RFK No Way

While Congress holds hearings on Trump’s vehemently anti-liberty Attorney General nominee, another little bit of news slipped out today:

President-elect Donald Trump met with notable anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Tuesday, further stoking unfounded fears about vaccine safety and efficacy by asking the Democrat to chair a commission on the issue.

Kennedy, the son of late presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, told reporters after his meeting with Trump that the President-elect asked him to head a look into “vaccination safety and scientific integrity.”

Kennedy said he agreed to chair the commission.

Kennedy is a level 2 vaccine denialist: someone who says he is pro-vaccine but just wants them to be safe and to be guided by the science. This lie is betrayed by the years he has spent flogging anti-science kookery, claiming that preservatives in vaccines cause autism (they don’t) or that the vaccine schedule is too aggressive (it isn’t) or that there was a government conspiracy to hide the truth (there isn’t). He has compared vaccines to the Holocaust and continued to claim they cause autism long after the link has been disproved, pushing the anti-vax movie Trace Amounts on legislators trying to tighten up vaccine exemptions. This is not his only dip into conspiracy theory waters, as he claimed that the 2004 election was stolen. And he is on full-on climate hypocrite, calling for climate skeptics to be prosecuted while fighting against a massive wind project because he’d be able to see it from the Kennedy compound.

Trump has dabbled in these waters before but now he is elevating an anti-science thug to his Administration. Kennedy’s name has gotten him way too much slack. Trump isn’t the only person to kiss his loathsome behind. Time Magazine once named him a “Hero for the Planet” and Jon Stewart famously did an obsequious interview with him on The Daily Show. But Kennedy is undeserving of this respect. The only position RFK, Jr. should have in any administration is upside down with his head in a toilet.

5 comments:

  1. stogy

    Trump has dabbled in these waters before but now he is elevating an anti-science thug to his Administration. 

    Interesting that Tillerson repeatedly expressed acceptance of the science on climate change at his confirmation hearings. His responses to questions on climate:

    a.) “the risk of climate change does exist” and “action should be taken”; b.) “The increase in greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is having an effect. Our ability to predict that effect is very limited”; c.) “I think it’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table in the conversation on how to address threats of climate change. They do require a global response. No one country is going to solve this alone.”

    But when asked about the years of Exxon donations to climate “skeptic” groups, he basically said, “I don’t know. I don’t work there. You’ll have to ask Exxon”:

    “Since I’m no longer with ExxonMobil, I can’t speak on their behalf,” Tillerson said. “The question would have to be put to ExxonMobil.” 

    He also flatly refused to answer any questions related to Exxon’s decades-long suppression of its own research into climate change, in which:

    Through much of the 1980s, Exxon researchers worked alongside university and government scientists to generate objective climate models that yielded papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Their work confirmed the emerging scientific consensus on global warming’s risks.
    Yet starting in 1989, Exxon leaders went down a different road. They repeatedly argued that the uncertainty inherent in computer models makes them useless for important policy decisions. Even as the models grew more powerful and reliable, Exxon publicly derided the type of work its own scientists had done. The company continued its involvement with climate research, but its reputation for objectivity began to erode as it campaigned internationally to cast doubt on the science.

    Given that there are former Exxon scientists who have spoken on and off the record, documents showing Exxon’s findings, and   Tillerson’s responses at the hearings point to him as being either incompetent or corrupt. Perhaps both.

    I hope this doesn’t mean that we’re headed back to the Bush days of politicization of science and the deliberate undermining of valid scientific work.

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  2. stogy

    Sorry, that should be:  Given that there are former Exxon scientists who have spoken on and off the record, documents showing Exxon’s findings, and tens of thousands of documents showing the results and implications of Exxon’s own scientific research, Tillerson’s responses at the hearings point to him as being either incompetent or corrupt.

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