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Coleman gets so many of the basics wrong. Where do I even start?

1. "The vaccine companies can't be held liable." Well, how does Coleman square that with the fact that RFK Jr is currently suing Merck ? BTW, it's a frivolous lawsuit, as you'd expect.

https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/2021/07/30/merck-accused-of-disease-mongering-to-sell-gardasil-hpv-vaccine/?slreturn=20230519220010

2. The question of perverse incentives. (Paraphrasing here) "well, the FDA is basically funded by Pharma so how can we trust them?" Moynihan's response was to talk about how the FDA is actually too restrictive, especially with diabetes stuff, and that's a fair reply. But here's a more detailed answer.

When pharma companies submit requests to the FDA, for example to get approval on a drug, or a license agreement, etc, they have to pay fees. Those fees fund the FDA's work. It saves the taxpayers money. Also, 80% of new drug applications are rejected. That means a pharma company now has to pay another fee to submit a new application. So, if Pharma was in bed with the FDA, why is that drug approval number so low? 1 in 5 drug applications are rejected.

3. Coleman also talked about how the CDC and NIH, etc. were not acting as "neutral referees of information, and any skepticism was met with making you a non-person." (during COVID)

What the fuck is this? A non-person? Jesus Christ. But okay, let's explore the first part. "Neutral referees of information." - THAT'S NOT THEIR JOB, MAN! Their job is to give people accurate information. It's not to sit there and debate the fucking efficacy of vaccines with someone who has a journalism degree.

4. "I dont think there's been a careful reckoning over how irrationally the vaccines were pushed upon people and coerced upon people." Yeah, I think that our public health officials did a horrendous job of messaging. They fucked up the masks thing royally from the start, and they were so afraid of ceding any territory to skeptics, that they ended up using dumb phrases like "believe the science" or whatever else. Fair enough. But horrible messaging is not the same as being a genuinely oppressive government agency. The CDC is full of awkward science nerds. Is anyone surprised they suck at messaging? Come on.

5. The idea of being a COVID contrarian is really attractive because it feeds the libertarian streak within a lot of people. But people quickly forget that we didn't know a lot of things for sure at the time. And, going back to the messaging problem, it would have been way better if public health officials had properly communicated about these changes. "Here's why we said X but now we say Y." Some people will never believe them, but what else can they do? There are plenty of things to be upset about, especially with local government's shutting down outdoor spaces and teachers unions helping to keep schools closed. These are real issues, but they're not reason to start buying into the snake oil that people like RFK Jr are selling.

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Jun 24, 2023Liked by Matt Welch

I thought you were very good and measured with Coleman, when I'd have just shouted "What are you talking about? RFK Jr is a mad crank." That's probably why I pay to listen to your podcast and you don't pay to listen to mine. (I don't have a podcast, which is another reason).

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It’s hard to give a full-throated endorsement of a candidate who doesn’t sound full-throated.

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This was bonkers! I lost it when Coleman got into Michael for saying "turned out to be wrong" when Coleman had defended RFK Jr. earlier in the podcast because RFK Jr. turned out to be wrong in the 90s about vaccines causing autism. RFK Jr. is a lunatic and it blows my mind that anyone could think him a voice of reason.

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RFKJ does indeed have some bad ideas and is not fit for office. Coleman still had the better side of this discussion.

A modest proposal: our intrepid hosts should invite RFKJ for an interview if they haven’t done so already and confront him themselves with some of the positions that are the most troubling and aren’t getting adequate sunlight because they’re the “B sides” of his conspiracy theory album (i.e. 2004 election denial, Hugo Chavez admiration society, Sirhan-did-nothing-wrongerism).

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I sincerely thought Coleman was much too smart to be taken in by some bullshit peddler like RFK Jr. This was painful to listen to, and it's made me reconsider whether his show is worth my time. If he's going to fall under the sway of RFKJ'S utter horseshit...man. I heard the exact opposite from Coleman on this episode that I had come to expect of him from his own show. He seemed quick to latch onto thin conspiracy theories so long as they aligned with his priors, and seemed to show a general lack of analytical rigor. I'm legitimately bummed.

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Moynihan does his typical parry at every valid question, avoiding anything of substance just to point out some character flaw or debunked priors. He's obsessed with plagiarism, missteps, one off comments, anything to deflect from the actual veracity of a claim. I enjoy the pod but we need to start having real conversations, not just leveraging these lame tangential tactics to try and "win" the argument.

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In the beginning of the episode, Coleman points out that RFK Jr. doesn't *currently* claim that thiomersal causes autism, and instead says: "I'm not sure, I think it needs to be studied more." He seems to think this means RFK Jr. has moved away from the radical conspiracies he's peddled for decades, or at least has a more nuanced or measured opinion.

This is completely wrong and Coleman is way too smart to fall for it. It's simply a way for him to dodge the question while maintaining his central narrative that Big Pharma, the government, etc. are comic book villains concocting elaborate schemes to immiserate the American people.

RFK Jr. is incapable of acknowledging the major things he got wrong. He never publicly changes his mind in response to new evidence. He baselessly accuses random scientists of committing grandiose crimes against humanity. Has he ever once gone back and said "I might have been a bit harsh..."? If not, why would you still trust him?

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founding

About time! I have a beautiful 5 hour drive from Bakersfield to Sacramento and have been hitting refresh on this app hoping for episode drop. Thank you!

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founding

This to me really highlights what it looks like when an intelligent person goes from being high-trust to low-trust. Coleman Hughes has seen, been close to, and subject to many lies and manipulations by high status and powerful people in a fairly short time. This was a great example of how constant and regular dishonesty degrades a society at every level.

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Jun 25, 2023Liked by Matt Welch

Apparently Kennedy (Matt and Kmele's old pal; not the scion in question) will appear on the Reason Roundtable podcast next week in Matt's absence, along with segment titles which drive Nick mad.

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My mom worked in the research facility at building 10 for NIH in 2010. I can confirm she got a bag of 8 million dollars cash to give autism to underprivileged children. It was delivered in bags with $$$ on it. She cackled as she counted the cash over and over again. It was terrifying.

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Oh! “Big Corn!” I kept hearing “Big Porn” and couldn’t figure out WTH they were talking about... 😂

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At a little over an hour into this episode when Michael was talking about how the people who were believing and trusting everything the CDC said were not interested in learning or finding the truth, etc.; while I do agree that yes it was the media who kept referring to the CDC and that the average person not diving into the truth and/or seeing with their own eyes, believing in an ideology and a narrative are all true. HOWEVER, then why was every single small business (I.e. restaurants and dance studios, yoga studios and most especially stupid academia where I work) citing the CDC as their reasoning for their oppressive and archaic policies? Myself and so many people I know were barred from even entering a place without showing proof of being FULLY vaccinated which included the most up to date booster. (which is what 4 or 5 now?) Michael insists the CDC wasn't telling anybody what to do but I insist that they stood by and watched this unfold while saying absolutely nothing to counter it or correct it. These mandates and proof of being "fully vaccinated" is still alive and well by the way in some small business in SF. So frustrating.

Thank you for taping this episode though guys. It's awesome to hear critically thinking intelligent people talk seriously and debate issues. Y'all are amazing.

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founding

This interview has me dismayed. I (with Moyn and Kmele--Matt was abseent) think RFK Jr. is a conspiracy monger. Yet, he appeals to some smart people, eg, Coleman Hughes. How does this happen? Is RFK Jr.'s popularity similar to Trump's?

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founding

Every time I hear “Prigozhin” on the TV, I expect it to be followed by a list of possible side effects and a recommendation to talk to my doctor.

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