So tonight I was down in Portland for some business meetings, and after the first Scott and I walked two blocks to Starbucks for a coffee. I was at the table when he brought my drink and dropped a piece of paper in front of me. "Look what I found on their bulletin board."
It was a flier for the new "hit" vaccine propaganda piece, "Invisible Threat." (Since when to people who are in a film, review the film? Oh wait... HHS owns patents on the vaccines it licenses and recommends... forgot who I was dealing with.)
Watch the trailer below and be terrified that your child will die of disease if you don't vaccinate.
Invisible Threat Trailer from CHSTV Videos on Vimeo.
It is, of course the same old, same old, but with a twist this time. This was not done by the vaccine lobby, this was done by unbiased high school students!
So I was all... "UGH... too bad I can't go, cause we gotta meeting. And it starts in 12 minutes."
Then Scott was all, "Just drop me off and go, you don't even need to be at this meeting." So I did that.
And there was a good reason to go... because I know a bit of the back story for this film.
You see I have a beloved friend and advocacy partner named Becky Estepp. You all know Becky, she has been a regular on Fox News Channel, and lots of local San Diego area news pieces for years. If you want to talk a parent in Southern California who can discuss the problems with the vaccine program, and its relationship to the autism epidemic, Becky is your go to gal.
Four years ago, she got a phone call from a high school boy from CHSTV, an awkward sophomore, who said they were making a documentary, and had some questions. Becky had a long conversation with him, but could tell some of the things she was trying to teach him were a bit over his head. Then she never heard from anyone on the film again.
Cut to this year when she sees the trailer for "Invisible Threat," and realized THIS was the project she was interviewed for. A totally biased piece, allegedly done by teenagers, that was a bit difficult to believe was done by teenagers. Why did they not interview her for the actual film? Great question... I wondered too!
We also wondered, "Kids made this? Really?" From my estimation, yes they did. But it seems pretty obvious that they were lead around by the nose on what what and how to "investigate." In fact we were told at the outset that one of the kids parents worked for Scholastic and "helped" the kids. I am sure that Rotary "helped" too. Also apparently the Gates Foundation, "helped"... so....
Fortunately there was a parking space right by the building and I whipped into my chair with one minute to spare before they started. A very attractive lady from Vax Maine Kids (I think) explained that these kid had done two award winning documentaries, and were approached by The Rotary Club to do a pro-vaccine documentary. The kids, of course, turned them down because they wouldn't do something like that, but then agreed to make one on their own terms where they would investigate the issues and then make their movie on what they had learned. (Yes they took the money.)
(P.S. Don't take your medical advice from Play Boy Bunnies, take it from teenagers?)
She explained that this was the first time the film had been shown in New England (Really? They picked Portland, Maine?) and later explained that one of the reasons that it has not been widely distributed is because the children received death threats after the movie, just like poor Paul Offit (who we have asked for some documentation on these threats, a police report, anything, because, you know... if that shit is really happening, then NOT OK, and we would shame such people into oblivion for it... cause we are kinda sick of being called "baby killers" and being threatened with Child Protective Services as well.)
But apparently the death threats to children are not really a problem as they will be releasing the film broadly on August 1. Not super clear. I guess that arrests have been made and the problem is solved?
Of course my cynical self imagines the conversation:
"Well we premiered the film last spring, three days before the beginning of "Autism Awareness Month" to take headlines away from the vaccine injury problem, so aren't people gonna be all. "WHAAA?" if we don't release it until August, just in time for the back to school vaccine push?"I text all this to Becky and she is not convinced. "Don't you think that if that really happened it would be all over San Diego TV?" Becky makes great points (and is also very physically fit.)
"Um... just tell them there were death threats so we had to hold off the release."
Vax Maine Kids did say that they wanted open and respectful dialog on vaccines issues. Well they have never contacted me or any of my loud mouth friends in Maine to have this open discussion, but I'll take her word for it that she means it for that event.
So the film begins, and it is all the same tropes. It's all Wakefield's fault. Your body is crawling with a bazillion creatures out to kill you. Mothers of children who have died of "vaccine preventable" illnesses are beautiful and worthy of your compassion. Mothers of children who believe vaccines cause their child's autism are into hippy dippy crap like rubbing oils on their kids and moving their limbs around to heal them. The docs that treat their kids are unattractive quacks. The docs that say vaccines are totally safe are attractive and established and should have angelic music behind them when they speak. Paul Offit is the super smartest and objective guy ever and he thinks moms like me who write critical things on the internet about the vaccine program are "evil." (Also, profiteers... which is hilarious and forces me to stifle a laugh.) MMR induced encephalitis is one in one million. (Wait... I thought vaccine injury in general was one in a million?) And finally, VACCINES ARE SAFE, VACCINES SAVE LIVES, VACCINE REACTIONS ARE RARE, AND VACCINATION IS THE RIGHT CHOICE.
Apologies that this post is a bit of a mess.. wrote it at 3am. I forgot the BEST part of the movie. Parents who don't vaccinate are made analagus to THE TALIBAN!!
Yes... because every country on earth vaccinates... "except for one, THE TALIBAN!" Then they point out that Talibanians killed polio vaccine workers. They fail to point out that it was after the CIA used a fake vaccine campaign to harvest the DNA from Afgahan locals to find out if Osama Bin Lahadeen and family were in the area, which caused haters of The Great Satan to stop participating in vax programs and even attack them. Because they assumed they were CIA.
Ergo, according to the NYT the CIA is runing vaccine uptake.
Also you are a Talabanian.
But this "documentary" is totally unbiased.***
So by the end of the film I think my blood pressure was 1000/1000. I don't know why I let my self get so upset about this crap anymore... again... the New England premier and there were 20 people in the room. And then they called the panelists (and moderator and projectionist) to the front of the room... And then there were 13 audience members... including me. (And from the chit chat at the end... clearly they were almost all friends of the panel/people working on vaccine uptake.)
So I did a little self-talk to calm myself down, which worked a little. (Damn... I should not have had coffee before I went there.) So I decided I would not talk, but if I did it would just be some mild questions at the very end. Just to see where they really were on this stuff.
The panel was a very sweet gray haired older mother in a matronly dress who had lost her teen age son to meningitis, three pediatricians (two female and one male, now come to think of it, I can't remember if the second female was a doc... she didn't say much... might have been a professional advocate), and a former Maine epidemiologist. One of the pediatricians was from my town, and is well known for publishing the most bone headed vaccines rah rah rah junk in our state via the Bangor Daily News.
Wait... I actually looked the event up. Here is the panel:
"The public is invited to this free showing at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at the Portland Public Library. A panel discussion will follow the film. The expert panel will include: Larry Losey, M.D., of Brunswick Pediatrics, Laura Blaisdell, M.D., MPH, of Intermed Pediatrics and Researcher at Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation, Jeri Greenwell, parent and Maine advocate for the National Meningitis Association; Emily Rines, MPH, CHES Community Impact Director at United Way of Greater Portland, and Stephen Sears, M.D., MPH, Chief of Staff, VA Maine Healthcare Systems and former Maine State Epidemiologist."The first question was from Vax Maine Kids pretty lady (I really should look up her name, but I don't wanna. Also she had a great skirt on.) It was about social media. (Here we go..) How did the internet, etc impact their efforts on vaccine uptake. Then I had to sit through that, "Oh the horrible internet, blah blah blah conspiracies, yadda yadda, misinformation, The End." discussion. I refrained from shouting that it was the 21st century and every document ever published (Unless it is covered under National Security... and even a lot of those that are covered under National Security) is on the damn internet, and that poo pooing internet information is now exactly equal to saying, "Don't read books. Or anything printed. Or hand written." any time before 1987.
None of them said that they had ever learned anything from the critics of the vaccine program.
(Crap... I just looked at the Vax Maine Kids web site. I really should not have done that. Did you know that, "the mercury in the preservative Thimerosal has never been shown to harm children or cause autism?" Wow! Not even once!)
It should come as no surprise that reasonableness on the issue was inversely proportional to the age of the panelist.
Small ray of light came from Dr. Blaisdell, who opened with, and repeated often, that she wants open dialog with parents, and does not want to push parents. But later was discouraged that she repeated the absurdity that, "Aluminum is necessary for human life to function," (No.. it really isn't , its a neurotoxin ); she mocked the use of the word "toxins" (even making air quotes when she said it) telling people in that give me a break, condescending tone, "Please don't listen to people who talk to you about "toxins." (I guess she wants the field of Toxicology to shut down?), and claimed that the Jacobson v. Mass SCOTUS ruling said that states can force people to vaccinate (Clearly the woman has neither read it nor met Mary Holland.)
I had been such a good girl and held my tongue, but apparently I got to the "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills" moment because after Losey said the 25th awful thing (I don't even remember what it was, but I did learn from him that if I didn't like my ruling in the VICP that I could go to civil court and sue the vaccine maker. He had never heard of Bruesewitz v. Wyeth) I let out a snort that I am sure sounded like an angry horse, and my hand involuntarily shot up (Insert joke about how there is probably a vaccine for that.)
(Seriously... ten years of this crap and they STILL can't get basic information about the real problems right? They are STILL repeating this garbage? JB Handley made the point many years ago, if peds have not bothered to learn by now, it is their own fault. They shouldn't be coddled any more.)
The only other audience participation up to that point had been a mom who had of course vaccinated her kids, and wanted to know if Maine's philosophical exemption was making it harder to get kids vaccinated and meet public health goals. Blaisdell made the point that she didn't know, because detailed records are not kept, and not getting the Hep B is not a problem like not getting the Measles vaccine, but opt out rates are higher in states with those exemptions. Losey, to his credit, recognized that getting rid of the exemption was impossible in the current climate, as the bills being considered in Augusta are all to loosen their hold on pushing parents to vaccinate, and, for at least now anyway, not gonna happen.
So this is toward the end of the panel discussion, and I just unloaded on them. And not gracefully either. The angry, talking 60 miles an hour Ginge burst out of me. I explained that I was the mother of a vaccine injured child and... blah blah insert my creds here... and watching the movie (that they had all extolled) was hard for me because it contained so much that was false and incomplete and sucky. (I didn't really say sucky.)
I don't even remember all I said, but I took them on/correct them on many of the things they said. I do remember saying, in that give me a break, condescending tone, "Do you really think the decline in vaccine uptake is because of one British study that came out 15 years ago." But the big points that I made where that the film addressed NONE of the reasons that we don't participate in the vaccine program any more, that I was going to go ahead and do a point by point take down of the film when it comes out in wide release, and that this does not even address (because they never address it) the real root of the problem, which is the vaccine injury liability they all have. Which assures that they will never have to be put under oath to testify and be cross examined on all the stupid things they say. (No I didn't say that last part either.)
So Dr. Blaisdell addressed me very nicely/handled me, and asked me questions, so I was like.. "Fuck it... I am just going to keep talking as long as they will let me," which was a while. But then she brought it around with a "well what would you recommend for us" giving me a final say... again, good, but totally handling me.
"How could I choose just one thing!" my brain screamed.
So I choose two. Stop attacking "those people on the internet and listen to them/learn from the professionals/stop calling us anti-vaccine" and "realize that because of the vaccine injury and death liability protection you have, that you live in a bubble, with no accountability for what you say and do, that you get to believe whatever you want to believe about vaccines."
Oh... also they called me "passionate" a lot, which is a polite/dismissive way of noting that I am a super angry woman. Which I am.
"Oppression makes a wise man mad."
And then I shut up.
And then their tone changed. They were more balanced, they addressed me directly, and in the wrap up question, they suddenly acknowledged that safety is a problem, that they need to do more to avoid vaccine reactions, and parents like me must be engaged.
Of course we know what people really want, because they actually DO the things that are important to them.
So on the way out I made sure to sign the registry with my contact info, since engaging parents and learning how to avoid vaccine injury is important. So I'm sure they will call, right? I am sure my phone will be ringing off the hook tomorrow with questions like, "What are these eighty plus studies you mentioned about vaccine induce autism and their mechanisms? What are the ways you think vaccine reactions can be avoided? Where is this information from federal officials on vaccine injuries? What was that you said about aluminum and the vaccine schedule not being safety tested?"
I think I will clear my schedule tomorrow. And perhaps Friday in case they want to have lunch and look at my research.
And then I can spend the day surfing facebook because they won't call me. Or anyone else like me. Because they never do. Because they don't have to. The threat to them for harming children with their mis information and bad practices is not an "invisible threat" it is a non existent threat.
They get to do and believe whatever they want. The only consequence is the occasional crazy mom showing up to rant at them.
Check below! A doc that does what she says she wants... you know... words and actions! Wow.
Second time evah a doc has actually followed up with me on stuff. The first was like five years ago, a med student wrote me and said, "I disagree with everthing you say, but I do have one question." That one question turned into years of conversations long into the beginning of his practice.
As my regular readers know, last week I suffered and massive brain hemmorage and died after attending a screening "Invisible Threat" a propeganda film made by HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS on the vaccine debate.
Well today, following a touching and heartfelt funeral (seriously guys, I had no idea how insanely you loved me... I was moved) They had to dig me up and readmit me to the emergency room, where I died again, after reading the follow up email I received from the Maine Health Department.
They said if I filled out a survey on the film they would send me my CME credits in two weeks. FRIGGING CME CREDITS!!!
My next funeral will be held this Saturday at my house. Bring chocolate chip cookies.
This was my reply:
After attending this event, I was stunned to get this email.
Let me get this straight... you are giving CME credits to medical professionals for watching a movie made by high school students? Not medical professionals... minors. We are talking about children.
Emphasizing... their highest qualification is that they graduated from Jr. High School.
It was FILLED with inaccuracies, partial information and compared people who don't vaccinate to the Taliban, but this is to be used for guidance in how to provide medical care?
How exactly does this qualify as advancing a medical education? How are they qualified to teach medical professionals?
I await you response,