TBR News April 28, 2020

Apr 28 2020

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 28, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it. “
Comment for April 28, 2020:” Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist and I was impressed with her observations which closely parallel my own. I work inside the White House and she does not but her comments reflect, very clearly, what I can see for myself. Here is her column on the subject….

I don’t know what kind of disinfectant Donald Trump has been injecting, but the man does not appear to be well. The president’s lethal medical musing has turned him into (even more of) a global laughing stock and the widespread ridicule has clearly bruised his fragile ego. While Trump has never been a paradigm of calmness or competence, he has become increasingly irate and erratic in recent days. Now even his diehard supporters seem to be cooling towards him. Is the “very stable genius” starting to unravel?
Let’s start with the president’s weekend tweetstorm, which, even by Trumpian standards, was spectacularly unhinged. On Sunday, Trump lashed out at what he called a “phony story” in the New York Times that claimed he spends his days eating junk food and watching TV. “I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see [in the Times] that I am angrily eating a hamberger & Diet Coke in my bedroom,” he tweeted. “People with me are always stunned.” He then deleted the tweet and replaced it with one in which hamburger was spelled correctly. (This was clearly a challenge for him: he has previously misspelled hamburgers “hamberders”.)
It turned out that the hambergers were just an appetiser. A rant about the “Noble” prize, which Trump seems to have confused with the Pulitzer prize, followed. This was subsequently deleted and replaced with a tweet stating it had all been an exercise in sarcasm. He is a master of sarcasm, as we all know.
While none of Trump’s aides seem able to shut down his Twitter account, they are trying to tone down his daily press briefings. Trump didn’t hold a briefing over the weekend as he normally does, while Monday’s event was cancelled and then reinstated. “We like to keep reporters on their toes,” the White House director of strategic communications, Alyssa Farah, tweeted with a winking emoji. She then deleted the tweet – presumably to keep reporters on their toes. Monday’s briefing was notable for the briefness of Trump’s remarks; instead of treating it like a political rally, he ceded the floor to a number of CEOs.
Trump enjoyed a bump in his ratings last month when he stopped downplaying coronavirus and announced a 15-day plan to slow the virus’s spread. During his brief experiment with coherence, 55% of Americans said they approved of the way he was handling the crisis and CNN’s chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, told viewers Trump “is being the kind of leader that people need”.
The tide now seems to have turned. Recent polls show that most Americans are unimpressed with Trump’s handling of the crisis. This includes conservatives: a Siena College poll released on Monday found that 56% of Republican voters in New York say they trust Andrew Cuomo, the state’s Democratic governor, to decide how to reopen the state over Trump. Even Fox News seems to have cooled towards Trumpism; the network has just cut ties with Diamond & Silk, a pair of rightwing social-media stars who have been two of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders, after they promoted conspiracy theories and disinformation.
Perhaps the only people more incompetent than Trump are the ragtag team of sycophants he has surrounded himself with. According to Politico, Trump is leaning heavily on Hope Hicks, who he reportedly calls “Hopey”, to steer him through the coronavirus crisis. Hicks, 31, who was formerly the White House communications director, is one of Trump’s most-trusted aides; according to one tell-all book, her duties used to include steaming his trousers – while he wore them. It turns out Hopey is the mastermind who urged Trump to “act as a frontman” during the crisis instead of deferring to health experts. Now that plan has backfired, Hicks – who officially works under boy genius Jared Kushner – is apparently developing a new strategy for Trump. He had better Hopey this one is a little more effective.

Trump National Approval Rating for April. 23-27
Rasmussen Reports/Pulse Opinion Research
Approve      Disapprove
38%                 55%

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose.

The Table of Contents
• Millions of Americans locked out of unemployment system, survey finds
• ‘There is no absolute truth’: an infectious disease expert on Covid-19, misinformation and ‘bullshit’
• China denies spreading coronavirus disinformation following EU report
• US was warned of threat from anti-vaxxers in event of pandemic
• In Just Months, the Coronavirus Is Killing More Americans Than 20 Years of War in Vietnam
• The US Government’s Secret History of Grisly Experiments
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Millions of Americans locked out of unemployment system, survey finds
April 28, 2020
by Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Millions of Americans who have been thrown out of work during the coronavirus pandemic have been unable to register for unemployment benefits since the U.S. economy entered a free fall, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute found in an online poll that for every 10 people who have successfully filed unemployment claims, three or four people have been unable to register and another two people have not tried to apply at a time of acute economic crisis.
Official U.S. statistics show that 26.5 million people have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March, wiping out all of the jobs gained during the longest employment boom in U.S. history.
EPI’s survey indicates that an additional 8.9 million to 13.9 million people have been shut out of the system, said Ben Zipperer, the study’s lead author.
“This study validates the anecdotes and news reports we’re seeing about people having trouble filing for benefits they need and deserve,” Zipperer said.
Idled workers say they have encountered downed websites and clogged phone lines, as the state governments that administer the program have been overwhelmed by applicants.
“It’s a shame how you work for so many years and then when you need it, you can’t get it,” said Jim Hewes, 48, who said he was unable to file a claim online for more than two weeks after he was furloughed from his job at an Orlando, Florida, second-hand store in March.
Hewes said he mailed off a paper application on April 9 but had not heard back from the state.
“It’s almost set up to fail. It was made complicated so people would get discouraged and give up,” he said.
EPI surveyed 24,607 U.S. adult internet users using Google Surveys between April 13 and April 24. The poll has a confidence interval, an indicator of accuracy, of plus or minus 1%.
Some 9.4% of poll respondents said they had successfully applied for unemployment benefits, while 3.4% said they tried but could not get through.
A further 1.9% said they did not apply because the process was too difficult.
States like New Jersey and Georgia have struggled to find staffers who know how to update computer systems that run on decades-old technology. Others that have moved to newer technology have also encountered technical woes.
States have also had to incorporate enhanced federal benefits that provide an extra $600 per week and extend coverage to Uber drivers and other independent contractors.
On top of that, many states entered the crisis with fewer workers to handle unemployment claims as an improving economy had allowed them to cut staff.
States had the equivalent of 26,360 full-time workers in their unemployment offices in the 2018 fiscal year, according to the U.S. Labor Department, down 30% from staffing levels during the peak of the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010.
Many Americans who managed to file claims have yet to receive payments weeks after they lost their jobs.
Labor Department statistics show that 71% who apply are getting payments, although that figure varies significantly by state.
Florida, for example, said on Saturday it had sent payments to roughly one in five of those who had successfully submitted claims.
Among those waiting are Rachel Alvarez, 44, who says she now hides snacks in her bedroom so her three children cannot eat them too quickly. The former restaurant server in Naples, Florida, says she has run through her savings since she was laid off on March 25.
“I have nothing,” she said. “As much as I don’t want my kids to see me stress out, each one has seen me cry.”
Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney

‘There is no absolute truth’: an infectious disease expert on Covid-19, misinformation and ‘bullshit’
Carl Bergstrom’s two disparate areas of expertise merged as reports of a mysterious respiratory illness emerged in January
April 28, 2020
by Julia Carrie Wong in Oakland
The Guardian
Carl Bergstrom is uniquely suited to understanding the current moment. A professor of biology at the University of Washington, he has spent his career studying two seemingly disparate topics: emerging infectious diseases and networked misinformation . They merged into one moment as reports of a mysterious respiratory illness emerged from China in January.
The coronavirus touched off both a pandemic and an “infodemic” of hoaxes, conspiracy theories, honest misunderstandings and politicized scientific debates. Bergstrom has jumped into the fray, helping the public and the press navigate the world of epidemiological models, statistical uncertainty and the topic of his forthcoming book: bullshit.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
You’ve been teaching a course and have co-written a book about the concept of bullshit. Explain what you mean by bullshit?
The formal definition that we use is “language, statistical figures, data, graphics and other forms of presentation that are intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener with a blatant disregard for truth or logical coherence”.
The idea with bullshit is that it’s trying to appear authoritative and definitive in a way that’s not about communicating accurately and informing a reader, but rather by overwhelming them, persuading them, impressing them. If that’s done without any allegiance to truth, or accuracy, that becomes bullshit.
The idea with bullshit is that it’s trying to appear authoritative and definitive in a way that’s not about communicating accurately and informing a reader …
We’re all used to verbal bullshit. We’re all used to campaign promises and weasel words, and we’re pretty good at seeing through that because we’ve had a lot of practice. But as the world has become increasingly quantified and the currency of arguments has become statistics, facts and figures and models and such, we’re increasingly confronted, even in the popular press, with numerical and statistical arguments. And this area’s really ripe for bullshit, because people don’t feel qualified to question information that’s given to them in quantitative form.
Are there bullshit narratives about the coronavirus that you are concerned about right now?
What’s happened with this pandemic that we’re not accustomed to in the epidemiology community is that it’s been really heavily politicized. Even when scientists are very well-intentioned and not trying to support any side of the narrative, when they do work and release a paper it gets picked up by actors with political agendas.
Whether it’s talking about seroprevalence or estimating the chance that this is even going to come to the United States at all each study gets picked up and placed into this little political box and sort of used as a cudgel to beat the other side with.
So even when the material isn’t being produced as bullshit, it’s being picked up and used in the service of that by overstating its claims, by cherry picking the information that’s out there and so on. And I think that’s kind of the biggest problem that we’re facing.
One example [of intentional bullshit] might be this insistence for a while on graphing the number of cases on a per-capita basis, so that people could say the US response is so much better than the rest of the world because we have a slower rate of growth per capita. That was basically graphical malfeasance or bullshit. When a wildfire starts spreading, you’re interested in how it’s spreading now, not whether it’s spreading in 100-acre wood or millions of square miles of national forest.
Is there one big lesson that you think that the media should keep in mind as we communicate science to the public? What mistakes are we making?
I think the media has been adjusting really fast and doing really well. When I’m talking about how to avoid misinformation around this I’m constantly telling people to trust the professional fact-based media. Rather than looking for the latest rumor that’s spreading across Facebook or Twitter so that you can have information up to the hour, recognize that it’s much better to have solidly sourced, well-vetted information from yesterday.
Hyper-partisan media are making a huge mess of this, but that’s on purpose. They’ve got a reason to promote hydroxychloroquine or whatever it is and just run with that. They’re not even trying to be responsible.
But one of the biggest things that people [in the media] could do to improve would be to recognize that scientific studies, especially in a fast moving situation like this, are provisional. That’s the nature of science. Anything can be corrected. There’s no absolute truth there. Each model, each finding is just adding to a weight of evidence in one direction or another.
A lot of the reporting is focusing on models, and most of us probably don’t have any basic training in how to read them or what kind of credence to put in them. What should we know?
The key thing, and this goes for scientists as well as non-scientists, is that people are not doing a very good job thinking about what the purpose of different models are, how the purposes of different models vary, and then what the scope of their value is. When these models get treated as if they’re oracles, then people both over-rely on them and treat them too seriously – and then turn around and slam them too hard for not being perfect at everything.
Are there mistakes that are made by people in the scientific community when it comes to communicating with the public?
We’re trying to communicate as a scientific community in a new way, where people are posting their data in real time. But we weren’t ready for the degree to which that stuff would be picked up and assigned meaning in this highly politically polarized environment. Work that might be fairly easy for researchers to contextualize in the field can be portrayed as something very, very different in the popular press.
The first Imperial College model in March was predicting 1.1 million to 2.2 million American deaths if the pandemic were not controlled. That’s a really scary, dramatic story, and I still think that it’s not unrealistic. That got promoted by one side of the partisan divide. Then Imperial came back and modeled a completely different scenario, where the disease was actually brought under control and suppressed in the US, and they released a subsequent model that said, ‘If we do this, something like 50,000 deaths will occur.’ That was picked up by the other side and used to try to discredit the Imperial College team entirely by saying, ‘A couple of weeks ago they said a million now they’re saying 50,000; they can’t get anything right.’ And the answer , of course, is that they were modeling two different scenarios.
We’re also not doing enough of deliberately stressing the possible weaknesses of our interpretations. That varies enormously from researcher to researcher and team to team.
It requires a lot of discipline to argue really hard for something but also be scrupulously open about all of the weaknesses in your own argument.
But it’s more important than ever, right? A really good paper will lay out all the most persuasive evidence it can and then in the conclusion section or the discussion section say, ‘OK, here are all the reasons that this could be wrong and here are the weaknesses.’
When you have something that’s so directly policy relevant, and there’s a lot of lives at stake, we’re learning how to find the right balance.
It is a bit of a nightmare to put out data that is truthful, but also be aware that there are bad faith actors at the moment who might pounce on it and use it in a way you didn’t intend.
There’s a spectrum. You have outright bad faith actors – Russian propaganda picking up on things and bots spreading misinformation – and then you have someone like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp who I wouldn’t call a bad faith actor. He’s a misinformed actor.
There’s so much that goes unsaid in science in terms of context and what findings mean that we don’t usually write in papers. If someone does a mathematical forecasting model, you’re usually not going to have a half page discussion on the limitations of forecasting. We’re used to writing for an audience of 50 people in the world, if we’re lucky, who have backgrounds that are very similar to our own and have a huge set of shared assumptions and shared knowledge. And it works really well when you’re writing on something that only 50 people in the world care about and all of them have comparable training, but it is a real mess when it becomes pressing, and I don’t think any of us have figured out exactly what to do about that because we’re also trying to work quickly and it’s important to get this information out.
One area that has already become contentious and in some ways politicized is the serology surveys, which are supposed to show what percentage of the population has antibodies to the virus. What are some of the big picture contextual caveats and limitations that we should keep in mind as these surveys come out?
The seroprevalence in the US is a political issue, and so the first thing is to recognize that when anyone is reporting on that stuff, there’s a political context to it. It may even be that some of the research is being done with an implicitly political context, depending on who the funders are or what the orientations and biases of some of the researchers.
It may even be that some of the research is being done with an implicitly political context, depending on who the funders are or what the orientations and biases of some of the researchers.
On the scientific side, I think there’s really two things to think about. The first one is the issue of selection bias. You’re trying to draw a conclusion about one population by sampling from a subset of that population and you want to know how close to random your subset is with respect to the thing you’re trying to measure. The Santa Clara study recruited volunteers off of Facebook. The obvious source of sampling bias there is that people desperately want to get tested. The people that want it are, of course, people that think they’ve had it.
The other big piece is understanding the notion of positive predictive value and the way false positive and false negative error rates influence the estimate. And that depends on the incidence of infection in the population.
If you have a test that has a 3% error rate, and the incidence in the population is below 3%, then most of the positives that you get are going to be false positives. And so you’re not going to get a very tight estimate about how many people have it. This has been a real problem with the Santa Clara study. From my read of the paper, their data is actually consistent with nobody being infected. A New York City study on the other hand showed 21% seropositive, so even if there has a 3% error rate, the majority of those positives have to be true positives.
Now that we’ve all had a crash course in models and serosurveys, what are the other areas of science where it makes sense for the public to start getting educated on the terms of the debate?
One that I think will come along sooner or later is interpreting studies of treatments. We’ve dealt with that a little bit with the hydroxychloroquine business but not in any serious way because the hydroxychloroquine work has been pretty weak and the results have not been so positive.
But there are ongoing tests of a large range of existing drugs. And these studies are actually pretty hard to do. There’s a lot of subtle technical issues: What are you doing for controls? Is there a control arm at all? If not, how do you interpret the data? If there is a control arm: How is it structured? How do you control for the characteristics of the population on whom you’re using the drug or their selection biases in terms of who’s getting the drug?
Unfortunately, given what we’ve already seen with hydroxychloroquine, it’s fairly likely that this will be politicized as well. There’ll be a parallel set of issues that are going to come around with vaccination, but that’s more like a year off.
If you had the ability to arm every person with one tool – a statistical tool or scientific concept – to help them understand and contextualize scientific information as we look to the future of this pandemic, what would it be?
I would like people to understand that there are interactions between the models we make, the science we do and the way that we behave. The models that we make influence the decisions that we take individually and as a society, which then feed back into the models and the models often don’t treat that part explicitly.
Once you put a model out there that then creates changes in behavior that pull you out of the domain that the model was trying to model in the first place. We have to be very attuned to that as we try to use the models for guiding policy.
That’s very interesting, and not what I expected you to say.
What did you expect?
That correlation does not imply causation.
That’s another very good one. Seasonality is a great example there. We’re trying a whole bunch of things at the same time. We’re throwing all kinds of possible solutions at this and lots of things are changing. It’s remarkable to me actually, that so many US states are seeing the epidemic curve decrease. And so there’s a bunch of possibilities there. It could be because people’s behavior is changing. There could be some seasonality there. And there are other possible explanations as well.
But what is really important is that just because the trend that you see is consistent with a story that someone’s selling, there may be many other stories that are also consistent, so inferring causality is dangerous.

China denies spreading coronavirus disinformation following EU report
April 27, 2020
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry on Monday denied claims that Beijing is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus following a European Union report that said there was “significant evidence” of covert Chinese operations on social media.
“China is opposed to the creation and spreading of disinformation by anyone or any organisation. China is a victim of disinformation, not an initiator,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing on Monday
The report by the EU’s foreign policy arm said state-backed governments including China and Russia were responsible for spreading disinfomration on the virus.
Reuters earlier reported that senior Chinese officials pressured the EU to drop the criticisms from the report last week, stating that it would make Beijing “very angry”.
The report was published late last week after a delay and some information regarding China was changed. An EU spokeswoman declined to comment.
China has fiercely defended its handling of the novel coronavirus amid calls from some countries to initiate an independent investigation into the virus and its source.
The foreign ministry’s Geng said there was no conclusive evidence that the virus originated in China, and warned that “political manoeuvring” behind calls for an independent investigation would not be successful.
Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Toby Chopra and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

US was warned of threat from anti-vaxxers in event of pandemic
FBI-connected researchers suggested biggest threat in controlling outbreak was from ‘those who categorically reject vaccination’
April 27, 2020
by Jason Wilson
The Guardian
America’s “anti-vaxxer movement” would pose a threat to national security in the event of a “pandemic with a novel organism”, an FBI-connected non-profit research group warned last year, just months before the global coronavirus pandemic began.
In a research paper put out by the little-known in-house journal of InfraGard – a national security group affiliated with the FBI – experts warned the US anti-vaccine movement would also be connected with “social media misinformation and propaganda campaigns” orchestrated by the Russian government.
Since the virus hit America, anti-vaccination activists and some sympathetic legislators around the country have led or participated in protests against stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of the deadly virus. More than 50,000 people have died in the US.
On its website, InfraGard says it is an “FBI-affiliated nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening national security” with a mission to protect “United States critical infrastructure”. It says it consists of local chapters and that “an FBI special agent from each field office is assigned to serve as a private sector coordinator”.
The paper, jointly written by a security consultant and a senior doctor in New York State’s largest hospital network, warned: “The biggest threat in controlling an outbreak comes from those who categorically reject vaccination.”
The paper, entitled The Anti-Vaxxers Movement and National Security, was co-written by Dr Mark Jarrett, the chief quality officer, senior vice-president and associate chief medical officer at Northwell Health; and Christine Sublett, a health industry-focused cybersecurity consultant.
It lays out a pandemic scenario remarkably similar to the one now afflicting the US along with most of the world, including that “social distancing and isolation have impacts that include loss of manufactured goods, reduced food supply, and other disruptions to the supply chain”.
he article then turns to the anti-vaccine movement, arguing that sufficient resistance to vaccination would hobble the chances of reaching herd immunity to a highly infectious pathogen.
The paper also says that such movements have received a boost in recent years due to their “alignment with other conspiracy movements including the far right … and social media misinformation and propaganda campaigns by many foreign and domestic actors. Included among these actors is the Internet Research Agency, the Russian government–aligned organization.”
Ben Harris-Roxas at the University of New South Wales, an expert on public health, endorsed the epidemiological reasoning in the paper.
“Vaccine hesitancy represents a significant threat – not just for any Covid-19 vaccine that might be developed, but also to measures that might assist people and health services now, such as people getting flu vaccinations,” he said.
Others expressed concerns about the implications of a paper defining a specific group as a national security threat being published under the imprimatur of the FBI.
Michael German, a Brennan Center fellow and former FBI agent and whistleblower, said he was worried about the unintended consequences of defining a group as a national security threat based on their beliefs, and how that might feed into both policy and law enforcement decisions.
“You can imagine some young police officer who’s trying to do a good job protecting his or her community. And all of a sudden he’s told that anti-vaxxers are Russian agents.”
German added that “the lack of proper government preparation and stockpiles of medical materials to respond to a pandemic was a much more serious problem than the influence of a relatively small group of anti-vaxxers could ever be, but it is hard to argue with the need for a science-based policy approach”.
InfraGard has been criticized by civil liberties groups from its origins as a security national entity and links to the FBI.
An FBI spokesperson said: “InfraGard is a non-profit organization serving as a public-private partnership among US businesses, individuals, and the FBI.”
The spokesperson added, “It is important to distinguish among the statements, views, and comments made by official FBI representatives and InfraGard Members”, and declined further comment.
InfraGard Journal’s editor, Dr Ryan Williams, said in a telephone conversation that the journal was peer-reviewed, but received an additional layer of oversight from InfraGard’s board, which includes senior FBI officials and representatives from other partner groups.
Dr Jarrett said the paper had been inspired by the experience of the measles outbreak of early 2019, and its predictions were being borne out in the current crisis.
“Take the pandemic now,” he said. “If they come out with a vaccine and you have 15% of people saying, ‘I don’t want to take it, I don’t believe in it, it’s going to cause harm’, you’re never going to get up to the level of herd immunity to really shut off the process.”

In Just Months, the Coronavirus Is Killing More Americans Than 20 Years of War in Vietnam
April 27, 2020
by Nick Turse
The Intercept
Born in controversy, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is now the most poignant monument on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall. Designed in 1981 by a Yale undergraduate named Maya Lin, the memorial consists of polished black granite panels that form a 125-degree angle and are inscribed with the names of the U.S. military personnel dead from that conflict. The two walls, low at the ends and high where they meet in the middle, list the deceased chronologically — an individual accounting, day by day, of each American life lost.
It took 20 years, from 1955 to 1975, for the United States to lose 58,220 men and women — 47,434 in combat — to the nation’s most divisive conflict since the Civil War. In less than four months, just as many Americans will have died from the Covid-19 pandemic — the toll, on Sunday, stood at 55,383, a few thousand shy of the total number killed in Southeast Asia. In short order, America will pass that appalling milestone. If this is indeed a war, as President Donald Trump has described it — in his words, “We’re waging a war against the invisible enemy” — a question can be asked: Where and how will the dead of this conflict be memorialized?
Will a president who staked his legacy on a “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border actually be remembered for a very different wall: one that bears the names of scores of thousands of Americans who died on his watch? This wall could be inscribed with the names of all those who perished on the front lines of this pandemic, like Vitalina Williams, a 59-year-old immigrant from Guatemala and grocery store worker in Massachusetts; Ferdi German, 41, an Army veteran who worked as a subway car inspector in New York City; Craig Franken, a 61-year-old – married for nearly 20 years – who worked at the Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and four members of the Franklin family from New Orleans, 86-year-old Antoinette and her sons Herman, 71, Timothy, 61, and Anthony, 58, who survived a previous cataclysm — Hurricane Katrina, associated with (and exacerbated by) a prior U.S. president — only to succumb to another disaster, 15 years later.
Then there are the health care workers, the doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other medical professionals who — like so many of the Army medics and Navy corpsmen whose names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — ran toward danger and sacrificed their lives in an effort to save their fellow Americans. These courageous people include Celia Yap-Banago, 69, an immigrant from the Philippines who spent nearly 40 years as a nurse at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri and fell ill after caring for a patient believed to have had Covid-19 and Madhvi Aya, a 61-year-old Indian immigrant who worked as a physician’s assistant at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and treated Covid-19 patients wearing only a surgical mask.
About 300 feet from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands a sculpture made by Glenna Goodacre, who died, at age 80, on April 13. Modeled after Michelangelo’s “Pietà,” it depicts three women in uniform surrounding — and one of them gently cradling — a wounded male GI. “The emphasis of this tribute is centered on their emotions — their compassion, their anxiety, their fatigue, and above all, their dedication,” said Goodacre when the statue was unveiled. Could there be a better template for a sculpture honoring the efforts of health care workers like Yap-Banago and Aya to accompany a wall memorializing the fallen of this pandemic?
For years, American presidents touted progress during the disastrous war in Vietnam. “We can rightly judge … that the progress of the past three years would have been far less likely, if not completely impossible, if America’s sons and others had not made their stand in Vietnam,” said President Lyndon Johnson in March 1968. In August 1972, his successor, Richard Nixon, said: “I pledged to seek an honorable end to the war in Vietnam. We have made great progress toward that end.” Trump has repeatedly revived the Vietnam War-tainted phrase “light at the end of the tunnel” during this pandemic and similarly claimed headway despite the increasing deaths. “As we continue our battle against the virus, the data and facts on the ground suggest that we’re making great progress,” he said recently during his own version of the 5 o’clock follies.
Last week, Trump suggested that the death toll of the Covid-19 pandemic might top out at 50,000 American lives lost. “We did the right thing, because if we didn’t do it, you would have had a million people, a million and a half people, maybe 2 million people dead,” he said. “Now, we’re going toward 50, I’m hearing, or 60,000 people.” An April 20 prediction of an American death toll of 50,000 was as unrealistic as Trump’s baseless January claim that “we have [Covid-19] totally under control,” and his February fictions that the virus “will go away in April” and “within a couple of days [the number of Americans with Covid-19] is going to be down to close to zero.”
Earlier this month, at one of his coronavirus press briefings, Trump also touted the fruits of his efforts along the Mexican border. “We’re up to about 168 miles of wall,” he boasted. But having devoted far more time and energy over the past three years to that project than to pandemic preparedness, the body count of Americans killed by Covid-19 during his tenure has, in four months, exceeded two decades of armed conflict in Southeast Asia. (The number of Vietnamese civilians killed during those years is estimated at about 2 million, nearly the same as the worst-case scenario forecast of U.S. deaths without efforts to slow the coronavirus through social distancing.)
It took two 200-foot walls made up of 70 separate panels to list the more than 58,000 dead on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Just how many names — of grocery store employees, warehouse workers, delivery drivers, custodians, meatpacking plant workers, doctors, nurses, and EMTs — will need to be etched into a Covid-19 memorial won’t be known for years. Some projections put the total number at more than 67,000 Covid-19 deaths by August. The White House previously warned of the possibility of as many as 240,000 fatalities. Some estimates put the number at 300,000 Americans lost to the disease over the next several years.
For now, we need to keep counting the fallen and begin thinking about how to memorialize all the heartache, all the deaths faced alone, all the bodies consigned to mass graves, all the lives lost too soon. We already know that a wall to honor America’s Covid-19 casualties would be big, far too big. And we know, however poignant the design, however it stirs the soul, however iconic it becomes, there’s never going to be anything beautiful about it.

The US Government’s Secret History of Grisly Experiments
April 28, 2020
by John W. Whitehead
“They were monsters with human faces, in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep,so banal you don’t recognize them for what they are until it’s too late.”
~ Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
I have never known any government to put the best interests of its people first, and this COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.
Now this isn’t intended to be a debate over whether COVID-19 is a legitimateh ealth crisis or a manufactured threat. Such crises can – and are – manipulated by governments in order to expand their powers. As such, it is possible fort he virus to be both a genuine menace to public health and a menace to freedom.
Yet we can’t afford to overlook the fact that governments the world over, including the U.S. government, have unleashed untold horrors upon the world in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in the guise of the greater good.
While the US government is currently looking into the possibility that the novel coronavirus spread from a Chinese laboratory rather than a market , the virus could just as easily have been created by the US government or one of its allies.
After all, grisly experiments, barbaric behavior and inhumane conditions have become synonymous with the US government, which has meted out untold horrors against humans and animals alike.
For instance, did you know that the US government has been buying hundreds of dogs and cats from “Asian meat markets” as part of a gruesome experiment into food-borne illnesses?
The cannibalistic experiments involve killing cats and dogs purchased from Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, China and Ethiopia, and then feeding the dead remains to laboratory kittens, bred in government laboratories for the express purpose of being infected with a disease and then killed.
It gets more gruesome.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been removing parts of dogs’ brains to see how it affects their breathing; applying electrodes to dogs’ spinal cords (before and after severing them) to see how it impacts their cough reflexes; and implanting pacemakers in dogs’ hearts and then inducing them to have heart attacks (before draining their blood). All of the laboratory dogs are killed during the course of these experiments.
It’s not just animals that are being treated like lab rats by government agencies.
“We the people” have also become the police state’s guinea pigs: to be caged,branded, experimented upon without our knowledge or consent, and then conveniently discarded and left to suffer from the aftereffects.
Back in 2017, FEMA “inadvertently” exposed early 10,000 firefighters, paramedics and other responders to a deadly form of ricin during simulated bioterrorism response sessions. In 2015, it was discovered that an Army lab had been “mistakenly” shipping deadly anthrax to labs and defense contractors for a decade.
While these particular incidents have been dismissed as “accidents,” you don’t have to dig very deep or go very back in the nation’s history to uncover numerous cases in which the government deliberately conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace – citizens and noncitizensa like – making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins.
At the time, the government reasoned that it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society such as prisoners, mental patients, and poor blacks.
In Alabama, for example, 600 black men with syphilis were allowed to suffer without proper medical treatment in order to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis. In California, older prisoners had testicles from livestock and from recently executed convicts implanted in them to test their virility. In Connecticut, mental patients were injected with hepatitis.
In Maryland, sleeping prisoners had a pandemic flu virus sprayed up their noses. In Georgia, two dozen “volunteering” prison inmates had gonorrhea bacteria pumped directly into their urinary tracts through the penis. In Michigan, male patientsat an insane asylum were exposed to the flu after first being injected with an experimental flu vaccine. In Minnesota, 11 public service employee “volunteers” were injected with malaria, then starved for five days.
In New York, dying patients had cancer cells introduced into their systems. In Ohio, over 100 inmates were injected with live cancer cells. Also in New York, prisoners at a reformatory prisonw ere also split into two groups to determine how a deadly stomach virus was spread: the first group was made to swallow an unfiltered stool suspension, while the second group merely breathed in germs sprayed into the air. And in Staten Island, children with mental retardation were given hepatitis orally and by injection tos ee if they could then be cured.
As the Associated Press reports, “The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the US pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guineapigs … because they were cheaper than chimpanzees.”
Moreover, “Some of these studies, mostly from the 1940s to the ’60s, apparently were ever covered by news media. Others were reported at the time, but the focus was on the promise of enduring new cures, while glossing over how test subjectswere treated.”
Media blackouts, propaganda, spin. Sound familiar?
How many government incursions into our freedoms have been blacked out, buried under “entertainment” news headlines, or spun in such a way as to suggest that anyone voicing a word of caution is paranoid or conspiratorial?
Unfortunately, these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg when it comest o the atrocities the government has inflicted on an unsuspecting populace in the name of secret experimentation.
For instance, there was the US military’s secretr ace-based testing of mustard gas on more than 60,000 enlisted men. As NPR reports, “All of the World War II experiments with mustard gas were done ins ecret and weren’t recorded on the subjects’ official military records. Most do not have proof of what they went through. They received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind. And they were sworn to secrecy about the tests under threat of dishonorable discharge and military prison time, leaving some unable to receive adequate medical treatment for their injuries, because they couldn’t tell doctors what happened to them.”
And then there was the CIA’s MKULTRA program in which hundreds of unsuspecting American civilians and military personnel were dosed with LSD, some having the hallucinogenic drug slipped into their drinks at the beach, in city bars, at restaurants. As Time reports, “before the documentation and other facts of the program were made public, those who talked of it were frequently dismissed as being psychotic.”
Now one might argue that this is all ancient history and that the government today is different from the government of yesteryear, but has the US government really changed?
Has the government become any more humane, any more respectful of the rights of the citizenry?
Has it become any more transparent or willing to abide by the rule of law? Has it become any more truthful about its activities? Has it become any morec ognizant of its appointed role as a guardian of our rights?
Or has the government simply hunkered down and hidden its nefarious acts and dastardly experiments under layers of secrecy, legalism and obfuscations? Has \it not become wilier, more slippery, more difficult to pin down?
Having mastered the Orwellian art of Doublespeak and followed the Huxleyanblueprint for distraction and diversion, are we not dealing with a government that is simply craftier and more conniving that it used to be?
Consider this: after revelations about the government’s experiments spanning the 20th century spawned outrage, the government began looking for human guinea pigs in other countries, where “clinical trials could be done more cheaply and with fewer rules.”
In Guatemala, prisoners and patients at a mental hospital were infected withs yphilis, “apparently to test whether penicillin could prevent some sexually transmitted disease.” In Uganda, U.S.-funded doctors “failed to give the AIDS drug AZT to all the HIV-infected pregnant women in a study… even though it would have protected their newborns.” Meanwhile, in Nigeria, children with meningitis were used to test an antibiotic named Trovan. Eleven children died and many others were left disabled.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Case in point: back in 2016, it was announced that scientists working for the Department of Homeland Security wouldbegin releasing various gases and particles on crowded subway platforms as part of an experiment aimed at testing bioterror airflow in New York subways.
The government insisted that the gases released into the subways by the DHS were nontoxic and did not pose a health risk. It’s in our best interests, they said, to understand how quickly a chemical or biological terrorist attack might spread. And look how cool the technology is – said the government cheerleaders – that cientists can use something called DNATrax to track the movement of microscopic substances in air and food. (Imagine the kinds of surveillance that could be carried out by the government using trackable airborne microscopic substances you breathe in or ingest.)
Mind you, this is the same government that in 1949 sprayed bacteria into the Pentagon’s air handling system, then the world’s largest office building. In 1950, special ops forces sprayed bacteria from Navy ships off the coast of Norfolk and San Francisco, int he latter case exposing all of the city’s 800,000 residents.
In 1953, government operatives staged “mock” anthrax attacks on St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Winnipeg using generators placed on top of cars. Local governments were reportedly told that “‘invisibles mokescreen[s]’ were being deployed to mask the city on enemy radar.” Later experiments covered territory as wide-ranging as Ohio to Texas and Michigan to Kansas.
In 1965, the government’s experiments in bioterror took aim at Washington’s National Airport, followed by a 1966 experiment in which army scientists exposed a million subway NYC passengers to airborne bacteria that causes food poisoning.
And this is the same government that has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests – GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc. – and used it against us, to track, control and trap us.
So, no, I don’t think the government’s ethics have changed much over the years.It’s just taken its nefarious programs undercover.
The question remains: why is the government doing this? The answer is always the same: money, power and total domination.
It’s the same answer no matter which totalitarian regime is in power.
The mindset driving these programs has, appropriately, been likenedt o that of Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews. As the Holocaust Museum recounts, Nazi physicians “conducted painful and often deadly experiments on thousands of concentration camp prisoners without their consent.”
The Nazi’s unethical experiments ran the gamut from freezing experiments using prisoners to finda n effective treatment for hypothermia, tests to determine the maximum altitude for parachuting out of a plane, injecting prisoners with malaria, typhus, tuberculosis,typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis, exposing prisoners to phosgene and mustard gas, and mass sterilization experiments.
The horrors being meted out against the American people can be traced back, in a direct line, to the horrors meted out in Nazi laboratories. In fact, following the second World War, the US government recruited many of Hitler’s employees, adopted his protocols, embraced his mindset about law and order and experimentation, and implemented his tactics in incremental steps.
Sounds far-fetched, you say? Read on. It’s all documented.
As historian Robert Gellately recounts,the Nazi police state was initially so admired for its efficiency and order by the worldpowers of the day that J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police, the Gestapo.
The FBI was so impressed with the Nazi regime that, according to the New York Times, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruitedat least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen.
All told, thousands of Nazi collaborators – including the head of a Nazi concentration camp, among others – were given secret visas and brought to America by way of Project Paperclip. Subsequently, they were hired on as spies, informants and scientific advisers, and then camouflaged to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. All the while, thousands of Jewish refugees were refused entry visas to the US on the grounds that it could threaten national security.
Adding further insult to injury, American taxpayers have been paying to keep these ex-Nazis on the US government’s payroll ever since. And in true Gestapo fashion, anyon ewho has dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties has found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.
As if the government’s covert, taxpayer-funded employment of Nazis after World War II wasn’t bad enough, US government agencies – the FBI, CIA and the military – have sincefully embraced many of the Nazi’s well-honed policing tactics, and have used them repeatedly against American citizens.
It’s certainly easy to denounce the full-frontal horrors carried out by the scientific and medical community within a despotic regime such as Nazi Germany, but what do you do when it’s your own government that claims to be a champion of human rights all the while allowing its agents to engage in the foulest,bases and most despicable acts of torture, abuse and experimentation?
When all is said and done, this is not a government that has our best interests at heart.
This is not a government that values us.
Perhaps the answer lies in The Third Man, Carol Reed’s influential 1949 film starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. In the film, set in a post-WW II Vienna, rogue war profiteer Harry Lime has come to view human carnage with a callous indifference, unconcerned that the diluted penicillin he’s been trafficking underground has resulted in the tortured deaths of young children.
Challenged by his old friend Holly Martins to consider the consequences of his actions, Lime responds, “In these days, old man, nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t, so why should we?”
“Have you ever seen any of your victims?” asks Martins.
“Victims?” responds Limes, as he looks down from the top of a Ferris wheel onto a populace reduced to mere dots on the ground. “Look down there. Tell me.Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dotsy ou could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax – the only way you can save money nowadays.”
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is how the US government sees us, too, when it looks down upon us from its lofty perch.
To the powers-that-be, the rest of us are insignificant specks, faceless dots on the ground.
To the architects of the American police state, we are not worthy or vested with inherent rights. This is how the government can justify treating us like economic units to be bought and sold and traded, or caged rats to be experimented upon and discarded when we’ve outgrown our usefulness.
To those who call the shots in the halls of government, “we the people” aremerely the means to an end.
“We the people” – who think, who reason, who take a stand, who resist, who demand to be treated with dignity and care, who believe in freedom and justice forall – have become obsolete, undervalued citizens of a totalitarian state that,in the words of Rod Serling, “has patterned itself after every dictator whohas ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom.”
In this sense, we are all Romney Wordsworth, the condemned man in Serling’s Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man.”
“The Obsolete Man” speaks to the dangers of a government that views people as expendable once they have outgrown their usefulness to the State. Yet – and here’s the kicker – this is where the government through its monstrous inhumanity also becomes obsolete.As Serling noted in his original script for “The Obsolete Man,” “Any state, any entity, any ideology which fails to recognize the worth, the dignity,the rights of Man…that state is obsolete.”
How do you defeat a monster? You start by recognizing the monster for what it is.’

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Dorothy Spaulding

Though she may not be among the most famous televangelists working in the US, Dorothy Spaulding, President and Founder of Watchmen Broadcasting, is certainly one of the truly whacky ones – a sort of low-budget, poor man’s version of Cindy Jacobs, if you wish – and her network show Club 36 has been dubbed “perhaps the most hilarious Christian train-wreck TV this great country has produced in … decades.”
Indeed, Spaulding’s show is probably the go-to place if you feel the need to talk about how you were attacked by 80-foot demons or rant about Satanic baby farms and want to be taken seriously. Here, for instance, you can watch Spaulding and her guest, one Henry Lewis, discuss the dangers of Pokémon; Pokémon are “oriental demons”, and the names of the Pokémon characters are apparently the real names of these oriental demons. Here is a list of names of Pokémon characters for those unfamiliar with the universe (one imagines that the practice of fundamentalist Christianity would look very different had Revelations mentioned Jigglypuff and Wigglytuff by name). There is also, in addition to wild-eyed rantings about witches and Harry Potter, some kind of attack on the theory of evolution in there, for good measure – you wouldn’t really suspect Spaulding of being anything but a young-earth creationist, would you?
She has also written a book Walk by Faith, and is apparently especially “passionate about telling the truth of what is happening in Israel” – her reaction to the 80-foot demon story doesn’t really convey much trust in her ability to distinguish truth from other things, though.
Diagnosis: Possibly worth checking out for some cheap entertainment; otherwise, a potential reminder that what goes on at the grassroots level is often even crazier than the stuff that goes on in the top echelons of American evangelism.

Jack Schaap

Jack Schaap used to be an insane Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastor associated with the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, one of the largest megachurches in the US and most famous for its many sexual crimes cases (it also sports its own “college” and schools). An unrepentant fundie, Schaap’s sermons tended to feature more than a smidgen of bloodlust, with ample appeals to violence, weapon use and sex (the Lord’s Supper being likened to having sex with Jesus Christ, for instance – indeed, Schaap’s whole theology was weirdly sexualized), which apparently made him rather popular among his target audiences; an especially notable example is his fantastically bizarre “The Polished Shaft” family sermon). Among Schaap’s many deranged views, a notable number among them included views about women (he even wrote a book, How to Speak Husband, about “a wife’s role in the marriage” and how “[e]very wife needs to learn to interpret the language of her husband and master that language which she should be speaking as a wife”) such as the idea that a man shouldn’t get his theological views from a woman – after all, “the reason your soul, sorry soul’s going to hell is because a woman told Adam what God thinks about things” – because the Bible was written by men, which is an interesting admission from a fundie pastor like Schaap. He is, of course, also a creationist.
In 2013, Schaap landed himself in trouble (who could have foreseen that?) after having entertained a sexual relationship with a 17-year old girl in his congregation. According to himself, the unfortunate situation arose because he was just so stressed that he couldn’t help himself since people didn’t donate enough money to his church, which is one of the worst excuses among many we’ve come across. He also blamed God’s plan.
Diagnosis: Schaap was, of course, a cult leader, and like most of them, utterly corrupt in all senses of the word. He’s still got fans, though, and his church lives on.

Andrew Saul
A.k.a. the MegaVitaminMan

Andrew Saul is a self-proclaimed expert in nutrition and proud holder of a PhD from a “non-traditional PhD program”, the non-accredited diploma mill mail order program Greenwich University. (It never ceases to surprise us that those who defend people like Saul so rarely stop to consider why he would feel the need to mislead his audience by claiming such expertise.) Saul has written several books with titles like Doctor Yourself and Fire Your Doctor; his website takes its name from the title of the former, whereas Fire Your Doctor refers to how important it is that you, his reader, doesn’t consult anyone except him about the contents his advice, and especially not anyone who might have any real competence in any of it, since they’ll only disagree with him and tell you things he doesn’t want you to know. On his website – which Saul refers to as “his peer-reviewed website” and claims to be “one of the largest non-commercial natural health resources on the internet” – and in his books, Saul will tell you what they don’t want you to know and why “a grandmother is worth two doctors” (probably relevant to understanding his claim about his website being “peer-reviewed”), and he promotes a range of demonstrably useless dietary supplements. One reason you need supplements is apparently that much of today’s food is crappy and much of it GMO. No, Saul really doesn’t like doctors: “Doctors command far more respect than they’ve earned. It amounts to a religion, almost a perverse opposite of Christian Science, when we have so much faith in people.” Moreover, medical science was wrong about much in the past, so it is clearly not to be trusted. Instead, you should trust him, whose degree is at least not from a real medical school.
Also known as the MegaVitamin Man, Saul is best known for promoting huge doses (at least 15,000 mg, but he has also mentioned “½ million to 2 million milligrams”) of Vitamin C as a miracle cure; “[n]ow, I don’t believe in ‘miracle cures’ or silver bullets,” says Saul, “but high-dose Vitamins sure come close”: apparently megadoses of vitamin C are effective for anything from scorpion bites (according entirely to himself, Saul detoxed himself from a venomous scorpion bite using vitamin C, “which acts as a potent anti-toxin;” it most assuredly does not) to chronic disease to compromised immune systems to the flu; vitamin C ostensibly works as an “antibiotic, antihistamine, antitoxin, antipyretic, antidepressant and will even curb your appetite.” Indeed, Saul “personally worked with a woman who had HIV, drug addiction, alcoholism, you name it. I told her to consider really shoveling in the Vitamin C, quit drugs and drinking, and clean up her diet. Well, she got off of drugs and eventually the alcohol. She tried to clean up her diet, and she took an awful lot of vitamin C. I ran into her 20 years later and she told me that the last three times she was tested for HIV they couldn’t find any.” In short, C vitamins clearly fits the definition of “miracle cure”, but for marketing purposes it is probably strategically advantageous to give a more modest first impression lest people think Saul is as ridiculous as he is. “Wouldn’t it be great if your doctor would teach you how to use common Vitamins for healing chronic illness, reversing disease and injury, or just for maintaining health? But most can’t … or won’t – and there’s a surprising reason why.” It is not very surprising. The reason is of course that Vitamin C demonstrably does none of what Saul claims it does. This is not the answer Saul gives.
Indeed, according to Saul, “medical doctors have been using high doses of vitamins to cure disease for over 70 years”; in fact, they “have been stopping and curing Polio with high doses of Vitamin C since the 1930’s. In the 1860’s and 70’s they were curing pneumonia with Vitamin C therapy” (it probably doesn’t need to be pointed out that these claims have nothing to do with reality). Elsewhere he claims that doctors don’t use vitamins to cure disease because “doctors are pretty indoctrinated by the time they finish med school” and will never even consider any alternatives, even though researchers according to him constantly publish on the almost magical efficacy of vitamins; in any case “[i]t could have something to do with money” because doctors are “basically funded by the pharmaceutical industry from the moment they enter med school to the moment they hang up their stethoscope”, and the pharmaceutical – unlike himself and the supplement industry – cannot make money off of vitamins.
Of course, the evidence Saul is talking about is studies published in things like the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. Orthomolecular medicine is of course one of the more deranged branches of dangerous pseudoscience out there. In fact, Saul has managed to become one of the more, uh, recognized figures in orthomolecular medicine – he is editor of the “peer-reviewed” Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (he keeps using that expression; I do not think it means what he thinks it means) and was “inducted into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame in 2013” – and according to the grand old man of orthomolecular medicine, Abram Hoffer: “Andrew Saul’s website is great. And it’s accurate. I read it all and it’s very accurate.” Hoffer, who died in 2009, was also Saul’s co-author on the book The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, one in a series of books that also include The Vitamin Cure for Depression (with one Bo Jonsson), The Vitamin Cure for Children’s Health Problemsand The Vitamin Cure for Infant and Toddler Health Problems (both with Ralph Campbell). Saul’s website, which is certainly not accurate by any stretch of the imagination (you should, for instance, emphatically not trust Saul’s advice on niacin), is mostly a series of links to various articles from a wide variety of quacks and crackpots claiming things that fit Saul’s narrative.
Saul has also branched out a bit and written ‘Vegetable Juicing for Everyone ‘(with Helen Saul Case) and ‘I have cancer, What should I do: Your orthomolecular guide for cancer management’ (with Michael González & Jorge Miranda-Massari). What you should is to listen to your doctor and stay as far away as possible from Saul’s book.
Diagnosis: Certainly a crackpot and pseudoscientist, but his own promotion of his fake degree makes it hard to maintain the position that he is merely a true believer. Dangerous.

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