UPDATE on SOPA and PIPA

If you haven’t seen the news, there has been such an outcry about this that the legislators have set them aside for now. I, along with a lot of other people, am convinced they will be back, repackaged and with new fancy nobel sounding names, as these particular names now carry black death.

Interestingly enough, supporters of these bills are crying foul. Former senator, and now chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Chris Dodd, said that before the internet protest on Wednesday, January 18, the bills were considered slam dunks – they couldn’t fail. And in the wake of the bills being pulls, he expressed regrets, that they hadn’t moved faster, and had allowed momentum to build that killed the bill. In other words, he regrets that constituents were made aware of the issues and let their congressmen know their opinions, thereby “forcing” them to vote in a way representative of their constituency. He would much rather lawmakers passed laws in private, springing them unawares upon their constituency.

He made this statement on Tuesday night in response to the proposed Wednesday blackout:

[quote]It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information or use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests,[/quote]

I’m assuming when he says “corporate interests” he means “staying in business”. How dare they. How dare they pull their sites down for one day to let the people that rely on them know that if this law passes there is a good chance that someday their services will no longer be available to the people that rely on them. It’s pretty funny that making people aware of the bills is an “abuse of power”, but trying to sneak the bill into law is not.

I read one comment that said that this guy, Chris Dodd, is a reverse barometer. If he dislikes something, there is a good chance that it is right and wholesome and healthy, and if he supports something, it is likely immoral, corrupt, or illegal,

These censorship bills will be back, and it might be more difficult to stop them next time.

SOPA and PIPA

You may have noticed that on Wednesday, January 18, a number of sites like Craigslist were down, and that a number of other sites, like Google and Beyoutiful, were kinda down, with information urging folks to contact their representatives about SOPA and PIPA. These are proposed laws before the senate and house, whose stated purpose is to fight internet piracy. As with most laws and potential laws, they have been given very noble sounding names – Stop Online Piracy Act, and Protect Intellectual Property Act. The problem is that there are already laws in place to deal with this. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a very strong one. Here’s a quote from one article I read:

At present, if Facebook, You Tube or other leading websites are found to be holding copyright material without permission, then they are told to take it down. Sopa would make it possible for the US to block the website. Such far-reaching powers could kill smaller firms and put off investors from financing new companies, said Holmes Wilson, co-founder of Fight For The Future, a lobbying group.

Unfortunately, the big corporations are tired of having to go through the hassle of the standard legal process (and the bad publicity that goes along with dragging an elderly grandparent into court because a grandkid downloaded some music). This is a horrible piece of legislation.

This is a video explaining why:

To give an example. We have received letters from Marvel Comics, and from the Lance Armstrong Foundation saying that we were encroaching, or close to encroaching upon their copyrights. The LAF claim was LAFable, er laughable. Because we use the word “Strong” in one of our product names, written in black, and we have the color yellow in our logo, we might possibly take away from their ability to raise money. Absolutely crazy. But I’m sure that the law offices that sent us multiple letters charged LAF thousands of dollars to “protect their copyright”, wasting money supposed to go to fight cancer (although how much LAF contributes to the search for the cure for cancer is doubtful, but I digress). And I told one of the lawyers at that office that they were wasting foundation money, which offended him greatly – either because it was untrue (he didn’t deny it) or more probably because it was true. They leave us alone now. The Marvel Comics claim was legitimate. Our Super products line resembled their Super hero logos. The reason that they didn’t take us to court, is that they have to be able to prove a loss of revenue. We’re small potatoes, with very little exposure, and our use of our logos was almost definitely not affecting their sale of Superman comics, movies, or action figures, but they asked us not to encroach any further and warned us of future action. Ok. We’re getting the logos changed as we have opportunity.

With this new law, they don’t have to go to a judge, although they could, and could get us shut down, completely, with no trial, no hearing, just on one day and dark the next. Not just our super vitamins. The whole site. These laws are not about removing infringing or counterfeited products. They are about shutting Internet sites down. Guilty, until proven innocent. But even without going to a judge, they can go to our payment processors, and ask them to stop processing payments for us. And then the payment processor has to decide right then and there, with no hearing, no time to do an investigation, do shut off payment processing for this site, or let it go, and possibly get shutdown ourselves for enabling or facilitating a site “dedicated to the theft of US Property”. Most likely, people like us again being very small potatoes, they’d just shut us off without a second thought.

Now supporters are saying that this is only to take down the worst of the worst of the sites out there. The stated goals of the bill are good. But the problem is, the wording is such that it extends far beyond the stated goals. And the way things work, within the context of this law, just about any small business could go dark overnight. And if you think a small company, could use the law to take down a big company’s site, even with a legitimate claim, I think that’s pretty wishful thinking.

Please. Do your part to kill these laws. Dead. Do not resuscitate. Our congressmen need to know we don’t want this, “Do not repackage, reload, and try again in secret.” Send a letter to all of your congressmen here: https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8173

Here are a couple of other links with more information:

Info on a sites that would probably go dark:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/whats-blacklist-three-sites-sopa-could-put-risk

http://www.boanow.com/craigslist-a-rogue-site-for-blacklisting-and-takedown-under-pipa/

Here is a list of companies supporting SOPA/PIPA – at least in principle. Who knows if they have actually read the thing.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xjisu18X6s7lPtAsIQg5Ol3KJjymPT2az1kasQVwGiw/preview?pli=1&sle=true

A political post?

I don’t really like talking politics, or religion, with most people. And it is getting to the place that talking health with some people is taboo too, for many of the same reasons as politics and religion. People get angry very fast. Blind fury. Incoherent, insistent interjections replace reasoned arguments. It is impossible to have a discussion. They have no ears to hear. I believe that most of the time the reasons for this is a feeling of vulnerability. Some people when they feel vulnerable retreat and some attack. You can’t have an exchange of opinions or ideas with either. I think I know why this happens, and at some time I might share that opinion, but for now, let’s just say that I don’t really like talking politics or religion with most people.

But we are in the midst of a political season. I have an opinion, and this is my blog. So, I’m going to share my opinion. I welcome other opinions, even strongly dissenting ones, but they have to be reasonably presented. I will delete all others.

And with that preamble, and a bit of fear and trepidation, I’m are ready to roll with a politics related topic.

Drumroll.

I support Ron Paul. I know that is a shock for some people. But I’ve been following him for a couple of years. I’ve spent a lot of time examining his platform, and watching videos of him speaking before congress for a long, long time. I’d be willing to share my thoughts in future posts (or we could move the discussion to a forum), on the particular issues which seem to be a sticking point with those that are shocked. Just let me know in a comment, with specifics.

In the mean time, this particular person has done a pretty good job of outlining many of the reasons that I support Ron Paul. Here is the link:

http://americanvisionnews.com/1278/voddie-baucham-answers-why-ron-paul

An alien in my homeland

Steph and I have the great privilege of being able to travel a lot — or the burden of having to travel a lot, depending on your perspective. And we encounter a lot of different people. Because of what we do, the conversation often turns to health and we often get to hear personal health stories. One thing that I was struck with recently, is that in spite of our travels, we are kinda sheltered. We are surrounded by people having similar mindsets regarding personal health and healthcare, or at least are familiar with and/or tolerant of our alternative and at-home remedies. I mean surrounded. At work, at home, at church, at the conferences we attend, on various forums, and even on Facebook. Perhaps we all drawn together by commonalities, or perhaps having been drawn together we are all effected by the same influences, and maybe, we are having a small influence on those around us. We just don’t know how “normal” people live, and how they eat, how they endure illness, how often it strikes, how long it lasts, and what a course of treatment looks like. And so, when we see an occasional glimpse, we are shocked at the ignorance, at how conditions and diseases and sickness are considered normal. At how eating Twinkies can be considered a healthy habit because it keeps the blood sugar up. And in the midst of our shock, we are reminded how far we have come and that we are no longer “normal”. Not even close. Most people would consider us to be pretty weird, or crunchy, or far out, or wacko, or one of the other terms that we may have used in the past to describe people like us who were just plain different.

We live here in America, we were born and raised here, but we don’t live like most people do. We don’t eat or cook or shop or treat illness like most people. We have become abnormal. So much so that we may as well have been born and raised in a different country. We are aliens – aliens who are a lot more healthy than most people. But we are going to continue down the path we’re on, and maybe one day, everything will change, and we’ll be “normal” again. :)

–steve

http://www.abeeyoutifullife.com

What would you change?

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be asking for feedback on a number of topics related to Beeyoutiful. I would appreciate any and all responses. In this context, even harsh criticism is helpful. So, get your thinking caps on, sharpen up your opinionatedness (if that is a word) and let us have it. As I present some topics, I have thought of some questions to ask yourself that might trigger some opinionated response: What would I add or remove and what would I change or do differently if I had the opportunity? What do I really like, and what do I dislike? What is especially helpful, and what is not so much? What is important to me and what is unimportant? What has frustrated me, and what has made me feel special?

So the topic for this week is communications, but specifically email communications. Currently we use email for newsletters, new product alerts, order confirmation and receiving and responding to questions. We are also hoping to offer multipart informational courses in which bite-sized emails could be sent out at regular intervals, to cover some kind of topic or another. One of these we had thought of is a pregnancy series. When a participant signed up, they would input what week they were on, and they would get emails going forward from that week with what to expect, helpful tips, and encouragement. We have also thought about emailing a series of videos. We’ve considered sending out health bulletins, with an article similar to what might appear in a print newsletter, links to related health articles and perhaps even a compilation of interesting health related links that we have found during the week or month. And of course we can be doing or forwarding health advocacy news, links, etc. And there are a lot of other things that we can do with email.

So in addition to the questions above, here are a few more to stimulate some thoughtful opinions. Would you like more or less communications? What would you like to see in a newsletter? Do email courses interest you? What else would you like to see us doing? Thanks in advance! –steve

 

Pro-vaccination as a belief system

I’ve been putting this off for a long time, because it just wasn’t coming together the way that I wanted. I wanted it to be a step by step logical walkthrough with examples, of how pro-vaccination was a belief system, not a scientific position, blah, blah, best for public health, blah, blah. That it was an ideology, for all practical purposes, a religion. Faith is in a vial of fluid with a name attached to it – “vaccine”. It really doesn’t matter what is in the vial, as long as the label “vaccine” is applied to it, then it is going to save the people. All else is ignored. “Can we?” is more important than “should we?”.  Pharmaceutical companies race to come out with new vaccines because if they can, it will be rubber stamped by the “regulatory” and immediately be incorporated into the vaccination schedule or perhaps even legislatively mandated as with HPV, resulting in instant return on investment and many years of future profits. Reported adverse reactions are classified as coincidental, or unrelated. All data that vaccines might be harmful is ignored, fingers are in ears, and believers shout as loud as they can that “VACCINES SAVE LIVES!!”

This started out as the second part of a response to an article that appeared in Pediatrics magazine encouraging pediatricians and government to scare people into vaccinating. But I was not able to finish it in that format. It got way too wordy and dry, and the more I wrote the more upset I got. :) Not a good frame of mind. But I promised to get this done, I know some were waiting and have probably given up hope that they’d ever see this part 2. And I have a lot of other things that I want to write, so I just want to try to get to my point as quickly as possible. It will be more editorial than a logical argument, and that will have to do.

I pointed out in part 1 that the author was espousing an ideology, not actual science. The belief is that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary. And you know, I don’t really care what they believe or what they do for their kids. The problem is, they care what I believe, and more importantly, they want me to vaccinate my kids, whether I want to or not. And one might think this was a noble sentiment, that they are trying to protect my kids. But it isn’t. They really don’t care about my kids. They care about their kids or “the greater good” or “public health” or “the good of the many”. You’ll hear these phrases thrown around. And it is evil. Maybe I’ll elaborate on that later.

I got a chance recently to experience some of this. We rarely visit doctors, but we decided to go in for a well-visit for our kids. Typically when we go to a doctor, we spend a couple of hours waiting around, filling out paperwork, and getting poked, prodded and squeezed by the staff. And waiting. Typically we see a doctor for about 5-15 minutes. On this occasion were “honored” by the presence of the doctor for well over an hour, as he attacked us for our non-vaccination for our children position. He asked questions about our religion, our education, and other stuff unrelated to the task at hand to try to find an angle he could use to convert us. He accused us of being proud, he got huffy, he made dire prognostications for our kids. It was unsettling. He said that the pretty much the entire purpose of “wellness” visit checkups, was to vaccinate, and if we weren’t going to let him vaccinate then he didn’t see the point. He said if we wanted him to be the kids’ doctor, then we would have to work with him, let him do his thing, i.e. do whatever he recommended, e.g. we would need to vaccinate. He ignored every fact that we presented that he didn’t know how to handle, and continued straight ahead in his assault on our unbelief.

He said something at one point that if there was an adverse reaction like a seizure, we could reevaluate, and perhaps space out the vaccinations more or cease giving them altogether. I responded that at that point, it would be too late, that we couldn’t do anything about it. He replied that sure he could. He could shove a tube down my baby’s throat and breath for him until he started breathing again. We were shocked that he would be so cavalier and, um, unpolished in his presentation? And it really didn’t address the point. If my baby had a seizure, it is because something was wrong in the brain. Yeah, you might be able to keep my baby alive, but what about the brain damage? How are you gonna fix that?

It was a disturbing time. It really unsettled us for days. Not because anything that he said was new information or undermined or invalidated all of the study that we have done on this. No, he said the same old things. But his presentation was so forceful. He really was attacking us. He was the type of person that I could see calling child protective services to come take our kids away because we were abusing them by not vaccinating. And because he purported to be a medical professional standing on science, but at one point, totally dismissed the PhDs, that work for the CDC, the scientists that are supposed to study all of these vaccines and who work up the schedule of vaccinations, as being “not medical doctors”. Um, yeah. I don’t think he realized what he was doing when he said that. He was invalidating his whole position. He vaccinates according to American Academy of Pediatrics schedule. That schedule comes from these guys at the CDC. So if they don’t know what they are talking about as he indicated, then the schedule they make is hooey, and they schedule that he is following more faithfully than most people worship their deity, is hooey as well. So while I’m not going to go into a logical argument of why it is the same as a religion, at least as far as it matters for the rest of what I am going to say, just trust me, it’s a religion.

So, anyway, Steph and I wrestled for a while with this mandatory vaccination thing. It’s not quite a law, not yet. But for all practical purposes, it is, at least for everybody that wants their kids to participate in public school (or a few other things). It is not a law, but it is a policy. And to hear the school people talk about it, there are no exceptions. However, in most states there is a religious exemption. And here is where we had the crisis of conscience. We don’t have a religious objection per se, to vaccination. The Bible says nothing about vaccination. We are not part of a church whose charter prohibits such things. How could we, in good conscience, claim a religious exemption?

Well we are through wrestling with that particular issue. My decisions for what to do for my family’s health, stem in part from my religion, my belief system, my faith in God and my understanding of things in that context. It provides the foundation. Upon that rests knowledge, and reason. Small changes in the foundation can have significant effects on the superstructure. So in part, every decision that I make is religious in nature, having that foundation. On the other hand, the same is true on the other side of the equation. And so I find that I do have a true religious objection to a law or policy that requires me to do something that I strongly feel is wrong for my family. And so if it is ever needed, we will fill out and turn in our religious exemption paperwork with a clear conscience. And that was the point I was trying to get to.

I just want to mention one other thing about this “for the good of the many” thing. I think it is evil, because, the end result of that is, we kill a few, for the good of the many. Right now it might be, yeah, a few kids are damaged by vaccines that otherwise wouldn’t be, but it is for the good of the many. Later on it might be, harvesting the organs from a healthy, but brain damaged child to save the lives of many other “normal” people. Or, failing to extend life support to save all of those resources. Or the sacrifice of handicapped, or terminally ill, or morbidly obese, or those with low IQ, or just the very old. It could be sterilization, population control. It could be stripping the rich, or even those who just planned ahead, of their assets to distribute them. The sacrifice of the few, for the good of the many. For the public good. I know that these things may seem farfetched or unrealistic, but that is because of the moral compass you have. Not everybody has that same moral compass. So while you might apply that ideology within the confines of your morality, and it be reasonably innocuous, the same concept enacted by another, who do not hold your high moral code, could be devastating. The truth is that most of these things thave been recorded in the history of many and many of them in the not too distant past. “Sacrifice of a few, for the good of the many.” “For the public good.” Pure evil. And one more for good measure, “In the interests of National Security.” All of these are justification for stripping away the rights of the individual.