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Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in 2016 Presidential Election, At TMV, Drugs, Health, Humor, Politics, Satire, Science & Technology | 32 comments

Important Update: The Vaccines Issue: Satire, or Politics Imitating Satire?

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Important Update:

While the statements (below) by Mrs. Bachmann, Mr. Christie and Dr. Paul on vaccinations are an important public service, perhaps the most authoritative word on this critical issue comes from none other than Senator Joni Ernst (R.-Iowa).

Today at the New Yorker, Andy Borowitz released the text of a letter by the good Senator giving the American people invaluable advice on how to protect our children during the measles outbreak.

In her letter, Ernst first destroys the notion pundits have that politicians should not have opinions about vaccinations because they are not scientists: “Excuse me, but that’s like saying people shouldn’t have opinions about flowers because they’re not bees,” Ernst writes.

She then outlines a perfectly viable alternative to vaccinations “that’s cheap, readily available, and totally safe.”

Readers can see the entire informative letter here. The following are the most insightful passages:

Take a look at a bread bag. It’s made out of plastic, which means that no microscopic virus can get through it, unless there’s a hole in the bag. That’s why, every morning, my parents sent me to school with bread bags on my hands.
You see, measles are a hand-borne virus. You can only catch them through contact with someone’s measles-infected hand. If every child in America would go to school with bread bags on their hands, why, before you know it, measles would go the way of the Macarena (a dance that used to be very popular but has pretty much disappeared).
Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Maybe because there’s big money behind vaccinations but not behind bread bags. No one makes money on bread bags. They just come with the bread.

Ernst concludes: “So do Joni a favor. Tomorrow, send your kids to school with bread bags on their hands. As my mom used to say, ‘Joni, if there’s a problem bread bags can’t solve, it’s probably not a problem.’”

But Ernst cautions in a P.S.: “Important! This will only work if there are no holes in the bags.”

Original Post:

When presidential wannabe Michele Bachman claimed in September 2011 that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine might cause “mental retardation,” many on the left ridiculed her.

Although Bachmann has no medical background or expertise to make such prognostications, the fact that she is married to Marcus Bachmann, a therapist who became (in)famous over whether or not his clinic practiced “reparative therapy,” or so-called gay-to-straight counseling, should give her some say in the matter.

More important, the fact that a woman came up crying to Bachmann after the September 2011 presidential debate and told Bachmann that the woman’s daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine, should have settled the matter.

Fast forward to Monday, February 2. As an outbreak of measles spreads across the country, another presidential hopeful, New Jersey governor Chris Christie said that parents “need to have some measure of choice” about vaccinating their children against the virus.

This set off another round of derision against the governor, even as he visited a facility in the London area that makes a nasal flu vaccine, and even though Christie was dressed in an impeccable, white medical lab coat and was sporting some impressive-looking protective plastic goggles.

OK, people can be forgiven for doubting two politicians who do not have an impressive medical or scientific background.

But all those doubts and misgivings should have come to an abrupt end today, as a renowned doctor-turned-politician had the final word.

According to the New York Times, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took a firm position Monday on the side of people who say vaccination is a personal choice, saying “the state doesn’t own your children” and that “profound medical disorders” sometimes occur after vaccines.

“I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” he said.

As an eye doctor and a past member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group that “advocated a link between vaccinations and autism, among other conspiracy theories,” the good doctor should know.

Those who believe this is political satire can sleep well tonight.

The others, I don’t know.

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  • StockboyLA

    “The state doesn’t own your children,” Paul said. “Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom and public health.” So… if he doesn’t think government has a place in public health, particularly since the state doesn’t own your children…. then I guess he is against those laws requiring employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom, or require restaurants to pass health inspections. What about food processing plants? After all (to use his logic), the state doesn’t own private businesses and the state should stay out of public health issues. I’m looking forward to him, as a libertarian who has expressed his views, to “walk the talk” and repeal all those intrusive public health laws requiring private businesses (and individuals) to take sensible precautions for the safety of the citizens of this country.

    • DdW

      Those are all good points and questions, SB.

      In another thread, Markus had some similar, good points:

      Children are human beings. No one can own a human being which is certainly a basic tenet of any serious libertarian/conservative position. Parents are in a position of guardianship vis-a-vis their offspring and are under an obligation to act in the child’s best interests. Society as a whole has an interest in making sure that parents live up to their duties and thus can compel proper nutrition, housing, medical care, and freedom from physical and psychological abuse.

      Sen. Paul, the idea that parents own children is not compatible with American ideals.

      I just would like to add, how about the right of the 97% of other children who risk being exposed to various diseases by children whose parents exercise “their right” not to protect them.

      • Argon

        Just an FYI: Parents are not required to have their kids vaccinated. Parents are free to forego the vaccinations and homeschool their kids. Should parents try to send their kids unvaccinated to day care or public school, that’s another matter, but the basic choice to vaccinate and facing the consequences of that choice is their own.

        • DdW

          Not trying to be ‘contrarious,’ Argon, but should parents have the choice not to have their children wear seat belts while riding in motor vehicles?

          • Argon

            I was calling out the BS Christie and Paul are saying about ‘choice’ vs what choices already exist.

            Personally, I’m all for using statistics and epidemiology to set criteria for safety and health mandates, but I’m experienced enough to know that irrationality makes this a ‘hit or miss’ endeavour in practice. Humans are sh!t when it comes to ad hoc hazard assessment, especially when it’s personal. That noted, I can see no reason not to vaccinate for many diseases or for not wearing seat belts. I would easily vote for mandating such personal and public safety measures.

          • DdW


        • StockboyLA

          Argon, I agree that it’s a choice, and they face consequences for making those choices. It’s that last point that many people do not think through. They think “it’s my choice” but then do not want to face any negative consequences; they feel their freedom is being curtailed when there are negative consequences from their choices.

          • yoopermoose

            Same thing with freedom of speech. Certain people feel that since the constitution guarantees freedom of speech, they should be free from any negative consequence of that speech from anyone.

        • Rambie

          Looks like more places like amusement parks may need to be added too the list of places unvaccinated children shouldn’t be allowed to go.

        • The_Ohioan

          The problem with home schooling and forgoing vaccinations is that outside of the home schoolroom there are restaurants, swimming pools, grocery stores, malls, etc. where the home schooled mixes with the public schooled population.

          Unless the entire family lives on a farm (or in some other cocoon) and has no outside contact, the problem of transferring disease exists.

          My biggest problem with the anti-vaxers/home schoolers is that some of them consider themselves God-chosen and believe by their actions, God will not only control the number of children they have, but that they and those children are holier than the general population and should not be subject to guvmint regulations – they are too “blessed” to need such oversight.

  • Argon

    It’s neither politics nor satire. It’s lunacy.

    What has changed is the false equivalence platform provided by many in media that allowed this woo to be presented as a mere difference of opinion instead of the pure bunk it is. Even the Huffington Post, which until fairly recently supported antivax woomeisters, has done an about face.

    • JSpencer

      “Lunacy” yes, and utterly irresponsible. The MSM is notorious for granting equal weight to differing points of view on a host of issues, independent of how much sheer bunk might be involved. It drives me nuts when they confer dignity by using the word, “debate” long after any real debate has been laid to rest. I’m not sure how much of this is political correctness run amok, and how much is about milking a story, but in either case it’s an insult to common sense (at the very least).

      Edit: I would be remiss in not pointing out (however obvious) that the party with the most disdain for science benefits the most from this sorry dynamic, even though society as a whole loses.

  • JSpencer

    Attitudes toward vaccinating by age group. Not an encouraging trend:

    Education, education, education…

  • Argon

    Oh my… Now a freshman Senator says he’s OK with restaurant employees not washing hands after using the toilet because there’s too much regulation…

    Clearly, the invisible hand of the market will wash itself if it impacts net profits.

    • yoopermoose

      Argon, but he does say signs would need to be posted. So…would that be considered a “regulation?”
      Sometimes it is hard to believe people actually voted for an idiot like this to represent them.

      • StockboyLA

        I guess the signs would have to be in braille so the blind would be able to read them.

    • StockboyLA

      Argon, even though it speaks to an earlier point I made, all I can say is, wow. Just wow. Thanks.

  • DdW

    I don’t know too much (yet) about Dr. Ben Carson’s politics and how he
    stands on various issues, but at least here is one potential Republican
    presidential candidate who knows his medical science (Carson is a retired
    neurosurgeon) and can separate individual rights from the rights of the society we all belong to and live in.

    “I am very much in favor of parental rights for certain types of things,” Carson said Tuesday on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV. “I’m in favor of you and I having freedom to drive a car. But, do we have a right to drive without seat belts on? Do we have a right to drive while we’re texting? Studies have demonstrated that those are dangerous things to do, so it becomesa public safety issue. “

    “So you have to be able to separate out our rights versus the rights of the society in which we live, because we’re all in this thing together. So we have to be cognizant of other people around us.”

    Read more here:

    • dduck12

      And of course many other Reps, like Boehner, the much maligned WSJ Opinion people and most commentators on FOX are on the side of vaccinating. Screw Rush, he is an idiot, but it shows Reps are not in lock step on all issues as the Dems propaganda machine would like us to believe (good strategy, BTW).

      • Rambie

        I don’t know what news you’ve been watching but this isn’t an isue that falls neatly along the partisan divide. There are those on the Left that are anti-vaxxers.

        • dduck12

          Well, right here on TMV: ”

          Measles Outbreak Shows How Republicans Have A Serious Problem With Science And Facts”
          At least one poster think it is partisan.

          • Rambie

            The article was about the Republicans who are anti-vaxxers. You yourself admitted there are some.

          • dduck12

            Please, the headline (I call it yellow journalistic) paints Reps as anti-science and having a serious problem with science. It doesn’t say “some” Reps.
            or some people, or some Dems and Reps.
            Some people only read the headlines above a story and get the wrong impression. YJ reigns on blogs.

          • Rambie

            Title is a broad brush, but hardly the only example of that from either side.

            PS: You seem much more angry lately DD. Hope things are good with you.

          • dduck12

            This “headline” is just one of many designed to slant the truth. “Broad brush” sucks. Any honest poster should not use it.

          • Rambie

            Talk to Ron, I didn’t use the term. I did read the article and know many Republicans here in Utah that are anti-vaxxers.

            I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to find a “broad brush” title at RedState or Fox News either. Though, “both sides do it” isn’t an excuse just a reality check.

  • Slamfu

    Vaccine, schmaccine, what do doctors know anyways?! Lancets and leeches all around, for my bodily humours and saltes are in distemper and must be balanced. Perhaps a nice tonic of heroine shall do the trick, as there is nothing better for the liver or skin conditions. Just ask any chirugeon my good man!

  • DdW
    • The_Ohioan

      Yes, like the Politico article in another thread, it gives the correct information about many prominent Republicans 🙂

    • yoopermoose

      Who would have ever predicted that there would have to be an article about where 2016 presidential candidates stand on vaccinations!? we are talking about life-saving vaccinations!! Maybe next we can ask the candidates where they stand on children breathing clean air, are you for or against? Or maybe, how clean is too clean for drinking water? I feel like I am in the twilight zone!

      • DdW

        Maybe next we can ask the candidates where they stand on children breathing clean air, are you for or against? Or maybe, how clean is too clean for drinking water? I feel like I am in the twilight zone!

        Hi, YM.

        You know, a couple of hundred years ago, candidate/politicians were asked where they stood on having human beings as slaves.

        Not too long ago, they were asked where they stood on giving equal rights to black Americans

        And, just a few years ago, they were asked where they stood on equal rights for gay Americans.

        Today, they are still being asked where they stand on allowing two people who love each other to marry.

        You mention, ” ask the candidates where they stand on children breathing clean air…” Would you believe, some still haggle over that?

        Thanks for your comment.

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