Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone, and welcome to the 125th episode of the Atlas Society. Asks, My name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. You can call me Jag. I'm the CEO of the Atlas Society. We are the leading nonprofit, introducing young people to the ideas of Iron Rand in fun, creative ways, like graphic novels and animated videos. Today we are joined by Dr. Homan Imadi. Before I even begin to introduce our guest, I want to remind all of you who are joining us on Zoom, watching us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, use that comment section. We're actually gonna have this guest for just 45 minutes, so don't wait till the end, start typing them in right now, and we'll get to as many of them as we can. So, Dr. Hamadi is a board certified MD ophthalmologist and a PhD research scientists who has been, uh, on the forefront in terms of questioning a lot of the anti-science, um, Covid 19 lockdowns, uh, mandates and particularly medical censorship. Dr. Hama earned his, uh, BS in biological science at from Stanford University, uh, an MD from UCLA School of Medicine, and a PhD from Caltech. Aside from being the co-founder of two pharmaceutical companies developing treatments for eye diseases, Dr. Herma also publishes extensively in the area of stem cell research and is a contributor to the Daily Wire. Dr. Hamadi, thank you for joining us, especially, uh, given your busy schedule and, uh, joining us from the road.
Speaker 1 00:01:52 Thank you for having me. Ja. I'm excited.
Speaker 0 00:01:56 So, um, tell us a bit about your very interesting origin story. I think it informs a lot of the passion that, that you bring to, um, both freedom of speech and medical integrity today. You were born in Iran. When did your family come to America? Uh, where did you grow up and what motivated you to enter medicine and prompted you to become, uh, such an outspoken critic of pandemic policies?
Speaker 1 00:02:25 Yeah, well, thanks so much for asking and for having me. Um, yeah. So I grew, I was born in Iran in the mid 1970s, back when it was still a free country where women could attend school, they could dress as they wish, where you could dance and sing and drink alcohol if you wanted, worship any religion you wanted with absolute freedom. And then suddenly in 1979, uh, when I was very little, the revolution hit and the Islamic, uh, fundamentalist took over the country, and all of a sudden, literally overnight, almost, uh, the country became a place that was under the same type of strict authoritarian rule that you see today. Um, women's were, women were forcibly covered if you were Jewish like I am, or any other religion other than strict, uh, Shia Islam. You were, uh, basically persecuted were kicked out, um, and, uh, it became very uncomfortable.
Speaker 1 00:03:14 And so our entire community, basically, with few exceptions left, and half of them left in 1979 to New York, uh, particularly Long Island, the other half left to Los Angeles, uh, particularly to the west side. And so I was in the Los Angeles cohort, uh, and, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley and, uh, went to high school in North Hollywood and had, uh, a very normal childhood. I grew up in a very diverse community. I went to a school that was, uh, you know, had a very high proportion of kids who were Hispanic, had, uh, probably at least 80% who were on the federal school lunch program. I took a bus to go into school and was surrounded by really, uh, the entire melting pot of Los Angeles in terms of, uh, socioeconomic and cultural. And I think for me, it was something that I never would've gotten Iran.
Speaker 1 00:04:01 So in, in some ways, I thank, um, in a strange way, the revolution for having brought me here and giving me a chance to grow up in some, in a kind of diversity that there's no way I would've ever experienced otherwise. And I think that really influenced me, um, growing up in this country and, and witnessing the kinds of freedoms that we have and comparing it to what people don't have, where I was born and where I could have still been, had the US not accepted me and my family and my entire community with open arms. Uh, I feel a debt of gratitude to this country. I I, I don't, and none of us in our community really treat any of our freedoms for granted because we know how easily our freedoms can be taken away, how readily they're eroded, and how authoritarianism can pop up when you'd least expect it.
Speaker 1 00:04:44 And sometimes authoritarianism, much like it did in Iranian revolution, may actually have a very beautiful, smiling face. Uh, and then that face turns into, uh, an angry rage and, and they take over your life. And so that's what motivated me to, to, to do what I do in terms of my career. Um, my father was a general surgeon, was someone who was selfless, uh, probably didn't build. Two thirds of his patients practiced in a very underserved community, uh, called Van Nus and a suburb of Los Angeles where there was immense poverty, lots of uninsured, uh, people, and a lot of people who just had no money, uh, whatsoever. And he took care of everybody who saw him. Uh, and, and he was my motivation to, to go into medicine and decided to become an ophthalmologist because I wanted to do something where I can have an immediate impact on people's quality of life.
Speaker 1 00:05:32 And if you think of all your senses, the one that people are least ready to lose is their eyesight. And when they gain it, uh, they're, they're grateful beyond words. And so, um, I've been doing this for very much of my life, and most recently I was faculty at USC on a volunteer basis. So em emulated my dad and working for free, uh, seeing patients at Los Angeles County, USC Medical Center, people who were undocumented immigrants, people who were dirt poor, had no insurance, and a large amount of prisoners in fact. And so that was very rewarding. And, uh, when Covid hit, uh, it created kind of a second career for me in addition to my medical and scientific career, uh, because all of a sudden I found, uh, that were in a situation not unlike what, you know, I experience well, my family experience we're suddenly the government is creating mandates Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:06:23 Intended to allegedly be for your own good, where they say, We know better than you. Just listen to us, be patriotic and do what we say, and everything will be okay. But I realized that those mandates weren't necessarily making sense. It was really obvious how much harm they were causing, especially to children, especially to elderly, uh, and anyone else who wasn't adamant about following them or anyone else who actually understood real science. And I said, If I don't stand up, who will? And so I decided to really speak up and first online, uh, first on my own Facebook, and then eventually a little more broadly in community Facebook pages. And the next thing you know, uh, I'm being asked to join grassroots groups like Los Angeles Uprising, which has a scary name, but it's really, uh, a nonviolent organization. It was just an interesting name that was dedicated to reopening the schools. And next thing you know, uh, you know, the, the, the local and then eventually national media are asking me to talk about it all the time because they sense how passionate I am. And I do think I have a message, uh, not just of of freedom, but specifically of medical freedom to try to put out there and, and, and advocate for.
Speaker 0 00:07:29 Well, let's talk about that, um, particularly in the way that, uh, some of these mandates, uh, have been not founded in, um, in actual science or, uh, studies. Uh, if you go back to March of 2020, I talked about this recently with Ian Miller, who's done a lot of the great work on, um, tracking, uh, whether or not mask mandates have had any impact, and they've had none. Um, you know, he, he talks about how there in fact was a lot of planning and forethought in terms of public health officials expectations of future pandemics. Um, there were specific detailed planning scenarios at the CDC and the World Health Organization, uh, none of which included mandatory masking or lockdowns. So any thoughts on what happened? Why did all of the, the planning documents get, uh, thrown out the window? And, uh, we decided to embark on this grand experiment?
Speaker 1 00:08:41 I think a big part of the problem is that we concentrated too much power in too few people, people who had absolutely zero accountability, right? Uh, the best example is in Los Angeles County where you and I live, we took a person who was the public health director, somebody no one had ever heard of before, named Barbara Ferre, who has a PhD in social justice or social welfare, has no medical background whatsoever, and whose entire platform is about achieving social justice and equity, and all sorts of other little buzzwords that are relatively empty, and put that person in charge of public health. But not only did that gave her so much power, somehow, that she had full rights to suspend all civil liberties as she wished without any justification needed and without any accountability. Imagine that happening in many places in the country on a more statewide and national level.
Speaker 1 00:09:34 And that's what we saw. We saw people jumping at the opportunity to have power and people jumping at the opportunity to give them power. If you look even at Dr. Fauci, who I used to be a groupie of, by the way, I used to stand in line for hours to, to watch him speak in person, only to be told I have to stand in the back of an overflow room to watch him on a screen. I did that nonetheless than I read his book cover to cover as a medical student. He's a brilliant physician and scientist. But when they took him and said, You have cart blanche power for someone who wasn't ready to have that and who needed help and who needed a team and who needed to have support from the entire scientific and, and health communities. And to have input from the public and input from economists and input from everyone else about how this is impacting people's lives, not just the virus, but also the response to it.
Speaker 1 00:10:25 Um, that cult that they created around him and around several other people that then just took on a life of its own, uh, caused those individuals to become defensive, uh, and to lash out in some ways, to, to forcibly silence their critics. If you look at the emails between Dr. Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, who was running, uh, you know, nih, they were actively conspiring to silence their critics like Dr. J Butcher and the other, uh, people who, who wrote the great bearing to declaration that that first came out asking for individual freedom when covid hit and we're ignored in silenced. Um, you see what happened there? And I think that was the problem. In the end, I think we need to get down to the bottom of this. This is not something that is for one person like me to speculate, speculate about. I think this is something, um, that if you look at past examples in American history where we have had major crises that have changed our country, like nine 11, what did we do in response?
Speaker 1 00:11:23 We had a nine 11 commission. We empowered a bipartisan, a really nonpartisan P panel, uh, gave people a lot of time, a lot of resources and subpoena power, and allowed them to bring people in under subpoena and under oath and ask all the very tough questions and have access to every bit of records they need. And in this case, I think we need to do that with all the public health officials, the CDC officials, individuals, and the state, and even local level in some cases, individuals from the FDA and CDC and from the pharmaceutical companies. And really ask all of them, Okay, now, tell me the truth and have access to their documents and emails as well. And once we do that, I think only then will we really find out what happened. Um, but right now, I think it's pretty obvious to many of us what was probably going on. And, and, and I think once we do, we need to come up with steps to prevent this from ever happening again, uh, so that we don't have to go through this nightmare once again.
Speaker 0 00:12:21 Yeah. Well, I mean, part of it has to have been as well, the teachers unions who are, you know, the base of the, the Democratic party, um, seeing an opportunity to extract billions of dollars, um, by sticking with this narrative that, uh, children are vectors of disease and, um, the teachers are at deathly risk of this. And so, uh, I think that such a commission would be great. I nominate Senator ran Paul <laugh> to run it and you to be a, uh, member of it. Okay. Usually we wait to get to questions at the end, but we are on a bit of an abbreviated, uh, time schedule. So I'm gonna dive right in because I'm seeing some juicy ones that I cannot, uh, resist jumping on one from Facebook. Zachary Carter asking thoughts on the brain drain, uh, of people leaving medicine. Is it true?
Speaker 1 00:13:26 It's very true. Uh, you know, I I left full-time clinical practice in 2013 to dedicate much of my career to science, uh, to working to try to develop new drugs, to, to improve how people see and how they feel. Um, when I did that, people thought I was crazy. People asked me, Are you, do you have a tremor in your hands so you can't operate? Are you having a nervous breakdown? Did you get sued? Is there some other kind of problem? Did you just not like it anymore? I said, No, I love it. Uh, I just see a bigger opportunity and I see healthcare becoming, uh, something that's commoditized and made all about money. And, and what really frightened me was that in my profession, we would go to seminars about converting patients into upselling them and converting them into cash pay services. And I didn't want to go into medicine to essentially become like a used car salesman.
Speaker 1 00:14:19 I don't want to go and practice medicine and see the person sitting in front of me in that chair like an ATM trying to figure out how to squeeze every cent out of them. Not even if, because I want to, but almost out of necessity, because insurance payments have crashed so much that the only way to stay afloat and pay your bills and pay your staff is to actually find clever ways of monetizing on your patients. That feels dirty to me and frankly didn't feel good. Um, and there are plenty of people who are wonderful and still do this, but what's happening is so many physicians are now becoming burned out by all the administrative and legal requirements on them. And the lack of appreciation from the system, and even for some patients who have become accustomed to a fast food model of medicine rather than fine dining, and they want it now and they want it cheap, and they want it how they want it.
Speaker 1 00:15:04 Um, and if you're unwilling to write them that prescription, they want, they're putting a negative Yelp review. If you're unwilling to, uh, do something else that's maybe un not standard of care, uh, they're gonna lash out and, and try to harm your career. And so I realized at that point, um, where am I gonna make my impact? And someone who's also a scientist, I saw an opportunity there to go and have a much bigger impact clinically. But there are now those very same people, many of those very same people who 10 years ago asked me, Are you okay? And are you sure you wanna do this? Or coming to me asking, Do you have a job for me outside of clinical medicine? For the very same reasons I noted
Speaker 0 00:15:41 That dovetails into, uh, Candace Mona's question on Facebook, asking many doctors near her have transitioned to concierge medical care. Uh, when did the medical red tape become so severe?
Speaker 1 00:15:57 Yeah, you know, we're, we're looking at something that happened, uh, started happening about 20 years ago, maybe even a little longer. Uh, but in the last 10 years, it's really become accelerated. Insurance companies have realized they've become for for-profit. There were a lot of insurance companies that used to be nonprofit. More and more they've become for-profit entities with shareholders, and they have a financial and legal mandate to make money for their shareholders. And they're board and their CEO and all their executives. And they can either do that by jacking up rates, which they do, but they also realize they can do that by paying doctors less and denying more and more, uh, services. And so when that started to happen, physicians realized, Wait a minute. I've got, you know, few thousand patients in my practice as an internist say, and I could easily squeeze, uh, you know, $5,000 a year out of just 200 of them doing the math.
Speaker 1 00:16:49 That's a million dollars a year for seeing 200 patients instead of 2000 patients, you have one 10th the patient load, and you selectively pick out the young healthy among those you don't take the old and sick who are gonna call you all the time. And now you tell those people for that $5,000, you get access to me day and night, and if you need me, I'll see you for an hour or two or however long it takes. And those docs now are now making a million or more a year working maybe one 10th, one 20th, the amount that they used to before with no overhead, because they don't need any staff. It's just them and this tiny office of the tiny two, two chair waiting room, and their lifestyle is better and the patients are getting better care. The problem is, those other 1800 patients in their practice got a letter saying, I'm sorry, you're not in my practice anymore. And that shift, that concierge has contributed in a very large way to an immense shortage of primary care physicians, not only in the underserved areas, the rural areas, and and poor communities that, that were already short, uh, on doctors, but now in the big cities as well, particularly in the affluent communities. And this is a crisis which isn't being talked enough about. And I think it's gonna hit us very, very hard.
Speaker 0 00:17:58 Interesting. I hadn't, I hadn't thought of it quite, quite that way, and I'm probably guilty of contributing to it as a member of my concierge service here in mall. There you there <laugh>? Um, something more to feel guilty about. I'll just have to bookmark that for next year's. You Kip <laugh>, uh, right. Getting us back on, uh, the topic of pandemic policies. Um, and these mandates, just last week, Florida State Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph, uh, LA Dapo issued new m uh, RNA Covid 19 vaccine guidance after his health department's internal analysis found an 84% increased, uh, risk relative incidents of cardiac related death among males, 18 to 39 year olds within 28 days following, uh, vaccination. As a result, um, he recommends against males aged 18 to 39 from receiving mRNA Covid 19 vaccines. Any thoughts? Have you looked at that? Any thoughts on that announcement? I know it's, uh,
Speaker 1 00:19:10 Yeah, absolutely. Look, everything in medicine, every recommendation and every decision in medicine has to be made as part of an individualized risk benefit analysis, right? Looking to see what's the risk, right? Who, how many people do you have to treat before you see harm? And then looking at the benefit, how many people in that demographic group that age and gender group do you have to treat before you see a benefit? And when you look at the covid vaccines, for example, for some age groups like you were talking about, younger, healthier demographics that benefit the number of people you need to vaccinate in order to have one fewer death, especially in that healthy population. I'm not talking about people who are extremely ill, but the generally healthy population, right? The number needed to vaccinate in order to prevent one death is very high. And then you look on the other hand, at the number you need to vaccinate in order to have a adverse event or a serious adverse event like a cardiac issue or even a cardiac death.
Speaker 1 00:20:06 And that number, some review show went up. And so when you do that risk benefit analysis, you ask, you know, for something that has a questionable benefit for many people, and now we know has substantial risk for many people that risk benefit analysis on an individual and even population basis may not work out right. And then the final thing you have to ask, even putting risk benefit aside is need, right? Uh, pain medications are approved by the fda, but if I'm not in pain, why would I take one? Similarly, if you're not at risk at all of a virus, or the case counts in the community are so low in crashing where you have new variants coming where the vi where the vaccine won't even be effective against, you have to ask, ask, is there even a need for it? And I'm putting out questions more than I am answers because I think each of those, those answers is really an individual, um, decision.
Speaker 1 00:20:56 And we've moved from individual choice to all of a sudden public mandates that applied blanketly to every single person. I think what Dr. Uh, La Dapo in, in Florida was trying to do is to say, We're gonna identify one population that has a particular risk benefit profile and say for them, our recommendation is not to do it. Um, but people are still free to talk to their doctor and make that individual assessment. And if, and if they feel that it is beneficial for them, and they're willing to undergo the risks, for sure, go for it.
Speaker 0 00:21:25 I mean, it's just very disturbing considering that many of, if not most of the young people, and we're talking about young men with regards to this cardiac risk are being required to get vaccinated and boosted to go to college. Uh, it's just, it's, it's hard to wrap, you know, one's head around that. Um, so we talked a little bit about medical expression, uh, before, I'd love to hear, you know, as you said, Dr. K, Dr. Aria, others have been, um, uh, censored on social media, um, shadow band, uh, and of course, uh, censored by their peers. Uh, I wonder if you had any similar experience with that. And, and then I'd love to talk a bit about, um, not just, you know, social media efforts to deprive people of a voice, but some of what's going on in, in the state of California with a, a new legislation, uh, which threatens to pull the medical licenses of any doctors who don't tow the governments line official line on vaccines, covid and the like.
Speaker 1 00:22:48 Absolutely. You know, I, I, I've been fortunate, but I think somehow in, in some ways deliberately so, uh, to avoid that kind of extreme backlash, uh, against me and calls for de platforming, et cetera. And I'll tell you why. I think because I try to take a really evidence based approach to everything. Uh, never will I go and attack an individual or a group just because of who they are or what their identity is. I, I, I go and I try to find individual policies that I disagree with and, and, and about, which I have evidence to, to back me up. And only then will I say, Okay, this policy I disagree with based on these facts, uh, or lack of facts in some cases where they're trying to institute mandates where they don't have any evidence that those mandates are gonna have a good risk benefit profile.
Speaker 1 00:23:35 And when you do that, it's hard to argue what is someone gonna say know, how dare you site peer reviewed literature? You can't, right? It's difficult to have that argument when you don't politicize things. And one of the, one of the things I've been trying very hard to do is to not come, not ever mention political parties, not ever mention even avoid mentioning political, uh, operatives of any kind right by name, unless there's something egregious that that person is done that really deserves them being called out because there's one individual driving something, right? In the case of our governor, Gavin Newsom in California, for example, he's crossed that line so many times that I have to mention by name, but I'm not doing it because of his political affiliation, right? Prior to Covid, I was, I wasn't standing there criticizing him openly. Uh, but now in the face of all these, uh, these policies, uh, I'm, I, I felt a need to speak out. And guess what happened? Not only was I not being summarily attacked, but all of a sudden I gained a lot of supporters every time I speak out. Uh, it's interesting, I get people finding my email or contact me on social media and saying, Thank you. You've, you, you're saying what I believe what I felt for a long time, and what I felt afraid to speak out about. So you're speaking for me. And I just got some of those messages as earlier as, as recently as this morning.
Speaker 0 00:24:50 Um, so yeah. So let's talk about AB 2098 mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what is it to, Why is it so, uh, disturbing? Isn't it at just a clear violation of physicians freedom of speech, and if dissent from the state medical establishment is outlawed, what happens when the establishment is wrong, uh, as it has been so frequently throughout the pandemic?
Speaker 1 00:25:14 Yeah. So it's interesting. AB 2 0 9 8 for people who don't know, is, uh, was, was a bill initially that Gavin Newsome only just in a couple of weeks ago, uh, laid on a Friday night to kind of escape scrutiny, signed into law after a lot of pressure from both sides, uh, to sign or not sign. And basically what that text says is that Covid misinformation has resulted in many, many preventable deaths. Second, that the media have identified physicians as the primary source of covid misinformation without any justification for that. So they're quoting the main, they're signing the mainstream media as their source for this fact that now they're basing a law on, uh, that restricts liberties of physicians. And then third, um, that they believe, therefore, that those physicians who spread covid misinformation to their patients must have their licenses revoked. And, uh, how do they define covid misinformation?
Speaker 1 00:26:10 Where they say that it's anything that violates, um, contemporary scientific consensus, which is another way of saying whatever we feel like. And so who's the judge of this? It's the Medical Board of California. And did the medical board of California put out a guidance document that says, This is misinformation, and this is not, you must say this, otherwise your licenses are revoked. No. What did they do? They said, You know what, we'll decide and, uh, just try not to cross the line. It's like having, um, a neighborhood where you have, uh, a law that says that if you speed, you get arrested and thrown into jail, but they don't have any speed limit signs, and the speed limit changes from day to day. And they don't tell you in advance what it is. How in the world is anyone gonna drive in that neighborhood? They're not, they're gonna avoid it.
Speaker 1 00:26:58 Same thing here. What kind of doctor is now gonna want to practice medicine in a system that arbitrarily can take away their license willy nilly, Especially when, what's fact today was misinformation yesterday in history. We have a great example of this. You look at Galileo, um, you know, the astronomer, he did all of his research, scientific research back at a time when the church was pushing this, uh, this idea that earth was at the center of the universe and that the sun revolved around the earth. And all of a sudden Galileo realized, No, I actually have scientific proof that the earth revolves around the sun, a heliocentric, uh, you know, philosophy or or fact. And guess what happened? The church said, No, you can't say that. And he said, Yes I can. Here's the proof. And they charged him with hery, convicted him, and, and imprisoned him.
Speaker 1 00:27:48 Took, took the church 400 years to go back on that and admit that they were wrong against Galileo. So how long is it gonna take Gavin Newsom and some of the other politicians to come and admit they were wrong, uh, with, with c a very long time? The problem is now, do you look at anything else, whether it's vaccines, whether it's masking, whether it's lockdowns, And almost everything that they said was absolute science back then. And even now, to some degree, has been disproven using actual clinical evidence and population evidence. And so what are they doing now? They rather than say, You know what, The science has changed because our knowledge has evolved and the pandemic has evolved, so we're gonna change what we define as information or misinformation. No. Instead, they've dug in and said, No, we are still right, and you are still wrong. And if you disagree with us, we're taking your way, your right to practice medicine. I don't think I've heard of any more forceful forceable, uh, extortion, more effective extortion than telling a doctor you're gonna take away their right to see patients, something that they're doing because they love it, because they're altruistic, because they want to help people and to take that away as well as their livelihood. That's the most powerful influential force you can imagine. And I'm disgusted by the people who somehow think that this is the right thing to do
Speaker 0 00:29:03 Well, and I think it can be contributing to, uh, that brain drain that one of the earlier questioners mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, was asking about. We have another question, uh, and I have some thoughts on this. It's about the cdc, Ariana Schultz is asking on Twitter, is the CDC fulfilling its role? If not, what should its role be? Uh, you know, we came out with a video on this. My name is Coronavirus. Um, uh, it's interesting, even in the creation of the video, we were constrained because a suggestion of an origin, other than, you know, what the approved narrative was, was getting not only people's videos pulled down from the web, but was getting people's entire accounts pulled down. Yes. But so, you know, that didn't stand the time of the test of time. But, but what did, was the fact that the CDC prior to, uh, the pandemic was focused on vaping and was focused on gun control, things that have nothing to do with infectious disease, um, maybe contributed to their having, not having the eye on, uh, the ball when it came to, to this pandemic. But love to hear your perspective.
Speaker 1 00:30:23 You know, you, you just have to look at a cdc, um, Rochelle Wilensky, Dr. Rochelle Wilensky's in charge of it. I don't think she even lives in Atlanta where a CDC is based. So you, you have an entire body that actually has epidemiologists in it, that has people who have, at least on an academic level, studied and prepared for pandemics for their whole career. Were waiting for this to happen. And they threw all of that out, and they concentrated power in the hands of very, very few. Um, I think that happened systematically across the entire public health establishment where you did have real science and you did have real epidemiology. But those individuals in those voices, even within those organizations like the cdc, were rapidly silenced. And everyone was told that you have to tow the party line, otherwise you're out. Um, I know for fact that happened within, uh, Los Angeles County, uh, Department of Public Health, where people who work inside that department, who I know very well, admitted to me confidentially because they don't wanna lose their, their high paying jobs, that that's what they were told.
Speaker 1 00:31:23 And so they were unable to, to, to criticize or even question, uh, imagine that on a national level. And that's really what we saw. CDC is, is historically been a wonderful organization, but they again, got taken over by political forces who really wanted to have a unified approach to this, where a few people's ambitions became policy overnight without any discussion, without any question, without any legal, uh, you know, legislative review or accountability to the people. And they just had to accept it. That's the problem. The, the organization became hijacked, and it's lost a lot of credibility. I think that's dangerous for our society because we need public health organizations, including CDC in FDA and NIH to have a ton of credibility. These are groups that we need to trust because the next time there's a public health emergency, and we currently have one, by the way, the fentanyl crisis, no one's gonna trust them.
Speaker 1 00:32:14 And even tonight, the Los Angeles County Health Department is trying to do a webinar to warn parents about, uh, the fentanyl crisis, the first time they've done this ever. I think, uh, to this degree. And guess what, people are dismissing it because Barbara, for Rare, that same social justice PhD, who everyone, uh, has lost trust in because of her, her, uh, inappropriate and harmful mandates. She's running the show there and moderating the event, and people say, I'm not tuning in, understandably. Uh, so, so the, all these groups need to, uh, restore trust with the public. It's gonna take time, but I think it's essential.
Speaker 0 00:32:47 All right. I'd love to maybe, uh, we've had your perspective as a physician, um, and as a medical researcher, love to get a bit more of your personal perspective as well. Uh, you're a father, um, and, uh, you have, uh, two young children. I'm wondering how the pandemic policies have affected your family, and, uh, and then also, um, how have other cultural institutions changed as a result of pandemic fears and, uh, the desire to mandate, uh, behavior? I know we both recently, uh, celebrated the High Holy Days, Ro Shaima, Yom Kippur. Uh, we did that at, uh, different synagogues than we may have in, in, in years past, because, um, again, it's just, it wasn't official policy, but it was a way that, um, institutions, community institutions have responded. And I think there's a lot of change that's, that's happening, um, that that isn't necessarily visible.
Speaker 1 00:33:57 Yeah, absolutely. Look, in, in our case, uh, we have two little kids. When the pandemic started, uh, they were two years younger than they are now. So rather than four and six, they were, uh, you know, two and, uh, two and four. And so back then, thank goodness they were in preschool, uh, where they actually could attend in person, uh, once, once those immediate lockdowns were gone, as opposed to being in regular, you know, grade school where they were shut down for 18 months or longer, uh, where they were allegedly in distance learning. But I don't count zoom as distance learning. I think it's distance, uh, time wasting. For the most part, there was no evidence of meaningful learning happening there, and a hell of a lot of evidence of harm. Uh, but in my kids, uh, even, even though they were in preschool, you know, the local, we went to a Jewish local preschool at, at a reformed synagogue, um, near where we live.
Speaker 1 00:34:46 And, you know, they had such draconian covid policies that no one can make sense of it. They wouldn't allow us to drive, like further into the campus, beyond the beginning of the parking lot. They forced even the parents and kids to mask inside the car to be able to enter the campus to drop the kids off. And then you couldn't go and walk your kid into school. You had to go into some app and notify the teacher, and the teacher would then come to your car wearing a face shield and a mask or two, uh, and take your kid and treat them like they're radioactive and carry them into class one by one. And in our case, we had kids who were very separate in age and intellectual, a ability and social abilities, and they forced them to be in the same class. Why? Because they thought that that's gonna contain the spread of the virus better. And anytime we questioned them, they said, Oh, yeah, our committee made this decision. Their committee, unfortunately, was made up of, you know, some type of natural healer and a life coach and other individuals who had no medical background whatsoever. And you know, what happened? The moment we questioned them as physicians, they kicked us out. We were basically excommunicated,
Speaker 0 00:35:50 Right? Cause your wife is also a physician. So yeah.
Speaker 1 00:35:53 So yeah, my wife's a physician, she's a fertility specialist. Both of us have enough medical knowledge that we understand that this is wrong, or at least wanted to have a discussion about it rather than being told what to do. They said, No, we can't have a discussion. Uh, we can't afford to have people questioning our policies. It undermines faith in our authority. And these, this is a religious organization that is supposed to encourage questioning authority. That's part of the premise of, of Judaism, part of the premise of many religions. Uh, yet they were acting like the kind of religious extremism that we were escaping, uh, when I was a child. And so they kicked us out. They said, You have one day to collect your stuff. We'll give you a partial refund and you're out. And so we ended up moving our kids to the only school that had room in the middle of the school year, uh, which was a haad preschool.
Speaker 1 00:36:39 Uh, you know, who's traditionally very religious on the other end of the religious spectrum, not necessarily where we were, but we realized these guys didn't close for a day. They never masked the kids, even though they were mandates. They said, Forget it. We, we don't care. They had tall walls, uh, solid metal door, and a guy with a gun outside saying, You're not coming in, uh, <laugh> to, to anyone who wanted to come in and inspect and enforce any of these silly rules. And guess what? They stayed open. Our kids had a normal life, a normal education. And yes, were there a couple of their friends who they didn't see anymore because of their parents, uh, you know, strong adherence to these covid mandates. Absolutely. But guess what happened instead? We met so many wonderful like-minded people, parents and kids who otherwise wouldn't have necessarily met.
Speaker 1 00:37:24 And now there are new friends, and we've established such close bonds with them, uh, that, that we're, you know, we're not as much lamenting the loss of those people who frankly went away. And I don't think they're ever coming back. Uh, we still have a few friends who were, you know, locked down, uh, and didn't let their kids out of the house until very recently, until even their baby was, was fully vaccinated. And that was their prerogative. And, and we're working on building back that relationship. And I think we need to in, in some of those cases. But it's been very hard in that regard. But I think we try to do as much as we can to keep things normal. And, and, you know, the proof is in the pudding. We're, we've all been healthy. Did we get covid? Absolutely. You know, everyone did. Uh, I don't think it was avoidable, even among people who were vaccinated and boosted two times, people are still getting it. But, uh, despite, you know, our circumstance, we managed to have a great life and managed to, to avoid any health problems because we started off healthy to begin with. And I think if, if other people had only thought individually, rather than being forced to, or, or surrendering their individual thought to the government, things would've been very different.
Speaker 0 00:38:28 You know, just listening to you hearing this, looking at the bright side, this optimism, this gratitude, you know, even in the midst of dire circumstances, it's something that I, I hear from other people who are Americans by choice, who are immigrants to this, uh, country. And with everything that's going on in Iran, I'd love to, uh, let's see, We've got a few more minutes. Um, get your perspective, your family's perspective on what's happening there, the current protests, and any optimism for real change in that country.
Speaker 1 00:39:09 I'm glad you asked that. Ja, uh, you know, I, I was recently looking at, at pictures of, of my mom and, and other relatives from pre-revolution Iran. And you couldn't tell they were in Iran. They could have been in Paris, right? Mini skirts, dancing at parties, having fun, wearing makeup. And shortly after that, if they dare to show their hair or wear makeup, they'd have their, uh, you know, had hot acid port in their face. They'd have their, uh, you know, head chopped off. They'd be in prisoned, they'd be tortured, beaten and raped, uh, or killed. And that was happening even today, as we know. Uh, and I think, you know, and Iran is now in the midst of, of its people, I think finally having the momentum to do something about it, and finally saying, You know what? It's worth whatever we're gonna experience to finally have freedom.
Speaker 1 00:40:00 And, you know, this was the initial Islamic revolution was one of the people, right? The people rose up thinking they're gonna get something even better than the monarchy in democracy to some degree that they had and realized <laugh>, no, that wasn't the case there. They had a serious case of buyers or remorse in most cases. But the people who were young today, they didn't make that choice. They weren't alive back then. These are people who were born, uh, in the two thousands, not in the 1970s, eighties, or even nineties. And these are people who are saying, No, we see on social media what life is like for everyone else in the US and Europe and, and so many other places, even in other countries in the Middle East. And that's what we want. Uh, and they're realizing that no one's coming to help them, and unless they take this into their own hands, they're gonna lose.
Speaker 1 00:40:44 And I think they're finally also realizing that they outnumber the government, right? How many the government doesn't have a one-to-one ratio of, of, uh, police, you know, and government officials who can come in and beat them. And so they're realizing that in large groups, they're gonna be able to overwhelm. And I think we're at a really, uh, you know, important inflection point where if the people can overpower the government and cause it to collapse, storming buildings, taking out the right kinds of people, uh, and, and, uh, and really standing up for themselves and no longer waiting for someone to come and rescue them, which is unlikely to ever happen. And I don't think should happen. This needs to be from within. Um, I think we have a real chance at change, even if we don't see regime change. I think what may come out of all of this is a natural and very necessary for the regime to stay in power loosening of many of those restrictions.
Speaker 1 00:41:34 I think in the end, at the very least, we're gonna see some of those, you know, head covering, uh, requirements loosen. I think we may see some of the freedom, the, the speech restrictions and even the religious restrictions loosened to some degree. It's not gonna be anything close to what we have in the us and it's not gonna be anything close to perfect. It'll be maybe 20% better, That's better than nothing. And it may still require additional, uh, episodes like this to create real change that actually moves things in a meaningful way for the people. But we have to start somewhere.
Speaker 0 00:42:04 I know I'm cognizant of your saying that it should and needs to come bottom up from within. But, um, any thoughts on what the United States should be doing? Should not be doing, uh, any perspective Yeah. On our, um, sort of foreign policy visa vehicle?
Speaker 1 00:42:24 Absolutely. Look, the US is negotiating with a run on the nuclear deal as if they are an honest partner. Uh, I don't think we can negotiate with a group of people like this. I don't think we should even sit down at the table with them, let alone hand them billions of dollars with promises of many more billions to follow when they're killing civilians left and right, shooting into protestors to kill as many as they can, just to silence them and maintain their authority. This is ludicrous. So I think the government can first do that second voice support for the, for the people, and then maybe even covertly begin to arm, uh, you know, individuals or groups or subgroups of people who, who, who may benefit from that. And I think we don't need to send troops, but I do think that if we properly support the people within, uh, they're smart and they're committed and they have a reason to fight, uh, one that we don't because we're not them. And, and, and they will fight because they have nothing to lose at this point.
Speaker 0 00:43:17 All right. Well, we're just about at time. I wanted to leave a minute or so if there was, Cause you know, you write about such a broad variety of topics. Um, anything that you see on the horizon, uh, that you're really focused on right now? I know you're, you're quite focused on the issue of medical censorship.
Speaker 1 00:43:35 You know, I, I, I, I think overall what we're seeing is a society that is moving further and further towards censorship, not just medically, but of any dissenting voices, any, you know, people who disagree in any way with what is considered mainstream. And you and I both know what is now considered mainstream. I don't have to go and spend an hour defining it. And I think that's put us down a very, very dangerous path. And, and what we need to do as a people is recognize, again, as I was talking about at the very beginning, how fragile freedom and democracy are. And I'm not referring to just voting rights. I'm referring to just have the ability to do what you and I are doing now, uh, without having our entire online presence taken away or being hauled off, uh, to jail or have even our licenses to do what we do taken away.
Speaker 1 00:44:20 And I think once the people really grasp how fragile democracy is and how you can't just passively take it for granted and hope and, and hope that it stays there, but how you have to constantly be vigilant and constantly maintain it, nurture democracy like you do with a small child, um, and, and nurture it to, to, to where it needs to be and keep it that way. Uh, we'll lose it. And I think that it takes a lot of people who, like myself, are immigrants and who are like myself and others who have faced authoritarian rule in the past, in other ways, or at least understand what it's like in a hypothetical manner and want to avoid it at all costs. And so I think the work that you do and, and Atla society does is key to that. And I think we all need to be vigilant.
Speaker 0 00:45:01 Thank you, Dr. Ma. I'm gonna let you go because I know you've got back to back interviews this afternoon, and we're just one of them. Were very grateful that you were able to take the time to join us today and grateful for, uh, for your courage and your expertise and your perseverance in, uh, speaking out on these issues of, uh, shared, shared concerns. So thank you so much.
Speaker 1 00:45:26 I appreciate it. I appreciate you having me on and look forward to talking again soon.
Speaker 0 00:45:30 Excellent. I also wanna thank all of you who joined us, all of the great questions. I know we didn't get to all of them because of our abbreviated schedule. Uh, want to remind you if you enjoyed this program, remember, the Out Society is a nonprofit, so please consider supporting us for the tax deductible donation. Uh, if you have not had enough of the Atlas Society today in about an hour, our, uh, senior scholar Professor Steven Hicks is gonna be back on with his at Atlas Intellectuals course. You can still have time to sign up for that. I will be back next week to interview Dr. Rainier Ziman, who's joining us from Germany. He's perhaps the world's leading expert on envy. So we're going to be talking about that, the hatred of the good for being good next week. Hope to see you then. Thanks everyone.