Faces of Vaccine denialism

A quick check of the calendar tells me that it is, indeed, the year 2015. I had to check because with Cuba, To Kill a Mockingbird and the measles all in the news, I thought we might have time traveled back to the 1960’s. No such luck (though I would have loved the chance of a do-over)…

It is 2015 and even with all the advances in medicine and science, people like to make up their own “facts”. So, they don’t vaccinate their kids, and diseases that were almost wiped off the face of the earth are back.

In May of 2010, the idea of vaccines being linked to autism was in the news as the doctor responsible for the junk science had just been stripped of his medical license in his home country of England. But Dr. Andrew Wakefield also had a new book to sell, so I had the opportunity to interview him.

At the same time, we were able to track down the British journalist, Brian Deer, whose work for the Sunday Times of London helped drive the final nail into Wakefield’s credibility coffin.

I thought today was a good time to replay both conversations as not much has changed, scientifically speaking, in the 4 1/2 years since that show first aired.

Listen and think for yourself… In the meantime, click here to see where the 2016 presidential hopefuls stand on the shouldn’t-be-controversial subject of vaccinations against diseases.

As to how we got to this absurd place in the first place, Talking Points Memo has a handy-dandy timeline here that begins with the “study” I discussed with Dr. Wakefield.

If all of this isn’t crazy enough for you, I give you today’s GOP, and the senator from South Carolina, Thom Tillis, who seriously suggested businesses should be allowed to “opt out” of requiring employees to wash their hands after using the restroom.

During a Q&A at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Monday, Tillis related a story from his time in the state legislature in 2010, complaining that the U.S. is “one of the most regulated nations in the history of the planet,” video via C-SPAN shows.

“I was having a discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like ‘maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,'” the senator said.

Tillis said his interlocutor was in disbelief, and asked whether he thought businesses should be allowed to “opt out” of requiring employees to wash their hands after using the restroom.

The senator said he’d be fine with it, so long as businesses made this clear in “advertising” and “employment literature.”

“I said: ‘I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says “We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,” Tillis said.

“The market will take care of that,” he added, to laughter from the audience.

Wrapping up the Q&A, the moderator joked to Tillis, “I’m not sure I’m gonna shake your hand.”

h/t The District Sentinel

And if you wonder what the rest of the world thinks about the idiots who don’t take advantage of the scientific strides we’ve made in eradicating often deadly diseases, look no further than the Nigerian man who tweeted this:

measles tweet

To recap, people are opting out of doing everything they can to make sure their children don’t get sick. Welcome to opposite world.

But we’ve also been waging an insane “war on drugs” that is as insane as opting out of a proven way to keep your kids from contracting life-threatening illnesses. Everything we’ve been told about the War on Drugs© is wrong, an idea that is underscored in the new book by journalist Johann Hari.

In Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs we learn about the racism that started it and perpetuates today, and so much more that flies in the face of the “facts” we’ve been given.

Johann Hari joined me on the show in the first hour today to scratch the surface of this expensive and dangerous battle that’s based on anything but settled science.

Yes, Opposite World revisited!

Want to see just how backwards it is? Take the quiz here, and peruse the rest of the site. Then, like me, you’ll want to read the book too….