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.

Response to Pediatricians’ article

So here is my analysis of the article that appeared in Pediatrics magazine that I previously posted.  The article encouraged pediatricians to use fear and anxiety to manipulate public opinion.

In the first paragraph the author is calling for greater potency in presentations to the public that vaccines are safe, effective and necessary. I’d just like to point out that nothing in life is safe. I mean, think of anything, anything good, and too much of it will probably kill you, or at least make you sick. Even water. The only time that anybody asserts that something IS “safe”, is when there is some danger involved. Think about it. Flying. Cars. Amusement park rides. Anybody that tells you that something IS safe, is wanting to sell you something.

There are a lot of very smart, very educated people who would argue against the effectiveness of vaccines in general, and certain ones in particular. I’m not here to make a case for that, but I do want to bring up one point. If a particular car is a bad, a lemon from the time it roles off the assembly line, the auto industry won’t tank by admitting that the car was absolute crap or even dangerous. And changes are made and people still keep buying cars. The medical and pharmaceutical community are not willing to publicly state that any vaccine is not safe, effective, and necessary. If they can come up with a vaccine, then it IS therefore “safe” and “effective” and “necessary” seemingly just because it is a vaccine. There seems to be no capacity to judge vaccines on an individual basis.

I’m not even going to address “necessary” here except to say that there are definitely dissenting opinions. I know parents who search around for somebody that has chicken pox so they can get their kids exposed early on, so they can have a mild case and lifelong immunity. Why then is a chicken pox vaccine (varicella) necessary? That it has to be refreshed every few years for life or the individual runs the risk of getting very bad chicken pox or shingles makes it seem that the “cure” might be worse than a disease. But it is a vaccine, therefore it is “necessary”.

The author goes on to encourage various groups, pediatricians, and even the CDC to get on board with a “clear and assertive campaign”. So, one question that comes to my mind is “why?” Why is it so important? He does not expressly say. But obviously he thinks that anti-vaccine campaigns, can or will lead to fewer vaccinations. What that means to him is not readily apparent from this article. But one consideration is that reduced vaccinations will result in reduced revenues for pediatricians. There is also the issue of maintaining public confidence. If they have that, they can tell people to do or buy, anything. Control and money are likely issues here. He might also have some concern about “public health”.

One other thing I want to point out at the end of the first paragraph is his use of the word “beliefs”. He doesn’t say that we need to be more vocal defending our science, the evidence, all of the studies. He says they need to defend their beliefs. What beliefs is he talking about? The ones I just addressed. The beliefs that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary. It is a belief. It is not irrefutable scientific fact. And from all of the studies that I have examined, nobody is trying to arrive at irrefutable scientific fact. The studies are very poorly devised if that is the purpose, and quite frequently, overreach in their conclusions, in order to further this belief.

The author goes on to say that scaring people with negative messages to manipulate them is okay as long as it is done ethically (not sure what that means in this context or in their belief system) and tells “a truth”. I thought it was interesting that he said “a truth” and not “the truth”. “A truth” can be part of a larger body of information that makes up “the truth”. But when only using “a truth”, one can mislead, or deceive, by accident or intention. For instance it is “a truth” that seat belts cause deaths. Researchers have shown that in some situations, having a seat belt on, will cause your death, when not having it on would not. So, one could truthfully say that seat belts kill people. True, yes. The whole truth, not by a long shot. Just because some have died, and will die BECAUSE of wearing seat belts, does not mean that seat belts are dangerous or that wearing them is more dangerous than not. The whole ruth is much different than “a truth”. There are a whole host of factors, not the least of which are speed, road conditions, skill, distance, size of vehicle, tires, brakes, alignment, etc. that make up the whole truth. And so, the real truth is that most of the time, seat belts will save lives and injuries that would have occurred without them.

Giving one piece of “truth” like the author espouses, without context and without balancing information, ceases to be the sharing of good, potentially life-saving information, and becomes the preaching of an ideology a belief system. The only reason for suppressing the other information is that it will not achieve your goals, or will potential undermine or call into question the beliefs that you are trying to propogate. The author is very blunt that the goal of this scare campaign is to manipulate public opinion. He wants to scare people into their belief system.

More on this later.

Busy little bees

Recently, we have lost some employees due to various circumstances, and this has resulted in us having a lot more work to do, and again doing things that we had to do in the early days of the company, customer service, shipping and other things. In many ways it is very exciting because that’s where the action is. In others, it is very exhausting, but because in addition to do our those things, we are still doing most of the things that we were doing before, behind the scenes stuff like accounting, website work, catalog, writing, product development and even more mundane things.
But despite the excitement and the positive energy that we’re experiencing, and despite really loving what we are doing more than in a long time, I personally am starting to get fatigued. Not badly, but it is starting to get wearing.
We are trying to be very careful about who we add to our team, which is why it has taken a while to get some help. But help is on the way. So no need to worry there.
In the meantime we’re doing the best we can keeping up with everything. And we’re taking our supplements to stay healthy and keep going.
And tonight I played basketball.  I love basketball. It is a great exercise and it is a great stress reliever. But playing has been rare these last few years. I’m more physically exhausted now than I was before, and I’ll probably barely be able to walk tomorrow (I am far too sedentary), but I think it was a good thing.
And now I should sleep. Some nights there is enough, and others not quite enough. But there is the weekend to which to look forward. Except this one. Sounds like it will be busy with late nights trying to watch the new year come in and all.
I hope you all enjoy what you are doing in life, as much as I do. I am very blessed in that.
–steve tallent