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South Carolina’s Covid-19 Regime Comes Under Withering Scrutiny

Lawmakers demand answers from regulators …

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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.

(Click to View)

Attorney Aaron Siri points to a Powerpoint slide as he testifies before a South Carolina legislative panel discussing the Covid-19 pandemic in Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. (FITSNews)

“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.”

Ironic …

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“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 …

(Click to View)

Upstate conservative activist Jennifer Black testifies before a South Carolina legislative panel discussing the Covid-19 pandemic in Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. (FITSNews)

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.

(Click to View)

Lowcountry doctor Denice Hilty listens to a question from state senators during her appearance before a South Carolina legislative panel discussing the Covid-19 pandemic in Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. (FITSNews)

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.

(Click to View)

Dr. Edward Simmer, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) testifies before a legislative panel discussing the Covid-19 pandemic in Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. (S.C. Senate)

“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.”

As this news outlet has frequently pointed out, individual liberty and common sense took a back seat to irrational fear and compulsory compliance during the Covid-19 regime.

“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.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Dylan Nolan)

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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17 comments

Karen Iacovelli Top fan September 12, 2023 at 8:20 pm

BRAVO! You hit the bullseye with this synopsis!

Reply
Same ol’hypocrites September 14, 2023 at 4:36 pm

The party of Forced Birth and passing laws that tell women what they can do with their bodies is upset over simple suggestions about lessening the spread of COVID?

Is there even a single drop of self-awareness from these right-wing extremists?

Reply
Nanker Phelge September 12, 2023 at 8:43 pm

fEaRNews following the current Republican marching orders; stoke those fears of new covid mandates. You know, the ones that let you continue going to Walmart, the booze store, the gun shop…

1 million dead who would otherwise still be here and these shitsquibs still have their panties in a wad about masks to prevent an airborne transmitted virus. Every kid I know thought masks were cool.

Nest time you need surgery feel free to tell the surgical team they don’t need to wear masks and to feel free to hock a loogie in your incision.

Reply
Let'sDoThis September 12, 2023 at 9:36 pm

Deserving of a spot in the hot seat, Epidemiologist “Dr” Linda Bell for all of her cheerleading and fear porn during the Covid plandemic. If not criminal charges, she at least deserves to be fired and her license to practice medicine revoked.

Reply
Heartfelt Thanks September 12, 2023 at 10:13 pm

Big shout out to all the medical professionals that get demonized by the right wing talking heads, grifters, and cult members. You all deserve better.

Reply
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The Colonel Top fan September 13, 2023 at 10:48 am

Yeah, Dr. Simmer is a psychiatrist, not an epidemiologist or even a GP – He has ZERO training or experience in managing epidemiological events, environmental emergencies or even large organizations. So, tell me again how this “medical professional” deserves the “big shout out”.

Reply
Easy W September 13, 2023 at 12:51 pm

“He has ZERO training or experience in managing epidemiological events, environmental emergencies or even large organizations.”

Still more qualified than Trump promoting HCQ.

Reply
Observer (the real one) September 14, 2023 at 4:41 pm

Being a psychiatrist, he is an expert in mental illness, which you science denying dipshits all clearly suffer from.

Identifying with extreme right-wing views and fundamentalist religion has increasingly been shown to be a symptom of brain damage or impaired brain functions.

Which happened to you?

Reply
Brian Top fan September 13, 2023 at 12:05 am

Lol “Dr. Hilty” is a chiropractor, she has no credibility and is a total fraud who is cosplaying as a physician.

Reply
America's Frontline Scammers September 13, 2023 at 9:31 am

Credibility is elitist. Here’s my 3 page crayon drawing that the peer review papers ripped to shreds because, uhh… they don’t want you to know this one weird trick to cure everything?

Reply
Any Day of the Week September 14, 2023 at 9:08 pm

I bet Hilty is more of a Doctor than that quack, Linda Bell.

Reply
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The Colonel Top fan September 13, 2023 at 8:46 am

How in the world did a squid, psych doctor, bureaucrat wind up in charge of DHEC?!? The muldoon shows up in a mask when the overwhelming data shows they are ineffective. He has no training or real experience leading an organization like DHEC. Yet another reason to strip DHEC of most of its authorities and break it up into appropriate organizations with clear charters.

Reply
Observer (the real one) September 14, 2023 at 4:43 pm

Kind of like some dipshit on the internet claiming to be a “Colonel”?

Sorry the thought of wearing a mask destroyed you mentally, simp.

Reply
Lord Barfington September 15, 2023 at 3:31 pm

If you won’t wear a mask then you’re a fucking pussy. That’s all there is to it.

Reply
CongareeCatfish Top fan September 13, 2023 at 10:07 am

Many of us are familiar with Eisenhower’s Farewell speech – for decades we frequently heard folks, mostly liberals, in academia pointing to the ominous warning about the “military industrial complex.” Don’t get me wrong – the warning was one to be heeded, but how many of you know that Eisenhower’s speech actually identified TWO “threats” to the future of the nation? The second threat was what he termed the “scientific-technological elite.” He described it thusly:
“Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Reply
Doomed to Repeat September 13, 2023 at 1:34 pm

There is wisdom in being wary of government control of scientific discovery, and on the opposite side of the same coin, for-profit corporations controlling it to. That doesn’t give credence to quacks that believe in demon sperm, or social media losers telling you how to dose sheep drench, or whatever MLM essential oil company swears by.

Sometimes the naysayers are the ones who are wrong. Smallpox had its own anti-vaccine movement. Many of the ones in that movement died protesting the very thing that went on to eventually eradicated smallpox. History has proven them absolutely, 100% objectively wrong.

The great thing about history is that you can go back and read what those people had to say, and compare it to what’s being said about, well, anything related to covid. I’ll give you a hint – some people thought smallpox inoculation would make women want to have sex with animals, or have children born with hooves. There is zero, and I mean zero, scientific basis for those delusions, and they are just as delusional as vaccines magnetizing people, having microchips, and having a time-delayed poison to institute population control.

Sorry, but no, the right is just flirting with mental illness levels of conspiracy theories, and sitting them several shelves higher than actual scientific research. It won’t be ivermectin that will cure viruses in the future, it will be mRNA vaccines. Go ahead, mark my words. I’m not worried about being on the wrong side of history here.

Reply
CongareeCatfish Top fan September 13, 2023 at 10:15 am

Many of us are familiar with Eisenhower’s Farewell speech – for decades we frequently heard folks, mostly liberals, in academia pointing to the ominous warning about the “military industrial complex.” Don’t get me wrong – the warning was one to be heeded, but how many of you know that Eisenhower’s speech actually identified TWO “threats” to the future of the nation? The second threat was what he termed the “scientific-technological elite.” He described it thusly:
“Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded..

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” That is exactly what happened to our nation in the COVID panic. The federal government, by means of the NIH and CDC and other major agencies, controls so much money that flows into the healthcare system that pretty everyone in the industry is terrified to ever rise up and question their decision making. The federal healthcare and research grant system, which in turn is vastly influenced by the pharma industry, holds the power, and can ruin anyone who objectively, dispassionately, scientifically asks uncomfortable questions or outright opposes them. If you have never read Eisenhower’s full speech, you should do so TODAY. It has basically proven itself to be prophecy.

Reply

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