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Saturday, November 27, 2021

JBS and RFK Jr.

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrong.  

The John Birch Society, an old ultra-right group of conspiracy theorists, is plugging Robert Kennedy Jr.'s bogus claims about vaccines, including the toxic myth that they cause autism.

His father criticized the Society.  From NYT (4/7/61):  -- "Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy termed the John Birch Society "ridiculous" today. He said people should stop paying so much attention to it."

The John Birch Society had little use for his uncle.  From the Wisconsin Historical Society:

An advertisement placed in "The Dallas Morning News" on the morning of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The ad attacked Kennedy's foreign and domestic policies. The lower half had a dozen questions starting with the word "Why," preceded by the statement "MR. KENNEDY, despite contentions on the part of your administration, the State Department, the Mayor of Dallas, the Dallas City Council, and members of your party, we free-thinking and America-thinking citizens of Dallas still have, through a Constitution largely ignored by you, the right to address our grievances, to question you, to disagree with you, and to criticize you. In asserting this constitutional right, we wish to ask you publicly the following questions — indeed, questions of paramount importance and interest to all free peoples everywhere — which we trust you will answer . . . in public, without sophistry." Note that the ad has a black border, a style similar to a death notice. The ad was placed by Bernard Weissman, Chairman of the American Fact-Finding Committee. The Committee described themselves as "an unaffiliated and nonpartisan group of citizens who wish truth," but they were in fact affiliated with the John Birch Society. The cost of the ad was $1,465.00, and was provided by Joseph P. Grinnan, who was a member of the John Birch Society. Bernard Weissman was not a member of the Society. He was shocked by the assassination, and feared he would be accused of involvement with the killing. He was interviewed by the Warren Commission. Afterwards, he left the Dallas area.