Anti-vaccine activist likely to head vaccine commission under Trump

Robert F Kennedy Junior: son of Senator Bobby Kennedy, nephew of President John F Kennedy, environmental activist, proud Democrat.

Also a loud anti-vaccination activist who peddles the conspiracy theory that vaccines can cause autism.

Kennedy has been asked by President-elect Trump to head a commission to “study” the safety and scientific integrity of vaccines.

It is not surprising Trump has chosen someone who thinks the government is trying to cover up a vaccines-autism link to lead such a commission.

Back in the September GOP debate, Trump claimed that vaccines were causing an autism “epidemic”.

“You take this little beautiful baby, and you pump — I mean, it looks like just it’s meant for a horse and not for a child,” Trump said. “We had so many instances [in which] a child had a vaccine, and came back and a week back had a tremendous fever, got very very sick, and now is autistic.”

Even Dr. Ben “pyramids stored grain” Carson rebuked Trump’s statement.

Trump’s distorted opinions on vaccines have no scientific basis, and are only an anti-government anti-pharmaceutical industry conspiracy theory.

There is absolutely no evidence disproving the scientific consensus that vaccines are safe and effective, yet somehow 9% of Americans still think vaccines are unsafe. Then again, only 54% of Trump voters think PizzaGate isn’t real.

Of course, all of Trump’s unjustified opinions on vaccines are shared by Robert F Kennedy Jr.  It looks like Trump is doing what he can to de-legitimise vaccines, killing more kids and bringing back diseases once eradicated by vaccines.

Andrew Wakefield has a lot to answer for.

So were the media biased towards Clinton?

Especially near the end of the campaign, Trump supporters rallied around the idea that the media was rooting for Clinton to win, even giving media outlets names like “the Clinton News Network”. But was Trump really unfairly treated by the media?

The Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center did a study on the media coverage of the two candidates throughout the presidential election.

figure-1-general-election

Now, these results are interesting, though don’t show any kind of bias. These results would mainly reflect how the campaigns were actually going.

After the primaries, Clinton certainly had more positive coverage than Donald, however the difference isn’t that significant. Clinton only had 13% more positive coverage, which reflects the polls and the overall stability and demeanour of the Clinton campaign.

When the primaries are included, Trump received more positive coverage than Clinton overall. That shows that Clinton received significantly more negative coverage in the primaries while Trump had significantly more positive coverage during the primaries (back when the media thought he was a fun joke).

So, overall, the difference in coverage wasn’t too different.

If anything, the media was more unfair to Clinton- but that’s another story.

Leveraging tribalism

Russia learned a thing or two from the British Empire, exploiting America’s tribalistic partisanship.

“United we stand, divided we fall”

Podesta’s password was not ‘password’, nor did he get hacked due to a bad password

In an interview Wikileaks’ Julian Assange claimed Hillary campaign chair John Podesta’s email password was literally ‘password’. Because of this, he says, even “a 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta that way“. Of course, much of the media is running with this headline.

This story is fun for anyone who hated the Clinton campaign, but it has no legs.

The biggest problem is that Podesta’s email address was a Gmail account: JohnPodesta@gmail.com

Gmail is smart enough to disallow the password ‘password’, so there’s no way Podesta could have used that as his password.

Maybe Assange is getting confused- in one email, it is revealed that Podesta’s computer password was ‘p@ssw0rd‘. Another shows his iCloud password was ‘Runner4567‘. Both of these passwords are really insecure. You should never have any number patterns or obvious words/hobbies in a password. However, neither of these are his Gmail password

The hack also was not as simple as just some guy trying out random passwords, and being lucky enough to have ‘password’ work. The attack method used was to send Podesta a spear phishing email, an email that looked like an official Gmail ‘reset password’ alert. Using the links in that email would have directed to an official looking fake form, where Podesta would have been instructed to enter his current password.

A 14 year old couldn’t have done that, nor would a 14 year old even care. They would be a very impressive 14 year old to also hack western military and government targets, NATO, defence companies, journalists, NGOs, political activists and researchers. I doubt they all got hacked because of “weak passwords”.

Chicago Kidnapping: “If the races were reversed” bullshit

Since the news broke of the horrible hate crime that occurred in Chicago, many have been quick to claim that if the races were reversed there would be riots in the streets and extreme outrage throughout the media.

Four black people, three 18 and one 24,  are facing hate crime charges after they kidnapped and tortured a disabled white teenager, whilst livestreaming the heinous crime on Facebook. The victim was bound and gagged, sitting in the corner of the room while the attackers threatened and injured him with a large knife. He was kicked and punched, while verbally abused for being white and supposedly being a Trump supporter.

This act is deplorable and inhumane. Nobody with feeling in their heart can excuse this.

However, this racially motivated event has prompted many claims of a double standard in public outrage, media coverage, and legal outcomes. These claims just aren’t true.

Conveniently, we can compare a recent racially motivated incident that is extremely similar, but with the races flipped.

In October 2015, three white footballers sexually assaulted a disabled black kid. They taunted him with racial epithets, much like the Chicago incident. The footballers forced a coathanger up the poor guy’s anus, before one of them kicked the coathanger multiple times to cause further pain. The victim was forced to recite a horribly racist Ku Klux Klan song.

Two weeks ago, the footballers evaded jail time, given only probation. The prosecutor somehow decided that this shocking crime was not a hate crime, nor was it a sexual assault. The perpetrator reached a plea bargain that allowed him to plead guilty to a felony count of injury to a child. This allows the 19 year old to avoid jail time, unless he violates his probation. He could have faced life in prison, but he was rewarded with not even a day in prison.

This crime did make national headlines. There was little public outrage. There was no rioting, nor protests. This was the exact “other way around” situation that so many claim would be treated differently and far more harshly.

It was certainly treated differently, but inversely to what the ‘#BLMkidnapping’ criers claim. The four black people who perpetrated the horrible crime in Chicago have been charged with a hate crime. The three who perpetrated the horrible crime in Idaho got away with ‘injury to a child’.