire lives studying the issue! Trump knows better then they do! Why? He's got anecdotes, man:
“It happened to somebody that worked for me recently,” he added. “I mean, they had this beautiful child, not a problem in the world, and all of the sudden they go in and they get this monster shot. You ever see the size of it? It’s like they’re pumping in — you know, it’s terrible, the amount. And they pump this in to this little body and then all of the sudden the child is different a month later. I strongly believe that’s it.”
All because of what Donald Trump calls a "monster shot." I note that this appears to be the example that was presented to Emken. It couldn’t be more clear what Trump meant, either: He attributed his employee’s son’s autism to vaccines, which he called a “monster shot.” As I pointed out at the time, even if the child were truly "different" after vaccination a month later, that would not be "all of a sudden." In any case, this is what those of us who pay attention to these things the "too many too soon" gambit. All spreading out vaccines accomplishes is to increase the period of time that a child is vulnerable to infectious diseases for no real benefit of reducing the chance of autism because there is no link between vaccines and autism.
If that’s not enough for you, in 2015, when interviewed by conservative talk radio show host Hugh Hewitt, the question of vaccines and autism came up. Here’s how the conversation went down:
HH: So you believe there’s a causal connection between vaccines and autism?
DT: Well, a lot of people do. I mean, there are many people that do. And I know at least two people, one of them who works in the building that I’m in right now, a beautiful woman, has a child. The child is 100% healthy, takes the child, who was I think around a year and a half or two years old to get the shot, gets this massive shot of fluid pumped into the baby’s body, and a few days later, catches a fever, and all of a sudden, is severely autistic. And many people, many people have had that experience, Hugh. And I will tell you, on Twitter and on Facebook, where you know, so many people, I feel, it’s sort of interesting, because I get so much response, people are praying for me that I at least say that. So I totally believe in the shot. I totally believe that you should be vaccinated. But let them spread it out over a little period of time. You can’t pump that, because have you ever seen the size of these inoculations? You can’t pump that much fluid into a little baby’s body. And I think it’s having an effect. And I know of at least two cases in my, but many people say the same thing happened to me where their child is totally healthy. They get pumped up with this huge pile of liquid, with many, many different vaccines, and their child turns out to be autistic after it. And all I’m saying is spread it out in smaller doses over a longer period of time.
HH: If a group of scientists came to you and said look, The Donald, that’s just, that’s not right, you’re giving out misinformation, would you change your mind if presented with facts on that?
DT: Well, I’ve seen babies that were totally healthy that weren’t healthy, and I’m not asking for anything. All I’m doing is saying spread it out over a period of time. I’m not saying don’t get inoculated, don’t get the shots, don’t get the vaccines. I’m saying spread it out over a period of time. It doesn’t hurt anybody other than probably the pharmaceutical companies, because they probably make more money putting it into one shot. Maybe it hurts the doctors. I don’t know. But I can say this. Everybody would get the vaccines. They just, they wouldn’t be pumping these massive amounts of liquid into a child.
Again, contrary to Emken’s twisting around the issue, Trump’s meaning couldn’t have been more plain. He believes vaccines cause autism. He doesn’t believe any of those elitist pointy-headed scientists who say otherwise, and nothing will make him change his mind. Nor does Trump sound as though he believes that vaccines are the “most successful health program in the history of the world,” as Emken put it.
I referred to the tension at the heart of Autism Speaks regarding vaccine-autism pseudoscience. The organization was founded by Bob and Suzanne Wright, who were always fence sitters on the question of whether he believed vaccines cause autism. His daughter Katie, however, was a true believer that vaccines cause autism, a belief that caused a great deal of friction with her parents and the organization. For years, the organization was riven with strife, as the Wrights tried to appease the vaccine/autism pseudoscience contingent, which provided much of the money and ultimately led to a schism in the group. As recently as last September, Bob Wright was using the same sort of weasel words that Emken used. It’s useful to note that the scientific advisor’s statement was:
Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.
To which Bob Wright added:
Over the last two decades extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccines and autism. Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines. Vaccines are very important. Parents must make the decision whether to vaccinate their children. Efforts must be continually made to educate parents about vaccine safety. If parents decide not to vaccinate they must be aware of the consequences in their community and their local schools.
Note the weasel words: Scientific research has not “directly connected autism to vaccines” and “efforts must be continually made to educate parents about vaccine safety.” Not only that, but the science officer’s statement was expunged from the website. If you go to the Autism Speaks website, all you will find is Bob Wright’s statement.
One wonders what sort of position Emken might find in the Trump administration.
This isn’t all Trump is known for. As Jann Bellamy reminds us:
Trump started The Trump Network in 2009, a multi-level marketing scheme to sell nutritional supplements and weight-loss products. He promoted the scheme to those affected by the economic meltdown as “an opportunity for you to make as much money as you want.” Key to success, however, was not so much in selling his dubious products, but in recruiting other sellers and earning commissions. Trump’s “health” products included a multi-vitamin supposedly customized to the consumer’s needs based on an unvalidated mail-in urine test. There was also a weight-loss program developed by a naturopath but exposed by a real registered dietician as expensive and unhealthy. Trump sold The Trump Network in 2012.
Oh, and our new Vice President, Mike Pence, famously denied that smoking causes lung cancer.
Meanwhile, antivaccine loons are rejoicing. For example, on a VAXXED page, proposing a slate of antivaccinationists for a Trump administration:
Meanwhile, remember that Donald Trump apparently met with Andrew Wakefield in August. If Wakefield can manage to get in touch with President Trump, he will likely have a receptive ear to his antivaccine idiocy.
Congratulations, America. We’ve elected a conspiracy-mongering, antivaccine, scientific ignoramus as President of the United States, and I haven’t even gone into his anthropogenic climate change denial. The damage that can and likely will be done to America’s health and science programs over the next four years is incalculable. I’m reminded of H.L. Mencken’s famous quote:
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
In 2016, our democracy was perfected.
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A. California's senate justvreconfirmed a commitment to social justice and an intent to uphold values of tolerance. We have a spare room, if anyone needs refuge. http://sd24.senate.ca.gov/news/2016-11-09-joint-statement-california-le…
I really hope the wall waits. We have a conference in Mexico City in June. With three planned panels on vaccine related issues.
Of course, we were planning to fly. How tall is this hypothetical wall supposed to be?
Did you vote?
I have abandoned Facebook for the very reason that I believe it led us to be too complacent with this election - I plan on working locally to make sure that my community continues to be a tolerant, diverse and pro-science place to live.
Well, since Trump doesn't believe in Government Regulation, it actually puts him firmly on the side of not wanting to go after the Pharma industry, since that would be bad for business.
And certainly he's not going to appoint an activist to head any of the regulatory agencies.
As my mother so helpfully said to me, she was appalled when Nixon was elected back in 1968, but so did Nixon pass, so will Trump - and it is quite possible that he will fail so spectacularly in the first couple of years that people finally come to their senses.
I will also say that, for the majority of people who voted for Trump, they did have legitimate concerns with how Washington has not be responsive to large sections of our population....I just wish their protest vote does not permanently damage our country.
As I said back when Orac first posted about this TV appearance, Fox was paying Ms. Carlson big bucks to play a bimbo on national TV, and she chose this of all issues to break character. Since then we have had confirmation, in the form of her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox, that she was acting a part. To reiterate: someone who was acting like a stereotypical dumb blonde on national TV was actually smarter, at least on this issue, than Trump.
Welcome to postmodernist America, where reality is whatever the people running our government decide it is, never mind the actual facts. I invite them to test the theory of gravity by stepping off the top of the Washington Monument, because after all, gravity is only a theory.
If he serves four years. I doubt it will happen.
I'm not suggesting or recommending any 'second amendment solutions'. But Trump has been real quiet now, for about a day and a half. A large part of the time has been spent getting briefings, both classified and unclassified.
I suspect that he's like a dog chasing a car, except he did catch it. He is quickly going to find out that being President is a whole lot less fun than running for President, and Trump likes his fun.
I predict that he'll be sworn in, and in maybe a year (hopefully less) declare victory, resign, and give us President Pence.
Not a yuge improvement, but at this point, I'll take what I can get.
Depending on who Trump nominates for the various agency spots, I expect major push-back by Dems in Congress on confirmations...plus potentially large-scale resignations at the agencies themselves.
@President Donald Trump,
Congratulations and keep and eye on Orac!?!?
As President Obama departs, and in the spirit of Democracy, would you voluntarily pardon all those imprisoned in the RI automatic moderation queue?
On the local radio station this morning, Bobby Jindal is being considered for secretary HHS.
Louisianans will close the highways in order to facilitate his rapid departure from the state, as rapidly as is humanly possible.
If he does for the nation in HHS what he's done for Louisiana, we'll have the black death back in no time at all. Hell, it'd be even money that he'd reintroduce smallpox.
Just to reflect Trump, who thinks that having nuclear weapons and not using them is a bad thing, they should be used as often as possible.
Yeah, H.L. Mencken hit it spot on.
Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.
Pence is in many ways worse than Trump. Not necessarily on vaccination, but as documented at one of the links in the OP, Pence wrote in an editorial as recently as 2001 that smoking doesn't cause cancer, and his radical evangelical views are likely to be very bad for women's healthcare. He's at least as impervious to facts as Trump is.
This assumes facts not in evidence: that Republicans will adhere to institutional norms. In this case, to actually hold hearings instead of putting the nominee directly to a vote, and to retain the filibuster. Democrats in the Senate will need at least one of those two things, and preferably both, to be able to push back on outrageous nominees.
The record shows that Republicans do not respect institutional norms: refusing to confirm Obama's nominee for Supreme Court, and refusing to debate his budget proposals, to name two. Astoundingly, they have been rewarded for this behavior.
Yup. Even though the Republicans hold a slim majority, there won't be much the Democrats can do. They can try to push back, but they are very unlikely to succeed, given the ruthlessness and cleverness with which Republicans wield Senate rules.
Basically, whomever Trump wants, he will get.
"she was appalled when Nixon was elected back in 1968, but so did Nixon pass, so will Trump"
Ahh, but we're still stuck with the travisty of his 'drug war' and its' retarded 'controlled substances act' scheduling.
-- John Ehrlichman, Nixon aid
Correct, Mike Pence would not be much, if any, of an improvement over Donald Trump. Especially if you're not a straight white male. Mike Pence is likely to be responsible for most domestic policy for the next four years, anyway; LGBT rights are probably going to be the first to go under the new regime.
Oh, and don't go and look at this if you don't want to die a little (or a lot) inside.
Good lord, you're using Mencken as a cudgel against "plain folks of the land?" Those honky-tonk rubes who have been systematically impoverished by neopartisan policy favoring the control and manipulation of global capital over the diverse needs of our Union's member states? It does come down to geography, local economy, and, yes, class distinction. But the distinction is not that they're morons. It's that they're being systematically exploited by the urban centers. Their tax dollars turn around and pay to send their jobs overseas. Their tax dollars bailed out the banks who fucked them over with imaginary numbers, much as the media recently fucked us over with imaginary numbers. I'm down for globalism but not if it's about extracting wealth from the rest of the world to build up our cities and fuel our "progress." Fuck the ivory tower.
More about Trump's likely cabinet:
Climate change: "Myron Ebell, a climate skeptic who is running the EPA working group on Trump’s transition team, is seen as a top candidate to lead the EPA... Forrest Lucas, the 74-year-old co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil, is seen as a top contender for Interior secretary... Continental Resources CEO Hamm has long been seen as a leading candidate for energy secretary."
Public Health: Carson probably won't get Education since Trump owes him wants to give him something important and "has made clear the Education Department would play a reduced role in his administration — if it exists at all. He has suggested he may try to do away with it altogether." So if Carson doesn't get HHS, he'll likely be Surgeon General, and Rick Scott will get HHS. Yes, Rick 'biggest Medicare fraud in history' Scott. Maybe Scott will make Brain Clement as an under-secretary. I jest. I hope. The ACA will be scrapped, as new strain to the healthcare system as the uninsured go back to ERs in even more woefully underfunded hospitals. The regulatory authority of the FDA will be knee-capped. Drug prices will skyrocket wherever the Shkrelis and Mylans can exploit 'the free market', and you can forget about reining in supplements, homeopathy, cancer scams and so on.
I doubt Trump will do anything directly about vaccines. Oh, if anyone asks his opinion, he might still give the 'monster shot' theory some lip service, But as far as actual policy goes, any politician only has so much political capital, and they're not going to spend it on vaccines because there no prospect of return on investment. More likely there might be some kind of broad-scale 'health freedom' legislation that would have some impact on immunization, perhaps by making it harder for states to eliminate non-medical exemptions.
I'd have expected the AVers to put posts up by the morning after the election calling anew for Congressional hearings into 'the CDC Whistleblower' if not just salivating in the belief this will surely happen. I just glanced at the AoA front page and there's was no hint of anything like that. Maybe they know they're not going to be on a GOP agenda busy f**king up much more serious aspects of the country, and/or that it would backfire into their face if it ever happened. (?)
So much this, in so many ways. Frankly, I think the scariest thing about Trump is that we lost veto power against the Republican congress. Trump is an idiot and I don't think he'll actually cause much damage himself but he will almost certainly rubberstamp any bullsh!t that comes out of congress.
Pence on the other hand is awful and has the experience to affect his awfulness. See Indiana under him.
And the worst part is that even if they burn the country to the ground their supports will blame everything and everyone but their leaders. The Republicans have not been acting in the best interests of their base for decades and the rubes have given them control of everything. Manufacturing jobs ain't coming back but that sure has hell won't stop the base from voting for whatever monsters the Rs put forth in 2/4 years.
sadmar, wait until you see tomorrow's post.
The pharmas are a major funding source for ALEC, which drafts model right-wing legislation proposals, and funds the wingnut legislators who can help get them passed. Most of the climate-denying, evolution-denying, and generaly anti-science GOP congressmen are in the ALEC camp -- including the majority who appear sympathetic to anti-vax. This tells you a lot about how 'Big Pharma' actually views vaccines. Since the modest profits from vaccines are protected by The Vaccine Court, they can actually exploit the attacks on the CDC, FDA etc. to get a bit more wind in the sails of their anti-regulatory agenda. They want fewer hurdles in getting their new windfall-profit-potential meds to market faster, and probably fewer restrictions on advertising and promotion as well.
The Dow has rallied now, but when the markets were tanking right after the election NPR reported that one of the few stock sectors showing gains were the pharmas.
JP is correct about Pence:
wasn't be the one who wanted funerals for fetuses?
Some women made a facebook page which posts their letters to Pence describing their menses. Hilarious.
He supports 'counsel away the gay' nonsense.
That should be 'postmodern America'. Postmodernism is [in this context] an attempt to understand how these historical changes came about and what their consequences might be. Some of the resulting theses suggest this is a 'good' thing, somesuggest it's a very 'bad' thing, others attempt to find some silver lining amidst the dark clouds. Since I first stumbled into this blog, I've argued that rejecting postmodernism[of this sort] is folly because one way or the other it can help us understand the changes going on around us we find so disturbing. This is true now more than ever, as 'the postmodern' is definitely not only here, but now at the center of the most powerful government in the world.
I suppose 'small government' republicans now get their fondest wishes -
Obama will be out/ they'll have total congressional rule-
and they can choose to DO NOTHING.
Isn't that what many of them want?
That is, after they cut women's rights, LGBT rights, civil rights, voting rights, taxes for the rich and stack the court..
At any rate, I am newly feeling hopeful .
I choose to see the glass as half full.
- there will be a renaissance in comedy writing
- there will be astute political analysis and investigation by
g-dless university educated wonks/ hacks
- liberals will get to feel the thrill of being the opposition
- you can meet interesting people at protests
- social scientists can analyse the differences between red and blue cultures which may lead to clever appellations for members of these two distinct groups **
- I can avoid places I never really wanted to visit anyway ( no names, I wouldn't want to insult anyone who lives there but...)
- we can revel in our elitism while we feast upon Thai food
- we can feel superior to more people than USUAL
** ideas, minions?
He didn't just want funerals for fetuses. He championed a bill that required them in Indiana and signed it into law as governor. The bill has apparently been mis-represented by Pence opponents as requiring the mothers to pay for the cremation and burial. Technically, anyway, that's false as the law places the responsibility for that on "the health care facility" in which the miscarriage or abortion took place. Of course, these facilities may pass the costs off to the women receiving their services in the form of higher fees.
AND speaking of feeling superior...
has anyone been following Mikey ?
His post- election triumphant shlock is truly in a class by itself.
As per usual, Null voices defiance as he rides upon the coattails of city protestors last night.
( He never supported Trump but will gladly take the tax cuts)
Thanks for that.
In addition to post-Modern America, I believe we have entered the era of post-factual or even post-knowledge America.
Sometimes I wonder: Instead of elections, should we hold lotteries instead?
"Congratulations, Miss Ethel Grant of Pennington, Wyoming! You are the first of this year's state Senators!"
""I choose to see the glass as half full.
-- Mr. B, Kids in the Hall (S1e17, 1988)
As a meme I like to post says:
"This too will pass. It will pass like a kidney stone. But it WILL pass!"
Perhaps you would prefer the Waco Kid's version from Blazing Saddles:
Wow, we really are now living in the age of anti-intellectualism, fueled & fomented in great part & parcel by the ignorance rampant on Internet & social media.
Mike Judge, the creator of MTV's 'Beavis & Butthead', wrote & directed a movie called 'Idiocracy' only a decade ago in 2006, which I always thought of as more of a satire & a comedy rather than a prophecy. Until now.
I am old enough to remember all the presidents back to Ike (not so well in his case) to the president elect. I believe Trump may be the most hated president in that time even before he actually sworn in. Whether Trump will be the most inept is to be seen but probably.
I just hope Trump doesn't lead us to Khmer Orange.
We'll see what happens when the full gravity of what he's gotten himself into finally sinks in.....
And in Congress, Paul Ryan might just turn into our best friend, because as much as I don't like him, he's not bat-shit crazy either.
Paul Ryan will be the one pushing Trump to embrace massive budget cuts and slashing the social safety net. Trump is actually not a deficit hawk and has expressed skepticism about massive budget cuts. Charles Pierce refers to him as the zombie-eyed granny starver. It's an accurate description, and now Ryan will likely get Trump to rubber stamp anything he wants.
Ryan scares me as much as Trump.
Orac and his double super secret alternate identity are probably already on several secret lists of enemies and thugs are already on their way. Fortunately, the lady of the house kept her firearm for exactly this situation. Unfortunately, she seems to have misplaced its ramrod and her supply of lead balls.
Wesley Dodson @15: Rural people mad that their tax dollars go to the cities? Where the heck did you hear that? It's my urban tax dollars that go the rural areas, my coastal tax dollars that go to the interior states. This is not an opinion, this is a fact.
You are wrong.
Hey, Mike Adams loves Trump! Surprise!
Well, I'd say the post-knowledge is pretty much a part of the postmodern, rather than something separate or beyond it somehow. Again, though, I'll suggest a substitution: 'post-reality' as opposed to 'post-factual'. Postmodern culture is overflowing with facts, since the 'simulacrum' or 'hyper-real' have characteristics that can be notated. 'Donald Trump said global warming is no more than Chinese propaganda,' is a fact, after all. Baudrillard wrote about the flow of "information" -- facts as data bits out of context, basically -- in the mass media as destroying meaning in it's shear volume and chaos.
Even the crazy and/or wrong postmodern theory gets to a lot of useful ideas in explaining something like the rise of Trump. i'm talking about stuff that was published over 30 years ago, and if science advocates and skeptics had grappled with it properly, instead of just going nuclear on straw man versions of it put out by political/cultural conservatives like Roger Kimball, they'd have seen our current mess coming and been better prepared for it.
In 1983, Fred Jameson wrote:
What is 'the scientific community'' after all but a group seeking "actively to intervene in history and to modify its otherwise passive momentum", now facing off against fantasies rooted in dread of inexplicable catastrophe and cataclysm? And losing...
@ Rich Bly
You must not remember Nixon as well as I do.
I remember Nixon very well. Nixon in many ways was a very good president (look at the environmental laws enact during his time) but in many more ways was horrible (Watergate and things). I give Nixon a wash as a president.
What will trump do with the war powers act?
Thanks for the link to the Pierce article on Ryan. Great stuff! One of the dramas to unfold is how Trump will deal with the GOP 'traitors to the ticket' in Congress, Ryan first and foremost. Will they become his new BFFs,will he tolerate them when he has to and keep them at arms length otherwise, or will he run them out on a Tweet-storm rail? He did promise to adopt Ryan's budget, but he's been talking infrastructure projects first and foremost, and the two don't mesh, not that that would stop Trump from just pushing the bills waaay down the road. Ryan acting as a drag on Trumpism is pure fantasy, regardless, and with or without Ryan there will be major safety net slashing in healthcare, though Trump (or should I say Mercer and Bannon) aren't fool enough to gut Social Security.
Trump has all the cards, Ryan's hand is empty, and Ryan will be giving Trump anything he wants, not the other way round, or he won't be Speaker any more, assuming he even gets to keep that job in the new House to begin with.
I'm not talking about what Nixon did, just how much he was hated, well... especially by me so I'm biased. Probably had to do with me being 18-19 when he was on TV talking about Nam and Watergate, not yet being jaded, and just getting filled to overflowing with loathing listening to him. I was rooting for the phlebitis to get him, when he came down with it. Kent State hit me really hard - there but for the grace of FSM went I and all. Trump hasn't fostered actual murders yet, but give him time.
Why did you bring up the war powers act? It's just sadistic to ask me to think about it. I finally beat back my clinical depression to a reasonable distance a few years back after a good 15 years plus, and I started to feel it creeping back on the night of the election. I'm frittering away time I should be using for other things writing comments because it keeps my mind occupied more reliably....
Anyway, I have some inchoate thoughts about war and fascist regimes, but I'm not sure if the Breitbart gang are genuine fascists or just adepts at exploiting fascist sentiments. Regardless, there's nothing like an old school war to get those blue-collar guys back to work and establish authoritarian policing of dissent, but I don't know if that kind of factory-driven warfare has a place in the 21st century.
So I'll toss the question back to you: What WILL Trump do with the war powers act? [Trumph des Wliiens?}
Can you comment on your evaluation of the scientific credibility of this journal article ?
a review of data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) shows a dose-dependent association between the number of vaccines administered simultaneously and the likelihood of hospitalization or death for an adverse reaction.
WTF with the tears? Worst case scenario MMR is bye bye, likely scenario it is just delayed, everyone still gets vaccinated and if early administration was the problem then bye bye to brain damaged children misdiagnosed with autism as well. This is good. So be straight with me if you really care about people getting vaccinated, what is the real issue here? Trump said and I quote "people must be vaccinated" and went on to talk about polio in his interview with Attkisson. So what am I missing in regards to corporate profit because I see no other reason for a beef here.
Unfortunately, I can think of many actions he may take with the war powers act. None of trump's actions with the war powers acts would be rational. Let's see what could he come up with: Bombing Mecca, sinking refugee boats, or invading Mexico/Canada. I have a very bleak outlook for the near future.
Sorry if I am such a downer.
In this election campaign, I was interested in one thing that seems to be affecting your electoral system as well as Canada's. The Pollsters have been way off in their claims. In last years election, they were calling for a slim majority or a minority Liberal government. We got a large majority Liberal government. They called for the NDP to be the official opposition, and the Conservatives to be effectively wiped of the electoral map. Not even close to reality.
The pollsters seem to be having the same issues with your election. Trump was never going to make it through the Republican nomination cycle. Yet he made it to the end. He wouldn't win the nomination because the party would never accept him. Trump won the nomination and faced off against the Democrats, who had their own pollster issues. In the election, Clinton never had less then a 2 point lead. She lost by a significant margin at the electoral college and number of states won.
This makes me wonder if modern tele-polls are running into the same issue as web-based polls. Self-selection. I know that I either hang-up or give random answers to pollsters that contact me because I don't care to perpetuate the tilting of the political balance by making one side appear to be the winner. Is this a reasonable hypothesis or am I way out in left-field? As may be obvious, my background in statistics of this sort is near enough to 0 to be indistinguishable.
The key issue is that Trump is a climate change denier. For all intents and purposes we have already lost a good part of Bangladesh, much of Florida and who knows what all else to future flooding. Think Atlantis.
Trump's possible impacts on medical care, human rights, finance and even war, excepting nuclear war, are essentially trivial compared to what he may do to the fight to mitigate global warming.
And at last report Trump has picked an infamous climate denier, Myron Ebell to head his EPA transition team and Myron has never met a coal mine he did not love.
If we cannot mitigate global warming at perhaps 2 degrees, and this looks unlikely, we are going to be seeing more extreme weather--droughts, fires, flood -- more epidemics, huge waves of refugees and so on.
Jeff: "Worst case scenario MMR is bye bye,..."
Wow, you must really hate children.
A problem has occurred with the threats to kill Trump.
I have a lingering question for all the anti-Trump people who are threatening to assasinate him. I do not understand the logic here. My question is simple ...
In what manner would you assasinate him being that you are all anti-gun?
Are you planning to sword fight him? Probably not since owning a sword means you support Knights Templar and that makes you racist. Would you hang him? No racists hang people and liberals are not racists. My guess is you would take the same cowardly way out and act like a member of Isis and suicide bomb him or run over him with a car. Oh wait. That would not be decent either because both methods would contribute to global warming. Hmmm. Your proposal to assasinate him seems illogical since you have no logical means in which method you would use that would not label you a hypocrite and go against what you say you stand for.
"Ryan scares me as much as Trump."
He should scare you a hell of a lot more.
I'll just leave this here.
Disagree. Ryan's skill is the ability to fool the admittedly not-very-smart Washington press corps into thinking he's smart, because he can produce charts that appear to support his talking points. But it's all wishful thinking at best, and in most cases outright fantasy. The difference between Ryan and most rank-and-file Republican congresscritters is that Ryan does a better job of hiding the crazy, it's not that he's significantly less crazy than the average among his party.
I don’t know if this is entirely true, but my 18 year old college freshman, gay grandson texted me yesterday that Pence believes that electroshock therapy “cures” homosexuality. He is truly terrified. I assured him it wouldn’t be a priority to “cure” gays, but some of the stuff I’m reading here makes me wonder. I am retired, so I’m leaving the country--I own some land somewhere else and I’ve offered refuge to my adult grandchildren. I have no desire to fight another day or have to participate in any of this. It sickens me that Obama met with him, frankly. He just gave the emperor some clothes to put on.
Terry Rodger: "A problem has occurred with the threats to kill Trump"
I am sorry, I thought I had read this entire page, and I don't recall someone threatening to kill Trump. Could you please link to that comment or quote the part of the article that suggests that as a valid alternative.
"In what manner would you assasinate him being that you are all anti-gun?"
Wow, that is a both a silly and presumptive assumption. What makes you think that?
Terry Rodgers, do not equate anyone commenting on this blog to the persons who are presently rioting in the streets. Those are common vandals.
Norman Miller: "Can you comment on your evaluation of the scientific credibility of this journal article ?"
Did you know there is a search box at the top right of this page. Why don't you try it, here is what you might find:
Also, please tell us what medical/science qualifications Mr Miller has? Why would we care about a political organization like the AAPS anyway?
Oh, and since you are too freaking lazy to do a simple search, here is the actual article you should read:
Thank you for unknowingly bringing some levity to the results of the election. You have illustrated perfectly the type of "research" that you tried (or not tried... whatever).
@Norman Jones #44, that article is written by Neil Z. Miller, a familiar name here. I went to the conclusion. Long story short, the very first claim Miller makes in his conclusion is demonstrably false. That pdf is not worth the data space it's taking up on a server.
@norman Jones (44)
Read the disclaimer on the VAERS website.
It is a voluntary reporting system and all reports are retained, whether verified or not. They are not a valid source of data for statistical analysis.
AAArgh... I am so sorry Norman Jones! I mixed up your name with the author of the paper you linked to. My sincerest apologies.
Though it would have helped if you searched this blog before posing!
Aargh, again... " before posting"
One piece of irony is that Big Pharma seems to enjoy having an anti-vaxxer as president.....
I looked on the 'net for a "Make America Smart Again" hat... Not available yet!
Simple, really. Give him a MASSIVE vaccine.
Nah, simplicity itself and indeed, is my chosen method of suicide.
Tie the hands at the side and watch the head explode due to a lack of the ability to gesticulate.*
*The estimated yield from my own head exploding is approximately 10 KT, so I have a special area of desert in mind... ;)
More seriously, I am quite with Orac on this, such threats can cause an unfriendly visit from the Secret Service, a warrant for the servers and logs and worse.
Then, a visit to the one initially making the threat. Few want to have a repeat of that experience.
@ Jeff #45 --clearly you didn't read about all the measles outbreaks in California in 2014 and 2015 due to declining measles vaccination rates there. I guess you're ok with the fact that before measles vaccination started in the US in 1963 "Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, we estimate that about 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of those people, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles." ( http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html ), which doesn't include the 1 in 500 or so who get measles and then will die from SSPE a few years to decades later.
If you're ok with that should the MMR vaccine go "bye -bye", please state so here so it's on the record so we have you on the record opposing solid scientific fact versus the delusions fiction of the "MMR causes autism" crowd.
I'd say we have to take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
OK, stop it with the talk about assassinating Donald Trump. Seriously. Stop it. I know you're not advocating that and I certainly would never advocate that, but even mentioning assassination on my blog makes me nervous. He's President-Elect now, and I don't want a visit from the Secret Service.
Any further comments referencing assassination will be deleted with extreme prejudice. Stop it.
@ #44 norman jones
I cannot claim to speak for our esteemed host, but a few caveats are in order. I suggest visiting the VAERS web site and looking at both the FAQ section and the database pages' guide, especially https://vaers.hhs.gov/data/index. Important paragraphs:
The short version: VAERS is full of a lot of crap that any fool with an internet connection can contribute to. At best, it provides an indication that something may need to be checked out with real studies.
assassination? "Delete. With extreme prejudice."?
I see what Orac did there.
The horror. The horror.
The age of anti-intellectualism is not beholden to facts...a cursory glossing over of a topic w/ one's keen confirmation bias & an utter lack of personal insight, & all preconceived notions are exalted.
Perhaps you can't find a “Make America Smart Again” hat because you're looking at the wrong websites. Since Trump has said "We have to get smart." as often or more trhan he's said "make America great again" maybe you shouldcheck at Breitbart.Com.
Seriously it's way past time to drop the 'us smart, you stupid,' thing, for all kinds of reasons. Check Narad's links at #52 for one. For another, the dichotomy is so simplistic for an accurate discussion of really-pretty-complicated and multivalent, often contradictory belief system its just, uhhhh....
I don't disagree with any particular point, Eric.
I'm not saying I wish for Trump to step down and let Pence in. It's just a thought I had, and so far this election cycle, I'm batting about .000 on predictions.
But when it comes to being the POTUS, there is more than science and civil rights. They are important, sure, but they aren't the universal set.
There's being the National Command Authority for the military. Trump has said he'd order the military to commit war crimes. True, he didn't use the words 'war crimes', because I don't think he understands the concept. I can well imagine Trump issuing an unlawful order, and the crisis that it would cause. Pence would be a better CinC. Not good, just better, the same way a kick in the nuts is better than being fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun.
Pence has studied law. I, too, doubt Trump has read the constitution.
When Trump said that he'd ban Muslim immigration, Pence piped up and said it would be flatly unconstitutional.
Trump seems to think he can change treaties on a whim, despite what the Constitution has to say on the matter. I think foreign policy would be a great deal less exciting under Pence.
Economic policy - probably a wash. (As an aside, prior to the election, I moved a chunk of 401-k money from stock into bonds in case Trump won. Another failed prophecy.)
Pence might do 'bad things' (in fact, I'd bet on it), but he'd do it within the rules. After all, he does have a law degree. Trump doesn't understand the concept of rules, or of limits on the power of the Presidency.
But it doesn't really matter. As I note above, for this election cycle, I've been given the gift of anti-prophecy.
I'm sorry, but you are whining about what, exactly ?
Mr. Webber: "I’m sorry, but you are whining about what, exactly ?"
Your lack of reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, and that there too many other people just like you.
Orac : " OK, stop it with the talk..."
I just noticed that Mikey ( Natural News) did a rant on Thursday about how the *left* is planning violence against the Donald and his followers. As usual, there are a few barely hidden dog whistles about lynching..
Now that the election is over, I find that the type of nonsense ( Mikey, Gary et al) that I've surveyed for years being discussed on mainstream channels. Yiiiii. I can't escape it, can I?
Someone mentioned 'Idiocracy': how about Green Day's "American Idiot'? That was about George W, wasn't it?
BS from the darkest, dustiest corners of the 'net is now mainstreaming and working on the transition team ( Bannon). I just read a few disturbing articles about how he won and deportation ( Bloomberg Politics)
Although I try to see the glass as half full, the future looks bleak. Even with the protests planned.
Sadmar, sadmar play us a tune upon your lyre and entertain us. You're good at it.
OH NO! Let's not encourage assassination ideations in any way... President Pence would be a wingnut right wing evangelist in office!
Seriously it’s way past time to drop the ‘us smart, you stupid,’ thing, for all kinds of reasons.
I can't excuse the plain folks of the land for voting for Donald Trump. I understand that they are economically hard-up, but what they did was stupid and despicable. We probably should have given more support to Bernie Sanders. I hope we will support the right one next election.
I can't believe our purple state went red this year. I do place a lot of blame on the democrats, and HRC in general for misreading the people so badly.
But, in all seriousness, please keep yourself safe! I see the Trumps are already suing one blogger. I love your blog and the raw honesty that brings me joy. I know Doritt asked how high the wall is supposed to be, but I'm just glad that it can't block the INTERNET (yet).
Ann, while Donnie can sue, a court action is required, a defense is required.
One can, quite literally, theoretically, create an indefinite delaying action in the courts.
The trick is, creating it first, lest the corporation create it first and perpetually.
While I've long been considered a strike first sort, that isn't the reality. I'm the sort to create the strike longest and deepest.
For me, if Dumb Donald struck first, I'd immediately divert resources to strike forward, canceling efforts that should be created to divert resources. Then, move forward.
I've learned enough legal things to be incredibly dangerous.
And worse, creative.
So, Dumb Donald, wanna sue me? I'll both tie it up until the heat death of the universe, even if we feel chills in winter.
I'll also seek damages in excess of the entire national debt, to be awarded to the US government, because, I do have an opinion.
Go for it, sourpuss.
We'll share something, mutual command of portions of cyber command.
Then, it turns into loyalty, who actually saved lives vs a campaign prostitute.
While anyone can sue for anything, under our libel laws winning a suit for the president or any of his team would and should be near impossible.
And should, appropriately, backfire big time in terms of public image.
And these are Supreme Court interpretations, not something congress can change.
And Trump is unlikely to be able to overturn that jurisprudence anytime soon even with, say, three nominations.
In usual conditions, that'd be true, considering public statements that a re anti-constitutional, they're actionable.
Then, it turns into an expensive delaying action.
We *do* have a Constitution and executive privilege is what, oh, privilege.
Otherwise, I'd be Emperor.
Get my rather lousy joke and hint?
The only corresponding lawsuit I can find was filed by Melania (weird lapse by the BBC on the "there has been no explanation of the discrepancy" bit, given that they had a legal consultant).
The glass was knocked over and broken.
"If the buffalo goes through, he will fall into the abyss,
If he retreats into the enclosure, he will be butchered.
This little bit of a tail,
that is a strange thing indeed!"
Thanks for the endorsement in lyre request (I think...)
I don't have a lyre. The only instrument I can play is the kazoo. (Both of my parents were symphony musicians. Go figure.) I've got pretty good chops on the kazoo, actually, but there's not much call for that.
There is (was?) a great neo-garage band named after the old string instrument, so I do sometimes play The Lyres on the stereo. Here's one of their tunes, with a fitting post-election sentiment.
(The video track added by the uploader is unrelated to the song or band, and I have no idea what it is or when it was made...)
Trump is only proposing a wall to keep out ILLEGAL entry into the country.
This is what is called COMMON SENSE, i know this escapes the puny minds of liberal drones out there, but Trump is not a bad man and that is not a bad idea to build a wall at the border.
Did you know Mexico has a border wall on its southern border?
Why dont you go into the middle of mexico city and burn the mexican flag and demand that they provide you free welfare?? and demand they make your anchor babies citizens of mexico??
Why not?? CAUSE THEYLL CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF!
so dont be a hypocrite hipster and repsect the laws of the land and what is right.
So, lemme get this straight, you want us to do what communist Russia did and build a dividing wall, where you allege one already exists in Mexico and is already ineffective.
And you'd try to convince us that Mexico decapitates people, thoroughly confusing Saudi Arabia with Mexico, despite the massive cultural and religious differences, not to mention the significant geographical distance between the two.
You know, different continents, big whopping ocean between them, not to mention yet another continent also being between them?
Don't be an idiot. Oh, my apologies, I already realize that that is far beyond your meager capabilities.
Lies without compunction
Routinely stiffs people who work for him
Engages in fraudulent schemes
Brags about committing sexual assault
Brags about incestuous desires
No, not a bad man at all.
Donald Trump, providing the world with a shining example of what a bad example looks like.
I thought Trump's "Build a Wall" promise was just silly from the start....given the massive amount of private land which the government would have to seize, followed by the years of litigation, environmental reviews, etc, there was never going to be a "wall."
It was bad campaign rhetoric & the numbskulls bought it.