In this issue:
1. AB2109: White Coats and Bad Theatre
2. Upcoming Events
3. Parents’ Most Reliable Vaccine Book For 2012: Vaccination Is Not Immunization
4. Radio Interviews on AB2109
AB2109: WHITE COATS, PRICE TAGS, AND BAD THEATRE
We Will Never Forget What We Saw In Sacramento – What Really Happened In That Room:
Let’s pick up where we left off with Freedom With Permission, and assume that the reader has a basic understanding of both the provisions and the implications of AB2109.
At this point in time we have endured the first onslaught of AB2109’s passage by the obedient politicians who style themselves the AB2109 Assembly Committee.
To add depth to the two radio interviews of April 16 and April 19, certain observations must be here recorded, so that they do not fade from public memory. With the virtual blackout of coverage in American media regarding this most significant and innovative attack against the rights of parents to control their own children’s health choices, the disconnected ramblings of Facebook pages should not be the only documentation of AB2109, which if passed will be a pivotal departure not only in California legal history, but that of the entire country.
A few unforgettable points about the Assembly Meeting itself: 16 Apr 2012.
1. THE ASSEMBLY THAT DIDN’T REALLY ASSEMBLE
When the meeting was brought to order, some time after 2:30 pm, there were only 4 out of 16 Assembly Committee members in the room. They would wander in and out constantly – mostly out. At some brief moment when many of them were present, the Chairman – Wm Monning quickly declared a quorum, after which several of them left again. It was as though what was going on in that room didn’t really interest them because they already knew how they would vote. This impression persisted till the end of the day.
It would seem proper that being in such an elected position, surrounded by money and favors, the assembly committee would at least all be present for the pro and con of it all, since that’s what they are paid to do. Apparently this is not the way things are done in Sacramento. They obviously have other fish to fry.
2. TESTIMONY IN FAVOR
Richard Pan, the bill’s sponsor, a non-practicing pediatrician, got up and read a document stating the supposed necessity for AB2109, how it would work, how it was not a radical change, and then his endless repetition of assurances that the pediatricians would ‘happily’ sign the exemption forms for any parent who wished it. His plea was without passion or conviction. He seemed more intent about rebutting arguments which had not even been made than about just presenting the simple provisions of the Bill. He had an annoying, chattering voice and was not well received by either side.
One couldn’t help but thinking that if Pan was really just the organ-grinder monkey for organized medicine’s Big Push to get rid of vaccine exemptions once and for all, they certainly could have found somebody better. Anywhere. Upon later reflection, it became clear that it didn’t matter. As we will see, nothing that was said in that room mattered one scintilla. AB2109’s passage was assured long before anyone set foot in that room.
After his opening statement, Pan then called his 2 supporting witnesses, each of whom spoke for 3 minutes. The first one actually sounded educated and somewhat articulate, as he delivered the requisite age-old doctrine of vaccines for the Greater Good, etc. Which of course had nothing to do with the bill. This was not the arena to discuss the pros and cons of vaccines. No, rather this was the arena to put an end to the discussion of vaccines.
After the second witness, the Chairman called for supporting witnesses who would be limited to saying their name and a simple statement of position. The first 30 of these witnesses had already lined up along one side aisle of the amphitheatre, behind a single microphone on a stand. At Monning’s signal, one by one they began to recite their lines: name, I strongly support, I will be very happy to sign the form, etc. After the first 10 it became painfully clear that they had all been schooled with the same assigned script, because they all said exactly the same thing in exactly the same words.
As soon as the first group of them began to wind down, the back doors of the room were opened to let another 30 of them into the queue. More of the second group began to sport long white lab jackets. They all recited the same script, and then the doors opened again when the line got short, and here comes a third group. So the line never ended, and the back door kept opening and opening.
As the number of white coats among the witnesses increased, an odd thought struck me: Wait a minute! I’m on the 4th floor of the state Capitol building. Is there an operating room outside this door that I didn’t see? Did we suddenly get teleported through time and space onto a set of ER? Was there a Baskin Robbins convention outside? What doctor would wear a white lab coat in a public courtroom?
At this point I figured there was something rotten in Denmark. How could all these pediatricians from all over California suddenly be in this room for just 10 seconds, recite their lines and then leave? How did that happen?
So I got up and walked to the back of the room and went out into the hallway. What a scene greeted me there! And endless gaggle of players lining up, pediatricians and medical students, talking and laughing out loud, having a riotous good time. I walked around the corner to where a TV monitor was mounted on one wall. It was showing the microphone where each actor was reciting his lines. and all the friends would laugh uproariously and point, and it was a great time all around! Who knew that becoming an MD would be this much fun?
Then the ones coming out would take off their white lab jackets and hand it to others still in line.
Getting the picture then, I re-entered the room and went back to my seat near the front. It was at that moment that someone passed me a note that was circulating around the room – by coincidence there was a huge Pediatrics convention in the hotel across the street. That’s who these players were – mercenary robots, engaged for 10 seconds apiece to recite a script, who are going to expense away the entire weekend at Sacramento’s best hotels.
Those who were seated next to the queue told me afterwards that they heard many of them turn around and say to the doctor behind them “Don’t forget to say that you will happily sign the exemption form.” A few did anyway, probably from stage fright. But the vast majority got their lines right. After all when it comes to rote memorization without understanding, this demographic is certainly without peer.
Now we must remember that all the seats in the room as well as those in the balcony were taken, almost entirely by parents with children and by others who were opposed to the Bill. So this Masquerade Charade of the 150 or so paid witnesses – these people never took part in the proceedings, never listened to any testimony pro or con, or participated in any way except for their 10 seconds of testimony. They had no interest in it. Bad Theatre of the first order.
The Chairman waited patiently until all 150 or so had come and gone. There was a cameraman with a professional set-up filming each one of the doctor/actors.
3. TESTIMONY OPPOSING
Now it was time for the opposition. Two main witnesses were allowed 3 minutes each to make opposing arguments. That’s it. The entire state of California opposition limited to 6 minutes. Pan had no limit at all to defend his bill. But substantive argument to oppose was limited to 2 witnesses of 3 minutes each.
At the very start of the opposition testimony, the professional cameraman tore down his equipment and left the room, never to return.
Dr Bob Sears was the first witness to oppose. He showed evidence that at least 40% of pediatricians would not sign the form, from a study that appeared in Time magazine, because many pediatricians dismiss patients who choose not to vaccinate. Sears was OK, but not really very convincing. The members were less than attentive. Dawn Winkler was the next witness, who talked about vaccine injury and how vaccines had never been proven safe and how the new bill would put an end to a parent’s choice.
After that, the most dramatic and authentic display of public sentiment began to unfold, as everyone in the room who was opposed to the bill was allowed to line up and make a short statement into the microphone. A few times Monning showed that he was off his feed or off his Premarin and started railing hysterically at the people who talked more than he wanted, threatening to end the entire opposition testimony. It was like a scene from a bad Nazi movie or something. Oftentimes pompous clowns really think they are authority figures who have the right and the power to impose their will on the lowly serfs. What a travesty of democracy they display.
You people in Monterey need to vote this guy out. He is the epitome of every bad cliche you’ve ever heard about politicians. He’s been around for so long that he seems to look down on the very people who were dumb enough to elect him. Kind of a self image defect. He’s not representing you – unless you’re the huge special interest corporations who make policy in this state. Look at his track record.
But we digress. The most astounding and life-affirming part of the day was when these poor mothers who had been forced to sit in this crowded auditorium hour after hour, with babies and very small children to take care of, and endure all those lies and condescension and all that malevolent energy raining down upon them from the 300 watt sound system, these mothers and doctors and regular people, most with great dignity and composure stood up and eloquently voiced their opposition.
These were not the fake paid witnesses put up in plush hotels – these were the real people, the everyday Americans who had endured much expense and personal hardship to be there in that room and voice their opposition to this outrageous new proposal. Many were so emotionally charged and focused that even Monning in all his puffery dared not interrupt them. There were mothers of vaccine damaged children, autistic children, children killed by vaccines, and parent after parent who had been dismissed from several pediatricians just for presenting the exemption form.
This was the authentic vestige of grassroots democracy being played out here, exactly like the founding fathers set it up. All of Pan’s Bad Theatre, all of Monning’s prissy bad manners and the whole way the cards were stacked against the opposition, none of this could hold back the tide and outpouring of outraged citizenry, insulted that an elected government should have the effrontery to propose something as Un-American and unconstitutional as this bill – that would take away the most fundamental right of a US citizen: to make vital health decisions for their own child.
It almost restored one’s faith in the democratic process.
Almost. But let’s not get carried away here.
At length, Monning actually did halt the testimony of the opposition witnesses, although by that time the majority of them had been heard.
3. ASSEMBLY QUESTIONS
Next came an intriguing part of the hearing that no one was prepared for. The veil of condescension and lordly bearing was lifted for just a moment, when several of the Republicans – the party who was permitted to oppose the bill – many of them began asking Pan very pointed questions. Like, wasn’t the bill redundant, since we already have an exemption form in place that has been working just fine for decades. Or, one asked, what would happen to a parent who could not get the form signed?
Pan acquitted himself most miserably in this crossfire, and showed how weak were his resolve and conviction, as well as his level of education. He kept re-cycling the same tired phrases in an annoying nasal repetition that exasperated these Assembly guys who were just trying to get a straight answer. Pan would not admit that it was even possible for someone not to be able to get the form signed, and he used as his evidence the trumped up testimony of the white jacketed witnesses who had just spoken. It was ridiculous– the Assembly guy asked the question 3 times unanswered, and it was finally Dawn Winkler who spoke up and said that in that case, without the form the child couldn’t go to school. Which is true.
Another member was so put off by Pan’s insipid and fawning behavior that he actually stated that he had been in favor of the bill before that meeting but that now that he saw what it was, he was against it.
THE ILLUSION OF DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
But alas, it was all for show, all for show. There was no real debate in that room, no real exchange of pertinent ideas. The only thing this line of questioning made abundantly clear was that all the months and weeks of the opposition’s organized efforts at faxing, emailing, and phoning in documentation showing all the violations the bill would be engendering — all this effort was wasted. It was patently obvious to any observer that none of the Assembly members ever considered the issues and implications of the Bill before they walked into that room. They were voting the way they were told, right down the line.
And the realization dawned on us that this was the way that all matters in the California legislature likely were handled. Not by the merits and faults of the individual issue, but rather by political expediency, side deals, quid pro quo, foregone conclusions. The end of naivete for anyone who just saw all of this for the first time, first hand.
4. THE VOTE
This happened fast: 10 to 4 in favor of the bill. Later amended as the absentees got to vote. But AB2109 was passed onto the next phase.
WHY THE DESPERATELY BAD THEATRE?
Looking at studies like the recent Time magazine article showing that 39% of MDs would not sign a vaccine exemption, and listening to scores of parents testifying to the same fact in real life, why was medicine, fronted by Pan, so over the top in trying to misrepresent that reality?
A large proportion of Pan’s original statement dwelled on assuring people that the signing of the form would be routine and MDs would gladly do it. Even though no objection had yet been raised, he did protest too much. And that was the purpose of the whole Magical Mystery Tour of white coated witnesses, which took an enormous amount of planning to orchestrate – a desperate attempt to offset any accurate representation of the real state of affairs: that the vast majority of MDs simply will not sign.
And since that is true, it follows that all the worst fears of the opposition are poised to come to pass in California if the bill is passed. A new precedent will be set. Medicine as Government, Government as Medicine, in a neat progression:
1. AB499, now a law, says that 12 years olds may be vaccinated in school without the parents’ knowledge or permission
2. AB2109 effectively ends the personal beliefs exemption
3. Virtually any medical recommendation might now be substituted in place of vaccines, and people might be coerced into any medical procedure by this trick of forcing them to get an unobtainable medical signature
The slipperiest of slopes. Why do people not see it? These players are so inept, so unskilled, so unconvincing. And so authoritarian, omniscient, condescending, and eminently for sale. Who elects them? How are these extragvagant laws so easily passed?
BREAK THE BOND
In an agenda that is the antithesis of both the letter and intent of the Constitution, their program calls for a slow and gradual insertion of the government between the parent and the child – to sever that ancient and most sacrosanct bond. The citizen no longer has children without the permission of the government, every step of the way. Now it’s a 3 way partnership. By law.
This is not conspiracy paranoia, hysterical exaggeration or anything else besides empirical observation of events from an unaffiliated point of view. It is unfolding right in front of us, despite all their Bad Theatre. Why else would they go to all that trouble?
Despite $12 billion annually in advertising of drugs and vaccines, organized medcine has been gradully losing the vaccine debate. Even uneducated people are learning about the dangers of vaccines and opting out for their children, more and more every year. The figures Pan presented about the increasing numbers of unvaccinated were actually correct. Recognizing now that they can never win the debate on vaccine safety, medicine’s new agenda now is to legislate away the whole right to rational discourse about the subject. Don’t Debate, Legislate. And Pan, Monning, and the rest are eagerly for sale to make it happen.
WHAT TO DO
This is getting tedious. There should have been 20,000 people in Sacramento last week, not 200. Who controls media?
But AB2109 is not a law yet.
The best course of action open to us now is to contribute to efforts documenting how the Bill will cost the state more than $50K, or $150K, depending. That’s not counting the millions in vaccine injury payouts and lifetime care service, etc.
You can write and fax your senators, but I don’t see that working. At least not in the sense of showing them the arguments about vaccine dangers or constitutionality. Legislators don’t read. They don’t seem to care about the effects of issues, with one exception: how a Bill directly influences their personal career – their chance of re-election. So if you write them, that would be the only thing to say. I’ll do everything I can to expose what a terrible job you’re doing because you voted for this, this, and this. Something like that.
For example the same people who voted AB2109 through also voted AB499 into law. And the manifest hypocrisy was that they said that we need AB2109 so as to better inform parents, when AB499 was passed specifically so that parents need not be informed!
That kind of thing. Make them accountable. Get them out.