Well You Wouldn't Want Ron Johnson To *Disagree* That COVID Vaccine Causes AIDS, That Would Be Rude!
This is a bad person.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin, he works in a lumber mill there) agreed with a rightwing anti-vaxxer who was interviewing him that it "may be true" that the COVID vaccines cause AIDS (a claim that is absolutely not true). But to his credit, Sen. Johnson very responsibly urged fellow loons not to jump the gun and start prosecuting health officials like Anthony Fauci, at least not until there's enough popular support for stringing up doctors, researchers, and public health officials, OK?
Truly, the man is a model of political moderation and statesmanship.
As the Wisconsin Examiner reports, Johnson offered his encouragement of the dangerous anti-vaccine bullshit while being interviewed on the wingnut platform Rumble by anti-vaccine lawyer Todd Callender, who spouted a load of conspiracy theory bullshit:
On Rumble, anti-vaxxer Todd Callender says \u201c[COVID] shots caused vaccine-induced AIDS. They purposefully gave people AIDS.\u201d\n\nRon Johnson: "You gotta do one step at a time. Everything you say may be true. But right now, the public views the vaccines as largely safe and effective."pic.twitter.com/BhnulgiasF— Heartland Signal (@Heartland Signal) 1651600676
Callender "explained" that it's high time to start criminally charging public health officials for all the AIDS that is, we will again repeat, not actually being spread by vaccines.
Callender: The way to approach this is from a criminal point of view because that’s what has happened. And until we start holding people accountable, Fauci number one, you’re going to see people still falling out, still getting sick,” Calendar said. “You’ve got more than a hundred doctors here, all of whom will tell you that these shots caused vaccine-induced AIDS. they purposefully gave people AIDS. They knew this.
Johnson replied that all might be completely factual (it is absolutely not), but it would be premature to start the trials for "crimes against humanity" just yet, since too many Americans still think science is real, the fools.
Johnson: Let me challenge you there, that’s way down the road. You’ve gotta do one step at a time. Everything you say may be true, but right now the public views the vaccines as largely safe and effective, that vaccine injuries are rare and mild. That’s the narrative, that’s what the vast majority of the public accepts. So until we get a larger percentage of the population with their eyes open to ‘woah, these vaccine injuries are real, why?’ You’ve got to do it step by step, you can’t leap to crimes against humanity, you can’t leap to another Nuremberg trial.
You see, Johnson isn't saying vaccines actually cause AIDS, he's just saying that even if they do — which he didn't bother pointing out is pure bullshit — it's too soon to start hauling doctors before tribunals that will put them to death. Happily, Johnson did appear to hold out hope that some great day, such trials might happen, at least once enough Americans have their "eyes open" to the claims of snake oil merchants like Callender.
As the story points out, this isn't Johnson's first ride on the "COVID did AIDS " carousel, either. In December of last year, Johnson marked World Aids Day by appearing on a Fox News podcast to suggest that, back in the Before Times, Fauci had exaggerated the seriousness of the AIDS pandemic, just like he's now pretending that COVID is anything to worry about.
“Fauci did the exact same thing with AIDS. He overhyped it,” Johnson told “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade.
“He created all kinds of fear, saying it could affect the entire population when it couldn’t. And he’s doing, he’s using the exact same playbook with COVID, ignoring therapy, pushing a vaccine,” the senator said, receiving no pushback from the host.
You see, what he's getting at there is that AIDS too was no big deal, since normal people were at no risk of anything worse than having to watch that one Tom Hanks movie. Like, just in case anyone needed that decoded.
Johnson has constantly downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, right from the beginning, pushing fake treatments like hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, and even suggesting mouthwash is a good treatment. (Do we need to say it is not?) He has also spread so many anti-vaccine lies that he was suspended from YouTube.
In conclusion, please, Wisconsin, PLEASE vote this idiot out of office this fall. We'll still have plenty of dipshits left to write about.
Update: Well when you're right, you're right. Ron Johnson has now confirmed he was just pretending to go along with dangerous medical misinformation to be nice:
"Obviously I wasn't saying it. It's total bullshit," Johnson said.\u00a0\n\n"I can't control who's on these Zoom calls.. It was a\u00a0blow-off. You can spout about 10 different things and rather than argue with it, [say] 'OK, that may be true,' here's what we need to do."— Igor Bobic (@Igor Bobic) 1651693744
Ron Johnson says his call with a lawyer who falsely said COVID vaccines cause AIDS was misconstrued. He claims he told the man "that may be true" as a way to dismiss his theories, gesturing with his hand and making a sweeping motion.
"Obviously I wasn't saying it. It's total bullshit," Johnson said. "I can't control who's on these Zoom calls.. It was a blow-off. You can spout about 10 different things and rather than argue with it, [say] 'OK, that may be true,' here's what we need to do."
If you gesture with your hand and make a sweeping motion, you can say just about anything, including endorsing crackpot bullshit you don't really agree with.
Which sort of leaves open the question of why Johnson agreed to go on Loon Internet Radio in the first place, or why he went on to talk about holding "Nuremberg trials" for health officials, now doesn't it?
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The vaccine for kids under 5 could finally be here — in June.
At long last, parents of very young kids may soon be able to get their little darlings vaccinated against COVID-19. Moderna today submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its vaccine for use in young children aged 6 months through five years, citing clinical trials showing the vaccine is effective in preventing serious illness in that age group. The FDA is expected to make a final decision on whether to authorize the vaccine for little kids by June.
As of right now, children under 5 are the only age group in the US who aren't yet authorized to get vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available for all ages 5 and up, but the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are only approved for folks 18 and up.
NBC News reports that the Moderna vax for kids will be two 25-microgram doses given four weeks apart; that's a quarter of the adult dose.
Unlike the adult vaccines, clinical trials of the child dosage found that it isn't especially effective at preventing infection with the coronavirus, but Moderna is pursuing approval because it does prevent serious illness.
Moderna chief medical officer Dr. Paul Burton told NBC News that the lower efficacy against infection was due to the extremely contagious omicron variant, which has dealt a blow to the effectiveness of the current vaccines for other age groups as well.
Still, the two-dose vaccine for young children provides a “good level of protection” and “can protect these kids,” Burton said.
The vaccine will be a huge relief for parents, since one of the scarier things about Omicron is that when it was surging earlier this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that kiddos under 5 were hospitalized roughly five times as often as they had been during the earlier Delta variant wave of 2021.
The Omicron wave got a lot of kids and teenagers sick, too, NBC News notes:
The CDC estimates that, by February, three-quarters of children and teens in the U.S. caught Covid at least once, though agency officials noted it remains unclear how long that protection from those previous infections will last or whether it's as robust as the protection provided by the vaccines.
But since the "natural" immunity resulting from previous infection varies widely from person to person, having a vaccine that provides more predictable protection from serious illness will be extremely valuable in keeping kids healthy.
Pfizer is also getting ready to try again for FDA authorization of its vaccine for kids under five; it had submitted an application for authorization of a two-dose vaccine earlier this year, but then withdrew the request because clinical trial data didn't show it was particularly effective, and the FDA asked for more testing with a three-dose regimen instead. NBC News notes that it's not clear yet whether the FDA would authorize the two companies' vaccines for tots "one at a time, or hold off and authorize both at the same time," which might reduce confusion and ensure supplies are available more widely.
A bit farther out, Moderna is also preparing to
seek authorization for a booster dose for the age group. The shot could be available in the fall, [Burton] said, and could be a so-called bivalent vaccine, which targets two strains of the coronavirus in a single shot.
Separately, Pfizer this week has submitted paperwork for authorization of booster shots for its vaccine for kids aged five to 11; currently, boosters are only available for ages 12 and up.
You know what would also be really good? If Republicans in Congress would recognize that the virus is still dangerous (it's still killing 376 people a day), and without a new funding package, there soon won't be any money for vaccines, testing, or treatment, to say nothing of developing and distributing new vaccines and treatments.
Maybe we could start a rumor that the virus is turning people gay. That might shake loose some funding.
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OR DOES HE.
Fox News host Sean Hannity, never one to let a good fabrication get in the way of reality, lied his fool face off Friday and insisted that he had never once recommended the deworming medication ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. But he did it on his syndicated radio show, so you couldn't see his fool face come off, and they put it back on him before his Fox News TV show.
Fact check: bullshit. Media Matters debunks the claim in hilarious detail, noting multiple occasions when Hannity did in fact say that ivermectin was a legitimate treatment for the deadly infection. This is where we remind you again that ivermectin is great if your farm animals have worms, but it doesn't do diddly for COVID, as seen recently in yet another controlled study. The new study, from Brazil, found that ivermectin did nothing to prevent hospitalizations or severe illness among people who'd been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Read More: Horse Paste Officially Horse Sh*t — Science
Hannity was absolutely certain he's blameless when it comes to spreading medical misinformation, all while spreading even more medical misinformation. Noting that infections are increasing due to the new BA.2 version of the Omicron variant, Hannity groused that the government had cruelly stopped letting everyone have monoclonal antibody treatments that had worked perfectly, although he left out the minor detail that all but one of those treatments were ineffective against Omicron (hey, that's only been known since January).
Then it was on to his lie about horse paste. Hannity asked his producer to back him up on his perfectly unblemished record of pure medical fact, as long as you ignored the previous 60 seconds.
Hannity: People wrote this story, by the way, that I had been telling people [to use] ivermectin. Linda, is that not the one thing that I kept saying, there’s not a single study that I’ve seen that shows that it works?
Producer: One hundred percent.
Hannity: And I've also said, and repeated, that the manufacturer of ivermectin said "Neeaah, we don't want it used for off-label use for COVID. [Hannity really made sort of a horse noise there — Dok] There's no evidence that it works.
Hannity then added that maaaaaybe some of his guests might have mentioned ivermectin as "part of their protocol; anecdotally they say it works,” and insisted that "there have been studies" that showed that hydroxychloroquine, in fact, taken early, mitigates symptoms." (Fact check: he didn't mention that larger clinical trials showed no such effects.)
Media Matters put together a fun video starting with Hannity's claim that he'd never once promoted ivermectin, followed by clips of Hannity very much touting ivermectin.
Including the multiple examples in the video, Media Matters notes that Hannity's show mentioned ivermectin at least 25 times during the pandemic, between December 2020 and early April of this year. However, maybe Hannity really is the good guy here, since his show only included the fourth-most mentions of the useless drug among all Fox broadcasts. Surely there's some sort of "Not as bad as Tucker" Miss Congeniality prize?
A few details! Note that by the time Hannity (like the rest of Fox News) was pushing horse paste, there were plentiful supplies of the highly effective COVID-19 vaccines available, which prevent deaths and hospitalizations for serious disease, but also help reduce the spread of the virus.
- July 13, 2021: "We now have numerous studies about therapeutics, Regeneron, ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, that show that taken early, it can mitigate symptoms of COVID-19."
- August 2, 2021: "We're also going to discuss something often overlooked and that is the incredible therapeutics that are now being used to treat not just breakthrough cases, but all cases. That includes, yes, the [monoclonal antibody] cocktail known as Regeneron, the Eli Lilly version of Regeneron. Even, yes, hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin. You get to decide.”
- August 6, 2021: "Therapeutics like Regeneron and ivermectin as well as other proactive treatments and practices were already helping COVID-19 patients all across the country."
Hannity's final mention of the miraculous horse paste was just a little over two months ago, on February 2, when he defended Joe Rogan for taking ivermectin along with a lot of other crap. By then, Hannity had backed off his earlier claims that ivermectin was clinically proven, but he certainly didn't say ivermectin was useless, just that he'd "never seen a study on ivermectin."
In conclusion, hooray for Sean Hannity, who managed to lie several times about treatments for COVID-19 while insisting he'd always warned people away from horse paste. Give that man a commemorative bronzed road apple from the county fair!
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Maybe they were dangerous giant mutant super scientists?
During an unseasonable heat wave in Los Angeles Wednesday, a group of climate activists protested outside the JP Morgan Chase building downtown. Four scientists — a climate scientist, a science teacher, an engineer, and a physicist — chained themselves to the bank's doors as part of a global climate protest organized by the groups Extinction Rebellion and Scientist Rebellion.
The protest was held just a few days after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released an alarming new report saying the world can still meet the best-case Paris goal for limiting the damage done by global warming, but only by making "immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors," and far more quickly than industrialized nations have committed to — to say nothing of the enormous greenhouse gas emissions actually happening.
LAist's Erin Stone describes the protest:
The four men — climate scientist Peter Kalmus, science educator Allan Chornak, physicist Greg Spooner and engineer Eric Gill — donned white lab coats and chained themselves to the bank’s front doors in protest of the bank’s investments in coal, oil and gas projects. They chose JP Morgan Chase because the bank has funded more new fossil fuel projects than any other bank, according to a report by a group of NGOs.
The other climate activists soon joined the scientists, marching and chanting while holding up signs reading “Chase fuels the crisis” and “1.5° is dead! Climate revolution now!”
NASA Climate scientist Peter Kalmus choked up as he spoke about the stakes, and the price of inaction: "The scientists of the world have been being ignored and it’s got to stop [...] we're going to lose everything."
@ClimateHuman chokes up speaking when talking about his son and why he\u2019s chaining himself to Chase bank entrance, along w three other scientists:pic.twitter.com/r2vt8YDy3n— Erin Stone (she/her) (@Erin Stone (she/her)) 1649275948
We’re not joking, we’re not lying, we’re not exaggerating. This is so bad that we’re willing to take this risk and more and more scientists and more and more people are gonna start joining us.
After the small, peaceful protest had gone on for a few hours, the Los Angeles Police Department sent in riot officers; one activist group estimated on Twitter that there were about 10 cops for each protester:
LOS ANGELES CLIMATE PROTEST\n\nAre you all seeing LAPD\u2019s response to a few climate scientists chained to a door? There\u2019s about 10 for each protestor.\n\nLAPD is going all out in riot gear in preparation for the cop riot. Where are the elected officials in Los Angeles? This is absurd.pic.twitter.com/op3pacRdGz— People's City Council - Los Angeles (@People's City Council - Los Angeles) 1649287541
Around 5 p.m., the cops declared the protest an unlawful assembly, and cleared everyone out: protesters, media, and onlookers.
Officers clear the whole block.pic.twitter.com/F4yL4OHWbn— Erin Stone (she/her) (@Erin Stone (she/her)) 1649289058
The world continues to spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere this morning and every morning, and the IPCC warns that by the time it releases its next report on climate mitigation, in five or six years, humanity will have most likely burned through the remainder of the "carbon budget" that's left before there's too much CO2 in the atmosphere to meet the Paris goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.
The only good news here is that it's still not too late to limit the damage: For every tenth of a degree we can limit total warming, the planet will be a little better off, a little less screwed. If the options for our future are "pretty fucked" and "enormously, civilization-threateningly fucked," then we'll take the version with less fucked in it, please.
But we need to demand immediate action. It's a matter of life and death. We're all in the lifeboats now, so grab an oar and row for dear life.
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