By John Stone
I always supposed that the concept of agency capture, in which government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control or the Food and Drug Administration are taken over by the culture industries from which they were meant to be independent, was a bad thing. I understood that the usual posture of such bodies was simply to pretend that it was not happening and that there were regulations in place that were actively protecting the public interest (despite appearances). That was until I encountered the website of Dorit Rubenstein Reiss and her unpublished paper (most of her papers appear to be unpublished) ‘The Benefits of Capture’. According to Reiss :
“Observers of the administrative state warn against “capture” of administrative agencies and lament its disastrous effects. This article suggests that the term “capture”, applied to a close relationship between industry and regulator, is not useful—by stigmatizing that relationship, judging it as problematic from the start, it hides its potential benefits. The literature on “capture” highlights its negative results—lax enforcement of regulation; weak regulations; illicit benefits going to industry. This picture, however, is incomplete and in substantial tension with another current strand of literature which encourages collaboration between industry and regulator. The collaboration literature draws on the fact that industry input into the regulatory process has important benefits for the regulatory state. Industry usually has information no one else has, and has more incentive to give that information to a friendly regulator. Furthermore, working with industry can substantially improve the impact of regulation; voluntary compliance is cheaper and can be more effective than enforced compliance, and industry can help regulators minimize negative unintended consequences. This paper suggests that instead of engaging in name-calling, we should focus on identifying when a close industry-regulator relationship will work in the public interest, and when it is likely to undermine it. That is an empirical question.”
Dorit Reiss, associate law professor Hastings campus University of California, first came to my notice the other week commenting on Rabbi Handler’s article about vaccination in the Jewish Press. I was fascinated to see how all my comments (and those of other contributors to Age of Autism) seemed to be swiftly removed after I challenged her on certain points. Then I discovered that she had responded in Harvard Law Review to Mary Holland, advocating that parents of unvaccinated children should be made liable for infection. Barely a month ago probably no one in the field of vaccine safety advocacy had ever heard of Dorit Reiss now she seems to be everywhere, and passionate proponent of the vaccine industrial machine in all its guises and rampant institutional ambition.
The bottom line to all this, of course, is where is she coming from, to which there is an answer. Reiss is on the Parent Advisory Board of ‘Voices for Vaccines’ , the Scientific Advisory Board of which includes Alan R Hinman, Paul A Offit, Stanley A Plotkin and Deborah L Wexler . The website states that Voices for Vaccines was re-launched in 2013 and is “an administrative project” of the Task Force for Global Health. The Wiki entry for Task Force reads :
“The Task Force for Global Health, is a non profit organization affiliated with Emory University. The organization was co-founded by global health pioneer and former CDC Director, Dr. William Foege and two of his former CDC colleagues, Carol Walters and Bill Watson. It was founded in 1984 as the Task Force for Child Survival. The Task Force was initially tapped to serve as a Secretariat for a consortium of global health organizations: UNICEF, WHO, The Rockefeller Foundation, The United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank. These organizations sought Task Force support for a collaborative effort to improve child wellness and survival strategies. With the Task Force as Secretariat for the network, they resolved to work together to develop and implement a plan for global immunization efforts and measures to promote and maintain healthy children and families.
“Over its 28 year history, The Task Force has expanded the role of neutral convener and collaborator to address a broader range of global health challenges. In doing so, the organization changed its name to The Task Force for Global Health in 2009. Today, The Task Force has programs in three critical sectors of global health: Health System Strengthening, Immunization and Vaccines (the Task Force Center for Vaccine Equity), and neglected tropical diseases. In each sector, The Task Force works with partners and communities around the world to provide resources to improve global health for those in need. The organization works in 91 countries, collaborating with organizations such as WHO, as well as partnerships with industry to provide much needed medicines and communities to educate about disease prevention.
“The Task Force for Global Health is a nonprofit, public health organization, recognized as a 501(c)(3) corporation. The organization is based in Decatur, Georgia, near our partners at CDC, The Carter Center, CARE, and Emory University Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health.”
Finally, the immunizations and vaccines section of Task Force for Global Health entitled Task Force for Vaccine Equity was according to its 2012 accounts funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck Company Foundation and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Inc. The Task Force website indeed lists Voices for Vaccines as a sub-division Vaccine Equity and names Alan R Hinman as director of both (sentence added after publication). It is, shall we say, very difficult to tell in all of this for whose benefit an organization is actually working and Dorit Reiss has not made it any clearer. She ignores both the warnings of Dwight D Eisenhower in 1961 about the military industrial complex and eminent economist J K Galbraith on Free Market Fraud in 1999 :
“A more comprehensive fraud dominates scholarly economic and political thought. That is the presumption of a market economy separate from the state. Most economists concede a stabilizing role to the state, even those who urgently seek an escape from reality by assigning a masterful and benign role to Alan Greenspan and the central bank. And all but the most doctrinaire accept the need for regulation and legal restraint by the state. But few economists take note of the cooptation by private enterprise of what are commonly deemed to be functions of the state. This is hidden by the everyday reference to the public and private sectors, one of our clearest examples of innocent fraud.”
By now the vaccine manufacturers enjoy a largely captive market and freedom from liability, plus exceedingly lax and non-independent scrutiny - we have no reason to be complacent - but Dorit Reiss is greedy for more. The industry for which she has become advocate behaves obscenely in the name of the public good.
My deleted comments from the Jewish Press:
Posted 10 July:
Just to mention that after the Hannah Poling case Julie Gerberding was forced to admit that vaccines could trigger autism, although this has been conveniently forgotten:
“….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it [vaccination] can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”.
Likewise Vaccine Injury Compensation Program officials told Sharyl Attkisson:
"The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures."
Vaccines cause autism.
John Stone, UK Editor, www.ageofautism.com.
Posted 12 July:
Dorit Reiss is wrong. To get recognition for vaccine damage is like climbing the North Face of the Eiger and even a passive reporting (system) like VAERS is likely only to reveal a small fraction of the cases. Only independent active monitoring could produce c(r)edible results.
As to Wakefield the claims of fraud were dealt a decisive blow last year in the English High Court when Mr Justice Mitting overturned all the General Medical Council findings against the seniior author of the 1998 Lancet paper Prof John Walker-Smith - no misreporting of data, no inappropriate or unauthorised investigation, the paper was not funded by the UK Legal Aid Board, and was not based on any such research protocol. Walker-Smith was funded to appeal but in a bureaucratic stitch-up Wakefield - who wasn't - is still held to be technically guilty of charges that have alread(y) been disproved.
John Stone UK Editor, www.ageofautism.com
Posted 12 July:
The position in legal terms is hit and run - not scientific objectivity. The onus is entirely on the families to prove it, which you might just do in the US but is bureaucratically next to impossible in the UK for example. I think Dorit Reiss is indulging in doublespeak when she argues that the vaccines did not cause Hannah Poling's autism. Whether somethings is "triggered" or "caused" is just semantic games. Nor is at all clear that Hannah's disorder was "rare". Moreover, the HRSA conceded the case thus sealing their reasons from public view.
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism