Do Vaccines Cause Amish?

“Vaccines cause autism” – this myth is so absurd that even the most credulous don’t even believe it. But that does not stop those who tend to believe despite real evidence to the contrary. In addition to this blatant lack of critical thinking, the Vaccine cause autism group has made up their own evidence to support their claim. Many groups have used fake Amish studies to prove that vaccines cause autism by stating there are no autistic Amish. If this is true, then they may have a shred of evidence to support their anti-scientific, anti-health, anti-children rhetoric. But of course it is not true.

The claim began to pick up steam when reporter, Dan Olmstead conducted a pitiful excuse for a survey in a predominately Amish community in Pennsylvania. In the study, Olmstead foolishly claimed that out of everyone in Lancaster County, he could only find three children with autism and that two of those children were vaccinated.

A local woman told me there is one classroom with about 30 “special-needs” Amish children. In that classroom, there is one autistic Amish child. Another autistic Amish child does not go to school. The third is that woman’s pre-school-age daughter. If there were more, she said, she would know it.

The most fallible part of this anti-scientific “study” is that it relies on two false assumption that the Amish do not vaccinate their children and that the Amish do not get autism. Although they are lower than the average, the Amish do actually vaccinate their children. And, unfortunately, the Amish do have autism within their population anyway of a rate of 1 in 271 in a study confuted by the International Society of Autism Research.

The article that spurred me to write about this myth is a recently published article by snopes – but this is a battle of wits that has been raging for a few decades now. The unfortunate part of this battle of wits the vaccine – autism appears to be unarmed – how do they still seem so adamant?  I think the answer lies in human nature. We have a basic need to believe things we do not understand. It is the way children learn from their parents – it is the way people communicate dangers. Like in Micheal Shermer’s book Why People Believe in Weird Things, people have a need – even an evolutionary one – to believe without investigating evidence.

Some can escape the need for evidence by fabricating their own. Just like Olmstead above, people will try to justify their credulity with fake studies and even sourcing youtube videos like fellow blogger, the “Anti-Vaccine Scientific Support Arsenal”. Here is an example where someone will deny evidence specifically to promote their own cause. It makes one wonder what it would take to convince these people other wise – Can they change their mind when provided evidence, or has their brain rot infected their critical thinking faculties that much?

There shouldn’t be a need for it, but extensive research has been pumped into the study of the autism-vaccine correlation. At every turn, the answer is there is no relation between vaccines and autism. I would be unfair if I did not provide at least a little support for the other side, so before I post, let me mention the best way to explain the autism-vaccine correlation: http://howdovaccinescauseautism.com/

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If the Candidates say it – it’s Probably not True

You know credulity has gone too far when both candidates of an American Presidential Election are spreading conspiracy theories – and people believe them! On one side, the trailing candidate is claiming that the system is rigged, triggering a huge backlash of voters crying foul. And on the other hand, the front runner is blaming her crimes on a foreign country. The very first thing you should do – which the majority of voters do not do -is ask: What is the evidence?

The Democratic candidate has been repeating repetitively that Russia has been hacking the DNC emails in a ploy to influence the 2016 elections. Part of this stems from Republican candidate Trump and Putin’s seemingly close relationship, and the other part stems from Hillary’s attempt to avoid being held accountable for what was inside of her emails. Among the tens of thousands of emails, there has been definitive light shed on the character of Clinton – a character that has been seen as fraudulent, vindictive, and unfair for decades. The once hero, Julian Assange has now become a Democrat nightmare as he has shifted his focus from the Bush administration to Clinton’s long overdue private life. As Clinton has said, in politics, you need a private and public life – it cannot be clearer: she is corrupt.

Many people could not believe Clinton and the leading Democrats could be so rotten behind the scenes – even Barack Obama exchanged emails with Clinton’s private server assuming she followed confidential protocol. The trust in Clinton was so strong that the government did conduct an investigation into the DNC email hack. Hillary has claimed that over 17 government agencies have said Russia is behind the DNC hack – like many of Clinton’s automatic lies, this is probably another knee jerk lie to the public. In fact, there were only two agencies conducting investigation, the Department of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security – and they concluded that they don’t have evidence that Russia is behind the hack. They clearly stated that, “…the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia…” but throughout the two joint investigations, they did not ever say Russia was behind the hacks. So where is Hillary getting this from? Probably the same place she gets her other lies – her colon.

Now, on the other side of the aisle, there has been a Trump-tantrum over the polls. They are far too close, and Trump has turned to the old “rigged poll” trick. Used in the Bush-Gore race, it is not a new strategy and it is not a strong strategy. It is so weak, very few people with a few brain cells have taken it seriously. But don’t let your guard down! The lies are not the dangerous aspect of this – it is those who believe in these lies without evidence that  pose a real threat to a civil election. Be mindful, credulity is everywhere – and it leave brain rot in it’s wake. Hopefully, we can get through this election without being overrun by gullible voters.

 

Trump’s Gettysburg

Mirroring the Republican Party’s founder, Donald Trump made an amazing speech yesterday that reminded the voters why he is running in the first place – and more importantly, why so many voters are drawn to him. Donald Trump, rallying his supporters up, summoned rekindled passions pleading them to, “to rise above the noise and the clutter of our broken politics, and to embrace that great faith and optimism that has always been the central ingredient in the American character”

In the surprisingly sober and well-spoken speech, Donald Trump proposed a contract with the voters and the American people. Trump plays on another historical party moment when, in 1994, Newt Gingring and the House Republicans made a similar “contract” to win back the voters in the 1990’s. In the contract, Trump laid out very clear, and -mostly- very real plans to put more support and more meat in his campaign. Trump promised that, “on the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue the following six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC” by

  1. Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;
  2. Hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health);
  3. A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated;
  4. A 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;
  5. A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
  6. A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

And to innovate the workforce, Donald Trump’s plan is to:

  1. I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205
  2. I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  3. I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator
  4. I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately
  5. I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
  6. Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward
  7. Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure

His strongest support his due to his stern, powerful, and – to some voters – aggressive security plans. He reiterates this plan here with five points:

  1. Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama
  2. Begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States
  3. Cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities
  4. Begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back
  5. Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.

I was lazily listening to this speech, trying to take a nap actually – but I was stunned by his articulate and realistic plans Trump laid out in this speech. If he was this collected and presidential the whole campaign, he may have had my vote. With that said, his speech did include some rash and ridiculous ideas that we are all too familiar with. For one, he actually threatened to sue the women accusing him of sexual harassment. There are few people who hear of their accusations and don’t have a moment to think that their testimonies are all too convenient. Secondly, Trump spat out the same brain vomit – not letting the voters forget that the system is rigged. This tantrum only makes his run for president less genuine and shows his true toddler -like character.

I think this will help his campaign recover, but with it so close to election day, a powerful gain is doubtful. Trump’s Gettysburg Address just reminds the voters how close he really is to becoming president – and how passionate he has become about his movement. He promised what every American wants to hear, that he will protect “the people themselves, the great and the small, without class or difference of kind or race or origin, and undivided in interest – their freedom, their right to lift themselves from day to day and behold the things they have hoped for, and so make way for still better days for those whom they love who are to come after them.” If only we didn’t already know better, he could be president Trump.

My 2016 Presidential Election Prediction

In a gambling type of pleasure, I really want to make an election prediction. Having the least two favorable candidates in history surely doesn’t help, and the unpredictable leaks makes predicting this election all the more unstable. Of course, hind sight is going to be 20-20, but as for now, it is kind of hard to tell how this election will turn out. I actually have been keeping up with the polls and think that it would be a great time to make a guess. I Tried to publish this prediction before the last debate, but after the trump and Hillary leaks, it was not wise to assume the results were even close to predictable.

For my prediction, I will include a map of each state and I will break the states down into groups: Solid States, Swing States, and Independent States. Here is my first prediction, subject to change after the first debate:
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You can make your own map here at RealClearPolitics

Solid States

Most of these are pretty obvious and most consider these states to not be in play in this election, and sometimes, ever. For Donald trump and the Republican states, we have Idaho, Minnesota, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia. AS far as Hillary Clinton and the Democrat states, I expect these states too will fall along the usual states such as Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. There will be no doubt as to these states.

Swing States

The real states that matter are the swing states. Most are the typical states such as Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina. Others would usually include New Hampshire and Minnesota due to the Republican leadership there, but Clinton is seeing large leads there so I consider those two hers. However, despite Trumps recent gaffs, he does hold a decent lead in Iowa and Ohio. Even though it is close in these states, I am willing to guess the results.

Iowa, and Ohio will go to Trump. The leads in North Carolina are in favor of Clinton, but I expect Trump to win one of these swing states – probably North Carolina. Pennsylvania, usually a state-in-play, is Clinton’s for sure. The big states like Virginia and Florida, however close, will also go to her. The states that will win it for her are Pennsylvania, Florida, and Virginia.

Independent States

Consistent readers of mine will know that I am somewhat grudgingly voting for Johnson just to make my vain, futile attempt to fight the two-party system. If it works or not, Independent Candidates are making a huge impact nationwide. Of course there is Johnson and Stein holding onto their 8% and 2% votes, respectively. But there is also presidential candidate McMullen in Utah making huge leads in that state that could tip the scale away from trump and Clinton.

In Utah, Clinton and Trump have 25.5% and 31.8% respectively, but a recent surge brought McMullen up to 22.8% in that state over the course of two weeks! Whether he wins that state or not, McMullen is a surprising new twist in that state in particular – and whether we should expect more from him, or the other independent candidates will remain to be seen. As of now, it would not matter too much in the election as a whole –  but it may loosen the two-party grip.

The only other two states that I would assign to this are New Mexico and Alaska which have shown big independent support recently. New Mexico, Johnson’s former state is a victory for Clinton with 40% for her and only 20% for Johnson. Alaska, too has seen gains for Johnson, but have predictable fallen considerably since his Aleppo gaffs. Either way, Independent candidates are making unprecedented success nationwide that can, hopefully, help reject the two party system that has, up till now, failed to represent us.

My predicted results:

Clinton                  307

Trump                   231

Predicting the Presidential Election

With the election day looming around the corner, predictions are all over the place as far as who will win this November. The majority of the polls and experts suggest that Hillary will win, but this is an election like we have never seen before.  The U.S. is torn between two of the least favorable candidates in history, a flamboyant tough guy and a chronic liar – the ticket could not be harder to predict. The unprecedented independent candidate success plays into the uncertainty as much as the voters who choose to sit this election out. All of this casts a huge fog over the nation as to what will happen this November – however, one professor thinks he has the answer.

Dr. Allan Lichtman is a professor of history at American university and has created a formula to predict the results of U.S. Presidential elections – and he has proven the formula correct by accurately predicting the elections since 1984! In Litchman’s book, “Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016”, he has laid out several true/ false questions to determine the victor – the guidelines are as follows:

  • Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.
  • Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
  • Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.
  • Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.
  • Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
  • Long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
  • Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
  • Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
  • Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
  • Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
  • Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
  • Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
  • Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.

The keys are 13 true/false questions, where an answer of “true” always favors the reelection of the party holding the White House

After answering these questions, Litchman admitted this is an incredibly hard election to predict but he has decided to make the prediction that Trump will be the victor this year. How can that be? He made the prediction about a month ago before the leaked sound bite about grabbing women – but the professor sticks by it.

It is hard to say if that is wise or not. There are at least some shreds of evidence to suggest that the news channels and some polling to be eschewed against Trump – so it is not impossible. This could be, as David Cameron suggested, Trump will “be the new Ronald Reagan”. Just like the Brexit vote in the UK earlier this year, the US presidential election may not have been polled accurately. Either way, it will be close. I will submit my own presidential prediction after tonight’s debate.

The best part about hating both candidates is you truly get to enjoy the attacks from both sides. After this debate, I will make an attempt at making a state-by-state prediction of my own – so stay tuned.

Rudy Giuliani Lies about Clinton

There seems to be a mysterious brain rot spreading on the 2016 election campaign trail – and it seems former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani is no exception. Last week, Giuliani was plugging for Trump at a rally in Ocala, Florida when his seemingly aged brain slipped into a brow-raising tirade against Hillary Clinton. Clinton and Giuliani both served the Empire State in the early millennia and both were at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 – but not according to Mr. Giuliani. The senior moment began with Rudy spouting off an outrageous claim that Hillary was not even at Ground Zero:

“Don’t tell me, if you said that, that you remember Sept. 11, 2001. I remember Sept. 11, 2001. Yes, yes, you helped to get benefits for the people that were injured that day. But I heard her say one day she was there that day. I was there that day. I don’t remember seeing Hillary Clinton there. That was like when she said she had to run through gunfire. That turned out to be, what do we call it? A lie.”

In what can only be a brain-rotting senior moment, Giuliani makes a humorous remark about Clinton’s infamous Bosnian lie. It could have been a great attack – if only it were true. Almost instantly, photos of the two New York public servants together at Ground Zero surfaced.

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Is this a single, irresponsible, unintelligible slip up? Or has “America’s Mayor” lost his mind. It is very possible that the mayor is really this absent minded – the Trump slip ups don’t confine themselves to that toupee. Giuliani apologized for the accusation soon after the photo surfaced, however, “I made a mistake. I’m wrong and I apologize”

This is not his only crazy moments. The 2016 election has infected the mayor — and his remarks make that apparent. Many people who have spoke with him have spoke with him recently. Reporter Rachel Maddow remarked, “[he] seems nuts!” Stephen Colbert refers to him as, “the former Rudy Giuliani”. It is true, that the hero America saw on the rubble of the World Trade Center is gone – infected by the rat race of this election. Insisting that the dead will vote for the Democrats. Whether it be a depressing shamble – or a knee slapping freak show, please keep in mind that these people on the campaign trail really believe what they say.

Hillary Clinton: Who else is Left to Lie Two

Now, when someone talks about Hillary Clinton, they usually think “Presidential Candidate” or “Former Secretary of State” or “Former Senator” – but just a slight glance at her 30 year record will make you think “fraud” or “robotic liar” or “ruthless bully”. Here are some of the many lies that makes Hillary a irredeemable, deplorable candidate –  but I guess when everyone ignores her past – at this point, what difference does it make?

  • Lied about ignoring the rules for handling of sensitive national security information
  • Benghazi
  • Amassed a personal fortune with “speaking fees”
  • Said she left the White House in debt
  • Claimed that she never ran a negative ad against Bernie
  • Payments from private sector political donors and foreign governments
  • Flunked the D.C. Bar Exam
  • Lied about Pence cutting the education budget in Illinois
  • Claimed that all her grandparents being immigrants
  • Lied about being named after Sir Edmond Hillary
  • Lied about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” that led to the impeachment Bill Clinton
  • The Whitewater scandal
  • Lied about being denied by the Marines in 1975
  • Lied to cover up her husband’s infidelity
  • Lied about “sniper fire” in Bosnia
  • Claimed Solar has more jobs than Oil
  • Claimed every bill she passed had a Republican co-signer
  • Claimed Bill Clinton got 100 times more people out of poverty than Ronald Reagan
  • Said she was against the Iraq war before Obama

Sources are here, here, here, and here