5/26/2010

The Rally in Chicago: An Exercise in Delusions

I, so that you don't have to, am watching this rally on live stream. I'll update the post as the rally commences.


The crowd response sounds like there's a couple dozen people there.


First lie: Louise Kuo Habakus says thousands of people are watching online. As of  3:05 pm central time, 186 viewers were watching.










"Vaccination choice is a human right."


Since vaccines aren't compulsory, this is a bit of a stretch. The first speaker is trying to connect vaccinations with the right to life, liberty, etc. And of course, Mary Holland almost immediately brings in the holocaust and is trying to suggest that vaccinations are tantamount to experimentation without informed consent.


Second lie: they aren't anti-vaccine. Holland immediately proves she is with the holocaust references. She talks about how vaccines are inarguably unsafe because an unknown small set will be harmed (I guess she's against all drugs, then, and is for people dying and suffering).  She argues there is no free informed consent because schools and jobs require vaccination. It's a stupid argument. There are exemption She's calling it a compulsory vaccination program. It is not. She knows this, because she keeps flipping between mandatory and compulsory as if they mean the same thing.


Habakus introduces idea two: that American children are not well. Even if that were true, it beats being dead. Converse, the next speaker, is a registered dietician, and argues that mild malnutrition is to blame for illness. There is no doubt that she provides accurate information concerning the importance of nutrition. However, that doesn't get around the fact that she offers some inaccurate information: she argues that American children are more chronically ill then ever before and that the one difference between now and before is the number of vaccinations. Seriously, that's the only change? Converse believes that vaccines kill and hurt more than they save.


Converse then says some horrendous crap about doctors saying that those who die from vaccines were defective and were going to die anyway? Seriously.


And it really sounds like there are like a dozen or so folks. At 3:23, there are 205 online viewers.


Big Idea Three deals with the military and their vaccination status. Captain Richard Rovet is the third speaker at the rally. As a former soldier, as the wife of a retired soldier who served in the first Gulf War, I understand the need to protect soldiers,  the need for discipline. Rovet argues that a quarter of the soldiers in the first gulf war have Gulf War Syndrome. 


Rovet argues that the anthrax vaccination is responsible for gulf war syndrome, specifically, squalene MF59, is implicated. Rovet gets choked up recounting horror story anecdotes and then jumps into conspiracy theories involving lobbies and defense contractors.


Habakus's big idea 4: everyone deserves vaccination choice. The problem is everyone has it. The Somali story is apparently going to be up. Abdulkadir Khalif speaks on behalf of the Somali immigrants. Khalif accuses schools and hospitals of bullying people into vaccination. Khalif has the balls to say that a "family with no children is happier than a family with several autistic children."


The problem with a lot of this by the speakers is that the information is not accurate. Now, this isn't surprising; look who's doing the talking.


206 online viewers as of 3:34. Yeah, where are the thousands watching? Methinks the AoAers and "vaccination-choice" folks were way off when they were estimating their power base.


Big idea number five: ah crap: gardasil. Geez. More misinformation. More bull. More lies. The speaker's daughter fell ill THREE WEEKS after the vaccination. Yes, must have been the vaccination. Couldn't be any other explanation whatsoever. Crap. What follows is a long, harrowing story that proves nothing. Of course the medical community wouldn't go on the record saying it was gardasil; nothing about this anecdote leads one to believe that gardasil did this. Pingel, whose story is heartbreaking, choked up and Habakus stepped up and finished Pingel's speech.


217 online watchers as of 3:42. The crowd sounds a bit louder now.


Habakus then argues a complete strawman. People already have vaccination choice. No one argues that vaccines are perfectly safe and no one argues that everyone should get them. The government already tells the truth concerning vaccine safety. Habakus then invokes Bernedette Healy.


And the free and informed consent nonissue is raised again. Of course, the unvaccinated and vaccinated study canard is raised again.


Big idea 6: parental rights. Hah, almost no claps. Sirens sound, and Habakus quips that they're coming for them. William Wagner raises the slavery issue and talks about how much fun that was. Emotionalism is rampant here. Choked up voices, drama, anecdote. "All things sacred face destruction." OMG. 


That's about all I'm gonna stand for now. I'm taking my kids swimming.  3:53 and 231 viewers are watching (some, as Sirenity volunteers, are not the wackawoos). I've paused the stream. If I can stomach the rest, I will wade through the rest.  5:29pm update--pausing the feed didn't work, so I've missed the rest of it. Anyone who watched the rest of it and wants to offer their commentary, either add it in the comments, or email me and I'll add it to the rest of this post.


Excellent article on skeptics who mounted a counter-protest and got their photo taken with Wakefield can  be found here.


All in all, though, I think I was better served taking my kids out to swim. :-)

7 comments:

Sirenity said...

Lovely job Kim.

Funny how the anti vaccine crowd is so loud that even the news teams thinks there are hundreds of thousands of supporters, (Yes I am being a smart ass) yet what they are is a relatively small yet extremely loud group of extremists.

PS I count as one of the viewers. We are giggling at this fiasco at work.

Sirenity said...

I have to jump ahead, big idea #7 big pharma blah blah.

we can get vaccines at mcdonalds??? awesome!!

David said...

I distinctly recall seeing a photo last fall of a protest over the swine flu vaccine. There were maybe five people with signs on steps, and it could clearly be seen that the steps behind were empty.
For some reason, I couldn't find it the next time I went looking for it.

Attila The Mom said...

You always post the best stuff!

KWombles said...

Getting vaccines at McDonald's along with a gluten and casein loaded happy meal has to be the AoAer's worst nightmare.

Thanks, Atilla. I try! :-)

christophersmom said...

The rally was a complete fiasco. Not even AoA was able to post a picture with any type of crowd, only lone members of their cult, including Dr. Wakefield. There's a funny post by a skeptical blogger where she and a friend posed with Dr. Wakefield while wearing a necklace that says "hug me, I'm vaccinated".

Kristen said...

"Khalif has the balls to say that a "family with no children is happier than a family with several autistic children.""

Unbelievable! People who say things like this don't deserve children (or oxygen, IMHO).