tax dollars at work, yeah

Yesterday, the US Food and Drug Administration granted approval of one of the C-19 pharmaceuticals for persons 16 years and up. For those who are paying attention, this does not exactly provide warm fuzzies. 

Perhaps most concerning is the abandonment of protocols and transparency. Right out of the gate, the approval was based on only six months of data, about a year and a half before clinical studies could even be complete. 

Conducting studies assumes we care about the data, but this approval provided no visible data, no review of the data, nor a rigorous discussion of said data. The FDA abandoned its own protocol to hold a formal advisory committee meeting on the topic, conveniently avoiding scrutiny and discussion. (In fact, that committee only met twice this year, on Feb. 26 to consider the J & J EUA, and on June 10 to discuss pediatric use.)

Bear in mind, that discussion would have centered on the drugmaker’s own clinical study.

According to the FDA, “More than half of the clinical trial participants were followed for safety outcomes for at least four months after the second dose. Overall, approximately 12,000 recipients have been followed for at least six months.” This, when the original cohort in the study was 44,000. Some of those trial participants gone missing include the control group, in an obvious corruption of ‘science’, since placebo participants eventually took the drug under study.

This aggressive push to approval is hard to fathom especially in light of the truly disconcerting numbers in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System database. The lack of explanation or insight or basic follow-up on the historically high numbers, including the shocking number of deaths, cannot simply be ignored. One cannot wave the numbers away implying it’s all just a coincidence without any forthcoming, honest follow-up. Unless, I suppose, you’re the FDA and media relying on a complacent public.

Speaking of public, yesterday’s approval also brushed off the long-standing protocol of a public hearing. Such lack of transparency and dissing of the public and democratic values is consistent with what Harvard experts deduced about corporate capture of federal regulatory bodies.

All that aside, why the big rush anyway? Despite assertions to the contrary, this hasty, cloaked approval will do nothing to coerce the vaccine-hesitant. In fact, the secrecy, haste, and refusal to openly broach developing data provokes further concern in that group and others. The landscape of suppression, censorship, and propaganda does not encourage trust either.

The big rush does, however, pave the way for further and broader mandates. Strangely, this full court press comes in the context of increasing data that instead suggest caution and a closer look.

Health aside, this blasé corruption of process bears implications about our governance which should concern any citizen. Blindly finding comfort in this approval is misplaced trust. We should expect and demand better.

###

Stand for Freedom

compassion, respect, dignity

In these times of fear, worry, and stress, it is really more important than ever that we demonstrate compassion, respect, and dignity. It helps us all if we can do that.

So it makes me sad when I read or hear vehement rhetoric concerning various issues that only serves to alienate and to shut down meaningful dialogue.  Yesterday, once again, I ran into a diatribe in which folks holding minority opinions on vaccines were written off as “anti-vaxxers” and in a very negative way. In the typical step further, too, they were dismissed as stupid.

It’s a pretty basic phenomenon that intolerance does not win hearts and minds. Nor are censorship, thought policing, and shunning markers of a healthy society.

The people being written off this way are just like anyone else finding their way through these difficult times. They have families and friends they deeply care about. 

There are a multitude of reasons why they may hold the position they do.  It’s not outlandish to consider them just because media, government, corporations, and the people around you espouse and promote a single point of view. The skeptics are just as much entitled to their opinions as anyone else, and sometimes well-buttressed with research too.

I can’t help but wonder if the folks doing the dismissing aren’t subconsciously and fearfully questioning the security of their own position. Such a person “doth protest too much, methinks,” borrowing from Shakespeare. Or, perhaps, there is simply a very strong need to put their virtue or their presumed intelligence on display. Or maybe it’s just groupthink.

And if you want to complain that the vaccine hesitant folks (or those with other similarly marginalized opinions) are the ones who are trolls, perhaps give some consideration to the notion that some of them are noisy because they are never given a real hearing. Vaccine skeptics have been vilified for decades with support from corporate media and government.

The skeptic’s position is perfectly legitimate in the context of “science.” Science necessarily involves skepticism, questions, doubts. It drives ever-closer looks at things. Science is not good science without it. The person who insists “the science is settled” especially in the midst of a huge, long-term experiment apparently does not understand science.

Regardless, whatever side of the fence a person is on relative to any issue, let us move past all the righteousness and approach each other with fundamental respect and compassion. We all have to get through this thing, through life indeed, together. We will be a healthier and stronger society if we can do that on this issue and others.

###

question not

No matter the church doors shut,
science is the new religion.
Cover your face, humble yourself in solitary contemplation,
bow in fear of the awesome power of your new god. 

Believe! the white-coated preachers call.
Faith and money will save you.
Proffer ample gold at the altar of the chosen science,
then bring your body and soul to the sacrifice.

Bow before the altar,
turn not your eyes toward any other. 
Make outcasts of those who would be scientists 
with data or ideas deemed unholy by your master.
Mingle not with heretics
no matter how learned.
Spit on them, damn them, gag them
in deference to the one true deliverer of science.
Shun the neighbor who questions.

Open your throat and
extend your arm for the sacraments.
Place your children on the pyre of the appointed science, too.
Empty their minds and yours of other notions.
The proclaimed science does not query, 
nay, it commands the natural world.
Question not.
The homeless, the unemployed, the lonely, the struggling, the ostracized, the injured, the ill, the once-free —
see how the saving arms of the only true science make it all so deserved.
Believe and be grateful.

yup, and science is real

We are hearing “science” every day. Our lives have been torn asunder the last few months because “science.” 

Except it hasn’t really been science we’ve been hearing. We’ve been hearing selected pieces of science accompanied by some mixed up data that serves a specific narrative.

As we all know, if what someone has to say does not agree with the selected science of the World Health Organization, it is likely to be censored on platforms like Facebook or YouTube or Twitter. When you’re doing that, it’s not science anymore, it’s dogma.

Way back when, Galileo was censored by the Pope because of his belief in a heliocentric system. He was finally hauled up before the Inquisition and condemned to life imprisonment for “heresy.” Hmm.

Or how about the somewhat less well known Ignaz Semmelweis who made the observation back in the mid-19th century that hand-washing could positively impact mortality rates in the hospital where he worked as an obstetrician? Others in his profession did not appreciate the inference that they were ‘dirty’ and it didn’t end well for him.

Even Einstein’s theory of relativity was largely dismissed by many for a good long while.

My point is simple. I believe in keeping an open mind and being fully informed. We need to hear it all. We need to discuss all of it.

We don’t need Big Brother-style fact checkers out there filtering what we can and can’t read or consider. We need to recognize that science has limitations, and that it can be politicized, subverted for particular purposes, or handled incorrectly.

We need to hear about all of the research, not just some of it. We need to hear about more than the industry-funded, cherry-picked studies. We need to entertain opposing points of view rather than rejecting them out of hand with scorn and labels of quackery. And, as always, we need to follow the money.

I do not believe the WHO is the final arbiter of TRUTH. Nor is Anthony Fauci or Deborah Birx. Or Gavin Newsom or Gretchen Whitmer or Andrew Cuomo.

There is so much money and power involved in the current life-impacting decision-making, that we cannot afford to settle for dogma.

We want science. And we want it in the context of objectivity and freedom.

proposed school plans — irresponsible and dangerous

The CDC and state government officials in concert with educators and administrators have developed protocols for back-to-school scenarios. Frankly, what they came up with is deeply troubling. Parents should be rising up.

Schools as they are currently being envisioned will neither be safe places nor healthy ones, all the while shepherding students down a troubling and dangerous path.

Make no mistake about it, this is a curriculum that teaches, normalizes, and prioritizes fear and compliance.

Schools of the near future will involve wearing masks all day, being subjected to screenings, socially distanced, confined to classrooms for meals, confined to classrooms in lieu of assemblies involving other groups, hand sanitizing ad infinitum, etc.

Kids will be psychologically and socially damaged for life even though they are at virtually no risk from the virus. No, apparently, they must suffer for the good of their elders. They might learn their ABCs, but they’ll also get thorough instruction in becoming an automaton.

Where is the outcry? I don’t hear parents rising up to call out the obvious: “This is not a healthy environment for our kids!

I can only assume the reason for that is because schools in large part have been successful in forming generations of people who abide the norm. It is everyone’s loss, even while the power class chuckles.

It may also be that parents feel relieved to hand education duties back to the professional educators, abdicating the responsibility and accommodating employment.

Just because everyone goes along with something, does not make it okay. You would think that is a lesson of which we would all have some grasp by now, but apparently not. Hence, I suspect that critical thinking skills will remain a low priority for future curricula. 

I also really have to wonder how science will be presented as a school subject. Right now, we hear government officials and media bandy the word “science” about quite a bit without actually presenting solid science. We hear theories, hypotheses, scare mongering, biased projections, manipulated data, and even outright lies presented as scientific faits accomplis.

Real science, thank you very much, observes, explores, tests for a proof. It looks at things from multiple angles. It entertains opposing points of view. Real, good science does not present flawed data, announce results, and take action before all of that has happened, either. Somehow I don’t think that subject is going to be taught.

I am truly sorry for what children are experiencing right now, and sorry for those who will be subjected to the new school agenda. I am sorry for the world that will result from it, if it manages to survive the abuse at all. There is still time to stop it.

We are a country of over 325 million people. There’s a lot of potential there for creative, intelligent thinking and problem solving. But out of all that, we allow the substandard, the mediocre, and even the malevolent to make the rules. Btw, that’s also why we have the two mainstream presidential candidates we’ve got.

We can change all that. We need to think about our children. Parents, wake up, please!

narrative of fear

Some days I wake up scared. I wake up not having a clue what’s going to happen next. Or worse, maybe I do. Everything feels a little out of control like I need to hold onto something. 

Seems like things come out of left field almost every day now and it’s hard to process. Everyone I meet feels the same way. We are just holding onto our various pieces of flotsam while these giant waves carry us along. We look at each other behind our masks from our six-foot stations imprinted on the floor with the question in our eyes where are we going? 

The sun comes up and I listen to the birds singing it’s as if everything is normal but I know it’s not. Maybe for the first time ever I find myself fearing for our fundamental freedom as human beings on this earth and I wonder how to fight for that. I fear the actions of our species far more than what nature may bring. But fear is how it all works isn’t it? And we are going mach 5. 

I have to make myself stop and listen awhile to what’s true and beautiful outside my window in the trees in the sky in the air in my soul and then I am not scared but my heart still rends for what is happening.

It doesn’t make me feel safe to be masked to be distanced to be tracked to be left to die alone in the hands of masked strangers to be tested to be medicated to be genetically altered to be fed gibberish data to suckle a debilitating narrative merely masquerading as science to be cut off from community culture the very rhythm of life no this, this is not the way.

I finally let go of that piece of flotsam only to discover I am the leviathan. The fear dissipates in a poof of anger that just as quickly transforms into power. I claim that.