July 4th Best Of: The American Revolution and Health Tyranny
This article was originally written by John for HealthChoice.org in 2014. It's more relevant than ever.
I have always been drawn to United States history so I hope it will not be taken amiss if I offer an Independence Day perspective of a British citizen: we are, of course, all heirs of that revolution one way or another across the globe: more so today than ever perhaps. Immediately speaking there are two striking facets (I just had to correct the typographic error “strifing”): the incredible historic dynamism of the nation created by this event but also the great amount of thought that the founding fathers went into trying to prevent the re-emergence of the tyranny which they had just escaped. Perhaps never has so much thought gone into avoiding “oppressive government” even if many of the leading participants in the new republic still regarded it as their right to own slaves.
Nearly two and a half centuries on it is possible to see that powerful interests can buy their way into every aspect of a nation’s life defying almost every measure that was ever laid out against oppressive government. Just over half a century ago, as he left office, President Eisenhower famously warned about the military industrial complex and the domination of intellectual enquiry by commercial interest:
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity....
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific/ technological elite.
As a commentary on this whistleblowing scientist David L Lewis recently bluntly wrote in the “prologue” to his book Science for Sale: How the US govern uses powerful corporations and leading universities to support government policies, silence top scientists, jeopardize our health, and protect corporate profits:
During my thirty-plus years as a research microbiologist in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and the University of Georgia, I experienced the far-reaching influence of corrupt special interests firsthand. As this book will describe, my dealings with civil servants, corporate manager, elected officials, and other scientists expose the ease – and disturbing regularity – with which a small group , motivated by profit or personal advancement can completely hijack important areas of research science at even our most trusted institutions.
In truth the problem of the takeover of government agencies was not new: half a century before Eisenhower’s address Woodrow Wilson in presidential election speeches was warning:
“If the government is to tell big business men how to run their business, then don’t you see that big business men have to get closer to the government even than they are now? Don’t you see that they must capture the government, in order not to be restrained too much by it? Must capture the government? They have already captured it. Are you going to invite those inside to stay? They don’t have to get there. They are there.”
But at least President Wilson could still talk about “big business men”. Coupled with the issue of the invasion of institutions and government by commercial/industrial interest is the lack – notably acute in the field of vaccines - of accountability and liability. In a valuable article of January 1999 veteran economist JK Galbraith highlighted the twin problems of the influence of powerful lobbies in government and the lack of liability for corporate fraud or failure, an insight which apart from anything else foreshadowed the banking collapse of 2008:
“The fraud also conceals a major change in the role of money in the modern economy. Money, we once agreed, gave the owner, the capitalist, the controlling power in the enterprise. So it still does in small businesses. But in all large firms the decisive power now lies with a bureaucracy that controls, but does not own, the requisite capital. This bureaucracy is what the business schools teach their students to navigate, and it is where their graduates go. But bureaucratic motivation and power are outside the central subject of economics. We have corporate management, but we do not study its internal dynamics or explain why certain behaviors are rewarded with money and power. These omissions are another manifestation of fraud. Perhaps it is not entirely innocent. It evades the often unpleasant facts of bureaucratic structure, internal competition, personal advancement, and much else…”
The lack of accountability by “business bureaucrats” is compounded by their capture of the government bureaucracy:
“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.”
If we, for example, consider the pharmaceutical companies today, even when companies become liable for huge fines no individual ever seems to carry the can even to point of losing their job, let alone facing criminal charges: it is simply at best a calculated risk for shareholders. With vaccines since 1986 and Vaccine Injury Act the problem has become even worse since corporations themselves face no effective liability and enjoy a substantially captive and ever growing mandated market for their products, with zero financial incentive to ensure their safety.
There are further troubling aspects to this: generally speaking the government bureaucracy and the medical profession are even less frank about the risks of the products than the manufacturers: they enjoy a revolving door relationship with the manufacturers, notably when Centers for Disease Control director Julie Gerberding left her post to become head of Merck’s vaccine division in the space of less than a year . The CDC is itself affiliated to the pharmaceutical manufacturers through non-profit organizations such as the CDC Foundation and Task Force for Global Health . The debate about autism and vaccine apart from anything else may well have been influenced by the fact that the most prominent autism charity, Autism Speaks, was endowed at its inception by CDC Foundation board member emeritus and billionaire Bernie Marcus to the tune of $25m. Marcus, founder of DIY empire Home Depot, also stated in an interview in 2006 :
The worst thing I could imagine is to be the CEO of a pharmaceutical company today. I can’t think of an industry that has done more to alleviate suffering and improve the human condition than pharmaceuticals. Yet the industry is under a withering assault from plaintiffs’ lawyers and is depicted by some in the media as a pariah. I don’t think that Jonas Salk could have developed the polio vaccine in today’s legal environment.
This was a remarkable claim when pharmaceutical domination of the media was at its financial peak (see below) and effective litigation over vaccine damage had not been possible for 20 years.
The allegedly independent Institute of Medicine Review of 2004 of vaccine safety only slightly masked a complex of conflicted and corrupt relationships. Not only did it turn out that the CDC had instructed the IOM not to find anything , the IOM commissioned flawed and fraudulent studies in themselves controlled by the CDC by various means, notoriously studies co-ordinated by Danish indicted financial fraudster Poul Thorsen . None of these studies has ever been retracted, including a British study which made blatantly false claims about mercury exposure in the developing world in order to endorse World Health Organization vaccine schedule. They were recently cited again without irony before Congress by Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee chairman Thomas Insel, not only as if they were in any way valid but as if they were new science .
On top of this we need to consider the initiative of the Food and Drugs Administration under President Clinton in 1997 to substantially deregulate 'direct to the consumer' pharmaceutical advertising enabling the industry at a stroke to buy out the media. According to one source pharmaceutical advertising rose from $700m in 1996 to $5.41b in 2006 . This may have tailed off to about $4.5b in 2008-10 but the source of revenue would have been ever more critical to an ailing industry. The result of a government agency initiative – never even apparently discussed at a democratic level – was to lead either the exclusion of dissenting voices or organized hate campaigns against anyone who dares speak out of turn notably Andrew Wakefield , Jenny McCarthy and Katie Couric .
Meanwhile, the industry can buy or isolate virtually every politician out of the petty cash.
Happy Independence Day everybody, Happy American Revolution!
Excellent article, "Sounding the Silent Fire Bell /Alarm"
Have The Fire Brigade Pipe Bands realised yet that it's "What! no vaccination Health and Safety risk assessments available for them and their families!" Because once they do , there is going to be one heck of a big long serious silence. Vaccination Head Office are in big serious trouble !
Different moment in time, different landscape , different accent, but same sense of humor ! Fearless not gormless. See Firefighters Tribute Cheapside Street Uk Youtube and New York Twin Towers concert Runrig .Youtube .
Happy Independence and Self-determination Day ! and remember they need us a lot more than we need them ! or their duff risk assessments.
Posted by: Morag | July 05, 2017 at 03:49 AM
I'm always sober when I read AoA, but this is none-the-less...sobering. "Praise the lord and pass the ammunition." Vive la Revolution.
Posted by: michael | July 04, 2017 at 10:06 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. Jonathan, yes I remember coming in on the end of a great row between CP Snow and the literary critic FR Leavis who was thoroughly sceptical of Snow's motives - it probably started in 1959 and still seemed to be going on furiously in the early 1970s, and I bet it was very much a matter of personality with Leavis (a nearly always scathing man). But what strikes me as we venture ever further into this peril is that people have abandoned the basic principles of what they were ever taught about reading anything carefully - whether in science or humanities - while at the same time abandoning every basic principle also of good government.
Almost no one is geared to mastering every single element of a scientific paper - in that sense science has been far too complex for at least two centuries (Isaiah Berlin said Vico was the last single man who could understand all of science as it was in the early 18th century, and maybe the Humboldt brothers could do it between them a century later), and it is one of the better reasons why so many papers have multiple authors. But so many fall apart with basic contradictions (the conclusions contradict the findings), the data is transparently twisted, and it doesn't matter how many authors there are or what expertise they have, particularly when we are dealing with epidemiology (having said which I would not invite Brian Deer to interpret medical records). But the most deadly illusion is that somehow on an institutional footing the world gets any wiser: the more people think this the more certainly we are adrift. If you give people room to cheat and lie, they will cheat and lie. Now the dispensation is virtually total, and a great umbrella has been unfurled to protect the lies.
Posted by: John Stone | July 04, 2017 at 06:18 PM
Freedom in America is a pretty beat up right now and may or may not ever return. The American press has long been bought off and is controlled by the drug lords.
The 7th Amendment to the US Constitution is quickly removed on the the day of birth with a mandatory prostitute / heb b vaccine for newborns. Slavery comes in many forms.
Freedom of Speech does not go well if speaking against the vaccine industry. Our Congress is afraid to let a PhD from the CDC speak the obvious truth of the MMR vaccine. The CDC Simpsonwood event / a made for “60 Minutes Story” ... will never see the airwaves.
We still inject American children with mercury banned long ago by the Russians.
One reason for the American Revolution was that all the money was coined by the King of England and was always a loan at interest.
The US government had its own bank for commerce for a while, which was replaced 100 years ago by a group of secret “private central bankers” who called themselves the Federal Reserve. America had to bail them out for billions in 2008. They will need much. much, more very soon once again.
Our law enforcement agencies “pick and choose” who will or who will not be investigated. They cannot locate a “vaccine study fraud” who hides in plain site in Denmark.
We invade and trash country after country for economic reasons not for national security needs. Dennis Rodman going to North Korea has probably been our best effort at diplomacy the past year.
... War is when the government tell you who your enemy is... Revolution is when you figure it out for yourself... `
Posted by: go Trump | July 04, 2017 at 03:05 PM
Thanks John thought this article was great first time around it gets more appropriate and better with age.
Pharma for Prison
Posted by: Angus Files | July 04, 2017 at 02:35 PM
We definitely need a revolution :-)
You're right that science and research funding has been politicized and corrupted. A good book is Andy Marino's
Getting Somewhere, where he talks about his experiences with the FDA, FCC, government scientific funding, and the "old boys" network: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/going-somewhere-andrew-a-marino/1030116281?ean=9780981854915.
The main problem, though, is that regulatory agencies are ALWAYS captured by the businesses they regulate. It's not just the CDC and FDA, it is also the EPA, FCC, medical licensing, etc. -- every regulatory agency you look at, when big bucks are involved the agency is not serving us, it is serving the businesses it "regulates". Then the media is captured by the businesses that dominate its advertising income and we get propaganda instead of honest news.
I don't know the answer, but we have serious systemic problems. Whatever we change, we need to try as hard as the founding fathers to eliminate the corruption of the current system.
It seems like we might be better off with no regulation and real product liability. Then companies would not have to jump through hoops to get "approved", so their costs would go down, but if they killed or injured people they would have to pay. People who want to try "experimental" protocols would not have to go to other countries, and doctors would not have licenses to lose so they wouldn't have to practice to the "standard of care". We wouldn't have to worry about the FDA making supplements illegal.
For science funding, maybe we could just give each PhD scientist a flat amount; they could combine these grants and work together to fund more expensive research.
Posted by: Tim Lundeen | July 04, 2017 at 01:40 PM
This is how you know you're getting old. I can't believe 3 years have gone by since I first read John's post. But in those 3 years, I have realized that there is no longer reason to celebrate on this day. We should be in mourning for all that we've lost. Maybe we should be flying black flags next to our American flags at half staff. Given our current state of affairs, that would be a more appropriate display.
Posted by: Linda1 | July 04, 2017 at 12:44 PM
Sallie Elkordy is asking for international candidates to represent the "VaccineFreeParty"
At last some international perspective , some international leadership .
Where do I join Sallie ?
Posted by: Hans Hitten | July 04, 2017 at 11:02 AM
Your comments are always welcome, John. May I reciprocate by citing a British contemporary of Eisenhower, C.P. Snow. In "The Two Cultures" he argued strenuously that every educated person should acquire a knowledge of the sciences (exactly what we're doing here at AoA) and he warned that simply leaving scientific questions to the "experts" would be very dangerous. "In a time when science is determining much of our destiny, that is, whether we live or die, it is dangerous in the most practical terms. Scientists can give bad advice and decision-makers can't know whether it is good or bad."
Posted by: Jonathan Rose | July 04, 2017 at 10:49 AM
John: Thank you. Even more apropos today than three years ago. Unbelievable what Marcus said; they are evil incarnate, and deserve every withering assault they receive. With the media imploding, at least on this side of the pond, before our very eyes, and vaccine-injury-awareness growing among the public, will we be able to stop it before it is too late? Before state and local governments can no longer afford special ed services, and services for adults with autism? Before the number of productive citizens shrinks below our economic, political and social needs and we can no longer field an army? They are immensely powerful, the medical cartel, owning all branches of government. Our "leaders" have dug themselves into a hole so deep, they will never admit that they were wrong. Trump has his work cut out for him.
Posted by: Gary Ogden | July 04, 2017 at 10:31 AM
NYC Mayor Candidate Sallie Elkordy “Doctors Are Firing Families ...
We have a NYC candidate . NOW lets get behind Sallie .
Posted by: Hans Hitten | July 04, 2017 at 10:08 AM
@ John .. greatly appreciate your good wishes .. from across the pond ...
"Happy Independence Day everybody, Happy American Revolution!"
This year I would also wish my country great success in ... 'MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN"
As Jesse Jackson is fond of saying ... 'KEEPING HOPE ALIVE"
Posted by: bob moffit | July 04, 2017 at 08:54 AM