Free Markets, Free People


Rick Perry’s Gardasil problem

Rick Perry got some deserved heavy fire for something he attempted as governor of Texas.  That is, he attempted to mandate a vaccine for sixth grade girls designed to help prevent cervical cancer.  

Last night Michelle Bachman, trying to revive her flagging campaign, lit into the Texas governor for attempting to establish the mandate by executive order:

“To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just wrong,” Bachmann said. “Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan.”

Two points here that need to be considered.  One, as some defending Perry are saying, we mandate shots for kids right now before they can attend school and there are some who suffer adverse effects.

True.  But here’s the difference – they’re for communicable diseases that can spread quickly in schools and cause all sorts of problems up to and including death.  Most Americans realize the difference between a program designed to prevent the spread of a communicable disease and one that isn’t.  They accept the need for the shots to prevent communicable diseases among children as well as the risk associated with them.

The HPV vaccine is designed to help prevent a non-communicable disease.  It isn’t a “public health” matter or threat the same way the communicable diseases are.  So the vaccine should be optional in terms of whether or not a person decides to chose to be vaccinated.  

Additionally there are some pretty bad side effects if a child has a negative reaction.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported after vaccination with Gardasil® . GBS is a rare neurologic disorder that causes muscle weakness. It occurs in 1-2 out of every 100,000 people in their teens. A number of infections have been associated with GBS. There has been no indication that Gardasil® increases the rate of GBS above the rate expected in the general population, whether or not they were vaccinated.

Blood Clots

There have been some reports of blood clots in females after receiving Gardasil®. These clots have occurred in the heart, lungs, and legs. Most of these people had a risk of getting blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives (the birth control pill), smoking, obesity, and other risk factors.


As of June 22, 2011 there have been a total 68 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil® . There were 54 reports among females, 3 were among males, and 11 were reports of unknown gender. Thirty two of the total death reports have been confirmed and 36 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. A death report is confirmed (verified) after a medical doctor reviews the report and any associated records. In the 32 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine and some reports indicated a cause of death unrelated to vaccination.

It is obviously unclear if Gardasil was the culprit here, but then it’s also unclear it wasn’t.  However, it does seem rather interesting that 68 youngsters died after its administration.  That many young people dying in close relation to the administration of the vaccine is at least highly suspicious.

You could write it off to bad screening … why was it administered to those people who had risks of getting blood clots.  But that’s irrelevant if it is mandated, isn’t it?

Unless the mandate specifically states such exceptions, everyone, to include those with the risks outlined, are going to get the vaccine and health care workers aren’t going to bother to screen, are they?

And of course that brings us to the real problem.  The mandate.  Sort of hard to be outraged about ObamaCare’s mandate when you’ve been mandating things yourself, and without even a legislative okay – not that that would justify a mandate.  However, the point is Perry decided to do this with an executive order, thereby placing the entire fiasco squarely on his shoulders.

The point, of course, is what he did is not exactly in keeping with what he claims he wants to do as president, i.e. “get Washington (government) out of our lives”.  His action in this case was exactly the opposite.  And while, as he claims, his intentions were good, we all know the road to hell – and serfdom – are paved with good intentions.

“At the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer,” Perry said. “At the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life.”

Not your job, Governor, at least in this context.  And especially by executive order mandate.

Compound this mess with the fact that also a hint of political cronyism involved:

“There was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate,” Bachmann said. “The governor’s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.”

The company in question is Merck and his former chief of staff was indeed it’s chief lobbyist.  And we know that sort of former relationship buys access in political circles.   And we also know that fosters cronyism.  None of that may be the case here, but politicians running for president can’t really afford that sort of implication, can they?

Perry shot back that he was offended that anyone would think, after raising $30 million dollars that he could be bought off by a $5,000 campaign contribution.  Well he wasn’t running for president then was he?

Lots of questions.  Less than satisfactory answers to this point.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, “Romneycare” still stands as my answer to any question Mitt Romney might ask.  If you think Perry’s answer was unsatisfactory about the HPV vaccine, I’ve still yet to hear one from Romney about his mandated health care for MA.


Twitter: @McQandO

The Republican Debate–then there were two

If nothing else last night, the Republican debate did one thing – it narrowed the present GOP field to two.  Oh the others will be around for a while and they’ll press their case, but in the absence of a miracle (or the entry of a better or more appealing candidate) it seems the fight will be between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry as the two battle it out for the GOP nomination.  Again, that’s assuming no other candidate enters the fray.

Why am I saying this – because of the targets each of the two drew a bead on.  Each other.  Romney, who had been considered the consensus front runner went after Perry and Perry did the same with Romney.

It left the rest sort of twisting in the wind.   The New York Times gives you the blow by blow:

A series of spirited exchanges between the two men, which revealed differences in substance and style, offered the first extensive look into the months-long contest ahead. They traded attacks on each other’s job creation records and qualifications to be president, overshadowing their opponents in the crowded Republican field.

Mr. Perry doubled down on his view of Social Security, assailing it as a “monstrous lie,” and he questioned scientists’ assertions that climate change has been caused by human activity. Mr. Romney said that Social Security should be protected and suggested that Mr. Perry’s positions would make it difficult for the Republican Party to appeal to a broad base of voters needed to win the White House.

“Maybe it’s time to have some provocative language in this country,” said Mr. Perry, who spent much of his time in his first presidential debate defending his Texas record and a litany of positions in his book, “Fed Up!”


Mr. Perry attacked Mr. Romney’s record of creating jobs in Massachusetts and his championing of health care legislation when he was governor. Mr. Romney, in turn, cast Mr. Perry as a career politician.

“Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt,” Mr. Perry said, referring to the former Democratic governor who ran for president in 1988.

“Well, as a matter of fact,” Mr. Romney replied, “George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.”

One of the political dangers of these sorts of "spirited debates" is the candidates do the opposition research for the other team. But this was typical of the exchanges last night, made ironically in the library of a president who believed strongly in the political 11th commandment.

However, some blunt talk about the situation we’re in would be refreshing and provide for some actual debate about solutions for a change.

Stanley Kurtz lays out his assessment of the debate in a very succinct one paragraph summary:

This was a very successful debate debut for Rick Perry. It confirms his position as the leader of the field. As of now, this race is a Perry-Romney duel, but Perry’s the one to beat. Romney and Perry were well matched tonight, but Perry’s appeal to the base means he’s got a leg up over Romney just by fighting to a draw, which he did at least, if not better.

Of course the Romney camp is claiming debate victory.  No surprise there.  That press release was written before the candidates stepped on the stage.  But there wasn’t a clear cut winner in most minds I don’t believe.  However you’d have to be deaf and blind to the debate not to have realized the field has really narrowed itself to two:

There are no guarantees here, of course, which is one reason it’s nice to have a continuing Romney-Perry duel.  This next month-or-so of debates is going to help both Romney and Perry with their greatest weaknesses. Romney is going to get a second look from conservatives, which he deserves. Romneycare is a problem that will never entirely fade. Yet it increasingly it looks as though it won’t be prohibitive, should Perry falter. Meanwhile, Perry is going to have a chance to get his message through to the public on the entitlement crisis, and it just might work.

So Rick Perry survived his first debate and will probably learn from the experience and do even better the next time.  Apparently he lived up to most expectations.  Romney, well he’s Romney, the seemingly perpetual second place candidate (even when he is the supposed front runner).  As Kurtz says, these two can spend the next few months sharpening each other up in debates.   What’s interesting though is both of them have better records than the man they would face in any presidential debate.

We’re 15 months out and it takes a lot of money to fund a presidential campaign.  When you are not in the limelight, a hot candidate or a frontrunner, those funds necessary to continue become harder and harder to raise.  It think last night may have signaled the end of many of the lesser candidates chances for the nomination and I expect some to withdraw in the next month or two.

In the meantime, it’s Perry and Romney, slugging it out.  But Jen Rubin issues the Perry camp a warning that they should heed:

The pace of a presidential campaign in the early going is leisurely, but right about now, things pick up. Perry is a good pol, but he better be ready to show he’s got some policy chops as well, and before his opponents start characterizing his views.

Agreed.  Better the candidate frame his positions than let the opposition do it for him.  Perry’s bunch better be able to put some details and specifics on their one-over-the-world policy pronouncements, it will end up an one man race and Perry won’t be the “one”.


Twitter: @McQandO

The GOP debate–the aftermath

The GOP held a debate in Iowa last night, and it was, as Ezra Klein said, a field that, for the most part, didn’t really disagree over policy, but “they disagreed over fealty to policy.”  Who was the most super-conservative.

The main criticism?  The usual.  Stephen Hayes says:

"What was missing from the debate, and what is missing from the Republican field, is a candidate who can explain and inspire. But there were no Ronald Reagans on the stage tonight. And, in fairness, there never are.”

The question, then, is will the entrance of Rick Perry change that?  That was sort of the pregnant elephant in the room last night.

Michelle Bachman and Tim Pawlenty got into a bit of a heated exchange.   But as Steve Kornaki points out, that’s not the fight he should have picked:

"Pawlenty’s strategy, if that’s what this reflected, was completely backward. The fight he picked with Bachmann was virtually guaranteed to be a losing one. … A much riper target for Pawlenty would have been — and always has been — Romney. … By aggressively pressing Romney on his (many) vulnerabilities, Pawlenty would have stood to (a) weaken the front-runner, a man whose role (consensus establishment choice, at least for now) he wants for himself; (b) establish his own purist bona fides with the base; and (c) shake off the boring/lifeless image."

Chris Cilliza is less critical of the Pawlenty performance but still found it wanting:

"First Hour Tim Pawlenty … was forceful in taking the fight to Bachmann … Pawlenty’s nice guy persona allows him to attack without seeming over the top. He was a major player in the first 60 minutes – a place he needed to be if he wanted to shake things up before the Saturday straw poll. … Pawlenty disappeared in the second 60 minutes – largely because he didn’t get many questions. But when you need to find ways to change the dynamic of the race, you have to find ways to inject yourself into the conversations and create your own opportunities. And Pawlenty didn’t do that."

The Pawlenty/Bachman spat left Romney pretty much alone during the debate as Alexander Burns points out

"[W]ith Pawlenty and Bachmann focused on each other, … Romney took little heat from his fellow Republicans. Indeed, virtually all of the candidates helped confirm – in one form or another – that Romney will likely face a tougher political challenge from a late-announcing candidate like Texas Gov. Rick Perry than from any of his currently declared rivals."

All in all, pretty much as expected.  Ron Paul was Ron Paul – nothing new there.  And Jon Huntsman tried to set himself apart a bit.  Rick Santorum may as well go home along with Newt Gingrich.  Herman Cain is an attractive candidate but just doesn’t have the experience or the following to push him through.

The battle seems to be settling down between Romney, Bachman and Pawlenty.   The entry of Rick Perry will most likely relegate both Bachman and Pawlenty to the second tier.

How it will eventually turn out is anyone’s guess at this point, but Rick Perry stands to make the race much more interesting.  If it is “the economy, stupid” as the driving issue for the next election, Perry’s record in Texas vs. Obama’s nationally, is going to be a very interesting and telling comparison. 


Twitter: @McQandO

The “debate”

Consider this an open thread – talk about the debate last night between GOP candidates or whatever.  I’ve got to hit the road.

Conventional wisdom seems to be forming that Romney and Bachman (who announced her candidacy for President at the debate, thereby stealing a lot of the air in the room) were the winners.   Slate’s Joan Walsh, of course, think “American’s lose” regardless of which GOPer won.

I have to wonder where Walsh has been hiding these past 3 years if they think any of those on the stage last night could do a worse job than the present administration.

There’s also the media angle – CNN conducted it, and many have complained that John King spent way too much time on social wedge issues that are the least of our problems now rather than dealing with the economy and foreign policy, etc.

Finally, does anyone really care right now about such debates?   And isn’t it a debate in name only.  It’s a freakin’ Q & A session with the moderator doing the questioning.  I’d actually love to see a debate instead of some news anchor deciding to ask what’s apparently important to him.


Twitter: @McQandO


Of course he’s an expert – he’s made a movie!

And to the left that certainly suffices for expertise.  I mean, after all he and  Al Gore share that “distinction”.  I’m talking about Avatar’s James Cameron, of course.  It seems he believes that those who don’t blindly follow the false god of pseudo science as presented by Al Gore and his minions are, well, “swine”:

“I think they’re swine,” he said at the American Renewable Energy Day Summit, the Aspen Times reported.

The summit hosts such climate scientists of distinction as T. Boone Pickens, Ted Turner, James Cameron, Bill Ritter, Kristina Johnson and Thomas Friedman.  Yes, it is loaded to the gills with science.

Favorite quotes from the Aspen Times article:

“A lot of really good American people are being lied to,” added Peter Byck, the director of an upcoming climate change documentary called “Carbon Nation.”

Byck stressed that Americans’ hearts are in the right places, but that skeptics of climate change have such a vast infrastructure in getting what he called their false message out, many don’t know whom to believe.

No, don’t laugh – he probably really believes that.  The “vast infrastructure” spoken of are Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.  Not the vast number of grants and huge amount of government money that has, to this point, been wasted on trying to prove what appears to be  the unprovable.  And forget Gore’s movie and massive propaganda campaign, it is the skeptics who, with a few blog sites and facts, have been able to successfully blunt the previous onslaught of activist “science” and the left doesn’t like it.

Oh, and after claiming this vast opposing infrastructure exits our precious crew criticized the media:

They also criticized the media for giving half of its attention to a very small — less than 1 percent, they said — portion of scientists who say global warming is not caused by humans.

Less than 1%?   Vast infrastructure?  Yeah, you reconcile the two.  But the important point to recognize is even if it is only 1%, skeptics have been able, through the use of facts and analysis, to stop the “global warming” farce in its tracks.

That brings me to perhaps my favorite quote of the entire Aspen Times story:

Greene, Cameron and a host of other climate-change activists said there needs to be a broad educational campaign, one aimed at convincing voters and politicians that not being able to prove that fossil fuel-produced carbon is changing the temperature of Earth is not a license for inaction.

Emphasis mine.  If ever the left was distilled into a paragraph, that’s it.  Scientific proof, we don’t need no stinkin’ scientific proof – we feel it in our bones.  And that’s reason enough to take mega drastic action that will ruin economies, cause poverty and, eventually, kill people.  Of course the “broad educational campaign” aimed at “voters” would be based on, well, nothing.  It would be propaganda in its purist form and about as “educational” as a lecture by Gore.

Cameron also apparently challenged the “swine” to a debate at the conference.  They invited skeptics and the news media to watch as, one supposes, Cameron and crew would take the “swine” apart.  Ann McElhinny, who was to be a part of the debate and was privy to the rules to be followed tells the rest of the story:

But then as the debate approached James Cameron’s side started changing the rules.

They wanted to change their team. We agreed.

They wanted to change the format to less of a debate-to "a roundtable". We agreed.

Then they wanted to ban our cameras from the debate. We could have access to their footage. We agreed.

Bizarrely, for a brief while, the worlds [sic] most successful film maker suggested that no cameras should be allowed-that sound only should be recorded. We agreed [sic]

Then finally James Cameron, who so publicly announced that he "wanted to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out," decided to ban the media from the shoot out.

He even wanted to ban the public. The debate/roundtable would only be open to those who attended the conference.

No media would be allowed and there would be no streaming on the internet.  No one would be allowed to record it in any way.

We all agreed to that.

And then, yesterday, just one day before the debate, his representatives sent an email that Mr. "shoot it out " Cameron no longer wanted to take part. The debate was cancelled. 

Marvelous.  So the man who said in a previous interview, “I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads," crumpled like a wet paper box when finally confronted with the reality of doing so.  And then made the “swine” remark. Yes, that’s right, after he had chickend out of a debate he had called for and organized, he called the other side “swine”.

It wasn’t like he was going to be confronted by real, honest to goodness scientists who didn’t believe in global warming.  The “skeptics” he was to confront were Marc Morano of the Climate Depot website and Andrew Breitbart, and film maker McElhinny (“Not Evil Just Wrong”).

However, according to Morano, Cameron decided not to take the stage after being warned off by a coterie of environmentalists that “debate with skeptics … was not in his best interest.”  Among them was Joseph Romm of Climate Progress who had engaged in such a debate previously with Marc Morano and was soundly and obviously trounced.

So, speaking of demigods, just like this movement’s demigod – Al Gore – they refuse to actually engage in debate, preferring name calling, puffery, pseudo science and propaganda as their tools of persuasion. 

And they wonder why fewer and fewer are listening to them.



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