Thursday, June 18, 2015

OpenCongress

There is a wonderful website called "OpenCongress":
The Sunlight Foundation is now the sole operator of OpenCongress. This site will continue to be a comprehensive, nonpartisan source for what's happening in the United States Congress.
I have found this to be a great resource for getting "just the facts" of what is happening in our legislature.  What is being voted on, who is voting on what...just the facts.  Go check it out!

Flashback - Divide and Conquer

I told you in my introductory post "Out of the Void", that I had tried blogging several years ago, but shut it down to start a serious "search for truth".  I mentioned that I might re-post some of that content here...

I wrote and published the following on 7 Jan 2008:

Another popular strategy of those who would conquer a people so as to rule them is “Divide and Conquer“.

Somewhere in the New Testament of the Christian Bible it says “by their fruits shall ye know them“. “Fruits” are the results of one’s labors. We are admonished to listen not to what “they” tell us, but to look at their actions and the results of those actions. What results are we seeing in this country? Division. Polarization. Hmmmmm….

As I surf around reading various articles, I sometimes have trouble discerning if the article I am reading is written by a conservative or a liberal. I have had to browse their sites for further clues. It seems that many on both sides have complaints about the state of the Constitution. But they are so busy labeling the opposing party that not many have noticed any of this. Hmmmm…
Many sites (both liberal and conservative) seem to use a lot of labels for the opposing party. They also seem to spout phrases and ideas by rote – not bringing much original thought to their articles. i.e. Hmmmm….

(Thankfully, there are also many articles both liberal and conservative that do have well thought out ideas.)

Truth can be hidden within confusion. Labels are supposed to help us define the thing we label, but can become tools to actually hide the truth. Democrat politicians tell us they are “for the people“. Republican politicians tell us they are for “conserving the Constitution and our traditions”. However, I noticed in just a brief overview of the actual voting records of both parties that Democrats and Republicans are both introducing and voting for bills that negate our Checks and Balances and dismantle the Constitution. Hmmmm…

To paraphrase a quote I once read, those who stand aside and allow evil to continue are in fact supporting that evil…I have noticed few Democrats and few Republicans voting against bills that destroy our Constitution. I have noticed a lot of representatives abstaining from voting. Hmmmmm…
I have always felt it to be evil to enslave people by any means. I have heard both liberal citizens and conservative citizens agree with my sentiment. I think it may be one of the few things they do agree on. Or, am I wrong?

Liberals have their agenda for specific issues and so do the conservatives. We citizens have spent much time arguing those issues. They are a distraction. Without the Constitution and its Checks and Balances, we have no real say in any of those other issues. We can argue all day and it will make no difference to those who now control our country. So long as we argue amongst ourselves and live in opposition to each other, we will not see the whole picture. So long as we listen to what our leaders say as opposed to what they do, we will not see truth.

Let us choose carefully our next leaders. Listen not to what they say. Look at their voting records and their past results. I even recommend exploring the opposition, as you may find a more complete picture. Note: There is some evidence that voting results are not completely honest and may be vulnerable to “fixing” the vote. Perhaps we should not rely too heavily on voting…
Please, let us unite as Americans and join our voices to restoring the Constitution. Later, we can return to our arguing over the other issues.

A word of warning: I think we must be careful not to engage in violence because the chaos it would create would provide a perfect excuse for “martial law”. Throughout history, chaos has been the perfect time for tyrants to grab power – chaos provides the confusion to cover such a move. Just a thought. On the other hand, if we do nothing, we have only to wait for tyranny.
As I said, I wrote this in January 2008.  I find it interesting to look back to what I was seeing at that time...before I had spent countless hours over the days, weeks, months, and years I've since spent researching, reading, studying, and thinking.

It seems to me the polarization of our society is progressing quite nicely for the "powers that be".  "We, the people" have become polarized by political party, race, religion, sexuality, economic class, etc.  We are so busy pointing fingers at each other that we cannot see that we are all being robbed.  Robbed of our resources and our freedom.  Perhaps I am just crazy and paranoid...and "negative", but I don't think we are going to fix things until we find leaders more interested in serving society than they are in serving themselves.





Friday, June 12, 2015

Earth Changes and Cosmic Rays

After sharing this article"Cosmic-solar radiation as the cause of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions" (yes, again on facebook!), another friend commented that she found it fascinating (as do I).  The article discusses some studies that find a strong correlation of solar activity (or the lack thereof) with increased earthquakes and volcano eruptions.  They have begun theorizing on how this could be...
"NASA researchers assume that compressed rocks release electrical charges which travel upwards into the ionosphere. In reality, however, the opposite is true- the reverse is happening. Fluctuations of cosmic-solar radiations are charging the ionosphere. That results in anomalies of geomagnetic field which causes the generation of eddy current. The eddy current heats the rocks in the faults and consequently the shear resistant intensity and the static friction limit of the rocks would decrease. This is the main process that trigger earthquakes and volcanic eruption. "
But, that was not all...go ahead and read the article if you are interested.  I'll still be here when you get back.

Then, I commented:
"Not to mention our weakened magnetosphere (possibly as a result of reduced solar activity), lets in more (non-solar) cosmic rays that quite possibly lead to increased clouds/rain (see Svensmark Cloud Mystery)...I find it all fascinating as well!"
Then another friend said she knew that I "feel like it's increased rain being down there in TX, but you know so well the general drought over much of the country". 

I see this a lot.  People in the "global warming" camp of climate change don't seem aware of all the many places where there is increased rainfall, hail storms, floods, snow, etc.  These people say that I (and people like me who think we are headed for increased rain and cooling) are judging the whole climate based on our personal experience.  But, as I told my friend " I really do realize that Texas is not the whole world and I am not so narrow as to judge the entire planet by what happens here.  I just follow the news of the world."

Like this video -  an excellent summary of earth changes this past May (video is a collection of news clips from around the world).  One can easily see that although, yes there is drought in California and along the west coast and there have been some unusual heat waves in Alaska and Europe, there are also a lot of reports of unusual cold snaps and heavy precipitation around the US and the world.  Check it out for yourself:


Reports of heavy precipitation seem to be continuing - here is just a handful of reports I found from around the world of heavy precipitation in June (since after the above video was published).

Jun 4 - Colorado thunderstorm appears to spawn two tornadoes at same time

Jun 7 - Hail storm in Tennessee looks like a nightmare

Jun 8 - Monday traffic chaos after heavy downpour

Jun 8 - 2 Killed in Flash Floods in Switzerland

Jun 9 - Guatemala – 8,000 Affected by Floods

Jun 10 - Flood alert after heavy rain in Assam, over 80,000 affected

Jun 11 - Heavy snow expected in Brooks Range, Alaska Range

Jun 11 - Summer in Madrid: Hail, storms and flashfloods

Svensmark: The Cloud Mystery

Danish physicist, Henrik Svensmark has been studying clouds and cosmic rays.  This documentary is a fascinating report on his work and what it implies.  I have watched it a couple of times because I find it so fascinating.  If I understand it correctly, when solar activity is minimal, more cosmic rays get into our atmosphere and these cosmic rays are integral to the formation of clouds.  This is an oversimplification of course, but I am not so good at explaining it.  I recommend you watch the documentary for yourself (below)...or check out his website for more information.  Yes, he sells DVDs  of the documentary as well if you want your own copy.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Vaccines Are Like Seat Belts

I got into another conversation on Facebook today.  I know, I probably spend way too much time on Facebook, but that is where almost all my friends hang out.  And, it is where I get into a wide variety of interesting conversations.

Today's big topic was the very controversial, "mandatory vaccinations".  A couple of days ago, a friend of mine had posted a link about the AMA considering making an end to personal exemptions to vaccinations.  A few people piped in with comments to the effect of "About time!".  A few, like me, made objections.

The article is written from the assumption that mainstream thinking is correct - that vaccinations are SAFE and EFFECTIVE and that there is a such thing as herd immunity (called "population immunity" in this article).  "It's such a no brainer. You're protecting the kid next to you," according to an AMA member as reported in the article. 

I tried to stay out of this discussion at first.  I made only one comment:
"It seems wrong to me to mandate vaccinations, but pass laws that prevent you from suing the vaccine manufacturers for vaccine injury. Yes, they actually passed a law - "On February 22, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court shielded drug companies from all liability for harm caused by vaccines mandated by government..." The government does offer a "vaccine court" where you file a complaint and the judgements are made by government employees. This does not hold the manufacturer accountable (they pay no fines, etc), but the taxpayers pay the damages awarded (if any). If vaccines are so safe and effective, why do they need protection from lawsuits?"  
Then I linked to this article, "No Pharma Liability? No Vaccine Mandates" that summarized the history of this decision by the Supreme Court, beginning with:
"To understand how this happened, we have to turn the clock back to 1982. That is when four big drug companies (Merck, Wyeth, Lederle, Connaught) blackmailed Congress by threatening to stop selling vaccines in America unless a law was passed giving them complete immunity from prosecution.
The pharmaceutical industry knew they were in big trouble because the old, crude whooping cough vaccine in the DPT shot was causing brain inflammation and death in many children; the live oral polio vaccine was crippling children and adults with vaccine strain polio;  and Americans were filing lawsuits to hold drug companies responsible for the safety of their products."
According to the article, the government at first (in 1986) maintained partial liability in that the law was written in language assuring citizens the right to sue the vaccine manufacturers if the "federal vaccine injury compensation alternative to a lawsuit" failed.  In 2011, they removed the safety net and citizens can no longer sue the vaccine manufacturers.  Apparently, I was wrong in my comment above when I stated that taxpayers pay the damages -  There is now a surcharge on every vaccine sold and supposedly this money goes to the compensation fund managed by the federal "vaccine court". 

Then yesterday, one of my Facebook friends made an analogy of vaccines to seat belts:
"I'm curious how many children are killed and maimed by being in cars even if the are belted in their car seats exactly as they should be. Yet parents continue to put them in those car seats and drive them around. It can be argued that it is no one else's business if one parent chooses not to belt the child, hey, that's a parent's "right" but we KNOW the statistics show how dangerous it is to not be belted in. Vaccines are seat belts and there are really far fewer risks involved with vaccines than driving your child to day care on a daily basis."

I just could not help myself.  I began to post my arguments.  Don't worry, I am not going to give a "blow by blow" account of that conversation, but I am going to try to summarize my perspective and opinion on this topic.

First, if vaccines are seat belts then, "children being killed and maimed by being in cars even if they are belted in their car seats exactly as they should be" is analogous to children getting sick from the measles (and possibly dying) even though they are vaccinated.  According to many sources, a lot of children do get sick from the very diseases they are vaccinated against.  Curiously, this failure is blamed on the unvaccinated.  That does not make sense to me.  If vaccines are supposed to protect against contracting a disease, how is it the fault of the unvaccinated?    Herd immunity is not supposed to protect the vaccinated, it is supposed to protect those unable to be vaccinated (infants, people with suppressed immune systems, etc).  The vaccine is supposed to protect the ones who do receive it. 

Conversely, children being injured by vaccines is analogous to children being injured just by putting on a seat belt.  Here, the analogy breaks down, I think.  I know of no one who has been injured just by putting on a seat belt.  But, I have read of numerous cases where children are injured by vaccines.

And, to be truly analogous, seat belts must be worn by everyone to provide "population protection".  Of course, that is a silly idea when it comes to seat belts.  It's more ambiguous when it comes to vaccines.  The mainstream view is that if the majority of a population (about 90-95%) are vaccinated, this protects the entire population, including those too vulnerable to be vaccinated themselves (infants, those with compromised immune systesm, etc).  However, there are those (including doctors, nurses, and other scientists) who think herd immunity is an illusion. And, if the theory of "herd immunity" is true, why is China having measles outbreaks when 99% are vaccinated?

Which brings me to the last place this analogy breaks down for me - the ambiguity and all the contradictory evidence.  Seat belts are pretty simple to analyze.  It is a lot easier to see that seat belts do no harm in just putting them on and that in most collisions, they are beneficial.  Yes, there are a few rare cases where the seat belt is more a hindrance to safety than protective of it.  My uncle is an example - his life was saved because he was NOT wearing a seat belt when his car slid under a semi truck.  Everything above the hood of his car was smashed and sheared off.  If he had not been immediately able to dive for the floor board as soon as his car started sliding, he would have been killed upon impact.  Still, for the most part, seat belts save lives.

Although, I would have liked for it to be legal for me to make my own decision about seat belts back when I was a taxicab driver in Austin.  There had been 4 drivers killed during the years that I drove and so there was a real danger.  I have a very good driving record and felt more danger from being robbed at knife point than I did from the possibility of an accident.  So, I quit wearing my seat belt (only) while on duty.   At one point, I did get robbed at knife point.  Luckily, I did not have to bail out, but because I did not have my seat belt on, I was ready to do so if need be.  At a later date I received a ticket for not wearing my seat belt.  When I explained my reasoning, the judge would not make an exception for my extenuating circumstances.  I think rules and laws are a good thing in general, but I also think that allowances should be made in some situations.  Still, it was worth it to me to pay the ticket and not wear the seat belt if I were driving a taxicab.

It is not so easy to analyze vaccines.  Even the scientists (and doctors) do not all agree and they are the experts.  Of course, the vaccine manufacturers all think vaccines are the best thing ever.

At one point of the conversation, I posed the question "If seat belts were shown to harm some individuals merely by putting it on, should we still make seat belts mandatory?"  Some people believe yes, it would be justified if those harmed was a small enough percentage and a great enough percentage would be saved.  That we should sacrifice some so the rest can be saved.  It would be for the greater good.  My next question is "How high a percentage of persons harmed by the seat belts would it take before it becomes wrong to sacrifice them?"  I really don't know, but it is a question that plagues me.  I do know I do not want to be forced to be vaccinated.

Note:  Many currently believe that the percentage harmed by vaccines is very low.  According to my reading over the years of what has actually been officially acknowledged as vaccine harm, it does not seem so low to me.  However, consider that incidents of vaccine harm and studies that show risk are under-reported.  For example, if a doctor does not believe vaccines to be harmful, symptoms of such harm may be chalked down to some other cause.   Or, if the vaccine manufacturers would go so far as to petition for a legal shield and they control most of the research, would they not hide evidence that points to the possibility of harm?  In fact, there seems to be evidence the CDC itself was involved in covering up evidence "CDC Whistleblower William Thomas has released a formal statement confirming the original study found a link between MMR and Autism, especially in African American and that the CDC hid the results."

I used to be pro-vaccination.  After several years of reading articles and watching documentaries, I have changed my mind.  You see, I no longer believe vaccines are all that safe...at least not for everyone.  And, aside from obviously vulnerable individuals, there is no way to know in advance who will be injured by vaccines.  That is kind of like playing Russian Roulette.  I also think that with the chemical overload that permeates our water, soil, and air; adding the now numerous (scheduled) vaccines to that load may be part of why we are seeing a rise in vaccine injuries.  I no longer believe in herd immunity and I no longer believe vaccines are all that effective. 

Vaccines are presented as some sort of "magic bullet" and it is so tempting to believe in them.  After all, the theory sounds so reasonable and plenty of experts tell us how great vaccines are, who wouldn't want to believe it?  Once you believe, it is difficult to let go of it.  I know well the resistance experienced when one's beliefs are challenged.  It feels threatening and you want to defend them even more.  Hell, the opposing view can sometimes sound crazy...because when we have a belief, we think we know the truth.

But...what if the risks are higher than we thought and the benefits fewer?  Can we trust the drug companies to tell us the truth when they stand to make billions a year on vaccines?  Can we trust them to tell us the truth when they petitioned for a legal shield from civil lawsuit because they were facing a rise in those lawsuits?  Can we believe our lawmakers inherently know what is best for us?  Even the most honorable lawmakers are still human and are therefore vulnerable to the same desire to believe in the magic bullet.  Then there are those lawmakers who have been bought by the drug companies...

Yes, it can be difficult to sort through the contradictory information out there, but I do recommend you at least look into it.  It is up to you, though.  If you decide vaccination benefits out weigh the risk, go ahead and get them.  It is your risk to take.  But, if you favor mandatory vaccinations, I think it is only right that you find out more about the risk you want to force others to take on your behalf. 

Of course, I am no expert and I could be wrong.  So, why not check out what some medically and scientifically trained individuals who disagree with the mainstream view have to say about this issue. 

First this article, "The Forgotten History of Vaccinations You Need to Be Aware Of", an overview of the Book "Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History" by Dr. Suzanne Humphries.  I have put this book on my wishlist.  Apparently, she did some extensive research into the history of vaccines, including the smallpox and polio stories.  For those not already familiar with these stories, there are some surprises. 

And, I found this part to be particularly interesting:
"Antibody Is the Wrong Way to Ascertain Immunity

    One of the major arguments against vaccine-induced immunity is that it primarily stimulates the humoral immune system and not the cellular immune system. Antibodies are produced by the humoral immune system and then routinely measured to determine "immunity." The problem with this approach is that you can have high antibody levels and still get the disease. It’s very difficult and expensive to measure the cellular immune response, and immunologists admit that they are still in the dark about a lot of the finer points of the overall immune response.

    When you use antibody titers or blood levels  to check for immunity, all you’re doing is getting a picture of what happened (you had an immune response); it doesn’t tell you whether you’re going to be immune in the future, because antibodies are only one aspect of the immune response, and in some cases are not even necessary to easily combat the sickness and become immune.

    For example, those with agammaglobulinemia—a disease where you cannot make antibodies — can get infected with measles, recover uneventfully, and still respond to subsequent challenges of the virus in a normal healthy fashion and not get sick. These individuals will have lifelong immunity to measles, the same as someone without agammaglobulinemia.

    Traditionally, the way immunity is determined is to do a test that measures antibodies, which is the humoral immune system. But there’s no good way to assess the cellular immune system. It’s a really imprecise science at best. As Dr. Humphries notes:

        "It's not only imprecise; sometimes it's downright inaccurate. You can have very high antibody levels, like numerous case reports of people who have hugely high antibody levels for tetanus, or normal antibodies, and have gotten some of the worst cases of tetanus. I have papers that show that people without antibody for polio have actually been able to respond to the virus as if they were already immune. The antibody really is a real wrong roadmap to look at to tell what's really going on. Sometimes there's correlation, but it's certainly not a given."

I had no idea. However, it has long made sense to me to address boosting the immune system so it can better do its job at fighting all kinds of infections as opposed to tackling each disease piecemeal.  Think about it.  There are numerous diseases we wish to be protected from contracting.  Each of these diseases come in a wide variety of strains, like the flu virus we hear about every year.  The makers of the flu vaccine must anticipate which particular strain is likely to show up as they make the vaccines ahead of time...and hope they guessed correctly.  By tackling each disease individually, we need a multitude of vaccines to protect us from all of them.  Indeed, we are seeing an incredible increase in the number of "scheduled" vaccines. 

And, this article "Vaccines—Are They Still Contributing to the Greater Good?" introduces the documentary "The Greater Good".  The article includes excerpts and a few video clips.  The Amazon product description says"
"The Greater Good is a feature documentary that looks behind the fear, hype and politics that have polarized the vaccine debate in America today. The film re-frames the emotionally charged issue and offers, for the first time, the opportunity for a rational and scientific discussion on how to create a safer and more effective vaccine program "
 I have watched the full length version of the documentary and you can too...



There are a number of other pretty good documentaries, multitudes of articles and some books out there as well.  Perhaps at a later date, I will post something on them.  Until then, I will leave it at that.