Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Their Weird Conspiracy Theorist Doctor Friends

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GOP Senate candidates Rand Paul and Sharron Angle are both associated with a radical group of right-wing, conspiracy-theorist doctors, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Angle, who’s running against incumbent Democrat Harry Reid in Nevada, headlined a rally for the group in San Diego on August 7. And TPM relays that Paul, the opthamologist who’s running against the Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway in Kentucky, is a full-on member of the group. Here’s a clip of Paul talking about his affiliation with the AAPS:

Last year, our own Stephanie Mencimer reported on the AAPS‘ association with the tea parties and the bizarre beliefs of its members. The archives of the group’s main publication, the Journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, “present a kind of alternate-universe scientific world, in which abortion causes breast cancer and vaccines cause autism, but HIV does not cause AIDS,” Mencimer wrote. Here are some highlights:

Yet despite the lab coats and the official-sounding name, the docs of the AAPS are hardly part of mainstream medical society. Think Glenn Beck with an MD. The group (which did not return calls for comment for this story) has been around since 1943. Some of its former leaders were John Birchers, and its political philosophy comes straight out of Ayn Rand. Its general counsel is Andrew Schlafly, son of the legendary conservative activist Phyllis. The AAPS statement of principles declares that it is “evil” and “immoral” for physicians to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and its journal is a repository for quackery. Its website features claims that tobacco taxes harm public health and electronic medical records are a form of “data control” like that employed by the East German secret police. An article on the AAPS website speculated that Barack Obama may have won the presidency by hypnotizing voters, especially cohorts known to be susceptible to “neurolinguistic programming”—that is, according to the writer, young people, educated people, and possibly Jews…..

…Documents released as a result of the tobacco litigation the 1990s and early 2000s show that Philip Morris officials worked with AAPS executive director Jane Orient to help the company’s “junk science” campaign that attacked indoor smoking bans. The tobacco company also relied on AAPS to generate “third party press releases” in support of its agenda, according to documents in the tobacco archives. In this fall’s edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, an economist who has previously received funding from Philip Morris wrote an article arguing that a tobacco tax “leads to deterioration in public health”—because it leads people to switch to cigarettes with more nicotine so they can smoke fewer of them.

For the AAPS journal, however, this is tame stuff. The publication’s archives present a kind of alternate-universe scientific world, in which abortion causes breast cancer and vaccines cause autism, but HIV does not cause AIDS. Cutting carbon emissions represents a grave threat to global health (because environmental regulation would make people poorer and, consequently, sicker). In 2005, the journal erroneously claimed that illegal immigration had caused a leprosy epidemic in the US, a claim that was reported as fact in more mainstream outlets such as Lou Dobbs’ show.

The group also thinks Medicare is “evil” and “immoral,” and, as Stephanie notes, they’re behind the whole “Obama hypnotized the US into voting for him” conspiracy theory. Anyway, read Stephanie’s whole piece.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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