Bachmann’s vaccine blunder is a trademark of her public life

Poor Michele Bachmann appears to have done it to herself again by blurting out something that she couldn’t back up.

For a few minutes, in the immediate aftermath of Monday night’s debate, it appeared that she had enhanced her standing in the race for the GOP nomination at the expense of frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry. But within minutes, by committing the same speak-first-think-later blunder she has made a trademark of her public life, Bachmann may have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

You’ve probably heard or read the basics by now. It’s all about Perry’s 2007 executive order requiring all Texas schoolgirls to be vaccinated for a possible cause of cervical cancer, and Bachmann’s successful attack on him during the debate, followed within minutes by her reckless decision — if the word “decision” can be applied — to repeat on live TV that the vaccine has been known to cause mental retardation. That that would be very serious if true but there is no scientific evidence for it. To make that public statement based on something that had just been told to her by a total stranger was reckless.

Rep. Michele Bachmann
REUTERS/Scott Audette
Rep. Michele Bachmann

Long-time Bachmann watchers should not be too surprised. The fact that Bachmann may have gotten a “fact” wrong is nothing new, although she should still retract and apologize.

That someone with such a tenuous respect for the basics of facticity (and who so seldom does retract or apologize) could be a first-tier candidate for the presidency raises bigger, more profound questions about the state of our democracy and the ability of some citizens to hear what they want to believe and believe what they want to hear.

Susan Perry put up an excellent overview of the kerfuffle Thursday morning featuring Minnesota bioethicists who have actually offered large cash prizes if anyone can prove the truth of what Bachmann said after the debate – that the vaccinations Perry mandated can cause mental retardation.

During the debate
Bachmann seemed to have landed three simultaneous blows against Perry’s record, his love of liberty and his possible venality. Here are the three:

1. By using an executive order, Perry showed an unhealthy rush to use governmental power, which is a big problem for a contemporary conservative competing for Tea Party support.  Perry has acknowledged that this was a mistake and that he should have gone through the Texas Legislature. In fact, when the matter did reach the Legislature, it quickly overruled Perry and canceled the mandate.

2. Here’s the subtler, mostly overlooked, brilliance behind Bachmann’s attack. Even if it had gone through the Legislature and been signed into law by Perry, such a law would be what Bachmann called “a violation of a liberty interest.” This may be one of those dog whistles that reach certain ears and not others. Bachmann and Perry and even the relatively moderate Mitt Romney have associated themselves with the Tentherist states-righter argument that the federal government has strictly limited powers. Romney has said the individual health-care mandate that he signed into law is Massachusetts is OK because it was done at a state level, but the same idea was wrong when done by Obama at a federal level. To the most extreme liberty-lovers, Bachmann’s “liberty interest” rhetoric suggests that the government at any level may not have the right to impose such a mandate against the right of parents to decide what injections their children will get. If so, that may make her even more of a small-governmentist than Perry.

3. Then lastly, by bringing up the potential billions of dollars in profit to the Merck drug company from the mandatory use of their vaccine (Merck had the only vaccine on the market at the time against the HPV virus), she introduced the subject of crony capitalism, which has been a rising theme in the scrubbing of the Perry record.

(Interestingly, in his indignant reply, Perry ignored Bachmann’s main point on crony capitalism, which was that Merck had hired Perry’s former chief of staff as its lobbyist, and focused on his claim that Merck had given him only $5,000 in campaign contribution. All the fact-checkers have found that number to be much too low and, in addition, Perry seemed to imply that if he was for sale, he would cost a lot more than that.)

Pow pow pow. It’s best to resist pugilistic or militaristic metaphors in describing these great moments of intellectual debate, but given the particular moment and shape of the race, and the way Perry had seemed to displace Bachmann’s former status as the Tea Party favorite in the race, her triple play (that’s a baseball metaphor) seemed to have been a roundhouse punch, I mean a frontal assault, I mean a coup. You get the idea.

The full exchange over the vaccine is contained in this segment of the debate transcript.

Post-debate statements
The immediate post-debate analysis declared Bachmann to be one of the big winners, mostly on the strength of that exchange.

But before she left the hall, Bachmann apparently heard from a total stranger who tearfully told her that her daughter had developed mental retardation as a reaction to the Merck vaccine. And Bachmann — who surely wishes she could have this moment back — repeated the mother’s claim on Fox News and, even the next morning, repeated it again on the “Today” show.

There is no scientific evidence that the vaccine has caused or could cause mental retardation. Bachmann, by the way, gave the mental retardation story as an example of one of the serious side effects of the drug.

My friend Ed Morrissey, a Twin Cities-based writer (for the national Hot Air group) and radio host, is a serious righty but one whom I have noticed has impressive respect for facticity. Wrote Morrissey:

“Huh? ‘Mental retardation’ typically takes place in a pre- or neo-natal event. Autism becomes apparent in the first couple of years of life — and primarily affects boys. Gardasil vaccinations take place among girls between 9-12 years of age. Even assuming that this anecdote is arguably true, it wouldn’t be either ‘mental retardation’ or autism, but brain damage…

“…The most charitable analysis that can be offered in this case for Bachmann is that she got duped into repeating a vaccine-scare urban legend on national television.  It looks more like Bachmann sensed that she had won a point and wanted to go in for the kill, didn’t bother to check the facts, and didn’t care that she was stoking an anti-vaccination paranoid conspiracy theory, either.  Neither shines a particularly favorable light on Bachmann.”

By Tuesday afternoon, Bachmann was emphasizing, on Hannity, that she was not endorsing the alleged side effect. “I have no idea,” Bachmann said. “I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. I am not a physician. All I was doing was reporting what a woman told me last night at the debate.”

Rumor and fact
But that’s the whole problem. You’re running for a president, a job that requires you to know what you are talking about and be able to back it up. As a potential commander-in-chief, it’s important to know the difference between a rumor and a fact.

If you happen to have read the first installment of my occasional “Bachmann and Me” series, you would know that this tendency to repeat something alarming – on matters of potentially great importance – that she has heard but cannot back up is a pattern of long-standing. She is certainly not the only politician to sometimes get her facts wrong. But she is way at one end of the spectrum in terms of how often it happens and also in terms of her difficulty in retracting.

Her own former campaign manager, Ed Rollins, has said that “the quicker she admits she made a mistake, the better.”

Saying that you were only repeating something you had heard from a stranger is not admitting a mistake. Here’s my suggestion, offered at no charge, for what Bachmann should say:

“After Monday’s debate a tearful mother came up to me and made some statements about what she believed may have been a side effect suffered by her daughter. I feel terrible for what that family is going through, but I shouldn’t have repeated publicly what that mom believes might be the cause of her daughter’s problems. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of it. And if I want Americans to seriously consider me as a candidate for president, I need to be more careful about facts and about saying things that I can back up.”

Comments (60)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/16/2011 - 10:00 am.

    Ms. Bachmann appears more and more to be a person desperate to prove her sophistication in all things, only to fall on her face in the attempt. She reminds me of nothing so much as a person who tries to use words not within her usual vocabulary and who routinely uses them incorrectly.

  2. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 09/16/2011 - 10:00 am.

    By now, it’s pretty evident that Bachmann’s inability to control her tongue is what might be called a “character flaw”. It’s the kind of flaw that even her erstwhile supporters can see is a problem. I’ve been continually amazed that Bachmann could get elected to any public office let alone the Presidency. I would have thought her total lack of qualifications, her ignorance and bigotry would have prevented from even being considered for any office. It’s all explained of course by the fact that the country’s government and the electoral process is now controlled by the wealthy. The wealthy now decide who’s going to play in Peoria by turning on and shutting off the money valve flow. That money only flows if there is something of a horse race to bet on. Pawlenty blew his shot and the money went away. The Koch brothers and their ilk will soon shut off their spigot to Bachmann as well. Her success so far is only evidence of how low this country has sunk.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/16/2011 - 10:04 am.

    “That someone with such a tenuous respect for the basics of [civility and common human decency] (and who so seldom does retract or apologize) could be a first-tier candidate for the presidency raises bigger, more profound questions about the state of our democracy and the ability of some citizens to hear what they want to believe and believe what they want to hear.”

    And with the addition of just five words, Eric’s bewilderment can be shared by those that marvel at the fact we have a “Senator Franken”, and perhaps, considered in a new light by those that voted for him.

  4. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/16/2011 - 10:43 am.

    The real problem is at the end — la Bachmannn’s inability to take responsibility for her actions.

    And Thomas:
    you seem to share her inability to support your statements.

  5. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 09/16/2011 - 10:44 am.

    @Thomas Swift

    You’re just bitter that people chose someone like Franken, because he actually has a brain and uses it, unlike Tea Totalers such as Shelley, who know nothing about anything, and are serial liars.

    Elections have consequences for you.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/16/2011 - 10:48 am.

    Of course Ms. Bachmann WILL NOT retract. The vast majority of such “misstatements” are, consciously or unconsciously, calculated by Ms. Bachmann to be exactly the type of information that is guaranteed to penetrate the warped worldview the psychological dysfunctions of her dysfonic supporters will allow to enter their awareness.

    These are the things that agree with and reinforce that dysfonic worldview and, when she says them, Ms. Bachmann raises herself very substantially in their awareness and esteem.

    For such people, it doesn’t matter if Ms. Bachmann is factually correct. It only matters that she appears to agree with them and is, therefore reliably “one of us,” can be trusted, and truly “gets it.”

    These people make up the noisiest, most belligerent of the Republican “base;” precisely the type of people who now attended caucuses and vote in primaries.

    That the vast majority of fiscally-conservative, socially moderate, factually-grounded, TRUE, Republicans have let these loud-mouthed, aggressive people take over and drive them out of the control of their own party should be a source of shame for them.

    I challenge my moderate, decent, intelligent Republican friends and neighbors with these questions: Where is your courage?! Why have you allowed this to happen to your party?! Will you EVER seek to take your party (and your country) back from the people who share this warped and twisted worldview?

    By acquiescing to these unhealthy people and, thereby, giving the general public the impression that the current crop of potential (but deeply dysfonic) Republican nominees are the best your party has to offer, you are wiping out your own future, and making your party a laughingstock to our nation and the world.

    Stand up and take your party back before it’s too late to save it and too late to save our nation.

  7. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 09/16/2011 - 11:02 am.

    Too bad the vaccine in question did not exist or was conveniently available when MB was experiencing puberty and was so vaccinated. Then she could now be considered her own best proof…as she personally; essentially, does validate her now unsubstantiated statement?

  8. Submitted by Barry King on 09/16/2011 - 11:15 am.

    Her lack of a brain to voice filter makes one wonder what she might blurt out to another world leader if she, God forbid, ever became one. This kind of behavior and comment show that she is not qualified for the office she holds, much less the one she seeks. It is an embarrassment that she is even considered a potential nominee.

  9. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 09/16/2011 - 11:17 am.

    Thank you, Thomas Swift, for the total non-sequitur. Nothing at all to say about this article and how too-fair it was. Only thing you can come up with is a snide comment about Senator Franken, complete with condescending quote marks.

    Franken got 42% of the vote in 2008. I think even you would agree that Bachmann couldn’t come anywhere near that had she been running.

  10. Submitted by Ray Marshall on 09/16/2011 - 11:17 am.

    “That someone [like her]could be a first-tier candidate for the presidency….”

    It’s totally due to the Washington media. There has never been a president of the U.S. who has not been a Senator, Governor, Vice President or General. Congressional Reps to have a large enough constituency or “rep.”

    So I find quite amusing how hard you have been bashing her over the past six months. Don’t you worry about your feminist credentials?

    Between Palin and Bachmann, the liberal media have been incredibly misogynist.

    Gary Trudeau has been plummeting to new depths this week.

  11. Submitted by Jim Roth on 09/16/2011 - 11:31 am.

    Thomas, you have this way twisted around. First, unless you know something that no one else does, Franken is not running for President. Second, he was a comedian, or as he likes to say a “satirist” at the time that he made the remarks some have characterized as intemperate. If you are aware of such remarks while he was running for office or since elected please bring them to our attention. Third, even when he was a satirist he was a stickler for facts, employing fact-checkers for accuracy. Your comparison to Ms. Bachmann is not well founded.

  12. Submitted by Marc Allen on 09/16/2011 - 11:36 am.

    Thomas,

    As much as you try to equate Al Franken to Michele Bachmann as a political loose cannon of the left, how many times has he had to publicly backtrack on something he’s said due to lack of proof since being elected to the Senate?

    Much was made of Franken’s career as a comedy writer in the run up to the ’08 elections and how it made him unsuitable for the Senate, but I can’t recall even one public gaffe since he’s taken office. In all sincerity, please point them out if they exist.

  13. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/16/2011 - 11:52 am.

    Let me clarify things, just so I’m sure Franken’s supporters understand the point. A few facts:

    Al Franken wrote pornographic short stories.

    Al Franken thinks rape is suitable material for humor.

    Al Franken has very publicly called people he doesn’t like “MFers” (did he “fact check that?)
    and admits he “hates” them.

    I’m not necessarily put off by rough language or asinine jokes, but one event occurred that puts Al Franken in company with people I think of as “lowest of the low”.

    Al Franken pocketed money he *knew* Air America had illegally taken from a charity for poor kids. (I questioned him personally about this. After he failed to answer why he did such a dasterdly deed in the first place, I asked him why he still hadn’t returned the money…he absolutely confounded me and the several other people listening by excusing his actions because “Air America still owes me money!”)

    Given all that, leftists still make excuses and support him.

    Perhaps now you can understand why others support Bachmann despite the fact she often makes ill considered and inaccurate (but never uncivil) remarks.

  14. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/16/2011 - 12:07 pm.

    <>

    Alright, Mr Eric Black, you seem to be a very clever chap (with the possible exception of using a questionable expression such as “small-governmentist”) just what is the nature of your antipathy toward those you refer to as “extreme liberty-lovers”. And, tell us this, what would be your response to Big Brother’s demand that you submit members of YOUR family to his health mandates — whether you find it prudent & sensible, or not — and that he (Big Brother) will brook no opposition from you, a mere citizen!

    My wife & I were told 25 years ago (by multiple physicians) that my 6-yo son who was diagnosed with ADHD should be on Ritalin. We REFUSED this questionable medical advice because a glance at the PDR seemed to indicate that Ritalin was a seriously psycho-active drug. What have we learned 20+ years later? That Ritalin should not be prescribed to children under the age of 12 (and physicians now realize this)!!

    And, what should mere citizens learn from this tale? Possibly, that ‘anecdotal’ evidence is not always & every time wrong and foolish, and that Big Pharma & Big Medicine do not always have a monopoly on the Truth!

    [BTW, the ‘spewed causticity’ (my expression) above is not necessarily directed to Mr Eric Black who seems to be at least occasionally a mostly agreeable young man.]

  15. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/16/2011 - 12:28 pm.

    (#10) When a candidate runs for a deathly serious post, like the President of the United States, they should be able to demonstrate their intellectual and reasoning capabilities. Neither Palin or Bachmann have done anything to demonstrate those abilities and have relied entirely on visceral, emotive support.

    Fine, be the governor of a state with a population of 700,000. Be the representative for a district with 600,000 people.

    But don’t think that qualifies you to be president, with the nuclear button at hand.

    Anti-feminism has nothing to do with it. Rick Perry is just as big a buffoon, with a wide streak of grift thrown in. But Perry IS the candidate of the day because the primary voters of the GOP trust a male buffoon more than a female buffoon.

  16. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/16/2011 - 01:46 pm.

    Fine, be the governor of a state with a population of 700,000. Be the representative for a district with 600,000 people.

    But don’t think that qualifies you to be president, with the nuclear button at hand.

    ….No, for that you have to have a background in community organizing and at least 1/2 a term in the Senate.

  17. Submitted by frank watson on 09/16/2011 - 01:58 pm.

    The Pioneer Press reports that Bachman said that the “women told her that the vaccine caused retardation in her daughter” which is not what you, Eric, are saying that Bachman makes the claim that the vaccine causes retardation.

    Eric, we get it. You hate Michelle Bachman. Just come out and say it.

  18. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/16/2011 - 02:00 pm.

    (#14) Perhaps you can explain, if you are so distrustful of Big Pharma and Big Medicine–are you similarly distrustful of Big Business and Big Finance and their wishes with respect to regulations and rules?

    And perhaps are you also as distrustful operations such as the Department of “Homeland” Security and the Department of Defense as you are of the Department of Education and the CDC?

    It’s the old hypocrisy, “Get government out of my Medicare!”

  19. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 09/16/2011 - 02:18 pm.

    Thomas
    I can’t believe you are defending Bachmann over her untrue, inaccurate, misleading, and dangerous statements. Almost every thing she said was wrong: it’s not mandatory, it has shown no evidence of harming children, — I can’t remember all the rest.
    And it harms children and young adults.
    Even if I believed you–and I don’–what do perceived failings of Franken by you have to do with Bachmann? I see a lot of tit for tat on some of these websites and it has never made any sense. If she did bad so did Franken or what? And what is the consequence of equating Franken and Bachmann. There is no correlation or cause and effect.
    I was surprised, a little, by how effective and right on on dozens of issues and legislation. I have much greater admiration for him than I did when I voted for him. How does anything he did in the past–good and bad, according to your beliefs–have a thing to do with his current conduct?
    Crappy reasoning. Makes no sense. Franken is a great senator for Minnesota, back to some of those who made (in the past) this state great.

  20. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 09/16/2011 - 02:44 pm.

    @Thomas Swift

    “Perhaps now you can understand why others support Bachmann despite the fact she often makes ill considered and inaccurate (but never uncivil) remarks.”

    So, you’re saying that calling unnamed members of Congress “anti-American” and insinuating that President Obama is also “anti-American” is what passes in your brain for civil discourse?

    @Roger Forsberg

    “My wife & I were told 25 years ago (by multiple physicians) that my 6-yo son who was diagnosed with ADHD should be on Ritalin. We REFUSED this questionable medical advice because a glance at the PDR seemed to indicate that Ritalin was a seriously psycho-active drug. What have we learned 20+ years later? That Ritalin should not be prescribed to children under the age of 12 (and physicians now realize this)!!”

    There was nothing questionable about that advice; you were the one questioning it because of your aversion to drug therapy for that condition (the only therapy that is known to be effective). Ritalin is, and always was, a psycho-active drug, as are lots of others used to treat a variety of psychological conditions (depression among them). The fact that we know much more about it now than we did then doesn’t make the advice you received questionable. There were other drugs available for ADHD 25 years ago, but I suspect you would have been just as opposed to those as well, regardless of what we knew about them then, or now.

    Narcotics are really good pain relievers, but that doesn’t mean there are no possible unwanted side effects, such as addiction among a small minority of patients. Does that possible side effect mean that we should not use those to relieve pain, and instead let people suffer? Of course not.

  21. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/16/2011 - 03:06 pm.

    @#10
    Hehe. Being a woman who has a viscerally negative reaction to Ms. Bachmann and Ms. Palin, I wonder if you would find me to be anti-feminist. What a ridiculous notion. I would direct that suggestion toward the people who put the two semi-intelligent harpies in front of the camera in the first place. With the paucity of women with a voice in the Republican party, why these two?

    No one can be expected to praise those two women simply because they were blessed with two X chromosomes. I, personally, can think of many men in politics that I think are dumb or evil, but I shouldn’t be called a man-hater simply because I happen to severely dislike two or more people with Y chromosomes.

  22. Submitted by Nancy Hokkanen on 09/16/2011 - 03:48 pm.

    Cardiologist Dr. Scott Ratner, whose wife is also a physician, told CBS News in 2009 that his daughter became severely ill after a shot of Gardasil:
    “My daughter went from a varsity lacrosse player at Choate to a chronically ill, steroid-dependent patient with autoimmune myofasciitis.”

    Vaccine-induced encephalitis can lead to brain damage, which can retard function and intellect.

    Also read HPV vaccine injury reports to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), and personal reports here:
    http://truthaboutgardasil.org/injuries/

  23. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/16/2011 - 04:01 pm.

    Ginny I’m not defending Bachmann’s statements, in fact I called them what they are; ill considered and inaccurate. You may prefer a bit of spittle tossed in, but I think my descriptions suffice for civil conversation’s sake.

    I’m addressing a particular observation made by Eric…here, let me provided it again for you:

    “That someone with such a tenuous respect for the basics of facticity (and who so seldom does retract or apologize) could be a first-tier candidate for the presidency raises bigger, more profound questions about the state of our democracy and the ability of some citizens to hear what they want to believe and believe what they want to hear.”

    Eric is questioning the motivations of people that support Bachmann despite her flaws. I’m using Franken as an example that a leftist can understand.

    Actually, the responses did answer my question. Leftists either ignore Franken’s flaws or, as in your case, dispute the documented facts even exist.

    I guess the same can be said of some of Bachmann’s fans.

  24. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/16/2011 - 04:38 pm.

    ” #14) Perhaps you can explain, if you are so distrustful of Big Pharma and Big Medicine–are you similarly distrustful of Big Business and Big Finance and their wishes with respect to regulations and rules? ”

    As long as you’ve asked, #18 — Mr NR, I am, INDEED, as distrustful of those institutions — as you would be also if you had read “The Wealth of Nations” (have you?). Big Business & Big Finance will attend to their own interests EXCLUSIVELY, and that’s why competitive capitalism and a judicious amount of regulation (which amount of regulation this country has probably not experienced) are the most effective constraints on these 2 powerful institutions.

    ” And perhaps are you also as distrustful operations such as the Department of “Homeland” Security and the Department of Defense as you are of the Department of Education and the CDC? ”

    To the extent that the Dept of Homeland Security reduces substantially the right to privacy of the vast majority of individuals in this country, and to the extent that it adds substantially to the number of unreasonable searches & seizures, I’m distrustful of it. Russ Feingold (the LONE Democrat) and Ron Paul were both very wise to vote against the so-called “Patriot Act.”

    And, as for the DoD, I was drafted and subsequently spent more than 3 years in the Army (Vietnam & Germany). I’m proud of being a veteran, but the DoD is TWICE as large as it should be — a situation that results from the general unwisdom of both of the conventional American political parties (need I name them?).

    ” It’s the old hypocrisy, “Get government out of my Medicare!” ”

    If you Google “Medicare fraud 2010” you will learn that the range of estimates is between $40Bn & $80Bn (and this is FRAUD — not to be confused with WASTE or ABUSE which are in different categories). I pay for Medicare for others, but I will NEVER receive Medicare benefits for myself because I’ve chosen NOT to use the Cartesian Reductionist, Technologically-oriented, Bureaucratically-based, Government-dominated, Orthodox Allopathic Medical Establishment. Instead, I pay for non-allopathic alternatives OUT OF MY OWN POCKET!

    The “old hypocrisy” you say? SHAME ON YOU, #18 — Mr NR, for making an ill-advised assumption about someone who does not march to American Proressive/Liberal Orthodoxy. If you feel chagrined at your foolish assumption, you deserve it.

  25. Submitted by Marc Allen on 09/16/2011 - 04:54 pm.

    Mr. Swift,

    Still no mention of anything Sen. Franken has said or done since being elected that would be considered uncivil since being elected to the U.S. Senate.

    Rep. Bachmann on the other hand, has a laundry list of false and misleading statements with no issues apologies or attempt to take responsibility for the things that come out of her mouth.

    I realize you’re here trolling, but please tell me you don’t actually believe what you type.

  26. Submitted by will lynott on 09/16/2011 - 05:58 pm.

    Hm. It’s worth remembering that libertarians and liberals share more than three letters in their political names. It speaks poorly of our polarized citizenry that we can’t focus on those areas of agreement more, and a bit less on what divides us.

  27. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 09/16/2011 - 06:04 pm.

    @Roger Forsberg

    “The “old hypocrisy” you say? SHAME ON YOU, #18 — Mr NR, for making an ill-advised assumption about someone who does not march to American Proressive/Liberal Orthodoxy. If you feel chagrined at your foolish assumption, you deserve it. ”

    Perhaps you should feel shame for making assumptions about the medical establishment, and for yelling your intermperate views at others.

    You might actually be able to get someone to see your viewpoint if you’d stop long enough to consider that your actions affect how you are perceived, and so far, that’s entirely to your detriment.

  28. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 09/16/2011 - 07:57 pm.

    Nancy:
    Anecdotal tales are not science. They are just anecdotes. Some serious large scale tests designed by people who conduct them on a regular basis are needed. They are expensive and time consuming, and so far there is no evidence this vaccine is harmful. There is no causal link between mental retardation and the vaccine. You are making the same mistake Bachmann did.
    No politician (or reporter or anyone else for that matter) would ever report something on such flimsy evidence. Scares people. Results in bad medicine.

  29. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/16/2011 - 11:56 pm.

    @#21
    Correlation does not imply causation.
    The fact that someone was given Gardasil and then suffered brain damage does not prove that it was the cause of autoimmune myofasciitis (an extremely rare condition by the way).
    The FDA is required to list all effects reported after taking a drug, even when those effects are just as common in people who have not taken the drug.

    Unfortunately, physicians are not required to study research design and statistics. That’s why many physicians who want to do research also get non-medical degrees (such as a Ph.D. in physiology).

    and #22:
    the allopathic/homeopathic question was settled 150 years ago. One has been proven to work; the other hasn’t.

  30. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/17/2011 - 08:57 am.

    Roger #14,

    //And, what should mere citizens learn from this tale? Possibly, that ‘anecdotal’ evidence is not always & every time wrong and foolish

    Roger, the two circumstances are not comparable. The use of Ritalin with children was begun without any clinical trials and initiated by individual doctors. ADHD is inextricably woven into a larger cultural phenomena that is very complex. The why’s and wherefores of this are to complex to go into here.

    The HPV vaccine on the other hand was thoroughly tested and subject to one of the most massive and comprehensive monitoring regimes in US medical history since day one of it’s introduction. Thus far of the millions of vaccines given no serious long term side effects have been discovered, either in practice, or in clinical trials.

    Anecdotes may provide justification for further investigation, but they are NEVER reliable in and of themselves for sooooo many reasons. The fact that many valuable scientific observations start with anecdotes doesn’t prove their validity. Further investigation negates anecdotes as often or not more often than it verifies them.

    As for big pharma, yeah those guys are not to be trusted, but here’s the thing; there’s not really a lot of money in most vaccines, especially once they become widely distributed. In fact there’s so little money in some vaccines that big pharma companies have become reluctant to produce them… causing shortages and other issues. The profit margin in something like Ritalin compared to a vaccine is simply not comparable.

  31. Submitted by Bruce Benidt Benidt on 09/17/2011 - 11:10 am.

    Eric, exclnt point that potential Pres should care about diff between fact and rumor. But does the electorate care? Most of us have our own “facts” that we believe because we want to, regardless of truth. And how often does the media report/repeat “facts” that aren’t true? E.G. Tim
    Pawlenty balanced the state budget without new revenue? Romney has created jobs? As W showed us, repeat crap often enough and enough people will believe. Sadly, most of us voters won’t take the time or effort needed to truly explore truth or falsity, and the media, in “news” coverage rather than commentary, repeats and amplifies untruths more than they explode them.

  32. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/17/2011 - 12:27 pm.

    “Perhaps you should feel shame for making assumptions about the medical establishment, and for yelling your intermperate views at others. ”

    Dear Mark Stromseth: I’m not certain what assumptions you believe that I made about the medical establishment in my remarks above; perhaps you can point them out to me. My remarks were based entirely on my experience with the American Medical Establishment.

    And, as for ‘yelling’, I didn’t realize that I was doing so. I thought that I was responding completely appropriately to someone who had judged me ENTIRELY by reading 226 words — and then suggesting in THIS forum that I was a hypocrite. If by ‘yelling’ you refer to my use of upper case letters, then I will try to rein in this unfortunate habit (with the possible exception of using ‘I’).

    ” You might actually be able to get someone to see your viewpoint if you’d stop long enough to consider that your actions affect how you are perceived, and so far, that’s entirely to your detriment. ”

    Your point is well-taken & well-accepted. However, I’ll continue to use my own judgment about what I write and how those words are perceived.

  33. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/17/2011 - 12:41 pm.

    Dear Paul Udstrand, #29

    “Roger, the two circumstances are not comparable. The use of Ritalin with children was begun without any clinical trials and initiated by individual doctors. ADHD is inextricably woven into a larger cultural phenomena that is very complex. The why’s and wherefores of this are to complex to go into here.”

    Yes, and those doctors and physicians were part of the American Allopathic Medical Establishment as I saw it (they had their MD diplomas hanging on their wall).

    However, other than that I don’t believe that we disagree AT ALL with one possible exception: the government’s use of force, intimidation or coercion against its citizens to compel them to receive medical treatments that they fear will harm them and/or their families is unacceptable in a free society.

    You may suggest to me that those people who refuse vaccinations or inoculations of their children are simply ignorant — and I might even agree with you. But, if we were to punish all of those in our society who are ignorant how many would go unpunished?

  34. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/17/2011 - 01:17 pm.

    For Mr Paul Brandon…

    “and #22:
    the allopathic/homeopathic question was settled 150 years ago. One has been proven to work; the other hasn’t.”

    If you are referring to a primacy of allopathic medicine then I’m not certain what happened in 1861 (other than the beginning of the American Civil War)!

    However, if you are referring to a primacy of allopathic medicine you will be shocked & stunned when you get to the 3 European countries in which I lived either for a short period (under 2 years) or for a long period (more than 3 years). Allopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine are on the same legal footing in Germany, France & Switzerland (and probably all European countries, although I haven’t lived in all European countries).

    The physicians in these countries (& I knew several of them) have the general opinion that allopathic medicine is more effective for acute conditions and homeopathic medicine is more effective for chronic conditions.

    If you travel to one of these countries you may want to have your own conversations and make your own judgment.

  35. Submitted by Roger Brooks on 09/17/2011 - 08:30 pm.

    Bachmann does tend to speak first (mainly from an ideological world view) and think later. We’ve never had a president like that, and we can’t survive with one now.

  36. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/17/2011 - 10:08 pm.

    I wonder who the lucky guy will be that earns her endorsement?

  37. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/18/2011 - 12:17 am.

    Roger,

    //You may suggest to me that those people who refuse vaccinations or inoculations of their children are simply ignorant — and I might even agree with you. But, if we were to punish all of those in our society who are ignorant how many would go unpunished?

    Treatment cannot be forced on a patient in the US unless they are found to be a danger to themselves or others. One thing that seems to have been lost here is the fact that Perry’s order included an opt-out for parents, and proved free vaccine for those who couldn’t afford it. You actually have to go to court to force medical treatment on someone, the government can’t just order it. The government can order quarantine’s, but no treatment. You have a fundamental right to refuse treatment in the US, which is why there are no criminal penalties for failing to get recommended vaccines.

  38. Submitted by Roy Everson on 09/18/2011 - 05:04 am.

    Thanks for not referring to Bachmann’s lies as gaffes, a term still misused by the Strib’s Kevin Diaz. A gaffe is a flub, an error, a foot in one’s mouth, an oopsie, an uff-da moment. While MB does those, too, the Strib has for years wanted to downplay, maybe in the name of misplaced fairness, the gross lies and innuendos of MB.

  39. Submitted by William Pappas on 09/18/2011 - 08:20 am.

    This type of comment from Bachmann should be of no surprise to anyone. She gathers facts in the most irresponsible way: not caring where they came from and using only the ones that back her world view. That’s how she lives in her fantasy world that has no basis in reality whatsoever. That’s how she and the entire Reublican Party are able to disregard science in general to advocate their policies that have no previous factual record of success. But Bachmann, in particular, simply does not believe in fact checking. On the local level that has been successful but as a Presidential candidate the majority just can’t take her seriously.

  40. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/18/2011 - 11:32 am.

    “Allopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine are on the same legal footing….”

    So, if you’re sick you’d see a lawyer?
    Chiropractic also has legal status (and insurance reimbursement, which is more important) in the United States (Minnesota has the highest density of chiropractors of these United States) but there is a shortage of good research studies showing that it is effective (namely, one study which showed that it was superior to conventional medicine when dealing with lower back pain that had no identifiable physical cause).

    And most medical historians date the beginning of modern (evidence based) medicine to the post Civil War period.

    And yes, I’ve traveled in Europe, and gotten excellent (and free) conventional medical care there.

  41. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/18/2011 - 11:32 am.

    Bachmannn campaign strategy:

    1. Open mouth.
    2. Insert foot.
    3. Shoot self in it.

  42. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/18/2011 - 02:38 pm.

    @#40
    If only. That would permanently solve the problem. Alas, she seems to alternate and never shoots her foot while it’s anywhere near her mouth.

  43. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/18/2011 - 05:12 pm.

    Dear Paul Brandon…

    ” And yes, I’ve traveled in Europe, and gotten excellent (and free) conventional medical care there. ”

    I’m very pleased to hear that you received excellent conventional medical care. It would be equally gratifying to me to receive, for example, Rolfing or homeopathic treatments funded by insurance that I’ve purchased (I pay for this type of “alternative” treatment out of my pocket). [I consider them to be just as excellent as you consider your medical treatments.] However, what one economist refers to as the ‘caste system’ (which is partly based in US law) makes this sort of insurance very risky for insurance companies (which tend to be ‘risk-averse’.

    And, as for ‘free’, it was free to you! Someone else paid for it!

    “And most medical historians date the beginning of modern (evidence based) medicine to the post Civil War period.”

    It would have to be WELL AFTER the Civil War period if we are to believe this from Wikipedia…

    “…Bloodletting persisted into the 20th century and was even recommended by Sir William Osler in the 1923 edition of his textbook The Principles and Practice of Medicine.[13]…”

    What I’m trying to suggest to you is that convention and orthodoxy are generally established for sound reasons. However, over time new evidence more than infrequently shows that orthodox medical procedures (e.g., bloodletting, frontal lobotomies, mercury for syphilis, etc.) may not be as wonderful & effective & helpful as the supporters of medical convention & orthodoxy thought them to be.

    As for ‘evidence-based’ medicine, I don’t believe that you’re inclined to hear about the criticisms of Cartesian Reductionism (which is the basis for ‘evidence-based’ medicine).

  44. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/18/2011 - 05:35 pm.

    Dear Paul Udstrand,

    “…Treatment cannot be forced on a patient in the US unless they are found to be a danger to themselves or others. One thing that seems to have been lost here is the fact that Perry’s order included an opt-out for parents, and proved free vaccine for those who couldn’t afford it. You actually have to go to court to force medical treatment on someone, the government can’t just order it. The government can order quarantine’s, but no treatment. You have a fundamental right to refuse treatment in the US, which is why there are no criminal penalties for failing to get recommended vaccines….”

    I would like to believe that the status quo that you describe will not change to reduce further individual liberty & personal freedom more than it has been reduced in the past. But, for those who are not tethered to convention or fettered to orthodoxy things look bleak.

    In WI there is a judge in Dane County (I won’t name him, but it’s easy to find his name) who has ruled in the last week that there is no constitutional right of individuals to consume raw milk! [Think about that for a moment, and think how many hundreds of millions of times over the course of the millennia babies & children have been given raw milk by their mothers.] The same judge “…also states that any claim to consume the foods of one’s choice is “totally without merit.”

    I don’t drink raw milk, but I certainly sympathize with those parents who know the difference between “dead” food (food in which all of the probiotic enzymes have been destroyed) and “live” food (food in which the probiotic biochemicals are still active to assist in digestion & in promoting general health.

    So, for those people who believe in sound nutrition as being one of the 4 important pillars health (I’m one of them), this is very disturbing.

  45. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/19/2011 - 10:29 am.

    Roger–
    Everyone has a right to their own opinion;
    everyone does not have a right to their own facts.
    old saying

  46. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/19/2011 - 11:02 am.

    //I would like to believe that the status quo that you describe will not change to reduce further individual liberty & personal freedom more than it has been reduced in the past. But, for those who are not tethered to convention or fettered to orthodoxy things look bleak.

    So you admit Roger that your current statements are full of misinformation and fallacies, but you’re afraid they will be true someday. Since the arc of history in the US for the last 200 years has been one of undeniable expansion of civil and personal liberties (Despite Republican efforts to stall or reverse such progress) I’d have to say you fears verge on hysteria at this point. Yes, we must remain vigilant, but we must also stay in touch with reality. One can imagine all kinds of things to be afraid of, but one also has to distinguish between imagined threats and real ones… which brings us back to vaccines. One can imagine a totalitarian state that forces dangerous but highly profitable vaccines on an unwitting public. One does not have to imagine Measles epidemics, or cervical cancer, these things exist. So the question comes down to this: are making decisions about your child’s health based on threat you can imagine, or threats that are real?

  47. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/19/2011 - 11:50 am.

    Dear Paul,

    “Roger–
    Everyone has a right to their own opinion;
    everyone does not have a right to their own facts.
    old saying ”

    I couldn’t agree more. And I have no doubt, whatsoever, that you apply this adage to yourself as rigorously as you apply it to others.

    If you see anything in my remarks (above) which you consider to be “unfactual”, I’d appreciate your pointing that out to me.

  48. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/19/2011 - 01:20 pm.

    Roger–
    That you feel that you have benefited from homeopathic medicine is a statement of opinion.
    That homeopathic medicine has been proven to be no more effective than placebo is a statement of fact.
    The same is true of the risks and benefits of raw milk. Note that the life expectancy in primitive societies is about 35 years (also fact).

  49. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 09/19/2011 - 03:29 pm.

    I was going to comment on Bachmann, but I find the raw milk discussion at the end much more entertaining.

    Roger, the biggest non-factual part of your comments is your claim that you believe in sound nutrition. What you believe in is your own version of sound nutrition, which is not supported by evidence, at least when it comes to drinking raw cow’s milk. I am free to believe that a diet of nothing but pizza and beer constitutes sound nutition, but like your claim about raw cow’s milk, science would disagree with me. If you want to argue that you should be able to drink or eat whatever you want, that’s fine, but when you justify that belief with a term like “good nutrition” then you are being non-factual.

    You also clearly do not understand the legal debate on this issue. It actually isn’t illegal to drink raw cow’s milk – its illegal to sell it. And the reason for that is that 1) is has no nutrional value (that is, in the real world, not just in your mind, Roger) and that it is really, really dangerous and has made a number of people very sick. Essentially, it is constitutional for the government to regulate the sale of products that provide no proven benefit and are really dangerous to the public.

    As to Bachmann, I don’t understand the people who equate pointing out Bachmann’s lies with hating her. Eric and others here may very well hate Michelle Bachmann, but when someone as pathologically dishonest as Bachmann is running for president, shouldn’t her lies be pointed out? Whether or not you hate Bachmann doesn’t make her any more or less of a liar.

  50. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/19/2011 - 03:32 pm.

    Dear Paul Brandon,

    “Roger–
    That you feel that you have benefited from homeopathic medicine is a statement of opinion.”

    This is a statement of my experience. If you decide that you won’t accept the validity of the statements of others’ experiences, then the quality of intellectual exchange will likely be diminished. And, the people with whom you interact will probably reciprocate & dismiss statements of your experience — and they will be completely justified in doing so.”

    ” That homeopathic medicine has been proven to be no more effective than placebo is a statement of fact.”

    Let us assume for the moment that the hundreds of millions (possibly more than a billion) of people who use homeopathic medicine in Europe, the Americas, and in the Asian subcontinent as their primary source of medical treatment. What we have left is this…

    Some (not all, but some) veterinarians use homeopathic medicine on animals and it has proved similarly to be generally effective. And, as you may know, it requires a certain level consciousness — which animals don’t have — to experience the placebo effect. And, the owners of the animals will attest to the efficacy of their treatment.

    “The same is true of the risks and benefits of raw milk. Note that the life expectancy in primitive societies is about 35 years (also fact).”

    I would have thought that an argument of this type would be well beneath the dignity of someone of your literacy & knowledgability. The types of challenges to life in a primitive society are many & varied and NOT primarily those associated with raw milk. However, if your mind is open, try this URL from Dr Joseph Mercola…

    http://www.drmercola.com/wellness/what%E2%80%99s-wrong-with-milk/

    Pasteurization kills bacteria (I’d believe that you’d agree with that statement), both good & bad. And, if you don’t feel that you need the nutritional elements (specifically, good bacteria & enzymes) in milk which become ‘denatured’ during pasteurization, that’s fine. However, do you believe that these nutritional elements should be withheld from others who want it in their milk?

    On a broader scale it’s important to note that 30 years ago I probably held the same or similar opinions to yours. However, my opinions were changed by observation & experience — things that I can’t share with you except by words (which I’ve tried to do above). The only unsolicited advice which I can offer to you is to approach unconventional, unorthodox or heterodox ideas & concepts with modest receptivity.

  51. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 09/19/2011 - 05:29 pm.

    Joseph Mercola is a con man who has made millions peddling fraudulent cures to people too stupid to understand the science.

    http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/mercola.html

    When you are “open minded” to the to the lies and nonsense of people like Mercola and other raw milk advocates, you are making a mockery of the concept of being open minded.

  52. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/19/2011 - 05:36 pm.

    Dear Dan Hintz,

    “I was going to comment on Bachmann, but I find the raw milk discussion at the end much more entertaining….”

    Wow! I wouldn’t have thunk it! Bravo!

    BTW, I apologize to you & to everyone on this forum for diverting attention from Bachmann (whose political appeal I find completely mystifying). I simply don’t like for people to believe that orthodoxy always must be served.

    “If you want to argue that you should be able to drink or eat whatever you want, that’s fine, but when you justify that belief with a term like “good nutrition” then you are being non-factual.”

    Thank you; that means that you’re likely NOT an authoritarian on this issue.

    I don’t personally drink raw milk (although I eat cheeses made from raw milk), but it’s difficult to believe that daily consumption of raw milk can be more dangerous for anyone’s general health than, for example, alcoholic beverages or sugary soft drinks.

    “…it is really, really dangerous and has made a number of people very sick. Essentially, it is constitutional for the government to regulate the sale of products that provide no proven benefit and are really dangerous to the public. ”

    And by ‘really, really dangerous’ do you mean that it effected thousands or 10s of thousands of people (such as was attributed to one particular shipment of tainted turkey meat from a subsidiary of C**gill), or 35 people (the number that I read) over the course of years? When I was young I drank raw milk (& my parents drank raw cream in their coffee) for many years not once (as in “no times at all”) becoming ill. Perhaps I was just fortunate.

    PBS will shortly present “Prohibition” by Ken Burns, a legitimate history of the Volstead Act in America — as well as a very thinly-veiled & timely critique of the foolish & imprudent (I’d better be careful to specify in this forum that this is my opinion) drug laws that the federal legislature of this country has put into place. The numbers of people effected are completely different, but Pete Hamill’s assessment of prohibition in “Prohibition” remains the same: “When the government enacts laws that seem to ordinary people to be arbitrary, stupid or ignorant, then the government shouldn’t be surprised when the citizenry breaks those laws.” (or, words to that effect).

    Or, in practical terms, how much do you (or others) want to depend upon normal citizens over the age of 21 to make decisions for themselves and suffer the consequences — good or bad?

    In any case, thank you for commenting!

  53. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/19/2011 - 08:44 pm.

    Roger–
    That may be why the Founders didn’t let ‘ordinary people’ make laws.

  54. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/19/2011 - 10:44 pm.

    Dear Dan HIntz,

    “…Joseph Mercola is a con man who has made millions peddling fraudulent cures to people too stupid to understand the science….”

    I must be one of those people — my degrees in chemistry & biochemistry from Carleton & Princeton notwithstanding!

  55. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/20/2011 - 12:51 am.

    Dear Paul Udstrand,

    “So you admit Roger that your current statements are full of mis-information and fallacies, but you’re afraid they will be true someday….”

    If you interpreted my written statements in this fashion, I apologize: I did a very poor job of expressing myself. I meant nothing of the kind. I believe that I convinced you of my position just about as much as you convinced me of your position, i.e., nil.

    “…Since the arc of history in the US for the last 200 years has been one of undeniable expansion of civil and personal liberties (Despite Republican efforts to stall or reverse such progress) I’d have to say you fears verge on hysteria at this point….”

    A word to the wise, Mr Paul Udstrand: I’d be extremely careful in demonstrating haughtiness in the regard of the expansion of civil & personal liberties. For a substantial minority of Americans who use complementary & alternative medicine (i.e., non-allopathic medicine) on a regular basis (a conservative estimate of these people — American Indians, Christian Scientists, Asians, various small religious groups, and other people who who use alternative modalities such as homeopathy, etc. is about 15-18%) the new Affordable Health Care Act constitutes a DRAMATIC reversal of personal liberties (and a reversal much more pervasive than the so-called “Patriot Act”). It’s a disaster to this minority because most of the modalities that they are accustomed to using are not included in the bill.

    Now, please let be specific: I’m NOT a Republican; I’m NOT a homeopath or acupuncturist or rolfer or Reiki masseur, or provider of ANY healthcare modality; and I believe that the bill was completely well-intentioned. Unfortunately, the bill leaves 15-18% of American citizens in the position of paying the government for the medical treatment of others, and ensuring that 15-18% of Americans get NOTHING in return.

    Now, I can completely understand why you might say, “Them dang medical freethinkers & non-conformists deserve what they get! If they’re so ignorant & benighted that they don’t understand our wonderful & beneficent gift to them, then they deserve what they’ve gotten, i.e., NOTHING!” However, those sentiments won’t win many votes in the next election — or in elections to come.

    “So the question comes down to this: are making decisions about your child’s health based on threat you can imagine, or threats that are real?”

    And, the answer is (as you might have suspected): I’ll make those judgments using my experience, what I have learned from others, and what I have observed. And, I will resist peacefully the coercive & intimidative attempts — however well-intentioned — to change my mind.

  56. Submitted by Roger Forsberg on 09/20/2011 - 01:02 am.

    Just a quick e-note to all of those who took their precious time to reply to my unconventional & heterodox opinions about nutrition & medical modalities. I wasn’t convinced by any of the arguments, but it did give me an opportunity to consider my positions and how to express them as concisely as possible. And, I apologize for distracting or diverting the forum participants from the general Bachmann-bashing.

    However, responding to the verbal assaults takes too much of my time & I need to get back to work, so perhaps I’ll rejoin the fracas in a month or two.

    Best regards,

    etc.

  57. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/20/2011 - 09:46 am.

    OK, Roger–
    As Dan Hintz pointed out, nobody (including the Affordable Care Act) has outlawed alternative medicine; just limited government payments to those forms of treatment which have been shown to be effective.
    Note that NIH does in fact have an National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which was set up to provide support for those forms of alternative medicine which have been shown to be effective.
    At one point its director considered recommending that it be shut down (eliminating his job) because he was having trouble finding practitioners who were will to participate in controlled trials of effectiveness.

    So, you go back to the 13th century; I’ll stay in the 21st.

  58. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/20/2011 - 10:33 am.

    //A word to the wise, Mr Paul Udstrand: I’d be extremely careful in demonstrating haughtiness in the regard of the expansion of civil & personal liberties. For a substantial minority of Americans who use complementary & alternative medicine

    Again Roger, you’re not entitled to your own facts. Just because the scientific community doesn’t endorse your medical choices, that doesn’t make you an oppressed minority. Frankly, it’s disgusting that you would compare your status as a believer in raw milk to that of Native Americans or anyone else who have actually experienced honest to god oppression and discrimination. This a claim only an entitled affluent white guy would make. Furthermore, history is history. The last 200 years have seen an undeniable expansion of civil rights and protections in the US, not the steady deterioration your narrative requires. Even amongst oppressed minorities (real oppressed minorities) our protections, while incomplete, have expanded. This is no excuse to relax our vigilance, but it’ no excuse for hysteria either.

    Frankly, this is the basic flaw in the libertarian narrative. The libertarian narrative requires that we ignore American history. Instead of a continual, albeit imperfect and frustrating march of increased civil rights and liberties established and protected by a democratic government; we have to accept a counter narrative of ongoing and increasing oppression by a steadily growing totalitarian state. No wonder libertarians have some much trouble with cognitive dissonance. We to reconcile the fact that the same government that just repealed “don’t ask don’t tell” is the same government that is cracking down on personal liberties. The same government that refuses to maintain a federal database on firearms applications is the same government that’s about take all of our guns away… etc. etc. Again, it’s the conflict between imagined threats, and actual threats.

  59. Submitted by Doug Stene on 09/20/2011 - 02:57 pm.

    I think a couple of things have been overlooked in the Perry vaccine issue. First, in most cases, “mandatory” vaccines usually have the ability to get a waiver. Most importantly, making it “mandatory” usually requires insurance companies to cover the cost of the vaccine.

  60. Submitted by jim ron on 04/24/2012 - 10:32 pm.

    Regarding Ritalin

    Ritalin is, and always was, a psycho-active drug, as are lots of others used to treat a variety of psychological conditions (depression among them). The fact that we know much more about it now than we did then doesn’t make the advice you received questionable. There were other drugs available for ADHD 25 years ago, but I suspect you would have been just as opposed to those as well, regardless of what we knew about them. http://long-term-alcohol-rehabs.posterous.com/finding-a-long-term-solution-to-alcohol-abuse

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