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There's a Revolution Happening in Education - Oct 1-3

This conference is not for everyone.

My friend Dr. Edith Ubuntu Chan has brought together some of the most powerful voices in homeschooling and unschooling, for a three-day conference dedicated to breaking old education paradigms and building new ones.

This fall, many families are RISING UP and choosing to raise their children in ways that are far more respectful, and honoring of the individual child, than most of what we know as "education" has been. 

If you are among them, consider signing up, here

(Note: This is an affiliate link, and I will get a little something for everyone who signs up from it.)

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Update: I'm Taking a Short Break

 

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Just a quick update: A couple of days after Christmas, we had to take our daughter into the hospital because she was having non-stop seizures. I'll have more to say about that, but for now I'll just say this: It was heartening to be reminded that there are legions of really good, competent, caring and hard-working people stuck inside an increasingly dysfunctional system. It is long past time for a change to that system, and when we change it, it won't only be for us–the consumers of healthcare–but for them, the producers, too. 

Anyway, we were there for 12 days, her seizures are mostly under control now with some powerful meds, one of which comes off in a few weeks, and the other one hopefully soon too. Then we need to come up with our next plan.

Needless to say, I haven't been blogging or podcasting during that time, although I have been taking lots of notes, and I've got lots of guests planned. I'll be catching up on things over the next couple of weeks, but should get my next episode–my first one of 2021–up near the end of January.

Until then, thanks for listening and for reading, I'm still posting a bit on Twitter (mostly things for myself, to go back and look at later), MeWe, and (once it's up again) Parler. And if you're feeling crappy about where things are right now, just go and watch some J.P. Sears. Oh and read Annabel Pickering & the Sky Pirates. It's not just for kids you know.

And don't feel crappy. Because 2021 is going to be an amazing year for freedom. You'll see.

 

 

 


WTMWD #53: Dr. Paul Thomas on the suspension of his medical license 5 days after publishing a "vaxxed vs. unvaxxed" study

 

 

 

 

 

 

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According to the Oregon Medical Board, pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas is "...a serious danger to the public health..." Oddly, they only discovered this after he published a peer-reviewed study comparing health outcomes of patients who had been vaccinated to those who had not. You can see some of the results of that study below.

I speak with Dr. Thomas about what's going on here, about his study, and about the meaning of informed consent. We also talk a little about the nature of medical boards, how he came to be skeptical of vaccine-safety claims, why more doctors AREN'T skeptical, and what we should be watching for in the first year of Covid-19 vaccines. 

His study is here.

The order from the Oregon Medical Board, suspending Dr. Thomas' license, is here.

Dr. Thomas' book,  "The Vaccine-Friendly Plan" can be found here.

And you can support his defense fund here, at his Freedom to Choose site.

There are other ways you can help too. From his site:



MORE WAYS YOU CAN HELP

  1. Support the legal effort - donation (PayPal, Credit Card or check)
  2. Contact Providence Health Plan by Email, send letters, make phone calls (list provided at the end of this press release), and request they cancel the termination of Integrative Pediatrics in Portland, Oregon, as this removes the only option for parents seeking their legal right to informed consent when it comes to vaccines. 
  3. Send a copy of all your correspondence to:
    Troy S. Bundy and Hart Wagner
    1000 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97205 (
    tsb@hartwagner.com)
  4. Contact the Catholic church leadership demanding they stop the discrimination and abandonment of the vulnerable children being cared for at Integrative Pediatrics. The latter have nowhere else to go where they can get informed consent.
  5. Contact Kathleen Harder MD Chair of Oregon Medical Board
  6. Contact Governor Kate Brown to reinstate Dr Paul Thomas’ license and take their complaints through the proper channels.


And I would also add that parents (and anyone else) seeking to have more decision-making power over their medical care choices consider alternatives to insurance. I spoke last week with Charlie Frohman on that very topic, (episode here) and you can get information on the medical cost-sharing plans Charlie discussed, here.

 

 


Dog-Eat-Dog Statism for Special-Needs Families: You’re Either at the Table or You’re on the Menu

 

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Image: Non-commercial use

 

I wrote this six years ago, but I think the issues I raise here are more relevant than ever:

 

I wouldn’t have expected a conference on therapy for children with autism and related disorders to have much to say about politics, but in a country where the state’s tentacles reach into pretty much every aspect of human life, I should have known better.

My daughter is developmentally disabled and I am pursuing more child-centered therapies for her than the more widely recognized ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) method, so last fall I attended the DIR Floortime Conference on Floortime, a more play-based form of therapy.

As soon as I walked in, I was struck by two phrases: “Parent Choice” and “Advocacy.” I was pretty sure that “Parent Choice” wasn’t going to mean what I hoped it would mean. So I asked someone who was wearing a big button with the phrase on it, and found that indeed, “Parent Choice” in this context simply refers to having the “choice” to force your insurance company to pay for alternative therapies in addition to the more established ABA method.

The issue revolves around a bill that was passed in 2011, SB 946, that mandates insurance coverage for developmental therapies to treat autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, either due to the way the bill was written or to the way it has been interpreted – and with much thanks to the ABA lobby – the insurance codes only apply to ABA therapy and not to alternatives. So now the DIR/Floortime lobby is rallying to change that. Of course, as someone who doesn’t believe in forcing other people to give me anything, I couldn’t support this kind of “choice”, but I just smiled and moved on.

As it turned out, the guest of honor at the conference’s gala dinner was Dr. Louis Vismara, senior policy consultant to California Senator Darrell Steinberg, the author of SB 946. Dr. Vismara spoke on the first morning of the conference and assured parents that he would work hard to get the problem fixed so that parents could also force their insurance companies to pay for Floortime therapy. There was much applause.

There were other concerns too. Some parents had felt the effects of state budget cuts and had to struggle to get the services they needed for their children. Dr. Vismara sympathized with these concerns and stressed the importance of being active in “advocating” for their children. He said that, in the world of public policy, “you’re either at the table or you’re on the menu.”

He ended his talk by urging parents to get involved in the political process, and to contact his office with any practical proposals. “If a specific problem is identified and there is a solution”, he said, then that solution has a “strong chance” of being implemented.

I had identified a specific problem and had a solution in mind. So at the end of his talk, I went up to him and asked him about it.

 

Read the rest here.

 

 


WTMWD #43: Kerry McDonald on a powerful weapon against teen depression. Also: What to do about Halloween!

 

 

 

 

I speak with unschooling mom and homeschooling advocate Kerry McDonald about an upcoming 4-day webinar to help inspire teens' inner entrepreneurs – and about why it is more critical than ever that we encourage our teens to find ways to create and to contribute now.

We also talk about Halloween...

FEE's "Entrepreneur Week" is Nov. 16-19, and is FREE. You can sign up here.

Kerry's book, "Homeschooling in the Time of Covid-19" is available for download here.

Her article "How our Culture Disempowers Teens", from last year, is here.

And her recent article on the Halloween bans is here.

 

 


Why FB's "Fact Check" of Mask Harm Claims is Utter Bullsh*t - Addendum to "Why I Won't Be Putting Masks on my Kids"

 

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So I've just seen that Facebook has "fact checked" the claim (made in my most recent post) that "Wearing face masks can cause carbon dioxide toxicity; can weaken immune system." (I've written elsewhere about why Facebook's "fact checkers" are not really fact checkers.)

Here's why this is bullshit:

1. From the "fact check": "While it is true that hypercapnia can be life-threatening, the claim that it can be caused by wearing face masks, either surgical masks or respirators, is unsupported and runs contrary to existing evidence..." It goes on to claim that healthcare workers "...wear both types of masks for long hours at work without reported impacts to their work performance."

In my post, I cited two studies showing that wearing N95 masks can cause hypoxia, with headaches being the primary symptom revealed by the studies. If the "fact-checkers" want to claim that they are only going after claims of "hypercapnia" and not "hypoxia", then that would be utterly disingenuous. It is clear from the evidence I provided that wearing these types of masks does create serious health problems, whether because of oxygen deprivation or excess CO2 levels. 

2. The "fact checkers" go on to assert, quoting an article in Forbes:

Take surgeons, for example—during long procedures, they wear surgical masks for hours with no ill-effects on their carbon dioxide levels. Having a surgeon with an altered mental state would not be in the best interests of either the patient or the surgeon and thankfully, this simply does not happen.

This may be true, I don't know, as I haven't looked into studies on CO2 levels for surgeons using masks. However I did link to a study that looked at the impact on oxygen levels among surgeons wearing masks, and it showed that oxygen levels were indeed adversely affected by the masks.

3. They go on to say: 

"The claim that wearing masks would weaken the immune system is also unsupported by scientific evidence. Prolonged wearing of face masks can cause problems such as discomfort, skin irritation, and even pressure ulcers[3], however immunodeficiency is not among the problems caused by prolonged face mask use."

This is complete horseshit.

In my post, for example, I cite two studies showing that wearing N95 masks can cause hypoxia among healthcare workers. I also link to studies showing that hypoxia enahnces immune suppression, that hypoxia negatively impacts Th1 function, and that "hypoxia-driven immunosuppression" contributes to creating favorable environments for cancer cells. Also, tangentially related (not necessarily related to immune function), a study showing that continuous cloth mask use was correlated with higher infection rates than was "standard practice" mask use (non-continuous).

So yes, immunodeficiency absolutely IS among the problems caused by prolonged face-mask use, you criminally dishonest pieces of manure.

I'm sure there is more, but I'll stop there.

...except for this last point. The fact checkers say, at the very end:

"A much more likely cause of hypercapnia and asphyxia that the general public should be aware of is covering one’s face with plastic. Because plastic is not porous enough to allow for quick air exchange, unlike face masks, it poses a genuine suffocation risk as cases in the past have demonstrated, and warning labels on plastic bags are used to remind people of this risk."

And I get why they had to say that. 

Because anyone who is stupid enough to take Facebook's "fact-checkers" seriously, is also stupid enough to put a plastic bag over their head and expect it to protect them. This is actually the most responsible piece of information in the entire article.

 

 

 


Why I Won't Be Putting Masks on my Kids:

 

 

 

 

This is a video that by some miracle is still up on YouTube. It is in German, and maybe that's why it's still up. It is a video of a German neurologist, Dr. Margarite Griesz-Brisson MD, PhD, explaining that wearing masks for any extended period of time can cause permanent brain damage.

There's a translation here (which I can't personally vouch for as I don't speak German), and a partial transcript here.

(UPDATE: Now here, because the account for the link I posted earlier has been "...archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service" - WordPress. You all are paying attention now, right? You're starting to physically copy and save anything you see online that might be important because you know it may not be there the next time you look for it. Right?)

From that transcript:

“The rebreathing of our exhaled air will without a doubt create oxygen deficiency and a flooding of carbon dioxide. We know that the human brain is very sensitive to oxygen depravation. There are nerve cells for example in the hippocampus, that can’t be longer than 3 minutes without oxygen – they cannot survive. The acute warning symptoms are headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, issues in concentration, slowing down of the reaction time – reactions of the cognitive system.

"...The second problem is that the nerve cells in your brain are unable to divide themselves normally. So in case our governments will generously allow as to get rid of the masks and go back to breathing oxygen freely again in a few months, the lost nerve cells will no longer be regenerated. What is gone is gone.

"For children and adolescents, masks are an absolute no-no. Children and adolescents have an extremely active and adaptive immune system and they need a constant interaction with the microbiome of the Earth. Their brain is also incredibly active, as it is has so much to learn. The child’s brain, or the youth’s brain is thirsting for oxygen. The more metabolically active the organ is, the more oxygen it requires.  In children and adolescents every organ is metabolically active.

"To deprive a child’s or an adolescent’s brain from oxygen, or to restrict it in any way, is not only dangerous to their health, it is absolutely criminal. Oxygen deficiency inhibits the development of the brain, and the damage that has taken place as a result CANNOT be reversed.

 

Dr. Griesz-Brisson is not the only one saying this. 

In March, a study of healthcare workers in Singapore found that "(m)ost healthcare workers develop de novo PPE‐associated headaches or exacerbation of their pre‐existing headache disorders" after increased (mandated) PPE usage, including wearing N95 masks. This repeats the findings of a similar study done in 2003, and another study from 2008 found that surgeons experienced a decrease in oxygen saturation levels after the first hour of wearing a surgical mask.

As Dr. Griesz-Brisson points out, headaches can be one symptom of oxygen deprivation. And while these studies involved the use of N95 masks and surgical masks, not cloth masks, I have heard anecdotally from several people who wear masks to go shopping, etc. that doing so gives them headaches and can cause lightheadedness and a drop in O2 levels (yes, one friend measured this.) So while it is technically true that these studies were not done using cloth masks, I am pretty confident that one would get the same results if they were.

There are other studies showing some of the harm that face masks can cause, including immunosuppression. I won't go into all of them here, but am providing a few links in case anyone wants to look at them.

Meanwhile, in early September, a group of 70 doctors in Belgium wrote an open letter to the Flemish Minister of Education, calling on him to "abolish mandatory mouth mask at school." The doctors argued that forcing masks on children hampered their development and would cause serious problems for them. 

From their letter:

In recent months, the general well-being of children and young people has come under severe pressure. We see in our practices an increasing number of children and young people with complaints due to the rules of conduct that have been imposed on them. We diagnose anxiety and sleep problems, behavioral disorders and fear of contamination. We are seeing an increase in domestic violence, isolation and deprivation. Many lack physical and emotional contact; attachment problems and addiction are obvious. ‘

The mandatory mouth mask in schools is a major threat to their development. It ignores the essential needs of the growing child. The well-being of children and young people is highly dependent on the emotional connection with others. (…) The aim of education is to create an optimal context so that a maximum development of young people is possible. The school environment must be a safe practice field. The mouth mask obligation, on the other hand, makes the school a threatening and unsafe environment, where emotional connection becomes difficult.

 

But, as with mandatory vaccines, doesn't every parent have a duty to put their own child in harm's way in order to potentially protect others?

To put it bluntly: No.

However, for those who are genuinely worried about the harm you might be causing to others by not wearing a mask, or by not putting a mask on your child, take heart: It really does look like–with a few very specific exceptions–wearing a mask is not going to help anyone else, and in fact could be helping to spread the virus.

And, as many epidemiologists and others have been saying from the beginning of all of this, it does not make sense to try to isolate an entire population from a new virus in the first place. The way that humans have always dealt with new pathogens is to interact with them and develop immunity to them. More and more doctors and scientists are speaking out about this now.

But getting back to the mask efficacy issue, here are some links to articles that explain why I say that the masks aren't going to help prevent the spread of the virus (if you think that's a worthy goal in the first place):

This is a very good piece from Jeremy Hammond, back in June, examining the mask efficacy issue, including a discussion of the specific situations in which they may help prevent transmission. (I spoke with Jeremy about masks on my podcast in June.)

This is a wonderful piece from Roger Koops, who has a Ph.D in chemistry, and is the author of several papers on pharmaceutical technology and chemistry. He goes into painstaking detail here, to explain how serious PPE masking works, and how cloth masks interact with viruses. It is well worth reading the entire piece, although I will warn you that you won't come away with any false sense of security regarding cloth masks and viruses intact.

This letter from Patricia Neuenschwander details many of the reasons that healthy people should not be wearing masks, and includes links to studies supporting what she says. She includes a reference to this study from the Chicago School of Public Health, which says:

"We do not recommend requiring the general public who do not have symptoms of COVID-19-like illness to routinely wear cloth or surgical masks because:

  • There is no scientific evidence they are effective in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission..."

And finally, (it's not really "finally" because there's a lot I'm not including here) the folks at Rational Ground have put together some illuminating graphs that shed light on the effect (rather, non-effect) that mask mandates have had where implemented. You can see those here.

They have also created a phenomenal interactive tool that looks at mask use by location, against Covid-19 cases and deaths. I really recommend taking a look.

In fact, because I know that some of you won't take a look, I'm going to post a few sample results from that tool, as well as some of their graphs. 

 


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RG tool - masks-deaths

 

 

Rational_Ground_Israel vs Sweden mask mandates

 

Rational_Ground_LA mask mandate chart

 

 

I don't really know what else to say. Except that every time I see a post from one of my parent friends, about how they are getting their child to wear their mask, I just want to weep. Especially when it is a parent of a child with special needs. Our kids are already "harmed" developmentally. They don't need more harm done to their brains through oxygen deprivation. And certainly not for a cause for which there is little if any justification.

As always, I welcome any information that counters any of what I have posted here. I would especially love to be wrong about the harm that masks can cause to children. Because I know that no matter what I or others say on the topic, there will be countless parents who still decide to put masks on their kids. 

 

 


Letter to our Son's Summer Camp


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Our son has a summer camp that he has gone to for the past several years now. He absolutely loves it, and it really is one of the things he most looks forward to each year. 

This year, the people running the camp really did try to keep it going, even if only for part of the summer. But for whatever combination of reasons (lockdown "restrictions", and the fears of other families, etc.) they were unable to. I cried when I got the email.

A few days ago, they sent out an email asking for parents to voice any concerns they might have about coming back in the summer of 2021.

Here is my reply (I've changed the name of the camp). I am posting it here in case it is helpful as a guide or template for others who might want to correspond with their children's schools or camps, etc.:

 

Hello,

We love, love, love Camp Wilderness Adventure. It is one of the things our son most looks forward to every year. So we were heartbroken when there was no camp this year, although we understand why you had to make the decision you did.

Our main concern now regarding next summer is that there might be restrictions in place that would either prohibit our son from attending, or would make the experience significantly less than what it has been in the past.

Again, we understand the position you are in: You have to deal with both state government orders (which, as many have pointed out, are NOT laws, and the governor of California does not have the lawful power to dictate to businesses the conditions under which they may operate), and with the fears and preferences of many different families. Of course you cannot build your business around the preferences of a single family, and we understand that.

However, since you asked, we do want to let you know what our preferences and concerns are:


1. We are not at all concerned about our son contracting Covid-19. All the available evidence shows that this virus does not pose a serious risk to young people. Children in particular, are more at risk from common influenza viruses. Should he become infected, we would keep him isolated from any elderly or vulnerable people in our lives;

2. We are very concerned about the social isolation our son is currently experiencing, as well as about the kinds of restrictions that are being put forward as the "new normal" for children in schools and other settings. To be very very clear: We have no interest at all in these restrictions. We find them dehumanizing, psychologically damaging, and in some cases dangerous to children's health. And given our first point, above, they are also completely unnecessary;

3. Some government and public health authorities are saying that these measures will have to be in place until there is a vaccine for SARS-Cov-2. Without going into all of the problems that are surfacing about this particular vaccine, let us be absolutely clear that under no circumstances will we be having our son vaccinated. So if this becomes a condition of his attendance at Camp Wilderness Adventure, then he will not be able to attend. Again, this would be heartbreaking for him and for us;

4. We understand that it must seem as if all of these restrictions and conditions are being imposed upon you and there is nothing you can do about them. But that is not true. Many people, including business owners, ARE fighting the orders that have already been imposed, and are planning to fight any future orders. We can provide information about some of these people, and resources, if you are interested.


Again, we understand that you are operating a business and that you must satisfy the needs and preferences of a wide range of different people. And we understand that there is a lot of fear out in the world right now around this virus. We believe that that fear is unwarranted, especially in the realm of children's and young people's activities. And we are committed to helping to educate about this and to combatting the fear, so that everyone's children can go back to having normal childhoods, to being around other children and to not being taught that it is normal to fear other people.

We are not alone. Just last week, a group of highly esteemed scientists came out with a statement–the Great Barrington Declaration–saying essentially what we have said here: That the lockdowns were misguided, that the vast majority of the population–including children–should be able to get back to their normal lives, and that only the elderly or otherwise vulnerable need to be protected.

We understand that you have a business to keep alive, and we are in no position to tell you how to do that. However we also feel that there is something critically important at stake here. How we interact with each other, how our children learn and play, the very foundations of human interaction and human society are being turned upside down, and for no good reason. We do not know what your opinions or beliefs about that are, but we hope that you will choose to do what you believe is right, and not just what is expedient or the least troublesome.

Thank you for your time, and for all that you have created over the years! We hope that our son will be able to spend many more years with you all!

Sincerely,




 


WTMWD #35: Connor Boyack: Fighting the war over our children's minds

 

 

 

 

 

 

I speak with Connor Boyack, author of the Tuttle Twins series. He talks about the war that is being waged for our children's minds, why independent thinking is so critical, and gives some positive inspiration for communicating the philosophy of liberty.

You can find the Tuttle Twins books here.

Connor's Libertas Institute is here.

And the book by Milton Meyer, "They Thought They Were Free" is here.

 


Facebook: Some Bullying & Harassment is OK!

 

You may remember Sara Brady, the Idaho mom who was arrested for being on a playground. What you may not know is that there is an entire group on Facebook dedicated to harrassing her. Here is a screenshot:



Idaho against Sara Brady - no hate speech or bullying copy


Note that there is "no hate speech or bullying" allowed in a group the express purpose of which is to encourage hate speech and bullying directed against Sara Brady and people like her.

A number of people reported this group for what a reasonable person might think was a violation of its Community Standards.

Here is how Facebook responded:


FB reply to Against Sara Brady group report

 

If you're left wondering just what those Community Standards do entail, especially given the ease with which the social-media giant pulls down content that in any way conflicts with the positions of the WHO and the CDC for example... you are not alone.

 

 

 


A Shameless Plug - but Also Not

 

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This is a shameless plug... but it's also not.
 
I really do believe that the most important thing right now, at this moment in time (and also always) the thing that is most missing right now, the thing that civilization itself depends upon, is independent thinking.
 
That's what my book, Annabel Pickering & the Sky Pirates - the Fantastical Contraption, is all about. I don't think I'm at all preachy about it, and if I've done a good job of it then you won't come away saying "well that was one fantastic book about independent thought! I'll have to recommend it to all the parents I know!" You'll come away saying "wow! What a great adventure story with pirates and air ships and anarchy and a plucky young schoolgirl! I can't wait to find out what happens in the next one!"
 
...but it's really about independent thinking.
 
You be the judge though.
 
 
 

16 Children's Books You Didn't Know Were Anti-Authoritarian

 

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I wrote this list for FEE.org back in December, but I realize that it has never been more appropriate or more necessary than right now. Enjoy:

 

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Kids solving problems and getting out of predicaments on their own without the help of adults (indeed, often with their hindrance) is a common theme in children's literature. But some books go even farther, diving straight into outright anti-authoritarianism. Good for them—if you're going to impart moral lessons in children's literature (not always a good idea), why not impart the ones that are most sorely neglected in the real world?

Here are sixteen that stand out:

 

1. Snow Treasure

The kids are the heroes in this thrilling WWII story, based on real events. Nazi troops have occupied a small Norwegian village. The townspeople fear that they will steal all of their savings—nine million dollars worth of gold—but they have no way of getting it to safety . . . except for a bunch of kids on sleds. An action-packed look at finding creative ways to work around official control and theft.

 

2. The Toothpaste Millionaire

Young entrepreneurs figure out how to make a better, cheaper, toothpaste, and become wildly successful. They also learn about corporate malfeasance when one of the big players doesn't like the competition. Fun for the whole family! (Unless you're a corrupt toothpaste dynasty family.)

 

3. Pippi Longstocking

Beloved Pippi is a nine-year-old girl with extraordinary strength and no parents, which is "…of course very nice because there was no one to tell her to go to bed just when she was having the most fun…" When the police come to take Pippi away to a children's home, she tells them she already has one, and then plays tag with them, traps them on her roof, and sends them away with cookies.

 

4. Charlotte's Web

Just because something is in print doesn't mean it's true. And controlling what people believe is one of the greatest tools of every authoritarian. Even a little spider knows that.

 

5. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has come under the control of the Ministry of Magic, and students are prohibited from learning the magical skills they will need to defend themselves against evil.

Harry Potter and his friends decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a secret group and teaching each other the skills they need. This volume contains one of the best ever depictions of a petty, vindictive, authoritarian personality, in the deliciously detestable Dolores Umbridge.

 

...read the rest of the list here.

 

 

 


WTMWD #27: Celeste McGovern: Why we should be very concerned about a Covid-19 vaccine

 

 

 

I speak with writer Celeste McGovern about the efforts to create a vaccine for Covid-19. McGovern has been writing about vaccines for many years and recently wrote a piece outlining some of the major problems we should expect to see - and in some cases have already seen - with the coming Covid-19 vaccines.

Celeste's article is here.

What Doctors Don't Tell You is here.

Some of the groups Celeste mentions:

Vaccine Choice Canada

Children's Health Defense

Also: the Informed Consent Action Network


Inside the Mind of an Authoritarian: Kerry McDonald Debates Harvard Professor who Called for "Presumptive Ban" on Homeschooling

 

 

This past Monday, unschooling mom and homeschooling advocate Kerry McDonald took on the Harvard professor, Elizabeth Bartholet, who recently called for a "presumptive ban" on homeschooling. Their debate was sponsored by the Cato Institute, and you can watch it here.

I give Professor Bartholet credit for engaging in the debate. It is rare that those of the–let's just call it "authoritarian"–persuasion are willing to engage in open debate with those who do not share their worldview. But to be frank, Kerry (very politely and very professionally) stomped her into the pavement and then ran back and forth over her with a steamroller.

As Kerry points out in her follow-up commentary, this debate is not only about homeschooling. It is fundamentally about the relationship of all of us to the state:


While this event was framed as a discussion about homeschooling, including whether and how to regulate the practice, it is clear that homeschooling is just a strawman. The real issue focuses on the role of government in people’s lives, and in particular in the lives of families and children. In her 80-page Arizona Law Review article that sparked this controversy, Professor Bartholet makes it clear that she is seeking a reinterpretation of the US Constitution, which she calls “outdated and inadequate,” to move from its existing focus on negative rights, or individuals being free from state intervention, to positive rights where the state takes a much more active role in citizens’ lives.

 

To get a peek into the mindset of those who believe wholeheartedly in both the rightness and the capability of the state to direct every aspect of our lives–and also to see the feebleness of that position exposed–it is worth watching the whole thing.

Kerry was a guest on my podcast earlier this month, talking about how we can give our kids "old normal" lives, and she will be back on next week talking about this debate and its significance not only for homeschooling families but for anyone concerned about freedom.

 

 


WTMWD #16: Kerry McDonald on Homeschooling and the "New Normal"

 

 

 

I speak with Kerry McDonald, unschooling mom and vocal advocate of homeschooling, about how governments may have inadvertantly sparked a homeschooling revolution, and about what homeschooling families can do to continue giving their children "old normal" lives.

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute and a regular Forbes contributor.

Kerry's research interests include homeschooling and alternatives to school, self-directed learning, education entrepreneurship, parent empowerment, school choice, and family and child policy. Her articles have appeared at The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NPR, Education Next, Reason Magazine, City Journal, and Entrepreneur, among others. She has a master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bowdoin College.

Kerry lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children.

You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on parenting and education here.

 

 


Lockdown Truth from a Stranger #3: "Can You See What Else Is Crumbling?"

 

This is from Sufey Chen, on Facebook, who seems to be both brutally honest and brutally optimistic. We need so much of both now:

 

Sufey Chen photo

 

this morning, at the park. two young girls, maybe 7 or 8, one pushing the other on the swings. i look over in surprise. they climbed over the tape. i feel my heart surge, yes! they did it.

a park ranger pulls over. on his microphone. ‘the playground is closed. you are trespassing.’ his drone dull and robotic. ‘leave the premise immediately.’ my heart sinks. is this really what i’m witnessing?

the ranger stays put. parks his vehicle beside the playground. watches for any other ‘dangerous citizens’ dissenting.

the children leave.
i want to shout out to them.

i am sorry.
i am sorry this is happening.

maybe one day my heart will be big enough to tenderly hold all the fear and sorrow of the world. but right now? i’m not there yet. i am angry. furious. that this is reality.

seeing the new school regulations popping up makes me sick. even if we are unschooling and will never participate in that system - why is it that ANY child should be subject to such insanity?

desks six feet apart.
constant sanitizing.
no sharing of supplies.
plastic barriers installed.
no communal lunch halls.
masks covering their face.
no hugs, no holding of hands, no touching.

does any of this sound physically or psychologically healthy to you?

or does it sound like the kids of this generation have become guinea pigs in a seriously fucked up experiment?

how much do we have to see before we rise up and say ‘no fucking WAY’ - this doesn’t cut it for me. instead of complying and regurgitating the crap we are fed: ‘what’s the big deal? it’s a minor inconvenience.’

after all, we’re ‘saving lives’.

how many have to die or live their life in tatters before enough lives have been saved?

who gets to decide who lives and who dies as a result of these ‘responsible’ ‘selfless’ ‘life saving’ policies?

the things i’ve seen and heard over the past two months are gut-wrenching - far more horrifying than a virus to me.

***

a mother, posting on facebook: ‘how do i get my 4-year-old to wear a mask?’

one response: ‘say that if she doesn’t wear a mask an evil virus will come kill her grandparents in their sleep.’

oh, holy hell.

***

i see parents freaking out about their children social distancing and losing their shit on a kid, being a kid.

so many confessionals of hitting children coming out in the mom groups i am privy to.

i don’t blame the parents but i do see the hellhole (ahem *new normal*) so many are accepting.

while everyone is out here ‘saving lives’ ...
can you see what else is crumbling?

can we take off our blinders?
can we put away the politics?
can you come off your high ‘health hero’ horse to see?

what this is doing to our children.
and by that, i mean collectively.
what our children around the world are facing.

some, that have actually been locked in isolation, nary another child to play with in months.

others, in famine.
260 million worldwide.
‘marching towards starvation.’

can we open our eyes?

whether death of body or death of spirit it is alarmingly clear that this is unacceptable.

***

i see some parents reassuring each other.
from all day screen time to child abuse to whatever behavioral issue they’re going through.
‘we’re all in this together.’

as if sacrificing them was actually worth it.
‘they’ll be fine - we all turned out fine’

... but did you really?
or is that just what you tell yourself so you don’t have to sit with the enormity of your grief?

we don’t have to pass our chains down onto our children. they don’t have to carry the burdens we bore. we do not need to make them as small as we were once made to be.

we have a choice in the matter.
there is a chorus of voices.

the mothers, we care.
the future - we are raising.

no one will rob the freedom of our children.
to touch, to be kissed by the warmth of skin
to connect, to feel and be felt by the world
to breathe, to receive Her vital life force

the mothers, we are weeping.
the mothers, we are gathering.
the mothers, we are awakening - to all of it now.

we are standing up - speaking up - rising up now.


 


You're Unlikely to Go Wrong Assuming Everything the Mainstream Media Says About Alternative Medicine is False

 

African basil 2

 

You may have seen NBC's hit piece on the mother whose son had just died – the piece that uses the family's tragedy as an excuse to go after Larry Cook's FaceBook group "Stop Mandatory Vaccination." That piece is titled: "On Facebook, anti-vaxxers urged a mom not to give her son Tamiflu. He later died."

Before I read that article, I had never really looked into elderberry extract as a possible flu remedy. We do take elderberry/zinc lozenges sometimes, and we avoid pharmaceuticals as much as possible. (No, I would never use Tamiflu.) But I had never really looked into the elderberry component of it.

Until I saw this, from the NBC hit piece:

"The mother also wrote that the “natural cures” she was treating all four of her children with — including peppermint oil, Vitamin C and lavender — were not working and asked the group for more advice. The advice that came in the comments included breastmilk, thyme and elderberry, none of which are medically recommended treatments for the flu."

Because I've read a fair bit of mainstream medical reporting and I've seen how much outright propaganda gets published in "reputable" outlets masquerading as journalism, this last sentence jumped out at me.

"Really?" I thought to myself. "Did Brandy Zadrozny (NBC's ace medical journalist, who has carved out a niche for herself harrassing mothers of children who are ill or have died–but only the ones who question medical orthodoxy) really look into all of these treatments and determine that none of them are recommended for the flu?

So I decided to check. 

The first one was the easiest. Even the CDC knows that breastmilk can be beneficial in protecting against the flu virus and other pathogens. Here's what it has to say on the matter (bold mine):

“A mother’s breast milk contains antibodies and other immunological factors that can help protect her infant from flu and is the recommended source of nutrition for the infant, even while the mother is ill.”

and:

“When an infant has flu, the mother should be encouraged to continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant. Infants who are ill need fluids to stay hydrated and breast milk is the best option.

OK fine. But what about this kooky elderberry stuff? Surely that must be a bunch of woo-woo hippie crackpot nonsense?

Turns out, nope.

A study in 2004  of 60 patients found that those who took elderbery syrup within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms experienced relief of those symptoms an average of 4 days earlier than did patients given a placebo syrup.

Another study, in 2009, showed a dramatic improvement in flu symptoms in a group treated with elderberry extract as compared to a placebo group. And last year, a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods identified some of the mechanisms of action that make elderberry extract effective against the influenza virus.

Zadrozny might argue that just because there are studies supporting the use of elderberry extract against the flu, that doesn't mean that it is a "medically recommended treatment" for the flu–which is what she said it was not, in her hit piece against the grieving mother and the facebook group. But that statement is just vague enough ("medically recommended" by whom? Any doctor? Any medical professional?) to be untrue. Of course there is some medical professional out there who recommends elderberry extract as a treatment for the flu. More importantly though, there is scientific evidence supporting that recommendation–something Zadrozny is unaware of, and likely does not care about. After all, the purpose of her article was not the upholding of scientific accuracy.

Moving on to Thyme. 

So, in the short period of time I spent looking up Zadrozny's claim, I did not find anything supporting the role of thyme in fighting off the flu. HOWEVER, I did find quite a bit about its properties as a potent anti-microbial agent, its ability to fight off bacteria, some viruses, and even superbugs. So... yay thyme! Who knew? I certainly wouldn't have, had it not been for Brandy Zadrozny's over-the-top hit piece on a grieving mother. 

By the way, since the premise of the NBC article was that it was irresponsible of the mother to not give her ailing son Tamiflu, but to try some of these other (scientifically supported) remedies instead, I thought it worth pointing out that the makers of Tamiflu are currently being sued for misrepresenting the efficacy of the drug. According to the Lanier Lawfirm:

"Drug company Hoffmann-La Roche (OTCMKTS – RHHBY) bilked U.S. federal and state governments out of $1.5 billion by misrepresenting clinical studies and falsely claiming that its well-known influenza medicine Tamiflu was effective at containing potential pandemics, according to a recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit. 

"The lawsuit claims the drugmaker’s scheme involved publishing misleading articles falsely stating that Tamiflu reduces complications, severity, hospitalizations, mortality and transmission of influenza. The company then used those articles to aggressively market the drug to the government for pandemic use. Relying on the supposed truthfulness of Roche’s claims, federal and state governments spent about $1.5 billion to stockpile Tamiflu to combat influenza pandemics, according to the complaint."

There's a lot more to say about the NBC piece, and I plan to write more about it soon. But I just wanted to share with my readers something I learned here: That while it is never a good idea to assume anything, and is a disastrous idea to build any kind of article or argument on assumptions, some assumptions can be a good place in which to start poking around. And this is one of them: The assumption that most of what the mainstream media has to say about alternative medicine (or you can substitute Beach Balls here) is flat-out wrong. This isn't always true of course, but it's a good place to start.

Anyway, thanks NBC, and thanks Brandy Zadrozny. Without your tireless efforts, I might never have known just how useful elderberry extract (and possibly thyme) can be against the flu!