South Carolina’s repressive Covid-19 regime was ripped as reactionary and unscientific during a lengthy hearing held by a panel of state lawmakers in Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday (September 12, 2023).
The marathon hearing – which ran for nearly eight hours – was chaired by state senator Tom Corbin, who is one of the handful of lawmakers who is pushing legislation aimed at curtailing the abuses of the bureaucratic state.
Corbin said Tuesday morning that he convened the hearing in the hopes of finding out “what did we get right, what did we get wrong and how can we do better.”
Interested parties can watch the full proceeding by clicking here.
“Reactions based on fear can be wrong,” Corbin said, adding that it struck him during the pandemic “just how quickly our liberties can come under attack.”
Corbin was joined on the committee by senators Richard Cash and Billy Garrett and state representatives Adam Morgan, Sylleste Davis and Steven Long. Several other state lawmakers attended the hearing, including state representative April Cromer.
Lawmakers first heard from Aaron Siri, a New York attorney who has challenged the federal government – and the broader “scientific” community – to show its work regarding the safety of multiple vaccines, including the Covid-19 shots which were effectively mandated during the pandemic.
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“If they can’t convince you on the merits, they bully you,” Siri said, arguing that people were forced to get the jab because they “couldn’t have their job, their school, their liberties on the chopping block.”
According to Siri, this compulsory compliance was coupled with a near-total lack of liability for Big Pharma in the event things went wrong.
“There is no other product which has this type of immunity,” Siri said. “That eliminated the way we ensure product safety in America.”
According to Siri, developers of Covid-19 vaccines – and federal regulators – failed to accurately assess risks to children and adults during both “clinical trials and the post-licensure process.”
Among the risks which they failed to accurately assess? Whether vaccines cause autism – a claim which is definitively debunked by the CDC on its website (albeit without evidence).
Siri played a clip for lawmakers from a deposition in which one of the world’s leading vaccine experts – Dr. Stanley Plotkin – admitted there was no scientific basis for repeated claims that vaccines do not cause autism.
“Shouldn’t you wait until you do have the science to say for sure that vaccines don’t cause autism?” Siri asked Plotkin in the deposition.
“Would I wait? No,” Plotkin responded. “Because I have to consider the health of the child.”
“I’m not telling you vaccines cause autism,” Siri made clear in his remarks to the panel. “I’m telling you (the government) cannot claim they do not. I bring up autism as a reflection of how science is not properly being done as it relates to vaccines.”
Siri also documented the extent to which federal officials manipulated evidence related to adverse vaccine events – hoping to downplay reports of harmful side effects. He also documented multiple examples of the “revolving door” that exists between pharmaceutical corporations and oversight posts in the the federal government – an incestuous coziness which erodes the objectivity of bureaucratic diktats.
Lawmakers on the panel intently followed Siri’s testimony, asking him whether the Palmetto State should have conducted its own studies related to vaccine safety – independent of the federal government. During that conversation, Corbin made it clear he believed such study was needed – and that state regulators could be compelled to undertake it.
“The regulatory authority in South Carolina will do exactly what the General Assembly tells it to do,” Corbin said at one point during the hearing.
Garrett also pressed the Palmetto State’s top health official on this front, telling him “if you haven’t looked at these people who died in South Carolina and compared them to the number of people that took the vaccine then we don’t have the data we need to come to any conclusions here.”
“That’s simply not acceptable,” Garrett said.
The “regulatory authority” in South Carolina lies exclusively with the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) – an agency which essentially abdicated its obligation to protect the citizens of the Palmetto State during the pandemic.
Or at the very least outsourced that obligation …
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According to Upstate conservative Jennifer Black, SCDHEC failed to conduct independent assessments during the pandemic – relying almost exclusively on recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Our health agency accepted the federal government’s positions without review,” Black said during her testimony.
Black previously raised these issues in a guest column published by this media outlet back in April. Appearing before lawmakers, she challenged them to take immediate steps to limit the far-ranging powers of SCDHEC bureaucrats moving forward.
“We have to limit the actual powers of those within the agency,” referring to Title 44 of the S.C. Code of Laws.
Corbin credited Black for alerting him to some of the more dangerous sections of this code – specifically SCDHEC’s “emergency health powers.”
“Once I was alerted, I was alarmed,” Corbin said. “It actually frightened me to see the power that DHEC has. Those powers strip away the freedoms and liberties of the people I serve and I’m not going to stop until we fix it.”
Corbin has been true to his word.
Four months ago, he filed legislation – S. 802 – which he said would “gut” some of Title 44’s most onerous provisions. Corbin’s bill would also insert critical qualifying language within Title 44’s section on vaccinations, ensuring that SCDHEC’s authority to vaccinate citizens as a protection against infectious disease would always be “on a voluntary basis.” Corbin’s bill would also limit SCDHEC to “recommending” isolation and quarantine” for persons who were “unable or unwilling to undergo vaccination.”
Current statutory language permits SCDHEC to isolate and quarantine citizens at will.
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Lawmakers also heard compelling testimony from Denice Hilty, a Lowcountry doctor who has been pressing SCDHEC officials for months to provide the scientific justifications for their edicts. As I previously reported, Hilty has been one of the most effective behind-the-scenes advocates when it comes to holding SCDHEC accountable for its questionable guidance.
“DHEC is charged with being the sole advisor, not the CDC,” Hilty said, adding that the agency’s failure to credibly discharge that duty has contributed to a steady erosion in public trust.
“The main loss of public trust in SCDHEC was that it adopted CDC recommendations without review,” Hilty said, adding that those recommendations “were not scientifically justified” and ignored all manner of “detrimental impacts.”
Specifically, Hilty zeroed in on detrimental impacts related to academic achievement – pointing to diminished results (and related long-term economic loss) associated with the “Covid cohort” in the Palmetto State’s already underperforming government-run schools.
“Just returning schools to their pre-pandemic levels will not fix this,” she said.
That’s for sure …
Hilty said it was up to lawmakers to take a lead role in overseeing any vaccine recommendations made by SCDHEC in the future – urging them to pass legislation which would mandate such oversight.
“After this, we actively need that,” Hilty said.
SCDHEC leaders had very little to say in their defense.
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“We’ve heard a lot of comments over the last six hours,” SCDHEC director Dr. Edward Simmer said during an opening statement that lasted less than a minute. “Reasonable people can differ on some of these issues. I will say I’m very proud of the DHEC team and the work they’ve done over the last three years of the pandemic.”
SCDHEC did not immediately respond to questions from this news outlet regarding its Covid-19 response. An agency spokesman promised to provide those answers soon, however, and we will certainly bring those to our audience.
Simmer was one of the only individuals who attended the hearing wearing a mask – and the only speaker who addressed the panel wearing a mask.
“Let me explain why: I’m actually, thankfully – knock on wood – relatively healthy,” Simmer said in response to questioning from Garrett. “If I got Covid, it would probably be a mild case. However my wife is very high-risk. Protecting my wife’s health is, as we’ve discussed, very, very important to me – and so I’m really wearing the mask to protect her.”
“You can wear fourteen masks – I don’t have a problem with that at all,” Garrett responded. “But making kids wear masks – when they don’t work – that bothers me badly.”
“It’s good to see citizens reasserting themselves – and challenging their leaders to show their work when it comes to mandates that clearly did more harm than good,” I noted last week.
It’s even better to see some of those leaders starting to pay attention as opposed to blindly accepting the “science” foisted on them by the federal government and by Big Pharma.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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