Tag Archives: Politics

Trump Cons the Whole Country

After winning a couple more primaries earlier this week, Trump used his victory speech as an opportunity to plug various Trump-branded products. That is already one of the most bizarre things to happen in a presidential race since I can remember. It’s already been pointed out various times that many presidential campaigns seem to be little more than vanity projects meant to drum up support for a new book or a sinecure at a partisan think tank. But, what makes┬áthis even worse is that most of the products either aren’t owned by Trump or don’t actually exist anymore.

Colorado to Bring Back Primaries?

After the caucus fiasco on Tuesday, it looks like there’s now a lot of support in Colorado to bring back presidential primary elections. Democrats’ turnout was too big and not everyone really got to participate, while the Republicans didn’t even bother voting on candidates. Many have pointed out that the whole process is hugely undemocratic, and primaries could help ameliorate the worst problems of caucuses.

Boehner to Resign

In an unexpected turn of events, John Boehner has announced that he is going to resign from Congress next month. I don’t think it’s entirely clear yet why he’s doing this now rather than just retiring after his term is up, but it’s sure to cause some interesting machinations as the House looks for a new Speaker.

Dear Donald Trump: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Well, we’ve survived Republican primary debate #2. Unfortunately, it was not a great day for science. Late in the debate, Trump went on a rant about how the vaccine schedule should be changed because it is causing autism. In fact, he’s even seen a small child with autism, which makes him an authority on its etiology. There were even two candidates who come from the medical field who were there: Rand Paul and Ben Carson, but neither gave a satisfactory response.

Carson correctly pointed out that there is no evidence of any link between vaccines and autism. The infamous Wakefield paper originally claiming this has been debunked and retracted by the journal, with Wakefield seen as a disgrace to his field by everyone with any credibility in medicine. Unfortunately, Carson also decided┬áto pander to the anti-vaccine crowd by agreeing with Trump that the the vaccine schedule should be changed. He should have just stopped when he said that there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Trying to please everyone may be optimal for gaining supporters, but it’s also quite dangerous since it lends those with an unfounded claim far more credibility than they deserve. Rand Paul made a similar comment supporting delaying some vaccinations.

Surely one of the eleven candidates is knowledgable enough to know that Trump’s comments are quite dangerous and should be challenged. I suspect that at the very least both Carson and Paul know this but maybe were unwilling to give such a direct challenge as that might lose them some supporters (although it might gain some too). So, while Trump was the one to actually make anti-vaccine arguments, the silence or partial support from the other candidates means that no one really looks good here. Our immune systems can do many things, and there is basically no reason to think that a small number of vaccines would have any real affect on us considering how much bacteria we encounter every day. As the cliche goes, an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence, yet we don’t even have any ordinary evidence.