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“I AM NOT A CRANK!”: The Ballad of Jill Stein

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This seems about right:

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, has already said there are “real questions” about whether vaccines cause autism in children. Now a video has surfaced where Stein says that wi-fi in schools might be harming kids.

Stein is really turning out to be the anti-science candidate in this election. And it’s a competitive field, since Trump denies climate change!

And then:

It seems that between 4:54PM and 4:59PM—@twitersgoodboy confirmed the legitimacy of the screenshots—Stein revised her response from “There’s no evidence that autism is caused by vaccines” to “I’m not aware of evidence linking autism with vaccines.”

Neither response completely disavows the idea that vaccines cause autism, but changing the language of her response further illustrates her subtle pandering to the anti-vax constituency. She could’ve just tweeted “Vaccines don’t cause autism” but chose not to. Dr. Stein’s refusal to discredit anti-vaxxers makes her Harvard medical degree look like a certificate from the New York Chiropractic College.

It is probably true that Stein is pandering to anti-vaxxers to a greater extent than she is herself an anti-vaxxer, although this isn’t really a defense.

But I’m grateful for this kind of thing, because her anti-vaxxer curiosity and apparent belief that BIG WIRELESS is poisoning your children immediately (and correctly) brands her as a crackpot to a thinking audience, whereas many of her other crackpot beliefs require more historical context to explain to a casually politically aware audience.

I alluded to it a few days ago, but it’s hard to covey just how nutty her Salon interview is. Faced with good but predictable questions from a sympathetic interviewer, it’s just bonkers from soup to nuts. And it helps to explain why she thinks that campaigning in swing states in an election where a neoconfederate-dominated Republican Party has nominated Donald Trump is a good idea. Among the views expressed in this interview:

  • Hope that Bernie Sanders will join her crusade to elect Republicans.
  • The Obama administration has been worse on climate policy than the Bush administration, ““Drill Baby Drill” on steroids.”
  • The Democrats lost the 2010 midterms because they did not allow the collapse of the American banking system.
  • “If there’s ever to be any hope of defeating Donald Trump, it’s not gonna come from a Clinton neoliberal White House.”
  • The Green Party is a robust national movement and fielding vanity presidential candidates who threaten (and in once case succeeded) to throw elections to Republicans is crucial to the movement’s vitality.
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  • Ralph Nader had nothing to do with the outcome in 2000, because events can only have one cause.
  • In this case, the cause was that Gore “just rolled over for the Supreme Court.” What actions Gore could have taken to cause the relevant decision-makers (Florida Republicans and Republicans in Congress) to defy the Supreme Court are, for some reason, unspecified.
  • The old “did Al Gore have a right to anyone’s vote?” non-sequitur.
  • Hillary Clinton could plausibly start a nuclear war.
  • “I don’t regard Hillary Clinton as one iota safer than Donald Trump on the climate.”
  • “Maybe [Clinton’s] the most effective evil.” I’ve heard this one before. If I understand correctly, it means that Trump may be more evil than Clinton but Trump’s evil actions with lead to more Uncle Sams on stilts in response.
  • Clinton and Trump are just as bad on Supreme Court nominees because Tim Kaine, who would have no influence over reproductive policy in a Clinton White House, signed some bad anti-abortion regulations as governor.
  • “We are the ones who should be pressuring the Supreme Court.” Yes, I’m sure Sam Alito will start voting to strike down abortion regulations if NARAL starts lobbying him.
  • The model for what a government controlled by Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell in 2017 would be when Richard Nixon failed to veto some of the legislation supermajorities of a Democratic Congress working substantial with numbers of moderate and liberal Republicans.
  • The DNC “took down” Bernie Sanders.
  • Her response to who she would rather have in the White House between Clinton and Trump, in its entirety: “Do we live in Iran where they tell us we have one or two choices. We live in the United States of America. We live in a democracy. We are building that democracy, and that democracy doesn’t consist of two deadly choices.”
  • Another reference to the idea that Clinton cannot stop Trump, which is apparently related to her belief that the lesson of Nazi Germany is that moderate liberals are worse than fascists.

Frankly, her flirtation with vaxxer tooferism is one of the things I’d be least concerned about.

Candidates ranked by their grasp of policy issues: 1. Clinton 2. Johnson 3. Roseanne 4. Former Township Tax Assessor Jim Hedges (Prohibition Party) 5. Harambe 6. Stein 7. Trump

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