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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate