Paul Krassner founded the counterculture press in 1958 when he self-launched The Realist. He went on to create the Yippies with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, and was the editor of Lenny Bruce's autobiography. Krassner contributes Brain Damage Control monthly to HT, and has edited two HIGH TIMES books: Pot Stories for the Soul and Psychedelic Trips for the Mind.

BRAIN DAMAGE CONTROL ARCHIVES


VACCINATION ANYONE?

At the Woodstock Festival in 1969, Country Joe McDonald and the Fish performed their popular anti-Vietnam-war protest song, “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag.” Now an updated version has been released—titled “The Iraqi War Song” or “Feel Like I’m Smelling a Rat Rag”—but this rendition is not by the original group.

Instead, the new lyrics were written and sung by Dr. Leonard Horowitz, author of Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola, which claims that AIDS was created by biowarfare labs, then deployed into gay and black populations with vaccinations. He is an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s preparedness plans for domestic bioterrorism. Profits from the single go to Amnesty International, in support of their HIV/AIDS human-rights activity, and to establish a special fund for American Political Prisoners.

He had contacted Country Joe, who granted permission for the rerelease, performed by Country Bumpkin and the Hogs, which includes references to the president as “that son-of-a-Bush” who directs a global war for oil. “Most people know it’s a scam,” yet do nothing. “With Prozac minds we don’t care to know why, whoopee, we’re all gonna die!”

A few years ago, Dr. Horowitz stated:

“Non-lethal warfare is where you don’t kill populations like with a bomb or a gunshot, but you make them sick. You make them dependent on pharmaceuticals which are actually a military-pharmaceutical complex run by the same players—the global elite—and then ultimately these populations become enslaved to the pharmaceuticals and economically debilitated along with their nation-states…. At the hub of the wheel is the Rockefeller family. Everything from the spraying of malathion—produced by Chevron, a Rockefeller company—to the creation of West Nile virus outbreaks, or alleged outbreaks, along the Eastern seaboard.”

I remember those words today as I hear a commercial on a classic-rock music radio station, and a sultry female voice is urging listeners to purchase a vaccination to forestall West Nile virus. This exploitation of fear helps blur the ever-thinning line between prevention and paranoia. And I recall Dr. Horowitz’s message as I learn that the nation’s top public-health officials have announced that they favor offering smallpox vaccine to the public, even in the absence of a bioterror attack, but only after up to 10 million health care workers are immunized and after a vaccine is licensed for general use, which is not likely until 2004.

It was also announced that a million doses of smallpox vaccine will be provided to the military. The previous week, officials presented guidelines to the states on how to be prepared to possibly to vaccinate the entire country in the event that a single case of smallpox were to occur. Vice President Dick Cheney favors a mass-vaccination approach, although a panel of outside experts recommended against vaccinating all Americans.

The smallpox vaccine carries significant risk of life-threatening side effects—or non-life-threatening side effects, such as blindness—but Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cautioned that the officials were not recommending that Americans take the vaccine, but rather that they have the option of weighing the risks and benefits for themselves. Meanwhile, Bioport Corp., the only licensed manufacturer of an anthrax vaccine, has released a study recommending stepped-up production to immunize people and create a back-up supply.

Speaking of vaccines, pharmaceutical companies and biotech laboratories have been combining efforts to manufacture an antidrug vaccine. For example, their anticocaine vaccine prevents people who snort cocaine from getting high. Researchers have also been testing similar vaccines for nicotine, PCP, and methamphetamine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has funded this project with $4.5 million since 1996, explaining in their report that, “Just as medications have been developed for other chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer, drug addiction is a disease that also merits medication for its treatment.”

However, we must consider the implications of such vaccine, which is designed to attack those chemicals that induce pleasure. Some of the vaccines being developed use antibodies that bind to an illegal drug, render it inactive, then leave the bloodstream. Others remain potent for years, which, ironically enough, is how smallpox was eliminated in the first place. But what price civil liberties?

Will there be a time when propagandized parents, concerned that their kids are smoking pot, will be advised in a TV commercial to ask their doctor about getting a prescription for Antistone, the antimarijuana vaccine. Could such a vaccination become a prerequisite for being admitted to school—not just college, but starting with kindergarten, which in the past required smallpox vaccinations—and what about obtaining or keeping a job? Would the court system give individuals busted for possession a choice between prison and vaccination?

HIGH TIMES now carries advertisements for triumphing over urine tests, but according to Dr. Peter Cohen, who writes about the legal implications of vaccines, “Once you’re vaccinated, you have antibodies in your blood that would show up in a drug test. The least controversial solution is universal vaccination. You wouldn’t be stigmatizing any one group.” In the future, will our pages carry ads for Double Whammy, the anti-antidrug-vaccination vaccination (with a warning, of course, not to share needles)?

Some vaccines can last a lifetime. That was once considered a good thing, but now I can hear Country Joe McDonald at Woodstock, leading the audience in his infamous cheer of rebellion against power without compassion: “Gimme an F!… Gimme a U!… Gimme a C!… Gimme a K!… What’s that spell?… FUCK!!!” Amen.