Monday, February 26, 2024

#2740: Mark Dankof

Mark Dankof is an at least semi-regular (we can’t really be bothered to check) contributor to American Free Press, an anti-semitic conspiracy outlet founded by a.o. Willis Carto with a long history of promoting insane conspiracy theories, including 9/11 conspiracy theories in which Jewish people are blamed for being behind the attacks. Dankof also makes regular appearances on Press TV, a conspiracy outlet operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. He also runs a website, Mark Dankof’s America (as well as something called the Dankof Report), where he features articles blaming the Israeli Mossad for, well, more or less anything, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy.


So yes, most of Dankof’s contributions to these outlets consist of free-ranting about various conspiracy theories he has dreamt up or found in the darker corners of the internet and which he has promptly adopted. For instance, his November 2012 Press TV segment “US, Israel plan Assad removal to hurt Iran: Analystclaimed, without evidence (screw evidence), that “Zionist-affiliated arms dealers, oil consortiums and bankers seek to overthrow the Syrian government …to pave the way for an American and Israeli military attack against Iran.”


And make no mistake, the Israeli regime orchestrated 9/11 attacks; Dankof is more than ready to rant about “the kinds of forces that some of us think are very much involved in covering up the truth about 9/11, and that includes a disproportionate power that the Israeli lobby has and that Jewish interests have in the United States in our news media that keeps some of this stuff from being discussed”; indeed, “it appears to me that the United States is, as obviously as we know, co-opted by the Israeli lobby, so is the United Nations and Israel is simply using the United States to buy what it wants.” Fortunately, as Dankof wishfully sees it, “The American people are increasingly sick of [Jewish control] they’re sick of the pack of lies that all of this is based on, they’re sick of the Israeli control of their foreign policy and their government and their news media.” In a 2011 article, Dankof even quoted from and wrote that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion accurately reflect the state of the world.


Diagnosis: Old-school neo-nazi. It would be somewhat curious to know how he responds to new-school QAnon-related antisemitism, but we frankly cannot be bothered to check or think too much about it.

Friday, February 23, 2024

#2739: Jennifer Daniels

Raymond Damadian was an MD, a pioneer of magnetic resonance imaging, religious fundamentalist and young-Earth creationist) where the latter position was based not on any evaluation of that science (which would not touch upon his area of expertise) but on incoherent religious ramblings and paranoia. But Damadian is also dead.


Jennifer Daniels is another one-time MD gone rogue, and though she is still alive (as far as we know), she is no longer an MD, having surrendered her license in response to being confronted with the legal dimensions (having her license revoked) of her absolutely batshit nonsense claims about health and medicine; indeed, Daniels had been in trouble with the New York Department of Health over her claims and behaviors for a long time before surrendering her license. According to herself, though, she “had her medical license suspended due to not prescribing enough drugs and truly healing her patients,” which is demonstrably a bald-faced lie. She currently resides in Panama, where she produces books, radio shows, and videos; sells supplements; advises clients as a health coach; and provides “Holistic Mentoring Consultations”.


Daniels is perhaps best known for her advocacy for turpentine, no less, which according to Daniels is the Fountain of Youth and able to cure a wide range of conditions (including a number of fake ones) but which according to reality is poison with no recognized or plausible benefit for any condition whatsoever. Among the conditions turpentine was supposed to be able to cure, according to Daniels, was chronic Candida; now, it is technically true that patients after taking turpentine would no longer suffer from chronic Candida, but that would of course be for the reason that none of them had chronic Candida in the first place. Chronic Candida is a fake disease.


Daniels allegedly got the idea of using turpentine from asking African-American patients if their slave ancestors had an affordable miracle cure that cured everything. In the beginning, she tried it herself, and it is worth quoting her description of what happened at some length: “I think my IQ went up like 50 points, I could just feel it, all this mental energy and understanding and clarity, just like when I was 10 years old, everything was very clear and focused. I said WOW what a feeling. I did some math problems, I said this is pretty good.” Since she had heard that turpentine could cause seizures, she went on to determine the maximum safe dose: stopping when she felt a little twitch or “even softer than a twitch.” Then she gave it to her family. How Daniels obtained a medical degree in the first place is a very, very good question –Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have things to answer for.


As for scientific evidence, Daniels refers to a review study from France that doesn’t at all say what she claims it says. In general, however, Daniels is “not much of a fan of research”. The reason she gives for not being a fan is “because every research project I’ve been involved with, I’ve been asked to falsify data.” Given her general grasp of things (and level of honesty), we suspect that she might have misunderstood some instructions and the distinction between falsifying a hypothesis through testing and making up data.


If you are going to use turpentine, you have to follow her instructions, however: First, you take her Vitality Capsules, which according to her “clean out the bile ducts and the gall bladder system as well as the small intestine, large intestine”, promote circulation and contain “no chemicals. Then you must to follow her diet instructions (organic, and abstaining from GMOs and dead food). And then turpentine will be so successful that Daniels, according to herself, stopped using antibiotics in her practice (but if you experience some worries here, Daniels reassures us that “[t]here is no medication that turpentine interacts with”, a claim she pulled directly out of her ass and for which she has no evidence or tests to back it up). She has also recommended turpentine for children; indeed, children should start getting turpentine in castor oil when they reach 30 pounds to prevent Candida and parasites.


Moreover, turpentine ostensibly improves eyesight (users were, according to Daniels, able to discard their reading glasses) and resolves tinnitus, and it helps with diabetes by healing the pancreas – it will ostensibly allow Type I diabetics to lower their insulin dose. That said, Daniels’s recommendations aren’t limited to turpentine; she can also give you thicker and less gray hear: “use minerals, small willow flower, and shou wu.


Apparently, according to Daniels, “Liver time is 1-3 AM; lung time is 3-5 AM.” We’ll just leave that there without comment.


Oh, and she is of course anti-vaccine: “There is no vaccine or injection Dr. Daniels recommends.”


Diagnosis: It’s hard to imagine that she is unaware of the ridiculousness of her claims, but it probably doesn’t matter, since at this level, stupidity becomes indistinguishable from malice. Completely bonkers, but contrary to what you’d probably think: there are people to listen to this kind of stuff.


Hat-tip: Skepdoc

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

#2738: Jim Daly

Focus on the Family is a fundamentalist hate group – presently self-designated as ‘a church for tax disclosure purposes – that we’d have had plenty of opportunities to cover already. Jim Daly is its current president (or, since it is now a church: “head deacon and elder”) and as such generally responsible for the group’s efforts to promote in particular anti-gay propaganda and legislation, including fighting restrictions on conversion therapy. He is also the main host of the Focus on the Family radio program.


Though Daly is behind efforts to repaint his group’s messages in friendlier and more inclusive terms – mostly just emphasizing how much they love people while denouncing them as being manipulated by Satan and claiming to be nonpartisan while taking explicit positions on political issues – Daly has himself spread plenty of hate against LGBT people. He has, for instance, claimed that same-sex marriage endangers civilization and that Satan himself is behind same-sex marriage since “he hates marriage because it’s a reflection of God’s image the Enemy hates that, it’s disgusting to him,” said Daly, “and with that, he wants to break it down, he wants to destroy it.”. Here is Daly trying to invoke Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel to argue why it is important to denounce the decision to allow “openly practicing homosexuals” in the Boy Scouts, which, as Daly sees it, will undermine “the character and safety of the boys.”


In a more conspiratorial mode, Daly has also claimed that “homosexual activists” wish to restrict the speech of anyone opposed to homosexuality, and that campaigning on behalf of LGBT rights it really is a form of fascism.” On the pseudoscience side, meanwhile, Daly has supported and promoted the discredited anti-LGBT study by Mark Regnerus.


Diagnosis: Yes, it’s hate, and hate pinned up by pseudoscience; and trying to portray your hate as something other than hate isn’t going to make it less hateful. But the religious right remains a powerful political force in the US, and Focus on the Family remains more or less in the center of the religious right; Daly’s political influence is, in other words, difficult to overestimate.

Monday, February 19, 2024

#2737: Guggie Daly [pseudonym]

Despite increased popularity of anti-vaccine messaging, antivaccine views are still widely regarded with the suspicion and ridicule they deserve. One tried-and-tested method for changing people’s minds, however, is: Newspeak. If you can’t change the facts, obscure them by inventing a new nomenclature. That, at least, was the motivation for antivaccine lunatic Guggie Daly in an article (‘Vacctivism Terminology: How to Empower Instead of Cower’) she wrote for the insane rot of pseudo-religious pseudoscience and denialism Natural Mother Magazine: Instead of calling your kids “unvaccinated,” wrote Daly, use “vaccine-free” or – to maximize the potential for being misleading – say that your child “has an intact immune system”; and instead of “vaccine-preventable diseases”, use “vaccine-associated diseases” (Daly denies, against all evidence, and all of reality, that vaccines effectively prevent disease). And of course: instead of calling yourself “anti-vaxxers” – a term that media manipulation has made so “negative” – use “vaccine safety advocates”: That, by the way, is an Orwellian ploy as old as the antivaccine movement itself. “I encourage transparency and better ethical standards from pharmaceutical companies,” added Daly while encouraging precisely the opposite for her own group of fervent denialists.


Of course, redecorating the map doesn’t change the terrain, and in reality, vaccines were and are safe and effective. But Daly and her ilk have left reality behind a long time ago. As Daly mistakenly sees it, vaccines “are an optional, experimental product based on an unproven theory. Informed, consenting adults can choose to take them if they want. But it’s medical malpractice to force them onto non-consenting children. Instead of people demanding that vaccine companies, doctors and the government prove that this medication is safe, effective, necessary treatment in our children [which we do demand, and the demand has been thoroughly met], we take on undue responsibility to prove that vaccines are ineffective, unsafe and unnecessary. Completely backwards.”


As for Daly herself, ‘Guggie Daly’ is apparently the pseudonym of a Missouri-based “mommy blogger” who has, apparently, achieved some popularity in antivaccine movements for her (deranged) posts on vaccines and home birth. There is a brief portrait of her here.


Diagnosis: Absolutely insane antivaccine conspiracy theorist who has elevated her antivaccine views and her ‘crunchiness’ to a New Age-religious identity. She is garbage, and anyone who takes advice from her is garbage, too.

Friday, February 16, 2024

#2736: Kate Dalley

Radio talk shows are still apparently popular in far right and conspiracy circles, and the amount of bullshit, hate and nonsense propagated on the airwaves is staggering. The Kate Dalley Show, which is part of TheBlaze Radio Network, is just one serial offender. Her work has also been featured on Alex Jones' show.


Now, much of what you’ll encounter on Dalley’s show is precisely what you’d expect from wingnut conspiracy theorists, albeit embellished with an even for ridiculous wingnuts startling amount of allusions to violence, and there is, frankly, little that otherwise distinguishes her contributions from the rest of them. Dalley is an antivaxxer, for instance – virtually every major antivaccine activist in the US has appeared on her show at some point – and has in particular promoted various falsehoods and conspiracy theories related to (of course) the Covid vaccine: “Pfizer admits that vaccinated people can shed the vaccine on unvaccinated people,” says Dalley, completely without any foundation in anything resembling reality. Even more disconcertingly, Dalley has been pushing conspiracy theories suggesting that hospitals are actively killing Covid patients rather than helping them by pushing real medicine instead of fake cures conspiracy theorists have deluded themselves into thinking are efficacious.


In August 2021, for instance, Dalley presented a longer segment in which she explained how she ostensibly saved her diabetic husband from murderous hospital staff when he got “COVID pneumonia”: Apparently her husband went to the hospital with extremely low oxygen levels after his Ivermectin failed to cure him (Dalley convinced herself it was just because the dose was too low), but although doctors wanted to put him on a ventilator, he was able to walk out of the ICU after just a few days because, as Dalley’s utterly unverified anecdote has it, she had demanded that the hospital give him massive, intravenous doses of vitamin C instead. Then she provided instructions on her website for people who want to fight the hospital COVID protocols, including “Don’t let them do Remdesivir. It can cause organ failure,” and “REFUSE THE VENT” because apparently ventilators are instruments for mass murder rather than life saving – Dalley’s guiding idea being apparently that hospitals allegedly (facts have nothing to do with this) has a financial incentive to put people on ventilators because it gets much more federal money for the treatment than it would for vitamin infusions that don’t work.


Of course, Dalley’s conspiracy mongering isn’t restricted to antivaccine nonsense. In 2018, for instance, she quickly dismissed the news that several explosive devices sent to Democratic Party figures and Trump critics as a false flag operation based on nothing but wishful thinking: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the false flaggy time of the year,” said Dalley. Her show has also been described as one of the best sources for information about the New World Order by precisely the kinds of people you’d expect to claim such things.


Diagnosis: According to Dalley, “[t]his country is need of truth and logic right now,” so she’s basically admitting that you shouldn’t listen to her program. Take that piece of advice.


Hat-tip: Mother Jones

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

#2735: Steve Daines

Steve Daines has been serving as the junior United States senator from Montana since 2015, and has generally taken the wingnut positions – opposition to marriage equality, attempting to overturn the presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania in 2020, opposition to net neutrality and to creating an independent commission to investigate the 2021 Capitol attack – you’d expect, including attitudes toward Donald Trump that are strikingly illustrative of the principle of political expediency.


For our purposes, however, Daines is most notably for his rather consistent denialism on scientific matters. A climate change denialist, Daines has claimed that “to suggest that [climate change] human-caused is not a sound scientific conclusion.” Of course, Daines wouldn’t be able to distinguish science from incoherent substack rant if his life depended on it. Daines is also a creationist and has advocated for creationism being taught in public school: “What the schools should teach is, as it relates to biology and science is that they have, um, there’s evolution theory, there’s creation theory, and so forth. I think we should teach students to think critically, and teach students that there are evolutionary theories, there’s intelligent-design theories, and allow the students to make up their minds. But I think those kinds of decisions should be decided at the local school board level. Personally I’d like to teach my kids both sides of the equation there and let them come up to their own conclusion on it.” Yeah, he systematically covers virtually all the talking points of the Discovery Institute-led intelligent design movement there, leaving little doubt from where he has gotten his information, and it is certainly not from science.


His views apparently enjoyed some support among Montana constituents, however.


Diagnosis: Crackpot denialist and conspiracy theorist. There are, of course, plenty of them in positions of power these days, and Daines is fairly typical, but still! It is worth taking a moment to reflect on how absolutely insane it is that someone like Steve Daines would be entrusted with power.

Monday, February 12, 2024

#2734: Tyler Dahm

Tyler Dahm is an ultimately relatively minor Colorado-based anti-vaxxer who claims that her adopted child became developmentally delayed as a result of vaccines based on gut feeling, no evidence whatsoever and, presumably, a wish to be an independent thinker unfettered by science, fact or reason. Now, Dahm has occasionally claimed to be a physician graduating from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, though elsewhere she has admitted to dropping out of medical school because the professors didn’t believe her stories about vaccines (presumably because narrow-minded professors have been brainwashed into thinking that evidence matters). The people behind the Vaxxed bus tour did believe her, however, and promptly featured Dahm and her claims in their propaganda materials. (It is worth noting that Dahm’s LinkedIn profile doesn’t claim that she’s ever attended medical school, listing her instead as owner of the quack business Pathways Natural Wellness Center in the relevant period, a company that was selling useless junk medicine including a detox footbath to cure autism, no less.)


Dahm is primarily notable for a video she produced in which she accosted (then-)California state senator, vaccine advocate and frequent target of antivaxx hate Richard Pan at Denver airport. We are unsure how Dahm thought the video, which is discussed here, would support her cause, but at least it illustrates well the sort of unhinged thinking, cherry-picking and rank denialism we all associate with the anti-vaccine movement. Dahm concludes the video by pretending to be shocked by Pan’s patient, reasoned, well-supported, factual statements and labeling them “misinformation”. Even Dahm seems to have realized the video didn’t exactly help her case and promptly tried (and failed) to delete any traces of from the internet.


Diagnosis: Unhinged anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist and likely to be a danger to her immediate surroundings. Her broader significance is questionable, but Dahm is sufficiently crazy to warrant an entry in our Encyclopedia.


Hat-tip: Skepticalraptor