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Ohio teen who defied anti-vaxxer parents to testify at Senate hearing

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A US high school student who had himself vaccinated despite his parents’ objections is set to testify Tuesday before the US Congress about a surge in outbreaks of preventable diseases.

Ethan Lindenberger says he grew up in an “anti-vax household,” but decided to go against his parents’ wishes to get vaccinated once he turned 18 and was able to legally make the decision for himself.

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The teen’s decision generated international headlines at a time when health experts are warning of a global surge in measles cases — preventable by vaccine — brought on by conflict, complacency and the anti-vaccine movement.

Lindenberger, who lives in Norwalk, Ohio, announced over the weekend that he was invited to testify at a Tuesday hearing in the US Senate over preventable disease outbreaks.

He is scheduled to address the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, along with several health experts.

There have been 159 measles cases so far this year in 10 US states, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There were 372 cases in all of 2018.

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Parents in 17 states are allowed to opt out of vaccinations for their children because of their personal beliefs. Medical and religious reasons also can be cited to forego vaccinations.

Disinformation spread on social media has helped fuel an anti-vaccine movement in the United States, with many so-called “anti-vaxxers” believing medically baseless claims that the innoculations can cause autism and other negative health effects.

Experts insist vaccines are safe and necessary to protect the larger community from highly infectious diseases like measles.

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“My mom didn’t believe that vaccines were beneficial to the health and safety of society, and believes that they cause autism, brain damage and other complications,” Lindenberger said in a YouTube video posted over the weekend.

Ninety-eight countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 compared with 2017. The World Health Organization said cases worldwide soared nearly 50 percent, killing around 136,000 people.

The US outbreaks “are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring,” the CDC said.

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It then propagates among un-vaccinated people, who tend to live close to each other.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘He’s a child going to a playdate’: Trump’s inability to talk to world leaders mocked by MSNBC guest

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On MSNBC Saturday, former professor and Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed blasted President Donald Trump's inability to behave like a world leader at the G7 summit, or to have meaningful dialogues with the heads of allied countries.

"Abdul, do you think there is any chance that Donald Trump gets through this weekend without any drama?" asked anchor Alex Witt.

"Well, look, if you used the last week as any indication, I think it's no chance," said El-Sayed. "We're talking about the president of the United States as if he's a child going to a playdate."

"Honestly, we have to have a serious conversation about the fact that he's just headlong pitched our economy down the tubes," continued El-Sayed. "He's been doing it because of a spat that he has with a leader in China. And we're talking about whether or not he's going to have a good time at the G7. This is the president of the United States. We have to treat him as such and we have to be asking about whether or not we are willing to get serious about the conversation that we need to be having about what's going to happen in our future."

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Florida teacher suspended after boasting he’d have a 1000-student body count if he shot up his school

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A teacher at Lakeland High School in Florida has been placed under a temporary risk protection order after boasting that he could rack up a 1,000-person body count if he perpetrated a school shooting.

Keith Cook, a math teacher and a veteran, described hypothetical acts of violence to students during a lockdown drill, including how if he were a school shooter, he'd first plant IEDs around the school, start shooting, drive panicked people into the areas where he had rigged up the explosives, and then detonate them. Some students were horrified by what he described.

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If Trump were the raving mad King of Liechtenstein all of this would be comical

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

This week, a former White House official told Politico that “Trump’s been asking his government for some matter of months what can we do to make sure that China doesn’t get Greenland.”

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