by Lance Simmens | TLB Contributing Writer/Author
I never expected to be caught up in a whirlwind of activity on an issue that had not been on my proverbial radar screen for nearly two decades. After all, I had been one of those parents who instinctively placed trust in doctors and the medical profession when it came to healing. As a person who has been involved in two near fatal accidents and numerous surgeries over my lifetime I had very good reasons to harbor such trust. The doctors had always made me better, and their solemn responsibility resided in the Hippocratic Oath, essentially they were dedicated to “doing no harm.”
As I left the premier of Vaxxed a week and a half ago I was particularly struck at the prospect that corruption within governmental agencies charged with protecting the public was a distinct possibility. As a long-time environmental activist recent examples of a massive failure by official regulatory bodies such as the EPA, the Department of Energy, the FDA, and numerous state agencies charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens has soured one who had spent nearly four decades in public service and actually believe in the potential positive role of government. In fact, I have written extensively about the proper balance between an out of control private sector and the checks and balances of the public sector.
Fracking and its attendant public health consequences, the methane leakage at Porter Ranch, CA, Deep Water Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, lead poisoning in public water supplies in Flint, MI and dozens of other American cities, PCB’s in schools across the country, and the threats offered by genetically engineered organisms have all put our citizens in harm’s way. Now along comes a documentary that raises the specter of corruption within the Centers for Disease Control. All of these events cast doubt and engender cynicism amongst an electorate already deeply suspicious of its institutions and elected leaders.
At the very least it seemed to me that any interpretation of the precautionary principle would necessitate at least an escalated dialogue surrounding the allegations made by the film. So as I have done throughout my life in public service I took to the keys and wrote about the need to take a closer look at the corruption angle. For full disclosure I must say that I was interviewed in the critically acclaimed documentary Gasland, part 2 as the “political insider” for my role in opposition to fracking within the Governor’s office in Pennsylvania. So I am no stranger to controversy but public service is supposed to be just that, serving the public.
Over nearly an eight-year period I have published something like 180 articles in Huffington Post and have always found them to be accommodating to thought-provoking pieces. So I submitted a thought piece late on Friday evening, April 15. It was published immediately. After sending it out to my associated networks on the internet I was surprised to start receiving messages within about 20 minutes that folks could not find the piece in question. Upon checking, sure enough the piece had been published and pulled. This had never happened before and I was quite perplexed. After numerous emails throughout the weekend I was apprised on Monday morning that the piece was pulled because it reflected a “conspiracy theory, was based upon inaccurate medical information, and was based on a widely known hoax linking vaccines and autism.”
But the article I offered and that was subsequently published in the LA Progressive Magazine under the title “Why Our Children Should Hate Us” [link highlighted here in blue] was a call for discussion not an anti-vaccine rant. I found the Huffington Post policy strangely at odds with the spirit of freedom of speech and the press. I still find it disturbing that any self-respecting news outlet would pass judgement on issues without the benefit of extensive investigation and at the very least leave open the potent seriousness of the charges alleged in the documentary.
At this point even though it appears as though my account has been unblocked, I have offered two articles and after several days neither has been published. One calls on HuffPo and specifically the personal intervention of Arianna Huffington to reverse its decision. The other is neither controversial or is in any way related to this issue. Pure and simple it appears to me as though I am the victim of censorship, a deadly charge in any era but particularly when emotions and suspicions run so high in a deeply divided and polarized society such as the one in which we live today.
I have spent considerable time involved in politics/public policy/governmental service at senior levels, including positions in two Presidential administrations, two U.S. Senators, two prominent Governors, the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, the Department of Health and Human Services (parent agency of the CDC) and the President’s Commission on Y2K Conversion, and it usually signals that something is very fishy when such extreme and reactionary measures are taken to shut down what I believe to be a rather serious and reasonable request.
So these actions raise more questions than provide answers. And the appearance of impropriety oftentimes can be every bit as damaging as the allegations themselves. Cover-ups are the cause of most illegalities and transgressions, not the actual acts themselves as we found out so alarmingly in the national tragedy that followed Watergate.
How many reputations are to be tarnished in the process, but far more importantly how many children will have to pay if in fact the allegations prove true? What is the truth and do we have the right as citizens to demand such? The answer is unequivocally yes. Hiding behind the smokescreen that the public may actually may not be able to handle the truth is a diabolically perverse corruption of the very freedoms this nation is both envied as striving to uphold and embedded in the very fabric of the Constitution upon which the republic is built.
This is a call for the rejuvenation of investigative journalism and the reinvigoration of the Fourth Estate that has become all too often a mouthpiece for their advertisers and a conduit for misinformation. The scientific analysis will bear out the validity or invalidity of the allegations proffered in the documentary, but ignorance or rejection of the allegations by the media is every bit as troubling as the potential crime itself.
TLB recommends other thought provoking articles from Lance Simmens
About Lance Simmens: His Bio alone could be written into a series of novels. He has served in various capacities and advisory positions at City, State and Federal levels, including the Senate, under four Cabinet Secretaries and The Office of The President of The United States. Please click here for the full bio for Lance Simmens (TLB~Ed)
In his spare time he is a voracious reader and he has written a screenplay, a novel, which is expected to be published soon that touches on the perils of drilling for natural gas, a book of political and personal stories, and The Evolution of a Revolution: An Attack upon Reason, Compromise and the Constitution, has appeared in several political documentaries including 14 Women, Electile Dysfunction, and Gasland 2.
He is the author of “The Evolution of a Revolution: An Attack Upon Reason, Compromise and the Constitution” and “Fracktured”, the definitive anti-fracking novel.
He is the father of two boys, Christopher, 23 and Nicholas, 21 and resides in Malibu, CA.
“Fracktured“ the novel, is available now! For more info click here
Thomas Steinbeck, Writer, says of Fracktured: “Not unlike Upton Sinclair, Lance Simmens has created a work of fiction based upon the factual dark side of American politics. If Mr. Simmens intent is to push policy changes that may at the very least give the human species a chance of surviving just a little bit longer this book should awaken the moral conscience of a society mired in dysfunction.”