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Flu Misinformation and Coronavirus Fears: My Letter to Dr. Sanjay Gupta

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Last week, your CNN producer, Matthew Reynard, notified me that CNN is featuring me in a documentary about “vaccine misinformation”. As usual, Mr. Reynard did not point out a single factual assertion by me that was incorrect (I carefully source all of my statements about vaccines to government databases or peer-reviewed publications). CNN uses the term “vaccine misinformation” as a euphemism for any statement that departs from the Government / Pharma orthodoxy that all vaccines are safe, necessary, and effective for all people.

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I have always admired you, Sanjay. Your obvious talents aside, you seem to be genuinely compassionate and to value integrity. Earlier in your career, you showed a courageous willingness to challenge Big Pharma’s vaccine orthodoxies. However, I respectfully point out that CNN and particularly you, Sanjay, are today among the most prolific broadcasters of “vaccine misinformation”. Over the last several years, I cannot recall seeing a single substantial CNN segment on vaccines that did not include easily verified factual misstatements. CNN’s recent special, “Pandemic”, was a showcase of erroneous assertions about the flu vaccine. Since I don’t like to think that you deliberately mislead the public—particularly about critical public health choices—I have taken the time to point out some of your most frequent errors.

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I hope you will take time to read this. This critique has special relevance during the current coronavirus crisis, not to mention its important implications for the roles of government and press in a democracy. CNN and other media outlets treat CDC, NIH, and WHO pronouncements as infallible truths. In fact, regulatory capture has made these agencies subsidiaries of Big Pharma, and the lies that CDC has been telling us about flu are now muddying the debate over coronavirus.

1. CNN assertion: In your annual flu shot promotions, you routinely parrot CDC’s estimates of overall flu deaths which have ranged in recent years from 36,000 for the 1990-1991 flu season to 80,000 for the 2017-2018 flu season.

Fact: The HHS’s mortality and morbidity data—available on the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) website—show that CDC’s (and CNN’s) annual estimates are off by orders of magnitude.

NCHS data report the average number of mortalities attributable to influenza on death certificates is little more than 1,000. CDC devises its inflated estimate by deliberately conflating flu deaths with pneumonia deaths. This device is deceitful since most of these fatalities are unrelated to the flu (and therefore, impervious to flu vaccines). In 2005, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Editor, Dr. Peter Doshi, published a comprehensive rebuke of CDC’s annual ritual of exaggerating flu mortalities entitled “Dissecting CDC’s Deception: Are US Flu Death Figures More PR Than Science?” Doshi accuses the CDC of purposefully inflating flu deaths to frighten the public into purchasing vaccines. To illustrate CDC’s chicanery, Doshi observed that CDC’s announced number of reported pneumonia and influenza deaths in 2001 at 62,034. Yet less than half of one percent of those were actually attributed to influenza. Furthermore, of the mere 257 cases that could reasonably be blamed on the flu in CDC’s mortality data, only 7 percent were laboratory confirmed cases of influenza. That’s 18 lab confirmed influenza cases out of 62,034 “pneumonia and influenza” deaths—or just 0.03 percent, according to HHS’s own National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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Subtracting pneumonia, the true number of influenza-associated deaths from 1979 to 2002 averaged 1,348, according to the NCHS data. CNN routinely reports figures forty times this number.

Dr. Doshi charges the CDC with deliberately lying about annual flu deaths to “[work] in manufacturers’ interest by conducting campaigns to increase flu vaccination”. He warns that “by arbitrarily linking flu with pneumonia, current data are statistically biased.”

By faithfully parroting CDC inflated numbers—with no due diligence—CNN has made itself complicit in this annual charade, making it difficult now to accurately assess the relative risk of COVID-19 as compared to flu and, therefore, rationally measure an appropriate response.

2. CNN assertion: CNN routinely promotes the flu shot for everyone older than 6 months, proclaiming that the best way to protect against serious cases of the ailment “is to get a flu shot”.

Fact: In reality, there is absolutely no scientific basis for the CDC’s assertion that the influenza vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the flu.

The Cochrane Collaboration’s comprehensive 2010 meta-analysis of published influenza vaccine studies found that the influenza vaccination has “no effect” on hospitalization, and that there is “no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications.”

The Cochrane Researchers concluded in 2010 that the scientific evidence “seem[s] to discourage the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.” 

Four years later, Cochrane published a follow-up meta-review including dozens of more recent scientific studies and again concluded bluntly that the body of scientific data provides “no evidence for the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.”

In other words, despite CNN’s relentless hectoring, there is no scientific evidence that all the billions of dollars America spends on influenza vaccination each year actually provides any health benefit, much less a net economic benefit—apart from the financial windfall to the four pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these vaccines—and who happen to be among CNN’s top advertisers.

3. CNN assertion: You and CNN frequently parrot CDC’s claim that a flu shot reduces the chances that an individual will transmit the flu to others. Pandemic repeated this assertion. CNN offers this supposed benefit as the justification for school vaccine mandates.

Fact: However, in their 2010 systematic meta review of the literature, the Cochrane researchers found “no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications”.

Even more worrisome, a study from January 18, 2018, in the Journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of AmericaPNAS, found that influenza vaccination actually increased transmission of the virus, with vaccinated individuals shedding more than six times as much aerosolized virus in their breath than unvaccinated individuals.

Those scientists were not altogether surprised by this finding explaining that “certain types of prior immunity”—in this case, the kind of immunity conferred by the vaccine as opposed to naturally acquired immunity— “promote lung inflammation, airway closure, and aerosol generation.” They conclude that, “If confirmed, this observation, together with recent literature suggesting reduced protection with annual vaccination, would have implications for influenza vaccination recommendations and policies.”

4. CNN assertion: CNN frequently repeats CDC’s advice that children should get the flu shot, which you assure CNN’s audience has been proven safe.

FactA 2012 Cochrane review looking at studies of influenza vaccination in healthy children found no safety studies in children under age two, and declared that safety studies were “urgently required”.

5. CNN assertionCNN also promotes CDC’s recommendation that all pregnant women get a flu shot.

FactCDC recommends the flu shot for pregnant women despite the fact that FDA—the agency charged with assessing vaccine safety—has refused to license the flu shot during pregnancy due to grave safety concerns. (Sanjay; I encourage you to confront FDA and make inquiries about this inter-agency conflict.) Every influenza vaccine package insert contains warnings about the lack of safety studies in pregnant women and nursing mothers.

A 2014 Cochrane review found that the number of randomized, placebo-controlled trials examining the safety and effectiveness of vaccinating pregnant women was zero.

A 2019 article by Alberto Donzelli in Human Vaccination & Immunotheraputicsasks the questionInfluenza vaccination for all pregnant women?” and argues, “So far the less biased evidence does not favour it”. Donelli found that public health recommendations on flu shots during pregnancy had systematically overestimated “the vaccine effectiveness and safety”—and that the published science showed “an excess of local adverse effects and a tendency for serious adverse events with uncertain or very limited protection against influenza”. Donzelli observes that flu vaccine trials in Africa and Asia have shown excessive infection and deaths in infants associated with flu shots during pregnancy.

6. CNN assertion: CNN urges seniors to get their flu shotsCDC credits the vaccine with a dramatic reduction in influenza-related deaths among the elderly.

Fact: The scientific community has thoroughly debunked CDC’s claims that the flu shot reduces death among seniors.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ridicule CDC’s mortality claims in a study published in April 2005 in Archives of Internal Medicine    (now JAMA Internal Medicine). Those NIH researchers pointed out that, despite a dramatic increase in vaccination coverage among people aged 65 or older—from at most 20 percent before 1980 to 65 percent in 2001—pneumonia and influenza mortality rates “rose substantially during this period”.

The lead author of the 2005 NIH study, Lone Simonsen, was also coauthor with W. Paul Glezen of a 2006 commentary in the International Journal of Epidemiology that reiterated the problems with the CDC’s claims. “Although the vaccination rate for elderly people had increased by as much as 67 percent from 1989 to 1997, there was no evidence that vaccination reduced hospitalizations or deaths. On the contrary, “mortality and hospitalization rates continued to increase rather than decline”.

The 2005 NIH study authors commented that this result was “surprising” since vaccination was supposed to be “highly effective at reducing influenza-related mortality”—an assumption underlying CDC policy that “has never been studied in clinical trials”.

Similarly, a 2008 review in Virology Journal, observes that contrary to the CDC’s claims of a great beneficial effect on mortality, “influenza mortality and hospitalization rates for older Americans significantly increased in the 80s and 90s, during the same time that influenza vaccination rates for elderly Americans dramatically increased.”

In a 2013 BMJ commentary, Dr. Doshi asked, “what evidence is there that influenza vaccines reduce deaths of older people—the reason the policy was originally created? Virtually none…” This means that influenza vaccines are approved for use in older people despite any clinical trials demonstrating a reduction in serious outcomes.”

Perhaps most perplexing,” Doshi added, “is officials’ lack of interest in the absence of good quality evidence.”

7. CNN assertion: You frequently inform the CNN audience that “the flu vaccine is safe, and significant side effects are very rare.”

Fact: Actual injury rates are impossible to determine since flu shots are exempt from pre-and-post-marketing placebo studies required of other medicines, and because HHS’s post-marketing surveillance system, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System [VAERS], captures “fewer than 1% of vaccine injuries” according to a 2010 HHS-funded study. Nevertheless, some alarming metrics ought to give you pause when you offer these assurances to millions of viewers; Flu vaccines account for nearly ¼ of payouts for injuries by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund (VICA). The Vaccine Court has paid out nearly $1 billion for injuries and deaths caused by flu shots.

GSK’s vaccine, Flulaval lists, on its manufacturing inserts, over 45 chronic diseases and adverse reactions that FDA believes may be linked to the vaccine. These include a long menu of immune system, allergic, musculoskeletal, psychiatric, respiratory, skin, vascular, and neurological disease including seizure, paralysis, and syncope.

Australian data link the influenza vaccine during the 2009 – 2010 flu season to a 1-in-110 risk in children of having febrile convulsions. The pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine in Europe was associated with a 1-in-55,000 risk of developing narcolepsy. CDC acknowledges that the Pandemrix flu vaccine is associated with an “increased risk of narcolepsy”.

2015 meta-analysis published in the journal Vaccine has acknowledged “a small but statistically significant association between influenza vaccines, particularly the pandemic ones, and Guillen-Barre Syndrome (GBS)”.

2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, noted that GBS was “the most frequent neurological condition reported after influenza vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)”.

The 2010 Cochrane meta-analysis chided that the post-mortality studies found that a statistically significant association between the influenza vaccine and GBS “demonstrate the danger of commencing a large vaccination campaign without adequate harms assessment.”

8. CNN assertion: On March 5, 2020, you and Anderson Cooper did a “Town Hall” segment, “Corona Facts and Fears”, in which you fervently urged listeners to get the flu shot as the best way to keep healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.  According to Anderson, “If you are concerned about coronavirus, you should get a flu shot”.

Fact: However, the only study we have been able to find assessing flu shots and coronavirus is a January 2020 US Pentagon study that found that the flu shot INCREASES the risks from coronavirus by 36%. “Receiving influenza vaccination may increase the risk of other respiratory viruses, a phenomenon known as “virus interference…’vaccine derived’ virus interference was significantly associated with coronavirus…”

9. CNN assertion: Sanjay, I’ve watched your video assuring the public that getting the flu shot cannot increase one’s chances of getting the flu.

Fact: While that assertion has some meager support from a very small number of studies, the overwhelming weight of published science suggests that getting an annual flu shot can actually increase your risk of both flu and flu-like illnesses.

Only about 7 percent to 15 percent of what are called “influenza-like illnesses” are actually caused by influenza viruses. Many studies suggest the flu vaccine increases vulnerability to both flu infections and the remaining 85% -93% of non-flu respiratory infections.

A 2011 study of healthy Australian children published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal found that seasonal flu shots increase the risk of flu by 73% and doubled the risk of non-flu respiratory infections.

Similarly, another 2012 randomized controlled trial published in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that influenza-vaccinated children had no significantly lessened risk from influenza and also a higher risk of infection from non-influenza viruses.

Furthermore, the flu vaccine depletes capacity to fight off future flu infections. In April 2010, a study (by Skowronek, et al) published in the journal PLoS Medicine reported the “unexpected” finding from four epidemiologic studies in Canada that receipt of the influenza vaccine for the 2008 – 2009 season, while apparently effective in reducing the risk of illness due to the seasonal flu, was associated with an increased risk of illness due to the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) “swine flu” virus during the spring and summer of 2009. The scientists suggested that this finding could be due to the difference in the way the vaccine affects the immune system compared with natural infection.

Under this hypothesis, repeated vaccination “effectively blocks the more robust, complex, and cross-protective immunity afforded by prior infection.”

When unvaccinated people are infected with the seasonal influenza virus, they often develop a robust cell-mediated immunity that not only protects against that strain of the virus but is also cross-protective against other strains.

People who’ve annually received the influenza vaccine, on the other hand, “may have lost multiple opportunities for infection-induced cross-immunity.” This is because the vaccine is designed to stimulate a strong antibody response, or humoral immunity, but does not confer the same kind of robust cell-mediated immunity as natural infection.

NIH researchers in their 2005 study also acknowledged the superior effectiveness of naturally acquired immunity at reducing mortality, pointing out that senior citizens who contracted the H3N2 influenza pandemic infection demonstrated a robust immunity in subsequent flu seasons when compared to vaccinated individuals. The sharp decline in influenza-related deaths among people aged 65 to 74 years in the years immediately after the 1968 flu pandemic was most likely due to the acquisition of natural immunity to these viruses (from natural infections).

Another study published in 2011 in the Journal of Virology confirmed that annual influenza vaccination indeed hampers the development of a robust cell-mediated immunity. Annual vaccination for influenza, the authors concluded, “may render young children who have not previously been infected with an influenza virus more susceptible to infection with a pandemic influenza virus of a novel subtype.”

A 2018 CDC study found there was an increase of acute respiratory infections caused by non-influenza respiratory pathogens following influenza vaccination compared to unvaccinated children during the same period. The authors recommended that potential mechanisms for this association warrant further investigation.

While most studies have looked at only one or two flu seasons, a CDC-funded study published in September 2014 in Clinical Infectious Diseases considered the long-term effects of repeated annual vaccination by looking at five years of vaccination data.

The CDC researchers found that the more that people had been vaccinated in prior years,  the less effective the vaccine is at preventing the most recent season’s dominant H3N2 virus.

As they put it, “vaccine-induced protection was greatest for individuals not vaccinated during the prior 5 years.”

Essentially, the immune system remembers the original infection and puts out a rapid defense against it, at the expense of developing a new but more appropriate response specifically to the currently infecting strain.

The CDC scientists warned that their data “raises relevant questions about the potential interference of repeated annual influenza vaccination and possible residual protection from previous season vaccination”; the authors called for further studies.

10. CNN assertion: One final observation about a different vaccine; In CNN’s regular promotion of measles vaccines, CNN and Sanjay frequently claim that natural measles mortalities are 1-2 in 1000. Those estimates seem calculated to frighten people into taking a measles shot and to drive MMR mandates.

Fact: CDC’s 1963 mortality and morbidity data show that prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, improvements in nutrition and hygeine had already driven US measles mortality in U.S. to 400 per year, a population ratio of 1/500,000 and a death-case ratio of 1 in 10,000about the same risk of dying from a lightning strike. Most of those mortalities were among malnourished children, many of whom suffered from intellectual disabilities. The best evidence suggests that measles mortalities would have continued to drop with the introduction of food stamps, W.I.C, and other childhood nutritional programs passed during the War on Poverty after 1964 to relieve hunger in impoverished communities.

Conclusion

In their 2010 meta-analysis, the Cochrane researchers accused the CDC of deliberately misrepresenting the science in order to support their universal influenza vaccination recommendation. Nevertheless, CNN continually broadcasts CDC pronouncements as gospel and, ironically, ridicules those of us who actually read the science as “purveyors of ‘vaccine misinformation’”. 

Multiple comprehensive federal investigations and whistleblower declarations have documented the corrupt relationship between the CDC’s Vaccine Branch and the four vaccine makers: Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, and GSK. These include a 2000 report by the US Congress Government Oversight Committee , a 2009 report by the Federal HHS Inspector General, a 2014 letter by David Wright, Director of HHS Office of Research Integrity, and a 2011 letter to Carmen S. Villar, chief of staff for Tom Frieden, from an organization of CDC scientists calling itself “SPIDER”.

In 2014, CDC’s senior vaccine safety scientist, Dr. William Thompson, a 17-year CDC veteran who continues to work for CDC, confessed in a series of depositions, and public and private statements, that his CDC  bosses in CDC’s Immunization Branch had systematically ordered him and other researchers to destroy data and falsify study outcomes to hide CDC research linking vaccines to the exploding epidemic of childhood chronic diseases including autism. Doesn’t the abundant evidence of corruption at the Federal health agencies amplify CNN’s obligation to treat government pronouncements with skepticism?

At a 2004 workshop for the Institute of Medicine, CDC unveiled a blueprint for the agency’s annual campaigns of fear and deception in a PowerPoint entitled  “‘Recipe’ for Fostering Public Interest and High Vaccine Demand”. CDC’s in-house P.R. flack Glen Nowak explained that it was necessary to use fear marketing to sell vaccines. CDC’s campaign called for encouraging television medical experts (like Sanjay and Elizabeth Cohen) to “state concern and alarm” about “and predict dire outcomes” from the flu season. To inspire the necessary terror, the CDC planned to encourage its tame journalists to describe each season as “very severe”, “more severe than last or past years”, and “deadly”. CDC’s press flacks stressed that it was especially important to inspire “concern, anxiety, and worry” among young, healthy adults who don’t regard the flu with sufficient dread.

As the CDC bluntly stated it, “Health literacy is a growing problem”. In other words, the CDC considers it to be a problem that people are increasingly doing their own research and becoming more adept at educating themselves about health-related issues; Why? Because people who do their own research, read the science, and make informed choices rather than blindly following the CDC’s recommendations are less likely to get the flu shot.

Drug companies”, Dr. Doshi observes, “have long known that to sell some products, you would have to first sell people on the disease.” Only, in the case of the influenza vaccine, Doshi adds, “the salesmen are public health officials”. These public health officials have, in turn, transformed trusted journalists and television doctors into Pharma marketing reps.

CNN likes to portray CDC’s annual flu shot campaigns as an important public health ritual. The peer-reviewed science exposes CDC’s campaigns as a mercantile propaganda project that is costly and may be injuring public health. CNN can fault CDC officials as the source of its “vaccine misinformation”. But this is a weak gesture. “People in power lie”, my father once told me. The function of journalism is to apply scrutiny and skepticism to the pronouncements of government officials and powerful corporations.

Finally, Sanjay, you and Anderson Cooper often comment with dismay on the monumental tragedy, for our democracy, of having a president who habitually lies. But presidents come and go; the more enduring tragedy, arguably, is that we cannot trust our news media to tell us the truth about vital health issues when advertising dollars are at stake. You scratch your head and wonder how all those Trump supporters don’t share your indignation at President Trump’s mendacity. One answer is that they are disheartened by once-trusted media outlets who have also set the precedent of routinely lying and violating the public trust, wounding in the process our democracy, public faith in critical institutions, and the health of our children.

Sincerely,

Robert F. Kennedy Jr
President, Children’s Health Defense

P.S. Just as a reminder, here is a 60 Minutes program from over 30 years ago. This is what journalism looked like before Pharma purchased the media.

 

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European Defence Industry Claims It Will Crack Down On UFO & ET Discussion

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CE Staff Writer 10 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The European Defense Industry & Space has claimed it will look to crack down on disinformation occurring online with regards to the UFO and ET phenomenon, following a rapidly growing culture of censorship.

  • Reflect On:

    Who will decide what is true and what's false about the UFO and ET phenomenon? Can we trust government, mainstream media and intelligence agencies who have misled people on these subjects for decades?

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In a recent tweet from the European Commission’s Defense Industry and Space (DEFIS), they claimed they will begin to crack down on online discussion relating to Flat Earth, UFOs, and Aliens as they feel there is disinformation permeating all sectors of our society when it comes to these subjects. They intend on working with the EU Digital Services Act to put a plan in place in the coming months.

Who knows what their plan will look like when it’s ready, but it falls in line with a rapidly building culture within government of taking mass control of narratives that are controversial and important to the general public. In the process, government and mainstream media seem to be the only ones allowed to have a voice anyone can hear.

At first glance, the move by DEFIS might seem a useful tactic, after all there is disinformation being spread about all of these topics. But who decides what is disinformation and what isn’t? What if information is in fact real and suddenly that content is ‘censored’ in the wide net that is cast to stop this apparent problem? How will the public even know what is being censored and what is not? Will this push control over who can talk about and disseminate ‘facts’ about these topics to mainstream media and government only?

Before we might jump into the idea that my questions above may come from a paranoid mind, let’s look at the facts.

There has been a long held veil of secrecy around the UFO subject for years. Governments deny realities that their own intelligence communities know are real. With the recent US Navy UFO videos that were released a couple of years ago, people began to realize that a subject long ridiculed was in fact heavily studied by governments, even as they pretended as if nothing was there. This caused a huge resurgence in a fascinating topic that deeply touches the very worldviews that inspire how we design and live our lives.

In 2017 when we all saw the US Navy footage released, did it not suggest that perhaps the US government had known about this phenomenon for decades? How long might government lie about other pieces of information related to the UFO topic before they come out saying it was true all along? Like they did in 2019, confirming the Navy footage was authentic.

Let’s take a quick look at the next obvious question people ask when thinking about a UFO sighting: “Who is manning that craft? A human? An ET? Is it remote controlled?”

That question brings up the next: what evidence do we have of ET bodies? With this we inevitably all know that there is no publicly available evidence that suggest beyond any reasonable doubt that an ET body exists, however, we have credible whistleblowers from institutions many often trust who have stated quite clearly that government knows about different ET species and even has ET bodies. Do we trust them? Can we be more open to this reality given their testimony? If not, why do we trust these types of credentialed people for COVID information but not ET information?

Which leads to even bigger questions: do we really lack the information to make informed decisions about the UFO and ET phenomenon? Or are we too busy protecting our existing worldview to take an honest and unbiased look?

Popular By Design?

I also want to point out that I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon take place within media as it relates to controversial conversations and it makes me hypothesize whether there are ulterior motives involving social engineering at play. I’ll explain. But before I do, let me be clear, I don’t support the idea of censorship or the banning of free speech. I don’t believe certain people should be censored while others not.

It’s no secret that in recent years, many people have been losing trust in government and mainstream media due to a lack of transparency, obvious agendas, and consistent lies. People have no reason to fully trust these sources anymore, and so they have looked elsewhere with different perspectives. As a result, independent media has gained a lot more influence when it comes to informing public perception. You might imagine that those with a monopoly on information might not be too happy about this. Powerful and wealthy people who enjoy having the media outlets they bought to influence public perception would see a loss in their power as well.

When I think of things like the resurgence of the ‘flat earth’ discussion that began years ago on Reddit, YouTube, and other social media sites, I wonder how and why this random topic blows up in pop culture instead of fizzling out like so many other trends do.

With flat earth, people began adamantly claiming that beyond all reasonable doubt, the earth was flat, and this was the biggest secret kept from humanity. Huge YouTube channels popped up, documentaries were made about it, and major NBA and pop culture influencers were all on board.

I decided to look into it all  for a few days, and as an open minded person and journalist who spends a ton of time reading paranormal and supernatural research, the evidence and arguments for a flat earth were bad. I didn’t see any reason to take it seriously. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at a new piece of evidence should someone provide one, but from having looked into the subject, there really isn’t anything there that is worth time in exploring further.

Is it possible that subjects like this are seeded out into the collective consciousness to see what people will pick up on? What they will believe? Perhaps an experiment by intelligence agencies who seem obsessed with sniffing habits, data, and culture through mass surveillance?

The resurgence of flat earth and the amount of clout it was getting in pop culture made me feel odd. Was it being placed into large conversations and given so much algorithmic power on social media so that a topic so obviously wrong can now be the focus of a pointing finger that says: “see, look what happens when people talk online, they believe crazy things.” I wasn’t incredibly convinced by my theory, but I was open to it. However it was further solidified when the Q phenomenon took over next.

The Q phenomenon, or as it’s known in the mainstream ‘Qanon,’ is based on the idea that a secret group of ‘patriots behind Donald Trump were working to pull off an intelligence operation to inform the public that Trump and team were poised to take down an evil cabal that ran the world. This subject was everywhere. Mainstream media covered it constantly, using it to show how everyone who believed in it were unhinged, crazy, conspiracy theorists who likely had sociopathic tendencies. It made its way into politics and was brought up in countless mainstream discussions leading into the 2020 US election. It became a clear cultural position: “if you believe in Qanon and the subjects related to it, you’re a dangerous and crazy conspiracy theorist.”

Once that was clear and in place, mainstream pundits and other pop culture voices began using “Qanon” to take down anyone who believed in discussing any other controversial subject. Vaccines, COVID, UFOs, Aliens, you name it – if you wanted to ask questions about these topics in a way that was not accepted in the mainstream, you might as well be one of those crazy “Qanon” people.

Then comes the discussion of evidence. For “Q” it was one of those you either believe or you don’t type conspiracies. But with so many of the other topics being systematically linked to Q, like vaccines or UFOs, does it matter if there is actual evidence to support the controversial conversations people are having? It would appear that it doesn’t, because the culture had made any of these subjects synonymous with the more extreme and unfounded views seen within Q enthusiasts.

Did the Q phenomenon become a useful tool for censorship? An opportunity to grab hold of every controversial narrative and say no one can talk about this except for trusted sources, or else look… crazy Qanon people will shoot up Capitol Hill if we don’t stop all of this madness.

Back in the summer of 2020 I wrote an essay called “Conspireality: Time for a Serious Conversation?” It’s purpose was to have a discussion about the fact that YES, conspiracy is real, it exists, and your government lies to you, we know this for a fact, but it doesn’t mean that EVERYTHING is a conspiracy. It also goes on to suggest that we have to be more discerning in critical in our thinking and exploration of these topics, as some information is flat out false and it takes away from the legitimate information that can be focused on to create change.

Further, it suggests that if we aren’t careful as a culture, big tech and governments will work to shut down any inquiry into these topics as too many are going about it in an unbalanced way, often with no evidence or fake evidence. It’s my feeling that this approach doesn’t help with meaningful progression and conversation, but actually pulls down all conversation around controversial topics.

So I asked, are people going about this information in that manner actually speeding up the censorship process? After all, much of what they post is indeed false.

I said, and still say, all of this with first hand experience. Having had our social media accounts shut down, demonetized, our website removed from Google news, all because we talk about subjects that sound like the ‘crazy Qanon people or flat earthers.’ It doesn’t matter that we go about these subjects in a credible, evidence based manner, we are guilty by association. This inevitably led me to ask: is it possible that powerful social engineers actually spent time focusing deeply on some of these extreme topics purposefully, to set up a call and need to take down that which was obviously false, and bring down all other ‘uncontrollable’ yet truth-filled conversations in the process?

I can’t help but see that these subjects acted as a magnet to suck all sound alike conversations into the abyss of censorship. And even as we watched it all happened, many of my colleagues criticized me for simply bringing forth the question: should we be thinking more critically about which conspiracies are real and which are not, and how we might go about having a more grounded conversation about it all so that mass culture doesn’t cancel ALL conversation?

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Opinion

NYT Column Suggests Biden Hire A ‘Reality Czar’ & Establish A ‘Truth Commission’

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The New York Times published an essay on Tuesday detailing a range of recommendations for the Biden administration to adopt to fix the “reality crisis” and “de-radicalize” citizens, including setting up a “reality czar” and “truth commission.”

  • Reflect On:

    Why does mainstream media fail to have proper discussions about "conspiracy theories?" Yes, there is a lot of "fake" information out there, but what about legitimate information that's being censored? Can't we decide for ourselves what is and isn't?

Before you begin...

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IntroductionI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, so I apologize if you’ve come across me saying it already. Today we have what seems to be a digital authoritarian Orwellian “fact-checker” patrolling the internet telling people what is and what isn’t. This does not imply that there isn’t a wealth of “fake news” and information out there, but should people not have the right to look at information openly and transparently and decide for themselves what is and what isn’t? Are people really that “dumb” to the point where we need Big Tech to step in and tell us what is true and what isn’t? This is a problem, especially given the fact that many issues are not so black and white. It also brings in the issue of corruption, and the ability of Big Tech to control the perception of the masses on various issues, be it political or something else. A big concern being raised is the idea that these companies who have been granted the ability to tell us ‘what is’ have strong political ties.

Today, those who support censorship do so under the guise of protection, relaying their opinion that it’s necessary to “protect our democracy.” It reminds me of the term “national security”, today it’s a term used to justify the concealment of information that exposes immoral and unethical actions of various governments and multinational corporations. Is this why Julian Assange is in jail?

How far have we sunk if telling the truth becomes a crime? How far have we sunk if we prosecute people that expose war crimes for exposing war crimes? How far have we sunk when we no longer prosecute our own war criminals? Because we identify more with them, than we identify with the people that actually expose these crimes. What does that tell about us and about our governments? In a democracy, the power does not belong to the government, but to the people. But the people have to claim it. Secrecy disempowers the people because it prevents them from exercising democratic control, which is precisely why governments want secrecy.  –  Nils Melzer, Human Rights Chair of the Geneva Academy of Int Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Prof of Int Law at the University of Glasgow, UN Rapporteur on Torture and Other Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

I agree with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that the censorship we are seeing today is “not really about protecting people from harm.” He pointed out in a recent interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald that “the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try and gain control over this instrument of power.” This instrument of power allows these platforms to control the way people think, behave, and tells us what to believe.

What Happened:  The New York Times recently published an essay on detailing a range of recommendations for the Biden administration to adopt to fix the “reality crisis” and “de-radicalize” citizens, including setting up a “reality czar” and  “truth commission.” Again, this has sort of happened already in various indirect ways. Politicians, doctors and scientists have now been subjected to extreme censorship measures, especially when it comes to COVID-19. Any information, evidence or opinion that opposes or calls into question government health regulatory agencies, their recommendations or actions seems to be completely ignored, ridiculed and censored. Debate and/or conversation is not even encouraged. This has many people questioning what’s really happening in our world? Why is it that someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci can receive massive mainstream media attention when so many other experts in the field never see the light of day?

Over the last few months, I have seen academic articles and op-eds by professors retracted or labeled “fake news” by social media platforms. Often, no explanation is provided. I am concerned about this heavy-handedness and, at times, outright censorship. – Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH (source)

The essay was written by technology columnist Kevin Roose, and it explains how “conspiracy theories” have been embraced by millions of Americans and that so many people have succumb to “hoaxes, lies and collective delusions” that has these people creating “their own version of reality.” But is this true? Are all these “hoaxes and lies” actually hoaxes and lies? I don’t know, but what I do know is that mainstream media fails to have appropriate conversations about them.

Joan Donovan, the research director of Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, suggested that the Biden administration could set up a “truth commission.”…Several experts I spoke with recommended that the Biden administration put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a “reality czar.” – NTY essay.

Roose then states that these experts warned that much more is needed to “bring back the millions of already radicalized Americans” who the essay claims are drawn to “extremist groups like the Proud Boys and conspiracy theories like QAnon not because they’re convinced by the facts, but because the beliefs give them a sense of community or purpose, or fills a void in their lives.”

Expert Micah Clark, a program director at London counter extremism firm Moonshot CVE, suggests “a kind of ‘social stimulus’ — a series of federal programs to encourage people to get off their screens and into community-based activities that could keep them engaged and occupied” as an effective means to curb radicalization.

To me, it’s reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984 is a classic book depicting a populace ruled by a political regime that persecutes individualism and independent critical thinking as “thoughtcrimes” that must be enforced by the “thought police.” This party seeks power above all, and, through the propagandist Ministry of Truth, presents the people with their version of truth.

When it comes to QAnnon, I believe this movement has made it much easier for powerful people to justify censorship and the deplatforming of various people on social media outlets. By that I mean you don’t need QAnon to create awareness about elite level pedophilia, for example. There are more than enough extremely credible sources to create awareness about that topic, so why use someone posting as QAnon that doesn’t really provide any link to credible information? Why not use the Franklin Scandal or more examples from big poltics for example, or information regarding Jeffrey Epstein, or survivor testimony? Why not use examples from the Pentagon? Or others from Hollywood and more? Why not use concrete solid examples? By not using proper sources, it simply ridicules the topic and doesn’t bode well for its credibility. It makes it look more ridiculous and more like a “conspiracy theory” in the minds of the masses. When you use something like QAnon, it really does make it look like a conspiracy theory, when in fact this type of elite level child sex trafficking is a very real and one that deserves serious attention.

It’s also important to mention, again, that this censorship is not just happening to “extremists” and other such groups, it’s happening to renowned scientists, journalists and doctors. Why is it that the New York Times, for example, uses ridicule and hatred to belittle a belief but never acknowledge the reasons as to why people believe what they do? Why do they simply label something as a “conspiracy theory” without any evidence that it actually is a conspiracy theory?

That being said, I don’t think anything needs to be censored. I think what we need here is less ridicule and more of an understanding of why someone feels the way they do, especially if they disagree with your view-point. More empathy is needed, the type of censorship happening today seems to be done, in my opinion, not to protect people or the truth, but keep a stranglehold over the perception of people for political, financial, and other gains.

Perception manipulation has long been a tool used by mainstream media, this is made evident from declassified documents showing the relationship mainstream media outlets have the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for example. We are at the point today where mainstream media networks can say one thing, while other big networks can be saying something completely different. People do not know who to trust anymore and have been drawn towards independent media outlets as a result. These media outlets, like Collective Evolution, have been subjected to extreme amounts of censorship.

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. – Edward Bernays (Propaganda, 1928)

The Takeaway: At the end of the day, regardless of what is true and what isn’t, the mainstream and traditional media seem to be failing to have important conversations that are controversial. Things are so divided right now, on one end you have people convinced of something, and on another end you have mainstream articles denouncing that something as a crazy conspiracy theory. What we are lacking right now is rigor and critical thinking.

Given we are deeply feeling the need to make sense of our world, is it time we begin to look at developing the inner faculties necessary to move beyond ideology, limited thinking patterns and truly begin looking at what evidence around us says?

What’s happening right now might seem chaotic, but it’s truly been a catalyst for more people to question what’s happening on our world, to question actions by our governments, and to question why we really live the way we do. We are living in exciting times.

Related CE Article: Conspireality: Is It Time For A Serious Conversation?

The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society, and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it… And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it’s in my control, and no official of my administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes, or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know….But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding it’s fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It’s preparations are concealed, not published. It’s mistakes are buried, not headlined. It’s dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed. – JFK

 

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Trump Says COVID-19 Vaccine Won’t Be Mandatory, Biden Says It Should Be

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It doesn't seem likely that a COVID vaccine will be mandatory under the Trump administration, but Joe Biden recently shared that he believes it should be.

  • Reflect On:

    If the vaccine did become mandatory, would you take it? Will there be too much of a backlash if the vaccine is made mandatory, or mandatory to travel for example?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

What Happened: US President Donald Trump told Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network’s ‘Varney &Co’ that he doesn’t plan to make the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for American citizens, because “there are some people who feel strongly about the whole situation,’ alluding to the idea that people should still have freedom of choice when it comes to what they choose to do with their own body.

On the other hand, presidential candidate Joe Biden said he would urge all state representatives, governors, mayors and council members to make the vaccine mandatory, just like some have done with masks. He acknowledged that such a mandate would be difficult to enforce, but stated that “we should be thinking about making it mandatory.”

Trump has long been promoting alternative therapies for COVID, many have come under scrutiny by mainstream media. The scientific and medical community have both promoted these therapies as well as criticized them, the only difference seems to be that those who support them don’t seem to receive much media attention, while simultaneously become subjected to a censorship campaign by media and social media outlets.

Scientists who share opinions that contradict the World Health Organization (WHO) have also been heavily censored. Michael Levitt, a Biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University is one of many who have criticized the WHO as well as Facebook for censoring different information and informed perspectives regarding the Coronavirus.

The Great Barrington Declaration is experiencing the same thing for questioning lockdown measures, it’s now been signed by nearly 40,000 doctors and scientists.

A paper recently published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine titled Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions points out:

A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

The paper also promotes the use of alternate therapies like intravenous vitamin C and provides evidence showing its success in COVID patients. It’s one of multiple studies to do so, but vitamin C has been heavily ridiculed and censored by mainstream media and social media for being able to provide any help when it comes to healing from COVID, or to help prevent it.

We are being made to believe that a vaccine is the only answer. No other suggestions seem to be acceptable. Why?

Why This Is Important

Why is there an authoritarian ‘fact-checker’ patrolling the internet and censoring information? Sure, a lot of stories may be completely false and irresponsibly written, especially ones that don’t provide any sources for their claims, but a lot of legitimate information is also being censored. Should people not have the right to examine information and opinions that go against the grain and decide for themselves what is, and what isn’t? Are we not capable of this? Can the mainstream media make the minority feel like the majority and the majority feel like the minority?

I’ve emphasized in many of my articles how vaccine hesitancy continues to grow. That’s no big secret. This is occurring not only with much of the general population, but doctors and scientists as well.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference that:

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

Many people are asking why doesn’t mainstream media or Bill Gates actually addresses the concerns that are being raised by scientists and doctors? Why is ridicule and terms like “conspiracy theory” always used instead?

What are the concerns? Vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

There are several concers.

If you’d like to access more of articles that are properly sourced regarding vaccine concerns, there is a link to a few at the bottom of this article I recently published.

Big Politics: Every single year big politics, in my opinion, continues to be exposed as a system that’s no longer capable of dealing with and appropriately handling big issues our planet faces today. I often ask myself, does voting simply uphold a system that’s no longer capable of creating any meaningful change? Big politics is filled with an enormous amount of corruption, and many would say that corporations now dictate policy, not government.

When it comes to health policy, there are many conflicts of interests to be concerned about, scientists from within federal health regulatory agencies have been bringing awareness to this fact for many years. For example, few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out public statement detailing the influence corporations have within the CDC, how corrupt things are, how it happens in all departments  how many high ranking people within the CDC condone this behaviour. They were referred to as the Spider Papers.

Award winning medical investigator Jeanne Lenzer also made this quite clear in a 2015 paper published in the British Medical Journal.

The CDC’s image as an independent watchdog over the public health has given it enormous prestige, and its recommendations are occasionally enforced by law. Despite the agency’s disclaimer, the CDC does receive millions of dollars in industry gifts and funding, both directly and indirectly, and several recent CDC actions and recommendations have raised questions about the science it cites, the clinical guidelines it promotes, and the money it is taking.

This is a huge problem, and it’s one that seems to plague all industries, not just the medical industry.

The Takeaway

We are pitted against each other like never before these days, and it doesn’t seem that politics helps us find common ground. It’s about belittling and ridiculing every move an opponent makes, and does not in any way shape or for represent a system of people who are willing to pool their resources and work together for meaningful change. So why do we continue to be captured by it? Why do we even pay attention? How can we change things and take matters into our own hands? Why do we live the way we do?

Power has corrupted our political process, and decisions today are made for politicians, corporations and those who seem to control these entities in order to gain more power from and profit off of.

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of today – Theodore Roosevelt

Honesty, morality, empathy, and an overall unawareness regarding the interconnectedness of life is severely lacking, and I do believe human beings are capable of creating a human experience where all life can thrive. We have the solutions, but many of them never see the light of day or receive any attention, so ask yourself, if we have the solutions, what’s preventing them from being implemented?

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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