Thursday, May 5, 2011

Forbes: Magazine of the Machine



Forbes magazine and Forbes.com have become, over the past year, particularly active in dispensing establishment propaganda. I’ve come across a number of their pro-vaccine pieces in recent months but have not had the opportunity to comment. That is until now. Yesterday I came across an article by Steven Salzberg, a Professor and Director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park, that was so absurd it demanded action.

Characteristic of Forbes reporting, the piece contains a slew of either unsubstantiated or patently false talking points.

The author begins by imagining that a few cases of the measles now appearing across the country are the product of an amorphous “anti-vaccine” movement. Unsurprisingly, he provides no evidence of such causality. (Vaccine propaganda requires only assertions not evidence)

Arguing against this theory are record high vaccination rates and the fact that, since the introduction of vaccinations, there have always been sporadic cases of vaccine preventable illness, “anti-vaccination movement” or not.

Unless there were a 100% vaccination rate, no one too young to be vaccinated, no travel and vaccines that were perfectly effective, sporadic cases of infectious illnesses will occur. Besides, not everyone who is unvaccinated is under the spell of the anti-vaccine movement.

Moving along, the author goes on to parrot the Machine talking point that the “measles is a dangerous …virus,” employing, to support his assertion, an unsubstantiated CDC claim that:
“For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die.”
The CDC provides no basis for the figure but they’re likely clinging to data obtained during a single US outbreak occurring in the 90s affecting a particularly unrepresentative and especially vulnerable population: the urban poor. Further, underreporting of cases was widespread during this outbreak, making the measles seem more formidable than they actually were.

As a matter of fact, in the pre-vaccine era out of 3-4 million cases only about ~450 deaths were reported. Additionally, a recent European outbreak to which Salzburg, in his piece, refers, shows one death occurring out of 6,500 cases. This is in line with other recent European outbreaks. Additionally, as mentioned previously, it’s well known that measles cases are widely underreported; so deaths are likely to occur in at a rate of even less than 1 per every five or six thousand cases.

It is upon this rickety foundation that Salzberg claims, in regards to the measles, “This is not a disease to take lightly.” But, as far as “diseases” go, the measles is one to be taken lightly. It’s hardly even worthy of being called a disease. In the pre-vaccine era, when kids got the measles, parents said their kid was sick. Not that he or she had a disease.

Salzberg’s attempts to paint the measles as “dangerous” is just another example of the Machine distorting language in order to create a false impression under which vaccination seems warrented.

His obsessive fondness for vaccination then compels him to lament:
California now has about 2% of parents refusing vaccines for their children for personal beliefs. This gaping hole in our public health system needs to be closed.
Calling a 2% personal belief exemption rate a “gaping hole” is nothing more than wild hyperbole. The sad fact is that (since there should be no such thing as a vaccine mandate) there is an exemption rate at all. As to the “gaping hole,” one does exist, but it is in regards to the gaping hole in a parent’s freedom to raise their children as they see fit and without the interference of a hyperactive public health apparatus.

Salzberg then turns to a common - yet absurd - talking point popular with vaccine peddlers: those who don’t vaccinate put others at risk.
…they [parents who don’t vaccinate] appear unconcerned about the risk they forcing on the rest of us…if parents refuse to vaccinate their children, they are putting the rest of us at risk, and these children need to be kept out of public schools.
As to putting you at or forcing risk upon you, the risk of infectious illness exists and has existed for thousands of years. No one forces it upon you. My not vaccinating simply denies you additional protection to which you have no right. It’s you, not I, who is responsible to protect yourself. Vaccines give you the means by which to do this.

In regards to keeping kids out of school, people, kids included have a right to reject unwanted medical interventions. This right does not stop at the schoolhouse door. If not for government interference in education, one would be free to attend whichever school one chose. Schools would be free to set their own requirements for admission. Vaccination could be among those requirements. Fans of vaccination such as Salzburg could attend those with rigid vaccination policies while others not so enamored with the practice could attend schools without a vaccination requirement. Unfortunately, government makes a scenario involving free choice impossible and therefore morally abrogates it’s right to set such vaccine requirements

Continuing, Salzburg claims:
Parents who follow this advice [not to vaccinate] rely on the immunization of others to protect their own children,
But we don’t rely on you to do anything. Stop vaccinating. I dare you. You vaccinate because you’re afraid of the mumps. I’m not. Besides, rely implies that I’d be in dire straits or I’d have to act without you. Neither is true.

His terror at being put at risk by unvaccinated children cavorting through schools continues:
They also neglect to consider that vaccines are never 100% effective, so even those of us who vaccinate our kids are still bearing a greater risk by allowing the unvaccinated to attend school.
 Yes, your risk is greater than if you had the right to have government thugs force unwanted vaccines on other people. But you don’t have that right so get over it. You just have the right to the protection you can obtain by your own voluntary actions; not actions forced upon others.

In conclusion, Salzburg floats the bizarre suggestion that: 
We could start by telling people to get vaccinated before they leave the country. If they refuse, we could require them to be tested for infections when they return.
He fails to comprehend is that people have rights and these rights supercede his personal desires. People, going about their everyday lives, cannot have their freedom violated. And freedom involves the right to travel without being poked with the vaccinators needle. It also includes the right not to be, unless probable cause exists, tested, examined and probed for signs of infectious illness.

Crazy ideas such as the one proffered by Salzberg warn us about what the police state of the future may look like. And we must be vigilant in resisting  such a regime. But more importantly we must begin to dismantle the hidden police which already exists and has as it's foundation  mandatory vaccination


12 comments:

  1. You make some excellent points. Salzberg and his ilk demonstrate their ignorance of history every time they open their mouths. There is no such thing as a "vaccine preventable disease," only a "vaccine alterable disease." In earlier versions of CDC's Pink Book, it was assumed that ALL people born before 1965 were immune to the measles because we all had the measles. No big deal for any well-nourished child. Don't even get me started about chicken pox...

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  2. Great point. Just look at how pertussis has gotten pushed back into adolescence and adulthood due to a poorly performing vaccine.

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  3. "You just have the right to the protection you can obtain by your own voluntary actions; not actions forced upon others."

    I don't agree with this statement. If we make metaphor to the traffic on the roads, my protection is obtain not only by my safe way of driving but also on other people stopping when traffic light is red. I have every right to expect other drivers to do what is needed even if they dont want to stop. If they don't stop I have every right to kick their... or take more serious actions.

    The same for some vaccines like measles. Try to persuade that I am wrong.

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  4. Robert SchecterMay 6, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Someone driving and not stopping is putting others at risk. They have a car, the object with which they could hurt someone. My not vaccinating puts no one at risk, since I don't have an illness.

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  5. Robert, if you don't get your brakes serviced (equals not vaccinating) you also don't put anyone at risk at this time. Whenever you have to use your brakes (equals infection with measles) it can happen that you will put someone at risk because of your ignorance of necessary and regular servicing.

    I am sure that you expect other drivers to offer you protection (working brakes) if needed. The same way other expect you to be vaccinated.

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  6. Question. Are the various people here recommending vaccines to others completely up to date on all of the recommended vaccines and boosters for adults? If not, why not?

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  7. I just learned how to put the name for commenting (all posts from anonymous) are mine.

    @Minority: As you are saying people recommending vaccines ignore the fundamentals of infectious diseases and focus only on children. Why? They are not enough educated. The time for this will come sooner or later. But lets get back to my dialog with Robert:

    "I am sure that you expect other drivers to offer you protection (working brakes) if needed. The same way other expect you to be vaccinated."
    Do you understand now that in real life we rely in many aspects on the actions of other people and can expect/force them to follow some regulations? Let me hear your argument against this.

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  8. Mark has left a comment. It's not appearing (perhaps caught is a spam filter) So here it is from my email feed.

    Mark has left a new comment on your post "Forbes: Magazine of the Machine":

    I just learned how to put the name for commenting (all posts from anonymous) are mine.

    @Minority: As you are saying people recommending vaccines ignore the fundamentals of infectious diseases and focus only on children. Why? They are not enough educated. The time for this will come sooner or later. But lets get back to my dialog with Robert:

    "I am sure that you expect other drivers to offer you protection (working brakes) if needed. The same way other expect you to be vaccinated."
    Do you understand now that in real life we rely in many aspects on the actions of other people and can expect/force them to follow some regulations? Let me hear your argument against this.

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  9. Hi Mark a.k.a. Anonymous.

    I don't think my answer needs to change from my initial response to you.

    On your second post you said:

    "I am sure that you expect other drivers to offer you protection


    Not protection. I expect that others won't put me at risk or harm me. Driving without working brakes is acting (driving) in a way that endangers me and others. Not vaccinating puts no one at risk. You actually put the innocent at risk by forcing vaccines on them since no medical treatment is without risks. We've always had infectious illnesses (source of the risk), so there's no way my not vaccinating creates those risks.

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  10. Robert Schecter, pertussis has always been a disease that occurs during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Natural immunity acquired as a result of having pertussis only lasts on average 10 years. Therefore in the time before vaccination, a person could be expected to acquire pertussis multiple times in their lifetime but that's only if they managed to survive the first two years of life which is the period that pertussis is most deadly. The vaccine can hardly be blamed for recent pertussis cases let alone be called poorly performing.

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  11. Lulu, I don't see a citation for your claim. He's the citation for mine:

    http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000647

    Our results support a period of natural immunity that is, on average, long-lasting (at least 30 years) but inherently variable

    You'll note 30 years > 10 years

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