Big Pharma’s faking a “grass-roots” campaign to keep Jenny McCarthy off “The View”

A News from Underground exclusive

Warning shots: Who’s behind the campaign to keep vaccine talk off “The View”?
By Steve Schneider

When it was announced that Jenny McCarthy would be joining TV’s “The View,” America’s op-ed pages were filled with the protests of pundits worried that she would use her position on the show to further her crusade against childhood vaccinations. (McCarthy claims that her son was afflicted with autism and blames vaccines for his condition; she has urged other parents to question and/or reject the vaccinations many pediatricians recommend.) For some of McCarthy’s detractors, whether or not she would actually get to discuss vaccines on the program, and to what degree, was almost immaterial: **Slate**’s Phil Plait argued that just by having her on the show, its producers were lending tacit credibility to a cause that he (like many other advocates of the pharmaceutical status quo, both official and self-appointed) considers reprehensibly dangerous.

Plait had already orchestrated a reader write-in campaign to prevent the hiring from going through. Though it failed, the tactic is now being revisited in a petition circulated by, which seeks to have McCarthy replaced on “The View” before she can even shoot an episode as a series regular. That petition, curiously, is bylined “by Voices for Vaccines; St. Paul, Minnesota.”

So what is Voices for Vaccines, and why is it authoring’s content? On its own website, Voices for Vaccines describes itself as “a parent-driven organization supported by scientists, doctors, and public health officials that provides parents clear, science-based information about vaccines and vaccine-preventable disease…” But one look at the specific names involved makes it clear why the organization might be very interested in preventing any anti-vaccination talk from coming to “The View.” The Scientific Advisory Board of VFV includes one Paul A. Offit, identified in a CBS News report as holding a $1.5 million dollar Merck-funded research chair at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. According to CBS, Offit “holds the patent on an anti-diarrhea vaccine he developed with Merck”; in 2008, future royalties for that vaccine, Rotateq, were sold for $182 million, CBS reported.

The money trail doesn’t stop there. According to Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center, the Voices for Vaccines board is rounded out by another advisor (Stanley A. Plotkin) who is a vaccine developer, and two others (Alan R. Hinman and Deborah L. Wexler) with significant ties to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That last connection isn’t as innocuous as it might sound: As Maine-based M.D. and public-health blogger Meryl Nass explains, the pharmaceutical industry “funds CDC through the conduit CDC Foundation”; in turn, CDC funds the Immunization Action Coalition, another pro-vaccination advocacy group. (Voices for Vaccines advisor Wexler also heads the IAC.)

Voices for Vaccines is itself an offshoot project of the Task Force for Global Health. The Task Force’s board of directors is chaired by Jane Fugate Thorpe, an Atlanta products-liability lawyer whose official bio trumpets her “strategic defense of industry-leading corporations and industry coalitions, particularly with regard to Daubert strategies.” (“Daubert” refers to the standard governing the admissibility of expert testimony at trial.) In other words, Thorpe has made her reputation shielding product manufacturers from individuals like the concerned parents VFV purports to represent.

What’s notable about all this is its very brazenness: A few quick clicks and a smattering of Google searches is all it takes to bring up the relevant connections and allegiances. Voices for Vaccines isn’t making much of an effort to hide its vested interest in ensuring that the products from which its members profit aren’t questioned on national television. Similarly, – which last year decided to renounce progressive values in order to provide a platform for “a wider diversity of participants and perspectives” – isn’t doing a very good job of obscuring its newfound role as the willing transmitter of corporate propaganda. In revealing the site’s shift in focus, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim named “astroturf campaigns” as one of the project types was now open to taking on; helping vaccine developers quash potential criticism from behind a thin veneer of citizen concern would seem to fit that definition rather snugly.

It’s also significant that the involved parties aren’t content to wait until McCarthy says something “objectionable” about vaccinations on-air so they can respond to it. That might lead to a genuine national conversation about vaccines – their pros and cons, their benefits and risks, and whether they cause and/or trigger conditions like autism, as opposed to merely appearing coincidentally with them. But even permitting such an exchange of views to take place could have a negative effect on the popularity of the products — which might be one reason why the medical establishment seems perennially quick to treat the safety of vaccines as a settled issue. “In a more rational world, this discussion would be un-reopenable,” Offit told National Geographic. “The answerable questions have all been answered.” And as reader Brian Franklin responded, “What kind of scientist says that?”

146 thoughts on “Big Pharma’s faking a “grass-roots” campaign to keep Jenny McCarthy off “The View””

  1. Ha ha– “Herculean effort”… but you don’t worship at the corporate biotech alter… And you’re requesting accurate science while spouting inaccuracies. The prevailing theory even in 2001 was never separate from a mercury-pathogen interaction and also noted that aluminum is synergistic with mercury– increases toxicity. It was predicted years ago that if you add more aluminum and more pathogens to the overall schedule in temporal proximity, you wouldn’t miss the missing mercury much– could still get a nice neurotoxic and immunotoxic wallop out of it.

    Thimerosal was still in the shots in full amounts on pediatrician shelves in 2007. Not even the NY Times pretends all mercury was removed from vaccines by 2001 anymore. Too many documented labels and inserts listing full dose thimerosal with expiration dates of 2007 in circulation to keep making that claim. Meanwhile, full mercury flu shots began being pushed to pregnant women and six month old infants in 2002-2003, even before thimerosal was”reduced” (never removed) from other childhood vaccines. In the last study showing that autism had continued to rise form the time govt. issued a request for voluntary removal from vaccines (which industry took their sweet time acting on), the subjects were 8 years old in 2007. That means that, not only did they get the full 200 + microgram hg load, some may have also gotten the new flu shots to boot. And exposing fetuses to 25mcg could more than make up for “reduction” in later shots. Doubling the amount of aluminum and increasing the number of shots– some also containing “reduced mercury”– adds up.

  2. Of course, what every infant needs as an introduction to this world is a shot of mercury. The mercury, of course, has not gone in the US – it’s in the flu shot given to pregnant women and 6 month old babies, but in case there should be any doubt that this is a grave issue here are the are the abstracts of 90 peer review studies condemning the use of thimerosal:

    Nevertheless, such was the desire of Bill and Melinda Gates to protect infants from mercury-less future that they successfully lobbied the UN not to phase-out thimerosal earlier this year.

    The inclusion of mercury may not be the be-all and end-all of what’s wrong with the vaccine program but it is pretty good testimony to its ruthless brutality.

  3. Pediatric vaccines with mercury all expired in 2003. Clinics and hospitals don’t stockpile years worth of them, they buy them on a continuing basis. In order to ensure that mercury-containing flu shots were not given to children the recommendation was removed for several years. So mercury in pediatric shots declined rapidly in 2000. Sure, there were still some on shelves, but they got used up rather quickly.

    You can contend, of course, that this is all a big lie and that mercury is still in the vaccines, but that means you’ve now changed your story three times in three subsequent posts. I’m sorry, but the facts are just not on your side in this, and you’re getting frantic in your attempts to find some reason to deny them.

    But I do commend your efforts. And I do support your right to participate in this debate. The more you attempt to tar everyone who does not agree with you as being a corporate shill, the more you need to construct an elaborate conspiracy theory to explain why everybody is lying except you, the more you marginalize yourself.

    The one thing I do not want to do, is interfere with your rather profound ability to keep digging that hole you’ve found yourself in. You are doing far more to impeach your own position than I could ever do. If you never acknowledge that mercury was removed, you never have to face the facts that it wasn’t a causative factor in the first place.

  4. @Marianne Jaedick: I know, it’s ridiculous to expect that antivaxers – people who have by definition already totally rejected the bulk of the evidence and accepted many refuted arguments – would ever accept any disconfirming evidence. After all, if they would, they would no longer be antivaxers.

  5. Guy,

    Someone who trades in personal abuse like you can’t really be that interested in science. There is some other kind of unpleasant ego-trip involved. You allude to science as some kind of personal validation, but medical science is messy – often inconclusive. We do things en masse to populations not really knowing the outcomes, and if anybody reports anything untoward they get their head bitten off. People like you – either unwittingly or because they are paid – become part of a evidential mopping operation.

    It’s gruesome and you are a bad example.



    Someone who trades in personal abuse like you can’t really be that interested in science. There is some other kind of unpleasant ego-trip involved. You allude to science as some kind of personal validation, but medical science is messy – often inconclusive. We do things en masse to populations not really knowing the outcomes, and if anybody reports anything untoward they get their head bitten off. People like you – either unwittingly or because they are paid – become part of an evidential mopping-up operation.

    It’s gruesome and you are a bad example.

  7. John, in this case I traded in the inbound personal abuse for some sarcasm. Accusing people of being paid by “big pharma” is fallacious, and almost invariably completely wrong.

    I am interested in science. Science shows that virtually every antivax trope is long refuted, and the balance are misrepresented or grossly exaggerated. I admire the way scientists patiently investigate each new claim, despite the fact that each new claim always turns out to be wrong. That is very commendable. I do not admire those who peddle false claims, especially after they have been refuted, as MMR-autism has been.

    The reason Australia and the UK are seeing children die form pertussis, is the antivaxers. Antivaxers kill babies., literally. I know it’s an uncomfortable truth, but science is like that.

  8. No, it’s just propaganda -the pertussis vaccine is failing and the only answer is to wheel out ever more doses (why they are now vaccinating pregnant women without there having been any trials), and find scapegoats. Most important is shut anyone up who dissents or who report inconvenient things: they are getting in the way of business. That of course is what Voices for Vaccines are about.

  9. John, it’s odd that vaccines only “fail” when vaccination levels drop below the point where herd immunity protects the unvaccinated.

    Vaccines are not 100% effective. They are, however, effective, and DTP is certainly effective in controlling pertussis. Sadly the antivax lobby has spread a variety of lies and misrepresentations, and that has led to outbreaks in communities with incomplete coverage.

    It’s not helped by antivaxers among the fraudulent “health” professions (e.g. chiropractors) who are themselves not vaccinated, so may spread the disease to their patients.

  10. Guy,
    That’s not true about herd immunity. Last year in the US there were 42,000 diagnosed cases of pertussis, many more undiagnosed, and 85% of them had been appropriately vaccinated, but got the disease anyway. My daughter got the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, but caught pertussis anyway at 8 months, because the acellular vaccine just isn’t very effective, often doesn’t work at all, and, since it doesn’t contain ACT, it cannot prevent transmission of the disease. Now they’re saying you need to get a booster every three years. No reason to think that will work, but of course it’s good for selling vaccines. Since the disease is not dangerous to those older than three or four months old (while the vaccine is ineffective at that age, and more than doubles their risk of asthma at seven, as opposed to starting the series at five months), it’s hard to see why anyone would bother with roping himself into permanent dependence on an ineffective, dangerous shot that will require playing vaccine routette again every three years. Young infants should be quarantined at home to the best of the parents’ ability, Dr. Suzanne Humphries’ vitamin C protocol should be used for infants who get the disease anyway, and someone must have them up on their shoulder during all coughing fits, which essentially means walking around all night with the infant on your shoulder. Trusting that making everyone around the infant take a dangerous, ineffective shot which does not prevent transmission of the disease does nothing but create a false sense of confidence. Even CDC doctor Anne Schuchat said last year that the unvaccinated could not be blamed for last year’s epidemic, as most of those tens of thousands who got it had been vaccinated. I would not blame the unvaccinated period, my daughter’s only two words were erased by the DTaP booster and she was diagnosed with autism two months later, even the acellular vaccine still often causes asthma, allergies, seizure disorders, autism, and death. If most people just caught pertussis naturally, they’d have a deep, long, fatiguing cough for as long as several months, and then they’d have permanent immunity, and this would create genuine herd immunity.

  11. PCB– the idea that thimerosal-containing shots all expired in 2002 has been circulating around the internet based on minutes from an ACIP meeting held, interesting, that year, when a CDC official reported that in a “convenience sample” of health care providers across the country, all but 17% of them reported no thimerosal-preserved vaccines in stock since October 2001.

    The statement taken alone was untrue since vaccines which contain “trace” ( .5 to 2 mcg) are obviously not actually thimerosal “free.” Secondly, the CDC later contradicted the assertion by changing this “final expiration date” to 2005. There was no independent confirmation of any of it. And again there is that pesky documentation of labels of thimerosal-preserved childhood vaccines showing expiration dates as late as 2007 in single dose preparations as well as multi-dose vials.

    As far as the “thimerosal removal” flip-flopping, would the CDC lie? That’s easy, since the agency has lied every year regarding rates of flu mortality in the US– by up to 53 fold. In 2006, 849 Americans died of flu with infant and child deaths in the low single digits some years. That’s far less than the “47K flu deaths” that the CDC reports. In fact, 47K Americans did not die of flu in the more than quarter century of tracking flu deaths. And every year tracked, over 80% of all flu deaths occurred in those over age 65, a highly “flu-shotted population” (not surprising since studies show that the shots are ineffective in the elderly) and only 7% among children who are primarily targeted for flu shots. Most flu deaths overall are among the poor and are attributable far more to inadequate medical care than the illness itself, precisely what was concluded regarding pertussis deaths in 2010. So yeah, the CDC lies. Not much different than the NSA’s lies or WMD lies. Not shocking.

    And there’s still the interesting problem of shifting timing of thimerosal exposure (prenatal) via flu shot recommendations for first trimester pregnant women and the significant increase in aluminum in vaccines via the addition of 6 new vaccine doses given before 18 months which occurred precisely when the supposed phase-out of mercury happened. Adding and injecting 5 milligrams of aluminum to a not-really-mercury-free infant schedule which already contained aluminum in excess of safety limits predictably increases the toxicity of remaining mercury– aside from the fact that aluminum is a potent neurotoxin which has been long implicated in autism and Alzheimer’s on its own.

    But it’s found in nature! Yes, and maybe what was found in nature was quite enough. Simply adding soaring levels from ambient pollution, in commercial medications and junk food has been associated with soaring disease rates, even despite the fact that the stomach filters more than 90% of it. Exposing infants to injected aluminum was not a good idea, but it was a cheap one.

    Pointing these things out is a bit like criticizing the music industry as sleazy, destructive and greedy– a charge which is mostly leveled by musicians, often the most successful ones. Calling independent scientists and consumers who question the sleaze and fraud committed by the pharmaceutical industry and industry embedded regulatory agencies “anti-vaccine” is a bit like calling Joni Mitchell “anti-music.” But Goebbels and Bernays were clear on the principle of “identifying the enemy” and marking all as “extremists.” Very important tactic in the propaganda arsenal.

  12. The pertussis farago is a perfect example of the infantilism to which medical/scientific journalism has descended when it comes to the vaccine program. It can’t report or discuss the published science for fear of damaging faith – and actually DPT rates are at record levels.

    A basic feature is that the infants that are at mortal risk from pertussis are anyhow too young to be vaccinated, while the vaccine itself is only moderately effective and is only is used for children (and latterly pregnant women). Even if you vaccinated the entire population every couple of years the disease would still not be eliminated, and it would probably have the medium term effect of reducing vaccine effectiveness even further.

    Pertussis vaccine was always a rotten vaccine with commonly nasty side-effects in infants. It would be much better if medical science focused on more effective interventions for infants who get the illness.

    If Guy Chapman knowledge extended beyond popular journalism he could not possibly chosen this as an example.

  13. I think the real crux of the argument is about constitutional rights, though this requires somehow having to prove that democracy works. This usually means arguing against the concept that commercial science or the clergy (whichever is grappling for total control at the moment, otherwise interchangeable) is not an ethically elite caste. I think the fact that more people died in the name of science in the 20th century than in all the anthopogenic disasters, wars or atrocities that came before is a pretty clear illustration of where excessive public trust in state science leads.

    We’re no longer in a democracy but the current inverted corporate totalitarian resurgence is still in the phase of trying to justify itself through persuasion (thus the online stealth marketing squads) and age-old greater good rhetoric– that the public are idiots and must be led to salvation through force dictated by some self-designated intellectual elite and so forth. In any case, the industry argument was never about children’s health: disease mongering is just the best Trojan horse for dissolving civil rights.

  14. And no matter how much mercury and aluminum may be ingested in the natural course of things, the digestive system has filters and protective coatings to prevent such toxins from being absorbed into the blood, not 100% effective, of course, but pretty effective. The circulatory system was designed to be a closed system, immune from such infiltration. That is quite different from injecting such toxins directly into the body, where they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, sending the immune system into a panicked reaction, since millions of years of evolution have not prepared it for such a dangerous situation. It often pulls out all the stops, calling up what are usually last-ditch defenses, and the excessive acute inflammatory reaction or the chronic autoimmune one are both causal factors of much vaccine damage, in addition to the toxicity reactions per se.

  15. “more people died in the name of science in the 20th century than in all the anthopogenic disasters, wars or atrocities that came before”

    Only as long as you apply a meaningless deifnition of “dying in the name of science”.

    Between a quarter and half a billion people died of smallpox in the first three quarters of the 20th Century. Immunisation efforts completely eradicated smallpox, nobody has died since 1977. Science is also on the brink of eliminating poliomyelitis. Deaths to tuberculosis, pertussis and sequelae of measles dropped dramatically during the 20th Century because of immunisation and have only crept up again thanks to the antivax propagandists.

    The single biggest killer in the 20th Century was probably the Spanish flu outbreak. We now have immunisation for influenza, if there was a nother pandemic then science would reduce the death toll by at least half and probablyt much more.

    Human lifespans have roughly doubled in a few generaitons, thanks to science.

    Feel free to go and live in a field without medicines if you like, the areas where this is the norm tend to have pre-scientific era lifespans: mid 50s is average I believe. Though this is rising due to – you guessed it – science.

  16. Skepti-guy– To me, the most enduring proof of Darwin’s evolution is that scientists are no more than apes in lab coats. The best ones recognize this fact. The worst and most dangerous assume they’re part of a caste which has evolved to the point that this is no longer *quite* true of themselves and that education necessarily imparts ethics. Scientists can’t be trusted with undemocratic power to dictate policy anymore than any other group of people. From Elie Wiesel wrote in the foreword to Annas’s and Grodin’s “The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code”:

    “It is not only medicine and human experimentation which is called into question: The areas of scholarship, learning, education and culture must also be reexamined in the light of what happened. That doctors participated in the planning, execution and justification of the concentration camp massacres is bad enough, but it went beyond medicine. Like a cancer of immorality, it spread into every area of spiritual, cultural, intellectual endeavor. Thus, the meaning of what happened transcended its own immediate limits…I couldn’t understand these men who had, after all, studied for 8,10,12 or 14 years in German universities, which then were the best on the Continent, if not in the world. Why did their education not shield them from evil? This question haunted me.”

    Are you really going to deny that the Holocaust was set off by scientists or the famine and genocide under Stalin? Is there no victimization you won’t deny in the name of your religion?

    Are you going to deny that eugenics had nothing to do with the system of rationalization for 19th and 20th century global conquests of “inferior peoples”? Smallpox deaths from expansionism, invasion and conquest are… tada… anthropogenic. If the invasion results in impoverishing and polluting a culture and this led to reduced resistance to disease, it’s also anthropogenic.

    It’s amazing to me how statists presume that the right of empire to invade other countries to rape resources is some kind of given, a natural phenomenon instead of man-made. And it’s even more extraordinary to me how “scientism” denies that science has been instrumental in creating a system of rationalization for it and continues to with the modern resurgence of bogus weaponized genetics which are nothing more than the new eugenics.

    It’s also odd that smallpox deaths increased so radically long after the advent of the vaccine. Now of course any preparation for invasion is not complete without a campaign to inoculate the crap out of the target population with the cheapest, most dangerous tech available– i.e., Gates purchase of a mining tech company accompanying his disastrous philanthropy in Africa, which itself followed the rise in child deaths in proximity to Gates’ oil operation holdings in Africa.

    All of it just reinforces the fact that the current frenzy over vaccines has nothing to do with humanism or concern for health or human welfare and really has nothing to do with science, since humility is a necessary component of the scientific method, at least to the extent that the limited human mind will ever be able to grasp it: only what is falsifiable can even be considered scientific. The focus on vaccines partly stems from taking the few, thin examples of technological success, exaggerating the sh*t out them and ignoring the failures and collateral, all as a Trojan horse to impose a “state religion,” though one that justifies itself with tobacco science and attempts to create a new elevated ruling class of incompetent commercial scientists– who will always be all the more incompetent by virtue of the fact that they want to be the ruling class.

    It’s very funny to see the number of non-scientists rushing in to enforce the coup, like beta apes groveling before the prospective alphas in the hopes of having a place in the new “regime.” More proof of Darwin.

  17. Can you tell why criticism of individual scientists or skeptics is not a valid criticism of the scientific method? If you can’t, we’re all wasting our time.

    Can you tell why nobody in their right mind believes in overarching conspiracy theories which must by their nature encompass academics, politicians, business people, doctors and many other classes of people, not one of whom has ever blown the whistle? If you can’t see why such a theory is inherently ridiculous, we’re also wasting our time.

  18. Rape? Sex tapes with underaged boys? Genocidal rants against Islam? Then doubling back, covering up? It’s very emblematic of biotech fraud and fallout in so many ways, something that involves not only science but issues of ethics and law. I’m not sure anyone will trust bioscience again after leaving vaccine and children’s health PR in the hands of organized Skeptics. It’s like having David Ferrie as a Secret Service adviser.

  19. I’ve been following the comments here with great interest.

    Mr. Chapman, it would seem that most of your comments are condescending veiled insults, outright insults, , and large-scale pigeon-holing, implying that anyone who doesn’t agree with 100% of established thought is a “conspiracy theorist.”

    Your arguments are just…amazing.You imply that anyone who criticizes any official “scientific” conclusion is somehow officially anti-medicine, or even anti-science.You try to paint all commenters here who do not repeat “vaccines are safe and effective” as conspiracy theorists.

    If demonizing your opponents is the best argument you can come up with, then you’ve certainly convinced me that maybe I *should* listen to your debate opponents.

    So I did a bit of research on your last question/statement (“Can you tell why nobody in their right mind believes in overarching conspiracy theories which must by their nature encompass academics, politicians, business people, doctors and many other classes of people, not one of whom has ever blown the whistle?”). As it happens, there are several academics, politicians, doctors, and researchers who HAVE blown the whistle.

    DId you know that 2 virologists launched a whistle-blower lawsuit against Merck, alleging that Merck engaged in a coverup of efficacy failure of the mumps portion of the Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine? Read about it here:

    Or that an epidemiologist with the esteemed Cochrane Review strongly disagrees with the recommendation to get influenza vaccines? Right here:,8599,1967306,00.html In fact, if you read further, you’ll note that the Cochrane Review is critical of the World Health Organization, the CDC and U.K., Australian and German health authorities for citation bias, implying that yes, there is indeed on some level some kind of corrupt business agreement at play here. Or, in other words, a conspiracy.

    So here ( we have a PhD biochemist who specializes in neuroimmuno toxic effects of vaccination, blowing a whistle.

    There were dozens more, but they’re so easy to find–if you decide to look–that I won’t take up the space by listing them here.

    So, thank you Mr. Chapman. You’ve inspired me to look a few things up; I’ve learned a great deal, not the least of which is that you are wrong. Which is putting it nicely.

  20. Guy

    It’s you who keep droning on about conspiracy theories but it is simply the way modern business is conducted:

    “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.

    “This innocent or not-so-innocent fraud masks an important factor in the distribution of income: At the highest levels of the corporate bureaucracy, compensation is set by those who receive it. This inescapable fact fits badly into accepted economic theory, so it is put aside. In the textbooks, there is no bureaucratic aspiration, no reward for bureaucratic achievement, no bureaucratic enhancement by merger and acquisition, and no personally established compensation. Bypassing all of this is not a wholly innocent fraud.

    “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.

    “Take the common outcry about corporate welfare. Here the private firm, as it is called, receives a public subsidy for its product or service. But what is called corporate welfare is a minor detail. Far more important is the full-fledged takeover by private industry of public decision-making and government spending…”

    JK Galbraith, ‘Free Market Fraud’, The Progressive 1999.

    We have debauched, rotten institutions in which it is always very hard to locate responsibility for anything. The CDC has become a conduit for trade through the CDC Foundation, and vaccines are the ultimate product, with a captive market (mandates), an ideology (the war on disease) and zero liability. The zero liability would really have made Galbraith’s flesh creep if he had ever come to focus on pharmaceuticals rather than banking or defense. And of course the fallacy (which is obvious to anyone with any knowledge of human history) is that there is some benign dispensation, rather than the norm of political institutions running out of control.

    It is, of course, particularly absurd to watch the behemoths pretend to be humane through organizations like Voices for Vaccines.

    What is not required is some “conspiracy theory” on my part to think that something is going badly wrong but a Panglossian belief in the best of all possible worlds. Pangloss was an idiot in the 18th century and he would be a bigger idiot now.

  21. It is real simple to determine if mercury has been removed from vaccines or if it hasn’t. Simply get a representative sample of the current vaccines and have them analyzed. Can you imagine what a boon it would be for one of the mercury-causation groups to be able to call a press conference and release results that prove the government is lying about this?

    But instead, we have all kinds of lame attempts to try and fudge the vaccine expiration dates and find outdated package inserts still included in new vaccines to avoid the clear proof that we removed the mercury and the autism incidence actually got even more pronounced. We’re now debating economic theory to try and change the subject. It is an embarrassingly transparent case of the anti-vaxers claiming to want to talk science, but not really wanting to in practice.

    It’s the same for the other side. Ask anyone who believes “science has spoken” what study or studies really nailed the issue for them and you’ll often get something between a blank stare and a panicked look in person, or a sudden inability to post on topic if done online. If they do find some studies, they probably won’t look far enough to realize the really good datasets are all from the 80s and 90s, in populations where the incidence of autism was 1 in 10,000. Then they have to decide if it was poor diagnosis or unrepresentative sample and that leads rather quickly to a cut-and-run because the more you look at these studies for answers, the more questions they raise.

    Now, both sides will jump on me claiming that I’m a shill for the other. In fact, I’m a shill for an actual fact-based intelligent discussion about this issue absent tin-foil hats. Neither side really wants that, and that is what will be the first thing a real wide-ranging public discussion will prove.

  22. PBC– Where are the links supporting any of your claims, btw?

    Your neutrality is… a joke. “Antivaxxers”? Nobody uses that expression but industry embedded reporters who went through Gates “science journalism training program,” or Skeptic biotech front group marketers (aside from the sexual abuse allegation, what’s most interesting in this video is the repeat discussion of lost hopes of having a “career” with the Skeptics, the thing that makes the harassment so coercive appearntly: Wherever could the money be coming from to sponsor Skeptic “careers”?? ).

    I haven’t actually met these mythical “antivaxxxers.” But you gotta keep repeating those identifiers. Principle 14 of Goebbels Propaganda guidelines:

    14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.

    a. They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses

    b. They must be capable of being easily learned

    c. They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations

    d. They must be boomerang-proof

    You’re anti-neutral.

  23. Thank you so much, God that Failed. You’ve really made my day. Objective journalism often makes both sides angry. We haven’t heard from the pro-vaxxers, yet. Maybe they’ll be as full of impotent rage as you are.

    Super-partisans often only think they’re fairly treated if their talking points are parroted just the way they said them. So the exact nature of their complaints are what one uses to determine if you screwed up or if you nailed it.

    So let’s recap. I suggested a way that, if mercury were really still in the vaccines, to turn it to your advantage. I talked about the transparency of attempts to try to fudge the date that all mercury was removed, and I suggested that both sides were more anxious to do anything from name-calling to talking about political theory than the actual medical science that, if resolved, could be a tremendous help to the parents and the doctors dealing with autism.

    What did you choose to do in response? To complain that I called you an anti-vaxxer, to namecall your enemies, to link to a video that appears to be nothing but personal attack having nothing to do with this issue, and to end up with a Nazi reference.

    If anti-vaxxer isn’t appropriate, I’ll be happy to call you what you’d like, and I’ll make the same offer to the pro-vaxxers. And I’ll be happy to link to support any claims you’re confused about. Just tell me what they are. I was referring mostly to things said on this thread, which most people with any short term memory don’t need any reminding about.

    What you did, is underscore my point, that the one things you don’t want to talk about are the actual facts here: whether there’s mercury in vaccines, whether the past 13 years when it has ostensibly been removed has any relevance to its potential for causing autism; how to prove something in a way your side could have a tremendous public relations advantage.

    But instead of even acknowledging any of these points, you chose to namecall. Which was the very point I sought to make.

    Again, thank you for making this so incredibly easy.

    Guy Chapman? You’re good at namecalling too. Are you as pissed as she is by the truth?

  24. Yes, my experience is that people who feel that their ideas are threatened by the consensus view, regard any presentaiton of that view as aggressive and abusive. Serves me right for trying, I guess.

    My point here was pretty simple: the antivaccination agenda embodies a very large number of incorrect ideas, many of which have been comprehensively refuted, and the most obviously wrong is the idea that there is some vast conspiracy.

    I was listening to an interesting podcast yesterday, an interview with a member of the flat earth society. It appears that every flat earther has to invoke a conspiracy theory at some level in order to rationalsie away the fact that all the evidence contradicts them.

    It’s much the same with antivaccinationists, alt med proponents and the like. They cannot believe that the vast majority of informed professionals woudl all come to the same conclusion independently, and that this conclusion would be so consistently against their ideas, so they believe there *must* be some conspiracy.

    of course there is no conspiracy. It’s just that anybody observing the real world will see much the same thing, unless they are determined not to.

    The echo chambers of conspiracist websites like AoA and the whale ensures that believers can interact only with other believers, and thus maintain and build belief – it is more or less guaranteed to ensure that any error is compounded and cannot ever be corrected.

    It’s a shame, there are some intelligent people involved, but my message to you is this: if your world view requires a vast overarching conspiracy to exist, in order to explain away widespread dissent form your ideas, then your world view is wrong. Not to say that no such conspiracy could exist, but the existence of vast leak-free conspiracies is only a theoretical possibility, it has never been observed in real life.

  25. You’ve basically hijacked Dr. Mom’s entire comment, but with the premise reversed and with “anti-neutral” qualified as “name-calling.”

    I’m still waiting for the “antivaxxer” trope to be backed up by something substantial– direct quotes, links, etc. Can’t get past the trope. So far, these are several of the people being referred to as “anti-vaccine” when discussing prominent vaccine safety advocates. I’m trying to find the “anti-vaccine” message in any of it.

    David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm, Factory Farm and Death at Seaworld:
    “Dr. [Bernadine] Healy is not ‘anti-vaccine’ and neither am I.”

    Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institute of Health.
    “I think public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the hypothesis [vaccines and autism] as ‘irrational,’ without sufficient studies of causation… without studying the population that got sick…I have not seen major studies that focus on 300 kids who got autistic symptoms within a period of a few weeks of the vaccines…Populations [population studies] do not test causality, they test associations.We do have the opportunity to understand whether or not there are susceptible children — perhaps medically, perhaps they have a metabolic issue, mitochondrial disorder, medical issue — that makes them more susceptible to vaccines, plural, or to one particular vaccine, or to a component of vaccines, like mercury.”

    Andrew Wakefield’s interview on FOX with Alisyn Camerota in 2011 (4:07 ):
    ‘Alisyn, let me correct you on that. I advocated very strongly for the use of the single vaccines: single measles, mumps, rubella which were available at the time [1998] in the U.K. The vaccination uptake did not fall. MMR went down, but there was a reciprocal increase in the use of single vaccines. Then six months after I made that recommendation, the government in the U.K. unilaterally withdrew the importation license for the single vaccines, thereby depriving parents of an opportunity to vaccinate their children. Then vaccination rates went down. Then measles came back. The British government is solely responsible for that happening.’

    The Age of Autism author and blog editor Dan Olmsted’s 2010 Spectrum Magazine article (June/July) entitled, not incidentally, I Am Not Anti-Vaccine:
    ‘Being opposed to vaccines might seem like less of an insult that “twit”, “fraud” or “hypocrite”. But there’s one problem with it. It’s not true. It’s a way that those who want to shut down the debate on vaccines and autism try to marginalize their opponents.’

    Generation Rescue’s J.B. Handley on The Doctors in 2009:
    Handley: (1:05 ): The devil is always in the details. One of the problems with vaccines is they’ve been so great that people overly generalize about them as if they’re only great. We looked at first world countries: we’re 34th in under-five mortality, behind such luminaries as Cuba and Slovenia. However, we have 36 vaccines. The top five, which include countries like Finland, Norway, Iceland average 11 and 13 vaccines. From 1994 we added 8 vaccines to our schedule. There are vaccines like flu, rotavirus, varicella which have only been picked up by 2 or 3 of the other 30 countries. So what do they know that we don’t? Why aren’t they picking up vaccines that have been around for 15 years? And why are their autism rates 1 in 1,000; 1 in 1,500, 1 in 2,000? It doesn’t take a brain surgeon or an ER doctor to figure out there might be a correlation.’

    Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy on Larry King in 2009:
    Jim Carrey (2:46 ): ‘We’re not saying don’t vaccinate. That’s the thing we want to get really clear right now. This is the thing: there’s a lot of misdirection going on. We hear the people like Campbell Brown that are saying, you know, “You can’t not vaccinate.” No one has ever suggested not vaccinating. Jenny McCarthy: Going back the 1989 schedule when shots were only 10 and the MMR was on that list. I don’t know what happened in 1990—there was no plague that was killing children that we had to triple the amount of vaccines. Let’s be smart. Jim Carrey: What happened in 1989 that warranted 26 more vaccines? Jenny McCarthy: Greed. Jim Carrey: Are all of them absolutely necessary? Larry King: Because they want to make money. Jenny McCarthy: Of course. Back in 1989 the schedule was ten shots given. Larry King: When I was a kid, what did we get, three? Jim Carrey: Ten shots given. It’s twice as many as anywhere else—in thirty countries in the Western world. We give twice as many shots as any of those countries. Why is that? Larry King: If it’s vaccination and you’re not against vaccination, what are you against? Don’t vaccinate for this but vaccinate for that? Jenny McCarthy: Yes. Jim Carrey: I think we have to choose which ones are absolutely necessary…’

    And from the Vaccine Epidemic promotional film featuring contributors to the book ( :
    Michael Belkin: “I am not a total anti-vaccine advocate. I am a vaccine safety advocate.”

    Captain Richard Rovet, RN: “I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m not anti-medical counter-measures. I’m anti-cover-up.”

  26. Here we go – “the flat earth society”? What has that got to do with safety of an industry and its apologists. Perhaps you are the “flat-earthist” Guy? You are certainly suffering a conspiracy theory. All these very wicked people people who congregate on websites for no money to complain about an industrial juggernaut running over their kids. Shocking.

  27. That’s fine Guy Chapman, but going after the low hanging fruit of the conspiracy theorists that populate the anti-vax* community doesn’t advance the question of why we should discount vaccines as not having some interrelationship with autism through the modulation of the severe immune dysfunction that we are learning more and more is present in about 40% of autism autism and/or 20% of the gestating mothers who produce autistic offspring.

    It’s fun to launch effete intellectual attacks. Seth Mnookin filled a whole book with it, and it enabled him to never have to directly address the actual problem that we know almost nothing about what causes autism, and not very much about why adverse vaccine reactions happen in some people and not in others.

    Doesn’t talk long reading the pro-vax literature to realize that the actual studies that make up this overwhelming consensus of literature are rarely if ever cited. They’re the science that dare not speak its name. Have you ever cited one? What one is your favorite? Do you think we need any more research? If so, what kind, and if not, why not.

    That is the question, after all, isn’t it? Not the flat earth society or the conspiracy theories of the folks you wouldn’t believe anyway.

    *I use that objectionable term only because I’ve not yet been set straight for my transgressions.

  28. The example was precisely as stated: a group that holds to a belief in the face of overwhelming condradictory scientific consensus. That is precisely the case with antivaccinationists. You can pretend that medicine is in denial about the risks, that the vaccines cause massive harm (which they plainly don’t) and that they haven’t improved public health, but you’ll be wrong on every count and you will continue to be wrong as long as your method for explainig away the scientific consensus remains a fallacious appeal ot conspiracy.

    That’s all.

  29. Thank you Guy. You probably did better than the anti-vaxxer at living up to avoiding the subject, because you did it with an economy of words. In place of the actual citation of any evidence that would dispute a vaccine-autism connection is “in the face of overwhelming contradictory scientific consensus.” If this were a religious argument, this would be expressed as “Jesus is Lord” because it’s not an argument, it’s a claim that an argument can be made.

    This if followed by a gratuitous attack on the other side, as if their bad argument somehow removes your responsibility for making a good one. If it were religious talk, it would be “and the heathens are going to hell.”

    Again: have you even read any of these studies that you puff up with such glowing praise? If you have, what one do you like?

    It is not enough to vilify the other side. That’s not science, its public relations.

  30. Guy – all the usual ad hominem garbage. The consensus is bureaucratic: the evidence base from the scientific literature really messy, and no basis for a consensus at all. You just come to sneer at people who have real concerns, which is another way of the fixing the facts. Its just trolling.

    I don’t think too much of PCB Liberal either. He/she realises there is a problem of evidence but again we have the cheap sneer. It’s just such a joke if you’re child becomes part of collateral damage.

    The evidence for vaccine safety is maintained by simply not collecting it (or ignoring if you do – as with VAERS) and certainly never investigating it. It is simply a farce, but it is also how bureacracies work if they are allowed to. Note my comments about Galbraith and about the Gates Foundation and thimerosal above.

  31. @PCLiberal: Nice to see someone else who sees flaws on both sides.

    About thimerosal in vaccines: Let’s be very accurate here. Thimerosal wasn’t actually “removed” from pediatric vaccines. It’s actually a better scenario than that. Instead, pediatric vaccines began to be manufactured to be packaged in single-use, pre-loaded syringes, that need no preservative at all.

    And that’s a good thing all round. No need for preservative, no question of whether the nurse shook the vial enough, no chance for contamination.

    But flu shots were not then considered “pediatric vaccines.” Most flu shots still contain thimerosal. And those are given to infants. The CDC recommends 2 doses starting at 6 months. They are also now recommended for pregnant women.

    Thimerosal-free flu shots are available, but not WIDELY available, and most of the practices and pharmacies with which I am familiar do not routinely stock them, but special-order them on request.

    LAIV (Flu*Mist) is widely available, and is thimerosal-free, but is contraindicated for infants and pregnant women. It also carries a risk of causing flu, albeit a milder case.

    So we can’t pretend that infants and children are no longer exposed to thimerosal through vaccines.

    We also have to take into account the fact that, while use of thimerosal-preserved vaccines decreased over the first year of life, children are getting yearly exposures through flu shots, which may have neurological or other effects.

    Additionally, as use of thimerosal-preserved vaccines in the first year decreased, new aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines were added to the schedule, which calls into question whether aluminum adjuvants and thimerosal have similar neurological and immunological effects, whether they react synergistically, or even whether there are different but still undesirable neurological and immunological effects.

    The available safety studies are both extremely limited, and, I am now finding, flawed. They certainly don’t show safety as they claim to. The Cochrane Collaboration has raised the issue of publication bias, as well.

    I am not convinced that the studies from the other side PROVE that vaccines are universally unsafe to the point of suspending the vaccination program. However, I find that they certainly call vaccine safety into question, necessitating further and much more thorough study. The point that safety study has thus far been inadequate is entirely correct, in my view.

    Most troubling is the screaming from the provax side that the questions have been asked and answered, when those answers are based on flimsy science at best, and the conflicting answers provided by antivaxers* are completely ignored, or subjected to a standard of criticism not used on the provax studies.

    *if “antivaxers” is not a politically correct term, please supply an alternative term.)

  32. Not that the term will ever be favored by industry defenders, but “vaccine safety advocate” is probably the preferred term or simply “consumer safety advocate” because vaccine scrutiny– though this is the strawman identifier for industry defenders– is only one area of focus and only one part of the equation. This is actually one of the reasons that attacks on vaccine safety advocacy have ramped up so violently– consumer advocacy in general (food, biodiversity, emissions, drugs, etc.) is becoming far more unified and has started to cross-pollinate. Ideas coming out of this crucible are calling into question, for instance, an array of commercial genetic theories for conditions which have exploded in rate in the industrial era. Without these gene theories to peddle more and more on-patent, profitable drugs, and with the threat of investigations into cause by way of seeking prevention, several industries are feeling the heat, not just the pharmaceutical complex.

    Palmer et al. discovered that autism rates in school districts rise in proximity to coal-fired power plants and found this may be tied to this industry’s mercury, lead and arsenic emissions. The “highway autism study” found that proximity to highways raises rates and CA highway studies have found that lead, mercury, etc., depositions on (obviously) impermeable pavement are aerosoled from the wheels of traffic to surrounding areas. Reform psychiatrist, author and researcher Dr. Grace Jackson discovered half a dozen overlaps between the drug Depakote (a long suspected but relatively rare cause of autism) and the brain and immune system damaging effects of mercury. She found many similar overlaps regarding SSRI antidepressants, which may mean the “SSRI in pregnancy/autism” study was not so much a “competing theory” with the mercury/pathogen theory but might in effect be “complimentary” (in a diabolical sense). In her study of drug effects, she repeatedly compares these to the mitochondrial damage caused by certain pesticides, which also suggests that the “proximity to agriculture/pesticide” theory of autism causation is not necessarily a contradiction to all the above. All roads may lead to “Rome”– more about pathway damage caused by toxins or compounds with overlapping specific effects than hinging on specific substances.

    In the end, excessive vaccination may merely be a “fast track” for some susceptible individuals. But the more levels of ambient pollution rise (mercury pollution is expected to double again by 2050), the more drugs in drinking water, the more toxic drugs Americans take, the more tainted the food supply, the less vaccines may even be “necessary” to induce the condition. Rachel Carson warned of this fifty years ago. None of it’s new.

    What’s a bit comic is to see the protests of embedded journos who were counting on safety advocates to remain in a certain “shape” whereby a strawman bulls eye could be easily affixed to them, to this expansive view of autism causation. “Anti-vaccine” as an epithet just has such a nice ring to it for that purpose. In any case, there seemed to be evident frustration among these reporters the more advocates discussed rising pollution, other sources of heavy metal poisoning, novel pathogens arising from factory farms and pesticide interaction with wild or vaccine viruses, making all more potent or deadly, etc. The industry friendly journalists complained that this was “flip-flopping,” but this was hardly the case: many of the independent scientists who’ve called for caution regarding vaccines were also discussing rising emissions, aluminum, toxin-pathogen interactions, pesticides, synthetic hormones in food and plastics and GM foods more than a decade ago.

    Any scientific theory by definition has to be “falsifiable”– which is probably why safety advocates don’t call themselves, “The Bearers of Absolute and Shining Knowledge on Vaccination.” Like Joni Mitchell’s shout out about the “cesspool” of the music industry, it’s difficult to call her “anti-music,” though I’m sure the labels would launch a PR campaign calling her this if they could get away with it. The problem most people have is not just the pharmaceutical industry as it currently exists in the US, but the larger issue of regulatory capture and general corporatization and beltway banditry, not the concept of preventive medicine or vaccines as an abstract. It’s increasingly part of the environmental movement. The raging against vaccine scrutiny is largely to prevent this kind of unity by warning other environmental groups that taking on the controversy ballast of vaccine scrutiny will make them targets as well. Fewer environmental groups are heeding the warning though.

    There are clearly alternative models for vaccination which are fully operational. Denmark makes its own vaccines and has 20-fold less chronic disease among children and is 45 slots higher on the child mortality index. Of course Danes aren’t an elevated species: they also have their share of corrupt scientists like the federally indicted Poul Thorsen- who sell their fraud and cover-up fodder to very avid embedded US regulators. .

    Just like Americans aren’t “wanted” as emigres in many developed countries these days (our sickness and fatness stats and the cost of our healthcare make us look like potential parasites), we’ve become a third world repository for other countries’ junk science which can’t be sold to their own populations. Danish vaccines have been mercury free for quite a while as one example. Their tech isn’t perfect of course but better than what’s going on here. Other countries with fewer shots, no mandates and better healthcare systems have similarly low rates of autism and chronic childhood disease and these policies can sometimes manifest in other areas relevant to environmental health, like emissions, GM tech and so forth. We are the fourth world, really– a country too rich to have an excuse for the mess we’ve made of health and the environment.

  33. “Vaccine safety advocate” isn’t going to be favored by anybody except somebody who quotes Goebbels on propaganda. When you (God that Failed) did that in an earlier post, I assumed it was because you didn’t like those tactics and felt they were being unfairly used against you. But now you’ve tipped your hand and we see that’s what you want for yourself.

    I guess I should have taken the chance that you’d call me out for talking down to you, but the term used to describe a partisan needs to differentiate them from the other side. A vaccine safety advocate could just as easily describe someone whose job it is to ensure compliance with the informed consent required under the Vaccine Injury Act. Your rather transparent attempt to stack the deck (should the “provaxxers” be called “big pharma shills”) as is your sudden attempt to make this NOT about vaccines, isn’t helping you look consistent in your beliefs.

  34. Dr Mom: Both sides are at fault, primarily because there’s no real hard evidence of any of this that seems to withstand serious scrutiny. We don’t know what causes autism, and the studies all have some pretty serious flaws. Notice that in response to my “show me the studies” challenge to Guy Chapman, he’s suddenly started talking about “scientific consensus” moving the standard from “Here’s a valid study,” to “Well those smart folks all believe it.”

    Can we agree that it’s easy pickings to find examples of consensus after consensus that has fallen to the development of a new theory, a bloody fight over it, to its adoption and subsequent diminution?

    I think as a semantic issue its pretty clear that thiomersal was “removed” from vaccines because it was in the formulation one day and wasn’t the next, and the single-shot packaging was simply the packaging. I’ve never even been offered a flu shot that wasn’t in a single shot dose, but that may not be true in huge clinics.

    Remember, when mercury was first removed, children under 6 were also removed from suggested flu shot list; though they have since been replaced. So what we saw was a very persuasive argument that it was the extreme level of mercury exposure, complete with graphs and charts showing autism diagnoses cf. mercury exposure by weight.

    Now we’re hearing arguments that its really just a tiny bit of mercury and it may only need be given to the mother. People may make any argument they wish, but those of us with long memories who were quite receptive to the idea we’d found the cause, remember these arguments and it demonstrates a lack of consistence and credibility in the people who make them.

    There’s no better example of this than the recent video that talks in great detail about mercury in the lives of the Kanner study children, but says not one word about its subsequent removal from vaccines. This is pure intellectual dishonesty which eclipses that done by Offit et al failing to mention their huge paychecks directly traceable to the pharma industry, and the subject of this article, that Voices for Vaccines are really an administrative unit of a big 501(c)3 heavily funded by CDC, Pharma and Gates NGO.

  35. Hey, I’m just trying to keep this thread going because someone said the blog didn’t have enough traffic considering how awesome it is. Couldn’t let that stand, though it’s easy enough to stay on topic with a subject this “emblematic” of wider industrial fraud. I’m really appreciating the latest post on tobacco genetics. Applies so well to the general rise in chronic conditions, including the discussion at hand.

    ‘The industry aim was to grow human genetics into the cornerstone of a scientific tobacco PR strategy to portray lung cancer as originating in genetic weakness and not cigarettes.

    An investigation just published [2] shows that this PR strategy has since then grown into a much broader collusion between scientists, industry, and governments to downplay and ignore the environmental and social origins of human diseases. Thus funding for genetics and genomics has expanded from lung cancer to examining common physical diseases into current epidemics of mental health disorders, and even social inequality.

    The investigation is by the Bioscience Resource Project, a public interest science non-profit and publisher of Independent Science News. “Governments and industry discovered they had a common interest in disguising the failures of public policies and the harms of commercial products,” says author Jonathan Latham, Ph.D. “Genetics has become the go-to science of polluters and governments disinclined to address politically challenging social and environmental issues.” ‘

  36. @TGTF (The God That Failed): your points are very interesting, and quite logical, the way you present them. I’d like to take some time to research a bit before I respond. Much of what you say is new to me (or perhaps it’s because I’m new to this blog and this subject matter), and I am reluctant to accept what you say at face value.

  37. I never take anything at face value. Everything is either more interesting than its face or more diabolical– which is also really interesting.

  38. @PCLiberal: Since you use the term “thiomersal,” may I assume you are in the UK? I am in the US, where the flu shot was ONLY recommended to at-risk populations: the elderly, those prone to pneumonia, those undergoing steroid therapy, chemotherapy or dialysis, and severe asthmatics. You say that children under 6 were removed from the flu shot list when thiomersal was removed from vaccines, but that’s not true in the US. Children under 6 were never on the flu shot list at that time unless they were in one of the above-mentioned high risk groups. Neither were children over 6, for that matter.

    So, no persuasive evidence as you describe, Children were given increasing numbers of vaccines, containng either thiomersal (flu shots, given yearly), aluminium adjuvant (new shots added to the schedule), or both, when physicians continued to use the thiomersal-preserved, multi-use vials that were still on the shelves.

    In fact, in the US, we didn’t start recommending flu shots for all adults over 50 until 2000, per the CDC recommendation. In 2001, which is when the thiomersal-free vaccines began to be manufactured, OBGYN’S began to recommend flu shots to pregnant women in trimesters 2 and 3.

    Is it different in the UK? I was under the impression that most of the highly developed countries followed a common immunization schedule.

    Where thiomersal is concerned, the waters are muddy indeed. No clear evidence that it is safe to use in vaccines, stronger evidence that it may indeed cause damage to kidneys, neurological damage, cell death, etc–but far fewer studies that are set up with the ability to identify this kind of result. Still, I suppose a small amounts of stronger evidence outweigs a large amount of weaker evidence.

    Also in the US, we have seen a major shift in diet recommendation. In the late 90’s, we cautioned pregnant and nursing women to limit their consumption of fish with high levels of methylmercury. But over the following decade, those advisories were revised, and now we tell everyone that the benefits of seafood outweigh the risks of methylmercury.

    That muddies the waters as well. Methylmercury is not excreted as quickly as ethylmercury, but ethylmercury crosses the blood/brain barrier more easily.

    I am looking for research in this area, and have not yet found anything satisfactory.

  39. I expressed this the wrong way. I’m in the US, and a major national pharmacy chain began offering flu shots to the general population at pharmacy visits in the 1990s. Instead of recommended, I should have talked about this in terms of who could walk in and get one.

    The underlying point is these kids weren’t allowed under most circumstances to even get these shots mercury or not until the CDC reversed itself recently and included them on the list after it became obvious (unless they’re lying about having taking out the mercury as some of the “vaccine safety advocates” claim) that mercury wasn’t problem.

    Whether flu shots were technically recommended or just allowed to be administered, a lot of people in this country want them and get them through a wide range of sources and believe that their lower rate of contracting the flu and a lower incidence of severe symptoms when they do is proof they are valuable. I’m one of those people, at least when it comes to my own personal health.

  40. @PBCLiberal (Oops, missed the “B” before):

    This is incorrect: “The underlying point is these kids weren’t allowed under most circumstances to even get these shots mercury or not until the CDC reversed itself recently and included them on the list after it became obvious (unless they’re lying about having taking out the mercury as some of the “vaccine safety advocates” claim) that mercury wasn’t problem.”

    In 2004, children aged 6-23 months were not only allowed to get flu shots, they were considered a priority group. That was the directive from the CDC and ACIP. All children under 9 were to be administered not one but two doses if they had not been previously vaccinated for flu. All children who were close contacts with infants under the age of 6 months were to be given flu shots. Women who were pregnant during flu season were to be given flu shots.

    The last remaining thiomersal-preserved vials of pediatric vaccines had shelf lives expiring in 2003/2004.

    So there was no interruption of thiomersal exposure, despite thiomersal having been removed from the other vaccines. The exposure was quantitatively different, to be sure–in 2 flu shots during the first year of life, followed by yearly flu shots, but starting in utero (only for fetuses whose mothers had thiomersal-preserved flu shots, unless we’re considering diet, which, for simplicity’s sake, I’m not. But that may be a factor, as well.). But we can’t say that there was no exposure. We can say that there was less exposure during the first year–but we then have to admit that exposure in utero might have more profound effects. We also have to admit the possiblity of the aluminum adjuvant in the other pediatric vaccines playing a role, either when given in conjunction with a thiomersal-preserved flu shot, or independently.

    I am not convinced (yet, anyway) that mercury has been ruled out as a problem at all, but it certainly wasn’t ruled out by 2004.

    The more I learn about this, the more troubled I am.

  41. Here’s the history:

    So between 1999 and 2002, no children were on the list for flu shots, and it increased very slowly until 2010 when everybody was finally on the list.

    This is what I mean by gameplaying trying to act as if there was no decrease in mercury level by trying to act as if expiring supplies represented the full supply for as long as possible, and trying to indicate that recommendations for increasing vaccinations sprang into full force when in fact they were only slow gradual increases.

    Combine this with the argument that we really can’t tell what autism incidence levels are until the same kind of study is released (meaning we can’t use the 1 in 55 study that was a phone study to prove incidence is still increasing) and it is pretty obviously an argument of denial. There are also a couple of actual studies during this period (one in California I believe) that compared actual populations.

    Unless you are in the group that denies this ever even happened, there was a major change in the amount of mercury injected into children in response to arguments that it was the tremendous amount of mercury that we were injecting that was causing autism.

    When the diagnosis rate increase didn’t even slow down, that’s significant. Trying to argue that because there was some old vaccine on some shelves when most every hospital and clinic in the country wasn’t maintaining 3 year stockpiles and were ordering at least every few months is just plain disingenuous.

    If your intent is that you’re married to a theory and you need to support that theory to, for instance, keep contributors sending you money, then I understand why you’ll do anything to avoid looking at this in an objective way. But if you’re legitimately interested in figuring this out so that we can be smart about treatment and diagnosis, you need to look at the real world. We stopped mercury which in practice means we reduced its injection in children to virtually none compared with where we were.

    You just can’t avoid that truth no matter how much you try to play with the overlap of expiring stocks and changing recommendations.

  42. We need to be accurate here. Prior to 1999, there were indeed children getting flu shots. All children with chronic health conditions were (and are) considered to be at risk for complications of flu, including cardiac defects, asthma, diabetes, seizures, neurologic/neuromuscular disorders, metabolic conditions, and some children with developmental delays.

    Pediatric flu shot uptake didn’t increase slowly at all. ACIP started encouraging flu vaccine for 6-24 month old children in 2002, and made it a universal recommendation in 2004. During the flu shot shortage of 2004, parents took the recommendation to heart, and about half did their part and took their children for flu shots. We held special clinics to administer flu vaccines, and also began automated flu shot reminders.

    We also have to make sure we are looking at the correct years for autism rates. We don’t yet know the rate for the cohort born in 2004. The 1-in-88 rate is for children born in 2000.

  43. We are being accurate. There were three years (after we became concerned on a national level) that we said children shouldn’t get these shots. We also weren’t producing any new vaccine with mercury, and most of the shots being given were newly produced vaccines.

    We don’t have the autism data yet that is a one-to-one match for this period, but we will pretty soon. We have other data which strongly suggests that these incidence rates continue to go sky high.

    As you well know, even at today’s recommendation levels, only about half of children get a flu shot. This shot is never a requirement. So if we don’t see a decrease in autism diagnoses when the figures for the 1999-2002 period are tabulated, what will be your conclusion about mercury in vaccines?

  44. But no one said it was only mercury except the vaccine defenders who claim opponents claim this. It’s also been pointed out that emissions have risen and that mercury may merely be the thing suppressing the immune system in some cases, though there are other substances produce virtually the same damage.

    What often keeps the mercury theory so visible is that every industry study of it has been fabulously manipulated. Pichichero et al. wasn’t impressive and it’s probably not necessary to go into the problems with Thorsen’s study design. The claims of the Iraqi grain study– which was funded by the CDC and the world’s largest lobby group for the coal-fired industry– on health outcomes for children exposed to the grain left out the fact that subjects and data access were strictly controlled by Saddam’s hand-picked research authorities when it may have been Hussein himself who ordered the delivery of the grain to the Kurds. You can source that to Chris Mooney, though he simply repeated the research of Jane Hightower. The findings of the Seychelles island study were controlled by the fish industry and all subjects were children of parents employed by Heinz’s Starkist processing operation, the only real industry on the island.

    Only the Faroe study had no blatant conflicts– the study of health and neurological outcomes for the children of women who consumed heavily mercury-tainted and PCB-tainted whale meat. The findings were pretty bad but were mostly ignored in favor of the suspiciously positive Seychelles findings which directly impacted US restrictions on emissions and allowable limits in water, etc. But what’s really interesting is that rarely are other studies of the population reported on–like the fact that autism among Faroe residents was nearly 20 times greater than among mainland Danes.

    Is that Faroe is also a volcanic island with a lot of heavy metal content in soil? Was it PCB’s in whale meat alone? Is it the fact that Faroe residents have a bit of Scottish ancestry (which is what exactly)? Is it inbreeding (then why not the Amish or Seychelles)? Or does the huge difference in autism rates have something to do with mercury? Is mercury a “facilitator” or co-factor or a direct cause? I feel pretty sure we won’t find out for sure from U. of Rochester studies funded by the CDC and industry.

    And what if it turned out mercury contributed? This would cast firmer aspersions on other industries producing things with similar clinical mechanisms of damage. Most of the industries with the most to lose sit on boards together in the US– Business Round Table, ALEC, ACSH, etc.

  45. You’re trying to convince the wrong person here. I’m not making videos that claim because so many of Kanner’s initial subjects had ethelmercury involvement it therefore is the sole-mentioned causation (videos that also fail to mention the 1999 removal). I’m not packing Congressional hearing rooms with my constituents to cheer wildly when an obviously flawed mercury-causation video is played.

    I don’t know what causes autism and I’m really motivated to find out, and environmental issues (including airborne or soil based mercury–such as the Utah paradox) are on the table for me. We know children raised at Love Canal have a myriad of neurological problems. This is a rich vein to mine.

    So there’s no reason to try and sneak those goal posts by me. I’m happy you’re trying to move them. It just would be a whole lot more satisfying if the folks who have been making a whole lot of money off the mercury theory would start admitting the study we did by changing the vaccine content for all children is slowly proving them wrong.

    There is such a double standard here by everybody who’s a partisan. Courts can’t be trusted when its Hannah Polling or the Italian plantiffs. Courts are the final authority when it’s the Omnibus trials.

    Mercury’s the prime culprit when the mercury load increase makes great graphs and charts with parallel increase lines. “Nobody said it was only mercury except [our nasty enemies]” when the lines on the same graphs and charts suddenly are perpendicular.

  46. The same people who did the Kanner mercury vid, which included thimerosal in wood preservative, have discussed rainfall and regional rates repeatedly. Maybe if there were more actual money in advocacy they could have done a longer video including more thorough discussions. Also mercury emissions and mercury in fish weren’t so high as they are now mid-20th century, Less compounded sources.

    I think your chief objection is that the firing post isn’t remaining where you’d so carefully aimed. It’s just that it moved a long time ago.

  47. That firing post was decimated by the results of removing mercury from vaccines as early as 2006 for those watching closely. If it’s gone, then let’s all agree it’s gone and move on.

    It costs the video producer no more money to write and give the narrator a script that is factually based upon the latest information as one that doesn’t undermine the considerable investment they have in the mercury in vaccines meme by cleverly writing around or ignoring that latest data.

    Mercury isn’t a legal wood preservative any more, nor is it used as a seed coating. Admitting that stopping the use of it as a vaccine preservative for domestic pediatric vaccines would have therefore completely undercut any remaining relevance.

    My chief objection remains the same. The folks who claim they’re interested in the issue of vaccines and autism and that the science and investigation is the holy grail, have absolutely no interest in a real discussion of the issue, because it will almost immediately reveal how little we know and how poorly we’re motivated to try and find out because everybody’s got a sacred cow.

    That is why the “vaccine sales advocates” are afraid of any study that doesn’t use the 20+ year old datasets where we know the answers before we ask the questions, and why the “vaccine safety advocates” are afraid of admitting that mercury is no longer in all pediatric vaccines.

    It’s why this thread is full of people personally attacking each other; that’s the safest thing to do when you either don’t know anything at all about the studies, or you know that they’re all so questionable that the other side will poke holes in anything you raise as a matter of absolute unquestionable fact.

  48. Anyone who is not worried about how the modern vaccine program is instituted and the functioning of the institutions surrounding it would be very foolish. The thimerosal folly is just one narrative, but one indicative of a culture out of control – and if it ever went it is back in vaccines given to pregnant women and 6 month old infants. Moreover, we are still left with a system of a captive market (mandates), ever expanding schedules driven by the industry, no active monitoring or investigation of adverse effects, no liability and a lot of crowing idiots if your child crashes. Meanwhile, the industy’s leading advocate hands us the doctrine that injecting 10,000 vaccines in one go would be safe.

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