David Samuels has terrible epistemics. He has no idea what is true. He provides no evidence for his assertions.
* In 2005, Kennedy wrote a blockbuster Rolling Stone magazine article titled “Deadly Immunity,” which presented compelling evidence of an ongoing vaccine safety cover-up led by U.S. national health bureaucrats, including transcripts of a 2000 CDC conference in Norcross, Georgia, where researchers presented information linking the mercury compound thimerosol with neurological problems in children. At its root, the case Kennedy made in his article was no more or less plausible and empirically grounded than the cases that he and dozens of other environmental advocates had been making for decades against large chemical companies for spewing toxins into America’s air, water, and soil, and then lying about it.
Yet the resulting journalistic-bureaucratic firestorm proved that vaccines were different. It also offered a preview of the COVID wars, with pressure campaigns by vaccine believers attacking five fact-checking errors in the article—a number that was hardly unusual for a long and complex reported article in a venue like Rolling Stone. The campaigns led to various emendations of the article by its online publisher, Salon, which eventually retracted the article in 2011. In that year, Kennedy founded the World Mercury Project, which would be renamed the Children’s Health Defense, to keep pressing his assertions about empirical links between vaccinations and the explosion of neurological issues in children.
* It doesn’t take an alarmist to recognize how fast and far the term “conspiracy theory” has morphed from the way it was generally used even a decade ago. Once a description of a particular kind of recognizably insulated and cyclical counterlogic, “conspiracy theory” has become a flashing red light that is used to identify and suppress truths that powerful people find inconvenient. Whereas yesterday’s conspiracy theories involved feverish ruminations on secret cells of Freemasons, Catholics or Jews who communicated with their elders in Rome or Jerusalem through secret tunnel networks or codes, today’s conspiracy theories include whatever evidence-based realities threaten America’s flourishing networks of administrative state bureaucrats, credentialed propagandists, oligarchs, and spies.
Whenever a hole appears in the ozone layer of received opinion, it is sure to be quickly labeled a “conspiracy theory” by a large technology platform. The lab leak in Wuhan was a conspiracy theory, as was the idea that the U.S. government was funding gain-of-function research; the idea that the development of mRNA vaccines was part of a Pentagon biowarfare effort from which Bill Gates boasted of making billions of dollars; the idea that masking schoolchildren had zero effect on the transmission of COVID; the idea that the FBI and the White House were directly censoring Twitter, Google, and Facebook; the idea that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop showing that he received multi-million-dollar payoffs from agents of foreign powers including China and Russia was real. The most offensive thing about these falsehoods is not the fact that they later turned out to be supported by evidence, which can happen to even the most unlikely seeming hypothesis. Rather, it is that the people who labeled them “false” often knew full well from the beginning that they were true, and were seeking to avoid the consequences; that is how a truth becomes a “conspiracy theory.”
At this point, the fact that Robert F. Kennedy is the country’s leading “conspiracy theorist” alone qualifies him to be president.
* He believes that conspiracy theories are not only real but define American reality. He grew up believing that the CIA most likely assassinated his uncle Jack, and lately, he has come to believe that it also assassinated his father.
* So the idea that large pharmaceutical companies might be using additives or using processes that could cause damage to children didn’t come as a shock to you.
* I saw a number the other day, it said that 45% of American children now suffer from a chronic disease.
* If you were saying, “My name is Bobby Kennedy, and I’m representing an organization called Riverkeeper, and we are taking on Monsanto, which is a big company that is dumping chemicals associated with birth defects into your water,” people look at you and say, “Good for you, Bobby.” So why do you think emotionally, psychologically, that once you took on this other set of big companies, pharmaceutical companies, which work with a different set of chemicals, and started accusing them of some similar practices, suddenly that made you into a dangerous weirdo?
* The opioid crisis kills 56,000 young Americans every year, and they knew it.
* An “anti-vaxxer” is a very bad thing to be, in any kind of polite society. Of course, the alternative is to accept that it’s absolutely normal for there to suddenly be 27 mandatory vaccines in the state of New York, half of which no one ever contemplated 10 years ago. Also, you must believe that every one of those vaccines is immaculate and perfect, because the companies making them would never, ever lie to us—and if you don’t believe that then you are also against vaccinations for polio. Which is absurd.
* Pro-vaccine means you are part of the group. If you are not, then you are no longer part of the group.
* My entire life as a reporter, I never interviewed anybody over the phone for exactly this reason. Ninety percent of the information that you’re going to get about somebody’s going to come from their face, from the way they move their body. That’s how humans communicate.
* I want to keep going for a little while about the pharmaceutical complex itself and the responses to COVID. It’s clear that there was a large-scale Pentagon bio-weapons program. Bill Gates was brought in as a partner for the investment in that program. Research for that program was offshored to labs in China. It seems obvious now that the virus likely escaped from one of those Chinese labs. And that there was funding for exactly this kind of research from the U.S. government at that specific Chinese lab that the virus escaped from. So why isn’t there an effort to create some kind of chain of legal responsibility for the enormous amount of damage that was done, the same way you would do if Monsanto was dumping toxins in the water?
* It’s easy to forget how critical the independent institutional press was to 20th-century American democracy, and how different that press was from the state-run bullshit farms we have now. An independent press with its own sources of revenue based in a specific city, embedded in the structures of that city, whether that’s unions, politics, religion, everything else, is an organic thing, with a life of its own. You can’t tell the people of your own city, who pay for your newspaper, that their kids aren’t getting sick, or that vaccines work when they don’t, or else they won’t buy your newspaper anymore. Now we’ve replaced that landscape, which was founded on trust, with a new AstroTurf-ed landscape of monopoly information platforms which are all being censored and marionetted in real time by the U.S. government. Where the White House is literally making phone calls saying shut down this guy’s Twitter account. That’s a weird transformation that happened pretty fast.