The Daily Kos publishes an anti-vax cartoon

April 16, 2015 • 3:38 pm

Here it is, by Keith Knight, who has the chutzpah to title this cartoon “The New McCarthyism”.


He also adds below it these words: “I am NOT anti-vax.  I am PRO-choice.”

What a mushhead! When it comes to public health (or children’s welfare), there is no choice. Should Typhoid Mary have had a “choice” about whether she was quarantined? What about people with Ebola?

The saddest part is that The Daily Kos has a reputation as a liberal site. Not any more, at least for me.  The only heartening bit is how most of the commenters contribute to giving Knight a new sphincter.

h/t: jsp

134 thoughts on “The Daily Kos publishes an anti-vax cartoon

  1. “I am NOT anti-vax. I am PRO-choice.”

    You have that choice; its not legally required. Sure, you’ll have to homeschool your kids, but hey at least he’ll be in there will all the other unvaccinated kids. Think of the safety from toxins and flouridation that will provide!

    JAC: What a mushhead! When it comes to public health, there is no choice.

    Well in fact there legally is, but I agree with your point from a public health and rhetorical angle; wide-scale vaccination is needed to keep the population safe.

    1. I wasn’t referring to legal choices. 48 of the 50 states allow religious exemptions from vaccinations, and a substantial number “philosoophical” exemptions. I object to all of these. There should be no exemptions except for those based on medical issues, like immunodeficiency. And people are beginning to realize the health consequences of giving special treatment to religion.

    2. Is that the law in the US, that you can’t attend a public school without being vaccinated? That’s in the discussion in Germany now as well, although for kindergartens only (school would be difficult as home schooling is allowed only in very rare circumstances). I think that’s precisely the right response – anybody who thinks they’re above contributing to public health shouldn’t be able to send their children to public services.

  2. That is sooo wrong, in sooo many ways. It makes my blood boi….I better go sit in the shade for a spell, as my dowager aunt used to say.

  3. Vaccines were discovered before “Big Pharma”. Doesn’t that make then qualitatively different than, say, boner pills? I don’t trust their weird pills for made-up sounding diseases either but…vaccines? They’ve been around longer than “Big Pharma” has been thing, no?

    1. Good point!

      Moreover, innoculation started out as “Small Pharma”:

      “A method of inducing immunity known as inoculation, insufflation or “variolation” was practiced before the development of a modern vaccine. This method may have been practiced in India as early as 1000 BC.[5] This is disputed, however; other investigators contend the ancient Sanskrit medical texts of India do not describe these techniques.[6] The first clear reference to smallpox inoculation was made by the Chinese author Wan Quan (1499–1582) in his Douzhen xinfa (痘疹心法) published in 1549.[7] Inoculation for smallpox does not appear to have been widespread in China until the reign era of the Longqing Emperor (r. 1567–1572) during the Ming Dynasty.[8] In China, powdered smallpox scabs were blown up the noses of the healthy. The patients would then develop a mild case of the disease and from then on were immune to it. The technique did have a 0.5–2.0% mortality rate, but that was considerably less than the 20–30% mortality rate of the disease itself.

      Variolation was also practiced throughout the latter half of the 17th century by physicians in Turkey, Persia, and Africa.”

      [ ]

      So, yes, people don’t have to pay anything to Big Pharma, just inoculate as of old. Except that a 0.5–2.0% mortality rate is way higher than modern vaccines.

      Oddly, that didn’t stop those old societies from using vaccines…

  4. This is terrible, shame on Daily Kos as well as the cartoonist. Luckily, it seems that the comment section there is really taking them to task on this.

  5. On side effects, the generic ones are told what I know.

    But some vaccines like a flu vaccine are unique efforts against unique epidemics _as they spread_, with some prediction efforts on what vaccines will be needed and effective. The side effects (as well as efficiency) are monitored, and some vaccines are dropped et cetera.

    It’s like asking for a description of the side effects for fire fighting a specific fire. ‘The fire will take 3 apartments and 4 lives, water damage will affect 2 apartments and their insurances. Oh, and it will drown one forgotten hamster. Are these side effects agreeable to you? Sign here, and we can start fighting this.’

      1. Ah, I should have figured! I remember the massive amount of paper work when I worked in US. (I don’t miss that…)

      2. Interesting that your informed consent stated a mild case of flu was possible via needle administered vaccine.

        Perhaps that form tried to explain (poorly) that a reaction may occur that is similar to some flu-like symptoms. To my knowledge it is biologically impossible to develop the actual flu from an attenuated or killed vaccination delivered by needle. A quick CDC scan backs that up.

        As far as this cartoon, well … the entire fear-of-vaccines movement is depressing. If one should have a friendly chat with such an individual, I’ve found that many of the same fallacies found in religious apologetics can also be found amongst those groups who fear vaccines too.



        1. I once had a reaction to the flu vaccine like that. It was no fun, but I was back for another one next year.

            1. Lots of people used to have quite severe reactions to smallpox vaccinations, me included. But you’d rather have that than smallpox; plus you couldn’t travel overseas without a certificate of vaccination. That’s how come that, except for irresponsible reckless weaponisation by US governments, smallpox was effectively eradicated

              1. along with strenuous efforts on the ground in countries where smallpox was endemic. Vaccination wasn’t optional there either.

              2. I’ll bet in those countries there would have been disbelieving laughter if someone had said, “Oh but there might be side-effects to a smallpox vaccination! I might feel unwell for a day or two!”

      3. I went to a local clinic just over a week ago to get a prescription renewed (I have chronic heart failure). The doctor asked if I’d had a flu shot, that it was recommended with my condition, and that it was free because of my condition. Didn’t sign anything, or pay a cent (although I do pay taxes). I also got a referral for blood tests for kidney and liver function, and cholesterol levels. Now THAT I did have to sign for, although it left my wallet unaffected.

        If you, or a family member, need medical care the last thing you want to have to worry about is paying for it.

    1. Side effects:

      The list of side effects are not necessarily caused by the drug or vaccine. As I understand it, the drug companies are required to list whatever happens to the person taking the drugs during the trials, (and later) if they could conceivably be caused by the drug or vaccine. It doesn’t mean they were caused by the drug, only that it happened while the person was taking the drug/vaccine.

      In other words, there is no cause and effect linkage.

      An example is anti depressants. Suicide is listed on many of them, but suicide is a problem fundamentally related to depression. It’s difficult to determine if in a single case if the cause is the depression or the drug. In a double blind study they can say if there is a statistical difference between those who get the drug, and those who get the placebo. Which leads me to wondering if they do double blind studies on antidepressants, it seems the ethics are very poor if they can lead to suicide.

      I’ve found in talking to people a great many believe the side effects listed are definitely going to happen.

      When I got the scabies vaccine I too had to sign a form that had a list of possible side effects. When I got the flu vaccine through work and my doctor, I did not.

      On a side note, one batch of flu vaccines caused a portion of the patients to go into a temporary coma like state.
      When ever I got a flu vaccine at work, I’d ask the health nurse if anyone had had gone into a coma yet.

  6. LOL. I stopped being interested in Daily Kos a long time ago; too much crackpottery there.

    This reminds me of when The Nation posted climate change denial stuff.

    1. Agreed. That stuff about Trigg Palin being Bristol’s baby really put me off, and I’m no Sarah fan.

  7. My guess is that this clown is not pro choice, if you know what I mean. It is our freedom to not get any vaccinations and also our freedom that you cannot get an abortion.

    I do not see a connection to McCarthy but his twisted brain probably does. If you want to avoid sickness and disease you must be a communist?

  8. Maybe I’ve missed it, but I don’t recall seeing a vaccine ad. Not even for Gardasil. I’m pretty sure that there would be the same requirements for stating common side effects that are on ads for other medicines and that there isn’t in fact a conspiracy. Unless he’s talking about wanting commercials to say vaccines cause whatever issue he’s humping even if they don’t actually cause it.

    1. Most countries do not allow advertising for medication. There are only two in the OECD that do, US and NZ.

      1. I’m in the US, so yeah, I’ve seen many a commercial for antidepressants, allergy control, and Viagra. Mr. Knight’s cartoon asserts that vaccine ads are exempt from stating common side effects, but I’m not sure vaccines are advertised much or that they’re exempt from those regulations. It’s a case of ‘citation plz’. The panel suggests that the woman was only sold on the childhood vaccine schedule due to an advertisement that failed to state side effects, asserts that the seizures are a side effect of the vaccines and that her doctor is lying to her.

        I’ve seen better work in a Chick Tract.

        1. now, that’s a great insult. I’ve seen the hpv virus vaccine advertised in various women’s mags and they have about two pages on what can happen with the vaccine. It seems that those who believe in nonsense have no problem in lying.

          1. Some of the art in Chick Tracts is of good quality, and I’d guess some panels took longer to do than this entire cartoon did. The lion’s share is horrible junk not even worth an initial glance, but there are a couple gems among the poop.

        2. There are ads for Shingles vaccines that sometimes play on the TV, but they always list side effects.

          So yeah, like clubschadenfreude said, he’s got no issues lying.

          1. You’re right, I had forgotten about those. For some reason the only one that came to mind that there would be ads for was Gardasil. Any vaccine that isn’t part of the childhood schedule, one you get when visiting tropical countries (malaria) or get when you work closely with animals (rabies) would probably be advertised somewhere, but I really don’t seem to run across them.

    2. I just watched a TV commercial for a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, and they certainly listed side effects. Which didn’t sound nearly as bad as the symptoms.

      1. I know here the side effects have to be listed, and I would think it’s highly likely they do in the US too.

  9. Australia has introduced legislation mandating vaccination for those who receive government benefits. There are two exceptions: medical (of course, good) and religious. So quack medical beliefs will not get you out of vaccinating your kids, but quack religious ones will too.

    And, once again, parents are able to put their children’s lives at risk for a belief system while their babies, who are vulnerable and unable to make a choice, suffer.

    Tony Abbot, Aussie PM, is a devout Catholic, so perhaps that explains his sympathy for weird and dangerous religions.

    1. The religious exemption is less bad than it seems on the surface. It has to be a real religion, which officially rejects vaccination.

      That at least prevents just any anti-vaccine nutcase from saying “it’s against my religion”, at least in theory.

  10. “The saddest part is that The Daily Kos has a reputation as a liberal site. Not any more, at least for me.”

    If you read some of the things that are posted at some other sites like Science-Based Medicine and Respectful Insolence, you will see that the anti-vaccine nonsense transcends the traditional liberal and conservative labels. Both sides of the aisle drink from that cup of poison.

    The Skeptical Raptor blog refers to the anti-vaxxers as a cult. I think that is an apt description. It is very much like a religion. Only legislation will bring some of those folks into line. The problem is that they are very vocal and attract attention.

    1. Yes. I wonder if the anti-vaxx rationalizations from the left might be generally different from those from the right. Lets see, there is distrust of big pharma, putting poisons in your body, fear of bad reactions, giving children autism, big government, and putting your fate in the hands of god. Only the last seems like a position from the right, but I am not sure where the others might fall.

      1. Most of these reasons that you listed cover both sides of the spectrum, to be honest.

        You have left/hippy-esque conspiracy nuts and the right/libertarian conspiracy nuts, with the left blaming companies and the right the government. The results are the same!

      2. The most radical on both sides say the same thing: “It’s a government plot to poison our kids!”

  11. I posted my thoughts in the comments section on the Daily Kos page. I referenced the excellent PBS Frontline episode on The Vaccine War. Who knows, it might make a positive difference. One can hope.

  12. Too bad they do not have a vaccine for dumb-ass. This guy has a bad case as do many of our republican friends.

  13. I have two kids in elementary school. The insanity of knowing that I send my kids to a school where not only are there unvaccinated kids, but their parents repeatedly boast their kids have no vaccination makes me ill. This shit has got to stop.

    Anti-vax is 100% correlated to ignorance and fear and strongly correlated to religious beliefs.

  14. Are these anti-vaxers too young to remember any of the scary diseases that have been defeated by vaccinations? Are they too ignorant to know what a scourge polio was before the Salk vaccine? Do they even know what diphtheria is?

    1. Some of them remember, but if asked they’ll always claim that it was something else that caused Polio to disappear, not vaccinations, and besides, the chances of being crippled for life or even dying aren’t nearly as serious as the autism (which causes the light to go out in your eyes and makes you a zombie).

      1. Which raises the question: do the anti-vaxxers even know what autism is, or do they sign up to some stereotype of what it is?

        1. since autism has become so widespread only in the last few years it can’t be vaccines some of which have been around since at least WW2 without causing problems. My belief, unsubstantiated of course by any evidence but compelling nonetheless, is that the fallout from government chemtrails is getting in the water supplies across the country. Obama knows all about this but it’s part of the evil plan he inherited from Bush so nothing will be done. Hillary if elected will double down on this program. Be warned America!!

          1. That’s rubbish. Everyone knows autism is a side-effect of insidious gay brainwashing in the arts and media. 😉

            1. I suspect every human has symptoms of autism, Aspergers, ADHD, not to mention paranoia and schizophrenia, to some extent depending on (a) what sort of day they’re having and (b) which shrink is doing the diagnosis. [/cynicism]

              (This is not to deny that some people genuinely have those things).

  15. I just sent an E-mail message to Daily Kos explaining why they would no longer get any contributions from me.

  16. There’s a good audio about this on a recent episode of “Point of Inquiry”. The interviewee is a doctor. He allows religious exemption for treatment for an !*individual*! disease (affecting only the sick person and their loved ones), but not for vaccination against infectious diseases!!

    He rightly points out that the purpose of a vaccination is to halt the !*spread*! of a disease and with a hyper-infectious disease that is potentially fatal like measles, one does NOT have an inalienable right to be the carrier of such a disease posing a potential but serious danger to the public.

    He states that medical statisticians estimate that you must vaccinate 90% of the public in order to halt the spread of measles. It is far more contagious than Ebola.

  17. Anti vaccine, anti GMO, pro alt med etc. seem to be the liberal equivalent of creationism, anti global warming, anti abortion of the conservative movement.

    1. Great point, kieran, one that I’ve been puzzling with quite alot recently. We tend to think, a priori, that just by virtue of providing sufficient evidence we can change minds re:anthropogenic climate change, GMOs, vaccination efficacy, and evolutionary theory.

      “Recalcitrant” is close but doesn’t begin to characterize the extent to which certain segments of the human population seem to be immune/allergic to evidence-based mental models. “Indoctrination” has a well-founded negative connotation in common parlance but I, for one, would be more than happy if our children and then students were “indoctrinated” to think critically at every juncture.

    2. Indeed. JAC’s comment on this point is remarkable. Anti-vax is strongly correlated with political liberalism. Kos has always been and is very liberal and partisan.

  18. “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic.” – Dale Carnegie

    1. That was my thought too – this cartoon is both unfunny and painfully didactic. (And maybe it’s not just the amount of text – XKCD can be just as text-heavy without making us feel we’re trapped next to a crank in a pub.)

    2. I’m really sick of the multi-panel, text-heavy political cartoons these days. The NYT has one of the worst.

  19. Sorry, on this I disagree.

    A healthy person is no danger to anyone, your comparison to already sick people doesn’t make sense.

    I agree that vaccines, in theory, are a terrific idea, but unfortunately today’s vaccines are not what they used to be.

    Drug companies falsify data about safety and efficacy, all in the name of profit.

    I watched my son nearly die withing minutes from his first vax, back in 1978, the Dr then told me to not vax him again and to not vax any of my future children because they could be brain damaged from them.

    I was lucky my son was only slightly impaired, he recovered fully with therapy. I have never vaxxed any of my kids and they have never caught anything, even the chicken pox eluded my attempts to infect them with every infected child I knew.

    The idea of vaxxing is great, but the truth is that it is a roll of the dice whether your child will be damaged from them, or if the vaccine will even work.

    1. hmmm, what did these vaccines “use to be”? It seems one more dribble of ignorance.

      More lies told by someone who has not a scrap of truth to their stories. To claim that everything is fine because your kids didn’t catch anything is nothing but the usual selfish bullshit that is peddled by anti-vaxxers. Screw everyone else who depends on vaccinations.

      I’m going to guess that you happily use antibiotics all of the time as well as every other benefit modern medicine offers, in your ignorant hypocrisy. I’m sure that you’d have a fit if Typhoid Mary served you and your children food and they came down with a very nasty disease.

    2. I am sorry for your experience, but I have no way of verifying your account about the connection to a vaccination. Let me just say that I have heard that adverse reactions to a vaccination can happen (I know there are medical label warnings for any medication), but they are, demonstrably, extremely rare in the case of vaccines.
      Lets put things into perspective.
      With the possible exception of your children, I would bet a stack of money that seat-belting a child into the back seat of a car and driving them down a residential street under the speed limit entails far more risk to life and limb than vaccinating children. Far more children are seriously injured or killed during routine car drives than by vaccinations.
      With that perspective in mind, it is more sensible to never let your children leave the house except to maybe get them vaccinated.

      1. “I’m not anti vaccine, I’m pro safe vaccine” It’s common, there are a small number of people who can’t be vaccinated and possibly this child is one.

        Big pharma invented the anti vaccine movement to scare people into leaving their kids exposed to diseases that will cause long term health problems, they make so much more money from chronic conditions. This is now my go to response to anti vaccine.

    3. How extremely misinformed and irresponsible.
      Vaccines are good in fact, not theory. Millions of lives have been saved by them, diseases essentially wiped out. And, vaccines are better today than they used to be (why on earth would you think otherwise?)

      The reason your children never “caught anything” is the other children they went to school with cam from families that were more responsible than you. You should thank them for vaccinating their children.

      I am sorry for your experience, but your Doctor’s recommendation was certainly wrong.

      Harsh, but true. This must stop.

    4. When were the “good old days” of great vaccines?

      Vaccines are much better than they used to be, not worse. And they cover far more diseases. Clearly you’ve never witnessed an epidemic.

      You child (or children potentially) could be good candidates for exemption from vaccination – based on health reasons, the only valid ones. That essentially makes them freeloaders off the the rest of immunized population, which herd immunity protects them for becoming infected. But everyone realizes there are special cases.

      You analogy of a dice role is completely wrong (you really need to check the data on this, I ham, it’s public information, easily located online.) A life-threatening reaction to a vaccine is (much) more like buying a single lottery ticket and winning the lottery with a randomly-generated series of numbers. It’s in the single-digit parts per million.

      You do realize that millions of children are fully vaccinated in the country (just the US) — every year. And a miniscule portion of them will have a serious reaction. You’re more likely to be hit by lightning. You are vastly more likely to be injured in a car wreck. Many more people per year die from taking aspirin.

      The most dangerous thing you ever do with your kids is put them into a car and drive it in traffic.

      And, consider the universal imperative: You are suggesting that all children not be vaccinated. That would take us back to the bad old days — with many thousands of children dying every year from preventable disease. I’m not seeing how this would be a better situation.

      The vaccination liability fund was created because people realize that some small percentage of people will be injured by vaccination (nothing is perfect in life). But the value of vaccination (the most effective medical procedure ever devised; has saved more lives than any other medical procedure) has been judged to be worth that financial cost to society.

      Short memory?

      1. You do realize that millions of children are fully vaccinated in the country (just the US) — every year. And a miniscule portion of them will have a serious reaction. You’re more likely to be hit by lightning. You are vastly more likely to be injured in a car wreck. Many more people per year die from taking aspirin.

        This is the key point that anti-vaxxers fail to “get,” and something that many people struggle with.

        Are there risks from vaccination, or from flying, or from regular exercise?

        Yes, of course. Absolutely. No question.

        But — and here’s the part far too many miss — there are also risks from not getting vaccinated, from driving, and from being sedentary.

        What you have to first do is accept that you’re fucked. There are risks, period, full stop, end of story — and nothing you can do to eliminate risk.

        What you can do is minimize your risks, and the best way to do that is to compare the risks of each side of the equation.

        There is a risk of injury or even death from exercise, but the risks are generally pretty minimal. But not exercising is perhaps the biggest risk for the most common cause of death, so you can minimize your overall risk by embracing the risk of exercise and eschewing the risk of being sedentary.

        There is a risk of dying an horrible death in an airliner if you fly…but the odds are much higher that you’ll die every bit as horrible a death just driving to the airport. There’s no guaranteed-safe way of traveling, but the risks from flying are the lowest of them all by leaps and bounds.

        There are non-zero but near-zero risks of something really nasty happening if you get vaccinated. There are very significant risks of something even nastier happening if you don’t get vaccinated — and those risks are to those around you even if you personally escape relatively unscathed.

        And it’s that last point that’s the real clincher. You may be fine taking on the additional risk for yourself…but you have no right to subject those around you to those risks. It’s reckless endangerment and simply unacceptable.



  20. Well when you don’t vaccinate you could get an education like this Canadian mother of 7 children did… “In the ongoing skirmishes between public health officials and vaccine skeptics, I’m scoring this one for the pro-immunization forces. A Canadian woman who had declined to have her children immunized against pertussis, better known as whooping cough, has changed her position now that all seven of her children have come down with the disease. Yes, Tara Hills was stuck in isolation at her Ottawa home for more than a week with her sick children and her regrets about refusing to vaccinate them against the highly contagious respiratory disease. Whooping cough, a bacterial infection, causes violent, uncontrollable coughing and is best known for the telltale sound victims make as they try to draw breath. Occasionally, it can be fatal, especially in infants less than a year old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Hills kids completed a course of antibiotics and were released from isolation Tuesday. “I set out to prove that we were right,” Hills said in an interview with the Washington Post, “and in the process found out how wrong we were.””

      1. Thanks for posting the link to that article. It did a better job of explaining Mrs. Hills evolution on her thinking about vaccines. She really put the time and effort into weighing the pros and cons of vaccinating her children. I understand that parents want to be informed about any medical treatment for their kids. I just fear that too many parents fall into the category that Mrs. Hill did when she stated, “I just didn’t trust civic government, the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry, and people in general. By default, I had excluded all research available from any major, reputable organization. Could all the in-house, independent, peer-reviewed clinical trials, research papers and studies across the globe ALL be flawed, corrupt and untrustworthy?” I hope more parents will follow her example.

  21. I wonder what these antivax twits would say if Typhoid Mary was serving them up a nice tasty meal. I’m sure they’d insist that her incarceration was completely wonderful and fair.

  22. I’m really wondering whether he actually asked 5 people these questions or if he’s just making things up. “You go out and ask 5 people about … And I’ll bet they prove my point!” Is an appeal to the common sense fairy, and not exactly a good sample size.

  23. How sad. I’ve been a follower and supporter of the K man for years, decades even. This really sucks.

    I’m tired of Doonesbury reruns too, so I think I’ll kill my daily dose of that. Not supporting idiots if I can help it. Poor Trudeau ran out of ideas (and apparently cartooning talent) many years ago.

  24. Is it possible that he’s actually calling out the Jenny McCarthyites, but in such an extremely ham-fisted way that we see it inside-out instead?

  25. The saddest part is that The Daily Kos has a reputation as a liberal site.

    I’m starting to think that the “liberal” label is past its sell-by date for people in our part of the ideological spectrum. Any more, liberals tend to be authoritarian ideologues who embrace positions that would have been anathema to those who fought for Civil Rights or pioneered the New Deal or crafted the Constitution or lit the candle of the Enlightenment.

    I’m not entirely sure what label we should adopt in its place. “Progressive” first springs to mind, but I’m not sure that it’s got enough space from “liberal” to do any good. “Rationalist” is always a good one, but I don’t know that people would identify it as a political stance.

    Something worth thinking about, I think….


    P.S. Still haven’t gotten to Greg’s essay…that’ll be a priority for tomorrow…. b&

    1. You’ve got it a bit backwards on the labels. Virtually all the left-wing ideologues we love so much identify as “progressive”.

      It’s that term which I now distance myself from. I’m a liberal, not a progressive, because I don’t like what a great many “progressives” are progressing towards.

      1. I think you’re both coming to the situation a bit late. “Progressive” came about when “liberal” was successfully demonized during the Reagan administration.

        The phenomenon that Pinker calls the “euphemism treadmill” has been around a long time. If we don’t stand up for perfectly good words we’re going to be constantly having to come up with substitutions.

        1. Yes, IMHO “liberal” is a word that is worth defending.

          Most of these folks are pseudo-liberals and/or looney-leftists, but as you imply we don’t really have a satisfactory term.

        2. It’s a bit different in this case, perhaps. Those who self-identify as “liberal” have shifted positions over time. Demographically, it’s the same basic group; they’ve just changed their minds. As such, it’s not unreasonable to let them have the label to describe themselves as a population…but we still need some way to identify the ideology that they used to but no longer represent that we do still represent.

          Otherwise, what word is there to describe all those sincere Democrats who are today well to the right of Nixon and Reagan? We can’t call them conservative, even those that’s an ideologically accurate label. And they themselves self-identify as liberal.

          I can’t at all in good conscience support the platform of the modern Democratic Party. I’d be happy signing on to the platform of the platform of the Democratic Party of the ’30s, of Roosevelt and the New Deal…but that’s not what the party stands for today and hasn’t been for ages. It lasted through Johnson’s Great Society…and was first eroded and then dismantled entirely — in large part with the consent if not active support of the Democratic Party.


  26. Well, I just wish I could ask questions about vaccines, how many a child gets and when for example, without being labeled an anti-vaxxer. It’s gotten to the point where even questioning gives a person that label, and I do think there ARE some questions that are legitimate. (My kids were vaccinated, by the way.)I am very surprised that Kos ran this because the anti-vax position has long been anathema on the site.

    1. Well, I just wish I could ask questions about vaccines, how many a child gets and when for example, without being labeled an anti-vaxxer. It’s gotten to the point where even questioning gives a person that label, and I do think there ARE some questions that are legitimate.

      Who’s doing that? I was under the impression anti-vaxxers were people who campaigned against vaccination – whether of a particular disease or in general – because of unjustified or disproportionate fears of vaccination. How vaccines are applied, and at what times and places, strikes me as business as usual within medicine.

      1. Who’s doing that?? Just about every blog like this one, not to mention Facebook. I cannot ask a question on most of the blogs I frequent without being accused of being anti-vaccine, which I am not!

        1. Nobody is hammering you for asking, “how many children get vaccinated every year?”

          I suggest this: Find out the number of children born here every year. Because school systems require vaccination, that number (births per year) will be, within quite tight tolerances, the number.

          In local pockets (Berkeley, CA) the percentage is higher (who refuse to vaccinate). But overall, people just do it.

          There are no data to support the suggestions of, for instance, Robert Sears. (He wants to sell a lot of books.)

        2. “I’m not anti-vax but. . . ”

          How many times over have I heard thi? As the convo goes on, it becomes more obvious that the person is anti-vax, sometimes extremely so. It’s usually pretty easy to tell if someone is genuinely asking questions for information, OR if they’re trying to be confrontative.

          And G*d knows, there are plenty of anti-vax blogs to chat with like minded people.

      2. I’m really surprised that people are this angry at Daily Kos for running this cartoon. Kos has always been pro-vaccine, and anyone who has voiced another opinion has pretty well been shouted down. As I said, I’m shocked that Kos ran this because the site has always, always despised anti-vaxxers. I couldn’t be more surprised.

  27. I don’t know why it surprises you that this was published on a liberal site. I know there are many on the religious right who are anti-vax, but every anti-vax post I’ve seen on social media has been from a liberal. Same with the term “Big Pharma”.

  28. Stuff like this makes me wonder if the anti-vax advocates genuinely think that they’re saving huge numbers of people from harm (and are either misinformed by someone or unaware of any flaws and cognitive errors in their thinking), or if it’s just brandishing their ideological purity to show how holier-than-Big-Pharma they are.

  29. Kos has become too strident and ‘with me or agin’ me’, much like Pharyngula. I still peruse it every couple of days, but I read less and less.

  30. I’ve been a commenter at Daily Kos for ten years, and was a lurker there long before I became a member. For quite some time, it was one of the few places one could go to find others who were not cheerleaders for the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.

    It’s a deceptively huge place, with over a million registered members, with some 2000 of those contributing content (in the form of “diaries” and/or comments to diaries.) There are two dozen or so “front pagers”, who may or may not be paid contributors.

    Once in a while, like the cartoon that Jerry is referencing, a poster puts up a diary that is execrable, to which commenters reliably, ruthlessly, and ferociously respond, by “HR”ing (hide-rating) the poster, who is usually subsequently banned from the site. Anti-vaxxers, in particular, have a grim fate, and cannot survive there for long.

    I don’t expect people who are unfamiliar with the culture at DKos to give it a wave-off when they read something about it that isn’t to their liking, but complaining about dKos posts is like taking a picture from a speeding train and criticizing the view out the window. By the time you’ve read something objectionable, dKos users have already likely dealt with both the poster and the poster’s content, as happened in this case, and which is why, when you click on the link at the top of Jerry’s OP, you get the message, “Error! Diary not found!”

    Maybe not condemn the entire site this time?

    1. I believe Keith Knight is a paid contributor to daily Kos, as he is a well known and published alternative cartoonist.

      1. Perhaps. Who Markos pays and doesn’t is not something that he’s chosen to disclose. Regardless, and as you can see, community moderation deals with the paid the same way it deals with the unpaid: quickly and ruthlessly if the posting is deemed unacceptable to community norms and standards.

  31. The only heartening bit is how most of the commenters contribute to giving Knight a new sphincter.

    So, let’s see … if insects and annelids and most phyla are protostomes (mouth forms before the anus), and chordates, echinoderms and a few (very few) others are deuterostomes (anus forms before the mouth)
    . . . then anti-vaxxers are triplostomes?

  32. Why should the religious be compelled to get vaccinations!

    If all others are vaccinated, they are now immune from the diseases that the un-vaccinated religious may contract?

    Furthermore, only the religious would now be susceptible to those diseases.

    It should be JC’s dream, that the religious refuse vaccination and we accommodate those requests.

    JC, a rethink maybe???

    1. That’s not how it works, Steve. Unvaccinated people put others at risk, particularly people who are too young to get vaccinated themselves. And children of religious parents are too young to decide for themselves in any case. They deserve protection from disease even if their parents are idiots.

      1. And vaccines are not 100% effective so it is possible that I could be vaccinated but the vaccine happened not to work for me. In this case, I rely on herd immunity to protect me. If I come into contact with an unvaccinated person who is sick, I too could fall ill to no fault of my own. If I happen to have other health issues, it could kill me.

        Other people who cannot be vaccinated include the sick, especially children going through chemotherapy (adults have usually already been vaccinated) and exposure to a pathogen would quickly kill them.

        1. Yes — exactly. Many people are under the misunderstanding that a vaccine is a guarantee that you won’t get the disease it protects against. It doesn’t — with a caveat.

          What it does is very significantly reduce the chances you’ll get the disease; and, if you do, again, very significantly increases the chance you’ll only get a mild form of it.

          The caveat?

          When vaccination of the host population gets high enough — typically above 90%, sometimes as high as 98% — the disease goes extinct in short order.

          That’s how we got rid of smallpox and why (almost) nobody gets smallpox vaccinations any more.

          We were almost there with Polio, too…and then the fuckwits forgot about the horrors of the iron lung….


          1. We were almost there with Polio, too…and then the fuckwits forgot about the horrors of the iron lung….

            TTBOMK the main opposition to the polio eradication campaigns are more over propaganda about anti-western ideas. Boko Haram have been killing a number of people working on the polio eradication campaign, and for sure the number wasted limbs and home-made wheel chairs in the beggars of Benin point out that people there know perfectly well what polio means. Doesn’t stop Boko Haram killing polio eradication workers because they’re “working for western organisations” (if you consider the WHO western … well you can argue that both ways), because they’re not halal (I don’t know how they get to that conclusion. Probably pulling from the arse with a mighty flourish. In Pakistan’s “tribal areas … well it seems to be continuing backlash from the war over the border in Afghanistan. There are some problems in central India (or were last time I paid attention to the issue), but I don’t know much about the reasoning for that.
            Oh, I knew there was something I’d been forgetting. Of course, it’s re-emerging in Syrian refugee camps. Wars are always good for diseases.
            No doubt there are anti-vaxx fuckwits keeping America (and to a lesser extent, Canada and Britain), but for the moment they’re relatively safe, and the real battle against polio is happening in Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.

            1. Not helped, of course, by the CIA poisoning the well. Boko Haram are a really nasty bunch of fuckwits but they’re not the only ones out there. I wonder if that CIA operation is what gave Boko Haram the notion?

              1. Don’t make the mistake of confusing “dangerous and nasty” with “stupid”. Just because you (and I) don’t like Boko Haram (and many others) doesn’t mean that they’re stupid.
                They may be stupid, but that’s by no means certain.

              2. No I never confuse ‘nasty’ with ‘stupid’, the two are independent variables. Nor do I regard suicide bombers as ‘cowardly’, for example.

                My use of ‘fuckwit’ I guess referred to their bizarre and evil social/religious attitudes. Possibly not quite the right word, maybe I should have said ‘scum’ instead.

      2. In other words the unvaccinated are parasites on the rest of society. They’ll take any ‘herd immunity’ going, thanks, without contributing to it themselves.

      3. If we were dealing with 1-2% of people opting out of immunizations, there probably wouldn’t be a problem. But as the anti-vax proportion grows, herd (group) immunity gets compromised and outbreaks and even epidemics happen.

        As for protecting small children from disease, well yes, to the best of our abiltiy, they’ll be protected. But, there are always the dipsticks out there who go out in public knowing they’re sick with something, and in many cases, a person is contagious for days before s/he has symptoms.

    2. Steve wrote:
      “Why should the religious be compelled to get vaccinations!”

      It’s not the religious who should be compelled to get vaccinations, it’s the children of the religious, the ones who actually suffer from being unvaccinated and are too young to even know what religion is, who should get vaccinations. But, of course, the religious are not compelled to vaccinate their children in 48 states, and won’t be for as long as the religious have a stranglehold on the American legal system. Which is certainly for the foreseeable future.

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