Tuesday, July 29, 2014

75th Anniversary of First Penicillin Shot, NY Oct 16 1940

Next October 2015 will see the 75th Anniversary of the first ever shot of Antibiotics - a historical event that took place at Manhattan's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Centre on October 16th 1940.

It marks our very last chance to honour  these medical pioneers while some of them are still alive.

Some hometowns  - and not just in the Third World - did not see their first use of antibiotics for five to ten years after Manhattan did .

Their chances of having those pioneering medical personnel and the often very young pioneering patients still with us is potentially great.

But in the case of the very first case in Manhattan , we can only invite the surviving children and grandchildren of the small medical team and the first two patients to mark the 75th Anniversary of the birthing of our Age of Antibiotics .

Those two were young men dying of then invariably fatal SBE - the endocarditis that is the real killer in cases of Rheumatic Fever - one a 30 year old black from St Nicholas Avenue in Harlem , Aaron Alston, and the other , Charles Aronson , probably a 27 year old Jewish boy from Vyse Avenue in the Bronx.

But that won't happen without help from all of us to find those first medical staff and first patients and families members - in your hometown as well as in New York City ....

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oxford University Artificial Penicillin totally fails to deliver - morally as well as technically

It goes without saying that Oxford University's wartime chimera of totally synthesized artificial penicillin was an abject failure.

75 years on, we still start the production of all the penicillin and beta lactam antibiotics with natural fermentation.

So ---- just a minor technical failing ?

Few go on to consider the moral failings behind the Conservative Party-led British government's wartime penicillin decisions.

The (New Deal-oriented) American WPB (War Production Board) had greatly upped the penicillin amounts originally proposed by Oxford's American ally , Vannevar Bush's OSRD.

The WPB wanted not just enough penicillin produced to satisfy the life-saving demands of the American military, with some left for certain civilian conditions.

They wanted levels that meant all American lifesaving situations were met.

With plenty left over to fill all the unmet demands among the other Allies, with still more left for neutral nations, liberated Europe and even Axis POWs.

The WPB fulfilled Dr Martin Henry Dawson's dream of cheap abundant penicillin for all in the war world - in spades !

By contrast, Churchill's government was unwilling to divert enough resources away from yet more heavy bombers to cure all of Britain's military and civilian life-threatening bacterial infections - let alone to meet the needs of its own colonies.

And as for the rest of the world ? The could all whistle for their penicillin , as far as Churchill was concerned.

The prime minister of the nation that had given the world the discovery and early development of the world's first and best lifesaver thus threw all that global goodwill away - just for a handful of more bombs.

With that one - unbelievably heartless and stupid - decision , Churchill ensured that the Pax Britannica became the Pax Americana .....

Manhattan Natural : 'The other Manhattan Project', Manhattan natural penicillin renewing hope in a war world tired, huddled and wretched.

To dying patients in Columbia-Presbyterian's hospital , Gladys Hobby's arms daily held aloft a glowing green and gold petri dish of radiated Manhattan penicillin mold as a sort of monstrance of hope.

That image is a fitting and almost exact counterpoint to that other (rather more famous) Manhattan fungus .

We all know the atomic Manhattan Project's mushroom cloud  -- also consisting of a glowing ball high on top of arms of roiling dust.

The Manhattan atom brought wartime death and suffering to Japan on a scale hitherto unimagined.

By contrast, Manhattan's natural penicillin offered all the world relative freedom from the deadly bacterial infections that had destroyed families in peace as well as in war.

Given this - the fact that Manhattan's natural penicillin has saved hundreds of times more lives than Manhattan's man-made Bomb ever took - why is it so uncelebrated ?

Why , as well , was the world morally and intellectually silent when Ramzi Yousef tried to justify his bombing of Manhattan's Twin Towers by claiming it was pay-back for the Manhattan Project killing 250,000 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki ?

We can't (and we shouldn't) deny wartime Manhattan's major role in all those atomic deaths.

But would it hurt someone to just once remind Ramzi Yousef and his ilk that wartime Manhattan also produced the safe, inexpensive, abundant natural antibiotic ?

The antibiotic that almost certainly saved the lives of someone in their families in the seventy five years since October 16th 1940 ?

I hope I am not speaking out of line to say that New Yorkers are hardly known for curbing their tongues when something really needs to be said.

But maybe the Big Apple doesn't like blowing its own horn - fair enough.

In which case, it is well past due time that the rest of us in the world should begin doing it for them instead ....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oxford Artificial versus Manhattan Natural

Howard Florey (along with Alexander Fleming and Winston Churchill's government) spend ten years before during and after WWII pursuing the chimera of totally artificial (patentable) penicillin --- to no avail.

As did Florey's supporters in America - Merck, Squibb and Vannevar Bush's all-powerful OSRD.

Set against then, on the opposite side of the Hudson River , was Dr Martin Henry Dawson and John l Smith , chemist and boss of Pfizer.

They saw possibilities in the fermentation of the (public domain - free for all to grow) natural penicillium to produce antibiotics.

This was despite its current yields being admittedly low: they felt as it was a totally new way of doing medicine , it might well improve drastically with more practise.

(I should mention that two other strong skeptics of the whole idea of the commercial viability of total synthesis of penicillin were also practising chemists : Glaxo boss Harry Jepcott and the WPB's penicillin czar Larry Elder.

 It was chemist manques like Florey and the OSRD's Dr Richards who were the most likely to feel that of course man-made Chemistry was always bound to be superior to Mother Nature.)

Today of course, with penicillin being produced at 50,000 times the levels of Fleming for the same cost in time labour and materials, the case against oxford Artificial seems clear - but it wasn't so throughout the war and beyond.

Long Island scientist Miloslav Demerec deserves a lot more credit than he ever gets (which is none !) for his major role in making our wonderful world of relatively cheap abundant antibiotics ....

The penicillin shot heard around the world : how New York rescued NATURAL penicillin from the British and gave it to all of us

"The penicillin shot heard around the world" (Washington Heights , October 16th 1940) changed our entire world , for the better , forever.

But it almost didn't happened.

If Dr Dawson had been content (as most of the world's doctors were) to wait for the wartime British (led by Fleming and Florey) to totally synthesize (patentable) penicillin, the world would still be waiting for the first mass produced antibiotic these 75 years later.

Thank God the other Manhattan Project rescued natural penicillin from the British.

Because New York got natural penicillin into mass production well before WWII was over, when it was most needed , and then turned that Mother Nature-produced technology into the cornerstone of our entire antibiotic defences against death from microbes.

Move over Concord ( or is it Lexington ?!) ...

The Stone the Builders Rejected : how New York saved natural penicillin antibiotics from the British

In London in 1928 , Sir Alexander Fleming discovered natural penicillin as a potential antibiotic but then rejected it - saying it would only be useful if chemically synthesized and even then only as a external antiseptic.

Sir Howard Florey at Oxford, together with chemist Sir Ernst Chain, took up Fleming's challenge to chemically synthesize penicillin and for a decade - from the late 1930s to the late 1940s, his lab chased the chimera of totally synthesized commercial penicillin without any success.

All three men - and these three men alone - got the Nobel Prize for penicillin .

This despite the fact that the penicillin that actually saves lives is still natural in origin, not synthetic , and is a general antibiotic and not a external antiseptic --- never before or since has abject failure been so grandly rewarded !

That penicillin - the penicillin that saved millions of lives during and immediately after the war -is still the the basis of our huge family of related beta lactam antibiotics that remains our front line defence against bacterial death.

It was left to New York to pick up the stone the British builders rejected and make it into the cornerstone of our entire antibiotics industry.

New York (Manhattan) gave the first ever penicillin shots (October 16 1940) not Britain and the patient from Bronx , who was dying from then invariably fatal endocarditis , actually went home alive !

New York had the world's first pilot plant sized penicillin effort (Fall 1940).

New York gave the first ever shots of commercial penicillin
released for use on patients, made by Brooklyn-based Pfizer in March 1942 .

In August 1943, a dying baby from Queens got life-saving penicillin only after the flagship New York newspaper of the Hearst newspaper chain intervened - the story went world-wide and Doctor Mom for the first time started demanding penicillin from government and industry.

More importantly, her story morally inspired the boss of Pfizer to build the world's first serious penicillin plant - posthaste plus plus plus.

Fifteen years after natural penicillin was discovered and rejected , the world's public suddenly wanted tons of it - yesterday .

But virtually all of Big Pharma worldwide - like Fleming and Florey - still preferred to wait for (patentable) synthetic penicillin because natural penicillin could be produced by anyone and what industry really wants free enterprise if it means a lots of new competitors?

In the Fall of 1943, penicillin really got a boost when a Staten Island doctor announced that contrary to the medical consensus , it could cure syphilis quickly and safely.

A much-feared world-wide scourge for 500 years , far bigger than AIDS, suddenly almost a thing of the past  - thanks to penicillin !

But natural penicillin was still costly to produce , in terms of units produced per dollar of feedstock , machinery and labour.

Then a scientist in Cold Spring Harbour Long Island was finally listened to - for years he had an idea to make the penicillium produce a lot more penicillin per dollar of effort.

Soon a hundred times as much penicillin was coming out for the same dollar of effort - using his technology today we get 50,000 times (no that is not a typo)  per dollar of effort as the world got in the early 1940s.

As a result of inaction by the rest of Big Pharma , New York (read : Pfizer) was left to produce 80% of the penicillin landed on D-Day - and for the rest of the war, the biggest chunk of the entire world's penicillin came from its Marcy Avenue plant.

Even if Sweden's Nobel Committee didn't know all that New York did - and all that Fleming and Florey didn't do - I firmly believe that God only knows what New York had done and He is pleased ....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Seemingly, educated white Allied males would prefer to lose to white educated Nazi males - rather than see war won thanks to darkies , women, the small and the weak

Britons - to this day - never tire of telling us that the British Empire troops couldn't contest German troops on German soil till January 1945 because the empire could never come close to matching the manpower of the Third Reich .

Particularly as a successful offensive effort usually needs to outnumber the defenders three to one.

And if you only count the white population of the British Empire that is true (but even there, only narrowly so.)

But India alone - despite feeling badly mistreated by Britain - raised a volunteer army of six million.

And if Britain had resorted to the use of conscription in India , as did all the war's big armies, it could have raised 15 million just here - easily.

Add the colored residents of the rest of the British Empire and the British Empire Army alone could have successfully invaded Nazi Germany even without the Russians , Americans and French.

Not that those three didn't hamper their own war efforts by also distrusting and under-using their colored citizens.

America had a wonderful three-branched armed forces - except for the vital pointy end of the stick - its woefully undermanned infantry.

Blacks were willing to fight - just as women (white, black and latino) were willing to take up more of the work at home to free up men for the infantry - but white American men would have none of it.

France's men also resented the fact that its only well trained forces were its colored North African troops and that they were getting all the glory in liberating (white) France - so they were pulled out of the line in France and poorly trained white French went in - and the effort to defeat Hitler suffered.

Great Russia was even more extreme - it harshly deported its border-living colored minorities that it distrusted , deep into the eastern interior - at the cost in lives of untold thousands of babies, grandmothers --- as well as of young males of fighting age.

On the medical front, the Allied medical community also objected to saving lives if the only way was by injecting the excrement of basement slime mold (aka crude natural penicillin) into them.

They preferred to wait (even if their dying patients didn't) until "Man" had invented artificial penicillin - assumed to be inevitably better, safer , cheaper - as they were sure 'He' soon would.

Afterall, this was an age that actually thought and taught that mother's breast milk and mother's homemade bread was unsafe !

 An age that sought to re-make all of Mother Nature in new artificial Man-made versions : artificial wool, silk, bone, etc - via the new plastics and polymers.

Artificial food - food in a pill - artificial test tube babies - men trying to take even that role away from mothers and Mother Nature.

Unconsciously then, educated men of the 1940 era deeply resented the way the popular press always said that 'common bread mold' had saved lives when the best of the laboratory science (the man-made Sulfas) of the educated man had failed.

An implied criticism of one group of educated men - like a single isolated criticism of one white man by some colonial native - was seen as an attack on all educated white males.

And so they weren't about to let the (small weak slimy) darkies-of-medicine get all the medical glory.....

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Manhattan gave the world the first life-saving penicillin shot - as well as the first death-dealing A-Bomb

Don't let terrorists like Ramzi Yousef limit Manhattan's wartime role to killing (and here I quote his justification for blowing up the twin towers of the World Trade Centre) "250,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki".

Let us never forget that Manhattan also gave the world its first ever penicillin shots 75 years ago next year.

New York then went on to provide the wartime world with the biggest chunk of its life saving penicillin and in the process developed the new micro-engineering  technology used by all the world ever since to make all antibiotics.

It did so by returning to 'the stone the (British) builders had rejected' ---- and made it the cornerstone of our world of antibiotic lifesavers.

Alexander Fleming in London had discovered penicillin 12 years earlier but had decided it would only be useful if made as a patentable man-made economical synthetic and even then only useful as a surface antiseptic - not in an internally-oriented pill or needle.

Howard Florey in Oxford had taken up Fleming's challenge and for a decade his team chased the chimera of man-made patentable economical man-made penicillin - but they never succeeded and no one else ever has.

New York went back to Fleming's original semi-purified natural penicillin and ran with it - in five short weeks Dr Martin Henry Dawson's tiny team had obtained spores, grown it , concentrated it and tested it for toxicity (on Dawson himself).

Now the team was ready to give it to patients dying of then invariable fatal subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE) for lack of it - a young black man from Sugar Hill, Harlem named Aaron Alston and a young Jewish man named Charles Aronson from the Bronx.

SBE patients were then considered the 4Fs of the 4Fs and not a priority to an Anglo-American medical establishment using the excuse of war preparation to curtail social medicine (medicine directed at the poor and minorities).

So the day Dawson picked for history's first penicillin shots couldn't have been more freighted in symbolism.

It was October 16th 1940 - the historic first day of America's draft registration process - a process still going strong 75 years later.

So on a day when all the minds of America and of the Allied and Axis world were focussed on whether or not the hardships of the Great Depression had reduced America's numbers of 1A fit-for-combat youth , a 4F black man and Jew got to make their own history  in a quiet corner of upper Manhattan's Columbia University Medical Centre...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Memo to RAMZI YOUSEF : Wartime Manhattan gave the world's first penicillin shots --- as well as the world's first A-bomb

Manhattan's first ever penicillin shots (75 years ago next  October 16th 2015) were a deliberate act of provocation by Dr Martin Henry Dawson.

Penicillin shots across the bow against the Allied medical establishment for using the excuse of war medicine preparation to dismiss efforts of social medicine directed at the poor and minorities.

He felt that penicillin should be deliberately given a high enough wartime production priority to be able to give penicillin to all those in wartime dying from lack of it .

This would serve as a very public rebuttal to the Axis who felt only the 'fit' from the 'fittest' nations deserved medicine, food and indeed life itself.

Wartime penicillin for all the Allied armed forces and civilians , as well as for Allied and enemy POWs, and the people in Neutral lands ,  even via the Red Cross into the occupied lands and eventually used to save the lives of former enemies.

The aftershock from Manhattan's first penicillin shots radiated out in ever-widening circles.

The then modest biological firm of Pfizer , from Brooklyn , was quickly recruited by news of those historical first shots and began helping out Dawson.

But first Dawson had to demonstrate success against a hitherto invariable fatal disease (SBE) to really suggest what penicillin might do if it was mass produced.

 He did so, starting in November 1942, by 'going off the reservation' and used some OSRD controlled penicillin to save a group of women dying of SBE - something the OSRD strictly forbade - which meant abandoning them to a certain death.

But the astounding success he had with SBE was enough evidence for Dawson's former patient , industrialist Floyd Odlum , to suggest to his boss at the powerful (the New Deal-oriented) War Production Board (WPB) that it greatly up the original production proposed by its rival Vannevar Bush's OSRD .

But Big Pharma sat on its hands, convinced it could make much more money for a much smaller investment (and without a need to learn new skills) when it had synthetic (aka patentable) penicillin instead of this dangerous natural penicillin - which could be made by any competitor.

Such as Dawson - whose modest hospital pilot plant was for several months , the world's "biggest" penicillin producer !

Dawson had certainly convinced a fellow colleague and fellow WWI vet, Dr Rudolph (Rudy) N Schullinger in the Surgical Service of his hospital.

Rudy went overseas in mid 1942 with the CUMC's wartime Second General Hospital unit to Oxford England. Dawson had full-blown Myasthenia Gravis (MG) by that date or he would have been the Lab Chief for that military hospital.

Rudy Schullinger tried very hard to get some of the OSRD's penicillin sent into the European Theatre of War so he could both treat wounded American troops in wartime and contribute the results to the ongoing research pool.

Despite repeated entreaties the OSRD would have done of it !

Thankfully Schullinger's protests finally did pull some some penicillin out of the hands of stay-at-home civilian researchers and into the frontlines (before the war ended).

Though it was only to be used to treat american troops , he broke Regulations and used a good deal of it to save the life of a British soldier dying of the same disease Dawson was trying to cure - endocarditis !

(Dawson's "Acting Up" was infectious .)

Then another former patient , med resident Dr Dante Colitti , threw an emotional spanner in the works - suggesting to the parents of a dying two year old girl from Queens called Patty Malone that they call up Citizen Hearst's biggest paper and beg them to get penicillin the OSRD was denying her.

The Hearst media empire's emotional accounts of rushing the penicillin to the little girl with "just seven hours to spare" gripped first a nation and then a world.

It gripped - in particular - the hearts of Mr and Mrs John L Smith . They had lost a young girl to meningitis that mass produced penicillin - as Dr Dawson always insisted - could easily have cured.

The normally hyper-cautious Smith - the boss of Pfizer - now threw all caution to the wind - ordering his firm to build the world's first really big penicillin plant in as few months as a 24/7 schedule could produce.

Bolder yet - he decided to use the penicillin allocated to his firm to do synthetic studies (to secure a share of the future patents) to save the lives of people in New York  with SBE that his government was refusing to save.

A mysterious woman (probably the otherwise very upright Gladys Hobby) would arriving offering bottles of penicillin without labels to doctors like Ward J MacNeal and Leo Loewe with the oblique suggestion it might just help their SBE patients - and then disappear.

At the time it seemed clear to people inside Big Pharma that Smith had recklessly threw away a certainty of big future profits for Pfizer, just to help save the lives of a few worthless nobodies.

But his - and our - salvation lay in the most unlikeliest of all places : the former eugenic laboratories at Cold Spring Harbour in Long Island , once one of the intellectual godfathers to the Nazi holocausts agains Jews, Slavs and the 'unfit'.

For several years, its new (non-eugenically oriented) director Milislav Demerec had pleaded in vain with Vannevar Bush's OSRD to let him help develop more productive natural strains of penicillin-producing penicillium.

But the OSRD - like Florey and Fleming in England - had its heart set on a man-made synthetic triumph with penicillin - they had no intention to share the glory with anyone small and weak  - let alone microbes.

Once again , the WPB saved the day. Its Office for Production Research and Development (OPRD) had about one hundredth the budget and influence of Vannevar Bush's better known Office for Scientific Research and Development (OSRD).

But the OPRD had street smarts in spades and it wisely gave a tiny amount of money and a lot of morale-boosting support to Demerec's and the spectacular results has repaid that debt a million fold and more ever since.

Demerec gave the penicillium spores a nasty sunburn under an ordinary tanning lamp - most died from the radiation.

But a few survived and were soon producing ten - then one hundred and today 50,000 times as much penicillin from the same amount of feedstock as Fleming's original strain (and Fleming's was an extraordinarily good natural producer !)

Yet Demerec remains the most unsung among all the unsung true heroes of the wartime penicillin story : a case once again where the moral scum - not the moral cream - rises to the top of the fame charts.

Now Dawson's team wasn't the only team in New York thumbing their nose at Big Pharma and Big Medicine by starting a penicillin grow-op.

A doubting doctor John Mahoney out on Staten Island Marine Hospital questioned the OSRD's claim that penicillin couldn't cure syphilis .

With unofficial help from Dawson's team they started growing their own and tested their theory on "Easter" Bunnies (as they told their innocent children) that they kept in their home garages over the Easter holidays !

The public clamour from Doctor Mom for "more penicillin now !" that had started with the story of Patty Malone really took off with the thought that with penicillin families need no longer be threatened with VD from errant husbands.

We can't negate the atomic Manhattan Project and Hiroshima.

But Manhattan Penicillin ,the other Manhattan Project , can point with pride to the fact that 80% of the penicillin landed on D-Day (in its first ever mass clinical trial) came from Pfizer's Marcy Avenue Brooklyn plant and that plant went on to supply the biggest chunk of the world's penicillin for the rest of the war.

So much penicillin that America - not the Britain of Nobel prize winners Florey and Fleming ( who were still chasing the decade old chimera of synthetic penicillin and only then mass production) - supplying most of the penicillin for the Allied, Neutral, occupied and Enemy lands.

And that in turn ushered in a Pax Americana based on diplomatic gifting of abundant New York penicillin.

Dawson's dream of abundant - non-patented - penicillin cheap enough to help all has come true - it is life-saving too cheap to meter, lifesaving far cheaper than bottled water.

It has beaten back age old diseases kept endemic by residing among remote and poor people not reached by clean water, adequate food and proper health care.

As a result a sort of herd immunity has occurred as ten billion of us since 1940 have indirectly had better health from seeing diseases like Rheumatic Fever fade from sight.

No, the 250,000 lives lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki can never be re-gained by actions in other areas - but I think I have offered up evidence to terrorists like Ramzi Yousef and others that wartime Manhattan was at least as much from Venus as it was from Mars.

And if Manhattan citizens are too modest to blow their own horn about its decisive role in making cheap abundant penicillin available to ALL in a world tired, huddled and wretched - then the rest of us should do it for them.

We can't continue to let a terrorist like Ramzi Yousef be the last word on Manhattan's wartime role ....

Emma Lazarus's message to immigrants : America , if it is about anything , is ALL about second acts ...

F Scott Fitzgerald got it wrong. Not about everything , of course. But the bit about there being 'no second acts in American lives' - that 24/7 bromide of the modern news and entertainment biz.

As Emma Lazarus's own legacy demonstrates , there is plenty of room in America for second and even third acts.

Not really a surprise to readers of the New Testament I suppose.

Or to tens of millions of born again Americans (or to the many fans of Richard M Nixon) .

Lazarus arising 

Emma was actually quite an internationally prominent poet and social activist in her day.

Her poem written to raise funds for the pedestal of the French-donated Statue of Liberty was the definite hit of the fund-raising effort.

But then she took seriously ill with a terminal cancer and so became inactive in America's literary cum social action circles.

Thus, in the lead up to the actual ceremony mounting the statue in New York harbour neither she or her poem was mentioned.

(Again , re-affirming a cliche of the modern news and celebrity biz - you have to be out there all the time self-promoting or you're yesterday's news.)

The poem was also almost totally absent from the many tributes to her on her death in 1887.

No artistic figure , no matter how prominent or how big a seller while alive , remains so unless they created a historically important institution, school of thought or work of art.

That is to say no one remains prominent unless they are taught about in school or college.

One sixty word poem tossed off in an hour, but considered highly suitable for a students' anthology, can easily out-weigh a lifetime spent writing three million profitable words , in this fame game.

Seemingly , Emma lacked that 'hit' .

But in 1903 , a friend of Ms Lazarus , Georgina Schuyler , re-discovered the poem about the statue (The New Colossus) in an used book store.

She succeeded , after a great deal of resistance from Emma's family, in having the last few lines of it engraved on a modest bronze plaque in a corner of the statue.

There it remained un-noticed for another thirty years until a Slovene immigrant and social activist , Louis Adamic , campaigned tirelessly for decades , until his death in 1951 , to turn the poem and the statue into a symbol of how America should still welcome immigrants.

(In 1924, America had closed its doors to all but a handful of immigrants from a handful of nordic protestant countries.)

By 1936, at the fifty year celebration of the statue, FDR's carefully eloquent speech had to take in this new sense of the statue taking in (all) refugees who thereby got a second chance at life in America --- because, in FDR's equally careful bow to the right - America offered expanded liberties (to all those who qualified as good enough to become Americans) - the original meaning of the statue.

Gradually , though still contested today by many on the right, Lazarus's hijacking of the Statue of Liberty's original meaning has won the day.

And what person worldwide would be considered truly educated by others if they instantly failed to know what the words tired, huddled and wretched refer to ?

I have written and spoken before (on my local CBC)  about how fragile the early existence of today's universally understood myths often were.

My starting point was simply a passing reference in George F Williston's Saints and Strangers of how during the Revolutionary War , the British took the crucial manuscripts of Governor Bradford, the only real chronicler of the early Plymouth Colony , from out of a Boston church steeple and behind the counter of a humble Halifax grocery store.

There the sheets of paper manuscript detailing the tale of the First Thanksgiving Dinner almost got consumed itself --- as wrappers for greasy pieces of cheese on their way home to hungry post-revolutionary Nova Scotian diners !

This led me to discover the long and windy path to today's universally known account of that first dinner.

So today's story of the first thanksgiving dinner actually is fully faithful to the original event.

However , for most of the 19th century, the story was re-cast as the Indians sending hostile arrows and tomahawks, not peaceful food, to the gathering !

Now I am trying to revive a symbolic tale for Manhattan and America.

True but nevertheless forgotten : Martin Henry Dawson and penicillin-for-all.

His hugely significant role was well noted in the first detailed newspaper and book accounts about wartime penicillin - which coincided with his premature death.

But Dawson had four problems if he wished to have a 'hit' .

He was extremely modest about his role while alive.

He was dead. ( And had no kin or friend who felt like working hard to keep his story alive.)

Alexander Fleming and Howard Florey were alive.

They were total failures in terms of totally failing to do what they intended to do with penicillin versus what America had done so successfully with penicillin.

They were pushy self-promoters.  And all of Britain backed them fully in this need to re-cast the history of wartime penicillin as a British triumph.

Academic historians have fully bought into either the Fleming or Florey version .

Though I find it rather noteworthy that generations of Hollywood producers (armed only with cigars rather than doctorates) consider both men's story to be box office poison and have failed to make a movie out of the dramatic events of wartime penicillin.

My efforts might thus seem totally hopeless but for one more bromide from the North American newsroom.

Those heartless bastards in the news and entertainment biz who give you your fleeting 15 minutes of fame and then toss you out like a used condom ?

They love - simply love - a comeback story - clawing your way back out of the grave like a 'where are they now' lazarus.

The latest example - timely this - is Weird Al Yankovic , who write , sings and performs musical video parodies of well known pop songs while sending up pop culture.

The very physically unattractive and supernerdy Yankovic was supposed to remain a one hit wonder from almost 40 years ago - a weird guy playing accordion at a time of heavy metal and punk.

But he hung on in and gradually getting him to parody you
became as crucial to an superstar's ego as dipping your feet in cement in Hollywood or seeing yourself in wax at Madame Tussauds .

This week his latest album debuted at number one in America and the press went crazy --- this just seemed the-paint-by-numbers kit of all comeback stories - even if Weird Al never really left.

Dawson's no prettier than Al - his biting wit not as potent - but morally , his story really can't be beat.

There's hope yet ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Charlie and Miss "H" : these Lazruses of Manhattan defied the odds time and again to offer hope to a war-weary world

"Dead Men Waiting" or "Dead Women Waiting" is the way most staff in hospital regarded the the  patients in the Green Wards where earlier Rheumatic Fever sufferers with green strep in their heart valves waited out their turn to die.

Dr Martin Henry Dawson was determined that his hand-grown penicillin could help them to beat those odds and return these lazaruses to health , to give them a fair crack at enjoying their three score and ten here on Earth.

His struggle - partly against the disease , mostly against his own colleagues and wartime  government - cost him his own life , but in the end he succeeded against all measure of imagining , improving not just the future of the SBEs but of the entire world itself ....

Charlie and Miss "H" : The lazarus SBE patients of New York who beat the odds time and again to go on surviving

"Dead Men Waiting" or "Dead Women Waiting" is the way most staff in hospital regarded the the  patients in the Green Wards where earlier Rheumatic Fever sufferers with green strep in their heart valves waited out their turn to die.

Dr Martin Henry Dawson was determined that his hand-grown penicillin could help them to beat those odds and return these lazaruses to health , to give them a fair crack at enjoying their three score and ten here on Earth.

His struggle - partly against the disease , mostly against his own colleagues and wartime  government - cost him his own life , but in the end he succeeded against all measure of imagining , improving not just the future of the SBEs but of the entire world itself ....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Topical and local antiseptics versus life-saving antibiotics

When did 'the miracle of penicillin' , as opposed to just penicillin itself - really begin ?

If your life is in imminent danger from a massive bacterial infection your medical team may well use antibiotics topically (around the skin next to an opening in the skin) or locally (inside that opening).

But unless your doctors are criminally insane, they will not limit their use of antibiotics to these two methods.

Instead, their main weapon will be massive repeated doses of antibiotics given by needle (perhaps also by mouth).

Only by this method will the drug be able to travel quickly and thoroughly, via your bloodstream, to every single living cell in your body to engage any and all the offending bacteria all at once : a full-out , full-frontal attack.

So, to the public - and to all but pedantics in the medical world - giving 'antibiotics' without a qualifying adjective , really means the systemic (through the bloodstream to all the body) use of those drugs on human patients.

Penicillin had been occasionally used on patients for twelve years before that fateful October day in Manhattan - topically and locally with mixed results .

As well it had found use in hospital labs as a simple means to clear most regular oral bacteria from suspected samples of "flu" bacteria (sic).

But penicillin had never been used as an antibiotic (and nor had any other microbe-produced metabolite) in the common meaning of that word.

Not until Dr Martin Henry Dawson gave those first shots of hospital-grown penicillin to two young men dying of subacute bacterial endocarditis (the dreaded SBE) : October 16th 1940 , in Manhattan's CUMC (Columbia University Medical Centre) .

Thats when the miracle of penicillin truly began ....

Celebrating 75 years since the world's first penicillin shots - October 16 1940 Manhattan

There are people still alive who were the first in your community to ever receive a life-saving shot of penicillin.

I know this with great certainty because the first were very often young children who are still in their healthy seventies and eighties today.

Gather up their firsthand oral recollections while they are still alive and healthy - because at the 100th celebration of  the first ever penicillin shots they will all be dead and it will be too late.

I just missed my chance in my own community.

After my sister Tracy leal and her friend Lorna Innes notified me about an old newspaper story of a young girl surviving a life-threatening disease thanks to the first ever use of civilian penicillin in Halifax, I recollected the girl's name from my memory banks.

Now an older woman, I realized too late that she had just died , stabbed by her nephew.

Don't let my experience happen to you in your community.

Manhattan's penicillin has changed our world for the better - time for us to show some thanks back !

Help celebrate Manhattan's 75 years of life-saving penicillin Oct 16 1940 --- Oct 16 2015

Manhattan gave the world's first shots of life-saving penicillin , seventy five years ago next October 16th (2015).

And if Manhattan and New York City is too damn modest to blow its own horn , well we in the rest of the world should start by thanking Manhattan for all the good penicillin and other antibiotics have done for us in the three quarters of a century since.

Starting January first next year, let us start sending cards, phone calls and online* messages to the mayor of New York City to thank Manhattan for changing our world for the better forever.


Yes, wartime Manhattan also birthed the A-Bomb.

But let us never forget that NYC not only produced most of the wartime world's penicillin, it also established the fundamental right of ALL in the world to cheap abundant life-saving penicillin in wartime.

And that was the best possible moral rebuke to those like the Nazis who advocated that medicine, food and life itself should only go to the fit of the fittest nations ....

Manhattan gives world's first penicillin shots Oct 16 1940 : celebrating 75 years of natural penicillin live-saving !

Dr Dawson as "the Donald McKay of Medicine" 

It all happened in a blindingly fast five weeks leading up to October 16th 1940.

 Dr Martin Henry Dawson went from reading vague hints about the clinical possibilities of natural penicillium juice to find its spores to inventing ways to quickly grow and concentrate the substance.

He then gave a needle of it to himself , for signs of human toxicity - and survived.

The very next day, October 16th 1940, Manhattan was the site of the world's first penicillin shots - as Dr Dawson injected his team's 'crude' natural penicillin into two 4F patients (a black and a Jew).

Seventy five years ago next year !
On the very day the rest of America began its 75 year old practise of registering all their 1A males.

And 25 years to the day when New York and North America first heard of the execution of nurse Edith Cavell in Belgium.

This news had galvanized Dawson to drop university and join a hospital unit to help poor bleeding Belgium.

Social medicine - the type that helps the 4Fs of this world - was being dropped that Fall to focus on War medicine for the 1As of the world .

Dawson saw this 'eugenic triage' as the civilized world doing exactly what the Axis already advocated - when they should be instead opposing it with every breath and every bone in their bodies.

The world's 4Fs were now his new poor bleeding Belgium.

If the Allied world won't move - then he would. And he did - changing our world for the better forever - until his dying breath four and a half years later.

Dawson was a man with a prominent broad jaw - he simply looked like the sort of person who when he got a bone between his teeth won't let go and would really run with it.

That was a sight an earlier Nova Scotia immigrant to New York , Donald McKay, (who had also set records for speedy results as the builder of the world's fastest ever clipper ships) would know full well.

For when his clippers had a full head of sail they too moved really really fast , with 'a bone in their teeth' as the old salts used to say :

If you want something to really move , hire a Bluenoser !

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ramzi Yousef - and the British - mustn't be allowed to forge the last word on Manhattan's wartime role

Yes, a thousand times yes, many of the events that birthed the Atomic Bomb that killed 250,000 did in fact occur on Manhattan and in the surrounding Greater New York City area.

But there was another wartime Manhattan project which has saved far far far more lives than the A-Bomb ever took : a wartime project a lot more from Venus than from Mars, a project more Emma Lazarus than Gordon Gekko.

Manhattan began by birthing the first ever use of antibiotics on October 16th 1940.

Columbia University Medical Centre associate professor and medical doctor Martin Henry Dawson aimed to see the wartime development of "Penicillin-for-All" : for friend, enemy and neutral alike.

Yes, even in -- especially in -- a Total War against an opponent who thought only the 'fit' of the 'fittest races' deserved medicine , food and life.

The Anglo American scientific-medical establishment hotly opposed Dawson but his tiny team of misfits and unfits persisted.

Dawson told the world of his first ever use of penicillin as an antibiotic in February 1941 and again in May of that year.

The second one caught the attention of the American media and through a big story in the New York Times , the eye of a then small citric acid producer in Brooklyn called Pfizer who soon began a prolonged engagement with Dawson's project.

Then thanks to Dawson's former patient (and Manhattan resident) Floyd Odlum , one agency (the War Production Board (WPB) -- out of many for the Allies -- caught his vision too.

They ordered that enough American wartime penicillin to be be produced to save all those dying in the Allied civilian and military worlds , with enough left over to save many of those dying in the rest of the world as well.

But Big Pharma sat on its hands, hoping public domain natural penicillin might soon be replaced by high profit patented synthetic penicillin.

But when another former patient of Dr Dawson,  Dr Dante Colitti from the Bronx , broke the embargo on going to the popular press to plead for government penicillin for dying baby Patty Malone of Queens.

Soon a local Manhattan news story broke big - first going stateside (thanks to the newspaper chain of Citizen Hearst) and then going international , despite the war censorship.

(Good News travels fast --- never faster than in the middle of a Bad News War.)

Pfizer boss John L Smith was moved because the plight of the little Patty because it reminded him so much of the unhappy circumstances surrounding the un-necessary meningitis death of his daughter Mary Louise. (Penicillin usually quickly cures cases of frequently fatal meningitis.)

She had died basically because the (healthy) Alexander Fleming couldn't get off his fanny in the early 1930s to make penicillin in the same way that the (terminally ill) Dawson had done in the 1940s.

John L and his wife must have had a serious heart to heart pillow talk about this one night because soon the normally extremely cautious Smith had thrown off all traces.

'Damn the rest of Big Pharma, and damn petty government regulations forbidding Pfizer and Smith from giving away secret penicillin to keep people alive.'

He ordered in Klieg Lights and put the firm on a 24/7 mad rush to complete the world's first really big penicillin plant.

He was moved as well by all the successes Dawson was having in curing endless kinds of diseases with penicillin - and by the unexpected discovery made in a Staten Island hospital that penicillin quickly and safely cured the age old scourge of syphilis.

John L was big Dodgers fan - he owned part of the club - and in the early summer of 1944 the baseball team stiffed.

Despite this , Brooklyn still scored big on an extended road trip : Omaha, Utah, Juno , Gold and Silver.

For 80% of the penicillin that landed on D-Day came from Pfizer's converted ice-cube plant on Marcy Avenue in "The-Borough-That-Builds" -- and for the rest of the war Pfizer supplied by far the biggest portion of the world's penicillin.

Obviously more than just a tree grew green in Brooklyn that summer.

Britain had discovered penicillin and done almost all the work on it until Dawson's first ever injections of penicillin-the-antibiotic on October 16th 1940.

But the attitude of the leading British researcher, Oxford's Dr Howard Florey , was directly opposed to Dawson's humanitarian values.

He wanted penicillin kept secret and used only as a weaponized medicine , something that would give Allied troops a surprise advantage over the Germans.

Allied civilians and POWs , along with the dying in the occupied countries, the neutrals and the enemy would just have to wait at the back of the bus.

In addition, Florey (and Fleming) banked all his hopes on the chimera of cheap synthetic penicillin - something still not achieved - or ever likely to be!

So as American natural penicillin (and not British synthetic penicillin) flew by plane all over the the world, very highly publicized in the global media, to save dying children in Allied and Neutral countries (some like Australia a former close ally of Britain and ironically , the home of Florey !) , something very important for our post-war world happened.

Pax Britannica , sustained up to now by collective memories the British bravery under the Blitz, faded and was replaced by the new Pax Americana.

Or perhaps Pax Penicillia ? Pax Manhattana ? Pax New York ?

When Dawson died of his terminal disease in the spring of 1945 , just after the death of FDR and just before those of Mussolini and Hitler, his passing got a moment of respectful recognition for all he wrought.

But Dawson safely dead, Fleming and Florey got all the credit ever since though they had signally failed to produce any synthetic penicillin for either the war effort or for the world's dying.

The were aided by Britons , all of them - from top to bottom , unconsciously determined to recover something from a costly war they supposedly won.

Ever since then, the British have rivalled the Russians in the number of important wartime inventions and discoveries that only they supposed did the fundamental work in --- even though the hard evidence says many people in many nations made important contributions over many decades.

Penicillin , along with radar and the jet , occupies the very Parthenon of this false-memory syndrome.

If left to British science - and left to Churchill's Conservative British government - the war or the postwar would never have seen cheap abundant penicillin produced all over the planet.

Endless endemic diseases would not have been knocked back - millions would have died - with billions suffering ill health.

Come on up Manhattan and New York - on October 16th 2015 take a deep bow for your role in wartime's humanitarian "Penicillin-for-All" - you fully deserve it !

And Ramzi Yousef and all your terrorist ilk - Manhattan penicillin has saved far more of your kinfolk than your bombs will ever kill - at least try and show a hint of respect.

Don't be like the ungrateful British....

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Moral equivalency : the Nazi Hunger Plan and Allied bombing of civilians

Not enough has been said about how Axis and Allied in WWII were motivated - first and last - by fears of the dysgenic consequences of another WWI style war.

To Germans, WWI was lost by the British blockade starving an undefeatable (militarily) Germany into surrender.

Not that Germany hadn't tried to remain well fed by starving the peoples of the lands it occupied - but clearly, as civilian Germany had still gone hungry and lost the war, they hadn't been nearly rapacious enough.

That wasn't about to happen in WWII  ---- the Hunger Plan against the Slavs and the Holocaust against the Jews were proof of that.

The Allies saw WWI as an event where the fittest sons of the fittest families had disproportionally died in combat while the unfittest stayed well fed and safe at home - safe at home to multiply endlessly.

Conventional human-oriented (infantry and land battle oriented) war was thus not eugenic but dysgenic - killing the fit and preserving the unfit.

A new long range mechanical war directed at the enemy's civilian-operated war factories and their workers was the alternative.

Fit middle class men no longer crawled through the mud - they cooly pushed buttons at the complex command centre of large machines of war : battleships, submarines, bombers, tanks, long range rockets.

They aimed to hit hard and accurate from a long - safe - distance away.

By war's end, tanks could penetrate a half foot of hardened armour from a safe mile away and submarines had torpedoes that could travel 25 miles as could battleship shells.

In the air, bombs were routinely dropped from 25,000 or more feet up and rockets travelled up to 250 miles away to hit cities.

Morally, they were all just stand-off weapons for the squeamish.

Now naval and aerial blockade campaigns could ensure that hundreds of thousands of babies starved slowly to death 2500 remote miles away --- so as not to offend any (diminishing) middle class sensibilities.

German 1A troops were kept fit and fed by starving to death the 4Fs of Eastern Europe.

Britain and America had hoped to never have their 1A troops directly engage 1A Axis troops on German and Japanese home territory.

Killing enough 4F Germans and Japanese by direct civilian bombing and indirect naval blockades should cause the enemy 1A army to surrender first without any need for your own 1A army to be bloodied.

It didn't work in Germany but it sort of did in Japan - after the American A-bomb, in combination with an old-fashioned infantry-led direct land assault by the Russians, tipped the scales.

My stance ?

If you have to defeat an evil-doer by extreme force ( and Hitler, Stalin and Tojo fit that bill) and you have greatly superior population numbers - as the Allies ALWAYS did , the answer is clear.

The means that produces the least deaths among your side and the enemy's side of conscripted soldiers and conscripted civilians is a massive infantry led direct assault on the enemy's home territory on simultaneous multiply fronts.

Britain ,France - even America - were not willing to overwhelm the Axis by large armies - if much/most of the people in those victorious large armies were their colored colonials.

(Let remind you that the largest volunteer army history has ever seen yet was the WWII Indian army.)

If Indian concerns had been addressed and India conscripted at WWII (let alone WWI) levels , the Indian Army might have cowed even Hitler into a negotiated peace rather than be overwhelmingly defeated by 10 million dark Indian infantrymen on German soil.

In WWII, we would rather have lost to fellow white racists than to win by means of a multi-colored armed forces that would give those coloreds the moral means to demand independence or basic human rights.

If the war had to be won by means of people we considered unfit - we'd rather just lose --- the unfits' role in the war were simply to be pliant blockade and bombing victims on the other side.

Luckily , one group of unfits - Dawson's unfits - rejected that role.

Instead these 4Fs repeatly rescued dying 1A soldiers with big needles of cheap, plentiful "Penicillin-for-All" ....

Friday, July 18, 2014

An "Open Letter" to people who OPPOSE next year's celebrating 75 years of Antibiotics

While there are huge numbers of people out there who adamantly oppose vaccines flat out, most people only oppose the mis-use or over-use of antibiotics - as do all doctors and scientists.

But a few people quietly oppose antibiotics totally : those in the natural health field ,  who'd rather you'd spend your health dollars on healthy natural foods that keep your natural immunity at 100% efficiency.

Perhaps this lack of opposition to all antibiotic use, compared to the opposition to all vaccines, it is a measure of how stupid we humans can be at times.

Why else do we give a much greater weight to a drug that immediately cures us from an ongoing painfully fatal disease than we do to a vaccine that years earlier quietly prevented us from ever getting painfully and fatally sick in the first place ?

Clean water and good sewers, plentiful food , warm dry homes, less stress from trying to managing on below-poverty wages , childhood vaccines --- all have done far far more than antibiotics ever have to reduce our chances of dying early.

But when these frontline defences fail, there is no getting around the fact that naturally-produced antibiotics have saved far more lives than all the Man-made synthetic anti-bacterials ever have.

Natural Health Movement

So this a sort of an Open Letter to my friends in the Natural Health movement.

Yes, please continue to oppose the over-use and mis-use of antibiotics and yes please continue to advocate clean water, healthy food and homes and happy minds as key to preventing us ever getting sick.

But when we do get deathly ill from a bacteria disease, is it really so wrong to let naturally-made penicillin fight back the disease so we can live out our three score and ten ?

Please don't oppose the 75th anniversary celebrations of Martin Henry Dawson birthing the Age of Antibiotics with his selfless "Penicillin-for-All"  October 16th 1940 in Manhattan.

After all , that man sacrificed his own life to selflessly help others - what gives you the fracking right to come around and kick yet more dirt on his grave --- didn't the Anglo-American medical establishment do enough of that already ?

My mother, licking plates clean - and poor suffering Belgium

My only emotional link to Edith Cavell and Belgium is through my mother, back in the late 1950s.

My mother was born in Hungary and lived mostly on Windsor Ontario's public relief all during Canada's Dirty Thirties.

But she was an anglophile of a sort (read all of the Hornblower series at age ten !) and somewhere she had picked up that the starving-est people in the world - in the minds of middle aged Anglo Canada of the 1950s at least - were the Belgians.

"Finish all the food on your plate", she would constantly scold us , "Think of the starving Belgians."

So we did think of them - as best as our six year old minds could - and licked our plates clean.

To this day (my mother now dead) , I still think that not finishing your plate is akin to, but worse than , a war crime ...

Must we still CRINGE to London (and New York) ?

Must we in the backwaters of the former British empire still wait until London tells us its okay to mark the 100th anniversary* of the day that the news of nurse Edith Cavell's execution flashed around the world ?

And what if they forget and they don't - what then - must it go un-noted ?

And must we wait until New York tells us in the rest of the grateful world that it is okay to celebrate the 75th anniversary* of the birth of the Age of Antibiotics in their city ?

And what if New York forgets , like London , and does nothing - what then ?

Nova Scotia's glory days were actually during the cringing days when it was still a British colony  - its rapidly aging and declining population ensures it is ever faster becoming a global backwater.

But if I in backwater Nova Scotia want to join with other global backwaters to start the ball to mark Cavell's and Penicillin's big anniversaries , nothing should stop me.

And it won't !

* In both cases , the exact same day ---- October 16th 2015 

(The British have just announced Cavell will appear on a five pound coin)

Public Anniversaries linked to the exact same day : Edith Cavell's execution AND the Birth of Antibiotics AND the first peacetime Draft

Because Public Anniversaries tend to be marked in increments of 25 years after the event ( 25, 50, 75, 100 years later and so on) , big public events separated by a neat division of exactly 25 or 50 years apart tend to become quite linked in the public mind.

In Canada , because the two seminal events of nationality - Confederation in 1867 and the victory of the Canadian Corps at Vimy in 1917 - happened exactly 50 years apart , their celebrations always occur in the same year and are always mentally linked together as well.

Similarly , WWI (the war to end all wars) and WWII (its rematch) both began in the month of August exactly 25 years apart so these beginning anniversaries are always chronologically and mentally sadly linked together.

Like tens of thousands of young men and women world wide* , Dr Martin Henry Dawson symbolically started his military and medical career in high moral outrage on the morning of October 16 1915, when the newspaper story of nurse Edith Cavell's execution in Belgium first arrived on the world's breakfast tables.

On that date, he mentally stepped into the breech to help the weak and small of poor bleeding Belgium .

Exactly 25 years later, to the day, he did the same for the weak and small '4Fs of the 4Fs' in New York's charity wards whom he felt were being deliberately neglected under the excuse of the move towards war medicine and away from social medicine.

The injections of his hospital-made penicillin that he gave that day to a Negro and a Jew dying of (the then invariably fatal) subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE) in a charity ward at Manhattan's Columbia University Medical Centre marked the beginnings of our current Age of Antibiotics.

On that exact same date, America conducted its first ever peacetime draft registration oriented to locating all of its 1A youth.

Those 1As were to benefit from the increased resources devoted to war medicine just as the 4Fs of the 4Fs were to suffer under the cuts to social medicine.

So I very much doubt the fact that Dawson birthed Penicillin-for-All (and our Age of Antibiotics) on the exact 25th anniversary of Cavell's murder in 'poor little Belgium' was in anyway purely coincidental.

So linked anniversaries indeed : October 16th 2015 will mark the 75 anniversaries of the Age of Antibiotics and America's draft registration process (which is also still going on) and of the 100th anniversary of Edith Cavell's execution becoming a conscience-awakening event around the world.

A busy day indeed ....

* Read Katie Pickles's great book "TRANSNATIONAL OUTRAGE" for a revealing look at just how fast and how hard the Cavell execution meme could hit in a pre-internet world that was nevertheless tightly connected by overseas telegraph cables and big city daily newspapers distributed everywhere by overnight trains.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Axis/Allied plenticides of life and compassion

I see strong links between WWII and our current (human-driven) "Sixth Extinction" laying waste to the plenitude of Nature.

 The eugenic Nazis believed that the plenitude of humanity needed drastic pruning - starting with the Jews and Slavs.

 Their plenticidal crime was against the right of all humans to exist. 

The eugenic Allies/Neutrals told us to stifle our plenitude of compassion for the weak and the unfit - to limit our compassion to the fate of our own 'fit' .

 Their plenticidal crime was against compassion for strangers. 

My biographical subject ,Martin Henry Dawson ,("Manhattan Misfits") rebuked all three. His Manhattan Project ("Penicillin-for-All") originally hoped to save just a few strangers from an eugenic and heartless Allied medical establishment. 

It ended up rousing a nation and changed our whole world for the better -- forever.

Specialist - in depth - beat reporters - or just cheerleaders, captured by their sources ?

In August 1941, Howard Florey published a gripping human interest drama in the pages of the world's leading medical journal, THE LANCET, complete with dramatic before and after photos of little kiddies rescued from certain death.

Yet no reporter in Great Britain's highly competitive newspaper world ever published a single word about it !

Why not ?

I think it is because the general reporters who would have published such a gripping human interest story in a shot never heard of it from their "filtering" colleagues, the beat specialists.

Otherwise, general reporters only write such stories if they had had a personal approach - say by the parents of one of the boys in question.

But general reporters do not generally scan endless numbers of highly specialist publications like THE LANCET looking for likely stories and exclusives - that "filtering" job is the role of their papers' specialist or beat reporters.

These beat specialists cover only Parliament, or only The City.

 (Or perhaps only the labour scene, or medicine and science , or the police courts, sports etc.)

During WWII , effective if informal censorship existed for all the Allies' scientific and technical publications.

A word to the wise to a few key technical-scientific editors about subjects to be low-balled generally worked better than a legal (and hence highly public) censorship notice detailing all the subjects these publications could not talk about.

For that method had the paradoxical effect that it only alerted everybody on the specific scientific areas the military was most concerned about !

I think that almost* all the beat reporters covering medicine and science for the general media during WWII got too close to their sources and too far away from the readers who paid their wages .

They thus failed - for but one example - to ask why such a good news story - already published globally, during a world war, in THE LANCET - couldn't also be read by the millions of downmarket readers of the UK's DAILY MIRROR ?

William L Laurence - the New York Times  science reporter who shilled under the table for the Manhattan Project - is the best known example of this process of being morally captured by the sources you are supposed to cover objectively for readers outside that field.

But surely , he can't be the only one....

* One key exception : James McKeen Cattell , publisher of the giant scientific journal SCIENCE, who went to bat with great courage in the darkest days of early 1942 , against censoring Dawson and his Penicillin-for-All proposal.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Why Charlie ? Why Miss "H" ?

Between September 1940 and April 1945, pioneering penicillin doctor Martin Henry Dawson treated about three dozen patients with subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE) or acute bacterial endocarditis (ABE).

So out of those three dozen patients , why on earth did I decide to focus on just two - one young man (Charles Aronson) and one young woman (Miss H H) ?

One reason was to simply add continuity and coherence to my narrative, particularly my libretto narrative.

Charlie was there, on-site, in Dawson's ward at the very beginning and at the very end of the narrative arc - something you just invent in a work of fiction but something you rarely find in real life.

(Charlie had the extremely rare good luck to survive his first bout of SBE and the extremely bad luck to get a second bout of SBE and then to survive a severe stroke while recovering from that second bout .)

The arrival of Miss "H" provoked the crucial turning point in the narrative arc and her prolonged recovery from the side effects of her SBE ensured she was in many scenes - including the climatic one , along with Charlie.

Again a real life boon rarely granted the author of narrative non-fiction !

But my main reason for including these two in Dawson's team of seven key 'unfits' is because I sense these two , out of all the three dozen patients, were more 'actors' than 'acted upon' (which is the normal role for patients in such doctor-oriented stories).

The first period of extensive penicillium growing and penicillin extraction was originally planned to occur at the end of the first term (December) at Dawson and co-team leader Meyer's medical school.

But Dawson suddenly decided to give the first (tiny) historic injections of penicillin just 5 weeks into the 16 week process - seemingly right after Charlie unexpectedly joined the team's first SBE patient, Aaron Alston.

Dawson did write Ernst Chain at that time that he had a patient of whom he was unusually interested in - and admittedly that could have been either Aaron or Charlie.

But Charlie, he later noted, had an unusually complicated medical history - all revolving around surviving repeated brushes of death with oral commensal strep.

And nothing in life - nothing - interested Dawson more than oral commensal strep .

And Charlie was a repeated 'survivor' , probably with the characteristic survivor's buoyancy.

This alone might have inspired Dawson onward to also do his very best.

Much the same for Miss "H" - after all, for her, the very honest and modest Dawson 'stole' incredibly scarce government-controlled penicillin in the middle of an all-out Total War  !

Her earlier medical history indicated she had survived a life-threatening bout of Rheumatic Fever with 'endocarditis' involvement (probably actually severe pancarditis) .

 She went on to survive her SBE thanks to Dawson's penicillin (the first case in history ever cured by penicillin) and then to endure years of serious infections caused by infected matter from her damaged heart valve infecting other parts of her body - she lost one eye and her womb in the process.

But like Charlie, she survived them all - she was a born survivor , probably with a similar characteristic buoyancy.

So : two real-life 'larger-than-life' characters just crying out to be portrayed on stage by first class actors yearning to stretch their craft .

What's there not to like ???!!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Oh Oh , Diversity & WWII : have I said a bad word ?

My claim that Martin Henry Dawson championed diversity in both microbiology and in humanity during WWII strikes many as simply incredible and non-credible.

They see concern for promoting 'diversity as a good thing' not arising until the mid 1970s , thirty years later.

It is true that a wide public concern for the rights of all sorts of minorities did not become general until the 1970s and is still being harshly contested even today.

But this does not prevent early pioneering concerns for protecting diversity such as the one that led Dawson and his small band of fellow 'unfits' to champion "Penicillin-for-All"  thirty years earlier.

Above all, everyone agrees that 1945 marks the year that postmodernity first started emerging.

And nothing separates postmodernity from the preceding modernity more decisively than the former's welcoming of wide diversity set against modernity's obsession for creating a smothering normalcy based only on hetrosexuality, WASP values and skin color.

So what on earth was it that led to 1945's sudden upswing in postmodernity ?

We do know that contrasted with the revelations about the Nazis' Holocaust (and the results of the A-Bomb), the hopeful possibilities offered up by penicillin and its kin was easily the brightest news story of that year.

And why not ?

What people saw was , one hand, a postmodern-like effort to provide life-saving penicillin for 'unfit' and 'fit' alike and on the other hand a fully modern program designed to kill all the unfit so that the fit could rule a 'perfected' world.

People who had always accepted modernity's promises look again at them - hard - and blinked....

"Triumph of the Unfit" : a WWII book whose heroes are women, Jews, blacks, cripples and immigrants

There are plenty of WWII books and sometimes even documentaries about the WWII experiences of minorities and the unfit.

Just not popular ones - not the ones promoted by the Big Six , Five , Four book publishers and the Big Six, Five, Four, Three TV networks with lots of gloss and big bucks for publicity.

The biggest readers of the glossy books and high-budget TV shows about WWII (War porn) are basically the same people who are big viewers of Fox News and big listeners of Talk Radio and big supporters of the Tea Party.

You know who I mean : all those middle aged, middle class, white men who can't get enough of the last period in history (Modernity) when their kind ruled the roost unchallenged.

If any of them chance to fall upon my book about the heroic unfits whose efforts have helped saved their lives, or the lives of someone they know with cheap abundant antibiotics - I sure hope the shock doesn't kill them ....

Other than as victims, does a successful WWII book actually NEED women, blacks, Jews, the handicapped, the poor, gays, civilians ?

The Fox News-ization of WWII : history as re-written by talk radio ...

To answer my title's question : of course not.

The most prominent woman leader in WWII - almost the only one - was Eleanor Roosevelt - and her little bit of influence came mostly from her nation-wide newspaper column, not from being inside the corridors of actual decision making.

Ditto goes almost all of the small/weak/unfits/misfits I earlier mentioned.

Sure Jews and gays were plentiful in corridors of power in most Allied nations - but powerful acting as representatives of the Jews and of the gays --- no, no ,no , a thousand times not.

If you want to distort history, satisfy your aging male writer's ego and make lots and lots of money, you can happily focus on the WWII that was all about Modernity and the good old days when male middle class still dominated the lesser breeds and genders.

But 1945 did not just mark the Apogee of Modernity, Big Science and the hegemony of the big Western Powers - it also is taken - by general academic consensus - to be the year that marks the start of the Nadir of Modernity and the rise of our present Postmodern era.

Because, underneath the Boy's Own World of virtually all of today's most popular WWII books , there were an awfully lot of unfits taking FDR's Four Freedoms and the Allied Atlantic Charter very seriously indeed.

Which is to say, a lot more seriously than did the guys who originally wrote them ...

Penicillin-for-All : Postmodernity's "Manhattan Project"

We know far too well Modernity's "Manhattan Project" - Big Science's  Atom Bomb - it sometimes seems that middle-aged male non-fiction writers write about nothing else than those heady - now long gone -days of Modernity and Male dominance.

(Yes it is almost always middle-aged men who write the books and articles about Manhattan's atomic bomb .

And perhaps it is also almost always middle-aged men who read them , despite the fact that ordinarily most readers are women of all ages.

This publishing fixation on the past glories of long gone Modernity may hurt publishing firms' bottom line but it is unlikely to change as long as most publishing bosses are also middle-aged males with a strong taste of nostalgia for when men like themselves ruled the roust unchallenged.)

Few middle-aged male writers , however , write about the simultaneous (in time and space) Post Modern Manhattan Project --- Penicillin-for-All.

P-F-A was an unexpected triumph -- because all-powerful wartime Big Government (and Big Pharma) definitely had other plans.

It was the unexpected triumph of a tiny band of unfits (with no government grants to aid them by the way) successfully defying both Allied and Axis eugenicism (and their own physical failings) to bring us Penicillin-for-All.

Call it a triumph of the unfit, weak, small - above all call it the triumph of DIY small science, since key to the unfits' success was their ability to create their own tiny life-saving penicillin factory , regardless of how Big Pharma and Big Government wanted to play out wartime penicillin.

So if WWII definitely began in 1939 at the height of the Era of Eugenic Modernity , equally it ended in 1945 at the beginnings of our present Era of Welcoming Diversity & Postmodernity and it is time male non-fiction writers accept this historical reality...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Morally and metaphorically, my book is about the 97 pound weakling who sticks a needle into the guy who once kicked sand in his face - saving his life !

In every book I have ever read about WWII , the small (4F)(unfit) (weak) get deadly sand kicked in their face by big bullies --- at home* as well as abroad --- for six long years.

Cumulatively, it makes for truly depressing reading.

(*Eileen Welsome's book The Plutonium Files describes just a few of the unspeakably evil medical experiments that American wartime researchers practised on their own unwitting "useless mouths" and "unfits".)

But I think there is one exception:

The unlikely triumph of a small group of American 'unfits' who defied both Allied and Axis Eugenicists  (and their own physical failings) to bring us the blessings of cheap, abundant Penicillin-for-All .

All : Alpha-Betas as well as Nerds.

It is that distinct rarity in WWII literature ------- an inspiring Good News Story from the bad news war .

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A school musical for freaks, geeks, nerds, losers, misfits , the terminally uncool and the terminally shy

All the kids up on stage in way too many high school, college or Sunday school musicals are the same kids that run (ruin ?) the rest of school life.

You know the ones .

All they of the conventionally smart mind, faces neatly symmetrical & teeth gleaming white, from a family with money, physical fit and socially attractive and exhibiting a very successful love life.

My musical will be different - it is a sort of a "Revenge of the Nerds" but on a much, much higher moral plane and based upon a true story from WWII.

(I know - I know - won't the social studies department just love that !)

It tells how a small bunch of misfits/unfits defied their all-powerful wartime government, powerful elite opinion (and their own bodies !) to bring cheap abundant life-saving penicillin to all of us - brought equally to those of us with the gleaming white teeth and to those of us doomed to be the eternal social misfits .

So just this time , let the misfits run the show.

Yes, particularly those with two left feet and those who can't even carry a bucket let alone a tune in a bucket.

Call it research or call it life-experience --- they'll be just fine up there , spazzing all over the stage, just doin' the Dance we call Life.

And compel Ms Perfect to flounce back into an audience seat to sit back and see how a tiny band of misfits from 75 years ago delivered the penicillin that allowed her dad's dad and her own mother, FG'S , make it out of childhood alive.

Because it is only thanks to those long dead misfits from us long ago,  that she is even here to day , with her top SATs and her smashing BBF in tow.

Time to offer up some respect !

Action 4F hooks up with Action T4 : Allied and Axis eugenic ethics 'mate like minks' during WWII ...

Action T4

It seemed clear to the Nazis (and to most Allies) that if the people they viewed as "unfit" weren't going to be useful on the combat front that didn't mean they should be left off scot-free.

They too must help the war efforts in some tangible way.

Perhaps by receiving less food, heat and medicine --- since they couldn't do useful war work or even simply breed more healthy future warriors.

The Nazis quickly parted company with many (but by no means all) Germans , Allied and Neutrals by deciding the unfit could really best help the war  by being murdered --- to free up yet more food and more hospital attention for other "fitter" Aryans.

Action T4 - the secret - official - mass murders of all the unfit ended after a couple of years , under strong if muted protests from the general German public.

(It carried on - unofficially - throughout the war and beyond - as a secretive and unorganized effort supported by wink, wink silence from superiors.)

But this public protest only arose in strength with rumours that the Nazi eugenicists planned to start killing the elderly and the wounded soldiers of non-poor German families --- as well as those of the poorest German families.

This social animus against those unable to fight in combat seems to be universal and eternal.

Action 4F

And almost always, the strongest public anger does not spill over against those who are "fit but not at the front" (those in society with valuable special skills working in "deferred" jobs).

This is because they are society's bosses and able to make life miserable for any who dare to complain publicly.

"So you think your husky young Foreman should be at the Pacific Front do you ?"

 "Well then how about you spending some time in the heat of Guadalcanal , Mr drill press operator !"

This implied threat from the powerful had hidden teeth - most men with deferred valuable skills knew that if enough women or blacks were trained to do their jobs, their deferment would end and they would be called up.

This, and not the general prejudice against women and blacks , was the real (if semi-secret) reason why white male worker protests against hiring women and blacks were so frequent and so violent.

So public anger had to be directed instead against the weakest , poorest and least popular members of society --- those 4Fs who came from poor and or minority groups.

They could be safely attacked without any risk that they, their families or their communities could successfully counterattack.

Most girls , just for instance , made it very clear that they won't be seen dating or flirting with those unfortunate teenager college boys with 4F cards.

Seventy five years later this very public rebuke to vulnerable teenage identities clearly still stings in the memoirs of these now elderly men.

Conscious anger mixed with much unconscious guilt in the minds of Allied society's most powerful who were not at the front in WWII (and who had also frequently evaded serving in combat in WWI as well.)

This is shown by the astonishing eagerness with which the Allied elites made the poorest and the weakest in Allied society (its metaphorical 4Fs) the unwitting subjects in endless dangerous medical experiments - as assayed in Eileen Welsome's book The Plutonium Files .

Or the eagerness with which they denied the poorest lifesaving medicines as a form of brutal eugenic triage.

I hope I am not seen as excusing the Nazis' actions but merely stating a historical consensus that the Nazis got even more brutal against the unfit as the objective and subjective conditions of the war worsened for them .

By objective I mean the evidence that in war years of bad European food harvests, they determined not to lose this war (unlike the first war) on the German home front - and so made others suffer more so that Germans continued to eat well.

(Ordinary Germans ate better in WWII than they had during the 1930s' Depression period - because of a government plan that enabled German soldiers to sent home food they bought openly and freely from other Europeans .

 The Nazis secretly made it work financially for them by in effect creating hugely unfair currency exchange rates.)

By subjective, I mean when it seemed clear to the Nazis in the Fall of 1941 that they might not secure new living space in western USSR , they began killing all of Europe's Jews - not just some of the Jews in parts of  Eastern Europe - as a new war objective they could easily reach, to justify all the German war dead.

I mention all this because we mustn't let the Allies off too lightly in these brutal eugenic sweepstakes.

They afterall invented most of the original eugenic dogma the Nazis picked up and ran with.

And the historical evidence indicates that the Allied eugenic actions got more brutal as the war worsened against them.

If the war had continued to worsen badly against them who can say if their 4F Action horrors might not have rivalled those of the Action 4T ?

Certainly, on the military front, the Allied record displays a despicable eagerness to see that the hapless 4Fs of the occupied lands and of the Axis suffered (by Allied bombings) before the 1As of the Allies did (by directly engaging the German troops on Western European soil).

But that squalid history is a post for another day ....

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The NSA's worst nightmare : the 21st century's samizdat : paper ! : thumb drives, home printers & A6 pocket-concealable books

My A6 downloadable home-printable books (tracts ? booklets ?) are a deliberate 21st century continuation of the famous Little Blue Books , a multi-million selling series American books of social and cultural subversion that were insanely popular from the 1920s to the start of WWII.

They cost a nickel - about two dollars in today's terms - and were extremely pocketable and concealable at 3.5 x 5.5 inches , with 64 pages centre-stapled with a soft cover.

Usually they had about 15,000 tightly edited words - a good solid read.

Being small and thin helped make them very concealable in pant or shirt pocket but I feel the fact that they were centre-stapled was key to them feeling comfortable in your pants pocket - they bend easily around the curve of your thigh.

Concealable was crucial to their success - you could read them anywhere and put them away instantly before your boss or teacher found you reading about birth control or socialism.

I always liked their size because they were a solid amount of text in a small handful.

Easy to read , even in bad light, yet light on the hand ( their small page size allowed a tiny sized font to remain readable) --- and they make a combination of text and spot art very attractive.

But I hadn't considered them as a subversive weapon against the NSA-ing of our electronically linked world until recently.

The NSA , along with its kissing kin in countries like Canada and the UK around the world , spies on all our electronic communications all the time.

They spy on all our personal information in big electronic databases held by government or business as well.

But if an individual writes up a book on their own home computer that is not plugged into the internet , they can impose and save it as a PDF on a thumb drive and sneaker-net it to friends.

Those friends, in turn , can save the file and print out more A6 books which they can transport about to their friends in their pockets.

An A6 isn't the easiest printable book possible - it requires one additional step from the more conventional A5 (8.5 x 5.5) book.

The 8.5 x 11 (A4) printed page is printed, folded down the middle, cut along the fold and then all the pages in the upper half are folded into the lower half.

Staples ? I don't - usually - bother (staples are picked up by airport metal detectors !) and ditto with a separate thicker cover (only makes it a more awkward fit in a pants pocket.)

Now A6 isn't a common size in North America -- although the entire rest of the world uses it alone.

But I'd like to join the rest of the world - and the A6 size is also thinner and longer than its North American equivalent - better for a pants pocket.

Now it is true that the A6 is about the same size as the newer bigger smart phones - and reading e-books on them is a excellent electronic equivalent of The Little Blue Book.

All would be wonderful but for the fact that the powerful and the rich are determined to regain control of the free-wheeling internet.

So my downloadable home-printable books are a Plan B backup in case the NSA does take over our world formally instead of just informally.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Finally , a "GOOD NEWS STORY" from the bad news war

WWII was the disease,"Agape" penicillin its only cure.

 A dying doctor fighting off his own body and government.

Hanging on just long enough to change our world for the better - forever....

Monday, July 7, 2014

Uniformitarian Authoritarianism : yep ! , they're closely related

So there it is then : Sir Charles Lyell and Adolf Hitler joined at the intellectual hip.

Both responded uneasily to the plenitude of plenitudes that scientific and economic advances brought to people living in the Victorian Era.

Their personal responses certainly differed, but both their ill-ease and their solution shared much in common.

Their plentiphobia was eased by greatly reducing and ordering the apparent plenitude of objects and actions flying about 'out there' in the new freedom that the Victorian Age - pace Charles Darwin - seemed to have thrown up (God is Dead).

Ironically, Lyell by metaphorically removing Nature and Nature's catastrophes as a potent sort of explanation for human failures only increased the freedom-from that Hitler and his followers found so mentally threatening.

Disbelieve in God means disbelieving in the Devil - and disbelief in natural disasters simply removed yet another scapegoat for human failings.

That pretty well only leaves the Jews, the Romas, the Slavs and the Handicapped to carry the can to the gas chamber ....

Big Pharma -Kos : sacrificing WWII's bumpy SBE patients as scapegoats to restore a streamlined conscience

Pharmakos were those unfortunates in Ancient Greece who happened to be poor and crippled and without any local, prosperous, relatives to succour them, who were thus forced into slavery, begging or petty criminality.

When a crisis arose and the normally smoothly streamlined social sphere developed strains and cracks, the Pharmakos were scapegoated restored it.

Social 'bumps' (the Pharmakos) were beaten out - metaphorically as well as in actuality - to return streamlining and normalcy.

This was done by a sacred solemn ritual of executing, expelling or beating a physically, mentally or culturally deformed (misfitting) individual , preferably one without any powerful relatives close by to exact possible vengeance.

I have always wondered why the wartime American NAS felt it was so very very important to strenuously deny penicillin to the very small number of SBE patients asking for it between the summer of 1942 and the summer of 1943.

They were the only patients denied lifesaving penicillin for a condition where penicillin was not just a cure but the only cure.

(I have absolutely no qualms about denying penicillin (limited or not) to dying patients against which penicillin had no possible effect - viral diseases for one.)

One of the biggest social strains a war produces on the home front is the inequality of individual and family sacrifice - who goes to war and gets shot - who stays home and gets promoted ever upwards into the slots of those away fighting overseas.

I believe that the upwardly mobile chicken hawks on the NAS Death Panels turning down these SBE requests (and thus sentencing innocents to a quasi-judicial death) may have unconsciously felt they were thus 'dealing death' just like those of their age group who had been or were in combat zones - salving in a complex way their own internal social strain and bumpiness.

Who can tell ...?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The three types of humanity in the early 1940s --- at least as people 'at the top' saw it

In 1940, those people with all the cultural hegemony and economic power found it intellectually easy to divide the world into just three groups.

Type A (themselves) were the smallest group : male and middle aged (generously if vaguely defined as lying between the immature young adult and the senile/impoverished elderly) and from their culture's dominant (and usually majority) ethnicity & religion and middle class or well educated and physically, mentally and morally 'fit' .

Type C , always a poor and repressed minority (and forming a majority only of history's victims of witch-hunts and scapegoating), were all those who fitted in none of these five categories.

Members of Type B , by far the largest group, fitted in at least one of these five categories and so could share , at times, the feeling that they were some small way part of Type A's in-group --- this is how the tiny Type A group maintained its social hegemony over the vast majority of people outside it.

Ie all whites, no matter how poor and uneducated, were in some sense were usually judged superior to even well educated blacks.

But equally , some in Group B could possess three or four of the five characteristics of the the top group and thus possess considerable social and economic power but because they failed in one or two categories could chose to side, at times , with Type C.

I label these people as "inside agitators".

I have pointed to five of The Seven who led the battle to rescue "Penicillin-for-All" as being "inside agitators" --- because I think their physical handicap heightened their innate sensitivity to the plight of the handicapped in a time of utilitarian Total War.

I hope my definition is broad enough to include societies like Japan where the in-group was not white but still found ways to lord it over the small Japanese minorities , along with Koreans, Chinese et al.

And that it adequately covers societies like the USSR where being from the old middle class society was a bad thing but where the educated new middle class of party bureaucrats (or engineering graduates) from working class families ruled the roost over the poorer less educated working class in practise, if not in official rhetoric.

The Type A people were united world wide in treating Type C people badly - basing their actions upon the popular belief in scientific eugenics as their justification for ignoring age old religious beliefs in the essential equality of humanity.

But various people in the Type A group differed widely in just how badly to mistreat them.

So that WWII was not at all a battle between absolutely opposing philosophies but rather a matter of various sides differing over the degrees of their discrimination against 'the unfit'.

Everyone agreed there were already too many Jewish in their nation's universities and professions.

But America tended to merely limit their numbers by formal or informal quotas while Germany started by firing them all , then denied them any other form of work or education, next forced them to emigrate and finally determined to kill them all in gas chambers.

Similarly Germany and America both disliked blacks but while the Nazis killed them, only some in America killed blacks and then only sometimes.

The rest were content to merely treat them as second class in a vast varieties of ways , sometimes even unconsciously while consciously feeling prejudice free.

FDR's 1941 Four Freedoms speech and the subsequent Atlantic Charter tended to queer this pitch - because those documents did (albeit in vague terms) set the Allies absolutely against both Axis rhetoric and practise and much of the Allies' current practise.

(For example, FDR's Freedom from Want included 'the right to adequate medical care' -  something that Dr Dawson welcomed even as the Anglo-American medical-scientific elite opposed it.)

So now the Allied leadership were pointing to The Four Freedoms as the cause for which they wanted the ordinary people of the world to go off to die to defend - at the same time that they themselves were not practising those high-sounding ideals.

No playwright of fiction could have better designed the conditions to ensure the resulting grand dramatic moral conflict.

Enter now Dr Martin Henry Dawson, stage left , to set that moral conflict into play ...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Unfit valour" : They defied Allied & Axis eugenics (and their own physical failings) to bring us "Penicillin-for-All"

What would penicillin look like today if Hitler, Stalin or Churchill had delivered it - instead of Dawson ?

In 1943 , Hitler, Stalin or Anglo-American Big Pharma could have delivered penicillin to us - delivered us penicillin either as expensive as Avastin or only to be given to the truly deserving Proletarian or Aryan.

But against the eugenic-mad world of 1943 , perhaps only a bunch of misfits and unfits could have delivered us inexpensive, abundant ,un-patented, un-encumbered Penicillin-for-All...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Unfitting-in : Penicillin-for-All overcomes the Allied-Axis groupthink

The academic cum scientific consensus supporting eugenics was once as widespread as the academic cum scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change is today.

I point this out , despite the fact that I do personally believe human activity is altering the climate and I do not believe that the concepts fit and unfit can ever be anything other than temporary and relative labels in a particular circumstance.

Just as the concepts of "inevitably left wing universities" or "inevitably right wing universities" are equally fleeting when set against the breath of time and were highly dependent on particular circumstances to be accurate.

Once , in many cities the only polling precincts that FDR ever lost were the university precincts - whereas today the only precincts won by losing Democrats in many cities are the university precincts.

Politics in the UK before our current era of post-modernism revealed much the same thing - the weakest seats for Labor used to be the university ridings.

Widespread groupthink (consensus) , particularly one that finds favour among the powerful , can always benefit from a ton of criticism by misfits, the unfit, the non-conformist, the naysayer and doubter, the gadfly, iconoclast and the deviant.

And if that consensus has a core of merit it will survive --- and in an improved form.

But when the current academic cum scientific consensus was that all such critics are ipso facto 'useless mouths' and 'life unworthy of life', as in the case of attempts to criticize eugenic modernity, what we have here sir is global groupthink on bad acid and in spades.

Under such circumstances , genuine differences of opinion become genetic-ized and biological-ized such that anyone who does not agree that only heterosexual married families with kids are 'normal' is probably themself a genetic deviant homosexual and shouldn't be allowed to reproduce -- let alone argue their case.

Similarly, capitalists and racists removed any potential criticism from the poor and minorities in advance by regarding them all as biologically unfit and hence unworthy of life let alone the right to criticize.

Eugenic supporters described many - quite openly - as biologically 'unfit'.

But eugenic supporters failed to admit that they also regarded these biologically 'unfit' as 'unfitting-in' with white Anglo Saxon Protestant middle class values - of not being team players in the great groupthink....