July 20, 2016

Jill Stein, closet #antivaxxer? (Versus uncloseted #Hillbots, #Hillary woo-loving)

Editor's note: This is one of those blog posts that I start a full week in advance, to give me time to research.

I'm not sure which is worse, that Dr. Jill Stein, in this statement, put out a mix of political pander and pablum worthy of a Republican or Democrat, or that that triple-P led to accusations she is  hiding being an antivaxxer. (She's not; the images is from her FB site.)

Or that a self-described Hillbot is mischaracterizing part of her stances.

But the triple-P still has scientific issues and problems, as well as other issues, setting aside that Stein is not an antivaxxer.

Let's talk the actual medical side, first.

EVERY STATE has some sort of medical exemption. contra her implication that such things don't exist in the US. She may not be an antivaxxer per se, but she's either willing to pander to them or else GROSSLY under/misinformed for someone both an MD and a presidential candidate. 

And, a number of other countries either have modified mandatory vaccination or else cash incentives.

Next, yes, funding for the FDA isn't perfect. But, you know what, Stein? (I'm dropping the "Dr." for right now.) But? The supplements industry isn't regulated AT ALL. People die from tainted supplements, from supplement overdoses and from mixing supplements.

Know what else? The supplements industry is big money itself Ask Orrin Hatch. Let's hashtag #BigSupplements just like #BigPharma. No, Sundown or GNC aren't as big as Pfizer, but they're not nothingburgers, and I haven't even mentioned wingnut cult supplements shiller Amway.

Here's the bottom line, on reality, on what's problematic about Stein bashing #BigPharma while turning a blind eye to #BigSupplements. Note two quotes.
"Drugs are considered unsafe until proven safe."
"Dietary supplements are considered safe until proven unsafe."
Waiting for somebody to call the American Cancer Society a shill for #BigPharma. (And on one thread, seriously or facetiously, somebody did.)

Orrin Hatch pushed for supplements regulation to be weakened, and it was in 1994, with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Besides lobbying bucks, this was good general business for Hatch's Utah. Ever since they discovered the ephedra in Mormon tea made a good church-legal replacement for caffeine, Mormons have been big on supplements.

Don't believe me that this weakened regulation, and badly so? Read then-FDA commissioner David Kessler.

Stein either knows all this, and is sadly pandering AGAINST consumer safety and FOR hypercapitalism to satisfy fringe (or not-fringe?) Green voters, or else she's horrifically clueless. I know she's carefully dodged both regulatory and testing issues on a variety of pseudomedicine, including homeopathy, and the aforementioned supplements industry.

Related to this is that Stein doesn't separate health safety issues from business issues. We could allow reimportation of drugs from Canada or other things to lower prices.

Besides, the CDC showed last week that it's NOT in the pockets of #BigPharma by yanking a nasal flu vaccine from shelves. (Yes, it's not the FDA, but it is a federal agency with some regulatory powers in the health world.)

As for the degree of mistrust people have of the FDA, the Green Party platform contributes to that rather than fighting it. Individual Green voters, many of who ARE antivaxxer, irrationally contribute even more. And Stein, with her political pander and pablum, at a minimum, doesn't help fight the trust issue in a good way.

And, for good measure, let's hashtag #BigOrganic, which funds a lot of opposition to #GMO crops. Which crops, by the way, the USDA allowed to be called organic, if farmed in organic fashion, until the early 1980s.

Oh, and Jill, it's lobbyists paid by #BigSupplements and #bigOrganic that have lead to that.

And, if you actually do think GMOs as food (not talking the Big Ag business model) are evil, Frankenfoods or whatever, I suggest you read with an open mind the set of brief pieces by liberal environmental magazine Grist, collectively entitled "Panic-Free GMOs." Again, I'm seeing Greens who either haven't read it or else refuse to read it — which is sadly nothing new.

Beyond that, on GMOs, many individual Greenies smack of upper-middle-class type white elitism. (Some are also among the types, I'll venture, that didn't know, until Obamacare, that Whole Foods is owned by a thoroughgoing libertarian.) Co-op farms can't raise the same amount of produce as modern commercial truck farming. What they do raise is more expense. Urban poor and working class, largely of color, can't afford most of that, can't find it in their groceries and don't have the time to hunt for farmers' markets. Even if we worked to partially address 2 and 3, 1 will still be an issue.

That said, I've long been aware, and blogged about, the Green Party's pro-homeopathy stance, as well as its anti-GMO one. I've cut it slack on both.

Another blogger claims she opposes homeopathy. Rather, to me, the changes she got the party to make look more like PR than opposition. Sorry. I can't honestly say whether she's anti-homeopathy or not. At a minimum, nobody's shown me a link to something clear and unequivocal.

But, antivaxxerism, unless Stein clarifies just what she believes or not, may well be a bridge too far. And, even if Stein's not an antivaxxer herself, I honestly doubt she'll pull back from the political pablum pandering of that Reddit piece. (A good anti-hypercapitalist would also, like me, recognize her narrow-/simplemindedness on only Big Pharma.)

Sadly, many Greens are turning as tribalist on this issue as Hillbots.

Otherwise, outside the actual medical issues, the mix of pablum and pandering in her statement is something I expect from Democrats and Republicans, but definitely don't want in third-party candidates.

Otherwise, I blogged about my reservations about the Green Party's platform in some depth in 2008, and shorter in 2012. I called for a Science and Reason Party a full decade ago.

I've cut it more slack, as a third party in a duopoly-driven system and because no Socialist party has ballot access in Texas. But I have limits and boundaries.

If Stein's even "half an antivaxxer," she needs to be honest so I can cut my ties now rather than dangle.

On the third hand, at least one self-identified Hillbot (same link as first reference near top; read to bottom of piece and laff) is doing shit-stirring over this. I'll vote for Stein, personal and party imperfections included, just to piss off someone like that, for reasons I explain here.

On the fourth hand, another Patheos blogger is in Stein spin mode.

On the fifth hand, California's Democratic Party (shock) also supports pseudomedicine:
California Democrats will…support generally accepted holistic healing practices and alternative medicine, particularly those areas licensed by the state such as acupuncture and medical cannabis and utilized to relieve intractable pain without the side effects of conventional controlled drugs.

Acupuncture has no scientific support. (I will note that Big Pharma is probably going to double down on its fight against pot.)

And Hillary's own medical guru is a celeb doctor who flirts with quack ideas and has also worked with Rick Warren.

On the sixth hand, Stein has a surprisingly sexist view of motherhood.

I'm near the point of either:
A. Voting Green for the primary purpose of pissing off Hillbots and little else, or
B. Not voting, to piss off BOTH Hillbots and the lunatic fringe, or maybe lunatic semi-mainstream, of Greens.

However, Option A is better.

This all said, I feel kind of sad for Stein. She's a semi-true believer on a fair amount of Green woo, I think, but not a total true believer on all of it. And now, she's trying to straddle two horses.

As for the Green Party? It might do well recruiting "Berniecrats," given the percentage of conspiracy theorists in both groups.

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