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August 28, 2023 01:07 PM UTC

Rep. Ken DeGraaf Doesn't Want Facts, He Wants To Believe

  • by: Colorado Pols
Rep. Ken DeGraaf (R).

A trip into the fever swamps of conservative conspiracy theorizing can be entertaining as long as you leave a few reality-based breadcrumbs to find your way back. One currently circulating tall tale on conservative social media concerns a “Chinese COVID bioweapons lab” allegedly uncovered in central California. Local media doesn’t appear to have helped the situation much with sensationalist headlines like “Chinese-run lab in California illegally stored vials of COVID-19, other diseases,” but as the Sacramento Bee reported earlier this month below that alarming headline, the beginning of a biological World War Three this was not:

Prestige Biotech Inc., a company whose owners live in China, was using the building near Reedley’s downtown for storing and shipping an array of diagnostic test kits for COVID-19, pregnancy, drugs and more after apparently being booted out of their Fresno location in late 2022 by their landlord. The inventory of biological agents in the refrigerators include coronavirus and other exotic contagions, such as malaria, Hepatitis B and C, chlamydia, human herpes, and rubella, among others, used in the production of various test kits. [Pols emphasis]

Now, eight months after the surprising discovery, and about five months after the lab was shut down, local, state and federal agencies continue to investigate and clean up a business that has existed within a murky and muddled realm of regulatory authority. It’s apparently a first-of-its kind situation for investigators in the U.S. – even as court documents show that the company is in the midst of efforts to relocate back to Fresno.

“We’re finding out that with these private labs, there really isn’t as much regulation as there is for publicly funded labs, labs that receive grants,” said Harper, who has been involved in the investigation since Dec. 19. “There’s no one technically looking for them.”

Is it great news to learn that an unlicensed business had all of these dangerous pathogens on site? Of course not. But there’s a huge difference between operating a lab to produce test kits for diseases and producing biological weapons. Although the story is receiving a lot of press now, as the AP reports, authorities have been investigating for months and found no evidence of any threatening intent:

The discovery last December launched investigations by federal, state and local authorities who found no criminal activity at the medical lab owned by Prestige Biotech Inc., a company registered in Las Vegas, and no evidence of a threat to public health or national security. Nonetheless, it was just the beginning of a case that this summer fueled fears, rumors and conspiracy theories online about China purportedly trying to engineer biological weapons in rural America.

There’s always a period before credible media outlets investigate when exaggerated stories like these spread like wildfire–much faster in most cases than the accurate story that debunks the truly crazy stuff low-information viewers and readers are panicking over. It’s worse for those who come across misinformation weeks and even months after it was disproven and breathlessly spread it for another round.

Which is exactly what Colorado Rep. Ken “Skin” DeGraaf did a few days ago:

This is Rep. DeGraaf linking to a month-old video of a local politician making claims that have since been debunked as “unwarranted hysteria.” The additional information in numerous updated news stories that Rep. DeGraaf needed to know, namely that this was not a “bioweapons lab,” let alone a lab having anything to do with public health hero Dr. Anthony Fauci, was just a Google away.

But if there’s anything we’ve learned from Rep. DeGraaf in his free-wheeling freshman term, it’s that DeGraaf doesn’t want to know the real story. “Fauci bioweapons labs” is what Rep. DeGraaf wants to believe, and that’s where he stops reading.

It’s nothing new, but it used to come from your crackpot uncle, not your elected officials.


6 thoughts on “Rep. Ken DeGraaf Doesn’t Want Facts, He Wants To Believe

    1. Are you serious?

      Did you catch that opening line from Mike Pence during the debate explaining his position on abortion where he cut and pasted different passages from different section of the bible?

      Most of these morons genuinely believe that dinosaurs and people co-existed on the earth much like on the Flintstones.

      I'm old enough to remember back in the '80's when many of the evangelical nutjobs believed that HIV was not a virus but instead divine retribution. (While gay men were the demographic group with the highest percentage of infection, lesbians were the lowest. Did that mean that the sisters of Sappho were God's chosen people?)

      They don't believe in evolution. they don't believe in human behavior being a factor in climate change. Some of them even question the spherical shape of the earth.

      How can you possibly convince them that COVID is not a bioweapon?



      1. I'm not serious for several reasons.  One, it's unconstitutional.  Two, it should be unnecessary.  And three, it would exclude reasonable candidates who are willing to learn but hadn't yet learned.  I just don't understand the anti-science bunch, regardless of their political beliefs.  I have no choice but to write them off and not engage with those who wish to believe the zany things they believe.  


      2. I must be at least as old as you, LB. Doctors seemed to think we were the Chosen People. I donated quarts of blood back in the early ’80s. That was before they had good, reliable HIV tests, but lesbians were considered safe from the virus.                       
        It may not be that these religious crackpots don’t believe in climate change. They just believe that they will be “raptured” any day now. So, they won’t be here to have to live in the mess they’re making of the planet.                                                                       

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