The Watering Hole, Monday, October 1st, 2012: Pander Much, Mitt?

Romney’s Misleading Mailer (H/T Think Progress)

A thread posted at ThinkProgress on Saturday discussed how a man named Michael Farris, a “highly influential social conservative in Virginia” apparently impressed the Romney/Ryan campaign enough for them to send out the above mailer to potential Virginia voters. Mr. Farris “believes that people can contract “chronic Lyme disease” that must be treated with long-term antibiotics. The Center[sic] for Disease Control says there is no such thing as “chronic Lyme disease” and “long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been associated with serious complications.” Farris claims that his wife and seven of his children all suffer from “chronic Lyme disease”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Mr. Farris’s opinion – and the comments following TP’s article are quite mixed** – one has to question both the purpose and the content of the Romney/Ryan mailer.

Why would anyone running for the office of the Presidency take one person’s unconfirmed story and run a campaign mailer on it? A March 2012 article from provides some insight, as does A few excerpts from articles:

“I believe that anybody who’s dogmatic about any side of the kind of controversies around Lyme is speaking prematurely,” said Farris, the chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County. “We’re in the early scientific stages of a very important disease that’s affected a lot of people, and I think we need more science.”


“Appointed to lead Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Lyme Disease Task Force, Farris is challenging the state’s medical establishment to take a hard look at the way it diagnoses and treats acute Lyme and its chronic, long-term counterpart — a condition that most infectious disease experts refute outright.
Long a champion of creationism — to the point that several Patrick Henry professors left the college in 2007, claiming his views limited their academic freedoms — Farris is now traveling the state with his task force, seeking input and stirring up doctors.”

Here’s a couple of links to the Task Force’s “final report”.
(Note: A member of the panel as listed in the second link appears to have been misidentified as Michael Cameron MD of Mount Kisco, NY (a few towns south of us.) A google search found a Daniel Cameron, MD, listed as a Lyme Disease expert, with a website called, which mentions an article published by Dr. Cameron called “Proof That Chronic Lyme Disease Exists.”

Okay, so Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell allowed his old pal Michael Farris, who has no background whatsoever in medicine, to appoint himself as head this “Task Force”.

Now let’s look at what the mailer actually says (of course, you have to enlarge the photo to read the damn thing):


“It’s a serious problem that demands immediate attention.” – Um, Lyme Disease has been given “immediate attention” since the first case was diagnosed a few DECADES AGO.

“As President, Mitt Romney will ensure that real action is taken to get control of this epidemic that is wreaking havoc on Northern Virginia.”

IMPROVE SYNERGY Ensure that government agencies have an open line of communication and work with patients, researchers, doctors and businesses in an objective, comprehensive manner.
– Buzzwords, totally meaningless.
INCREASE AWARENESS Work with federal and state health agencies to support Lyme Disease awareness efforts to help prevent further spread of the disease. Seriously, Federal Health agencies have been supporting awareness efforts since the 1980s. Virginia seems to be lagging quite a bit behind; but then again, Virginia Republicans think that it’s a conspiracy promulgated by the CDC.

(And here’s the real kicker): SUPPORT TREATMENT Encourage increased options for the treatment of Lyme Disease and provide local physicians with protection from lawsuits to ensure they can treat the disease with the aggressive antibiotics that are required.

This is the part that Michael Farris really, really wants. Apparently the doctor who had been treating Farris’s family with long-term antibiotics, Dr. Joseph Jemsek, lost his North Carolina medical license and is now practicing in Washington, DC. Obviously, Mr. Farris couldn’t find a doctor in Virginia who would agree to treat Farris’s family with the non-standard, possibly dangerous treatment that Farris wanted.

The upshot is that Mitt Romney is more than willing to take the word of one nutjob, simply because that nutjob happens to be an influential conservative Republican and friend of Governor McDonnell. This appears to put Romney just one step above Batshit Crazy Michele Bachmann when it comes to believing a single person about a complicated medical issue. Republicans and science simply don’t mix.

This is our daily open thread — have at it!!

**Something weird happened to the thread at ThinkProgress: as of Sunday morning, there were over 100 comments; suddenly, after refreshing the page, all comments were completely gone. I don’t know what Judd did, but people were really pissed off.

158 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, October 1st, 2012: Pander Much, Mitt?

  1. What they’re really saying is: Romney and Ryan will do more to fight the spread of critical thinking and scientific discovery under the mantle of ignorant blind trust than, say for example Pat Robertson.

  2. Lyme Disease is a very complicated disease. It’s impact and symptoms varies from individual to individual. I know several people that have contacted Lyme, including my husband. They all reported different symptoms and none of them had the “bulls eye rash”. My husband’s Lyme Disease was diagnosed after he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee. The doctor noticed that the fluid around his knee looked suspicious so he did some lab studies and discovered the Lyme. As for myself, I had volunteered for the Lymerix vaccine study. I received two doses given at a designated interval. The study was discontinued before I received my final dose. No one knows if the vaccine works and my lab tests will never give accurate results. I have a friend that is taking long term antibiotics. Until about one week ago, it had been several months since I saw him and when we finally saw each other again, I noticed that his speech sounded slightly slurred.

    Lyme Disease is extremely complicated as it may also involve other infections. Most people respond to short term antibiotics. Other people may need a longer treatment.

    The problem that Romney is addressing will be corrected with Obamacare as electronic records are part of the new health care law. Electronic records allow physicians/pharmacists/nurses to share vital health information which is beneficial to the patient. Romney LOVES Obamacare.

    • The first time I contracted Lyme Disease, I had the classic bulls eye rash all over my body. This was when I worked for Xerox, so it had to be about 20 years ago. It was still so relatively new to our area that the doctor asked if it was okay for the nurse to see my almost naked body so he could show her the “classic” symptoms. After that, the other three or four times I got it I did NOT get the bulls eye rashes, and that led me to think it wasn’t Lyme, but it was.

      To my untrained medical mind, it sounds like the problem Romney’s donor friend had was not “chronic Lyme Disease” by good old fashioned Epstein-Barr Syndrome. THAT can be a chronic illness with many of the same symptoms as Lyme (maybe because the same parts of the body are being affected, possibly?)

      A former co-worker of ours got the vaccination, too, because he likes to do a lot of outdoor gardening work. He said that from now on, whenever he gets tested for Lyme, it will always come back positive even if he doesn’t have a current case. As I understand it, that’s because tests for things like this look for antibodies to a disease, and if you had a vaccination, your body will always produce antibodies to it, so the tests will always come back positive.

  3. If we cut the size of government the way the Romney/Ryan budget mandates, there will be scant federal resources to devote to any disease. The only part of Romney’s plan to help Lyme Disease patients that would be possible to implement would be the part that prevents them from suing their doctor for malpractice.

  4. I can’t imagine that the number of people who might be swayed by this mailer justifies the cost of printing it. R’s seem to be targeting microgroups in VA, I’ve also received one from George “Macaca” Allen criticizing Tim Kaine’s mechanism for funding rail to Dulles which is not a big issue for most folks.
    I’ve had Lyme, to the extent that I slurred my speech. I was tested after a good call by my GP and tested positive according to CDC guidelines. When the symptoms did not relent after 3 30 day courses of oral antibiotics I was referred to an infectious disease specialist who treated me with IV antibiotics via a PIC line. In spite of the fact that my insurance company preauthorized this treatment, their medical review board (death panel) rescinded the permission halfway through treatment after they decided I did not have Lyme. The medication alone was about $6K/week. My doctor tried to correspond with the insurance company, but they never answered her calls or e-mails. I appealed the denial and forwarded my copy of the test results. Denied again, as I was not in an occupation that carried a high risk of tick exposure. (Farmer???) So, I appealed again. This time they denied me due to the symptoms listed in my medical record, cherry picking some while ignoring others. I appealed this denial based on the fact that they were obviously just making shit up in order to avoid paying and vowed to hound them forever. This time they accepted my appeal and agreed to pay. When I contacted the very nice pharmacist who dispensed my drug to assure him the bill would be paid, he told me the insurance companies deny everyone who needs this treatment and very seldom relent. That final round of drugs did in fact cure me. That’s the system that needs fixing Mittens, and I know you’ve no interest in doing so. Fuck you and your homeschooling creationist whack-job buddy Farris!

  5. “Something weird happened to the thread at ThinkProgress: as of Sunday morning, there were over 100 comments; suddenly, after refreshing the page, all comments were completely gone.”

    I gave up posting, and reading comments over there long, long ago. I watched as the ThinkFast thread went from around a dozen articles, to about a half-dozen, but with photos/charts so it took up the same amount of space, to gone.

    But in driving me and others off of the site, management has done what no troll could ever do…

    Jus’ sayin’…

    • TP’s back to its old ways?
      I left there long ago.
      I was amusing for awile, watching the battle of the trolls.
      It proved to me one thing: sane coherent discussion is impossible amongst the likes of those.

    • For the record, I, too, have ‘abandoned’ TP, haven’t been there other than via an occasional posted link since whenever it was they changed their comment setup/format.

      In re Lyme disease, I’ve never had it. Never had polio either — and when I was a kid, it was rampant and crippling — but I remain grateful that it was science and its implicit brilliance, not religious nutcases, that discovered and implemented the means of polio prevention. One of the enduring benefits of “Socialism”, perhaps?

      • NPR covered polio today – its not being eradicated, it’s starting to come back – poverty, ignorance, religious superstition and bigotry …. all contributing to undermining the eradication campaign.

        • Actually, poverty, ignorance, and bigotry are all (intentionally) parcel to the imposition process of religious superstition, and disease has forever been one of its great tools. From leprosy to AIDS, God’s wrath is visited upon “sinners” of all kinds. Pure hokum, obviously, but still a popular supposition even in this “enlightened” age of science and intellectual exploration.

          Personally, I’d love to see religion and all of its associated myths and superstitions fall off the edge and disappear into the abyss, that black hole from which it crawled out a few thousand years ago. Religion has far too long been THE anti-intellectual scourge whose sole purpose forever remains the favorite tool of power and wealth acquisition/concentration.

          I have to wonder why it is, really, that humans seem to be the only species in all of life that’s so willing — even eager — to succumb to ignorance. My cat wonders the same thing, I think.

    • TP – left TP in maybe 2008 – so long ago the search relevance has gone… their failure to police trolls and the arbitrary houding of legit posters for a variety of ‘red lines’ that the trolls were allowed to cross… their agenda was showing.

  6. My sister contracted Lymes disease about 20 years ago. She’s suffered a number of maladies all inter-related and ongoing. the worst being her continual joint pain. at 63 she’s using a cane or walker to get around. she did finally get off the central line and pump she was strapped with 24/7…

  7. Why is this Farris weirdo so obsessed with Lyme Disease? His family members could be having problems with another disease — or maybe they’re just sick of him — but they’ll probably never know because he’s stuck on the damn Lyme.

    Really, it’s unbelievable the Romney campaign put out such a stupid flyer.

    • Really it is possible that Farris has mental problems that antibiotics won’t fix. His whole family has it? It’s not contagious. What Romney/Ryan are doing is showing how they’ll protect doctors from malpractice suits.

      • Shayne, I told Jane that last night. I think that’s exactly what the entire purpose of this bullshit is – to protect doctors from any malpractice suits, for anything.

        It’s not so hard to see why. They (the RWers) view Health Care as just another way to make money, and they don’t want to be held accountable if someone dies or gets sicker because they might be so bad at it. Their view is purely Capitalistic, and not at all concerned with effectiveness. As far as they’re concerned, if enough patients go to a bad doctor (like Ferris’), eventually word will get out that the doctor isn’t good and patients will stop going to him. That doctor “won;t have any market” in which to sell his services. They don’t care how many people die in the meantime. For them, the purpose of Health Care is to make money. Period. They disgust me.

    • I think he admitted last week that Obama hasn’t raied taxes in his first four years …. Voucher/Galt’s face behind him was priceless when he coughed that one up.

      • Yeah. But then his campaign surrogates made the rounds and denied he ever said that. Funny. That they have to walk back one of the very few things he’s said that’s even remotely true.

  8. QOTD:

    “This is the world now. Just talk to doctors. They all spend half their time explaining themselves to patients who looked stuff up on the Internet and think their doctor is wrong,” – longtime Republican strategist Mike Murphy on Republicans refusing to accept what the professional polls are telling them.

    • Doctors should spend half their time listening to their patients and then 1/4 more time examining their patients and the last 1/4 time explaining and teaching their patients. It used to be that way, before the HMO’s took control. Now, try to find a doctor that is NOT working for some private, corporate hospital. It’s nearly impossible. The HMO industry has destroyed the physicians’ practice. BTW, HMO’s were the brain child of Richard Nixon.

      • I find myself wondering about who took the video, where are they, how are they keeping themselve secret. Rmoney and his Boca Raton hedge fund pal must have a decent idea or at least have narrowed it down to a handful of people ….. funny how that story hasn’t come around

  9. On Morning Edition they reported on Romney’s WSJ editorial about the Middle East and what a screwup Obama has been. He’s promising all sorts of chest-beating foreign policy, apparently, but even NPR noted that the editorial lacked any specifics about what he would do differently.

    • Specifically, Rmoney will perch itself atop the Empire State Building and pound it’s chest whilst trying to knock antique bi-planes out of the sky.

    • Dayum! Sign me up for Armaggedon-Stock!
      Will NASA be tracking the crucified savior as he plummets through the atmosphere?
      Will he burn to a crispy son-of-a-god as he re-enters?
      Will there be anything left to impact the surface?
      Will he miscalculate and land in the Mediterranean Sea instead of Jerusalem?
      How much are they charging for pay-per-view?

    • Wow! I wonder how Jesus will be dressed when he comes down from the sky. Will he be wearing a spacesuit or a dress suit or a loin cloth or blue jeans and a tee shirt? It would be really cool if he was wearing a Phillies baseball cap.

  10. Some sage advice for Rmoney from radio talk-witch Ingraham: ‘Fools’ Errand’ for Romney to Attempt ‘Human Moment’ at Debate
    Key excerpt:
    Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is warning Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney not to even try to create a “human moment” by attempting to connect with voters during Wednesday’s debate because it would be a “fools’ errand.”

    Listen up WillardRat! Don’t even try to fool the American public by pretending you give a shit about anything but the .0001ers.
    Embrace your inner robotic self and enjoy getting clobbered by your intellectual and moral better.

        • Yes. I don’t understand the article referencing a ‘room’ being converted into a ‘gun safe’… Something not meshing for me here.

          • And if you store guns and ammunition in your gun safe and it blows up, what else did you put in there? Neither guns nor ammunition spontaneously explode.

            • Exactly! There had to be an heat or flame source (most likely) or something fell in just the right way (unlikely but not impossible) to fire a cartridge into the rest of the ammo and cause a chain reaction. I am wondering about the proximity of the furnace and water heater.

    • “Marriage is more than a commitment between two loving people,” an unseen narrator says in one ad, over images of straight couples getting married, raising children and showing affection. “It was made by God, for the creation and care of the next generation.”

      That might be easier to believe … IF there existed, anywhere in the universe, one single shred of evidence to indicate that there was, indeed, a God of some sort. Somewhere. Anywhere at all would be fine. But since there is no such shred, why do these buggers keep on insulting reality? And why must the rest of us be constantly burdened by the consequences of their blindness?

      • Well for the first 100,000 of our existence, ‘God’ didn’t give a hoot who we shagged… then suddenly around 2,000 BC – its like ‘Hold on there skippy! Cop a load of these rules!’

        • That might have been the time when sheep and goats separated into distinct species. Either that or humans realized they were different.

            • It is sort of odd that the Arabic Semites leaned more towards goats while the Jewish Semites ’embraced’ sheep. Wonder what that says?

    • Um..Mr. Lineman, sir.

      God is actually a middle linebacker. A gay, burly middle linebacker who wants to put you on the ground.

  11. Note to Boner and the No-Nothing Congress HoR he runs…
    Estimated tax hit to American famililies as he runs us over the fiscal cliff?
    $3,500 per household.

    America…elect a Democratic HoR! Wake the f*** up!

    • If Rmoney is elected every working American should tell their employer they want the absolute minimum withdrawn from their check.

    • They have to try and offset the damage Mittens is doing to the entire party not to mention the batscat insanity of those actually running for the House and Senate. I hate sounding like an optimist (At least when I’m sober!) but it is looking like this election will be at least as much a repudiation of the GOP as 2008. They keep whining that it’s all the Dems fault but polling indicates that most people aren’t buying it.

      • A true optimist would be the one who presumes/predicts that the deadly combination of a pair of idiots running at the top of a teabagging-wingnut party ticket would be the sum of what it takes to completely destroy the GOP once and for all and for good.

        Me, I’m the eternal pessimist (aka ‘realist’), but still I keep my fingers crossed in the hope that one day true optimism will pan out.

  12. It’s hardly been mentioned in the national news but Minnesota had a mass shooting. The first thing I thought when I read the story was that it would turn out everyone who knew the guy thought he was nuts and that he purchased the weapon legally. I batted 1.000.

    I then predicted that no prominent politician would even raise the question that, in light of the fact that people who should not have guns are legally buying guns, we should discuss ways to make it harder for people everybody knows are nuts to buy guns. I’m still batting 1.000.

    • On the whole matter of gun ownership, the second amendment, etc. etc., it strikes me that there’s one solution I’d love to see: a rewritten amendment that allows gun ownerships for everyone but nuts and screwballs and then in its second clause defines nuts and screwballs as people who want to own guns.

      Hey, the concept worked as Catch 22, right?

      • A lot of comedians on Twitter use crude language, even the well known ones. They also like to call their accounts parody accounts, like this one did. It’s hard to know if someone is genuine or not. Still, when the tweets are funny, I like them.

        • I guess I’m a little tired of such language. On one of my details this summer a situation developed between a supervisor and a subordinate involving crude and suggestive language very similar to this. Following policy regarding civil rights and prevention of sexual harassment I called foul on the situation, and reported it. It’s an ongoing issue I’ll have to deal with through the winter months, and if I return to the same job next summer I’ll have to deal with a crude dude in a rude mood.

  13. Scott Brown’s answer on who he likes as a Supreme was embarrassingly weak and pandering. And he continued his misogynist bullshit.

  14. Well I missed the Cantor-Powell debate because I was, oddly enough, trying to teach son how Congress was organized. Like Ryan, Cantor claimed the sequestration deal was none of his doing, in spite of his having voted for it. Also, according to the Richmond paper Eric’s solution for a “single working mom in Goochland”:
    “Cantor said he supports a path that includes lower taxes and less regulation.
    “I support cutting taxes for small businessmen and –women to help them create and retain more jobs,” Cantor said. He said he supports a moratorium on regulations, other than those that would deal with public safety, until unemployment comes down.”
    I reckon that mom will be waiting for the effects of the prosperity that would no doubt be engendered by that policy to trickle down upon her for a really long time.

    • Regulations aren’t the knife that opens the veins to hemorrhage money from our nation; it’s military invasions of the Middle East and aid to war-faring nations like Israel, Mr. Cantor…

      • as well as aide to banks which hold no allegiance to anything but money, banks like the private one your wife works for Mr. Cantor.

    • I saw this earlier and love it! Who knows how many children like this one will be inspired to rise to leadership roles in our community because they see that a man who looks like them can lead this nation.

    • UPDATE: Curt Cashour, spokesman for Romney’s campaign in Virginia, responded to the ad: “Four years ago, Barack Obama called it ‘unpatriotic’ to run up debts our children will have to pay.

      Did Obama say that before or after Lehman Brothers collapsed? Many things the Reich wants to hold him to were said before we had an economic crisis to climb out from. Spending on infrastructure may be debts our children will have to pay, but at least they will do it from an economy that isn’t as hollowed out as it became under Bush and the Republicans’ from 2001 to 2007.

  15. This story on Rachel about the GOP voter registration drives being abandoned in five swing states is the most incompetent element of this election so far. Strategic Allied Consulting was contracted to organize in those states, the same company under investigation for registration fraud in ten plus counties in Florida, and the RNC has had to fire them. The next closest level of incompetence is the Romney campaign’s deficit in campaign offices compared to the Obama campaign in all the swing states.

  16. Just watched Rachel’s coverage of the Warren/Brown debate tonight.

    Scott Brown shot himself in the foot with his “I’m not one of your students” zinger, and Elizabeth could barely restrain her gleeful smile. 😆

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