Another antivaccine conspiracy theory, flu vaccine edition

It's Friday, and it's been a rough week. So, after digging into an epidemiology study yesterday, I'm in the mood for something a bit less...heavy. Antivaxers sometimes call me to task when I point out what to me is a simple fact, namely that antivaxers are basically conspiracy theorists. In essence, to believe many antivax views, you have to believe that there is a vast conspiracy among big pharma, the government, and the media to hide great harm from vaccines because...well, it's never quite clear. To protect pharma profits? Really, this is no different than the cancer quacks who claim that a cure for cancer is being suppressed in order to protect big pharma's profits. Rarely do the purveyors of such conspiracy theories consider that employees of pharma are human too. How many of them would be able to stay silent and keep up the conspiracy if one of their family members had a cancer that could be cured by one of these "suppressed cures," particularly high ranking executives who are presumably in on the conspiracy? It's the same with vaccines. How many "in the know" would stay silent if vaccines really were causing so much damage to so many children and one or more of their children or grandchildren happened to be affected?

I mention the conspiratorial mindset of the antivaccine movement because I was pointed to a beautiful example of it. It comes from—who else?—Levi Quackenboss, the pseudonymous antivaccine blogger whom we've encountered before, doxing and attacking a 12-year-old Mexican boy who posted a pro-vaccine video and gloating about the meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Andrew Wakefield during the campaign in August and, after Trump's victory in November, reiterating antivaxer demands to Trump. This time around, she sees conspiracies everywhere. I did briefly wonder if this was some misguided attempt at satire, but, no, it looks as though Quackenboss is serious.

Basically, Quackenboss has made two observations. First, she thinks there's a conspiracy involving the media to spike or minimize stories in which vaccines fail or are suspected of causing harm. Indeed, get a load of how her post starts:

We all know by now that our “free press” has deeply embedded editors and producers who take their marching orders directly from pharmaceutical companies and the CDC. Their job is to postpone, water down, spin, or kill stories that hurt public health profits.

Whenever you see a vaccine article that strikes you as negative– or hell, even fair and balanced– it’s a red flag that big wheels are in motion behind the scenes; you just don’t know what the outcome is going to be yet.

Got that? Basically, to Quackanboss any story that tries to be balanced or nuanced in any way (unless it's a pro-vaccine story that is "balanced" by including antivaccine viewpoints) and that doesn't paint a completely negative picture of vaccine safety and effectiveness is proof that the big pharma conspiracy theory is suppressing, spinning, or otherwise downplaying the unacceptable news.

Then she mentions two examples of stories that seem to undermine her very thesis, except that they don't, because she uses them to head down the antivaccine conspiracy rabbit hole. The stories involve the meningitis B vaccine. One was about two young women who were vaccinated against meningitis but contracted the disease and died anyway. One girl, Emily Stillman, contracted serotype B meningitis despite having been vaccinated against meningitis because there was not yet a vaccine against serotype B approved in the US. The vaccine required by most colleges only covers serotypes , C, W and Y, and B is a much less common serotype. Meningitis B vaccination is a "permissive" recommendation (doctors are free to recommend it and patients to take it, but it is not generally recommended for everyone, although those at higher risk should receive it) because of how uncommon the serotype is. Quackenboss basically marveled that the press would publish such an article.

The second story is about skepticism over whether the meningitis B vaccine is being promoted unnecessarily. It's a reasonably balanced article that clearly puzzled Quackenboss mightily. Actually, the article didn't puzzle her. The fact that the article was published did:

Then on September 7th the New York Times, of all newspapers, wrote about men b outbreaks, describing them as “small” and “extremely rare,” and said men b vaccines are “lucrative” and “pricey” and “playing to parents’ fears.” They pointed out that making vaccines for less rare diseases has the potential to make the vaccine industry into a “cash cow” and they didn’t mean it in a good way. Mmmm-hmmm. I mean duh, but still. Not what you’d expect them to say.

The Times even included a quote from a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The risk, he said, “is not a large enough problem to warrant routine vaccination.”

So why are Pfizer’s and GSK’s men b vaccines on the media chopping block? I don’t know, but we’re not reading investigative vaccine journalism on NBC and in the Times. Keep your eyes peeled for the Godsent explanation the overlords will provide us with. They don’t usually announce the problem more than 30 days before announcing the solution, so it should be any day now.

So, basically, Quackenboss sees some deeper, darker strategy by pharma in "allowing" these two articles on meningitis B vaccines to be published and expects that the pharma strategy behind permitting them will become apparent soon. I can hardly wait to hear from Quackenboss what that nefarious scheme is whenever Quackenboss finally figures it out. I'm sure it will be epically hilarious.

Quackenboss then moves on to the flu vaccine, noting a couple of stories about studies questioning the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in certain circumstances. Then, of course, the story earlier this week about a certain study finding a potentially increased risk of miscarriage associated with having received the H1N1 vaccine the year before and the seasonal flu vaccine within 28 days of miscarriage caught Quackenboss' attention. (It's the same study I deconstructed yesterday in detail, showing how it didn't really show what antivaxers were touting it to show, something the authors themselves pointed out.) She's practically giddy, the way JFK conspiracy theorists are giddy when they discover some new new anomaly noted in a blurry black and white photograph of the grassy knoll around the time Kennedy's motorcade drove by:

Then! On September 13th the Washington Post wrote about a new study that linked the flu vaccine to a 7.7x increased chance or a 670% increase in miscarriages. I know that one of my favorite bloggers has written an incredibly researched piece about WaPo’s bullshit spin of 7.7x being just a “hint” of increased fetal death, but I’m seeing this a little differently.

Of course, that's not what the study found. It was a a case control study, and what that study found is that women who suffered a miscarriage were 7.7 times more likely to have received the flu vaccine within 28 days and to have been vaccinated against H1N1 the year before. The magnitude of the increased risk can't really be inferred that way. But, hey, who expects an antivaxer to understand the difference between a case control study and a cohort study.

Quackenboss is just getting warmed up, though:

If protecting the flu vaccine was WaPo’s goal, I don’t think the press would even bother with the spin when they could just ignore the study completely, a la William Thompson. So the fact that this finding– in a study I can’t believe was conducted by the CDC’s Frank Mothereffing DeStefano and published in the journal Vaccine— is getting mainstream coverage is spelling death for the annual flu vaccine as we currently know it.

Yes, this one study, which resulted in a questionable finding linking the flu vaccine with miscarriage is going to "spell death for the annual flu vaccine as we currently know it." I don't think so, but Quackenboss does. Even more amusing, she thinks she knows why:

I might have the answer: the universal flu vaccine is about to arrive.

The universal flu vaccine is supposed to offer long lasting broad protection against the constantly-mutating flu. You know, since most of America doesn’t want the good-for-nothing annual vaccine anyway, it doesn’t work in the elderly, and it’s killing the babies of women who get it while pregnant.

Four years ago an FDA scientist was in a Congressional committee hearing and he testified that a “universal flu vaccine was 5 to 10 years away.” I think that day is here.

That's right. According to Quackenboss' conspiracy theory, big pharma and its lackeys in the media are letting the "truth" about the current annual seasonal flu vaccine out, the better to pave the way for the new, universal flu vaccine! Its approval by the FDA and its marketing must be imminent! Otherwise, why on earth would big pharma allow so many negative stories about the flu vaccine? She seems blissfully aware with the holes in her conspiracy theory. For example:

A quick scan of Google News tells me that BiondVax, an Israeli company working on a universal flu vaccine, just voluntarily de-listed from the Tel Aviv stock exchange two weeks ago. The reason given is that the universal flu vaccine needs an international presence, so forget about little ol’ Tel Aviv; they’re sticking with the big boys at NASDAQ. Just three months ago BiondVax got an exciting $23.8 million investment as they enter phase 3 trials for their universal flu vaccine, so things are heating up.

But get this! The new universal flu vaccine isn’t just a replacement for the annual shot. They’re also seeking approval as a flu shot “primer.” This shit is endless! So depending on what they get approval for, your elderly parents might get a primer universal vaccine and then get the season’s regular flu vaccine, but women of child bearing age will be told to get the stand-alone universal flu shot before they get pregnant. But that’s just my guess.

It's true. BiondVax is taking a two-pronged approach: Testing its vaccine as a single universal flu vaccine but also testing it as a "primer" to be used with the annual seasonal flu vaccine. That latter approach makes me think that big pharma as portrayed by Quackenboss isn't that smart if it's trashing the seasonal flu vaccine. After all, if its approach using its universal flu vaccine as a primary flu vaccine fails but its combining its universal vaccine as a primer to boost the efficacy of the annual flu vaccine it sure wouldn't make much sense to "allow" pharma's lackeys in the press to start publishing articles about studies like the miscarriage study.

But, then, whoever said antivaxers were consistent in their conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theorists are rarely consistent, and Quackenboss is a conspiracy theorist.

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Obviously, there is a severe level of delusion there.

It must be a very sick, sad little world that she inhabits.

I think this woman was at the Neighborhood Block Party on Labor Day--disguised as an old hippie guy! I had to leave. I survived through the cancer and vax conspiracies, but lost it with “aliens made the pyramids”. When I told him that I had a degree in anthropology, the response was that “universities only teach you what they want you to know”.

It ticks me off when people imply that tolerance is the answer to this bullshit. I am trying to be “normal” by attending these gatherings, but there has got to be a limit. I’m also tired of the “pot is a harmless weed and it’s so good its going legal” meme that seems to go along with a lot of this. Yet, when I point out that the evidence is simply not in on safety/medical potential, I am the one who gets howled at.

Nope, no more parties.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

I think Princeton University learned its lesson a few years ago when it had an outbreak of meningitis B in the student population. They now ask for everyone to get that vaccine. At the time, they even went to the trouble of getting an IND waiver so they could begin vaccinating everyone before the FDA had approved the vaccine.

That's the kind of behavior that I appreciate (disclaimer: my daughter is a student there).

The risk may be small, but the consequences can be severe if the organism becomes established in a large population living in a confined area.

By Michael Finfer, MD (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

Anything but admit that maybe issues with vaccine aren't hidden, just rare.

After all, if she did admit that, her whole belief system would have to be rejected.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

Perhaps Quackenboss will start to question why all the big pharma/big medicine powers that be even allow anti-vaxxers to live rather than send ninja hit squads after them. It couldn't possibly be because there are no ninja hit squads, so there must be some insanely convoluted explanation as to why they are allowed to say what they say.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

It's the same story with all these conspiracy folks...

For the anti-vaxxers "Big Pharma" controls the media, the government (every government!), everything.

For the anti-modern ag folks, Monsanto controls those things.

For the anti-semitic folks, Jews control all those things.

For David Icke, reptilians control all those things.

Well, this ought to send the Quack off the deep end (

Every childhood vaccine may go into a single jab

A technology that could eventually see every childhood vaccine delivered in a single injection has been developed by US researchers.

Their one-shot solution stores the vaccine in microscopic capsules that release the initial dose and then boosters at specific times.

The approach has been shown to work in mouse studies, described in the journal Science.

The researchers say the technology could help patients around the world.

...Heheheh. Stuff that under your tinfoil hat, Quackenboss.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

What amazing timing...

I wish I had seen that when I was writing this post. I might have to add a snarky comment about it.

@ Chris Hickie
I can hear the antivax-people scream "nanoparticles" if they read about microscopic capsules.

Huh. I didn't realize, Dr Finfer, that you were that local to me! I pass Edison several days a week when I go into the office to work.

If that actually comes to fruition, a person could receive but a single injection in the lifetime, with built in boosters which are released at proscribed intervals during their life......

Anti-vax heads would explode all over the world.

There are times when I wonder how the Quackenboss, and people like her, can function in society on a daily basis. Seeing links of conspiracy everywhere must surely interfere with everyday life.

By Allison Hagood (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

What I find interesting is that all pharma is lumped into on giant vat of conspiracy. When in the real world, companies take shots at other companies to try to decrease their profit to increase their own.

A good non-pharma example of this are ads that compare ford and chevy pickups. Each company disses the other's product.

A little PR for the CDC:

Join CDC and NFID’s Flu Thunderclap
September 28, 2017 marks the annual kickoff of the flu vaccination awareness campaign, emphasizing the importance of annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Join CDC and NFID’s Thunderclap to help spread the word that flu season is around the corner, which means it’s time to get your annual flu vaccine.

If influenza vaccinations were part of some grand conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies to harm/reduce the population, then why would it be mandatory for all healthcare workers including doctors and nurses who prescribe and administer their products to receive one? This wouldn't be consistent with a grand conspiracy now would it?

By Internal Medic… (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

@Internal Medicine Resident -- are you familiar with the term "useful dupe"?

“…few people realize that even the ideal influenza vaccine, matched perfectly to circulating strains of wild influenza and capable of stopping all influenza viruses, can only deal with a small part of the ‘flu’ problem…Every year, hundreds of thousands of respiratory specimens are tested across the US. Of those tested, on average 16% are found to be influenza positive..." Doshi P. Influenze: Marketing Vaccine by Marketing Disease. BMJ 2013;346:f3037

In other words, the medical industry is almost as clueless today about what causes "flu" as they were back in 1918, when they were peddling those vaccines against a flu bacteria--all fully backed by the latest psyentific research, of course. See Eyler J. The State of Science, Microbiology, and Vaccines Circa 1918. Public Health Rep. 2010; 125(Suppl 3): 27-36.

But hey, we all know conspiracies don't happen--especially conspiracies to keep the population sick, weak and obedient consumers. Repeating the word "conspiracy" 14 times disparagingly in a blog post proves it!

"Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible." -- Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society (1952)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

@NWO Reporter

The burden of proof is on the one asserting the legitimacy of a "conspiracy theory." Those who promulgate the theories often don't comprehend the vast magnitude of the theory which essentially reduces the probability of said theory being accurate (of course this doesn't prove that it's a mere theory). Often there are simple explanations for why these theories are simply not true. The medical industry has not escaped from being targeted by proponents of these implausible theories. It's quite unfortunate to witness patients suffering from poor decisions which were influenced by these inaccuracies. This is why I am quite passionate about the issue of vaccinations and primary prevention of disease.

By Internal Medic… (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

Now wait just a minute...

NWOR is saying that the flu shot doesn't protect against diseases that aren't the flu.

Can this possibly be true? Is Ginny revealing here for the first time anywhere that if I get a flu shot, that I can still get sick from some other unrelated infection?

My goodness, if this is true, it will shake big pharma to the core, and the entire house of cards that is the vaccine industry will come crashing DOWN!!!!!11!

or something

@Internal Medicine Resident is "quite passionate about the issue of vaccinations," yet totally ignores the evidence presented that flu vaccines do not protect against 84% of all illnesses that receive an eyeball diagnosis of "flu." How many people who are not sick at all also test positive for an influenza virus? How many people with "flu" also test positive for the bacteria believed in 1918 to cause flu?

Of course @Johnny prefers not to contemplate these issues either.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

@Internal Medicine Resident -- if you are really interested in whether proof of a conspiracy to keep the population sick, weak and obedient exists, don't expect it to be offered up in the comment section of a blog. You'd best be prepared to do a lot of independent reading. Maybe start with the book Rockefeller Medicine Men.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

Ah yes the Gish Gallop technique so often used by science denialists.....Shifting the burden of proof is also a common logical fallacy. Moreover using data from almost 100 years ago is probably not relevant to the present (estimated efficacy now is around 48-50%). Something that reduces my probability of contracting a disease by 50% is certainly reasonable. And one more thing, the argument that an intervention is not 100% effective is not enough to conclude that an intervention has no effect or is harmful.

By Internal Medic… (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

NWO Reporter

There is a nice reference book called Diseases of Man. Find a copy and see how many diseases are described as having flu like symptoms. You will be surprised by the number.

As Johnny stated: flu vaccine will not protect you from other viruses that have flu like symptoms.

And yes we all know here that the flu vaccine is not as effective as we would want but it protects better than no vaccine.

So saying throwing a number out, 84% I think you said, that pass the eyeball test for the flu is unsupportable.

@NWO Reporter #19:

flu vaccines do not protect against 84% of all illnesses that receive an eyeball diagnosis of “flu.”

Given that most illnesses that "receive an eyeball diagnosis of flu" are not flu, why is this even surprising? Or even an attack on flu vaccination.
The fact that you think this is a valid criticism speaks volumes.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

@Internal Medicine Resident -- I love science. It is psyence I don't like. I don't "deny" either. "Science denialist" is doublespeak.

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” Dr. Marcia Angell, NY Review of Books, Jan. 15, 2009.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

NWO here is a list of diseases that least begin with flu like symptoms (from Wikipedia)

Anthrax, Brucellosis, Cat scratch fever, Legionellosis, Leptospirosis, Listeriosis, Lyme disease
Lymphogranuloma venereum, Mastitis, Salmonellosis
Toxic Shock Syndrome, Syphilis, Tuberculosis
Scrub typhus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Bornholm disease (Coxsackie B virus), Chickenpox
Cytomegalovirus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus
California encephalitis virus, Enteroviruses, Hendra virus
Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, Herpes, HIV-1, -2
Newcastle disease, Human parainfluenza viruses
Human rhinovirus, Measles, MERS coronavirus
Human respiratory syncytial virus, Rubella
SARS coronavirus, Slapped cheek syndrome, Smallpox
Togaviridae, Venezuelan equine encephalitis

Blastomycosis, Coccidioidomycosis, Histoplasmosis
Stachybotrys chartarum

Babesiosis, Leishmaniasis, Malaria

One that I know was left on this list is hanta virus.

It is a nice long list isn't it.

Wow, the resident conspiracy theorist recognizes that things that look like the Flu, aren't the Flu?

Call them conspiracy fantasists. Theory has a precise and valuable definition which is inaccurately used to describe them.

are you familiar with the term “useful dupe”?

You mean like an antivaccine conspiracy crank who also includes the Moon landing and gravity in her repertoire?

@rs (#27)

Excellent point!

By Internal Medic… (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” -- Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928), Chapter One.

And Bernays should know--he was one their most useful minions.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

NWOrthless poster mistakenly thinks Internal Medicine Resident will somehow fall for his/her moronic arguments, which is good for a yuk or two. NWOrthless poster's arguments come in at the level of the 2nd grader at best.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

Of course @Johnny prefers not to contemplate these issues either.

This isn't Twatter, johnnycakes. Don't embarrass your lower-ups.

@NWOR: Just in case you were saying something meaningful, I looked up your word psyence. I found four references via Google:
1) an album by a Japanese performer;
2) a British performance group;
3) an Australian (by its url) company that characterizes itself as Psychology + Science;
4) a Colombian url with the same characterization.

Which definition of psyence are we to understand when you use the word, or is it just a meaningless, idiosyncratic usage?

By Se Habla Espol (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

Well, the practice where I'm doing my clinical hours this semester has had two confirmed cases of Influzena A in two days.

I'm getting my flu shot tomorrow.

Se Habla Espol:

I believe this comes from the Mike Adams/Alex Jones delusion that everything is a psy-op. False flags, vaccines, fake news: all forms of government manipulation to control the masses.

By Woo Fighter (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

Many of us are familiar with Bernays and Russell, but realize a) propaganda is not the same as conspiracy, and more importantly b) there is no demonstrated relevance to the matter under discussion here.

Yes there is an 'invisible government'; no it's not a conspiracy, and no there is not any reason to suppose that Big Pharma agents have any particular control over mass media.

Instructing others to read certain books is strong evidence of not being able to make a coherent argument. There are those who are happy to believe they are somehow in the know in a way that makes them superior to others; indeed, this is likely the main motivation for conspiracy-beliefs.

RJ, on what evidence have you concluded that the invisible government, which you acknowledge exists, doesn't engage in criminal conspiracies? If its actions are benevolent, why operate under a cloak of invisibility?

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2017 #permalink

Because they don't operate under a cloak of invisibility.

They operate while being ignored by the populace. Most people pay little attention to how their government really works, while bitching freely about it as they go.

If you think they engage in conspiracies, you need to provide evidence.

Correct - people, in general, give little thought to the various Departments of Public Works & Transportation which keep the streets clean, pick up the trash or just repair pot holes.

In general, I find people like NWOR to reside in their own sad, sick little worlds - because they can't handle that the real world is not nearly as interesting as the fantasies they've built for themselves.

LOL. The people who come here to learn about conspiracies are way past of the point of needing proof of their existence. Panacea, you sure seem to buy into the idea that humanity is too incompetent for self-determination, and needs "the best of the brightest" to covertly guide their beliefs and behavior "for the greater good." You're either naive enough, and desperate enough for the approval of authority, to believe it; or mercenary enough not to care.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2017 #permalink

The people who come here to learn about conspiracies are way past of the point of needing proof of their existence.

Who need proof of their existence when one can invents its own proof?

Panacea, you sure seem to buy into the idea that humanity is too incompetent for self-determination, and needs “the best of the brightest” to covertly guide their beliefs and behavior “for the greater good.” You’re either naive enough, and desperate enough for the approval of authority, to believe it; or mercenary enough not to care.

Assertion fabricated from one's own proof?


darwinslapdog, don't feel bad. You are not alone. David Brin ( refers to the "fevered spite against all fact-users" coming from the right that's popular right now.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 17 Sep 2017 #permalink

Okay, NitWit Ordure Distorter, the time has come. Put up or shut up. Put your money where your mouth is. Put your ass on the table.
You made the claim, you provide the proof. That's how these things work. No pithy irrelevant quotations. No reference to the state of medicine a century past and gone. No naming of books that you only read because they tell you what you already believe.
Facts. Real evidence. Nothing but certifiable statements of fact from credible sources. Facts well-attested to. Nothing else. No assertions without evidence. No but-what-abouts.
If you can do that, I have no doubt that Orac will give you the space you need. If you can't, then go bother some more credulous crowd. If you can link "big pharma" to chemtrails or tacmars, you might even make a living out of it.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 17 Sep 2017 #permalink

Alain, I know you didn't misunderstand my comment. I hope you don't imagine that people won't notice how you twisted it around to suit your agenda. Or that it took 3 of you to try to clean up the mess RJ created by acknowledging we have an invisible government. :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2017 #permalink

Dear ginny,

Can you tell which agenda I do have? :)


"Panacea, you sure seem to buy into the idea that humanity is too incompetent for self-determination, and needs “the best of the brightest” to covertly guide their beliefs and behavior “for the greater good.”

Really. And just where did I ever say that humanity is too incompetent for self determination? Understanding that many people can't be bothered to understand their own government cannot be extrapolated to mean I think people are too incompetent for self determination and require the NWO in your name to run things for us.

Your comment ignores the thousands of people who do get involved in one way or another: people who attend city council meetings, volunteer with community boards, form watchdog groups, and do real activism to maintain transparency.

Humans are social beings. We form groups to collectively solve problems, and groups need leaders. When we appoint good leaders, great things can happen. When we appoint incompetent leaders (like Trump, who not only does not understand how government, he does not care and is openly willing to subvert the process for his own ends) horrific things can happen.

You are a child. Grow up.

Panacea, the leaders of an invisible government are not "appointed" by the people they govern--if they were, the government wouldn't be invisible. But nice try at making an invisible government sound like something wholesome, rather than a gaggle of parasitic psychopaths.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 18 Sep 2017 #permalink

NWOR: you really do live in a scary place, don't you? Conspiracies everywhere! Why don't you come out and join us in The Real World (tm)? It's not as scary as you think.


Shills & Minions

Well, I suppose that it was to be expected that in my absence things would spin out of control. My time subjugating a few developing backwaters in the Outer Rim was unchallenging and remarkable only for its dreadful tedium. The reason? No primates! Just a few planets with middling avian and amphibian species staggering about in their early technological phases. Easy to ply with drugs and subjugate. Dull, dull, dull!

No real adversaries to consider, certainly nobody with the keen insight to quote Bertrand Russel! I don't think the amphibians even had a Bertrand Russel. So, you're all terribly fortunate to have an adversary so brilliant of mind and wit as this NWA creature. NWX? O? Ah, yes. O. Well, whatever it's called, it's clearly discovered our "invisible government" and even found our scare quote supply. Of course, someone will pay for that with their head for not guarding them more jealously, but I digress.

I just want you to appreciate how fortunate you are to be badgered by such a staggering intellect. Warm blooded. Full of itself. Fulminating in some fragrant primate nest, banging away at its tiny, grease-smuged keyboard. No slow, watery amphibian mind, this! It's simply bursting with monkey hubris and verve! So certain of its rightness!

Oh, how I have missed you, my shills and minions! Your devotion to The Great Egg Mother (may she kill with mercy), PharmaLucre, and your willingness to sell out your fellow chimps for a life of luxury and revenge would warm my hearts (if that were possible). Looking forward to settling back in on this fractious world.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7ihL
Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Author, The Purpose Driven Knife

Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital

———————————————————MESSAGE ENDS

By Glaxxon PharmaCOM (not verified) on 18 Sep 2017 #permalink

It is telling how conspiracy mongers like NWOR never provide any evidence to support their statements and deflect obvious rebuttals for their conspiracies by referencing "cloaks of invisibility" and other crap, which apparently only they have penetrated.

There are actually countries in the world that really try to kill their own populace. Weirdly enough, they prefer to spend their money on weapons, not some painfully slow and inefficient health care initiative. America! Look outside your borders. It's the future!

By NumberWang (not verified) on 18 Sep 2017 #permalink

Lord Draconis! You have been greatly missed in these parts. Good to have you back, my Lord. I hope all the hatchlings are well fed before my next visit (the ankles have finally healed, thank you).

a gaggle of parasitic psychopaths

I don't know that Ginny, Rappoport, and Ginny's day job constitute a gaggle, but it's close. Maybe a gurgle of parasitic parasites.

^ psychopathic, that is

I can't really read the Vox story on my phone, but if they're referring to the Family Tax Benefit, it's obviously not a fine.

Here's the money quote (heh) from the article -

Here’s a quick roundup of the global crackdown on vaccine-refusing parents:

Italy’s parliament passed a law this summer that makes 10 childhood vaccinations mandatory for kids up to age 16, and requires parents to prove their children are immunized before entering school or else face a €500 (about $600 USD) noncompliance fine.

Germany is also cracking down on vaccine-refusing parents: Its parliament approved a law that obliges administrators at kindergartens to report parents who refuse counseling from their doctors about vaccines. Health ministries can then also fine the vaccine-hesitant parents up to €2,500 (about $3,000 USD).

In France, the health ministry is making 11 vaccines — up from the current three (diphtheria, tetanus, and polio) — mandatory for children by 2018, though there’s no talk of a fine there yet.
In Romania, the government recently adopted a draft bill that requires parents prove their children are vaccinated before kids can go to school.

Further afield, New South Wales Australia passed “no jab, no play” legislation in September: Effective January, the law bans unvaccinated kids from preschool and day care and fine the directors of schools that admit un-immunized children $5,500 Australian dollars ($4,400 USD). The law in South Australia is modeled on similarly stringent laws in other Australian states, and across the country, parents with children who aren’t immunized aren’t eligible for child care benefits.

It's a pity that those countries (and NSW) had to learn the hard way. But sometimes that's the only way they will learn. As the saying crudely puts it, "some fellers have to piss on the electric fence themselves".

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 18 Sep 2017 #permalink

Folks like NWO don't like to have their preferred narratives, in which they personally are star human beings, questioned. It seems to make that person uncomfortable to learn that others here actually know about their sources.

Let's be straight - 'invisible government' absolutely does engaged in criminal conspiracies, such as Iran-Contra. It is to America's lasting shame that the 'masterminds' of this crime are not in prison for life.

But again, that has nothing to do with the topic under discussion. The fact that there have been and are criminal conspiracies is not evidence that any arbitrary, particular conspiracy is ongoing. Sure the CIA does evil things, but that does not prove that they are doing all the (often mutually inconsistent) evil things of which they are accused.

A serious claimant to some particular conspiracy will bring evidence of conspiracy, not shadowy claims that there are conspiracies. Absent such evidence, unserious. And present inane requests to read selected books, also unserious.

@ RJ

Careful with your wording, many concepts - conspiracy, invisible gov' - don't mean the same thing for you and for the likes of NWOR - and you end up feeding her storytelling.
By example, you use "conspiracy" as in "criminal conspiracy" - a bunch of people occupying a legitimate position in society and engaging in behaviors which are very likely to be illegal, at the very least immoral, and would in a ideal world lead to prosecution and jail terms, but legal authorities are looking the other way. In short, Jack Bauer and his handlers, the Corleone family, and the like.
For NWOR, the conspiracists are a nebulous hive group of thousands of people sharing the same agenda, and secretly governing everything. In short, the Illuminati, or the Elders of Zion.

And please don't talk about our secret handshake. Lord Draconis is upset enough as it is, and I'm still cleaning the subbasement 4F of our secret underground arctic base after last month's visit from His Lordship's sub-sub-secretary, following a minor breach of protocol involving Sir H*** and some wandering hatchlings.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 19 Sep 2017 #permalink

@Johnny, aka "Heh! The money quotes."

How much can the lives of plebeian children be worth? If Italian parents decide the risks of illness are preferable to the risks of vaccines, it will cost them $600. Is it worth it?

I suppose German doctors get about the same 10 pages of vaccine training in medical school as US doctors. If German parents read, say, 500 pages, and decide they don't need a doctor's opinion, it'll cost them $3000. Heck, for that kind of money, I'd probably humor the doctor, even if I had to pay $150 for an office visit.

For the first time in history, France is being more polite than the rest of the world. It's just asking parents nicely to give their children 11 vaccines instead of 3. There's no price for refusing--yet.

Romanian parents have it easy. No vaccines, no education. It's like a kiddie lottery: A shot at being a doctor or lawyer instead of a beggar or whore, in exchange for a small risk of lifelong disability. What parent wouldn't roll the dice?

New South Whales and Australia got it right: Make the price of refusing vaccination so high, only the wealthiest parents can afford to pay it. It's a great way to weed out the plebeian riff-raff.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 19 Sep 2017 #permalink

Effective January, the law bans unvaccinated kids from preschool and day care and fine the directors of schools that admit un-immunized children $5,500 Australian dollars ($4,400 USD).

Why is Vox author including a fine on schools under the rubric of "penalising parents"?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 19 Sep 2017 #permalink

Conspiracy fantasists, like our troll above, do live in a world completely separate from our own. They believe that millions of people, all over the world, can be involved in complex and decades-long global conspiracies, yet even our own government can't keep its deepest, darkest secrets from making front-page headlines.

The NSA, one of the most highly-secretive agencies on the planet, can't even keep its most prized hacking tools from ending up on the Dark Web. (not to mention the Snowden Affair).

Of course, all of this becomes more fodder for their fantasies - because they will claim that all of this other "stuff" being released is just cover for what's "really going on."

If your entire worldview is based on enormous and complicated conspiracies, then perhaps the problem isn't with the world, its with you.

You've probably covered this question somewhere no doubt, but can anyone tell me if vaccines are so fantastic, why did large numbers of NY health care workers(2009, I think) refuse mandated flu and swine shots ? Even if it meant losing their jobs, large numbers responded with doubts of the effectiveness and safety of these vaccines.
And all you on here that are pro-vaccines, do you always get your shots each year ?
For the record I've never had a flu shot, and can only remember having the flu about 14 years ago, for around 3 days.
And numerous people I know that get the flu shot annually, the majority of them get the flu soon after.

@Fat cat: Yes, I've gotten the flu shot every year for many years and will get it again next month. No, most people don't "get the flu soon after". It's not possible for an inactivated virus to make someone sick with the flu. If they have the actual flu, they either caught it before they got the shot (it takes several days for you to become ill after exposure) or they caught a version not covered by the vaccine.

The flu vaccine may cause you to have a mild fever, mild aches and pains for a day or so as your immune system ramps up. That is in no way, shape, or form like having the actual flu.

Also: if you had the flu only for 3 days, it wasn't the actual influenza virus. Even with clean living and good health, most people are sick for at least a week, 3-4 of those days unable to get out of bed sick.

@Fat Cat:

why did large numbers of NY health care workers(2009, I think) refuse mandated flu and swine shots

Citation needed.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 22 Sep 2017 #permalink

@Fat cat #65:

Of course most of us in the medical profession follow what we preach and get our influenza vaccine each year because it's a scientifically sound thing to do and not merely because it's compulsory. And please stop promulgating the misinformation that "flu vaccines cause flu." It is biologically implausible to acquire an influenza caused illness from the components of the standard IM influenza vaccine. Please see MI Dawn's comment (#66).

By Internal Medic… (not verified) on 22 Sep 2017 #permalink

...and will get it again next month.

I got mine a few hours ago.

I've had the flu. Do not want again.

Speaking of health care workers refusing flu shots, some misguided ninnies in the Ohio Legislature are trying to pass a law prohibiting employers from sanctioning employees who won't get flu shots (the bill is obviously aimed at hospitals and clinics with mandatory flu vaccination policies to protect patients).

Rep. Hagan and seven co-sponsoring nitwits are behind the bill (HB193), which is now in the House Health Committee. It contains the following incredible clause:

"It is the intent of the general assembly that the
prohibition described in division (B) of this section shall not
be expanded to include vaccination against any disease or
illness other than influenza until the overwhelming scientific
consensus clearly indicates a present and immediate danger to
members of the public who receive the vaccination."…

One is left to wonder what "present and immediate danger" is presented by influenza vaccination. I know of one nurse in my area who's active in fearmongering on this subject, claiming that she's seen all kinds of Guillain-Barre cases due to flu vaccination (but curiously has never observed GBS due to influenza itself or other etiologies).

Now I have to waste time contacting my state rep to oppose this asinine bill.

And oh yes, I get an annual flu shot, to protect myself and family (as well as patients).

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 22 Sep 2017 #permalink

If I come down with flu-like symptoms, I would rather it be the flu than almost anything else that presents with flu-like symptoms.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 22 Sep 2017 #permalink

@Julian Frost, type those key words into a search engine, and dozens and dozens of stories can be seen regarding Healthcare workers refusing Flu shots.
But we all know you knew that, and the fact nobody commenting on this topic has even mentioned this query of mine, just makes me think you haven't got an argument for Healthcare workers refusing flu shots.
Citation needed ? You got nothing eh Frosty ? Lol

Fat cat, since you refuse to give specifics of the alleged incident your referring to, the only comment that in any way appropriate or even possible is "[citation required]", or a less polite version like "what are you babbling about?". Your refusal to reply with specific citations shows that you're just another shill for the anti-vax industry.

By Se Habla Espol (not verified) on 22 Sep 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Fat cat (not verified)

@Fat cat:

type those key words into a search engine, and dozens and dozens of stories can be seen regarding Healthcare workers refusing Flu shots.

Nope, that's not how it works. You claimed that in 2009, Health Care Workers in New York systematically refused vaccinations, so you stump up the proof that it happened.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 23 Sep 2017 #permalink

I'm proudly anti-vaccine, and this is totally based on the evidence. I read something a while back somewhere that demonstrated without a doubt that vaccines are useless and dangerous - can you refute this definitive study. No, you monsters, I'm not going to give you a link or a citation of what this evidence is or where it is - it's your job to do so. Obviously, your request for a citation is evidence that you're totally defeated by my mighty blast of truth.

By the way, later today, can you pre-chew my food, and massage my throat to help me swallow?

By Smarter than a… (not verified) on 23 Sep 2017 #permalink

I'm proudly anti-vaccine, and this is totally based on the evidence. I read something a while back somewhere that demonstrated without a doubt that vaccines are useless and dangerous - can you refute this definitive study. No, you monsters, I'm not going to give you a link or a citation of what this evidence is or where it is - it's your job to do so. Obviously, your request for a citation is evidence that you're totally defeated by my mighty blast of truth.

By the way, later today, can you pre-chew my food, and massage my throat to help me swallow?

By Smarter than a… (not verified) on 23 Sep 2017 #permalink

Hope the link above worked and you can see that a Facebook page showing 22,000 nurses are against mandatory flu shots.
Why would they be against flu shots ?
Don't think they work ?
Don't think they're safe ?
Don't care enough about patients ?
Not many other reasons for refusal.

To quote Jessica on tha page

There's no evidence whatsoever that Nurses Against Mandatory Vaccines has 22,000 members, and however few or many have actually paid their $20 a year, you don't have to be a nurse to join. You can go to their website and have your dog join right now if you like! This is masterful propaganda use of the web by non-medical professionals who spread fairy tale fears as a fund-raising scheme, supposing more people sign up their dogs for $20.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 23 Sep 2017 #permalink

@Se Habla espol, Since you have no idea about the issue I raise regarding Healthcare workers refusing mandatory flu shots, I really don't need any input from you on the matter, or from anyone else that are oblivious to the issue.
I know plenty of people that make comments here are aware of the issue, and it's their thoughts on the matter I'm seeking.

Since you have no idea about the issue I raise regarding Healthcare workers refusing mandatory flu shots,

The question is not really what story, but which story: was it one of the anti-vax fabrications, and which one, or perhaps it's yet another one you just invented yourself.

The issue I point out is your responsibility to provide evidence supporting claims that you make, and your failure to do so.

plenty of people that make comments here are aware of the issue, and it’s their thoughts on the matter I’m seeking.

I'm aware of the issue. I note, however, that you did not identify which of the anti-vax inventions you were referring to. However, you seem to have resolved that question by linking to a fakebook claim about an apparent anti-vax attempt to do what the anti-vax industry is so good at, inventing propaganda.

By Se Habla Espol (not verified) on 23 Sep 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Fat cat (not verified)

@Fat cat, a link to a Facebook group is not proof. As squirrelelite points out, there's no evidence the group has 22,000 members, and no proof that all of its members are nurses.
What I want is the following: proof that "large numbers of NY health care workers refused mandated flu and swine shots" in the same year. It doesn't even have to be 2009.
I am not going to blindly take the word of a commenter whose pseudonym is the name of one of the main villains from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 23 Sep 2017 #permalink

Smells like Travis.....

Since you have no idea about the issue I raise regarding Healthcare workers refusing mandatory flu shots, I really don’t need any input from you on the matter, or from anyone else that are oblivious to the issue.

The irony here is that there's a much better argument that you could have made (to charitably describe your efforts so far), but you've apparently had your snout in the trough for so long that you're, ah, oblivious to the issue. Get cipherin'.

Hope the link above worked and you can see that a Facebook page showing 22,000 nurses are against mandatory flu shots.

Umm, link is to a VacTruth page which link to the equally-Orwellian "Naturalsociety" as the source of the claim.
Following that Society's link leads to the EventChronicle... which in turn points to "Nurses against Mandatory Vaccines" as the source of the claim.
The fourth link to the NAMV FB page leads nowhere, because the page is dead or invitation-only.

In short, no, there is not "a Facebook page showing 22,000 nurses are against mandatory flu shots."

It is not even a claim without evidence... it is a claim with no origin... but evidently you are inclined to believe it anyway, simply because it has been flltered through four stages of human centipede.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 23 Sep 2017 #permalink

I see that Patty "Can't Win" Finn tried to get in on the 2009 action, but I'm too tired to go after it.

You know, there are Facebook pages supporting the existence of Alien Abductions that have more than 22,000 members....doesn't make it any more real or true.

I have a sneaking sense of how the number was whomped up, but I just don't care enough to do this individual's homework.

This minion in chief went to chomp on some brain and was ecstatic at the thought of chomping on 22 000 only to land at:

only to be graced with....this:

Oops! This site has expired.

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(Sad) Minion in chief

I know plenty of people that make comments here are aware of the issue, and it’s their thoughts on the matter I’m seeking.

My thoughts on the matter are that a healthcare professional who refuses a flu shot should find another line of work.

By shay simmons (not verified) on 24 Sep 2017 #permalink

Hmmm. I do remember health care workers reluctant to take small pox jab.

Although more than half of the respondents thought the likelihood of a bioterrorist smallpox attack was intermediate or high, less than 10% of the group slated for vaccination has actually accepted it at this time. Unless new information about the threat of a smallpox attack becomes available, healthcare workers' perceptions of the vaccine's risks will likely continue to drive their ongoing decisions about smallpox vaccination.…

Fewer than 100 of about 13,000 eligible health care workers across the state have decided to roll up their sleeves to receive injections of the smallpox vaccination, a state official said Wednesday.

Nationally, less than 1 percent of the expected 450,000 health care workers have become inoculated with the vaccine during the program's first month, the official said.

Maybe they all had eczema.

Maybe they all had eczema.

Or maybe they just had better sense than to fall for the scary story of the week from the pols and the media.

By Se Habla Espol (not verified) on 25 Sep 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Tim (not verified)

As ORAC said in a his blog a couple of years ago," Every year even with the most careful deliberations going into making the choice of strains of flu virus to include in the vaccine, it's always a bit of a crapshoot.
That sums up all of medical science really, a CRAPSHOOT.

That sums up all of medical science really, a CRAPSHOOT.

Argument by assertion again?
You've just proven you have nothing.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 24 Sep 2017 #permalink

Actually, it's the best decision made based on available evidence and research into circulating strains in Asia (which invariably spread worldwide each year).

While the current Influenza vaccine isn't always the best, there are high hopes for the new series of "Universal" Flu vaccine which are reaching the later stages of development and testing.

Research into the virus itself has helped identify areas which don't mutate at the same rate and provide commonality across most, if not all, of the circulating, we'll see.

That sums up all of medical science really, a CRAPSHOOT,

And that crapshoot is why I am alive today to call you an effing idiot.

By shay simmons (not verified) on 25 Sep 2017 #permalink