I’ve had it with the anti-American bile spewing from that leftist rag Mother Jones magazine – inciting murderous jihadis. These cretins need to shut up and stop killing people.
Oh wait, that’s not what I really wanted to say. I wanted to say, the language being used against vaccine safety advocates is really getting out of control, and a recent example is Mother Jones, which referred this week to the “McCarthyite cretins in the murderous vaccinations-cause-autism movement.” (Jenny, meet Joe.)
Sounds a bit harsh when their own rhetoric is flung back at ‘em, doesn’t it!
Not since the White House warned Americans to “watch what they say, watch what they do” in the wake of 9/11 – before starting the stupidest, longest, most ruinous wars in U.S. history, having cowed most of the press and Congress into submission – has there been a moment like this.
Egged on by the “vaccines uber alles” forces, know-nothing folks like Mother Jones’ blogger Kevin Drum are stepping up the intemperate language to “baby killer” levels not seen since Bill Gates laid that one on Andy Wakefield. (These levels are likely to rise again with RFK Jr.’s new book, out next week, driving them into frenzy.)
Let’s remember that the law provides some fairly easy ways to skip vaccination, from personal and religious exemptions to no mandates at all if children are educated at home. Don’t like it? Change the law. Don’t compare those who follow or advocate perfectly legal behavior to mass murderers.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about parallels between 1914 and now, 100 years later. Here’s another one – as war fever built, free speech was suppressed under the Espionage Act. President Wilson even tried to criminalize criticism of the president. I’m sure he thought that opposing entry into the war would cost lives. Instead it probably cost us a century more of constant war.
Calling us anti-vaccine because we want a safer, saner vaccine schedule and are highly critical of current government policy is like calling Mother Jones anti-American because it wants a safer, saner country and is highly critical of current government policy.
Free speech and relatively free choice is here to stay (let us pray!). The murderous anti-American cretins – wait, the lazy uninformed ideologues -- over at Mother Jones might as well calm down and get used to it.
The evidence for lower autism rates in less vaccinated populations keeps rolling in – and rolling off the backs of the media and medical establishment.
Thanks to AOA’s Adriana Gamondes for spotting this March article in the Times of Israel: “In Israel, a lower percentage of ultra-Orthodox and Arabic children are diagnosed with autism compared with the general population — and no one is quite sure why.
“That pattern, which is mirrored in Aboriginal populations in Canada, was the subject of discussion by autism researchers from the two countries at a Hebrew University symposium this week. One thing is certain, they said — when it comes to autism in both Israel and Canada, not enough is known.”
It goes without saying that nobody at the symposium or in the article raised the idea that a lower vaccination rate might be a suspect here. This is a real sin of omission, given the frequent stories about vaccine-preventable illnesses spreading in Orthodox communities in the United States, including mumps outbreaks in 2009 and 2010 and measles in Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn.
As for the Arabic children, one can only speculate they’re not getting preventive health care at the same level as their counterparts.
But according to the article:
“There are several possible explanations for the findings, including lower awareness and a lack of services immediately available to Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews. ... Others suggested that culture gaps between Arabic or ultra-Orthodox Jewish children and those diagnosing them, as well as language differences, could play a role.”
Which reminds me of the Amish, who also have recently spread measles because, in fact, they aren’t vaccinated at the rate of the outside population. Sharyl Attkisson was kind enough to write about my reporting from 2005, “Where Are the Autistic Amish?” pointing out that the CDC expressed remarkably little interest in following up my anecdotal observations of markedly less autism in the Amish world. She noted that I was “targeted by the pharmaceutical vaccine activists who attempt to squelch any such discussion" and that my Wikipedia entry showed the kind of trashing that happens. (There's even a Wiki entry on "Amish Anomaly" designed to further stomp out any lingering doubt that the autism-vaccines-Amish observation has been debunked, discredited, demolished and devastatingly, decisively dismembered as deliberate disinformation).
Proving her point, the trolls pounced: “Far from being ‘an investigative journalist,’ Dan Olmsted is a crank who propagates untruths about both autism and vaccination,” fumed Alec Duncan. “He has had the research about autism rates in the Amish brought to his attention on numerous occasions, and yet he still spreads the lie that the Amish don't get autism. That's not journalism, that is deliberate disinformation.”
A commenter named ke5jf (no, that’s not me) did a better job of taking that down than I could:
“Your references actually reinforce the argument that vaccines might be responsible for autism. We can agree that some Amish do vaccinate. Your reference correctly points out that the Amish have no prohibition against it. But, that same citation also states that the Amish are under vaccinated (it regards this as a problem) and that the Amish tend to pick which vaccines they will agree to use. Not many people contend that all vaccines are equally dangerous. The vaccine (DTP) that killed my wife's daughter was of a certain type.
“Given that your own references describe the Amish as ‘under vaccinated’ and describe a 3X difference in autism rates between the Amish and general population, I fail to see how this information furthers your argument, unless you are making the erroneous assumption that the articles above [by me] have stated that there are NO autistic Amish (it does not) and that NO Amish are vaccinated (again, it does not). From my reading of the article, it simply states that the Amish are less vaccinated than the general population of the USA, and that the Amish tend to have a lower incidence of autism than the general population of the USA. Your references would seem to bear out that conclusion.”
No comment thread that comes anywhere near vaccines and autism would be complete without multiple appearances by the implausibly indefatigable Dorit Reiss. She dispensed with the Amish by resorting to an argument from credentialization – “Olmsted is not a scientist - his claim in a journalistic articles [sic] are not an ‘hypothesis.’ They are a theory - not in the sense of a scientific theory like herd immunity or gravity, but in the colloquial sense - a completely untested, unsupported opinion based on very little data.”
If I were a scientist, I suppose I would understand that!
After bomb-proofing her argument by attributing any potential anomaly in autism rates among the Amish to unspecified genetic miscues (a disingenuous argument), she reverted to disingenuously parsing autism rulings: “And let me remind you that the federal government never compensated a child on the theory that vaccines caused autism, and rejected such claims in the Autism Omnibus Proceeding. The fact that some children with vaccine injuries also had autism is hardly surprising, given the rate of the population, even as rare as vaccine injuries are.”
I don’t usually comment (although I admire those who do take the battle to the bad guys), but I couldn’t resist responding to that one:
“as evidenced by ms. reiss's attempt to claim the government never compensated a child for vaccine-induced autism, there is no straw for which she will not grasp to grind her ax, so to speak. regrettably for her, and even moreso for millions of children, vaccines do cause autism.”
As you might imagine, I did not have the last word.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.