mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“It’s A Republican Politician Problem”: Trump Is Far From The Only Republican To Let Supporters Spout Crazy

At a big, classy town hall event in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Thursday evening, Donald Trump fielded a question from an unidentified man, who announced, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American. … Anyway we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”

Without specifying which part of the man’s diatribe he meant to address, Trump responded “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.”

Trump is being rightly pilloried for not dressing down the questioner, including by Republican operatives, who are happily forwarding along the unflattering news clips that followed.

There’s no sense in giving Trump a pass on this, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this isn’t a Trump problem. It’s a politician problem, and in particular it’s a Republican politician problem. The Republican interest in Trump’s dishonorable conduct is deeply selective.

Anyone who’s watched C-SPAN call-in shows can sympathize with people put into Trump’s predicament. Campaigns, and especially campaigns, draw out the most agitated voters in the country, in the same way a political call-in line self-selects for people with things they need to get off their chests.

But these outbursts spill over into racist conspiracy theories frequently enough that the politicians really ought to have pat reprimands at the ready. They can’t really get a pass for placating racists and xenophobes. And Trump isn’t even close to the only politician who fails this test, though he may be the first politician who posed it to other candidates.

Just this past March, former Senator Rick Santorum, who has since joined the presidential race, spoke at the South Carolina National Security Action Summit, and fielded a question from a woman who was alarmed that President Obama’s plan to destroy the city of Charleston with a nuclear weapon had to be thwarted by a military officer.

Why is the Congress rolling over and letting this communist dictator destroy my country? Y’all know what he is, and I know what he is. I want him out of the White House. He’s not a citizen. He could have been removed a long time ago. Larry Klayman’s got the judge to say that the executive amnesty is illegal. Everything he does is illegal. He’s trying to destroy the United States. The Congress knows this. What kind of games is the Congress of the United States playing with the citizens of the United States? Y’all need to work for us, not the lobbyists that pay your salaries. Get on board, let’s stop all of this, let’s save America. What’s going to stop—Senator Santorum, where do we go from here? Ted told me I’ve got to wait until the next election. I don’t think the country will be around for the next election. Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago, and the three admirals and generals—he’s totally destroyed our military, he’s fired all the generals and all the admirals who said they wouldn’t fire on the American people.

To the extent that Santorum took offense at all it was at the implication that, as a former Senator, he bore any responsibility for Obama’s communist takeover.

Literally two days ago, Donald Trump played the part of conspiracy-minded provocateur on the CNN debate stage, when Jake Tapper raised the issue of his anti-vaccine activism.

Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time… . Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump—I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child. And we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me. Just the other day, two years old, two-and-a-half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.

Among the 10 other candidates on the stage were two doctors—Ben Carson and Rand Paul—both of whom had an opportunity to condemn Trump and call his remarks dangerous. Both declined.

In October 2008, Senator John McCain, who was then the Republican party’s presidential nominee, famously quieted a woman at a rally who had read all about how Obama is “an Arab” (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

“No, ma’am,” McCain said after reclaiming the mic. “He’s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”

The crowd booed and McCain went on to lose the election. The only reason anyone remembers the altercation is because we expect Republican politicians to behave the way Trump did.

 

By: Brian Beutler, Senior Editor, The New Republic; September 18, 2015

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Race and Ethnicity, Racism | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“No Room For Misinterpretation”: Donald Trump Warns Of Diseased Immigrants Coming Across The Border—Adds Insult To Injury

This afternoon, future United States President Donald Trump released a statement intended to clarify his remark that illegal immigrants from Mexico are “rapists.”

Trump is unhappy that people are interpreting his statement to mean that he believes all illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapists, when he merely intended to say that some of them are rapists.

Trump, who has publicly speculated that vaccines can cause autism, added that immigrants are responsible for bringing “infectious disease” into America.

Trump’s press release began: “I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech.”

The speech, he said, was “deliberately distorted” by the media and to prove it he included an excerpt of his remarks so that readers could see for themselves how they have been taken out of context.

When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) send its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

“What can be simpler or more accurately stated?” Trump asked. “They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc…On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it.”

Trump then noted that Mexican cartels bring heroin, cocaine “and other illicit” drugs into America via immigrants, and, “Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world.”

About those vaccines: since at least 2012, Trump has claimed that vaccines and autism are linked.

During a Fox and Friends appearance to promote his cologne, “Success,” in 2012, Trump said, “I’m all for vaccinations, but I think that when you add all of these vaccinations together and then two months later the baby is so different…” Trump said, adding this was “a theory” but anecdotally, “It happened to somebody that worked for me recently. I mean, they had this beautiful child, not a problem in the world, and all of a sudden they go in and they get this monster shot. Then all of a sudden the child is different a month later. I strongly believe that’s it.”

So that’s it.

Anyway, in the event that you’ve been slumbering unaware since Trump’s June announcement, his remarks about illegal immigrants have resulted in a mass exodus of businesses in the Trump Inc. orbit. Univision, a Spanish-language TV network, announced they would no longer air Trump’s beauty pageants; Macy’s pulled all Trump branded products; NBC dropped Trump’s show, The Apprentice. Trump has filed suit against Univision, for $500 million, and threatened legal action against NBC.

“I have lost a lot during this Presidential run defending the people of the United States,” Trump said in the Monday statement. “I have always heard that it is very hard for a successful person to run for President.”

Well, now he knows.

 

By: Olivia Nuzzi, The Daily Beast, July 6, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Immigrants, Immigration | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Secret Knowledge, Just Ignorance By Another Name”: The Real Facts Behind The Facts “They” Want You To Believe

I call it the Secret Knowledge.

Meaning that body of information not everyone has, that body known only to those few people who had the good sense to go off the beaten path and seek it. It is information you’ll never see in your “newspapers” or “network news” or any other place overly concerned with verifiable “facts” and reliable “sources.” It will not come to you through a university “study,” peer-reviewed “article,” renowned “expert,” government “agency” or any other such traditional bastion of authority.

No, the Secret Knowledge is the truth behind the truth, the real facts behind the facts “they” want you to believe. It unveils the conspiracies beneath the facade suckers mistake for real life. Not incidentally, the Secret Knowledge will always confirm your worst fears.

I don’t know when the mania for Secret Knowledge began. Maybe it was when King and the Kennedys were killed and some of us could not shake a gnawing suspicion that the stories we were told were not the whole truth. Maybe it was when a man walked on the moon and it was so amazing some of us refused to believe it had happened. Maybe it was when Watergate shattered public trust. Maybe it was when The X-Files fed a shivering unease that we inhabited a world of lies within lies.

But if we can’t say for certain when the mania began, the fact that it’s here is beyond dispute. Indeed, it has spread like, well … measles.

Ay, there’s the rub. Also the scratching.

As you have no doubt heard, that highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease, which this country declared eradicated 15 years ago, has returned. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were fewer than 50 cases in 2002, and there were 644 last year. Already this year, there have been over 100 cases.

Authorities say much of this resurgence is due to the refusal of a growing number of parents to vaccinate their kids. The parents think the shots are dangerous, citing a 1998 study by a British doctor who claimed to have found a link between vaccinations and autism. As it turns out, that study was debunked and retracted, and the doctor lost his license. But the alleged link lives on, fueled by Jenny McCarthy, who has become a frontwoman of sorts for the anti-vaccination movement.

Bad enough the Secret Knowledge drives our politics (Barack Obama is a Muslim from Kenya), our perception of controversy (Trayvon Martin was a 32-year-old tough with tattoos on his neck), our understanding of environmental crisis (there is no scientific consensus on global warming) and our comprehension of tragedy (9/11 was an inside job). Apparently, it now drives health care, too.

So a onetime Playboy model who says she was schooled at “the University of Google” holds more sway with some of us than, say, the CDC. It is an Internet Age paradox: We have more information than ever before and yet, seem to know less. Indeed, in the Internet Age, it can be fairly said that nothing is ever truly, finally knowable, authoritative testimony always subject to contradiction by some blogger grinding axes, some graduate of Google U, somebody who heard from somebody who heard from somebody who heard.

And let us pause here to cast shame on would-be presidents Chris Christie and Rand Paul, who both said last week that vaccinations should be a matter of parental choice, a particularly craven bit of pandering that ignores a simple principle you’d think we’d all support: your right to make irresponsible decisions about your child ends at my right to safeguard my child’s health. But in an era of designer facts and homemade truth, maybe there are no simple principles any more.

As a disease once thought over and done with comes back like some ’90s boy band, this much seems obvious:

The Secret Knowledge is just ignorance by another name.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, February 9, 2015

February 15, 2015 Posted by | Conspiracy Theories, Public Health, Vaccinations | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“How To Handle The Vaccine Skeptics”: Parents Should Face A Higher Burden Before Removing Their Children From The Immunized herd

The alarming number of measles cases — a record 644 last year, and 102 last month, the most since the disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 — has focused scrutiny on parents who refuse vaccinations for their children. There are some who want state and local governments to sue, or even criminally charge, such parents. A bill in California would end all nonmedical exemptions to immunization requirements.

For epidemiologists like me, eliminating exemptions may seem satisfying, but it is not the wisest policy for protecting kids. Instead, we should borrow a concept from behavioral economics, and use administrative rules and procedures to “nudge” parents to immunize their kids, rather than trying to castigate or penalize these parents.

Currently, all states allow medical exemptions, since some children — for example, those getting chemotherapy or who have certain types of immune disorders — cannot safely receive vaccines. All but two states (Mississippi and West Virginia) allow exemptions for religious reasons. Nineteen states allow exemptions based on personal (or “philosophical”) beliefs. Such beliefs are increasingly cited by parents whose misplaced skepticism is not really principled but premised, rather, on false notions like that of a link between autism and the measles vaccine.

So shouldn’t all states follow the example of Mississippi and West Virginia, and ban all nonmedical exemptions? The courts have generally upheld such bans, but the political backlash is great, as history shows. After the smallpox vaccine was made compulsory in England and Wales in 1853, there were years of protests, until a commission exempted those with conscientious objections.

Partly because of intemperate comments by politicians, some Americans continue to view vaccines as an intrusion on their personal liberty rather than as a matter of public health. Between 2009 and 2012, 31 bills aimed at making it easier to obtain exemptions were introduced in various states (including 11 in Mississippi and West Virginia). Vaccination advocates who want to make exemptions harder to obtain will have an uphill fight.

But even states like Arizona and Colorado that allow fairly broad exemptions can tweak their rules to make sure parents are as informed as possible — and to make the exemption process difficult.

They can require parents to write a letter elaborating on the reason their child should be exempt. They can require that the letter be notarized. They can insist that parents read and sign a form that discusses the risks of nonvaccination. Better yet, they should mandate in-person counseling so that the decision not to vaccinate is truly informed.

States can also require that parents obtain an exemption form by specifically requesting one from the state or local health department, rather than downloading it online. They can insist that these parents acknowledge that they will be responsible for keeping the children away from school during outbreaks. Moreover, they should have procedures to review each request for exemption rather than automatically approving them, as many states do now. And they should require parents with exemptions to apply annually for renewal.

States with easy procedures for obtaining exemptions have higher rates of nonmedical exemptions — and, more important, higher rates of vaccine-preventable diseases. In a 2006 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, we documented that states with easy procedures for granting nonmedical exemptions had approximately 50 percent higher rates of whooping cough.

In a 2012 study, which my colleagues and I published in The New England Journal of Medicine, nonmedical exemption rates were 2.3 times higher in states with easy administrative policies for granting exemptions (like Connecticut, Missouri and Wisconsin) than in states with difficult policies (like Florida, Minnesota and Texas). Moreover, the annual rate of increase in nonmedical exemptions was about 60 percent higher in states with easy exemption policies compared with states with difficult policies.

These practices will cost taxpayers money. But they will be more effective, in the long run, than condemning vaccine skeptics as ignorant and irresponsible. The goal should be to make the number of parents who decide to seek exemptions — and follow through with it — as small as possible. Given the high costs of controlling disease outbreaks, including the current rise in measles, it might be reasonable to tax parents who seek exemptions to recover some of the cost.

All democratic societies must try to balance the rights and views of a variety of constituencies. Parents of children who are too ill for vaccination should of course be granted an exemption. Everyone else — no matter their belief — should face a high burden before being allowed to remove their children from the immunized herd.

 

By: Saad B. Omer, Associate Professor of Global Health, Epidemiology and Pediatrics at Emory University; Op-Ed Contributor, The New York Times, February 6, 2015

February 7, 2015 Posted by | Measles Outbreak, Public Health, Vaccinations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I Am A Scientist, Man, But A Conservative One”: Vaccine Skepticism Isn’t A Conservative Problem, But It’s A Problem For Conservatives

Because New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently quarantined a nurse in a large tent when he thought she might have had Ebola, you might have assumed that he of all people would seize upon a measles outbreakattributable to a movement of anti-vaccine reactionariesto lecture parents for putting children at risk. But when pressed to take a position on the view that parents should vaccinate their children, Christie hedged. “It’s more important what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official,” he said. “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”

It’s tempting to attribute his sudden fondness for “balance” to lessons he over-learned during the Ebola panic he helped nurture. But it’s also mistaken.

Vaccine skeptics don’t mirror climate change deniers, who are overwhelmingly conservative and amplified by vast wealth. But the anti-vaxx movement nevertheless presents a greater political problem for Republicans than Democrats, who, like President Obama, are unafraid to make explicit declarations about the importance of vaccinating children. By and large, Republican politicians don’t tout their own ignorance of vaccine science or use it to shield themselves from substantive questions about immunology, public health, or child rearing. Vaccine skepticism and climate change denial are, again, more different as reactionary movements than they are alike.

But two facts about vaccine skeptics and the risks they pose make it difficult for Chris Christie and perhaps other Republicans to treat anti-vaxxers as brusquely as he’s happy to treat unionized teachers in Newark.

It’s not that Republicans must pretend to believe that vaccines cause autism. But a large, motivated population of vaccine skeptics begs for interventions Republicans can’t easily get behind. The two most straightforward ways to increase vaccination rates or otherwise reduce the risk of losing herd immunity are: Imposing government mandates and stigmatizing the white, affluent people who comprise the core of the anti-vaxx movement.

Hectoring white people and imposing mandates on their families doesn’t fit comfortably in the GOP wheelhouse these days, and Christie’s awkward walkback underscores the bind that places on conservatives exquisitely.

Christie’s office: “The governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated. At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate.”

Shorter Christie: I am a scientist, man. But a conservative one.

Conservatives and liberals are both overwhelmingly of the view that childhood vaccines carry important benefits; conservatives, however, are inherently skeptical of government interventions of any kind. Thus, Republican politicians who lean too heavily on the state action, even in the realm of something as essential to the common good as immunization, will run into problems.

A 2014 study by Dan Kahan for Yale Law School’s Cultural Cognition Project found that people with left-leaning political outlooks are likelier to support restricting non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccine requirements, likely reflecting “an ideological predisposition against government regulation independent of any ideological sensibility specific to childhood vaccination.”

This tendency might not hold if anti-vaxxers existed on the fringes of political life, or were overwhelmingly of foreign origin, or were monolithically liberal. Opposition to government intervention can be both reflexive and selective. But the available evidence suggests vaccine skeptics tend to be white, educated, affluent, and, per Kahan’s study, politically diverse.

It’s not that Republicans are in thrall to vaccine skeptics, but it can be difficult for them to confront vaccine skeptics in ways that don’t alarm conservatives for other reasons. And taken to an extreme, it becomes hard to tell the difference between the two.

 

By: Brian Beutler, The New Republic, February 2, 2014

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Chris Christie, Conservatives, Vaccinations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: