Respectful Insolence

Dear Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted:

You are both journalists. I realize that neither of you at present work for the traditional press and that both of you seem to devote yourselves mainly to blogging (Mr. Olmsted at the Age of Autism and Mr. Kirby at the Huffington Post), but I have to believe that you both still consider yourselves to be at heart journalists. That is why I am writing this to you and posting it publicly on my blog. If you’ve ever read any of my posts on this issue, you probably realize that I strongly disagree with your positions and that at times I have been quite harsh in my judgment of articles you have both written. I am, however, hoping that for this one issue, upon which (I hope) we can all agree that you will for the moment put that aside and consider what I have to say. I am appealing for your condemnation of what has been done to autism blogger Kathleen Seidel.

You may have heard about Kathleen Seidel’s situation, in which she has been subpoenaed based on her blogging. I realize that you and Kathleen strongly disagree over whether thimerosal-containing vaccines or vaccines in general themselves are responsible for the “autism epidemic.” Indeed, you may be aware that Kathleen has spent considerable time and done truly prodigious work in investigating the claims and activities of people who champion the claim that vaccines cause autism and found out some rather disconcerting information, for example about the father-and-son team of Dr. Mark Geier and David Geier, specifically about their Lupron protocol. Even so, I hope that you will put yourself in her place for a moment, because, at the moment, you are both very much like she is in that you are primarily bloggers these days. Imagine how you would react if what happened to Kathleen happened to you.

What happened to Kathleen, of course, is that a lawyer representing vaccine injury plaintiffs Rev. Lisa Sykes and Seth Sykes against Bayer and other companies, namely Clifford Shoemaker, subpoenaed Kathleen, her financial records, records related to her blog, and her e-mails with other bloggers. His rationale appears to be a paranoid belief that somehow Kathleen is a shill for big pharma or the government. She clearly isn’t (indeed the very suggestion is ludicrous), and never mind that, even if she were, she is not a party to the case. In considering how you would react if this were you being subpoenaed by, say, a vaccine manufacturer or the CDC, you should know that Kathleen is not a party to the lawsuit. You should further know that there is no specialized knowledge that she possesses that is needed for the plaintiffs to pursue their case, and she is not accused of doing anything illegal or defamatory. Finally, you should look at the text of the subpoena and consider just how broad it is. Finally, you should look at the post by Kathleen that appears to have provoked this subpoena, a post entitled The Commerce in Causation, which looked at how Shoemaker makes his money representing “vaccine-injured” clients.

The subpoena was issued within hours after that post.

Let lay it out for you just what the stakes are. Ask yourself: What would your reaction be if, hours after you published a post or article critical of, say, Julie Gerberding, the CDC’s lawyers issued a subpoena demanding “all documents pertaining to the the setup, financing, research, and maintaining” your blogs; bank statements, canceled checks, online or offline donation documents, and tax returns; all documents (e-mails, notes, memos, letters, etc.) pertaining to communications related to your blogs; all such documents related to your communications with autism activist groups (Kathleen’s subpoena demands any communication she may have had with the government or pharmaceutical companies); all such documents related to your communications with religious groups (“Muslim or otherwise”); and all e-mails with basically any blogger in her blogroll? No doubt you would see such a subpoena as a nakedly blatant fishing expedition and attempt to intimidate you–and rightly so, because that’s what it obviously is in Kathleen’s case. Indeed, the reaction in the overall blogosphere and the legal blogosophere to Shoemaker’s abuse of the subpoena privilege has been uniformly negative. For example, Eric Turkewitz, who writes the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, wrote:

Just to be clear here, this post isn’t about whether the underlying lawsuit is a good one or not. The suit apparently deals with whether mercury additives to vaccines caused the plaintiff’s autism. I haven’t read it. This is about going after the citizen-journalist for having the audacity to speak freely on a subject.

[…]

She has argued First Amendment protection and journalistic protection among other factors. I urge you to read the link above for her self-drafted motion to quash.

But there is one thing she didn’t do, and I suggest it here. She didn’t explicitly ask for sanctions. But that should not stop a judge from imposing them, even if the growing chorus of blogospheric condemnation makes Shoemaker rethink his strategy (and his Google reputation) and withdraw the outrageous subpoena.

Given that this subpoena is clearly an obvious attempt to silence Kathleen or, at the very least, punish her for her criticisms of Clifford Shoemaker and his activities, I am appealing to both of you to use your influence and position in the autism biomedical movement to protest this shameless action by Mr. Shoemaker. I am urging you to speak out against legal intimidation and thuggery and for the First Amendment right of the media, including bloggers, of freedom of speech. Your speaking out against Mr. Shoemaker’s despicable actions would carry even more force, because it is well known that you both strongly disagree with Kathleen’s position regarding whether vaccines cause autism. If both of you, who so strongly disagree with Kathleen’s conclusions, were to speak out, it would shame Shoemaker and his clients, the Sykes, beyond any condemnation that I or the rest of the blogosphere can provide. It would also demonstrate to those of us who disagree with you that, whatever our other disagreements, you do support the First Amendment for fellow citizen-journalists, regardless of their point of view on autism causation.

Walter Olsen of Overlawyered put it particularly well:

Should the subpoena somehow be upheld and its onerous demands enforced, it could signal chilly legal times ahead for bloggers who expose lawyers and their litigation to critical scrutiny.

Think about it this way. If a lawyer representing a plaintiff suing vaccine companies can get away with this, just imagine what abuses lawyer with the resources of a big pharmaceutical company or the government could perpetrate to silence blogospheric critics. Imagine what mischief they could cause by demanding the correspondence, e-mails, financial records, and contacts with religious groups from their critics. That would be you, Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted.

Just think about it.

Sincerely,

Orac

ADDENDUM: Steve Novella also weighs in, and, as she has been doing, Liz Ditz keeps a running tally of blogospheric reaction and the amount of time since I posted my open letter that there has been no public reaction from Olmsted or Kirby. I will say that Kirby has responded to my e-mail and seems distressed at what Shoemaker has done. I can’t say any more than that other than that I hope he will express his distress publicly.

Comments

  1. #1 John Best
    April 6, 2008

    Blogging reaction has not been all negative. I supported Mr Shoemaker 100%.
    When Kathleen discusses the autistic children who have improved thanks to Dr Geier, then you can make a case for her rabid character assassination. Painting Dr Geier as a bad guy just doesn’t fly when she omits that important fact.
    It would also help her case if she could find some patients of Dr Geier who agree with her. Relentlessly bashing Dr Geier may have the effect of persuading parents to miss a chance to cure their autistic children. I call that child abuse and that is an abuse of the first amendment.

  2. #2 TheProbe
    April 6, 2008

    Just what the doctor ordered.

  3. #3 PhysioProf
    April 6, 2008

    Unless the judge is a total nutjob, this subpoena will be quashed.

  4. #4 Kathleen Seidel
    April 6, 2008

    Wow. Thank you again.

  5. #5 ANB
    April 6, 2008

    A more accurate headline would be “Will David Kirby bite the hand that feeds him?”

  6. #6 kristina
    April 6, 2008

    Certainly _that_ site has gone out of its way to defame the characters of more than a few persons.

  7. #7 Joseph
    April 6, 2008

    One difference is that Kathleen’s posts are entirely supported by publicly available information, AFAIK. Kirby is more vague, often doesn’t cite sources, and on occasion does publish hearsay from privileged sources. It’s conceivable that some of the things he reports on would be material to a vaccine litigation case and could not otherwise be discovered. That said, he would be within his rights to cite journalistic privilege and I would support him in that.

  8. #8 Kev
    April 6, 2008

    Bravo. I’ve linked to this post and I encourage others to do so. This is an issue that transcends ‘party lines’ and goes to the heart of what it means to live in a democracy.

  9. #9 daedalus2u
    April 6, 2008

    If I were on the legal team for Glaxo-SmithKline, Wyeth, Inc. and Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation, I would be preparing virtually identical subpoenas for David Kirby, Dan Olmsted, JB Handley, John Best, and all the “journalists” and bloggers associated with the Mercury Militia to be served the precise moment that the Judge rules the subpoena can go forward (even though that is a very unlikely circumstance).

    The members of the Mercury Militia could only imagine Kathleen Seidel writing for money because that is what they are doing. It is pure projection. Demonstrating that the media campaign has been bought and paid for by those pushing the litigation might go a long way to taking away some of their mass appeal. It would likely keep many children from getting vaccine preventable diseases and may well save many lives.

  10. #10 isles
    April 6, 2008

    Daedalus gets to the heart of the matter. The Sykeses and Cliff Shoemaker, and others of their ilk, can’t imagine that Kathleen might actually be motivated by compassion and desire to protect others because those are foreign concepts to them.

    Kirby and Olmsted should have been the first to denounce Shoemaker. If they don’t step up now, we’ll know they’re not only deluded but weasels as well.

  11. #11 Dr Aust
    April 6, 2008

    Hear hear

    One of the notable things about Kathleen Seidel’s Neurodiversity.com site is it’s LACK of editorialising. For instance, it is consciously neutral about unproven complementary therapies, listing a bunch of them and linking to articles about them. If the impression it gives about things like (say) secretin therapy is negative, that is because it is linking to the actual scientific reports of double-blind trials of secretin, which are universally negative.

    Unlike many bloggers, and I include myself and many of the BadScience fraternity here, Seidel is not a ranter or even a polemicist. The power of her expose of people like the Geiers, or things like the scandal and tragedy of “Lupron therapy”, lies precisely in the way that she simply lays out the facts and lets the obvious financial investment in quack autism therapies, quack causation theories, and continuing lawsuits speak for itself.

    Personally I am amazed at her restraint.

    I will be looking forward to hearing what Kirby and Olmsted have to say. Perhaps we will see whether they are truly journalists at heart rather than what, polemically speaking, it would be very tempting to characterize as “Anti-vax Conspiracy Shills”

  12. #12 Joseph
    April 6, 2008

    Oh, since daedalus2u brought it up, another difference is that Kathleen has disclosed what the income related to neurodiversity.com is. She didn’t have an obigation to do that, but I guess it was a good idea to lay it all out in the motion to quash.

    As a parent, Kathleen writes passionately about matters related to autism because she’s connected to autism. As she notes, she gets some cash from Amazon.com and has gotten some donations from autistic adults and parents.

    Kirby and Olmstead, on the other hand, are not parents are are not autistic themselves, and AFAIK don’t have a regular day job. I doubt writing about autism is their hobby and I doubt their income consists of Paypal donations from parents. No conspiracy theory is necessary to figure out that they are being paid. I could only speculate by whom. Some might say SafeMinds or Generation Rescue. Others might say it’s a party with vaccine litigation interests (who knows, maybe Kirby and/or Olmstead are unable to comment on Kathleen’s subpoena).

    Kirby and Olmsted don’t have an obligation to disclose who is paying them, but again, Kathleen has and they haven’t.

  13. #13 daedalus2u
    April 6, 2008

    Kirby and Olmsted don’t have an obligation to disclose who is paying them, but again, Kathleen has and they haven’t.

    That is correct. However if Kirby and Olmsted refuse to deny that they are being paid by a party with vaccine litigation interests, we are free to assume that they being paid by those interests. They don’t have to tell us who is paying them, but if they deny it, they need to be truthful.

    The next time Kirby and Olmsted are on TV, the next time that Larry King interviews either of them, that would be a very simple question to ask. A question a great many people would be very interested in knowing the answer to. I presume people in the Mercury Militia would like to know the answer to that question too. Is Kirby really one of them, or is he just a hired shill?

  14. #14 CanadianChick
    April 6, 2008

    Ah, but the difference, John Best, is that you are a raving looney.

  15. #15 Hey Zeus is my Homeboy
    April 6, 2008

    I wince at the notion that these two carrion feeders think themselves journalistic equals to Kathleen Seidel or intellectual equals to Orac.

    I hope this worthy blog post focuses their attention on how to start acting responsibly rather than stroking their unjustifiably inflated egos.

  16. #16 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  17. #17 The Christian Cynic
    April 6, 2008

    To John Best (in case you don’t approve my comment on your own blog):

    Your argument about child abuse doesn’t make any sense: for one, you talk about parents of autistic children coming on and being discouraged by what Kathleen says, but – how do I put this? – have you ever been on the Internet? Used a search engine? That’s not a problem with what Kathleen has said – she has a right to say what she wants, just as you (unfortunately) do as well – but with people not being able to think critically when researching a topic. You can’t police the Internet for false information, and you certainly shouldn’t be able to use the legal system to intimidate someone like Kathleen has. I wouldn’t even wish this sort of thing on you, even though I’d definitely like to see you shut up. The fact that you’re parading this around as a good thing says a lot about you; I almost have to wonder if you’d throw a party if an autistic blogger was killed in a car accident. But then again, I think your character has been evident for quite some time now.

  18. #18 gerald spezio
    April 6, 2008

    Dottore Orac, elitist lawyers and their lucrative monopoly have been having their way with the human raw material for more than two centuries in Supernation.
    Supernation’s lawyers having learned their priestly scam from the church courts in England.

    The overwhelming majority now accepts the adversary system without reservation even though it traces directly to the medieval practice of hiring a knight to joust for your version of the trut (i.e. God’s favor).

    Hence giving legal priest Shoemaker with his mandatory fancy shoes & suits such phenomenal power over our proletarian lives.

    No matter how powerful, plentiful, & obvious the stench and failures demonstrated by the routine practice of law; the bewildered public has no other choice because it’s the ONLY law game in town.

    The O J Simpson trial being a most inescapably vivid example.
    Ditto for almost anybody’s divorce proceedings filled with lucrative but meaningless motions.

    Dragging Kathleen Seidel by the hair into the elitist show is part and parcel of the well-dressed extortion racket.
    The producing public is the ONLY source of manna for the practicing lawyer priests.

  19. #19 Club 166
    April 6, 2008

    I think you’ve hit on the crux of the matter here, Orac. It may not be Olmstead and Kirby’s fault, though. They may be contractually forbidden from saying anything negative against Schoemaker.

    And even if they aren’t, they probably think of themselves more as publicists these days, rather than journalists. Even they couldn’t really think of themselves as journalists, could they? That would be like Kevorkian thinking of himself as a physician.

    Joe

  20. #20 Azkyroth
    April 6, 2008

    Blogging reaction has not been all negative. I supported Mr Shoemaker 100%.
    When Kathleen discusses the autistic children who have improved thanks to Dr Geier, then you can make a case for her rabid character assassination. Painting Dr Geier as a bad guy just doesn’t fly when she omits that important fact.
    It would also help her case if she could find some patients of Dr Geier who agree with her. Relentlessly bashing Dr Geier may have the effect of persuading parents to miss a chance to cure their autistic children. I call that child abuse and that is an abuse of the first amendment.

    Mr. Worst, are you really so morally bankrupt that you see no problem with gross abuse of the legal system solely to attempt to intimidate into silence a person exercising her right of free speech, simply because you don’t agree with her?

  21. #21 John Best
    April 6, 2008

    Askyroth,
    I don’t agree with people who think RAP is music. Them I can ignore.
    Autism is a nightmare and I take issue with people who lie about it. When children suffer from her free speech, she should lose that right.

  22. #22 Club 166
    April 6, 2008

    I think you’ve hit on the crux of the matter here, Orac. It may not be Olmstead and Kirby’s fault, though. They may be contractually forbidden from saying anything negative against Schoemaker.

    And even if they aren’t, they probably think of themselves more as publicists these days, rather than journalists. Even they couldn’t really think of themselves as journalists, could they? That would be like Kevorkian thinking of himself as a physician.

    Joe

  23. #23 Kathleen Can Clear Her Own Name
    April 6, 2008

    Why wouldn’t you simply allow Kathleen to clear her own name? No harm, no foul. We know that there are many people who speak out for financial reasons (think Quackwatch and paid shills). It happens. So, it should be an easy fix… it’s not as if she’s going to jail or anything.

    Your outrage is pretty ironic considering the things that have not outraged you… you actually sound like a bit of a crybaby…

    After all the Olmsted/Kirby bashing, Orac, if I were them … I’d tell you to go f*ck yourself… Of course, I’m pretty sure they are much more polite than I am.

  24. #24 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  25. #25 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  26. #26 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  27. #27 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  28. #28 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  29. #29 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  30. #30 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  31. #31 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  32. #32 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  33. #33 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  34. #34 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  35. #35 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  36. #36 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  37. #37 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  38. #38 "I am Kathleen" v. 3
    April 6, 2008

    This issue impales DAN!O and Kirby on the horns of a dilemma doesn’t it? I wouldn’t doubt that they have had some juicy and perhaps profitable correspondence from certain lawyers involved in vaccine litigation. They wouldn’t want that to be exposed, and neither would any lawyer(s) who may have corresponded with these two (oh how the mighty have fallen) bloggers.

    ANB points out the Kirby won’t bite the hand that feeds him by condemning the action against Kathleen Seidel. I agree. I predict nothing but silence from the grandiose PR man for the mercury malicia and their lawyers.

    One more thing, if Kathleen gets someone to offer her free legal representation, maybe she and her husband can go after John Best Jr for defamation and threats he’s made against them. I would think that some good legal advice for John Best at this point would be to get off the Internet permanently and throw his computer’s guts in a bonfire.

    Maybe John can along with his colleagues DAN! OLMSTED and DAVID KIRBY can hire CLIFF SHOEMAKER and get some legal advice on this.

  39. #39 Elaine
    April 6, 2008

    Why does Kathleen have to “clear her own name” at all? She has absolutely nothing to do with this lawsuit at all. It’s clearly an attempt to intimidate her. All she has done is to report the results of her carefully documented research. She hasn’t made flase statements about anyone.

  40. #40 daedalus2u
    April 6, 2008

    Club166, a more appropriate analogy would be Dr. Mengele, what with Lupron experimentation on children.

  41. #41 gwangung
    April 6, 2008

    Why wouldn’t you simply allow Kathleen to clear her own name?

    You will, of course, compensate her for her time and effort involved in that?

    No, of course not. You’re just a troll; whether paid or unpaid, it doesn’t matter.

  42. #42 Joseph
    April 6, 2008

    For Kathleen to need to clear her name, there would have to be a serious and plausible accusation of some wrong doing. Illuminati conspiracy theories won’t do. Sue, I believe?

  43. #43 DLC
    April 6, 2008

    Okay, so let’s put the vaccine – autism bit aside for a moment and just look at the legal issue.
    Mr A is suing Mr B.
    Mr A throws a subpoena out at Ms C, who is not a party to
    the suit against Mr B.
    Mr A’s subpoena is so broad it more or less requires Ms C to bring a truckload of documents to deposition.
    Judge D would be a complete moron to not quash this subpoena.

  44. #44 Orac
    April 6, 2008

    After all the Olmsted/Kirby bashing, Orac, if I were them … I’d tell you to go f*ck yourself… Of course, I’m pretty sure they are much more polite than I am.

    Whatever I think of Kirby’s writings on the Hannah Poling case, mercury and autism etc., I wrote this because I’m pretty sure he would realize that his self-interest is threatened by lawyers allowing such frivolous subpoenas to be used to intimidate and silence bloggers.

  45. #45 Ms. Clark
    April 6, 2008

    I’d like to see the reaction of Lenny and his sycophants to an subpoena sent to Jenny McAirhead. It would ask for all of her medical records, and all of her son’s medical records and all her correspondence related to her income and her web presence including whatever contracts she may have had with the angel therapists and crystal sellers on her indigomoms.com website. It would ask about her religious affiliation(s) and her bank statements, investments, it would ask about her kissing that porn actress on the lips (because you never know how that might influence any particular court case being adjudicated anywhere in the world). It would ask for all her correspondence with the Tacky moms of TACANOW and JB Handley of Generation Desperation. I’m sure there’s some juicy stuff in there.

    I’m sure Lenny would find it all very amusing, really, because Lenny doesn’t like women and I’m pretty sure he’s personally mortified by Jenny’s entre into autism. But I bet David Kirby and JB Handley wouldn’t be amused. I bet they’d be out of their trees in anger that Jenny’s privacy had been invaded and that she was being intimidated for disgorging the contents of her empty head on autism and vaccines.

    Even if Kathleen’s Motion to Quash is acted upon, I sure hope some other lawyers try the very same thing on Kirby, Olmsted and Jenny Mac just to give them a taste of what Kathleen went through, since none of them seem to think it’s such a bad deal, well then they’d have no right to complain would they? No.

    And Lenny Schaefer, having been some kind of journalist in the past, would be more than happy to copy the contents of his all of his file cabinets and his hard-drives and hand them over to anyone for inspection as evidence in any totally tangential court case.

    He’s done nothing but mock what has happened to Kathleen so far, so we know he wouldn’t mind if it happened to him.

  46. #46 CanadianChick
    April 6, 2008

    John, I too take issue with people who lie about autism – that’s why I have such contempt for you. And, you’re a raving looney.

  47. #47 John Best
    April 6, 2008

    Canadian Chick,
    Thank you. As long as my son keeps improving with biomedical interventions, you and your child abusing cohorts can call me all the names you like. Are you sure you’re not just jealous that you didn’t have a good father to cure your brain damage?

  48. #48 Azkyroth
    April 6, 2008

    Askyroth,
    I don’t agree with people who think RAP is music. Them I can ignore.

    This may be the least idiotic and vile thing you’ve ever said. Agreeing with you on something is making me feel dirty, frankly. :(

    Autism is a nightmare and I take issue with people who lie about it. When children suffer from her free speech, she should lose that right.

    If we as a society were to adopt such a completely unprecedented position, that one’s free speech could be silenced simply because it might influence parents to make decisions that harm their children, you would be welded into your prison cell. I’m sorry you have so little respect and regard for the Constitution and for the principles that, however inconsistently it has applied them, this country was made great by even taking a stand for.

    By the way, if you’re so smart, why can’t you spell my screen name?

  49. #49 Viscount
    April 6, 2008

    The members of the Mercury Militia could only imagine Kathleen Seidel writing for money because that is what they are doing.

    However if Kirby and Olmsted refuse to deny that they are being paid by a party with vaccine litigation interests, we are free to assume that they being paid by those interests.

    No conspiracy theory is necessary to figure out that they are being paid. I could only speculate by whom.

    I just want to chime in here and say that accusing your opponents of being paid shills is one of the fastest and most groan-inducing ways of cheapening discourse – sure, you see it all the time from anti-vaxers and other alties who think that skeptics are in the pay of Big Pharma, but I’m pretty disturbed by how many otherwise reasonable people do the same thing.

    Being the bigger person here is its own reward, I think; turnabout may be fair play, but it certainly doesn’t make our side look any better.

  50. #50 clsr
    April 6, 2008

    I don’t think kirby or Olmsted have anything to do with this. the issue shouldn’t make it past the judge to begin with. The lawyer should be punished for even asking for such a thing , that is clearly unconstitutional.
    Waht really gets me about this is all the clear ignorance that abounds around here! wether somebody is paid or not shouldn’t have anything whatsoever to do with the truth. I’m glad kirby and olmsted can make a living doing what they are doing, therefore they can do it on a full time basis. My son is autistic because of the vaccines and we are in the process of recovering him with the very bio medical and GF/CF diets that many on here claim to be nothing more than quackery. They and Jenny are directly responsible for many children getting better…wether you like it or not, it’s pretty hard to deny the facts. hatred on here about us in the “mercury militia” is ignorance on a grand scale. can you imagine what the blogs would have been like in the 60’s when that no good MLK was stirring up his shit? that’s what this is like, hatred and denial. you people are truly pathetic.

  51. #51 Orac
    April 6, 2008

    My son is autistic because of the vaccines.

    No, he isn’t. He isn’t autistic “because of the vaccines.” The science is quite clear on this. Vaccines do not cause autism. There is no good scientific evidence to suggest that vaccines cause autism. That may sound harsh to you, but it’s true. I realize that you won’t believe me and will think me perhaps arrogant and dismissive of you for saying this, but that won’t make it any less true.

  52. #52 Viscount
    April 6, 2008

    cslr, the reason why the scientific community isn’t blaming vaccines for autism isn’t because of ignorance or hate – it’s because despite many attempts, a link between vaccines and autism has not been found to exist.

    Doctors and scientists generally rely on a different standard of proof from the general public – you might be convinced that your son is autistic because of vaccines for any number of reasons that seem totally reasonable. But what convinces the scientific community of that kind of link is studies on large numbers of children, so that any systematic difference between vaccinated and nonvaccinated kids can be observed. They’ve done those studies, and the conclusion was that there’s simply no link between vaccines and autism.

    You might pooh-pooh the scientific method and say that controlled studies are a poor substitute for experience, but those studies are the reason why we have scientific medicine in the first place, and why life expectancy has increased by about 40 years since the Enlightenment. As much as it may hurt to admit, “Mommy instinct” is simply a poor guide to reality.

  53. #53 Even Better
    April 7, 2008

    Vaccines don’t cause autism? Then what does? Give us a reason why we lost our perfectly healthy son to it after seven vaccinations in one day?

    Live it and then you can be critical of all of the people trying to remediate the damaged caused by those trying to make an even bigger buck and continue to do so.

    Shame on all of you too that are so highly judgemental and rude to people who think differently than you.

    Perhaps you should have yourselves evaluated for ASD. Have you had your vaccinations lately?

  54. #54 Viscount
    April 7, 2008

    Vaccines don’t cause autism? Then what does? Give us a reason why we lost our perfectly healthy son to it after seven vaccinations in one day?

    Overwhelmingly, genes. The heritability of autism is over 90% – that means if you have two identical twins and raise them apart, vaccinating one but not the other, if one ends up autistic the other almost certainly will as well.

    The reason why vaccines may appear to cause autism is that many childhood vaccines are given around the same time that the most visible symptoms of ASD emerge. They do happen around the same time, but that doesn’t mean that one causes the other.

  55. #55 Leni
    April 7, 2008

    Why does anything bad happen ever, Even Better?

    Sometimes there just aren’t simple answers. Bad things happen to people who don’t deserve them for no good reason every moment of every single day. That’s just an unfortunate fact of life.

    I wish you and your family all the best, but your anger and misdirected blame aren’t going to solve anything. I can empathize with it, but your reaction- to advocate against vaccines- may result in even worse things happening to other people’s children that what happened to your son.

  56. #56 Amy Alkon
    April 7, 2008

    Some nimrod above intimated that Quackwatch is motivated by “financial reasons.” Here, from the site:

    http://www.quackwatch.com/00AboutQuackwatch/mission.html

    The total cost of operating all of Quackwatch’s sites is approximately $7,000 per year. Quackwatch, Inc., has no salaried employees. It operates with minimal expense, funded mainly by small individual donations, commissions from sales on other sites to which we refer, and profits from the sale of publications. If its income falls below what is needed for the research, the rest comes out of Dr. Barrett’s pocket. Except for the sales commissions, neither Quackwatch nor Dr. Barrett have any financial tie to any commercial or industrial organization.

    Great post, Orac.

  57. #57 Azkyroth
    April 7, 2008

    Live it and then you can be critical

    Perhaps you should have yourselves evaluated for ASD.

    Make up your mind, would you?

  58. #58 Sharon
    April 7, 2008

    Even Better, why is it that people like you who show up on this blog to berate all the “judgemental and rude” people who don’t believe your story that vaccines case autism, assume that we don’t have any experience of autism ourselves? Many (perhaps most) of those who comment on Orac’s many posts about autism issues, have autistic children or are autistic ourselves, or both. Many of us find it rude that our children are being described as “toxic” and “poisoned”.

  59. #59 HCN
    April 7, 2008

    Even Better said “Vaccines don’t cause autism? Then what does? Give us a reason why we lost our perfectly healthy son to it after seven vaccinations in one day?”

    For the same reason my oldest kid has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, genetics.

    One day I had a perfectly healthy kid… then I took him in for a routine medical exam where a heart murmur was heard. Next day after an hour long echo-cardiogram we found out that the kid had a very very serious heart condition.

    It was not caused by the exam, nor by any vaccine: just genetics.

    And we were lucky to find out that way instead of the way the parents of a young lady did at a middle school track meet: she had sudden cardiac death. One minute a healthy 13 year old girl running track, the next minute she is dead.

    All caused by genetics. It is not just one gene, but several that are implicated, and they don’t all act the same way (400 mutations in 11 genes, from http://www.4hcm.org/WCMS/index.php?id=80,0,0,1,0,0 ). Some people have mild HCM, other have abnormal muscle growth that makes doctors add “with obstruction” to the diagnosis (my son has that, it means that the extra muscle is places in such a way that it could block the mitral valve and cause sudden death). In other words: it is complicated.

    Much more complicated than the heart, is the brain. There are lots of things that can go right, and then go wrong in the brain. In my extended family there are those who suffer from migraines. My son had seizures as an infant… and now as a 19 year old adult he has migraines (in addition to the HCM, oh and the speech disorder possibly from the seizures). Another genetic neuro disorder that does not manifest itself until a person is just past puberty is schizophrenia (which is more common than autism), and that has several genetic markers identified for that.

    Anyway, there is a new website that tries to organize the research of the genes identified with autism:
    http://geneticautism.org/

    I would suggest for anyone who has just had a child diagnosed with autism (or any disability) read the following books:
    No Time for Jello by Berneen Bratt
    Not Even Wrong by Paul Collins
    Unstrange Minds by Roy Richard Grinker

    There are probably others (I know I had a longer list at LeftBrain/RightBrain), but it is late and I have to get up in five hours.

    Good luck… and try to remember to give your child a hug or two (it gets harder when they are teenagers!)

  60. #60 John Best
    April 7, 2008

    Viscount, “But what convinces the scientific community of that kind of link is studies on large numbers of children, so that any systematic difference between vaccinated and nonvaccinated kids can be observed. They’ve done those studies, and the conclusion was that there’s simply no link between vaccines and autism.”

    You must have checked the wrong studies. They were probably too small and of too short duration.

    I did a much larger study. I looked at mankind from the dawn of creation and found no autism until 1931. That coincided with thimerosal being used in vaccines. The autism kept increasing as more thimerosal was added to vaccines. When thimerosal was given to newborns on the day of birth, the autism increased dramatically.

    When Amy Holmes tried removing mercury from kids’ brains in 2000, for the first time ever, symptoms of autism were seen to improve. Then Andy Cutler began curing more and more kids of this plaque that had always been considered incurable.

    During this time, we found some groups of people who did not use vaccines and had no autism. Case closed. Thimerosal caused the autism epidemic and the bastards who are covering it up will all be going to jail soon.

  61. #61 Broken Link
    April 7, 2008

    Very nice article on the topic of Kirby, autism and vaccines here.

    http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/huff/wb/157283

  62. #62 TheProbe
    April 7, 2008

    daedalus2u sayeth: “The members of the Mercury Militia could only imagine Kathleen Seidel writing for money because that is what they are doing.”

    Since neither Kirby or Olmsted seem to have any ongoing means of support, I wonder who is paying them for their propaganda? While I agree that they do not have a legal obligation to divulge, they surely do have an ethical one.

    As for John not-the Best….Let’s face it, John is seriously mentally ill and shoul dbe pitied almost as much as the child he treats as an animal test subject.

  63. #63 TheProbe
    April 7, 2008

    daedalus2u sayeth: “The members of the Mercury Militia could only imagine Kathleen Seidel writing for money because that is what they are doing.”

    Since neither Kirby or Olmsted seem to have any ongoing means of support, I wonder who is paying them for their propaganda? While I agree that they do not have a legal obligation to divulge, they surely do have an ethical one.

    As for John not-the Best….Let’s face it, John is seriously mentally ill and shoul dbe pitied almost as much as the child he treats as an animal test subject.

  64. #64 alyric
    April 7, 2008

    Isles said:

    “The Sykeses and Cliff Shoemaker, and others of their ilk, can’t imagine that Kathleen might actually be motivated by compassion and desire to protect others because those are foreign concepts to them.”

    My beef with the Rev Sykes is pretty much what she’s doing singlehandedly for Christianity – nothing good in my opinion.

    OTOH, please leave John Best alone. He is the face of Generation Rescue after all and a fine job he’s doing so lay off the gratuitous insults. Seriously folks, there is no better description of the validity of these folks than our JBjr.

  65. #65 alyric
    April 7, 2008

    Isles said:

    “The Sykeses and Cliff Shoemaker, and others of their ilk, can’t imagine that Kathleen might actually be motivated by compassion and desire to protect others because those are foreign concepts to them.”

    My beef with the Rev Sykes is pretty much what she’s doing singlehandedly for Christianity – nothing good in my opinion.

    OTOH, please leave John Best alone. He is the face of Generation Rescue after all and a fine job he’s doing so lay off the gratuitous insults. Seriously folks, there is no better description of the validity of these folks than our JBjr.

  66. #66 Ranson
    April 7, 2008

    I did a much larger study. I looked at mankind from the dawn of creation and found no autism until 1931

    That would be funny if I read it anywhere else, about anything else, because it is too insane to be considered.

    I’ve spent ten minutes trying to figure out a good way to tear apart that statement, but every word demands so much mocking that I just can’t focus.

    Never mind. I don’t know why I’m bothering. The crazy, it burns.

  67. #67 Dr Aust
    April 7, 2008

    Second that, Ranson.

    I definitely think the “dawn of creation” argument from JBjr deserves to be added to his all-time greatest “hits”…

  68. #68 LJ
    April 7, 2008

    Let me guess…all 6000 years since the “dawn of creation”?

  69. #69 Ranson
    April 7, 2008

    I just keep picturing two Cro-Magnons saying,”Oog is three and he doesn’t seem to be interacting like the other kids. Could it be autism?”

    “What’s autism? Is that like being gored by a boar?”

  70. #70 Laser Potato
    April 7, 2008

    John Beast,
    I’m curious as to how you looked at all of mankind since the “dawn of creation” and found no autism at all. Do you have a time machine or something? Did you go over all the records of every ancient civilization? Were you following herds of mammoth with our nomadic ancestors and doing tests for mercury along the way? Did you chelate the Aztecs and the Vikings? Can you conclusively prove that no man, woman, or child in ancient Egypt or in the Meso-American civilizations had Aspberger’s?

  71. #71 Laser Potato
    April 7, 2008

    The ancient Greeks used mercury in ointments and the ancient Egyptians and Romans used it in cosmetics. In China, India, and Tibet, mercury use was thought to prolong life, heal fractures, and maintain generally good health. If mercury was REALLY what caused autism, why wasn’t every single person in those civilizations autistic?!

  72. #72 Ranson
    April 7, 2008

    Besides, we all know the real date for the epidemic is 1919, when people started using merbromin came into use.

    I mean, it’s a larger dose than thimerosal, and it was dabbed directly onto open wounds! Sometimes, this happened repeatedly over the course of years, or even DECADES! The horror!

  73. #73 Joseph
    April 7, 2008

    Vaccines don’t cause autism? Then what does?

    Hmm, you’re right, I don’t know what causes autism. It must be the vaccines then. Silly me. I don’t know why I’ve been debating the issue all these years now. Orac, you’ve got some really sharp commenters here today.

  74. #74 Ranson
    April 7, 2008

    Gah, please excuse that first sentence. I mangled it.

  75. #75 Lab Cat
    April 7, 2008

    Ranson

    No it was funny. I laughed and scared the cat. It was the only way to react. It is going to amuse me all day.

    Sigh, and I thought doing literature searches back to 1900 was thorough.

  76. #76 Joseph
    April 7, 2008

    I’m curious as to how you looked at all of mankind since the “dawn of creation” and found no autism at all.

    He did a whole-population screening with the ASSQ instrument of course.

  77. #77 Luna_the_cat
    April 7, 2008

    For that matter, hasn’t anyone heard of “pink disease”? Come on, it wasn’t even that long ago!

    “Pink disease” was a frequently fatal disorder developed by teething infants, as a direct result of overexposure to mercury — the reason for this being that mercury was used in several very popular commercial preparations of teething powders. (Not to mention several common nursery disinfectants.) From early Victorian times right up to the 1960s, when mercury-based infant and nursery products were largely removed from the shelves, infants in the US and UK both were exposed to somewhere between 20x and 130x the amount of mercury they are currently exposed to.

    Just wondering….shouldn’t they have had an absolute plague of autism, which eased off after the 60s, if there were a link to mercury toxicity/excretion?

  78. #78 Kingmob
    April 7, 2008

    I disagree with John Bests conclusion but you cant argue with his methods. I too have studied mankind since the dawn of creation and have also gone over every description of every person made in the past 200,000 years in case there were people who had similar symptoms which may have been misdiagnosed. This took a while. I also came to the conclusion that autism started in 1931 but I have found the link to be due to the electric razor. They first appeared in 1931 and the rates of autism have increased as they became more popular. I have also found a group of people who wet shave and they don’t have children with autism. A coincidence? I think not.

  79. #79 Joseph
    April 7, 2008

    When Amy Holmes tried removing mercury from kids’ brains in 2000, for the first time ever, symptoms of autism were seen to improve.

    Including Dr. Amy’s own son, right John? Anyone interested in finding out where Amy Holmes ended up after all these years should read this.

  80. #80 daedalus2u
    April 7, 2008

    LtC, you are off by at least an order of magnitude. Many millions of doses of teething powder were sold (per year) which contained a grain of calomel per dose. That is 65 mg HgCl, or about 55,000 micrograms of mercury. That is per dose. Children experienced multiple instances of teething, children were given multiple doses. Children easily received 1,000 times more mercury in teething powders than children ever received from vaccines.

    Over 1,000 children died from pink disease which we now know was mercury poisoning.

    Many millions of children were exposed to thousands of times more mercury via teething powders than any child has ever been exposed to by vaccines.

    When mercury was removed from teething powders, pink disease disappeared. Only to resurface when there is mercury exposure.

  81. #81 Vitis01
    April 7, 2008

    Kingmob-

    No! It’s the decline in pirates!

  82. #82 Vitis01
    April 7, 2008

    Kingmob-

    No! It’s the decline in pirates!

  83. #83 The Integral
    April 7, 2008

    I’m definitely linking to this open letter. The more it gets spread, the more pressure can be exerted.

    is this Diggable? I’ve heard that’s a very good way to get it out there on the internet……

    Orac: would you be able or willing/have time to speak these words into a camcorder or something and put it on youtube, or let someone else do it? I don’t know how……..I’m kind of computer illiterate…I just learned how to link to things in a blog entry today………

    The Integral of athenivanidx

  84. #84 Landru
    April 7, 2008

    No, no, no, the evidence is crystal clear. Teddy bears cause autism. Get with the science, would you, people?

  85. #85 vlad
    April 7, 2008

    “In China, India, and Tibet, mercury use was thought to prolong life, heal fractures, and maintain generally good health.” Actually it’s not a matter of used to. They still do use and sell solid mercury as a charm to heal you. http://www.thereligiousproducts.com/parad-products.html.

    So here’s a challenge for Best. Look up these people and see what their Autism rates are. Now if they are elevated as opposed to ours then fine you may actually have and argument. However if there is no increase in Autism of this group then your really going to look foolish.

  86. #86 John Best
    April 7, 2008

    Daedalus,
    It’s my opinion that a lot more than 1,000 babies died from having the mercury injected into them. The medical profession calls it SIDS.

    You may have heard that digestion will eliminate most mercury before it can reach the brain when the mercury is eaten rather than injected. I think you know that using teething powder as your argument is just another disingenuous red herring.

    Joseph,
    If your story about Holme’s child came from anyplace besides Autism Diva’s blog, I might find it worth considering.

  87. #87 Ms. Clark
    April 7, 2008

    Mercury and lead are used in Chinese and Indian “herbal” medicines. Occasionally someone will show up in the US or Canada with lead or mercury poisoning because they’ve been using these “traditional” herbal preparations. It’s big problem in India because the manufacturers can put in whatever amount of lead or mercury they want to, no one is regulating it, and it’s sold over the counter, of course.

    The red paste ink that the Chinese use for their seals (carved signature stamps) is red because of the mercury in it.

    They use this stuff all the time.

    Mercury phobia is just stupid. You shouldn’t take in poisonous levels of the stuff, but it’s also stupid to be fearful of the levels of mercury in vaccines, even for tiny babies.

    It NEVER needed to be removed. I hate it when people say, oh, look isn’t it at least good that they removed it.

    No it’s not good that they removed it because it contributed to this stupid hysteria, and thimerosal is still used in many countries in vaccines. To say that WE are too precious to be exposed to the stuff (which is benign in vaccine doses) but that the riff-raff out there, well if they are injected with it, no big deal…

    is dumb, if not cruel, in my opinion, because it will tend to shake the faith in vaccines of people in other countries where they need them and they only have the thimerosal preserved kind.

    If I had a preemie baby today I would gladly let it be vaccinated with a thimerosal containing vaccine, the thimerosal in the vaccine is no more “deadly toxic” than the water in the vaccine, and no more likely to cause autism than the water in the vaccine.

    When I see a real toxicologist freaking out about the level of mercury in vaccines, then I’ll pay attention. So far it’s lawyers and (other) freaks who are freaking out about it and trying to terrify people about it.

  88. #88 William the Coroner
    April 7, 2008

    Mr. Best

    SIDS is not a synonym for mercury poisoning. Before a death can be certified as SIDS there has to be a complete autopsy, including toxicology, a scene investigation. Testing for mercury is part of the compete toxicologic examination, and if it is present would exclude the diagnosis of SIDS.

    You, sir are incorrect.

  89. #89 Joseph
    April 7, 2008

    If your story about Holme’s child came from anyplace besides Autism Diva’s blog, I might find it worth considering.

    If you had bothered to check sources you would know that the story actually comes from The Advocate. Mike sounds like a brilliant autistic kid, FWIW.

    If it weren’t for Amy Holmes’ history of involving herself with autism quacks, I suspect your Dr. Amy would by now be one of those parents you might refer to as “neurodiverse.”

  90. #90 sailor
    April 7, 2008

    “The cause of autism is genetics”.
    It is worth remembering that evolution involves transciption errors in the DNA code. If there were none there would only be whatever the first form of life was. Most of these are harmful, and luckily the rate is not terribly high. But there are 6.6 billion people, so we have a whole range of diseases due to genetic mistakes – occasionally something crops up that is useful too. In a way such errors are the price we pay for being human. They are no ones fault.
    Sean Carrol’s book: The making of the fittest, has some great stuff about this if anyone is interested.

  91. #91 daedalus2u
    April 7, 2008

    Very strange type of “mercury poisoning” that kills children only when they sleep on their stomach.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9506652

    Burbacher showed pretty conclusively that methyl mercury is absorbed better from the gut than by being injected. In other words oral methyl mercury (the kind in fish) produces higher blood levels and higher brain levels than does injected methyl mercury.

    http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/7712/7712.html

  92. #92 John Best
    April 7, 2008

    Miss Clark,
    Weren’t you going to take a bath in thimerosal? Why don’t you fill up a hot tub with it and invite Kathleen to join you? Tell her to bring Dave too, and Amanda.

  93. #93 Joseph
    April 7, 2008

    is this Diggable?

    The Digg link about the story in general with best chance of making it is this one. Already 141 Diggs, but it hasn’t made it to the front page yet.

  94. #94 Ms. Clark
    April 7, 2008

    Right when Kirby is intending to release more “bombshells,” the Internet is abuzz with questions about who Kirby is and who is paying him, and what his ethics are, and for some reason Clifford Shoemaker’s name keeps popping up in these discussions.

    Shoemaker has shot himself in the foot here, I think. He’s got international attention now. People are saying he’s gone too far, is a nut or a bully, and might need to lose his license to practic law.

    Since Kirby is tied in tight with Shoemaker via the Polings…. I expect Kirby’s new “bombshells” which might have been delivered to him by Cliff Shoemaker, will blow up in his proverbial face. I mean, just think if it was Shoemaker who leaked the Poling documents to Kirby…
    then he turns around and subpoena’s Kathleen after she exposes how much money he makes of off LOSING vaccine cases.

    Looks like a big lose lose proposition for the mercury phobes and the antivax sociopaths.

  95. #95 Jim Lippard
    April 7, 2008

    On March 14, 2000, I was served with a subpoena from attorneys for Amway in the case of Amway v. Procter & Gamble. That subpoena was issued under the assumption that I was part of a conspiracy against Amway being funded by Procter & Gamble, because I hosted a mirror copy of Sidney Schwartz’s “Amway: The Untold Story” website.

    The subpoena requested all manner of nonexistent documents–records of phone conversations and email exchanges between myself and agents of Procter & Gamble, records of contributions to mailing lists I didn’t subscribe to, bank records showing payments received from Procter & Gamble, and so forth. It also requested some things that did exist, such as “all documents pertaining to the Amway–The Untold Story Web Page.” But the kicker was the final request in the subpoena–“a complete ‘mirror’ copy of each of your disks, tapes or other electronic storage media which contains any of the information requested in the preceding items.” That one prompted me to engage an attorney and fight the subpoena.

    It took almost two years and several thousand dollars in legal expenses on my part (and most likely several tens of thousands of dollars in expenses on Amway’s part) to deal with that subpoena. The entire case against Procter & Gamble was ultimately thrown out of Michigan court. I hope that Kathleen Seidel is able to quash her subpoena more quickly and less expensively, but I also hope that the balance of expenses is at least as lopsided as it was in my case.

  96. #96 hank
    April 7, 2008

    > shouldn’t they have had an absolute plague of
    > autism, which eased off after the 60s

    Why, come to think of it, people on average did seem to become a bit less gray and disconnected
    http://www.goldfishpublishers.com/images/AlgSalesman.jpg
    after that period.

    And here we thought it was _taking_ drugs that made the colors get brighter ….

  97. #97 Brendan S
    April 7, 2008

    I had my daughter vaccinated and no autism.

    I guess that just about wraps it up? Right? All you out there relying on one antedote for your autism link?

    Yeah. I didn’t actually think so.

  98. #98 dikkon
    April 7, 2008

    Sorry if this is a repeat, but I only read though about half of the comments before I had this wonderful idea.

    What if we had a bunch of people outside JBEST’s, KIRBY’s, OLMSTEAD’s, and SHOEMAKER’s (not to mention the GRIER’s) about 10 minutes before they were issued a similar subpoena? The youtube video would be hysterical. Not to mention that the trash that they deposit would be in the public domain, but also the algorithms to recreate the original documents is well known thanks to the dead sea scrolls, and even burned documents can be reconstructed.

    What fun!

  99. #99 Jay Gordon
    April 7, 2008

    I can’t believe I find myself on the same side of this issue . . .

    As you know, I do believe that mercury in medication can cause harm and may actually have caused a significant number of “vaccine injuries.” I believe that the current vaccine schedule is not safe and that, no matter what your overall thoughts about immunization, it’s not hard to posit that giving shots later and slower might be less risky.

    But, if money changes hands as the battles are being fought, full disclosure of compensation is not only fair but crucial to honest discourse. I have been severely critical of doctors like Paul Offit and others who have come to the full disclosure table late and reluctantly. How could I be anything but critical of attorneys or doctors who advocate for “my side” and do not disclose?

    All My Best to You, Orac,

    Jay

  100. #100 Johny-O
    April 7, 2008

    The Geier’s would love to be subpeonaed. It means they could talk. It sure beats being muzzeled. At least I know what the mercury milita’s motive is, they believe their children have been poisoned and they want them treated. What motivates you people?

  101. #101 Ms. Clark
    April 7, 2008

    Dr. Jay Chucklehead wrote:

    “…I do believe that mercury in medication can cause harm…”

    oh really? It’s not doing any harm to the kids that are getting it right now all over the world Dr. Chucklehead. If you think it is, show me the proof that it is.

    I can’t believe you backed up that idiot Jenny McAirhead (yes I can actually…) on CNN. I suppose you don’t believe that children die of vaccine preventable meningitis or become deaf or blind from it? Never happens in your practice, huh? Feh. You’d rather scare parents away from vaccines than make sure their kid is protected from these diseases?

    Sorry, Orac. This guy makes my blood boil.

  102. #102 Orac
    April 7, 2008

    What motivates you people?

    Easy. What motivates me is the desire not to see our children suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases antivaccination fearmongering based on misinformation, pseudoscience, and downright idiocy scares parents away from protective vaccines, that’s what. Seeing vaccination, which has saved more lives (and continues to save more lives) than any other medical intervention ever devised by human minds, attacked based on no good science, in other words.

    It’s really that simple.

  103. #103 John Best
    April 7, 2008

    Miss Clark,
    There are children in Africa having their autism treated with exorcism thanks to idiots like you who try to hide the truth. Can you imagine how pathetic life is for those autistic kids? Why don’t you keep your idiotic mouth shut and stop trying to get in the way of decent people who want to help these children?

  104. #104 The Integral and Ivan
    April 8, 2008

    Thanks, Orac….for putting this letter online. I’ve linked to it and hope that anyone reading my blog will do the same and link to it and spread it. It’s about darned time this kind of tomfoolery ended. Alas, I don’t see that happening anytime soon….

    Is there a way to get the attention of medical boards with the autism-vaccine thing? Would that do any good? I was thinking the boards, nationally known, or several nationally known doctors could lobby for shutting down funding for organizations that promote propaganda against vaccinating children….

    Or has that been tried and failed so far?

    The Integral and Ivan of athenivanidx

  105. #105 HCN
    April 8, 2008

    Johny-O said “What motivates you people?”

    Having a health impaired baby who could not be vaccinated for certain disease, during the time our county was having an epidemic of that disease. This was about the time when measles came back and killed over 120 Americans.

    Then having that same child become ill with a now vaccine preventable disease, which caused him to have seizures… and an ambulance trip to the hospital.

    Here is a question for you: What vaccines in the present pediatric schedule are more dangerous than the actual diseases? Please provide documentation. If you say the the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, diphtheria or tetanus: link to the journal article (or its indexing in PubMed) as evidence. If you think that the MMR is more dangerous than mumps, measles or rubella… present the documentation (a reminder: the MMR has been in used in the USA since 1971 and has NEVER contained thimerosal).

  106. #106 Jay Gordon
    April 8, 2008

    I can’t believe I find myself on the same side of this issue . . .

    As you know, I do believe that mercury in medication can cause harm and may actually have caused a significant number of “vaccine injuries.” I believe that the current vaccine schedule is not safe and that, no matter what your overall thoughts about immunization, it’s not hard to posit that giving shots later and slower might be less risky.

    But, if money changes hands as the battles are being fought, full disclosure of compensation is not only fair but crucial to honest discourse. I have been severely critical of doctors like Paul Offit and others who have come to the full disclosure table late and reluctantly. How could I be anything but critical of attorneys or doctors who advocate for “my side” and do not disclose?

    All My Best to You, Orac,

    Jay

  107. #107 Jimbo
    April 8, 2008

    John, maybe you can make an appointment with Dr. Jay Gordon and he can cure your son??????? Cutler ain’t doing it, obviously.

  108. #108 daedalus2u
    April 8, 2008

    Orac, I think you are selling vaccination a little short. I think it is not only that vaccination has saved more lives than any other medical intervention, I think it has saved more lives than all other medical interventions combined. Smallpox vaccination alone has certainly saved over a billion lives.

  109. #109 Orac
    April 8, 2008

    Dr. Gordon,

    Although I am gratified to learn that you see Mr. Shoemaker’s action for what it is, may I express my great disappointment in you for having shown up with Jenny McCarthy on Larry King on CNN? Really, from reading the transcripts and seeing bits of the show, I can say with confidence that it was a travesty. Jenny McCarthy is about as dumb as they come and she parrots some of the dumbest antivaccination canards there are out there, such as the “toxins” in vaccines idiocy that is found on so many antivaccination sites.

    Do you believe that there’s ether in vaccines? (There is no ethyl ether in vaccines.) Jenny McCarthy does. Do you think the tiny amount of formaldehyde that’s present in vaccines can produce measurable harm, even though we are exposed to far more formaldehyde in the environment than we could get from thousands upon thousands of vaccines and even though formaldehyde is rapidly broken down in aqueous solution. Jenny McCarthy does. Do you believe there is antifreeze in vaccines? (There isn’t, by the way.) Jenny McCarthy does.

    But all of that can be chalked up to McCarthy’s ignorance and the her arrogance in thinking that the University of Google’s antivaccination institute qualifies her to bluster and speak over experts in the field as though she is on equal terms with them in scientific knowledge. What I find even more disturbing than the ignorance that Jenny McCarthy routinely delivers on the topic of vaccines and autism is her apparent belief that she cured her son of autism and that she could make him autistic again if she let up. Here’s what she said:

    You know, I could in two months turn Evan completely autistic again. I could do it completely through diet. And maybe getting some vaccine boosters. Through diet, I could load him up again with all the things that will aggravate the damage that was done. Right now, what happened now was that I healed him to the point where he got everything back to this baseline level and it stays there like this. But I mess with it at all–boom!

    I bet you hadn’t seen or heard that little gem before, had you? Do you as a pediatrician believe that Jenny McCarthy (or any parent) could turn her child autistic again just by loading him up with some vaccines and changing his diet? Yet this is the sort of nonsense that Jenny McCarthy believes and the sort of message she is publicizing. She also routinely says even dumber things.

    That’s why I’m disappointed in you, Dr. Gordon. I thought you were smarter and had more integrity than that, our past disagreements notwithstanding. Yet, here I see you associating yourself with some of the most blatant antivaccinationist pseudoscience and lies that I’ve seen in a long time in the form of Jenny McCarthy. Her message goes far beyond your suggestions of delaying some vaccines and spreading out the vaccine schedule.

    Far beyond.

    Into the Twilight Zone, even.

    Do you really want to be associated with a woman who thinks that she can turn her son’s autism on and off at will with diet and various biomedical inteventions? As a pediatrician, do you think that’s a believable or even plausible claim? A woman who claims that mercury in vaccines (combined with other things) caused her son’s autism when her son was born after thimerosal was removed from all childhood vaccines other than the flu vaccine? A woman who parrots the most brain-dead lies about vaccines as though they were the Gospel truth? A woman who has claimed that the hepatitis C vaccine wreaked havoc on a friend’s child when in fact there is at present no hepatitis C vaccine? A woman who in one part of her book claims that the “light went out” of her son’s eyes after vaccination, but in another part of the book noted her friends’ children all smiled and responded to people much earlier than her son did, who didn’t smile until 5 months, an observation that was almost certainly an indication that something wasn’t right long before the vaccines upon which McCarthy places the blame for her son’s condition? A woman who has publicly said in interviews that she “wouldn’t vaccinate at all, never, ever”?

    Is that really the sort of message and woman that you want to start associating yourself with? There’s being a “skeptic” of the current vaccine schedule and then there’s being a total antivaccination wingnut. By associating yourself with Jenny McCarthy, you’re associating yourself with the latter, not the former. Not good judgment for a pediatrician. While I can sympathize with how difficult it must be to raise an autistic child and can admire to some extent McCarthy’s single-minded desire to be a “warrior mom” for her child, she is lashing out in the wrong direction and acting in a way that has the potential to do great harm.

    I hope you can see why I’m so disappointed in you.

  110. #110 John Best
    April 8, 2008

    I’m disappointed in Dr Gordon too for not seeing that Seidel should not be allowed to smear the good name of the man who confirmed that thimerosal caused the autism epidemic.

  111. #111 ANB
    April 8, 2008

    “There are children in Africa having their autism treated with exorcism …”

    John, were you aware that Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, formerly of Melbourne, Fla., has been known to counsel exorcism for autism?

  112. #112 TheProbe
    April 8, 2008

    John “Not-The” Best bleated: “During this time, we found some groups of people who did not use vaccines and had no autism. Case closed. Thimerosal caused the autism epidemic and the bastards who are covering it up will all be going to jail soon.”

    Oh, you are braying about Olmsted. Olmsted is such a great investigative journalist that you could not find the right place to place the Charmin, even if you got your head out of the way. He never bothered to talk to the physicians at the clinic for special children in Pennsylvania Amish country.

  113. #113 vlad
    April 8, 2008

    “There are children in Africa having their autism treated with exorcism …” There are people in Africa treating AIDS by sleeping with virgins, very very young ones. I normally have serious issues with your logic but this is a but much even for you.

  114. #114 alyric
    April 8, 2008

    ” At least I know what the mercury milita’s motive is, they believe their children have been poisoned and they want them treated. What motivates you people?”

    I would not have written a single word on the subject if it weren’t for defenceless children being castrated based on nothing at all in the way of evidence and a commitment to mercury poisoning equals autism. Prior, I would never have believed that a developed country could so mistreat its most vulnerable citizens by allowing that to happen. They are allowing that to happen in a democratic country with laws and child protection agencies – in name only apparently. If a child is labelled autistic, you can do anything you like to them, right? This is a very familiar scenario, as the history books tell us and “people who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it”.

  115. #115 John Best
    April 8, 2008

    Wow, more incredible nonsense to direct the discussion away from Seidel’s smearing of Dr Geier! And, all of it anonymous. How genuine.

  116. #116 Laser Potato
    April 8, 2008

    Wow, more John Best attempting to weasel his way out of answering our questions by any means possible!
    Again, how did you look at all of mankind since the “dawn of creation” before 1931 and find no autism at all? Is such a thing even possible? And how about the ancient cultures I mentioned that used PURE mercury AS A BEAUTY REGIMEN?! Surely, if there were a link between mercury and autism, they would have noticed it…

  117. #117 Ranson
    April 8, 2008

    Let’s also remember that some of the earliest modern “natural philosopers” drank pure mercury, and then barfed it back up as a health regimen.

    I’m not saying it did them any good, mind you, but it was fairly common among the genius polymaths of the age.

  118. #118 notmercury
    April 8, 2008

    Well at least Jay Gordon is willing to recognize when he is wrong. Sure, it may require that a child dies of AIDS before he’ll admit that the HIV virus causes AIDS, but at least he’ll back down in the face of incontrovertible evidence.

    They don’t call him Dr. Contrarian because he disagrees for the sake of disagreement, do they?

  119. #119 ilikesubpoenas
    April 8, 2008

    Normally I would support the likes of KS (in this situation – but not her views/opinions), but as I was part the UK multi-party action, and was subjected to all sorts of threats from one of the MMR makers and their hangers-on, then I can’t help thinking along the lines..”if you can’t take it.. etc” “what goes around comes around”.

    Makes me smile – inwardly of course.

  120. #120 Joseph
    April 8, 2008

    John: If you believe anything Kathleen has published is mistaken or false, I’d suggest you either write a rebuttal yourself, or have someone help you with one.

    You and I both know, however, that everything she has posted is absolutely true and documented at length. Furthermore, she has a right to write about anything she likes. There’s no law that says you can’t criticize certain people given their importance or whatever (not that there’s any merit to the delusional view that the Geier’s activities are valuable).

  121. #121 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 8, 2008

    the man who confirmed that thimerosal caused the autism epidemic

    Um… no. still not confirmed, unless you mean exactly no evidence of the connection is your definition of confirmed.

  122. #122 Orac
    April 8, 2008

    Normally I would support the likes of KS (in this situation – but not her views/opinions), but as I was part the UK multi-party action, and was subjected to all sorts of threats from one of the MMR makers and their hangers-on, then I can’t help thinking along the lines..”if you can’t take it.. etc” “what goes around comes around”.

    So, in other words, because you think an injustice has been done to you, you smile at the thought of an injustice being done to another.

    Nice.

  123. #123 ilikesubpoenas
    April 8, 2008

    “So, in other words, because you think an injustice has been done to you, you smile at the thought of an injustice being done to another.”

    In this situation – yes. Mainly because everything has become so polarised, so black or white, so pro-vax or anti-vax. There is no middle – so live and let die!

  124. #124 vlad
    April 8, 2008

    “Wow, more incredible nonsense to direct the discussion away from Seidel’s smearing of Dr Geier! And, all of it anonymous. How genuine.” When you show up in a clown suite and a big pink trumpet you have to excuse us for laughing before we realize your actually serious.

    Speaking of anonymous ilikesubpoenas sound very much like a good friend of our name Sue AKA … to long to list.

  125. #125 Liesl
    April 8, 2008

    “In this situation – yes. Mainly because everything has become so polarised, so black or white, so pro-vax or anti-vax. There is no middle – so live and let die!”

    Harm was done to you, ostensibly because of the attitude of live and let die, right? So, using it to justify whatever you do or think is doing harm to others (in your version of harm). I don’t understand: if you are stating that this thinking and the resultant actions are acceptable by your endorsement of, then where was the original harm to you? You can’t have it both ways.

  126. #126 vlad
    April 8, 2008

    “Mainly because everything has become so polarised, so black or white, so pro-vax or anti-vax.” No, no it hasn’t. Any one of us are willing to listen to evidence of harm. Had Autism rates dropped when mercury was removed form vaccines we might have at least pondered the theory. Had there been any real evidence the chelation worked (Best going look what I did, then once we look covering it up a screaming “not going to show you” does not count) again we might look at it. No one said that vaccines are risk free. That would be why the feds set up the vaccine tax to compensate REAL vaccine injuries. However the only thing I hear from the anti-vax group is “My kid was injured and I want money” or “How dare you question me, my child was injured and your a bastard for doubting it.” or “I cured the plague created by (add favorite secret society here) to poison our kids, what the hell do you mean you want evidence, I know I’m a parent how dare you question that?” When I start seeing real evidence that is corroborated (the Amish have ASD) I’m all for listening. But what I hear from anti-vax sounds more like religion than anything else.

  127. #127 Liz Ditz
    April 8, 2008

    I’ve got a new post up on the elapsed time since you issued your open letter, How Long Until Kirby and Olmstead Speak on the Seidel Subpoena?

    I’m continuing to update the running list of responses to the Seidel subpoena at I Speak of Dreams.

  128. #128 John Best
    April 8, 2008

    Joseph,
    I did publish rebuttals to almost everything Kathleen wrote about Dr Geier and others. Of course, when I commented on her site, she deleted the truth that I wrote there. The children who have improved thanks to Dr Geier disagree with your misguided opinion of him.

    Vlad,
    The mercury has not been removed from vaccines, not even close. That nullifies everything else you said.

    Everyone seems to think this is all about MR Shoemaker and his fees from vaccine court. I don’t think that has anything to do with this.

  129. #129 Jay Gordon
    April 8, 2008

    I can’t believe I find myself on the same side of this issue . . .

    As you know, I do believe that mercury in medication can cause harm and may actually have caused a significant number of “vaccine injuries.” I believe that the current vaccine schedule is not safe and that, no matter what your overall thoughts about immunization, it’s not hard to posit that giving shots later and slower might be less risky.

    But, if money changes hands as the battles are being fought, full disclosure of compensation is not only fair but crucial to honest discourse. I have been severely critical of doctors like Paul Offit and others who have come to the full disclosure table late and reluctantly. How could I be anything but critical of attorneys or doctors who advocate for “my side” and do not disclose?

    All My Best to You, Orac,

    Jay

  130. #130 Joseph
    April 8, 2008

    One other thing Jay Gordon might agree with the rest of us here on is that they really need to fix the ScienceBlogs commenting system, don’t they?

  131. #131 Of Course It's Vaccines
    April 8, 2008

    “Speaking of anonymous ilikesubpoenas sound very much like a good friend of our name Sue AKA … to long to list”.

    Wrong… Good try, though.

  132. #132 isles
    April 8, 2008

    Jay Gordon is an embarrassment to the medical profession. His acts are directly contrary to the welfare of children – not only the ones in his practice (who are largely protected by the herd immunity created by the responsible acts of others), but any child whose parent heard “pediatrician Jay Gordon” heedlessly spouting off about big bad mercury and decided to believe his claims instead of the decidedly unsexy reality that thimerosal-containing vaccines are not capable of causing mercury poisoning, autism, or anything else except immunity to life-threatening diseases. (And, yes, the chance of a nontrivial vaccine reaction, although this is infinitesimally smaller than the chance of being injured by the disease being prevented.)

    It is absolutely incomprehensible to me how anyone – especially someone who managed to get through medical school – could not understand the overwhelming evidence that there is no biological plausibility for the proposition that thimerosal-containing vaccines could have anything to do with autism, nor is there any evidence, despite many attempts to find such evidence, that there is any connection between them in practice.

  133. #133 bones
    April 8, 2008

    “The Geier’s would love to be subpeonaed. It means they could talk. It sure beats being muzzeled.”

    Wanna bet? Besides, who the hell is preventing them from talking. If anyone, it’s Shoemaker. He alone has relagated Geier from testifying expert down to non-testifying consultant. Hmmmm…wonder why that is?

    And Boy Wonder isn’t qualified to speak on the topic of shoe tying, let alone autism.

  134. #134 phantomreader42
    April 8, 2008

    John Worst:

    The mercury has not been removed from vaccines, not even close.

    I don’t suppose you have any evidence to support this claim, do you? Any evidence at all? Beyond the sworn testimony of the voices in your head, of course.

    You’ve somehow gotten the idea in your head that mercury in vaccines causes autism, and when the complete lack of evidence to support this belief is pointed out to you, you hallucinate up a vast conspiracy to cover it up. Then, when the mercury is removed, and there’s no drop in autism, you just use your conspiracy hallucination to deny reality again. Why bother thinking or researching the actual facts, when delusional paranoia is so much easier?

  135. #135 Doctor Doom
    April 8, 2008

    Yes, Best-man, I can just here the high-pitched voices of the children’s chorus…

    “Thank you, pseudo-doctor Geier for castrating uuuuusssss!”

    If it wasn’t for his extreme malignancy, I would think that the level of idiocy and mental instability demonstrated in John Best’s blog and comments were the work of a very clever troll trying it’s best (no pun intended…) to undermine the antivaxers.

    Oh, wait…

    “When Amy Holmes tried removing mercury from kids’ brains in 2000, for the first time ever, symptoms of autism were seen to improve.”

    …may have been overlooked in favor of Best’s theory of relativity-bending time-travelling research endeavors. But I had great images of Dr. Holmes sticking large bore needles in kids’ brains, extracting large amounts of viscuous liquid, or, alternately, just reaching in with both hands and scooping it out like mud. Beautiful.

  136. #136 Doctor Doom
    April 8, 2008

    …And as a pediatrician I too am embarrassed and appalled at Dr. Gordon’s “Larry King Live” appearance. Although it might be that as pediatrician-to-the-stars he and his clientele are above and exempt from such annoyances as vaccine-preventable diseases…after all, it’s the little people and the great unwashed and morally corrupt that get those diseases, right? Right?

  137. #137 John Best
    April 8, 2008

    Phantomreader and Dr Doom,
    You two are much too smart for me to argue with. You’re even smart enough to hide your identities so Kathleen can’t assassinate your character.

  138. #138 Joseph
    April 8, 2008

    The children who have improved thanks to Dr Geier disagree with your misguided opinion of him.

    There is absolutely no evidence that children treated by the Geiers have improved more than they would’ve improved otherwise. None. In fact, given the history of autism treatments, the correct default assumption is that they didn’t.

    Furthermore, I don’t care if they have come up with the greatest treatment in history, this in no way means that they should be given a pass on plagiarism and a bogus IRB.

  139. #139 Laser Potato
    April 8, 2008

    “I did publish rebuttals to almost everything Kathleen wrote about Dr Geier and others. Of course, when I commented on her site, she deleted the truth that I wrote there.”
    Sorry pal, the burden of proof is on *you* once again. Every time we ask you for evidence or context you give a flimsy excuse like “oh, I *DID* give evidence in an earlier thread, but my comment was deleted!” and, invariably, this is a pile of horsesh*t and you did no such thing.

  140. #140 Dr Aust
    April 8, 2008

    “I don’t suppose you have any evidence to support this claim, do you? …Beyond the sworn testimony of the voices in your head, of course”

    Beautiful, phantomreader. Killer line of the thread so far.

  141. #141 Nomen Nescio
    April 8, 2008

    There are children in Africa having their autism treated with exorcism

    exorcism, chelation — when it comes to autism, what’s the difference? other than that exorcism might be slightly less likely to kill the patient, i mean.

  142. #142 John Best
    April 8, 2008

    Mr Potato Head,
    http://hatingautism.blogspot.com/2007/05/neurodiversity-attacks-methodist-church.html
    Here’s one post I wrote in response to Kathleen’s idiocy. I think this was when I got sick of writing about her nonsense. There were several before this time that may still be there if I haven’t deleted them by now. Of course, I can’t produce the comments that she deleted.

  143. #143 vlad
    April 8, 2008

    “Phantomreader and Dr Doom,
    You two are much too smart for me to argue with. You’re even smart enough to hide your identities so Kathleen can’t assassinate your character.” Um, you might want to read the post. I can’t imagine that Kathleen would assassinate the character of people with scientific evidence behind them.

    I’m choking on bile for what I’m about to say but: You are correct in that they have not removed ALL mercury from vaccines. However it has been reduced significantly so the rates of Autism should decrease. If not then you would have to carefully explain why. The argument that they have not removed it and just intentionally relabeled the vials is ludicrous. That would open themselves up to catastrophic litigation. Basic human greed dictates that this assumption is wrong.

  144. #144 John Best
    April 8, 2008

    Vlad,
    Yes, one would tend to think that autism rates should decrease with less mercury. However, you should be mindful that there was hardly any mercury being given to infants in 1931 when it first began to cause autism.

    Back then, they also were not giving it to pregnant mothers via the flu shot. I don’t know if they had the rhogam shot in 1931 but I don’t think they did.

    We saw the largest increase in autism coincide with the HepB shot on the day of birth. This was not lost on the vaccine makers. They know, just as the good guys do, that it is easier to cause autism if you can shoot the baby up with mercury before they have a blood brain barrier. So, they probably figured they could keep causing autism with the flu shot to the mother and make it look like they were innocent since the general public would believe that all of the mercury was gone from vaccines. The public mostly has never heard of a blood brain barrier and would believe whatever they heard on the news. So, this was a good plan to avoid blame. And, it may yet work if everyone keeps listening to people who go on about the vaccine schedule but ignore this important bit of treachery. While I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about the number of vaccines, I’m keeping my mind open on that.

    The thing I do know is that thimerosal caused the epidemic and I think the flu shot to tiny fetuses is the thing that is keeping it going. The only way to find out if I am right or wrong is to stop giving that mercury laden flu shot and any other mercury laden shots to pregnant women and remove ALL thimerosal from ALL vaccines..

  145. #145 Azkyroth
    April 8, 2008

    You’re even smart enough to hide your identities so Kathleen can’t assassinate your character.

    Your character committed suicide. You’re not fooling anyone.

  146. #146 Azkyroth
    April 8, 2008

    Addendum: Continuing the metaphor, it’s deeply dishonest for you to try and pin its death on the people who found the body and reported it.

  147. #147 question
    April 8, 2008

    Question— if Kathleen and other bloggers put a special “donate” button on their blogs to gather money to sue John Best Jr. for his constant defamation of them and for his making death threats against them— how many would donate? A wild guess would be it would take about 3 weeks to get a few thousand dollars from the people who like the targeted bloggers or hate John Best Jr.
    Or perhaps for the safety of his children it would be better to make a phone call to child protective services in New Hampshire.

  148. #148 Azkyroth
    April 8, 2008

    The problem, “Question,” is that I’m not sure that John Best, for all his dishonesty and venom, has yet made a claim that is coherent and specific enough to be actionable. If that is not, or ceases to be, the case, I could be persuaded to contribute something…

  149. #149 Azkyroth
    April 8, 2008

    (The other problem is that the little weasel will almost certainly take the suit and run with it, playing the “martyr” and “persecution” cards for all they’re worth.)

  150. #150 John Best
    April 8, 2008

    Question,
    I’m sure the neuronitwits would like to sue me and the few who have jobs might even contribute. However, even though it would be great fun to see how screwy you people could act in a court, you would have no chance against me.

    You see, while you rant and rave and back each other up, all I do is point out the truth and the common sense that none of you have.

    Even the looniest among you know that you can’t sue anyone for telling the truth.

    One of your loons did call child protective services about me. CPS was able to determine that the caller was a neurodiverse nitwit so they never even bothered to visit me.
    And, since I realize that the person who did this suffers from brain damage that is known as Asperger’s, I don’t even hold it against them. I only hope they will be cured.

  151. #151 Joseph
    April 8, 2008

    I can explain John’s thinking on thimerosal, from the ideas I’ve seen him post. After removal of most thimerosal from pediatric vaccines failed to reverse the “autism epidemic”, he basically renounced the idea that there’s dose-response to thimerosal, although he’s never articulated that idea coherently. Basically, he says that autism started when thimerosal was first put in vaccines in 1931, and regardless of the dose, the fact that thimerosal exists in vaccines is what keeps autism rates at current levels. Evidently, he must believe that the rates of autism in the 1970s are at least the same as those we have today, but due to increasing recognition of the condition, more diagnosed cases exist today. Effectively, John has renounced the notion of a recent “autism epidemic” although he’s never admitted it. He proposes that the one and only epidemic started in 1931 and has been sustained since. That’s why in these debates he’ll always ask you to produce 75 or 76 year old autistics.

  152. #152 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 8, 2008

    Never mind the diagnosis for Autism in 1936 was probably previously just known as retarded or slow or some other mental health issue. Also never mind the widening of the autism classification umbrella.

    Ignore that please. Move along. Nothing to see here.

  153. #153 Azkyroth
    April 8, 2008

    Heh. John Best in court would be an amusing spectacle; based on his comments here and elsewhere, if he came in as a plaintiff he’d be laughed out of court, and if he came in as a defendent he’d ultimately wind up jailed for Contempt of Court.

    Which would be kind of appropriate. After all, they finally nailed Al Capone for something as paltry as tax evasion…

  154. #154 Andrew
    April 8, 2008

    Snake-oil salesman John writes:
    >Even the looniest among you know that you can’t sue >anyone for telling the truth.

    The problem is that there’s no cause of action since no one could possibly take your accusations seriously; the impotence of your arguments is thus your best defense. If you ever make an accusation that wasn’t laughable, then you might be in some legal danger – but there’s no chance of that, is there?

  155. #155 Orac
    April 9, 2008

    David Kirby and Dan Olmsted have responded to my open letter.

    Consequently, given that this thread has grown to over 140 comments, I am going to close it down. Please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments of the post linked to above.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.