Tuesday, January 31, 2023

#2612: Mike Bundrant

Quacks do not like Wikipedia. After all, Wikipedia has standards, and enforce them: Medical claims have to be backed by evidence and supported by facts – to the chagrin of homeopaths and naturopaths everywhere, given that their victims patients might occasionally try to look things up related to the claims said homeopaths and naturopaths are making, and might thus quickly end up on Wikipedia.


Sometimes quacks even launch campaigns to try to force Wikipedia to let them edit pages to remove things that can hurt their marketing strategies, or at least bring attention to Wikipedia’s bias against lies and untruths. Such efforts include a Kickstarter project urging people tosupport the book that exposes the bias on Wikipedia and takes a stand for the truth about alternative health” to draw attention to the fact that what quacks strongly believe or want to be true isn’t good enough for Wikipedia. And although the primary concern of the guy behind the campaign, Mike Bundrant, is Wikipedia’s coverage of the pseudoscientific nonsense that is neurolinguistic programming (NLP), he cites Wikipedia’s articles on e.g. homeopathy as evidence of alleged bias as well. Quacks of a feather must unite their forces to combat the tyranny of reality, facts, accountability and evidence.


Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center, an NLP training center. NLP is a system developed as part of the self-help wave in the 1970s, and is based on the idea that success can be achieved by modeling the language, behavior, and thought patterns of successful people. As a system, it has failed every test of its core precepts thrown at it, partially because it is based on a nonsense theory of the mind and brain. (Adherents have tended to respond by appealing to special pleading: the fact that NLP fails scientific investigations must mean that science is inadequate for testing NLP – that way, they try to avoid the obvious problem that they don’t have any evidence to merit taking them seriously.) Bundrant, however, is unfazed by such failures.


And Mike Bundrant isn’t merely a conspiracy theorist with a blog: he regularly writes for PsychCentral, which should be an indication of skills. But he is also a conspiracy theorist with a blog: Bundrant also regularly writes for NaturalNews. Yes, he is, of course, a conspiracy theorists: How else would he try to explain the fact that Wikipedia doesn’t let quacks run wild? There is, according to Bundrant, “a darker web of editorial trolls” at Wikipedia who “get paid to post slanted information in favor of corporate interests.” Evidence for his claim of corruption? The editors write that pseudoscientific practices are, indeed, pseudoscientific. What more evidence do you need? Or dare you, perhaps, suggest that Bundrant’s beliefs about NPL are wrong? What is more likely: That NPL is, as scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows, bullshit, or that there is a large conspiracy to suppress the evidence for some not-entirely-clear reason (why Big Pharma would pay off a whole scientific establishment – and how they could possibly succeed – to undermine Bundrant’s favorite self-help technique is indeed less than clear)?


At the time of his campaign, Bundrant was asking for $67,100 to complete and publish his book in which he planned to “expose” the sinister forces at work at Wikipedia and defend the anti-GMO Movement, alternative medicine, the autism–vaccines connection, holistic health, detox therapies, dietary supplements, herbalism, acupuncture, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic, energy medicine, applied kinesiology, craniosacral therapy, iridology, naturopathy, reflexology, therapeutic touch, orthomolecular medicine, rolfing, yoga [the New Age pseudoscience version], reiki, therapeutic NLP, energy psychology and therapeutic hypnosis … or virtually every relatively well-known medicine-related branch of pseudoscience and quackery in existence. The project seemed to be going slowly, and we can find no indication that the book ever materialized.


Diagnosis: NLP is bullshit. Mike Bundrant responded to that fact by going full conspiracy theory and what can best be described as pan-quackery. It’s not surprising, but it does tell you a lot about what kind of person we’re dealing with. Stay well away.


Hat-tip: Respectful Insolence

Friday, January 27, 2023

#2611: Robin (& Robin) Bullock

Yeah, there are in fact two of them: Robin & Robin Bullock comprise a husband-and-wife fundie wingnut duo of self-declared prophets (husband Robin seems to be most active) best known for promoting insane conspiracy theories, deranged Qanon nonsense and Trump-is-still-president ramblings – according to husband Robin, God told him (like He told other prophets) in advance of the 2020 election that Biden will not be president and that the Democratic Party will go underground: “President Trump will win by a landslide,” asserted Bullock. Given that it was told in the voice of God, the content of the prophecy is of course unassailable; subsequent events, like the actual election results just means that work is needed to get the terrain to fit the map (“it takes a while to dig out of a landslide,” said Bullock; just think about it).


He also screamed at his critics that he would not apologize for falsely prophesying that Trump would win in 2020: “You are going to answer for trying to regulate the Lord’s prophets. You, with your big educations,” declared Bullock. Indeed, he claims (without evidence, of course) to have prophesied both 9/11 and the COVID-19 pandemic, so he couldn’t possibly have been wrong about Trump’s reelection!


Bullock later claimed that President Biden is attempting to “stop prophecy” by having defeated Trump in the election, and will thus be driven mad because he does not have the anointing of God on him – “this so-called administration is actually a regime whose sole purpose is to stop a prophecy from coming to pass. That’s what it is,” claimed Bullock. He also urged Biden to publicly confess that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and that he is not the legitimate president – according to Bullock, God has “extended this hand of mercy” by giving Biden the opportunity to repent for supposedly stealing the election from Trump: “Stand up and say, ‘It was a fraud.’ Stand up and say, ‘I didn’t win legitimate.’ […] It is an opportunity for you to make it right. Stand up before the American people before your handlers can stop you.”


When Biden – a jackal sitting in the White House seat whom God has told him (Bullock) has become dangerous to America – failed to accommodate his request, Bullock asserted that Biden has a “slotted serpent’s eye,” which he claimed is evidence of demonic possession, and that whenever Biden whispers, he is actually channeling “the voice of a demonic spirit”. The demonic connection has in fact been there for a while: apparently the stage at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 was modeledafter the throne of Satan”; Bullock offered no picture of the latter for support, but informed his listeners, in lieu of such documentation, that God also told him thateveryone knows that the Democrat Party is evil”. Given the present state of affairs, it is in fact a sin to recognize Biden as president, and no one can legitimate pray for “President Joe Biden” because no such person exists: “You might as well pray for the Easter Bunny.” There are also constant, numerous sign that Biden’s presidency (at least when President Biden doesn’t simply fail to exist) is “finished.


In 2021, Bullock revealed that God had let him know that “the decision has been made” about returning Trump to office before November the same year. Around the same time, he urged his fellow “prophets” to come together and call former President Donald Trump back to the White House, declaring that if they will do so, “God will supernaturally move things out of the way” to allow Trump to return. One would have thought the effort to sway God redundant since the decision had already been made. Whatever.


Bullock can also report that God is very upset about the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago: “God didn’t like that. It didn’t sit well in Heaven.” He has elsewhere urged Donald Trump to call him (Bullock) so that he could deliver a prophetic word from God (presumably that Trump was “anointed from the day you were born to be president”) on how to regain the White House: Apparently, the God-advised strategy consists of deciding to “rise up. So there. Bullock insisited that Trump must listen to prophets, not his advisors, and claimed to have heard in the spirit that Trump’s advisors told him not to listen to prophets. Bullock’s ability to judge the reliability of information is demonstrably questionable.


On the other hand, Bullock has actually met both Jesus and God in person: Jesus ostensibly spoke to him after walking through a water portal, and Bullock hasbeen to heaven in different Throne Rooms a couple of times”; one time he “watched [God] create the world” and “[i]t was the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen”. He’s got a way with words. It’s not a good way. And God apparently lives inside a “cube of gelatin”. Bullock has seen it*: “You could see his hair. You could see the outline of it inside that. You could see his beard.” “It was pure energy”, since energy is just like a cube of gelatin. Bullock emphasized that, given the energy, “the cube had to be there”.


*He apparently didn’t try to engage with the cube to free the trapped object, despite the opportunity for 650 XP. There’s a decent novel’s worth of backstory to the encounter, we suspect.



Weighing in on COVID, Bullock screams that Dr. Anthony Fauci is a “serpent” and “a rat” whose appearance has been distorted by a cube of gelatin demonic spirit. He also claims that COVID-19 vaccines are a “deadly placebo,” which makes no sense whatsoever at any possible level but nicely encapsulates the mind of Robin Bullock. It’s interesting to note that everything seems to fall apart for Robin Bullock whenever he tries his hand at words with more than two syllables: ‘placebo’, ‘regulate’, ‘energy’, ‘gelatin’.


Then he attempted to use his spiritual authority to negate the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines: “In the name of Jesus, I call that serum null and void.” Well, then. (Bullock trusts his superpowers: back in the days, it was his prayers that caused Saddam Hussein to release hostages). In 2021, he declared that if any Christian who received a COVID-19 vaccine will repent, God would “neutralize its effects inside your blood stream.”


And who do you think is behind the pandemic (apart from Biden, Soros, Clinton and Fauci)? According to Bullock, companies offering DNA genetic testing were part of the plot to create COVID-19, with COVID being, in fact, a biological weapon that was released so they could give you a vaccine that will steal your soul [he’s got a funny view of biology]: “I’m convinced that’s what all those DNA tests were about. People say [who?], ‘Well, you can’t prove that.’ Maybe not, but you can’t prove that it wasn’t.” On other occasions, the vaccines are designed to condition people to eventually get microchips implanted in their brains as part of the Mark of the Beast.


General theology

According to Bullock, tithing is important. Lots of people think the same, but Bullock has his own explanation for why it is important: According to Bullock, tithing – which he calls “circumcising your money” – is something you should do because it helps angels identify you when you walk into a tire store, so that you will get the best deal and so that your entire family won’t be killed in a car crash.


Also, if you thought Jesus was poor, well he wasn’t. No, Jesus was a wealthy man who had five houses. Dimly aware that the Scriptural basis for the assertion is somewhat slim, Bullock has a quick reply: “I don’t even care. He had five houses!” Poverty is a sin. Send him money.


Other issues

Bullock also seems to fancy himself a bit of a Constitutional scholar, having apparently tried to read some of David Barton’s pseudohistorical misinformation. Bullock claims for instance that the U.S. Constitution is the only one in history “that has never changed” because it was “written from the word of God” – indeed, “we get everything you know of in our Constitution from the scripture.” It would be interesting to know what his copy of the Constitution – or the Bible – looks like; in fairness, we suspect he hasn’t read either. And it is apparently a Consitutional requirement for being president that you are properly ordained by God; therefore Biden can’t be president. “Democracy” means that only God’s vote actually counts, even though he’s not an American citizen.


Bullock’s attempt to explain, with the aid of a chart, how Satan “made a hallway that spanned time” to bring “a duplicate of the Antichrist” in the form of Barack Obama back from the Last Days is somewhat hard to follow – it certainly lacks the coherence of the Cartoon Network superhero cartoon plots it otherwise tries to emulate.


ApparentlyBarack Obama was prophetically removed from office” in 2010, however. In fact, Jesus already namedBarack Obama” as Satan in Luke 10:18 (Bullock is not the first one to make that insanely stupid claim). Indeed, to emphasize the threat Obama actually posed, Bullock has tried to show how (well: assert that) former President Barack Obama intentionally destabilized the United States in preparation for the presidency of Hillary Clinton, who would then go on to use the planned COVID-19 pandemic to fully destroy the nation and usher in the End Times.


Speaking about Clinton, Bullock declared that people who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election are responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020: “when they voted for this, it brought the coronavirus. That’s where it came from.” Also, “the Book of Revelation talks about Jezebel, and Bill and Hillary Clinton’s life is perfectly paralleled with Ahab and Jezebel. That’s who they are. And I mean, perfectly parallel.” Ah, those three-syllable words again, ‘perfectly’ and ‘parallel’.


But be warned: In 2021, Bullock declared that those who mock him will be driven insane by God. His critics are also gay: “LGBTQ – whatever they call themselves”.


Apparently, though, gay people are possessed by a demonic spirit that is intent on covering up their true calling as evangelists for Jesus (“this is what I’ve heard from the Lord”): Bullock claims to have received a lot of prayer requests asking for healing from cancer, diabetes, and homosexuality, something he has, according to himself (and you know how trustworthy he is!), been incredibly successful at.


Bullock is, however, not a nobody in the raging fundie pen of the Stop-the-steal clown train; he’s apparently affiliated with Elijah Streams (part of the Elijah List); someone like Roger Stone seeks him out for media exposure. Apparently Rachel Hamm, a GOP candidate for secretary of state in California, is a big fan of the Bullocks, too.


Diagnosis: Funny-horn honker on the fundie wingnut clown-train as it rambles on, building steam and trying to crush everything in its path. It’s scary and dangerous, but it’s impossible not to look and laugh.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

#2610: Timothy Buchanan

Self-righteousness, lunacy and bigotry are a common combination. If Timothy Buchanan has a slightly original take, it might be a particularly significant dose of melodrama thrown into the mix. Then again, Buchanan is hardly the only deranged wingnut who predicted that the Supreme Court overturning the ban on gay marriage would lead to civil war. “It would be difficult to see how the wrong decision here will not result in a second American civil war”, which tells you more about Buchanan’s powers of perception than anything else, really. Apparently, the decision would “be correctly viewed by Christians as an openly belligerent affront to religious liberty” (no, he doesn’t really understand or care about religious liberty) because what gay marriage is really about is “homo-fascists” seeking “the abolition of religious freedom in America” for the purpose of destroying “those of us who oppose their dangerous and deadly desires.” Gay activists will also, asserted Buchanan, destroy the family unit, leading to violent outbursts like those in Baltimore and Ferguson, which were expressions of “the destruction that results from a breakdown in families” rather than what those protests were actually, you know, protesting.


Hat-tip: Don't know
Timothy Buchanan is a fundie conspiracy theorist, author and regular contributor toBarbWire, where he mostly fumes against gay marriage and other expressions of what he perceives as godlessness (mostly anyone who and anything that disagrees with him on politics), and he is generous with melodrama: According to Buchanan, “America is no longer worthy of the lives offered to defend it” since “no honorable person risks his life so that transvestites can parade around in public and impose their debauchery on innocent children and women” (yes, a premise is that transgender people are not really fully humans in any morally significant way. That is telling.) In connection with Senator Kennedy’s retirement, Buchanan pronounced that[a]pproval of abortion and promotion of homosexual perversity are a repulsive stench in the nostrils of God and those of his people [which accordingly doesn’t include homosexuals and those who disagree with him]. These national sins may soon be eradicated.”


And responding to the 2016 Orlando nightclub massacre, Buchanan urged members of the LGBT community to go back into the closet and stop provoking people to commit violent acts: “Flaunting gross immorality and defiant wickedness that is hideous, odious and wretched to an overwhelming majority of people is a foolish and dangerous course of action.” He’s a peach, isn’t he? All that Jesus-like love! Diversity, said Buchanan, is destroying American culture and society, along with the liberal policies of the “evil” Democratic Party and its support for “murder, sexual depravity, lust and rebellion” (and to emphasize: “there is no such thing as a Christian-Democrat. There is no way to defend the godless policies of the Left under cover of Christian compassion, deceitful ideals of social justice, inclusion, or other kinds of double-speak”). He also said that places like Russia and Afghanistan “are infinitely more moral than our own”. He has a funny interpretation of ‘moral’.


After the Supreme Court had issued its gay marriage ruling, Buchanan judged it to befar worse than September 11”, saying that it could only lead to God’s judgment or all-out war. “The rabid LGBT minions are coming after your treasure, your children and grandchildren, and even your very soul,” wrote Buchanan wrote, while decrying the “new seductive and sinister Tylenol commercial” that featured gay couples. It’s at least an interesting choice of words (‘seductive’) that suggests a new and very tragic interpretation of what Buchanan is actually trying to do.


Diagnosis: Fuming bigot. Very angry, and very confused.

Monday, January 23, 2023

#2609: Kevin Bryant

More crazy conspiracy theorists and fundie wingnuts. And Kevin Bryant is not only a conspiracy theorist and fundie wingnut, but also the former Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina (2017–2019) and a state senator from 2005 to 2017, before losing his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2018, as well as a pharmacist and self-described born-again Christian.


Bryant is perhaps most famous for stirring up controversy by posting an image on his official campaign website of Osama bin Laden and (then-)presidential candidate Barack Obama, with the caption saying “the difference between Obama and Osama is just a little B.S.” Bryant is not very good at perceiving or drawing distinctions. A firm opponent of government regulation or overreach, Bryant is opposed to same-sex marriage (“perversion”, according to Bryant) and has supported a Constitutional amendment that would outlaw such marriage. Yeah, exactly.


And predictably, he thinks global warming is a myth. But then we have already established that Kevin Bryant gave up on thinking and reasoning a long time ago (if we pretend that he ever possessed that gift).


Moreoverr, Bryant is a creationist who believes that the Universe was created in a literal six days approximately 6000 years ago. As a creationist, Bryant received some attention for his (and Mike Fair’s) concerted efforts to derail an eight-year-old South Carolina girl’s reasoned proposal that the Woolly Mammoth ought to be the South Carolina state fossil – according to Bryant, he stalled the bill not because he didn’t want the mammoth to be a state fossil, but because hejust felt like it’d be a good thing to acknowledge the creator of the fossils.” He later submitted his own amendment to the bill describing the Columbian Mammoth as created on the Sixth Day with the beasts of the field. His efforts were, fortunately, ultimately futile.


Diagnosis: Mindless savage and repugnant piece of rot: hateful, evil and stupid. But as the saying (Mencken’s) goes, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, and Bryant was elected Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina.

Friday, January 20, 2023

#2608: Mary Lou Bruner

Mary Lou Bruner has been described as the ‘looniest politician in Texas’ and (therefore) possibly in the entire US, at least prior to 2016. Bruner is a former schoolteacher, wingnut, anti-gay activist, creationist, Islamophobe, birther, conspiracy theorist and Confederate apologist – so much so that her views managed to stir up some controversy when she decided to run for the Republican nomination for an East Texas seat on the Texas Board of Education in 2016. Former chairman Don McLeroy called her a great asset, which really is all the information you need. She lost by a wide margin. Still.


Views on scientific issues: evolution and climate change

As a school board candidate – Texas has a long history of delusional crazies running for, and getting seats on, their board of education – Bruner got plenty of opportunities to lay out her views on science. (Remember that she is a former school teacher.)


A dyed-in-the-wool creationist, Bruner claims that the theory of evolution is a deliberate plot to promote godlessness – it “is a religious philosophy with propaganda supporting the religion of Atheism” – and school shootings are the direct result of evolution being taught in public schools; that’s why all terrorists and mass-murderers, according to Bruner, are liberals and Democrats. She has also claimed that scientists have actually proof of a young earth, but are colluding to cover up the evidence for some unspecified reason – presumably because Satan+demons (much of what happens in the world are, after all, controlled by the Illuminati, according to Bruner).


Here is a screenshot on Bruner’s theory of how the dinosaurs died out: dinosaurs, who according to her are the “behemoths” and “leviathans” of the Bible, were present on the Ark during the Global Flood, but died out afterwards. And though she sometimes recognizes that her views are, shall we say, out of touch with science, she has a straightforward explanation: “The Atheists just don’t want to admit it because if they admit that, they would admit that something in the Bible is true [??]. The Atheists cannot logically dispute these FACTS because the fossils exist [Bruner is otherwise no fan of the fossil record]. We have some Creationist Scientists who win every debate with Atheists over the origin of the earth [she provides no reference] because the Creation Scientists are right. The facts support creation rather than evolution. Anyone who debates knows that when two debaters are equally skilled, there is a decided advantage to being on the right side of any issue or argument.” We don’t know what is craziest here, but it certainly might actually be the insane naivety concerning how debates work. At least there is an obvious reason she has repeatedly claimed that the STEM subjects had gotten a too dominant position in Texas schools.


And of course she is a climate change denier. Bruner has called climate change a “ridiculous hoax” and tried to argue that the global warming story is a veil for the advancement of Communism in America – she even thinks the plot was initiated by none other than Karl Marx himself: “Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate; it is all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea. It took some time to ‘condition’ the people so they would believe such a ridiculous HOAX.”


Views on scientific issues: history

Bruner is a firm defender of various branches of pseudohistory. In Bruner’s book – she’s a former school teacher running for the board of education, remember – the American Civil War was not about slavery at all but really about the railroad(!). (We can’t help but suspect the source of that one is some confusion over the Underground Railroad.) Now, “[t]he public schools and universities do not teach this information about the War Between the States,” for obvious reasons, but Bruner has her own explanation: You won’t find that in the history books because historians biased against the southern states rushed to rewrite history books once everyone alive during the Civil War had died. Accordingly, “Abraham Lincoln is not the heroic icon figure which history has made of him”; rather, Lincoln was “dishonest”. Then she promptly accused then-President Obama of taking a page out of Lincoln’s “playbook”.


She has also claimed that the Democratic Party was responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as they preferred “socialist” Lyndon B. Johnson over “conservative” JFK. In particular: “Many people believe the Democrat Party had JFK killed because the socialists and Communists in the party did not want a conservative president. Remember who followed JFK as president – (LBJ). the exact opposite of Kennedy – a socialist and an unethical politician. It does seem like this might have been the master plan: They sneaked the bad guy (LBJ) into the administration on the coat-tail of a good guy (JFK). Then they got rid of the good guy; in the end, they got a socialist president which is what they originally wanted.”


Views on education in general

Bruner has stated that pre-kindergarten education is a plot by the GLBTQ [sic] agenda to indoctrinate children into homosexuality.


She also believes that the content of Texan state school textbooks is dictated by “Middle-Eastern” countries. Here is Bruner ranting incoherently about how Muslims are trying to take over the minds of American school children. And keep in mind that religious freedom doesn’t extend to Muslims: “Islam is [apparently as opposed to biology] not a religion. Islam is an inhumane totalitarian political ideology with radical religious rules and laws and barbaric punishments for breaking the religious rules.” Bruner promptly called for the U.S. to “ban Islam and stop all immigration from Muslim countries because Islam’s stated goal is to conquer the USA and kill the infidels (nonbelievers).”


As mentioned, and despite endorsements from e.g. McLeroy, wingnut education blogger Donna Garner (who once organized a boycott of Dr Pepper because they failed to sufficiently glorify God on their product) and Cherokee County Republican Party chairwoman Tammy Blair, Bruner lost the election – mostly, it seems, because she blatantly lied about basic facts regarding how the Texas school system is organized and how the children in Texas schools perform. 


She was also adamantly opposed to Texas’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), ostensibly because “I believe children belong to the parents, not the federal government” (just think about it!). And when arguing against ESSA, she helpfully explained her stance on expertise: “I do not agree with candidates who say subject matter experts, not partisan extremists, should decide what goes in textbooks.” Oh, yes. The reason, of course, is that “subject matter experts” are “liberal university professors, Washington bureaucrats in the Department of Education and liberal national teachers association leaders.”


We’ll include Bruner’s opinions of the boy scouts under this heading as well: “The new Boy Scouts organization might be called Rainbow Penguins,” wrote Bruner: “The Boy Scouts of America is now a Homosexual organization much like the Man-Boy Pedophile Organization” (she tends to add a ‘P’ for ‘pedophile’ to “LGBTQ”). Apparently “gay men prefer young people (children and teenagers) as sex partners.” She doesn’t like gay people: “You must tell your children to believe the Bible and the Bible says [homosexuality] is an ABOMINATION. ABOMINATION means that God Hates Homosexuality.”



On a national level, Bruner is best known for her famous and groundless claim that Barack Obama’s support for gay rights is a result of his work as a male prostitute in his early twenties in order to pay for drugs: “Obama has a soft spot for homosexuals because of the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties. That is how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young, and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background.” Bruner cited “a reliable source”, though her capacity for determining reliability may be questioned (she also repeatedly emphasized that the claim was ‘accurate). And she wasn’t done: “[Obama] hasn’t quite evolved that much! Since he supports gay marriage, he should be proud of his background as a homosexual/bisexual. He is against everything else Christians stand for, he might as well be for infidelity.” Bruner also referred to Obama asAhab the Arab” and said that the president “hates all white people and all wealthy people because to him wealthy means white.”


Hence, Obama is also “racist” – and he may have been elected with rigged voting machines (Bruner was before her times on that one). And as for her birther conspiracies: “The baby named Barak [sic] was an illegitimate son but his grandparents registered his birth in the Hawaii newspapers as if he were legitimate so he could be eligible for welfare,” wrote Bruner: “Would Obama have been elected president if he had appeared in public in Muslim attire or if he had admitted publicly he was born in Kenya or he is still a citizen of Indonesia? Just asking!” She is often “just asking”, e.g when she “asked” about Obama’s involvement in some evil scheme to get a Muslim boy in Texas arrested for bringing a clock to school to forward his Muslim agenda.


As for Native Americans and their historic mistreatment, Bruner also has ideas: “I am not saying the Native Americans deserved what happened to them but sometimes God removes his protection from people who worship pagan gods”.


Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act is ostensibly part of the United Nation’s Agenda 21 conspiracy to do away” with 200 million people from the United States.


Unfortunately, she quickly discovered that people in high places (demons) were onto her, interfering with her technology: “This IPad was attacked last night,” wrote Bruner. “Every time I tried to strike a key an icon of a devil appeared on the comment line. All of this happened right after I said Obama was a sheikh and Congress, The Supreme Court, The Cabinet Members, the heads of government agencies, and the Obama Czars are his harem. That probably offended someone in a high place!!!!


And according to herself, she didn’t lose the school board election because she was wrong, but because she was “smeared by the Establishment – according to herself, she ran to expose the ‘evil’ actions of ‘cock-roaches’. Unfortunatly, because good Christians™ were not ‘vigilant’, advocates ‘for a One World Order controlled by socialist and Communist nations of the United Nations’ could employ their ‘plan right out of Saul Alinsky’s book’ to ‘destroy conservative candidate’s [sic] reputation and keep them from getting elected’.


She lost to Keven Ellis, a chiropractor. Ellis is also a creationist, who explicitly argues, following the Discovery Institute’s recommended strategy, that “students should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of evolution” now that the courts have prevented schools from teaching creationism.


Diagnosis: In an interview at the time, Bruner stated that “I don’t know why I’m getting so much attention. I’m just saying what I believe.” In other words, Bruner has basic trouble with even the absolute fundamentals of how things hang together (beliefs and evidence, for instance). Add to that a fundamental inability to grasp distinctions (between fantasy and fact, for instance), and add some paranoia (a natural consequence of utter failure to grasp connections and distinctions), and you may get something resembling the scattered mind of Mary Lou Bruner.


Hat-tip: rationalwiki

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

#2607: David Brownstein

Though he’s got genuine credentials, David Brownstein, MD, is a Michigan-based holistic medicine practitioner specializing in thyroid health, arthritis and other chronic conditions, which he falsely believes can be overcome through magic diet. He is also an anti-vaccine activist. Given that he has genuine medical credentials – though no discernible background in relevant research or science  – he is heavily pushed by the anti-vaccine brigade, who will take anyone or anything that looks like it could lend them some credibility (here is a useful list). Brownstein has for instance been featured as a vaccine ‘expert’ in various anti-vaccine documentaries, including conspiracy theorist Ty Bollinger’s The Truth about Vaccines, and is a frequent speaker at antivaccine conferences.


A graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University School of Medicine, Brownstein runs a quack website with a prominent store, and has written a number of books (no gooddarn journals and their accountability-based gatekeeping for him) and published numerous videos (like Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, The Miracle of Natural Hormones, or The Statin Disaster) and infomercials. In his various publications, which are characterized by incessant sales pitches, he offers numerous ‘controversial’ views on a variety of health topics, falsely claiming among other things that flu vaccines areworthless, acetaminophen isdangerousand that GMO foods lead to cancer (presumably based on this one).


For a fine criticism of Brownstein’s antivaccine rantings, you may look at this (or this one). Brownstein more or less regurgitates all the bullshit he can find in the antivaccine playbook, including appealing to Big Pharma conspiracies, complaining about “neurotoxins like mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde”, promoting common anti-vaccine misinformation about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and falsely claiming that there has been no safety studies – “[a]s far as I am aware, there are zero – ZERO – safety studies on injecting a neurotoxin into a living being”, says Brownstein, revealing quite a bit about his level of awareness (there are, of course, numerous big studies on the safety of, say, thimerosal). Brownstein also throws in the laughable CDC whistleblower conspiracy, as well as invoking the myth of the autism epidemic, the “epidemicof chronic illnesses and even vaccine “shedding” nonsense for rhetorical flourish.


He has also pushed antivaccine misinformation about the shingles vaccine (possibly the most desperately inane attempt to misuse statistics in the history of statistics misuse), been a keynote speaker at antivaccine conferences around Michigan, and attacked the New York Times for a pro-vaccine editorial by trying to employ the old antivaccine delusional and easily falsified conspiracy claim that “vaccines didn’t save us; better hygiene did” as well as equally easily falsified antivcaccine favorites like the “no true placebo”-used-in-the-clinical-trial of HPV gambit (which at least tellingly shows that Brownstein doesn’t have the faintest clue about how clinical trials work), the Hannah Poling case, calls for a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” trial – of which, of course, there are already plenty; they just don’t show what antivaxxers like Brownstein want them to show – and the Brady Bunch gambit to try to argue that measles isn’t dangerous. No, really: He did.




In addition to books and DVDs, Brownstein’s website also sells supplements like Celtic Sea Salt (he’s got a book, Salt Your Way To Health, too – apparently his salt will help remedy fatigue, adrenal disorders, immune system function, thyroid disorders, headaches,  cholesterol levels, and blood pressure: it’s some seriously amazing salt) , and Iodoral, an iodine/potassium supplement that can be purchased for a significant sum of money together with his book/DVD entitled Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Apparently, Brownstein seems to think – because he’s got supplements to sell – that iodine deficiency is the source of more or less any health issue. “Over 96% of my patients are iodine-deficient and most are severely deficient,” says Brownstein, adding that “conventionally-trained doctors” are unaware of this problem. They certainly are, since there is, firstly, no test to confirm whether you are iodine deficient and iodine deficiency is, if you rely on facts, not really an issue in most parts of the world even if it was an issue in parts of the Midwest up until the 1920s. Brownstein has also pushed CherryJuicePower and homeopathic remedies.


Describing his practices as being unaligned with accepted best-practices in medicine would be an understatement, something Brownstein is of course aware of. In 2016, he gnashed his teeth over the difficulties he experienced trying to recertify for his family practice given that none of the board questions concerned woo and quackery:nutritional therapies”, “natural treatments”, or the various kinds of quackery he promotes: acupuncture, emotional freedom technique, intravenous vitamin and minerals or elimination diets. Why wouldn’t the board just accept his diploma from the Desert Institute School of Classical Homeopathy and the claims about nutrition he pulls directly out of his own ass, and give him a pass?


Like so many people in his line of business, Brownstein was relatively quick to seize upon the opportunities offered by COVID-19. His “Brownstein protocol” is an unproven protocol involving vitamins, nebulized hydrogen peroxide and iodine, and intravenous ozone to treat COVID-19. The protocol was promoted by Joseph Mercola (tit-for-tat, one presumes). There is, of course, no evidence or plausibility that the treatment has any beneficial effects, at least not beyond a worthless case series (of judicially selected patients from his own practice – no controls, blinding or randomization, of course) that he managed to publish in a … medical policy and law journal rather than a medical journal, and later in a book endorsed by Robert Kennedy jr., augmented with anecdotes. There is truly no evidence whatsoever. He did get into some trouble with the FTC for his attempts to profit off of COVID-19 with pseudoscience and quackery, though.


Diagnosis: Hardcore quack and antivaccine conspiracy theorist who promotes any and all antivaccine nonsense and conspiracy theories he comes across, regardless of how silly they are. And since he is, indeed, an MD, people listen to even his most transparent bullshit. A vile person. Dangerous.


Hat-tip: respectful insolence, David Gorski @ sciencebasedmedicine, Peter Lipson @sciencebasedmedicine, wafflesatnoon