Volume 77, no. 2 February 2021
Once confined to academia, the concept of “wokeness” has had a meteoric rise, and is now ensconced in the White House and all “respectable” institutions. It calls on us to confront internal threats worse than foreign enemies and a pandemic virus.
The Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a service-wide stand down over the next 60 days to address “white nationalism,” (tinyurl.com/g7acm2ux) and to rid the ranks of “racism” and “extremism” (https://tinyurl.com/24l6z625).
The AMA has gone “full woke”; we must all “prioritize equity” and dismantle “race-based medicine” (tinyurl.com/u0slwv3n).
In his essay “Wokeness at Noon,” James Hartley writes that the rise of wokeness is explained in Arthur Koestler’s 1941 novel Darkness at Noon. The protagonist Nicholas Rubashov, a hero of the communist revolution and a devoted communist to the end, is imprisoned, interrogated, and shot after confessing to a crime he did not commit. Rubashov has to confront the fact that the masses did not accept the glorious vision, but insisted on clinging to their traditions and their individuality. He loses faith in his infallibility and must accept guilt for his failure.
The new woke generation, represented by his repellent interrogator Gletkin, has “no traditions, and no memories to bind it to the old, vanished world. It was a generation born without [an] umbilical cord…. And yet it had right on its side. One must tear that umbilical cord, deny the last tie which bound one to the vain conceptions of honour and the hypocritical decency of the old world.” The new Party’s ethics “starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community” (tinyurl.com/tbo7lpjw).
The only other ethical concept is at the opposite pole. It declares the individual to be sacrosanct.
Leaders of the Democratic Party, leading universities, media outlets, and large corporations are today’s Rubashovs, Hartley writes. These pillars of society, to maintain their careers, confess their sins publicly and accede to the demands of the woke (ibid.).
Those who resist may feel that they are in a world from The Twilight Zone. Episode 65, “The Obsolete Man,” eerily prefigures today’s “cancel culture.” In the opening narration, Rod Serling says: “This is not a new world, it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super-states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace” (tinyurl.com/2sx9nphj).
Will We All Be Assimilated?
Koestler’s view was very pessimistic: “He who accepts a dictatorship must accept civil war as a means. He [who] recoils from civil war must give up opposition and accept the dictatorship.”
Hartley hopes that Koestler is wrong. “Hope, however, may not be enough. The challenge of our age is not merely to resist the woke, but for those who recoil from both civil war and dictatorship to find a peaceful, orderly means of resistance.”
Human beings respond unpredictably. In a bold and rash move, individual investors—“Redditors”—challenged hedge funds, driving the price of GameStop stock up 14,000%, catching bearish institutional investors in a classic “short squeeze.” Conspiracy theories arose. It couldn’t be brotherhood—it must be collusion. “White supremacist neo-Nazis were targeting Jewish financiers.” Or, “this was the Capitol siege all over again.”
Could peasants really outsmart robber barons at their own rigged game? CNN commented scornfully that the whole notion of “Trumpism” was to “stick it to the elites.” And “that strategy—if that is even a word that can be associated with what this is—has massive limits…. It’s not a solution to any problem. It’s just a way to express frustration, anger and a feeling of helplessness (tinyurl.com/133t3q7o). Or is it an awakened spirit?
The Robinhood app stopped the buying, and “glitches” protected exposed parties. But “there is no humiliation in loss, only in cowardice,” said one writer (https://tinyurl.com/9063s41m).
“We are living under a regime that is in failure mode…. [The plan seems to be] to comfort the American people in this deranged march to our national death with an…iteration of bread and circuses…., but they do not sate us all. Say it with me: I will not eat the bugs. I will not live in the pod. The narratives we have been given to understand ourselves, to prime us to accept this debased existence, do not obtain for us all…. We do not hate ourselves. We do not hate who or what we come from. And we intend to respect ourselves enough to fight against the degenerate and malignant forces insisting we believe otherwise” (ibid.).
At the end of Episode 65, Serling reappears with a hopeful message: It’s the State, the entity the Chancellor worshipped, that is obsolete. “Any state, entity, or ideology becomes obsolete when it stockpiles the wrong weapons: when it captures territories, but not minds; when it enslaves millions, but convinces nobody. When it is naked, yet puts on armor and calls it faith, while in the Eyes of God it has no faith at all. Any state, any entity, any ideology which fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man,…that state is obsolete. A case to be filed under ‘M’ for ‘Mankind’—in The Twilight Zone” (tinyurl.com/ydgdybtm). The truth is out there. We are out there.
Flashback: Cancel Culture
In 1917, Americans were opposed to entering the Great War. The Wilson administration launched a propaganda and censorship campaign to castigate antiwar dissent as treason and potential insurrection. Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917 to imprison Americans for crimes of “insubordination.” The Sedition Act of 1918 prescribed up to 20 years’ imprisonment for publishing disloyal language about the U.S. government. When many Americans were still unenthusiastic, Wilson switched from promoting the war as a high-minded crusade for democracy to stoking anti-German ethnic hatred. Sauerkraut, dachshunds, and even German measles were re-named, and pretzels were removed from bars’ free lunches. Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner were purged. By the time of Warren Harding’s “return to normalcy,” German-Americans had learned to keep their heads down, and their vast cultural contributions became vanishingly hard to notice. At least Chicago’s Goethe statue has not been torn down—yet (https://tinyurl.com/ti3awarr).
As a bioethics graduate student, Dianne Irving, Ph.D., was in a meeting with Anthony Fauci. He asked whether one of his NIAID research projects was “ethical”: they had sprayed pathogenic organisms in a Washington, D.C., subway stop. Since symptoms would not manifest for years, no one would connect the new diseases with the NIAID experiment. The project was deemed “ethical” because it was “beneficent” for society. Is a vaccine that some call an “experiment” also “ethical”?
Observations by Dr. Scott Atlas
Cancer: Forty-six percent of the most common types of cancers were not diagnosed during the lockdown. Some 650,000 Americans missed important cancer treatments, thanks to “the fear instilled by our so-called public health experts.”
Strokes: Some 40 percent of acute strokes were not treated.
Despair: An astonishing 25 percent of people between 18 and 24 years old contemplated suicide in the month of June alone.
Conclusion: “History will record the faces of the public health expertise as some of the most sinful, egregious, epic failures in the history of public policy. They have killed people with their lack of understanding and their lack of caring about not just the impact of cases of COVID-19, a virus that the overwhelming majority of people do well in. They never cared to considered the impact of the policy itself, and the policy itself has been a complete epic failure, and honestly some people say a crime against humanity— these people should be held accountable for what they did” (reported by Tom Woods, tinyurl.com/89ymaed6).
“At headquarters, where everyone lived under the tremendous pressure of responsibility, probably nothing was more welcome than a dictate from above. That meant being freed of a decision and simultaneously being provided with an excuse for failure.”
“…being in a position to know and nevertheless shunning knowledge creates direct responsibility for the consequences…”
Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich
International Vaccine News
Israel leads the world in COVID vaccination: 48 doses per 100 population vs. 7 in the U.S. The government signed a contract with Pfizer to vaccinate the entire 7 million adult population and to provide weekly data during a 24-month surveillance follow-up study. A radio show read names of people who died soon after a dose, and ran out of time after 28. An ideal epidemiologic study (https://tinyurl.com/1jqpg213)—but is it ethical? The Ministry of Health is considering restrictions that will make the lives of “refusers” very difficult (https://tinyurl.com/1e7cr7rz).
Palestine is begging for vaccine. Its COVID deaths have steadily trended down from 5/106 in late December to 1/106 on Feb 6. Israel’s started at about 1.7/106, peaked on Jan 25, and are now about 5.5/106 (https://tinyurl.com/yl298c2p).
India recommended against approval two days after Pfizer withdrew its application for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine. The country’s drug regulatory authority noted that incidents of palsy, anaphylaxis, and other serious adverse events have been reported during post-marketing and the causality of the events is being investigated. Two other vaccines— Covishield and Covaxin—have been approved for restricted emergency use in India (https://tinyurl.com/zbfy99bg).
Contagion: Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla said that the question of whether vaccinated persons can still spread disease “needs to be examined.” Pertinent data was not collected in the clinical trials (tinyurl.com/4sk3sd32). “I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore passing it on,” stated WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (tinyurl.com/5c6q5weh).
Anaphylaxis: The rate of anaphylactic reactions to the Pfizer SARS-CoV2 vaccine, 1 in 100,000, is 10 times as high as reported with all previous vaccines, likely because of the polyethylene glycol (PEG) used (also by Moderna) to stabilize the lipid nanoparticle carriers protecting the mRNA. Structurally similar polysorbate 80 in other vaccines might also be problematic (NEJM 12/30/20).
Endothelial damage: Asymptomatic or convalescent patients may harbor viral antigens attached to ACE-2 receptors in their microvasculature in heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. The response triggered by the vaccine may target these and cause organ damage and thromboembolic events 10 to 20 days later in “elderly frail vasculopaths.” Antibody screening might be used to delay or exclude vaccination, suggests Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. (https://tinyurl.com/4tron2zx).
Sep 29-Oct 2, 2021. 78th Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA
AMA on Freedom of Speech
A JAMA editorial (2/4/21) by Stanford faculty members accused Dr. Scott Atlas, formerly of Stanford and recently a member of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, of ignoring or dismissing “science” and refusing to promote “sensible, effective policies.” They stated: “Nearly all public health experts were concerned that his recommendations could lead to tens of thousands (or more) of unnecessary deaths in the US alone.”
Authors advocate “action from within the medical profession,” an “important but underused strategy” when “physicians violate their ethical responsibilities in nonclinical contexts.”
In case the physician is not in a position in which his privileges can be revoked, an institution can still publicly “declare that a physician’s actions are inconsistent with the standards of professional conduct.” Although “academic freedom is a core value of the university, and public speech is an important pillar of such freedom,…to take the view that respecting freedom of speech requires institutional silence when science is being subverted is to misunderstand the concept.” Dr. Atlas expressed views that questioned the official narrative on COVID-19, so more than 100 “faculty experts” questioned his veracity, and the faculty senate voted 85% to 15% to “strongly condemn his behavior.”
“Silence is not an option,” they said (tinyurl.com/5av94bv4).[It is a requirement if you disagree with the authorities and wish to maintain your position—Ed.]
The AMA is silent about the Great Barrington Declaration (gbdeclaration.org), which has so far been signed by nearly 800,000 individuals worldwide, including tens of thousands of medical professionals and experts, who express “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies,” and urge public officials to adopt more targeted approaches to virus mitigation. Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Jay Bhattacharya reports that the Facebook page disappeared without warning (https://tinyurl.com/8uqk5uul).
The AMA’s EdHub did host an exchange between Dr. Bhattacharya and Dr. Mark Lipsitch, who along with 7,000 researchers and health professionals, signed the John Snow Rebuttal (johnsnowmemo.com), “which refutes the [Declaration’s] argument” (https://tinyurl.com/15tsgtud).
YouTube removed the video of Dr. Bhattacharya’s Senate testimony (https://tinyurl.com/os647jz1).
Twitter suspended a physician’s account for posting a reference to the NIAID’s ownership of patents on the Moderna vaccine (AAPS News, January 2021), which fact checkers could easily verify (e.g., https://tinyurl.com/45k9kv2f).
AMA ethicists and science watchdogs, where are you?
Tip of the Month: When non-participating physicians opt out of Medicare, it is automatically effective immediately. A physician who is non-participating in Medicare cannot use a future date for opting out, while a physician who is participating in Medicare must give at least 30-days’ notice in advance of the beginning of a new calendar quarter (e.g., 30 days prior to Jan 1, Apr 1, Jul 1, or Oct 1). When a practice is participating in Medicare but the physician personally is non-par, which rule governs? Because opting out is personal to the physician, not to a practice, a non-par physician’s opting out is effective immediately even though his practice may be participating in Medicare.
Weimar Court Calls Lockdowns Unconstitutional
A German district court declared a strict lockdown imposed by the government of the central state of Thuringia last spring unconstitutional, as it acquitted a person accused of violating it.
“A trivial case about a man violating strict German lockdown rules by celebrating a birthday with his friends has ended up in a decision the German media described as ‘politically explosive.’”
Thuringia’s lockdown was a “catastrophically wrong political decision with dramatic consequences for almost all areas of people’s lives,” the court said. It particularly condemned a restriction limiting private gatherings to the members of one household and one other person. The judge said that the government violated the “inviolably guaranteed human dignity” secured by Article 1 of the German basic law. Further, it had no right to impose such restrictions since it was up to lawmakers to do so (RT 1/23/21, tinyurl.com/462qmgaw).
The court detailed the enormous and disproportionate human and economic harm inflicted by the containment policy.
The ruling only affects the specific case and is being appealed (https://tinyurl.com/yuweyqk2).
Are COVID Vaccine Mandates Lawful?
Employees of a Wisconsin nursing home complain of being bullied into taking the COVD-19 vaccine, with threats of being laid off without access to unemployment benefits.
A cease-and-desist letter sent to Rock Haven Interim Nursing Home Administrator Sara Beran and Rock County Administrator Josh Smith states that the mandatory vaccination policy is depriving employees of their statutorily guaranteed rights.
The vaccines are not FDA approved but are given under an Emergency Use Authorization. Under an EUA, vaccines are not allowed to be mandatory, according to Dr. Mandy Cohen, executive secretary of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Information sheets for recipients and caregivers for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines state on the first page, “It is your choice to receive the [COVID-19] vaccine.”
However, guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that employees who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination may be excluded from the workplace, although there are few protections.
Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prohibit the kind of mandatory vaccination policies in question at Rock Haven nursing home (https://tinyurl.com/y8ojocd4).
Vaccine Passports Violate Human Rights: CoE
The Council of Europe, which oversees the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) but cannot pass binding laws, passed (115-2) a resolution stating that member States should encourage vaccinations as much as possible, but that mandatory vaccines were not permitted. Moreover, it states protections must be given to those who do not have the vaccine, to “ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated.” Vaccination certificates are to be used only for monitoring effects and not as a “vaccination passport” (at borders, in aviation, or for access to services). This would violate privacy and “reinforce exclusionary and discriminatory practices” (tinyurl.com/dyoatm75).
Scope of Practice. While giving a talk on sham peer review to Australian physicians, I was told of a “lifelong and non-appealable” order to an orthopaedic surgeon to cease giving his patients the “dangerous advice outside the scope of his practice” to cut down on sugar consumption. The expert advising the licensure board was employed by a major cereal corporation.
Lawrence R. Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., Lake View, NY
CME Censorship. I was invited months ago by a prestigious U.S. academic medical center to deliver an endowed lecture at medicine grand rounds on the “Pathophysiologic Basis and Clinical Rationale for Early Ambulatory Treatment of COVID-19.” I completed all the pre-lecture vetting on CME content and had spent many weeks preparing my slides of peer-reviewed and published studies on the topic. Late on the night before the lecture, I was told that the Infectious Disease Section had protested that my lecture could not go forward; they would want to organize a rebuttal to counter any points that I would have made.
This event reminded me of the early days in Nazi Germany, where the eugenics movement was starting and physicians who had a different scientific view became censored and suppressed, and ultimately many lost their lives.
We are witnessing an unprecedented breach of scientific and humanitarian ethics with the willful neglect of patients, the denial of free discourse, and worst of all the application of therapeutic nihilism to high-risk patients suffering with COVID-19 at home before succumbing to isolation, hospitalization, and death.
Peter A. McCullough, M.D., Dallas, TX[Editor’s Note: the lecture was given as an AAPS Webinar: tinyurl.com/3arssbo7 or tinyurl.com/4ufu6n9k.]
Freedom in the Czech Republic. I am sending greetings from the heart of Europe. Thank you very much for the booklet on home-based COVID treatment. I am a GP, and I am treating my COVID patients the way the booklet recommends. None of them ended up on the ventilator, not even my oldest patient, who is 96 years of age. We cannot understand that you have bound doctors’ hands on treatment. We here have supreme power to prescribe whatever we decide, for any diagnosis. We have indication criteria and recommendations, but it is NOT obligatory for us to follow them 100 per cent. Your laws must be changed. Here, once you have a medical degree and residency, you may treat patients according to the best knowledge, science, and your conscience. You should have it like that also, because you are professionals.
MUDr. Jiří Lupták, Poliklinika Agel
Blacklisters. In his book Killing the SS, Bill O’Reilly wrote: “For the first time in modern history, anti-Semitism became governmental policy. Jews became foreigners in their own country, with a series of new laws rescinding their legal rights and forcing their removal from trade and industry. Virtually any man, woman, or child with the temerity to speak out against Adolf Hitler was in grave danger.” Now think about this: We have heard that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats are proclaiming the creation of an “enemies list,” threatening those on it with blacklisting and being barred from future employment.
Joseph Scherzer, M.D., Paradise Valley, AZ
Propaganda Model. Joseph Goebbels got his propaganda savvy from Woodrow Wilson and his Committee for Public Information. To sell World War I to the skeptical American public, the CPI used massive rallies, endorsements from celebrities, and the formation of “patriotic” groups. The CPI demonized all Germans. Anyone speaking against the war was branded as unpatriotic, even treasonous. And the news-media went right along with Wilson. Goebbels added the “Black Shirts,” who attacked and intimidated businesses and anyone who did not toe the Nazi line.
Jim Douthit, Tucson, AZ
War on Primary-Care Medicine. Primary care physicians’ consultations in the second quarter of 2020 were down 21.4% from the prior second quarters of 2018 and 2019. Office-based visits were down 50.2%. Telemedicine was up, going from 1.1% of visits to 35.3%. In the last quarter, visits did not bounce back, and 94% of physicians report that they are in deep trouble. Up to 35% of all private practice primary care physicians will be lost because of decades of neglect of primary care and now, COVID-19.
Reed S. Wilson, M.D., Beverly Hills, CA
One-Party Rule. Nikita Khrushchev believed that one man, with help from a small but trusted elite group, could control the entire life of humanity as long as the secret police, informers, and a strong army controlled everyone from cradle to grave with incentives for good behavior and harsh punishments for crimes of thought and of insubordination to his philosophy of total control of the human spirit. He died before his dream of “conquest without war” of “decadent, crumbling capitalism” became reality, but his ideology has become the major political driver in the U.S. and other western nations. His philosophical followers have chosen the United Nations with its myriad of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) spread around the world to be today’s global communist leader.
Ileana Johnson, Ed.D., https://tinyurl.com/3a2rg5a4