Surgeon General Watch: Data, Snippets, and Narratives

Is access to public data an unreasonable request? What will the complete data reveal? Are snippets of data the best way to inform the public? If the full spectrum of the data is withheld, what is real, what is contrived?

If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”

The problem with research misconduct must be of epidemic proportions. So much so, the Department of Health and Human Services has its own division defining such misconduct called the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), and a definition of said misconduct.

“Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.”

“Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.”

It would seem all data would be required to have a clear picture of the information being displayed presented to make an informed case, decision, or outcome. The authority in charge has no business writing or promoting a narrative, when data can and shall speak for itself.

Instead, snippets become headlines, and headlines create the story narrative.


“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth


In the case of e-cigarettes, and the latest “data” on youth use, it is to present manipulate the claim of an ‘epidemic’ in order to willfully threaten legal adult choices, using snippets of data designed to “fit a narrative” as my friend, U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams has done, and has accused.

It’s backward. Snippets (subliminal or not) can sell ideas. Create campaigns. Change public opinion.

Mining for data can be useful. Depending on the criteria, displaying data to ones liking is misleading. Similar to Stanton Glantz below, that is propaganda.


Skewed data is…well, you can make anything look like you want it to look for your own purposes. I think I am afraid of both films Nicolas Cage appears in, and pools. Why? I’m not sure what I’m afraid of, Nicolas Cage isn’t his real name, but looking at data tells me I should… Oh never mind.


In this blog, I will attempt to demonstrate two things. First, the following tweets and subtweets can be confusing. Second, if I can post things in here properly and explain, you won’t be confused. Either way, they are snippets, and you’ll probably be confused.


It started with (well, not really, I’m using my interpretation of the data) a question to the highest “ranking” Medical Doctor from Mike Peterson:

In this tweet, the Surgeon General clearly seems to has “doubts” that Mike “really wanted this information”. Surgeon General Adams must not look away from his snippets accomplishments on his “I love me” wall and must be suspicious of anyone questioning his integrity my snippet. Shame on you, Mike!

Link

Oh, I think Mike wanted the information. That’s alright, Dr. Adams. You don’t require my assurance adults are looking harder than you are for any detrimental outcomes of any facet of e-cigarettes.

It’s not as if we’re a large and growing community of consumers including Doctors like yourself, Lawyers, Teachers, Nurses, Statisticians, Scientists, Cooks, Truck Drivers, and other professionals, along with lovers of data and science. And math. In fact, one of us is a… nope… my narrative, so further down the data hole you go.


I’ll insert a quick snippet from my personal life. The words from a Neurologist to my wife was:

“We’re setting up testing for onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

Is that a snippet of a much greater assessment? Can you discern from the quote she, in fact, has Alzheimer’s or dementia? Do you have enough data to make the determination? You really don’t know. I’m saving it for a different blog.


Note the words ” in the interest of correcting misunderstandings”. Misunderstandings are snippets, Dr. Adams. Vape shops aren’t included in “this” analysis is correct, by stating “equally high violation rate”, you overstepped your ego, data, or knowledge, position narrative.

He’s right. Snippet. The statement just above was “they aren’t included in this analysis” and “shops have an equally high violation rate“, and refers to this graphic he posted below:

I proudly show you my snippet! Go ahead, click on it, it’ll enlarge.


Because he was prompted by – anyone’s comments – and saw my amateur hour cut/paste of his just above, below he explains how narrative and roles to play suddenly are important. His data went from “equally high violation rate” to some vape shops. Also, he displays his knack of interacting with the public quite… well, I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. Go ahead, click on it, it’ll get bigger!

Link

“It’s easy to cut & paste snippets”…because the whole picture isn’t a narrative, I just couldn’t let that one go. If data and information is explained properly, there is no need for “snippets”. Go ahead, click on it, it’ll get bigger!

Link

Here, I’m not sure if he’s being condescending on purpose, or if he just doesn’t know he’s tweeting to a known impugner. I am also an uneducated “backwards backwoodsman from one of the colonies.” (Thanks, Alan, I knew that would come in handy eventually! ) Oh, go on, there’s something I was determined to take out of context. Damn me. Go ahead, click on it, it’ll get bigger!

Link

To further reiterate his position snippet, he grabs some more data from his cuff and explains some gibberish about technical stuff I probably wouldn’t understand anyway… something about this does look like a high ranking public health official explaining a snippet narrative, maybe it’s just me. We’ve gone from … well, this data thing just isn’t my forte’.

Imagine how confused the public must be.

Link

Well, Mike (he’s mentioned above), and Jake got data. In fact, they mined the data. Turns out twenty-one money penalties were assessed. Go ahead, click on it, it’ll get bigger!

To “That Damned Ninga, he agrees. Vape shops are “doing much better”… he also wants everyone else to agree. I often forget I’m constantly asked to agree with something because it will fit a narrative. I wonder what happens when the public just nods their head in agreement when a public official says to. Couldn’t be all bad, I suppose. Either way, he wants everyone to agree. By golly, I’m almost going to agr…. nope. Go ahead, click on it, it’ll get bigger!


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Trusting the highest doctor in the land to provide competent, well-constructed answers to convey issues with facts, when he, in fact, won’t do it seems futile. Instead, he has chosen to act on authority, instinct, and sticks to the data (dammit) script.


“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”


Then, addressing (you and me) the public as if we’re a bunch of nine-year-olds is pretty – well, idiotic. Starting at about the time I could talk, I’ve questioned authority and integrity a long time. Pre-loaded answers come with loaded questions where I come from – the backwoods of one of the original colonies.

In fact, I’ll use your “It’s easy to cut & paste snippets” own sarcastic words against you, Dr. Adams. Also, I have repeatedly asked for data. So much so, it’s redundant, repetitive and repeats itself. It should, could, may, might or even would, speak for itself.

The reason I keep asking the same questions over and over?

Dr. Adams own words:


In the meantime, if you’re approaching a city, township, county, or state hearing about sales to minors, or that vape shops are contributing to the delinquency of minors, I highly suggest these two graphics to use at your disposal, just as the Heart, Lung, Cancer, and other health organizations will. Let them sort it out with facts, not preconceived notions and media sound bites snippets (dammit) data.


Here’s the chart from Jake Jacobsen: According to data, if you click on it, it’ll get bigger!

Link

Here is the chart alone from Mike Peterson: Yep, click:

Bring your nose a bit closer to the screen – at a second glance, this is what you may have missed: Wait, back up, just click!


The overall narrative is to put big scary numbers out, fueling the fire of an epidemic. I (we, vapers paying attention) want the truth. I don’t for one minute think any of us want anything less, good or bad. We’re adults, we can take the snippets data.

When looking at inspections just above, there is no “epidemic”, and the fact is, in 2018:

There were 146,376 inspections.

There were 17,456 total violations

Of 17,456 violations, 2,060 were “ends and e-liquid.

Of those violations, 229 were vape shops. (Vape shops: STOP that.)

Things that make you go hmmmm…..

And Juul? If you believe theirepidemic” data, Vuse was the front runner of underage sales violations at 1,729… so, they should have at least tried harder at purchasing Juul to complete the narrative.

Silly data makers. Go ahead, scroll back up if you need to. I’ll wait.

Sounds as if you’re still confused. I apologize for torturing you, but I feed a mouse cheese just to do my math for me.

Link

This an enforcement issue all the way around. Underage sales at vape shops are NOT a contributing factor to an epidemic, which is still a snippet of the overall message portrayed. Kids stealing from their parents like they did cigarettes? Probably. Straw purchases? Likely.

Illegal sales – meeting the “definition” of an ‘epidemic’? Doubtful.

Snippet alert:

Found in my previous “Nod In Agreement” blog here.

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”


On to the “epidemic”.

If, after reading this blog, you are still confused, I will conclude, from snippets, and so shall you, that confusion is intentional. The snippet below is a confusing mess, by design. The bottom right tweet on his personal account, in a “non-official” capacity, was just a few days before he announced as Surgeon General there indeed “is” an epidemic. I hope we can all agree, the data is in the contrived details. Go ahead, click on it, it’ll get bigger!



“Morals are standards set by those who want their standards met by others.”

I don’t want situational ethics, nor do I want morals and feelings mixed into the narrative. Here is what I want. I want the law to be obeyed. I want parents to be aware, not act on “reefer madness” type propaganda, and ultimately, parents to parent.

Specifically, I want the data to speak for itself. Both for adults looking for a safer alternative to smoking, and the narrative of an “epidemic” to be scrutinized, specifically when a public HEALTH official is threatening adult choices for less harmful products unless we agree with his narrative. Jim McDonald says it best.

Unless you suffer from cognitive dissonance, I want the data as it stands, not as it fits my narrative “out of context” with some silly twitter snippets, Dr. Adams. I don’t want to hear about plausible deniability. I don’t want proof by assertion. Confirmation bias is unnecessary.

I want the public to be aware of the best information available rather than striking panic in the streets.

So, what’s the snippet? What’s the truth? Still confused? So are adults looking for answers to a less harmful alternative.


“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”


I am a consumer, while I try to be a voice for consumers, I don’t speak for “all” consumers. I have a higher standard for medical and government officials. The Surgeon General of the United States (or any public official) should not rely on “google searches” (in a personal or public capacity) to fill a narrative.

In my assessment, Dr. Adams should post facts. Period.

Snippet Alert!

The Surgeon General should resign or be fired. Immediately. That’s my narrative. That’s my snippet.

With that, no high ranking public employee official has no business writing, or tweeting, or sharing an opinion, or narrative, when data shall speak for itself.

I’ll stick to my guns, check on my wife, and keep my #SGWatch up to see when comprehensive information to adults has been displayed with half the attention the ‘epidemic’ has received.

I’ll readily and publicly admit I’m wrong, but until that happens, Dr. Adams has to answer these questions concerning the ‘epidemic’:

  • What users were of legal age?
  • What users didn’t use nicotine?
  • How many were smoking & switched?
  • Why is marijuana included with “any vaping“?
  • Why is “use” defined as in the past thirty days, not daily?

Until that happens, I’ll keep pointing out discrepancies in the narrative of an alleged epidemic, or one of you can convince me why I shouldn’t.

For balance, after the release of and tagging him in this blog: (Coincidence? Doesn’t matter. Snippets.)

Oh, that’s right, I’ve got that screenshot snippet from a Dr. Girgis… wait a second… it’s… Yes, legal and regulatory environments. That’s right. No guidelines. Except when.


Snippet alert: showing “restraint”.

I highly recommend what Clive Bates has to say on the alleged U.S. “epidemic“.


THIS one is an eye-opening must-read for ANY aspect of public health. Your opinions aren’t about your needs. Stop being nannies.


“The average American is like my patient: resentful toward those who tell him or her how to live.”

“The Arrogance of Public Health Advocacy “


In my travels of putting together this blog, I ran across this about research fraud and is also recommended reading.


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