Omnicracy and Governance

THE OMNICRAT – In an omnicratic sociopolitical system the power of governance is vested in common governance forums where the authority for decision making is (1) decentralized and (2) shared by everyone of the community who wants to be a member of the respective forum. From the local level to the international level.

An omnicracy is, thus, a form of government with its top-level decision making processes dispersed throughout the system rather than concentrated in one person, one place or one legislative body.

Municipal: Of a Citizen of a Free Town

The common governance forum on the municipal level, or the municipal council, is the root of the whole system of governance. The reason for that can be found in the word municipal itself.

As also the Canadian parliament website confirms, the word municipal, from the Latin municipalis, means ‘of a citizen of a free town’.

The power to govern is therefore vested in the free individual. A citizen who is a sovereign over his/her own existence. It’s the most fundamental component of an omnicracy.

The free citizen can therefore never be subordinate to other common governance forums such as city councils, provincial councils, national governments, international councils and forums, including the treaties signed by such common governance forums.

Creating a Stepping Stone to Omnicracy

THE OMNICRAT – People are afraid of change, even when they ask for it, or when they buy into a political campaign that promises it, every single election. That’s the paradox that omnicrats around the world have to deal with.

No one should fear omnicracy because it’s not a new system that can be implemented overnight. Considering that people are afraid of change, a stepping stone (or a series of stepping stones) to omnicracy must be formulated.

That’s one of the mission objectives of The Omnicrat platform. To bring various interpretations of omnicracy together around the same table (or together in online forums). As it is for any other sociopolitical system, different people have different expectations for omnicracy. That’s not a negative reality, it’s a positive one. Only by analyzing the various omnicratic expectations and perspectives can and will we come to a broadly acceptable form of omnicracy. Both for small, local communities and the international community.

So, the stepping stone that we are now defining as omnicrats will eventually be a sociopolitical system that leans towards omnicracy but that can not yet be considered an actual omnicracy.

What will that stepping stone look like?

First of all, also omnicrats will have to beef up their actions that involve the creation of more awareness for the public. Not just awareness about omnicracy itself but also about the flawed ‘democratic’ systems that have shown their true nature during this forced and disproportionate global lockdown.

The first stepping stone should preferably include the rethinking of so-called ‘democratic’ events that affect people in ways that an omnicratic system clearly and rightfully deems oppressive.

Again we can take the EU as an example.

In 2005 the people of the Netherlands voted against the ratification of the “European constitution”. More than 60% of the votes were against the ratification.

In France, more than 50% of the votes rejected the ratification.

In Belgium, the heart of the so-called democratic EU, the people weren’t even allowed to cast a vote. The public was deliberately ignored by the Belgian government because the government knew that the public would vote against ratifying the European constitution.

Instead of providing the public with a platform to discuss the EU, the ‘democratic’ European governments chose to backstab the public by inventing a new “treaty”, the Lisbon Treaty, that was brought into effect without the consent of the public. Not one meaningful referendum or forum was organized for this. No one in the public had any chance to reject or accept the Lisbon Treaty. And that’s what the EU calls ‘democracy’.

Clearly ‘democracy’ is a phantom that populations are led to believe in.

This is the true nature of ‘democracy’. It’s oppression but you’re not supposed to call it that because that would make you a politically incorrect individual.

As long as people do not realize and reject this reality, they will simply be kept hostage by their own governments. The lockdowns today literally prove that.

Apparently, the first stepping stone to omnicracy is already going to be a controversial one and that’s what it should be because people’s lives are at stake. Your freedom, your rights and your self-determination are at the center of all of this.

75 Years After the End of World War 2 the Omnicratic Movement Emerges Again

THE OMNICRAT – Most people refuse to learn lessons from past events. They ignore history completely. Today’s situation attests to that. Lockdowns are already standardized around the world and we’re not even two months into it.

Last year I would have never thought that I would actually have to stand up against a global dictatorship that longs for the 1940s zeitgeist that existed under Mussolini and Hitler.

My worst nightmare has now materialized in just a matter of weeks. Entire countries have been shut down and people’s rights and liberties have been canceled by ‘democratic’ governments that base their actions on flawed data and fear-mongering news reports. All hell is about to break loose while most people cheer as their constitution is reduced to a relic of the past.

75 years ago the second world war officially ended. Up to 80 million people lost their lives during the war. Either because of the violence or because of starvation, since the supply chains collapsed entirely. They said “never again” but we are on our way to repeat it all over again.

This is not an exaggeration. Dictatorial regimes in the west, i.e. the U.S. and the E.U., are at war with dictatorial regimes on the other side of the planet, including China, Iran and Russia.

Shortly before ‘the virus’ came along, the U.S. was already engaged in an open war with Iran and China. Russia’s military involvement only made things worse.

Today, governments are preparing citizens to go to war. ‘The virus’ is merely a pretext in this process. ‘Democratic’ governments are beefing up their military forces and their war chests are once again stuffed with credit-based funds that no one will ever be able to pay back. Future generations their lives have already been sold to the highest bidder and the public is reduced to a renewable resource for war.

As technocratic and fascist insanity is breaking all historical records, an 80-year-old movement is rising once again. It recognizes the patterns of the past and it knows the dangers that lie ahead.

This time Omnicrats will not be silenced by the Catholic Church, as it happened under Mussolini. This time, omnicracy will not be a local uprising in Perugia, Italy that dictatorships can just exterminate by trashing all laws.

This time it’s going to be a worldwide revolution, the Omnicratic Revolution of 2020. It will define the social fabric for the next 80 years of the 21st century.

This time it’s not about communism, socialism and capitalism that need to be kept at bay. It’s about celebrating the failed pretext that all these forms of government use in order to enslave the people: ‘democracy’.

Since the end of the second world war ‘democracy’ has been used as a carrot on a stick. Governments and military complexes said that they were just spreading ‘democracy’ when they invaded Libya, Syria and Iraq. We know that that were lies. Even the mainstream media has already documented this. Gaddafi wasn’t a threat to the planet, Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction and in Syria Assad isn’t the destabilizing factor for the Middle East.

The same governments that lied to us about these wars in foreign lands are now ‘asking’ the public to trust them as they deal with ‘the virus’.

Is anyone surprised or shocked that we do not believe a single word that these governments say today?

A declaration of war was issued by oppressive regimes around the world, in many cases against their own citizens, but as the past has taught us, violence is not what wins wars. Information wins wars. Education wins wars. Being aware of the true nature of society is what ends wars.

This time it’s an epic information war that will consume every soul on this planet. It’s a war that we will win because that’s what history has been teaching us all along – for those who have been paying attention.

Let the world know that the Revolution started here, on April the 3rd of the year 2020.

Transitioning Towards Omnicracy

If There’s No Clear Data There Can Be No Clear Laws and Rules

THE OMNICRAT – Omnicracy is not about everyone owning an equal share of everything. That is socialism, which eventually leads to the government owning everything, which leads to communism like in China, for instance.

The principle of omnicracy is that national governments (if they would still exist at all in their current form) can’t force regions and communities to adopt and follow national laws. That is why omnicracy will provide a greater variety of communities, cities, regions etc.

These regions or communities work together to the extent that they want. This enables them to deal with common problems while staying autonomous, and even sovereign, communities.

Unless a government has consulted everyone and has incorporated the different points of view/demands, it can not implement laws or rules. This is crucial in many ways.

For instance, Belgium is part of the EU – it’s the very heart of it – but not everyone in Belgium wants that to be so. Today, all Belgians are forced to be part of the EU, there’s no real mechanism that enables local communities to distance themselves from or leave the corrupt EU construction. That must change.

When it comes to transitioning towards an omnicracy, local councils – common governance forums – must be organized where people of a community decide what the community values and expectations are. This will be different for many communities. That is how it should be. Diversity largely takes away outside forces/interests their ability to consolidate power.

Perhaps Capitini’s approach was the best. It started with local councils and ‘leaders’ having to explain what resources are available in a community and how these resources are used or preserved.

From thereon, people come forward with their own grievances and solutions.

With true omnicracy you can’t have the same situation that we have now whereby a majority rules over everyone.

With omnicracy, in situations like we have today, with the lockdowns, you can’t have a central government dictating any measures it invents based on flawed data and deceptions. If there’s no clear data there can be no clear laws and rules. That’s very simple.

So, it’s up to the local communities to decide how much of the laws that they will adopt. Laws ‘suggested’ by a common governance forum/agora. Not laws ‘imposed’ by a central government.

Today, central governments impose their will based on fake science and fake data. That by itself proves the illusion that democracy is.

The Coronavirus Exposes the Illusion that ‘Democracy’ is

THE OMNICRAT – In almost every country around the world where ‘lockdowns’ have been put in place in response to the coronavirus outbreak, they speak of ‘democracy’. They speak of the public being in control of their government and lands. Yet, in every case the lockdowns were implemented in an undemocratic way.

Governments saw a chance to solidify their power so they didn’t bother for a second to consult the people about which measures could be implemented to cope with the outbreak. All the while all these governments had ample time to do so, since the outbreak started in October-November of 2019.

By doing so, all these governments have exposed the true nature of ‘democracy’. They have provided all the evidence that we need to know that democracy is an illusion. People power through democracy is an illusion. Self-determination through democracy is an illusion.

All these people their basic and natural rights have been violated, as their constitution was hijacked by those in control of the centralized governments.

There is literally nothing democratic about how these governments are handling the situation. They have proven once and for all that ‘democracy’ is nothing more than oppression.

Whether it concerns socialist governments, communist governments, liberal governments, democratic governments or republican governments, each and every single one of them have exposed the truth by their own actions.

Omnicracy

It’s not a coincidence that The Omnicrat was launched in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Omnicrat is a response to these governments their actions and their disrespect for the laws of the lands that they were supposed to protect.

In an omnicratic society we would have been better prepared, better organized and more efficient with our responses. The future will attest to that because from now on omnicracy is going to spread like wildfire. People’s minds have been sparked and many are ready now for the change that has been promised too many times in the past.

James Robb, Virologist: “What I Am Doing for the Upcoming COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic”

Editor’s Note: Mr Robb recently wrote the following letter to his friends, of which one or more posted Mr Robb’s letter online.


James Robb, MD UC San Diego – Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.

The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.

Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this.

2019-nCoV: There’s No Consistent Pattern to Link 5G to Coronavirus Outbreak

INTELCASTER – Rumor has it that the rollout of 5G is to blame for the coronavirus outbreak. The theory is that the virus was created to kill off the population globally and to make sure the plan works ‘5G’ was deployed (allegedly, the radiation “boosts” the virus).

However, so far the reported data does not support that theory.

With GSMA’s 5G Coverage Map & Statistics you can follow the rollout of 5G around the world. Currently their map looks like this (map below), with a full 5G rollout in China, South Korea and Australia. Italy has had several test launches in 2019. While there’s seemingly no 5G in Iran.

The 5G map with coronavirus cases combined:

  • There’s no 5G in France, although it is reported that 191 “confirmed” 2019-nCoV infections exist in the country.
  • There’s no 5G in Iran, although there are 1,501 reported infections.
  • There’s no 5G in Japan, while the country has, reportedly, 274 2019-nCoV cases.
  • Italy is merely in its testing phase with 5G, yet reports 2,036 (or less) coronavirus cases.
  • As of today, Australia reported a total of 31 lab-confirmed infections, while the country had already “fully launched” 5G before the outbreak.

The Next Society (The Economist, November 3, 2001)

Editor’s Note: This Economist article is republished on the Next Society website for educational purposes.


The Economist – THE new economy may or may not materialise, but there is no doubt that the next society will be with us shortly. In the developed world, and probably in the emerging countries as well, this new society will be a good deal more important than the new economy (if any). It will be quite different from the society of the late 20th century, and also different from what most people expect. Much of it will be unprecedented. And most of it is already here, or is rapidly emerging.

In the developed countries, the dominant factor in the next society will be something to which most people are only just beginning to pay attention: the rapid growth in the older population and the rapid shrinking of the younger generation. Politicians everywhere still promise to save the existing pensions system, but they—and their constituents—know perfectly well that in another 25 years people will have to keep working until their mid-70s, health permitting.

What has not yet sunk in is that a growing number of older people—say those over 50—will not keep on working as traditional full-time nine-to-five employees, but will participate in the labour force in many new and different ways: as temporaries, as part-timers, as consultants, on special assignments and so on. What used to be personnel and are now known as human-resources departments still assume that those who work for an organisation are full-time employees. Employment laws and regulations are based on the same assumption. Within 20 or 25 years, however, perhaps as many as half the people who work for an organisation will not be employed by it, certainly not on a full-time basis. This will be especially true for older people. New ways of working with people at arm’s length will increasingly become the central managerial issue of employing organisations, and not just of businesses.

The shrinking of the younger population will cause an even greater upheaval, if only because nothing like this has happened since the dying centuries of the Roman empire. In every single developed country, but also in China and Brazil, the birth rate is now well below the replacement rate of 2.2 live births per woman of reproductive age. Politically, this means that immigration will become an important—and highly divisive—issue in all rich countries. It will cut across all traditional political alignments. Economically, the decline in the young population will change markets in fundamental ways. Growth in family formation has been the driving force of all domestic markets in the developed world, but the rate of family formation is certain to fall steadily unless bolstered by large-scale immigration of younger people. The homogeneous mass market that emerged in all rich countries after the second world war has been youth-determined from the start. It will now become middle-age-determined, or perhaps more likely it will split into two: a middle-age-determined mass market and a much smaller youth-determined one. And because the supply of young people will shrink, creating new employment patterns to attract and hold the growing number of older people (especially older educated people) will become increasingly important.

Knowledge is all

The next society will be a knowledge society. Knowledge will be its key resource, and knowledge workers will be the dominant group in its workforce. Its three main characteristics will be:

•Borderlessness, because knowledge travels even more effortlessly than money.

•Upward mobility, available to everyone through easily acquired formal education.

•The potential for failure as well as success. Anyone can acquire the “means of production”, ie, the knowledge required for the job, but not everyone can win.

Together, those three characteristics will make the knowledge society a highly competitive one, for organisations and individuals alike. Information technology, although only one of many new features of the next society, is already having one hugely important effect: it is allowing knowledge to spread near-instantly, and making it accessible to everyone. Given the ease and speed at which information travels, every institution in the knowledge society—not only businesses, but also schools, universities, hospitals and increasingly government agencies too—has to be globally competitive, even though most organisations will continue to be local in their activities and in their markets. This is because the Internet will keep customers everywhere informed on what is available anywhere in the world, and at what price.

Knowledge technologists are likely to become the dominant social—and perhaps also political—force over the next decades

This new knowledge economy will rely heavily on knowledge workers. At present, this term is widely used to describe people with considerable theoretical knowledge and learning: doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, chemical engineers. But the most striking growth will be in “knowledge technologists”: computer technicians, software designers, analysts in clinical labs, manufacturing technologists, paralegals. These people are as much manual workers as they are knowledge workers; in fact, they usually spend far more time working with their hands than with their brains. But their manual work is based on a substantial amount of theoretical knowledge which can be acquired only through formal education, not through an apprenticeship. They are not, as a rule, much better paid than traditional skilled workers, but they see themselves as “professionals”. Just as unskilled manual workers in manufacturing were the dominant social and political force in the 20th century, knowledge technologists are likely to become the dominant social—and perhaps also political—force over the next decades.

The new protectionism

Structurally, too, the next society is already diverging from the society almost all of us still live in. The 20th century saw the rapid decline of the sector that had dominated society for 10,000 years: agriculture. In volume terms, farm production now is at least four or five times what it was before the first world war. But in 1913 farm products accounted for 70% of world trade, whereas now their share is at most 17%. In the early years of the 20th century, agriculture in most developed countries was the largest single contributor to GDP; now in rich countries its contribution has dwindled to the point of becoming marginal. And the farm population is down to a tiny proportion of the total.

Manufacturing has travelled a long way down the same road. Since the second world war, manufacturing output in the developed world has probably tripled in volume, but inflation-adjusted manufacturing prices have fallen steadily, whereas the cost of prime knowledge products—health care and education—has tripled, again adjusted for inflation. The relative purchasing power of manufactured goods against knowledge products is now only one-fifth or one-sixth of what it was 50 years ago. Manufacturing employment in America has fallen from 35% of the workforce in the 1950s to less than half that now, without causing much social disruption. But it may be too much to hope for an equally easy transition in countries such as Japan or Germany, where blue-collar manufacturing workers still make up 25-30% of the labour force.

The decline of manufacturing will trigger an explosion of manufacturing protectionism

The decline of farming as a producer of wealth and of livelihoods has allowed farm protectionism to spread to a degree that would have been unthinkable before the second world war. In the same way, the decline of manufacturing will trigger an explosion of manufacturing protectionism—even as lip service continues to be paid to free trade. This protectionism may not necessarily take the form of traditional tariffs, but of subsidies, quotas and regulations of all kinds. Even more likely, regional blocks will emerge that trade freely internally but are highly protectionist externally. The European Union, NAFTA and Mercosur already point in that direction.

The future of the corporation

Statistically, multinational companies play much the same part in the world economy as they did in 1913. But they have become very different animals. Multinationals in 1913 were domestic firms with subsidiaries abroad, each of them self-contained, in charge of a politically defined territory, and highly autonomous. Multinationals now tend to be organised globally along product or service lines. But like the multinationals of 1913, they are held together and controlled by ownership. By contrast, the multinationals of 2025 are likely to be held together and controlled by strategy. There will still be ownership, of course. But alliances, joint ventures, minority stakes, know-how agreements and contracts will increasingly be the building blocks of a confederation. This kind of organisation will need a new kind of top management.

In most countries, and even in a good many large and complex companies, top management is still seen as an extension of operating management. Tomorrow’s top management, however, is likely to be a distinct and separate organ: it will stand for the company. One of the most important jobs ahead for the top management of the big company of tomorrow, and especially of the multinational, will be to balance the conflicting demands on business being made by the need for both short-term and long-term results, and by the corporation’s various constituencies: customers, shareholders (especially institutional investors and pension funds), knowledge employees and communities.

Against that background, this survey will seek to answer two questions: what can and should managements do now to be ready for the next society? And what other big changes may lie ahead of which we are as yet unaware?

CNN, 1996: The Lethal Dangers of the Billion-Dollar Vaccine Business with Government Approval

Editor’s Note: This CNN Money Magazine article is republished on the Next Society website for educational purposes.


Andrea Rock, CNN 1996/12/1 – (MONEY Magazine) – When Miriam Silvermintz of Fair Lawn, N.J. took her seven-month-old son Nathan to the pediatrician for his third series of vaccinations on Feb. 18, 1991, she was thrilled to hear the doctor say her baby was growing beautifully. Just five hours later, as Nathan lay in his crib, he shrieked in pain. Terrified, Miriam ran in and cradled her baby in her arms. Nathan collapsed, his eyes rolling back in his head, as he suffered a severe seizure. “We called 911, and they worked on him for 45 minutes,” says Miriam, “but I knew when I held him in my arms that he was dying.”

What killed Nathan? “When I first called the pediatrician after the ambulance arrived, he said Nathan probably was just having a reaction to his DPT shot,” Miriam recalls. “But when Nathan died, the doctor did an about-face and said it had nothing to do with the vaccine.” Nathan’s death was officially attributed to a congenital heart defect. But Miriam, now 36, and her husband Steven, 37 (pictured on page 151), couldn’t shake the feeling that Nathan’s death was somehow linked to the shot.

They began to search for details on DPT, which prevents diphtheria, pertussis (familiarly known as whooping cough) and tetanus. The search led them to the National Vaccine Information Center of Vienna, Va., a 14-year-old nonprofit educational and support group for parents whose children have been harmed by vaccines. There, the Silvermintzes learned that a DPT shot can indeed cause death–as well as adverse reactions ranging from fever and irritability to the permanent brain damage suffered by Joshua Reed, now 13 (pictured opposite), of Great Bend, Pa. They also discovered that some batches of the vaccine cause more problems than others. In fact, because of lax federal recall regulations, Nathan appears to be the first of nine children who died shortly after getting a shot from the same DPT lot.

Finally, the Silvermintzes were confronted by the most painful discovery of all. “We learned,” says Miriam, “that there were safer ways to manufacture DPT that weren’t being used in this country.”

In 1994, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims awarded damages to the Silvermintzes under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. “It was bad enough suspecting that Nathan’s death was caused by a vaccine,” says Miriam, “but still I had believed it was one of those one-in-a-million things. When I learned that his death was followed within three weeks by another in New Jersey and then another in Illinois and another in Pennsylvania and five more after that while this batch of vaccine stayed on the market for an entire year, it broke my heart. I feel betrayed by the drug companies who make vaccines and by the doctors and government agencies I’d always trusted to protect us.”

Vaccines are indispensable. They save lives, cutting the number of U.S. pertussis deaths to about five last year, for example, from 1,118 in 1950 before state governments made the vaccination mandatory for school admission. No one is suggesting that your kids skip their shots. However, shouldn’t your children receive the safest vaccines that can be made? And shouldn’t your doctors always alert you to the danger signs–before and after immunization–that you should watch for to prevent tragedy? Neither is the case now. A MONEY investigation of the booming vaccine industry (estimated revenues of more than $1 billion a year in the U.S. alone, up from $500 million in 1990) and of its federal regulatory agencies reveals severe violations of public trust. In probing the politics and economics of the two vaccines that have been used longer than any others in this country, DPT and polio, MONEY found that health officials publicly downplay the lethal risks. In addition, medical experts with financial ties to vaccine manufacturers heavily influence government decisions that have endangered the health of immunized kids while enhancing the bottom line of drug companies.

Among MONEY’s disturbing findings, we learned that DPT shots cause brain damage at the rate of one case for every 62,000 fully immunized kids. The shots also kill at least two to four people a year, according to a federally funded Institute of Medicine study, and perhaps as many as 900 a year–including a great number misclassified as victims of sudden infant death syndrome–according to the independent National Vaccine Information Center. What’s worse, these tragedies can be virtually eliminated by a vaccine that would cost $19.43 a dose, just $9 more than the current product. Who wouldn’t pay $9 to protect their child even from a one-in-62,000 risk of severe illness, let alone death?

Sound like a simple solution? Don’t count on it. Although they are now making some small moves, the government and the drug industry have an appalling record of facing up to vaccine problems. For example, MONEY has learned that:

–For decades, American pharmaceutical companies have known how to produce the safer DPT vaccine but decided not to bring it to market because it would increase production costs and lower the drug’s 50% or higher profit margins.

–The only cause of polio in the U.S. for the past 17 years has been the oral version of the vaccine itself, and though the Food and Drug Administration has finally recommended a reduction of the oral product’s use, there are no plans to take it off the market. The twice-as-costly vaccine administered by injection does not cause polio.

–The oral polio vaccine and the injected variety are commonly made using monkey tissues, which contain viruses that can be harmful to humans. A safer injected vaccine, using human tissue, is available in Canada but not in the U.S., even though it is made by the same company that produces all U.S. injected polio vaccine.

–Federal regulators have stymied many efforts to investigate the impact of those monkey viruses but are now paying attention to particularly disturbing research by a Chicago molecular pathologist linking one to human cancer. This is the same monkey virus that a new Italian study suggests is being passed on sexually by people throughout the world, and from mothers to babies in the womb.

HOW A SAFER DPT SHOT HAS BEEN DELAYED

Manufacturers put profits ahead of vaccine safety–with impunity. A 1986 law promoted by the drug industry dramatically limits vaccine manufacturers’ legal liability in cases where their products cause injury or death. The law was enacted to help prevent vaccine manufacturers from being driven out of business by rising liability costs. That was a worthy goal. But in practice the reform effectively removed one of the drug industry’s most compelling incentives to ensure that its products are as safe as possible. Rather than filing lawsuits against drug companies or against physicians, victims or their families now must first file claims under a federal vaccine injury compensation program. Also, the damages awarded are not paid by drug companies; they are paid by you–in the form of a user tax tacked onto the price of each vaccination. The tax totals $33 for a child fully immunized–five vaccinations for DPT, four for polio and two for measles, mumps and rubella–in accordance with federal requirements.

To date, the users taxes have been spent to compensate more than 1,000 people, including the Silvermintzes, at a cost to taxpayers of half a billion dollars. Meanwhile, manufacturers’ profits have risen as the average cost to fully immunize a child at a private physician’s office has climbed 243% since 1986, from $107 to $367. The most prominent beneficiaries have been the two producers who dominate the U.S. market for DPT and polio vaccines, Connaught Laboratories ($300 million in U.S. sales last year) and Wyeth-Lederle Vaccines & Pediatrics ($350 million). U.S. revenues for both companies have increased 300% since 1986, estimates David Molowa, international pharmaceutical analyst at the Wall Street investment firm Bear Stearns.

While the drug companies’ revenues have soared, people have needlessly suffered. For example, though most kids develop only minor reactions such as fever and irritability following a DPT vaccination, about one in 310,000 injections results in permanent brain damage, according to a 1993 British study that followed children over a 10-year period. Since damage can occur with any one of the full series of five DPT shots, the odds of suffering brain damage for a child receiving all five doses of vaccine works out to one in 62,000. Additionally, based on a 1979 study conducted jointly by the FDA and UCLA researchers, the National Vaccine Information Center calculates that DPT deaths could exceed 900 per year. And while a 1979 study may seem outdated, consider that in the U.S. the pertussis portion of the vaccine, the component that causes the damage, is little changed from the original crude formula introduced in the 1920s.

At the same time, the safer vaccine costing $9 more a dose has been used in Japan since 1981. Patented there by scientist Yuji Sato, it has wiped out 83% of minor reactions such as fever and swelling and virtually eliminated seizures, brain damage and death. The reason: The Japanese use an acellular vaccine, extracting only the portion of the pertussis bug that will trigger the body’s immune response to protect against the disease. They remove or neutralize poisons that are byproducts of the bacteria, including endotoxin, a substance scientists say can cause serious afflictions, such as Joshua Reed’s brain damage. By contrast, until recently, the two licensed U.S. DPT manufacturers, Wyeth-Lederle and Connaught Laboratories, used only the whole bacteria, toxins and all, yielding a whole-cell vaccine that former FDA researcher Charles Manclark has described as being “crude and impure.” What’s more, tests completed in Italy and Sweden in 1995 indicated that the purified acellular vaccine was not only safer than the whole-cell vaccine but was up to twice as effective in preventing pertussis.

Ironically, Sato was merely applying technology developed–but then abandoned–by American manufacturers. By 1972, six U.S. pharmaceutical companies had worked up some purified form of the pertussis vaccine that was safer than whole cell. One of the companies, Eli Lilly, marketed its vaccine, Trisolgen, for 15 years before getting out of the vaccine business in 1976 and selling the rights to Wyeth. Internal Lilly documents reveal that reported adverse reactions to Trisolgen were only a fifth of those to their whole-cell product and that “severe reactions virtually do not occur.” Nevertheless, Wyeth and other manufacturers initially rejected this process. According to a 1977 Wyeth document, its scientists analyzed the Lilly formula and found that the purification process would yield 80% less of the component that fights pertussis than the whole-cell formula, which would result in “a very large increase in the cost of manufacture.”

Wyeth-Lederle told MONEY that clinical studies did not show that Wyeth’s version of Trisolgen was safer than the whole-cell vaccine. Accordingly, Wyeth-Lederle says, Wyeth began looking into developing an acellular vaccine.

THEY STILL DON’T GET IT

“Sure, you can produce a much less toxic product in very low yields, and anyone who has worked on pertussis knows this,” Dennis Stainer, an assistant director of production and development at Connaught Medical Research Laboratories in Canada, told a 1982 symposium sponsored by U.S. Government health officials. “What we are really faced with, I think now, is going from a vaccine that costs literally cents to produce to one that I believe is going to cost dollars to produce.”

Connaught began research into an acellular vaccine in 1979 and in 1996 obtained an FDA license to sell it. “To criticize as slow, scientists who achieved the first U.S. license for infant use of Tripedia, an acellular pertussis vaccine, is like criticizing a gold-medal hurdler for not having started the race or cleared the hurdles as early as you think she should have,” Christine Grant, Connaught’s vice president for public policy, told MONEY.

Since July, Connaught’s infant DPT vaccine with a Japanese acellular pertussis component has been on the market. Nevertheless, whole cell continues to be used in about 90% of all U.S. vaccinations. “The FDA needs to pull the license on whole-cell vaccine, as Japan did, and get it off the market,” says Mark Geier, a physician and geneticist who worked for nine years at the National Institutes of Health researching toxins and other vaccine contaminants. But the medical community continues to defend the old vaccine. For example, Neal Halsey, chairman of the committee that makes vaccine recommendations at the American Academy of Pediatrics, says, “While acellular does cause lower rates of minor [problems], it doesn’t mean whole cell is all bad or shouldn’t be used.”

Halsey’s view is shared by many doctors. Says Geier: “The fact that a lot of pediatricians think whole-cell pertussis vaccine doesn’t cause brain damage shows what a lot of money can do. Drug companies have paid a lot of money to people like James Cherry to put forth that image.”

Cherry, a physician and professor of pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles, is a widely recognized pertussis expert who has been a leader on advisory committees that help frame immunization policy for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control. Back in 1979, at a symposium, he said, “All physicians are aware that pertussis vaccine occasionally produces severe reactions and that these may be associated with permanent sequellae [complications caused by the vaccine] or even death.” But by 1990, Cherry had changed his mind, proclaiming in the Journal of the American Medical Association that severe brain damage caused by pertussis vaccine was nothing but “a myth.” From 1980 through 1988, Cherry got about $400,000 in unrestricted grants that he termed “gifts” from Lederle. From 1988 through 1993, he was given $146,000 by Lederle for pertussis research, and from 1986 through 1992, UCLA received $654,418 from Lederle for pertussis research. Additionally, drug manufacturers paid Cherry and UCLA $34,058 for his testimony as an expert witness in 15 DPT lawsuits brought against the companies.

The National Vaccine Information Center, among other consumer groups, protested that because of possible conflicts of interest Cherry should not be allowed on vaccine policy committees at the Centers for Disease Control. When asked whether his acceptance of funding and payments from Lederle created a conflict of interest, Cherry told MONEY, “I got nothing out of it. If having a feeling for children is the charge, then I’m guilty. None of this was done for the companies.”

The CDC no longer permits members of its vaccine advisory committee to vote on issues involving any company with whom they have a financial relationship. But they can participate in discussions–which allows them to continue influencing policy. Minutes of a June 1995 CDC advisory committee meeting, at which members voted to delay recommending use of a safer polio vaccine, show that five of the nine members present had financial ties to vaccine manufacturers.

THE HIDDEN RISKS OF POLIO VACCINE

In October 1988, Lenita Schafer (pictured on page 153) brought her three-month-old daughter Melissa for her first oral polio vaccination. A month later, while fixing Thanksgiving dinner at her New England home, Lenita began feeling severe back pain. Within 48 hours she was unable to move her legs; 13 weeks after that, she was told she would be in a wheelchair the rest of her life. Lenita had contracted polio by changing her daughter’s diaper.

Lenita had not been given the federally required warning that the oral vaccine contains live polio virus that can cause polio in some babies or in the people who come in contact with live virus shed in the babies’ stool and body fluids. But even if Lenita had been given the current two-page CDC information sheet on the risks and benefits of polio vaccine, she would not have had a true picture of the danger she faced.

The CDC sheet that doctors are required by law to give to parents still states that so-called contact polio is a risk only for people who never have been vaccinated against the disease. Yet Lenita, now 44, was immunized as a child. The CDC knows better. Minutes from a June 1995 meeting of the CDC’s advisory committee on immunizations show the organization realizes that people who were vaccinated are susceptible to contact polio: “The previous belief…has not been borne out by experience.” Says Walter Kyle, a Hingham, Mass. attorney who has represented Lenita and other contact polio victims: “The CDC’s job is to give people the truth.”

Furthermore, going beyond the fact that the CDC info sheet is outdated and inaccurate, Lenita would not have contracted polio if her baby had simply received an injection of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) rather than an oral dose of live-virus vaccine (OPV). The injection protects against the disease but can’t cause it because the polio virus has been “killed”–inactivated with chemicals so that it is not infectious.

In addition, federal health policy contributed to Lenita’s paralysis. Although the injection was an available option, the doctor was following government policy when he automatically gave Lenita’s daughter the oral vaccine. For 30 years until this September, one of the reasons that CDC officials recommended oral vaccine was precisely because the live virus shed in a recently vaccinated baby’s body fluids could immunize more people through contact than it threatened, albeit without their knowledge or consent.

Federal health officials were aware that, each year, about 10 children or their caregivers might actually get polio from the oral vaccine. But the feds considered these human sacrifices acceptable for the greater public health goal of preventing polio outbreaks. The policy may well have made sense at the height of the polio epidemic in the 1950s, but since 1979 the only cases of polio in the U.S. have been caused by the oral vaccine itself–a total of 119 casualties from 1980 to 1994 alone in the name of federal public health policy. What’s more, in 1994 the World Health Organization declared in a public statement that so-called wild polio (transmitted by any means not related to the vaccine) had been eradicated in the entire Western Hemisphere. “In a polio-free nation, in a polio-free hemisphere, we cannot have eight to 10 individuals paralyzed every year when there are alternatives,” says Samuel Katz, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Duke University.

So why is the oral vaccine still in use in 98% of the 20 million annual polio vaccinations in the U.S.? John Salamone of Oakton, Va., whose son David, now 6, has polio as the result of an oral immunization, says, “The answer is that it all comes down to money. A physician put it in perspective for me when he said I had to understand I was fighting a $200 million industry.”

A $230 million industry, to be exact, embodied in one company, Wyeth-Lederle, the sole supplier of oral polio vaccine in the U.S. A year ago, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that the government advise pediatricians to use injected vaccine for the first two polio vaccinations and oral for the final two. The new program, according to CDC reasoning, would reduce vaccine-associated polio to one to five cases a year while still passively immunizing a portion of the U.S. population until wild polio is eradicated in the Third World–a goal health officials expect to reach in the next five years.

The committee’s recommendation signaled a victory for Connaught, the sole marketer of injected polio vaccine in the U.S. But the CDC did not formally act on the committee’s recommendation until two months ago, in part because Wyeth-Lederle launched an intensive lobbying effort to hold on to its own $230 million oral polio vaccine business.

Ronald Saldarini, president of Wyeth-Lederle Vaccines & Pediatrics, told MONEY that his objection to the policy change had nothing to do with loss of market share but was based on several factors, including “compliance, systemic immunity, and lack of data and experience with the recommended schedule,” as well as the public health risks of using a vaccine that does not passively immunize people. “Wild polio is just a plane ride away,” he said.

Wyeth-Lederle’s lobbying paid off. CDC director David Satcher announced in September that the agency would recommend two doses of injected vaccine followed by two doses of oral. But he also said that the alternatives of giving four doses of oral or four of injected would be acceptable. “Unless patients specifically request injected vaccine,” says John Salamone, “doctors are inclined to do the easy thing, which is continuing to give the familiar oral polio vaccine.” Cost may also be a factor in what is offered, especially at public health clinics. The federal government currently buys oral vaccine for $2.32 a dose, compared with $5.40 for injected.

A DEADLY NEW WORRY

There is another polio vaccine risk–“a ticking time bomb,” according to Harvard Medical School professor Ronald Desrosier–that public health officials are reluctant to discuss frankly. What is it? The polio virus that is used in both Wyeth-Lederle’s oral vaccine and Connaught’s injected version is grown on monkeys’ kidney tissue. “The danger in using monkey tissue to produce human vaccines,” says Desrosier, “is that some viruses produced by monkeys may be transferred to humans in the vaccine, with very bad health consequences.” Desrosier acknowledges that you can test monkeys before using their tissue and screen out those carrying harmful viruses. But he warns that you can test only for those viruses you know about–and that our knowledge is limited to perhaps “2% of existing monkey viruses.”

The danger is not hypothetical. In 1959, Ben Sweet, a 35-year-old scientist at Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, discovered that a previously undetected monkey virus called SV-40 had contaminated oral polio vaccines given to Americans for the prior five years. When testing revealed that SV-40 was a cancer-causing agent, producing tumors in hamsters, the FDA and manufacturers agreed that rhesus monkeys would no longer be used in vaccine production. Instead, the manufacturers would use African green monkeys, in whom the virus was easier to detect and screen out. But federal health officials knew the potential problem was enormous because, by then, as many as 30 million Americans had received both injectable and oral polio vaccines contaminated with SV-40. “Seeing that viruses could jump species really opened our eyes,” says Sweet. “Merck stopped all polio vaccine development cold.”

Even though SV-40 was being screened out, scientists such as John Martin, a professor of pathology at the University of Southern California, warned that other monkey viruses could be dangerous. But government officials rebuffed Martin’s attempt to research those risks back in 1978 and again in 1995 when he was denied federal funding and vaccine samples he needed to investigate the effects of simian cytomegalovirus (SCMV), an organism that his studies indicate causes neurological disorders in the human brain. The virus has been found in monkeys used for polio vaccine production. Similarly, Cecil H. Fox was also rebuffed when, as a senior scientist at the National Institutes of Health in 1988, he asked to examine archived lots of polio vaccine to learn whether they contained simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which has been screened out of polio vaccines since 1987 because of potential human impact. “The resistance of those in authority to face the issue of prior vaccine contamination is particularly unfortunate,” says Martin, “because research establishing a viral cause for neurological disorders or cancers can lead to effective antiviral treatments.”

Beginning in 1992, scientific evidence supporting fears about prior contamination began to mount. Studies suggested that SV-40 was a catalyst for many types of cancer, not only in people who had received polio vaccine containing the virus but in their children as well.

In a series of papers published from 1992 through 1996, Michele Carbone, a molecular pathologist at Chicago’s Loyola University Medical Center, examined the same types of tumors in humans that were known to develop in hamsters exposed to SV-40. He discovered SV-40 genes and proteins in 60% of patients with mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of lung cancer, and in 38% of those with bone cancer. His most recent research, presented at a medical conference in July, connects SV-40 and these cancers even more clearly by describing the mechanism through which SV-40 turns a cell cancerous. Carbone’s research shows that SV-40 switches off a protein that protects cells from becoming malignant. Not everyone who is infected with SV-40 gets cancer for the same reason that not every smoker gets lung cancer: A variety of assaults on the immune system usually combine to trigger malignancy. But SV-40 could be a factor that predisposes some people to develop tumors of the brain, bone, and tissue that surrounds the lung.

Now, in what could be a crucial piece of the puzzle, a study by Italian researchers published in October in the U.S. medical journal Cancer Research suggests that the reason all three cancers are on the rise is that the SV-40, originally introduced to humans through polio vaccine, is now being spread sexually and from mother to child in the womb. The study found SV-40 present in the blood and semen of 25% of healthy study subjects. According to one of the study’s authors, biology and genetics professor Mauro Tognon of Italy’s University of Ferrara’s School of Medicine, this would explain why SV-40 was detected from 1992 on in the brain tumors of children who were born after 1965 and therefore presumably did not receive vaccine containing SV-40. Tognon also points to SV-40 as one possible reason for the 30% increase in U.S. brain tumors over the past 20 years.

Howard Strickler, senior clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, told MONEY that the federal government is taking recent reports about SV-40 very seriously. “They are plausible, but it’s not a done deal,” Strickler said.

The accumulating body of evidence from research around the world has heightened the fears many scientists have expressed for years about the dangers of using monkey tissue in vaccine production, particularly when there are safer alternatives available. “There’s no question that our polio vaccines should be made exclusively with killed viruses grown on human diploid tissue,” says Howard Urnovitz, a microbiologist in Berkeley.

Connaught uses human diploid cells to produce Poliovax, the inactivated polio vaccine it manufactures and markets in Canada. The company is licensed to sell Poliovax in the U.S. but now markets Ipol here, a vaccine grown on monkey tissue. “Ipol is the more widely used vaccine, and it was a company decision [to continue selling it here] based on what best meets the needs of the U.S. market,” Connaught’s Christine Grant told MONEY.

The FDA is equally dismissive of the potential dangers. Peter Patriarca, deputy director of the division of viral products at the FDA, says he sees no need to stop producing polio vaccines with monkey tissue.

Government thinking is best summed up by Neal Halsey, who is a member of advisory committees on immunization practices at both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Halsey cautioned MONEY against “raising a hypothetical concern that could jeopardize vaccine supply. If it were a real concern, the FDA wouldn’t allow the production of vaccine on monkey tissue.” That viewpoint, of course, overlooks the fact that the FDA allowed the production of polio vaccine that contained SV-40, SIV and SCMV, with human health consequences that are just beginning to be understood.

MOVES THAT MUST BE MADE RIGHT NOW

Evaluating the safety record of vaccines such as DPT and polio is especially important in light of the vaccine industry’s explosive growth. According to Frost & Sullivan, a technology market research firm in Mountain View, Calif., current worldwide revenues of nearly $3 billion are expected to more than double to $7 billion over the next five years as scores of new vaccines come to market. The industry is no longer focused primarily on life-threatening diseases, or on children but wants to introduce adult vaccines like those in the research pipeline to fight herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases.

What can be done in our interest? Much of the necessary change involves reforms in public health policy. In a joint effort with doctors and scientists, the government should:

–Ban dangerous products. To immediately improve the safety of existing vaccines, we must use only acellular DPT vaccines and inactivated polio vaccines. And we must discontinue use of monkey tissue in the production of all vaccines. Cost should not be a factor. “To avoid even a small risk of brain damage or death, what mother wouldn’t pay even $50 more for a safer vaccine,” says Victor Harding, a Milwaukee attorney who has represented parents of children harmed by vaccines.

–Expand research. “We want to see scientific proof that you know precisely what is happening in the human body when you give vaccines to our babies,” says Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center. She and other experts recommend that the NIH take half of the $415 million spent on promoting immunization and new vaccine research and allocate it to studies investigating the cause-and-effect relationship between existing vaccines and immune and neurological disorders suspected to result from their use. An Institute of Medicine committee appointed to evaluate vaccine safety in 1994 noted that its analysis had been hampered by lack of such studies. Out of 59 health problems suspected to be associated with a variety of vaccines, the committee found that no scientific studies had been conducted on 40 of them (see the table on page 157 for a list of the key risks). To aid such evaluations, experts want the FDA and manufacturers to provide samples of current and archived vaccines to independent researchers.

–Stop hiding facts. When federal health officials and pediatricians refrain from warning the public about risks out of fear that parents will stop immunizing their children, they insult parents’ intelligence and endanger the public’s health. Parents deserve the facts so they can make informed choices. Geneticist and former NIH researcher Mark Geier says that when he speaks out publicly about vaccine risks or testifies on behalf of vaccine-damaged children, he is frequently criticized by other physicians. Says Geier: “They agree privately that what I say is accurate but warn that if I’m not careful, I’ll scare people away from taking vaccines. That’s certainly not my goal–my own kids are vaccinated. But if you operate on the premise that you can’t tell the public about problems with vaccines because you’ll scare them away, then unfortunately, the problems don’t get fixed.”

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